Title: "In the Eye of the Beholder" (Alternative Title: Artistic Differences)
Pairing: Sai&Tenten (Because Sai&Saku/Ino/Hina is getting a bit repetitive.
Disclaimer: Blu Rose doesn't own Sai, Tenten, or any of the Naruto characters.
"That's not art. Jumping around like that is child's play." That was the first thing that Sai Kagura had ever told her. Everyone in school knew who he was: the supposedly tortured soul of an artist who lost his parents at a young age, the school graffitist whose sudden works of art were often painted over when found on school walls, or, as his few friends had called him, the Social Retard.
Tenten Lingsheng was also well-known around the school, albeit with a more positive reputation than Sai. She was a known weapons enthusiasts, specifically historical melee weapons like swords and rods and nun chucks--not firearms of any kind, and was also the only freshman at Konoha Academy who took gymnastics after successfully managing to become part of the gymnastics team. Usually, when people saw her perform, they'd be filled with awe--and the boys would be blushing from the occasional suggestive pose, so to have this...social retard insult it was upsetting.
"What did you say?" The bun-haired girl asked the dark-haired boy with an arched eyebrow.
"Anyone can jump around and twirl a baton or wave a ribbon," Sai spoke, shifting his sketchpad underneath his arm. "Therefore, it isn't really an art."
Tenten pouted. She would've said something like, 'Anyone can draw, but it's still art,' but decided against it. This was the school Social Retard after all. So, instead, she replied, "And you're telling me this because...?" She asked with an arched eyebrow.
Sai shrugged and gave an annoying false smile as he mumbled, "Just saying." Then, he walked away from the open door of the dance studio, leaving the gymnast alone with the sound of her dance music.
The next day, Tenten was performing again, as usual. The school Gymnastics team had a competition coming up, so they had to practice hard. The bun-haired girl had to give up spending time with her friends: the stoic ice cube Neji Hyuga and the hyperactively annoying Lee. ...Actually, now that she thought about it, it was probably a good thing that she didn't have enough time to spend with them.
Just as she had finished her performance, a familiar voice was heard from behind her. "Do you actually like having to do that, Buns-san?" Sai asked just a minute after he had arrived in the doorway.
Tenten immediately spun around on her heel and felt her stomach turn. 'Not this guy again...!' "What did you call me?" 'I swore that he said--'
"Buns. That's my nickname for you. It fits, don't you think?" The Social Retard told her, tilting his head slightly to the side with that annoying smile on his face. God, she wished he could stop doing that because it actually hid the fact that he was almost as big a jerk as Neji or class pretty boy Sasuke Uchiha.
"...We hardly even know each other, and you're giving me nicknames?"
"You still haven't answered my question." Sai insisted.
"Why do you wanna know?" She asked with an arched eyebrow. "I'm not the type who'll just give info on herself to someone she doesn't even know."
"...Is that so?" The dark-haired boy mumbled. His eyes showed some sign of concentration for a while before he looked at Tenten again. "I have to be going now. Goodbye." He left again, leaving the bun-haired girl alone.
'He is so weird...' Tenten thought before she walked over to the radio and turned it off.
"I like art because it allows me to express my feelings," Sai told Tenten the next day. He said it just seconds after he had appeared in the doorway, during the middle of her exercises. "In case you haven't noticed, I'm...not so good at talking to people."
"Really?" The gymnast asked in a sarcastic tone as she stretched on the floor, touching her toes. "I'd have never guessed."
"Is it the same for you, Buns-san?"
"Eh, I guess. I'm not exactly the most feminine girl in class. While other girls worry about their hair, I worry more about one of my weapons accidentally falling out of my locker." She didn't get to see the look of slight interest that appeared in Sai's eyes when she said 'weapons'. "So, when I tried out for the gymnastics team on a friend's whim, I was surprised at how good I was. Gymnastics is pretty much the only girly thing about me." Tenten didn't know why she was talking to him like that, but she'd been so used to his presence by then that it wasn't so uncomfortable.
"So...does that mean you're a tomboy?" Sai asked her with an arched eyebrow.
"I wouldn't say tomboy. I'm just not...a stereotypical school girl, y'know?"
Sai shifted his sketchpad from under his left arm to his right. "Ah. You didn't seem like the tomboy type to me." He pushed himself off of the doorway after she stood up, done with her exercises. "Goodbye, Tenten-san."
"Wait!" Tenten spoke before the graffitist could walk away. "How do you know my name?"
The dark-haired teen gave a smile and stated, "We're in the same class, in case you didn't notice," before walking away again.
Tenten was glad he left, though, because her face was now a fine shade of cherry red. 'I can't believe I didn't notice that guy in my class before...' After a few seconds, she suddenly shouted, "Then why'd you keep calling me Buns?!"
Sai had arrived the next day, silent. He'd managed to sneak into the room and sat there with his sketchbook open, drawing something. After a few minutes, Tenten noticed him, but said nothing and continued to practice. So long as he wasn't annoying her, his presence wasn't so bad. Her fluid movements were graceful and stunning. Truly, they were a sight to behold to the dark-haired teen whenever he chose to look up at her.
Once she had finished, Tenten approached the artist. "This is a first. You haven't said anything since you got here. I'm impressed!" Sai continued to draw in his sketch book, seemingly oblivious to the brunette. Slightly miffed, she huffed and folded her arms across her chest. "Hello, I'm talking to you!" He suddenly held up his sketchbook to her face. On one page was a charcoal drawing of Tenten performing, and on another were several sketches of her moving about. In the corner of the larger picture was his signature, and beneath the picture itself was the title 'A Different Kind of Art.' "What...is this...?" The gymnast asked with an arched eyebrow.
"A sketch, stupid." Sai spoke bluntly. "In Art Club, we're supposed to choose one model and draw them for until next Friday. I've decided that you'll be my muse, Tenten-san."
"...Wait, what?!" The bun-haired girl exclaimed, her eyes reduced to little dots. "Don't tell me this means you're gonna be drawing me on walls!"
"No. Just on paper. I want to draw all of your emotions: happiness, sadness, anger... I hope that this will allow me to get to know you better as well, Tenten-san." The dark-haired boy said as he closed his book.
Tenten blinked. Then she started to smile and blush. "Aw, you really mean that! That's really...nice, Sai!" 'A little uncharacteristic of you, but I'm not complaining!'
He gave her a smile, but for some reason, she felt as though this one was real and not one of the fake smiles he often used. "Hm... By the way, how do you feel about posing naked?"
"EH?!" 'I take it back! He's not nice, he's a pervert!!'
"The Art Club has been hoping to get a female naked model for some time now since we've already done a naked male model. My Algebra teacher Hatake-san didn't seem to mind, so I assumed you wouldn't mind ei--" He was soon silenced after she bashed him on the head with a baton.
"YOU'RE AN IDIOT IF YOU THINK I'LL POSE NAKED, YOU JERK!!!"
Sai sat up, rubbing the throbbing bump on his head. "...Was it something I said?"
Blu: To tell the truth, I was a bit wary of writing this story. Most people pair Tenten up with Neji, Naruto, Lee, or Sasuke (in terms of hetero pairings), and I got tired of it. I'm just the type who likes stepping into new territory and seeing what has potential to become a new pairing. I originally wanted the pairing to be Sai&Tayuya since they're both among the few artistic shinobi in Naruto, but decided on Sai&Ten because...well, I was bored!! And because Tenten's so graceful when it comes to weapons. (Don't you think she could get into performing or something if she weren't a ninja?) Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this fic! Remember: the little purple button in the corner is your friend, so submit a review!