D is for Diatribe
O O O
Deidara was panicking.
Someone was wrong; something was definitely wrong, because it shouldn't be hurting this much after so long.
He tried to sit up, rolling away from the cradle of gnarled tree roots he had slept in, but almost his entire lower abdomen violently protested. An unbidden groan of pain forced him to lie back down in the grass.
Kisame, who'd been awake since dawn, the crazy bastard, stood over Deidara's supine form. He scratched absently at his chin, which caused drips of water to plop to the ground. "What happened to you?" he mumbled.
Deidara scowled. "The girl happened to me," he whined, resting one palm on his thigh for emphasis.
Kisame smiled deviously. "Did she, now?" He glanced to where Sakura lay, asleep and again bound by chakra-resistant ropes.
"Not that, yeah," Deidara hissed. "When she kicked me. It's still sore."
Kisame shrugged. "Have her heal it. That's what we brought her along for, isn't it?"
Deidara chanced a look over at Sakura, trying to simultaneously ignore his pain and the dread at her possibly inflicting more damage at the mere mention. "I don't think she'll do it, yeah."
"Then don't give her the option." Kisame waved a hand as he walked over to the girl, rousing her from her sleep. "Make her. You're the villain, aren't you?"
He snorted. "I don't like the term 'villain.' I prefer 'antihero.'"
"That doesn't work," Kisame carefully pointed out, just as he started untying the ropes form a half-awake Sakura. "You've been the hero a couple of times."
Deidara watched Sakura's strong hands—hands capable of decimating his bits into oblivion—as she flailed them against Kisame, though without any chakra behind them. "When have I saved anybody, yeah?"
"You saved a kitten once."
"Oh, that was once, and it was only because I was feeling unnaturally generous that day!"
"The fact remains," Kisame chided merrily, depositing Sakura at Deidara's side.
Deidara winced away. "No, really, Kisame. I don't want this."
"If you don't get healed properly, it's never going to work right again."
"And if she just happens to crush it beyond recognition, it's not going to work at all."
"What is going on?" Sakura shouted, glaring between Deidara and Kisame, respectively. She rubbed the angry red marks that the ropes had cut into her wrists.
"When you kicked Deidara," Kisame muttered, putting his hands on his hips, "you damaged something."
Deidara sat up and began to scoot away, frowning at the dull ache of soreness resulting from his movements. "No, no, it's alright. I can just bear with it, yeah."
"Be a man," Kisame said, touching Deidara's arm with the toe of his sandal. He turned once more to Sakura, who looked horrified. "Heal him."
"And where, exactly," she squawked, scrunching her face in disgust, "is it that I'm supposed to heal him?"
"Where you kicked him," Kisame said simply, as if it was the easiest thing to accept in the world.
Deidara whimpered a little. "That's not necessary, Sakura," he pleaded, shaking his head at his captive. "I'm fine, yeah!"
"Well, I would hope so!" She crossed her arms. "Because I'm not touching you!"
"You don't have to touch him at all," Kisame said, wrapping a slow, deliberate hand around the back of Sakura's neck. "But you do need to heal him." He bent low, his mouth beside her ear, and tightened his hand a little bit. "Undo the damages, or you'll find yourself in a similar predicament."
"Kisame, don't do this."
"Deidara, shut up." Kisame released Sakura harshly and stalked over to Deidara, who was in the process of standing up and running. He caught him by the back of his cloak. "You talk too much."
"But this isn't just any body part!" Deidara protested, even as Kisame forced him to the ground. "This is my d—!"
"You can't be serious," Sakura mumbled. "This is disgusting."
"Don't do it, yeah," Deidara said as Kisame sat down, cross-legged, and held Deidara pinned with a vice-grip on his torso. "I'll kill you when I get up. I swear to you—I'll blow us all up. I'll—"
"You can't be serious," Sakura repeated grimly, inching toward Deidara.
Deidara bucked. "N—no! Vile beast!"
"Alright, that's it. I'm not getting anywhere near that thing!"
"As if it's going to jump up and bite you!" Kisame snapped back, as Deidara struggled incorrigibly beneath his hold.
Sakura choked on nothing.
Deidara wanted to die as he watched the girl, nervous and shaking like a leaf, bend over him. She glanced once up at Kisame to see if it was all a joke, but Kisame's expression was stony and serious. So she took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and then set to work.
He bit his lip.
She mumbled something to herself and then reached up to grab the zipper of his now-grungy cloak, dragging it down for what seemed like hours. Her other hand rested comfortably on his hip.
Each side of the cloak was pushed carefully aside, and the sounds of Kisame's suppressed laughter were muffled by Deidara's heart pounding in his ears. There were two reasons he was so anxious. Two very, very good reasons.
It seemed, then, that she'd gone into some sort of full-out medic-mode, because she kept muttering things to herself, furrowing her brow and pushing at little areas of his sides, which were quite ticklish.
He jumped a little.
She glanced up immediately, a glint set in her eye that Deidara supposed only medic-nin got in their line of duty. "Did that hurt?"
He shook his head.
She returned to her exam, and Kisame laughed.
"Ticklish? Mr. Antihero?"
Deidara chose to ignore that statement in favor of intently watching Sakura poke and prod around his inner and outer thighs. And this probably would've have worsened the number two reason for his anxiety if the pain hadn't suddenly flared.
He grimaced, and she stopped instantly. "Hurts?"
She didn't say anything more, just continued with her medical process that only she seemed privy to. She untucked his mesh shirt, as well as the gray tank beneath that, and unbuttoned his pants.
He tensed. "What are you doing?"
Her mouth barely moved as she spoke. "You'll get better results if I heal you directly."
Kisame couldn't help a roar of laughter as the ridiculously serious girl of the group tugged the rest of Deidara's clothes below his hips.
A lance of fear shot through Deidara, and he tried to, unsuccessfully, wiggle away again, but Kisame's grip was practically bruising. He had to wonder whether or not the shark man was actually enjoying this.
And then Sakura touched him.
…Okay, in all fairness, it wasn't really a touch. Her skin never connected with his, and for this he was infinitesimally glad. But her chakra, cool and a mint green in color, certainly touched him. She didn't look fazed at all as he glanced up at her face. She just kept stoic and unfettered, completing another mindless task.
And in seconds, he was already feeling better. He relaxed.
"The damage isn't too extensive," Sakura said, as if she hadn't been the one to inflict such an injury in the first place. "Just some bruising and minute swelling."
Kisame laughed uproariously again. "Minute," he mocked, closing his grey eyes in mirth.
Deidara grit his teeth. "She said the swelling was minute, ye—what are you doing?"
Sakura didn't flinch. "Checking the surrounding area for any more damage."
He gave her a horrified stare. "Stop that!"
"Ogling and fondling!"
"I'm not ogling you, and I'm certainly not fondling," she snapped back. One of her fingers twitched against something peculiarly sensitive, and Deidara clutched the grass beneath him automatically.
"I didn't ask for a physical, yeah!" he fought, keeping a close eye on the movement of the medic-nin's hands.
"It would do you some good! When's the last time you've had one?"
"It's none of your business!"
"The hell it isn't!" Sakura shouted, clenching her fists after, thankfully, pulling away from her "patient." "You've both kidnapped—"
"—stolen," Kisame corrected.
"Whatever! You've both taken me with you to become your personal little nurse, have you not?"
Kisame nodded and Deidara huffed.
"And I accept," she continued, putting a hand to her chest for emphasis, "that I'm just going to have to wait it out. Because neither of you are going to let me go anywhere any time soon, and when I do try to escape, all you do is knock me out and carry me someplace else."
A quick grin tugged visibly at Kisame's lips. "Well, at least you figured it out on your own."
Sakura gave a resigned sigh. "Yeah." She set back to healing Deidara, and this time her chakra wasn't cool and relaxing, but impeccably warm.
Deidara squirmed uncomfortably. "Are we done, yeah?"
She shot him a glare that could freeze over hell, itself.
"Apparently not," Kisame laughed.
After a few more seconds of trying to beat back hormones, Deidara was very, very glad to see Sakura pull his clothes back to cover him. She stood up.
Kisame followed suit, dropping Deidara in the process. "Where are you going, little girl?" he ground out.
"To wash my hands in the spring!" she shouted back. "I suddenly feel very dirty."
Deidara stood, struggling to pull his pants completely to their appointed spot at his waist. After tucking in his shirts, he zipped up his cloak, and then dusted himself off as if nothing had happened.
And that was just it, he reminded himself. Nothing had happened. She'd repaired something she'd damaged in the first place—and it felt damn good, if he did say so, himself—and that was the end of it.
He sat down atop a fallen tree and watched the girl, kneeling in front of the spring and scrubbing her hands as if she'd dipped them in poison.
Kisame sat down beside Deidara, snickering under his breath. He leaned a little toward him. "She really doesn't like you."
Deidara batted him away. "See if I care, yeah."
The two of them watched as Sakura pulled out her hands from the water, stared at them for a moment, scowled, and then ducked them in once more.
Deidara folded his arms huffily. "It's not that bad!" he shouted to her.
She glared at him over her shoulder.
O O O
"There's a town to the north of here," was all that Deidara had to say to make Sakura excited.
It was the second night that they were force to sleep in the great wilderness of the eastern coast, trying to find one dry spot on the ground. Most of the landscape was marshy and so dense with foliage that a person couldn't settle if they wanted to, but there were those few islands that they found.
This island was one such stretch of semi-dry land.
She sighed and tried to think of ways her predicament could possibly be worse.
Well, she could have been captured by Itachi and Kisame instead of Deidara and Kisame. Itachi had far less pity and was far more of a bastard.
And that wasn't saying that Deidara wasn't a bastard. Oh, no, he was as much a bastard as the rest of the Akatsuki.
He was just…less so.
Or, she pondered, continuing with her inner lamenting, the blue man could have killed her instead of simply knocking her out.
No, nevermind. That would have been a bit better.
She sighed and rolled over, coming face-to-face with the enemy. The enemy being Deidara.
He was asleep, of course, but that didn't stop her from feeling far too nervous, and she sucked in a breath.
One tattered blanket to lie on. Three bodies—four, actually, seeing as Kisame was big enough for two. Ten feet vertically, six horizontally. If she laid flat on her back, she'd be sandwiched uncomfortably between a seven-foot-tall shark man and a significantly shorter blond man.
Oh, yes. Had she mentioned that said blond man had mouths on his hands? Mouths that he just loved to flaunt in her presence, apparently, because whenever she happened to glance at them, it seemed they'd lick the front of their teeth, stick out a tongue, or simply smile at her. It was enough to make her stomach churn.
And she couldn't leave Kisame out of this little piece. He was the giant-mother of all oddities. For heaven's sake, he was blue. He had gills and really tiny eyes and probably had a dorsal fin under that mop of navy hair, if she ever got the chance to look.
But…they weren't unattractive, per se. She'd never seen anyone with a better body before she'd seen Kisame shirtless—okay, he was naked, but she wasn't about to say that out loud—and Deidara's face far outshone the effeminate beauty of Sasuke's while somehow managing to keep his masculinity intact.
Hell, if all the Akatsuki had bodies and faces and as much grace, albeit stilted, as these two, she wouldn't mind seeing them. And if she were drunk enough, she might even contemplate joining, if only to stare at the unique handsomeness of each battle for dominance among the pack.
Out of the corner of her eye, she managed to glance at Deidara, still peacefully sleeping. With the hair over his left eye falling to reveal the scope, she was intrigued enough to stare at him for quite a while. She may have been bound, but he was still helpless. Deep asleep, without any immediate weapons on hand. He might as well have been naked.
Then again, there wasn't much she could've done. Every time she so much as yawned, she heard the hitch of Kisame's breath, and then felt his shoulders stiffen. Deidara may not have been completely on task, but Kisame definitely had things under control. If she tried to escape, he'd have her subdued quicker than she could blink.
She could imagine it now: she would stand up quietly, attempt to hop away, and then strong fingers would wrap around her ankles, forcing her to the ground.
"Where do you think you're going, little girl?" he'd ask—no, growl—and then proceed to drag her back to her appointed spot.
Deidara would be awake by then, staring at her in disdain, one eye closed lazily while the other examined her intently with the scope. "You need to work on your stealth, yeah," he would mutter, before folding his arms behind his head and pretending to fall back asleep. But really, neither of them would sleep, being slightly more distrusting than the average shinobi—and with good reason.
She tried, unsuccessfully, to wriggle out of the ropes at her feet and hands. With her own brute strength alone, there was no way she could break them. If only they weren't chakra-resistant… As soon as she got back to Konoha, she needed to ask Tsunade about some jutsu to dispel all that nonsense.
Her heart beat painfully at the thought of her teacher and homeland. Tsunade…Konoha…would she ever get back? What if they were losing the war? What if Sand and Sound had teamed up against them? And what of her friends? Countless had already perished, but countless had still remained when she'd been separated from her cell. Naruto, Ino, Shikamaru, Hinata, Yamato, Sai, and on and on. The list went on forever, it seemed.
Someone—she suspected it was Deidara—grunted something that sounded vaguely like "Tobi," and shifted slightly, trying and failing to curl the blanket around him.
She was still facing him, so she frowned and closed her eyes finally.
She admitted she was just feeling bad for herself. Deidara and Kisame had lost friends, too, and probably far more than she had. For them to join the Akatsuki…well, something tragic must have happened to them along the path of their lives.
The body heat of the two missing-nin kept her sufficiently warm, and after a moment, she fell into a dreamless slumber, for which she was grateful.
She was unaware of a pair of grey eyes, half open from fatigue, watching the rise and fall of her back as she breathed.
O O O
When Sakura awoke, she wished she hadn't.
Something—someone—was touching her hip. And this wasn't just a friendly "Wake up, we'll be late!" touch or a "Get your ass out of the sack before I bash your head in," sort of thing. This was an "I love you my darling, so allow me to trace circles around your navel, startlingly close to a very private place that should never be touched, and then tickle you awake."
And she hated it.
Almost scared for whose hand she would find down there—a large blue one or a pale one, but with a mouth on the palm—she glanced down, half in horror.
And just her luck. It was Deidara's. And her shirt had pulled up there, so the skin was bare.
When she looked up at his face, which was turned toward her, he was still sleeping. His hair was desperately mussed, his mouth was half open, he looked innocent by all accounts…but the fact still stood that he'd probably molested her in her sleep.
Breathe, Sakura. Okay. If she got up and ran, well, hop, Kisame would swing her by the ankles like a katana. If she screamed, they'd get mad at her, probably saying something along the lines of, "Shut the fuck up you stupid bitch!" Wouldn't be so bad, but she was so close to earning their trust…and then promptly escaping. She didn't want to break all that building up.
Of course, she pondered wryly, all she'd had to do to gain their confidence in her being a "good girl" was give Deidara an indirect handj—
A tongue flicked out from under the palm and licked her hipbone.
That was it. She screamed.
As expected, Kisame immediately grabbed Sakura, stood up, and pushed her behind him, crouched into a half battle stance and scanning the surrounding area wildly. Deidara was quick to follow, one hand gripping Sakura's elbow, even though she stood behind the brick wall known as Kisame, and slipped the other hand into his clay pouch.
For about thirty seconds, there was silence. Then a frog croaked somewhere.
"Uh…" Sakura squeaked, feeling far smaller than any mouse. "That was…sorry."
Deidara cast a sidelong glance in her direction. "For what, yeah?" He sounded deathly serious, his visible eye hardened and calculating.
Kisame didn't even move or talk, which was somehow more daunting.
She swallowed hard. "For…screaming. There's nothing attacking."
Deidara let out a long exhale of breath and relaxed, tucking the pouch back into some unknown confine of his cloak. "Why did you scream, then?"
She frowned, still hidden behind Kisame, even though Deidara had retracted his hand from her arm. "You were fondling me!"
Was that a blush? Was Deidara blushing?
"That's no excuse!" he roared, and Sakura slunk further behind Kisame. Red from anger. Right.
"You—it—the tongue licked me!"
"Its lips were probably dry!"
"It doesn't even have lips!"
"Shut up!" Kisame bellowed, and he reached out to slap Deidara's shoulder so hard that the blond man stumbled. "There's someone here."
Apparently putting his anger aside, Deidara's hand once more found its way to his clay pouch, this time fisting a handful of the stuff in his palms. Sakura watched in abject horror as he withdrew the hand, his little mouth slowly pulling it in with its tongue, where it began to mold.
A deep, threatening, almost territorial growl was crawling to a decent pitch in Kisame's throat, his hands fisting at his sides. Almost instantly, he glanced at Deidara. "Untie the girl."
"And if she runs, yeah?"
"Our lives are more important than her capture. Do it."
He seemed to agree, because he immediately knelt on one knee behind her and started untying the knots carefully. At last, the ropes fell away from her wrists and ankles, and she readied herself instinctively.
Deidara tucked the ropes in his cloak. "Coming from the southwest?"
Kisame nodded. "They're moving slow."
"They don't seem too threatening, yeah."
"We can't be too sure."
A man appeared from the underbrush, wading through the muck. He wore typical civvies, with long rubber boots. His hair, pulled up into a high ponytail, was an inky black. He stared at the three of them, holding a bag slung over his side. It was lumpy and stuffed to the brim with some unknown substance.
From a distance, even Sakura could detect the killing intent in his eyes, dark brown and full of malice.
He crouched a bit, sneered, the three shinobi flinched…
And he waved a friendly hand. "H-e-e-e-e-e-y there!" he shouted, bouncing merrily.
What was she saying about killing intent?
The next thing she knew, he was running up to them, and two more hands were pushing her insistently behind two Akatsuki shields.
She huffed. Now would be a perfect chance to escape…
"Well, hello!" the man said between breaths, wiping some mud off of his face. "It's not often that we get travelers so far out here!"
Nobody was watching her. Both of the boys were intent on not letting it out that they were, indeed, missing-nin. It would be all over if the man recognized Deidara's right-side-out cloak. She could just imagine the way Kisame would rip it to shreds afterward.
"Ah," Deidara started nervously, and Sakura watched the back of his head as he spoke, slightly amused by the way it bobbed up and down. And he was…quite tall. "Well, we like to take in the sights, so to speak, yeah."
It was obvious who the negotiator of the group was. Kisame was the brawn, Deidara the brains, and Sakura was…
Sakura was about to be free of these two pests for the rest of her life, hopefully, if she ever got around to running.
The man laughed. "Not much to see 'round these parts!" He rocked back on his heels, glancing over his shoulder. "Just the port town. We get lots of goods passing through our hands." A delighted look came over his face, and he grinned broadly. "You should come and stay for the night!"
Sakura took a hesitant step back, her gaze still glued to a head of blue hair. She kept an eye on Deidara with her peripheral vision, but it was Kisame that she needed to worry about. He was always so alert, so hyperaware of her and every move she made. It would be flattering if it wasn't hindering her possible freedom.
She took one more step back, and neither of the male shinobi flinched. This was it. This was the time to make her grand exit. And all she had to do was make one great leap, get off to a steady start, and then bound of into those thick marshes.
The toe of her boot dug into the ground as she made ready to dart clean off. And just as the muscles in her calves ached and twitched to run, Kisame grabbed her around the waist and tugged her in front of him.
"Great!" he said, smiling widely. The man didn't seem fazed by his sharp teeth or other odd physical features at all. "Let me introduce my—"
"Your sister," Deidara said sweetly, taking Sakura from Kisame, who released her reluctantly. He held her now beside him, one arm slung sloppily—still firmly, though—around her shoulders. "And my wife. My name is Oonishi Makoto. I just married my Keiko, yeah."
The man's grin stretched farther, if that was even possible, and he bowed to Sakura-Keiko. "It's a pleasure, milady. I imagine it must feel startlingly wonderful to bear the Oonishi name."
Deidara's arm weighed heavy around her neck, tightening the angle at which it hung slightly, and she swallowed. "Yes. It's amazing. More than I could ever imagine."
At that moment, Deidara's hand gripped hers, and her heart jumped in surprise. "My wife and I are very happy, yeah," he said.
"And he," Deidara said, motioning with a nod of his head toward Kisame, "is my brother-in-law, Toshiba—"
"Yoshida Kenji, yeah."
"Wonderful!" The man clapped his hands and turned. "Well, then follow me! The town isn't too far off." And with that, he set off, hopping from rock to rock through the brown, muddy water.
Kisame started ahead, his jaw set into a tight line, and Sakura watched his back, trying to simultaneously wriggle her hand from Deidara's. The reminder that he had a mouth on that palm kept her mind from straying from the pressure his fingers were making against her palm.
He started forward, as well, practically dragging her along. They tailed Kisame, who was apparently following Man-Who-Looks-Dangerous-But-Isn't, AKA Mwldbi.
"Let go," she hissed, trying to tug her hand from his grip.
He turned slightly to scowl at her. "You think I'm enjoying this, yeah?" he asked, jerking their connected hands to make her stumble a bit. "Let's get one thing straight. I despise you."
"The feeling's mutual."
"Then I'm glad." He smiled briefly when Mwldbi glanced back at them and waved. When he turned back around, his smile faded to a sneer. "But for now, you're just going to have to pretend to be desperately in love with me." Here he paused. "And I'm going to have to do the same."
"Then why couldn't I have pretended to be Kisame's new wife?"
Deidara's footsteps hitched for a second, and Sakura felt an odd sort of satisfaction at this. But he didn't do anything else to indicate this comment had affected him at all. He only dragged her closer to him and continued on to the port town.
As they walked, Sakura stared at Kisame's back once more. Tall. He was very tall. Hell, they were both tall, but Kisame was almost freakishly tall.
She wondered what happened to his cloak. Why was he wearing rags? And didn't he used to carry around a huge sword?
So she asked.
"What happened to Kisame's cloak? Why is he wearing rags? And didn't he used to carry around a huge sword?" Sakura was never one for subtlety.
Deidara didn't even spare her a glance. "Why don't you ask him?"
She scowled at the half of his face she could see, which, admittedly, wasn't much considering his bangs hid most of it. "I would if you'd let me go."
He didn't even flinch. "No."
His hand, wrapped tightly around hers, but not so tight that it would hurt, became something of a warning for her of things to come. And she was honestly scared of what those things were, so she called out to Mwldbi tentatively. "Are we almost there?"
He nodded, but didn't turn. "You can see the gates in the distance!"
And sure enough, there stood the gates in all of their wooden glory, left forever open and welcoming.
Deidara and Sakura caught up to Kisame, who'd stopped before the gates and was watching Mwldbi. Said man was shifting the sack around his shoulder and smiling again.
"It exploded, yeah," Deidara whispered softly so that only Sakura could hear.
She turned to look at him, her hand instinctively flexing around his, even as he slipped it from her. "What did?"
A loud, booming sound like a fifty-foot bell being sounded from deep within the confines of the city. Sakura realized that it was the bells they'd used on ships. She'd read about them before.
Their assumed host laughed. "Welcome," he said, throwing his arms in the air, as if laying out his town to them in all of its worth, "to Sakanamura!"
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