A/N: I've been wanting to write a SaiNaru fic for a while now since I really like their dynamic. I intended this to be a oneshot, but it kept growing and growing as I wrote it that I felt it would be better to break it up some. As of now, I'm planning 5 or so chapters, but I'm not sure just yet. Enjoy!
Head Over Feet
Summary: In which Sai is amorous, Naruto is oblivious, and Sakura just wants them both to get it together.
Updated: August 13, 2013
Head Over Feet
Sai was nervous, sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, fluttering stomach nervous. He had been all day because he decided that today would be the day that he would ask Naruto.
He was sure that the nerves were perhaps amplified because he'd never had to deal with these sort of feelings before. In ROOT, they'd never been instructed in things like kissing and dating. Those were a result of an emotional connection and were therefore illicit.
In fact, it wasn't until Sai met and got to know Naruto that things like that even crossed his mind. At first it was simply in passing, that these were the sort of things he could do now since leaving ROOT. If he wanted to that is.
And as time passed, Sai realized that he did want to. With his teammate. Especially after lingering thoughts of Naruto lead to unexpected tightening in Sai's pants and the need to relieve himself whenever his thoughts lingered on Naruto. Sexual attraction the book had said.
When Sai finally admitted this to himself, that it was only Naruto he wanted to kiss and touch, he had gone back to the library and checked out a different sort of books, ones that dealt with feelings and romance and love.
He read about what one did on a date, what they did in a relationship, what they did in bed. Something like holding hands seemed really silly to Sai at first and he'd laughed at the descriptions in the books. But the next time he'd seen Naruto, Sai had looked at his hands, really stared at them. The two boys were sitting close enough to one another during a break from training that he thought he could smell Naruto's hands, the lingering scent of dirt and ramen which, he decided, weren't such bad smells at all.
Sai thought about how one of Naruto's big tanned hands would feel in his own and he decided that it might not be so silly after all.
But once Sai confirmed he had romantic feelings for his teammate, he fit all the symptoms given in the books he read, he didn't know what to do about them. The books all talked about dating but not about how people transitioned from being friends to being lovers. That part confused him. He knew enough to realize that there had to be some sort of transition, that it didn't happen spontaneously. After all, how long had it taken for Sai and Naruto to reach the level of friendship they were at now?
Sai decided that he needed advice. Usually when he had a question about something, it was Naruto he asked, but since it was Naruto he wanted to talk about, that would make it impossible. Sakura and Kakashi were also bad choices because they were likely to be too close to Naruto to be unbiased.
Of the friends Sai had made, Lee seemed to the best choice to go to for advice. He was smart and often talked love being the full expression of youth, so surely he would have something useful to say.
Sai sought Lee out after training one day. Naruto and Sakura had long go home, but Sai waited around until he saw Lee wipe his face off with a towel, put his vest back on, and grab his pack to leave.
Falling into step next to the boy, Sai said, "Hello, Lee."
"It is good to see you again," Lee said with enthusiasm. "It has been far too long since we have talked."
Sai smiled back. "I was wondering if we could talk, Lee."
"Of course, Sai. What is it that you wanted to talk about?"
Sighing, he replied, "I need some advice."
Thumping on his chest, Lee replied, "Then you have come to the right place, Sai. I will try to give you any advice I can."
The two boys sat in the grass and Lee dug into his bag. Pulling out a couple of energy bars, he handed one to Sai.
"So what sort of advice do you need?"
Sai wasn't used to the feeling that overtook him then. Embarrassment. He raised his fingertips to his cheeks and felt the heat there. "Love advice," he mumbled.
"What did you say, Sai? I did not quite catch that."
"I need love advice," he said louder.
Lee smiled widely at him. "Ah, love! The epitome of youthful expression!" He patted Sai on the leg like they shared secret. "Tell me, Sai, who is the young woman that drives you to seek out advice?"
Sai's eyes widened as he looked at Lee. Lee assumed that it was a girl Sai was interested in, but Naruto was a boy. Did that make him weird? Did it make his feelings for Naruto wrong? There was only one way to find out for sure.
"Actually, the person I'm interested in is Naruto."
Sai stared hard but he didn't see anything on Lee's face that implied he thought having feelings for a boy was at all strange or wrong. "Ah, Naruto! Now there is a prime example of youthful expression."
"Is that okay?" Sai asked. He had to be sure.
Lee frowned. "Is what okay, Sai?"
"That I don't like a girl, that I like Naruto."
Lee beamed at him. "Of course it is okay, Sai. There is nothing wrong with having feelings for another youthful man. Besides, Naruto is a great person and a great friend, and so are you. He would be lucky to have you as his own."
Smiling, Sai nodded. "Thank you, Lee. I just don't know how to go about, um," Oh, what was that word the books kept using over and over? "courting him."
"Hm," Lee said, rubbing his chin, "that is an interesting question because Naruto is not your typical shinobi, is he?"
Sai felt his mouth stretch wide in a smile. Lee was right about that. Naruto was quite unlike anyone else he had ever met, though maybe that was part of the reason Sai liked him so much.
"Do not get me wrong, Sai, Naruto is a very intelligent and resourceful shinobi. However, since he has an easier time when things are at face value, I feel your best option is to be blunt with him."
And that's what Sai planned to do.
He'd thanked Lee for his advice and they grabbed some dinner before parting ways. Now all Sai had to do was figure out exactly what to say.
He could do blunt. After all, Naruto and Sakura had accused him of being blunt to the point of conflict almost since they met a few years ago. So now was just a matter of finding the right words.
Much like he had with Lee, Sai waylaid Naruto after training the next day. Sakura hadn't been able to make it that day because she had to work a shift at the hospital and Kakashi was away on a mission. Sai felt that, in some ways, not having the other two as a buffer while he gathered up his courage was making him question whether he should do it or not.
But of course he needed to. Lee had even told him that everyone deserved to know that they're loved. Sai had been a shinobi his entire life. He had been ordered to hurt people, to kill people, putting himself in danger every time he left the village. Yet somehow convincing Naruto to go on a date with him was much more terrifying.
He put on a casual face, hid his sweaty palms, and hoped Naruto couldn't hear his thundering heart. "Um, Naruto?" he asked as they walked back into town.
"Yeah?" Naruto asked, turning to glance at Sai. "What's up?"
Sai cleared his throat. "Well Naruto, I was just wondering if you would like to have lunch with me tomorrow."
Naruto beamed at him. "You're going to buy me ramen?" he asked excitedly.
Sai smiled back, feeling indefinitely more at ease than he had only moments before. "If that's what you'd like to eat."
"This is so great, Sai. Thanks man, I can't wait!"
"It's my pleasure, Naruto."
"Good afternoon, Naruto," Sai said, smiling slightly.
He had seen the boy running through the streets towards him from a ways off. His stomach clenched tightly at the sight of Naruto, a thin sheen of sweat just under the mop of blond hair that fell over his forehead. They were off duty today, so neither of them wore their headbands or typical ninja clothes. Sai was surprised by now nice Naruto looked in his dark blue jeans and white t-shirt, how nice his body was shaped when it wasn't covered with a loud, baggy track suit.
"Hey Sai," Naruto said, coming to a stop in front of his teammate. He was slightly out of breath because he'd run the entire way, not wanting to be late after his laundry took longer than he'd thought.
"I'm glad you could make it." Sai thought he was finally getting the hang of this 'small talk' thing and it filled him with a bit of pride. He could string greetings together without offending anyone and getting smacked upside the head. Surely that meant he was improving, right?
Naruto's face broke into a wide, toothy grin. "Of course I made it! You said you were going to buy me ramen!"
"Shall we go inside then?" Sai asked. He had been leaning against the outside of Ichiraku, arms crossed over his chest, for nearly a half an hour. Sai got there nearly thirty minutes early, chest pounding with trepidation like it often did when he knew he was about to see Naruto.
Holding aside the curtain for Naruto to walk through, Sai followed him, missing the blond's puzzled expression. They sat at the counter and gave their orders and waited patiently for their food.
"Hey," Naruto said as he looked over at Sai, "you aren't wearing a belly shirt today."
Sai looked quickly down at the black t-shirt he had chosen. It had been a gift from Naruto for his last birthday. Well, the day they decided was to be Sai's birthday since no one actually knew when it was. He thought back to the day when Naruto, outraged, said he would throw Sai a birthday party on May 8th and that it would be his birthday from then on. The party had been fun with a surprising amount of those he had come to call friends showing up. But the best part was when he'd opened the gifts from Naruto, finding the t-shirt, along with a new drawing pad and set of inks. Scrawled inside the pad on the first page, Naruto had written, "Draw some cool stuff in here and show me when you're finished, dattebayo!"
His birthday had been the day Sai first began to suspect his feelings for the other boy.
Idly, Sai raised his fingers to the leaf emblem on the shirt. "Was this the wrong thing to wear for the occasion?" he asked.
Naruto's eyes grew wide. "No no no, it isn't that at all! It's just rare that I see you out of your typical get-up."
Sai continued to stare at him.
Raising his hand to the back of his head, Naruto smiled, clearly embarrassed. "Besides, that's a rather handsome shirt if I do say so myself."
Sai smiled back at him. "It's my favorite one," he replied honestly. "I try not to wear it too much so it doesn't get ruined."
Naruto felt his face flame, but was saved from having to respond as their food had just arrived.
After they finished eating, Sai paid the bill and they stepped outside. The sun was bright and high in the sky and it was pleasant out.
"What would you like to do now, Naruto?" Sai asked him.
"Oh, did you still want to hang out?"
"That's usually how this goes, isn't it?" Sai asked innocently.
Confused, Naruto raised an eyebrow, but let it go. He was used to Sai and his social skills by now to not bother questioning it. "Sure," Naruto said slowly. "Well, I do need to stock up on supplies and pick up some groceries. Would you like to come along?"
Smiling, Sai nodded.
As they walked to the shinobi supply store, Naruto felt Sai's hand brush against his own. A jolt ripped through his body and he wrenched his hand quickly away. He looked over a Sai who appeared passive, and figured it to be an accident. But the way those two fingers had curled briefly against his palm…
It was hard to read Sai a lot of the time and Naruto figured this to simply be one of those times.
At the supply store, Naruto picked up a few packages of kunai and some gauze, which was always handy considering how often he ended up injuring himself. Next they stopped at the grocery store and grabbed everything on Naruto's list. Sai insisted on carrying the bulk of the groceries at the check-out and, rather than arguing with him, Naruto relented. Normally, he would take it as a threat to his strength, but he didn't really feel like fighting today. That, and they were in public surrounded by civilians.
Sai followed Naruto all the way back to his apartment and paused to kick off his shoes before setting the bags on the kitchen counter. Wordlessly, Sai began pulling the groceries out of the bag, opening cupboards to put the dry goods away.
"You don't have to do that, Sai," Naruto said, slipping the milk and eggs into the fridge. He pulled out the old ones, long outdated, and tossed them into the nearby garbage can.
"I don't mind," Sai said. He was smiling again, which Naruto found odd as the boy never smiled that many real smiles on an average day. Granted, the majority of the time Naruto spent with Sai was either on missions or at the training grounds, where smiling was hardly a priority.
After they finished putting the groceries away, Naruto set about making tea, telling Sai to wait in the living room. Instead, Sai had hovered around the kitchen, beginning to make Naruto a little nervous.
When it was ready, Naruto poured the tea into two old, chipped cups and handed one to Sai before leading the way into the living room. He sat at the end of the couch and was a little startled to find that Sai sat down so close to him that their thighs nearly brushed together. Naruto could even smell Sai, the scent of whatever he put on that day, and it went a bit to his head.
Naruto found himself at a loss for what to do, to say. So he prattled on like he was wont to do. "Sorry the apartment's so messy. I've been pretty busy lately, you know? Though I did finally get my laundry done this morning."
"It's okay, Naruto," Sai said. "I've been over when it's been worse."
"Heh, you're probably right," Naruto replied with a sheepish grin.
"I am," Sai said, turning to face Naruto. He was so close that Naruto could feel Sai's breath ghosting across his cheeks. Naruto felt his face flame at the close proximity of the other boy.
Without warning, Naruto saw Sai lean forward and press his lips to Naruto's. He lingered there for a moment before Naruto hastily stood up, his face even redder than before.
"W-what was that?" he asked.
"It was a kiss, Naruto," Sai said simply, lips curling up in amusement. He thought it was cute how Naruto was blushing over their first kiss.
"I know it was a kiss, Sai, I'm not stupid. What I don't know is why you did it!"
Sai's face blanked like it always did whenever he wasn't sure how to proceed in a social situation. "I'm sorry," he said vacuously. "I thought that's what people did on dates."
"Dates?" Naruto asked, eyes widening.
"Yes, dates, Naruto." Sai stood up so they were at eye level. "I asked you to have a meal with me, which I, the asker, paid for. We took a walk around town and I carried your groceries for you. We came back to your apartment to be alone. We both put on nice clothes and I even bought new cologne this morning. Date."
If Naruto could have graciously smacked himself upside the head, he would have. Repeatedly.
"I'm sorry, Sai," he began, rubbing his hands over his face. "I honestly didn't know this was a date. I didn't realize that this was what you were asking."
Again, Sai's face blanked. "I think I should go then, Naruto."
"Hey Sai, wait! We should talk about this."
But it was too late. Sai was already out the door.