The Four Seasons
Chapter 1: Of Seasons
Beta'ed by: moondemon1310. This fic's permanent beta if she'll have me. I lurve her work so... Fingers crossed, eh?
Summary: I never wanted to be a season... It's just one of the many ways life just isn't fair.
Disclaimer: insert witty disclaimer here.
"What exactly do you think you're doing?"
Ok...didn't see that coming...
Usually I was in trouble for doing something.
The Detention Teacher must be getting bored.
He could just say he misses me...instead of plotting to have me thrown in detention for not doing anything.
"Pay attention to the video, Uzumaki."
"I can't do that sir."
"And why not?"
How can I politely tell him that I just don't give a damn...?
"Well, sir. I just don't give a damn."
Yup, right on time.
I leaned back in my chair and wondered why the heck the other students were watching the video so attentively.
Its topic was something we'd been surrounded with as children...it even had its own subject in school...which I always aced but hated anyway.
The Four Seasons.
That's basically what life revolves around on this planet.
The bloody chosen four.
Summer, Spring, Winter and Autumn.
It's like the aristocracy of this whole world.
I guess that makes some sense...but then again, I still really don't care.
And even though I don't care...there isn't anything I don't know about the Seasons.
The title of Summer is currently held by Tsunade, a strong woman whose battles have always been legendary.
Winter is Orochimaru, some creepy-looking guy with snake eyes.
Autumn is Jiraiya, a known pervert, and Spring is Kakashi, also a known pervert.
So there's a fifty percent chance of being a season if you're a pervert.
Math is never wrong, except for the times that it is, in fact, incorrect.
Every fifty years on the fiftieth day, the Seasons are changed, replaced by new ones.
Tomorrow marks the forty-ninth day of the fiftieth year.
Schools all over the world are breeding their students to become seasons, never mind the fact that there are only four positions.
My school's the same.
Decorations were placed everywhere and it looks like a whole mixture of holidays collided in the school's hallways, had quite an impressive battle that somehow involved an embarrassing amount of glitter, and then simultaneously exploded.
Every fifteen year old the world over is hoping to be chosen, every single one of them, except me.
There really isn't any protocol to being chosen.
You don't need any special abilities or academic prowess...unless the current season wants you to.
They're the ones who choose their successors after all.
Tomorrow morning, four schools will receive amulets, one each...letting them know that the season to whom it belongs will choose a successor from that particular school on the fiftieth day.
Every Principal around the globe wants a Winter amulet.
It's been suggested Winter is the most powerful of the four.
I, on the other hand, disagree.
But then, my opinion is immeasurably unimportant.
But here's how I figure it:
Summer is an obvious season...you get sunshine, vacations, girls in skimpy clothing...
Winter's the same. Cloudy, snowy, runny noses upping the snot scales...
On the other hand, Spring and Autumn are like… intermediates.
They have a little of both.
So why is it that no one sees this?
Honestly, if I were chosen as Winter, I'd die. Some would call it suicide but I'm not one to dilly-dally over terms that won't matter if I'm expired.
I mean, we could just say I became a homicidal maniac but only killed myself...
Yup, that works.
The bell rang and I left for lunch, grabbing my backpack on the way.
Now, I won't say I'm emo or unfriendly... I smile at everyone and if anyone asked, I'm known by the whole school.
I've changed quite a bit though...
I'm not loud and obnoxious anymore...and I actually took up the tedious job of studying.
But if I think about it, I don't really have any friends.
I mean, people talk to me, ask me to hang out, get advice, pour their hearts out...everything...
I'm like a public best friend.
I, on the other hand, have no one like that.
If I have a problem, I sort it out myself, usually with a flyswatter and gummy bears (don't ask).
For all the people who consider me their best friend, none of them bother to ask me what's wrong.
Sure, I get the occasional concerned glance when I'm not smiling...but that's about it.
And I'm not really anti-season as much as I just prefer to observe from a far, far distance.
So, back to the seasons, apart from being royalty, they act as this world's guardians.
I'd rather not think about it.
Anyway, to do this, they each have special powers- some known, some secret.
Summer can use fire and Winter uses ice...
I'm pretty sure they have other abilities too...
Spring and Autumn however...I'm not really sure.
All I recall is that a plaque stands in the International Museum of Seasons.
It reads "Autumn may fall but gracefully, for all".
Legend has it that a past Autumn died in battle...and all battle ceased.
While I believe Autumn saved them, others believe Autumn just got killed and Winter saved the day but gave credit to his fallen comrade.
Another thing...other seasons may be of any sex but Winter has always been a guy.
I made my way into the library and nodded at the librarian, Iruka-sensei, who nodded back and smiled.
I rushed up the hidden stairway just behind his desk, obstructed by a large shelf of books.
Reaching a white metal door, I shoved it open and blinked at the brightness.
Taking in a deep breath, I stepped into the sunshine and moved to sit under the lovely shade provided by a large parasol Iruka had set up when he first realized I spent lunches up here alone.
I took a bottle from my bag and sipped at my OJ.
With my eyes closed as I lay back down, I set my bottle aside.
I didn't even open an eye.
Known to all as the school's resident Einstein.
Known to me as the laziest ass ever born.
For the moment, we are kindred spirits.
He yawned as he sat by me.
I was used to him sometimes showing up on the roof during lunch.
He's as close to a friend as I'm ever going to have.
His silence always pleased me so-
"Amulet Presentations tomorrow."
Obviously the end of the world was at hand.
Since when did Shika ever try to make small talk?
I struggled to breathe normally.
Possibly he'd been abducted by aliens and was now-
I opened one eye.
Shit. I'd been speaking out loud.
Shika was cloud gazing and I shut my eyes again.
"You one of the many applicants?" he asked.
I snorted, "Hardly."
I didn't need to look to see that the smug bastard was smiling.
He found my lack of Season-worship amusing.
He sniffed, "No. Too troublesome."
"My mom did it for me."
I laughed at that.
I'd met his mother before. She was an intimidating lady (read: a scary-as-hell battleaxe of a woman).
Shika and I had been at the same school since kindergarten and - if I were to ever fall to the sickening labels of teens - I'd say he was my BFF minus the B (Friend forever. Gag) who also happened to have a BFF (beefy fat friend), a likable guy called Chouji.
Shika and I didn't share any of our classes.
It was just as well... I find that I tire of people easily.
"Isn't it about that time?"
I sighed, "What?"
"Your Special Time."
I sat up and scowled at him.
"I hate you."
He simply blinked, being too bloody lazy to do anything else.
I grabbed my bag & bottle and left.
In the hallway, I walked until I got to a wooden door with the plaque "School Psychologist" on it.
I tapped it lightly, hoping no one would hear.
No such luck.
"Get your ass in here Uzumaki."
What was the point of a first name when no one ever used it?
I entered the office and stared around.
There's a black carpet on the floor, bright yellow curtains, and a large wooden desk where a brunette in a trench coat sat glaring at me.
I've always wondered if she bothers wearing clothes under that coat or if she just has her undies on (or if she even bothers with those).
"Um...I was somewhere with a group of guys; spitting, burping and talking about sports..."
"Nice try. Sit your ass down."
I sat on the comfy chair in front of her desk as I watched her.
She had the same hairstyle as always, her dark spiky hair was tied back messily.
MY spikes were let to roam free.
Honestly, whenever we stood together, people had sudden compassionate urges to buy us hairbrushes.
I've gotten tons of hair products that way.
I faced her and said, "So...how are you?"
She continued to glare.
"You know, you're glaring. That's not good for my psychological emotional inhibitions."
A slight smile seemed to overcome her and she sighed.
"You know why you're here."
I feigned ignorance, "I come here every day 'cause you obviously have a crush on me and I like older women."
Anko smirked, "Be that as it may, today we won't talk about your being an extrovert..."
Ah yes, I am an extrovert.
Her psychobabble says I'm "a person who is more interested in other people and the world around me than my own thoughts and feelings".
She made me memorize that after I kept asking her what it meant every session even though it was just to tick her off.
"So what joyous topic of mind blowing interest are we on today?"
She grinned and I knew that I'd hate her answer.
"Your Season application."
I eyed her suspiciously, "Don't have one."
"Really? Why is that?"
"I'm still fourteen."
"I know when your birthday is, idiot. You're fifteen."
"Alright...I don't want to be a Season and it's highly unrealistic to assume there would be a chance of that happening. Besides," I added, smirking victoriously. "The deadline was Day 30 and we are way past that."
"Yes," She swung a little in her chair. "I suppose handing one in now would be pointless."
I nodded, stretching comfortably in the seat and leaning back to recline.
"It's a good thing I thought ahead and applied on your behalf..."
I gaped and sat back up.
She chuckled, "Does Naruto Uzumaki actually have nothing to say?"
Many, many colorful words come to mind...
"Oh, I have tons to say to you...but nothing that wouldn't get me expelled."
Anko nodded, pleased with herself.
"Well, glad that's sorted."
I sighed, "Well, I hope you're happy. And by the way. Chances of me becoming a Season are 6,953,567 to 1. I did the math. Let's hope you didn't make any foolish bets."
Anko looked amused, "It's my money..."
I left feeling quite happy actually.
My school didn't exactly have outstanding overachievers and with any luck, if anyone was picked from here, the logical choice was Shikamaru.
I almost whistled a happy tune as I walked.
Yes indeed, Seasons were not in my future.
I even looked forward to and enjoyed detention.
It was the only quiet time I got to myself all day.
(I am a Hidan page break. I like poking myself with stuff.)
I must admit, I love the fact that there'll be no lessons today...but hate that I still have to go to school.
What was admin thinking?
So here I am, in the bleachers, surrounded by loud, sweaty teens chattering away like chimps.
I inexplicably have the sudden urge to go to the zoo.
On both sides, the people are way beyond in my personal space, they have taken it for their own.
I'm tempted to throw them both down, one after the other, but really, who can blame them for wanting to be near my awesome studly-ness?
The amulets arrive today and schools everywhere are skipping classes in anticipation.
Golden boxes are to be delivered to each school.
Only four contain amulets for the chosen schools.
The rest all have a jewel of some kind.
If I were the Principal, I'd seriously hope for a diamond.
He really needs a new car.
If I had his car, I'd walk..
The band started playing a short quick tune and stopped abruptly.
I suppose that's the signal, bad though it was.
The couriers are here.
They were three of them, dressed in purple robes.
The one in the middle carried a large golden box while the other two, one on each side, held a silver box each.
The hall exploded in fresh noise and I wondered how long this was going to take.
I mean, was I supposed to cheer or something?
Not gonna happen.
I have little tolerance for embarrassing situations- especially my own.
And thatis why I'm not jumping, screaming, clapping or waving.
What I amdoing is not giving a damn.
Honestly, if I had a pocket full of Damns and the pathetic power-hungry student body was hanging off a cliff and all they needed to save themselves was one Damn, I wouldn't give it to them.
Cause I just don't give a damn.
In fact, just last year, I was voted "Least Likely to have School Spirit".
Before that, I had no idea the school had its own ghost moving through the halls and giving bits of itself to students.
But then, I was going through a bit of a rough patch last year so I guess everyone expects me to be chanting with them now...
Here's what we'll do to you...
Something fun, rhymes with truck
And something new, rhymes with poo!
Truck poo! Duck do! Puck loo! Fu-"
"Don't you dare finish that sentence!" the Principal threatened, glaring at the student body.
Oh thank goodness.
That retarded chant always got on my nerves...and in case they didn't notice, we aren't exactly at a game with an opposing school.
We're welcoming the people who might be bringing the amulet...at least, we're supposed to be welcoming them- if they haven't left after that little display of school spirit (that darn ghost).
When the noise died down and we were politely told to take our seats, I saw that the three men were still standing.
They must like pep rallies.
Wouldn't you know it, the Principal - and a few other teachers - decided to give speeches for the occasion.
I just can't catch a break.
As I zoned out for the next hour and a half, I barely noticed the rest of the population paying attention.
I looked around the large gym hall.
Parents hadn't been allowed in.
That's good. It would have been pretty packed...
Not that mine would have showed up if they were allowed in.
A trumpet blew and I straightened up, looking down.
It was time to open the boxes and have over 500 students, of which 97 were 15 and thus of the required age, cry out in disappointment.
I waited patiently as the Principal walked up to the man in the middle and opened the box.
There was dead silence and for almost three minutes, he was still.
Ha. Told ya.
I couldn't see much from where I was but I really hoped it was a diamond.
I have a thing for shiny things.
The large screens the school administration had gotten for close ups of games and stuff for those who couldn't see, was only showing the Principal's face, which was expressionless.
As I was planning just how to get a chance to see the diamond up close, he lifted up what had been resting in the golden box.
The screens seemed to magically light up and what I saw amazed me.
It was a Season Amulet.
Everyone marveled as the ceiling changed into different colors and suddenly, let loose a light fall of leaves.
The cheering that went up nearly knocked me off my perch.
Honestly, these people were LOUD.
The leaves fell over us, covering us in beautiful fall colors.
Now I saw it, shimmering various shades of brown, red and gold.
The Autumn Amulet.
After the noise died down...which took almost an hour, the other two boxes were opened.
They each had a silver wrist guard with an insignia of a leaf made from tiny jade stones.
I was awestruck.
Maybe I should explain.
Each Season has a partner, sometimes called a Host and when an amulet was presented, a wrist guard was given too, for the Host of the Season chosen.
But there had always been just one Host, with only one wristband.
Two wristbands meant the Season chosen would have two Hosts.
That was actually impressive.
Hosts are awesome in battle and usually do showcases which are kinda like publicity stunts.
Tsunade's Host is a brunette called Shizune.
She specializes in armored battles and her swordsmanship is unparalleled.
Orochimaru's is Kabuto, a medic and poison specialist.
Jiraiya's is some fierce looking guy called Ibiki, an interrogator of sorts. With his muscles and scars, I really doubt he sits spies down and offers them a cup of tea and asks sweetly, "So...what'cha up to?"
I don't know who Kakashi's is though. I've never seen or read about him having a Host.
It may seem like I give Hosts more respect than Seasons...and yeah, I do.
I have my reasons.
The ceremony was followed by securing the three boxes and their treasures and a huge blowout party, held at Magnum Hall, a place that was as huge as it was expensive...which it was. Very much so.
Guess they were feeling pretty patriotic today.
I didn't go.
Partying isn't my thing.
Unfortunately, as I was leaving the school and not boarding one of the buses headed for Magnum, I was ambushed.
Iruka stared at me, blocking my path.
I smiled sheepishly, "Hi."
"Why aren't you-"
I held up a hand, stopping him.
"I want to be alone."
After a few seconds, he nodded and let me pass, calling over his shoulder.
"If you wanna talk..."
"Thanks!" I shouted and broke off into a completely uncalled for sprint.
I ran halfway home before my legs asked my brain if it was retarded or just taking a break from thinking.
Aching and asking myself why I had run a race with myself, I got a cab to take me the rest of the way home and rushed into the two-storey house.
It was spotless.
I was used to living here alone- in this large empty house.
I found a note on the table saying my dinner was in the fridge and I should warm it up in the microwave.
It was signed 'Love Ayame'.
I smiled and ignored it.
I didn't feel like eating tonight.
There were too many thoughts running through my mind.
As I lay in bed, it occurred to me that it had been exactly six years since-
I like pie, don't ask me why-
I smiled at my ringtone as my cell phone rang and I ignored it.
I don't cry, cause I'm a guy-
The ringing stopped and I assumed they left a message instead.
Hell would freeze over and implode before I left my warm bed to check that message.
I would have thanked whoever was trying to call for getting me to stop thinking about what had happened all those years ago.
But it reminded me of something.
I hated the Seasons...
And I had every reason to.
It made me wonder how I'd react to Shikamaru if he was chosen.
Day fifty is tomorrow and I'm pretty sure I'm the only kid hoping to not get picked.
That pervert, Jiraiya, is coming in tomorrow.
He writes in his free time, long detailed erotic novels...not that I know anything about that sort of thing.
Heck, I still get freaked out by morning wood.
I'd have preferred to meet Tsunade and Shizune.
What the hell am I saying?
I won't even be there for the interviews.
I yawned loudly, happy with my half-baked plan.
Skip the interview, don't get chosen.
A/N: My laptop crashed & I lost everything. Gotta start from scratch.On the plus side, my Phone stopped PMSing so I can put up beta'ed chapters.
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