gladdecease: (*meta type stuff)
gladdecease ([personal profile] gladdecease) wrote2011-03-25 11:54 am

thing the fifteenth [naruto; high school au]

I've already posted part of this AU as a response to [livejournal.com profile] au_bingo, over here.

Here's the part that would have started the whole "followed the general plotline of the first part of Naruto" aspect of that AU. No, it doesn't make sense. No, I don't care to explain it with ~logic. Maybe it's a hyperbolic parody of standardized testing, maybe this story takes place in a post-apocalyptic high school where they value teamwork and physical agility as well as intelligence, I don't know!



The bell rang. Fourth period was over.

Sasuke was still preoccupied with those unfamiliar students he had seen coming into school this morning, so he didn’t pay attention as he spun the combination lock until it opened. All thoughts about foreign exchange students (or whatever they were) fled his mind when he saw the large, navy blue-bowed teddy bear sitting on top of his math book.

He sighed. That girl must be up to her old tricks... how annoying. None of the other girls seemed to bother him nearly as much as she did. Well, with the exception of that Haruno girl...

He waited until no one else was left in the locker room, and took of the stupid stuffed animal’s ribbon (which had her name embroidered on it), and threw the ribbon out. He’d take the bear to the hospital after school, and give it to the children’s ward. They always liked the sort of things Yamanaka Ino gave him.



Ino sighed. It seemed that once again Sasuke had ignored her gift, if the ribbon in the trash by the lockers was any clue. "Oh, Sasuke-kun..." She picked up the ribbon, and tucked it in her pocket. He had to have touched it for it to come off the bear, after all.

"One of these days, you’ll see my true feelings. And then..."

Whatever "then" there would be, Ino didn’t say, because she noticed kids from the other classes milling around a bulletin board. Ino perked up. Grades for the term must have been posted. All thoughts about her somewhat-neglected love life fled her mind, and she ducked out of the locker room. If there was one non-Sasuke-kun-related thing she held above any other, it was being as high in the class as she was.

She pushed through the crowd roughly, and quickly made her way to the front. To her disappointment, the grades weren’t up yet - instead, a poster advertising a class project dominated the bulletin board.

An upperclassmen she knew vaguely from gymnastics - Tenten, or something like that - read the notice aloud with a note of humor to her voice.

"All juniors should note that the State Exams are approaching. While a large portion of this test is made up of individual scores, there is a team score that makes up a third of the score. Three students on each team will work together on various tasks during the Exams. To prepare for the Exams, Students will work together in sample tasks that teach the basic abilities needed to get a good score on the team sections. These abilities are:

  • Success - if the task is completed, full points are awarded. If not, judges will look into why and how the task was left incomplete, and will give points accordingly. For example, if the task was unfinished because it was never started, no points will be given. If the team runs out of time before they complete the task, partial credit will be given for the half-finished work.
  • Teamwork - the tasks cannot be completely by only one person in the group. Each member of the team must show that they are capable of completing the task, and must contribute to the final result. Full points are rarely awarded, but would go to any team that perfectly balances the teammates' abilities and evenly divides the work amongst the group.
  • Efficiency - each task is given an allotted time. This may be measured in seconds, minutes, or hours. Finishing the task with more time left over gives extra points. Finishing within the allotted time earns a base amount of points. Not finishing within the time limit earns few to no points, depending on how much work is incomplete.
  • There is also an overall teamwork score to judge how wisely the work was divided. For example, more points are awarded for giving the most physically fit teammate the task of running for tools, while the more creative teammate designs the project and the logical student determines the materials necessary and the proportions the project will take. Students should note that this score is merely an additional commentary on whether a team was exceptionally good or notably bad at dividing up the work.

"This does not mean that the top students will automatically be placed on the same team; the organization of teams is based on more than simply intelligence or physical fitness. Teams are currently being set up based on individual teachers' judgment of student compatibility and ability to successfully work together in cognitive thinking and physical exertion.

"The list of these teams - two male, one female - will be posted next Monday. Teams will meet with their coordinating teacher after the first bell to adjust to working together.

"It is our greatest hope that this year’s group of students will score better than last years. Do your best, students, and strive for new heights!"

At this, Tenten laughed. "That’s exactly the same stuff they said last year. Except for that 'overall teamwork' thing, I don’t think they changed the poster at all."

Ino turned around. "Why do you think they added that section, Tenten?"

"Oh, Ino! Um... not to sound obnoxious, but probably because of my team."

"Yours? Who was on it?"

"Hyuuga Neji and Rock Lee."

Ino raised an eye at that. "The valedictorian and Guy’s best all-around athlete? Sounds more like they would have added in that bit on the top students for you three instead of teamwork."

Tenten looked embarrassed. "The thing is, it's all but standard to put the highest ranked and lowest ranked students together, with the dead-middle girl evening things out. Lee may be a super-athlete, but his grades have always been somewhat... lacking."

Ino nodded. "Go on."

"Well, the lowest ranked student is always expected to hold his team back, you know? But Lee... he saw the entire thing as a way to prove his worth, to prove he was just as good as Neji. And, well, he was good on his word. He took on every task there was, promising to complete it perfectly without fail. But when we reminded him it was a teamwork task as well, he divided every part of the task between us - even writing down answers was divided between every third letter.

"So, when the test scores came in and people saw that Neji had done so poorly, and Lee so well, it didn’t seem to make sense." Tenten shrugged. "It was just about average, so they figured we had missed the point of sensible teamwork." Her eyes wandered to a smaller flier tacked beneath the poster, and Tenten cursed under her breath.

Ino raised an eyebrow in question.

Tenten pointed to the notice. "Because of the changes made to the State Exams, and because of the inaccurate scores given to some of our students, the senior class will be retaking the Exams." She swore again. "I don’t believe it - those things were bad enough the first time around."

Ino continued reading the notice. "A recent change to State law mandates a standard location and time for all students taking the Exams in each district. On that note, students from nearby Sand and Rain public schools, as well as students from private schools choosing to take the Exams, will be arriving soon to adjust to the new environment. As students of Leaf, it is expected that you will treat these guest with the highest respect."

Ino frowned, contemplating the exams. A test of her physical and mental abilities, she had expected. But teamwork?

"My team had better be up to par," she decided.

"Don’t count on it," Tenten said wryly. "Being top girl in the class means you’ll get mediocre guys on your team. Probably the second or third lowest, and one right in the middle - count on that."

"But, what about compatibilit - "

Tenten snorted. "They say that, but really it’s all arranged by grades. Well, and if there are two guys who can't stand each other or are too much alike, they tend to stray away from putting them together."

Ino's face fell at this revelation. "Guys with bad grades and personalities that don't clash with mine or each other..."

A possibility struck her, and she gasped, swearing worse than Tenten had. “Not those two...!"



Sarutobi Asuma looked up from the chessboard, smirking. "Someone talking about the two of you?"

Nara Shikamaru wiped his nose with the back of his hand. "Don't believe in stupid superstitions like that. Right, Chouji?"

Akimichi Chouji was currently occupied with wiping off his hands on a nearby napkin - he had sneezed while in the middle of eating a chip, and was lucky he hadn't choked. He nodded absently, finished cleaning up, and went back to eating.

Shikamaru's attention focused on the board. He deftly moved a pawn one space forward, and smirked.

"Checkmate."

Asuma rubbed the back of his head and laughed self-consciously. "I can never manage to win against you, Shikamaru. I don’t see why you’re not higher in the class."

Shikamaru scoffed. "Ranking, GPA, all that crap - it doesn’t really matter. Only stupid people care about 'Who's number one? Who's higher than me? Who's lower than me?' It's ridiculous."

Chouji nodded, mouth too full to speak. He swallowed, then added, "In the long run, being number 50 or number 5 doesn’t matter much. Colleges and teachers try to force a mentality on the students. Shikamaru and I know better. Other people..."

"Like Ino." Shikamaru shuddered. "God, I hate that girl."

Asuma raised an eyebrow as he set up a new game. "Yamanaka Ino? Constantly-in-the-top-3-of-the-class Ino?"

"The one and only."

Asuma scratched at his beard. "That's strange... I remember Iruka and Suzume telling me about the most adorable set of kids they had ever seen. Now, how did it go? Oh, right. On the first day of kindergarten, about ten years ago, three kids came into class holding hands and wearing matching outfits their mothers had sewn for them, with butterflies, deer, and pigs all over them. Who were they again? Ah, I remember! They were - "

" - that was a horrible time in my life that I’d rather forget, thank you very much."

"Agreed."

Asuma looked at the depressed faces of his favorite students and came to decision. It wasn’t a coincidence that these kids had parents who had aced this exam together. It wasn’t simply funny to force kids who hated each other to work together for several months at a time.

It was genius.

These kids were going to have to forget all their worst memories together, throw aside their bitterness, and give up using embarrassing birthday parties as blackmail devices - because he was going to force them to be teammates, and damn him if they wouldn’t do better than everyone else. Combined, even.

And besides... torturing these kids was way too much fun to pass up.

He motioned at the board. "Shall we begin again?"

Shikamaru shrugged. "Your move."

Moving a pawn two spaces forward, Asuma smiled widely.

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