A.N. - Ok, so this is a basic college story...sort of. (Can't tell you all of my planned twists yet can i?)
i'm going to try very hard to keep characters within their own realm of actions, like i won't have Gaara go
all happy and start frolicking through flowers and singing or something but at the same time i am going to do things my own way. i'm sorry if how a character ends up upsets anyone. i don't want to do that.
if anybody has ideas on what they think should happen i will be happy to hear them, and i will try to use
them (as long as it fits). i can't wait to see how people like my new story! let me know what you think of it please.
Disclaimer- Sadly i don't own very much in this story. i own the basic plot and there are a few OCs to come that i own but nothing else. not Naruto and not Gaara. -sigh- sad, very sad.
Sun filtered through the gray curtains and directly into her face. Eyes inched open and flashed with a fiery anger.
Groaning irritably she rolled over to escape the pain that sunlight caused to suddenly awoken eyes.
It was Monday wasn't it?
That meant today was the day. The day she left for- oh how had her mom put it?- 'a bright and brave new step into her broad future of brilliance.'.
Yeah…didn't that just sound delightful. It was kind of nice to know how much faith her mom had in her but on the flip of that it was also daunting to know that if she failed and her step she took wasn't as bright or brave or if her future wasn't as broad or as brilliant as her mother expected then she would be really disappointed.
Could she do this?
No. No she couldn't. She would make a wrong choice, fall for some wrong guy, pick the bad path and then she would totally disappoint one of the only people to ever believe in her without reason.
The other one…well if he were here she probably wouldn't be going through this childish melodramatic pre-big decision meltdown.
He believed in her.
Sighing she sat up in her bed and crossed her legs.
Staring at her hands in her lap she wondered what he would say to her.
'Don't worry about it! Just do it! If you mess it up, try again. Either way, you won't know if you don't go for it! So what are you waiting for? Or are you chicken?'
She could just see the devilish grin he'd have while taunting her into doing what they both would know she needed to do.
But…but she didn't have Naruto anymore. She couldn't depend on her best friend to talk her into things she thought were hard.
She hadn't had him for almost three years now…
Clapping her hands she stood up. No use crying about it. Which she almost had done for a minute there.
Fighting away those stubborn tears she hurried to her bathroom, weaving through all the huge boxes and containers that held her 'life'. She hopped into the shower, shrieking when she realized the hot water wasn't hot but very, very cold.
Apparently her mother was already up and well showered.
Grit and bear it, that's what she'd have to do.
And she did.
She washed her hair and body as quickly as she could. It was probably a shower time worthy of world records.
After dressing in the clothes she'd set out the night before while packing all the others up she headed down to her kitchen.
There her mother sat reading her newest addition to her ever growing collection of sappy romance books.
It was her mother's one addiction. The one vice she refused to ignore.
Shaking her head she moved towards the freezer where her frozen waffles waited to grant her their golden goodness.
Her mother, Saiyomi, looked up from her book and smiled cheerfully as her short light pink hair fell into her beautiful ivy green eyes, very close in resemblance to her daughter's slightly darker bubble gum pink hair and leaf green eyes.
"Good morning, Sakura. Are you about ready for the big day? Its getting close you know, dear."
"Mom, today is the big day." Sakura mumbled as she fiddled around with the plastic wrapper that was keeping her from her precious waffles.
"Oh, that's right. Oops, I never do remember dates. Sorry dear." Saiyomi giggled.
"Its fine mom." Sakura grumbled as she grew more frustrated with the dumb plastic sleeve.
On a day like this couldn't she just have her waffles without the big epic battle against plastic tyranny to get to them.? Just this once?
"So…when do we want to leave dear?" Saiyomi asked, returning her eyes to the pages of her novel.
"Soon. I'm gonna eat breakfast, load my stuff and then we'll head off. Sound good?"
"Oh sure. Fine."
Then there was silence, excluding the constant crinkle of evil plastic waffle protectors.
Minutes ticked by and finally her frustration got the better of her.
Screaming with primal fury she went ballistic tugging and pulling at the plastic as she waved it around her frantically.
She would have these waffles! Now!
Wide crazed green eyes watched with morbid fascination as her precious waffles flew from the packet in her hands and into the air.
Her fast reflexes from years of training and conditioning kicked in and she lashed her hand out and grabbed them just as it looked they'd hit the floor.
"Nice save." her mother said with grinning eyes as she peered over the brim of her book.
"Thanks." Sakura replied absently as she dropped her waffles in the toaster.
As the delicious smell of cooking waffles filled her senses she smiled to herself.
Mission accomplished. Take that evil plastic.
Now, with waffles in her very near future all would be well in the world of Sakura Haruno.
Registration papers in hand she headed for her dorm building that would be her home for the next year.
A whole year.
And then she would have three more years of the same thing with slight but not obvious variation.
Oh god she hoped her college years were much like the ones people talked about. Great parties. Friends for a lifetime. Crazy memories.
She hoped for it.
But was a little doubtful. What with how oh so exciting her campus looked.
There were great big grey stone buildings with wide glass doors and windows.
Long winding cement sidewalks led from one building to another.
Trees lined many walkways and bushes others.
She new from the brochure there was a garden somewhere with a wishing pool and intricately detailed benches, all of which was surrounded by a foliage covered wall.
A wall very much like that only without the cozy vegetation adding character to it surrounded the whole campus. Wasn't that comforting?
They were either trapping their old lives out, or trapping them in with their new ones.
Either way you tossed that cookie, you were left with a bad taste in your mouth.
"Sakura this is it!"
"Your new home away from home! Isn't this great?" her mother chirped happily as she practically skipped towards the huge building.
"Yeah…woo-hoo." Sakura muttered.
"Oh Saka show a little more excitement than that. Don't forget you're going to have a new roomie who will become like you're sister in no time! Oh wait, or was it two roommates here? Oh who cares, you'll just have so much fun! And…I still have my special surprise in store for you."
Sakura resisted the urge to roll her eyes.
She felt a very small tingle in the back of her mind telling her that this special surprise of her mom's was going to be more surprise than she could handle.
But she would cross that bridge when she got to it.
Now her two new roommates were the biggest concern of hers.
She hoped she could get along with them, at least enough to survive the year.
She found herself at the door of her dorm starring at it.
Steeling herself for whatever may come once she entered the building she used her new id card, pulling it through the slot. A small click announced that yes it did work and she may enter.
Her mother danced joyously behind her as they walked in.
Sakura observed the hallway and the eight doors in it, four on each side. She was in dorm eight, the last one on the hall. It was near the back door of the dorm building. Good, that way if she decided to make a break for it in the middle of the night she'd be just that much closer to a sweet escape.
"Oh Sakura look you're the first to come!" her mother exclaimed.
"Yeah, I figured I would be since you wanted me to come three hours in advance. The people at the check in station were so shocked they didn't even bother hiding their open mouths."
"Well that's just rude." her mom harrumphed.
Sakura didn't bother explaining to her ever punctual mother that arriving three hours before you were supposed to wasn't normal for a college student. She'd simply argue that it was for any good college student. And heaven forbid her daughter not be a good college student.
She took her key from her pocket and opened the door to her room.
Stepping in it was hard to believe it was a dorm room.
Smiling she couldn't resist picturing her friend popping up and wrapping his strong arm around her shoulders and saying, 'Believe it!.'
God she missed him.
It sucked that she didn't get to go through high school with him. That would have been a blast. And she was positive graduation day with him would have been priceless.
But no. she had to move away from the village and into the more civilized areas. No more ninja villages for her and her mother. They were city girls now. Joy.
But as much as the thriving city life amused Sakura the quaint beauty of Konoha still felt perfect to her.
As she moved about her new dorm she studied it, already making plans for her space. Which would be the farthest division to the left. That was the one farthest from the bathroom maybe but it had the big window.
The room was divided by small half walls that came out to separate each different girl's area. Which was a pretty good idea. And when first entering there was a very small part that could somewhat pass as another room. Maybe she and her roomies could make that into a mini living room. If so then she'd get to bring her little black couch from home after all.
She left her little section walked passed another bedroom section and through the mini living area and passed the other bedroom and into the bathroom to check out how that looked. Because everyone knew that the bathroom shared between three girls would have to be good or someone would not make it to the end of the year.
Fortunately it had enough space. There was a pretty decent little counter top, there were two sinks but there was only one toilet. Guess it would just have to be first come first serve for that. There was also one large square shower stall. It as roomy enough that if all three girls needed to they could shower at the same time but Sakura desperately hoped it would never ever come to that. She could not imagine getting close enough to any girl to be willing to get naked and wet with them.
Shuddering at the thought she turned and left the bathroom.
If all eight dorms were like this it was plain to see why the building was so big. And why the tuition was so expensive.
Sakura saw her mother examining everything, much like She had just finished doing.
"Mom. I'm going to go pull the car over to this window okay? Then I'll just pass everything to you through that. The part with the big window is going to be mine."
"Oh what a nice choice. I probably would have chosen the one next to the bathroom though."
"I know, but I don't want to wake up every time one of the other girls has to pee in the middle of the night."
Saiyomi nodded, "Smart thinking Saka. Oh my little flower is going to be so great in college."
Sakura blushed as she left the room. Her mother was gong to be bragging about her from this day forward. Much like she had done when Sakura had been Valedictorian for her graduating class.
She pulled her car keys out and got in her car. Moving over to the section of the building where her window was she wondered how Naruto had done in high school without her. She'd made him buckle down the one year she'd been in school with him. He'd made mostly B's and C's but he was proud of them and she was proud of him. He'd paid her back for all the study sessions by making life more fun for her.
He'd had the gift of making anything fun.
She always hated that she'd had to leave him and the others behind. They'd been like one big happy family. Fighting but still close. Even though the guys didn't admit to it. Sai, Sasuke, and Naruto.
Her crazy and very different boys. The clueless artist devoid of any understanding of all things human, the lonely dark and brooding heartthrob who was quiet and skilled at almost anything he tried-except knowing when to say something and what to say when he did speak, and then the good hearted strong willed class clown nobody who was determined to be somebody despite what everyone else said about him.
And she should probably add Rock Lee to that little list. She could just picture his extravagant tears at discovering he was not one of her 'boys'. So…the dramatic and loyal all around good guy who had a kind word for everyone and a courage that rivaled that of anyone to ever walk the earth. There that should do it. Those were her boys. Her being the 'slightly' temperamental possibly bi-polarized girl with a kind heart and a swift fist who would do anything in her power to please and protect those she cared most for.
Leaving her odd thoughts behind, she parked her car and got out, grabbing boxes from her small trunk she began handing things to her mom on the other side.
In a little over an hour they had everything in the room and had begun the unpacking process.
When they finally had everything placed where she wanted it and hung up and unpacked they both fell back on her newly made bed.
"Well I think it looks nice. Don't you dear?"
"Yeah it does. Thanks mom. It looks great."
Saiyomi reached up and patted Sakura's head from where she lay across the bed.
Sakura giggled and sat up.
It was well into lunch time now and her stomach was announcing this clearly. It was time to eat.
"Hey mom you wanna go grab lunch now?" she asked as she leaned back on her elbows and stared at her mother.
Saiyomi shrugged, "Whatever you want dear. Today is your day."
Sakura smiled to herself at how great her mom was. It had been a long time when she hadn't had one, but now she had the greatest one around and it filled her with warmth anytime she thought of that.
"Yeah mom let's go eat and then when we come back my roommates will probably be here."
Saiyomi nodded as she rose to a sitting position.
While exiting the dorm room they ran into a slightly familiar figure.
She was short, maybe five foot three at the most. And her hair was a distinctive dark purple color though longer than remembered.
Sakura gasped when she saw the person in front of her.
"Hinata! Its you!" she exclaimed happily as she dashed forth to envelope the girl in a tight hug.
The quiet girl now wrapped in an infamous Sakura Death Hug gave a small squeak of surprise and giggled softly as her friend finally released her.
"S-sakura. It is s-so nice t-to see you again. H-how have you b-been?" she asked as she studied her feet and tapped her finger tips together.
"Oh I've been good. What about you Hinata? You doing alright?"
"Oh, y-yes. I have b-been r-really good." a light blush dusted Hinata's porcelain pale cheeks.
"What room are you in Hina-chan? Do you need help unpacking?" Sakura questioned, though she noticed with a happy heart that she was standing in front of her dorm, which meant Hinata was either lost- not likely considering she was really bright-or she was one of Sakura's roommates!
"I-I'm in d-dorm eight."
Sakura hugged her old friend again.
She and Hinata hadn't always been very close but about two years before she'd moved they'd had several missions together and in that time they'd grown very close. Now the shy girl was probably the closest female friend Sakura had. She certainly trusted Hinata more than she did Ino.
"Great that's mine! You're my roomie! Mom and I will help you unpack and then you can go get lunch with us okay? That sound good?" Sakura asked her excitement filling her voice.
Hinata breathed a sigh of relief. She had a friend as her roommate. She'd been so scared she'd end up with horrible people. But she had Sakura. It was a great thing, she'd missed her best friend and now she was here and in her dorm. This made the huge argument with her father to allow her coming here that much more worth it.
Hinata nodded her agreement to the plan as a light blush lit her face.
"And don't worry its no trouble. Just show us to your stuff and we'll get started."
Saiyomi came up and hugged her tightly, not a Sakura Death Hug, but close enough.
"It is so good to see you again Hina-chan." she said as she kissed the girl's forehead.
Hinata felt the old familiar warmth spread through her. Saiyomi had always treated Hinata like her own daughter, and it was amazing to experience such a thing as a mother's love after only having a father for so long.
"Come on Hina-chan lets get moving!" Sakura exclaimed as she hurried down the hall. Hinata shook her head, bemused at how little her friend had changed over the years she hadn't seen her. It was going to be a dream come true living with her over the course of this year. And maybe the next three if she were lucky. But she'd think on that when the time came for it. For now she'd just enjoy herself and catch up on the good old times and all the exciting stories of life after moving that she knew Sakura had in store for her. Hinata laughed lightly as she and Saiyomi followed after Sakura who was almost literally bouncing off the walls with her excitement. "Hurry up you two! The sooner Hinata gets moved in the sooner we are officially college dorm sisters! Plus the sooner we can go get food!" Sakura cheered.
Hinata allowed a big smile to grace her features. Oh yes, this was going to be a great year indeed.
Sakura giggled as she and Hinata hung up all of the girl's clothes. Saiyomi was folding and placing some in the small dresser supplied with each bedroom area.
Hinata didn't have a computer to set up but Sakura assured her that anytime she needed she could use Sakura's.
Hiashi, Hinata's father had been totally against her coming to this school simply because it also had boy dorms and boys in her classes. Not to mention the family black sheep Neji was going to attend this school. Sakura had squealed with delight when hearing that tidbit of news. She had asked how the stoic genius was doing and Hinata had frowned and whispered sadly that she and him were still not the closest they could be, but-her being the ever optimist that she was-she added that they were a lot better than they had once been and they were steadily, albeit slowly, growing closer. Also half of it was with the help of TenTen, who was still very close with both Neji and Lee.
Hinata could practically see Sakura's ears perk up at the mention of the village's beautiful beast. Hinata wondered if Sakura had finally fallen for the poor boy who had attempted to woo the pink haired girl since he'd first met her years and years ago.
She wanted to ask but her shyness hindered her from doing so.
"There." Sakura said with finality. She brushed imaginary dust from her hands and turned to grin at Hinata.
"Now we go eat!" she exclaimed.
Hinata nodded and laughed as Sakura danced, yes she danced out the door. Unfortunately she danced directly into another body.
The body of an angry sounding girl.
"Get the hell off me!"
"Oh sorry I didn't see you there." Sakura apologized sheepishly.
She scrambled off of the girl and offered a hand to help her up.
Bright green eyes locked with dark ocean blue.
"Puffles!" Sakura tackled the girl back to the floor.
"Mama! Come look who it is!" she called.
They both laughed as the woman came into the doorway followed by Hinata. Both sets of eyes doubled in size as smiles appeared on their faces.
Saiyomi was on top of both girl's faster than a blink.
All four laughed as Temari shrieked. She sounded angry, but anybody who bothered to look could plainly see that her eyes were dancing with happiness and the confident smirk she usually wore was now replaced with a bright grin.
"Mama 'Runo! How's it hangin'?" Temari asked from underneath the pink haired duo dog pile.
Sakura called to Hinata, "Come on Hina hop on. Its time to play squish Puffles!"
Hinata giggled as she timidly fell onto Saiyomi making Temari shriek even more.
"Squish Puffles? I love that game! Mind if I join?"
Temari's eyes widened with fear. "Oh no! No! Girls get off or we're all done for!"
"Now, now that's uncalled for. That wasn't a fat joke was it, sister dear?"
Four sets of eyes peered upwards to meet the mischievous gaze of Kankuro who was chuckling at the scene they made.
Temari attempted an upside down glare, "Don't you dare."
"Oh dare I?" Kankuro asked himself.
He tapped his chin and pretended to ponder the situation.
Laughter rumbling out of him+ he exclaimed, "I do!"
That was all the warning the girls had before he was on top of them.
All of them squealed as he wiggled around.
Temari groaned under all the weight and sent a death glare at Sakura for starting all of this.
Sakura simply stuck out her tongue as strangled laughter bubbled out of her.
Since her time spent stationed in Suna to teach the medic nins a thing or two about real medicine she and Temari had grown really close. Close enough for Temari's glares to just roll off the short tempered girl and for Sakura's silliness to not irritate the tough talking blonde. Temari had reached out a friendly hand with the offer of bygones being bygones when Sakura had first stepped foot into the sandy village. She was desperate for female companionship and Sakura had understood.
She just had her two brothers most of the time and though Kankuro was fun he was just plain awful at girl talk and slumber parties. He could pull off gossiping but it was more funny to watch him act like a girl with a secret to tell then to actually hear his gossip.
And Gaara was…well Gaara was just Gaara. There was really no adjective alone that correctly described the youngest of the sand siblings. He put the word stoic to shame and made brooding look like light thinking. Granted he was not the mass murdering sociopath that he had once been. But he was still far from understanding himself and the rest of humanity. Heck, the purpose of life was still a fairly big mystery to him. Nevertheless, Sakura still enjoyed the quiet boy's company and looked forward to trying to get him to talk to her. She considered it her favorite pass time back in Suna. She'd always find a reason to go and talk to him. Most times he didn't even look at her much less reply but when he did she relished it. She didn't know how his voice could sound the way it did, but she accepted that it simply was how it was supposed to be. And when she heard it she loved it. It was gratifying and wonderful to soak in his soft deep tone and his sparse words. His voice was his second best feature in her opinion. His first being his sleep deprived eyes. Such a beautiful color, and such a vast array of mysteries lying within them.
"You all look like fools." came a smooth dark voice from above them.
Speak of the devil.
Everyone in the human pile looked up to see Gaara standing near them staring at them with nothing short of disdain in his aqua colored eyes.
"Everybody off." Temari growled.
The other four bodies scrambled off quickly.
Sakura grinned at Gaara, who minus the slight movement of his eyes showed no sign of his shock at not only seeing the pink haired girl but also having her smile at him.
She then turned that same smile on Kankuro.
"So what brings you two here?"
"Her." Kankuro said jerking a thumb in the direction of his sister.
Temari smirked at her.
"Oh. Okay. That makes sense. You guys are going to help her move in? How nice of you." Sakura guessed.
"No." came a swift quiet answer from Gaara.
"Gaara's right, we're just here to unload her crap so we can get on to unpacking our stuff." Kankuro explained.
Sakura's eyes lit up.
"So all three of you will be going here?"
Kankuro laughed, "Yeah, but it was one helluva job convincing the admissions committee that Gaara wouldn't snap someday and revert to his old ways and just annihilate everyone in the vicinity."
A silent glare was sent his way but the puppet master remained unaware. Sakura, however, noticed and offered a gentle smile at the upset redhead.
"I'm glad you convinced them you were fine. This year will be more fun now."
Gaara refused to show his reaction to her statement, though inside he was deeply puzzled. Would the year be more fun for her simply because of his presence alone? Or because all three of them would be here?
He watched as she hugged Temari.
It was most likely the second option.
She then hugged Kankuro. Gaara watched as his brother patted an area he as sure was off limits to regular friends.
A slap to his brother's face proved his thoughts to be true.
Then unexpectedly he felt two small arms wrap around him. And his hyper senses were assaulted with the smell of vanilla and cherry blossoms. She was hugging him?
He looked down at her questioningly.
"Are you still a touch me not, Gaara?" she asked with a grin.
Unable to speak he simply shrugged. That seemed to pass as an acceptable answer for most people.
"You don't know?" she asked.
"Oh alright fine. Don't tell me." she pouted, but quickly recovered and pulled away sneaking in a small poke to his ribs.
What did that mean? Gaara could see that even with it having been years passed since last seeing Sakura, she was still just as bizarre and as baffling as always.
"Alright guys, my lunch is being delayed. It is definitely time to get moving. We unload Temi's stuff and then we unpack and then we all go get food because I am just about to starve!" Sakura exclaimed with a wide smile on her pretty face.
Kankuro laughed and ruffled her pink hair before he headed out to grab things from their rental car.
Gaara frowned slightly at how familiar his brother was able to be with Sakura. He didn't quite understand the feeling he experienced when he saw that but he wasn't entirely sure he liked it.
He was under strict orders that his sand was not to be used. He said fine whatever, but no pompous school official was going to tell him he could not carry his gourd. They had tried. Tried being the keyword. No one told him what to do. He did what he wanted. That, at least had not changed.
Not use his sand? They were idiots if they truly believed he wouldn't.
Just to prove to himself that he could he whipped some out and used it to grab all of Temari's things that weren't already in Kankuro's arms.
He walked it down the hall and set it in the only empty bedroom left. It was the one near the bathroom, his sister will enjoy that.
He caught a glimpse of the smile Sakura sent his way.
She must think he was simply helping his sister and not childishly proving his independence and emphasizing his lack of respect for the rules the school leaders had tried to set on him.
He was all for letting her continue to believe that. If she thought better of him, fine. He knew the truth. No one else needed to. Besides, it wasn't exactly a great reason to be doing something.
Seeing that Temari was set and ready to begin unpacking he left with Kankuro in tow for their own building to unload their things. He didn't have much but he'd much rather take care of it now before his 'lucky' roommates arrived.
He pitied the poor souls that wound up stuck with him.
Temari couldn't remember the last time she'd laughed so much. She had so badly missed Sakura. She had rarely seen her as it was with one of them being in Suna and the other being in Konoha, but then the pink haired girl had moved away making it impossible to stay in touch minus email and with only one computer between three teenagers, it was fair enough to say she didn't get to use it as much as she would have liked.
But now she would be staying in a room with her friend as well as Hinata. She'd never been very close to the quiet girl but she was one of Sakura's closest friends so Temari saw giving her a chance as a worthy use of her time and energy. And Saiyomi slipped right into mother hen mode again once she had the girls in the room. She had assigned them each a section of Temari's room-which was the one beside the bathroom, yes!- to set up. In not much over a half hour they had it all done. She didn't exactly have that much to put up. When they finished Sakura fell dramatically to the floor with a loud moan.
"I am not unpacking another box today."
Everyone smiled at her. They knew that if she saw someone else she knew that she would indeed do exactly that, help them unpack, but hopefully they wouldn't run into anyone else until after they'd eaten.
"Is everyone ready to go?" Saiyomi asked.
Sakura hopped to her feet and cheered.
Temari chuckled at the girl's antics and noticed that Hinata was laughing lightly as well. Yeah, that girl would probably be fine. Maybe a little quiet but it couldn't be any worse than dealing with Gaara. Once a person dealt with that anyone else was a walk in the park in comparison.
Saiyomi smiled at Hinata asked if she had anyway of getting in contact with Neji. Perhaps he'd like to join them, since it was already turning out to be a big group, one more couldn't hurt.
Hinata blushed and reported that no, unfortunately she did not have a way of contacting him.
Temari vaguely remembered Neji as the attractive, fairly feminine looking guy with pale eyes like Hinata's and long brown hair. He'd been with TenTen most times she'd seen him. Offhandedly, Temari wondered if TenTen would be attending here if that boy was. It had seemed to her that they were close.
Sakura grinned and said it was easy to find him. Temari watched amused as her friend rose to the challenge.
She listened as Sakura explained that all they had to do was go to the main office and ask for his room phone number.
If Neji was there they could just call him and ask if he wished to go and if he wasn't checked in yet then he couldn't go with them anyway. So either way they got information that helped them. And should he arrive while they were grabbing Kankuro and Gaara, they would simply kidnap him.
"Easy squeezy." Sakura said with a shrug.
Temari met eyes with Hinata and they shared in a quiet laugh, one of many to come of that Temari was sure.
Sakura was already headed out the door when Saiyomi and the girls agreed that it was a good idea. Temari smirked at the thoughts of her upcoming year and all that it would entail as she followed the elegant woman and the quiet girl out the door of her new dorm and chasing after an eager pink haired fireball of fun.