2. Our separated ways
2. Our separated ways
Hinata pulled all of her hair into a ponytail again, and slicked her bangs back. Her bangs had always played as a barrier for her, always hiding her from the world. But that is from the past. Now, she was much harder and the world needed to see it all when they'd come to face.
To be a widow at such a young age was bound to stir sympathy or pity in hearts. Some would say it's just fatality, other would say bad events from time to time happened, or that it was written. What she would say was that life was just a succession of events, born from choices -fatality or karma or whatever they called had nothing to do with. Life was a succession of events, and empty of sense.
For all she cared about her husband death, she discovered black was the best color to represent her soul and new identity. It was perfect for her new image of the 'sad widow'.
With her pale eyes and the thin line her red-painted lips made, she had a blank and confident expression that would make her win every battle, an expression that differentiated her from that fool she had been. That 'little fool Hinata' wasting time writing poetryhad definitely being slaughtered with a sharp chain saw. The process hadn't been a joyful journey, but it opened her eyes that had been closed for a short span of time. She hated her 'old self' so much for being that stupid, clumsy and useless. But, now no trace of her existed.
What her journey made her realized was that being timid, feeling worthless or waiting for people's approbation was just a matter of ignorance -you either were a victim or a predator. And her time being the victim was past.
She smoothed her long black dress and went down to the imposing and sober office of her late husband. There was an important meeting waiting for her to begin there.
"Hinata-san" a deep voice called out for her duly
"… Obito-san" she greeted
"How are you doing?"
"Fine" she answered with a strange glint in the eye "and you? I hope that my silence didn't do you any prejudice"
"No, I am fine. However, you do need to plan things out as soon as possible. At this time, things are critical because you know, letting things unsupervised can create troubles. "
"I know, I know. Plan the meeting with the lawyers for tomorrow, and another one with our associates at the end of the week."
"You can count on me Hinata-san"
"I always could…" she nodded "I am sure you will do great as my right-arm"
Their arrival at the big leather-covered door put an end to the conversation. When they were nothing else to say, one needed to shut up. Not that they ever got involved in long conversations anyway. The man was so mysterious about anything concerning him, and she had her own load of shit. The angst and their calm personalities counted though.
With time and events however, they got closer. In their few shared words, looks or silence, they found allies in each other. She trusted him, and he did so in his own way. Well, her trust was to some extend because she needed to trust someone around or she'd die before realizing it –too much sharks in the ocean. In this case, their projects went the same way.
"Good morning everyone." Hinata greeted them with a blank voice and kind of condescending air.
Her greetings met air.
Besides Obito standing next to her in his usual dark suits, there were six men dressed in t-shirts, sleeveless shirts or leather jackets. They formed a pack, an intimidating and dark one. They had always been there, playing bodyguards or running errands for her late husband. Now, they belonged to her no matter the past.
As she leaned in, she stared at each one of them, letting the silence impose her new force. Of course they looked back without blinking, their imposing stature and hard faces intimidating as ever. They looked ready to pounce at her. Great good did them. She didn't give a damn at that –they could always try and even succeed easily but if they had brains, they'd think better.
She finally sat down in the new chair she bought as the other one was too big for her.
"We are going to get straight to the point. Your boss died five days ago. Being his wife, I am the only heiress to whatever he possessed. Everything that was his are now mine –including you. Of course, if this causes you any problem you know the door.
You know how much he had enemies whether be it for his position or deeds, and being his only heiress we all are aware that his problems will concern me too and directly in a close future. That's why I need to be more careful than ever about my back.
From the contract, you all belong to me as you swore on your blood. Of course, you can easily get like snakes but think clearly about your advantages and all your powerful enemies if you decided to play it solo." She gave them again the eye that dared them to say otherwise "All I want from you is your devotion, and what I would hate you doing is to betray me. I hate betrayal more than my husband did. I hate it so much that if one of you was to dare, I would punish him.
If my husband asked you to kneel down, I will beat you. If he beat you with wire, I will beat you with hot iron. Whatever he did to you when he wasn't happy will be twice worse with me. I will be harder in everything, in every way.
Long story short, I will be involved in everything my husband was and I expect entire respect and commitment to me. That's all.
If you have something to say, it's now or never"
Silence met with her words.
"Good. You can dismiss now"
The soft and thick carpet erased their footstep as the men get out. They didn't refute her –probably because they would not win anything- nor did they enthusiastically greeted the new reform. Maybe they didn't take her seriously, maybe they had other schemes but it didn't matter. She was not scared.
Once the room cleared out, she got up. Obito was right. She needed to plan out her next moves and as soon as possible; she needed to know every single detail of what lurked for her and how her life was supposed to be.
There was something in particular she wanted to take care of as soon as possible –that was why this meeting was important.
"I can see that I am not the only one to be strict about notion of loyalty"
It was those rare moments when Obito dared to share some of his soul with her. She smirked at him, undisturbed by the scars adorning half his face. He never felt like confessing about that one and she never pushed him to do so. His past was still blurry to her. Doing such a great job at hiding one's identity was definitely a bonus. That would be to exploit later.
All that matter now was who was with her or against her.
"There was a time when I had been everyone's doormat. Things are different now. I've learned."
"We always learn, and sometimes in the hard way, especially people too kind for their own good. I've been betrayed once but couldn't have done anything" he confessed
"I have been betrayed too, but I am going to make him suffer for that"
Her heart was in her throat for what she had done. Her step-father would kill her, her mother too probably but she didn't care. It was about her life anyway. One day they'd learn about it anyway.
Sure it was less radical as the matching tattoo she got behind Sasuke's back, but it was definitely worse. To be hones thought, the gravity of the situation depended of the position taken. As for her, the excitement probably came from the fact that it was the first time she ever made a choice by her own rather than the fear of her mother looking into her bank's account.
There was the fact too that it looked a bit like a child running away while the 'loving' parents were getting divorce. Long story short, the situation at home was catastrophic, but Sasuke came first on her list of priorities. That's all.
She bit her lips and looked around.
Sasuke kissed her ear and she half screamed.
"Heavens. You know how to scare me Sasuke-kun" she breathed heavily, her heart ready to run out of its cage
"It's okay" Hinata quickly said, a large smile touching her lips "You're here and that's the only important thing"
"What did you do of the real Hinata?" Sasuke asked with a smirk, yet troubled eyes
"Nothing. She's right before you"
"My 'Hinata' is usually sad and gets me so stressed about her wellbeing" He said with a lopsided smile
"This Hinata in front of you have been a bad girl about to make you happy"
"Oh, really? Are you wearing that sexy laced underwear I bought?"
"I like your hair too. It will be wonderful"
"I'm going back to school"
"Okay, okay. I suppose it's important if you, the most righteous one of all, missed school."
Hinata smiled and put a light brown envelope on the table. It was strangely bulged. Sasuke apparently noticed that and didn't like the look. He narrowed his eyes.
"There. It's for you"
"What is that?"
"Money to start your dojo"
"Where did you get it?"
"Is it important?"
"Yes –no, not all since you are taking it back"
"It's my money Sasuke-kun"
"I'm fine Hinata, I'm more than fine. I've got twodreamyjobs, I'm happy and I've enough to save"
"But not enough to open you dojo anytime soon"
"Because you've got enough for that?"
"No. It's just to add to your economies"
"You said you would wait"
"Of course I will. But-"
"I do not need your generosity. I'm independent and-"
"Heavens, Sasuke-kun! Stop being so proud and stubborn! We are two in this Sasuke-kun. You'll pay me back later with interest if you want."
"Why do you persist?"
"After my mother's divorce, we have been hungry. We've slept one day on the streets because the landlord expulsed us. I've got… assaulted because I worked too late one day to get money home…"
"So the big deal is just about the money"
"I'm afraid -I'm afraid you'd hate me if… if we have to go through it"
"Do you hate your mother?"
"No, of course not… but poverty is not an option. You have said plenty of times that you're whole person and I'm whole person too, and how independent we should be because life… but I want to help you because Iloveyou"
He deserved to be happy in every way possible, but when misery entered by the window, sometimes happiness flew by the door. What if it became a source of tension? There was now an air on her mother's face she'd hate to see on Sasuke's, and never would she take for their relation to look like that of her mother and hers.
She had been there and knew about it, and she would insist no matter how strange he looked about the deal.
"Poverty? What about us? We're struggling… does it upset you?"
"I know we are, and that's why the quicker we get out of it the better it'd be. I don't want to wake up one day and realize you are too sick but you can't go to hospital because there's no money. I don't want to hear that someone assaulted you because you were roaming bad neighborhood to make end meets. If anything happen to you, I'd die"
"You are more stubborn than I am. Hinata, I refuse your money because I'm sure it comes from your parents who dislike me. You love them and I don't want you to choose."
"It's my economies, I'm an adult, and I want you to take it" she pushed it toward him "Sasuke-kun… the money is nothing compared to what you'd be able to do once you'll get that dojo. You'll even give the money back with interest, I promise."
"Shouldn't I be the one to make that promise?"
She put her hand over his, massaging it in come-and-go moving. They were in a public place and Sasuke hated PDA. An encouraging kiss wouldn't be well received. Their eyes met for an intense moment, his eyes trying to make her back down. The eyes she discovered were just a dark version of gray gleamed coolly, making her resolution to shatter a bit. He sure was intimidating but she was right.
They had so many projects: their marriage they had to delay, their moving, their saving, both their projects (she wasn't having just hers realized), her schooling. He didn't have to bear the world on his shoulders or have her like a burden around his ankle. In the middle of the chaos their lives were, all that counted was their future, which had nothing to do with her step father's problem.
"Don't sacrifice your school's year for that"
She just decided to drop from school, and give Sasuke a push. Her restaurant could wait while she gained experience here and there. "Sacrificing" herself a bit for him brought her more joy than using it for something else. It was her last year anyway, and that was something she could do next year.
She squeezed his hand tighter
"Sacrifice is not one when it's done for our own wellbeing"
"You are not giving up"
She smiled. He grumpily put the money in his bag pack. She had won for the first time since she knew him. The thought put a bitter smile on her lips because it wasn't much about winning. It was about striving toward a future and seeing his smile.
Something caught his eyes behind her. She followed his stare.
At that moment, Hinata saw Sasuke smile and wave at two girls. They were the perfect archetype of her nightmares: fair hair, tanned and thin, and fashioned.
She remembered seeing the pink haired one at Sasuke's house once. The beautiful green-eyed girl never stopped looking at Sasuke…
"Man, it's break time. Stop overdoin' yourself"
"For once I agree with fish-face. Come on Sasuke-kun! I've got you a tomatoes' salad!"
"Stop callin' me that Karin!"
"Karin, Suigetsu calm down. It's hot outside"
The two bickers closed their mouths. Juugo was so tall, and a bit too bulking with so many tattoos that he scared everyone, including his co-workers. He was calm though and never raised his voice on anyone, which made him the only person Sasuke could really tolerate. As for the others, it was another thing.
Karin left the two men at the pic-nic table, and came to Sasuke who was boxing a punchbag.
"Karin, just go away"
"Why are you so mean to me? You are always so cold and put distance between us… and let that bitch-"
"Don't insult her"
"Why? Orochimaru sold you the thing. You're the owner! Why do you keep working so much?" the redhead changed the subject
"I have to train. You'd better back off Karin"
They turned around to see Sakura coming at them. Her hair that brushed a bit under her neck was free, and she wore a pink mini skirt and a red sleeveless top. Her bag showed that she just came back from university, despite the basket of food in her hands. Either she bought it on her way there, or she directly cooked at home right after school. Whatever effort she did, it didn't show on her face.
She didn't look once at the angry red haired girl beside Sasuke and went straight to him. Without another word, Sasuke took Sakura's hand and went to the other side of what served as 'cafeteria'. The little scene made workers and clients close enough to look their way, but when no fight broke out, they went back to their business. At this point, they weren't surprised anymore about the dark haired instructor's success.
"Shouldn't you be at school?"
"Oh, yes but it's our break time"
"Your med school is far from here" he sternly said, the implications clear in his deep voice
"Oh, don't worry about me" she quickly said with a blush, happy to see worry for her on his gorgeous face "I was at a restaurant with Ino and the others and we were on our way back. We weren't far from here so I decided to come by and greet you"
He smirked at her and a wave of happiness filled her to the tilt. He was growing more and more on her. When she remembered thinking about him so fervidly while being unable to get any closer because of his situation… now everything was fine.
"Everything is so strange"
"Us being here…" she paused, and then went on "you'd always been mysterious and unattainable. I couldn't figure out how to get any close. Since we embarked on this though, I realized you weren't that far away to reach"
Their relationship was steadily growing up and he was little by little warming up to her. Before they were just strangers, and now he would more frequently smile at her, and protect her against that crazy red haired jealous girl –just like earlier.
Now, she had to know more about him. He was so mysterious! That was included in all that compelling charm of his, but she wanted more. She wanted to feel closer and thus needed to know more about him, his past or at least his future. After all, she was now part of his future.
"So, hum, you own the place? Whoa" she said after chewing on her lettuce
"Don't listen to Karin"
"Ah, so you only work here then"
"Yeah" he blankly said, looking strangely down at her
"O-of c-course it doesn't matter to m-me" Sakura stuttered after understanding his look –so she thought- "it's just I wanted to know more about you"
"… What do you want to know?" he arched an eyebrow
"Your projects. Do you have any? I mean you are so clever I'm sure you can actually own your personal dojo, while still doing what you like... you understand?"
"I'm not that dumb"
"S-sorry" she blushed again
He chuckled at her. Her mind blew away.
"I do not have any particular project… what about you?"
"Besides having our kid? Ha, ha! Well, it's… it's depend on… what I want to say is-" she abruptly stopped speaking but her shy emeralds eyes said it all for her "it depends on someone I know" she peered up
Sasuke gave her a twisted smirk. She bit down on her lips. Bold with the subtle air moving between them and all the hints she received from him, she quickly leaned and pecked his lips. His smirk didn't left his lips, and his troubled eyes made her core melted. He was of those ones you could never get used to the magnificence.
Cat calls and wolves' whistles get her back on earth. She blushed, and her inner goddess made a happy dance. Both of them were happy, but her spiritual self-dance and screamed for both of them. And she was giving a good trashing to all the onlookers that ruined their personal bubble.
Happy and enamored like never before, she exchanged anecdotes about fetus and babies, and laughed along his chuckles. She didn't hide how much she wanted the kid to take more after him than her and he reassured her gently, making her heart burst with glee.
In that glowing future they now shared, there was no cloud in the sky… so she thought