Cheating! Combined a DateMe entry with a cliche!fic. Don't ask me why. Technically this should be the Fourth Story, but I'm special and Chinese and the authoress, so why not make it the fifth?

Oh shoujo. Anything goes. Especially if you don't want any annoying family so the two main characters can be in a room alone. What better way to take care of money and make out sessions than to have a teenaged girl running the apartment building where a hottie just so happens to be lodging? Completely believable.

DateMe Challenge March 2010

Theme: Darkness and Light

i.e. to showcase how opposite the two are


Not heaven sent

Or heaven blessed

I'm not even second best

Still you say I am so wonderful

-Wonderful, Seven Nations

The Fifth Story(SasuHina)

"Did you hear? Sasuke's moving in with that Hyuuga girl!"

Ino only makes a dismissive noise and keeps painting Sakura's nails. She doesn't know how she ended up rooming with two other Sasuke fans, but it makes the conversation somewhat limited.

Sakura successfully does not clench her hands into fists and manages to answer in a reasonably calm manner.

"If by 'Hyuuga girl' you mean Hinata, and by 'moving in' you mean that because his dorm was set on fire by an unnamed party, he and a couple other guys are moving into the apartment building her father owns where she works… Then yes Karin, I heard Sasuke's moving in with the Hyuuga girl."

"And this doesn't worry you?" Karin cleans her glasses furiously on a corner of her shirt.

"Not really. Hinata's probably the only girl who's known Sasuke since primary school like us and never had a crush on him." Ino blows carefully to dry the pink polish and sorts through her collection of decos. "I don't think they've ever even spoken to one another outside of class projects."

"Oh, do you remember the class assembly? In third grade?"

"You mean when we did Sleeping Beauty and Sasuke was stuck as a tree?" The blonde gives Sakura's eyes a calculating look and fishes out all her green hearts.

"He wanted to be the prince and all the other girls wanted to be the princess except Hinata, so the teacher decided to make the two of them the briar patch. He was pissed because he didn't get the 'best' part. But he did a wonderful job keeping Kiba out of the castle. As far as I know, no prince ever chipped a tooth because of an angry shrubbery. I don't think Sasuke ever forgave the teacher either."

Ino shrugs and shakes a bottle of base coat. "Sasuke's not big on forgiving people in general. Polar opposite of Hinata."

"You know they say opposites attract, right?" Karin is determined to make this a big deal.

"Not these kinds of opposites. Like, Sasuke's run away from romantic relationships for over ten years. Hinata's been trying to find one for at least that long. With someone else."

"I thought she gave up on Naruto two years ago, when we graduated high school." Ino knows everything there is to know about anyone who matters, so when she says 'she thinks' it always means for certain. "And it's not that he's run away from relationships, Sasuke just doesn't trust anyone not to be a two-faced schizo. I think the only reason he made frenemies with Naruto is because that idiot is too open and optimistic to pull the wool over anybody's eyes."

"But look at the sweater arsenal that girl is packing! He has to at least notice that. And what if she abuses her landlady privileges? She could mess with the washing machines or the heater, steal his clothes out of the dryer and force Sasuke to roam around half-naked… She could up the rent and make him pay the difference with his body—"

"Earth to Karin." Sakura waves her finished hand in front of the redhead's face. "Hinata is. Not. You. I bet you anything in the world that those two will not spend more than ten minutes total in the same room until he moves back out."

"She's right you know," Ino chimes in. "Hinata's working as the manager to cure that chronic timidity, but she still can't answer a direct question in front of the class. Sasuke's just antisocial. Nothing will happen between them. Oh and Sakura, Naruto sent you a postcard from Brazil. I left it on your desk. Can you believe that doof gets to travel the world with some rich eccentric?"

"The guy's not eccentric, he's a freaking perv. Playboy has nothing on his company. I just hope that idiot will come back and get a degree eventually."

-

Hinata assures herself she'll be fine. She practiced in the mirror last night. Practice is good. It's because she practiced she doesn't hyperventilate when the phone rings and she is the only one who can answer it.

Good morning Sunny Heights, South Tower, Hinata speaking.

Welcome to Sunny Heights, South Tower. I'm Hinata, the manager.

She can do five new tenants all at once. It's not that different from answering the phone. The only difference is they can see her freaking the hell out.

Laundry room is in the basement, car park is around back.

At the end of every hall is a room with the trash chute and recycling bins. We collect the recycling every other Tuesday.

Five new tenants, all boys. All uni boys. From her university. She can do this.

All the rooms have internet, cable is extra.

No, there is no fourth floor. In Asian cultures four is like the Western thirteen, a number of bad luck.

Practice makes perfect. It should be easier if she knows a couple of them, right? She can do this.

Press 9 first to dial out, my extension is 101. Please feel free to call me if you need anything.

Or don't. She hates when her phone rings.

She hates when there are problems she wants to fix and doesn't know how.

She hates when the guy on the eighth floor gets drunk and calls her to flirt and doesn't remember it later.

She hates when the woman on the third floor kills the garbage disposal and she has to call the plumber yet again.

She hates when the guys on the seventh and ninth floors have parties and she has to get them to quiet down.

She can do this. All she needs is a turtleneck and a professional smile, and the rest should come easy.

-

Sasuke is actually kind of glad to be uprooted from the dorm. Even if he locks the doors, it doesn't mean the idiots go away. This new place at least has a guard booth and an electronic security system. No one will try to break into his room for his underwear. There will be no attempts to make him play drinking games at four in the fucking morning. He will not come back from class to find a gaggle of freaks camped outside his room trying to do god knows what. No one will set his room on fire.

These thoughts keep him content until he meets the landlady. He recognizes her as being the girl in the corner of homeroom for it must be ten years now. He hadn't realized she'd still be around.

She still talks like she's afraid of her own voice and she can't seem to meet anyone's eye. The other four guys had the quad next to him before and she sounds like she is nearly in tears explaining the apartments are for two people at most. While the others argue over who rooms with whom, only he notices her shifting her weight anxiously. Finally she manages to say that if Sasuke doesn't mind the fifth floor, she can put the four of them in the two apartments on the sixth. So they can be near each other.

It takes her an hour but eventually she gets everybody into a room and acquainted with the place.

-

He takes the stairs out of habit, to keep in shape and because taking the elevator means sharing a space with someone. The stairway opens into the trash room, and from across the hall he sees the landlady juggling three plates outside his door. She seems to be arguing with herself whether to actually knock or just flee. She jumps about a foot when he casually asks her what she's doing.

She stutters something about a housewarming gift, shoves a wrapped plate of cookies at him and scurries to the elevator. Unfortunately someone else has called it while she was spazzing so she's stuck waiting as he stares at her with what is either amusement or contempt, he's not sure yet.

-

The phone rings. She stares at it with apprehension, and picks it up on the third ring.

"Sunny Heights, South Tower, Hinata speaking." She can't help a little yawn escaping and smacks herself internally. At eleven at night it can only be one of the tenants with a problem.

"I need a ladder and a lightbulb for the kitchen. 5B."

She doesn't get the chance to say anything before the line beeps mockingly at her.

She wrestles the folding ladder out of the elevator and checks her bag for the fifth time. The circular fluorescent bulb, Philips screwdriver, key to her own apartment; all there. She couldn't be bothered to change out of her sleeping clothes. A loose tee and a pair of shorts isn't asking for anything, right? She glances down and realizes she's wearing her high school PE shorts. Nothing Sasuke hasn't seen before, then.

When he opens the door, she turns slightly pink because in her mind a wife beater is not really a shirt. He helps her bring the ladder into the kitchen and even unfolds it under the dead light. She can't help but be grateful the darkness hides how jittery she is. Even if they were classmates, she's never found a common ground with him and his being devastatingly handsome and unapproachable never helped.

But that was years ago, she reminds herself as she balances on the ladder and unscrews the plastic casing. She passes it carefully down to the man, more angular and cold than the boy, and nearly faints when she realizes his holding the ladder steady gives him an eyeful of her bare legs. Of course, it's dark and he's completely above that so he simply hands her the new bulb. She survives the next five minutes by concentrating on nothing but the light fixture and the twelve times table.

.

He flips the switch and the sudden brightness makes her vision swim.

"A-all set then," she manages to say as she collects her things, struggling to hold the ladder comfortably. "Well, good night."

She prays no one is using the elevator at this hour so she can make her quick escape. It doesn't work because Sasuke follows her and effortlessly takes the ladder, carrying it easily. She tries not to pay any attention to what it does to the muscles in his arm.

"I have classes and work until late," he says suddenly.

"O-oh?" she responds uncertainly as they leave the elevator.

Sasuke has a frustrated expression but he tries again, not quite believing the words are actually coming out of his mouth. "I mean sorry. Sorry for calling so late."

Hinata actually smiles, because this is the first time in all the years of being in the same room she has seen him without his cool demeanor. She opens the utility closet in the laundry room and he hangs the ladder on its peg.

"It's fine. It's my job to take care of you." She surprises herself with how sincere she is.

"The cookies were good."

-

They end up in the same language course spring semester, and he uses her as a buffer, much to her embarrassment. Having him insist on sitting next to her puts her in the spotlight and she doesn't really like it. But she can't say she doesn't like that Sasuke prefers her to the other students in the class.

Unlike Sasuke, she isn't used to being special.

"They don't go together at all," vents Karin from three chairs over.

"Maybe not," admits Ino, watching as Hinata smiles up at Sasuke as she says good morning. Sasuke actually nods in return, a visible tilt of the head. "But they don't clash either."