The Pros and Cons of An Arranged Marriage

Chapter 3: Con 3:

"Flag Poles?"

A scream sounded from the King's chambers, one of utter fury and startled horror. It echoed across the lands; having the citizens' glancing in the general direction of the castle while the countries bordering Tomato Country believed it was the howl of a tortured demon (which, given the current scenario, was quite apt). This, however, merely created a particularly juicy rumour for the various rumourmills and, by the time it reached Tsunade's ears in Katsuya, Tomato Country had become infested with demons' who would howl in agony if they came into contact with sunlight. Katsuya's Queen snorted, rather loudly, at such notions but never brought up the fact she was grateful Anko, the Demon Slayer, was with her daughter.

Back in Tomato Country, completely unaware of the newest rumour surrounding the country and willingly locked away in the highest tower of the castle, Sakura glanced up idly at the scream. Her hands didn't pause in their task of sewing together clothing for her soon-to-be inlaws. She pulled off her sunglasses for a moment, careful not to look at the cloth as she did so, "Minato-san, what was that?"

The blond popped up through the pile of dark and eye-pleasing clothing they had collected. "It was just your future husband discovering his closet. Nothing to worry about. In fact, in just a moment he will check his secret stash of clothes and realize he didn't hide it properly." There was another, rather similar to the first, scream and Sakura shrugged after a moment, agreeing with her new ally. Said ally was working on the second phase of the attack. "How's the sewing coming along?"

"Nearly finished, I just need to add the frills to the cape and the King's clothes are complete. Then we are all set for the second stage." Sakura's smile, although more than acceptable in polite society and even in the less than polite society of the courts, had a bit of an edge to it.

"Wonderful!" Minato's smile was bright, and only slightly intimidating- particularly for the Uchiha who managed not to faint while being close enough to see said smile, "Then we can set up the Flag Poles."

It would later be remarked that the Uchiha should really know better and that, instead of panicking as they did, that perhaps they should have looked into what the Ghost was doing. This is thought, however, fled much like the paintings did during the flooding of the castle.

Oh well.

We departed from the plotting of a woman scorned and a Ghost who was having the most fun he had in years, to visit two knights on the greatest quest of their lives. The search for the Holy Grail. A drink so potent it could knock the strongest of drinkers flat in a daze. A drink so mythical, even the Orochi fell under its spell (Orochi tends to swear whenever someone bring this incident up, and promptly begins citing the various reasons and circumstances that prove he was not drunk after drinking the Holy Grail. Kyuubi usually snorts at this and mutters something akin to 'oh sure you weren't, just like you weren't hogging the bathroom the next day as your guts weren't trying to see sunlight.') Alcohol blessed by the gods.

Golden Saké.

And, though they had been thorough, Anko and Obito had yet to find said mythical drink (but honestly if a drink was truly mythical then chances are that it would take more than a week's search to find it. Even with the 'research' under their belt of all the bars they had already visited). No, they had been quite thorough, if Obito's groans from under what used to be a table were anything to go by.

The general blinked wearily, rather wishing he hadn't when there was a sharp pain in his head, adding to his pounding headache. With a groan, his hand came up to rub the bump on his head that hadn't been there yesterday (he hoped). Attempts to pull up memories from the previous night were met with pain and Obito briefly considered just knocking himself out again until the hangover had passed. He did remember entering the bar with Anko, they had been discussing the pros and cons of archery, and then he had gotten drunk (Anko hadn't even been tipsy he thought with disgust), and then… something. He wasn't sure what, but something had happened.

With a grunt, that sounded more like he was dying, Obitio shoved the remains of the table off of himself. Sitting up he discovered that the world had started to spin since the previous night, and that the Something had done quite a bit of damage. This is something of an understatement, of course, but Obito is hungover and trying his best so please give him the benefit of the doubt and try not to speak too loudly to him.

Whatever the Something had done, it must have been impressive Obito thought as he surveyed the damage. The Bar Owner seemed to alternate between twitching and banging his head against one of the three remaining walls. Nothing had escaped unscathed. Stools were broken, some appeared to have been used like baseball bats, the tables were either mostly intact or in little bitty pieces taking up space on the floor. Numerous people were in similar positions as Obito (moaning from where they had dropped and only slightly dazed and confused as to what had had happened the previous night) which made Obito feel slightly better. "Oi! Anko-kun? You alive?"

The fallen wall seemed to combine both actions of the Bar Owner as it began shaking violently. Finally it flew off, with the patrons of the bar barely managing to get out of the way of the debris. The leg that sent it flying retracted back, and more cursing was heard over the moans of pain (the loudest of which came from the Bar Owner as another wall collapsed from the force of Anko's kick).

The purple-haired knight emerged from the wreakage proudly, an unbroken beer bottle in hand, which she promptly took a gulp of. "I'm alive, Obito-chan. A little stiff, but alive. I don't think we found the Saké though."

And she doesn't even sound hung over, the Uchiha General growled to himself. He pulled himself to his feet, wincing when the world swam for a moment. "Then the search continues!" This declaration was decidedly less impressive when the General fell forwards, finger still pointing dramatically to some unknown point in the distance.

Anko brushed the dust off of her clothes, before stepping through the destruction and reaching for her 'guide.' Pulling the General back to his feet with one hand, the Demon Slayer tried to figure out the easiest way out there. The door (which had, against all odds, survived the Something and contently still on its hinges) was probably the safest now that pieces of the roof were coming down now.

Leaning the General against her, Anko began making her way to the door occasionally taking a sip of her beer. The Knight and General were forced to stop when the Bar Owner jumped in front of them, the remains of a stool in hand and a slightly crazed look in his eyes. "And where do you think you're going?"

Anko actually paused at the sweet tone, while Obito rather wished he was sober enough to either draw his sword or hit the ground and run. "Uh… elsewhere?"

"Oh no." The demented laughter had Anko's brow raising, "No, You're not leaving until this," A wild gesture that seemed to either encompass the remains of the bar or was an interpretive dance of chickens 'warking.' "Is paid for!"

In the ensuing silence a beam fell, sending up clouds of dust on both parties. "Okay then. How much will it cost to repair?" Anko glanced around, "I mean, it's only two walls and a couple of booths, a counter and some stools. It can't cost that much to fix."

The Bar Owner twitched violently, and privately Obito thought that he should see his doctor 'cause that couldn't be good for him at all, before pulling out a piece of paper and all but slapping it into Obito's hands. The General stared at the tiny, nearly illegible writing that could charitably be called scribbles, headache pounding increasing when he realized what it said. "Oh man. Shisui is going to kill me."

Anko raised a brow then glanced at the paper herself, whistling softly (though it was still loud and more like a standing next to a boat horn going off to Obito). "I wouldn't blame him."

Which made Obito feel so much better.

Sasuke stumbled out of his room, dazed and confused, much like the rest of his family. Shisui appeared soon after the King ran into a wall, equally unnerved as the rest but had years of practice of hiding sheer panic and thus appeared to be calm and collected, before dragging Sasuke to the War-room, "Your Majesty, I know this is traumatic event, but hold it together sir!"

Sitting Sasuke down forcefully at the head of the table, the Advisor could only sigh at the other dazed expressions. It would make following the procedures a little more difficult but, fortunately for Shisui's sense of order, not impossible. "Now, Sasuke- snap out of it! Before they take the tomatoes!"

With a sudden jolt of reality the King returned, eyes narrowing into such a glare that one of the vases was sent running (inwardly Shisui sighed with relief). "How did this happen?" The tone wasn't quite as cold as his brother's, but still cold enough for icicles to form on the beams overhead. "Someone explain what happened and how we plan to fix it so that the clothes are returned and the kidnapper's head becomes a decoration."

The Head Servant coughed, "We are currently unsure as to what happen, your Majesty. All we know is that not a single wardrobe was spared from this attack." The Head Servant pushed the report on the matter forward on the table. "It could be considered an act of war, but we don't know who is responsible."

Shisui thought about it for a moment, before pulling the laws and regulations tome that all of Tomato Country abided by to confirm his thought. He flipped it open to 'W,' bypassing the civil war rules and settled on the clothes. "… The following are considered acts of war upon noble Tomato Country… Crossing the border in blue clothes and red shoes on a Wednesday… Stealing all clothes and burning them…"

"Before you go too far Shisui, don't forget we don't who did this. For all we know it might make this a civil war." The Head Servant reached over and closed the tome, much to Shisui's disgruntlement.

"I bet it is Madara's fault!" (Off on his beautiful beach, Madara sipped his lemonade with one of those funny little umbrellas in it, completely and totally unaware of the utter chaos his descendants were experiencing. Though, he might just laugh even if he did know anyway).

"Nah." The Head Gardener, recovered from his three-day staring contest with the Thundercloud, spoke out. One of his hands idly playing with a trowel, and his wizened gaze traveling the table, "This smells of the Ghost, only more out going than usual."

"But," Shisui countered, "We haven't done anything to tick off Yondaime recently."

On the other side of the table, shifting uncomfortably, the Head of the Anti-Ghost Brigade appeared to be sucking on a lemon, "Uhh…" The soft spoken word drew everyone's attention to the man, who increased his nervous shifting. "Well, we did leave the Outsider in the Ghost's tower."

There was a collective blink, and Sasuke suddenly recalled the woman who had fainted in his throne room over a week ago. "… He can't possibly be upset about that."

There was silence for a moment, interrupted by a bloodcurdling scream of, "PINK! It's pink! My clothes are neon PINK!"

"Apparently," Shisui said mildly after a moment, "he is."

The King sighed and glanced at his Advisor, only to stare. Shisui blinked at the sight of his King's eyes watering and followed the gaze to his robes. His Neon Pink robes. Robes that had once been blue and black with just the right hint of red. In fact, they had been that colour just a moment ago… so when had it changed? How had it changed?

As Sasuke watched his advisor pass out from shock, his attention turned to the rest of the Heads and their now pink clothes. He blinked away the tears, it was worse then onion juice, the colour was blinding in nature and amplified by the dark colours of the castle. With steadfast stubbornness Sasuke refused to glance down, not even the snickers of 'frills!' could halt him in his ignorance of obvious facts.

Sasuke was saved from further snickering by a winded servant arriving, neon pink clothes clashing horribly with the doom/gloom atmosphere of the castle, though matching well with the new curtains of a similar colour but different shade, "Sir! I have found parts of the wardrobes!"

The sighs of relief were palpable, and the news revived Shisui. "Wonderful! Where are they?"

The servant shifted in a manner that had Sasuke's hopes plummeting. "Well, sir… it's just the underwear." Another shift. "… And they're on the roof, flying from the newly installed… flag poles."

"Flag poles." Shisui repeated, ignored the sound of Sasuke's head hitting the table. "We never ordered any flag poles." (Actually, Shisui truly didn't order any flag poles. But Minato did, with Shisui's money which made them Shisui's Flag Poles according to Visa. Shisui really should pay more attention to his bills).

"Nevermind the Flag poles, has anyone tried to retrieve the underwear?" The servant's eyes watered when he turned to his king, which only confirmed that Sasuke Really Didn't Want To Know.

"Sort of, your Majesty. A couple of servants have tried to retrieve the clothing articles."

Sasuke raised a brow, "And?"

"They only made it up halfway before the Ghost appeared and… dumped glue and sparkles on them."

It was Shisui's head that hit the table this time, and that was before Obito's forwarded bill hit the table.

Over in the deepest, darkest cavern that Ame had to offer, another Uchiha was finishing his paperwork. He rather wished assassination reports could be delegated but the one time his cousin did a report for him, his boss had been less than amused (though he didn't understand what the problem was, even the forged signature had been perfect). Honestly, if he had known how much paperwork involved in assassination he may have chosen a different career. Alas, that was not the case as he filled out apparent cause of death and actual cause of death.

This Uchiha, much like Madara, was unaware of the chaos that was transpiring in his home country over the past few days.

However, others in Ame had. "Oi, Uchiha. You're from Tomato Country, right?"

The assassin glanced over to Kisame, a fellow killer. "…Yes." There was an unspoken, 'what of it?' in there and the blue man grinned.

"Then have you heard what's happening over there?" It was the shark grin that had the Uchiha pausing momentarily in completing the country of death. Taking this as a sign of curiosity, the shark man continued. "Apparently everyone in the castle is wearing pink, and there's underwear flying on the flag poles. Been like that for a week now."

It was a testimony to how surprising this knowledge was to the Uchiha, because he actually blinked, "…What?"

"I know. Even the boss can't explain it either. And the Demons are just as confused as the rest of us. Kyuubi is even considering sending that brat of his to ask what the Hell is going on."

…Oh dear.

Perhaps it was time to pay his sibling a visit.

She didn't understand Tomato Country's fascination with dark colours. She really didn't. Or why they thought everything could be matched with red. Sakura made a mental note to talk to Minato about that.

Her heels clicked softly against the marble floor of the Throne room in a dramatic way that she had mastered back in Katsuya. Sakura rarely had to use it back home, mostly because she didn't feel the need to intimidate anyone there with 'The Heel Clicks of Power' (her reputation from the sparring grounds left most very wary of her). But Tomato Country would be lucky if they realized she didn't have to use the Heel Clicks of Power.

Minato had assured that this was the most likely place to meet her future husband, and Sakura hoped that this was true. It was time to set the record straight: she was Katsuya Royalty and more than capable of defending herself. And if that didn't work, she would just point the fact she had already proven that, with help of the supernatural variety, she could bring this palace to its crying, shivering knees.

With a smirk that wasn't quite evil, and was eerily similar to her mother's, Sakura made her way up to the throne itself. It was rather beautiful, she mused, considering it was coming from the most insane family she had ever had the displeasure of meeting. Carved black marble, with great attention to detail, and scarlet pillows that looked very comfy. Whoever had commissioned the throne had great taste, she would have to find out who it was and get their opinion when she started renovating the castle (which she would, whether or not the King agreed to this, as his punishment was only just beginning).

As she stood beside the throne, noting the attention to detail to the border, one of the double doors opened and then slammed shut. The person who entered was slight, male and the bright pink clothes he donned Sakura could recognize a mile away. Frills and everything. Closer inspection showed his onyx hair suffered from a cowlick in the back, and his face was beginning to appear angular in nature.

This was the King of Tomato Country?

…He was rather short.

And he hadn't noticed her yet.

Now that needed to change. Sakura gave a light cough. It was comical to see the King freeze before glancing up at her from the floor where he had set his brooding gaze on. He was young, Sakura realized, impossibly young. Too young to be ruling a country. No wonder Tomato Country was so messed up: its monarchy was messed up (to what extent, Sakura had to discover). Eyes of coal met hers in brief surprise, before the emotion disappeared.

… Damn he was pretty.

Pushing that thought far, far away, Sakura tilted her head. "So," Sakura began softly, though it echoed throughout the room, "You're the King of Tomato Country." Her father would have frowned at her mocking tone, but Sakura was still less than amused with her missing knives and the fact she had woke up in broom closet to care much for politeness at the moment. "I've been meaning to ask: had enough yet?"

AN: So... I found this lurking on my hard drive, polished it up a bit and decided to post it for your amusement. I do hope you enjoy. : D