|Two of Us
Author: sn0wfl0w3r PM
They were not allowed to hold, touch, or even speak to one another, yet their meeting left a deep impression that no one else could penetrate.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Hinata H. & Sasuke U. - Chapters: 4 - Words: 12,044 - Reviews: 21 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 17 - Updated: 01-19-10 - Published: 12-16-09 - id: 5585153
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Notes: To my lovely readers, Thank You so much for the reviews! I hope you guys won't mind the angst (I think) that is in this chapter. Enjoy!
I want nothing, but freedom.
"Sakura, sit straight."
Sakura frowned from the command. She immediately obeyed by straightening her legs together on the cushioned seat. She soon glared at her mother's elegant composure across the dining room table. Sakura's emerald eyes drifted toward the young boy sitting across from her. He was fifteen and the elite son of Uchiha Fugaku. Since the invitation she extended to him two years ago for her birthday party, Itachi had always been welcomed into the Haruno household. To celebrate another added year to her previous age of nine, her parents ordered that she invite only Itachi tonight as a guest.
"He's special." Mother's voice had been full of excitement at the prospect of conversing with Itachi. Sakura shared the same excitement, but with butterflies added to her stomach.
Sadly, Itachi ate quietly. He did not say much words. Truthfully, Sakura found him boring. Whenever she was around her parents, it was much easier to ignore them when something was on her mind. But tonight, her mind was completely blank. Since his arrival, her nerves overwhelmed her. She didn't want to act like a child around him; she couldn't find the proper words to show him how lady-like she could be. Itachi's onyx eyes never looked up at her unless her parents asked him questions relating to their friendship.
It's not like I'm jealous that they're giving him so much attention. Just, what is Mom and Dad planning? Sakura's eyebrows raised at the sight of her parents glancing up at Itachi every two minutes.
"Itachi, how is your father doing? I haven't been able to speak to him at all." Mr. Haruno chewed on his steak thoughtfully as his emerald eyes stared at the Uchiha genius. He'll make a wonderful husband for my Sakura. With Itachi approaching fifteen and Sakura turning ten today, Fugaku and him agreed to direct their children closer together though occasions like this to foster a harmonious relationship. After all, all great marriages needed a beginning. His Sakura deserved the best. Itachi, by far and beyond his expectations, was certainly in the top category.
"He is fine, Sir. He hasn't come home since the uprising." Itachi solemnly spoke at the mention of his father. Fugaku was out of the country in affairs Itachi knew very little about. Even the Uchiha elders refused to tell him news that could be devastating. Anger began to form in Itachi's fingers clamped onto the fork. He stabbed the steak on his plate, but no one noticed his rage.
He was old enough to go with Father. He was not a child anymore. Yet, he was stuck in Konohagakure, attending to mild affairs. As the heir to the clan, he was expected to succeed in his school studies. Fugaku had forbade him to go.
Someday Itachi hoped to be a politician like his father. Politicians were viewed as representatives of their village. They were also the blame for unsuccessful negotiations and invasions. Konoha politicians had a lot on their plate by carrying the great responsibility of maintaining the balance of Konoha's affairs. The Hokage throne was a dream Itachi wished to achieve. No longer would Konoha have to be involved in political wars under his rule. He had seen already too many lives lost during the Great War. People had died like toppling dominoes in bloody violence. After all, Konohagakure harvested strong fighters for the Fire country.
"Ah, the uprising. I fear, too, that we'll soon be engrossed in this obstructive matter. Don't you think so, Izumi?" Mr. Haruno lturned to his wife as she finished her broccoli.
"Satoshi, this discussion should not be approached at dinnertime," warned Izumi. They are still so young.
"Dad, what are you talking about?" asked Sakura, staring at him dumbfound. "You're a doctor. You don't even know how to use a gun." She sipped her glass of water. "I don't understand why the adults are scared of Orochimaru-san. I think he's just weird."
Izumi and Satoshi looked up at each other with raised eyebrows.
Itachi sighed at Sakura's childish state of mind. The boiling inclination to whack sense into her brain was more than tempting. He cleared his throat. "Orochimaru-san is more than weird. He was the adopted son of our current Hokage. Orochimaru-san became a murderer. He's done things that should never be forgiven. Your parents' medical skills will be needed when the time comes for their aid in any battle or war."
"Let's have dessert, shall we?" asked Izumi, standing up suddenly from her chair. She walked into the kitchen. The atmosphere transformed awkwardly silent again.
Sakura's mood soured at the instance Itachi harshly replied to her question that had been directed towards her father. "I...I didn't mean to...be rude, Itachi."
"Itachi-san," corrected Itachi. He wanted to maintain their formal greetings. He was just an acquaintance. Until he fully understood the meaning behind their relationship that his father and Haruno Satoshi had set up, he did not want to feel further burdened by Sakura. Like all other girls, she was always groveling over him. He had learned over the years to keep his distance and treat them coldly. Opposite to Mother's pleading, Itachi did not care if he made another girl cry because he didn't 'like' her. Sakura was no different. She was a girl. And all girls were, in his mind's eye, crazy when infatuated with a boy.
Her signals towards him these two years were simply that of infatuation. Itachi would no further lead her to feel a greater feeling. He just wasn't interested in her.
Sakura nodded," I'm sorry. I forgot."
Satoshi cringed at Itachi's coldness. For a fifteen year old boy, he should be emotionally rowdy. Yet, he seemed like a machine; reporting facts and information easily like a robot. His face showed no emotion. He rarely smiled. Satoshi focused his thoughts toward Sakura whom was near tears. The emotional and unemotional, he imagined, noting the differences between the two kids at his dining table. He should be mad, yet Satoshi chuckled from amusement. Only when Itachi was upset at Sakura did she try to be polite in return.
"I have chocolate cake!" chimed Izumi, walking in.
"How was the dinner?" asked Mikoto, answering the front door to allow her oldest son to enter the house. Unlike the Hyuugas, Mikoto prized herself on providing for her family without the aid of maids and servants. She enjoyed the housewife typical activities that others in her position as a Clan leader's wife would despise. This was her forte after all.
Sakura's birthday dinner was at 6:00 pm, yet Itachi arrived home at 7:30 pm. The hour and a half was uncharacteristically odd for Sakura's birthday celebration. In the past two years Mikoto expected her son to come home at 9:00 pm at the least. Perhaps, something had gone wrong.
"Did something bad happen?" Mikoto tried to sound nonchalant as possible, reaching for Itachi's coat. Grabbing hold of it successfully, she opened the closet next to the front door and slid his coat on the hanger. Closing the closet door, she turned to face Itachi's back heading for the stairs. "Itachi, answer me."
"I was tired, Mother. May I go to my room?"
Mikoto chuckled. "Now, you can't be tired. You stayed for only an hour."
"I am tired." He placed a foot up the stairs. The throbbing pain at his temples felt like a hammer smashing his head. His hand steadied at the rail.
Mikoto's smile faded. "Itachi…"
"I'm fine. I am going to sleep, Mother."
Without further patience, Itachi ran up the stairs quickly. He couldn't understand the pain at his head. But at least Mother's voice no longer bothered him. Relieved, he entered the long hallway that had once plagued him years ago when Sasuke went missing.
"Onee-chan! Stop! You're tickling me!" Hanabi's giggles erupted to Itachi's surprise.
He paused in the hallway.
The continued laughter from the Hyuuga girls shook Itachi. He had rarely heard them loud before. They were acting comfortable – like this was their home to begin with. Shaking his head, Itachi headed ferociously toward their laughter. Ironically, they were in Sasuke's room.
Hanabi attacked with the white teddy bear Hinata had given for her birthday yesterday. Hinata stepped back and giggled. Mikoto had baked a strawberry cake for the occasion while Itachi had remained in his room the whole night. Hanabi had received a yellow sundress from Mikoto. The two sisters finished laughing when the door slammed open.
"Why?" Itachi's shout reverberated in the room.
Hinata stared aghast at Itachi's angry expression. "Itachi-san." Onyx eyes burned through her white ones as she fought to retain her composure. He was not ever this early from Sakura's birthday. Had Hinata known, she would have lowered their voices for his comfort. After all these years, she had finally come to understand his discord with her and Hanabi.
They were the ones who came uninvited to their home, sought shelter in their care. Taking up Sasuke's room was a sign of disrespect she had shown Itachi. Hinata felt guilt the moment she had come to hear of the sad story about the youngest and last child of Uchiha Fugaku and Mikoto. For two years she tried to appease Itachi by staying away from him.
"I-I'm sorry. We didn't mean to-"
"Nii-san!" exclaimed five year old Hanabi. She delightedly flocked toward the older Uchiha without any detection of his anger. Her arms wide open for an embrace.
"Hanabi – don't!" cried Hinata running after Hanabi. He'll get angry! She reached for Hanabi's arms and pulled her back into an embrace.
"Nee-chan!" stammered Hanabi, angrily trying to pull herself away from Hinata.
"Shhh, don't Hanabi. That's not nice," cooed Hinata softly, running a hand down Hanabi's short hair. Hinata nervously glanced up at Itachi," I p-promise we won't d-disrupt you again."
"What is going on here?" Mikoto rushed to the doorway, staring distressfully at the scene. Her eyes turned towards Itachi," Itachi, why did you yell?"
Itachi shook his head The throbbing intensified. " No, leave me alone." He turned toward Mikoto," Leave me the hell alone! I hate them! Especially her!" He pointed to Hinata. "Acting innocent! Like she deserves our sympathy! Tch! This…doesn't have to be! You don't have to live here!"
"Itachi! Stop! Why are you acting this way?" Mikoto grabbed his shoulders to secure him in her grasp. Fear on her face. "You don't understand! They have no where to go!" Mikoto was desperate to save her son. Never had she seen him in such ferocity. Itachi is a good boy. He doesn't get easily angered. Mikoto shook her head, eyes watery from Itachi's painful look," You don't have to go through this alone. We're here for you!"
Itachi remained still as he wept. This was the first time he had cried in front of Mother since Sasuke's disappearance. His heart felt like it was being ripped out; his pleas useless to those around him. The pressure…can't handle it. The throbbing at his temples softened after releasing the unexpected tears.
For years Mikoto had waited for Itachi's emotional eruption. It had been years since she had cried together with him. "You can't hold onto regret forever. It'll only destroy you."
Hinata covered her mouth. Her hands covered Hanabi's ears the whole time he yelled. She had enough experience to know that there were things one as young as Hanabi should never have to see or hear; she didn't want Hanabi exposed to such hurtful words. They were directed to me.
"I'll m-move. I-I promise, Itachi-san, that I won't stay here once I turn eighteen. I-I'll leave." Hinata wished she could see his eyes for reassurance. The day she disappeared would surely bring him joy.
Hinata removed one hand from Hanabi's ear to extend her pinky finger. Mikoto watched in surprise with her arms wrapped around Itachi's neck. Hinata took his silence as the sign of his acceptance.
-- (Three years later) --
Hinata laid down on the grass. Her right hand clasped over the left side of her chest. Wisps of ebony hair covered her face. A red blush painted her pale cheeks.
"Hinata-chan! What are you doing?"
Hinata gasped as two strong hands pulled her up from the grass. Black, beady eyes stared at her curiously.
Kiba smiled at her surprised expression. "I was beginning to think you were dead."
"Kiba-kun." Ignoring his joke, Hinata's blush deepened. Kiba sat beside her with his legs crossed.
"Leave her alone." Shino arrived from the school building to sit next to his two friends. Lunch time had students either inside the classroom or at the school field.
Hinata smiled at Shino. The three had become fast friends in fourth grade when they were paired up for an animal project. Shino insisted that grasshoppers had as much right to be chosen for their topic as the dogs Kiba recommended. Hinata could do nothing, but laugh at their silly behavior until they were put in detention for lack of work. Hinata had never felt so guilty in her life for acting unruly. Fugaku would surely get mad at her; however, he had been relatively calm about the news. From then on, the relationship between the Hyuuga, Inuzuka, and Aburame grew undeniably strong.
"You didn't answer me. What were you doing?" Kiba sat next to Hinata. "Sleeping?"
Hinata slowly nodded.
"Really?" Kiba raised an eyebrow," Why?"
"She's lying," observed Shino," Girls blush when they like someone."
Kiba stuck out his index finger, pondering," Hinata sucks at lying." Realization donned on him. He turned to Hinata incredulously. "You like someone, Hinata-chan?"
"N-no, you're wrong!" Hinata sat up from the grass and shook her head profusely. "I don't like him at all-!"
"AHA!" Kiba smiled. "I didn't even say his name and you already figured someone in your head!" He tapped Hinata's head," Silly, what's his name?"
"Does he go to this school?" Shino cracked his knuckles. Hinata was a naïve girl; any guy making moves on her was bound to be trouble.
"I-I mean it. It's no one." Hinata's eyes lowered as she heard Sakura's laughter from afar.
"Ooh, you like him a lot." Kiba nodded his head," I've never seen you so flustered. We're in intermediate school; no longer kids. Just tell us who he is and we'll make sure he's good for you!"
Hinata shook her head. "I m-mean it. There's no one you should worry about."
"Look, take this tip from a guy. If you like him that much, you should talk to him. Guys won't notice your feelings unless you show them." Kiba patted Hinata's back," So go for it. You have a tendency to be shy."
"Stop pestering her, Kiba." He didn't like the expression on Hinata's face. Her morose expression was not the reaction he wanted to see after Kiba's outburst.
"Do-Does it look like I like him that much?" Hinata clasped the left side of her chest as her cheeks burned a deeper red.
Kiba chuckled," I guess. I've never seen you like this before."
"When did you start to like this guy?" Shino stepped closer to Hinata and bent down on his knees. "We've never noticed until now."
Hinata pursed her lips. "I-I don't know. I-I get sad when he's mad. I-I get scared when he's angry. And I'm h-happy when he's content." She turned to Shino, her blush glowed brighter," I've never f-felt this way before."
Shino smiled softly, patting Hinata's head. "It'll be alright."
Kiba excitedly jumped to his feet," It's official! We're going to help Hinata-chan!"
"What?" Hinata tensed.
"You need a confidence boost," assured Shino.
"Lesson 1: Lose the stuttering!" cried Kiba with a grin.
"W-wait a minute! I-I don't s-stutter!" Hinata pouted upsettingly. Kiba chuckled as he placed Hinata's tan hoodie over her head.
Hinata chased after Kiba as he quickly ran away from her, shouting aloud.
"Hinata-chan is in love! Whooo!"
Shino only watched interestingly as his two friends drifted around the grassy field.
"Is that Inuzuka? Geez, he sounds louder than Naruto!" Ino rolled her eyes at the sight of the three outcasts standing in the field. The blonde cutie stood by the benches, where several students ate their from their bento box, along with a large group of girls surrounding their 'leader' Haruno Sakura.
"What does it matter, Ino?" Sakura played with the tresses of pink hair with her index finger, enjoying the outside air. Three girls from their group ate food from her bento box.
"But Sakura-chan, isn't Hyuuga well-acquainted with Itachi-san?"
Sakura laughed," What are you talking about? They are not even related!" Sakura brushed off the ridiculous idea. Standing up from sitting on the bench, she headed for the classroom," Let's go!"
Hinata waved to her good friends as they headed toward their designated cars to exit the Konoha Intermediate Academy. She watched them leave before walking in the opposite direction for a monthly visit at the Konoha prison facility to see Hiashi. She held onto her school bag as she made her trek across Konoha.
Eight years have passed since her stay with the Uchiha. Visits to Father were more natural and less uncomfortable. In fact, Hinata felt relief every time she saw the fat on his cheeks, glad he was eating his meals. After Mother's death, the years without him made her realize the great separation that now stood between him and his daughters. He was no longer the strict, composed father she recognized.
"Father, how was your day today?" Hinata asked him on the opposite side of the glass barrier. The officers recognized her and allowed her entrance to the booth she often used to greet Father. Hiashi was dressed in a beige prison suit; solemn white eyes stared at Hinata dazedly.
"Hotaru, I'm doing well. How are you?"
"I'm fine, Father." Hinata smiled slightly. She didn't want to look sad. The facade would lessen his worry over her.
"Hotaru, how old is Hanabi now?"
"Eight, Father. She's doing well, eating well, and studying well. S-she loves to read." There it was again; the crack in her voice when she struggled to control her emotions around Father.
"I see, Hotaru. You must teach her well. Once I leave this place, we will be a family again. I have not forgotten my promise."
Hinata lowered her gaze to nod in reply. That's twelve more years. And you still call me Mother's name. "Of course, Father. Are you o-okay though? Eating well?"
He slightly chuckled," Nothing fills me better than the thought of my wife and children. I want to see Hinata and Hanabi. Bring them next time."
"B-but, Father, I-I am Hinata."
Hiashi said no more words. He only stared at Hinata as if he was dreaming.
One would think time should make this easier, but it only became harder to endure. Hinata lowered her eyes in disappointment. After seconds, she glanced up at Hiashi with a sad smile aligned on her pink lips.
"Father, I should go now. Take good care of yourself."
"No, stay. Don't go, Hotaru. You never stay long."
"They won't let me stay long. I-I can't stay." Hinata stood up from the chair. This was always the hardest part: Saying good-bye. Father never took it easily. She could already hear the officers on his side walk towards him.
"No! Stay longer, Hotaru!"
Hinata shook her head, closing her eyes tightly.
"Let me go!" shouted Hiashi angrily as the officers grabbed his arms. His dazed expression changed into anger. "Bastards! I order you to let me go! Hotaru!" Hiashi turned to Hinata in desperation. "Get me out of here!"
"You need to leave, Miss Hyuuga. It'll only make it easier for him to forget." An officer placed a hand on Hinata's shoulder to signal her leave.
Hinata nodded and stepped out of the visiting booth. Father was lonely. She couldn't understand why Uncle Hizashi ordered Father to be solely confined without any human interaction.
"Don't leave!" The same words had echoed in her ears countless times since the visits began.
"Your monthly visit is used up, Miss Hyuuga. Until May, you won't be allowed to see your father again."
Hinata nodded to the officer as he left her at the front of the prison facility. Glancing one more time inside the facility, at the employees and visitors, she finally headed down the steps of the facility. This month's visit mirrored previous visits. She couldn't make Father understand that she was not Mother. Perhaps, Father was purposefully putting the illusion of Mother upon her for his personal reassurance; fear was also another possible explanation.
The sidewalk was empty. Not many people cared to enter such a dangerous terrain where Konoha prisoners dwelled. Business was practically non-existent. The acres of land that surrounded Hinata was a vast plain wiped of the former trees that once belonged there. Barbed fences fifteen feet high surrounded the acres of land. Guards patrolled 24/7 in towers built at the corners of these fences. Even Lady Tsunade, the new Hokage, acknowledged the people's reproach to living near this area.
Nevertheless, Hinata walked silently on the cemented sidewalk by the large street leading to the prison facility. Once bothered by the alienation, she was now accustomed to the atmosphere this area provided. Outcast; despised; hated. Everyone in the prison had committed an act that was unforgivable. Their punishment was justified; so was their loneliness.
Each time I come here, I am reminded of that night. Hinata's shoulders slouched at the dark thought of Mother's dead expression. Just like Father, she couldn't run. She would be trapped in guilt forever. Her father's earlier yells soon penetrated her mind. I'm sorry that I can't do anything to help.
Hinata wiped her eyes. She hurriedly tried to erase the droplets from her face, but more continued to fall from her eyes.
I should be happy that there are still things to cherish. So why am I crying?
Hinata froze at the spot after hearing the informal greeting, eyes wide from the sound of the familiar voice. She looked up ahead to see a boy standing outside of a familiar silver car engraved with the yin yang symbol. His long tresses of ebony hair tied in a low pony tail. His white eyes transfixed on her figure. He was dressed in traditional Hyuuga robes reminiscent of former clan leaders. Hinata recalled the lesson that a Hyuuga heir's obligation was to wear the traditional garbs for special occasions.
Hinata frightfully took a step back. She didn't expect to see him here of all places. Instantly, she feared his reaction. Even though years have passed, Neji could say words that hurt her like piercing daggers. They were cousins; one could say they could almost be siblings because of their inherited genes from their twin fathers. Even now, Hinata struggled to omit the 'older brother' call she had been so accustomed to calling him when she was younger.
It had been eight years since they last saw each other. Hinata noted his taller height and chiseled facial structure. Neji appeared angry with his hard stare. He headed towards Hinata – faster than Hinata had ever seen him do before.
"N-no, please don't come near me." Hinata brought her arms in front of her.
But it was too late. He had already grabbed her hands to move them away from her face. Hinata shut her eyes tightly as Neji pulled her into his arms.
Author's Notes: Thank you for reading! :) Reviews are welcomed!