Ino felt the sun beating down on her harshly from the summer sun. She laid herself onto the towel on the ground. Sweat dripping from her pores.
Sai watched drawing out a sketch of the blonde. He glance up making sure to be careful of his details. She truly was someone very beautiful to him.
He filled out the drawing with shading letting her sunbathe. His took a quick glances at the others swimming in the lake from his shady spot under the trees.
She sat up grabbing more of the sunblock to apply on her skin. She glanced over catching a glimpse of the water shimmering. He let a small smile slip from his usual blank face.
He finished up the drawing looking at it. The details of Ino were uncanny. He touched the page letting him stroke the markings from his pencil. He got up from his seat putting away his supplies.
He turned slowly seeing Naruto dripping in his swim trunks. He smiled happily squeezing the water from his hair. "What are you doing here by yourself?"
"I just wanted to get some drawing done while we were out." He hooked the strap of the bag over shoulder. His eyes caught Ino turning over onto her stomach.
Naruto moved into his field of vision looking over at the blonde. "Oh, we're you watching Ino sunbathe? Do you have a thing for her?"
He looked over at her giving a blank stare. His mind tried to produce a proper answer without seeming to off his usual self. "I was just drawing what I saw."
Naruto nodded staring down at the bag. If he could put his hands on it, he could see what he was drawing. He moved aside letting him move out into the light.
Sai went walked by him moving towards the direction for home. Ino glanced up seeing walk passed her.
"Leaving so soon?"
He turned around showing a tiny smile curled at the end of his lips. "I need to get some things done. I'll see you later Ino." His heart was beating rather fast for his liking.
She smiled leaning on her arms. "Okay. I wish you could stay a little longer." Her words were definitely pleading for him to stay with them. "Oh well. Have a good time, Sai."
He made it to his home locking the door behind him. A sigh of relief escaped his lips moving through his home. He dropped his bag onto bed sitting beside it.
'What do I do?'
He pulled out the sketchbook looking over the drawing. His fingers caressed the image with his heart thumping loudly against his ribs. 'What is wrong with me?' He placed it aside grabbing one of his guide books to human emotions.
He read through what he thought was more of an illness until getting to the point of possible attraction to Ino. He scanned through the glossary finding the section of relationships and courting. He paused reading the text a loud.
"To attract someone for a romantic relationship; one must woo them with gifts of sincere love. For women; chocolates, perfume, flowers, and jewellery are ideal."
He placed the book down picking the drawing back up. "Being attracted to you is a lot harder than I thought." He placed it back down heading off to get something to eat.
He walked into a small shop having small grumbles of his stomach coming out of his lack of breakfast. He spotted his squad mate holding a basket with some of the foods of her choosing.
"Hey Sai." She placed down a carton of orange juice into her basket. "I thought you went with some of the others to the lake. Are you guys back already?"
"No, not yet. I came back alone." He took his glace over her shoulder seeing the items in the shelf. "Sakura?" he asked. "Can I ask you something?"
"Yeah, sure. What's on your mind?"
"How would you want to be asked to dinner?"
She let out a loud nervous laugh covering her face. "This is so sudden Sai." she said in a nervous whisper. "I didn't know you had feelings for me."
"I don't." he replied in his usual tone. "I want to know how a someone would like be asked out." He gave a small smile not noticing the insult on her features.
"I need to know what a to do to not embarrass myself."
Sakura stared at him trying to figure out what he was saying was really from his heart. "Sai...you like someone?"
"Could you please answer the question?"
"I think getting some flowers would make me feel special." Her thoughts automatically going to Sasuke doing the things she wanted. "Maybe a dinner with candlelight."
"So, it has to be something private? It should be dinner at home or in a restaurant?"
She broke out of her fantasy looking back up at him. "Oh! I guess you could say it is supposed to be very intimate between the people on the date. When you ask someone out, they like to be impressed."
He would have to go back to the book that he had read earlier. Romancing a person seemed to be more complex than he originally thought. The beautiful blonde came back in his imagination. He really did think her beautiful. Impressing her would be the goal.
"You still haven't answered me. Are you trying to ask someone out? I could help with that. All you have to do is tell me who they are." Sakura sounded so excited to find out that he was more human than she had anticipated.
He decided to stay silent. A bit of a protest from revealing his affections. His fingers run through his hair trying his best to not reveal anything. "I can't say. I don't know what you would think."
Her mind ran across every other girl that they knew. For a fact it wasn't her. Have there been any other girls that he could have possibly come across without her knowledge? Then it hit her. One of her dearest friends, and the only one he ever called Beautiful.
"It's Ino, isn't it?"
He remained silent not wanting to begin his words on his feelings. "I'm asking as a favour from you."
She grinned knowing she was right. "Why don't you ask her small questions? What kind of dinner is something she's been dreaming about?"
He nodded taking in the information. He patted her should beginning to walk away. "Thanks Sakura, I'll see you later."
She stayed standing there with her mouth still open. She sighed going back to her shopping. Her best wishes going with him.
The next day, he left early for the library. He liked Sakura's advice but, wanted to make sure there wasn't anything else he was missing.
He made his way to the back of the self-help section looking for books on romance. He paused seeing the rather large selection of them. He went through each title grabbing ten different ones.
He took them to one of the back tables to not be disturbed. By the time he was into the third book, he could hear a cough behind him.
Rock Lee stood above him looking at the books. "What cha readin'?" He picked up the book closest to him, reading it out loud. "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus."
Sai quickly snatched the title from his hands placing it with the others. "It's nothing more than research."
Lee's face lit up putting the pieces together."You're trying to get a date with someone! If you need help, Gai sensei is great with matters of the heart."
"He does? It would be easier to hear from people with experience than just a book. Okay, take me to him."
Sai place the books away with Lee's help. They made their way down to the training grounds catching Gai doing push ups with large sandbags on his back.
"Ah, good. Lee, throw another bag on. I'm starting to feel no struggle from my arms." He pointed with his chin at the other bags across from his body.
Lee did as he was told added another bag to the load. "Sensei we, I mean, he has some questions about how to get a date?"
Gai jumped up knocking all of the bags off around him. "Are you kidding me? Who's the lucky lady? You know, a woman loves a strong man?" He flexed having his suit look tighter.
Sai watched the display not thinking much of it. His own body was toned but, nothing like his. "Do woman really like to see a lot of muscles? I heard a lot of girls like Sasuke because he was cool."
Gai laughed giving his cocky grin. "Of course they do! They also love a man that can defend their village." He looked down at him feeling like he could work with him. "How much can you lift?"
"Um..." Sai wasn't sure how to reply. He knew it was a bit but, not sure in an exact measurement. "I couldn't tell you to be honest."
Lee smiled getting excited. "That's fine. Gai can train you in doing more than you think." He picked up the bags looking at their elder. "Right sensei?"
"Is that what he's calling it?"
Kakashi stood by them with his hands stuffed into his pockets. His usual cool attitude present. "Are you asking dating advice from him?"
Gai moved towards his friendly rival, feeling pretty confident in his own experiences. "I know plenty about woman! I am still the hottest stud in the village. I just, like my job and my students more."
"Of course you do. I'll tell you right now, Sai. If you want to get a girl to like you, become friends with her friends. They put in a good word for you."
Sai stared at all three of them. The books he read and the advice given were never the same. He had to figure a way to make his feelings known right.
Kakashi handed Gai some money giving a nod." That should be everything I owe you. " He put his arm around the member of his squad, walking with him. "Let's talk over lunch."
Kakashi paid for their meals sitting across the table from Sai. He handed him a bottle of milk tea, placing it next to his meal. "Start talking. I'm not just a teacher. I'm supposed to be here as a mentor too."
Sai took the bottle, opening the container that was still steaming. "I'm trying my best to get used to my emotions. I like... I have, what I assume are feelings, for someone. I don't know what to do."
"Like I said, ask their friends. If you feel comfortable, you can tell me who they are. Sometimes, their parents will be a thorn in your side trying to date them."
Sai kept an eye on their surroundings, sighing. "Ino Yamanaka." He felt a warmth running throughout his chest. "She's beautiful and so nice. I've never felt this way before."
"Is that all?"
Sai was confused on his comment. "What do you mean Kakashi Sensei?"
"What else could there be for you to want to date her?" Without Sai's seeing, bites had already gone missing from the food in front of his teacher.
"Oh, well... She doesn't think I'm too blunt or too rude. She thinks I'm sweet and needs to feel comfortable in my surroundings." His eyes softened speaking about it.
"You really like her?" Kakashi looked over that the young man feeling his own melancholy feeling of the affection of young love for another. "I think you should as ask the ones she's around. I know, I keep repeating myself but, I know what I'm talking about. Now eat."
Sai finished his meal in silence, glancing up at the older man. He couldn't talk to Sakura. He already messed that up. Maybe Tenten or Hinata?
" Sai? "
"Go. Talk to them and not Lee. He's a good kid but, you need someone who can get inside her head."
Sai excused himself leaving for the opposite side of the village.
Tenten came out of the office with her new scrolls attached to her hips. She opened one reading over the small D rank work with decent pay.
"Tenten! I need to talk to you!"
She stopped moving seeing Sai running after her.
"Hey, Sai. What's up?"
"I was wondering if you could answer some things for me? I've been having some trouble with my expression of emotions."
She tucked away the scroll crossing her arms. His body language was off. The way he stood made her a little nervous. "Talk to me."
"I want to try and have a date with Ino..."
He stared at her, feeling a pressure on him for asking. She broke into a smile nudging him playfully. "Look at you! I knew you'd break through. It just took Ino to do it."
"I assume so. Can you help me figure out how I can ask her out on a date?"
She paused for a moment thinking about it. "Everyone is complicated in their own right. I think she has a thing for personalised gifts."
"Personalised? I'm not so sure what you mean?"
Tenten pulled a weapon from her hip handing it to him. Across the blade was her name and a small anatomically correct heart. "Neji gave me that when he asked me out. I thought it was the sweetest thing."
Sai studied the engraved pattern feeling his mind processing the idea. "I think she might like something like this. Where did he get it?"
She shrugged taking her tool back. "I don't know. If he wasn't out on a mission, I'd send you his way." She put it back on her hip pausing. "You could ask Hinata. She'd probably know, or, she can give you more advice."
Sai internally groaned not wanting to leave to find someone else to show his interests too. He gave a small nod moving passed her. "Thank you. I'll go talk to her right now."
She smiled waving a goodbye. "Make sure to tell her everything. She's a great listener with stuff like this." She let him go pulling back out the scroll she was reading.
Sai left thinking of where would be the best place to find Hinata. The first place he thought of was her normal place to spend her time. He made his way to the home of her sensei hoping she was there.
He tapped his knuckles on the door waiting for answer. He looked around the home seeing the small details of training with weaponry being down against the the nearby dumb set.
The door crack open with Kurenai standing at the door. A toddler on her hip playing with her mother's hair. "Oh, Sai! What I can I do for you? You know- nevermind, come inside."
She left the door opened pulling the strands out of Mirai's mouth. "No honey, don't eat that. So, do what do I owe the honour of your visit?"
He moved right behind her looking through home. He paused seeing Hinata pouring tea into cups from the kitchen when she spotted him. "Hello Sai. Nice to see you here."
"Nice to see you too Hinata. I was actually looking for you."
She poured a third cup placing them onto a tray. "Really?" She moved over to the kotatsu setting it down. "What can I do to help you?"
He took a seat next to Kurenai and Mirai. The toddler giggled reaching out for her toy on the table. Her mother handed it to her smiling. "I hope you don't mind her, Sai."
"Not at all sensei. She's gotten bigger since I last saw her."
"She has. She's getting bigger every single day."
Hinata handed off the cup letting her own cool off. "Why were you looking for me?"
"Oh, um..." he spoke looking over at Kurenai.
"It's okay. I've heard almost everything under the sun. Plus, Mirai's too small to know what's going on."
"I want to know how to ask Ino out."
Hinata couldn't contain her happiness for him reaching out her hand. She took his hand in her own squeezing it. "That's great news! Do you have any ideas?"
"I heard from Gai sensei to work out for the right strength to attract her. Kakashi sensei, told me to ask her friends. Sakura told me a romantic dinner and to ask her questions directly. Tenten said to make something with a personal touch. I've read multiple books and articles... I don't know what to do..."
Hinata nodded listening to all the advice given. "They're all kind of right. Everyone has their idea of what's the most romantic way to be asked out. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it doesn't."
"And sometimes, you learn of a different way to be asked you never thought could be romantic." Kurenai added her own opinion.
"So, who do I listen to?"
"That's hard to say. It's good to listen to others on how they did theirs but, it's better to do something you think is best."
Kurenai reached for her tea looking at them. "You should do something you think is romantic. Everyone has their idea of what they want. Someone could make something the other may not know they'd end up liking."
Sai grabbed his cup listening to her.
"I know, dating is intimidating. I think you can make any declaration your own." Hinata moved her legs to get more comfortable. "I think, you should do something you think would impress Ino. She'll love whatever you give her."
He took a sip thinking about it. He took his time to respond straightening up. "So, my art work could be something to think about?"
"Yes, that's a great idea!" Hinata clapped her hands together. "You can draw or paint something special for her."
"That would really work?"
Kurenai nodded in agreement. "That would make it personal and a lot sweeter."
Sai felt a bit of confidence coming up from the center of his core. "Maybe I could make her a drawing...have her see it before asking her out."
Hinata gave a nod agreeing. "You know what you're doing Sai. You just feel like you don't. You just needed some ideas to help you."
He drank the rest of his tea feeling the small tug from the toddler. He press his index finger to her nose as a distraction. She sneezed loudly giggling afterwards.
"Aw, her nose is sensitive. "Kurenai picked her up, kissing her daughter's cheek over and over." I think you know what you're doing too. You just need to take a breath and ask when you're ready. "
Sai thanked them for their time and the tea leaving the home. He took in a deep breath heading home to plan everything out.
Ino opened the window to her room having her hair still a mess from waking up. She yawned and stretched feeling the warmth of the sun hitting her face.
A bird caught her attention making her doubt if she was awake just yet. The bird was an obvious creation of Sai's handy work.
"What the hell?"
The bird moved closer placing a small rolled up the pieces of paper on her windowsill. She took them watching it fly away. She opened them up reading the message first.
Could you meet me at the training grounds at noon?
She smiled closing up the message. She picked up the second sheet. It was the drawing he had done the other day at the lake. She whistled at herself seeing the detail and talent.
She walked towards the mirror in her room looking at her reflection. She grabbed her more casual dress wanting to look good. After a shower and some breakfast, she left towards grounds as told.
As she moved across the grounds, she noticed another living drawing waiting for her. The dog approached her carried a basket with flowers. Red carnations, gardenias, and morning glory.
It waited for her to follow right behind. Sai stood in the center of an unoccupied part of the grounds. He saw her approaching giving a small gasp.
"Sai...what is all this?"
"I wanted to ask you something...will..."
He struggled with his words watching her move closer.
"Tell me what's going on?"
"Ino, I do think you're more than gorgeous. I was hoping I can have you meet me for dinner? Like...as a date."
She smiled staring down at the flowers and the living drawing. "Sai...this is so sweet. I don't know what to say."
He began to panic, assuming this was a rejection. "So you're saying no?"
"What? No, no, no." She placed the basket back into the mouth of the dog. She reached out holding his face in her hands. "I would love to."
He broke out his confusion feeling a bit pride to having his small touches mean something to someone.
She kissed his cheek holding onto his hand. "So, tell me about our dinner date?"