Sasuke shuffled onto the train behind Naruto, elbowing his way through the throng of students to claim a seat. He was the only student in the car that took a seat, the rest seeming to prefer to stand.


Japan was weird.

Sasuke scowled, hoping his ill will could be felt in America, in Kentucky, where his parents and brother were no doubt snuggled in their beds. Damn them. Damn them, and damn Itachi. His brother had spent a year in Japan and had come back so "cultured" and "worldly"; damn his parents for thinking his "horizons needed expanding." Sasuke's horizons were plenty wide, thank you very much, that was what the Internet was for!

Drifting through his thoughts came a lilting murmur, someone singing softly under her breath. Sasuke grunted and shifted in his seat; the tune was vaguely familiar, and the words, when he could make them out, were in English.

Leaning forward in his seat, Sasuke scanned the car for the songstress, cursing loudly when a bag nearly hit him in the face.

The owner of the bad spun around, and apology already tumbling from her lips.

"Oh, I'm-I'm so sorry, Uchiha-san," the girl said, her apology muffled by her hands in front of her mouth.

Sasuke scowled, narrowing his eyes at her; he knew this girl, knew this bag. Yes, this was the weird girl who sat in front of him, the tampon girl. "Hinata," he said finally. She nodded dumbly. "Were you singing just now?"

Sasuke didn't have to finish the sentence for Hinata to blush and put her hands on her cheeks. "You heard me?"

He looked at her blankly for a moment, "Uh, yeah. What were you singing? I recognized the song."

"Oh, um," Hinata fumbled with her phone for a moment before showing Sasuke the song displayed. "It's Hall & Oates, I really like them-."

Sasuke interrupted her with a loud groan and slouched back into his seat. "Really? Hall & Oates? Nobody even listens to them in America!"

The pale eyed girl pursed her lips indignantly, "W-Well, I listen to them, and I like them-."

"Yeah, so does my grandma!" He cut her off again.

Hinata looked at him for a moment, her ridiculously pale face turning an even more ridiculous shade of red. She bowed to him, her long, dark hair brushing his knees. It was hard to believe, but her breasts were even paler than the rest of her.

Not that he was looking down her shirt.

"Thank you for your t-time, Uchiha-san," Hinata mumbled before straightening and turning away. She put her headphones back on- real headphones, nice ones, not earbuds- effectively blocking Sasuke out before he had time to protest.

Tch. Whatever. She could listen to her shitty pop music if she wanted to.

Sasuke was about two minutes from slamming his head into his desk, repeatedly. He hated English class- it was Japanese he struggled with, English was his mother tongue! Listening to his classmates stumble their way through simple phrases with their atrocious accents was mind-numbing.

The only one who could speak English at all was the tampon girl Hyuuga, but she rarely volunteered to speak. It seemed like English class was a hell designed especially for Sasuke.

"Alright, class, that's enough English for today, let's move on to Chemistry," Kakashi-sensei said, walking into the classroom after the bell mercifully ended an eternity of stuttered idioms. Chemistry was Sasuke's favorite class, if only because most of the terminology was in English, Latin, or Greek, and not Japanese. "Today I'll be assigning lab partners- it's alphabetical, so don't get too excited. When I call your name, join your partner at the assigned lab station. So, Aburame and Akimichi, station one."

Sasuke cast a critical eye across the classroom. Most people were fairly competent, and he could stand being partnered with them. But Naruto- oh, God, Uzumaki Naruto- Sasuke could only hope that Kakashi-sensei paired him with Ubara Makoto and not Uzumaki Naruto.

"Haruno and Hyuuga, station seven..." Kakashi's voice rose as the students began to gather at the lab stations. "Nagasawa and Nara, station eleven..." Sasuke could feel his muscles grow tenser as his teacher neared the end of his list. "Tsukino and Ubara..."


Kakashi read the death sentence: "Uchiha and Uzumaki, station fourteen."

Sasuke's head connected with the desk with a sick thud.