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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.
Previous Chapter --->…

Well, that's it, everyone! Thank you all for reading along, and I hope you enjoyed this little preview to the Naruto manga. I tried to make it end seamlessly with the beginning of the official material. Special thanks to everyone who left comments - it's the best way to let an artist know that you appreciate what they are posting and give them the motivation to keep creating. Without you, I wouldn't have done this!

A few people have asked about a sequel, so I'll be honest; I've written a little bit of a sequel and might possibly write enough to post someday. The problem is that this story follows Sasuke (a character that most people know and love), but we all know where his story goes from here; so my sequel switches to follow Megumi. I'm not sure how much people want to read about an OC and her OC teammates. I do try to have them follow the manga story line, while staying out of the main action (since we obviously never see them in the manga); but there are plenty of opportunities for them to interact with and influence the canon characters. For the most part, the sequel is more lighthearted with only a few dramatic or tragic moments (so far); just for a change from this original story. Much of it is about her team, but Megumi also has a lot to discover about the Uchiha secrets, and a few unexpected visitors to deal with. She does see Sasuke again, but it's not under the best of circumstances. A preview?

With no more warning than the shift of a foot, he lunged at her. She had already accepted that this would be the last moment of her life, but her body still twisted in an attempt to dodge, futilely slow against Itachi's blinding speed. A second later, she was landing in a new stance and drawing her next breath, unexpectedly still in one piece. Had she really managed to avoid his attack? There was no way she was at that kind of level.

"Cute," Itachi commented, holding up a paper tag for her to see.

Megumi's heart dropped as she recognized her genjutsu-suppressant spell, now bursting into flames between his fingers. He could have easily killed her, but she now realized that there would be nothing easy about her fate. Already, she could feel her limbs hesitating to respond to her brain's commands.

"No, I'm not going to kill you," he said calmly, "That would be wasteful. But you know very well who would benefit most from your death, and you will go to him willingly, desperately."

Surprising herself, she found her voice and even worked in an edge of confidence, "If it would give him the power to defeat you and avenge the Uchiha clan, I wouldn't hesitate to forfeit my life to Sasuke; but that's not what he wants from me."

Itachi narrowed his eyes, "You think you're so loyal to this family? You think you've learned so much about them? You don't understand even a fraction of what motivates my little brother; but I think you deserve a demonstration. After all you've done for the Uchiha, it's time to reward you with your own part of their fate."

The room around them darkened and reformed to look like a moonlit evening on the familiar main street of the Uchiha compound, only it was alive with people of all ages and homey decorations. Megumi had a sick feeling that she knew exactly what was coming next, but she found that she was paralyzed in place. When the slaughter began, she cried out; but her screams were like whispers. Unable to even blink, there was nowhere to avert her eyes from the horror...
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Lunacylullaby Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014
I was about to give up on finding a good story to read until I happened upon yours. I Absolutely love it because it's so creative and follows its own story. Im so interested in what happens, but I hope Sasuke and Megumi end up together in the end. Please please keep writing! 
CraZyGiRL136 Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2014
oh my god!!! can't wait for the sequel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Adorable Girl Anime Emoji (Heart Dance) [V6] Adorable Girl Anime Emoji (Sho happy) [V6] 
LikeSoTotally Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014
I'm glad to hear that there's some interest in the sequel.  I wasn't sure if people liked Megumi enough to want to follow her story line from here.  But, seeing that you're excited makes me want to work on it some more!
CraZyGiRL136 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2014
oh i love megumi and i love your story so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!! please update and thank u for replying me.
XxSilverOwl13xX Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconspazzattackplz: That was an amazing preview! I SOOOOOOO want to read the sequel now! Given your story telling skills, I would have no problem with it being mostly OC. No problem at all! 
cloudwolfanime Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
asdlkfjwaoivhsakvjwoeiuawlkfsncva! I can't wait for the sequel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
kuraihime88 Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Ermahgerd nerxt cherpturr

...adding that to my list of 'Things to Never Do Again' and moving on. Yeah, I can already tell that Sasuke's plan of never speaking to Megumi again isn't going to work out. It had only hour? Maybe two? and he'd already sought her out three or four times. I don't think he's the only one this is hard for, though- she may look as if she's having no trouble ignoring him, but I'm willing to bet Megumi has been sneaking peeks across the room as well.

The 'kiss scene' was handled fairly well. Sasuke was clearly irritated, but tried his best not to think about it- until he realized Megumi may have seen him kiss a guy, which is an understandable concern given his ego. Sasuke's ego as a whole was portrayed skillfully also.
cas42 Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013
(satisfied sigh)

That was a fitting ending to this very well thought out story. I like how you ended things right there with a whisper rather than a bang... It adds a surprising note of realism to it, after all real stories don't end in a flashy way. (I still feel bad for Megumi though, but I guess that's the point)

It does leave some room open for a sequel (Your preview is excellent by the way) but you are correct, an all OC team would be a hard sell for most new viewers (I'd read it though :) )

I'd say.. If you want to tell the story... go ahead and write it.

Anyway. Great job with this. I look forward to your next foray, whatever it may be.

mikaeladean Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
OH MY GOD THAT WAS AMAZING!!! AND BY THAT PREVIEW I WANT TO SEE THE SEQUEL SO BAD!!! ZOMG!!!! :') your amazing writer-sama!!! Ahh you should totally continue with it, you could do so much with it!!! <3
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