Heart of an Artist, Hands of a Killer

All he could hear was the soft chirping of birds. His head ached horribly, and that merely magnified the birds' songs. It reminded him faintly of the chidori—which made him frown. He didn't open his eyes because the lids felt like lead, and the effort to move them was too much.


His entire body throbbed. He tentatively moved his fingers, and they felt stiff. He blinked, realizing that he could only move the fingers on one hand. Which meant…he tried to move his left arm, and realized that it wasn't there.

Just my luck, yeah.

He tried to move his right arm but found that it was impossible to do so as well. For a second he feared that perhaps it had been torn off in the blast just like the left. But he shook it off. He couldn't even think properly, the pain was slicing through his body like knives. Maybe it was the fact that his right arm was twisted beneath his back in a very uncomfortable position. The bone that jutted from the skin on his awkwardly bent arm was stabbing into his back, the sharp edge digging into the tender flesh between his shoulder blades.

He gritted his teeth, before he breathed in deeply. He regretted it a second later as he let out a choked growl. Blood bubbled up to his lips and he coughed. One of his ribs was close to penetrating his right lung. It burned, and he had to breathe in short breaths to keep the pain from becoming too overwhelming.

I hope I got that damn Uchiha, yeah. He thought drowsily as he opened his eye and slowly moved each of his limbs, checking the extent of his injuries. A broken ankle, third degree burns on his torso, neck, and arms—or rather the arm he had left, a few torn ligaments, and he could feel the blood dripping from the large hole in his stomach, where a once-brown tree limb jutted from the skin, now covered in the sticky crimson liquid. He could see the blood dripping off the limb and onto the ground beside him.

He gave a soft sigh as he looked to the singed ends of his ponytail.

He got my hair. Great, yeah. He thought ruefully, glad he still held onto his humor.

To tell the truth, he was surprised he had survived at all. That had been a suicide jutsu. He'd felt the large fluctuation of chakra from Uchiha Sasuke when the blast began and had a sinking feeling that the bastard had survived.

I wonder if Tobi made it out. He was always good at running. Deidara let himself give a soft chuckle—but it ended in a wince as he coughed up a bit more blood. Doesn't matter if I lived this long anyway, I'm just going to slowly die here in a pool of my own blood. How anticlimactic. So much for going out with a bang, yeah.

He sniffed the air, and his nose wrinkled at the charred smell of burnt trees and foliage. A thick layer of dust from the shattered stones lay across the floor of the forest. Of course, he couldn't really call it a forest anymore. Forests usually consisted of live trees, not uprooted trunks and splinters.

How long have I been unconscious? He thought to himself, A few hours? Days? Nah, it couldn't be days. I'd have already bled out, yeah. He gingerly pulled his arm out from beneath him and felt a wave of nausea as the sudden movement jostled the fractured bone.

He gritted his teeth, surprised he hadn't bit his cheek. But the metallic tang of blood remained in his mouth from what he guessed was internal bleeding. He looked up at the sky and knew that night would soon fall, judging by the direction of the shadows from the remaining trees. The air was surprisingly cool, in stark contrast to the warm blood that continued to leak from his side.

I'm going to freeze out here without a shirt on, yeah. He thought wryly. He was angry at himself for his weakness. Twice he'd been bested by an Uchiha. Twice. First Itachi, than his annoying little brother.

He wondered if Sasuke would find out anything about Itachi's whereabouts. If anything, Deidara hoped that Itachi killed the little twerp. At least the less annoying of the two would live.

If the others found out about this I'd never hear the end of it. He inwardly groaned. Beaten by the weakling of the Uchiha Clan. Damn, yeah.

He could just imagine the taunting he'd be in for from Kisame when he got back to the base. He blinked, giving a derisive snort. He'd be lucky to live out the night. He'd never make it back to the base. Kisame's lame jokes would have to be told to someone else.

Not Itachi though, he'll just end up Tsukuyomi-ing him to death or something, yeah. Deidara frowned. Tsukuyomi-ing? Is that even a word? Apparently severe blood loss was starting to take its toll. He was drifting between light and darkness. His eyesight was a bit blurry, and every time he blinked it was that much harder to force his eyes open again.

He heard solid footsteps to his right, coming from the tree line. He turned his head to the side, squinting. The movement made his head swim. His eyesight was too blurry for him to make out anything from this distance as the person came closer.

The footsteps were hesitant, wary. But they soon became more confident, crunching down upon the pebbles and twigs that littered the clearing. A breeze blew past Deidara, ruffling the burnt ends of his blonde hair.

He felt more than heard the person kneel on the ground beside him. A hand hesitantly touched his chest before it was jerked back as if burned. He almost laughed. Was his rescuer that afraid of blood?

He finally forced his eyes to focus, and found himself looking into absinthian depths. Their color seemed to mesmerize him. He didn't believe he'd ever seen anything that shade of green before. They were…innocent. He hadn't thought such innocence existed in this world. It was so out of place here. Her skin was pale, and the light from the setting sun seemed to outline her in a golden glow.

Is this an angel, yeah? But he didn't quite believe it. After all, angels were supposed to have wings, weren't they? And surely they didn't have ridiculously large foreheads, either.

And most angels wouldn't have their hands around his throat, would they?

He looked back up into her eyes and saw that they had hardened. They were a dark, sparkling emerald now, no longer gentle. Yet still innocent, he mused. The pressure upon his neck wasn't too strong, as if the person were hesitating.

Maybe she's an angel of death, yeah. He thought acerbically, before darkness consumed him.