Leaf in the Wind

Chapter 6

Itachi

Itachi studied the woman sleeping in his arms. This small slip of woman inspired so much devotion from those around her. His brother and teammates had spent years of their lives searching for her. His stoic father and the meddling clan elders were in agreement for once that she should be the next clan matriarch. They encouraged him to cement a relationship with her as soon as possible. Even the Hokage was invested in her wellbeing, though the relationship was strained right now.

Outwardly she was beautiful, with pale soft skin, long rose colored hair, and gem like green eyes that drew the eye.

While he knew many were interested in her skills that she had been able to achieve at age younger than anyone before her, he was more attracted to her inner strength. She struggled with her inner demons everyday while continuing to move forward and build a life for herself. She had made him awaken, now he looked at the world around him with new eyes. He took in the beauty of the forest and enjoyed the simplest of pleasures like hot sweet tea with her company.

He had been trained in the ways of a shinobi since he could walk. He was skilled in the art of war and knew that he would use all his talents to keep this one woman safe. She was not weak, but she still was vulnerable to those who would seek to use her. He would ensure that those within the village and outside knew that she was not only protected by his clan but himself personally.

He watched as she curled more into him seeking his warmth, her one arm moved to hold him tighter, making him smile as he continued to play with her long tresses. In her sleep she was more open to wanting to be close to him.

He would continue to court her affections until she accepted him fully into her life.

-000-

Sakura felt bewildered as Mikoto pulled her into the dress shop. It was the first time she had left the Uchiha compound since her spar with Tsunade almost a month ago. Mikoto insisted that she needed to visit more of the village, not wanting to disagree with her she allowed herself to be persuaded.

Looking around the dress shop she noticed that it catered to mostly traditional dress with only a few more modern dresses on display. Embroidered silk fabrics in a multitude of colors were on display. Rolls of ribbons, spools of thread and accessories were on the shelves. A beautiful pale pink and green silk kimono was on display in the window, and she paused to admire it.

Upon seeing Mikoto the owner of the shop, an elderly woman hurried over to greet them with a pleased smile on her face.

"It is a pleasant surprise to see you today my friend. How may I help you today?"

Sakura listened as they shared small talk for a few minutes before the conversation turned to her.

"I would like to purchase a complete wardrobe for Sakura. She will need everything, from shoes, stockings and undergarments to several formal kimonos. I also noticed that many of the younger women are now also favoring the more modern dresses so maybe a few of those as well.

"No, please I don't need anything." Sakura tried to protest as the elderly woman pulled out a measuring tape and began to circle her taking measurements making clucking noises.

"My dear, you need your own clothes that are tailored to you. You can't keep wearing my old clothes or Itachi's. A young woman should be adorned properly."

When it looked like she would continue to object, she added, "Fugaku insisted that I ensure you are properly attired." She told her firmly, looking ready to argue further if she needed to.

Sakura closed her mouth and made no further protest. When fabrics were laid against her to see if they went with her hair and skin, she stood still letting Mikoto take the lead. In the past she would have bought the clothes that were premade and usually on sale. Before she would have spent her pay on rent or meals. Having dresses and kimonos made specifically for her was something she had never considered.

It was only when she put on a soft blue wool shawl that she found herself asking if she could wear it out, making Mikoto and the sales lady smile and agree.

After two long hours they left the store and Mikoto insisted that they continue to shop, arranging for most of their packages to be delivered to her home.

The next store was a grocer's and Mikoto placed orders for tea, sugar and other household goods. These items would also be delivered.

Sakura noticed that more than a few eyes followed them as they made their way down the small, crowded street as she accompanied Mikoto with her shopping. When they passed through the gates of the Uchiha compound, Sakura breathed out a sigh of relief. Here she did not attract attention.

Mikoto insisted on making tea while Sakura put away the mountain of packages that had been delivered. Once everything was put away, she rejoined with Mikoto. With two mugs of tea, they made their way to her bench. Sakura could feel the stress of shopping melt away as she sat down beside Mikoto.

"I can see why you enjoy the view." Mikoto commented as she sipped her tea.

"Sometimes I feel like I can't take a deep breath, but then I come here and see the trees, the sunlight on the water and I feel better. When I was captive, I found myself missing the simple things the most, the sound of the wind through the leaves, the sun on your skin and even hot tea."

They sat in comfortable silence drinking their tea, when Sakura found herself wanting to ask Mikoto something but worried that it was too personal.

"I sense that there is something you want to talk about."

Sakura shifted on the bench and then asked, "Can I ask you about sex?"

Mikoto paused and then set aside her mug, "With your own mother gone, you need someone you can trust that you can speak with. Ask your question Sakura."

"Does it always...hurt?"

Mikoto looked confused and then she was saddened. "Oh, my dear. I will try to answer your question as best I can. The first time for a woman is usually uncomfortable but if you have a partner that is patient then it can be amazing. Trust is important between partners because then you can truly feel comfortable to be yourself."

-000-

Sakura looked down at the pretty pink package on her kitchen table. A small note told her that it was a courting gift from Itachi. Slowly she pealed pack the pink cloth to reveal a box filled with pretty soaps. Six soaps, individually wrapped in paper and marked to show the floral scent. Bending low she breathed in the clean scent, and she found herself smiling as she took a bar and unwrapped it. The pale pink bar had an imprint of a rose to match the scent.

Collecting fresh clothes and her new soap she decided to find the women's bathhouse for the clan. Usually, she took a simple sponge bath in her home so she had used the women's bath house only the men's with Itachi. After receiving directions from Mikoto she found the brick building located in the middle of Uchiha land. Relieved that it was almost empty. Sinking into one of the smaller tubs of hot water she took her bar of soap and began to lather up.

"Your Sakura, right?"

Looking over Sakura found herself the focus of another woman. Tall with long black hair gathered on top of her head, the woman was using the larger bath with several over young women.

Nodding her head yes, she watched as the woman moved through the water towards her and then leave the water to stand over her.

"We haven't met yet. I'm Izumi, I just returned from long mission."

Sakura was unsure how to respond so stayed silent.

"You were the talk of the bath a moment ago."

Sakura, unsure of what to say, stayed silent.

"Is it true that Itachi is courting you?" she asked bluntly.

Sakura nodded her head and then rinsed the soap from her skin.

"Fugaku must want you for your skills at healing. He is always wanting to ensure that the clan is the strongest. Itachi must be following orders courting you."

Sakura smiled as she stood up and began to dry off. Izumi seemed to get mad that she was not getting the response she was hoping for because she continued with her attack.

"I heard..." She was stopped when Sakura spoke up.

"If this is your attempt to make me angry or maybe cause discord between Itachi and myself then you are mistaken. I have nothing but the greatest respect for Fugaku and Itachi. I would think that as a member of the clan you would only speak of them also with respect considering that they work towards ensuring the safety of yourself and the family."

Giving her a small smile Sakura dressed as the woman glared and fumed at her silently.

On the walk back to her home, she saw crows watching her and she gave a little wave as she thought about the woman she had just met. She was not surprised that Itachi had other women interested in him within the clan. She knew that if her relationship with Itachi became permanent that more than a few women would be upset. She was also found herself surprised at herself when she became a little bit jealous thinking about his history with other women.