Disclaimer: That it is not mine, 'tis true; 'tis true 'tis pity; And pity 'tis 'tis true.

-With humble apologies to the bard (^_^)

A/N: See, the problem with uploading new stories isn't that there's a lack of inspiration for the stories per se; my problem is actually in finding a suitable title. I'm telling you, it can take anything from hours to months before I convince myself that yes, YES, if I squint and poke my fingers in my eyes, this particular title looks quite decent. Maybe not perfect, but you can't win them all. Otherwise, all my stories would remain hidden somewhere within my hard disk, titled with something verging on 'Random number story 2", which isn't the most appealing thing ever you know.

Err... no. I still tend to ramble on. But bear with me. I listen all day (and sometimes half the night) to other people ramble away - I've earned that short paragraph I tell you!

And yes, unsurprisingly, this is ANOTHER SasuHina. But to be original, it's *gasp* set in New York / Japan and *even bigger gasp* the Hyuuga and the Uchiha are business rivals! OMG, someone call the originality police! D:


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SUMMER LIGHTNING

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Chapter 1

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-New York, USA-

-August 2009-

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Sasuke flicked a glance to his left, where the girl who had hijacked his ride was sitting demurely, hands folded neatly in her lap, securely strapped into the back seat of the taxi without a trace of worry on her face.

It wasn't the first time he'd been stopped in the street by a perfect stranger – hell, this was New York ; you couldn't even walk out of the door without tripping over someone who wanted your money, your time or your soul – but he'd certainly never been accosted by a pint-sized female who spoke to him in Japanese, was seemingly sane, and found no compunction in asking him (him of all people! Mr Please-stay-away-from-me-because-I-get-hives-when-children-come-too-close!) to help her.

...

As a rule, Uchiha Sasuke did not take taxis. Being rich and the sole heir of a multimillionaire company generally meant having a fleet of cars at your beck and call, but sod's law, as anyone will tell you, is the one unchangeable law in this world. And hence, half an hour before a very important meeting (his father's italics, not his, and when Uchiha Fugaku italicised his words, people delivered without fail or ran for cover), Sasuke found himself stranded on the other side of town, without a single private mode of transport.

He had just managed to flag down a taxi when he'd felt someone tug insistently at his coat. Sasuke whirled round, fangs bared, ready to tear the idiot who wanted to skip the queue or steal his wallet (both common ordeals in his daily life) into shreds when he'd been faced by a solemn pair of blue eyes, staring into his.

"Excuse me mister," she had asked him in Japanese with an unmistakable Okinawa accent "would you be so kind as to let me I share your taxi?"

Uchiha Sasuke looked carefully at her, keeping a good grip on his briefcase and a lookout for any TV cameras looking out for a short news clip about the heir of the Uchiha corporation picking up small girls (just because you were paranoid, it didn't mean they weren't out to get you). "Where's your mother?" he asked suspiciously.

"At our hotel of course," the girl told him looking surprised that he hadn't known something so obvious.

The Uchiha frowned. "So why aren't you with her?" he asked.

"I unfortunately got lost," she replied primly, "And some terrible person stole my money. Mummy will pay you for the trouble as soon as we get back," the girl ended, smiling winningly. She was lucky only her money had been stolen, Sasuke thought as he looked at her.

"It's very dangerous to be out on the streets alone, especially here" he pointed out.

"Mummy says so too," the child agreed, "but you're taking care of me now," she said cheerfully.

This certainty that Sasuke was willing to play nursemaid stumped the Uchiha. He glowered speechlessly at her beneath lowered brows while she looked expectantly back. The taxi driver, uninterested in the conversation and the dilemma Sasuke was in, interrupted. "Look mister, either you and the kid get in, or I'm off," he said, tapping impatiently at the meter. "Some of us have work to do."

Sasuke growled, and heroically restrained himself from telling the cabbie exactly where could go, and what to do on the way there. "All right, come on," he said to the girl. She smiled, and climbed inside the taxi. Sasuke slipped in beside her. "What's the name of your hotel?" he asked the girl, praying that at least she knew that much.

"The Waldorf-Astoria please mister," she replied promptly, in English and the cabbie grunted and shifted gears. Sasuke silently thanked whatever deity had allowed this small piece of luck in his otherwise shitty day. His meeting also happened to be in the same hotel, which thankfully meant he could dump the kid at the reception so they could find whatever irresponsible adults had let her loose in New York, and he could finally get to the goddamn meeting. Perhaps if he was lucky the other party would be a few minutes late, and he, Sasuke, would get there those few seconds earlier and make it seem as though he'd been the one left waiting. (Yes, Sasuke hated being late. Hated it with a passion)

The dark-haired man settled back in his seat and sighed. What a day. At least his mother would find the whole story amusing.

Sasuke flicked a glance to his left, where the girl who had hijacked his ride was sitting demurely, hands folded neatly in her lap, securely strapped into the back seat of the taxi without a trace of worry on her face.

It wasn't the first time he'd been stopped in the street by a perfect stranger – hell, this was New York ; you couldn't even walk out of the door without tripping over someone who wanted your money, your time or your soul – but he'd certainly never been accosted by a pint-sized female who spoke to him in Japanese, was seemingly sane, and found no compunction in asking him (him of all people! Mr Please-stay-away-from-me-because-I-get-hives-when-children-come-too-close!) to help her.

She was an oddity, with her Asiatic features and bright blue eyes, dressed in very expensive clothes but wandering alone in New York. What kind of parents would let their child out like that? And why wasn't the kid freaking out at being lost? Sasuke didn't remember being that self-possessed when he was her age. He was curious enough to probe further into the matter, and rather pointedly asked her why she wasn't afraid of being alone in a large city without any cash or means of getting back home.

She blinked. "I very scared," she corrected him. "But when I saw you, I knew everything would be okay."

For the second time in the matter of a few minutes, the kid had managed to floor Uchiha Sasuke once again. She beamed at him and he wondered if she was on drugs. Whatever people thought of him, they definitely did not see him as a guardian angel or some kind of ministering soul. "Err... why exactly did you think that?" he asked.

"Because you look exactly like mummy's and my best friend!" she replied happily, and Sasuke choked. Before he recovered from the indignity of being compared to whatever goddamn hag she and her mother chose to consider as a best friend (his subconscious shuddered even at the thought of using such terminology) his phone rang, sparing him from continuing this ego-damaging conversation.

He flipped open his phone, and frowned slightly at the display name. If his secretary dared so much as breathe a word about Sasuke being late, he would not be responsible for his actions. "What?" he barked, and listened to the voice at the other end, audibly nervous at delivering the unwelcome news. His frown deepened into a scowl. "...Great, just great," he growled into the receiver, "Tell Hyuuga-san's secretary we'll postpone the meeting... yes...yes... tell them to let us know if we can be of any assistance. Yes... fine." He tossed his phone back into his pocket and breathed deeply. After all the hassle he'd been put through, he'd been ditched by the Hyuuga for a blasted family emergency. A family emergency! Rumours about old man Hyuuga didn't make him out to be the kind to postpone any business deal due to a family problem (death not excluded, that's why there were heirs after all). Sasuke massaged his temples, nursing a budding headache.

At least this time, he couldn't be blamed.

On the other hand, knowing his father, he somehow would.

His other problem cleared her throat.

He wondered if she'd simply disappear if he ignored her.

"Mister?"

Apparently not.

"What?" he said wearily. His headache was growing by the nanosecond.

The girl was staring at him with wide eyes. "My name's Hyuuga Natsuye," she said. "Hyuuga-san is my mummy. I didn't know you knew her!"

He stared at her for a long second before redialling his secretary's number. "Connect me to Hyuuga-san now." Sasuke waited for his call to be connected while keeping an eye on the Hyuuga's daughter. The irony of fate, he thought wryly. Perhaps there was a god after all.

His secretary's harassed voice told him he was connected to the Hyuuga. "Ah, Hyuuga-San? Apologies for my call, but does your family emergency have anything to do with a missing daughter?" He listened to the agitated voice at the other end. "...yes... yes... Well she's in a taxi with me, we're on our way to the Waldorf Astoria... of course."

He handed the set to the girl. "Your mother would like to speak to you."

She took the phone composedly. "Mummy? Yes I'm fine... no... no... I didn't talk to him... I guess he forgot... I'm sorry... no...yes I'll stay with Uchiha-san... I love you too mummy... bye bye."

She handed the phone back to Sasuke. "Well, that's turned out well, hasn't it?" she asked him happily.

Sasuke decided he needed a stiff drink.