I know what you're thinking, "Oh God, not another one of these Konoha High School drama fics...," but don't get veered away too soon. It's still in the original story line, and it's not that bad. Well, I at least hope so. lol. It is AUish, because for now I'm going to have to ignore Sasuke running away with his tail between his legs to that creepy snake guy. So, it's just after the Chuunin exams, after the Hokage is, er, well, you know, dead, and after the fifth is in office.

So, for now, pretend Sasuke didn't run off with the Sound bastards.

But don't think that issue is not going to come up in the story. Dude. Yeah. No OCness here, eitehr! (Well, besides teachers, but they don't count) Still in the Naruto universe! I don't expect it to be very long.

Enjoy!

Kioji

- - - -

PS. Rather interesting twist, too. Cookies for who figure it out!
For those who do figure it out, don't worry, the story is NOT focused solely on that.
It's just an added... bonus. Two major and different plot lines are hard to mesh together.
Demons and ninjas don't mix well (hence, Naruto himself. lol).
(by the way, that was a rather large hint)(in fact, there are LOTs of hints.)


"This is so lame," Sasuke growled, picking at his uniform. Somehow, he thought the pink didn't fit him very well. The yellow stripe along the zipper didn't help much either. Having dark eyes and hair that complemented moon-shine skin, Sasuke figured he looked better in darker colors--more 'manly' colors. Wearing such a ridiculous outfit was killing him slowly, chipping away at his dignity and draining his pride. He almost thought the uniform had chakra draining capabilities. Why else would he feel so dead wearing it?

He groaned and looked back at himself in the mirror. Once again, he flinched and looked away, the 'pink' image of himself burning its way into his brain. Inwardly, he found himself questioning why he had to agree to such a stupid mission. His thoughts flowed back to earlier that week...

"Oh, mission! What is it, Baa-neechan?" Naruto held his hands behind his head, tottering on one foot to the next. Full of energy, the blond radiated enthusiasm. Sasuke glowered at him, annoyed. The other annoying one cleared her throat and asked for details. At least she's doing something useful, he thought sourly.

"Ok. I'll keep it simple. I want you three to go monitor a normal high school in one of the larger villages. There has been unusual reports coming from there, so you three will pose as students attending there and get the scoop. It's actually quite easy. So don't screw it up," she gave Naruto a pointed look. It was lost on him, however.

"What? That's all? Ah, come on! I mean, couldn't we--"

"No. This is your mission, you will accept it. No buts. Now, don't blow your cover, or I'll send you all right back to the academy. Now shut up and pack your bags. The school's principle is the one who commissioned us, so he'll have the crap ready for you," Tsunade flicked a hair off of her shoulder, apparently lost interest in the three genin in front of her. Sasuke scowled.

Sakura, puzzled, raised her hand and posed a question.

"Um, Hokage-sama? 'The crap'? You mean like uniforms and schedules, possible causes for the unusual reports, and--"

"Yeah, yeah, the crap. What are you still here for? Get going!" She pointed towards the door while reaching with her other hand into the desk's drawer for the sake. Team Seven trudged out of the room.

Sasuke put his hand through his hair, wanting to go back in time and kill himself so he wouldn't have to endure this torture. A pounding on the door alerted him to someone's presence.

"Oh, Sasuke-kun! Are you ready yet? We need to meet with the principle!" Sakura's cheery voice vibrated on his nerves, sending angry chills down his spine. Why she had that effect whenever he was around was lost on him. Stupid Sakura. Always so... cheery. She doesn't have to wear pink!

As he opened the door with an angry frown, he sucked in a breath.

Before him was Sakura, her hair pulled back into a spiky bun and a red school girl's uniform gracing her figure. She smiled and tugged at her skirt.

"Let's go! We're already late. Naruto won't come out of his room. I mean, it's not that bad. Everyone here's wearing it. And it's more, well, magenta then actual pink," she tugged down on the edges of her skirt, trying to maneuver around the maze of hallways. Her attempt at making Sasuke feel better about his uniform completely failed. Sasuke felt worse, hearing someone else talk about it. Shame ignited a small blush on his cheeks, not completely from his ignominious uniform. Sakura's appearance was so different from the girl he knew. This girl, walking beside him in a crimson red sailor outfit... Sakura looked mature, composed, and drop-dead gorgeous. Not that he'd admit it out loud, though. Still, but to no avail, he tried to keep his eyes off of Sakura's shapely legs.

More chills went down his spine, completely different then the ones from before.

- - - -

Naruto's obnoxious laughter rang throughout the hallways, rattling windows and doors in their frames. Sakura covered her ears to keep out the bone-shattering noise.

"SASUKE IS WEARING PINK!"

"Shut up! So are you, loser!"

"AS IF YOU HAVE ANY RIGHT TO TELL ME THAT! HA HA!"

"..."

"SHUT UP, NARUTO! You're so loud! The principle is right there! Can't you for once have some decency!?" Sakura strode over to Naruto and clamped an iron hand down onto his arm, making him wince. He immediately shut his mouth.

Clearing his throat, the principal pointed towards the window. Giving him a quizzical look, the three peered over. Sasuke's cheeks were still tinted pink. After a span of thirty seconds, Sakura blinked, surprised. She released her hold on Naruto and pointed at the window.

"Mr. Ashow, you do know your window is bugged, right?" she tugged down on the edges of her skirt, an apparent habit now.

He looked at her, taken back.

His window? Sasuke gave her a scowl. She's got sharp eyes.

"Um, well, no, but that's not the point. Look outside," he paused, waiting for them to do so, "you see it? That statue?" Looking paler, Mr. Ashow pointed fervently in the direction he wanted them to look in. The statue wasn't hard to miss, it being ten feet tall and four in diameter. Cobalt it color, it represented the school's first founder, Gregory Hampshire, a foreigner from another country. Ashow shuddered.

"Students keep coming in with reports concerning that statue. They keep insisting that it moves. I never paid much mind, but," he faltered, apparently distressed. Sakura broke her gaze away from the device in the window--she never bothered looking at the statue--and peered at the client. Sweating, short of breath, pale--this guy was defiantly not joking. Whatever this is, it's got him desperate enough to call on the services of ninja. Now, about that bug...

"But what?" Sakura hitched her elbow against the plane of glass, nonchalantly covering the audio recorder up. Sending chakra down her arm, she focused her energy into a spark, aiming at the device's inner workings. It sizzled and gave a silent pop, a final death cry. Smiling, Sakura removed her elbow and examined the client closely. She waited for his response.

"... this last month, a student went missing, later found by one of our teachers. Ah, was it Ms. Sears? Such a weird woman. But anyhow, the student, ah, it was... Tasha... something...," he stopped, twisting his mustache in thought. Sakura cleared her throat.

"Oh, well, it doesn't matter, but Tasha-something said he remembered the statue attacking him. I--"

"Wait, Tasha is a he?!" Naruto stood rooted in shock, his jaw hanging loosely.

"Naruto, just shut up! Can't you see this is not the time--"

"But, Sakura! What guy is named Tasha? That's the real mystery here!"

"AHG! Can't you focus for more than one minute? Even if this mission is bogus, we have to do it! Just--"

"Well."

Sakura's brow twitched, her mind reeling. Unclenching her fist, she turned around to peer at the figure in the doorway. Leaning against the doorframe was a tall, lanky red head with shining emerald eyes. He gave her a knowing smile and turned towards the principal.

"Pardon my intrusion, but there is another incident. You wanted me to come directly to you when there was another one, correct?" He pushed himself off of his support and stood tall, putting his hands in his coat pockets. Sakura couldn't help but notice an air of intelligence about him. Something else intrigued her, something so familiar it was slapping her in the face. Without thinking, she turned back towards Naruto, looking for something she wasn't aware of.

"Oh, uh, yes! Thank you so much, Minamino-san. Where is the student now?" The principal wrung his hands, nervous.

"In the clinic, as usual," the boy paused, looking at the three unfamiliar faces. Sakura felt his cool, collective gaze sweep over her. The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. Somehow, she felt her cover was already blown by a single glance.

He cleared his throat and asked, "Are these the students you wanted me to take around?"

"Oh, yes! How could I forget! Where would I be without a student president like you?" Ashow bowed his head and turned towards his three original guests, beaming.

"This is Shuichi Minamino, the sophomore class president. I asked him to show you three around, knowing you are all from the country and all." Ashow smiled and motioned towards Shuichi.

Twitching, Sasuke glared at the sweating man. He didn't like his tone. He was not a country bumpkin. Back where he was from, guys didn't wear pink. He crossed his arms, taking an immediate dislike to this Shuichi fellow, though he wasn't sure why.

"Um, wait! We didn't finish--!" Sakura interjected, motioning towards the statue. The principal cut her off with a wave of his hand.

"I'll get back to you all Friday, so you have the week to get comfortable in your classes and moved into your apartment. So nice to have you all!" Suddenly full of confidence, he pushed them into the hallway and shut the door, clicking he lock. Sighing in relief, he walked back to his plush chair and fell into it. With a resigned look, he peered over at the window, entranced.

"Bloody hell, it took me all week to get that thing in the window."

- - - -

"And so this is the cafeteria," Shuichi crooned on, pointing dutifully at the glorified dog-food dispenser. He didn't feel the need to encourage them to find food some place else. With the other freshman, they'd soon find out anyhow.

Leaning against the wall, he pulled paper out of his pocket and a pencil from behind his ear. Sasuke smirked off somewhere in the back of his mind. What a nerd... He sniggered to himself, almost forgetting he was wearing the pink.

"This is my cell phone number, if any of you need help. I don't give it out often, but I think you all are a special case," he said, putting emphasis on case. Sakura didn't miss it, but she couldn't figure out what it could mean. She took the slip of paper from his outstretched hand, smiling.

"Sure. By the way, where is the student you were talking about before, the one in the clinic?" Sakura tugged again on her skirt.

"I had figured you would ask. The nurse already sent him back to class, but if you like, I can arrange an interview sometime tomorrow," he replied, placing his pencil snuggly back into place. After clearing his throat, he gestured towards Sakura's schedule.

"It seems you all have taken a placement test before you came here," Shuichi pointed to the top right portion of her paper, "and you're in my grade. From your schedule... we share the same classes. I can take you with me."

Walking around to Naruto and Sasuke, he peered down at theirs. With a smile, he patted Naruto on the back and whispered, "It's ok, I have a friend who is in remedial classes. You two should get along fine."

To Sasuke, he said, "Well, it seems you are the only one in the correct classes for your grade. You even have an advanced math topics class. From what I gather, one is above her class, one far below, and one above average. I guess it evens out." Thoughtfully, he scratched his chin, lost in thought.

They don't say much, do they? Shuichi sighed, not sure what to do next. A thought sparked to life, unfurling its leaves in his mind.

"Oh, right. Try to stay away from the statue out front," he whispered, mostly looking at Sakura. With a sideward glance out a window, he stated slowly, "I didn't believe it at first, but..." He turned again, fully facing the three.

"People are starting to get hurt."

- - - -

Easy smeashy. I can't believe this is all the school system here is cracked up to be. I bet even Naruto can pass this!

Peeling aside another page, Sakura read on ahead of her class. For the most rigorous math course offered at Summerview, it was pretty darn easy. She glanced in Shuichi's direction, taking note of his tireless scratching on paper. From Sakura's seat, she could tell it was anything but math.

Probably already finished. Geez.

Leaning back in her chair, she wondered what else her classes had to offer. Would one actually be somewhat of a challenge? Would she finally be able to show everyone how brilliant she really is?

He said I was above... above Naruto and Sasuke! Maybe, just for once, just this mission, I can show what I can do. I'll show everyone I am not just some weakling!

Determined, Sakura regained her posture and cracked open the gleaming textbook again, looking for the most difficult chapter.

- - - -

Ahh! I don't know what's going on! I'm so confused!

Naruto clutched his head, trying to keep his brain from leaking out his ears. The teacher was going on about some x plus 4 equals 2 crap, but he couldn't grasp it. Why would you need to know what the heck x plus anything equals? If it's already solved in the math book, why bother with it?

I wish Sakura was here! I could just copy off of her...

"Uzumaki! Wipe that stupid grin off of your face and pay attention! Come up to the board and solve a problem."

Sighing, Naruto dragged his feet to the front of the room. When the teacher offered questions to solve, he pointed to the one with the smallest numbers.

- - - -

What a waste of time. I just want to go home.

Picking the pink out of his pride, Sasuke leaned over his English text book, completely brain dead. Why anyone would care about what makes a sentence up boggled his mind. There were two kinds of sentences in Sasuke Uchiha's mind--functioning ones and pointless ones. Seriously, if the sentence functions properly, for example convey a cool, deadly threat to an enemy shinobi, or freeze up any stupid comment Naruto made, then it's a sentence. Now, a pointless sentence would be like--

"Uchiha-san, could you read out loud your complex sentence for us? You've been very diligently working hard over there," cooed the suave Mrs. Burn, the only freshman English teacher on campus. To her fortune, half the freshman in the school were either in remedial classes or taking honors English.

Sasuke looked down at his paper. Of course, it was completely blank, save for his name. Well, crap.

"...The kunai, slicing through the enemy shinobi's head, whizzed past me, a blur that reflected my hate and --"

"Yes, Uchiha-san, that will suffice. Now, will you come up to the board and show us where your dependent and independent clauses are?"

Che. Sakura is more up for this crap then I am. Thank God I don't have to pass this class.

- - - -

"Well, I like my classes, although I think my math class is way overrated--it's just too easy, right, Sasuke? My elective class got moved, so now I'm in some class closer to my last class, English, but--"

"Sakura, I'm not in the mood for your mindless cackling. Shut up."

"Oh, ok, sorry..,"

The two walked on in silence, occasionally bumping into another when pressed against the other roaming students in the hallway. After seeing so much pink, Sasuke felt like puking. The yellow stripes were starting to burn into his cornea for good. His backpack dug into his side, a constant reminder of the headache he was going to suffer later.

Damn that Burn lady... she had me up there the rest of the class... She gave me an extra assignment, too.

"About the mission, I think we should check out the statue," Sakura stated, seemingly off topic and focused at the same time. Her objective voice slightly stunned Sasuke.

"Whatever."

Sighing, Sakura whirled her bag on her finger, tired of trying to get Sasuke to talk. Ever since the Chuunin exams, she felt weary of her male teammates, lagging sadly behind them. Even Naruto showed more improvement than she had. Maybe this shinobi thing wasn't working out after all...

Sakura stopped in the middle of the hallway, feeling numb.

What have I ever even done? What special jutsu did I ever learn? What powerful s-class missing-nin did I ever take down?

Feeling tears starting to well up, she darted between people, away from her stoic companion. For the moment, she didn't even care what he might be thinking, or if he thought she was hurt from something he said. Why the hell would he care anyway?

He never cares! I loved him all this time, and all he does is... is ...

Crashing through the front doors in a frantic dash, Sakura stumbled down the stone stairs, openly crying. It had been a while since she broke down, but pain built up over time, forming a thorn that was shredding her heart.

She stopped after she reached a safe place, away from curious eyes. After catching her breath, she pulled out the address to their shared apartment and started towards it. Wiping her tears, she starting forming a laundry list of to-do items. It didn't hurt so much when she looked down at her AP Calculus book, or when she peered into her book bag to see the thick and difficult book for her English class. Maybe, just for a little while, she thought, I can pretend I'm just a normal school girl. If Sasuke doesn't want my help, then I won't offer anymore. I'm just Sakura Haruno, and I go to Riverview High school.

Her mood much improved, she started to skip the rest of the way. The building loomed just ahead, a sickly gray and covering in creeping vines. Sakura started to assess the situation, creating a plan of attack. Already, the chores of buying food, soap, trash bags, bathroom items, possible furniture, and bills started to cloud her mind. She could keep a level head with these things, though. School work wasn't an issue--the only class she wasn't sure of was her elective, since it was changed at the last minute.

The only thing that daunted her was that she had to spend an unknown amount of time under the same roof as her teammates. Sasuke, she wouldn't mind, but...

"SAKURA-CHAAAN! WAIT FOR ME!"

- - - -