The Inheritance

Chapter 3
The One Whom She Chose

After the first time she had nearly tripped as he rushed her out of the expansive dance hall, he gathered her up in his arms and almost ran out of the building with her. Her cheeks flamed hotly and she concentrated on the unyielding blackness of his jacket. Within moments the whispers were starting like a coil. She had a sudden urge to just bury her face in the crook of his neck and she probably would have if it wasn't for the fact that she feared what would happen if her father or Masato-kun saw. She was worried enough about the repercussions of just leaving the Honda heir when this man had asked her to dance. He burst through the glass doors leading out to the veranda, and she wrapped her arms around his neck with a breathless shriek when he jumped.

Several feet in the air.

Her stomach plummeted as the ground came rushing down to meet him, and this time she really did bury her face in the crook of his neck.

There was a sort of jolting sensation, but she couldn't quite bring herself to look around and see the source of it. All she could do was trust this man—whose name she still didn't know—and hope that he didn't drop her. The night air had more bite to it than she expected and she shivered.

As if a key had been turned in some lock, he quite suddenly stopped. There was no more jolting, no more sensation of movement. The night breeze played with the curls of her hair, but it wasn't until something warm settled over her bare shoulders that she was able to pull away and look at him. When she took notice of her surroundings and the fact that they were in a tree, she promptly squeaked and wrapped her arms around his neck again.

"I'm not going to let you fall." There was more than just slight annoyance in his voice, as he slid his arm around her waist and Sakura had to bite her lip to stop herself from squeaking again when he pulled her against him.

Flushing, she forced herself to pull back from him just a little bit. There was something about him, although she wasn't quite sure what, that made her want to trust him. As long as she didn't look down she would be fine.

By the gods, she hated heights.


The moment Sasuke had disappeared with Imonoyama's daughter, Hinata was tracking them. Although it was a positive sign that no one had died yet, she was still worried with how strangely he was acting.

"Where's Naruto?"

She didn't look over at Kakashi-sensei when he appeared behind her. "He's harassing the caterers over the lack of ramen."

The silver haired jounin let out a long suffered sigh. "Of course he is."

"Sasuke has kidnapped the target." She watched him from the corner of her eyes, curious to see his expression. The champagne flutes he carried still covered the bottom half of his face.

Kakashi blinked and followed her gaze in the direction that Sasuke had disappeared to.

"Well, isn't that interesting…"

Hinata eyed Kakashi curiously, not entirely surprised by his lack of response.

"Is that going to be a problem?"

Kakashi followed Hinata's gaze, but unsurprisingly his face revealed nothing.


Her scent was so soothing. For the first time in a long while Sasuke was content to just hold someone. He liked the way that she pressed her lithe form to his. Her slender arms wrapped around his shoulders as she took notice of their surroundings. She trembled slightly but he wasn't sure if it was from the slight chill in the air or her apparent fear of heights. Either way it really didn't matter.

Sasuke wrapped his arms around her -- after all he didn't want her to get cold -- and settled his hands on her hips. She didn't seem to mind, she wasn't tense like she had been when she had noticed the man she had previously been dancing with staring at them. It was strange, but he almost felt like grinning when she rested her head against his chest.

"Thank you."

It only occurred to him, as he closed his eyes at the soft, lilting quality of her voice that he realized he really hadn't heard her speak. Her fingers curled into his suit jacket, and Sasuke knew that he would be able to stay like this for as long as it was necessary to convince this woman that she belonged to him. No longer did it matter that the mission would require him to be in constant contact with her in order to infiltrate her father's organization. That thought left a sour taste in the back of his throat that he decided he wouldn't think about just yet. Tonight's purpose had been to just seek her out and hold her interest long enough for her to invite him back. By the way she was relaxing against him so easily, Sasuke knew that this first part of the mission was already accomplished. He would relish in the time that he could spend with her tonight.

The silence that followed her words was interrupted only by the sweet trill of bird song. He didn't care to interrupt it and was content to breathe in the way her scent mingled with the sweet blossoms that surrounded them.

"I just realized something." She said, finally breaking the silence. "I don't even know your name."

"Sasuke. Uchiha Sasuke." His surname seemed to almost be said as an afterthought. As if he was reluctant to reveal it.

It was foolish to reveal so much information—especially on this estate—where he and his affiliations could be tracked back too easily. It was foolish…but, Gods, her scent was intoxicating and the traces of bare skin that his fingers touched were so wonderfully smooth. Besides Itachi was always telling him what a foolish little brother he was, wasn't he?

"Sasuke." She said his name slowly, and he savored the way it seemed to just roll off her lips.

Sasuke looked down at her just as she pulled her head away from his chest and looked at him. He should have despaired at how impossible it was for him to stop himself from tucking a loose tendril of pink hair behind her delicate ear, but he was too fascinated at the rosy flush of her cheeks and how her blush crawled over her pale skin. He pulled her closer, relishing in the way her skin flushed even darker, and he curled his fingers and cupped her jaw so that the pad of his thumb rested against her. He smirked as her breath hitched, and felt something rather dark and primal when her painted lips parted so slightly.


Was he going to kiss her? Gods she wanted him to kiss her. There were so many things wrong with this situation, too many things that she knew she would be paying for in the morning. After all, her father had been so very specific that she favor Masato-kun. (What did that say about her that a man could intimidate her so easily that she couldn't even think about him with the honorific?) The reasoning for that was something that she understood all too well and the possibility scared her witless. Yet, here she was, up a tree, and all of those very real, very serious repercussions seemed so very unimportant at the moment.

Really, all she wanted was for this man, this Sasuke, to kiss her.

His dark eyes burned with something that might have been dark amusement, and Sakura wondered if, perhaps, he knew exactly what he was doing to her, and was only taking that much greater amusement in doing so.

That thought alone was enough to cause her skin to burn with a vague humiliation, but before she was even able to retort and demand that he bring her back to solid ground he had tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. His touch burned and she couldn't help but swallow thickly when his thumb rested against her neck.

Sakura was quite certain that the term devastatingly handsome had been created solely for this man.

That girlish, feminine part of her—the part that she always needed to keep buried around her father's associates if she wanted to maintain her sanity—wanted to ask him to kiss her. She wanted to tug on his unruly, spiky hair, and lower his head until he was kissing her. She wanted to demand that he kiss her.

She had never been kissed by someone she truly liked before.

The memories of kisses that had been an assortment of wet, harsh and painful, and demanding was enough to sober her enough to allow herself to concentrate on something besides the feel of him. She tried to remember if she had ever told him her name and failed miserably. Gods, those eyes were mesmerizing and was she hallucinating or could she really see flecks of crimson in those obsidian depths.

"What?" His mouth was moving and he looked a little too smug by the time Sakura realized that she had actually tried to say something.

It was times like this when she was thankful that women seemed to have a separate brain for their hormones.

"My name." Her voice caught and she flushed. "My name is—"

"Sakura." The tones of his voice were so rich that it reminded her of melted chocolate and her eyes half fluttered shut.

Against her will, Sakura found herself half slumping against him and was so very thankful when one part of her brain managed to connect that he did indeed know her name, but wasn't that a bit odd?

The part of her that was having a difficult time not concentrating on his heat honestly couldn't remember if it was odd or not.

Still the memory of what had happened the last time someone she was unfamiliar with had known her name was fresh enough that all she needed was to take a deep breath and curl her fingers so that her nails were digging into her skin, and Sakura was able to look away from him and pull away from his embrace enough that she could breathe again. When she dared to glance back up at him, the look in his eyes had soothed into something that was a bit more contemplative.

She wasn't still quite sure if the flecks of crimson were the result of that horrible memory.

Suddenly she felt so very cold.


"How do you know my name?"

When the sweetness of her scent had changed, become tainted with something that was vaguely reminiscent of fear, he had expected her to say something. His skin crawled uncomfortably—that damnable itch was back—at the possibility of her being afraid. He was confident enough with the knowledge that it wasn't because of anything he had said or done, but the hint of fear was unsettling. Her eyes were uncertain, and the hand that she placed on his chest shook ever so slightly.

It was a painful reminder as to whose daughter she was, and the reason he was even given the chance to approach her in the first place.

If he had been capable of it, Sasuke would have given her a charming smile that would have allayed her fears. A smirk didn't seem appropriate, and at a loss he settled for his default, a coldly neutral expression. He tightened his grip around her waist and pulled her back towards him (after all, it wouldn't do if she fell out of a tree) and touched her silky hair.

"You are the only daughter of Ryuichi Imonoyama-sama." It was difficult to say the words. "It's rather common knowledge."

She went so very still and he could feel her starting to withdraw from him. Sasuke tightened his grip on her waist, tensing to jump off the branch. He should have known better. Even before he had activated the curse seal, he had never been very good at censoring his words. Even if they were truth.

"So is that the only reason you…"

Her voice trailed off when he tensed, and he took advantage of the uncertainty in her eyes to pull her closer so he could gather her properly in his arms. She muffled her shriek in his chest as he leapt down from the tree.

He really didn't know how to answer her. If he denied that he came to this party simply because of whose daughter she was then it would be a lie. He had lied to people before and it caused him no great regrets. After all, it came with being a ninja. Lies and deception were part of the job, part of who they were. What he didn't like was the thought of what would happen if she found out that he had lied to her.

For some reason the thought of her rejecting him for something so trivial made him feel sick…and it caused his blood to burn with something dark and horrid.

He couldn't even dare to risk telling her a lie. If it wasn't for Naruto he might consider it—he certainly couldn't trust the dobe to keep quiet about something like this.

So he grit his teeth, and smoothed her hair as he set her down on the ground. He took reassurance in the way her hand lingered on his chest.

"The reason why I came here," Yes, that sounded like a good way to start it. "Is because of an invitation that I received from your father…"

He didn't like the way that her eyes darkened.

"I didn't approach you because of that." The words were flowing out of him before he could stop them. "I say you dancing with…with that man." I wanted to kill him. "I saw you afterwards. You looked lonely. I—" He wanted to say that he could relate but it was too difficult to form the words.

Even though Sasuke felt so horribly awkward he liked the way that her cheeks pinkened and her wonderfully green eyes flicked downwards. He curled his finger around a stray, pink curl. His hand splayed on her hip, and he really couldn't think much past the pounding in his blood. He didn't bother to try and stop his growl as he pulled Sakura close until her breasts were nearly crushed against his chest. He smirked at the way that her breath quickened and he grazed his freshly trimmed nails over her pale skin. He didn't like how her dress showed off too much skin as his hand curled over the slender line of her neck.


His touch was so hot against her skin that had been cooled by the chill in the air and she shivered. Sakura knew what was happening, she could taste it, and she couldn't quite stop herself from wetting her lips at the hot gleam in his eyes. She was hardly even aware that she had whispered Sasuke's name or that her eyes had fluttered shut because, at the end of the day, these were all rather unimportant and clichéd things and he was kissing her.

There was something so unbelievably possessive about his kiss. She had been kissed by overtly possessive men before and always they had made her stomach roll with something horrid. There was nothing horrid about Sasuke's kiss. Her hands gripped his jacket as he cradled her jaw, his other hand resting on the small of her back, the tips of his fingers touching the bare skin just above her dress. She moaned low in her throat when he nipped at her lower lip. She liked the firm feel of his body and his heat, and the way that he refused to let her at least attempt to take control.

It was like being in the tree. The subtle play of his muscles that she could feel, even though the layer of clothing, should have scared her. It should have terrified her that she was helpless to do anything but respond to his silent demands.

She just didn't like the way she felt cold and lost when he pulled away suddenly.

Her heart was pounding in her ears, and even as she brought her fingers to her lips, she found herself wanting more. Sakura felt unbalanced with him not touching her, and she grabbed his arm, flushing when she realized how she liked it when he wrapped his arm around her waist in a manner that was every bit as possessive as his kiss.

It took her several moments and several calming breaths to realize that someone was calling. They were calling for Sasuke, which was a relief.

He growled something under his breath that had her looking up at him. Something about ramen and idiots. She really didn't understand, but he was guiding her to the path that led back to the pavilion.

They didn't speak on the way back, and the silence was comforting. She had been on too many dates, with too many men who had only talked about useless things and only made her feel like an object.

When they came back to the pavilion she wasn't entirely surprised to find people waiting for them.

Sakura tilted her head at the silver haired waiter that seemed to be lingering on the edge as if waiting for them, before disappearing inside. The couple that was waiting for them seemed…different, somehow, from anyone that she had ever met. The woman was attractive in a way that Sakura had always secretly hoped to be with long, dark hair that fell gracefully over her shoulders. Her milky eyes were unusual, but made her appear exotic, there was something about the way this woman held herself at her companion's side was a certain grace that Sakura had always tried to achieve when her mother was still alive. It was the woman's—Hinata, she was vaguely aware of Sasuke introducing her— companion that made her pause and give him a closer look.

Her first impression of him was that he was…bright.

When he grinned in her direction she couldn't stop herself from smiling shyly. She felt a little foolish, but they seemed kind enough. Of course, all of this seemed rather unimportant because she was glancing past the couple and into the ball room. There was Masato-kun and her father glowering at her in that horrible way and it would have had her backing away if it hadn't been for Sasuke's arm around her waist she would have backed out towards the gardens. She couldn't quite stop herself when her hand groped for his arm. Her back twinged uncomfortably with shadow pains, memories, and she swallowed thickly.

She didn't hear the questions that Sasuke's—were they friends?—companions were asking her. All she could concentrate on how they were stepping closer, passing through the French doors, and the expression on her father's face was horrible. She was hardly aware of the gasp from Hinata or that strange sound that reminded her of the growl of a wild animal. It was hard for Sakura to concentrate on anything else but the almost menacing way that he said her name. She didn't know who it was that said it, all she knew was that she needed to get away.

"Sakura." Her father's mouth was pulled into an awful grimace as his hard viridian eyes glanced over at Hinata and her escort before finally resting on the man behind her. "Who is this?"

She had to swallow several times before she could force herself to speak.

"Daddy…this is Sasuke and…" she tried to remember their full names and failed. "His companions. Sasuke-kun was kind enough to walk me around the gardens."

"Sasuke?" Masato-kun's voice was filled with contempt. "So he doesn't even warrant a last name."

Sakura's eyes went wide as they flew to her father, and what she saw on his face made her stop.

"You…" Her father's voice sounded an octave higher then normal. "…you're an Uchiha."

It was strange, but she had this odd feeling that there was something going on that she didn't quite understand. Her father looked too pale and when she turned her head she noticed how Hinata's eyes were wide and her blonde haired companion looked wary. It was only then that she realized that the arm around her waist was tighter, and his chest seemed to vibrate with something that was so very close to a growl.

Sakura swallowed when her father pinned her with that horrible glare. Then he was turning away, nodding briefly at Masato-kun. "My apologies, Honda-san, but it appears that she has already made her decision. Perhaps," and she was quite certain that he hadn't meant for anyone to hear it, "if something were to happen…" and then they were out of earshot.

It was only years of experience that told her that they had come so very to avoiding something…She bit the inside of her cheek at the horrible memory of the tang of blood, and she couldn't quite bring herself to turn around and look at the one behind her.

The one, she just realized, that her father was expecting her to marry.

It's been ages since I update. Sorry for the wait.