Naruto sighed as he looked around his dorm room, he'd had one of those dreams again. Pushing off his bed, he walked over to his computer and began typing up his dream in the text file he kept open when he went to bed. He'd started it shortly after the dreams began forming a coherent storyline, thinking that when the men from the funny farm finally come to take him away, he could give them something to read for a laugh.
In a way it felt like the dreams were more complete, more real than the life he lived now. Living at Konoha boarding school since the death of his parents in a car accident when he was young. He still had scars on his cheeks and elsewhere on his body from that accident. He'd finally graduated that ninja academy, dead last of the class. It seemed even in his dreams he couldn't find studying interesting.
Heck, he even had to go through an extra credit exam that turned out to be a frame job just in order to graduate. He'd just have to avoid Mr. Mizuki for a few days until the dream faded from memory. Just to be safe that is.
Sighing heavily, he saved the file and closed it before leaning back and checking the online student bulletin board to see what was on tap for today. It being Saturday, they didn't have classes, but usually there was something for students to do on campus, since the nearest city was several miles away. Nothing really caught his attention until the very last item on the board. It seemed there was to be a student led study of dreams.
Normally this wouldn't have caught his attention, save for two things. The leader of the group was Shikamaru Nara, not only one of the laziest students in the school, but also one of the brightest. The other thing that caught his attention was the name of the group itself.
If he was reading it right, it was Konoha's Shinobi, which was almost a direct sign from his dreams. In sparkling neon letters, with fireworks, nude dancers doing cartwheels while a brass band played the national anthem. Even he wasn't dense enough to ignore something this blatant.
Following a link to the website Shikamaru had put together, he found that he wasn't the first person to consider joining the group. Along with Shikamaru, there was Chouji Akimichi, a pleasant guy in the culinary arts program, and Shino Aburame, a silent student that seemed destined for a life as an entomologist. Each one had been members of his class in the academy in his dreams.
Deciding to take a chance, he signed up, and browsed the forums curiously. Buried deep in many sub-forums he found a thread asking for people to post their dreams. No one had posted anything yet, so he decided to blaze the trail.
Pulling up his dream journal, he copied over the most recent three dreams over into the post and uploaded it. They didn't need to know about his dreams of neglect and abuse before the last year of the academy. After bookmarking the main site, he decided to go out and enjoy the rainy weather.
Getting down to the greenhouse, he let himself in with the key that the teachers had given him as one of the only two students interested in gardening. Occasionally the principal Hiruzen Sarutobi would pop in and join him while he worked on the plants. The other student, one Ino Yamanaka had her own little section dedicated to flowers of all shapes and sizes, while he focused mainly on fruits and vegetables. They would rotate their sections to keep the soil fertile, but otherwise they seldom actually saw each other.
He knew she was a blonde, with blue eyes that favored purple from the few times he'd met her. Breathing deeply he smiled as the smell of dirt, plants, and water filled his senses. He always felt best working in the greenhouse, especially on days where it was raining outside. He took a moment to check the water trough that was fed from the rain gutters, to make sure it wasn't clogged. Finding it flowing happily to the plants he nodded and began going through all his plants, weeding them and making notes about the health of them.
He needed to figure out a way to get them pollinated soon, as the tools he'd used last year had broken over the winter when they had been crushed under a pallet of potatoes for the Christmas Feast. He'd watched helplessly as they'd been knocked over, and called out for them to watch out for the instruments. The driver sadly misheard him and set down the load on top of them. They had paid for the replacement of the device, but it had been put on back order for the past three months.
Maybe he could bug Shino and the bug clu... err Entomologist Enthusiasts to corral some bugs into the greenhouse to help pollinate the plants. He'd have to ask Ino about it. Making a mental note to leave her a message on the dry erase board they used to talk to each other, he moved on to his corn. He'd have to tell the culinary club to expect a full three bushels this year it seemed. He might even have enough to make a fourth bushel. The first batch of tomatoes were ripening up nicely, he could pick them in about a week or so.
Getting to the end of the row, he found the dry erase board waiting for him. No new messages were waiting for him from Ino, but there was a note to her from Mr. Sarutobi asking if she could freshen up the flowers at the main entryway. Smiling he added in the note about the bugs for pollination, and gave her his e-mail address so that she could reply directly if she wanted.
Washing his hands at the sink by the door, he smiled as a final smell of the little haven the greenhouse provided filled his senses again. The rain lightly drumming on the glass seemed to only make the scene more peaceful.
Locking the door behind him, he looked up at the clock on the wall, wondering if it was late enough to go eat breakfast. Finding that it was just after six, he smiled and started towards the dining hall. The cooks usually didn't mind making food for students, but they did tend to frown when ask before six in the morning, or after ten at night. They still preferred to making it themselves, instead of a student, unless they were enrolled in the culinary arts program.
Maybe if he was lucky he could get a seat by the window, and watch the rain pouring down. He still needed to figure out something to do with the rest of his day since breakfast could only last so long.
Getting a bowl of raisin bran, an orange, some milk and juice he captured one of the tables by the windows, probably before many of the other students even opened their eyes. He could go back to his room, read through that forum a bit more, but he didn't feel like sitting around all day. Maybe he could bug the gym teacher, Maito Gai, about letting him into the gym so he could have some fun exercising. Heck, he and Rock Lee would probably be there already exercising like maniacs.
He didn't know much about the top athlete of the school, but he did know that he was nearly perpetually working out with Gai.
Halfway through the meal, he found himself being joined by someone he least expected. "Hello Naruto..." Shino intoned as he settled in across from the blonde. "I hope you don't mind me sitting here..."
"No... not at all..." Naruto answered, clearing a few of his orange rinds that had spilled off his tray to give the shades wearing teen more room. "Just surprised is all... Most people don't like sitting by me..."
"I wonder why that is..." Shino stated calmly while starting his own meal, made up of a lot of fruit salad and juice. "Your pranks are a minor reason I can understand, but not enough for this type of exclusion... Many even find them humorous, and even more can say they are justified..."
Naruto shrugged as he chewed a spoonful of cereal, he'd never really given it that much thought. He'd never really sought out people that often, unlike his dream-self, he preferred having time alone to think about things. Sure he didn't shun people if they approached them, and if he saw someone needing a shoulder, he'd be there, but he normally just went about his day without much contact with others outside of class.
The pair passed their meal in companionable silence as neither felt the need to talk about much. As Naruto was getting up, Shino cleared his throat and adjusted his glasses. "About your posting earlier... you left out much of that year... I would have thought you'd have posted about the cruelties others inflicted on you... Pleasant to see I was wrong..."
Naruto's head whipped around, and his eyes bugged out as what Shino said sank in. "You... uh... know about my dreams?"
"You could say that... we have overlapping dreams Naruto..." Shino answered as he got up from the table. "This is not the place, but should you have free time... you may wish to attempt something from that dream..."
Naruto laughed softly while shrugging his shoulders again. "Sure why not? I've nothing better to do today, see ya around Shino. Thanks for sitting with me." Even though he dismissed the idea, he couldn't help but wonder if there was some merit to it. Had Shino done so himself? Was he giving him some hint to what those dreams could be?
Letting his mind drift, he wandered down to the athletics wing, and poked his head in to see if Gai was in the main gym as he usually was with Lee. Seeing the green nightmare-inducing spandex clad man, he got his attention and asked to go use one of the smaller gyms and training dummies to work on the self-defense coursework for the past week.
To his surprise, the room was already open for free use, by the school idol himself Sasuke Uchiha. Shrugging it off, he decided to head to the lockers and change into some sweats. Finding the last of the Uchiha changing, he grunted a good morning and set about getting dressed. The duck-butt haired idol grunted back, and set about warming up. It was perhaps the most either said to each other in over ten months.
The two walked out into the sparring room, and began their warm up routines. After about ten minutes, they both walked to the opposite end of the gym and began going through the warm-up katas that Gai had instructed them through. Finally they turned to their respective dummies and began the actual workout. Striking them with fists, elbows, knees, legs, feet, and headbutts, they began covering all the blows that they'd been taught. It was shortly after the fifth repetition of this that they heard... it. A sound that sent the Uchiha glancing around in a panic. Naruto knew exactly what it was, and pointed to the storage closet.
He almost swore that he'd never seen anyone move faster than the Uchiha did just then, before he realized that he'd seen Lee doing sprints about that fast. Naruto simply went back to attacking his training dummy without a further thought to the noise. After a while, the fangirls arrived, and found the gym where they'd been expecting to capture Sasuke in, to be completely void of said crush magnet. After a few blows, Naruto turned to look at them, seeing the shirts they wore, emblazoned with said guy's face he shook his head. "Check the pool..."
The stampede to be the first to see Sasuke swimming was impressive to say the least. Naruto could almost feel the vacuum left by their departure. Instead of letting it bother him, he pondered what Shino had told him. Try to do what his dream-self could do.
Cocking his fist back he thought about shifting the flowing energy inside him into his fist like he'd been taught during the dream's taijutsu class. After a moment he felt that he'd built up enough energy and slammed his fist into the dummy's torso. Two things surprised him at that precise moment.
The first was that his fist plowed right through the padding and wooden center. The second was that Sasuke emerged from the closet with a pink haired attachment, and a violet haired girl trying to remind said attachment to behave ladylike.
Now, this wouldn't have been bad any other time, however he was still stuck with his fist sticking out the backside of the dummy. As the three noticed him, they all seemed to stare in disbelief, save Hinata who seemed to be turning red. Naruto just figured she was mad about him damaging school equipment. "Umm... hey guys... can you get Mr. Gai? I think I'm stuck..."