Published: 5/06/18

Warning: Unbetaed, rushed, productive procrastination

Rated T: For paranoia, and perhaps some general cursing, and death

Disclaimer: I have in no way shape or form have claim over any part of the Naruto franchise

[Chapter Four]

Whoever that man was, lied. I wasn't going to be compared to a class, I was going to be compared to a whole year's worth of students. Would I even be able to compete?

Even watching from so far away made a few things clear. It just wasn't for me. The noise, the skill, the attitude. I couldn't ev- I couldn't even think. My ears rang from all the shrieks, heart racing at the sudden sounds. It brought tears to my eyes, it was all too much!

It reminded me of the drunken nights at the rest, but at least there I had my dance to focus on. There was nothing to distract me here. All I wanted to do was to turn around and run away.

I didn't, I couldn't. If I turned back, would Oka-san ever trust my words again? Weak echoed in my mind. How could I consider turning back when I hadn't even started. Still, I didn't move, I would join eventually. Just not right now.

It took a while to register but someone was calling my name, I reflexively brought my hand up stiffly in a parody of a wave. "Hello," I said, mind stuttering, two grinning faces came into view. What were their names again?

A shock of blonde took my hand into theirs and lead me down to the track. It was warm, a welcomed warmth to my cold hands. Ino, my brain said focusing in on her blinding smile, clear blue eyes, and forest green hair clip.

My hearing blew as we got closer to the crowd. In the center, you were hit by the worst of it all. If anyone heard my whimper they ignored it. The excitement and energy in the air slapped me in the face. It wasn't unpleasant, as much as was overwhelming; my mind screamed at me to get out of clear view but there was no way out without causing a scene.

We stood still listening attentively as the teacher spoke. I couldn't hear him but it looked like we didn't need to listen. With a wave of his hand, all bodies momentarily-still sparked into of legs set forth into motion and the full brunt of energy was unleashed.

I stumbled, Ino's hand still in mine pulling me up and along as she ran. The pinkette with the red ribbon in her hair, Sakura, was there on my other side, boxing me in. A small space of my own. I took a deep breath and allowed the sounds to down out into a dull hum, only picking up the bits and pieces of the voices around me.

They were trading quips above my head, playful banter, and snarky replies, all of which lacked heat. Sakura caught my eyes and winked, her forest green eyes shining with mirth. She nudged my shoulder playfully before jogging over and ramming into Ino. With a shriek, Ino let go of my hand and gave into the chase.

As they got farther and farther away, my nerves started twitching again, they weren't going to leave me with a bunch of strangers, were they? "Hey! Wait!" I yelled as they go farther and farther away.

I scrambled to catch up, overly conscious of people I bumped into. Apologies dripped from my lips, as I kept their heads in view. It was a lucky thing that they both had distinctive hair colors. My chest hurt from all the movement, but two hands reached out to mine the moment I stumbled.

"Careful," Sakura sang.

"Wouldn't want you to be left behind," Ino continued.

"Isn't it too late for that!"

"You caught up, didn't you? It wasn't anything you couldn't handle." I opened and closed my mouth a few times looking for a retort but I couldn't agree with it. I settled for a huff and urged my legs to go just a bit faster. The pair matched my paced with ease.

"Are you trying to leave us already?"

"After all our efforts?"

I grit my teeth in anger and increased the length of my stride, don't talk back don't talk back, don't talk back.

My legs burned from the strain of it all. Was there a point to all this jeering? If that's what they were going to do the whole time I would rather be at home or the civilian school instead of the academy. Huh, wait where was the crowd? There were a lot fewer people ahead of me than there were before. It was weird, the only pop of color was a familiar head of sunshine yellow.

I glanced back to see the rest of the crowd, two individuals sticking out. Both Ino and Sakura were red-faced and smiling, eyes turning into mock glares as they met mine. Sakura waved sweat notably dripping down her brow, while Ino blew a raspberry, hair plastered to her face. I laughed and my legs gave out, the feeling finally catching up to me.

I giggled hysterically, as bodies fell around me. Familiar hands lifted me up, and we were running again. This time, away from an angry crowd. Heated glares washed away with well-intended barbs.

The rest of the trails were a blur, the events blending in with the other. All I knew is that by the end of the day my stomach hurt from all the laughter, my throat sore from all the talking and that my hands had the start of callous. I fell into bed with a sense of satisfaction and excitement.

The results would come in a week and I couldn't wait.

"Shin! Shin! Did you get it! Tell me you got it! Shin!"

A slip of paper hit my face, "Wait," he snapped, taking off his shoes. "Couldn't you just I don't know, actually walk and get the slip yourself?"

"Oka-san wanted to perform with Suzu again, you know I'm busy!"

He rolled his eyes, "Whatever, did you get in or what?"

I hurriedly opened the scroll at the reminder, "Yes!" I jumped up and down with excitement.

He rolled his eyes again, boredom showing in every action, "Shut up, it's really only a formality. Only the blind or dea-"

"I'm going to tell Sakura-chan and Ino-chan! Bye!" I shut the door on him before he could continue and hurried as fast as my getaed feet could take me, running through the market, sending the stall keepers and store clerks quick waves and greetings.

I got it in! I got it in! I got it in!

I regretted it immediately. Class 1-A, was chaotic. I flinched at the sound of glass breaking, could I go home? Maybe it wasn't a good idea after all, where was Shin's classroom again? The teacher called my name repeatedly, I guess it was too late now. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath before opening the door and walking in.

Automatically my back straightens and a smile appearing on my face at the sight of a crowd. No matter who, what, or where, an audience was an audience and first impressions were the most important. I made it to the podium, smiling pleasantly, eyes scanning the room for familiar faces, there in the second row were Ino and Sakura. I absent mindedly noted the other familiar faces, noting some of them as previous customers at the rest, and the six windows at the back of the class. "Hello, I'm Okita Akio, please take care of me," I said with a formal bow. The class clapped, cheers erupting from the second row.

I felt my cheeks heat up, and I sent them a bright smile as I passed. The teacher directed me towards an empty seat in the back row. On the way up I caught sight of Ino pushing a spiky hair boy out of the seat next to her, I hid a giggle in the sleeve of my yukata as Sakura picked the boy up and frantically apologized, turning to Ino and snapping. Ino was quick to return those jabs and the volume of fight grew.

There wouldn't be an uneventful day here would there? The teacher called them out, and I was quick to scramble-gracefully- one mustn't ever look sloppy up the rest of the stairs to my row.

Looking at my seatmate, I almost tumbled back down the stairs. It was Fang-kun, the boy who glared at me during the test. As if sensing her thoughts the boy turned to her, his amber narrowed in a glare seemingly casting a golden glow onto the red markings on his cheeks. Eep! He got up from his seat and gestured to the inner seat. I pointed at myself then to the seat, he wanted me to sit there? He scowled but nodded.

"Okita-chan is there a problem," the teacher asked. I threw out a quick apology and brushed past my seatmate to the offered seat cheeks aflame. Oh, no everyone was staring. Fang-kun huffed as he sat, eyes turned to the lesson with vague interest. I bit down my apology, as the teacher started speaking. There would be time to apologize later, but right now it was time to focus.

I stared up at the board completely lost, what were we doing? The boy wrote something in his notebook. My panic levels rose, "uhm," his eyes turned to me. Scary, so scary. "Anno, uh- what topic is this."

A few seconds passed before he answered, "rules and regulation." He jolted another thing down into his book and turned back to the lesson. I rapted my fingers against the table before pulling out a blank notebook and a pencil and coping down the notes on the blackboard.

A shinobi must: 1.) Keep the village's best interest at heart, 2.) Protect the village at all costs, 3.) Always plan ahead, 4.) Put the mission first, 5.) Never let emotions interfere. My heart dropped as I copied down the lines, more rules? Okasan had already given me so many. I withheld a sigh, at least there was lunch to look forward to.

As soon as the lesson ended and the teacher left the room I was bouncing on my feet itching to see Ino and Sakura. Fang-kun sent me a weird look before getting out of his seat as well. He lumbered down the rows and tapped a similar boy on the back. I winced, as the boy tackled him. At least Suzuko wasn't big enough to slam me down to the ground yet.

Where were they? Wait, should I go to them? A quick glance at their row told me they weren't there. Where were they? I placed my writing materials back into my bag and grabbed the fruit I packed earlier. There was still no sign of them. I scanned the room finding them in the row across from mine, their hair color sticking out like sore thumbs. They reminded her of the adults in the restaurant cooing over Suzuko, a stone settled in her stomach at that reminder.

What exactly were they looking at? I hesitated for a bit before curiosity won out. I walked as closed to the crowd as I dared, staying around the edge, hands fiddling with my obi. I let out a silent scream as a hand pulled me into the crowd, "-nd this is Akio, Isn't she cute?"

I froze wide-eyed as three pairs of dark eyes accessed me. They all looked the same, dark hair, dark eyes, pale skin. They shared the same exact expression, they were all so bored, but polite smiles rested on their faces. A king and his court, my mind supplied. Service mode switched on as the boy on the left flexed his fingers. I softly knocked the arm from around me and bowed shallowly in greeting, "It's nice to see you again Jun-kun." He and his family watched our performances a lot and at their table was always an engraved pot. They were important, for whatever reason.

He nodded his head in acknowledgment, "And you as well Akito-chan." The crowd around tittered in excitement, I twitched nervously in place. "When did you decide to join the Acadamy?"

"A month or so ago, when I met Ino-chan and Sakura-chan. They've been trying to recruit me since, well, the day we met."

"Have they," he said, contempt seeping into his voice.

I repressed the urge to flinch and smiled brightly instead as his eyes demanded elaboration. Did no one like them? "Every time I saw them, they're just," I side glanced them noting Ino's tenseness and the paleness of Sakura's skin, "a little headstrong." I clapped my hands together, "But I guess that's the push I needed," I clasped my hands behind my back and leaned in, "After all you were right. I ended up here by some twist of fate, " I cocked my head to the side, and let out a laugh as Jun settled back into his chair with a scowl on his lips.

"Is she the dancer Jun?" Huh? I looked at the boy stuck in the middle of it all. Like the other two around him he was dressed in a navy blue top and white shorts, but unlike them, he was pleasantly smiling. With a minute nod, the boy turned to me, sunlight reflecting off his dark eyes. Pretty, "I've heard so much about you from Jun and my niisan."

I ducked my head down, suddenly feeling shy, "Thank you, I hope they were all good things."

He smiled, dimples showing, and I couldn't help the squeal that slipped out. Cute, cute, cute. Oh no, I shoved my face into my hands. "Sorry about that stranger-kun. You just have a very cute smile."

I let out a quiet squeak as hands reached out and removed my hands from my face, "Thank you Okita-san, my name is Uchiha Sasuke. How do you like the academy so far?"

His eyes never left me, and I kept my eyes down afraid of the squeak I would make if I met his eyes again, "Uh Uchiha-san," I paused thinking upon what I just said and slammed my hands down onto Jun's portion of the table. "Your family name is Uchiha and you owe me mochi!"

Jun crossed his arms, "The family name is right, but Jun is just a nickname."

"You just said I had to figure out your family name!"

He rolled his eyes, "The family name was obvious, after all, who hasn't heard of the Uchihas?" I waved my hand and looked at him with a pointed look. He just rolled his eyes again, he didn't believe me. Anger flashed through my system, calm, keep calm.

"Okita-san, are you not lying," Sasuke asked.

"Am I supposed to say I am?"

"Yes," Jun said, turned and revealed the back of his shirt where a red fan was stitched.

"Is that supposed to mean something?"

His right eye twitched, scorn evident in his eyes, "It's our clan symbol."

"Okay, and," I said confused.

He sighed and used the back of his hand to swipe at the bridge of his nose. "You really are a lost cause," without waiting he turned to Sakura, "Haruno-san where was your mother's shop again?"

When she didn't answer immediately I turned around to see what was wrong, the pinkette was staring at the boys with a dazed expression.

"Haruno-san," he repeated firmly.

That seemed to bring her back to attention, "It's three streets down from the Yamaka flower shop, next to the silk merchants, with a red roof."

"Thank you," he turned back to me, "what flavor do you want?"

"I thought you said I was wrong?"

"Do you or do you not want mochi?"

"Strawberry," I said automatically. He nodded and turned to speak with the third boy at their table, I bristled at his dismissal, but turned to Ino and Sakura, stomach rumbling. "Can we go eat?"

Ino stared longingly at the trio of boys but nodded, taking the lead and sitting herself down on the edge of my table. "So how do you like the academy so far?"

"It's not what I expected but I like it."

"Did you expect to use chakra on your very first day?" Sakura asked teasingly.

Whatever I wanted to say was forgotten. "Hi," the three of us turned around to see an indigo haired girl at the edge of our table.

"What is it Ami," Ino said, wrinkling her nose in disdain.

"Nothing that involves you," Ami snapped out, turning to me with a sugar-sweet smile, "Hi Okita-san, I'm Mitarashi Ami. How did you meet Jun-san?"

Offended on Ino's behalf, I kept my responses short and curt, "He visits my clan's restaurant a lot."

Her eyes lowered in faux confusion, "Is that all?"

"Yes," I repeated.

"Then why do you call him Jun-kun."

"We've become familiar enough with each other to warrant it," I placed my hands in my lap, one over the other in hopes to hide the twitching of my fingers. Was there a point to this?

"You guys aren't betrothed or anything?"

What. I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming, "No." Who asks that?

She nodded satisfied, "Okay then, I just wanted to introduce myself," with a flick of her hair she walked away, a gaggle of others following her back to the other table. Just as Sakura opened her mouth to speak, Ami shouted over her and I couldn't make out Sakura's voice, "If you ever want a change you're free to join us!"

Sakura growled, mimicking the way I was feeling inside. Instead of exploding I raised my hand in the air acknowledging her statement and counting to ten in my head to reign in my temper. "Thank you, but I love who I'm with right now." With a tired smile, I looked up to the girls, "So, yeah. Not what I expected."

In Another World:

His eyes never left me, and I kept my eyes down afraid of the squeak I would make if I met his eyes again, "Uh Uchiha-san," I paused thinking upon what I just said and slammed my hands down onto Jun's portion of the table. "Your family name is Uchiha and you owe me mochi!"

Jun crossed his arms, "The family name is right, but Jun is just a nickname."

"You just said I had to figure out your family name!"

He rolled his eyes, "The family name was obvious, after all, who hasn't heard of the Uchihas?" I waved my hand and looked at him with a pointed look. He just rolled his eyes again, he didn't believe me. Anger flashed through my system, calm, keep calm.

"Okita-san, are you not lying," Sasuke asked.

"Am I supposed to say I am?"

"Yes," Jun said, turned and revealed the back of his shirt where a red fan was stitched.

"Is that supposed to mean something?"

His right eye twitched, scorn evident in his eyes, "It's our clan symbol."

"Oh! So your family is famous for making fans!" The whole classroom froze, then crashed to the ground, Error 404, "Did I say something wrong?"

Completion date: 5/6/18

Author's note: 5/6/18

Wow, I did not expect to take such a long break. Sorry for being gone for so long, I just lost well motivation and inspiration for this story, then life took an odd turn. In April there was a loss in my family, and well with finals and cultural death rituals, it was hard to find the time.

I'm not sure where this is heading, or if there will ever be a set update schedule for this, but don't worry I'm not dropping it anytime soon.

The notebook I was using to plan the story and keep small details about the characters and plot has gone missing, so it'll take me awhile to replan everything. The files in the doc actually got deleted as well, I accidentally let them past the expiration date. *Included were updated versions of this story- that I will have to go back and edit sometime this month*

While writing this, a portion of the start was deleted and I have been unable to recover it so it may be a bit off

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoy the characters and pacing!

*If you're here from RoMO, well. The last chapter quite frankly was a mess- the updated chapters as well. In short SOMEONE(S) suggested for me to do a complete style change, and me being self-conscious I did it. It did not end well, again this will be fixed in time, as well as the odd POV switching.

The next chapter for that- is to come- inspiration is similarly lacking as well as energy.