A Busy Life @lonewolf153
An Unexpectancy

Hey guys! Sorry I took pretty long to upload. Besides life, I was a little too focused on writing the future chapters because I wanted to get ahead a bit. By the time I knew it honestly, I was editing this chapter and had to do quite a bit of revision here and there for the future of the story.

Sasuke: No surprise you'd keep everyone waiting for the sake of future chapters. You always do that. But what made you take six whole months besides life? You had some of the story written.

Uhm...w-well...-looks away, scratching back of head nervously-

Sasuke: ...What the hell? Are you...are you nervous?


Sasuke: ...Lone Wolf...what the hell did you do...?

...Okay, so...you guys remember quite a few chapters ago...? How I asked for you guys not to hate me...?

Sasuke: ...and it ended up in a false alarm because you tweaked the story. Yes...what of it?

...W-Well...these next couple of chapters...

Sasuke: ...No. No, No! Lone Wolf! What did you do?!

...All I have to say is I completely understand if you hate me. ( T-T ) Honestly, I hated—and still hate—myself for writing it, but I promise it is to advance plot and I promise it gets better. So...

Sasuke: So, what?!

So...please...bear with me...

Sasuke: Lone Wolf

Like my Mama always said! Trauma builds strength and character...! Hehehehee...heeehhh...eeehhhh... ( ._. )


Mine did. ( T-T ) She does love me though, I swear.

Sasuke: THE HELL?!

I accept all curses and hatred upon me. ( T^T ) To the chap...-starts running-

Sasuke: OI!

"Good day to you, Uchiha-sama." His client spoke and of course, the farewell went absolutely ignored. His gaze was too focused on what was transpiring before him and Sasuke was not pleased. A giggle sounded from her lips and he couldn't have been all the more irritated. It probably would have been better if a stranger was the subject of her smile and laugh, because the only thing he could pay attention to was the familiar figure before her.

He just finished with one of his most annoying meetings of the day this morning, considering he learned there was something wrong and terms needed to be changed between their contracts. His meetings today were almost back to back, save for the time period he had now. If he could allow it, he had even started considering lending latenesses a chance—and instead of her being the first thing he saw when he left the office, as he hoped with his current time stamps, he was staring at the back of none other than his older brother, in front of Sakura's desk. Sakura didn't even notice he had left the office like she usually did. She was totally attentive to Itachi, and it angered him all the same, if not more, than if it was a stranger who had her attention. He didn't even feel this angry with Suigetsu's stupid antics to piss him off by flirting with Sakura in front of him. And the white haired bastard did that any chance he got.

He didn't understand why he felt so territorial and possessive of her, even after knowing he had her heart. It wasn't like Sakura would leave him for his brother. She was not the type to do that and he knew it. Hell, he was beyond confident that he had obtained ownership of her heart and he didn't need to be jealous of other men.

"These flowers are so lovely, Itachi. What are they called? Do they have any meaning?" He heard her say and a vein by his temple throbbed; animatedly popping out with his annoyance with it all. Flowers? Why the hell was his brother getting his woman flowers? No one should be giving her flowers, except him.

He didn't need to be jealous of other men...but that didn't mean the feeling would just go away.

"White Heathers. They are supposed to be lucky and often thought to bring protection. It's pouring outside, so no need to water them again until next week. The florist also informed me they need plenty of sunlight, so I suggest taking them home tonight. This office floor doesn't allow for much sunlight, especially your space." Itachi answered, kindly. Sakura's eyes grew with awe as they shifted to admire the plant Itachi had given her upon his arrival. The flowers were gorgeous, a small potted plant placed right at the corner of her desk. One would mistake it for shrubbery at a distance, until you were able to actually appreciate the white flowers that littered every single stem and branch up close. The tiny, yet abundant bell shaped flowers made it so beautiful and the scent gave her a nice sense of outside. The air did sometimes seem stale, especially when she was busy and focused.

She did indeed love flowers, and mostly thanks to her friendship with Ino, she loved to learn their symbolic meanings. Ino was the first one to ever even teach her about flowers and how each one had symbolism. Before she was just an admirer and after learning they had meanings, she was even more stricken with awe. Even the flower she was named after; "Sakura"—The Cherry Blossom, symbolized the time of renewal. The symbol of Spring and rebirth, after the cold harsh winter. Ino used to tell her that she was perfectly named after it and not just because of her looks. She appreciated such a gesture, especially considering it was towards her wellbeing.

"I appreciate it, Itachi! Thank you. I'll try to take good care of them." She grinned, and Itachi stared back with a gentle and fond smile.

"I'm pleased they make you happy." Itachi responded. Sasuke had enough at that point. He stepped forward.

"What a surprise. I was not aware you were coming brother. You're not on my schedule." Sasuke grumbled, making himself known with a purposefully angered aura. Itachi turned to him with a chuckle and Sakura smiled at him innocently, finally noticing him; much to his ever increasing irritation.

"Sasuke-kun! I'm just as surprised as you! And look! Itachi said they're called White Heathers! Aren't they pretty?" She captured his attention as always. His steel eyes shifted to her, only to soften when she held up the potted plant to show him, both childishly and joyously. Her elated face found a way to relax him. She looked so pleased and he was just learning that he couldn't be angry when she gave him that joyous smile. How could he be angry, when she was giving him such a bright light, from just that smile? How could anyone be angry at that almost childlike glimmer of too innocent fascination in her eyes?

Damnable annoying woman. Couldn't she let him be a little rightfully angry?

He mentally sighed. Of course, he was getting worked up over nothing, as always. Damn annoying woman...always getting him worked up over absolutely nothing.

"Aa." He shortly responded to not express his true displeasure with her having flowers from someone else. He couldn't make a fuss if she was smiling like that. How could he?

Still, that was the second time the elder Uchiha gave her flowers and she was happy about it. While he—as her lover—hadn't. And Sasuke was not happy about it, for that reason. She was his woman. The only one she should be receiving flowers from was himself and himself alone. Not his goddamn brother and not from anyone else.

"What are you doing here, Itachi?" He next asked with resentment. Itachi raised a—notably amused—eyebrow.

"Good morning to you too, brother. I'm sorry for not giving you notice in advance, but I wished to discuss with you in person. I noticed you have time for me in your schedule before your next meeting, so I figured it'd be best to meet with you as soon as possible before you're too busy." Itachi explained. Sasuke's eyebrows furrowed, and the question on his mind was asked by none other than Sakura herself.

"Huh? How did you know that Itachi? I haven't told you Sasuke-kun's schedule yet." She questioned with confusion. Itachi gave a conscious smile.

"I have my ways, Sakura. I am an Uchiha, after all."

Sasuke glared at the comment. Again, Itachi did whatever he wanted and with little regard for what Sasuke wanted and needed. Here he was, having hacked through the systems again, without a problem or detection and saw his schedule. For an older brother who was absent about ninety-five percent of the time, he always waltzed right back like it was nothing, even when Sasuke himself didn't make it easy. Sasuke was more than angry. He was annoyed. Just because he had some free time on his schedule that wasn't his lunch time, didn't mean he didn't have something else in mind.

He had plans to finally make his very first dream of Sakura come somewhat true. He had some time now. All he needed to do was get her into his office and against his desk. 'And she's wearing a skirt today.' He mentally complained with agony. He had been taking glimpses and glances at her beautiful legs all morning. He wanted to be between them again. At this point, those legs had become his addiction. He couldn't get enough, as he proclaimed to her last night.

It would be quick and rushed, with the fifteen minute break he had and that would be if the client was running late, but that's just how he wanted it. He wanted to hear her moan out his name, in his office, on his desk, while they were one. During work. It would be his ultimate claim on her, cementing that she belonged to him, the way everything in this building did. After that, he would have been able to spend the day imagining how he made love to her on his desk whenever he wanted or whenever he felt bored. He never had such luxuries before her, and he would not waste them.

And now, Itachi was here, getting in the way of achieving his dreams.

"Is it really that important?" Sasuke growled.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't, brother."

That was resentfully true...Itachi did only come into direct contact when it was important. It better be. If that was the case, even his lust for Sakura could be put aside, for now. It depended on how much he could tolerate and how much of what Itachi needed to say was even worth listening to. He still sighed in disappointment, his face dropping in congruence with his dismay. No matter how much he wanted to be with her, there were so many obstacles in his path before he could be rewarded with his desires. As always. Five more days until he left her for weeks and there was not much he could do with her, other than a few free blocks he had throughout the day and going to bed with her at night. She offered to lighten it up but he still refused, considering the time limit he had to finish with as much work as possible.

He was starting to wonder...was there really nothing he could do to change that? Should he just allow her to lighten things up for him a bit? Whether it be due to his hardwired working ethics, or just simple working habits, he wasn't sure of what exactly he should do other than to make sure she would be protected in his absence and afterwards. Past times with her when he didn't feel like working, proved he could just take off...but before leaving the city? That seemed out of the question...or, it could be his working habit again.

He had enough money, stocks, shares and investments to take care of them both lavishly and luxuriously for the rest of their lives. She'd have all the luxury in the world with his supply. He could provide anything and everything she needed. They could go anywhere and do anything she wanted. They could travel the world. They could sail the seas, fly the skies, visit the entire world twice over and whenever she wanted to settle down, they could; wherever she pleased. He didn't care when, where or how, just so long as he was with her. Could he just abandon everything, take her and run away?

Even if...they had kids...he could take care of them all with the same luxury. They'd never have anything to worry about...

No. That was out of the question. Their father's will stated specifically: Only an Uchiha may run Uchiha Corporations. Either he or Itachi took their seats at the throne of this empire left to them, or the company crashed and burned. Millions would lose jobs, businesses, funding and not just in Konoha but anywhere his operations ran. All over the world, lives would be destroyed and he didn't even want to think about the economic impact. This was his sworn, birth given duty, as drilled into him by his father. Such an unfair ultimatum, that he would never have a way out of, until Itachi took over, or one of their descendents did.

If it hadn't been for his actions; maybe, maybe, he would have agreed to Danzo taking over, like he so fervently demanded. Maybe if he had proposed it. Maybe. Just because now he had this life with Sakura, and including Danzo's experience, he would have considered it. He knew he would consider selling Uchiha Corporations...because he wished someone else would take over now.

"Fine. Come in. Sakura, please call my next meeting and confirm they'll be here on time." He sighed with irritation. Sakura raised her eyebrows with concern. Her worries from last night raised. He had confessed there was something going on in the background and truth be told, she wanted to know, what. She knew it was absolutely spoiled of her, for Sasuke to have already confided in her, and still wanting to know more. She was just worried. She couldn't help it that she loved him so much. She was just as stubborn this way with even her friends. And last night, he was just as passionate as the first. She told herself to just accept what she received. There was no reason to ask for anymore.

"Yes. Will do." She replied only to remember last night again, with her concern for his stress. And then she couldn't help but remember what he said after their first round on the couch…

They were both moaning and panting. One of his hands was gripping the arm of the couch, while the other held her leg as open as possible on his forearm. His face had buried into her neck as they moaned breathlessly together, and her hands rubbed up his back and into his hair in a gentle embrace while she stared at the ceiling. He was smooching her neck, still grinding in and out of her slowly and she could only close her eyes and moan delightfully with the pleasuring shivers it gave.

"Sakura…" He moaned against her, and was brushing his lips more into her skin affectionately. Sakura felt even more smitten than before, and she smiled beautifully with bliss as he finally slowed to a stop.

"Oh, I love you. I love you so much, Sasuke-kun." She couldn't help but gleefully whisper, high on the dopamine provided by their lovemaking and too lost to that same bliss to care about the effect of her words, as she nuzzled her head against his. For her, she could say whatever she wanted. He said so. She could ask anything. With him, she could do anything. She never wanted to go back to the way things were before. She didn't want to be the bystander of love anymore; watching it happen around her and not with her. She worked hard all her life. She fought, bled and cried. She did her best in all the situations presented to her. She helped her closest friends however she could. She did it all; from working until she passed out, to making sure bills were paid on time. She even still saved extra cash for Naruto's bills, just in case he was short as he sometimes was, thanks to his ramen fetish.

Was it so wrong for her to want something so selfishly for once?

She didn't have to overthink anything between her and Sasuke. They loved each other and she knew it. She felt it and it honestly felt like a blissful dream. When he lifted to look down at her, she delusioned herself through the euphoria into believing this was nothing but a beautiful dream. Her life had never been this lucky, so the man who loved her so much, had to have been nothing but an illusion. Yet, despite trying to convince herself of that, he was here. He was hovering over her, giving that loving, adoring and warm gaze in his charcoal eyes and she was head over heels. And as he stared down at her so lovingly like that, she asked herself again; was it really so wrong for her to desire something for herself for once? Was it wrong to act out of solely self interest? She hadn't done such a thing ever and at this point, she wasn''t sure.

And for Sasuke, whether she knew or not, those words coming from her lips gave him all the push he needed. It was the elleventh time she said those words—yes; he was counting each and every 'I love you' that came from her—and he hoped to live up to all those expectations she spoke to him of. He hoped he could keep her safe. He hoped he could keep her forever. He hoped. A pained expression suddenly came to his face, as if a disturbed thought came to mind and her face slowly changed from blissful, to worried. His hand moved from holding her leg to caress her face out of sheer adoration.

"And I love you, Sakura. So much. I love you with all that I can give." His words spoke with a truth that seemed to torment him, more than it eased him. Her hand moved, caressing his face back in return. And then she couldn't help but question herself; why did it seem like he loved her so much it hurt him? Why did he look at her like that right now, after they just finished making love, when before he looked like he was lost in a beautiful dream?

"Then why make that face…?" She asked quietly, staring into his dark and troubled eyes. His lips frowned a bit more before he moved his face closer into her palm, and lowered his eyes. Sakura couldn't help but note how torn they looked. Those eyes; they truly loved her so much, and yet they held so much turmoil. So much worry and pressure. Whatever stress he had, she had only eased it for a moment and he was back to looking so worried the way he had, last night. And then he pressed his forehead against hers, so their gazes met with earnest honesty.

"It has nothing to do with you, Sakura. Like I said before, there's...a lot on my mind. Forgive me." He whispered, his voice pleading for her, to do as he asked. Her eyes showed confusion and her lips parted before he spoke again.

"I understand if you one day grow frustrated with me, Sakura. The truth is...I can be gone often and for long periods of time. Sometimes, I may not be able to answer your questions because of policy or confidentiality. I may even be too vague for your liking...but no burdens I have, ever, ever have anything to deal with you or us. They will never have anything to do with our love or connection to each other." Her brow lifted. He was obviously referring back to how she apologized for questioning him last night. She felt guilty all over again, for stressing him out the way she had last night. She was the one who acted like a brat and here he was, as always, trying to console and reassure her after she acted on her emotions and fears. He even kept his eyes glued to hers, ensuring that what he was saying was the truth, and nothing but.

And yet, she felt even more worried about it all. She didn't know what was "happening in the background", and she was worried.

"So then, what's wrong?" She asked again, only to see his eyes love her, as much as they had ever loved her before. As she found out before, she could tell he was telling her the truth when he looked her in the eye. And sometimes he even spoke to her just through her eyes alone.

"Sakura, I love you more than I can say, and certainly more than I can ever show. The truth is, even us doing this...it is nowhere near close to how much I love you. Not even if we make love a thousand times, will it equal how much I love you. I don't want to lose you for any reason. I don't want you to worry about me or doubt me...but, there are some things I want to protect you from...even if it means being vague or distant, I just want to protect you Sakura." Her heart slammed and stopped against her chest. Her brow lifted and he pushed his forehead against hers in an attempt to quell her concerns.

"If there is anything I can't tell you, it's only to protect you. Not because I don't trust you. It's not because I don't think you can't handle it. It's...only because these are the matters I must handle privately and by myself. These are things only I can and must do. And every action I take, everything I do, know I do it for you." Sakura's eyes showed him understanding, and then she sighed defeatedly, with her gaze lowering sadly from his.

"But...do you really have to do it alone? You don't have to worry about protecting me, Sasuke-kun." She asked. His hand urged her to look up at him again with a brush of his thumb against her skin.

"I know you're worried about Danzo hurting me...but I promise, you don't have to worry so much. I can protect myself and I want to protect you too. You don't have to worry." His brow furrowed together with her statement and he shook his head. He appreciated and understood the sentiment. She loved him and her being connected to his heart, she shared his feelings of protection. And it was the one thing he didn't want.

He didn't want her to protect him, because she shouldn't have to. He should be the one protecting her. He swore he would.

"I want to protect you, Sakura. I always have...even to this day, despite everything that's happened between us...I can only think about how I failed to protect you back then...with Sasori. And I refuse to allow it to happen again. I refuse to see you hurt, ever again. It...It will break me, Sakura. If someone were to somehow take you from me...I don't think I can bear it. I'd go insane if..." He confessed and she stared back at him somberly. He still thought of that? Then again, she did sometimes notice how he would kiss and touch that area a bit more tenderly. He always seemed to try to not squish against her when they were making love only to lose to the pleasure. It didn't hurt anymore, truly, but now she knew that incident had affected him more profusely than she thought. She thought he was over it already.

"...Is there really nothing I can do?"

"Just having you and your love; it's enough, Sakura. Knowing you're here...or somewhere waiting for me, is enough. Just knowing that, and you doing that for me, is more than enough." He might be able to lie to others whilst looking them in the eyes; but not to her. She was certain that was a fact and it was being proven now; while they were conjoined and locked in their gazes and their bodies. Her heart fluttered and her hands in his hair rubbed gently in comfort. Without her intent, it urged him to kiss her lovingly, which she returned with reciprocation.

By the heavens, she loved this man so much and if it was his wish, she'd stay by his side until the end of their days and into the afterlife. Their lips parted and he spoke again.

"The only other thing I ask is...please; Sakura, in advance, forgive me if you have questions that I can't answer. Forgive me, if any actions I take, cause you to doubt me...but, Sakura, never doubt my love for you. Never." Her eyes widened, and her ears took in every single word. Again, he hypnotized her, in a way she couldn't explain and she surrendered to him without resistance. Sakura found, interestingly, she really could tell the difference between his business voice and this; his true voice she thought to call it. Such a loving and gentle tone—he never spoke to anyone like that in the office or outside the office. His voice had always been cordial, cold or abrasive. Speaking to Naruto he was somewhat friendly, but still vitriolic. To others, it was a plain indifference.

But, like this, when he spoke to her, someone else spoke through his lips; someone entirely different than what he projected to the world. He wasn't a businessman and he wasn't a cold, emotionless robot. When he spoke to her, his voice sounded like heavenly music. An enchanting and loving whisper that echoed in her ears and combined with his eyes, she couldn't help but be captivated. He was someone who treasured her and saw her as precious. And then the way his dark eyes sparkled, she might as well have been staring up into space and admiring the stars of the heavens.

"I want you to always be at my side and even when I'm not with you, I want your love for me to continue on, as if I'm still there. When I'm not with you, I want you to wait for me and only me to return." She already silently agreed, finding not one thing wrong about giving her entire being to him. To be at his side, for as long as she could; that was her new goal in life. She still had others she had yet to accomplish, and this one new goal had already shot to the top of the list. Besides becoming a doctor, her only other wish was to be the woman he cherished, the way he did now.

And yet, his eyes still shined with uncertainty, as if he still questioned her feelings for him. Moreover, it felt more akin to him questioning her, than him asking for forgiveness. He was requesting she remain at his side. He was asking if she would love him for as long as she could bear, no matter what struggles came with being with him. And to each request, she agreed, whether he knew it or not. Her heart was his, and Sakura begged through her eyes for him to know that it was the truth. He seemed to see through her. He seemed to read her eyes and his dark eyes glittered with adoration, as he gave another gentle caress on her cheek with his thumb. A stroke of his treasure. Then, he spoke again.

"I know it's such a selfish request...but forgive me. A thousand times and a thousand more, forgive me, if I do not meet your expectations. Forgive me if I fail you. I will atone for every failure, a million times over for your forgiveness. If you will continue loving me, I will do anything and everything to have your love. Even if there comes a point where you don't think my love for you exists, I will do anything for you, Sakura." He was about to continue his rant, before she cut him off.

"And I will do anything for you. I wanna be yours." She stopped him, before he could say more, catching him off guard. Her eyes gave a confirmative, as well as loving stare into his surprised ones. She caressed his face with affection, keeping her gaze locked on his.

"I'll do anything and everything for you. I love you, more than you probably even believe for a woman that came from poverty like me. I love you and I'm so grateful to you...for loving someone like me. I love you, Sasuke-kun and I won't leave you. I won't leave your side." She proclaimed. He was silent, as if soaking her words. She watched a gratitude come to his eyes, as well as relief. Then he smiled. He gave her a beautifully soft and adoring smile and it made her melt right then and there. It took strong and conscious effort to comprehend his next words, considering they were spoken with the love of divinity.

"I wish I found you sooner...my diamond in the rough. My everything..." His voice purred lovingly, making her heart feel unbelievably giddy and joyous. Her eyes glossed over with happiness and her smile was too sweet for this world. Hearing him call her his, it made her feel like a child. A happy, blissful child that knew nothing of suffering and pain. She all of a sudden imagined she had a childhood, devoid of the slums, hunger and pain. She had spent her childhood joyously laughing. She had played and ran. She felt the wind in her hair and all of life was so beautiful; it had been all this time and it was only because of him that she felt so.

"Always remember….even if you have doubt in me, never doubt my love for you." He murmured to her audibly and leaned forward to nuzzle his nose against hers.

"And only love me." And he claimed her lips.

It was probably best she didn't bother his brother with a needless worry. Sasuke's stress was something she had to quell herself, both as his secretary and his lover and she wanted to do her best. She wasn't even able to follow up Sasuke's words with words of her own last night. They went into a makeout session and then headed to bed for another round—with a condom that time, they still hadn't talked about that—and he had made just as much love to her as obsessively as he had before. The second round after, seemed to be his validation to his words.

"...even if you have doubt in me, never doubt my love for you."

She just hoped her unanswered questions didn't lead to them being pulled apart somehow. Certainly, she didn't have to worry, with how fervently he confessed his love for her. And with the way he looked at her before he turned around; so full of longing and want, she comprehended his love wasn't something she could ever escape from. Nor did she ever intend to.

"Thank you again for the flowers, Itachi." She replied to Itachi. Sasuke couldn't help but glare at the floor. A scowl reached his lips. She really liked flowers...that was twice now, Itachi had given her the floral gifts and she seemed to glow at receiving them. He still had yet to give her flowers himself. Was his brother trying to make him look bad?

"Your welcome, Sakura." Itachi responded and Sasuke's teeth clenched.

'Fucking damn it!' His mind snarled and immediately pulled out his phone to text a certain someone a certain question. Damn it, he really didn't want to hear his mouth, but it couldn't be helped. He now needed to know what her favorite flowers were...and there was only one man he could think of who would know the answer to that without asking Sakura directly. He wanted to surprise her, to watch that same glee come to her eyes that she gave Itachi whenever the elder gave her flowers. Even if he was going to be obnoxiously annoying about it.

He next glared irritably at the time on his phone. Already five minutes gone. Three hundred seconds and counting, that could have been spent hearing Sakura moan.

"Tch! Let's go, Itachi." Sasuke grumbled.

"Oh! I almost forgot! Sasuke-kun, before you leave; here!" She suddenly called and the two brothers turned back. The pinknette was already walking over to the small personal filing cabinet she had just a few steps away.

Sasuke's eyes involuntarily trailed over her with despair. She was even dressed similarly to his first dream of her. Her button down wasn't a cream white; instead it was a crimson red, and her skirt was a dark blue. She wore similarly blue pumps, and Sasuke eyed her bare legs desirably. His face visibly grimaced as she bent over a bit to pull out some files from one of the lower cabinets and his eyes targeted her rear. She walked towards him and his longing eyes moved to her chest. His mouth watered, behind his closed lips and he struggled, just slightly, to swallow. The air around him turned dreary with dejection. There was most definitely an apparatiion of himself reaching for her with need and anguish.

Agony. Pure, unadulterated, agony.

"These are some files I received from Shirahana-san. I believe they are invoices for the donations you made to the Cancer Research Institute." Sakura held out the files for him to take and gave him that innocent smile. Meanwhile, he was thinking about telling Itachi to get lost and dragging her into his office. He instead sighed exasperatedly.

"Thank you Sakura. Send her a message stating that I will contact her, once I've had the chance to look over them." He mumbled in the grumpiest of tones, and took the files.

"Pfft!" Itachi suddenly sounded and Sasuke's glare hardened, the moment it shifted to his brother, who was slightly trembling from held in laughter. Sakura looked to Itachi curiously as well. The elder Uchiha had an amused smile on his lips, which he had partially covered with a fist in an continued attempt to hold back his laughs. His eyes were closed and his head was turned away.

"What are you laughing at?" Sasuke growled rather viciously. Itachi's amused eyes looked at his younger sibling with a knowing gaze. He could read his little brother like an open book and it was absolutely amusing to see him agonize over his beloved in quite a different way than just over her protection.

"Nothing, brother. Nothing at all." Itachi excused, and Sasuke felt a vein throb at the temples of his head. His eyes glared bloody murder at the elder Uchiha and a dark aura surrounded him, while Itachi remained smiling brightly at his younger brother. Could his brother be any more annoying? Sakura's eyes shifted between the two with both concern and perplexity. With a scoff and grumbled curses, Sasuke turned to walk into his office, not even wanting to address Sakura right now, with the irritation he felt. Itachi gave out another chuckle.

"Later, Sakura." He bid her farewell and followed his brother.

"Aa. L-Later, Itachi." Sakura waved him off, a sweatdrop of confusion and bewilderment animating by her head.

In the few times she had spent with the two brothers together, she wasn't sure if she would ever get used to their rather extreme love-hate relationship.

They were in the office, and Itachi closed the door behind him. Sasuke sat at his desk, deciding to multitask and go over some material for the next meeting with an irritated look in his eyes.

"You could have just called. Why come see me personally?" Sasuke groaned and Itachi smirked. With a small chuckle, he couldn't help but gain from Sasuke's tone, the older Uchiha's eyes grew reminiscent. His little brother was whining and to Itachi, it was quite cute. It reminded him of when they were children and Sasuke would beg him to play, but they were too busy with their lessons. When he couldn't play due to his studies, he always gave that similar, anguished glare. It was almost a pout; masked in the guise of a frown. The look of someone who wanted something badly, but could not receive what he wanted just yet.

Those days were so innocent back then. Complicated of course, yet, still simple.

"I just wanted to inform you, brother; unfortunately our arrangements will be halted another day. I'm just ensuring I have the manpower suitable for your needs. I've received some unexpected intel and it has to be dealt with first, before I can be sure to have my best men for her, as promised." Itachi explained. Sasuke's eyebrows furrowed and he grimaced. He really, really could have called him for that. What was the reason he was really here? Why the hell was the older Uchiha wasting time like this? Their father taught both of them the same thing!

"Then, why are you here and not dealing with whatever it is you have to deal with? To bring Sakura flowers? And what intel?" Sasuke snarled. Is that why his time, that could have been spent making quick love to Sakura, was being wasted? Damn it. Maybe it would be better to just do it when everyone clocked out late at night, as he initially thought. He could tell Sakura to stay late. He could have her come into his office and since his late meetings were usually scheduled outside the building, he could have her all he wanted until it was time to leave. He could make his first ever dream of her come true without interruption nor risk. And after seeing her bend over like she did earlier, he couldn't stop imagining all the different positions he still had yet to try.

That did sound better than having her for a mere twenty minutes, at most.

Itachi chuckled at him.

"Does me giving her flowers bother you enough that it was worth mentioning, brother? I'm only trying to be kind to my sister in-law. She seems to like them." The eldest Uchiha teased and smirked with amusement, watching Sasuke's eyebrow twitch and a blush come to his cheeks that he quickly tried to hide, by turning his face. A sudden timidness overcame Sasuke. Sister in-law? That would imply he and Sakura were married. Of course, that was a long way from now.

What...would Sakura even say…? Would she agree to marry him? Even this soon...would she take his name and live forever at his side?

"We're not even married yet!" Sasuke grumbled in annoyance with the sudden thoughts, palming his eyes and willing the burning in his cheeks and ears to stop.

"Yet, brother. Not yet. Still, she should be able to see me as her brother as well. After all, I am going to be protecting her from now on and I am fond of her." Itachi stated, earning the infamous Uchiha glare they were both born with as Sasuke's hand lowered with those last few words.

"Fond of her?" He snarled. Itachi tilted his head to the side and closed his eyes with innocent delight.

"We are family, brother. No need to be so perturbed. Why wouldn't I be fond of your beloved? She is a kind, caring and thoughtful young woman. She compliments you well. Mother would be ecstatic and she'd want us to get along like family." Sasuke's eyebrow twitched. Thinking about it, his mother would have thrown celebrations for days. She almost did for Itachi and Izumi all those years back, before the elder brother disappeared for a while during those teenaged years. If it hadn't been for Itachi begging the Uchiha matriarch not to make a scene about it and his father outright refusing such a distraction from their lessons, she would have thrown one of the largest and longest parties known to man. She had even become upset with their father for denying her "the right to celebrate her first son's future wife", to which their father had to gift her numerous offerings for forgiveness...after a week straight of being ignored and glared at. She even slept in a different room for the time being.

And, the part about wanting them to get along like family; Itachi wasn't wrong. She had always shown Izumi extra maternal affection, considering the girl grew up with them from childhood, and made sure the female was taken care of even more than her own sons. God forbid someone made Izumi cry and their mother was there to witness it. The gates of hell had never shown themselves so vividly in the mortal realm so instantaneously. For a brief moment, he wondered if his mother would have acted the same way with Sakura. Certainly, she would have adored her, because he did. And again, he was truly uncertain on whether or not he would be able to stop his mother from throwing a weeklong party over him having a spouse, being her youngest son and with just how amazing Sakura was in general.

'She would have loved Sakura…' He couldn't help but think.

He hadn't thought about it for quite some time now, but...he wished she was here. He did miss his parents from time to time, but now, he wished they had met Sakura. Surely, even his strict father would approve of her, thanks to her smarts and brilliance, despite her background. The fact that she would have been backed by Kakashi would have been a deal closer. She might have been hired before he even met her in Cafe Blanche.


"I see you know I'm right." Itachi affirmed with a smug smirk. Sasuke's glaring eyes shifted and he felt his temple throb again. Itachi sighed in knowing and amusement, eyeing his brother's shifted gaze. His little brother did not deny feeling a grievance with the elder giving gifts to Sakura. Meaning it bothered him. Quite a bit, obviously, and his excuse of it being a familial gesture didn't help. Sasuke started rubbing one of his temples with the first to digits of his hand and shut his eyes.

'Damn it, I'm going to have an aneurysm by the time I'm fucking thirty.' He mentally grumbled before addressing the older brother irritably.

"Tch! If that's all you wanted to tell me; again, why are you here?!" Sasuke snarled again, viciously this time. Itachi chuckled again.

Best to push along, before he incurred the wrath of the tense younger Uchiha. With how he had been leering over Sakura, Sasuke's patience was certainly thinning with each second that passed.

"I want you to place Sebastian over her until all has been settled. Also, I wanted to give you the rough draft of how exactly she'll be watched by my men." Sasuke's eyebrows furrowed this time. Hearing that, it turned out, this was rather important. He did need to know how and where she would be watched. That way, any loopholes and weaknesses left by Itachi, Sasuke could cover on his own with Suigetsu and whoever else he deemed loyal enough to protect Sakura without stabbing him in the back.

'Great. Just fucking great.' His voice snarled mentally and his eyes glared.

The problem was Itachi's first request. When the head butler of their House was not attending his chores, he was busy seeking Orochimaru and Danzo, as ordered. Moreover, the butler claimed to have a possible lead and left Konoha for the day, with his permission. He wouldn't return until very late. As much as he could trust Itachi to handle things, he also wanted his own grasp of what they were planning. What intel—which Itachi conveniently didn't answer about—was enough to halt such an important arrangement to protect Sakura? Itachi knew how important this was to him and he had assured Sakura would be protected by today.

"Sebastian stepped out of town to investigate a possible lead to Danzo. Is there no way for you to have at least some temporaries? I want at least several of your men watching over her by tonight, even if you can't spare it. I won't be around her until later and on top of that, she intends on going to the bar, without having Suigetsu drive her, since I need the bastard here until closing. My other head of security is out sick today." Sasuke explained, his face still palmed stressfully in his hand.

He knew a possible retaliation from Danzo would happen, especially after kidnapping and torturing the man for his own retaliation. He fully expected it. He didn't expect it to be this under his nose and it made him all the more tense when Hagoromo told him it was Orochimaru who bailed the bastard out.

"D-Damn yo-you, Uchihas…I'll...get you ba-back for t-this. I swear." Danzo had said back then and he didn't doubt it. He couldn't doubt it. Danzo had started a war between himself and the Uchiha and as an Uchiha, he would never back down from any challenge against him. A challenge against his life, would not go unanswered and a challenge to the lives of those he cared about, would be punished to the fullest extent. With or without the law, he cared not for any repercussions against him either; so long as they were solely against him. It was an absolute possibility that Danzo told Orochimaru everything that happened and his final threat against him was being taken very seriously.

"So choose who you target wisely." It was why he left Danzo with his final warning back then. He didn't care if it was against him. He didn't care if Danzo wanted him dead, to be honest. It was the fact that Danzo wanted those he cherished around him dead, first, before him. Only for the corporation and money left to him, did Danzo seek his death and the death of those deemed important around him. To be frank, Danzo had some hold over him with that. The dastardly man had easily spotted when he favored someone and there was no doubt that Danzo wanted retaliation for his doings. He expected as much, but had hoped his invitation to attack him and him alone would be enough. He wouldn't have cared so much, if this only involved him.

Sasuke dismayingly supposed he could thank his lucky stars that Danzo didn't go after Naruto first. Thinking about it now, that wouldn't have been a favorable outcome, to decrease the chances of Sakura getting involved, as much as he didn't want to admit that. He didn't want her hurt. He wanted no one to hurt her. But the fact of the matter was, that conclusion of Naruto's injury being the least favorable outcome, solely came from the fact that if it had been Naruto, instead of her that day, Sakura would have instantly gotten involved without question. He'd have no say. Danzo would have crossed a line there and he would not have had the right nor the ability to stop her, no matter what he did or said. His best friend was her brother and she would have stopped at nothing to get vengeance for those who hurt him.

Hell, Naruto himself was on alert, as much as the blond made it seem like he was laid back.

She had chased after people who hurt or even kidnapped Naruto before, as she told him herself. If Danzo had sent his assassin after the blond friend, rather than herself, there would have been no stopping her and he was sure of it. He also imagined that role would have been played by Naruto vice versa, if she hadn't lived through being shot by Sasori that night. Even though the blond had seemed so laid back, he didn't miss the cautious glances Naruto gave to Sakura and especially to her side abdomen. Sasuke's eyebrows knitted further together.

Maybe his paranoia was getting the best of him and he was the single target, after his torturing of his newfound nemesis. He was prepared for that retaliation...so long as Sakura was kept out of it. He didn't care if it was himself in harm's way, so long as those he cherished weren't there with him. He couldn't put anything past him, if he wanted to protect them both. Not for Naruto and especially not for Sakura.

Itachi watched a look of stress come to his younger brother's eyes and as he brought his palm over his face in dismay, and it ached the elder Uchiha.

"Lady Sakura...means the world to Young Master Sasuke. I have already seen for myself. If she is harmed...he will be destroyed..."

Seeing his reaction to this development was enough to rack the elder Uchiha with guilt. Just hearing a delay in her protection was enough to stress him like this? Sebastian's words were then, one hundred percent true. Sakura meant more to Sasuke than they could fathom. She possibly even meant more to Sasuke than all the Uchiha Estate, which they had been brought up to have absolute pride and ownership of. Itachi could already feel she was a priority to Sasuke, over all they had been taught to care for, and own. While Sasuke didn't notice it, Itachi's eyes lowered with pain and into a full blown grimace at the situation.

"Is that so? What lead was that? I'm sure I can assist." Sasuke's glare lifted to him from his hand.

"Didn't you say you also have that intel to take care of? If it's going to delay Sakura's protection any further, forget it. Let Sebastian and Saihara handle it for now. If you want and have the time to help, you can speak with either one about their findings later, but take care of Sakura, first."

If it hadn't been for his actions before all of this ever transpired, Sasuke wouldn't have had to be so worried about this delay. However, those months ago, his actions had been for nothing but the good of Uchiha Corporations and—one could argue; he did it for the good of the entire city. Konoha under that man...nothing would be the same. Even if Sakura had never met Sasuke at all; her life and the lives of everyone else in the city he was born and raised in, including Sasuke's, would never be the same ever again. Not under such a dictator. Even all the wealth and power Sasuke held would be nothing against that man.

He had to do something back then and it was unfortunate timing for Sakura to enter their lives at this point, just as much as it was unfortunate that Sasuke was born into their family, with their blood. Moreover, Itachi wasn't expecting this much blowback from the actions he had personally taken. It appeared his plans had a much greater effect than he thought it had, other than setting that man back like he initially intended. He had even noted how it had affected a few deals between Uchiha Corporations and other companies, besides Sakura's clinic funding. His reach was farther than anticipated. Which is why he was preparing ever so feverishly for the worst.

Neither Sakura, nor Sasuke would be protected if that man achieved his goals.

"She'll be leaving around five and she'll be at the bar around six...the other option will be to rely on dobe, if I even can. Is there no one you can spare?" He grumbled with scorn, and gave a despairing look to his older brother. No; he had no worries over Naruto watching her. There was no one he trusted more, other than Sebastian. He trusted Naruto would take care of her, undoubtedly, with his life, as he had once proclaimed he would give for either Sakura or Hinata…but there were his new fears that his best friend would be a target as well. The blond, obnoxious man he considered an even closer brother than his own blood, and the woman he cherished more than anything in this world; they were in danger because of him, and he could only wait to secure their safety. They didn't even know about it. They were mostly oblivious to it and It irked Sasuke.

People dear to him were in danger and all he could do was nothing but wait to make sure they were protected. To think; he, Sasuke Uchiha, with all the power, influence and money he had in this world, and he had yet to give all he could to the people he cared for the most. He truly hated the realization of it. He should have been able to do so much more, but through what he shamefully recognized and considered to be straight up negligence and indifference, he had disregarded the both of them. The two people he cared about most in this world were now simultaneously at his sides, and not only had he neglected their needs and hardship, he had yet to—at the very least, keep them safe.

It was downright frustrating. For all the years he knew Naruto—since childhood—he had not once did anything to aid him, even when the child would visit him with new bruises or bandages. Even if he ever bothered to ask about the injuries, the blond always gave that deflective smile he was only recognizing now, years later, when he should have done something all those years back. Instead, he ignored it. The most he did for Naruto at all was giving him a job in the company, after the blond had to almost beg him for one, to save his relationship with the Hyuuga heiress a few years ago. Her father apparently didn't approve and wouldn't allow their relationship unless he was able to provide himself with a better income than a ramen shop waiter and the blond desperately asked Sasuke to help him out.

Even then, he barely agreed and that was another shame he felt.

He truly ignored everything off the premise that it wasn't important and not his problem. If it didn't have to do with the Uchiha House and the Estate, it wasn't his concern and he was only now realizing he was so wrong for that. For too long, he had neglected Naruto's friendship and personal strife, despite the blond offering it without fail, and because of that, he knew nothing of Sakura's strife. He knew the bare minimum, all because he was negligent.

Even during childhood, he could have done something for Naruto...and in butterfly effect, it would have done something for Sakura too. Surely, with his wealth, he could have asked his parents to take Naruto in and if not that, they could have given some money away. It's not like it would have hurt their pockets. He even couldn've gave the blond friend some kind of asset that could be sold for thousands of dollars, if it came down to it. It wouldn't have been missed. If only he wasn't so shortsighted...if only he hadn't been so smug, ignorant or arrogant. All their lives could've and would've been significantly different.

He even, possibly, could have met Sakura sooner, had he done that bare minimum.

"You needn't worry, brother. I can have some men watch her, but they won't be prepared until about seven-pm, tonight." Itachi added. Sasuke's brow furrowed.

"Tsk!" Sasuke scoffed with irrational impatience and his eyes glared lowly at his desk. A two hour gap. Two hours without anyone else to protect her and Naruto. They'd have to protect themselves like they always had and he was sick of that knowledge. He'd have to hope, nothing happened and everything was normal and that in an hour's time, they'd already be inside the bar surrounded by friends who he acknowledged to be more of their family than just comrades.

Maybe he didn't have to worry so much. Maybe he didn't have to constantly think and rethink over and over, how they would be hurt by his enemies, when they'd be amongst those who knew and loved them. They would be just as fierce in protecting Sakura, Naruto especially. He counted on Naruto having enough back up in Temari's bar to handle things.

Still...there was so much more he could do...if only he had just done all this sooner.

"I'm sure she can handle herself, in the meantime, brother; as she always has. I've read the recordings from Suigetsu you gave me and we are both witnesses to the fact that she can take down any man. Even one holding a gun to her face. Don't worry so much." Sasuke glared at the snarky rebuttal with resentment. Yes. She could. He knew it and had seen it first hand twice now, that she could defend herself against grown men and even a man with a gun. It still didn't help his sanity in any way, shape, or form. She wasn't weak. She could defend herself just fine.

That didn't mean he wanted her to. That didn't mean he wanted her in any form of danger.

"You always make me feel so safe. If your eyes are watching me, I know I'm safe..."

His eyes lowered in reminiscence and he felt his heart warm. He also had a task to uphold, for the woman he considered his goddess. He had desired to hear those words and all the others she spoke, in hopes of being the man she needed and desired. He was never going to forget that or any other words they spoke while making love. Even last night, when she said she loved him more than he could think a "common woman" would. He swore a vow to protect her and he'd be damned if he failed at doing so a second time.

"Are you still unwilling to just share what you know about Orochimaru or Danzo with Sebastian and Saihara?" Sasuke inquired with frustration. Itachi's eyes lowered and his brow furrowed.

"Unfortunately, there isn't even much to tell you, little brother. Orochimaru is a daring but careful snake. Danzo has over twenty years of affiliates and allies that could be helping and being under Orochimaru's protection makes finding him even harder. To capture him, after all this, will be difficult; even for me." Sasuke's teeth clenched behind his closed lips. He tried to think if there was anything he could do on his end.

Still, nothing came to mind. Even the insurance plans he had in store and corroborated with Orochimaru were still perfect. Nothing had changed. Orochimaru hadn't tampered with his dealings, and the deal between him and the medical chairman had been finalized and was being processed. There was no need to get back into contact with him again, on his side of things. Even so; it appeared Orochimaru knew he had provoked him. The fellow businessman of BioTech Incorporated refused all his calls and never responded to another email requesting a meeting. Sasuke took it as an admission of guilt, and with the way Orochimaru operated, he refused to believe the bastard didn't have more up his sleeve. And he still didn't know what Orochimaru's angle was in all of this. What did he gain from setting Danzo free, other than pissing him off and potentially destroying all future partnerships and prospects?

"What about your intel, that is apparently so troubling, it will take another day for preparations? Want to tell me about that?" Sasuke inquired. Itachi shook his head and closed his eyes with finality. This was his portion of protecting Sasuke.

"It is irrelevant to you. It has nothing to do with Danzo, nor Orochimaru. That's my business. But rest assured, once Sakura is secure, they will answer to us. Trust me." Itachi spoke and from the look in his eyes, Sasuke could tell he was actually being totally honest for once. The youngest Uchiha gave a look of animosity. It was his business? Funny. He usually gave the same response when Itachi asked him questions about the company, only for the elder to go through the company files anyway. Damn it. If anything these last few weeks had been telling him, he was feeling too in the dark himself. He didn't know much and that was damn near illegal in their household. If only he knew exactly what Itachi did.

Not that it truly mattered to him, anyway. This interest in Itachi's work, solely stemmed from needing to know whether or not he was truly capable of protecting Sakura, like he himself so graciously offered.

"How can I expect to trust you, when you have nothing to show for me? You said last night, she'd be protected..." Sasuke growled with a struggle. The elder Uchiha seemed to understand his little brother's dismay and disappointment. It was obvious, with the knowing look Itachi gave him.

"In due time, brother. Their transgressions against the Uchiha will not go unpunished. I will make sure of it...and Sakura will not be harmed." Sasuke stared at Itachi, feeling a heavy weight on his shoulders, now that he didn't have the true confirmation that Sakura would be protected the moment she left this building. He had told Sakura she wasn't a burden and that was the truth. The only reason she annoyed him was by being on his mind twenty-four/seven, and by making him want her, even while he had to work. Like now. He had more pressing matters at hand and even now, he just wanted her. She would make all this stress disappear. She would make all his troubles disappear, just by being in his arms, as she had proven, time and time again. And she could make him forget it all with just her caress.

Everything was always such a nuisance and he would only be eased the moment he had her in his arms, and that's what made her his annoyance. He could only be satisfied and satiated once he had her in his grasp. When he had her in his arms, everything was right with the world. The world became right, and beautiful, when she was in his grasp and he so stubbornly didn't want to lose that. And that was the weight he felt. It was Sakura's wellbeing that made him feel such a weight and he couldn't let it go, until he was certain she was safe. He hated it; this fear of somehow losing her in any way. Having to vigilantly look over his shoulder, when he previously didn't have to, was more stress than he had ever dealt with before.

"...How can you be so sure?" Sasuke asked.

One day, he swore, she would be the most secured and protected person on this planet. All his enemies and those who wanted to take him down would be disposed of and/or silenced into submission; all for her sake. His power would, from now on, be used to provide all that he must for her. She would be more protected than political leaders, monarchs and whatever else was higher in power than that. And he swore, they would walk wherever they pleased, awed and admired by everyone else, while they could be lost to each other all they wanted.

A life with her. How could he not desire such a thing, after the amounts of love and freedom he had received from her?

"Danzo's first attempt from afar failed. He knows that we know he was responsible for the murder attempt. They'll be expecting for her to be watched…" Itachi summarized. Sasuke's head tilted just slightly with inquiry.


"And therefore, that means their next attempt will be more direct. They will come to us." Itachi spoke. Sasuke's eyes widened with an incredulous glare.

"So you're telling me we just have to wait for them to make a move? Wait for them to strike when we don't know what the hell those bastards are planning?" Sasuke growled and stood from his desk. This wasn't what he wanted to hear. With just five days until his departure he had hoped to at least have Sakura fully protected and maybe some kind of location on Danzo. Now, Itachi wanted them to come?! They would undoubtedly go after her again. It's what Danzo had wanted in the damn first place!

"We have time. There is too much at risk and after the very public shooting, they're going to move with more stealth. It is precisely why Danzo is hiding. He's biding his time for whatever it is he's plotting, but he can't move with haste. He has everything to lose and absolutely nothing to gain if he fails. Orochimaru especially, considering you're dealing with him for that project of yours." Sasuke's eyes narrowed. Itachi knew about that?

"That's supposed to make me feel better? Knowing they're going to sneak around and possibly hurt Sakura is supposed to calm me?"

"Which leads us to my plan of watch. Five men will follow her from a distance no more than five yards, in a star formation around her. Each group of five will cycle between each area she traverses, and depending on the populace around her, their instructions are to be closer, without her knowledge. Two extra men will be "seekers" who will survey all of the area ahead, before she even arrives, while the others maintain their strict distance around her. Additionally, several men will be posted in the places she frequents and around her home. To Sakura, they will be simple strangers on the streets or in her environment, without even making contact with her. But their true purpose, of course..."

"Will be to protect her." Sasuke ended for him. Itachi gave a curt nod.

"With their lives, brother." Sasuke stared back at Itachi with slight reservation but it only came from his realization that he might have been wrong about Itachi. Everything about it sounded solid. Surely, with the guards keeping a distance and cycling from area to area, Sakura wouldn't know she was being watched and therefore, wouldn't get involved. Five yards would be an easy distance to cover if someone were to attack her, especially if they were as competent as Itachi made them out to be.

"And if Danzo has a sniper? You don't have anyone with the speed of a bullet to catch a bullet, should it be fired." Sasuke inquired. Itachi shook his head with dismissal.

"When I have the full manpower that was intended, I plan to have men stationed on rooftops, following her route, starting from her home to here, and back. Enemy snipers will not get a chance to scope out for her." Sasuke gave a look of surprise. Itachi had even thought that far? That now brought to question, just how experienced was his brother in doing this?

"But, how would you know how to place your men? It would be suspicious if I had to tell you where she is going to be everyday, considering I would have to ask her everyday. The point was to make sure she doesn't know she's watched, so she is not involved at all." Sasuke further inquired.

"It should only take a few weeks to establish what exactly Sakura's definitive route pattern is, if she is not traveling by car or taxi. At that point, I will simply have three men, following her a bit more closely, whilst she is covered by two men from different rooftops along the established route. The men positioned on the rooftops, will be partnered with two "seekers", who will keep their eyes peeled for any other sniper around, should it just so happen they somehow found a spot to snipe from. If she is leaving her home or the office building, I also intend to have my men pretend they're taxi drivers. They will be the first and only to grab her and drive her to her destination. Like this, I'm certain, Sakura won't know she is being watched and she will indeed be protected from all angles. The guards will also change daily, so she doesn't become too familiar with their faces." Sasuke's eyes lowered in thought.

It really did sound solid. He really couldn't find an angle where it was possible for Sakura to be attacked, other than incompetence and maybe just a simple close range surprise attack he was sure Sakura could handle herself. He would have to let today go, but at least after today, he knew she would be protected. He found no faults with Itachi's planning. If there was a sniper, they would be found before she even entered their sight. A direct attacker would be met with the force of any and all secret guards around her. And a gunman would, at most, reach for his gun before being taken down. There was some peace of mind he felt from that. But…

"And Danzo? How do we catch him?" Sasuke asked. Itachi gave a scoff this time, and when Sasuke looked back at him for an explanation, he was met with a chastising gaze; one that brought Sasuke back to when they were younger and a time where he actually idolized Itachi. That was a look given when he said or did something wrong and it served as an automatic disarming. There were few people who could give looks that stopped him in his tracks. Two of them; his mother and father were dead. Sakura had plenty of effects on him, just from her voice alone. Her eyes were even worse. He had no choice but to yield to her when under her gaze.

And it turned out, Itachi still had such an effect on him, despite years of resentment.

"You know better than that, brother. Father taught us both better than that."

It was a simple statement, one that Sasuke wished he remembered before this. Again, Sakura made him forget things. She made him forget and remember his past. He had been so caught up with loving her and hoping to find ways to protect her, he forgot the simplest lesson of the Uchiha House. One torn from the pages of Sun Tzu himself and one his father insisted was a very important rule.

"The opportunity to secure yourself against defeat is in your own hands. However, the opportunity to defeat your enemy is provided by the enemy themselves. Do not be flustered. Maintain your calm and collect, even if things seem dire. You will be victorious against all foes, my son."

Simply put, where Sasuke had his fears, it was best to let them play into his hands. Prepare for what they would do and defeat them afterward. Let Orochimaru and Danzo do what they wanted—make them think he knew nothing and then unleash his retribution tenfold. He started analyzing the situation, for once clearing Sakura from his mind and solely focusing on Danzo. The man was brash. Bold. He had placed a hit out for his death even before Sakura had entered the picture which also showed just how ambitious and eager he was. If anything, for all he knew, Danzo's patience was already wearing thin.

"You've already started step one with investigating them and with the use of my team, Sasuke. Step two." Sasuke sighed.

Achieve victory, whilst Danzo arrogantly thought he was the one who was victorious.

"...A trap, when he comes directly for me. He'll have no other option but to, with Sakura covered from all angles. If he can't attack her, he'll attack me directly. If he loses his patience, he might even act irrationally, thanks to what we did to him...making things easier for us." He answered and his eyes lowered contemplatively.

But, was this really their final option? Even if back then he was completely unprepared for the murder attempt, he couldn't stop his fears of the same thing happening again, even with preparation. What if Sakura was with him when Danzo came for him? For crying out loud, wasn't that supposed to be Itachi's purpose? He was supposed to help him protect Sakura and now he was just telling him to prepare for the worst? It wasn't an option he wanted. He'd rather prevent than prepare. At least that way he wasn't worried about it. It was out of the way and he could focus on just being happy—on being with Sakura and making her happy. Why did everything around him have to come with consequences? Why couldn't he just be with Sakura, without any other issue or fear?

Why couldn't his life be normal?

No, he didn't have much to complain about with life. He had had a platinum spoon in his mouth since he was born. He never worried and never had to worry about expenses. He didn't know before her, how lonely he had felt for some time, without realizing it. She filled that loneliness all the way and then ten—no, a million times over. Because of that...just once; he wanted to be able to do what he wanted and for just once, he wanted it to be without consequence. No matter what he did, there was always something that decided to come between them and he despised that fact.

One day, he swore, one day, he would have Sakura without a damn care in the world and he already knew it would make him the happiest man alive. To be the only one she looked to. To be the only one she smiled so lovingly at. To be the only one she loved...it was all he wanted. A life with her. No matter how busy life got, if it was a busy life with her there everyday, then he could be happy for the first time in a long time.

"He knows she's going to be watched, and after what I did to him, surely he wants revenge soon." Itachi smirked with pride.

"I'll handle all preparations, brother. Do not worry so much. Sakura won't be involved." Itachi said, turning to leave. Sasuke looked at his watch and gave a glare. Six minutes. This took up six—going on seven minutes and he was beyond annoyed.

"So...that's it? That's all you came to talk to me about?" Sasuke questioned with irritation.

'I would've had Sakura against the desk already!' His voice screamed with rage inside his mind. He would have slammed his forehead against the nearest object, if it hadn't been for him being frozen with fury.

"Well...I also just wanted to check in on my little brother. Looks like I chose the wrong time, however." Itachi said rather knowingly and Sasuke's glare grew malicious. It was like Itachi was taunting him and he was pretty sure, that was exactly what was going on. He was doing this on purpose!

"You did this on fucking purpose didn't you…" Sasuke seethed. Itachi chuckled.

"Did what? Took time away from being with your precious flower?" Itachi smiled innocently and Sasuke's glaring eyes darkened. What he wouldn't give to kill his older brother right now. He was killing him over and over just from his gaze alone and yet, the older Uchiha remained standing. He admitted it. The bastard was doing this on purpose.

Death was the only vengeance he would accept for this transgression.

"Why?" Sasuke growled viciously. Itachi smirked. 'He looks like father did…' The elder brother thought fondly, remembering his father's glares and venues he accompanied with their mother. Their father never gave more vicious glares than when others admired and blandished her. God save the soul who dared to interrupt the time Fugaku Uchiha had, when his full attention was on Mikoto Uchiha. Men and women alike, no one was safe from their father's wrath if he had time to spare with his wife.

"Damn it all, Sebastian! Why interrupt my time with my wife?!" An angered man barked, scotch whiskey in hand as he sat in his study. Young, thirteen year old Itachi stood outside the door, waiting to be announced by the butler before entering, seeing a look of scorn reach his father's dark eyes. His arm was wrapped around his mother's waist, and it was obvious they had intruded on an intimate moment. She was pressed to his side, blushing lightly.

"Forgive me, Master. I was only following your schedule." Sebastian said, bowing his head a bit and smiling. Fugaku gave another glare.

"Now, now Fugaku!" A feminine voice chirped, placing a hand on her husband's shoulder, easing the tensed man instantaneously. His shoulders slackened, harsh glare calmed into simple irritation as he grumbled in defeat, too weak against the matriarch to refute or argue with her.

"Forgive him Sebastian, you know how he gets when he's a bit cranky. It's been a long day." She chuckled, a beautiful smile plastered on her face, soft doe like onyx eyes warm and inviting. Long raven black hair flowed down to her waist and she was dressed in an elegant gown from the evening's expensive dinner out.

"Is Sasuke-kun in bed?"

"Indeed, My Lady. And I have brought Young Master Itachi for his night-lessons with Master Fugaku."

There was an audible and disgruntled grumble from his father and a giggle from his mother.

"Fine. Send him in." The head of the Uchiha Estate grumbled.

And Itachi was glad to see in person and for himself, that Sasuke truly did have the same love for Sakura as their father had for their mother. One he himself had for someone...that he just couldn't have right now.

"Curiosity, brother. Nothing more. I wanted to see if things were going well between you two. It appears they are indeed." Itachi shrugged playfully, earning a fiery look of scorn from his aggravated younger brother.

Yep. He was an Uchiha, alright. The son of Fugaku Uchiha, their father, for sure.

"Get out." Sasuke snarled, already walking towards the entrance and opening the door for him. Itachi chuckled and walked out the office with nothing but amusement on his face. His little brother was so easy to read. The irritation. The rushing. The glares he gave. Quite possessive and eager his little brother turned out to be. Possibly more so than their father.

"It was nice to see you, brother." Itachi said and received inaudibly grumbled words—most of which he was certain were curse words—in response. He was certain he heard a growled "Go fuck yourself" but he couldn't make out the rest. The elder brother of the Uchiha House looked to Sakura who smiled back at him, so innocently from her desk. The poor thing had no idea how loved she was, by an Uchiha no less. He wondered if the humble and kind woman would ever be able to get used to being treated as absolute royalty.

It's what she had to look forward to, if she stayed with his foolish little brother.

"Farewell, Sakura. Until next time. Please take care of my foolish little brother for me. My return might not be for quite a while." Itachi said. Sasuke's eyes narrowed at the last part. A while? He was already leaving again? That begged the question, again, why come all this way?!

Sakura giggled, making his angered thoughts stop and blank. His eyes shifted over to her. That smile. Those glittering eyes. His chest ached.

He truly wanted that smile only to himself. Like a spoiled brat, he questioned pitifully why did she have to give it to others? He knew he had nothing to be jealous about. She was his: mind, body and heart—everything. He had established and reestablished it, over and over without holding back and Sakura had always responded with reciprocation. She had gripped and kissed him with need, so much so, he really questioned which, between the two of them, really wanted the other more. She told him she loved him. The smiles she gave to others meant absolutely nothing compared to the ones she gave him.

And still, he wanted her to himself. It was agonizing.

"I'll do everything I can to do so, Itachi. Be safe."

"For that, I am already forever grateful, Sakura. I'll keep in touc—"

"Fucking leave already." Sasuke quickly snapped and crossed his arms. His patience was long gone and now Itachi was just wasting more time. Bastard. He knew how much Sasuke wanted to be alone with Sakura. His follow up chuckle proved it.

"Farewell brother."

Off he went. He watched Itachi disappear behind the elevator doors and waited just five seconds. After that, his eyes shifted to Sakura, and his hand lifted in calling.

"Sakura…" He called warmly. His eyes warmed and stared at her expectantly. Sakura blushed, staring at his open palmed hand, gingerly beckoning her to come to him. She stood from her desk and walked into his office, as she knew to do. The door closed behind her and she was grabbed at the waist from behind and he was already placing kisses along her neck. She giggled as he smooched on a ticklish spot, and gave a sigh when he growled into her skin.

"Sasuke-kun, we don't have time." She chuckled out when one hand rose up to grope her chest and the other went downward. Sasuke scoffed into her skin and his hands gripped her tighter. She was right and he was upset about it. And he did feel a bit stressed about not having anyone to watch her until later. Damn Itachi and his meddling...even if it was for a cause that was dear to him. He really could have just called. It wasn't necessary to talk in person.

'Bastard!' He mentally grumbled. He came here solely to tease and mock him. She gasped as his hand bypassed the hem of her office skirt and her panties.

Then again, that was more likely his contempt towards not having the time to indulge himself.

With the frustration he felt, the odds of that were high.

"Sasuk—" She tried to warn him further.

"I know. But I need you...just a little bit." He murmured against her skin and continued his work.

"You're next meeting…they'll be here in five minutes." Her voice had already changed, since he continued. Her tone moaned out each word and she was already surrendering to him. She couldn't resist his touch and he relished in her lost consciousness to him. Especially, when it appeared to be congruent with his loss of consciousness as well. Again, it was because of her that he didn't know what the world was. So when he felt that the same feeling was reciprocated by her the way he could tell it was now, he refused asylum from his lost sanity. He didn't need it.

He could not wait for the day where he had imagined dragging her onto his lap, in front of a conference and watching others become inferior off that alone. He imagined waving her over like it was nothing, and then she'd sit on his lap in a way a man would die for. Holding her in place, he would smirk as eyes of jealousy would fall upon him because of what belonged to him. And he'd watch them become hopeless as they realized they stood no chance against him—because she was entirely his. Funny. He couldn't stand a man ogling her, but he just as contradictorily desired other men to recognize she was his. Maybe it was the rise of egotism she gave him, with how much he made love to her? Maybe it was just how much he loved her.

Either way, if it made him a contradicting hypocrite, so be it. It didn't matter, so long as she was his and his alone.

"Just a little more...my Sakura." He breathed against her ear. She gasped and leaned against him. Her hips started grinding to his touch. He was just toying with her and he was driving her crazy. Rubbing her folds up and down with two fingers, then circles to her bead. His lips against her skin made his effects worse.

"S-Sasuke-kun..." She whimpered in slight desperation. He smirked against her, noting he had her under the influence. She started panting, trying to hold back her moans, but she was already gripping his blazer and it made him want to influence her more. He had returned to kissing her neck and making a discreet mark behind her ear that would be covered by her hair. Still, she resisted in making the sounds he wanted to hear. And so his hands gave their statements to her objections. Like, now, where all he cared about was hearing her moan his name. He was pumping his fingers inside her and she was grinding to him. His palm was still stimulating her bead. His voice was the final straw.

"Sakura...I want to hear you." He ordered against her neck, and paced his fingers faster. She couldn't resist anymore. She wouldn't. She had no choice now. His voice and his touch commanded her, and she let out a desperate moan that birthed from all the others she had held back. Her head fell back against his shoulder and her next moans sounded almost uncontrollable. Her body stayed standing, while it limped against him. Maybe it was their constant lovemaking. Maybe it was because she had relinquished herself to him or maybe it was because he just couldn't get enough of her, but where he was so much of a slave to her; like this, she was only his slave as well.

And still he worshipped her. So much so, she worshipped him. He was her King. He was her love. A God she loved and cherished—and therefore unable to refute or deny him. She dare not leave his arms, until he decided so. His grip and grind said so. And she was powerless. She was against the owner of Uchiha Corporations. A peasant like herself, as she thought, stood no chance. So she surrendered. The hand nearest to the one in her panties had clutched his wrist and tried to push him even further downward with a want for more.

She was completely weak to him like this. She couldn't resist him at all and she surrendered to it.

It was for the best.

"Damn Itachi..." He grumbled into her skin with contempt. She felt his bulge against her rear and blushed. She really did want that right now. She wanted all of him now. She turned her head to face his, breathing heavily. She already wanted more, even while remembering his next meeting was too soon. They could be here any minute, in fact. She'd rather it stopped here. She couldn't get enough of him if it continued. She'd be wanting more and to see him throughout the day would torture her.

And for Sasuke, it was so much worse. She still tortured him, every second of every day. Even after he had made her his, she still had a hold on him that made him damn near obsessive. You'd think after having her as much as he had, he'd be satisfied, but he only wanted her more. He wanted her so much more it was incomprehensible. He must have told her only the minimalist of the truth last night when he said he couldn't get enough of her. Or did he tell the truth by saying he would never get enough of her? Because it felt like it. It felt like he would always need her, somehow, someway.

"M-Maybe we c-can...later. It's not even lunch y-yet...a-and—haaaah!" She tried swaying only for his hands to oppose her. He had inserted two fingers and it stopped her starting proposition of giving herself to him later. Her mind went to the clouds and her mind went blank when he claimed her lips, since her head was turned in the perfect position to do so.

She was starting to be incapable of holding back her moans. His lips moved to smooch at her cheek and down to her neck again and the hand on her breast started unbuttoning her blouse.

What he wouldn't give, for later to be now.

"You know better than anyone I'm booked, even for a phone conference during lunch. I can't push the late night meetings back or have Kakashi take care of them this time." Sasuke growled with frustration.

"Unless someone cancels, I won't have you again until midnight." He complained in a grumbled and breathy whisper against her skin. She panted, unable to stop him and no, she couldn't even try. She could only grip each of his arms with need; to urge his movements more, rather than to stop them. Again, against conscious thought, he overtook her entire will. She was truly powerless against him.

"Sasuke-kun…" She moaned, just as he wanted. He continued his designed trail of kisses along her cheek before claiming her lips and his hand shoved into her partially open blouse and beneath her bra. He squeezed at one of her breasts and teased her nipple, while his other hand continued his work. She whined against his tongue.

"Just a little more." He huskily groaned against her lips. A little more. Just enough that he could get through the day remembering he had her like this. He could doze off somewhere mid-meeting, and remember her moans and pleas. It would ease his anger, if he did have a reason to be angry later. The feeling of her body in her hands wouldn't leave until much later.

But...time was so cruel. Time cared for no one. Not the rich, not the poor. Not for him and her. It waited for no one and Sasuke couldn't help but to sulk; especially with what he was about to do. His brow already furrowed and his eyes pained—and he mentally cursed Itachi again, for cutting the time he could have had with her too short for true satisfaction.

"Haah! Haah! Sasuke-kun! S-Sasuke—"

And he stopped. She gave a surprised gasp as he relieved his hand out of her panties and skirt, and the other came out of her blouse. He gave a final smooch to her neck while she gave a wail of objection. His hands released her much to her entire body's shock. Something snapped within her when he did. He left her needing and wanting more and her body was protesting his lack of action. She was almost enraged, if it hadn't been for the feeling of want and need that made her blood run cold. Why did he stop? Why didn't he keep going?! 'No!' Her mind yelled in complete dissent, because her body needed him. She needed him now and it was unfair. She spun around to face him.

"S-Sasuke-kun?! Why did y-you stop—" She stopped dead in her tracks when she turned to look at him. He was giving her that smug look in his eyes, along with that devil-like smirk and she couldn't help but grow redder. Something about that look bothered her in both a good and a bad way. On one end, Sasuke was enjoying himself. He was happy and most of all, pleased, when that smirk appeared across his lips. And she wanted that. She wanted him to relax and unwind with her, whenever he desired, so she could give him the comforts Mari spoke of. So that he didn't have to look at her with so much worry and fear, as he had last night.

On the bad end however, he was teasing her and every time, Sakura swore he gained something in that smirk of his. Something she wasn't sure of, but little by little, she was being bound and restrained by that smirk. Because as equally joyous a moment that it was when that smirk appeared, it was equally a moment that he appeared to gain more power over her and it made it all the more impossible to resist him.

She wasn't sure if he knew that or not. His smirk said he was quite aware.

"You're the one who said we don't have the time. And you're, so unfortunately, right." He said teasingly, before he brought his fingers into his mouth to taste her. She blushed at the action, feeling her body tremor and continue protesting against this fallacy.

She was right. He got the notification on his phone that updated his agenda. The client would be here any minute. He neared her and kissed her forehead.

"You'll just have to wait for more, love. The same way I do." He mumbled against her forehead. Sakura blushed and her hands gripped his chest. Why did he torture her so? Didn't he see she needed him now? While she questioned it, their connection told her he was not so oblivious to her new desires. He knew what he had done. He knew he was torturing her and Sakura couldn't help but think, it tortured him just as much.

And it did. The painful ache he felt, to not have her as he wanted, was enough to both infuriate and debilitate his psyche. He would have gone mad, if it wasn't for the promise of having her all he wanted later. It would just have to wait. It could not be helped. He was the CEO of Uchiha Corporations and by default, there was much of his time spent with work. He would have to wait for her...and he would have to ask her constantly to wait for him, in more ways than one. Her hands caressed both sides of his face, forcing him to look at her.

"You're...so cruel…" She whispered and lifted her lips to his. He was so cruel, especially when he touched her like this. Sasuke stilled and his eyelids lowered as she brushed her lips against his. His hands grabbed the curve of her waist and pulled her to his body as much as he could and his eyes closed just to relish in the sensation of her. She was right. This entire bit was quite cruel of him. He couldn't seem to help it. He wanted to feel her so much more. He wanted to feel her body against his. He wanted her warmth and her being like this against him, he could tell she was just as much wanting of him.

To him, however, she was so much more cruel. As much as she loved him and as much as he loved her, she was beyond cruel. It was because of her that he always lost his mind. It was because of her that he realized there were some things you couldn't have whenever you wanted and it infuriated a spoiled man like him. It was because of her that he became what most would consider an insane man. And he did not care what he was called; be it eccentric, crazy, insane, obsessed or a madman, her opinion was the only one that mattered. All he cared about was having her and her love.

His eyes reflected it all to Sakura through a distant look of longing and desire, that seemed to destroy all cognitive and logical function for her. Even the action of his hands affectionately caressing her waist as they did now, appeared to simply happen on autopilot. As if her being in his grasp was always meant to be.

"You're so much worse...and you don't even know it." He mumbled distantly, before completely taking over her touching lips, unable to resist them anymore when they were touching his. She responded in kind, wrapping her arms around his neck. When they separated this time, he couldn't help but repeat those words and his hands held her tighter in reluctance of having to let her go soon.

He really didn't want to let her go.

"Damn, Itachi." He snarled viciously against her lips just as they were pulling away and she couldn't help but laugh. In reaction to that sweet noise, he couldn't help but smile himself and his hands did their best to hold her as close as he possibly could. Sakura watched with surprise as he closed his eyes and chuckled himself. Again, like last night, he looked like a man in a dreamland. Who knew he could even make such a peaceful look like that? She certainly never would have imagined it, from the day they first met. His change in behavior from then and now were polar opposites. He felt so much more light and gentle to her; so much more free and it made her ecstatic.

She wished she had met him sooner. If it meant this feeling of glee and pleasure, just from being like this with him, she wished she had met him so much sooner. Her nose brushed against his and she whispered genuinely.

"I love you…I love you, Sasuke-kun." She whispered against his lips. He wrapped one of his hands into her hair, kissing her repeatedly and when they separated, he rubbed his forehead against hers.

"And I love you. I love you so much, Sakura." He mumbled blissfully before claiming her lips again. He couldn't stop himself this time. He shoved her against his desk with his lips still locked, and lifted her onto it. She gasped against his lips, and her legs opened for him to be between. Some of his papers fell to the floor. She felt his laptop against her back.

"Sasuke-kun…" Her leg lifted a bit and he groaned, grinding against her. He was losing even more control bit by bit. The longer he was against her, the more he was losing his will to return to work. Fuck, he had her on his desk and he wanted her, now! His eyes heated and he gave a long lick from the start of her neck to her ear.

"I want you, like this. Right now." He groaned huskily against her ear, before attacking her neck with smooches and nips, that she only moaned at. Her body was grinding along with his, in an attempt to feel him and his warmth. Her hand started pulling his blazer down his left shoulder. He struggled to remind himself not to mark her somewhere her collar couldn't hide.

"M-Me too, Sasuke-kun. I-I—" She whispered temptively against his ear and it damn near broke his mind. Damn it. She was supposed to say that at a time he would be able to make love to her against his desk. Not now. Not like this, when he would have to be torn from her. What she was commanding of him, he could not do and he was absolutely, internally, losing his shit over it. So much so, his hand pulled lightly on her hair, so her neck craned back even more for him. His licking moved lower to her chest, thanks to him having it already partially open.

"Hmm!" She whined, and he decided to make a mark on her chest. He was already slipping one of her sleeves off her shoulders and the fact that she didn't protest only encouraged him more.

Maybe he could tell the client to come a little later. Give him thirty minutes. Just that should be enough. The client could find a diner or something and wait. Sure he'd have to push his other meetings back for today but, he could deal with that, if he could have her now.

No sooner than he was thinking it and rubbed her skirt up her thigh, his office phone rang. It was already time. Probably reception downstairs calling to tell him the client was already here. His eyes glared bloody murder and his teeth gritted.

"Fucking—" He started growling and only stopped when Sakura hugged him for comfort. And the comfort was not just his own.

"You…have to answer..." She mumbled, somberly and breathlessly, and it made him all the more reluctant. He looked into her eyes with desire and unwillingness. Damn it, he shouldn't have done this. He should have just waited. He wanted her so badly right now, he was letting the phone ring. Then she kissed him, suddenly taking her own command over this situation, even if the action wasn't helping his desires in the slightest. After a small moment, she pulled away and gave him a loving smile.

"Go…" She commanded him. He stared with continued reluctance, before he sighed and stepped around to the office phone on his desk. The woman really had the ability to control him. Her orders to him would all be carried out to the letter, even when he didn't want to do them. So easily too. It made him all the more annoyed with her.

Sakura started fixing herself, and got off his desk, but followed him with her gaze. She stayed where she stood and her eyes were glued to him as he gave the approval for someone to come to the office. When he looked at her, she had to look away, because then he'd just start taking her over again. She'd just lose her mind to him again and truth be told, her body wasn't going to be able to take much more teasing. She was already too excited, for lack of a better word.

He was leaving for the cruise soon anyway, and she would have to remember how to function without him at her side. With that she started to preoccupy herself with picking up a few documents that fell off his desk. She fixed them back neatly, just in time for Sasuke to hang up.

"Duty calls." His voice was near but she dared not to look into his eyes still. His hand caressed her face, and he was already brushing his lips against hers.

"I-I'll see you later." She said softly, still not daring to look into his eyes. He understood. He knew why she didn't want to look at him and it ached him just as much. Maybe he had gone too far. Maybe he was too cruel this time. It would have been enough to have her on his lap and lay his head against her chest for a short rest like before. Instead, he was so frustrated with Itachi, he caused them both to suffer and not just him. He had been too greedy and it was a note he would have to make for next time.

"Sakura…" He sulked against her lips, and the remorseful tone of his voice made her meet his gaze finally.

And she was met with eyes that loved her more than anything in this world.

"Forgive me…" He whispered softly. In slow motion, he was given his favorite sight. Her eyes glittered and sparkled like the sunshine on the ocean. A rosy blush came to her cheeks. She gave an angelic smile so beautiful, she looked divine. His eyes made sure not to miss a single thing as this gaze came to her features. He loved it when she smiled at him like this. And when she smiled at him like this, he felt beyond foolish for being jealous of her smiling at other men.

She didn't smile at other men like this. She didn't smile at Itachi like this. Only him. He needed to start reminding himself that the niceties and mannerisms she gave to others, were nothing compared to everything she gave him. Maybe it would start easing the loss of his sanity whenever he had to witness her around a man he didn't know. She didn't smile at any of them, the way she smiled at him and he loved her for it.

She kissed his lips, one last time, which he welcomed wholeheartedly.

"Always, Sasuke-kun."

"I'll be back soon, Sasuke-kun. HR and the Budget Board for the Science Division have some documents they would like me to bring to you. I'll clock out after." Sakura announced, just as he picked up the phone. He gave a curt nod of acknowledgement while addressing whoever was on the receiving end. She gave him a sweet smile, before disappearing from his office door and he mentally sighed. Nonstop. Today was nonstop. It had gone smoothly, yes, but it was nonstop, and he was tired. His little bit of Sakura certainly helped from earlier, but he had just about had enough with today and his day was far from over.

He couldn't imagine the frustration he would have felt if he hadn't had that little bit, from earlier.

"Yes. I reviewed the edited documents. Ten percent? The original arrangement was fifteen. Why the drop in shares?" Sasuke questioned.

"Forgive us, Uchiha-sama. A partner of ours took a financial hit. Our profits have been rather severely impacted. As stated through the email, we hoped you would approve of the changes, out of your generosity." The man on the other line timidly proposed. Sasuke's brow furrowed. He could allow for it. It wasn't much of a loss and he could make up the rest elsewhere. But this was not the first time he was hearing this today. Several deals today had asked for revisions to the contractual payment agreement and it was seemingly the same reason. Were they all in business with the same person? Or was this a coincidental investment loss? His cell phone gave off a ding, signaling a message received.

"It's fine. I understand. Five percent is not that much of a difference for me. I'll fax back the documents with my signature later on tonight." Sasuke acknowledged, looking down at his cellphone. His eyes narrowed at the message.

Otsutsuki Indra
We need to talk. Will you allow me ten minutes of your time right now?

Sasuke glared. What could that bastard want? Was he here to start a fight? Sakura made it clear in her tear filled account of what happened between them, that Indra knew of their relationship. To think he had the gall to come here and request an audience with him after what he had done.

"We'll do our best to accommodate you for your generosity, Uchiha-sama. Please, allow us some time before we can do so, but we shall hold true to compensating the other five percent to you."

'Come up.' He sent back and sent a follow up message to his receptionist downstairs to allow the Otsutsuki entrance. His mind wandered to Sakura next, as he typed a bit on the document on his laptop. She probably wouldn't want to see the bastard who caused her trauma. It might be wise to keep her occupied until Indra left the floor. He just hoped she didn't come back as Indra was leaving. With that he sent her a text.

Please make me a coffee while you're at it. Take your time. Something has come up. Spare me ten minutes or more before returning.

"Don't worry about it. Farewell." He hung up the office phone and leaned forward, propping his elbows on his desk and covering his lips with his folded hands in thought. His eyes glared towards his door. He never forgot what Indra had done to Sakura in her apartment a few weeks prior. He never forgot the way she cried to him and how she described Indra force kissing her. He had wiped away those stains many times over and then some. He had been the first man she gave her body to and he had made love to her all over. Just earlier she had surrendered to his touch, right here in his office. He could have even had her on his desk, if it hadn't been for Itachi wasting his time, as proven by her moaned out words.

However, he wouldn't be the man that he was if he just decided to let it go. He wanted nothing more than to have a discussion with the Otsutsuki about it and he didn't mind getting ugly. The bastard had to answer for what he did. For touching what was his, for making Sakura cry and for whatever he did in the past, he'd see to it that the bastard paid for it, no matter what he had to do. It was a mixture of selfish resolve to claim her from another man who wanted her heart and to hopefully destroy one of the only things that concerned him with Sakura.

His trained mind started gathering as much detail as possible. Indra was indeed a variable that he still knew little to nothing about, other than that they had a past history. They had known each other years before and something happened between them; something that made Sakura despise him and something that estranged Indra from her. Besides that, the only other thing he could discern from the current information he had was that the Otsutsuki was possibly just as infatuated with her as he was, even after years of apparent separation. It was probably going to be a war of words and experiences.

And as much as he didn't want to admit it or even consider it, he also couldn't rule out that Indra might still have some kind of place in her heart, whatever that place may be. He didn't want it to be true. He didn't want to even think it was a possibility, but if Indra still cared for her after all these years, Sasuke could only hypothesize that they had been close. They had formed some kind of bond and his lessons taught bonds were not easy to be rid of. Bonds and partnerships in the business world were almost forever binding. A breach of it would mean consequences, but a bond between people was not that much different as a bond between businesses. If there was a betrayal, consequences and actions were made. Hence, Sakura's hatred and Indra's apparently eager and urgent actions.

So, even though he didn't want to, even though he wished and hoped it wasn't the case, he put into consideration that maybe, just maybe...Sakura had...loved Indra first. Maybe he was the first man she gave herself to, but there was the possibility that she wasn't the first man she loved...and he had to find out. If Indra would give him some insight to that, no matter how much he wanted to rearrange the man's face, he had to gather what information he could and act on it accordingly.

Even if she loved him now...if she did ineed love Indra first and they were connected with that bond still, he may have to worry about Indra more than he initially perceived.

'A rival to her heart...even when I've claimed it.' His mental voice scoffed. What was worse, Sasuke was almost certain he'd have to deal with such headaches for the rest of his life with Sakura. He supposed it was inevitable. He was in possession of an absolute goddess—the gorgeous woman whose heart he obtained was bound to attract the hearts of other men, again and again, without meaning to, no matter how many times he chased them away. Even if he made one man disappear, there would just be another man to ogle her. There was always going to be another wanting his place at her side and just the thought of another taking his place, infuriated him, as it had since day one.

'I might just take her away.' He remembered that disgustingly relayed message and his eyes narrowed with revengeance. To think, the bastard said that after kissing Sakura against her will.

'Like hell.' He mentally seethed. He wasn't going to let anyone take his place at her side and that will was doubled with Indra, who obviously desired what he had with Sakura.

Knocks at his door brought him from his thoughts. Already certain of who that was, his already glaring eyes, narrowed even more maliciously. He could already feel his tension rising.

"Enter." In walked none other than Otsutsuki himself, just as promised with his permission to come in. His visual presence brought even more tension to the room and Sasuke's clasped hands gripped each other in order to keep his composure. He may have all the animosity in the world for Indra Otsutsuki, but it didn't mean he could act out irrationally yet. Not against a rival who had just as much, if not more power than he did. He would have to be methodical, as well as unrelenting.

Indra did have some leverage on him, seeing as he was in a romantic relationship with his own secretary. The press would have a riot with that. However, he wasn't checkmated. He could just as well spread that Indra told such "lies", because he wanted to cover for forcing himself onto his secretary instead. He would have to use Sakura in that regard, but certainly she'd be on board with putting the bastard through hell, with how much she appeared to despite and resent Indra.

In conclusion, it would be a stalemate. Neither one of them would want to go through the loops and hoops of a rollercoaster those tabloids would bring. If he played his cards right, he could get Indra to back off, for good.

In fact, just mentioning some kind of taint on the Otsutsuki would be more trouble for them, than for him. The Uchiha family was indeed of the most prestigious elite, but the Otsutsuki's were indeed the highest of high. Instead, Indra's accussation's of romantic employee affiliations might just bounce off and work even more in his favor, towards it being a cover up of sexual harassment.

And an accussation such as sexual harassment would be enough to rattle the very foundations of the Otsutsuki, and Sasuke was fully intent on using it to the most degree.

"Uchiha. Thank you for allowing me your time." Indra's tone was cordial. His face was stoic but Sasuke could see the bit of animosity in his eyes. If his reading was right, he could tell Indra was struggling; most likely with the fact that Sakura belonged to him and Sasuke gave a smug look of pride, so much so, the corner of his lips lifted just slightly. The bastard obviously knew his place. He knew Sakura was his and it shined from the envy in his similarly dark eyes. So, what was this really all about? What could Indra possibly wish to speak with him for? There was nothing else for them to talk about if the asshole knew Sakura was his. Sasuke's hands lowered from his lips to his desk and he sat up straight.

"This was quite unexpected. What brings you here, Otsutsuki?" Sasuke questioned, saying the man's name with malice and contempt, just to set the tone. He didn't care much for the Otsutsuki before and he had very little respect for him now. The similarly dark eyed man gave an equivalent glare to the one he was receiving from Sasuke now.

And Indra reminded himself, he had to keep calm. He was here to stall time…nothing more.

"Otsutsuki Indra, here to see Uchiha." Indra spoke to the lobby receptionist. He was a bit nervous. He couldn't help but eye the guard who had confronted him in front of Sakura's house those weeks ago and the lavender eyed man did not stop eyeing him. Indra gave a small glare. So, he really was the Uchiha's lap dog. The brunette haired receptionist eyed him and then the woman beside him. She had blond hair and was wearing very large, dark black tinted sunglasses. Her clothing was tight and slightly revealing for such a setting.

"And her?" The receptionist asked. Indra pulled the woman to his side from the waist.

Just like they planned.

"My partner. She is with me." His eye shifted to the white haired security guard, seeing him give a look of suspicion and question. He obviously had some reservation about him having another woman here like this. He didn't doubt the Uchiha's dog was already sniffing something wasn't right after their brief encounter on Sakura's street. Technically, the Uchiha's lapdog wasn't wrong.

He had another objective. His mind was on a different woman. The woman he wanted to hold like this was currently in the clutches of another man and, as selfish as it was, he had to do this. He had to make sure this worked, if he hoped at even a chance of having her.

"Name and identification?"

"Senju Mito." She answered, handing the woman an ID card. The woman typed her name and after handing back the woman her card, lifted her hand as a way of passage.

"Uchiha-sama has already approved your arrival. Proceed to the express elevator and up to the one hundredth and twenty sixth floor." The receptionist instructed stoically. Indra nodded and the two began to walk.

"Oi. Otsutsuki." Indra heard the familiar voice call. The lapdog just couldn't help himself could he. He turned around, holding the woman against him still.

"What do you want, lapdog? I have something to discuss with your Master, so make it quick." Indra questioned and met Suigetsu's suspicious gaze with his own. The woman chuckled at his insult and Suigestu's eyes shifted to her. Indra observed how there was a small moment of recognition in his violet eyes, before the security guard questioned himself. Suigetsu's eyes stared at the woman and he damn near bore holes into her. Indra's hand around her waist squeezed.

As she had proclaimed, this thorn in his side was very familiar with her and was able to recognize her even with a disguise on...though, from the looks of it, the disguise was able to fool him a bit. He couldn't place where he had seen her before. She gripped Indra's chest and turned her face towards it.

"It's rude to stare, dog." Indra glared. Suigetsu looked back up at him. Sasuke didn't tell him to leave his post and he didn't say to go look for Sakura. That had to have meant Sakura wasn't around but he was certain she hadn't left the building yet.

Still, something didn't feel right. After Sasuke's request to look out for him and their last encounter, he didn't trust the Otsutsuki in the slightest. Especially around Sakura.

"Tch. Don't start trouble, Otsutsuki." He warned, walking back to his post at the entrance of the building.

They entered the express elevator alone. The two were silent for a moment.

"Now what, Karin?" He mumbled quietly to her. She smirked, lowering her sunglasses to look up at him solely with her eyes.

"You've done your part by getting me into the building. Just stall for at least ten minutes. I need to get rid of this disgusting wig. I'll handle the rest." She proclaimed.

"I'm sure you know why, Uchiha." he answered vaguely. Staring at the Uchiha, Indra couldn't help it when his hands clenched into fists. It was angering. The Uchiha had everything he had ever wanted. The Uchiha was always so much more free than he had ever been. And now, when he finally found what he had been searching for, for so long, it was the Uchiha who claimed it before he could.

And not only that, the Uchiha was about to lose her in the stupidest way he possibly could. Through Sasuke's anger, jealousy and desire, Karin had planned this entire stunt and if it actually worked, the way it already was so far, Indra was all the more upset. Did the Uchiha not care enough of his relationship with Sakura, that he didn't think someone would plot against him like this? Was Sasuke that confident in having Sakura's heart that he just allowed him up here? Such foolishness. Such negligence. A man as careless as this didn't deserve to have Sakura at his side...

Then, part of him argued against himself. Part of Indra said this was selfish and wrong and he should simply wish for Sakura's happiness instead. The Uchiha was expecting him and him alone. Not the other woman. She was even in disguise for the moment. He couldn't fault him for that part...as much as he wanted to. He should warn Sasuke right now that Karin was in the building, about to do something drastic; the details of which he truly didn't know of, and she should be found and immediately removed.

"I'd love for you to elaborate."

Be it selfish desire or ignorant discernment, Indra found himself doing the opposite of what he felt he should do. And part of him did apologize for it. He knew what this would mean if the woman did her obscured part right. He knew they would be separated. How the woman was going to pull that off, he didn't know.

And yet, just the chance that she would be in his arms...was just enough for him to want the chance Karin was supposedly providing.

"You and Sakura...when did yo—"

"That's none of your business." Sasuke snarled quickly.

"...You're right. It's not. Sakura hasn't been my business for about twelve years now, unfortunately." Indra spoke and Sasuke flinched at the information. Twelve years ago...Sakura would have been about eleven or twelve. An age for crushes. He suddenly found himself asking how much time they spent together. How close had they been? They may have been young at the time...but he had first hand experience on what it was like to suddenly grow attached to Sakura. If Indra's actions those weeks ago told him anything, it was that he had indeed kept Sakura on his mind for all these years. She had left her impression on Indra, just as she had done to himself the first day he met her.

He was certain that up until Indra's despicable act, Sakura didn't even know it. The way she was ignorant to making him fall in love with her, he didn't doubt she was just as blind to Indra...at least until what happened.

"So why bother interfering with her life now, Indra? It's obvious she despises you." Sasuke stated coldly and intentionally. He wanted Indra to stay away from Sakura. It wouldn't be too hard. His meetings with the Otsutsuki's were few and far between and he usually met with Hagoromo alone. Indra was only brought here due to the nature of Hagoromo's visit, because it was obvious what the cruise was actually for.

Hagoromo was going to announce who was next in line to run Otsutsuki Inc.

"Indeed. Because of a mistake I made in the past, she is distant from me. She's grown so far from me, it just might be impossible to reach her." Sasuke glared at the wording. Just might be? Then again, why would he expect the bastard to give up. He apparently had been thinking of Sakura for years now. And if she had captured Indra's heart the way she had captured his, it was obvious Indra was not going to just go away.

So what was the bastard plotting, that Sakura "just might be" impossible for him to reach? Did he really intend on trying to steal her away as he implied?

"Tell me something, Uchiha…" Sasuke's eyes narrowed further.

"Why Sakura? Why did you choose her? What is she to you?" Indra questioned. Sasuke scoffed.

"I have no reason to answer that. Especially, to you."

"You do, unless you want word to go out that you're involved with your secretary." Sasuke stood from his seat with a malicious aura spewing from him at his whim. As he had perceived, this threat had finally come.

He just didn't think the Otsutsuki would really be so bold as to actually threaten him with it. He scoffed.

"I don't, considering you sexually assaulted her. Imagine if that word got out. Prince of the Otsutsuki; forces woman against her will." He shot back with a hateful glare. Indra's similarly dark eyes cringed a bit at the recollection of that memory. Forcefully kissing her in the kitchen like an idiotic madman, when she refused his feelings. It was a foolish action. Still. He was an Otsutsuki. He never backed down and he wouldn't to the inferior Uchiha. He scoffed and closed his eyes with composure.

"Spreading a baseless rumor, Uchiha? What are you? Twelve?" Indra scoffed, glaring back. Sasuke glared back.

"A baseless rumor? I'm sure Sakura would say otherwise." The drop of her name made Indra visibly flinch.

"So, give me one good reason why I shouldn't go to the press with that information right now? The longer I have to stare at you, the more appealing it is." Sasuke snarled with malice. Indra suddenly gave a chuckle, irking Sasuke and he wasn't sure if it was on purpose or not. Indra could be trying to get a rise out of him. If he attacked the Otsutsuki out of anger, that would be enough to sink him. As much as he wanted to ring his hands around the man's throat for what he had done to Sakura, there was only so far he could go.

"Why not already go to the press with it? Actually, I'm sure I already have the answer to that." Indra said, walking towards Sasuke's floor to ceiling windows that overlooked much of Konoha city.

It was a similar view as his office, but he was certain his view was higher. Maybe even better. The Uchiha could provide for Sakura...he could give her everything she needed and wanted. And Indra couldn't stop himself from thinking, with envy, that he could provide ten times more than the Uchiha could.

"It's because even if you had Sakura testify, even if you went ahead and pressed charges against me, you'd still lose. As much as you try, the story will end up buried. You are resourceful, Uchiha, and powerful, but to think you'd actually win against an Otsutsuki? Has your anger towards me blinded you?" Sasuke's glaring eyes sharpened and his teeth clenched. Indra turned back towards Sasuke. He might be able to damage the Otsutsuki reputation just slightly, but actually taking down Indra without repercussions to himself would be a challenge. It would be extremely difficult and as Indra implied, it could come back to bite him in the ass. No doubt, the Otsutsuki would come for him tenfold, if he attempted such a thing.

Sasuke truly didn't give a damn if they did and Indra saw it with the fire that began burning in Sasuke's dark eyes. He was slightly surprised. He knew the Uchiha were an aggressive and assertive lot, but the ferocity Sasuke was displaying was something he was now thinking he underestimated.

"Does knowing I claimed her lips infuriate you that much? I suppose the rumor of Fugaku being quite possessive is a true and inherited gene." Indra smirked and thankfully, Sasuke's windows were strong and the best reinforced glass money could buy, to ensure no suicides or accidents could take place. Sasuke had dashed for him and slammed him against the floor to ceiling glass, holding him by his collar and glaring at him furiously. Had it been weak glass, they both would've been sent pummeling one hundred and twenty six stories and into the street. But Sasuke didn't care; if anything, he would have taken comfort in the fact that at least Indra would have hit the cement first. Sasuke felt nothing but a seething anger at that sentence. One he couldn't control.

Does knowing I claimed her lips infuriate you that much?

Of course it did. It enraged him and not just for his own feelings. Besides wanting Sakura to only be his and untouched by other men, he also couldn't forget the way she cried to him. The way she pleaded with him to forgive her because it was obvious, she felt like she had betrayed him. She blamed herself for Indra's actions, when she had nothing to do with it, and Sasuke couldn't forgive it.

"She didn't want your lips, bastard. If you care so much about her, then know she cried to me after that stunt of yours. She damn near begged me to forgive her, for what you had done, even when it wasn't her fault. I had to hold her. I had to remind her, it was not her fault and that it was yours. So, tell me, after all that bullshit, do you really even give a fuck about her?!" Sasuke snarled maliciously. Indra's eyes widened with pain. He remembered. He remembered how she had desperately pushed against him and then bit his tongue to get him away. As she told him, she had spoken to Sasuke of what he had done and now Indra had an insight of just how he affected her. And he was reminded of how she claimed she loved the man standing before him.

"And to remind me of that, do you have any shame about it at all?!" Sasuke continued and Indra's eyes lowered. Of course, he felt shame. He did what he had done off of impulse and rejection. It was wrong, he knew that.

But feeling her lips and tongue for that brief moment, before she started to reject him, it was everything he had dreamed of.

"I'll never forget what you did and neither will Sakura. And your shamelessness disgusts me! So, trust that when the day comes, the first opportunity I have against you, I will go after you with full force. I don't give a damn about the Otsutsuki name." He seethed and released him roughly, even though it was with reluctance. Indra's eyes lowered. No, surely Sakura would never forget it. Her reaction certainly didn't agree with it and no, she probably wouldn't return to him that way. And what she said to him two nights ago…

"Consider this goodbye. Forget we ever knew each other. Forget our past."

"And Sakura will be fully on board. Both as my secretary and my woman, Indra. You and I both know, as much of a long shot it is, it will be enough to cause havoc with you and your family. And with how pissed you already have me now, I warn you. Do not test me. You will never have her the way I have!" Sasuke seethed. What happened next pleased him.

His wrath wasn't gone, but he did at least gain complete satisfaction at the absolutely flabbergasted glare he received from Indra with that reminder that she was his.

'And I'll say it as many times as I need to." He wished he could tell Indra telepathically. As a matter of fact, it seemed to be sent to Indra telepathically, with the pained look that came to his eyes.

His woman...again, there was that claim upon her. Indra remembered the way he kissed her lips that night, when he first saw them from afar. The way he gripped her desperately and how she welcomed his affection. He couldn't hold back the angered look of envy that glistened in his eyes, before they turned somber.

He had made so many mistakes when it came down to Sakura. Too many to count.

"Forget we ever knew each other. Forget our past." Indra's eyes lowered somberly. Maybe, forgetting about the past would be for the best. He had his chance and he screwed it up all those years ago. He left her like a fool. And yet...he could still only feel the need to push forward. Part of him hoped she could forgive him, at least. He used to imagine her greeting him in the same way she used to every morning. He even used to imagine the other women in his bed were her, even though he knew they weren't. He could still only remember the way she used to smile and laugh at him. The way she sweetly used to call his name.


'I'm sorry. I can't. Please, forgive me...Sakura.' He thought to himself, the same way he thought that night.

"I'm aware…and I understand. Your anger and hers with me, it's completely warranted. For what it's worth, I do regret it. There are many mistakes I made in the past that I regret." Sasuke stared at Indra. His brow furrowed, reading Indra's demeanor, as he had been taught to do since he was young. The man...was heartbroken. He was nostalgic and reminiscent. Indra stared back at Sasuke, still completely torn. Maybe, he should stop this. He long since lost his worthiness of being at her side. She had already professed her love for the Uchiha before him. And when he asked what she would do if the Uchiha was the one to break her heart…

"I don't know but if he does, he wouldn't have been the first to do it then…"

"I suppose some of those regrets include Sakura." Sasuke jabbed. Indra's eyes lifted back to Sasuke's.

How much pain had he caused her? How much did he break her heart? These questions hadn't left him since having that talk with her. He felt even more regret than before, after hearing that. It must have been hard. Yota's death and his absence must have broken her heart more than he could even fathom. He wanted to make it right. He wanted to fix all he could, if he could. He wanted to make amends...and at least have her smile at him again. Just once more...

And he couldn't help but think...maybe, back then, he did have her heart. Maybe, back then, when they shared that promise, her heart had been his. If he had just stayed by her side, back then, she would have been his today. She would've been by his side...with Yota.

And he wanted it back. He wanted her back, even if she claimed to love the Uchiha.

"Indeed. Most of them do." Indra answered honestly. All of them did.

"Do you remember the way she first looked at me...here in your office?" Indra suddenly asked. Sasuke gave a stern look. He couldn't forget the way Sakura looked at Indra. The malice. The hatred. The rage. It was the first time she had ever made such a face in front of him. He had almost worried she was going to attack Indra on the spot.

"What about it?" Sasuke questioned, hoping to gain more insight. Indra sighed.

"She never looked at me like that before. She used to give me the brightest smile imaginable. She made me believe that even from darkness, light could exist. Even with her circumstances, she thrived and I watched her do it for eight months." Indra spoke. Sasuke crossed his arms over his chest and made the decision to hear Indra out. This was obviously his chance to learn about his past with Sakura. The chance to find out everything between them. The more information he had, the better he could deal with Indra. It wouldn't be straight from Sakura's mouth, but at least he would know something.

The more he knew, the more he could take care of her. Whatever she went through, he could make sure she never went through it again and just knowing what her childhood was like would allow him to understand the woman she was now.

"Why were you with her?" Sasuke asked. Indra chuckled and smirked.

"Hmph. My family truly did well to hide the fact that I ran away from home. I doubted such an event would have gone amiss from the eyes of the Uchiha. It seems I was mistaken." Indra said somberly. Sasuke's eyes widened with the information. Otsutsuki Indra? Running from home? If anyone else ever heard about it, it would be the news of the decade. The press would want to know why a prince of the Otsutsuki would run away from home. They would dig and dig until they came up with something.

What secrets of the Otsutsuki House made Indra want to run away?

"The shock on your face proves it. I don't doubt that if Fugaku had learned of it, he would have said something. He was my father's confidant after all. How my father hid it from him of all people, I'll never know." Sasuke's eyes glared with impatience.

"So you ran away. And ended up spending eight months with Sakura how?"

"I thought the slums would be the last place they would look for me. I thought I could survive on my own with money I had taken, a few clothes. I naively underestimated just how bad the slums were. The moment I set foot into one of the alleyways in search of an abandoned house, I was mugged."

Indra's eyes warmed as the memory of Sakura lending out her hand and smiling at him flashed before his eyes.

"Then...she came and saved me. She lended me her home. Bits of food she could spare. I learned from her. I sparred and trained with her. She taught me how to survive in a life completely different from ours. In a life so uncomfortable and without the protections we have...she taught me how to survive and live, like it was second nature to her." Sasuke's eyes cringed with pain. He knew life in the slums was unkind. He knew it was damn near a nightmare and a hell to survive. Some never escaped that hellhole at all, perpetually giving into the cycle of that life.

With the way she acted, Sasuke continuously forgot Sakura had lived in such a place, with Naruto.

"Despite that—despite the struggle and the environment...I found myself a thousand times happier, everyday I spent with her. Even in such conditions. Some days were hard and we had to defend ourselves with our lives. Some days we went hungry, because there just wasn't enough to feed us for the day." Indra's eyes flickered back to the Uchiha, giving a small mischievous smile. He was going to get back at the Uchiha for that "my woman" comment. If the Uchiha felt even a smidgen of what he thought he did, he would certainly strike a chord in him.

"Some nights were cold and we kept each other warm. Some nights, she was so scared of us having to defend ourselves, she started to sleep in my arms, because she felt safe with me. " Indra was not dissatisfied with the obvious fury he instilled into his rival. Sasuke's eyes glared viciously and his teeth clenched just a bit visibly. Indra's smug and knowing look seemed to dig into him further. Sasuke did his best to calm himself. He wanted to hear this. He wanted to hear this because he wanted to know what it was between them and he didn't like what he heard so far.

"You always make feel so safe…"

Could it be...Indra was her first love? The similarities of how they started were all there. Them meeting unexpectedly. Their time spent getting closer to each other. Sasuke was certain, he knew what came next. If he inferenced from his experience from Sakura…

"Get on with it." Sasuke seethed. Indra smirked before doing so. He supposed that was enough of a burn. He could see he had scalded the Uchiha quite a bit. His growing anger proved insecure thoughts that were growing.

He still had more in his arsenal as well. None of which were lies. He'd beat down the Uchiha with the truth.

"She showed me that life wasn't all about work and the Otsutsuki Industry. My family name meant nothing when I was with her. She showed me what it was like to be free of all of it and how to be happy without it. She showed me...life..." Sasuke's still glaring eyes lowered in understanding. Sakura really did have that effect on people like them, it seemed. They had everything the world could offer them, from money to power and they had both viewed it as nothing more than a prison. One they had no escape from because it was in their blood, in their names, from their birth. Even Gaara seemed to completely relax in her presence and they were just friends.

He understood Indra completely.

"Hagoromo was pushing you. That's why you ran away…" Sasuke said knowingly and Indra gave a curt nod.

"I couldn't take it anymore. At thirteen, father's lessons had become almost unbearable. Heiracal responsibilities took over everything I did, as the first born. Asura didn't have to worry about any of that and did pretty much whatever he wanted, once finished with his studies, of course. Something tells me that despite being the youngest of your House, you can understand my upbringing. Afterall, it is you standing here and not your elder brother." Indra responded. Sasuke hated to admit it, but he did. He understood Indra completely and he most certainly didn't like having common feelings with a man he was supposed to see as an enemy. Nothing had changed of course. He still despised the man before him, but he understood him.

There were many, many times he felt like running away too. And he now wondered, if he had run away, would he have met Sakura sooner? A single decision that he cowarded away from, and if he had gone through with it, he might have stumbled upon her before Indra did. He guessed he would have gone to find Naruto...so, maybe?

Indra took a risk. A great risk that came with an even greater reward and now he wished he did the same.

"My father...deemed it important to have both me and Itachi groomed and prepared for our lives. I had little else to think about growing up." Sasuke admitted vaguely, shifting his eyes away with his own scorn. Indra stared and was silent for a moment. If that was the case of the Uchiha House...then the Uchiha before him lacked the freedom he had as well. And he just so happened to find Sakura.

Indra's dark eyes turned into pained understanding.

"Then...I understand your feelings for Sakura as well, Uchiha..." Indra suddenly spoke out, taking Sasuke aback. Sasuke glared, steeling his eyes and remaining silent.

Sasuke Uchiha doubted that statement fully. No one on earth could understand or comprehend his feelings for Sakura. No one, not even himself, knew how much he loved her. No human alive would ever be able to comprehend just how important and precious she was to him in the timespan he had her. And if Indra really did understand that, he'd fuck off, disappear and never get near Sakura again, so that she and they could continue on with their lives. It was obvious the Otsutsuki's presence caused her pain. Instead, the Otsutsuki was insisting to be a damn thorn in his side.

And yet, Indra looked back at him, with that still painfully understanding gaze.

"You know nothing, Indra." Sasuke growled. Indra's gaze didn't change. He understood the nature of the Uchiha. As his father claimed, they were a very reserved and private type of people. They did not wish to show emotion, but if one could prod through their defenses and guard, they were actually quite easy to read. And the moment you were able to expose their weakness, they could only respond with force, further revealing themselves. That had been his father's analysis and lesson on dealing with the Uchiha Clan. Indra had tested that analysis when watching the Uchiha's defense crumble with his earlier threat.

"She did the same for you, didn't she did for me, she did for you. She showed you freedom." Indra spoke and Sasuke's eyes narrowed with a look of reservation.

His father's hypothesis was evidently true, as it was right before Indra's very eyes. He had his guard up from the moment he walked in the room and now it was faltering. The Uchiha was doing his best to put up his defenses, but he had already exposed his weakness. And Indra understood him even more.

"I see it, you know. The fact that you even have the will to threaten me, it was she who gave you that strength. Because you desire to keep her, you are willing to threaten an Otsutsuki and that is because she has given you a new and more joyous life. She showed you freedom. She showed you beauty. She showed you the skies and the stars. She even showed you how to laugh genuinely. She showed you a light and a life you knew nothing of, because you were consumed by the chains of our world. Deny it now, if I'm wrong." Sasuke's eyes shifted from Indra's, unable to keep his poker face. It was too personal. It was all too true. Indra was one hundred percent on the money. Sakura had shown him all of those things. Sakura had given him a whole new world he didn't know existed out of his personal life. It was only one of the many reasons he fell in love with her. She made him feel like he could do anything. And it wasn't just that he could do anything he needed to do. It was anything he wanted to do and never, in his life, had that truly been the case.

And he didn't even realize it all, until meeting her. The same way Indra was implying he had, years ago.

"You've seen that light and you want to keep it safe. You want to keep it protected and bright and close…because it finally gave you your own escape." Indra trailed and Sasuke looked back at him. The only way Indra knew this...the only way he understood this was if...

"I know it, Uchiha. Because even back then, I fell in love with her for the same reason. The same way you feel now, it was what I felt when I was thirteen and truth be told, I never forgot that feeling." Sasuke's frown deepened. Indra gave a sullen smile and he neared Sasuke.

"I've never forgotten...how much I loved her. Nor did I ever forget what it was like to receive her love in any form it came. Be it her embrace. Be it her smile. None of it ever left me...and I imagine, it would be the same for you if you were to lose her. I'm certain you understand me, Sasuke." Sasuke's eyes stared back at Indra. He truly hated this feeling in his chest. He hated this sense of comprehension and understanding he now felt with the man before, even with his resentment and still existing hatred. Maybe it was because there was someone out there who really did understand what exactly it was Sakura did to him. Indra understood just how she had impacted him and put it into words he previously wouldn't ever have been able to verbalize. Or was this just a mind play from his newly found rival?

He had thought, time and time again, that he didn't know why he was so drawn to her. He didn't know what made him crave and desire her so intensely and now, Indra; the man he truly hated, had made it clear. It was because she had freed him. She showed him that he was a person, with his own likes, dislikes, feelings and wants. He didn't know he was a jealous man before her. He didn't know Indra was right and if he was able to discern all this, just from his own experience from years ago, Sasuke could only think Indra was telling the truth. Worse, Indra had the experience of losing her. If he was like this, still so smitten even after years of not seeing her, Sasuke couldn't imagine what the feeling would have been like for himself.

He truly was face to face with, who was possibly, her first love. He now understood why Sakura looked at him the way she did when first seeing him here in his office. The anger and pain. The betrayal in her eyes. He still didn't know what exactly was Indra's sin in the past to cause her ire, but he could only imagine it had to do with those mistakes, Indra had mentioned. And to have continued loving her for all these years, Indra's feelings might even equate to his own.

"If you understand my feelings that well, then I'm sure you know what I want from you, from now on, Indra. I do not deny anything you said. You're right. Sakura did all of those things for me. She showed me what freedom was. She showed me how to live and I'll do anything to be sure I don't lose her. From her protection, to you, I don't care what it is that threatens me, but know this; you and anyone else who wants to take her from me will only get to her over my dead body. Only over something out of my control, will you ever obtain her heart from me and I swear it." Sasuke spoke, and just as surprising to himself, his tone was calm. Indra's eyes widened back at him and Sasuke stared only with a look of dismayed acknowledgement, shoving his hands into his pockets.

There was nothing to argue anymore. He hated the man for kissing Sakura, especially because it was against her will. Especially because her lips belonged to him and with his feelings of possessiveness, there was no doubt that Sasuke had no warm feelings towards Indra and he hated him. But like Indra said, he disgustingly understood him. He understood Indra's side, even when it was a threat to his desires and he might just have done the same thing if it were him in Indra's shoes. Still, despite the solemn understanding he had with Indra, he was sure the man also understood he wasn't going to just give Sakura up. Like hell he would, and Indra had to have known that by now.

"I don't know why she hates you. She never got around to telling me that night and to be honest, I don't care to hear the story from you. And I doubt it is any comfort to you, but I intend to make her happy. We are happy together, Indra. I don't know just what it is you intend to do or gain from her, but she loves me. She's said so. So, I'll say this once; stay the hell away from her. Do not contact her. So long as you do that, I'll remain civil. It's the least you can do. After all you have done, the very least you can do is give her peace." Sasuke promised calmly. The opposing man stared back and his hands clenched to fists.

"I-I...love Sasuke-kun."

"She loves me. She's said so."

"After all you have done, the very least you can do is give her peace."

He should leave it be. Go get the Karin woman wherever she was and tell the man she had schemed something. He should just do as Sakura said, and forget all about their past. He was jealous. He was hurt and upset that he had finally found her after all these years only for everything to end up like this. He never thought that he'd ever see her again and his hunch to follow Sasuke that night to see her again, he almost thought it was fate. He heard the secretary's name was Sakura and he was hurt when he watched them kiss. He would be willing to work and do whatever he could to make things up to her. They could live the lives he always dreamed about.

But she kissed the Uchiha that night. She proclaimed her love for him and Indra's eyes lowered. The Uchiha was right. He should let it all go, no matter how much he wanted it.

"I understand…" A message beeped to his phone. Lifting it, he looked down to see a message from the Karin woman.

Ready. Stop stalling.

He stared at the message contemplatatively. He understood the Uchiha's feelings. He understood he loved her and he understood that she loved him. He understood he had long lost his chance of being with her...and he couldn't stand it. At the very least, he wanted a chance...as selfish and as terrible as it was. He mentally apologized to Sasuke, and to Sakura especially, for whatever was about to happen and began to walk away.

"Then I suppose that concludes everything between us, Uchiha." Indra claimed quietly as he passed him by. Sasuke's eyes followed him with a slight glare. From the way that sounded, it didn't feel like this was over. Even if Indra seemed like he was backing off, his senses were telling him this wasn't over by a long shot. With the way he spoke about Sakura to his face, so boldly, Sasuke didn't feel comfortable with thinking Indra was just letting this go. Why would it be over with just this, when the man was in love with his woman after all these years? If it was him in Indra's shoes, he surely wouldn't have just let her go like that.

"Indra…" Sasuke stopped him in his tracks, just as he was reaching for the doorknob to leave. Sasuke hesitated before speaking.

"...I understand you, as well. Like you said, I can't imagine what losing her was like for you. I can't imagine and I can't tell you what it would be like for me to ever lose her...but I don't imagine that I would ever forget about her even after all those years you've endured." Indra listened to Sasuke's words sourly. The Uchiha was saying this from what? Sympathy? Pity? After whatever was about to happen because of him, Indra didn't want it. He was an accomplice to something that might not garner his pity.

"Your point, Uchiha? What does any of that matter, when you have her now?" Indra turned back. Their eyes met and Sasuke glared at the blank look he received. He couldn't read it and it reminded him of why his father tried to be so distant in relations with the Otsutsuki. They really were a bit too difficult to deal with. They were the most similar to their bloodline and unfortunately enough, just as powerful. They were unpredictable and just as perilous as his own blood. He would be a fool to think this was truly over with that gaze.

"I suppose...I hoped it would be enough for you to know that I won't make the mistakes you did. I won't hurt her and I'll love her more than you ever did." Sasuke claimed. Indra stayed quiet and Sasuke felt nothing but apprehension. His shoulder tensed on instinct.


"I don't need your pity or your sympathy, Uchiha. " The Otsutsuki cut him off. Sasuke glared and Indra scoffed.

If he was truly foolish enough to let Sakura and himself fall for such a scheme, Indra decided, the Uchiha didn't deserve her in the first place. He should have been more on guard of some crazed madwoman who was willing to go this far to get close to him. Sure, his status allowed him to smuggle her into the building almost without question, but the Uchiha should have at least put a restraining order on her or something. Indra decided the Uchiha had brought it upon himself for being careless. Sasuke glared. As if on cue, they both received a text. Sasuke looked down at the number with a raised eyebrow. A message telling him to check his personal storage closet? It obviously wasn't from Sakura but, who would send such a thing to him? It couldn't be anyone else...

"Only fate and the future knows what happens from here." Indra said truthfully, and left. Sasuke walked out with him, watching the man leave down his elevator. He looked back down at the unknown message again, glaring suspciously.

Check the hallway storage closet.

Could it be Danzo finally acting out? Was this finally him striking. Sasuke quietly walked down the hallway and looked at the storage closet in question. The door opening inward, he slammed it open without regard and ready to hurt someone if they were trying something.

"Who's there?!" He snarled out, only for a hand to reach out and grab his tie. Unprepared and caught at his tie, Sasuke was unable to catch himself as he was pulled into the closet.

The door was slammed closed and in the darkness, his eyes widened when lips smashed against his and a tongue forced its away into his mouth.

As Indra walked out into the lobby, he thought about Sauske's words. It was the least he could do. The least he could do was offer Sakura peace. With his hands in his pockets and his eyes low on the ground, Indra started leaving the lobby of Uchiha Corporations, before he path was blocked by Suigetsu.

"Oi. Where the hell do you think you're going? Where's your woman?" Suigetsu asked antagonistically. Indra's eyes lowered and he looked away. As he passed Suigetsu, he hoped his sentence might halt whatever happened next.

"She's not the woman I want. I'm sure she'll be down shortly." Suigetsu's eyes narrowed and he grabbed Indra's shoulder.

"Oi! What the hell is that supposed to mean?!" Suigetsu growled. Indra shrugged off his hand with a glare in his eyes.

"It is as I said..." Indra ended and walked out the Uchiha Corps building. Suigetsu glared, taking out his phone and dialing Sakura. He didn't like this.

"Hello? What's up, Suigetsu?" She spoke over the line. She didn't sound upset or distraught. Did he even see her? Was he really just here to see Sasuke and Sasuke alone? Or did Sasuke take the precaution an keep Sakura off the floor for the duration of his time here? Either way, Suigetsu was feeling paranoid as hell.

"Just checking up on my favorite cherry." He covered his true concerns. Sakura sighed.

"Suigetsu. You should be keeping an eye on the building." She scolded lightly. Suigetsu laughed.

"And according to my boss, I'm supposed to keep an eye on you too, cherry!"

"You're being weirder than usual. Did something happen?" His feigned smile dropped, and he glared back towards the entrance Indra left from. He really didn't trust this. And his words? What did he mean the woman he came with wasn't the woman he wanted? He was just leaving the woman he came with behind?

She looked so damn familiar but he couldn't pinpoint where he'd seen her from. That name too, sounded familiar. Senju Mito...

"Nah. Just bored. I'll leave you to go ahead and clock out now." Suigetsu said a bit hesitantly. They hung up and Suigetsu's eyebrows furrowed even more. Something wasn't right. He picked up his walking talkie, phoning in the guards who should be watching the security cameras like hawks, especially after what happened last time.

"Hey guys, you got visual on a blond woman? Should've been with a tall brown haired male, with dark eyes, wearing a red tight dress and sunglasses?" He waited for a response for what felt like a while, until finally his radio staticked back.

"Last seen exiting the one hundred and twenty-fifth floor and entering the ladies room. No visual."

Suigetsu's lips frowned. Indra had been here for a total of about ten to fifteen minutes.

"She hasn't left?"


Was she taking a massive shit or something? Or...

"I want a female guard sent to investigate."

"Relaying orders now."

It was a few minutes of anxious wait as Suigetsu sharply looked around the lobby. He didn't see the woman leave.

"Guard Aoi, reporting in. No visual on woman matching the given description. However, I have found a blond wig in the trash bin." Suigetsu's eyes widened. He had to call Sasuke. He had to warn him now that someone was in the building. Frantically, he dialed Sasuke's office phone, certain that it would be the fastest way to get a hold of him.

"Come on, come on." His office phone rang and rang...and then went straight to voice mail. He called his cell phone next. Still no answer.

Damn it, why wasn't he answering?!

Sakura was finally back on Sasuke's office floor, exiting the elevator. She had his coffee and files in hand and was finally ready for a night of drinks and competitive games of pool. That would pass the time enough until Sasuke was finally done for the night. Depending on when she felt she was finished, maybe he could come pick her up and they could go home together. Or they could just meet at her house.

Either way, she didn't really mind but she meant it yesterday when she said she missed him after mere hours of being apart. She'd really rather keep herself busy and distracted.

Especially with how much she wanted to feel his hands on her body again, she really needed to keep herself busy.


Sakura flinched and stopped at the thumping sound that she just past. She paused, curiouisly looking to the source of it. She could hear things falling and rummaging. Or was she just hearing things?


That definitely wasn't a mistake of the ears. Cautiously, Sakura walked towards the closet and upon getting closer, he eyes widened when she heard panting.

Unable to contain her curiousity, Sakura slowly opened the door.

And her eyes widened to see Sasuke holding Karin against the wall, at the wrist.

See why I said don't hate me?


Uhm...I'm gonna warn right now...

Sasuke: WHAT?!

...Well...it...-mumbles- get's worse...which is why I accept all hatred received...-fiddles with fingers-


Well...let's just say...I truly, honestly, fully, completely understand if you hate me.

Sasuke: -sharingan- Lone Wolf—

I-It'll get better! I promise! J-Just bear with me! It sucks for right now b-but

Sasuke: You said you got the jump start on the future chapters after this! How long do I have to "bear with you" ?!




Sasuke: OI!



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