((Here's a back to school gift!

I've finally written the new chapter! Sorry my dear readers' summer killed my writing power and I've only just lately gotten my spark of inspiration. Believe me I did try to write this chapter several times, but every time I wrote a page I erased it and that's incredibly unproductive. So at long last here's chapter 10! Enjoy)

Tears were trying to form in her eyes and she was too exhausted by her retelling to wipe them away.

'I have to get stronger.'

Despite her tough act she felt weak and helpless pressed under the thumb of those men.

It's not like she could just sit by and follow their orders till they got bored of her and spread the picture around anyway just for 'fun!

She caught something different in Shikamaru's expression that looked rather close to pity and realized her face was wet from crying. Anger boiled within her at the pity and small uncomfort her new companion was showing and she hated the cruelest of the school for reducing her to the weeping mess that was so close to her 'before' self.

"Don't you dare…"

Sakura's fists tightened nails rough against her palm but she didn't notice the pain when they dug into her skin too angry to feel any pain other than fury at how they mocked her. They would pay and no one would look at her this way again. Her fist hit the dirt hard, jade eyes glaring at Shikamaru full of pride.

"Don't you dare look at me like that! I-I don't care what they try they won't get away with it anymore and you'll never see me like this again!"

Shikamaru was a little afraid of the girl before him and he wished he could have taken back the look of pity he'd given her after seeing what her fist was doing to the ground.

It was interesting that she hadn't noticed her knuckles hadn't hit the soft dirt but a large rock that would usually take quite a while to get out of the groud after how long it had been submerged. In the pink-haired girl's case however she'd hit so hard on the side that now it looked like it could be lifted easily and was that a crack?

Holding up his hands in an effort to protect himself from her anger he forced down his own fear and made himself relax; though that didn't stop a shudder when his eyes met her glare.

"Whoa, whoa relax we're on the same side here. Sorry."

He muttered a troublesome and slowly brought down both hands at the sign that she wasn't going to attack him.

"You look like you could tear off someone's head."

Lips twisted into somewhat of a smirk. "I think we can use that."

The anger was beginning to dissolve after his apology and she'd finally started wiping off her face, pausing to give him a curious look.

Shikamaru wasn't looking at her though.

Instead he was reaching into the pocked of his long pants for a sticky note and a pen, two of the things his pushy mother had made him bring to school. For once it looked like his mother's pushiness and odd behavior would do him some good. Tearing the sticky note in half; so that part of it was blank for him to write on, he started to jot down an address. That should do it.

He handed Sakura the tear of note and was relieved to see she'd cleaned herself up some.

"What's this?"

Sakura read over the address not finding it the least familiar and was even more confused.

"Can you come there tonight?"

"I don't even know if I'll be able to find it."

"Just trust me."

He looked at her so serious and sure that she couldn't disagree.

Frowning at the situation she tried to think up a good question only to be distracted by a tickle at her neck.

"Haruno Sakura." The words were spoken rather calmly, hot breath tingling against her ear.

She stopped herself from stiffening and tried to place the voice with it owner. It seemed he had a strong build and a greater height by several inches, and she recalled someone had called her by her full name before. "How nice it is to see you again."

He frowned then and his next words were demeaning.

"You're always late for everything aren't you, how reckless."

Itachi purposely ignored Shikamaru making it seem like he was no more than a part of the scenery and Shikamaru didn't seem to really care; if he was a tad worried for Sakura he really good at hiding it. Itachi continued to think nothing of it and kept his attention more on the pink haired girl who'd gasped at his arrival and now trembled with anger or something like it, something that really gained his interest.

"Itachi…" She growled and squirmed away righting up on her feet determined to give him a piece of her mind, but she was too slow. "Huh? Hey put me down!"

He'd grabbed her light form before she could stand and had hoisted her over his shoulder like a sack of flour. She squirmed and kicked but he was stronger than he looked. "Put me down I never agreed to playing soccer bastard! Shi-"

He tossed her a little into the air before she could finish.

"Baka, would you really want to bring your new boyfriend down with you? Or maybe we should show him that picture and the interesting story behind it."

Sakura quieted down at the mention of Shikamaru being her 'boyfriend' and shook her head at that even if he couldn't see it.

Hell they'd only just met!

Another reason why she grew quiet was for the fact that apparently no one realized what she'd told Shikamaru and likely thought she would be able to. Well that's what they got for underestimating her and now she had something to her benefit.

No, there were two things…She curled her fingers around the address Shikamaru had given her.

Since Itachi had completely ignored Shikamaru he hadn't noticed Shi-chan had given her something that could change everything.

'Come through for me Shi-chan.'

----

When they reached the soccer field he finally set her down, but unexpectedly the mood was tense. Glancing around Sakura gasped in surprise at the number of people there and how few of the coolest and cruelest.

There were so many boys and girls around that this really had to be an actual team, or they were holding tryouts. Sakura gulped as she noticed the mixed expressions in the crowd: girls looking shocked in appalled and some even glaring at her as they swore vengeance; the boys also didn't jump for joy at her arrival but regarded rather coldly and spotting Neji out of the group glaring at her she could guess why. The girls likely didn't like her being so close to Itachi and now that she thought about it she'd never seen him carry another girl…oh god she wanted to disappear.

How could she explain that it wasn't like that at all?! Also she didn't even know why Neji looked so angry now.

"Saku-chan, un!"

Through the tension a lone voice beamed at her arrival and soon a spunky blonde had enveloped her in a crushing but compassionate hug. "You came, un! I thought Saku-chan had forgotten and gone off with a boy instead. That's what I heard, un."

Sakura sweat dropped at Deidara's arms around her blinking at the blonde in confusion while trying to breathe. "O-Off with a boy?"

So they'd been talking about her and Shikamaru? That was weird, but she hadn't 'gone off' with him and that still didn't make sense to why Itachi seemed irritated and Neji looked so mad at her.

"Yeah, but you didn't so everything's okay now Saku-chan, yeah."

There he was calling her Saku-chan again…

"Why do you keep calling me that?"

She gently tried to undo his tight hug from her and was thankful when his grip loosened enough for her to breathe normally; only to suddenly feel his lips press against her forehead and hear an echo of 'Eh!'S all around from a number of girls.

He slowly pulled his mouth away and smiled at her making sure to keep his voice low enough so only she could hear. "Saku-chan is cuter than slave-chan, yeah."

Itachi snorted from behind her amused at Deidara's friendliness with their new slave. So Deidara liked Sakura, now the poor thing was in for it.

He cleared his throat loudly to get everyone's attention and stop the sudden gossip and yelled accusations. Not even hesitating he placed a hand on Sakura's head, fingers brushing against her pink bangs.

"This is Haruno Sakura the last arrival for tryouts. Now let's begin!" He moved his hand from her hair and gave a light push to her shoulder ushering her ahead. "Go grab one of the colored jerseys and take the goalie position."

He paused for a moment lips curling into a small smile.

"Idiot."

Nani? Nani! The pink haired girl placed a hand to her forehead dazed and her cheeks a heated pink. W-What had just happened?

---

She meandered over to the jerseys tucking Shikamaru's scrap of paper into her pocket. This just got more and more confusing.

One of the cruelest and coolest had just kissed her forehead and the other had announced that he'd held tryouts until she arrived. If that wasn't enough Sasuke had acted like a mad man earlier and Neji was still glaring at her. None of this made sense!

She sighed and bent down to pick up a blue jersey, but someone smacked her hand away. Glancing up she saw familiar blue eyes and a different kind of blonde hair that she'd never wanted to see again: Ino-pig.

"What's your relationship with Itachi-sama and Deidara-sama?"

She blinked at the snide tone and was about to answer but another girl shoved into her side. "Bitch, you think either one of them would go for a pink-haired freak like you?" "You know Itachi-sama only feels pity for such a homely girl." Now it felt like the voices were everywhere and the box of jerseys kept getting farther away. They were pulling at her, clawing their long nails into her arm tugging hard on her hair, pulling at her uniform.

"Ugly, get lost from our field!"

"You'll never make the team with those weak legs."

It hurt, like a pack of angry cats spitting and hissing as they roughed her up and put her in her place.

"I bet you can't even play the sport you're just trying to pick up guys! For messing with Neji-sama…"

She was getting sick of it.

"That's enough!" Sakura held her arms out pushing the girls surrounding her out of her way, by now nail marks on her arms and her hair was messy and tangled along with some dirt on her shoes, but she didn't care. She was even breathing heavy with a smidge of dirt on her cheek, and yet despite that and everything else she was able to push her way through the hoard of girls her hand clasping tightly into the last jersey that nestled in the box.

She picked it up and pulled the garment over her head, tugging it down over a flat stomach and glaring at the group with an untouched look of pride. "You can say what you want about me, but I love soccer and I will make this team!"

The other girls were momentarily stunned, but some looked like they would bite back at her words—luckily she was saved by Itachi's whistle to start the practice game.

All of the girls departed except for Ino and her gang, and she just looked more pissed than before and quite smug. "You'll regret those words Sakura-san. We'll do whatever it takes so that you fail."

"Bring it bitch pig."

As Ino and her group walked away she felt like smacking her head against the metal of the soccer goal she'd soon be guarding.

Why the change of heart about playing soccer?

---

Putting on a brave face Sakura stepped in front of the goal and shifted into what she remembered to be a 'goalie stance' at her old school.

"Your back is too straight!" She squeaked as her shoulders were pushed down and her right leg was lifted and adjusted to a different place.

"S-Sasori!"

She recognized his voice immediately though the strict tone had startled her. "Do you play soccer too?"

He frowned quietly and bent her elbow more leaning over her as he checked for any other mistakes. "Obviously."

He carefully took hold of her face and moved it so that it looked ahead of her and where the balls would be coming. Sakura could feel her face getting hot from all the touching and took a step away from him messing up all the positioning he'd done in a matter of seconds. "Stop doing that!"

"Sakura."

Sasori took her wrist roughly bringing it over her head and forcing her back against the net, his other hand closing around her waist. As he pushed her back and took hold of her she wanted to push him away, but the other hand at her waist was so gentle compared to the hard grip on her wrist she was too surprised to move.

She felt him walking her back even further into the side net the gentle hand at her waist lifting into her tangled pink hair before it was at her cheek tracing around the scuff of dirt. "S-Sasori its tryouts people are watching!"

'And don't we hate each other?'

Why was he being so gentle; wasn't she a slave lower than dirt?

"You're a mess."

She flushed when she saw the smirk with those words and tried to pull away. So this was all a trick after all.

"Yeah, well blame your fan girls they're the ones-" She cut off with another squeak at something rough and wet against her cheek.

"Hush."

He rubbed the dirt away with his wet thumb, the grip on her wrist only tighter than before.

"Sasori bastard what are you-" She gasped at how close his face was to her own, the dirt no longer on her face and his lips were so close.

Was he going to kiss her?

--

(FIN for this chapter Hope you enjoyed reading it and this time when you review you'll be allowed to vote on the pairing since so many have been asking- but first long awaited reviews!

Beating Hearts Baby-face: No He's not- he's a complete coward xD but he's still a good guy- thank you- FINALLY have X3

Yukibozu: No, no they'll stay friends- I'm glad you loved the shikasaku, it needs more love:x I know I like your idea, actually it somewhat supported my idea to bring in Shikamaru- now that they've heard she was with another guy… D

Akatsuki-Luver: Hahahaha, she kind of does yeah- it's like you feel sorry for her and envy her but you don't want to tear her limb from limb like the fan girls

Skullcandy: Thank you—I fail at updating fast but here you go! X3

EvilFaerie17: Thank you! I hope you like this one too –I was trying hard for just the right ending. Hahaha well it reminded me off that time in Naruto when he was comforting Chouji so it's not like he'd suddenly get super fight powers –grin- Yes the work well together and Shii-ka-maru has a plaaan Well the coolest and cruelest are all reacting in their own way to the news that Sakura is hanging out with a guy- Gaara and Sasuke more negative than others ---yes they're childhood friends xx it'll come in play soon! Dark Naruto is coming he just likes to linger…ugh

Tashi Miyashita: Hahaha thank you- yes I don't think I put anything funny in this one :x –yes you can now vote for couples!

flaming witch of fire: It's just a considerate thing you do for people- they make you feel good you show your appreciation x3

hugsanimekisses04: Hahaha- that's great- try to be more careful this time x3 wouldn't want you to start choking no seriously I hope you like the new chapter xP Aww you're sweet and yes he's just too mixed up the head to treat her like a human being I think he's bad with girls too and it's all those fan girl's fault D: --but with him things well get darker oh yes D Lmao Gaara just what does he have in store for her…hmm—I HOPE THAT WAS ENOUGH SASOSAKU! X3 There will likely be more in the next chapter –okay I lied there was a little DeiSaku and I'm sure something out of Itachi's 'she's in for it now' --- as what hohohoho 3 – I'm glad you liked it! Ah well like I said different guys and there reactions- Itachi spared him but Gaara and Sasuke his plan better work ---oh please you know Neji thinks he's the 'only' one who can hold her hand ---thank you I try but I'm afraid my writing still had far to go :x --Updated!

Teges: Then you'll like this chapter 3

gin-inu: There was some in this…and there might be more --ah I got that from the one time he comforted Chouji and puffed up his cheeks soooo- he is hard and I'll continue to keep trying to get him! I hope I can make you a fan because this chapter has that so badly xD I didn't think to far out of the box it was just shorter lmao –no not corny x3 it makes me happy to hear you say so 3'

Hellbound-spirit: Mhm well maybe he's brotherly but he's got such a childish mind…

lonely blue moon: because this a very different kind of story --but I'm glad you enjoyed it X3

anime-obsession260: Thank you- updated xx

magelight: I'm happy to hear that X3 –here's more 3

ARtemIs07: Hahaha no it's not good- well for my readers it is but 3

Warrior- airbender: It's all in Shika's plan 3 –and in this chapter she generally does work on standing up for herself 3 thank you for your kind words—lmao sorry no crossover and not only for the fact I have no idea what that is xx

evilflynmonkeys: Some won't hurt him- others…um you'll see! Yes the guys are totally stepping up after finding out about Shikamaru 3 Here's more love

Zara: Hahaha well there's more in this x3 and thank you 3

cherryblossomsky: I'm glad you like those two because I'm going to throw in some lovely twists that'll surprise you and I'm growing fond of sasri so it's a high chance they'll end up- thank you hope you liked this!

BlackBelt: YOU DON'T KNOW HOW HAPPY I AM TO HEAR FROM YOU! Your stories that I've always adored gave me my inspiration for writing things about Sakura X3 It's perfectly fine you added it OH YES 3 Hope you liked this chapter too

The-Naruto-Buddies: More of that in the future but I hope this chapter helped that 'stronger' side of her

OmalleyFlowers: Hahaha sorry he's already a part of the gang- and he might try to blow up the classroom

badbunny1818: You bet they are D Updated

byakugan-master93: Aww thank you hum- I'll try to be quicker I actually have ideas.. 3

Sailor Taurus Angel: Thank you Naruto will be soon- I keep saying that but DX it just might be the 12th chapter though- I hope you like my other stories- you might enjoy the sasusaku one shots 3

Hearshy-Kiss: ….YOU SHALL SEE D Twists, lovely twists to come I promise it'll be a good ending cha!

gemmaa: Thank you updated!

Sharingan.Wonder.Girl: A coward but sweet x3 ..oh sorry- Sasuke he's just so clueless about love so her replaces it with possession ;; I'll try to updated more- hell one I get 20 for this chapter I'll start working on the 11th one- I've got ideeeas thak you for the support it really makes my day

o0Dreamer0o: X3 Shi will greatly help her! Oh and yes-plenty of Sasori/Saku here

PinkNinja101101: Haha well it's hard on her but she's trying x3 here's the next chapter!

shadow1331: Hehe thank you—I'll try to write the 11th chapter after I get 20 reviews –mm I might I like Deidara x3 I hope you liked the Deisaku moment in this

Starlight - Wild Koneko: YES SHIKA IS GREAT X3 Sasori…-grin- well in this chapter you can tell he's really stepping up

MerodiPansa: Didn't mean to—um here's another chapter :3? She will get stronger- bit by bit xx P.S: He went to the soccer field early

keraQ: Gin-inu X3 but that's really it—good highschool fics are hard to come by DX

Mayumi Crescent Moon: No you can't be in the story xD unless you want to be one of the group of fan girls- but you likely wouldn't help her so um yeah. I'm glad you like it x3

Captain Cheese: Wow I got a lot from you x3 I'm glad you came upon my fic—I don't there was a funny moment in this chapter sadly D: ah well next time- she's good at fighting

Sailor Leo: I'm so glad 3 No, no NaruSaku..sorta- you'll see—yes yes plenty of Sasori! 3 Here's more hot of the press!

And that's it like I said give me at least 20 reviews for this and I'll start writing the next chapter x3 Next chapter: What does Ino have planned against Sakura and will Sakura finally show what she's worth and defeat whatever plans go her way? What did Itachi mean by 'she's in for it now' now that Deidara likes her, and WILL SASORI KISS HER?! You'll have to read and review to see what happens next )