A/N: Sorry for springing another random story on you. This idea has been bugging me for literally ever. I really wanted to see what you all thought of it, too. Hope you enjoy!
"DANCE IN THE DARK"
An AU SasuHina story
Disclaimer: Naruto © Masashi Kishimoto
Song Inspiration: Dear John - Taylor Swift
Dance in the Dark – Lady Gaga
Good to You – Marianas Trench ft. Kate Voegele
. . . . .
Uchiha Sasuke was pleasantly surprised, but only to a substantially mild degree.
As his sleek, black limousine slid through the streets of Konoha, he surveyed the streets of his hometown from his peripheral vision. Bright lights, billboards and colourful posters surrounded the sidewalks and buildings, with snugly-dressed winter walkers strolling around the blocks with merry expressions and calmly content auras.
It felt strange, Sasuke concluded to himself, to once again be returning to his hometown – the city of Konoha. Four years prior, he'd been consigned to enlist in a military training camp as was required for sixteen-year-old males. He'd endured seven months of the gruelling exercise and academics, but he'd found it boring and purposeless.
Instead, he escaped to the city of Oto, a small suburb where he was able to pursue a career in economics. His brother Itachi, who had left Konoha to join the management team of a talent agency by the name of Akatsuki, was rumoured to be there.
However, he hadn't found Itachi. He'd stayed, though, and emerged where he was now – an immensely successful corporate businessman, Chief Executive Officer of the Sharingan marketing and talent agency. Itachi and he had always shared a complex where they were both obsessed with talent and skill – if they could not possess the skills themselves, they would control them.
After learning of Itachi's death through several Akatsuki corporate contacts, he'd decided to venture home on the days leading to his twentieth birthday.
Sasuke was hardly aware of his chauffeur pulling up to the curb as they approached their destination – a crisply designed, fully furnished duplex. He'd commissioned the construction of the duplex when he was sixteen; Haruno Sakura had begged him to share it with her.
Gradually, they'd established a formidable connection – one which Sakura called a 'relationship' and Sasuke preferred to refer to as a 'partnership'. He'd kept in scattered contact throughout his stay in Oto City, and she had watched as he'd risen to the top. He, in turn, had stood on the sidelines as she became known as one of Konoha's largest-name clothing designers and world-renowned fashion icon.
She was annoying, overtly pesky and frankly too much of a diva, but there was nothing precisely wrong about her. She still had a good nature, and she was kind towards him. Sasuke couldn't decide how he felt about their 'partnership'; most of the time, he didn't want to admit that he really couldn't care less – not when she seemed to be giving it her all.
Speak of the devil: the pink-haired fashionista darted anxiously from the doors of the duplex, skirts and beads and ruffles flying about as she flung herself at him. He only barely managed to catch her before she collided with him, completely unimpressed by her romantic, undignified actions.
"Sakura," he acknowledged simply, with scarcely an inclination of his head as he motioned for the chauffeur to follow with his bags and belongings. Whilst the man complied and began removing the suitcases from the back of the vehicle, Sakura straightened and tucked her hair behind her ears, beaming.
"Sasuke-kun, you're finally back!" she grinned breathlessly. "It's been so lonely without you; I thought I would die!"
Of course you wouldn't die. If you're feeding yourself and emptying your bowels every so often, it's against the very laws of nature that you should die. Sasuke gave a wry, humourless smirk, not bothering to reciprocate with a meaningful comment of his own. "Hn."
It didn't seem to bother Sakura, however. "Come inside! I'll make you a cup of tea, Sasuke-kun! And then we can catch up on everything we've missed!"
As he was dragged inside his familiar duplex home, Sasuke couldn't help but feel like he already missed Oto City.
. . . . .
Hyuuga Hinata carefully swept her dark hair to the back of her head and pinned it neatly in place. She was garbed in a pretty white dress, tinged with the slightest hint of lavender. It was unique from the other dancers' dresses – specially designed for her by Haruno Sakura, to compliment her one-of-a-kind eyes and fair skin.
But then again, with the physical features aside, Hinata was unique from the other dancers. She was far superior in her dancing, far more flexible and far more revered in the entertainment industry than any other member of the city's celebrities. Perhaps it was her talent and skill, perhaps it was her nobility and birth status, perhaps it was her pure innocence and angelic aura in contrast to other celebrities' hardcore and over-the-top images; whatever it was, it worked.
Fame treated Hinata well. She was able to pay off her rent with ease, and she was even able to send money along to her father every so often, despite their family's direct wealth to begin with. He was nearing the age of sixty and she was only twenty; she could spare him the money he deserved to live out the aging process with every single wish and whim fulfilled.
"Hurry up, Hinata!" sang a tinkling voice, belonging to the choirmaster who skipped past her vanity table with a nervous spring in her step. "The rehearsal's starting in two minutes! We need all of the opera members to the stage, stat!"
"C-Coming," Hinata mumbled, as she swiped a hurried stroke of eyeliner across the bottoms of her already-wide eyes. As she capped and set down the eyeliner pencil, she pushed her stool away from the vanity table and scrambled to her feet, hands fluttering about her like worried butterflies.
Scurrying to the main stage, Hinata ignored the pressing stares of her fellow dancers as she assumed her position on the right of the stage. The girls who owned the centre-stage were extravagantly – though artificially – striking in appearance, but Hinata could not help thinking that they were not the best dancers they could be. A part of her always wanted to replace them; yet an ever-present part of her also seldom wanted the glaring heat of the spotlight.
"Dancers, we'll begin with the number you learned just yesterday," the choirmaster instructed absent-mindedly as she leafed through her music sheets. "The routine is new and may be shaky but with practice, we should be fine. As for my choir and orchestra," she fixed a glare towards the addressed," we'll begin with Orochimaru-sama's music. It is purely instrumental."
The majority of the choir's heads snapped up in surprise.
Their choirmaster continued, "But Kabuto-san has been kind enough to write lyrics for the latter two-thirds of the song, and so my singers will not enter the piece until bar 18. Understood?"
She was met with silent, eager nods, and with a wave of her conducting wand, they began.
. . . . .
Sasuke did not look up from his tea. Nor did he drink it; he knew better than to accept Sakura's tea. Being well-acquainted with several types of fundamental medicine, he was aware she was capable of creating odourless, colourless drugs and liquid applications. He did doubt she would take her infatuation to that level, but he was a cautious man nevertheless.
"Hyuuga?" he repeated, in mild interest. His mind jumped instantly to a certain lavender-eyed girl, whom he hadn't spoken with since he was sixteen years old.
"Neji and Hanabi," Sakura said with a bob of a nod. "Neji is twenty-two now, and Hanabi is finally eighteen. They were officially engaged to be married as of her last birthday. There's no telling when the wedding is, though."
Inter-family breeding: Sasuke had heard of such a thing. It was made to keep the noble blood pure and unsoiled by strangers and outliers and most importantly – peasants. The Uchihas had shared similar perspectives and status principles, but Sasuke – now the last of his line – didn't care much for his blood anymore. Itachi had never fussed over such a thing, and so he refused to as well.
Sakura sighed. "Seriously. Is that all you're going to say? Aren't you happy for them?"
"I don't know them."
"Not technically," Sakura argued. "But sure you do! Don't you remember Hinata-chan? I know you were never close with her, but you had to have known who she was…"
Sasuke did remember. She was always hanging about Naruto and Sakura. At one point, he'd assumed she'd had no friends of her own to be with, but those suspicions had been quelled after he'd spotted her in the company of Shino and Kiba.
More prominent was the memory of one of the only and last encounters he shared with Hyuuga Hinata.
Sixteen-year-old Hinata pushed her hair back with a black headband. Fake pink and orange flowers blossomed from the headband's right end. Clad in a dress and black pantyhose, she proceeded to stretch her limbs.
She was in the athletic studio of the Konoha Arts Academy. Sasuke had returned to retrieve the lacrosse stick he'd forgotten, and instead had discovered, well, her.
She blushed when she realized he stood in the doorway, watching her touch her toes and pull her legs and roll her ankles. However, she attempted a weak smile as he passed by wordlessly, choosing not to speak until he did.
And when he did, it was merely, "I forgot my lacrosse stick."
Assuming he wanted her to explain herself in turn, she'd responded, "I'm … s-stretching…"
"Dance," he recognized, dark eyes flickering to her tattered ballet shoes.
"Lacrosse?" she remarked quickly in return, lifting a perfect eyebrow with curiosity and interest. "I … I like lacrosse."
He'd felt as though she was waiting for him to invite her to watch him play, but then he'd doubted it would result in a one-way favour. Most likely she'd ask him to watch her dance, and then he'd be unable to refuse.
So he'd said, "Hn."
But she hadn't seemed fazed in the least. Her eyelids fell slightly as she glanced off to the side dreamily, contentedly. "I h-hope someday I can make it as a d-dancer…"
"Dancers don't get a lot of attention in the industry."
"That doesn't m-matter to me," she assured him slowly. "I just want to. You wouldn't understand."
And he hadn't. And he still didn't. If Sharingan hadn't been able to get off the ground, Sasuke probably wouldn't have bothered to go through with it. Recognition, fame, attention: that was what the entertainment industry really was all about, and that was really all it had to offer anyone. That was the entire purpose behind the formation of a marketing and talent agency. To this day, he didn't understand, and in his most vulnerable of thoughts, he wished he could see what she seemed to have been able to.
Sakura rolled her eyes and sighed exasperatedly, appearing to surrender. "I give up. I can't even get a normal response out of you anymore. I thought you'd changed over four years, Sasuke-kun, but you obviously haven't."
When he failed to reply properly yet again by remaining silent, Sakura's shoulders sagged and her features relaxed into a warm, wide smile.
Glancing at him from the corners of her green eyes, she added fondly, "But that's why I love you!"
"Tch," he scoffed and stood, vanishing into his half of the duplex, leaving Sakura with a somewhat hurt, confused expression.
. . . . .
His name was Sakon. Hinata had met him at her father's fifty-eighth birthday ceremony. She was quite sure he was a business associate's son from overseas. The two of them had instantly hit it off after mutual mention of Orochimaru, the world-renowned musical composer and librettist.
Sakon had studied beneath Orochimaru in exchange for leaving high school early. Sakon had been the one to arrange the meeting with Hinata and Orochimaru, in which Orochimaru had taken an immediate liking to Hinata's abilities and enlisted her for the Konoha Opera. His managers, Jiraiya and Tsunade, had been equally impressed with her, and from there, she had skyrocketed to the very core of the fame monster.
His hair was dark blue-grey, and hung thickly over one eye. His lips were an abnormal shade of turquoise, sharp eyes thinly rimmed with brown. A thick string of red beads adorned his neck. His twin brother, Ukon – who she had also met – looked identical, but thankfully without the beads, providing Hinata a simple method of making the distinction between the two.
Sakon was a less-than-reputable character outside of his social status. To her father, he was the perfect gentleman, and also equipped with admirable athletic abilities which had projected him swiftly to every sports magazine. To Hinata, he was a viable suitor, someone she found she could tolerate and perhaps learn to enjoy his company. But he had a habit of treating the weak, strangers and peasants like trash, something she'd told him repeatedly she didn't appreciate, and something he'd continued to ignore.
He waited outside of her dressing room with a small, twisted smirk on his face, eyes darting from passerby to passerby. When she emerged with slightly dishevelled hair and a half-unbuttoned trench coat, his smirk faded.
"What took you so long, eh?"
"T-The dress rehearsal; it was today! Did you forget?" Hinata demanded, unable to keep the exasperated note from her voice as she slid her hands into crimson wool mittens.
"Of course I didn't," Sakon snapped easily as he took her hand in his. "Don't keep me waiting like that again, do you hear me?"
Hinata sighed and narrowed her eyes away from him.
Without averting his gaze from the looming doors ahead, Sakon absently tugged on her hand and muttered from the corner of his mouth, "Do you hear me?"
Resisting the urge to roll her eyes, Hinata mumbled a verification of sorts.
Somewhat satisfied, Sakon dragged her out into the street where he instantaneously pulled her closer to his side. Hinata inwardly sighed again; his mood swings were about as frequent as a menstruating fourteen-year-old girl.
As courage swelled inside of her, stemming from his sudden affection, Hinata piped up, "The s-show is tomorrow night … you're still coming to it, r-right?"
His turquoise lips twisted into something she couldn't see from her under-vantage point.
"S-Sakon?" She tugged lightly on his sleeve, and his head instantly snapped down, his face practically leering in her own.
"'Course I am," he assured her. "Besides, who's going to drive you there early for your dress-up and shit?"
He seemed sincere, until he swore. The cuss that escaped his lips in a hiss was an entirely different kind of bitter than Hinata had ever heard.
. . . . .
Sasuke glanced at his wristwatch. It was already nine o'clock in the evening, and the streets of Konoha were still bustling and merrily loud. Annoyingly loud, he might add.
When he'd been sixteen and still a high-school senior in his hometown, the townsfolk had all gone to bed and turned off their lights before it even struck half-past eight. At the time, it had seemed ridiculous to Sasuke; now, with the complete opposite trend set in motion, it seemed almost distant. This new, late-night-hustle arrangement felt out-of-place.
He felt fucking obsolete. Was this what he got for disappearing for four years?
It had been a half-hour since he'd left Sakura at the tea table. It had been fifteen minutes since he'd received a fax from Juugo, one of Sharingan's executive employees who had chosen to stay behind in Oto City to manage the base office.
The fax had informed Sasuke of a recent business venture another of their conglomerate executives – Suigetsu – had requested permission for. The sheet contained a personal note from Suigetsu, gushing pointlessly about how lucky the company was to have discovered this celebrity before the Akatsuki had.
Sasuke had looked over the information. She was a girl, a member of the Konoha Opera, roughly his age, so to speak. Twenty years old, a graduate of the Konoha Arts Academy and a personal draft from the legendary Jiraiya, Tsunade and Orochimaru into the Opera. Her credentials stood to be quite impressive, Sasuke had to admit, but did her skills live up to her past?
A name had not been secured by Suigetsu as of yet. He was still working on tracking her down and had asked Sasuke in the fax to help, since being a member of the Konoha Opera, she obviously resided in the town.
Suigetsu was damn lucky to have found a Konoha celebrity, Sasuke thought. If it weren't for these remarkably extraordinary qualifications backing this girl, Sasuke would never have bothered to look for her at all. He'd even grudgingly promised Sakura he wouldn't be bringing his work back to Konoha when he left Juugo in charge of Oto City's Sharingan base operations.
All he knew was that she was the most commercialized dancer of the Opera. She was not the frontrunner, but she would be the face adorning the posters, the name attached to the videos and the voice behind the interviews. She was the entire Opera's tool, the ultimate weapon, the largest and best opportunity they'd seen in years.
As he entered the main town square, Sasuke was struck with blindingly bright neon lights from every direction. Blinking rapidly, he slowed his pace as he dragged his feet along the pavement, weaving through the crowds on the sidewalks, all the while scrutinizing each and every poster he passed.
There was no need to, though. The largest billboard of them all dominated his vision the moment he glanced up. And there he'd found her – 'See Hinata live at the Konoha Opera January Show', the locally celebrated opera dancer. Dark hair, fair skin, lips painted a velvety mauve and eyes shadowed with dusty crimson and shimmering gold.
She was painted like an exotic doll, but he recognized her regardless. I know those eyes. They were the same eyes that had silently promised him, four years ago, that she would make it someday. Eyes that he never understood.
And in that split second, Sasuke strode calmly across the street to the booth directly beneath the billboard, eyes of onyx coldly calculating the local prestige of the Konoha Opera. Indeed, an industry phenomenon the entire thing was. There was no denying that.
But that was hardly the reason he was standing in front of the small tollbooth, glaring through the glass pane at the nervous clerk trapped inside the box. The true reason was another thing entirely, and that reason had possessed unfathomable rosy-lavender eyes.
"A ticket for the Konoha Opera." As he removed his wallet from his pocket, Sasuke figured it best to bring Sakura along, to convince her that he was neither ogling dancers nor looking for work. "Make that two."
. . . . .
A/N: Shorter than most of my stories, but I'm pleased with where I ended it. Hope I didn't do too bad a job of foreshadowing. I also suck at lenghty AU work. Do leave a review if you can. They always make me smile to read them, and they get me to write! (Since I'm not a write-ahead sort of person, it's your reviews that usually remind me to get on the ball and update. Sometimes I write memos on my hands, but unfortunately, even Sharpie only stays on for so long.) :)