Found

Z is for Zombie

O O O

Conversations with Kisame often had a very distinctive pattern: A trickle of information first, and then a flood, and then he'd shut himself up completely, and then the entire truth would come out. He kept true to this through and through.

The conversation that followed the next snowy morning between a dreary-eyed Deidara, a thoroughly excited Sakura, and a nonchalant Kisame went as smoothly as the fates would allow. How did you get here, Kisame? I walked, and sometimes caught a ride in a wagon, and at one point I pretended to be a monk because nobody would refuse service to a monk. How did you make your living here, Kisame? I worked in the docks for a while, and an old man asked me if I could help him do repairs on his country store. Is that where you got this bar, Kisame? Yes, he gave me this as payment. How did you get your business license, Kisame? I don't even know what that is.

But, maybe most importantly, what do we do now, Kisame?

Kisame took a polite drink of hot tea. "You can stay here for as long as you want. It's not hard to find work in this city. They don't usually ask for identification."

Deidara cast a sideways glance at Sakura, propping his feet up on the table. "You're stuck with me now, yeah. Here's where we start a life." Kisame promptly pushed Deidara's feet off his table, and Deidara nearly fell out of his chair.

"I know," Sakura said, running a hand through her hair. Dirty. She needed a shower. "I knew that when I came back. Remember?" She watched Deidara try his best to hide a smug smile.

"I'm glad you're back, Sakura," Kisame said around a grin. "I didn't think you and Deidara would last at all."

"Neither did I," she replied, to Deidara's dismay, and then laughed. "But stranger things have happened. Things are always changing, you know? It's not fair to limit yourself."

The congregation split shortly thereafter, with Kisame stamping through the snow to work on the fishing boat and Deidara and Sakura scouting for jobs. By some grace of the powers above, Sakura had been able to hold onto her medical certifications, and so she was very easily given a job at a local health clinic. Deidara, by comparison, didn't find a job at all, and he dragged his feet back to the bar, moody as all get out and demanding a pint of beer from Sakura, who threw a mug at him and told him to get his own damned beer. What did she look like, some kind of subservient housewife? Fat chance.

Eventually, though, as Sakura soothed his hurt feelings with gratuitous helpings of kisses and sex and occasionally some home-cooked meals (Kisame still cooked better, but Deidara was not about to say that out loud), he was able to bandage his wounded pride enough to try one more time. And weeks later, Deidara landed a job in carpentry, which he announced by standing on top of the bar, much to Kisame's chagrin, and telling everyone within earshot that his minimum wage job kicked the shit out of their minimum wage job, much to Sakura's.

So there they were left, two jobs and two people, and they found a little apartment in the "bad" side of town, but if they kept to themselves nobody would bother them, and they could take anybody on anyway. Things slowed, and it took some getting used to at first, this whole not-being-attacked-every-waking-second thing, but the consensus was that it was…nice.

"We should have a kid, yeah," Deidara said one night, five or so years into the relationship, and Sakura considered the wedding ring not on her hand and then she considered the earnest, high-pitched tone of Deidara's voice. She tapped a pen against her lip, looked up at the ceiling, and then shrugged.

"How much do you want one?"

Deidara squirmed. "A lot."

"Why?"

"Why not?"

"We're not too young?"

He gave her a very blank look. "I think we're old enough, Sakura. We're not getting any younger, as I'm sure you've noticed." With this said, he tugged at his cheek, simulating dropping skin. "Before long you won't even be able to have any!"

"That won't come for a while."

And then silence, for a time, and Deidara stood form their little table and disappeared down the hall, presumably toward the bedroom. Sakura was left alone to her crossword puzzle, and she figured the conversation was over for the night.

Deidara appeared again, standing behind her. "Please?"

"You don't have to beg me. I want to too."

"Then…why don't we?" He rubbed her shoulders mock-suggestively. "It's not like the baby-making process is difficult, yeah…"

She put down her pen and held his hand all the way to the bedroom.

O O O

Two years, one pretty little baby boy named Roka, with daddy's hair and mommy's eyes and the potential for great things in the form of teeth and tongues in his bare-palmed hands, not to mention the world's smallest wedding ceremony later, Sakura was teaching a very flustered Deidara how to bake a proper cake. It was Kisame's birthday, and he was bringing his new girlfriend to celebrate. Taro was busily attempting to keep Roka from knocking over his city of blocks, and Roka was lying on his stomach, swatting at said blocks.

Deidara licked the spoon and stuck it back in the mixing bowl. Sakura made a face at him and told him not to mention this to any of their guests. "Now take Roka and give him a bath."

"I'm going to brush my teeth, too, yeah."

"Good."

"And I'm going to use your toothbrush."

"Have you ever not used my toothbrush?"

Kisame and his appropriately curvaceous girlfriend arrived, celebrated Kisame's birthday and the wrinkles forming near the corners of his eyes and the laugh lines around his face, and ate all of the cake. Deidara whispered to Kisame that he'd licked the spoon and put it back in the bowl, and Kisame whispered back that it tasted positively delicious.

So they all sat around on the couch, Deidara bouncing Roka on his knee, Sakura showing Kisame and his girlfriend baby pictures, and Taro eating everything in sight, and talked about the past. They talked about the day Deidara and Sakura had first met ("It was a lovely sunny day, when…"), the day Deidara proposed ("It was the most beautiful ring she'd ever seen, yeah…"), and the day they found Kisame again ("There were tears of joy in everyone's eyes…"). When Kisame's girlfriend bid them a polite adieu and Kisame a happy birthday, they talked about Konoha, the Akatsuki, Naruto, Yamato, Itachi, Sasuke, Kakuzu, Sasori, Hinata, and all of the zombies of their younger years that had been left behind.

When the night ended, somewhere around eleven o'clock, Kisame and Taro returned to their warm beds above their warm bar. Sakura put a long-asleep Roka in his crib and shut the door softly, and joined Deidara in the bed.

They ate eggs and bacon and miso soup together the next morning while Roka ate some cereal and spilled the rest onto his high chair.