Crossed Wires

We need no stinkin author notes.

Chapter 3 : Sasuke

Sasuke stares up at the hospital's graffiti-covered facade and sighs, despite not actually needing to breathe. The buildings are old, and not that big; and from what that nosey fox furry told him about the place, they throw out people for negligence and get hit by junkies in search of a fix all too often. It's far from these private clinics he was used to seeing in the upper part of town.

Not a lot of places will hire an ex-cop who was discharged for classified reasons, though.

Rectification. Not a lot of legal places. He could fit right in as some crime lord's bodyguard. If he actually could overcome his core programming long enough to earn his pay. Somehow he thinks that putting his own boss in prison would constitute a breach of contract.

He puts his subversive thoughts away before they can activate his subroutines; they're not really made to recognize sarcasm. One of these days he'll track down a state-licensed programmer and have them exorcise all the junk in his head...

Yeah, like when he'll have money. The bonus the State gave him when they cut him free is melting fast, and he still needs to pay that idiot Naruto for the repairs to his arm.

He didn't want to owe even more to Naruto, so he tried a couple of clubs first; the first one started laughing and told him a small human had no chance in front of a cyber-enhanced beefcake. Sasuke's ID lists him as a hundred percent human; he didn't bother spinning a story about having had implants recently. The kind of money needed to make them unnoticeable... yeah. Why the hell would he be looking for a job at a downtown club.

The second club owner told him that they had enough bouncers, but they wouldn't mind giving him another job; did he know how to dance?

Sasuke's scores at social interaction are abysmal, but he would have to be blind and deaf to miss the way she was leering at his ass.

No use stalling. He crosses the street and pushes the door open, twisting a bit to not use the hand-that-isn't-his. The temporary arm Naruto gave him works well enough for casual use, but his sensors still aren't adjusted. Besides he doesn't want people to notice the one glove he's using to hide the mismatched syntheskin.

Inside, the waiting area makes him frown; papers littering the ground, a bum sleeping on a bench. The clear plastiglass blast shield around the receptionist's desk is scratched so heavily in places that he has trouble seeing through it. At least the metal detectors look new and in working order.

He crosses the floor to the desk and taps the blue "visitors" button. The red one, "emergencies", looks well abused. Most patients probably don't come through the lobby, actually; from what Sasuke could see on the floor plans he downloaded, there's another exit for ambulances. Plus several fire exits.

"Sorry for the wait," comments a cheerful female voice from the other side. "Visiting?"

"Job application," he replies; he can see a white-and-bright-pink shape on the other side of the shield, but she's standing just behind a huge scorch mark. No identification possible.

"Alright, I'll need to record your ID in our visitors logs..."

He gives it without a word. He's not really concerned that a small hospital will have enough money to pay for the kind of search that would find anything wrong with it. It's a perfectly legal ID. It just happens to give inexact info.

Like the fact that he isn't actually a human, but an android-based AI. And the fact that he isn't twenty-one; he's ten -- but that's rather meaningless. Oh, and the name is assumed too.

"Hatake Sasuke... So... job application, yes? What exactly are you looking for?"

"Anything physical -- orderly, security. I have a first-aid certification; that's the extent of my medical knowledge."

"Yes, we don't see many doctors around here," she replies absently as she types a few things out of sight. "Okay, when are you free for an interview?"

"Whenever is most convenient."

"I'd say right now, but..."

She moves to the side, enough that he can see her chewing on her lip.

"No one is free to interview me?"

"Oh, I could do that. It isn't the problem; but Doctor Tsunade is busy and our orderlies are in the middle of -- ah."

He frowns. "You would be alone with me; is that the problem?"

"...Well... To be frank, yes. We're not supposed to let anyone but visitors inside at the moment, and even they have to be escorted to the rooms and back."

Huh. She hasn't mentioned security; they've probably been fired or killed recently. The hospital really seems to be struggling to survive. There is a part of his programming -- and of his personality too -- that doesn't like the idea of a place dedicated to the public good being run into the ground. It would probably be more tolerable to work there than at a club. But how can he get her to trust him inside...

"Do you know an Uzumaki Naruto?"

She looks up. "...You know Naruto?"

"I'm staying at his place for the moment; he's doing a job for me. Maybe he could vouch--"

"Oh, why didn't you say that sooner! A minute please, I'll call him."

She sounds a lot cheerier now. He leans against the plastiglass to watch the waiting room as she makes her call; she closed the slots and he can only hear muffled whispers. If he tried, he could probably filter out the interferences, but it seems an invasion of privacy. He just hopes, fist clenched, that the fox-furry will respect Sasuke's own privacy and forget to mention what exactly he is. That's for Sasuke to disclose or not.

"Alright, sir! Naruto vouched for you, so if you will go to the gate... What should I expect the metal detector to tell me?"

Well at least Naruto didn't babble. "...Cyborg."

"Alright. Firearms?"

"No." She doesn't mention bladed weapons; but then he isn't sure this area of town is safe enough to let most people walk around without at least that much.

"Please proceed..."

He stands in front of the door, and slips inside when it opens. The detectors flash a bit; behind the desk, he can see a bowed head and hear an annoyed mutter; "dumb piece of -- oh."

The girl is surprisingly young, about Naruto's age. She's wearing a white coat; the nametag informs him that she is Haruno Sakura, head nurse. Her hair is bubblegum pink, and she's...

... she's staring at him. Huh.


"Miss, please," she replies breathlessly. He wonders if she feels alright; she's reddening. "Ah... If you will foll -- um. After you," she rectifies, gesturing toward a half-open door on the other side of the counter. "I'll be... right behind you."

Vaguely confused, he makes his way behind the help desk and to the other room. It's a small office, with paperwork crammed everywhere; the desk there is marked with circular coffee stains.

"Please sit down. I, uh..." She takes place in the large armchair behind the desk, and fiddles with the seat, adjusting its height. He waits, not that patiently. What the hell has gotten into her?

"So... Sasuke -- can I call you Sasuke?"

He shrugs, nods. She beams, then seems to remember that she's supposed to conduct a job interview.

"What we need the most is a security guard; at the moment the duty is shared between our two male orderlies and Doctor Tsunade herself, and we keep a tight lockdown on the visitors, but that isn't the best arrangement. But the nurses and orderlies could also do with some help, so... if you were hired, and depending on your competence, you would be called to help with whatever needs doing at the moment. We don't have a fixed post with fixed responsibilities to offer; you wouldn't be encouraged to refuse doing something because it's outside of your official responsibilities."

For a moment she looks sterner, and very professional. He nods; "I can deal with that."

She smiles at him. "Of course you will never handle medical responsibilities, and we do have cleaning ladies, but it means that if something is spilled and there's no one to clean it in a timely manner, you would be expected to mop it up."

He nods; it can't be that hard to use a mop. So long as he's paid the same.

"Your other duties would take precedence, of course. Um... what kind of jobs did you have? What kind of qualities do you think you have?"

Qualities? Uh.

"I was a police officer for two years." Six, really, but he's officially twenty-one; the legal age is eighteen. Cop at fifteen, that's a bit unbelievable.

She blinks, startled. "Ah. Can I ask why you left?"

"I was discharged." He hesitates... no, he doesn't want to invent a lie. He's not so good at these anyway. "The reason is classified. It wasn't through any fault on my part, though. I can ask for references from my superior if you wish."

She looks rather dazed. "Ah... yes, please. I... thank you for being honest... Well, if you have experience in crowd control and self-defense, you will probably end up taking up security duties. Of course we can't make that decision before the end of the trial period."

Looks like he's in. He doesn't plan on messing up the orderly part of his duties on purpose, but if they decide to relegate him to security full time to free the other orderlies, he's not going to protest. The personal qualities and abilities for medical personnel listed in his database are... well. He's physically fit, and can lift a lot more than what his size suggests he should, and he doesn't see a problem with following instructions so long as they make sense -- but the caring and supportive attitude, the good communication skills... right.

A few standard questions follow; did he ever do drugs, is his vaccination up to date and the like. He's just grateful that they're so desperate they don't ask for a blood test.

"When do I start?"

"I'll check with Doctor Tsunade first; she will want to have a talk with you, show you around and all that." She smiles at him as she picks up a phone, twirling a lock of hair around her finger.

He pretends not to listen to the conversation; but there's nothing said that requires much privacy.

"She'll be with you in fifteen minutes. Um... Do you want a coffee?"

"I don't drink coffee," he replies, and her expression falls.

"Soda? There's a distributor at the end of the hall..."

He shakes his head; he can drink, and he's even been designed to use liquids to cool his motors, but carbonated beverages aren't recommended.

"It's on me," she continues with a wide smile; he tags it as hopeful, and finally realizes that she's flirting.

"I'm not thirsty," he opposes. "... Thanks anyway."

He's not sure of the best way to deal with it. He can't be openly rude to a future coworker, especially one who will be his superior. On the other hand, even if he didn't have it ingrained that you just don't fraternize with your superiors or subordinates, he's not even equipped; not that he thinks he would automatically be interested if he actually had genitals.

A few minutes pass in silence. He made her uncomfortable; he doesn't know how to fix it. They should make conversation, but what kind of subject...

"Did you lose your other glove?"

He stuffs the hand-that-isn't-his in his pocket. "No. I... got hurt."

"Oh! Do you want me to take a look at it? I--"

"It's a cyber implant. I'm... not used to it yet." Which is almost nothing but the truth.

"Wow, really? It looks so human under the glove. Can I see?"

Reluctantly, he pulls his hand out, lets her watch the way the fingers flex, the way the wrist rotates.

"...That's... Wow. Good quality. So smooth. Um... Would it be insensitive of me to ask how you got it?"

Sasuke shrugs and refrains from telling her that he's the farthest thing from sensitive; she would only be encouraged. "It's just replacing the previous one. It broke."

"Aha! That's how you met Naruto, I bet. He's a good mechanic, isn't he."

And that's a perfect change of subject; he takes it before she can ask him if he was in an accident or just decided to go cyborg for what street kids term the Badassitude Factor. "Yes, he's ... surprisingly competent," he admitted reluctantly. "How do you know him?"

"Oh, Doctor Tsunade was an old friend of his family. I met him for the first time during my internship." She giggles, and whispers in confidence, "Something exploded in his workshop; he was thrown through a window. My first sight of him was a pair of bare buttocks with about fifty slivers of glass and wood sticking out."

Sasuke blinks, and wonders why that seems so ... fitting. It doesn't exactly inspire trust in Naruto's abilities, though.

"He kept whining about the fur on his tail being singed and torn; I decided to be nice and brush it out for him, and--" She blushes and waves it off. "Ah... nothing."

He frowns, puzzled. "Nothing?"

"Naruto had somehow forgotten to mention that his tail was something of an erogenous zone," a blonde woman comments dryly from the door.

She looks thirty, maybe, but her skin is too smooth around the eyes. Besides, Naruto called her "the old hag" several times when he was talking Sasuke into applying for a job at her hospital. If she never went under the scalpel herself, Sasuke will be surprised.

Sakura turns red and gets up quickly. "Doctor! Ah, um. This is Hatake Sasuke. Sasuke, Doctor Tsunade. I, uh, I'll go make my rounds now, if that's alright?"

"I made them," Tsunade informs her, still looking amused, and drops a pile of papers on her desk. "You can stay here and take care of this paperwork while I show Mr. Hatake around."

Pouting, Sakura sits back down. Sasuke nods at her politely as he gets up to follow Tsunade out.

The door to the office is left half-open, and sound resonates well enough for him. They're not at the other end of the tiled corridor yet, when he hears Sakura whisper quickly, "Ino? You SO need to pick me up tonight. You'll never guess the eyecandy we've hired today -- hey, I've got dibs!"


Next chapter will not be Sasuke-POV. Apart from happening in the same world, the two plot threads don't seem to have much in common. Eventually, though, they will run into each other.

...If I get that far, for I suck. In the meantime, I have a second yaoi OTP. XD (Really need some het to balance things out...)