NEW A/N: NOTICE! I accidentally included Sakura in this chapter because I had not been writing this story for the longest of times. However, if you will notice, Sakura is in the first chapter, and is not attending this school. It's totally inconsistent! So, I have changed Sakura to Karin. I hope it's alright because I think Naruto would still find Karin attractive, even though he likes Sakura. I mean, after all, there are almost no other girls at this school.
Chapter Warnings: I'm picking this up over two years later. It is bound to be different. Un-beta'd. Spoilers for early Shippuden.
Disclaimer: Naruto and anything associated with it belongs to Masashi Kishimoto and others and in no way does this fanfiction attempt to infringe or earn a profit from the anime, manga or any other associated labels.
Summary: Why is everyone in this damn school so mysterious? And why do I know them?
Chapter 4: Routine and A Warning
A door bangs open, two opposites trailing in behind it. From behind a lavish desk and expensive computer sits the director of this fine institution, calmly typing away. Oddly enough, he does not startle or make any indication to show that his attention has been diverted from his task. That is, until the older of the two young men speaks.
"Hatake-san," he says, too serious to be serious, "One of these students at this mental institution decided it would be oh-so-humorous to spy on my business."
"Interesting you should say that, Sasuke," Kakashi continues typing as if it is a child talking to him and not his apprentice, "but I was just about to suggest he help you with your note-taking."
A vein throbs in Sasuke's forehead. "I don't have time for your bullshit, Kakashi."
Naruto is meanwhile, observing from the doorway. He let out a snicker at Kakashi's antics. At least someone here is on his side. Kakashi finishes whatever he is doing on the computer with a sharp clack of the enter key, and then looks up at his two subjects.
"Naruto, don't look at Sasuke's notes anymore. That is classified information. Sasuke, lighten up a bit. You're going to give yourself a heart attack by thirty. That's enough for today, boys. See you at dinner," he finishes, and then grins with his eyes. Sasuke huffs and marches out of the room, gracefully. Naruto is about to turn and leave as well, but Kakashi stops him.
"For future reference, Naruto," he says nonchalantly while looking back at the computer screen and frowning, "It is best not to mess with Sasuke. He's not exactly who he appears to be." Naruto nods, though thoroughly confused, exits and makes his way back to the rec room. He's walking past the large windowed hallway when Kakashi's words hit him. Not exactly who he appears to be. Does that mean physically? If so, how does Kakashi know that Naruto's best friend from his life as a ninja looks exactly like Uchiha? His name is Sasuke. His brain reminds him. No, the boy from this world is named Sasuke. You don't remember the name of your best friend from the ninja world unless you are there.
Kakashi had to mean something else. There is no way he could know…that would be psychic, and no one is psychic. Naruto groaned and gripped his blond hair. Somehow corporeal punishment would be better than the hurt in his brain that Kakashi left. The door to the rec room faced Naruto now, all shiny and silver and he pushes it aside. Many faces all suddenly turn his way, but Naruto is very used to staring. In this world it is no different.
"Come on Naruto," says a friendly-looking woman with long brown hair and porcelain skin, "We're doing introductions! I'm Haku-sensei."
Naruto grins and laughs nervously, "Oh! Nice to meet you, Haku—wait! Haku?"
"It's Haku-sensei, Naruto," says Haku. Obviously, male, Haku.
"Right," Naruto coughs and sits in a chair next to Gaara, who is nearly done removing all of the fresh nail polish. Haku just smiles at Naruto, a kindness in his eyes.
"Go ahead, Deidara," Haku urges a blond student to talk.
"Deidara's turn?" He sits up straighter in his chair, bouncing slightly out of it, "I'm Deidara, un! Um…I like explosions. Hehe. Yeah…."
"And how old are you?" Haku asks.
"I'm a senior here, un! So, I think that makes me….seventeen?"
"Yes, Deidara, you're seventeen. Remember?" Haku asks, and then gestures to the next freak in line. The introductions go on, and Naruto spaces out. Ramen…so delicious. Especially miso. But pork is good. Hell, anything is good in ramen. Clutching his stomach, he imagines a full bowl of ramen, complete with egg, pork cutlets and lots of negi. He can feel the drool falling out of his mouth. That is, until the person sitting to his left kicks him in the shin. Doubling over and clutching the wound, Naruto turns to chew out whoever would dare do such a thing, but what he sees is a unearthly pale face smiling at him.
"You little shit!" the blond exclaims, jumping out of his chair and brandishing a fist.
Naruto-kun," Haku says in a teacherly voice, "Watch your language and take a seat!"
"But Haku, that asshole—"
"Sai," interrupts the boy, grinning even more at the display.
"—Sai, kicked me in the shin!"
"Sai-san did?" Haku seems taken aback. "And that's sensei to you, Naruto-kun."
"I didn't even do anything to him!"
The boy, Sai, grips the sleeve of Naruto's white shirt and leans in to whisper, "I kicked you because you have an incredibly small penis."
"WHAT?!" Naruto looms over Sai, fist fully engaged to strike.
"Boys," Haku warns as harshly as he can, "Do I need to press the red button?" Haku's fingers hover over a bracelet on his left wrist that Naruto just noticed. It is a small black matchbox with a shiny red button protruding from the top. Hell if Naruto knows what the red button is, but it seems ominous, so he plops back into his seat, grumbling.
Luckily, however almost none of the other students were paying attention to the scene that unfolded. At first, the fox boy thought this was very odd, but then he realized that most of them were either spaced out on meds, or just spaced out naturally. Damn. You can probably get away with lots of things at this school. Pranks were already forming in Naruto's mind, bringing a smile back to his face before he caught sight of Sai, still grinning next to him, and he flipped him the bird when Haku was looking at a very ugly student with an apparent permanently hypo-manic state. And a love of the color green. Naruto wanted nothing to do with that guy, but especially he didn't want to know that his name is something like Rockin' Lee. Not that Naruto thinks that is really his name or anything.
Haku rushes through the rest of the interviews, which really aren't very interesting to Naruto. He isn't very good at remembering people's names or faces, anyway. The only notable figures were the boy with the dog obsession, Kiba Inuzuka, Gaara, schizophrenic insomniac, and Shikamaru, genius with dismotivational disorder. The rest were utterly crazy. And that is saying something, as Naruto hallucinates daily and is going to a school for insane people.
So it was noon, and also lunchtime. The cafeteria could either be a fluke or a hit…guessing from the ramen bowl Naruto had when he was in the medical ward, it is going to be a hit. Stepping around the corner and entering the room proved wrong. Naruto sincerely thinks that vegetable mash should be illegal. Cauliflower mash, broccoli mash, potato mash, turnip mash, parsnip mash, carrot mash. Who the hell cooks this shit? The question is answered upon approaching the serving line.
"Hmm, I guess I'll have all of the white mashes," Naruto voices, figuring they will all taste gross anyway.
"My dear boy," a booming voice answers, and it sends shivers up Naruto's spine. "You must surely be in the springtime of your youth to be able to eat so much! I am supremely jealous!"
The man, ugly bowl cut and everything, starts sobbing in large tears and clenching his fist. Naruto stares.
"Can I just get my food?"
"Right boy, youngsters are in such a hurry these days! I must not suppress their energy." The food lands with a splat, a particular large drop landing on Naruto's nose. For some reason the food is heated to above the temperature preferred for consumption, and the heat burns like a bitch.
"Arrghhhhh, ouch! Ouch, ouch, ouch yowch!" Naruto shouts, setting his tray on the runner and waving his hands around his face in a very dramatic fashion. He doesn't notice that someone is standing very close by, and he whacks him in the face, hard. The hand belonging to the face grabs Naruto's failing wrist.
"Cut it out, loser," says a cold voice, "your flailing is pathetic."
Naruto backpedals, wrenching his limb away. "You!"
"What about me?" Sasuke asks, coolly observing and crossing his arms.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Naruto is pointing, rage on his face.
"Getting lunch. The concept is really quite simple." Naruto watched the trail Sasuke's hand makes in the air to illustrate his point, separating from the other arm which is still tucked under his armpits.
"I'm not an idiot, asshole!"
"Gahhhhhh," Naruto grabs at his hair violently before gluing his hands to his food tray and storming to a table at the far end of the cafeteria. The glob of parsnip still clung to his nose.
People in line are staring at Sasuke, but he just shrugs and offers his tray to a shell-shocked cafeteria worker whose nametag reads 'Guy'.
Naruto slides into the bench that faces the window and sucks the food up in his mouth, using it as a vacuum. Soft footsteps behind his back reveal themselves to belong to Gaara, who sits directly across from Naruto.
"What wrong?" He asks in mere disinterest.
"Is that Uchiha guy usually such a dick?"
"Well he certainly wouldn't be yours," says an infuriating voice behind his back.
"Gahhhhhh," Naruto spins around. "Sai!"
"Oh good, you remembered," the boy says, taking the spot on Naruto's left. "That must mean we are friends now."
"What?" Naruto stares. "Why would that mean that?"
"Am I wrong?" Sai asks, bringing a finger to his mouth and looking slightly upset, "I did not read a whole lot about names yet." The blond boy looks at his silent insomniac roommate for explanation, but the redhead continues to crunch passively on a less processed chunk of orange gunk.
"It isn't quite like that," Naruto says, more quietly. He stares at his plate, thinking back to how he would walk home alone every day in Konoha when he was a young child. There was another boy who sat on the dock, and every time he passed by, he and the boy would turn away and 'humph'. But secretly Naruto couldn't help but smile, because he knew that boy was just like him, and that indirectly, they share a bond.
"Very fascinating," Sai voices, examining Naruto's face.
"Don't stare like that," Naruto bites, "it is irritating."
"Okay," Sai says, still smiling.
"What year are you in, Naruto?" Gaara suddenly asks.
"Junior year, why do you ask?"
"I'm a junior, too. You seem younger than me."
Naruto feels like someone just dropped a weight on his head. Why is everyone at this school so socially awkward? No way is he trying to have a proper conversation anymore. They are all insane. Sai just grins at his mashed peas.
The rest of the day consists of a lesson in math. Forty minutes in, Naruto is not paying attention. On his left, Gaara is scribbling away at numbers and letters that seem to move to form a giant question mark when the blond boy examines it further.
"Pst, Gaara," Naruto nudges him, "do you get any of this?"
"Yes, you just—"
"Quiet back there, blondie," Asuma, the math teacher intones, pausing in writing on the whiteboard and then resuming. Naruto sinks his spine further down into the chair. Asuma gives them a mini quiz at the end of class, which Naruto sweats over for ten minutes before scrawling, 'I don't know' on the first answer and handing it in. Asuma says nothing, but grabs a box of cigarettes and sets them on his desk for later.
"Gah, I'm beat," Naruto sighs as Gaara, him and Sai walk out of math class.
"I can help you with the matrices, Naruto," Sai offers, smiling yet again.
"Really?" Naruto asks, eyes shining in worship.
"Yes," Sai continues, "I'm a senior, so I already know this math. It is the highest level they have."
"Ohhhh, no wonder I'm no good at it! Gaara, if you have trouble, too, no need to hide it."
"Actually, I already learned this last year, too. I advanced quickly through the math program…"
"Gaara…." Naruto frowns, tears shining in his eyes, "how could you?" Gaara shrugs and says nothing.
"So, where are we going now?" Naruto wonders out loud.
"Oh, this is our free hour," Gaara replies, striding with purpose. "It is mostly for homework, to be honest, but technically you can do whatever you want. You can also visit any of the student bedrooms that you want to. If people allow you in, of course."
"Can we go to the rec room?" Naruto asks, thinking that it is probably more interesting that hanging out with a bunch of loons. At least he could use something in there to have some fun. They had lots of paint.
"No, we have to stay in the wing with the rooms. Unless you have some business with the counselor."
"Ah, I see." Naruto frowns. This school is rather boring. They must have to keep it pretty low key so that the mentally disturbed can survive here. Naruto imagines that Shikamaru would say something like, 'Homework, such a bother. I'd rather lay on the bench in the hallway and stare out the window.' Naruto snickers as the odd trio approach his and Gaara's room.
"This is us," Gaara says out of necessity to Sai. Sai nods and indicates for us to head inside. They do, and throw the notebooks and folders of papers and pencils that Asuma gave them on the floor. Sai hovers awkwardly in the doorway.
"Hey, ya know," Naruto folds his hands behind his head and narrows his eyes, "I haven't even slept in this place, even though it is my room."
"Why?" Sai tilts his head.
"Doctors," Gaara deadpans, and Naruto shrugs as a response.
"I wouldn't know about that," Sai explains, leaning against the wall that the door is on. "I never need to see the doctors. I don't take medicine, or have emergencies. I just get counseling." Gaara grunts.
"Why is that?" the ninja boy asks.
"They say I'm some sort of…psychopath. That I can't really feel emotions like I should…"
Naruto half falls over. That sure explains a lot. Great. One of the three friends he's made here is a psychopath. Wait until his mother hears about this. But then, something doesn't sit quite right with that explanation. Sai doesn't seem so psychopathic to the blond…he seems more like he was never exposed to emotion. And that he merely never experienced it. Like a perfect assassin.
"Naruto, want to see some of my drawings?" Sai asks, bringing the teenager out of reverie.
"Cool! Sure," Naruto is overly enthusiastic, but also highly interested because Sai doesn't seem the type to draw. He produces a sketchbook from….under his shirt.
"Uhhhh, was that there the whole time?" Naruto asks, pointing slowly.
"Nothing, nothing." God that is weird.
A pale hand clasps the brown cover that states 'acid-free' and lifts the paper to reveal…two boys drawn in a fairly immature, cartoonish fashion. They are holding hands in between the two opposite facing pages, and grinning. The most notable thing, however, is the way they are both dressed in ninja attire. Naruto examines the page, leaning in closely.
"Ah," he exclaims rather sharply, "That is you, isn't it? And…"
"My brother," Sai responds, smiling in the same way he had about twenty times before. It was starting to become very annoying.
"He really doesn't look like you," Gaara voices from the wall where he leans.
"We aren't blood related," the pale boy explains, as if it were obvious.
"Where is he? Can we meet him?" Naruto asks, eagerly.
"He's dead," Sai says through a smile. Naruto seriously wants to punch a hole in the wall. There is a silence for about two minutes in which the blond mental patient probably raises his blood pressure by twenty contemplating. Unluckily for him, the two other occupants in the room seem to be too socially starved to pick up on anything uncomfortable between them.
"So why are you here, anyway, Naruto? If you don't mind me asking." Gaara breaks the silence, moving to sit on his bed.
"Hmm," Naruto pauses, not liking the subject, "I guess you could say…I live in two different universes. This one…and another one."
"That is impossible," the older psychopath intones, "there is only one universe."
"Of course! I'm not an idiot. I can't remember the other universe very well when I'm in this one. And vice versa."
"Fascinating," Gaara replies coolly, examining the fox boy. Naruto frowns, and scratches the back of his head. Suddenly, the sound of a bunch of male voices cheering wafts over from the wall next to Naruto's bed. Someone is also banging on the floor, apparently.
"I wonder what they are doing," Sai asks, staring as if he can see through walls.
"Sounds fun, let's go see."
Gaara follows the two taller boys with a grunt, and soon they are knocking on a door that sports a brown paw print on the front. The whooping from inside stops and a beat later, the door opens to reveal a brown-haired boy with sharp features and a white dog on his left hip.
"Who is it?" Asks a confident, feminine voice from inside.
"That knew kid," the boy shouts over his shoulder, "the blond guy. Also, Sai and Gaara."
"Go ahead, Kiba," says a calm, deeper voice, "let them in."
"You guys wanna come in?" the boy, Kiba, asks excitedly, bouncing as if he were a dog wagging its tail.
One blond teenager voices his consent, and the trio enter to find a horde of teenagers gathered on every available surface. Actually, it was all teenage boys except for a girl who is probably the most beautiful female specimen Naruto has ever seen besides his mom. She has the most beautifully shiny, long hair that he is sure to ever exist. Her eyes are also an entrancing glitering ruby. Her skin looks smooth like a sea shell. Naruto didn't realize he was staring and drooling until Kiba started to punch him in the arm.
"Snap out of it, blondie," the dog boy whispers, "or she will sock you one."
Naruto shakes his head violently and looks to Kiba. "I'm Naruto. And who is she?"
"I'm Bushido Karin," the confident, feminine voice from before says, appearing at Naruto's left arm. "I don't believe we've met yet."
"Stop drooling, blondie," Kiba elbows Naruto in the gut from his right side on the bench of the cafeteria where they are sitting for dinner. It turns out Kiba and his gang of friends are really awesome, and Kiba must have felt the same about Naruto because the group merged to sit together. Gaara seemed to already know two of the students that were there, Temari and Kankuro, and is currently sitting between them. Sai finally un-glued himself from Naruto's side and is sitting to Karin's right, asking a suspicious amount of questions to her. The ninja boy in question, however, was fully absorbed in staring fondly at the red haired beauty. Everything about her is just…
"I'm not drooling, you dog," Naruto bites back, briefly glancing away from his person of interest. When he glances back, though, she is staring at something across the cafeteria with a very similar expression to the one Naruto was sporting. Said blue-eyed boy follows her train of vision until he sees the only thing in that direction. Sitting alone at a table. Staring at nothing. Uchiha Sasuke. That bastard even steals the one thing he was beginning to enjoy about this dump! There is no mistaking the sigh, casual adjusting of hair and longing stares that Karin is letting off in that jerk's vicinity. The ninja boy finishes his last bite of dry meatloaf and stands up to go put his tray in the bins, which are unfortunately close to the staff tables.
Walking and glaring, Naruto examines the Uchiha for qualities that he may possess over him. Why would Karin like a bastard like him, but take little notice of Naruto? Maybe it is the harsh lines between his eyebrows, rendering his expression surly and sour. Maybe it is the way his hair sticks out in a stupid way. Maybe it is the way he is four years older than them, and a teacher. Karin must have a thing for teachers. Maybe it is the way he picked out the tomatoes from the hamburger and gently toys with them in his mouth, savoring each one like he can never get another. For some reason, watching the scene makes Naruto want to punch him. Quite a lot. Actually, he just might do it.
But then, the blond boy catches the eye of a silver haired man behind a mask, who waves and grins with his eye. The grin somehow irks Naruto enough to distract him from his violent feelings. He tosses his tray into the soapy bin and stomps back to Kiba's table, where he plops down and acts childish and rude the rest of the evening.
He barely speaks to Gaara when they go back to their rooms, but when he drifts off to sleep, there are people waiting. One in particular was kidnapped, and possibly dead. But Naruto will not give up. That is his way of the ninja.
Okay, little to none Sasuke/Naruto interaction in this chapter. It was really more of a filler if anything. I have to establish how this school will be. Next chapter, though, there will be deliciously awkward and heated encounters between our two completely opposite ninja. The Naruto/Karin is a necessary evil. I don't bash, though. I hope you enjoyed! Or at least, I hope you read enough to stick it out for the next chapter when things get good. REVIEW? Please.