|Learning to Swim
Author: katiekitten PM
Diving off the deep end. DeiTobi fluffyness, through and through. Rated T for harsh language near the end. Complete. Two shot.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Drama - Deidara & Obito U./Tobi - Chapters: 3 - Words: 12,224 - Reviews: 21 - Favs: 22 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 05-31-07 - Published: 05-29-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3564356
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Learning to Swim.
The sweet, warm smell of freshly baked bread wafted through the halls of the Akatsuki headquarters, rousing the sleep deprived members from their exhausted slumbers and summoning them to the kitchens. A certain blond haired missing nin's nose twitched at the delicious scent that invaded the room, sending urgent alarm signals to the brain to get the body out of bed now. Deidara grunted as his brain complied, slowly raising his head as he blinked blearily around his room. The small enclosed space that he shared with his raven haired partner was fixed in a state of complete disarray, clay sculptures and orange masks filling up whatever space that was not covered by clothes. The bed opposite his had long been abandoned, its covers twisted from its occupant's hasty departure. Two blond eyebrows raised as the former Iwagakure ninja connected his partner's absence with the smell that caused the sound of curious feet to echo in the halls. Was Tobi baking again?
With a well practised sigh, he levered himself out of bed, wincing slightly as his bare feet landed on the cold stone floor. Pausing briefly to grab his hair tie, he pulled his blond hair into its customary pony tail as he made his way out of the door. He had hoped that yesterday's cooking experiments by his partner had been just that, experiments; a concept that had piqued Tobi's interest for the day but would soon be discarded like the rest of his farfetched, if not darn right impossible ideas. What he did not expect was that upon the discovery that the Akatsuki ate mostly pre-prepared food and take-away, that Tobi would take it into his little heart that this would just not do, and become determined to show the fast-food junkies the wonders of home made meals.
It had started with a selection of salads waiting for them in the front hall as they departed on their various missions, each one lovingly prepared by the masked ninja while the others finished their breakfasts. Later it was a small buffet laid out at lunch time on the kitchen counter, with snacks varying from rice balls to chipolatas for those who remained at home base, guarding it against unexpected visitors. The day carried on in very much the same way, small cakes appearing on the Akatsuki's pillows, a fresh pizza already sliced and divided onto different plates, each person's preferences taken into account with the toppings chosen. It downright confused Deidara why the fool tried so hard to cook for everyone, even if he had, he admitted grudgingly, enjoyed the change. Why did it matter what they ate? If it was edible, it was fine by him. He'd asked Tobi that much when they had retreated to their rooms at nightfall, crossing his arms while he waited for a reply. The masked ninja had just looked up, smiling in his odd way that was obvious through his mask. "Because I care." He'd replied simply, before skipping into the bathroom to prepare for bed.
Deidara had stayed up for a while after that, just lying on his bed and thinking over Tobi's response. Because I care. Why did he care? Why did it mean a damn thing to him? A small voice whispered in his mind about compassion, feeling for others, but he pushed it aside, sneering at the thought. We are the Akatsuki. We don't care about anyone else. Still confused about Tobi's answer, he satisfied himself with the assurance that this was probably only a one day thing, and dropped off to sleep without another thought on the matter.
Except it wasn't.
Deidara's forehead crinkled into a frown as he padded into the kitchen, last nights thoughts rising once more in his mind as he observed his partner, in a pink apron, he might add, bending down before an oven, carefully pulling out a tray filled with freshly baked loaves of bread. Itachi and Kisame were already seated at the table, being the first to adjust to the new situation they waited patiently as Tobi set the bread to cool, Kisame fiddling idly with a loose bandage on his sword. A tired Zetsu slowly made his way through the wall closest the door, his yellow eyes blinking in the sunlight that flooded through the kitchens open curtains. Covering a yawn with the back of a hand Deidara made his way to the table, settling himself on a chair besides Itachi. The Uchiha paid him no heed, his bloodred eyes watching Tobi movements passively as Deidara's partner started to slice the bread. Noticing the slight scrape Deidara's chair made as he sat Tobi glanced his way, lowering the knife as a huge smile once more beamed at his from beyond the mask.
"Deidara Sempai!" He cried, turning to face him fully. "I didn't expect to see you up so early! If you wait just a little longer, I'll have plate of toast prepared. Just need to wait for the grill to warm up." As he finished speaking a timer dinged and he turned immediately back to the cooker, yelping slightly when he saw the smoke that began to rise from one of the many pans he had balanced on the hob. Deidara didn't give him a reply, preferring to simply raise an eyebrow as the wannabe chef picked up a spatula of all things and preceded to use it to scrape underneath whatever was burning on the pan.
"Sorry Kisame-kun! Your eggs are a little crispy on the bottom, but they should still taste good…"
Kisame brushed off the apology with a grunted 'it's fine' as he raised a hand to swipe at his eyes. Deidara tried and failed to hide a smile. Kisame was not a morning person. His eyes snapped back to Tobi as he rushed by in a flash of black and orange, carefully depositing a set of eggs onto Kisame's plate. He was back a second later with another batch and some bacon, which he served to Itachi as Hidan and his partner came through the door. Deidara watched in amusement as Tobi rushed to serve the newcomers and Zetsu, turning into an orange and black blur as he darted through the kitchen, turning this, stirring that. It was only when Kisame stared meaningfully at his plate did Deidara look down to see the pile of steadily cooling toast that had somehow ended up there during the morning chaos. He delicately picked up a piece, carefully examining it as his stomach rumbled slightly in anticipation. It looked delicious, butter melting and slowly soaking into the only slightly crisped bread, exactly how he liked it. It took all he had not to stuff it in his mouth as he wondered how exactly Tobi could have known… Putting it aside to join the ever growing pile of questions he meant to ask his partner later, he dug in, knowing even as he took the first bite that it was going to be good.
He was wrong.
It was better.
The rich taste of butter slightly sweetened with a dash of cinnamon raged across his tongue, catching him off guard. Feeling his eyes go wide in surprise he looked down at his plate and proceeded to shove the rest into his mouth, watching as the others did the same. It wasn't long before his plate was clean and he found himself feeling happily full, hand-mouths smiling in their place on his lap. He let himself sit there for a while as the taste faded from his tongue, knowing full well that he probably had this stupid grin on his face and didn't care one bit. He hadn't tasted something that good in a long time.
"Enjoy it, Deidara Sempai?" Tobi came trotting over to meet him, apron long gone from around his neck as he peeled off the plastic gloves he'd placed over his normal black ones. Knocked out of contented state, Deidara hastened to remove the smile from his face, replacing it with his customary scowl he reserved for Tobi alone.
"It was alright, un." He told the masked nin, pulling himself to his feet and repeating the speech he gave Tobi yesterday. "But I don't see why you are still determined to waste time doing women's work. You are part of the Akatsuki now; we have more important things to do, un." He paused, unsure if his words were having any effect. Damn that mask. "Like researching our next target…?"
"Oh, the fire country bounty?" Tobi's head titled to the side the way it always did when he posed a question. The same, infuriatingly immature way. Deidara frowned slightly, mood darkening, nodding slowly in reply. Tobi seemed to brighten at the movement, although how Deidara knew this he had no clue. "I worked on it this morning! Our target is currently in the wave country, from what our informants tell us." He pointed to a couple of letters lying on the nearby table, their coded letters strewn across the table top. He conveniently missed Deidara's incredulous look. "He's currently staying in a Hotel on the southern island, Hotel Babel I believe." Deidara strode towards where Tobi was pointing and took a look at the letters himself, noting how Tobi had sloppily written over each and every single coded word. Imbecile. What if someone else had found that? Resisting the urge to berate Tobi further on the qualities of cautiousness, he skimmed through the note and decided that although it wasn't the neatest job in the world, it was thorough. After reading them through twice he slipped them in his left palm mouth to be destroyed and turned back to Tobi.
"We'll need to leave in the next two hours if we are to get there sometimes in the next two days, un." He summarised, glancing up at the clock over the door. "You start packing, I'll alert sir leader. Make sure you pack for at least a week, un; you never know what'll happen in Wave Country. Got it?"
He waited as Tobi gave him a brisk salute and dashed away, just stopping himself from throwing something at the steadily retreating back as he headed towards the door. God, the kid was annoying. Akatsuki members are supposed to be calm and collected, not a bumbling idiot like him. Wondering yet again why he had to been paired off with such a person, he went to confirm the trip with sir leader.
Six hours and a couple forests later, Deidara relaxed as much as he could while sitting on a wet bench on a not entirely sturdy boat, adjusting his scope's range until he could see clearly into the horizon. The sight of yet more waves did nothing to improve his mood and he slumped further into his seat, glaring at the mast before him. After flying without a break over the forests surrounding their base, they'd finally made it to closest city, a small port at the edge of River country. It was a quiet place for the most part, filled with soft spoken fishermen and the raucous cries of seagulls. They'd managed to bribe one of the wealthier fishermen to ferry them to the country of the Wave, a difficult feat for Deidara in particular. It had taken all of Tobi's patience, which was considerable, to convince him that no, blowing the smug fishermen to kingdom come was not going to solve their problems, only escalate them. Subtlety was not his strong point. After a single tense moment when the entire town had nearly gone down in flames, an agreement was reached and passage granted. And all he could do now was wait.
He shifted slightly to make himself more comfortable, huddling deeper in his coat and once again thanking the fact that no-one in this town had recognised the legendary insignia of red clouds on black, although to tell the truth, he would've been surprised if anyone did. The coastal town was small and isolated, and rumors about the Akatsuki were unlikely to have travelled this far yet. But that hadn't stopped him feeling as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders when the town had finally sank out of view. Looking around him, he searched for his wayward partner, the orange masked ninja having scampered around the boat like a five year old in a toy store. He found him, unsurprisingly, at the Stern of the ship, watching the ripples in the water caused by the ships passing. As if sensing his gaze, Tobi turned, fishing something out of his jacket before bounding towards him and placing it on his lap. Raising his eyebrows, Deidara looked down at the lump that looked suspiciously like a carefully wrapped, if not slightly squashed sandwich and back up at the obviously eager boy before him.
"What's this?" He asked, cautiously prodding it.
"Lunch." Tobi replied, obviously taking his reply as a good sign as he plonked himself on the bench besides him and pulled out another package for himself. Deidara watched with amusement as he cheerfully unwrapped it and took a deep bite out of the sandwich, sending a wave of crumbs tumbling down his chin. Mentally shaking his head at his antics, not noticing his bad mood had lifted at Tobi's appearance, he opened his own and began to eat. They sat in silence for a while, the only sounds the soft lap of the waves on the edges on the boat and the sound of two sandwiches disappearing into hungry mouths. Scrunching up the wrapper Deidara shoved it into one of the cloaks many pockets, telling himself to remember that it was in there later so he could throw it away as he gazed at the horizon, sighing when he saw that there was no land in sight. They still had quite a ways to go when they finally did land, having to find the right island and ultimately the right hotel. Only once they located their target could they start to figure out a plan, there was no point in doing it before seeing the surrounding area. In the meanwhile…
He glanced over at Tobi again. Overly cheerful, maturity of a five year old Tobi with the heart of gold. Was that the only reason he strove so hard? Could there be another, more plausible cause? The pyromaniac leaned heavily towards the final conclusion, not seeing how someone could care so full heartedly for a group of people he barely knew, especially as most of said group despised him. The boy sat on the edge of the bench, watching through his garish mask the movements of those around him. The sun, that was only just reaching the two thirds mark of its trip across the sky, bounced its rays boredly off the orange monstrosity, making it flare a brighter, more painful color than it already was. He scowled at it briefly before turning back to the front, the crinkle of paper in his jacket reminding him of the lunch he had just consumed. He was hardly surprised by now how much he'd enjoyed it, after being exposed to Tobi's cooking over the last two days he'd found that he actually quite liked it. He himself was actually a pathetic cook, the reason most commonly being that he got bored of waiting and decided to 'speed up' the situation by throwing a clay bird into the mix. After blowing up the kitchen for the third time in one week, sir leader had forbid him from touching an apron again, as well as forcing him to eat the charred remains of his meal. Maybe he could get Tobi to teach him sometime. Yeah. That'd be good.
He shifted again, utterly bored. The sky was clear, depressingly devoid of any clouds to lift his mood. Catching himself about to whistle in the vain attempt of having at least something to do, he searched his mind for something to distract him. His eyes fell on Tobi again. There's no time like the present, right? He could ask him about cooking lessons now, maybe he could talk him through a recipe or two. Ignoring the insistant voice that informed him in no uncertain terms that he was going to suffer in hell for this, he geared up his courage and blurted it out.
Tobi looked up, surprise emanating from him before a smile returned to his face once more. "Yes, Deidara Sempai?"
Deidara paused, fidgeting with the hem of his cloak as he figured out the best way to word his question. "…Tobi, un, you know how you like to cook?" As soon as the words were out he realised how stupid he sounded and swore under his breath. But it was too late, the words were out there, and all he could do was wait for a response.
"Yes, Deidara Sempai?" Tobi just waited patiently, face turned to his expectantly. Deidara cursed again, wondering why he'd even asked in the first place. But as he was this far…
"I was wondering, un, if you could, you know, teach me how to make something?"
Silence reigned for a moment. Deidara scowled at the horizon, unconsciously watching Tobi from the corner of his eye. Well, answer already, dimwit.
"Sure!" Deidara looked up at him, relief clear on his features. Tobi was smiling back; he swore that if he could see the boys face, the grin would nearly split it in half. "I'd love to! Cooking is really easy once you get started, kinda like learning how to swim as it's something you don't forget in a hurry once you know-"
"Learning how to swim?" Deidara repeated incredulously, earlier uneasiness forgotten. Tobi brushed off the comment easily.
"Or riding a bike, it's the same sort of concept. Oh Deidara Sempai, we're going to have so much fun! We can make waffles, and roast dinner, maybe even a soufflé… We'll start you off easy, of course, making cupcakes and the like…"
Tobi rattled on about the wonders of baking for the next half hour. Deidara nodded at random intervals, only half listening as the boat steadily made its way towards their destination. At times like this, it was better to just let him talk.
Deidara groaned, rolling over in a feeble attempt to get away from the piercing sound of his partners voice. Let me sleep a couple more minutes, he pleaded mentally, keeping his eyes squeezed shut. It's not like-
Deidara's eyes sprang open as he crashed to the floor, struggling to his feet and blinking as he realised that no, he wasn't in his bedroom as he expected, and yes, he had in fact just rolled off the bench. Tobi hovered in front of him, wringing his gloved hands as he worriedly checked to see if he was hurt. The ground lurched beneath his feet, forcing him to take a couple steps forward to maintain his balance. Tobi, who'd expected the movement and had managed to keep his footing, wandered after him, shoulders slightly hunched.
"You were sleeping," Tobi began breathlessly, "and I didn't want to wake you, but I had to because I had to tell you that we were nearly there and I didn't-"
"Wait a second, un." He held out his arm in an attempt to get his partner to stem the never-ending stream of words pouring out of his mouth. "We're nearly there?"
Tobi, who shut up at the movement and was currently regarding the outstretched appendage with caution, nodded. Deidara turned on his heel and went to the side of the boat, spirits rising when he saw the tell tale smudge of green on the horizon. Thoughts of telling Tobi exactly why he had been sleeping and the time honoured quote: "When someone starts yawning, stop talking about yourself" fell away as he grinned at the sight, running a hand through his rumpled hair automatically. He grimaced slightly at the feel of dried on salt caking the strands, a gift left from an unexpected water dip the night before. There was a reason he hated the ocean, and it wasn't only because it could dampen the power of an explosion. Thank whatever god there was for the simple blessing of him having a strong stomach. Happy just to stand there and watch as the land got steadily close, he almost didn't notice the slight movement out of the corner of his eye that let him know the Tobi had stepped up to join him. Almost.
"Mm?" He didn't look up, content at watching the waves roll around him.
"What does it mean to love?"
Deidara looked up, startled. Whatever he had been expecting, it most certainly had not been that. But there was Tobi, head titled to the side again, waiting patiently for an answer. Sighing in annoyance, Deidara looked to sea again, face furrowed in a slight scowl. What did it mean to love. What an odd question! Why Tobi was thinking about such a thing here, he had no clue. But as odd as it was, he had to admit it was a good question. Love? What was it, exactly? He knew lust, describing that was easy. It spanned from desire, the desire of another's touch, kiss, flesh. But love… That was a different. Made up slightly of lust, but more of other emotions. Friendship. Compassion. An emotion that didn't come easily to Deidara in his best days. He moved forward to lean against the boat rail, scowl fading into a thoughtful expression. He'd seen examples of it at many different points during his career, that time when a woman threw herself in front of her children in an attempt to shield them away from what she considered a threat, giving her life to protect theirs. A foolish thing, which all too often got you into worse trouble than you would have been if you'd just left things well alone. To care so much for one person that you were willing to give your life to protect them, and to do it for no other purpose than love, not for money, not for power. To stand by them no matter what befalls either of you, to love someone so much that you'd tear themselves a part just to see them smile. In essence? To love is…
"To care for someone so much that you will do everything in your power, even if it means to give up your life, to keep them safe and ultimately happy, un." He murmured, not taking his eye of the horizon.
"I see." Tobi's footsteps back towards the deck faded into the background, leaving Deidara alone.