Ino closed the dresser drawer after she had finished neatly folding her clothes in them, sliding her suitcase beneath her bed. She wanted to avoid her new roommate as much as possible for as long as possible. A loud crash echoed from the main hall and someone began to yell.
Quickly adjusting her hat, she opened the door to peer out at the commotion. A boy with long, blonde hair ran around the lobby, yelling frantically.
"No! I just got it back to the length I like it!" he yelled.
A dark-haired boy chased him with a pair of scissors. She noticed he wore a strange, lollipop-looking mask. "But, Deidara-sempai, you must! The headmaster will kick you out!"
"Let him!" he yelled back.
A boy with short, spiky blonde hair leaned on the railing to the right of the door where Ino stood. He seemed entertained at the scene below them. "Tobi, don't let him get away! If he doesn't hold still, shave him bald," he jeered.
Deidara screamed as Tobi cackled with the idea, making the boy who suggested it laugh.
He turned around and walked towards
Ino. "So, you're the new guy, huh?"
"If this is your room, then, yes," she answered. Her gaze locked on six scars on his cheeks. They seemed deep and not well taken care of but old.
"I'm Naruto Uzumaki, how about you?"
"My name is Athrun Yamanaka," she replied.
"Are you all settled in?" he asked, stepping past her into the room.
"Pretty much," she answered. "Classes start tomorrow, right?"
"Yeah," he groaned, "And orientation is tonight in the auditorium." He didn't sound particularly excited about it. Naruto began to eye her hat. "What's with the hat?"
"I like hats," she lied.
"You won't be able to wear it to classes or orientation, you know." He grinned slyly, "Your hair is longer than regulation, isn't it?"
She hung her head.
"Do you need a hand cutting it?" he offered, "I'm sure Tobi would love to give you a hand."
Deidara screamed loudly from the lobby as Tobi laughed victoriously. "Why?" the upperclassman yelled dramatically.
"I think I'll cut it myself, thanks," she said.
"He isn't that bad."
"I'd rather not chance it."
"Wuss," he teased.
Ino scoffed, wondering again why she was in an all-boys boarding school. It was not only embarrassing, but also very annoying. Boys were such idiots.
"Whatever," she grumbled. Yanking a pair of scissors from her belongings, she headed for the bathroom down the hall. "I'll be right back."
She was happy to have the bathroom to herself. Removing her hat, Ino began to comb out her long hair with her fingers. She'd spent years growing it out, and she detested her family for making her transfer there after the incident. The alias "Athrun" hadn't been pulled out of nowhere: it was the middle name of her infant son Riku.
The thought of the child turned her stomach in strange ways, torn with emotion. As she raised the scissors to her hair, the memories rolled around in her head once again. She still wasn't clear of what happened, which made her think about it more.
She attended a party, and someone had brought alcohol. The party was a lot of fun, but she remembered someone following her around. She didn't know his name or quite remember his face, though she would know it if she saw him. There was too much alcohol for her to remember what happened clearly.
The next thing she remembered was waking up at home, sprawled across her living room couch. Less than six days later, she discovered she was pregnant, but her family couldn't afford an abortion. Even if they could, Ino knew her parents found it immoral. So, when the time came, she gave birth to Riku Athrun Yamanaka.
Her parents decided it would be best for her to transfer schools until they discovered who the father was and to take her out of her school's environment.
'I wonder how Riku's doing…'
Trimming the ends delicately, she mentally noted how it almost looked like how she wore it as a child. She raked her fingers through her hair multiple times. It felt so strange. Ino couldn't stop running her fingers through her hair even as she cleaned up the hair and returned to her room, hat in hand.
Naruto leaned against the door, arms folded, as she approached. "It doesn't look too bad," he complimented.
"Thanks," she mumbled.
"Change into your uniform; everyone has to report for the orientation in an hour," he notified. He was already changed into the formal uniform that consisted of a brown blazer with a maroon sweater underneath and a tucked, black tie. The formal slacks were brown, as well with black shoes.
Ino groaned inwardly. She concluded that whoever picked out he colors for their uniforms needed to die. Well, at least a good fashion-tutor. "Is it required?" she asked dreadfully.
He nodded. "See you downstairs," Naruto said as he left.
After she changed into the hideous uniform, Ino opened the door and walked down the stairs to the lobby. Her roommate was lounging on one of the three couches and talking to another classmate.
Her stomach leapt into her throat when she recognized the boy to be a boy that lived down her block as kids. Naruto tilted his head back to see her. "Hey, Athrun, this is my friend Chouji," he introduced.
"Hey," the slightly-round boy greeted.
"Hi," Ino answered nervously. Did Chouji remember her? Could he recognize her?
She held her breath unconsciously, letting it out as she heard running footsteps behind her. Naruto heard the footsteps, as well, and jumped off the couch and to the side just as Tobi crashed face-first into the furniture.
Naruto looked puzzled. "Tobi?" He thought a moment and sighed, "How many Starbursts have you eaten?"
"Sixty-eight, but I think I lost count," he replied into the sofa cushion.
"Just tell me you didn't give that many to—"
Naruto crashed to the floor, flat on his back with another raven-haired boy pinning him down. Ino thought the boy's hairstyle was shaped odd, like that of a duck's butt. "Naruto, you're back!" he cheered.
"I see you've had too many Starbursts again," the blonde sighed.
"I was taking them from Tobi and I couldn't help it," he replied. His wide eyes and broad smile seemed very out of the place for the boy's appearance. Changing the subject and completely ignoring the suggestive position he had over the blonde, he pouted, "Why aren't you my roommate this year? Who's trying to steal my baby fox?"
"First, it's because someone else is my roommate. Second, no one is trying to steal me. Third, I'm not your baby fox. And fourth, get the hell off me!" Naruto jerked his body to make Sasuke tumble off. He quickly stood to avoid another tackle.
Naruto turned to Deidara as he walked into the lobby. "Deidara, make sure they don't eat anymore Starbursts."
Deidara grabbed each Uchiha by the collars of their suits and pulled them away with him. "Yeah, yeah, if I feel like it," he brushed off.
Sasuke held his arms open like a child towards Naruto as he was dragged away. "I love you, Naruto!" he called.
Naruto's face turned dark red as Sasuke's declarations of love faded in the distance. Ino watched him strangely, slightly afraid for herself all of a sudden.
Chouji laughed, "What was that about?"
"Whenever he has a lot of sugar—mainly Starbursts—Sasuke acts like he's drunk since he doesn't have candy much. Once the sugar is out of him, he'll be back to normal," he sighed.
"What about Tobi?" Ino asked.
"That's just Tobi; he's always like that. It's just a little worse when he was sugar," Naruto explained.
"Whatever, let's go. The sooner we get orientation done with, the sooner we can eat!" Chouji declared. He trotted out of the building to go to the main hall.
Naruto strode out after him and Ino followed. She would have to find out where everything was quickly, and she hoped Naruto would help her.
The orientation was long and boring. Several students fell asleep by the chorus of scattered snoring. She almost joined their ranks when it ended and Chouji sprinted for the cafeteria before anyone else had even stood.
Naruto burst out laughing, "Good old Chouji!"
'He always did care about food more than anything…' Ino sighed, walking out of the hall while the boys chattered. She did a decent job ignoring them as she bustled through the cafeteria line, and she quietly took an empty table in the back of the room.
Naruto soon crash-landed in the seat next to her. "Hey, Athrun! What are you doing way over here?"
"Eating supper; what does it look like, Bonehead?"
"Why don't you come sit with me and Chouji?" he asked, still far too excited for someone at school and completely ignoring the fact that he'd just been called a bonehead.
"Because I want to sit here," she replied curtly.
"Fine," he said as he waved his hand to signal Chouji, Deidara, and Tobi to join the table, "Then we'll sit here."
Chouji continued stuffing his face happily without skipping a bet and Ino wondered if he even tasted it. Or if he even stopped to breathe, for that matter.
Deidara was repeatedly tackling Tobi in a never-ending war of a bag of Starbursts and vice versa until Naruto snatched the bag and threw it at Chouji. After one try, they decided it wasn't worth losing fingers over since Chouji would surely break or eat them if they tried to retrieve the candy.
Ino said nothing and continued eating, tuning out the babble. All they talked about was movies they saw over the summer and the girls in them. It didn't enter her mind that, were she at her old school, she would be discussing the boys in movies she saw over the summer. A nude to her elbow collapsed her mental block.
Naruto poked her again. "Did you see anything good over the summer?"
"No," she replied, taking a bite into her cookie.
"Not one?" Chouji asked.
"You had to see something over the summer," Naruto pressed.
"No, I was busy all summer," she answered flatly.
Naruto sat back in his chair, putting his hands behind his head. "That sucks."
Ino shrugged, standing from the table with the skeleton remains of her meal. "I'm heading back to the room. Talk to you later," she said.
"See you, Athrun!" they chorused.