The next morning.
The night storm had cleared the way for a beautiful sky on Sasuke's orientation day, but he hardly took notice on the way to the academy. It was still a bit windy, and he gleaned a little pleasure from stepping on every crunchy leaf that blew into his path. He had gotten almost no sleep during the night and didn't feel like moving when his alarm finally reminded him to get up. But he knew that this was the day that he would meet his jounin master and his real training would begin. From here on out, he only had one motivation, and that was to grow strong enough to face Itachi as soon as possible. With this in his mind, he had forced himself to get ready that morning and walk to the academy. He passed his old lunch building and pushed down the memories of it.
In the classroom, everyone was bustling with excitement. Out of habit, before he could stop himself, he glanced toward Megumi's usual seat. She was there – forehead protector, face bandages, and all. He was relieved to know that she was safe and had focused herself enough to make it here, but she looked just as tired and nauseous as he felt. People were calling out greetings to him, which he ignored, but even with his presence announced now, she didn't turn to look. So she was going to follow his rules. Good.
He walked to the opposite side of the classroom from her and took a seat against the wall. It wasn't where he normally sat, and he folded his hands in front of his chin, peering over them to observe the kids around him. Moriki, the boy he had fought in the final exam, was sitting in front of him, cheerfully talking to his neighbor. Naruto took the seat at the other end of Sasuke's table and immediately starting showing off his forehead protector to some other classmates. So the lazy goof-off had graduated after all, somehow. The academy's standards must have slacked even more. Nobody was taking this seriously at all, and their enthusiasm was really starting to annoy him. Simple, naïve children like them just got on his nerves, and he had to fix his glare on a neutral spot on the blackboard to keep from losing his patience.
Eventually a commotion caught Sasuke's eye as Naruto was bounced out of the way and Sakura appeared next to him.
"Sasuke-kun," she said in the tone that made him cringe internally, "Can I sit next to you?"
He simply glared at her, but she sat down anyway; so he looked to the front of the room again, intent on ignoring her. This was not a good day for dealing with female antics. But it wasn't Sakura, or any other girl, who made the boldest move.
Suddenly, Naruto hopped up onto the table and squatted in front of Sasuke, glaring at him eye to eye. What had gotten into this idiot? Using the last shred of self-control he had left, Sasuke held his ground and glared right back, hoping to convey enough annoyance to scare the blonde kid off; but Naruto didn't seem intimidated in the least. He leaned even closer, giving off an impressive air of annoyance, himself. Sasuke was a moment away from really losing his temper, when Naruto abruptly lurched forward and knocked right into his face. The blow was only cushioned by their lips catching on one another. This position caught Sasuke so off-guard that he forgot he was angry and, for a moment, even forgot what to do. Then, at the same time, both boys wrenched away and began spitting and wiping at their mouths.
Sasuke faced the wall as he rubbed his face and tried to regain his composure, but he could hear the beating Naruto was taking beside him. Several girls were yelling at Naruto in unison, and he heard repeated protests about his "first kiss." Of course, Sasuke's first kiss was two days ago, but he refused to think about that again; and now his most recent kiss was something he'd have to force out of his mind as well.
But what about Megumi? Had she seen what just happened? Sasuke wasn't sure why it worried him that she might have, but he wanted to make sure anyway. He turned back towards the front of the room, fingers folded protectively in front of his mouth, and flicked his eyes towards the opposite side of the room. She was still sitting in the same position as before, as solemnly as ever, looking down at a book in her lap. Sasuke had to look away quickly. This was a familiar habit, and he couldn't let himself fall back into it. He had to stop seeking her out and looking for her reactions. He had to stop thinking about her all together. As soon as he knew for sure that they were on different teams, he could stop worrying. She would have new friends, a new mentor, and plenty of distractions. It would be easy for him to slip into the estate to leave her a salary without actually running into her, and their friendship would fade away until there was no way he would ever need to hurt her.
"Welcome, students," Iruka-sensei greeted loudly, startling Sasuke out of his deep thoughts, "Beginning today, all of you are real shinobi, but you are still merely genin. The hard part has just begun. You will soon be assigned duties by the village, so today we will be creating three-man teams, and each team will have a jounin sensei. You will follow that sensei's instructions as you complete the assigned duties."
Sasuke resisted the urge to sigh. Everyone should know this already, so just get on with it! He was already annoyed enough trying to imagine how he'd get any training done with two other people in his way.
Iruka-sensei pulled out a clipboard, "We tried to balance each team's strength."
"What?!" most of the class cried, except Sasuke and, he noticed, Megumi.
Normally she would have tried to play along like she hadn't already studied the way things were done. Sasuke made himself look away from her again and focused on the teacher. He just wanted to hear the teams now and be done with it.
Iruka-sensei started listing the teams, and got through a few before Sasuke heard one of the names he'd been waiting for, "Team Five: Iashi Moriki, Nishiku Megumi, and Fuuma Otomaru."
So that was it. He couldn't help looking at her one more time and this time she was looking up at him. They exchanged goodbyes with their eyes, then they both turned away. Sasuke's name was called soon after, for team seven. And that was it.