-Chapter 1: Comin' in Hot-
The new school won't be so bad honey. Aria's mother's words play on repeat through her mind as she pulls up to her new school. She gulped and watched from the safety of her car as the other students file into the building. Many students seemed overjoyed as they formed groups outside the building- this likely being the first time seeing their friends after the long break between semesters. Uhg. That was a sour reminder of her situation. With a sigh, she leaned her head gently against the steering wheel.
You'll be fine. Her father had also assured. Still, Aria couldn't quite will away the uneasy feeling that she felt in her gut. It was one thing to go to a new school at the beginning of a new year- and Aria would've complied without complaint had that been the case. To her dismay however, life doesn't always accommodate for everyone’s needs. And Aria was no exception to this- considering her first day at this new school was in the middle of Junior year.
She sighed again as she straightened her back. She certainly wasn't going to have a good day if she kept an attitude like this. Though it was hard to bring herself to have anything else but a grim outlook for the rest of her year. After all, up until now, she hadn't set foot in a public school. But it's not like she could spend her whole day sitting in her car and dreading the inevitable. After a deep relaxing breath she exited her car and made her way for the entrance.
Aria made it just past the front gates of the school before catching someones attention. “Hey you!!” Now normally Aria would assume it wasn't directed at her and proceed on- or at least pretend she didn't hear anything and pick up her pace. In this situation however, it would have proved impossible as the person seeking her attention was currently jogging towards her. As Aria slowed to a stop and the boy got closer, something about that mess of spikey blond hair and bright blue eyes seemed familiar. She just couldn't put her finger on it.
“Hey- you-!” He huffed as he finally came to a stop in front of her. “What's-” He paused as he eyed her for a moment, carefully inspecting her face. “What's your name?”
“My name is Aria... Do... do I know you?” Now its her turn to carefully examine his features. Yes- yes he does look familiar. But from where? Aria hadn't a clue. “You look really familiar- I feel like I know you..”
The blond's eyes light up and his grin is from ear to ear, “All right yeah! I knew I wasn't wrong!!” he cheered. “My name is Naruto Uzumaki! Do you remember me?” He watched her with eager and expectant eyes.
She furrowed her brow as she continued to examine him while mulling over the name. Untamed blond spikes, deep blue eyes and birthmarks that somewhat resembled whiskers... And then it clicked. “...Naruto-!?” Her eyes widened. Naruto's smile broadened. “It's been years! What happened to you? You just disappeared!”
“Heh, yeah- my parents wanted to move to a more affordable place so we ended up moving to the other side of town.” He laughed nervously as he rubbed the back of his neck. “I actually live down the street from the school- heh- oh, hey wait- what are you doing here? I thought you went to that fancy private school...” Her eyed her curiously.
“It's a uhm... It's a long story..” It was her turn to laugh nervously now, eyes averting to the ground. There was a brief silence with Naruto considering pressing for more information, but a bell rang before he had the chance. “Oh no! Are we late for class! Oh shit I don't even know where my classes are!!” Aria panicked.
“Calm down, it's just a warning bell. We have ten minutes left to get to class.” Naruto assured. “Oh, and I can show you to your classes- shouldn't be too hard to find them. We should have enough time for that at least.” He crosses his arms and scowls slightly. “ Sucks though, I wanted to introduce you to my friends, I think they'd like you.” He holds his hand out to her. “Can I see your schedule?”Aria briefly notices his eyes dart past her for a moment, catching something that was apparently of interest.
Aria slowly nods before fishing her schedule out of her backpack, all while watching him from the corner of her eye. His expression had changed slightly, Aria suddenly got the vibe that Naruto wanted to get going. Fast. This puzzled her because in all her years of knowing him (even though they were just children at the time) she'd never known Naruto to be easily intimidated.
Curious, Aria stole a glance over her shoulder as she handed Naruto her schedule. And what she saw held her attention well after Naruto announced his ability to help. A group of ten teenagers were approaching the main entrance to the school. It had suddenly occurred to Aria that in her conversation with Naruto they'd advanced towards the school. The approaching group had a certain air about them, and Aria's gut told her danger was approaching but she couldn't bring herself to move. Even at Naruto's suggestion and slight tug of her arm she remained still. Like a deer in headlights.
“Excuse us..” The one at the head of the group muttered, his deep voice sounding oddly sincere in his polite words. As he passed, Aria got a good look at his face; piercings lined the bridge of his nose and all along his ears, gray eyes and bright spikey orange hair that could rival even Naruto's. The rest were just a blur of silent teens as they followed the first one into the school, well except for the last one.
The final one in the group, walking at a distinct slower pace than the rest, bumped into Aria's shoulder with his own. This one, a blond with very long hair, had (purposefully or not Aria didn't have time to decide) successfully bumped her out of his way. That action was just what she needed to snap out of her little wonder induced daze, though her next course of action wasn't exactly well thought out.
“Excuse you! Rude!” Aria called after him.
“Aria you probably shouldn't...” Naruto warned in an uncharacteristically hushed tone.
The blond came to a stop and turned his head. Aria couldn't help but take notice of how strange his hair was and how only one blue eye could be seen because of it. But even though she could only see one, the glare he shot her still managed to be cold as ice. Her stern look faltered slightly and she felt a nervous jolt run through her.
He held his glare a moment longer before turning away with a “Tch.” Aria's jaw fell open and her brow knitted together in anger. Her mouth quickly snapped shut and she began gritting her teeth.
“Uhg, what a rude dick.” She murmured between clenched teeth.
“Aria- uh-” Naruto spoke at normal volume now. “I don't think it'd be a good idea to do that sort of thing again...” Before she could question why Naruto had already snatched her by the wrist and dragged her into the school.
Despite the rocky start, Aria's mind managed to find the silver lining of her morning. She couldn't believe it, it had been years since she'd last seen Naruto and it was overjoying to see him again. Not to mention relieving knowing there was at least one person she knew in at this school. But given how her day started, Aria couldn't help feeling there was something nasty waiting in the wings to surprise her today.
Or perhaps that was just her being a pessimist?
Naruto had just enough time to give Aria a quick rundown of where all her classes would be. But to his disappointment, he shared none of his classes with her. Though it wasn't that surprising, considering he was an underclassmen. They shared a quick goodbye just as the final bell rang. Aria could hear Naruto cursing about being late again as she stepped into her first class. I'll have to catch up with him after school, she mentally noted.
“Young miss you were almost late to class, I suggest not making a habit of cutting it this close.” Reprimanded the teacher from behind his desk.
Aria cringed slightly. “Sorry sir, I was just being shown around the school...”
“Oh, I see. Yes, I do remember receiving an email about a new student, please have a seat.” He motioned Aria to move on. She gave a quick nod before turning to the class, suddenly feeling uneasy with everyone's eyes now on her. She gave a meek smile as she scanned the small room for an empty desk. Upon spotting an available seat, she immediately made a b-line for it. It wasn't exactly the best seat in the class, back row all the way to the left. Aria would've much preferred a window seat. Oh well, at least it wasn't at the very front of the class.
Aria peered at the seat next to her, curious about whom she'd sat next to. A lump immediately formed in her throat as her green eyes met with familiar blue ones. It was that boy from earlier! And he was staring right at her, eyebrow raised and his gaze indifferent. Aria's head snapped forward and sat straight in her seat, feeling self conscious. She could hear him faintly chuckle to himself. Aria shot him a side glance, confirming that yes indeed he was still staring at her and yes it was her that he was laughing at.
“Deidara.” The teacher called out a name, Aria hadn't even noticed attendance was being taken.
“Here.” The boy beside her responded in a very uninterested tone. Ah, so his name is Deidara. The teacher went on calling other names. Aria fiddled around with her schedule that she still had in her hands, deciding to check it again for the thousandth time today. Her first class was History taught by Iruka, followed by English, Gym, Statistics, and Art. Not that bad for having to pick from whatever open classes were left.
“Here.” Aria responds, earning a nod from her teacher.
“Alright then, lets get started.” Iruka addressed the class after entering one final thing into his computer. He stood, “Your first assignment will be a two person group paper.” The students collectively groan at this, earning a sigh from Iruka. “Relax, I know it's only the beginning of the semester so this is an easy assignment. And it should help you get acquainted with your fellow classmates.” He further explains. The students still grumble amongst themselves as he gathers all the necessary papers to pass out.
“Now I trust,” he begins as he hands out the papers, “that you students can handle forming groups of two on your own. But remember, I'll be taking notice if I see any unfavorable pairs...” Once finished distributing the assignment papers he takes his spot at the front of the classroom once again. “This is more of a refresher exercise, so none of this should really be new material as it should have been covered by your teacher last year. You and your partner must answer the questions on your worksheets and have them on my desk by the end of class. Textbooks are available at the back of the room, now find a partner and begin. If you have any other questions don't be afraid to ask.”
It wasn't long before the shrill sound of desks being pushes together filled the room. It seems everyone else had already determined whom their partners would be. Aria sighed, finally slouching forward and relaxing. She knew something like this would happen, and wasn't particularly broken up about it either. If working by herself meant avoiding awkward conversation she wouldn't complain.
The only problem with that was, she wasn't going to work by herself. “Need a partner, hm?” Aria jolted slightly, surprised that the boy beside her finally spoke. She turned and stared at him, confused as to whom he was questioning. “Yeah I'm talking to you- uh-”
He snapped his fingers and pointed at her. “Yeah.” He turned in his chair towards her. “So you don't have a partner yet, right, hm?”
“Uh, no I guess not...”
“Well you do now, un.” Deidara said whilst standing from his chair. “I guess I'll go grab a book or whatever, hm.”
Please contain your excitement, Aria bitterly thought. Deidara was quick to return with a textbook and plopped it on her desk. He snagged his chair and dragged it to Aria's desk, turning it around so he could rest his arms on the back on the seat while still facing her. Aria couldn't help but get the distinct feeling he wasn't exactly the eagerest of learners.
“Right so.. I guess we'll get started...” Aria muttered.
“Well aren't you a little less than thrilled, un.” Deidara commented, earning a hum in response. The two worked in silence for a few minutes. And by that it of course meant that Deidara absentmindedly watched as Aria scanned the pages of the textbook for the answers they needed. Aria wasn't particularly thrilled about his lack of effort, but she was content to do it herself and have it done right than to force him to do something and screw it up.
“Hey, wait a second- you're that girl from this morning, hm.” Deidara commented, apparently bored with the silence between them. Aria's eyes darted up from the textbook to look at him then flickered back to their place on the page.
“Yes, and you were that rude blond boy from this morning.” Aria copied something down from the passage she just read.
“Yeah, sorry about that I guess..” Deidara said as he leaned forward in his chair. “This wasn't a great morning for me, hm.” Her response was a silent nod. Deidara didn't seem to like that very much. “So what's your deal anyway, I've never seen you around before, un.”
“What's your deal with the whole un and hm thing?” Aria questioned back.
“Ah-ah, asked you first, hm.” She glanced up to see a small grin on his face. Aria sighs.
“I'm new here.”
“Well shit, middle of the year too, hm. That sucks.” Deidara abruptly leaned back, clacking the back to legs of his chair to the ground. Iruka looked up, eyes narrowing on the pair before turning back to a paper on his desk to write something down. That couldn't be good. “So like what, did you move here, hm? Where you from?”
“What is this, an interrogation?” Aria shot him an irritated look. He didn't seem phased much by it. With an irritated sigh she rolled her eyes at him and went back to work; now holding her head in her hand and facing away from him.
“You sigh a lot, hm.”
“And you apparently have a speech impediment.” Aria responded dryly. There was another short silence, and suddenly it was now beginning to irritate Aria that Deidara wasn't doing any work. She was about to sigh again, but caught herself mid breath. “Okay so-” She turned back to him, “are you going to help with this or just sit there?”
He cocked an eyebrow at her, “Oh I wasn't aware you wanted my help, hm. You sort of just assumed direct control of it so-”
“Well I figured since this was a group project, working together is sort of a requirement.”
“Okay I'll help, if-”
“If?” She narrows her eyes on him, growing ever impatient.
“If you answer my question, hm.” He answered with a smug little smirk.
“If you must know,” She crossed her arms and leaned back in her chair, gaze turning towards the ceiling, “I've lived here my entire life. I just went to a different school.” Aria tried to keep it vague, not that she was trying to hide anything- no. It's just- why does he really need to know? The answer to said question is no, he doesn't need to know every tiny circumstance of why she's here now. What was most confusing of all was why he wanted to know so badly.
“So...” Deidara trailed off, his tone sounding a touch more serious. Aria leaned forward and returned her gaze to him, finding that his gaze was now narrowed on her. “You were home schooled, hm?” So curious, Aria noted, that isn't always a good trait to have.
Aria shook her head. “Private school.” And with that the air around them suddenly turned sour. Aria could almost feel the shift in his attitude. It wasn't hard for her to pick up on his physical cues either. She noticed how he pulled away, creating an even greater distance between them and how his eyes watched her judgmentally.
“Oh.” His nose crinkled slightly. Yup, clearly that wasn't what he wanted to hear. And for a split second, Aria felt bad for being the cause of the ill turn the conversation took. However, she quickly remembered that it was his own fault for asking. And why should she feel bad about where she'd gone to school until now? If anything, she should be insulted by his change in attitude. And in fact- she was starting to be; because she knew exactly where his mind was going. He thinks he knows her now, thinks he knows her 'type' and what her personality will be like.
Aria knew now that there would be no getting along with this boy; but she was okay with that. If an assumption is all it takes for him to completely dislike someone then Aria wasn't missing out on much. She didn't need to justify anything to him- so go ahead, let him think what he will. He can think ill of her all he likes, because Aria knows that he couldn't be more wrong. Besides, there was no point in elaborating, considering he'd clearly already made up his mind.
For the rest of the assignment the sat in silence. Deidara would slouch back all the way and lean against his desk while Aria worked. When she had finished her paper, she figured she'd just fill his out to- in hopes of forgoing any unwanted verbal interaction. After she finished with that she politely handed him his paper, earning a quite 'thanks' in return. The remaining students continued to work on what should have been a quick paper for the rest of class whilst Deidara and Aria sat waiting for the bell to ring. Aria noted that Iruka had noticed the two's early completion of the assignment- she has yet to decide if that would prove to be a good or bad thing.
When the bell finally rang the two practically raced to turn in their papers and exit the class. It felt almost awkward considering both wanted nothing more than to be away from the other yet they ended up going in the same direction. Upon noticing their destinations were in the same area, Deidara opted to take the long route; suddenly turning on his heel and striding past Aria in the direction they'd came from.
Her next class was nice enough. English with Kakashi. The teacher seemed strange though, as he constantly wore a scarf covering half his face. Aria also met a rather nice boy named Lee. She got the distinct vibe that Lee was a very passionate person (and passionate is an understatement). It was rather amusing to see just how enthusiastic he was about- well- pretty much everything. Meeting her, for one, and he was geared up and ready to go for anything this new semester would throw at him. Literally- those were his exact words to her. Aria couldn't help but smile- especially because his bright personality was akin to Naruto's. She wondered briefly if the two were friends. Probably.
After class, Lee had excitedly questioned Aria about her schedule. They had their next class together, as made evident in Lee's increasing excitement and rambling about the teacher of said class. Lee walked with her to their next class, and they shared in pleasant conversation along the way, finally parting to retreat into separate locker rooms.
As Aria changed into her gym clothes along with her other female classmates, she began to think about how odd it was that all of her classes so far had forgone the lengthy introductions and mountains of papers to be signed. True, she as well as all other students in her first and second classes received papers at the end of class for their parents to sign- but Aria just expected something sort of... different. At her previous school each class of the first semester, including gym, would go over long winded and lengthy explanations of how they would teach and grade, what was expected of their students, and so on and so forth. This school however, was far different and remarkably laid back. So much so- that each teacher she's had thus far had their students address them on a first name basis. Another thing Aria found to be strange was the requirement of a uniform; this being nothing new for her though since she'd come from a private school. But uniforms at a public school? Well Aria could soundly say she's never heard of that.
All these differences from her old school to her current one were minor, and nothing to really complain about. Aria felt more at ease with this relaxed atmosphere, and was actually starting to welcome it. Perhaps things were looking up.
The loud ear splitting tweet of the Gym instructor's whistle echoed through the large gymnasium. All of the students remaining in the locker rooms filed out to gather around him, waiting for direction.
“Hello my youthful students! My name is Gai and I will be your Physical Education teacher! Today is your first day of your second semester, and the start of what could be your favorite class of the year!” He declared with such passion that it was humorous. Not a single person in the room seemed to take him seriously- well besides Lee- who's eyes sparkled with hero worship in a way Aria didn't think possible. And since Lee was next to her, she stifled her giggles and held back her grin for his sake.
Turns out it would be Gai that went into a long winded speech- but not exactly in a way Aria had expected. Instead of going over grading methods or anything particularly special they'd be doing during their semester, Gai belted out a rather powerful speech about staying truly youthful through physical fitness and training. Aria was rather surprised with his passion and could see why Lee admired him so.
About thirty minutes into class Gai had finished, much to everyone's delight. His next instruction was to do a couple of warm up laps around the gymnasium before they'd begin their first activity. Everyone, excluding Lee of course, let out a groan of reluctance, but once the warm up music began spilling from the speakers the students began their laps.
It wasn't until the students had entirely dispersed that Aria noticed him- though it was clear he had already noticed her. Deidara stood with two other teens- eying her whilst quietly talking with his friends. Her lips curled into a small scowl before jogging off to join the others in their run. Aria would end up passing Deidara and his two friends several times due to their lack of desire to participate in the warm up. Each time she passed she felt a distinct unwelcoming vibe. She chose to ignore it for now.
As the warm up song came to its end the students also slowed their run, finally stopping with the song. Another tweet of Gai's whistle summoned the students to him once again. This time he was holding a large net sack full of sizable red balls. This could only mean one thing...
“Dodge ball!” Gai enthusiastically declared. After lining up the balls along the center line of the gym floor, he assigned each student a number. Each was either given a one or a two, all students who got one took to the left of the gym and all twos went to the right.
“I'm glad I'm on your team!” Aria happily commented as Lee ran to the left side of the gym.
“Yeah me too! This should prove to be excellent reflexes training!” Lee stood confidently, eyes burning with exuberance. Aria lightly chuckled at this.
“Ready!?” Gai called to his students before readying his whistle against his lips. Both sides called out their excited replies. A sharp tweet ripped through the air and sent the students running for the middle of the court. Aria was quick to the center of the gym, but wasn't fast enough as the ball she set her sights on was snatched by the other side. Aria's gaze snapped up as she backed away. It was Deidara, smirking down at her with ball ready in his hands. She hopped back, narrowly avoiding a ball that she didn't even see coming. Her head jerked in the direction it came from to see a rather mischievous looking boy with short black hair and dark eyes. He was stomping his feet in frustration after missing his target.
Aria made a run for the newly released ball as it slowly rolled away, only to narrowly avoid another ball that had been whipped at her. This one was thrown by a boy with tousled red hair and an irritated look on his face. It took a moment to realize both boys had been the ones hanging around Deidara earlier. Where they..?
“You can't avoid it forever princess, hm!” Deidara called from his side, readying his ball. This confirmed her suspicions. They were targeting her specifically. And that made her blood boil. In the heat of the moment, Aria took a step forward and put her entire body into whipping the ball at the blond. Unfortunately for her, he was smart enough to block it with his own. Though blocking the ball sent it rolling back into Aria's side of the gym there wasn't enough time for her to snag it before he threw his own. And boy did he chuck it at her. Aria chose to duck, but would end up regretting it. While Deidara's ball didn't hit her, she lost her balance and ended up flat on her butt, leaving her open for attack.
“I got your back Aria!” Before she could even register who spoke she saw a blur of red slam into Deidara's abdomen. Deidara let out a slew of curse words as he doubled over slightly. “You shouldn't fall down like that, you'll be an easy target.” Lee said as he offered his hand to her.
“Y-yeah.” She accepted his help. As he hauled her to her feet she watched Deidara bitterly make his way to their side. Aria's brow furrowed. “What is he..? Why is he..?” She looked to Lee for an answer.
“Uh- I'm guessing you've never played doge ball like this huh?” She shook her head. “Right so- if you get hit with a ball you have to go to the other sides jail,” Lee points to the nearest corner of their side of the gym where thin blue mats had been placed. “Those areas are on either side.” Lee had to quickly side step a ball that nearly hit his head, yet acted as if it was nothing and continued; “Once they're out and in jail, their teammates can put them back in the game by throwing them a ball. If they catch it, they're back in the game.”
“That's an interesting- whoa!” Aria had to practically jump out of the way of that ball. She was lucky too- because whomever had thrown it did so hard enough to send it bouncing against the wall and back to the side it came from. Now that would have hurt. “Yeah, interesting twist.” Deidara finally passes them, glaring at Lee as he went.
“Dick.” Aria mutters.
“You should guard the jail for now so his friends don't get him back in! I'll swap with you in a bit.” Aria wanted to decline, say it was probably better if she didn't at all- but she didn't. Couldn't really. Lee's eyes were so full of zeal she couldn't ask him to stay in one spot away from the action. So while he bounded away back into the heat of the game, Aria slowly strode towards the 'jail'.
“You know” she crosses her arms, “that's kinda dickish of you to do that.”
“Do what, hm?” Deidara questioned, feigning ignorance. Aria rolls her eyes.
“You know damn well what you and your little buddies were doing.” Aria's tone lowered. She watched as the red-head and the black haired boy met up at the middle of their side and spoke amongst themselves. They turned their attention in Aria and Deidara's direction before conversing some more.
“Oh wow, princess swears, hm.”
“Can you stop that?” Aria snapped as she spun on her heel to face him. He had that shit eating grin on his face again and he shot a challenging look.
“You keep calling me princess!”
“Well it only seemed fitting considering-”
“What- that I came from private school?” She cuts him off. He doesn't respond. Deidara's only course of action is staring at her with that smug look and it's starting to get on her nerves. “Okay first of all, let me tell you soemthin' buddy-”
Aria's vision went cross for a moment and she wheezed. Once she recovered she reeled around to find the owner of the ball she was hit with. It was the redhead, and she couldn't see his expression clearly from there but she could feel his satisfaction.
“Aw, I think that one was meant for me, oh well, hm.”
“Dick.” She huffed before leaving for the other side's jail.
Gym class continued like this. Eventually both Deidara and Aria managed to get back in the game and it wasn't long before the two started targeting each other again. Eventually Deidara's two friends stopped targeting Aria entirely, and Aria and Deidara's game turned more into a personal fight than a game. When the game was declared over, Aria's side had won. However since Deidara wasn't sitting in that jail when the game ended Aria wasn't exactly satisfied with her team's win.
Having Gym in the middle of the day meant Aria and the rest of her classmates had third period lunch. Aria was grateful for the break because she was near ready to throttle that blond nuisance. She was a little less than grateful when it came time to decide were to sit. Suddenly she was wishing she was back in the gym. Aria felt so out of place, standing before all the long tables filled with groups of teenagers chatting away as they ate. The grip she had on her tray tightened and she chewed her lip as she scanned the room. No sign of Lee- but he was probably sitting with his friends anyway. Wouldn't want to just invite herself into his group. No. And there weren't any empty tables either, so sitting alone wasn't exactly an option.
“What's the matter princess, hm? Nowhere to sit?”
Aria inhaled sharply and turned slightly, ready to fire back at him but she hesitated. He looked expectant, like he was doing it to get under her skin. And oh boy was it working. But would she really give him the satisfaction of getting a response out of her? Probably.
“Aria!” A familiar voice called.
She immediately cooled down and turned her attention to Naruto. “Oh, Naruto- surprised to see you here.”
“Yeah isn't it great- I didn't know we had the same lunch!” His smile was gleaming. Naruto looked over Aria's shoulder briefly before saying; “Uh hey- lets go sit down at my table.”
“I really fuckin' hate that guy.” Aria grumbled before shoveling some of her food into her mouth.
“Yeah he's....” Naruto trailed off. Aria arched an eyebrow at him and waited for the boy to continue. Instead, Naruto went off topic, “Oh hey look, there's my friends!” Naruto stood from his seat and waved his arms at someone. Aria glanced over her shoulder to see two people approaching their table. One with inky black hair and an uninterested look in his eyes and the other with bright pink hair admiring the darker haired boy. Aria felt a bit of pity for the girl as the boy didn't seem to notice her adoration.
The two people sat on either side of Naruto. The pink haired girl spoke first. “I don't think I've ever seen you around, are you new?”
“Yeah, today's my first day.”
“Well my name is Sakura and this,” she guestured to the dark haired boy, “is Sasuke.”
He held his hand up and gave a slight wave, “Yo.” Aria nods in acknowledgment.
“How do you know Naruto?” Sakura questions with a smile.
“We were neighbors when we were kids.” Aria answers.
“But then we had to move.” Naruto added in.
“Wait- so you've always lived around here?” Sasuke questioned further. Aria nods. “So where did you go to school then?” Naruto perked up at this. He'd been meaning to interrogate Aria further on the matter.
Aria sighs. She didn't exactly want to get into it in public- and with strangers even. And if anything- she would've preferred to inform Naruto in private. But Naruto trusts them and she wasn't getting any bad vibes; so where's the harm?
“Well, I went to a private school for a while. Well actually up until now I've attended private school. And it isn't cheap, so my parents both had to work full time jobs. But recently my dad was laid off from his work. I guess he was one of the higher paid employees and they couldn't afford to keep him on staff? So I guess they just fired him...”
Naruto's demeanor completely shifted and worry was clear on his face. Even his friends held some concern in their eyes. “Oh- sorry for prying.”
She waved her hand dismissively. “It's fine. You guys seem nice enough so it doesn't bother me that you know. But I'd prefer it stay between us, okay?” They nod.
“That's really shitty though!” Naruto slammed his fist to the table, emphasizing his point. Sakura quietly nodded.
“How is your dad? I imagine that's a hard thing to take.” Sakura inquired.
“He's doing better. Because he's done so well at his past job he was able to find another one pretty quickly. Shitty part is, is that it's only part time.” She shrugs. “But a jobs a job. Honestly they're more broken up that they had to take me out of my old school in the middle of the year. They felt really bad.”
“Wait if you were already attending why couldn't you finish at least the year there?” Naruto asked, his head tilted slightly in confusion.
“You pay by semester there- and they didn't have enough to do that and pay bills and all that other fun grown up stuff.”
“That sucks.” Sasuke adds.
“It's whatever now, nothing I can do about it. Just gotta make it work here instead.”
Sakura smiled again and added, “Well it's good to hear you have a more positive outlook on it.”
Aria smiled back, “Yeah.”
They chatted about this and that as they ate. Turns out Sasuke and Sakura really are nice people. It warmed Aria's heart to know Naruto made such good friends. The feeling was almost enough to completely drive away the ill will she felt earlier over a certain blond. Almost.
When the lunch bell rang everyone returned to their classes. With only fifteen minutes left to the class, there wasn't much else to do but get changed and wait for class to officially end. Aria and Deidara didn't speak, something she was truly grateful for.
The rest of her day went by without anymore trouble. Deidara wasn't in anymore of her classes and so far all of her teachers seemed nice. After gym class she had Statistics with Asuma; a tolerable math class that shouldn't prove to be too difficult. Hopefully. Art class came after Statistics, and Aria knew not to expect anything to harsh from that. Art class was taught by Kurenai, a seemingly nice enough woman. And even though her day managed to finish with little problem- Aria was overjoyed at the sound of that final bell. But really- who wasn't?
All in all, her day wasn't too bad, Aria concluded as she walked to her car. Sure, there were a few bumps along the way but that's to be expected. You even made some new friends; Aria continued to mentally praise herself. Just take it slow, and things will start to get better eventually.
Two weeks passed since Aria's first day. Two long agonizing weeks of dealing with not only your average every day annoyances, but a certain blond annoyance as an extra bonus. Gym was particularly troublesome for Aria because whenever there was a competition of sorts you could be sure Deidara would single her out and get his little friends in on it. Soon enough Aria had learned their names, Sasori and Tobi. And it would happen every day like clockwork- though some days to a lesser degree than others.
But Aria didn't really worry about that right now. She actually didn't have time to even think about much else right now because she was late to school. Late, driving in the rain, and damn why did her windows keep fogging up? Aria frustratedly wiped away enough fog to see where she was going, though the sight presented to her wasn't a pleasing one. Not showing up early meant missing all the best parking spaces sure, but she never imagined just how full the lot would be when showing up late. She hastily decided to, instead of searching for a closer spot, park towards the back. In a frazzled hurry Aria gathered her things and ran to the school.
Unfortunately for her, she'd unknowingly left her headlights on.
The school day was long but proved to be less of a hassle than her morning had lead her to expect. Deidara seemed to calm down with his teasing today. In fact he hadn't really said much to Aria at all. And that was great considering the morning she had already dealt with. All that was left to challenge her today was making it to her car and staying as dry as possible. Ah yes, the rain. It hadn't really let up since this morning- it actually seemed to be pouring harder than ever. There was one positive to be found however; since her final class was on the other side of the building that meant most students were already gone by the time she made it out. Also meaning that a good portion of the parking lot was empty; which would allow for a quick straight run to her car. Even so, Aria desperately wished she remembered to grab a sweatshirt before leaving this morning.
Aria made a dash for her car, holding her backpack over her head for cover as she went. She fumbled with her keys a moment before finally unlocking the car and ducking into it. She turned the key in the ignition and waited. The car made a weak noise in attempts at starting and went silent.
Okay sure, nothing too much to worry about. It's an older car, and this wasn't the first time it'd take more than one try to start it. She wasn't going to panic.
Again and again she tried. And again and again the car failed to start. By now it was safe to say she was panicking. What finally confirmed her fears was the realization that the switch for the headlights was still in the on position. Of course that could only mean one thing.
“The car's dead...” Aria whispered to herself in horror. “Oh no...” She gripped her head in her hands and leaned against the steering wheel. “Oh no....”
Okay no- this is fixable, Aria reassured herself as she stepped out of the car and back into the downpour. I can do this, I can just see if a teacher will jump me or something! Yes! I just need to- Aria's mind was buzzing and hand trembled as she used her keys to open the trunk. Her heart sank. What she expected to find were jumper cables. What Aria planned on doing was rush back into the school, ask a teacher for help, and then be on her way. But without jumper cables she'd have no such luck.
She could call her parents. But what could they do? They shared a car and had a pretty hefty commute to work. Even if they were able to leave right away it'd be at least forty-five minutes before they'd get there. A long, cold, boring forty-five minutes.
Without any foreseeable options, something inside Aria snapped. In one swift action she slammed her trunk shut and violently slammed her fists onto it. She quietly seethed for a minute before letting out a shrill frustrated scream. Aria proceeded to once again hold her head in her hands as she leaned against the car, furiously mumbling to herself while trying to figure another way out of her situation.
And really there wasn't anything she could do. Aria stood there for a good five minutes, her uniform jacket now clinging to her and hair hung in her face; faced with the harsh reality that there was nothing she could do. Looks like she'll just have to call her parents after all.
“Oh look it's princess, hm.” No. Not right now. Literally any other time but now. Please just go away. Aria remained silent. “What's wrong, forget how to talk, hm?”
“Deidara can you not?” Aria's voice cracked as she whirled around to face him. Tears of frustration began to pool in the corners of her eyes. “I really don't want to deal with your shit right now.” Her hands balled into fists at her sides. Now Aria knew she wasn't a fighter, anyone who's ever known her knows she's not a fighter. It's not like shes completely opposed to violence or anything like that; she's just never had the drive to physically hurt a person. But damn she's never wanted to throw a punch so badly in her entire life.
Deidara silently observed her for a few minutes before coming to a conclusion and immediately voicing it, “Your car is dead, isn't it, hm?”
“If you must know, yes! Yes it's dead!” She snapped. Aria holds her arms out and motions him to come forward. “Go ahead! Make your jokes! Please make my day worse, it is exactly what I need.”
He shot her a look, as if to say 'really?'. Aria didn't move as she awaited his snide comments. Comments that never came in fact. “Look, if your car is dead, I'll help you out, hm.”
“Yeah well-!” Now that threw Aria for a loop. She was shocked and her arms immediately dropped to her side. “What?”
Now, Deidara was a dick sometimes. He knew this and was pretty deliberate about it most of the time. But seeing this girl on the verge of tears, soaked to the bone and standing by her dead car- well something about that just nagged at him. Like maybe he should do something to help. Besides, of all people, Deidara knew how quickly bad things could happen in this part of town. Even on school grounds. And while she wasn't his favorite person either, knowingly turning a blind eye to her trouble and being an indirect cause of something worse wasn't something he wanted on his conscience.
“Yeah, come on, un.”
“Look, I said I'll help you out but I don't have my jump cables in my car right now, hm. They're at my house, and unless you wanna stay here and freeze in your car, you'll go with me.” Aria remained silent, weighing her options. Deidara could see the distrust in her eyes, and honestly couldn't really blame her. So he added a little extra incentive, “Not to mention things in this part of town can get pretty shady really fast- so...”
Aria furrowed her brow and crossed her arms. “Well..” Would this be the best choice? Probably not. Would this be the easiest way to not get reprimanded by her parents? Maybe. Probably... Could they make it to Deidara's home and back, jump her car, and have her get home before her parents? Most definitely. “I guess...” She shifted her weight to one foot and switched her attention to her car. Options were scarce (or rather, nonexistent) and here was a way out...
“Fine.” Deidara grinned and proceeded to lead the girl to his car.
The car ride thus far was shared without conversation. The only noise besides the car itself was the rain pelting against it and the dull fuzzy radio station playing a song that was barely identifiable. Luckily for the two of them, driving conditions had improved slightly as the rain lessened while they drove.
They made it to Deidara's home without issue, and Aria patiently waited while Deidara ran into his garage to grab his jumper cables. With the car off and no radio to distract her thoughts, Aria's mind began to wander. She noticed quite a lot as she gazed out the side window of Deidara's car. For instance, his neighborhood wasn't the greatest. Deidara's own home and yard didn't fair so well either. Flimsy, and from what Aria could tell, rusty chain-link fence wrapped around the majority of the yard. The yard itself was a patchwork of mud, dead grass, and bits of nice grass here and there. The exterior of the house was hard to see, but Aria could definitely tell it was worn from the constant abuse of seasonal weather.
Aria began to feel bad for the blond. And now, she could kind of see why he'd be quick to conclusions about her. Not that his probable situation excused his actions though...
“Alright, here we go, hm.” Deidara said as he entered the car and slammed the door shut. Aria jolted, the sudden noises pulling her from her thoughts. “Now all we gotta do,” he turned the key and the car revved to life, “is make it back to the school before the rain gets really bad again, hm.” Deidara held an arm behind her chair and turned to watch as he backed out of the driveway.
“Thanks..” Aria quietly spoke.
“You say something, hm?” Deidara questioned as he shifted the car back into drive. “Gotta speak up princess, can't quite hear you.” Well that immediately ruined it.
“I was going to thank you for helping me out, but now I'm starting to reconsider.” She crossed her arms as her bitterness towards him returned. And just when she was starting to reconsider. What a shame.
“Oh what you're still pissy cause I call you princess, hm?”
“I'd really appreciate it if you didn't...” Aria's tone was low, hoping that was enough to get him to stop. Of course it wasn't though. But she knew that anyway.
“Well it's not like it isn't true, un.” Deidara remarked, some bitterness finding its way into his tone as well.
“It isn't!” She snapped, suddenly turning her head towards him. She noticed his expression change as she continued, “You act like I'm this snippy little rich girl- all broken up because I'm stuck going to public school! You seem to think I come from money and that really pisses me off because I don't. My parents had to work damn hard for every penny they had and they wanted to use it to make sure I went to a good school!” Deidara remained silent as Aria fumed. He waited for her to continue, wondering if there was more to the story. And oh there was; “The reason that I had to transfer is because my dad lost his fucking job! And now you know! Happy now!?”
There was silence as they came to a stop at a red light.
After what felt like forever Deidara finally said, “Dude- I uh- sorry I guess-” Deidara's apology was cut short by the sound of another cars horn blaring. Both teens first checked the light, assuming it to have turned green without them noticing. No, it was still red. Deidara checked his rear view mirror, no one was behind him.
“Deidara,” he turned his head to see her staring out her window, “Who are they?” In the lane beside Deidara's was a black car that contained two masked teens. Both were staring into Deidara's car and both wore fox masks with blood red markings and only small holes for their eyes.
“Shit.” Deidara cursed in a hushed voice. “Ignore them, hm.” Not with her in the car. Not now.
“But-” As if on cue, the driver of the car beside them revved his engine. “Deidara-”
“Just ignore it, un.” Deidara's grip tightened and loosened on the steering wheel. Come on, turn green!
When the light turned green, the car beside them took off with tires screaming against the pavement. Deidara ignored Aria's outburst of questions and focused on driving. His hope was they'd just take the win and leave. Oh but they didn't. The two masked teens slowed after noticing Deidara's absence beside them. Soon enough, much to Deidara's dismay and Aria's confusion, the masked teens ended up behind them.
“What the fuck is going on? Why are they tailgating you?” Aria questioned as she turned around in her seat for a better view.
“Aria.” She looked to him. “I'm going to need you to sit normal and probably hold on to something, un.”
“W-why?” She hesitantly questioned while doing as requested of her.
“Because I'm gunna have to loose these assholes, hm.” And just like that, Deidara suddenly pressed harder on the gas. The car jolted forward suddenly before settling at the smooth and ever increasing speed. Deidara turned this way and that, going down roads Aria had never even seen before, all in attempts at loosing their followers. But to no such luck.
“You don't mind the long way to school yah?” Deidara asked, though there wasn't really an option for no. Aria simply shook her head and gripped the side of the door tighter. “Good, hm.” Several minutes and sharp turns later, and they were on the highway.
Aria's heart was practically beating out of her chest and her eyes widened in panic. Each time Deidara would cut it close when changing lanes her heart would jump and she'd instinctively slam her foot to where the breaks would be. Sadly- with her being on the passenger side she had no control over that.
Aria could have sworn her heart stopped when Deidara decided it was a good idea to zip across three other lanes of highway traffic. She let out a yelp before clamping her hands over her mouth, worried that any distraction to Deidara would cause them to get into some sort of accident. Not that this wasn't an possibility even without distractions. And all things get worse before they get better as Deidara pulls another reckless stunt. Just as they were about to pass an exit, Deidara slams on the breaks and pulls over into the next lane and into the exit before speeding up again to match the rest of the traffic.
The black car that had been following them continued on the highway, unable to have taken the exit in time.
“Heh, sweet, those fuckin' idiots wont be able to catch up to us now, hm.” He grins at her a moment before adding, “It'll probably be another fifteen minutes or so before we get back to the school, un.” Aria quickly nods, eyes still wide and heart racing. Deidara had to be some sort of madman to pull have the shit he just did. Aria was sure of it.
“So- what the hell was that?” Aria questioned as Deidara slammed her hood back down. They'd successfully returned to the school with no sign of those other punks. “Who were those guys?”
“Uh...” Deidara trailed off. “Just some assholes who think that they run the place, hm.” Deidara carefully coiled his jumper cables back up.
“That was completely horrifying...” Aria's mind still wasn't completely with her despite the situation being over with. “That was-” She sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. “Fuck...” Deidara chuckles. “What's so funny?”
“Nothing- just you I guess, hm.” He grins. “You're taking what happened pretty well, hm.”
“Yeah that's only because I still haven't processed it all yet.” She bitterly adds. He laughs again before falling silent. It quickly turns awkward. “So..” Aria motions towards her car. “I should probably get going...”
“Yeah...” He agrees before turning back to his own car. “By the way, Aria.” She was about to shut her door but pauses, realizing he actually called her by her name. Deidara stands on the driver side of his car and leans against it, his arms resting atop its roof. “I guess I sorta- sorry for giving you so much shit, hm.”
Well isn't that the most sincere apology Aria had ever heard? Yeah... no not really. But still, it was better than nothing she supposed. “Thanks.”
He waved once before getting in his car and made sure to call out loud enough for Aria to hear, “See you tomorrow, princess!”