Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Minor pairings: SasuSaku, ShikaIno, GaaHina (mentioned), TsunaJirai (mentioned) and perhaps others.
I hope you enjoy!
The wife bit her pillow swallowing her screams. No, no, no! She tried to hold it back, the pain, her blood. She held her knees tight together. Vaguely, she heard her servants' concern. After two years, her belly remained infertile. No!
She shrieked and pestered. She pushed back her servants. Her lips were white with rage, her nails bloodied and her hands raw.
Her moon blood gathered on her tights and her servants tried once more to quiet her hysteria. She had tried every potion; she had prayed and given money to the temples. Her head felt blank as her servants managed to get her to lie down. Her body felt limb and a cacophony rang to her ears. Twice, she awoke screaming and cringing in the night. Her body ached. Sweat shined like cold pearls on her skin. The servants hovered the princess. She screamed louder; she thought the shadows were demons; their claws were digging in her skin. They were whispering, plotting against her in white ceremonial robs. They wanted to take her son. She fought back the soothing hands. They too were demons. She slept through four days holding her sides, thinking she was protecting her son.
Her blood and her tears dried, as the days passed. She felt her swollen belly and the fearful eyes of her servants.
The wife was a childless princess and her husband bought a concubine.
Neji Hyuuga stared at the grey sky and the high mountains. His long hair was held back from his icy face in a low ponytail. He stood on the veranda enjoying the silence, his pearl eyes shining in the glooming day. His wife had finally ceased her melodramatic act. She had asked him to see her. When he didn't answer any of her servants, she had pleaded his guards to let her enter his chambers. Coldly, he had ignored her pleas. Finally, he had sent a servant to inform her about the concubine.
Draped in fur, the symbol of his clan burned through his skin. They played him, again and again. The silk irritated his skin. The smoothness felt bitter. Neji inherited his uncle's shogunate at 18. He fought on two campaigns both of which he won. A servant opened the sliding doors of the veranda.
"Hyuuga-sama, they are waiting for you." The voice was meek. Sometimes he wondered how it was that only servant girls thought he was the master in the compound.
Unlike, the elders.
They awaited him in the next room. Their features would all show feinted respect. He was second-branch bred. They tasted disdain when they bowed to him. His forehead was still marked and they lured him in a childless marriage. They pushed him over the edge. Neji had sent Hinata Hyuuga away to show them he has the lord in this compound. He smirked remembering their displeasure when the true heiress left. Now, they were smirking whenever her name came up. She had two sons and he had none.
"Tell them that I am bathing." He said flatly.
The shogun smirked barely looking at the blush of the servant. She shut the door and he sighed. They would try to make him reconsider the concubine. Yet, he didn't have a choice. He needed a son.
Out of the compound, he had a minor household where the concubine could stay. His fingers wrapped around his katana pommel, he turned on his heels and walked towards the council chamber. The harshness of the cold cleared his mind. His body was ready for the battle ahead.
He snapped the sliding doors opened, glaring down at them.
"My apologies, my lords. I was bathing with my concubine." He saw their back stiffed under their kimono.
They were still bowing.
Shizune kneeled next to the sliding doors. Soft rain fell as the last of the light were extinguished. This night only a few regulars marched through the gates. The secluded emplacement of the pleasure house was meant to guarantee discretion for powerful figures. The estate drew water from the lake and beauty from the landscape. At her first husband death, Tsunade had established her pleasure house. Some of the girls came on their own while the others were sold by their family. Like a mother, she taught her girls the art of love. Most of them became concubine to powerful lords or geisha. Years later she met her new husband, an erotic writer.
Suddenly, Shizune heard a horse pants from afar. She frowned as she slowly rose to her feet. The rider stopped in the middle of the garden before the stoned path to the estate. She slipped her sandals on and ran towards him. Without a word, he gave her a folded paper. With no further explanation, he turned his horse and rode away. Her eyes felt on the seal and suddenly she ran.
Her sandals were soon disregarded on the veranda. Her feet left wet smear on the floor as she ran towards her mistress' room. She heard a silent curse and she erupted in her room, panting heavily.
Piles of documents rested near the knees of a tall woman. Pale brown eyes stared at her blankly. The blond haired woman sighed. Her hand paused and put the sake cup back on the mahogany table.
"I truly hope this is important…" Tsunade growled. She hated the feel of the ink on her fingers. Her husband was asleep in an adjacent room while she was counting the gains of the night's work.
"A letter has arrived from the Hyuuga compound."
She blinked. Then, a smile creased her lips. The rumors had been true, then. The Hyuuga lord was tired of his wife. She snatched the letter out of her servant's hands. She read it eagerly near the oil lamp.
"Is the messenger still here, Shizune?"
"No, he left once he had given it to me."
"I see." She read the letter again. "Hyuuga-hime is still not pregnant and Hyuuga-sama is asking for a concubine. Of course, Hyuuga-hime is pleading me to send him the ugliest woman I have here."
Tsunade's hands shook. Displeasure crept on her features and she threw the letter on her desk. The princess surely knew nothing of the art of love.
"That cow should know that I have no ugly woman here." She stared at Shizune frowning. "Besides, I wouldn't want to displease that husband of hers."
She tapped her chin with a polished red nail. There was a way for her to take advantage of the situation. All their clients were rich but the Hyuuga clan was rich and powerful. Neji Hyuuga became the shogun when his uncle died. His cousin was married in the Shukaku clan in the south. She smiled slowly. This would create an interesting situation. Hinata Hyuuga had already given two sons to the clan. If her cousin did not conceive, her husband would reclaim the shogunate in her name.
On the battle field, Neji Hyuuga was still unchallenged. He had claimed for the emperor many lands held by rebel. Yet, he was now defeated by his own wife.
"Who should I fetch, Tsunade-sama?" Shizune asked meekly breaking through the trail of her thoughts.
Suddenly, she made her decision. Smirking, her guts twisted in excitement.
"Tenten. Fetch her for me, please."
She had nearly forgotten how it felt to gamble. It was never about money, it was about the game and the gain.