Title: An Odd Twist of Fate
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
Summary: Itachi was gay but when he finally did manage to fall in love, his object of affections turned out to be a girl. An energetic, blonde vixen of a girl, but a girl nonetheless. Fugaku is not complaining.
Warnings: Female Naruto, AU, a bit of OOC.
Pairings: Itachi/Naruto, slight Itachi/Kakashi, slight Sasuke/Haku.
AN: Alright, the only reason I am publishing this story is because I did not want you all to think that I was not going to write further and to apologize. It has been nearly two months since I haven't been able to write. There are many reasons for this.
I probably would not have said this, probably shouldn't since I don't believe in announcing my personal experiences to the world. However, this time, I believe I have no other option. I could simply tell you that my life is taking priority and be done with it but while that is a part of the reason, it is not the whole cause for my writer's block.
Recently, in May, a person very, very precious to me passed away. With her, it seemed an entire era of beautiful times came to an end. She wasn't the typical grandmother and that was what made her so special to me. She was strong, stern, pious and very beautiful. It seemed to me that in five successive years, I lost all my grandparents.
Her death was especially painful for me. It is a bit childish of me to say so but she was my favorite. Not because she was especially generous towards me, it wasn't like that at all… she was unique and I loved her for it. I saw her struggle and recover once and she seemed almost indestructible to me after that.
I still clearly remember her voice and how she called my name. I remember her scent, I remember the taste of her cooking, I remember her fair, wrinkled hands…
Lord, I drifted away from her in the end. Too busy to go visit, too lazy, too bored… I will regret every excuse I made, every day that was wasted because I couldn't be bothered to go see her. I loved her, so why would the visit be taxing?
Since then, I have been keeping myself busy, working, studying… spending time away from home.
This particular story, I wrote a long while back. I never intended to post it. It was written for my own amusement. It is a light-hearted story and probably not that well thought out but I guess this is my way of showing you that I am active and will start posting updates soon. I have started writing again.
I apologize for this little… venting of my feelings. Those who were patient enough to read it, thank you for your time. Please do not mistake this story to be a dedication to her. It isn't.
Thanks once again. I hope you enjoy.
The Uchiha line was doomed.
That was the only thought going to Uchiha Fugaku's mind as he watched his sons.
At first glance, one would think that they were perfect. Both his sons were extremely intelligent, very handsome, composed and the very definition of poise. He was proud of both of them.
Itachi had been a prodigy from the start, excelling in everything that he put his mind to. He had lost count of the number of times he had been praised because Itachi turned out to be such an impressive young man.
Then there was Sasuke. It had taken some time for Sasuke to discover his own brilliance. While Itachi had been perfect for taking over his business, Sasuke was not. He was more passionate though it was not easily apparent.
His brilliance lay in music.
While Itachi took over the legacy that his grandfather had created, Sasuke made a legacy of his own. He became a prodigy of music, his talent vast and almost magical. Fugaku could not have been more proud if he tried.
That was until they told him that they were not interested in girls and they were not willing to get married just for the sake of the clan.
Don't get him wrong. He did not mind that both his sons were homosexuals, but deep within him, there was a keen desire to see grandchildren. He wanted to see little Uchiha children filling their ancestral home with brightness that it had not seen for years. He wanted to see his sons settling down, having a family.
He would not have minded if both Itachi and Sasuke were involved in meaningful relationships with their respective male partners. He would not have minded if they had adopted children to continue the Uchiha legacy. He would not have minded if they were happy.
This fickle jumping of one partner to another was something he did not agree with. The shallow, meaningless relationships that were based solely on sex was something he could not tolerate.
His sons deserved something much better.
Unlike Mikoto, he did not bother pushing women towards his sons. Nor did he bother trying to explain to them why both Mikoto and he wanted them to settle down. He would allow them to make the mistake of assuming that family was not important. He would allow them to rejoice in the riches and the fame that they had cultivated because he knew that soon they would realize just how hollow their lives had become.
"Sasuke-kun is going to be very irritated." A soft female voice commented and Itachi paused, a brow arching in curiosity.
"Of course, he is." Another female voice, this one strong yet somehow light, "I promised the bastard that I will be there an hour before it started." The same voice murmured irritably, "He is going to be mad at me not you. I am going to be grilled just because Ino takes too much time trying to get ready for her Sasuke-kun!"
Itachi laced his fingers before his lips, somewhat amused.
"Don't call Sasuke-kun that." The first voice snapped defensively, "Honestly. We are polite to him; we don't irritate him as much as you do. We don't drag him into things that he would much rather not be doing like you do and he still won't give us a moment of his time. However, if you step out his sight for even a moment, he starts twitching. If anyone so much as looks at you wrong, he starts glaring. I don't get it." The first female voice grumbled in envy.
Itachi raised a brow, intrigued. Were they really talking about his brother?
"The Uchiha has a sister complex." A male voice added lazily.
"He sounds more like a possessive boyfriend to me, Shikamaru." Another male stated, "I can't blame him. Noriko-chan is hot."
"Kiba! You little shit!" The girl, who he assumed was Noriko, hissed, "Sasuke is not my boyfriend! He is ju…" she was interrupted suddenly by the sudden ringing of the phone. "Damn it. I am gonna kill Ino… its Sasuke." She cursed and Itachi leaned back to pay more attention.
"Oi, teme, I am coming." She grumbled, "Why the hell are you so impatient?" There was a pause, "It isn't my fault. Ino, Chouji, Neji, Tenten and Hinata are not here yet." She explained, "Neji chose to drive them to the meeting point but they are held up because of Ino."
"You are so inconsiderate, teme!" she hissed at him angrily and Itachi's lips curved in amusement. "I can't just leave them here. Neji and I are the only ones who brought our cars." She paused and then sputtered, "Nani! That's…" she was interrupted, "'Suke… you are…" there was a sigh, "Fine, you stubborn ass."
There was a laugh, "See what I mean?" That was Kiba's voice, "What did he want?"
Noriko sighed, "He says that Neji already called him. Something came up so he and Hinata are going to be late. Ino, Chouji and Tenten will be here in half an hour but the bastard simply can't wait that long. Says that he is on the verge of killing somebody, if I don't go, he just might end up committing murder."
The other girl sighed, "So you are leaving now?"
"Sorry, Sakura-chan." Noriko murmured apologetically, "You know how irritated he gets after those press-conferences of his." There was a faint tinkling sound, "Shino, you are the only person I am going to trust. Take care of my car and do not, under any circumstances, let Kiba drive. I will take a cab."
"Are you nuts!" Kiba exclaimed suddenly, "The Uchiha will kill us if we let you travel across the city alone looking that sexy!" Itachi tilted his head and little and glanced over his shoulder at the now standing woman.
The first thing that he noticed about her was her hair. It was a rare shade of pale, shimmering gold tied in a sophisticated looking knot. Her dress was a shade of dark blue that looked almost black, but very elegant. She looked very beautiful, especially with those sparkling blue eyes.
But it did not fit her.
The dress, the hairstyle, the high-healed shoes and the carefully applied make-up, everything spoke of restrained elegance and conformity. They completely contradicted the vibrancy he saw in her eyes and the careless manner in which she spoke. Everything about her was explosive, unrestrained, colorful and natural. That very controlled sophistication did not suit her at all.
"Look." She said irritably, "I do not want to put Sasuke in a foul mood. He needs to stay levelheaded tonight if he wants to inform his father about his decision to marry Haku. He is agitated… I need to be there with him."
Itachi's eyes widened slightly in surprise, who was this Haku?
The older Uchiha scowled. He and his brother had gone their separate ways when Itachi went abroad for education when Sasuke was only fifteen. However, they had always been the kind of brothers who looked after each other's back. It did not sit well with him to know that he was unaware of Sasuke's personal life.
Did Sasuke think he would not have his support?
His concern over Sasuke put a damper on whatever feelings of amusement he had garnered by the revealing conversation. He had just stepped into the café with the intention of getting a breather after a hard day's work before he went to Sasuke's party. He had not imagined that he would stumble up details about his little brother's life that he had not been privy to.
When she started to leave the café, Itachi paid the bill and followed her out. Their destination was the same, after all. He could escort her to the party.
"Excuse me." He called out to her before she could raise her hand to call a cab. She turned towards him, her brow arching in slight surprise.
"Yes?" She asked him cautiously though her eyes were narrowed in thought. Itachi was certain that he seemed familiar to her since Sasuke resembled him quite a bit.
"I am Uchiha Itachi." He introduced himself.
Her eyes widened, "You are Sasuke's older brother." She stated in surprise before smiling slightly at him, "Pleased to meet you, I am Namikaze Noriko."
Itachi returned the smile with a faint smirk, "I know." He murmured in some amusement, "I couldn't help but overhear your conversation." He stated, "I imagine that you are heading towards our parents' home?"
Noriko nodded, "Yes." She looked at her watch and frowned, "I best get going."
"Speaking of which…" he stopped her before she could leave, "I am heading there as well." He informed her, "If you do not mind, I can escort you. Your friend was correct, it would be unwise for you to travel by cab when you are dressed so well." He gestured vaguely at her simple yet undoubtedly expensive diamond jewelry.
She looked down at herself with a slightly disgruntled expression on her face. "The things I do for that bastard…" she murmured to herself but Itachi heard it and smirked faintly.
"Namikaze-san?" he questioned.
Noriko looked up at him and smiled apologetically, "Sorry about that, I am not entirely comfortable wearing such things." She admitted a bit sheepishly, "As for your offer… thank you. As you stated, it would be unwise of me not to accept."
Itachi nodded before offering her his arm, "My car is parked right around here." He gestured towards a gleaming black BMW. He opened the passenger-side door for her before getting into the car himself.
"Sasuke told me that you have just returned from England? It has been two months, hasn't it?" she asked as they drove towards their destination.
Itachi nodded, "Yes. Nearly two months." He glanced at her, "I did not know that Sasuke had so many friends."
Noriko snorted, "Believe me, if I had left it up to him, he would have only one friend." She admitted, "They are all actually my friends, Sasuke is only just starting to warm up to them." She looked at him inquisitively, "If you overheard our conversation then you know about Haku…"
Itachi nodded, his eyes on the road. "I did." There was a faint frown on his smooth features, "Whatever it is, Sasuke will have to tell me about it himself." He stated, "It is his tale to tell." He had very little tolerance for gossiping girls, especially when the gossip involved his brother.
He got an unexpected smile from her. Her soft face glowing in approval and she turned away. "Sasuke will tell you." Her smile turned thoughtful, "There is no one else he respects more than he respects you." She assured, "Just give him a little time to reconnect with you."
Itachi glanced at her, "You know him very well."
Noriko grinned, "Yeah." She admitted, "I guess we connected on some level instantly." She shrugged, looking fondly amused, "Maybe it was because I was the only girl who wasn't drooling over him or the fact that his attitude and his glare did not work on me." The look on her face softened, "Or maybe, it was because of the music that connects us."
Itachi raised a brow, "You went to music school as well?"
Noriko grinned, "Yeah." She wriggled her fingers at him, "I have magic fingers. Any instrument I play produces the most beautiful of sounds."
Itachi shot her an amused glance, "I see that you do not lack modesty." He could see why Sasuke befriended her. She was quite entertaining.
Noriko laughed softly, "Yeah, well… I have been somewhat of a musical prodigy." She murmured, "That frustrates Sasuke a bit, I guess." At Itachi's questioning look, she smiled, "You must know that Sasuke is a bit crazy about classical music. He has the right personality for it, you know. That grace and elegance along with the patience to learn and master complicated compositions. Me…" she shrugged, "I am more of a free spirit. I love to experiment. Sasuke doesn't like it that I mix classical with modern. He says that it corrupts the music that is meant to be so graceful and soul stirring."
"You do not seem the type to listen to classical music." Itachi murmured thoughtfully.
Unexpectedly, Noriko's face twisted into a grimace. "This is the stereotype that I do not agree with." She replied, "Music is so diverse and beautiful that it can connect with different kinds of people. Classical music does have a lot of interesting and funny compositions as well." She looked thoughtful, "I believe that people have started to associate classical music with the rich and the classy, I guess that they have forgotten music is a universal language that everyone can appreciate."
Itachi glanced at her before turning to look at the road, "You feel strongly about this, don't you?" he asked, "You are just like Sasuke. He is silent most of the time but when you mention music, he simply seems to erupt." He stated with clear amusement, "It started when he was a child and mother played the piano for him for the first time. Since…" The ringing of Noriko's cell phone interrupted him.
The young woman rolled her eyes before receiving the call. "Just how many times are you gonna call me, 'suke?" she asked irritably.
"Dobe, where are you?"
Noriko sighed, "I am on my way. I met your brother at the café and offered to drive me. I left my car with Shino so that they don't have to take the cab."
"You met Itachi? Are you sure he is Itachi? You have never met Itachi." Noriko just knew that Sasuke was scowling.
"I am not stupid, you know." She snapped, narrowing her eyes angrily.
"One wonders." He murmured, "I want to talk to him."
Noriko scowled before handing the phone to Itachi, "The bastard."
Itachi raised a brow, thoroughly amused. "Otouto."
There was a sigh of relief. "It's really you. Thank you for picking her up, nii-san." There were some shuffling noises coming from the other end, "Last time she almost got into the car of someone who proclaimed to be sent by me to pick her up. Who knows what that stranger would have done to the dobe if Neji hadn't held her back."
Itachi refrained from commenting on that. The relationship between the two was rather interesting. "We will be home in around thirty minutes." He informed, "Do not worry. I will deliver your precious friend to your hands, safe and sound."
"Oh for the love of God." Noriko murmured exasperatedly, "It is just across the city." She groaned, "And I am not some three year old kid, you know."
Itachi's lips twitched when he heard a scoff from Sasuke, "Just bring her home, nii-san."
"I will." He replied and handed Noriko her phone, smirking when she cursed Sasuke before hanging up. "The two of you are quite close."
Noriko sighed and leaned against the window, her eyes closed, "Well, he has basically adopted me." She confessed, "I was thirteen and a mess, my father had just passed away and my mother fell into depression. She sent me away to music school because I inherited my love for it from him." She played with a strand of blonde hair, "Both of us instantly developed a rivalry. Until I came along, he seemed to have no competition." She said with a faint, amused smirk, "But we were on par and often, our teachers could put us together in competitions and concerts. I was the violinist and he was the only pianist who could compliment my violin according to them." She smiled softly, "He became my anchor, I guess. I used to lean on him a lot." She shrugged, "I guess, I started to be as important to him as he was to me."
She looked at Itachi and offered him a smirk, "That protectiveness stepped in when other boys decided that I wasn't just some tom-boy musical prodigy but a girl. Has he ever told you about the number of times he has punched guys who dared to step a little to close to me for his comfort?"
Itachi chuckled and shook his head, "You said he adopted you?" he glanced at her, "What do you mean by that?"
She frowned, "My mother passed away a year after my father did." She swallowed, "That left me rather lost. My father left quite a large legacy behind and with my mother gone; there was no one to look after it. It was a big decision, whether to give up music or not." She turned away, looking out of the window, "It was like asking me to breathe or not." She whispered, "In the end, I decided that I could still pursue my interest in music but have a professional career in it was out of question."
Itachi let out a startled breath. If her passion for music matched up to Sasuke's then that was one decision that would have devastated her.
She smiled, "Sasuke did not approve." She whispered, "Said that he could not see me making the same sacrifices his brother made."
Itachi stilled, his fingers tightening on the steering wheel. 'Sasuke…'
"We had a fight over it but there was nothing I could do. I did my Masters in Business Administration to handle my father large Real Estate development company while he grew to be a world class pianist." She shrugged, "But I did go through a period of absolute chaos." She chuckled, "Life was such a mess that if it hadn't been for Sasuke's care; I wouldn't have made it out in one piece."
She looked at him with a smile, "Did that tell you enough about your little brother?"
He glanced at her, surprised and she grinned at him with a certain lack of reserve that he rarely found in woman of her apparent power and success. She was just so honest that it was refreshing. "I did not tell you life story just like that you know." She shook her finger at him, "Sasuke misses you a lot but won't admit it. You are curious about his life that you have drifted away from but you will not ask him." She smirked at him, "I am an expert in all things Uchiha."
Itachi made a turn and drove into the driveway of the ancestral Uchiha home, somewhat startled by her perceptiveness. "Thank you." He said softly as he turned of the engine and faced her, "This Haku…" he trailed of, she was an honest person and he was past his initial reservations about her.
"Is a very good person." She said understandingly, "To be honest, I wasn't so sure about them before." She smiled at him wryly, "I am very protective of him as well. However, Haku, he is patient and gentle… a little odd perhaps but very beautiful as well."
"Beautiful?" he asked with a raised brow and Noriko chuckled.
"I can find no other words to describe him. I mistook him for a girl when Sasuke first introduced me to him." She shook her head, stepping out of the car with a smile. "Haku is an internationally renowned designer." She said, "Not exactly a match made in heaven since our Sasuke doesn't know anything about fashion world."
Itachi raised a brow at her as they walked towards the door. "And you do?"
She burst out laughing, "Me? Fashion?" she shook her head, "My favorite thing to wear is orange, Itachi-san. I think you can draw the conclusion from there."
Itachi smirked and shook his head in marvel. He had never met a woman who was so easy to interact with. Within moments, he felt at ease, her confident, mischievous manner ensnaring his attention immediately.
"Took you long enough." An impatient voice interrupted their conversation and Noriko rolled her eyes.
"'suke…." She whispered in exasperation even as she stepped forward and observed him in concern. Sasuke was dressed immaculately, looking composed and elegant as ever. However, Itachi spotted the hint of nervousness that not many could perceive.
Obviously, Noriko could because she frowned at him. "How do you plan on doing this?" she asked him softly and Sasuke raised a brow at her, glancing at Itachi. She smiled, "He knows about Haku… not much… but a portion of it."
He narrowed his eyes at her, "You told him."
She nodded and Sasuke turned to Itachi, the question blatant in his eyes. Itachi simply nodded gracefully, "Whatever you decide, you have my support, otouto." He narrowed his eyes, "However, I will reserve my opinion on this Haku of yours until I have personally met him."
Noriko giggled and grinned at the exasperated Sasuke cheekily, "Welcome to my world, 'suke."
"Hn." He scowled at her before sighing slightly, "I am going to propose to Haku after the party tonight." He combed his fingers through his hair, "However, before I do that, I need to convince tou-san and kaa-san to accept him as a part of the Uchiha family." He looked at Noriko, "He deserves respect and complete acceptance, Noriko. I know they will be upset with my choice but I cannot do this without their approval… their opinion matters to me."
"Of course, it does." Noriko whispered, stepping forward and wrapping her arms around his waist. Sasuke responded to the embrace naturally, turning his head a little to press his nose against her hair. Obviously drawing comfort from her scent. "They love you, 'suke. You have nothing to worry about, I am sure they will support you."
Sasuke scoffed, "There is a limit to their tolerance and I have been testing that all my life. I can't help but feel that this would be the last straw."
"Don't ponder too much over this." Itachi said, surprising Sasuke, "I will be there with you and we will try our best to convince mother and father that this is what you desire the most." His met his brother's deep grey eyes seriously, "Are you certain you want to marry this person, Sasuke? Absolutely certain?"
Sasuke nodded, "Yes, nii-san." His voice was firm and determined, "Haku is very important to me."
Itachi studied him for a long while before nodding gracefully, "Very well." He whispered, "Let us go in and face the music, shall we?" he directed the question at both Sasuke and Noriko, feeling a very strange urge to pull her away from his brother's embrace into his own.
Frowning inwardly, he offered his hand to her, feeling that odd emotion dissipate when her small hand slipped into his. 'Strange.' He thought as they stepped into the house.
"They are in the study." Sasuke informed them, "I have already told them that I have something important to discuss." He glanced at Noriko, "I told them that we must wait for you and I think they misinterpreted."
"Oh dear." Noriko whispered, catching his meaning immediately. She looked a little peeved and glowered at Sasuke, "And you let that misunderstanding stand? You do realize that it would only make explanations more difficult for us?"
Itachi looked down at the woman on his arm and raised a brow. "Why would they misinterpret? Both Sasuke and I have declared our lack of interest in the opposite sex quite clearly."
Sasuke coughed while Noriko shot him a startled glance. "Sasuke…" Noriko started slowly, "I didn't know that I was such a big secret that not only you but even your parents did not tell Itachi-san about me."
"Er." The younger Uchiha paused, glancing at her warily before looking at Itachi, "Nii-san, mother has practically declared to the world that Noriko is going to be her daughter-in-law despite everything and father…" he looked at Noriko and then smirked, "You will just have to see."
Noriko scoffed at him before stepping forward to knock on the study door. When the permission was given, Noriko glared at Sasuke before walking in, a small but sincere smile on her face as she greeted the older Uchiha couple.
"Noriko-chan!" Mikoto exclaimed with a smile, stepping forward to cup Noriko's cheek, her dark eyes roaming over her. "How beautiful you look!" she whispered gushingly.
"Yes." A gruff voice stated and Uchiha Fugaku stepped forward, his lips twitching slightly when Noriko kissed his cheek, "While she does look beautiful, she doesn't look like our Noriko."
"Hmph." Sasuke scoffed, "Our Noriko is a orange clown. I think I like this version better. At least she was considerate enough to dress properly for the party. Thank God for small favors."
"Sasuke!" Mikoto reprimanded with a frown and it was enforced by their father's icy glare, much to Itachi's amusement. "You treat her so abominably that it is a wonder why she even considers you to be a friend."
Itachi greeted his parents as well but retreated to lean against the wall and watch the blonde woman breathe life into his reserved family. Sasuke was involved in the conversation, livelier than Itachi had ever seen him. He sent Noriko mocking smirks, teased her relentlessly and scowled when she came up with a witty comeback.
Surprisingly, his father was quite taken with Sasuke's friend. Itachi knew then why Sasuke wanted Noriko with him. She mellowed their father. Fugaku treated her as though she was his favored daughter, not quite so in words but in actions. The fond looks, the narrow glares at Sasuke when he acted crassly, the small smiles when she spoke to him energetically.
It was a disturbing thought to know that in his absence, this woman had integrated herself into his family without his knowledge. Moreover, it was also troubling to know that she had changed them all for the better. Had he disconnected with his family to such an extent that he wasn't aware of such an important person?
"Itachi… what are you doing standing there in the corner? Come, can't you give your poor mother the pleasure of hearing your voice?" Mikoto asked with a frown and Noriko chuckled when Sasuke rolled his eyes at his mother's dramatic words.
Itachi simply arched a brow and looked at Sasuke pointedly as he seated himself beside Noriko. The younger woman looked at him and nodded, both of them knew that Sasuke was stalling.
There was a light sigh and Sasuke turned to look at his father, "Tou-san, I have something of great importance to share with you."
Fugaku paused and looked at Sasuke with a raised brow, his eyes narrowing when he noticed Sasuke's anxious features. Briefly, his gaze flickered towards Noriko, a frown of suspicion forming on his dignified features.
Sasuke swallowed, "Father," he started saying softly, "There is this person that I love. He," he emphasized and Mikoto gasped while Fugaku turned to look at him impassively, "Is the only person I can see myself sharing my life with. His name is Momochi Haku."
"The designer?" Mikoto exclaimed suddenly, "How in the world did you end up meeting and getting involved with a designer?"
Sasuke shook his head gently, "That is the story for another time." He kept his gaze on his silent father, "I wish to give him my name. I wish to make him a part of our family."
"You wish for me to add his name to our family registry." Fugaku stated bluntly, conscious on Noriko hand on his arm.
"Ji-san." Noriko started saying hesitantly, "I can vouch for Haku-san's character. He is a very gentle and loyal person." Fugaku's eyes turned towards her and she looked at him imploringly. "You know I wouldn't vouch for anyone who had the potential to hurt Sasuke."
Fugaku stared at her for a long time but it was Mikoto who started speaking, "Noriko-chan, do you realize what you are saying?" she asked before looking at Sasuke, "You want to marry a man?"
"Mother." Itachi impassive voice caught all their attention and Mikoto looked at her precious eldest son in surprise. She had not assumed that Itachi would say anything regarding the matter. "Both of us know that you wish for us to settle down with nice women and sire heirs for the Uchiha clan for you to dote over." Mikoto blushed when Itachi pointedly looked at Noriko. The only blonde in the room simply smirked in amusement. "However, we have Sasuke interests to consider here and if he wishes for this-"
"Sasuke." Fugaku interrupted Itachi, looking at his youngest with narrowed eyes, "I will meet this Haku. If I feel he is suitable enough for you and our family, I will allow him into our clan."
Sasuke's eyes widened and Itachi arched a brow in faint surprise. "That will take time. If you plan to propose marriage to him tonight then I do not approve. You will have to wait until I am certain that he is suitable."
The younger Uchiha grimaced and opened his mouth to protest but Itachi placed a hand on his shoulder to silence him. "I believe that is acceptable, Sasuke. After all, I have yet to meet this mysterious lover of yours that only Namikaze-san and your other friends have the knowledge of." Sasuke winced, knowing that Itachi was displeased that he had hidden that from him.
"Alright." Sasuke said slowly, looking at Noriko only to find her frowning. Despite everything, Sasuke knew that she would agree with his father as well. She knew Haku, she had met him several times but his parents did not. They had the right to get to know him before allowing him his wish.
Noriko suddenly grinned, "Well, all is settled! Now 'suke can stop sulking anxiously and try to enjoy his party."
Fugaku chuckled and shook his head while Mikoto smiled at her glaring son. "Dobe."
Noriko stuck out her tongue at him, "Teme."
It was a chilly morning and the house was silent. Itachi knew that everyone, even his early-rising father was asleep. The party had ended late the other night and it had only been mildly interesting because of the presence of Sasuke's love interest.
He nursed his cup of coffee as he thought back on Momochi Haku. He was an interesting person, without a doubt. He was gentle and tolerant as opposed to Sasuke impatient and arrogant demeanor. Mikoto had taken to him immediately but Fugaku had been somewhat reserved, observing the man carefully.
Itachi had intended to concentrate more of Haku but his gaze always kept drifting towards Noriko. No one could compete with her. Whenever she was in a room, she was the centre of all attention.
The sound of light footsteps distracted him from his thoughts and he looked up in time to see Noriko step into the kitchen. His lips twitched at the sight of her. She looked adorable with her bright hair tied in a messy ponytail, her sleepy eyes glittering moistly and her over-sized pajamas.
"Ohayou, Namikaze-san." He murmured and she looked at him blearily before murmuring a reply. She sat down heavily on the chair in front of him, massaging her temples and looking as though she would much prefer sleeping than being awake.
He raised a brow at her as she poured herself some coffee, "You seem as though you should be sleeping, Namikaze-san." He said quietly, "Everyone else is."
She stifled a yawn and sighed, "Unfortunately, I have a lot of work to do today, many appointments and meetings." She shook her head and glanced at her watch, "I need to leave in an hour."
"This early?" After all, it was only half past five in the morning.
She nodded, "I need to go home first, pick up my laptop and get appropriately dressed for a day of work before going to office." She sighed and combed her fingers through her hair, "Sasuke didn't let me go home last night because it was too late. That bastard." She grumbled as she placed her head on the table.
Itachi chuckled faintly, "Shall I drive you to your home then?"
"No." Noriko smiled at him, "Shino left my car behind, I can drive myself home. Thanks for the offer, though."
Itachi only nodded and they engaged in a light conversation. It was a marvel. Itachi certainly wasn't the one to talk much but with Noriko, one could not help it. They discussed about various things, Sasuke's music, Fugaku's rather surprisingly easy acceptance of Sasuke's request, their jobs and interests.
Before long, Noriko had all but forgotten her drowsiness and was talking to him animatedly, her elegant little hands moving to emphasize certain points, her lips sometimes curling into smirks or stretching into grins and sometimes offering him those majestic smiles.
Itachi had never before met a person so entrancing.
When it was time for her to leave, Itachi couldn't help but feel a pang of regret. From their conversations, he knew that her schedule was just as packed as his was. The chances of them meeting again any time soon was next to nil unless something related to Sasuke popped up again.
It was comical to see her, still boldly dressed in her pajamas, step into her luxurious Mercedes-Benz and drive off. He did not question her over it, amused by her disregard for propriety.
He was still in the kitchen, reading the news when his mother walked in. He looked up with he felt her loving fingers comb through his hair. "Good morning, sweetheart." She smiled at him before pouring herself some coffee, "I have been told that Noriko-chan has already left."
"She has." Itachi nodded, "She told me that she had a busy day and needed to leave early."
Mikoto sighed, "I don't suppose she eat anything before she left?"
Itachi frowned at her concerned expression, "Just drank coffee. Why? Is something the matter?"
Mikoto shook her head, "No. It just makes me uneasy that she lives alone with no one else to take care of her." She nursed her cup of coffee thoughtfully, "She is such a bright and happy girl that it pains me to see her so lonely. It is always work and work and coming home at night to a dark, lonely house."
"She is a grown woman, mother." Itachi replied as he went back to his newspaper.
Mikoto frowned at him, "Yes, she is but unlike you, Itachi. She is not exactly suited for this. She is very capable, intelligent but I think work will suck life away from her."
"It is her father's legacy." Another voice added and they turned to look at Fugaku. "She cannot abandon it." He nodded to Itachi in greeting, allowing his wife to serve him coffee as he sat beside his son. "She gave up a lot to be where she is. However," Itachi paused, looking at his father in question. Fugaku frowned grimly, "I think it is time that we started looking for an appropriate match for her, Mikoto." When his wife opened her mouth to protest, Fugaku shook his head, "Sasuke and Noriko will never happen. You must realize that."
"It is about time you realize that." Sasuke grumbled from the doorway, looking a bit sleepy. "What are we talking about?"
Mikoto handed him his cup of coffee, "Getting Noriko settled."
Sasuke sighed, combing his fingers through his hair, "That is a distant dream. I have tried to encourage Noriko to consider Neji… he does like and respect her but she will not listen. Kiba is out of question. I will not trust him with my Noriko, ever. Shikamaru would have been good for her as well but he is engaged to Gaara's sister and Gaara is hardly appropriate for her."
Fugaku arched a brow, "You have thought of this."
Sasuke nodded while Itachi leaned back, a small frown between his brows. "Yes. I don't like her living alone either but what can I do? She will not listen to me when I ask her to move in with us. Doesn't what to impose." Sasuke sneered and leaned back, "We could not make it anymore clear that we consider her a part of our family but she just doesn't get it."
Mikoto sighed, "She has gotten used to living alone. I blame Jiraiya for this."
Itachi arched a brow at the mention of the famous author. "Jiraiya?"
Sasuke nodded, "He is Noriko's godfather." The youngest Uchiha's eyes narrowed, "Not that he is suited for that responsibility. The man cannot take care of himself, much less his goddaughter. The last time I saw him visit Noriko was about two years ago." He shook his head, "As of now, she is very busy with some important negotiations. I don't-"
Sasuke was interrupted when Itachi's phone rang. "Excuse me." Itachi murmured before receiving the call. Only his secretary would dare to call him so early in the morning.
After a brief conversation, Itachi sighed. It was time to push the intriguing Noriko out of his mind and concentrate on his work.
With that last, mildly disappointing thought, Itachi stood and left the company of his family to get ready for the day.