Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. This story was written for fun, not profit.
Five-minute craptastic attempt to figure out how Sai's brain works.
...what? I like Sai. Shut up.
fifth man down
Sai tries, without much success, to teach his teammates to draw.
He sits back on his heels and tells them it's an essential skill for espionage missions, and surely even someone as slow as Naruto and as ugly as Sakura can learn to draw a straight line. Then he smiles - he's getting much better at teasing - and goes about dodging the inevitable punches until someone intervenes or property damage happens. Sometimes both.
Not that he doesn't have plenty of bruises for his troubles. He's discovered it's very hard to duck and laugh at the same time.
A five-man team is impractical. It is too large for most missions, difficult to balance, and impossible to split equally. The ideal shinobi squad is organized around one leader and three subordinates, permitting a certain amount of flexibility while maintaining a proper hierarchy.
Sai reads books about tactics, stacked up all around him. This is the part where he forgets to take notes and starts to doodle faces in the margins - silly ones, with lines on their faces and frightening strength.
There is another standard shinobi unit: a solo operative, focusing all resources and energy on the mission and its completion. Missions, after all, are what make a village successful.
This is the part where he shuts the books.
Sakura likes to draw little stick figures with big smiling faces. She insists on naming all of them, inking the characters in at the bottom.
When she adds something insulting to stick-Sai, he tries to take the paper away.
She is laughing when she dances out of his reach.
When this mission ends, he will probably be reassigned somewhere in the field, very far from Konoha. Danzou, he suspects, isn't terribly happy with him. He may even be removed from ANBU.
Sometimes he thinks he might not care - that his teammates is more important, no matter how temporary they are - and he wonders if he should be glad for that or not.
Naruto doesn't draw much of anything, but he's certainly loud about it. This splotch is the enemy forces, right, see, and this is the great Hokage yours-truly beating them up - that sort of thing, on and on and on until Sai begins to fear for the state of his brushes.
Right around the part where the super-secret Hokage jutsu fends off ten thousand jounin, he begins to laugh - and he's very glad Naruto doesn't ask him why, because he doesn't know.
Four-man teams, especially genin teams, tend to remain very close-knit all their lives. They form bonds of friendship and rivalry and love - the sort that a family might have, or so the books say.
One day he would like to have genin of his own - and he will teach them how to draw properly and why they should hold onto each other, because maybe by then he will understand it all himself.
"Why're you really showing us this?" Naruto asks. He has ink all over him and Sakura is trying valiantly to get it out of his hair.
Sai pretends the two of them will be great shinobi one day, and when people learn about their S-rank missions, maybe there will be stick figures and badly-drawn heroics doodled in the margins.
"Because I can," he says.