A Day's Series of Unfortunate Events
It took all my strength, the following morning, to roll out of bed. Wishing I could skip school and hide from the world, like Leda, but that wasn't an option.
"It's just one day. It's no big deal," Leda complained.
I rubbed my face, trying to rid my tiredness. "Yeah, but today is evaluations. I can't miss them. Don't need another reason to visit the Hokage," I moaned. Grabbing my shit, I headed to the door. "I'll be back soon. Stay comfortable."
Before closing the door behind me, I added, "And try to do some of your homework, will ya?" pointing to the pile of crumbled papers on the dining table. "Do you know how much of a bitch it was to get those?"
Leda cackled, knowing fully well how stepping anywhere near Shiri-Sensei was an instant K.O. for me. She held two fingers to her forehead. "Aye, Aye, Captain," and saluted.
I rolled my eyes and closed the door.
A hesitant knock sounded on the classroom door.
Instantly, "Come in!" yelled Shiri-Sensei.
Opening the door, with much dread, welcomed me to sensei sitting at his desk. A lonely chair was placed in front of said desk. My feet echoed on the wood floor as I took my seat. It was extremely weird sitting in class that wasn't filled with students. The room felt too large, making it uncomfortable.
"Hello, Quorra. Thank you for coming," Shiri-Sensei said. "I was looking forward to evaluating my best student all day."
"I'm your best student?" Skeptical, "I think I perform at the same level as my fellow students."
He waved me off. "You're too modest. You have so much motivation, so much passion for learning. It's obvious you're the fastest growing student."
This man was too much. There wasn't a reply as I avoided eye contact, staring anywhere but in his general direction. One of the things being his potted plant, the one he praised non-stop. With closer examination, it was a white flower on a wimpy stem. The planter had a #1 blue ribbon that was so large, it bombarded the view of the small pot.
Shiri-Sensei noticed. "Beautiful, isn't it? This little plant won first place at the Yamanaka's Flower Festival they hold annually."
"I see," I said, not sure how it won. The flower looked half-dead.
"It's a Jasmine," he said, very proud of his autotroph. "They represent grace and elegance."
"It's lovely," I lied. The poor plant was on its last stem.
"That she is."
"Nothing," he shook, emptying his hollow head.
A sickened feeling rose as it felt like he wasn't referring to the flower. But, I pushed the thought aside, knowing it was just paranoia.
Rubbing his hands, "Right. Today we will be evaluating different aspects of your process as a student. We will review in areas of knowledge, hand signs and various jutsu including the shadow clone that needs to be performed in order to graduate. Any questions?"
I shook my head, wanting to get this over with.
Shiri-Sensei continued. "The first section is general knowledge. So..." He hesitated. "...What's your favorite color?"
"Excuse me?" My eyebrows scrunched.
"Your favorite color," he repeated. Pen was clicked and ready.
I didn't understand what a favorite color had to do with the evaluation. Just answer the question - to graduate! I nodded to myself, confirming my own thoughts.
"It's green." I smiled, harshly. My smile could have broken glass, stop conversations, make babies cry. "Seafoam green." The corner of my mouth twitched.
He jotted in his notebook. "Great! You're doing great, Quorra," he said, full of reassurance.
I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. Why was he congratulating me? A two-year-old could tell you their favorite color. "Thank you, sensei."
He just needs it for the evaluation, I told myself. No other reason but evaluations.
"You're welcome, Quorra... Quorra," he repeated. "What a beautiful name. Who gave you such a wonderful name?"
"Oh." Shock clearly registered across my face. What a deep and personal question. Who gave him the right to even ask that?
He stared at me with fascination. I was an exotic creature in his glass display. A caged animal with no way of escaping.
But if I didn't answer, he would give me a bad review. I exhaled calmly. "Someone who I care about deeply named me - Quorra."
Shiri-Sensei wore a look of disappointment by my vague answer. I should win an award for being able to put up with this, I swear.
"Should we proceed to the more important questions?" I asked, trying to sway from the personal ones. "You know, school-related ones?"
His cheeks turned pink. "Right. Of course. Questions about school." His cheeks reddened as he gave me a look that I couldn't register. Like he was debating whether to say something or not.
My back leaned roughly against the chair, ready to escape. My hands were placed firmly on my lap. Fists tight, knuckles white. I sat in anticipation as the debate ran through his mind.
Sensei's eyes shined on an answer. "Speaking of flowers and favorite colors, have you been to the Yamanaka flower shop? It's a nice little shop that sells a variety of beautiful flowers. There's also amazing food and coffee next store. I'd love if you'd join me sometime so we could continue our talk on these... non-school related topics."
My face turned to stone. It was stark white, petrified stone. Maybe this wasn't a date. Maybe it just sounds like one.
"What do you say? Is it a date?" He gleamed.
If I was drinking, I would have spat in his face. Heck, if there was any drink laying around, I would have dumped it upon his head. He patiently waited for a reply, beaming. It took all my strength to prevent my jaw from dropping - from becoming unhinged and rolling on the floor. He blinked innocently. I was going to be sick. I couldn't speak. My mouth couldn't function. Only my feet could. Instead of replying, I did what anyone else would do in a bad situation.
"Excuse me!" I blurted and ran out the door. Get the fuck out of there!
He called for me as I ran from the classroom, down the hall and out the Academy. Running to the closest tree, I hid. My body crouched into a ball - heart and hands shaking wildly. I knew I was overreacting to the extreme. It was just a question, a stupid yes or no question. But, I haven't even thought about boys like that and my first time came from my sensei! I was mortified.
It took several moments to finally recompose myself. I'll just pretend it never happened. I thought. That's it. It's in the past now. So what if an older man asked me out?
I didn't bother to return to class. Shiri-Sensei most likely wrote a bad report and was sending it to the Hokage as we speak. Instead, I headed back to the apartment in defeat. So much for being the best student.
Not even past the school grounds, I saw Kiba and Akamaru, who rode happily on his owner's head.
Shit. How could I have forgotten? He said he would meet up and take me to lunch after my evaluation to celebrate.
He waved cheerfully at me. I waved back while giving a twitching smile. Best act cool, Quorra!
"Hey," he called. "How was your evaluation? Did you kill it?"
Well, you could say that...
"Yeah, I think so," I replied, trying to keep my poker face.
Kiba wasn't buying it. "You think so? Well, how'd it go?"
I walked ahead of him to hide my face. "Fine. It was fine."
"Yes! Fine!" I walked faster, looking way too guilty. So much for leaving it in the past. I thought.
"What happened?" Kiba questioned.
"Nothing," I answered, too quickly.
"Nothing, nada, zippo."
"Quorra!" He yelled, making me stop in my tracks. He walked in front of me and stared me down. "Tell me."
Wincing from his angry temper, I felt like a child being punished. "Nothing happened," I said, quietly, no longer fooling him nor myself.
His temper only heated up more. "Quorra, I swear to God, you are freaking me out. If you don't tell me what happen, I'll ask him myself." He marched towards the Academy as I grabbed his arm.
"Okay! Okay... I'll tell you. But promise you won't tell anyone."
I explained to him what happened. He was pissed.
"I'm going to kill him," Kiba growled.
"No! Don't! It's no big deal, really."
"It is a big deal!" He was screaming at this point. "He is your sensei. He supposed to be teaching you, not trying to make a move on you!" His face was beet red. Any redder and his triangle markings would disappear. Akamaru was barking.
"Please, Kiba," I pleaded. "It's no big deal. Just let it go." My words flew over his head as he marched to the Academy.
"Kiba don't," I yelled grabbing his arm. But it was no use, he just dragged me with him. My heels dug into the dirt as a trail of earth formed behind me. "Kiba, please! I'm begging you. You're going to make it worse."
Kiba stopped in his tracks, causing me to topple. "I can't. It's not right," he said through clenched teeth.
"I know! I know, it's fucked up. But I want to graduate! Please, Kiba. Don't you want me to become a shinobi?"
That calmed him some. "Of course I do," he said under his breath.
I grabbed the shoulders. "Then let it go. Please, for me." I gave him a severe case of the puppy-dog eyes.
Please don't tear my sensei apart limb from limb.
He let out a hot exhale. His face calmed as did the shades of red. "Fine. But this isn't over. We'll talk more about this at Ichiraku's."
"I can't today," I said guiltily. "I have to go. Leda is at my place."
He gave a confused look. "The red head? Why is she at your place?"
I ran off before he could flare up again. "I'll explain later! I promise!" I called back.
"You better!" He threatened.
Unlocking the door to my apartment, I decided to do myself a favor and not mention my experience with anyone else. If Kiba was going to kill Shiri-Sensei, Leda would do far worse. A huge exhale later, I opened the door. Leda was doing her homework at the dining table, looking as miserable as I felt.
"That was quick," she said. "How'd it go?"
"It was good." I learned my lesson the first time. "Smooth sailing." Lie.
She rose a brow but unlike Kiba, didn't think twice of it. "Good," she said, a twinge of sadness hung in the air.
"How's the homework coming along?" I asked, walking over.
"Wonderful," she muttered, sarcastically. She twirled and tapped her pencil - impatient, anxious, distracted. I couldn't blame her. It was just yesterday she got kicked out of her house and verbally disowned by her own father. I wouldn't know how hurt and betrayal felt since I never had a family, but in some cases, it was better not to.
It was then when all the horrors from today flew from my mind. It was selfish to worry about something so minute when there were worse things in life. All I cared about was being there for Leda and knew exactly what would cheer her up.
"Come on," I declared. "Let's get out of here."
Her eyebrows rose, this time, even higher. "Where?"
Smiling goofily, I placed a finger over my lips. "It's a secret."
Leda looked skeptical as if a white van selling candy pulled up. "What about this homework?" She asked, miserably. She was only doing the dreadful thing for my sake. I would have been happy she was finally doing work but after today's events, the tables have turned. I plucked the crimpled mess from her hands.
"I forget it," tearing the papers to shreds. White crumbled snowflakes fell on the table.
Leda smiled widely. "Already forgotten."
I dragged Leda and Mae to a woman's favorite place to de-stress: the hot springs.
"Here we are ladies! Time to melt our worries away!"
Leda looked excited, ready to bathe in a spring of warmth. Mae, on the other hand, looked worrisome.
"I never been to the springs," Mae confessed. "How does it work?"
I gave her a puzzled look. The concept was pretty straightforward. "You go to the receptionist. She'll give you a key. You lock up your clothes and step into the springs and let the magic happen," I explained, finishing my performance off with Spirit Fingers.
Mae was a deer in lights. "C-clothes off? As in -."
"Naked," Leda said, bluntly. "As in ass out, tits flailing, naked."
Mae squealed in freight. "I can't do that!"
"Why not? There are separate men and women sections," I reassured.
"But, but, but, but-" Mae was looking for a way to escape, ready for a mad dash.
Before she could do anything, I gave Leda a look and an eye roll later, we dragged Mae inside.
At the counter to greet us was Ayame, the girl who worked with her father at Ichiraku Ramen.
"Hey, Ayame!" Waving, "I didn't know you worked here as well."
Instead of her cooking attire with apron and headpiece, she wore an elegant, but simple blue kimono. It was quite a change with a flower tucked behind her ear to complete the look. She looked lovely.
Ayame gave a friendly smile. "Oh- hello, Quorra. It's good to see you. I work here part-time. I can't be around my father all hours of the day. I'll go noodles." She laughed at her own joke as I introduced her to Leda and Mae.
"And where have you been? You and Naruto haven't been at the shop as of late. It's been weeks!" she asked, hurt.
Has it been that long already?
"Sorry, Ayame. I've been busy with school and the team is out on a mission. But they will be back soon and we will celebrate at Ichiraku's, I promise!"
She waved me off. "It's fine. I'm just pulling your leg! I know I'll see you guys soon and Naruto will eat us out of stock!" We both laughed. That has happened on more than one occasion. I don't know where he puts it.
Ayame organized our appointments. "Three keys, then?"
"Yes," I replied, wiping a tear from too much laughter.
She grabbed the keys and handed them over as she peered at Mae. "Is she okay?"
Mae was white as a ghost and clung to Leda's arm. You would have thought we were sending her to an executor, not in fact, an all-day relaxation treatment. Leda rolled her eyes. I could tell she was itching to rip Mae off of her.
"She's fine," Leda said, annoyed.
"She's just shy," I said, defensively.
Ayame understood. "Don't worry. The springs are a very friendly and peaceful place. It may be scary at first, but you are with good friends and will love them in no time."
Our receptionist gave us the keys and we walked/dragged ourselves to the lockers.
The springs were better than I expected. It was a huge communal spring with spots that were open with secluded areas as well, if you wanted privacy. Beautiful greenery and shrubbery surrounded the area and there was a waterfall. A tall, wooden fence separated us from the men. At the far end of the spring was Hinata and Kurenai. I caught their attention and gave a friendly wave which they returned back. They must have the same idea as us. We stood before the edge in our towels. Mae was in her towel as well, hiding behind a boulder.
"I didn't expect her to be this shy," I muttered to Leda.
She gave her signature snort. "Are you kidding me? Did you not realize how she dresses?"
Mae typically wore an above-the-knee skirt with a simple long sleeved shirt that concealed herself. Her calves were shown but often covered by tall socks. Only her knees were exposed to constant sunshine.
"She dresses normally," I whispered.
"She dresses like a nun," Leda replied, not caring she was loud enough for Mae to overhear.
"You're the one to talk. If your top was any shorter, your areolas would flash the world. If she is uncomfortable, I don't see the point in pushing her. We're here to relax after all."
Leda shrugged, no longer concerned. The message went through one ear and out the other as she removed her towel and entered the spring.
I understood Mae being shy but she was among friends, girlfriends. But, I wouldn't force her. When she's comfortable, she will join. With that, I shined Mae a sympathetic look, de-robed and joined Leda.
After some time, Mae compromised as she sat at the edge of the spring; towel wrapped tightly around her as she kicked the water playfully. We chatted about what any teenage girl would talk about, especially to distract themselves from the hellish world: boys.
"Ashton is a cutie," Mae said. "His freckles make him so adorable."
Leda snorted in disgust. "Ew, no. Ashton is dweeby. Zayne, however, is where it's at. He's on my to-do list."
"List?" Mae asked, puzzled.
"To hook up with," Leda explained. "He's at the top of my bang list." She unnecessarily pantomimed herself trusting in the water.
"Oh, my gosh!" Mae was left speechless. Her face turned red from embarrassment.
"What?" Leda asked, defensively. "He's hot." Leda was more hormonally driven than a room full of horny teenage boys.
"He has so many piercings, he can set off a metal detector from across the room," I countered.
"So what?" Leda argued. "Just call me a metal detector and I'll find gold, baby."
If Mae's virgin ears weren't bleeding yet, they definitely were now.
Despise Leda's creativity, "You are really something," I dramatically sighed and sunk lower into the spring. Subconsciously, I heard a scratching sound, but didn't think twice of it.
Mae seemed to recover from Leda's dirty mind. "It doesn't matter. Besides, Kiba is still the hottest."
"Ew," Leda replied, again. "You think Dog-boy is hot? Seriously?"
"He is too hot!" Mae snapped, offended. "He's kind, sweet, and super funny! He is the perfect guy. Anyone would be lucky to end up with a guy like Kiba!" Mae huffed, out of breath.
Leda rose her hands up, defensively. "Okay, okay. I'm sorry. He's your OTP, but control your love lust, will ya? Your nipple is going to poke me in the eye, it's so excited."
Mae was so engulfed in her speech that she loosened her death grip on her towel, causing one of her nipples to slip out. "Ah!" Mae yelled, fumbling to cover herself.
Leda hollered with laughter as if this was the best joke she'd heard all week. Mae turned red as Leda laughed even harder.
I sunk lower into the water. It was uncomfortable for one friend to yell her declaration of love towards another friend. I blew bubbled to distract myself from the commotion.
Out of all the boys in the world, why did it have to be Kiba?
"Sorry." Leda wiped a tear from her eye. "It doesn't matter anyway. He's Quorra's after all."
"What?!" Mae and I both yelled simultaneously. I shot out of the water like a torpedo.
"Oh, come on," Leda taunted. "We both know you two have a thing. You can tell right away from his puppy-dog eyes."
I was about to argue back when the same mystery scratching sound appeared. "Guys? Did you hear that?"
"Don't avoid it, Quorra. We know it's true. Unless, you are making yourself available for our precious Shiri-Sensei," Leda joked.
I wasn't listening to her, but instead to the scratching. The sound was clearly coming from the fence. The very fence which separated the women from the men. "I'm serious. I think there's something clawing at the fence."
That grabbed Mae's attention. "Yeah," she said, leaning towards the source, straining to listen. "I hear it, too."
Leda wasn't buying it. "Oh, come on, you two. Quit trying to avoid the subject." At that moment, the scratching was loud enough for even stubborn Leda to hear. "What the fuck?"
We silently gathered our towels in search of the source. We investigated around the tall, wooden fence. The three of us pushed a jungle of plants aside as if exploring in the Amazon. The annoying tedious scratching was still present, but it was hard to pinpoint its location with the foliage. My face slid across the fence as the scraping vibrations became stronger. Soon, it felt like I was atop of it.
At first, there wasn't anything that could lead to an explanation. But as quickly as it came, a flash caught my eye. Behind the bush was a hole carved into the fence the size of a grapefruit. I peered through it.
"Didn't label you as a Peeping Tom," Leda joked, seeing myself crouched in a suspicious bush, looking into a suspicious hole that, suspiciously, led to the men's side of the spring.
Peering in the hole, a wooden tool probed into the hole, scraping against the sides. This was the source of the scraping sounds.
"Hello?" I called.
I was greeted with a dark eye blinking innocently at me. Only milliseconds later did it realize it had been caught.
"Shit," the masculine voice spoke and covered the hole.
Mae and Leda ducked and dodged branches to meet up with me.
"What is it?" Mae asked.
My temper soared as I drew to a conclusion. "Someone is spying on us."
"What?!" Mae shrieked, hugging her towel.
"Let me see," Leda said, pushing me aside as she examined the carved out hole.
"Helloooo ladiessss," called a voice. Together we stared at the top of the tall, wooden fence, where a man squatted. "Lovely day, isn't it?"
"You're spying on us!" I accused.
The man chuckled. "Spy? Me? No, no. I am simply doing research." We stared at each other with confusion.
"What are you trying to pull?" Leda said, pointing. "I'm not buying the research crap, Old Man."
The "Old Man" had long, spiky white hair that pulled into a ponytail. He also wore a horned forehead protector and had red lines that ran down his eyes to his cheeks.
The man smiled, amused. "First of all, I am NOT an old man. I am Jiraiya, The Great Toad Sage." His hand scanned before him as if reading his name in lights.
Leda wasn't buying into it. "The Great Toad Sage, my ass."
I couldn't pinpoint this guy. He didn't sound like he was lying. "Okay, Great Toad Sage," I said, sarcastically. "What exactly are you researching?"
Jiraiya beamed. The red marks on his face stretched as his smile grew bigger. "I'm glad you asked, Little Lady." He pulled out a small green book from his breast pocket. "I'm researching for my next book."
"You're an author?" I asked.
"Only the most successful author in all the lands!" He laughed happily, bordering on cockiness.
Leda and I sighed. Conceited much?
"What's the book about?" Mae's bookworm curiosity asked.
"This!" He said, pointing to two characters making out on the cover. "Is my Icha Icha series explaining the mystery and beauty of women from first-hand experiences. I help answer all of men's questions, like how women have beautiful, voluptuous breasts yet when men look at them they get pummeled. Or, or - when women have soft, velvety skin but get too close and they will bite, literally. One almost bit my finger clean off."
"Oh, Veronica," Jiraiya said. "What a feisty sex machine she was." Jiraiya stared off in the distance, cheeks rosy as he giggled to himself.
Why did the book look so familiar? I pondered. I certainly never read something that erotic. Mae and Leda haven't either as far as I knew...
"You're an Old Bingo Pervert," Leda snorted.
Yeah, they definitely never read them.
Mae looked so traumatized, I thought she was going to have a mental breakdown.
That made me boil. "Hey! Don't talk to us like that. You're upsetting Mae."
The poor girl was shaking. I thought we would have to dip her in Holy Water to cleanse the sexual words out of her ears.
"Get lost. There's nothing to research here," I warned.
Jiraiya didn't put up a fight. "You're right. There's nothing to research because there's nothing left. You girls gave me all the info I needed." He turned around and saluted us.
"Wait!" We called for him.
"What do you mean?" I yelled.
"What do you have on us?" Mae asked, scared.
"I'm going to knock you out, you Old Perverted Fuck!" Leda yelled, fist and all.
Jiraiya didn't care to listen. "See you later, ladies. You can send me your love letters later!"
I didn't have time to react. I was officially an impulse mode and was going to make him pay for ever thinking he could spy on us. "Guys, give me a lift." I demanded.
Without question, they both got beneath me, grabbed a foot and threw me sky high. Jiraiya didn't realize until it was too late as I flew up atop of the fence. "You're going to pay!"
But the momentum and weight of us was too much for the fence. As soon as I tackled Jiraiya, both us and the fence, tumbled to the ground.
It all happened so fast, it took moments to comprehend. Now on the ground, I rubbed my head as I bumped it on something. Leda was dying of laughter behind me.
"What's so funny?" I grumbled until realizing Jiraiya. I plopped in between his legs. He was bellowing in pain as he grabbed his manhood.
There was a breeze that made my body shiver. What the -
I looked down to my horror to see that my white towel was nowhere in sight.
Leda was laughing so hard, she was clenching her stomach. "I'm going to pee," she cried.
Turning, I finally realized why she found this so comical. My towel was caught on the piece of fence that remained standing, swaying in the breeze. Mae was silent as she covered her mouth, trying to hide her laughter as well.
"Quorra?" Came a voice from in front of me.
Fuck, not him. Anyone but him.
Dreadfully turning around, standing before Jiraiya and I, was Kiba. With a towel wrapped around his waist and hair dripping wet. His triangle markings were invisible as his face reddened, yet again.
"Kiba!" Mae said, flustered. The boy she obsessed over was seeing her in her towel.
Akamaru yipped as he jumped off Kiba's head and ran happily into my lap - my very naked lap.
Yelping, I attempted to cover myself. "Wh - what are you doing here?" I squeaked out.
Shino was in the spring, not caring about the commotion. Leda was officially on the ground. The comical/embarrassing scene was too much for her.
Kiba was so flustered he could barely speak. "Kurenai-Sensei, erm, wanted us to have, huh, a relaxing day and sin-ce-ce we have been training hard. I mean, diligently, lately..."
Of course, now it made sense why Hinata and Kurenai were in the springs earlier. I should have realized.
"You're right," Jiraiya moaned. He still laid in pain. "I wasn't done with my research."
"Shut up, you Perv!"
Soon enough, Kurenai and Hinata approached the gap in the fence. "What's the commotion about?" Kurenai-Sensei was in her towel.
"Oh my-my gosh! What happened-ed?" Hinata asked.
Ayame came dashing out. Her hair came undone from her bun and the flower that was tucked behind her ear goes flying. "What happened here!?" She screamed in utter shock.
"Quorra broke the fence," Mae said, pointing at me like a child blaming someone else for something she did.
"I did not," I argued.
"She broke my dick, too," Jiraiya groaned.
"I did not!"
Everyone stared at me in silence. No one could wrap their mind around this preposterous situation. Akamaru barked in my lap, wagging his tail. He wanted to be pet but I couldn't with my hands being a little preoccupied.
Now that everyone had a clear picture of my bare ass and flat chest...
"Can someone bring me a towel?"