Sakura's breath caught in her throat as she took in the sight of the crowd below. Never before, in all of her life, had she seen so many people gathered in one place.
I didn't realize Konoha even HAD this many people living here, she thought, trembling slightly as the muffled roar of the crowd below resonated throughout the room.
Of course, it wasn't just Konoha who had turned up for the ceremony. On such a historical day, delegates had arrived from sister nations Suna and Ame; the royal family from Iwa made an appearance, along with seemingly every major news station in the world.
Not for the first time, Sakura questioned her own sanity.
What the hell am I doing here? she thought in panic, feeling tears of pure fear brimming in her eyes. Hastily, so as not to spoil the meticulous work of the best makeup artist in the country, she blinked them back and glanced at her worried reflection in the ornate golden mirror in her dressing room.
The Konan-designed wedding gown was one of a kind, impossibly beautiful, and easily iconic, once displayed to the public. Strapless, somewhat daring for a royal wedding with its sweetheart neckline and low back. It cinched in nicely at her waist and flared out over her slim hips in delicate lace. Her signature pink hair – a no-doubt shocking addition to the royal family – was pulled into long, soft romantic curls and her makeup was very light, concentrated mostly around her eyes.
They'd done the best they could with a poor, inner city girl, that was for certain.
"He's at the church, Sakura," said Ino, her maid of honor, appearing in the reflection beside her. Looking more like a princess than any other human being ever had in apricot and chiffon, Ino smiled beautifully and fixed Sakura's train. "It's a one-mile ride there in the car, you do your little wave-y thing, then bing bang boom you're married."
"I think I'm gonna be sick," Sakura whispered.
"Not in that dress, you're not," Ino said sharply. "I plan on selling that on eBay the second you get changed. Do you have any clue how much money I'll get, for hocking the royal wedding dress?"
"Come on, idiot, what's there to be nervous about? Although, I guess I have to stop calling you idiot. In public, anyway. Since you're like, a half hour from becoming a princess."
Sakura knew her best friend was only teasing her, but that was exactly why she was so terrified.
"That's just it, Ino," she moaned, slumping onto the little stool in front of the mirror. "I know I'm gonna fuck this up. I just know it. See I can't even stop saying 'fuck.' What kind of princess says 'fuck?'"
"You're being ridiculous."
"No, I'm not. I know this is what every little girl dreams of, okay, I know that being a princess is…like…I get it. But I know I'm gonna ruin this for him. What do I know about being a princess? What do I know about leading people?"
Ino apparently seemed to understand that what Sakura was experiencing was definitely more than pre-wedding jitters, and switched modes instantly, from slave-driving maid of honor to understanding best friend. She was so perfectly composed that Sakura bitterly wondered why Sasuke wasn't marrying Ino instead; she'd make a hell of a princess without even having to try.
"Look," said Ino with a kind smile, wrapping an arm around Sakura's shoulders. "It's gonna be fine. Okay? You've been friends with Sasuke for years. The media already knows who you are, everything about you, and everybody loves you. You've been getting practice with all this royal crap ever since you and Sasuke started dating. It won't be anything you can't handle."
"There's a million ways to offend someone," Sakura whispered, fighting an urge to chip her peach nail polish just out of habit. "You can't forget anybody's name. It's this endless parade of visits with foreign dignitaries, and paparazzi in your face waiting to catch you fucking up – see, I said fuck again, goddamn it – and this country means so much to Sasuke, it's all he cares about. And I'm gonna ruin it for him, I just know it."
Ino's blue eyes softened, and she murmured, "So you're unsure about being a princess. Okay. But are you unsure about Sasuke?"
And Sakura took a moment to think about the surly, quiet boy she'd known since childhood, about how a young prince and an orphan with a scholarship became unlikely friends at boarding school, about how an illicit first kiss was stolen on a secluded beach and all the incredible, amazing, infuriating romance that followed…
She felt her lips quirk into a smile.
"Sasuke?" she echoed, thinking of the handsome prince who was waiting for her at the church. "No. About a lot of things, yeah. But Sasuke? Never him."
"And why are you marrying him?"
"Because I love him. And he loves me. And…"
"And that's all that matters. The rest will work itself out. But you two are in love; that's the most important thing. You're not marrying him because he's a prince, so quit trying to be the perfect princess."
Sakura studied her reflection for a moment before giggling. "I'm being stupid, aren't I."
"'Course you are, but that's why you have me to kick your ass into gear."
A quick knock at the door interrupted their conversation. "Come in," Sakura called, and Suigetsu, one of Sasuke's personal bodyguards, poked his head inside.
"The car's ready for you, Your Highness," he said with a toothy grin.
"Not yet I'm nobody's highness," Sakura grumbled. "For right now I'm still Sakura fucking Haruno. Now let's do this."
"Figures," Ino groaned, helping her friend stand up in her four-inch heels. "Only girl on the face of the Earth who doesn't want to be a princess, and she's the one he picked."
The flashbulbs erupting in his face as he disembarked from the Phantom were nothing new to him. Perhaps he hadn't seen photographers in such great quantity, of course, but after 22 years of having his privacy stripped away and his entire life put on display for the entire world to see, he'd gotten used to the publicity.
But picturing his feisty, insecure fiancee in the same situation, he was forced to suppress a grimace as he headed up the steps to the church.
Was it fair of him, to want to marry her even knowing the horrors that sometimes accompanied a man of his station?
She'll have to deal with all this on a daily basis, he thought, keeping his expression masterfully composed as his picture was taken by a thousand photographers. They were held at bay by large fences and dozens of bodyguards, but it was still uncomfortable, the constant state of being monitored.
And Sakura, a down-to-earth girl who enjoyed her youth and privacy, was about an hour away from selling her soul.
"Hey, asshole," greeted his best man, Naruto, dressed in a loud orange tuxedo and grinning ear to ear. He was waiting for Sasuke at the top of the steps, and seemed entirely oblivious to the obnoxious picture he made in a royal setting. Perhaps that was why they'd become such good friends at boarding school – Sasuke had always been rebellious. It would make sense that he'd befriend the one kid who was a living representation of everything his parents, the king and queen, found distasteful.
Right along with marrying a commoner two weeks out of college.
"You look less ugly than usual," Naruto remarked, remembering to bow to Sasuke (purely on ceremony), as Sasuke drew up beside him. "Should be a relief for Sakura. She's way too pretty for you. What do you wanna bet she skips out on this whole thing?"
"Wouldn't blame her if she did," Sasuke murmured bitterly. Normally it would be second nature to say something equally rude to Naruto, but his insecurity was showing. This place was a circus. News vans, and reporters, and photographers, and every single citizen had shown up outside the cathedral to see the royal wedding; he wouldn't blame Sakura one bit if she left him at the altar in his midnight blue tuxedo.
Naruto threw his head back and laughed loudly, completely comfortable being the center of attention even if it still rankled Sasuke. "Oh come on, dude, you know she's crazy about you. God knows why, though, when she could have had me, but there's no recounting for taste."
"'Accounting,' you cockroach," Sasuke corrected nastily, but Naruto only laughed again.
At that moment, a trumpet fanfare sounded in the courtyard, and the massive crowd was parted to admit a sleek black car with bulletproof windows, two small flags with the Uchiha crest emblazoned on them signifying who was riding inside. Sasuke instinctively straightened up, as the driver opened the doors and the king and queen emerged from the car to uproarious applause.
King Fugaku, in full military dress, held out his arm for Queen Mikoto, and they made their stately way up the stairs to their son. Sasuke bowed to them when they reached him, and his mother, grinning widely and completely against protocol, threw her arms around Sasuke in a bone-crushing hug that made the crowd cheer even harder.
"Can't breathe, Mom," Sasuke hissed.
"I've seen her already, Sasuke!" she whispered conspiratorially, referring to his fiancee. "She looks beautiful."
Positively glowing, Mikoto drew back at Fugaku's subtle insistence. She patted her husband's arm and Fugaku, looking as uncomfortable as he always did in touchy-feely situations, murmured, "Well I can't say I was in love with the idea at first, but…Itachi would've been proud of you, Sasuke. This is a good day for you, and for Konoha."
Sasuke's eyes widened; it took years of practice to conceal his shock in front of rabid photographers, but he managed to keep his expression neutral as King Fugaku, the initial opponent of a prince's engagement to a commoner, remarked, "She'll make a fine queen, someday."
"Good luck, darling," Mikoto whispered tearfully. "Go on in, she'll be here soon!"
Sasuke nodded dumbly, unable to say anything else, and mercifully had Naruto there to shove him inside the church. "Idiot, she's the one who's supposed to walk down the aisle, not you!"
Sasuke had taken two steps inside, stunned silent, when he heard another trumpet fanfare outside, lighter and prettier than the loud, brassy explosion of sound that heralded the king and queen's arrival. Against protocol, he stopped dead and turned around, craning his neck to see outside again.
A white limousine had pulled up to the front of the church. Sasuke, grinning in a bizarre mixture of terror and relief, turned back around and made his way towards the altar.
It was bad luck, after all, to see the bride before the wedding.
note.. so this ugly little prologue is my way of getting back into the game here, so to speak. please remember my zero tolerance policy for bullshit and save the "don't start another story update your old stories" for someone else, I DO WHAT I WANT.
anyway welcome. like anyone else i was inspired by/jealous of william and kate and here's my sasusaku take on a royal wedding theme. if you liked it let me know, if you didn't, please just don't tell me. have a good weekend, babies, be safe!
xoxo daisy :)