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The Waters Reflection

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Once upon a time….

There was a child born to a king and queen, a beautiful little baby, full of life and laughter. With sky blue eyes that wondered and brought joy to their parents life in so many ways. They grew and blossomed into a beautiful little girl, her dreams bigger than the world and her persistence stronger than iron. But as she aged, a sadness grew in her, something she couldn’t express and no one was aware of.

It was only when she was eight that things were revealed to her family, in a devastating way. The beloved princess hid in the night, planning an escape, she knew this would cause her family pain but she felt helpless. She got past every blockade with a nimbleness that surprised even her, but once she was outside the castle grounds, she didn’t know where to go.

The princess wondered until she found an opening in the trees, it revealed a pond, the stars reflected on it and seemed to draw her in. She came to the clearing with the pond and slowly approached the water, she didn’t want to see her reflection, her shame, her fear would show on her face. She backed away from the pond when a fox came through the clearing, eying the princess.

She watched with awe, as the fox came to the water and drank slowly from it. She looked at the water and was surprised, in the water was not the fox, but a demon. A nine-tailed fox, larger than the one before her, she slowly moved away from the water and creature in fear.

The fox looked up to her, the water showing its reflection come back to its smaller self, it came to her, slowly. She tried to back away but the fox circled her, she backed away from it, not breaking eye contact, when she suddenly slipped. She had backed into the pond, and was now in the water only about a half foot deep, she still looked at the fox but now the fox stopped. It looked her reflection, she watched it still, but after a moment looked down as well. Her eyes widened and she began to cry, she turned to look at herself more, crying tears of joy and sadness.

She looked at herself and didn’t even see, the fox had come beside her. It rubbed its body softly along hers, she saw the demon again.

“Is this the real you?” she asked, not expecting a reply.

The fox nodded and suddenly started to grow into the demon form, she watched in horror as it grew, but then suddenly it reached down to her and softly said, “And that reflection is the real you.”

She looked up at it, then back down to the water, she then shook her head, “I can’t be… I’m th-... the princess. That will never be me anywhere but this pond.”

The fox nudged her softly, its fur suddenly warmer, almost burning her.

“It is you, be brave. Live as this reflection shows.” the fox said softly, the princess looked up at it, and suddenly a shout came from behind them.

“PRINCESS!” a guard yelled, coming to the clearing, the fox grew and stepped on the princess’ stomach, guarding her. Its touch burned through her skin to her stomach, causing her to yelp in surprise.

The fox looked down at her, “You must be strong, only when others can see the reflection in any water will you be happy.”

The fox then pressed on her stomach harder and the burning increased, warming her to the core. She cried out but was too scared to try to free herself from the beast, the pain and fear consuming any rational part of her mind.

“PRINCESS!” the guard yelled again, this time much closer, suddenly the fox looked away from her and jumped. The fox was gone, she fell into the water, feeling limp with pain and fear. The guard came to her side and shook her, but she felt herself drifting out of consciousness, when he lifted her though she saw her reflection. It had changed, to show what any mirror would show her.

She felt sadness envelop her again as her body went limp and her mind faded.

No longer was her reflection showing who she was, it no longer showed a boy.

Chapter Text

Naruto sits idly on his window sill, touching at the scar on his stomach, thinking back to the night that changed everything. After he woke up, he was questioned thoroughly by his parents asking why he ran away, he broke down, told them how unhappy he was and why. He was a boy, he was trapped in a girls body and he felt so much pressure to be the princess and be pretty and graceful but he wasn’t. He wanted to be tough, to play, to learn to fight, to be himself.

His parents took this hard, as they wanted him to be happy and were completely in the dark. They immediately changed pronouns and accepted their growing son, knowing he was far more important than any judgement they could harbor against him. At the same time, the Hyuga family had disowned their child for also being trans, and this child suffered endlessly from it. The king and queen did not want this for their own child and took in the Hyuga as well, both children were then raised in their preferred identities as sister and brother.

The only times issues arose were when they had to travel or be presented, during those times Naruto would normally wear a wig and be presented as the princess. He fought this when he was younger but as he grew he knew it was necessary to protect his family and kingdom. The land was protected by the Uchiha army, who in return requested that once their child turn 18, "she" would wed their oldest son. The Uzumakis kept Narutos true identity a secret, afraid to lose protection or their kingdom, and never having the chance to rectify the situation before the Princes 18th birthday came up.

Suddenly their was a knock at the door and a pink haired woman peeked in the room.

"Sakura!" Naruto said, standing up straight and coming to her.

"Good evening pouty pants, don't forget you and Hinata have studies with Iruka-sensei tomorrow. Then you have training with Kakashi-sensei after." Sakura said with a smile on her face, she set down the tray of tea she had brought with her as well.

"Thank you! I'm not pouting. Just thinking. Thank you... For the... Tea." Naruto said, his words trailing as he started to blush.

"Ah, no pouting here, my mistake. Well remember to drink your chamomile. Do you want me to request Lady Hinatas presence?" Sakura asked, heading back to the door.

"Sure, why are you using such formal language Sakura?" Naruto asked, pouring himself a cup of tea.

"Ugh, I knew you wouldn't last. We have the Uchiha family coming down in 3 days. We have to use formal language around them. They aren't so casual like you, they are really old fashioned, Naruto." Sakura explained and put her palm to her forehead, knowing how the soon to be adult could be so childish.

"Well, it's not today. Ask Hinata to come over, and have tea with us. And Ino!" Naruto said, feeling his embarrassment dissipate in place of excitement.

"Ino, huh? We'll see. You can't do this much longer, soon Itachi-sama will be here. We don't know what he expects. Keep that in mind Naruto." Sakura reminded with a solemn look on her face.

Naruto knew this, he knew things would end how they are soon, but why would tea with his sister and their maids change? They weren't here today.

"I know, thank you Sakura." Naruto said, feeling a twinge of anxiety at the thought but not letting it sour his mood.

Sakura nodded and exited, heading towards Hinatas room. Naruto put down his tea and looked at it, thinking of how things would pan out. The only thing he could hope for was that his father could sweet talk some new deal, but Sakura was right. They are so different, so old fashioned and have such strict ethics. That's why things hadn't been resolved yet, to try to meet with the Uchihas you had to meet with the families council, plead your case and wait. Why would they out themselves to the entire family when they could wait and speak this this specific household. Even if it was the main household.

"Naruto.", a soft voice broke his train of thought, Naruto looked up and saw his sister.

"Hinata! Have some tea, Ino and Sakura coming?" Naruto asked, offering her his cup, which she denied smiling at his cheerfulness.

"Yes, they are bickering over who can make my bed better. You know their rivalry." Hinata offered and began to pour herself some tea. "Were you thinking of the marriage? It's coming so soon. I feel like we've only danced around the subject."

"Ahh- No, I mean. Maybe. I don't-" Naruto stammered out. "I don't want to think ahead and make myself gloomy before anything even happens."

"Hm, but you and I know, being true you yourself has brought both of us hard times. I was only lucky to find magic to help me be the way I wish. Which I know you didn't want to do. But this- arrangement, it's going to be out of your control. You have to be prepared for the worst." Hinata said, trying to tread lightly but bring the situations severity to light.

"I know." Naruto said seriously, looking down at his tea, before looking back to his sister. "But I will face it as it comes. I can't mourn the future. All I can do is be brave and stand strong for our people. For our villagers, for our staff, for you, and me."

Hinata nodded at this, knowing she couldn't change her stubborn brother's mind. At this time the two maids entered, still bickering about who was better.

"Ino! Sakura! Have tea with us!" Naruto said cheerfully and again offered his cup, which was now almost empty. Hinata pushed down on his cup and laughed, offered the two women fresh cups.

They sat and spoke before bidding each other farewell. Sakura stayed behind to help Naruto remove his chest corset and heal any internal wounds caused by it.

"I thought you would've caved by now. Hinata found the magic you need to transition. But your lack of patience for the process to begin bit you. Here we are, me healing your ribs as usual." Sakura chided.

"It was so frustrating Sakura! I barely grew an extra hair! I can't wait for years like Hinata. There must be different magic to work immediately with no requirement for continuous use. And Hinata said it hurts! I want something better. We both deserve something better." Naruto pouted out and crossed his arms.

Sakura laughed at him but patted him on the shoulder when she was done. "Goodnight Prince. Sleep well. I'll be by after your training with Kakashi."

Naruto agreed to this and bid Sakura farewell before crawling into bed and falling asleep quickly.

Chapter Text

The Uchihas arrived before anyone was ready, least of all, Naruto.

He found himself that morning waking to Sakura, the seamstress, and a hairdresser. They immediately went to work to doll him up, luckily Naruto had longer hair at the time, so they could braid in hair to extend his. They put him in a new dress that fit his figure well, as much as he hated it, the seamstress worked magic to make his muscular figure feminine.

The dress had a sweet heart neckline, was blue with gold accents and flowed freely behind him after synching in at the waist. Suddenly Naruto felt sick, this was happening. He would be presented to the Uchihas in a few short hours, to his betrothed, in this outfit. He felt so uncomfortable and walked clumsily in the heels given to him.

After the women put their finishing touches on him, he began walking to the grand hall where Sakura said his parents were. He ended up leaning on Sakura the whole way while trying to keep his balance.

Once he arrived his mother and father saw him and grimaced.

"I'm so sorry son, it will only be a short while. We will meet with them, then let your mother and I speak with the queen and king alone to try to find a new deal. Okay?" Minato offered, as he stood and came to Naruto, helping him to the seat beside the king.

"Yeah, I believe in you. But... I just want to say. If it- if it comes to it... I want our land, you guys, and Hinata to be safe. Okay? That's what it means to be king. To place the kingdom before yourself, you taught me that. And I want to be the best king their is. Even if... Even if I have to dress this way." Naruto said, trying to seem brave but seeing his parents faces fall.

"We would never put you, our son, below anything. You and your sisters happiness mean the world to us. And you will be a great king, no matter the outcome, right Naruto?" Kushina fought back tears as she said this.

Naruto nodded and smiled to this parents, trying to suppress the fear and sadness creeping in him with bravery. But he found it so hard to do when he felt as if he was in a wrong body, felt like he wasn't himself with this tickling hair flowing down his back and his chest so exposed.

Before they could get much further in conversation though the main doors to the grand hall opened and Kakashi bowed, "The Uchihas have arrived milord."

Behind him were a beautiful family in black and maroon, all with pale ivory skin and black hair. They nodded to Kakashi and moved to the other side of the table where staff pulled out chairs for them and brought fresh tea.

"Minato. It has been some time. You and Kushina look well." The king said as he sat, a picture of stoic royalty. His wife was elegant and beautiful with long black locks and a beautiful dress, she moved delicately but with purpose.

Following after them were the two Uchiha sons, both had piercing black eyes that went straight to Naruto and inspected him. One wore short hair and slimmer clothing and the other had deep bags under his eyes but wore looser clothing that seemed to enlarge his demanding presence.

Naruto swallowed and looked down at his tea, trying to focus on the manners and etiquette he, Iruka and Hinata had practiced in the past weeks. He avoided eye contact with the Uchihas knowing that as a smaller and lower ranking country and as a "woman" he didn't have the privilege. The stolen glances were already too much.

"King Fugaku, Queen Mikoto. You look amazing as if these eighteen years have not touched your skin. And yes, the time has been too long between our meetings." Minato replied warmly to the other king.

"This is my child Naruto. You can see they have grown, and your children have as well. Both into strong young men I see." Minato continued, a genuine smile on his face, looking from heir to heir.

"Ah, yes. Sasuke and Itachi. Itachi is my eldest." Fugaku said shortly and nodded to each boy as he introduced them.

"Your daughter looks just like you Minato." Mikoto chimed in with a smile, Naruto looked up, still not making eye contact and nodded a thank you. Inside he felt embarrassed and enraged, wanting to run.

"Yes, he- she almost is a young Minato. So much like him in so many ways." Kushina gushed, smiling at her son, a hidden apology said to him.

"I see. Enough of this. We must meet without these children to finalize our contract. Itachi go meet your bride." Fugaku said coldly, and folded his hands neatly on the table.

Naruto felt himself flush and turned in his chair to be facing outward, the long haired son got up and approached him. With each step closer Naruto felt his heart beat quicken in his chest, until a hand was offered to him. Naruto took the hand shakily and stood, only now looking up at the man before him.

The Uchiha- Itachi, looked down at Naruto, his eyes glowing red with magic and his look almost... hungry.

Itachi leaned in slightly and placed a kiss on Narutos blushed cheek, a normal custom, which Naruto returned.

Naruto felt Itachi's warmth radiating off him and wanted to back away. Itachi then reached down and kissed Narutos hand, a sign of approval.

"Enough." Fugaku said sternly and Itachi looked up at Naruto, his look heated and hungry. Then he let the blondes hand go and returned to his seat, Naruto knew he was supposed to follow the Uchiha but he felt his legs shake.

"Come now." Fugaku commanded, making Naruto snap from his daze, he bowed and mumbled an apology. Then walked to the seat beside Itachi and sat down, looking back to his parents, who he could see cracking.

"Good. Now where shall we go? The children can handle themselves." Fugaku said, now getting up, the whole ordeal seeming like a nuisance to him.

"Ah, if you will follow me." Minato said as he also stood. The parents left the room and Naruto felt himself prickle as Itachi began to reach for him.

"Itachi stop. I'm still here. Play with your bride later." Sasuke said, now resting his chin on his palm. Naruto thanked his luck for this excuse as Itachi only grabbed at his waist.

"How can I? I have a new bride. It's a man's urge to be near his wife little brother." Itachi retorted and began to rub at Narutos waist.

Naruto tensed in his grip and knew Itachi felt it, "No need to be shy. I can feel your muscle, you are strong, aren't you?" Itachi asked.

Naruto simply looked further down but nodded quickly. He had never felt such fear before, the older man seemed to want to eat him with his looks and the king was so cold. Naruto was beginning to doubt his father's ability to get him out of the situation and that scared him more. The arrangement would still be valid, although Naruto would go through with it, his fear for these people likely wouldn't go away.

"Hn. Leave her be Itachi, you know father would be ashamed of your 'man's urge'." Sasuke said, still disinterested in the situation.

"Mm. I guess that's true. Father will more than likely be quick as he is." Itachi said and released his hold on Naruto reaching instead for tea.

Naruto felt himself panicking internally and waited, still tense and unmoving. Then he heard a door slam and footsteps approaching, his fear which had faded slightly suddenly heightened again.

"Come. This woman is a disgrace." Fugaku said in passing the table with the three still seated at it. Itachi and Sasuke looked at Naruto and stood, confused by the change in mood but still following their father.

Naruto sat at the table and waited, when everyone left, he felt himself release, tears flowing from his eyes. The plan hadn't gone through, what was he going to do?

Chapter Text

Naruto sat in his window, looking out, fighting the urge to walk away. He never would but he also never felt the urge so strong before. His parents were meeting with the Uchihas again, they had told him not to come, the king and queen visibly disgusted with him.

Naruto felt dejected, lonely, he would either be the cause of his kingdoms downfall or forced to mold into the cast fit for an Uchiha bride. The hopeful third option now long gone. Everyone's warnings now echoed in his head, he should have prepared but he blindly put his fate to luck.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door and Kakashi entered, with the limited view of his face Naruto could still see the tension behind his smile.

"It's time, Naruto." Was all he said and Naruto rose, following Kakashi. His legs felt like shaking as they had before but he took each step with purpose, even if his walking was awkward now, he walked by himself.

When Naruto entered the great hall again, his could feel the tension in the air, it almost felt electric and dangerous.

A staff member pulled a seat out between the two families, not closer to one or the other. Naruto took the seat and looked to his parents, both looking worn and upset.

"A decision has been made. Naruto, Itachi will stay with you over the two weeks." Minato said with regret written all over his face.

"My son will make you be the woman you are supposed to be. You will be subservient to him and learn to follow his will. One week is the time you have to please him. If you do not, we will leave." Fugaku said, not looking at Naruto but to Itachi. His words were sharp, and cold, cutting into Naruto.

Minato nodded and looked to Naruto, "Two weeks. Thank you." With that the Uchihas got up and left the room promptly, Fugaku saying something about Itachis things being moved into Narutos room.

Once the hall was clear Kushina started to weep, apologizing to Naruto. She started to explain that the Uchihas had threatened the land, their heads, and while they wouldn't have cared they know their sons love for their kingdom. They tried to respect his wishes as he had asked, even if this wishes went against him.

Naruto just looked down and nodded along, when his mother stopped he looked up. "Thank you. I meant it before, and I still do. The kingdom comes before a king. I will be fine, you know me." Naruto said and looked at his father, Minato just looked down, ashamed and also crying slightly.

"Please be brave. If you change your mind, we would rather fight ourselves than to force you to go with them." Minato reminded, and Naruto thanked his father, still standing by his decision.

They sat in silence, all lost in their own thoughts before a staff member entered, "Milord Itachi is requesting Naruto."

Naruto swallowed, feeling his bravery sink once again but stood. He would hold onto any piece of strength he had, he would never let go of it, and that strength was around him, his kingdom.

Naruto entered his room shortly after and found Itachi sitting in his favorite spot, in the window. Naruto entered and closed the door behind himself, unsure of what to do he stood by the door, waiting.

"Living as a man, hn. What a disgraceful bride, to bring your family and kingdom such shame." Itachi pondered aloud, not looking at Naruto.

Naruto felt each word physically but didn't move, he wouldn't be hurt. Then Itachi rose, approaching Naruto, until he was placing his arms on the door around the younger royal.

"We will fix it. Erase your shame. You will be my beautiful bride. Your blue eyes will only look to me, your tan skin will be mine. Your body will be mine. I will make sure of it." Itachi whispered and then reached down to caress Naruto's hair, following it down to his breasts.

Naruto looked up panicked at the Uchiha, and was met with the red eyes again. Before he could react he found lips on his and hands on his body, roaming as they pleased.

Naruto wanted to pull away, to vomit, but he stayed, trying not to tense up completely and stay strong, but he felt tears coming to his eyes. He just closed his eyes tightly together and resolved to not open them.

Itachi reached behind the blonde and started to lift him, until he carried the smaller man to the bed, and threw him unceremoniously onto the bed. Naruto gasped and watched as he was almost being preyed upon by the Uchiha.

He would hold onto his strength.

Chapter Text

When he felt the breaths behind him even out, Naruto started to move, trying to quietly get out of the bed. He silently went to the bathroom and grabbed a washcloth, rinsing his body off of the Uchihas touches, finding bruises on his skin.

Naruto felt disgusting, but more than that, he felt his fear during the events had changed. His fear became hate, Itachi was playing with him, toying and dangling his kingdom as a treat for Naruto.

Naruto quickly found clothes and still being quiet escaped his room. He didn't know where he was going before he found himself by the pond, near the back of the garden. He wanted to get in and scrub every inch of his being but knew it wouldn't rid his mind of the feeling.

Naruto sat and brooded, grabbing at grass nearby and tearing it up. His anger blinding him from the small bald spot now in the landscape. He never wanted to feel so weak again, and found himself muttering under his breath his promises to hurt his to be husband.

Before he realized it, a figure approached him and sat beside him. Naruto only realizing when the the footsteps were almost beside him, he looked up and panicked, coming back to the world around him.

His heart stopped for a moment when he saw black hair and black attire next to him. An Uchiha. Naruto tried to move to stand but felt pain in his core that made him slip, falling back to the floor. He felt panic race through his veins as he heard the voice lowering to sit next to him, "So, you hate my brother?"

Naruto felt his breath become short in his lungs, why hadn't he paid attention. Why had he said such vile things out loud? Regret coursed through his veins and he could only find the strength to move into a proper sitting position, his voice not coming to him.

"When we arrived, I thought we would find a blushing bride, ready to fawn over him. But we find you masquerading as a man, hiding this from us. And now that you have been alone with him, you despise your betrothed." Sasuke summed up, seeming unamused. Naruto tried to think of a way to apologize but found himself gaping, stammering out small sounds but not forming any words.

When he met the Princes eyes he found a smile upon his lips.

"You impress me. I thought I would be the only one to see hate for him. But you know him less then 24 hours and see him in the same light as myself." Sasuke said, looking at the disheveled blonde, a pleased look on his face.

"I was expecting a woman who was ready to please him and only bring his 'perfect' self to new heights. But I think instead I have found an acquaintance." Sasuke continues and offers his hand. "Sasuke."

Naruto looked at the Prince, totally blown away. "Is this... some trick?" He finally was able to say and looked at the hand with distrust. "If I agree with you will I die? Your family will kill our people? I don't understand."

"Hn." Sasuke replied, retracting his hand and looked to the water, "No. I hate my brother and any chance I have to disgrace him, I take. Given there haven't been many."

"I'm not a disgrace to rub into your brother's face. I'm a person." Naruto corrected and saw the brunette look at him, taken aback slightly.

"Sorry if I offended. I mean this genuinely. And maybe being a person is the disgrace itself. A bride in our customs is sometimes nothing more than a child bearer." Sasuke corrected and examined the blonde. "You obviously aren't. And among our family that is a disgrace."

Naruto thought for a moment, the prince was trying to reach out to him. It didn't make sense, none of it did. But at this point, the Uchiha had ample means to destroy him anyways so the best bet that Naruto had was to try to befriend the other prince.

"Naruto." He said, offering his hand, this brought a smirk to the others face, and their hands met.

Chapter Text

Naruto woke before Itachi, his core still sore from their activities. He felt violated and wanted to tear off his skin, to remove the feel, the smell of his husband. He found more bruises, as Itachi had done as he pleased, with no regard for the blonde.

Naruto again snuck out of the bed but this time began to run a bath. He slowly submerged himself and found the warmth to be enveloping and relaxing. Naruto sunk in deeper and tuned out, thinking of last night, if Sasuke was tricking him.

They had spoken of their dislike for Itachi, Naruto learning of his aggressive behavior and need to be the best. He learned the elder brother would use his little brother as a practice dummy and beat him, later reasoning he was refining his skill. All of this made Naruto fell sick. Although he had a new companion in this situation, he was still in it.

Naruto then had flashes to his assualt and submerged his head, and starting to aggressive scrub at his skin. While doing so he suddenly was yanked up by his hair, some of the braided hair ripping out. Naruto let out a cry and looked up to find Itachi looking down angrily.

"Why are you damaging MY body? Who gave you the right to wash away my touch from your skin?" He asked with no emotion, which made Naruto more scared. "And your hair. Is this fake? Is your hair short like a man's?"

Naruto then felt Itachi start pulling at his hair, ripping out the extensions. The blonde cried out and tried to stop the older man but found himself just getting pulled from the tub. When almost of the hair was out, the brunette stopped, looking down at the soaked blonde with hair laying around him.

"You disgust me. Wash yourself and go to the bed." Itachi commanded before leaving the room.

Naruto felt himself shaken by the events that were unfolding. He got back in the tub and washed himself quickly, almost in a trance. When he got out he wrapped a towel around himself and came in the room, hearing ripping.

Itachi had found his corset tops and was tearing them apart. When Naruto entered he approached the blonde and smacked him.

"You will never wear these again." The Uchiha commanded and then promptly left the room, his anger radiating from him.

Naruto stood in shock and looked at the ruined garments around him. He felt like crying but was still in shock, he simply got dressed and left the room as well.

The blonde found himself at the pond in your back of the garden again. He felt uncomfortable, his chest feeling exposed, his core hurting, his face stinging and his scalp aching. He moved to the pond and looked in, seeing his reflection and finding a red mark staining his face.

Naruto didn't hear someone approaching and saw a reflection in the water beside him. He jumped when he thought it was Itachi but snapped his head around and found a startled Sasuke.

"Are you- Did Itachi- Your face." Sasuke said and touched tenderly at the red cheek, Naruto now realizing he was crying.

"Sorry yeah, I... Did he follow you?" Naruto asked, looking behind the man before him, seeing no one. "Quick."

Naruto grabbed Sasukes hand and lead him off the palace grounds, to a field where they hid in the trees. Naruto panted and looked to the other man, both out of breath.

"Sorry. I didn't want to get caught. He's- Uh, he's angry." Naruto said, feeling awkward saying this to the man's brother.

"I can tell. Are you okay? I don't think even my father would approve of this behavior. Your hair too. Was it this short? Did he cut it?" Sasuke asked looking the blonde up and down.

"I- I had it short. The hair he pulled was extensions." Naruto said, feeling for anymore hair and carefully unwrapping it from his shorter locks.

"Hm." Sasuke said and looked away from the blonde, looking almost... ashamed? "Do you fight? When you were a knight?"

Naruto was taken aback by the question and found himself backing away, hesitant. "Yes? I practiced daily with our commander."

"I used to spar with our knights when Itachi would anger me. If you want..." Sasuke said, the offer hanging in the air, unspoken.

Naruto considered this offer and thought carefully. "Could we...? We are both princes? I-"

"Why not? I will let you take the first hit if it makes you feel as if you are hitting my brother." Sasuke offered, trying to seem nonchalant but the offer still was in a weird way, sweet.

"...Sure? I don't need a handicap though. I'm a strong solider." Naruto felt uncomfortable agreeing but appreciated the sentiment and offer to release tension.

Sasuke took a defensive position and with that they began to spar. They both began to bait each other with teasing remarks and when they grew tired they found themselves laughing.

"I told you I was a good solider. You're lucky... You're lucky I was going easy on you." Naruto lied in between huffs.

"Ah... And I was holding back because you are a princess." Sasuke said but then found himself being pushed to the ground. Naruto on top of him.

"I'm NOT a princess!" Naruto yelled at the Uchiha, for a moment seeing red. Then he saw the shocked look on Sasukes face and pulled back, apologizing under his breath.

"Sorry. I... I'm not used to-" Sasuke started weakly but Naruto cut him off.

"I get it. I'm not though. Thank you for sparring with me but I- I have to leave." Naruto said and got up, leaving quickly not waiting for a reply.

He quickly came back to the palace and beelined to his sisters room, knocking once before entering.

"Hinata?" He called out, not seeing her right away. Then she came from the bathroom, her brush still halfway down her hair.

"N- Naruto? Oh God your face. Are you okay? Come here." Hinata said rushing to his side, touching at every bruise and cut she could see, trying to assess the damage.

"I'm fine, is Sakura here? I haven't seen her." Naruto said and weakly swatted at his sister's hand, her touch a little too intrusive.

"No but I will call for her. Was this the Uchiha?" Hinata asked as she moved to the door, not taking her eyes off her brother.

Naruto didn't respond and just looked down, hearing the woman curse under her breath before she whispered something out of the door to someone. She then came back to the blonde and touched lightly at his hair, "You have blood and sweat in your hair... Do you need a bath?" She asked trying to not pry as much.

Naruto still didn't meet her eyes but nodded, his sister started to run a bath for him and he waited on her bed. When Hinata beckoned for him he undressed and went into the bubbly warmth, not caring for decency at this point.

Before he could start to wash himself though he felt his sister slowly run water carefully on his scalp. He hissed a moment then heard footsteps approaching, he tried to turn but heard Sakura before he saw her.

"NARUTO! OH MY GOD, WHAT HAPPENED?" Sakura asked and before he could respond she was at his side, using her magic to heal the handprint on his cheek.

"I'm okay. It's okay. I just... I'm adjusting." Naruto lied, but didn't want to go into details.

He knew without turning that the women doting on him didn't believe him but he just wanted them not to worry. He was still strong.

Chapter Text

After trying to avoid further questions and cleaning himself off, Naruto returned to his room, nervous to find Itachi there.

Luckily he wasn't, Naruto thanked his stars and brought out the destroyed corsets giving them to a maid to throw out. He then laid down, hoping to avoid his husband by sleeping.

He wasn't so lucky though as he was awoken by a hand grabbing at his breast and a warm body behind him.

"So you woke?" The elder man said as he grabbed instead at Naruto's waist and turned him over on his back. Naruto looked up and saw some of the anger had disappeared from Itachis eyes.

"Who saw you? Apparently word got to my father and I need to be more 'gentle' with my loving 'wife'." Itachi mocked and rubbed a hand on Narutos cheek.

"I... Don't know." Naruto lied, at least feeling some comfort that Sasuke hadn't reported everything to his father. Maybe he wasn't trying to trick Naruto, but that still didn't take away the outburst he had received earlier.

"Be more careful." Itachi simply said and pressed his lips on Narutos, initiating a sloppy kiss.

Naruto squeezed his eyes shut and resigned himself to just wait it out. But luckily Itachi seemed tired and just rolled over beside the blonde.

"Come, lay with me. I will be forgiving tonight so your wounds will heal." The brunette said and Naruto looked over confused. The blonde awkwardly compiled and moved over, putting an arm around Itachis middle and cuddling him. No more words were said and Naruto waited out the breathing again until he was sure Itachi was asleep.

Once he was sure, he snuck out from the room again but this time he made his way to the kitchen. Having slept through dinner, he was now hungry.

After grabbing some fruits and breads he made his way back to the pond, hoping to find the younger Uchiha and apologize for his outburst.

When he arrived he found the brunette sitting under a tree not to far from the pond, looking almost asleep. Naruto smirked and called out to the Uchiha before throwing an apple at him.

Sasuke stirred quickly enough to catch the apple and watched the blonde come closer and sit across from him, his expression unreadable. They sat in silence for a few minutes until Naruto broke the silence.

"I'm sorry for my outburst earlier. I still stand by what I said but I shouldn't have gotten go aggressive. I think the spar had made me more physical." Naruto said, looking at Sasuke, trying to convey his sincerity. "And... Thank you, for speaking to your father. Itachi was... not as bad after the warning."

Sasuke nodded at this and then took a bite from the apple, looking to the pond. "Only my brother has taken me down. Part of my surprise before was your ability to drop me. Maybe you are strong."

Naruto looked at Sasuke and chuckled, "Maybe? I could've knocked you down before then. I am a stronger prince of course." Naruto mocked and flexed his arm, showing his muscle. This caused the Uchiha to chuckle and look back at the blonde, his intensity dissipating.

"The stronger Prince? We'll see. Meet me there tomorrow and neither of us will hold back. Then we'll truly know who the best Prince is." Sasuke offered with a raised eyebrow. "After we know who is best we will figure out who can take down my brother."

Naruto laughed to himself and took a bite out of his apple as well, looking to the pond and thinking. Both of them sat in comfortable silence for a while, eating peacefully and enjoying the night air.

"Your cheek- it's healed. Do you have a healer for your palace?" Sasuke broke the silence with. Naruto looked at him and smiled, nodding while chewing.

"Her name is Sakura. She is my personal maid. She heals- used to heal my ribs everyday." Naruto said, feeling happy to talk about his friend.

"Is there something wrong with them?" Sasuke asked, looking at Narutos ribs as if he would see it written on the clothing.

"Oh no, uh. I wear corsets on my chest to bind my breasts. It helps to make me feel more comfortable being a man." Naruto explained, blushing slightly and feeling uncomfortable explaining it to Sasuke. But Sasuke seemed to just accept this information and nodded, looking away.

"How... Did you know?" The brunette asked, still looking away. Naruto considered this for a moment and looked down, feeling the dysphoria of having his chest being unbound.

"I always knew. But when I was little, I got upset, and ran away. A fox demon found me, and showed me my reflection in a magic pond. It made sense. In the water I was a boy, that was what I wanted, and how I figured out why I was upset. But before I could ask anything else Iruka-sensei found me and the fox burned my torso in fear. The scar, it reminds me of that night. How the water showed me who I was. And the next day I cut my hair off and began to truly live. Feeling comfortable in my own skin for once." Naruto remembered and explained thoughtfully, when he looked back at the Uchiha he found a studying look. Naruto looked away and bit his apple again, getting uncomfortable under the intense gaze.

"Can I... see it?" Sasuke asked and when Naruto turned confused, he corrected himself, "The scar."

Naruto thought for a moment but then leaned back and lifted his shirt, showing the scar that spiraled around his belly button. Sasuke looked over and before either of them realized the Uchihas hand was on the scar, suddenly they both pulled away, a shock having gone through their touch.

"It... has magic." Sasuke said, and Naruto looked at him, seeing the familiar red eyes. He swallowed, only knowing the eyes from the elder brother.

"My family has a trait, we can see magic, our eyes change. I wonder if... my brother saw this?" Sasuke said and looked at the scar again but at the mention of Itachi, Naruto pulled his shirt down and curled in on himself.

"Sorry- I.... Sorry." Sasuke stuttered out, realizing he crossed a line. Naruto just shook his head and grabbed his knees, wanting to hide his stomach now.

"It's... Okay. Thank you. I- I didn't know there was magic in it. So that's new." Naruto said, trying to lighten the mood. But when he looked at Sasuke he found the brunette to be glaring at his apple core in his hands.

"I'm sorry for... Him." Sasuke said angrily, and Naruto just looked at the other prince unsure of how to respond.

"It's not your fault. You aren't him." Was all Naruto could think to say, after that they sat in silence, not saying a word until they both left.

Chapter Text

Naruto sat by the pond, looking into the water again, pondering how things had changed. Over the last two weeks he and Sasuke had grown closer. They spared in the day and spoke at night, they bonded over their hate of the older Uchiha and their competition to be the strongest prince.

Itachi had never been as bad as he was the first days, but he still persisted for Naruto to please him. Naruto tried to fight him sometimes but found Itachis reaction to this was only expressed in physical abuse. So Naruto would avoid Itachi and try to sneak away at any moment, normally finding Sasuke and hiding away with him.

But the first week came to an end and there was no word on how the Uchihas had decided to proceed with the marriage. Naruto felt anxiety at not knowing but also relief, as he had more time with his new friend.

While Naruto thought of all these thoughts he missed the sounds of approaching footsteps, and before he could react he was being pinned onto the ground.

"See? I'm the stronger prince. My guard wouldn't be so lowered as yours." Sasuke said smugly, and Naruto smiled, trying to roll them over. They regularly fought and tried to win any battle between the two of them, even when it was unnecessary. Who could throw their apple core further? Who knew more about worldwide history? Who could climb a tree faster?

But both of them seemed to enjoy these meaningless fights as it brought a new challenge between them.

Naruto pouted and stopped trying to fight the Uchiha above him, "Fine. This time I had my guard down. But next time you won't be so lucky."

Sasuke chuckled to himself and rolled off the blonde, grabbing at an orange in the pile of fruit Naruto had.

"I heard tomorrow my father will be making some announcement. They didn't tell me what, but I assume it's about the deal." Sasuke said, as he peeled the orange.

Naruto nodded. "I was wondering." Was all he said as he grabbed an orange too.

"What will you do?" Sasuke asked as he leaned back against a tree, watching the blonde.

"Hmmm... I don't know. In reality it's not my decision." Naruto said simply, giving a shrug. "If I had any choice it would be go with Itachi or stay and prepare for war. And I can't put our kingdom at that risk. Especially if it's just for me, they have Hinata. She can lead them without me."

Naruto looked over and met Sasukes eyes, the brunette looking angry, but didn't say anything.

"I can't deny your family. I need to be a strong leader for my people, and your family provided protection in return for me. So if I must go, I'll go." Naruto continued and laid down on the grass behind him, now popping orange slices in his mouth and looking at the stars above.

"They want you to be happy too. Your parents, your people.." Sasuke started but found himself at a loss for words.

"Which is why I told them to go through with the arrangement. We are too small to fight back. I can't be the reason these people lose their lives. I think, 'if I were king, I would die for them'. And if this is my own way to die for them, so be it." Naruto wasn't sad to say these things, they were fact. A fact he was familiar with and not scared of, so he was surprised to find a orange peel being thrown at his face.

"Ow why-"

"That isn't how it's supposed to be. You shouldn't have to think like that. I- There must be some third option you aren't thinking of." Sasuke interrupted, frustration on his face.

"Sasuke. There isn't. Our families have a major difference in power. I don't get the luxury-"

"So what of power? Are you going to deal with Itachi forever? What if I leave? What will you do?" Sasuke asked, his anger growing.

"I'm strong. I'll be okay. My kingdom fuels me to be str-"

"Stop talking about your kingdom. He's a demon in human skin. How will you handle him? Will you just be like I thought? Someone who will bend to his every will?" Sasuke asked, squeezing the orange in his hand.

"If I have to." Was all Naruto said as he stood up and wiped himself off. "If you'll excuse me, Itachi is waiting."

Naruto turned and walked away, ignoring Sasuke calling for him. He felt burned by the words Sasuke was saying, he was wrong, Sasuke wasn't trying to trick him. Sasuke was just spoiled and wanted someone to help him reach his goal, to defeat his brother. Naruto was dumb to trust him, he should've known a royal of his regard would never understand.

Naruto made his way to his room and stopped at the door, not wanting to enter but not wanting to be found either. After a moment he opened the door quietly and laid on the sofa in the corner, not wanting to be near any Uchiha man.

Chapter Text

Naruto woke up to find Itachi gone and someone knocking at the door. He yawned and made his way to the door, opening it and finding the seamstress and hairdresser there. Naruto let them in, having almost forgotten about the meeting today.

While they doted on him and pulled and tugged at his hair, he sat thinking, still unsure of how things would pan out. He thought of how he was excited to see his parents again, it was normal to keep parents away from newly betrothed couples. Especially keeping the princess' parents away so she can learn fully of her husband with no outside interference.

Naruto thought of Sasuke as well, how he felt tricked by both brothers in different ways. Somehow the hurt from Sasuke seemed to be worse, at least Itachi showed his true colors and the bruises faded. With Sasuke, he was given friendship, then made aware he was naive to take the friendship, and he imagined things would just be awkward in the future.

The two women seemed to be done so quickly, as Naruto got lost in his thoughts. But when Naruto saw himself, he still looked unfamiliar, in a new dress, this time his short hair styled instead of adding in extensions. He looked at himself, wondering if the reflection would ever become familiar in these clothes.

Then suddenly hands were wrapping around his waist from behind.

"This is what you should look like. I will make sure of it. Even if you must wake hours before me." Itachi whispered in the blondes ear, kissing at his neck.

Naruto still just looked in the mirror, until his eyes met with red ones. He then faked a smile and turned in the Uchihas arms, placing a kiss on the other man's lips. Naruto would have to get used to this, even if inside and in his reflection a moment ago, he saw himself going numb. Itachi smiled into their kiss but broke it quickly, "They are calling us to the announcement. Come."

Naruto nodded and the pair walked together to the grand hall, with Itachi holding onto the blondes waist.

When they entered the rest of the royals were already seated, and Naruto and Itachi sat between the families. Naruto looked at his parents who were watching him as he entered, seeming to be studying everything about him, worry written on their faces. Naruto just gave them a tight smile and then Fugaku began to speak.

"I have given Itachi plenty of time to decide and he has come to me with his decision." The king announced, all heads turning to him and then Itachi.

Itachi stood and cleared his throat, "This woman will not be my bride. I can't change her to my wills and she will only bring shame to me." After he said this he moved from Narutos side and went to sit with his family.

Naruto couldn't even keep his mouth closed, in shock. Everything he did, all the trials, they were for nothing. Itachi was playing with him, knowing he held the cards and playing them as he pleased. Naruto hung his head, his hands forming fists in his lap, he shivered with anger.

"I agree and we will figure out what will come of this sit-" Fugaku started but was interrupted.

"I want her." A voice said, Naruto cringed knowing it well, Sasuke. Why would he do this, wasn't it enough Itachi had used the blonde? Now Sasuke wanted to keep Naruto as his pawn forever? To keep chasing after his older brother?

"Sasuke. Don't be ridiculous." Fugaku said, his voice stern and furious.

"I'm not. I have no betrothed. Why waste our time and resources by going to war? Let me take Itachis place and the peace will be kept. I can even stay here to maintain Uchiha standards." Sasuke said, very serious and commanding. Naruto didn't even have to look up to know there was eyes on him and Sasuke, tension thick in the room now.

"Ah, but she's impure now." Itachi said in a matter of fact tone even though he was mocking Naruto openly.

"But only by an Uchiha. It should not-" Sasuke started but was stopped by a slam on the table.

"Sasuke." Fugaku said, anger barely being contained. The room fell silent, and Naruto heard only his soft hitched breathing as tears began to escape.

"We will meet independently and return." Fugaku said and Naruto heard the seats being pulled out, footsteps leaving and the grand halls doors closing. Once they left Naruto felt himself collapse, wanting to shout and break something, his anger overwhelming. He could hear his mother approach him and shouting just outside the doors, it was a mess.

Kushina came quickly to her son's side and pulled him to her, holding on tightly and shushing the blonde.

"I'm so sorry. Naruto, I'm so sorry. You've been so brave." Kushina cooed and knelt down, looking up at her son. Naruto knew his eyes and nose were soaked and still leaking hot tears, he imagined any make up put on him was now ruined.

"Come and sit by me. You don't need to be near them. Please." Kushina pleaded and helped Naruto up, walking him to the seat beside her. She continued to pet at her son and whisper consoling words until Naruto found himself rubbing the moisture off his face. He was still livid but his emotions more in control.

Shortly after, the doors opened again and when the Uzumakis looked at the entering family, their faces were unreadable, except anger still present on the king's features.

"We have come to a conclusion. If your daughter can be acceptable to Sasuke in 3 days time, he will take her hand. Following will be a wedding 7 days after. If he finds her not acceptable in any way, we will leave immediately." Fugaku stated.

Naruto just looked down, wondering if they would go about courting processes still. But before he could ask Fugaku stood and left the room, his wife behind him.

Naruto looked to his parents and simply nodded a goodbye. He wasn't ready but he had 3 days to attempt to fix things, to save his kingdom.

Chapter Text

Naruto sat in his room, looking out the window as maids shuffled around the room. They removed Itachis things, cleaned the room, changed linens and brought in Sasukes things. Naruto fidgeted with his hands, still angry but also nervous, could he go through this all again? Could he fix things in 3 days? How could he hide his anger and try to be a great 'wife' with what just happened?

Naruto then heard a knock on the door frame, the maids were gone but his door was still open. He turned and saw Sasuke standing in the doorway, looking sheepish.

"Hey." Naruto said, unsure of what to do, so he just looked at the Uchiha.

"Hey." Sasuke said back, entering the room and moving to the bed, taking a seat.

Naruto looked at Sasuke, studying him, seeing Sasuke thinking, their eyes not meeting. Naruto sighed and looked back out the window, thinking back to before they arrived. How he sat in this spot, wondered what would happen, and how naive he had been. It felt like months had passed since then, not two weeks.

"I'm sorry... For Itachi." Sasuke said, pulling Naruto back to the room. Naruto looked at Sasuke, who was looking at the floor.

"You aren't him. I said that before. You don't have to apologize for someone else." Naruto replied, finding his words to be more bitter than intended.

"This still... It crossed a new line." Sasuke said, now meeting the blondes eyes. "I'm sorry."

Naruto looked away and back out the window, not ready to accept the apology. Feeling like nothing could fix it, especially not Sasuke, who didn't even commit the acts against him.

"So, you are coming in to clean up after him? Take his leftovers? Then what? You keep me around to help you take him down? My hate for him will help fuel your mission?" Naruto asked, letting the bitter feelings rise and be out in the open, hot tears streaming again. "I won't lie to you, I can't be your bride. If you expect me to be like I was with Itachi, you're wrong. I don't even think I can put the kingdom before me anymore. There is no more 'me' to give."

"Naruto it's not like that. I don't- I..." Sasuke started and Naruto could hear the Uchiha approach him, but didn't turn, still looking anywhere but him. "I'm sorry. I don't want you to be like you were with him. I want you to be like how you are with me. I'm not trying to keep you as a pawn. I just... Want you. I don't want to see you lose yourself because of him. Like I have."

Naruto felt Sasukes presence close by him, he felt the tears getting stronger, wanting to believe the brunette but too jaded.

"I want you to succeed for your kingdom. I will help you keep them safe." Sasuke said and rubbed the blondes cheek, wiping away tears. Naruto very weakly pushed his hand away, not wanting to be touched, feeling too raw.

"I can't... I can't believe you. I want to. But I don't know you. I thought I did but..." Naruto said in between sobs, looking at the Uchiha, feeling broken. Sasuke nodded and Naruto looked down, trying to curl in on himself. He heard Sasukes footsteps leave the room and Naruto cried openly, feeling too much of every emotion.

But not long after he heard a knock on his door, Naruto just yelled to not come in to the door but heard it open anyways. He looked up, angry for not being listened to but stopped, seeing blue hair and white eyes.

"Hinata!" Naruto cried out and ran to his sister, falling into her arms and sobbing. They slowly lowered to the ground and Naruto told Hinata all that had happened as she gently rubbed on his back and ran her fingers through his hair.

"I'm so sorry. If I would've known- if anyone knew- we would've stopped this. You are so important, if you crumble, so does our kingdom. You always put it before you, but you forget, it's a part of you as well. You must respect yourself to respect the kingdom." Hinata said softly and Naruto heard the regret in her voice.

"I can't, I have to keep them safe. I can't just have both." Naruto replied weakly.

"You can. If this other Uchiha is the same, the deal is off. Our people will fight for you. Against any army." Hinata reassured, and made Naruto look at her to make sure he got her point.

"He's not... But I don't think he'll understand. He's had what he's wanted his whole life. I don't think, even if he is now, that he will be happy here." Naruto said, laying his head back down on Hinatas lap.

"You can't decide that for other people Naruto. He fought his father for you. Maybe he wants something in you." Hinata offered.

"I don't know..." Naruto said and yawned, his body exhausted from all the emotions that had wrecked his body all day.

"Lay down, you need rest. There is nothing we can fix now except your exhaustion." Hinata said, tapping on her brother's back, trying to get him up. Naruto grumped but got up and moved to the bed, sleep already taking over him.

"He called for me, you know? He knows you, at least, from your talks." Hinata said as she brushed at Naruto's hair. The blonde woke slightly to take in this information but didn't know what to say, instead he nodded and drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Text

When Naruto woke he found the room dark, the stars out in the sky. He sat up and was surprised to not feel a warm body in the bed with him. Suddenly he remembered the ordeals from the day and cursed under his breath, having wasted the first day.

Naruto got up to use the bathroom and stopped in surprise, on his sofa was a sleeping Sasuke. Naruto hesitantly moved closer to the other prince and crouched to look at him, wondering what was going on in his head, what Sasuke wanted. Naruto sighed softly and moved to get up from his crouching position when suddenly the brunettes eyes opened.

"I- uh- I was going to... Hi." Naruto stammered out awkwardly, feeling embarrassment flush through him. He was watching Sasuke sleep, which is weird.

"Hi." Sasuke said, sitting up, and stretching. "What were you...?" The question sat between them, not needing to be finished.

"Bathroom. I'm uh- going to the bathroom." Naruto said quickly and pointed to the bathroom. Sasuke just looked at the blonde for a moment before nodding. Naruto taking the response as an okay and awkwardly moving around the sofa to go back to the bathroom.

When he came back to the room he found Sasuke sitting in the window, in Naruto's favorite spot.

"Hey." Sasuke said, turning to the blonde. Naruto just looked for a moment, caught up in the beauty that was Sasuke. The moon reflected softly on ivory skin, black hair seeming somehow darker, black eyes unreadable.

"H-hey..." Naruto said weakly, forcing his head to turn away, to not blatantly stare.

"I... Want to be clear." Sasuke started, getting Narutos attention, "Although we both hate Itachi, that's not why I'm here. I'm here because you deserve the right to have your kingdom safe. You don't have to like me, but I want that for you. You endured much of what I did, but you had a goal. And maybe I'm being selfish, but I don't want him to ruin both of us."

Naruto looked at Sasuke, studying him and thinking. Although it again sounded genuine, it was still all so hard to believe. Naruto just nodded his head and said thank you, unsure of how else to respond.

"Maybe, I was wrong before. I can tell now though, you are the stronger prince. I have some catching up to do." Sasuke said as he turned and looked out the window, and Naruto thought he saw pink flush the other man's cheeks.

"I told you I was." Naruto mocked, letting out a chuckle, trying to ease the uncomfortable atmosphere. He looked back to the brunette and found their eyes locked again, Naruto felt again like there was some connection between them. But he was still too raw, feeling like he needed to pull away to protect himself.

"I'm going to... I need some fresh air." Naruto said and gestured to the door. Sasuke watched him as the blonde began to put on shoes and simply nodded.

"I'm not holding you hostage." Sasuke said simply and then got up and Naruto saw the brunette retreat to the bathroom.

Naruto left the room, feeling like he was spinning and couldn't figure out where he was going to land. So much was happening and he had been played so much he couldn't figure out up from down, much less who to trust. He found himself wandering around the palace until he found a perch that looked over some of the kingdom, the moon illuminating the houses and buildings that seemed so far away.

If nothing else, this was his grounding, his home, what he stood for and what brought him strength. Part of him felt eased just to see it, to physically see what gave him strength and to think of the people he fought for. Naruto breathed deeply and tried to focus on this, trying to let the events effects on him go. It would be hard but he didn't want to let it hold him down. He was not going to give up, he never would.

Naruto focused on this and heard footsteps approaching, but when he opened his eyes he found the person to be closer than he expected. Itachi walked up the blonde, Naruto too shocked for a moment to move away.

"What do you want?" Naruto asked when he regained his composure, anger filling him again. But Itachi still just approached, his expression unreadable.

Itachi reaches out to touch the blondes hair but his hand was slapped away. Anger quickly crossed his features and Naruto found himself on his back.

"When did you do it? You slept and avoided me to fuck my brother?" Itachi asked, pinning the blonde down, his eyes red and face frightening.

"Wha- No. Get off m-"

"When did you do it?!" Itachi shouted down at the blonde, who was trying to free himself out of the elders grip.

"I didn't! Let me go!" Naruto shouted back and pushed against the Uchiha, gaining some leverage but getting pinned again quickly.

"You whored yourself to him as well, hm? He's as weak as you, why would he fight for you? You seduced him!" Itachi said and Naruto felt lips on his, Itachi initiating a rough kiss. Naruto bit on the other man's lip and took the shock to move away, but was still stopped before escaping.

"Itachi!" A voice shouted, somewhere further away. Naruto felt the man on top of him stiffen suddenly, then turn back to see Fugaku.

"Get off her." Fugaku pronounced every word sternly. Itachi moved away but Naruto stayed on the floor a moment longer, afraid of both of the men around him.

"Why would you act so shamefully? Leave. I am sending you home tomorrow." Fugaku said, and Naruto got up, seeing Itachis hands form fists before moving past his father. The blonde and king stood in silence, until Naruto broke it, thanking the king.

"You still have 2 days. Don't think this has changed my mind." Fugaku said before turning and leaving. Naruto watched the figure leave and let out a shaky breath, at least the elder brother would be gone by tomorrow and his attacks would be guaranteed to stop.

Naruto made his way back to his room and found Sasuke outside of it, when their eyes met Sasuke quickly approached.

"He attacked you. Are you okay? I have your maid coming to heal you." Sasuke said, inspecting the blonde.

Naruto felt emotions rise again to the surface and before he could stop it, tears came welling up in his eyes. He found himself crying, and after a moment felt arms wrapping hesitantly around him.

"I'm sorry. I wasn't there." Sasuke whispered and Naruto moved his hands from his face to Sasukes shirt. He needed the hug more than he realized and he let a lot of his pent up feelings fall free through his tears. Anger, betrayal, sadness, disgust, all of it, came rising to the surface and poured out of him.

When he stopped crying and only had occasional hitched breaths he pulled back, not wanting to look up at the brunette, feeling embarrassed at his fit. Sasuke let him go but asked again gently, "Are you hurt?"

Naruto just shook his head no and heard Sasuke dismiss Sakura. Oh great, more people had seen him crying. But his body felt spent at releasing all the feelings he had been holding in.

"I want to go to bed." Naruto mumbled, still not looking up. Sasuke nodded and put his hand on the blondes back, guiding them into the room. Naruto felt Sasuke take off his shoes and coat, which he was thankful for, not wanting to put anymore effort into anything at the moment. The blonde crawled into bed and the brunette kneeled beside it, making eye contact for the first time.

They looked at each other for a while before Naruto closed his eyes, wanting to just go to sleep, too spent to talk about anything anymore.

Chapter Text

When the blonde woke he was surprised to find the Uchiha was asleep, still kneeling by the side of the bed. It must be uncomfortable, but he had stayed until he fell asleep. Naruto felt a little touched by this, but also guilty.

Naruto reached out to the brunette, and shook his shoulder softly. The Uchiha woke up with half lidded eyes confused looking up to the blonde, Naruto didnt say anything but looked at the other man. After Sasuke woke more, Naruto broke eye contact, looking down. Then he moved back, and after a moment, lifted the blanket, silently inviting the other to lay down as well.

Sasuke looked at the blonde seriously, and cautiously began to rise. Wincing at what Naruto assumed was pain in his knees. Naruto just closed his eyes and nodded once, laying his head back down and trying to relax. He needed to try to trust the Uchiha, his kingdom fueling him once again, but this time he would be less giving.

Sasuke got on the bed and Naruto felt his breathing and movements seemed to be very careful beside the blonde.

"I... Want to trust you. I want to believe you, that this isn't some game but... Itachi he-"

"You don't- I heard some of what he did, and I don't want you to have to relive anything by telling me more. He was worse to you than I think he ever was to me. And to think you are still here, trying to befriend me... It's... Admirable." Sasuke said softly, Naruto opening his eyes. The men looked at each other, looking for something deeper than the surface could provide.

"I'm sorry... I had no idea before. And, I compared us. It wasn't right of me. If anything, what he's done to... Makes me hate him more. But, it isn't in my right to act for you." Sasuke continued, and Naruto nodded saying a soft thank you.

"Your father- the king... Is sending him back tomorrow. For atta- for tonight." Naruto corrected, not wanting to feel so vulnerable again. Sasuke seemed surprised by this but eventually just nodded.

"If you are okay with it... Tomorrow I'd like to spar with you. I think both of us need it." Sasuke offered tentatively. Naruto closed his eyes and thought about it, then nodded.

"Tomorrow." Naruto confirmed, "For now, let's sleep. Goodnight Sasuke."

"Goodnight Naruto."

‐------------------------

Naruto woke to the sun in his eyes and found himself again alone in his bed. He took a moment and processed what had happened the night before, and took a deep breath. After taking a moment, he pushed himself to a sitting up position, ready to put his best foot forward today.

After dressing and finding no sign of Sasuke, Naruto headed to the training grounds, if they were to spar, he could use a warm up.

But as he came closer he heard metal clinking and rounded the corner to find Sasuke and Kakashi sparring. He hid for a moment and watched the two of them battle, he recognized that Kakashi was holding back, making the match seem equal. Then suddenly without warning, Kakashi threw a kunai towards the blonde, Naruto barely dodging it.

"You going to spy or join in?" Kakashi asked and Naruto could hear the smile on his lips.

"Kakashi-sensei I feel like this is a threat more than an invitation." Naruto joked and walked up to the pair.

"Hm. Maybe. Now let's see. How about the princes pair up? I think I can handle you two." Kakashi said and moved into a defensive position.

Naruto looked at Sasuke and nodded, before launching himself at the teacher.

Chapter Text

Naruto plopped down on the grass, breathing heavily, and looking up at sky.

"Good job boys. Nice team work. Sasuke told me you had spared before but it is good to see you have recognized weaknesses and strengths and adjusted accordingly." Kakashi said, seemingly unfazed.

"Yeah. Woo. Kakashi how are you not tired? I feel like we've been sparing for hours." Naruto got out between huffs.

Kakashi just laughed, "Don't worry Naruto. You'll get there."

Naruto groaned and looked to the Uchiha, who seemed tired but not as openly exhausted. Sasuke just looked back and gave a smirk, "You alright?" He asked.

"Nah, I'm just peachy. Don't worry about me." Naruto said, while sitting up. "Just need to take two showers to feel clean again."

"Well, you better head back first then. I also need one." Sasuke said and moved to sit against a tree.

Naruto nodded and thanked Kakashi before heading back to his room, he showered quickly and returned back to the training grounds, finding only the brunette there.

"Did Kakashi-sensei leave?" Naruto asked as he approached.

"Yeah, he had some business he said he had to attend to. Now that you've showered, I will. Want to meet in the dining hall after?" Sasuke offered.

Naruto agreed whole heartedly and the pair left in separate directions. When Naruto made it to the dining hall the maids asked what they should prepare but Naruto just asked for apples, not sure what the Uchiha would want.

Naruto snacked on the fruit while waiting and thought about how relieving the training had been for his pent up emotions. Tears helped in the moment but long underlying emotions were more easily processed after letting your energy out. Naruto pondered again how he should handle his predicament when Sasuke entered.

"Apples hm?" The brunette asked upon entering the room, Naruto broke from his thoughts and looked at the other man. Sasuke was still slightly flushed and his wet hair clung to his head, giving a different look than normal, but Naruto could see the back already fighting gravity.

"I- uh, didn't know what you like." Naruto said lamely, trying to act like he wasn't staring. But Sasuke didn't respond immediately, instead sitting next to the blonde and grabbing an apple slice himself.

"I guess... Tomatoes? And rice balls. Although I've never really been to picky. I do dislike sweet things though." Sasuke said while looking at the apple, then turned to Naruto, "And you?"

"Ramen. There is this place, in the main center of the village that serves the best ramen. Sometimes I will sneak out to get it or send Sakura, but it's so good. I usually have two bowls before I'm starting to feel satisfied." Naruto said and felt himself beginning to salivate at the thought.

"Let's go then." Sasuke said plainly.

"What? We can't just-" Naruto started but was interrupted.

"Why not? I trust you can get us out of the palace unnoticed." Sasuke said as if it were obvious.

"I mean, I maybe could, but the kitchen staff here also makes good ramen?" Naruto offered.

"But it's not the best. I need to see where the best lies at before I can compare." Sasuke said with a smug look on his face.

"That's nice and all but-"

"Think you can't get us out?" Sasuke asked, and somewhere, Naruto knew he was being baited. But he could never back away from a challenge.

"I know I can. The real question is, can you hide that princely priviledge?" Naruto mocked back, earning a laugh from the Uchiha.

"If you can, I can." Was all he said before Naruto got up and they left the hall.

Naruto directed them back to his room, going straight for his wardrobe and pulling out specific pieces of clothing.

"Here, change into one of these outfits. It fits the town better. They know me. If they ask, you're a friend visiting." Naruto said quickly as he pulled out a outfit for himself from the bunch laid out on the sofa.

"Okay. I'll be back." Sasuke said and headed to the bathroom with the clothes he picked. Naruto changed quickly and looked for his frog wallet, hoping a maid hadn't found it in the room changes.

"Are you dressed?" Sasuke asked before exiting, which the blonde appreciated.

"Yeah. Come out. Just looking for- Aha!" Naruto pulled the frog from the back of a drawer, and put it in a bag. When he turned around he looked at Sasuke, who seemed... not right.

The orange didn't suit his skin tone and the clothes fit just slightly too tightly. And despite their banter earlier, Sasuke had the face of a royal. Naruto scrunched his nose and thought for a moment, looking at the Uchiha.

"Is it not-" Sasuke started, pulling at the shirt awkwardly.

"It's... too tight. Change into... This one. It's bigger." Naruto offered after pulling a different shirt out of the wardrobe. After Sasuke took it, Naruto turned and dug through a different drawer, in search of make up. He found it quickly and turned back to the brunette, only to see a bare chest and muscled stomach flexing as a shirt was being pulled down.

Naruto pulled his eyes away quickly, muttering an apology. "You- um, you good?" He asked after a moment.

"Yeah." Sasuke said and Naruto heard the smirk before he saw it. Naruto instead focused on the make up and tried to 'dirty' the other man's face with it.

"You look too..." Naruto started, unsure of how to explain it, "I guess, royal? Gotta change that."

Naruto finished and was pleased with his work, backing up and taking in the other man's face. Only now realizing he had, without asking, been very close and touching the Uchihas face.

"Sorry. Should have warned you." Naruto said, rubbing a hand on the back of his head. Sasuke just looked away, his cheeks slightly pink.

"We're ready." Naruto said with determination.

Chapter Text

"Ahhhh." Naruto moaned out, and sat back in his seat, letting his now larger belly expand comfortably. "Sooo good."

Sasuke chuckled at him and slowly continued to drink the tea in front of him. "It was very good, thank you for taking me here." Sasuke said in between sips.

"Of course. Please. ANYTIME." Naruto said, and sat back up.

"Is there anywhere at home for you like this?" The blonde asked, taking a drink from his tea.

"Not really. I never really looked though. Or had a chance too. Things are very different there. Rules are heavily enforced and punishments are severe. And being that I was the younger brother, I had to work twice as hard for half the acknowledgment. So I didn't have time to really... Explore." Sasuke said, looking down at his tea.

"Hm." Naruto replied, thinking for a moment. "I can tell. It's different. The way your family is."

"Yes, and this is them relaxed. Without the families council constantly looming overhead. Even I feel more at peace without that. Without the constant pressure to live up to the Uchiha name." Sasuke said, now making eye contact with the blonde.

Naruto nodded, "I think... You guys were my 'council'. I knew, I could never be the way I wanted. No matter how much I wanted, your family would come. And the pressure to be what was expected always loomed overhead as well."

Sasuke seemed hurt by the statement but nodded as well, understanding. "But, I mean, you are different. For one, we are here. I'm dressed the way I want. And I'm not being forced to-... It's different. Not what I expected." Naruto finished, looking down at his empty bowl with flushed cheeks.

"I can't say that I've done much." Sasuke responded.

"But that's the thing. You haven't. You let me be. Which... Is more than I could've asked. Which is why I'm cautious." Naruto continued.

"It's... It's the least I can do. After... Everything. Is to recognize you as you are." Sasuke said, and Naruto could tell both of them were uncomfortable, dodging around mentioning Itachi and Naruto's gender.

"We should head back." Naruto offered after a pause. He appreciated the conversation but he knew they would need to return back shortly, to not get caught.

Sasuke nodded and Naruto paid their bill, the pair heading back to the castle in comfortable silence.

Once they arrived, they found it easy to sneak back in and made their way to their room quickly. Naruto immediately laid down, going spread eagle on the bed.

"I'm gonna be full forever." He moaned out and rubbed at his belly. He heard Sasuke chuckle and then head to the bathroom. When he returned the make up had been washed from his face and his outfit changed back.

The two sat for a moment together before Naruto broke the silence, "I still don't- Why are you doing this? It's not normal tradition to do what I want. And especially not to go off palace grounds for a meal."

"Hn." Sasuke responded and looked down at his hands. "Traditions have already been broken. So why not?"

"But are you really going to marry me? Move here with me, just to what? Apologize for Itachi? Get back at him? I still don't... I don't think I'll ever get it." Naruto said, still not sitting up to make eye contact. Instead staring at the ceiling.

"I... I'm not sure completely myself." Sasuke answered honestly, which had Naruto sitting up quickly.

"So what? You are just going to act without thinking? I mean, of course I am appreciative since I am the one to gain. But still... It's your whole life. Leaving your family. Can you really just walk away?" Naruto pressed.

"There isn't much I'm leaving. Like I said, I was not the oldest, so my accomplishments meant nothing. I wasn't the strongest or smartest, so my opinions meant nothing. Being here, at least I am being recognized." Sasuke said, avoiding eye contact.

"So you want to stay here for the fame? To be treated like a prince for once?" Naruto asked, feeling a little more heated. Maybe he shouldn't have asked, he was breaking the pleasant atmosphere.

"That's not- That's not what I'm saying. You even asking me is more than I would get at home. It would be either I can stay here, where I can be a person and be considered as- as anything. Or go back home, being a failure, until eventually they find a new treaty for me to marry into. And maybe it won't be as good. Maybe I'll still be a failure, the expectations too high and I can't be enough. At least here I'm stopping a war, helping you, and sure, maybe spiting my brother! Is that enough? Can I just want things for myself as well? I thought if I were to let you enjoy yourself maybe you could enjoy me too." Sasuke ranted, getting more irritated as he continued. Naruto was silenced, looking at the Uchiha, and for once, relating and trusting this was the truth.

"I'm sorry. I didn't-"

"I know you didn't. But you are. You are comparing me to him." Sasuke said and finally he made eye contact with Naruto, his eyes serious and maybe a little misty.

"I- I didnt- mean to. I'm sorry Sasuke." Naruto said, feeling hurt himself in the moment. Naruto began to approach the brunette but before he could reach him, the Uchiha got up and left the room.

Naruto stood still, looking at the door. Had he ruined his chances for anything to go right? Again?

Chapter Text

Naruto woke to the sound of the door opening, he had fallen asleep on the sofa waiting for Sasuke to return.

"Hey! Sasuke- Hey, how are you?" Naruto asked quicky, trying to wake up. The brunette just stopped in the doorway and looked down, Naruto felt worried at the lack of response and began to fidget.

"I'm sorry for leaving. I just needed some time. I- I don't want us to be distant if we are going to be married." Sasuke said as he moved to sit next to the blonde. Naruto nodded and agreement to the statement and made room on the sofa.

"I'm sorry, for unconsciously comparing you. I was still nervous, but I know I can trust you. I'm sorry for doubting." Naruto explained as he looked to the Uchiha, whose eyes were to his hands.

"I understand. And I understand our relationship was built on hate for him. So to move forward it will be hard to see each other without thinking of him. And I think..." Sasuke began, but he took a moment to think before looking at the blonde, "I think to be free here, I need to not make my goal in life to destroy him. I need to free myself of him."

Naruto looked at Sasuke, confused, it was such an important thing to him to be better than his brother. To hear that was shocking but also brave.

"That's... Brave of you. Have you thought of what your new goal will be?" Naruto asked, now looking down at his hands.

"I don't know. That's why I was out so long. I don't know, I think... I do know this though, I will need your help. But I trust you. You have been nothing but open with me, and I appreciate that. So help me learn a new life here?" Sasuke asked, and when Naruto looked at him, he looked nervous as well.

Naruto thought for a moment before nodding, which caused Sasuke to let out a held breath.

"Thank you, Naruto." Sasuke said and they sat in silence after for a while before Sasuke yawned, making Naruto break from his tired daze.

"Come on." Naruto beckoned as he moved to the bed.

The two laid down, facing away from each other but falling asleep easily.

Chapter Text

The following day had been fairly uneventful, Sasuke had met with his father to confirm their wedding and they went to class and training. They were tense but more of an unknown or nervous tension rather than anger.

When they went to dinner, they arrived together, holding hands. There had been a dinner prepared for the families to celebrate before announcing and inviting local royalty. Naruto had to come in a dress, which he disliked with his recent freedom again, but understood and pushed through.

They sat in the middle of the table on opposite sides, each head of the table seating a king and queen, and to Narutos delight, beside his parents sat Hinata.

The dinner was very formal with the mothers speaking mostly of the wedding. Mikoto was leading most of the conversation with Kushina informing the other queen what was immediately available and tangible in the short time frame. From there they spoke of the invited families: the Sabaku, the Hyuga, the Aburame, the Nara, the Akimichi, the Inuzuka and the Lee. It wasn't expected all would attend, and Naruto hoped the Hyugas wouldn't, but they were still to be invited.

After dinner finished Hinata pulled Naruto aside, "I think, we should practice for the wedding. I already spoke with Iruka and we don't mind preparing you."

Naruto was confused by the suggestion until he tried to step forward and nearly fell out of the high heels he was wearing, only to be caught by Hinata.

"I guess... It is needed. How are you though? Even hearing of someone from the Hyugas coming- it makes me angry. They don't know you and they have no right to judge you. I just- Ugh. Are you okay?" Naruto ranted before running a hand through his hair and looking at his sister.

"Yes." Hinata said with a small chuckle, "Nothing they can do can hurt me anymore. Even though they are related to me, you are my family. Their judgement can't hurt me when I know I have you, my brother, as my shield. And our old kingdom behind me." When she finished the siblings smiled at each other and hugged tightly.

"Okay. Then yes, please help me. I think if not someone will end up injured." Naruto chuckled as he pulled away from the hug, Hinata laughed at his comment but nodded in agreement.

"We'll begin tomorrow then. Make sure to let Sasuke-kun know. Goodnight Naruto." Hinata said and gave her brother another hug before leaving.

Naruto watched his sister leave before heading back to his room, once inside he tried to undo his dress but found himself stuck. Resigning himself to this fact he plopped on the bed and tried to get comfortable.

After a few minutes he heard the door open and close, Naruto only then realized how much he'd been dozing. When he looked over his shoulder, he was met with dark eyes, which looked tired.

"Hey.. Can you um, help?" Naruto asked sheepishly. After asking he sat up and gestured to the lacing on his back.

Sasuke looked at him and Naruto saw his cheeks lightly flush. The brunette came up behind the blonde and Naruto felt the tension build between them again.

"Uh, tomorrow I'm going to skip training and work on wedding training with Hinata." Naruto said, feeling his breathing becoming easier as the lacing came undone. "And thank you.. For helping." Naruto blushed talking quietly.

"Of course. Good luck with your training. Let me know if I should join you or there are any Uzumaki traditions I did learn." Sasuke replied softly. Naruto felt the Uchihas fingers beginning to brush against his bare skin and he shivered, the simply act of unlacing the dress feeling very intimate.

Once the dress was undone Naruto held up the front, keeping the dress pressed against his chest.

"Th- thank you." Naruto muttered as he looked over his shoulder, finding the Uchihas gaze unfocused on the blondes back. "Are you okay?"

"Huh? Oh yeah. Sorry." Sasuke said as he snapped out of his daze, looking at the semi-naked blonde in front of him and blushing suddenly.

"Ah, sorry. I'll go outside for a moment." Sasuke said and quickly left the room.

Naruto stayed on the bed for a moment, blushing before he shook his head and quickly got up to change. Once he was in baggy pajamas he opened the bedroom door and let Sasuke back in.

"Thank you." The blonde mumbled as he moved back to the bed, this time getting under the covers.

Sasuke came in and got his night clothes as well but stopped before getting in bed. "Are you really okay with this?" Sasuke asked.

Naruto looked at the brunette confused, "With what?"

"Marrying me." Sasuke said flatly.

Naruto studied the brunettes face for a moment, wondering why this was coming up. "Yes. I am positive."

Sasuke nodded and then moved under the covers, turning his back the blonde.

"Have you ever been in love?" Sasuke asked quietly, Naruto barely hearing it.

The blonde thought for a moment, thinking of his crush on Sakura that had faded as they grew.

"Yes." Naruto whispered back to the brunette. Earning a soft 'Hn' and nothing else.

Naruto wondered why he was asked that, and what Sasuke was thinking.

Chapter Text

Naruto felt the next couple of days fly by as he focused on his "wedding training" as he had dubbed it. He heard of some of the families coming, Neji from the Hyuga family, Gaara from the Sabaku clan, Rock from the Lee family, Choji of the Akimichi, and Kiba of the Inuzuka. It seemed that as they trickled in they brought more and more chaos.

Kiba had started to harass the stable boys on their bonding techniques with the animals. His guard Shino doing nothing to hold him back or keep him accountable for a royal demeanor, instead staying a distance back and observing the prince as he stampeded around.

Choji practically overthrew the kitchen, trying to change the weddings menu and "improve" recipes with mystery seasonings, making sure to taste test everything. His "guard" Shikamaru would stay nearby but mostly stare outside aimlessly or be found napping in a field.

Rock Lee came with his mentor Gai, they immediately found Kakashi and began to pester him about training and fighting techniques. When Sasuke eventually showed up for training Rock Lee just found this as a challenge and they began sparring. Naruto found Sasuke with new bruises and aches from these fights which made him jealous as he wanted to spar with someone new. But he held out and focused on his own specialized training, mentally taking note to invite back the Lee family another time.

The Sabaku sent two of their children and many guards, who stayed mostly unseen but always around. The youngest and next in line, Gaara, seemed to be quiet and kept to himself but Naruto heard a lot about his brother. Hinata seemed to warm up to the eldest, Kankuro. From what Naruto heard he was outcast at one point for wearing make up and focusing on "women's crafts". Hinata told of how the three siblings banded together, deciding if Kankuro was outcast they all were, until eventually the king just moved the youngest to next in line. She seemed so happy to retell the tale and how the siblings supported each other, and how it reminded her of their relationship.

The Hyuga family sent Neji, with his guard Tenten. He seemed aloof and disinterested of the whole affair only wanting to speak to the Uchiha and Sabaku, but finding them busy. Besides that he welcomed himself to the library and began to research anything new whilst silently judging Naruto and Hinata. He rarely made eye contact with her and when he did, he would quickly look up and away, trying to show his superiority. It was never unnoticed but it was ignored by the two Uzumaki siblings as they went about their business.

Naruto barely had time to focus on the others though as the days went by, he found himself to be fully engrossed in training. He worked hard to build new muscle memory and gain a "elegance" that would last through the wedding. The blonde barely saw his fiance in the days before the wedding, only really seeing him on the night before, during rehearsal with Iruka.

When Naruto came he was wearing heels and his large skirt that went under his wedding dress, he was proud of himself for not stumbling as they practiced the motions and traditional dances. But he was so focused on his footwork he missed the looks of amusement from Sasuke, until the brunette stopped the dance. Leaning in and he whispered, "You need to look up every now and then."

Naruto went beet red and looked up, meeting onyx eyes and a smirk. "I will! I'm just making sure you're leading correctly." Naruto lied and looked at the prince seriously before they continued their practice.

Once they were done they headed back to the room together, Sasuke lightly teasing Naruto about how uncoordinated he was.

"At least I can learn in a week! Don't be so smug, asshole." Naruto retorted as they entered the room. He immediately fell onto the bed and gingerly toed off the heels. "I just can't make blisters heal faster." Naruto grumbled into the sheets, then got up to check his injuries.

When he met the other man's eyes, he found a pained look. "Is that from the shoes?" Sasuke asked softly, moving closer to the blonde.

"Yeah, Hinata said it's normal. But it hurts. I've been putting on a salve at night that helps but I can't wait to stop wearing these." Naruto replied with a laugh as he poked at the blisters, wincing every now and then.

"I'm sorry. I didn't know... It looks painful." Sasuke said and looked sheepish, like he wanted to help but also didn't know if he could. "Is there anything I can do?"

"Not really..." Naruto replied and laid back on the bed, then an idea came to him. "Wait yes. Can you fill the tub a little bit? With warm water, and put some salts in as well."

As soon as Naruto said it, Sasuke was in action, moving to the bathroom and getting to work. When Naruto heard the water stop he had already removed his wedding clothing and was just wearing shorts and a large shirt.

"Thank you." Naruto said and moved to get up but hissed in pain as his feet touched the ground and tried to adjust to the new arch, or rather lack thereof. The blonde sat back on the bed and tried to ease his weight onto his feet but before he fully adjusted he found himself being lifted.

"Ah! I can-"

"Sh. Just let me help." Sasuke cut off the blonde and adjusted the smaller man in his arms, carrying him bridal style to the bathroom. Naruto wiggled a bit before settling down and accepting the help, mumbling a 'thanks'.

Sasuke sat the blonde on the edge of the tub and helped the blonde balance as his feet were lowered into the soothing waters. Naruto gasped at the temperature change but felt relief begin to replace the ache, he closed his eyes and tried to relax, slowly wiggling his toes and flexing his feet. But blue eyes shot open when cold hands suddenly grabbed onto him.

"Ah! Stop! You don't have to! They probably stink- Ow!" Naruto panicked out and ended up slipping into the shallow water. "I guess I'm taking a bath."

"There is no need to react so dramatically to my touch, I'm your fiance. Why haven't you had Sakura come in and heal you?" Sasuke asked and grabbed again for the injured foot, gently rubbing and massaging it.

"She's- uh- She's been busy. You really don't have to." Naruto said again and felt his face heat up.

"It's okay. I'll have someone get Sakura. But this helps healing too. So I'll help as much as I can too. It's what people do for their spouses right?" Sasuke asked looking anywhere but at the blonde. "My father never did, but their relationship is strange. So I can't personally understand but... it's what I've heard."

"Yeah... Uh, yeah I guess... Spouses care for each other... But you're right. I can just just get Sakura." Naruto said and began to move to get up, Sasuke looked at the blonde, a look of hurt flashing over the dark eyes.

"Do you not want me to...?" The Uchiha asked, leaving the question open for any rebuttal.

"No! I mean- Yes! I mean- I'm sorry. I appreciate it but you don't have to- Ugh." Naruto stammered out before placing a arm over his face and hiding his red cheeks. "Thank you."

"You're welcome." Sasuke said a moment later and began to massage the blonde again.

Naruto accepted the help and after Sasuke felt he was finished, he sent for Sakura. Sakura came looking tired and frazzled but lightly scolded Naruto for not getting her sooner. The rest of the night was uneventful but both boys slept restlessly, thinking of the next day.

Chapter Text

Naruto was awoken by a soft shake on his shoulder, his blue eyes meeting tired green. Sakura held a finger to her lips and motioned to a still sleeping Sasuke. Naruto nodded and silently slid from the bed following the pink haired girls lead.

Once they were in the hallway Sakura led Naurto to Hinatas room, where plenty of maids waited. Naruto stretched and let out a deep sigh, knowing today was going to be tiring, then sat down in the middle of the antsy maids.

They worked for the next few hours, and luckily Naruto was able to eat a light breakfast while they worked with his hair, adding new extensions in. He felt uncomfortable about it due to the memory of the last time his hair was made long, but tried to shake off the memory. Trying to only look forward.

Hinata sat beside him and kept up conversation as they spoke of the guests and let the maids gossip about the weird habits they brought with them. Naruto found the whole conversation amusing and hoped they all stayed past the wedding so he could meet these other people more.

He thought about last night a lot and how the gentle touches from Sasuke had riled him up. Itachi and Sasuke were similar in the walls they surrounded themselves with and the way they spoke and presented themselves. But otherwise they were very different.

Naruto mused with these thoughts when there was any lull in the conversation and still wondered how things would turn out. Sasuke was a good person but would they be compatible long term? The older princes family was much stronger and could easily overrule the Uzumaki land. But did that mean that Naruto would have to stop being himself to appease his future husband? In fear of the marriage falling apart and the war that would ensue? Or would Sasuke also be trapped? By societal expectations that royalty can never split a marriage.

Sure there were affairs and it was more than commonplace in many kingdoms but a marriage was usually never nullified. The couple would avoid each other and show face together in public but were strangers behind closed doors. Would Naruto also be okay with that?

Naruto felt his nerves starting to get the best of him and quickly stood, stopping all work on his hair and make up. Suddenly he ran for the bathroom and vomited, the physical feeling was relieving but mentally he was no better.

"Are you okay Naruto?" Hinatas soft voice came from behind him and her hand gently pressed into his back.

"I'm sorry. I guess I'm just nervous." The blonde replied with a lopsided smile. He could see his sisters focused look on him as she started to stroke her hand up and down his back.

"Its okay. You have every right to be nervous." Hinata comforted quietly as she helped up the blonde.

"I'll just have to ask them to keep the waist a little loose as to not upset my stomach again.." Naruto tried to play it off with a chuckle, which earned him a eye roll from his sister as she guided him back to his seat. He was almost ready and looked almost like a stranger to himself.

"It'll be over soon enough" he whispered to himself as they started to lace up his dress. A new fear entered Narutos mind as he looked at himself. Would he pass for a woman?

Chapter Text

Naruto barely remembered the actual ceremony once it started, when he saw himself in the dress and long blonde locks flowed down his back and he began to dissociate. This person in the mirror copied his moves, but wasn't him.

The haze of this seemed to last the entire ceremony, he heard how the Uchiha royalty wanted the new couple to come back to their homeland to meet the elders and it only made Naruto's anxious state worse. He didn't know how he would keep it up, he already felt like today was breaking so much of his resolve.

But at least here he could physically turn and see his people, see his parents, remember why he is doing this. How would he fair, away from home, being judged, being held to higher standards?

When the haze started to clear Naruto realized he was eating some of Choji's meal, the taste dulled by his fuzzy brain still was delicious.

He vaguely remembered being told vows that he had to repeat. The whole process seeming archaic, Naruto promising to be a dutiful wife and to bend to Sasukes will and such- it made him sick.

In the Uzumaki kingdom weddings were less ruled by old church beliefs and were looser, allowing for more of the individual to shine through. Naruto always imagined that's how his wedding would be, him in a knights uniform, laughing, dancing, crying through vows his sister and he spent all week preparing... His dream wedding.

But the Uchihas were very traditional and this is their way of marriage, Naruto being from the smaller kingdom had to go by their ways.

He turned to his now husband and saw a similar robotic face to what he imagined his looked like. Both ate dutifully and Sasuke thanked the appropriate people, smiling tightly at who he must.

Blue eyes lost focus on the raven as he fell back into the haze, his excitement to meet other royalty dispersed and now all he wanted was to sleep.

"Naruto what do think of that?" A voice called out to him, breaking him from his daze.

"I'm sorry, pardon my unfocused manor.. What was the question?" Naruto asked, seeing it was his new mother-in-law speaking to him.

"Ah, I understand I could hardly keep myself together on my wedding day. My question was, how would you like to come visit in a two weeks time? I know it would be moving up the visit but I cant wait to bring you our kingdom." Mikoto said with a smile, Naruto couldn't tell the emotion behind it though.

"We have no further plans so that should be fine. Sasuke?" Naruto asked, knowing he now has to seek permission from his husband. But the only response he got was a quick nod from the raven. Naruto nodded at Mikoto and bowed slightly as his new parents left their table, accepting this answer.

Naruto looked back out to the crowd and sighed, today was defeating.

Chapter Text

The rest of the ceremony went by without much event, Sasuke greeted all that they were required to greet and Naruto eventually broke from his daze to greet some people as well.

They eventually came to the point where a dance was expected and Naruto felt his anxiety rise. The whole week they had practiced had come to this, he felt like he needed to focus and recite every step before they came to the center of the dance floor. But when he looked up he realized they were in the center of the crowd, everyone looking at them.

"Relax, dobe." Sasuke whispered as their bodies met. Naruto looked up into the black eyes and saw the playfulness behind the comment, almost a taunt. This brought the blonde completely out of his funk as his competitive nature began to take over.

"You should be the one worrying, I have been practicing all week." Naruto replied with a smirk, and then the music began. Naruto made sure that his steps were light and airy while still being purposeful and stable. Sasuke held him firmly and supported Naruto more than Hinata did which was different but Naruto felt pride in his dance, his practice had paid off.

When the music faded and multiple dances had been done Naruto was slightly winded but energized, feeling accomplished with overcoming the wedding as a whole.

As the pair began to walk off the dance floor Sasuke wrapped his arm around the blondes waist, leaning in to whisper "I think we can now leave and let the party conclude on its own."

This had the younger prince nerves come alive again. Of all the things expected out of a wedding he forgot the wedding night, with Itachi's previous work there would be no expectation of him being a virgin but there was still expectation of them coupling.

Naruto made it out of the hall with Sasuke before his steps faltered, the raven stabilizing him.

"I'm sorry I just-"

"Shh. Don't worry. I have a plan." the Uchiha whispered in the hall, the blonde looked up and saw the other mans focus and nodded. He had to trust his husband, show he did trust Sasuke and didn't expect him to act as Itachi had. But thinking it and doing it were two very different things.

Chapter Text

The couple made their way to the room quickly and quietly, Naruto still felt in a haze but now his anxiety was overriding that. Although he could trust Sasuke, as he had been shown over and over again, he was still wary.

Even though he knew Sasuke was different there was expectations with wedding nights, and Naruto knew he wouldn't be able to meet them. Not in his current mental state.

Before Naruto knew it the door to their room was closing behind them and Naruto jumped at the sound, coming out of his thoughts.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. Now, follow my lead. Trust me." Sasuke said and Naruto gulped before nodding.
"Take off the top layer of your dress. I think we drank wine recently enough our saliva should still be stained. If not I will ask for more to be brought in." Sasuke explained as Naruto hesitantly removed the first layer of his wedding attire. Naruto handed Sasuke the dress when Sasuke motioned for it, and watched confused as Sasuke began to suckle on the collar of the dress, then moved to an area near the breast.

"There." Sasuke said and tossed the dress on the floor. "Now it looks like I've kissed your body while you were still in this. Now, follow my lead."

This time the raven reached up and pinched at his neck, turning the skin red and irritated, he continued in a few different areas along his neck and shoulders. Naruto watched but then slowly copied the action.

"Bruises from kissing." Sasuke explained then he moved to the bed, pulling a small knife from his belt and slit his palm. Hissing at the pain the raven clenched his fist and then smeared the blood on the sheets. "Not that I think your maids would want to pass the information along, but if my parents ask the things we have just done make it look as if we have coupled."

"Oh...." Naruto said softly, looking down while his cheeks heated.

"Why don't you bathe and we will head to bed?" Sasuke asked softly while he took off his coat. Naruto just nodded quickly and went to the bathroom, he was embarrassed for not trusting Sasuke and for the assumptions they were letting others make. He didn't doubt that one of the Uchiha royals would find a way to get into their room or harass a maid for this "evidence".

Naruto slowly bathed himself and looked down at the hair that was still laced into his own and the breasts that protruded from his chest. Memories of Itachi came to mind as he looked at his body and Naruto found himself starting to panic. He needed to get the hair off, having it attached to his head feeling suddenly irritating and heavy. Naruto began to pull at the hair and cry as the panic became slightly overbearing.

"Please..." He whimpered as his breaths became erratic and loud, he heard himself started to sob but he just kept pulling at the now stringy mess.

Naruto got lost in his actions and didn't hear the door open or the footsteps coming to him, he just suddenly felt his arms being held to his body.

"Naruto... Are you okay?" a deep voice softly said while still holding his arms down to his body.

"Please Sasuke.. Let me go. I need- to get it off" Naruto pleaded in between gasps for air, still trying to pull at the hair.

"Naruto. Shhhh. Turn around." the prince said softly and turned the blonde gently.

Naruto turned and found himself being pulled into the other mans flat chest, Naruto put his hands together on the chest before him. Jealousy adding to the negative emotions he was feeling.

"Talk to me." Sasuke whispered and Naruto realized that Sasuke was in the tub with him, still fully clothed.

"I hate this... I still... I can still feel his touch on me. These stupid breasts... I hate it..." Naruto rambled not making sense to himself, his eyes looking unfocused in the water now seeing the blonde strands floating on the top of the water.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry I can't help as much as you need. But I will try to help as much as I can Naruto, okay?" Sasuke cooed and began to gently untangle the hair and work it out of Naruto's short locks. Naruto just nodded dumbly and felt his tears stopping as he rested his forehead on the brunettes shoulder.

"Thank you... I don't mean to give you the impression I don't want to be with you. I just... Don't want to be married. I don't want-" Naruto began softly rambling with his eyes closed.

"Shhh. I understand, there is no need to feel guilty on my behalf. We were both forced into this." Sasuke replied and began to rub on Naruto's back as he worked out the hair. Naruto nodded, understanding that even though Sasuke stood up for him they really didn't have a choice still. Once they were old enough they became bargaining chips for their kingdom.

Feeling himself getting less panicked, Naruto began to doze off on the ravens shoulder. He awoke suddenly when Sasuke moved back, looking down at the blonde.

"All done. Let's rest now." Sasuke offered, and Naruto nodded softly. He felt too tired to move though and rested his head on Sasuke's shoulder again, his hands still crossed between their chests.

"Do you need me to carry you?" the elder prince asked.

"Please." the younger replied and relaxed more in the safe hold of the other.

"I'm going to rinse you off." Sasuke stated softly and grabbed a bowl, rinsing all the abandoned locks off the blondes body. Once that was complete he pushed Naruto upright and got out of the bath, Naruto shivered at the loss of contact and looked to where his warmth moved.

Sasuke quickly disrobed his now soaked clothes and pulled the plug on the tub, hanging his clothes on the side of the porcelain. Naruto didn't care for either of their disrobed states and just lifted his arms when Sasuke leaned over to grab the smaller man. Once he was secured in a bridal hold Naruto began to nod off again, the whole day weighing down on him. After being placed in the bed he felt the warmth follow him under the covers and press up behind him.

"G'night S'uke" Naruto mumbled and heard a rumble of soft laughter behind him.

"Goodnight Naruto."

Chapter Text

The following day Naruto slept in until it was almost noon. His episode from last night had drained him more than he realized. But he also had no duties now that he was married, so no one came to wake him from his deep sleep recovery.

Naruto stretched out and still felt the exhaustion in his bones. He was about to roll over when his bedroom door opened, a familiar pink head of hair peaking into the dark room.

"Are you awake Naruto?" The maid whispered into the darkness.

"Hnnnng." Naruto groaned out in response, causing Sakura to jump a little.

"You're finally awake!" She exclaimed gleefully and pushed into the room, closing the door gently behind her.

"What time is it?" Naruto asked groggily as he placed his arm over his eyes, trying to still block out the world.

"Past lunch, do you want me to bring you food? Most of the other royalty has left, only prince Lee and the Sabaku siblings are still here. Although it seems the Sabaku are staying more for your sister than formalities, and prince Lee just wants to spar with your new husband. He didn't hurt you right? I know he's different than his brother but before you-"

"Saaaakuuuuraaaa stooooop. I'm fine." Naruto whined and rolled over, putting his back to the curtained windows that Sakura was currently opening.

"I'm sorry. Are you okay?" Sakura asked, leaving the curtains closed and coming to the princes side. "You may be running a slight fever or it could be from sleeping in excess. Let me get you food and water."

Naruto nodded, hearing his stomach gurgle and returned to pouting. The maid quickly left and returned with an assortment of food and a pitcher of water.

"Can I open the curtains?" Sakura asked gently.

"Please don't. My head hurts. Can you heal my ache?" Naruto requested while sitting up.

He wasnt expecting the gasps from the pinkette when he got up and it took a moment before he realized why she gasped. Then he looked down and pulled the covers over his bare chest, blushing deeply.

"It's not-"

"Naruto, you're married now. I just- I'm sorry for reacting." Sakura said with a blush on her own cheeks. But she moved closer to the blonde and began to use her healing magic on his head.

"We didn't though... I just fell asleep in the tub." Naruto replied embarrassed, even though he knew she was right and he didn't have to explain. It was expected, but not what happened.

"Oh." Sakura said softly and paused in her healing, "You shouldn't tell others. Let them assume. The Uchiha royalty would expect... Let them assume."

Naruto nodded softly following her train of thought and remembered Sasukes actions last night. Staining his dress and sheets.

"He told me the same. But didn't push. I think... I think it hurt me. What his brother did. Before. I just didn't process it. And I... Broke down." Naruto explained with his eyes closed, not wanting to see his maids reaction. He'd always confided in her and was better at processing his thought aloud than within. The fact he wasn't able to talk out his feelings was what lead to his meltdown the previous night.

"It's understandable. I had been.. Taken advantage of before. The wounds hurt deep and take time to heal, Naruto. Don't be ashamed." Sakura said and stopped healing him to embrace him tightly. "I'm sorry for what's being done to you."

Naruto heard himself sob before he realized he was crying. Knowing it was okay to be hurt, but also knowing he couldn't protect one of his best friends - it lead to conflicting feelings. Both intense.

"I'm sorry." Naruto blubbered into the womans shoulder as he embraced her tightly as well. "I should've protected you- I should be stronger- I- I'm- I'm sorry."

"Naruto please. There is no need to apologize. Would you like me to get the queen for you?" Sakura asked as she rubbed into his back.

But thinking of his mother made him tense up, if she knew she'd try to break the union. Making everything he went through moot. So he forced himself to calm down and shook his head.

"I'm sorry. I'm fine. I just... I'll eat and drink but I'm still tired. Can I rest?" Naruto asked softly as he pulled back from his maid. He could see her disappointment that he was closing up but he was reminded by her words why he was doing this. For his people- his kingdom. He needed to stay strong.

Sakura nodded softly after appraising the prince for a moment, then she got up and left quietly.

Naruto watched the door close and looked to the array of food beside his bed. He wasn't hungry anymore. So he rolled over and closed his eyes, praying for sleep.

---------

When Naruto awoke next it was due to his hair being brushed through by fingers gently. He wearily opened his eyes and found onyx ones looking down at him.

"You should eat." Sasuke said softly and reached for a glass before pouring water in it. Naruto didn't realize how much he enjoyed the soft playing of his hair until it stopped while the water was being poured. He whined slightly at the loss before realizing what he did.

Sasuke looked down at him and chuckled, "I'll dote on you again if you eat."

Naruto groaned in response and embarrassment but sat up, this time holding the blanket against his chest. He grabbed the water and took a sip, then realized how parched he was and gulped the whole drink down.

"Woah. Slow down. It's not a race. Here. Take this apple slice." Sasuke offered and took the empty cup and refilled it.

Naruto experienced the same thing with the apple, taking a small bite before realizing he was starved and eating the whole slice in one bite. He only stopped chewing when Sasuke laughed at him again, then he became aware of how full his cheeks were of the apple. He covered his face with his hand and swallowed thickly.

"Sorry, I- " Naruto started but honestly didn't know how to finish, instead he just repeated, "Sorry."

"There is no need to apologize. But I guess I don't need to bribe you." Sasuke said and handed a bread roll to the blonde.

Naruto nodded and began to chew on the bread, looking to the curtains to find what time of day it was.

"It's sundown. Your mother is worried because she didn't see you at any meals. I think she was trying to set me ablaze with her glare. So I left dinner to come check on you. I didn't realize you had still been sleeping." Sasuke explained slowly as he began to nibble at the food himself.

"I didn't feel well." Naruto responded after a moment and felt guilty for wallowing. He had lost a whole day to it, but he also felt like he needed to hide. At least until he could handle his emotions better.

Chapter Text

The following morning Naruto was awoken by Sakura, she smiled softly and then turned to open the curtains.

"The queen wishes to see you today." Sakura said softly, knowing Naruto would still be grumpy.

"Okay." Naruto responded and sat up, he knew he'd have to face the world today. He looked to the other side of the bed and was unsurprised to find Sasuke gone. He seemed to be an early riser, and thankfully was giving Naruto space.

"Would you like me to draw you a bath?" Sakura offered as she collected the food from the day before.

"No, it's okay. I can do it." Naruto said and began to get up, going straight to the bathroom door the tub. "Let my mother know I'll be by after I find a breakfast please."

Naruto then took a soothing bath but found his stomach to be cramping, probably from not eating much yesterday. So as his stomach protested he got out of the water and thought of what to eat.

Once in the dining hall he found that not eating had lead him to be picky about what he would eat. It seemed he had passed the point of hunger and now was feeling uneasy, so he grabbed some granola and munched on it slowly as he made his way to his mothers room.

As he approached the door he tried to steel his nerves and bury the sadness he was feeling deep down within himself. He had to continue to be strong, and he had to convince his mother that he didn't need protection and that things were fine as they were. So with a deep breath in, he knocked on her door.

"Come in." Kushina called out from the other side of the door. Naruto nodded to himself and pushed the door open, looking for his mother in her chambers.

"Hi mom, you asked for me?" Naruto asked as he found her lounging on her couch reading.

"Yes! My baby, come here. How are you doing? Is the Uchiha treating you well? Are you hungry? I didn't see you at dinner. Come sit." Kushina spewed off as she made room on the couch for him. Naruto rolled his eyes at his mother and chuckled as he sat.

"I'm fine, yes Sasuke is treating me well. I just ate and I was feeling unwell yesterday. How about you? How are you feeling?" Naruto asked as his mother stared at him, seemingly trying to find something hidden in his face.

"Hm, something seems off though. I'll let it be for now. I'm fine, just worried about my child. I'm so sorry for this still. I know you denied it and will continue to, but if you ever want out. I will do anything and every-"

"Mom. It's okay. I'm fine. I'll let you know if that changes okay?" Naruto lied with a smile as he brushed his mothers hair behind her ear.

"Fine, I understand. But still, please keep me informed. Your happiness means more to me than anything else. This castle and kingdom be damned." Kushina said with a huff.

"Don't speak that way mom. I'll be fine! Nothing I didn't expect to face and nothing others before me haven't endured." Naruto retorted with a laugh.

"Just because others have dealt with these ancient ways doesn't mean I want you to. I wish I could go back in time, I wouldn't sign any treaty with that awful family. Little did I know.." Kushina trailed off and started to angrily mumble to herself.

Naruto laughed outright at this and pulled his mother into a hug, "I'm fine. I swear. Stop worrying about me and worry more about important things. Like dad. He must be feeling old with my marriage huh?"

Kushina laughed loudly at the comment and they continued to talk into the afternoon about events that had happened in the last month - updates with soilders, news from the town, the experience of having so many royal visitors at once, and the Uchiha family. Naruto avoided talking about his time with Itachi as it seemed irrelevant to relay to his mother - he was married to Sasuke now and Itachi had gotten in trouble for his actions. There was no need to add to his mothers hate for the family.

When both of their stomachs growled simultaneously they laughed and headed down to the dining room, they found it was already almost dinner time anyways so they moved their chat to the table. After a while the King joined them and began adding his own opinions on things in and Naruto enjoyed his time with his parents.

Once dinner was served Hinata and Sasuke found their way to the dining room and things quieted down as they ate peacefully, throwing a couple of comments back and forth. Sasuke stayed mostly quiet but laughed at the jokes and nodded when appropriate.

Naruto smiled to himself and thought things may turn out better than he thought, and honestly a lot of that had to do with Sasuke. The raven was letting Naruto continue his normal life and was adapting to the Uzumaki/Namikaze traditions instead of fighting them or keeping Naruto hidden away.

This left the blonde feeling thankful and wishing he could find a way to thank the other prince without it coming off as awkward or forced. Soon, he would fine a way. Soon.

Chapter Text

The following week had been uneventful, Naruto knew he would soon be traveling to the Uchihas kingdom but he tried not to think about it. Instead he tried to think of ways to make Sasuke understand his appreciation. Naruto had already taken the raven to his favorite restaurant and they hadn't taken up sparring again - Naruto still didn't feel up to it and felt fatigued.

The blonde prince found himself lazing about with his family and maids while Sasuke sparred with Kakashi in the mornings and took studies in the afternoon. Naruto appreciated the Uchihas strong will to stay in good health and knowledge but he just hadn't felt up to anything. Sometimes he would wake and feel nauseous and wondered if a visitor had left a bug in his castle. A couple of maids had come down with some cold after the event and Naruto was just hoping the bug would pass through him quickly.

Today he found himself lounging in his room on the couch and focused on things he could do with his now husband, as a thank you. As he moved to the window to look out at the fields below he came up with a plan. Naruto would take Sasuke on a stroll through the fields to the pond where he discovered who he truly was. Naruto felt like sharing something so important could convey his appreciation without too much effort.

With that in mind he went off to find Kakashi, and then Iruka to inform them of his travel tomorrow. Since he knew both would need to know and would find accommodations for the travel. Although when they suggested horseback riding Naruto denied them, feeling like his stomach wouldn't be able to handle it with the sickness he was currently experiencing. Once they had agreed on plans Naruto went to the kitchen to grab snacks, then to his room with a book from the library. He only needed a fresh cup of tea to make his day any better.

As if on queue Sasuke came in with Sakura following behind carrying a tea pot and two cups on a platter.

"I was thinking I wanted some tea! It's like you are both mind readers!" Naruto exclaimed and sat up excitedly, he was feeling much more like himself now that his deep depressive state was pushed away.

"Prince Sasuke requested tea and I figured you'd be in here, Prince Naruto." Sakura explained and set the platter on the table in front of the couch.

"I just got here. Thank you so much Sakura, and you too, Sasuke." Naruto said with an appreciative smile.

Sakura nodded and asked if they needed anything else before departing, leaving the two princes sitting on the couch with fresh tea.

"I have a surprise for you." Naruto suddenly announced, unable to keep the secret for more than an hour.

"What's that?" the brunette asked in between sips.

"Tomorrow we're going out. Just wear sturdy shoes and we'll pack a lunch. I want to bring you somewhere." the blonde prince replied excitedly.

"Where?" Sasuke asked as he set down his tea cup and looked to the bookshelf, eyeing for something to read.

"That's the surprise. I'm not telling." Naruto retorted in a childlike taunt. This caused the other to snort in response before getting up to grab a book that interested him.

"Well, tomorrow can't come soon enough then." Sasuke replied as he sat down directly next to Naruto. This caused the blonde to blush and try to bury his nose in his book as a distraction, but suddenly his feet were being pulled to his right.Naruto let out a started squeak before he realized Sasuke was laying the blondes legs across his lap.

"I'm cold." he stated in a matter of fact tone, then grabbed his tea cup, taking a sip before continuing to read.

--------------------------------

The next morning Naruto woke early and forced his body to stay awake, he had grown accustom in the few short days since he had fallen ill to sleeping in. He rolled over and found the brunette in his bed half awake looking unfocused in between them.

"Good morning! Ready for my surprise?" Naruto asked with sleep still in his voice. This caused the other prince to look at the blonde before closing his eyes.

"Have you been sleeping so much to save up energy? It's too early to head out." Sasuke mumbled with his eyes still closed but brow furrowed.

"Well yeah, but we can eat breakfast and have the kitchen prepare our lunch." Naruto responded with a yawn. "And I'm sure I caught some bug so excuse me for sleeping more than usual."

Sasuke mumbled some response but Naruto didn't hear it as he got up and moved to take a shower then get dressed for the day. He had found himself not wearing his corset tops as he just didn't want to deal with the pain in his ribs while being sick, instead he wore loose tops and wrapped bandage around his chest to bind lightly. It wasn't his preferred method of binding because it was wasteful and was less effective in hiding his chest but it worked for now.

"Get up sleepy!" Naruto called out into the bedroom upon his return, startling the onyx prince awake again.

"Fine, I'm up. Meet me in the dining hall." Sasuke said as he rubbed at his eyes and sat up in the bed. Naruto agreed to this and headed to the hall wondering what they would bring as a lunch.

Chapter Text

Naruto waited impatiently for breakfast to be over so they could set out for the pond. It wasn't that far of a walk but Naruto wanted to hang around outside the palace walls as long as possible, and with Iruka and Kakashi joining them it was bound to be fun. Naruto even debated bringing his sister and some maids but decided against it since this was supposed to be a thank you to his husband.

"Husband..." Naruto thought aloud as he munched on his oatmeal.

"Yes?" Sasuke asked looking to the blonde.

"Ah! I'm sorry! I didn't... It's weird to say I have a... Spouse. I just- Sorry I'm gonna just shut up now." Naruto rambled out and hid his face behind his hair.

"Hm. Well I never thought I would say that either. Having a husband. It is a weird thing to acknowledge." the raven replied while looking out the window at the clouds blowing by.

Naruto looked at the other prince and felt a smirk creep on his face, he was a husband too. As weird as this all was, it felt nice to be called someones husband. He always thought that whoever would call him that would cherish him and he would do the same.

Although their relationship was on the mend he couldn't say he loved the raven, but he did appreciate him.

"Would you like me to call a painter?" Sasuke asked while taking a bite of his own oatmeal.

"What?"

"Well I feel uncomfortable with you staring at me this long. If there is painting you can memorize my face that way and I can be left alone." the Uchiha replied with a smirk.

"You- Shut up! I'm done eating, I'm going to the kitchen to have them make our lunch. Find Kakashi! I don't even wanna look at your face! I didn't mean to- I- Shut up!" Naruto spat out and grabbed his bowl heading to the kitchen with a heated face. He thought he heard chuckling but refused to turn around or acknowledge it.

-----------------

"Ready?" the white haired solider asked the two princes as they all met at the gate.

"Ready! Iruka-sensei do you have lunch?" Naruto asked excitedly.

"In my bag, yes." the brunette man replied with a kind smile.

"Let's go!" Naruto exclaimed and started out of the palace grounds and onto the path out of town.

Not even ten minutes later though he was dragging his feet and regretting not taking horses. He knew they weren't far now, maybe they were a third of the way there. How did he make this run as a child so quickly without tiring?

"Do you need a break?" came from Naruto's left while placing a hand on his shoulder. The blonde looked up and found concerned onyx eyes looking back at him.

"Ah, no I'm fine! See? I'm good to go. Just getting over that sickness! We're almost there. I can tell!" Naruto piped up and made sure to keep his back straight and look forward. He had gotten himself so excited for this trip, he didn't want this stupid sickness to ruin it before they even got halfway there.

"Your highness please let us know as soon as you feel fatigued and we will take a break and refresh. We have all day." Iruka chimed in with concern laced in his voice.

"I will! But I'm totally fine now. Just got lost in my thought was all!" Naruto lied and marched on, hoping he'd make it without causing any more suspicion.

Luckily, he made it with no other stops or comments about his pace, and a couple of clouds had rolled in providing shade when they approached the large pond.

"We're here!" Naruto exclaimed and jogged the last bit of distance, looking at the trees that surrounded the area in wonder. This place was so special and seemed to have not aged at all from his memory.

"A pond?" the other prince asked, sounding less amused.

"Yes! I told you about it before. The pond were the magical beast showed me myself for the first time." Naruto explained this time a softness in his voice.

The two that were watching over them made themselves less prevalent and set up a small blanket and pulled out books across the pond.

"I wanted to... Thank you. You don't have to do what you do for me. But you do, and I can tell now it's not out of guilt for your brothers actions. It's you. I wanted to... Share this with you. This place that means to much to me. As a thank you." Naruto explained looking out at the water, seeing life around and in it.

The raven didn't reply at first but then nodded, "You're welcome. Thank you for sharing this with me."

They sat around the lake, enjoying the shade and eating the rice balls that Naruto had the kitchen pack and when they weren't engaging in playful banter they were reading the books that were brought.

Naruto smiled to himself and thought about how grateful he was to have thought of this when he suddenly felt a familiar aura and heard a low growl.

Chapter Text

Naruto sat up straight and looked around him, seeing none of the others had reacted. Meaning only he heard the noise and felt the aura. Maybe it was his imagination... But he had to find out.

"I'll be back. I have to use the restroom." Naruto said to the group, getting a nod from Kakashi before he went back to his book. Naruto turned around and swallowed before talking a step into the treeline.

He followed where he felt the aura coming from and heard the growling, now positive it wasn't his imagination. Maybe he should have told the others but now he was too far away.

Just when he looked back, wondering if he should let the others know what was up he was pushed to the ground. A hot appendage keeping him down.

"Disgusting." A low voice growled, Naruto looked up and found himself looking right into the foxes eyes from his childhood.

"I give you this seal help you and you let an Uchiha impregnate you? Disgusting." The fox growled and pressed on Narutos stomach.

"Impr..." Naruto repeated dumbfounded.

"Oh you didn't know? Even worse. Did one of their clan attack you?" The fox growled, leaning closer into Naruto. The blonde couldn't think but found himself nodding. It was the truth, he didn't want that, any of it, and to now have something growing in him? He thought he would be sick.

"Do you want this?" The fox growled, pressing again on the prince's midsection with its large paw. Naruto heard himself sob before realizing he was crying. From fear? Pain? Both? Either way he shook his head no.

"Stay away from them. There is a reason I protect you." The demon growled before something activated in the seal on Narutos stomach.

Red hot heat tore through him, he cried out and saw the foxes paw somehow going into his body, into the seal it had created. He cried out again when a new pain shot through him and the fox removed its body from him.

"Come back if you need me. Do not show this seal to that clan. They will kill you." The fox mumbled before disappearing into the trees.

Naruto barely was able to stay conscious looking enough to hear the others calling his name, getting closer. His shirt was charred and left his stomach bare, he felt warmth pooling between his legs and his stomach still burned inside and out.

"Naruto!" The blonde heard the familiar voices, all panicked. It sounded weird to hear Sasuke sound panicked, but somehow familiar. This was his last thought before he succumbed to the pain.

------

When he awoke his whole body ached, he wad confused where he was at first then his mind started to clear and he recognized the nurses chambers. No one was currently with him, but he heard talking on the other side of the door.

"Has he improved?" His father, he sounded so concerned. Naruto wanted to say something but found his voice too hoarse to call out.

"He's still asleep. It's been 3 days. I can only help so much with a demon that strong placing magic on him. My skills are nonexistent to that beast." A female voice replied, Sakura.

3 days? He'd been asleep for 3 days? He mentally did a once over on his body, he felt stiff, his muscles ached, his throat sore, and worst of all was his stomach, it hurt so bad.

Naruto pulled back the blanket to look at his midsection and gasped at the sight, the seal on his stomach was raised, almost welted. It was red and angry and hot to the touch, and even without magical powers Naruto knew there was a new surge of energy from it.

When he was about to cover up he saw something he didn't think he would see, blood. There was extra towels under him and his pelvis was coated in it. When he tried to sit up and move he felt a cramp in his stomach keep him down.

'Impregnate'

Was he still pregnant? Was his body riding itself of the child? What did the fox do?

Naurto had all these questions when the door began to open, he quickly covered himself and looked up.

Chapter Text

When blue met lilac Naruto swallowed thickly.

"H-hey Hinata," the prince mumbled out through his hoarse voice, scratching at the back of his neck in anxiety.

"Naruto!" The princess cried and rushed to his bedside, practically throwing herself on him. "You're awake! Thank god. How are you feeling? What happened?" Hinata rambled out quickly while wiping at tears as they spilled down her cheeks.

The blonde let his sister hug him lightly and tried to gather his thoughts. He was still recovering, but he’s sure his family and friends want answers. He doesn’t feel ready to talk about any of it, though.

"I—I don't know. We were at the pond. And then I heard it- him, the fox demon. He- he told me that I was- that Ita-" Naruto began to feel his breath quicken and tried to calm himself, if nothing else than for his sister. "He got rid of it..." The pregnancy. The thought is paralyzing; he had been carrying Itachi’s child, and now everyone knew exactly what that bastard did. Shame burns in his stomach and it’s all he can think about as he looks down at his stomach. Then, soft hands brush his cheek’s and Naruto realizes he’s been crying. He rears back, trying to get a grip. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't-"

"There is absolutely no need to apologize. I—We are all—angry would be an understatement. If you would have told us, we wouldn't have allowed him to stay with you. We would have called off the contract, we wo-"

"And that’s why I didn’t tell you! It's my duty to protect my people." Naruto cut his sister off, looking at her with determination, even though he knew the tear streaked cheeks worked against him.

"How can you protect them when there is no more you to give? What would you have done if the fox hadn't intervened?" Hinata asked tentatively, but not backing down.

"I—I don't know..." Naruto replied and looked down at his hands. He felt defeated and hurt. He didn't want to face his parents, or anyone else. When did he start hiding from his parents? When did he start having to hide everything from them? When did he stop caring about himself?

After that first night with Itachi.

Naruto hasn’t had an opportunity to recover since the moment he was left alone with the eldest Uchiha heir. Itachi was immediately cruel and Naruto hadn’t even tried to fight back. He didn’t see a way out that didn’t mean war for his people, so he let it happen. He wore the dresses and the hair extensions and let Itachi do any damn thing he wanted. In the end none of it mattered. The bastard still rejected Naruto in front of everyone and if it hadn’t been for Sasuke—

Where is Sasuke?

A new wave of dread and panic rolls through him. Sasuke knows, too, exactly what Itachi got away with. Why isn’t he here? Naruto looks to his sister and can see the worry and grief all over her face. He feels so useless. He’s supposed to be a prince and protect others, but all he does is make everyone else worry.

“Naruto?” Hinata asks and combs back his short hair with her hand. She wants him to open up, to let her help.

"C-can you go? I just want to be alone right now." Naruto asks and curls further into the bed. He turns toward the wall, hiding his face from Hinata and barely keeps it together. She stays beside his bed, but after a few seconds Naruto can hear her slowly stand.

"Don't shut us out, Naruto. I love you." Hinata said and left the room quietly. Naruto heard her on the other side of the door turning others away saying that he was asleep, and he appreciated it.

Then he laid there, staring at the wall. Hoping her lie would become the truth and he can just sleep through the rest of his life.

----------------------------------

Hours passed and Naruto stayed in his bed the rest of the day. People came by periodically to check on him, but he pretended to be asleep. Luckily, everyone either believe he was resting or understood he wanted to be left alone to lick his wounds. Sasuke never visited, and Naruto can’t bring himself to ask.

He hated this. The whole situation. The pain was renewed knowing that he couldn't be a man. It feels like all his prior attempts to live authentically had been a joke. How can he show his face now? The prince who miscarried, and everyone knows it. He lays on his side, curled in on himself with his hand against his abdomen. He can feel the raised scar on his stomach from the fox but knowing that it’s his womb on the other side of his hand devastates him. His body has worked against him, and someone had used him.

But worse was that he let them.

He had so many thoughts plaguing his mind, none of them good or productive.

But one thought came more than the others. He needed to go back. He needed to know what had happened and what this seal means. He needs to understand why the fox was so adamant about Naruto staying away from the Uchiha clan.

Naruto bides his time and waits until the evening nurse checks on him. Once she is gone and the sun sets, he snuck out. The blonde took his usual path and found some borrowed clothes along the way. He tries to move quickly, not wanting to waste his window of time, but his body is still healing. It’s likely someone will notice he’s missing, and his family will send people looking for him, so he needs to use his time wisely.

He manages to make it outside the perimeters of the castle and kingdom without setting off a single guard and sets off toward the pond at a slightly slower pace. It doesn’t feel like he’s bleeding as badly as before, but he’s fatigued. The last thing he needs is to pass out here, still recovering and weak.

As Naruto got closer to the pond, he felt the fox’s powerful aura again. The presence isn’t as angry this time, for which he is grateful. It wasn't exactly inviting, either, but there was no growling as he approached. Once he made it past the tree line and into the open area, he saw it. The large fox was curled up next to the water, watching his every move.

"Back already?" the fox asked in a bored tone.

The prince nodded slowly and made his way to the beast, wondering if he should sit beside him or stand at a distance.

"Come. Sit with me. I will heal your wounds." The fox said in an annoyed tone this time as he swished a tail to and fro.

Naruto moved over and looked where to sit when suddenly one of the beast’s tails swung around and knocked his legs out from under him. He fell into another two tails that turned him and cradled him.

"Now. What do you want?" Naruto heard the voice vibrate through his back as he laid on the demon.

"Why do you care for me?" the blonde asked suddenly looking directly at the beast, trying to hold onto any confidence he had left.

The fox made a soft grunt and rolled his eyes, one of his tails starting to flick a bit. "It's not because I want to, I can tell you that." The deep voice responded after a long silence. "I once made a mistake and unluckily was saved by an ancestor of yours. He made me watch after his heirs if ever needed, and of course you need my help. I went so long without being summoned but you bring me here too often."

Naruto looked up at the sky as he felt a warmth suddenly envelop him, his skin tingled, and he recognized the feeling of magical healing. This was different though, so warm and intense, he felt his whole body become rejuvenated in the minute the warmth was there.

"And of course, when I leave you have to go and bring that damn clan here." the fox barked more to himself than at the prince.

"I had to! When I was born my parents promised me to them as long as their army kept us in their borders. I didn't have a choi-"

"You did this for land protection? You humans truly are weak. Why I ever owed your family..." the fox trailed off and let out a deep aggravated sigh, "If you needed protection so badly you should have gone to another clan. Any other clan."

"Why do you hate them?" the prince asked before thinking and was suddenly vibrating with the loud laugh he got in response.

"Have you ever read a history book? They wanted all power. Tried to capture every magical beast to keep for power. Killed most of them. That was my mistake, I let them find me and your ancestors came and fought with me. I imagine they only wanted you to torture you for the rebellion your family caused against them."

Naruto felt himself prickle at the idea, it seemed possible. But he didn't think Sasuke knew, or else he wouldn't act the way he does.

“What else do you want? I have places to be." the fox asked and moved the prince onto his feet before beginning to stretch.

"What is this?" Naruto asked, placing a hand on his stomach, the fox looked at it and then up to the stars before meeting blue eyes again.

"It's my seal, it beckons me to you if you need me. I also tried to attach magic to it to stop your puberty from fully happening since I know you didn't want it to. If you need me, touch it and think of me. I will be able to come if you need me. But know that I will link with you before I leave. I am not wasting my time with your human business." the fox grumbled at the end and looked off into the tree line.

"Thank you." the prince said with a soft smile, he felt somehow whole again. Any part of him that was hollowed out was now filled by the knowledge he had something to protect him.

The fox nodded and began to move away when Naruto had a new thought, "What's your name?"
"Kurama."

Chapter Text

When the fox took his leave an orange glow was left in his wake. The splash of fading light remained for a moment before the night returned and Naruto found himself looking into the water. He touched his stomach again and felt the seal had returned to its former size and was no longer welted or hot.

He thought of how he was supposed to go to the Uchiha land soon and felt fear fill him. He also wondered if Sasuke knew of the fox and their families ties to one another.

Somehow he felt the other prince was also unaware with how he behaved.

Then he felt his stomach drop, Sasuke had to have known he was pregnant by now. How would he feel? Disgusted that Itachi had left a physical piece of himself in the blonde? Hurt that Naruto had hidden what had happened? He felt all of these things so why wouldn’t the other prince?

He couldn’t pretend what happened with Itachi didn’t happen anymore. Everyone would know - or knew. Part of the prince didn’t want to go back and face his family but another part of him feels like he needed to find Sasuke and… apologize? He didn’t know how he felt about it but he knew he needed the raven.

So the blonde got up and dusted himself off before heading back to the castle. He traveled the direct path on his return, not worried about being caught now. This is exactly what happened; as soon as he was within view, guards started coming down from their post and approached him quickly.

The first to respond was Kakashi who seemed shocked to see the blonde once he was close enough to recognize the prince. “N-Naruto? What are you doing out here? Shouldn’t you be in the medical wing?” The silver haired soldier asked as he jogged to the younger man.

“I was… at the pond. I’m fine though. Do you know where Sasuke is?” Naruto asked trying to look firm, not wanting the soldier to fight him back to bed.

The silver haired man looked at the prince intensely, obviously contemplating something before he replied, “He is in your room, sir. But he was in a meeting this evening, he may still be busy.”

“A meeting? For what?” Naruto asked, wondering who could be wanting to meet with the Uchiha. Maybe his parents? To scold him for Itachi’s actions? It wasn’t his fault!

Again, Naruto feels the urge to apologize to his husband. Logically, he knows he didn't do anything wrong, but the instinct to seek Sasuke out and explain himself is strong.

Naruto rushed to his room feeling his face heat with anger and embarrassment, and when he approached his door he saw two guards standing outside. His parents were definitely inside.

The blonde pushed past the confused guard and threw the door open. He was immediately met with his parents glaring eyes, obviously wanting privacy. Once they realized who was intruding their faces softened immediately and his mothers eyes began to water.

“What are you doing out of bed? How are you dirty? Did you go out?” Kushina asked as she approached her son and began rubbing at his face and hair.

Naruto looked past his mother and saw the Uchiha sitting on the sofa across from his father still facing away from the door, looking stiff. “I- yes I went out. I’m fine. I-” Naruto looked to Sasuke again, thinking of the foxes words to not bring him up to the Uchiha, “I went back to the pond. The fox healed me.”

“You went back?! Naruto! The fox nearly killed you! That damn beast and the Uchihas! I swear I’m not going to let them-”

“Mom! Stop!” Naruto interrupted as she wrapped herself around him, he pushed out of her grip and looked her in the eye before moving to his husband.

When he rounded the corner of the sofa and met the onyx eyes his heart dropped. He could see Sasuke was hurt, but like a wall was blocking the emotion. He had closed up.

“Sasuke. I-” the blonde began but was cut off by his father, loudly clearing his throat.

“Naruto take a seat please. Let’s all speak.” Minato said with the serious expression back.

Naruto looked between his father and husband before nodding slowly and taking a seat.

“Naruto, how are you?” Minato asked after everyone sat down.

“I’m fine. Like I said the fox healed me. I went back-”

“Don’t go back there unattended.” Minato cut off his son, keeping the stern look on his face. “Sasuke, again, where were you when Naruto was attacked?”

The room went silent, Naruto felt his jaw drop and his face heat with anger. They were interrogating Sasuke before he came in.

“I was at the water line with Kakashi and Iruka, like they both confirmed.” Sasuke replied with a tone that sounded different, more sure and authoritative. The voice he used with his parents.

“They did confirm this but why didn’t you go with Naruto? He was gone for awhile; did you not wonder where he was?” Kushina now added in, her anger clear in her voice.

“He said he was going to the restroom and I did not think of the timing as I was giving him privacy.” Sasuke responded again seeming cold.

“You should have done something, you are now his husband. How are we supposed to trust you with him if you can’t even be bothered to keep track of him?” Minato added in, closing his glare directly on the raven.

“Hello? I’m right here. I’m not something that should be ‘kept track of’! Why are you coming down on him? Iruka and Kakashi were in the same spot with the same assumptions! I left because I heard the fox, they didn’t. How is any of this Sasuke’s fault? Why am I being treated like some object to be protected? Has being married somehow lessened my knightly training?” Naruto asked his parents angrily before turning to Sasuke.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry you are being judged for your brothers crimes and for simply being at the pond with me. I wanted- I tried-” Naruto looked down at his hands, “I was trying to thank you. For accepting me and letting me be me. But instead it’s come to this. I’m sor-”

“Stop.”

The blonde looked up and met onyx eyes, they had softened and a pale hand came up to brush the blondes cheek tenderly.

“I do feel bad. I should have been watching over you. I know you can hold your own, but we were still away from the security of the palace. I should be the one apologizing. For… my brothers cruel actions to you.” Sasuke seemed to spit the word ‘brother’ out and took a moment to breathe before continuing, “I was worried, too. Endlessly. Please don’t leave me- or your parents out of the know again. Especially about my family's actions.”

Naruto saw the pain behind the still guarded princes expression and felt his anger burst into nothingness before the pain crept in again. This whole situation was fucked.

“Okay.” Naruto replied looking down at his lap again, feeling guilty. It felt like nothing he was doing was right. If he hid what happened for the sake of the kingdom, he was hurt. If he stopped anything from occurring his kingdom would be hurt. There was no right.

“He is absolutely right. You need to tell us if anything-” Kushina began in a nagging tone before being stopped by the elder blonde.

“We will leave for now, but this conversation isn’t over. Sasuke.” Minato said still hanging a lot of anger onto the ravens name.

Chapter Text

After Kushina and Minato left the room, the silence hung heavy in the air.

“I’m sorry for them and for the-” Naruto began but was cut off when the raven wrapped his body around the smaller framed man.

“I’m so sorry. I can never apologize enough- I should have stopped him.” The raven whispered into the hug and held on tightly to the blonde.

“You don’t have to- Sasuke, let go- Sasuke. For real.” Naruto said as he pushed at the other prince and felt himself becoming overcome with emotions from the simple hug.

“Please, just let me... I was worried too.” Sasuke said softly and Naruto stilled but felt the emotions still bubble up.

“Why? Since you came I just cry so much. I hate it. I hate feeling so-” Naruto hicced and rubbed his face into the shoulder in front of him, trying to hide.

“I’m sorry. I wish… things could be different. That maybe even we never met. That my family never came. I also just… want you safe. And happy.” The raven responded, sounding a little hoarse himself.

“I- Like you being here. I just… I also wish it was different. But- I like…” you. As soon as the sentiment flew through his head Naruto closed his eyes tightly. “I like you being here too. I want you to be free as well.”

The raven haired prince chuckled softly and pulled back to look into the azure eyes, currently red and turning puffy from crying.

“Thank you, for standing up for me.” The dark prince whispered and leaned in slowly, keeping his gaze with the man in front of him. “Do... you like... men?” The words whispered out as their faces came closer, ever slowly.

Naruto nodded softly and looked down between lips, and then up to jet black eyes.

Naruto heard a soft ‘good’ before his entire being lit up, when their lips met it was like a shock of electricity went through the blonde. He reached up and grabbed onto the chest and shoulders in front of him, unintentionally drawing them closer. The blonde was unaware of his chest pushing forward and his back arching into the man in front of him until a hand reached behind him and touched his lower back, pulling him in, impossibly closer.

After what was probably a moment but felt like a lifetime, they broke apart, panting lightly and looking at each others’ blushing faces.

“I... Uh... Guess you do too?” Naruto asked while his face was red, pulsing with his heart.

The raven snorted and nodded slowly while keeping a sly smirk on his face. “Yeah, although I’m surprised you do. I figured you would want to be with a woman.”

Naruto thought of this for a moment but realized, even though he had loved Sakura previously, he had never had any preference for someone based on their gender alone. For him, sexuality and attraction wasn't determined by gender. After all, the only thing Naruto wanted for himself was acceptance. It would be wrong if he couldn't accept others in the same regard.

“I don’t care about… that. If I changed who I am, who am I to judge others? I could have married someone and they realized they were in the wrong body too. Who am I to-” Naruto was cut off when lips met his again.

They pushed against each other and the blonde sighed softly into the kiss, it felt… good. Really good. Being that the only people he kissed were Sasuke and Itachi, he had no real scale to based their kisses on, but the younger brother was much better.

Naruto pulled away and looked up at the raven, feeling bad that he thought of Itachi. “What about you? What would you have done if…?” Naruto left the question unfinished, knowing they both were referring to arranged marriages and the need for royal children from those marriages.

“I would have done what I needed to. I didn’t expect much from my life, if I am being honest. But…” the raven looked at the blonde, his eyes almost filled with wonder, it made the blonde feel like he needed to move away. Instead he looked away and shivered at the intensity of the electricity between them currently. “Being here gives me hope.”

Naruto immediately reconnected his eyes to onyx ones and looked for anything showing a lie, but as he expected, he found no dishonesty in those eyes.

“Hope?” Naruto asked and heard his voice was much quieter than he expected.

“Yeah. Hope.” Sasuke said simply and took a deep breath in before releasing it and pulling away from the blonde. Naruto’s body reacted to this by shivering, missing the warmth provided by the other body. “We… have to talk. In a couple of days we have to head out to my kingdom.” Sasuke started and Naruto immediately felt his body go cold. Being surrounded by the Uchihas and their rule.

Naruto wished that the raven hadn’t changed the subject so abruptly but understood as he was also feeling emotionally drained and couldn’t manage to talk much more about feelings now anyways.

“I know things, hell almost everything is different there." Sasuke continued. "But while we are there, follow my lead, I will stand up for you as you have done for me. You will have to stay in my room most of the time unless I’m with you.” Sasuke began looking around the room, looking like he was taking in everything before him slowly and meticulously.

“The castle and kingdom are colder. We are close to the ocean, so it is always cold and it is approaching winter season so it will be even colder. Please pack your heaviest clothing and have someone here make you warmer clothes. It’s a three day travel so bring some books too.” Sasuke said and let out a large sigh before meeting Naruto’s eyes again, “We’ll make it through this.”

Naruto nodded and tried to push down the insecurities he felt, needing to show a strong face and take this head on.

“Together”

Chapter Text

The days following seemed to go by in a blur.

Naruto had the seamstress make him clothing of the thickest fabric available for their area. It was hard to find, considering their weather never got to snowing and Sasuke said it snowed heavily and early where he lived.

Naruto was excited to see snow but felt his gut get more twisted with anxiety everyday as they drew closer to the kingdom.

Naruto could tell his clothes wouldn’t be thick enough but hoped there would be undergarments that he could wear that would warm him up. He had never paid attention to the fabrics or clothes he wore before but now that it was his identity in this new land. Naruto stroked the fabric lovingly for the thousandth time that day and looked out the window where things were covered in a thin layer of snow.

They were only half a day away and Naruto wanted to get out and play with the weird white stuff but knew he would freeze.

He also worried that once he arrived that the king and queen would force him into a dress. He was currently wearing a burnt orange jacket that went to his knees and buttoned up the middle, with a white shirt below that had a hood and went out the sleeves onto his hands. Under that was black pants and mid-calf boots.

The blonde had brought a couple of the binders Sasuke had made but only a few as he knew in this culture he would most likely be told to take it off.

Things between the princes were becoming increasingly easier. They slept together in bed and talked about various things - though Naruto did most of the talking.

The blonde looked over to the silent raven beside him. Sasuke was reading a book, wearing a dark black jacket, a white shirt buttoned to his neck underneath, navy pants and mid calf boots to fight the snow as well. When Naruto looked back at his husband though, he found their eyes met, and for a moment he was entranced.

Then he realized he was staring.

“Ah! Hey! You are- uh- boots! Let’s stop and play in the- the uh- snow!” Naruto got out in a flustered manner, his face heating up since he was caught admiring the other.

“Stop to play in the snow? Wouldn’t you want to end our traveling instead of stopping for snow?” Sasuke asked, a hint of amusement in his voice.

“Well yeah, my ass hurts but also I have never been in snow! Let’s play!” Naruto this time was not trying to cover his embarrassment but was genuinely excited. He did want to explore the new terrain. “Will we be able to once we make it there?” Naruto asked, trying not to sour the mood but curious about how things would be.

This caused the other prince to bristle slightly before shaking his head no, “Let’s stop.”

Naruto nodded in agreement and made a motion to catch a guards attention outside their carriage.

“Can we stop? I need to stretch!” Naruto lied and tried to feign a big stretch and yawn. The guard obviously didn’t believe him but nodded anyways, calling ahead to stop the group.

When the carriage finally came to a stop the blonde was buzzing with excitement. He couldn’t wait to be out of the small space and to explore something new.

When the door was opened by a guard Naruto bolted out and was surprised to find the snow crunched under his boots. He expected something soft and fluffy that would easily give to his steps. He stopped and stomped like a child, raising his knees before stepping down heavily and getting that satisfying ‘crunch’ sound again.

“I thought it would be soft!” Naruto explained to the raven as he came around the carriage to join the blonde.

“In some places it is. But here it’s too warm. The snow turns more into an ice than the light fluffy snowflakes that fall like they do around the castle.” The raven said as he dug his heel into the snow, seeming dissatisfied with the texture.

“Oh! It’Il be like that when we arrive? Oh man! We gotta get going again then!” Naruto said and ran around in a circle before hopping back into the carriage, making the stop obviously useless. He saw the raven shake his head and speak to the guards for a moment before getting back inside.

Naruto watched the scenery pass and the white layer of snow become thicker. Naruto itched to play in it and try to distract himself but when he saw a town in the distance he knew they couldn’t. They were too close. Naruto knew he needed to hide himself and stay inside, just as Sasuke had warned him.

Apparently his coming was more to flaunt Sasuke being wedded than to actually congratulate the new couple. Sasuke had warned the blonde that he would meet many people and his mother would most likely throw a party for the social status of it more than anything.

Naruto knew that’s how things were but it still stung, and it was even worse because he knew everything about him wasn’t enough to the Uchiha standards. He wouldn’t doubt that they would request he keep his last name and forsake taking the Uchiha name if only to preserve these standards.

Naruto was lost in these thoughts so when he snapped out of it, it was only because they had stopped. The blonde looked up and blue met onyx, but his stomach dropped. Standing there waiting for them was Itachi.

Chapter Text

Naruto wanted to stand up to him and be strong but still a part of him was hesitant. So he buried the uncertainty and stepped out of the carriage, holding his head high.

"Ah, Naruto, welcome." Itachi said with a sly smile. Naruto felt sick all over again.

"Good evening brother, where are mother and father?" Sasuke replied quickly as he exited the carriage. Naurto could almost feel the ice between the brothers, as they spoke.

"They are attending a dinner with the elders, they've asked me to greet you. You aren't required to attend anything until the morning after tomorrow." Itachi said with no smile even hinting on his face as he spoke to the younger prince.

Then suddenly it changed, Naruto saw the elder turn to him with the smile back in place, "So why don't you rest up?"

Naruto shivered and nodded. Itachi stood there for a moment longer before he turned and left. Naruto guessed that was all that was required of him.

He looked to his husband and saw the tension set in the others jaw, his teeth obviously clenched together.

"Sasuke?" Naurto asked softly, reaching out and touching the others arm.

"Sorry, let me show you to my room." Sasuke said and tried to relax, but noticeably failed.

Naruto said nothing and kept his head down, he saw the guards sizing him up and most of the looks were of disgust.

Naruto wanted to stand tall and be proud but had been told to just look down and wait until they were alone. So he did, he held his tongue and followed the back of his husband as they walked down corridors.

The castle here was closed off, the whole building was huge but it was all closed up. Naruto missed his open walkways that had grass between halls and sunlight shining through no matter where you went. The Uzumaki palace was built more horizontally than vertically, the whole palace being only on ground level, no second level added in.

The Uchiha palace was the opposite. It was built in what seemed like three wings with many stories, probably four or five, but Naruto couldn't tell once they were inside. It was warmer inside than out which made sense for the closed nature of the palace but it was dark, and seemed hollow.

Once they reached a tall door on the second floor Sasuke stopped and opened it. He pushed inside quickly and closed the door behind the blonde even quicker. "God he looked like he wanted to eat you." Sasuke said with a large sigh of relief, "I'm so sorry I didn't notice before. But trust me, I have Suigetsu guarding this wing. I will update him and he will keep you safe. I may also have Sui-"

"It's okay. I can handle myself. Like I said before, I did knight training. I can hold my own." Naruto said very sure of himself, standing as tall and wide as he could.

Sasuke stopped and smiled softly, "You're right, my apologies. I will still inform Juugo because he needs to know to keep an eye on Itachi with you. But otherwise I trust you. Okay?"

The blonde felt a rush of heat fill his chest and he nodded proudly, quickly. Then the door opened and the blonde tried to assume a smaller space.

"Good evening, sir. A pleasure to make your acquaintance, I'm Juugo." A large orange haired man said as he entered the room and bowed.

Naurto looked to his husband for direction but bowed back out of respect.

"Juugo this is Naruto, my husband. You are to watch over him and care for him as if he were myself, if anything with more care. Am I understood?" Sasuke said with authority and Naruto felt odd hearing the demanding tone from the raven.

"Understood, nice to meet you Naruto-san. Please call for me if you need anything. Would you both like a bath?" Juugo asked as he moved to the bathroom.

"Separately, yes." Sasuke replied and took off his coat. Naruto suddenly realized he was still wearing his and began to disrobe, not needing all the extra layers anymore.

"Can I start a fire?" Naruto asked looking at the fireplace in the corner of the room.

--

Naruto was lounging peacefully on the couch when the door was slammed open some time later.

“Hey hey Princey! Got yourself a misses?” A white haired man burst in yelling while smirking to himself, looking slightly animalistic.

“Suigetsu, close the door. You’re letting in the cold.” Sasuke said without looking up from his book.

“Ah, even marriage can’t change a prick like you, eh? Where is she?” The man named Suigetsu asked and looked around the room, right over Naruto.

“Suigetsu. Shut up. Listen.” Sasuke said and snapped his fingers when the white haired man didn’t look to the prince, “You have a new job. My husband needs extra supervision here with my family. You will respect him and who he is. Got it?”

Naruto swallowed and felt uncomfortable seeing Sasuke in such a commanding tone, and being introduced to someone in such an aggressive way.

“Fine, fine, where is he?” Suigetsu asked and turned from the prince.

“Hello, I’m Naruto.” the blonde said standing up and offered an outstretched hand.

“Holy shit, you? I thought you were a guard, man.” Suigetsu said and took his hand, shaking it roughly.

“Ah, thanks… I think.” Naruto said and blushed, looking down at himself. He knew he was muscular but he didn’t think he was that muscular.

“Man I always thought you were pretty Sasuke but didn’t peg you for a bottom. Get it peg? Bec-”

“Suigetsu shut up.” Sasuke cut off the white haired man, which Naruto found hilarious.

“Ah, come on. I’d let him fuck me. With those arms? He’d cradle me like a little baby and take good care-”

“Suigetsu!” Sasuke cut him off again, this time the blonde was happy for the abrupt cut off. He felt somehow objectified in a whole new way and it still felt as weird.

“Anyways, stop being weird Suigetsu. Just watch after Naruto when you can, he can hold his own but he doesn’t know the culture here.” Sasuke repeated and approached the two light haired males.

“Naruto, I made a promise, would you like to go out in the snow?” Sasuke asked and looked to the blonde who immediately nodded excitedly.

“Yes I would love to!” Naruto responded and started putting his shoes back on quickly.

The trio headed out into the snow and Naruto pranced around the soft blanket covering the floor and made outlines of himself by throwing his body into the snow and getting up gently.

Suigetsu and the blonde warmed up a little more as Sasuke stood watch and denied joining. He seemed tense here, and watched every small movement as if it was a killer coming for them.

It added more and more to Naruto's unease until he couldn’t play anymore, which happened to be when Juugo and some maids called for them to get ready for dinner.

---

When dinner arrived Naruto was already tired from playing in the snow and was completely unprepared for dinner.

He had put on a dress (which he hated), they put in extensions (which he hated), he was wearing heels (which he hated), and his face itched from the make up they put on him (which he hated).

“Naruto, before we go, just… I know it is unlike you but please, keep yourself reserved. Don’t interact. Just nod when appropriate, my mother will be parading you around so there is no need to put in effort. It won’t be worth it either way.” Sasuke said and again looked like any small thing could set him off.

Naruto nodded and tried to swallow his anxiety but he felt he would do fine with the dissociation prickling right under the surface with each flow of the dress or his hair.

“I… will be fine.” Naruto said, already feeling the social block coming on. “I just… I don’t feel good. So I’ll be quiet.”

“Are you okay?” Sasuke asked and put his wrist to Naruto's forehead. Naruto would have chuckled and maybe swatted away the hand usually but now he could barely lift his arm to push away the other.

He had never spoken of his dissociation before with anyone but Hinata, and he felt anxiety build thinking about talking about it.

“Wearing… This. It makes me feel… Bad. I can’t focus, my mind gets foggy. Seeing myself with long hair and a dress makes me feel… Sick.” Naruto explained the best he could through his fog, barely noticing the frown that came over the ravens face.

“I’m so sorry. I will make sure we leave early to get you out of it as soon as possible, okay?” Sasuke offered, the guilt obvious in his voice.

Naruto could only nod, and so they headed out to dinner.

Chapter Text

Naruto felt an odd resemblance between the dinner and his wedding, the whole thing feels like a blur. His breasts were lifted, he itches all over, and he is barely aware of himself enough to scratch.

Many people were introduced at the large ballroom dinner, Naruto was indeed paraded around by Sasuke’s mother, and he barely found himself reacting to even Itachi, only feeling the ice cold feeling of dread below the surface.

He nodded when he thought was right and smiled lightly when being introduced with Sasuke but his actions somehow only made things worse, he heard the whispers “Good, I was worried she would be rowdy.”, “ I mean look at her body. Do they raise heathens there? What must their men look like?”, “Ah, a nice quiet girl.”, “I heard Itachi was her betrothed first but he didn’t think she was good enough.”, “I agree with his opinion.”

If he acted out he would be seen as some monster from a far away land, but if he stayed quiet he was just a quiet, meek bride to bear Uchiha children.

It all felt wrong.

Sasuke stayed true to his word and as soon as Naruto was introduced to everyone he asked his mother if they could part, saying the journey took a toll on them. She reluctantly agreed but was pulled away in different conversation and let them leave, barely turning back.

Naruto made it back to the room and wanted to rid himself of his dress and hair but couldn’t barely lift his arm, his eyes were glued to the couch and he found he couldn’t move them away. Even when he was alone he was trapped in his body.

Naruto felt tears beginning to well in his eyes and only came out of his panic when his dress fell from his body, with its under layers and he was naked in the cold room.

“Ah, I-” Naruto began but was stopped again when Sasuke picked him up.

“I was talking to you before, you didn’t respond at all. Are you okay?” Sasuke asked when he saw Naruto had broken from his own spell.

“I’m sorry… Yes… I’m okay.” Naruto responded still breaking from his daze, he looked up and met ebony and without thinking cupped the Uchihas face softly.

Sasuke was handsome, he wished he could be the best bride for him, but he wasn’t. Then he remembered Sasuke was gay. Even there he failed, still having womanly bits, thinking about this he broke contact from the raven and let his hand fall.

“I’m sorry.” he mumbled and looked down at his body, he was muscular but still had small breasts that could be pushed up to look large, he had a flat stomach and no penis.

It was odd, he often dreamt he had one but when he awoke and found nothing there it was like he was missing his arm. Something was missing.

Naruto again broke from his trance when he was placed in water.

He jumped and tried to move out of it but his shoulders were pushed against the tub and he was held in.

“Naruto, it’s okay. Relax.” Sasuke said softly as he shushed the blonde and moved from beside the tub to behind the blonde and began to work the hair out.

He hated how familiar this felt like even though this was only the second time, it would be like this forever.

Naruto relaxed into the feeling of his hair being untangled from the extensions and noticed they came out easily and were still intact when pulled out. Apparently they had attached the hair to some clip so it can come on and off easily. Convenient.

The blonde heard the man behind him talking but just let the sound of his voice lull him into relaxing.

Wait, behind. When had Sasuke gotten in as well?

 

Naruto wondered what the raven was thinking, how he was handling this. Naruto was practically lifeless and instead of being upset he was caring for the blonde.

The younger prince moved so his body slouched once Sasuke finished and rested his head on the others chest. How did he feel? Was this too much? How did Naruto even feel about it?

Safe.

Naruto felt safe with Sasuke. He just hoped that Sasuke felt the same way.

And with thoughts running around his mind he felt himself doze off snuggled against the man behind him.

---

When Naruto woke he found himself in bed and still dazed, he couldn’t figure out where he was for a moment before everything came back.

He threw himself on the bed in embarrassment and vowed to make it up to the raven.

 

---

The following week was uneventful, after the initial dinner all the Uchihas went back to their business and Sasuke and Naruto had dinner alone in their room at night.

But during the day Sasuke was away and left Naruto alone to entertain himself.

Most of the time Naruto spent hanging with Suigetsu and Juugo, finding them comforting. Suigetsu would spar with Naruto and Juugo would talk with him about how things were in their own lives. Naruto learned a lot about the Uchihas through Juugo, about how their customs were, how they acted, what was expected and other useful things.

So when Naruto one day finds himself alone in the room, he isn’t surprised.

What does surprise him though is a new maid. She comes in quickly and starts to get to work about the room without seeing the blonde in bed.

Her fiery red hair flows down her back and her outfit fits her body beautifully, Naruto thinks she looks similar to his mother for a moment. With the way her features look soft and delicate and they both have the same color of skin and hair.

But when their eyes meet Naruto is surprised again by her, when she glared at him.

“Oh. I didn’t see you there.” she says and moves away from the bed quickly, “I’m just gathering laundry. So get up. I need these sheets.”

Naruto is in awe of her aggressive behavior but finds himself following her instructions, even if she is a maid she still knows how to hold her ground.

“Sorry. Thank you for your hel-”

“Don’t apologize. You don’t even mean it. I’m doing my job for Sasuke, not you. Get that right.” the woman snaps back and gathers the sheets while avoiding looking at the blonde. “I don’t even know what he sees in you. You have such a manly body and that sickening yellow hair.”

“Okay, wait. That’s rude. Who even are you?” Naruto asks, his awe in her boldness has now washed away and what’s left if the bitter feeling she is putting out in the room.

“Karin. Remember it.” the woman answered and began to finish gathering all the linens when the door opened again.

Itachi.

Chapter Text

“What do you want?” Naruto asked angrily, he was tired of feeling weak to the elder Uchiha and was ready to stand up for himself this time around.

“Awe, look who has a backbone now.” Karin mocked, and looked to Itachi for some sort of approval but was instead met with a glare.

“You seem to catch my attention more and more.” Itachi began and entered, closing the door behind him and motioning to Karin to stand in front of it.

Naruto felt cornered but refused to feel the fear that was in his gut take over again, he refused to be the person he was last week. He needed to stand tall and be strong for Sas-

For Sasuke?

“Maybe I was wrong to leave you. Maybe you should have become my first wife. I would love to see the person I could’ve molded you to be.” Itachi said and moved forward, walking like a hunter stalking its prey.

“You would never mold me.” Naruto said and swallowed his fear and moved forward as well, refusing to be cornered.

“Oh but I already have, haven’t I?” Itachi said with an evil smirk that made Naruto's blood run cold.

“Oh really? Because I feel absolutely no different. You will never change me.” Naruto replied with a soft chuckle.

“But you did. When your beautiful body held my baby.” Itachi said and that was the moment they were face to face. Standing a foot apart.

Naruto felt himself collapse inside, but tried to hold a strong front.

“Who the fuck told you?” Naruto asked with anger pouring out of every pore in his body.

“One of your guards did. Your kingdom is so weak even royal secrets make it to our ears easily.” Karin spat from the door, she had moved the linens to create a blockade in front of the door.

Naruto glared at the red head and then moved back to the Uchiha before him.

“So what? It’s gone now. I made sure to rid my body of every piece of you that may have remained.” Naruto said with spite and looked at Karin as she approached as well.

But looking away was a mistake - Naruto felt the heat before he realized he was slapped.

The blonde pulled a hand up and grabbed his face in shock, having not expected the blow. Itachi glared at the blonde and there was thick tension in the room until Karin approached them, then Itachi smiled again.

“See, now Karin… She’s the best thing to come from your clan.” Itachi began and backed away to circle the red head, “She is obedient, listens, doesn’t talk back, but makes sure to stand up for her true clan. Our clan. Did you even know? That you had a cousin?”

Naruto looked wide eyed at the redhead, his thoughts that she resembled his mother were true.

“Why? Why are you here? We have a kingdom. It’s thriving, it’s beautiful-” Naruto began, confused but was cut off.

“And weak. A true kingdom is the Uchiha kingdom - with power, an army, and history. The Uzumaki line should be absorbed into a better kingdom. I’m just the first to find the best kingdom for us.” Karin said and smiled when Itachi nodded in approval.

“See? This is person I could have made you into.” Itachi said as he walked towards Naruto and away from Karin, the redhead visibly deflating without the praise from the brunette. “This is who you- who our baby should have-”

Naruto punched Itachi. He’d heard enough.

The elder prince fell over, obviously surprised and Naruto took advantage of it. He stepped over the collapsed Uchiha and began to wail on him. Punching and punching, hearing satisfying crunches under his knuckles.

Distantly he heard Karin screaming and saw her run to the door but he didn’t care, he was pushing all the bottled anger out via his fist and giving it back to the prince before him.

“Don’t. Ever. Speak. To. Me. Again.” Naruto got out and pulled away, leaving a bloody Itachi on the ground, his nose probably broken and his face swollen.

“You’re going to fucking pay for that.” Itachi growled and got up, throwing his fist at the blonde.

But Naruto blocked and hit the other in the gut with his duck, this continued as Naruto evaded each attack and counter striked.

By the time Suigetsu, Juugo and Sasuke arrived Itachi was back on the floor a bloodier mess. Naruto stood up and spit on the prince below him.

“Tell everyone what happened. What a shame you will be to be beaten by a girl.” Naruto hissed and watched the realization cross Itachi’s face that he couldn’t do anything about this without disgracing himself.

The elder Uchiha got up and looked around, before glaring at the blonde again and quickly leaving, Karin following behind quickly.

The room was quiet with shock as the four men stood in the room, even Naruto was shocked by his actions.

“Are you okay?” Sasuke asked and his face looked worried, Naruto could see the storm behind his usually soft eyes.

“I- I’m fine.” Naruto began and looked to the other two, “Can you help me clean up?”

“Shit, I’d do anything for you.” Suigetsu said and rushed to get cleaning supplies while Juugo began to make the bed with fresh linens.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Sasuke asked again and touched the blondes arm softly, Naruto jumped slightly from the touch but nodded still.

“I’m fine. If anything I feel so much better.” the blonde responded honestly.

The two stood there for a while, not realizing the room was being cleaned around them until the door shut - leaving just the two of them.