A Bride Minder's Story
A request grant for a SasuHina fan
A/N: I've written so far NaruHina, ShinoHina, hinted GaaHina, platonic NejiHina and one-sided KibaHina. Let me add this pair to my fic experiments. A different kind of Sasuke, if I may say, hehe. Anyway, I didn't mention the name of this SasuHina fan since I'm still kind of searching for the person who requested this pairing through a review in one of my fics. But I'll mention the name next chapter, I promise :D
"Hmm?" Hyuuga Hinata's face turned to her younger sister, Hanabi, who was leaning on one of the pillars of the house. "Neji nii'san won't accompany us?" Surprise was written on her face. Why shouldn't it be, when tonight was going to be the biggest night for their clan, and that this morning and afternoon would give way to the final preparation for this evening's occasion? Any unexpected incident would surely make even her, the usually serene and calm clan heiress, worry.
"I know how you feel," said Hanabi, blowing on a stray wisp of her hair that dared to touch her face. "Nii-san is the last person who would change his mind about anything, being the stubborn boar he is. But…"
"But?" Hinata prompted, deciding to call her training session off to listen to her sister. She straightened up and faced Hanabi.
"His teammate got sick. Fever, I think." The younger Hyuuga shrugged casually. "The way Nii-san fled from our house made it seem like a deadly disease though."
"Lee-san is sick?"
"Good Lord, NO!" Hanabi rolled her eyes at her sister's sometimes dense ways of putting two and two together in the mathematics of life. Which makes her totally compatible with the apple of her eye, she mused.
"Then—" Understanding dawned on Hinata's face. "Oh. Miss Tenten."
The girl with the namesake of fireworks nodded vigorously. "He didn't even bother to think of what Father would say when he learns that Nii-san decided to ditch us in favor of that… that woman."
Hinata sighed. Probably, if there was something she wished that would change in her sister, it would be the latter's snobbishness. She remembered recently that Hanabi announced that she had no intentions of taking the Chuunin Exam since she intends to devote her time instead on perfecting the art of being a fine lady of a distinguished clan. Hyuuga Hiashi consented, since according to him, Hanabi had already proven herself capable in his eyes.
Since then, her sister had been more vocal in her antipathy towards shinobis like Tenten who took the rank-and-file missions of the Jounin office as seriously as one would with truth, justice, freedom, and a bottle of Johnny Walker.
"So who would accompany us now on our trip?" Hinata opted to ask, just to stop her sister from mouthing off more discriminatory affronts.
"You wouldn't believe it." Hanabi smirked, reminding her elder sister of piranhas after seeing an elephant fall down their territory.
"Damn." Uchiha Sasuke, extremely irritated and extremely homicidal at that moment, gazed at the large, imposing gates of the Hyuuga compound. He had seen this place often when he would pass by here when he was still an Academy student. He had held no blazing desire to see what was inside though—he was quite sure that it was a taboo for an Uchiha to even contemplate of going inside a Hyuuga-marked terrain.
When he was young, he would hear of tales about how one daring Uchiha ancestress, in her high ambitions to extend the powers of her clan, eloped with a Hyuuga, and then later, killed herself after hiding their offspring from him. The woman's relatives kept the children and used them and their genes to produce the Sharingan.
He wasn't sure whether it was entirely true, or just a highly romanticized myth to justify the fact that their clan's pride jutsu came from this clan. Nevertheless, he had never met a Hyuuga that he could even remotely tolerate.
First off, there was Hyuuga Neji, with whom he shared mutual dislike. He could distinctly remember a time back when they were all still genins, wherein Neji had been shooting him with lethal glares that seemed like iced toothpicks everytime they meet. He subtly returned the glare contest at every given opportunity. But just when he was starting to like the unexpected competition, Neji suddenly shifted all his attention and hatred towards a defenseless little cousin. Now if that was not an insult, he did not know what to call it.
It didn't help that Neji sort-of excelled from the start of his rookie days until today, came from a clan as prestigious as his own divided the attention he used to receive from females—he frowned. Now where did the last part come from?
Anyway, the point was… he didn't like Neji, period.
And then there was Hyuuga Hinata, who was starkly a staunch Naruto fan. He knew her vaguely as the girl in his class who, according to Hatake Kakashi, was the only one that didn't join his pretty boy fandom-cum-movement. Instead, she was silently salivating on a dobe publicly regarded as the densest life-form to surface in science books after the discovery of planet Venus' atmosphere.
He didn't know what transpired between Neji and Hinata in the exams since that dear ole legendary pimp/snake ninja Orochimaru was toying with his body at that time. He did hear from stories however, that the former pulverized the latter ruthlessly, causing the dobe to jump to the girl's defense and later, to promise bloody vengeance on Neji.
Anyway, he told himself silently as he entered the gates of the compound irately, bothering himself with whatever family melodrama was happening among them was a definite waste of his time. He couldn't relate with families, but he still should finish his business here and get over with it.
"U-Uchiha Sasuke?" Hinata echoed, wanting to make sure whether her ears heard her sister correctly.
A smug affirmative nod from her younger sibling. "An Uchiha. Hah! Isn't this simply too rich?"
"W-Well, it is… a startling piece of news." She digested it slowly inside her mind. "B-But it's all too sudden, don't you think?"
Hanabi waved her hand dismissively. "It'll make our lives here more eventful. An Uchiha for a bodyguard! This would be a spectacle for our relatives!" Evil glee was on her face.
"W-Wait a second…" Hinata's forehead creased. "A bodyguard? F-For what reason?"
Her sister twirled a strand of her hair in between her candle-like fingers. "Father said he is worried about his elder daughter's safety when she travels to the Sand Village. Thus, he requested top-notch security from the Jounin office. No one ever anticipated the audacity of the Hokage-sama though. Sending an Uchiha to a no-man's island--"
Hinata bit her lower lip. "I… I see." Once more, she was reminded of the reason why she had to make that highly urgent and important trip to the neighboring village.
Hanabi knowingly gazed at her, almost sympathetically, and then gently spoke, "You'll learn to love him by and by."
"Sasuke-kun?" was Hinata's feeble effort at a joke.
The younger sister sighed. "We both know who I am referring to. Besides, that was a very sad attempt at humor, ne?" she teased in a lighthearted tone.
The elder sister nodded mutely, but despondency lingered in her translucent eyes.
"The Kazekage-sama will provide for you more than adequately," continued the younger sister, as if trying to cheer her up. "Their village is very wealthy… and… and… Father will be pleased."
"I know," agreed Hinata softly. "I must not disappoint him. This is the first and only time I can be a good daughter to him. I must not…"
"You will make him proud," asserted her younger sister. "You will make our clan proud. Besides, every woman in Konoha Village wants to be in your shoes now. That should tell you how desirable a bachelor the Kazekage-sama is."
"Y-Yes. Yes, of course." She forced a smile on her face, only it came out too weak to be convincing. But her sister pretended not to notice, and instead, shifted the topic on the breakthrough changes that would take place once the heiress of the oldest and grandest clan of the Leaf Village would finally unite with the most important member of the Sand village. As Hanabi talked about the new laws and order to be set in both blood houses, she could only smile amidst great pain.
He scowled involuntarily. Trust Hyuuga Hiashi to make his name sound like it came out from between the stainless steel blades of meat grinders.
"Please sit down. I have sent someone to fetch my daughters, and they'll be here shortly," said the clan head curtly.
Although he wanted to rebel at the commanding tone of the Hyuuga elder, he decided to sit down anyway. Not because someone – a Hyuuga—ordered him to do so, but because he wanted to rest his tired leg muscles.
"I believe it was the Godaime who sent you here," began Hiashi dully. "I received the memo."
He shrugged, saying he didn't care whether the old man agreed with the contents of the Godaime's letter. And he intended to do just that—finish his business quickly and get the hell out of here as soon as he could.
"We respect the Hokage's decision unconditionally. It is an unwritten law among all the clan leaders of the Leaf village," continued the Hyuuga. "That is why although I have reservations about entrusting the fate of my daugh— of our clan's heiress to an Uchiha, of all people, I have no choice but to obey the will of the highest-ranking ninja of our village."
Sasuke felt the steady gaze of the old man, and he couldn't help but snort a little. Was the Hyuuga expecting him to applaud the former for his noble humility?
"I expect that you shall do your duty properly," said Hiashi stiffly. "The role that our heiress would play should prove crucial to the future of the clan."
He was briefed earlier by Tsunade-sama about this earlier. A smirk formed on his face. "You will wed one of your daughters to the Kazekage just so your clan will keep its prestige and power. Heh."
Hiashi didn't obviously like what he said, but did not comment. Instead, he went on to describe what his job would be. "You are required to watch over her safety until such time that she is formally taken by the Kazekage as his wife."
"You want me to be her babysitter?"
"Call it whatever you want," said the Hyuuga listlessly, "as long as you ward off all attempts to harm her. I repeat: the wedding must take place without hassle."
"Roger that," he said sarcastically.
At that juncture, the two daughters of the clan head came in, both bowing reverently. His eyes passed fleetingly on both girls before setting his eyes back at the old man. "When do I start?"
"Now." The Hyuuga clan head motioned the girls to step forward. "Hinata."
"Yes, Father?" she replied timidly.
"You know Uchiha Sasuke, I presume."
"That is correct, Father," was her same-toned response. Her eyes were glued on the wooden floor respectfully.
"He will be looking after you while you prepare for your wedding," he informed her tersely.
Sasuke looked up, lines on his forehead wrinkling. Now that was a surprise, since he thought it was the younger daughter whom he had to guard.
"Yes, Father," was her subservient reply.
"Have you prepared your baggage?"
"They are already mounted on the oxen, Father. We are ready to leave."
"Very well." And as the tradition dictated, he blessed both his daughters. "Go forth and give pride to our name."
"Yes, Father," said the two in unison.
To Sasuke's utter dismay, the amount of respectful silence that Hyuuga Hanabi displayed awhile ago was inversely proportional to the explosion of sneering screeching cackling that only an annoying little girl was capable of.
"This is so rich! Stupendous! Fantastic!" Hanabi crossed her arms haughtily as she sat down beside her quieter sister inside the carriage that would take them to the Sand Village.
"Is this your first time to ride a coach?" he couldn't help but ask snidely.
Hanabi looked at him blankly, and then made a tsk-tsk sound while waving her finger. "If I were you, Uchiha Sasuke, I wouldn't be a smartass. In case you forgot, we are your employers while you are our employee. Unless you want us to tell the Godaime what pathetic job you did for this mission, you better act properly."
He leered at the young girl in response. "Is that your best shot at threats? For a rich spoiled brat, you sure are lousy in intimidation."
The girl's eyes widened—perhaps taken by surprise that someone, for the first time in her entire life, dared to answer her. She instinctively inched closer to her elder sister, who was passively staring outside the window.
On the other hand, Sasuke leaned back on his seat across the girls, looking satisfied. His gaze transferred towards the older of them, and then lingered there. From the even serenity of her face, he couldn't guess whether she really agreed with everything that was happening to her. But then again, she seemed to be the weak woman type who would allow other people to run her life for her, just because she didn't trust her own judgment and her ability to bear with the consequences of her actions. He sensed that in the way she unquestioningly received all her father's orders without even a sign of reluctance.
Women, he thought, not without disdain. He decided to turn his attention to the sights outside the carriage instead. He then noticed that they were nearing the boundary of the Konoha Village already.
Upon remembering the reason why he was thrown this ridiculous mission, he suddenly felt like wringing the neck of the Godaime, and then knotting it with Sakura's.
He recalled the dangerous smirk on the lady Hokage's face when she summoned him to her office alone yesterday. And that haughty way of crossing her arms over her generously-proportioned chest. And then that announcement that nearly made him hit the roof in absolute consternation.
"No one refuses my protégé when she asks someone out on a birthday date." She gave him a warning glare when he tried to open his mouth to defend himself. "Therefore, calling upon the supreme powers of the Hokage, I order you to accept this special mission that the office had just received."
Where was the justice in that? But knowing that protests would only give the Godaime more motivation to think of more severe punishments for him, he decided to keep quiet. Anyway, no "special" mission could be worse than what she once made Uzumaki Naruto do, which was, to do Kakashi's three-month-old laundry.
He silently braced himself for what she had in mind for him.
She smiled devilishly. "I order you to take the role of a bodyguard of a Hyuuga member for a coming important occasion."
He groaned inwardly. The moment she said that, it was all he could do not to crawl back to Orochimaru's open arms and beg him to take him back. It would be a far better fate than humiliating himself in the unseen presence of the spirits of those that came before him in his clan. And he knew that if he allowed himself to be a lowly paid protector of a Hyuuga, his elder brother would have a bigger chance of obtaining forgiveness from his ancestors.
But when Tsunade-sama gave him the alternative option, he knew he had to think of himself first before what his dead relatives would have to say about him.
Sometimes, there were fates worse than death and bringing shame to a clan's name. One of them was… well, taking Sakura and Yamanaka Ino out on a date at the same time. Only the heavens knew what fate awaits anyone who would get caught in between these two's crossfire.
Another sigh escaped from his throat. After he finishes this mission, he would leave Konoha for good already. Besides, the Sand Village seemed to be a better place to live in. There was no scheming Hokage, no rabid fangirls, no memories of his clan's past…
He could find a job here that wouldn't require him to report to a formal office to do stupid, senseless missions. Maybe he could dig up his own oil derrick and get filthy rich by exporting its products.
The sound of hooves of horses snapped him out of his reverie. Silently, he activated his Sharingan and tried to detect where it was coming from.
Southwest, running at some 60 kilometers per hour. This was what he concluded afterwards. When he looked back at his companions, he found Hinata staring straight at him, nodding quietly. She felt the presence too.
Beside her, Hanabi was still fast asleep, and like the driver of the coach, was unconscious of the people trailing after them.
He smirked. Now this was more he liked it. He lifted his kunai casually, as he felt the carriage behind them catch up steadily.
To be continued