Disclaimer: Naruto is not mine. Plot elements borrow heavily from Amanda Quick's "Seduction".

Notes: Sorry this took a while. This chapter got a little indulgent at some points. I'll try to get the next chapter out as quickly as possible. Sorry about my wibble last chapter but THANK YOU so much for all your feedback. I'll try to reply to them over the next couple of days. In the meantime, I truly hope you would enjoy this chapter.

This chapter contains lemon. Avert your eyes if you hate that sort of thing (you can tell when it starts).


Chapter Thirteen

She didn't awake with a start.

The rhythm of her breath was slow and steady as awareness crept upon her. She could feel her husband's head on her chest, his rough hair tickling her chin.

She'd never been a big believer of the supernatural, always finding ways to explain unnatural occurrences logically, scientifically. Even now her brain was reciting passages from her psychology textbooks about dreams and the subconscious. But she couldn't shake the feeling that that was not it. That it was really her; reaching out from some inhuman realm and trying to relate to Sakura, as a wife, as a daughter, as a woman.

Sasuke's head shifted against her breasts and in one blink he was looking up at her, awake and alert as if he wasn't in deep slumber just a moment ago. She wondered briefly if Sasuke ever dreamed. He nuzzled her cheek and whispered a good morning near her ear before placing a soft kiss on the tip of her nose.

Sakura wondered if Patrice had ever felt half as content as she did in Sasuke's arms.

"What's wrong?" he asked as he placed a hand on her heart as if trying to catch the hitch in her breath.

She licked her lips, a wan smile on her face. "I'd never pictured you to be this affectionate." It was only half a lie.

He gave her a sleepy smirk as he said with all honesty, "I guess you bring it out in me."

And though his words elated her, a part of her heart ached for a ghost of a woman who'd only felt this bliss in her imagined dreams.

"So, you're either divorced or devirginized, which is it?"

Sakura looked up from her bowl of mixed fruits. Ino was staring at her with those bright blue eyes that were much too observant for anyone's good. She thanked her lucky stars that she'd taken her break at around two in the afternoon when the hospital cafeteria was practically empty, as her blonde best mate always seemed to have an amplifier taped to her mouth.

"You know you really need to get back in to the workforce so you can start butting out of my life," Sakura said jokingly.

"Excuse you, I just came from a shift."

"Coming in two hours a day into the nurse's break room to collect gossip isn't considered a shift." She paused thoughtfully. "Also, they really need to take away your access cards, it's been a year since you officially resigned."

Ino laughed maniacally. "Like they can. I've got dirt on everyone in HR, they're going to let me do damn well as I please." She picked a banana off Sakura's fruit bowl with her manicured fingers. "So I suppose the answer to that question is devirginized as you appear to be in good spirits."

Sakura blushed despite herself. "I don't think I want to talk about this here."

Ino grinned like a madman. "O-ho, so he rocked your world, didn't he?"

Sakura slapped Ino's hand away as she tried to reach for a cherry. She really liked cherries. "Has anyone told you that you have no filter?"

"My husband does all the time, but I never listen to him. He's not exactly a shining beacon of social decorum himself," Ino answered nonchalantly.

Sakura pursed her lips in thought. "Now that I think about it, you really are kind of perfect for each other."

"Of course we are but if you think that talking about me is going to make me forget about you and Sasuke finally doing the deed, then you have grossly underestimated how interested I am about this matter." Ino tilted her head to the side and smiled childishly at Sakura. "Come on, are we really not going to talk about this? This is a monumental moment between girlfriends; sharing their first time experiences!"

Sakura couldn't help but giggle girlishly; Ino's ebullient nature could be infectious. She leaned in conspiratorially and whispered lowly, "It was…" Sakura bit her lip and grinned before continuing, "a lovely experience."

Ino rolled her eyes dramatically. "I am not here for that. I need gritty details. Was it as big as a baby's arm?"

Sakura sputtered as a cube of apple lodged itself in her throat. "Ino!"

"Just one nasty detail and I'll leave you alone, I promise."

The medic rolled her eyes but decided to give in. "Fine, well you know how you always talk about having difficulties with getting Shikamaru to…go down south?"

Ino grunted and nodded her head.

"I don't think Sasuke has that same problem." She reddened as images of Sasuke's head moving between her legs played like a movie inside her head. "I think he may even enjoy it because he really gets into it."

Ino's lips widened into a dirty smirk. "You lucky bitch."

Sakura covered her face with her hands, just now realizing what she'd admitted to Ino. "I can't believe I just said that out loud," she whimpered, voice muffled behind the palms of her hands.

Ino laughed at her embarrassment. "Come now, Sakura. There is no shame in enjoying a little oral attention!"

"Oh god!"

Ino just continued chortling as she grabbed Sakura's hand and pulled her up from her chair. "Let's get your back to your shift before your skin starts to match your hair. We still need to dirty up that brain of yours."

Sakura let the blond pull her along by the arm.

As soon as they were in a rather empty hallway Ino leaned close to her pink-haired friend and whispered, "I'm really glad you two worked it out, though."

Sakura stared at her curiously.

"I think you two are really good for each other. It's been a while since I've had such an easy time getting a good laugh out of you and if he's in any way responsible, well he has my eternal gratitude. You deserve to be happy."

Sakura bumped her hip against Ino's. It was her way of saying she loved her too.

Sakura was in bed in her old raggedy nightgown, limp hair tied up in a loose bun and a seventy-five-page dissertation regarding the medical treatment of postherpetic neuralgia sitting on her lap. She should not be feeling sexual, not at all.

She didn't understand herself; she'd been in this position countless times since her marriage. It was practically routine; Sasuke would come home, they would eat dinner, she'd take a shower and afterwards he would have it to himself for thirty minutes. She was convinced he was a germaphobe considering the amount of time he dedicated to scrubbing himself until he was purple. Then he would parade around in those boxer briefs that he was so fond of while complaining about new inductees of the Konoha Military Police. She didn't understand, did they shrink? It seemed especially tight today. She could trace every contour of his rather colossal…

Sakura shook her head and tried to focus once more on Sasuke's speech.

"These teenagers today have been so spoiled by the peaceful times. They have no comprehension at all of the responsibility and honor that comes with being a ninja. I mean, when we were fifteen we were already working ourselves to death trying to qualify for Jounin status and these kids are just wasting away, not even bothering with Chuunin exams. It's as if they'd be content to remain mediocre ninjas for the rest of their lives," Sasuke ranted as he went about clearing away his wet towel and dirty clothes from the floor and throwing it into the hamper.

Sakura only wondered when the thin line of black hair running from the bottom of his belly button and disappearing into the waistband of his boxers became so interesting.

"What do you think?"

Sakura snapped out of her reverie and looked up to her husband's frowning face.

"Oh yes, those chuunin exams were certainly difficult."

Sasuke's frown deepened. "I asked you if you'd like to invite Naruto for dinner this coming Saturday. Have you been listening to a word I said?"

Sakura laughed awkwardly. "I'm sorry, I've just been so enamored by this paper I'm reading. It's very entertaining."

"You're holding a medical journal."

Sakura swallowed hard. "It's entertaining and educational. If you must know, it is a fancy new trend in medical paper writing styles."

Sasuke looked at her with an amused smirk on his dastardly handsome face. "I couldn't wait to be home alone with you, too."

"Well, someone's certainly full of themselves," Sakura said airily as she tried not to press her legs together.

Sasuke stalked up to her with slow and sure movements. With a deft hand, he pried away that sinfully boring dissertation from her hand and placed it gently on her nightstand.

"We're married, Sakura, and trying to start a family," he said as he got on the bed and straddled her waist with the fluid moves of a jaguar, making her lean back against her pillows further. "We're two adults, fully committed to each other and just going by the last two days, very much sexually compatible." He licked his lips as he eyed her parted mouth. He leaned down until their lips were a hair's breadth away. "There is nothing shameful with wanting, craving and succumbing to our…desires."

Sakura tried to maintain the scowl on her face even as the feel of Sasuke's breath on her skin made something tingle deep in her womb. "I know that, I'm not a child, Sasuke."

"Well, I certainly hope not because the things I did with you in the last few days would definitely land me in prison," he quipped.

Sakura managed a giggle even with her nervousness. She took a deep breath as she tried to voice her confusion into words. "I…I do want you and I'm not ashamed to admit that. " She placed a hand on her chest. "It's just a bit daunting…how much."

He smiled at her, eyes shining with something she didn't recognize. He held her hand and placed it on his heart. "I understand. Trust me darling, I understand."

He kissed her then, his minty breath mixing with hers. Her arms went around his shoulders of their own accord. She'd had very few experiences with kissing other men and they'd always been awkward and clumsy and forced and she would never quite know what to do with herself but something about him…something about them together, made everything feel so natural.

Her raggedy nightgown was thrown to the side and soon after he was pulling her knickers down her parted legs. He made quick work of his boxers before he snaked down her body, his hard nipples rubbing against her stomach as he paused to worship her breasts, before continuing down until he was eye-level with her mound. He ran a long finger on her moist slit.

"Do you like it when I kiss you here, Sakura?" he asked, voice even deeper than normal and eyes glazed with lust.

Her only answer was to part her legs wider. She moaned wantonly as she felt the tip of his smooth and warm tongue slither inside her.

His eyes were closed as he savored the taste of her wet flesh, the scent of her arousal only serving to make him even harder. He pressed his face further towards her scent, digging deeper and deeper until he felt her quiver in his mouth, her thighs locking around his head as she reached a delicious climax.

Sasuke watched her breasts heave as she tried to catch her breath. There was a thin sheen sweat on her forehead and a soft smile on her pouty lips. He couldn't help but be proud of his work.

He lay down on his side beside her, fingers still buried in her womanhood. He could spend his days just watching her come.

She looked up at him with an expression of full bliss. "Sasuke-kun," she whimpered breathlessly, "I…thank you."

He arched an eyebrow at her. "Just a thank you?" he teased.

Sakura laughed softly before leaning on her side so she could kiss him fully.

Sasuke took the opportunity to wrap his arms around her waist before effortlessly hoisting her up until she was straddling him, her opening pressing down on his erection.

"Sasuke-kun?" Sakura sounded intimidated. She was intimidated. Up until now they had only experimented with positions that had her in the subservient role. She was going to mess this up, wasn't she?

He caressed her thighs reassuringly. "Just do what makes you feel good."

She bit her lip and tried not to blush as he grabbed his penis in his hand. He guided her by the hips until he was seated deep inside her. A groan escaped his mouth as he felt her scorching tight walls clamp around him.

Sakura made tentative moves, rolling her hips, gauging his reactions. She grabbed her breasts to hold them still, feeling self-conscious as they bounced around with her movements.

"Oh god, you'll be the death of me," Sasuke groaned as he watched his wife touch herself.

Sakura raised her eyebrows, not missing the way her husband leered at the vision of her hands clutching her tits. "This is not what you think it is."

"Don't ruin the fantasy, woman," he grunted.

Sakura paused all movements as her giggle fit overwhelmed her.

"Are you really laughing while I'm still inside you?" he asked but let out a guffaw not a second later.

Sasuke lifted himself off the bed and wrapped his arms around her waist in a tight embrace as she wrapped her arms around his neck. They exchanged soft kisses until they had both calmed down.

"Are we good?"

Sakura let go of one last giggle before nodding.

She started to move again, more sinuous and more attuned to the sensations coursing in her body. Time seemed to stop and nothing else mattered but each other.

Their release crept up to them, slow and strong. She didn't scream, he didn't curse, but dear god, was it the best yet.

Sasuke fell back on the bed, Sakura securely wrapped in his arms. He lifted his right hand to move the fringe blocking her green eyes from his view. "I don't ever remember feeling as content as I have since I married you."

His words sounded drunk and his mind still heady with euphoria. But he never had meant anything as much.

Sakura placed a kiss on the side of his neck and whispered against his skin. "Me too."

Being an Uchiha certainly had its perks. Ever since Sakura had married into the clan the people at human resources seemed to be less stingy about her paid breaks and leaves, did not give her graveyard shifts and even the medical board had been more lenient about letting her take paper work home instead of locking her in her cubicle. She would be mad about the blatant double standards but then she really liked taking paper work home.

That's how she found herself at four in the afternoon enjoying a cup of coffee while looking out into the Uchiha Lake from the second floor balcony of her and Sasuke's home as she finished the reports for the last set of ANBU general physical examinations.

She was reading up on the file of an unfamiliar ANBU name (who really needed to wrap it up, by the way) when the French doors leading to the balcony opened with a bang. Yuri, their ever-reliable housemaid, came from the other side with a cigarette case and a lighter in hand.

The young maid managed to light up her cigarette and take two hits before she even noticed Sakura was there. A look of pure mortification dawned on her face.

"Oh my, Lady Uchiha, I am so sorry, I didn't realize you were here. I thought you'd be down at Lord Uchiha's office working. Please accept my apologies!" she babbled out nervously.

She was about to stump her cigarette on the wooden balcony ledge before Sakura stopped her.

"It's fine Yuri! No worries, come sit with me. I need to take a break anyhow," Sakura said.

Yuri looked at her apprehensively but eventually obeyed. She took to the patio chair directly across Sakura, taking another puff of cigarette smoke shyly.

"Would you like one?" Yuri offered hesitantly.

Sakura shook her head. "I don't smoke. My Tsunade-shishou does though, heavily."

They laughed awkwardly. Sakura was pretty sure Yuri had no idea who Tsunade was.

"I had no idea you smoked," Sakura said after an awkward minute passed.

"Only started when I came here," she explained.

"Stress?" Sakura teased.

The younger girl giggled. "Yes. I didn't always know what I was doing from the start. Miss Patrice and I would smoke together when things got rough around the house." She suddenly clamped her hand on her mouth after realizing what she said.

Sakura waved a hand in front of her face. "It's alright, Yuri. You don't have to be careful about saying her name. You can talk about her if you want."

Yuri nodded but still looked apologetic.

Sakura remembered how Tsunade had told her that once you share a smoke with someone you create some sort of bond with that person. She wondered if it was just alcohol logic or if there was actually some truth to it.

"Were you and Patrice close?" Sakura asked carefully.

Yuri tilted her head to the side in thought before she answered, "Well, she was my employer, there will always be that line there, but she'd always been kind to me and the household staff."


The maid took a deep breath and looked like she was second-guessing herself before she plunged onwards. "I know a lot of people outside the house don't like her. And I admit that she was really horrible towards Lord Uchiha but she can be really sweet. She always made sure we weren't overworked, arranged great benefits for us and she's really kind to our families. You know our old cook? He had very young kids and she would make sure to give them presents on Christmas and their birthdays and let him take them to work if no one can watch them at home."

Sakura smiled softly. "There's always two sides to a story, I suppose."

Yuri continued on, apparently happy to share her stories with someone who would listen. "And whenever she comes back from a trip to her homeland, she'd bring back presents. She always brings back the sweetest strawberries."

Sakura frowned. "Isn't Patrice's homeland a tropical country?"

"Is it?" Yuri answered with a shrug. "I don't know very much about it, she never liked to talk about her home."

The medic decided to drop the topic, filing the detail away in her mind. "Maybe she got them on the way back."

Yuri nodded. There was a wistful expression on her face as she continued. "I still feel horrible, what happened that day. I think our old cook left because he still feels guilty about it."

Sakura furrowed her eyebrows. She had an inkling as to what day she referred to but didn't want to get ahead of herself. "Guilty?"

Yuri sighed and got up. She stumped her cigarette on a small ashtray that was hidden away behind one of the wooden panels before returning to her seat. Her hands shook as she lit up another cigarette before she continued speaking, her mood turning somber. "We were in the kitchens, you know, when it happened. We heard a splash outside on the lake but we didn't think anything of it, thought it might be just kids throwing rocks or something. And then I think half an hour later the gardener went out the back and saw her in the lake. It was too late. I think…if only we had checked, you know."

Sakura's heart beat wildly in her chest. "You didn't hear any screams or yells for help? I mean…the kitchen was close enough to have heard that."

Not possessing the same deductive skills as Sakura, Yuri just shrugged. "Not that I recall. We just heard a splash."

"That's strange," Sakura mouthed with a frown.

Yuri sighed again, looking more forlorn than before. "You think she just gave up, Miss Sakura?"

Sakura didn't know the answer so she just reached out and held Yuri's hand. All she can do is give what little comfort to a young lady who lost a friend.

Sasuke's heartbeat thrummed in his ear as he made his way from the Konoha gates to the Hokage tower. He had been gone for two days on a mission to retrieve a stolen scroll from an enemy nin. He was successful (of course) but all he could think about was returning the blasted scroll and finishing his report for the Hokage. He missed his wife in ways he hadn't imagined he could.

Something shifted between them ever since that night they first made love. They'd fallen into a companionable friendship and, well, intensified lust on his end, since she'd agreed to marry him. But all they had was a wedding and a convenient, if healthy, relationship.

But that night they confirmed that they chose to be with each other, with all their heart, they chose to be together.

He reached the building of the Hokage tower and quickly made his way to the top floor. He was just about to knock on the door of the Hokage's office when his peripheral vision made him aware of one of the most infuriating presences in his life.

"What do you want?"

"Always so rude little brother. Can't I check upon your welfare, Sasuke-kun?"

Sasuke scowled as his elder brother smirked at him condescendingly. "The last time we had a conversation not pertaining to clan matters was when I was twelve."

"You're always so dramatic," Itachi said dismissively.

"I am not!" Sasuke reddened as he noticed the rise in his voice earned a few curious looks from some bystanders. "Look, just tell me what you want so we can finish this and I can go back home."

Itachi arched an eyebrow at his little brother. "Can't wait to get back to the missus? How is Sakura-san by the way?"

"None of your concern."

Itachi's face turned malicious. "Oh but it is my concern, Sasuke-kun. I think it's high time I tell you what your wife's been up to the past few days."

Sakura looked at the clock on her bedside. Her husband should have been home by now and it was never like him to be late coming from a mission. She tried to tamp down the worrisome thoughts in her head. He was probably just caught up with some official matters.

When the door to their marital bedroom opened, she leapt up from the mattress wanting nothing more than to wrap her legs around him and do naughty things. She really needed to get a hold of herself; this was getting ridiculous.

So she was highly disappointed when Sasuke walked in with a tray with two cups of boiling hot tea on it. Jumping him was out of the question, she didn't quite fancy third degree burns on her legs.

"Isn't it a bit too late for tea?" she asked with a confounded look on her face.

Sasuke was fidgety in his movements as he moved towards her side of the bed. He placed the tray on top of the sheets. "I figured we haven't had a hot tea talk in a while."

Sakura followed him and sat on the other side of the tray. "Okay, but aren't you going to get naked?" She seriously didn't mean it in a dirty way.

Sasuke grimaced at her question. "I think a fully clothed hot tea talk is in order for tonight."

"That's alright, I guess."

He ran his hands across his dark hair. He'd initiated the talk but words seem to escape him at the moment. He'd spent hours thinking of ways to broach this subject with her but nothing seemed right or proper. He didn't want to make her angry but more than that he didn't want to have to relive those memories again.

Sakura touched his hand, her fingers felt warm against his skin. "Just talk to me, Sasuke-kun."

Sasuke looked up at her, obsidian eyes alight with trepidation. "Itachi came to talk to me today."

She nodded and waited patiently for him to go on.

"If you tell me he's lying I will believe you."

"What is it?"

Sasuke breathed deeply before finally saying, "He says you've been interrogating the household staff about my former wife's death."

Sakura balked. "Okay, first of all having a conversation with one person is not interrogating the household staff. I know your brother suffers from some sort of social retardation but this is just ridiculous. And secondly, does he have bugs installed in our house?"

He frowned at her answer. "Why were you talking about Patrice?"

She stilled at his question. "I just…it wasn't deliberate. There are people in this house who do miss her Sasuke-kun. I only listened…and maybe asked a few questions."

Sasuke nodded and readily accepted her reply. "But, Sakura, it's not that I'm siding with Itachi but I do see where he's coming from. He was just concerned that you were digging up matters that were difficult for some members of the clan in one way or another. And he was afraid you were questioning his methods of investigation."

Sakura's back straightened. "I didn't know he was involved in that investigation. I thought it was Shikamaru who led it, he was the one who signed off the autopsy report." From what little she knew of Itachi Uchiha, he would never work under someone beneath his rank.

"He took the lead, wanted to make sure that matters were handled thoroughly. I may not like him very much but even I have to admit that he was the best. Patrice's death was an accident, Itachi is certain of that," Sasuke readily revealed. He noticed the way she stiffened and the way her eyes showed the million thoughts running through her head. "What is it, Sakura?"

It was such a simple question. She couldn't bring herself to answer.

They'd made so many leaps and bounds in their marriage but she knew very well that her one secret could drive them apart. Yet she knew that for as long as she lied to him, and in the end that was what she was doing, lying to him, they wouldn't move forward and any bond they have would just be an illusion.

She wanted to tell him everything, to tell him of her burden, of two young women always at the back of her mind keeping her from being completely happy with him.

"Do you trust me?"

Sasuke didn't answer immediately. Her question was earnest and he did not want to give her an answer that was spontaneous and thoughtless.


"Just give me some time. I just need a little more time."

He didn't know what she was talking about, why she would need time and what it was that was making her so distraught. But he couldn't help but feel that whatever it was, it was not just important to her, it was important to them. And he would wait. For her, he would wait. No matter how long.

To be continued…

Next Chapter: Sakura has deductions, Itachi is constipated, Sasuke is blindsided. Ino remains to be a mix of Manila Luzon and Samantha Jones.

End Notes: Thank you so much to Obsessed Dreamer for inputs! NEIGHBOR! Also, I was talking about her regarding Ino's character design and I realized she might be slightly inspired by frequent viewings of RuPaul's Drag Race (aka, most awesome show on earth...I need Ino to just randomly shade people). I do hope you enjoyed the SasuSaku fluffiness in this chapter as the tone is turning darker and more serious and Sakura's secrets are finally unravelling and I wanted to get as much fluff as I could in there. Also I may have just enjoyed writing that lemon a little bit too much.

Thank you for reading! Please don't forget to review! I would love to know your thoughts about Itachi's sudden interest in Sakura, Yuri and Sakura's conversation (which is rather pivotal) and Sasuke and Sakura's conversations (pre, during and post sex, hehe).