Well, it's another failed attempt at a one-shot. This one looks like it is going to be maybe three chapters. It is set in a modern-day AU. Everything else you should be able to figure out as the story progresses.
Readers of When You Say You Love Me, I am SO sorry for the recent lack of updates! I am now in my last week of spring semester and I promise you that, these past few weeks the professors have been doing their best to kill us before they have to release us for the summer. Look for an update on that story next Monday (the 28th). In the meantime, please enjoy the first installment of this three-shot.
Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-sama. "It's Not Over" (from which this story steals both the title and the music video plot) belongs to Daughtry.
I was blown away.
What could I say?
It all seemed to make sense.
You've taken away everything,
And I can't deal with that.
I try to see the good in life,
But good things in life are hard to find.
We'll blow it away, blow it away.
Can we make this something good?
Well, I'll try to do it right this time around.
He stood before the judge's bench, dark eyes full of anger and humiliation. His hands were chained behind his back and he was dressed already in an orange jumpsuit which made his pale skin look dead white. His jaw was clenched as his eyes followed the jury members filing back into their box. The jury foreman handed a paper to the bailiff, who carried it to the judge. The older man scanned it, then focused his stern gaze on the teenager before him.
"Sasuke Uchiha, the jury has found you innocent of your brother's death. However, they have found you guilty on accounts of reckless driving, avoiding arrest, and injuring an officer. You have been sentenced to ten years in jail and…" the man kept talking, but Sasuke no longer heard him.
Ten years in jail.
It could have been so much longer, since he had murdered his older brother. However, the jury must have decided to overlook that crime since it was well-known that Uchiha Itachi had murdered the rest of his family, leaving only Sasuke alive, and the cops had been looking for the killer for years. Sasuke had done them a favor by offing the man. It seemed the jurors weren't so willing to overlook his subsequent evasion of the police, though, however justified he had thought it was.
Sasuke's attention was directed back to the courtroom as the officers at his back prodded him into motion. They escorted him toward the door leading to the jail, which was attached to the courthouse. He struggled to a stop at the doorway, turning his head toward the mass of onlookers. One among their number had stood to watch him go, her lavender eyes filled with tortured tears. Their gazes locked, then she mouthed two words that hit him like a blow to the stomach.
He was so stunned that he didn't resist the officers as they forced him from the courtroom. He was led to a jail cell and the door was locked behind him. He sank onto his bunk, placing his head in his hands.
What had he done?
He would be spending the first ten years of his child's life in a prison cell.
Ten years later…
"Uchiha," the dark-haired man looked up as his cell door clanked open. The jailer gave him a small smile as he said, "This is your lucky day. Come along."
The man grinned back, glancing down at the picture he cradled in his hands—that of a young woman standing beside a smiling little girl. He stood, following the jailer down the cell block. He was left in a room to change back into street clothes and he gladly abandoned the orange jumpsuit he had worn for ten years. He was given a paper bag containing his wallet, keys, and other personal items. The jailer stopped him at the door which led to the outside world with a friendly hand on his shoulder.
"Good luck, Uchiha. I better not see you again," he said.
Sasuke returned the smile, "You won't, sir."
The jailer nodded and turned away. Sasuke twisted the doorknob, stepping into the room beyond. His onyx eyes fell upon the form of the same woman who was in the picture he had been looking at earlier. Her lavender eyes showed her obvious discomfort at finding herself in this place as they followed a tattooed man who was being hauled off by an officer, cursing loudly all the way. He moved quickly toward her.
"Hinata," he called.
She turned toward him, but did not look at all relieved. When he moved to embrace her, she avoided his arms.
"Let's go, Sasuke," she said.
He hid his hurt at her rejection and fell into step beside her as they walked into the parking lot. Once they had climbed into her car, Sasuke tried to break the awkward silence which had come between them.
"Could we stop by the toy store?" he asked.
Hinata nodded tightly, but still did not speak.
Sasuke tried again, "What kinds of things does Hinome like?"
"I will not help you bribe our daughter! You should have been there while she was growing up," the woman stated harshly.
He flinched, falling silent. Hinata pulled to a stop outside a toy store and Sasuke slid from the passenger's seat. He wanted to ask her to come with him, but her icy silence made it clear that such an offer would not be accepted. He shut the door with a sigh, heading into the store. As he walked down one of the aisles, he pulled his wallet from his pocket and opened it. He possessed a grand total of five dollars, putting most of these toys well out of his price range.
Sasuke's dark eyes were sad as he wandered through the store. The things he wanted to get his daughter were too expensive and the toys that were in his price range were quickly rejected. At last, he found it—the perfect gift. He showed no sign of shame as he strode up to the register clutching a fluffy lavender bunny. The cashier scanned the price tag, telling him the amount, then stared at him as he fumbled for change.
"Hey…you're that guy who killed his brother, right? News this morning said you were getting out today," the cashier said.
Out of the corner of his eye, Sasuke noted the woman in line behind him suddenly pulling her son behind her, fixing him with a frightened stare. He dropped the coins into the cashier's hands and shoved his own hands into his pockets. His shoulders hunched in a bad-boy stance which was purely protective as he merely grunted, not really replying to the teenager's question. He snagged the bunny from the man and left without waiting for his receipt.
When he nearly fell into the car out of eagerness to leave the place, Hinata merely cast him a glance before shifting into drive and pulling away from the curb. She didn't seem to care what he had bought, nor what had upset him. His dark eyes scanned her profile, noting for the first time the dark circles beneath her eyes and the faint lines marking her once perfectly smooth skin. He wondered if she had ever had to endure the attention of strangers because of what he had done.
"Hinata…" he said quietly. When she didn't cut him off, he continued, "How have things been?"
She gave a disbelieving little snort, her eyes leaving the road momentarily to glance at him.
"How have things been?" she repeated as though unable to believe his stupidity, "How do you think things have been, Sasuke? I have been working myself to death trying to provide for our daughter while you've been rotting away in a jail cell. Do you expect things to be just fine between us now? It's been ten years, Sasuke!"
He flinched then, despite his better judgment, came back just as harshly, "Forgive me for trying to avenge my entire family's murder."
"They're dead, Sasuke. They've been dead. Hinome and I, your new family, needed you," Hinata hissed.
"If I had known you were pregnant, I would've-" he began to protest.
"Would've what? Waited until your daughter was a little older before you went after Itachi? No, your lost loved ones were more important to you than the ones you have now," Hinata said bitterly.
Sasuke's dark eyes were filled with frustration. This was not at all how he imagined things would be. Still, he couldn't seem to stop himself from continuing the argument.
"If you despise me so much, why did you come to pick me up today?" he asked.
She gave a choked laugh, "Who else would have come?"
Sasuke's eyes narrowed. He wasn't totally without people to call upon for help. There was always his closest friend, who had stuck with him even during the trial and afterward once he was imprisoned.
"Naruto would have come," he stated.
"Naruto?" again she sounded disbelieving, "So then you don't care that he proposed to me the month after you were imprisoned."
He jerked, startled, and studied what he could see of her face. Naruto had done what? The hyperactive blond had never mentioned that to him. His eyes darted down to the steering wheel, scrutinizing her left ring finger. She caught the look and something within her seemed to relax the tiniest bit.
"It was after he found out that I was pregnant. I think he just wanted to make certain I was taken care of," she added softly.
For the first time since seeing the woman he loved standing uncomfortably in the prison lobby, Sasuke felt a glimmer of hope for their relationship.
"But you waited for me," he said.
She pulled into the driveway of a small house and shut off the engine. They sat there for a moment, no sound intruding upon the silence but the ticking of the engine as it cooled. She pulled the keys from the ignition and unbuckled her seatbelt, at last meeting his eyes.
"Yes, I did," she agreed, sliding out of the vehicle and closing the door behind her.
Sasuke climbed out, trailing after her down the sidewalk. As she unlocked the door, he felt fear driving its icy talons into his stomach. Without his conscious permission, one hand slid into his pocket to touch the picture of Hinata and his daughter. This was it.
Hinata opened the door and stepped inside, motioning for Sasuke to follow suit when he hesitated on the porch. Once inside, he couldn't help but relax. The interior of the house was so like Hinata. Everything was designed to be warm and inviting, soothing his worries.
"Hanabi?" Hinata called.
A young woman came around the corner, her lavender eyes sliding dismissively over Sasuke before focusing on her older sister. She embraced Hinata, then stepped toward the door.
"Hinome is watching television in the living room," she informed them before leaving the house.
Again, Sasuke trailed after Hinata, clutching the bag which held his gift to his daughter. He froze as they stepped into what was obviously the living room, eyes fixing on the dark head of hair which peeked over the back of a worn couch. His throat went dry and he swallowed uselessly. The head turned, dark eyes just like his own fixing on the two adults. The television clicked off and the head vanished, reappearing a moment later as the girl came around the couch. She hugged her mother, though her eyes remained fixed on him. Sasuke gave her an uncertain smile, kneeling down so as to be more on her level.
"Hello, Hinome. I brought you something," he offered softly, holding out the bag as one might use food in an attempt to lure a wild animal closer.
Hinata released her daughter, taking a step back as the girl took one forward. She came close enough to take the bag from him, but then held it without letting her gaze drop from his.
"You're my daddy?" she asked.
Heart pounding, the man nodded. His throat was too dry with fear for him to speak. She lowered her head then, pulling the bunny from the bag. Her pale features lit with a smile and she rubbed her cheek against its soft fur. Then, grasping the stuffed animal tight in one tiny hand, she came even closer. Sasuke wasn't entirely certain if it was possible, but he felt like he was going to die from sheer joy when his daughter's arms went around his neck. He held her gently at first, like fragile glass which might shatter under pressure. A choked sob tore loose from his throat and he hid his face in her soft hair, tightening his grasp. She smelled like sunshine and innocence…and she was his.
"It's all right, daddy. You're home now," she whispered, running her little fingers through his hair.
He couldn't hold back the tears then, but his daughter was content to remain in his arms as he wept for the years he had lost. Behind them, Hinata watched with tears in her own eyes.
To borrow words from the song...it's not over! Tune in next week (hopefully) for the next chapter! As always, please leave me a review and let me know what you thought. Even just a sentence or two will make my day and inspire me to keep writing!