It's Saya's birthday today. Happy Birthday, Saya!

Uneditted again. It's becoming a bad habit. I just wanted to update asap.

"Number seventy-one, whenever you're ready."

I barely heard Temari's voice over my own thoughts, which were drifting. I could hear Konan and Pain and recall their private lessons which now seemed so distant.


"Listen, Saya-kun," Konan said to me as we were sitting in the meadow by the house. "There are three things about femininity that men are most fond of. They are the things that men cannot fully understand, just like we can't understand things about men."

"Do I want to hear this?" I thought aloud, thinking to myself that I secretly didn't.

Pain glanced at me with those seemingly unfeeling eyes. "If you want Gaara to notice you, then you do."

"Look," I said, exhaling, "I don't even think Gaara is interested in girls yet. So unless you turn me into some beautiful fairytale princess, I don't think I can get his attention."

"That's not the issue here. I don't even think fairytale princesses would grasp his attention now." Pain stared at a small white flower among many colorful ones. "He's probably going to be wary and hesitant about the courtship. You should be prepared for a cold disposition."

Grinning, I replied, "Considering that he killed people out of whim a year ago, I would say that he's improved."

"How fortunate for you," said Konan sarcastically. "So do you want to hear the three things or not?"

I was about to answer, "Not really,", but I felt Pain's stare become slightly menacing, and decided against it. "What are they?"

Konan seemed to avoid Pain's gaze as she spoke. "First, we have a gentleness that men naturally don't have. Just like they are naturally stronger and rougher, we are soft, both physically and emotionally. That sense of vulnerability and delicacy is very attractive to men. Our comfort and caring towards them is very precious to them."

"That's why men are so physical," added Pain. "We feel the need to protect them and be comforted by them at the same time."

When I heard both of them speak about it, I almost felt the conversation were personal.

Konan continued. "Second, we possess grace. Our movements are naturally smoother and more delicate. It may seem trivial, but it's actually a very noticeable difference between men and women just from daily actions. And I'm not talking only about movement; women also have a tendency to be more sympathetic and forgiving than men. Those are the two things that men yearn for in their lives that they do not easily receive elsewhere: sympathy and forgiveness."

Konan seemed to glow as she spoke more about the femininity that men adore; she was the perfect example. And as I thought about how I matched with these traits, I realized that I did possess them, but not nearly as well as others did. In fact, I didn't really feel all that delicate or graceful now that I thought about it.

"And lastly," Konan said, pausing and giving me a meaningful look before continuing, "we have humility in relationships. We are passionate and devout without being proud. Because men have so much pride, this is a relief for them. It gives them a sense of dominance and security."

"That sounds almost degrading," I remarked, a little disgusted. "It makes it seem as if we're meant to be their servants or something."

"The control lies within the woman," Pain said, surprising me. "Saya-kun, although nature has made us stronger and prouder, we are incredibly weak towards the women we love. Men become more infatuated with women than women do with men. Most men spend their lives struggling to feel the same devotion and passion from their lovers. As a result, they must cherish them. If anything, the relationship should resemble a knight and his princess." He placed his hand on my head. "A relationship between a man and woman is not equal, Saya-kun, and it's not meant to be. We were created to protect you, yet we're always at your mercy. Men become very humbled by love."

"I don't need to be protected!" I said, turning red. "I can protect myself! Gaara's the Kazekage, so wouldn't it be my job to protect him?"

"If you keep thinking like that, no boy will consider you as a potential mate." Konan looked at me sternly. "Your problem is that you lack the third quality. If you always try to challenge men and keep to their level, they begin to forget that you are a girl."

"So I'm supposed to act like a fragile, vulnerable weakling."

"You can be feminine without being weak," said Pain.

"I can't be feminine without being fake," I answered.

"Would it kill you to embrace your gender, even if you're acting?" Konan frowned. "Haven't you ever wanted to look pretty?"

My cheeks burning, I looked away and pouted.

"Then you should take advantage of this and try for once. Being attractive doesn't just mean looks. In your case especially, personality makes you look much prettier." She grinned. "Why do you think Sasori fell in love with you?"

At those words my heart raced and I felt like steam was coming out of my ears in embarrassment.

"See? That face, it's cute. You have something that's irresistible if people care enough to get to know you."

I brought my knees to my face, looking at the grass. "Now that you mention it, none of my friends from the other world really cared. I mean, they did care, I suppose, but no one ever made a real effort. Thinking about it now, I guess I was the one always taking the initiative." The realization made my heart sink. Maybe I was miserable all that time. "I… I'm not a very approachable person, so it's kind of hard to be interested in me. I've known that for a long time, but after meeting you people, everything changed." I couldn't meet their eyes. "Suddenly I was getting more attention than I've ever had my whole life. I became necessary to you. Sometimes I wake up and I'm scared that this is all just another wishful dream."

"You're really an idiot." A light bonk on my head took me aback, not because it was uncalled for, but because it was gentler than normal for him. Deidara looked annoyed, sitting down next to me. "Don't think about stupid things. Do you think your dreams can even imagine someone as attractive as me?"

"Huh?" was all I could say.

"I'm saying that your tiny little brain can't even process this masterpiece," he looked at me from centimeters away. "I know it might be hard to try to please a guy who isn't this good-looking, but you just have to imagine that it's me."

Mimicking vomiting, I turned away while Konan and Pain laughed. "Since he's here anyway, why don't we use Deidara to act as Gaara?" suggested Konan.

"Oh, uh, that's okay," I quickly replied. "I don't need anyone to—"

"Fine," Deidara interjected, sitting down in front of me. "Impress me."

I grimaced. This was going to be a long day.


"My hobbies are dancing, singing, making tea, and cooking."

"Oi, Saya-kun," Konan cut in, "that's great and all, but you don't have to lie."

"I see," I answered, making my voice incredibly obnoxious for my role. "And, I already know that you like me, but what kind of man in general are you looking for?"

She had been glaring at my smug face the whole time, but her look at the moment was especially nasty. "I like a quiet, modest man with black hair and dark eyes who doesn't hit me and wake me up at six in the morning and call me names and make me take baths with him."

Popping a vein, I grinned to myself menacingly. So that's how she's going to play? Alright. But she was not finished.

"You know, like Itachi-san."

At the mention of his name, I could feel steam diffusing from my ears. "… Itachi-san?" Now she was referring to him in honorifics? And she had to mention the one man whom I despised the most. Staring daggers at her mischievous smirk, I decided that she had thrown the gauntlet down. I grinned in equal animosity. I accept.

"I suppose you need a modest man to balance out with your abnormally big head."

She looked confused. "Aren't you mistaking me for you?"

"What?" I replied, equally confused.

But her face turned into mock sudden understanding. "Oh, that's right. Sasori's really proud, too. Guess you wouldn't let him push you down otherwise."

Enraged, I lunged at her without thinking. "You—!"

Konan and Pain were laughing hysterically.

"You promised you wouldn't talk about that!" As I tackled her, she just kept laughing. Even when I tried to attack her weak spots she laughed harder from the tickling touch. "Dammit! Dammit, dammit! I'M NOT AN UKE!"


Happy New Year, everyone