My first fanfic, so yeah...hope you enjoy. Please note that the ages of all but Kakuzu, Kisame, and Zetsu have been altered so that they are young/old enough to attend high school. So don't annoy me about that.

I don't own the Akatsuki, so yeah. ^^

Hidan smirked as he laid down his hand of cards, revealing a flush. "Pay up, bitches." he said, leaning back in his chair.

Kakuzu grit his teeth angrily, pounding the table with his fist. "You're cheating!" he accused, pulling a kunai from his pocket.

Hidan laughed. "Am not." he said, patting the carefully concealed extra deck of cards just up his sleeve.

"Yeah, right, Hidan. No one can win that many times at poker." Kisame sighed, tossing his cards down onto the table, looking extremely fed up.

"I'm just really lucky." Hidan said, giving a shrug and collecting the poker chips.

Itachi made a sound of annoyance, then stood and left the table. One by one, Kakuzu, Deidara, and Kisame followed, leaving Hidan alone at the table. Hidan snickered. "You guys still owe me!" he called after them, standing and following them as well.

I bolted up in my bed, a cold sheen of sweat on my face. I turned on my bedside lamp, fingering the silver locket around my neck that my mother had given me as my groggy mind went over my dream. Once again, I had dreamt of the mediocre happenings of the Akatsuki. I was clearly reading way too much Naruto.

I gazed over at my bookshelves, with one entire shelf of the Naruto manga volumes. I pulled my auburn hair back into a messy pony tail, then walked over to the bathroom and washed my face. I stared up into my reflection in the mirror, sighing sadly. This house was way too big for me and me alone, especially since Dad died. The will had left the house to me, for some strange reason. A two-story house in a gated community, here I felt sheltered, although word of his death spread like wildfire in this small section of town. Soon, countless housewives and grandma's came over, bringing me a nice warm meal almost every day. Hey, I didn't complain, I didn't have a real source of income now. Life kinda smacked me in the face, taking away something I held dear to me and leaving me to fend for myself now.

But whatever. I'm sad to say I knew Dad would die soon, he had pancreatic cancer and wasn't winning the battle. He took a turn for the worse after Mom left. I'm just glad he was able to pay off the entire house, I didn't have to worry about the roof over my head. Just the utilities, food, clothes, taxes...

God, life could be cruel sometimes.

I dried my face gently, then headed downstairs and checked the clock. 3:30 AM. I thanked whatever gods there were that it was summer vacation now, I didn't have to worry about when I woke up. It was still extremely dark, the only light(besides the ones I turned on) in the streets were the street lamps, and even they were lit up with only a slight intensity. But that's what I liked about waking up so early. I felt alone, like the only one awake in the entire world. Although with all the dramatic time differences, I knew that wasn't true, but nevertheless. It was nice.

I grabbed some cereal and sat down in the comfy reclining chair Dad had always sat in. I closed my eyes, eating my extremely early breakfast and inhaling the smell that emanated from the chair: toner, fresh paper, and sanitizer. Yes, my dad worked in an office building high rise that was obsessed with helping the germaphobes, but he was the only one in the world I could continually count on to care. As much as a dad could, of course.

I shook the thoughts from my mind, finishing my breakfast and washing the bowl. I stood there in the kitchen, in my extremely comfy pajamas, wondering what to do today. I could go out job hunting, but I knew no one would want to hire a sixteen year old with no experience what so ever. I watched the paper boy zing by, tossing the morning paper into my front yard.

I retrieved it, lazily walking back into the house as I read the front page. PRESIDENT PASSES LAW, TAXES RISE.

Great. Just great.

I flipped through the paper, noticing one grim news bit after the other. Can't they print happy stuff? Ever? What happened to firefighters saving kittens from trees being front page news?

Guess I'm just picky.

I flipped to the obituary section of the newspaper, wondering who else had been torn from their families. So many unfamiliar faces stared up at me, their smiling faces telling me "Pity the families! Pity them!"

Disgusted with the fact that every death was made public, I plopped the newspaper on the table, refusing to read another sentence of that drivel.

Completely bored, I thanked my ADHD induced short attention span and went upstairs, back to my room, back to my books and manga and computer. I logged on to the computer, a brisk WELCOME, LYRA WILLIAMS flashing on the screen. I checked to see if any of my friends on the other side of the world had logged on to chat. Apparently not, since I checked my buddy list and no one was on.

Flustered, I decided to get dressed(I was too awake now, I never could go back to sleep after about ten minutes of being awake and doing stuff), and find something useful to do with my time today. There was no use lounging round the house today, the daytime television was horrible around here and normally my friends got online around 4:00 in the afternoon. I was standing there, waiting for something to occur to me, when I glanced out the window. Behind the gated community I call home lay a forest of pine trees, in which many a time bored retirees would attempt to go out hiking in, but would not be able to get five feet up the mountain before getting out of breath and deciding to eat the "lunch" they brought with them(mashed cardboard with a dash of flavour and sour milk) before going back home to their 552 cats and smelly old houses. I packed a small lunch, dressed in my jeans and a tee, and slipping on the hiking boots my father had bought. I slipped my knapsack upon my back, placing a bottle of water in the mesh netting on the outside and grabbing my keys to the house. I then realized that, at this time of the morning, no sane person would be out and about, as it was a) cold and b) there were still the extremely late night partiers still out and about, and I didn't feel the need for being raped or murdered tonight.

I sighed, heading back up to my room. I checked the clock.4:30 A.M. It was about an hour and a half before any sane person would decide to head out to go anywhere, so I settled in to reading my newest few installments of several different mangas I hadn't gotten around to reading.