Like a Star
A/N: I know this chapter is a long time coming.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters.
"Fugaku-sama," the man addressed. "The girl has been taken care of."
The man referred to neither smirked nor scowled. On his face was a placid expression, smooth as stone. "Your work here is done." stated Fugaku, his voice laced with power potent enough to destroy a city.
The messenger, whose hair was as dark and grimy as his smile, bowed curtly and exited the grand office.
Fugaku leaned against the leathery fabric of his grand office chair. It swiveled around to face the gigantic glass panels, which covered half of the room. Through it, Fugaku was able to see the entire city of Konoha which only made it easier, not to mention convenient, for him to control. Nothing compares to the power this office holds; this was his lair. With robotic movements he stroked his crimson colored tie (always neatly pressed and perfectly in place) and calculated numerous statistics and data in his head.
A knock was heard at the door. Fugaku barely moved to acknowledge the newcomer.
"What is it." stated Fugaku, his voice as cool as stone.
"An urgent phone call, for you," answered his secretary and hastily added: "Fugaku-sama."
If Fugaku was annoyed, his beady eyes did not show it. He lifted his hand to dismiss her and, like a mouse, she scurried out.
He picked up the receiver. "Speak."
"What you did," breathed the voice on the other line, "reached a new low, even for you."
The familiar voice tugged the corner of Fugaku's lips into a smirk.
Every time she walked down the hallway she would just be considered another faceless student joining the sea of crowd. No one remembered what she looked like. Even some of the teachers still struggle with her name. People would knock into her as if she was invisible but Sakura never seemed to mind, she just sighed and picked up all of her scattered textbooks. There was no point in screaming or yelling; no one would bother listening to her. Every time but this time, obviously, since her infamous pink hair has been all over the tabloids associated with the heartthrob Uchiha Sasuke.
So Sakura had a new problem, she no longer had the privacy and identity-less life she always had and grown to love. Every turn of her head someone was whispering behind cupped hands while staring at her with awe or wonder.
Sakura avoided the conspicuous looks and glares of her peers and set her lunch tray down next to Ino.
"I can't take it anymore," grunted Sakura, taking a seat between Ino and Hinata. "I am literally going to throw up from all this attention."
"What are you talking about?" scolded Ino. "You're Miss Popular now–not one person doesn't even know your name. You're the Girl With The Pink Hair. It's all they ever talk about."
Ever since Sakura has come back from her trip, Ino has been bitter about being kept out of the loop of the whole Onyx-being-the-famous-Sasuke fiasco. Things between her and Hinata, however, remained the same. Well, almost.
Hinata fiddled her food with a fork, her mind seemingly occupied.
Sakura elbowed Hinata's arm. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing." murmured Hinata. "I-It's just that, yesterday night t-they came over, again."
"What?" exclaimed Ino with wide blue eyes. "The creepy guy with the camera?"
"Yeah, and this time he refused to leave unless I tell him something about Sakura that no one knew about."
"What a dick." scoffed Sakura. "I can't believe they're attacking my friends too––what the hell is wrong with these people!"
Ino rolled her eyes. "Well, maybe next time before you sneak around with a famous popstar, you should find a way to cover that obnoxious pink hair of yours." she remarked. "And maybe, just maybe, the damn paparazzi wouldn't harass your entire neighborhood."
"Can you just grow up, pig?" Sakura retorted and narrowed her eyes menacingly. "I've got enough problems as it is without your offhanded sarcastic solutions."
The bickering caused Hinata's shoulder to slump forward; she tried to drown out all sound by focusing on the mushy peas on her plate.
A girl with long legs and silky dark hair approached their lunch table, trailing behind her was a group of giggling girls who all dressed similarly. She looked Ino up and down and glared with obvious annoyance in her eyes. Ino pinched her lips into a line so tight that all color drained from her face; seeing her friend, Hinata rested her palm on her shoulder to calm her down.
The girl switched her attention to Sakura and the scowl on her face was replaced immediately with a fake, sugary smile. "Sakura-chan! How good is it to see you?" That was a lie, she never knew Sakura's name until yesterday. She did not wait for Sakura to respond; "Listen, I know this is coming out of nowhere, but how about we grab a drink after school?"
Sakura's eyes blinked in confusion. "I'm sorry, but do I know you?"
Of course Sakura was lying, she did know who she was. This was the person she often see pouring a cup of rotten raisins on lesser-known students by the lockers, their misery being a form of entertainment. This was the person all boys drooled over and all girls wished to be. This was also the person Ino hated most, which was probably why Sakura knew her so well.
The girl giggle obnoxiously. "I'm Ami, silly. The captain of the cheerleader squat? You must have heard of me." She flicked her long hair back. The rest of the girls did the same.
She knew accepting the offer would be a form of betrayal to Ino but refusing Ami would only add more problems to her list. Ami glared through her mascara-coated lashes and the sight gives chills down Sakura's spine. After a few seconds of hesitation, she replied. "Um, sure, I guess–"
"Great!" exclaimed Ami in her high pitched voice. "I'll meet you at the parking lot."
With eyes hot as blue flames Ino got up from the table. It startled both Sakura and Hinata but she offered them no explanation; not that they needed any. She slung her back pack over her shoulder and simply left the cafeteria.
The air was humid today, when Hinata stepped out of the school building it was as if her body was being enveloped by warm silk. It was not an unpleasant sense of warmth either, not the type that made people sweat sticky droplets and smell like damp frogs. No, it was not that unpleasant yet. Right now, she very much enjoyed the outdoors.
She hitched her backpack higher. The trees on either side of the road leading to the exit was lush and lively, the rich green palette provided the campus a homely atmosphere. Hinata sat on the marble slab, which was a seating area, next to the gate. The smooth texture of the marble caressed the back of her legs and the coolness of it comforted her.
"Hey," said Sakura as she sat herself down beside her.
Hinata smiled but her eyes were not as vibrant as before. "Hey."
"Is everything okay? I'm sorry about what happened, I didn't know that monster was going to ruin our day like she did." Sakura shook her head to drown the memory out. "But you knew I only said yes because that Ami scares the shit out of me, right?"
Hinata nodded but she seemed occupied by another thought, Sakura noticed.
"Something else is wrong, what is it?" prodded Sakura.
"I just," sighed Hinata. "I don't like it when you two fight."
Sakura blinked. "Me and Ino?"
She did not say anything and twiddled her forefinger.
"Listen, we're just having a little misunderstanding. We'll be alright soon," Sakura shrugged it off. Somehow neither of them thought it sounded convincing.
"Do you think it's going to be over soon?" asked Hinata in a gentle voice.
Sakura smiled but it did not reach her eyes. "Don't worry, Hinata. This is only going to be temporary. Once something else takes over the tabloids, no one will even remember my name."
The thought made Sakura's smile falter.
"Do you miss him?" wondered Hinata.
Suddenly the thought of him pricked her heart with a thousand needles. She remembered his voice and the way he had sung to her at the fireplace. The way his arm held her by the waist and the electric surges she felt from that simple gesture. And the beautiful hairpin that glistened in all shades of bejeweled red and burgundy. Then she thought of his eyes and the way those beautiful black orbs looked at her; like she meant something to him. She gazed up to the clear sky to hide away her watery eyes. Truth was, she might never feel that same away again—never being able to see and touch him, again.
Sakura pursed her lips and hid a sob. "You have no idea, Hinata."
"You know what your father wants, Sasuke." repeated Kakashi.
Sasuke's eyes narrowed with a menace that proved to be ineffective to Kakashi.
"I do know, Hatake. And my answer has been the same as it has always been. I am not taking over the enterprise. Do you know what type of man he is?" This was not a question because both of them knew. "Do you know why I left?"
"Don't we all." drawled Kakashi in his lazy manner.
"Where we grew up," his face was red and his breathing got heavier. "I couldn't even have an instrument by my side. Do you know what happened to people like me under his roof?"
Kakashi noticed the tremor in Sasuke's fingers.
Sasuke lifted the hem of his shirt over his hips. Across his left rib down to his right hip were pale flesh toned scars that were an inch wide; the size of a belt. None of them said anything until Sasuke smoothed his shirt back down again.
"That, that happens."
The air was still and nothing stirred, only their breathing.
Only after a long moment of silence did Kakashi speak up.
"If you think that was terrible, Sasuke, wait until he gets his hands on Sakura again."
Sasuke winced slightly at the mention of her name.
Kakashi continued. "If you think physical pain is unbearable," he inhaled a long breath, exhaled then looked away. "compared to seeing your loved ones getting hurt? Scars and bruises are just child play, Sasuke. The man your father is is capable of something much, much more. And he knows who Sakura is–he knows what she eats, what time her class starts, where she goes every weekend–I'm not telling you to sacrifice what you believe in or what you want. This isn't a contest of is–"
Sasuke turned his face away, his eyes dark like molten rock.
"–just try to find it in yourself to be selfless for once."
He clenched his teeth until his face was bone white. "Why Sakura. Why her out of everyone? Why not Naruto or you. Why target the only," he paused–the only person that matters to me he wanted to say but could not–and swallowed a dry lump in his throat before continuing; "the only person that isn't a threat to him."
Kakashi sighed and looked away. "I don't know."
But Sasuke caught that look in his eyes, a glimpse of darkness that flurried across his brown pupil like a fleeting shadow. Hatake Kakashi knew something, and he was hiding something very grave and important.
Sakura was not just anyone; she was someone.
"Are you sure?"
"Too sure. I don't think she suspected anything weird." confirmed Ami while mindlessly checking her nails. "We're picking her up in half an hour, I mean that's when school ends anyway."
Karin's lips stretched across her face into a gruesome smile. "Well done, ladies."
Ami rolled her eyes and heaved a long irritated sigh. "So where's the file like you promised us?"
"Yeah, where is it?" chimed the others.
Karin drew a thin brown envelope from her purse and extended it towards Ami. The girl's eyes twinkled as if seeing a handful of diamonds for the first time.
"This has everything you need to know about Sasuke. His address, his e-mail, his phone number and–"
Ami snatched the file away from Karin's hands and waved dismissively. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I don't need your mindless yaps. I'm not stupid, I know what's in here." She caressed the papery surface with longing in her eyes. "You sure this is going to ruin them?"
"Jealousy ruins everything, darling." Karin smirked. "Earn her trust and everything else will go as planned."
Author's Note: I have a lot of things planned for this but first I need to ask you guys a question; do you prefer easy-to-read short chapters like this one? Or do you prefer something twice the length? I don't wanna bore any of you with long, dragging chapters. But anyhow, with that aside, I do hope you enjoy it! Your reviews are the only thing that inspires me to continue! :)