Summary: It was the most awaited marriage of the year, of all time in fact. Yet, deep inside her, she often wondered if she married him because she still loved him, or because she pitied him.

Pairings: Sasuke/Sakura

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, at all. All the characters belong to Kishimoto Masashi-sensei. The only things in this story that are mine are the OCs and the plot itself.

The Guise of Love
Chapter One - Marriage

The sun peeked gently through the windows as the hustle and bustle inside the fairly large room. In one corner, Ino, Hinata and Tenten were worrying about if their hair was fixed and if their make up was alright. In another corner, a somewhat frantic mother was making sure that everyone on her daughter was just right.

Today was the day that she would finally give her daughter to the one man everyone had wanted their own to marry, Uchiha Sasuke. Who would have expected that he would ignore everyone else and pick the one girl who seemed so plain compared to the rest. Who would have thought that he would pick Haruno Sakura?

How, exactly, Sasuke had decided to propose, no one knew. It was odd that no one knew they were even a couple before they had announced their marriage. It might have been one of those secret relationships. Either way, what was in the mind of the five women in that room was to get ready for the ceremony that would occur just two hours from now.

At least, most of them were thinking that. Sakura's gaze seemed so distant, her usually bright eyes dull. It looked as if her mind was elsewhere, her concentration flitting from one memory to another.

"Sakura-chan, what's wrong?" asked Ino, putting her hands on Sakura's bare shoulders.

The strapless white gown that Sasuke paid for himself looked gorgeous on her. The intricate beadwork in front made the simple gown look elegant. The small V-shaped cut revealing a little of her chest added a little more flair to it.

"Nothing, I was just thinking about how all this happened so fast," replied Sakura, looking up at her best friend, her Maid of Honor. Ino smiled at her response, patting her shoulders before going back to helping Hinata and Tenten.

"Don't worry. The butterflies will go away when you walk down that aisle," reassured her mother, fixing a strand that had come loose from its bun.

Sakura's hair had grown long again, mostly because she didn't have the time to have it cut on a regular basis more than wanting to impress anyone who had liked long hair. For the occasion, it suited her to have long hair.

"Yeah, I'm sure they will," whispered Sakura, looking at her reflection in the mirror. Everyone else saw a shy, modest bride, nervous for the wedding ceremony that would take place in just hours. Sakura simply saw a woman dressed up like a bride, neither all-too giddy about the celebration nor all-too annoyed by it.

Flashback: Six Months Ago

Just yesterday, they had celebrated her twenty-third birthday, and she was back to doing her rounds at the hospital. Most of her work was done in Konoha, performing surgeries, giving regular check-ups, and visiting her recuperating patients, instead of the usual missions.

It was already nine in the evening. Sakura had been in the hospital for almost fourteen hours already. Her shift had finished two hours ago but she didn't show any signs of leaving. In fact, she was still doing so much more.

"Sakura-sensei, there's someone here to see you at the lobby. One Uchiha Sasuke-san," informed one of the nurses when she reached the nurse's station. Putting down the clip board, she looked up at the nurse with a slightly tired smile.

"Okay, thank you," she said, turning around and walking away. Pocketing her hands into her white coat, she made her way to the floor below, on her way to the lobby.

She looked like one of the doctors in one of the dramas she sometimes saw on TV. She had the customary white coat and like most stereotypical images of doctors, her long hair was pulled back into a messy bun. All she was missing was a pair of glasses to complete the look.

She had seen Sasuke around though they didn't talk much, not that they did even before. When they did, however, it was mostly just asking about how the other was doing and asking why they were in the area.

When she had arrived in the lobby, she stopped. Sasuke, sitting up from one of the benches, approached her, a rare smile on his face. Luckily, no one was there to see that smile and to see just how red Sakura's face had become. He still had that effect on her, even after all those years.

"Still haven't changed I see," said Sasuke with a slight laugh, walking up to her. Sakura had to tilt her head upwards slightly to be able to look at him in the eyes. He had always been taller but lately, the obvious difference in their heights became even more obvious. "Here."

In his hand was a rose, the thorns cut off, the end of the stem submerged in a small plastic filled with water. The bag was secured to the flower's stem with a rubber band, crudely tied but securing the bag nonetheless.

"Thank you," she said, breathing in the scent of the flower. "It's quite unexpected of you, both to drop by and to give me one of these." A grateful smile appeared on Sakura's face, directed up at him.

"Can we talk outside?" asked Sasuke, offering a hand to guide her out. A small, unnoticeable frown appeared on Sakura's face. Was this the very same Uchiha Sasuke who had snubbed her so many years ago who was now offering a hand to her?

"Mmm," she mumbled, taking his hand. Who was she to deny herself one of those rare fantasies she still had of him? She had long accepted that she had a low chance on ever becoming anything more to him, opting to move on with her life and perhaps, find another one who could return her love. However, deep inside her, she still yearned for him, even a little.

Outside, the stars twinkled, as if they were winking and urging something on. It was a nice night for a confession of love of some sort, or so the romantic side of Sakura would think. However, knowing Sasuke, it would probably be him asking for a favor that required her as a Medical Specialist to help.

"Will you marry me?" asked Sasuke, all too blunt for Sakura. When the last word escaped his mouth, she dropped the rose to the ground, stunned.

"…Excuse me?" asked Sakura, hoping that she didn't hear him correctly. She would have wanted what every girl dreamed of, a romantic relationship before finally deciding to settle down with each other for the rest of their lives.

"Will you marry me, Sakura," he repeated, his onyx eyes flickering into crimson as they always did when he was so serious about anything. "I'm not forcing you to accept but I've killed him already. All I want now is to start a family, to repopulate my Clan and return it to its place of glory."

"So you're asking me to marry you so I can serve as your tool to completing that?" asked Sakura bitterly, biting her lower lip. A younger, more immature her would have been elated at the news and would have immediately said yes. Sasuke was a couple of years too late for that.

Sasuke breathed a sigh of impatience. He should have practiced wording this more. It seemed he had only irritated her even further.

"No, no. I mean, I wanted to ask you first, before I…" Sasuke trailed off at the end, refusing to look at Sakura.

"Before you what?" she asked, prodding him to finish the sentence. She wanted to slap him after he had said the reason why he wanted to get married, but, she wanted to hear him out first.

"Just… please…" he begged, looking straight at her in eye eyes. The expression on his face was something she had never seen before, and probably never wanted to see. It showed his frailty and his vulnerability.

Something stirred from deep inside her. She didn't know if her love for him had been rekindled or if it was pity for him that she was feeling at the moment.

"Okay," she whispered her features softer as she took a step forward. "I will marry you." Sasuke enveloped her in an embrace, everything he was doing so unlike him. But, she didn't really care. He needed someone and no one else could help but her.

"Thank you," he murmured to her ear, before pulling away. "I'll see you tomorrow then, I guess." Before leaving, he placed something in her hand, something cold and hard.

There was no sweet romance, no formal courtship, or anything like that. The next day, she was sporting a white gold band on her left ring finger, a fairly large diamond resting on top.

End of Flashback

"Sakura-chan!" said Ino, snapping her fingers in front of Sakura's face, trying to snap her out of her reverie. Sakura looked at Ino, smiling apologetically. "Mou, you seem to have a lot on your mind. Is it really the pre-marriage butterflies?"

"I was just thinking about how Sasuke-kun proposed, that's all," explained Sakura, a small smile on her lips. It may have not been the most romantic of ways to ask a girl to marry him but, at least, it ushered in so many different experiences for her.

The Uchiha had been a little more outgoing, hardly much of a difference for anyone else. He had often stopped by at her apartment, leaving a rose on her bedside table if she wasn't at home. Sometimes, a box of chocolates would be beneath the flower.

Sometimes, when she didn't have much to do at the hospital and he wasn't being swamped by the missions an ANBU Captain usually was, they'd spend time with each other, usually at her place. If he was up to it, he'd cook.

No one knew the Uchiha Sasuke could cook, much less Sakura before she actually found out. She assumed he got take out but the still hot even and the warm stovetop proved her wrong. Sakura was slightly delighted to be proved wrong.

The past six months had been a wonderful experience for her, but she couldn't help but wonder what would have happened had she said no. After all, it wasn't because she was madly in love with him that she said yes. There was something else that struck the chords of her heart, making her say yes.

"Sakura-chan, you shouldn't think too much! All you should really think about is how lucky you are that you will soon be Sasuke-kun's wife! You are in a very enviable position you know," reassured Ino, a smile on her lips, as she arranged the veil on Sakura's head.

The once shy and scrawny girl looked so radiant and womanly in that dress. Of course, leave it to Sasuke to get such high quality materials and get such a talented wedding dress designer to make the dress for her.

The white silk was crisp and smooth, the sheen of the material, flawless. The silver beads in front were sewn into the cloth by hand, the patterns intricate. It was a miracle that the dress had been finished in time for the wedding at all!

The white leather sandals were boxy, diamonds studding the single strap that kept her foot in place. The Roman style-straps reached up to the middle of her calf, small diamonds adding more design to the otherwise simple footwear. The heels were tall and thin, almost three inches tall, adding height to the pink haired Jounin.

Around her neck was a plain white gold chain, a simple diamond pendant resting between her collar bones. On her earrings were two dangling chandelier earrings, white gold like the rest of her jewelry.

It seemed that Uchiha Sasuke was left quite a lot of money and a huge chunk of it was spent on his bride-to-be. The simple Medical Specialist from the hospital looked like a princess, a princess ready to be whisked away by her prince charming.

"Sakura, ready?" asked her mother, a smile on her lips as she stretched out her hand. Ino, Hinata, and Tenten were behind her, smiling as they looked at the lovely Sakura, decked out in white and white gold.

Taking a deep breath, Sakura placed her hand on her mother's, a sincere smile finally gracing her features. It was already one in the afternoon. Wearing what she was, it would take almost an hour for Sakura to get into the carriage Sasuke had somehow conjured into Konoha to where they were getting married, the beautiful gardens found within his family's compound.

"Yes," she whispered, standing up from her seat. The minute she left the room, there was no turning back. She would officially become the matriarch of the Uchiha Clan that would soon be reborn into Konohagakure no Sato, one of, if not the greatest Clan found within its history.

At the End of the Ceremony

The only people left in the Uchiha compound were Kakashi and Tsunade. It was no hidden secret that Tsunade would soon retire from being Godaime and that Kakashi would take his place. She had wanted it to be Naruto but he didn't have enough experience.

"I never thought I'd see the day," said Tsunade with a fond smile, putting her hand on Sakura's shoulder. The Godaime looked like she didn't even age a day, though they knew otherwise. "Congratulations, Sakura, Sasuke."

"I… I'm glad you were the one who performed the ceremony," whispered Sakura, looking down. Tears were starting to collect in her eyes. "I wouldn't have it any other way, Tsunade-shishou."

Sasuke looked at her, a faint semblance of worry in his eyes. An amused look graced Kakashi's face as he eyed Sasuke. He was getting better at expressing his feelings. Although there was hardly any visible difference, it was still there.

"Ca—Can I?" asked Sakura, lifting her head and approaching her former master. A warm smile and a nod came from her and without any warning, the newlywed wife of Uchiha Sasuke hugged Tsunade, crying, both from exhaustion and joy. The only thing the Godaime could do was return the embrace, a few tears escaping her eyes in the process.

"You better not make her cry, Sasuke," said Kakashi, pocketing his left hand and loosening his tie with his right. A grunt came from the Uchiha, watching as his wife broke down in front of the three of them. "What was that?"

"Of course I won't make her cry Kakashi. That's why I married her, to protect her," replied Sasuke, glancing sideways at Kakashi. "And if I do, I'll be sure to let you be the first one to beat the hell out of me and ask me why I did such a thing."

"I'll take your word for it," replied their former Jounin instructor, his heart wrenching slightly. He thought he'd die before he'd see Sasuke and Sakura end up together. Apparently, he was wrong about that.

Soon after, Sakura had pulled away from the Godaime, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. Wordlessly, Tsunade and Kakashi had left, leaving the two to their brand new life. Just when Sakura was about to face Sasuke and apologize for her behavior, he picked her up and began to carry her inside.

"Sa-Sasuke-kun?" asked Sakura quietly, the mascara on her eyes bleeding. It almost seemed that her tears were black.

He didn't answer her as he continued carrying her. In fact, he didn't even bother kicking off his shoes upon entering the house. Sasuke had only one thing on his mind and Sakura knew what it was. Surprisingly, she didn't mind at all.

Almost Ten Months Later: Uchiha Compound

It was just another weekend in the Uchiha home. In the kitchen, Sakura cooking lunch with an obvious swell in her stomach. She was a very pregnant woman and their first child was due any day now.

"Boo," whispered her husband from behind, his hands in their usual place, on top of her stomach. "Doing okay?"

He had been the dutiful husband as he promised to be and she was satisfied with the way she lived. She was still one of the head Medical Specialists and attended to her work with the same enthusiasm she had before she got married. Nowadays, she was staying more and more at home because he was worried for her.

"Yeah, I am. How about you?" asked Sakura, turning around and facing her husband with a smile.

"I'm fine," he replied, pulling away, a slightly bashful look on his face. He never could get used to the fact that he was getting better at expressing his emotions in front of her. "Ah, Tsunade-sama told me you found out whether our child will be a son or a daughter."

"Mmm. Do you want to know?" asked Sakura, turning around to face her husband. Here she was, acting like a giddy young girl, even though she had gotten over him. He still had that effect over her, no matter how much she said that she had grown up and matured.

"Of course, why wouldn't I want to know," he said, gripping her wrists and kissing the back of her hands. "If that information is known to the mother, doesn't the father have every right to know as well?"

"A son," said Sakura simply, a sincere smile on her lips. Sasuke stared at her, dumbfounded, disbelieving of her confession. "You heard it, Sasuke-kun. Your, our, first child will be a son."

With a great amount of effort coming from Sasuke, he lifted his pregnant wife up in the air, real joy exuding from his expression. He didn't care if anyone just happened to step into their kitchen and see them like this. He'd brutally injure them later for both trespassing and seeing him express himself. For now, he was going to be the proud father of a boy, a son finally born into the proud Uchiha line after sixteen long years.

End of Chapter One

The Guise of Love chapter one has now been finished and I hope it's up to your standard.

Hopefully, I didn't make Sasuke-kun too OOC in this. But it's hard to make him not a sap inside with the way the story has been written.

Not to worry. I haven't forgotten about AotD. It's just that I can't express SasukexSakura as much there, considering that Sasuke and Sakura still aren't a couple, despite them doing things that brand them as one.

I'll try to update this as often as I can without neglecting AotD! So, in the meantime, let me leave you with this chapter preview.

Next Chapter: Chapter Two – Four Children in Tow

Chapter Preview: It was such a sight to see the brand new Uchiha family walking down the road, Sasuke and Sakura either taking out the children for a walk or for a visit to one of their friends.

In Sasuke's left hand was the small hand of their eldest son, Satoshi, an almost spitting image of him save the style of his hair and his eyes. Satoshi's hair was growing long, almost long enough to tie it into a ponytail in fact. His eyes, however, were as deep and as green as his mother's.

His right hand was supporting a young girl, their only daughter. She was half-asleep, her sable eyes, half-lidded. Her rosette colored hair was tied into pigtails, the tufts of hair short.

In Sakura's arms were their twin boys, Kyou, the older one, and Haru. Kyou looked strikingly like Satoshi while Haru, without a doubt, looked exactly like their father. Their hair was still short, growing quickly and messily at the same time.