Chapter one: New kids
Because of the temporary removal of Vindicated, all previous reviews were lost completely. However, there is an upside to this: I was still developing characters in the beginning chapters and now I can go back and fix them. There will be changes mad to each chapter, stuff added etc etc. Please be patient and re review please please and thank you.
Disclaimer: This fic's plot was originally Junsui Kegasu. You can read her version in her fic Lost and Found. I have her typed and spoken permission to write this fic.
Neji looked around the school yard. Not much had changed over the winter break. The same groups still hung out in the same places, despite the cold weather; and the same people still chased after the same people, he noted seeing the group of fan girls waiting for the Uchiha boy to arrive. The buzz still surrounded the area, disrupting the quiet morning, but he picked up the same two words floating around.
Giving a humph to himself, he continued inside. 'New kids huh? Sounds interesting.'
He went into the office to drop off a letter for spring sports in his coach's mailbox. Sitting in some chairs waiting for the secretary to print out their schedules was the new kids. Two brothers and a sister. All three looked like they could be happier to be there.
The girl looked like she was about sixteen, a junior. Her sandy blond hair was pulled back into four pony tails. She looked very proper, but pissed and seemed more awake then her brothers.
The bigger of the two boys looked like a senior. He wore all black and fishnets. His brown hair was spiky and reminded him of that annoying blond haired freshman that his cousin was fond off. He looked odd and kinda weird, but at the same time kinda cool. He however looked about to fall asleep.
The smaller of the two boys was not just small, he was pathetically puny with a thin face and red hair. His clothes looked old and were way too big for his small stature. They hung off his shoulders making him look even smaller. He had dark circles around his eyes making Neji wonder about his health. He was sitting between his siblings as if he was hiding himself from everything around him. Neji noticed a dark bruise on his arm and a red mark on his neck that he was rubbing as if it hurt him.
The older brother glanced up and saw him staring at his brother and glared at him. "What are you looking at?" he demanded.
"Sorry," Neji said, quickly looking away. Shoving his hands in his pockets, he paused then looked back and smiled, trying again. "Eh…welcome."
"Thanks," the older boys said sarcastically. The girl smiled in thanks as the secretary brought them their schedules.
"How do we get to our classes?" the girl asked.
"Oh…um…here are maps," she said handing them each a map. "Unfortunately, I don't have time to show you to your classes," she noticed Neji who was quietly trying to sneak away. "Oh, Hyuga-san, would you help these three to their classes, please?"
"Sure," Neji said, turning back to them and leading them out. He led them outside into the school yard where a bunch of kids were playing ball.
"Why outside?" the older boy demanded, pulling his coat closer.
"It's nicer outside," Neji said, looking up at the clear sky. Even though it was winter, the air was warmer then usual.
"NEJI! HEADS UP!"
With lightning fast reflexes, Neji turned and caught the ball that was pelting towards them. The three siblings stared, as Neji sighed and stood up straight.
"Watch it!" he shouted to his teammates and their friends.
"Are you trying out for spring?" one asked.
"Uh, duh," Neji said, dropping the ball and holding it with his foot.
"Neji is always on the team idiot," said another. "Here Neji! Kick it."
Neji gave the ball a well practiced kick, sending it straight to the boys who asked for it. Turning his attention back to the kids he was helping he smiled. "Sorry, here lets sit here and I'll look over it."
They sat down and Neji took their schedules. "I'm Hyuga Neji by the way. I'm a sophomore."
"My name's Temari," the girl said. "I'm a junior. Kankurou is a senior and Gaara's a freshman."
"Cool," Neji said casually, mentally praising his insight. He then thought of something and looked up again. "Hey are you guys cold? Do you want to go back in?"
"I'm fine," Temari said.
Kankurou glanced down at Gaara who instantly stopped shivering. "I'm fine," Gaara said so quietly, it took a moment for Neji to realize he spoke.
"You want my coat? I have two on," Neji said.
"Why do you have two?" Kankurou asked.
'Why does every time this guys says something it sounds like an insult?' Neji ignored it though. "My cousin made me; I just haven't taken it off yet." He then slipped it off and tossed it at Gaara, who caught it and put it on.
"Your cousin?" Temari asked, confused.
Neji shrugged. "I live at my uncle's house. That's my cousin right there," he nodded towards a girl with short dark hair standing with some other kids. Neji then began showing them on their maps how to get to each of their classes. After showing them on the map they got up and he led them each to their first class, leaving Gaara for last since his class was right down the hall from his own.
Neji and Gaara stopped and turned to see a tall man with brown hair and a toothpick in his mouth.
"Morning Coach," Neji said smiling. "I left the thing about the spring team in your mailbox."
"Just got it," he said holding up a few papers. "Who's this? Never saw you here before."
"This is Gaara," Neji replied when Gaara didn't answer. "He and his siblings just transferred here. You still teaching in room 155?"
"Gaara's in your class then," Neji said then turned to Gaara. "This is Coach Genma, he's pretty cool."
Genma chuckled. "Welcome, Gaara," he said holding his hand out.
Gaara gave him a tiny, shy smile, shaking his hand with his thin one.
"You like soccer Gaara?" Genma asked,
Gaara shook his head.
"Ah…well…" Genma shook his head sadly and led him into the class. "Not the talkative type are you? That's ok. You see soccer is…"
Neji rolled his eyes. If Gaara wasn't fond of soccer now, he would hate it before class was over. Turning he went into his class next door as the bell rang for first period.
(1st period Government-Gaara)
"Welcome back," Genma greeted to all his students. "How was everyone's break?"
Various responses were received. "It suck." "It was awesome." And of course the ever present "…" .
"Good," Genma said. "To celebrate the first day back I have a surprise."
"We can sleep?"
"No, a POP QUIZ!" Genma said his voice dripping with fake happiness.
"Oh shut up, I'm tired too," he said glaring at them all. He passed out the sheets, then went over to his desk and pulled out some papers and went over to Gaara. "These are some papers that your parents have to sign ok? I'm not gonna give you the quiz," he said, like 'duh', "but this'll count as a homework grade ok?"
Gaara nodded and took them from him. Genma then gave him his new book and all that junk and explained to him how the class operated and all that boring stuff that teachers are required to tell their students at the beginning of the year.
After he was done, Gaara just sat in his seat, staring blankly at nothing while everyone else finished their quiz. He could hear them whispering about him, knowing they were pointing fingers at his back. He looked down at the papers given to him and frowned in distress and laid his head down on his arms. The day wasn't starting out good for him.
(1st period Grammer 12- Kankurou) (like our English class)
"—And we have a new student with us today," said Kurenai, turning to face the class. "His name is Kankurou and—"
Several student snickered as Kurenai's sweat dropped.
(1st period Algebra 2-Temari)
"GOOD MORNING MY STUDENTS! I HOPE YOU HAD A WONDERFUL BREAK!" the teacher screamed.
Temari stared wide eyed at him. She seriously hoped this was a substitute, cause she didn't think she could survive this every morning for the rest of the year.
"WE HAVE A NEW STUDENT WITH US. TEMARI-SAN, WOULD YOU MIND STANDING AND TELLING US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF!"
Temari swallowed and stood. "Um…my name's Temari, I'm sixteen and moved here from Sunaga with my father and brothers. I like reading manga and cooking…" she paused thinking. "I like collecting Chinese fans and taking pictures. That's all."
"WONDERFUL! THOSE ARE EXCELLENT WAY OF EXPRESSING YOUR YOUTHFUL ENERGY! NOW, PLEASE TAKE OUT YOUR NOTE AND COPY TODAYS OBJECTIVE FROM THE BOARD WHILE I GET TEMARI-SAN'S PAPERS!" the teacher nearly skipped over to his desk and took out the same kind of papers Gaara got from Genma.
Temari looked down at one of them. 'Students will be on time to every class because this will help you improve on your later growths in life……..etc etc…..Mato Gai-sensei-math teacher'
'Oh you have got to be kidding me…'
Neji stepped out of class and started down the hall towards his second period class. He enjoyed this class because it was Art and he loved to paint, but he had wanted to be in a more advanced class instead of a fundamentals one. All the advanced classes were full and there was no more room for Neji. However, the Art teacher had agreed (because Neji was persistent and wouldn't leave her alone) that Neji could be in her fundamentals class for an independent study period. So while the rest of the class was learning how to draw lines and circles, Neji was painting acrylic landscapes and portraits.
As he was walking down the hall he glanced to his right.
"AH!" Neji jumped and nearly fell over into the lockers that lined the hall.
Gaara gave him a weird look.
"Holy fizzle, how'd you do that!" Neji demanded, clutching his chest trying to calm his racing heart. The redhead had come up to him so quietly Neji had never seen him.
Gaara held out his schedule, indicating he didn't know where to go next. Neji took it and looked down at it.
"Hey your in my next class," Neji said, surprised he didn't notice earlier. How tired had he been this morning?
"Gentleman, get to class!" a random teacher called to them.
"Shit, come on," Neji grabbed Gaara's wrist and ran down the hall and up the stairs to the second floor.
(2nd period Art-Neji and Gaara)
"You don't have a drill today, please get out your sketchbooks and work on your final project," Suzume-sensei said. After everyone was seated and sketching, she went over to where Neji was standing with Gaara. "Good morning, Neji," she greeted.
"Good morning, sensei. This is Gaara, he's a new transfer student."
"Welcome," she said smiling at him. "Gaara why don't you take the empty desk next to Neji since you two seem more accuainted. I'll bring you the things you need."
Neji led Gaara over to their desks and left him there to get out his canvas and paints. Gaara glanced over at the canvas.
"Whoa…you did that?" Gaara asked staring at it.
"Yeah, I'm doing an independent study so I have different assignments then the rest of the class," Neji said. "The assignment was to paint a portrait," he laughed and leaned over. "Some girl had asked me to paint her so I'm getting paid for it too. Shh." He put his finger to his lips as Suzume came up to them with Gaara's papers. As he set his desk up, he realized it had been the first time he'd heard Gaara speak aloud. He glanced over at him as the redhead started fiddling with the edge of his shirt and biting his lip as the whispers started all over again.
(skipping a lot. 7th period English-Neji) (the language)
Neji looked around as he walked it, noticing the difference immediately. New seating chart. Great. Finding his new seat he sat down and waited for class to start. He was surprised to find Kankurou in his class, and even more when he sat next to him. As class started he learned that Kankurou was the kind of person who could talk and take notes at the same time. Neji could do the same, and started a conversation, which ended up being somewhat more pleasant then he expected. Maybe Kankurou was just tired in the morning.
"Where are you guys from?" Neji asked.
"Sunaga," Kankurou replied, sneaking him some skittles he had saved from lunch. "It's a desert, so we're not really use to the cold weather yet."
Neji instantly felt bad. "Why didn't you tell me? I wouldn't've taken you outside this morning."
Kankurou shrugged and scribbled some notes from the board down on his paper. "It wasn't that bad. Gaara was kinda cold but you gave him your coat. I appreciate that, by the way."
"No problem," Neji said.
"Dude, I saw your brother, he's in my lunch," said the boy on Kankurou's other side. "He looks like he's gonna drop dead any minute. What's up with the circles around his eyes?"
Kankurou shut him up with a glare. "None of your business," he growled.
"It isn't nice to say things like that, Kiba-kun," the girl on Neji's other side said in a slow morbid voice.
"Oh, Hi Hinata-sama," Neji said turning to look at her. He hadn't noticed her there before.
Kankurou looked over at her as well, guessing this was Neji's cousin. He hadn't gotten a good look at her before. They both had dark hair and those freaky white eyes. Though, her hair was very short while Neji's was practically to his waist. Neji turned and saw him staring at them.
"Don't be a hypocrite," he said, giving him a funny look.
Kankurou grinned and sat back. He was starting to like this kid.
After class Neji and Hinata led them down the stairs to the front of the school. Somewhere along the way, Gaara joined them, but neither of the Hyuga's knew when. Temari was waiting for them outside.
"You guys walk home?" Neji asked when they reached the street.
"Yeah it's not far though," Temari said.
Gaara pulled off Neji's coat and held it out for him.
Neji shook his head and held up his hands. "You can keep it, I really only need one," he added pointedly to Hinata, who's narrowing of the eyes was barely visable.
"I'd rather you take it back," Gaara mumbled.
"Ok.." Neji took the coat from him and looked up as a black limo pulled up..
A man dressed in black stepped out and opened the door for Hinata.
"Um..Neji are you walking home again?" Hinata asked, before getting in.
"No, ma'am. Hyuga-sama asked that you both ride today," the man in black said.
Neji shrugged and got in after his cousin waving to the siblings. They watched them pull off, the started down the street together.
"That Neji kid's kinda cool," Kankurou said, shoving his hands in his pockets.
"It was nice of him to help us," Temari stated.
Both glanced down at their brother for his opinion, but he wasn't paying attention and didn't answer. He didn't want to go home yet, so he walked as slow as he could and appreciated his siblings walking slow for him too. He came back to reality when Kankurou tapped his shoulder.
"How was your day?" Temari repeated.
"Did you make any friends?" she asked, hopefully.
"No." he replied shortly. "Well, Neji was ok."
"What did you eat?"
"I wasn't hungry."
Temari sighed. "Gaara, I wish you'd try…I know it's hard but…"
Kankurou didn't contribute to the conversation. He was deep in thought himself. He looked down at his watch. Wow, they had walked only three and a half blocks in an hour. But no one got home until five so—
Kankurou stopped short as they turned into their driveway. "Oh, shit…"
Temari and Gaara stopped too, seeing the same thing. Both groaned and followed Kankurou into the house and glanced around.
"What the hell took you so long?"
All three jumped at the sudden voice. Turning they saw their father standing in the entrance to the living room, arms crossed and eyes glaring.
"Hey dad," Kankurou said forcing a smile.
"You three should have been home over an hour ago. Why were you holding them up again?" he demanded of Gaara.
"We had to stay after for a bit to get stuff sorted out with our teachers," Kankurou lied.
"Don't try to defend him I saw you walking home!" their father shoved a finger in Kankurou's face. He then shoved his older son aside to get to Gaara who had shrunk behind his brother. He grabbed Gaara's wrist and pulled him out. "I'm sick and tired of you making everyone's life hell. Do you find it amusing?"
"No," Gaara replied, wincing at the pain in his wrist. "But I didn't—"
"Shut up!" the horrible sound of fist hitting jaw sounded. Because of the grasp on his wrist Gaara only lost his balance instead of falling into Temari. His father didn't wait for him to catch his balance again either, he simply dragged him upstairs to 'deal with his disobedience'.
Kankurou turned as Temari burst into tears. He wanted to tell her to knock it off, but he didn't have the heart to. Instead he said kindly, "Temari, don't do that…you might make it worse."
"Sorry," she sniffed. "I just can't stand the way…" she broke off and wiped her eyes. She went into the living room to calm down.
Kankurou picked up his and Gaara's bag and went up to his room, trying to ignore the yelling and sounds coming from his father's room. After putting the bags down, he hurried down stairs and made two cups of ramen. When they were done he went back to his room and sat at his desk. He placed the ramen on the desk and picked up Gaara's bag.
Sifting thought the random stuff in it he found the important papers parents were suppose to sign. He read through each and forged their father's signature on each. It was something he had learned to do long ago when he wrote fake absence passes. He noticed that his science and art classes needed a lab fee to use the supplies. He opened his desk drawer and opened the box inside. He pulled out two tens and placed them on Gaara's papers. Closing the drawer he began his own homework.
At last he heard the phrase he'd been waiting for.
"I don't even want to look at you any more, Get out!"
Kankurou kept his head turned away from the door, listening to the staggering foot falls approaching his room. Gaara entered somewhat quietly and sat on the floor against the bed. Kankurou waited patiently until the quiet sniffing died down before getting up and giving him one of the cups of ramen, which he ate hungrily…starving. Kankurou sighed, no words available, and placed a caring hand on his brother's head. He sat with him until the smaller boy fell into a fitful sleep.