"What Deidara didn't tell Tobi"
A companion piece to "Sculpting for Dummies"
(AN: the style is a little bit experimental for me, so I apologize if it reads awkwardly or anything like that. I hope it'll clear up some of Deidara's story, though.)
Disclaimer: Not my characters or my universe. Just my fucked up version of Deidara's early years.
Warnings: Um, violence, child prostitution, drug use, sex, and probably a few more unsavory things in this and the chapters to come.
Deidara didn't tell Tobi that, although he was an orphan, he hadn't grown up in an orphanage. In truth, he'd only spent two years in the Iwagakure orphan's home. He'd gone in at age five, when his parents left him, and gone out at the age of seven, when the 'armed conflict' with Konoha had started to get serious.
It hadn't been his choice to leave. He hadn't liked it there, but it had been his home. But as more and more Iwa shinobi were killed in battle, the village had more orphans to care for. The orphanages started relocating kids like Deidara to make room for the orphans of the leading clan members, children that they knew had money or hoped to see manifesting bloodline limits.
Deidara and other nameless orphans were sent to an old apartment building and told to stay there instead. The building was unofficially condemned, and only passed yearly inspections because the officials paid off the inspector. It was cheaper than building a new orphanage for the throwaways, after all. The children living in the apartment complex were supposed to receive a monthly stipend to pay for food and clothes, but over the years, the conflict escalated into all out war, and money became scarce in the village. Budget cuts had to be made, and the village wasn't about to skimp on food and weapons for the ninja on the front line just so the extra orphans could be fed. The stipend stopped coming the year Deidara was entering the academy, and the children were left to fend for themselves.
It wasn't until years later, when Deidara left Iwa and saw how other hidden villages cared for their fallen warrior's children, that he realized the extent of the neglect to which he'd been subjected to. Before that time, he had thought being abandoned and forgotten was just a part of life.
Deidara didn't tell Tobi that before he'd learned to defend himself, he'd been beaten up every day by his fellow orphans. Because no one else was there to watch out for them, the throwaway orphans took care of each other and formed their own families. Deidara was the exception. For that, he spent his childhood in bruises.
They'd been against him from the start. At first it was because of his looks. Blond hair and blue eyes were not rare in his village, really, but the others living in the apartment had dark hair and eyes, so he became an outsider. He was 'too pretty and too girly'. Later they began to target him for other reasons as well. They mocked his tendency to mold clay figurines in his spare time and laughed at his art. They pummeled him for his poor grades at the academy and out of jealousy of his success at the jobs he did to make money. The young artist was a complete mystery to them, and the orphans did everything they could to make his miserable life more miserable. Deidara had hated every one of them, up until the day he killed them.
Deidara didn't tell Tobi the reason he knew that every ninja had a price at which they could be bought. His had been thirty ryou.
When the monthly stipend had first decreased, and then finally disappeared, Deidara and the other orphans had been forced to earn money to feed and clothe themselves. They'd made due with odd jobs at first. The others worked together, supporting each other and getting along just as well as they had with the village's support. Deidara, the perpetual outsider, though, had to survive on his own. He'd gotten by with what he could earn, although the years of malnourishment had left him shorter and skinnier than most of the kids his age.
When the time came for Academy classes to start up, the village officials decided not to waive the fees for the orphans like they had done every year. The village was desperate to raise money to support the war, and if they could milk money out of the otherwise burdensome children, they were more than glad to do so. The orphans found their odd jobs and errands weren't enough anymore. And not being a ninja wasn't an option: those who decided not to attend Academy and follow the way of the shinobi were sent off for 'apprenticeships' in factories and mines.
There weren't very many ways for a young orphan in wartime Iwa to earn cash for classes. Really, there'd been only one way. But for Deidara, skinny, abused, and helpless against fate, the way of the ninja offered power over his own life. So when a shady figure beckoned him into a dark alley and offered him thirty ryou for him to get down on his knees and open his mouth wide, he gave a determined nod and did as instructed.
The price went up after that, of course. Deidara became good at his after-school job, good enough to earn him a higher pay and a place in the back of a warm bar while his orphaned apartment mates stalked the cold streets selling their services. He was beaten up even more after that, but he endured his peers' jealousy just like he endured the cold and the hunger and the soreness in his backside and the awful taste in his mouth. It was amazing what you can get used to, given enough time.
Deidara didn't tell Tobi that there had been another ninja who had looked at him the way Tobi did, with hesitance and longing and just a little awe. Deidara hadn't known his name, but the gangly teen had seen Deidara on the streets one day and had blushed when the blond looked at, and then through, him. His admirer hadn't waved him into an alley or offered him money, so nine year old Deidara mostly ignored his stares.
It was when the teen passed the chuunin exams and was ordered to the front lines with the other newly promoted ninja that he first approached Deidara with an offer.
The sum was five hundred ryous, more money than he'd ever even seen all at once, if the young blond would come to the chuunin's party and keep the guests entertained. It wasn't the earnest longing in the chuunin's gaze that convinced him to accept the offer; it was the money, plain and simple. Adoration wouldn't pay for his education, and love wouldn't buy him that coat he needed before the winter weather set in.
He'd never been to a party before, but he'd heard complaints from the chuunin's neighbors later on that it was more wild than usual. The newly graduated chuunin were being sent out to battle the next day, and they wanted one night of revelry to remember as they left. The oldest of them wasn't more than fifteen.
The chuunin who was always watching him was the first to lead him away into a bedroom. He'd wasted a lot of time just kissing Deidara, but at least the bed they were laying on was more comfortable than the orphan was used to. The chuunin's eager fumbling told Deidara that the teen was an amateur at what they were doing, so he guided him where he needed to be and then let the man who was paying him have free reign.
It didn't take long once the chuunin actually got started. The teen collapsed on the bed, cradling the blond in his arms. Deidara had wiggled out of his grasp as soon as he was asleep and went back out to the party. There was a table of food, and no one was stopping him from eating it; he ate until his stomach swelled and stuffed his pockets full of non-perishable food.
The chuunin hadn't wandered back out into the party until later, when two drunk, rambunctious ninja were ordering Deidara onto all fours. One crawled up behind him while the other stood in front. He ignored them as they claimed him from both ends; he concentrated on the five hundred ryou and the food in his pockets.
When the two finished up and wandered away into the crowds, the chuunin glared at all the other ninja that were eyeing the blond and wiped him clean with the ends of his shirt.
"How old are you?" he'd asked, and winced when Deidara told him. "You seem older than that," he'd said, and he shook his head sadly. Then he led Deidara to a corner and pulled a strangely wrapped cigarette out of his pocket. When the tip was lit and glowing, he took a long draft, and passed it to Deidara.
"This'll make things easier," the chuunin told him. Deidara breathed in deeply and passed the stick back to the chuunin. Together they smoked the strange sickly-sweet cigarette. The chuunin gave him a bolder kiss than before, and then everything faded away.
Deidara woke up the next morning with a familiar ache in his spine and an even more familiar taste in his mouth. The party was over and the guests had all left or passed out. The young blond scurried around the room, collecting his clothes from all around the room (the food was still blessedly there in his pockets).
He'd met the chuunin once more before the group left to go to war. The chuunin had pulled him into a hug and tried to kiss him. Deidara had resisted until his five hundred ryous were safely placed into his hands.
"They say the war will be over in a month," the chuunin told him, "so I'll be back soon. I…I want to see you again, when I get back." Deidara had nodded. If the chuunin had more money to offer, then he would see him again. The chuunin kissed him again and stroked his cheek slowly before he finally broke apart and went to join his fellow chuunin.
Deidara hadn't ever learned the chuunin's name, but he recognized his face from a picture set in a frame on the war hero's memorial a few months later. Apparently the teen hadn't even lived out the month. Deidara thought it might have been better that he'd never found out that the war was going to drag out for years. After the five hundred ryous were spent, Deidara didn't spare the chuunin another thought until many years later.
Deidara didn't tell Tobi that he'd never actually earned his hitai-ate. For all the bounties on his head and the crimes he'd committed, he'd technically never graduated to genin.
He'd attended Academy classes at night along with the other orphans. They were told their schedule was to accommodate the students that needed to work part time, although they all knew it was because the parents of the regular Academy students had complained about their children having to share classes with orphans.
They were given the worst classroom, and were taught by a sensei who had lost his license for poor teaching methods. The Academy kept him on because they could pay him half the salary of a legitimate teacher.
There were a couple factors in Deidara's academic failure. First of all, he didn't have time to study like the other orphans did. They worked together and pooled their resources, so when one needed time off from their 'jobs' to study, they could take it. Deidara didn't have such a luxury.
The second reason was the sensei. He was a cruel man, and he chose Deidara as his scapegoat for the class. All of his anger and hatred of his students was directed only at him. When he tried to terrorize any other student, they would band together and rebel until the treatment stopped. Deidara found his papers graded more harshly than the others, his tests 'lost' more often, his jutsus criticized more readily. He mocked the idea that Deidara's clay could be used as a weapon, and made him throw it away any time he caught him molding or sculpting.
The third and final reason for his failure was the other students' pure malice toward him. Whenever any of them learned a new jutsu, they shared it with the rest. They sometimes bartered with veteran ninja, selling favors in exchange for new moves. Deidara swallowed his pride on more than one occasion and asked the other orphans to teach him their jutsus as well. They had refused. They said that they had earned them, and that Deidara would have to learn moves for himself. They knew he could barely support himself, that he couldn't afford to withgo even one paying job in order to learn a new jutsu.
So during the final test, his sensei had glared at Deidara and told him that he wasn't going to be able to move up to genin level if he only knew earth-based jutsu. "A ninja needs variety, Deidara-kun," he'd said with faked concern. Deidara burned with rage as the class laughed. It wasn't his fault that no one had ever taught him anything else, even when he'd asked, even when he'd begged for their help.
"You should just stick with what you're good at Deidara-kun," the sensei had announced to the class. Then in a quiet voice meant for Deidara's ears only, he'd added, "I hear you make quite a talented whore. Maybe I'll find out for myself some time."
The rest of the class graduated with full marks, and the sensei pointedly praised their variety of elemental techniques. He dismissed them and told Deidara to wait behind.
"You might be able to convince me to give you some extra credit, Deidara," the sensei leered. "Just how badly do you want to be a shinobi?"
If the sensei had come to Deidara with the proposition in the beginning, before humiliating him in front of the class and mocking his helplessness, the artist would have considered the offer. Now, he had a different plan in mind. He left the room without a word and ran to his dilapidated apartment. He'd learned a long time ago, by accident, that his anger could be channeled into his clay and detonated.
The next night, as all of the orphans and the sensei were in the back room of the Academy for their graduation ceremony, a mysterious explosion later declared a gas leak ignited the room and killed everyone in the room. The orphans' school records were destroyed as well. The officials didn't bother with anything more than a rudimentary investigation into the incident; after all, the only casualties had been a class full of orphans and one worthless ex teacher. The damage to the building itself was minor.
Deidara had walked into the mission room the next day, wearing a hitai-ate he'd stolen the evening before as he'd planted his explosive clay around the room. He explained that he'd had to miss the graduation ceremony because of work. The mission board workers nodded; they knew what sort of work Iwa orphans did. They called in a few chuunin from the party to confirm Deidara's story. A few had looked embarrassed as well as hung-over, but the chuunin who always watched him spoke for him, and pulled him to the side as soon as he could to pay him and say goodbye.
With the other orphans gone, the condemned apartment building wasn't worth the bribes it cost the village to keep it open. Deidara had to move out, but with his five hundred ryou, his new genin paycheck, and the money he could now earn with little competition on the streets, he could survive.
Umm, I couldn't find out the value of a ryou in the Naruto universe, so let's just pretend it's roughly equivalent to a dollar, ok?