Title: In name only
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Warnings: AU, Fem Naru. Sasu/Naru. OOC prominent. Was supposed to be a oneshot but grew to be a twoshot.
AN: Two-shot birthday gift for my friend Rad-the-bad. Happy belated Birthday Radha!
Summary: Theirs was a marriage in name only. What is an ideal relationship to others is a sham to them but for how long? Will they be able to give up the easy but hollow life they enjoyed to experience the glory of love?
"Ah, Uchiha-san." A pleased sounding voice drew his attention. He turned to the source of the voice and almost sighed in relief. This was someone who did not bother him.
Sasuke executed a small, respectful bow, "Sarutobi-san, always a pleasure." He looked at the smiling man, "Welcome to my home."
The old man smiled, stroking his beard, "You are looking well, Sasuke-kun. Married life seems to be agreeing with you." The man turned to look around, "Speaking of which, where is your lovely wife, it has been a long time since I last saw her."
Sasuke nodded, letting his own eyes scan the crowd around him that had gathered here to celebrate his older brother's engagement. He spotted his wife speaking to one of her friends and gestured towards her, "There she is."
Sarutobi looked at the woman and his smile widened, "My, my, she seems to get lovelier by the day." He patted Sasuke on the back, "You are a lucky man, Sasuke-kun, to have such a unique woman as a wife." He chuckled, "I have known here since she was a little child, so energetic." He shook his head, "She was a tomboy, that she was. Minato used to enjoy watching Kushina complain about it, so carefree."
The Uchiha raised a brow but did not say anything. His wife, a tomboy? He looked at her, watching her intently. He saw the small, lovely smile that lit her entire face. He saw the manner in which she tucked a strand of fine golden hair behind her ear, a golden wedding band lined with rich diamonds glittering under the lights.
He nearly scoffed in disbelief and the old man laughed at the look on his face. "I know…" he chuckled, "Suddenly she grew up and no one was more dismayed than Minato, and of course, your brother-in-law, Kyuu. One moment she was this rash, energetic little girl and the next, she was this lovely, elegant young woman with the eyes of all the boys in the neighborhood trained on her." The old man's amusement was clear in his wise eyes. "Even now, knowing that she is someone's wife, their eyes cannot help but linger."
Sasuke stiffened, narrowing his eyes as he scanned the room. He ignored Sarutobi's amused look as he spotted several men sneaking glances at her.
"Come," came the old voice, "Take me to your wife, will you…" There was no mistaking the laugh in the man's voice. Sasuke nodded and led the man through the maze of people, his eyes set intently on his wife. As though sensing his gaze, curious turquoise eyes turned to him, slender brows arching in question before her exquisite gaze landed on the man besides him.
He watched, his breath freezing in his chest as stunning smile graced her petal soft lips and her eyes sparkled with affection. "Oji-san." She greeted happily, as they finally reached her. "It has been a long time."
The old man nodded, "Yes, it indeed has been a long time." He smiled, "You look wonderful, my dear." He complemented, "I can see that you are doing well."
Her smile widened, "And you look old and wrinkly as you always did." Her eyes narrowed as she observed his face, her blue eyes sparkling in mischief, "Amazing," she whispered, feigning awe, "Not even a wrinkle out of place since I last saw you."
Sarutobi laughed, used to her mischievous behavior while Sasuke raised a brow.
"Sasuke!" his father's voice rang through the crowd and the young Uchiha frowned. He looked at the prominent figure of his father gesturing him to approach and nodded. He excused himself by bowing Sarutobi and kissing his wife's temple before walking towards his father in a swift and elegant stride.
No one would have sensed anything amiss.
It seemed like eternity had passed before the guest started to disperse. Only a few, close family friends remained.
Sasuke let his eyes roam as he took a sip of sake from his glass. Itachi was in a corner with his soon-to-be wife, listening silently to what she had to say. He wondered briefly if the woman would be able to handle Itachi's silent and stoic demeanor because he could not envisage his brother ever changing, even after marriage.
By the large windows, he found his father, father-in-law and brother-in-law speaking. Namikaze Minato and Namikaze Kyuu, they were two of the few people that had Sasuke's utmost respect and appreciation. It was not because they were his wife's father and brother; it was because they were strong men of great character and wisdom.
Finally, his eyes landed on his wife, Uchiha Noriko. She was listening to his mother speak while her fingers gently combed through their son's liquid ebony hair. The three year old had cried out for his mother sometime during the party, stubbornly refusing to stay with his minders. Noriko had scolded him for his misbehavior but at the end, she had sent away his minders and allowed him to cling to her possessively throughout the evening.
His lips curled into a sardonic smirk. They were a picture of a perfect family. He knew how everyone perceived them. A young, successful and handsome man belonging to one of the richest families in Japan married to the heiress of an equally large fortune who was rumored to be one of the most beautiful woman around and a perfect little son who was turning out to be quite a prodigy.
What they did not know was that their marriage was a sham.
He scowled and took another sip of his sake, hiding his eyes by lowering his head just a bit. It would not do for anyone to see his distasteful expression on such a happy evening. His eyes narrowed as he thought back on how the marriage came into being.
Harsh drunken kisses plundered a sweet mouth. He tore of her clothing, disregarding that simple dress that made her seem so elegant. The sound of her voice, low and breathy, unlike other females and it enticed him to no end.
Her moans of slight protest and pleasure drove him wild. Her sweaty, delectable body awakened an all-encompassing lust within him.
Beautiful turquoise eyes widened in pain as he thrust into her, concerned only with his own pleasure. The scent of her innocent tears assaulted his sensed and the sight of those trembling rosy lips entranced him.
Her virgin body took time to adjust but soon she was with him. Moaning and arching her back, craving for the same pleasure he did.
He sensed; even in that alcohol induced state, a corner of his mind registered that she was a virgin and he had taken something precious for her. He wondered briefly, if it could be considered as rape. It was dubious consent at best because she was equally drunk.
The feel of her beautiful body underneath his, the sound of her whimpers and moans, the heavenly taste of her lips and breasts made him lose what little control he had. He took her as though he owned her.
When he woke up, his head was throbbing, his body felt sore and itchy. The hangover was nearly unbearable. He tried to sit up but stopped when he felt a weight on his chest. He looked down to see a girl… young, asleep, naked. She had milky pale skin and wonderful blonde hair that flowed down the graceful curve of her back.
Her face spoke of centuries of good breeding with high cheekbones and soft, elegant features with full scarlet lips.
He removed himself from her unconscious embrace and sneered. He couldn't believe that he had lost control like that! Since when did he start to indulge in drinking escapades? Since when did he start picking random girls to have sex with?
His obsidian eyes again turned to look at the girl. His anger and frustration at himself suddenly changed direction. Now he was angry and disgusted with her. She must have been one of his fangirls.
His lips curled in disgust as her eyes flittered open. A small wince indicated that she too was suffering from a hangover.
It did not take long for her to start analyzing her surroundings and soon, taking in her state of undress and the rumpled sheets, she understood what had happened. He watched silently as her eyes widened in dismay and realization.
She quickly covered herself with those rich white sheets and lifted her gaze to look at him. A fine golden brow arched in shock at the sight of him before a carefully blank look graced her face. She seemed to read his expression well too because those intelligent eyes were now icy.
He felt a thrill of danger shoot down his spine. At that moment, he knew that he was facing no ordinary girl. He watched as those scarlet lips, bruised by his kisses curled in a disgusted scowl. Her eyes slowly took in his naked body, his expression unchanging.
"I do not know you." She stated bluntly and his brow arched in surprise. Maybe, she was not one of his fangirls after all. In fact, she seemed thoroughly unimpressed with his looks.
"Uchiha Sasuke." He introduced himself with the same bluntness. If he expected her to perk up at the name, he was disappointed. She just snorted; not at all impressed that she had spent the night with the heir of one of the most successful business empires in Japan. However, there were several emotions running wild in her eyes. Anger and disgust was most prominent, along with worry and calculation. He had a feeling that her anger was not directed at him but at herself.
She wrapped the sheet around her naked body and stood with almost ethereal grace. Sasuke was intrigued by her. Even naked and disheveled, there was a sense of dignity about her that was not tarnished by this drunken mistake. Securing the sheet around her body, she lifted her hands to quickly tie her waist-long hair in a knot before she looked for her handbag.
Fetching her cell phone, she quickly dialed a number with the same air of nonchalance about her. "Nii-san..." she called with her melodic voice, "I seem to have a problem." She walked over to the large bay windows of the room and quickly surveyed the locality. "I need you to send me a car." She nodded and named the hotel and the locality where they were staying.
She nodded to herself, "Hai," she checked her watch, "That would be no problem nii-san, you needn't come yourself." She paused a moment then sighed, "Alright. I will see you at the lobby then."
She then called room service for breakfast and some strong coffee and asked if they could get her a change of clothing before giving them the specifics about her size. Once everything was settled, she turned to him with an arched brow, "I would suggest that you get dressed and leave, Uchiha-san. My brother is a short-tempered man and will not listen if I say that I am at fault too."
The Uchiha raised a brow, mildly impressed with the way she was handling the situation. Had it been anyone else, they would have broken down and cried, accusing him of many things. After all, he was a total stranger and he knew she was a virgin before last night.
Sasuke was not a kind or a helpful person, but he did feel guilty. She was after all, a teenage girl, from what he could conclude, "How old are you?" He asked curiously.
"Twenty one." Her reply was curt as she gathered her clothes and folded them neatly. She was older than he had first thought, "Do you have money to pay for the room and services?" He questioned with a raised brow. She snorted, "You are not the only one with money here." She replied before walking into the bathroom.
Sasuke was a little taken aback by her blunt mannerisms. He made his own calls with an irritated scowl. Discretion was necessary, if the media got the wind of this, his name and hers would be front-page news. That was something he wanted to avoid at any costs. She was too young for her name to be dragged into mud.
He waited for her to step out of the bathroom so he could also clean himself. He glance around the room and noticed with relief that there were two beds, not one. One was immaculate and the other rumpled. He quickly walked over to the unused bed and purposefully pulled the sheets back and made it look as though it had been well slept in.
Usually, room service in such elite hotels would not open their mouths to media; he still did not want them to suspect anything.
There was a knock on the door and he quickly dressed and opened the door. A woman walked in with their breakfast and her clothes. "Your breakfast and a change of clothing for the young miss, sir. The management wanted to inform you that your friends left for their respective homes last night after the party."
Sasuke nodded curtly and she left. The Uchiha took and the clothes and knocked on the bathroom door, "Your clothes have arrived."
The bathroom door opened slightly and a moist hand emerged from the opening to take the clothes.
Sasuke waited patiently as she dressed, which was surprisingly fast. She emerged from the bathroom with a long denim skirt and a crisp white button-down shirt. Her hair was a little moist so she let it fall down her back in luxurious waves. She sat down on the bed and fastened her black knee-high leather boots before looking at him with sharp eyes. "I will be gone before you emerge from your bath. This never happened." She informed curtly before pursuing her breakfast. Before he could step into the bathroom she added, "I will clear the bills, don't bother."
It was nearly two weeks after that encounter that he heard from her. She had been on his mind, not because of her looks, but because he had had a glimpse of a fiery personality underneath that unruffled calm, she had shown him. She was a unique woman; he knew that it would be hard to find someone like her.
She had called one day, unexpectedly and asked to meet. He had accepted and planned a dinner in his favorite restaurant. By that time, he knew nearly everything about her that could be found out. From her name to her favorite food item… he knew it all.
That night, they had met again. Dressed simply and elegantly, she had drawn the eyes of nearly all the men in the restaurant. Even the manner in which she dressed showed great dignity and character but what cautioned Sasuke was the look in her eyes.
Something had told him that it would not be a pleasant night.
The small private table that he had selected provided more than enough privacy. He had greeted her and helped her take her seat before placing their orders. All of this was done in silence. There was subtle tension between them and it served to unnerve both of them.
She was the first to speak, "Do you know who I am, Uchiha-san?" She asked with a slight tilt of her head.
Sasuke nodded, "Yes."
She leaned back, observing him with sharp turquoise eyes. "My name if Namikaze Noriko. I am the daughter of Namikaze Minato, the President of Konohagakure Organization."
Sasuke nodded, narrowing his eyes as recalled everything he knew about the Namikaze family. The family at the worth of nearly four billion dollars and they were counted as one of the richest families in Japan. Namikaze Jiraiya founded the organization and it operated only within Japan until his son, Namikaze Minato took over and established it internationally.
Minato had two children, his eldest was a boy he named Namikaze Kyuu and the younger was a girl called Namikaze Noriko.
Sasuke leaned back and observed the girl shrewdly. He knew why the girl was different. She was the prodigy of that family. She graduated high school when she was sixteen, skipping two years. Then she successfully enrolled into the University of Tokyo for a Bachelor's degree in Economics, she must have finished by now.
Looking at her, he had no doubt that she would pursue further education.
"I am surprised." Sasuke said smoothly, after prolonged silence, "If one goes by your reputation, you are not someone who would waste her time drinking at some random party."
She scowled but seemed unaffected by his bluntness. "Yes. It was my best friend's birthday party. I believe Inuzuka Kiba is responsible for mixing alcohol in our drinks and unfortunately, I have very low tolerance for it." She looked at him with a raised brow, "You were there, her name is Haruno Sakura and she seems quite taken with you."
Sasuke's lips curled in disgust, "Haruno Sakura, one of my more decent fangirls."
Noriko smiled in amusement, not seeming offended on her friend's behalf. "She was very pleased that you accepted her invitation." She shook her head, taking a sip of her water, "Onto more serious matters, Uchiha-san." Her face was now set in stone.
The Uchiha raised a brow and nodded in acceptance. "What did you wish to speak about?"
"We both come from very prominent families, Uchiha-san. We have been in the public eye since we were children and a small mistake on our part can ruin the reputation of our families and harm our respective companies." She started, her words clipped and her manner formal. "We have been fortunate that that night's mistake did not fall on media ears… however, I am afraid our good fortunes have come to an end."
Sasuke scowled at the implications of her statement. Had someone come to know about that night? She did not wait for him to voice his comments as she continued, "As an unexpected consequence of that night, I find myself pregnant despite the use of emergency contraceptive pills."
Sasuke hissed in surprise raised his hand to massage the bridge of his nose. Only thing going through his mind was 'Oh shit.'
"Uchiha-san," she called, gaining his attention immediately. She looked at him with serious eyes and he knew she was not lying. He knew that the child was his. "I was going to terminate the pregnancy however since you are the father of the child, I thought it was fair to include you in the decision." She sighed and leaned back, "I see only three options, it is either I abort this baby, leave to study abroad for a year and carry the child to term before giving it up for adoption or…"
Sasuke narrowed his eyes before raising his hand and silencing her. To be honest, he had half-expected this to happen when she called him. He was so certain that she would not contact him after what happened but she did.
The Uchiha could understand where she was heading. They could not afford to cause a scandal that would surely occur if any of this went out. With the welfare of their families and their own reputations at risk, he knew something had to be done quickly to avoid controversy. Moreover, he was certain that his father would strangle him to death if he heard of this.
He drew a shuddering breath before retrieved his cell phone his pocket and dialed a number. Noriko was observing him silently while his mind was spinning in circles. He knew what he had to do and it had to be done quickly with as much discretion as possible.
"Hello, Takahashi-sensei? This is Uchiha Sasuke speaking. I need to ask you for a favor." He paused, nodding to himself, "You see sensei; my soon-to-be wife just told me that she is pregnant." Noriko's eyes widened and Sasuke narrowed his eyes at her. "You are the only one I can trust to make sure she is alright and not let it slip to media. I have not told my parents about her yet." He nodded again, "Hai, thank you sensei… yes, I will be bringing her to you after dinner. Yes. Arigato."
Sasuke glared at her, "I will not allow my child to be sent off to adoption while both of us are quite capable of raising it ourselves. Abortion is out of question, we have no reason that can justify the abortion the only way you can do it is illegally. I am asking you, Namikaze-san to consider marriage between us."
She gasped, her eyes widening and this was the first time she had ever lost her composure in front of him. "Do you realize what you are saying Uchiha-san? You cannot make such hasty decisions!"
Sasuke scowled, "You are a smart woman." He told her, looking into her eyes, "Our families are of the same social and economic status and I am fairly certain that, a few years from now, our families would have considered us to be a suitable match. It is very likely that even if this," he gestured openly, "Did not happen and you and I did not meet that night, our parents would have arranged Omiai between our families and we would have ended up being married."
Noriko frowned knowing that what the Uchiha was saying was very likely to happen. Even if her family were not too traditional, her father would not let her marry just anyone. Moreover, in his eyes, Uchiha Sasuke would have been a prime candidate.
"We get married and the child would live without having to bear the stigma of being born out of the wedlock. If married life does not agree if either of us, we can always file for a divorce." He scowled.
"This…" she swallowed, her eyes looking everywhere but him as she bit her lower lip. "I do not know what to say…"
"The decision must be made now, Namikaze-san." He insisted, "We cannot let our families know that you are pregnant. A wedding can be planned within a month; it is possible to do it. It can be a small private ceremony, we can cover the fact that you got pregnant before marriage easily enough."
Noriko nodded, "I know." She looked at him intently, "The question is, Uchiha-san, are you ready for marriage and fatherhood so early in your life?"
The question gave Sasuke a pause and he scowled. "Uchiha-san, I am 21 years old and I have just completed my college education and was looking forward to pursuing Master of Business Administration degree. This pregnancy and marriage with slow down my progress but I am all right with that as long as you understand that I will still pursue my career. Just as I have some goals, I am certain you have them too… you should consider how this situation will affect that. You are proposing a marriage which would have no meaning, are you certain that there isn't a woman out there that you would like to marry?"
Sasuke scowled, "I am twenty three and my mother is already making enquires on my behalf. You are a suitable enough girl and from what I can judge, a woman of good character and upbringing. I have encountered many women and none have left a lasting impression on me, you had had me intrigued if I am to be honest." He smirked slightly at the surprise in her eyes, "I could do worse than marry you, I assure you."
She sighed and shook her head, "I must admit that I had not envisaged such a result from our meeting. I was certainly prepared for accusations of indecency and untruthfulness."
Sasuke scoffed, "As I have mentioned earlier, I have met a lot of frivolous women, you are not one of them." He looked into her eyes, "I consider myself a fairly accurate judge of character, Namikaze-san and I do not think that I would be disappointed."
Noriko looked at him for a long moment before nodding slowly, "I must be out of my mind…" she whispered to herself, "Alright, Uchiha-san, despite my misgivings… I accept your offer." Before he could say anything else, she continued, "I value my freedom a great deal, Uchiha-san… I require your word that you will not try to dictate my actions or control my life."
Sasuke narrowed his eyes and nodded, "Of course. I have nothing against you pursuing your own goals. You do realize that I require a similar promise?"
She nodded, "I do and I give you my word that I will not interfere in your life as long as it does not adversely affect our child."
Sasuke nodded in acceptance of those terms.
After they finished their dinner, Sasuke drove them to jewelry shop intent on buying her a ring. They had conversed throughout dinner and decided that addressing each other formally would be very telling. They had also concluded that a ring would serve to reinforce the fact that this was not a hasty decision on their part and that they had been involved for a while before deciding to marry.
He drove them to a jewelry shop that was close to where they had had their dinner at Ginza district.
They walked into the store silently, Sasuke's eyes immediately scanning their surroundings. A well-dressed young man walked towards them and Sasuke slipped his arm around Noriko's waist when he recognized at the person as a salesperson.
"Uchiha-san, Namikaze-san…" the man greeted with a bow, confirming Sasuke's suspicions that the man knew who they were, "Welcome, my name is Mori Kenji, How may I be of assistance?"
Sasuke glanced down at Noriko, "We would like to purchase an engagement ring." He informed the man bluntly, looking into the man's eyes.
Mori nodded, "Of course, if you will follow me, I shall show you our latest designs."
What followed was probably one of the shortest shopping escapades Sasuke had ever experienced with a woman. Noriko had looked at the rings that the salesperson had displayed many of them ridiculously chunky while some that were very simple. One ring that caught her eye and even Sasuke thought it was beautiful. A solitaire diamond sat elegantly on a band of gold with several sparkling diamonds embedded in the band itself.
She pointed it out to the salesperson and Sasuke quickly paid for it. They were out of the store 40 minutes after entering it.
Noriko had laughed when he had to explain the surprised expression on his face to her. "Not all women are fond of shopping Sasuke-kun." She had informed.
With the ring glittering on her finger, they drove to the doctor's as Sasuke's family doctor had assured that he would clear his schedule so that Noriko could have a private check-up.
Takahashi-sensei's expression was that of amusement as he led Noriko into the examination room, Sasuke remembered coming to that very room every time he felt ill. The doctor's amusement only increased when an old nurse who had assisted his mother while she gave birth to him, glared at him and shooed him out of the room.
Sasuke waited anxiously out the room, looking down at the floor as the evenings events finally caught up to him. He groaned and buried his face in his hands as he suddenly realized that not only was he going to get married but he was going to be a father too.
He had put up a brave front when he dealt with Noriko but when he was alone; everything seemed to be going too fast. He knew that he was following the correct path. He also knew that there was no other way he could keep custody of their child while trying to avoid controversy.
Noriko was just an added bonus. He had not interest in getting married so soon but he realized that their marriage was going to be in name only.
He had nothing to worry about; he would be able to handle the situation.
When Noriko emerged from the room, she was looking thoughtful. The doctor had confirmed the pregnancy and told them that she would be due somewhere during October. As the doctor spoke, Sasuke was planning. First pregnancies usually took longer than most; however, it was also possible that a child would be born prematurely. It would not be a problem to cover that up. Now he had to inform his parents about this relationship with Noriko and tell them that he proposed to her during their dinner date.
He was certain that his father would be pleased with his choice and his mother would be delighted. He was more worried about Noriko's father and her elder brother. He had not asked for their consent and he knew that would reflect badly on him. He was hoping that Noriko would be able to placate them so that they would not disapprove of him.
He watched silently as the doctor spoke to Noriko, explaining to her about the precautions needed to be taken to ensure safe and normal pregnancy. She seemed to be coping well on the outside but he could still see the uncertainly in her eyes.
She was much more affected by this than he was. Sasuke briefly marveled the control she had over her emotions, before his lips curled into a scowl. What had happened was an accident and it was not their fault but he still felt guilty when he saw how her hands were trembling slightly as she kept them folded on her lap.
She obviously was not ready for such a big change in her life.
Sasuke sat silently as a servant served them breakfast. He was waiting for Itachi to come before he could announce to his family of his hasty decision to marry. He sat there, poking at the food with his chopsticks and mentally prepared himself for a long discussion as Itachi walked into the room.
"Tou-san, Kaa-san, aniki… I have something important to say to you…" Sasuke started as soon as Itachi sat down. He watched as his mother paused and looked at him with a worried frown while his father narrowed his eyes. Itachi simply leaned back, giving him his full attention.
"I should have informed you about this earlier, I kept procrastinating." He looked at his father in the eye, "There is this girl that I like, someone I plan to marry."
Mikoto gasped, her eyes flying to meet her husband's glare. Itachi did not even twitch. He simply raised a brow, "Who is this girl, otouto and why is it that you have chosen to inform us of this interesting development, now?"
Sasuke had stayed up all night to cook up a convenient and convincing lie to escape his brother's shrewd eyes. It was time to see if it would work. "She wished to pursue further studies… go to Europe… I did not want her to. There are perfectly good universities here." The youngest Uchiha looked up to meet Itachi's sharply intelligent eyes, "I asked her to marry me…"
Itachi's lips curled into a smirk while Uchiha Fugaku hissed in anger, "Without our consent!" the eldest Uchiha all but roared. "You haven't introduced her to us and you have taken such a drastic step? Have you lost your mind?"
"Shh, anata, let him explain." Mikoto silenced her angry husband before looking at her youngest son with a small glare. "Sasuke?"
He crossed his arms and scowled, "If I let her out of my sight, I might lose her. This way she is stuck with me forever."
Mikoto scowled, "That is incredibly childish of you." She reprimanded.
Itachi crossed his legs with an amused look in his eyes, "Mother, I do believe that this is not childish." He looked at his younger brother, "The truth, if you will otouto?"
Sasuke glared at his elder brother, "I had planned on asking her after I introduced her to you, which I was planning to do this week. However, yesterday, during dinner she told me that she planned to leave for studies and I simply proposed a few days earlier than I had planned."
Mikoto sighed and glanced at her silent husband, "Sasuke… you do know that you cannot just marry anyone? You are an Uchiha and…"
"And she is a Namikaze."
Stunned silence rang throughout the room and Itachi leaned forward, looking at his brother intently, "Namikaze Noriko?"
Sasuke nodded, "Yes, Namikaze Noriko, the only daughter of Namikaze Minato and sister of Namikaze Kyuu. She is the woman I am going to marry."
Uchiha Fugaku now looked pleased, "At least you have chosen a decent enough girl. She is from a good family and knowing Minato-san… his daughter will be a woman of great dignity."
"She is only 21 years old." Mikoto said softly, "Are you sure about this, Sasuke?"
The youngest Uchiha nodded, "I am, kaa-san. She is the only one I will marry."
The wedding needed planned and executed with as much discretion as he could manage without arousing the suspicion of their families and anyone else.
It was a taxing affair, especially for Noriko and Sasuke had tried to be careful to ensure her health. Considering they were not living together, that became a problem. There had been days when she would look as though she had barely slept and he knew that in her condition, this added stress was not permissible.
In the end, Sasuke called Kyuu's help.
Kyuu was an unnerving man. Tall and slender with shocking red hair and unnatural golden eyes, he was a very prominent figure in society. Dangerous, selfish, intensely possessive and protective of his little sister, Sasuke knew he was not a man to be trifled with.
Therefore, Sasuke knew that it was best that he told Kyuu most of the truth rather than have him finding it out later, on his own.
Sitting in front of him, looking relaxed and regal was his soon to be brother-in-law. "I am assuming by the doomed expression in your eyes that I am not going to like what you are about to say." Kyuu said bluntly and Sasuke resisted the urge to grimace. This was where Noriko got her blunt mannerisms, it seems.
"Yes." He admitted, "However, I have a feeling that you should know and you can help me take care of her."
There was no questioning whom he was talking about and the man in front of him noticed it immediately. Kyuu leaned forward, the relaxed stance disappearing. "Spill, Uchiha, Is something wrong with my sister?"
"She is pregnant, with my child." Kyuu stilled, it was the odd, dangerous stillness of a tiger ready to pounce on his prey and Sasuke tensed, wondering if the man would resort to violence.
"Explain before I tear you to shreds, Uchiha and you better have a good reason." Kyuu hissed, menacing golden eyes glaring at him.
Sasuke nodded calmly and explained everything. He only altered the truth a little to imply that they had been in a deep, committed relationship before that night. He told Kyuu how their drinks were spiked and how they ended up having sex and how, two weeks later Noriko informed him that she was pregnant.
He then told Kyuu that he had already planned to ask her to marry him and her pregnancy merely served to ask a few days earlier than he would have done.
As he finished explaining, he noticed that the Namikaze heir looked somewhat placated. "If I am to believe you," Kyuu started with a pointed look at him, "Then I believe that it is not your fault and neither is it Noriko's." The older man leaned forward with a frown in his smooth features, "I believe that Noriko is too young for marriage, but under these circumstances, I think I will stop trying to convince my father to stop the wedding."
"The wedding is putting stress on her and I cannot watch over her that is why I told you. Someone needs to look after her while I cannot." Sasuke explained and Kyuu nodded.
Nearly ten days after that particular conversation, Namikaze Noriko became Mrs. Uchiha Noriko. Looking resplendent in her shiro-maku and Uchikake, she was the ideal bride of every man's dreams. Sasuke was proud to have her on his arm. Throughout the evening, they went table to table. Noriko, with that diplomatic smile on her face seemed to fool people into believing that she was happy.
Sasuke lost count of the number of people that congratulated him but he knew exactly how many smiles of hers were false.
It was their wedding and they were the only once who were unhappy.
On November 10, the newest Uchiha heir was born. Noriko, tired but brilliantly beautiful in her joy, had delivered a healthy baby boy whom she named Uchiha Kouhei. The baby was overdue and they had to induce delivery but their family doctor lied on Sasuke's insistence and told his family and the child was born a few weeks early.
Sasuke could never hope to explain the feeling he felt when he first lay his eyes on his son. A pink little baby with a nest of inky black hair on his head, wrapped in clean white cloth resting peacefully in his mother's arms had invoked such joy within him that he was left dumfounded, staring at the scene silently from the shadows.
He watched, entranced as Noriko leaned forward, pressing a loving kiss on the child's forehead, her rich golden hair falling forward like a curtain of silk around the two of them. It was a scene; he knew would be forever imprinted in his mind.
Nothing would ever compare to the beauty of that singular moment.
He stepped forward, wishing desperately to be a part of that intimate moment. Silently, he walked towards the bed, watching as his wife lifted her head to gaze at him with those blue eyes. She smiled at him then, an open, honest smile that he had seen so many times, directed at her father, her brother… but never at him.
Carefully, the new mother offered their son to him, "Uchiha Sasuke… meet your son and heir, Uchiha Kouhei."
His lips curled into a small smile and he took the baby in his arms, looking down at his son… his son… dear god, the mere mention of it filled his heart with something that could only be called love.
Cradling the child in his arm, he raised his other hand to the infant's face, his fingers gently caressing his son's cheek. So fragile and delicate, Sasuke could feel the responsibility of caring for and protecting the child fall on his shoulders as a physical weight and he accepted the burden readily.
"Otouto." Sasuke paused in his thoughts and looked up at his brother. The older Uchiha raised a brow, "Mother is asking whether the three of you will be spending the night here."
Sasuke tilted his head to the side in consideration. Living at his parents' place would cause certain problems. Noriko and he had not shared a room since that night nearly four years ago and in his current mood, he would rather that he was not forced to do so tonight.
He glanced at his wife and watched as she stood with a sleeping Kouhei in her arms and looked at him in question. "Looks like Kouhei is already asleep, we do not have a choice in the matter." He looked at Itachi, "Will you be staying too, aniki?"
He walked towards Noriko and Itachi moved alongside him, "No, I will be leaving. Kyuu, you and I have to leave for Osaka early tomorrow morning; my luggage is at the penthouse, I did not bring it with me like you did."
Sasuke looked at him with a raised brow, "Noriko thought it would be a good idea to do so. You do realize that I still think that starting a Hotel in Osaka is not wise?" Itachi looked at him impassively, "Osaka already has many Hotels… why not any other place?"
Itachi smirked, "Otouto, we are just going there to look. There is not guarantee that we will buy land there."
Sasuke gave him a dry look, "You should listen to Kyuu's advice. He is smarter than you seem to be considering he has warned you constantly that this venture is useless. Does Osaka even have room for one more Hotel?"
He took Kouhei from Noriko and scoffed. Noriko looked at them in amusement before sighing, "Itachi-nii-san means to evaluate how the successful hotels in Osaka gain their success, Sasuke-kun. I do not think he is planning to start one there. He never said that he is going to build a Hotel in Osaka. He simply said that he is going to Osaka because he plans to start a hotel under the combined names of Uchiha and Namikaze."
Sasuke narrowed his eyes at Itachi and scowled when he saw how amused Itachi seemed. Once again, Itachi had managed to make a fool out of him without even trying. "You should listen to Noriko's advice. She is smarter than you seem to be."
"Tou-taaannnn." The child in his arms squirmed, glaring at him, an Uchiha glare set in his mother's turquoise eyes, before reaching out towards his mother, "Want Kaa-chan!"
Sasuke raised a brow, "Gomen nasai, I assumed you were sleeping. I wouldn't have touched you otherwise, ouji-sama." He spoke dryly and Noriko laughed. She looked at Kouhei in the eye, trying and failing to look stern.
"Kou-chan, my arms are aching." She stated, immune to his pout, "Surely staying with your otou-san is not that bad."
The prospect of causing his precious kaa-chan pain was not pleasing to him. He scowled, looking like a perfect imitation of his father and nodded exaggeratedly. He glared at his father again, "My kaa-chan can't carry Kou-chan. Tou-tan stronger than Kaa-chan. Tou-tan carry Kou-chan!" The child ordered as though it was his idea all along.
Kouhei was about to place his head on Sasuke shoulder but he seemed to remember something. He looked at Sasuke again, glaring again, "Kaa-chan is Kou-chan's Kaa-chan. Kaa-chan not Tou-tan's Kaa-chan." He warned and Sasuke nodded seriously, knowing that even a hint of a smirk would set Kouhei off.
Once the boy drifted off to sleep, Sasuke let his amusement show, "Of course your mother is not my mother, your mother happens to be my wife, brat." He muttered. "My three year old son hates me."
Mikoto, who was watching the entire scene with amusement, giggled softly, "I believe he gets that from you. Both Itachi and you behaved in the same manner." She looked at her eldest son, "I believe you bit your father rather harshly every time he took you from me. And Sasuke would throw his food at Fugaku everything time he came close to me."
Both Itachi and Sasuke glared at her but they did not say anything in retaliation. Itachi looked at his watched and scowled, "It is getting late. I should leave."
They all nodded. "Have a safe trip, nii-san." Noriko said with a small smile, "Don't let aniki drag you into anything unsavory, he has a penchant to getting into trouble."
It was the same smile, the gentle, soothing smile that Sasuke knew was false, that she directed at everyone but the people closest to her. In her quest to maintain distance between them, she had distanced herself from his family too.
Mrs. Uchiha and Noriko were two different people.
Mrs. Uchiha was a perfect lady. Always greeting people with a diplomatic smile on her face, her voice, low and soothing, her manner elegant and refined, she was the epitome of a traditional Japanese wife. His Yamato-Nadeshiko.
Noriko was this fiery, passionate woman with fierce intelligence and formidable business acumen that she used when she worked with her father and brother. She also possessed a sharp-tongue and wit that could force any normal man into submission. She was a woman who had an easy, wide smile that could quickly morph into a mischievous grin and a tendency to be childish when she wished to be. She was a woman who loved ramen, engaged in pillow fights with her brother, used insults as endearments to address everyone she cherished.
Absently, he tucked his son in for the night, lingering for a while by his bedside. He could never regret the birth of this child but he could not help but wonder how it would have been if Noriko and him had met under different circumstances. Would she smile at him like that? That loving smile he had seen her give their son on so many occasions. He wondered if she would melt in his embrace as Hinata did in Itachi's arms.
He needed to get away from her intoxicating presence for a while. By the time he reached their room, Noriko was already dressed for bed, reading a book with a pair of thin, wire-framed reading glasses on her face. He paused briefly at that, she looked rather scholarly when she wore those glasses.
She looked up at him briefly, a fine golden brow arched and Sasuke shook his head before heading out to the terrace.
How depressing was this? He was the one who had insisted that they get married. He could have waited, courted her. He was so foolish to think that it would be an ideal married life, no nagging wife, freedom to do as he wished and an heir.
Now it seemed that he lived a hollow life. The one woman he wanted was the one he was married to but she was also the one who seemed most out of reach.
He leaned against the railing, lit a cigarette, and looked up at the night sky. Was it really too late to start? She was after all, his wife. He could try. He had nothing to lose and everything to gain. He needed more time to think. Maybe, this trip to Osaka was a blessing in disguise.
"You have been depressed all evening." Sasuke's lips curled into a sarcastic smile. Leave it up to her to notice such things.
He could feel her piercing eyes on his back and he wondered whether he had the courage to turn about and look into them. There was a moment of silence and he turned to look at her. She looked calm as always, looking at him with that same gentle, soothing smile on her face. "I would recommend that you go to bed early, you will need your mind sharp tomorrow when you leave for Osaka."
Sasuke's eyes narrowed as she turned and walked back into the room. As always, she did not ask any questions. As always, her hand silently reached out to him, offering comfort when he needed it.
She really was an ideal wife.
Shaking his head, he continued staring at the sky until sleep started to encroach upon him. When he slipped into the bed, she was already asleep, looking serene and unguarded. He did not know how long his eyes lingered on her face. His hand rose, as if on its own accord, to caress her cheek, tracing those high cheekbones and slender brows.
With one last caress, he withdrew, closing his eyes and laying back on the other side of the bed. A slow smirk crawled onto his lips. She was going to be his and nothing would stop him from slipping slyly into her bed, her arms and her heart.