No one can deny its grandeur. The building stood tall and confident, casting a shadow that stretched longer than the eye could see. The building was light brown, with bricks that you could tell were older than generations and yet showed not a single crack on them. It was surrounded by lush gardens and ponds spilling with life in them.
This was a new school. High school. A big deal. This school was made for the purpose of housing people who were gifted; people who’s proven to have multiple talents, not only just in quirks but also in character. Naruto’s quirk was cloning and body morphing. Not a lot of students could do that, but that wasn’t a big deal to him. To him, his real talent was climbing. He could climb anything. Nothing was ever too small. Except this building.
Before he came to this school, he thought of ways to stand out from his peers. His original plan was to climb the top of the building and make multiple clones of himself to announce his arrival.
But after seeing the sheer magnitude of the building’s height, he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Nonetheless, he still had a huge smile on his face.
It was a new challenge. Another thing to climb.
He looked around, trying to find where the center of attention was but the groups were scattered all over the lawn. There were groups of people with their books discussing about the things in their books and all of the stuff that brings with it. They were not the people he was looking for.
He turned around and saw them. The jocks. The men of the football team. Those were the people he needed the attention. Naruto stomped boldly over to them.
“Hey!” Naruto yelled, slamming his fist on his chest. “I want to join the football team!”
Kiba turns around slowly, visibly annoyed.
“You think you’re first person to ask that? I already got ten people ask me that today,” he let out a tired sigh, “look try outs are tomorrow, ok? Leave me alone.” Kiba then begins turn back to his group.
Naruto grabs him before he could rest.
“I want to join today! Let me be a part of the team! I can try out and show you what I can do!” Naruto yelled confidently.
Kiba pauses and examines Naruto.
“Can what you today, you can do tomorrow?” he asked.
“Then do it tomorrow.” Kiba tries to shrug Naruto off him but Naruto’s grip is strong.
“Ok then how about I come with you guys to practice?”
“Get off me!”
He then goes forward to push Naruto but Naruto spins out of the way resulting with Kiba to trip and fall to the ground.
Naruto towered over Kiba.
“That’s what you call a spin move right?” Naruto said with a grin that spread from ear to ear.
Laughter erupted in the background. Kiba’s eyes were filled with anger.
“Hey, why don’t we all just relax, huh?” Choji said, trying to get in between the two of them, “Look, class is about to begin, and we don’t need to fight about anything.”
“Fight?” Naruto said confused. “I was just showing off my moves to him.”
Kiba gets up and glares at Naruto. Then, the bell rings. School is about to begin
“You can show your moves tomorrow. That’s when try outs are. I am not discussing this any further.” Kiba turns around and walks to class. The rest of the current football team follows with him.
Naruto smiles again. He had done what he set out to do. Grab the attention of the football team.
Things seem to be turning out in his favor here at this school.
No one can deny its dreariness. The building towered over its subjects, swallowing them in its oppressing shadow that reached farther than the eye could see. Its subjects matching the building in its dreadfulness with their conformity to the system of education that constantly barrages its students with meaningless tasks in hopes of one day turning them into a computer that operates at society’s bidding: lacking originality and personal thought.
This wasn’t Sasuke’s first time attending Sarutobi High. He had attended the summer program that the school gave to incoming freshmen. The program was fine; the main goal was to find an activity that was related to your quirk and train in it. Sasuke chose hiking but he would usually sneak away deep in the forest when it was his group’s turn to go hiking on a nearby trail.
He met the Taka gang like that. All of them were also in hiking, and when they saw him sneak off, they decided to go join him.
Honestly, they were the best thing about summer.
Lucky for Sasuke, they were also attending Sarutobi High with him because he couldn’t handle school and would always sneak off on his own.
Now, he could sneak off with other people.
Sasuke sat down on a bench that was placed across The Pond. The Pond sat in the center of the school’s lawn and was always populated with people.
It was always fun watching these children interact. It was like watching dumb animals run and bark at each other. The animals putting so much value in something like popularity and social acceptability when in the end it didn’t matter. Death comes for us all.
Sasuke knew this firsthand
As he sat, observing the specimen, Suigetsu approached Sasuke stealthily, possibly trying to surprise him. Sasuke turned around before Suigetsu had the drop on him.
“Nice try” Sasuke said in monotone.
“Crap, I thought I could get you this time,” Suigetsu sighed. “Do you really leave your quirk on all the time?”
“I can’t let anyone catch me off guard,” Sasuke said sternly.
“Still though. That’s too much energy. If I left my quirk on all the time, I’d always be tired and dreeary…annnd dreaaaadfuuulll,” Suigetsu slowly started morphing into liquid.
“Stop,” Sasuke said sternly. He tried looking at him angrily but couldn’t help but find it a little funny. A smile passed through his angry face.
Suigetsu morphed back to normal. “So where’s Karin and Jugo?”
“I don’t know about Jugo but right now, Karin is talking to her classmates. She has a different homeroom than us.”
“She does?! Why didn’t she tell me this!”
“She did but we were high when she told us.”
Suigetsu’s face was filled with confusion. “When was this?”
“I think a couple days ago. I know it was recent cause I remember you giving me your lighter that day.”
“We didn’t get high recently,” Suigetsu started scratching his head, trying to think. “Last time we smoked was at Jugo’s birthday party.”
“Yeah, that was last week.”
Suigetsu sat down next to Sasuke and joined him in his observation. It didn’t last long for the observing was interrupted by loud laughter that erupted from behind them. Suigetsu turned around. He started laughing.
Suigetsu started nudging him on his arm. “You’re seeing this, Sasuke?”
“Yeah,” he said in monotone.
There was a crowd of people surrounding two people.
One of them was red hot, angry about something.
The other had their head in the concrete.
Sasuke watched them, bored.
It looked like a normal building.
Normal bricks, normal walls, stairs, etc. The only notable thing about the building was its lawn, which was filled with bushes and flowers. The lawn was in front of the building and at the center of the lawn was what was called The Pond. Really it was an over glorified pool with a fountain in the middle. The main thing about The Pond was that’s where the really popular people hang out. If you weren’t popular, sitting at The Pond is something you shouldn’t consider. Instead, try sitting at one of the four benches that sat on each corner of the brown tile that surrounded The Pond and watch how life is in the popular circle from the outside. But Sakura wasn’t pathetic like those losers. She won’t be content with sitting on the outside, never participating.
Sakura’s goal for freshman year was to sit at The Pond.
It was going to be tough; she knew this. Most of the popular kids became popular through either family, grades, or being on the football team. But girls weren’t allowed on the guy football team, her grades could never top Neji’s or hell, even Tenten, and her family were nobody special. Though, she knew that a Uchiha went to this school and he’s known as a bum so maybe family wasn’t everything. But still, if her grades aren’t great and her gender hasn’t changed, how could she get a seat at The Pond?
It was simple really. Date one of the popular guys.
Sakura knew she wasn’t the most attractive girl at school but looks aren’t everything; however, they are something, so she made sure to get her hair done the day before as well as buy new makeup and clothes in preparation for the school year. She was not risking anything, her butt belonged on that stone wall that surrounded the pool. She wasn’t going to risk losing a spot at The Pond because she was looking like a five out of ten instead of an eight. But, even so, the guy she was aiming for was not the typical kind of guy. She knew he wouldn’t be swooned by a pretty face and a push up bra. He was a man of intellect, a man who still valued the qualities of a true women and the most popular guy at school. He wouldn’t just go after a pretty face but a smart girl who could keep up with his intelligence and add value to his life.
Who also happens to have a pretty face.
Neji was the most popular guy at school, so securing him would also secure a spot at The Pond. Then, she too would become one of the popular girls at school. The guys would be all over her. The girls all jealous. Everybody wishing to be like her and not the other way around.
She entered the school lawn ready. She had planned out everything. Every scenario, both good and bad, she planned for. Sakura knew what she had to do.
- Walk towards the pond.
- Drop textbooks on the floor to catch his attention
- Since he’s a nice guy, he will help pick up the books.
- Brush each other’s hand when trying to pick up the same book.
- Share a long gaze into each other’s eyes (Make sure to apply good eyeliner and lashes beforehand)
- Ask for his name. Act like the new kid.
- Get his number
- Secure bag.
It was simple and every scenario was planned out. If he didn’t help pick up the books, she planned for that. If she didn’t get his number, she planned for that. If the gaze became awkward, she planned for that. Nothing was getting in her way.
She heard it. It was a voice that pierced her soul. The sound trembled through her entire body, shaking all her internal organs. Goosebumps shot up so fast it was as if they were trying to race each away from her body.
This was the one thing she didn’t plan for.
The arrival of Ino Yamanaka.
“Sakura, hey!” Ino rushed behind her and wrapped her arm around her neck like a cobra ready to squeeze its prey. “I didn’t know you go to school here,” Ino said with the same fake smile she always wore.
Sakura responded back with a smile of her own.
“Oh yeah, I applied here a while ago.”
“Well, that’s nice.” Ino examined Sakura’s entire body. “You look nice today.”
“Oh really? You think so? You look nice too,” Sakura said trying hard to upkeep her friendliness. She didn’t want to embarrass herself on the first day of freshman year.
“Thanks. Your eyeliner needs a little work, but besides that and the dress, you look really nice,” Ino said, smiling.
“Thank you, you do too. I mean, your hair could use some work and your eye shadow doesn’t look that great, but besides that, you look incredible!” Sakura almost broke character while saying that. Her anger was boiling.
“But you don’t always look this nice. Who are you trying to impress today?” Ino looked around the lawn, trying to figure out who Sakura was dressing nice for.
“Nobody really. I just wanted to look nice for the first day of school,” she replied and almost continued talking if not for noticing that Ino wasn’t listening to her at all. She was muttering to herself, eliminating boys by the second.
“Really Ino, I just wanted to look nice. I’m not trying to imp-“
“You were going to impress one of the boys at THE POND?” Ino burst out laughing. “Which one is it? Sai? No, he’s too artsy, even for you. Shino? Ew. I mean, maybe, you do look like an insect.”
“Ino, I swear I came dressed like this for no reason. I’m not here to IMPRESS anyone!” Sakura’s smile was fading away. Her anger was started to show. She pushed Ino’s arm off her.
“I think you’re the type of girl who would go after Neji.”
Sakura’s smile was now gone. She glared at Ino, completely consumed by anger.
“Jackpot,” Ino said with a devilish grin. “I know you like to plan a lot but that isn’t going to work.”
Sakura gritted her teeth, her fist clenched tightly.
“I know you were thinking that Neji would go for a girl like you, but he wouldn’t,” Ino touched Sakura’s forehead with the tip of her acrylic. “Especially with your five head.”
“He has way too many girls who are sliding in trying to do the same thing you do. However…” Ino gazed at Neji. “Not many girls have the same homeroom class as him.”
“No, you’re lying,” Sakura fretted.
“Nope. Homeroom class 1A. I’m with the smart kids. My dad knows someone who knows Sarutobi and got me a spot in the class. Maybe I should snag a seat next to him and we could talk about history or math or whatever he’s into…Maybe talk about it in his room at night.”
“Stop it,” Sakura begged. “Don’t talk to him.”
“Why? He’s attractive and I can’t help myself. And an attractive person deserves to spend time with another attractive person.”
It hurt even more because Ino was more attractive than her. She knew that Ino had a chance to screw this up. It was the first day of school and already all her planning was out the window. Ino knew this. She knew everything about her; she figured out exactly what she was doing in a matter of minutes.
But she didn’t know one thing.
Sakura came to this school because she wanted to become a skilled doctor. Her quirk was healing, and she wanted to learn more about the quirk and how to use it better but, when she signed on for the summer program, she decided to instead train on her other quirk.
Without thinking, she swung her arm. She had trained on how to give a good punch, one that could do damage.
She was tired of Ino and she always got in the way of everything. She was tired that Ino could do anything without even having a quirk. She was tired that Ino was so pretty. She was tired that she was so ugly.
And when she swung her arm, she didn’t feel tired anymore but relieved.
Unfortunately, Sakura didn’t pay too much attention to the self-defense classes they offered in the program. Her first swing didn’t connect with Ino’s face. Ino responded by clawing at Sakura’s face, scratching and leaving marks on her cheek.
Of course she was the better fighter.
This made her madder. Sakura’s face became red hot. She ignored the laughter from the crowd that started to form around them. She was taking Ino down once and for all.
Sakura backed away from Ino’s reach, reading herself for another punch. This time, she was making sure it would connect. Ino came in close, ready for another scratch. She swung her claws at her. Sakura crouched under the attack. Then, counteracted with an uppercut.
It was a direct hit.
Ino flew. It was beautiful. It seemed like it was in slow motion. Her body flying a foot off the ground and coming back, slamming the concrete.
Victory was hers.
She turned around and saw them. Adults rushing towards her. They dragged her away into the school while some rushed to Ino to check and see if she was okay.
She was fine. Ino was only acting like she was hurt.
Its not like this is the first fight they’ve ever gotten into.
Name: Sakura Haruno
Partial Normal X Higher Enhanced Super
Additional Quirks: (Normal) Healing
Reason for Detention:
Fighting non quirk student with quirks
Date of Incident: Time of Incident:
18-20-08 7:58 AM
Teacher: Time of Detention:
Kakashi Hatake 18-20-08 4:10 PM
I'm sorry I didnt update for a while, but I'm going to try and keep this going. Just be patient with me.
The entire homeroom class turned to Naruto, but he didn’t care. He was just too excited.
“IRUKA! YOU’RE MY HOMEROOM TEACHER?!” Naruto grabbed his head, trying to contain himself, but it was Iruka Umino. His elementary english teacher. The only person who’s really stuck by him his entire life. Been more of a father than Sarutobi. How low of a chance this could’ve been.
Iruka let out an embarrassed smile.
“It’s Mr. Umino, Naruto,” Iruka sighed. “Yes, I got the job over the summer and wanted to surprise you. But we can talk about this later, class is about to begin,” he pointed Naruto to his seat and urged him to sit down. Naruto cooperated.
As he sat down, Iruka began to take attendance. As he took attendance, Naruto saw this as opportunity to set himself out from his peers (again).
He wasn’t as nervous as he was before. This time, he was going to do what he planned to do earlier, just in a smaller setting.
“Shikamaru Nara…” Iruka called
“Here,” he answered.
Naruto’s name was soon. He was ready.
After a while, Iruka paused and looked at Naruto. He mouthed something to him, but Naruto couldn’t tell what he was trying to say, but he was keeping track and knew his name was next.
Naruto immediately made two clones of himself. All three of them sprung up and posed like they were in an action movie, each making finger guns and pointing them at differing directions. Then, in unision, they cried “HERE” and let out a huge smile.
The entire class said nothing. It was completely silent. They all stared, not even cracking a smile.
“Well, it was worth a shot,” one of the clones said. Both of them disintegrated, turning into air.
Naruto sat down feeling a little embarrassed. He really thought that would work.
“Ahem… Karin Yukinari,” Iruka continued.
He forgot how exhausting class was. Staying in a room all day, learning about things like numbers and stuff. Naruto either slept or doodled throughout the entire first half of the day. But finally, he could escape. It was time for lunch.
Lunch had been something that had always made him uncomfortable. He sat alone most of the time, so each day, he had to figure out where he was supposed to sit at. He also made sure to always rush to lunch because if he’s late, there would be no spots available. Naruto quickly grabbed his lunch and scouted the area. There, he saw it. An empty long table. Naruto ran to the table and said in the middle and waited. After a little bit, more kids came in, and then eventually, the cafeteria was crowded with children. There were very little spots to sit at and even fewer long tables.
Still, nobody sat next to Naruto. He decided to stop waiting and eat his food alone.
Today’s menu was a chicken sandwich, apple slices, potato salad, and milk for a drink. Naruto was starving, he doesn’t eat all that often and the summer was cruel to his stomach. He ate everything, even the potato salad, which he always hated but after the summer, he found a new appreciation for food since it wasn’t guaranteed.
“Look at you, finally eating potato salad.”
Naruto looked up and grinned. It was Mr. Umino.
“It’s actually really good,” he said with his mouth full.
“I told you so,” Iruka sat down next to him and opened his lunch box.
He had an apple, two turkey sandwiches, bottled water, bag of chips, and a chocolate brownie. Iruka grabbed the brownie and handed it to Naruto.
“So, how are you enjoying your first day of high school?” Iruka began to eat his turkey sandwich.
“It’s fine. The teachers are ok, but Mr. Hatake really didn’t say anything. He looked really tired.” Naruto then devoured the brownie. They were good, as always. He knew that Iruka was a talented baker.
“Yeah, he’s like that all the time. You know, the first time I talked to him, I swear I thought I was really boring him because he literally was falling asleep as I was talking,” Iruka laughed. Naruto did too.
“Did you meet anyone new,” Iruka asked.
“Well, Jiraiya seemed really nice. I talked to him a little about what he did before he was a teacher. Did you know he was in the military?”
“Wow, I didn’t know that. But, what about the students? Did you meet anyone new from them?”
Naruto paused. He felt a little sad from the answer.
“Well, no,” he quickly smiled, not acknowledging his sadness. Iruka put his hand on Naruto’s shoulder.
“It’s ok, you’ll make friends here, I know it. Tomorrow’s another day and you have no idea what is in store so don’t stress, just because today didn’t work out doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t. Plus, you’re really funny, so I know you’ll make friends soon enough,” he said with a reassuring smile. Iruka always knew how to make Naruto happy.
“I hope so, Mr. Umino.”
“Oh, come on, you know you can call me by my first name,” Iruka started scratching Naruto’s hair, “I only said that because the other kids are around, which remember, I don’t want them thinking I’m showing you favoritism, so around the other kids, refer to me as Mr. Umino, ok?”
Naruto smiled. “Ok!”
They continued to talk and eat together until the bell rang for class.
As they both were exiting the cafeteria, still chatting, they were interrupted by someone.
“Naruto. Are you on your free period?”
Naruto looked up and saw him. The man who his relationship with he could never describe.
The principal/owner of this school.
“Yeah, it’s my free period.”
“OK, please come with me to my office.”
Sarutobi glared at Naruto. His eyes looked right into Naruto’s soul, piercing it.
Naruto reluctantly followed Sarutobi to his office.
“You got any on you,” Suigetsu asked.
“No, I didn’t bring any with me,” Sasuke replied.
“What about you, Jugo?”
Jugo ignored him. He was invested in writing in his notebook.
“Why did we sneak onto the roof if we’re not even going to smoke anything?”
“Why do you always want to smoke something, Suigetsu,” Sasuke said annoyed. “I just want to have a chill vibe without smoking.”
“I jUst waNT To HavE a CHiLl vIbE,” Suigetsu mocked.
“Oh shut up.” Sasuke leaned back, putting his weight behind him, allowing his arms to support him up.
“The sun…Star…Night…Moon…” Jugo muttered to himself.
“Whatcha doin,” Suigestsu asked Jugo. He started to investigate the page.
“Well, I’m writing a poem. I’ve decided I want to get into poetry.”
“Oh cool, how much do you have written?”
“I have most of it finished. Just tweaking it a bit. I know it has to be about the beauty of nature. The spiritual energy that nature possess is fascinating. Why is that we come to nature to become relaxed, and never indoors? Why do stressed people always need air, and come outside to get it? It is because nature is expansive. So big, urging us to be free from our cramped, indoor lives, and explore with our minds and souls, allowing us to forget anything that’s been bothering us.”
Sasuke used his perception to see how much was written on the page.
The page was blank. As expected.
Suigetsu looked tired. “I asked how much was written, not for you to go on a tangent about the entire thing.”
Jugo looked at him with contempt. “Well, now you don’t have to ask any more questions.” He then turned back to his notebook.
Suigetsu turned back to the view of the town.
The three of them sat in silence for a while.
It was peaceful.
It reminded Sasuke of his primitive years.
When he was younger, he went on a trip with his uncle, Madara.
Madara took him and Itachi on a camping trip deep in some forest that was an hour away from the Konhagakure capital.
Sasuke remembered how uninterested Madara was during the entire trip. It didn’t seem like he wanted to be there with the two. He remembered how Tobi was nearby, constantly watching over them, and being bothered by that.
He remembered that same cold gaze Itachi always had when he was with Madara. How Itachi would always try to be insubordinate to Madara.
Madara would try sometimes to make Itachi subservient by bringing Tobi over to remind Itachi that Madara was president of the Konhagakure. That Itachi had no power.
He remembered the quiet beatings Tobi gave Itachi in the woods. The seventeen-year-old man would never scream when Tobi beat him so all you could hear was the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind. He would return, without a scratch on his face. It was as if nothing happened.
Madara always made sure to tell Tobi to hit Itachi in the chest or leg area.
He didn’t want the public to know that the president was beating his nephew.
But even then, Itachi’s face never changed around Madara, never once adopting the warm face he always had when he was around Sasuke.
One day, Madara took them up to a cliff to look over the entire forest. The entire time up, Madara and Itachi argued, while Tobi followed closely
But then, they reached the top.
Suddenly, everything shut up. He couldn’t hear anything. Everything cleared his mind.
Tobi, Madara, Itachi, and Sasuke sat down and watched the entire forest for hours, not saying a word. They let the forest take over their minds.
He remembered just watching. Not thinking, not worrying, not being afraid.
The bell rung. Jugo tapped Suigetsu on his shoulder, trying to wake him.
“Huh?” Drool dripped down Suigetsu’s chin. “Oh…”
He got up and followed Jugo towards the door. Sasuke didn’t move.
“You not coming lunch,” Suigetsu asked.
“Huh? Oh. No, I brought my own. I think I’m going to eat up here.” He never once turned away from the view. He was completely immersed in it.
“Ok then we’ll get our lunch and sneak back up here. We'll be right back, after a short break,” Suigetsu said as he disappeared down the stairs that lead to the roof.
"What? Was that supposed to be some kind of joke," Jugo said as he followed Suigetsu. The two of them began to bicker between each other as they went down the stairs.
Sasuke didn’t care if they came back or not. He was too distracted by the view.
He continued to stare, to unbothered to even touch his food.
Then, the roof door opened. Sasuke turned around. Suigetsu and Jugo came back fas-
A lady emerged from the door.
She was alone. In her left hand was a can of beer. In her right, a pack of cigs. She tapped the pack with her thumb and pulled a cigarette out with her teeth.
The woman sat down on one of the ac units, placed the pack and beer down, then lit the cigarette. Then, with her left hand, opened the beer and chugged some of it down.
She then stared into the view, allowing it to consume her as she smoked.
Sasuke watched in shock. He knew who this is.
It was Tsunadae. The head nurse.
Tsunadae was about to give the beer another chug when she noticed him. The fourteen year old boy watching her.
Placed down the beer.
Took another smoke from her cigarette.
Reached into her jacket’s inner pocket.
And pulled out a detention slip.
Sasuke didn’t even say a word.
Name: Saske Uchiha
Partial Normal X Higher Enhanced Super
Additional Quirks: (normaL elemental control over LightnIng
Reason for Detention:
Smoking on the roof. That's why it smelled like smokE
Date of Incident: Time of Incident:
18-20-08 12:15 pM
Teacher: Time of Detention:
Kakashi Hatake 18-20-08 4:10 PM
Naruto waited in the lobby of the principal office while Sarutobi talked to a bunch of adults. He had missed his next class which he was excited for: P.E. He missed it waiting to talk to Sarutobi.
He always did this. Always disregarding Naruto’s own desires and emotions.
“I’m taking care of you, so you will do what I say.”
Always that same statement when any sort of objection came up. And the look that Sarutobi would give him while saying it. A look of disgrace. It was like he was never proud of Naruto. Always acting like it was obligation to take care of him.
“Alright, thank you for coming,” Sarutobi said with the hugest smile. It was off putting to see him with a warm face instead of a cold one.
The adults shook each other’s hands and left. Sarutobi then walked over to the counter and whispered, “Anko, I’m gonna have a meeting with the kid. Could you point all walk in appointments and disciplinary matters on hold while I handle this?”
“Do you want me to send them to Jiraiya?”
“Hmm…Is he free?”
“I think this is his free period. I could call him.”
“Oh,” Sarutobi reconsidered, “actually, let’s not go through the hassle of calling him up and figuring out his schedule, I think this won’t take too long.”
“You really need to get a vice principal Mr. Sarutobi.”
He chuckled, “I do, huh? But, have anybody who comes in just wait in the lobby. I won’t take too long with him.”
Sarutobi walked to where Naruto was sitting. He motioned for the boy to get into the office.
Saurtobi closed the door and stood behind his desk. He waited for Naruto to sit down, then he sat in his throne.
“Today is your first day. How has it been,” Sarutobi said.
“Good,” Naruto responded. Saurtobi showed no interest in what Naruto had to say.
“That’s good. Today, I will be taking you home. I don’t know if it is a good idea for you to take the bus home today.”
“But, because I am taking you home, this means you will have to stay a little later than most students. I have some work to do before I go, like every teacher here, and I can’t go home without finishing it. So, today, you are going to attend detention.”
“Is that clear,” Sarutobi said.
“Yes,” Naruto reluctantly answered.
“Good, since there are no questions, you can leave.”
“Why are you taking me home?”
Sarutobi glared at the kid. Naruto simply got up and left.
“Tell Ms. Mitarashi that you’re done talking to me before you leave,” Sarutobi commanded as Naruto walked out the door.
Just a short extra chapter about the history of the detention room. Thought it would be cool to share.
Detention Room #13
An empty classroom located on the first floor. It was the only room in the entire building without windows.
When the school first opened, all the teachers constantly squabbled about who’s room it belonged too. Nobody wanted to teach kids in what was essentially a dungeon.
First, it was assigned to be the Creative Art room. It worked for a while until there were too many complaints about the lighting and how it was affecting the art. Sarutobi didn’t really care until the art being put to display in the hallways was dark and moody. This made the school seem like it was run by goths, which made some of the parents complain.
Next, it was assigned to be the English room. But, constantly, students were sent to in school suspension because there were no windows for people to space out into during class readings, and that would make students disrupt the classroom out of boredom.
It was then made a storage closet for band after decreases in funding for the school resulted in the termination of creative art as an elective, but then funding decreased again, and the amount of instruments that the school could afford could fit into a janitor closet, so band was also terminated.
For a long time, the room was just an empty storage closet, filled with old instruments, canvases, and after a little more time, cigarette buds. It was an empty room at school that no one even came in to clean, thus allowing students (and sometimes teachers) to sneak in and “chill”.
At first, things went on unbothered until two students were caught just past third base.
Thus for three months, the room was under constant supervision, with Kurenai Yuhi and Asuma Sarutobi having to stay in the room. After school. Almost every day.
(It used to only be one teacher but the same two students who were caught past third base tried to sneak in a quickie while a teacher went to use the bathroom).
Afterwards, it was turned into the detention room at the request of Hiruzen Sarutobi.
When the teachers were asked who would like to become the detention supervisor, Hatake Kakashi immediately volunteered.
It was overtime pay to just do nothing.
Every day since then, Kakashi has supervised detention.
I'm sorry for the wait. Hopefully the length of this chapter makes up for the time lost.
In school suspension is not that bad. I should do this more often, she thought.
Sakura was enjoying her experience inside of ISS. No class, no lectures, just her in a room all by herself. The entire day she was on her phone watching movies, playing games, and when her phone ran out of battery, she started to doodle. She found this to be oddly relaxing: taking her mind off school, teachers, dumb popular kids, Ino, and instead just waiting the day out inside a room with no rules.
She also found it ironic how nice the room was. The ISS room was colored in a comfy green and had a window that faced the pond, where Sakura spent most of her day just staring at. It also had a white carpet that looked very comfortable. Sakura planned on taking a nap on the floor the moment she walked into the room.
There was another tall, skinny window that sat next to the door. It faced the front office, which was where the ISS room was located. When Sakura wasn’t watching the pond and gardens in the front of the school, she was watching the people in the front office. The office was very quiet due to it not having many visitors. All that was heard was the typing on the keyboard done by the secretary and the occasional whispers between the people who happened to come in. It was then that she wished her quirk was hearing related so she could hear the gossip the staff would whisper and giggle to each other like they were in high school.
She kept track of all the people who came into the office. Though never diagnosed to have a quirk related to sight, Sakura was convinced that she had one. Her eyes missed nothing, tracking every detail and examining each person and object immensely. Though, she might’ve been very attentive due to her becoming bored of being on her phone too long. During this attentive examination of her surroundings, she caught the eye of the secretary. The secretary turned around and checked her surroundings. She then got up from her computer and walked over to the ISS room and opened the door.
“My name is Anko,” the secretary said. “Don’t worry about calling me Ms. Mitarashi, I’m not a teacher here. At least, not yet,” she chuckled.
“So, what do you do all day,” Sakura blurted. She didn’t want Anko thinking she was watching her for the past thirty minutes.
“Quick to the point, but in case you couldn’t tell, I get paid $15 an hour to be on twitter,” Anko chuckled.
“No way, that’s awesome,” Sakura exclaimed. She could feel sweat coming down her forehead and her face blushing a little, but she kept her composure. She needed to act unphased by the fact that Anko had noticed her attentive examination.
“Yeah, and it gives me experience hours, so I am just relaxing until I gain enough hours to start working as an actual teacher.”
“Wow, so you want to become a teacher?” I got to change the topic, she thought.
“Yeah, maybe one day a principal,” Anko smiled. “Who knows? Is it hot in here, you look hot.”
Dammit, she knows, she thought. “No, I’m jus-“
“I MEAN like temperature, not like, hot hot…”
They both sat in silence. The awkward moment held both of them captive in its grasp.
“You know, like…” Anko said, hesitantly. “…nevermind.”
Anko’s awkwardness put Sakura at ease. She started to laugh, with the laughter seemingly sucking out the redness and sweat on her face.
“I know what you mean, it’s fine.”
The secretary started to laugh as well. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be awkward. It’s still something I’m still working on.”
All these years and yet, adults still deal with the same issues that she, a freshman in high school, has. It gave Sakura some comfort to know this.
“Anyways, I’m going to head back to ‘work’, if you need anything, just let me know. Also, I have some snacks,” Anko pulled out trail mix and chocolate candy and gave them to Sakura. “Hope you like them.”
“Thank you,” Sakura said.
“No problem, have fun in ISS.”
“You too!” DAMMIT! she thought.
The secretary woke Sakura up from a nap. Sakura got up and cracked her back. The carpet was not as comfy as she thought it was. Still, she enjoyed taking the nap.
“Hey, I’m going to escort you to the detention room now, make sure to not forget anything in here cause I’m going to leave and I’m the only person besides the weird janitor and Principal Sarutobi that has the key to this room.”
Sakura grabbed all her stuff and followed Anko out of the office. They turned left, walking down the brown colored hallway, going past the grey lockers, the class 1B and then her homeroom class 1C. They then reached the end of the building, where the gym was. She could hear some of the students playing inside of there.
“Here it is,” Anko said. Sakura turned left to see a lone door by itself, attached to the wall. It looked as if it didn’t belong there.
“Through here, Mr. Kakashi will sign you in and explain the rules of detention,” the secretary said as she opened the door.
The room was dimly lit. It had cement walls painted over a light blue. There seemed to be some yellow design or pictures painted on the wall, but you couldn’t tell with how dark it was. In the back of the classroom, behind the desks, there was a closet that had paper sticking out of it. Surrounding the closet, there seemed to be musical sheets and drumsticks.
At the front of the class was a chalkboard with “____ Minutes Until Detention Over” on it. In front of the chalkboard was a man sitting at a desk located at the center of the room. The man was invested in his book.
“Mr. Kakashi, this is Sakura Haruno, she will be attending detention today.”
Kakashi slowly looked up from his book. His eyes traced with bags made contact with Sakura’s eyes traced with mascara. The stare did not last for more than a second, but within that time, the teacher seemed to have completely examined and drawn a conclusion about her using only his eyes.
Those red colored eyes. They stared deep, piercing the flesh and looking only at the soul. She felt that trying to hide something from those eyes would be useless for they could not miss a detail.
“Hm. Okay. Girl, sign in on this sheet with your name and ID number,” the man tossed to her a sheet of notebook paper with names already written on it. He then turned back to his book.
Sakura began to write down her name.
“Make sure to write your last name first, then your first name. Thank you,” Kakashi said, without looking at her or the paper.
“Alright, have fun. It was nice talking to you, Sakura,” Anko whispered.
Sakura fought the urge to not say ‘you too’ that time, but in hindsight, it would’ve probably been appropriate.
Anko then walked out of the room and shut the door behind her.
The room contained two other students inside.
One student with long, black hair, sat in the far-left corner of the room. The boy was leaned back in his chair and fiddling with his thumbs. He seemed to be in a world of is own.
The other student with yellow hair sat at the far-right wall, doodling on a piece of paper. He seemed to be in his own world too.
With where these two are sitting, it seems that Sakura would have to sit at the middle.
It is the worst spot to sit in. It has zero cover, which means she couldn’t get away with being on her phone. Though, considering the way the teacher looked at her, he probably has a high perception quirk so she wouldn’t have gotten away with it anyways.
There was a stack of notebook paper on the desk Kakashi was sitting at, but she wasn’t much of a drawer. Every time Sakura attempted drawing, she would become quickly frustrated of it due to her pictures never coming the way she wants it too. She once tried drawing a picture of a boy and it ended up looking like a picture of an egg with eyes.
The girl sat down in the middle of the room, taking a sheet of paper anyways because why not.
It’s only an hour, she told herself. I’ll try sleeping through detention.
She laid her down and closed her eyes. She tried to clear her mind, concentrating purely on sleeping.
“No sleeping is allowed during detention.” The teacher then continued reading.
Sakura sat up, disappointed that she could not sleep through detention. She then grabbed a pen and started doodling random shapes on her paper.
And she drew.
And kept drawing.
Circles. Squares. Lines. Stars.
She drew them all.
All for fifteen minutes.
The damn squares always looked like rectangles. All the circles were never perfect, no matter how hard she tried. The lines were never straight. The stars looked cool though.
Sakura heard a whisper coming from her left. She turned to the sound.
It was the kid with yellow hair.
“Whatcha drawing,” he whispered.
She looked at him, then to the paper, and back to the boy.
“I… don’t know,” she admitted.
“Oh that’s cool, I was trying to draw that kid in the corner. He refuses to talk to anyone. Maybe he’s one of those kids who don’t know how to talk? Or, that’s just his quirk? Do you think that his quirk is that he lets fire out of his mouth and he can’t talk because if he does, fire comes out? I don’t know, it’s been bothering me for this entire time-“
He would not stop talking. It was like he was making sure to not have silence in their conversation. When his rant would die down, he went onto another tangent, and continued doing this for at least five minutes, though it felt much longer than that.
“What’s your name?”
Took him long enough to ask. “It’s Sakura Haruno. What about you?”
“Naruto,” he smiled.
“Do you not have a last name?” Sakura looked at him confused.
The kid looked down awkwardly, putting on a sad smile. “Most kids like me don’t tend to have last names.”
“Nobody knows who my parents are.”
Sakura then felt like a dick for thinking that Naruto was annoying.
“Oh man, that’s…terrible,” she said with empathy.
Sakura and Naruto both looked to the far-left corner of the room to see where the noise came from. It was the kid who might’ve had a fire breathing quirk up until now. She now got a better look at him. His hair was more of a dark blue than just black, his eyes having a similar red quality to them as Kakashi’s except a lot more subtle and not as bright (and certainly not as intimidating). His hair was very long, almost reaching his shoulders, and they covered most of his face, only revealing some of his eyes and the bottom half of his face. The boy also looked a lot smaller than she had first perceived, possibly even smaller than her.
“Yo, what’s your quirk?”
The boy looked at Naruto confused. “Why does that matter?”
“He thinks your quirk is breathing fire.”
“Why would he think that?”
Naruto blurted, “it’s ‘cause you didn’t respond when I said hi!” He looked mad.
“What are you, a child,” the boy scoffed. It was like he read her mind.
“What’s your quirk,” Naruto persisted.
“Like I said already, why does it matter?”
Sakura intervened. “Just tell the guy your quirk, he went on for thirty minutes talking about it.”
“Yeah,” Naruto exclaimed. He was just as dumb as he sounded.
“It’s just perception and lightning control and sh-“ he glanced at the teacher. “And stuff,” he finished.
Sakura glanced back at the teacher too. They were having a conversation with someone across the room and hadn’t been told to stop yet. Sure they were whispering, but it was very loud whispers and with only three people in a small room, it sounded like they were talking at a normal volume. Kakashi still hadn’t moved his head away from his book. His body was slumped over, with his right arm keeping his head and body from touching the desk while his left arm held his book up, covering his face.
She noticed that her glance had turned to stare when everyone else had stopped talking as well to look at the teacher.
“Hey,” Sakura whispered, pointing at the long-haired kid across the room. “Use that perception quirk to see what he’s doing.”
“I already did. He’s sleeping. Why do you think I started talking to you guys?”
“What’s your name,” Naruto blurted, not holding back his voice.
The long-haired dude looked at Naruto in confused awe. “Christ man, can’t you see we’re trying to see if the teacher is asleep.”
“I thought you guys already determined that,” Naruto said, still not restraining his voice.
“But, now we have to be cautious cause he could wake up to us talking if we make too much noise,” Sakura hissed. She was getting annoyed of this kid.
“OOOOoooooohhh,” Naruto’s said, his voice going from normal back to whispered. “but what’s your name?”
The dude sighed, took one more quick glance at the teacher then slithered his way towards Naruto and Sakura, being careful to not make any noise. He sat in the desk right behind Sakura.
“It’s Sasuke. What’re your’s,” he whispered, looking at them both.
“It’s Naruto,” he whispered. It was still loud but at least he was whispering.
Sasuke turned to her. Sakura was getting a much better look at him now. He had a nice chin and small button nose. He took up a lot after his uncle Madara, possessing that same round yet sharp facial structure as the president. The similarities were uncanny; he could pass off as Madara’s son with how similar they looked. She found Sasuke to be quite attractive even though his hair looked very rough. That man needed a hair cut and soon.
If only Sasuke was taller.
“Like the flower,” Sasuke asked.
“Noooo, like the coffee shop just off of 2nd and Ontario that opened in 1992 by a family of four, Riley, Miley, Kylie, and Matthew, ” she quipped.
“Whoa, already with the sarcasm. Didn’t know that asking something like that would offend you,” Sasuke said, putting his hands up in surrender.
“Sorry, usually people ask me that question after asking my name like it wasn’t obvious. It’s literally in the name.”
“Nobody asks what my name means,” Naruto interjected.
“What does your name mean,” Sasuke sighed.
The kid stared at Sasuke blankly, trying to think of the meaning behind his name.
“Who knows,” he chuckled. “What does your name mean, Sasuke?”
“Sometimes, a name is just a name,” he responded.
“I heard you were named after some military leader in the past,” Sakura said.
“That’s what my uncle says, but he didn’t name me. My dad did.”
“Wait…” The gears were starting to click in Naruto’s head. It seemed he just figured out something. “YOU’RE UNCLE IS MADARA UCHIHA, ISN’T IT?!”
It was a subtle movement, but Kakashi moved nonetheless. They didn’t know whether or not he woke up, so all three of them spun around to face the front of the class. Each remained silent, refusing to move out of fear of making any sort of noise.
After some time, Sakura whispered, “is he asleep, Sasuke?” She made sure not to turn her head or move her mouth.
“I don’t know. His eyes are open, but they aren’t moving,” Sasuke whispered back, also making sure not to move. “I’m pretty sure he isn’t asleep because his eyes were closed before.”
“I still can’t believe your uncle is the president,” Naruto said in awe, following suit in Sasuke and Sakura’s refusal to move.
“Stupid, do you not know what whispering is?!” she hissed.
“Oops Sorry,” Naruto shrugged, still not whispering. This was the hundredth time they had both told him to whisper, yet he still had not.
All three sat in silence again for a while.
Until, suddenly, Kakashi rose from his desk and walked towards the door. He murmured something as he walked out of the room and shut the door behind him.
They turned to each other, then to the door, then back to each other. Sakura turned to Naruto having a huge grin and Sasuke still keeping that same not mad but certainly not happy look on his face.
If only he was taller, she thought.
Sasuke and Sakura turned to Naruto in unison. They couldn’t believe what had just came out of his mouth.
Naruto still had that same, stupid grin on his face.
“Are you an idiot, if the teacher comes back to an empty classroom, we’ll all get in trouble,” Sasuke said.
“Why would we get in trouble if we never left,” Naruto asked. It seemed like his grin got even wider than it had before. He was onto something…
Sakura decided to play along. “What do you mean?”
“You guys never asked what my quirk was,” Naruto smirked.
“Hurry on with the reveal, he could be back any minute. I think he said he was going to use the bathroom,” Sasuke said.
“It’s cloning… and body morphing,” he smiled. It was like he made a huge plan and it worked out perfectly.
“So what,” Sasuke asked.
Are you dumb, she asked, though not letting her words out. As much as he was known to be sort of a bum, that was the president’s nephew. She wasn’t about to back talk him.
“I can clone all three of us and morph each of the clones to look like us,” Naruto said, spelling out the obvious.
But, a more pressing concern was on Sakura’s mind. “Wouldn’t that strain your body? Making three different clones all morphed into people you just met would put a strain on anybody.”
“Only if they’re doing complex tasks. Plus, making clones is a specialty of mine. I tend make clones a..” Naruto donned that same sad smile again. “…lot more than I should.”
Christ, I hope he doesn’t make clone girlfriends, she thought.
“Okay, make the clones, we’ve wasted enough time already,” Sasuke said in a hushed tone. “I don’t sense him yet, but my skills are limited, so I can’t what’s outside in the hallway.”
“Right! Right, on it!” Naruto exclaimed. He then turned to Sakura and stared at her hard, analyzing every detail of her body, from the top of her head to her toes.
Wait, if he clones me, does this mean that he’s going to know how I look when I’m naked? She tried to get the thought out of her head. He’s cloning me, right? So, he’ll have a knowledge of how I look like. Or better question, to make my clone more accurate, should I tell him my bra size? I’m not wearing a push up or anything, but can he tell? But if I do, he’ll clone my breasts accurately, so he’ll really know how I look like under there. But, if I don’t, what if he makes them too big? Or small? She looked at herself. Would the teacher even notic-
Her thought was interrupted by a POP sound. She turned around to see a light mist covering a small area next to Sasuke. A figure stood in the middle of the mist, covered by thin smoke.
There she was. She noticed that some of her features were slightly changed. She had a sharper jawline. She now possessed cheekbones. Her nose was a lot more defined and her eyebrows were thicker. And her skin was perfect, have a consistent skin tone and zero bags under her eyes.
That’s when she realized it.
“Naruto, that’s not how I look like. That clone doesn’t have make up on. You made a clone based off of my make-up, not me.”
“I don’t see any difference,” Sasuke said, examining the clone hard. He wouldn’t understand anyways, he was a boy.
“I think if Sasuke, with his perception quirk, doesn’t notice anything, then it’s fine. Now, time for the other two clones,” Naruto said. Sakura noticed a sweat on his brow.
“Hey, are you sure there isn’t a strain on you when doing this?”
“The hard part is making the clones. But after the clones are made, I won’t feel anything. It’s just…I usually just make clones of myself. I never make clones of other people,” he said with a pained grin.
At least that answers the question of whether he makes clone girlfriends she thought. Naruto was starting to warm up to her a little bit.
Two pops later, and the clones were finished. Naruto was sweating hard at the end of it, but he seemed to be truthful about how the hard part was over for his face turned from pained to relief. He then made the clones move to the seats that the original three were sitting in.
“Voila! It is finished,” Naruto exclaimed.
“Good, let’s get the hell out-,” Sasuke said, but he stopped. He went from a not mad but certainly not happy face to just straight serious. “Naruto, kill the clones.”
“What do you mean,” Naruto turned around. He then made a quiet eek sound and immediately the clone exploded into cloud of dust.
Well dammit, she thought. She already knew that they had been caught. Slowly, Sakura turned around.
Except it wasn’t Kakshi that found them.
It was Principal Sarutobi.
The car ride was silent.
Naruto could feel the anger coming from Sarutobi. The man’s hands were tightly gripped on the wheel of the car as he drove them home. His face still had that same, serious expression, that refused to give away any emotion, but his eyes revealed true. Naruto made note of that early on in his childhood. Those black eyes were the only indicator on how Sarutobi truly felt.
He felt angry.
Naruto looked outside of the car window, seeing the same green and brown colored neighborhoods he’d seen a million times. He concentrated on taking his mind off of what just happened, but he kept failing at it. He would stare at a convenience store while they stopped at a stoplight, trying to think about what the people were doing inside. But his mind would always wander away and come back to detention.
It was 4:30. Detention hadn’t finished yet; there was still 20 minutes left until it was over. He had forgotten that he was sent there to wait for the principal to finish his work, not because he was in trouble.
I’m so dumb, he thought. Of course, Sarutobi would pick me up before detention was over. He would come the moment he was done with his work.
He remembered when he heard the door open. How the president’s nephew turned around first to see who it was, his face becoming more depressed than it already was. How when Naruto turned around, the principal’s face didn’t have his normal emotion. Instead, he had shown his true emotion on his face. It was subtle, with only his eyebrows moving up ever so slightly, and it was only for a second, but Naruto saw it. He saw Sarutobi’s face. The man was shocked.
As quickly as he showed his face, he hid it, changing his face back to that same cold expression.
“Naruto, it’s time to go,” Sarutobi gravely commanded.
There was a moment where nothing happened. The other two students looked back and forth from Naruto to Sarutobi as if they were witnessing a tennis match.
He remembered that feeling of shame. He had ruined any chance of making friends because of his own stupidity. With his head down to avoid contact with anyone, he slowly followed the principal out of the room.
“I cannot believe this,” Sarutobi murmured, his hands seemingly gripping the wheel even tighter now.
“I’m…” Naruto started but decided not to finish. He was afraid that apologizing would make Sarutobi madder. Every time he would mess up, Naruto found it best to just stay silent. Apologizing only resulted in an argument.
“You’re what,” Sarutobi snapped.
“Nothing,” Naruto replied.
“What? You don’t even have the decency to apologize,” Sarutobi growled. He never raised his voice at Naruto, always opting to only make his words reflect his anger and not his sound.
Naruto didn’t respond. He knew where this was going and didn’t want to deal with this today. This was his first day of school. High school. And so far, it has already been terrible. He didn’t make any friends. Talked to no one except Iruka and the two guys in detention. He screwed up his chance of making friends today by getting caught sneaking out and now they probably hate him because they’re going to get more detention because of him. Naruto went back to staring out of the window, still trying to not think about what happened.
He didn’t want to cry in front of Sarutobi.
“Have I failed,” Sarutobi murmured. He always seemed to murmur that same statement when Naruto was in trouble. The first time he heard him say that phrase was when he was caught fighting a kid in the park back in seventh grade. Back when all he would do is fight. It was this big kid trying to bully a small one and he stepped in to stop it. After a struggle, he finally started to beat the big kid down when his mom came and intervened. She threatened to call the cops unless he told her “his parent’s” number. She gave him Sarutobi’s. After the mom told him that it was Naruto who was bullying her kid, the man looked at Naruto with a mixture of sadness and pity in his eyes, and on the car ride home, the only thing he said was “Have I failed you?”
Afterwards, in the summer of that year, Sarutobi adopted Naruto, becoming his legal guardian. It was weird. The man went from being this guy who would visit once a month to tell Naruto that if he was ever in an emergency, contact him and him alone to becoming his adopted father.
He remembered that day, walking out of the orphanage for the last time, saying goodbye to the staff and them giving praises for finally getting adopted. He didn’t have any friends leaving the place; most of the people he became friends with were all adopted by sixth grade. He was the second oldest kid at the orphanage next to this kid named Reto, but the guy was 17 when he left so they never talked.
After that, “have I failed” became a frequently used phrase in the house. Got detention over missed class, “have I failed”. If his grades were lower than usual, “have I failed”. Parent-Teacher conference about Naruto’s attention during class, “have I failed”. Missing the bus and making Sarutobi drive him to school instead, “have I failed”.
Trying to sneak out of detention just to make new friends for once, “Have. I. Failed.”
They finally arrived back to Sarutobi’s house. The house was big and tall. It adopted the colors of the Sarutobi family, white and brown, as well as grey and black to make the house more complete. Though the house had a modern design to it, the brown bricks gave it a nostalgic feel to it and the white and black really helped complimenting this feel by providing a modern edge to the house’s aesthetic. It had long, slim windows that covered the house everywhere that would allow the sunrise and sunset to illuminate the inside of the home with their warm, orange color.
The house was huge, having two floors and containing five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a comfy living room with a cottage aesthetic, a kitchen, dining room, another living room on the second floor with a more modern design, an expansive garage, and a basement.
He remembered first walking in and being in awe of it all. He had never seen anything like it. Naruto tried sitting on the couch during his early days and he jumped. He had never sat in anything so comfortable. In the orphanage, there weren’t couches, only bean bags and chairs, so when he put his butt down on the couch and it didn’t feel like sitting on bricks but on clouds, it startled him. His bed went from being just a block he slept to a very comfortable mattress! It was too good to be true; there had to be a catch.
The catch was that he had to live with Sarutobi.
Living in a house with man like him is usually silent until something happens. Then, the house explodes into arguments, lectures, and screams.
“It was always Naruto’s fault,” the man would say. “Why are you acting like this,” or “What is wrong with you” are examples of things his guardian would say. It was like Naruto was just some pet to Sarutobi, and when he would get in trouble, Sarutobi would act like a dog owner who was mad at their dog for peeing on the floor. He would look at him confused and then become condescending, like Naruto didn’t understand the words that were being said. And then, it was back to silence. It would be one argument and then it was never spoken about again.
The two never talked outside of arguing, so the house’s ambience was the only sound in the air 80% of the time. Naruto would take the bus home, so that meant he was usually home before Sarutobi. Thus, when Sarutobi got home, Naruto would be locked away in his room either playing video games or napping (though he was mostly napping). And when Sarutobi got home, he wouldn’t walk into his room. Instead, he would take a nap after work. Then, he would wake up, cook dinner, call Naruto down, eat with him with minimal conversation, watch the news on the TV (mostly from Capital NEWS), and then he would go to sleep. During the first days living with Sarutobi, Naruto found it surprising how little of a social life that man had. At the orphanage, that guy would always wear a warm face on his head and be very sociable with the staff when he came to visit, but at home, his expression was colder than ice, and he never left his home once he arrived. The only thing he did was go to work and nothing else. The man even had family working with him, like his nephew Asuma, but they never hung out outside of the workplace.
I guess that’s just how he is, Naruto would think. He doesn’t hate me; he’s just like that with everybody.
They walked through the big, brown wooden doors, and into the house. Naruto immediately went for the stairs. He didn’t want to hear a lecture.
“Naruto,” he said.
The kid stopped in his tracks. I was so close, Naruto thought. I was right in front of the stairs. He turned around.
Sarutobi was looming over the long, dark wood dining table that could seat 10 people but has never seated more than two. The setting sun was shining strongly through the big window next to it, making Sarutobi look more intimidating.
“Sit down,” he commanded and then pulled out a chair from the table. He slowly walked to the other side.
Naruto lumbered over and slumped down into the chair.
It was unavoidable. It was time for a fight.
“Naruto…” he started. “Am I mad?”
“Yes,” Naruto answered, wearily.
“Why am I mad,” he said, calmly.
Sarutobi always asked this, reaffirming Naruto’s presumption that all he was to that guy was a pet; not smart enough to be considered human.
“I know why you’re mad. You know I know; can I just go to my room? I…” his voice was starting to crack but Naruto held it together. Like hell he was going to cry in front him. “I-I had a bad day. Just give me detention or ground me and be done with it.”
Sarutobi’s eyes flared. “Do you think this is just some simple issue,” he scowled. “I am not only giving you detention but also to those two friends of yours. But I’m mad that you tried to help these bad kids who were rightfully punished out of justice. Do you think you can just escape justice?”
“They’re not bad…” he whined.
“They’re in there for a reason, are they not? Naruto, what’s wrong with you? Every day, I think ‘maybe he’ll learn from this’ and then you know what happens? You do something stupid like this! What’s gotten into you? Was it those kids? Are they rotting your brain?”
It was taking all of his strength to not tear up. Naruto suppressed his sadness. He opted to only reveal his anger.
“I said I’M SORRY!”
“You never even apologized! What, do you think that if you yell something that it’ll make it true!”
That managed to piss Naruto off.
“What am I to you? A DOG? Why did you adopt me if this is how you’re going to treat me! OK, I didn’t say sorry, but look I’ve had a bad day and I DON’T WANT TO DEAL WITH YOUR BULLSHIT!”
“Oh, here you go. That same speech. We all have bad days, Naruto! Do you not know who I am?!”
He knew full well. He always reminded him of who he is.
Hiruzen Sarutobi, principal of Sarutobi High, a school he founded 16 years ago in ’92.
Before that he was the legendary commander of the infamously disgraced military team called “The Sannin”.
“You know what I did what I did during my time in the military? Even before my time as a Sanin? I’ve had close friends die, Naruto, and you want to talk to me about ‘bad days’, huh. You think your day is bad because what, math was boring?” Sarutobi scoffed. “I cannot believe this is what I’ve raised.”
“What you raised?! I was NEVER raised by you,” Naruto snapped.
Sarutobi chuckled. “Appears so,” he said condescendingly.
This made him even more mad. Naruto angrily got up, pushing back his chair in the process.
“Where are you going,” his guardian questioned.
“I’m done.” Naruto began to storm off towards the stairs. Suddenly, he felt the air move around him and then grab him. The air then dragged him back to his chair.
“We are not done here. You leave when I say you leave,” he growled.
Naruto got up again. “I said, I’M DONE,” he yelled. He ran to the stairs again only to be knocked back by a gust of wind. Naruto slid across the wooden floor.
“Naruto,” Sarutobi sighed. “Let’s not play this childish game. Sit down.”
But there would be no stopping Naruto now. He was committed.
Again, he sprinted towards the stairs. Again, he was knocked back.
“Only an insane person does the same thing multiple times expecting something different,” Sarutobi quipped.
Naruto was becoming angrier by the second. He ran again.
This time the wind knocked him down instead of back. It pushed him to the ground and then kept pressure on top of him to keep him there.
“I’m not going to let you move unless you agree to come back to your seat.”
“Let me go!” yelled Naruto.
“Did you not just hear what I said? Only if you agree to come back to your seat.”
Naruto tried to push himself up against the pressure. He finally got an inch of the ground when the pressure increased, pushing him down again.
“You’re not getting out of this, Naruto.”
The boy started to think. He needed an escape plan. He was going to have to outsmart if strength wasn’t going to work.
“Just sit down, god, why do you have to make this so hard,” Sarutobi complained.
Naruto then made a clone of himself.
“Are you going to behave now,” the man asked.
Sarutobi let go of Naruto and turned to the front door. Immediately, Naruto dashed up the stairs.
“Who is it,” he heard Sarutobi say as Naruto ran up the stairs. He was already in his room when the front door was opened to reveal that it was nobody.
“Naruto!” Sarutobi yelled from downstairs. “Come back down here!”
Then there was brief pause.
“Naruto, come back,” Sarutobi said, this time less energetic.
Then, it was silent.
Naruto put his head into his pillow and let it out. He started to bawl his eyes out into the pillow, making sure to not make any noise. He didn’t want Sarutobi coming back
He thought high school would be different, but it was the same as every other school. Again, he was alone. Nobody to talk to. It was like this in junior high. It was like this in the orphanage. It was like this in elementary school. Nothing’s change except the time and location.
Is it too much to ask for change, he wondered. What have I done to deserve this? Were my parents so bad that I had to be punished too?
“I’m tired of this,” he whispered in between quiet sobs. “I’m tired of being lonely. I’m tired of Sarutobi. I’m tired of…” he began to cry even more so he crawled into his blanket and pulled it over his head. “…I’m tired of this. Why does this have to happen to me?”
He felt equally sad as he did angry. He was still angry about the argument. He was angry that he can’t make friends. He was angry at himself for screwing up his only opportunity at making friends.
“…I’m tired of being so stupid,” he whispered after the sobbing died down. “I’m…tired…”
The boy then fell into a deep sleep.
Naruto followed the principal out of the detention room. The boy’s eyes were shadowed by his brow, and he refused to look back at her and Sasuke.
After that, it was silent. They went back to their seats and waited for the teacher to return. When he did, Kakashi didn’t pay much mind to Naruto’s absence. He just went back to his book.
She didn’t talk for the rest of detention. Getting caught by the principal guaranteed that she wasn’t risking anything again.
I’m probably going to have to come back here, she thought, exhausted by the thought of doing detention again. It wasn’t bad, but she would rather be doing anything else right now.
Sasuke didn’t try talking either. It seems that he also was feeling the same way.
4:50 came and Kakashi rose from his desk.
“Ok, you can go,” he said in monotone. Then he just walked out of the room, not saying another word to the students.
Sasuke was the first to get up. He pulled out his phone and started texting away. She wanted to say something to him before he left, possibly getting his number, but he already disappeared by the time Sakura could think of something to say.
After Sasuke left, she pulled out her phone to call her parents. When she tried turning it on, she remembered that she drained the battery while in ISS.
It wouldn’t matter where I sat, I still wouldn’t be able to use my phone, she reflected. But now, I’m going to have to find a phone somewhere and call my parents.
Her parents didn’t know that she had detention. After punching Ino, a teacher with a bowl cut and the bushiest eyebrows she had ever seen took her to the school office and told her to call them. They didn’t answer the phone, so he gave her a detention slip and told Sakura to bring the slip back signed. In her head, she laughed. How stupid can he have been to actually believe I’d bring back the slip signed?
In hindsight, she was the stupid one. Taking the bus home, her parents wouldn’t come to pick her up unless asked. And, now, her only option of communicating with them was gone.
She walked out of the detention room and was blinded for a second. The room was dimly lit but the hallway was bright, with the afternoon sun coming in through the windows to make it even brighter. Noise from the gym bled into the hallway, though now it wasn’t as loud as when she first walked into detention. However, she was surprised that there were still people at school on the first day.
Sakura stopped to drink water from a fountain nearby. It was a long day, and it was about to get longer, so she needed to stay hydrated. As she was drinking, the gym door slammed opened. Out from the gym, a figure in an all-white jumpsuit emerged. He stood tall and confident, with his every step seeming almost calculated. In his left hand, he carried a white helmet, with the front covered in a grey metal that was dotted in tiny holes. In his right hand, he gripped a long, needle-like sword that was grey and shined in the light. As he walked, his long, black hair danced on rhythm to the steps, and his white eyes stared ahead, leading the way.
Sakura realized that man was none other than Neji himself.
If this day had gone any other way, she would’ve had his number and later, they would’ve been texting each other and perhaps, a little more later, they would’ve been dating.
But the day isn’t over, she slyly thought.
Neji strode across the hallway, towards the water fountain she was drinking at. He was drenched in sweat, but the closer he came, she couldn’t smell anything musty coming from him. In fact, the closer he came, the stronger the smell of cologne. Was the man so perfect that he did not smell when he was working out?
She was still drinking from the fountain when Neji came behind her. The moment he came, she moved away. Her butt was not her most attractive feature, so Sakura didn’t want him to see it.
It seemed almost robotic how he drank from the fountain. His entire body moved like it had just been giving a formula; he moved down 120 degrees, his arms moved forward a few centimeters, and his thumbs pushed gently on the lever wit a force of .9 Newtons. After he was done drinking, he arose from the fountain and his long hair moved beautifully backwards and then lightly landed on his shoulders.
What should I say? This entire time, all she did was watch him drink water. Though Neji seemed he hadn’t noticed, she couldn’t stand there without saying anything. She had made an entire plan for this interaction but now, the plan was thrown out the window. Her hair was messy now due to her sleeping on the floor. She wasn’t even sure if her makeup still looked good.
Talk, something inside of her yelled. Do it, now!
Now! It became louder. Neji was turning to walk away.
This is your only chance!
Now! Do IT!
“H-Hey,” she squeaked.
Neji turned around. She was closer to him now and noticed his skin. It had no acne and zero blemishes. He was sweaty, but his sweat only served to make his face shine bright in the light.
“Yes,” he said.
DON’T SCREW UP “You’re Neji, right?”
“Yes, I am. Do you need something,” he asked. His white eyes looked in her direction, but they did not look at Sakura. They stared right through her.
“Oh, that’s cool, my name is Sakura Haruno,” she said, smiling. The girl held out her hand to shake his.
Neji started to look irritated. “I cannot shake your hand, their occupied at the moment.”
“Oh right,” she scratched her head. “Sorry, just force of habit. So…You’re into fencing, huh?”
“Child,” he said, like they were not the same age. “I am a busy man, so I do not have time for this frivolous talk.”
“Oh right, you have to go back to…fencing and stuff,” she said awkwardly. Sakura noticed that she had started fiddling her thumbs together.
“Yes, fencing and stuff, so if you could excuse me,” he rotated and marched off. The gym door slammed and the knight in shining armor was gone. The damsel, distressed, continued her search for a phone.
Goddamn it, there goes my chances at sitting at the pond. She sighed, defeated.
Sakura plodded to the front office only for it to be completely empty. The office was closed, and more importantly, locked.
“This has just been the best day, hasn’t it,” she angrily murmured as she walked out the front doors. “I am just having the best day of my entire fucking life.”
She thought about going back to the gym and asking someone for a phone, but after shuddering at the interaction between her and Neji, she marched forward, walking out of the school through the glass doors and into the school yard.
She sat down on the pond wall and stared at the water. Her anger boiled within her. Everything that could’ve gone wrong went wrong today. And now, she didn’t have a ride to go home. All she could do was stare at the fish in the pond in envy. They’ve had a better day than me. I wonder if fish have crushes and if they’re as dumb as I am at talking to them.
Sakura looked away from the pond. She didn’t want to start wishing she was a fish, that would be weird. She looked around, trying to think about what she was going to do about her situation.
Maybe I could try to catch Mr. Kakashi in the parking lot and use his phone.
The speed at which he walked out talked her out of doing that. She wasn’t catching him; the man was already at home at this point, reading that book of his.
What’s the worst that can happen if you go back to the gym?
Her anger rose again. She took her mind off that suggestion.
Are the classrooms locked? Classes usually have a phone in there.
Nooo, the janitor has probably locked the classrooms.
It was like a light bulb appeared over her head.
The JANITOR! He has to be here still. I can use his pho-
Anko’s voice rang in her head. Sakura recalled what she said. “Hey, I’m going to escort you to the detention room now, make sure to not forget anything in here cause I’m going to leave and I’m the only person besides the weird janitor…”
Was the janitor really that weird? Anko was adamant about Sakura taking all her stuff out of the ISS room. The lady even asked her again before she locked the door, making sure that that none of Sakura’s belongings were in the room when they left.
How else are you getting home? That’s your only option.
But she still felt hesitant. With the way today was going, this screamed bad decision. But, with no answer on how else she was getting home, Sakura rose from the pond walls and started walking towards the front doors.
That’s when she saw them.
In the reflection of the glass on the front door, she could see a group of guys and a girl gathered by the school driveway. She turned to get a better look and smiled.
It was Sasuke. He hadn’t left yet.
Now’s your chance, the voice said again. But she was unconfident. When she last listened to the voice, she was made a fool. Only an insane person does the same thing twice expecting a different result.
But, would you rather speak to a possibly creepy janitor?
It was only possibly. That didn’t mean guaranteed. The man could be misunderstood.
What if instead of offering his phone, he offers you a ride home?
She sprinted towards Sasuke.
When Sakura arrived at the group, she was breathing heavily. Running across the entire school yard was not a good decision, though good decisions seemed few and far between today.
“Sas…” she stopped to catch her breath. “Sasuke.”
The boy turned away from his group of friends and to her. Sakura was slouched slightly, with one hand on her hips while the other on a concrete pillar that stood between the road and the sidewalk, and yet they were same height.
“Yeah,” he answered, confused. His friends looked at her then Sasuke with interested eyes.
They probably think I’m going to ask for his number, she thought, giving no mind to it.
They probably think I’m going to ask for his number, she thought again, realizing that she was asking Sasuke to use his phone.
She then thought about arriving at the janitor’s house instead of her own when she accepted the offer to receive a ride home.
“Can I use your phone,” she asked, her breath having caught up to her. Sakura tried to not pay attention his friends whispering and giggling at her while exchanging winks.
“Yeah, you can, here,” he said, his voice trying to stay composed. He seemed to look kind of awkward as he pulled his phone out from his pocket.
Does he find me cute, she thought fondly. She took the phone from his hand and started dialing her mom’s number. Was he talking about me to his friends? It made her feel warm inside, knowing at least her makeup didn’t go completely to waste.
She pressed call and waited. She listened to the dial tones and the giggles that came from behind her as she waited.
“Stop it, Suigetsu,” Sakura heard Sasuke say, in a hushed tone.
Her mom didn’t answer the phone. She sighed. Of course, she thought. She then dialed her dad.
“Hey, did your parents answer the phone,” the one with the straight, white hair asked. When she got a better look, she noticed that it had a blue tint to it.
“Not yet, I’m calling my dad. My mom didn’t answer,” she called back.
Come on, pick up. I don’t want to be stuck here, she hoped as the dial tones rang.
“Your call has been forwarded to an automatic voicemail system-”
Sakura groaned and hung up the phone.
“Did they pick up,” the straight-haired boy asked again.
“No,” Sakura admitted. Defeated, she handed the phone back to Sasuke.
“What happened to your phone,” the straight-haired boy asked concerningly, stepping out from the group and towards her.
“It ran out of battery while I was in ISS,” she replied.
“ISS?” said the only girl of the group. Her voice was deep and smooth, sounding almost grown compared to the other kids. The girl had dark-red spiky hair that came down to one side of her head while the other side had been cut short. She wore round, black glasses and through them revealed red eyes and long lashes.
“Yeah, ISS…” Sakura responded, quietly.
The straight-haired boy gasped. “You’re the girl that got in a fight with someone today,”
“Yep…That’s me,” she said, forcing a smile.
“That’s hot,” the red-haired girl said.
“But your parents didn’t answer the phone,” Suigetsu said. “Maybe you want to try calling them again?”
“Nooo, I think I’m just going to wait for them here, you guys can go,” Sakura responded.
The straight-haired boy looked shocked. “What, all alone? Where do you live?”
She contemplated whether to tell him or not, but he looked so genuinely concerned that it convinced her to tell.
“I live by Kawarmachi mall, near the highway.”
“Damn, that’s far,” the kid said. He looked down and rubbed his chin in contemplation. “Ok, bit of a stretch, but what about you ask your parents to pick you up from where we’re going.”
Sakura looked at them blankly. “Where are you going…” she hesitantly asked.
“My house,” Sasuke interjected.
“But we usually walk there,” the redhead said, voice smooth as butter. “If we walked straight there without stopping, it would take thirty minutes. But we usually don’t walk straight there.”
“This group is of the mindset that it isn’t about the destination, but about the journey,” said the guy with spiky, orange hair. The man stood out from the group because of how massive he was. At least taller than six feet, he had muscles that were wider than Sakura’s head; his hands looked as if they could rip off her face with one swing. But his face did not reflect his body, having a sort of soft, warm quality to it. The way those dark brown eyes looked at her, it seemed like he wasn’t really here, but somewhere off in his own world, lost in thought.
“The…journey?” she asked, confused.
“He’s just trying to sound deep. We usually grab food or go to the arcade; just wherever the day takes us,” answered the white-haired kid.
It’s better than a ride home with the creepy janitor, she thought. But what’re they planning on doing? The weather’s nice, but do I really want to walk at least 30 minutes through the city just to not be alone for maybe an hour or two?
Suddenly, the front door swung open, and kids in white uniforms started to fill the school yard. They were all laughing, giggling, arguing, and some had burst through the doors sprinting, trying to chase each other. Without their helmets, their sweaty faces gleamed in the sunlight, and their white uniforms reflected the sunlight, making the school yard brighter and harder to see who all were in that group. Regardless, Sakura saw him. He was right in the front, leading the charge. Her knight in shining armor.
I can’t be here! “Yeah, for sure. I’m down. Let’s go. Which way are we heading,” she blurted. “That way?” She pointed away from the white knights heading their way.
“No, that way,” Sasuke said, pointing in the opposite direction she pointed at.
Behind me? That’s fine. “Ok, let’s go!” Sakura enthusiastically turned around and marched in that direction. The rest of the group hesitantly followed.
Soon, they were out of the school, and into the main town of Asamachi. The school was in the heart of the main city, but the city itself wasn’t very big. It didn’t have the high skyscrapers or sprawling crowds of people like the ones in The Capital. Instead, it had medium sized buildings that were all housing local markets and small crowds of people that roamed on the wide sidewalks. The traffic in the city was busier than normal, with many cars filling the narrow streets, but that was only because it was rush hour. Usually, the streets were empty, with only the occasional shuttle or bike rider on it. Though it was rush hour, the city was quiet as it always was. There wasn’t the honking that covered the air like in the capital, instead, there was only the hum of the car engines and the sound of Asamachi’s citizens.
“Hey,” Sasuke said, walking next to her. “You should text your parents that your phone’s dead and to call this one instead.” Sakura grabbed the phone and did exactly what he said.
“So, Sasuke. You gonna introduce us to your girlfriend?” the redhead said, smiling.
“Damn it, Karin. How many times do I have to tell you, she isn’t my girlfriend,” he scowled.
“But we do need an introduction if she’s going to be with the squad for a day,” the straight-haired boy chimed in.
“The..squad?” Sakura looked at him confused.
“It’s a gang, Suigetsu,” the buff man said, his face smothered in his open notebook. “It sounds cooler if it’s a gang.”
“I still think team is better,” said Karin.
The straight-haired kid stopped walking. He furrowed his brow and pointed at Karin angrily. “Woman, I have never heard a more wrong answer.”
“Team of what,” Sakura blurted. This was becoming too much for her.
“Right! We haven’t introduced ourselves yet. Ahem,” the straight-haired kid nudged at Sasuke. “Sasuke, wanna introduce us?”
The emo boy sighed. “Ok, the one with the hair that looks like it was cut with children’s scissors is Suigetsu. The big man who looks at his notebook all day but is too dumb to know how to write is Jugo. And, the girl who tries to act older than her age but is actually the youngest is Karin.”
They all looked at him in anger. “Hey, bum,” Suigetsu gravely said. “I’ll show you hair cut with children’s scissors on that untrimmed head of yours.”
Sasuke continued, unbothered. “And guys, this is Sakura. I met her in detention. Sakura, welcome to the Taka…” he looked at them hesitantly, trying to think about his next words. “…Group.”
Karin didn’t give a response. “It’s nice to meet you, Sakura,” she cooed.
Sakura was starting to feel unsettled by her. Why is her voice so deep? She’s a freshman, right?
“Nice to meet you…too,” she responded, awkwardly.
“Don’t be weirded out by Karin,” Suigetsu said, playfully. “She acts like a seductress but is still a virgin like the rest.”
“Not true!” The woman squeaked in a high voice. That must’ve been her natural voice. “I’ve had sex… in 7th grade!”
“I wonder with who,” he playfully pondered.
“His name was Jimmy,” she whined.
“I’ve never heard of him before.”
“H-He goes to a different school…” murmured Karin.
“Last time I checked, Sarutobi High was the only high school in this town and there isn’t a guy named Jimmy who goes here.”
“…He moved before high school…”
“Where,” Suigetsu asked.
Karin didn’t answer. The white-haired boy looked at Sakura and winked. “Told ya’.”
They continued their walk through the city, the group arguing with each other the entire time. It seemed when one argument died down, out of nowhere, another topic introduced itself. It went from team names to whether a homework assignment was due to just general roasts. Every member argued with each other, with Karin starting an argument with Jugo, then Suigetsu arguing with Jugo, then both arguing with Karin.
All argued with each other except Sasuke. He stayed quiet, leading the group through the city and never looking back, only straight ahead. Sakura walked next to him, not knowing how to interact with the other members of the gang. She attempted to talk with him, but his responses were always short and did not give her a lot to work with. Thus, they both walked in silence.
Soon, after thirty minutes of walking, they stopped in front of a convenience store and walked inside. The store was modest size, by far not the biggest the city had to offer. It was filled with snacks, drinks, and in certain sections, books and magazines, over the counter medicine, and cigarettes. Inside, there was only an old man sweeping the floor next to the counter. His body looked strong, with every sweep giving no hint at weakness. In fact, the only indicator of his age was his face. He had few wrinkles on his face and around his warm, green eyes. His head was balding, with only few wisps of hair that managed to stay behind on the top of his head, while the rest laid on the side and back, colored in silver.
“Mr. Uchiha,” the old man said, smiling as he swept. “I hear Sarutobi High has started school again. How was your first day?”
“It was fine,” the boy said as his friends ran through the shop collecting snacks, drinks, and magazines. “Nothing happened really.”
“Oooh, but things will happen soon. Today is a big day. Your first day of high school. You’re on your way to becoming an adult,” said the old man. “I remember my first day of high school, oh so long ago. Good times. Remember to cherish these days, child. One day, you’ll grow up and wonder where all the time went.” He gave a hearty laugh then turned to Sakura. “I don’t recognize you. Are you a new friend of his?”
“You could say that,” she said. “I’m Sakura Haruno.”
“Goro Miyazaki,” he shook her hand firmly. “How do you guys know each other?”
“We both had detention today,” she said, immediately regretting it.
Goro sighed. “On the first day, Sasuke? You can’t start the year off like this.”
“Old man, I don’t need you to tell me what I can or can’t do,” the boy snapped.
“Yes yes, of course,” Goro wearily responded. He moved to the back of the store and into the closet to put away his broom. “You hear the news about your uncle,” he hollered from the back.
“What of him,” Sasuke responded, seemingly bothered by this.
The man came out with a bucket filled with soapy water and a mop. “He’s just announced his reelection campaign.” He dropped the bucket on the floor and started mopping. “Your uncle really won’t give up his throne. If he wins this one, he’ll be president for THREE terms, not mentioning finishing Minato’s term.”
“Will you be voting for him,” Sakura asked.
Goro laughed. “I never do, child. But he’ll win regardless, like always. The man’s a genius at that. And as long as he keeps winning, Sasuke will keep buying shit from my store, keeping me in business,” he gave a cheeky smile. “So, I guess I should start voting for him, huh?”
She looked at Sasuke, expecting him to say something to defend his uncle, but the boy seemed to agree with the old man. She even almost caught a smile on his face.
The rest of the group came to the front of the store with their hands filled with snacks, drinks, and, in Jugo’s case, magazines. Goro smiled at the children. “Need a bag for those?”
“Preferably,” Suigetsu answered. The old man put the mop in the bucket, went behind the counter, and came back with plastic bags for the kids. The gang put their goodies into their bags and walked out of the store.
“That’ll be 50 ryo, Mr. Uchiha.”
“Send the bill to my uncle,” Sasuke responded as he walked out the door.
“As I always do,” he said, smiling. “Have a good evening, Sasuke. Today is the start of something new, remember that. And, it was nice meeting you, Sakura.”
“Nice meeting you too,” she said, following Sasuke out.
They exited the store and entered the city again. The traffic had died down a lot, and the sidewalks that had small crowds of people were empty, with only the occasional couple walking on it. The sun was setting, and its orange evening glow was now covering the city. A lot of time has passed, Sakura thought. Why hadn’t her parents called her back yet? She was starting to worry something may have happened to them.
“Sakura,” the big man said. “Have some.” Jugo handed her a bag of potato chips from the store. She happily obliged. She ate the chips while trying to take her mind off her parents.
They continued their walk through the city for another twenty minutes until they reached an empty park that sat between two buildings in a neighborhood. At this point, they were reaching the edge of the city. The buildings were starting to become more spread out from each other, and the markets were diminishing, being replaced by apartments and townhouses.
The park they went to was essentially a glorified parking lot. The entire floor was cement that was covered in cracks because of the couple cherry blossom trees that were placed almost randomly throughout the park were pushing up the concrete with their roots. In the middle stood a small playground with pair of black, metal swings. To the left of the playground was a singular basketball goal post that was surrounded by faded white lines on the floor. In front of the playground was a one of the couple table benches that were in the lot. The gang sat down at the table and ate their food while chatting.
“Sakura,” Suigetsu said, after a while. His voice was muffled by the brownie in his mouth. He swallowed it, then washed it down with lemonade. “What do you think of us so far?”
She was finishing the bottle of fruit punch that he gave her after she realized that the chips Jugo gave were hotter than expected. “You guys are cool,” she said after swallowing the last drop of juice.
“What about Sasuke,” Karin slyly asked, while staring at him. This time, Sasuke didn’t give a response. His mind was away from the conversation and at the swings he was staring at.
“He’s…cool,” she responded coolly. She quickly glanced at him and then to the group and whispered, “is he okay?”
“Sasuke? He’s fine,” Suigetsu answered. “As long as we’ve known him, he doesn’t tend to interact a lot.”
Karin chimed in. “He’s just in his own world most of the time. Sure, he’ll speak when spoken too; he knows how to socialize. It’s just, he prefers staying quiet.”
“If he’s so quiet, how did you guys meet,” Sakura asked.
“Same way you met him,” Karin answered. “You happen to be stuck together in a bad situation, next thing you know, you’re hanging out with him.”
“He is an enigma. A man who hates the idea of socialization and yet, attracts members of his community to him like moths to a light,” Jugo said. He had finished his food and was reading a magazine that was filled with comic strips and illustrations of the feminine counterparts of popular superheroes.
He really is an enigma, she thought as she stared at Sasuke. Whatever that means.
They sat in the park for a while until the sky began to turn purple, chatting away, as Sasuke still kept his mind immersed in another world away. She was starting to really connect with the group when the sound of music burst into the park, interrupting their chatter. It had a bright, catchy tune that looped every five seconds until Sasuke pulled out his phone from his pocket.
“It’s for you,” he said.
She answered the phone. It was her mom.
“Sakura, honey, are you okay? I’m so sorry for not answering the phone, your father and I were at this dinner party that was hosted by my friend, Castro. You know Castro? My boss? You know the guy, he’s from Kiri, anyways, we went to this absolutely wonderful party, and during our time there, our phones were on silent, but we assumed that you went home with the bus so we didn’t pay much mind to it-“
They eventually settled on Sakura getting picked up from Sasuke’s house. Her parents were on the way to the house, so the group threw away their trash and rushed home. After twenty minutes of running, they made it to the Uchiha house, right when her parents were pulling into the driveway.
“It was nice meeting you, Sakura,” Suigetsu said, giving her a hug.
“Yeah, it was nice meeting you guys,” she responded. She turned to walk to the car but then stopped midway and turned back to the group.
Smiling, she said, “we should do this more often.”
Sakura got into the car and headed home. As she looked out the window and at the now dark purple sky, she thought about the day that just past and hanging out with the Taka Gang. How she got into a fight with Ino (which she probably was going to have to apologize for later), in-school suspension and meeting Anko, and detention.
The big day, she thought. My first day of high school. So far, it seems to be going pretty well. I wonder what this year has to offer.
She smiled in anticipation.
Its time to get the plot moving.
The car zoomed off. Sakura’s parents seemed very anxious to leave his house. They were nervous saying hi to Sasuke. The two didn’t even say anything to him; just a polite wave and nod were given at the group of kids in the driveway.
Sakura was hugging Suigetsu when Sasuke noticed something off. The driveway had other cars in it. He looked back at his house, a medium sized mansion donning a traditional Uchiha style. It had black wood that climbed up the walls until it reached the redwood that traced every corner and the bottom of the dark tiled roof. The roof had many points on it. They almost looked like waves with how curved each point were, and in the middle of each wave was a redwood wall, trying to break through. At the top of the mansion stood a patio that had a short, black wood fence and a roof. This is where Sasuke would spend hours at, just staring at the city of Asamachi.
The mansion was fenced off by black brick, with a metal gate in the front to allow entry to the large circular driveway. The driveway was separated from the house by a small moat that traced its front side. The only way across was a redwood bridge that had lanterns on each end to light the way at night, which was almost upon them by the time the group made it home.
The driveway was usually empty when they came home but today, it had other cars in it.
Three cars. All black luxury SUVs.
“We should do this again sometime,” a voice said in the background. It brought Sasuke back to reality. He watched the car zoom off with the anxious parents and their cool daughter. After they were gone, he was again be confronted by his thoughts. Why are there three cars in my driveway? I don’t even own a single car.
“Someone’s home,” Jugo said, head immersed in his comic magazine.
“Were you expecting someone today,” Karin asked, her voice at her normal high pitch because Sakura left.
“We should probably head home,” Suigetsu suggested, gesturing for the group to leave. “He has guests over so we shouldn’t bother them.”
“It’s fine,” Sasuke interjected, though still cautious about who would be at his house right now.
Madara is starting his campaign, could it be local journalists trying to grab an interview?
He was no stranger to journalists. Sasuke knew that he was perceived mostly as the president’s bum nephew, but he was still the nephew of the most powerful man in the Konoha and part of the Uchiha Family, the most notable family in the region. Thus, when journalists ran out of material to write about, they came knocking at his door to interview him. When he was younger, the journalists were almost second family with how often they came to interview Itachi. Back then, it was usually about the deaths of his father, Fugaku, and his other uncle, Inabi, but as Itachi got older, it became interviews about politics, with his brother being publicly against most of Madara’s policies. But, when his brother disappeared, the journalists scarcely came. Sasuke was never outspoken like Itachi, and when he was interviewed, he never gave the interviewers a lot to work with. Nonetheless, on rare occasions, some journalists would come and ask him things about his uncle that Sasuke had no knowledge of. These things would range from alleged crimes to simple matters like foreign trade. Luckily, the interviews would never make it to the public. He didn’t want to be in the public eye. Being perceived as a nobody was better than perceived as someone. Sasuke just wanted to live his life in peace, away from people and the world.
But journalists usually wait outside. Nobody would grant them access into the house.
The group walked on the bridge, heading towards the house. The rest kept talking as Sasuke’s mind repeated the same thought.
Three black SUVs.
The thought kept hammering away in his head, each repeat becoming louder than the last.
Three black SUVs.
They had made it past the bridge and now were at the front door. The mansion loomed over them. Its shadow covered the front yard and driveway. Sasuke’s mind kept running.
It’s damn near 7:00. The maids would’ve left by now, their shift ends at 5. How did they get in? Have they been waiting since before 5? Why would they wait this long? Did they come for me? Of course, they did, I’m the only one who lives here.
“Sasuke,” Suigetsu said in a calm, concerned tone. “You okay?”
His face must’ve reflected the inner turmoil in his head for Suigetsu to ask. However, that man always knew the inner thoughts of Sasuke even though he had no telepathy quirk.
“I’m fine,” he muttered. Sasuke pushed the thoughts to the back of his head, trying to let them not bother him.
He then opened the front door.
The house was usually silent, but this time, the faint murmurs from one of the sitting rooms carried throughout the hallways and into the front entrance. As they walked inside, Sasuke used his perception quirk to hear the words being said.
“…The most notable thing about this town, besides its forgotten history, is that school,” a somewhat recognizable voice said. “So, holding-,” the voice paused, suddenly. Like it had been spotted.
“Are you listening, boy,” the voice asked, in a calm tone. That’s when Sasuke knew who the voice belonged to.
“Nevermind, go home,” Sasuke whispered to Suigetsu.
“Got it,” the kid whispered back. He started to gather the rest of the group when the voice boomed from the sitting room.
“Come on now, introduce me to your friends!”
The kids froze like deer in front of headlights. Like the wood floors had turned into quicksand. The fear held them all captive. So close to escaping, the voice had caught them just as they were leaving. Now the group had to endure Sasuke’s fate. Slowly, they made their way through the hallways and into the sitting room.
The sitting room matched the ancient aesthetic that the house had, except the wood walls were painted brown. It was bigger than most rooms, made with the purpose of seating at least twenty guests comfortably. It had two levels. The first one which was the general area made for guests had a bar and a small coffee table across from it that was surrounded by small comfy chairs. The second level sat only half a meter below the first. It was where the black leather couches sat in front of the TV and fireplace. Beyond that was the backyard patio that was separated by glass doors that were wide open. On the patio was two men, seated on either end of a dark, metallic table.
The one on the left side sat straight up, his body looking ready to attack at any moment. He wore a long, black cloak that covered everything except his head. His face was covered by a freakish, orange mask that was carved with many ridges that all spiraled to a singular point: the left eyehole. It was the only hole on the mask. Sasuke knew this man very well, seeing the masked man much when he was younger.
That man was Tobi.
On the other end was a man in an unbuttoned black suit slumped into his chair, right hand on his forehead. He had black, spiky hair, though it was a lot shorter than Sasuke remembered it. Nonetheless, it still reached past down his face and was held back by that same black bandana with red patterns that always laid on top his forehead. For a man damn near sixty, he didn’t look a day past forty, with his hair not showing a single sign of grey and his face only possessing small wrinkles around his eyes and mouth. When he noticed the kids approaching him, he gave them a big, white smile.
When the Taka group saw him, they all got on one knee and bowed, like the man was not their president but their king. All except Sasuke. He only stared at the man.
The man was Madara Uchiha.
His uncle laughed. “I’m only your president, please don’t overindulge me,” he spoke in that same, deep tone that tried to give off warmth. It may sound warm to most but to Sasuke, it was only the most chilling tone he’s ever heard. “Are these your friends, Sasuke?”
“Yes,” the boy responded, timid. Madara coming back was not a good sign. This was the first time they had talked to each other in years, the last time being when Itachi disappeared. The man always came back when things were wrong, never when they were right.
“Are you going to introduce me,” he said, now sitting up from his slumped position.
“This is Suigetsu, Karin, and Jugo,” Sasuke quickly responded.
“And we’re…the taka squad…” Suigetsu murmured.
“Gang…” Jugo whispered back.
“Well, kids, I’m pretty sure you know who I am judging how you bowed to me,” he chuckled. “And you better not start calling me your grace either. Mr. Uchiha or hell, just Madara is fine.” Their president rose from his seat. “It is a pleasure to meet my nephew’s friends,” he said, smiling and shaking their hands. When shaking Jugo’s hand, Madara made a remark and everyone laughed except Tobi and Sasuke. The boy was not paying attention. He had his head pointed towards the ground and away from his uncle. He’s back, his thoughts repeated, which bothered him more than the three SUVs outside.
A strong hand grabbed his shoulder and Sasuke flinched.
“Do you have plans with your friends today,” his uncle asked, hand rubbing the boy’s shoulder in an attempt to be soothing but instead, it came off threatening. Madara always tried to be kind to him, but the cruelty he showed Itachi was never far from Sasuke’s mind. At any moment, this kindness could turn to cold, calculated wrath.
“N-No,” stuttered the boy.
“Okay,” his uncle said, smiling. He turned to the rest of the group. “I’ll organize rides for all of you. Though I only have one person in my Personal Guard, I have an abundance of drivers that I take with me everywhere. Also,” he pulled out his wallet and gave each kid twenty Ryo. “Tell the drivers to stop by wherever you want and get yourself something to eat. Or whatever twenty Ryo can get ya.”
After escorting the excited kids out of the mansion, Madara instructed Sasuke to stay in the sitting room they were just in. The boy took a spot on the far end of the couch. Madara poured a drink from the bar.
“Well, Christ. Look at this Tobi,” Madara exclaimed. His son gave no response, as always. “Sasuke, you know what I told Tobi? That these drinks would be empty when I come by. I mean, leave a kid home alone and he’ll drink all the liquor! I swore it, on my grave of my brothers! But these things are fucking full! Did the maids not allow you to drink at all?”
It was Itachi that didn’t allow Sasuke to touch the liquor. His brother made him promise to never touch it. However, his maids would probably allow Sasuke to shoot a man on his front doorstep as long as they got paid at the end of the week. The maids never even talked to him, much less enact discipline. Those things weren’t in the job description.
“Yeah,” Sasuke responded.
“Well, they need a raise. They’re raising you right,” Madara said, approaching the couch, drink in hand. He took a seat across Sasuke. Tobi stood guard a few meters away, his gaze looming over the entire room.
“You looked shocked to see me, Sasuke,” the president concerningly said as he sipped from his drink. “Did nobody tell you I was coming?”
“No,” Sasuke responded.
“Huh. I could’ve sworn that I told Dahlia ahead of time. Doesn’t matter. I’m here now.” He took another sip from his drink. “Do you know I’m starting my reelection campaign?”
“Yes,” Sasuke responded, immediately regretting it. He didn’t want to tell Madara who Goro was and have him find out Goro’s political opinions.
“Wow, look,” Madara said emotionally. “My nephew keeps up with the news on his dear uncle. Isn’t that sweet, Tobi?”
Tobi gave no response.
“Yes, I’m starting my reelection campaign. Won’t be too much of a challenge. The people I’m up against are nobodies so I don’t think I’ll have a hard time dealing with them.”
Sasuke didn’t say anything. He sat silently and let Madara talk.
“Plus, the Uzumaki Party has already come out to endorse me, on time for once. Christ, last time, they waited so long to endorse me, it could’ve cost the election.”
Madara put his feet up on the table and allowed his body to slump into the couch.
“And obviously, the Uchiha Family is in support of their fellow member, so now, I have two major endorsements so this race will be a lot easier, I think. I was talking with Tobi about this, I’m thinking about switching to one core issue instead of a lot of general ones to really engage the people. All the other candidates right now are talking about ‘oh I can make a better leader, just trust me’ but won’t give anything specific as to how, just making general, empty promises of a better country. But, if I give the people a singular goal instead of a general one, it’ll engage the audience in making them feel like they’re working together to achieve something when they vote for me. It’ll make the community of voters feel a lot more united than before. Isn’t that genius? I think so. So, after saying all this, why do you think I’m here?”
Silence filled the air for a while until Sasuke realized Madara asked a question.
“I-I-uh,” was all that came from Sasuke’s mouth.
“I’m here to hold a rally at your school!” He said it like Sasuke was getting surprised with a brand-new car. “Isn’t that great?”
“Yeah,” responded the boy, timid.
“I’ll be holding it at the end of the week. I already talked to Principal Sarutobi, bless that veteran. Went from the army to teaching kids, the man truly cares about his country. I sent some people earlier to inform him that I wanted to a hold rally there and he happily obliged. Anyways, Sasuke, I came here early because I want you to give a speech at my rally.”
The statement shocked Sasuke. He didn’t want the public eye on him. The most anyone ever thought of him was the president’s bum nephew and he wanted to keep it that way.
“What,” Sasuke managed to blurt out. “N-No…” he said, hesitantly.
Madara leaned forward from his slumped position and put on that same smile he had when Sasuke’s friends walked in. But this time, his uncle’s eyes didn’t reflect the face. They were instead offended at the disobedience.
“Sasuke…” the president started, voice lower and colder than before. Tobi began to creep closer towards Sasuke like a predator. “I’ve decided to focus on education. Now, you go to Sarutobi High, and are my nephew. Having you speak there will be very beneficial. There’s emotional resonance with audiences when you have younger members of the family support you and you’re the only child on my side of the family. You understand this, right?”
“Y-Yes,” responded Sasuke. He knew any more insubordination and Tobi would attack his prey.
“Great! I’ll prepare you for the speech. Teach you how to talk to crowds, what you’ll say, etc. By the time of the rally, you’ll be speaking like you were the president himself,” he laughed but his eyes never left Sasuke and they still had that same offended look in them. “Anyways, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go to sleep. It has been a long trip and I am tired.”
Madara got up from the couch and walked away, leaving his unfinished drink on the table. Tobi lingered for a little bit but eventually left, leaving Sasuke alone in the sitting room. Those two were done threatening. They knew that Sasuke wasn’t going to disobey.
They knew Sasuke wasn’t Itachi.