Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

A Truth Not To Be Revealed

by DeepPoeticGirl

Humans were odd to Sai—especially in the way they expressed themselves. It was hard for him to understand how exactly they worked, so seeking to understand how and why a person chose to express their emotions the way that they did was particularly confusing to Sai. If everyone conveyed their feelings in the same way in every situation, it would be so much simpler for him, but alas this was very much not the case. Every individual had their own unique ways, and the acts didn't always mean the same thing.

Holding hands, for example. Sai thought it exclusively romantic, until the day he stumbled onto two friends, both girls, holding hands and giggling to themselves about something. There were no words to explain his confusion as he asked them if they were together and was met with disgusted faces and exclamations of strong negation in response. He also discovered that parents often held hands with their children, later on.

Kissing, he thought for sure, was with a certainty entirely romantic. A kiss is a touch with the lips meant to demonstrate one's love and/or sexual desire, he remembered once reading in a book. It was an act that was solely shared between lovers, most often behind closed doors. Kissing in public was often seen as rude.

But, Sai learned, there were actually a lot of different types of kisses. There were greeting kisses, reverend kisses, familial kisses, farewell kisses, punishing kisses, stolen kisses—not just romantic ones. They were shared with friends and family, strangers and acquaintances, younglings and elders. It was amazing to him how they were so varied.

He also learned most of these kisses were given on specific locations. Thankful kisses, for example, were commonly given on the hand; goodbye kisses, on the other hand, were given on the foreheads. Greetings ones were almost always on the cheek, but he'd seen some on the lips, to his dismayed puzzlement. Familial ones were pretty scattered, but it seemed the forehead kiss was prominent. Especially amongst daughters and their fathers, he noticed.

Peculiar thing, kisses were.

Leaning back in his chair, Sai raised his gaze away from the book in his hand ("Understanding the Human Relationships") and hummed pensively, wondering if he should start kissing his teammate's cheeks in greeting, now. It was proper, wasn't it? They had been through so much together, so surely they were close enough. Or would it be weird?

Naruto had an odd tendency to flinch whenever Sai attempted to make any sort of physical contact ("Honestly, man, you just make me feel so weird—you're creepy when you try to be affectionate.") so he didn't think he'd appreciate it.

And Sakura? She was weary of anything he wanted to do since the time he'd hugged her and groped her ass. When she punched him square in the face and yelled profanities in response, he was confused. He'd seen Ino do it to her all the time, and Sakura would only give a high pitched laugh—to this day he was so unsure of what he did wrong.


Directing his head towards the window across the room, Sai blinked as he noticed the ANBU masked man in the tree. He hadn't expected any visitors today—certainly not so late in the afternoon.

"Hello," he greeted evenly. Then, he gave his well-known fake smile. "Your visit is unforeseen, Hyo-san. I was not expecting to see you again after our former master's death."

Hyo finally jumped in from Sai's apartment window, before he nodded. "We got a job to do."

The smile quickly slipped from his mouth, then. Masking the surprise from his voice, he said, "I was unaware ROOT was still active."

The other ANBU gave a quick nod. "Homura-sama and Koharu-sama took over. They reformed our branch to serve Konoha more… properly." His mouth tightened at the last word, but Sai could not catch this detail hidden by the mask. "We are mainly used as spies, but any violent acts, such as assassinations and tortures, must be reported to the Alliance first for their approval."

Sai frowned a bit. "Does the village know about it?"

"Of course not," Hyo replied, scoffing. "With all its bad reputation, there's no way they'd accept it."

Sai's eyes narrowed for just a moment, before his stone face was slipped back on. "I see," he said. "Are we summoned to the Council, or have they sent you to deliver the mission details?"

Hyo jerked his head to the side. "Summoned. We are expected to respond immediately."

"Very well."

He saved his page and closed his book, before following the man out of his window.




"Ah, Sai," Homura said, gesturing the other ANBU ninjas away for more privacy. "Good, you're here."

"Yes," he said, bowing politely to his superior. "I was informed you summoned me for a ROOT mission."

"Indeed," Homura replied, rifling through some reports splayed out on the table in front of him. "I know you are usually more involved in the main branch, but you are absolutely irreplaceable for this mission." Having seemingly found what he was looking for, he picked one up, brows furrowing as he skimmed the lines. "We need you specifically because of your position."

Sai's interest was piqued, then. What special position could he possibly have in this village? He wasn't outranking anyone in the main branch, he was sure.

Which meant Sai had certain relationships of influence. He didn't have to ask himself with who—it was rather obvious.

But he couldn't remember anything happening to Team 7 recently—so what was it that he was needed for, relating to them?

Nodding, he prompted, "I'm listening."

Putting the paper down, Homura finally turned to look at him, dark eyes holding his gaze severely. Pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose, he said, gravely, "We need you to spy on Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno."

Sai froze instantly, and he was unable to mask his shock, eyes widening largely and mouth parting open. He wasn't sure what he had been expecting as a mission—but this certainly wasn't it.

"…May I ask why?"

The old man broke their gaze and turned back to the reports, but went on to explain.

"We are concerned for the wellbeing of this village," he started. "As you may know, their past hasn't exactly been friendly ever since his betrayal of the village. They've tried to kill each other before the war several times, and nothing she said to him ever seemed to reach him. He's never revealed to have much care for her. If it wasn't for that damn blonde and Hatake Kakashi, she'd probably be long dead by now." His eyes narrowed. "Now just recently, as you may have heard, they've announced themselves a couple, and witnesses describe them as two young adults madly in love with each other."

What? Sai hadn't heard about their recent change of status—when had this exactly occurred? It couldn't have been more than a day ago, he was sure of that—Naruto was a blabbermouth and he would have told him.

This is strange, he thought to himself. They have indeed been spending a lot of time together, but the Uchiha's affections only ever seemed platonic compared to hers. His mouth tightened. Perhaps the Elders are onto something with him, but Sakura…

"Sasuke Uchiha, I may understand," Sai finally said, ink eyes narrowing some more. "But Sakura Haruno has been in love with him since years ago. She is under no pretense."

A light smile, almost devious, tugged at the elder man's mouth.


Sai's brows furrowed, and he was silent for a moment, struggling to understand what exactly his superior was getting at—but to no avail. What exactly was so obvious? How were Sakura's genuine feelings a threat to the village?

He squeezed his jaw tight, confused as ever. "I'm… Homura-sama, I fear I'm not following."

Homura gave a huff, arrogant and demeaning. "We think Sasuke may be manipulating her emotions," he explained caustically, sounding as though he was talking to a dumb child. Sai's fists tightened and he took offense, but played it off with nonchalance. If the older man noticed, he didn't show it. "Lying to her, deceiving her with a fake love. He is a dangerous man."

Still a little bit miffed at his tone, he replied stiffly, "Yes, but why does Haruno Sakura need to be watched?"

"Because love is a dangerous thing," someone called from across the room.

Both men looked up at their newcomer, one nodding in greeting while the other bowed with practised respect. Koharu gave a pleased hum, before continuing, "Her affections could lead her to do things she does not want to do. She loves the Uchiha, this is no secret, and our intel affirms to us that she is ready to do anything." She paused and made her way to one of the seats. With narrowed eyes, she looked at Sai. "We think the Uchiha may take advantage of that."

"I will not harm Sakura," Sai said harshly, not liking the look in Koharu's eyes. "She is a good kunoichi, and I trust her. She knows the difference between right and wrong—I have witnessed this myself." She's smart and far from naïve, he wanted to say. You underestimate her loyalty to this village. She was prepared to kill him once, to protect him and the village—shouldn't that tell you she's not blind?

His fists tightened again until they were white, and Koharu took notice quickly. She wrinkled her nose in something akin to disgust, before raising her nose up at him in authority and reprimand.

"In love, there is no black and white," she said coldly. "Only shades of grey."

Sai ground his teeth in anger, but he made effort not to show it. "…Very well, then," he said, voice bland. "I will do my best."

Homura looked at him, seemingly pleased. "Good," he said. He picked up a rolled paper from the table, and extended it to the young trained ANBU. "Deliver this to the Uchiha, and tell him he needs to respond by tomorrow."

When Sai gripped the scroll, the old man tightened his grip. He looked at him expectantly. "Do take this time to start your mission, why don't you. I want to see how he reacts to this letter."

The ink eyed man nodded, took the offered scroll, bowed in farewell to the both of them, before he turned around and hopped out the window with features free of apathy—showing instead the anger, doubt and confusion that he'd been hiding in the past twenty minutes.

He was going to find out what was going on. For now, he'd follow his orders and do what he was told to do—but if in any way they showed their relationship to be honest and genuine, he would support them and report the truth to the Council.

But of course, if Sasuke proved himself to be unworthy of trust or faking sentiments for Sakura, he would not hesitate to warn her and destroy the remaining Uchiha—hell, if he found out Sasuke was playing her in any way, he would deliver the assassination himself.

Sai cared very much for Sakura and Naruto's happiness, and he did not react well to anything being potentially threatening towards it.

what seemed like a good idea

has turned into a battlefield

"Tense, that boy."

Homura paid no heed to the remark of his companion, instead opting to wave dismissively in hopes she would drop the subject. He didn't want to have to hear about her surmounting doubts about the young ANBU they had just sent out—mostly because Koharu was oftentimes too easily mistrustful of anyone for no good reason.

"Maybe we should have considered the change he went through since he was instated in that team." She tapped the window ledge impatiently with her long nails, and tsk-ed. "He's not as obedient as he used to be."

"Sai may have formed bonds with the team and be more emotional than he once used to be in ROOT—but the boy is loyal to his very bone. Whether that's to his team or the village, it doesn't matter. If he suspects the Uchiha to be dishonest in the slightest of ways, we can be sure he will take all measures against him."

Koharu hummed in agreement, then, seemingly very pleased with his answer. When she turned to look at him, however, she frowned.

"What exactly have you been up to, old man?" she inquired, slowly waltzing around the room to join the other room occupant. "You've been sitting there for hours looking at those scrolls."

"Those scrolls are the testimonies of the witnesses, both civilian and ninja."

"All of them?"

"Of course not." Homura scoffed. "Only those who were willing to contribute."

"It didn't seem odd to them?" Koharu asked, raising a brow. She crossed her arms over her chest. "To be questioned about the incident?"

"That's because they weren't questioned," he replied. "They were invited into conversation by our interrogators, as if casually discussing the event. Reactions were recorded without their knowledge and formally written down on these scrolls."

"Hm." The old crone finally made her way to the seat in front of her companion. "What was the general reaction?"

"Positive, mostly. Even from most of the ninjas as the scene, which is pretty surprising considering they were all up to date with the Uchiha massacre and Sasuke's defection and betrayal of the village." He paused, pushing his glasses in place again. "Though there were quite a few negative feedbacks, all of them strong and suspecting of a coup."

Koharu seemed all the more pleased at this news, made evident by the light smirk tugging at her mouth. He stared at her with near-bored apathy, wondering when it was that this woman started enjoying their current situation so much. Lately, it was like she wanted nothing more than the surviving Uchiha's head on a plate—not so much to save the village, but to relish in the triumph over Sasuke.

An act of hate, he found himself thinking, frowning deeply. Koharu may be getting out of line.

Had this always been her aim? Had she never really been concerned about the village? Had she simply wanted to put an end to the powerful, blood splattering line of the Uchiha?

They'd had decided to do so years ago, when the Uchiha were indeed preparing to lead a coup—but their decision had been completely in regard of the protection of the village. It hadn't been to eradicate a clan purely because they were hatred-driven. If the Uchiha had never posed any dangers to the village, they would have been left at peace.

Homura had thought that their situation was much the same, right now. But was that true, in his old teammate's case?

He didn't think so.

This entire undisclosed probation of Sasuke Uchiha since his return to the village had been jumpstarted by Koharu, after all.

Two years ago,

At Konoha's Gates

The news had reached them even before their prime ANBU captain reported it to them. They'd heard the hushed whispers, silent gasps and delighted squeals within minutes of the young nukenin's arrival—though that might have been due to their proximity to the gates.

"He's back!" a young boy exclaimed to his friend as he bolted through the streets. "I can't believe it! That boy—the traitor who got his clan murdered—he's… he's back!"

Homura watched the boy sprinted again, this time accompanied by a few others, and he frowned, glancing at his side to share a look with his old teammate. Koharu looked surprised for a moment, then nodded at him gravely, and they turned to follow the teenagers in the direction of the gates. They were about two minutes away when they spotted the ever growing crowd rowdily throwing comments.

""What is he doing here?! Didn't he betray us for Orochimaru!?" a male yelled out from the frontlines.

"Yeah!" his female companion loudly agreed. "And didn't he join that damned Akatsuki group, too?!"

"I heard he did!"

Homura merely blinked at the intense negativity upon the Uchiha's return, and he tilted his head up a little in an attempt to see the latter's reaction to it all. He spotted pink and grey and yellow, at first, and frowned at the absence of the Uchiha—but with a little more effort, he finally grasped sight of a tall black haired male behind the three others. It wasn't long before Sasuke emerged from their little group and took a few steps forward, teetering just over the line that defined the village's entrance as he regarded the enormous crowd of civilians and ninjas awaiting his next move.

For a moment, everything was silent.

"You bastard!" a ninja boy finally screamed, spitting on the ground in front of him. "My uncle told me you attacked the Kages during their meeting! You're a traitor—you don't belong here!"

For a moment, Homura saw Sasuke flinch, and his eyes narrow, and he stepped forward authoritatively, in fright that he might harm the young boy.

"He did what?!"

"We don't want him here!"

"Take him to jail!"

The crowd dispersed to allow both him and Koharu through, some bowing to them in respect while others were too preoccupied shouting profanities. When Homura saw Sasuke's hand ball into a fist, he quickened his pace.



"Liar! Filthy little—"

Suddenly, Naruto stepped forward, shoving Sasuke back towards the other two, exclaiming, "EVERYONE STOP!"

When Homura and Koharu finally arrived at the frontlines of the crowd, they saw Sasuke trying to step forward and heard him angrily protest that he didn't need anyone defending him in his place, but Sakura grasped his arm and kept him firmly in place, shaking her head at him. She seemed to whisper something to him and the dark haired boy rebelled against her grip again, but he relented when Naruto started a long speech about his feats. They noticed how he didn't seem too happy staying behind and listening to his friend ramble on about his actions and trying to justify or excuse what he did.

("He was manipulated! Lied to! Brainwashed to think in the way people wanted him to think!")

And then their eyes met. He froze.

("When he was giving his first opportunity to really choose this time, you know what he did? He chose to protect Konoha!")

Time seemed to stand still, for a moment. The chatter and murmuring of the people around them faded to a dull, almost-silent environment. They stood there, the three of them, looking at each other. Trying to gauge what was each other's next move. The surprise was long gone from his eyes, replaced by his usual cold and analytic gaze. He was evidently unsure what to think of them—but Homura sensed they would never be welcomed near him.

He was proven right when seconds later, his onyx eyes widened momentarily, and a split second later, they were consumed with the most intense rage he had ever seen.

"Still so hateful," Koharu drawled, prompting him to look her way. Her head was cocked to the side a bit. "I do not trust him. He is a danger to this village."

Nodding, Homura looked back at the young man, noting the unchanged eyes full of hate and spite as he gazed at them. He couldn't help but to acquiesce. "We must watch him," he said. "That Tsunade woman isn't bound to listen to us. And even if she would, her pupil would convince her otherwise." His eyes narrowed, and he crossed his arms. "Letting such a dangerous man back, without any probation at all—proves how much she is unfit to be Hokage."

"Her inexperience will be the death of her and all this village," Koharu agreed, looking triumphant. "We will watch the boy ourselves then. Put ROOT to good use again." She rose her nose up high in the air, smiling proudly. "A boy with a heart so dark and eyes so full of spite cannot possibly be up to no good."

He nodded again. "If he continues this reckless behavior and that his team cannot stop him…" The rest was understood, although left unsaid.

"He will be under unofficial probation until we are certain he is healing," the old woman are his side finally declared.


to the present

Perhaps Koharu was not simply acting upon concern for the village, Homura thought to himself, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. The boy was quick to be angered, and this was to worry about, but her air of triumph and disdain towards him was something I never quite liked.

Was this all an act of vengeance? There was bittersweet irony in that possibility. Killing a vengeful boy to end the era of his hatred-consumed clan—out of vengeance?

He shook his head, sighing. Time would tell of his comrade's intentions. For now, he had no time to waste upon such thoughts.


He leaned back in his chair. "Yes?"

"There's a parcel just delivered for you."

With a satisfied hum, he said, "You may come in."



He'd been waiting for them since mere hours after the incident. The pictures.

He'd dispatched a very small group of ROOT ANBUs to collect the ones taken during the big reveal by their audience, and some 'aftermath' pictures to ensure certainty of genuine feelings. Some still remained investigating, even now. Homura wanted to make sure it wasn't all just an act.

But… it didn't seem to be.

As he flipped through the pictures and inspected the couple captured, doubt started to creep at his neck. The young, dark haired man seemed very candid and shy towards his teammate-turned-lover. It seemed unlikely that his prominent blushed was faked, as well. Upon more examination, the love in his eyes didn't seem forced either.

Could it be possible that the young Uchiha had truly fallen in love with Sakura, after all this time? That he had finally started healing? He had seemed quite happier—or at least much calmer, these days. Was he dating Sakura, even then? Was she the reason he was this way—along with that obnoxious blonde and the known grey haired jounin?

Dark eyes softened as he flipped pictures again, gaze slowly taking in the sweet couple kissing in the waters on Konoha's famous beach—which was not very famous, this time of year, for the unpredictable weather.

This was one of their private moments, then. The boy seems even more… tender. Pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose, he frowned in concentration. There was no one to witness them—no one they knew about, anyway—so why was he even more affectionate, if he was pretending? Shouldn't he seem a little bit more distant? Leaning back in his seat again, hid his mouth behind his hand and frowned. Something is off here.

"You really think the Uchiha is not to be trusted?" Homura finally asked his female companion, after a long minute of thinking.

There was a pause.


Eyes not leaving the pictures, he went on, "I meant, do you really think he's faking it?"

Letting out a huff of disdain, Koharu barked a laugh. "Of course," she said with certainty, rolling her eyes. "Why would you think otherwise?"

Flipping to another snapshot, Homura sighed, sinking into the cushion a little bit more. "He just… he seems genuine." He waved the pictures around a little, to show what he was talking about. "And I've never really known the Uchiha to be an actor." His mouth tightened, and the doubt of his own suspicions began to sink in, slowly. "He just looks like he knows how to love. If he didn't feel anything towards her I feel like maybe… maybe he'd be a little more awkward."

There is only silence in response, but Homura knows that she doesn't agree with him. One glance at the old woman confirms that her mind has not been changed in the least about Sasuke. She is certain he is a villain.

But he is not. (Not anymore.)

so let me hold both your hands

in the holes of my sweater

It should be somewhere in here, he thought, rifling through the third of the few dusty old boxes stocked in his guest room closet. I could have sworn I put it in this box. So where is it…? Removing an old family frame, his hands froze as he spotted what was underneath. That's…

Carefully, he reached down and thumbed the dark, worn material, waves of nostalgia washing over him as he remembered who exactly this belonged to. Father's Military Police Force uniform, Sasuke thought, lips forming a thin line. I don't remember keeping this.

Lifting the threadbare clothing out of the box, he regarded it for a moment. Father… He swallowed, putting the uniform down beside his mother's pretty yukata that he'd found earlier, along with a pair of mittens his mother had fabricated from the fur of Itachi's first rabbit kill. I do miss you, despite our past. Despite my thinking you did not love me. Mother always used to tell me you did. He laid a careful hand on the tattered clothes again, closing his eyes. I'm sorry, Father. I should have known better.

After a moment of silent mourning, he breathed out a long sigh and directed his attention to the boxes again. It has to be in one of these, Sasuke thought, running a hand through his hair as he emptied the third box. I can't have lost it. Wrinkling his nose, he reached for the fourth box inside the closet. There were only two left, including this one.

Lifting the lid, he held back the urge to grin.

"Hey you," he murmured, reaching to pull out the surprisingly still well-kept thing. His lips lifted in a corner as he patted the head of the green stuffed dinosaur he'd gotten when he was a mere baby. "Figured you'd be in here."

He almost wanted to laugh at himself. What was he doing, talking to his childhood stuffed dinosaur? He was being ridiculous. If anyone walked in on him right now, they'd likely never let him live it down.

Snorting, he shook his head and dusted off his old friend, moving to put him on the ground before a glint caught his eye. There was a chain around the dinosaur's neck. He nearly reeled backwards as he realized what exactly he was looking at.

He'd found it. He'd found his mother ring.

It had meant a lot to her, he remembered. It was perhaps the only object his mother treasured—and the only jewelry she was fond of wearing. His mother had never been particularly materialistic. She'd always been more centered on the abstract of things.

But this ring… it was her only exception.

("One day, I'll give this to you, Sasuke-chan. And you can never lose it. It is the most important thing that I own, and it is never to be thrown away. It would mean so much to me, Sasuke-chan, if you could pass it on as well. For what it represents.")

Remembering his mother's words, he brought up the ring and held it close to his swelling heart, shutting his eyes tight at the weighty sentiments running through him at the memory. His mother had always been the one who favored him most, along with Itachi. She had always been so kind and affectionate to him, pressing sweet kisses to his cheek every morning before handing him his breakfast. Telling him she loved him every time she put him to bed. Greeting him from a hug every day after he came home from the academy.

Mikoto Uchiha was probably the kindest, most loving woman he'd ever come to know.


Snapping out of his wistful trance, Sasuke shook his head and quickly pocketed the ring, just in time before she stepped into the room. She blinked in surprise at the boxes on the floor, before her eyes drew themselves to him. Deep worry took over her features, and Sasuke cursed in his mind, quickly wiping his eyes. They must have been misty—well it was either that or he looked miserable.

Unable to brush away what she had seen in him, Sakura quickly scrambled to him, taking his face in her soft hands. "Sasuke-kun, what's wrong?" she asked, brows furrowed deeply. She looked so distressed at the fact he was upset.

Leaning into her comforting touch, he resigned without fuss. "It's nothing," he murmured, hands drawing themselves to her hips. "I was just looking through some of my family's old stuff."

Her eyes softened in empathy, and he almost wanted to smile. It was just like Sakura to instantly understand the reason for his pain after he'd merely explained himself a little, even if she didn't understand how he felt. She never pretended to know how he felt, but he loved her ability to empathize even so.

With a soft kiss to his cheek, she wrapped her arms around him tightly, offering what little comfort she could give. A soft sigh left his lips as he accepted the gesture almost eagerly, his own arms wrapping themselves around her frame firmly. Burying his face into her hair, he allowed himself a moment of pure vulnerability. Her arms tightened in response.

"Does it still hurt a lot?" she asked him, voice muffled against his shoulder.

He knew exactly what she was talking about. Running a hand through her hair, he laid a solid kiss on her temple, keeping his lips there. "Sometimes," he said, bringing his hand down to rub the back of her neck. "It's not as bad as it once was. I've made peace with their deaths."

She pulled back to look at him, at this, cupping his cheek tenderly. His eyes softened, and he brought their foreheads together, holding her close. "But sometimes, I miss them so much," he paused here, eyes glazing over with a deep misery and torment that he never really showed but that he knew she always knew he possessed, "that it hurts to breathe."

Her eyes fell closed at this, and he almost wondered if somehow she could feel what he felt, because she looked just as agonized as he was sure he did. Kissing her briefly, he pulled her even closer. "But with you around, and Naruto and Kakashi—it doesn't hurt quite as much." His lips grazed over hers again. "I don't miss them as much as when I was alone." You lot… you're my new family.

She must have caught the hidden meaning behind his words, because within seconds after he'd said it, the brightest smile split her lips. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she closed the gap between their mouths again, kissing him softly. He couldn't help but to return her kiss in a very involved manner, stomach flipping happily at the knowledge that he'd made her so damn happy with mere words. He was so thankful for her. So happy to have been given this chance at a relationship so pure and honest and so exhilarating.

Without even realizing it, the kiss had turned needy and desperate. Sakura was tugging at his shirt, and he was pushing her backwards against the wall, and within minutes, their clothes were tugged off and he was inside her, moving slow and hard. His forehead pressed against hers intimately as they gazed into each other's eyes with heavy emotion, panting, kissing, and letting out hoarse, quiet moans, and he knew they hadn't intended to get carried away but sometimes their feelings got the best of them and led to this kind of different kind of emotional sex.

And honestly, he rather loved when that happened. It made him fall in love just a little bit more with their relationship.




Watching them like this, by the window, he didn't know what to think.

He'd worked all his life to protect the village and had always taken actions in its best interest. He'd always dedicated himself to it. But he'd grown so close to Team 7, to Naruto and Sakura more specifically, and he never wished for either of them to be unhappy. He knew their happiness revolved around Sasuke's presence. He knew they would be devastated if he took action in assassinating them.

But Sasuke was dangerous. Or… he'd been dangerous—yes that was more appropriate to say. He'd learned him to be rage-filled, impulsive and cruel. He'd learned him to be a selfish man seeking nothing but revenge and taking whatever measures he could to attain it. Sai had never been close to Sasuke, or understood his actions, but he'd always resented him for what he did to his team and to this village. He didn't care for Sasuke's happiness. He didn't trust him.

The Elders had good reason to doubt him, in his opinion.

But watching them in such passion, watching their exchange beforehand and noticing how genuine Sasuke seemed to be towards her, in his affections and words, made his opinion waver. Sai had always known that Sasuke genuinely cared a lot for Sakura as a teammate and friend, but he'd never thought his feelings held more romantic weight. Not until he'd seen them like this.

Could the Uchiha really be in love with her? There was no awkwardness or uneasiness in the way he said things or did them. If he was forcing himself to act a certain way, Sai would know it. He was trained for this, after all. But Sasuke seemed… natural. Intuitive. Impulsive, even. An apathetic man such as him, who'd spent more than half of his life chasing revenge and ignoring love, should not be seem so innate with what to do if he was feigning a relationship. And he would not persist in making it so believable when in such privacy—such a thing would eventually be exhausting, or would give opportunity for mistakes or slips of character. But he provided no hint of a fluke, even when he thought he had no audience.

Sasuke Uchiha seemed well and truly in love with Sakura Haruno, in his opinion. Sakura's utter happiness and lack of suspicion only supported this.

But his trust with the Council was implicit. Well grounded. If they suspected he was fallacious and planning a coup, he would continue to watch them. The Elders were never ones to easily mistrust, so if they suspected he was capable of such high treason, they had to be right… right?

My dear we're slow dancing in a burning room

This is more of a transition chapter, to explain why the council are so distrustful and to introduce Sai as a sort of important role. I'm so unsatisfied with that last bit about Sai though. Idk why I'm just like this is weird. I'm not used to his character. Hopefully I will do a better job! Generally I thought I started the chapter great and ended it crappy but idk it's probably just me again.

Hope you enjoyed :)