To Bloom

咲 Sai. A simple name that meant 'to bloom' or 'a smile'. A name that fit him, though he couldn't imagine why Danzo would give him a name like that. Perhaps Danzo hadn't meant to, but he'd neglected to assign the name a kanji. So Sai had chosen. And either reading of that kanji fit him well.

He did like to smile, and he had bloomed.


Sai felt a mild stirring of excitement in his stomach when he went to meet his team at their usual training field. He approached them with his latest sketchbook in his hands.

"I discovered I like something," Sai announced.

"Really?" Kakashi asked. "What is it?"

"I like drawing."

Sakura fell over.

"We knew that, you baka!" Naruto exclaimed.

"But I did not," Sai said.

"He has a point," Kakashi said. "What good does it do him if you know it and he doesn't?"

Naruto rubbed his chin.

"This is a lot of progress for someone who has been in ROOT all their life," Yamato said.

Sai bowed. "Thank you, Yamato-taichou." He straightened. "But I was not in ROOT all my life. I was in ROOT for eight years."

"Eight years is a long time," Kakashi said.

"Yes, it is," Sai said. "But I am seventeen, not eight."

Yamato looked embarrassed. "Never mind. My mistake."

"It is okay, Yamato-taichou," Sai said. "Everyone makes mistakes." He beamed.

Naruto looked incredulous.

Sakura sighed.

"Maa, it's a compliment, though, isn't it?" Kakashi cheerfully reminded Sai.

Sai bowed. "Oh. Yes. Thank you for the compliment, Yamato-taichou."

Yamato rubbed the back of his head. "No problem. You don't need to thank me again."

Sai straightened. "You are right. Do I need to offer you an apology for thanking you too many times?"

Kakashi chuckled.

"No," Yamato said. "That's alright. You don't usually offer apologies for something like that."

Sai beamed. "Okay."