Of Words and Fire
Ch.1: Lit Matches
A/N: AU fic, which really wasn't supposed to be nearly this long, but the dratted fic kept whispering in my ear that it had more words to say. And, me, being so soft-hearted when it comes to words, decided to let it have its way. So…it's turning out A LOT longer than expected and I have no idea how it will turn out yet.
So anyhoo, here's the ficcy, which is DarkGal666's birthday present (which isn't today in case you were wondering).
So, a quick summary of the story's set universe. The kids are in high school, but the in parochial schools. There's a girls school and a boys school. Possible pairings: ShikaTema, NejiTen, NaruHina.
"We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public."
Temari slammed her binder on the table. "I hate him."
A couple of the freshmen, still not used to Temari's bouts of irrational anger and tirades, jumped at the motion and stared warily at her out of the corner of their eyes. They might still be scared, but they'd learned enough to know not to stare at her when she was angry.
A slender brunette lifted her head out of her arms and blinked wearily. "What?"
"I. Hate. Him."
She yawned. "Him?"
"Do you have to ask, Tenten?" Sakura said in slight mirth. "Who else would Suna be talking about? Only the same guy she's been talking about since she entered the school."
"First off, Pinkshit, you can't know that. You're a junior. You wouldn't know who I was talking about even if I was talking about anyone in my freshman year." Temari yanked out a chair and dropped into it quite gracelessly, "Second, don't call me 'Suna'. Third, was I fucking talking to you? No, so mind your own damn business."
She rolled her eyes and rolled her chair back to the computer she'd been using. "Whatever, Suna."
Tenten rubbed the back of her head, "No offense, but isn't it a little early in the year for you to hate him? We haven't had a competition yet. For all you know, he quit this year." She paused, a confused frown settling on her lips. "You haven't even seen him yet."
Temari raised her feet to the desk, and rested them on the edge comfortably. "He is blithering lazy-ass fool. I hate him even when I don't see him."
Tenten raised an eyebrow. "Fair enough. But what has brought on the onslaught of emotion toward him today?"
Temari pursed her lips. "He called me an overrated shit."
A couple chairs swiveled at that particular comment to face her. Tenten's lip twitched upward. "Forgive me, but, did you say he called you an 'overrated shit'?"
Sakura frowned, "He didn't really use the word 'shit', did he?"
Ino sat up from her seat beside Sakura and plopped down in front of Temari. "Really, Temari, you must be exaggerating. I've known him all my life. He would never call anyone an 'overrated shit', even if they were an overrated shit." She rested her head on her upturned palms and looked at her with those blue eyes of hers.
Temari wanted to throw a book at her. She didn't know why. It wasn't like Ino Yamanka particularly got on her nerves. She was a bit too gossipy and flirty in Temari's eyes, but in all respects, Ino was a very nice person. Ordinarily Temari got along quite well with the popular blonde creature – but she had occasions of violent desires in which she wanted to hurt the blonde. It didn't make much sense in her mind when she tried to analyze it. "He did. He called me an overrated shit. His exact words were, 'She's nothing but an overrated shit.'"
Ino pursed her lips. "I don't buy it. He wouldn't say that. Especially about you."
"He did! That ass—wait, why especially me?"
There was a slight smile on the blonde's lips followed by a half-hearted shrug. "I just don't buy it, Suna."
"Anyone got gum?" Tenten interrupted. "I got a craving."
Sakura tossed a stick her way. "No offense, but you always got a craving. I'd say you were addicted."
"Fuck it; I want gum, I chew gum."
Temari glared at Ino. "You're not telling me something."
"There's LOTS of things I don't say. For all my reputation as a gossip, there are so many secrets I'm privy to that I don't let anyone know."
"Alright," Tenten sat up straight, chewing on the gum, "Ignoring things Ino refuses to say. You claim that Shikamaru Nara, the laziest most apathetic man on the face of the planet, called you an 'overrated shit'. Pray tell where you heard this information?"
"She was snooping." Sakura smirked, "Picking up info on what the others are doing."
"I was not." Temari snapped. "Stuff's unethical."
Sakura rolled her eyes once more.
"I had to go talk to my brother's teacher. He set fire to something again. It was a small fire, but still."
"I th-th-thought Gaara was seeing a psychiatrist." A timid voice interrupted.
Hinata, the ever quiet goody-two-shoes only spoke on occasion in their midst. Regardless, Temari liked her almost as much as she liked Tenten. The pale girl always listened carefully and spoke honestly. "He is." Temari replied. "Shrink does wonders, but he still has occasional bouts of…deviance."
"Remind me who his shrink is again?" Ino smirked.
"The fucker's dad, and you know it, Ino."
"Alright, everyone settle down." The teacher, Kurenai, called as she walked into the room.
Tenten raised her hand. "You're twenty-seven minutes late this time."
Kurenai sighed, "I'm aware, Tenten."
"I just think it's prudent to point these things out so that when I end up being late you realize that I'm never as late as you are sometimes and therefore I deserve—"
"I'll fix the issue with the attendance clerk, Tenten."
The brunette grinned. "Thank you."
"So, did everyone do their cases?"
Tenten raised her hand again.
"What this time?"
"I had every intention of doing it, Miss Kurenai, but you see—"
"Alright, let's nip this in the bud, shall we, Tenten? You're going to give me the reason why it wasn't done and several viable points as to why I should let you turn it in tomorrow. I'm going to disagree, but you're going to defend them. And then like a good debater, Temari, here, will back you up on what you say. Followed by some snarky comments by Sakura and cryptic ones by Ino. Ending it all with a couple logical and soft-spoken statements from Hinata. Thus, leading to the extension. Good?"
"Why, Miss Kurenai, you usually enjoy these debates."
"I'm in no mood." She explained. "I've got a killer headache. So, those who did it, turn it in, those who didn't get working. Come on! Get it at."
Ino clicked her tongue. "She looks a little plump in the middle, doesn't she?"
Temari slid her eyes to their debate teacher. "And if she does?"
"Think she's carrying?"
Tenten snorted. "And who exactly would she be diddling? She's not married."
Ino shrugged lightly, "Plenty of people have sex before getting married."
"True or not," Hinata said quietly, "She's a teacher at an all-girl Catholic school. Do you really think that she would be—?"
Ino shot up gleefully, "That's exactly why she would be doing the nasty before getting married. These goody-two-shoes types lose their cool when in the midst of romance."
This time Temari laughed. "Are you really calling Kurenai a goody-two-shoes?"
"I think she's pregnant." Ino continued in determination.
"I think you're stupid." Sakura countered.
"I gotta agree with, Pink." Temari said flippantly. "She could simply just be gaining weight."
"Girls!" Kurenai snapped at them, "Any particular reason you aren't working?"
Ino smiled brightly. "Sorry, Miss Kurenai."
She and Sakura turned back to their computers.
"I'm done, Kurenai. Mind giving my case a look?" Temari asked calmly.
She rubbed her temples. "Give me a few minutes. I need a pill."
Hinata walked over to Kurenai timidly, "Do you need me to do anything else?"
Kurenai paid the tech girl little mind, "Uh, the computer on the left is still—"
"She fixed that, Kurenai." Temari butt in.
"Oh, then…No. Thank you."
Hinata nodded minutely, and began to make her way out of the room.
Temari whistled. "Hey, Hina. Come here a sec."
She shuffled over quietly and a little awkwardly. "Is there…?"
"Hey, okay, my laptop's been acting up and won't turn on. And, I can't turn it off. Pushing the power button sends it to sleep mode."
"Take out the battery and put it back in. That should work."
"Where's the battery?"
"On the bottom."
Temari stared blankly at her. "…Ok."
Hinata blinked. "Do you have it with you?"
"It shouldn't be hard to find; there's usually a switch that helps you take it out."
Temari nodded. "Okay, thanks." She tapped her fingers on the table. "What are you doing right now?"
Hinata shrugged lightly. "Nothing much. Kurenai's were the only computer's malfunctioning. So I'll probably just head back to the tech class and use a computer."
"How's Naruto?" Ino butt in smoothly, swiveling away from her computer.
Hinata blushed red immediately. "I…w-wh-wh—"
"Shut up, Ino." Temari snapped.
Ino smirked. "I just want to know if Dearie, here, has professed her love yet."
"Y'all better get to working before Kurenai blows her lid." Tenten muttered, not even turning away from her computer, to warn them.
Ino lifted her hands in defense. "Alright! I'll head back to the computer. Everyone is just so touchy about everything."
Hinata managed a small smile and excused herself from the room.
After that everybody was working diligently on their debate cases, of course, intermingled with a little talking here and there. Everyone save for Temari, of course, who was waiting at the table, tap tapping her fingers.
Temari continued tapping her fingers against the table for the rest of the class, as Kurenai never quite alleviated herself from her headache long enough to offer any help. When the bell finally rang, Kurenai waved them out the room with an impatient hand gesture and a curse word at Ino who was bothering her about her "passé" outfit.
Temari dragged her feet out of the classroom. "It's not wise, you realize."
"What isn't wise?" Ino chirped.
Tenten slipped on her headphones and turned on her iPod, "To taunt a sleeping dragon."
"Isn't it poke a sleeping dragon?" Sakura slid in.
"I thought it was taunt an angry bear?" Ino mused.
Temari rolled her eyes, "Regardless, Kurenai is on the fritz for some reason; it just isn't wise to insult her when she's like that. She is the debate teacher."
"Pfft. What can she do? Argue me to death?" Ino countered.
"She can convince the proper officials," Tenten said slowly, "To screw you over."
Ino shrugged. "I'll take my chances." Ino jumped up happily. "You guys want to—"
"No." Temari interrupted immediately.
"You don't know what I was going to say, Suna."
Temari's eyebrow twitched. "You were going to invite me to somewhere with some guys from the men's campus. Guys who always happen to include—"
"That irritating, good-for-nothing, fucker." The three girls finished for her in unison.
"Exactly." Temari said, a little perturbed at having gotten her line stolen.
"He's not bad, you know." Ino defended airily.
"He's a jerk." Temari countered. "And that's putting it mildly."
Ino sighed dramatically. "Whatever, Suna." She looked at the other two. "Are you lot coming?"
Sakura shook her head, "I've got some homework to catch up on."
Tenten inclined her head. "Who's going?"
"Shikamaru, Chouji," Ino ticked off names on her hand. "Naruto, probably, Sasuke if I'm lucky—"
"What?" She snickered. "You're never lucky."
"Stuff it." Ino snapped.
"Continue." Tenten ordered lightly.
"Lee, most likely. He might also drag Neji with him." Ino frowned, "Oh, wait, no, Hinata's got that thing, which means Neji's got to drive her there."
Tenten shook her head. "I'll pass this time."
"You all are so dull." Ino crooned. "So very dull. You can tell you're debaters."
Tenten flipped her off. "Later, lackeys."
At which, Temari too, turned off to go her separate way, "I'll see you guys tomorrow." Before Temari could get very far, though, she found Ino's fingers curled around her upper arm. Temari sighed. "I already told you I'm not going, Ino."
Ino waved her open cell phone in her face. "I just got a text."
"What do I care?" Temari said dryly.
"Your brother is going."
Temari blanched. "Are you sure?"
Ino smirked widely. "Very."
Temari sighed and looked angrily at the sky. "What do you think is likelihood he'll burn something?"
"Honestly?" Ino asked. "I would put it at 27%."
"It's less than 50%..."
"Yeah…But are you willing to bet on it?"
"The therapist said to let him have his own life." Temari muttered.
"He also said that he should have a safety in new situations." Ino added.
Temari grimaced. "Fine. I'll go."
Ino grinned brightly. "Atta girl." She slid her arm in hers so that their elbows were aligned. "We'll have so much fun."