Disclaimer: Don't Own Naruto…

Girls Like it When…

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming More Than Friends

Chapter 5: … Girls Like It When You Like Their Friends …

We hope that you've already achieved your goal of becoming more than friends with that special someone, but if you haven't we still have one juicy tip up our sleeves. Animals, clothes, special events, dancing; they're all great methods, but this is the best. It is also, however, the hardest, sometimes even impossible, method there is. The pay-off is worth it though, due its immediate and long term effects.

The immediate effect of liking your "special someone's" friends is that you will be able to spend more time with her/him and have a great excuse to get to know them (their likes, dislikes, tastes, etc…) better. This also allows "them" to get to notice you.

The long term effect occurs after you're become more than friends. Many a relationship has been ruined, or in fact never started, simply because one partner did not seem compatible with the other's friends. Your target needs to know that if they chooses you they will not have to choose between spending time with you or spending time with their closest friends, but that they can have both together without problems.

Now, listen carefully: you don't REALLY have to like the friends. As long as you can tolerate them to a certain degree it is easiest to live a little white lie for the sake of your newly acquired loved one. Eventually, you may learn to enjoy their company as well. Unlikely.

WARNING: Expect these friends to be very, VERY, protective over you're "special someone." It may take time for this method to work, but don't give up.

WARNING: Yes, two warnings! Most friends are very similar in tastes: clothing, music, literature; but are usually very different in attitudes. For instance, if you're target is sweet, caring, and soft spoken, expect the friends to be loud, rude, and obnoxious. Prepare for the worst and stay sharp.

"SAI!" Ino's yell of surprise drowned out the bell over the entrance to her shop. Sai had just walked in, alone. "How…" her loud voice dropped suddenly to an almost-whisper, "How are you?" Despite her best effort, the guilt she felt would not even let her fake a smile.

"Hello, Ino. I'm well." To Ino's shock, Sai's tone was not harsh at all and he didn't look the least bit upset. In fact, Sai's voice and facial expressions were perfectly normal, devoid of any and all emotion.

Instead of heading straight for Ino, Sai casually started looking around at the various selections of flowers filling the shop. Ino's eyes shot down to the counter in front of her. It was true she had hoped Sai would not be angry with her, but the fact that he was acting as if nothing had happened that night at the Festival was even worse. If only Sai would yell at her, demand that she apologize, or maybe even destroy some of her flowers in an angry rage her guilt could start to fade.

Lost in her hopes that Sai would start to show his anger, Ino's head rose just as Sai let out a loud yell, "INO!" Her face was a mix of fear at what Sai might say next and happiness that it was finally coming. To her great dismay, however, Sai had not yelled in anger. He had been forced to raise his voice because, even though he was right in front of Ino, his entire head was hidden by several bouquets of flowers. "Which!..." Sai lowered the bouquets so he could be head easier, "Which do you like the most?" Ino's face seemed to sink.

Ino didn't even bother to closely inspect any of the different bouquets. Despite the 12 sets of bouquets Sai held in his hands, there were only 2 different types. Ino could only think that Sai liked the 2 different sets of bouquets so much that he kept grabbing them. Her hand rose slowly and she extended her pointer finger towards the middle of the bunch. At that very moment Sai smiled, and a sudden realization struck Ino: she had only ever seen Sai only smiled when he talked about Sakura. She couldn't help but return Sai's smile, even though his eyes were now on the bouquet Ino had pointed out.

"Sai…" Ino's voice still hadn't regained all its perkyness and volume, "is there anything else I can do?" She knew that her voice sounded hopeful.

Sai seemed to be surprised by the question as his eyes moved from the flowers in his hand to Ino, but only because he had not expected this part of his visit to go so smoothly. He had known that choosing the right bouquet would be quite simple, but he thought that getting Ino to do him another favor would be much harder. "Well," his smile vanished and his usual features returned, "can you talk to Sakura for me?"

Ino's smile seemed to stretch across her whole face, "OF COURSE!" Her voice almost blew the flowers out of Sai's hand. Inside, Ino's guilt was already started to fade. "I'll talk to her today!" She could tell Sakura that she was sorry, she could tell her how hard Sai had worked that day, she could fix everything. Sai gave Ino another smile that made her feel even better. He turned and started to walk out of the shop. "Sai!" Ino's voice rang out. He stopped at the door and turned to look back at Ino. "Umm… good luck." Sai simply turned back around and walked out of the shop. Ino didn't have the heart to tell him that he forgot to pay for the bouquet he left with.

From his rooftop viewpoint, Sai could easily see the entrance to Ino's flower shop. To his surprise, Ino closed up extremely early and seemed very happy to be on her way through the village. Sai watched as she peeked into a couple of businesses and restaurants and talked to a few people in an apparent search for Sakura.

Before Ino had the opportunity, Sai had spotted Sakura through a restaurant window. He wanted to yell down to Ino to go into the restaurant, but he knew his plan wouldn't work if he did. Luckily, Sakura walked out of the restaurant just as Ino was standing at the entrance. The two girls paused and stood face to face.

Sai saw Sakura's face become instantly annoyed, and he didn't have to see Ino's face to know that Sakura's unexpected appearance was a complete surprise. After several very tense seconds Sakura walked past Ino; her few steps showed an urgency to escape Ino's presence. Ino turned to face Sakura's retreating back, 'Sakura!'

Sai couldn't hear Ino's voice, but he was very skilled at reading lips; even from a far distance. Sakura stopped; her face was turning from annoyed to angry. 'Sakura, let me explain.' Sakura quickly spun around to face Ino. Although Sai could only see Sakura from behind it was very apparent from her body language that she was saying something very angry to Ino. After what must have been a few quick, loud sentences, Ino's eyes hit the floor.

Sakura crossed her arms as Ino's lips started to move slowly. Because of the lowered angle of Ino's head Sai couldn't understand what she was saying. After almost 2 minutes Ino finally raised her head, but now she was talking at a much quicker pace. Her lips were moving so fast that Sai could only make out parts of her sentences, 'Asked me for… dancing all day… Fire Festival… stupid Arri… juice everywhere. I'm so sorry.' Sai watched without any idea as to how Sakura would react to learning what had happened.

Luckily, Ino's sudden smile seemed to indicate that Sakura now understood the misunderstanding. Now it was Sai's time to act. He leapt from his rooftop hiding spot, flower bouquet in hand, and headed towards Sakura. Ino, who had already spotted Sai, put her hands on Sakura's shoulders, "Sakura, Sai's coming." She helped Sakura turn around to face the oncoming Sai.

Sai smiled as he approached the two girls, and Sakura's face lit up into a bright smile as she saw the flowers in his hand. "Hello, Sakura." Sai stopped in front of the two girls and pressed the flowers out in front of his body at Sakura. "Ino… these are for you." The bouquet's direction changed just slightly so that Ino could grab them.

The words seemed to be said in slow motion to both girls. Both Sakura and Ino looked down towards the bouquet for a moment and then up at Sai; the bright smile still shining on his face. Both girls' facial expressions, however, had changed dramatically. Sakura's eyebrows now formed a large V and the wrinkles in her huge forehead could not be counted; while Ino's eyes seemed to have exploded in her head and her mouth was in the evident shape of a loud "NO!"

Several angry curse words rang out; some louder than others. Sai's face hurt, and the bouquet was flying out of his hands. The only thing he could see was a blurry Sakura marching away from him with her shoulders hunched. What had happened? Something had apparently gone wrong. Sai turned to look at Ino, who was completely shocked and speechless.

Sai thought that he had done everything right: he found Sakura's friend, found her favorite flowers, and gave them to her in front of Sakura. The book, again and for the last time, had failed him. With no more chapters in the book Sai had no choice but to give up on Sakura. He put his head down and headed towards the library.

His walk towards the library was an awkward one. His head was filled with emotions that he had never felt. He thought: this is sadness, this is failure, this is wanting something you can't have. A watery substance formed in the corner of his eyes, but remained there. He had no idea what was happening; he had never learned how to cry. Something about this made him feel a little lighter.

The library had recently become like a second home to Sai. Head still down, he entered and walked towards the return desk. Sai stopped in front of the desk and the elderly lady behind it, reached back into his bag, and found nothing. The book, the Ultimate Guide to Becoming More Than Friends, was nowhere to be found.

Sai's head lifted for the first time since he watched Sakura walk away, and he tried to remember where he had left the book. His eyes were focused on the ceiling; nothing came to mind. He had placed the book in his bag when he left to Ino's Flower Shop that morning. Maybe it was at Ino's shop, or on the rooftop he had hidden on, or maybe it was…

"I'd like to return this, please." The voice sent a chill through Sai's body. His eyes shot towards the source of the voice: Sakura stood before him. Sai's eyes took in the beautiful red and green designs etched on the brilliant blue dress she was now wearing; it was the one he had bought her. He would have smiled if his body had let him, but the next thing he noticed was "The Ulitmate Guide to Becoming More Than Friends" changing from her hands to the elderly lady's. His body became slightly numb as Sakura turned towards him; her face emotionless.

Sai's mouth seemed to form incoherent words as Sakura looked at him without blinking. He really didn't know what to do or say to her. "Sakura…" he finally managed to spit out. He had read in a different book that this was called "being pitiful."

Sakura simply smiled and she held up a finger to Sai's mouth. "Sai," her voice sounded sweet, "One: I'm a dog person. Two: I really do love the dress." She pulled her finger back and spun around. The blue dress that Sai had spent so much money on flowed around her body. Sakura's body stopped and she continued, "Three: you are a great dancer."

Sai laughed. It wasn't a normal laugh, or at least what was now becoming normal to Sai. It was like a surprise "hmmph" that happened did involuntary. It made him feel instantly better. But just as his body started to regain feeling, Sakura's voice rose. "AND FOUR! I HATE THAT PIG, INO!" Sakura started to laugh as soon as she finished the sentence. From what Sai had read before this was called "sarcasm," but something Sai saw in Sakura's eyes said that this sentence wasn't completely untrue.

Sai was still speechless. What was going on? Sakura had obviously known that he had used the book to get her to like him; she had found his plan out. Why was she explaining all this to him, and why was she smiling? Sai's mind raced with so many thoughts that the words just came out, "Sakura, I like you…"

Sakura gave a little laugh, "Yeah, I read that." Sai couldn't help but take this as a negative. He didn't want to look at Sakura; his eyes hit the floor. "Sai!" Sakura grabbed his chin and lifted her face to his. The two stood face to face, Sakura's bright smile to Sai's emotionless expression, "I like you, too." Sai's face lit up, 'this is surprise' he thought. Then his face burst into a great big smile, 'this is happiness' he thought.

Sakura now looked into a bright smiling face that, as Ino had mentioned earlier, was directed only at her, "Why don't we go for a walk and talk about the things that you like, Sai?" She turned, grabbed his hand, and faced the exit. Sai stood looking down at their intertwined hands. The image in his eyes reminded him of that day in the forest: the first day he had realized that he liked Sakura. As he looked up at her face this time, however, it was not pink with embarrassment but smiling dazzlingly back at his. The two walked out of the library, together.

The "Ultimate Guide" had not failed Sai. In fact, it had done exactly what Sai had hoped for: he and Sakura were now "More Than Friends."

Hope you enjoyed... reviews welcomed...

In the future, maybe a Bleach version... maybe even a "Reborn!" version...