4. Are you afraid?
4. Are you afraid?
"What the fuck is this shit about?" Sasuke darkly swore looking at the giant men in front of the door "tell Hinata I'm here" he hissed, not willing to broke out a fight
"No." one of them said with a cold voice
"I said I wanted to see Hinata. Tsuki Hinata, does it sound to you? Should I make a picture?"
The two men guarding the front gates were intimidating with their monstrous height. It was only worse with them wearing only dark colors and sunglasses. They didn't give a thing about pushing Sasuke rough to the ground when he tried to enter. Of course he wouldn't have mind trying to defend his self –he's pretty good at fighting- but not only were they two, but they had weapons and today was not the day to die or commit murder. He could even get over the terrible ways they had handled or spoken to him, but nothing would keep him from seeing her.
They didn't move from their spots but it was obvious that through their dark glasses, their sharp eyes were waiting any movement from Sasuke. Maybe this time they wouldn't just push him to the ground. Sasuke on the other hand just stayed in front of them and surveyed sharply Hinata's window and any sound that could come from the house.
After all the noise, the gate finally opened. Sasuke's breath involuntary got caught in his throat as Hinata's view played beforehand through his mind.
"What the hell is going on here?"
A man in his late fifties went pass the guards with an angry look. And Sasuke's heart squeeze painfully with deception
"You again? What is a little good-for-nothing like you doing here? Didn't I tell you not to ever come back to my house? I'm going to call cops on you"
"Go ahead and call them. I'm sure they would love to hear our stories"
"What do you think will happen to a relationship that doesn't have parental approval? It's doomed to fail! I'm telling you this! Western education is ruining young folks and produce rascals like you! Who do you think you are?! You think you can live up to her standards? You-"
"I don't give a f- I wanna see Hinata right now"
"And you dare interrupting her father and what do you say? Of course you didn't have your parents around to educate a miserable thing like you-"
"Actually I didn't come to take any shit from you. I'm here to see Hinata" Sasuke repeat,
The adrenaline of his choices and the earlier fight was already rising to his head
"You won't see my daughter"
"She's not even your daughter or else you would have strived for her happiness instead of yours you greedy old man"
"You little piece of shit! guards get him out of my face"
It had to take neighbors' intervention to calm down the havoc and stop the fight between the two monster-like guards and Sasuke. Only once Sasuke knew Hinata was not there after a sarcastic and cynic neighbor asked to the older man, that he took the road again.
He kept driving, aimlessly moving along streets his mind never registered. At that moment his mind went straight back to its usual defense mode: denial of the world surroundings him and acceptance of darkness and hollowness. His chest was empty and head blank. His state then could seem unproductive to anyone but actually, his system was meticulously blocking out any superfluous information and draining away any poison that forced its way in.
Nothing could move him right now.
He had to find her first and make sure she was safe.
Today she didn't have class, but she was probably to Karin's.
But that idea died a quick death as his eyes met Karin's. He stepped on the brake harshly. His entire mind was on the redhead, all negatives thought pushed aside.
To spot Karin wasn't that much difficult. First there was the random length her hair was cut into, short and long strands mingled in a crazy mix that belonged to a punk rock's stage. Secondly, the bright red color as if it had been drenched by blood, a color she claimed to be natural, was quite flashing. Eventually there was the bright red frame of her spectacles and her outfits' style… but something stood out very badly, more than usual.
She had a black and big Bible in hands.
The Bible not only mixed strangely with her clothes, but her expression of boredom and occasional grimaces.
The red head was probably ready to burn it into a dark corner.
But all of that information or the look she had on when she spotted him went over his head. His mind was on his mission of the day: find Hinata.
He took a deep breathe to calm his agitation.
"Karin" he greeted coolly, his eyes calm and scrutinizing
"Sasuke~" she quickly said and hid the Bible, her voice high pitched and expression different from usual –too sugary
Suddenly an image crossed his mind. After his fight with Naruto she tried to tell him something but he roughly pushed her aside. Bad move.
"I'm sorry for earlier but were you trying to tell me something?"
The question said out loud made his brain backtracked. Cold fingers slid down and through his back. Had she really been trying to tell him something? And why were they guards before Hinata's house? His breathe itched as his body turned stone cold. It couldn't be.
He breathed slowly…
"Were you trying to tell me something?"
"… No Sasuke. I was just surprised to see you fight with Naruto. That's all" she giggled maniacally
"Ah… why are you out there this early?"
"nothing, nothing! I'm just taking air, ha! Ha! Ha! What are you thinking you silly. And you?"
"I just came from Hinata's house but since she wasn't there, I went for a ride"
"Ah Hinata… yes Hinata" Karin caught "of course, of course she wasn't home. What were you thinking?" Karin back to her bright and sneaking self
"I don't know"
"My, my Sasuke! When was the last time you checked on her? I'm surprise you're still looking for her"
Again, he couldn't grasp the air Karin was giving off. He just stared blankly at her.
"Oh, he doesn't know!" she exclaimed like any gossiper would "what? You don't really know? The minx! Ha! Ever since past week she is living in that big mansion of that rich Uchiha man. I was there on Monday. It's so big and decorated like in movies and-"
"What talking about? I got her through her phone last time"
"When was that 'last time'? Isn't it before Sunday?"
"It's on Sunday"
"Well on Sunday evening she started living there. When I saw her, she seemed quite calm, thinking and all. It was supposed to be kind of one week of getting to know each other and preparing for the big day. Damn lucky one! She always gets what she wants -"
"What are you… what do you mean?"
"As I'm speaking to you, she's already Uchiha Hinata! I tried to reason her on things but she wouldn't listen to me. I was too unhappy that I got out of the car bringing her to the Church –because she called me to be her maid of honor and I was there during her preparation but I refused as you can see with my outfits- but it had been two to three hours and since she made it in nick of time, they are definitely married by now.
I'm assuming this because it was supposed to be a simple wedding for intimates but since he is so well-known to the point of usually made it to tabloid newspaper's cover –oh god I know a star but-"
"You are making no sense. Where did you see her last time?"
Even talkative Karin had a moment of pause at Sasuke's sudden tone and look. If she didn't knew him better she would have freaked out whether be it for her life or anyone else.
"Don't you get it? You should have known better than this. We are alike Sasuke-kun and we are no level to her standard" she murmured and closed the distance between them "she'd always strived for a world where we weren't there"
No one could express his agony at hearing the news..
Two hours went by when he got to his car. But he hadn't notion of the time or the place. He almost didn't feel his ghostly white knuckles though deadly wrapped around the steering wheel; he couldn't see the darkness of evening sucking the neighborhood; he couldn't feel the soft warm carried away by the breeze.
For endless minutes he had been stone-like immobile, his eyes glued to the windshield.
From being an orphan without any memories of his parents and spending his childhood in a hole to be dumped roughly by someone he had a future with, nothing could get worse. And now that he was doing his best not to stay the eternal victim of unrequired love, now that he finally grasped what to do to go on with life, another tragedy struck.
"Why?" he hissed through gritted teeth
When he found Policemen and fireman to his building, he immediately brushed it from his mind. After all, there was enough tragedy in his life to feed on others like rabid crowd liked to do. And quite frankly he wasn't moved –it was their problems, not his. He had given so much to her -she just drained him.
At the end, it wasn't someone else but him again that life decided to strike.
A criminal fire they said, a professional one at that. They asked lots of questions but the integrality barely entered his mind: was he in something illicit? Did he set it himself? (he almost laughed at that one) Did he have enemy who could want his dead?
'Who could hate someone like that?'
'We don't know. A partner in crime or a revengeful ex'
'It'd better if you sleep somewhere else –just in case'
Like usual, his mind drifted back to her –eliminating any other names or faces- but this time it wasn't about hurting himself with 'what ifs?' or how shitty he felt.
Why would she try to kill him?
All his guts travelled down to his stomach where they yielded a merciless battle. His weaker but still beating heart was pumping acid through his veins, burning him on the way. Yet he kept walking until he joined the warmth of his cat which didn't do much to chase away his coldness or soothe his rooting wound.
It took him more than one hour to come up with a reason. The first thing that occurred to him while lost in the middle of his scattered mind was their story, how amazing she had been, how insecure he had felt and how shitty he had felt after her departure.
Their story slowly evolved before his eyes and he freely delved where he had sworn off –memories of her. His best arm against the anger, the hurt, the hopelessness, the need for revenge and the shameful need to get her back when she didn't give a shit about him was to forget. He had to get rid of anything that linked her to him. After all, she made the choice to leave him behind so what was the use of hanging on her? It was unhealthy and plain procrastination.
So, he has decided to travel to another town where he'd save enough to cross Atlantic for the United States. It seemed extreme as a decision, but really, it wasn't enough of an effort for him. It just felt like no matter how hard he ran away from her, his constant dark mood would never lift up.
After running circles in his head, there was nothing left but to think about the why –never did it cross his mind it could be someone else. He couldn't stop thinking about her whether in good or bad -this situation was casual occurrence.
Then it struck him like a wrecking ball.
She was afraid that now her entire husband's insane wealth was hers, he'd come ask for some inasmuch as they were married. She was afraid to lose some of her money, and was ready to take his life to keep the integrality.
Once again she relegated his life to nothingness. He was just a stone in her shoe she wanted to get rid of a second time.
He gave her everything, from his soul to his heart, but she roughly threw it back in his face. She took everything from him and he let her do, until the very end. Even then he was ready to let her get by, let everything go with the wind, but now she wanted to take his life away.
Her lack of respectfulness for his pain and mostly his life was the last straw.
"I've been running away for too long" he hissed "I'm not afraid of you anymore… Hinata"
With hate clawed at his chest, the road flew away beneath his tires..
When they entered the meeting room of her new –new for her- enterprise Akatsuki Corp. once owned by her late husband, she had been quite surprised. Hinata didn't know what she expected but she didn't expect this. In the middle of the avant-gardist meeting room adorned with blue, grey and white, were men –and a woman- like top models with high height, intense gazes, handsome faces, athletic figures and neat suits that suited them so good it was unfair. To that could be added that in-your-face arrogance and a dark aura she attributed to their intimidating air and gazes,
Like the scum they had called her husband, they had elegance in their moves and that charisma oozing from them, the kind of charisma once they opened their mouth, people would hang onto their very words.
It ridiculously felt like actors or models audition, but she knew better.
She always thought Madara was like some mafia boss and thus that mingled in her overactive imagination. For her, louts didn't look like that, but like hungry cats. Those around her could have easily made it to the media worlds but they preferred darker and illegal parts. They were the exact example showing that even if all humans were on the same level, some would always deviate. Or maybe they used their looks and that charisma to reach where they were now… only Madara knew where he got them –even if she had half an idea since he gave great deal of importance to physical appearance, something Hinata paid the price for as his wife.
Well, that was not her problem.
That's how she met Madara's associates and managers: Konan and Nagato who were their biggest associates, Kakuzu their financial director, Hidan the manager of manpower resources, Sasori and Deidara from the Marketing department; Itachi was the sales manager and Kisame the advertising agent.
During that meeting, they had to get acquainted with the new boss, review their actual situation (which was quite well) and plan the future, a future full of success as usual. For that, she had to be hard on them and a control freak as Madara had definitely been to achieve such results. But that didn't meet welcoming minds.
Some of them was quite calm and didn't show their mind while others showed their hostility either because she was mingling with business that not only didn't concern her but was beyond her, or she simply was younger than them and a woman. Kakuzu had been cold about it while Hidan and Deidara showed it through overly arrogant attitude.
In front of such hostility she couldn't help but notice how lazy-like Sasori was and friendly Kisame was. Konan, Nagato and Itachi however kept their faces blank. Those five seemed to lurk in the shadows for the perfect time to strike.
But she was no fool. Everyone had their hidden agenda.
The one who stood out the most though, who drew her attention more than the rest amongst those sophisticated snobbish was Uchiha Itachi. He was named exactly like her late husband, yet she saw him neither at her wedding, nor around the house –not even once. Yet he was the enterprise sales manager.
Besides the fact that he was from Madara's family but she never saw him before, his face –despite being drop dead gorgeous- made her ill at ease for unknown reason. It was like she met him before and he left her with a bitter memory. What memory, she couldn't tell. May be it was just a resemblance with someone she knew or even a passer-by.
Hinata sighed heavily, leaning against her right fist with closed eyes.
It was definitely a rough world where now that Madara wasn't there any more, people took her as a fresh meat to devour. More than ever she relied on Obito who sat at her right as the assistant director, Zetsu her lawyer (something she discovered over the night) and Zero his rougher and dark skinned twin and associate.
It was her against the world all over again. It was now or never to create an alliance, because she wouldn't lose –never again.
She sighed again and slightly opened her eyes. The meeting just ended, something finally ticked off the 'to-do' list.
As she gathered her belongings, the most frightening –for her- of all entered, followed by someone who looked familiar too. It was him, Uchiha Itachi. His face was familiar, but those handsome eyes of his adorned with thick eyelashes, those traits of his sculpted with attention as if made to tempt anything in his radius couldn't be easily that forgotten –even she had to admit it. A feeling of deja-vu stroked her again.
But she wouldn't be intimidated, not even by his height.
"Mrs. Uchiha" he smoothly called out
"Is there something you need?" she asked, standing up
"Let's begin with presentation for starters, shall we?"
"I couldn't agree more"
First of all one should always have the last words. It was best to get the upper hand, even in trivial situations as such.
Itachi didn't lose his perfectly stare that bordered condescendence. Hinata guessed he had many an enemy with that attitude of his coupled with his success and gifts, and that was only confirmed with the resentment one of his colleague –Deidara she remembered- seemed to bear for him.
The other dark haired man moved forward, holding that familiar air she noticed in Itachi. She did her best by squaring her shoulders and straightened her spine to look more intimidating or not intimidated by them. Hinata didn't blink even once.
"I am Uchiha Itachi as you must have caught earlier; this is Izami Uchiha, your late husband's younger brother"
That was a surprise, an unpleasant one by the way. Coldness made a slow and long journey over her chest. Her eyes fluttered, probably giving her away to Itachi's sharp eyes. Thinking of a way to make up back her façade, she managed a tight smile and greeted Izami with a gentle bow.
"It's a pleasure to meet you. However, it's strange that I saw neither of you to the wedding"
"Madara had always being a secretive man, doing everything by himself"
Behind a quite common phrase Hinata saw much more, something approximate to reproaches. His voice was pleasant but not the subtle venom injected. Or it was probably her and her sensitive mind fueled by the intense and ambitious eyes she had to deal with minutes ago.
Hinata made a grimace of apologies and turned to the said brother.
"I am sorry about him keeping that from you Izami-san. It would have been a pleasure to hear more about my dear's family" she turned her attention to Itachi "and who are you to him?"
"Madara was my father's sibling"
Again, she noticed the impersonal way he announced he was Madara's nephew. That was clearly disguised antagonism, and a piece of information she kept at the back of her mind.
"So, please be seated misters. I'll call someone to bring something for you"
Hinata was suspicious of how they easily were getting along her demands. Then again, Itachi's intense gaze brought backs her alarms.
In no time, one of the enterprise's interns entered with some snacks and drinks. The red short haired girl swayed her hips tentatively while eying Itachi obviously. She lingered by his sides and finally made her exist with a dreamy air on her face.
Seconds later, the drinks and snacks lay untouched while three-way stares were exchanged. Finally, Hinata detached her drumming black polished nails and laid her forearms on the table while crossing her legs under her long black dress.
"So, what had brought my brother-in-law and nephew-in-law to pay me some private visit?"
This time Izami was the first to speak.
"We came to get files concerning Madara's properties."
The goose bumps creeping along her arms had nothing to do with the air conditioner. Of course the family that never paid the least of a visit couldn't be visiting now for sport and fun, not when they shared Madara's last name.
She leaned into the big dark leather seat and managed a lazy expression with an arched eyebrow.
"What are you talking about Izami-San?"
"We are asking for Madara's will and any document related to his belongings, including his house and this enterprise you said to be the new owner. I understand you may think this is yours because Madara was your husband but he never had been the true owner. If however you try to get in the way, we'll see you as an enemy, not a family's member"
She sucked in a gulp of air. Since he didn't participate to the meeting, Hinata glanced out of reflex at Itachi. So he was playing dirty.
Hinata steeled her gaze.
"And how is that any of my husband's business concern you?"
"Well you'd be surprise how much concerned I am, or Itachi is"
"Well that's when Law and rights intervene. I suppose you won't be surprise that his wife is the only one concerned"
"I'm surprised you are actually his 'wife' as you say since I only know one… or at least knew only one he ever considered marrying for good. All the women he met later were just for fun. I still ask to see that marriage certificate"
"If you were that important as you say, not only would you have caught wind about our wedding but you would have been there. As for you, I have nothing to prove to you or anyone in this room, or in this world for that matter, except the Law. I understand now why he never introduced his family before.
Since you came all the way here just for that, you might take the door." She said and stood up
"All that 'success' he achieved as you said earlier came from his family's blood, and his time was to come. But he went away earlier.
This, Miss Tsuki is beyond your level and it is something you can't bear on those frail shoulders of yours. It's not only about his dear family but his enemies. You've got there one chance to turn your back and never get involved with Uchiha family." Izami said without shifting an hair
She clenched her jaw, and over the cold that seated heavily on her body like a heavy load on her chest, shoulders and back at the same time, the murderous glare she hold came naturally to her.
"First of all, it's Mrs. Uchiha for you, not Miss Tsuki, you bunch of vultures. You are so despicable and pathetic. What were you doing when he was making his money?
Where were you when he was making a way for him? You waited around like pathetic vultures waiting to eat from his dead flesh. You could have confronted him when he was alive –if your words are even real- but you waited for his wife to be left behind to throw yourself at me? You chose the wrong person. All of this is MINE!"
"You talk loud, but all that can be seen is an empty speech. From the way you are defending him it only prove that you yourself come from the same universe as him. What could you understand when you have never been the victim? Nothing of course.
I'm not looking for your understanding but cooperation. Fear not Miss Tsuki because there's so much information that could help you drown in that arrogance of yours." Izami replied
"My arrogance? It's amazing how the story can change when point of views are shifted. Because I'm defending what's mine from sharks I'm the bad guy? Well, let's be it. I didn't put up with Madara for you to come out of nowhere and steal everything from me"
"It is all about the money"
"I was thinking the same. Now get the hell out. You've just used up my quota of patience for the day"
"We have much more right than you, Mrs. Tsuki, to be there"
They didn't move, and she immediately tipped away the security number.
"It's Mrs. Uchiha I'll need-"
"You think we don't know?" Izami started over again
"-you to take two men out of-"
"You killed him to get his possessions." He continued, unperturbed by her call
"-the building. They are causing trouble" she ended the call with a harsher tone
"Who can believe he actually died during some sex when he was all healthy and far stronger than you? You killed him and now you really believe you will steal the Uchiha family? Well, he did have one hell of an influence on you" Madara's brother kept going with the same monotone voice and expression.
Hinata's nails dipped so hard into her palms that her skin was ready to break from the pressing. She smiled nevertheless, that cruel smile she remembered from Madara whenever he was rejoicing from the fear he could read easily in her big frightened and pleading one. Despite not having a mirror at that time, she could easily picture her poor self, scared and curled in the corner with trembling lips.
Oh, Madara transformed her into something far away from what she had been, and it was in that that she would draw her strength to get what was hers –that, all of Madara's wealth was hers to be taken. She didn't live with him and went under his 'teaching' for vile creatures to jump behind his back on her.
That extravagant amount of money was all that was left for and of her.
With new resolve and a glare to freeze anyone, she turned toward Madara's brother and Itachi at the same time. The security who was confused once they recognized the said troublemakers waited for her to speak at the entrance.
"Whenever you feel like, we can go to the court, whether for that accusation or your claim on his will. Now guards take all those sharks out of there!"
"Do not touch us. We know the exit. As for you Miss Tsuki, or should I say Miss Hyuga, you definitely don't know what you're in for."
Hearing her biologic father's name, seeing again the condescending gaze he had always laid on her filled her with a devastating rage. But she shut it down, like she had learnt to do with Madara.
"Oh, I know dear, as much as I know I don't have patience to put up with you. So get out now, or I'll get the security to treat you as you deserve scumbags. You are nothing. "
"But his son is, isn't it?"
Everything paused into a bit.
"What are you talking about?"
"You dear husband had a son and you didn't know about it? Well, he did have one, one who would certainly love to hear about all the billons he would have to share with his black widow of step-mother."
"You are delirious"
"Oh, you can live in disillusion, but he actually had a son who is still alive. You better prepare all documents concerning Madara's entire wealth for what will come to you"
"Get out. Guards, get those parasites out quickly!"
The guards never touched them, and they went away as they came. It filled her with so much hate she began plotting to get rid of those guards too. Their loyalty wasn't with the right person. And it was a little victory they won -that scorched sharply.
After all that she went through as Mrs. Uchiha during her short marriage with Madara, nothing could frighten her anymore –not even bastard child or rapacious family in law.
"I am not afraid anymore"