There was something wrong with her.
It was a thought that had been circling around Sai's head, something that refused to leave even as he analyzed the wording. Sakura was in perfect health- except for the way her face would redden occasionally- but she was smiling, she was training, and her performance on missions wasn't different. There wasn't anything wrong, aside from perhaps her stance when she attempted to use a katana.
She leaned too much on her left leg. It would give away her movements, as well as upset her balance, if she were to engage another nin in kenjutsu. He could tell that she had appreciated his critique, as she had punched him twice after he had kicked that leg out from under her when she was looking away during her morning exercise.
But she was smiling more. It was…disconcerting, to say the least.
People shouldn't smile unless they were happy, Sai had read that in a book Sakura had practically forced him to read one day while they were both in the library. Sai assumed that since he could not be unhappy, it was fine if he smiled all the time. Sakura had done something extraordinarily interesting after he had shared his theory. It involved her bashing her palm against her face. When he inquired why she had hit herself, she only did it again. Sai had decided to try it later, when he was alone, and had found the process to be rather meaningless.
But Sakura could be unhappy- was, in fact, unhappy a lot of the time- and Sai decided that this was a situation in which a friend might be concerned.
And they were friends now. Sai had asked her after a mission, when his arm had been dislocated, his rotator cuff torn from being tossed into a cement wall when an enemy exploding tag had gone off. She had rolled her eyes, shoving his arm back into place effortlessly, and asked him if he was stupid. Of course they were friends.
So that was why he was staring into his bathroom mirror, trying to school his expression into one of 'concern'. Open on the basin was a book he had gotten off of the return shelf in the library where he and Sakura studied, titled Exploring New Worlds: The Art of Communication, its pages revealing two friends. One was concerned. One was upset. They were hugging.
Since Sakura was usually upset, and her smiling was what was concerning him, he decided that he too should invert the facial expression depicted in the picture. Instead of closing his eyes softly, he made them wide and intense, the kind smile of the person hugging in the picture turned into a snarl, his eyebrows formed an angry 'V' shape on his face.
His face was beginning to hurt. He had been at this for awhile. But it was finally starting to look right when there was a knock on his door.
It had to have been his friend who was in need of concern. ANBU operatives wouldn't have bothered to knock, and neither would Naruto. Sai understood that this was rude, and made it a point to always knock, even when Sakura said it was unnecessary, like at the ramen stand. Or the library. Or the hospital when he was a patient.
"Sai? You were supposed to meet me at Field 8 an hour ago-" came Sakura, her shocking head of pink hair standing out against the otherwise monochrome of Sai's apartment. Sai always found her presence there jarring, but somewhat aesthetically pleasing.
He turned to face her, hoping she would see his concern.
Well, she stopped smiling. Sai was pleased with how effective his concern was.
"What's up with you?" She asked, taking a slow step towards him.
Sai blinked, that wasn't the proper response. Perhaps his concern was not evident enough? His snarl increased, his eyebrows drew even closer together.
Her eyes widened, "Sorry I asked," she muttered, stopping in place, "Did you still want to spar? If not, I have a reading assignment from Tsunade-shishou to work on…"
Sai would have frowned, if it wouldn't have ruined his concerned face, and instead decided to take it to the next level.
Sakura, seeing that Sai was moving towards the door, assumed that he was going to follow her and thus turned around and headed out.
She was not expecting Sai's arms to wrap around her middle from behind in a hug, his head resting on her shoulder.
And she was definitely not expecting what he said next.
"I would like you to tell me about your feelings."
She froze, and she tried to tell herself that it was embarrassment she was feeling as she said, very awkwardly, "What?"
"There is something wrong with you."
Now her eyebrows furrowed, "What."
"You are smiling and turning red a lot," Sai paused, shifting uncomfortably, like he wasn't sure what to do next, "I am a concerned friend."
Sakura proceeded to turn red, "What!" She proclaimed, taking a step away from Sai, who was too warm close for her comfort, and turned around to face him.
"You are having something wrong with you again," Sai said, as he moved his hand to press against her cheek.
She batted away his hand quickly, crossing her arms over her chest in a huff, "There's nothing wrong, let's go." Her face looked redder. Sai was concerned. He made his concerned face, "Stop glaring at me like that!" It was seriously starting to creep her out.
"But you are not behaving as you should," Sai supplied, tilting his head to the side. He widened his eyes more.
Her nose wrinkled, "Excuse me?"
"You are smiling more. And hitting me less."
Her eyes widened.
"And occasionally you are red. My books tell me that I should be concerned-" here he widened his eyes even more as his lips pursed, "-and that I should inquire how you are feeling."
"I-I-I'm fine!" She stuttered her words a little bit she was annoyed to notice, even though it was entirely due to shock, "There's nothing wrong with me. People smile all the time."
Sai stared at her blankly, "But your smiles aren't followed by hitting me, as they usually are."
She stared at her toes, a slight annoyed twist to her lip, "People smile for many different reasons Sai."
"It is out of routine," he said with the slightest hint of disapproval.
Sakura frowned, "Whatever, let's go spar."
Her words were dismissive as she made a beeline to Sai's door. Sai reluctantly followed her out, and even though his concerned face relaxed a bit, his eyebrows were still furrowed.
"I would like to discuss our problems-"
Sakura, feeling more than a little annoyed, turned and gave him a light smack upside the head, "Sai, I'm fine. Really."
Sai rubbed the top of his head gingerly, and Sakura watched as a careful deliberation appeared to be going on in his mind, his face schooled blank, "It appears that you have no need for my concern then."
She felt a little bad when he phrased it that way, "No Sai," she struggled to find a diplomatic wording, "Your concern was appreciated," she paused, rubbing her shoulder uncomfortably, "Thank you."
Sai instantly smiled, "You're welcome."
Sakura, a bit taken a back, wasn't quite sure what to say in response. So she said what came naturally, "Let's fight."
Sai's smile grew, "Alright."
And the pair made their way to Field 8 in a casual, not at all wrong, way.