I'm so obsessed with the Akatsuki right now that it's probably unhealthy. I've played with the idea for an AkatasukixSakura fic for a while but I was afraid it would turn into the generic "Sakura is unappreciated so she turns to a group of criminals and finds unexpected love" thing.
But what if it was set in a high school with dancing? So I thought and wrote and pulled my hair and tried to put it aside. But every time I worked on Black Widow and the Sandman, these ideas would keep popping up until I thought I might cry. So, rather unexpectedly, this chapter was born.
Anyway, I will continue to update Black Widow and the Sandman weekly and this will be my side project until my other fic is finished. I hope everyone enjoys!
Chapter 1: The Older Uchiha
"Hey, Sasuke, what are you looking at?" Shikamaru asked as he closed his laptop and gave his eyes time to rest. Ignoring his question, Uchiha Sasuke continued to stare out the window with an intense expression. When he followed his friend's gaze, he found himself staring at Yamanaka Ino bent over, tying her shoelace in the middle of P.E. He couldn't help the snort that left him.
"It's nice, right? Her ass," he drawled, finally pulling Sasuke from his thoughts. In response, Sasuke smirked.
"She's hot but loud. I don't think I could stand her talking all the time," Sasuke confessed with a shrug. Shikamaru joined his friend by the window, watching the girls run around in shorts. They began commenting about different body types and comparing who they liked best.
"Hinata-chan's nice. She's cute and she's got huge boobs. But can you imagine Hyuuga's face if we ever made a move on her?" Sasuke said. Shikamaru gave a nervous laugh as he remembered how angry the student council president, Neji, could get.
"Hey, isn't that Haruno-chan?" Sasuke pointed out as one girl went sprinting down the track. They both saw the pink hair shoot down the track until she finally reached the gym teacher waiting at the end. The teacher waved his arms around, obviously crying and cheering about "youth" as usual. She ignored him as she walked over to the big pine tree and collapsing in the shade. As she fanned herself with her hand, Hinata walked over with a water bottle.
"You know, she's got pretty small boobs," Sasuke observed, cocking his head to the side. Shikamaru copied him. As they watched, she stretched out her legs and stared up at the greenery above her head.
"Eh, I'd pass on that. She's boring," Shikamaru concluded as he turned back to his laptop.
Since it was too sunny to hang out at their usual spot on the roof, the two had decided to skip gym by hiding in the classroom. With central air conditioning, it wasn't a bad alternative to running around like idiots in the stiflingly hot air. Sasuke checked the clock. Finding that there were fifteen more minutes until the girls came back in to change, he leaned back in his chair and took a quick nap. He knew Shikamaru would wake him when it was time. True to his predictions, exactly ten minutes later, he was shook awake and dragged to the bathroom.
"Man, I haven't had a girlfriend in a few weeks. It's pretty lonely," Shikamaru sighed as they took their places at the urinals.
"That third year has been hanging all over you, Shikamaru," Sasuke retorted, rolling his eyes.
"Yeah, but Temari-chan's brother's damn scary. It's that transfer kid in class 2-A," he explained with an earnest expression. Sasuke thought for a moment and then realized who the person was. A cringe left him as he washed his hands.
"That red-head? Oh man. He's a psycho."
"There you guys are!" Naruto boomed as he caught sight of the two exiting the bathroom. He clapped Shikamaru on the back… hard, earning a muttered insult and a glare. Ignoring the profanities thrown his way, Naruto began explaining in great detail how he had managed to escape detention from their homeroom teacher, Kakashi-sensei after he had been caught using the microwave reserved for teachers. Sasuke and Shikamaru burst into laughter as they imagined the blond cramming ramen into his mouth as he ran out of the teacher's lounge.
"Naruto, you're a moron," Sasuke sighed as he put an arm around his best friend and led him down the hall.
"Hey, Sakura-chan, you don't mind doing class attendance today, do you? I would but I've got a goukon* to go to," Ino said as she poked Sakura's shoulder. Sakura smiled as she accepted the thin black notebook.
"It's fine. I hope you guys have fun!" she said, waving her friend off. Ino thanked her before grabbing her bag and running off with her group of chatty friends. The classroom felt oddly silent without her blond friend.
In fact, Ino had been her friend since they had barely been able to walk. They had attended the same elementary and middle schools. Now, they were in the same homeroom in high school, but Ino had found other friends. She still talked to Sakura and they still took time to hang out, but things were slightly different. Even now, Sakura could feel the gap between them starting to grow. But she always pushed Ino along, telling her not to worry, smiling and pretending not to feel a little lonely.
Ino had been supporting her since they were children. She had fought off bullies, helped Sakura learn how to ride a bike and held her hand when Sakura had been rejected by the boy she had liked during their first year in middle school. It was time for Ino to bloom and Sakura felt happy just watching her friend smiling. But it seemed like she always ending up doing the class attendance at the end of the day.
Sakura sat at a desk by the window and began filling in the tiny squares beside each name. By the time she finished that and filled out some forms for a friend in the student council, the school had fallen eerily silent. There were only a few echoing shouts from the sports teams practicing in the gym downstairs or out on the track.
Sakura flexed her fingers after she had written the last few comments. Since there were no people around, she stood and stretched her legs, taking time to equally extend her tired muscles. She held her poses until her back let out a satisfying crack. Just as she lowered her foot to the ground, she heard a small noise behind the closed door. Her heart pounded furiously in her chest as the door slid open, revealing a tall man in a white shirt with rolled up sleeves and jeans.
"I'm looking for Uchiha Sasuke. Is he here?" he asked, running his hand through his long black hair. It didn't take long for Sakura to match their similarities together. Forgetting her embarrassment, she smiled.
"Are you Sasuke-kun's brother? Hold on. I think he's probably at basketball practice. I'll ask him," Sakura quickly said, her excited sentences bleeding into one another. She whipped out her cell phone, and punched in a quick message. The man watched with a faint curve in his lips.
"You are… close to Sasuke?" the man asked, noting the girl's excitement. Her smile faltered a little. It was easy to see that she was uncomfortable answering his question.
"We've been classmates since elementary school. I've got an answer," she said, flipping her phone open. Her smile twisted into a disapproving frown as she took in the curt text message. In her frustration, she forgot to add the customary cute smiley faces she always wrote out for him in her response.
"He said to stop bothering him and to bring you to the gym. What a jerk," Sakura said. She neatly stacked her papers on top of the attendance book and picked up her black school bag.
"I just have to drop these off at the office and then I'll take you to Sasuke," Sakura explained to the taller man. He nodded, moving away from the doorway so she could walk out of the classroom. Her long pink hair brushed past his nose as she passed, filling his nose with the smell of sweet shampoo. She was a proper high school girl: knee-length skirt, nails unpainted and face free of cosmetics. It was like a breath of fresh air after seeing so many girls with heavy make-up and skirts hiked up to show off indecent amounts of skin.
He fell in to step with her as she strode down the empty hallway. They did not speak when they reached the staff room. She poked in her head, laughed at something a teacher said and handed the attendance book over along with the forms she had neatly clipped together. The elderly principal patted her arm, commending her for her hard work. She made a little small talk before she excused herself and slid the door shut.
"I'm sorry that took so long," Sakura said as she finally escaped the teachers' chatter. The man shook his head.
"It's fine. Teachers were like that to me too," he replied with a little shrug. Sakura smiled as she took in his words. She suddenly stuck her hand out, her cheeks turning a little pink.
"Sorry, I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Haruno Sakura," she said, feeling a little silly. To her surprise, the man shook her hand, chuckling.
"Uchiha Itachi. Or 'Sasuke-kun's brother' if you'd prefer."
Sakura turned bright red.
"Sorry," she mumbled as they began walking together. Itachi smiled.
"Are you the homeroom representative?" he suddenly asked. Sakura's steps faltered a little as she suddenly looked up at him.
"Um… no. Why do you ask?" she replied. Her bright green eyes stared at him with childish innocence and curiosity.
"Well, you were all alone doing attendance. I assumed that…" Itachi trailed off, worried that he might offend her by being too nosy. To his surprise, Sakura flashed a shy smile. Her right hand tightened around the handle of her briefcase, though, betraying a much stronger emotion that she was obviously trying to hide.
"A girl in my class is the homeroom rep. She tends to leave me a lot of the work though. I don't mind doing it," she explained as they walked down a flight of stairs. Itachi's eyes narrowed.
"Shouldn't she be doing her own job?" he said, irritated. The girl was smiling and letting everybody walk all over her. It was the exact opposite of how he acted. And it frustrated him that this obviously very nice girl was being taken advantage of.
"….It's okay. We're friends so I'm just doing her a favor," Sakura finally replied. Before Itachi could say anything else, they had arrived at the gym. Raised as a gentleman, Itachi held the door open for her. She looked extremely surprised, hesitating to go through the doorway.
"Oh… thank you… You're very polite, Uchiha-san," she said as she entered the gymnasium. The oddly matched pair stopped just outside the black lines drawn on the floor that marked the court. In the middle of court, Uchiha Sasuke stood, dribbling the ball. Sweat trickled down his face and neck as he swerved around his opponents and passed the ball to his teammate. Sneakers squeaked against the polished wood floor as they ran around blocking each other and grabbing the ball. Finally, Sasuke managed to shoot a basket with his signature precision and grace. The rest of the basketball team laughed and cheered him on. As the team manager ran over to hand him a clean towel, Sasuke looked up and caught sight of Sakura. She waved, her mouth curling up into an unsure smile.
"Sasuke-kun… I brought your brother," she said when he walked over. Sasuke's eyes narrowed as he met his older brother's cool gaze. He was almost Itachi's height now but it irked him that the elder Uchiha still managed to act superior after several years.
Sensing the tension between siblings, Sakura cleared her throat. Two pairs of dark eyes focused on her.
"Uh… since I did what you asked, I'll be going now. I'll see you on Monday, Sasuke-kun," she said, trying her best to keep her smile in place, "And it was nice to meet you, Uchiha-san." She added the last part and gave a polite little bow to Itachi. His expression softened as he nodded his head in response. Sakura gave her long pink hair a nervous ruffle as she turned to leave.
"Hey, Haruno-chan, why don't you come hang out with us?" one of the members of the basketball club called out. Sakura rolled her eyes when she realized it was her childhood friend, Uzumaki Naruto talking.
"Bye, Naruto," she said in a firm voice as she walked out of the gym. Naruto gave a dejected little sigh and his friends gathered around him, patting his shoulders and urging him to laugh it off. That was probably the sixth time that week that Sakura had blatantly brushed off his little flirts. Of course, this had been going on since their first year in middle school together. Sasuke snorted at his best friend's plight. He couldn't sympathize, as someone who had girls practically crawling into his lap.
Sasuke glanced over at his brother and caught him with a strange half-smile on his face.
"That's the first time I've seen a girl not try to sexually assault you on sight," Itachi commented. Sasuke scowled.
"It's just Sakura. I went to kindergarten with her. So what?" Sasuke snapped.
"She's pretty cute," Itachi continued. For the first time, Sasuke couldn't find the words to express his shock. Instead, he made a noise of disagreement in the back of his throat. But Itachi, who had grown up with Sasuke, understood the meaning completely. Itachi shook his head.
"Seriously. A little grooming here and there and she'd be really beautiful. You watch. In a few years, she'll be going around breaking men's hearts and you'll be hitting yourself over the head," Itachi said, sounding a little too pedantic for Sasuke's liking.
"Nii-san, why are you here?" Sasuke finally snapped. Itachi poked his younger sibling in the forehead, his smile gone.
"Rude. Mom told me to come get you after school. She said since it's family night, there should be no skipping out on dinner to go karaoke with your friends," Itachi ordered.
And a block away from school, Sakura popped in her earphones and sang as she walked to the train station.
The next day was a warm, lazy Saturday. Sakura sat in her bed with the covers wrapped around her until she decided to get a little shopping done.
So, at a little past 9 am, Sakura stood on the platform, waiting for her train to pull up. She adjusted the collar of her white sweatshirt. It was the end of spring but the mornings were a little chilly. Out of habit, she pulled the sleeves over her hands. There was a loud screech as a train ground to a halt. But Sakura didn't move, even as a sea of people swarmed to the doors. Her train didn't arrive for another few minutes.
As the train sped up and disappeared down a tunnel, there was a loud shout. Everyone's eyes turned to the stairs leading down to the platform. After a moment, a young man with long blond hair tied into a messy ponytail ran down the steps, his right cheek bright red and his blue eyes frantic. He looked from stranger to stranger, silently pleading for help.
"I'm gonna kill you!" a voice boomed as heavy feet pounded down the steps.
When the young man's eyes landed on her, for some strange reason, Sakura motioned for him to come over. His face split into a huge grin and he practically flew down the rest of the steps to fling his arms around her. Just then, a man with sunglasses and a haggard goatee emerged. He ran his hands through his pale blond hair that was cropped close to his head. He caught sight of his opponent with his arms around Sakura and he bellowed.
"You mess around with my girl and now you're screwing another one?" he shouted, stomping over. Sakura heard the blonde curse under his breath. Thinking quickly, Sakura turned and pinched his cheek. Hard.
"Ouch!" he blurted. The huge man with the goatee reached them just as Sakura pinched the blonde again. This time, it was on the arm.
"Onii-chan! You're terrible! I waited for 20 minutes. We missed 2 trains!" Sakura exclaimed, crossing her arms over her chest. She glared for another minute and then let out a sigh. She smoothed down his long hair and fiddled with the collar of his shirt. She took a step back and smiled.
"Today's my birthday, so I'll forgive you, just this once, Onii-chan. But you have to buy lunch, ok?" Sakura finally declared. He mumbled back an apology with a sheepish expression, immediately catching on to her plan. After they hooked pinkies, Sakura turned to face out at the platform again and jumped a little. She acted as if she had just noticed the tall, still angry man hovering over her "brother".
"Onii-chan, did you bring your friend?" she asked with a bright smile. Before he could respond, Sakura shook the other man's big hand. His thick fingers could have easily broken her wrist if he tried. But he seemed too confused to do anything other than gape at the little girl who barely reached his shoulders. Sakura nudged her "brother" with her elbow.
"Onii-chan, don't be rude! Introduce me to your friend!" she ordered. Still really stunned, the two men complied.
"Killer Bee, this is my sister…"
"I'm Sakura! Nice to meet you, Killer Bee-san!" she cut in with the most adorable smile she could muster.
"Onii-chan didn't tell me he had such a cool friend!" she added. Killer Bee's lips pulled into a small smile, confirming her suspicions. Big, strong guys always had soft spots for little sisters. Armed with this knowledge, Sakura moved in for the killing blow. She turned to the other blonde with an accusatory glare.
"Come to think of it, I heard Killer Bee-san saying something about his girlfriend," she began. Killer Bee's expression darkened as he remembered what he had come running into the subway before. The other blonde blanched.
"Onii-chan…. Are you causing problems for other people again?" she demanded, poking her finger into his chest. She had her back to Killer Bee so she raised her eyebrows and jerked her head in a little nod, indicating for him to agree. Swallowing his rising fear, he slowly nodded. Sakura drew back and then she burst into tears. Killer Bee immediately panicked. As Sakura had predicted, he was tough, but extremely weak to a girl's tears.
"You're really the worst, Onii-chan! You're always breaking promises to be with women even though you promised to take care of me!" she sobbed as tears fell down her cheeks. Killer Bee was too busy being nervous to notice anything amiss. Sakura didn't even flinch as her "brother" hugged her.
"I'm sorry, Sakura, yeah. I promise I won't do it again. Stop crying," he murmured. Killer Bee settled for looking back and forth between the two siblings until Sakura finally managed to calm down.
"K-killer Bee-s-san. I'm sorry f-for my brother," Sakura sniffed. Killer Bee felt his heart melt as the pink-haired girl rubbed her eyes and tried her best to stop crying. He looked clumsy and awkward as he patted the top of her head.
"Uh… that's okay," he lamely replied. His gaze fell on the other blonde.
"And you take good care of your sister. I'll let you off the hook this time," Killer Bee said before he walked off.
When he was a good distance away, Sakura, let out a loud sigh and wiped her eyes. The other people on the platform who had witnessed the fiasco broke into applause. Sakura quickly took a step back from the stranger and smiled.
"Looks like you saved my ass, yeah," he remarked. Sakura wanted to reply, but her train pulled up. He grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her on board, plunking her down on the seat beside him. At first, Sakura was nervous about the whole situation until she met his sparkling blue eyes. They both burst into laughter.
"I'm Deidara," the blond said, sticking out his hand.
"Haruno Sakura," Sakura replied, shaking it.
And as the train began speeding along the track, Sakura's eyes drifted down to their joined hands. She blushed furiously as she pulled away. Deidara laughed again as he ran his hand through his long blond hair.
"Man, I'd forgotten there were innocent girls like you. How old are you, yeah?" he said, grinning. Sakura willed her cheeks to cool down as she stared down at her lap.
"I'm 16," she replied, feeling extremely shy. Deidara nodded, taking the information in. As he quietly mused to himself, Sakura suddenly sat straight up. Where was this older guy taking her?
"Um... excuse me... Deidara-san? Where are we going?" she inquired in a small voice. Deidara looked up. He had been counting on his fingers. What he had been counting, Sakura instinctively knew that she was better off not knowing.
"Oh, sorry. This is my train and I thought it would be more dramatic if you got on with me, yeah. Do you have plans today? Why don't you come to my school with me?" Deidara said, grinning again. Sakura's eyes went wide.
"Wait… this is the way to- Do you go to Konoha University?" Sakura blurted out. She immediately shrank back, slapping her hands over her mouth. Deidara chuckled.
"Yeah. I'm majoring in cosmetology and I'm a minor in psychology," Deidara explained. Sakura cocked her head to the side. Her brow furrowed as she counted the days.
"But… today's Saturday. Do you have classes on weekends?"
Deidara looked over at her, his eyes sparkling.
"Nope. But I do have my club meeting. Come with me," he said, just as the train ground to a halt and the doors opened. Deidara held his hand out, waiting. And although Sakura had been taught from a young age not to trust strangers, she saw something in his eyes that begged her to come along. So, willing her own hands not to shake, she took his hand. Deidara's grin widened as he yanked her out of her seat and began running around the platform. He took her up the stairs, through two turnstiles and through so many doorways that she lost count. Finally, he led her up a final flight of stairs that took them to the surface.
And Sakura gasped.
Konoha University (called KU for short) was famous for one of the most beautiful campuses in Japan. The lush green lawns were perfect for lounging around and reading or taking a nap in the warm sun. The tall white buildings were equipped with the best technology and facilities to ensure the best education.
Sakura felt herself almost drooling. She came around when Deidara tugged on her hand again and pulled her into a tall building comprised of almost entirely glass windows.
"Wait! Am I really allowed to be here?" Sakura squealed as she was dragged up three flights of stairs. In response, Deidara gave her a cheeky grin and then proceeded to shove her into a room.
"TA-DAH!" the blond crowed as he jumped in after her. He stopped when he realized that Sakura was on the floor, pressing her hand to her butt.
"Ow. That was mean," Sakura sighed as she stood. Deidara gave an apologetic grin and then spun around to face his friends.
"Look what I brought!" he announced.
"Uchiha-ssan?" Sakura gasped, not realizing the strange looks everyone else was giving her. And Uchiha Itachi, covered in sweat and wearing nothing but a wifebeater and jeans stared back at her.
*Goukon is a group date. It's pretty popular in Japan.
I'm planning on following the actual Japanese school system (Like in Black Widow and the Sandman) so don't get too confused. I'm not really sure how long this will be since it's just a side project.
And please don't forget to review!