Chapter 1:Adagio and Allegro
AN: Welcome all to a new chaptered story by yours truly. Thanks in advance for reading; I hope you enjoy the first chapter.
"Shikamaru! Come on!" came an impatient female's voice. "You can't be daydreaming again," she groaned as she pushed a lock of brown hair out of hazel eyes. "They'll really think we're dumb slobs if we come much later than we already are, and if we're going to stay here for ten weeks, it's best we don't kill our chance at a good first impression" the young woman sighed. She was bent over the trunk of a white Ford Taurus, hefting a large cello out of the back compartment. With her left hand, she grasped a violin. After closing the trunk with her elbow, she thrust the smaller instrument at a yawning teenage boy.
"They've already got a bad opinion of us, Tenten. You think it'll matter to them if we're on time or late? It's bothersome trying to impress them when they've already got their minds set on what we'll be like," the young man sighed, ignoring the violin as he pulled his dark hair into a high ponytail. Tenten scoffed at him and walked off, still carrying his violin.
"Hey, hey, woman, come back with that!" he protested as she strode off towards the large doors of Konoha Academy's music hall.
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"A surprise, Miss Tsunade?" a new teenaged girl's voice asked, her tone condescending and incredulous. "We all know what happened the last time you tried to give someone a pleasant surprise. Can we just skip this little game, forget there ever was a surprise, and get on to practicing already?" she half-demanded.
"Miss Temari, I don't really care what you or Mister Neji would like to do. Yes, there is a surprise. And you're going to act happy or at least moderately grateful or we will have a problem, is that understood?" a busty blonde woman demanded, staring down her pupils. One, a girl with her sandy hair in four pigtails, stared disinterestedly back from her seat at the piano, while the other, a boy with dark hair and alarmingly light eyes sighed quietly and feigned interest in his music.
A yawn was heard from the teenaged girl, then silence fell over the small room once more. "Wasn't this great surprise supposed to be here quite a while ago?" asked the boy, his tone bland except for the touch of acid that leaked into his words. "Then again, your sense of timeliness is almost as good as Mr. Kakashi's."
The older woman shot him a glare that could peel paint, but Neji was saved from the inevitable explosion by the opening of a door. "Ugh, sorry we're so late, but Shikamaru just had to go about as slow as humanly possible and–huh?" Tenten was only halfway into the room when she spotted Neji and Temari and stopped short. "Uhm. Did we get the wrong room or something?" she wondered, biting her lip and ready to make a quick escape.
"Miss Tenten, Mister Shikamaru, welcome to the Konoha Academy of the Arts!" Tsunade exclaimed, her expression sliding from angry to pleasant in half of a moment. Still looking wary, Tenten made her way into the room, followed by a tired-looking Shikamaru. "Shikamaru, Tenten, these two people are Temari and Neji and I, as you know, am Tsunade. Neji, Temari, meet Shikamaru and Tenten."
A moment of awkward silence fell over the group. Tenten's small smile faltered and fell in the silence as the four surveyed each other. Temari's eyes flashed, and she smiled in understanding. "Oh, now I get it. Some charity project, teaching kids from the inner-city to play their instruments, I see. Me and Neji don't do charity. No offense, public school kids, but we're just not going to waste our time when we could be getting better."
Shikamaru grimaced and rolled his eyes. To him, this certainly looked like it would prove to be a difficult next couple of months. Next to him, Tenten's position changed to something certainly more defensive. "Charity case?" she repeated. "Yeah right. Don't think that you're so much better than us just by looking at us. Hate to break it to you, but not all great musicians come from rich families."
Temari snickered and turned her head, her attention back on the piano. "Maybe you are good." Neji cut in. "For public school kids, that is. But we all know that if you live around here, unless you go to KAA (2), you're nothing in the music world. Maybe you'll be a little above average, but here, you're nothing unless you're great. We don't want public school losers around here," he scoffed, smirking at Shikamaru and Tenten.
"NEJI HYUUGA! I will not accept this sort of behavior here! You are being a disgrace to me and to this school. I handpicked these two students to assist you in the concerto competition, seeing as Hinata and Shino had to drop out of it, and so you and Temari had better be grateful! I will not allow my guests in this school to be insulted. They will stay here until the competition, and you'd better learn to get along," Tsunade hissed, every inch of her body screaming anger and frustration.
Neji narrowed his eyes and packed his cello into his case. "Fine, stick up for the little charity cases. You can pretend that they can become great all you want, but they're just fated to be a couple of losers. If my options are to degrade myself to work with these two or just to not do the concerto competition, it's obvious which one I'm choosing. You're going senile, Tsunade, and Temari, if you stick with this, you're insane," he said coldly, walking out.
Tenten, Shikamaru and Tsunade all stared after him, more than slightly thrown off-kilter. A moment later, Tsunade seemed to make up her mind, and she strode off after him. Temari shifted uncomfortably on the bench. "God. Wow, I'm actually sorry about that. He's not normally that much of a bastard. Ugh. Wow," she sighed, smoothing out her purple skirt and standing. "Well, there's no point in sitting around here if we're not going to practice together. I'll give you two a tour of the school."
The two other teenagers stared at her, more than a little confused by the change in mood. "Aren't you going to throw a huge fit about how we don't belong here and we should go back to the slums?" Shikamaru asked blandly, raising a single eyebrow.
"With Tsunade so set on this? Hell no. I'd rather fight with a pack of starving wolves. Besides, we do need new people for the concerto. We wrote it for two cellos, a violin, and a piano, and since Hinata and Shino dropped out, it's either get replacements or quit, and I don't quit. Anyway, if Tsunade picked you out, you can't be exactly horrible. Not saying that you'll be as good as Neji and I.." Temari blinked and chuckled quietly. "That's kinda not possible. But you probably don't suck too bad, so it'll be okay."
The two brunettes in the room exchanged dark glances. "I suppose I'll go with you," Shikamaru sighed. "I guess I'll need to learn about this school if I'm going to be living here for the next few months. I hate this whole getting used to a new school thing," he complained, stretching as he moved slowly. "Coming, Tenten."
"Uhm, no, I think I'll stay here and practice for a little while," she said, turning her head away to look at her cello case as she unpacked. Shikamaru's facial expression softened almost imperceptibly. "Temari, when can I get the music for the competition? I need to practice."
Temari sighed and frowned. "Can't you just come with us? You'll get lost on your own. KAA's bigger than whatever little public high school you two went to. Besides, the music copies won't be here until later on in the evening, when we'll have a practice."
"No, I need to practice a little bit," Tenten said, adamant even though she was no longer angry. "I'll just have to stay here until you guys come around with the music for the rehearsal. I'll be fine."
Shikamaru shook his head, smiling just a tiny amount, and stretched his arms while Temari rolled her eyes. "Whatever. Shikamaru and I are gonna go back to the rooms, and I have to see Tsunade about getting you guys uniforms and IDs all that junk if you're gonna stay here for a while. Did they even tell you where you're going to be staying? No? God, can't they do anything right? Come on, kid, we're gonna go complain to someone," Temari huffed, grabbing Shikamaru by his sleeve and yanking him out the door as he meekly followed.
Tenten chuckled and turned back to her cello case. Pulling out a folder, she rifled through the music that lay within, trying to find something interesting to practice. She could always just do scales until she died of boredom, but an actual piece was so much more fun to play. Settling on one of Vivaldi's concertos for cello, she placed it on an empty music stand, set up her instrument, and began playing the piece.
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"Follow close and don't get lost. You'd never find your way anywhere if I weren't here, and not many people would be willing to help you out, especially not dressed the way you are. Like an outsider, that is," Temari clarified. Shikamaru glanced at her, but he didn't bother with protesting. "Okay, you came in a car, right? And you're stuff's still in there? Grab it; we're going on the bus. No one drives cars around here, there's no parking anywhere except here and the parking garage."
Shikamaru took in this information without a word, and once he'd grabbed his few bags, they walked to a bus stop and boarded without speaking to each other. Both of them were silent, seemingly lost in their own thoughts. "Am I going to need identification to get on the bus?" he asked, eyeing the card she showed to the bus driver.
"Oh, yeah," Temari answered, jolted out of her reverie. "Another thing that you'll need. For now, take mine," she instructed, tossing it over to him. "I don't need it, the bus drivers know me. And they won't dare to bother me for it," she scoffed, tossing her head as they took seats on the large bus.
Raising his eyebrows, the boy with her laughed quietly. "You get everything you want here, or just most things?" he drawled.
"Everything. Maybe people say it sucks to have a rich father, with him gone all of the time and all of that shit, but it pays." Temari eyed Shikamaru carefully, then grinned ruefully. "This is all gonna be a big surprise for you, public school boy," she taunted. "You're never gonna want to go back to that high school of yours once you learn how you get treated when you're rich."
Shikamaru chuckled darkly and shook his head. He begged to differ, but getting into an argument with Temari would be way too troublesome for the time being, so he shut his mouth and looked out of the window as large buildings went by. After a while, the bus had stopped outside of one of the main housing complexes.
"All right, come on. This is where Neji and I live, so you'll probably be here, too. I'll talk to the rooming assistant," Temari narrated, walking through the automatic doors and approaching the large desk. "Sabaku Temari. I'm here to find out where Shikamaru and Tenten, temporary residents until after the Junior Concerto Competition takes place, are going to be living."
A bored looking woman looked through a few files before pulling out a paper. "Miss Tenten will be living with you in 401, and Mister Hyuuga and Mister Nara will be living together in room 501. Your current roommates have been moved for the time being. And.... Tsunade left these for you," she said, pulling out two large parcels from under the desk. "Uniforms for Mister Nara and Miss Tenten. And identification is in the attached envelope, along with some further instructions," the woman informed them.
"I'm gonna have to thank Tenten," Temari laughed. "I hated the bitch I'd been rooming with. Good luck with Neji, though. Here, take your uniforms," she said, pressing one of the parcels on top of all the things he'd already been carrying and walking off to the elevators. Shikamaru sighed and followed, carefully balancing all his luggage.
Once they'd dropped everything off at Shikamaru and Neji's large room, they went to the room that Temari and Tenten would be sharing. Temari took a glance at the label on the package of Tenten's clothes. "Miss Tenten, huh?" she asked. "What, does she not have a last name or something?" she wondered.
Shikamaru shook his head. "It's a long story. And don't ask unless you've got tissues with you," he told her blandly.
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Neji was beyond pissed off. First, he had to deal with these infuriating public school kids for a good two months. He knew Tsunade better than to think that she'd just make them go back. Second, he'd finally almost gotten to the housing complex when he realized he'd left his phone on one of the chairs in the music room.
By the time he got to the music hall, he was infuriated. As caught up as he was in his anger, he didn't hear the cello until he was almost to the door. When his brain finally comprehended the sound, his hand was on the door handle. He froze, caught up by the sound of the music, the anger temporarily driven out of his brain by sheer disbelief. The only person in that room was that public school girl, right? There was no way that was her, he decided. It was probably one of the other cellists from KAA practicing. Either way, it didn't matter. He needed his phone.
He turned the door handle, pushed open the door, and looked inside. And sure enough, there was Tenten, playing the concerto that almost broke his heart. "No way in hell," he groaned, not ready for this new development.
"Surprise," Tenten said mildly, looking up from her music and smiling wryly.
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(1) Just the most common sound levels, from very quiet to quiet to medium quiet to medium loud to loud to very loud. My attempt at a clever line break.
(2) Konoha Academy for the Arts.