So uh...in spite of all I already have on my plate...I wrote this. Ehehehe...dunno how I feel about the whole Sakura-and-the-Akatsuki-at-school-AU...I hope it comes out sounding original and not like something warmed over because I know it's been done...don't hate me please ^^;

I'm so sorry Mistress Krane, I know I've got Somnolence on my plate but it was giving me major writer's block so I kinda scribbled this down in the hopes that the block would go away ^^; It did help a little ^^

Summary: In exchange for a scholarship to her new coed boarding school, Sakura agrees to take on the job of dormitory manager...to a dorm of seven upperclassmen guys. For someone who's spent the last six years at an all-girls private school and is subsequently guy-shy, that's a pretty big change. Throw in some up-and-down hormones, a touch of name-calling, and a vengeful predecessor to her post, and you've got the makings of "Belonging". So now there's only one last question. Are the Akatsuki supposed to belong to her? Or she to them?

My first attempt at an ItaSakuDei ^^

Disclaimer: Don't own any of the Naruto characters, sadly enough. I wish I did...early birthday present anyone? ^^


Belonging

Chapter 1: Candy-Girl

"I'm not afraid…"

The words helped to quell the nervousness a little, even if they weren't true. Standing before the surprisingly pristine building's entrance, the brass plaque over the door labeling it as Akatsuki Dormitory, she couldn't help the flutter of apprehension. But then, she had quite a few reasons to be nervous.

For the last six years she had been attending an all-girls private school and living with her mother. Now, she was enrolled at a coed boarding school and taking a job as a dormitory manager at a dorm that, she had discovered just two hours ago, consisted entirely of guys.

For someone whose male contact consisted of two childhood friends and the shopkeeper of the corner store by her old school, it was a little intimidating.

Really, she was dying to run to the Konoha dorm and Naruto and Sasuke, but pride, determination, and a contract that gave her a scholarship along with the dorm manager's position, held her back.

"I'm not afraid."

With a deep breath, the sixteen-year-old squared her shoulders, tucked a stray strand of rose-hued hair behind an ear, and pushed open the front door to face her housemates.

The front room was empty.

"Well that's anti-climactic…."

"What is, candy-girl?"

With an involuntary squeak of surprise, she refused to acknowledge any terror in it; she whirled around, and gasped.

It was every member of her dorm standing out on the front stairs of the building, regarding her with expressions of varying degrees of quizzical amusement.

"Hey. What are you doing here?" the tallest of the crew, a guy with a faint bluish tint to his skin and…gill tattoos on his upper cheekbones around his eyes, asked baring rather sharp looking teeth in an uncomforting grin.

"I-I…"

This was too much unexpectedness all at once, and for one terrifically hysterical second Sakura wanted to turn right around sprint for her bedroom (never mind the fact that she had no idea which room was hers). But if she was going to be a dorm manager, she couldn't just turn tail and flee.

Swallowing her stutters, she tried again.

"I'm Akatsuki's new dorm manager."

The reaction was not something she had been expecting.

"Hell yeah! Seriously, no more snake-scum!"

"This is great, yeah!"

A strong, very male arm snaked around her waist and spun her arm around in a circle as the others grinned and laughed, olive-verdant hair brushing her cheeks as they cheered the leaving of her predecessor, someone named "Orochimaru".

What have I gotten myself into?!


A few hours later, Sakura threw the lock to his third-floor single and forced herself to do the tedious chore of putting away all her clothes in the dresser. As long as she didn't have to think of her housemates…flashes from her first afternoon with them flitted through her mind.

I'm thinking of them…again.

Sakura groaned, discarding her moon-and-star print pajama pants to flop onto her bed, trying to blot out the memories.

"Too much guy all in one go," she muttered to the silence.

She could still remember the green-haired guy, Zetsu she'd learned his name was, swinging her around until she was pulled from his arms into the hold of a guy who told her she was "a hot-ass gift from Jashin himself."

And the impromptu ice cream party that followed, proposed by the cheery blue-eyed blond that reminded her of her best friend Naruto.

And the shocking discovery that one of her housemates was also her best friend Sasuke's older brother, Itachi.

She whimpered, knowing what her blond friend would say to that.

Oh geez, Naruto's going to have a field day with this when he finds out…how many people are going to hear I'm shacking up with Sasuke's older brother by Monday morning!

A rough knock on her door broke through her thoughts; she scrabbled up into a sitting position.

"Yes?"

"Hey, candy-girl."

Kisame. Senior, guy with the gill tattoos, on the school's swim team, roommate of…

"Hoshigaki-san, I have a name," she said, kicking her suitcase of clothes shut before she opened her door.

"Yeah I know, Haruno-san," he said, mocking. "What of it?"

"Use it, please."

"Do something for me then." He laughed, seeing the look that flitted through her emerald-green eyes. "Hey, hey, what're you thinking?" he teased. "I just want you to relax; none of us does the whole last name thing. It's Kisame, Itachi, Sasori, Deidara, Zetsu, Kakuzu, and Hidan, or nothing. None of this Hoshigaki-san crap."

"Oh," Sakura replied, mentally kicking herself for her articulate response as she wondered if Kisame was repeating all the house members' names for her benefit. "Okay…"

"Good. Anyway, come down, dinner's almost ready."

Sakura blinked at the offer, and the sudden change of topic.

Dinner?

"Ki-Kisame…"

The shark-like guy who was already disappearing down the hall turned. "Yeah?"

"Dinner?"

The senior grinned. "Hey, it's your first day, and you're replacing the snake-scum; we thought it'd be a good idea. Don't worry," he added, noting the apprehension that blossomed on her pale face. "The cooking's good."

"Alright," she replied, disappearing back into her room, "I'll be right down…"

A quarter of an hour later, she was making her way down the main stairwell and rounding the corner to the kitchen.

"Sakura!"

A happy and affectionate someone pulled her back into a warm chest, arms around her waist. Strands of soft hair tickled her neck as he snuggled into her shoulder, murmuring "pink-haired liberator" and "green-eyed angel of mercy". It wasn't until those murmuring lips brushed the side of her throat that she unstiffened and reacted.

"Let. GO!"

Her elbow slammed back into his midsection as she jumped away, crimson and shaking.

"Ow…Sakura…"

"You deserved that, Deidara," a calm voice said from behind her in the kitchen.

Sakura jerked away, body still in a defensive stance, from the redhead who had appeared from behind her, carrying a large bowl heaped with salad greens.

"Sasori no danna…"

"Just because you're happy, you don't need to assault our dorm manager."

"Yeah okay…sorry…"

The blond, Deidara, glanced at her, cerulean eyes mischievous in his apologetic expression.

Sakura couldn't help herself, she giggled.

Both boys turned to her, bemused at the sudden outburst.

"H-he reminds me of…of my best friend…"

"I'm sorry," Sasori deadpanned, though his crimson-violet eyes shone with amusement. "Come on, dinner's ready."

Sakura followed him to the dining room, slapping away Deidara's hands as he reached out for another hug, surprised at how…relaxed she felt around them.

I thought I was guy-shy…

She'd planted a fist into her next door neighbor's face the day she and her mother had moved into their new apartment a week ago for asking if he could give her a tour of the neighborhood. If her mother hadn't been a doctor and an attending of the hospital down the street, they could easily have been moving right out again the same day. Compared to that incident, her reaction to Deidara's cuddling was mild.

It was a little frightening.

She stepped into the dining room and the blush that had died down in the last few minutes came back in full force.

"Sakura?"

It was surprisingly neat for a place lived in by seven guys, the table heaped with plates of roast, garlic bread, and mashed potatoes, as well as Sasori's salad. The seats were almost all filled, and when Deidara took his, there was only one place left.

I'm beginning to think they like torturing me, she thought, ignoring the part of her that reasonably argued that they couldn't possibly know she was guy-shy.

The last seat available was between Zetsu and Kisame, along one length of the table facing Kakuzu, Itachi, and Sasori on the other side. The light-haired boys, Hidan and Deidara, sat at either end of the rectangular table.

I can't believe this….

She slid into her seat.

"So can-Sakura," Kisame said with a grin, "potatoes?"

As the rose-haired girl took the place and everyone started eating, the conversation drifted predictably to the man she had replaced.

"I bet the snake-scum's pretty pissed," Kisame said, flashing his shark-grin at the others around the table.

"Bastard had it coming," silver-haired Hidan interjected.

Itachi across from her hn'd in agreement, a sound that brought back sharp memories of her childhood, of summer days with Naruto and Sasuke and that same sound. Sakura swallowed and put down her fork.

Kakuzu shrugged. "He still has chemistry class to screw everyone over."

"Sakura?"

Verdant eyes flew up to the quiet speaker's face.

*

"Sakura?"

The five-year-old's cotton-candy head popped up, laughing happily as she waved down from the tree house.

"'Tachi-nii!"

"Hey Sakura," the seven-year-old called back, dark eyes soft. "Naruto and Sasuke gave up; you win."

She giggled, "I always win."

"Yeah, you're really good at hide and seek, Sakura; now come down?"

"'Kay, 'Tachi-nii!"

The dark eyes widened. "Sakura?"

"Comin' down!"

The rose-haired girl landed in his arms, laughing at they tumbled into the grass in a heap of arms and legs.

*

"Sakura."

"Oh…uh…yeah?" Sakura started, cheeks hot.

"Anything wrong? You aren't eating."

Nothing's wrong, just that I had a flashback about you from when I was five, when I would have sworn this morning that we were total strangers. Nothing major.

"S-sorry, today's just been…a little hard to handle."

Blushing, she speared a carrot with her fork and looked away.

"I'm glad he's gone," Deidara said feelingly, Sakura relaxing as the conversation returned to the topic of the evil chemistry teacher. "He took some sick pleasure in driving us all nuts this summer, yeah."

"Well he's gone now thanks to Sakura here," Kisame said.

All the attention turned back to her.

"Um…who was the previous dorm manager?"

She didn't miss the significantly dark looks that crossed their faces.

"Orochimaru, the chemistry teacher," Zetsu volunteered at last. "You want to steer clear of him. He liked being 'overseer of Akatsuki dorm'; he's not going to like that a little freshman girl took his place. He was sure no one'd take the job."

"Sophomore," Sakura corrected. "And I'll keep that in mind."


For the second time that evening, Sakura shut the door to her dorm room behind her and threw the lock.

She had already washed up for bed and it was the work of mere minutes to change into her moon-and-star print pajamas before she crawled under the covers. Her pink and sage sheets were cool against her skin as she burrowed into them, running the events of the evening through her head.

"I'm the dorm manager to a dormitory of all guys, some of whom can be pretty touchy-feely, one who occasionally calls me candy-girl, and one who happens to be one of my best friend's older brother," Sakura groaned into her pillow. "On top of that, one of the touchy-feely ones isn't getting the usual guy-shy reaction from me, and I had a flashback about Itachi that could imply that I've forgotten all about someone who may have been a pretty good friend of mine when I was five. Yeah, I think that's it."

With a strangled cry of frustration, the rosy-haired girl yanked the covers over her head and hoped sleep would make the insanity of her first day as Akatsuki's dorm manager go away.


So...who do you think belongs to whom? XD

Please review ^^ I really want to know what you guys think of this one since it's not my usual kind of story...hopefully I'm not ruining the good ol' cliche. Or my reputation.

Oh wait...I don't have one of those do I? =P

The ItaSaku muse decided to pair up with a DeiSaku muse? But it still likes being fed by cookies so click that button down there, yeah? ^^