Disclaimer: Not even the clouds (they belong to Shikamaru). All copyright to Kishimoto Masashi. This disclaimer is for all chapters. There's no point suing me.
MUST READ: EDITED. No ninja stuff. OOC-ness from characters. The characters haven't met before (apart Neji and Hinata who are cousins).
A/N: Thanks so much Yachtzee for the beta!
Playing with Hearts
01. Hating Lilies
"Tomorrow is the final day before the trip. Don't forget your money, passport, ID and extra money for souvenirs, in addition to your baggage. You must go in uniform when we visit historical places, but otherwise, you are allowed to wear whatever you like. And I'll tell again; this trip is not a vacation for slackers; it's for educational purposes.. The school was generous enough to permit this trip, seeing as this is the last year for you before college. Don't waste the time in—"
Anko-sensei, their teacher, was lecturing them again for the millionth time. At the end of every day, she'd remind them about the money and praise for the school.
White Lily All Girls School was a very popular boarding school known for having first class girls, notable academics and athletics. The school also offered the best scholarship in Konoha.
They only lost in popularity to their opposite gender 'brother school', because their school's director was very famous for being very social and writing his porn books.
It wasn't always that the school had an end-of-the-year grade-exclusive trip. That year was special because, as they liked to put it, the school was 'much praised, and we must show our gratitude'. Which was a lie, basically, because the trip is to save the school's reputation. If the coordinator refused the boys' school's offer, they'd officially lose the place for the best school of the year.
"And, before I finish, the boys' school is paying for the—"
Anko-sensei had talked for fifteen minutes now. It was a new record. She talked and talked until the bell rang.
Today, the seniors were officially graduated.
Well, almost, anyway.
"Sakura! Wait, Sakura!" Ino ran to catch up with her best friend, her long blonde hair streaming behind her. They were meeting outside the school grounds to plan the night, over at Sakura's house, so that they could arrive together the next day. 'Sakura must be daydreaming,' thought Ino, as she pushed people away to make way for herself through the corridor. "Hey! Big forehead girl! Don't you dare ignore me!"
At this, everyone in the corridor stopped and looked at Sakura, the school representative's, reaction.
The others didn't flinch when Sakura turned and gave Ino a sharp remark, seeing the two were in the school for more than five years. But they knew it was a way to show their friendship. It'd been like that since they started competing for the best grades and for the teacher's attention, way back when. But besides the rivalry, they were best of friends.
They left together and met with the others in the nearby park. The motto walking makes the perfection of the body led them to walk, inside of drive. They didn't need a ride, anyway. The park was very close to their dormitories.
Upon arriving there, Ino and Sakura saw Tenten, Hinata, and Temari, waiting in their usual spot: the bench beside the small lake. The girls waved, and the three other girls made room for them to join them on the bench.
"Ok, so who's going for sure?" Sakura asked after opening a notebook and pen. She wrote the girls' name and separated them by rows. She was always the class rep, even outside of class. Ino, Hinata and Tenten raised their hands while Temari shook her head.
"Why not, Temari?" Tenten asked curiously.
"My parents are sending me with Kankurou to a business conference. Gaara is the only one going… It's too bad. I wanted to go with you guys," she answered. They nodded in understanding.
"And who's going to Sakura's today?" Ino asked, referring to the mini-sleepover they were having.
"I'm not going," Hinata told them. They could understand. Hinata's father was very strict on her. It took all the girls and Hinata to convince her father almost the whole month to let her go on the trip. Sakura even had to bribe Hinata's cousin, Neji, to convince her father.
"Then it's settled. Be at Sakura's at five…it's the last day of cheerleading. Wish me luck choosing the next captain," Ino said. She stood up and brushed herself off. "I better go. See you later." She waved goodbye, and ran off.
"I should go too…I'm leaving in half an hour," Temari said, sadly.
"What are you complaining at? You're going to Europe for a month!" Tenten replied. Temari grinned and shrugged. After exchanging affectionate hugs and farewells, Temari left.
The other three nodded and made a telepathic agreement; they'd go for the park ice-cream shop.
"I wish they could change the uniforms. It's so sick to use this skirt," Tenten complained while they walked to the ice-cream shop. "And the shirt is white…I'm glad they allow tops underneath the shirt... Imagine if this gets wet?"
The girls nodded, "I think that jeans would be a good option…and maybe blue shirt?" Hinata suggested while they entered and sat looking at the menu.
"I don't know...I think they could change the skirt to jeans but the shirt would remain white with the grey lily school symbol. How corny…and worse, the uniform doesn't even match my hair." Sakura sighed. They giggled and asked for ice creams.
"Don't worry…Next year, hopefully, we'll enter college and won't have to wear uniforms anymore," Tenten said. "And what's with the socializing trip? If you guys didn't insist, I wouldn't have gone… But I guess a trip might be relaxing." Tenten took a spoon of her vanilla with chocolate chip ice cream and sighed happily.
"It's not a trip for slackers, Tenten! The school was generous enough to allow this," Sakura said, mimicking Anko-sensei rudely. The girls burst of laughing.
"I wonder how Ino's doing with the cheerleading practice?" Hinata asked.
"She'll be fine," Sakura waved her hand in the air motioning not to worry.
"One, two, three – turn!" Ino shouted to her team. This would be her last practice, sadly. She wouldn't even participate in the presentation.
"Four, five, six, seven, turn and bow and pompoms to the air!"
She was leading what she hoped was the perfect cheerleading dance. She had been training an hour per day to make them win, just so she could prove she was the best leader ever.
"And eight, nine and ten! Slip – and turn - pompoms shaking – raise the arms – turn left – turn right – jump - pompoms up – split – catch pompoms and END!" She gave the last whistle blow. Today the practice was lightened. She needed to end soon.
"Girls…as sad this is, I'll be in college, hopefully, by the next competition. As many of you know, now is the time for choosing a new leader," Ino said to the cheerleaders seated around her. "It was really hard choosing the next leader since I must say, you guys are all pretty great, but… I choose Moegi."
"Ehh? Why Moegi? She's so clumsy and is always messing the steps," a girl asked.
"Because I said so," Ino said firmly. "Even if she mistakes, she has a great memory for the steps and has the ability to learn. If you have something against that, re-think it. If you still don't like what I chose, then you aren't able to cope with this team, and that's too bad!" They nodded.
"Then, new captain Moegi, come and make this official!" Ino encouraged Moegi as she smiled shyly and stood in front of the girls.
"Now. This year, we'll win for Ino, because she helped us a lot!"
The girls cheered.
After the girls decided to grab a drink, Ino was reading to leave when she heard Moegi shouting at her. When she turned, she saw Moegi panting by her side, blurting out between gasps, "Ino, thanks for believing in me!"
"Don't worry," Ino winked with a smile, "if you have any trouble, then give me a call and maybe I call help. I must go now…I need to pack my stuff and leave to my friend's house. Ja!" Ino told her and walked home.
"See you tomorrow, Hinata!" Tenten and Sakura shouted as they waved good-bye to Hinata, whom was going to the other direction. Hinata waved back.
"Ne, Sakura…I'll rush to my house, and pack. Then I'll catch you guys," Tenten said.
"You haven't packed yet?" Sakura asked.
Tenten grinned sheepishly, "Not yet, but I'll be quick. Ja!" She waved and ran home, who was two blocks from Sakura's.
Sakura sighed at her friend's irresponsibility and walked home herself. She prepared the room where the girls were staying, the kitchen, and her room (which was a mess). She separated her bags, money and all the required belongings for the trip.
She was drying her hair when the doorbell rang. "Coming!" she called. Hurriedly, she rushed downstairs and looked through the peeping glass. She saw Tenten and Ino smiling on her doorstep, and opened the door.
"Come in, the house is all ours." She smiled and told them to put the stuff in the guest room and went to prepare something to eat.
They were in Sakura's room gossiping about the latest news — the boys from the school they were traveling with — when Sakura walked in with the food.
"I managed to ask Tsunade-sensei about the other school and she told me to be careful because we can expect almost anything from those guys," Sakura informed them as she joined into the conversation.
"What about the teachers?" Ino asked, eager to know if there were any hot teachers.
Sakura replied, "Well, two are perverted, but very famous for their good moods. Another is a cigarette addict. And, oh, and this is what I thought the weirdest; this teacher was all about 'youth this' and that. Very strange, don't you think?"
"My dad has friends whose sons are in that school. They say they are very polite, and well-known among the girls from mixed schools. They're supposed to be gentlemen, socialized and have great personalities," Tenten told them. When she referred to 'personality', she meant for 'money'.
"Really? Then I'll love to meet them!" Ino and Sakura squealed. Tenten just giggled.
"I wonder how their boarding school let the boys go out. I mean, how would the girls know them if they, technically, can't get out of the school?" Ino said, after a while.
"I know. At Lily's, we're only allowed to the park and that's when we are on break. Thank God we can live in our own homes now, not those dormitories," Sakura said.
While they were attending the school, it was required that they lived in the dormitories. They are only allowed out for an hour or so, granted the principal gave them permission. On vacation, they'd go home and stay there until school started again, repeating all over.
Their school had pretty much nothing but rules.
"Sakura, we are home!" Sakura's mom called from downstairs.
"Welcome back, mom!" Sakura said, standing up. The other two followed her lead, and stood up as well, and Sakura took them to meet her parents.
"Good evening, Mrs. and Mr. Haruno," they greeted.
"Girls, it's time to go to bed. If you three want to wake up, get ready and leave early you better go to sleep now," Mrs. Haruno told them.
The girls nodded and went back to Sakura's room.
"Man, I wish my mom would quit that superior act," Sakura complained when the girls went to the guest room to sleep.
The girls were in the airport, wearing the uniform shirt and jeans (the teachers had given permission for the jeans).
They had done their hair early that morning, and had caught a ride on Sakura's limo. They were in a line waiting for the teachers, Tsunade-sensei and Kurenai-sensei, to finish the role call.
They were going to Konoha Inn, a five star hotel reserved just for them. It was about a two-hour ride away from Konoha on bus. Yes…bus riding. How plain.
"And that's all the girls. Please, without pushing, go and sit on the bus," Kurenai-sensei told them. She was very stressed, complaining a lot because she was chosen to accompany the girls on the trip, when she could just enjoy being at home watching TV alone.
Ino and Sakura sat in the middle (switching the window seat every hour) while Hinata and Tenten parallel to them. In the first hours they messed with the back girls, then gossiped and imagined how would be the springs.
Then, after tiring of this, each one got something to do: Hinata read a book, Tenten played her Nintendo DS ((c) to Nintendo), Ino read Teen magazine and Sakura listened to her Discman.
"Keep it down! Keep it down!" Asuma-sensei shouted at the boys. All of them were fairly hyperactive, except for a particular group of boys who remained placid and reserved. When the boys quieted down, Asuma started talking.
"Right, that's the way! Now, take your stuff and get in the bus!" The boys, pushing one another to get in first, were entering the bus to get the best spot — the back seats.
The pushing and yelling got louder and louder, and Asuma had to blow the whistle thousand of times before they settled down and noticed him. "I want an organized row and start entering the bus, in a civilized manner," Asuma said sternly. It was so hard working with eighteen year old kids with mind of ten year olds.
When everyone was inside the bus, Asuma tried making the row call but decided against it… It would be waste of time and would be a killer to his voice box. The more popular students were seated in the back (by sheer force, they had kicked out the kids who were there previously), the cooler, more anti-social students were two seats from them, the noisy ones in the middle and the nerds in the front with the teachers.
Funny, how these things happened so frequently.
They stood there for about fifteen minutes until someone noticed they weren't going anywhere and inquired as of why. Gai-sensei answered that, "Kakashi, that stupid bastard, has still not arrived."
At this, everyone resumed messing around again. It would take hours until their teacher arrived. The teachers were talking about Kakashi's lateness.
"Gai…You could have told Kakashi the bus was leaving at three and not four. Maybe we need to wait an hour more until he appears," Asuma complained.
"Well…we were leaving at seven, so I thought three hours before he'd be on time," Gai-sensei answered thoughtfully.
"Don't worry, he'll appear any time now," the principal, Jiraiya, told them with a nonchalant laugh and a loose wave of the hand.
"And how would you know?" Asuma asked suspiciously. Jiraiya attempted to suppress a perverted grin, but failed miserably.
"Well…Today was the release of Icha Icha vol. 9 (a.k.a the continuation for the worse cliffhanger ever), but I canceled that because of the trip," Jiraiya told them.
"Your point?" Asuma asked.
"He'll come here to ask for the copy," Gai told him, hiding his face with his hands to sigh in embarrassment for having such a friend.
"Yes! Considering the bookstore opens at seven, he'll be here right about now…" Jiraiya said, seating himself down comfortably. The two teachers nodded. It made sense.
After ten minutes, there was Kakashi panting in the bus door, looking inside the bus.
"Ah! Finally, now we can leave, driver…" Jiraiya told the driver while he pushed Kakashi inside.
"Why was the book canceled?" Kakashi asked Jiraiya, his sole eyebrow raised. Jiraiya just looked at him then took an orange book (with a prohibited sign in the back) from inside his bag. When he saw Kakashi's expression, Jiraiya laughed.
"Consider it an early—" Kakashi wasn't even paying attention to Jiraiya; he was already focused on the book.
"Why are they late?" Sakura asked her teacher.
"I don't know…Let's get inside and leave the stuff ready," Tsunade told the girls with a sigh, checking her watch for what seemed like the umpteenth time.
"Oh…By the way, Shizune is in the nursery room if you guys need anything," Kurenai told them (referring to girls with periods or PMS).
"Before you guys leave, please remember to come back quickly to meet the boys. Oh, and it's a four girls bedroom, by the way. And remember, breakfast only after the boys arrive," Tsunade informed them. Having already heard this beforehand, the girls left.
The girls were in the third floor. Hinata and Ino chose a room almost besides the bathroom, because they were the first to get up and get ready in the morning, and because Hinata woke up frequently in the middle of the night.
They arranged their clothes in the wardrobe, took a quick shower, put bikinis underneath the clothes, and then finally left to meet the guys. They thought they looked quite good in their clothes — and of course, since they were meeting boys, that could always be to their advantage.
When they arrived in inn lodge they could only gape at the noisy boys introducing themselves. After re-looking at the supposed polite and gentleman boys they spotted some excluded … HOT … guys.
"Yosh, kids! We arrived!" Gai shouted, to get the boys' attention. They arrived an hour late (Kakashi's fault for his delay, pit stops, stopping to shout at them for the huge noise, etc.).
When arriving there, they only saw few girls. So Lily School was afraid to socialize? The teachers smirked at Tsunade, whom was waiting patiently for them.
After two minutes, girls came like a fever; there were plenty of them. And pretty girls, to boot.
Gai-sensei started introducing himself and the hyper students as well (then they'd re-introduce again just for fun and to anger them).
Asuma counted again and saw that it wasn't that much of girls; in total there was twenty-one without counting the teachers.
Then, coming from the stairs appeared another four girls…whom were gaping at the rowdy boys and then drooling at the cool guys…
'Why am I not shocked?' Asuma thought and sighed. It was a rather common occurrence.
Then something happened that he didn't expect; the girls turned their heads and went to introduce themselves to the noisy kids. Not the cool guys.
Asuma checked the sky. It wasn't falling down, he didn't think.
The cool kids just ignored it when the girls were pushing each other to just introduce themselves (and maybe touch their hands).
The four girls came and introduced to Asuma as 'Sakura' (the pink haired girl), '…Tenten' (the two buns told him without caring), 'H-hinata' (the girl with short hair) and then:
"Yamanaka Ino, nice meeting you sensei," a blonde told him, "I wanted to ask…who are those?" She asked while pointing to the cool guys.
Asuma sighed. Just as he suspected.
"Now…we'll go and greet the teachers then greet whoever greets us, okay?" Sakura told them after recovering from the shock she had with those hot guys.
The girls nodded and introduced to each sensei. Ino, Sakura and Tenten remember what they heard about the teachers. They had just confirmed that Tsunade's word were indeed true.
The last teacher, the cigarette addict, was friendly to them. At first, the girls were shocked to see Hinata stuttering but then, when Ino asked directly who were those guys were, they had mind heart attack. How could Ino ask that? They decided not to let be played with guys from this school!
"I see… I see… The one with black eyes and looks like a black porcupine is Uchiha Sasuke, star player. The white eyed, I assume you guys know he's Hyuuga Neji, Hinata's cousin, is the kendo star and second best in his academic notes. Bored expression is Nara Shikamaru, IQ of 200 and lazy ass but first in academic notes. Red-haired Gaara, school maintainer and newspaper coordinator. Coat guy, Aburame Shino, biology representative, won the competition for the school. And there's also one more guy…But he's sociable. Uzumaki Naruto, hyper blond. Over there," Asuma introduced while pointing to each one.
Ino and the girls nodded, asked for Asuma's name and left to greet Naruto. Asuma thought that the cool guys were loosing their 'coolness' to the hyper crowd. Sakura was the first one to introduce herself to Naruto. Naruto was really kind with the girls and pretty funny (but loud as well).
Then, there was Lee, who instantly declared his undying love for Sakura, whom just smiled a bit but kept away every time Lee came near her. She frequently gave him a diseased look.
And lastly, there was Kiba and his dog, Akamaru (how they allowed the dog to enter, no one knows) who happily entertained the girls.
Tsunade called for breakfast and the girls went to sit with the boys. It was nice to talk to them — having just been derived of boy companionship for over four years, it was a relief to finally converse with a few again.
Sasuke noted that Naruto and the others found some girls to stay with. Those girls didn't even try to talk to them (not that they were going to, anyway).
Sasuke glanced at Neji and saw (or interpreted) the same look in his eyes; confusion — but still the same look of nonchalance. What happened to all the girls drooling over them? What happened to the girls that came crawling to their feet to touch their hands?
NOT that he cared.
Shikamaru only told the two to join them (Gaara and Shino didn't mind, they could always choose some other girl). They sat in the far back (avoiding eating near those crazed fan girls).
"I saw that they didn't come to talk with us…" Sasuke started.
"And they choose Lee," Neji stated flatly. He did not take lightly that he had lost to Lee, of all people, for popularity.
"…They talked about us with Asuma-sensei. If you noticed, Asuma-sensei was pointing at us when they were with him. They just ignored our coolness. We might want to do something about that." Shikamaru told them the game plan, so they could get back their status.
They saw that the group of girls and the guys left and talked to Tsunade (Jiraiya's longest friend and rival) about something they couldn't hear.
They then followed the group and soon found they were heading to the pool. It wasn't that sunny outside but a swim would do something good. They heard the girls shouting something about a towel and sun lotion and then they left.
"I don't know you girls noticed but those guys were following us," Tenten stated as soon as they reached their room. The girls nodded, and exchanged amused snickers.
"Why were you stuttering, Hinata?" Sakura asked when they calmed down.
Hinata became beet red but answered, "I have some trouble speaking with guys…my thoughts are organized but when I need to speak, it gets confused…" The girls nodded in understanding.
"Alssoooooooo…I saw that you keep blushing when Naruto talks to you, Hi-na-ta," Ino teased her.
Hinata blushed more. "He's really…c-cute…and he's so confident when talking, never afraid if he makes mistakes…" she told them.
"Don't worry… But," Sakura said with a serious tone that the girls paused to look at her, "if you marry him, I want to be the maid of honor."
She winked and the girls laughed. Hinata blushed.
"Then, I'll be yours and Lee-san's honor maid," Ino commented, and smirked when Sakura shrieked that she and Lee were 'just friends'.
"But anyway Hinata, if Naruto hurts you; I'll personally kick his ass," Tenten assured her confidently while the girls supporting her comment.
"Thanks…" Hinata said.
When they arrived in the pool area, it was full of students already. So much for peace. They spotted the guys and waved at them, trying to make their way through the crowd to them, but there was a huge amount of girls surrounding someone and taking all the space to walk. The girls were pushing aside the squealing girls when someone pushed them inside the cold pool.
When they came out to reach for breath, they saw none other than those cool (but hot) guys…smirking at them.
And to their surprise, the guys walked away before they could even say a thing. Without apologizing.
They were so dead.
A/N: There! What do you guys think? Uff…I had so much trouble writing this xx Please review! Also, if there's a lover of the NejiTen couple, please read my fic 'Step by Step' this is focused on them!
A/N2: Thanks for Yachtzee! I'm in the (slow) rocess of writting the next chap, so don't worry - I haven't quit this!