Pre-note: I'm on a writing spree. And coincidentally, let's celebrate the 16,000th hit on this fanfic! Yay! The review:hit ratio is currently at 1:100. That means out of every 100 hit, I only get 1 review. Sob.
Rated: T, for political themes, sexual issues, and light profanities
Standard disclaimer applies on each and every chapter of this fan fiction series.
Prime Minister: Uchiha Sasuke
Chapter 10A – Questions and Answers (Part I)
The first thing that went through his mind was: he should get rid of this girl and get back to work. That would be a rational decision, and logically correct, too. It was getting late. He had things to do (and was quite eager to get those things off his hands as well) and she had her bedtime approaching. (And, of course, she had school tomorrow.) Not to mention, she was still in her school uniform, which meant she didn't stop by the Residence yet, likely driving Chiyo-baa into a panic mode. So, yes, sending her off seemed to be a perfectly sane solution.
"Why don't you have a seat?"
So, why, he pondered afterwards, why in the world did he invite her to sit down? He should've known that letting her sit down would lead to small talk, a casual conversation, tête-à-tête, which could go on forever, which meant more of his time spent, which meant her sticking around.
"A drink, Miss Hyuuga?"
No, of course, not; that shake of her head was rather expected. The widening of her eyes was rather a surprise, but then, as Sasuke looked down at the decanter in his hand, he was after all, offering her vodka. (Haruno, he noted, would have a fit over this. "Offering an underage student alcohol? Are you trying to commit a political suicide?" He could imagine the pink-haired lady scream in his face.) Sasuke poured a finger of the deep-colored liquid for himself and settled on a couch across from the girl. He swirled the contents of his glass before looking up at her.
Timid; he judged by the slouched shoulders and the entwined fingers, and the very tightly clamped-together knees. Shy; he noticed her avert her eyes to anywhere but him. Quiet; she hadn't spoke a word since their company abandoned them. And he could tick much more characteristics of hers off his checklist: none were great, none were bound to make her stand out; none, he noted, put her in a shining light. Nothing, he thought, was really attractive about this girl.
So, Sasuke took a sip of his vodka, his arm stretched out along the back of the couch and his legs crossed, why did he invite her to sit down? Why did he find himself in a very content position, with her sitting there in front of him? There was this air about her, that made him comfortable—no, it made him feel secure. Perhaps, the fact that she seemed so obedient, so submissive, that he felt as if he could practice his prowess without having her revolt. Her physical appearance activated his conscience as a male, a possessive being, pleased to have something so relenting to be owned.
At that, he paused.
But this girl, he reminded himself, was the girl who ran away from her family; this was the girl who managed to force down a bowl of mysterious ingredients (something he still hadn't figured out) down his throat; the same girl who, just minutes ago, reprimanded him for barking at a child. She had potential to be reckoned with, the strong conviction hid within those silver eyes, but she kept it underneath her hesitant façade. It amazed him to find such contradiction within a single person.
She made him curious. And, perhaps, he thought as he took another sip from his glass, that curiosity was what drove him to invite her for a nice chat.
"So," Sasuke placed his glass down on the coffee table that separated them and picked up the résumé set beside it. "Let me see what you have here."
Hinata instantly looked up at him. She waved her hand aside just slightly. "There isn't much, really. I figured you wouldn't want to waste your time on trivial things, so I just put in the main points."
Sasuke raised his eyebrows. "Sometimes, it's the trivial stuff that matters."
Hinata blushed. "I-I could add more to the list if you like."
Obedient, Sasuke confirmed. He wiped her offer aside with the flick of his wrist. "No, this would be fine. I'll read this first, then if I have questions, I'll ask."
Then there was silence.
Sasuke posed as if he were reading the contents of the paper, but he was actually considering whether this was the right time to dismiss her. Not that he wanted her gone; no, in fact, having company—quiet company—was nice. But, it was awkward, and her purpose in coming to his office had been made. And, well, it seemed as if they couldn't come up with a proper conversation topic.
So, she surprised him when she suddenly spoke out, "You know, sir, I've been wondering."
"Yes, Miss Hyuuga?" He placed the résumé sheet on his lap and waited for her to continue. Hinata didn't look at him directly, but rather at the spot to his side, which made him look at that spot, too. After confirming there was nothing there, Sasuke glanced back at the girl. He twitched an eyebrow.
"About your brother," she said slowly, briefly staring at the ceiling, before suddenly turning to face him straight in the eye. "Do you hate him?"
Sasuke froze. "No, Miss Hyuuga," he managed to answer, though his tongue felt numb. "I loathe him."
"Oh." The girl's lips formed a small 'o'.
Boredom suddenly took over him. "Why the question, Miss Hyuuga? Were you inspired while writing your own history?"
"No, I…," she began, but then decided to change the course of her words. Shaking her head slightly, she chuckled—a pleasant soft sound to his ear. "Just curious," she said quietly, "just curious."
"Funny, you say that. I was just thinking the same of you."
Sasuke watched as the girl frowned—an inconspicuous downward turn at the right corner of her lips—as if she wondered what he could be curious about, but she didn't confront him about it. Instead, she blinked and took a deep breath. Then she huffed. And then she pouted.
"Spit it out, Miss Hyuuga," Sasuke scolded her, impatiently. "You're starting to look like a constipated octopus, huffing and puffing like that."
Hinata frowned again at that. Do octopi suffer constipation? (Do octopi even have a digestive system? For all she knew, octopi were not of the vertebrate class of the animal kingdom. But then again, her biology knowledge was extremely limited.) But! Hinata snapped to attention, suddenly remembering what she wanted to ask the Prime Minister. "I was curious," she began, earning an oddly contorted look from the PM, "w-why do you hate your brother?"
The change in his look was awfully slow that it was painful to watch. Hinata's gaze immediately dropped to her lap.
"My, my." The PM leaned back onto the sofa, slapping the résumé down onto the coffee table. He spread his arms wide along the length of the back of the sofa and crossed his left leg on his right knee. "What drugs are you on, Miss Hyuuga? This sudden spree of audacity you're showing makes me wonder whether you really are the Miss Hyuuga I know of."
"I-it's just that," Hinata bit her bottom lip, "I thought it would be essential to know the history between you and your brother, sir." Nervously, she added, "I figured strong feelings, such as hatred, must have a cause. They don't just happen."
Sasuke shut his eyes and sighed. "How would someone like you understand my hatred, Miss Hyuuga?" He raised a hand and ticked off each finger, one by one. "One: you don't have an older brother like mine. Two: you're a first child, Miss Hyuuga. You don't know how it feels to have an older sibling control every aspect of your life. Three: you're not an Uchiha. You don't know the history of rivalry within the family. Four: you still have a parent; just one, yes, but that's adequate enough to be grateful of—which you should be. Five: you're rich. You have everything a person of your age could ask for."
Hinata swallowed. The PM's words were sharp and harsh—it embarrassed her so much, it pained her—but they rung true. Her blush was no longer out of shyness, but out of humiliation, being put in a position where she wasn't worthy of him—and his story. "I'm sorry."
"No." The PM denied her apology. "It's not your fault. There's no reason for you to be sorry for me."
"But I am sorry." Hinata looked at him, straight in the eye. "I'm sorry that the past has left such bitterness in such a good man."
Intimidating. It surprised him to come up with that word to describe her, but those eyes, all pale and silver, haunted him. The way she searched him with those eyes had him hypnotized. This wasn't asking; it wasn't even accusing. This, he noted his position across from her and the table between them, was a technique of questioning that would put the CIA to shame. This was an interrogation.
And unconsciously, he found himself speaking.
"Our parents had just died and a month later, my brother decided to move abroad. He said he would come back to take me with him. Have you ever experienced something like that, Miss Hyuuga? Someone promises, but in the end, never fulfills it. At first, you wait. Then you hope. Then, you become impatient. Then, you hate. It's an inevitable chronological process.
"I was young, too young to understand. My brother was the only family I had left. I admired him—no, more likely: idolized, worshipped. Betrayal during childhood leaves a deep scar. I've come to realize how conceited this world is at a young age." Huffing, Sasuke picked up his glass of vodka. "Maybe that's why politics suits me so well. It's such a conceited matter." He chugged gown the remaining liquid in his glass.
Hinata stared at her hands. She always thought she had it hard on her—her father's demands, her sister's constant whining, her cousin's enviable achievements—but as she listened to the man in front if her, she came to understand that she had taken her life for granted. Things she always considered as a bother were really things to be grateful of. She imagined if, right at that moment, she were stripped of everything she knew—her family, her friends, her school, her lifestyle—she would probably not make it through. But this man, she glanced at the PM, paved his own path, straight to the top.
"But it must hurt," Hinata said, quietly, thinking of his childhood. "To have so little, but to hate so much."
"It becomes a drive," Sasuke admitted. "To earn more, to own more. Hate becomes the need to belittle others; a desire, a passion to be at the very pinnacle." Sasuke dotted a high point in the air with his index finger, to emphasize his last word.
Not wanting him to stop speaking (there was something soothing about the baritone voice, despite the obvious animosity that seeped through the sentences), Hinata asked, "Now that you are at the top, do you still have room to hate him?"
He shot a questioning look at her.
"Is it something that you constantly think of, sir? The fact that you hate him?" Hinata tilted her head slightly. "I can imagine that could be a very painful mindset to start the day."
"It's not something that comes to mind constantly." Sasuke fingered the rim of his empty glass. "But when he comes into the conversation, it becomes hatred. When I think of him—thankfully, it doesn't happen often—it hurts and I hate it." He kept the look on his face bored. "I hate his way of thinking that he knows what's best for me. I hate that, now, he thinks he can come back and mess with my life again. I hate that he left me alone decades ago."
Hinata slipped out of her shoes and tucked her feet underneath herself, and curled around the arm of the sofa. "But do you hate him? Him, as in your brother?"
Sasuke glanced at Hinata, not understanding.
She raised her shoulders. "It's just that… the way you describe him reminds me of the way I think of my father. He's an oppressive man, you see. His way of handling things can be rather dictatorial. But I," Hinata looked up at him, "I don't think I'd ever come to hate him. In fact, I love him very much."
Sasuke stared at his glass. "He left me when I was barely out of elementary school. Alone. On my own. To fend the world by myself. Why wouldn't I hate him? Why shouldn't I hate him?"
"I don't know," Hinata rested her head down on the arm of the sofa. "Perhaps, you just want his attention. As I crave for my father's." She looked down at her hands in her lap, again. "Perhaps, you just miss him."
Sasuke didn't reply to that.
He glanced at the tip of his shoes. Did he miss Itachi? The idea was laughable. Why would he miss that sore excuse of a brother of his? It wasn't as if he was still the boy he used to be, the boy abandoned. It wasn't as if they were still children, playing tag and running around in shorts. It wasn't as if he wanted more days of that and bickering over shared toys and candy. He remembered his brother's constant teasing and laughter, and a very memorable flick of a finger against his forehead every time he whined.
So, no, Sasuke did not miss Itachi.
Sasuke sighed. He pinched the bridge of his nose, thinking. He shook his head at the thoughts. He couldn't get all sentimental over nostalgic reminiscence. Not when Miss Hyuuga was nearby.
He glanced up.
She was asleep.
He took a peek at her curled figure and noticed the light breathing. He frowned. She was going to make a habit out of falling asleep in his office.
Not that he minded, he thought, shrugging out of his suit. He beat the jacket lightly before leaning over and draping it over her shoulders.
She shifted just slightly in her sleep.
Sasuke smiled, a tiny tug at the side of his lips.
No, he didn't mind at all.
a/n: I wanted to not chop this chapter into parts, but just as I concluded this part, I thought, "Ah, I should add something more, since the topic of the chapter is so broad!" But then I realized I'd set this chapter to only be this long, and so, yeah, you'll have to bear with part 10B, and maybe 10C. Dunno. Thanks for reading! Please, please, please, please review!