The characters in Naruto do not belong to me, but to their original creator.
'DVNO' by Justice belongs to the band, and not to me.
Disney Channel doesn't belong to me either.
All opinions described by the characters do not depict my personal opinions, they are for the characters only, and whatever relation there is to the real world is strictly coincidental.
Any similarities in this plot, to another plot, is coincidental as well, and I apologize for any "unoriginality".
Constructive criticism is welcome, and I don't mind if you point out any part of the following story that confuses you, or that you (as the audience) believe should be altered.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy Chapter One to 'North Academy for Hybrids'. Welcome to your new school.

'North Academy for Hybrids'

By: GaaraFox

Chapter I: Ignorance Isn't Bliss, Denial Is

"Now stick out your tongue, and say 'Ahh'."

I mentally glared at the annoying nurse in front of me, but regardless of the fact that I didn't want to be here, I followed her order.

"Ahh. . ." Internally I rolled my eyes, using all the energy I had just to keep my sweet fa├žade up. To be honest, I'm not sure why I'm suddenly enraged by the idea of having to be in the nurse's office; I just am.

"Okay, you can close your mouth." The nurse held a smile, but the dark circles under her eyes told a different story. "Tell me again, what happened?" Her bright - yet dark - plump, face enlightened with curiosity.

I sighed with a hint of frustration, "I fell asleep in class, and when Amanda tried to wake me up, I was startled, so I scratched her."

". . .you scratched her. . ?" Her eyebrows forced themselves into an uncomfortable scrunch.

"Yes." I folded my arms stubbornly and internally pouted, this whole thing was just silly, it wasn't that big of a deal that I reacted in such a way. Besides, she shouldn't have woken me up; it was always Algebra II - or any sort of math class - that caused my anger to bubble.

"Hmm. . ." I had a slight notion as to what she might be leaning towards, but I quickly pushed that theory aside as preposterous. "And how do you feel?"

'I hate repeating myself. . .' I shrugged. "Right now I feel fine."

For a moment she seemed distracted that I was leaning away from her hasty conclusion, so she cut to the chase in order to fuel her anxiety. "How about earlier?"

"Well. . . earlier, before I fell asleep, I was a little dizzy and had a slight headache."

"Hmm. . ." She made the same annoying hum that most people use when they're thinking, or just trying really hard to annoy someone.

"But it's not that big of a deal," I quickly added in, "Just allergies."

The nurse, a middle-aged, warm, and somewhat fluffy woman (the students were to respectfully call her Mrs. Florelock) walked over to the side of her desk, and began picking through a tall filing cabinet.

She ignored my reasonable proposition, and preoccupied herself with historical documents of whatever was in those cabinets. I swung my feet nervously as I waited on top of the brown patient's bed, which had fresh white paper pulled across it. Moving my feet caused the paper to make a crinkling noise, but at least it kept the awkward silence some where else.

Mrs. Florelock pulled out a few documents, making the same thinking sound, and then put them away. Then, she grabbed a brand new folder, and looked at me with curious eyes, "What was your name again?"

"Sakura, Sakura Haruno." I pretended to smile, and I felt as if it was a little more obvious than I'd intended. But I didn't mind my disrespectful behavior, because I had a good indication as to what she was doing, and her actions were a good enough reason for my chilly barrier.

"Right." She took a sharpie and wrote my name on the folder, then she sat at her desk and pulled a few blank documents out, dusting them off first. She began filling in a few of the blanks, (the format of the documents were similar to ones I'd seen in Junior High) but then looked back at me from her desk. "What else have you been feeling lately?"

I internally sighed, "A little dizzy, uhm. . . headaches ever once and a while. . . but it's October, and I always feel like this in the middle of October."

She sarcastically raised her eyebrows while looking back down at the document in front of her, "Well," She began, ignoring my continuous efforts to drive her away from that one psychotic reason for my sudden illness, "If you feel anything else, let me know; don't hide it. Anything weird, anything at all, even if it seems like it's just allergies,"

"I can assure you, Mrs. Florelock, that I'm not a late. . ." My voice caught in my throat, and I couldn't seem to say the word that would finish such a simple sentence, with a not so simple meaning.

"I understand that this is difficult for you, but we have to keep an eye on anything that's out of the ordinary. We all know that it's rare, but that doesn't mean it's completely impossible." She tried to sympathize for me, but her pity ran dry and didn't seem strong enough for my arctic wall.

For a moment, it didn't seem so absurd. . . I could feel the blood draining from my face and the rest of my body, and I subtly allowed myself to realize that it could happen. I really could be taken away from the comfort of San Arcos High School, and sent to that boarding school. . .

"Don't worry about it too much," Mrs. Florelock tried to reassure me with another one of her smiles, and a nonchalant shrug, "'North Academy for Hybrids' is a lovely boarding school where you'd make all new life long friends."

I noticed that my gaze had drifted to the floor, so I quickly snapped my head up to meet her observant yet uncomfortably boring eyes, "But I don't want to make new friends," My voice almost choked again with sudden emotion, "I like where I live now!"

Mrs. Florelock looked at me for little while, analyzing me inside and out, I suppose, and then looked down at her desk to scribble a few more notes.

This time, I purposely allowed my eyes to roll, and jumped off the victim's table. I swiftly grabbed my hall pass off of her desk, and stomped out the door without another word. She didn't seem interested in saying anything else, I guess, and even if she was, I was too upset to even care to listen.

After what seemed like an hour of marching at an accelerated pace to my locker, I decided to simmer down. I hadn't noticed how tightly my fists were clenched, so I shook them to let the tension seep out, and even cringed a little when I recognized deep fingernail indentions in my palms. The volcanic agitation that was sweeping through me earlier was now non-existent, so I took advantage of this new apathetic persona, and breezed down the halls. Every once and a while I'd analyze my palms and scrunch my eyebrows in passive frustration, but didn't allow the negativity to take over me completely.

Suddenly, I jumped and analyzed my surroundings in paranoia when the bell rang, forgetting for a moment what it was. But soon I felt silly for getting scared over such a routine sound, so I shook my head, and began continually hitting my forehead. 'I can't allow this to take over me, it's not happening! It's too late for a junior in high school to show symptoms!' But of course - no matter how delicious denial tasted - I knew that wasn't true, and even Mrs. Florelock knew that it was extremely rare to show signs of becoming a hybrid, but not impossible.

I sighed, and tried to relax every part of my body, but my nerves stayed tangled up in bunches. 'It's still probably allergies. . .'

Teens all around me rushed, pushed, and zig-zagged through the halls, excited that school was finally over for the day. As a way to keep my mind off of the current situation, I decided to eavesdrop on the conversations around me. I could hear plans for the weekend, about how some were going to the movies, and others were going to parties. Some were even just going to stay home and study, like me. . . but with a bit of sulking involved.

I finally arrived at my locker, and took out my messenger bag that I'd dropped off before heading over to the nurse. 'I won't need this. . . I need this. . . I won't need this. . .' I organized the debris and books in my locker as I mentally calculated what was necessary for the weekend study party with myself.

"Hey Sakura!" Without warning, my heart accelerated behind its frail cage, and I jumped higher than I thought possible.

"Damnit, Amanda, don't do that!" I breathed out a sigh I hadn't realized I was holding, and mentally noted -without looking - that I chipped a nail on my locker.

She giggled, apparently not phased by the idea that I had scratched her today in Algebra II. "So. . . what happened?" Amanda raised her eyebrows in curiosity.

I scratched the back of my head, and leaned against the locker, "Oh, you know, allergies. . ." I shrugged, rolling my eyes away from her in order to not make eye contact, and turned back around to my locker.

I heard her sigh behind me, and I hoped that she wasn't thinking what I was thinking. "It's painfully obvious what's going on, this isn't something you can hide from me." Unlike the nurse, the sympathy laced in her words were real.

'Damn. . .' "Know what?" I asked curiously - still facing my locker - trying to seem as if I had no idea what she was talking about.

"Sakura, you never were a good actress. . ." 'That's besides the subject. . . And thanks for reminding me. . . jerk.' "My brother is in eighth grade, and he goes to-"

"Look," I turned around sharply, ready to push everything aside and forget about it, "I'm not a. . ." My voice caught in my throat again, like a spider's web, and I couldn't find it in me to say it.

She eyed me for a few minutes, ". . .hybrid. . ?"

I cringed at the thought, and shook my head, disgusted, "Yeah, that. . . I'm just sick, okay? Just like any other normal human being, so please just forget about whatever crazy accusations you have in mind!"

"Hmm. . ." I internally growled at that familiar, annoying habit, but soon stopped myself because the sound erupting from my chest was a little too real. "Okay, whatever you say." She shrugged, and I felt that she was speaking honestly, and that maybe she would just let me live in my fantasy world.

A laugh collided with one of my sighs, and I playfully rolled my eyes. "Look, I don't feel like doing anything major this weekend, so I'll just see you on Monday." 'Hopefully.'

Amanda smiled a cocky smile, but took me seriously enough to understand my situation, "Alright, I'll see you then." Then she spun around gracefully, but then suddenly turned back around as a mental note struck her, "Oh, and if you need any help on that Algebra II work, just call me, okay?" I actually had a real giggle this time, and allowed it freedom for a few seconds before she turned back around, and skipped down the hall, letting her long, dirty blonde hair follow.

When she was gone, my smile faded, and I turned back towards my locker to begin subtly hitting my head against it. Not in such a way to give myself a headache (not that I didn't already have one) or provide any permanent damage, but just enough to keep any annoying thoughts out of my mind. One logical thought that snuck in, was the fact that I wasn't going to tell Mother about my little adventure today to the nurse's office. But I really wouldn't doubt it if Mrs. Florelock decided to bring it upon herself to call her.

A small part inside of me held onto the idea that maybe she wouldn't, but logically I knew she already did (or was planning to later this evening) since it was standard procedure to let the parents know.

When I finished grabbing everything I needed I slammed my locker shut, clasping the lock into its proper position. At least on my walk home, I could get some alone time to think things through.

When I made it outside, the cool air suddenly pounced on me and clung to my clothing, fighting away every bit of warmth I stored up from being inside the cozy school all day. 'Okay, first things first,' I had to get the rhythm of my feet set in a continuous, fluid motion. . . left, right, left, right. 'Expand the lungs, then suppress them,' I'm still breathing, so that's typically a good sign, and I have everything with me, including all of my limbs.

Let's go back to the beginning. . . 'When was the first time I heard of North Academy for Hybrids?' Well, it must have been sometime before Junior High, because everyone entered Junior High already knowing about it. It was probably in elementary (when we were first notified) when Joseph had all the symptoms of becoming a hybrid. I remember he was in my block class (we only had three classes to change to in elementary, so you would have the same classmates with you everyday) and there was one day where he hissed at the teacher for scolding him over his peculiar behavior. Another day, he came to school and his eyes suddenly had a darker haze to them.

Then, before I knew it, he was no longer in any of my classes. None of the teachers informed us on where he went, why, or what was going on with him. All they ever said to us, was that he was being transferred to a new school. . . a school that was meant for him. When the last day of sixth grade finally arrived (two other students were missing from our small school), they decided to officially make it mandatory that the teachers inform us of what was going on.

I recall that day very clearly. . . They gathered all of the sixth graders in the cafeteria and handed us pamphlets about North Academy for Hybrids, and told us that this school was meant for children, teens, and young adults that had the ability to morph into an animal. Of course, I didn't really believe them at first, and I tried to make it a joke with some of the other students, but they all believed the teachers. Some actually seemed fascinated, others were bored, or already knew what was going on, and even raised their hands to tell stories about their brothers, sisters, and parents that had this "gift". One of our teachers even brought in her twenty-two year old son, and right before our eyes, he gracefully jumped into the air as a human, but circulated the room as a bald eagle. His powerful wings pulsated and continually beat the air with rhythmic beauty until he finally finished his lap around the cafeteria, and landed on the back of an empty chair that was set on stage.

All around me I could feel the students that were bored, suddenly getting excited and fascinated, and the ones that were already fascinated, became jealous. 'What was wrong with them. . .?' I recall thinking that day.

I, on the other hand, was struck in a moment of horror and indecisiveness. Should I become joyous like the others, and waste my life in envy over something so petty? Or should I crawl away into a stupor egg, and lay incubated in denial?

Of course, I'm sure by now you know the path in which I chose, and I followed this path for a specific reason. Mainly because I'd grown up in San Arcos High School, and I wasn't ready to leave it and allow myself to be thrown into a different environment with new challenges. That would mean that I'd have to start all over again, and make new friends. Plus, I'd have to leave my lonely mother at home while I stayed at North Academy, since it was a boarding school.

These weren't the conditions I was wanting to start Junior High in, but I knew that if it did happen, there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

Back in reality, I jolted upright as a chilly water droplet made its mark on my nose. I dropped my gaze back down to the ground, and watched my legs take turns as they allowed me to make my way down the sidewalk. 'Almost there, to a warm, cozy bed.' I mentally noted, pulling my sleeves to my jacket around me as tight as possible, and went back to my daydreaming.

I recall seventh grade as being one of the most chaotic years of my life, mainly because there were wild children everywhere - literally. One moment we'd be testing over a science exam, and the next, someone would stand up in confused fury, and throw a desk across the room! I also began recognizing students in the hallways with darker tints in their eyes, ranging from yellow, to red, and even to completely black. The nurse's office was always full, and anyone who began showing these strange signs, would have their history put into a file and recorded for later evidence - just as the nurse had done to me, which is why the documents were familiar.

Eventually, I completely stopped going to the nurse's office, because I was always afraid that they might send me to that school. For a moment, I giggled, because I suddenly recalled the analogy I'd made in Junior High. This new "gift" was like the Plague. . . a slow, but lethal disease that seemed to effortlessly take out its victims. From the moment I thought of that in Junior High, I decided to continually consider it a disease, and somehow I was immune. . .

And that's how today's problem began, because I became enraged, and refused to go to the nurse's office after waking up and scratching Amanda. (Which I still think isn't that big of a deal.)

Although, somewhere deep within myself, I couldn't help but step outside of my body and try to analyze what I looked like to everyone else. On the outside, I looked like I was having symptoms of becoming a Hybrid, but on the inside, I stayed within a protective shell. 'Nothing is wrong with me. . .' Besides, it should be too late, right? Everyone did explain how puberty was the breaking point, and that it was the final indicator of whether or not you'd become a. . . hybrid. Entering High School was supposed to be my stress reliever, because then I officially knew it would never ever happen.

I sighed once again, and looked up at the familiar blue house that had always been my home since I was born. I frowned; I didn't want a new home, anywhere. . . I just wanted to stay here, with my loving Mother.

Finally I shook my head (a pathetic attempt to remove the thoughts from my mind) and made my way up the driveway, and to the front door that was conveniently unlocked.

"Sakura? Is that you?" A familiar voice rang from the kitchen.

"Nope, it's the boogeyman." I smiled, and even allowed myself to snicker as I heard my mother's playful and sarcastic laugh.

I walked passed the living room, and turned to go up the stairs that curved - slightly - up to the second floor where my cozy lair awaited me. When I made it down the hall to my destination, I kicked my door open, knowing that I'd always left it cracked, and stalked inside. This was the only place I was allowed to have horrible posture, and unlady-like manners. It was my domain, and my sanctuary.

I spotted my bed, 'Only a few feet away. . !' And marched towards it, throwing my messenger bag off into the corner, and plopping myself down onto the comfortable, unmade sheets. I wasn't the type of person who was bothered by the fact that the sheets and comforter were the same way as they were when I left for school. . . actually, I preferred it that way.

A hidden sigh escaped my chest, and I curled myself into a ball, keeping my torso in a comfortably warm position while I kicked off my shoes, using my toes. Today was not only physically and mentally exhausting, but emotionally exhausting as well.

My thoughts lingered on simple moments, like how Jake - in my World History class - turned around and asked to borrow a pencil. It wasn't just that he turned around and asked me for a pencil, it was the fact that he took his time, and carefully allowed the words to slip off of his perfect lips. It was the fact that he looked me in the eyes, like I was a normal human being - which I am. . .

It was also the fact that Samantha was glaring at me from her faithful spot on his left, and that he didn't even take the time to ask her if she had a pencil. Which, she probably didn't, because she had the annoying habit of using pens and then chewing on them. Yeah, uhh. . . Ew.

Somewhere between forgetting my troubles, and fantasizing about Jake's perfect lips, I fell into one of those deep, yet light, slumbers. It was as if my conscious wouldn't allow me to go to sleep, but my physical being was anxious for some 'Z's. It was a little strange how I knew I was sleeping, and yet I was still aware of everything around me, like the phone ringing. . .

"Hello?" I heard my mother's distant voice from the living; she was probably watching one of her evening shows by now.

"Yes, this is Mrs. Haruno."

The smile in her voice was evident.

"Oh, is she alright?"

Now there was obvious concern.


Whoever was calling must've interrupted her.

"Are you sure that's reasonable, I mean, it is October-"

Another interruption. . . I knew I earned my logical mindset from my Mother.

"Right. I understand."

And her words meant exactly that.

"Yes. . . No, there's no history. . ."

At least there was none that I knew of.

"Most certainly."

Somewhere in my deep conscious mind, I laughed.

"Oh, of course, and thank you. . . Yes, you too, bye."

Then it was over, and my senses finally gave in, and faded into a dark curtain that enveloped them until they would once again be needed.

~ - ~ - ~

"Hn. . ." I warily scrunched my eyebrows, and scratched my crusty eyes, while I stifled a yawn as it came up from within my chest. My head was nestled into the depths of my elbow while my forearm held my feather pillow close to my cheek. I tightened all of my muscles, and then let them loose as I stayed within the same curled up ball I'd collapsed into earlier that evening.

Slowly, my eyes cracked open, and steadily focused on the light shade of blue on my wall. 'What time is it?' I inquired curiously to myself.

I began moving my arm out from under my pillow, but soon realized that when I went to turn, I had a crick in my neck. It held a light burn on the inner contours of my neck, but in time I eventually sat up, and gently began massaging it with my free hand.

When the pain subsided to a bearable state, I looked down at myself, and realized that I not only felt horrible, but I looked horrible too. Mysteriously, my blanket from the end of my bed was pulled over me, and I realized that Mother must've come in to check on me. Although I was refreshed with falling asleep early, I couldn't push aside the hammer that knocked away within my noggin. Also, there was a new feeling in my chest, and it sort of felt like I had butterflies in my heart. I knew that the only guy I liked was Jake, (the cutest guy in school that would only notice me for a pencil) but I didn't like him enough for my heart to flutter.

Actually, it wasn't the same type of heart fluttering you'd feel when you became utterly obsessed with someone, it was something different. . .

I shook my head slightly, and eventually pushed the blanket aside, and forced my legs to the edge of the bed, thankful that I'd fallen asleep with my jacket on. It was still chilly, even in our warm home, and I loved sleeping cold, but right now it was a little frustrating.

When I glanced at the clock it read "2:24 A.M.", 'Wow. . . Nine hours. . . That's not so bad.' The only bad part, was that now I was stuck with this new sleeping schedule. The kind where you go to bed early, get enough sleep, but then wake-up early because you're not tired anymore. It was slightly annoying, but I shrugged - mainly because of the cold - and decided to walk around for bit.

I held my arms together tightly, and scrunched my toes together in my socks as I made my way out of my room and down the stairs. They squeaked at a low volume in the day time, but at night, everything seemed intensified. I walked passed the living room, and made it safely to the kitchen, scanning the cabinets and imagining what would be in them. I tested each piece of food in my mind, but nothing seemed to stand out.

Finally, I settled for an apple on the counter, and took a bite-

I turned my head quickly, wincing at the pain in my neck, but ignored that to listen for the strange sound that just occurred. It sounded as if one of the aluminum trashcans in our front yard fell over. . . 'Probably those annoying raccoons or opossums. . .' I tried to shake it off, but the same sound came again, except this time it lasted longer, and sounded slightly farther away.

I looked in the living room, slowly making my way towards the curtain closed window that was next to the front door. My instincts told me to go to bed and pretend like nothing happened, but my curiosity won in that useless tug-o-war, and I decided to peak outside.

As lightly as I could, I lifted one side of the curtain, trying to conceal myself as much as possible. My breathing became slow and steady, and it made small circles of perspiration on the dark window. I analyzed the outside world, as a feeble wall stood in between us, and tried to make shapes out of the darkness. It was like a black ocean, and the only light was the gorgeous glow of the full moon as it peered through insignificant clouds.

I sighed, feeling silly for thinking there was anything out there, so I pulled my head out of the dark world and stepped away from the curtains. I took another bite of my apple, and was about to turn around and go back to bed, until the same screeching noise erupted from outside. 'How many times are those animals going to knock over the trash cans?'

This time I was fully intent on knowing what little animal was out there, because at least maybe I could scare it off. . .

With a bit of braveness and delirium stored up inside me, I briskly walked to the door, but steadily opened it. A cool breeze drifted into the warmth of my home, and challenged to take over, but I refused it by stepping outside and closing the door behind me. I felt a shiver run through my body as my eyes adjusted to the lack of light outside, and my feet even shivered within the thin fabric that were my socks.

It was much colder than it should've been in October, but that was probably because I wasn't used to going out so late. I peered across our front lawn, our drive way, and finally gazed at the long streak of black that was my home's street. Everything was painfully still, yet the wind somehow managed to move my hair in small wisps around my head. My teeth chattered as I hugged myself even tighter, gripping the apple fiercely in my hand, and hoping that my shivering would produce enough heat to warm me up.

'How strange. . .' My gaze landed on our trash cans that were at the end of our driveway, and they were still upright. They hadn't moved at all from their original position. . . So where was that sound coming from?

I looked around at our neighbor's trashcan, but it was too dark to see if they were over on the ground or still standing. Either way, I could've sworn ours had been knocked over. . .

A low, eerie clanking sound gently jingled from across the street, but my eyes weren't focused enough to see that far into the black ocean. It seemed now, like a cry, but logically it sounded like aluminum trashcans hitting each other. I squinted my eyes, failing miserably, yet holding onto the bit of false hope I had stored.

With one step at a time, I edged my way down the sidewalk, all the while keeping my eyes on the spot across the street where I'd heard the sound.

I stopped in my tracks, my eyes now wide and my mouth agape as I gazed at my neighbor's house. The chilly wind picked up, and a wave of fear forced me to shiver. I didn't keep my eyes off of the two crimson orbs that seemed to float in midair, almost as if they didn't have an owner.

Unfortunately, they did, and the tall dark figure was hunched over in a predator-like stance. I couldn't tell if it was a man, a woman, or something else. . . All I knew, was that it stood on both back legs, and kept its arms in front of itself, as if waiting to grab something out of the air.

The screech cried out longer this time, and I finally realized that it was coming from the creature across the street. I wanted to be afraid of whatever it was, but something inside me repeatedly told me not to scream, and that I shouldn't feel any fear. The low cry screeched into a bass, but soon lifted up to a high note. My body involuntarily shivered once more, and I felt a pang of sympathy cloud my heart as it continuously fluttered.

Soon, it changed, and the figure across the street erupted a menacing growl that ripped from its throat and into the air. I stepped back, not sure if I should run back inside or crawl into the fetal position and pretend to be dead. Either way, the stranger from the other side eventually decided to lower itself on all fours, and then began running in my direction.

I took a few more steps back, wide-eyed and confused. My breath caught in my throat and I wasn't sure how to scream anymore. Eventually the beast picked up speed and bared its teeth and claws, jumping into the air straight for me. . . the sound of my apple hitting the cool concrete resonated like an atomic bomb. . . the piercing red of its eyes was the last thing I saw. . .

~ - ~ - ~

My eyes shot open and I gasped in a lungful of air, expanding it as far as I could, almost as if I'd been drowning and I finally reached the surface. Slowly, I deflated my lungs, and then inhaled them once again, trying to slow my racing heart. Sweat seeped out of my pores on my temples, and I sat up, glancing around my room, reluctant that the sun was shining through the window so brightly.

'I guess I didn't sleep as long as I'd thought. . .' I put one hand on my heart, and slowly my lips formed into a smile as I began laughing as I thought back on my dream, imagining how real it had been.

There was a light tap at my door that made me jump for a moment, but once again I laughed and shook my head. "Come in." I called, and I was surprised at how raspy my voice sounded.

Mother peeked her head into my room, "You awake, sleepy head?" She smiled and entered all the way, pushing the door open.

"Yeah," I yawned and stretched my arms, zipping off my jacket as I waved my hands towards my face, surprised at the sudden intensity of the heat. "Why is it so warm?"

She shrugged, walking towards the window and pulling the curtains open; my eyes squinted at the new, vast amount of light. "I don't know," She replied, smiling at me. "So what do you want to do today?"

I shrugged as well, "I'm not sure. . . When's dinner?" I inquired as I placed a hand on my ravenous stomach.

One of her eyebrows raised in perplexity, "Don't you want breakfast first?" She laughed.

"Breakfast. . ? What time is it?" I quickly turned to my clock in sudden confusion, and it read "10:03 A.M." 'Wow. . . I guess I did sleep longer than I thought. . .' ". . .today is Saturday, right?"

Mother examined my bewildered facial expression, and laughed a melodic tune. "Yes sweety, today is Saturday." She continued to laugh as I breathed a sigh of relief.

"I guess I was just so tired from yesterday-" Quickly I stopped myself before I brought up yesterday's events, but Mother's can always sense when you're hiding something strange from them. She eyed me curiously, but being the wonderful mother she is, decided to push it aside as a confidential file.

"Well," She began, striving to change the awkward atmosphere, "first we can eat, and then we can go shopping. . ?" She let the end lightly drift as a way of building suspension.

Suddenly I lit up and sat up straight, "Shopping?" She laughed once again at my expression, but now it was eccentric. Most girls (not all, because I stray from being stereotypical) love to go shopping, and I'm one of the "most" who strive to be on top of the fashion ladder, but also pity themselves for being so vain.

'Tis a complex world we live in, where we know that we should be kind to others and give to those who are less fortunate, and yet we can't help but feed the greedy demon lurking within us. Kindness was something I was good at, but it was also something I should work on. . . Plus, I needed to learn how to hold onto money, instead of letting it go every time I saw a really cute outfit. (They might not have it the next time I go!)

Mother turned around and began walking towards the door, but soon faced me as if she originally came in to tell me something, but had been distracted, "I made eggs and bacon, so get cleaned up and come eat." She then gave me one last smile, and left.

Once she was gone, I jumped out of bed, feeling a wave of excitement flood my veins. I then ran to the bathroom that was across the hallway, and quickly peeled off my twenty-four hour clothes, and jumped into the shower once it was comfortably warm. I began massaging my scalp with coconut shampoo, letting the warm water wash away all of my anxiety from the previous day.

Any sort of internal pain I'd felt yesterday, whether it was emotional or physical, was suddenly silenced by my long period of sleep. The water was also a sort of therapy that allowed the bunches of nerves in my body to smoothly untangle themselves. My heart fluttered at my excitement once again, reminding me of the dream I had, but the flutter wasn't the same as it was from my dream.

The sudden reminder brought back the piercing, blood red eyes that seemed intent on. . . Whatever its intentions were. Whether those intentions were to cause harm to me, or not, I still couldn't push aside the fierceness of the creature's persona. Dedication was evident to whatever it was, and like myself, whenever I become dedicated and focused on anything, I don't stop until I get it.

That very thought made me shiver under the warm droplets. . . Now I was beginning to feel thankful it was just a dream.

My shower daydreaming came to an end as I finished washing myself, and turned off the water, squeezing out the remainder of it from my medium-length pink hair. I quickly pulled aside the curtain and grabbed a towel, wrapping it around my shivering body to dry off the remaining droplets.

Suddenly I once again remembered what I was going to do today, so I urgently ran back across the hallway to my room, throwing clothes around in order to figure out what to wear. Finally I settled on some skinny jeans and a thin yellow shirt, and yellow and white flats. I looked around my room, combing out my hair as I picked up little things to put in my purse, and finally grabbed my jacket (just in case). I ran down the curved staircase and allowed my mouth to water at the enticing scent of today's breakfast.

At last, I took at seat at the dining table that was in the kitchen, but placed into an indention in the wall that proudly held bay windows. The sunlight streamed passed the clouds and through the thin glass that enhanced the ray's beauty, making my breakfast seem all the more glorious. My stomach growled in an anticipation, and I munched merrily.

"What would you like to drink?" Mother asked sweetly.

"Milk, please." I smiled as a bit of yoke stained my two front teeth.

I watched her as she seemed to skip to the fridge and take out the milk, pouring me a glass, and then handing it to me, "There you go, sweety." She smiled again, but this time I didn't miss her second meaning to everything.

"Thank you," I grinned back, and watched her from the corner of my eye as she hesitantly analyzed my every move.

'Yup, it was the nurse that called last night. . .' Now I could clearly see how the call was affecting her, and I can catch fragile hints of the way her movements shake and then recalculate themselves, as if she's thinking intently on every action she performs.

"Finished?" She asked, after she became tired of walking around the kitchen, acting like she was preoccupying herself with just about anything. I nodded my head and wiped my mouth with the napkin she gave me, and then placed it on the plate. I picked up my purse and jacket again, and headed for the front door after she finished rinsing off my plate.

When I walked outside, memories from my dream flooded back, and I looked across the street, expecting to see a tall, dark figure there. Of course, there was nothing, so I sighed and held my jacket in my arms, fidgeting with the fabric to distract myself. Mother came a few moments later, locking the door behind her, and heading for the car that she probably pulled out from the garage earlier.

She got in and was about to close the door when she suddenly remembered something, "Oh, Sakura, could you get the mail please?"

"Sure," I smiled, and she returned it, and then closed the door and started the car.

My body seemed awake, but my mind was still in a light haze; it seemed as if I was drifting across clouds when I was making my way to the mail box. I passed the aluminum trash cans, but stopped when I almost reached my destination, because something had caught my eye. Taking a few steps back, I peered into one of the cans, and saw a half eaten apple lying innocently on top of the trashed garbage. My heart accelerated and my blood pumped feverishly as I continued to stare at the sudden reality check.

Nothing seemed to make sense at that moment, and I gasped when Mother honked the horn. Suddenly she was idle in the street, waiting for me as the car purred in anticipation. I hadn't realized my hands were shaking, and that my knees were slightly buckling, but regardless of all the new worries I felt, I pushed it aside and forced myself to move and retrieve the mail.

'I'm not going to let this take control. . . There's nothing wrong with me. . .' It felt wonderful to think those words, but the continuous lying was rubbing raw like sand paper on my nerves.

"Are you alright?" Mother looked at me intently with concern and maybe even a drop of fear; I suppose I'm not a good actress after all. . .

"I'm fine," I nodded my head with a smile and pulled my seatbelt on when she drove forward.

The ride to the mall didn't take but maybe fifteen to twenty minutes, depending on traffic, and I turned up the radio because I wasn't going to allow any awkward silences. Whenever I saw her look over at me through the corner of my eye, I'd pretend to mumble the words to the song on the radio, even if I didn't know it. I kept my eyes peeled on the world outside the window next to me, and continuously checked through my peripheral vision if she was looking over at me, but tried to keep it evident that I wasn't in the mood for talking.

Finally we arrived at the mall, and I quickly got out of the car to escape the distressing atmosphere. Mother was next to get out, and she soon followed right behind me after she locked the car.

'Just forget about everything, and do something fun for once!' I agreed with myself that that's what was best for me, and the first store I was intent on going to, was Forever XXI.

"I think I know where we're going." I heard Mother from behind me, and she had a smile in her voice as if she could read my mind.

We entered the retro, glimmering, slightly punk store when 'DVNO' by Justice started playing on the sound system. I smiled mischievously, and Mother had to almost run to keep up with me as I skimmed passed all of the racks of clothing.

"I'm going over here while you run around!" I laughed and said okay as she made her way to a couch that sat next to the dressing rooms.

Alright, so the whole new look I was wanting had to be something almost scene, but more towards retro, sort of like 'Family Force 5''s new look on their album 'Dance Or Die'. Also, I recall an issue of Seventeen magazine where they had a section dedicated to the latest fashion do's-and-don'ts, and one of the positive clothing articles, was those small vest things. At first I shied away from them, slightly annoyed that I could like something that a bunch of annoying Disney Channel stars were wearing, but eventually they warmed up to me, and now I was imaging (practically every morning) how my outfit would look if I did have one.

I scanned the store while slowing my pace so I wouldn't look like a desperate thief looking for something to steal, and then began breathing again. To make my desperate attempt to look natural even more convincing, I smiled at everyone I walked passed. It was casual communication, and one young, brunette girl, even smiled back at me.

Sometimes I wondered if I might have some sort of medical condition that includes having a lot of energy, but I've strayed from that perspective, especially since I'm not always hyper. I did enjoy the occasional five hundred page book, and poetry was even exciting, although rare for me. There are even moments where I'll steal my mother's old acoustic guitar that sits under the stairs (covered in dust) because I have a sudden affinity to play.

Just like my mother, I'm mainly calm and serene, living life day by day as slowly as possible so that I can capture every amazing moment. Such as right now, 'Should I get the plain colored one, or the sparkly one with those weird circles?' So maybe Mother and I did have a few differences, and maybe we did have a few disagreements, but nonetheless, she's my Mother and I love her.

Once again I became perky, realizing that the plain white one was on sale for only ten dollars-

"Agh!" Suddenly I dropped the vest, and my jacket and purse, and used both of my hands to grip my scalp and forehead. An excruciating throbbing was erupting near my right temple, and I couldn't seem to make the pain go away by rubbing it.

I quickly glanced around the store, rushing towards the back where (hopefully) no one was, and concealed myself behind tall rails of clothing. Again I grunted and clenched my teeth, but the inside of my skull continued to pulsate. At that moment, I almost wished that someone would shoot me, just to end the agony that was taking place so close to my brain. I tried not to think about the burning spot on the side of my head, and the aching throbs that continued to accelerate like twenty migraines, but it was too much and there was no way to divert my thoughts around it.

Then, as quickly as it had occurred, it slowly began to deteriorate. I pulled my hands away from the top of my head and temples, and placed them back at my sides. Feeling strangely exhausted, I straightened my spine, not realizing that I'd hunched over almost ninety degrees to my legs. Once more, I scanned the store, hoping that no one had seen my little fiasco. Thankfully, they hadn't, and I continued to go unnoticed just as I always had my entire life. But I wasn't about to start complaining, my life was good. . . 'Well, it was.'

With a sigh and another rub of my temples, I decided to find Mother and tell her that I desperately needed some Advil, because there was still an agonizing tenderness to the right side of my head, and an overall continuous pulse in my skull. Although now it was bearable, I couldn't seem to get my surroundings straight. My eyes consistently diverted themselves from one area of the store, to another, while the room never quit spinning. I squeezed my eyelids tight, hoping that would dispel the dizziness, but it was useless and made everything even worse, because now it felt as if I was falling from all sides.

I began drifting forward, but caught myself on a rack as I tried to situate my mind and pull it all together. 'It's going to be alright, just keep breathing.' I obeyed my thoughts, almost as if they weren't my own, and continued to breathe in and out.

"Hey, are you alright. . ?" I picked up my sagging neck and looked over to find a distorted blonde, and even though I couldn't quite see her, I could still feel the sympathy drilling me through her eyes.

I tried to speak, and I tried to tell her that I was fine and that I didn't need any help, but somehow the words wouldn't come out. When I did speak, my voice croaked and small beads of sweat leaked from my forehead and I forced myself to fight the pain coming back into my head. I gripped it once again, groaning as I became frustrated.

"Can I get some help over! Hurry! There's something wrong with this girl!" The blonde began waving over other people, 'No, just stay away, there's nothing wrong with me!' But of course she couldn't hear me as I screamed inside, and forced each one of my legs to fall in front of the other, just as I'd done yesterday after school.

'Left. . . Right. . .' The pattern fell into place, and I pushed away from the rack, but the muscles in my legs strained to take a break. Every inch of my body convulsed sporadically and yet I still tried to keep my grip on reality. I wasn't sure where I was going, but I knew I had to get somewhere. . . Anywhere, but not here. Not where they continued to scream and point.

"Get a doctor! Someone!" I turned my head to find another young girl, brunette, and she was one of the girls I'd smiled at earlier. Now that smile was contorted into a fearful, awestruck gaze.

I grunted again, "Agh!" And it was the only sound to escape my burning throat. My hands found the right side of my skull again, desperately rubbing the searing hot spot. Sweat, and another warm liquid covered the side of my face. I pulled my hands away, bringing them close to my eyes so I could examine what I'd already had a hunch was on them. . . 'Blood. . ?'

More people surrounded me, and I became claustrophobic. . . Like a caged animal. A few other women screamed.

'Why are they screaming. . ?' It wasn't like I was some hideous monster come to destroy the world, I was still Sakura. . . I was still the pink haired, big forehead girl that had a hard time fitting in. I was still the girl that wasn't very good at sports or math, but loved to read. I was still the girl that felt pain when it seemed no one could understand her, or even take the time to talk to her about the empty hole in her chest. I was still the girl that cried every once and a while, just because her heart ached to be called Daddy's Little Girl one more time.

So why were they hesitating? The faces and bodies around me continued to spin and they formed a rotating circle that defied gravity in every way possible. Then, reality struck me. 'I'm going to die.'

Another scream echoed behind the black curtain that now became my mind. . . I was no longer dizzy, but the pain was numbing me almost to the point where I became masochistic. I fought a smile and a bubble of laughter that was forming, because I didn't want to become a freak that enjoyed torture. Pain was a negative emotion, and everyday I battled with pain in an endless war, hoping that optimism would be my key to survival. . . Even if I faked it.

The screaming stopped?

Now there was a slight hum.

This was nice.

Gentle. Easy. Soothing.

Maybe death isn't as bad as I thought it would be.

I smiled, and somewhere inside myself I knew that everything was still going to be alright.

"Don't let anyone get you down, Sakura. You keep your head up high."

My Father, with his tousled dark brown hair, smiled from above. He preferred the rough, lumber jack look, so his plaid buttoned up cotton shirt went well with his spiky chin. He bent down to kiss my forehead, and I giggled as the texture gently scraped against my skin. Then he wiped away the wet trails of salty tears that covered my cheeks, and under my eyes.

My protector. My guardian.

"Quickly! Someone . . . stopped breathing . . !"

My utopia that I'd created quickly imploded and shocked me with another dose of excruciating, pulsating pain that vibrated through my entire body. I let out a blood curdling scream as I glanced around in a wave of fear, confused as to why they had me tied down. We were moving quickly, and I wasn't sure if they were carrying me and running, or if we were in a vehicle of some sort.

Small blotches of the beings around me drifted in and out as I looked up at them from my horizontal position. They were planted in their spots, but their upper bodies never quite moving. They reached over me, around me, under me. . .



Then they were gone.