Chapter Three – Drawing the Lines
A/N: I suck at updating stories, especially when my enthusiasm dies a little each chapter.
Sasuke heaved a frustrated sigh, all the while glaring at the unwanted individual making his way over to join him. Of all the empty seats in the cafeteria, he had to choose this one?
"Tenten-chan!" his voice rose above the murmur of the canteen.
Sasuke cringed having grown annoyed with Tenten's eerie bunch of friends. The pink haired nuisance and the blonde shrew irritated him the most. He swore, if he had to hear just how amazing he was one more time he'd lose it.
Their obvious infatuation with him occasionally served as an ego boost but having to sit through a free period listening to childish fantasies about him was taking things a bit too far. He was no one's knight in shining armour. And he definitely could not picture himself saying "Ino, Ino let down your long hair."
Then there was Neji's busty little cousin, she was just plain pathetic in his opinion. He supposed any girl crushing on the dobe—ie. Naruto—would have to be.
But above all was the green-jumpsuit-wearing-freak, with his massive eyebrows and that atrocious haircut. It looked like he was wearing a black soup bowl on his head. Honestly, he was like the cross-breed between Naruto and Kiba—on steroids.
And that was just putting his hyperactivity lightly.
"Lee..." he greeted, slapping a pained smile across his porcelain face.
"Is this seat taken?" he asked, flashing one of his good guy smiles—as if it were any consolation to make Sasuke want to sit beside him anymore than he already didn't.
Visibly the Uchiha twitched, "No..." he answered regrettably. "But if you sit down this one will be," he muttered beneath his breath.
"What was that Ten?" he dropped his lunch tray noisily on the table, flopping down in his seat.
"How are you doing Lee?" he couldn't possibly have cared less. But he had to put up a front, for his sake rather than Tenten's.
If he knew nothing else about her, he knew of her fetish for vengeance. There was no telling what she'd do while masquerading as him just to get even. And because he wasn't in the least bit interested in finding out, he tried to keep his cool.
They have yet to bury the hatchet that had somehow manifested between them over the last couple of years. The wounds were still raw—though he wasn't sure how they got there to begin with—but he wasn't about to go picking at it.
"I'm doing great actually!" Lee replied, making noisy slurping sound with his straw. "I ran four miles before I came to school this morning."
"That's great," his face felt stiff from forging another smile.
"Hey brushy brow!"
In came another moron, Sasuke rolled his eyes inwardly. It would appear that Tenten's life was contaminated them. Birds of a feather did flock together however, he reasoned to himself.
"My youthful comrade!" Lee gave out upon Naruto's arrival.
Sasuke made use of Lee's momentary distraction to inch his chair further away. He didn't get too far for only seconds later Naruto flung himself down on the chair to his other side.
"Tennie-chan!" he sang, "Guess what? Guess what?"
"Naruto," he growled darkly, feeling claustrophobic. Didn't these dimwits have any respect for personal space?
"Hinata-chan agreed to go out with me!" he announced.
At this Sasuke smirked, of course it wasn't out of genuine glee for the new couple. But he knew that having the blonde parade around the school with Neji's cousin would most likely end with him sporting a black eye. That was why he found satisfaction in Naruto's admission.
"That's great news," Sasuke croaked.
"All thanks to you of course."
He anticipated that cheesy grin on Naruto's face before it even surfaced. But he hadn't expected Naruto to lace his hands with his and draw it up to his lips to plant a sloppy wet kiss on the back of his palm.
Sasuke's face went flushed with uncertainty, then with embarrassment, finally settling for anger.
After roughly yanking his hand out of Naruto's grasp, he smacked him across the head and wiped at his hands with a napkin. "What did you do that for?" he shrieked, thoroughly appalled.
Naruto regarded him with nervous caution when he spoke this time, "You always found it cute when I did that," he rubbed the back of his head where he could still feel the impact of the blow.
Their gaze clashed at the reminder. He closed his eyes and released a chagrined laugh, and then he stopped abruptly. "Don't ever do that again," Sasuke warned, surprised at his placid demeanour when inside he was hurdling over and puking his insides out.
"Let it go Naruto..." Lee suggested.
The canteen grew hushed as it always did whenever he and his friends came in for lunch. A cocky smirk curled the ends of Sasuke's lips. Even Naruto and Lee's idle chatter faded upon the group's entrance. The few freshmen girls who were still on their lunch period squealed in delight and began to point. The dreamy sighs and giggling followed soon after.
One by one the jocks began to assume their rightful position at the table situated in the centre of the canteen. They were the centre of most girls' attention and the core of every guy's envy. So it was only natural that they sat in the middle for all to bask and dwindle in their glory and beauty.
Naruto and Lee began to pass snide remarks about each individual as they sat down which infuriated the Uchiha to some extent but he was mostly pleased by it. He always welcomed the bias and negative criticisms he often got from the other ninety-eight percentage of the male population who weren't in his circle. It meant that they found themselves so inferior to him and his friends that they'd find the silliest of things to bash them about. He presumed that by pointing out their flaws—ie. the jocks—it somehow made them— ie. the commoners—feel less inferior.
"Bow down to me you peasants for I'm the almighty Hyuuga Neji, heir of the Hyuuga dynasty," Lee mimicked while Naruto bowed in pretence reverence.
"Ladies feel free to look but you can't touch." Naruto started, patting his head dramatically as he spoke. "My family has invested too much in expensive hair products for you to taint my weave," they both went up into a fit of laughter.
Sasuke shook his head at them, suppressing the urge to pour his drink down their shirts. From across the room Neji sent the trio an eerie glance, nodded at Sasuke—or rather, at Tenten—in acknowledgement then continued to converse with Shikamaru.
Sasuke returned the curt nod knowing damn well that Tenten would have been waving like crazy with that dumb grin on her face, identical to the one Naruto so often flaunted. He didn't get why Neji associated himself with people like her. She was an obnoxious, know-it-all brat, too plain and way too far down on the social ladder.
See that was the difference between himself and the Hyuuga. Neji was a tad bit too accepting for his own good.
Coming to think of it he was a little too big on nobility and fairness as well. In all their years as friends he had never once sided with Sasuke. Reason being that Sasuke was usually the offender but one would have thought him to put morals aside and take his best friend's side. Instead he always played by the books and acted as an arbitrator.
Deep down, Sasuke appreciated that greatly, though he'd never admit it.
"Ladies if you're into fruits then you should dig me," Lee puffed out his chest and jabbed at it with his thumb. "I mean look at me; I'm easily the most attractive pineapple that you'll ever come across."
Naruto pounded his fist on the table with tears in his eyes, "That's a good one brushy brow!"
"Bitches are drags, school is drag, assignments are drags," Naruto drawled lazily, "Heck the fucking economy is drag."
This time it was Lee's turn to go hysteric, "You nailed it."
Gaara filed in next, looking every bit as annoyed as Sasuke felt.
"I swear that thing under my eye isn't my sister's mascara," Lee laughed. "Who needs that when Crayola has markers?"
"It's my birthday and I can shave my eyebrows and tattoo my forehead if I want to," Naruto sang.
Sasuke face-palmed himself. If this was what he'd have to endure every lunch break then he was prepared to fast.
"My name is Sasuke Uchiha and I don't have to do assignments to get an A," Lee laughed. "I'll do the teacher's daughter instead."
At this Sasuke's fist clenched at his sides. What kind of impersonation was that? Apparently Naruto's thoughts drifted down similar paths because he fixed Lee an odd look as well.
"I really don't understand why so many girls are into me. I mean, I've got the ass of a duck plastered on the back of my head. That alone should count as animal cruelty—"
Their voices drowned out as Sasuke studied his incoming self. There was something awfully off about him—about Tenten. He knew the feeling well enough to recognize it in the expression on his former face. It was discomfort along with an odd sense—of—of vulnerability? He wondered if perhaps she had gotten injured during gym class. She wasn't limping so to speak and she looked pretty much intact, he confirmed after giving her a surveying onceover.
Expect for that slight indentation in her jeans.
"Holy fuck," he gave out, causing Lee and Naruto to call after him after he dashed across the room.
The last thing Tenten expected when she entered the canteen was to crash into the petite form of the body she had once called her own. It had been a rather painful collision too because the smaller form had forced itself straight onto the aching region just below the fly of her jeans.
"Sasuke," she hissed in pain. "What are you doing?"
"The question should be, what have you been doing?" he pointed an accusing finger below and she flushed until her ears went pink.
"I-uh...I-uh..." speech fled her at the sight of the anger that glittered in his brown eyes.
He crept closer, if that was possible and she stumbled backwards. Vaguely aware of the apprehensive glances being sent their way Sasuke took another step forward and Tenten took two steps back.
"I can explain," she said in a low voice.
"You had better can," he stated, his expression was one of candid outraged.
She balled her hands into fists, frustration implicit in every line of her body. "I was in the male locker room—" she started to explain, having found that he had led them both out of the cafeteria.
"You were in the locker room and what?" He demanded.
She swallowed, "And we were changing—" she continued. "Neji came in and he was taking his shirt off and—"
"—I don't want to hear it!" Sasuke suddenly gave out. He ran his hand through his brown tresses; his eyes wide with horror.
She felt humiliated. "I'm sorry..."
He cut her off with a swipe of his hand; his gaze held hers and narrowed. "You don't walk around with something like that," his voice cut sharper than she'd ever heard it. "Guys aren't like girls in that regard Tenten. We have to practice self-control, I suggest that you get some," he spun on his heels and left, not before he shot her another sharp look.
She knew what that look meant, there'd be hell to pay.
It wasn't until a full fifteen minutes had passed before she re-entered the canteen. Sasuke sat across the room glancing gingerly in her direction while trying to evade conversation with Naruto and Lee. They were later joined by Kiba and Chouji. She had way too many guy friends, she thought to herself.
Tenten made her way to the lunch table where the real Sasuke often had lunch. Thankfully, she was passed her little incident, because his friends wouldn't have missed it this time around judging from the way they were all studying her.
"Uchiha, what was that?" Neji asked before she even got the chance to settle in her seat.
She flushed a little but mindful of the scowling boy—well, girl—behind her, she composed herself. "I'd like to know myself," she knitted her brows together in furrow.
Neji didn't look won over, he raised a sooty brow at her, "So you two are friends now?"
Without thinking she gave out, "Me and him? Geez no!" she shook her head. Everyone raised their brows at her this time. When she realized what she had said, Tenten corrected herself hastily, going red in the process.
"I saw you getting books from her locker this morning," Shikamaru just had to mention.
Deep-set lavender eyes stared at her from one of the most striking faces she'd ever seen. Lean and pale, with high, sharp cheekbones, the blood of his ancestors had left an indelible stamp on that impressive bone structure. His hair was darker and longer than conventional, but it complimented him well. "Is that so Uchiha?"
"Assume whatever you want to," she said flatly.
"No one's making any assumptions," Gaara volunteered. "That was just too much of an intimate gesture for it to pass."
"But just now it was merely an accident," she redirected the conversation as she hadn't a valid explanation as to why it was she had been fetching books from her locker.
"She looked ready to bite your head off," Shikamaru noted.
"It's Tenten," she pointed out as though it were to mean something to them. Apparently it didn't because all eyes swivelled to clash with hers and she took a moment to sweep her gaze over each person's face trying to muster what was going through their minds. "I wouldn't be surprised if she had a pair of scissors ready to castrate me," she laughed it off.
They didn't find it funny.
She sunk even lower in her in seat.
And that was as far as conversation went between them. They ate in silence as she was accustomed to seeing them do. But she was very aware that their state of reticence also meant that they were very observant of their surroundings. So she knew chancing a glance over to where Sasuke sat would not have gone unnoticed and would probably have raised more speculations.
"Itachi agreed to loan you the car for tonight right?" Neji asked.
"Uh..." she hadn't a clue what he was talking about, but to save Sasuke from looking anymore stupid than she knew he was looking at the moment, she nodded.
"You'll have to pick me up first," Shikamaru yawned. "You know how easily I change my mind when it comes to things like these."
Pick him up? She couldn't fucking drive!
"Hn" she answered not sure whether it came off as an agreement or otherwise.
She got a math quiz, and failed she presumed.
Technically it wasn't her fault, they were in separate math classes and his teacher was clearly way ahead of all the other classes. Half the problems on the paper had seemed too abstract for the average human mind to even process what it was asking, let alone figure them out. She knew that it would reflect negatively on her part, as she suspected Sasuke would purposely fail a class to even the score. Hence initiating the cycle of torment they had both anticipated.
At exactly fifteen minutes past the hour of three Itachi was stationed in the school's parking lot waiting to pick up the brother she knew he saw as a nuisance.
"See you tomorrow Sasuke-kun!"
Tenten winced as one particularly bold girl latched her arms around her. It took some amount of strength to peel the damn girl off but it took even more to not throw up as another blew her a kiss.
Seeing his brother's obvious humiliation, Itachi snickered and ushered the teen into the car.
"She isn't amongst one of those girls is she?" he asked, rendering Tenten bewildered for a second or two until she recalled the very awkward conversation they had this morning. Correction—the very scandalous hypothesis about the trail of red spots on her neck that could have very much been mosquito bites.
"I hope not," she wondered herself then went florid.
He glanced at her from side-ways with an open once-over that felt less offensive than something more discreet. He chuckled lightly but remained silent for the rest of the journey which Tenten was grateful for.
It was not until after dinner that Itachi informed Tenten that he'd be going out with a couple of his friends tonight so she couldn't take the car. She was grateful for two things, not having an attempt at her life by an attempt to drive and having found out that Itachi had agreed to loan her the car after all. But that left one huge problem, how would the guys get picked up?
And where were they going?
"I won't be leaving for another three hours, so if you want I could drop you off but you'd have to find your own ride home."
"Hn" she shrugged her shoulders trying not to blush underneath his penetrating obsidian gaze.
Before she knew it, she was dressed and leaving, not understanding why Sasuke's parents would allow their son to go out on a school night. And not fully comprehending why she hadn't suggested that the guys called tonight off since the car pooling arrangement blew. How was she supposed to get home? A cab seemed logical yes, but she hadn't a clue what the name of the street where she now lived was and she definitely hadn't spent the time studying the route Itachi had drove earlier.
When she arrived at Konoha Grill and Bar she was not surprise to see that Shikamaru hadn't showed but Neji and Gaara—though grating—had put in an appearance. From what she gathered some senior was having a birthday party and had invited Sasuke and his friends. With her social status Tenten had never been invited to one of these raging teen parties before but she had seen enough of the movies to know what really happened at these gatherings.
A couple of the girls had gone wasted already, their tops were missing and they were rubbing themselves up against guys that they wouldn't normally associate themselves with—guys like Naruto.
Above the music she could hear him shouting something that was awfully slurred and babbly, indicating that he too couldn't hold his liquor well. She resisted the urge to giggle as one of the girls that were grinding herself against him, staggered and fell. In an attempt to help the girl to her feet Naruto himself fell.
Neji made a tutting sound, "And that's the type guy Hinata wishes to be associated with," he shook his head solemnly.
"Hn" she answered, annoyed that her choice of responses were limited to 'hns'.
A small brunette with ample bosom along with another dark haired girl came from out of nowhere and snatched Gaara away to the far end of the club. That left Neji and Sasuke by themselves to make idle conversation while they watched the perverse episode unfold before their eyes.
"Who are they?" she asked, watching the crowd swallow up Gaara and the girls' form.
"Matsuri and Sari."
Tenten thought their names sounded familiar but she hadn't gotten a good look at their faces to pin the names to the faces.
"Excuse me Uchiha," Neji pardoned himself having spotted little Hanabi and a couple of her friends.
Somebody was going to be in a lot of trouble, Tenten thought. From across the room she watched as Neji steered the fuming girl out the building and chuckled to herself. After realizing that Neji was probably not going to return anytime soon—much to her dismay—she found herself a seat, risked a drink and wondered what Sasuke was doing.
"Sasuke-teme," Naruto stumbled towards her, with two girls equally as stoned as he was. He whispered something to both girls who giggled.
"Well if it isn't the dobe," she snickered, knowing that in the morning Naruto wouldn't remember a single detail about Sasuke's uncharacteristic lost of his cool.
"I couldn't help noticing that you were a bit lonely over here," he laughed out. "Did Neji leave to readjust his extensions again?"
He whispered something to the girls again and they giggled in delight.
"Never mind that," Naruto jeered. "It's a party and everybody's having fun," he pointed to a wooden door. "So go in there and do what you do best," he struck his good guy pose and flashed a toothy grin.
"Which is?" the one-time brunette struggled against the weight of the redhead who had thrown herself down on her lap. Tenten flushed as an arm snaked around her neck, and then the other curious hand crept slowly up along the length of her thigh to grasp the weight positioned between them. At this she cringed in disgust.
"Getting laid," he answered with a wink.
Tenten gasped as she was roughly pulled from the chair and dragged off by the two giggling girls. She faintly heard Naruto bragging about Sasuke prowess with women before the door slammed shut behind her.
"Sasuke isn't here yeah," the tall blonde man that opened the door to his house told him after he had inquired on the whereabouts of his former self.
"Who is it?" he heard his brother ask from inside.
"Some girl," Deidara replied, his azure gaze travelling along the length of Tenten's form in a manner that made Sasuke shudder. "She's looking for your kid brother."
He absolutely hated his brother's friends, Deidara especially, who in his opinion was probably meant to have been a girl. With his long blonde mane, blue eyes and bitchy personality, one could've easily mistaken him for Ino Yamanaka.
Not to mention the fact that he was into pottery, this, Sasuke found rather queer. What he found odd however, was that after spending hours of turning clay into ornate pieces, Deidara would simply smash his creations to bits arguing that true art was a bang. And that it wasn't until its destruction that art could ever really be appreciated.
Sasori often criticized Deidara's views on art with good reasoning. Butof course, no one took the ill-tempered redhead seriously because his version of art was collecting old puppets and dolls. This, Sasuke found childish but at least he didn't go all sociopathic and rip the dolls to shreds.
Then there was Hidan with his pink orbs and ashen locks. It was quite a rare combination but Sasuke found that it suited him. That, and his repulsive vocabulary which consisted mainly of curse words. He swore he had never heard Hidan utter a single sentence without having somehow incorporated the word fuck. And they call him religious?
Sasuke shook his head.
"Sasuke isn't here," Itachi came to the door this time.
"Well, where can I find him?" he demanded, loathing the long study his brother gave him.
"Fiery one isn't she?" Deidara chuckled. "What's your name girl?"
"How's that of any importance?" he snapped.
"You're looking for my brother that and that alone qualifies as a decent reason for you to state your name," Itachi pointed out sternly, assuming the role of the over-protective brother he used to be.
"It's Tenten," he muttered, feeling stupid for revealing her dumb name.
"Well Tenten, Sasuke is not here," Itachi told him.
From inside a peeved voice called, "What's with the fucking hold up?"
He needn't any confirmation that the voice had indeed belonged Hidan. He later joined the duo at the door and glowered at the little girl before him, "The fuck do you want?"
"She's looking for Sasuke," Deidara answered.
"You've got to be fucking kidding me!" He gave out, "How long does it take to tell the brat that Sasuke isn't fucking here?"
"Hidan..." Itachi warned.
Their parents would not have tolerated the use of such vocabulary in their house.
"There's no need to be rude yeah," Deidara scolded the white-haired boy then looked apologetically at the girl. "Sorry hun."
"She's taking up a shit load of our time," he scowled. "I'll show you fucking rude!"
Then the door slammed in his face.
As the reality of what had just transpired began to dawn on him he took out Tenten's phone and punched in his cell number.
Hidan had just shut the door in his face.
In his damn house.
His damn door.
"Sasuke's phone, how may I help you?" came a voice from the other end of the line.
"What are you doing with my phone moron?" he asked loudly, hearing the loud music in the background but identifying the voice as Naruto's nevertheless.
"Tenten? Is that you?" he asked slurring his words a little, obviously stoned. "You sound so pretty."
His left eye began to twitch uncontrollably but he caught himself in time to ask, "Where's Sasuke?"
He heard mild giggling in the background, "Sasuke has got his hands full at the moment, but I can take a message."
"What are you getting at?"
"Wouldn't you like to know..." Naruto said knowingly, then went into another laughing fit, much like he did this morning when he had made fun of his friends.
Sasuke slid the phone shut; there was no mistaking what Naruto was implying now. He had allowed Tenten a pass this morning when she had her hormonal incident. But getting laid in his body was where he drew the line.
A/N: Yeah, this story has definitely lost its appeal—at least to me. It's not my usual kind of setting, I tend to stray from reading and writing High School fics. Somehow they always end up sort of cliché. Not to say that there aren't a couple amazing ones out there, I just can't write it for shit.