Sakura took a deep breath, steeling herself. Today was the day, finally; after putting the news off for weeks, months, she was going to approach Shirou about something she had kept hidden from him for a good, long time. She had initially kept quiet first because she hadn't wanted to upset him, and then because, on some small level, it kind of fascinated her that he seriously never noticed it.
But now… now was the time to be honest.
Exhaling a little shakily, the purple-haired woman ran a hand through her hair before she headed to the place she knew she could always find her boyfriend, without fail.
Shirou was already in the kitchen preparing dinner for the evening, humming to himself and completely lost in the movements and the scents. Sakura lingered for a moment in the doorway, just watching him, before she shook herself. "Senpai?"
No response. As if he hadn't heard her, Shirou kept humming, chopping vegetables with a skilled hand, his golden eyes focused on the task.
This wasn't an encouraging start.
Another deep breath. "SENPAI!"
Shouting may have not been needed, but it was hard to tell when Shirou was really in the groove.
Thankfully, it worked; her boyfriend jerked in surprise, snapped out of his thoughts, and glanced up. He smiled when he saw her. "Oh, Sakura, you're back from shopping already? Rider said you'd both be gone for a few hours."
A warm, red flush flooded her cheeks. "It took less time than we thought," she muttered, and shook her head hard to focus and push away memories. "Um, Senpai? Do you think dinner can wait? We need to talk."
He frowned. "But I'm making Chinese tonight—"
"We need to talk right now, Senpai."
Shirou was out of the kitchen and sitting at the living room table so fast he nearly left fire in his wake. For a minute there, he could have sworn his girlfriend had channeled her darker self.
Pleased with this, Sakura daintily folded her legs and sat across from him, clasping her hands on the table.
Quick and clean, Sakura, that's the way.
She brushed loose strands of hair out of her eyes and finally spoke.
"Senpai, I'm having an affair."
Shirou blinked several times, but beyond that said nothing. His eyes were inscrutable... Sakura could not tell offhand what, if any, impact the news had on him. Unsure of what else to do, she continued.
"It's... Rider, of course. If it was anyone, it was going to be her, you know how much time we spend together. And I... senpai, I'm sorry. I really am. I never meant for this to happen, but... she was there, and you... you weren't."
"Sakura... I don't understand. I'm almost always here." Shirou said softly.
Sakura sighed, uncertain of how to bring this up. Even more than the news of the affair, this was what she had been dreading. "Senpai... you have been present, but you haven't been here. For me, I mean. I just... hope that you understand that I wouldn't have done this without good reason? I've been... neglected, for some time, senpai. I've felt like... like there was someone else for you, too, and that it was somehow okay for me to be with Rider because you didn't need me anyway."
"Sakura... of course not! There's no other girl for me, you know that!" Shirou protested.
"No... no other girl..." Sakura murmured. "And it's... not really a..." She stopped, realizing how ridiculous it sounded. But she had no choice. "Senpai, what is for dinner?"
"Oh! We're having Chinese food. I've been practicing a lot, and I was thinking for the main dish a scallop and snow-pea stirfry, the firm yet tender texture of scallops makes them an excellent choice for stir-fry recipes. Here, their sweet taste is enhanced with sesame-soy sauce..."
"Yes! Yes, that is the problem, hat exactly!" Sakura finally snapped. "Senpai, I love to cook. You know that. But the sweet taste is always enhanced by a soy sauce. Or the aroma of the celery is improved by chopping them! Or the slight pinch of sugar brings out the flavor of the meat more fully! It never ends!"
"... … … so you want something else for dinner?" Shirou asked.
"No, Senpai! What I want is a lover who puts more thought into my needs than he does into the brunch menu!" Sakura snapped. "I may be cheating on you with Rider... but you were cheating on me with the kitchen since the day we met!"
Shirou blinked. For a good, long moment there was nothing but silence between them. Sakura could practically hear the gears turning in his brain as he tried to connect the dots.
"… I don't follow," he said at last.
Sakura's head met the table's surface with a loud, sharp thud. Shirou jumped. "Sakura?"
She held up a hand; he clicked his mouth shut. Finally, she groaned and lifted her head from the table, glaring at him.
"Of course you don't follow, you probably haven't even noticed!" she snapped, seriously losing her patience with the boy. "Senpai, you want to know how long I've been having an affair with Rider? A year! A year and a half, to be exact! And you never noticed!"
Shurou frowned. "I'm sure that's not true."
"Remember the time you came into the back room because you were looking for a new herbal spice to sweeten your soup?"
His eyes lit up. "Oh, of course! I've perfected the recipe, by the way, would you like to try some? Tohsaka really liked it when I gave it to her—"
"But I'm sure it's finally just right, it won't make you sick like last time—"
"I said no, Senpai," Sakura snarled, and rubbed her eyes. "That isn't even the point of the conversation, anyway. My point is, Rider and I were having sex in that room."
Shirou blinked. "… You were?"
Sakura nodded again.
"… I didn't notice."
"We were right in the corner. I wasn't even trying to be quiet."
"…." Shirou shrugged helplessly. "I didn't see you. Maybe it was dark."
"It was the middle of the afternoon."
The silence after that sentence was thick, indeed.
"… Are you sure you don't want to try—"
Shirou scowled, scratching the back of his neck. "I'm sorry I didn't notice, Sakura. You two were just really subtle."
Sakura had to resist the urge to slam her face into the table again. "The last time we had sex, I was calling out Rider's name."
"…. You were? I didn't notice."
"Of course you didn't notice! You were probably thinking about... about soufflé or something!"
"Actually, the last time we had sex, I think I was working on a new muffin recip-"
"I don't need the details!" Sakura snarled. "What I need is a lover who cares! Who is actually concerned about my needs! Who doesn't spend our time in bed together thinking about muffins!"
"... well, sometimes it's about the soup. You're sure you don't..."
"I don't want any soup, dammit!"
"Ah, I understand. You're in a salad mood." Shirou said, nodding his understanding.
"Stop thinking about *$%ing dinner!"
"No, no, for dinner it's stir-fry..."
"Not remotely my point!" Sakura shrieked, her voice beginning to take a slightly unstable edge. "Senpai! For the love of all that's holy! When Rider and I are together she... she's gentle, and concerned and she is so dedicated to my pleasure it's like I'm being worshiped. With you, it's... it's... you never even look me in the eye, Senpai."
"... I made you pancakes for breakfast, though."
"SENPAI!" She snapped. "This is serious! We have sex maybe, maybe once every three months, and when we do you... you manhandle me. You're rough, and coarse, and you act like I'm just a piece of me- oh God."
"Like... like a piece... of...meat..." Sakura stammered. "Senpai. I want you to look me in the eye, and tell me that you have never thought about tenderizing steak while we were having sex."
Shirou did not look her in the eye. "Of... course not."
"... it was pork-chops. You need to properly tenderize them before grilling to lock in the juices and..."
"There are no words to describe how little I care!"
"You would certainly be caring this Friday when we have them for supper!"
"I might be slightly preoccupied with the fact that my supposed boyfriend would rather be nailing the appetizer than me!" Sakura shrieked, one eye now visibly twitching.
"... … … you're sure you don't want some soup? It's not hard to make, I could whip up a batch."
"Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" Sakura rammed her head a few more times into the table, appreciating the solid 'thuds'. "You... are you even listening to me? Should I have even bothered? I! Am! Having! An! Affair!"
"So... Rider will be over for dinner, then?"
"… In one ear, out the other, isn't it?" Sakura groaned, now with a splitting headache as a result of her numerous collisions with the table. She rubbed her forehead, and sighed. "Senpai…"
"Is Rider coming over for dinner or not? I kind of need to plan here, you know."
"…" Her eye twitched dangerously. Breathe in, breathe out. You're almost at the end of it. "Senpai," she said firmly, "I've made up my mind."
Shirou's eyes glowed. "You do want soup?"
"… No. In fact, I don't think I'll ever want soup again after this conversation." Sakura stood up, decision made. "I'm leaving you, Senpai. Yes, you saved my life, you freed me… but Rider honestly loves me and wants to be with me. And frankly, I'm tired of being the other woman in our relationship. Other... kitchen. Other something. I don't even know what the Hell is going on anymore, but it clearly needs to end."
"….." Shirou just stared. He seemed a little cross-eyed.
Sakura exhaled deeply, then bowed to him, hands clasped in front of her skirt. "Thank you for everything, Shirou," she said as warmly as she could manage, considering the conversation they had just had. "I'll never forget what you did for me, and I'll see you at school. I hope you'll be very happy. I... I know you'll be well-fed, at least."
Head held high, back straight and shoulders squared, Sakura gave her former first love one last look before she left the house, closing the door behind her.
A long, long silence fell as Shirou tried to comprehend what had just happened. Finally, he opened his mouth.
"So does this mean it's just going to be me and Taiga tonight?"