Smile, Lady, Smile

By: June Gilbert

Sai X Mai

Chapter One

I sighed softly, curling up in the apartment's narrow bed. I was very lucky Lady Tsunade didn't hold the sins of the father against his daughter. Even as I had been given this tiny apartment, it was far better than some places I had slept in my life. Snuggling into the worn, but warm blankets, I tried to make my mind shut up. However, running around like a rat in a maze, my brain kept mulling over what I could have done instead of apply to the Leaf to be taken in.

I could have worked a whore house, I could have been a beggar, I could have been a mercenary. . . Okay, I don't have the temperament for either whoredom or being a beggar. . . Too prideful, I guess. And something tells me I would be a crappy mercenary… I don't work well when I'm always expecting to be double-crossed. Too much stress. Yawning irritably, I sat up anyway and leaned under my bed. Fishing out the rucksack I had brought with me to Konoha last month, I ferreted out my silver-backed hairbrush. It was tarnished from age and the bristles were kind of sparse, but I loved the thing as it was the one remnant of my fatherI still had in my life.

My mother had passed it down to me when she died. I smiled fondly, running my fingers over the familiar etchings of a dragon in flight. Mother had told me Father had gotten it for her as his last gift to her. After that, he had never come back. He was a shinobi, and an outlaw at that, so his death wasn't really a surprise. Mother had not expected my arrival, but had loved me up until her demise.

And, I assumed that she still loved me, wherever her spirit was. I smiled as I took my hair down from its night braid, un-plaiting the long black strands till they fell about my face like a veil. Huffing a little, I took charge by stroking the brush through my hair, brushing the front part away from my face so I could see the grey wall of my apartment's bedroom. Or, rather, the full length mirror that was facing me.

Mirrored in it was a pale skinned teenager, with a long, heart-shaped face and slender pale limbs sticking out from a girlish, slightly frilly nightgown. Mom had gotten t for me in an attempt for me to be more "feminine". Dull black eyes stared back at me from the mirror, the too deep tear channels I had inherited from my father making my face have a permanently mournful look. I sighed.

This was why I hadn't gotten a date, besides the fact that I was still a newbie to the shinobi of Konohagakure and had yet to be given a mission to prove myself on. Besides, if any of them saw me in action, they would know exactly who I am and likely exactly who my father was. I smiled faintly as I braided my hair again, this time in a different pattern and pulling it tighter. Maybe I would be able to sleep without it falling loose half the time. I sighed softly, standing up. Padding toward the window absently, I wanted to sit on the sill and look out, but the sill was too small for even my bony hips. Drat. Instead, I settled for sitting cross legged against the wall, throwing open the window and resting my arms on the sill. After disabling the traps, of course. With a sigh, I realized it wasn't much of a view. Just the other apartment building squished up against mine with a narrow, dirty alley in between them.

Sighing softly, I slid out the window and grabbed the edge of the tin roof. Since I was wearing my shinobi gloves, the tin roof merely felt warm under my fingers as I swung my pale, slender body up and onto the roof. Ahhh…. Now I can breathe out here…. Not cramped anymore like that stuffy old apartment…

I let the wind blow back my braid as I gazed contentedly up at the round, full moon. What a night this would be to paint… No! I barely have enough for the necessities with what missions Lady Tsunade assigns me… I don't have enough for art supplies… Heck, I can barely finance my weaponry and my rent… I sighed sadly. It was just like me to be a downer even when nobody else was around. I needed friends. Friends I could get this sort of talking over with, and possibly help me NOT talk to myself like this… Ugh… I huffed a little bit and gazed up at the moon. I wanted to sleep, but apparently my body wasn't ready for sleep. I lay back on the warm tin roof, savoring the moonlight and the warmth of a summer night in Konohagakure. I probably would have drifted to sleep if it hadn't been for my ears detecting a slight tap-tap on the rooftop near mine.

I shot up, my hand flying automatically to my hip where, even at night, a kunai normally rested under my ordinary ratty sweatpants. Then I remembered I was wearing the stupid dress nightgown…

I growled, sliding into a ready stance with only my fists as I tried to locate the source of the footsteps. It was hard when whichever idiot that made them had realized his mistake and was now keeping either quite silent or very, very still. My heart pounding, I waited to see if it was an attack. I had been occasionally bothered by other missing ninja, but never yet had the managed to get past Konoha's gates. Lady Tsunade was very, very thorough in stamping out such scumbags. I growled as my eyes flicked around the roof area. There was an overhang where someone could hide right in front of me, a dormer window in the next building providing a convenient spot if you were either short or compact enough to use it. Padding carefully in my bare feet, wincing a little at the warmth on my feet (this place got VERY hot in summer), I peered over the metal window peak.

Blocking a rapid punch upward, I leapt back to reveal a boy with skin as pale as my own, in a high collared midriff black shirt with red straps on the shoulders and standard black shinobi pants. He wore a standard Konohagakure forehead protector, and the symbol was fine so I knew he wasn't a missing ninja. I growled. Is Lady Tsunade really keeping a watch on me?! How frustrating… Here I am trying to prove myself and she doesn't trust me in the slightest…. While I was fuming, the boy was staring at me with an expression of what could only be called curiosity. I huffed angrily, my fists clenching when I saw his relaxed posture and confused expression.

"What are you doing here?" It came out gruffer than I intended, but I was on edge. Stop staring at me, whoever you are! Those eyes are weird… Well, they're black like mine, but still… It's creepy being stared at…. Especially by a guy who could be a stalker. Or a ninja sent to monitor me. Which would be BEYOND embarrassing and extremely annoying…

"None of your business. How did you hear me?"

I scowled. The nerve of this guy! Saying I had no business knowing why he was on the roof of my apartment building and then expecting me to answer his questions… Well, I obviously can't hit him if he's really Konoha's ninja. That would look really bad, especially since I'm still such a newbie around here. I huffed, relaxing my stance. He wouldn't hit me if he hadn't hit me by now. Glaring belligerently at Mr. Weird, as I decided to call him until he told me a name, I remained with my fists clenched.

Just in case.

"I have very sharp ears, and you were pretty loud. At least tell me a name," I said, trying to relax my automatically snappy tone.

"Sai," Mr. Weird said, with an extremely faked smile. I frowned silently. If someone could fake a smile like that, they would usually be either very good at lying or very bad at it. In Sai's case, I decided it was the latter, even though the façade he put up was embarrassingly see-through for a shinobi.

"Sai. Really. Well, you probably know my name, but I'll introduce myself anyway. My name is Mai."

"What's your family name?"

"I don't use one. You don't use one either, so I don't see why you're fussing…"

"I wasn't fussing, merely asking a question."

"Whatever."

He looked curious, "What does that mean?"

I blinked bemusedly. Either he had never heard the phrase or he was just bluntly inept at conversation. Or both.

"Whatever means that I don't care."

Sai scribbled in a small black notebook for a few moments. Okay, this is utterly bizarre. One moment I'm relaxing on my roof and the next I'm having a conversation and giving pointers to a ninja who might have been sent to kill me. How wackier can my night get? I thought, sighing softly as Sai looked up at me again.

"Why do you say whatever?"

"I thought I told you that! Whatever means I don't care. I just want to go back in my house and sleep without a ninja trying to kill me. Have you been sent to kill me?"

"No. Merely watch."

"Good. I'm going back to my room to sleep."

I smiled faintly when I realized I had coaxed out of him the very information I had asked about earlier. I was, admittedly, sleepy, but I knew I couldn't sleep with the knowledge someone was watching my every move. With a sigh, I turned to slip back through my window. I would have to try my best to sleep anyway, dammit, because I was NOT going to be late for work tomorrow. I still had to prove myself to these Konoha ninja that I was NOT going to betray them. At least, I didn't plan to in the foreseeable future. I needed a home, and Konohagakure was, at the moment, the only place I could go. I smiled bitterly as I lowered myself down. I also had incredibly deep roots here. Unbelievable that I could still consider myself tied to the village I barely knew, but I had a vague but strong feeling I would be staying.

That is, if some idiot doesn't go messing it up for me and reporting me to his Lady. Then again, if Sai were smart, he wouldn't. Because, I assumed, he hadn't been ordered to interact with me. That would look bad on him more than it did on me. I just heard a noise and came up to investigate. So if he didn't want his Lady to know that he'd screwed up, Sai wouldn't tell of our brief meeting.

I slid into the window, shutting it firmly and coaxing the arthritic lock into place. I didn't want a certain confusing ninja to get in. I re-activated the trap I used for my window, a net of slender ninja wire and shuriken in strategic places so the victim wouldn't spot the net until it was too late. Sighing, I actually felt my lids grow heavy as I started toward the bed. Blinking, I crawled onto the sheets and curled up on top of them. The night was too warm for getting under the covers. Blissfully, moments later I fell easily into Morpheus' arms.


Sai's POV

Mai was an interesting assignment. I hadn't meant to stumble, but now I was secretly glad that I had. She probably had no idea that the nightgown she was wearing was quite translucent to my keener vision. Naruto would be having a fit if he saw it, but I saw nothing tempting under the nightgown. She had barely average breasts, pasty skin and her hips were as angular and bony as the rest of her, about as un-tempting as a woman could get. The one good thing about her was her hair. Long and lush, it was a little frizzy from her climb onto the roof and yet still gleamed with the colors of a raven's wing. She was also my height, and it was estimated that she was about my age. I shook my head. Now was not the time to be wondering over her physical attributes. Now was the time for making sure she didn't exit her dwelling at any point in the night.

I needed to focus. For the first time, my mind was being obstinate and refused to focus on what I wanted it to.

In the end, I compromised and peeked in on her window. She lay on the bed, sprawled across it in a most embarrassing manner. Her chest rose and fell evenly, and only now did I see the scars present in the v her breasts made in the slipping nightgown. My cheeks heated with an unfamiliar feeling. I couldn't take my eyes away from that scar resting on her breasts. I wondered how in the world anyone could violate a woman like this like that.

Shaking my head, I returned to my post. You are not supposed to entertain such thoughts of those you are supposed to be watching Sai!

Then again have I ever watched such a girl?


What do you think of my first Sai fic? I don't know how I did on Sai's viewpoint... What do you think of her? Anyone guess her father? Is anyone interested in this fic? If so, please please review! Thank you!

-June