Summary: (1) Sakura Haruno has everything she could possibly want. The perfect guy, the perfect house, the popular friends and... it's not really what she wants. She just doesn't know it yet, not really. Not until one dark haired, dark eyed boy with an affinity for art shows her how to really...smile...
(2) He's not popular. He's not well known or liked. But, Sai is happy. He doesn't hide who he is or what he likes from anyone, consequences be damned. He can't helped but be bothered that his brother isn't honest with who he really likes. For the most part Sai keeps out of that. It's best to, anyway, knowing Sasuke.
He's not in love with her. But, he once drew her image constantly. That smile... there's just something he wants to unwrap about it. It's mysterious and secretive. He's enraptured and doesn't know why. When his art teacher and fate take a hand in bringing her closer to him, will he learn more about that smile than he bargained for? Or is she really all she presents herself to be... just a sketch in his book with a...Mona Lisa smile.
Do you smile to tempt a lover, Mona Lisa?
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart?
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there
Are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa?
Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art?
The first time he saw her he'd been drawn in almost immediately. Romantically speaking, people would say it was her eyes. Men would say it was her ass, her hips, hell-the whole exterior package that made her noticeable. Some might say it was in her laugh or how well she seemed to get along with so many people that sucked you in.
But, for Sai, it was none of these things. That first day of ninth grade two and half years ago it hadn't been her eyes, her laugh, or her body. No, for Sai, it had been the way she... smiled. It was the way her lips curled when someone said something to her and she wanted them to know she was amused. It was the way that smile didn't seem to reach her cheeks or her eyes. It was subtle and mysterious; as though she wasn't really smiling, or perhaps what'd she'd been smiling about all along had nothing to do with the conversation at hand.
What was she hiding behind it?
In a vain attempt to understand that simple, magical, facial expression he'd taken care to burn the image in his mind. He'd allowed his hands to ask the very same question as he drew her visage across page after page that first year in his sketch book.
Puppy love, his mother had called it when she'd looked over his sketch book one day. Hormones, his brother had called it just before he'd then told him to find a girl and get laid already. His father hadn't said a word on the subject. At most he raised a brow at the book, shrugged and went back reading his paper while his mother smiled on at him.
Ninth grade had come and gone. And just like that, in tenth grade he'd seemed to grow up a little. He wouldn't say the curiosity waned, he still drew her now and then, but he wasn't obsessed. He wasn't sure if he had been then.
However, there were those moments... when he'd be standing before his locker, loading his backpack up with books when she walked by with the popular posse and her blonde, Adonis of a boyfriend and he'd stare. He'd look at her and she'd just smile... smile when someone said something funny. She'd laugh softly, covering her mouth halfway and go on with her day. And he'd be reminded of that first year when he felt something for someone who didn't even know his name.
"You know, if you just got it out of your system already, you wouldn't be so hung up on her," a voice said to his left.
Sai blinked out of his lost senses and schooled his features. He stared on a bit more at her backside, not really admiring anything physical about her... just her, before he turned to his locker and went back to packing his books up for his next class.
"It's true. Getting laid might put your mind in perspective, prick. Hell, find someone more obtainable."
Sai smirked, stopping briefly to look at his brother. It was an image he'd drawn many times before of the dark haired male at home while he leaned up against a wall, arms crossed over his chest with a look of void disinterest cresting his features. Angry, ready to pounce and yet totally comfortable in his own skin. He captured the very vision of the billy badass most days. But, like any badass he had his own troubled past, broken dreams and misplaced intentions.
He turned back his locker to search for his sketchbook. "Who says I'm interested?"
"You stare at her like you are. You do everytime she walks by. Pretty obvious you want her, eh?" He sighed, pale lips parting only slightly as his coal orbs shut momentarily. The toothpick betwixt his lips rolled around to the other side of his mouth.
Sai shrugged. "She's easy to draw," he offered.
"Yeah, and Madonna was just easy to photograph. Doesn't mean the guy with camera didn't get a boner doin' it. You honestly think he didn't get it taken care of by someone willing?"
Sai rolled his eyes behind the cover of his locker and spoke honestly, "Sex isn't everything."
He snorted. "So says the guy who's never done it."
"Should I be insulted?"
"Doubt you would be even if I were aimin' for that, prick."
Sai smiled. "At least you learn quick. I suppose that's the only thing noteworthy of being related to you, fag." He heard a growl at the word but ignore it. "Say shouldn't-."
"Sasuke..." a voice purred.
...Karin be sniffing you out by now? was on the tip of his tongue as he shut the locker. He slung his backpack over his shoulder and faced them both. He raised a brow at the red head's usual behavior in regards to his brother. The wench was practically dry humping Sasuke as she plastered herself all over him. But, his sibling never seemed to mind too much. In fact, he hardly reacted at all to her overactive physical obsession with touching.
Her hand sprawled across his chest and she smiled cattily. "Walk you to class?" she purred.
For once he didn't say anything right away. Actually, his eyes seemed to widen just a fraction as he stared at the flash of yellow and orange walking by with a grin on his face. Sai turned to see Naruto Namikaze step down the hall. He turned back to look at his brother just as he schooled his features. But, as usual when the blond was about, he could see that telltale sign of something aching in his obsidian orbs.
"Seems you're advice doesn't work all that well," Sai remarked before heading off to his next class of the day. He barely heard Karin asking what he'd been talking about to Sasuke. He'd never tell her, naturally. Because, after all, it wasn't really Sai who was trying to escape that which he didn't think he could have.
"How'd your date go?"
Ino shrugged as she doodled in her notebook where she sat across from Sakura. "It was alright, I guess." Her nose wrinkled. "If you think going to a gore movie and eating in someone's car is a good date."
Sakura rolled her eyes as she moved to rest her cheek in her palm while her elbow perched on the long table between them. "You're a teenager, Ino. What do you expect? French dining?"
The blonde across from her pouted somewhat. "We're not all as lucky as you, girl. Some of us have to work for our boyfriends."
Sakura snorted. "Naruto took me out for ramen on our first date. We bought it at a convenient store and ate it the park," she smiled as she said this. "It's not about the date, it's about the guy."
"Says you," she smarted back with a grin. "If the guy can't take you somewhere nice, isn't that a reflection of how he feels about you?"
"Not if it's all the guy can afford."
"Ha! As if Naruto couldn't of afforded more."
Sakura shrugged, flipping a few of her dyed, blonde locks over her shoulder. "I guess he could have..."
"But he was funny, you always say. A nice guy with a good attitude."
Sakura smiled. "Yeah, he's a bright guy. It's infectious and I like that. He... he makes me laugh."
Ino chuckled. "Ah, yes, the key to Sakura Haruno's proverbial heart. Make her laugh and she's hooked."
Sakura just smiled as she always did. Ino was quick to change the topic, naturally, while they waited for their seventh period art teacher to arrive. It generally went this way. Sakura would start the conversation, Ino would comment, Sakura would say a few things and then she'd just let her friend go on about whatever was on her mind. Sakura usually found herself listening or zoning out most of the time. It worked out well enough for her. Sakura never really liked to talk too much. Even her boyfriend, the star of the school, kept up most of the conversation when they were together.
Sakura wasn't a wallflower, though. She was quite popular and had been even before she started dating Naruto. Hardly anyone had been surprised when they started going together in ninth grade. They were both from wealthy families, they both were fabulously talented and well liked. Neither of them had a terrible thing to say about anyone in particular. It was one of the things she liked about her boyfriend, actually. It was pretty much the seal on the deal considering almost all her friends were gossips.
"Oh, god," Ino muttered snappishly with a grimace and an eyeroll all in one. Must be pretty bad if she managed that, Sakura mused.
Ino frowned. "It's that emo gay bastard. I swear, if it weren't for the easy A I wouldn't even be in this class with him. Ugh..."
Sakura blinked and turned to look over at the classroom door across the way. The boy coming through the door, she supposed, looked emo enough. His skin was ungodly pale. It was as though he'd never seen the light of day once in his life. His eyes, coal and pitch were framed by almost flawless eyelashes. His hair was not terribly long and drew flat over his ears, partway down his neck and just barely in front of his eyes. Even his lips looked white.
He was dressed from head to toe in black. Black tank top, black mesh shirt over that, black cargo pants looking straight out of a Hot Topic and dark colored Vans. He had to most unemotional expression on his face as he took his seat far away from her and Ino.
He wasn't the type her group normally associated with. She'd seen him several times before, but she'd never talked to him. She wasn't even sure what his name was.
She turned back to Ino, raising a brow. "Why don't you like him?" As if Ino needed a reason.
"You remember that party at the start of the school year you didn't go to because you had to go to that modeling appointment the next morning? You needed to be up early or something..."
Sakura paused in reply to think.
Ino sigh impatiently. "You wanted to go because Naruto asked you to come with him...? It was before homecoming, girl. It was like, the unsupervised version with booze."
She blinked once more twice before it dawned on her. "Oh! Right, ok," she snapped her fingers as she spoke, "The one you agonized hours over for what to wear because you were gonna make a pass at Kiba?"
"Yeah, so over that," she muttered. "But yes, that's the party."
"So," she emphasized as a sign to start her story, "I went, obviously."
"Obviously," Sakura couldn't help but interject.
"I was having fun. Music was jamming. Drinks were great because Kiba was bartending. I was talking up a great conversation with him at the time. He wanted to know if I wanted to go dance. We danced for a while. Things got a little heated and we started to go upstairs..."
"Well, I didn't want to pass out in my contacts, right? So, I told Kiba to just wait on me in the room while I went to the bathroom to take them out. Problem is, there's only one damned bathroom in the whole house. At least if you don't count the one in the parent's room. That one was locked solid."
Sakura wasn't too surprised to hear that. If memory served her correctly it was Shino who'd chosen to host the party. Not the most popular guy in the school, but a total stone head and great party hoster. He'd been doing it since high school started and knew how to keep them under control.
"So, I'm knocking on the door because it's locked shut. Someone's in there, right? I wait and wait... and fucking wait. They tell me to hold off a bit longer because someone's sick. So, I wait s'more. But damn, I knew Kiba was drunk as all hell and I didn't want him passing out on me. I can't take my contacts out without a mirror, you know? And I hadn't brought a purse to the party because I'd learned my lesson the first time with that. So, no compact..."
Sakura nodded, waiting for her to get to the real heart of the story.
"When this jackass finally opens the door he glares at me first, them smiles at me. Smiles! Like I'm some joke for him to laugh over," she grumbles. "It's him, naturally."
"This wouldn't have pissed me off, honestly, if the drunk he was helping out hadn't stepped past him and puked on me!"
Sakura winced visibly.
"All over my five hundred dollar Chanel dress, Sakura!"
Like hell the price mattered, Sakura mused to herself. She wouldn't dare say it out loud.
"I was mad, you know? I asked him who in the hell was gonna pay for it. Do you know what he said?"
"He said, 'As if listening to you screech through the door wasn't payment enough, snob. Now, do you want my brother to throw up on you again? Or can we go?' Can you believe that? Why would he say something like that? Asshole."
Sakura had to stifle a laugh over someone snubbing Ino like that. Most quaked at her wrath. Most men did, anyway. "Well... maybe because you were kind of a jerk about it to start?"
"Of course I was. His friend threw up on me! He made me wait!" she ground out. "Brother, my ass. It was probably his fucking boyfriend."
Sakura doubted that. Although, she wasn't too sure how pissed she might have been if some random guy had thrown up on her at a party.
"What kind of normal person wears black all the time, anyway? Like, everyday," she went on rather snippishly. "Have you noticed?"
"That he wears black everyday?"
"I've never really noticed him before."
"Well, he's weird, I tell you. He never dates anyone, ever. He never hits on anyone. And you know what that means?" She didn't wait for her to reply. "He's gay. He has to be. Why else wouldn't he date? You know some people say he's into some form witchcraft or voodoo. And that he's all pale 'cause he thinks he's a vampire or something..."
Sakura listened as Ino gossiped about the guy she claimed to hate with a vengeance. She went on about his weirdness, how she thought he was such a loser, how he never hung out with anyone aside from Sasuke-the 'awesome, cool school badass with a hot ass'. She said his hair was the worst cut ever and looked like something some grudge metal band singer would don while he screamed into the microphone. She even went so far as to claim he was an even bigger loser than Choji, who's only claim to fame was being best friends Shikamaru. Shikamaru was known as the school's guy to go to for the best pot. Pot dealing automatically made you popular in some respect even if you weren't on the top of the totem pole.
At this point she was zoning Ino out. It was the one thing Sakura had never really liked about Ino. She always gossiped about everything and everyone. She could ruin any one person in the school in less than thirty minutes with that mouth, ten if she was having a highly energetic day. Sakura figured it was better to be her best friend than her enemy. Not that she really had a choice...
The door shutting across the room had her jolting from her thoughts and Ino shutting up almost immediately. Rin, the art teacher who she only knew by her first name since the start of the year, had finally come in. Actually, she'd found out her last name then, but forgotten it by now since she'd told the class to just call her Rin or Mrs. Rin. Mrs. Rin just sounded too weird to her. Too much like grade school like when you're in kindergarten and you couldn't pronounce the teacher's last name. Why was it all kindergarten teachers' last names were so unpronounceable?
"Hello, class. Sorry for being late. I had some things to pick up in the office." She smiled warmly as she placed the stack of papers on her desk. She turned towards one of the students. "Sai, would you please turn the lights off for me?"
Sakura watched as the guy who Ino had been going on about for at least fifteen minutes nonstop got up and turned the lights off. Sai, huh? Well, she couldn't say she didn't know his name anymore.
Seconds later the projector was being turned on. Sakura watched as Rin flipped a thin, plastic, see-through sheet onto the top of the projector face. It instantly became viewable on the white screen behind her hanging in front of the white board. "In a few moments I'll be passing out a packet for each of you with this same first page. I just wanted to set this up first. Follow along with me as I explain your semester projects, alright?"
A few in the class could be heard moaning something about, 'So much for an easy A'. Sakura was almost certain one of them was Ino. She couldn't help but smile just a bit as she took the stack of packets passed down her long table. She handed one to Ino, took one for herself and handed it off to the next person.
She turned back to listen as Rin explained the project.
"Last year when I assigned this project I gave my students a lot of free regin. They were allowed to depict any couple in history, real or made up in some way, so long as they properly displayed the emotion of the piece and explained it well in front of the class. Sadly, many of the students did not put effort in the project and it showed.
"Let it be known, as it has been before in this class, I do not grade you on capability. I grade you on effort. If it's obvious you spent little time on your work it will get a bad grade. It doesn't have to be a Michael Angelo, people. It just needs to come from you. I need to feel what you felt when you did it.
"With that explained, you're project will be to choose a novel. It can be any book you like, discluding the outright profane due to school regulations, of course. The story can be real or not. Doesn't matter. You are to read the book and create a piece of art before the end of the school semester that is based on a couple in the book. I'd prefer it to be a romantic couple... but it doesn't have to be. The characters must have some sort of relationship. The piece must depict either one or all the emotions of this relationship.
"I will need to know what book you've chosen in two weeks time so I have enough of my own time to read up on your subject and take notes. In order to save myself some work because of this you will be paired up with a partner. Now," she said a tad louder as the class murmured, "don't get too excited. I've already chosen whom is to be paired with whom for the project." Some groaned at this. "And, you can't switch partners with people. I've selected who you are paired up with based on creative skills, common interests in skill I've seen thus far... and in some cases lack of overall motivation.
"Keep in mind, if you shirk your side of the work with your partner and I find out... well, it won't be pleasant. I doubt any one of you wants to do the work by yourself, hm?"
There were some nods.
"Alright, well, with that I'll start calling out the pairs." Rin grabbed a clipboard and sat on the edge of her desk. She pulled her legs up and moved into a cross-legged position; a position and perch Sakura had grown quite accustomed to seeing her in regularly. "As soon as I do you are free to go and begin work. I've already cleared it with the principal. However, if you're caught going anywhere but the library or the cafeteria, you will face a little more than scolding. This is a good class and I went on a limb for you... so don't screw it up."
"It totally blows we can't pick our partners," Ino muttered as Rin started calling out names.
Sakura didn't comment. Actually, she was kinda glad she didn't have to. Ino would have been sure to pick her and in some way Sakura knew she would of ended up with the brunt of the work. She actually pitied whoever the blonde got shackled with.
"Sakura Haruno and..." Rin flipped a few pages on her clipboard, analyzing. "Sai Uchiha, you are a pair. You are free to go."
Sakura blinked as she looked over at the ebony haired young man. She barely registered Ino in the background making noises of disbelief.
Sakura wasn't sure what to think. He was quiet, dark and didn't date. He wasn't the sort of person she hung out with. He was the sort of person her friends made fun of on a regular basis. He was the type she never noticed and never associated with lest someone think badly of her. Her mother would probably have a fit if she saw her even sitting next to him, much less working on a school project with him. Ino, she imagined, might even have a field day with this. By tomorrow morning it'd be all over school that Sakura was 'roughing it' with a loser.
AN: I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, 'What... the hell... she just dropped two fics because she ran out of ideas or lost interest, one of them is on the back burner till further notice... and she's starting a new one? Eh?' Believe me, I feel the same way. But, the creative bug hit me while writing Torn and I just have to do this. Don't fret, I'll work on this and Torn. I'll be adding an update to KMI about once a month. So, it'll all pan out. I'll work on two stories once a week and one more (KMI) once a month.
I wasn't going to do this, honestly. Mainly because I assumed I'd have fall classes. But, as some of you may or may not know, I didn't get my verification in on time. For those you not familiar with the process of college and student aid it means the two slips of paper I have to provide the school so they can confirm the correctness with fafsa (the government grant people) was not turned in on time. It takes a few weeks to process and I ran at about a hair in and out of that limit. I'll be approved for spring classes... just not fall.
Which? Honestly? Works out for me. I'd rather take spring and summer classes as not to avoid missing any classes at the start of the year when I go to Dragon*con in Atlanta, GA. what does this mean for you? Good, quick updates since I can just keep focusing on the fics! Yeah!
So please, breath and don't worry. I'll update. :)