So, at long last, the first chapter of my new multi-chapter! I know I still need to write the final part of Distract Me, but I've lost my muse with that lately and this idea is fresh and exciting (hopefully), so yeah. I don't know how long this is gonna be yet, but it should be my next big project.
Pairing is Naruto x Sasuke, but with regards to whether it's NaruSasu or SasuNaru, I don't know yet. So please don't ask.
I hope you enjoy it!
The office door flung open and smacked into the wall, dislodging several medical charts from their places as Naruto Uzumaki stormed into the slightly overheated room.
"Fuckin' traffic!" he spat, throwing his briefcase on his chair and haphazardly draping his blazer on a hook behind the door. His face was red and his hair was all over the place, white shirt buttoned incorrectly and his tie missing in action.
Neji didn't even raise an eyebrow, continuing to click calmly through the build-up of emails he had to read whilst Naruto blustered around the office.
"Of all the days to be late! Boss is gonna kill me... again!"
"Jiraiya isn't here yet either, actually," Neji said absently, as though he were commenting on the colour of Naruto's socks. This caused Naruto to instantly pause.
"He's not?" The blond's voice was hopeful but suspicious.
"No. He rang Kurenai about five minutes ago and said he's going to be late. I'm assuming it's the snow." Reading his final email, Neji minimized the window on his screen and reclined in his chair, adjusting his tie.
"That fucking snow," Naruto growled, shoving his briefcase off his chair and flopping down in it, running a tanned hand through his hair in agitation. "I was so not prepared for it. And of course everyone in this town drives like an eighty year old when it snows."
He was distracted from his ramblings when Neji threw something in his face. Naruto blinked in surprise as the necktie fell in his lap.
"Shut up and make yourself presentable. You have a conference room full of Korean clients waiting for you to give your presentation. And the new intern that's going to be sharing this office is arriving today, don't forget."
Naruto resisted the urge to headbutt his desk, choosing instead to re-button his shirt and knot the tie at his throat. "Oh yeah, Sakura mentioned that last week. Just what I need, a kid running about the place."
"The 'kid' as you call him is only three years younger than you," Neji informed him sternly as Naruto began to collect his notes together for his presentation. "And he's going to be extremely useful. You know he's trilingual, right?"
"So?" Naruto scowled, not really listening. "Hey, do you have the ACCIS implant model?"
Neji passed it over, rolling his eyes. "So it means we can finally get all the surgical techniques translated into German and Spanish? You should care about this as the junior product manager."
"Whatever, I don't have time to care about interns right now." Gathering his notes and models up in his arms, Naruto swept out of the office towards the conference room, leaving Neji rubbing his forehead in frustration.
"How he came to be a product manager is beyond me."
Checking the map print-out in his half-frozen hands, Sasuke made a left at the Mercedes garage, heading into the industrial estate. Snow crunched underneath his heavy duty boots and his breath fanned out visibly in front of him. Shivering, he tugged his beanie hat further down over his ears, black bangs flattened to either side of his pale face.
First thing I'm doing this weekend is buying a bicycle, he thought irately as he passed by various car garages on his way up the hill. It wasn't even eight in the morning yet, but the sky was a warm red colour that made the snow look just that little bit more inviting.
When he had found and moved into his apartment, he hadn't realised that it was in fact a thirty minute walk from where he was soon to be working. While this wouldn't normally be a problem, the prospect of wading through an assault course of snow drifts and black ice early every morning did not appeal to him in the slightest. He stared in envy as a cyclist passed him on the cleared road.
Turning his map over to re-read his notes on the other side for the millionth time, he tried to calm the fluttering in his chest. He was in a new country and had only been there for three days, and was starting his first day at a proper job without any involvement with his father's business whatsoever. He felt isolated, but at the same time free in an almost intimidating way.
He didn't understand quite why he was so nervous about his first day though. He hadn't been this anxious during the video conference interview, nor had starting afresh in a new place ever really bothered him before. True, he was in the United States rather than Britain this time, but honestly, he felt he was being irrationally stupid.
Stop being such a fucking pussy, it's just a job. Nothing new there. Regardless of this mantra that was more akin to his father's attitude than he realised, Sasuke's stomach still did a double-flip when the large white building with the company logo on the side came into view. Checking the road several times (he was still adjusting to cars driving on the right-hand side), he crossed over and made his way through the already full car park, assuming it would be best to go for the entrance marked "Visitors".
Pressing the buzzer at the door, he pulled his beanie off and tried to make his hair look presentable in the reflection of the glass door. He could see people rushing about inside through what looked to be a welcoming foyer beyond the glass.
The intercom crackled into life and a female voice played over it. "Yes?"
Sasuke blinked at the snappy tone of the woman. "Um... I'm Sasuke Uchiha. I'm the new intern here... I'm supposed to be meeting with Sakura Haruno?"
There was a brief moment of silence and the intercom cut out, the door buzzing loudly as it unlocked. A little perturbed by the brashness of it all, Sasuke opened the door and stepped inside, immediately getting blasted with hot air.
Assuming it would be best to wait in the foyer what with all the people rushing about, he began to divest himself of his winter outdoor clothes, relieved to be out of the stuffy overcoat and scarf. He was just folding them neatly over his arm when he was approached not by a woman but by a tall man looking to be in his late twenties. He had dark skin and hair, and much to Sasuke's alarm, he was smoking a cigarette indoors.
"Can I help you kid?" he asked, not bothering to remove the smoke from his mouth when he spoke.
Kid? "Uh, I'm supposed to be meeting Sakura Haruno? I'm the new intern."
"Ah, the linguist!" Now the cigarette was removed and held between two fingers. "We've been looking forward to meeting you. Name's Asuma, I'm going to be your department manager. C'mon, I'll take you to Sakura's office."
"Um, thank you," Sasuke said quietly, cringing a little when Asuma slung an arm around his shoulders and led him out of the foyer and into a large printing atrium. Women in suits were rushing about on their stilettos heels all over the place with large stacks of freshly printed papers. "Can I just ask, exactly which department will I be working for sir?"
Asuma chuckled, taking a long drag of his cigarette as he steered Sasuke through the hustle and bustle. "Please, call me Asuma. Well, your official title is 'Marketing Intern', but I'm more on the product management side of things. We've got a lot of work lined up for you, Sasuke." He pushed Sasuke before him now, towards a half-open door in the corner of the atrium.
"Here's her office. You go first."
"Um, okay." Readjusting his grip on his coat and scarf, Sasuke knocked tentatively and then pushed the door the rest of the way open. He was met with the sight of two desks pushed together, a woman working at a computer on either side. The woman on the left's face was covered by her thick black fringe, her hair cascading down her back to almost her waist.
The woman on the right... had pink hair.
They certainly have a strange attitude to professionalism, Sasuke mused as he cleared his throat, Asuma walking in behind him. The pink-haired girl (who looked to be about Sasuke's age) lifted her head from her work, her prettiness marred by the scowl on her face.
"Who are you?"
Sasuke had to bite down on his tongue at her tone. This was the same woman who had spoken to him over the intercom, he was quite sure. Which was infuriating, because if she was Sakura Haruno, then she blatantly knew who he was because she had just buzzed him in.
Asuma laid a hand on Sasuke's shoulder, and yet again the Brit inside him cringed at the invasion of his personal space. "Sakura, this is Sasuke. The new linguist."
Her green eyes remained fixed on Sasuke for a few long, painful seconds, and then she looked away as she began to rifle through papers. "Ah, yes. I'm supposed to give you a tour and then introduce you to your colleagues." She stood up and brushed down her sensible grey skirt, a large contrast to her outrageous hair colour, before picking up her papers with one arm and stepping out from behind her desk. "Hinata, if the Tokyo branch calls, take a message for me please."
The other woman nodded silently, not looking away from her screen. Sakura stepped forward, one creamy delicate hand extended towards Sasuke.
"Sakura Haruno, Export."
Sasuke shook her hand firmly, determined not to let her rude attitude get the better of him. "Sasuke Uchiha. I look forward to working with you."
"Well, I trust I can leave Sasuke in your capable hands, Sakura?" Asuma asked, a broad smile on his face as if he had just match-made the two.
Sakura looked at him sternly. "You know the Korean conference started ten minutes ago, Mr Sarutobi?"
Asuma's eyes widened to almost comic proportions. "Shit! I left Uzumaki on his own!" He stubbed his cigarette out in an ashtray on the desk and rushed out of the office, Sasuke staring after him with growing doubt as to the organisation of this company.
Sakura pinched the bridge of her nose for a few seconds before straightening up and taking on a more professional air. "Right, guess I better show you around then."
"... and with your co-operation and technological data, we can work together to build a new and improved tumour system for the hip and knee," Naruto finished, feeling the eyes of thirty Korean businessmen on him as his presentation came to an end. The room erupted into polite applause and he took a short bow before handing the reins over to Asuma, who had finally showed up to do the money talk.
Stepping out of the room, he wiped his forehead before heading to bathroom to clean up. The lights in that room were far too hot. He relieved himself quickly before washing his hands with the disinfectant soap that they were required by law to use, seeing as they were a medical company. Then he splashed some cold water on his face and took a look at himself in the mirror.
He had never looked so tired. He was only twenty-four years old and yet he felt like he had lived twice as long as that. His bright blue eyes were overshadowed by the bags beneath them and his hair, while still its luminous yellow that attracted so much attention, didn't seem to have the life it once had to it. It hung in well-tamed layers around his face, rather than the unruly spikes that used to defy gravity.
"I need a vacation," he sighed, turning the tap off and drying off his hands and face. Leaving the bathroom, he headed down the corridor to the staffroom with the intention of getting a cup of coffee.
"Hey Ten-Ten," he said in greeting to the brunette girl who was currently storing some food in the staff fridge. "How's your end of the building going?"
"Hi Naruto," she replied, looking a little worn out herself. "Eh, it's okay. One of our computers has got a Trojan on it apparently, so the designs for the new humeral implant are coming along slowly I'm afraid."
Naruto made a sympathetic noise and grabbed a coffee mug from the cupboard, moving over to the machine and pressing the button for a double espresso. He needed a major boost, it was only eleven thirty and he already felt like going back to bed.
"Hope that gets fixed soon," he said, and Ten-Ten thanked him before exiting the room, leaving him alone. Sighing as he waited for the machine to make his coffee, Naruto wandered over to the French windows and stared bleakly at the snow covering the small smoking area just outside. He hated snow, but unfortunately in Alaska you got a lot of it. Being a Florida boy though, he pined for the sunshine.
Maybe I should take a week off once this Korean deal is sealed, go down South and pay the folks a visit, he mused, chewing on his lip and resting his forearm against the glass at eye level. The glass was cool to the touch, a refreshing sensation after being stuck in a stuffy conference room for two hours.
The coffee machine clicked, signalling that his beverage was ready, and he sighed before pushing himself away from the glass. "Back to the grindstone," he murmured, wandering back over and picking up his mug before making his way back to the office.
Neji was right where Naruto had left him, sat in his chair with his fingers racing over the keyboard, pale eyes fixed on his computer screen. Naruto didn't bother to greet him as he set his coffee down on the place mat next to his monitor before sinking into his chair and opening his emails.
"New York called. Twice," Neji said, nodding at Naruto's cordless phone that was sat on the desk. "They want to know when the Spanish version of the ACCIS technique will be available."
Naruto glared at him. "You know as well as I do that the new intern has to actually translate that technique before it can become available. Did you tell them that?"
"I tried, but because I'm not you, they didn't believe me," Neji said with a shrug.
"Typical." Naruto reached for his phone and was in the processing of dialling the New York office when a knock sounded at their office door.
"Come in," Neji called smoothly, and the door opened to reveal Sakura and a boy who looked to be in his early twenties. Naruto glanced over him, taking in the pitch black hair and pale skin, noting that the boy was quite good-looking for a British kid, before turning his gaze to the female.
"Dear Sakura," he chimed in a falsely pleasant voice, "how may we be of service today?"
Sakura smiled stiffly and stepped into the room, the boy following her after a moment's pause. "This is Sasuke, the new intern. He'll be working with you from now on so treat him well." She turned to Sasuke, who had his coat slung over his arm and looked about ready to just throw it in the bin. "Sasuke, you can hang your coat up in the closet in the atrium." She pointed over her shoulder back into the bustling atrium, and Sasuke nodded without a word before going to do as she bid.
Once he was out of earshot, a giddy smile spread over Sakura's face. "Jesus, he's gorgeous!"
"He's also jailbait," Naruto muttered, although he did take a quick glance at Sasuke's retreating ass before turning back to Sakura.
"He is not! He turned twenty one in July!" she protested, leaning against the doorframe with a blush spreading over her face.
"Oh, so you already found out his birthday then?" Neji laughed. Naruto snorted at the way Sakura's face went from light pink to London-bus red.
"Stalker," he chimed right before Sasuke walked back into the room. Immediately, Sakura straightened up, schooling her face back into a mask of haughty indifference.
"I'll leave you with your new colleagues then, Sasuke. If you have any problems or need to ask about the town at all, I'll be happy to help. I'm just across the hall."
Sasuke nodded, looking a little stiff. "Right. Thanks."
Sakura bid a good day to Naruto and Neji and then left the room, her heels clacking on the varnished flooring as she made her way back to her own office. Neji got to his feet and walked over to Sasuke, shaking his hand.
"Neji Hyuuga. I work with export. Nice to meet you." He smiled warmly at Sasuke, who returned the smile with less enthusiasm.
"Nice to meet you too. I'm Sasuke Uchiha. I look forward to working with you."
Neji looked at Naruto pointedly, but the blond was already on the phone to the New York office. Naruto waved at Sasuke absently, clearly indifferent to his presence. "Naruto Uzumaki. Product management. I'm your boss."
Sasuke frowned. "I thought Asuma was my boss?"
Neji chuckled. "He is. Naruto likes to think he's your boss because he's the one who's going to be giving you all your assignments, but in reality he's just your mentor. Asuma is his boss, and therefore your boss."
"Speaking of bosses," Naruto muttered, staring out of the window at the snow covered car park, "Jiraiya just arrived." A large black Mercedes was pulling up in the space right next to the visitor's entrance.
"Oh good, then we can introduce him to Sasuke straight away," Neji said before turning back to the new intern, who was looking slightly confused. "Jiraiya is the owner and chairman of the entire company. The boss of the bosses as one might say. Anyway, we'll get you set up on your computer and then take you to meet him."
"I'll do it once I've finished with New York," Naruto muttered, apparently waiting to be connected because he was holding the phone to his ear but not having a conversation with anybody on the other end. "I have to report on my presentation anyway." He didn't look too pleased, though whether this was at the prospect of talking to Sasuke or delivering his report, Sasuke had no idea.
Neji helped him set up his computer and showed him how the company databases and public sharing folders worked whilst Naruto had a heated argument with somebody in New York on the phone. The computer system was all fairly basic, nothing Sasuke hadn't seen before, which Neji was pleased with.
"So, how are you enjoying your time in the States so far?" he asked once he was sure Sasuke could handle the computer by himself.
"It's okay," Sasuke replied, not really having much more to say on the subject. "My apartment is nice."
He jumped as Naruto screamed down the phone, "BECAUSE I NEED TO GET THIS BRAT TO TRANSLATE THE FUCKING THING FIRST, GAARA!" He looked positively livid and was stabbing his pen repeatedly into his notebook as an outlet for his rage.
"Don't mind him," Neji said calmly, "He can't handle the stress of this job."
Naruto sent a glare their way, and Sasuke noticed just how tired the man looked, affirming Neji's statement. "I need a fucking vacation, okay?" Naruto spat before returning to his shouting match with the telephone.
"Is... he always this cranky?" Sasuke asked, raising an eyebrow at the blond who he was supposedly going to be working with the most.
"To give him credit, today is just a bad day," Neji said a lot more sympathetically. "He was late so that put him in a bad mood."
Just as long as he's not like this for the next year, Sasuke thought bitterly, before opening his first email and getting to work.