Thank you to whoeverIamloves-, peachesandbetty, Shinigamis_Wrath, redbrunja and whoever else beta'd this piece to hell and back again. Because you guys were amazing enough to shred my fic, I won the Anime Detour Fan Fiction competition for the second year in a row. YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!

Also, due to the fact that my muse is a fickle bitch (as well as because there really isn't much SaiSaku out there) I WILL be expanding this piece into a chaptered fic. Oh, joy.


"I asked what the purpose of-,"

"Yes, I heard you the first time but… what?!"

Sai blinked slowly and stared at the girl in front of him, trying to decide whether she was truly ignorant or making a joke he didn't get. He'd read once that making jokes was a good way to initiate conversation with a member of the opposite sex… but the scrunching between her eyebrows stated that perhaps his question really had baffled her. So, taking a deep breath, Sai repeated his question more slowly: "What is the purpose of kissing?"

Green eyes regarded him steadily in stark disbelief. Sakura's lips were parted as if she were about to speak, but after several seconds of waiting it became apparent that no response was forthcoming. Apparently, his question had rendered her speechless. Was she surprised that he was asking her about this as opposed to Yamanaka Ino? Granted, he'd seen the latter girl kissing people more often than the former… but he preferred asking Sakura his questions.

The reason he liked asking Sakura was because she provided his answers without making inquiries of her own. Yamanaka, while helpful to a certain point, somehow managed to always switch the conversation to being about him. He didn't particularly mind the change of subject, but it did make posing follow up questions to her initial responses difficult. She was especially fixated on his daily activities— most notably where he liked to go when he wasn't on duty. And every time he answered her questions (because he read that when asked a personal question, it was nice to reply honestly) he would invariably see her in that location the following day.

The only conclusions he could draw from this were that either Yamanaka Ino regarded him as a role model figure and was trying to become more like him through emulation… or she was stalking him. Whatever the reason, her inability to stay on topic was why he preferred asking Sakura. At least she didn't get distracted by his personal habits.

But today, it seemed, she was unable to supply him with answers. It was most unusual that she didn't have at least something to say on the matter. He supposed it was inevitable that he would one day ask her about a topic she had no knowledge in. Mentally sighing in disappointment, Sai used the smile he'd been practicing in the mirror every morning and said, "Perhaps I should ask Ino-chan instead, since you are apparently lacking expertise in this area."

He started to brush by her in order to find the other girl, but Sakura's hand snagged his wrist and jerked him around sharply. Sai had to suppress the reflexive urge to break free of her grip. His reaction was purely instinctual, something that had been ground into him since his first days in ROOT; do not ever let the enemy restrain your movements. Even now, when he knew there was no threat, it took effort on his part to keep from following this mantra. Sakura was not an enemy. She was just unusually touch-oriented for a ninja.

The only way to describe the look she gave him was to say it was hostile. And if he ventured a guess as to whom that hostility was directed he would say himself, though he couldn't fathom why that would be. That was the look she normally gave him when he referred to her by one of his pet names. "Don't even think about asking Ino-pig," she snapped, releasing his wrist abruptly to point a commanding finger toward the ground. "Now, sit! You want to know why people kiss? Fine, I'll tell you!"

Satisfied that he wouldn't have to ask Yamanaka after all, Sai sat exactly where she had indicated, crisscrossing his legs comfortably. Sakura in turn knelt before him and folded her hands benignly in her lap. Clearing her throat, she began in a knowledgeable tone, "First of all, kissing is a form of affection. You only kiss the people you like."

"So… following this definition, if I liked Kakashi-san and wanted a more demonstrative means of expressing this like beyond a nickname, I should kiss him."

"Oh, that would be so amaz- I mean, no! No, you shouldn't kiss Kakashi-sensei. Not unless you…" Her words trailed off and a strange, unfocused look came to her eyes as she fanned a hand toward her bright red face.

Eyebrows furrowing thoughtfully, Sai leaned forward with his eyes trained on her cheeks. "You're very red, you know. According to a medical text I read, flushed skin is a sign of infection. Are you infected, Sakura-chan?"

Sakura scowled and shoved him roughly in the chest, the force of which almost tipping him over completely. "I'm not infected, idiot!" she yelled as he quickly righted himself. She took a deep breath as if to collect her thoughts, her eyes closing while she massaged her temples. "Okay… new definition as to why people kiss. Kissing is a form of affection for people you like as more than friends. People you love. Like a boyfriend, girlfriend, family— well, you wouldn't kiss a family member like you would a significant other, but still… the idea is the same."

Sai nodded, digesting this new information carefully. "Then that's why I shouldn't kiss Kakashi-san; because he's not someone I love."

Oddly enough, Sakura's cheeks turned red once more. Perhaps she really was sick and didn't want him to be concerned for her? It seemed the sort of foolish idea she would have. Why would he ever be concerned for a medic's health? They were the most capable to take care of themselves, after all. "Yes, that's why you can't kiss Kakashi-sensei," she replied through tightly clenched teeth. For a moment, an unrecognizable emotion flickered across her features, one that made her eyes both darker and brighter at the same time. Then, she gave herself a quick shake, as if snapping herself out of a genjutsu.

Setting aside her odd behavior to analyze later, Sai said, "Your definition of why people kiss, while helpful, also poses further questions. For instance, you implied there were different sorts of kisses. Am I to understand that certain kisses are assigned to certain roles that an individual plays in your life? Also, how do you decide which role that individual fits in?"

Sakura laughed lightly and held up a hand in a gesture he knew to mean he should stop. "Whoa, slow down a second!" she exclaimed, smiling at him. Sai braced himself for an attack. Fortunately for his line of inquiry, this smile seemed to mean she was genuinely amused and not about to punch him. Had he somehow made an unwitting joke? Perhaps he was a "natural" when it came to humor and just hadn't realized it until his recent delving into the complexity of emotions.

"Okay," she continued, a little breathless from the giggles that continued to assail her. "First of all, yes there are different kinds of kisses. Second, yes you kiss certain people one way and not others. Third… it's up to you to decide what role you want people to fill. If you just love someone a lot, maybe they should just be a very special friend who gets a certain kind of kiss every-so-often. But, if you love someone more than a lot then you would want to kiss them differently, and you'd want to kiss them more often than other people."

"Ah. So basically, kissing someone is comparable to a hierarchy structure in terms of love. Those you love only a little are assigned the lowest level of kiss and only receive it on an intermittent basis. However, those that you love the most receive a more privileged kiss regularly. Correct?"

"Er… yeah. That sounds about right," she replied, tucking a piece of hair back behind one ear. "But you need to remember that the people you love the most are the ones you kiss the most. And that they can receive all the different kinds of kisses, not just one— except for family members, like brothers, sisters and parents. They're sort of a… special circumstance."

"How so?"

Sakura sucked in a breath slowly, her eyes narrowing in thought as her fingers plucked idly at her skirt. "Family members," she said thoughtfully, as if still trying to think of how she wanted to phrase her response, "are special because, while you can love them as much as a significant other, it's not a romantic type of love."

"So, there's a further distinction between the types of kisses given to those you like the most, depending on whether they're family or someone you want to fuck?"

Sakura's cheeks brightened once more, but the change in color was also accompanied by the sort of glare she usually directed at Uzumaki whenever he was being particularly irritating. "I wouldn't say it so crassly," she replied, her words sharp and clipped. "But since it's you I'm talking to… then yes, that's it in a nutshell."

So… kissing someone was, in a way, almost like the incentive bonuses attached to some missions. It was meant to encourage people to endear themselves further to those around them. Sai was silent for a moment, pondering all this new and rather enlightening information. Kissing was certainly a more complex social aspect than he'd anticipated. The more loved a person was the more kisses they received. This higher echelon also seemed the most privileged in that they could have any of the different types of kisses. Then of course was the distinction between those regarded in a familial sense and those who inspired the urge to procreate…

Which led to his next request for the girl sitting before him: "Teach me the different kinds of kisses that exist."


Hm… did she not understand his question again? Sakura was apparently having what some people referred to as an "off day". Exercising the sort of patience he normally reserved for speaking with Uzumaki Naruto, Sai repeated slowly, "I said, I'd like for you to teach me-,"

"I heard you, damn it!" Sakura shouted, shoving him roughly once again. This time, Sai was prepared for it and managed to brace a hand on the ground to keep from being bowled over. "I just can't believe you'd ask something so… ARGH! You've been hanging around Kakashi-sensei way too much, haven't you?"

Not really understanding why his request seemed to offend her (or what being around Kakashi-san had to do with kissing since he wasn't supposed to kiss the other man anyway), Sai tilted his head to the side and studied her flustered features curiously. "Do you not know how to kiss, Hag? Is that why you can't show me?"

"That's not it at all, you creep! I do so know how to kiss. It's just… you don't go around asking random people to kiss you. That's perverted!"

"But you're not a random person. I was asking you, a person I know, to teach me about the different sorts of kisses. I never asked for you to kiss me. A simple explanation will suffice. And I fail to see how the act can be considered perverted when so many people partake in it openly on a daily basis. That would imply that the vast majority of the people who live in Konoha are perverts."

Sakura glared up at the sky overhead, her lips moving but no sound issuing forth. Sai knew she was counting; he could read the numbers as she mouthed them. As he recalled, this was generally done as a means of maintaining calm when put into a situation that was particularly trying on the nerves— though he really didn't see how their discussion constituted as a stressful situation.

His brow arched when Sakura's shoulders slumped, a noise that sounded almost like a growl coming from her throat. "Hasn't anyone every kissed you before?" she asked quietly.


An emotion he didn't recognize flickered across her features, momentarily furrowing her brow. The closest he could come to describing it was perhaps… sympathy? Or perhaps he wasn't reading her correctly. Sai made a mental note to reference his book on facial expression and body language later that evening for a translation.

Sighing once more, Sakura pinched the bridge of her nose like she was trying to stave off a headache and groaned. "Kissing… really can't be explained with words. You sorta have to… well, experience it."

"Ah. Since a verbal explanation isn't possible… please demonstrate it."

For some reason, this simple request made Sakura grind her teeth. She covered her face with both hands and muttered, "Why me?"

"Because, Dogface, you were-,"

"Shut up! That was rhetorical!"

Sai snapped his mouth shut tightly. He remained completely silent as she shook her head and glared at the grass surrounding them. "You… are the most frustrating person I've ever encountered," she declared, her voice low and slightly shaking. "Sometimes, I don't know whether you're just putting on an act to fool everyone, or if you've really never…" Her voice trailed off, leaving her sentence unfinished. Sai wasn't sure if he should prompt her to continue or stay shut up like she'd requested.

After several seconds where she did nothing but pluck small clumps of grass, Sakura gave him a long, considering look from the corner of her eye. "You're being serious. You've never been kissed."

He smiled, hoping that would perhaps make her mood more agreeable again. "I'm being serious. Will you show me or should I find Ino-chan and-,"

"Will you just forget about that Pig already?! Geeze…" Sakura twirled a blade of grass between her fingers swiftly, the movement suggesting she was perhaps agitated. She didn't look at him while she deliberated further, preferring instead to watch that slender green stalk whip back and forth almost faster than the eye could follow.

Finally, she dropped the blade of grass and said reluctantly, "Okay… fine. I'll teach you how to kiss. But don't you dare tell anyone about this, got it?"

"If that's what you want, though I don't see why that would be-,"

"Just… don't. If you can't keep this a secret, then you can just forget about it."

Sai nodded once, settling his hands comfortably on his knees. "Then it's a secret. What should I do, Hag?"

"You could start by not calling me that," Sakura grit out tightly, one hand curling into a fist

Sai eyed her hands warily, his body tensing in preparation of dodging should those fists suddenly come his way. She didn't like that particular pet name? That was surprising to learn. If anything, he would have thought she would be elated, seeing as one of the first books he'd ever read concerning social interactions stated that one was to always tell a woman the exact opposite of what one truly thought of them. But the more times he told Sakura she was ugly, the angrier she seemed to be with him. Perhaps Uzumaki was right; there truly was no pleasing a woman.

However, the information he required was vital, seeing as a lot of interpersonal relationships seemed to rely on kissing. He'd witnessed it several times in his observations of social interactions and knew enough to understand that it was important. But the actual emotional significance still eluded him. So… he would oblige her request, if only to achieve the answers he needed in the quickest and most efficient method possible.

Sai remained very still as Sakura continued to mutilate the grass around her, refusing to look his way. "Sakura… teach me."

She looked up at him sharply, eyes wide with surprise. It didn't make sense to him why she would be surprised by his response when she'd requested he not use a pet name. Was he not to call her 'Sakura-chan' either? Sai stared back unwaveringly, patiently waiting for whatever decision she made. It would be most convenient if she were still willing, though he supposed if she declined now he could still try and find Yamanaka.

When she suddenly leaned across the small space between them, Sai leaned away from her, half expecting her to attack. "What are you doing?" he demanded as she opened her eyes once again.

"Teaching you," Sakura replied curtly, an offended little pout curving her lower lip out. "Unless you've reconsidered?"

"No, I haven't."

"Then stop moving away. Just… sit there. And keep your hands to yourself."

Sai returned to his former position, firmly planting his hands on his thighs so that she could see them clearly. Though why she seemed to think he was going to attack her was a bit odd. Still… he supposed it was good that she was always conscious of those sorts of things.

This time when Sakura leaned toward him, he remained still. He could smell the fruity scent of her shampoo and the detergent she used to clean her clothing. Her breath was warm and tickled across his jaw. He felt her lips touch his cheek in a quick press that was a little sticky from whatever she had put on them to make them shiny. But the feel of such soft skin on his… It was strange. He could still feel it, even after she withdrew to stare at him expectantly.

Sai touched curious fingers to his cheek, pulling his hand back to study the sticky makeup clinging to the whorls of his fingertips. "People like that?" he asked, rubbing the back of his hand across his cheek to remove the rest of the substance from his skin. He stared at his sullied hand for a moment before swiping it through the grass to clean it. He couldn't imagine anyone would enjoy having their skin covered in that gelatinous matter.

Sakura huffed and crossed her arms over her chest angrily. "Some people do," she retorted, her words brisk and sharp. "Normal people do."

He arched a brow in disbelief but didn't question it any further. The goal of his explorations into emotion was to become what she termed "normal". So… if it were normal to like the cloying feeling of makeup on his cheek, then he would simply have to accept it. "What does that kiss mean?" he asked instead.

Shrugging, she pushed her short hair back behind one ear and said, "It can mean a lot of things. Hello, goodbye, nice to see you, thank you... That's the sort of kiss you can give to family members and friends you care about in a non-romantic sense. You can also give it to someone you love romantically as well, like as a way to say good morning or something. It's a friendly kiss."

Once again, Sakura moved toward him and just as before Sai remained still while she did her demonstration. This time, her mouth pressed against his own, her lips still sticky and just a little moist. Just like with the last kiss, Sai felt a tingling sensation playing across his skin, and for a moment he wondered if perhaps the coating on her lips contained some sort of numbing poison.

Slowly, she peeled her lips away from his, sitting back with her hands resting on her knees as she studied him curiously.

Sai very cautiously licked his lips, testing to see if there really was any poison there. To his surprise, his lips tasted a little sweet. It almost tasted like the sugar treats Uzumaki had forced him to try not too long ago. Perhaps coating one's lips in sugar was a means of enticing desirable people for kissing? Like pheromones, in a manner of speaking.

While deeply curious as to whether this theory was true or not, there was something more pressing he wanted to ask Sakura. "Why did you close your eyes?"

Sakura gave him a perplexed look. "You mean you didn't close your eyes?"

"It was never specified that I was supposed to."

Groaning loudly as she slapped a hand over her eyes, she said through clenched teeth, "Yes, you're supposed to close your eyes!"

"Ah. Why is that?" It seemed a trivial thing to close one's eyes while kissing but judging by her reaction to the fact that he hadn't, it appeared he was mistaken.

"Because," she started, raking a hand back through her hair as she chewed on her lower lip thoughtfully. "Because… it just makes it better. That's all."

Sai contemplated that for a moment longer. Perhaps by hindering one of the senses, it increased the others. If sight was removed, one would be forced to rely more heavily on touch and taste— two of the primary senses employed while kissing someone. He smiled at her and nodded once decisively. "I understand now. Can we try that again?"

Sakura rolled her eyes and grumbled, "Sure, why not?" She moved toward him and this time he made certain to close his eyes.

His theory as to why people closed their eyes when kissing was proven correct. He could definitely feel her lips more— the supple texture, the sweetness of her makeup, the slight moisture that clung to them. Sai felt his heart rate increase dramatically in response as a strange, tight feeling came to his chest.

While logically he knew it had only lasted for a few seconds, psychologically it had felt longer than that. Sakura pulled away again, and for a brief moment Sai felt the urge to follow after her. "This kiss you can give to family if you want to, but it's mostly used for the special people in your life," she explained, her voice low and soft. "It's sort of similar to the first kind because it means the same thing, but usually the feeling behind it is more intense. It's sort of like saying 'thank you very much.' It also says 'I love you'."

He nodded while trying to make sense of everything she was telling him. It seemed impossible that such a simple thing as a kiss could have so many meanings. It was a form of greeting, an expression of thanks, a way of showing affection… He'd had no idea that it was that important to social interactions. "And what sort of kiss involves inserting your tongue in someone else's mouth?" he asked.

Sakura's cheeks became a bright vermilion hue once more, making Sai think that perhaps it wasn't a disease at all. He was almost inclined to believe maybe she was embarrassed. It seemed odd to be embarrassed about something people did everyday though. "W-Who told you about that sort of kissing?" she demanded.

Sai shrugged, unconcerned. "No one. I observed it."

"And who did you observe it from?"

"Many people. Ino-chan does it quite a bit, and always with different men. I saw Kakashi-san give this sort of kiss to Shizune-san two nights ago during-,"

"Wait… you saw Kakashi-sensei kissing Shizune?" she exclaimed, her mouth dropping open so wide he could see her teeth.

Sai blinked, confused by her reaction. "… I just said that, didn't I? You're awfully slow today, dog. Maybe we should-,"

"Stop calling me that! And are you sure it was Kakashi-sensei and Shizune-san?!"

He replayed the scene once again in his head, recalling as much detail as he could just to be certain he could answer her correctly. Once he was sure of his memory, he smiled and nodded once. "Yes, it was. I distinctly remember her saying, 'don't stop, Kakashi'."

For some reason, Sakura was rendered speechless by this information. She sat gaping at him with rounded eyes and hanging jaw, much like the koi he had sketched just the other day. Finally, as he was about to ask if she perhaps had narcolepsy and had fallen asleep, Sakura shook her head and laughed shakily, eyebrows rising nearly to her hair line. "Wow," she murmured, rubbing the back of her neck. "Just…. Wow. I never saw that one coming."

Sai glanced around the training field curiously. "What's coming?"

She waved off his question with a flick of her fingers and another head shake. "Nothing. Forget it. Anyway, that sort of kiss is only given to people you really, really love who aren't family. You wouldn't kiss your parents or siblings like that. Just people you love in a romantic sense."

"Ah. So, that's the kiss you give to people you want to fornicate with?" he asked, remembering how offended she'd been by his choice of words earlier.

Scowling, Sakura made as if to grab his nose, prompting him to fall backward just to prevent her from doing so. "Not just people you want to… you know… do that with," she snapped as he pushed himself back into a sitting position with a frown. "It's for people you love and want to make love to."

"I fail to see the distinction between 'making love' and 'fornicating'. Aren't they both acts of a sexual nature between two people?"

"Well… technically… yeah. But there's a huge difference in the intent behind them. When you make love to someone, it's about loving them and wanting them to know how much you love them. It's about feelings and tenderness and experiencing that one perfect moment where you truly are one with each other."

"And what about when you fornicate?" he asked, intrigued by her response. It was interesting to watch her features while talking about making love. Her eyes glowed and a gentle smile curved her lips while just a hint of pink touched her cheeks. If he were to sum up her physical reaction to describing the act of making love, he would say it was 'soft'. Haruno Sakura looked soft. It made his chest feel strange to see it, like his lungs had abruptly forgotten how to function.

But that softness disappeared as more color invaded her face and began creeping down her neck when he stated his next question. "O-Oh… that," she stammered, fidgeting with her skirt. "W-Well, that's um… That's not so much about how the other person is feeling. When you, ah… do that it's more about relieving… tension. It's selfish and not about two people being together. It's mostly about you first and your partner second."

Sai's brow furrowed in confusion. "Is that necessarily wrong?"

"Yes!" she growled vehemently, a ferocious look crossing her face. "It's very wrong!"

He wasn't completely sure he agreed with her assessment and made a mental note to inquire further with someone else. From the way she answered him, it seemed as if she were a little biased on the subject of fornication versus making love. In order to best understand this area, a more objective person would be needed. But as for the purpose of kissing… he had more than ample information.

Pushing to his feet and dusting the back of his pants free from any grass or dirt, Sai said, "Thank you for the demonstration. It's been very enlightening."

Sakura remained seated, staring at him as if he'd suddenly turned blue. "Er… you're welcome, I guess?" she replied uncertainly.

"I'll see you later, Ugly!" He waved over his shoulder as he headed back for the village, oblivious to the fact that the girl he'd left behind was about to have an aneurysm. That had been a very productive conversation. Yet another facet of social dealings and emotions tackled successfully.


Sakura nodded as Ino's jaw practically hit the ground. "Yup," she confirmed, clasping her hands behind her back as they walked side-by-side down the street. "Yesterday afternoon, after we finished sparring, Sai said that Kakashi-sensei had taken up with Shizune-san."

"No freakin' way! I thought he was gay!" Ino exclaimed.

Wrinkling her nose, the pink haired girl elbowed her friend sharply and sneered, "Are you insane?! How could you ever think that Kakashi-sensei was gay?"

"Because he didn't look once at my breasts that one time we were tanning out by the gates. What kind of straight man doesn't at least sneak a peek when a girl's got her assets on full display?" the blonde railed.

"Um… the kind who probably knows better?" Sakura supplied with a dubious lift to her brow. "Really, Pig, Kakashi-sensei's not as big a perv as you think. Yeah, he reads smut all day and sticks his tongue down the chief medic's throat at night… but he's not lewd toward women."

Huffing Ino crossed her arms over her stomach and tilted her nose a little higher in the air. "I'm just saying… he was more than welcome to look and he didn't."

"Pig, that's my teacher you're talking about! I swear, if you so much as breathe that way on him—,"

"Hello, Dogface. Hello, Gorgeous."

The girls came to a halt, Ino preening at the compliment issued by the smiling, pale skinned boy who had stepped in front of them. Sakura, meanwhile, was mentally wagering just how far she could throw him across the village before gravity pulled him down again. "Why, hello, Sai-kun," Ino oozed, all at once dripping with charm and flirty intent. "Where are you off to today? The pond? Or is it the teashop today?"

To the utter shock of both girls, Sai leaned forward and pressed a quick, chaste kiss to Ino's cheek. "Nowhere," he replied, his head tilted to the side and a falsely pleasant smile curving his mouth. "I was looking for Ugly here. It's about our conversation yesterday. I thought over everything you said and I understand it perfectly now."

Sakura's cheeks were a burning, livid red over his greeting to Ino. "You do?" Sakura ground out, ignoring her starry eyed friend. The blonde was too busy mooning over Sai to notice that her companion was about two seconds away from unleashing her fury. "That's… great. How about you- MMPH!"

One minute, she was about to suggest he shove off and the next… Sai's mouth was on hers and his tongue was stroking hers and… and… She forgot where she was going with that. Vaguely, she registered Ino's shocked choking sounds and the fact that people were gaping at them. But, honestly? She couldn't bring herself to really care about either of those things. It was only distracting her from focusing on his lips, his tongue, his hand on her rear… wait... hand… public…

The loud crack of her fist connecting with his face was very nearly drowned out by the scream of, "PERVERT!" that resonated off of the Hokage monument and back again.

Kakashi passed the boy slumped on the couch of the jounin facility a fresh ice pack to place on the swollen, discolored part of his face. He took the slushy one from Sai and deposited it on the wooden table, uncaring that it was probably going to leave a nice watermark.

Sighing, he draped himself into a nearby chair and pulled out his book while Sai continued to groan. "Now, mind explaining again why exactly I had to knock out one of my students?" he asked, voice carrying just a hint of sharpness to it.

Due to the, ah… nature of the incident (re: Sakura's ferocious temper combined with fists that could crush steel), he hadn't had the opportunity to ask questions. His first priority had been to subdue the irate girl before she decimated the entire village in her lust for blood while Tenzou quickly got an unconscious Sai to safety. So much for all that ROOT training. From what he'd observed of the scene, Sakura had taken Sai out in one punch.

Unfortunately, subduing Sakura had taken a lot more work than that. Kakashi had at first tried reasoning with her, but she was beyond the point of listening to logic. So, in order to save the village… he'd been forced to use a sleeping genjutsu on her. Sakura was going to be out of it for at least another four hours, which gave him plenty of time to find out whether he'd done a good thing in saving Sai's life.

"I asked her yesterday to explain the purpose of kissing," Sai began, speaking thickly through a split, swollen lip.

He glanced up from his book at that, surprise and curiosity quirking his brow. That had to have been an interesting conversation. What he wouldn't have given to be a fly on that wall. "And what did she say about the subject?" he drawled, feigning only mild interest in the response.

Sai readjusted the ice pack over his face and mumbled, "She said the type of kiss that involved inserting one's tongue into another's mouth was to be used only on those whom one wishes to fu- make love to. I don't understand… I thought I'd demonstrated my desires perfectly."

Kakashi quickly caught himself from sliding out of his chair in shock as the pieces finally fell into place. Now he knew why Sakura had been so livid... and did he ever feel sorry for Sai when she woke up. Clearing his throat as he resumed reading, he said, "She probably forgot to mention that type of kiss isn't usually done in public."

"But you did so with Shizune-san the other-,"

"Sai, Sakura left you with the ability to speak. Don't make me correct her mistake."