9. An impasse
9. An impasse
"What should I do about him?"
"What should I do about Uchiha Sasuke?"
"I don't fucking care. You can kill him…"
"Hinata, are you sure about that? Won't you regret?"
Itachi parked his black Audi in front of Sasuke's building. There was light at his windows -certainly Kakashi or Naruto who was waiting up for him. Sasuke's mind was blank as he tried to push away all the negative feelings that gnawed at his guts since his eyes first lay on her earlier.
His mind had been bugging at how Hinata looked so strange and different from the past -worse than the previous time- and not in a very good way. It had occurred to him firstly by her appearance. She was so skinny with a sickly pale skin and marked shadows under her eyes –the movie-like version of a hungry zombie. She had looked so frail that he almost didn't feel her resistance when she tried to fight back, and despite wanting to dominate her he loosened his grip for fright to ruin her. She was like her shadow self…
…then there was her personality. She was so greedy, so vile and was now suspected of murder. Their lives looked like a big joke, a nightmare that he felt close to wake from. He never woke up though, because it was reality. His sweet, warm-hearted, clever and generous Hinata had died long ago in favor of that sick looking monster who tried to kill him.
Because of that he didn't want to think about it, he didn't want to feel that pity and that need of waking her up or saving her from herself –they weren't in a fucking movie, and in bloody real life, people like her ate naïve people for breakfast.
No, he wasn't one of those stupid heroes who thought love can save dark heart. The change had to come from them, and that scary expression before she started screamed like a devil and broke everything down showed that his Hinata didn't existed anymore.
His Hinata was dead… but there was that suffocating feeling like he was screaming and no one could hear. Sasuke almost felt ashamed and hurt, but he knew why.
"There's no one Itachi-san" someone said tensely
But there was that suffocating feeling like he was screaming and no one could hear. Sasuke almost felt ashamed and hurt, but he knew why.
"Okay kisame. Let's go"
Sasuke barely noticed them as he did for Itachi's friend crazy powering. Lots of red light burned, insane skids, and penalty-seeking speed. Amazing enough, they didn't meet even one policeman. Been in a stranger's car was unlike him but tonight it all didn't matter because he couldn't see it –his mind and heart was far away.
There was that dream, that impossible dream that his most secret and impulsive emotion-filled side held. Somewhere deep inside him, he tried to choke it with his usual sarcastic and sharp logic side but there was very, very few times when it climbed back up to graze and tease his brain.
His impossible dream was that Hinata wasn't far; on the other side of the bridge… he clenched his teeth, not wanting to finish that scene in his head. It was just that, an impossible dream. He could only feel better that wish was slowly coming to an end.
Sasuke slowly shook his head and went back to the real world.
Everything seemed so strange, blurry like it wasn't real. After that shocking scream and her devious expression, the three men that had been with him were strangely murmuring and whispering their words. Of course he didn't care about that but having them following him all day long to his house was now annoying, especially their erected postures and paranoiac moves. Even Naruto and Kakashi they have found when coming back had that look.
They could all do whatever they felt like, but he wanted to rest and clean out his head.
Itachi, Izuna, Kisame, Kakashi and Naruto seemed to talk about something serious as denoted their crisped and frowning faces but the words coming by bribes didn't make any sense to his buzzing ears. Sasuke cracked his neck. Sometimes there was nothing better you could do for anyone and especially not for yourself than get a good nape. The situation was certainly some valid reason to discuss about with them but his body's need was particularly eager that evening.
He was on his way to his bedroom when something grabbed his attention at the periphery of his view. Turning his head to the left, there was one black suitcase –it was his.
"What the hell this means?"
"What?" Naruto raspy voice echoed in the now heavy silence
"What is my suitcase doing there?"
All the present pairs of eyes glued to his unreadable face. Either they feared his reaction or they hesitated who would answer the question. Kakashi sighed.
"You are leaving tonight Sasuke. Itachi-san prepared your flight ticket –it's for London" Kakashi said, not earning even a lash's bat.
"This is not debatable Sasuke. And you know how those things work. Nonrefundable tickets. Companies are very dutiful about time" Naruto added, knowing too much what was going on behind that pokerfaced mask of his friend
"What is all this shit about? What are you exactly trying to say? The next person to speak had better be concise and concrete"
"What a hot-blooded kid! No wonder he's from the family. Itachi-san is definitely the outcast" kisame sneered but Sasuke didn't give that the time of the day
"We have to get you away from here -far away –now. This visit to the Uchiha's mansion had been a big error of move. But this time is not to be wasted on regret" Itachi said in his clear and subtly authoritative tone
The young man's speech just rolled off Sasuke's back. Another minute of silence and even more stares followed.
"I'm going nowhere"
"You're so dense sometimes that it's surprising! In your bloodthirsty quest of vengeance you forget who you are fighting against. It isn't just Hinata anymore and she fucking has the power! If you can't understand, let me get this straight: if you don't move away now, you are dead"
"I'm not stupid, unlike you dumbass and I know what I'm doing. Besides, if things should get out of proportions, so will you two be concerned along Sakura and her baby. You make my direct circle."
"Kakashi and I are big kids now and we do know what we have to do. As for Sakura, we found a solution"
"Oh really? There are lots of big kids dying nowadays. Unless you are coming with me tonight, she would find you easily. Concerning Sakura, it's the same thing if not worse"
"Kakashi has a lifetime situation to settle with Obito, which is way beyond your little catfights with Hinata or him being whatever-family-member he is to you. As for Sakura, we put up two plans: she will be frequently seen with another guy endlessly flirting, talking about the baby and touching her belly like he is the real father, AND Itachi has been generous enough to provide her protection. As for me I had a flight planned long time ago, so I won't be there like you"
"Where are you going?"
"What can matter more now than convince you to go away? Your flight is in three hours and the travel to reach the airport is about one hour if your unlucky star is not shining down on us at this moment"
"Kakashi and you are adults and can do whatever you feel the need to. Your plans for Sakura are stupid though. Why isn't she going with me?"
"There is her family and friends Itachi supposed she wouldn't bear leaving behind. Hinata can easily track you down and find what country you are going to. Who knows what contacts she's got from her husband there? You couldn't run everywhere jobless and homeless with a pregnant girl! Besides, isn't London one of your dreams' destinations? Come on man! Stop being your stuck-up usual self!"
"If you wish to have her with you, I can afford that" Itachi finally said "I'll send her to you"
"There's no need because I'm going nowhere"
"Why are you so stubborn Teme?"
"I didn't talk to you Naruto! Didn't you say that you'd let me make my own decisions since you finally accepted in your almighty generosity that I was already an adult?"
"You forget about the part where I say 'unless it's harmful'"
"Get out everyone! I said get out and I mean it!"
"Don't you understand? This is about the fucking powerful overly rich Uchiha family and your insignificant ass that is supposed to be an heir and thus is untitled to get some of their fucking unlimited but untouchable money –Don't get me started on the other bastards that money attracts. They are going to track you, to kill you like a fucking quarry, and will probably try to kill Sakura and her baby next. Do you want that to happen? To leave no one behind you? Do you-"
A dreadful sound pierced through the walls.
The sudden ring of the flat's bell got everyone tensed in the living room except Sasuke. The five other men were ready to fight as their strained muscles warmed away the cold icy path left by surprise and imminent danger. Itachi and kisame moved out their guns. Naruto almost jumped on Sasuke who was heading toward the door.
Sasuke's easy movements irked some. The time seemed slow, too slow and in their hearts they wished for it –to gain a little bit more time. In hard or dangerous situation, you always dream to have time at your mercy to either slow or speed it but then reality strikes and your mind is left racing, dark thoughts envenoming your system and logic –or boosting you with adrenaline making you do amazing things. They were from the last category. Fear was not on their list on day-to-day life.
Through the lenses of his door, he saw who it was without much surprise. It had been like that since he moved in, but it never had happened to him before. Once again his mysterious neighbor saved him by calling the janitor and this time not from other neighbors' annoying brouhaha but his.
"Ah, young people nowadays! No respect for their elders. Why all of you are always disturbing Miwako-baa-Chan! You make my work such a hard task! When older people used to leave-"
"Who the hell are you?" Naruto started then stopped when he saw the man "Ah you're there. he, he!"
"You're there. I never doubted you were the type but it is surprising from Sasuke-kun!"
"Hey everyone this man is Iwaki, and he is one of the securities. There is one of the neighbors who hate noises and always call upon him to put order. When his kind warnings don't work, he calls the Police. This man is brave and never fails to fulfill his hard and admirable task"
"Ho, ho, ho! You little liar! You appreciate me to close my eyes or what?"
"I'm just being honest and wanted them to know. They were leaving anyway. Care to share a cup of tea before resuming working?"
"I don't know… the work and all you see"
"Oh, come on there are plenty others to take care. You deserve rest"
Sasuke managed to get rid of them all despite Naruto's curses. When Iwaki finally went back to his post, Naruto swiftly entered the door. Sasuke just rolled his eyes. Naruto had always been the annoying stubborn guy who couldn't take no as an answer. Usually it would end with him fighting with people because he deemed he was right and 'knew about the world' and with Sasuke, it was just insults over insults.
Naruto sat in front of the coffee table and waited Sasuke who went to get himself a drink. The night seemed to never end, and to add a loud mouth to that when he wanted to sleep, Sasuke deemed necessary to drink. Right now Naruto wasn't his benevolent best friend but a pain in the butt.
"Risks are too high Sasuke. They can kill you and there're people caring. And if they do finish with you, they'll definitely try to finish with Sakura and the baby"
"I took your plans were perfect"
"They are if you'll care to stay alive for some few other years. If you're still alive, they'll have time to see Sakura like that instead of seeing her like potential danger. Even if you want revenge, you should be more subtle and not go headlong into her. Go away while Itachi do something about your shares and comeback later"
A headache wasn't far from him. Sasuke massaged the brink of his nose, and then temples.
"I swear sometimes I just want to give everything up. I fucking hate any type of relation I have with that family. If you knew about my real story –uh! Disgusting. I wished I was that penniless and nameless guy she said. I hate that family and for Itachi we could have tried… but he's from that family and…"
"You are who you are Sasuke and we don't care. You can let it go now, cut any ties as you're traveling, maybe change name and comeback after some years"
"Can I ask you to retrieve one of your lungs?"
"No. Thus, don't ask it from me."
"At least stay alive for it, for your dreams, for your child… for your friends"
"I'll try that"
"I hope you mean that"
A reflective moment of silence extended between the two friends. Naruto couldn't understand what was really going through Sasuke's head. There was no logic in his actions. Itachi was ready to help him fly away and fix everything. Even if he wanted that revenge, where was the use to expose him like that? Didn't he care about his own life? It was true at some point when they were teens, he thought Sasuke cut himself but that was false. Was there something that escaped his mind? There was one way to happiness for the blond: have friends, family, a place to live and something to have in your stomach. Sasuke even had got the chance to find a big brother! What was wrong with Sasuke... did he wanted to die because…
Then reality sank in, and no matter what, it hurt Naruto. Sasuke had the right and could make his own decisions; no matter he'd say or do. But Sasuke didn't look alright. Sasuke didn't alright and never seem to realize what their friendship meant to him and up until now, Sasuke was much self-centered. The right question now was: was he ready to spend all his time and energy on someone who didn't care either about their own selves or him? This was real life but not a manga, and everything could really get out of hand. Naruto looked confused at a relatively calm and reflective Sasuke.
Naruto believed in friendship, no matter what. Sasuke wasn't alright; he didn't know why but would do his best to help him. People needed help every time, and his friend needed that too. All he could and would do would be to be there and try to help.
"Tell me Sasuke, why don't you want to travel abroad? Is there something keeping you here?"
"I'm gonna pack things now and see Itachi tomorrow"
"Do you do that because you want or because you feel obliged?"
"I can't be… egoist no matter what I want. I do care about people around me and I can't wait around to be murdered. I don't want to be killed before doing what I want. That's my reason"
"We are friends Sasuke, so you can tell me anything. I won't judge"
"Are you hesitating because you still love her?"
"Why do you all say that? Sakura, Itachi, Kakashi and now you?"
"Feelings are not something you can control or I wouldn't have lost most of my life on a girl who didn't love me. Even if you were still in love so what? "
"Love is not supposed to make you feel ashamed or hopeless; like nothing can save you. Love is not supposed to hurt you"
"It does that when you feel it's not returned"
"I would be stupid to love someone that despise me, stepped onto my heart and tried to kill me. You know me Naruto. I'm not like that and I tend to easily be unforgiving. I didn't want to travel because that would give her the feeling that I was running away and I was tired. But you were right."
"I hope that's what you think"
"If I loved her like you say, I would have gone to her house long time ago and let her do whatever she wanted"
"But you are not like that"
"Finally you get it"
They stared at each other for a long time. Naruto sighed and mumbled ' if you say so' and got up.
"Anyway, I've got a date"
"Karin, uh? I remember the last time at the bar… so, really?"
"Fuck no! Going out with a relative is more than gross"
"…? What do you mean?"
"I've been trying to find my family. I didn't find about my father and with little I've got from the orphanage about my mother, I found about Uzumaki family and found Karin. Of course she's called Uzumaki –I'm not the only one. It was really good, you don't know how much. It's good to know you don't come from another planet -poor superman."
"Why didn't you tell anything earlier about her or seeking your family?"
"You've got too much problems and wouldn't stop mopping around so I didn't want to add mine over. Everything's okay now… She's changed from the girl you knew and I'd have loved to have you in the family. Uzumaki Sasuke kind of sounds goood~"
"Dumbass, it would have been Uchiha Karin, and of course my name suits and outshines every surname. I can't say that about Naruto"
Sasuke smirked and Naruto laughed.
"Okay goodbye now dude. You and your craziness are going to be the end of me"
Sasuke stood behind one of his big sofa, and crossed his arms on his chest. He was struggling not to allow the wave of emotion Naruto always brought on to crush him but it didn't help. The warm spread across him and inside him, he was thanking Naruto. Maybe someday, he should actually show it instead of interiorizing everything.
Naruto laughed again, and everything went downhill.
Sasuke heard an odd sound. It was a muffled sound, and it sounded three times. Sasuke looked up confused and saw Naruto fell to the ground, blood tainting his tanned fingers.
The adrenaline rushed violently into Sasuke's vein and hurt, his brain seeming to work faster. He immediately realized that his friend was bleeding and groaning his pain. But the one second of slow motion his mind went through was enough for the shooter and his crew to enter abruptly into his living room.
Obito was standing before few steps from him, staring impassively at him. His face didn't stand out from his accomplices, all frozen in that same cold mask. But of more immediate importance was the grey gun that was pointed toward a bleeding Naruto, a ready finger on the trigger, ready to fire. Another one was against his temple, and Obito moved a bit to the side.
"Your friend might survive but one word and he'll follow you" Obito said
Both men that came with Obito seized Sasuke by each arms and their obvious strength kept any moves impossible.
"What do you want?"
"I asked Hinata what she wanted to do about her treacherous ex and now son-in-law who wanted her money, and she said, I cite 'Let them burn all in hell! Kill him!'. You know exactly what brought me here." Sasuke barely heard him because of Naruto as guilt and fear gnawed his guts, until he heard her name; Obito went on "such naivety from you folks and especially Itachi, and stupidity for lack of security and how you came to defy Hinata openly this evening, insulted her, are disconcerting."
So that was how everything ended. Because he had been too stupid, too slow, Naruto would die. And it was his entire fault because he couldn't… he stared back icely through Obito.
"Just finish what you came here to do instead of telling me your shitty life"
"You're so insolent that I think you deserve that"
"Go ahead then!"
Obito pressed the tip of his gun against Sasuke's forehead who stared straight into his eyes without flinching.
As soundless as it did when attacking Naruto, the bullet silently pierced the air.
Hinata was so out of herself, so in rage that she couldn't think properly. Sasuke was going to marry the girl of his dream, get a child and now he would swipe off what was left for her? He would have the money too? What about her sister who preferred their father or loved her back while despising her, Hinata? And those partners of her late husband who wanted to crush her, eat her alive and steal the enterprise from her? And some of Madara's employees who despised her because she wasn't their frightening boss? And all those people who wanted to step over her, judged her or suspected her to be a black widow?
She'd prove them all wrong. She was stronger, more powerful and richer with the most powerful name! They were nothing and couldn't stomach her. That's why she preferred to stay alone. Everyone else just wanted things to go their ways, and when it wasn't or that you didn't act or do like they'd like, they'd try to make your life impossible. But her too, she despised them all and she didn't want anyone else!
And that sick Madara. He was the worst of all. How could he marry her, make her do all of that sick game of his and never actually married her. How could her marriage certificate be a fake one? But he didn't win over her and never break her unlike what Obito and the doctor said! She was stronger than that bland and naïve girl she used to be. She was cleverer and not a wuss who couldn't help but be overwhelmed by emotions –they were useless, and that burden that was her innocence was far gone.
She was in sync with Obito and would get all of that money. Certainly Madara was rolling into his tomb and raging but she would win and his beloved son he certainly got through rape would have nothing. Sasuke would get nothing!
"Where are you going Hinata?"
"Obito… well, any of your business"
"You look more and more like Madara"
"I'm a far better version of him and all of you will get to see that. And I'm going to win over that dickhead" she said while waving her flogger "I've better things to do now. What do you think about this dominant clothing? It has cost money -definitely better than Madara. Anyway, my submissive is waiting for me" she smirked and slowly continued her way
"I thought once Madara would be dead, you'd get over it"
"Now that I think about it, Madara wasn't the problem. At least I don't think any more like that." Hinata said trying to be patient "Madara was just someone who knew what he wanted and went for it. I'm like that now and his stupid son will live enough to regret to have ever crossed my path"
There was it, that strange glint in his eyes exteriorized by hi strange pause. She didn't get actually.
"What is it that you want to tell me?"
"Sasuke's dead. We found him at his flat and shot him. He was with his best friend who we shot on when he opened the door and we left him bleeding… his name was Naruto or something like that"
They stood there for a long, frozen space. It was the equivalent of five heartbeats –five heartbeats during what time stopped, universe ended. But in reality, time never stops and universe never fails to move on.
Hinata turned around a made a vague hand gesture.