By the time nine-fifteen rolled around, the hustle and bustle of the first day of school was in full effect. Returning junior students easily navigated their way through the hallways, rushing to the stands of the club or team that had dreamt about joining for the two years they were stuck on the mediocre seasonal teams organized by teachers turn coaches as freshmen and sophomore students. Now they were allowed to join full-year teams, led by captains who were voted to be most skilled in what they did and worth of the title. What made it even better was that they were students and seniors; part of the student body and even friends.
After being dismissed from their very eventful meeting in the office earlier that morning, the trio came out with a much more somber look while Neji was led away. Very few words were exchanged between the three until more students began to arrive later on, not that it looked like it was bothering Sakura as much as it was for the remaining two.
Itachi stood quietly above to observe the dynamic of Konoha High School students, specifically to see where Sakura and Sasuke fell in this secondary-school hierarchy.
Smaller students who could easily be identified as freshmen and sophomores tended to scurry through the crowded foyer with their heads down—save for the few who knew the captains or any senior students from elementary school who would say the shy hi and wave. Juniors greeted the captains politely with an air of tentative familiarity, regardless of if they planned on joining or not. Itachi understood that athleticism was held in high regards at this school; Kakashi was known to hold physical abilities and teamwork above all others, but it would seem that in order to reach an important position in the high school hierarchy, becoming a captain was the way about it. There was this air of superiority which surrounded the senior captains, and it was not just in the way the stood or the arrogance in their posture.
He was sure there was more to Sakura's and Sasuke's near royalty status, considering their friend Naruto's similar respect from lowerclassmen despite lacking any leadership role. Things really started coming together when senior students started pooling in last minute, uncaring of the late penalty or unneeding of the extra time to locate their homeroom classes. They packed the foyer with their larger bodies and stronger voice, jumping and hugging one another without a care for the others around them who had to either move out of the way or was shoved. Captains could be noted to even leave their stands with interested students to join this circle for the hormones which circled Sakura and Sasuke, closing each other in and shielding outsiders out. It asserted an air of exclusiveness and mystery, and, dare Itachi say, coolness about them.
It took a couple of familiar faces for Itachi to realize that the students surrounding his two persons of interest were kids they attended elementary school with. Clearly there was a unity in their friendship which took a decade to build. One does not hear of one member without learning about the other eight. One cannot be friends without the acceptance of the other eight. To this day, it would appear that no one else has been able to penetrate their way through the eight layers—even Neji, it would seem. Perhaps he managed to win his way in with the other six members of their friend group and into Sakura's panties, to Itachi's chagrin, but Naruto and Sasuke's rejection of his person made sure he wouldn't be invited to any of their parties—unless he brought a small token of alcohol, Itachi was sure.
When the bell rang, they were the last to disburse and head their separate ways. The captains could be spotted to collectively head towards the auditorium together, shoving and laughing amongst themselves without the consideration of the students who turned to watch in awe and part for them. Their presence demanded attention, whether they intended for that or not, and if their popularity was based on reputation or seniority, Itachi would have to wait to find out.
Team captains and club leaders started pooling into the auditorium, filling up the front row across all four seating sections. It was no surprise to see Sakura and Sasuke huddle up in the middle, maximizing their distance from either walls where the teacher's stood to look out for talkers who dared to interrupt such an interesting assembly that had been repeated for the last four years they were there.
"Oi, where's Naruto?" The pineapple headed kid asked, or so Itachi was going to label that head of hair until he could put a name to that face with poor fashion taste.
Sakura exchanged sympathetic looks with Sasuke.
"He didn't earn captain of anything." Sasuke said bluntly, though a small twinge of pleasure couldn't be hidden in his deep, emotion voice.
"No way! Who's captain of the baseball team then?"
A small head of brown perked up to Sakura's right, leaning into the conversation the duo was having with the nameless pineapple across the aisle.
"That would be me." It said, grinning at the three oh-so-smugly.
Despite whatever victory Sasuke felt for establishing a role in leadership while his best friend didn't, he frowned at the captain of the baseball team with disappointment and perhaps a little bit of anger.
"Kiba? I thought you would be captain of the track team!" Sakura exclaimed quietly, staring at him almost accusingly for cheating his way in and stealing a spot she obviously thought, for biased reasons, belonged to her blond best friend.
"And I thought Ino was going to be captain of the swim club, but you have to take it up with the seniors last year. They're the ones who voted for us!" Kiba huffed, jerking his thumb to the blonde who sat with an annoyed expression on her face, dressed in all black as if attending her own funeral.
"Then why…" Sakura began, staring at Ino before realizing. "Theatre."
"Man, that's why he's been bugging me all summer about making him co-president!" Pineapple headed sighed, shaking his head in annoyance. "I was wondering why he would want to be a head of both, work, and study."
Sasuke snorted. "Like he studies."
"Who knows, maybe he'll study this year so he'll get valedictorian." Sakura chimed happily, elbowing Sasuke with the hopes of his equal enthusiasm for the blond's work ethic.
"Or pressure will get to him and he'll drop ou—ow!"
From where Itachi stood, he saw the slight rise in Sasuke's shoulder and the death glare Sakura sent him which meant she had enforced her usual go-to method of pain to get people to agree to what she wanted. He was glad to see some things hadn't changed, but he wasn't sure what hadn't changed was something he should be happy about.
The screech of the speakers demanded everyone's attention as Kakashi took his spot on stage, staring uninterestedly at the row of adolescence who were recovering from the annoying sound.
"Hands to yourself, Sakura, this is the second time I had to remind you today."
If Kakashi was looking for a reaction, he was barking up the wrong tree.
Sakura stared back at him blankly, unaffected by the attempt of a public humiliation. Then, ever so slowly, she raised her hand and set it softly on Sasuke's hair. Running her fingers through it tauntingly, she maintained eye contact with Kakashi. What was even more surpassing, to Itachi at least, was that Sasuke allowed her to objectify him in her dominance for power. From the looks of it, he was damn near purring from the enjoyment of having her fingers run through his hair, mocking Kakashi. Perhaps it was because the inner cat in him enjoyed being petted by the right person—as younger Sasuke would roll into a fit of tantrum if you poked his chubby cheeks without his permission. That sure as hell didn't stop Itachi or his mama though, and he was sure, from his snootiness, that that hadn't changed in him either.
"Funny," Sakura snorted, her fingers twirling into Sasuke's dark strands as tense passerbies looked on. "You never seem to say anything when I clobber Naruto on the head."
A couple snickers here and there and Sakura's blank face broke out a toothy grin. Her hand dropped from Sasuke's hair as they exchanged mischievous smirks, waiting for Kakashi's retaliation to his power rejection.
"There are some things you can get away with that I can't," Kakashi said in a hush tone into his microphone, eyes crinkling in amusement. "When you do something I had entertained doing numerous times, I suddenly go blind with frustration so you can't hold me to anything."
The room broke into chuckles and giggles, lightening the mood which set the pace for Kakashi's opening speech.
"Anyway, welcome back to another year—hopefully your last of high school. Kiba, I'm looking at you."
"Hey, not cool, man!"
"I want to welcome you guys back personally, my captains and club leaders. Not only are you leaders of the school because you're my seniors, but you are team captains, club leaders, and unlike the other nameless seniors, you have a voice, a name to a face, a platform." He said lazily, pacing back and forth on stage. "No offense to the other leaderless guys, but students will be more likely to look to you than they will to them. You have more power, in the simplest explanation, you have more power and I look to you to put the students in their place when I or the other teachers aren't there to do so. They look to you as role models. They look at you to define cool—Gai, you should do the same."
Said man laughed.
"Although my colleagues and I are not thrilled to admit this, you know a lot more about what goes on in the halls than we do—drugs, fights, sex in the locker rooms." There was a pause of awkwardness and "did he really say that?" as Kakashi looked onto the room, or so many thought until Sakura shifted and Sasuke stink-eyed her. "But don't mistaken that for absolute freedom, you are still subjected to punishments and consequences like everyone else—detention, suspension—don't think you're free from those—Sasuke, Sasuke, Ino, Kiba."
Said four looked at each other and laughed, even going to the extent of high fiving one another for whatever mischief they've caused in previous years.
"And should you break a rule or participate in an act severe enough for you to be stripped of your leadership role, I vow now that it will be the most embarrassing thing you will ever experience."
Kakashi's threat resonated with many of the captains who warily glanced at one another and whispered amongst themselves. Unsurprisingly, Sakura and Sasuke sat unmoved, staring almost impatiently at Kakashi to continue while his threat came in one ear and out the other. Maybe it was because they were sure they would get away with any heinous act they had in mind—if Sakura was leading whatever prank they had in mind, Itachi was sure she would be clean enough to get away with it or too clean that Kakashi caught on but didn't have enough proof to pin it on her except for that fact that it was so clean. That, or they were friendly enough with their principal that even if they were caught red-handed, he would let them off with a warning.
From the looks of things earlier that morning, it would seem so that it was more the latter than the former.
The bustling of their large body of students echoed through the thick walls and heavy doors clicked open from the two entrances on the side and three in the back to let their student bodies in. There were whispers and quiet chatter amongst the large group of students, first about their own personal lives before switching to gossips about the various captains who sat in the front roles, staring back at them intimidatingly.
Some fixed their skirts and their hair, suddenly self-conscious under the stare of their elitists at school. Little did they know, the captains could care less for the small food stain here and the flyaway hair there and was more interested in their senior friends who walked in last.
Kakashi made a plan to seat the freshmen up front, right behind the seniors to get them a particular close up they may never have again. Besides the usual pep rally, games, and school events, seniors tended to not go out of the way to interact with freshmen. It was rare to see them juniors who weren't a part of their sports team, except for the few that stood out or made a positive impression for one reason or another. Not only would seating fresh blood amongst the alphas of the school give them a good scare to behave and encourage them to attract their captains eyes, it gave them an opportunity to get to know the faces of the captains and understand who to look out for in the hallways.
"Welcome back to a new school year," Kakashi began, eyeing the nervous bunch of hormones who sat in the second row, huddling inward and making them as small as possible. A few stood out confidently, or cockily—either way meaning trouble because the few infamous trouble-makers who sat amongst the seniors once sat small and nervous as well. Kakashi made a mental note to keep an eye on the few. "To some of you, welcome to your first year of high school."
A few nervous claps and awkward cheers came from here and there, not as enthusiastic or loud until Sakura and Kiba joined in to congratulate their accomplishments. If was refreshing to encounter a couple seniors who understood what was expected of their roles as captain, and though it was nothing new from Sakura, it was nice to see her encourage and demonstrate to the other oblivious few. Even if she had to jab Kiba on the side for him to join in.
"Remember when you used to be that tiny?" Sakura whispered, jerking her thumb to the boy sitting behind them to her right.
Sasuke didn't even need to turn to see how small the little freshmen was to know that they were at least half his size. Skinny and muscleless, just a sack of skin, bones, and a little tummy fat.
"Hn." He snorted, smirking to himself. "We don't need reminding of how tiny you were."
Sakura sent him a sideways glance, one that told him how lucky he was that Kakashi expected them to set a positive example that she couldn't pinch off a chunk of his thigh in front of the innocent passerbies. Sasuke knew there was a chance she would still do it even with the little kiddies huddling behind them, staring at the back of their heads in awe or their height and cockiness.
"This year we're doing things differently. Instead of giving the usual opening speech, I would like to welcome back former student president to lay down the rules and announce your new student president." Kakashi continued, eyeing Sasuke carefully who simply crossed his arms and slouched in disapproval. "Please welcome last year's president, Neji Hyuuga."
The auditorium erupted in cheers, with a couple of whistles and one very prominent booing from the back of the room. Sakura eyes nearly snapped out of her socket by how far they rolled back, clapping robotically while watching a smirk spread across Sasuke's face.
Naruto's booing promptly subsided with a yelp in pain, probably from a fan girl who clobbered him over the head for booing at the schools very precious and sexy ex-president.
Neji stood unfazed by the reaction, which was nothing new for their usual stoic ex-president. One would expect him to wave and smile at the crowd (group of hormonal girls) who supported him so fiercely, but the Hyuuga was clearly not about that life.
The only reaction he provided, one only Sasuke and Sakura caught at least, was his swift glance in their direction. Sasuke shot up automatically, sitting up straight enough to try to impose some type of dominance and leaning his elbow on the arm rest between him and Sakura, as if he wanted to lean his whole weight on her and shield her from the pervert's view.
Neji scoffed at the reaction, lifting his microphone and patiently waiting for the commotion to die down.
"Good morning," He said huskily, his brows lifting with a slightly shocked expression at the burst in cheers that set back his speech, once again. "It's an honour to be welcomed back so kindly."
"It's like he's trying to get a reaction." Sasuke commented curtly, his patience running low as a headache began to form from the constant screaming of pubescent girls.
"Well, he sure is getting a reaction out of you." Sakura said offhandedly, making a point to ignore the glare he sent at her. "Plus, you know you could probably fart into a microphone up there and get the same reaction. Don't be jealous."
"Konoha high school is built off of integrity and unity. We expect everyone who has been administered to work diligently to not only keep their grades up, but to give back to the community and take part in school events. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Neither is bully. Violation of either will result in an automatic suspension or expulsion."
Despite the obvious dislike Sasuke had towards their ex-president, he had to hand it to the guy for keeping it short and sweet instead of dragging it out like Kakashi or the previous presidents. The last thing he wanted to sit through was the same old speech every year, encouraging students to fundraise and join pep rallies, emphasize on the importance of uniting and standing as a school and establishing a good reputation in the community.
If the new students didn't get the message by the first day, they would get it within the first month as players and event organizers will encourage and, ironically, bully non-participants to participate until they liked it.
"Freshmen and sophomore students are required to join at least one club and sports team, as stated in your acceptance letter handed up at the beginning of May. Junior and senior students, while no longer required, are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities now hosted by your chosen club leaders and captains." The said chosen group at the front cheered and clapped again, this time it could be noted to be less enthusiastically, but all the same enough to satisfy Kakashi. "I enjoyed my four years here because I participate in these extra-curricular activities and events the school has to offer. They allow you to not only meet new people within the school, but also to make a name and reputation for yourself. They teach you teamwork, participation, and how to give back to the community. You, as an individual, represent us as a whole. Each and every one of you determines how people not only see you, but how the community sees us as a school.
"For some of you, you only have one more year to go. For most of you, you have at least two or more years left. Make them worth it because when you leave, you'll miss it."
"I didn't take Hyuuga as a sentimental guy." Kiba said, false sniffing at the pretend snot that dripped down his face from the overbearing emotion he didn't have.
"You can be anything if Kakashi puts you up to it." Sasuke snorted, remember the first time he understand the dangerous threat behind an eye crinkle.
"I second that." Sakura laughed, looking at the poor, innocent Kiba who was too pure and naïve for the world he lived in with Kakashi. The poor baseball captain has yet feel the shiver of fear run down his spine and his bowels desperately trying to empty in the body's preservation of energy for more important functions like keeping your heart from exploding. Poor boy, he was going to learn this year.
"Without further ado, I welcome your new school president, Nara Shikamaru."
Ah, so that was the pineapple's head name. Itachi watched him carefully as he trudge up the side stairs and up onto the stage, prying through his memories for previous encounters he's had with the boy with the ridiculous hair, yet familiar name.
"Yo," He said into the microphone, waving his hand in a lazy greeting that still got a few whooping and hollers.
Itachi wasn't one to judge—at least, not in the way he was about to. Judgement meant profiling his criminals and predicting their movements, attacks, and motives. Here, he was judging the president's slouch, his laziness, his lack of motivation—hair in particular—and wondering why everyone else was so enthusiastic about his position. He, second to Naruto, would be the last person Itachi thought would be voted as president.
Then again, that spoke to how out of the loop he was despite Kakashi's attempt to bring him in. Before, it was easier to guess the dynamic of the school, especially when concerning Sasuke and Sakura as Sakura was his source of information. What it felt like now was similar to how he felt his first year of university, when he accidentally missed frosh week for a mission and everyone seemed to know each other while he was this home-school freak who didn't know how to weave his way in.
It was easier to fit into university was it would be in high school, he was sure. As it was easier to train his mind to see going to post-secondary school and making friends as a simple mission and detach himself from any emotion involvement, which made it easier to act accordingly. The fact that Sasuke and Sakura knew exactly who he was, specifically Sakura, there wasn't a façade he could hide behind or someone he could pretend to be. With that said, he felt out of place for not knowing who Sakura and Sasuke were. Sure, their file could tell him what they liked and dislike, the extra-curricular activity they partook in and their grades, but besides that, why were they so fiercely supportive of this pineapple headed kid?
"I'm Shikamaru, your new president for this coming school year." This Shikamaru continued just as lazily, sticking his hand in his pocket and slouching on absolutely nothing and looked no more excited than he didn't when they cheered. "As it has been all the previous years, the student council and I will work to implement changes and answer student complaints, with reason, of course. And for you freshmen who doubt our power, ask any junior or senior how much healthier and tastier our cafeteria food is compared to what it was two years ago. Ask them why our class breaks are seven minutes instead of the short five.
"We are your voices when the staff cannot hear you. We are your event organizers. You have an idea for a spring break trip? You let us know and we have the ability to make it happen. You think we need more books? We'll work out the finance to make it happen. We are your key to the changes you want to make. A pawn, if you will."
Neji made a face that looked like a mix of pain and "no, Shikamaru, bad choice of wording."
"And by we, I mean, the student council, myself, and the co-president."
Sakura could practically feel Naruto's energy fill up the room, believing with all his little heart that Shikamaru would make a biased choice for the sake of friendship—which was not endangered, by the way, because Naruto could hold a grudge for as long as he could hold his piss—instead of a logical one.
"Such that it is the time for me to announce who we chose as this year's co-president," Shikamaru said, pulling out the envelope tucked in his back pocket with a little bit more oomph than before. Maybe it's because this meant he could distribute half the load of presidency onto this person, if not a little more so he could sneak out the rooftop door and nap. "Some of you have been bugging me with this question since the hour I was announced president last year, so listen up because I'm only going to say this once."
"Twenty bucks says he's only this annoyed because of Naruto." Sakura whispered to Sasuke, suppressing her giggles at the idea of the extent he went to ask and then beg for it to be him. The idea of him climbing the lazy genius' fence and up the side of his house in the wee hours of the night doesn't sound he hadn't had done midway through July. Actually, it would be a surprise if he put it off any later than two weeks into summer vacation. Poor Shikamaru probably woke up in a fit of fear to see a shadow with outrageous bed head looming over him.
"I can hear him whispering for Shikamaru to say his name from all the way over here." Sasuke grunted, glancing over his shoulder to the blond who was squatting on his seat for better projection.
"The person we voted for not only has one of the highest GPAs, but has consistently participated in 90%, if not all of school events, fundraisers, and activity. They are also pretty intimidating so they would double as a bodyguard and put all of you in your place if you misbehave."
"You mean control a crowd." Neji corrected, smirking in a suspicious way that said he had some hand in the decision or at least approved of it.
"They know what I mean," Shikamaru said curtly, tearing the envelope open for the single piece of card paper. "Your co-captain for this year is: Haruno Sakura."
There were very few instances where a surprise was off balancing enough that Sakura didn't know to react. So very few that this numbness was almost like a high to her well-abled body and quick thinking mind. Throw in Uchiha Itachi after she had presumed him dead for five years, she'll drive off in a haste of almost run into the newly painted golden gate. Throw a gun up at her face and she'll break you're a thumb, a couple of fingers, and maybe an arm or two. Announce her as co-president of the school without her knowledge, despite the giveaway of "highest GPA", "school event participant", and "double as a body guard/put people in their place" and she'll sit in her seat with her eyes wide open, looking at Sasuke to make sure she heard right over all the cheering and clapping.
It was when her muscle memory caught up to her mind that she flung herself forward and shuffled her way across the front row, up the stairway on the side, and onto the stage without a second thought. It was very rare instance that Sakura found herself nervous. The rush of adrenaline was nothing new to her lifestyle, so much that the lack of such would throw her immune system off balance. So when she walked onto the stage in front of the thousand or so children watching her every move intently, the clapping cheering, and occasional whistle and whooping of the crowd fell deaf to her ears.
Neji was there to extend a hand and a microphone to her, one of which she ignored with a hug and the other she gladly took.
"Please don't tell me you had something to do with this." She whispered in his ear, pulling away with a knowing smile and an arched brow.
Neji chuckled and shook his head. "I can only make suggestions. It's your current president and student council who makes the final decision."
Nevertheless, Sakura was not convinced and she let her gaze linger a little longer before turning to Shikamaru to give him the same lengthy hug as to not make things obvious amongst the students. Not that there was anything to make obvious. It was more to keep Sasuke and Naruto in their seats and the occasional passerby who eyed them last year when they walked down the hallway together or snuck out of the locker room at bay.
"Congratulations." Shikamaru said, pulling out the official council badge from his pocket. She barely had the chance to say thank you before cheering erupted again, tugging a bashful smile on her face as Shikamaru wrapped the pretty blue band around her left arm with a silver symbol of Konoha's school logo engraved on a small plate on the front.
She made a point to shoot a smile at Naruto, one that said "I told you so" when it came to studying as he could have been where she stood then. Of course, they also meant beating out Sasuke and Shino, but he clearly wasn't going to think of that when he cried tears of betrayal later on.
It took a couple hushing from the teachers to settle the students, one to allow them to continue with the assembly and two, to settle the nerves of the freshmen students who felt overwhelmed by the energy they didn't quite understand. Itachi stood as confused as the freshmen, watching Sakura soak and basked in all the glory she built for herself in his five year absence with a confidence and coolness she didn't have as a struggling twelve year old.
It was different, being a stranger in her life. Not knowing what was going through her mind or her intentions. As far as he knew, the pineapple head on the right was a childhood friend, and the boy on her left was a boy she slept with. Did any of that have a play in her elections? Well, Itachi couldn't tell you because he didn't know the extent of her power and her ability of corruption.
"Hello," She said lowly into the microphone, laughing as another boom of cheers echoed through the auditorium. "Okay guys, quiet down. We don't have all day; there's as a free barbeque happening at lunch today and I don't know about you, but I really, really like free food and barbeque."
One final whoop and the room settle into a quiet hum of whispers. Sakura bit her lip impatiently as she waited for the room to settle into an appropriate volume of quietness before continuing with a speech she was going to form out of her ass.
"So, welcome back. For those who don't know me or didn't catch my name, I am Haruno Sakura." She said evenly, her lips only twitching upwards slightly at the few whoops that came from random seniors in the back who were quickly hushed. "I am also captain of the cheerleading team, if it wasn't obvious by my jacket or cheerleading uniform underneath. Signup sheets are in the foyer and tryouts are this Friday for anyone interested."
She said the last quickly and under her breath, as so to finish before Shikamaru intervened to scowl her for advertising for another club during her acceptance speech. An unapologetic smile crossed her face, and she looked at the crowd with a look of "yikes" which erupted in chuckles and giggles.
"I guess I should tell you about myself. I don't know what to say though." She said accusingly, looking at Shikamaru who only shrugged his shoulders. "Well…I'm 5'3", pink hair, green eyes. I like long walks on the beach, but movie and a dinner is fine too. I'm not too picky—"
She paused to look at Kakashi analytically, judging her next move carefully before proceeding with whatever she had up her sleeves. They couldn't really blame her for not having any material. A quick text that morning would've done wonders for this kind of thing. Nevertheless, she could manage this. If she can get out of an surprised ambush attack, an acceptance speech wasn't going to be any trouble.
"In all seriousness, I did not expect to be elected as co-president this year. However the case, I promise to work hard with the president and student council to implement the changes you, as the student body, wish to see. I'm a very hands on and approachable person—"
"You can put your hands on me anytime, girl!"
"—just come up to me if you feel like you aren't being heard and let me know what you want to see change or to just say hi and introduce yourse—nu-uh, you two sit your goddamn asses down."
A call from a random hormonal boy wasn't anything out of the ordinary, yet every single time Sasuke and Naruto took it amongst themselves to make their dominance prominent and their disapproval known. Her slip of words didn't keep the glare she had pointed towards her two best friends off her face, not even when they reluctantly sat down under her gaze as teachers approached to secure them in their seats.
"Sorry." She murmured into the microphone unapologetically, unfazed and unapologetic by her screw-up, even when Shikamaru nearly smacked his head off his neck with a very loud and audible face palm. "If anyone feels traumatized enough by my language, the nurse's office if right beside the guidance councillors if you're in need of any attention. If not, can I continue?"
She pointed looked at Sasuke for an answer, one he gave by crossing his arms and huffing in annoyance with a promise of behaving.
"Good," She growled, turning back to the crowd. The tone of speech making a sharp turn from playful to serious as she had a vice grip on everyone's attention. "I've been here for three years, making this my fourth and final year. I came in as a freshmen, like many of you sitting in the second and third row, and all I have to say is that it only gets hard if you let it get hard. Don't close yourself off from opportunities because they seem scary. You'll regret them later on when you see your friends succeeding because they took the risk that you didn't. Things will feel off for the first couple of weeks, but I promise you that after the first month of settling in to your surroundings, you'll find your place.
"Now, that isn't to say that's where you're going to be your four years, but it's a start. The friends you make first year might not grow to be your best friend by your last year and that's okay. You're growing. You're changing. You're finding out things that you like, and dislike, and sometimes those things are the type of friends you have. My only advice is try new things, even if you suck. The best part of first year and second year as that you're allowed to try out for every team there is, but in third and last, you get three if you're lucky that practices and games don't overlap. I never cheered a day in my life when I joined the cheerleading team my freshmen year, and now look at me, I'm captain of the squad."
Her words brought a calm to the anxious and rowdy students, and Itachi could only begin to understand the extent of Shikamaru's and Neji's words for Sakura having the ability to control a crowd and put people in their place. From gaining their attentions with laughs and then quickly working their attention to her advantage for transitioning her speech into something serious, Sakura was able to hold onto them with a vice grip.
"Our school has a zero tolerance for bullying, and I know what some of you are thinking. Ya, every school says that but do they really do anything about it? I'm telling you we do. Not just the staff, but the students as well. If you feel like you're being picked on, if it's online or at school, come tell one of us. Tell a staff preferably before you tell me. Like I said, I get very hands on if you get my drift." She winked, lightening the mood. "But besides that, just enjoy yourself. Pace yourselves, do your homework, join clubs and teams and seize opportunities to travel that the school lets you. Most importantly, don't doubt yourself. We don't care if your skirt is too long or too short. We don't care if you have ketchup stains on your shirt or if your shoes are run worn out. Some do, because they're assholes, but they have me to deal with—Sasuke."
Kiba threw his head back and laughed, patting at the sulking raven-haired boy on the shoulder who should've expected no less from his best friend. That didn't keep the heat from rising to his cheeks as Naruto's howl echoed through the room, out of anger or embarrassment he couldn't tell.
"I am very honoured to be elected as your co-president. I hope you all have a safe and magnificent year, be it your first, second, third, or last year. And I hope to see many of you in the hallways, sports game, and barbeque today. Thank you." Her speech was supposed to end there, with the roaring of the students and booming claps that sounded like if it were any other poorly built school, the ceiling would come down with the noise. But instead of letting her take her place beside Shikamaru for Kakashi to take the stage once again, Shikamaru handed her a folded envelope and the message that Kakashi wanted her to rely onto the students.
"Am I your co-president, or am I here to do your dirty work?" She teased, taking the envelope anyway and taking her place back onto the center of stage.
"Kakashi's orders." He shrugged smugly, not at all regretting his choice in making her co-president despite her mishaps in the past.
"I guess I'm not done here, so bear with me a little more." Sakura said quickly into the microphone, not like anyone groaned or disapproved of her presence. No, actually, that was a lie. But it wasn't like anyone was in position to openly say so or had the nerve to keep their ground against her unfazed glare and "I'm sorry you feel that way, tell someone who cares." She peeled open the folded envelope elegantly with a smile on her face, unaware of the contents underneath or of the man who climbed onto the side of the stage. A look of horror spread across both Naruto's and Sasuke's face, one she would easily catch if she would just look up. "Konoha high school would like to formally welcome one of the youngest and most talented teachers to our team. Placing at the head of his class in English, Biology, Chemistry, and Math, this individual completed a double major in literature and engineering with a minor in history in just five years. Please, give a warm welcome to Itachi-sensei."
There was a deafness to the clapping again that made her ears ring. Not because she as immune to the clapping or the noise as she had been before, but because there was this seeping anger that radiated from her as she robotically clapped and smiled at the on-coming person. It was obvious what Kakashi had wanted her to do the second the first line registered in her brain. She had to give it to herself for not pausing at the shock that he had the nerve to force her to read it aloud and put her in such a position.
Her face held a blank smile as she looked from Sasuke to Kakashi, one who understood that she knew exactly what was held in that envelope without looking up and the other who knew he would pay dearly for his action in the near future.
"Welcome." She said quickly into the microphone, keeping up her façade of ignorance and excitement as she handed Itachi the microphone with a smile. For the first time since that morning, they shared a lingering glance. Her's was unreadable while she could quickly tell he was seeking something she wasn't willing to give and her fingers quickly unwrapped around the microphone the millisecond she felt him take hold of it. The device would have nearly dropped had Itachi not been so quickly to catch it and she was gone from his side the second he looked up. If their early morning encounter didn't already paint a clear picture of the type of relationship they had, then her quick and public dismissal at his presence while the girls in the audience continued to squeal and whisper definitely was.
Shikamaru eyed his co-president questionably as she stood beside him with a stiff smile on his face. He wasn't president and holding the highest GPA without reason, and he also couldn't remain friends with Sakura for more than a decade if he was as oblivious as some would be against her masked emotions.
"Is that who I think it is?" He whispered, keeping his mouth tight to not draw attention to their conversation.
"That depends, who do you think it is?" She whispered under her breath, tugging at her ponytail just to give her something meaningful to do.
"Well, judging from yours and Sasuke's reaction," He began, peaking over at the boy who had this look of murder and hatred in his eyes that if he didn't know any better and had the willpower of Naruto, he might have jumped onto the stage to strangle the man. "And the similarities in features, I think he's Sasuke's disserting brother."
Sakura smiled a bitter smile. "Nothing gets passed you, does it Mr. President?"
"Is there going to be problem with him?" He asked, watching as Sakura's carefully calculated expression drop into a glare.
"I think the question is, is he going to be a problem?" She looked over him and smiled, the entwined fingers she held in front of her tightening. "The last thing we need to people questioning him and questioning Sasuke. I would really like to get through this last year without any more fights or gossip."
"Then it's settled, we need the rest of the gang to testify to Sasuke's innocence." Shikamaru concluded, glancing at a Sasuke who was staring at them with suspicion at what his two genius friends were up to.
"Right, they're going to dismiss Sasuke's vague answer as him being a cold asshole. If we all unite to say that no, that this near twin of his isn't his brother, it'll be more believable." Sakura agreed, feeling a little more relieved than she had been since the day started.
"Meeting at lunch?"
"Pick a place and I'll make sure everyone gets there."
Who has an Canadian History exam tomorrow that she has just started to study for? Yours Truly. But at least I got another chapter up, right? I can't say the same for my other story, but I promise that my attention will switch back to it soon enough (To all you Scheming with the Devil readers out there).
All comments and criticism are widely accepted and appreciated.