Author's Note: Sorry for the long absence in updating this. I am back with renewed interest, after some stuff has happened to me over the last year or so. Please see my profile if you really want to know. Thank you for all the support though, as without it, I probably would have taken even longer to update!
Anyway, this is sort of a filler about expectations and exploring family functions. The most rewarding things come to those who wait. So next chapter will be a meeting in their alter egos, so to say ^_^
Disclaimer: Don't own, never will, will never make any money.
Hinata absently twirled her pencil in her fingers as she waited for school to be over. It was the longest Friday thus far. All she could think about was the dress she had waiting at home to finish before Sunday.
And of the dark eyed man that had graced her thoughts since Sunday, her debut. Uchiha Itachi had given her the time of the day. She still couldn't believe it.
"Hey Hinata," Sakura whispered as their teacher left the room for a few minutes.
"Do you want to spend the night Saturday, so we can leave from my house again?" Sakura asked.
"I wish I could," she told the other girl sadly. However, her father had planned a family dinner with some of his clients. He was always doing something like that. Her sister said it was because he was proud of the two beautiful and obedient daughters he had.
Hinata thought it was because he wanted to find them wealthy prospective husbands. But she kept her thoughts to herself. She had little interest in social standing or money; those things only brought aching pain, desperate loneliness, and horrible disappointment.
She found she would rather marry for love, have little money, and many kids, than to be unhappy like her father. Hanabi didn't understand those dreams. Her sister lived for the attention, for the compliments, for the money.
"Something going on?" Sakura asked.
"Family stuff," Hinata whispered back, leaving the conversation at that.
"Will you be able to go Sunday?"
"Yes. I'll meet at your house." Sakura nodded her understanding as their teacher made their appearance again.
Just a few hours more and she would be free to continue her sewing work before her father got home and her sister bothered her.
Itachi tapped his pencil against the surface of the desk in his old bedroom at home. He had come home that weekend to study as well as escort Sasuke again to Harajuku.
Their parents were out of town at a spa retreat and his brother needed some supervision, according to them. Itachi differed with them though. Sasuke was fairly grown up.
"Just be sure he doesn't burn the house down," his mother had warned as she kissed the boys good bye while being ushered out the door by their father.
"You see what I have to deal with all week?" Sasuke huffed.
"Come on, they love you," Itachi tried to soothe. Time to start acting like the older brother.
"Of course," he smirked briefly, "but they have trouble recognizing that sometimes I am not a little child anymore." He had shrugged before heading back up stairs, leaving Itachi to his own devices.
This was exactly how Itachi ended up pretending to study. He had long ago stopped trying to read the difficult text and was instead flipping through the pictures he had taken Sunday.
He thought he had long since thought he had destroyed the creative part of his personality effectively. Nevertheless, as he gazed upon the girl in the red and black Lolita dress, Itachi felt his blood itch with creativity. He wanted to pull his best costume out and dress up too. Itachi wanted to pull his guitar from the depths of storage and compose music again.
All week he had struggled with actually dressing up with Sasuke this weekend. His parents were out of town. It wasn't as if they would find out. But there was always the chance that one of his father's many channels would spread the news.
Itachi glanced at the picture of the girl again.
Didn't he owe it to himself to have a little fun? He had been doing well at school after all…Just one weekend couldn't hurt. Dropping his pencil in the middle of his textbook with resolve, Itachi grabbed a light jacket and went in search of Sasuke.
"Sasuke?" he asked as he knocked on his little brother's tightly shut door. He respected his brother's privacy to be invited into his room.
"What?" Itachi listened as a stereo was turned down.
"Do you want to come with me to the dorms to pick up some things?" A few seconds later Sasuke's messy head appeared in the small space he had opened.
"Why not?" he shrugged. Sasuke shut his door for a few seconds, appearing again with a jacket. Itachi locked the main door behind them before they headed for the train station. Because Itachi had been unsure of his resolve, he had decided against bringing home a costume or two. His apartment near the college was close enough it wasn't a problem to return for things he had forgotten.
His father thought he had packed all of those things away. In a sense, Itachi had. Just not where his father expected. In the closet that Itachi shared with his roommate, were all of his best costumes. Itachi found he couldn't remember what Kisame's plans for the weekend were.
He figured he was still early enough that Kisame was still out with a date, if that were the case. However, Kisame didn't mind when Itachi sometimes brought Sasuke to visit.
The trains were crowded this time of night, with all the corporate jockeys leaving their jobs for a weekend of potential relaxation. Sasuke and Itachi had to squeeze around worn out businesspersons in standing room only to catch a ride to his apartment.
Fugaku Uchiha had insisted that Itachi live in the dorms, to have the same experience he had when he had been at school years before. Kisame had been Itachi's original dorm mate, and now friend. It had made sense that they should get an apartment on their own after their first year of college.
As much as Itachi wanted to please his father, he knew that he was unsuited for dorm life. Because he was rather successful and from a powerful family line, Itachi was not well liked in the dorm by some of his peers. Often he would return from classes to find things missing or the room trashed.
It was amazing he made friends at all, given animosity he faced. But he had, ones who shared his creative spirit. He would dress up this weekend alone, just to see how things went, then call the group together another time. Itachi realized uncomfortably that he had been ignoring Sasuke.
"How was your week little brother?" he asked kindly.
"Eh." Sasuke just shrugged in a non-committal manner, avoiding direct eye contact.
"Did anything happen between you and your friends?"
"No, not really."
"Did you learn anything interesting then?" Itachi was starting to feel like he was on a bad blind date.
"What do you think?" As much as Itachi hated to admit it, he realized he didn't know Sasuke at all. It seemed no matter how hard he tried, the independent young man just disregarded him.
"So it's that age huh?"
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Oh you know where you are either despondent or smug towards those who know more than you."
"Am not," Sasuke argued back childishly a small grin tugging at his lips.
"Oh, are too," Itachi said back. "You just can't help yourself. It's in your nature to act like all of the other teenagers. Keeping secrets, isolating yourself, the whole routine." He shrugged.
"I am not keeping secrets," Sasuke snapped, but Itachi could tell his brother was playing along.
Itachi wondered what had happened to make Sasuke so cold. Perhaps it had been his leaving for college. He glanced down at his brother's cynical face, wondering if perhaps it would have happened regardless.
"So you don't do anything at school then? I understand," Itachi encouraged. "I never would have expected you to." He knew it would enrage Sasuke enough to answer him. His brother usually rose to a good challenge.
"Of course I do things," Sasuke snapped. He proceeded to rattle off his recent achievements. Itachi smiled when Sasuke wasn't looking. Exactly as he had hoped. His brother would probably surpass himself.
"Well, I suppose I was wrong then. I'll have to kid you about something else from now on," Itachi remarked. "Like your eyeliner?" Sasuke knew he was just teasing.
"I suppose you could, but you'll have to keep in mind that we are making a special trip to get your costumes tonight," Sasuke smirked.
"Touché," he laughed. There was a slight lull in their friendly conversation. "So why did you and Naruto decide to dress up on Sundays?" Sasuke shifted from foot to foot and glanced at the floor.
"Promise you won't laugh?" he asked, sounding more like the child Itachi remembered.
"We did it to meet girls." Itachi had to bite his tongue to keep from laughing out of relief. He had been rather dreading possible answers. He did let a rather undignified snort pass, then feeling the sharp sting of Sasuke's palm against his arm.
"I'm sorry," Itachi apologized, as he tried to restrain his laughter.
"Why did you start doing it?" Sasuke demanded. Itachi's reasons were not so simple however. He found himself pausing and glancing at the floor as if it held the answers he needed.
"Honestly," Sasuke confirmed.
"Escape?" Sasuke questioned, sounding like an echo. "Why would you want to escape? You're clearly dad's favorite. You have everything going for you." It was quickly becoming clear the real reason behind Sasuke's sometimes less-than-brotherly behavior.
"Sasuke," Itachi started quietly, "you know father loves you just as much." His little brother 'hmped' but kept silent, waiting for Itachi's explanation. "Promise you can keep a secret?"
"I don't want what dad wants for me."
"What do you mean? You'll be successful." That was exactly the way someone on the outside would view his situation. Exactly how a naive teenager would see things.
"But I won't be happy." Sasuke started to say something, his mouth opening and closing a few times, as he digested what Itachi was trying to show him. "I'm not cut out for what dad wants for me."
"What are you cut out for then?"
"Music, and art, and creativity. I want to do something that is meaningful to me. The law is only words on a page. Dry. Dead." Itachi stopped himself before more things poured out. The only other person who knew of his unhappiness was Kisame.
"I guess I hadn't thought of that," Sasuke finally agreed. They were quiet until Itachi's stop, as they wove around the other passengers to exit. Itachi had soured his own light mood with brooding about the future.
"I'm not sure if Kisame will be in or not," Itachi explained to Sasuke as they hurried out of the train terminal, into the early dusk. "But just ignore anything you might see."
"Oh come on, I'm an adult," Sasuke protested, pulling his jacket a little tighter. It always seemed windier in Itachi's neighborhood.
"Really, then why did our parents think you need me to stay with you over the weekend?"
"Because that's their job," he retorted. "If you were cool, you have told them you were keeping an eye on me but stayed at your apartment."
"Why didn't I think of that?" Actually, he had thought of it. In some way, he really had wanted to go home. Moreover, it made his future trip to Harajuku believable. He was just escorting Sasuke after all. When in Rome...
"Ha, you always do everything mom and dad tell you to." No, not everything, Itachi corrected in his mind.
"You know you're glad to have me home this weekend. I throw better parties."
"Oh yes, like 'Let's do our homework parties' or 'who can fall asleep first parties.'"
"Well since you usually win the latter..."
"Do not. Once you've had a beer or two, you're out like a light."
"Yeah. One time Naruto and I were going to draw on your face with mom's makeup when you passed out on the couch."
"I know you didn't."
"No, we just stole the remote."
"Exactly. I won didn't I? I fell asleep first."
"Oh yes, because there are awards for that type of talent," Sasuke shot back. "Like 'King of the Drool.'"
"I don't drool." They continued their brotherly bickering right into Itachi's apartment building. It wasn't too shabby, especially considering he only had to pay half the upkeep. It was certainly better than the dorms.
When he wasn't taking classes, Itachi worked a paper-pushing job for a friend of his father's. Between the two, he had a comfortable lifestyle.
They grabbed the elevator, Sasuke punching the worn button for floor "11" before the doors shut. The elevator groaned its way up the shaft. Itachi always wondered one day if it would trap him. When he wasn't in a rush, he usually opted for the stairs even though it stunk of take-out and old gym socks.
"So was this elevator here when the dinosaurs were?" Sasuke joked, as the doors prepared to open.
"Yes, as a matter of fact. I'm pretty sure a t-rex still lives down the hall from me."
"Were you talking about me?" someone asked on the other side. The doors finally groaned open to reveal Kisame standing on the other side.
"No, we were talking about dinosaurs, not sharks," Itachi corrected. Kisame was the only person he knew that reminded him more of an animal than a man. His teeth were frighteningly sharp when he smiled. There was something predatory about his mannerisms. Even his skin and spiky hair held a bluish-grey tint to them.
"Too bad," he shrugged, "now what are you doing back so fast?" he asked as Itachi and Sasuke stepped off the elevator before it could decide to shut the doors on them. Itachi took a second or two to collect his answer, as they made their way briskly down the hall.
"Costumes," Itachi answered as he pulled out his key and made to open the door. "Where were you headed?"
"A blind date."
"Your date will hope she is blind when she gets a good look at you," Sasuke told him.
"Permission to beat up your little brother?"
"Fine," Itachi nodded as he let himself into the familiar space of their apartment. "Just make sure he stays in once piece. I don't have any glue." He blocked the sounds of fake wrestling as he headed for his bedroom.
He was too lazy to bother with the lights, so he felt his way around to the closet. Finding the door, he slid it open and pulled the worn string to make the light function. His closet was suddenly filled with a dark version of a rainbow.
He had costumes in just about every color that he had constructed himself. Beautiful Victorian reproduction jackets, colonial coats, matching vests, fancy pants, boots, frills, ruffles, rave clothes, punk clothes, accessories, wigs, and a make-up case greeted him. Colors ranged from the blackest black to the most somber white, and all shades in-between in cottons, netting, velvets, satins, and possibly even silk. Itachi was sure there might have been a skirt or dress in there left over from a lost bet. It was a clothing designers' wet dream.
While he would have loved to move them all back home for the weekend, Itachi selected a couple of his favorites and grabbed his make-up case. In the hallway, Sasuke was listening patiently to a joke Kisame was attempting to tell him.
"What's the occasion?" Kisame asked as he spotted Itachi's clothing.
"Just dressing up with Sasuke at Harajuku this weekend."
Kisame nodded, "I see. Perhaps if I get time I will meet you there?"
"Alright," Itachi agreed, as he had few friends. In reality, he didn't want anyone else along from school. He supposed it was rather selfish, but sometimes he needed time away from his school life. Kisame accompanied them down in the elevator this time. They exchanged goodbyes before Sasuke and Itachi boarded the train back home.
"How about we go home and drop off these costumes then go out to eat?" Itachi asked. "Unless you want to cook."
"No way. I have things to do." As soon as they arrived home, Itachi rushed upstairs and gently hid the costumes in his closet before the boys set off again to the fast food joint down the street.
It was nice spending time with his brother. Sasuke wasn't as cold as he usually was. He even venturing to fill him in about school or whatever interested him these days. He wondered briefly how the Harajuku girl was spending her evening. Probably somewhere exciting.
However, Hinata's evening was not as exciting as Itachi imagined it was. In fact, it was downright boring.
Her father had invited some potential clients over for drinks, which meant that Hinata was expected to give up any of her own plans for the night and join her family. She had been so lost in her sewing that Hanabi had nearly caught her indulging in her secret life.
However, during the week there was a window of excellent opportunity. Hinata could pull out her sewing machine for a few hours and finish parts of costumes she couldn't accomplish by hand. These hours were golden because Hanabi was still in clubs after school and Hinata's father wasn't home yet.
Today has been unfortunate, as Hanabi's club had decided to go home early and Hinata almost didn't hear her in time to cover the sewing machine and try to convince her sister that she had been studying.
"You were studying?" Hanabi asked, raising an eyebrow as she tried to peek past Hinata into her older sister's bedroom. "What?"
"Um…m-math." Hinata would have nervously touched her index fingers together if she hadn't been working so hard to keep the door cracked.
"That doesn't look like math. What do you have in there? A boy?"
"N-n-no." She hated her stutter. It only seemed to happen around her family or under extreme stress, which were usually the same thing.
"Then why can't I see?" Hinabi pouted. Hinata didn't find it very flattering when her sister did that.
"W-w-why do you want t-t-to see my h-h-homework?" Hanabi thought about it.
"Oh. Well, continue on then, but dad is bringing home company tonight." Her sister laughed and skipped off. To keep her mind off her impending expectations, Hinata continued adding details to her dress by hand, in between studying.
Her father stopped by her room long enough to instruct her to come out and join them, but to wear something presentable. Hanabi and her father always dressed ready for business while Hinata preferred comfort.
She traded her hoodie and exercise pants for a tasteless beige suit she particularly hated. It had been her mother's, but her mother had hated it too. It had been a gift from his in-laws. Her mother only wore it once when she had been displeased. In her own small way, Hinata was showing her father how much she hated these expectations of her time. Did he not think that she possibly had plans of her own?
Hanabi looked spectacular though, as always, Hinata couldn't help but notice. Her sister was only twelve, but she was one of those girls who appeared older. Hinata appeared as the younger sister when they were compared.
Despite the major age difference between her father's company and her sister, Hanabi seemed perfectly comfortable among them, carrying the conversation along. Hinata could see her father giving her meaningful looks across their pleased heads as she sat removed from the group.
She played house for an hour or so before she made a polite excuse to go to her room, feigning illness. She still had tomorrow night to look forward to as well. That disappointed look in her father's eye, that she had failed him as a daughter some time ago, didn't bother her as much as it used to.
Hinata was learning that the expectations of parents were sometimes out of your control. Her trips to Harajuku were opening her eyes. It would be hours yet before the company left probably, so Hinata picked up her sewing again with renewed fervor, determined to finish the costume as a reward for enduring through the week.
As she sewed, her mind wandered over the elder Uchiha and his beauty. Someone like that she was sure had an active social life. He wouldn't be sitting at home on Friday night, would he? However, Hinata found that she wasn't so sure, although she wasn't sure why.
Author's End Note: Probably not the best, I know, but I wanted to put things in perspective and explore motivations and what not *ahem, filler...*
Raw preview for next chapter: Hinata's heart beat rapidly beneath her wonderful new disguise as Itachi approached their group. Even under the transformation, she recognized his soulful dark eyes as his gaze sought her out. Holding her attention, he provided her with a smile that she was sure was meant only for her.