It wasn't a particularly tragic story from his point of view but the people that had been put in charge of his well-being after the incident insisted that he get as far away from his old life as possible.
Naruto Uzumaki stared out of the tinted car window to the rising sun in the eastern sky. He sighed against the leather interior his head rested on, his blue eyes drinking in the details of his new home. Konoha was a city he had visited once as a small child with his parents but the memories were fuzzy and the only thing he remembered was his father ruffling his blond hair fondly and the smell of cotton candy on a hot summer day.
"What do you think?" a voice asked from the front seat. Naruto ran a tanned hand through his spiked blond hair and managed a small smile. His eyes connected with his godmother's worried brown ones in the rear view mirror.
"It's beautiful Tsunade," he said, sitting upright. His fingers found the button that lowered the window and he closed his eyes as the cool morning air swept across his sun kissed face. He opened his eyes and observed the odd architecture of Konoha. There were a lot of colorful domed buildings, all crowded together as if they didn't want to disturb the thick clump of trees that made up most of the city. He poked his head slightly out the window as the car neared its destination, a gated community in the southern part of the city. Here the houses seemed to grow larger and more spaced out.
"There it is," Tsunade said, alerting Naruto to the large white building that sprang from the trees. "Konoha Academy."
Naruto felt his stomach flip nervously, making his hands find the small turquoise crystal that hung around his neck.
"Mother. Father. I made it," he whispered.
Sakura Haruno had picked the worst day to dress provocatively, even though it was entirely involuntary. She squinted against the early morning sunlight as it pierced the top of her black Cadillac CTS, not bothering to lower her car visor.
"It's probably nothing," she murmured to herself as she pulled into Konoha Academy's student parking lot. "It's just another meeting."
She grabbed her large, pale green, COACH bag and dug into the side pocket for her blackberry. There was a text that was sent at exactly five in the morning and in bold text were the words: STUDENT COUNCIL MEETING. 6 AM. DON'T BE LATE.
The student council office was located on the southeast corner of the massive school building, wedged between the girls dormitory and the cafeteria. The instant Sakura opened the side door of the east entrance she stopped and nervously adjusted her dark blue blazer, redoing and undoing the top bottom as she walked towards the wooden door that was marked STUDENT COUNCIL.
She sighed, her hand on the door, as she unsuccessfully tried to lower the hem of her plaid skirt. She had been in such a hurry that morning she had fumbled blindly into her closet and picked out her roommates uniform.
As she entered she was greeted with the sound of soft spoken voices and the scent of freshly brewed coffee. Her stomach rumbled.
Sakura gave the room a strained smile. It was filled with all fifteen members (including herself) of student council, most of whom greeted her sleepily. It seemed she wasn't the only one who had gotten summoned for a last minute meeting.
The room was spacious with an adjacent bathroom and kitchen. The walls were painted a pale yellow that glowed in the early morning sun. Most of the members were seated on the luxurious red leather couches even though there was an oval conference table that seated all of them.
Someone immediately handed her a mug of coffee and a copy of the meetings itinerary and she sat down at the conference table. Seeing this, the other members started to fill in the remaining seats until only five seats remained open. Even though there were fifteen members of the council only five of them actually voted. Sakura had given them the nickname Fearsome Five: five boys named Deidara, Hidan, Sasori, Itachi and Kisame.
The five remained standing.
Sakura quickly apologized for her tardiness even though she was twenty minutes early and the meeting got underway, lead by student council president Itachi. On the outside Itachi was the picture of perfection. He was the very definition of tall dark and handsome but when his cold black eyes landed on someone it felt as if they were under harsh scrutiny. When Sakura felt the eyes land on her face, her sea-green eyes immediately bobbed and weaved to avoid his.
"Sakura," he finally said. "I've been hearing rumors that Sasuke has left the Bishonen Princes."
It wasn't exactly a question because Itachi knew it was true and so did most of the room. She felt everyone give her sympathetic glance as Itachi stepped closer. Sakura could feel a headache coming on.
"I thought we made it clear that we didn't want to hear about anymore of his…antics."
The Bishonen Princes was a fundraiser idea started by the Fearsome Five their freshman year at Konoha Academy. The five of them marketed themselves as the epitome of what a student at Konoha Academy should strive to be: smart, talented, good looking, and most importantly successful. Never mind that the five of them came from wealthy families and they needed only say their surnames to get what they wanted. But it didn't matter. Itachi along with the other four created calendars, buttons, t-shirts, hosted two fundraisers and organized a few school events and turned themselves into the idols of the school.
The fundraiser was so successful that Itachi expanded it into a club and recruited Sasuke (his younger brother) and two others, Neji and Gaara to take over for them. Sakura along with her best friend and roommate Ino had been recruited as part of the Bishonen Princes prep-team and organizers.
Sakura was put in charge as president of the club and acted as the link between the student council and the club. Her cousin Tenten and another girl named Hinata were assigned to marketing and recruitment. There were also a network of other students who helped with sales and technology. But the sole faces of the club were the Tragic Trio, another of Sakura's nicknames. Tragic because the price of being a member of the club was an ironclad contract that was renewed at the end of each year.
"Perhaps it's for the best," Sasori said, saving Sakura from Itachi's intense gaze. "He has been acting like a brat ever since the calendar shoot last semester."
"I say we smack some sense into him," said Kisame, a burly senior who was Itachi's second in command.
Itachi smirked, as if he had done just that. "I'm afraid that's illegal."
"Sasuke's under contract," said Hidan, addressing the whole room. "Until that contract ends he has to fulfill his Bishonen responsibilities. It's up to all of us to make sure he does that."
"I say we find someone else to replace him," Deidara said. "A fresh face would be perfect for the club."
"That would mean holding auditions," Sasori replied. "We've already combed through every student in this school and they all can't compete with Neji, Gaara and Sasuke. With the semester just starting we don't have many options."
"Get him under control," Itachi said. Sakura clinched the hem of her skirt under the table to keep herself from running out of the room. "Understood?"
Sakura nodded. "Understood."
The rest of the meeting went on as usual with budget reports, and event planning. The entire time Sakura felt the eyes of the Fearsome Five slid over her. The instant they were dismissed she called her team together.
The looks Sasuke Uchiha received when he uttered his protest were not what he was used to getting so he defiantly crossed his arms and repeated himself.
"I won't do it," he said in a toneless voice. He intensified the glare he was giving the four girls surrounding his desk to punctuate his point. None of them flinched but he could sense a subtle shift as their panic started to rise.
"Sasuke," Sakura started steadily, as if she was afraid to scare him off. "You and I both know there's no way the council will let you out of your contract."
Sakura Haruno, Sasuke observed, was the type of girl who changed her hair three times a year but if you missed a meeting, cut her off mid-sentence, or left crumbs on her four thousand dollar Ethan Allen coffee table, her face would turn various degrees of red and she'd have an apocalyptic meltdown.
Sakura inhaled loudly and Sasuke knew he was about to hear a very long lecture that involved underlined parts of his contract so his eyes found the patch on her scalp that wasn't dyed pink (her color choice that week). In that instant he decided, like that small patch of dark brown hair on her head, he wouldn't yield to her will any longer. He had put up with belonging to the club only because his brother had requested it (blackmailed him) and if he was being honest with himself he had nothing better to do with his time. He had perfect grades, popularity and model worthy cheek bones but he couldn't help feeling there was something he was missing. Certainly not friends, he had little patience for those. As for lovers, well, he had a revolving door of those but they were also expandable.
"It's your responsibility," Hinata said, making him surface from his thoughts. He was wondering how long the second-in-command would take to speak up. Hinata Hyuuga was just as formidable as Sasuke when it came to looks and talent but since she was painfully shy it made it hard for her to make friends. She had long straight black hair that fell into perfect waves around her petite frame, a full mouth, soft porcelain skin and kind lilac eyes. If only she'd come out of her shell.
Sasuke's bored black eyes shifted to glance at her and she immediately blushed.
"You can't just quit," a voice huffed from his left. Sasuke almost smiled. Tenten was the only one of the four that didn't put up with his behavior. She also had the advantage of being a close friend of his family. The fourth and final one who curiously hadn't given him any grief yet was Ino. She was a tall beautiful blond girl but since she didn't have Hinata's natural grace and talent Sasuke had lost interest in her the minute he bed her.
"We could really use your help here Ino," Sakura said to the blond girl standing next to her opposite of Sasuke. Ino wasn't listening to Sakura though. She kept turning to look behind her towards the front of the classroom. Sasuke almost chalked it up to her short attention span but she had been doing it since the four of them cornered him at his desk.
"Go away. All of you." He closed his eyes and leaned his head back as if he was taking a nap. "This isn't even your class room."
There was a brief moment of silence as the girls exchanged looks. Sasuke stretched and pretended they weren't there. It was easy enough. He had pretended they hadn't existed for years before his brother created this "club".
"Who is that?" Ino asked, her attention now consumed by the front of the classroom. The girls turned around to face the direction she was looking at. It was hard to tell since a small crowd had gathered around a single figure sitting down.
"New kid, he transferred yesterday," Tenten said automatically. If there was something that was happening at the school Tenten would know about it.
Sakura looked at Tenten skeptically, "Transfer?"
"I thought this school didn't accept transfers," voiced Hinata.
"Rumor is that he's the godson of the dean," Tenten replied giving a shrug.
Sasuke didn't bother to look up. This new transfer was obviously mysterious enough to keep the girls attention away from him and whatever stole their attention was probably not worthwhile. Unfortunately the dull tone of the school bell prevented the girls from joining the small crowd of worshippers. They tried to speak to him again but finally left his side when there was only two minutes left until the final bell.
"We'll talk later," Sakura said over her shoulder.
Sasuke turned his attention to the polished window he sat next to. He silently thanked the distraction in the front of the room again, knowing that their teacher would be late as usual so the students needed something to preoccupy their time. Sasuke's curiosity got the better of him though and he found his ears perking up enough to listen in on the group that was growing more apparent in his peripheral vision.
"Umm…I just arrived today." He heard the transfer, who was apparently male, say. "Yes, I know transfers are...rare."
Sasuke almost felt sorry for this boy, he must have answered that question a thousand times since he had sat down, there was weary edge to his voice. Very slowly, Sasuke turned his head to see this seemingly interesting person only to find he was staring at the backs of his classmates. Confused, Sasuke looked around. He and two other people were the only ones sitting down. The other two, Sasuke observed, were too busy making-out to notice. Sasuke glared at the large crowd of students surrounding the new arrival. How interesting was this kid?
"So how'd you pull it off?" it was that idiot Kiba. "Is the dean really your godmother?"
Everyone went still before the center of attention sighed, mumbling something. There was a brief moment of silence before everyone burst out laughing. Sasuke caught a glimpse of Kiba turning bright red. Great, the new arrival was a comedian too. Deciding that it wasn't really worth his time, Sasuke turned back to the window. The class was too busy fawning over the new student to notice the teacher entering.
"Good morning class," Kakashi called in a sing song voice.
"Good morning," the class sang back, quickly shuffling to their seats.
"Ah, I see we have a new student, why don't you introduce yourself?" Kakashi said his eyes twinkling at the new arrival.
Sasuke pulled away from the window in time to see the student stand in front of the classroom.
"I'm Naruto." The new transfer grinned showing off a row of perfectly white teeth. "Nice to meet all of you." After a pause he furrowed his eyebrows then added, "Again."
The class giggled as Naruto resumed his seat and Kakashi started his lesson. All the while Sasuke sat frozen in his seat staring at the back of Naruto's head.