Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. Plot elements borrow heavily from Amanda Quick's 'Seduction'.
Author's Notes: My first foray into Naruto fanfiction (and SasuSaku in particular). I hope you enjoy! Please review!
"Let me make sure I heard you correctly. She declined my proposal?" Sasuke Uchiha said through gritted teeth, the expression of controlled anger marring his handsome face.
Hatake Kakashi, the renowned copy-nin of Konoha, wasn't a man that was easily intimidated, especially not by snot-nosed former students. But the aura of danger that had always followed the youngest Uchiha seemed to have exponentially increased in what he deemed was an insult and embarrassment to his person. He clasped his hands together to control his shaking muscles before he spoke. "Sakura has said that while she is very flattered and honored with your offer, she would have to pass. She is sure that you would have no problems in searching for another bride." He gulped before adding the next statement. "One that would be willing."
Sasuke gripped the long glass in his hand tighter, almost threatening to break it. "I do not mean to belittle your ward, but she is aware that her options are rather…limited. I've been very generous with doing away with a trousseau. She cannot possibly think that a better offer of marriage would come."
While Sasuke knew that many dark rumors came with his name, including one that he refused to even think about, he was very much a catch as far as husbands go. Aside from his high-ranking status as Jounin, at merely twenty-five years of age, he has acquired much wealth in his life, a birth title as an heir of the Uchiha name, good looks and if the gaggle of village girls were to be believed, exceptional skills in the bedroom. How dare this slip of a girl, with no name and no money to her, deny him her hand in marriage?
Kakashi sighed, now more irritated than afraid of the young man in front of him. "Sakura is aware of her lot in life. She does not mean to offend you with her decision but she truly believes that you both would be better off looking for your destinies elsewhere."
Sasuke's jaw clenched as he tried to control his temper. "Perhaps, if I could speak to her, I would be able to talk some sense into her."
The copy-nin almost rolled his eyes at the condescending tone of the younger ninja. It seemed he had not changed at all from his days as genin. Still as arrogant and completely full of himself. "That would not be possible. Sakura left early this morning for her training."
Sasuke almost threw the glass in his hand at his former sensei's head. "She didn't even have the courtesy to stay to give me her answer?" he asked incredulously, his chest puffing out with anger.
"As Sakura sees it, there is no need for a discussion. Her mind is made up." Kakashi clamped down the laughter trying to bubble out of his throat. It was not everyday that a woman riled up the proud Uchiha. And Sakura wasn't even present. "If that is all, Sasuke, I will request that you take your leave. We still have many chores to do around the house."
Sasuke sneered before rising up so suddenly that the chair toppled backwards. He ignored the banging of wood behind him as he walked out of the house without so much as a goodbye to its owners. Politeness be damned, he had a mission.
Sakura Haruno huffed as she trudged up the small hill overlooking the farming community of Konoha. The tiny but pleasant looking hut marked her final destination. She walked around the dwelling and to the backyard. The pungent smell of alcohol and herbs hit her face and she had to scrunch her nose to keep it out.
She spotted the blond, busty woman towards the back of the small garden, sitting on her haunches and studying a cluster of dark green leaves growing on the soil.
"Shishou, isn't it a bit too early for bourbon and," Sakura sniffed the air in distaste, "Is that cigar smoke?"
Tsunade waved her over with the hand holding her cigar, without looking at her. "You best remember that I am your elder, Sakura. Now come over here and look at this herb for me. I assume you didn't travel all the way up here just to scold me about my habits."
Sakura rolled her eyes. Old dogs and their old tricks. She grabbed a low stool from a shed in the corner and walked towards the woman. She plopped down her chair right in front of Tsunade, so the plant in question was right between them.
"What is that anyway?" she asked curiously.
Tsunade rubbed a leaf between her fingers, testing its texture and consistency. "It grows in the west. They're very territorial about their herbs so the last time I was there I smuggled seeds in my pack. I was trying to see if I could reproduce it here."
Sakura arched an eyebrow at her master. "Must be a very special herb that you would risk Konoha's foreign relations for it. What does it do?"
Tsunade smirked widely at her apprentice. "They call it the fountain of youth. It's much more potent than the ones I use to get rid and prevent wrinkles."
Sakura gaped openly at her. "You willingly risked getting arrested for smuggling seeds of all things and possibly starting a war between Konoha and the west in the name of ridding yourself of wrinkles?" she asked, tone escalating with every word.
Tsunade simply shrugged, ignoring the horrified tone of the younger woman. "This is important to me."
Sakura simply shook her head with disbelief. She should be used to her shishou's odd ways by now but there were still times when she would surprise Sakura with her utter vanity and capriciousness. "You know if you spend half the effort you do with these anti-aging medicines, you'd probably be able to find cures for most of the world's terminable diseases."
"That's what you're here for Sakura," Tsunade said with humor as she patted the pink haired woman's thigh. "Say, aren't you supposed to be at home getting engaged to the Uchiha brat?"
Sakura cursed the elder woman's impeccable memory, that wasn't at all diminished with her constant inebriation. "Kakashi-sensei should be taking care of that as we speak."
Tsunade furrowed her eyebrows at her. "You didn't accept?"
Sakura shook her head, her pink hair dancing against her shoulder blades. "I've relayed my answer to Kakashi-sensei. There is no need to interrupt my everyday schedule for that."
Tsunade's chin jutted out as she looked at her young apprentice. "Why did you say no? Judging from how you fawned over that brat when you were younger I thought you'd have been jumping for joy that he'd chosen you for his next bride."
Sakura laughed mirthlessly at the reminder of her younger self. "Well, youth is riddled with stupidity and I was no different. I've grown up, Tsunade-shishou."
"This doesn't have anything to do with that hogwash about him murdering his first wife? You should know better than to believe those rumors, Sakura. As much as I find his personality repugnant, that boy is innocent of those claims. And besides, if he did indeed murder that witch of a woman, I would not blame him at all," Tsunade said with absolute surety.
"I was the one who investigated Patrice's death. I would know better than anyone else that Sasuke had no hand in the matter," Sakura responded quickly. "And it is rude to call her a witch. She was just a girl who was in over her head."
Tsunade ignored the light scolding. Sakura was too concerned with propriety as far as she was concerned. "Then why did you not accept his proposal?"
Sakura smiled wistfully, the sunlight making her pink hair seem brighter than usual. "I wish to marry for love."
Tsunade chuckled at what she deemed was the girl's romantic delusions. "Good luck with that."
"You are far too cynical for your own good, shishou. It could still happen," Sakura cried defensively, the hint of a smile on the corner of her lips.
"Perhaps. But in case it doesn't my hut has an extra room. Us barren old maids can live together and search for the secrets of eternal youth," Tsunade offered.
Sakura laughed heartily. "I will look forward to that."
They spent the rest of the day working on Tsunade's illegally smuggled plants and Sasuke Uchiha's name was not mentioned once.
Sasuke pulled out the platinum watch from his pocket, staring at the long hand as it slowly made its way up. To say he was confused was an understatement. He had thought that Sakura was the most suitable candidate to become his wife. She was the most skilled kunoichi of their generation, sensible, intelligent and independent. She would not pester him with demands for attention the way a younger woman would and he would not have to deal with their naiveté and fairy tale ideals of marriage. She was strong and could easily defend herself against his enemies and he wouldn't have to constantly coddle her. He supposed he should have foreseen that she might not be as easy to sway since she did have a mind of her own. He just thought that she wouldn't outright say no to him. He knew she had held a torch for him when they were younger. As teammates she had constantly (unsuccessfully) tried to flirt with him. He never gave her the time of day. Aside from her ridiculous pink hair, there wasn't anything at all remarkable about Sakura Haruno back in the day. Although he was quite aware that that was no longer true now.
Sasuke looked up and watched Sakura slip between the rusty gates of the Northern end of the Uchiha distract. A hand basket that seemed to be filled to the brim with herbs was hooked on one arm and a bundle of books was under the other. The area was barren land as most of their clan resided in the Eastern and Western portions of the Uchiha land. He knew that she routinely took this shortcut on the way back from her training with the Sannin Tsunade.
Sakura Haruno, Sasuke thought, was very much life fine wine, growing more distinct and delectable with age. When they were younger she was an awkward little thing with her long, gangly limbs and a forehead that seemed to take over her face. When she had hit twenty-one years of age it seemed that her body just decided to get its act together. Gone was the tall and gangly girl and in its place was a statuesque woman who had legs that went on for days. Her forehead was still huge but it only seemed to compliment her striking green eyes and iridescent pink lips. Her hair was still a ridiculous pink but it was silky and lustrous, something he wouldn't mind running his fingers through during the act of making love.
He walked up to her, blocking her path. She seemed completely oblivious of his presence.
"Sakura," he greeted curtly.
She dropped the books in her arm in shock but tried to school her face into a serene expression, unwilling to let him know that he had caught her unaware. "Lord Uchiha."
He chewed the inside of his cheeks with irritation at the way she addressed him, as if they hadn't been teammates before. "Sasuke-kun."
She looked at him, unaffected. "I am aware of your name."
Sasuke shook his head at her. "It was what you called me before. I would prefer you would address me the same way."
Sakura scoffed at him. "That name is far too familiar, I would prefer to call you in your more proper and rightful address." And as if to just rile him up she said again, "Lord Uchiha."
He clenched his fists at his side. The woman was a lot more troublesome than he had initially thought. "If that is what you wish," he drawled. "You are aware that you are trespassing my property."
She looked around and acted as if she had not known she was within the confines of the Uchiha district. "Forgive me, I shall leave immediately."
Sakura moved to pick up the books she dropped but he acted quickly. He grabbed the books by the tightrope that held it together and moved it away from her reach. "You have my permission."
"How magnanimous of you," she retorted, voice dripping with sarcasm. "You do not have to bother yourself with your permission though, I will make sure not to pass this way in the future."
"It wouldn't be gentlemanly of me to let you take the longer route to get to your home," he drawled as he handed her books back to her, intentionally letting his fingers flit over her wrist. He smirked at the way she seemed to shiver at his touch.
"Do not worry yourself with gentlemanly manners. I will not think any less of you," she said a bit breathily.
"That will make me sleep better tonight," he teased her, much to her consternation.
She moved to walk past him but he held onto her wrist before she could make one step. Her skin was much smoother than he expected and their closeness let him smell the vanilla scent of her hair. "It is a good thing I ran into you, though. I had wanted to speak with you earlier but Kakashi informed me that you were not around."
She gulped nervously, knowing perfectly well what he wanted to talk about. "There is nothing to discuss, Lord Uchiha," she said decidedly, green eyes staring back at his obsidian ones brazenly.
"I disagree," he drawled, the heat of his breath fanning over her face. "You see, Sakura, I've made up my mind that you will be my new wife."
Those words only seemed to increase her ire as she ripped her wrist away from his hold. "If you think you can bully me into submission-"
He began to protest at her choice of words but she glared at him to muteness.
"You have another thing coming," she said staunchly. "You better unmake your mind Lord Uchiha because my decision is final. I will not marry you."
She turned on her heels with her head held high and walked away from him with angry stomps of her feet, refusing to wait for his reply.
Sasuke stared with wide eyes after the pink haired kunoichi before his mouth twisted into a satisfied smirk. It seemed he had been wrong about her. She would not make him the most suitable wife. Sakura Haruno would be perfect.
To be continued...
Next Chapter: Baubles and shiny things are not the way to a woman's heart.
Thank you for reading and please tell me what you think!