Disclaimer: I own the plot alone. Steal it and your organs will be rearranged. In a tub. On Christmas morning full of ice. Inside of a warehouse. Jigsaw has nothing on what I would put you through. But Kishimoto can own his manga. Nathanial Hawthorne can also keep his stupid book. I would have had Hester leave the stupid colony, but fuck no! We have to wait until he dies to see it!

Warning: Cursing, Hidan, puppy dog faces, and The Scarlett Letter. That's terror right there.

Chapter One

A life without cause is a life without effect.

- Barbarella

It was snowing. Itachi Uchiha glared out the window and ignored the chattering around him. He could care less about these people. He was worried more about how he would walk home in this weather, not that his expression would show it. He was naturally an emotionless person, and he put it all beside him after he realized that he couldn't change it. He sighed and turned back to the classroom.

Inside there was chaos. That was the first thing Itachi noticed when he started to pay attention. He watched the future bankers group of people argue with Kakashi Hatake's group, and it seemed like Kakuzu Takatsi was who the argument was over. Itachi wanted to frown when he listened (it's not eavesdropping if they're yelling it) in. This was over a project? Impossible! He hadn't heard anything about this.

Itachi turned to his book instead. He would ask Mr. Okkanee later about this. He could do it by himself anyway. He didn't particularly wanted to be hindered by anybody in the first place.

Itachi tried to pay attention to what was happening to Hester and Chillingworth, but the Scarlet Letter was certainly no rival to the yelling of high school students. Itachi's eyes left the pages to watch certain people yell and scream for a group member.

"He's mine, goddammit," Hidan Yuume yelled. He grabbed Kakuzu's arms and pulled him toward a blue-haired girl whom Itachi had forgotten the name of after the first day.

"Hell no," Kakashi yelled. "He's smart, and plus juniors have to stick together!"

"All of you shut up," screamed Eris Hayame, the leader of the FBLA club. "Kakuzu will obviously be our partner since we are all in the same club."

"Like hell he would," Hidan said. "You all are a bunch of fucking nerds, and Kakuzu's too much of a badass to work with you lot."

Kakuzu raised an eyebrow. "Was that a compliment?" he asked.

"That's the best you'll ever fucking get, asshole."

Itachi's eyes widened just a bit. Did he just see- no, they absolutely hated each other. He was certain of it. He knew that from Personal Finance, where he had the misfortune to listen to them both bicker about whether money was necessary to live. This was a rather interesting development though. He would have to remember this for the future.

Itachi pulled out a notebook and watched the argument become resolved, though not the way he expected.

Kakuzu turned to the finance group and gave them an apologetic look. "Sorry, but I promised Pein that I would help them out if there was a group project," he said with a heavy sigh. Hidan grabbed his arm and dragged him off to the beaming blue-haired girl. Itachi made a note of this. She looked as if she was planning this from the start.

Itachi watched as she went up to the guy who sat behind him, and he propped up his book and acted like he was taking notes so he did not seem too suspicious. The guy behind him was the captain of the basketball, football, wrestling, swimming, and snowboarding teams, pretty much every sport in the school besides track. There was no captain of track though, so that's probably why he wasn't in that. Who was this superbly athletic person? Why, it's Kisame Hoshigaki because no one else can be so great.

"Hey Konan," Kisame said.

Itachi wrote down her name so he would not forget it anytime soon.

"Hey, Kisame. What do you think about this project?" Konan asked.

Itachi heard Kisame chuckle. "Mr. Okkanee should have known better than to give us all a project due the end of the semester. I know we all are just going to put it off until the day before and throw something together that's only worth a C at the most," he said.

"Yeah, yeah, but we have Kakuzu in our group so we might stay focused," Konan sighed.

Kisame laughed. "Have you ever seen him and Hidan in the same room? We'll be lucky if they stay on task."

Konan frowned. "We're going to need more help then," she muttered. "Who else do you think would be good at this stuff?"

Kisame shrugged, and they both mused over who in this class would be helpful.

Itachi found their dilemma amusing. He almost wanted to laugh at them. There was absolutely no one in this class who would stay on task for more than five seconds. He was serious. A whole semester in this class made him wonder if the cafeteria food was laced with cocaine or something that caused ADHD. It would be more reasonable than saying this is natural for teenagers. Itachi certainly not this way, at least he hoped not. Then again, he could say he was the exception to most rules considering how he was raised.

"Hey, you're Itachi, right?"

There was a tap on his shoulder and Itachi turned around slowly. "What do you want?" he said cooly, putting his notebook out of view so he wouldn't be thought of as a stalker.

"You don't have a group for the project, right?" Kisame asked.

Itachi ignored Konan's hopeful eyes and glared. "I was planning on working on this by myself," he said.

Konan took over. "But you can't! You're supposed to have a group give a presentation over a culture and reenact a myth along with it."

"I can do it by myself," Itachi replied. He turned back around and attempted to read the Scarlet Letter again, without feeling the urge to fall asleep right then and there.

It didn't help that the book was plucked out of his hands and he was face to face with Kisame.

Itachi glared, but Kisame seemed unaffected. Finally, Itachi snatched the book back and huffed when Kisame raised it above his head.

"Join our group and I'll give you back the book," he said.

"Give it back."

"Then join our group."

"It's for English."

"Tough. Mrs. Dentè will understand."

"I have Mr. Sakèn."

"Then you're screwed." Kisame smirked. "So you'll join?"

The bell rang and Itachi narrowed his eyes at Kisame's expectant grin. "Hn."

He grabbed his binder and swept out of there without another glance toward the book or Kisame.

-.-

"Join our group?"

"Hn."

"Please?"

"Hn."

"Pretty please with cherries on top?"

"Hn."

"Pretty please with sugar, and pocky, and chocolate syrup, and strawberries, and cake on top?"

"You used too many 'ands.'"

This was an interesting sight to behold. A large, blue junior was following some short sophomore around like a puppy dog waving an English book around like a lunatic and begging for him to be in his group. Add the fact that this was the most friendly and popular kid in school talking to the "loner hottie" , and then this was a schoolwide scandal. Don't ask him why he was called that; he just heard it from his fan girls.

If Itachi was on the outside, he probably would have enjoyed watching this play out, but on the inside, he just felt so damn uncomfortable. He wanted the looks to just go away and to be left alone, but this damn guy won't stop pestering him. And screw cursing! He was polite enough at home as it is! He could curse in his head all the fucking time and no one would be the wiser!

Itachi really had problems when he was irritated.

Itachi ignored the puppy dog face and went into his locker to grab his books. Art was his last class of the day, so he could possibly relax in there without any irritations like Kisame.

Itachi went inside his classroom and set up his easel close to the door. It was only when the bell rang that he finally spoke.

"Are you going to continue standing there instead of heading to class?" Itachi asked through gritted teeth.

Kisame sat at a table behind him, and Itachi really wanted to punch that smug grin off of his face. And he was a pacifist before this dammit!

"Nope," he said. "I want you to join our group, and I'm not known to give up, you know?"

Itachi really wished that he wouldn't have said that.

All during art class, he felt those eyes watching him, and it unnerved Itachi. He had to fight to keep his reserved composure instead of snapping at him to go away. He even got looks from the prodigy art student, Deidara's Iwagara, who absolutely loathed him. He could have sworn he saw him snickering at him but did not think any further of it. His mind was playing tricks on him. That's what he'd believe just for his sanity.

The hour was long and dreadful, and at the end of it, Itachi produced a very poor painting of what was supposed to be a bird. He let out a 'hn.' He could trash it and make a new one tomorrow. This was all a participation grade anyway.

He grabbed his binder from the table and was then again reminded of Kisame.

"C'mon 'tachi," Kisame said, "it could be fun to meet new people. Plus all you have to do it act like you like us."

Itachi glared at him. "Don't call me 'tachi," he muttered before snatching the book and walking away.

Kisame brightened up. "I'll tell Konan that you're with us," he called out.

"Hn."

Deidara ran to catch up with Itachi, since they typically walked home together. "What was that all about un?" he asked, glancing back and forth between the retreating Kisame and Itachi.

"It's a pointless story, so why bother?"

Deidara shrugged. "If you say so un."

A/N: And this is how you begin a story. Next chapter should come out next week. Cross your fingers, or else you can go to Hell. By the way, my address as changed. I feel like the first Mexican in Canada. Woo...I have no clue what they say. ¿Què dijo? That's my phrase of the year. My brother is still down in Missouri (where he should stay) and he'll be managing most of my account.

Arrivederci!

À la prochaine!

Tschüss!

Adieu!

Ciao!

Nos vemos!

Bye!

And don't forget to review!

-JMS