Standard disclaimer applies.
Sakura made herself a promise one night, as she lay awake next to a sleeping Itachi after getting home from a social function to raise money for children in need.
It had been one of those nights that something in her just seemed to die a little. She loved Itachi. She did—she'd come to that conclusion after almost three months since they started dating, and she hadn't really known what to do with the realization. It didn't hit her out of nowhere; it had crept up on her in the same way sleep creeps up on you as you lay in bed: slowly and drowsily, and the next morning you could never pinpoint exactly when you fell asleep, only that you had.
She'd told him she loved him that night. After the function, after a man had leered at her when Itachi had left her side to go converse with some politician Sakura was not a fan of and knew she wouldn't be able to keep her mouth shut if the woman said something Sakura didn't agree with. Something biting and not obvious to anyone but Itachi, who was always mixed between squeezing her arm in a way that said babygirl, it's really not worth it and attempting to rein in his amused snort. The damn woman tended to speak to any other woman like they should automatically agree with everything she was saying because they shared the same gender, otherwise what kind of feminist were they?
Sakura's eye twitched just thinking about it.
The leering man was the CEO of another corporation Sakura didn't care nearly enough to learn the name of. He had white hair tied into a short ponytail and he'd introduced himself earlier, bending over her hand to kiss the back of it, but Sakura had immediately forgotten it.
He'd started off mostly polite, complimenting Sakura on her black dress and the diamond earrings Itachi had given her earlier that day. He'd known the designer without Sakura telling him—though she wouldn't have been able to remember it had he asked—and asked her about the functions and societies and ladies gatherings she was involved in.
"I'm a medical student, actually," she said. "I work and I study and don't particularly have any interest in any ladies gatherings of any kind." She paused. "Well, unless it involves discussions on the overbearing patriarch system and inequalities across the board, since they don't belong to only one end of the political spectrum." There was something about these functions that made Sakura speak her mind. She was still debating on if it was a good or bad thing.
He'd blinked down at her, almost fondly. His glasses glinted in the light. "Of course. But what about Mr. Uchiha?"
Darn. She'd been hoping her words would deter him and get him to awkwardly excuse himself and leave her to drink her champagne in peace. "What about him?"
"Well, if you continue on with your relationship, it will be expected for him to have a date to functions such as these, and it never hurts to have a wife involved in those kinds of things."
Her fingers tightened around her glass. "Itachi has made it clear that he holds no expectations for me to change my plans, just as I have no desire to deter him from his ambitions."
"Of course," he said again. "I only meant—"
"That because Itachi is the CEO to a very successful and growing company that his needs rank above mine, is what you mean to say," Sakura sighed. She looked down at her glass, now nearly empty. Where were those lovely men walking around with the trays of alcohol when you needed them?
His eyes hardened and his chin raised higher. She thought that maybe this wasn't worth the fight, that maybe she was overreacting just a little bit, but she'd seen this man talk down to more than a few women and wives of other benefactors at other functions Itachi had brought her along to, had heard the hidden condescending words and watched as those women noticed, but said nothing.
Before he could open his mouth, Sakura continued, "Do you know what a healthy relationship consists of? It's balance. Never expecting someone else to change for you. Itachi is who he is and I love him for it. If he wants me to join some little women's function to raise money or donations, I might be all for it so long as it's for a good cause. But I'd like to think I know him well enough to know he'd never insinuate that I quit medical school or my dreams to become his perfect little wife. If I ever do choose to do that, it will be my choice. If I choose to become a successful doctor and never go to another function like this again, it will be my choice. If I choose to be a happy housewife with perfect little children who learns how to smile properly and wear skirts every day, it will be my choice. There is nothing wrong with any choice."
Sakura took a breath and took a step forward, dropping her voice low. "Men tend to put women into nice little categories. If I become successful on my own, I'm heartless and don't care about my husband or children. If I become a housewife, I'm lazy and living off my husband and am only with him for his money." Sakura could see Itachi walking towards her with the female politician at his side, eyeing their hushed conversation with interest. "And I'm not particularly interested in any of your opinions on my life choices."
When Itachi joined her, she looped her arm through his as Itachi gave a small, distant smile to the white-haired man. The female politician gave him a wide smile and stretched her hand out. "Hello. I don't think we've met before."
Sakura proceeded to sip the drink Itachi had waved over for her and watch the idiot man stand through the female politician's spiel about inequality and the evil of the patriarchy. Sakura may not agree with the woman on a lot of things, but, goddamn, she admired her feistiness.
When Sakura and Itachi got in the car to go home, he leaned over her and said, "Do you want me to ruin him?"
She wiggled her toes after immediately slipping off her heels the minute she'd sat down. "Would you lose money? He's tied to your company in some way, isn't he?"
Itachi shrugged one shoulder. "Not too much. Kabuto has always been a thorn in my side."
Sakura leaned back and closed her eyes, letting Itachi play with her hair. "Use him, then. Keep the money you're getting out of him and make him invest with that woman's campaign so he can sit through her opinions more often."
She could feel his eyes boring into her. After a pause, he said, "You hate that woman."
She shrugged. "Yeah, but it'll be fun to see those two pitted against each other. If they fail, they can fail together. No reason for you to lose money."
Itachi grunted. "Hn. You scare me sometimes, babygirl." He leaned closer to her, causing Sakura to crack open an eye to see him looking down at her with a cat-like smirk. "It's also amazingly attractive."
She swatted his arm and laughed.
Later that night, after Itachi had made her give a play-by-play to him of her and Kabuto's conversation and eyeing her with pride and a bit of lust, he fell asleep first. Sakura laid there in bed, listening to him breathe and thinking more about what their future might look like. She thought about what she'd said to Kabuto. She thought about what she wanted. She and Itachi never talked about it, but what about children? Marriage?
She closed her eyes. It was something she very rarely let herself think about. She dreaded having the conversation, because she thought Itachi would maybe want children, and the truth was . . . Sakura didn't.
Her mother had used to say that it would change once she met the right guy. Like meeting the right guy would awaken every hidden maternity hormone in her and get her uterus ready for breeding.
It wasn't that she didn't like children, but she never got all happy when she saw a baby or toddler doing something adorable. She'd smile and make funny faces at a kid, but she'd never had any real desire for one of her own. She'd never dreamed of it.
If Itachi asked . . . if he really wanted one, Sakura thought she might do it for him. She knew she wouldn't dislike the child—in fact, she knew that if she did ever have one, she'd spoil it rotten. She'd adore it.
But then what about her career? She didn't want to give it up, but she didn't particularly like the idea of sending her kid to daycare or hiring a nanny. Itachi would probably want to stay home all day with the kid or bring it to work, but Sakura didn't think it was actually feasible. In reality, Sakura thought that if she did ever get pregnant, she'd give up her career. She'd still be busy with other things, would find something else to do, but she'd never forgive herself if she neglected her child because she was getting called into work at all times of the day and night.
She thought back to what Mikoto had mumbled when she'd met her, about finally getting those grandchildren.
Turning onto her side, Sakura looked at Itachi's sleeping face. Mouth slightly parted, arm flung over above his head, turned slightly towards her side of the bed like always.
She whispered, "I love you," and promised herself that she wouldn't change for Itachi, not for anyone. Because if either she or Itachi changed for the other like that, she didn't think they'd ever forgive themselves or each other.
After being together for more than a year, Itachi brought up the topic.
Sakura looked at him over dinner and said, "I don't really want children."
And Itachi—mused from a long day of work, having changed from his business suit into sweats and a black, loose fitting T-shirt—just nodded and said, "Okay."
Her fork full of spaghetti hung between her plate and mouth. "Are you . . . okay with that?"
He swallowed his mouthful of food and eyed her. "Babygirl, if you're not more than a hundred percent sure you want children, I wouldn't be okay with having one. My desire for children is in direct correlation with your want to have children."
And because it was Sakura's time of month again and Itachi's research team had yet to come up with a cure for menstrual cramps and crazy hormones, she started to cry.
Author's Note: Oh, look at this, another update. This one more serious than the others. Here ya go. (I am enjoying the amount of peer pressure ya'll are putting on me to continue this. I'm still surprised anyone likes this idea, but I very much appreciate the continued support, especially right now when I'm super stressed and have been having a rough time.)