Summary: Sasuke's a famous prodigy. Hinata's a budding genius. When fate throws them into each other and turns their lives upside down, how will they perceive the image staring right at them from the broken mirror? SasuHina
: Perceive :
The melody wove through the large hall like the gentle spring air. His fingers flew wildly along the strings as he played out the concerto. Undoubtedly, it had been one of Mozart's greatest works, but that was only part of the reason it sounded like this. The audience of thousands was completely and utterly silent, some with their eyes closed, swaying to the soft music. His own eyes were closed and a serene smile was on his face even while the music started to take on a darker tone. Then, without warning—a break. He slammed the bow against the strings and his fingers were flying across the black neck of his instrument, moving at an incredible pace. Some in the audience were leaning forward unconsciously; looking for the exact moments his fingers would fumble on the intricate melody. But the music carried on perfectly—and ended fabulously with several deep chords that sounded like a fond farewell. Slowly, he opened his eyes to the bright, shining stage lights and relaxed his position. Carnegie Hall was filled with complete silence.
Loud, booming applause started from the back and moved forward as the crowd, filled with dignitaries and music critics alike, stood up one by one, giving him a standing ovation. He bowed in a genial fashion and walked off the stage silently before the next performance was announced.
In contrast with the silence of the hall, the backstage was bustling and filled with agents, managers and other performers. Most of them were young, under eighteen—it was a special presentation by Young Prodigies in Piano & Strings Music at Carnegie Hall; New York City, New York, after all. He sat down in the rows of chairs near the entrance and started to put his precious instrument into the case. A crumpled program sheet was tucked in the case. The name 'Sasuke Uchiha' was boxed in with pink marker. His name. Probably her, he sighed as he loosened his bow.
'Her' would refer to Sakura Haruno. She was some girl that followed him all the way from Japan. Apparently, her father had some very important business in New York City on the same day YPPSM put on its show. She took that chance to tag along after her current crush—that would be, Sasuke Uchiha. I'm only fifteen, for Pete's sake, he thought angrily, unconsciously slamming the top of his violin case down, I don't need stalkers.
He set the violin case onto the carpeted ground, under his chair and threw the program into a nearby wastebasket. Outside, he heard the clapping of the audience and smiled wistfully; someone else must've performed amazingly again. Probably a girl; since the line-up was in that order. A few minutes later, true to his speculation, a petite girl walked into the room, smiling nervously. Her legs were slightly trembling and her cheeks were flushed. She was rubbing her fingers anxiously as she sat down a few seat from him. White eyes peeked out of the long violet bangs in her face. A pianist, Sasuke thought as he looked at her, she's new too. I've always wondered why people decide to play those painted hunks of wood.
"That was awesome!" A tan, blond guy strode in the room. Sasuke scowled as he shouted unashamed, and walked up to the girl sitting in the chair. He held out his hands and grinned crookedly, "I'm Naruto Uzumaki, who're you?"
"U-um, I'm Hinata Hyuuga," she peered up at his smiling face from her seat and mumbled, "Pleased to meet you."
"Right back at you," he plopped down in the chair right next to her, "I was down there listening, and you were amazing! I—How old are you?"
"Fourteen." She smiled softly at him.
"Wow. Really? I couldn't really tell since you were so good," he looked around the room at the musicians getting ready to perform, "I guess everyone here is pretty awesome, but you were just something else!"
"A-arigatou," she looked down and blushed at his praise. Her fingers were at it again; fumbling with each other and her black dress.
"'welcome. I'm going in a bit; so I'm pretty nervous." He laughed apprehensively, as if trying to lighten the mood, "These acts are going to be pretty hard to follow. 'Specially yours."
"I'm sure you'll do fine," her words were slightly encouraging though her legs were still trembling. "What do you play?"
"Cello. See? It's all the way over there, in the corner." He pointed to the far left where a dark cello case was stationed. While he was talking, another person came in and yelled his name. Naruto turned toward the girl and said, "Well, wish me luck. I'm next; better started warming up."
"Okay. Bye," she waved gently as he walked over to get his cello out of his case. Sasuke closed his eyes and massaged his temples with his right hand. Naruto Uzumaki had come in the spring, naturally talented, but without that sophisticated air that Sasuke had grown so accustomed to. He was loud, rowdy and was convinced about the existence of brain-sucking aliens. He had even dragged Sasuke to go see an alien-abduction movie once. That just ended in popcorn throwing and a near fistfight. Sasuke remembered it well, though not fondly. He rubbed his head. Screaming and angry cursing erupted from the back of the room. It made his headache worsen.
He opened his eyes and looked toward the location of the shrieking. Three security guards were tugging a pink-haired girl away, dragging her away from the open back door. She was clawing, kicking and punching blindly as they took her. Sasuke sighed again, his headache intensifying, she tried to sneak in. Again.
"Do you know her?" A quiet voice interrupted his thought. He looked at his right and found the girl from before—Hinata, was it? She was flicked her head toward the screaming pink-haired teenager with a question in her eyes.
"Yeah." He leaned back into the chair and closed his eyes, willing his head to stop hurting.
"Aren't you going to help her?" She was staring at him again, her soft eyes unknowingly accusing him of the invisible crime.
"Why bother?" Now he was annoyed. He opened his dark eyes and glared at her. Who was she to poke and prod at his personal problems? Why did she care anyway?
"I-I…", her voice faltered a bit and she looked away, at the ground, "I just supposed that she was your girlfriend. She was always with you. Everywhere"
"Who the hell told you that?" His voice was deadly quiet now, the poison in his mind ready to strike, "Actually, why are you even asking me in the first place? I. Have. Nothing. To. Do. With. Her."
"Ah…", she put pale fingers to her lips, "If that's your answer." Then no more words or questions came out of her mouth. She sat there, looking pensively at her lap. Sasuke closed his eyes again and tried to relax in his chair. Annoying girl, he snarled in his mind, what the fuck was her problem anyway? So interested in my life and all that crap. No one else ever cared. Except for that Haruno girl—I seriously have to get rid of her. She's going to give me hell if she ever finds me.
A rough and hard shake woke Sasuke out of his sleep.
"Hey, man, wake up! We're leaving." Sasuke swiped the hand from his shoulder and tried to conceal his yawn. Without opening his eyes, he fumbled around for his violin case and slung it on his shoulder. He rubbed his eyes a few times and stretched. Sleeping in a chair was uncomfortable, he decided. He was sore all over—and it had only been about four hours. Naruto, who probably woke him up, jabbed his index finger out to the cool night air and left. Sasuke followed him onto the coach bus waiting for them, Everyone except Naruto and himself were already waiting on the bus. He walked up the steps, sat down next the window seat and promptly fell into another dreamless sleep.
The jolt of the bus stopping in front of the Marriott Inn woke him and he grabbed for the violin case in the compartment above his seat. Despite how late it was, the Marriott was brightly lit and the lobby was full of people. Sasuke walked in silently with the rest of the musicians, and received his room keys from a bunch of apathetic-looking receptionists. The insane giggling of teenage girls were in his ears and his headache was coming back. At least he wasn't sleepy anymore.
Hinata was right beside him as he walked down the red-carpeted hallway to his room. She walked silently, her tote bag swinging in her hands as she strode. He stole a look her a few times, surprised at the emotionless and listless look on her face. Her long indigo hair was spread on her back though a few strands were messy around her face. He stopped in front of room forty-five and reached for his door keys. She stopped right next to him. Sasuke was about to snap at her again until he saw her reach for her keys too. We're neighbors, he thought sarcastically, wonderful.
The reader at the door flashed and Sasuke tucked away the card key. He opened the door. The room was a regular one-bedroom suite with a bathroom. There were a few armchairs set up around a coffee table near the huge window. Another table had a computer and a keyboard resting on it. He hoped it had Internet access.
After looking around the room and putting his violin case beside his bed, he found that all of his belongings had been previously placed in the drawers beside the bed. They were dry-cleaned and ironed to stiff perfection, he noted as he closed the drawer. He heard the doorknob clicking open in the room next to him and soft steps going down the hallways.
Freak, he thought to himself as he brushed his teeth in the bathroom, Who goes out in the middle of the night? He caught the reflection looking at him in the mirror. Black eyes. Smooth white skin. Perfection. Those same eyes turned angry and downcast and he slammed a fist into the mirror, making a small crack in it. He turned his eyes downward, avoiding the mirror. Who wants to look at the face of a murderer?
After a quick cold shower, Sasuke fell onto his bed, though he wasn't a bit tired. It was already past midnight, and he hadn't heard that girl go back to her room yet. For some reason, it kept him awake. He was intrigued about where she went, not like he would admit it to himself. I just slept too much in the afternoon, he reasoned, I don't give a shit where that weirdo went. I don't.
He focused on the cracks forming on the ceiling above him. A minute later, they started to connect and form into something. His vision blurred as his eyelids fluttered. Blinking rapidly, he realized that the cracks were still where they were a minute ago. I must be going crazy, he thought as he tried to refocus on whatever he had been thinking about before. Without warning, his eyelids closed again.
"Jet lag…", he muttered to himself before covering himself with the white blanket and falling asleep.
Sasuke held back a yawn as he entered the hotel's cafeteria. He didn't sleep well at all last night, apparently, that girl—Hinata, was it, came back a few hours after he fell asleep. For the whole night, all he could hear was quiet scratching. It sounded like a sharp pen on paper. It was annoying. That had kept him awake the whole night—wondering what the hell she was writing. He spread some cheap type of butter onto his bagel and bit into it as he headed for the lobby. She's still not here yet, he looked around the crowd as he leafed through a brochure, and it's almost time to leave for the tour. Hmmm.
"U-um, excuse me?" He felt a shy tap on his shoulder. A girl with short brown hair and framed glasses stared at him. Her mouth turned into an 'O' of surprise when he regarded her with a scowl. She immediately produced a pen and paper from her shoulder bag and squealed, "I can't believe that it's actually you! Can you sign that paper for me, write 'to Susan Brown, love Sasuke Uchiha', 'kay? To think! I was actually lucky enough to meet Sasuke Uchiha here! I'll never forget it for the rest of my life!"
The conversation around him stopped when everyone in earshot heard his name being squealed out by that insolent girl. He looked at the girl and said, "I think you have me mistaken for someone else. I'm not Sasuke Uchiha. I'm sorry."
"Really?" She put a finger to her chin, "You look exactly alike…well, that's alright! You're still a hottie! Wait till I tell my friend I met a Sasuke Uchiha lookalike!"
The talking around him resumed, though at a more reserved tone. He could hear a few snippets and whispers of their various conversations. Couldn't they just learn to mind their own damn business? He glared at everyone around him.
"…Sasuke Uchiha? That famous violinist…"
"I heard that he started playing at two years old…famous prodigy…"
"…played solo with the NY Philharmonic at age five…"
"Wasn't his father CEO of some big business empire?…heard that it all went down…"
"…hey…isn't Itachi Uchiha his brother? That guy who killed—"
"Excuse me?" Sasuke turned around and glared at the elderly couple gossiping away behind him, the venom clear in his cold voice. "What did you say about Itachi Uchiha?"
They stared back in surprise; obviously they had no idea he had been within hearing distance. The elderly lady was the first to sputter, "Well, I-I never! The nerve of young people these days! Eavesdropping and such foolishness! Come on, let's go, dear." She put an arm around her husband and walked back toward the reception counter. Sasuke watched them go. They weren't the only ones around here that were talking about him—that, he knew. Who's to blame for making me so freaking famous? His brain uselessly informed him with just a hint of underlying sarcasm, You did, baka.
He crumpled up the brochure and threw it at the trash can a few feet away. It bounced off the rim and landed on the red carpet. He shrugged and was about to grab a muffin from the cafeteria when a soft hand tapped him on the shoulder. It better not be some brainless American again, he thought before he turned.
"It's not very nice to litter, Uchiha-san," a quiet voice informed him in crisp Japanese.
"We're in America, speak English," he narrowed his eyes.
"All right, either way, you shouldn't litter. " She switched to flawless English. His eyes narrowed more. Just who was Hinata Hyuuga anyway? No normal fourteen year-old could speak English so perfectly and business-like.
"Why do I care? It's just a piece of paper, someone will pick it up," he waved his hand in a dismissive manner, "We'll be leaving soon, so you should get some breakfast before we go."
"I already ate." She bent down and picked up the brochure, putting it into the garbage can. "Thanks for the reminder."
"'Welcome," he turned away and walked to the cafeteria. Now his appetite for food was completely ruined. His brain was whirring excitedly as he sat down and ordered black coffee, he was more curious about her than ever. White-eyes, intriguing indigo-black hair, flawless English and such an…interesting personality. Who was Hinata Hyuuga?
Für Elise started to play from the iPhone in his pocket. The alarm had been set for nine-thirty, the time the tour started. He gulped down some of the coffee and left for the lobby. There was a group in front of the entrance. Only one solitary person was talking excitedly while the rest were murmuring in the background. As always, the one talking loudly was Naruto, with his huge cheerful grin. His smile grew even bigger when Sasuke joined then.
"Hey, you were sleeping a lot yesterday, you alright?" He put an arm around Sasuke's shoulder. Sasuke shrugged it off nonchalantly.
"Hn." He refused to talk to the idiot. What was there to be so happy about? It wasn't his business that he was overly tired yesterday.
"I hope there's good ramen here, though! I haven't seen any ramen stands…", Naruto continued as he made a show of looking around for one. There aren't any ramen stands in New York…idiot, Sasuke crossed his arms and stared at Naruto's ecstatic face. Suddenly, the blond's focus was turned on someone else. He waved his arms in the air frantically.
"Hey, Hinata! We're over here!" Sasuke shifted his eyes toward the direction Naruto was shouting at. It was her. After nodding once to acknowledge Naruto's greeting, she waved and jogged away in the other direction. "Hmmm.." Naruto scowled, "I guess she won't be coming with us. Bummer."
Where is she going? Probably to sleep, since she didn't seem to get any last night, Sasuke was still looking at the direction Hinata had left when the tour guides arrived and started to hand out detailed maps to everyone. Sasuke took it, shoved it into his pocket and took out his iPhone. That would be all he needed to get around.
"Now, we would like everyone to pair up in groups of two. You will be doing a scavenger hunt to find all the places listed on this piece of paper. There will be prizes for whoever comes back first. The deadline is three o'clock sharp. You kids like this sort of stuff, right?" She handed out the list uncertainly. Sasuke raised his eyebrow as her critically, he would hardly call this group 'kids'. Maybe on the outside they were, but they were all raised as musical prodigies and sent to YPPSM since they were six. They were hardly normal kids who enjoyed things like a scavenger hunt.
A girl with two brown buns on her head crossed her arms and stared at the female tour guide. "I hope you realize that we are not just normal kids. This was supposed to be a tour, not some trivial scavenger hunt. It's a waste of time."
"It's fine, TenTen," a boy who looked to be a year older than Sasuke said, "They are trying their best. It will be quite amusing to see which pair finds all these things first, though I wager the prize will be insufficient. Correct?" He turned to look at the two tour guides with his white eyes. The same eyes as Hinata…Sasuke wondered who he was. He felt a thick folded paper smack his head.
"Hey! Let's go, Sasuke! I bet we can totally win this!"
"Why would I want to go with you, baka?"
"Well, everyone else is paired up…", Naruto inclined his head toward the leaving pairs. Sasuke closed his eyes and flipped his hair out of his eyes coolly and replied, "In that case, I won't be going. Find them by yourself…idiot. I'm going back to my room."
"Eh? Hey! How am I supposed to go by myself!" Naruto yelled after him.
"Figure it out," Sasuke said as he turned the corner. Hmmm, the next logical step would be to find her, he stopped outside his door, and I wonder where she went. She does seem to disappear a lot. Hinata Hyuuga…I've heard that name somewhere…I can't remember where, though. In his room, while he was reclining on the armchair, he typed to words onto the iPhone and waited while the results on Google popped up.
There were millions of them, but several of the results on the front page caught his eye. There were also quite a few images of a five-year old (who looked remarkably like Hinata) standing with important business leaders and dignitaries. The title of another result said, "Collapse of Hyuuga Corps Lead to Suicide", while another said, "Thirteen-Year Old Daughter to Inherit Billions?" There was nothing about any musical accomplishments whatsoever. Sasuke's frown deepened. Could it be possible that she had been previously undiscovered? I have to test her talent, he thought suddenly, There was a piece that I wanted to try, but I couldn't find anyone to play the accompaniment. Maybe she'll want to do it…
But if she had that kind of talent at such a young age, why was there nothing relating to music in any of the articles? Would her family hide it? Why? He looked out over the bustling NYC area far below him as he thought. Wait…if she was the sole heir of the Hyuuga Corps—of course they wouldn't let her do this kind of thing. Only because I was the second son…
Images of his older brother flashed in front of his eyes.
No! I can't think of him now…no…,he closed his eyes and threw the thin iPhone on the bed. Why is he always, always occupying my mind? I just want to forget it…He clutched his head with his eyes closed tightly and moaned. It was all coming back to him, washing over him again. The wall that he'd carefully cemented around his memories—it was being torn down. He could see it in his mind.
Screams. Blood. Father—dead. Mother—dead. Itachi—murderer.
The image of his brother's chilling face flashed before him, a face so like his own. The same eyes, same skin, same features—identical.
"No—", he gasped out, "I'm different," Really? "I'm not like—like him, " The very same "He killed my family, he ruined my life!" Identical. "I hate, loathe—despise him! He's a cold blooded murderer, someone not worthy of living—," Your only brother.
My brother…, Sasuke opened his eyes, his vision already blurring, my freaking, goddamned brother. My blood. My last remaining family…
Someone knocked on his door. He didn't move from his chair to answer it. Whoever knocked persisted for a good while before Sasuke heard a sigh, and soft padded footsteps going down the hall. It was probably some maid, he thought, nothing to do with him. Für Elise started to play from the phone thrown on the unmade bed. Someone was calling him. He stared at the phone for a minute and then picked it up. It wasn't any number that was stored on his phone; someone he didn't know was calling him. Could it really be that important? He thought as the ringtone played on. Usually it' just the supervisor or manager wanting to schedule a private performance or something similar. Hmmm…
He put the phone on speaker and said, "Sasuke Uchiha speaking."
"It's me, Sasu-kun!"
"Excuse me, who is talking?"
"Meee, Sakura Haruno, 'member? Your number one loyal fan? Your current girlfriend?"
"I'm sorry, you must have the wrong number, Haruno-san."
"Oh! It's so romantic how you're pretending not to know me—anyway, I heard that you weren't going on the tour, so how about some lunch later?"
"Great!" She interrupted mid-sentence."Sooo, I'll see you at one o'clock at that fancy Italian place on Main Street, near Times Square. Bye, love you too!"
She hung up on him without another word. Annoying bitch, he looked at the cell phone, wondering if he should apply for a different number. Now that someone had given her his number, she could harass him any time she wanted to. Was there even a way to block a certain phone number? He couldn't think of any way to. Of course, he looked down at the streets of NYC below him, I'm not going. I never agreed to go in the first place. I'm a bit impressed actually, that idiotic fangirl deluded herself to the point that she thought we actually had something—in the romantic sense, no less. Stupid.
He flung the glass pane open and stuck his head out. Hm, no extra net to keep flies out, he thought pensively as he breathed in deeply. Then he saw people on the ground staring up at him. They probably thought he was a psycho for sticking his head out like that. Indeed, he could see a little five-year-old point to him and yell something to her father right next to her. Can't I just get some peace and quiet around here? He closed the window and sat down in the chair, getting slightly annoyed.
Sasuke looked up. There was the knocking again, it had to be some useless maid. "No wonder American hotels are so unpopular, "he grumbled to himself, "Even their cleaning maids are annoying."
Knock. Knock. Knock—
He swung the door open with his eyes already set into a fearsome glare, he swore, if this was a maid, then he would scare her shitless for annoying him. Instead, he found himself glaring down at the composed face of one Hinata Hyuuga. What the fuck?
"What are you doing here?"
"U-uh, I heard you weren't going on the tour, so…" she looked down at her feet.
"So? You came to check up on me?" Anger flared in him at the thought. Just because she was his neighbor did not entitle her to become his nanny.
"…can I come in?"
Author's Note: This is merely a preview. Please read the other preview for Finding the Newest Shadow and then vote on my poll! I will delete the losing previews and continue on with the other one. Your reviews and comments would also be appreciated!