Stop And Say You Love Me

Summary: [Challenge fic for Vesper chan] AU He was a powerful, cunning lord and a recluse amidst his peers. She was the adoptive daughter of his two most trusted friends and hinted to be courted by another man. Against their rationale, they fell in love. [Orochimaru x Sakura]

A/N: If you see any asterisks (*) by any words, those are the exact words Vesper chan wanted to be used in the challenge. Just that it would be easier to spot them if I indentified them in the most inconspicuous way possible. This one-shot is dedicated to everyone OroSaku fans out there! Let's have this pairing take over the Naruto fandom, shall we?






"Dance With the Devil" by Breaking Benjamin

Disclaimer: Haha, me? The owner of Naruto? Believe me, kiddies, if I had my way, Naruto would have been completely different. Mark my words.


The cries were faint at first but his hearing was keener than a fox's so he managed to pinpoint the location of the pitiable noise. Racing towards the outskirts of town, the young ebony-haired man was soon faced with a mewling and thoroughly soaked young child huddling next to a scraggly copse* and near a raging, torrential stream that foamed with the refuse and muck of the city.

The moonlight shimmered down on the weeping child and he was shocked to see that her hair was the color of maiden's blush, like the petal of a soft, pink rose. He approached her slowly, his mind whirling with thoughts of where this strange, foreign girl came from and why was she all alone. Where were her parents? Did they forsake her or were they buried in the hard, cold earth–thus rendering her an orphan.

Clearing his throat, he voiced out, "Hello. What are you doing here, little one?"

Lifting her head up slowly, the young girl sniffed out, "T-They're g-gone. M-Mama and P-Papa…I c-couldn't save t-them." Another doleful wail broke free from her lips, crystalline droplets mingling with messy strands of fuchsia pink.

Orochimaru cocked his head at the young girl; she had to be only eight or nine years of age. How long had she been sitting out here, near the river, sobbing her entire heart out for the whole world. He squatted down and grasped her chin, tilting her head upward until his amber eyes were locked onto the most dazzling, brilliant shade of emerald.

"What's your name, little one?"

After a few seconds of sniffling and drying her eyes, she replied shakily, "S-Sakura. My name i-is S-Sakura H-Haruno." She ducked her head back between her legs again, as if she was afraid to have eye-contact with someone for too long. Orochimaru chuckled slightly at her shyness but her pitiful, depressed state touched a chord in his heart and a wave of commiseration washed over him as Sakura resumed her weeping.

This strange child from nowhere had no one to rely on, no one to provide or care for her, and no one to protect her from the cruelties of the world.

Just like me…

Orochimaru understood how crushing and savage the world could be and no young being like Sakura should be thrust into its darkness at such a tender age. Unlike him, Sakura would be saved from being tainted by the city's vileness.

"Sakura," he called out once more, his soothing and rich timbre akin to crushed velvet, "Do you have any other relatives that can watch over you?" The roseate head shook itself slowly, her tiny shoulders shuddering with another fit of sobs. With downcast eyes, Orochimaru gathered up the mourning Sakura in his arms, rather astounded that she didn't struggle or scream in protest or fear. Perhaps she was too wrapped up in her grief to notice.

"I'm going to take you to my home, Sakura, and you'll be safe there. I know some people who'll love to care of you. They're very good companions of mine." Like magic, Sakura jerked her head up at his words, faint hope blazing in her teary viridescent orbs.

"R-Really?" she whispered, griping the sleeves of Orochimaru's coat tighter. He nodded as he walked back to his carriage, making sure he maneuvered around the poorer areas of the street and away from the sooty smoke* that billowed out of grimy, foul factories that slaved their workers away in wretched conditions. He was rather relieved he had the foresight to have his carriage nearby after he was overcome with the urge to take a short stroll through town. Finding Sakura had cut into his walk but not that he minded.

Opening the door of the phaeton, Orochimaru gingerly set Sakura against the sumptuous, downy pillows and satin upholstery of the coach before taking a seat across from her. The small rose-petal haired girl yawned and rubbed her eyes, curling herself up as she nestled her head against one of the soft, hunter green pillows.

"Will your friends like me? Are they nice like Mama and Papa were?" she asked him drowsily, her eyes blinking laxly.

"I'm sure Tsunade and Jiraiya will adore you," Orochimaru replied smoothly, smiling inwardly as Sakura drifted off to sleep, "I'm sure they'll be wonderful surrogate parents to you, Sakura."


"Sakura! Lord Orochimaru will be arriving shortly! Are you dressed yet?"

The said female brushed a few tresses of carnation pink out of her viridian eyes before dashing to down the stairs madly, her free hand hitching up the skirt of her dress so she wouldn't trip on the hem during her descent down the stairs.

"Yes, Mother, I am!" she called out, her shoes clinging melodiously against the polished marble floor. Her parents, Lord Jiraiya and Lady Tsunade of Penbary, were already waiting for her as she walked towards them, her scarlet silk gown swishing softly with every stride.

Sakura, of course, was always elated at the prospect of Orochimaru stopping by for a visit. He was the very man who found her nine years ago when she was merely nine and brought her back into a lifetime of happiness and love. Besides her parents, he was one of her most favorite people in the world. Even though he was recluse to some, he would always make journeys to see his 'lovely blossom' and hear how she was doing. Intelligence oozed out from him and it was Orochimaru who become her chief tutor and sharpened her mind till it was on point of being unbreakable. She was very fond of him and he was to her. Her adoptive father, Jiraiya joked that Orochimaru had cosseted* her when Sakura had been a child but Orochimaru vehemently denied the claim–although Sakura noticed a faint sheen of humor in his amber eyes every time he did.

"How long will he be staying this time, Father?" Sakura inquired passionately, eager to see Orochimaru for it had been months since she last rested eyes on him, "Please tell he'll be with us more than a day!"

Jiraiya smiled at his daughter's excitement, relieved he could deliver some delightful news to her so her good cheer would not be spoiled. "He told me in his last letter he'll be staying for about a week–perhaps two–in our company."

Fresh joy sparkled in Sakura's pupils and before her parents could stop her, she rushed out of the house while declaring imperiously, "I'm going to greet him!" and hurried to the stables. Her horse had been saddled for her just as she arrived and she gave a quick, grateful smile to Lee, the stable boy, who always helped her take care of her steed. Lee flushed a million different shades of red* before declaring how youthful and beautiful she was.

"Thank you kindly, Lee," Sakura replied drolly, suppressing an amused grin before she kicked the sides of her ebony destrier and galloped towards the decorative coach of Orochimaru.

As soon as she was in sight, a pale head with long, luxurious hair that was color of a starless night sky poked itself out of the window, golden eyes gleaming with unbound brilliance and silent rapture as the young pink-haired female rode over to his side, a wide, bright beam splitting her face in two.

"I had esteemed that you would ride out to greet me, Sakura," stated Orochimaru in his smooth, liquid-like timbre, "It's a pleasure to see you again."

"Likewise, Orochimaru," Sakura replied giddily, pulling back on the reins firmly until Takeshi, her faithful horse, slowed down to a steady trot, matching the hansom's gait. "What brings you here? Are you simply visiting us like last time?"

He nodded slightly, the wind sweeping some of his silken sable strands up and around in such a mystical, bewitching fashion that for a moment, Sakura felt breathless. Here, with the wind whipping around him and his gold eyes fastened intently on her, he looked so majestic, so incredible that he seemed…alluring.

Wait, what?! What did I just think?


Jerking her head up at the sound of Orochimaru's fluid voice, Sakura banished the peculiar musings to the recesses of her mind and focused her attention back to the quizzical man beside her. "Sorry about that, Orochimaru, my mind wandered off. You were saying?"

"I was telling you that my other reason for visiting is to inform your parents of some news that is crucial to them. It's extremely urgent." All amusement that had once been in his timbre when she arrived was gone, replaced with a solemn, ominous tone, one that cause Sakura's back to stiffen and become just as serious and alert as the owner of the dark, foreboding lilt. She nodded slowly, fiercely wondering what could possibly make a recluse like Orochimaru so concerned with the outside world.

Some dire event must have occurred, something that he won't tell me!

Before she could opened her mouth and question Orochimaru further, the carriage stopped and he stepped out, a slight, partial smirk adorning his lips at the sight of Lord Jiraiya and Lady Tsunade coming out of their estate like the perfect, generous couple they were.

"Greetings, Orochimaru," called out Jiraiya, mirth dancing in his eyes as he clamped his hand on the leaner man's back, patting him heartily as he spoke, "Long time no see, eh?"

"You could say that, Jiraiya," Orochimaru replied wryly and the four socialites walked back into the house, just in time for supper.


"So," began Jiraiya, taking a shallow drink from his crystalline wine glass, "The Uchihas are stirring up more trouble?"

Orochimaru nodded affirmatively. "That is correct. We already know that Fugaku's eldest son, Itachi, ran off several years ago ere Madara and Fugaku attempted to poison his mind." He paused, watching the merlot swish around in his glass before resuming. "I occasionally have bumped into Itachi every now and then. He's doing remarkably well now that he is finally free from the shackles of the Uchiha name. Of course, his father was Madara's right hand man so what could one have expected?"

"Indeed," agreed Jiraiya, shaking his head before quaffing down the rest of his glass and setting the crystal goblet on his stand. He then grasped the merlot bottle and poured himself another glass of fine, elegant wine. "Would you care for some more, Orochimaru?"

"No, thank you. I actually prefer brandy, if you don't mind." Wordlessly, Jiraiya handed him the decanter of brandy with a tiny smirk on his face.

"I didn't know you indulged in high spirits."

The golden-eyed man rolled his eyes as he sloshed some of the amber liquid into his vacant goblet, wishing his old friend from childhood wouldn't always sidetrack from conversations. "Jiraiya, back to the matter at hand."


The Lord of Penbary's visage immediately darkened, a solemn aura shrouding the genteel noble yet Orochimaru could detect a fearful glint in his dusky eyes. "Orochimaru, for the past few months, my darling Sakura has been courting Sasuke. It is what Madara wishes." He snorted in repulsion and quickly drained the rest of red wine prior to resuming. "Now, Sakura can't stand the lad, despite the fact she once was half in love with him several years ago but that's beside the point. The problem is, Madara managed to corner Tsunade and me and now, if we try to separate the two of them, he says we'll regret our folly."

Sighing heavily, Jiraiya raked a tan hand through his niveous hair as he leaned back into his velvet-lined chair. "I am terrified of what he'll do to Sakura or any of our friends if we displease him, Orochimaru. Once, I held more power than him and now, I might have to sacrifice my only daughter in order to keep her safe."

Frowning, Orochimaru uttered nothing as his clasped his hands together and focused his mind deeply at any possible way he could get Jiraiya and his family out of this unsavory mess. The fire crackled jocosely against their bleak silence as the two men drank and pondered in a grim lull, their listless figures still as statues*.

Abruptly, an epiphany struck Orochimaru in full bloom and his eyes widened at the realization he just came across. Lifting his head up to meet his comrade's gaze, he began thusly, "Jiraiya…why don't you and Tsunade allow Sakura to spend some time with me. Think about it; while I keep her safe and educated, you and Tsunade can spend the time you need to gather your allies and hatch a plan to shake Madara off your backs. Madara has just as many foes as he has comrades." The quick-witted recluse cut his cunning amber orbs at the Lord of Penbary, his scrutiny intense and penetrating as he awaited Jiraiya's answer.

No sooner had he offered the suggestion did a toothy, triumphant grin break across Jiraiya's face and he immediately jumped out of his chair, reaching out to shake Orochimaru's hand rather vigorously.

"I knew you would pry something out of that sly, shrewd mind of yours, Orochimaru! If Madara throws a hissy fit, I'll explain to him that I felt Sakura needed to be trained a bit more and you were the right person for the job. In fact, I'll even drop false hints that you'll be teaching Sakura in how to be a good wife." He winked at his peer and Orochimaru couldn't stop himself from smirking.

"Tsunade and Sakura will absolutely murder you if you say that."

"Not if they don't find out!"


A potent zephyr whirled through Sakura's bubblegum tresses however the willful young girl paid no attention to how the wind was tangling up her hair. It had been a week since she agreed to accompany Orochimaru on his trip back home while her parents attempted to sever their connections with Madara and the rest of the Uchiha family. The last entity she wanted was to become Sasuke's bride–the prospect was so utterly revolting!

Thank God for Orochimaru's brilliant scheme. Surely, within a few months, my family and I can be free from Madara and I can marry whomever I wantand love.

A frown emerged on her face as Sakura tried to concentrate on reading the book before. The truth was she had never really found someone that she could truly love for the rest of her life. Ever since her sickening infatuation with Sasuke many years ago, she had been much more cautious with her heart and guarded it fiercely so no one could shatter her heart the same way Sasuke did.

"I thought I would find you here, Sakura."

The said young female snapped her head up and smiled softly at Orochimaru, setting her book down as he took a seat next to her. "I'm afraid you know me more than I know myself sometimes, Orochimaru," she replied good-naturedly, viridian eyes glittering with much humor as the lips of her pale, tutelary* companion quirked up into a dark smirk.

"Well, I have assisted Tsunade and Jiraiya in raising you ever since I found you by the river nine years ago. I should be able to comprehend you by now. " he remarked swiftly. He then drew up a small package and placed it on the mahogany coffee table in front of Sakura. "It's from your friend Ino. She claimed you would need some music in my chilling and gruesome manor."

Sakura laughed at his choice of words, recalling the time he had overheard the boisterous and bossy blonde lecturing Sakura how dangerous Orochimaru's abode must be because of its "chilling, gruesome nature" or "his home looks like it popped out a gothic novel that houses vampires!"

"Ino was only exaggerating. I find your home to be quite snug and secluded, which I like very much." stated the roseate-headed socialite drolly as she began opening up the canvas package with methodical care. "Yet I do wonder what she could have gotten me…" Her outward musing trailed off when she conjured up a small but lavish music box*. The background was a pitch-black, matching Orochimaru's caliginous hair. Crimson thorns were decorated all over the ebony box, along with silver stars and a gilt moon that reminded Sakura of Orochimaru's orbs. Along the sides were fancy, lacquered sterling silver trimmings, making the tiny trinket seem to be a gift for a princess.

"What a lovely music box," remarked Orochimaru placidly, "And I thought she would have gotten you one with dancers, flowers, or something more feminine."

"Ino knows me well enough that I don't care for such frivolities," Sakura answered with a wicked grin as she wound up the box, "But I can't wait to see what song this one plays!" An eager glint in her eye, Sakura finished turning the gears around and set the music box down, waiting for the prelude.

Suddenly, a soft, steady but haunting melody trickled out of the beautifully painted treasure, the dark cri de coeur inside of the music reminding Orochimaru of a tragic incident. As he watched Sakura closely, he noticed a mark of recognition bloom across her features, such as her lips curving upward in a most pleased manner while her eyes glowed as she contently listened to the beginning notes of the litany.

"Do you know this song?" she queried offhandedly, espying the slight furrowing of his eyebrows as his gleaming topaz orbs surveyed her relaxed form meticulously. Orochimaru shook his head slowly, never tearing his gaze from the vibrant female in front of him. Sakura smiled and stood up, like a songstress preparing herself for her audience.

"Then I'll sing it to you, Orochimaru. I know this song by heart."

Before he could protest, she closed her eyes, opened her mouth, and all the sweet, plaintive words began pouring out, echoing mockingly in serpentine man's perfect ears.

"Here I stand, helpless and left for dead.

Close your eyes, so many days go by
Easy to find what's wrong
Harder to find what's right.

I believe in you
I can show you that I can see right through
All your empty lies, I won't stay long
In this world so wrong."

Leaning back in his onyx leather settee, Orochimaru resisted the urge to hang his head in his hands. He had been fearful of this, of another act wrought by Fate herself to torment him by compelling him listen to the voice of his fierce, lovely Sakura.

Orochimaru gritted his teeth subtly yet frustration still coursed through his veins. He conceived he shouldn't be harboring such affections for the pink-haired girl who was exceedingly younger than he was and the adoptive daughter of his two most trusted companions. Yet despite her age, Sakura possessed a keen, astute mind that almost matched his own level of intellect and she grew well beyond her years, making her more mature than most of her peers. And unlike the other women, she wasn't construed of glass or fragile like her namesake. No, she had a backbone of solid steel and impregnable will that no one could ever break, no matter how potent or clever they were. Sakura was no simpering chit, she irrefutably was force to be reckon with. A paragon* of female independence and strength–that was another trait he always admired in her.

"Say goodbye,
As we dance with the devil tonight
Don't you dare look at him in the eye
As we dance with the devil tonight.

Trembling, crawling across my skin
Feeding your cold, dead eyes
Stealing the life of mine."

With utmost force as possible, Orochimaru banished his inner musings of his clandestine affinity for the vivacious emerald-eyed female and instead, harked to Sakura's singing. Her tone was by no means perfect however the song she was warbling did not require someone with an angelic voice. Her timbre was rather husky and raw, yet the clarity and resoluteness ringing in between each verse complimented the melody magnificently. To Orochimaru, it seemed she had been singing this tune frequently and could mutter the lyrics in her sleep. She appeared to be familiar with each and every word, deftly forming one expression after the other, akin to a blacksmith ironing and molding the blade to a flawless, evenly balanced sword.

"I believe in you
I can show you that I can see right through
All your empty lies, I won't last long
In this world so wrong.

Say goodbye,
As we dance with the devil tonight
Don't you dare look at him in the eye
As we dance with the devil tonight."

He was suppose to guard her, protect her, not fall in love with her! All this was absurd, he shouldn't be indulging himself in such ridiculous fantasies.

Besides, it's not like she'll reciprocate my feelings. After all, there are plenty of young bucks who are scrambling for her attention, eager to win her heart and then gain her hand in marriage.

The single thought of some mere boy wedding Sakura shot through Orochimaru like an ferocious arrow of silent, icy rage. Since the Sasuke incident, he observed from afar how Sakura locked her heart away from others, never dabbling in romantic interludes. Her pain became his pain, her joy was his joy, her sorrow transmuted into his sorrow, and so on forth. If anyone ever hurt his Sakura the same way Sasuke did, retaliation would be slow and agonizing and the wrongdoer would soon rue the day he had been born.

"Hold on
Hold on.

Say goodbye,
As we dance with the devil tonight
Don't you dare look at him in the eye
As we dance with the devil tonight.

Hold on
Hold on."

The dulcet, final notes from the music box waned away slowly as Sakura's warbling came to close, finishing the last few verses of the melody. When the song struck the end, Sakura turned her verdant gaze back to Orochimaru, her cheeks flushed and rosy from exertion. With a half-smile, he nodded and clapped politely, ignoring the tumultuous pulsing of his own beating heart.

"Marvelous, Sakura! Your voice painted a vivid picture in my mind," he lauded, regalement flickering through him when Sakura dismissed his comments away with a regal wave of her hand.

"Oh, please, Orochimaru. We both know my singing leaves much to be desired."

He chortled mirthfully. "Sakura, I've heard worse. Trust me on that. Your tone may be untrained yet it matched the song remarkably well. It's such a shame I never heard this song before."

"Well, now you have," replied Sakura promptly, smiling as she moved to grab her music box.

Consequently, Orochimaru had predicted her actions and erstwhile was reaching his arm out to retrieve the musical token for her, not even noticing Sakura's hand approaching until it too late. When the alabaster, dark-haired man felt the smaller hand of Sakura rest on top of his, he felt his body constrict and then stiffen, while his heart thumped a rate quicker than a thundering herd of wild mustangs.

Just when he was about to apologize and lift his hand, a jolt of electricity zapped through him, stunning him to the core for a brief moment. Orochimaru never felt such a sensation before yet heard all about the feeling from giggling, whispering young maidens or gossiping harridans who kept a watchful eye on anyone who was about to fall from the pillars of society. A sign of attraction, they would remark with either a blissful sigh or a knowing, lurid glance.

Orochimaru sucked in his breath. This was wrong, all of this was highly unacceptable; he couldn't be falling in love—


The golden eyes belonging to said man snapped in her direction, concealing the inner turmoil rolling hectically inside his head. "Yes, Sakura?"

"Is something amiss?"

Glancing down and noticing that his hand was still covering Sakura's, Orochimaru removed the hand and let it rest at his side as he took a slight step back from Sakura. From that short moment between them, they had been nigh, too close for propriety's satisfaction. He wouldn't make that same mistake again.

"No, Sakura. Everything is perfectly fine," he lied through his teeth and exited the room, leaving a perplexed Sakura clutching the ornate music box to wonder about what had just betided.


Dipping her pen into the inkbottle, Sakura swiftly continued writing her letter to Ino, the events of yesterday still wallowing in her mind. Never in her life had the proximity betwixt her and Orochimaru had been that great–why they only were a hair breadth away!

"Due to certain circumstances that have been beleaguering my mind, Ino, I feel impelled to ask you a private inquiry that you mustn't tell anyone," mused Sakura out loud as she wrote all the words on the stiff paper she obtained from her stationary, "You once spoke about being in love. What is the feeling like, Ino? How do you know that you love a person even when you yourself are uncertain about the emotion?"

Sakura's hand stopped short, for realization had begun to settle over the troubled female. She was just about to ask Ino about advice on love and she had only been mulling about the concept ever since Orochimaru accidently touched her. Despite his cool, calculating demeanor, his hand had been warm and the action alone sent a beautiful, tingling sensation down her spine and flooded through her limbs with some new, incredible impression that she had never experienced before in her entire life, not even during her period of besotting Sasuke.

What does this mean? Could I…be attracted to Orochimaru? Perhaps in love with him?

She set her pen down, assaying to comprehend these thoughts swirling about in her head. She knew Orochimaru for an extremely long time, for nine years or so and held him in the highest regards but never had viewed him in a different light, one construed out of romance. The prospect never occurred to her, she never had been much interested finding someone to love after she turned fifteen.

Sighing, Sakura focused back on her letter in spite of the fact Orochimaru and her feelings towards him still revolved perpetually around her mind.

Hopefully Ino can help me out. I'm sure she will have some suggestions for me to heed and use.

Ending the missive with a respectable, "Yours truly, Sakura", the pinkette left her room and the mansion in high hopes to find the postman who could deliver the letter pronto and obtain a reply within a week.

Waiting a week for Ino's response and her inputs on the conundrum would be utter torture for Sakura (who desired an answer now) yet she was resolute to resolve the situation and see if she, indeed, was harboring a passionate affection for Orochimaru.

In the mean time, she simply had to be careful and keep her distance so there wouldn't be a repeat of yesterday afternoon.


The tawny glow of the oil lamps casted a magical, dazzling luminesce over her sun-kisses features while darkening her maiden's blush tresses and accentuating the shape and texture of her lush, full coral pink lips.

Orochimaru quelled this unwonted introspection the instant the baffling thought intruded into his brain and caused his blood to boil for a couple of seconds prior his usual fluid, collected nature controlled himself from behaving so oddly.

At least she wasn't eating so close to him that he could count her eyelashes.

"Any more news from my parents?" Sakura asked cheerfully, slurping some steaming tomato soup. He shook his head, he had been pondering about their progress with Madara as well.

"Nothing new has been reported from the last missive they sent us, which was two days ago. My conjecture is that Madara is still seething at the fact that I sprinted away with you while your parents busy undermining him from beneath."

"Good riddance, I say," grumbled Sakura, contempt flashing across her visage at the mentioning of Madara, "I absolutely despise that man. I hope Mother and Father can some rid us of his presence once and for all."

"If only it were so easy," Orochimaru remarked sardonically, fathoming the ruthless obstinacy of the Uchiha leader when it came to getting his way. If Madara planned to strike at Sakura to sate his vendetta against Jiraiya and Tsunade, then he must tightened security around his manor and hire more sentinels. That option seemed to be most promising and effective.

As they wordlessly ate their supper, Orochimaru noted how rather peculiar Sakura was acting. When she thought his attention was somewhere else, she would sneak cursory stares at him, studying his form as if she was trying figure a problem out or piece a puzzle together. A couple times, he had noticed her blush faintly whenever their hands or fingers brushed up against each other every time they passed bowls or plates of food to each other. At first, he dismissed her behavior, simply believing it was trick of the light and he was imagining things. But as the meal grew on, the signs continued and subtly became more frequent.

Fighting against himself to simply ignore the matter altogether, Orochimaru set his napkin down on the table and in a rich, lucid timbre, asked:

"Sakura, is something bothering you?"

The said female jerked her head up, looking just like a child who was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. "N-No, nothing is bothering me at all. I am quite content, there's no reason for you to—"

"Sakura," interrupted Orochimaru, pinching the bridge of his nose, "you're rambling. Which means something is on your mind."

With a sigh, Sakura gloomily nodded, terrified to reveal to him what had been plaguing her thoughts recently ever since she had written and sent the missive to Ino. "You're correct, and I feel rather nervous to tell you, Orochimaru."

I'm so frightened that you'll reject me and our relationship will never be the same. You've been like an uncle to me and a dear, invaluable friend. I don't want to ruin that, ever.

One nigrine brow arched upward, conveying her to continue. Sakura bit her bottom lip anxiously. She couldn't turn back now, he espied all the fixated glances she had been giving him and now, she had to confess everything. It was a disaster waiting to happen, she sensed that, but she had no where to run, no other way to cover her up.

What's done is done. I cannot wait for Ino's letter, this is something I must do on my own!

"Do you remember the day when I received that music box from Ino?" she began bluntly, deciding to get straight down to business and not beat around the bush. Orochimaru nodded yet she glimpsed him stiffening slightly after her question. Was he sensitive around that topic just as she was?

"Distinctively." he answered crisply, his face suddenly becoming a pallid mask, devoid of all emotion. Sakura almost faltered from this but her tenacious, fiery spirit blazed through her, urging her onward and to tell him the truth.

"To be candid, Orochimaru, I…can't get that moment out of my head." She leveled her viridian orbs squarely at him, watching his fingers curled up and the tendons in his arms tense and coil as if he was bridling a potent force inside of him. "I don't know about you, but I don't think I can ever forget that fateful day." She stood up from her chair, walking over to his side and against her better judgment, placed both hands on his face. A sharp hiss escaped Orochimaru but the sound wasn't out of displeasure. Sakura could practically feel beads of sweat forming on her temples while her heart hammered erratically inside her ribcage, threatening to explode right out.

"Sakura…" rasped Orochimaru, his timbre heavy and husky, as he bore his cunning golden eyes at her emerald ones, "Don't…" She smiled sadly at him, brushing a lock of sable hair out of his face.

"I can't, Orochimaru," she replied softly and leaned down to deliver him a kiss.

As Sakura's sweet lips eclipsed over his own, Orochimaru froze, his entire body immobilize by the power of Sakura's display of love. He wanted to respond somehow, to move his arms and encircle them around Sakura and pull her closer to him so he could finally savor the paradisiacal sensation of the proximity their bodies would share. He tried to kiss her back, to show her he accepted her admission and desired her just the same yet shock had possessed him and all he could do was absorb Sakura's innocent but enticing kiss.

Much to his dismay the kiss ended and she withdrew herself from him, a plaintive expression marking her features. "I'm sorry, Orochimaru," she whispered, hanging her head as she slowly back away from him, "I guess I was foolish enough to think you might…" She trailed off, unable to finish her sentence. Sparing him one last look, Sakura's zinnober eyes glimmered with pain and unshed tears and Orochimaru knew just by looking at her that Sakura was going to bolt and leave him alone. Just as she about to turn around and run, he shot up, finally gaining control of his movements and grasped her hand tightly, preventing her from going anywhere.

"Wait," he murmured hoarsely, his voice losing all trace of its regular smoothness, "Don't go!"

His ardent plea resonated through the quiet dinning room, seizing Sakura from her very core and she whirled around, disbelief replacing the agony in her pupils.

"What?!" she gasped, inching herself towards Orochimaru, hardly able to apprehend what was occurring. Was she wrong, did Orochimaru really want her? "I don't—"

"Sssssh," muttered Orochimaru, placing his forefinger against her mouth, silencing her, "We'll talk later." With that said, he wrapped his arms around Sakura and brought her close to him, as he bent his head down to claim Sakura's beckoning, luscious lips.

Throwing all caution into the wind, the two intensified their actions, pressing their beseeching bodies against each other as their hands wander all over their lover's frame, craving for more and more. Orochimaru nibbled gently on Sakura's bottom lip, demanding for entrance while inducing a tiny moan from the rosette-haired girl. She immediately parted her mouth for him, tangling her hands into his long, sable hair while he teased her with his tongue, swirling Sakura into a molten maelstrom of fervency and ardor.

Parting from the searing kiss, Orochimaru dropped his gaze and started dragging his mouth down Sakura's throat, planting heavy, fervid kisses as he trailed down, stopping at the neckline of her gown. Sakura's chest was rising from the immense passion and all she could think about was have this last forever, to be in Orochimaru's arms as he caressed and kissed her so deftly and tenderly until he reduced to her smoldering puddle of sheer rapture.

"Orochimaru," she murmured and two enchanting topaz eyes stared up to face her, "I…love you." She pressed her face against his and kissed his neck chastely so he would know the statement was coming from her heart, not just this moment of passion.

Two fingers hooked themselves underneath her chin and tilted her head upward so their gazes met. In her sight was Orochimaru wreathed in a content, loving smirk, his eyes showing much promise as their faces loomed nigh to each other, their hot breaths mingling together.

"And I, my lovely blossom," he paused to deliver another amorous kiss against Sakura's throat, "love you just the same."


Minutes ticked by and a still Sakura shot a nervous glance at the old Grandfather clock, drumming her fingers against a leather-bound book she couldn't read right now. After since the night of their confession, her and Orochimaru had began to make their love more public and realized, sooner or later, her parents would have to be informed of their relationship. Orochimaru had composed a letter to them, imploring them to come as soon as possible. When they received a reply from Tsunade and Jiraiya that they were on their way, Sakura was so anxious and jittery that she took several rides around Orochimaru's manor and the countryside to ease her nerves and relax.

Just when she about to get up and look out the window to see if Orochimaru was back with her parents in tow, the door burst open and in strolled the aforementioned adults.

"Sakura!" cried her mother, embracing her only daughter tightly, "Oh how I missed you so!"

"Same here, Mother," the said young woman answered, a tiny smile spilling unto her fair features. "I'm so glad you and Father could come on such short notice."

"Nonsense!" exclaimed Jiraiya, plopping down on one of Orochimaru's leather chairs, "Anything to get away from Madara's temper tantrums."

Orochimaru chuckled briefly at Jiraiya's comment, envisioning the Uchiha lord's fury the selfsame way his friend had. "I daresay I can imagine, Jiraiya."

"Now," interjected Tsunade, breaking up the small talk for she wanted to get down to business, "What do you and Sakura have to tell us?" She scanned them sternly, attempting to extract the message from their countenances. The covert couple exchanged glances and with a nod from Sakura, Orochimaru motioned for Tsunade to sit down.

"Jiraiya. Tsunade." Both cocked their heads curiously at their childhood comrade, wondering what urgent news he had to tell them that concerned not only him, but Sakura as well. Taking a deep breath, Orochimaru fixed his profound gilt orbs on Sakura's parents and the words soon tumbled out.

"Sakura and I would like to inform you that we plan to get married."

Silence greet Orochimaru's astounding announcement and for a second, Sakura feared her parents has a stroke and died instantly on the spot. Her fists clenched as she waited for her parents to jump up and scream out denunciations and protects against the marriage, saying she was too young for him and—

"Well, it's about time!"

Sakura blinked and then gapped at her mother who had spoken that equally stunning comment. She and Orochimaru had been excepting fiery outbursts and pandemonium, not her father grinning like a bobcat and her mother wearing a highly satisfied and pleased expression on her visage.

"Wait–what?" cried Sakura, looking wildly back and forth at her parents, "What do you mean 'it's about time'?!"

"Don't tell me you two had your suspicions," Orochimaru added mirthlessly, scrutinizing his two companions meticulously, pondering how long they had believed he and Sakura held feelings for each other.

"Oh, I had a hunch about you two all right," commenced Tsunade matter-of-factly, returning their confounded stare with a humorous one of her own, "Although you were practically unaware and subtle about your affinity, Orochimaru, I couldn't help it but to sense that you and my precious Sakura were made for each other."

"Like soul mates, as she once put it for me," chimed in Jiraiya, winking slyly at Orochimaru who shot a disgruntled glower at him. Jiraiya merely snickered, clasping his hands together and leaned back in his seat while his busty wife did all the talking.

"Anyway, after I had observed you two for quite some time, I confided to Jiraiya and he agreed that potentially there was some hidden attraction lurking underneath, waiting to spring forward. You don't know how many times I had to tell this wasn't going to like one of those dirty books he writes!" Tsuande scoffed as she shot her husband a pointed look and rolled her eyes when Jiraiya waggled his eyebrows suggestively at her. Poor Sakura was about shout at her parents to knock it off when thankfully, Orochimaru intervene and bade Tsunade to resume her rather intriguing tale.

"So, we decided to keep an eye on you two and see if there was any chance of my predication coming true," Tsunade explained thusly, "And it was Jiraiya who came up with the idea of letting Sakura spend some time in your home and wait for any sparks to fly. Of course, Madara's timing couldn't have been any better. At last, that old coot is good for something."

"Let me get this straight," cut in Sakura, narrowing her eyes suspiciously at her fairly gleeful parents, "You allowed me to stay at Orochimaru's manor in hopes I would fall in love with him?"

"That's right, sweetie!" exclaimed Jiraiya, "And now Tsunade and I can get those grandchildren we always wanted!"

Afterwards, when all was said and done, Orochimaru and Sakura concluded the meeting with her parents went a little too well.


At first, there were screams.

Raucous, blood-curdling, petulant, and terrified noises of terror erupted from the guests as they scrambled away from the assailants on the wedding ceremony. Dark splashes of garnet ominously stained the pristine white glow of the decorations adorning the altar and the cathedral. The place was now bathed in blood-red instead of snow white.

Maniacal laughter soon followed, produced an orange masked man with shaggy charcoal hair and a lone eye. Smoke laxly rolled out his freshly oiled rifle after he fired multiple rounds at a fleeing couple, cackling as they shrieked and collapsed to the ground, blood spilling out them in biblical portions.

"Jiraiya! This is what happens you cross me!" he roared out as if the said man could hear him, twisted amusement in his smarmy baritone, "Where's the groom, I would very much like to have a chat with him and his shrew of a wife. I'm sure they aren't too pleased that I ruined their wedding day."

"You couldn't be any more accurate, Madara."

Orochimaru's suave, smooth timbre had changed, becoming malign, insidious, and rough. As Madara rotated around slowly and deliberately to face his adversary, his sick, twisted grin was audible.

"Testy aren't we, Orochimaru?"

Uttering nothing, Orochimaru simply held up an ornate and intricately designed pistol in front of the madman, cocking the firearm with a lethal, basilisk glare. This elicited another dark chortle from Madara, who was indifferent at the sight of a gun being pointed directly at his face. After all, he too had a weapon aimed for the kill at Orochimaru. The only question was who would be the first to pull the trigger?

"I never believed you would have a taste for younger women, Orochimaru," he began slyly, keeping his finger nigh to the trigger in case Orochimaru would attempt to fire the shot first, "You were always rather close to Sakura, weren't you? I should have known you'd be the one to steal her away from Sasuke."

"She never loved Sasuke and you know that, Madara," Orochimaru answered bitterly, a killing intent glazed in his cat-esque topaz orbs, "And did you truly esteem that you could manipulate Tsunade and Jiraiya by trying to coerce them to wed Sakura to Sasuke just so you could gain control over their estates through Sasuke? Really, Madara, I thought you knew better." Madara tightened his grip on the rifle, slightly agitated by the taunting edge in the serpentine lord's voice.

"And I thought you knew better than not meddle into other people's affairs," Madara retorted dangerously, finger hovering off the trigger as the seconds ticked away, "But it's shame you won't be able to learn that lesson."

Just as he was about fire, Orochimaru hollered out, "Now, Sakura!" and squeezed the trigger as he dodged out of range. There was crackle of bullets exploding from their confinements, zipping through the vicinity while emaciating, nebulous smoke billowed outward as more blood was splattered across the sacred floor of the church.

When the smog cleared, Sakura found herself staring at the sanguinary corpse of Uchiha Madara and a pained Orochimaru clutching his side tautly, evident agony flickering wildly in his deep amber eyes.

"Orochimaru!" Sakura cried out in panic, casting her pistol aside. She rushed towards the fallen man, resting his head against her breast as she cradled his upper torso in her arms, panic clogging her throat. Near his side was a baleful crimson splotch and for a moment, Sakura feared for the worse.

"Sakura, sssh," murmured Orochimaru, "everything is all right. The bullet just grazed me, that's all."

"But there's so much blood," whispered Sakura, her breathes haphazard and heavy from the terrifying prospect of almost losing her fiancé and future husband, "I have to stop the bleeding!" Before he could object, Sakura viciously tore a long strip from the hem of her satin, albicant bridal gown, adroitly wrapping the makeshift bandage around Orochimaru's bloody abdomen.

"That should keep the bleeding at bay," she muttered after she finished tying the ends of the strips together, "But we should get you to see a doctor, that wound must be cleaned and sterilized."

"I'm overjoyed to see Tsunade's medical knowledge as rubbed off on you," Orochimaru remarked drily, slowly getting himself up with aid from Sakura. Leaning on her slightly, he put his arm around Sakura, keeping his pistol close at hand in case any surviving lackeys of Madara were lurking about. After she had retrieved her gun, Sakura kept her service pistol at hand so she and Orochimaru could be protected on both sides.

"Looks like we're going have to reschedule the wedding," she mused out loud, lifting her verdant gaze back up at the face of her groom, contently observing how serene and composed he looked while he busy contemplating. Sakura smiled happily to herself, thinking how blessed and lucky she was to share a life with this wonderful man.

"Indeed we are," answered the ebony-haired noble, nudging a mildly ajar door aside with his foot, "But at least we're still alive and the threat has passed. After Madara's death I don't think they'll be coming after me or you any time soon." They trudged through the hallway, heading for the back door where all the guests had fled through after Madara's surprise attack on the wedding.

"God, I hope everyone is okay. There's going to be Hell to pay once this day is over."

Patting Orochimaru's chest gingerly, Sakura smirked prior to replying, "There will be plenty time for raising a little hell, Orochimaru, once we return from our honeymoon." A full, passionate kiss to her lips was his response, one that sent thrills up and down her spine and caused her heart to rapidly pound to the max.

Pulling his head away, an amused grin slithered itself across Orochimaru's face, his visage hinting a conniving idea that Sakura knew for certain she would enjoy.

"Consider it done, my lovely blossom."


Color Glossary:

Niveous- snow white

Nigrine- black

Zinnober- green

Albicant- white

Mwuahaha! I've done it! Finally, I managed to tear myself away from all my Van Helsing rpgs and focus solely on this one-shot. I had a feeling this fic would be rather long (about 15 pages, give or take), albeit it is Orochimaru and Sakura. And yes, the title is from an Evans Blue song in the "The Melody And The Energetic Nature Of Volume"album.

Well, I suppose I could digress on this story originally had a different plot and song, I was thinking of using "Ghost Opera" by Kamelot and make the setting sort of like the Phantom of the Opera. However, after reading classical novels and being plagued with the Victorian era, I ended up writing a story around that time period. Blame David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. Oh, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen as well.

Over and out,