Okay, i know i'm WAYYY overdue for a new story. I've been REALLY busy with art and school and such. So please, don't kill me.

This is my entry for the Anime North Fanfiction Contest. I was rushed, so its kind of crappy at the end. I completed and entered it at like... two in the morning. X.x

I'll be branching off from my usual Naruto fics soon. I'll be working on Bleach, Harry Potter and Samurai Champloo as well as some Hellsing and Trinity Blood.

I'll also be collaborating with my friend Kaheira on a hilarious NejiSaku. Chapter one is already in progress.

Enjoy this please!

Pick-up Lines

It was an unusually quiet day in Konoha's library. Unlike regular days, where people would bustle in and out every day, finding scrolls to study with or recipe books for the home, only five or so people came today; the rest being held back by the rain.

Of course, a little spring precipitation was nothing to one particular ninja, who managed to arrive rain or shine. Today, he sat at a table by the window, absorbed in his books while listening to the calming sound of the rain pattering against the glass.

His eyes scanned page after page; pausing only to reread something or turn to another novel for references. He would sometimes scan through a book, frown, and put it back on the shelf in disappointment, only to return with another one that caught his eye.

Of course, he wasn't looking for any particular book to read. He was engrossed in the psychology of behavior, emotions, and most importantly, friendship.

Friendship was something that he could not truly comprehend. From what he had grasped so far, it was an extremely tough and impenetrable bond, so dangerous and fragile that was not to be tampered with at any cost. It was the ultimate oxymoron where one thing contradicted the other and one wrong move would mean his demise.

It was such a frightening thing to Sai, and yet, he felt intrigued by it.

He studied book after book on the physics of friendly behavior, and yet no matter how hard he tried, everything in the books failed in real life. His teammate Sakura had told him that the people who wrote these books probably had no friends themselves and wrote the books because they had too much time on their hands.

Of course, that didn't stop him from reading them.

Who was ugly to talk, anyway? She was the one that punched him every time he tried to be a 'good friend'! His fists clenched and his muscles tensed at the thought of the pink-haired ninja freaking out at him yet again.

Hold the phone…

He glanced over at his piles of books, suddenly aware of this unfamiliar and involuntary reaction to his teammate's inhospitable treatment. Picking up one of the open books he had left on the table, he flipped through the pages until he found what he was looking for.

"Anger." he read aloud. "Rage or passionate displeasure towards people or objects causing increased heart rate, tension of the muscles, possible hyperventilation and other related symptoms. The regular feelings one has when they are angry include the need to hit something or the person you are angry at, scream at the top of your lungs, and possibly, if you are angry enough, kick puppies."

Sai paused and reread the passage. "Kick puppies?" He closed the book and frowned. "Maybe I have the wrong emotion…"

Letting out a small sigh, the ANBU Root member stood up and walked over to his preferred shelf of books and put the unsatisfactory piece of literature away.

He would never understand what animal cruelty had to do with how he felt.

Sai let his fingers run over the many spines of the books; his eyes scanning the title of each one. His movement stopped as he spotted one title a little to the left of him labeled: 'The Psychology of the Female Mind'.

His eyes widened. This was it! This could save him from Sakura's beatings! If he was able to understand her behavior and reactions towards certain actions, he could save himself a lifetime of 'ass-whooping' as Naruto said.

His fingers clasped the spine and slowly pulled it out of the bookshelf. The thickness of the spine was at least four inches now that he saw it, and when he weighed it in his arms, he was shocked to find himself struggling to hold it up.

It was then that Sai realized that women were more complicated than he first thought.

Biting back a curse, the raven-haired teen glanced back at the large gap in the bookshelf, noting that some had toppled onto their sides from the sudden lack of support. His sharp eyes noticed a bright yellow paperback around an inch thick that had leaned towards him on the shelf, seeming to stick out and beckon him to read it. The shinobi stumbled closer, leaning forward in curiosity to catch the title on the spine.

"Women for Idiots?"

Sai dropped the larger book without hesitation; narrowly missing his toes as it crashed to the ground. Several heads turned in his direction, angry and curious that such a studious shinobi would cause such a ruckus. He, being the ignorant teen that he was, paid no attention to this and snatched the book from the shelf.

Of course, by the time he felt the tug of the trap wire, it was too late for him.

The booby trap, which had been cleverly attached to his choice book, set off a chain reaction behind the shelf. The string tugged on a spoon, which sprung from its hold and sent a golf ball into a funnel, which then went through a tube, rolling out on a flat space to hit a series of dominoes. Said dominoes toppled up a slight incline, the last one hitting a precariously balanced scroll, which unfurled and flew downwards; the domino sliding down the paper slide that was created. Finally, the small game piece hit the switch of a locked fishing line, causing it to unravel and slacken. This meant that the hammer which was fastened to the ceiling swung forward, hitting a particular orange book which proceeded to fall on Sai's face.

Why Sai didn't move during that span of time is a mystery to this day.

With a stifled groan, the dark-haired boy stumbled back and removed the book from his forehead. Rubbing his sore skull, he glanced up at the still swinging hammer, and then back down at the book. It was blatantly obvious that this 'accident' was far from a coincidence, but the strange form of advertisement had caught his interest in the small orange book.

"Ero-Sennin's Guaranteed Pick-Up Lines." he muttered to himself as he read the cover. "Get girls to love you; or your money back."

Well that would have seemed a lot more guaranteed if not for the fact that it was in a library.

Heaving a sigh, the unaware young ninja sat down at the table and began to read the introduction.

It was another busy day at the Ichiraku ramen stand. Although only two or three people had arrived that day due to the bleak weather, one particular customer clad in orange helped pick up the speed.

Naruto grinned after setting yet another empty bowl on the table. He leaned back contentedly as he listened to the hiss of the rain just behind him. Sakura was out on a mission with Shikamaru while Kakashi was at home sorting the list of newly recruited genins. Iruka was also busy teaching at the academy while Sai was off who-knows-where. He honestly didn't want to know.

He himself had just come back from a mission with Shikamaru and felt unusually hungry after crossing through the gates, so he wasted no time in searching for anyone before he got himself a nice meal.

Before he could order another, the barstool beside him creaked, signaling the arrival of a new customer. The blonde shinobi grinned as he felt the familiar presence beside him.

"Well, speak of the devil…" he laughed. "I didn't think you'd come out in the rain, Sai."

The comment was returned by a polite but clearly fake smile. The young ANBU was soaked to the bone; drenching the very seat he was on. His hair was matted to his face and not a single inch of his clothes was given mercy by the precipitation. Naruto couldn't help but frown at his complexion, and so, decided to point out the blatantly obvious.

"Have you ever heard of an umbrella?" he asked. Sai didn't bother to look at him.

"I don't own one." the boy admitted calmly.

"Well, why don't you buy one then?"

"Why would I buy something to protect me from the rain if I'm already drenched?"

The blonde couldn't help but sigh in annoyance. Sai's debating tactics rivaled that of Uchiha Sasuke himself. Winning was practically impossible when it came to them.

"Naruto, may I ask you a question?"

The fox turned back towards the dark-haired boy, who was now glancing at the bag he had left at the foot of the stool. Naruto leaned forward in curiosity, wondering what could shift Sai's very narrow disposition.

Sai, on the other hand, was trying to come up with a way of asking Naruto how to understand their female teammate without the blonde getting all defensive or thinking that there was something wrong with his brain.

Then again, now that he thought about it, who in their right mind besides he would try to comprehend Haruno Sakura? It was a quest that was destined to crash and burn!

"There is… someone that I've been trying to approach for a while." He explained quietly. "The only issue is that every time I try to get close to them, I only wound up getting hurt, and they; angry." With that, he turned to Naruto with a questioning look.

Naruto's eyes widened in shock. Was it actually possible that the emotionless Sai was actually harboring feelings for somebody? Whether it was male or female that he liked, he wasn't sure… but it was definitely a start!

He leaned forward in excitement; ready to answer any issues that his quiet friend wanted to ask him.

"Naruto… what's the point of a pick-up line?"

If he weren't such a skilled ninja, he would have fallen off of his stool.

"That…" Naruto began, unsure of how to elaborate, "…was not what I expected you to say."

"What was that?"


Naruto bit his lip as Sai waited patiently for his answer. How the hell was he supposed to explain what a pick-up line was to the human slate before him?!

"This, my dear friend, shall take a while to explain." Naruto stated thoughtfully. "I believe I need some thinking food."

The next day was much clearer. The clouds had broken up overnight to reveal the dazzling sun glowing in the east. The birds were chirping and the flowers were blooming, marking the sign of a wonderful day.

Of course, for some people, the atmosphere did not truly match their mood.

Sai, for example, had spent the night researching the many types of pick-up lines in that little orange book that had fallen on his face the day before. Naruto had explained in detail the use of a pick-up line, but that seemed to only make it harder for him to comprehend.

"A pick up line…" Naruto began, "… is something you say to the… person you like in order to impress them and get them to like you back."

"But Naruto… I haven't used a single pick up line on you and you already like me." Sai pointed out. At that time, Naruto's cheeks started to turn pink.

"No, no, Sai… not that way." He scratched the back of his head and turned away awkwardly. "I mean if you have a crush on somebody."

"That sounds violent."

"Not THAT kind of crush! You have to want to get to home base with them!"

"How does baseball fit in to all of this?"

After that, Naruto left the stand for a minute or so. A few seconds after he left, a scream echoed in the distance. It reminded him of the time they had tried to explain the 'birds and the bees' to the younger Root students when he was still a child.

A little after that incident, Sai had been told by Naruto at around midnight to meet him the next morning to help with his 'relationship problems'. He had been uncertain, if not cautious at first, to agree to being helped by the blonde, but somehow Sai had complied.

He approached the ramen stand quietly as more thoughts invaded his mind about what Naruto was planning. These thoughts were abruptly wiped away as the familiar voice of the Uzumaki teen reached his ears.

"Over here, Sai!"

Sure enough, the blonde was standing outside Ichiraku, waving at him eagerly as he approached. His grin never faltered as he beckoned him to come under the stand once again.

"I've planned it all out." Naruto explained after ordering his ramen. "Some good friends of mine are coming to help you out with your dilemma today!"

"Dilemma?" Sai repeated with a frown. The blonde nodded.

"That's right! You should be grateful that they volunteered for this! This opportunity is hard to come by!"

"I don't remember 'volunteering' for anything."

The two heads turned to see the three members of Team Gai entering the stand; Hyuuga Neji at the lead.

"Now, white-eyes! Be reasonable. This is a dire situation!" Naruto insisted. He glanced over at Lee, who had sat down on his left, then back at Neji and Tenten who remained standing.

"Dire situation or not, you said we'd be paid." Neji retorted bluntly.

"Come to think of it…" Tenten piped up, "… you never did tell us what you needed us for in the first place."

All eyes, including Sai's, turned to Naruto, who shrunk in his seat slightly. He only rose again when a hand clapped his shoulder, causing him to jump. Said hand belonged to Lee, whose eyes were burning with their usual intense passion.

"Do not worry, Naruto!" He declared. "I will be sure to help you no matter what the pay!"

"That's so kind of you, fuzzy-brows!" Naruto turned to his other two teammates. "Why can't you two be more considerate like him?"

"Because we're not stupid." Neji shot back. At the very same time he said this; Lee noticed a lotus in a small vase on the countertop and was too busy admiring its beauty to hear Neji's remark.

Sai watched the interaction carefully. It was so strange to see the Hyuuga prodigy communicating with Naruto. He sensed a strange relationship between them balancing on the fine line between friendship and mutual agreement for each-other's existences. It seemed to be even more dangerous than his friendship with Haruno.

"We expect payment, Uzumaki." Neji hissed. "No matter what kind of job it is; it'll cost you."

At that, Naruto shrunk in his chair once again.

"Is this the part where I'm supposed to feel thoroughly embarrassed and humiliated?"

Sai looked up at the four shinobi blankly from his seat on the log in the training grounds. Naruto looked confident, Lee; excited. Tenten had a sympathetic look in her eyes while Neji just looked flat out annoyed.

"Naruto…" Tenten turned to the blonde with a frown, "if Lee's here… what need is there for us?"

"Well we need someone for Sai to practice on." Naruto replied. "Since I'm overseeing this… and paying for your meal at Yakinoki-Q… I need you guys to help out.

"So what am I for?" Neji asked with a glare. Naruto paused and looked down at Sai, who had taken a sudden interest in drawing with a stick in the dirt.

"Sai, are you trying to impress a boy or a girl?"

"Girl." He replied without hesitation. He was now doodling Neji killing Naruto.

"Alright then." Naruto turned to Neji. "You are here to make sure that Lee makes Sai charming enough to impress, but not enough to repel. Okay?"

He got a blank stare in reply. "Are you saying that you planned this out without knowing whether Sai liked guys or girls?"

"That's why I brought both of you along. It was a smart move if I do say so myself."

"What kind of friend are you?"

"A good one." Naruto snapped back.

Sai's stick broke, pulling him out of his trance. With a sigh, he discarded the remains of the twig and stood up.

"I have this hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach telling me that I won't enjoy this."

He was exhausted to say the least… disturbed to say the most.

That was definitely what he was feeling after the unspeakable incidents that occurred during the duration of his… training.

He wasn't sure how bad he looked, but the others seemed pretty distressed themselves. Neji's usually perfect hair was disshelved and his eyes were half open. Tenten's hands were shaking slightly as she ate her meal while Naruto's eyes and hair seemed to lack their usual colour.

They had spent the day teaching Sai anything they could on impressing a girl. Neji didn't say much; instead stating what was a bad idea to do. Tenten played the unaware female (which was quite hard considering her tomboyish attitude). Naruto stood at the sidelines, giving him the occasional hint. Considering the circumstances, his actions that day might have actually been considered 'funny' to them.

Then, of course, there was the case of Lee…

"Today was great!" The green beast declared loudly; not a hair on his head seeming to have moved that day. "With our help, Sai will become a charming man that will woo the girl of his dreams in no time!"

Who would have thought that you could overdose on 'charming'?

Tenten glanced over at the silent boy as he picked at his rice. She leaned over to him as the others became distracted by Lee. "How are you feeling?" She asked. Sai paused and looked up at her; placing the clump of sticky rice back in the bowl.

"To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what I feel when it comes to today." He admitted calmly. "But I do know that I never want to go through it ever again."

He noted duly that Tenten nodded her head in agreement, as well as Naruto and Neji who had started listening in on the conversation a few seconds earlier.

"The free food was hardly worth it." Neji muttered before taking a bite out of the tempura shrimp. Naruto turned and shot an evil glare at the prodigy.

"Then quit eating."

"Fat chance, Uzumaki."

The blonde groaned and rested his head on the table. Meanwhile, Lee was finishing his bowl, only to stop and glance at Naruto with a frown.

"You look exhausted, Naruto." He pointed out. "You should go home and get some rest so that we can continue this tomorrow."

At those words, Neji choked on his shrimp, Tenten spit out her tea, and the Kyuubi's chakara started spilling out of Naruto. Sai was the only one who didn't flinch. Instead, he placed his bowl down and turned to the taijutsu master.

"Actually, fuzzy-brows," he began, noting that Naruto used this nickname all the time, "I think you have taught me enough today for me to deal with this on my own. One day was all I needed."

Lee's eyes probed his for any sign of a lie. Of course, Sai, being the blank person he was, was able to successfully move him without so much as a bat of an eyelash.

"You should celebrate the fruits of your success." He added with flawless precision. "You definitely deserve it."

To the others' surprise, tears welled up in Lee's eyes. "You are right, Sai!" He cried, standing up quickly. "I must savour my success as I would my youth!" With that he ran out of the restaurant faster than you could say Rasengan.

The remaining three ninjas turned to Sai with amazement written all over their faces. Naruto's was the first to spread into the grin as he clapped his shoulder from across the small table.

"You manipulative bastard, you…" He laughed. "I haven't seen Lee so motivated by a speech like that in ages." Tenten smiled and nodded in agreement.

"Be honest with us, Sai." Tenten said with a grin. "Did you honestly learn anything from him today?"

"To be honest…" Sai looked at the three who were eyeing him intently, "in the past twenty four hours that this has plagued me, I haven't learned a single thing about it."

It was silent at first, but Naruto was the first to break the silence with his laughter.

"I should have expected this…" he chuckled. "Lee would have probably been more successful writing crucial information on a blank slate with a bar of soap."

The group (except Sai, of course) had a good laugh at this. Of course, Sai hadn't finished with what he had been saying.

"I think that despite not learning much from today, I've learned enough to figure it out on my own." He then explained. "I'll start from scratch and figure out what will work on them on my own."

The three shinobi couldn't help but agree with his logic.

"I'm not sure whether to be relieved or upset." Neji breathed. Naruto turned and jabbed the white-eyed genius with his chopsticks.

"Just shut up and eat your meal."

Sai had spent the rest of the night memorizing and narrowing down the list of pick up lines he would use on Haruno in order to make her like him more. He couldn't help but wonder how some of the pick-up lines were even meant to honestly be directed at a woman. Several of them didn't even seem relevant.

What did they mean by being in a girl's pants?

He decided that not only had chivalry died, it was trampled on, run over and shredded to pieces in the process. Several of these hardly showed respect to women at all.

After narrowing his list down to the small group that could be considered 'Sakura-safe' (this included ones that didn't mention beauty; she knew he couldn't honestly call her pretty).

This meant that the amount of choice that he was given was narrowed down to a slight few, meaning that his chances of success were narrower than he first thought.

"Although…" He murmured, "… a little help wouldn't hurt…"

His eyes scanned the crowd, stopping when he spotted the familiar platinum blonde hair of Yamanaka Ino tending some chrysanthemums at her flower shop out front. He decided then that since she was Sakura's friend; similar in looks and attitude (although she was nowhere near Sakura in strength), she would be quite useful.

He stopped behind her as she glanced around at her plants in satisfaction. It was only then that he spoke.

"Pardon me…" He said, trying to force a small smile, "but what kind of pick-up line works best on you?"

Ino turned her head quickly, her blue eyes fixing with his. "Oh, Sai!" She gasped; her cheeks turning bright pink. "I didn't see you there!"

He had been intending on pointing out that she obviously couldn't see him before due to his absence seconds earlier, but felt that it wouldn't help him get the answers he needed.

"So are you going to answer my question?" He asked calmly. Ino's lips curved into a small smile as she turned to fully face him.

"Are you trying to pick me up?" She asked slyly with a small flip of her hair. The ANBU regarded her blankly as he spoke.

"I'm not picking you up." He explained calmly. "I've picked you out."

Of course, he dared not speak Sakura's name in front of Ino. He wasn't entirely sure how violent Ino could really be. He had heard Shikamaru calling her overly troublesome on more than one occasion, which made him question her abilities.

"Wow, Sai…" Ino giggled, bringing her hand to her mouth to hide her smile. "I would have never guessed you were such a smooth talker!"

"I am?" His eyebrows rose a little at this statement. He hadn't even used a line on her yet… had he? The blonde nodded in reply.

Maybe this stuff wasn't as difficult as he thought.

"Thank you, Ino." He smiled again. "I appreciate your help."

"Help?" Ino blinked in confusion. "What help– "

By then, Sai was already long gone.

He had spotted Sakura a little while later exiting the Hokage's building. She had been on a mission the past few days with Shikamaru as a medic, and now that she was home, she seemed unusually happy. She had bruises on her arms and legs and bandages on her knuckles. Other than that, she seemed none the worse for wear.

"Difficult mission, Sakura?" He asked as he fell into pace beside her. The pink-haired medic turned her head in surprise.

"Sai?" Her face lit up into a bright smile. "I didn't expect to see you here! I was actually…" She stopped in her tracks, her green eyes wide in horror as she looked at him. Sai cast a questioning glance towards her suddenly pale face.

"Did you just call me Sakura?"

Sai's shoulders became rigid at this. He sighed inwardly, noting to be extremely careful around her now that she was suspicious.

"I… have decided that your nickname is not earning me any points as a friend with you." He explained as calmly as possible. She gave him a look that simply screamed 'no shit, Sherlock' as she started walking ahead; the raven haired teen in tow.

Sai took a moment to mentally sift through his options. With Haruno, they were very narrow and equally dangerous. He would start with something light on her now and figure out what steps to take from there. It was the best option he had if he wanted to keep all of his teeth in his head.

"If you don't mind me asking…" He began as he fell into step with her once again. "What's your sign?"

He assumed that by signs, they meant the Roman astrological star signs that one is born under. He had studied the foreign mythology and how each star sign is more or less compatible with others. It made sense for a man to ask a woman their star sign to figure out compatibility between them, thus making it one of the most sensible of these 'pick-up lines' that he had discovered.

Sakura glanced over at him thoughtfully; seeming to regard him with a mixture of amusement and suspicion. Finally, lacing her hands behind her back, she picked up her pace as she replied with a grin:

"Do Not Enter."

Sai stopped in his tracks.

That wasn't the right sign that he was after…

Considering the multiple meanings of a 'sign', along with her answer, he deducted that the pun she had just made in reply to his question was also a way of telling him to go away.

She had just shot him down!

He watched her walk away, still giggling to herself, before making his own hasty retreat.

He just couldn't understand it! After all of that careful planning, she had brushed off his line like a piece of dirt, only to walk off laughing!

What was WRONG with women?

He bit his lip in concentration; considering his next steps to try to move Sakura in his favour. He couldn't try anything too drastic just yet. This would take more planning.

He flipped through his memorized list, coming upon another that could work. He stood up; stretching his tired muscles before heading off to find the medic once again.

He found her a little later, sitting in the park as she read up on medical herbs. He sat down discreetly beside her, pulling out his art supplies to start drawing in order to seem distracted. Despite seeming focused on his work, he listened intently as she murmured incoherently to herself; waiting for the perfect time to strike.

Her voice rose a little higher than her usual murmurings, causing his brush to halt in mid-stroke. "What did you say?" he asked as he turned to her. Sakura turned to face him as well after hearing his voice; giving him a questioning glance. "Oh, I'm sorry." He smiled and tilted his head slightly. "I thought you were talking to me."

Sakura gave him that same perplexing look as earlier as she closed her book. "I like your approach." She admitted with a grin. "Now let's see your departure."

If he wasn't mistaken, she had just turned him down again.

He found her the third time eating ice cream on her own; a contented smile on her face. He wasn't sure whether she was content about his sudden attention to her (she hadn't stopped laughing since she first saw him) or if the ice cream was really that delicious.

He guessed it was the former.

Either way, he wouldn't rest until he managed to make one of his lines work.

This time he managed to catch her unawares as he said the line. He had decided that the communication beforehand might have caused the problem.

He stood behind her seated form; cleverly reaching around and snatching her dessert from her hands in order to get her attention this time.

"If I could rearrange the alphabet, I'd put 'U' and 'I' together." He murmured to her. He felt the girl stiffen at this; turning around to face him. Despite her cheery façade, something about her aura warned him that taking her ice cream as a distraction wasn't the greatest idea.

"Why do that?" She asked icily. "N and O are already beside each other."

Ouch. He watched her blankly as she snatched the ice cream out of his hands. Another pun.

This girl was much cleverer than he had first expected.

He could only stare as she exited the ice cream shop; leaving him behind to think once again.

Sai found himself looking through the window of his room; muddled in thoughts of pink-haired girls and orange books. He bit his lip in frustration as he pondered over the morning's events.

He just couldn't understand it! Ugly always wanted him to be a better friend and treat her nicer! He had studied her meticulously in order to figure out what worked best with her and initiated the plans without hesitation! Why was she suddenly turning him down now?

He let out a sigh; running a hand through his hair. That Haruno girl was frustrating to say the least. He didn't know what to do about it.

Why the hell did women have to be so confusing?

It was then that something inside him snapped. His eyes narrowed and his muscles tensed as he relived the put-downs in his head.

He would find out himself what he was doing so wrong from the person who would know the best.

Of course… he would need some weapons first.

Across the village in the training grounds, a pink-haired shinobi stretched her arms above her head in satisfaction. Her knuckles felt stiff from all of the training she had just accomplished, but other than that, she was none the worse for wear.

Sakura smiled to herself as she cracked her knuckles. Her chakara was low from the work she had just done and she couldn't help but let out a small yawn before heading back home.

Of course, she didn't get far.

She only stopped after feeling the prick of the kunai at her neck. Green eyes narrowed as she tried to recognize the chakara; frowning when she discovered it to be hidden well.

"You females are too confusing for my taste." A male voice hissed angrily. "I can never understand what you want, and just when I think I have it, you're unhappy again!"

Sakura frowned as she listened. That voice… it couldn't be… could it?

"These past few days I've studied and meticulously worked, only to have you make everything blow up in my face."

"Sai?" She turned her head carefully to catch a glimpse of his face; hesitating only when the kunai pressed further against her neck.

"I thought you wanted me to try and become a better friend, ugly." He snapped. "Why can't you be happy with that at least?"

He stopped as he felt a sharp pain in his chest. The medic had managed to twist around and punch a chakara laced fist into his gut; sending him flying across the grounds and into a tree. The bark bit against his back as he slid down to the ground, coughing up blood in the process. He looked up with bleary eyes at the medic clad in red as she walked up towards him.

"Well, it's kind of hard to 'be happy' with your good friend act when you're constantly flirting with me!"

Wait… what?

"Flirting…?" He managed to groan. The pink-haired girl nodded with a huff. He closed his eyes; letting his head rest against the battered trunk of the tree. "So you're saying that I spent the last two days studying those stupid pick-up lines to get you to like me more… and in the end I only ended up flirting with you?"

"Pick up lines?" Sakura repeated, her eyes going wide in shock. A small sound escaped her lips… then another. Soon enough she was buckled over laughing hysterically while Sai still sat with confusion written all over his face.

"Sai…" She said as she wiped a stray tear from her eye. "A pick up line is nothing more than a man's poor attempt at a mating call."

The ANBU blinked; leaning forward as far as he could without his middle searing with pain. "Is that all it is?" He asked with wide eyes. Sakura nodded with a small giggle. "Well that was a complete waste of two days of my life." He sighed as he fell back against the tree once again.

Sakura knelt down beside him, pulling his shirt up to inspect the injuries she inflicted. "I must ask you though… where did you get those lines anyway? Only Naruto or Kakashi could come up with lines like those."

"They were in a book in the library." He explained. Sakura gave him a skeptical look. "It fell on my face after I accidentally sprung a trap." He then added. "Look."

Trying not to move too much, Sai carefully reached around and pulled the book out of his weapons pouch. He handed it to Sakura, who inspected it with a smile.

"I'll be sure to tell Tsunade about this." She grinned as she handed it back to him. "Jiraiya won't hear the end of it."

Oh… that's why the name sounded so familiar…

He regarded the pink-haired girl with a frown as she continued to tend to his wounds. He had studied her behaviour so meticulously and yet she still managed to outdo him yet again. Still… something was still bothering him about the day's events that just didn't seem right.

"Hey, ugly." Sai caught her wrist, diverting her attention to him. Her eyes darkened, but she merely chuckled.

"Glad we're back to the nicknames again." She chided lightly.

"I know that your intelligence renown… but I don't think even you have the wit to come up with those rebuttals." He pointed out. "How did you do it?"

The medic paused and flushed slightly before reaching into her own weapons pack; pulling out a small book similar to the one he had obtained.

"Tsunade gave it to me in case a scenario like today ever happened." She explained sheepishly. "I've memorized the whole thing."

His reaction to her reply was unexplainable. It started as a contraction of his abdomen; pushing air out of his lungs and creating a small noise at the back of his throat. Then it happened again; louder this time, and again until he was struggling to catch his breath. His face muscles had seemed to start reacting as well, because he felt like he was smiling wider than he ever had before.

"Sa-Sakura…" He wheezed as his body continued to spasm. "I think something's –haha… wrong with me! You- hahaha- punched me too hard I think."

He looked up at her with a slightly pained expression, almost hoping to see her move to help him. Why wasn't she doing anything? Why was she just sitting there with a smile on her face?

"You're laughing, Sai!" She declared happily. "You're actually honestly laughing like a human being!"

Despite his shock at suddenly overflowing with emotion, he couldn't seem to stop. He rolled onto his side, curling up and grasping his sides for dear life.

"If you people think laughing is such a good thing…" he managed between giggles, "… then why does it hurt so much?"

"Oh, it usually doesn't hurt." Sakura explained dutifully, going back to her usual 'smart mode'. "You're probably experiencing pain because of the broken rib that I made.

He was staring at her.


Sai headed back to Ichiraku the next day to meet with Naruto about his pick-up-line affair. His injuries had been tended to and all that was left was a dull ache which would last the next few days.

The book had been taken to the Hokage by Sakura, who explained Sai's role as Jiraiya's victim in this mess. The trap would be taken down and the Sennin would be put through a world of hurt when they found him.

"So, how did it go, Sai?" Naruto asked after they both ordered their preferred bowl of ramen. Sai turned to him as they waited; resting his elbow on the table.

"I'm really not sure." He admitted bluntly. "Everything I tried, she threw back in my face." He put on his usual fake smile as he tilted his head. "Of course, that's what I should've expected from someone as ugly as her."

The blonde frowned. "Ugly?" Sai merely nodded.

"Although, I must admit, she explained the point of a pick up line much better than you did." He explained. "Sometimes I think you could be more blunt at explaining things like her."

"When you say ugly…"

"Of course, the part that really threw me off was after she explained everything to me and showing me what an idiot I've been these past few days trying to flirt with her instead of becoming friends with her." He sighed.

"You don't mean…"

"Just when I expect her to hit me for being such an idiot…"

"… the girl you like…"

"Sakura suddenly plants her mouth on my face." He stated, poking at his cheek. "Right here. It was kind of creepy. Are you familiar with that strange behaviour?"

Unfortunately, he was.

"Sakura… KISSED YOU?!" Naruto roared. His eyes turned a bright red as the chakara from the Kyuubi started spilling out.

"Kiss…" He murmured to himself. "I think I read about those somewhere… although I don't remember very much about them… I should go look that up now."

Quickly removing himself from his seat, Sai bolted out of the stand; heading straight for the library with an extremely jealous demon at his heels.

They wouldn't let a deranged demon into the library, would they?


DONE! FINALLY! most of my friends couldn't get a quarter of the way through, so for those who made it through... congrats! -salutes-

For those who are after striking a pose... TAKE A CHILL PILL PLEASE!

I am suffering from writers block. I know i feel shitty because the review ratio is 60 : 1! THAT'S RIDICULOUS!

I'm sure you can stand waiting a little while longer until i come up with a decent chapter.

Hell, i might even rewrite it. It's a year old and kind of crappy.

Anywho, Review please!