Title: Orchestral Infatuation

Authoress: Ira Vehementi

A/N: This has nothing to do with the story. Not the chapter, just this part of the A/N. for those of you who don't just immediately bypass it like, "Fuck her, that piece of lazy shit (haha, I know you don't think that. Right? D :)" The other day, yesterday in fact, I was thinking that I should change my name on here from Ira Vehementi to something else, although I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to do that. Anyway, So I was trying to think of suitable new pennames, but I kept thinking, 'Nothing works outside of 'With Violent Anger' because it's TRUE'. I'm not a fan of lying, and if I change my name it would end up like, 'Dances with sugar cubes' or something. I mean, I'm nice, but I'm not like, THAT nice. But Dances with Sugar Cubes? No suh.

Okay, about this chapter. Please don't complain about the lack of Sasuke or something. I had to get some stuff out here, and I wanted it out sooner rather than later. Besides, my style seems to be to just drag people along for the ride, appearently. D : That annoys me. Sorry guys. I don't mean to do that.

Oh, and thanks for your reviews, as always! A story without reviews is like Kool-Aid without sugar!

In Which Kaida Keeps Getting Involved

Naruto walked into homeroom feeling great. So he looked like shit, okay, yeah, but... he felt fantastic. Yesterday he hadn't been so hot, kissing Sasuke hadn't really registered until after the fact, way after the fact (actually, it had registered this morning while he was brushing his teeth, and he nearly swallowed his toothbrush), but today? Today he walked into homeroom knowing he'd done something none of the girls had ever done. He'd kissed Sasuke. Sasuke's first kiss! Wait, was it Sasuke's first kiss? Had he been kissed before?

Today, the girls were over by Naruto's desk, sobbing about how Sasuke still looked beautiful, and that he shouldn't be upset or something dumb like that. When Naruto sidled over, Ino was the first to turn around, notice him, and pretty much yell 'SIC 'IM, GIRLS' and Naruto found himself running out of homeroom into the hall, with a crowd of angry females after him.

"What did I do?" He howled, skidding around a corner and taking off down another hall.

"It's obvious!" That was Ino alright, leading this pack of harpies. "You beat up Sasuke-kun! Death! Death!" Naruto hadn't even seen Sasuke, and if he looked that bad, then he must've known that this was going to happen and did it to himself!

"Why me?!" Naruto cried, and then he collided with someone. His face was smushed in between two very soft...

"Listen, Naruto, you have two seconds, TWO, to get your face out of my chest. Two." Kaida snarled, and Naruto backed up, waving his hands around wildly.

"Kaida! I didn't-- I wasn't-- See, they were" He stuttered, but Kaida glared at him and he shut up, and then she glared at the pack of screaming girls and they quieted down to a dull roar.

"So." She said, getting up and dusting herself off. "For some reason, unbeknownst to me, you guys decide to ruin my morning?" Naruto could practically feel the rage ebbing off of Kaida. No, this wasn't a good morning to fall face first into her boobs (and as far as Naruto was concerned, it was never, ever a good morning, afternoon, evening, or afterlife to fall face first into her boobs. Ever.).

"K-Kaida?" A girl murmured.

Kaida cracked her knuckles. "No, it's okay. I was already pissed off, you guys just get to be the scapegoats." She advanced towards the group, and they took off, probably going back to homeroom. Naruto tried to crawl off, but Kaida grabbed his collar. "Where do you think you're going?"

Naruto twiddled his fingers. "Oh, I thought I'd go, ah, you know, um..."

Kaida tossed him into her homeroom and slammed the door behind her. The people inside pretty much ignored this (probably because Kaida was always in a bad mood, Naruto reasoned). But Naruto recognized Shikamaru in the corner sleeping. Shikamaru could save him!

"Shikamaru!" Naruto piped up, and the boy raised his head slightly, looked at Naruto, looked at Kaida, and lowered his head. Way to help a guy! Naruto inwardly wailed.

Kaida crossed her arms and glared at Naruto. "What the hell's wrong with your face, Naruto? Can't you put bandages on correctly?" She dragged him to the desk next to Shikamaru, where Naruto stared, dumbfounded, as she pulled a first-aid kit out of her bag. "Jeez. You got beat something fierce too, and you didn't put any ointment or anything on."

"Wh-wh...you're not gonna beat me up?" Naruto asked.

"I'm not a bully. I'm just having a really, REALLY bad day. Really." Kaida scowled. "Last thing I need is that mob of screaming idiots. And now I don't even have a Vitamin Water or anything to drink. You know how annoying that is? Really, really annoying." She gently put some stinging stuff on his face.

"Ow!" Naruto whimpered. This happened over and over again, and Naruto continued to whine until Kaida got fed up.

"Oh, quit your whining." Kaida frowned. "So what the hell happened to you?"

"Um..." Naruto wasn't sure what to say. Was Kaida ever kind to people? Maybe he was dreaming. No, in his dreams, Kaida was a vampire. Maybe he was hallucinating! Must've been all that toothpaste he swallowed that morning, yeah, that was it.

"Ah, never mind. Probably got beat up by a third grader." Kaida muttered. "Insufferable brat." She continued.

"Bet it was Sasuke," Shikamaru said suddenly, though it was muffled by his arm.

Kaida paused. "Sasuke? Any particular reason, Shikamaru, or is it just because you're getting one of those feelings?" She smirked, looking at Shikamaru, who finally sat up and leaned back in his chair.

Shikamaru shrugged. "They were fighting yesterday." Kaida looked back at Naruto, then rolled her eyes.

"No surprise there." She retorted, reaching into her bag and taking some make-up out. she tried a color on Naruto's wrist, nodded, and brushed his face with it.

"Probably something stupid," Shikamaru said, staring out the window.

"You think?" Kaida scowled. "Figures. Boys and their hormones."

Naruto scowled as Kaida finished fixing up his face. "What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about your hormones." Kaida said. "I don't know what the hell you were fighting about, but boys are like animals. Even Shikamaru. He's like a freaking sloth."

"Thanks for your opinion." Shikamaru muttered.

"You're welcome. Anyway, what could you possibly be fighting over? Either you're both in love with someone and you want them, or you're in love with each other and you don't know how to admit it because you're boys, and boys just can't talk things out like civilized people. And girls aren't civilized people, since half of them are mindless sacks of nerve endings and stickers and ponies and shit. That's how people are." She held up a mirror. "What do you think?"

Naruto looked at his face. Kaida made him look a lot better than he had this morning! "Wow... thanks." He said, startled.

"Yeah, just don't go around telling people I do nice things." Kaida scowled. "And go buy me a Vitamin Water."

Naruto blinked. "Hey... are you...are you friends with Shikamaru?" He asked, confused.

"What?" Kaida blinked. She looked confused. "Why does that even matter? Sure, yeah, whatever. We talk. We're partners in physics lab. Happy?"

Naruto stared. "But isn't everyone afraid of you?"

"Afraid? Of me? No, you're just talking about your idiot friends. That one who eats dog food or whatever? I told him I'd beat him up. Maybe I actually did? Dunno." She looked at her watch. "Go get me that Vitamin Water or you'll be late to homeroom."

Naruto looked from Kaida to Shikamaru, then tore out of the homeroom. He didn't even buy the Vitamin Water (mostly out of fear that Kaida would beat him up after the fact, especially if he didn't buy the right flavor. You never knew with that girl.).

But he couldn't talk to Sasuke in homeroom, because of the evil glares that all the girls were tossing at him. Especially Ino, who kept mouthing You. Me. Afterschool. At least Sakura looked apologetic, and Naruto prayed to the almighty god of ramen that she would quell the anger of the other girls. The ramen god could do anything, after all.

He did admire his handiwork, briefly though, since all the girls were being evil, and noted that Sasuke's cheek was puffy. That was all he really got to see, and when homeroom ended, Sasuke practically warped to Orchestra, leaving Naruto with Kiba, who took one looked at Sasuke's face as Sasuke sped through the hallway, then high-fived Naruto and spent their walk to ORchestra talking about how Naruto was his hero.

The first person Naruto ran into in Orchestra was Tenten, who gave him a wary Stay far away from Ino look. "Hey, Naruto." She said kindly, and then Haru and Haruka came out of nowhere.

"Did you see?" Haru asked, excitedly.

"Did you see it?" Haruka squealed.

"See what?" Naruto asked, wondering what they could possibly be so excited about.

"Sasuke's face!" Haru whispered. "Hey, you...Naruto, did you..."

Haruka blinked. "Oh, no way! YOU beat Sasuke like that?" she smiled. "I know it seems mean, but... nice job!"

Haru grinned. "Yeah, Sasuke's face never looked that bad! I might actually have a shot with a girl for a while!"

"No way, Haru. He's still really, really pretty." Haruka chuckled.

Tenten rolled her eyes. "For two people who are supposed to be so nice, you guys are mean." She commented.

Haruka just grinned. "So, Naruto, why'd you do it? Was it because he was beating you up yesterday and you got pissed off?"

"Probably," Kiba rolled his eyes. "Sasuke thinks he can get away with anything."

Naruto just scratched his head and let them talk until the bell rang, and then carefully went to his seat (who knew what booby traps an angry Sasuke could lay better than Naruto, after all?).

Kakashi hadn't shown up yet, so Naruto ambled away from Sasuke (who was making a point to ignore Naruto's entire existance) and went over to Shikamaru. And that was hard, because after admiring Sasuke's face, he wanted to talk to him. Or at least ask him questions. Like, was that your first kiss? Or, did you like being kissed by me? Or...Well, it didn't matter. But Sasuke was being all quiet and ignoring him, so Naruto figured he might as well get another mystery cleared up. It was really bugging him that Kaida had friends, friends who happened to be his friends. Because Kaida was evil. Wasn't she? Anyway, Shikamaru could clear it up.

"Shikamaru," Naruto shook Shikamaru's shoulder and the lazy boy looked up, blinking sleepily. How could someone who sleeps so much always look so sleepy?

"What?" Shikamaru muttered, starting to put his clarinet together. Naruto wondered how late Shikamaru would've pushed if he hadn't come over, but Neji would've probably woken him up or something.

"Um... about this morning." Naruto said, and then he paused. What was he going to say?

Shikamaru yawned. "She fixed your face up pretty good." He said.

"Uh, yeah." Naruto mumbled.

Shikamaru observed him, then said, "What is it?"

"It's just, Kaida's evil! Evil!"

He blinked. "Kaida?" Shikamaru asked. "...No, not Kaida. She's just..." Shikamaru shrugged, appearently too lazy for words.

"What do you mean?" Naruto wailed. "She's never been that nice!"

Shikamaru sighed. "Look." He said finally. "Kaida's pretty laid back, as far as people are concerned." Shikamaru leaned forward, picking through his messy music folder. "I've known Kaida since she was a kid. We're the same age. She's always been nice. Just you know, not really nice."

"You mean that?" Naruto gaped. "You've known her since she was small? Really?"

"Lives in my neighborhood. Went to my school." Shikamaru shrugged. "She didn't nag me about working with her when we were in groups together. She stopped people from bullying Chouji. She's just agressively nice. Sort of like tough love."

"But...but..." Naruto blinked. "Isn't she like, scary?"

"Sure, if you don't know that she's nice, I guess." Shikamaru mumbled. "Keeps all the troublesome people away though."

Naruto frowned. "So she's not mad about...what happened?"

"Oh, she grumbled about that for a while." Shikamaru rolled his eyes. "You probably shouldn't stuff your face into her boobs from now on."

"I didn't!" Naruto yelped. "I fell over!"

"Yeah, right into her boobs." Shikamaru smirked. Naruto scowled, but then brightened up immediately.

"You're friends though, right? Maybe you should go out with her and then she won't be so scary?"

Shikamaru just stared at him, then grumbled, "What do I need a troublesome relationship for?" Naruto chuckled and went back to his seat.

Just like Kaida'd made his face look alright, Sasuke's face looked pretty good too. There were still bandages on his face though, and it looked like he wouldn't be able to comfortably play the violin today with such a messed up cheek. He almost reached out to touch it, but Sasuke shifted, looking at him.

"What, dobe?" He said, finally, and Naruto blinked.

"Um!" He smiled brightly. "Nothing! You look better."

Sasuke smirked. "I liked how you looked this morning a lot better." He said. "It proved that I won."

"Yeah?" Naruto smirked. "Well, that's okay, think what you want. You're mine," He nodded, "and we'll fight again. And I'll win. Again."

Sasuke scowled. "What was that about, anyway?" He grumbled, looking away. "Stupid dobe. You don't do that to people."

"Yeah, well, you liked it."

"I did nothing." Sasuke objected, and Naruto had to agree, Sasuke really didn't do anything.

"But that's the whole point," Naruto grinned, a thought popping into his head. "You didn't do anything."

Sasuke frowned at him. "..." His eyes narrowed, and Naruto decided now would be a great time to shut up.


Today was People Watching Day, and even though Kiba whined and complained and wheedled, Naruto convinced him that stalking Hinata wasn't the best boyfriend behavior, and that he should help him spy on Sasuke, claiming the boy had a plan to beat him up for yesterday, and he needed Kiba's genius to thwart it (and Kiba fell for it, even knowing that he didn't have any genius at all. Naruto had to pinch himself to keep from laughing.).

But after Sakura caught them outside the student council door and yelled at them, she calmed down enough to ask, "Who are you looking for, anyway?"

"Huh?" Naruto asked, as Kiba rubbed one of the areas where Sakura had punched him.

"Sasuke? Or Kiyohiko?" Sakura asked, crossing her arms. "I mean, Kiyohiko came here to borrow Sasuke. And I warned her about your people watching!"

"This must be one heck of an evil plan!" Kibasaid, apologetically. "Sorry man, if Kiyohiko's in on it, then you're as good as gone."

"Oh shut up." Naruto scowled. Then he regarded Sakura again, who looked like she was ready to do another beat down. "I need to see Sasuke. And I'm not people watching him!"

Sakura frowned. "I think he's in the music room. He said he'd be back after he went somewhere with Kiyohiko. It happened a lot last year, so I just let it slide."

Naruto blinked. "What happened a lot last year?"

"Kiyohiko borrowing Sasuke, duh." Sakura rolled her eyes. "It's probably because he's so..." She seemed to be drifting off into that girly mood that she was in when Naruto came into homeroom. Which reminded him, Sakura was dating someone, wasn't she? Was this an act, or did she not like her boyfriend?

"Yeah, okay, I'll deal with you later." Naruto scowled at her when she started highlighting all the great things about Sasuke, disregarding his personality completely. He dragged Kiba off.

"You're choking me, man! C'mon!" Kiba cried. When Naruto let go of his collar and apologized (with his fingers crossed) Kiba nodded and then asked, "Do you think something's going on between Sasuke and Kiyohiko?"

"...No." Naruto suddenly worried. Kaida's been 'borrowing' Sasuke since last year? What does that mean? Kiba had been chatting, but Naruto hadn't been listening. His worries kept him from doing that, he needed to know if Sasuke was... if he was actually...

"Hey, we're here!" Kiba stage whispered. "C'mon! Let's see what they're up to!"

Sasuke was on piano and Kaida was singing. Naruto had never heard Kaida sing before, although he recognized the song. Something by Christina Agulera... Walk Away, he thought. Well, I guess that's better than a love ballad. Wait, is this a love ballad?

Kaida was finishing the song, and Sasuke's piano playing was dwindling off. Then there was silence, where Kaida looked exhausted and Sasuke was staring at the piano keys as if there was something really interesting there.

"Sorry I bothered you." Kaida said, finally, moving. It looked like she was going for her bookbag.

"That's alright." Sasuke murmured. Naruto noticed that Sasuke was twitchy- since when did THE Sasuke Uchiha twitch? Something must have been going on. "Kiyohiko." Sasuke said, suddenly.

"Kaida." Kaida corrected. "And what is it?"

"Um, You fixed up Naruto this morning, right?"

Kaida put on her evil voice. "Oh, yes. And he was barely bruised."

"He was?" Sasuke asked, looking up, his face strangely passive.

"If you want to beat up Naruto..." Kaida laughed, "You better just ask me to do it. You punch like a girl, appearently. He didn't even flinch when I fixed up his cheek. Didn't even whine once. Figures you had to hide all your bruises, you must've been beat the hell up."

Kiba blinked at Naruto. "Whoa, really?" He grinned. "Nice going dude!" He whispered.

Naruto blinked, then smiled. "Yeah." He nodded. She's lying? For me? I must've swallowed a LOT of toothpaste.

Sasuke frowned. "Did he tell you about the fight?"

"Naruto? Tell me things? What is wrong with you?" Kaida said, in her nicer voice, the one Naruto had heard all morning. Honestly, he hadn't known she had a nice voice. And Kiba must've been surprised, since he was busy gaping at the door instead of writing. Naruto had to kick him back into action. "Just because Naruto's a little more comfortable around me than most people are, it doesn't mean that I'm his security blanket. How are you doing? Are your brother's friends showing up around the school gates anymore?"

"No." Sasuke said.

"Psh, good. Honestly, what would I have done if they came back? I'm not that good of bodyguard. They're huge. You were just lucky Vincent showed up that day."' Kaida sighed. "But I won't let them bully you while you're on the grounds. I'd rather them beat me up instead. I probably deserve it."

"You?" Sasuke scoffed. "You wouldn't let them beat you up. You're too noisy for that."

"Hmph. Leave it to an Uchiha to find fault with the nice things people have to say." Kaida snorted. "Anyway, about this fight. Was there something important about it that you wanted me to know?"

"No. I was just wondering who won in his story."

"You were wondering, huh." Kaida said flatly, turning towards the piano. "Something must've happened. Maybe I'll just weasel it out of Naruto. Are you planning on getting him back for winning?"

"He didn't win!"

"Well, he didn't come to school hiding his bruises. Only you did. A winner doesn't have to hide, I say." Kaida shrugged. "But... I know it was Naruto who beat you up, in any case. That's part of why I called you out here. Just to be sure."

"What, you mean because he was beat up too?" Sasuke asked.

"No." Kaida crossed her arms. "It's that your face was beat up."

"My face?"

"Yeah. You're pretty," Kaida said, as if that didn't matter, "So most people would be hesitant to hit your face. It's like a girl's. But Naruto strikes eye for eye. I'd know." Kaida sighed. "I think I beat the crap out of him last year." Naruto scoffed quietly. She had beaten him up pretty good last year. It was after that incident with Sai... If Naruto could remember correctly, it was because he'd been sulking around. What had Kaida said? "Well, screw you if you think you're going to sit and pout while I'm trying to teach you math! Fine, you want to cry? I'll give you something to cry about, then maybe Iruka'll tell me to wait until you're done mourning so we can get on with this math!"

"You think you did?"

"Well, what, do you expect me to keep track of all the people I beat up? I don't have a day planner for this, you know." Kiba rolled his eyes and mouthed "Because she beats up everyone."

"Any reason why you'd beat him up?"

Kaida scowled. "It's none of your business." Sasuke was quiet. Kaida impatently tapped her foot, something Suzuka always referred to as 'un-ladylike' and 'extremely Sonic-ish'. Sonic the Hedgehog was Suzuka's favorite game series. "Are we done?"

"No one's bugged him since he got here." Sasuke said. "Not like all the rest of us." Naruto looked at Kiba, mouthing, "What does he mean?"

Kiba scowled. "They prank newbies." He mouthed back. "We had an assembly on it before you came."

"Well, the seniors this year aren't partiicularly cruel." Kaida said, looking thoughtful. "But that's where I come in. Anyone who wants to beat Naruto up has to go through me. Although he probably wouldn't tell me if he got beat up. He'd think I'd just beat him up some more. Why, you miss special treatment?"

Sasuke chuckled, although it seemed pretty empty. "Sort of."

"Well, everyone wishes they had a badass for a bodyguard, I guess. But I told you, I can't help you outside of school, and no one bothers you here anymore, right? My work is done. Naruto, I give him the rest of the year. His dad is counting on me to take care of him. Just like you counted on me." Kaida suddenly softened. "I'd help you if I could, Sasuke." She said. "You know that. All I can do is"

"I know." Sasuke sighed. "I just wished I didn't have to deal with this sort of thing myself. It was nice to have you around."

Kaida laughed. "Did an Uchiha just use the word 'nice'?" she asked. "Something terrible must be coming this way. I should go."

"Okay." Sasuke flashed her a small smile.

"Thanks, Uchiha. For playing the piano." She nodded. Naruto inched away from the door, but he was too late, Kaida spotted the two of them as she opened the door.

"...Hey." she said, raising her hand and cracking her knuckles. "It's that dog food kid I think I've beaten up before." Kiba went screaming down the hall, and Naruto almost followed, but Kaida grabbed his collar again, for the second time that day. "Where do you think you're headed?"

Naruto gulped. "Well, see, I figured you guys were having a private conversation, you know, but I was worried you might try to take advantage of Sasuke during his time of weakness"

"Weakness, dobe?" Sasuke asked, walking out of the music room. Kaida grinned.

"You don't have to worry about your precious Sasuke." She chuckled. "I wouldn't beat him up." She paused. "What's that?" She let Naruto go, reaching for Kiba's forgotten notebook. "Hmm..." she leafed through it. "Looks like I'm going to have put dog food on my to-beat-up list."

Sasuke just sighed and walked off. "I'll tell Sakura we should keep the door locked. Keep him away, will you, Kiyohiko?"

"And what am I, your dog?" Kaida objected. "Fine. Naruto, you're with me. And tell dog food, when you see him next, I have his notebook and if he ever wants to see again without blinding pain rocketing though his skull, he'll forget everything he heard."

"What about me?"

"Oh, you've already forgotten." she said cheerily. "Haven't you?"

"Oh! Oh yeah! I mean, what are you talking about?" Naruto jumped at the chance to not get beat up. It wasn't like Kaida was incredibly strong, it was just that she always seemed to know where to hit you to make it hurt. And that was scary enough for Naruto. Plus, she did hit pretty hard for a girl.

She chuckled. "I'm kidding. Here." She handed the notebook back to Naruto. "Just, if Kiba says anything, I'm obligated to hurt him. Just so you know."

"...Okay." Naruto said, surprised. "...Kaida?"

"Hm?"

"What's going on between you and Sasuke?"

"Is that really important?" she asked, and her green eyes caught his blue ones. Naruto hadn't ever really looked her eye to eye before, but right now, he felt like he should've done that a long time ago. She had Suzuka's eyes, the kind ones that bore no judgement.

"sort of." Naruto said.

"..." she frowned. "I think...I think that's something you should talk about with Sasuke."

"You said his brother's friends. Why? Why his brother's friends? Sasuke hates talking about his brother. Please tell me. Does it have to do with... with how he's messed up?"

Kaida scowled. "What are you talking about?"

"Sasuke!" Naruto insisted. "He's messed up. Beat up, under his clothes!"

"Why did you undress him?" Kaida said obliquely, a sinister grin on her face. But her eyes were still kind, it was weird.

"I didn't. He undressed himself."

"Well this is becoming a full R-rated movie, isn't it?" She chuckled.

"No! I mean, not like that. He was changing the bandages in the bathroom."

"..." Kaida sighed. "It isn't my place to tell you anything, Naruto." She said, scowling again. "But I suppose I have to count on you right now."

"Huh?"

"You have to promise me." She said, shaking her finger at him, another Sonic-ism she had. "You have to promise me that you won't run away this time."

"What do you mean?" Naruto asked.

"Promise." Kaida ordered.

"Okay. I promise."

"I'm in the business of telling it as I see it. Okay?" Kaida looked away. "When Sasuke came here, I knew something was wrong. At the time, there was a senior here... Kid was a total flake. Kisame? Something stupid like that. I don't know. But he had a vendetta for Sasuke." Kaida lowered her eyes. "Me, I've always been the kind of person who doesn't turn a blind eye. That's why my reputation is what it is. You know how much trouble I've been in? But I guess it's worth it, sometimes."

"You've been in trouble?"

"Naruto, I beat people up. Why wouldn't I get in trouble?" She rolled her eyes. "Anyway, this Kisame... When I saw he was out for Sasuke, I asked Sasuke about it. But Sasuke is Sasuke, you know, and he clammed up immediately." She hesitated. "So I acted for him."

"Acted for him?"

"...Me and Gaara aren't that different." She said, smiling suddenly. "Gaara acted for you, I acted for Sasuke." she grabbed his arm suddenly. "You aren't going to run away, right? You won't?"

"No. I won't." Naruto said, worriedly.

"The thing is that we both caused more trouble for the person we were trying to protect." Kaida sighed. "I got Kisame something fierce. Let me tell you..." she chuckled, "He was in a wheelchair the next day. They couldn't pin the crime on me, but I knew they knew."

Naruto stared. "Wh-what did you do?"

"He's bigger and stronger than me." She shrugged. "I used a metal baseball bat on his legs."

"You did what?!" Naruto cried.

She glowered at him. "Do you think Sasuke looks bad now?" She asked. "Where he's bruised? Sasuke used to always have to wear make up to school, because his face was so beat up. enough so that it wouldn't look noticable. But I'm not an idiot, and like I said, I tell it like I see it." Her face was stony. "Sasuke was mad at me for a few days. But his face healed up, and he didn't wear make up anymore. They'd stopped beating up on his face after I did that." She frowned. "Now they were trying to put me out of the picture."

"They?"

"...Itachi. That's his brother." Kaida blinked at Naruto. "They look alike. That's what I thought."

"Huh?"

"Sorry... that was kind of random, wasn't it? The 'they' I'm talking about... They're his friends. Itachi's, I mean. Itachi is like an empty vessel. He doesn't hit Sasuke, but he doesn't stop his friends from hitting him. And Sasuke, he's weak. Even if he doesn't think so." Kaida frowned. "But you're not weak, Naruto."

"I'm not?" Naruto stared at Kaida. Wasn't she the one who pretty much called him out and called him week? No more than two or so days ago? What was she talking about? "I thought you said"

"No. Sasuke's weakness, it comes from him hiding things. You're strong because you deal with things head on. Although the running away was probably counter productive. At least you let on that things bothered you, I guess. When Iruka told Suzuka you ran away a few days ago... Suzuka was really upset. She kept asking me what I'd said to you. She knew it was my fault, she always knows. Or at least, she knew it was my fault this time, because I came home all smug." Kaida sighed. "What was I going to tell her? I didn't say anything. I figured if you hadn't already learned your lesson, then I couldn't do anything for you."

"You don't want me to run away anymore. Is that it?"

"Not really. Look, you know the counting thing you do? That's way healthier than running away whenever things bother you."

"Yeah right." Naruto scowled. "It put me in the hospital."

"What, and running away from home isn't dangerous? Look, running away is way too weak for someone like you. Are you going to run away when your first child gets and F or something? That's baby behavior." Kaida crossed her arms. "The reason I told you this stuff is because you're the kind of person I think Sasuke should emulate. It's just, if you always run away, Sasuke won't emulate you. Even he sees that as a weakness. At least the counting means that you're standing your ground and getting yourself together."

"Sasuke... emulate me?" Naruto blinked. "Me? Why?"

Kaida sighed, walking off. "Come on." she called to him, and he followed. "I beat you up last year. Right? I can't remember what I beat you up for."

"Yeah." Naruto decided not to mention it. "Me neither."

"But you tried to get back at me." She chuckled. "That's why I like you, you know? Because if someone hurts you, you don't just forgive them and turn the other cheek all the time. That's weak."

"Isn't that what Suzuka says to do? She says it's the right thing."

"What's right about letting people walk all over you, Naruto? You expect me to sit back and relax when I get punched in the face?" Kaida furrowed her brows and looked particularly murderous. "Maybe I hold grudges, but you know what? I don't think that's too big of a deal. I won't be stepped on. I won't, not by anyone. That's how I live."

Naruto smiled. "That's cool, Kaida." He said honestly. "And this whole time I thought you were evil."

"Oh, you were right." She smirked at him. "Maybe not completely right. But right enough. I'm not the world's kindest girl. Not the meanest either." she paused. "Oh, so about Sasuke. He's not like me. Or you. If you hurt him, he'll be angry, you know? But he won't do anything. He doesn't lift a finger to stop people from hurting him. Or he DIDN'T anyway. After I beat up Kisame, he tried to hit me. but I really didn't see that happening." She smirked again. "Anyway, yeah, Itachi came with his friends. There's this creepy guy, Orochimaru... I'm worried that he's after Sasuke. But if it's off school grounds, I've got my hands tied."

"What do you mean? Why can't you fight him off school grounds?"

"Well one, I don't have 'people'. I just kick ass and look good doing it. Myself. My friends here aren't mean types. They're the people I've been fighting for this whole entire time. I can't ask them to back me up on something like this." She sighed. "And two, outside of school, I don't have a good enough reason to fight people. I have reasonable doubt, maybe, but you know... I don't have proof. If I go around beating up people without reasons, then... well, then I'd be a class A troublemaker instead of a class C troublemaker. As it is, Tsunade doesn't care that I beat up people."

"She doesn't?!" Naruto cried. "But, Kisame... you put him in a wheelchair!"

"Yeah, well..." Kaida smiled darkly. "I guess there are some crimes that are really rewards."

"Why is there this much bullying in school anyway?"

"It's all about status." Kaida pointed out. "There are limited seats in orchestras, limited seats in choirs, limited seats in bands... and especially the higher ups, the Advanced Orchestra, the Advanced Choir, the Advanced Band-- those are where things can get ugly. There's a lot of bullying going on right around you... that's because people want in on those seats. If they can get you to run away, then they've won. And that's why I'm telling you, you can't run away. You lose everything if you turn tail on these people."

"It's a fight over the orchestra?" Naruto said, surprised. "A fight over seats in the orchestra? Really?"

"Well it isn't just, 'oh let's beat up the new kid', if that's what you're wondering. Did you honestly think that everything here was hunky-dory? I mean, really." Kaida rolled her eyes. "Look, our school is nationally known. The Advanced Orchestra for example? One year they played the soundtrack for a movie. And they got paid. If you were to pursue musical arts, that would be pretty much the highlight of your pre-college career. Don't you think so?"

"...wow..." Naruto gasped. "What movie?"

"Um, it was something silly. Star Wars maybe?"

"REALLY?!"

"Nah, I'm just playing. I'm not in orchestra, but maybe the senior class rep knows? Neji? You should also ask him about bullying. He's pretty adamant on not letting it happen. It happened to him too, you know."

"Really?" Naruto asked, eyes wide. Neji being bullied... that was a new one. "Did you help Neji?"

"Neji? No. I mean, I would've but he's not weak. When he came here, he was on this perfection thing, I don't know... He was just a really annoying perfectionist, appearently. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that because he wanted his seat in the Advanced Orchestra so badly, he pretty much owned anyone who dared cross him... in other words, he wouldn't have needed me, even if I were here. You're a special case though. You've been in too much trouble already. Iruka would get pissed off to hear you're beating up people here. That's why it's good that you've got me." She smiled. "And I won't let anyone bully you. People here, they wouldn't even try."

"You're... protecting me?" Naruto asked. He frowned. "Why?"

"Naruto, after what you went through at home, what makes you think I'd let people alienate you here? There are some juniors afraid to look at you crosseyed." She chuckled. "Alot of people are vying for a spot in the advanced orchestra. A lot. That's why I'm protecting you, because I knew you would need a little help. Just like how Gaara protected you."

Naruto stared. "I didn't know. He said, pausing. Kaida turned to look at him. "I didn't know you were trying to help me."

"I wasn't trying. I was helping." She rolled her eyes. "Because it worked."

"Do my friends really like me? Or is that because you told them to like me?" Naruto asked. "I mean, you've got all this influencem right? Did you tell people to talk to me?"

"Does dog food look like he'd listen to me?" Kaida asked, crossing her arms. "Look. People know all I ever do is harm people who intentionally go for you. I kill rumors at the source, I pretty much only hurt people who have the audacity to ruin your life to better theirs. Usually, those people are other violinists. I don't bother with people outside of violinists, really, when it comes to you. Especially the higher-ups in the Regular Orchestra. You know that Hiraku? He's a good friend of mine too. I asked him to be sure you weren't being jostled around in class." She sounded kind now. "Your friends like you, Naruto."

"What do you get out of this, anyway?"

"Haven't you ever actually spoken to Suzuka about me? I have bouts of anger. Lots of them." Kaida grinned. "I'd rather take them out on something breathing than on paper or on a punching bag." Naruto wondered if that was true. He knew that Kaida was VERY tempermental (he had thought once that she just had year-round PMS, and had even advised her to eat more zinc enriched foods(1), which resulted in him getting a nice punch to the stomach), but was that the reason why she helped people by harming other people? Why not be like a regular bully?

Naruto chuckled. "So you really are that angry all the time?"

"Eh, it comes and goes." She smiled. "I've never been too angry at you, I don't think. I've always understood."

"Understood what?" Naruto asked, frowning now.

"You. I always have understood you." Kaida looked at him, her face blank. "At least, I think I have. I've always understood why you'd do things. I couldn't stay angry at you for too long."

Naruto let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. "Kaida?"

"Hm?"

"Can I tell you something?"

"As long as it isn't a confession of love, I'm all ears." Kaida inspected her fingernails.

Naruto made a face. "I would never." He said. She laughed.

"Sure you wouldn't." She said, turning her attention to him. "So what is it?"

"Yesterday, when I fought with Sasuke... I.. um..." Naruto twiddled his fingers, unsure. Did he want to tell Kaida this? Could he trust Kaida? A little voice in his mind kept saying look at all she's done for you, she could continue to help you! She can help you save Sasuke! She can help you get rid of all those bruises! "I...I was thinking."

"You? Think? Pshaw." She scoffed.

"REALLY, Kaida!" Naruto whined. "I was thinking!"

"About what, dare I ask?" she chuckled. He glowered at her.

"Um... well..."

She made a face. "I've been getting a weird vibe from you and Sasuke today." She said. "I know something happened. So just tell me if you want to tell me. Does it have to do with what you were thinking about?"

"No." Naruto said firmly. "But... I mean, I was thinking."

"Well, I'm glad that your brain functions, but that's not what you wanted to tell me, was it?" She said, crossing her arms. "Do you want to tell me or don't you? Figure that out."

"You won't laugh?"

"I'll keep my giggles to a bare minimum." She said stoically. Naruto scowled.

"I don't think I'll tell you."

"Your loss." She smiled brightly, turning. "Anyway, I have to go."

"Where to?"

"Home, I have homework to do." She sighed, relaxing. Naruto hesitated, about to tell her what had happened but then, not able to form the words. Even if Kaida wanted to help, she'd just said that she couldn't. Even if she knew that he kissed Sasuke. Even if she knew that he liked Sasuke in a way he shouldn't. What could she do? She didn't have help, and she admitted already that she couldn't beat Sasuke's brother's friends alone. He wondered if Kaida ever regretted that.

She was watching him, her green eyes contemplative and still strangely kind. Did she always look like that? He didn't know. Maybe it was just that she was easy to hide behind that agressiveness he knew her for. The evil that Naruto was used to. He was sort of comfortable with a nice Kaida, sort of... but not completely. How many people had she 'saved'? And why? She seemed like someone who only looked out for herself. There were a lot of questions, more than Naruto could count right now, floating around in his head.

"Naruto." she said, quite seriously now. "I'm going to warn you."

"What?" He said. "about what?"

"Repeating any of this to anyone." She scowled. "That dog food kid. He's sort of in on this, and it's up to you to shut him up. Promise that you will."

"Sure, but his name is Kiba." Naruto grinned at her, and she blinked, then smirked, returning to the same evil girl he remembered.

"Whatever. Just tell him if doesn't want his balls forcibly removed through his anus, he'll find a neglected corner in his mind to store that information in. Tell him it's from yours truly." She laughed. "I'm gone."

Naruto watched her move along, and then called after her, "Thanks Kaida!"

She waved her hand. "Deuces."


(1)- More about Zinc: It probably won't help females when they PMS, but everytime anyone has a problem with ANYTHING,my docotr is like, "Hmm... you should eat more almonds and other zinc enriched foods, yes, yes, quite," and then strokes her beard. Okay, she doesn't say yes, yes, quite, and she doesn't stroke her beard (because she doesn't have one), but I figured I might as well stick that in there since I find it funny that a doctor would prescibe something that might not even solve the problem. : D You need zinc for a healthy immune system, to aid you when you get boo-boos or cuts (depending on your age, but if you still say boo-boos, you shouldn't be reading this story. FYI. Unless you're like, 15 and think it's cute. Then I don't know about that.), and other good things that you don't want to do without, like being able to smell things and taste things.