And the day came when Tsunade let Sakura go early and so she wasn't too exhausted to notice that they were missing everything but bandages and instant ramen.
"Guys? When was the last time either of you went grocery shopping?"
Sasuke looked at Naruto. Naruto looked at Sasuke. Naruto grinned at her nervously. Sasuke looked vaguely startled.
"... You haven't been, huh?"
She wasn't even that surprised. In the last week they had developed a routine where they downed Sakura's stolen-from-Ino boxes of cereals in the morning, snacked on Sasuke-made rice balls at noon, and descended en masse on Naruto's favorite ramen shop when Tsunade let her go in the evening. Then the boys guided her as she dragged her feet home and she fell dead asleep until the next morning.
"There's enough rice for two more weeks," Sasuke said; he'd bought in bulk. Sakura was pretty sure that was more because he didn't want to waste time shopping than because he was trying to save money. "We're not going to die of hunger yet."
"There's nothing but rice, Sasuke-kun."
"... It's filling, versatile, and cheap."
"It's boring," she replied. Naruto looked gleeful; Sakura bumped the top of his head with her knuckles to teach him not to find her berating Sasuke so entertaining. "No offense, Sasuke-kun -- if we were so poor we could only afford one item then rice would certainly be the best choice, but we're not, and we're going shopping."
Sasuke scowled in a vaguely mutinous way.
"We can pick up fish and vegetables for rice ball fillings," she added, conciliatory. "Along with dishwashing liquid and some more soap; I don't know if you've noticed but the only whole bar of soap left is my honey-scented one."
She had them out of the door before they were done grimacing.
She kept them distracted along the way with a steady stream of questioning on their afternoon activities -- D-ranks, physical conditioning, and more D-ranks. Turned out there wasn't a lot of positive things to say about four hours of pushups while Iruka's students practiced balance on moving objects on their backs, but ranting prevented them from bickering with each other or complaining that you didn't need three people to shop.
She just wanted to do things with them that weren't training or discussing missions. They didn't have any time to go on real dates, she knew that -- and it wasn't even really about dating. It was just that sometimes she felt as if they were roommates who happened to share a bed. She didn't even like the house very much, with its bedrooms too small for three; its main selling point was that she was living with them in it, but it wouldn't sell anything much if that promise of togetherness stayed empty.
She wanted... she didn't know. Domestic things. Even something as silly as washing dishes -- one at the sink, one with a drying cloth, and the last one teasing them to make the chore go by faster.
They couldn't bond over washing dishes together if they never ate at home. And they couldn't eat at home if they didn't have any food. And if they had food sitting in the fridge then that meant they had to cook it to avoid waste. And cooking was definitely another group activity.
"Whatcha grinning about?"
"You in an apron," she retorted, and grinned even harder because she wasn't even joking.
"Whoa, Sakura-chan, I never expected you to have that fantasy."
Naruto dodged preemptively, but the only punishment she gave him was a knowing smirk, which made him look twice as worried.
"... Uh. Sakura-chan?"
She arched her eyebrows, sending him a polite, bland, totally unreadable smile. "Oh, look, there's a grocery store."
"Hey, no, wait, what did that mean?!"
Sasuke was smirking behind them, and gave her a hint of an appreciative nod when she caught his eye.
The store wasn't very big, but it was the closest to the Uchiha district and pretty empty at this hour. Six aisles, a bored cashier, and seven housewives of varying ages...
"...We should probably have written a list," she said as she realized it was still big enough to be confusing.
Naruto shrugged and crossed his arms behind his head. "What for? Just look at everything as you walk around and you'll remember what's missing."
"Plus pick up a dozen things we don't need because you have no self-control," Sasuke retorted as he tucked a shopping basket into his elbow.
Sakura sighed. "We'll write a list for next time. We could stick it on the fridge and write things in as we remember, what do you think?"
They could make it a little tradition, she thought, one of the first of their life together. Because so far the house still felt as if they were camping in it rather than moved in. Perhaps they could even start writing each other notes and everything... 'Visiting Iruka tonight, don't worry if I'm late'; 'Going to be in Ino's district for a mission, will pick up that book for you'; 'We really need a pool! Let's start digging tomorrow.' Oh, she'd like that.
Sasuke shrugged; Naruto gave her a distracted "Yeah, sure" as he zeroed in on the ice cream. Sakura sighed, put her vague daydreams of daily love notes away, and went to the produce section.
They didn't attract too much attention at first -- just three teenagers in all likelihood planning for a party or a team mission. That pretty much ended when Naruto, who had wandered ahead of them, waved and called back; "Hey, Sasuke! What toothpaste brand do you want?"
He was attention-grabbing enough to get a couple of other shoppers to look up; but the real double-take didn't come until Sasuke replied, not loud exactly but in a voice made to carry across the shop to where Naruto was, "I don't care, I can use Sakura's."
She blushed, sure that they were completely transparent. Sharing a toothpaste tube -- a clear sign that they were living together! Well, at least she and Sasuke, which was flustering enough on its own.
Sasuke nudged her then, and gave her a puzzled frown. She was about to answer that it was nothing when Naruto called out again.
"Yeah, I don't care either. We should just buy jumbo size!"
... She'd only thought she was blushing before. And she was aware that no one would probably care or even think twice about the fact three people were sharing one toothpaste tube if she could only not look so awkward, but that was a lost cause. She groaned, head hanging, as a grandma blinked at them.
"Oh hey, there's a toy with this one! And it sparkles!"
Sasuke inclined his head toward her, tone caustic. "Do you ever feel like we're already parents?"
She groaned again, and then she laughed, giddy with the thought -- parents. Oh, who cared what random people in a grocery shop might deduce. "Only every other day. Put that down, Naruto, I'm not washing my teeth with anything that sparkles!"
"Aw, come on, I need to find out if they get stuck in the teeth."
Sasuke lightly bumped the shopping basket on Naruto's head when they joined him. "You just want the toy."
Naruto's lower lip jutted out. "No I don't."
"Yes you do."
"And now I'm a single mother with two kids," Sakura commented dryly. "Come on, guys. Soap, shampoo, toothpaste... What else do we need around here?"
"...What do we need that won't go to waste because it tastes like happy diabetes?"
They got toilet paper and insect repellent, a half-dozen real -- but kind of ugly -- plates to replace the cardboard ones, and had to put back the ice cream because they couldn't agree on the flavor and their fridge wasn't working so well anyway. Naruto made faces at Sasuke's tomatoes and Sakura made faces at Naruto's cereals and Sasuke pretended he wasn't making eyes at that apron. Sakura hoped very hard it was only because it reminded him of his mother's and not because he had some secret wish to actually wear the thing. She didn't think she would ever stop laughing if she ever saw him in it.
"... Sakura... I don't think you're going to need those anytime soon."
Sakura replaced the box of tampons back on the shelf and pretended one of the grandmas hadn't just harrumphed at her. "I was just -- looking at the picture," she mumbled.
"I'm sure," Sasuke said with a smirk. Naruto sneakily took her hand and squeezed.
She squeezed back, and nudged Sasuke with her elbow in revenge. "Oh, like you never get distracted."
"I don't," he replied primly.
"Of course not!" Naruto agreed. "He broods instead. Let's hope the kid won't come out of the womb already gazing into the distance all soulful-like."
Sasuke's lips twitched in what he would probably deny was trying to be a smile. "It would be less wrong than if he gazes into the women's onsen."
"-- Hey, what does that mean? You're thinking of Jiraiya, not me. I don't do that stuff."
Sakura looked at him.
"...Anymore. Shut up. And maybe it'll be a girl, so hah! She won't even have to look over any walls to ogle."
Sasuke rolled his eyes, dumping incense in the basket. "She's not even born and you already think she'll be a lesbian."
Naruto huffed and crossed his arms. "I'm ready to be supportive. You're the one already thinking she'll be a man. Yeah, that's not gonna give her gender issues at all."
Sasuke rolled his eyes again and huffed.
"To be fair," Sakura interjected, "female is the default gender, at the most basic developmental level."
"Hah! I win." Naruto pumped his fist in the air.
Sighing loudly, Sakura surveyed the rest of the shop. Nothing else came to mind, and a few too many people seemed to be at just the right distance to listen in. It might have been her paranoia talking.
"There's aisles we haven't checked out," Naruto noticed.
Sasuke eyed the contents of his basket. "Anything else will just be superfluous crap. Coming, Sakura?"
She smiled, and nodded. Yes. They had the essentials.
On the way to the cashier she grabbed one of those silly bird-shaped fridge magnets with a tiny notepad included.
It was entirely necessary. Maybe not immediately obvious, but necessary anyway. They might never write her love notes -- or for that matter remember to mention that broken door handle that needed changing or keep track of their food stocks; but she would. From now on, it would be her tradition.
On the way back home she composed the first note in her head. 'Naruto, it's been a week and that mirror is still smudged with your handprint, were you finger-painting or something? Clean it up. Sasuke-kun, will you please fix the broken lamps in the dojo already? Not everyone can see in the dark. And there's ink to sand out of the wooden floor, which has been here for about two weeks now. Hint, hint?
There. Entirely necessary.