Love is Blonde

Chapter 12

by Maria Szabo

(Disclaimer: Naruto and its characters belongs to Kishimoto Masashi and his publishers. This is a work of fanfiction, and no profit is being made save that of enjoyment.)

Author's note: Yeah, it's been awhile. Sorry, life got in the way.

That bastard had him by the throat with one hand. A weapon, probably a kunai, was pressed against the corner of his jawbone. The metal felt cold against his neck.

When Itachi made a grab for him, Deidara instinctively shut his eyes. He'd been caught up in Itachi's genjutsu before and didn't want to repeat the experience. He had been training his left eye since he'd lost to the Uchiha all those years ago, but at this point, he had been caught by surprise and he wasn't ready to try his luck against the Sharingan.

It was taking both his hands to try to wrest free of Itachi's grip enough to catch a breath. Otherwise, he could have merely pressed his hands against his sculpture and taken a bite of clay and then he'd have room to manuever.

"Ino-chan," his tormentor whispered, "Is that you in there?"

"What the hell are you talking about, hmm?"

The kunai dug into his skin. "I don't have time for this. Release him, or I'll kill the both of you."

In the distance, he could hear a dull thud on the forest floor.

"Kisame?" Itachi asked, keeping the kunai in place.

Deidara ventured a peek from behind the mechanical apparatus of his left eye. No luck. The bastard was still staring straight at him.

"Hey, I think Tobi fainted," Kisame's voice was colored with humor.

"What?" Itachi replied sharply and finally turned his head to look.

That was all he needed. He kicked out and managed to push Itachi off balance. The Uchiha recovered quickly, but not before Deidara's hand met the smooth clay of the bird (Shirotori, he called it, one of his better efforts, very nice lines, he was especially proud of the detail on the wings) and managed to take a bite of clay. It was only C1—he wasn't expecting to have to detonate—but it would be enough to let him get away.

With a grunt, Itachi came back at him. Not good, Deidara thought. He's got the advantage on me with taijutsu. I need to get some distance. I can't concentrate enough to make a bomb if I'm busy fighting hand to hand.

Obviously, Itachi knew that, too. His right elbow made a smooth line towards Deidara's head, followed by a left first towards his torso. Deidara managed to slap both away but Itachi had closed in the distance between them. When Deidara tried to get his leg in position to kick back, in a blink of an eye, he found his leg swept. Itachi fell on him, hard, pinning him beneath his knee.

"So what's going on here? Are you two finished or what?" Kisame's hand was poised on the hilt of the greatsword slung across his back, his fingers tapping impatiently.

"Is he out?" Itachi asked, burrowing his knee further into Deidara's back. If he didn't already know that Itachi was a walking icicle, he would swear the cold bastard was enjoying this.

Kisame kicked Tobi's figure a couple of times. There was no movement. "Yeah, looks like."

"Hmph," Itachi eased his grip on Deidara's arm and rose. "I was certain it was you."

He fell face-first into the grass and came up spitting. "You son of a bitch! What the hell are you talking about, hmm?"

"Calm down. I needed to make sure."

"Of what?"

"That you weren't possessed." Itachi pulled his hand through his hair and sat down on the stone that Deidara had recently vacated. He looked tired. "That girl—she's from the Yamanaka clan. They specialize in mind-possession jutsu."

"What? Some kind of genjutsu?"

"Exactly. Takes a lot of specialized training. They usually work in interrogation. Surprised to see one out in the field."

"Probably still in training," Kisame suggested as he drew closer to take part in the conversation. He seemed to be finding the whole situation amusing.

Itachi shook his head. "A trainee that strong?"

"What? It's just Tobi." Deidara stood up and brushed off the grass and leaves he'd accumulated on his clothes during the fight.

The Uchiha looked up at him enigmatically. "He's stronger than you think. Was he acting oddly?"

He shrugged. "No more than usual. He's always weird, yeah."

Itachi directed his gaze at Tobi's fallen form. He seemed to be debating something internally.

"He is going to be alright, isn't he?"

"I think so," Itachi nodded slowly. "I've never experienced the Shintenshin no jutsu, but from what I understand, it has a time limit and certain weaknesses. Look at her. How long has she been unconscious?"

"Since…oh." Deidara's mind went back to the scene and how she had keeled over so suddenly. "That's right, yeah. Tobi wanted to drop her off at the hospital. Made no sense at all. That was her then, taking over Tobi, hmm?"

"Yes. The girl must have been desperate, to perform that jutsu in the open. Usually, the Yamanaka act in tandem with a partner. That's their weakness. But if they are protected, their jutsu can be very dangerous."

Deidara smiled. Ino hadn't done too badly, all things considered. If Itachi had not known about her family, she might have well gotten away with her scheme. Clever girl.

"So how long is Tobi going to be out?" Kisame asked. "We need to get moving and soon."

"Depends on the girl and how strong her jutsu was. I've heard her father can possess a man for more than a day. And I don't know what will happen if we just kill her while she's in another body."

He tried to imagine Ino-san's bright personality in Tobi's body. It might make for a better working environment, but he still preferred her with her curves, and soft skin and sweet-smelling hair. "Maybe we should wait and be sure."

"Do we have that kind of time?" Kisame growled.

Itachi's face showed no emotion as he slowly shook his head. He gestured suddenly to his partner. "Pick him up. We'll take Tobi with us for now and lay low. Deidara, you seem to have a soft spot for the girl…"

He flushed angrily but didn't deny it.

"Take her and wait until she comes around. That should mean she's back in her own body. Then dump her somewhere—I don't want you killing her until we know for sure she's out of Tobi's head. After that, we'll contact Zetsu and send him with a message on where to meet."

"Fine," he grumbled.

"Be careful," the red-eyed shinobi warned. "Bind her hands. Try not to meet her eyes. I don't think the Shintenshin is a eye jutsu, but just in case…"

"Yeah, yeah, I know my job, yeah."

Kisame pulled Tobi up and slung him over his shoulder, the one without his greatsword peeking over it. "It's a damn shame. Pretty girl like that. Would have been fun to play with her a bit."

"Just shut up."

The mist ninja's chuckle lightly echoed from the nearby branches. There was a brief scurry of footfall, a rustle in the leaves, and then Deidara found himself alone. He went back to his bird and considered the sleeping girl wrapped in its clay feathers. It was too dangerous to stay put while waiting for her to wake up, but if he took to the air and kept her where she was, he wouldn't be able to tell when she regained consciousness. Since he didn't know how her jutsu worked, he'd be leaving his back open to attack.

He pulled back the ends of Shirotori's tailfeathers and reached into his cloak, pulling out a length of cord. Binding Ino's hands, he scooped her up into his arms and climbed aboard the bird. With a sweep of its clay wings, the bird rose into the sky.

They had only been aloft for a few minutes when he felt her stirring against him. Her eyelids fluttered and she shook her head slowly.

"Shikamaru?" Her whisper was so soft that he could barely hear it above the wind.

It shouldn't have bothered him, but it did. "Who is Shikamaru, hmm?"

Her eyes flew open at that. Her hands pulled against her restraints and she tried to twist away from him.

"Now, now, Ino-san. Be good." He pulled her more tightly against him. "Don't want you falling, yeah."

"Dei-san…"

"Deidara, actually. But I don't mind if you keep calling me Dei-san. Sounds sweet when you say it." Itachi had mentioned avoiding her gaze, so he focused on her breasts instead. He had to look at something, after all.

"My face is up here, Deidara-san."

"And how do I know that you won't clobber me with some jutsu, hmm? Learned my lesson fighting that damn Itachi. I hate genjustsu."

"My technique doesn't work that way."

"Like I'll believe that, yeah."

Ino gave an audible sigh and he watched her chest shiver. Her breasts were such pert little things. "I'm telling the truth."

"Really. And who is this Shikamaru, hmm? The fat guy I saw in the clearing?"

"No. He's my other partner."

At that, he did look up and meet her eyes. "Ah, that's right. You Leaf shinobi work in three or four man units, don't you, hmm."

She obviously was annoyed. "Yes."

"So he's the one you usually wake up to?"

"Not like that!" Her face went bright red.

For some strange reason, her embarrassment cheered him. "Good. Now tell me the truth, Ino-san. Are you out of Tobi's head? Completely?"

Her eyes narrowed. "And if I am? Are you going to kill me?"

"I might." He leaned in very close. After all that had happened, he could still catch the scent of wildflowers on her.

She actually smirked. "Maybe I've still got a hold on him."

It was that smile that did it. She was in a bad way and she had to know that, but the girl wasn't about to stop scheming. If he wasn't careful, she'd take him down, commandeer the shirotori and fly her way back to Kohonamagakure. What a woman.

His head bent suddenly and he took her lips, smothering her startled cry. She tried to pull back, but he was having none of that. He slid a hand into that shining yellow hair of hers and held her in place as he explored her mouth further.

She was trying to resist, but he teased her a bit with his tongue and she relented, easing her lips open, sighing as he slipped his tongue in. She met it with her own, hesitant and unsure. He lost himself in her softness, until he felt the air swirling about them and realized that they were in freefall. The shirotori wouldn't stay in the air without some attention.

He drew back and focused his chakra, stabilizing their flight. Ino caught her breath in little gasps, which was quite the distraction.

"Dei-san, what are you doing? You don't really want…"

Growling, he tightened his arms around her and resumed his kiss, showing clearly what he did want. This time, Ino enthusiastically responded, opening her lips, twining her tongue around his. She moaned as he left her mouth and worked his way down to her throat.

"Dei-san…"

"Hmm?" The skin on her neck was so soft. He nipped it lightly.

"My hands…please…"

The part of his mind that wasn't figuring out a way to land and continue his seduction pondered her request. As much as he'd like to think that she wanted to use her hands on him, she was probably just uncomfortable or even planning a way to attack him. Still, it might be amusing to give her that chance.

He stole another kiss. "I warn you, if you're up to something, I'm very good at fighting off genjutsu."

"I bet you are." The girl raised her bound hands. He drew out a kunai and cut the bonds, waiting to see what she would do.

Ino looked down at her hands and back at him. He could see the indecision on her face. He watched her closely. Would she fight? Genjutsu, ninjutsu, taijutsu? He could easily counter any one of them, and certainly go on the offensive, but he wanted to see what she came up with.

She surprised him, snaking her arms around his neck, pressing herself against him, raising her face in invitation. Laughing, he eagerly accepted her offer, his hands moving over her body as if he was shaping another one of his sculptures. Her curves were delightful, exquisite, perfectly proportioned.

The clay bird sank lower in the sky as he lost himself in her. His excitement rose as he thought of the things he could teach her, the way her face would look when he showed her his jutsu wasn't just for making explosives, the sound of her cries driving him onward and how it would feel when he released himself, with the sweet scent of her curled up against him afterward. And there could be so much more. His mind swirled with the possibilities.

If only he had the time.

He stopped and took her face between her hands. She met his gaze directly. It was as if their masks had been removed and they were no longer shinobi, but simply a man and a woman together. In that single, perfect moment, he felt what love was supposed to be. It was truth and joy, need and acceptance. It was Art, in its purest form. And her, only her. Only now.

"Thank you, Ino," he murmured against her lips, as he drew her face back to him. Then he shoved her out into the open air.

Bang.