BY : Sasunarufan13
Category: Naruto > Yaoi - Male/Male > Naruto/Sasuke
Dragon prints: 711
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto nor make profit of it. Kishimoto owns it.

Author's note: I've been (still am) dealing with some issues at home so I decided to work on an idea I had last weekend to distract myself. That distraction ended up being a 9K counting medievalish themed word vomit, so yes.

Warnings: several povs; medievalish setting; slash; arranged marriage; Omega!Naruto; newish take on Omega biology; heavy scarring; past character deaths; description of said deaths happening; light angst; lasting injuries; bigotry; implied mature content; MPreg; fluff; time skips

I hope you'll like this!


Sarutobi Hiruzen

"So we agree to give the Uchiha compensation," Hiruzen stated and several members of the council grimaced, obviously not agreeing with him but not protesting either.

They didn't have much of a choice; the last thing they needed was for the Uchiha brothers to demand that the village be put up for trial for harmful neglect and false imprisonment. The monetary sum they would be forced to pay would be a huge blow to the treasury. If they wanted to avoid a trial, they would need to give the brothers a decent compensation to prevent further escalation.

"What kind of compensation can we give them? Money's not going to bring their parents back," Shikaku remarked, crossing his arms.

"Considering they lost family, why not give them a piece of family back by offering an Omega?" Hiashi suggested thoughtfully. "A life for a life so to speak. They can rebuild their family with an Omega and - "

"Have you lost your mind?" Danzo interrupted coolly. "Why should we give someone as valuable as an Omega to them? I'd say we give them - "

"Given that Uchiha Fugaku died because of severe neglect by your men, I don't think it would be wise to protest any further, Danzo," Shikaku said, sounding infallibly polite, but his eyes were sharp and cold. "If your men had done their jobs as they should have, we wouldn't be having this meeting right now."

Danzo narrowed his eyes, but remained quiet, turning his gaze to his bandaged arm instead.

Hiruzen sighed, rubbing his hand across his eyes. He didn't particularly like the thought of handing over an Omega to the Uchiha, but there was sense to be found in Hiashi's proposal. Money would never be able to replace the loss the two brothers had suffered, but a new family member might heal the pain eventually. Given how valuable Omega were, because of their rarity, this offer would definitely overshadow any sum of money they could give.

"We currently have two Omega in the village," Kotetsu said, rubbing his index finger thoughtfully across the bandage on his nose. "Who do you propose we offer?"

"There's no question who," Inoichi stated. "The girl has already been promised to a family from the next village. That only leaves - "

"You're not going to sacrifice Naruto!" Tsunade snapped, opening her mouth for the first time since the meeting had started. Her brown eyes flashed dangerously and she leant forwards, her arms braced against the round table. "He's not some piece of meat that you can just give away!"

"I know how you feel about this, Tsunade-sensei," Inoichi said, "but we don't really have a choice here. If the Uchiha brothers decide to pursue a trial, this village is done for. We've barely kept this whole crisis under wraps as it is; the longer this goes on, the more at risk this place will be. You know that, I know that, everyone here knows that. We simply can't risk it."

"So what, you're just going to shove Naruto in their home and that'll be that?" she asked incredulously. "He's not a doll you can throw out as you please! I thought we were past treating Omega like goddamn livestock!"

"We're not treating him like livestock," Inoichi said impatiently. "But the fact remains that an Omega is worth more than any amount of money we can offer them. The village took their family away, but we can give them a new one as well."

"Who says they're going to agree to it?" She looked at him challengingly; a hint of triumph already visible in his eyes.

Shikaku took the word. "They're both at an age to wed; even if one isn't interested, the other one might be. We won't know until we offer them the compensation, but they're not stupid: they'll know that this is far more than they will ever get if they try to go to court."

She turned abruptly to Hiruzen then. "Surely you don't agree with this!"

He grimaced, knowing he was about to get on her bad side, but there was no helping it. This was the best compensation they could offer without risking the entire village going bankrupt.

"I know this is less than ideal,"

"You call forcing someone to wed someone they don't know less than ideal?!"

"But we don't have a choice," he said, and while he hadn't raised his voice, there was a final tone in it, making her slump back in her chair in disbelief. He offered her an apologetic look before addressing the council as a whole. "It has been decided; tomorrow we will offer the Uchiha brothers the compensation: one Omega in exchange for the two lives that were lost."

Nobody liked the decision, but it was the best they could come up with; it would have to be enough.

Senju Tsunade

Of course it fell upon her shoulders to deliver Naruto the grim news.

"Bunch of damn cowards," she muttered darkly, striding to the small house at the south side of the village.

"It's best if he hears the news from you," Hiruzen told her; his face sombre as he inhaled from his pipe. "You're the closest to him, you know how to best break this type of news."

Which was pure utter nonsense, of course; none of them had the balls to tell someone to his face that he was being traded off in an attempt to soothe ruffled feathers. Even whores were treated with more decency than they were treating the poor boy now; at least they knew what was lying ahead of them in their lives. Naruto had no idea that his entire life was about to change, all because some guards had deemed it necessary to pretend they were a judge.

The sweet smile Naruto gifted her with when he opened the door had her heart squeezing painfully and she swallowed with some difficulty, following him deeper into the small home.

As of four years ago, Uzumaki Naruto had become an orphan; both his parents having perished in an accident at sea. The council had taken over the guardianship of the boy and had given him a new place to live at and a weekly allowance, so he could continue to follow his classes and buy the necessities he needed.

Normally the council didn't bother about orphans, but Naruto's status as an Omega ensured that he was treated better than orphans normally would.

Until now that was.

Now he was being used as a pawn in a desperate play to avoid a trial.

He was chattering about a possible sighting of foxes nearby his home – "I'm pretty sure those were fox paw prints, but I haven't been able to catch sight of one yet." – when she interrupted him, unable to keep the bad news to herself any longer.

"Naruto, there's something we need to discuss."

He blinked at her owlishly, but stepped away from the window through which he had been gazing, and joined her on the small couch. "All right, what about?"

"Have you heard about the Uchiha case?" she asked tentatively.

While the news about that family had spread like wild fire throughout the village, Naruto wasn't that close to anyone save for her, so she wasn't sure how informed he was.

He furrowed his eyebrows and worried his lower lip between his teeth. "Wasn't there a fire of some sorts? The house went up in flames? I think some people passed away, no?"

"The mother died in the fire, yes," she confirmed; her mind flashing back to the blackened body she had been barely able to identify. Her stomach still turned with the phantom stench of burning flesh. "The sons and the father were injured. The father was suspected of igniting the fire and was held in custody."

"Did he really set the place on fire?" he asked incredulously.

Tsunade pursed her lips. "According to the investigation, no. The father passed away from the injuries he sustained before the investigation was finished, however."

She had had exchanged quite some ugly words with Danzo about that. Suspected of arson or not, Fugaku should have been brought to her hospital first in order to attend to his wounds. The burns had festered badly in the small, dank cell, infection had settled in and by the time she had been allowed to take a look at him, it had been too late.

"Oh, that's sad," Naruto murmured; his eyes dimming for a moment as he no doubt remembered the day he had lost his own parents.

"It is," she agreed quietly and her fingers tightened around her mug when she continued, fighting bile back, "Because of the prison's neglect, the village fears that the Uchiha brothers might go to court to ask for damages."

"Would they get a lot of money if they win?" the blond boy questioned, tilting his head to the side.

"Yes, more than the treasury could offer," she admitted. "The village would go bankrupt if this ended up in front of the court. In order to avoid that, the council came up with their own form of compensation and the youngest brother decided to accept that."

"Okay," he said slowly, obviously not understanding why she was telling him all this. "What is the compensation?"

She looked him straight in the eye. "They're offering him an Omega to wed."

One heartbeat. One blink of the eyes.

"Naruto … They offered you. The council has decided that you are to wed Uchiha Sasuke within one week."

Deafening silence followed her words as the pair of them sat on the couch; Naruto trying to digest the news. He'd always been an open book to read, a refreshing change for Tsunade when she spent part of her time around other council members who'd practiced the art of wearing masks, but as she looked at him now, there were too many emotions flickering and disappearing, flashing across his face too quickly for her to discern any of them.

For the first time since she knew him, he appeared to have lost his tongue, and she immediately decided she didn't like that.

"I'm sorry, Naruto," she said, breaking the silence, swallowing the lump back which threatened to block her throat. "I tried to change their minds, but they're adamant that you will be their compensation."

He stared down at his lap, where his fingers fiddled nervously. "Do you – is he a good man? Do you – think he would hurt me?"

She thought about the youngest brother, how withdrawn and quiet he was every time she examined him. She thought about his quiet, but deep voice giving short, but polite replies, showing her respect even when he barely said anything. Recalled how he had sat there in the meeting room yesterday, listening silently to the proposal being laid out. Remembered how he had helped his brother out of the room, never rushing him, never acting even the slightest condescending towards him.

She didn't know him, not really, only saw him during his rare appointments, but she knew how to read people; a handy gift in her line of work.

"He's a good man," she answered softly. "I don't know him personally, but he doesn't strike me as a person who would deliberately hurt someone." She breathed out slowly, clenching her fist. "He has suffered immensely, however, so I don't know how he acts in the privacy of his home. On top of that he is also heavily scarred in his face, due to burns he suffered when leaving his house."

Sadness tainted Naruto's smile when he finally looked at her and his fingers briefly rose up to brush against his cheeks, where years old scars were still visible as thin, white lines. A result of an accident he had suffered when he was five years old.

"I guess we would make a good pair in that regard, no?" he said humourlessly and his hands dropped back down to his lap.

"I'm sorry, Naruto," she repeated, hating how helpless she felt. "I wish I could have changed their minds. Perhaps you can leave the village? You'll have to sneak out during the night, but I can help you pack. I'm sure my friend in the village fifteen miles away from here wouldn't mind having you - " She stilled when he gently grabbed her hands.

"No, I'll stay. Thank you for the offer, but I think he suffered enough without having me disappear on top of that," he smiled sadly. "It wouldn't be fair to him to abandon him."

"You shouldn't have to give up your entire life all because some idiots made a severe mistake," she spat, anger once more flaring up.

"I've always known there was a chance I would be given away because of who I am," he said quietly and his bluntness silenced her immediately. He offered her a small smile then, surprising her. "But you tell me he's a good man, so I don't mind. I could have ended up with someone much worse."

Sadly, he was all too right about that. Still, it seemed like he was just trading one evil for another.

She had never hated the council more than she did at this moment.

Naruto was wed to Uchiha Sasuke the following Friday without even having met the older man once. It was a small, private affair, with only the couple, the marriage officiant, Itachi and Tsunade in attendance.

She had helped Naruto select an appropriate wedding suit and had aided him in packing the meagre belongings he had accumulated over the years. The council had given him an extra sum of money to be used for the wedding, as if allowing him to dress up in the most expensive robes would negate the fact that he was being forced to wed someone he had never met before.

The same objection counted for Uchiha as well, of course, but at least he stood to gain something from this; Naruto gained nothing, but lost everything, simply because of who he was.

As she stood there, bearing witness to the first kiss shyly exchanged between the newly wed couple, she could only pray to the gods she long ago stopped believing in that Naruto would be able to at least find some shred of happiness in his new life.

And that she hadn't read Uchiha completely wrong.

Yamanaka Ino

When news about the youngest Uchiha wedding an Omega reached the village, nobody could shut up about it for weeks following the event. Everywhere one went, they were likely to hear people gossiping about it: whispering if they tried to remain polite, loudly discussing it when they were either drunk or just didn't care who listened.

Ino remembered seeing Sasuke a lot around the village when they were younger, usually accompanying his brother or his mother. She had nursed a crush on him for years, had imagined countless times how it would be like to hold his hand and have all his affection showered on her.

As she got older, her daydreaming became bolder, the innocent fantasies about holding his hand and cuddling with him making way for heated kisses and bodies pressed against each other in ways that would have her parents grounding her indefinitely should they ever find out what their daughter thought about.

Then the Uchiha mansion erupted in flames.

She didn't see anyone of the family for weeks following that devasting fire, but heard the rumours. How the mother hadn't made it out alive, burning to a crisp in one of the rooms when the smoke became too much. How the eldest son would probably suffer life lasting problems with his lungs, after inhaling too much smoke. Rumours about the father being thrown in jail after being suspected of arson.

She didn't hear anything about Sasuke until one and a half month later when she had gone to the hospital to visit an ill family member. She had come across him by chance and she was ashamed to admit that she had screamed in horror upon seeing his badly burnt face up close.

There was nothing left of the handsome looks he had had before; the flames had eaten away at his face, burning the upper layer of his skin away, leaving nothing but redness behind. His facial features were still intact by some miracle, but that the burn scars would never disappear was something even she, with no medical experience to speak of, knew for certain.

He looks like a monster, had been the first thought crossing her mind, immediately followed by a burst of shame, because it wasn't as if Sasuke could help that he had got this badly injured in the fire.

She hadn't said anything, but her thoughts must have been plain as day on her face, for his face had shuttered close and he had turned away from her, hiding his face. She had ran away then, and hadn't looked back.

That fateful encounter in the hospital had made her realise something very crucial: all these years she had nursed feelings for him, only because he had been one of the most handsome men around. With his looks marred by the fire, she discovered to her shame that she no longer felt anything even akin to romance for him. She felt horrible about that, because she had never considered herself to be so vain, but the truth of the matter was that she was relieved she had never dared to confess to him.

She didn't know how she would have acted if they had been together at the time of the fire, but knowing what she knew about herself now, she feared she wouldn't have reacted well. It was hard to imagine anyone being willing to look at the burn scares for the rest of their lives, and the villagers tended to turn their heads whenever Sasuke walked through the village.

He wore a hood nowadays, even when the sun was brightly shining, and a part of her ached for him that he felt it was necessary to hide his face. That same part wanted to go up to him and comfort him, but then she remembered those awful scars and her stomach would turn, nausea rapidly filling her.

It wasn't Sasuke's fault that he was scarred now, no, but she couldn't help her reaction of revulsion either.

He barely walked through the streets anymore and she had mostly forgotten about him, busy as she was trying to learn the ropes of her family's flower shop. That was why she was shocked the first time she heard that Sasuke was now a married man.

To an Omega nonetheless.

The news had left her stunned for the entire day and had made her wonder how she could possibly have ignored that Sasuke had been courting an Omega of all people. But then the facts started to separate from the gossips and the lies, and pity replaced her astonishment once she learnt what was really going on.

Apparently Fugaku had died from his wounds in prison and to avoid a possible lawsuit, the council had agreed to give the remaining Uchiha a compensation: the offer of an Omega.

She didn't know who she pitied more: Sasuke for having lost his parents so early on and with it, all his chances of wedding whoever he wanted, or the Omega for being forced to wed someone they had never met, all because the council was afraid they would be sued.

She envied neither of them, that was certain.

Her first encounter with them happened on a windy October afternoon at the market, where she was selling extra stock of flowers.

The temporary lull in customers allowed her to idly look around, watching people mingle in front of the other stands, some of them arguing loudly about the price before coming to an agreement.

She was snickering at a heated argument at a nearby stand about a small teapot of all things, when her eyes fell on a couple approaching her flower stand. Her breathing hitched when she recognised the auburn red cloak and the hood covering most of the man's face; her stomach performing several flips and turns. The person next to Sasuke was a blond boy she recalled occasionally seeing in the village; his hair was as deep as gold and his eyes were an astonishingly bright blue colour.

His deep blue cloak swished around his legs when he came to an abrupt stop in front of the yellow roses and she watched him point at them, murmuring something too quiet for her ears to pick up.

The couple lingered in front of the bucket and she cleared her throat gently, smiling politely when both men turned to look at her.

"Hello, can I help you with something? Interested in any of the flowers here?" she inquired friendly, making sure to keep a smile on her face.

"No, just looking around," the blond boy smiled apologetically, but Sasuke shook his head.

"Six of your yellow roses, please," he said politely; his face still mostly hidden underneath his hood.

"They're expensive," she heard the blond boy mutter, sounding like a cross between chiding and worried, but Sasuke simply shook his head again.

"Six yellow roses," he repeated his order.

She blinked, but well, he was a customer now and so she set about wrapping six of the most perfect looking yellow roses in cream coloured paper. The cream wrapping paper was one of their most luxurious ones, adding more to the price of the flowers they were wrapped around, but she only charged Sasuke for the roses themselves, hoping it would be enough as a belated apology.

As Sasuke counted out the coins, he gestured for her to hand the roses over to the blond boy. When she did, her eyes unwillingly dropped down to the boy's hand and she barely covered a gasp of surprise when she noted the golden ring gleaming around his finger.

The boy seemed utterly unaware of her stunned reaction for he just accepted the flowers with a light bow, quirking a small smile.

He was the Omega Sasuke had wedded three months ago.

She watched them walk away at a leisurely pace; the Omega holding the roses up in order to scent them while his other arm was hooked around Sasuke's. Curiously, she wondered how the boy was experiencing his married life to someone so heavily scarred, and then promptly flushed, ashamed of her own thoughts.

How the Omega was feeling, living with a scarred person, was none of her business, even if a part of her thought it was a shame that neither of them had been able to choose who they would wed.

Perhaps the boy would grow used to having a scarred husband in the future. Not that there was much choice to be had in that, considering he had been offered as compensation, she conceded in the privacy of her mind.

It was a sobering thought that while Sasuke might be the envy of the town now, able to call one of the only two available Omega his, she doubted anyone would be willing to trade places with him.

Who would want to be so horribly scarred that the only change of marriage came in the form of compensation for losing both your parents?

Not even having an Omega could make up for so much loss.

And the Omega himself … While that status made one highly desired, what use was it when that same status meant you could be traded away as if you were some goods?

No, she envied neither of them, of that she was sure.

Uchiha Itachi

That horrible night had not only taken away his parents, but his little brother as well.

It was something he often thought about when he heard Sasuke wandering through the hallways of their new house, silent like the ghosts they had left behind in the charred remains of their childhood home.

A sober realisation which lingered in the back of his mind whenever he helped smear the healing cream on his brother's face, seeing nothing reflected in those black eyes, or when Sasuke sat next to him, rubbing his back as he attempted to hack up his lungs or so it felt sometimes at least.

Physically Sasuke had left their old home on time, but mentally he had remained there, passing away with their mother. If their father had still been alive, then perhaps things might be different. Unfortunately some guards had deemed it time to put Fugaku on trial already even before the investigation had been fully finished. Three weeks after the fire, father had passed away after an infection had settled in.

Itachi had never been the vengeful type, preferring to seek out peaceful solutions if they were possible, but as he and Sasuke had been brought into the basement to confirm whether the dead body in front of them belonged to their father or not, he had made a silent promise that he wouldn't let the village get away with this.

They might not have set the fire, but they were the reason why he and Sasuke had lost both their parents now. If only the guards had done their job like they had been supposed to do, then maybe their father would still be alive.

When he had announced their intention to go to court, he had expected the council to offer them something. The last thing this village needed was an outright scandal after all. Guards leaving an innocent person to suffer and die from his wounds wouldn't reflect well on the village's reputation.

So yes, he had expected them to come up with some form of compensation – he had just never anticipated that they would go as far as offer an Omega.

The council must be really desperate to avoid a trial if they were willing to give up an Omega instead of a sum of money.

Itachi himself wasn't interesting in getting married, had always been more of the solitary type. After the council had offered them this form of compensation, the members retreated to the next room momentarily, giving him and Sasuke time to discuss the offer.

"What do you think?" he asked, rubbing absently over his chest. An extra deep inhale prevented the urge to cough for now, though his throat still felt like it was being tickled.

Sasuke frowned; the hood he insisted on wearing when not at home hiding the majority of his face in the shadows. "It's definitely a lot more than we thought they would ever offer."

"True, though it looks like it pains them to do so," Itachi said idly.

Most of the members had either looked resigned or annoyed, though he had taken notice that Tsunade – the only woman present in the council – had looked almost furious, though she had remained quiet. It made him wonder whether she somehow personally knew this Omega and disapproved of the person being offered as the compensation.

"Well, we do want to hit them where it hurts the most," Sasuke murmured thoughtfully. "And this form of compensation – it proves that they know very well that they were in the wrong."

He agreed with that. An Omega was worth more than any monetary sum one could come up with, so for the council to offer them one as compensation meant they had realised there was no way they would ever win if the case landed in front of a judge.

Losing the case would have meant complete bankruptcy for the village and while Itachi didn't care for any type of monetary compensation, because no amount of money would ever bring their family back, the idea had been to hit the village where it would hurt the most.

For them to offer something that was even more valuable than money … A dark part inside of him was delighted that the council had grown so afraid of a possible court case that they were desperate enough to offer an Omega.

"You're willing to accept the offer?" He looked at his brother, at the way he sat as unmoving as a statue.

"It's the best we're going to get," Sasuke said after a pause; his eyes gliding back towards the door which hid the council for the moment. "And the most acknowledgement that they made a mistake."

Thus it was decided: the Omega would wed Sasuke and in exchange they would drop the lawsuit.

Four days before his brother's wedding had Itachi entering the kitchen after he'd spent some time outside. Fresh air was good for his ailing lungs, but the light drizzle of this morning had made way for a foul downpour and he wasn't about to catch an illness on top of smoke damaged lungs.

He went to the counter to prepare a cup of tea for himself when the sound of soft voices travelling from the living room piqued his interest instead. Until the Omega joined them it was only him and Sasuke living here, so who was the visitor?

Quietly he walked into the hallway and lingered in the shadows, becoming intrigued when he recognised the voice of their neighbour; a friendly woman named Kurenai. She'd come over the day after they had moved in to introduce herself, assuring them they could always knock on her door if they needed any help.

"I don't know anything about what an Omega needs, so I – was hoping you could help me," Sasuke asked haltingly.

Only because Itachi knew him so well, was he able to hear the note of embarrassment colouring his brother's voice.

"I'm not an expert," Kurenai warned him gently, "but he'll need a room to himself where he can retreat to. You'll need to provide an extra set of cloths for when his menses arrive. I don't know whether his menses bother him and in which way they do, but it would be a good idea to stock up on some herbs that will soothe any uncomfortable aches he might experience during that time. I'll write a list so that you won't forget any of them."

The chair creaked a bit when one of them shifted. "Aside from that, there's nothing that sets him apart from the rest of the population. I'm glad you're thinking of his comfort, though. Especially considering how unique the circumstances are."

There was not a hint of condemnation in her voice, but Sasuke replied softly, "I just don't want him to hate me too much. If there's anything I can do to make this easier on him …"

"I don't know him and I'm not going to lie to you just to make you feel better," she cautioned, but her tone was still gentle. "All I can say is, give him time to adjust and get used to his new life and to you. He might be angry, he might be accepting, I have no idea. All you can do, is give him the time and space he needs and get to know each other. That's all you can do."

"I guess," he said doubtfully.

One day later, a shelf in one of the kitchen cabinets was stocked up with herbs which would soothe cramps and provided comfort, while the bathroom gained an extra set of small cloths stacked away in one of the drawers.

Upstairs Sasuke was flitting about in the empty room at the end of the corridor, but paused when he felt Itachi's gaze on him.

His hands hovering above the half made bed, Sasuke muttered almost embarrassedly, "Just getting things in order for him. He'll probably want to change things here, but …"

"I think he'll appreciate this."

Sasuke uttered a noise which sounded close to a scoff, but continued making the bed before moving over to the closet to remove the dust from within. Itachi left soon, retreating to his own bedroom.

They would only meet Sasuke's intended on the day of the wedding itself, which didn't make this situation any easier. Perhaps if the two of them could have met each other before tying the knot …

All Itachi could do was hope that the council's compensation wouldn't turn out to be a poisoned gift in the end.

The Omega was a beautiful blond boy with the brightest blue eyes Itachi had ever seen. He wore a set of magnificent white robes, which stood out starkly against Sasuke's own black robes.

The pure white colour of the robes made Itachi question whether this was Tsunade's non too subtle way of making clear that Naruto was still completely innocent. The blonde doctor was the only other person present aside from him, the couple and the marriage officiant. She wore a beautiful deep blue dress with a black cloak thrown over it, but her face was set in a frown and her lips pursed firmly together when the marriage officiant questioned whether there were any objections to be had to the union between Sasuke and Naruto.

After a short pause the ceremony continued and Itachi watched with a sense of melancholy how his brother carefully kissed Naruto when the marriage officiant officially declared them to be married.

Their mother would have loved to see her youngest son marrying someone and Itachi was certain their father would have been proud. It was a rather bitter pill to swallow that this marriage was only taking place precisely because they had lost both their parents.

He hoped they would look out for the new couple from their new place in the afterlife.

That night Sasuke showed his bride his new room before making an awkward retreat to his own bedroom.

Apparently the white robes hadn't missed their mark.

Uzumaki-Uchiha Naruto

He knew what they whispered about his husband, how they stared at him whenever he dared to go outside.

He wasn't stupid nor blind. Sasuke had gone from the most desired man – based on the regretful sighs of some of the women – to the most avoided one, all because of his scars. It saddened Naruto that so many people were so focused on physical appearances that they didn't know just how sweet and thoughtful Sasuke actually was.

They didn't realise that their gossiping was so hurtful that Sasuke had refused to lower his hood for three weeks after their wedding day. The blond boy had heard Itachi admonishing his younger brother many times to remove the cloak, for he didn't want him to hide himself in his own house as well, but Sasuke had refused time and time again.

Until three weeks had passed by and Naruto had grown too impatient to know how his husband actually looked like. Supper had finished an hour ago when Naruto went up to Sasuke's room (for they still slept separately; the older man not wanting to make him uncomfortable so he said), knocking on the doorframe to announce his presence.

Sasuke was seated with his back to him at his desk and he visibly stiffened, pale fingers coming up in a flash to tug his hood further down.

"May I come in?" Naruto inquired, not wanting to be too presumptuous.

Married they might be, but they were still getting used to each other and he didn't want to just barge into the room if Sasuke didn't wish to see him.

"Yes, is there something you need? Something still missing in your room?" Sasuke questioned; a hint of concern underlying his voice.

His question only made Naruto ache more for the other man, that in spite of being so thoughtful, he still felt so self-conscious that he thought it necessary to hide his face. They might only have been married for three weeks so far, but Naruto didn't want Sasuke to keep hiding himself from him. If they wanted to make this work – and by god, he did even if he hadn't had any choice in this – then Sasuke couldn't keep hiding his face.

"No, no, I have everything I need," Naruto reassured him. Except for my husband, but he didn't say that, still feeling too shy to even contemplate doing more than talking or the occasional kiss. "I just … I'd like to see the face of the man I married."

That definitely made Sasuke freeze and the air in the room instantly became stiffening, loaded heavier than a pile of stone.

"I know what they say about you," he continued, a tad nervous when the silence stretched on. "And I know that we haven't been married for long yet and so I don't have any right to demand something, but – I just want to see you, please."

"I'm not a pretty sight," Sasuke replied humourlessly; his back still turned to Naruto.

The Omega shrugged. "The same can be said for me."

"Your scars are hardly visible," Sasuke retorted sharply.

"Not to others," Naruto said quietly, remembering some of the council members' faces when they had seen the scars on his cheeks.

"It's a good thing he's an Omega, because he won't find someone with those scars," had been a comment he'd been subjected to regularly.

He was lucky to be an Omega, they had often remarked callously, because one would be hard pressed to find him attractive with such marred cheeks. They hadn't been subtle about their remarks either, uncaring whether he heard them or not. It had led to him asking Tsunade and the Omega girl, named Shion, whether they had any powder he could use to mask the scars.

Shion didn't have the need for such powder and Tsunade had utterly refused to give some to him, stating there was nothing wrong with how he looked. The sentiment had been appreciated, but it hadn't made him feel any less self-conscious about the thin lines etched upon his cheeks.

He stilled when Sasuke turned around. His face was completely hidden underneath the hood, the dimness of the room overall deepening the shadows. He stepped forwards until he halted right in the middle of his room and his hands rose up slowly, gripping the edges of his hood.

His hands trembled almost imperceptibly and there was the audible intake of breath before the hood was lowered, revealing Sasuke's face for the very first time.

The first thing Naruto noticed was how silky those black blue strands looked and how they framed Sasuke's face almost perfectly; some wispy strands covering his forehead and long bangs reaching his jaw.

Next he noticed a pair of pure black eyes, which gazed at him apprehensively, even a tad fearful before they looked down as if unable to look at him any longer.

Only then did he notice the scars littering Sasuke's face, the redness of it as if the upper layer of his skin had been completely scraped off and had yet to heal. Some spots looked rougher than others as if the skin was thicker there, but he didn't look grotesque.

Naruto didn't understand. Why were so many people calling Sasuke too scarred to be loved when his features were still there? Yes, his skin looked reddish, some parts more than others, but why did that make him too ugly to be cherished?

They had made him out to be some kind of monster, too ugly to deserve love, when that was far from the truth.

When shoulders hunched and slender hands were reaching up to pull on the hood again, Naruto hastily stepped forwards and grabbed Sasuke's wrists. His action had the man freezing, staring at him wide-eyed.

"The others are wrong, you know," he whispered, releasing Sasuke's wrists in favour of carefully cupping his cheeks, feeling strangely smooth skin underneath his palms. "They need to wear hoods, not you. Never you."

Black eyes glistened and blinked rapidly. Naruto felt him shiver underneath his touch, reminding him of the horse he'd encountered in the forest once, who'd been scared but brave at the same time, allowing Naruto to caress his head.

Sasuke reminded him of that horse now: scared but brave. Battered down but still standing.

"You should never feel like you have to hide yourself. Not from me. Never from me," Naruto stated.

When Sasuke wrapped his arms tightly around him, pressing his face into Naruto's neck, the blond embraced him back, hoping that at least here in their home Sasuke would feel confident enough to show his face.

It was a very lovely one, even marred with scars. He supposed at least in that regard, they did make a good pair.

The villagers had no clue how thoughtful Sasuke was even with how much they loved to gossip about him.

Naruto witnessed him taking care of his older brother day in day out without ever growing tired or exasperated or annoyed. He sat next to Itachi and rubbed his back whenever the older man was coughing too hard, even if it happened in the middle of the night. One could argue that that was just what siblings did for each other, especially after only having each other left.

It was what Sasuke did for him that really cemented his belief that the man was very thoughtful and sweet, ready to care more about others than himself.

They had been married for four months when Naruto's menses turned out to be more painful than the months before. He was on time as usual, but the cramps took him by surprise and after taking one of the cloths in the bathroom, he retreated to his room for the rest of the day, not feeling up to faking happiness when it felt like his whole stomach area was being chewed on with jagged teeth.

He hadn't thought to prepare himself some of the herbal tea he'd found in one of the cabinets and lamented that fact, but moving was out of the question now. Even moving just his leg had him curling up in agony, gasping for breath while stifling any sounds in his pillow. He didn't want to worry either man downstairs, but he had no idea what he was going to do about dinner later, when he felt like moving would make him throw up in pain.

He should have known Mother Nature's respite wouldn't last that long.

A soft knock on his door had him saying yes through clenched teeth and he shifted his head to look at the door when it swung open. Sasuke stood in the doorway; his eyebrows creasing in worry when he spotted the blond curled up in the bed.

"Are you feeling unwell?" he asked, taking a couple of steps closer, lingering uneasily in the middle of the room.

In spite of being married for four months they still hadn't slept with each other, a fact Naruto was becoming more and more aware of, and which had him feeling ridiculously emotional about at the moment.

"A bit," he admitted, breathing out slowly to ride out another cramp.

"Did you eat something wrong?"

"No, I …" He hesitated here, unsure whether to admit what was ailing him or not. There hadn't been any need to mention his menses before, what with him not having been bothered much by them before and them not carrying any particular significance at the moment.

There was the fact that Sasuke had prepared a stack of cloths for him to use the day he had moved in, but …

"Do I need to get Tsunade-sensei?" Sasuke suggested, half turning towards the door already. "I'm sure she'll figure out what's wrong."

"No, no need to get her," Naruto replied and grimaced. "She won't be able to do much about this. My .. menses are being more bothersome this month, that is all."

For a couple of seconds Sasuke stared at him blankly, clearly not comprehending what he was referring to, until black eyes shifted down to where Naruto was clamping one arm around his abdomen and comprehension flitted across his face before he grew bashful; a fact which amused Naruto even amidst the pain.

"Oh, erm, is it always this painful for you?"

"No, I just got unlucky this month."

"Is there … something that might help? Should I prepare a herbal tea?" Sasuke suggested, a tad anxious.

"That would be great, thank you," Naruto sighed relieved. "And if it's not too much of a bother, would you mind warming up my flat stone on the stove and wrap it in a cloth? The heat should calm down the cramps."

Sasuke looked around, his eyes lightening up when he saw the flat grey stone on the windowsill and went to grab it. Naruto had placed it there as soon as he realised his menses had arrived, but the idiot he was, he had forgotten to actually put it on the heater.

"Is there anything else that would help you? Or perhaps something I can prepare for next month so that you won't be in so much pain? Is it possible to skip it for a while even?" He looked adorably confused, obviously out of his depth now that he was confronted with the evidence of what painful menses did to the Omega.

That made Naruto smile, shaky as it was. "There's only one way to skip my menses for a while and that won't happen for a while yet, I imagine."

"How so?" Sasuke frowned. "If it's something that would help you, you should try it out, no?"

"You don't know much about menses, do you?" Naruto asked amused.

Perhaps four months ago he wouldn't have dared to be this free with his emotions, but they had grown considerably closer over the course of the last few months, close enough that Naruto could risk poking some fun at Sasuke's expense, having relative certainty that that wouldn't make the man snap.

"No, I don't," Sasuke admitted begrudgingly, blushing. "I asked our neighbour what you might need before you came to live here, but all she mentioned were the cloths and the herbal tea."

"The only way for me to skip my menses is to be with child," Naruto murmured and watched with growing amusement how that made black eyes widen even more, the blush travelling all the way down to Sasuke's neck this time.

"Oh." Sasuke looked away, embarrassed, and cleared his throat. "Well, no, I suppose that wouldn't be – not that I never thought about – well, we haven't reached that point yet as you mentioned, so - "

Taking pity on his flustered husband, Naruto said, "For now the tea and the warm stone will do their job."

"Right. Let me get those ready for you."

It was a bit funny, Naruto mused, how even just the mention of carrying his baby was enough to make Sasuke flustered and bashful, while he remained so in control outside even when people were less than subtle with their comments.

They had been married for seven months when they finally slept with each other as married couples were expected to do.

It was yet another thing that other people would never get, all because they insisted on treating Sasuke as a pariah: how respectful and sweet the older man was, never once pushing Naruto for more even though he had every right to demand his needs be met.

Instead he awaited Naruto's cues, backing off every time Naruto even showed the slightest hint of discomfort. It was a far cry from how Naruto had feared the arranged marriage would be like, even with Tsunade's reassurance back then that Sasuke was a good man. She'd been right about that.

There was nothing significant about the evening that they first slept together. Not any particular anniversary they would be celebrating, nor anyone's birthday. For all intents and purposes, it was just a regular evening in the midst of March, but instead of going to sleep in their separate bedrooms, Naruto chose to pull Sasuke inside his room now.

The change in routine had Sasuke looking at him surprised, before surveying the room cautiously as if expecting something to come out and bite him. This wasn't the first time he'd been in Naruto's room; he'd already been inside countless times even, either to just talk or kiss, but never during the evening.

In the evening they separated, following an unspoken agreement. Naruto was ready to nullify that agreement now.

"Naruto?" Sasuke questioned, his voice barely louder than a whisper, as if worried he would wake up someone.

Itachi's bedroom was located at the other end of the house, however, so he need not fear that he would disturb his older brother.

"I was thinking that I'd like a redo of our wedding night," Naruto murmured, smiling when the tips of Sasuke's ears reddened. "If you want to."

"I want to, but …" Dark eyes swivelled briefly down to Naruto's belly. "Your menses – they're not arriving for a while yet, right?"

"No, they're not." Naruto raised an eyebrow, curious where the other man was taking this.

"I'm not …" Sasuke's next exhale left him in a gust and his eyebrows drew together. "I'm not sure whether I'll – whether I'll be able to pull back in time," he confessed chagrined; his hands tightening around Naruto's hips at the same time he glared down at the floor.

"Then don't," Naruto answered simply, laying his hands on Sasuke's shoulders.

Black eyes shot up to him in shock. "But then you might get -"

"Pregnant?" Naruto finished smiling. "So be it then. I won't mind."

"You'd want a baby with me," Sasuke said, awed; his thumbs rubbing circles around Naruto's hipbones.

"Of course I want a baby with my husband."

Those words had Sasuke shivering against him, his pupils dilating, and then he was being kissed urgently, deeply; none of the previous softness left behind.

Naruto didn't need softness now. Tonight he wanted all that Sasuke could give him and more.

Tonight he was grateful for the fact that none of the villagers had wanted to give Sasuke a second look. Because it meant that this, Sasuke kissing him, holding him like he was something precious and rare, soft hands caressing and rubbing and touching places that had untouched until now … It meant that all this was Naruto's only.

Naruto was the only one who would know how it felt to be kissed both gently and rough, both deep and passionate by Sasuke. He was the only one who would ever know how it felt like to be looked at with wonder in shining black eyes, to hear praise tumbling from between kiss bruised lips.

He alone would ever have the privilege of accepting the dark haired man in his body, of being filled by his very essence again and again. Only Naruto would know how even with Sasuke thrusting deeply inside him, he was still capable of making the other man blush when he told him how beautiful he looked, how amazing he felt inside of him.

He was the privileged one for experiencing all the love and pleasure Sasuke was capable of giving, of being completed by him, of feeling honoured to be the one to give love in return to this amazing man.

Tonight he was glad that no one in the village had deemed Sasuke worthy of a second glance, because it meant that Sasuke was all his.

Just like he was all Sasuke's, for the rest of their lives.

Their loss.

His gain.

"So, is it safe to assume that only one room will be occupied during the night from now on?" Itachi questioned innocently the next day, sipping calmly from his cup of tea. His eyes shone with barely supressed laughter, however, even when Sasuke smacked his arm.

"Nii-san, what kind of question is that!"

"Not a presumptuous one, I'm sure," Itachi replied dryly and smiled when Naruto laughed.

Yes, for once the blond was glad that the villagers had been too stuck up to realise Sasuke's worth – because it meant he could have this, this sense of family, of peace, of warmth, all for himself.

Naruto knew what others said about his husband. He heard the whispers and the hisses, the gossip and the rumours. About how it was unbelievable how such a scarred man had managed to get an Omega to himself. How unreal that such an ugly man had been able to get someone to marry him after all. They remarked how awful it must be for the poor Omega, being stuck in a marriage to someone who'd come straight out of a nightmare.

Naruto pitied all those men and women. He pitied them for they would never know how sweet and gentle Sasuke could be, yet passionate and loving at the same time. They would never know how beautiful he looked when his eyes lit up at the sight of Naruto turning to kiss him. They would never know how handsome he was as his confidence grew day by day, until he rarely wore the hood anymore, except for when it rained or stormed badly.

They would never know how his face softened with wonder, awe filling those incredible black eyes, when Naruto confessed he had missed his menses two months in a row already.

All those men and women who'd been so ready to drop Sasuke like he was nothing but garbage, would never have the privilege of feeling his strong hands cup a growing rounded belly, eager to feel their child kick. They would never hear his velvety voice speak words of love and adoration or be looked at like they were a sight to behold, day after day.

They would never know how it felt like to be loved and treasured by Sasuke and Naruto was happy about that. Because it meant that this sweet, handsome man was all his.

Some might say their marriage was one of convenience, a way to stave of a worse fate. Others might call it awful or pitiful, a fate they wouldn't wish upon their worst enemy even.

What they said, didn't matter, however.

Naruto thought their marriage was one of love, of happiness, of belonging somewhere. It was good.

And that was all that mattered in the end.

The End

AN2: As always I have no clue how I came up with this. My mind's in a random mood this year ...

Please leave your thoughts behind in a review; should you spot any mistakes, please point them out to me.

I hope to see you all back in my future stories! (Which may or may not be medievalish themed again, not sure yet) Please stay safe and take care of yourselves!



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