A/N: Finally managed to catch some time for a bit of writing, even if it's not very much. -- Most of my other ideas are either stalled or too long to work on. Whenever I work on a chapter, it has to be the entire thing, not just a few sentences...otherwise, it won't work .
For now, I might have to stick with Sasuke's perspective; for some reason, I find his perspective easier to write than Hinata's --. I'll leave the judgement of this fanfic to the SasuHina society.
Another thing: this fic is based on the assumption that Sasuke might be captured sometime before he kills Itachi.
Title: One of a Kind
Summary: If there was a smile like hers, he couldn't remember seeing it anywhere else.
At first glance, the only difference between Sasuke and the rest of Team 7 seemed to lie in the fact that he didn't smile. As far as any stranger can tell, he seemed to be the serious one of the group, and it was partially for this reason that people thought he had no emotions whatsoever.
What they didn't know, unfortunately, was that Uchiha Sasuke regarded his facial expressions as no more than a tool, a means of controlling his surroundings in his favor, and that he looked upon the rest of the smiling, sunny society of Konoha with contempt.
In his opinion, society smiled too much.
It was also why he eventually realized, over time, why he hated those fake and repetitive smiles.
The silly, annoying wily grin that his teammate Uzumaki Naruto carried was a way of hiding the unspoken years he had spent as an outcast before their class graduated. It was also the fastest way of infuriating the villagers who continued to regard him as a miscreant, as it was always in the nature of his whisker-faced comrade to retaliate with humor and infuriatingly harmless pranks.
The flirty, sickeningly artificial sweet smile in the form of Haruno Sakura was a way of getting his attention, as he knew that society defined people like her as "cute" and "attractive". Such was the reason why he didn't feel that way about her, since he did not like to be manipulated by whatever society believes; societal standards were false, misleading and easily manipulated.
The amused, slightly lecherous smile that Hatake Kakashi, the teacher of Team 7, carried whenever the dark-haired boy ran into some blunder; it was just infuriating, as Sasuke was a proud individual, that someone would regard his humiliation as something to chuckle about.
Still, they were tolerable.
Later, when he took note of the other classmates within, he began to notice that there were very few benevolent intentions behind smiles. Smiles were often a way of manipulating others in the shinobi world, whether it was to instill fear or to challenge an opponent.
Such a fact wasn't surprising to Sasuke, who regarded the smile as a negative expression in general.
And that was when he noticed the smile on Hyuga Hinata's face as she blushed at the sight of Naruto.
He was struck with the realization that he couldn't understand her. There was no sign of malice or ill-intent anywhere in that soft, gently uncertain curve at the ends of her delicate mouth; her eyes were filled with so much tenderness that he couldn't help but feel intimidated and awkward next to this strange girl, this girl who had so much kindness that he couldn't help but wonder at her purity.
It was so painful to look at her that he turned away. He didn't understand why it was painful, but he knew that something was strange about her, so he decided to not look at her.
She wasn't important to his revenge, so why should he pay attention to her, anyways?
He didn't remember much of Hinata after that, except the moments when the four teams of Konoha gathered together. During those times, he would unconsciously avoid looking in her direction. This went on for another several months, until that day when he decided to leave Konoha.
He didn't think much about her during the two years and six months that passed under Orochimaru's tutelage.
He didn't think much about her when he found himself face-to-face with his old team. All that was important to him, by then, was the death of Itachi.
The next thing Sasuke knew, he was brought straight to Konoha, interrogated by the council, and locked into a section of the hospital with four ANBU watching him all day. Naruto visited him daily, and once in a while Kakashi and some of the other Rookie Nine came along to greet him. Sakura would make sure to bring Hinata along in order to observe the effects of his seal so that Tsunade could figure out a way to keep it under control.
That was when he remembered the girl with the smile that hid nothing.
He began glaring at her, narrowing his eyes by at least a fraction or turning his Sharingan on whenever she looked at him.
Anything that would wipe that strange smile off her face.
Everyone seemed to notice this, and Sasuke found himself arguing with Naruto more often than he usually did. Hyuga Neji would glare icily at him in his face and stand in front of Hinata for the strangest reasons, and Kiba would insult the Uchiha whenever he was around. And as if fate was against him, Hinata would go out of her way in the timid manner that she always does everything to apologize to him for her "wrongdoing", even if she didn't know what it was.
He eventually found himself yelling at the top of his lungs. "Well, why the heck are you always smiling? Stop it!"
That was when he noticed how much her smile seemed to fall, as if she was being honest in her sadness. Something in her snowy eyes clouded, and she glanced up at him with something akin to sorrow. For a second moment in his life Sasuke felt the same awkwardness that he encountered when he first saw her smile.
Only this time, it was because of the intensity of her despair.
She was so sincere.
So unique in her existence.
One of a kind.
As if she was apologizing for her uniqueness, her voice faltered, "I'm sorry."
That was when he realized why he was so angry.
He didn't know how to react to her. He didn't know how to react to the way she made him feel, and he didn't know how to react to her smiles.
She got up and left.
The last thought that passed through Sasuke's mind that day was whether or not he should have apologized.