I drifted in and out of the conversation, with my fake smile on. Why was she blushing?? I would have to look it up later in my always-useful friend handbook.
She had stopped talking.
“Uh…Of course, Gorgeous…..”
I didn’t find this very true, but it kept her from hitting me.
“Great! See ya there, Sai-kun!” and she ran off.
I was puzzled. What had I just agreed to?
I stared at the quickly retreating back of the strange blonde kunoichi, Ino.
“Wh-what…?” This was puzzling. Emotions and friends only complicated things, but I was fairly sure that I could not retreat back into my old emotionless shell.
Hours later, at the library, after going through what felt like hundreds of books on the personalities and habits of teenage girls, I had finally understood…nothing.
Years and years of assassination attempts had made me extra-aware of any chakra traces, but I recognized the chakra that was seeping into the room. Only two people had this kind of chakra, and one would have no reason to come here, so this intruder must be….
She wandered over to the medicine section, selected a training book, and absentmindedly sat down across from me. Over the past few years, she had only grown stronger, at an alarming rate. It was hard to believe that she was once the weakest member of Team 7. It was also hard to believe that she had once detested Naruto. They were inseparable now, and there was a rumor that he was going to propose to her.
I lifted the book out of her hands, and stared at her in what I hoped was an imploring expression.
She got it.
“What is it?”
“Ino asked me something, and I kinda agreed...”
She raised her eyebrows.
“I don’t know what she asked!”
“You better hope that I don’t tell Ino-pig that you spaced out on her while she was asking you out!!”
Well, that would explain the blushing…
“Now that you mention it, she did say something about going to that ramen place with someone….”
I immediately felt pleased with myself. I guess this is what the book had called sarcasm. Huh.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
After leaving my old teammate, reading another book on flattery, and spending another 30 minutes practicing my smile, I was ready to go.
I pulled out a scroll, and made a huge Ink splatter on it. Maybe this was overdoing it, but the Friend Handbook said it was important to impress.
So, I closed my eyes and felt inside of me for the energy-like Chakra, then brought it up to my hands as I preformed the hand seals, one after another. With that, I rolled headfirst through the Ink, and opened my eyes to a very different setting.
“Sai! You came!!” Judging from her surprised expression, she must have had a lot of experience of being stood up.
Rubbing the back of my head as I had seen Naruto do whenever he talked to Sakura, his almost-fiancé, I smiled and said:
“Of course, Ino-Chan…”
She grabbed my hand and towed me to the ramen booth, skipping all the way.
That’s when I noticed what she was wearing—a tube top and a mini-skirt??? With fishnet and heels?
Ugh. Too revealing.
She flashed me a blinding smile, not noticing my hesitation.
She picked a spot in the middle, a seat down from a sleeping Shikamaru, with me next to the unconscious Jonin.
While I was scanning the booth, searching for any suspicious characters-some habits never die-I noticed a quiet dark-haired girl whom I had never seen before sitting in a corner, alone. This wasn’t unusual, many Genin and Chunin had left the village for training for a few years before I arrived and just now were returning. The odd thing was, she was my age, but she was dressed in modest clothes; something very rare it seemed in this village. She was wearing a fitted lavender hoodie that covered enough but was still appropriate for the summer weather, and a white skirt with leg warmers.
While Ino ordered her meal—all diet foods, I noticed—she rambled on about all the boys in the village, and how each screwed up their chance with her.
“Well, Sasuke left the village, so we can’t go out—long-distance relationships never work; Choji eats too much; Naruto is too annoying; Shino…is just creepy; Kiba acts and smells like a dog; Lee…not even going to go there….; and Neji is cute, but TenTen is my friend, so he’s a last resort; Shikamaru is just too lazy!; Gaara-“
Shikamaru had woken up.
“WELL, EXCUSE ME LAZY-ASS!!! YOU KNOW YOUR TOO LAZY FOR YOUR OWN GOOD AND-“
“-shut up, It's too bothersome to try and argue with you..."
They were leaning across me, as if they had forgotten I was there. So I took this as a dismissal and left, but not after I took one last look at the dark-haired girl. She was slumped over the counter, still not one person noticing her existence.
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