Note: I tried fashioning Mikoto after Blanche of Lancaster because my brain is all over The Book of the Duchess, but that didn't end up working right. Also, naturally, I worded my note from the last chapter wrong. I don't want Sakura to be evil per se. Um. Yeah, let's just see where this story ends up going.
And: I am soooo sorry for the long wait! Unfortunately, I'm super busy nowadays, working two jobs, struggling through my last year of undergrad, and writing gradschool applications! I can't believe I've been writing fanfiction since tenth grade. How odd.
v. the offer
Sakura had plans.
No future Queen could get by without them. Sakura was always thinking and calculating and planning her next move. She'd spent the past two years constantly pushing herself in her training to prompt her brother into doing the same, all the while sprinkling ideas of becoming a knight in the Queensguard. To put him into the order of knights sworn to protect the Queen would put him under vows that would prevent him from having a family, and, as a result, bearing any heirs that may threaten her claim to the throne. While Naruto hadn't technically agreed to the clear invitations for him join, Sakura knew the idea was constantly in his head.
Sakura knew what she would be doing with her rule. She knew who her Council would be, slowly suggesting newer members as the older ones from her mother's perished. In the past year, Kakashi Hatake and Lady Shizune had both replaced Sarutobi and Shimura. In time, her own peers would be replacing their elders.
Furthermore, Sakura knew who she wanted to marry.
Sasuke Uchiha was a practical choice. His father had been the Leaf Kingdom General for nearly twenty years. Fugaku Uchiha was a celebrated member of the aristocracy, not only a member of the House of Lords, but also a formidable warrior, having never lost a battle before his title of "General" was passed down to his nephew and ward, Shisui Uchiha. Sasuke's cousin had earned a reputation as one of the Kingdom's most celebrated fighters with his unmatchable speed and agility. During fights, he moved so swiftly that he seemed to be manipulating his foes into functioning how he wanted them to. Likewise, Itachi Uchiha, Sasuke's older brother, was recently declared General after Shisui's decision to step down. Sakura had limited contact with Itachi Uchiha – as did most members of the Court – but she knew enough to understand that he was not a man to cross.
Most importantly, Sasuke was the child of Lady Mikoto Uchiha, one of the richest women in the entire Kingdom. The only surviving child of one of the entire continent's most celebrated playwrights and a noblewoman that owned a rumored one-sixth of the Leaf Kingdom's lands, Mikoto Uchiha inherited enough riches to fashion a few warships if Sakura damn well pleased.
Her plans for the Uchiha had changed since the time she was thirteen-years-old. Mikoto Uchiha would remain in her good graces, Shisui Uchiha would retake his post as General, and Itachi Uchiha would be invited to join her Queensguard, a request he would be honour bound to comply with, thereby making Sasuke the sole inheritor of Mikoto's riches.
Smart as Sasuke was in terms of battle strategies and techniques, he was a naïve fool when it came to reading his enemies in Court. Sakura was certain his parents were aware of this and were somewhat grateful for her clear interest in the boy to keep other families from forcing their daughters on him. She doubted Sasuke truly knew how much he was worth in terms of land and wealth.
Sakura would take from Sasuke, yes, but she would certainly give back. All she would ask for was his inheritances, his affection, and his fidelity, and she would return the favour and give even more. She would make him her King and grant him whatever he desired. She would have a blade forged from the mightiest steel and would present it to him as a wedding gift to symbolize how their relationship had grown since the time he had given her his dagger.
But those plans would have to wait.
At sixteen, Sakura was eagerly awaiting her coronation. As of late, Kushina had been growing ill and the Council had brought up the idea of Sakura taking on the crown. Councilman Hyuuga had grumpily admitted that Sakura was already a formidable opponent with both her mind and her blade. Sakura couldn't help but smile. If she were made Queen by the end of the year, she would be the youngest Queen in the history of the Leaf Kingdom.
However, Sakura would not marry until much later into her reign. As important as heirs were, she wanted to show everyone her might. Not wanting to marry until she was at least in her twenties, Sakura knew she would have to somehow keep Sasuke available lest he agree to some stupid woman's proposal.
Thus, smart girl that she was, Sakura formulated a plan to keep Sasuke available until she was ready to formally wed him.
Sasuke knew enough to understand that it was entirely inappropriate for a man to be in the company of a woman in her bedchambers, but Sakura's missive seemed urgent so he ignored propriety and stealthily entered her room. He couldn't help but feel like he was doing something wrong as he carefully dodged the guards stationed outside her bedroom.
"Sakura?" he called out. He looked around the large room, dark and illuminated solely by the candles burning on the tables. How impractical, he thought. And dangerous. "Sakura?" he repeated, careful not to be too loud. He was about to call for her once more, but jumped when someone touched his arm.
He looked to his side and couldn't help his sharp intake of breath.
He openly gaped at the princess, donning a silky red nightgown that left nothing to the imagination with its low neckline and body-hugging fit. She wore sheer black robe over it, but the flimsy cloth did nothing to cover up her assets. He could see the traces of nervousness on her face despite her coy smile.
"Y—you…" Sasuke swallowed. His cheeks reddened as he kept his eyes averted. "Sakura!" he finally hissed out. He gave up and simply turned away from her. "What the hell are you doing?"
However, despite his years of growing up among soldiers, Sasuke forgot the golden rule of never turning his back to his opponent. Sakura's arms snaked around his midsection and he could feel the softness of her breasts pressed tightly against his back. Her lips were by his ear, breathing hotly against his skin. But Sakura could barely reach his shoulder, Sasuke knew, so she was probably wearing a pair of those heeled shoes that made women's legs look miles upon miles longer—
She was trying to seduce him.
Sasuke shook out of the stupor as he shook out of her grasp. He took a few steps back to place some distance between them lest she try touching him once more.
"What is wrong with you?!" He struggled to keep his voice low enough so the guard's wouldn't grow suspicious.
Finally, she spoke: "I wanted to thank you."
Sasuke frowned. "Thank me?" he repeated, confused. He looked directly into her eyes to keep his eyes averted from her heaving chest and found that for once, she wasn't lying. "For what? And why—like this?"
"For everything," she said simply. Sakura shrugged. "You've always been around. You help me, you teach me, you protect me – I am grateful for your efforts and I believe you should be rewarded."
"I don't need a reward."
"But you deserve one. And I will give it to you."
"With your body?"
"Well, it would be most suspicious to give you gold or other precious materials…"
He sighed, barely refraining from rolling his eyes at her rather diplomatic answer. It seemed Sakura would always, always be a little princess. Strengthening his resolve, Sasuke approached her. He saw the way she brightened as he neared but ignored it and put his hands on her shoulders. "Sakura, I mean it. I don't need a reward, nor do I want one."
Sakura looked positively confused. "But—"
"I do those things because you are my future Queen," he explained. He would have been looking at his feet had the sight of her breasts not been in his periphery. Instead, he focused on something to the side of them. "I protect you because I care."
"As do I—"
"I'm not going to sleep with you!" he finally snapped.
He felt her stiffen under his touch before she visibly wilted. She appeared so utterly confused with the way her lips were parts ever so slightly, as if a question was about to tumble out. There was the usual calculating look in her green eyes and Sasuke could practically hear the gears turning in her head.
"You… you don't want me," she said. Her eyes were downcast, her shoulders, always straight to exhibit her perfect posture and perfect upbringing, were slumped, blatantly showing the defeat he could already hear in her voice. She finally looked up at him and Sasuke felt something in his chest clench at the clear vulnerability she allowed to leak through her usual mask of confidence.
"No, that's not it—"
"You may go now, Sasuke," Sakura ordered, using her everyday voice. She took a step back to get away from his grip. Her cheeks were flushed and Sasuke wondered if this was from embarrassment or anger.
He heard the crack in her voice. He heard the insecurity he sparked and her desperation to keep it hidden. She was always so focused on being a strong-willed leader that she never really let anyone see when she was hurt or furious. She always donned her placid mask and used her steady voice, so to see her with her head bowed, bangs covering her eyes, and to hear strangled words pass through her lips… Sasuke felt mildly remorseful, but he wasn't going to change his mind.
Instead, he kissed her. She was close enough that he could tug her into his arms. She raised her head in surprise and he took advantage of the situation, sliding his lips over hers. Despite her suggestive clothing and coy smiles, he knew she was just as inexperienced as he was. While he'd been propositioned more times than he'd ever like to admit, Sasuke had never been particularly fascinated by or interested in sex. It always seemed so unnecessary. But now, with Sakura's soft body pressed up against him, their hands roaming each other's bodies, and her tongue in his mouth, Sasuke could understand why the men at the camps always loved when women came around.
But he pulled away first. She looked at him in confusion and Sasuke kissed her once more. "I will not be bedding you, Sakura. I might have grown up in the company of soldiers, but my parents certainly raised me to be a gentleman."
Sakura looked ready to fight his declaration, but simply sighed. "My maiden's gift is yours," she quietly declared. "You are all that I've ever wanted and I will have you."
Any other man would have been frightened by her decisive tone. Instead, Sasuke smirked. "Very well, my lady."
She smiled at him. "Stay with me tonight."
"As you wish."