disclaimer: i don't own naruto.
dedication: to the friends who did not kick me to the curb over nothing. thanks for always being there.
note: friendship issues are a pain in the ass. seriously.

"So, are you excited?" Sakura asked, clutching her coffee cup tightly. Her green eyes were bright and she was smiling.

"I don't think I've ever felt excitement before, ugly. If I've never felt it before, I won't feel it now," Sai replied, flashing a small half-smile.

Sakura rolled her eyes and suppressed the slowly growing urge to rearrange her friend's face. "Shut it, retard. Anyway, you should be excited."

"Why should this be any different? I've been painting portraits for years," Sai answered.

Instead of scowling, Sakura smiled sweetly. "Don't worry. I'm sure you'll enjoy this."

Sai glanced at her, slightly afraid of her pleasant disposition. Normally she would beat him into the ground when he called her ugly, but she just called him a retard and then smiled.

What was going on?

Sakura led him into a large building, and after a brief talk with the receptionist, they were on their way.

"Why are you smiling?" Sai inquired suspiciously.

"Oh, no reason," Sakura responded quickly.

"Late nights with Sasuke?"

"My late nights with Sasuke are none of your business."

They stopped in front of a door. Sakura knocked twice, and the door swung open, revealing a gorgeous blonde wearing nothing but a light blue bathrobe. She smiled and threw her arms around Sakura's neck.

Sakura wrapped her arms around the blonde, chuckling softly. "Hey, Ino. Thanks for doing this; I totally owe you big time."

Ino pulled back, her blue eyes twinkling. "Oh, no problem. You know how much I love modeling."

Sai, whose gaze never left the pretty blonde, blinked rapidly, his face tinged light pink. "M-modeling?"

Ino turned to him, a sunny grin on her face. "Yeah, didn't Sakura tell you? I'm your model for today. You'll be painting me."

Sai's brows furrowed and he looked at Sakura, who shrugged and smirked wickedly. "Have fun with Ino," she called, walking down the hall from which they came.

"Say 'hi' to Sasuke for me!" Ino shouted. Then she turned to Sai. "Let's get started." She grabbed his hand and pulled him into her apartment.

She led him to the living room—or what Sai assumed was the living room; it looked more like an art studio—and stepped onto the podium. "The easel's right there. You can get your stuff ready, I'm just gonna pose over here, alright?"

She shed her bathrobe, and Sai averted his eyes carefully. He didn't want her thinking he was a pervert (even though he sort of was).

When he glanced in her direction again, she was wrapped up in crimson silk blankets, posing with a smile. "Come on, then. Paint me."

I'd rather do more than paint you, Sai thought, but he let his brush glide across the canvas, enjoying the way Ino stared at him.

footnote: oh, sai.
footnote1: i was watching spongebob while writing this. should i be worried? lol. r&r, please.