Good News, Bad News
Chapter 5: And So It Begins
Author's Note: OMG I just read chap. 227-233 of Naruto (ie- Sasuke 'n Naruto's big fight) and I got SO PISSED OFF at that stupid Uchiha! I couldn't write for a week after I read it, because I kept killing him off in my story (which is not good- who's he supposed to fall in love with- Gaara? for all you GaaNaru fans out there, I'm joking; I just like SasuNaru better, that's all. ).
There is nothing to write about, you say. Well then, write and let me know just this- that there is nothing to write about; or tell me in the good old style if you are well. That's right. I am quite well. - Pliny the Younger
It is perhaps a more fortunate destiny to have a taste for collecting shells than to be born a millionaire. - Robert Louis Stevenson
To an Academy Student, from a Public Student:
Looks like I've got a live one! While you're talking about tree skins and such (get it? Bark? Tree skins? HA, I crack me up, I really do), I'd like to add that it seems you've got quite a bite as well! Take on any bulldogs lately?
Aw, doncha like the slums? They're actually really nice! (once you take out the rats and cold weather and mean landlords and partying neighbors and wandering drunks/junkies/hookers/random pedophiles) I've got a place of my own at the top of Kyuubi Towers- it's a nightmare to move furniture, but all those stairs keep me in shape, and I've got an awesome view! Mist Valley's pretty nice too, y'know. It is pretty rural, but it's nice and peaceful. I used to go there a lot- Mom used to talk a lot about moving there after she retired.
YOU DON'T LIKE RAMEN! What in God's name is wrong with you! Are you ill? or allergic? Does it bring up painful memories? It can't be because you can't afford it- you go to Academy…I can't think of a single reason why you wouldn't like ramen, except maybe YOU'RE INSANE, which is good, because I'm pretty loco en la cabeza myself. ?Habla usted español? Yo no lo hablo bueno, sino mi profesora habla que yo aprendo rapidamente. (1) You catch all that? Huh, I betcha did. You probably speak English, Spanish, German, and a little Japanese on the side.
Well, it's getting late, and if I don't finish my homework now I never will! (Plus, I told the guys I'd cover the South Street at two am- the cops seem to avoid that area at that time. Perfect time for drug dealing, HAHA.)
Sadly Having to End His Delightful Correspondence Too Soon, Kabuki
p.s. Kabuki is a traditional Japanese theater, and I want to be a performer. So there. But why in the name of all flavors of ramen are you called P.S.? Post Script? Please Satisfy? Problematic Student?
To a Public Student, from an Academy Student:
Don't write again. You are a Waste. Of. Time.
Hm, maybe Pre menstrual System. HAHA I'm joking, don't get all pissed again. So, are you a girl or a guy? If you're a girl, wanna go on a date? If you're a boy, wanna go on a date? HAHA that was a joke again, in case you didn't notice. But seriously. Call me.
STOP LOOKING AT ME IN THAT TONE OF VOICE.
Man, I crack myself up, seriously. Seriously. That's such an odd word, doncha think? I don't like being serious. I mean, I can be, but it's so rare that when I am my best friend starts freaking out. I think I smile so much because of my mom. She loved to laugh, and make other people laugh. And wit? She never lacked a come-back or witty remark. And she wasn't afraid of anything. That's why she had ins with some really top-notch people; she just had a great personality. She was always in the spotlight- sparkling, beautiful, with such a wicked glint in her eye but a sweet aura. She was the ULTIMATE performer. And I'm gonna be just like her.
Getting a Bit Sentimental, Kabuki
Why would I care about your stupid mother? She can rot in hell for all I care. Stop sending me letters.
That's not very nice; but while we're on the subject I'm pretty sure she's in heaven, not hell. She probably makes such a pretty angel.
What, is your mom dead or something?
Yeah. She died a few years back from the Fever. We took her to the best hospital in Suna, but they couldn't help. But it was okay. I lived with my godfamily (which happens to be the family of my best friend) for a few months until I got the "ok" from the government that I could live on my own. My aunt (my father's sister) found me a year after Mom died, and she helps me with my expenses now-and-again (mostly buying me groceries and stuff- the gov pays half for the apartment and I pay the other half of the rent and the utilities). I don't really like it when she pays any more than that- it makes me feel like I'm gonna owe her something.
So you live all by yourself in Kyuubi Towers? No wonder you're out on the streets and selling drugs. I bet you're a pimp, too.
My parents...they died when I was younger. I live with my older brother (who happens to be a totally over-bearing, conceited asshole) in this huge, empty house with absolutely no one else in it but us. I'd rather stay at school than go back to that stuffy, creepy place.
AHA! So you can write more than one sentence! I knew you could do it. Eventually. Maybe. Okay, I was having some doubts. Naw, I'm no pimp, but man, I could be! I got everything a girl wants- you should see them stare at me out on the streets! I am a sexy beast, a bronzed sun god with a body that makes women (and men- DAMN I'M HOTT) melt!
Really? I'd rather work in SoKo than go to school. It's not my proverbial "cup of tea", as you rich folks might say. I mean, my school is alright, and the people are fine, but I like the anonymity of the streets (other than when I'm acting). And even though my house is relatively in the slums of SoKo, I've managed to make it pretty nice. I moved in when I was eleven, and since then I started some community projects to make it look nicer. Plus, everyone in the building is like family, and the longer you stay there the closer you get to the people.
It's not like I could go home even if I wanted to, though- I need the money from my jobs. I don't normally have leftover cash to buy really nice stuff, which may be more of a blessing than a curse, considering where I live. My apartment got broken into so many times during my first year, I just started leaving the door unlocked and put a sign that said "Dear robbers, gangsters, and junkies- I have nothing of importance or wealth in my apartment. If you insist on entering, please don't break down my door, as I have no money to fix it with. You'll see that it's unlocked. If you overturn any tables or mess up my bookcase or bed in search of items of wealth (THAT YOU WILL NOT FIND), I ask that you kindly put them back in their proper states when you're done. Sincerely," and then you can enter my name here, but I'm not gonna tell what it is! I almost did, that's why there's that huge scribble right after 'Sincerely', haha. It's still there, even though I don't need it anymore. Like I said, in Kyuubi Towers we're all family. The local gang doesn't let any other thug or thief come into the Towers.
But they like me. Wanna know how? (It's actually a cool story behind it all.) I was twelve years old, and it was a really cold night. When I looked out my window I saw a couple of guys just standing out in the snow. Now, my mom always told me to help a person in need (even if they're buff and scary and have tons of tattoos and scars and carry weapons, because lots of people in show biz are buff and scary and most have tattoos and scars and carry weapons) and since I didn't have anything in my apartment to steal I invited them up, to get warm and stuff. They told me to piss off.
So I borrowed some mugs from Mrs. Kachii (the old lady who lives next to me), made some ramen, and took it down to them along with some blankets I got from Miss Ayame across the hall (she's a kindergarten teacher at Public Elementary, and knows how to knit). When they saw me coming towards them, I don't think they really knew what to do, so they just laughed.
It would've been a pretty funny sight to see those tough guys wrapped in gaudy orange, pink, green, and yellow blankets, eating ramen on Kyuubi Tower's stoop and talking to a skinny little kid.
The next day on my way home from school I ran into the local gang. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the dudes who I had given the blankets and food to were in the gang! One of 'em was actually the boss! Ha! Talk about your luck! So, from then on I've been on good terms with them- and on really cold nights they come up to my place and hang out.
Pretty cool story, huh?
Rollin' With the Homies, Kabuki
Normally I would say that you need serious psychological help, but it seems that you are too far gone for even that.
Although Shino and Sasuke were aware of Naruto's sporadic appearances in the Academy boy's dorm (there was no way they could ignore the squeal that came from the blonde every time he looked in their mini-fridge. The novelty of getting ice cream whenever he wanted never ceased to amaze him), the other students soon knew that a eccentric individual visited Kiba every now-and-then. How did they find out, you may wonder?
Well, at 3 o'clock on normal days at Academy, students were released form the prison cells they knew as their classrooms and proceeded to meander to their various hangouts in an orderly manner. There wasn't any specific rule that stated that silence (or at least a variable of calm) must be maintained on the campus, but students were just generally quiet.
This day was not normal.
At about 3:15 pm, Sasuke was walking back to his dorm (as was his custom), when he heard drifting, melodic music...he walked towards the sound, a bit irritated and wanting to know who to yell at when he found who was being so loud.
He paused and listened a little closer. Was it...Veggi? Villa? Oh, Valli. Yeah, Frankie Valli. "Who listens to Franki Valli anymore?" he said loudly, annoyed. (Sasuke was secretly a huge fan of those old songs, but he could never let anyone find out. It might give people the impression that he was a romanticist. His bluff seemed to work, as the freshmen girls standing next to him quickly jotted something on their notebooks, backpacks, skin, exc.) He walked closer, the music growing louder and louder. That was odd. It seemed to be coming from his building. It seemed to be coming from his floor.
Kiba's room, to be precise.
Sasuke stood at the base of the tall building, a scowl etched on his face as he stared at the open window from which the oldie music blared. He took a deep breath to yell something, when- (ba, ba ba, ba, badum) (AN- C'mon, you all know the song from Ten Things I Hate About You)
"I LOVE YOU BAAAAAYBAY, AND IF IT'S STILL ALRIGHT, I NEED YOU BAAAAYBAY-"
Sasuke clapped his hands over his ears, gritting his teeth. Was that hideous noise really human? (Actually, the singer had a surprisingly good voice while still succeeding to belt the song out at the top of their lungs.) He began to say something when-
"OH PRETTY BAAAAAAYBAY, DON'T BRING ME DOWN I PRAY, OH PRETTY BAAAAYBAY, NOW THAT I'VE FOUND YOU STAY-"
Some students walking by sniffed with disdain ("Honestly, how low will Acadamy's standards go? I can't believe I still go here."), held their noses higher in the air, and continued walking. Some giggled and tried to look into the room to see who was singing. Still others laughed out loud, pointed at the window, and said, "That sounds like one fun party! Wish I could join!"
(For weeks after this event, the faculty was plagued by loud music in every section of the campus.)
Tired of being constantly assaulted by this unknown assailent's voice (who was now identified by the now-furious boy; he would know that annoying voice anywhere), Sasuke slammed through the dormitory doors, stormed upstairs, kicked down the front door to his common room, and barged into Kiba's room, before freezing in his tracks.
For there lay a sight that he never thought he would see.
Well, not lay. "Lay" would imply that the person or object was still and in one place. A more appropriate phrase would be "Dancing-Around-Like-a-Maniac-and-Pretending-to-Play-the-Trumpet-While-Singing-At-the-Same-Time". Because that's what a certain Naruto Uzumaki was doing.
But oh no, that wasn't why Sasuke froze. Sasuke had a very good reason to freeze (as Uchihas do not freeze often, for they are too sophisticated and wealthy to freeze. Normally they would simply stop in their tracks and glare, but this occasion was well worth a reputation-ruining freeze).
For there Naruto was, dancing around the room, using a hairbrush as a microphone, wearing nothing but a loosely wrapped, fluffy white towel around his waist. In fact, it wasn't really even around his waist. Somewhere in the back of Sasuke's mind a practical voice dryly speculated that perhaps the towel had originally been safely tucked around Naruto's waist, but after a few minutes of dancing had proceeded to droop to its current precariously-balanced position on Naruto's hipbones (where it threatened to just up and fall off Or, the voice said again, the more technical term would be "to just down and fall off", since towels also must obey the laws of gravity., which would leave the blonde as naked as the day he was born in front of the Uchiha).
The hazardous towel (oh, it may have been fluffy and innocent-looking enough, but by then Sasuke was sure that the thing was pure evil) that hugged the blonde's slim hipbones exposed a lean, golden torso that was barely a shade lighter than the deep tan on Naruto's arms. Although his skin was mostly blemish-free, it was scarred in various places (old scars, from the look of them), but Sasuke paid little attention as his gaze was captured by the few dark gold hairs that began at the base of Naruto's perfect (at least, in Sasuke's opinion) abs and led to-
Well. One can only imagine.
And so, a conclusion was drawn from that most resourceful voice in Sasuke's head. (A conclusion that the Uchiha never would had guessed, had he not walked in on the half-naked boy.)
And the conclusion was...
Despite being quite vertically challenged for a sixteen-year-old boy and beneath that shaggy blonde hair in desperate need of a haircut and old clothes, Naruto Uzumaki had the body of a god. A slender, golden-skinned, sinewy-muscled, blue-eyed god of sex.
Naruto, being oblivious to Sasuke's shock, grinned wryly and turned down the music. "Hey, Uchiha bastard! Long time no see!"
Sasuke quickly collected his thoughts. "What. Are. You. Doing." he growled through clenched teeth (it seemed to be all he could do around Naruto was growl through clenched teeth. The boy was just that insufferable.)
The blonde raised one eyebrow. "Um...singing?" he suggested in a really-how-dumb-are-you? tone of voice.
"Because I can."
"And you're half-naked...why?" (He resisted the urge to scream, 'Pull up your goddamn towel before I pull it off!' That would have been very improper, and not at all Uchiha-like. Uchihas are calm, cool, and collected. They do not think about pulling towels off half naked, teenage sex gods. Half naked, teenagers with the bodies of sex gods. In no way did Sasuke consider Naruto himself to be a sex god. That, also, would be un-Uchiha-like.)
"I took...a shower." Naruto explained slowly, as if Sasuke were a bit slow in the head.
The Uchiha slowly counted to ten, gritting his teeth. 'Don't lose your temper, don't lose your temper, just pretend like you don't care,' the voice in his head advised. "I can see that. Why here?"
"My shower broke." The blonde plopped onto Kiba's bed and, letting his unruly hair fall in front of his eyes, began to attempt to untangle the mess. "I-arg- haven't been able to shower-ouch- in a couple of days- oh, shiiiiit! Man, I hate these tanggggles!" Naruto moaned as he tugged the brush ferociously through the hair that hung in front of his eyes.
"And you came here...why." Naruto peered up through tangled golden hair at Sasuke, to see the look of apathy and contempt on the richer boy's face. "This school isn't paying for your water, Uzumaki."
"Well excuse me, Mr. Administrator," The blonde snapped, sitting up straight and glaring at Sasuke. "For your information, I haven't taken a real shower in at least a week because the freakin' plumber refuses to go to my apartments. I assumed that Academy wouldn't miss a little more water, considering how much you have to pay for tuition anyway. I mean, did your family have to sell its heirlooms and some cousins into slavery to pay for this place?"
Sasuke looked coldly at Naruto, arms crossed across his chest. "From what I've picked up from your friend Kiba, it seems that your family could pay for tuition."
He instantly noticed that something was amiss, as the blood drained from Naruto's face and his eye were blank in shock. "Kiba...Kiba said...what?"
Ignoring his screaming instincts that told him to stop, Sasuke savagely went on. "Kiba told me that your father works at some top companies in NorKo, and that you've got a small fortune to your name. So if you're so well off, why do you live in an apartment complex that a plumber refuses to enter? Apparently you could be living in one of the finest houses in Northern Korona, according to your friend's brags. Why do you choose to live in rat-infested, vermin-filled, run-down section of town that sells debauchery and crime?"
"What?" This time Naruto's voice was colder.
"You heard me." The taller boy inspected his fingernails and refused to look at the blonde. "It's a city of murderers and cheap thrills and whores-" his voice cut off as a muscular body slammed into his and rammed him up against the wall.
Naruto tightened his grip on Sasuke's shirt, forcing him against the wall with brute strength. Though the surprisingly strong blonde had knocked the wind from his lungs, Sasuke stared straight into Naruto's eyes with a bored, arrogant glint in his own black eyes.
Naruto's healthy skin and warm, ocean-like eyes seemed to have changed, as well as his countenance; instead of a cheerful teenager there was a calloused, hardened boy with piercing ice blue eyes and a paled face glaring up at Sasuke. "Don't you ever," here Naruto exerted more pressure on Sasuke's windpipe to make his point, "Ever speak about my father. And don't you fuckin' dare call SoKo the city of whores, do you hear me, you son of a bitch?"
"And if I do?" the Uchiha managed to rasp out with amazingly calm for someone who was being choked by a 5' 6" terror.
"I'll kick your ass so bad you won't be able to sit for months. I'll have you followed and harrassed 'till you go crazy." Naruto's eyes were solemn and honest, with a dangerous gleam. "Don't think I can't, Uchiha. I may be poor, but I have friends in places a pompous bastard like you can't even imagine."
Although Sasuke would have continued the battle, his oxygen-deprived lungs complained from their misuse. "Fine," he muttered. Naruto let go of him abruptly, and stepped back. Sasuke rubbed his throat slightly and looked at his attacker again with apathetic eyes. "Hn. You know, I could have you arrested."
"Go ahead and try." The words themselves were a dare, but the tired tone said otherwise. "I don't care." He sat back down and continued to do battle with the snarls in his hair as if nothing had happened.
Sasuke was a lot of thing. Sasuke was arrogant. Sasuke was distant, and rude, and rich. Sasuke was a lot of bad things, but one thing Sasuke wasn't was stupid. When Naruto's angry eyes had met his he had seen a glimpse of Naruto that had been hidden from Sasuke before; a part of Naruto that was just as alone and afraid as Sasuke. In those icy blues, he had seen the same swirls of anger and loneliness and confusion that Sasuke saw every morning in his own heartless, black eyes. And Sasuke knew that what he had said to Naruto was wrong.
Naruto yanked the brush through his hair, deliberately creating pain so that he could convince himself that the tears he blinked back were from the physical pain. 'He doesn't know anything,' Naruto thought angrily, more hurt that Sasuke had even said such a thing. 'He's such a conceited fucker...I can't believe I actually thought he might be nice-' Suddenly a pale hand thrust a red bottle into Naruto face. "Wha...?" Naruto glared at Sasuke, then looked suspiciously at the bottle.
The taller boy didn't look at Naruto at first, but when the blonde didn't take it he shoved the bottle into Naruto's hands and rolled his eyes. "It won't bite." The blonde still refused to take it. "It's leave-in conditioner," Sasuke said curtly. "It'll help untangle your hair. You only need a little." Sasuke walked out of the room and shut the door behind him.
Naruto stared at the closed door for a moment, then looked down at the red bottle. Was this Sasuke's way of apologizing? He didn't seem like the kind of guy that would actually say 'I'm Sorry'...it might be a prank, though...never without a strong amount of curiosity, Naruto cautiously put some of the strange stuff in his hands, then ran his fingers through his hair and-
'Oh my!' Naruto nearly danced and wept with joy. 'The tangles are leaving! We have won the battle!' He thought some more about Sasuke and whether or not this was the other boy's way of apologizing as he rubbed the miracle conditioner into his hair.
A little later Naruto sauntered out of Kiba's room (his hair soft, silky, and totally tamed) wearing Kiba's pants (which were too big for the shorter teen) and a football jersey (which was also too big, and hung off one of Naruto's shoulders). He walked over to where Sasuke was sitting on the couch, reading, and handed him the bottle. "Thanks."
Sasuke took it, then eyed the blonde. Naruto eyed him back, his blue eyes meeting Sasuke's onyx ones again, but this time with much less hostility. The warm, gentle color and lack of anger convinced Sasuke that Naruto had forgiven him; and although Sasuke turned his head away a second later Naruto still caught a glimpse of the relief that flooded Sasuke's eyes.
"Won't he mind?" Sasuke abruptly changed the unspoken subject, indicating the clothes that Naruto had "borrowed" from his best friend.
Naruto snorted. "Ha, I do it all the time. Hell, I do it so much he doesn't even give it a second though, unless it's one of his favorite t-shirts or somethin'."
"Hn." Sasuke continued to read. "Don't you have work at 3:30?"
"Aaaaaaw, shiiiiiiiiit!" Naruto groaned/yelled, before dashing out into the hall and slamming the door behind him. (Hours later, after his shift at the warehouse ended, he wondered when Sasuke had learned his schedule.)
Sasuke studied the door intently for a moment, as if the wooden slab had suddenly grown a human head. Then he turned his attention back to his book and immersed himself in Hemingway, determined to forget all about the day's experiences with the enigmatic and annoying sex god.
Blonde. Not sex god. Never. Only Sasuke was a sex god, and that was because he was an Uchiha. Uchihas were born to be sex gods. It was simply the way the earth was created
Sasuke sighed, stood up, and went to the bookcase. Apparently, reading about an old man and a fish wasn't the best way to take his mind off of life.
But he couldn't help but wonder if Naruto really forgave that easily...
To an Academy Student, from a Public Student:
And I'm assuming you're male! God, even your name symbolizes the total domination that the patriarchal society holds over the world! And what makes you think I'm a girl, huh? Is it because of my handwriting? Or is it the fact that most males seem to lack the want or capacity to understand the evils of prejudice?
What if I am I guy? I could find that extremely offensive.
- Numero Uno
To a Public Student, from an Academy Student:
No, I assure you that your handwriting is ambiguous, but I can't help but wonder if you've practiced your writing so no one can stereotype your writing.
I have a strong belief that you're a girl partly because only a woman could be so fiery and passionate about such a subject. If you were male, you wouldn't care about what you or your pen pal looked like- you would have instantly written about something much less political, radical, and substantial (like sports, or the types of girls at Academy).
Sincerely, El Presidente
Why else? You only said partly.
- Numero Uno
I have strong instinctual senses that could instantly sense a girl had written it.
Actually, you must've dumped half of your perfume bottle on that page- so I guessed that you were either a flamboyantly gay cross dresser or a girl. I'm guessing...you wear sweet pea body spray?
Sincerely, El Presidente
THAT IS SO CHEATING! Foul play, no fair, time out! That's...that's...gah! Not fair! At all!
...although I was wondering why the bottle was half empty. And how did you know it was sweet pea? I think you're the flamboyantly gay one here. Not that there's anything wrong with gay guys- one of my best friends at school's bi. He's pretty cool. Loud, obnoxious, and most guess a little mental, but pretty cool. You'd never guess he likes guys, too. Kinda made me wonder...so I asked my other best friend (who looks flamboyantly gay) and he was offended! So apparently I shouldn't read a book by its letter.
- Numero Uno
You're right, you shouldn't judge a book by its letter! I know that smell because it's my cousin's favorite perfume, and I bought her a bottle for her last birthday. And how, may I ask, is it cheating? I didn't even know we were playing a game.
I am not flamboyantly gay. I am not gay. I am not even flamboyant
Sincerely, El Presidente
Dear El Presidente,
Please! Everything's a game in life! Going to the store is a game! Meeting new people is a game! Sports are games! Passing a test is a crappy game, but it's a game! If things weren't games, they'd be boring, and boring isn't fun.
Come one. One of us has to be flamboyantly gay, and I'm already the girl.
You know, despite all your totally insulting comments on homosexuality (I never said one of us had to be either or. And- shock and surprise, Li'l Miss Political Correctness!- girls can be flamoyantly gay too, you know. Just, in a short hair, flannel shirt kind of way.) I still think there is a nice girl under all that callous.
Perhaps there is an explanation to your hardened heart.
I can see your life story now- A poor girl, thrown out on the streets by her cruel stepmother at the age of six...forced to work for a cruel mistress who beat her when she couldn't finish one of her chores...given only old cheese and rock hard bread to eat, before you were finally whisked away by the magical Child Services, who put you in a nice home with two nice old people.
Sincerely, El Presidente
Dear Prez (mind if I call you Prez? Presidente's getting a bit too long, and I'm currently hating my Spanish class),
...well. That was interesting. I've heard of it, but I've never actually seen 'whisked' being used in that context on paper. Very interesting.
But you forgot the dancing mice and singing birds. How can you possibly forget the dancing mice and singing birds? They were my only friends during those hard times...
And you can't forget that I was a female Blackanesixan-American (1/4 white, 1/4 black, 1/4 Asian, 1/4 Mexican) with eyesight problems, braces, and bad achne, and the kids at my elementary school used to always pick me last at recess and sing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and point at my perfectly normal nose.
Yes, I realize the only other time you've probably seen "whisked" in a sentence was in a cookbook. If you even cook.
I apologize. When I was a small child, there was a severe accident involving singing mice, and, well...let's just say it was unpleasant. I have never gone to the circus since. And remember, although Rudolph was mocked by his fellow reindeer at the beginning of the song, later on he was used as an animal of labor to distribute materialism to children everywhere later.
Sincerely, El Presidente
"Tenten, sweetie, I need you to do me a favor." Her mother leaned on the doorway, watching her daughter with soft brown eyes.
She looked up from her computer, a curious look on her face. "Sure, Mom. What is it?"
"I forgot some papers at the office. I would go get them myself, but..."
The worn, tired look on her mother's face cause Tenten to leap out of her chair. "Of course I'll go! There's no way that I'll let you drive, not when you're this exhausted! I swear, that company is a sweat factory, working you like that." She grabbed a sweatshirt. "Now, you just sit down and relax, and I'll be back in a minute."
He mother's eyes widened. "Oh, no, dear. I need to work on some projects. There's no way I can-"
"You can, and I'll make you." She leaned over and pressed a button on the intercom. "Sarah? Could you draw a bath for Mom? And put some of those nice sea salts in it, too."
"Yes, dearie, of course. I'll make sure she gets her rest. Really, Miss Kunai, you work to hard!"
Her mom took over the intercom, a worried look on her face. "Sarah, really, I have work to do. Don't bother."
"Nonsense!" retorted the voice. "You get yourself to your room, missus, and I'll have George make some of that nice tea you love so much. Drive safely, Miss Tenten."
Tenten smiled sweetly at her mother. "See? It's all settled." She kissed her mom on the cheek and grabbed the car keys out of her hand. "You rest, and I'll be back in a bit."
Kunai Mastsumoto smiled wearily at her daughter. "Drive safely, honey."
The teen tossed the keys in the air, caught them, then winked at her mom. "No worries, mom!" She dashed out the door, and soon she was on her way to the Human Resources department of Hyuuga Enterprise.
"'Spend more time in the office,' he says," Neji muttered darkly under his breath as he flipped through files. "'It'll all be yours someday.' 'Show more of an interest.' Hn. Like I want it."
He sighed. It was eight o' clock on a Friday. He should be out doing something fun. He had a girlfriend- shouldn't he take her out somewhere? 'She said she's changed,' he though, but a voice in the back of his head reminded him of all the times she had broken her promises. With a sigh he put down the file and left the office. 'Really, this is enough. I'm going out somewhere. Or at least going home.' He locked the door and walked out into total silence, a sound he welcomed (the campus had been noisy that day- he could have sworn he heard someone playing Frank Valli), and was about to leave when he saw a light on in one of the head offices. 'I thought everyone had gone home,' he thought suspiciously. Peering into the lighted office, he saw a teenage girl (she looked to be about his age) with chestnut hair in multiple braids (each that ended with ivory, black, and brown wooden beads), wearing tattered jeans and an old brown hoodie. She shuffled through thick files, a cross look on her face, before sighing and lifting them to put in a box. "What are you doing here?" he demanded.
The girl jumped, yelped, andvanished behind the rich oak desk as the files that she had been cradling in her arms went flying. Overcome with a strange bout of curiosity, he peeked around the desk to see the girl sprawled on her butt, white paper raining down on her. "Oh, shit!" she moaned. "Now I have to re-file them all!" Grumbling and groaning, she quickly began collecting the errant pages. Neji stood still, just watching her gather the papers. "And all I needed was that stupid Akatsuki Company report, and now I have to re-sort everything! How annoying!" About when Neji was beginning to suspect that she was ignoring him, her head shot up, and brown doe eyes rimmed with kohl glared at him. "Well, you troublemaker, are you gonna help or not? This mess is your fault, you know," she informed him curtly.
"What are you doing here?" he repeated his question. He was beginning to be annoyed by this girl, who obviously didn't belong here is she didn't see that he was a Hyuuga.
She stopped picking up papers, slowly stood, then angrily jabbed a finger at the heir's chest. "I think the question is, Why are you here, because if you worked here you would know that re-doing these files will take me at least two hours. Who do you work under, anyway, to just barge into my mother's office. Do you even know who I am?"
Neji was shocked. No one from this company had ever spoken to him like that before. He felt anger build up in his chest, and a cold, haughty look filled his pale gray eyes. "I have no clue."
"Oh." Instead of being even angrier (as the heir thought the girl would be), her assuming manner evaporated. The frown vanished, only to be replaced by a crooked smile. "You must be a new intern then. I'm sorry I snapped at you- I've been having a rough night. Couldja help me pick up these papers, please? If I'm going to fix this mess by tomorrow, I need to take it home tonight."
He wanted to continue their earlier battle and inform the girl of who he was, but something stopped him; and instead, he leaned down and began collecting papers. "You do the work here?" he asked mildly. "You don't look quite old enough to be running this department, if I may say so."
To his surprise, the girl laughed. "No, of course not! But my mom has a really tough time when she has to handle all the big problems and manage these annoying details, so I help her out. Oh, thanks," she said with a smile as Neji handed her his papers. "But then again, you don't look quite old enough to be an intern, if I may say so."
'I'm not. I could fire your mother and no one would doubt my judgement,' something in his head said, but he heard himself say aloud, "Well, it's not really an internship- I just do a lot of the boring stuff. Copies, coffee, stuff like that." He was appalled at the language he was casually using. 'Stuff'? Hyuugas do not say 'stuff'. Apparently, though, the girl accepted it.
"Ah, a gofer?" She grinned that crooked smile again. "Yeah. Despite what they say it's not an easy job, is it?"
'It's not?' "Well, I wouldn't know, since I just started."
"Ah. Well, you'll find out." She said ominously, tapping the gathered papers on the desk before stackingthem inthe small box. "Oh! Man, where'd my manners go? I'm Tenten Matsumoto!" Tenten stuck out a hand.
Neji hesitantly shook it- her grip was dry, firm, and strong. "I'm...Neji."
"Nice to meet you, Neji!" Her crooked grin stretched a little wider. "Huh, it's nice to see other teens around the office that work as hard as you!"
Tenten gave Neji a strange look. "Well, you stayed this late, didn't you? Most interns go home as soon as their hours are done, which is normally five."
"Yeah." She gave him a look again. "Didn't they tell you that when you started?"
"Um..." Neji thought of something. "It must have slipped their minds."
The girl thought about it for a moment, then shrugged, the beads on her hair clacking together. "Oh well. I'll just make a new outline for them, so they won't forget again. Schedules are important in this company, and to keep a schedule you need to know your hours. Remember that!" she ordered, pointing at him again. "It's a good tip. The bosses like it when you have a good schedule. Not disorganized or overly strict, but just flexible enough to be able to whatever they want you to do."
Neji couldn't help but smirk. 'I can't believe I'm getting advice on how to succeed in Hyuuga Corporation from the daughter of the HR head.'
Not noticing the ghost of a smile on Neji's face, Tenten hefted the files in her arms and grabbed the car keys off the counter. "Well, it was nice meeting you, Neji! I'll wish you good luck," she added as she shooed him out of the office and locked the door, "because you'll need it. My mom was lucky enough to get into this department, let alone make it though the hell that is the Hyuuga family. I'll give you one more piece of advice- if you see a Hyuuga coming, go in the opposite direction. After many years of practically growing up in this building, I've come to the short conclusion that most of the Hyuuga clan find the most pleasure in reminding people how much more important they are than all the other workers here. They're the hardest on new interns, so they'd be extra harsh if you ran into them. You know," she added, "I hope I see more of you. You seem like an interesting person."
With a quick wave of her hand and a short, "Toodles!", Tenten walked down the hall towards the elevator, whistling a merry tune.
Leaving Neji very much confused and startled, but also amused by the totally correct assumption of the Hyuugas. After standing alone for a few silent minutes, he reached into his pocket, took out his cell phone, and speed-dialed a number.
"Anko? Yes, this is Neji. I want you to look up someone by the name of Tenten Matsumoto..."
AN: Aaaahhh, you see? I made it extra long, just for you guys! This is how much I love you. I wanted to add even more, but I don't think I should wait any longer. So, here you go! ;; I know the last chapter wasn't really up to my speed (and by that I mean by length, not by speed of update- I've never been good with that), so this is my way of apologizing. Hope you enjoyed it! Next time, look forward to some KakaIru, some more amusing letters, and Naruto dressed as a girl! (Yes, there is a plot behind it- and it will make much sense, I promise.)