It can't be helped. The little red flowers she chose for her floral arrangement are wilting and hanging their heads. A few artfully twisted dried branches and ferns are part of it, too. She liked the minimalism of it, even though her mother tried to get her to add more flowers. It doesn't even get a second glance from Hanami-sensei, who spends a full five minutes praising Tsunade's colorful arrangement. Naomi pouts and stares jealously at Tsunade's huge shit eating grin and the admiring looks of her fellow kunochi. She glances to the side and sighs. If only she could join the boys instead. Whatever they're doing in the next classroom must be way more fun.
"Tsunaaaa," she whines once class is over. "Teach me your ways! Hanami-sensei totally hated it."
"Geez, if you have no sense for aesthetic I can't help you!" Tsunade huffs and smirks at her desolate expression.
"It's unfair how good you are at this!" She groans as they walk back to their classroom together.
Tsunade gives her a critical once over. It never fails to make her self-conscious. She looks down at her olive dress and tugs at the sleeves. Naomi's been growing and it barely goes to her knees anymore.
"Who bought this?" She demands in a businesses-like manner.
Tsunade gives her a look. "It shows."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You have to chose your own clothes or you'll never develop any fashion sense," she states matter of factly.
"Huh," she mutters as they head to their seats in the front row.
Tsunade and her sit side by side at the front. Most of the boys fought over seats at the very back of the classroom, but Orochimaru chose one by the window in the left corner of the front row, two seats away from her. Naomi glances at him and grins. The corners of his mouth twitch in acknowledgement.
"How did you become friends with him?" Tsunade mutters quietly besides her. "You're as different as day and night!"
"Not at all," Naomi replies easily.
"He's really smart and good at science stuff. He helped me read kanji when we were smaller."
"That so," Tsunade says and raises her brows before she gives her a wry grin. "I guess you're a bit of a nerd, too."
Naomi shrugs and nods. "Yeah. I wanna be a med nin, after all."
"You, too?" Tsunade grins happily.
"Yeah! Dad is teaching me!" Naomi exclaims with wide eyes.
"I'm so jealous!" Tsunade complains. "Your dad is the chief of the med center! You'll be way ahead of me when we start training."
Naomi grins smugly at her friend. That's right. For once she'll be better at something than Tsunade. It feels unexpectedly good. Guiltily, she stuffs her jealousy down where it belongs. They're friends, after all. She's really looking forward to becoming a med nin with her.
"Hey, do you know when we can start training?"
"Hmm, there's no official rule," Tsunade says with a small frown. "I guess it depends on your aptitude. Most med nin I know started training somewhere around fourteen."
"Whaaat? Really? But that's seven more years!" Naomi protests and makes a face. "I can't wait that long!"
"Well no," Tsunade agrees easily. "If you and your dad are training already that means you'll be able to start earlier. If he puts in a good word for you, I mean."
"It's all about connections," she says with an unusually wry expression. "His word will convince the higher ups."
"So what about you?"
"Me?" Tsunade smirks and brushes a strand of honey blond hair behind her ear. "What do you think? I'll start earlier, too!"
"Of course, your highness," Naomi laughs and rolls her eyes. "Nobody says no to Princess Tsuna!"
"Oi, stop it you peasant!" Tsunade laughs and pinches her side.
Naomi yelps and jumps in her seat. "Owww! No fair! Cut that out!"
"Ha!" Tsunade says with a glint in her eyes and tries to pinch her again.
Naomi shrieks and leans away from her. Once Tsunade gets going there's no stopping her. The taller girl can be quite vicious. She's unfairly strong, too. She manages to dodge her pinches and not fall out of her seat. Suddenly she gets her again and draws a high pitched "Ow!" out of her that makes several people laugh. Naomi blushes bright red and presses her lips together, because suddenly it's not funny anymore. This reminds her too much of her brothers.
Both of them look to the left in surprise. Orochimaru is sitting there with his body turned towards them, face resting on his left palm. Tsunade huffs loudly.
"We're just having a bit of fun, right?"
"R-right," Naomi mutters without looking at anybody.
Quite suddenly she wants to curl up and die. She hears people whisper behind her back and feels their looks keenly. Tsunade herself glances at her with a small worried frown. Their teacher thankfully choses that moment to arrive and the class grows quiet again. This is horribly embarrassing. Stuff like this can't happen again. After class, Tsunade pulls her to the side.
"What was that about?" She asks briskly.
"I'm sorry Tsuna," she winces.
"I guess.. the situation reminded me of the way my brothers used to tease me when I was little," Naomi mumbles and looks at the ground.
"They bullied you?" Tsunade stares at her in concern.
"Y-yeah. Now that they're Chunin it's better since they're away on missions a lot."
"I didn't know. I'm sorry," Tsunade says sincerely.
"Yeah don't wory about it."
"I won't do it again, okay?"
"No, it's fine. I overreacted-"
"Bullshit," Tsunade says flatly and puts an arm around her shoulders. "I'm sorry for not reading the mood. It's not your fault, okay?"
"Okay," Naomi says and grins hesitantly.
"Good. Now, do you wanna come over to my house and try on clothes? I'm gonna help you find your style."
"Yeah, okay!" She grins brightly.
"Alright! Race you!" Tsunade yells and starts running.
"Hey!" Naomi shouts and chases her.
Fashion, Naomi discovers once Tsunade shows her her closet, is amazing. She tries on so many outfits and loves each one more than the last. It's lucky that Tsunade and her are the same size. Some of her colorful tunics even have low collars that make her blush when she looks at herself in the mirror.
"Wow, you can see my collarbones," she mutters and tries to tug up her collar.
"Yeah, that's what adults call sexy," Tsunade reveals with a wink.
"H-huh?" Naomi stares at her, then her reflection. "What does that mean?"
"That it looks nice!" Tsunade crows triumphantly.
"I dunno. It just does," she huffs. "I read the term in a magazine okay? It said that all women try to look sexy for their husbands and showed various sample outfits."
"Well my mom doesn't try that," Naomi objects thoughtfully. "She always wears plain dresses and an apron."
"So maybe she's an exception," Tsunade allows with a huff. "But my point still stands. Boys like it when you show a bit of skin."
Naomi blushes furiously and shakes her head. "I don't want that! I don't even like boys! They're gross!"
"What about Orochimaru!"
She shakes her head with a grimace. "That's different! We practically grew up together. He's like.. my brother."
"Geez Naomi, you're hopeless," Tsunade sighs. "Here, put this on."
She eyes the tunic. It's another one with a low collar. Well, if it'll make Tsunade happy... She has to know. After all, everybody likes her. Even Orochimaru, and doesn't that make her feel weird for some reason. Naomi always thought she was the only one he liked. Pushing the thought from her mind she takes the tunic and puts it on. Tsunade lets out a pleased noise and makes her turn from side to side.
"Yes, that looks good! Black makes your eyes stand out more," Tsunade says with an approving tone.
Naomi eyes the tunic. It's a wrap tunic like the one Tsunade wears, but it has a white trim. She's right, her eyes do look brighter in this color.
"Can I.. um, can I borrow it?" She asks shyly.
"Sure," Tsunade grins and slaps her shoulder. "Finally you're getting it!"
"Whatever," she mumbles and rubs her smarting shoulder.