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Apples and Oranges

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Living with Sai had posed quite the change. The house they had purchased from an elderly woman was stunning. The garden was exquisite, much to Ino's delight. It was as if no one had ever lived there. And it was though Sai planned to make it so it stayed that way.

Ino was not what she would consider a messy person. In fact, most would consider her quite neat. She vacuumed and dusted weekly, did the dishes nightly and her laundry never sat out for more than a day. By most twenty-year-old standards, Ino was an outstanding cohabitant.

Sai could never be bothered to live by typical standards.

The man had never spoke about his past much, but now Ino almost wished he'd stop speaking about how while living alone he had always dusted daily and how they must wash the wood with a specific oil weekly. And don't get him started on how the walls, of all things, had to be washed monthly.

Ino once made the mistake of bringing home a stunning vase of flowers and putting them on the dining room table. One would have thought Ino had put a landmine on the table with the way he stared at it and demanded it be moved to a 'more appropriate location'.

Centerpieces were tacky according to a decorating magazine he seemed to believe in like it was the Bible. Ino realized he must have acquired a magazine targeting minimalists considering picture frames on the end tables were limited to one and paintings had to distinctly match the muted tones of their other décor.

The final straw had been the fact that Sai insisted the apples had to go in the fridge and not in a perfectly acceptable fruit bowl because it would look cluttered.

"That's it. They are not going in the fridge! This bowl is more than adequate."

"It looks ridiculous."

Ino's eyes narrowed, extremely serious about the apples that were in perfect season and surely going to be delicious if not ruined by the cold.

"Have you ever had a cold apple?"

"I dislike apples."

"That doesn't answer my question. Have you-"

"Considering I do not like them – no."

Ino bit the inside of her cheek so hard so swore she was actually going to draw blood.

"Your precious oranges don't go in the fridge!"

Sai tilted his head to the side, unaffected. "I pick the amount I plan to eat off of the bush from the garden."

"Well what will you do in the winter?"

He proceeded to look back at her as those she was the crazy one pointing out the obnoxious way that he lived.

"Oranges taste awful in the winter. I wouldn't eat them."

Ino screeched and held her head in her hands.

"Well, we don't have an apple tree so I have to buy them in the market!"

Sai pursed his lips for a moment in an attempt to find some sort of solution.

"I can plant you an apple tree, Ino. It's a little late in the season so it may not bloom-"

"Sai! You're failing to see the point!"

Sai blinked incredulously. The woman wanted warm apples and he did not want them sitting on the counter in a way that could create clutter or attract fruit flies. The tree seemed like an obvious compromise. He frowned.

"If you want something you need to say it. I'm not good at inferencing."

Ino's annoyed grunting and howls could have woken Kakashi from his midday nap, all the way across Konoha.

"I need you to let me live."

Sai was concerned for a moment. His social skills had improved leaps and bounds. Or at least he supposed they had considering he'd landed himself a wife who seemed to love him. Except right now, she was furious and claiming she was not alive while she surely had a pulse. Which probably meant she was using a hyperbole.

He sighed in frustration. "I don't understand what you want or need, Ino. I need you to be clear."

Ino scowled. "Clear? Okay! I need to be able to decorate for god sakes. It looks like I live in a museum. A bad contemporary one. I want flowers and bowls of fruit and god, Sai, the walls do not get dirty after a month! They need to be washed once or a twice a year, tops! What are you going to do when we have kids?"

Tears were brimming the edges of Ino's eyes and Sai stepped forward, biting his lip with a furrowed brow. He touched her arm lightly.

"It's not about the apples, is it?"

Ino shook her head, almost laughing at the absurdity that was her husband. "No, Sai. It's not…I am…I'm…"

The way Sai looked back at her in that moment was enough to make her breath hitch and find herself speechless. His eyes and face held an expression Ino couldn't describe. It had to be somewhere between horror and hope, if there is such an emotion to describe that.

Sai was equally as perplexed. Ino nearly always had something to say, always spoke up and never was one to keep her thoughts in. Yet, right now, her mouth was opening and closing but nothing was coming out. She needed him and so he made the only suggestion he could to finish her sentence.


Ino's face crashed into his chest and he immediately held her and rubbed her back. "Beautiful…"

She didn't want to see his face. She didn't want to see the horror and misery that would spread across his face as the thought of a grubby handed monster making their home a disaster for fun. The man couldn't stand apples on the counter, how could he deal with a baby throwing food?

"We have the paint the nursery."

Ino looked up at him and blinked. Sai's brow furrowed at her expression and he tilted his head thoughtfully.

"And we'll need several baby items. I also need to go to the library." Sai went to turn for the door, presumably to go to the library, but she caught his wrist.

"You are not getting baby books. No." Ino's tone was back to normal, as was her aggressive stance.

Sai stopped and looked at Ino. "If I don't how will I know how to raise it?"

"I don't know how to raise a baby either Sai, we'll learn together."

Sai frowned, not quite believing what she was selling. "How will we know the developmental stages? How often to feed it? Also when to start solids?"

Ino's mouth twisted into a frown, and his eyes darted around searching for answers. "Fine, but we'll pick them out together. No weird ones."

Sai smiled and intertwined his fingers with hers and made his way to the door.

"I also think a vase of flowers would be nice. Will you pick some out?"

Ino knew he was lying about the flowers, but his smile was genuine. He was happy to see her happy, even if centerpieces were tacky.

"I'd love that."

Lilies would be delightfully appropriate.