Hanabi had been looking for her phone ever since yesterday at lunch. It never accord to her to call it from her home phone, because she really didn't miss it that much, but with everyone in the house gone, and all her friends on vacation, she felt bored.
Hinata was still at camp, but she would be back later that day. To figure out what time that was exactly, Hanabi reflexively went for her pocket to grab out her cell phone. When she came up empty she let out a groan. She really needed to find it before it became the death of her, and she had nothing better to do. Thinking of all the places she remembered having it she went on a search.
First stop: her bedroom. A place she had already checked again and again, but hell…third time's the charm right?
"So wrong." Hanabi said out loud as she came up, once again, empty. This caused her to pout the way her sister did when she didn't get her way with Hanabi. For the past few weeks Hanabi had found herself doing all the little quirks that Hinata used to do. At first she didn't understand it herself, but then Moegi explained that maybe she missed Hinata more then she thought, and doing things Hinata used to do helped fill her sister's missing place.
Hanabi agreed. She didn't realize it until now, but whenever her sister was away at camp she would miss her. At first she would mope around the house and have a grumpy mood. Then she would find herself waking up in Hinata's bed. Which reminded her…
Second stop to look for her phone: Hinata's bedroom.
When she opened the door it was the way Hinata had left it. Perfect and clean and orderly. Why Hinata felt that her room had to stay clean while she was away made no sense to Hanabi at all. Even Hanabi, being a perfectionist in her everyday life, didn't mind if she left a few things here and there lying around on the ground or out of place in her bedroom.
She walked over to the bed that a maid had already made up after Hanabi had slept in it that morning. She plopped on it with her knees and hopped there while she scanned the room with her eyes. Then she rolled them.
"No way it's in here." She said out loud. "I don't even remember using it in here this morning."
So she rolled off the bed and headed for a place where she knew she had used her phone.
Her father's office.
She let out a sigh of relief. "Of course that's where it is."
On her way through the hallway she paused in front of a large mirror on the wall. Not that she was vein, but she stopped to take in her reflection. Her long brown hair shone nicely, the longer piece of hair that fell down the front of her face, which was usually annoying, was even cooperating with her today. Waving goodbye to her reflection after a good evaluation, Hanabi found the stairs and proceeded down them.
Easily enough, her father's office was down two flights of stairs with the door straight across. As she headed to the door, a thought came into mind. She remembered her father's only rule about his office, one that she never really considered to be a rule until that very moment. His rule was this:
Do not go into his office unless you are summoned, and to especially not go in there when he was not home.
Seeing the door, she remembered that the last time she was there she was summoned to see him.
'How many days ago was that? Let's see today is…Friday so one…two…three… oh six days ago!' Hanabi scratched the back of her neck. 'Have I really been that long without my phone?' Hanabi reached for the doorknob and twisted it, relieved that it wasn't locked, also surprised that it wasn't locked.
Pressing her arm against the door, she pushed it open and let herself in.
The smell of her father stayed behind in the room even when he wasn't home. Cologne, and soap with the undertone of cigars. It wasn't just the scent of her father, but practically every Hyuuga male smelt that way. Which made her wonder if that was the way Neji smelt too. But why did he have cigars on his person in the first place? Wasn't he too young for such things? What was he doing smoking those things at his age? Oh, the next time she saw him, Hanabi was going to give him an earful on the consequences smoking a cigar posed.
Hanabi shook her head. "For being so smart, he sure is dumb." She mumbled to herself as she stepped further into the room.
It was your basic office set up. A Large mahogany desk was the focal point of the room since that's where all the power sat. Behind it were large bookshelves built into the walls with shelves of books that Hanabi was certain her father only had there for appearances sake. Off to the sides were small hand crafted antique tables that held small bonsai trees. They were mostly decorations, but Hinata had told Hanabi that their father trimmed and fertilized them himself. He claimed it to be a perfect stress reliever; when one came under stress they could easily rid themselves of it by tending to a bonsai tree.
He had two of them.
'His job probably stresses him out twice as much.' She asset.
In front of her father's large desk were two chairs placed near each other but with enough personal space. Hanabi walked closer to the one on the right and placed her hands delicately on the wooden back. That's when déjà vu hit her.
'Wasn't I just…doing this?' Confused, she walked around the chair and to her father's seat of power. She placed her hand on it. Her right arm turned to gooseflesh.
Years ago, Hinata made it clear to Hanabi that she never wanted to touch her father's chair. With Hiashi in it or not, it was powerful somehow. Hanabi thought that that was stupid and weak for the heir to be thinking. Wouldn't Hinata be sitting in that very same chair one day? So Hanabi, while her father was sitting in it, casually placed her hand on its leather exterior to show to Hinata that it was no big deal.
Her cockiness wasn't a façade at first; she saw her father's chair for what it was. A chair. But once her hand placed down on it, the whole room seemed to disappear. Everything except for her and the part of the chair she touched. It was strange, and the feeling lasted only a few seconds, but Hinata was right. There was something powerful about the chair.
However, Hanabi kept her cool while she looked at Hinata and pretended that the chair had no effect on her.
Now, years later, the chair still sent chills into her body. That was no longer surprising to her, she'd done it many times since then, and the feeling was always the same. Powerful. Just like the person who sat in it.
Her hand lifted off and she rubbed her arm like there was a sudden chill in the room. Hanabi looked at his desk. No papers were out anywhere in a disheveled manner, nor anything out of alignment. Whenever her father left the house he always left his office perfectly neat.
Hanabi rolled her eyes. "So that's where she gets it from." She said to herself referring to Hinata's clean room. Looking back at the desk it, and seeing how her cell wasn't anywhere on it, she wondered if it would be a huge invasion of privacy to look inside one of his drawers.
"Of course it is." She mumbled to herself. "But couldn't it be justified if it were in search of a cell phone? The thing that connects us all together?" she took a firm grip on the top left drawer's handle. 'He'll be mad if he finds out I was in his office. It'll be even worse if he finds out I went through his desk!' Her grasp loosened and only the ends of her fingers were faintly touching the handle now. 'Plus, if I did find my phone and he sees me with it knowing it was in his desk, he'll know what I have done.'
Her arm came down to her side, and she walked around to the other side of the desk collapsing into a chair. "I better find something to do before I do something I'll regret." She let out a loud breath and stood back up. Immediately the déjà vu it her. "I was just in here yesterday!" she realized. 'Father summoned me down. I came in and kept thinking how he had been acting so strangely lately. Ever since I was here six days ago, that's when he started to act peculiar.' She sat back down in the chair, crossing her leg as she did. She tried to focus on what had happened the last time she was with her father in his office.
Her brow tightened and she closed her eyes in concentration. 'This is what happened. Okay. He called me down…to discuss school? Yes! About my summer reading, but then his phone rang and…he answered it. I remember seeing how taken aback he was, he wasn't expecting a phone call about Hinata, then they both spoke…and then I heard him say "Neji" in complete surprise. When they were finished talking he didn't move right away. Then he says, "That'll be all Hanabi, thank you." As if we had finished a conversation. I left not thinking anything about it, but the next few days he acted so strangely. I saw him outside a lot. Looking at the flowers, or up at the sky.'
Hanabi opened her eyes and walked over to one of the windows. Outside, there was a big tree where her father had been ending up recently. He would sit there, a thoughtful expression donning his face, and would look up through the branches. 'What has made you this way, father?' Hanabi wondered as her stomach growled.
She didn't know exactly when she began to wander around, but she soon found herself no longer in her father's office and in the kitchen. Their kitchen had recently been remodeled so Hanabi went on a hunt for food. She opened up multiple cabinets before she found where the food was stored. There was a bag of granola sitting next to a bag of M&Ms. Somehow she resisted the candy and took the bag with her on her new search for bowls and yogurt.
Later, while she was eating her snack, she thought about one of the things she saw in the cabinets. Cinnamon Rolls. 'So the house is prepared with Hinata's favorite food. She really is coming back today.' The thought made Hanabi happy, and she subconsciously ate her food faster. Right as she went to place her bowl in the sink, two things happened that she wasn't expecting.
First, the phone in the kitchen rang. The loud ring, which was probably set to loud so it could be heard over the clamoring in the kitchen, startled her that her bowl fell into the sink with a clatter. Once composed, she went over to the phone to read the caller-i.d. It was a black phone sitting in a receiver that had many buttons. To the right of it was a paper taped to the wall with numbers to the different rooms in the house, and the names of what rooms they were or whose room they were. (Hanabi saw her name next to *10) The phone also worked as a regular phone, Hanabi knew this because when she was hungry, and on her way home, she only had to call her home phone number to have food prepared for her. Although sometimes she got another room. It usually depended on what time of the day it was or who picked up first.
She grabbed the phone off the receiver and looked at the screen. Startled by what she read, she fumbled with the phone in an attempt to not drop it. The phone rang for a second time. Her eyes widened at what she was reading. She wiped the screen and looked again. It rang a third time.
The caller-i.d. showed Hanabi's cell phone number; the second thing she wasn't expecting.
Her heart raced, and she quickly reacted. She pressed the accept button and put the phone to her ear.
"Hello?" thankfully her voice didn't betray her and she didn't sound the smallest bit shaky.
"Ah good, Hanabi." The voice of her father responded. Relief washed over her at the sound of his voice, and then an icy chill crawled up her spine. 'He knows I was in his office!' she mentally screamed.
"F..father." she acknowledged.
"I hope you haven't been too lonely around the house." He said casually. 'Very unlike his phone calls. He usually sounds all business.'
"Not at all. I've been reading in my room. Light music. I just ate something."
She heard the approval in his voice. "Ah, very good. That's good."
There was a silence. Perhaps an awkward one? Hanabi wasn't sure, but what grabbed her attention was the sound of a car driving in the back ground. She knew he was out, but to call from his car, a place where he spent moments of reflection, was not at all like him. 'Of course, he hasn't really been himself all week long.'
He cleared his throat. "Anyways. I've called to tell you something."
There was a pause where he intended for her to respond. "Uh…yes?" she asked more lost than ever.
"I'm calling on your phone."
Another pause. Hanabi mentally rolled her eyes. 'Finish your sentences! Why am I supposed to fill in the blank?'
"Yes, I noticed that."
He let out a sigh, and she could tell he was finally about to get to his point. "I have your phone so you can't call her." He explained. "This way you can't explain to her what I'm about to do."
That surprised Hanabi more than anything. Her eyes opened as wide as plates. She knew which "her" he was referring to, but what was it she wasn't allowed to tell Hinata? In a muffled voice Hanabi could hear her father explain something to his driver.
"Yes, that should be it. Camp whatever-it's-called. Pull in there. Hanabi?" he said back into the phone. The sound of tire on gravel was faint but still audible through the phone. "I need to ask you something. I forgot to check something before I left this morning." Again, another thing so out of character for her father. "Listen carefully." He told her.
She reflexively gulped. She was no longer on the phone with her father, but the man in the chair.
The prank was behind them, or more accurately, under their feet being danced on. Fetti and photos forgotten, nobody wanted to have their last dance of the summer to stop, and it was debatable as to who that concerned more. The girls who were leaving all their camp friends the very next day, or the guys who weren't leaving yet and would be going RIGHT back to their regular schedules in the blistering sun. But even with these worries in their heads, it didn't affect the effect that the pounding music had on their bodies.
'Everyone is dancing like this is the last night of their lives.' Thought one of the only people who, instead of dancing, was sitting quietly on a fold up chair. 'I can't remember the dance last summer being so…alive! I wonder why that is.' They looked around at all of the people dancing. There were lots of friends dancing together in groups, but mostly everyone was a couple. 'Looks like their holding tightly to their partner to reserve claim.'
The music was booming, and everyone was going wild. Each person seemed to have a happy smile on their face and a mask on their head. 'Except that girl managed to put it on her hip.' The sitting person observed. 'Are those decorations on that mask? Light keeps catching off something.' They sat up a little more forward and squinted their eyes. 'Oh yes. They all came in with designs on their masks. I remember now. Most people were talking about them and wished they had thought to do that-How surprising what a little glitter can do-But I think everyone was already talking about them before the dance. As a matter of fact…weren't they…oh yes. They were the ones in the accident everyone is still talking about.' They adjusted themselves properly in their seat and let out a relaxed sigh. 'That seems like years ago let alone mere days.' (AN: three years *cough*cough*)
One of the dancers in a different group stopped dancing and began flailing her arms around trying to grab somebody's attention. 'Oh! Mine?' The sitter made a small wave with their hand making the short haired brunette wave more and grin wider. "HEY! Necima! WANNA DANCE WITH US?" shouted the brunette.
Necima pulled back one of her longer strands of blue hair behind her ear. She smiled and politely shook her head no. The brunette girl pouted and danced her way over to the sitting Necima. Before Necima had the chance to groan, the brunette was there. "Aw come on Necima! It's our -last dance, and your pretty dress was made for dancing! HUH! Speaking of dresses…have you seen my dress?" she asked gesturing to herself. "It's a-"
"BCBG Max Azria one shoulder slinky red eve dress." Necima cut her off. 'A very short slinkyred eve dress.' "We live in the same cabin, Yuki." 'Not to mention you've told everyone in the entire camp!'
The brunette, Yuki, laughed as she braced both of her hands on Necima's knees, who quickly leaned away at the closeness. "I'm sorry! I forgot!" she laughed. Necima rolled her eyes. She could smell the alcohol coming off Yuki's breath so she didn't blame her for acting so crazy. Yuki wouldn't intentionally drink alcohol, of course, since she preached about how many calories were in liquor and how that would ruin a young girls' body faster than a second helping of dessert. But somehow someone managed to get alcohol into one of the punchbowls causing Yuki, and a lot of other campers, to get drunk. 'I'd tell her, but that could freak her out. It's probably best not to, and she is burning them all off by dancing. So…I suppose that makes up for it.'
"You should get back to dancing." Necima gestured to the group Yuki had just abandoned. "They're having fun without you."
"Are you sure?" Yuki asked as she began to retreat to her friends. "You look really lonely over here."
"I'm just waiting for someone," Necima assured her. "That is all."
When Yuki arrived back at her group they all turned to look at Necima and gave her an encouraging wave. She politely nodded back at them and then looked up at the streamers on the ceiling. She wished they had lanterns like they did at the first dance. The thought of them made her blush. 'I probably only wish that because…that's when I met him.' Her blush deepened and she quickly fixed her dress so that it lay perfectly flat. She needed the distraction. 'I can't just sit here blushing over a boy!' she thought as she fussed with her blue locks and the blue flower pin that pulled back her bangs. Looking back at the dancers for something else that could distract her, Necima noticed the front door open up.
While looking through all the dancing figures she could make out people sneaking out of the dance early. The first few people she saw leave were just outlines, she had no idea who they were, but the last one to leave she would know anywhere. 'That hair is something no one could miss, even without those unsightly white streaks all through them.' She thought with pure malice. 'Kin.' Whatever she was up to, Necima did not want to know. Getting involved would only ruin her night. So she forgot what she saw, ignored the bad taste in her mouth, and looked back at all the dancers.
As the song ended a new song entwined itself in its ending, and then it played alone. 'Good DJ.' Necima approved as her feet lightly tapped to the new song and her eyes swept over the crowd. They quickly landed on something that kept catching the light, only this time it wasn't the glitter from the masks. 'The ribbon in Sakura's hair, how smart. It's green, so it compliments her pink hair.' She then took notice of the guy Sakura was dancing with. Dark hair. Dark eyes. Dark clothes. Smiling face.
Necima rolled her eyes. 'Hey pretty boy.' She thought to herself as he spun Sakura in a twirl. Her dress fluttered around her legs beautifully, and the way Sakura did it on her right toe made Necima's heart ache. 'That was perfectly executed! I wonder if she's a dancer.' They did it once more, but that was the extent of the dance maneuvers they were pulling. 'That's all they've got?' she looked over at Tenten next and was stunned again by the beautiful woman her eyes laid upon.
At the beginning of the dance her hair was set in long curls with diamonds placed here and there. Now her hair, from all the dancing she had done, had loosened and fell into more beachy curls. The diamonds somehow managed to stay in her hair, 'Probably due to a more professional hand putting them in. Tenten doesn't take me to be the type to be so into cosmetology. So I'm guessing it was…' she looked over at Ino. Her arms were wildly up in the air and she, along with the guy who had his hands on her hips, while also avoiding the mask that she tied there, were jumping up and down with the beat of the music. Necima felt a mixture of disgust and envy.
"They definitely don't dance nicely like Sakura and her partner do. Those movements are not at all classy, but still, they both look so happy.'
Ino, although her back was turned to him, had her head turned towards Shikamaru while they danced. She liked how his hands were on her hips pulling her closer to him, but even more was the way they were. His fingers were splayed making the feeling more possessive. Ino wrapped her right hand around his neck and pulled him down into a quick kiss. It was hard to do since they both still continued to dance, and neither of them could get rid of their big smiles. Pulling away, Shikamaru's smile seamed to grow even bigger, if that was even possible. Ino's responding smile only had him more under her spell.
'They look so in love. I wonder if they've known each other before camp or-'
"Necima." A voice inquired. She quickly turned to see a cup being held in front of her face. She took the cup and beyond it was the amused face of her "unofficial" date to the dance. He took the seat next to her and nodded at her cup. "I'm sorry it took me so long, but I waited for them to pour fresh punch. Otherwise that would have been filled with alcohol." He explained.
"It was obviously spiked before. Thank you Shino." She took a long drink. It was the only thing she could do before she went right back to looking at his face. The blush from him saying her name held strong and refused to retreat.
"You appeared to really want to dance." He said to her with a knowing smile.
She stared at him confused. "What gave you that impression?"
"The longing way you looked at all the dancers." He told her with a smile. "We could go right back out there once we finish."
"Sure. But actually, I wasn't really looking at everyone dancing. Just one couple in particular."
He made a confused face as he stared back at the crowd. "Who?"
Necima looked back over to the dancers. "This girl I know. Ino. She and…well…maybe it's her boyfriend? They're dancing so intimately and look happy in each others' company that I just assumed they were dating. If I was smiling, then it was because their happiness just rubbed off on me."
Necima looked back at Shino confused. "Shika-what?"
He looked back down at her with another smile. "His name is Shikamaru. I've hung out with him and his friends a couple of times. I can see how watching them makes you happy, but that seems really out of character for him."
"Oh?" she prodded so he would continue.
"Shikamaru's not really one for activity. Actually, within the weeks that I've known him, he seems to like doing nothing at all." He downed the rest of his drink and adjusted his dark glasses. "Any time I would see him and his friends, he was the one who was always lagging behind or sitting down somewhere. Seeing him this happy…it's weird."
She let out a laugh. "That's funny. Seeing Ino that active is basically the norm. I'd in fact be shocked if I saw her miss a single dance this night."
Shino did, as a matter of fact, see Ino sitting down with a bunch of her friends earlier, but he decided not to mention. Looking at her and Shikamaru now made him wonder if they did in fact already know each other from somewhere else. It was possible, but Shino really wasn't invested in knowing. At the moment, he was more interested in being more focused on the girl beside him.
He really liked her for one uncomplicated reason.
Not getting hit by anything at the dance seemed, at first, to be a blessing. But now, it was a CURSE. Those who were the lucky ones not to be hit by eggs or, whatever that suspicious liquid was, had to go back to the girls' camp and help clean up the dance hall.
'The "Lucky Ones" he calls it.' Shino darkly thought as they pulled into the girl's camp. 'Did Kakashi think he was being funny?' Shino pinched the top of his nose. It was debatable if he was beginning to get a headache or if he already had one before he left.
Kiba never did anything about his clothes. Last night at the dance he was covered nearly head-to-toe in feathers and eggs. When they got back to their cabin Kiba shucked off his clothes and went right into their only shower. Shino didn't care and went to the public ones with most of the other people in his cabin. When he returned, Kiba was already asleep in his bed. But that morning there was an odd odor in the small room that the two of them both shared. Kiba was the first one to react to it yelling how it woke him up. Others in their cabin came into their room complaining that they could smell the stench from their own rooms.
It was right at that point that Akamaru found Kiba's clothes piled up by their door. Each guy, and possibly the puppy, all vibrated with hate towards Kiba who didn't rinse off his clothes or at least leave them outside like most of the other guys.
'What an idiot.' Shino had thought as he left to go down to the main office for the bus.
They all were boarded on the bus, or so they had thought, when Kakashi took a quick attendance form the list he came up with the night before of all the people not covered in crap. 'I should have considered rolling around on the ground to get out of this mess.' Shino thought when the bus came to life and began to drive.
"Kakashi! Isn't the exit the other way?" yelled someone from the front of the bus.
Kakashi turned to look at him. "Why yes, it is."
Kakashi just stared right back. Then the same boy again asked, "Shouldn't we be going…towards it then?"
"We just need to pick up a few stragglers. Then we'll be on our way."
The whole bus let out a groan.
"Whoever they are, I'm making them do half my work!" one boy from the back yelled. The bus then began to yell their agreements. It wasn't an exaggeration for them to be so riled up. The bus smelt foul, all the windows were down. And now they had to stay in the hot rank bus longer because some people were probably still sleeping? Hell was going to break loose when whoever was late came onto the bus.
They pulled up to the last cabins in the camp. Everyone immediately recognized them as the nicer cabins lived in by the oldest campers and young camp counselors. But that didn't faze them. Their noses were all they needed to remember why they were all so pissed.
Kakashi stood up and raised a curious look at all the boys. "You all know that I'm also in this hot egg rotting bus with you right? That means I'm enduring the same pain as all of you."
"JUST GET THEM!" yelled most of the bus.
Kakashi sweat dropped and proceeded to cabin 117. The bus driver stepped outside the bus and waited by the door.
Shino was sitting perfectly silent through all of this. The smell was just as putrid for him as it was for everyone else, but he wasn't bitching about it…out loud that is.
He pinched the top of his nose and looked at all of the angry guys.
"Alright!" yelled one from the front. "Who pulled this fucking damn prank?"
"Yeah!" agreed the guy next to him. "Seriously, just say who did it."
No one answered but everyone looked around.
"God!" the first guy yelled as he grabbed a fist full of his hair in frustration. "Just say it! No one will tell! Just own up to it!"
Again there was silence.
"You know what? Whoever did it? You're a pussy! A fucking god-damn pussy!" he dropped down into his seat. The guy next to him leaned out the window and looked out at the cabin Kakashi had entered.
"Whatever. I'm killing these assholes as soon as I get the chance."
"You better wait in line." an angry voice next to Shino yelled. "I get first dibs since those assholes are keeping me in here!"
"Shuddap Yashiro! They're keeping us all in here. And I'M getting first dibs!"
More arguments went around the bus to see who would be the one to take out their anger on the people who were making them wait so long. All the yelling only agitated Shino further. If Kakashi didn't come out soon, he might just take out a couple of the guys on the bus himself.
But finally the door opened with Kakashi walking outside….alone?
"What the hell Kakashi Sensei!" yelled someone from the front leaning out the window. "They aint coming? Who're we waiting for?" he demanded.
Kakashi reentered the bus. "Calm down." He all but yawned. "They're just getting dressed. They'll be out shortly."
A chorus of knuckle crunching was heard as they all, once again, waited for the people making them wait to come out their front door.
After a few more minutes of waiting, someone finally walked out. "Here they come!" someone yelled.
Shino looked out the window to see none other than Shikamaru. For almost a second Shino wanted to laugh. Of course they were waiting for Shikamaru. He was the laziest person ever! But before Shino could think to offer his help to Shikamaru from all of the other guys on the bus, Sasuke Uchiha emerged next.
Everyone on the bus gulped. Their hatred quickly diminishing at the sight of him, and all of it gone when Neji Hyuuga stepped out with Naruto Uzumaki right behind him. Shino forgot about the smell for a minute while he focused on the four taking their time to the bus, as if they were the ones waiting for it to come and pick them up. He narrowed his eyes at them. Then he pinched the top of his nose as he looked back at the people in the bus.
They were all in their seats, arms crossed and looking anywhere but towards the front of the bus. Shino couldn't believe it. 'What a disgrace.' He thought with disgust as he looked at all the spineless boys near him. 'Talking a big game…nothing to back it up with…' he watched as the four entered the bus and walked to the back where the dirtiest seats were. They all sat in a seat, each looking agitated. '…but…like the bug kingdom, size is most respected.'
"I could…still take em' I bet." Shino heard Yashiro mumble from the seat across the aisle.
With the bus driver back in his seat, the bus roared to life and they were all finally on their way out of their camp. It was a lot shorter than any of them had remembered, and once the bus had opened its doors they all hurriedly walked off it.
The first breath Shino took he treasured immediately. Even though it was a hot day out, and the air was dry, it didn't reek of spoiled eggs. Also he had finally decided, the headache that was forming was definitely born from Kiba's clothes, nurtured by the hot rotting bus, educated by the lateness of those assholes, and about to have its first birthday party in the dancing hall.
He lightly groaned. 'I need an aspirin.' Pinching the top of his nose he proceeded to the dancing hall along with the rest of the "Lucky Ones". The only thing that could make his headache even more unbearable would be if someone were to-
"HEY HINATA!" shouted Naruto who, unfortunately for Shino, was only five feet away from him. Shino's hands quickly flew to his skull in pain. His headache would only get worse if someone were to yell by him! And Naruto's obnoxious yell began to make the headache hatch out of Shino's skull.
'That lunatic! Someone ought'a put a muzzle on his-'
"HINATA I WANT TO TALK TO YOU!" yelled the voice of Neji who, like Naruto, was close behind Shino. Now his headache was fully hatched and it began to snack on all of his senses! It made him twitch madly, and worse, his teeth grind.
He turned towards the ingrates behind him, prepared to do what was necessary to get them quiet, but they were all gone and in a far off distance.
"…." Shino wanted to die. 'It's official…I hate them.' And he walked into the dancing hall only to find it worse than he remembered.
"Are we all in here yet?" Kakashi asked from the front of the group of boys. People were still walking in so they had to wait. Shino looked around at the dancing hall and what a mess it had become. He was actually surprised to see that there were girls already cleaning up. Some were wiping egg off the walls and others were picking up trash from the floor. Mostly the prank had attacked the left side of the room, the back of the room, and the middle of the room. There wasn't much to be done to the front by the doors where they were standing or the far right where Shino was last night since only feathers, and what people tracked around, were there.
"…and we managed to get you medical masks, but the smell is better with them on…"
Kakashi was talking but Shino simply tuned him out. He just wanted to clean so they could leave as soon as possible.
"…not enough so you all are going to have to fight for them unfortunately…"
That got Shino's attention immediately. He looked at Kakashi with determination. He would be one of the ones getting a mask, even if he had to pry it out of somebody's dead fingers.
Later, as he watched three people fight over the last mask, Uchiha, Uzumaki, Hyuuga, and Nara walked in. Shino was sure he was the only one witnessing their lateness, and it pissed him off that they all thought they could take their time into the dance hall like they took their time to the bus. 'Those assholes.' He walked to a broom and went to work where some other guys were sweeping.
"Kakashi!" yelled Asuma Sensei who had just walked in. "I've got more masks for you."
"Oh…good. Now there are enough for everyone."
Shino's face cracked. He had to force himself to the front just to make sure that he had a mask. Now the four bastards lucked out and still ended up getting masks anyway. 'How infuriating!' His sweeping became more aggressive, which was very unlike Shino. Kakashi even stopped and raised an eyebrow at him, then slowly backed away. Even he could sense the killing intent Shino had, even without seeing his eyes or face.
An Hour Later
Shino was calmer and now he was helping scrub the walls with a rag and a hot bucket of soapy water. He still hated the "Nara-chiha Hyuuga-maki Nuisance", a name he came up with to describe ultimate hate, but he held it all in with his Aburame Poise. And their poise was more legendary than the Hyuuga Calm. That put a small smile on his face. He was finally starting to feel better…until…
"KYAA! A Spider!" yelled a girl far off to his right. "It was trying to get in my hair! KYA!"
"Tch, calm down." Snapped a girl with four spiky ponytails. "Just kill it."
"EW! Temari you kill it! Kill it!"
Temari looked repulsed. "I'm not touching it! God! I'm going over there!" she declared as she took her bucket across the hall. The other girl quickly followed her leaving her own bucket behind.
Shino looked for the spider that they were seeing, and finally saw a black spider, bigger than he expected, coming down a rope of web from one of the lanterns dangling above. It was going straight down towards the bucket of water.
Shino placed his stuff down and went to its rescue but stopped when he noticed a girl with a blue hair go for it first. She held out a dust pan above the bucket and waited for it to fall, her arms shaking as she did. Her face looked squeamish and as the spider landed on the dustpan, she let out a scared squeak. Shino wondered if she was planning on killing it or not, but figured she wouldn't have saved it from water if she were planning on killing it another way.
'So what is she doing?'
The blue haired girl kept the dustpan as far away from her body as her arms would allow. She was so scared of the bug that she looked like she was lost and couldn't remember what way the door was. When Shino saw her eyes finally find it, she slowly walked towards it, not trying to jostle the spider, and she kept eyeing it like it was about to jump at her. 'It probably won't…'
Shino could no longer just watch and decided to help the poor girl out. He walked over towards her slow progressing body, and tried not to startle her so she wouldn't freak out. So he walked further out of her so she would see his approaching body, but even though he was sure she saw him, she didn't acknowledge him and kept staring at the spider.
"Excuse me." Shino began to say.
"Just walk around behind me. Don't get in front of me." She told Shino as she stared at the bug. He stood and watched her continue her small shuffling feet forward.
"Why?" he asked.
Her face tightened in fear, but she still didn't look up at him. "I don't want this spider to jump out."
Shino looked at her blankly. He couldn't figure her out. Scared of a bug but trying to save it? It went against the grain somehow. He wasn't used to people acting this way.
"Perhaps, I can help?"
"No, thank you. I don't want it killed." She had finally passed Shino and was only so much closer to the door. He stared at her with both his eyebrows up in surprise. That was probably the girl at her rudest. He followed her slowly and thanked his superior height since he could see over her shoulder without craning his neck.
The spider, he noticed, was just an ordinary spider but not at its usual small size. The blue haired girl, clearly still grossed out, kept her eyes on it anyway. When it moved its leg once she inhaled a sharp breath and leaned her body away from the dustpan. It was so anomalous to Shino. A person being so repulsed by a bug, but trying to save it. He let his grin stretch out knowing it couldn't be seen with the mask on his face. He hadn't smiled in a while, it felt good.
"I needed that." He said on a small laugh.
"I beg your pardon?" asked the girl. Her voice strict and her face reflecting what Shino would see on his teachers. Eyebrows raised in a no-nonsense manner.
"I said…I didn't want to kill it. I'll take it outside…if you want me to."
She looked immediately relieved, and her head bobbed a thankful nod. As soon as it was out of her hands she made a noise that Shino connected with having the "willies".
"Oh gosh! I'm so brave!" she said on a nervous laugh. "Oh! I'll get the door for you!" Faster than Shino would have imagined, considering she was walking at glaciers pace a few minutes ago, she was at the door holding it open for him. Shino followed her and they both walked around the side of the building to find a safe place to deposit the little bug.
Seeing a bush, Shino carefully dumped the spider in his hand and let it walk to one of the branches.
"I can't believe you put it in your hand!" the girl yelled in disbelief.
"When it comes to bugs, I am no stranger." Shino told her as he held out the dustpan. "I believe this belongs to you."
She grabbed it by the handle. "I hope you don't think little of me for not touching it."
That was absurd to Shino. The situation fate had put her in seemed very, for lack of a better word, heroic to him. She saved the life of an insect, and she was clearly afraid of it. He could not put into words his appreciation, or respect, that he felt for her.
"Not at all. Most people are afraid of spiders."
"Oh, I have no favoritism. I'm scared of all insects!" she giggled nervously.
Shino stared at her amazed. She only became more interesting to him.
The rest of their cleanup they spent with each other. Mostly talking about their camps, and how brutally unfair it was that they, the ones who were clean, had to clean up the mess. "They're probably just hedging their bets." She told Shino. "Whoever pulled the prank would be clean, so they round up all the clean people and have them clean up the mess. It reminds me quite a lot of 'Spartacus', only we aren't slaves and we did not try to take the blame."
"You're using the word 'slave' quite loosely." He said motioning to the scrubbing they were both doing.
The blue haired girl laughed. "You're right." she put her cloth back in her bucket of water. Some of it sloshed out to the floor but she continued to scrub.
"You both are doing first-rate team work." Said the voice of Kakashi from behind. They both turned to look at him. "Keep it up." He said with a thumbs-up and walked away.
"That man…" blue haired girl said under her breath. "He caught me trying to cover myself in feathers once I saw the Seneis taking names down of the people who weren't a mess." She admitted. Shino smirked under his mask. It was something he had only thought to do, but was amazed that she had tried to accomplish it. "I know that sounds lazy, but I really didn't want to miss swim practice. It's hard to get out of a routine."
"Um…by the way. Does that man…" her voice became very quiet, and her tone made it sound like she was about to confess a sin. Shino leaned in closer to hear her better. "…does he always…have on that black mask?"
"No one has ever questioned him about it." Shino told her. They both looked over at him as he stood next Asuma Sensei and pointed at the fans making hand gestures like something was falling. Shino wouldn't be the one to ask Kakashi Sensei about his mask, since he didn't want anyone asking why he always wore his dark specs. That…was definitely something he didn't want to share.
The part of the wall they worked on was finally clean, so they moved down further to where more eggs, feathers, and odd colored liquid were. Unfortunately, Shino slipped in a puddle of water and fell to the ground.
"Nara-chiha Hyuuga-maki!" he swore when he banged his knee hard on the ground.
"HUH! You alright?"
"I'm fine." Shino sat on the ground, avoiding where it was wet, and looked at his knee. He hit it right on a nerve, and he couldn't bend it without grimacing. He ripped off his mask, but quickly wished he hadn't. The smell made his situation worse, and his eyes water. 'Nara-chiha Hyuuga-maki!' he mentally swore. He took off his glasses, and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand, however, his hands were wet so his glasses slid from his grip to the ground.
Shino let out a groan and ran his hands through his hair; everything bad from the day came crashing down on him at once. He rested his forehead on his knees and closed his eyes, trying hard not to breathe. The hall was nowhere near clean, and would probably take another day to do. So he'd be back tomorrow most likely. 'Just great.' He inwardly complained. Kiba had their cabin smelling only half as bad as the dancing hall he was in, The Nara-chiha-Hyuuga-maki Nuisance thought they were too good to do anything, 'They'd think they were the damn lucky charms the way they go about everything.' He had to go back home on that same damn bus that smelt like this place. He'd have to come back to this same place! His life…it sucked.
A gentle pressure on his right shoulder reminded him he was not alone. He looked up completely forgetting the blue haired girl, and when he saw her face, he also noticed how nice her grey eyes were. She was holding something out to him. Her face was blushing. Shino took his glasses back from her blindly.
"Thanks." He told her as he continued to stare.
"No problem." She replied staring right back, her blush growing deeper.
"Necima?" asked a voice.
Standing above them, because Shino was sitting and Necima was kneeling next to him, was Asuma Sensei. "I didn't see you here. You didn't get hit by anything?" he asked impressed.
"No, sensei." She told him evenly. Looking back at Shino with a teasing smile she added, "I was "lucky"." That got him to smirk.
Asuma ran his hand through his hair looking upset. "I'm sorry that you're here. Really, we just didn't know who pulled the prank…so by asking everyone who wasn't hit…"
"I understand, Asuma Sensei."
His smile was full of anguish and regret. "Look…" he made sure no one else was around them. "If we don't finish this today, and I'm not entirely so certain that we will, why don't you just not show up tomorrow. I know you wouldn't have done this. I'll take care of everything. You won't get into trouble."
Her spirits seemed to lift up. "That's kind of you! Thank you Sensei."
He waved his hand at her as he turned away. "No problem. Just don't tell anybody alright?"
Necima let out a sigh and sat right next to Shino. "That was lucky of you." He told her, glasses back on his face.
"Yes. It was very nice of him to consider my swimming."
"You must be a very serious swimmer." She looked up at the ceiling and back at Shino with a smile.
Shino smiled at her response. "Then the next time I see you will be at the dance."
Necima blushed. "Yes. I suppose that's right."
There was silence so heavy between them that Necima had to look away in order to hide her burning cheeks. For a while they just sat together and watched as the people around them continued to clean, none of them noticing the two just sitting and watching. Shino was very aware of his right arm at that moment, because Necima was sitting on that side of him. He tried to distract himself by looking over at the Nara-chiha Hyuuga-maki Nuisance. For some reason, even though they had masks on, they seemed really smug. Shikamaru in particular was looking really happy.
"…hey." Shino mumbled. Necima looked back at him. "My name is Shino."
At first she was confused, but then she smiled feeling silly for never introducing herself. "It's been a pleasure to meet you. I'm Necima."
They both smiled and stood up simultaneously. "Necima." She blushed. He was liking that. "Would you consider being my date to the very next dance?" Her reaction was what he had hoped for. Confused.
"Why?" she asked.
He made the distance between them smaller and looked down into her grey eyes, smiling. "Because I wish I had met you yesterday."
Her face turned red, and even Shino could tell that he was blushing. He had never been so bold in his life, but it was worth it to see her reaction. She twisted the end of her shirt nervously and looked down at her feet, obviously out of her element.
"…yes…" she finally mumbled. "…I'll consider it…"
Finally dancing with Shino, after a quick cool down, was somehow more refreshing than the punch. No longer was she sitting alone, but expressing herself in a way she only felt when she swam.
Totally, wildly, free!
Movement in every direction. The bob and the flow of the crowd was like the bob and the flow of the water. Her inner-self was more than happy to partake in this new activity, and it was mostly thanks to Shino. Usually, Necima would participate only in the dances when she was in a group of friends. Shino opened up a whole new way to let herself go! It wasn't just Necima who could tell, but anyone who watched her dancing.
"You just love taking me out of my comfort zone…don't you?" asked Shino.
"Your comfort zone?" Necima laughed. "I was happy being a wall flower moments ago." Shino laughed at her lie, she laughed along with him. He spun her around once and saw her grey eyes turn into a tantalizing silver.
Holding both of her hands, Shino brought her closer. "You're far from a wallflower." He said just above a whisper.
"WOOOO! SHINO'S GOT GAAAME!"
Looking up Shino stared at the amused eyes of Kiba.
The music was loud, so not everyone heard, but the groups of people dancing near them all stopped and stared.
"Kiba." Shino warned with his tone. Said boy threw his head back and let out a wild howl of laughter, a few others joined in. If Shino was embarrassed, he didn't show it. But, through his dark classes he glared daggers at Kiba, and if looks could kill, the Inuzuka would have been six feet under.
"Relaaaax man!" Kiba said putting his hand on Shino's shoulder. "Introduce me already!" he smiled his puppy-dog smile at Necima waiting to be introduced. Necima looked at him apprehensively then towards the unmoving Shino.
She cautiously extended her hand out to Kiba, still sneaking glances at Shino, and politely introduced herself. "I'm Necima, and you must be Shino's cabin-mate, Kiba."
"Oh!" Kiba exclaimed with mock shock. "Shino spoke about me? I hope nothing bad."
"whoever said we were talking about you, you cocky sonavabi-"
Kiba quickly interrupted Shino by grabbing both of Necima's hands excitedly. "I have to ask you a question!" he yelled as his smile grew bigger. She only gaped at him like a fish. Not knowing what to expect, or if Shino would help her out, she gave a small nod for Kiba to continue. It seemed to make him happier that she was complying. "Do you think you can tell me who looks better?"
"What?" Both Shino and Necima said at once. They looked at each other with their mouths agape. Whatever they were expecting him to ask, it was definitely a thousand miles in the different direction. "Um…who?" Necima continued to ask.
Kiba put his arm around her shoulders and turned towards a group of people. With his free hand he pointed to, while also shocking Necima into silence, Tenten. "Do you know her? That's Tenten."
"Tenten." She managed. She nodded her head yes.
"Okay. Does she look better then that hotty over there?" he asked as he twisted her body around to point at someone else. Necima was expecting to see another girl beyond Kiba's index finger, but to her complete horror, he was pointing at a boy! She knew the boy too. She had seen Rock Lee at dances before, but not looking like that!
'Spiky hair? Rock Lee? And his shirt is implying…oh my gosh! I can barely look at him!' She turned away in shock right into the arms of Shino. "That can't be the same Lee that I know." She declared to them. "I've never seen him look like that before."
"You mean hotter than, Tenten, riiight?"
Shino hit Kiba upside the head. "What's gotten into you?"
"Ah! JEEZE!" he yelled rubbing his head. "Didn't I tell you? It's a contest."
Shino lifted an eyebrow at Kiba, Necima straightening out of his arms. "Contest?"
"Right, ow, we're trying to see who gets the most feedback from their drastic hair change. And I'm-damn it Shino you really hit me hard- I'm placing bets."
"And you're betting on, Lee. Am I correct?"
"Yeah!" Kiba laughed. "And my man is gunna win!"
"What's he going to win, Kiba?" a new voice asked. They all turned to see Kakashi-always-present-when-you-don't-want-him-near-Sensei. "Care to explain?"
She was having a great time, dancing club had prepared her well (score!), but she couldn't help but feel concerned for the reserved Necima. She didn't know the guy Shino, who she was dancing with, but Kiba sure did when he shouted out that he had "game".
"I hope Necima isn't embarrassed." Hinata told Naruto as they watched Kiba wrap his arm around Necima.
Naruto shrugged. "Aah, Kiba can be annoying, but…" he began to say.
"But…?" Hinata prompted.
"No that's it. Kiba can be annoying." He laughed. Hinata smiled and then let out a laugh herself.
"Is Kiba pointing at you?" they both heard Tenten ask Neji. Looking over, they saw Neji look both annoyed and confused, as he looked in Kiba's direction. "I want to say no…" 'Cause if he's pointing at her I'll kill him.'
Naruto disagreed with them. "No, look. He's pointing at Lee. He must have been looking for him."
"But he was pointing at someone over here first." Hinata said more to herself than anyone else. She looked from Lee to Tenten, and back again. That's when something tugged at her brain! 'These two things have something in common…but…what is it?' She then looked from Tenten to Lee and then to Kiba, who was talking to Kakashi. "When did Kakashi get there?"
The three looked over again to, indeed, see Kakashi Sensei talking with Kiba and looking over at all of them. Kiba was laughing, and waving his arms around as he spoke with Kakashi, who was nodding his head in understanding as he looked again from the group to Kiba and then to Lee.
"This feels weird." Tenten commented as she rubbed her arms. "Does anyone else feel like they're being tattled on?"
"Now that you mention it…I do feel like I'm being talked about." Said Hinata as she rubbed her arms too.
"Let's just go over there and ask what they're saying." Naruto said as he took one step forward. However, there was no need to go any further since Kiba and Kakashi began to walk over to them.
Noticing approaching figures, Ino, Shikamaru, Sasuke, and Sakura all stopped dancing and watched as Kakashi assessed the group.
"Hello, everyone." He smiled. Neji was ready for him to get to the point.
"Is something wrong?" he asked. Kakashi's face went from a gentle politeness to utter confusion.
"Something wrong? What could be wrong? I only came over to see how you were all…alright. I heard about your little contest." He confessed when he saw their disbelieving stares.
Sasuke, standing with his right arm around Sakura's waist, dug his left hand through his hair. "What are you talking about, Kakashi?" he asked uninterested.
"Kiba here just informed me that-"
"THAT'S RIGHT!" Ino and Hinata yelled simultaneously. Ino continued alone, "We have to see who has the better reaction!"
"Tenten or Lee!" Hinata finished.
Sakura's eyes popped wide opened. Her hands clenched into fists and she shook them excitedly. "I forgot all about that!" she yelled excitedly, jumping almost out of Sasuke's grasp. "Do we still have time? Can we still do it?"
"Of COURSE we have time!" declared Ino. "Let's do this!"
Kiba put his thumb to his chest. "I already started." He said smugly.
Three gasps were heard. "What did you find?" all three girls asked excitedly.
"Hold on! HOLD on!" yelled Shikamaru. He put both his hands on his head and tried to shake off everything he had just heard. "What's going on here? What are Kiba and Kakashi talking about? And how do you all know about it?" he took a deep breath. "Could someone…just…en-lighten those of us in the dark?"
"Yeah!" Naruto agreed. "I don't get it. Hinata? What are you all talking about?"
"Well…it's about Tenten's hair…" she began to explain.
"She looks amazing!" Ino quickly interjected, giving Tenten a little nudge with her elbow.
Tenten blushed at the compliment and hip-bumped Ino right back. Neji, with his arm already around her shoulders, gave her a tight squeeze. Lifting her head to look at his eyes, she and Neji had a silent conversation where he said nothing but flattering things to her and she replied with modest protests.
"Tenten always looks amazing, Ino." Sakura said winking at Hinata. "Go ahead." she said so Hinata would continue.
"She decided this ONE TIME she would wear it down, and so Lee decided he would do his hair differently since she was."
"Modern day chivalry." Ino sighed.
"So then we thought it'd be fun to see who got the better reaction. Tenten's loose locks, or Lee's suave spikes."
"Is that all?" asked Kakashi. He turned towards Kiba. "because…I was under the impression that this was for money."
Hinata shook her head. "No Kakashi Sensei. No money at all."
Ino sounded unhappy when she added, "Just a boring gentlemen's bet." Shikamaru and Sasuke raised a surprised eyebrow at her, then looked back at Hinata, who shrugged.
"It's true." She told them. "But I didn't think it was boring, Ino." She said sounding dispirited. "It was just fun, and locked Lee into having us doing his hair since he heard it would be a "competition"."
Neji looked impressed. "That was clever."
"Ah? What was clever there, Neji?" asked Gai Sensei.
"Getting Lee to do a competition." Neji replied without thinking. He didn't realize he had done anything wrong, until he saw Kakashi slap his hand to his forehead. And before he could turn around to rephrase what he said…it was too late.
Gai clenched his two fists and punched the air and yelled, "COMPETITIOOOOOON?"
"What the hell?" Ino covered her ears since she was standing right next to him, Shikamaru managed to cover one.
"Where did he even come from?" yelled Shikamaru.
Kakashi rolled his eyes. "Gai…"
"YOU AND ME KAKASHI! RIIIIGHT NOW! WHAT ARE THE RULES! OH! THE FIRE OF YOUTH IS BURRRRNIN." Fire burned in his eyes and smoke came from his ears. Gai spun around nearly dancing with joy at the sound of a competition. Everyone backed away ten paces so they weren't hit by one of his floundering arms…or to be associated with him.
Naruto looked over at Neji. "Way'ta go, Neji. Why couldn't you watch what you were saying?"
Neji glared at him. "I didn't know that was Gai asking me a question." He defended. They watched as Kakashi tried to calm Gai down, but almost to no avail. Sakura couldn't believe the situation, but Sasuke acted bored since he was so used to it.
"Don't worry…in a minute they'll settle this with some rock-paper-scissors. Hopefully this doesn't ruin the night." 'Oh! Maybe this ruined her night!' Sasuke quickly looked at Sakura who didn't appear to be upset. After all, it was there last day they got to be together. If she was even the smallest bit unhappy, he'd do anything in his power to make her better.
"No Sasuke." Sakura smiled. "This night has been so great! I don't want my summer with you to end."
He couldn't take it anymore. Several times he tried to hint to her, he…an Uchiha, that he wanted to see her more. Not just during the summer, but throughout the year as well. And he wanted to call her and get to know her better. He never thought that when it came to girls he'd have to work so hard, but she was making this difficult for him.
So he decided to swallow his pride. Shake his head of anything he thought his friends would say, and do something that he never would have imagined because…well…he'd never met anyone like Sakura. And she was the only one of her kind.
"Sa…Sakura?" he asked with a stronger voice. 'Aw, damn…'
Hearing the small stammer in his voice, Sakura raised an eyebrow and looked at Sasuke who seemed to be attempting to look at her. "Uh, yes?"
"Sakura…dance with Rock Lee right now or I'll kill you."
SO i updated chapters 3,4,and 5. not big drastic changes but if you're a naruhina fan then the way they meet is lil different in chapter 3 and Nejiten has gotten a LOT better in chapter 4. but chapter 4 is a lOT longer so i give it another read if your interested in seeing how the beginning of the story is different.
If the end of this chapter isnt good i'm SORRY but i'm so tired and wanted to send it in but i just kept writing and didnt know where to stop...so i just STOPPED! LOL
OH and thank you for all the reviews and to all the people who sent me person emails and the threats YES LORD THE THREATS i love you all so so much. i couldnt keep writing without any of you the readers and you the reviewers. you all make me a better writer.
and SORRY about the 3 year hiatus. but will you trust me on one thing? if i had written anything then, i probably would have killed everyone off. not to be a downer, but i was going through some hard times...let's just say i now know how it feels to be lied to and cheated on, and i found out who my real friends are and they are so precious to me.
ALSO my computer within the past 2 and a half years kept crashing and crashing each and every time i wrote parts of my chapter. WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT ABOUT? i just don't know. but i take everything as a sign? so i'm glad i never wrote this chapter till now. WOOT! CHAPTER 30!
Hope you enjoyed.
This is MEME.