Author: ohwhatsherface PM
AU. The Leaf Kingdom is different. Our sons are trained to be soldiers. Our daughters, to be leaders.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Sasuke U. & Sakura H. - Chapters: 5 - Words: 10,879 - Reviews: 214 - Favs: 201 - Follows: 256 - Updated: 10-21-12 - Published: 08-10-12 - id: 8416496
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Prompt: "charity" from the SasuSaku Prompts community on livejournal
Warnings: AU, typical ohwhatsherface world-building
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
i. the gift
Sasuke and Sakura first met at age twelve when General Uchiha returned to the Capital for the Princess's birthday with his sons in tow. Numerous families of high standing came from all over the Five Great Nations for this event. For example, the Lightning King was there with his younger brother mostly out of respect as the Princess was too young for either of them, while the Sand King had two sons with him to marry off. Fugaku was a member of the House of Lords and the Uchiha were known for their utmost loyalty to the Leaf Crown, making Fugaku's own children like royalty in their own right.
Sasuke leaned against the railing and watched the events unfold from a balcony overlooking the throne room.
"This is so boring," Naruto whined from beside him. Both boys were sitting to avoid being seen.
Sasuke glanced at the blond. Prince Naruto was nothing like the rest of his family, although like most members of the royal house, he had a penchant for swordsmanship. "Well, we're lucky to not have to be down there," Sasuke said with a shrug. Technically, they were both supposed to be there, but neither could be bothered to watch men drop off their birthday presents for the Princess.
Naruto sighed before picking up the bowl of noodles he'd brought to the balcony with him. "I hate when guys try to hit on Sakura-chan. It's so weird." He grinned after a moment. "Although it's actually kind of funny, too. She has to sit there and pretend like she enjoys getting brushes and ribbons and oh, look, a new shamisen—oh, thank you very much, sir!" The blond blinked prettily and his voice raised a pitch as he tried to imitate Sakura.
Sasuke had only been to the Capital a handful of times but he was sure the Princess sounded nothing like that. While his mother lived there when she wasn't with the rest of them, he was, more often than not, living with his father and brother at whatever base Fugaku chose to set himself up at. Whenever he did return, he rarely got to go to the castle. Rather, his father would report to the Royal House and explain whatever he needed to and Sasuke and Itachi would enjoy their time with their mother. While Sasuke knew the Prince because they learned under Sir Kakashi together when Naruto would visit the camps, he had never gotten the chance to meet the Princess.
Unlike most of the Allied Kingdom, the Leaf was a matriarchal society that valued its Queens. When the Queen Kushina bore a son and found herself incapable of becoming pregnant once again, she adopted her deceased younger sister's daughter, Sakura, as her heir. Sakura had been raised by the Queen as it was, so the transition into becoming the Heir was hardly difficult. Instead, Sakura embraced the role with dignity and poise, acting like a little Queen as she was, even at twelve-years-old.
As per Leaf custom, Sakura's twelfth birthday was celebrated by inviting a number of other high status men to whom Kushina would consider for Sakura's future husband. They would all shower the young Princess with gifts and from them she would choose a select few that she would keep in contact with over the years before deigning them worthy of ruling the Leaf Kingdom by her side.
But Sasuke could see things clearly.
He watched as Sakura skillfully concealed her distaste at receiving a new gown from the prince of the Mist Kingdom. His mother stood behind him silently, while the boy nearly stumbled over the cream-coloured silk embroidered with intricate stitches to create the appearance of vines at the bottom. Although the concept seemed rather tacky, Sasuke couldn't help but the think the dress would be quite fitting for a woman of the Leaf.
"Thank you, my lord," Sakura said, looking the shy prince directly in the eye. In her own castle, she had no need to act demure for the sake of other kingdoms' opinions on how young women should act.
Sasuke compared her smooth voice to Naruto's sad imitation of it. "You sound nothing like her," Sasuke eventually pointed out to him.
Naruto frowned. "I guess not. Okay no, she isn't that grating, but—"
"There you are."
Naruto and Sasuke nearly jumped at the foreign third voice. They'd thought their hiding place in the shadowy balcony was so thought out, but alas they were found. They looked to the doors and found Lady Mikoto glaring down at them. Even Naruto cringed at the sight of the angry woman – although her anger wasn't prevalent. Like most ladies of the court, Mikoto knew the importance of concealing her true feelings. Mikoto's eyes were narrowed down to slits as she approached them and pulled Sasuke up by the ear.
"Silly boy," Mikoto murmured as she smoothed out any crinkles in Sasuke's robes. "You and Itachi are to present your gifts to the Princess now. Come along." She gestured to the door and Sasuke sullenly walked outside. When they were both in the hall, Mikoto looked over Sasuke's form curiously. "Where is your gift, Sasuke?"
Sasuke made a face. "That necklace you told me to give the Princess?"
Mikoto raised an eyebrow at him, her displeasure with his tone evident.
"I…" Sasuke looked at his feet. "I left it at home," he admitted.
Her eyes widened. "You what?" Panic coursed through her at the embarrassing thought of her child not having a gift for the Princess. While young Sakura wasn't a cruel ruler and would never punish the Uchiha for Sasuke's offence, Mikoto didn't want to risk offending their future Queen.
"I do have a gift!" Sasuke immediately told her. He reached into the folds of his robe and removed a small leather package. He undid the tie and removed a simple dagger with the Uchiha crest on its hilt. The boy shifted from one foot to the other as his mother examined the present. "The necklace seemed like a foolish idea," Sasuke said. "It would have been ideal for someone like the Sand Princess, I suppose, but the Leaf Kingdom is different." He narrowed his eyes at his mother challengingly. "You and father have both taught me that a woman of the Leaf is not like others. Our women do not want to be graced with jewels and dresses."
The corners of Mikoto's lips twitched. "And so you thought a dagger would be more appropriate?" Sasuke's cheeks turned pink and Mikoto smiled as she placed an adoring hand on her son's head. "You're a smart boy, Sasuke." She began to pushing Sasuke along so they could walk down to the throne room. "The Leaf Kingdom is different. Our sons are trained to be soldiers. Our daughters, to be leaders." They stood by the open doors of the room where all of the guests were. Mikoto leaned forward and kissed her son's forehead. "Go now."
Seeing Itachi move away from the Princess seated at the front of the room, Sasuke walked forward and stood some feet away from her. He bowed politely.
"My Lady," he greeted.
She nodded at him. "You may rise."
As he did so, his grip on the leather case tightened and Sasuke feared he was soaking the wrap from his sweaty palms. Lifting his head, Sasuke almost laughed at her exasperated expression. The Princess sat on the throne with her parents standing behind her. Sakura's long pink hair was pulled back in an intricate bun full of twists and braids and Sasuke thought it looked rather painful. Her dress was green and tight-fitting, likely the reason Sakura sat so perfectly straight and uncomfortably.
"You're Sasuke, right?" He blinked at the question and was surprised when the Princess suddenly blushed. "I mean…" She covered up her stammering by clearing her throat and resuming her expressionless façade. "My brother speaks highly of you from your training together. He is very fond of you. I just… I've never gotten the chance to meet you."
"Ah… yes, my lady."
Feeling rather awkward, Sasuke handed the dagger to the guard beside him, who then presented it to Sakura. Although the only people who could truly hear their exchange were her the King, Queen, and the guard, Sasuke still just wanted to get the situation over with. She eyed him curiously when she noticed the gift's weight. Clearly she was not receiving some necklace or new gown. She gingerly removed the wrap around the gift and gasped when she was what was inside. Sakura held the dagger by the hilt and raised it to her eye-level.
"A weapon?" Sasuke heard someone in crowd gasp out. He almost smirked at the outrage he knew he was causing.
"It has the Uchiha Crest on it," Sakura observed.
Sasuke nodded. "A cousin of mine customized it for me."
She raised an eyebrow at him. "So then this is yours?"
"No." Sasuke paused. "I mean yes. Although I haven't used it… much." He cringed. "It's still in perfect condition and no one died from it—"
"I love it." He shut up when she rose from the throne and presented him with a small bow and an even smaller grin. "Thank you for your gift, Sasuke Uchiha."
He returned the gesture before moving away, oddly pleased that he managed to make the Princess smile.
- I saw this quotation that apparently came from Teen Wolf on tumblr. It was posted with pictures of the members of the Bat-family and I was just inspired. It said: "Our sons are trained to be soldiers. Our daughters, to be leaders." I think that's fantastic. Well done, Teen Wolf.
- Arya Stark is amazing. Amazing.
- I want to write "My brother can easily win a battle, but he will never win a war."
- Just so you know, this will be seven "chapters" long.
- I know I have a habit of naming stories after songs but I swear in this situation, I'm referring to "long live the queen" over Taylor Swift.