Okay. So. DeiTobi has quite recently morphed from a tiny obsession to the OTP TO END ALL OTPS (in my book, anyhow), and I am on a Mission to Convert the Masses. Therefore, I give you this (you may have seen it on LJ, as it is a request piece. I have another DeiTobi up there as well. ::grin::) I sincerely hope y'all enjoy, and you become as rabid as I am. XD

Teach Me
Tobi is a very eager student, though he hasn't quite realized Deidara is an unwilling teacher.

"Deidara-senpai, show me how you made that clay explode, would you?"

"No," Deidara says, barely glancing up from the book in his lap. "Go get yourself killed or something."

"Er…I kind of like being alive, if it's all the same to you. I could kill someone else, though!"

Deidara snorts. He has no doubt about that, what with Tobi's current track record—so far, he's managed to set the leader's special shag carpet on fire, nearly poison Zetsu (with bug repellent, no less), and make every mission they've been assigned end in disaster (and a lot of unnecessary, albeit amusing, deaths by means of Deidara's bombs).

"Yeah…go do that, un."

Tobi returns to headquarters later on in the evening with a kitten.

"Look! I was going to kill him, really I was, but we became friends. Isn't he cute?"

Deidara sneezes, and his eye tears up so much he has to retreat to the bathroom for tissues.

He is allergic to cats. Severely.

And because he is allergic to cats, he spends the remainder of the night barricaded in his room with a humidifier cranked to high, irritable and cursing the universe for allowing Tobi to exist in it. Wasn't natural selection supposed to weed out stock like his early?

Load of bullshit, that's what Deidara thinks.

But the kitten is gone in the morning.

"I gave him to Itachi-san," Tobi explains brightly at Deidara's questioning look. "He seemed like he could use a pet."

Itachi. Itachi and a kitten.

Not a fat chance in hell.

At least Deidara doesn't have to point out the fact that Itachi lives under the same roof as Deidara and there would still be cat hair everywhere if Itachi, by some miracle, chose to keep the kitten. He'll let Tobi have his delusions.

"Deidara-senpai, why do your palms have fangs?"

He's sitting at a table strewn with carving tools and clay in his studio, working on a new batch of bombs. Tobi happened to sneak in uninvited while his attention was elsewhere.

"Shut up," Deidara says. "I'm concentrating, un."

Tobi moves away from a shelf full of completed pottery and comes to the table. He picks up a tool that resembles a cheese-grater. "Are you a mutant? I saw this show once, about mutants—"

Deidara throws a lump of clay at Tobi's head. It bounces off his mask and lands with a wet plop on the floor.

"Mutant…fucking moron…"

But he's speaking with more contempt than he feels. He just gets annoyed easily and overreacts (though expressing indignation on being called a mutant is justified, surely).

Tobi retrieves the clay and puts it back on the table.

"I didn't think you were," he says quietly.

"Do you miss Sasori-san, Deidara-senpai?"

They're outside, watching the sun sink beneath the horizon. Deidara likes to do this every now and then, when his creativity hits a dry spell. The sky during a sunset is similar to an explosion, after all. So much color, so much activity.

This time, Tobi had fallen in beside him silently as he walked, and Deidara continued in the direction of his favorite spot on the top of a small hill, more or less resigned to Tobi's presence. He wondered how Tobi had found him, how he'd known Deidara would wind up here, but he wasn't about to ask. Tobi asks enough questions for the both of them, anyway.

"Are you kidding? That guy was an asshole. The world's a better place without him, un."

Funny, how he thought the same thing about Tobi not too long ago. He isn't as certain anymore.

"But you admired him, right?" Tobi plucks out a particularly long blade of grass and twirls it between his gloved fingers. "I'd miss you."

Deidara studies him, agitated and dumbfounded simultaneously; agitated because Tobi understands him a bit more than he's comfortable with, dumbfounded because the guy is in Akatsuki and playing with grass like a grade-schooler. Deidara can't remember doing anything like that, ever. Not even as a kid.

"Sasori-danna was an amazing artist," he admits grudgingly. "But we argued a lot. He didn't appreciate my concept of what art is, and I guess…I gave him slack about his, too."

Why is Deidara telling him this? What is it about Tobi that makes him want to blurt out everything that comes to mind until he's emptied himself completely?

If he's not careful, he'll lay a huge fucking egg, here.

"Listen, I—"

Tobi hands him the blade of grass. Deidara stares down at it like he's never seen grass before, then stares at Tobi.

"Admiration is a strange thing," Tobi says.

Deidara doesn't fail to notice the wistfulness in his voice.

"Yeah. It is, un."

He twirls the grass between his fingers.

"Why did you join Akatsuki?"

A pause stretching the length of an ocean, and just as wide.

"I…I don't know," he says finally.

"You don't know?" Deidara raises an eyebrow, takes a bite of his pear. "That's messed up, un." And suicidal. He wants to shake him, knock some sense into that naïve head of his. He's had plenty of time to form an opinion of Tobi's personality, and his…his purity really bugs Deidara. A lot.

"Well, I do know. Sort of." Tobi rests his chin on his knuckles, and while Deidara can't see his expression, he figures it's pensive, or at least as pensive as Tobi can manage. "It's hard to articulate, but…I think I needed to validate my existence. Does that make sense?"

Deidara contemplates telling him that he's crazy, and of course it doesn't make sense, idiot, however…it does make sense. More sense than it should.

"You eat pears?"

"Oh…um…I've never had one before," Tobi says, sounding surprised. "I like apples, though."

"Che." Deidara scrunches his nose and tosses the fruit to Tobi. "Pears are better, un."

He can't help but be smug when he notices Tobi only eats pears now.

Tobi is on his stomach, hands bunched so tightly in the sheets his knuckles are white. But not the rest of him. The rest of him is flushed and sweaty and Deidara almost wishes he knew how to paint so he can capture this image, eternalize it.

He lowers himself so that his weight is supported on his forearms and kisses Tobi's bare shoulder. Tobi shudders, presses his face further into the mattress to muffle his cries.

"Teach me," he'd said, standing over Deidara's bed with this look in his eyes that was anything but innocent, his hair a disheveled mess, as if he'd been tossing and turning. He held an old teddy bear by the leg like a child would a blanket.

Tobi actually slept with a teddy bear.

"Please, Deidara-senpai." He'd crawled up on the bed and straddled him, and Deidara hadn't moved, not even when Tobi set the bear to the side and placed his palms flat on his chest, bringing his mouth close enough for their breath to intermingle. "Teach me."

His lips were dry and cool, and he tasted a bit like syrup—must've had pancakes for dinner.

"You're crazy, un," Deidara had said, stroking Tobi's cheeks with his thumbs.

But he doesn't know who's crazier. Deidara has a lot of crazy in him, too.

He wouldn't be doing what he's doing right now if he were sane. He wouldn't be fucking Tobi, of all people, wouldn't be slamming into him like an animal, wouldn't be hearing those noises he made and liking it.

Deidara's definitely crazy.

But it's a good kind of crazy.

Tobi stays in Deidara's bed afterward, and the teddy bear stays with them.

When Deidara wakes, he's the one holding it, not Tobi.

And then he starts to think.

Maybe Tobi's been the one teaching him all along.