Story: Lady Luck

Chapter 18: Lady Luck

Author: Ari

Beta: Proclaimed Penguin Princess

Pairing: Uchiha Itachi & Haruno Sakura

Warnings: Drama, suspense, cliffhangers, the occasional joke that might make you snort loudly at work. Scenes that could make you blush on public transit and other things.

Disclaimers: See the first chapter for a full disclaimer, but basically I do not own anything Naruto-related.

Reminders: First, I recommend going back and rereading. I have been making revisions to previous chapters as well, so I would recommend reading from the beginning.

Note: Thank you all for your kind reviews. Your comments fuel my desire to keep writing.

Enjoy ^-^

-xXx-

-xXx-

The reception was held in the Uchiha Compound courtyard. A warm glow danced over the buildings in the compound as lanterns ignited and hung on ropes between the buildings. Small candles floated in the water and koi fish swam around happily knowing they were going to be fed well tonight. The newlyweds sat at a sweetheart table in front of the Uchiha main house.

From the sweetheart table, the clan members were arranged at other tables on the right side of the fountain while the other guests were arranged on the other side. The buffet was located on the completely opposite side of the fountain.

Why did Sakura agree to that? Why would she agree to place the food far away from her?

Ino should have known better.

Instead of gorging herself on the array of delectables, Sakura was stuck at the sweetheart table. She and Itachi were a two-person army facing down the majority of the Uchiha clan. Together they suffered through the congratulations on their marriage, praises on the beauty of their ceremony, the never-ending stream of compliments on her kimonos, and the dreaded:

"Oh Sakura-san, I just know the little Uchiha shinobis you produce will be just as accomplished as Itachi." This time it was an older woman whose husband had passed away. Her son, who was also paying his respects, was part of the Konoha military police force. A chunin, according to Itachi who never applied himself enough to pass the jounin exams.

Sakura just forced the corners of her mouth to stay in a smile. Just keep smiling, just keep smiling, she told herself.

Itachi had warned her that his clan- their clan- believed such conversations were commonplace. Sakura underestimated their sense of entitlement. She was shocked at the sheer number of people interested in her uterus. They asked about timelines, and if she and Itachi had "started" trying yet. Others made bets with one another on how long until they announced a pregnancy.

If she did not know better, all these clansmen could be clones instructed to say the same thing again and again. Instead, the clansmen lived in their own Uchiha bubble and parroted whatever the others wanted them to say. Victims of another's expectations while living blissfully in their ignorance.

A lesser woman would have folded under the pressure. Each interaction with the extended clan once again confirmed why Itachi was so selective about his wife. Sakura knew she was worth more than being a raven-haired, obsidian-eyed, baby maker. Itachi knew better than to expect her to walk around with a pregnant belly, a toddler on her hip with a line of Uchiha ducklings following her around.

With her plastered smile, Sakura responded, "Both Itachi and I will be re-assuming our work before we even sit down to talk about children." Sakura just smiled and nodded, turning to her husband. Her response to this question had turned from polite to uninterested the longer the night went on.

"Thank you for your well wishes, now if you take your seat, the main course will be served shortly." Itachi nodded in the direction of the guest seating.

Uchiha-what's-her-name smiled and bowed again before walking away.

"Itachi," Sakura started.

"Hime?" he answered, turning slowly to look at her.

Sakura opened her mouth to speak before a smile blossomed on her face. And just like that, her tension was gone. She then continued, "If I have to talk to one more of your relatives about my future Uchiha sons I am going to punch something."

Itachi smiled, actually showing those dazzling pearly whites. She was doing fine, and she knew it. He had a feeling the whole redundancy of the statement; the constant underestimation of her own skills and abilities was the cause of her true irritability. It was quite shocking how easily Sakura's moods could change.

"I believe they know enough not to anger you from the previous demonstration you gave them at the last family gathering."

Was that supposed to be a joke? Sakura raised an eyebrow at Itachi.

The smile was still present on his face.

Uchiha Itachi just made a joke. Well, what do you know?

The band played a small cord signaling it was time for dinner.

Finally, both of the newlyweds thought and took a deep, relaxing breath. For at least thirty minutes they would get time to themselves. Some of the few they would have all night.

-xXx-

Ino stood from her seat at her table and slowly walked toward the newlywed couple. Sakura had absolutely no idea what her friend was going to say in her speech but trusted Ino enough to pick her words delicately.

"Sakura, when you first told me you were getting married, I was shocked, and then the first thought that came to my head was 'how dare she get married before me. That all disappeared when you told me you were marrying Uchiha Itachi. How does my beautiful, punch-happy best friend have any time to interact with the Uchiha Itachi? She spends most of her time in the hospital or training. It did not make sense to me. At least until the first time, I saw you two together. I saw such admiration, respect, and dare I say, love, in his eyes that I have no doubt that he will put up with whatever shenanigans you bring into his life."

Cue laughter from the audience.

"Uchiha Sakura, Uchiha Itachi, I wish you both a lifetime of happiness, peace, and all the blessings from Lady Luck in your union."

Shisui rose as he clapped and moved next to Ino, ready to give his speech.

Itachi audibly groaned.

"That was a beautiful speech Ino, but I've got one better," Shisui smirked at the groom. "But I don't even think shocked is the word to describe the reaction to your engagement. After she slapped the smirk off that perfect face at your engagement announcement bets were placed if Itachi would even make it through the engagement, let alone to this point."

More laughs from the audience.

"You've always been a serious kid, Itachi. Because of that, I did not doubt you when you said you were going to marry Haruno Sakura. Still, I was shocked when you showed up to that fateful family gathering with Konoha's sweetheart in tow. Sakura, you gave Itachi a piece of your mind then, and I hope you continue to keep him in check for the rest of your long and fruitful marriage."

"Raise your glass to the newlyweds."

Sakura gave Shishui a gentle smile while mouthing the words, thank you. She then moved to pick up her chopsticks to finally begin eating.

-xXx-

Naruto just did not understand.

He stood there, right in the middle of his sister's reception, staring absentmindedly at the buffet in front of him.

Hinata approached him cautiously, assessing his quizzical face. She was never sure what exactly could come out of her blonde lover's mouth at any one given time. "Naruto," her timid voice, registered on an important wavelength in Naruto's mind.

"Hinata, I just can't figure it out." He said, his gaze still far away.

"Are you confused about the dessert buffet?" Hinata asked, referring to the large display of gourmet foods before the two of them.

Naruto turned quickly to look at the beautiful girl who had loved him for years before he had even noticed her. Confounded he looked back at the tray of heavenly pastries before him.

Oh, he thought, "those do look delicious Hinata. It's just…" He looked back at the sweetheart table.

He had not even noticed the spread. There was something else on his mind. "But you are more worried about Sakura-chan?" Hinata asked.

"Ne, Hinata-chan, Sakura-chan just means so much to me," Hinata could see Naruto trying to gather the right words, "I mean you are awesome and wonderful, and more than I could have ever asked for," Naruto struggled to cover his tracks. He was still not used to this boyfriend thing.

"Naruto-kun, it's alright, I understand. Sakura-chan is like a sister to you." Hinata smiled and gently entwined her fingers with his own. "Come on, tell me what you are worried about."

She led him away from the table and out onto the dance floor. Other couples were also dancing. Sakura had danced her first dance and the night was nothing more than an upscale party. All of their friends were there, but everything felt off. Something was not the same.

And Naruto could not figure it out.

Sakura laughed with them, she still danced with him, Sasuke, Kakashi, and Sai. Half of the stick-up-asses-clan watched while Gaara approached Itachi to ask permission to dance with the new bride. Many younger cousins stood on the side as Gaara pulled Sakura close.

That would be a good fight to watch. Itachi vs. Gaara. They would name it the battle for a cherry blossom.

Naruto shook his head. He was getting away from himself.

"Why would Teme's brother go to such lengths to marry Sakura-chan so soon? Not like Sasuke, Sai or even I could match up against him individually; maybe if we throw Kakashi-sensei in there with Tsunade-baachan, then we could. But why? Why is it so important to marry her, out of everyone?"

Hinata smiled sweetly at her blonde lover. He was so smart, thick-headed, and stubborn, but he had the biggest heart and he did pick up on everything around him. That was part of the reason she admired him. Among many others.

"It surprised me just as much as anyone else Naruto-kun," Hinata said as they began to sway back and forth on the dance floor.

"Understatement!" Naruto laughed aloud, "Kakashi-sensei didn't even know! Then again, he does have his head in those dirty-"

"Naruto-kun!"

"What? It's true!"

These came the moments when Hinata could not help but laugh. "Naruto, clan things are not always black and white. But Sasuke-san seems to be okay with it, so you should too."

The hyperactive blonde was silent. Naruto always thought Sasuke should have fought harder for Sakura. Everyone else saw it, the way the two danced around one another. He envisioned the four of them and their extended family together.

Hinata then gently said, "Maybe we have to face the fact that Sasuke-san and Sakura-chan were not meant to be together."

Naruto sighed. Maybe Hinata was right. Teme's brother was a good guy… even if he did fuck up at the beginning of their relationship.

Hinata leaned in to rest her head on Naruto's chest. "Maybe Itachi-san finally had enough of the clan. Maybe instead of choosing someone from in the clan, he wanted someone outside of the clan to help bring some change."

Naruto thought about this, Sakura was stubborn enough to go up against their stupid, backward elders. Still, Naruto asked, "Like what?"

-xXx-

-xXx-

"Like what?" Shisui snapped his head towards his second favorite cousin.

The older of the two scanned the area making sure not many people were listening. "I don't know, they won't tell me or Itachi."

"What do you mean by they have plans for me though?"

"Keep your damn voice down." Shisui snapped. "You know that they are not happy with Itachi marrying outside of the clan."

"Too bad, they are stuck with her. She is obviously the better choice anyway." Sasuke said.

"Trust me it was either Sakura or one of your mindless cousins who have been swooning after Itachi since they could walk. The ones whose fathers and mothers cultivated them to be perfect Uchiha Matriarch. The very ones who are glaring daggers are your beloved teammate, probably plotting her untimely death."

"Hn," Sasuke sneered then thought; like they actually could. "She is the most talented kunoichi in the village, I don't understand how they can still be pissed about his choice."

"They cannot control her like they could other matriarchs Sasuke," Shisui whispered. "They had this whole elaborate plan to 'remind' this village that the Uchiha clan was the most powerful one in the village. Itachi's choice to marry Sakura foiled that."

Sasuke's eyes narrowed at his cousin. "Did my brother put her in danger by marrying her?"

"That's like asking a shinobi if he ever puts his life on the line."

"Does Sakura know?"

"She's not stupid. She knows what they face together."

Shisui looked at Itachi and Sakura, the happy couple had just cut the cake. He had told Itachi to shove the piece in her face, but both were a picture of pristine happiness as they gingerly fed cake to each other.

"They look good together." Shisui mused.

Sasuke agreed. He had every faith in their relationship.

Shisui continued, "Itachi, despite his emotional problems, can learn to fully trust and respect Sakura.

The elder Uchiha turned his head back to the younger, "Whether we like it or not we are the future of this clan. It's rooted in the past and tradition that was founded when tradition needed to stand. Change is the future and if the Uchiha clan gets its way… the whole village is doomed."

Sasuke hated this, the pull he felt between his village and his clan. Sasuke was bound by blood to a group of people with expectations and traditions to uphold the very name of the crest he wore. Still, the idea of family was a concept he ceased to associate with the majority of his clan members. Sasuke found his family elsewhere. Family was with the dobe and the weird pale guy who joined their team later. It was with Kakashi who had personally mentored him, who had steered him away from a dark path he almost traveled years ago. This was the family, those precious people he swore to protect, and the ones he would.

Sakura was actually his sister now. By law and by choice, through the years they had grown together and had helped one another. He would be there for her, in whatever capacity she needed him. Even if that meant standing up to his clan.

Sasuke took a swig of sake. "Their marriage might save this village."

-xXx-

-xXx-

"She was always so respectful when I had spoken to her before," one whispered.

"Why would she not want to produce future heirs for the clan?" Another whispered.

"You let him marry outside of the clan Fugaku," accused a third.

"When I presented his choice to the clan council for official approval, I heard no objections. As was so clearly stated, you all knew who she was from the start."

"Do not flash such arrogance and disrespect in my face again." Masaru snapped quickly, "This village needs to be reminded once again of the power the Uchiha clan holds."

"Enough," Mikoto finally stood up from the table. "Ancestors forbid all of you. This is the girl's wedding day, Itachi's wedding day, your future clan leader mind you. This is supposed to be the happiest day of their life and you waltz right up and tell her that you demand a child from her? How can such business not wait till after the honeymoon?"

"Mikoto, you will sit back down and remember to whom you are speaking." Her husband reminded her in a thick, irate voice that would have shattered glass if it could.

The Uchiha matriarch looked at her husband for a long second, shook her head, and stated clearly, to the entire table, "Why Fugaku? I have been silent for years. I let you walk on me for most of my life and this is what I get in return? I have been a good wife, a loyal and obedient wife to you and to our clan for years. No longer dear husband. That is my son and my daughter-in-law. And I will defend my family. Will you?"

It was like the dam broke. All of her silence for years at the abuse she and her sons suffered at the hands of this man and the elders came flowing forward. And once she started, she would not stop.

"And that goes for the rest of you too. Your heir is finally married, your future of the clan is right there on the dance floor. Celebrate it, celebrate this generation and the relationships they build." She heatedly turned upon the rest of the elders. She was done, she was fed up. And she was not going to let them corrupt the one thing she could do for her son and her new daughter.

"The one and only Haruno Sakura is now Uchiha Sakura. What more could we ask for? Let their relationship evolve naturally and on their own terms. They have risen to the occasion and have planned such a wedding and reception. They will play their part. The whole village is now invested in their relationship. Their marriage is bigger than the Uchiha clan. She is the village sweetheart. Now, she is the next Lady Uchiha. Let their marriage represent what the Uchiha clan can be; not forcing them into what you think it should be."

She had to leave. She just spoke out against the very people who arranged her own marriage into the main branch family. So promptly, the current Lady Uchiha left the table. Looking for either one of her sons, her new daughter, or any other logical woman.

Maybe she'd even go talk to Hiashi.

The current head of the Uchiha clan looked at his son once again dancing with his wife, on the dance floor. It was almost time for them to depart and they had hardly left each other's side all evening.

Was his wife right?

-xXx-

-xXx-

After the Reception

Only once she was in the horse-drawn carriage, Ino's idea, Sakura rolled her eyes internally. Heading toward their honeymoon location did Sakura finally realize how tired she truly was, her entire body seemed to sink. So much for the soldier pills, she thought and exhaustion weighed heavy. Her head ached from talking and trying to remember everyone's name. Even her mouth hurt, too many forced smiles throughout the night.

They were stuffed in the carriage, along with well wishes and fireworks when their guests sent them off into the night. If Itachi was tired, he did not show it, he simply held his new wife to him, letting her rest her head on his shoulder.

But the silence between them was stale. What were they supposed to talk about now?

His head did not move, "Is there something you wish to discuss hime?" Itachi said in his low tenor of a voice. It sent shivers up her spine.

"Why do you always call me hime?" Sakura asked, her face squinting at the word. She was not a princess. She knew the nickname of Konoha's Sweetheart, but there was nothing she could do about that, and she kind of liked the idea.

"Why, do you have an objection to it?" Itachi countered simply, slightly tilting his head to look at her in the corner of his charcoal eyes. The stress lines on his face stood out more prominently, probably the expectations and stress of the day. Why did he have to be so goddamn handsome?

All. The. Time.

"Why do you always counter my questions with questions of your own? It is rather annoying." She commented, still with her eyebrows scrunched together.

Itachi's body shifted now, so his shoulders were square looking at her as well as his eyes boring down into hers. "Your shishou is often known as Tsunade-hime, is that not correct?"

"Because she was the granddaughter of the First Hokage, yes."

"So one could say Tsunade-sama was destined for greatness?" Itachi questioned again.

"One could say that yes, but she did not achieve her greatness because of her grandfather. She earned the position of Hokage through great work and dedication to her skills as a shinobi. She is the only female of the three Sannin. Also a title she did not earn due to her grandfather." Sakura made sure that she emphasized the part about earning her way instead of bloodlines.

"Many people compare you to Tsunade-sama, Sakura-hime." The tenor of his voice echoed those words.

Sakura's breath caught in her mouth momentarily. "I highly doubt I will ever be Hokage Itachi."

"Please Hime," Itachi reached his arm forward slowly towards Sakura's face, Itachi brushed a piece of hair behind her ear. "Although you may not be Hokage; you are destined for greatness."

Sakura's mouth fell open slightly as she just stared at Itachi. She was always surprised at the poetic words that came out of his mouth. He had such a reputation of being a cold, stoic, intimidating shinobi. But with her, she suspected only with her, he displayed a softness that astonished her.

"I believe we are here," Itachi said as he turned back around to face the front of the carriage. Sakura followed, turning her body to gaze upon the little town where they would be spending their first official night as man and wife.

The inn was homey, and just on the other side of the welcome arch, the small town was famous for its restaurant and pastoral lifestyle. It was comprised mostly of civilians with some basic shops and a main street of vendors. Travelers lined the streets, on and from their way to Konoha. The owners and staff had been informed in advance of their special guests and prepared their largest room in honor of the Uchiha family no doubt.

The carriage pulled up to the front of the inn and attendants immediately took their few belongings, insisting it was their pleasure to deliver them to the newlywed's room. Itachi exited the carriage and then held his hand out for Sakura.

The interior was nothing like the outside. The inn maintained a minimalist theme but between the water fixtures and the marble reception area, she knew some major renovations had been made. Some faded paint spots and shadows on the wall might have suggested a more heavily decorated room. However, the new management or interior decorator removed them and elected for a simplistic design exhibiting the natural wildlife found in Konoha.

The two approached the string of employees waiting by the front desk.

"Welcome Uchiha-sama," A woman from behind the desk spoke.

"Uchiha will do if you must address us formally."

Us. She and Itachi. It was still difficult to wrap her head around. But she was now an Uchiha too. Uchiha Sakura. Even though by legal right she retained her own last name. She knew she would be commonly known as Uchiha Sakura from now on. She took in a deep breath, clean water and forest filled her with a calming sensation. Aromatherapy. Nice touch.

The lady behind the desk was better dressed than any of the others around her in uniform. She was obviously the proprietor of the inn and wanted to greet her guests formally. "Welcome, we are so pleased to have you with us."

The woman continued motioning to another woman standing to her left, "This is Aemi, she will show you to your room. Jouta will make sure your belongings are delivered safely. We are still serving in the dining room if you are hungry from your journey, or we can have any dish brought up to your room."

"Thank you," Itachi said simply.

Sakura noted the never-ending smile on the woman's face. "Here are your keys, housekeeping will be around in the morning but there is no rush for the two of you. I know you have other places to go but while you are my guest, you will have the top quality service available."

"Thank you, Madam," Itachi nodded his head, taking the keys.

Aemi stepped forward and gestured, "Follow me please."

The three walked down the hall and up a small flight of stairs to the top floor of the small establishment. The hallway was more ornate as they climbed to the third floor.

Their guide, Aemi, was a young girl probably in her late teens, continuously babbled on about this or that but neither husband nor wife cared enough to actually listen. She stopped at an elaborately hand-carved door. The highly detailed mural showed a sakura tree in full bloom with two young lovers asleep in each other's arms at the base of the tree.

Of course, Sakura rolled her eyes as the attendant bowed low to the two and Itachi opened the door. As the proprietor had said, their belongings were already piled into a corner of the room.

"Is there anything else I can provide for you today Uchiha-sama?" She asked very politely, straightening from her bow.

"No, that is all."

"If you desire anything else-" She started.

"You have been very attentive to our needs. Thank you, both Sakura and myself are pleased." Itachi cut her off quickly. He looked to Sakura who stared at her husband. A cordial smile graced her lips as she too thanked the young girl.

The door closed and there they were, alone together. Their first night as a married couple.

They stood in silence for a moment, each waiting for the other to do something.

Emerald met onyx. And neither said a single word.

With a deep breath, she began to feel all the exhaustion of the day exit her body. She was no stranger to strenuous activities but an entire wedding, from dusk till dawn. Plus, the politics, the sitting, the standing, the dancing.

"I'm going to get a shower," Sakura muttered at last.

"Do you need help with the dress?" Itachi asked.

"Do you want to strip it off of me?" Sakura challenged with a flirt.

His dark eyes grew hungry, "I want more than that," he growled.

A calloused hand reached out to cup her jaw, pulling her to him. The warmth of his body helped soothe the aches of the day. Sakura loved kissing this man. He kissed her like she was the center of his entire world. Like nothing else mattered but that moment with the two of them.

"Sakura," he purred her name as he broke away, pressing his forehead to her own.

Not a bride.

Not Tsunade's apprentice.

Not the medic on team seven.

And certainly not Haruno-Uchiha Sakura.

Itachi saw her as just Sakura.

At that moment Sakura felt a little chakra release.

She opened her eyes, tense, preparing for a threat. "Itachi did you feel…"

Oh. My. God.

The room had changed. There were small glowing candles lit around the room, the soft glow emanating from the illuminated the now darkened room. Shadows met corners of the room as old friends, while the soft glow of the fire danced upon the wick of the teacup candles. The deep red, dark crimson color which colored the four walls almost seemed black or as red as fire itself depending on the light. The candles had a subtle scent of pine, not enough to overwhelm but just enough to complement the atmosphere. The small wax luminaries were also on every surface possible; the bed, the dresser, the floor, and the windowsill.

Sakura marveled at the simplistic beauty as she stood there completely astonished.

Slowly Itachi raised his head from hers, hair framing both sides of his face. His stress lines deepened with the stress of the day. His obsidian eyes captured her own, as they had done before.

"Surprise," He whispered.

This was Uchiha Itachi's attempt at being romantic. Itachi was trying to be gentle with her, and show her how much he cared about her.

She was a lucky lady if this was just a taste of Itachi's romantic side.

She placed her pale hands in his own. Long fingers, capable of such destruction, wrapped around hers as gently as holding porcelain. With a gentle tug, he pulled her forward, encouraging her steps, and leading her back towards the center of the room.

The palpitations of her heart increased. The muscles in the corner of her mouth betrayed the nervous butterflies in her stomach, curving up into the slightest smile. A soft color dusted her cheeks. "How long were you planning this?" She asked.

"A while," he said simply. The intensity of his gaze spoke enough. He examined every inch of her face. As if he was trying to imprint every rise and fall of her features. She did not reject his gaze, nor his hand when he once again brushed a stray piece of hair behind her ear.

"Sakura, you are a remarkable woman." He said.

His eyes continued to search her face. She did not know what to say to him. She did not know what he was thinking.

Then again, she would probably never know what was running through his mind.

Together they stood, in the middle of the room, surrounded by the simplistic beauty Itachi created. He must have used his chakra to light all the candles at once. She could think of no other explanation for the small release she felt earlier.

She dared not to speak, fearing this tender moment would be ruined. Sakura felt his rough thumb graze her knuckles tenderly while holding her hand.

Itachi Uchiha did not speak with words, he spoke through actions. His actions told her he cared. His actions told her that he wanted her to be happy.

For a moment, she went to speak but instead stopped herself. Itachi's eyes traveled between their hands, her eyes, and her lips. The slight movement made her wonder if he did have something to say to her.

Using her chakra to sense the area, she felt Itachi do the same. His breaths were hastened, just a second or two more than usual. He was nervous. The signs were ever so slight, and unfortunately, she did not spend enough time around him to notice every minute detail about him. Dealing with prideful shinobi was her specialty as a medic.

"Thank you," she said simply. Her voice barely audible was accompanied by her best soothing smile. "Itachi, this is beautiful."

"I wish it could be more," Itachi responded. The smooth tenor was gone and instead, his voice reverberated in his own chest traveling into her own. Every syllable word draped with a tender seriousness she had never experienced before.

Ever.

"Sakura it should be more. You are a remarkable woman who deserves better than the life I have condemned you to." He paused, gathering his thoughts. "I promise you Sakura, that I will do everything in my power to make you happy; as happy as if you married a man worthy of your intelligence, your skill, and your beauty."

Sakura waited for him to finish, a small grin appearing in the corners of her own mouth.

The tiniest hint to her husband that he had her undivided attention, and in this one moment between the two of them, she knew she could trust him. She knew, from this moment on, that she was one of Itachi's precious people.

Her heart wanted to sing. As distrustful as she had been for the past couple of months, at this moment, with these actions Itachi was proving himself to her. In a more intimate way than she had ever experienced before in her life. Because the Uchiha, Itachi, the pride of the clan and the top ANBU captain, was humbling himself in front of her.

"I do not believe in luck Hime, I believe luck is when opportunity meets preparation. And when the opportunity came along to make you mine I took it. By no means does that mean I will take you for granted. I meant what I said when I requested there be no secrets."

He continued, but his tone changed, it became strained; as if, for once, he struggled for words. "Emotion is never… something I express well. I do not know how to express…. or even what I am supposed to feel on occasion. I have always done what is expected of me. I am not perfect, Hime. I will make mistakes in this marriage, not that I want to, but because of my inexperience. I make my oath to you now Haruno-Uchiha Sakura, that I will strive to be the best husband I can be to you. Whenever and however you want me to be."

She had to respond, but she was thinking what words could ever match the depth which he just matched to her. "Well then," she whispered, looking down at her feet with a smile.

This time Sakura did something she never thought she would do, ever. She searched for her husband's eyes, staring directly at him, not letting him get away for once. Leading with her chest, she moved forward until her own body was not more than an inch away from his. Their hands were still linked.

With a breath of confidence, and still maintaining their connected hands Sakura raised herself up on her tiptoes, moving her face towards Itachi.

Her heart was racing, she was initiating a kiss, she wanted to express closeness to him, try to speak to him in a language as old as time. Express her happiness in this one moment towards him.

For a moment, a brief moment, when she reached the top of her tiptoes, she thought Itachi was going to withdraw. A wave of heat rushed towards her face. He wasn't going to respond? But then, softly, like a touch of a feather, Sakura felt the slightest pressure on her own lips. She felt two hands let go of hers only to curl around the small of her back, stretching her small figure up towards his height.

Their lips slide against one another with a heated tenderness, full of passion, and need for the other. The magical feeling of what a real first kiss should feel like. They were drawn to one another like magnets being pulled together against forces keeping them apart.

"I love you, Itachi." She whispered.

"I will never be worthy of it," Itachi said. "But I will love you to the end of my days."

His fingers ran down the edge of her jaw, down her neck as his eyes roamed appreciatively over his wife still in her wedding dress. Sakura closed her eyes, leaning into his touch, placing her hand over his own.

Itachi leaned down, to gently press his lips to hers, once, twice until she let out a small moan of relief. Sakura stepped into his embrace, reaching her arms up and around his neck. She kissed him hard, passionately, but he would not yield to her. He maintained dominance over the kiss, and when her mouth opened, reached out his tongue to touch hers.

When they broke the kiss, Sakura's emerald eyes shone with every emotion she did not know how to convey. Itachi did not seem remotely satisfied that one single kiss was enough. With hunger, greed, and devotion he claimed her mouth once again. Deepening the kiss as he ran his hands down her neck, over her arms, and to the back where the tie to her dress was.

With careful precision, Itachi began to remove her wedding attire. Sakura kicked them away to press herself back into her husband.

With nothing more than a smirk, he reached down to knock Sakura's knees out from under her, easing her weight onto the edge of the bed. Slowly, Itachi leaned back down to kiss Sakura. He did not linger, slowly moving to her jaw, down to her neck. He peppered soft kisses against her pulse before dragging his tongue and teeth along her soft skin.

Sakura moaned into Itachi's mouth when his hands found her breasts. He cupped and caressed them, teasing her nipples through the cloths of her undergarments. Sakura's hands quickly found the release so she could feel his skin on hers. However, Itachi chose that moment to stand, removing his hands from her body along with the garment.

Hungry eyes roamed her mostly naked body as Itachi stripped his upper garments from his body. Obsidian eyes met emerald as Itachi dove back in to connect his mouth with her breast. Her hands flew to his hair holding on as he teased her with his teeth and tongue again.

He settled his hips between her legs pressing his now hard length against her covered core. As he did, he felt Sakura's grip on his head tighten and she gave a frustrated moan.

"Tease," she whispered arching into his hands.

Itachi loved teasing her. He was going far too slow a pace for her and they both knew it. He gripped her thighs and pulled her to the edge of the bed, lifting her legs over his shoulder. Sakura lifted her hips so he could discard her underwear with an easy swipe. After one last lust-filled look, Itachi kneeled before her, before his lady, and licked her.

Sakura felt like she was on fire from that one lick alone. She went to move, but his hands only pinned her hips to the bed. He wanted her right there, a feast waiting for him.

So hesitantly, Sakra relaxed back against the comfortable, preparing herself to be consumed by this man.

Itachi worked her in languid strokes, running his tongue from base to apex. When his tongue slid inside her, Sakura's back arched as she moaned in both pleasure and frustration. The bed wasn't enough, she had to grip his hair once again hanging on as if it was the only anchor the two of them to the world around them.

His fingers replaced his tongue to continue the steadily building her pleasure. His mouth did not stop. Itachi licked and kissed his way to the apex of her thighs. He continued to pump her with his fingers as his mouth zeroed in on her clit, sucking her gently.

"Itachi," Sakura whispered raggedly.

He did not stop. She would have kicked him through the wall if he did.

Sakura climaxed hard, body shaking, fighting to stay together. Itachi road the waves with her, continuing to kneel and feast on the product of his work.

Only when Sakura settled did Itachi raise, looking over her naked, trembling body. He removed his pants and climbed on top of her. "Uchiha Sakura," He growled. "My wife."

"Yours." Sakura panted. She had never wanted this man more in her life. She wanted him sheathed inside her, she wanted to be taken hard and deep.

But as Itachi positioned himself and slid slowly into her, she knew he had other plans. Maybe he would later. But now he wanted to take her the way a man makes love to the woman he loves. He once again kissed her as she adjusted. He knew she became too impatient when she bit down on his lower lip, suckling it into her mouth.

Kami, she was divine.

Itachi broke the kiss, forehead resting on hers, as his arms caged the two of them in together. His strokes were deep and smooth rocks in and in and in until the only word on Sakura's tongue was his name.

"Itachi," she pleaded. She needed more to get there again.

He would do anything for this woman.

Sakura lifted her hips to meet Itachi's with every thrust. Her body was ablaze with pleasure he drove into her again and again. Her second orgasm hit harder than the first, leaving her breathless and boneless under Itachi.

Only then did her husband pick up the pace, chasing his own pleasure.

Itachi roared as he came, slamming into the hilt as his body trembled with the force of his orgasm.

Silence fell, intermingled with the gasps of breaths as the lovers recovered from the intensity of their lovemaking. No words need be said. Itachi gathered his wife in his arms, pulling her to his chest and holding her close. Sakura snuggled in, reveling in the warmth of his embrace.

No more words need be said because they could not do the moment justice.

"What comes next?" Sakura asked.

"With any luck?" Itachi whispered his answer, "Forever."

-xXx-

Hello!

Thank you for taking the time to read this story. This is not where I wanted to finish this story, but after 10+ years of writing this, I thought it was time to end her. And that means, leaving some strands hanging.

Yes, I wanted Madara to come back and threaten everything. Yes, I wanted the coup to try to happen too. I also wanted Sakura's father to show back up trying to get in good with her after all these years. Trying to use her new Uchiha name for clout - that wasn't going to go well for him but would be an emotional rollercoaster for her too.

I'd like to think that all those happen somewhere in the future of this story. And in the end, these two come out stronger. That there is still a massacre but at Fugaku's greed not by Itachi's hand. Finally, after years together, they would have a child, a baby girl. One that would soften the harsh edges around Itachi.

I was a young, teenaged girl, ignorant of the world and what healthy relatinships were like when I started this story. I hoped to recap it a little while preserving some of the marriage by convenience aspects. I hope you see that I have grown as a writer too.

Thank you, for going on this ride with me.