Andante, Allegro, Al Fine!
Naruto silently followed Kakashi, feeling very awed. He hadn't expected people with his apparent fame to be so nice, but here he was, walking through the crowds of people, waving and nodding as they called to him. He even stopped to pose for a photograph with a younger child.
"Why do you wear a mask?" He found himself asking.
"Hmm?" Kakashi turned to him. "It's comfortable."
"Of course. Why else would I wear it? You think I can conceal myself with this hair?"
Naruto flushed, not wanting to mention he'd thought the same thing earlier.
"Here," Kakashi said, indicating a solid oak door nearby. "This is the bar. You're over eighteen, right?"
"I'm nineteen," Naruto confirmed.
Kakashi smiled slightly. "You're the same age as him, too."
Naruto was expecting Kakashi's 'prodigy' to be older than himself. That said, he realized, looking the tall man up and down, Kakashi himself didn't look even thirty.
As he entered the bar, he was assaulted by the smell of cigarettes and spirits. It almost knocked him backwards- he had never really been one to frequent bars before.
"Ah, I was correct," Kakashi said, pointing to a lone figure at a table in the corner. "He's here."
Naruto followed his gaze, eyes landing on the figure. His eyes widened, and he had to physically remind himself that gaping was going to be considered rude.
The boy Kakashi was walking over to was nothing like Naruto expected him to be. He was thin and pale, with dark hair and even darker eyes. He was sitting with one leg crossed over the other, frowning at something clearly alcoholic on the table in front of him, and dressed in a suit like everybody else.
"Naruto," Kakashi called to him, forcing Naruto to re-direct his gaze to the older man. "Come over here."
He did as instructed, sitting nervously beside Kakashi opposite the raven haired boy.
"Naruto, this is Uchiha Sasuke," Kakashi introduced. "Sasuke, how would you feel about taking this boy as your apprentice?"
Sasuke looked up at Naruto, eyes narrowed and scrutinizing him. Naruto felt himself wanting to hide under the table to get away from those piercing eyes.
"What makes you think I want an apprentice?" He said eventually, his voice deeper than Naruto expected, and smooth as silk.
"You're bored, Sasuke," Kakashi replied with a shrug. "You keep coming back to me, but I don't have anything more to teach you. So why don't you pass your knowledge on and teach this boy what you know instead?"
Sasuke turned his dark eyes to Naruto again.
"What do you know?" He asked.
"Huh?" Naruto asked blankly. Sasuke rolled his eyes, picking up his drink and sipping it.
"What do you know? What experience do you have? Do you have any grades?"
"Grades?" Naruto was completely lost.
Sasuke sighed, putting his drink down. "You don't have any experience?"
"Uh… No. I've never played the piano before."
"How about other instruments?"
Naruto shook his head. Sasuke glanced over at Kakashi, an eyebrow raised.
"You want a challenge, Sasuke?" Kakashi replied to the unsaid question. "It'll give you something to do."
Sasuke drained his drink, putting the glass down with a soft thud. "I suppose."
"Great!" Kakashi said, standing up and indicating to Naruto to stand and let him out of the table. "I'll leave you to drink yourself into a stupor with company for once, then."
He waved at them both, leaving Naruto feeling very awkward indeed as he sat back down opposite the boy again.
"So… Hi," he said nervously, holding his hand out across the table. "Pleased to meet you."
Sasuke stared at his hand, and then at Naruto, causing the blond to retract it quickly.
"You'll need to come to my house to learn," he said instead. "Since you don't have a piano."
Sasuke pulled his mobile phone from his pocket, quickly typing a text in and looking up at Naruto. "You have a mobile number, I presume?" He said. Naruto stuttered and recited it from memory, feeling it vibrate in his pocket moments later.
"That's my address," Sasuke told him, standing up. "I'm going to get another drink, and you're going to run along and leave me alone."
Naruto glared at his retreating back, his nervousness turning to frustration. Kakashi, Gai and Lee had seemed pleasant enough, but this boy? Naruto wasn't so sure he liked him, yet.
He was still in thought when Sasuke sat opposite him again, another drink in hand.
"Didn't I tell you to leave?" He said sharply, sitting back down.
Naruto glared at him. "I don't want to stay in your company anyway, asshole."
Sasuke smirked at that. Naruto stood and glared at Sasuke once more for good measure, stalking out of the bar.
He pulled his mobile phone from his pocket as he did so, scowling at the text message containing the dark haired boy's address. He deleted it swiftly, pocketing his phone again. If learning to play the piano meant having to socialize with Sasuke, Naruto didn't want anything more to do with it.
"Wait wait wait wait wait!" Naruto cried, sprinting across the large train station towards where he could see his train, ready to leave within the minute. He tried to rummage through his pocket as he ran, unsuccessfully, to find his ticket. He slowed slightly, finding it and ripping it out, and starting to sprint again.
The ticket barrier in front of him stopped him, and he shoved the ticket into it, muttering 'come on, come on' under his breath and eyeing the train on the platform.
"Don't you dare leave!" He yelled at it, looking down at the ticket machine. He should have ejected his ticket almost instantly, but it hadn't. Frowning, he bashed his hand onto it for good measure.
The machine's small display screen lit up with a message for him- 'seek assistance'. Naruto growled at it as someone on the platform where his train was blew a whistle. Naruto looked up, hearing the telltale fast beeping that meant 'doors are closing' from the train.
"Wait!" He yelled to the station attendant, who didn't glance round or indicate he'd heard. "Wait!"
The train doors slid shut, and Naruto could hear the electric humming of it beginning to pull away from the station. Scowling at it, he bashed the machine that had eaten his ticket and stalked away to find someone to help him retrieve it.
He found someone nearby, marching over to them angrily.
"That machine ate my ticket and made me miss my train," he sulked, crossing his arms. The attendant sighed, walking to the ticket machine the blond had indicated.
"You forced it in too quickly," the attendant told him, using a key to open the machine and pull out Naruto's slightly crumpled ticket.
"I was in a hurry," Naruto replied, still sulking. "What time is the next train on this line?"
"It's late," the attendant explained. "After about seven pm, the trains drop to an hourly service in most directions."
Naruto took his ticket back, sulking and walking away without another word. An hour to kill at a train station that consisted of mostly food shops, and not much else. He scowled at the thought.
He found a bench that wasn't occupied, throwing himself down into it and crossing his arms. He pulled his mobile phone from his pocket, eyeing it wearily. He was beginning to regret deleting Sasuke's message, and his number with it. Kakashi had seemed so happy to have found an apprentice for his pupil, and Naruto knew he wouldn't be able to get hold of people with reputations like theirs easily.
He sighed, putting his phone back in his pocket. He couldn't un-do it now.
He glanced around the train station, not looking for anything in particular, but he almost fell off the bench when he noticed a figure walking vaguely in his direction.
Naruto narrowed his eyes as he approached. He hadn't appeared to have noticed the blond, and Naruto made sure to keep his mouth shut. Sasuke looked annoyed about something, and Naruto didn't want to incur his wrath for whatever reason.
He looked away, looking back when he felt someone watching him. Sasuke had spotted him, it seemed, and was watching him from the distance, standing completely still.
Naruto sighed, thinking of Kakashi's eagerness that he learn from the boy before him, and stood up. He closed the distance between them swiftly, pulling out his mobile phone. Sasuke didn't attempt to walk away- he just stood still and let the blond come to him.
"I, uh, managed to accidentally delete that message instead of saving it," he lied. "Could you send me your address again?"
Sasuke rolled his eyes, pulling out his mobile phone and typing his address in again. "Number?" He asked sharply.
Naruto recited it again, and felt his phone vibrate in his hand as it received the message. He opened it and saved it, as well as adding Sasuke's phone number to his address book.
"Thanks, I guess."
Silence reigned between them, Naruto shifting awkwardly.
"It's a good thing I bumped into you again," he said conversationally. "I don't know how I would have got hold of you or Kakashi again otherwise."
"Very fortunate," Sasuke agreed blankly.
They stood in silence, Naruto feeling awkward and Sasuke looking at ease.
"So… Where are you traveling to?" Naruto asked, smiling slightly.
Sasuke didn't reply.
Naruto scowled at him angrily. "Why are you such an asshole?!" He snapped, finally losing his temper.
Sasuke stared at him impassively.
"Just because I'm not very talkative doesn't make me an asshole," he pointed out smoothly.
Naruto glared at him, unable to counter that.
"Do you even want to teach me?" He asked eventually. "Because you act like you'd rather I died and left you alone."
"That isn't a response!" Naruto said, crossing his arms bitterly.
"I don't care," Sasuke replied. "I need something to do, Kakashi is right."
Naruto didn't reply, glancing up at the large station clock. Only ten minutes had passed, and he sighed at the thought of another fifty minutes stuck at the station.
"What time is your train?" He asked Sasuke. He'd feel slightly better and at-ease if Sasuke was leaving soon…
Naruto's eyes widened.
The same train, maybe?
"I'm heading to Shibuya," Sasuke said quietly, surprising Naruto.
"So am I," Naruto replied. "I missed the last train because the damn machine ate my ticket."
Silence again, but it was slightly more comfortable now.
"So when will you be free for your first lesson?" Sasuke asked after a moment.
"I'm free any time," Naruto replied.
Sasuke's eyes narrowed slightly in confusion. "You don't work or go to college or anything?" He asked slowly.
"No, I do some work for my guardian," Naruto replied. "He's a teacher, I help him out at the school sometimes, but he's pretty flexible with me. If I wanted to go to a lesson, he'd let me."
"You live with him?"
"Yeah. Inheritance was made available to me when I was eighteen, though, so I was able to finally pay him back for everything he's done for me."
"Inheritance?" Sasuke echoed, even though he knew what that would mean. His eyes widened slightly.
"It's okay, I'm used to people asking," Naruto continued, sensing the unease in the air. "My parents died when I was a baby. I have Iruka now- he was a friend of my parents. He took me in and took care of me after my parents died."
"That's kind of him," Sasuke replied quietly.
"How about you?" Naruto asked. "You live alone?"
Sasuke didn't reply. Naruto opened his mouth to ask again, but Sasuke spoke over him.
"Are you hungry?" He asked. "Let's get something to eat."
He walked past Naruto without waiting for an answer, leaving the blond to follow, a little dazed. Clearly family was something Sasuke wanted to avoid talking about.
"There isn't much to choose from," Naruto told him. "It's mostly fast food."
Sasuke stopped walking, his face clearly readable to say he didn't favour that idea.
"There's a bar in this train station," he said. "We could get a drink instead."
We? So he wants my company now, huh?
Sasuke started walking away, Naruto following him again. It seemed Sasuke knew where this bar was. He thought back to Kakashi's comment earlier that day- 'drink yourself into a stupor but with company this time', wasn't it?
"You drink a lot?" He voiced out loud.
The scathing look he received made him wish he really, really hadn't asked that question.
"Take no notice of Kakashi," Sasuke responded after a moment. "He's a protective fool."
Naruto didn't dare ask for an elaboration.
"Up these stairs," Sasuke indicated ahead of them to the right. A narrow, metal staircase wound up the side of a building to a small bar at the top. Naruto narrowed his eyes in thought. He'd never noticed this before, though he supposed, that was partly the point to keep it out of the average person's line of sight. Groups of intoxicated people and railway lines didn't mix.
Sasuke was already making his way up the stairs, Naruto still following wordlessly. Of all the ways he had expected to end his evening, sitting in an obscure bar with a tight-lipped boy he didn't even know beyond his name was not it.
Sasuke pushed open the small glass door, holding it open for Naruto to enter behind him. It was relatively empty, and the air was a lot fresher than the air in the bar he had entered earlier was.
"What do you drink?"
Naruto was too deep in thought to hear Sasuke speaking to him.
"Oi," Sasuke said, waving a hand in front of Naruto's face. "I said, what do you drink?"
"Oh," Naruto said, snapping his attention back. "Malibu and coke."
Sasuke raised an eyebrow at him. "That's an awfully girly drink."
Naruto glared at him, but refrained from complaining. He rather enjoyed his Malibu and coke, with lots of ice.
"Lots of ice," he said of his thought.
Sasuke was already walking to the bar, holding a hand up to indicate he'd heard.
Naruto watched him go, sitting down at the closest table with a sigh. Sasuke was certainly a confusing person. One minute he was telling Naruto to leave him alone, and the next, he was buying him drinks?
He looked up as a glass filled mostly with ice filled the space he was staring at on the table, seeing Sasuke seat himself in front of him with a whisky on rocks in his hand.
"So why the sudden change of heart?" he asked.
Sasuke looked at him blankly. "I wasn't in a very good mood earlier."
No apology, but a partial explanation.
Why don't you think before you open your mouth, idiot?
Sasuke narrowed his eyes slightly.
"Or, don't answer that," Naruto hurriedly tacked on. "It's okay."
Sasuke took a sip of his drink, avoiding Naruto's gaze.
"I had a fight with my brother before I left," he answered quietly. "Nothing important."
So he does have some family then.
"Does your brother play the piano too?" He asked, figuring it was a good question to ask that wasn't too personal.
"No. He resents that I do."
Maybe not the best question after all, then.
Sasuke finished his drink in one swallow, the barely melted ice clinking tunelessly in the glass as he put it back on the table. He stood without a word, and Naruto didn't question it, watching him walk back to the bar. He narrowed his eyes, slightly concerned.
What Kakashi said might have some weight, after all?
Sasuke came back to the table with another whisky, setting it on the table and throwing the ice from his last glass into it as well.
"What's the point in a shot if you're going to water it down?" Naruto asked.
Sasuke indicated Naruto's ice-filled glass. "I don't think you can talk about 'watering down'."
Naruto shrugged. "It's not a shot. The coke'll be watered down, anyway."
They sat in silence for a while, Sasuke checking his wrist watch as he finished his second drink and Naruto finished his first.
"We have thirty minutes," he said slowly, Naruto picking up on the taint of alcohol in his words.
How many did he have at the auditorium?
They were interrupted by Sasuke's mobile phone ringing, Sasuke pulling it out of his pocket and frowning when he read the caller display.
"Yes, Nii-san," he answered it sharply. "What is it?"
Naruto wanted to not-listen to the conversation, but curiosity got the better of him, and he strained his ears slightly above the chatter of the bar.
"How about you fuck off? How does that sound?"
Naruto's eyes widened, and he kept his eyes averted when he heard the distinct 'snap' of Sasuke closing the flip top on his phone. It seemed there wasn't much of a conversation to eavesdrop on.
"We should leave," Sasuke said sharply, standing and indicating their glasses. "Take these back to the bar."
Naruto opened his mouth to protest that they still had a long time left until the train, but Sasuke was already walking away in the direction of the exit. He had looked… Disturbed? Upset? Naruto couldn't put his finger on it.
I wonder what his brother said to him…
Naruto collected the glasses and deposited them on the bar, wondering whether he should ask what the heck had just happened. He decided that he wouldn't, fearing Sasuke would attempt to kill him with that dark glare of his.