The first thing Sai drew was a caterpillar.
At the time, his name was not Sai and his parents were not dead and he had not yet learned seventeen different ways to kill a person with the pencil he was coloring with. He was three years old, the sky was blue and the smile gracing his adolescent features would be the last honest one he made.
Though Sai’s teenage mind could no longer recall what his name was at that time, the color of the pencil he was holding, or the sound of his mother’s voice when she praised his art work, he remembered that the expression he was making was so very appropriate for the situation. But, for the life of him, Sai could no longer remember why. The emotion that had been associated with the smile no longer existed inside the youth.
Ten year later, when Sai’s ‘brother’ passed away in a small, sterile hospital room, the dark haired boy’s name was still not Sai.
“In Root, you have no name-”
And as the warmth left his companion’s hands, he looked to his sempai, as he had been taught to do every time he required guidance, in an attempt to ascertain the proper expression to put on for the situation. The man made none. Stony features did not change once the beepbeepbeep of the heart monitor faded from the symphony of background noises that made up the atmosphere of the cold, too cold, room.
There was a constricting in his chest he could not explain.
“- you have no feelings –“
And so Sai made the only expression his still young mind could recall: he smiled.
Sai once looked up ‘smile’ in a dictionary.
Main Entry: 2smile
1 : a facial expression in which the eyes brighten and the corners of the mouth curve slightly upward and which expresses especially amusement, pleasure, approval, or sometimes scorn
2 : a pleasant or encouraging appearance
The words meant nothing to him and nothing in his memory stirred. The emotion was lost to him.
Sai once asked Danzou-sama how it was that his parent’s death came about. Danzou told him it didn’t matter anymore.
“- you have no past -“
He’d brought his picture book to his brother’s room the day he passed away. As the older boy drew his last breath and Sai failed to produce the proper expression to convey his feelings for the dying boy, the image in his head of the middle pages of his book faded from his imagination, barely noticed in the midst of more prominent events.
“- you have no future.”
“All that exists is the mission.”
- Current Mood: blah
“Ninpou - Choujuu Giga.” The words fell from Sai’s lips as a mumble – void of inflection, as if it had been said as an after-thought.
A flick of his wrist and a black-and-white lion composed of elegant swirls and artistic curves leapt from the scroll. The missing nin’s eyes widened as he rounded the corner, running from the three ANBU that were closing in on him, only to be presented with the monstrosity Sai had summoned forth with ink and paper.
Sometimes Sai tested the limits to his ability. He once drew a boy, similar to his late ‘brother.’ When the figure rose from the thin material, stepping into reality, Sai was disappointed. The boy assumed a fighting stance and awaited orders. All he could create were tools.
A shrill scratching sound echoed through the otherwise silent night when the missing nin attempted to skid to a halt, sandals grinding pebbles and bits of street debris into the ground. There wasn’t enough room and he’d been running too fast. The fugitive fell onto his back, a few feet away from Sai’s creation. In an instant, the figure was on him. Shortly after, the criminal was effectively silenced.
Sai once painted a picture that with only one color – a dull, lifeless gray. As he did every time he created art that wasn’t to be used as a jutsu, he let his hand wander, his minute whims guiding the brush across the pure, white canvas. He looked at the finished product, at the varying swirls of grey paint forming no real figure, but existing there nonetheless, and felt oddly comfortable. It seemed oddly appropriate for him.
Moments later, the three ANBU agents came running silently into the street. Smile plastered to his pale features, Sai stepped over the fallen ninja’s corpse to meet them.
Anytime Sai’s brother had gotten in trouble for one thing or another, he saw him offer up a smile. He came to realize that the expression made all situations easy to get out of. When his older brother died in that small, cold hospital room, Sai stretched a taut smile across his lips. Because he didn’t know what other expression to put on.
“Objective complete.” The leader of the four-man cell spoke through a white kitsune mask. Behind him, the other two ANBU agents bagged up the body of the missing nin, preparing to take it back to Konoha. “Return to the village.”
Nodding, Sai returned the scroll in his hand to his back pack and slipped his brush and ink cartage into the pouch on his waist. Behind him, the lion disappeared in a flurry of black ink and smoke – a dispelled jutsu.
He thought to himself that his jutsus are an extension of himself in more ways than simple weapons. They personify him. A life form created purely for the means of fighting, of accomplishing a task, and after that, their use being over, they disappear.
Sai sometimes wondered when he too would disappear.