title: ever after
for: annieberry and XXDragonheart6XX
prompted by: a conversation with Annie, as well as the word Sasucakes, and and and, mirror mirror on the wall
summary: AU. SasuSakuIta. which Sakura hates phallic symbols, and Sasuke finds himself in a spot of trouble.
warnings: It's a parody. Of fairy tales. And I'm not a very big fan of traditional gender roles. Do I need to say more?
Also, I'm aware that the age difference between Sasuke and Itachi is not nine years. I know.
notes: I am a selfish whore, but do feel free to also check out Spice Jam, which I have been graciously allowed to co-write with Queen Pina and annieberry.
Also, P.S.—I'm passive-aggressive. I address pet peeves with such subtlety that I astound even me. Except not really. We all know I'm shameless. Also, these are my pet peeves—not necessarily yours. Let's agree to disagree, yeah?
disclaimer: Not mine. :)
Sakura stomped around the cream-carpeted expanse of her room, glaring distastefully at the clear blue sky that seemed to mock her bad mood, stopping only momentarily to curl her small hands into equally small fists. She cursed every ancestor she could remember—as well as a few she made up for the occasion—for both choosing to build the royal suites in the highest spire of the manor's single tower, and for passing a law that forbade her to leave it until after her marriage had been "duly, doubly, and justly consummated".
Sakura suppressed a delicate shudder at the sight of the silken red bed sheets that were to be the site of her ruin.
"I hate any and all phallic symbols," she said to no one in particular, "and Great-Grandfather Whoever must have been compensating for something abysmal when he decided to build the tower this high off the ground."
She sighed, and walked to her bed, absently picking up an ermine-trimmed stuffed rabbit she'd been given at the tender age of three. The white fur was frayed around the edges, and the golden pocket watch had long since been marred by fingerprints and scratch marks, but the red coat was still vibrant and the wire glasses were still intact. Sakura allowed herself a small smile. If only all things could stay the same.
But no, she thought bitterly, dropping the bunny back into its hallowed place near her pillows. Mother feels she's getting too old to be leading, and now, she plans on selling me off to the highest bidder.
"I have no say," she continued aloud. "None at all! My life's nothing but a commodity, and I don't even get to choose the buyer!"
A low knock at the door alerted her to the presence of her advisor, and Sakura sighed.
"Come in," she said wearily.
Yuuhi Kurenai swept in with barely a breeze to announce her arrival. In stark contrast to Sakura's own mussed pink hair, and her bright green eyes, Kurenai's long brown locks were constrained by a fashionable up-do, and her red eyes were placid, and calm. She took in the sight of Sakura in her wrinkled white dressing gown with nary a word.
"Cherry Blossom," she began serenely, unruffled by her mistress's state of disarray. "You're due—"
"—please," Sakura interrupted rudely, ignoring Kurenai's pointed brow at her lapse in etiquette. "Please stop calling me that name. Please stop referring to me as a cherry blossom."
Now, in lieu of her previous disapproval, Kurenai had allowed for a brief smidgen of concern to cross her features.
"You were never bothered by it before, Cherry B—Your Majesty. If you'll forgive the impertinence, might I ask why you protest now?"
Sakura ran a hand through her hair—which only served to make it more disorderly—and fixed Kurenai with an unflinching stare.
"For my entire life," Sakura began, "I have been objectified." At Kurenai's immediate protest, Sakura raised a hand, a clear order for silence. "I have been called a Princess, as befits my station—but certainly not my character. I'm my Mother's Daughter. My hand-in-marriage is to be sold off—or won—like so much chattel, and my very womb is the property of my future husband. I've been locked away in a tower in the same way that equestrians hide their prime horseflesh, and I've been deconstructed into emeralds and ivory so many times that I fear my body's started to believe it—stiff and sore as it has been, lately," she added hastily, settling down into the covers of her bed.
"The point is, Lady Kurenai, I am at once stone, jewelry, and property. Might I be spared the terrible indignity of being referred to as a flower?"
There was silence for a while, as Kurenai seemed to weigh customary protocol against what Sakura had just said. Then, she spoke.
"Cherry Blossom, we must go over…"
Sakura felt her shoulders sag.
"What do you mean I've been banished?"
Sasuke felt his face twist into an unfamiliar expression of disbelief heavily tempered with bewilderment. It was an altogether unflattering portrait, considering the way his nostrils had flared, and his eyebrows had quirked and curved into previously undiscovered angles and arches. Almost distantly, he heard the whinnying of horses that signaled the departure of the wedding party.
Orochimaru smiled silkily.
"I am so sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Sasuke-kun," he said, making the s-sounds hiss so that they seemed to break off and form their own syllables. "But Itachi-sama has gotten word of your plot to overthrow him, and—"
"—plot? What plot?"
Sasuke had trouble suppressing the urge to gape. What? Was Orochimaru accusing him of high treason? Plotting against the King? He did not have much time to ruminate upon this, as it seemed his interruption had done nothing except slightly delay the rest of the royal minister's message.
"—he thinks it foolhardy at the very least to reward such notions with the possibility of a kingship, even if it is to be obtained through the triumph of the victor over trials and tribulations, and therefore inherently unbiased." Orochimaru looked unmoved by what Sasuke was sure was a look of almost-pleading.
"Banished," he repeated softly, raising a hand up to grasp at Orochimaru's purple robes. He crinkled the material in his hands, so that they formed fists. "I can't—won't—I—"
"Did you see that," Orochimaru said softly, not taking his eyes away from the boy in front of him. He seemed to be speaking to someone in the shadows, and Sasuke resisted the urge to turn. It seemed it did not much matter. A slim form was slowly working its way out of the darkest corner of the small room. A quick glance confirmed it, and Sasuke tried very hard not to feel betrayed.
"I did, Orochimaru-sama," Kabuto said, almost regretfully, looking at Sasuke with cool disdain. "He tried to attack you. Note the hostility in the placement of his hands."
"Oh dear," Orochimaru said softly. "You were right, Kabuto. King Itachi will be most grateful." He snapped his fingers and two hulking guards made their way into the room, their small eyes trained on the figure that had yet to let go of the retainer's purple cloak.
Sasuke, for his part, realized what was coming. Immediately, he released Orochimaru, and faced his would-be attackers. Everything was happening so very quickly—he couldn't quite believe it.
"Is this seriously my life," he muttered, as he readied himself for battle. Unbidden, a fuzzy memory of him in a dojo with a white gi came back to him, and unconsciously, he allowed his hands to splay open, and his stance to widen to help preserve balance. He hoped it would be enough to keep himself safe—knew instinctively that it would not.
Orochimaru and Kabuto stepped back into the corner, content to watch Sakon and Ukon do their part.
"I do not think, Sasuke-kun," Kabuto said softly, even as the sun glinted off his glasses and rendered his eyes unreadable. "I do not think that a poultice will be quite enough to pull you out of this one. Forgive me?"
Before Sasuke could reply, Sakon lunged, and the black-haired boy saw nothing but a smear of blood red.
"Cherry Blossom! Cherry Blossom! Are you ready? King Itachi and his retinue should be here at any moment!" Tsunade did not look up as she spoke, trusting her erstwhile daughter to heed her without question. She busied herself with stamping the last of her paperwork without looking at it, and taking a swig from the ever-present bottle of umeshu she kept close to her side.
It was the beginning of a new era, she thought to herself smugly. Sakura was almost sixteen years old. It was high time for her to start accepting her fate as the future ruler.
She continued to work, even as she heard the ornate double door entrance to her office swing open, and the tell-tale click-clack of heels that signaled her daughter's approach.
"Hello, Mother. I've gotten myself all flavored with lavender and rosemary, and my skin's been buffed to a flatteringly pink sort of tenderness. Would you like for me to throw myself into the oven until I've turned a golden brown? Because I'm about to—it'd be preferable to this travesty waiting to happen."
Tsunade did not even flinch.
"Hello, darling. Are you all set? Wearing the white dress we had made a few weeks ago when we announced the festival?"
The queen thought she heard the girl sigh, but dismissed it. What could Sakura possibly have to be unhappy about? Tsunade quickly inspected her, and, upon finding nothing wanting, dismissed Sakura just as easily.
"Ah! Good. You've worn my old emeralds. They do match your eyes, dear heart."
"I know, Mother. You've told me, a few hundred times," she said, lowering her voice on the last four words.
"What was that?" Tsunade asked, finally raising her head to look her daughter in the eyes.
Tsunade was saved from any other quips by the timely arrival of a servant.
"Your Majesty," the footman intoned drolly, "King Itachi and his retinue have just been sighted at the borders."
Tsunade nodded approvingly, looking at the golden, gilded grandfather clock standing in state near the entrance to her office. She'd always liked punctuality in a man—it was always nice to know that they'd be coming when they said they would. She made a check in her mental black book. King Itachi was looking quite fine, in her opinion.
She turned to Sakura, who had been absently arranging her skirts.
"Well, daughter. Let's go, shall we?"
The first thing Sasuke registered when he awoke was the warm, moist pressure against his right cheek. He hissed, and started to rise from where he'd been on his back, only to be stopped by an insistent hand.
"You should stay where you are," the owner of the limb drawled laconically. "You're not quite healed yet, and you need to be, for what's coming."
Sasuke, who'd succumbed to the hand's insistent pleasure, tried to reply, but could not get past the parched dryness of his throat. He looked up, blinking blearily at the man above him, but could not make anything out beyond what appeared to be a black face mask that obscured most of his features, and a shock of white-gray hair.
"Who…who," he rasped, hoping he'd be understood.
The figure's one visible eye crinkled, and Sasuke wondered if he was smiling.
"I," he said simply, "am your Fairy Godfather."
I hope it's fairly obvious. :)
More to come!