There was a sudden hush that cut through the lively clinking of porcelain cups and drunken murmurs, as men in formal haori stilled at the odd occurrence.
He had heard her pattering (it almost sounds like fading raindrops, he muses) footfalls before she had even appeared in between the generous gaps of the wheat-gold fusuma. A flash of her red formal dress and the permed long rose tresses captured the attention of everyone in the room, as she merely walked on, not even a cheerful konnichiwa to anyone inside.
This was all very strange: whenever Haruno-aneesama visits the Grand Hall, she would at least greet the current head of the house with a congenial wave and a bright smile, before proceeding to carry them tea and sweets and tomatoes, of course. And as her last visit to Kanto was about a month ago, most of them expected her to fuzz like a mother to every single bushi in the room.
No sane person would ever blatantly disregard the kumicho, especially on his own territory. It is considered as an act of disrespect or complete defiance.
The cold shoulder is only conclusive of one thing: Haruno Sakura is seething.
And to even prove that idea, the blond brother that trailed after the fuming female stopped in front of the shoji and made obtuse gestures, except for the last one, where he drew his index finger a line across his neck and directed a warning glare to the dark-haired man who sat at the center of the room. Everyone knew that the code of silence held back Naruto from speaking anything against his older sister. The next
idiotic head of the largest mafiosi took his omertà seriously.
Nevertheless, Uchiha Sasuke knew what the dead-last was trying to say: She is going to murder you, teme.
Like an uncurling panther, he drew himself to stand from his perch.
Many pairs of wary eyes glanced at the Kusanagi held in his hand, with the straight ebony scabbard reflecting inconspicuous carved ivory petals at its base. It was unusual that he was wearing that all-black suit, complete with the dark necktie, instead of the usual white open-shirt.
Their young master had been in an important family event before this, explaining his delay to their current meeting about next prospects in the weapon industry or which companies to send their affirmatives to support financially in a stock bidding.
"Waka?" The others who were wise enough to recognize the deadly blankness on his face, stood up quickly.
Unable to answer, his bespectacled right-hand man, merely giving a serene nod.
"There is something he needs to discuss with Haruno-san. You can all leave."
Pallid faces and strained smiles told him enough that they would not rather see the wrath of the most feared oneesama, nor the particular methods their present kumicho used to calm her down.
....let's just say that men got beheaded and castrated indiscriminately once the methods get started.
They didn't even wait for him to look back their scampering forms to the shoji doors to escape.
"Otouto." The soft impatient reprimand was evident, as his thick glasses glinted. Though Sasuke was higher in command, the saiko-komon was still his
almost-blind eldest brother. "You should have told her before you announced it earlier. It will be very confusing for her to understand."
It was probably an insignificant course of action, but it was necessary.
He wanted to make sure that it was going to be worth it.
"Hn." He merely tilted his head, indicating he was still unrepentant.
Sakura had always been very patient - either with his constant surly attitude or his cold dismissal of her.
But, this was the first time he ever witnessed the breaking point of that steadfast forbearance. She had silently voiced her frustration at his impassivity and secret disappointment on his lack of affection. But, they were never enough to let her lead him off to the family's spacious dojo, seeing her vent out by decimating every single practice target into these unrecognizable thatches of wood.
And before the movement half-registered to his mind, there was a swift heel turn, igniting a lightning blue flash when the dark, regal chokutō collided with a thick curved steel.
Deflecting the four-feet long ono from cleaving his head into half, he greeted her with the usual one-worded admonition.
Her acknowledgment of his presence was forced, realizing that it was futile to ignore him.
"Fine. We have this unfinished business, Uchiha." The underlying threat was clear as she exhaled cold mist from her mouth, then made a one-eighty swing behind her to collide with the oncoming blade towards her left shoulder with the butt of her axe. "Let's end it now."
Sasuke of the Uchiha House, leader of the second generation of Red Dawn, accepted the challenge from the renowned Haruno Sakura of the Senju Clan, adopted daughter of the fabled lady from the House of Leaves.
Imitating her expression of mocking cat-like eyes and displeased frowns, he stopped the three thin needles that aimed true on the pressure points on his clavicle. Then he jumped to the edge of the wooden pillar, with his whole weight aiding to diagonally flip himself off the floor as his previous spot was now dilapidated into splinters.
His present adversary landed over the other side of the waxed lower rails of the room dividers, positioning her humongous weapon in a forty-five degree angle before her with a single hand. The impeccable crimson sleeveless dress was damp with sweat, the tattered edges of the fine silk whipped at the top of her knees. Beneath the spaces of stray pink strands were her green eyes, bright and clashing against his gray ones.
This girl who cried at the corner in the playground for bullying woman finally made a stand against him.
Not that the Uchiha family would ever mind her if she ever defied him, as the main powerful clans (except the old elders, of course.) had been delighted that she kept in line both powerful heirs of the Leaves and Dawn either with hard knocks in their head or long-winded guilt trip conversations.
Sakura had been part of the higher security of the elites in the gokudo royalty when she was orphaned at twelve, rising in the ranks of international organizations as soon as she had graduated from advanced med school and made her mark both in the medical field and the illegal underground at the age of twenty. And she had not only gained infamy, but also garnered a soft spot from his family as well.
Mikoto, their ever-loving mother, was always thrilled whenever Sakura attempted to scold/persuade/decapitate him, finally relieved of the responsibility to discipline her you are rude, my darling boy! it breaks my heart and i did not raise you like this! son. Fugaku would be grunting, as if to reluctant to give any more approval to the wimpy, pink-haired, little gajin, knowing that she could use it to her advantage and be wrapped under her finger.
Haruno became the perfect candidate as his seisai, if one did not mind her supposed-to-be heritage.
(When he was thirteen, he could clearly remember Zaku's degrading snarl as he protested with the following words when the Uchiha matriarch demanded to give proper respect to the newly adopted ojousama of a powerful mafiosi ally:
How can we stand to have a filthy Russian half-breed bitch as the first candidate to be the chosen seisai? The sniveling brat cannot even hold on her own while her face was bleeding when i tried to split her wide forehead--
He would never know which was faster at that moment: his best friend's knife that cut off his careless tongue or his mother's bullet on the moron's mouth.
That was no matter of consequence, though.
His sword halved that fucker's neck.
In the end, this served as proof to Grandfather Madara that Sasuke had the temper and intimidation of a real oyabun - which Itachi, the odd pacifist in their family, had sorely lacked.)
The furrowed pink brows only twitched, heaving her weapon and the muscles of her right arm flexed. He gave a soft exasperated sigh, before launching a drizzle of every imaginable sharp projectiles at her.
Che. He scoffed mentally, as her one-handed throw managed to catapult the axe, flying off horizontally to counter all the other spikes that he managed to throw. Her weapon returned to her outstretched hand, totally at ease with its heavy weight. He could hardly hear the list of insults and slander that she was telling him, but at least he knew the whole summary of it.
The dead-last was not kidding when he meant that she was going to murder him.
Why is she still so annoying. He would explain himself if she could just calm down for just a split second and try not to aim that three-inch needle in between his vital lower regions. But all other frustrated thoughts were cut short as he barely dodged a straight razor meant to lob his ear off.
She dared to drawl at him. "Uchiha-kun?"
He shot back with a retaliating lunge as he brought the sheath on his right to connect with her left rib. But he failed to injure her dominant side, when a stray fist nearly grazed him. Fortunately, she only managed to hit the five centimeter space before his abdomen, avoiding the risk of exploding his liver. She took a step backward to deliver a second swerve. This time, he barely missed the down turn of the curved edge, slicing his sheath into two longitudinal halves.
He gave a casual sweep of his eyes and settled withering look behind her, knowing the unwanted presence of those fools that lingered behind those walls.
"He's taking so long."
"He is merely taking his time. Haruno-san is rather hard to subdue when in that state."
"How on earth can the young master be immune to that amount of skin?"
Shifting, scuffling sounds were hidden with the creaks and crackles of the wrecked floor boards.
Instead of listening to the impromptu beating session, he opted to flash-step behind her to hit that (pretty) nape with the end of his hilt.
"OH HELL NO!" came the unholy howl, which was unnatural to come from Sakura's mouth.
Her elbow met his gut.
She landed a blow.
Admirably, he only managed to grunt as he skidded a few feet. He planned to use that force to out maneuver himself from the third vicious attack, as Sakura is at her best in close range. He had managed to slice that monstrous weapon in exchange for that one hit, as the head of the axe flopped uselessly at her feet and the iron-wrought haft shattered in her hands.
"Yield." He intoned, when she was devoid of any lethal objects, knowing that her usual supply of thirty five dikes and forty thin senbons were all embedded on the different sections of the interior of his training room.
"Yield?" She cried, throwing a jagged iron. "Fat chance!"
Sasuke evaded the succeeding line of unorthodox throw weapons - a broken door panel, her intricate hairpin, a red pointed shoe - but the distractions were effective enough for her to close the distance and pull his left arm.
"Take this, you insensitive bastard!"
Sakura raised her bruised knuckles, ready to pummel him with a satisfying skull-cracking punch.
But at that point, the thin thread of his patience finally snapped.
Sasuke had been tolerant enough of her anger, but he did not deserve to be put into coma because of her stubbornness not to hear his side.
He roughly yanked away from her grip, tearing the whole left sleeve. This revealed the pattern of inky fanged vipers that were almost realistically creeping along his limb. Throwing his sword to the side with a swift thud, it was too late before she even gathered her wits back when he grabbed her shoulder, and twisted her body to press her back to his front, immobilizing the expansion of her elbows with a joint lock.
Not easily conquered, she bended her leg to hit his groin with a firm kick of her heel. However, he was far quicker than her, countering it with his calf then folding his knees to unstable her, reaping her feet below to pin her to the ground, then swiftly perching his tattooed forearm on the bony prominences of her scapula.
"Listen, you stupid woman!" He breathed harshly against the side of her damp nape, almost snarling in vexation as she continued to struggle.
"No!" She panted, valiantly trying to loosen his punishing hold on her arms. "Get off! I can't breathe! Heavy--"
fortunately, the curious excited whispers that buzzed in the entire duration of their fight finally died down with a threatening leave accompanied by a whining ewwwww from a certain blond idiot.
he was certain now that the whole perimeter was cleared for the whole hour
Helplessly, she struggled and wriggled, trying to push off against his suffocating weight.And of course, that naive, annoying woman was oblivious to what she was doing to him as she kept on moving--
"Okay." Her voice was breathless, almost wheezing."I'll listen."
Unable to hold it any longer, he hissed his
approval irritation at the mess she made. Her beaded simple dress was now unrecognizable, barely hiding the tops of her heaving chest and the reddening of her pale arms. The hair that was meticulously prepared earlier at the gathering was now matted with streaks of faint blood at its curls. The slim lower limbs were now slick with sweat and trembling in exhaustion.
Sasuke grasped her wrist to help her stand to her feet, but she merely slapped it away. He let her step back, to shield herself from him by increasing their distance, but neither his heavy gaze nor the pounding in his ribs changed in its intensity.
"Whatever you have to say, say it now." It was almost choked, resigned and defeated in her statement. "Make it quick, please. Before I get out of your life."
He almost sagged in relief at this compliance. Taking the chance, he attempted to speak, as he felt her unconcealed hope when she looked up at him, expectant.
But nothing came out.
She stood before him, shifting her swollen feet every eight seconds as the long silence became unbearable.
Sasuke inhaled deeply through his mouth. Then he tried again, but he seemed to stop himself for a second, and closed them again tightly. The strain of battling with his pride was evident as his the edges of his jaw jumped, like he was gritting his teeth in frustration. He bowed his head in defeat.
Her green irises skirting side to side, trying not to prolong the asphyxiating pressure in her chest. She blinked several times, looking at some distant point, now avoiding his gaze.
"I don't have time for your tortuous mind games, Sasuke." Sakura could no longer hide the trembling rasp of her voice, the shaking of her hands. The desire to leave before he could even see her dissolve into hysterical tears was increasing. Exhaling harshly, she took the courage to step forward, intending to move past him and walk away.
Instead, she collided with his taut hold, trapping the crook of her elbow in an instant.
"Wait." Sakura could not see the word coming out of him painfully, only hear the command in it.
"No, Sasuke." Her whisper was louder than anything she could have screamed. "I can't."
The grip on her arm tightened.
"Now, if you're done, Uchiha-san, I'll be--"
But Sasuke was hardly done.
When he grabbed the back of her head, and crashed his mouth to hers, it felt like they were battling again.
However, this was far more different than what she had expected: a pliant brush of his thumbs against the damp rims of her eyes, the gentle combing of his fingers on her scalp. There was no hard nipping at the bottom of her lip, no scraping of his teeth against her skin. She tried to resist him, pushing him away when his fervent kiss turned chaste, only breathing and covering her mouth hesitantly. But he only grasped her her wrists when she started pounding his chest with her fists, yet even his grasp was gentle, no matter how secure his hold was.
i called it off because, he wanted to say. i want you to...
And they fell again to the floor, the last tattered pieces of their garments now strewn along with the wooden splinters and her shattered dignity. Sakura succumbed to this welcoming pain, like she savored the first time, and the last time, that she would let her heart break. Salty, bitter drops, either from sweat, blood or tears, was a heavy taste on his tongue as he traced them carefully, streaking on her cheeks, trailing across her neck.
i want you to need me.
Her nails were like vengeful daggers against him, punishing him with burning lines on the curve of his arms, the swell of his back and the crest of his shoulders. Colors of bright red - that would soon bleed into purple blushes - were drawn on the painted black and white flesh. She was harsh, not minding if her weight had pressed him mercilessly against the sharp pieces on the uneven ground. Her thighs continued to straddle him painfully tight on his torso, then pressed herself against his heat, the friction almost scalding.
for you to not be able to live without me.
But he in turn, was gentle. He hardly bit her skin, only relying on the softest touches on the backs of her knees, the almost kisses on her closed lips, the soft ends of her mouth. His nose tenderly settling on the crook of her shoulder, as he suckled the hollow of her clavicle. Large callused palms gently passed the peaks of her heaving chest, gradually had her wanting more as they skirted over the dips of her abdomen, had her burning even it was only it was barely a caress. He anchored his hands on her waist to hold her tighter, to let her do as she wished.
"Please..." She panted, her plea unfinished, thumping a fist against him, nearly knocking off the breath out of his lungs.
I can't do this. I don't know what you really want, Sasuke
And he took this as her consent, taking the flare of her hips, penetrating her slowly like a sinking knife on flesh, as if that would desensitize the ache he had always roused. They moved, like blades that pierced shadows as the filtering afternoon light lengthened their frantic silhouettes. Gasping, she almost wept when she felt his fingers gradually entwined to hers, not letting her go.
Sakura wanted him to hurt her. Wanted this last ascent to be damaging, that she would regret this, regret him, drown herself in a convulsive, self-recriminating cry tonight.
Not like this. Not like he actually cared.
i want you.
And as she finally reached her end, he cradled her quivering, sprawled body, curling against her, nestling his chin on the crown of her head
They lay there, his arms crossed over hers and let the ends of his dark hair brush against her temple. He breathed slowly, tickling her ear with his warmth.
(Sakura is always afraid to move when Sasuke is not pulling away.)
It seemed that they were back on something that was familiar, even domestic.
The thought provoked her even more than her now pent-up rage, and even if he already dried her tears, she could not keep them from flowing again.
He wanted to start, but she already beat him to it.
"All my life, I have been groomed to be yours."
He remained silent, but his face was now on her neck, nuzzling the curve of her shoulder.
"I've done everything so I can deserve you."
The last word was almost swallowed by a sob, finding it hard to continue.
"I never expected you to love me."
And like a cracking dam that had brimmed at its limit, she finally released them.
"I thought...I thought, god, I - at least, had your respect. But you humiliated me in front of everyone, in front of our families."
Her silent trembling inhales were smothered by her watery distress, trying to speak what had been plaguing on her mind for the whole damned day.
"I can forgive all your faults, Sasuke." She plowed on, even when her throat felt hoarse. "But I never took you as a coward."
He froze, rigid behind the curve her spine, circling fingers pausing on her navel.
"Why didn't you just tell it to me, personally, that you want to break our engagement?" Sakura was already past from being mortified in hiding her pathetic form."Why can't you just say the truth, for once--" She found no use in holding back this cathartic relief, when she had been denying herself to cry for many years. "--that you don't want me?"
"Sakura." He tried to interject, but she could feel him, from anger or indignation, she did not care.
"And why," She needed to say it. "Why wasn't I enough?"
"You are not enough."
Not wanting to subject herself in such an emotional self-flagellation, she tried to untangle herself from him. But they were basking under the warmth of the cooling sunlight, safe under the blanket of her rose hair, her tears were a soothing balm on his forehead.
Then, at last, Sasuke told her the truth.
"You are more than I deserve."
(ちわげんか) chiwagenka - :D ♥ ahaha this term summarizes the whole story.
(若) waka - young master
(正妻/せいさい) seisai - legal wife (literal meaning: holy wife)
(極道)gokudo - another term for the yakuza
(組長)kumicho - family head of the syndicate
(最高顧問) saiko-komon - senior adviser
special thanks to lala for the suggestion to change the lame plot and giving me orosasu smex, jam for being anal
both of you and shei shei are forcing me to write smut ahuhu! and ate mel for saving me :x wubs choo ♥!
Without any hint of embarrassment, Sasuke glanced at himself then at his companion's state.
"...We need clothes."