Rated M because I don't like the idea of censoring my work. Also, there will be "illicit relations" later on...so if you don't like it, don't read it.

Disclaimer: If I owned CCS it would have ended with a KISS!

Sakura Kinomoto was cold. Despite the several layers of expensive silks that were securely fastened around her petite form, her heart remained completely devoid of all warmth. She kept her eyes resolutely down cast, focusing only on the bouquet of flowers tightly clenched in her small pale hands as a tall man with long trailing white hair escorted her down the aisle of the large and crowded cathedral.

She frowned as she stared into the soft pink of the roses that she held viciously within her grasp. She hated roses. They were far too typical for her taste. She had always wanted her wedding bouquet to be a mixture of cherry blossoms and nadeshiko flowers. Not that anyone had bothered to ask her. Everyone knew that this whole wedding was a gigantic, over done and frankly gaudy sham; done only to keep up appearances. There wasn't a single person present who didn't know what she was really doing. This had nothing to do with giving her life to that horrible man. The minute she signed her name to the marriage document she would be handing him the life of every person who looked to her and her family for leadership. She was signing away the rights to her kingdom.

The long cold fingers that had been keeping her elbow in their firm vice-like grip suddenly vanished and she immediately halted her languid and heavy footsteps. Her jade eyes flickered to a pair of dark leather boots approaching her and she slowly looked up into the face of a young man in his late teens as he carefully lifted the extravagantly long and lacy veil away from her face and took her hands before the high priest.

Sakura tried not to flinch at the feel of her small delicate hands encased roughly in his large calloused ones. She had intended to resume the inspection of her fingernails and the hem of her no doubt staggeringly expensive wedding apparel, but found herself trapped in the gaze of her soon-to-be husband's eyes.

She had been surprised to see that he didn't look like the moronic muscle-bound meathead that she assumed he would be. He was tall and lithe with broad shoulders and a tapering waist, not that a good physique was going to win her over. The simple gold coronet that sat on his brow amidst the locks of dark heavy hair that fell haphazardly into his eyes was a symbol to the world that he was her equal; a crown prince.

Sakura snorted inwardly at that thought. That any of the pigs here were even worthy of the task of licking the dirt from her or her family's shoes was laughable. This was a country full of bloodthirsty savages. There was no doubt in her mind that the very same strong warm hands that held hers had bathed themselves in the blood of countless numbers of her countrymen.

So what if he was ruggedly handsome? Who cared about a chiseled jaw line or the muscles that gently bulged beneath his immaculate dark green robes? It was shallow people like that who would probably notice how his eyes were the same color as amber when the sun shines through it, but not her.

No, all Sakura could see in the depths of those eyes was his complete lack of remorse and shame. He wasn't properly humiliated by what his father was forcing them into like any person with a beating heart should be. In fact, his entire demeanor was rigid and stoic. This was not a man. She wondered if he even had a pulse. She loathed this creature with every fiber of her being, but this was all she could do to save her people from certain death. If the only way to save what was left of her family was to lay with the devil himself; well…she was just going to have to deal with it in any way she could.

She found the resolve within herself hardening. She would do this. She would live with this unfeeling man in this god awful place and fulfill her duties as his wife, even if the very thought sickened her. No one would be able to say she had brought shame to her family. She would make her father proud in the only way that was left to her. And when the wizened cleric finally came to the question she had been dreading, she looked fiercely into her betrothed's unwavering gaze and said, "I do."