Did I sufficiently scare you with the introduction of Itachi?
Please view in 3/4 format.
Dedication: Sunny Lore – no don't feel sheepish. Feel happy!
Disclaimer: I refuse to repeat myself!
Chapter 3: Of New Happy Endings
Sasuke avoided her for several weeks after that. After the girls were expelled (at least their parents' jobs remained intact) things returned to as they were before. Somehow, Hinata felt disappointed. Despite the mystery and the darkness attached to a witch's life, a witch's life was really quite monotonous. After all, how many times could you curse a person anyway?
The presence of royalty had brought sparkle and light the witch had forgot even existed and she found herself craving that light again. It was an unholy craving that ripped at her gut and defied her very nature—
But, nonetheless, the witch craved.
"Well, Hyuuga-san, I must say I'm honestly surprised to receive this."
"With your skills and talents Kabuto-san, I'm sure you must have expected it," Hinata demurred.
The white-haired boy (man?) chuckled. "You know that's not what I mean Hyuuga-san."
Hinata fought down a blush, before she forced herself to arch an eyebrow in a condescending manner. "Surely you aren't going to refuse?"
It was only because it was Hinata that it sounded like a casual question. However, Kabuto could hear the whole entirety of the Hyuuga clan behind her voice.
"I'm no fool. And besides, you are much more pleasant to work with than some other Uchihas I know. Much more cute too."
Hinata couldn't stop the blush this time and tucked her hair behind her ears to distract herself. "Thank you?"
Kabuto laughed and idly flicked the unopened envelope that had the Hyuuga insignia blazed upon it. "I suppose we'll be seeing more of each other in the future?"
Hinata did not like the way the conversation was turning. She took a step back away from the man's friendly but snake-like eyes, feeling like a trapped mouse. Despite her trepidation however, she forced herself to raise her chin and stare the other student in the eye.
"Why, hello Vice President-san," Kabuto said smoothly, looking over her shoulder at a certain glowering Uchiha.
Hinata could not see him, but she could feel his heat radiating from above her head. He was oddly close and while it was a bit frightening, it was also comforting.
"I suppose I shall take this as my signal to leave, neh?" Kabuto gave a mocking bow before he adjusted his glasses complacently. Neither Sasuke or Hinata moved until he had long vanished out of sight.
Hinata flinched at his curt tone. So, it was back to Hyuuga now, was it?
Then again, why should the witch assume that the king would treat her with anything more than bare bone civility?
She turned, but did not dare raise her eyes away from the ground. Instead, she studied his shoes intently and tried to mentally picture what his face looked like.
"Thank you," she whispered.
"Hm." In all honesty, Sasuke didn't want to answer her. He owed the girl nothing. But somehow, he felt inwardly compelled to… why, he wasn't sure of it himself.
She glanced up and blushed. The witch couldn't help feeling like some sort of princess with the way she was being saved all the time by a certain king.
"I've been saying that to you a lot, haven't I?" she said softly.
"Too much, don't you think?" Sasuke said icily. Hinata recoiled at the dark inexplicable look in his eyes. Something flickered in his eyes for a moment at the sight of her hurt expression, but it faded just as fast as it came.
There was nothing left to say.
"Watch out for yourself Hyuuga," was all he said before he turned and left.
This time, it was she who was left alone in the empty hallway.
"Hello," she said softly, eyes downcast and demure. As always, Itachi gave a low chuckle of amusement before his long fingers reached out and tilted her chin upwards. Hinata obediently closed her eyes as he lowered his face to hers.
Hinata endured the closed-mouth kiss with the same patience and detachment she'd endured all the other kisses. It was only a quick peck anyway—she could tolerate that. There were times she could sense that Itachi wanted to go just a bit further. However, although she didn't exactly dissuade him, he seemed to understand her reluctance. Itachi was a patient man and he could wait.
Like all their dates, as they walked he wound his fingers around her hand. As always, she went with the flow.
Did her heart jump? Did her stomach have butterflies?
The witch could have told you off for being foolish. She was secure. The dragon protected the witch well.
She'd known by the time she was fourteen that she was to be married to Uchiha Itachi and she couldn't possibly ask for a more understanding, patient, tolerant man.
The witch didn't have time to be chasing after intangible emotions.
She didn't deserve to find those emotions of love and happiness.
"I finally know what exactly your problem is!"
"You give up to easily! You just take what life throws at you and you never do anything!"
Sasuke was oddly silent.
"If you really care that much, stand up for it you bastard! Fight for it!"
"That's what you do Naruto," Sasuke hissed. "It's your job to run around with your stupid ideals. It's my job to be practical and actually get things done. Now if you'll excuse me—"
"It got the job done didn't it? I still get to eat ramen every time I want despite the fact you and Sakura-chan hate it, for reasons I still don't understand. And you still do all the paperwork, regardless of what I say!" Naruto said triumphantly.
"Now, get over yourself, and stop complaining about my ramen! You already ruined a lot of lunch dates I had with Sakura already!"
"… thanks, Naruto."
For once, the prince in his stupidity, actually did something smart.
She almost felt out her chair in shock.
He slid into the chair next to her, one eye on her red face and the other eye on the questionable reading material she held in her hands.
To be honest, Sasuke didn't know why he was here. After all, the king really had no business meddling with the witch. Still, when he saw the witch sitting alone in an obscure corner of the library, cuddled in a sofa with the light streaming down and hitting her face, the king gave into his questionable desires and approached.
It was a risk—after all, prince and princesses could cause riots with no repercussions. If a king made a mistake however, the kingdom would falter and break.
Sasuke dearly hoped he wouldn't regret it.
"Fairytales, Hyuuga?" Sasuke calmly repeated, resting his chin on his hand.
"Ah… I like reading the old stories," Hinata said shyly, a bit flustered and embarrassed. Nonetheless, with the same pride that had been born in her, she raised her chin and did not hide the childish book.
Hinata blinked, surprised. She'd expected him to jeer at her, mock at her—not ask her questions. This time, it was she who studied his face for artifice and it was her eyes that widened when she realized he was being genuinely sincere.
"I… it makes me happy," she hesitantly replied. "Everyone gets a happy ending in the end. The prince marries the princess and the kingdom is happy and safe…"
"Oh? What about the witches? The dragons?"
Hinata flushed. "The w-witches a-are evil…"
"Don't they deserve a happy ending too?" Sasuke's eyes were intent and Hinata found herself unable to tear her eyes away from his eyes.
God, they were pretty and they glinted like black diamonds. (Some part of her gags at her poetic language, but Hinata firmly believed nothing less could have been used to adequately describe his eyes).
"No, they don't," she whispered. "They're just witches."
Oh God, he was leaning closer again.
"Even if they're pretty?"
Goodness, was that his hand holding her hand.
Goodness, did he just call her pretty?
"E-even i-if t-hey're p-pretty," she sputtered, the book tumbling to the ground.
He gave a full-fledged smirk before he kissed her hand.
Her face was so red it could have passed as a cousin of the tomato. Her mind was utterly blank. The only thing that registered was the feeling of his lips on the back of her hand, and the glint in his eyes.
Goodness, was he playing her?
It must be it. There was no possible reason why it could have been otherwise. There was no way that he genuinely—
Hinata snatched her hand away. Her chest felt like there was a hole in it. Her feet were heavy and she felt like she was about to be sick.
"I am not one of your games," she hissed, her face now red with anger.
"Save it Uchiha," she snarled before she whirled away. Was it no surprise that she literally flew out of the library? Or more importantly, away from him?
A prince would have chased after her. But Sasuke was no prince and he could not help feeling amused and not a little bit exultant. He had pierced the witch's iron heart.
That day, the witch learned that no matter how many curses and spells she tried to cast, they seemed to all fail. The image of the king's face her mind made her want to curse and spit—and also cry in a way.
Even the dragon was useless in making her feel better. Even if he held her, and hugged her, he could not erase the burning sensation.
Oh god, bless the witches.
"What are you doing here?"
They were at a family party, but it could have been a school affair considering how many alumni and fellow students were gathered there. The crème of society were all packed into one glamorous ballroom—the artificiality was so bright it almost hurt.
Once again, it was he who had caught her unawares. She had vanished onto one of the many out-of-sight balconies. Not exactly appropriate behavior for a Hyuuga Heiress, but Sasuke had long accepted the fact that Hinata wasn't to be predicted or gambled like the usual Hyuuga pawn.
Hinata turned to blink owlishly at Sasuke's inquisitive eyes. She blushed when she saw that he had loosened his tie and unbuttoned his cuffs. Although it was still neater than anything Naruto ever wore, somehow the flash of his neck and his wrists were even more scandalous than Naruto's bared collarbone and arms.
Idly, she noticed that the king looked quite handsome in a suit.
"Hm?" she asked, trying to ignore the way her fingers trembled at the sight of him.
"Shouldn't you be with Itachi somewhere?" Sasuke indifferently gestured behind him to indicate the glittering ballroom.
Hinata's eyes darkened at the mention of her fiancé. She tucked her stray hair behind her ear before she smoothed the front of her dark blue dress (conservative, as dark and plain as its owner).
"I just came here for a bit of fresh air," she said softly. She tried to sound assertive, but she came across sounding resigned. "Do you want me to leave?" Her tone wasn't plaintive, but it was close.
Sasuke shrugged. "It's fine." Despite his words, Hinata couldn't help feeling uncomfortable. Suppressing the urge to fidget any more than necessary, she glanced away from him and focused on some far away point. Parties such as these always made her wish she had wings…
So she could fly far, far, far away. A witch's broom was nice (private jets and limousines) but they came with a price (dark, dark magic) that sometimes seemed too heavy to bear.
Hinata blinked. "He's your brother. Why are you asking me?"
Sasuke scoffed. "You see him more often than I do," he said caustically. While Itachi often excused himself from family dinners on behalf of work, he always seemed to have enough time to take the Hinata out for coffee or dinner or even a movie.
"Perhaps," Hinata demurred.
"He's fine," she answered curtly. He was silent, and for a brief moment Hinata fancied he would actually remain silent.
"… you don't like him."
Hinata's fists clenched the balcony railing tightly. Inwardly, she cursed Uchiha Sasuke for his bluntness. They weren't even friends!
"Why are you doing this?" she spoke so softly he almost couldn't hear. But he heard.
"Why… why… why are you being so mean to me?" The last part really was inaudible. But Sasuke understood her well enough.
"No reason. And I'm not being mean. I'm being honest—"
Hinata gasped when he suddenly crossed the distance between them in two languid strides and came so close she was pressed against balcony in an effort to escape. He moved with all the elegance and the hunting intent of a predator and Hinata couldn't help but be mesmerized by his hungry eyes.
"—and I can't say you see enough honesty to spurn what little is given," Sasuke hissed into her ear. The feeling of his breath ghosting across her ear was enough to make Hinata's eyelashes flutter erratically as she raised her hands to his chest in a weak attempt to push him away. She was so stunned that even her characteristic blush failed to appear.
"Get a-away f-from me," Hinata stuttered.
She could feel his chuckle rumbling in chest through her fingertips even before her ears picked up that low seductive sound.
"Come now, surely you aren't an innocent. With my brother being who he is," Sasuke mocked, his lips almost grazing her cheek as he withdrew to look her in the eye.
Hinata stiffened. "I'll let you know, your brother is a perfect gentleman!" she snapped, anger sharpening and steadying her voice.
Oh no, she did not like the look in her eyes, even if it was making her shiver and making her stomach do butterflies. (Gah, since when did she turn into a romantic? She was the witch for god's sake.)
"I don't think I can say the same for myself," he purred. "After all… I might as well live up to your low expectations anyway."
He was kissing her.
It wasn't like the kisses she'd shared with Itachi. Those seemed more of a brotherly nature and were more like quick pecks, utterly informal and as uniform as the next. No, this kiss had a character of its own. This was a kiss which somehow Hinata instinctively knew could only be given by Sasuke alone.
His lips moved against hers and she couldn't help but gasp when his tongue swiped against her lower lip. Sasuke took advantage of her parted lips and deepened the kiss. Somehow she couldn't find it within herself to move or even throw him off. It wasn't like she returned it—but she was pliant and soft and that was all Sasuke needed.
It wasn't just the kiss. It was the way he pressed against her. It was the way he cradled the back of her head with one hand and ran his fingertips teasingly over her neck with the other. It was the way that even in a kiss, which she had always thought meaningless from her past experiences with Itachi, suddenly made the world seem right and worth living.
"… you really are an innocent," Sasuke whispered wonderingly, still so close so his breath ghosted over her lips.
His voice snapped her out of her daze.
As a rule, Hinata did not slap. She was no princess.
But that didn't mean she couldn't use her fists.
She struck his shoulder. Although the sound of fist on flesh made a duller sound than a slap, Sasuke did not fail to notice she had struck him at a key pressure point. He hissed as he felt his whole arm go numb.
Nonetheless, he did not release her. If he had been a prince or a knight he might have let her go. However, he was a king and kings did not get dissuaded so easily.
"Release me!" she hissed.
"Why should I?" he taunted, tightening his grip on her.
"I am engaged to your brother!" although she was wise enough to keep her voice down (it would be no good if they were discovered in such an uncompromising position) there was a hysterical quality to her voice.
"This is wrong!"
"You need to stop letting them dictate your whole life," Sasuke chided, surprisingly gentle. There was no need to explain who "them and they" were.
He silenced her with another searing kiss. This time, Hinata at least attempted to struggle in the beginning. However, almost too soon she went limp and pliant and he left her breathless yet again.
"Don't worry Hyuuga—everything will turn out alright," Sasuke said, his voice uncharacteristically strained and rough. Although Hinata was still too flustered to notice, she wasn't the only one affected by the kiss.
"Shut up Sasuke. Life's not like a fairytale. There are no such things as happy endings for the likes of me," she snapped. It would have been a lot more effective if her face wasn't flushed and her hair wasn't as mussed as it was—but it got the point across.
Sasuke sobered slightly and although he did loosen his grip, he still refused to completely let go.
"Perhaps. But we can try," he said quietly.
Hinata's bitter laugh was harsh and it made Sasuke tense unhappily.
"Easy for you to say. I'm the witch," Hinata said deprecatingly, referring to her school nickname.
"Witches can have happy endings too," Sasuke said firmly. It was so cheesy that he almost gagged—but once again, Hinata was too caught up with her internal turmoil to notice.
"It's not like you even like me!"
"I do like you."
"… what." Hinata gaped. Her forced expression wasn't exactly a pretty picture, but it was an amusing one and Sasuke forced himself not to smile.
"I'm honest—or mean. Whatever. It all means the same," Sasuke murmured as he drew her close to cradle her gently. It was very different from the aggressive embrace he had given earlier but somehow it made Hinata's butterfly stomach flutter all the same.
"… I'm still engaged to your older brother," she murmured into his shirt.
He kissed her temple. "It'll work out."
"… do you really like me?" Although her voice was soft, Sasuke could hear the years of loneliness and shattered hopes echo in it.
"Yes, I do," he said firmly.
So did the king end up with the witch?
M'dear, aren't you too hasty?
Let me tell you this. If you want happy endings, go find yourself a prince and princess. Those fairytales will give you the resolution you need, where the kingdom is given away to the victorious knight and everyone lives happily ever after.
The union of a king and a witch could not possibly bring a happy ending for everyone. In this case, the prince and princess were already too enamored to deal with the subsequent raging dragon, or the kingdom's shame.
Yes, there were tears, rage, and not a little bit of blood.
But were they happy? The king and witch?
Honestly, with an arsenal of spells and curses and dirty political power, could you have imagined otherwise?
Yes, m'dear, it might sound cruel of me to say that. But not all fairy tales are the same.
But are they still fairytales?
Y-yes…. I would have to say they are.
Edited as of 1.8.2009
Fairytale is now officially the winner of Dateme's December 2009 contest! Thank you all so much for voting and supporting this story!
Wee. I suppose some of you might be sufficiently confused right now!
It's very simple. I wanted to take the basic elements of a fairytale, rip it up into pieces, and then piece the broken bits together into a new fairytale. Of course there are going to be pieces that seem not to fit, abrupt entrances, abrupt disappearances.
Fairytales are modeled after real life--but yes, they are dramatized and streamlined. I always imagined how a fairytale began in the first place. I bet the first telling must have been really awkward. Only after a fairytale has become very, very, very old does it become the simple six-pence ninety-nine-cents-rack story it becomes today. This fairytale is a very new one, with odd bits and pieces. For example, the entrance of Uchiha Itachi was rather abrupt wasn't it?
For this story at least, Itachi symbolizes the basic problem of witchxking pairings. He symbolizes that huge obstacle that seems almost impenetrable, that obstacle created by our own fear of anything new or anything suspicious. How much easier would it have been for Hinata to simply do as she was told! However, Itachi also symbolizes that fairytales after a time can get boring. It's all the same formula, and we really could use some new bases.
I invite anyone to attempt to retell this!
Review and I might write a sequel. =)