TITLE: Painting a Tree

PAIRING: Sai/Sakura

TIMELINE/SPOILERS: Shippuden, although I didn't include some facts, like how Hinata really confessed to Naruto, as well as Sakura's fake confession to Naruto. Take note that Sai's personality here is based more on the time during their first mission together.

WARNINGS: None. Some cusses maybe. PG-13?

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Naruto and any related... things. No profits are made with this fanfic.

Chapter 01: Cause and Effect



Sai momentarily paused from his sketching as he studied the figure of a squirrel several feet away that he was trying to duplicate on the page of his sketch book. A female voice from beside him let out a small sound of surprise.

"Ah, he ran away."

"It must have noticed your hideous face, Hag."

Sakura only laughed as Sai continued with his work. They were both taking a short break as they have been running through the forests of the Land of Fire for half a day already. Despite being a jounin already and having perfect chakra control, Sakura still appreciated it a lot when Sai suggested they get some rest. Their item retrieval mission had been a success— it wasn't really too hard, actually. They sneaked into the bandits' hideout, retrieved the golden scroll of some secret Land of Fire recipe of a famous chef, and were out without anyone knowing what had happened.

"Hey, Sai?" Sakura said as she stretched out her legs before her while both her hands supported her weight behind her. "Thanks for the stealth training. I don't think I can pull it off as smoothly as this if it hadn't been for you."

"You are welcome." Sai said with a smile that Sakura honestly wished was true. Even after four years of being friends and teammates, Sai still utilized his infamous fake smile. "It took a lot of effort since you're so cantankerous, but in the end you managed to scrape by."

Sakura forced a grin, reminding herself that pounding Sai now would delay their return to Konoha, and she was polite enough to not disturb him from his sketching or painting.

"I wonder if Naruto's back from his mission with Yamato-taichou?" Sakura said to no one in particular.

Sai penned one last stroke and, satisfied, packed his sketch book and pencil away. "We can drop by at his favorite ramen store after we see Hokage-sama if you want."

Sakura stretched her body as she stood up from her seat. "Sounds like a plan."


Sakura glared at her red-clad figure at the full-body mirror by her wardrobe door. A frown was clearly pasted on her face as she turned from one side to another, then to her back before facing it fully once more.

'Damn,' Sakura thought. 'I look like a surfboard!'

She was, of course, exaggerating. But nonetheless, Sakura wasn't satisfied with what she was seeing. She wasn't a petite girl unlike Ino, but she wasn't curvaceous like Hinata either.

And then Sakura paused.

'Since when did I start caring about what I look like again? I feel like I'm back to my 12-year-old-self, ergh…'

And then, like a splash of scalding hot water, a monotone voice floated in her head.

Hag, if I needed to draw a hideous tree, I'd draw one rather than you.

The urge to decimate something concentrated on Sakura's fists. Of course Sai would say something insensitive— the intention to insult or the fault of being naïve still heavily warred in Sakura's brain— and the girl had somewhat expected it, but to hear her expectation and it having surpassed so colorfully made the girl see red— and she did, after she had hurled Sai to a large oak tree with her fist square on his face.

'Maybe I should wear something different?'

Sakura opened her wardrobe wide and let out a heavy sigh. She was a close-combat type of ninja, and with her punching and kicking as often as she healed— mostly due to both activities being done after another when she's out with Naruto and Sai, and sometimes even Kakashi— her clothes were consisted of shirts or sleeveless zip-up tops and lots and lots of spandex shorts and med-nin apron.

'Why do those things have to look like half-assed shorts?'

She had three dresses, but she rarely used them especially after accidentally flashing her knickers to her whole team when she had kicked Sai for comparing her to a marshmallow. She wasn't fat, damn it.

She also had some skirts, but she only got to wear them during days when she'd be at the library reading books and researching, or when she'd do her grocery.

'Meh, ninjas don't need to worry about appearances anyway. It's not like the enemy will stop killing you just because you look too darn pretty to die.'

Unless that was the point of keeping up an attractive appearance— to distract before mincing.

"Hag, no matter how you glare at yourself, it is not possible to morph the body into something more appealing. Try doing a henge, like what Hokage-sama does."

Speaking of mincing…

"Hag, your fist seems to be having spasms."

Sakura smiled brightly.

"Um," Sai said as he could see his smiling face on Sakura's dilated pupils. "You can let go of my shirt. Ah, and my throat as well—"


They were comforting sounds of music to Sakura's ears. The wheezing that followed, albeit short, was like a drug for her rushing blood.

"Dickless told me to remind you of our mission tomorrow." Sai said as blood continued to flow thickly from both his nostrils. The bridge of his nose was bent and squashed and was now showing signs of turning purple. Ah, how Sakura loved that color on the pale nin's body, especially after his mouth started speaking nonsense. "You might need to have your head checked up; the sparring earlier might have hit the part of your brain that handled memories."

Sakura tilted her head as she tried to ignore the latter sentence and instead focused on the part about Naruto wanting to remind her of her mission.

"Sai," She finally spoke. "I think Naruto wants you to go to me so you could apologize."

The pale nin who was still bleeding in turn tilted his head a crack.

"Is there something I should apologize for?"

It took five seconds for Sakura to calm down.

"Sai, insulting people is offensive and always warrants an apology." She said patiently.

"I haven't insulted anyone." Sai said with a blank stare.

"Damn it, Sai, you compared me to a tree!"

"It wasn't an insult. I was merely telling the truth."

"The tru— shut up! If you see a fat person, you don't go and call them 'pig'!"

"Pigs are important domestic animals. They provide meat for people's consumption. How could that offend anyone?"

"That's— anyway," Sakura gritted. "That's not the only thing that made me angry."

"What did?"

Sakura studied Sai's still bloody face. 'He wouldn't even wipe his nose, the bastard.' A sigh escaped Sakura's lips.

"It doesn't matter. I changed my mind. It doesn't insult me anymore."

Sai continued to stare at her blankly.

"Dickless is right." Sai spoke. "You are bad at lying."

Sai's eyes widened a fraction as Sakura's hand reached out for his face. However, instead of receiving a palm jab, green chakra enveloped the appendage and Sai's nose finally stopped bleeding and the cartilages of his nose were aligned correctly once more.

"I'll see you at the gates tomorrow." Sakura said before pushing the male out of her window. "And use the door next time, damn it!" She yelled afterwards before slamming her window shut.

Sakura let out a heavy sigh as she dropped face-down on her bed.

'And here I thought he's finally eased up on that blunt behavior.'

to be continued

Author's Notes: And what is this? A new story? A multi-chapter fanfic? hahahahahaahahahahaha :))

And like I always put up at the end of my fanfics: Reviews, comments, suggestions, and bursts of fangirling squee are most welcome. :)

Anyone wanna beta?