A/N: When I was in Korea this summer I got hooked on two things: writing fanfiction, and Kdramas. This is my attempt to combine my two favorite guilty pleasures, while trying out a pairing for Naruto that I've always felt had some potential. I hope you enjoy, but more than that I hope you review!
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, and I don't own any Kdramas, either. Good thing you can watch most of them on Hulu!
On the top floor of an office building in Seoul, seven men sat in a small conference room. They conversed in hushed tones, their heads bowed with the weight of many secrets. In their hands rested the fortunes of hundreds of thousands of people, which they held as carefully as their china cups of tea. The man at the head of the table raised a hand. Silence fell immediately.
"Gentlemen. I just received word. The Hyuga takeover is complete. We now own the controlling share in Hyuga Motors."
Polite applause rippled through the room. A large man with a predatory look raised a questioning hand. The President nodded permission.
"What of his will? Hiashi had children, didn't he?"
"Yes; he had two daughters," the President agreed. "However, we have a… friend… within the company who was able to locate and permanently misplace the late Hiashi's will. In the absence of any official legal obstacles, we were able to buy up the company without any problems."
"But won't the daughters make trouble? Surely they won't let this rest?"
"The eldest daughter was estranged from her father. She will think Hiashi simply cut her out of the will. The youngest daughter is only sixteen, too young to know anything of companies or inheritance. But rest assured, Kisame," the businessman looked pointedly at the man who had asked the question, "we will do everything necessary to make sure that the Hyuga girls never become a problem."
Kisame bowed his head. "Yes, President."
The man at the head of the table looked around at the seven other men in the room.
"That goes for more than the recent Hyuga acquisition. I, Itachi Uchiha, promise to do everything in my power to maximize our profits. The New Dawn Corporation has flourished under my leadership, and will continue to do so. That is all, gentlemen."
He tucked his papers under his arm, and left the room. Soft applause followed him out.
Hinata walked down the street slowly, lost in thought. She gripped her sister Hanabi's hand tightly, desperately. It was her last link to normalcy in a world gone mad. They were all each other had, now. A tragic car accident had claimed her father's life, only a week ago.
She got the call from her father's secretary, and had hurried to his manor immediately. The next few days found her forced to change her life radically. First, she made the decision to drop out of college. She knew what this would do to her prospects, to her future, but she had had little choice. Hinata was now Hanabi's legal guardian, and had to put her little sister through school.
Hinata had been in her first year of medical school, but even with her scholarships she couldn't keep studying, work part-time, and care for her sister, too. So she notified the Dean of Students, said good-bye to her friends, and started looking for a job.
The news only got worse. They were told to leave their father's manor, the place where Hinata had spent all of her childhood, and the only home Hanabi had ever known. The men who delivered the notice had only given them 24 hours to vacate the premises.
The last few nights they'd stayed at a ladies' hostel, packed in tightly and sleeping on the hard floor with only borrowed towels as bedrolls.
By day Hinata walked around Seoul, Hanabi in tow, looking for a job and a place to stay.
Today she had tried a car dealership, two restaurants, and a coffee shop. None of them were willing to hire her. She was beginning to despair of finding a job before the rest of their money ran out.
If that happened, Hinata feared she might have to resort to desperate measures. She had heard all of the horror stories about girls who were forced to work in bars. She knew her life might never recover from that step. But Hanabi was her responsibility, and Hinata couldn't put her own life first. She had to make the tough choices now, since their father hadn't provided for them.
Hinata tried to check that thought as soon as it popped up. It was a terrible thing to resent the dead. She should only be sad he was gone, and happy that he was with his beloved wife at last. But Hinata was finding it difficult to treat her father with the kindness he had never shown her. It was even harder when she thought how easily he could have fixed their situation, but apparently just hadn't bothered.
"Where are we going now?" Hanabi whined.
"Dinner, 'Nabi. We've had a long day, I know you're tired and hungry."
"We wouldn't have to walk so much if you just got a job! Father always said you were a lazy good-for-nothing, not fit to take over the company…"
Hinata let her sister talk, allowing the venomous words to wash over her without any effect. Hanabi had been Hiashi's favorite, and as such his death had hit her the hardest. Hinata had been on her own for over five years, putting herself through college and then beginning med school without a penny of her father's money, so the news hadn't been too much for her to bear.
For Hanabi, it was more like her world had fallen apart. The young teen had been the spoiled heiress of Hyuga Motors, the apple of her father's eye, and then in a second it was all gone. Hinata remembered her father's funeral, when Hanabi had broken down and sobbed hysterically, hugging her sister so tightly Hinata thought her ribs might have broke.
If abusing Hinata kept Hanabi from dwelling on the hell her life had become, Hinata wouldn't begrudge her. It certainly didn't make Hinata feel more optimistic, though.
Hinata stopped outside of a small eatery, which served noodles for only two thousand won. It was one of the cheapest meals you could buy in Seoul, but was still filling. Hinata smiled to herself at a sudden memory, of a friend from her school days who had loved ramen more than anything. He had always said that the world couldn't be all bad, when such delicious food could be had for so little.
Naruto was Hinata's first crush, one that lasted all the way through middle school and well into high school. By the time she graduated and moved out of her father's house, they were just good friends. He had never been interested in her, and sustaining a one-sided crush on the most oblivious boy in school was just too much work. But Hinata would have given a great deal to have Naruto there at that moment, to give her one of his open, sunny grins, and tell her everything was going to be all right.
The two sisters walked in and sat down at a table in the corner. Hinata ordered two bowls of ramen, and poured two glasses of water. She drank gratefully, wiping some sweat off of her forehead with her sleeve. It was a hot, muggy day outside, and they'd been walking almost all day.
The door opened, ringing the small bell on the entrance mat. Out of the corner of her eye Hinata saw a glint of sun shining off of yellow hair. Then…
"Oy, Hinata! Fancy running into you here!"
Well, speak of the devil.
"Naruto," Hinata said in return, unable to muster enough energy to equal Naruto's enthusiasm. "What a coincidence. I saw this place and I thought of you."
Naruto grinned broadly, which warmed Hinata's heart just as she had imagined it would. There were no more sparks for her, no more romantic feelings, but their friendship remained.
"Well, I saw this place and thought of me too… eating ramen! I come here almost every day. Gosh, I can't believe it's almost been five years since we've seen each other! What are you up to? How have you been?"
Naruto wasn't the most perceptive of men, but even he could tell when the faces of the two Hyuga sisters dropped after his question.
"Our father died a week ago," Hinata said calmly. "He was in a car crash."
"Oh no! I'm so sorry, Hinata. I'm so sorry for you both."
"Thank you, Naruto, we appreciate your kindness."
"Is there anything I can do for you?"
"No, that's all right—" Hinata began automatically, then stopped. She blushed a little, looking down at her feet, then raised her eyes with determination.
"Actually, there is. Our father didn't leave us anything in his will. In fact, his lawyer told us he didn't make a will at all. I don't have a job, and no one wants to hire me once they find I dropped out of medical school. We have no money, no place to go. Would you happen to know of any place that might be willing to hire me?"
"What?" Naruto was struck dumb. "But your father… he owned Hyuga Motors… he didn't leave you anything?"
Hinata just shook her head, tight-lipped.
"That's… I'm so sorry, Hinata." Naruto screwed his eyes tight in that way he had, that he only used when he was thinking very hard. Then the lightbulb went off.
"I've got it!" His triumphant fist-pump almost hit the waitress in the nose, causing her to jump away and slop ramen over the next table. She shot Naruto an angry glare.
"Sorry," he apologized sheepishly. He turned back to Hinata, his face breaking into a grin once more. "It just so happens that my roommate and I have been looking for a live-in housekeeper. We're so busy with work we don't really have time to keep our place clean. But Sasuke fired the last girl, and the one before that quit. You'd actually be helping me out of a jam, and the room is large enough for you and Hanabi. You wouldn't have to pay rent, since we go so far back."
Hinata looked at her friend, feeling tears welling up in her eyes.
"Oh, Naruto, would you do that for us? That would be… it would be so kind of you, we could never thank you enough."
Naruto waved that aside airily.
"See if you still think that after you see the place. It's a sty. But Hinata," he broke off, and became serious for a moment. "You're going to have to be very careful to do everything just the way Sasuke says. He likes things just so, and he pays most of the bills around here. We understand each other pretty well, but he doesn't get on with anyone else. In fact, while you're with us you'll be best served by doing the work quietly, and staying out of Sasuke's way as much as possible. Can you handle that?"
Hinata nodded fervently.
"To keep a job that keeps us off the streets and puts my sister through school, I can handle anything. I promise, Sasuke won't even know I'm there!"
Naruto laughed, and stuck his hand out. They shook solemnly, and Hinata turned back to her ramen with renewed appetite. Things were looking up.
A/N: What do you think? If you like the idea and want to read more, let me know and I'll keep it going. It will be a fun way to blow off steam after butting my head against the wall, trying to fix the plot holes in my other stories.