CHAPTER THREE

or

Hakuna Matata!

It was a nice pub, Hinata mused looking around. Sasuke paid her no mind, and she did the same. Both were too hungry to dwell on the blow to their personal autonomy, and nothing soothed hurt ego better than a nice cup of a black coffee with a quiche. Sasuke had ordered the one with tomato filling, Hinata sticked to the classic Lorraine. They spent long minutes in a complete silence full of delicious, crunchy nirvana. No one was bothered by their greasy hands – the taste was just too divine to raise any complaint to anything.

"Do you come here often?" she asked one hour later.

"Hn?" Well, at least the crimson of the tomato sauce made a nice flash of colour to Sasuke's white & black scheme. She handed him a napkin. He grabbed it, and cleaned himself. "Pretty much, yes."

The pretty waitress showed up again. Sasuke, being obsessive when it came to the topic of food, had her to bring a pitcher of tomato juice. She did not waste any time. The glass was dewy and ice-cold. A little drop fell sinfully slowly down the slight curve of the jug.

"Do you want some?"

"No, thanks." She watched him adding a pinch of salt to the red juice. He stirred it with a long spoon. Hinata thought that it must have tasted a bit like blood.

"So," he licked the spoon. "What do we do?"

"Uhm, sorry?"

"What do we do? I thought you agreed with me that our parents are boinkers."

"Oh, y-yes, they are..."

"Then...?"

"I think we should just finish our meal, and call it a date. Stick with the plan. Sooner or later, they'll grow tired of this."

"I doubt it."

"Oh, Sasuke. Don't be so gloomy. We'll survive this." She reached to him and patted him on his shoulder. The touch did not last long. "I know you're freaked out, but that is really unnecessary. They're not here, they can't get to us. When we're on a date, we'll just take a break and relax, no worries, no concerns, no talks about our families or matrimony, nor about school. I bet you need it too."

Well, that sounded too much like taken directly from a mouth of a gleeful, plucky heroine who is trying hard to lift male romantic interest's spirits up, inadvertently showing her unwavering affection towards him, but Sasuke never noticed the unmeant undertones of their conversation

He locked his eyes with Hinata's, and put all of his seriousness into that short, little nod.

"And a year is enough time for them to change their minds," she finished.

"Just don't overdo it with the optimism."

"I'm not overdoing it."

"Yes, you are."

She smiled at him. It was hard to argue with a mouth full of a quiche. He could not help a snort. What an unattractive sight. With those stuffed cheeks she reminded him of a hamster. Sasuke considered whether he should inform her about it, but thought better of it. As a man of despair he should try not to alienate his allies.

"I know my mother," he said. "We should use the remaining time to make a better plan. Do I need visa to get to Iceland?"

"Sasuke, if you're trying to disappear and create a new identity, you should probably try that in a country where you won't stick out like a sore thumb."

"Hn. Any other ideas?"

"Try Brasil or any multi-ethnic society. Iceland is just…" She burst into laughter. "For god's sake, can you imagine renaming yourself as a Fjöllverkur? You can't look more stereotypically Japanese even if you frolicked around in kimono and waving a katana in the air."

"Hn. Perhaps a plastic surgery would help."

"Maybe even a finger print removal."

"And a complete change of my dental records…" Sasuke mused darkly. "Hn. I won't deny its appeal."

"If you really want to erase any clue of your true identity, maybe you should try to at least remove your verbal quirks."

"Hn. I don't have any."

She glared at him as if he grew another head.

"If you think so…"

Just before he could explain to her that his rhetoric skills were more than above average, his phone started ringing. "Excuse me." He checked the display. What did Shisui need? He had the quadruplets shift today. Sasuke hoped nothing was set on fire. The babies were, as he learned a few weeks ago, highly prone to pyromania. Which did not set too well with the wooden furniture in his brother's house. The firefighters were as unamused as Temari.

"Hello?"

He really should not have put the phone so close to his ear.

"How could you, Sasuke?! How could you! I thought we were friends! Almost like brothers! Well, more like cousins. Still, you betrayed my trust!"

"Eh?"

"YOU'VE RUINED IT! YOU'VE DESTROYED IT!"

"Shisui, calm down, and tell me what's wrong."

"Everything is wrong after what you did to the Lion King!"

"What did I… Oh."

Finally, he remembered his so called sin. Hinata watched with an amused twinkle in her eyes as he attempted to defend himself from the accusations of defiling Disney's masterpiece.

"Have you got any idea how much the brats would whine if they saw the real fate of Mufasa? What I did was perfectly rational and quite merciful."

"You can't protect them from reality forever!"

"Yes, I can. And I will. Bye." Hastily, he hung the phone up. "Sorry for the interruption, Hinata," he said then.

"What happened?"

"I think Shisui wanted to play The Lion King to our nephews."

"And?"

"Hn. He found out that I deleted the scene of Mufasa being trampled by wildebeests and overwrote it with a non-traumatizing video from David Attenborough's show about lion prides. The kids love it. And apparently Shisui thinks that I committed a crime against humanity."

A few seconds passed before a look of gentle bemusement set on her face. Here we go again, Sasuke braced himself.

"I wouldn't expect that… level of insight into children's psychology from you. No offense."

"None taken. Well, no one can claim to have Itachi for an older brother, and have no experience of… a severe childhood trauma."

"There's a story behind it, isn't it?"

"Uh." Sasuke winced at the memory. "Promise me, you'll never tell a soul."

"I promise."

He drew a deep breath. Revealing the gullibility of his younger self was to be nothing but humiliating. But there was a small possibility that the anecdote would amuse the girl. It surely made Naruto laugh his ass off.

"So, I was seven-years-old when Itachi pulled this one. That day mum and dad left the house to visit a relative who lived in the other part of the city. All Itachi had to do was to wait for me after school and walk me home. You know, the general thing all the older siblings do. He never showed up, no. I had to go home all by myself. I lost track on how many strange men in dark alleys offered me sweets. Half the time I had no idea where the hell I was. I was scared and frozen to the bone when I finally reached our house. You would never guess what the asshole was doing the whole time."

"Was he playing videogames and forgot about you?"

"No, that wouldn't be half as fucked up as what he actually did. No, the prick used the time, while I was wandering the streets, to decorate the whole house as a crime scene from Kill Bill. Ketchup and tomato sauce covered floors, handles and windows. He arranged a raw beef leg – with a bone attached – with a plastic hand he stole from some figurine. He even went as far as to make an audio loop of the shower scene from Psycho. You know, the screaming woman, and had it played the entire time. Now, imagine the kid me entering the house."

"Oh no."

"Oh yes."

"What did you do?"

"I broke down and started crying. Itachi, as a true sociopath, crept from behind a corner. He was a perfectionist even then, so the bloodied knife he was holding was a nice finishing touch. He informed me that he murdered mum and dad and that I'm the next one on his hit list. And because I was a stupid little kid who had not his faith in humanity broken yet, I believed him. And run out."

Hinata snorted. And then burst out laughing. Sasuke frowned. Of course, he knew that this kind of reaction was to be expected. But seeing her, the composed and demure missus, suffocate with giggles so much that her face was turning into a nice purple colour, was a bit emasculating. When she finally calmed down, she still could not force the stupid grin off her lips.

"I'm sorry," she said finally. "It's that I would have never expected such a story from you."

"Hn. No one usually does," he said. "Somehow, most of my acquaintances imagine my childhood to be only about private schools and rigorous extra-curricular activities. They see me in a suit, and that's all they need to create an opinion on me."

She grinned. "One cannot blame them. I've always found you a bit… dull? Don't get me wrong, please," she said hastily when he raised his eyebrows. "I wanted to say that even though I've known you for all of our high school I don't have a slightest clue about who you are. You were always Naruto's silent company. Who hn'ed half his conversations and occasionally made a sarcastic remark."

"I don't hn any conversation."

The small, faint smile never left her lips. It was unnerving.

It was late evening, when Sasuke finally got home. In a rare moment of chivalry, he had offered Hinata a lift. The girl gladly accepted as she probably did not fancy to travel to the opposite side of city by public transportation while dressed in modest-but-sneakily-sexy dress.

She made him a tea. Her studio was cosy, full of overloaded bookcases. Most of the tomes were about plant biochemistry. The room reminded him strongly of the dorm where he used to live before he moved to his current flat.

He took of his shoes. Hung the coat on a hook. He stepped into the living room. Switched the lights on.

Then he saw it. Damn the Disney fanatic.

"I am going to kill Shisui." He paused. The madman could not do this all alone. He needed an accomplice, and Sasuke knew exactly what kind of a sadistic relative would help Shisui with this torture.

That they covered all of his walls with the giant screenshot of Mufasa's death scene, Sasuke could comprehend and even forgive

What crossed the line were the windows. And doors. And every surface in the whole flat. His toothpaste was wrapped in a paper with a picture of a wildebeest. His mirror as well. The same happened to his sunglasses. Sasuke opened a drawer. His underwear was neatly folded. And each one had thermo-printed dead Mufasa's body in the front.

He let out a sigh. He will maim Shisui later. But he would not let his accomplice escape. Sasuke pulled out his phone.

"Hello? Temari? You would not guess what my brother did this time…"