Story Title: Playing With Fire

Chapter Title: On the First Day

Pairing: OrochimaruSakuraGaara

Rating: T (some swearing)

Author: Backlash Symphony

Summary: Sakura's the new student at KAVPA and the only other survivors of the massacre at school five years before are Gaara and Kabuto. She defines herself with film and catches the eye of Orochimaru, the son of the mobster who arranged the massacre. OroSakuGaa

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Do you think I'd be writing this stuff if I did? Didn't think so.

Extra: Alright! So I'm back, yeah? For those of you familiar with my works, I've taken you through the world of strange pairings, past tragic and painful OrochimaruSakura, into the tortured reflective mind of OrochimaruAnkoJiraiya, the underwear snatching OrochimaruTsunade, and the uber sweetness and fluffiness of KisameSakura. So now I've come to give you a twist of OroSakuGaa.

So let's set things straight before we continue.

Sakura, Gaara, and Kabuto are the only three survivors of the gun massacre five years before the story begins. Everyone else was killed. End of story. The guys responsible were hauled off to jail. Sakura was taken away to deal with the trauma and returns five years later, when this story begins. Orochimaru is one of the three sons of the Uchiha, clan, though ADOPTED. He takes an interest in Sakura who moves in down the street from his house. He doesn't realize who she is until she meets his family because they tell him who she is when she leaves. Kabuto is still loyal to Orochimaru but he has a lot more freedom. Gaara doesn't exactly oppose Orochimaru since he's friends with Kabuto, but he doesn't like him because he knows he'll hurt Sakura.

All the juniors are 17. All the seniors are 18 except for Orochimaru and Kisame, who are 19 due to missing a year, and Sakura, who is 16.

Text means normal writing.

'Text' means thoughts.

'Text' mean Inner Sakura's thoughts.

Text means flashback.

Anime. Bands. Hot Topic. Of course they'll be in there. If you see animes or bands listed, don't flip out on me. They need to be there. It's AU afterall. Zabuza is Sakura's friend. He's three years older than she is.

I'll change the P.O.V. a few times since I'm trying to test it out, but if you think it doesn't work, tell me. Anything else, ask me later. Onto the story!

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Sakura
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The bus came to a screeching halt in front of the large brick and stone building. A sign was situated in the center of the grassy lawn. In faded black letters covered with plastic laminating film, 'Konoha Academy' beckoned any viewers to pause in their step, glance at the structure with muticolored phrases scrawled messily over certain boarded windows and parts of the base, then look back at the sign and wonder what the hell kind of academy would have such a horrible front. It didn't help any that beneath the school's title lay a short written piece that said something vulgar but was painted over with a thin white substance.

Sakura Haruno, a pink-haired 16 year old high school student, rose from her squeaky bus seat, straightened her black Hellsing messenger bag, and walked down the empty aisle before swiftly exiting the bus. She cast a look behind her, watching as the bus switched to a different street to stop at. She turned to look back at the vandalized building in front of her.

This was where it all started. This was where her life had changed forever. This was where she first learned that reality was a bitch. She also discovered that her life was incredibly unfair.

It all began five years before, when she was no older than 11. She had been an advanced student at Konoha Academy. Sakura had been a year ahead of everyone else and had been offered countless times to skip a grade, but she knew that by doing so not only would she lose her friends, but she'd miss the social aspect that was provided with the year she would skip. So while all of her teachers hinted and nudged at it, Sakura was busy planning out her future- even if she was only 11.

She had plans to become a director of movies and an author or journalist when she grew up. She wanted to go to Brown for journalism and Toronto Film School for her film education.

Her plans did not include taking on the title of one of the three survivors of the Konoha Massacre.

Five years ago, when Sakura Haruno was a mere 11 years old, one of her very best friends, Zabuza Momochi, arrived to school one day with a group of older boys and a large supply of guns.

The group split up and spread out along the building, busting into classrooms and firing round after round of their weapons until each living thing had ceased breathing. They would then move on to the next classroom. Sakura had been in third period Language Arts at the time. The sound of guns being fired echoed down the hallway her classroom was branched from. The door was open, like it usually was when the weather was as hot out as it was outside. The teacher, Hayate, had instructed the students to turn the tables down and move behind them while he went to go see what was going on.

Sakura could remember panicking and scrambling behind the teacher's desk, under the space it provided, and curling up as tightly as she could. A few seconds later she heard the agonizing scream of her teacher and silent tears slid down her cheeks. She willed herself not to cry out loud for fear of being killed. She was terrified and she didn't know what to do. Footsteps were all the she could hear before the screams began from her classmates. The gunfire was so close, Sakura felt her ears would burst from the noise. There was some sort of a smell but she couldn't describe it for it was too faint.

Not that she'd want to. The killer was in the classroom. She squeezed herself into an even tighter ball, praying to God that he wouldn't go check under the desk. She heard her remaining classmates scrambling about the room, glass breaking from either missed bullets or attempted counter-weapons. But she knew it wouldn't work. The steps moved closer to her and she could see the killer's shadow from the few inches between the bottom of the desk and the floor.

There was a final silence and Sakura stuffed her face into the bend of her inned arm, trying to muffle her heavy breathing while eyeing the shadow beside her. Her heart beat wildly in her chest and she prayed harder. The feet seemed to move closer to her and she nearly let out a sob before she heard a familiar voice from what she assumed was the entry to the room.

"That's all the classes," the voice said. "The rest of the group is waiting at the entrance. We need to hurry. Some damn teacher called the police and they'll be here soon."

'Zabuza?' Sakura asked mentally, shocked.

Sakura had been a mess since then. The five years she had disappeared from the world during felt like decades. They were painful and not particularly enjoyable. However, Sakura hadn't had all that much of a choice. She was now a high school student. A senior, to be exact. At 16. Her brains hadn't failed her completely and she'd been allowed to take an exam that would place her in a grade. She'd been chosen to be a senior, a year ahead of everyone else. Her new school?

Konoha Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts.

It was located directly across the street from the old Konoha Academy and taught grades 5-12. Sakura had to choose from Visual Art -the painting and photography didn't do very much for her-, Dance -though she thought it might be fun to replace one of the performance tapes with "My Humps"-, Theatre -since when had anyone ever cared about that?-, Music/Vocals -damn her to hell before she ever bothered to pick up an instrument that wasn't an electric guitar-, and TV/Film -who's bringing the popcorn?-.

Alright, since her dreams involved filming, it only made sense that she chose it, although she had listed Music as her second, expecting TV/Film to be filled. When Sakura received the confirmation, her eyes nearly bugged out of her head.

"Honestly," she muttered, dashing across the street, "how could that class not be filled?"

Apart from being accepted into TV/Film, she had received a list of extracurricular activities she could pick from with the listed times and meeting places beside the name. She'd picked quite a few clubs to be in but she knew she'd be able to handle it. She was Sakura Haruno. If she could survive a massacre, there was no doubt in her mind that she'd breeze through high school, especially when she only had to be here for one year.

The academy was smaller than the original one, despite the fact that it held more students. It was a simple square building that was rather tall. Sakura walked up the steps to the front door, holding the handle and pulling. It didn't open. She tried pushing, but it still didn't open. She huffed and then noticed the small sign posted on the sign. Her hand left the handle and pressed the small red button beneath the sign. After a few seconds there was a buzzing noise. She tested the door once again and it opened.

She entered through the front doors and immediately came face to face with two sets of stairs. One was heading up, the other down. She moved up and paused, searching for a sign to point her to the Main Office. She spotted it on the right and turned the corner, walking down the hall. There was a display of plaster and paper mache bridges to her left with posters from past dance competitions and theatre performances lined up above it. Small paintings and masks were pinned above the doors to her right and she entered the office.

The room was small and slightly crowded but she moved forward to the desk, waiting for someone to help her. An older woman with graying blonde hair moved towards her.

"What can I help you with?" she asked hurriedly, fingering some papers in her hands.

Sakura pulled a paper from her pocket and held it for the woman to see.

"I'm new here."

The woman nodded and gave Sakura a quick smile.

"Turn left when you exit the office and go straight. Guidance will take care of you," she instructed before heading back to her desk.

Sakura sighed and followed her instructions. She left the office, made a left, and moved straight. There was an empty table set up right against the wall with a newspaper and a clipboard that had a stack of lined papers, a pen, and what appeared to be a watch next to it. When she arrived at Guidance, she was annoyed to see that it was just as cluttered as the Main Office. There were two doors. Above the first was a small sign that said 'A-L'. She took her chances with that one and walked in.

A small woman with black hair sat scribbling something down on a paper.

"Hey," Sakura greeted, leaning against the doorframe.

The woman turned to see who she was and smiled brightly.

"Hello! What can I help you with?"

Sakura presented the same paper to her and she nodded, folding it and placing it on her desk. She stood and walked to the file cabinet behind her and snatched a rather thick manilla folder off of the top before sitting down in front of her computer once again.

"You can call me Shizune-sensei, Sakura. Welcome to KAVPA," she said pleasantly, typing some numbers into the screen that popped up.

Sakura made a small noise in her throat and watched the woman work. Within a few seconds the printer was making strange noises and a sheet was being printed out. Shizune stood and retrieved the sheet, tearing off the hole-punched sides and handed it to Sakura. The pink haired girl took it, looking at it.

"We just started third period about fifteen minutes ago so you've got quite a bit of time left to make it there. The basement is double digit numbers, this floor is all one hundreds, the second floor is all two hundreds, and the third floor is all three hundreds. The cafeteria is on the third floor and the gym is in the basement along with your film class," she explained, seating herself in her chair once again. "Any questions?"

Sakura looked up at the older woman.

"I've got to do all of those stairs?"

Shizune smiled. She always got that question.

"Yes."

Sakura groaned.

"And you've got four minutes to do so. I can call someone up to help you out the first few days if you like?" Shizune offered.

Sakura shook her head and muttered, "I'll manage."

She turned and moved to leave the room when Shizune called her back. She scribbled something down and handed a small sheet to Sakura.

"Your pass to class. Have fun! And you can always come see me if you need something."

Sakura nodded.

"Oh, and Sakura?"

Sakura turned again.

"Be careful with Genma-sensei."

Sakura wrinkled her nose and left the Guidance area. She looked down at her schedule again.

'What's wrong with Genma-sensei?'

She shook her head, stopping.

"First period biology with Kurenai-sensei. Second period American History/Law and Government with Asuma-sensei. Third and fourth period TV/Film with Genma-sensei. Lunch. Fifth period gym with Gai-sensei or bio lab with Kurenai-sensei. Sixth period study hall with Kakashi-sensei. Seventh period Spanish 3 with Ebisu-sensei. Final period English with Iruka-sensei." she sighed, clicking her tongue in annoyance. "Alright. It's not totally horrible. Now she said third period? So I'm off to..." Sakura scanned the list for the classroom number. "TV/Film! Yes! Room 16A, so that's downstairs."

Sakura noted the staircase directly to her left and began her trek. There were two flights of stairs to get to each new floor. She moved down the steps and into the basement which was at least ten degrees colder than the first floor. Her eyes slid to the wall, seeing a yellow sign with the words 'Bomb Shelter' on it. She blinked and laughed. The basement was prepared for a war. Where exactly was the rest of the world when this school was being built? She took off to the right again and she found room 16A. It was the second door ahead of her.

Inhaling deeply, she raised her fist and knocked on the door. The muffled voice from inside halted and the door opened suddenly. The face of a 30-something year old man popped out of the room. Brown eyes widened slightly at the sight of her pink hair and Sakura ducked just in time to miss...

"A really long toothpick?" she mumbled skeptically, staring at the protruding piece from the man's mouth.

"Can I help you?" he asked, his voice pleasant to her ears.

She looked at him a little more closely, knowing he was doing the same to her. He had long brown hair, a chestnut shade of brown, while his eyes were a deep chocolate color. He had on a pair of jeans, something that surprised her, and a skin tight shirt that was a deep olive green. Sakura blinked.

"Genma-sensei?" she asked hesitantly.

He nodded enthusiastically, eyes closing as he smiled charmingly, the toothpick held in place between his teeth.

'So this is why Shizune-sensei told me to be careful with him,' Sakura thought.

'He's a playboy!' Inner Sakura exclaimed excitedly. 'What kind of car does he have?'

"Are you really a teacher?"

He nodded again.

"Now is there something you needed?"

Sakura handed the pass to him and put on her 'I-Know-Something-You-Don't!' smirk and crossed her arms over her chest.

"I'm your new student."

He took a step back and threw her one of his own smirks. He swept his arm out as a gesture for her to come in and she did. She walked right past him but stopped a step away from him, scanning the room, arms still crossed. All the attention was on her, just how she wanted it to be. The door closed behind her and she heard the crinkling of paper before Genma placed a hand on her shoulder.

"Class, this is our new student, Sakura Haruno," Genma explained before tilting his head towards the girl. "Why don't you tell us a little about yourself?"

Sakura shrugged -purposely she did it to get his hand off of her but she most likely failed in making it look like it was natural since it was a bit rough- and lowered her arms to her sides, one hand on her hip.

"Right then. I'm Sakura. End of story. No nicknames. At all. I don't like cherry blossoms, cherries, or strawberries despite what most of you would think, and yes-" she pointed to her hair, "-my hair is naturally pink. No it is not dyed. Knowing that you are all -or at least most of you are- seniors, I -despite my looking like I belong in the younger classes- am a senior as well. I'm 16."

Confused looks spread around the room and people turned and whispered to one another. Sakura smirked.

"That's right, boys. I'm a minor. Too bad for you."

"What the? Sakura!"

Sakura froze and spun halfway around.

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Gaara
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The red head was annoyed. He had left his project folder at home and had to wait for his sister to drive to KAVPA to drop off his work. When Temari finally arrived, she had embarrassed him by calling him out in the middle of class change. After a few minutes of getting yelled at for a missed nail appointment, the blonde left him and drove home. He scowled at her back and turned away from the office, heading down the stairs to the right and continuing right when he arrived in the basement. He finally made it to the class he had that period and the next.

Though the door was closed, he knew he could go in. Crumpling his pass, he pushed open the door, deposited the blue paper in the trash, and nearly ran into a girl with pink hair.

"What the? Sakura!" he gasped.

'Sakura Haruno is back in Konoha?' he questioned himself mentally, forcing his emotions to calm down as he gazed at the turning female.

There was no mistaking the pink hair. No one else had pink hair.

'At least, no one that's still alive.'

Just Sakura.

He took in her new appearance, something that shocked him to no end. Hey, after being raised near a girl who always wore skirts and bright colors, her current style was a big change.

Her vibrant emerald eyes were accentuated by the black eyeliner and heavy mascara. There was red eyeliner under the black creating two lines. When she blinked, he saw another line of red on her eyelids with a dark sparkly purple eyeshadow above it. Her face was paler than he remembered, but in a way that only fit the reason why she had a lack of sunlight. She still looked healthy. Her lips were coated with a shiny clear gloss that shimmered under the lighting.

There was a form-fitting crimson colored t-shirt she wore that had a black and red skull on the upper right atop a set of black angel wings. Silver feathers and swirls drifted down to the bottom of the shirt. Below that was a pair of black baggy cargo pants that were too long for her and dragged beneath her shoes. The buttons were red with a few band patches randomly sewn onto the pockets. Her belt was actually just a chain that looked like it didn't have an end or a beginning. A pink handkercheif was hanging from her back pocket and she had on regular black Chuck Taylors with hot pink and lavender checkmarked laces. There were four combination locks for lockers hanging from different loops on the waist.

Her left arm had a fishnet arm warmer that ended at her elbow while her right was covered with red Katrina support wristbands and a "Rock the Arts" wristband. Brown glass beads were on a string and a black and silver pattern of Celtic crosses were next to it. Black jelly bracelets were twisted with white ones and there were a few yellow and glow-in-the-dark green ones. Her necklace was a small ball chain with a hanging vial that had a purple liquid in it. Her name was carved on a grain of rice. There was another chain with a fake padlock hanging from it and a big keyhole carved out of the center. She had a choker that was made of a larger chain link with a piece of rolled up plaid cloth inside it.

The black Hellsing messenger back was strapped over her shoulder.

'There's no way this could be Sakura.'

----------------------
Sakura
----------------------

"Gaara?" she whispered.

Out of all of the things she had thought she would never see, Gaara was on the top of the list. He was one of the other two remaining survivors of the Konoha Massacre. If Gaara was there, did that mean he(1) was there as well?

She felt some sort of relief from seeing him there. Though he had changed a lot -she figured they all had. It's not every day your best friend betrays you to murder everyone you knew- she was glad she wasn't the only one. She stepped back and wrapped her arms around him. How was she to know he had a strict 'No Touching' policy and reputation at KAVPA that followed such a thing? And who was to know that he'd break that sole important rule to him by hugging her back?

Apparently, no one.

But he did.

"Oooo I missed you so much!" she cried in his ear. "If I call you Panda(2) will you get mad at me?" she asked quietly, pulling away from him but keeping her arms dangling over his shoulders.

He smirked and dropped his arms to his sides.

"What do you think, Pinky(3)?"

Sakura's nose wrinkled in annoyance and she pulled her arms away, crossing them over her chest.

"Oh, you're no fun," she huffed.

Genma cleared his throat and eyed the two.

"Care to share or can we continue class?"

The two mumbled an apology and Genma pointed out the empty seats Sakura could take. None were near Gaara but she figured she'd catch up with him later. There was a seat near the back of the room that Sakura found to be good enough. She headed down the narrow aisle and slid into the available seat, slipping off her bag and rummaging through it for a notebook and her Dark Faerie pen.

"Orochimaru, would you lend the notes we've been taking for the project to Sakura for me please so she knows where we are?" Genma asked, picking up a piece of chalk and finishing the words he had written on the chalkboard.

A small stack of papers with sheet of neat cursive on it was placed down on her desk. Sakura moved the sheet to line up with her notebook before turning her head to thank the boy Genma had called Orochimaru. She noted how pale his skin was -to see anyone with skin that pale made her wonder about him- and how his long black hair -even in a ponytail it reached the middle of his back- was neat and he had shorter strands framing his handsome face. His eyes were a deep amber color and outline with a light purple eyeliner. Sakura blinked, her voice caught in her throat as he smirked at her.

'Forget Genma being a playboy! This guy's probably got both genders crawling all over him!'

'This guy is not exactly giving me the greatest feelings of comfort and safety...'

"Orochimaru," he introduced in a voice that was smooth and light, full of confidence, and held out his hand to her.

Sakura nearly shivered at the tone. Her brain was telling her that she needed to back off from him. She didn't feel too good about him. However, she didn't want to act like a total jerk so she extended her own hand. His fingers wrapped around hers and he gently shook her hand. She pulled back and switched to copying down the notes. After about twenty minutes she finished the first batch of notes and returned them to Orochimaru.

"Thanks again," she whispered.

He grinned and tucked the pages away in his folder, pulling out a few more sheets from the other pocket.

"Don't thank me yet. There's still more."

Sakura groaned and took the papers, massaging her hand briefly before continuing to write. Another five minutes went by and she finished the remaining notes. The bell rang and half the class stood up, stretched, and raced out the door. Sakura looked confused.

"I thought we were here for fourth period, too..."

"Some of the students are in need of math and English help so they leave during the second half of this class," a new voice said from her left.

Sakura tilted her head to the side and saw a boy with black hair tied back in a ponytail, similar to Orochimaru's but much shorter. His eyes were the deepest black she'd ever seen and he had eyelashes any woman would be jealous of. Two thin lines were made below his eyes, giving her the impression that he was older. The difference that she found to be the greatest between the two was the fact that Orochimaru's face showed emotions. This guy didn't. His voice, however, was deeper than Orochimaru's and held an underlying tone of superiority. Regardless, she was getting the same warning in her head that this guy was trouble.

"Oh."

"Itachi Uchiha."

Sakura gave him her hand and shook it before taking it back to flip through her notes to the beginning. She read over the parts of the assignment that applied to their current project and she found herself questioning a lot of things.

"Need help, Sakura?" Gaara's voice came from in front of her.

Sakura looked up and nodded.

"Come on over by me. There's a free seat now," he said, gesturing to the empty section on the far side of the room.

Sakura caught the glances to the two boys on each side of her.

"What's the matter, Suna(4)?" Orochimaru asked, leaning towards Sakura. "You tryin' to take her away from us when we were just starting to be friends?"

Gaara's fist clenched and he inhaled, counting to five in his head to calm down.

"Sakura, come on," he repeated.

Sakura looked at the three surrounding her. What had she missed? Was there something wrong with her being near them? She knew she didn't feel right but what was Gaara getting so worked up about? She suddenly felt an arm slide around her shoulders as she was pulled closer to Orochimaru. She let out a slight cry of surprise, frozen.

"What if she doesn't want to? We can certainly help her out, right Itachi?" Orochimaru explained.

Sakura scowled and shoved the golden eyed senior off of her, causing him to nearly fall out of his seat. She shot out of her seat, gathering her bag and notebook and sticking her pen behind her ear.

"Here's a rule about me you need to learn. Don't touch me. When you've got that covered, then you can talk to me. Until then, back off and don't make such a big deal over where I sit. It's a seat! I'm bound to see you later! I'm a senior, too, remember?" she explained, annoyed.

Gaara and Sakura walked back over to where Gaara was sitting and pulled the desks together. Sakura opened her notebook again and pulled her pen out. A guick look out of the corner of her eyes informed her that Orochimaru had moved to take her seat and was talking with Itachi. She looked back to Gaara.

"So what's up with you?" Sakura asked. "They threaten you or something?"

"They're dangerous, Sakura. I don't want you going near them," he warned. "Believe me, they may seem innocent or playful, but they're far from it."

Sakura's brows furrowed and she turned to look at the two once again. Orochimaru winked at her and Itachi smirked.

'They don't look so bad!'

"If you say so, but will you tell me what's so bad about them?" she asked, turning to face him one last time.

"You'll hear about it before you've finished two days here."

"What do you mean?" she said, confused.

"Since you're the new girl, they're going to try to hook you into being on their side. By staying with me, I can keep you safe. However, until you admit you've chosen a side, they're free to try whatever they want to sway your choice," Gaara explained.

Sakura took in the information and shoved it all into the back of her head. She didn't need to think about some stupid territorial crap right now. She focused her attention on the project at hand. Gaara finished explaining it to her. They were to make a film that included at least two people in their class. Others could be used, but two people needed to be in it. The only two categories the film could be entered in as were drama or comedy. Sakura chose comedy since it was something she knew she could do.

The bell rang and Sakura packed away her books. She and Gaara headed up the stairs and she groaned, remembering where the cafeteria was located. Gaara laughed and forced her up anyway. By the time they managed to sneak through the crowd and make it to the third floor, Sakura was panting. Gaara seemed to be perfectly fine and sakura glared at him.

"I really hate you," she muttered.

"Love you, too, Sakura," he teased, leading her to the cafeteria.

They entered into the hot room and Sakura immediately noticed the drink machines on the far end. She raced past Gaara, digging her hand into her pocket and pulling out four quarters. She hopped across a table and slid in front of the machine, popping in the quarters and pressing down on the red gatorade button. There was a rumbling before the bottle fell into the opening. Sakura's fingers wrapped around the cold bottle and prying off the top, taking a long gulp of the refreshing liquid.

"Damn, that's good!" she whispered excitedly.

"Great, now let's go. We've got a table to get to," Gaara said from behind her.

Sakura jumped and spun around, back flat against the drink machine.

"Don't do that!" she cried.

He ignored her comment and tugged her after him, shoving her down onto the chairs of the very first table by the drink machines. Soon more people started to fill up the 8-seat table.

"That loud kid is Naruto Uzumaki with the blonde hair," Gaara began. "Neji and Hinata Hyuuga, they're cousins," Gaara pointed to the two off-white eyed students. "Rock Lee in the green jumpsuit."

"Is that even allowed in the dress code?" Sakura asked, leaning a little farther back.

Gaara chuckled.

"Unfortunately, yes."

"Shikamaru is the one we all refer to as Pineapple Head since his hair just does that," Gaara pointed to the snoozing boy with his hair sticking up in the back.

"Ooo, I'm lovin' the hair! What gel does he use?" Sakura sked excitedly.

Gaara shook his head.

"He doesn't."

"What do you mean 'he doesn't'?" she asked harshly, sneaking another glance at his hair. "He has to!"

"Nope. It's one of those natural phenomenons, like your pink hair, for example," he clarified.

Sakura glared at him, taking a slow sip from her drink.

"You're one to talk!" she huffed. "Mine's pink, but I don't look like I've got fire for hair! And I'd kill to have the natural eyeliner thing you've got. It'd save me so much time in the morning and I'd never have to wash it off. Damn pads are so expensive for crap I could grow in my own yard!"

He chuckled and introduced the final person.

"That's Ino, the other loud blonde. Everyone, this is Sakura Haruno."

Rock Lee jumped on the table and produced a paper flower from his bag, holding it out to Sakura.

"Please, be my girlfriend!" he asked, giving her the thumbs up and a wink.

Sakura blinked. She looked at the flower. She looked at Lee. She blinked again.

"Hey Gaara, are those teeth real?"

"Unfortunately, yes."

"Ah." Sakura put the flower down and sighed, steepling her fingers. "I wish to finish my education before I involve myself with anyone," Sakura said in a serious voice.

Lee's shoulder's slumped and he flopped back in his seat.

"I understand but I respect a woman with ambition!" he cried, repeating the pose he had just come out of.

Sakura nodded.

"Right."

Sakura finished off the rest of her drink over the next fifteen minutes. At five minutes till the end of lunch, one of the student teachers, Anko-sensei, came over to Sakura. Gaara was instantly on alert, something that Sakura didn't get. Everyone else stopped talking and their attention landed on Anko.

"You're the new girl, so I'm going to show you to your student match to shadow," Anko explained.

Sakura nodded even though she felt she could stay with Gaara, she remembered that he was still a junior, so she'd need a senior to show her around.

"I'll see you later, Gaara," Sakura said cheerfully.

With that she stood but Gaara grabbed her wrist. She looked down at him to see him glaring at Anko.

"Be very. Very. Careful."

Sakura nodded and he released her, allowing her to follow Anko.

"Over-protective little thing, isn't he?" Anko teased, implying somethign closer than a friendship between the two.

Sakura shrugged, moving around the next table.

"We haven't seen each other in five years. He's afraid he's going to lose me after the Massacre."

Anko froze in her spot causing Sakura to slow and come to a stop as well. She turned and glared harshly at the pink haired teen in front of her.

"You are never to say that name again. No one is. You are to refer to it as the incident, understood?" she commanded.

Sakura took a half-step back and nodded as anger consumed her. The older woman guided her to a table on the opposite side of the cafeteria and Sakura slowed upon the sight of Orochimaru and Itachi, only this time, they weren't alone.

"Here you are, Orochimaru," Anko said politely, gesturing to Sakura.

This didn't go unnoticed by her. Her eyes narrowed and she crossed her arms under her chest.

"What a surprise. You've got manners," Sakura stated flatly.

"Don't talk to me that way you little-"

"Anko."

Sakura's attention snapped to Orochimaru.

'He's a student! Why would he be calling her by her first name?'

"Sorry. Is that everything?" Anko apologized.

Orochimaru nodded and Anko bowed before leaving them. Sakura watched the older woman walk away and changed her gaze back to Orochimaru, eyes still narrowed as she thought. Gaara had given her a warning of how dangerous he and Itachi were supposed to be. He hadn't told her otherwise when she questioned sides. What was so important about whose side she was on? What was going on here? How was it possible that Orochimaru told a teacher -student steacher, but teacher nonetheless- what to do and she actually obeyed him as well as apologized like he was some higher up? She eyed him carefully, ignoring Itachi for now.

"See something you like?" Orochimaru teased.

Sakura's glare returned.

"I'm neutral."

The pale man blinked in surprise and Itachi raised a brow, smirking.

"So sand boy's given you the lecture already, huh?" Itachi asked.

"All I know is that you two have territorial issues and that by me being on your turf, you feel you can make claims on me. So I've made my claim. I'm neutral. You got that, princess(5)?" she snapped.

She was then on the receiving end of her very first Orochimaru glare. Needless to say, she felt her heart stop for a second longer than it needed to.

"I wouldn't say such things if I were you," Itachi said firmly yet tonelessly.

"Yeah, well, you aren't me, now, are you? Forget this," she scoffed. "I'll find my own damn way around."

She spun around and made it two steps away before her wrist was snatched in a painful grip. She jerked to a stop and looked behind her.

"If you know what's best for you, you'll sit down and listen to what they have to say," the boy said to her, attemtping to scare her with his voice.

Sakura tugged at her arm but found he only gripped it harder.

"If you know what's good for you, you'll release me. I'll give you to the count of five," Sakura threatened.

He merely laughed. So Sakura began.

"One..."

Her teeth bit down on the fishnet arm warmer.

"Two..."

She gave it a tug.

"Three..."

She slid it off, gripping it between her fingers.

"Four..."

She tucked the material into her pants pocket.

"Five..."

With a sigh, she brought her hand to her side, fisting it.

"Don't say I didn't warn you."

He didn't have time to make a threat before her fist nailed him hard in the cheek. His tooth cut across two of her knuckles before he was sent flying backwards at least eight feet. She raised a brow as he landed with a heavy thud before moving to the table. (6) She placed her palms flat on the table top and leaned forward, making eye contact with Orochimaru.

"I don't know what it is you want. I don't know who the two of you are. But let's get something straight. I'm not an object. I'm not property. I don't get claimed like some prize. I've been through enough bullshit in my life to waste my time dealing with your stuck-up 'Daddy's boy' routine. Whatever fight you've got with Gaara is a fight between you and him, not me," she explained in a low tone that was laced with venom and anger. "If you want to fight with me, then I'll fight right back. I don't need others to fight for me. I can hold my own just fine," she hissed. "So I'll say this once, and only once. If you want me for anything, you get me the right way. The traditional way. You don't go around and hint at me with your backgrounds of power. Everything goes out in the open, including why you want me on your side."

With that Sakura slowly drew back but her eyes caught Anko.

"One last thing. Your servant over there has no right to tell me I'm not allowed to say 'Konoha Massacre' like she was exposed to the shootings. She wasn't the one who survived through it, now was she?"

She saw Orochimaru's eyes widen just a bit and Itachi's face held a hint of anger. She sighed heavily.

"Look, I've been to Hell these last five years and I still haven't gotten home yet. This school is my last chance at getting out. Whatever it is that's going on here, I've got no clue, so I'd appreciate it if you didn't drag me in without a explination first," she said in a softer voice. "I'll give you a second chance, alright? From the moment you agree, we no longer know each other. We never met and I never knocked one of your lackeys out." She smiled. "When the final bell of the day rings, we're open for introductions again and we'll see how it goes from there. Do we have a deal?"

Orochimaru and Itachi looked at each other and nodded.

"Deal."

The two held their hands out to Sakura who shook them. The bell rang, dismissing the students from lunch.

"Till later."

Sakura was gone in a flash so the teachers wouldn't catch her.

----------------------
Orochimaru
----------------------

Orochimaru was smirking.

"Looks like we've found a new toy," Itachi said as the two moved to leave the cafeteria.

"I can't wait to give her a test ride," Orochimaru mumbled sadistically.

"Don't lose her."

"I don't plan to."

No, Orochimaru was going to have so much fun with Sakura. Her little outburst was just the confirmation he was looking for.

----------------------
Sakura
----------------------

Sakura moved through her next few classes, learning the teachers's names and providing the same introduction regarding her hair to each new class. Despite the fact that no one had stopped her in the cafeteria, she was dragged out of seventh period Spanish -you couldn't hear her complaining about anything since Ebisu was currently her least favorite teacher for being so incredibly boring- and brought to Ibiki-sensei's office. He was the assistant principal.

It was her first day attending Konoha Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts. Ibiki just so happened to be a hard ass ex-war veteran. So, her first day in her new life and she had received her very first detention.

"I hate this school."

----------------------

Sakura walked into classroom 311 for English, blue pass in hand. Iruka-sensei took her pass and she went through the same speech once again before he placed her in the back row where the only empty seats were. Luckily for her, she had the row all to herself. Unluckily, she couldn't see a thing from her seat. She decided she didn't really care at the moment. She had just thought of something as a beginning for payback on both her oldest friend and her newest interest. Pulling out her TV/Film notebook, she scribbled her thoughts on a clean page along with a few random sketches.

After tuning in and out of Iruka's lecture for nearly 40 minutes, the bell finally rang to signal the end of the schoolday, and Sakura hurriedly copied down the homework assignment in her planner before cleaning up her belongings and tugging the sheet from her backpack that had all the extracurricular activities described on it. With a pen in hand, she circled each of her interests and the classrooms and days before hurrying down the hall to 320 for the debate team meeting. It was Monday.

Within twenty minutes she'd cleared everything up.

Monday and Thursday she had debate team in room 320. Tuesday she had literary magazine in room 213. Wednesday she had newspaper in room 320. Friday she had book club in the library. Every morning she'd come in early to type up the morning messages on the teleprompter for the morning show. Every study hall she'd report to the library to do volunteer work on Monday and Thursday. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday she would work with Iruka-sensei on the AIDS/HIV campaign to help make students more aware.

With a full schedule, she left the building to walk home. It'd take about fifteen minutes but the sky was cloudy and there was a cool breeze. It was perfect out. She started walking down the sidewalk, tucking the two schedules into the pocket of her bag. Five minutes later she paused at an intersection, waiting for the light to change so she could walk. A car stopped next to her but she ignored it.

"Hey! Need a ride?" a familiar voice called out.

Sakura looked and saw Naruto. She blinked and shrugged. If he was friends with Gaara, he'd be nice, right? She hurried to open the door and get in and just managed to shut the door before the light turned green. Buckling in, she held onto her bag.

"Where to?" the blonde asked, driving with one hand.

"371 Parks Blvd."

Music was on, a station she didn't recognize. She enjoyed the silence -which surprised her because she distinctly remember Gaara making a comment on Naruto being loud- and didn't try to get Naruto to say anything. When they arrived to her street, she bothered to take a look at the beautiful houses she's ignored before. The car slowed down as Naruto scanned the numbers and Sakura point out a large rust colored house. Naruto pulled up to the curb and let Sakura out.

"You can tell Gaara he doesn't need to do this," Sakura said as she exited the car.

Naruto tried to say something but mostly stared at her in shock. How had she known? Naruto wouldn't have waited twenty minutes before suddenly deciding to drive and coincidentally cross paths with Sakura who just so happened to be on her way home having just spent a day in conflict with Gaara's enemies.

"So your parents aren't home?"

Sakura shook her head. Why not go with the lie?

"Well, see ya tomorrow!"

She waved and he drove off. With a sigh she grabbed her key and headed to the front door, unlocking the house and going inside. The first thing she'd do was her homework before she got to work on the debate research. As she sat down to begin her homework, she suddenly realized that she'd only bothered to copy down the English assignment even though she'd have a week before her assignments started to count. She didn't mind though. It was English.

Taking out a fresh sheet of lined paper, she wrote the heading on top and the assignment below it before getting to work. In half an hour, she had twelve pages, back and front, written on with the short story homework. Alright, 'short' was a word missing in her vocabulary when it came to writing. That was just too bad. She slid the papers into her purple English folder and trudged up the stairs to the computer. Another hour went by and she'd managed to fill another few pages of the pros and cons of the Geneva Convention along with reasons why it should exist and why it should be taken away. Her backpack housed these pages as well before she fixed herself a small dinner consisting of a ham sandwich and a bottle of red gatorade.

Halfway through her meal, the doorbell rang. She set her sandwich down, took another gulp of gatorade, and got up to answer the door. With a click of the deadbolt and a turn of the key, Sakura opened the door to reveal Orochimaru and Itachi. Sakura looked shocked.

'What the Hell are they doing here? Did they follow me home or something?'

"Uh...hi?"

"Hey. I'm Orochimaru and this is my younger brother (7) Itachi. We're from the Uchiha family three houses down the left," Orochimaru said politely.

"We're here to welcome you to the neighborhood and to invite you over for dinner," Itachi finished.

Sakura stared for a few more minutes, still caught on Orochimaru's piece.

"We live on the same street..."

'Score! Now we can go bug them whenever we want to!'

'Not score! That means I can't trust I'm alone!'

'Do something! They're waiting!'

"Sakura Haruno," she said slowly, regarding the two carefully before shaking their hands.

"So, what do you say? Care to join us?" Orochimaru pressed.

"If you've already eaten then we'd be pleased if you came for dessert and to meet the rest of our family," Itachi added.

Sakura considered it and shrugged her shoulders. She would toss the sandwich in the garbage when she got home.

"Yeah, I guess that's alright."

"Wonderful," Orochimaru said.

Sakura grabbed the key from inside and exited her home, shutting the door behind her and locking it. Stuffing the key into one of her many pockets she walked between the two men, heading to the left three houses down. It just so happened that Sakura noticed a group of people on the porch and the front lawn. It just so happened that the house she was being brought to was the most expensive on the street. It just so happened that the home she was closing in on belonged to the Uchiha family. Why it hadn't clicked until now, she didn't know. The only thing she was sure of was that she had made an incredibly big mistake by yelling at Orochimaru and Itachi during lunch.

There was absolutely no way to stop and ask them if they could meet the next day. There was no way to apologize. She couldn't save herself from this. There was no chance in Heaven or on earth that she'd make it home alive and completely intact, mentally and physically. Why? She had disrepectedand threatened Itachi and Orochimaru.

They were the sons of the most wanted mafia leader -meaning the most brutal and merciless- in the history of crime.

Fugaku Uchiha.

----------------------

'Playing With Fire' is now official.

(1) The third survivor of the Konoha Massacre. Will be revealed either next chapter or the chapter after.

(2) Sakura's childhood nickname for Gaara. She's the only one who can call him that without pissing him off.

(3) Gaara's and His childhood name for Sakura. They are the only ones allowed to call her that without getting hit.

(4) Gaara doesn't have a last name. I just gave him one. Suna.

(5) Orochimaru does sort of remind me of a princess. Long silky hair, purple eyeliner (in this fic), gorgeous eyes no peasant could have...you get my drift...

(6) Sakura is strong. No, she can't punch someone through a wall, but seven feet for your average sized girl is pretty damn good, or so I've been told. Her temper...well..yeah, it's best to say that doing things that won't piss her off will ensure your life won't be shortened drastically.

(7) You'll find out more later, but for now I'll settle with saying Orochimaru is the Uchiha family's adopted son. He is the oldest at 19. Itachi is 18. Sasuke is 17.

Sasuke will appear next chapter. Sakura gets to know the Uchiha family better.

Though you should all probably know, this story gets written faster because I'm giving you the life I have at my school with a bit of my history. Now I didn't have my school massacred of course and I wasn't one of three survivors of a shoot-out but I had friends who were planning to do that. It was very traumatizing to know someone you trusted with everything was planning on shooting the school and leaving you alive, but to actually have it happen must be devastating.

Sakura's flashbacks will happen every now and then. You'll eventually get to see where she was during her five year absence and you'll get to know a little more about her relationship with Zabuza, Gaara, and Kabuto. That's it for now!

Please review and tell me what you think! Till later!

Backlash Symphony