My second SaiSaku fanfic! Yay! I'm quite proud with it. This is a continuation of my SaiSaku Christmas piece, "If It Means Spending Time with You". I didn't intend to make a continuation, but I got this idea in my head and it starting to eat me out if I don't let it out.
I think this is how their relationship is supposed to be –if there is one.
Naruto © Masashi Kishimoto.
"What do you mean you can't join us?" Sakura could hear the sharp edge of Ino's voice. "What is your excuse this time, Sakura?"
The roseate-haired young woman sighed and shook her head, knowing that she would probably, no, definitely will be given a lecture after she stated her reason. "Oh, you know…" She answered. "The usual."
"The usual?" Ino's voice got edgier. "Don't tell me that you-"
"Yeah." Sakura cut in, confirming the blonde's prediction. "I got work to do."
"Again?!" Sakura took the phone away from her ear. Ino was screaming, "Just how many manga are going to be published anyway, Sakura? Hundreds?!"
"Oh, come on." Sakura rolled her eyes. "Like you don't know him."
"Like I don't know you." Ino spat venomously. "You simply let him overruled you!"
"How could I not? He's my boss."
"Boss? It's more like he's your master to me!" Sakura chuckled, thinking that Ino's statement was somewhat true. "I know you didn't care about him tormenting you all the time. Like you had said before, you really don't mind if it means spending time together with him. But we, as your friends, do mind." A pause. "It seems like you're taking a turn in spending time together with us."
"Ino, you know I didn't mean to do that. I love spending time together with you guys. But in this case, there's nothing I can do. I was helpless."
"No, honey…" Ino's voice sounded encouraging but cynical. "There is something you can do."
"What is it?" Sakura snapped. She hated when Ino started to sound like this. She knew what tease was.
"You can say no to him. Just once."
"Ino, I ca-"
"Are you giving up spending this lovely Valentine with your beloved friends, Sakura? Just think about how much fun you will get. We'll have dinner and go to see a movie afterwards. Come on! You know the boys couldn't wait to see you! You will be showered by flowers, chocolates and cards for sure!"
Sakura sighed again. She knew that it had been such a long time since she showed up in front of her friends, especially in front of the males. This year, she hadn't yet made her debut, for she had missed the New Year Eve's party. "I know but- Okay, tell you what. I'll go straight to see you guys as soon as I finish my work, how 'bout that?"
"I think I've heard this line sometime ago…"
"I promise I'll be there." Sakura gave a compromising tone, though she was not sure herself. She had made the same promise last Christmas, but in the end, she didn't show up at the party. Totally exhausted from work, she'd go straight home to sleep. "This time, I wouldn't miss it."
"Hell, yeah. You have my word, Ino. But just in case. If I'm late, wait up for me, okay?"
"I'll see what I can do." Ino let out a tensed breath. "So, I guess I'll see you later?"
The call ended abruptly. Sakura knew that Ino was mad at her for not be able to join the Valentine dinner, furthermore, she was the one who suggested the dinner in the first place. She thought that she could be excused on that day but knowing her superior's nature, she should've guessed this could be happening.
Sakura leaned back in her seat and stared at the soft board in front of her. The wall, her wall was covered with countless pictures, all of them were of her best friends. Lost in thought, Sakura left her work on hiatus. She began recalling the past, where high school was taking place. She thought about the wonders of Valentine in high school and being one of the popular girls, she always been showered with Valentine cards, flowers and chocolates, not to mention dates and the day ended up beautifully just by spending her time with her friends.
Oh, how she loved Valentine.
But now, after realizing that she will probably didn't get to celebrate Valentine that year, her smile turned into a pout.
"Do you know how ugly you are looking like that?" A very manly voice startled her. Sakura quickly whipped her head up and found a pair of coal-black eyes was looking down at her. Sai, her boss, the head mangaka of the studio was leaning against her cubicle rather comfortably. His face wore no expression.
Her face heated up a bit, now that she knew the feelings she bored towards the guy. However, she didn't have the chance to let the blush on her face spread over her face more, realizing his earlier words. Her ears stung hearing the word "ugly".
"Say that again?" She dared bravely.
"You," he mouthed. "Pouting like that is ugly."
"You…" She hissed in return. "How dare you call me that!"
"It's true." He retorted innocently. "You're ugly."
Sakura didn't know where the hell did the patience came from, restraining herself from throwing her inhuman superwoman punch into his face. But guess that was the wonder of love. Oh, yes love was indeed blind. If not, the man must've ended on the floor by now, blue-eyed.
"Consider yourself lucky for being my superior…" She growled, picking up the pencil she left and began sharpening the lines. "What do you want from me now?"
"Who's on the phone before?" Surely whatever Sai had in mind was not something called "hanging out".
"Just a friend." She muttered, lifting her head up to meet his and shot the what-do-want look again.
"Oh?" He queried, looking quite amused. "Not boyfriend?"
"I don't have a boyfriend."
"Figures. Who would want someone as ugly as you?" Sakura felt her temper up ten degrees.
"If you came here just to piss me off, then I suggest you better leave now before I stick this pencil into your eye."
His pale face didn't show fear. Instead, it was calm and composed, absolutely emotionless.
"What do you want?" Sakura asked impatiently. "If you want to give me more work, then I-"
"You can go now."
It was an expected answer. Sakura arched her eyebrows. "What?"
"The work's over." He started to retreat to his own office, his back straight, hands in pockets.
"Really?" Sakura couldn't help from feeling glad. Maybe this was one of the miracles of Valentine. "Are you serious?"
"Yeah. You better go home now before I change my mind." Sai disappeared into his office.
Sakura jumped happily from her seat and began cleaning her desk. She collected the unfinished pages and put them inside an envelope. Once she sealed it, she put it inside her drawer. Then she gathered up all her things into her bag. She eyed the clock. She still had a little time to go home and change.
"Can you come here for a minute?" Just before she was about to head for the door, Sai called her into his office.
Her hope came crushing down. Maybe Sai changed his mind. Maybe he decided to put her back to work. "Why?" She slowly stepped into the busy office.
Sai pointed at a painting, which stood by the door. "Take that with you. Dump it on your way out."
Sakura's eyes widened at his words. She felt relief. So, he really meant his words earlier… She took a closer look at the painting. It was a beautiful piece of cherry blossom in spring. The color was soft and mesmerizing, an absolute perfect of art.
She pointed at the painting. "You asked me to throw that away? Why?!"
He shrugged. "I don't feel satisfied with that painting. It's a failure," he answered calmly. "It's very ugly."
"Ugly?" Sakura couldn't believe her ears. "UGLY?!" She eyed the painting again. It could've worth a fortune. "Hell, I don't know what's wrong with your eyes! I think it's beautiful! Like all your works!"
"For me it's not. Get it out of here now, will you?"
"But it's…" Sakura picked the average-sized painting up. "It's such a waste to throw it away…"
He noticed the distant look shot right through her eyes. Those jade pools were glued intently on the painting, deeply enthralled by its beauty. He knew her fondness towards his works all this while and judging from her reactions, it was obvious that she had fell in love with the cherry blossom masterpiece.
Sakura looked up and felt Sai's black eyes pierced right through her heart. It started to beat rapidly.
"You can have the painting if you want."
Joy seeped into her. Her eyes widened. "Really? Is it okay with you if I take it?"
He grunted. "I don't care; as long as I didn't have it in my office."
"Then I'll take it home?"
"Yeah, yeah…" Sai shrugged carelessly. "Now out."
"Okay!" Sakura jumped or rather bounced happily, taking the painting. It was really her luck; being given a piece of art from the famous artist she was. She eyed the picture again. A thought struck her mind.
"Hey, can I ask a question?"
Sai drifted his gaze to her face. Something in his eyes always made her heart bounced in unusual leaps. Those dark pools contained hidden meaning, a secret, something he kept strongly to himself, something he didn't want to share with the rest of the world.
It was a mystery. She wanted to figure it all out.
"What is it?"
"The title to this painting," Sakura pointed at the scattered pink petals. "I want to know. Tell me."
Sai didn't answer for the longest time –perhaps searching for the right title.
But Sakura patiently waited, because she wanted to know what was going on in his mind all the time he painted the picture.
"It's called…" Her brows arched high, urging him to finish. "Ugliness." His mouth suddenly curved into a smirk. "Come to think of it, this painting suits you perfectly."
The moment those words left his mouth, Sakura didn't realize the meaning behind the lines. His gaze captivated her, his handsome face hypnotized her all, making her stunned for a while. Maybe because that day was Valentine, she was being distracted a bit by the love in the air. Suddenly she felt like she didn't want to leave at all. She wanted to stay there, spending the day with him.
"Hey, aren't you going?"
Sakura blinked, slowly getting back to her senses. "Ah," she answered awkwardly. "I'm…going home now. Goodbye." She suppressed a smile before turning to the door. "By the way, Happy Valentine's Day."
He chuckled. Maybe Valentine got into his mood. He seemed warmer than usual. "Yeah, you, too." He had a cunning smile before emphasizing a new pet name for her. "Hag."
It took all her will not to smash the painting into pieces in his face.
She left the office at last, but not before taking a long last look of him. Will he spend the rest of the day here? Doesn't he have somewhere to go? Doesn't he have someone special to celebrate with? She thought. But Sai was always been seen alone. He was obsessed over nothing but work. Sakura had a strong feeling to stay back but changed her mind abruptly, thinking about the promise she made to Ino.
So she continued her earlier decision. Later, when she was safe and sound in a cab on her way home, their previous conversation reverberated in her head once her eyes taking in the sight of the painting again.
"Do you know how ugly you are looking like that?"
"It's true. You're ugly."
"I don't feel satisfied with that painting. It's a failure. It's very ugly."
"You can have the painting if you want."
"Come to think of it, this painting suits you perfectly."
SAI! The word echoed in her mind. Sakura had her mouth gaped open, eyes shot wide staring blankly ahead. What lie behind his eyes, the secret, the mystery…
It had hit her.
Perhaps he…all this time… Sakura closed her eyes and shook her head slowly. She thought about the countless overtime she had made since the last few months.
Maybe the overtime was just an excuse for him to spend the time together with her.
Smiling to herself, feeling greater than ever, Sakura leaned back comfortably in her seat, looking out of the window. Whatever assumption she came up with, about Sai's feelings toward her, she'll figure it out later.
Her gaze dropped on the painting again. A funny feeling tickled her heart.
"Heh, what a way to give me something, Sai…"
Later, when she arrived at her home, she was greeted with the surprised look on Ino's face.
"I thought you're at work!" Ino exclaimed with her eyes wide. When she opened her mouth to retort more, something in her best friend's hand caught her eyes.
Sakura smiled widely.
"It's a gift. A Valentine gift."
Love is in the air…
Happy Valentine's Day to all!