Deidara carefully crept away from the scene of the battle. His most powerful bomb could create an explosion with a massive diameter. Either way, it didn't matter. They were more likely than not dead, although that Jinchuuriki might have survived.

"That bastard, un," Deidara glanced down at his missing arms. It didn't matter so much. He would just get Kakuzu to fix something. That weirdo was always stitching himself back together, taking himself apart and adding other parts.

A few moments later, when Deidara was convinced he was in safe territory, he allowed himself the freedom to give up some of his concentration and thought about the overall mission. True, the Jinchuuriki had gotten away, but they had extracted the one-tailed demon prior to that. In the end, the Akatsuki had gotten what they sought. Sasori would probably be very unhappy to hear that godaime Kazekage had gotten away, but as long as Deidara didn't take forever to get back to the cave, then Sasori shouldn't care so much.

Deidara tossed his head, trying to get his bangs out of his face since he couldn't use his now-blown-off hands. Mid-toss, something caught his attention. Fortunately the wind was blowing just enough so that the strands that normally covered his left eye. A cloud of dirt brown smoke was rising into the air, and the scent of fire drifted on the wind.

"Oh, shit," Deidara swore, quickening his pace. His heart thudded in his chest as he kept repeating words of comfort in his mind. Sasori was probably just finishing up that pink-haired brat and old lady. Deidara wasn't quite sure, but he had a hunch that the old lady was Sasori's grandmother. Sasori wouldn't have given that burning dagger look at just anyone, after all.

Deidara's stomach dropped slightly for some inexplainable reason as he reached the battle site. The once well hidden Akatsuki meeting place was now a massive pile of rubble. It took an immense amount of self control for Deidara's jaw not to drop. He wandered into the demolished cave, stepping over large amounts of rubble and praying that he wouldn't stumble or fall. Without arms, getting up would be difficult.

All around Deidara was a massacred army of puppets, a majority wearing torn crimson cloaks, and about eight or so wearing white and pearl garments. Broken weapons and set off traps were scattered amongst the remains, the whole view sending shivers up Deidara's spine. Against the standing wall was a massive form with teeth pinning a lifeless body against the solid rock. Deidara's eyes widened as he scrambled to the body, pushing through as much of the debris as he possibly could, his heart racing as he did so. Panting, the blond nin looked up at the hanging body. There was no mistaking the body as Sasori's at least at the first glance. The red hair was the same, the height was the same, but one thing was missing--there was a gaping hole, a perfectly shaped one, where Sasori's heart should have been.

Mentally something clicked in Deidara's mind; that day when he walked in on Sasori gutting himself, he must have been preparing for this moment. Deidara's lips turned into a smile. Sasori wasn't dead! It was just a false puppet body. Now that Sasori had combined his life force into one container that could be moved from puppet to puppet, he had to be alive somewhere.

Deidara stumbled away from the wall, searching around the entire perimeter for Sasori's really self. About twenty feet away, Deidara spotted a tuft of deep red hair.


Deidara ignored the uncomfortable feeling of the jagged rock under his feet as he rushed towards Sasori, stubbing his toes, but not caring. Once he'd reached Sasori he was out of breath, but nothing could wipe the smile from his face except for the site of katana's rising out of Sasori's fallen body. His face fell as he collapsed to his knees by Sasori's lifeless form.

"Danna?" Deidara whispered, his voice hushed as if he were talking to a sleeping child. "Sasori-danna, please get up, un."

Sasori's body lay still, not replying to Deidara's soft pleas. Deidara sighed and pressed his forehead against Sasori's. Although Sasori's body had never been as warm as one of flesh and blood, one could always detect a sense of life in him. There was no mistaking the lack of life now. Deidara sniffed quietly. He'd never really been one to cry, even when his own parents died no tears were shed. Besides, the relaxed smile hardly detectable on Sasori's lips was a dead giveaway to his true state; he never would have been so peaceful in life.


Deidara looked up, feeling so many things at once; hurt, embarrassed, angry, abandoned. Zetsu stood looming over him, even though he was several feet away. Not too far away, Tobi was scrambling around for something.

"It's time to leave here," said Zetsu. "We need to leave."

"Why?" Deidara grumbled. "I don't want to, un."

"Zetsu! I found it!" Tobi shouted across the desolate cave.

Deidara growled at Tobi's presence. That hyperactive idiot was not someone he wanted around at the moment.

"Oi! Shut it, you brat!"

"Hey, don't take your frustration out on Tobi," said Zetsu as he helped Deidara to his feet. "It's not his fault Sasori died."

"So are you saying it's Sasori's fault, un?"

Zetsu remained silent and shook his head.

"Oh, Deidara sempai!" Tobi came bounding across the cave. "We found your arm on the way here."

"Good," sighed Deidara. "Kakuzu can attach it back later."

"Well, you two can be decent towards one another, so why don't you two be partners."

Deidara glared at Zetsu, then looked away. It didn't matter any more. He had never expected to outlive his lover, but at the rate things were going in the short amount of time since Sasori's death, it wouldn't matter.

"Fine, whatever, but you need to listen to whatever I say, un!"

"Okay, Deidara sempai!"

Deidara shrugged and walked ahead of Zetsu, who was relieved of his obnoxious partner, while Tobi bounced after him. It didn't matter to Deidara that he was now stuck with Tobi. The fact that he would soon join Sasori in the afterlife, wherever villains like them were sent, be it heaven or hell, lightened his heart.


Author's Note: Well, it's finally over. For those who read the epilogue, I hope I did a good job. Sad stuff is always so hard to write! Please review, thank you so much for all your support throughout this whole fanfic. Thanks again!