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“You have to be gentle.” Shikaku's touch to the small of her back is firm and patient as she tears into the meat on the cutting board. “It's rare for the boy to bring someone home and he specifically requested we be gentle in our approach.”

Yoshino huffs, releasing her irritation on an already mangled thigh. Reassurance and outright displays have never done anything to prove to her son that she knows softness. Never mind how many nights she paced with his colic ridden body, shushing his pained wails whilst ignoring her exhaustion.

Frustrated, she resumes attacking their dinner with newfound anger. It is becoming mangled beneath her upset touch, accepting its punishment for whatever her son has done to upset her. Shikaku sighs, calling her a stubborn troublesome woman as he wraps his arms around her waist, long past fearing her while she's cooking. Truthfully, he ceased fearing her kitchen skills on their wedding night when she taught him how to properly filet a fish. Creating a distraction -- well, its another rule, which hasn't been completely established between them. Pressing a kiss to her nape draws a shudder, and she wishes he would learn from the last time.

“You're going to ruin dinner again,” Yoshino warns, pressing her hands against the countertop, ignoring the smear she leaves behind. “Do I have to remind you what happened the last time?”

“I wasn't the one tugging on apron strings, remember?”

How long ago was she pulling his apron strings and tugging down his pants? Yoshino can't recall a time outside their bedroom, and her husband's voice is scratchier, a beginning sign she's familiar with ever since the first time her toes wandered beneath a table shared with friends. Then, he captured her behind an alleyway, trapping her shadow with borrowed light from the moon, learning her body and a couple of new techniques. Later, he pulled to her chest and traced her scars which could only be displayed beneath the silvery glow. Her words became trapped in her throat under his gaze, her tongue thick and he promised to wait until she was ready to share.

“I’ve never been talented in gentleness.” Yoshino's neck drops forward, allowing him further access to her neck. “I can perform the action, especially for those who require or want it.”

Shikaku hums a non-committal sound and pulls her back against his chest, ignoring her weak protests about her bloodied hands. “I married a stubborn woman who knows how to be whatever she wants. How would anything ever be completed underneath a woman who never keeps us in line? Our clan would collapse without you managing things, and I have witnessed many gentle moments. Seeing those private moments makes them all the more valuable.”

“I'm not supposed to cry yet,” she hisses, blinking furiously. “We aren't supposed to be crying until we chop up the spices. Did Shikamaru put you up to this? Have his mother cry and make her appear warmer?”

“I'm just poetic, love.”