In which Sasuke finally comes into contact with his long-dormant hormones. But before he can do anything about it, his scary older brother has to find a love interest first. Easier said than done… which is why Sasuke's taking things into his own hands. ItaSaku non-massacre AU, in which everything is all well and good (mostly), and the Uchiha Clan and Team Seven are all still very much intact and as lovingly dysfunctional as always.
Prologue: In Which Sasuke Plays Matchmaker
"You want to what?"
Sasuke frowns, both at his father's incredulous tone, and at the fact that his mother appears to have stuffed her right fist in her mouth to prevent herself from squealing with joy. Meanwhile, Itachi, dressed in his ANBU uniform, merely smirks and continues sipping his orange juice, like he hadn't very discreetly choked on it not a few moments earlier.
Sasuke scowls a little, and repeats his statement.
His mother, thankfully, sets the hot mug of coffee down in front of his father, before hugging her younger son around the shoulders affectionately. "You don't have to mumble it like that, Sasuke; I think it's wonderful that you finally want to start dating!"
Itachi's smirk only grows more pronounced from behind the pitcher of orange juice, and a very slight glint of amusement is visible in even Fugaku's eyes, over his copy of this morning's newspaper. "Mother," Sasuke croaks, feeling himself grow redder and redder upon the scrutiny of his father and elder brother, "I did not say that."
"You mumbled with an incoherence and lack of enunciation that is quite unacceptable for members of this clan," Fugaku clarifies. "None of us are quite sure what it was that you said, but it seems like your mother got the gist of it rather well."
Mikoto only smiles cheerfully, patting Sasuke on the head as she picks up some of her medical scrolls from the table. "I think the little café near the hospital would be a lovely place to take dear Sakura-chan out to dinner tonight, Sasuke…"
Upon registering this statement, Sasuke blinks, fidgeting with the collar of his dark green jounin vest. "Mother. I'm not taking anyone out tonight. I said I might want to in the future…" – like three weeks from now, when this certain someone gets back from her mission – "but not…now."
"Oh," Mikoto deflates somewhat, visibly disappointed, while Itachi continues to passively observe the interactions between his family members, as usual.
Fugaku sniffs, setting his newspaper down in order to look over at his eldest son. "It's all very well; personally, I think it is rather unseemly that Sasuke should begin…courtship…before Itachi."
Now, it's Sasuke's turn to smirk, as Itachi sets his glass of orange juice down, startled into participation. "Father, you know that I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in such trivial and meaningless endeavors," he deadpans.
Sasuke considers mentioning that Itachi has no interest in anything besides being the perfect ANBU Captain – and perhaps finding a way to uproot that giant stick from his ass – but then decides that it is too early in the morning for a sudden death match between himself and his elder brother, anyway which is what articulation of the aforementioned statement would certainly result in.
"You're twenty-four; almost twenty-five," Fugaku counters. "Your mother and I were married by then, and you have yet to look twice at any eligible kunoichi from the village."
The tension at the table elevates a notch, and Sasuke channels his inner Naruto (a frightening thought indeed), by leaning back in his chair and sneering slightly at his brother's expense. "Yes, well, Father," Sasuke drawls, consequences be damned. "I think we all know that my aniki is rather…special."
Itachi's eyes narrow slightly, and a spiderweb crack appears in his empty glass. "Don't say such foolish things, little brother."
"Calm down," Mikoto chides, preempting Sasuke's retort. "Itachi just needs to find somebody exceptionally, ah," – she pauses diplomatically, searching for the right terms – "intelligent, dedicated, beautiful, capable, strong, and talented."
Sasuke tries to mask his laughter by faking the act of choking on his waffle.
"Hn," Itachi mumbles, sounding completely unconvinced.
"Well, Itachi, let the romantic aspirations of your younger brother provide you incentive to follow in his footsteps," Fugaku declares, before rising from the table and kissing his wife on the cheek gratefully. "After all, Sasuke will not begin courting his intended kunoichi until you have found yours."
This time, Sasuke doesn't fake choking on his waffle. Mikoto rushes to his side, rubbing his back in a concerned fashion, while Itachi just raises an eyebrow a fraction of an inch, completely unaffected by his father's proclamation. "Interesting," he muses, watching his father slip out the door. "I presume that this means I hold the key to your happiness in my hands, Sasuke."
There is a pregnant pause, in which the three Uchiha remaining digest this potent fact.
Obviously, Itachi has no intention of finding a kunoichi to 'court.'
And until Itachi does find a girlfriend, which will clearly only happen when hell freezes over, neither can…
Sasuke's eyes widen slightly as he realizes what this means for him.
Mikoto slaps her son on the back of the hand lightly. "Sasuke!"
Itachi smirks; now that his brother has effectively been reduced to the deepest pits of misery, his day has officially gotten off to a properly efficient start. "Well, then," he drawls, rinsing off his glass in the kitchen sink, before kissing his mother on the cheek. "I have to be at the office early – thank you for breakfast, Mother." He nods to his slightly openmouthed and still aghast younger brother, still smirking. "Have a…pleasant day, Sasuke."
Sasuke mumbles something under his breath that may possibly have been die, bitch, die.
After Itachi is safely out of the kitchen and out of sight, Sasuke gives a long and despairing sigh. Mikoto winces, gently brushing a long lock of hair out of his eyes. "You know that your father only wants what's best for you and Itachi – he wants to see both of you happy, not just one. Besides, this might be the push your brother needs."
Due to his mother's sweet, optimistic, and loving nature, Sasuke refrains from mentioning that Itachi just frankly does not give a damn, and is hardly any more likely to find a girlfriend now than he would have been a week ago. As a matter of fact, he wouldn't put it past his brother to actually continue his celibate and solitary lifestyle for another few months or years or forever, just in order to spite him. He sighs again, in his most world-weary fashion, before kissing his mother on the cheek that Itachi hadn't contaminated with his evil sadisticness. "I'm going to find Naruto and Sakura – the mission doesn't start until around noon, but Sakura and I don't trust Naruto alone for that long."
Once alone, Sasuke shoves his hands in his pockets as he walks out of the Uchiha compound, the image of contemplative brooding, as he thinks dark thoughts.
Damn Itachi. Stupid Itachi. He hates the bastard, he really does.
Now, what exactly is he going to do about it? Offing Itachi would be the obvious choice, but he doesn't really want to step in as heir to the clan, so there must be another way.
The solution, Sasuke muses, after a few more moments of thought, is really quite obvious. As Itachi has no inclination toward finding a girlfriend, he's going to have to take matters into his own hands. Which, in this case, means…
Setting some poor, innocent and completely-undeserving-of-their-cruel-fate kunoichi up with his scary older brother.
Easier said than done, of course, and Sasuke shudders almost imperceptibly at the very thought, but it must be done.
The beginnings of a plan begin to form in his head, and Sasuke looks up at the sky quickly; judging from the position of the sun, it's roughly eight thirty in the morning. He has until noon, and one thing is for sure – the next three and a half hours are sure to be a few of the most difficult hours of his life.
Project: Find Demon Spawn A Girlfriend
Target One: Inuzuka Hana.
As he strides down the streets of Konoha, Sasuke has managed to calm himself somewhat. Hell, his brother isn't ugly, he supposes, with a slight twitch of revulsion. He consoles himself with the idea that it is a matter of Uchiha clan pride; there hasn't been a single female born to the clan since their mother was a child, but all the males (at least, according to the kunoichi in their acquaintance), with their dark hair and eyes, proud, tall bearing, and handsome, aristocratic features, are widely considered to be almost unnaturally good looking.
On top of that, Hana had been one of his brother's genin teammates, along with Aburame Tessai, Shino's older brother. If there are two other people in the world able to kind-of-maybe-sort-of understand the enigma that is Uchiha Itachi, Tessai and Hana would have to be the two in question. However, judging by his gender, Tessai is quite ineligible…but even Sasuke is able to admit that Inuzuka Hana, despite being a veterinarian, of all things, is a capable and attractive kunoichi. And even though she is part of the somewhat redoubtable Inuzuka Clan, she is thankfully a great deal more polite and well-mannered than her younger brother, which makes her a highly viable choice.
Due to sheer chance, Sasuke almost runs into the logical choice in question as she is leaving a medical supplies store, one arm covered in bags of medicine for the Inuzuka dogs, and the other arm covered in toys for them. Sasuke, being the young gentleman that he is, promptly offers to take all of her bags of medicine and walk her to the clan's kennels, an offer to which Hana responds gladly.
"I've hardly ever seen you around since you've made jounin, Sasuke-kun," Hana sighs, patting his cheek affectionately, with her free hand. Sasuke pulls a face, but due to Tessai and Hana always training on the Uchiha compound's private grounds with his brother as a genin team, he has known her since he was very young, so privately, he doesn't mind quite as much as he pretends to.
"I've been busy," he replies evenly. "I suppose Kiba told you that he, Sakura, and I went on that three-week infiltration assignment to Rain a month ago?"
Hana laughs at the memory. "Yeah – I still can't believe that you had an allergic reaction to Akamaru's wet fur. Although," – she elbows him playfully – "it looks like the swelling and hives have cleared up rather well."
Sasuke flushes a little. "Yes. Very well indeed."
Hana sighs, basking in the cool winter sunlight. "It's good to hear. Anyway, Sasuke-kun, I know you always meet Sakura-chan and Naruto-kun out by Ichiraku or the hospital – both of which are on the other side of town. What brings you to my neck of the proverbial woods?"
Sasuke hesitates for a moment, before deciding that being up front would be the best possible course of action. "Hana…how would you feel about, ah, dating my…" – psycho elder brother – "Itachi?"
Inuzuka Hana stops dead, her clear brown eyes widening alarmingly as she stares at him, obviously convinced that she had misheard. Sasuke blinks, considering whether to repeat himself, but then, inexplicably enough, Hana starts to laugh. It's not a mocking kind of you're-so-crazy laughter, but genuine, contagious laughter, and if Sasuke weren't so puzzled at the older kunoichi's inexplicable fit of merriment, he would be feeling the urge to smile himself.
In the end, Hana ends up sitting down on the nearest bench, still giggling somewhat as she sets the bags of dog toys down with her. Feeling somewhat perplexed, Sasuke follows. Women. "…Hana?"
Hana wipes at the corner of her eyes. "Sorry, Sasuke-kun. It's just that," – she smiles at him, pulling the long sleeve that half-conceals her left hand up, and Sasuke blinks as he sees the lovely silver-and-topaz engagement ring that adorns her ring finger – "This means you're the first to know."
Sasuke gapes momentarily, and then remembers his manners and congratulates her. He helps her to her feet, and they continue on their way to the kennels. "Tessai?" he guesses.
Hana nods, smiling slightly. "It was really early this morning – during sunrise – as we were just relieved from sentry duty."
They are at the gates to the kennel, now, and Hana thanks him as she takes all of the remaining bags, before making him promise to come over for tea sometime. Sasuke congratulates her again as he leaves – it is a wholehearted sentiment, even though the one woman whom he thought would be his surefire option for Project: Find Demon Spawn A Girlfriend has now been rendered completely ineligible.
However, this only means that the entire project will be more of a challenge…and he happens to excel at challenges. Still, Sasuke frowns slightly as he racks his brain for a kunoichi who would fit the high standards expected by the Uchiha Clan…
Project: Find Demon Spawn A Girlfriend (At Any And All Costs)
Target Two: Hyuuga Hinata
As Sasuke easily swings himself over the ornate gates that shield the secluded, forest-bordered Hyuuga compound from the main grounds of Konoha, he wonders (again), if this is the proper plan of action. At first glance, Hinata would be the perfect candidate to court an Uchiha – the Hyuuga and Uchiha are distantly related, and both of them are equally proud and noble clans. Hinata is the heir to her clan, and Itachi to his. In some aristocratic way, it therefore makes sense, and there have been Hyuuga and Uchiha intermarriages before, even though they are quite rare.
Sasuke slips through the forest, his dark green turtleneck and jounin vest blending into the cover offered by the trees, in search of the private training grounds often frequented by the Main Family. Hinata is an accomplished jounin and kunoichi as well, even though her mastery of her bloodline limit doesn't come close to her elder cousin's. The only thing that could prove to be a problem is her…timidity. Sasuke scowls slightly at the very thought; he cannot recall if Itachi and Hinata have ever met at a family gathering, but he has the marked feeling that his brother's scariness and the aura of general icy inapproachability that emanates from him would probably make Hinata faint on sight.
On the other hand, he thinks of that often-touted principle of romantic chemistry – opposites attract. In theory, if anybody could melt away the evilness of his Demon Spawn of an elder brother, it would be sweet, innocent, gentle Hinata.
Sasuke twitches slightly at the very thought. Never in his wildest dreams had it ever occurred to him that he would ever be going around matchmaking for Itachi, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
He hears the echo of soft voices drifting through the trees, and Sasuke stiffens, flinging himself behind a large oak tree. From this angle, he can just make out Hinata, going through the patterns for the Kaiten. Her movements are swift and graceful, and the fluttering of her long blue hair is the only way he can separate her from her surroundings; she wears the same dark green turtleneck and vest that he does.
Sasuke hates to interrupt her at training, he really does, but this is urgent, and he doesn't know when else he can get her alone. Testing his stealth, he creeps through the forest bordering the training grounds until they are only a few meters apart, and then Sasuke waits for her to come to a stop. Seizing the moment, he strolls out of the forest casually, as if it is a common occurrence for him to take little strolls through the restricted grounds of the Hyuuga forest. Her back is to him as she stretches, preparing for her next form, and Sasuke clears his throat softly.
Upon hearing the unexpected sound, Hinata swivels around, and promptly turns all kinds of red upon being intruded upon. If it had been Neji or Hanabi, Sasuke probably would have been lying in a twitching, jelly-like mass on the ground by now, but Hinata is too courteous for that. "H-hello, Sasuke-kun," she stammers, trying to look less confused than she is. "I-It's nice of you to drop by…" she gestures to the deserted tray of tea nearby. "D-did you want something to drink?"
Sasuke almost sighs at Hinata's sheer niceness. Over the years, he has come to know her quite well, through family gatherings and the occasional mission, but he will never understand how anybody could be quite so…sweet. It's a little refreshing, really. "Maybe later, Hinata," he says levelly. "I was just wondering if I could ask you – a question, of sorts."
Hinata has a naturally helpful nature, and she brightens slightly. "O-of course!"
Here goes nothing, Uchiha. "…Would you be interested in dating my…" – evil incarnate – "elder brother, Itachi?"
Sasuke doesn't blame her.
Then Hinata wobbles dangerously.
Sensing trouble, Sasuke lunges forward – causing the innocent heiress to the Hyuuga Clan to faint and go into a comatose state would be very bad for relations between the two clans.
Hinata grabs a nearby tree to steady herself, instead, a look of pure horror on her face as she debates how to reject the outlandish offer without grievously insulting the pride of the Uchiha Clan. "A-Ah, I d-don't quite know how to s-say this…" she trails off, looking absolutely miserable, although her eyes have fixed on a point somewhere behind him and over his head.
Sasuke, feeling the prickling of something approaching remorse, inches closer to his distant and obviously traumatized younger cousin, stretching a tentative hand out to pat her on the shoulder or something—
"Excuse me?" a smooth, silky voice cuts in, and the aura of murderous intent in the training grounds spikes so much that for one terrifying moment, Sasuke thinks that Itachi has found him.
"N-no, Neji, it's okay, really…" Hinata squeaks.
Sasuke pales somewhat.
So it isn't Itachi.
Sasuke debates sprinting out of there as fast as his remarkable speed will take him, but then the choice is taken out of his hands. By the fact that he suddenly finds his back against a tree, an inch away from the murderous-looking prodigy of the Hyuuga Clan…Hyuuga Neji himself.
Sasuke is almost inhumanly stoic, like all good Uchiha, but even he cannot restrain a minute gulp of trepidation upon finding himself nose-to-nose with his brother's second-in-command of the ANBU forces.
"You," Neji pronounces, his voice dripping disdain, with one chakra-loaded palm positioned near Sasuke's heart. "And your brother, and any other eligible male of your clan, and any other eligible male of this entire village…will stay away from Hinata. Far away." The chakra-loaded palm inches closer. "Is that clear?"
Normally Sasuke would never allow himself to be intimidated into compliance by another individual in this manner, and normally, he would Chidori a straight hole through Neji's left kidney for even attempting such a thing…but Mother would never forgive him.
Sasuke stares up at the elder Hyuuga, giving as good as he's got. "Crystal," he replies sardonically.
Neji steps back a pace, his eyes narrowed. "Good. Now get out."
As Sasuke turns to go, he sees Hinata offer him a tiny, remorseful wave, which he returns – having a completely overprotective older cousin isn't her fault, after all.
Neji just glares.
As Sasuke slinks out of the Hyuuga Compound, resisting the urge to curl up and lick his wounded pride, he tries his best to resume plotting. Hana – thwarted by her engagement to Tessai, a childhood friend. Hinata – thwarted by her murderous and scarily overprotective cousin.
Now, who else?
Sasuke thinks of the older female jounin of the village first. He personally holds respect for Kurenai, a talented genjutsu specialist, but she is happily married to Asuma. Yugao Uzuki, one of the only female ANBU members, has been in a relationship with Hayate Gekko for years. It is a well-complained-about fact among the males their age that there is a sore lack of eligible kunoichi in Konoha, but Sasuke hadn't fully realized the magnitude of the problem until now. The pool is narrowed even further, because Sasuke can count the number of females that Itachi has ever even talked to on one hand.
Sasuke stops dead on the small path – it's perfect, albeit in a completely frightening and sick way. She and Itachi are both mildly cruel and sadistic, and share many other qualities in common. Hell, they could torture innocent little genin together. The younger Uchiha seriously considers the idea for a while, and in the end, decides to abandon it for purely selfish reasons. Anko would just be a bad influence on Itachi and vice versa, anyway. They'd probably end up taking control of Konoha and turning it into an evil empire…so, no.
Sasuke dismisses the idea after a few steps; it's true that Shizune often tends to Itachi's wounds, but Sakura has long suspected a secret flirtation going on between Shizune and Shiranui Genma. And no matter what the rest of his redoubtable qualities are, Uchiha Sasuke most certainly does not break happy couples up.
Sasuke doubts that Itachi has ever even seen Ino, and besides, she's with Shikamaru, and…
Sasuke freezes in his path, his gaze darting to the downtown area of Konoha, as he marvels at how he didn't think of it before. With that, he sprints off in a cloud of dust, hell-bent on getting there as fast as humanly possible.
Nobody stops Sasuke as he sprints through the glass double doors of the hospital, straight up three flights of stairs, and runs through fifteen corridors without even stopping to catch his breath. His sharp eyes pick out the inscription on each door, and finally he arrives at the general checkup area. It takes a moment of concentration, and then Sasuke's chakra-sensing skills hone in on one particular, distinctive chakra signature.
The door is at the very end of the hallway, and Sasuke skids to an abrupt stop, before flinging the door open and falling into the checkup room unceremoniously. "Sakura!" he barks, his normal composure cracked somewhat by the stress of the past hour or so.
There is a heartbeat of silence, before Sakura finishes healing the shallow kunai slashes across Aburame Shino's upper arm. Shino raises an eyebrow at him, and Sasuke considers repeating himself, in case Sakura had been too fully focused on Shino to hear him or notice the sudden interruption—
And then the scalpel whistles through the air, aimed in his direction, and only his quick reflexes prevent Sasuke from being pinned by the ear to the opposite wall.
"Sasuke-kun, I don't care if you have another horrible migraine brought on by stupid drinking contests with Naruto, you're going to wait your turn like everybody else," Sakura says with a smirk, even as she slides the bandage up Shino's newly healed arm, tying it with quick, yet gentle efficiency.
Sasuke bristles somewhat and stands in the corner and glowers until Sakura finishes her inspection of Shino and sends him on his way with a smile. Extinguishing the flame of chakra in her hand, Sakura sighs and rolls down the sleeves of her olive green turtleneck, turning to him again. "Good morning."
Sasuke wastes no time with the social niceties, instead slamming the door of the room shut and locking it behind him, before advancing on her. "Sakura. I have something important to ask you."
Sakura makes a face at him, before quickly rolling a chair between them. "Your intensity can be cute sometimes, but right now it's just disturbing, Sasuke-kun."
Sasuke swipes the chair out of the way easily, before falling to one knee in front of her. "Sakura, will you—"
Sakura backs up to the window, and the expression of confused horror on her face can easily rival Hinata's. "What the hell?" she yelps, effectively and unpleasantly interrupting his frequently-released proposal. "Sasuke-kun, I thought we agreed it didn't work out after that one date when we were sixteen…"
"…Will you go out with Itachi?"
Sakura freezes. "…What?" she asks, in her most deceptively harmless tone.
Sasuke pushes a few long locks of hair out of his eyes irritably. "Will you date my brother?"
Sakura's bloodcurdling screech echoes around the hospital.
to be continued
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