Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-sama. "It's Not Over" belongs to Daughtry.
Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy the final chapter! Please leave a review and let me know what you think.
We can't let this get away
Let it out, let it out
Don't get caught up in yourself
Let it out.
Even with the interview at Sound Industries scheduled for the next day, Sasuke decided he was going to continue looking for a job today. He saw both Hinata and Hinome out the door before returning to the bedroom to get himself dressed for the day. Sick of wearing suits, he decided to go for a more casual look today—wearing a dress shirt and dark jeans instead. He headed out on foot, hands shoved in his pockets. His dark eyes roamed from side to side as he moved deeper into the city. He turned down a random street and paused in front of the window of a bookstore. It was called 'Between the Lines' and, judging by the amount of people going in and out, it was very popular. What attracted his attention, however, was the 'Help Wanted' sign propped up in the window. Sasuke opened the door and stepped inside, walking straight to the counter. A silver-haired man sat behind the cash register, head buried in a book.
"Excuse me," Sasuke said.
The man lifted his head, revealing that the lower half of his face was hidden beneath a cloth mask. His hair hung down over his left eye, but the other eye creased in what must pass as a smile. He closed the book and set it aside. Sasuke's surprise deepened at the sight of the risqué cover. The man was reading porn in a bookstore where children were wandering around!
"May I help you?" the man asked.
"Ah…yes. I was wondering if I could speak to your manager," he said.
"That would be me," the man responded, repeating, "How may I help you?"
"I noticed the sign in your window. I'm interested in applying for a position," Sasuke said.
The silver-haired man tipped his chair back, balancing there as he studied Sasuke.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"Uchiha…hmm? I had a friend once, Obito Uchiha; he must have been one of your cousins," the man trailed off, glancing toward his book. After a moment, he nodded and the front legs of his chair hit the ground. He stood and extended his hand, "You're hired."
Sasuke gaped at this odd man.
"But…you don't know anything about me!" he protested.
The man didn't lower his hand.
"Are you willing to work hard?" he asked.
"…Yes," Sasuke said.
"Then that's all I need to know. When can you start?" he asked.
"I have another job interview tomorrow…but if I don't get that I could start the day after tomorrow," the Uchiha said, at last reaching forward and shaking the other man's hand.
Another eye crinkle from the silver-haired man. He shook Sasuke's hand firmly, then accompanied him to the door. The Uchiha watched with a sense of disbelief as he removed the 'Help Wanted' sign from the window. This man was the strangest he had ever encountered and, after all those years in prison, that was saying something.
"I am Kakashi Hatake, by the way. I will see you the day after tomorrow," the man said.
Sasuke nodded and, next thing he knew, he was standing on the street. Life was certainly looking up. In the same day, he had scheduled one job interview and had another job waiting for him if that one didn't work out. Shoving his hands back into his pockets, he returned to Hinata's house. Once inside, he picked up the phone to call Naruto.
"Pervert Productions," the blond chirped into the phone.
"NARUTO!" a man yelled in the background.
He heard Naruto chuckle before yelling back, "It's just Sasuke, Jiraiya. Don't get your knickers in a knot!"
"Should you be talking to your boss like that?" Sasuke asked dryly.
"Jiraiya won't fire me. He needs me too much," Naruto responded, "So, what do you need, teme?"
The dark-haired Uchiha shook his head, even knowing his best friend couldn't see him.
"I have a job interview tomorrow-" he began.
"ALL RIGHT!" Naruto interrupted.
"-and I need a ride," he finished.
"Sure! I can talk the pervert into letting me work through lunch so I have the time to take you. What time do you need me?" the blond asked.
Not for the first time, Sasuke felt a surge of gratitude toward his best friend. Naruto would do anything for him, and he had proven that many times over.
"The interview is at ten-thirty, so I'll need you to pick me up at ten," he said.
"Where is it?" Naruto asked.
There was a moment of silence from the other end of the phone. When Naruto did speak, his tone was more serious than his friend had ever heard it.
"You can't work there, Sasuke. Trust me, no matter how much they offer to pay you. It isn't something you want to get involved with," the blond said earnestly.
As grateful as Sasuke was for Naruto's help, he could not stand feeling like someone was telling him what to do. His lean form tensed and his hand tightened on the phone until the plastic creaked warningly.
"That's my decision to make, dobe. Will you take me or not?" he asked coldly.
Silence, then a heavy sigh.
"I'll take you, teme, but be careful," Naruto said at last.
"See you at ten," Sasuke said in reply, hanging up the phone.
The next morning found Sasuke dressed once again in one of his suits. Hinata fixed his tie, then impulsively laid a chaste kiss on his lips. She smiled when a light blush crept across his cheekbones.
"For luck," she said.
He nodded and walked her to the door, waving as she drove off. He hadn't told her about the other job offer he had gotten, or about Naruto's warning against Sound Industries. He felt like a real jerk as he went back inside. At ten o'clock exactly, Naruto honked from the driveway. Sasuke locked the front door behind him and slid into the passenger seat. The two drove in strained silence until the blond couldn't take it anymore.
"Look, teme, good luck, alright? I don't approve, but I still support you. Believe it!" he said, taking one hand from the wheel to give a thumb's up.
"Dobe, keep both hands on the wheel," Sasuke said sharply. Then, a moment later in a softer tone, "Thanks, Naruto."
The blond smiled and the rest of the drive was made in a more companionable silence. Naruto pulled over at the curb to let his friend out, then moved back into traffic. As usual, he would find a parking spot nearby and wait for Sasuke. The dark-haired man straightened his suit jacket before going into the building. He approached the receptionist with a smile.
"Excuse me, I have an appointment with Mr. Orochimaru at ten-thirty," he said.
The woman smiled back at him, checking something on her computer.
"Go right on up, Mr. Uchiha. His office is on the fourteenth floor. It's the first door on your left; you can't miss it," she said.
He nodded his thanks and went to the elevator. The ride up seemed to take forever and the annoyingly cheerful elevator music was grating on his nerves. He was ready to gleefully rip all of the wires from the speaker by the time the doors opened onto the fourteenth floor. Sure enough, directly on his left was a door labeled 'Executive Suite.' He opened it, taking one deep breath before he stepped inside. A silver-haired man rose from behind his desk as soon as he saw Sasuke. One hand was stretched out to grasp the Uchiha's, while the other adjusted the glasses which sat on his nose.
"Mr. Uchiha, I am Kabuto Yakushi, the one who called you yesterday. It is a pleasure to meet you," he said.
Sasuke returned the handshake, caught off guard by the secretary's friendliness.
"Please have a seat. My employer will be with you in just a moment," Kabuto said, retreating to his own desk.
He picked up the phone and murmured something into it, Sasuke assumed the news that he had arrived. The young man settled down uneasily to wait, his dark eyes scanning the room. Naruto's warning was fresh in his mind, but he saw nothing out of the ordinary in the room.
'If they have something illegal going, of course it wouldn't be in plain sight,' his mind scolded.
A moment later, Kabuto's head lifted at some unheard signal.
"You may go in now, Mr. Uchiha," he said.
Sasuke rose and stepped into the inner office. His gaze scanned the opulent room before at last coming to rest on the man behind the massive desk. His dark hair was extraordinarily long, making him appear almost feminine. His eyes were an odd green color and the pupils looked almost…snake-like. As Sasuke studied him, the man's tongue came out to lick his lips. He held back a shudder. At that moment, he had felt as though the man wanted to eat him. He pushed aside that thought, discounting it as a silly fear spawned by Naruto's words.
"Ssso you are Ssasuke Uchiha. I have been looking forward to meeting you," the man said, "Please, have a ssseat.
The young man sank into one of the plush chairs. Was Orochimaru hissing, or was he just imagining things? He managed a smile, but his spinning mind would not put together any coherent sentences. Orochimaru leaned forward in his own chair.
"I knew your brother, you know. That was many, many yearsss ago," he said conversationally.
Sasuke's eyes widened, "You knew Itachi?"
A thin smile from Orochimaru sent chills down his spine.
"I never thought anyone would be able to kill him. I was quite surprisssed when I heard that you had actually succeeded where ssso many had failed," Orochimaru said.
Sasuke shifted uneasily in his seat. Maybe he should have listened to Naruto. Though the blond was typically an idiot, it seemed he had had good reason to warn Sasuke away from Sound Industries. This man was downright creepy.
"That is something I have since had reason to regret," he stated.
"Ah yesss, the unfortunate prisson time. Anyway, I see here that you have a very qualified ressume. You have experience in the corporate world?" he asked.
Sasuke relaxed slightly now that they had moved back into familiar territory.
"Yes, sir. My father was grooming me for a role in the family business," he said.
The man nodded, his eerie gaze dropping back to the papers in front of him. He set them aside and stood up. Sasuke stood as well, partially out of politeness and partially because this man made him very uncomfortable.
"It was a pleasure meeting you, Sssasuke, if you do not mind me being so forward," Orochimaru said.
Distracted by the way the man's tongue was again licking his lips, the young man only nodded.
"Kabuto will be calling you in a few days to let you know my decision," he said.
Sasuke nodded, then forced out, "Thank you, sir."
He turned and quickly left the office. Kabuto called out a farewell, but Sasuke only waved in acknowledgement. He didn't breathe easily until he was again sitting next to Naruto. His head fell back onto the headrest as he sighed noisily. The blond glanced over at him.
"How'd it go?" he asked.
"Strangely," Sasuke said shortly.
Naruto's interest was obviously piqued, but it was clear that his friend had no desire to elaborate. He frowned before settling his attention on the busy street ahead of him. He pulled to a stop outside Hinata's home, turning as Sasuke climbed from the car.
"I guess I should head back to work," he said, clearly wanting an excuse to linger.
Instead, the Uchiha waved.
"Talk to you later, dobe," he said.
"Bye, teme. Say 'hi' to Hinata and Hinome for me!" Naruto said.
Sasuke nodded, shoving his hands in his pockets as he headed toward the door. He watched television until noon, but was quickly bored out of his mind. He quickly scribbled out a note telling Hinata he would be home for dinner, then headed out. Within a few minutes, he found himself again outside the bookstore. Like the day before, the old man—'Kakashi,' he mentally corrected. It was the silver hair that made him look so old, when he really could be only ten years or so older than Sasuke—was sitting behind the counter, head buried in his dirty novel. The Uchiha stopped before the counter.
"Could I start a day early?" he said.
Kakashi's head lifted, then his eye crinkled in a smile.
"You bet," he responded.
Two months later…
Hinata stood worriedly at the window, pulling aside the curtain to see that the sun was touching the tops of the nearby buildings. Hinome was in the room watching television, so she tried her best to hide her fear.
Sasuke wasn't home yet.
He was always home for dinner. Every day, he had always made sure to get off work early enough to eat a meal with his family. Afterwards, he would clean up the dishes to allow Hinata time to spend with their daughter. Today, however, the meal was finished, the dishes were cleaned and put away, and his plate sat waiting in the refrigerator. Sheer terror rose in her throat, nearly choking her. She could imagine a thousand scenarios in which he was lying unconscious and bleeding in the street—confronted by thieves, struck by a drunk driver…surprised by thugs from Sound Industries. Her memory darted back to the aftermath of his interview two months ago.
Kabuto Yakushi had called, cheerfully informing him that he had been accepted for the position. When Sasuke told them he had found other employment, Kabuto had warned him to rethink his decision. Her…boyfriend? Lover?...had refused and Kabuto had hung up. He had called back multiple times, at last resorting to outright threats. Hinata now drove Hinome to work rather than letting her ride the bus, and both of them were careful to not go out alone anywhere. Sasuke, however, continued to walk to and from work, almost daring Sound Industries to make good on their threats. It terrified Hinata, but any other reaction from Sasuke would make him less than the man she loved.
Yes, she did love him. For the past ten years, she had said the words more to reassure herself than because she really meant them. She had felt loyalty to Sasuke more than anything, since he was the father of her daughter. But these past months she had definitely fallen in love with him all over again. He was so gentle and loving with their daughter, yet he seemed almost shy around her. They had not kissed since the morning Sound Industries had called about the interview, much less done anything else. Somehow, this uncharacteristic reticence on Sasuke's part made her love him all the more.
Tears were suddenly streaming down her face and she muffled a sob with one hand. Hinome must have heard, however, for her head turned. Her dark eyes, so like her father's, were concerned.
"What's wrong, Mamma?" she asked.
Hinata parted the curtain again, spying Sasuke coming up the sidewalk. She scanned his form, but he didn't look injured in any way. She let the curtain drop and hurried toward the door.
"Nothing, honey," she responded.
She opened the door, ready to lash out at Sasuke for scaring her like he had. Before she could even open her mouth, he had dropped down onto one knee, his hand reaching into his pocket. He pulled out a small box, but didn't open it yet.
"Hinata, will you marry me?" he asked.
It was blunt, with none of the frills other men might have added. However, this was Sasuke and saying what he really felt was utterly out of character for him. His dark eyes, however, told her everything she needed to know.
He was sorry for leaving her alone all those years.
He wanted to be there for their daughter and for her for the rest of his life.
He loved her.
Another sob choked its way from her mouth as she nodded wordlessly.
"Yes," she managed.
He opened the box then, producing an engagement ring that sparkled with a single amethyst. Two smaller diamonds were set on either side of the purple gem. He slid the ring onto her finger—a perfect fit. She held it up, admiring it for a moment, before pulling her future husband to her. He searched her eyes for a moment, then bent and kissed her.
"Daddy, you're home!" Hinome shouted.
The couple pulled apart to face their daughter. Hinome's dark eyes had fixed on the engagement ring. A grin lit her face.
"Finally! Now we can be a real family," she said.
Hinata shook her head, looking between the two people who meant the most to her in the world.
"We're already a family. This will just make it official," she said.
Then, because he was finally with her again, she urged Sasuke close and kissed him again. In the background, their daughter pretended to gag at the sappy picture they presented.
As you might be able to tell, there is a possibility of a sequel involving the difficulties with Sound Industries, if anyone is interested. Please let me know!
Thanks to bookworm007, Azami Hanako, Miss Hydrangea, HeartBrokenHinata, RunningBarefootAtMidnight, SmallButPowerful, Akai-sora, Estheriana, Toni, Hopeful Forgotten, Lady kHOLIC, unbeatable hinata, winterkaguya, blackraven615, KibaIsHott, and Anonymous for reviewing laster chapter!