Title: silk kimono
Characters/Pairing: Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Itachi
Type: Continuous (InComplete)
Word Count: 5875
Theme: LJ Community, 50shinobi theme #39, silk kimono
Rating: M (Contains content suitable for mature teens and older)
Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-san.
Summary: AU. She was one of the youngest Neurosurgeons in Tokyo, sweet, innocent and extremely good in what she does. He was the youngest ever to assume the role of Superintendent-General, a coldly emotionless genius who was taught from birth to take anything he wanted—one of the most influential men in Japan. They were never supposed to meet; their worlds so vastly different that it was a literal head on collision when their paths crossed and that left them both shaken and wanting for more. She had always been oblivious and wary of the opposite sex, he simply would not take 'no' for an answer. This Christmas holidays was going to be something neither would forget.
A/N: This is probably the longest one-shot in the history of one-shots. It had simply gotten out of hand and had taken me an entire week to complete it. I was like a speed demon typing away on the laptop, trust me. My classmates thought that I was insane. I think I am, in a way. Again, enjoy if you can, folks.
Chapter Last Revised on: 08/12/07
"Sakura! What on earth are you doing in the hospital today? You aren't supposed to be here!"
Twenty-two year old Haruno Sakura winced inwardly at the slightly chiding tone coming from behind her.
Damn, she was in for barely two hours and she was already busted.
The youngest Neurologist to join the Tokyo University Hospital took a deep breath before turning around to smile innocently at the hospital's Dean of Medicine.
"Why, good afternoon to you too, Tsunade-sama!" The pretty pink-haired female felt that she was doing a great job pretending to ignore the busty blonde's pointed questions. "What a surprise to see you here too, on this-"
"-wonderful, glorious, wintry Christmas Eve?" The Dean's dry tone made it obvious that she wasn't the least fooled by the younger female's lousy attempts at distracting her. "I had to meet up with a bunch boring stuffed shirts to discuss about the hospital funding, that's what. What are you doing here? I specifically told you last night to take the next two days off, didn't I? "
Sakura could only smile sheepishly at the mildly stern tone.
It was well known among the large hospital that she was an incurable workaholic, regularly clocking the most insane amount of hours within the hospital ever since she had started working there a year ago. Sakura simply loved being a doctor. The highly intelligent female had graduated medical school summa cum laude a good three years ahead of her peers, which certainly explained why she was already so specialized when most doctors her age were still interning under a resident physician in the hospital. She didn't mind being on the fast track though; it had been her dream since childhood to be able to help people and now that she was finally a fully certified Neurologist she was enthusiastically throwing herself into her job. Her exuberance for her occupation was a little too much perhaps, but still Sakura would simply have it no other way.
"I know, Tsunade-sama." The young woman answered honestly, bright emerald eyes shining with wry humor. "But there was simply nothing to do at home and I just couldn't help myself!"
Tsunade raised a disbelieving brow.
"What about your friends?"
Sakura thought about the gang. Naruto was meeting Hinata's family today; he had been such a nervous wreck last night and she had to spend most of the early morning on the phone encouraging and prepping him for today. Ino and Shikamaru were going to this costumed Christmas party held by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Force where the Nara was working as a rather high ranking Detective Lieutenant, never mind the fact that he was always complaining about how troublesome his occupation was. Everything was troublesome to him, according to Ino. And last she heard Kiba was currently off somewhere in Brazil filming a documentary about the wildlife in the Amazonian forests and Shino was on a book signing tour in Australia, following the overwhelming success of his third thriller bestseller.
Sakura shrugged cheerfully.
"They either have appointments already or they are working as well."
The blonde shook her head.
"You need more friends." The Dean muttered to herself. Tsunade had never met anyone as hardworking as Sakura before, and as proud as she was of this bright, new addition to the hospital she was also worried that the younger woman would suffer burnout at the rate she was going. Sakura was literally barreling her way through such a great amount of cases each month that Tsunade had no idea how she had managed to accomplish it.
"What about presents?"
Emerald eyes twinkled.
"All bought, wrapped and prepared one month in advance."
Sakura's lips twitched.
"My parents are currently enjoying themselves on a trip to the Bahamas. Early Christmas present, of course."
Tsunade eyed her pink-haired employee with mild envy. Damned, the girl had great taste. A trip to the Bahamas would have been a dream come true for her. Plenty of alcohol for her to indulge in, great sunny weather, no hospital obligations and most importantly, no Jiraiya. However this conversation was not about her and Tsunade was quickly running out of things that might send Sakura out of the hospital and somewhere else to properly enjoy her Christmas.
The Dean was really grasping at straws by now and they both knew it. It was all Sakura could do not to smile outright. Tsunade was indeed a most wonderful overseer for the hospital. She cared for the patients, fiercely defended her staff, always looked after their welfare and most importantly, knew when to put her foot down when the patrons of their hospital became too pushy or unreasonable.
Sakura crossed her arms and stared at the blonde.
"Do I look like I have a boyfriend?" She asked. In response Tsunade took at good long look at her Neurologist.
Haruno Sakura was not ugly. She may be a little on the petite side but her figure was trim and lithe. She had a chest that was a little larger than average, her waist was narrow and her hips curved in a way most men would find extremely pleasing. Adding to her fantastic physique was her beautiful heart-shaped face, small nose and a dainty pink rosebud of a mouth that smiled more often than frowned. She was a regular traffic stopper without even realizing her own appeal; her vivacious personality perfectly complimented by her unique pink hair and laughing, vibrant emerald eyes.
How could someone like her be unattached?
"…I'm guessing that means no." The Dean's voice was wry. Sakura nodded, not at all upset by her long running single status.
"It's always so busy at the hospital anyways." The pink-haired doctor provided helpfully. Tsunade mock-frowned at her.
"Oh no, you don't. Don't you blame your unattached status on the hospital; we both know very well that you are always the first to volunteer whenever there is OT."
Guilty as charged, Sakura shrugged and smiled cheerily, not at all repentant.
"You caught me."
Tsunade shook her head with exasperation; it was always hard to stay irritated at Sakura for long. In the entire year that the young Neurologist had been with the hospital not once had she given any trouble to anyone and the patients she had treated so far all seemed to adore her engaging manners and skilled professionalism. Sakura possessed a great personality and was genuinely kindhearted to everyone around her and that was all the more reason for Tsunade to watch over this particular staff of hers. Sometimes the blonde wondered how on earth someone with ideals as innocent as Sakura could have survived this long and still remain untouched by the cynical world.
Of course she had no idea that was because Sakura had great friends who would do anything just to protect their sweet and loyal friend. Said group of friends consisted of a most electric mix of people; two loud, overprotective blondes, a quietly supportive but extremely powerful heiress, a lazy genius whose IQ was off the charts, a raucous, famous documentary star and an exceptionally well known author with mysterious connections extending to just about anywhere under the sun.
Sakura was indeed blessed in her choice of friends and it looked like she was about to have yet another overprotective blonde join her list of important people.
"I really do mean it though, Sakura." Tsunade's voice, though rather mild at the moment, held the slightest hint of steel that told Sakura immediately that the older female meant exactly what she said. No amount of sweet smiles and innocent green eyes were going to change her decision.
"You have worked very hard this entire year. Take these two days off and relax. Spend some alone time for yourself if you really cannot find someone to spend Christmas with. After all, I do not want our favorite doctor in TUH to suffer from a bad case of burnout."
Sakura pinkened slightly at the inadvertent praise.
"I won't suffer from burnout, I swear!" The petite petal-haired female vowed. "I just came down today to see the children in the pediatric ward. They just seem so lonely sometimes…"
Emerald eyes darkened with a familiar melancholy that made Tsunade heave an inward sigh.
"Go home, Sakura." The blonde commanded quietly. "You are already showing the initial signs of emotional exhaustion."
Sakura opened her mouth to protest.
"But I'm not-"
The pink-haired female closed her mouth. Tsunade looked so firm and she knew that the amber-eyed Dean was not going to give an inch. She nodded reluctantly.
"Alright, Tsunade-sama." Well used to people bossing her around for her own good, Sakura knew that Tsunade meant well and that as Dean she definitely knew better than her on such matters. It didn't hurt to listen once in a while, after all. Maybe she would just curl up on a sofa with a book and watch the snowy day go by when she got home. It became more tempting the longer she thought of it, and very soon Sakura didn't feel quite as dismayed as before.
She was always such an optimistic person, and would always be the first to find something positive out of the negative.
Still, Sakura was rather subdued as she bid her boss a polite farewell before turning and hurrying down the ward corridor. Tsunade watched her retreating back until it disappeared around the corner. Then the blonde sighed aloud.
Now if she could only listen to her own orders and head on home as well. But no, her responsibilities were just too great and she would be lucky if she could call in sick tomorrow and sneak off for some well deserved break. With that thought in mind, the voluptuous blonde turned and was about to stride down the other end of the quiet passageway when quick footsteps sounded rapidly from behind her. Tsunade turned back around immediately just in time to see Sakura running towards her.
Tsunade arched her brow.
"If you are coming back to persuade me to let you return to work tomorrow…"
The young Neurologist shook her head immediately, incredibly long strands of silky pink hair fluttering around the small of her waist and tickling her elbows as she did so.
"No, that's not it!" Sakura denied immediately. Digging around in the many deep pockets of her white overcoat, she started to fumble for something she had trouble finding. Tsunade waited patiently as Sakura muttered under her breath as she searched for her missing item.
"There! Found it!" Lifting her gaze to the older doctor, Sakura smiled cheerfully at the blonde, totally forgetting about the mildly strained event that had transpired but minutes ago.
"I wanted to give this to you tomorrow but since I probably won't be allowed in here...this is for you, Tsunade-sama!" Without further ado, Sakura presented a small gift-wrapped box to the surprised woman. "I wasn't sure what to get you, but I hope you would like this little token of appreciation from me. Merry Christmas."
Sakura's hands were still stretched out towards the blonde, the little green and silver-wrapped present sitting nicely on her palms as she offered it to her. Tsunade took the gift from the sincerely smiling girl.
"Thanks." The blonde eyed the little box curiously, inwardly wondering what it could be. A small, reluctant smile flirted with her lips and in turn Sakura's face brightened even more.
"I detoured back just to pass this to you. I'm really leaving now. See you after the break, Tsunade-sama!"
With that said the young Neurologist sketched a polite bow towards the Dean before turning around and tracing a quick path to the exit of the hospital.
Surprised, the pretty pink-haired doctor turned again to see Tsunade walking towards her, a larger smile on her face. "Thank you, Sakura." The blonde's voice was warm with affection. Emerald eyes danced.
"You are welcome, Tsunade-sama."
Sakura was about to leave the ward once more when the blonde motioned for her to stop. Curious, Sakura obeyed. Emerald met amused amber as Tsunade bent her head down slightly to whisper something into her ear. By the time Tsunade straightened again Sakura's face was bright pink and she was gaping at the senior doctor in shock.
The Dean could not help herself; she started to chuckle softly.
"You really are a good girl, Sakura. Keep what I said in mind, and enjoy your well-deserved break. I will see you in two days' time and nothing less, is that clear?"
Still slightly mortified by Tsunade's earlier comments Sakura could only nod obediently and watch as the blonde continue chuckling as she walked out of the ward.
Tsunade's eyes twinkled with laughter. If she had known that this was the way to get the stubborn Haruno to do her bidding she would have done it a long time ago!
Well…now she knew how to handle Sakura whenever she refuses to go home again…
No one dared to question the Dean as she strode passed them, shoulders shaking slightly with mirth. Tsunade was always a little odd like that.
Sakura's face was still tinted pink by the time she arrived home an hour later.
Really, the young doctor thought flustered, Tsunade-sama was really evil to say something like that to her. As if she would do something like…that!
Still, she could not help but smile at the older blonde's teasing. Absently climbing the steps to her apartment, Sakura shook her head to clear her thoughts. What was she going to do now that she was almost home?
Quickly reaching the door to her apartment, Sakura was about to insert her key into the lock when muffled scuffles sounded from the other side of her door. Before she could ponder much about the strange sound the door was abruptly pulled open from the opposite side and the pretty pink-haired female blinked in surprise at the person standing at the other end of the room.
"Hey. You are finally back."
"Ino! What on earth are you doing here?" Sakura wondered aloud as her blonde friend stepped aside to let her across the threshold of her home. She set down her laptop and other belongings onto the couch before beginning the slow task of unraveling herself from all the winter clothing that she was buried under. It was so cold outside and belatedly Sakura decided that she was rather grateful that Ino was here to switch on the heating. "Aren't you supposed to be preparing for that costume party tonight?"
Ino took the coat from Sakura and padded over to the closet to store the heavy outer clothing. Then the blonde came back over to her best friend, hip propped against the back of the sofa as she watched Sakura untangle herself from her long, woolen scarf. Sakura peeked at Ino and saw that the other female had traces of makeup on her face and that her hair was already beautifully styled in enchanting ringlets that fell to mid back.
"Nice hair." Sakura commented dryly. "And don't tell me; you must be here to borrow the bathroom again."
A smirk appeared on Ino's painted lips.
"You are almost right."
Sakura lifted a brow as she draped her scarf carelessly over the couch before flopping onto the space beside it. Ino followed suit.
"Almost?" The pink-haired Neurologist asked, turning around slightly and fingering Ino's blonde curls with mild curiosity. She had never seen this style on her before and it looked really good on her best friend.
"Yup." The taller blonde answered resolutely. "I am also here to get you ready for tonight."
Ino's firm voice had Sakura eyeing her warily immediately.
"What do you mean, 'get ready for tonight'?" The doctor asked suspiciously. "The only thing that I have to get ready for tonight would be to-"
"-get ready for work?" Ino's voice was dry as Sakura nodded quickly.
Even though it wasn't true and she was definitely not going to be allowed anywhere near the hospital since Tsunade would be in this evening, Sakura simply had no wish to participate in any social gala if she had the choice. The petite female would rather stay at home with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate and really disliked attending any parties or events or the such because she just knew that she would end up spending her time dodging appallingly overeager suitors the entire evening thanks to Ino's well meaning but not really appreciated attempts at matchmaking her best friend. Sakura was content to be single; she didn't really understand why her blonde friend could not see that.
Ino looked at Sakura's innocently nonchalant face and promptly shot her best friend a small glare.
"You are lying, Sakura." The blonde announced immediately. "You are doing that feet tapping thing again."
The pink-haired female winced inwardly. Damn. She was caught again. She really had to control that nervous tic of hers.
"I'm not lying!" Sakura denied lamely as she willed her feet to stop twitching. "I have to work. It's so busy at the hospital that-"
"-that your Dean of Medicine called to wish you a merry Christmas and that she had better not see you until after Christmas or you will be taking an official two weeks' leave until after New Year?"
Sakura really did wince this time. Double damn. That really sounded like what Tsunade-sama would say and the fact that Ino knew for sure now that she had no plans tonight simply did not bode well for her.
Ino crossed her arms as she sat up to stare at her best friend with exasperation. Sakura wasn't exactly a shy wallflower. She stood out most beautifully wherever she went and her cheerful, laughing personality always never failed to attract people to her in droves. Ino really didn't understand how on earth she was content to just linger around at home when she could go out and meet new people and hopefully, her other half as well.
It still baffled Ino that someone as sweet as her best friend was able to remain unattached for as long as she had.
The nosy blonde conveniently forgot about Sakura's group of powerful, overprotective friends whom she herself was a part of.
Anyways, Ino was very determined to get Sakura out of her house and to the costumed party tonight. For tonight at least, Sakura was going to get a life whether she wants it or not.
"Come on, Sakura." Ino pouted; her sapphire blue eyes dark with petulance. "We haven't gone to a party together ever since you started working at TUH. You are always so busy so tonight is a rare occasion, isn't it?"
Sakura was rather sure that she was not going to like where this conversation was heading. Ino was going to guilt her into attending and the pink-haired female knew that she wasn't going to be able to deny her best friend. Ino was right after all; she had not gone out with the blonde for so long and a part of her felt slightly remorseful for not spending enough time with her best friend.
That didn't mean that she was just going to give up without a fight though.
"Ino, you know that I never liked to go to these events."
The blonde rolled her eyes subtly.
"Face it; you never like to go to any events, Sakura." Then she became a little serious. "But this is a formal gala. It is not going to be all wild and noisy and crazy-like. You might enjoy it if you give it a chance, forehead."
Sakura frowned slightly. Formal didn't sound like good news to her but the subtraction of loud music and raucous drunks made the idea a little more palatable to her. Ino always knew how to pick her words when it came to convincing her; Sakura had been suckered into so many of the blonde's schemes over the years that she had lost count already.
And the pink-haired doctor just knew that this wasn't going to be the last time either. Not by a long shot.
Ino gave her the large, hopeful blue eyes that never failed to convince Shikamaru and occasionally herself to do whatever the blonde wanted.
Sakura heaved a loud sigh.
"But I don't have a costume."
Ino smiled and bit back the urge to whoop with victory. Her mesmerizing blue eyes started to gleam with a different type of intent. Mischief.
"Don't worry, Sakura. I have already found the perfect outfit for you."
And that was how Sakura found herself standing all alone in the middle of a huge ballroom surrounded by what looked to her like the largest bunch of bigwigs in law enforcement when ten p.m. rolled by.
No expense had been spared for this event for as far as she could see. The decorations were posh and tasteful; the ambience subdued and elegant as an entire orchestra played soft strains of classical music from a corner. The drinks were expensive and service was prompt and discreet as the servers moved silently among the throngs of VIPs and sounds of gay conversations and laughter resounded all over the place no matter where she turned.
Everybody present were decked out in all sorts of elaborate costumes conceivable and the women who were hanging off the arms of their prominent counterparts looked especially gorgeous and exotic in daring attires with extremely low-cut cleavages and short, flirty hemlines. It didn't take long for Sakura to feel a little washed out in her own seemingly unglamorous outfit—not to mention very alone.
Ino had left her side almost the very moment they got past the highly secured parameters of this seven-star hotel to look for her absent boyfriend. Shikamaru had been on a case today and hadn't been able to escort them to the venue, much to the regret of his badly ringing ears after he had informed Ino over the phone a few hours ago. He had promised to meet them at the party though, seeing that all police personnel were required to attend and that his blonde girlfriend would kill him if he failed to show up. Unfortunately, none of them had realized just how huge the hotel's ballroom was and anxious to show her boyfriend her dainty English Doll outfit the impatient blonde had went off to look for her Shikamaru, promising Sakura that she would be back in a minute.
Well, almost twenty minutes had passed since then and Sakura was still standing around like a sore thumb all alone among a huge crowd of people. She was really starting to regret giving in to Ino's pleas to attend this function. Absently, the petite petal-haired female started to look around the immediate area for a familiar face—any familiar face.
Almost everyone was in a group and those who weren't were in obvious pairs with their significant other and unfortunately for Sakura she knew not a single soul around her. The pink-haired female groaned mentally.
Now what was she going to do until Ino came and found her? The night was still young but she was certainly not looking forward to spending the rest of her time standing around and generally looking like some misplaced ornament. Not to mention that with all the preparations that Ino had rushed her through earlier she hadn't even had dinner yet. She was starving, her footwear was starting to give her some problems and her attire was entirely too uncomfortable to be worn by any sane person. It made Sakura wonder how on earth her ancestors had managed to don these overly elaborate, multi-layered Kimonos on a daily basis.
Yes, Ino had convinced her best friend to appear as an Imperial Court Princess.
Sakura really had no idea how on earth the blonde had managed to procure the elaborate Juni-Hito at such short notice but she had and the elegant, twelve-layered traditional court attire made of the most gorgeous shades of white, cream and gold had been put on her even before the bewildered female could realize what was going on. By the time Ino finished arranging the delicate uchigi silks and the elaborately brocaded uwagi, karaginu and the delicately embroidered mo around Sakura to her satisfaction the only thing the pink-haired female could do was to keep herself from drowning in all the materials that she had on her.
That, and fighting off her determined friend before she could slather makeup all over her face. Sakura had put her foot down regarding the matter (metaphorically of course; the beautiful female had trouble walking with all the layers of clothing she had on as it was. She would have probably fallen flat onto her face if she tried to stomp her foot.), calmly declaring that she was going to a function and not a battleground and therefore there was no need to put on war paint. Of course Ino had grumbled and nagged and to placate her Sakura had at last allowed some eyeliner and a glossy sort of lip-balm to be applied around her eyes and lips.
Her hair had remained relatively untouched throughout the entire ordeal though, much to the Sakura's relief. Remaining true to the fashion of the Heian period, Ino had allowed Sakura's gorgeous, waist length pink tresses to waterfall gently down her back, only spritzing on some hairspray to make sure that they stayed in place and retained their lustrous volume.
And then they had left for the party. Sakura had been only too grateful to walk out of her house; another minute of sitting by doing nothing while Ino treated her like a personal doll would have drove the petal-haired female insane.
Now though, Sakura was sincerely regretting even stepping foot out of her house. The sheer weight of the twelve-layered gown was slowly making itself known to her and it took all of Sakura's discipline not to slouch and fidget with blatant discomfort. Instead, the young woman straightened her shoulders even more and looking every inch like a Japanese Court Princess, daintily folded her hands into the long lapels of her ornately decorated sleeves, effectively radiating a serene and calm appearance despite her growing discomfiture.
As if to commiserate with her misery, her tummy chose that exact moment to give out a hungry gurgle.
Sakura groaned inwardly. Right, she was starving. So what to do?
The petite female looked around her discreetly, hoping to signal a waiter or—ah-hah! To Sakura's joy she had just spotted a long buffet table partially hidden behind a large group of people. Brightening instantly and never one to forsake food, Sakura was about to make her way over when she suddenly hesitated.
Ino had specifically told her to wait here. What if she came over later to find her gone? There were really a lot of people here today and for all the amount of fabric Sakura had on her there was barely enough space for her to tuck in some cash and a credit card. It would be impossible for Ino to contact her.
But then again, the buffet table was only so near. Sakura supposed that if she positioned herself at a certain vantage point she should be able to see when Ino made her reappearance.
As if fully agreeing with Sakura, her tummy growled with approval.
The decision was immediately made. Careful of the delicate fabrics floating around her, Sakura shuffled gracefully towards the direction of the food table. Just learning how to walk in this godawful attire had taken a good fifteen minutes before she had finally gotten the hang of it. Emerald eyes glimmered with pure curiosity; what sort of exotic hors d'oeuvres would they serve here? Sakura had high hopes for the menu and prayed that it would not be as disappointing as how this evening had turned out so far.
For the genius Neurologist, food was one of the greatest indulgences in her life. Of course her love for all kinds of edible stuff had its repercussions. Despite the fact that she exercised regularly, Sakura was quite sure that her hips were a little fuller than they should be but it didn't really matter much to her. Sakura was rather content with her own body and simply didn't see the need to diet excessively like Ino did sometimes.
She started to 'glide' over to the food table as fast as she could and not appear hurried. Damn, but she was really hungry. Sakura hoped that they had chocolate.
He had been watching her ever since she entered the room.
Her presence had caused quite a stir; like an elegant swan among a flock of gaudy crows she had descended upon the grand staircase of the large ballroom with the grace of a highborn princess whom she was supposed to be tonight. Despite the fact that she was completely covered from neck down, she captured more attention than most of the other women around who were prancing about in only scandalous scraps of clothing and little else. The pure white-gold of her Juni-Hito as well as her eye-catching head of long pink curls made her stand out from the rest and the fact that she didn't seem to notice all the attention that were being heaped upon her intrigued him.
Interest piqued, he continued observing her undetected from the far corner of the room, watching as her blonde companion left her alone to merge with the crowd. Watching as she stood there waiting patiently for her friend's return. Watching with mild amusement as various men tried to grab her attention by catching her eye and failing miserably when she ignored all of them, completely oblivious to the subtle nuances of the interested males.
She had captured his attention and since he had never enjoyed attending parties like the one they were in he might as well spend his time observing this decidedly odd female.
He was an expert in reading body language; thanks to the early teachings of his father he had learnt the power of observation even before he could walk and for someone like him the ability to read and predict the motives of people even before they were fully conscious of their own decisions was a advantage that he often used in his line of work.
The slightest stoop of her shoulders and the smallest hint of discomfort in her eyes easily informed him that her costume was weighing heavily upon her but yet the tranquil look on her face did not change. She stood patiently, all alone in the middle of strangers as she waited for her companion and all seemed well until apparently something caught her attention.
Curious that something had actually managed to snag her interest, he had watched as uncertainty warred fiercely with her pretty face before she quickly made a decision for herself.
He was mildly startled when she started to head purposefully in his direction but when she breezed passed him in a flurry of soft silk and gentle scent of mangoes to continue on towards the table he relaxed slightly and resumed watching her once more, all the while inwardly wondering what was so interesting in that direction.
Then he continued watching with an arched brow as she daintily accepted a plate from the waiting staff and proceeded to pile it sky high with all sorts of food.
The blissful look on her face when she carefully took the first bite of appetizers into her mouth was so comical that he almost smiled. The realization that she had almost ran from the other end of the ballroom just to fill her stomach was just as amusing.
Really, what a strange female.
Oddly enough, watching her happily work her way down the long row of exquisitely made entrées was surprisingly entertaining. For a woman she genuinely seemed to enjoy her food and it showed clearly in the way her eyes brightened with joy whenever she sampled something really good, in the way her small, pink tongue would dart out to taste the food first before welcoming it into her pink, rosebud mouth, in the way she would nibble delicately in a most feline manner as she savored the explosion of tastes in her tongue.
It told him that beneath her seemingly innocent appearance hid a most sensual creature that had not been fully awakened yet.
Then she finally got to the fine selection of chocolates, and he realized how wrong he had been.
The sheer pleasure on her face at the sight of the decadent desserts caught his attention like nothing could. Then she took her time carefully choosing the sweets, worrying her rosy lips with small white teeth occasionally as she compared one with another. The concentration on her face was oddly mesmerizing and he focused most intently upon it.
She was pretty enough, he supposed, but she was definitely not the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. The shape of her body was hardly visible under all those layers of clothing and she was rather petite in size. All in all, she wasn't really the type who normally interested him but yet there was something about her that simply arrested his attention and she was just not letting go.
Onyx eyes darkened unconsciously with anticipation as she at last lifted a small piece of chocolate to her mouth, tongue darting out in a now familiar way as she took an initial taste of the expensive confection. Even from the distance he could see the way her vivid emerald pupils dilate with pure pleasure at the texture and the flavor of the chocolate. Watching the way she puckered her lips slightly as she slowly curled her tongue around the sweet and languidly received it into her mouth made his own go strangely dry.
And then, she chewed slowly as she savored the delicious taste of the chocolate, her large almond-shaped eyes gleaming with an almost wanton enjoyment that had him inhaling sharply. He watched with great intensity when she swallowed reluctantly at last, his heated gaze following the path of her milky, slender throat as it rippled delicately in response.
He realized at that exact moment that his initial casual interest in this particular female had changed drastically into something a lot more possessive—and primal.
He wanted her.
And he wasn't the only one.
A sharp glance around the huge ballroom revealed more than a handful of males who had also seen what he had just saw. An unfamiliar surge of raw aggression flowed through him and immediately he gave his full attention to those men. Most were amused by the petal-haired female's unconscious sensuality; some had a little more than casual interest lurking in their eyes and two or three had a look of pure predatory intent that made his hackles stand straight up.
Then one of the latter could not resist the allure of her siren's call anymore; and started to move towards her. He easily recognized the other male as a rather prominent attorney but that didn't matter at the moment.
He was not going to let him near her.
He slid silently into movement.
Questions That I Would Like To Answer Before You Ask:
This fic is not exactly completed but let's just say that the draft is already done. It is still very rough around the edges and therefore I will be working on refining it more before posting the subsequent chapters. Don't worry, silk kimono is only about five chapters long and I will be updating at least once a week.
And yes, before you ask this fic is rated 'M' for a very good reason. You will see said reason soon enough, if you haven't guessed it already.
Once again, the Tokyo University Hospital and the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department are not figments of my imagination. They really do exist though I'm not sure if TUH has a Neurology Department or if it is really headed by a Dean of Medicine. Its website was full of Japanese words and little else and sadly I do not have enough knowledge about the beautiful language to understand the information provided.
If you feel that Sakura's personality in this fic was a little different from the normal way I usually describe her, then you are right. I was just…experimenting. I have always wondered how Sakura would have turned out if she was brought up in a different type of environment compared to the canon-verse and this was my result. My version of her in this fic was a gentler and very sweetly innocent Sakura, not as feisty or as violent as she normally was but certainly not a complete pushover either. This means that her reactions to certain situations would not be as explosive and she would be slower to anger, among other slight alterations in her character. I hope that I have managed to capture the core essence of her spirit despite the changes that I have made to give her a softer edge. I would love feedback on this particular matter, so shoot if you have any comments!
Initially I wanted to dress Sakura up as you guessed it, the ever typical Geisha. I did some research and do you know that there are Geishas and then there are Oirans? Whereas the former are professional entertainers of men, the latter are the most highly sought after courtesans in Japan's history. One should never mistake them for the other; both are equally proud of their arts and would certainly be highly insulted. Geishas' attires are more discreet whereas Oirans' are so colorful and flamboyant and so very beautiful that I changed my mind and wanted Sakura to go as a courtesan instead.
However, I realized soon after I went to Youtube to look at clips of present day Oirans parading down the streets during a festival that it wasn't a very feasible idea, unfortunately. For the sake of authenticity, the traditional footwear of Oirans were so high that they could not even walk properly, needing to employ a most unique but certainly tedious 'figure eight' pattern as well as the support of a manservant. I recommend a visit to Youtube to view that particular clip. It is most fascinating. In fact, I have put the link on my profile for those who are interested.
And so that was how Sakura appeared as an Imperial Court Princess instead and I didn't regret the choice now that I have made it. Her personality in this fic was more suited to a gentle princess than an exotic courtesan and I was most pleased by the results. As for her attire, the Juni-hito was a traditional outfit worn by ancient Japanese during the Heian period. Court nobility donned these extravagant clothing made of silk mostly during the winter and spring and although the norm was ten to twelve layers of Uchigi worn over the kosode (their undergarments), noblewomen wearing up to forty layers had been recorded.
Once again, I was most fascinated by the Juni-hito; apparently wearing certain colors on certain layers has certain meanings and only immediate Royalties are allowed to wear a select colors. Imagine; you are either a walking, permutating Rubik's cube or an ancient walking traffic light with mixed signals, whichever you choose. I was most amused when I was researching this. So far I have not found any pictures of women wearing the Juni-hito although it was stated that present day Japanese Royalty are still required to put on the very formal attire on certain important occasions. If anyone is interested, I have found a rare but very detailed website that has more information about the Juni-hito. It even has pictures of Japanese dolls in full Juni-hito attires and the silk creations were intricately embroidered and so gorgeous that it was thanks to this site that I could clearly picture Sakura in her own royal dressing. I have put the site link up on my profile as well; do take a look if you are keen on knowing more!
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