What Deidara didn't Tell Tobi

Part 6

(somewhere between Chapter 23 and the epilogue of Sculpting for Dummies)

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Deidara didn't tell Tobi he loved him. He didn't understand the feeling, and he wasn't about to say it out loud and make it…final. Real? There'd been a point where he'd almost killed himself for Tobi. He didn't know how he'd gotten here from there.

The artist supposed it made sense, in a twisted way. He'd felt every other emotion about Tobi: hate, disgust, tolerance, amusement, lust, frustration, fear, contentment…if nothing else could be said about the masked man, at least he always made Deidara feel something.

Deidara wasn't sure if the weird, fluttery sensation in his stomach, the emptiness, the fullness, the longing, the stabbing pain and the all-encompassing pleasure meant love. It had to be the closest he'd ever felt to love, surely, but…he was Akatsuki. What would he know about such things? But…if he thought it was, then wasn't it?

Deidara didn't tell Tobi about his suspicions of love, because he didn't know what to say.

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Deidara didn't tell Tobi that he loved him. Tobi said the 'l' word enough for the both of them, anyways. Sometimes he even said it in public. Deidara always made sure to kick his ass when he did, so he'd know not to do it again. If the artist let him get away with things like that, the masked man would start doing other things, like call him pet names, or hold his hand, or kiss him in front of people.

That would be unacceptable. Deidara grudgingly endured Tobi's affectionate words in private. Everything he'd ever learned taught him if he exposed anything of value to others, they'd take it from him. Deidara wanted to keep Tobi.

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Deidara didn't tell Tobi that he loved him. He though he'd made it pretty goddamn obvious with his actions. He put up with Tobi, first of all. If anyone else tried to get away with the things Tobi did, Deidara would've killed them. Tobi's continued existence was proof enough of Deidara's feelings.

And if that didn't make it blatant, he cleaned the house when Tobi went on missions, and he cooked meals for him when he returned. He let Tobi cuddle with him after sex (hell, letting the brunet sleep in his bed at all proved it!) and even allowed kisses in the morning before Tobi had brushed his teeth.

He bore Tobi's sentimental nonsense and his strange sense of humor. When the masked man hurt himself doing stupid things, Deidara would patch him back together. He let Tobi into his studio, allowing him to handle unfinished artwork and not kicking him out when he broke a piece.

He offered his life for Tobi's more than once, and if the need arose, he'd do it again.

If Tobi couldn't figure it out from all of that, Deidara didn't think he deserved to know.

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Deidara didn't tell Tobi that he loved him, but he almost did more times than he could count. It sat on his tongue, threatening to slip out in casual conversation. Now that he'd named the feeling in his head, his mouth seemed determined to force a confession out of him.

He bit his tongue every time he started to say it to the other man. He changed the words at the last minute, fighting desperately to keep his secret. (Tobi started to eye him suspiciously after the fifteenth time Deidara told him, "I love you…r cooking.") He almost became scared to talk to Tobi, for fear of saying it without thinking. His heart pounded as he lay awake at night, his brain screaming at him to speak the words into the silence.

He thought that if he could say it just once, he'd get it out of his system…but he held his tongue. Saying 'I love you' would cement it, and to Deidara, the vast unknown ocean of love seemed terrifying. He didn't want to need Tobi, couldn't stand the thought of depending on him, wouldn't admit to himself that he could never leave him.

After the twentieth time complementing his cooking, he realized that, even without the words, he'd never not need Tobi.

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Deidara waited until Tobi fell asleep before he told him.

"Listen up, dumbass," he whispered into the darkness, "because I'm only going to say this once. It's not my fault if you miss it, un." The blond shifted in the bed so he couldn't see Tobi's silhouetted face.

"I think you're the stupidest person on the planet. You have appalling taste, and your color scheme could make a blind man cry. But for some reason, I think I might love you, un." He admitted quietly. Then he quickly added, "But if you tell anyone that I said so, I'll shove a C-4 up your ass, un!"

He shifted again, nervously. "Don't think this changes anything. It doesn't. If you piss me off, I'll still kill you. So…so don't do stupid things."

The blond snorted and lay flat on his back. He clamped his rebellious mouth shut to make sure no other silly, sappy confessions could emerge.

Beside him, Tobi smiled.

Deidara didn't tell Tobi that he knew from the start that Tobi was awake.

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AN: And that's all for WDDTT and the Sculpting for Dummies arc! Didn't I say I'd make it end happy?

Well, I hope it was a satisfying ending for you readers, and not too far of a stretch. I know there's not much transition between the last chapter and this one, but it's meant to be read alongside Sculpting, and it makes more sense with the Sculpting epilogue under your belt.

Anyways, to those few dedicated readers of this story (especially you kind ones who left me reviews), I offer my gratitude, and I really hope you enjoyed 'What Deidara didn't tell Tobi'.