Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

After a couple of warnings that I would probably be harmed if I didn't update, (thank you so much, Mikayla, Encyclopedia Drammatica, and TheKimikoGirl- and sorry if I spelled your names wrong ) they finally got to me.

Thanks, guys, for not 'coming over here and repeatedly kicking me till I update' (XD inside joke) or flaming me till I was about as alive as a car-squashed rat.

I think in another chapter I put something about Ino having a serial number. I think it was '40' or something?

About the hyphenated swearing. From now on, the cussing is going to be non censored.


Something was wrong. Besides the usual wrongness, I mean. I thought I was just being paranoid, but a couple hours later I decided I wasn't. It was a very powerful presence, another diclonius likely stronger than I. So I exited the cave and cut through the forest.

My footsteps crunch the new grass rooted in the dirt. Right now they're just little shoots of green bursting through the mud. But will they live longer than I will?

I'm not looking for trouble. But if this new diclonius hurts the people close to me- namely the person close to me- then I have to chase them away. Akatsuki can hardly handle one diclonius, two, with the new person being stronger than me, will never work. Besides, I have nothing to lose.

"Ino-chan!" I turn. Tobi runs toward me, waving madly.

"Hey, Tobi," I say.

"Where're you going, Ino-chan?" he asks. I hesitate for a moment.

"Away. I'm not sure how far."

"Are you on a mission?"

"Not really," I admit. He analyzes me for a moment.

"Are you leaving, Ino-chan?"

"Hopefully not."

"Promise to come back! I like you, Ino-chan, you and senpai are my best friends," he says almost shyly. I catch another glimpse of how different he and Deidara are. It's a bit odd how Tobi can like him so much. Then again, I'm not one to talk.

"I promise." He looks happier, well, I can't see his face but the atmosphere seems lighter. "Yeah, we're friends. Senpai too." I walk away, then turn around and wave. "See you, Tobi." He waves back. I feel guilty for giving him vague answers, but it's better if he doesn't get involved. Suddenly everything seems so lonely. But I can't complain about it, I brought it on myself.

Now I'm at the end of the forest. I can see the ocean yawning away from me, miles of scalene blue. It looks so calm and innocent, but really it could thrash a body against the breakers with a mere flick.

Maybe I am just being paranoid. Ok, five more steps and then I'll turn back.

One… nothing's happened.

Two… I feel like an idiot. Someone call Itachi to probe my brain via genjutsu to see if it's a bad case of paranoia.

Three… This is ridiculous. I'll just go back and-

Something punches through my head. It doesn't hurt, but it's as if someone turned a hose on full force on me. The feeling you get when a wave splashes over you and it tumbles you through layers of opal hue.

Wha?

The lapping waves part with a thundering roar. Droplets of water splatter over me as a pale human hand of unimaginable size reaches out of the water.

When I was about seven or so, someone in my family bought candied red dates. To me, they looked like shriveled red prunes with splotches of sugar on them. And around that time, the boys in our class were going through that stage where they like playing 'zombie slam' or whatever that game was called. The dead were all rotten and green, and the red dates looked like zombie spawn. Being seven and mentally linking the candy with zombies, I never ate one.

The huge deformed thing that rises after then hand slaps on the grass looks like a monstrous, shriveled date with lopsided eye slits.

I have never wanted to pee my pants in my entire 15 years of life, but now it seems I can't make a record.

Slow clapping. What's that?

"Excellent, Anna. You truly are superior." A white-haired man with eyebrows like slashes slowly walks on top of the shriveled date thing.

"Thank you, Father." Sound reverberates from the lump. Holy shit. That thing is female? That guy fathered… her/it?

The man looks at me. He sneers. "Not particularly threatening without your vectors are you, Yamanaka-san?"

I turn and run as hard as I can. Adrenaline streaks through my blood. I can hear trees crashing to splinters behind me, and my feet crush the undergrowth and stamp moss into mush. I've never run so hard in my entire life.

Something coils around my waist. It tightens, and I'm thrust backward with arms and legs flailing. The vector drags me back to the beach, gravel crunching under my prone body. I try to twist out of its grasp, and send a vector spiraling toward the translucent arm- wait. Nothing comes out. It must have been that feeling I had earlier, where my head felt like it was being flushed.

Fingers tug on my hair and yank my ponytail back roughly. Sprawled backwards, I look over my fringe and right into sardonic, sadistic pupils.

"Don't worry," he says. The pale, pale line of his mouth twitches upward into a sneer. "I won't kill you. It would be a shame to waste such potential, wouldn't it? Fourteen years ago I hunted the first queen, Lucy-san. You met her daughter, didn't you? Both chose not to fulfill their true purpose… what will you choose?"

He pauses dramatically. "Why don't I help you make the decision?"

As if by mutual understanding, another coil twists around my shoulders and a third and fourth clutch my ankles and pulls them about two feet apart. My wrists are pinned to my waist, fingers clammy. A vector clamps over my mouth. I can hear my pulse thundering in my head. Hard fingers hook around the waistband of my pants.

Then something smashes into the devil leering over me. I hear a cry, and rotate my eyeballs to look. My eyes widen.

Hand holding a kunai to the old man's throat, Deidara's back is turned towards me. An odd pang of longing stabs me as I gaze at him, wanting to call for him but unable to.

Then I see something smoky white stretch toward his neck. Muscles straining in my throat, I make a strangled noise. "Mmm!" Deidara turns just in time and leaps out of the way. Something flies out of his sleeve and smacks the mutated diclonius right in its slit-like eye.

It shrieks and lets go of me. I yank myself up and spring behind a tree. But the monster's vectors are still flailing, and one of them gropes on the dirt for a few seconds. Then it reaches and claws at my partner.

Is he my enemy? My friend? Do I care for him? I can barely answer these questions, but I know what I would say if someone asked me. Chakra surging in my toes, I rush to his side and hurtle in front of him.

Everything reels in slow motion. First the vector stretching toward my stomach, then the puncture of my flesh and blood spurting out. Sinewy pink strands of muscle seem to leap out of the vector's path, almost as if they are happy to be freed from the rigid form of my tummy. Then, slithering like a worm, the vector flexes through my body and pierces through.

I don't feel any pain at first. But the moment of impact on my lower back is like smashing the dam that cups the water. A tumbling current, and then the roaring impact as the water crashes into land. I scream, like the caged and freed water must do, every little molecule of what makes up water crying in agony.

Something catches me from behind. A pair of hands, under my arms, then moving under my back and cupping my face. I can't see.

It hurts so much I can't even hear and can barely think.

Creaking open an eye, I see that blonde little retard my other side is so tied up over. Yes, I'm dormant most of the time, but not having the reins doesn't mean you can't watch the rider try to master the colt.

"Hands off, asshole."

His face twists in confusion. He says something, mouth moving only softly. Then that son of a bitch struts over. His words are indistinguishable, but it's probably some chest-puffing shit about saving me being hopeless and blah blah blah.

"Shut up, goddammit!" The guy raises an eyebrow the colour of oily metal. I turn to the towheaded gender-challenged one.

"And you, just blow me up already. I'm not worth saving, and I know you want to do it. 'Art is a blast', was it? Go ahead. Go."

"Save yourself and go! It's the only way to kill them…"

So dear little Ino-chan is awake. Well, look over there. He's making those flashy little hand signs. It seems he'll grant our wish.

What the hell. He's stopped. This pathetic, sad-puppy look is on his face. He probably says something like 'I can't kill you, Ino-chan, I love you too much' or something cliché like that. Men are such predictable asshats. And now he's coming over. He pulls me up against his chest. I can't read his expression. Now he bends closer, and-

Everything swoops away, even the pain. The only thing that remains, the only thing that matters, is

The soaring feeling

In my heart

The sense of flying

In my mouth

Warmth

Covering my body

Fleeting thoughts

Running through my mind

A hot spice taste

Fingers pressed in my hair

Soft breath on my lip

And he pulls away

Smiles

I've never seen him smile

Before

Only smirks and grins

"In case we don't meet again, un."

Pulls me tightly to him

Nail accidentally cuts my bloody spots

A cry from my mouth

White, blood-coated thing

With a gaping mouth

He throws it

At the great

Shriveled

Diclonius

He jumps

Takes

Me

Away…

Flying. On. A. Red. Cloud.

"Konnichiwa, Ino-san."

A soft lilt floats from nowhere.

"Eh?" I reply. Then a small form appears in front of me. It is of a small child, about nine years old. She wears a purple kimono and a pretty smile.

"In case you are wondering, you aren't dead. My name is Anna," she smiles again. Two completely different sentences, neither having a definite meaning.

"What?"

"That monster you saw? That was me." Her eyes cloud. "My father, he had the surgery on me to make me more superior. And that is what I became."

"Oh…" She was that horrible thing? Bullshit. No way. But I see truth in her eyes.

"I'm sorry for attacking you," Her small face curves in sadness. "It's just how it was for me, you know?" She turns. "I want to make Father happy, and Father wanted you for his purposes. Father's happiness- I don't regret it, but I now wish it could have been satisfied," her shoulders drop, "less violently."

"Don't worry," I say, "nothing's ever easy for a diclonius."

"Nothing is ever easy for a diclonius," she echoes, "I agree." Now she turns back to me and smiles. "I would have liked to be your friend. You seem nice."

What a strange little girl. I reply, "me too." Looking around, I ask "Where are we?"

Anna tilts her head upwards and, focusing her eyes on my face, shrugs. "I think we're in limbo somewhere. Neither here or there." She walks a few paces away, then spins in a full circle to look back at me. "I don't think you're dead, though. Not yet. Otherwise I would be talking to you in heaven. I'm not as lucky as you, you know?" A little smile spreads across her face. "Well, bye!"

"Bye…" I say. That was odd.

"So, you're the brat's new playmate?" I turn at the new, masculine voice. A boy, about seventeen, examines me. He has short red hair, but a perfect, doll-like face.

"Not bad. Nice face, and powerful too." The boy acts like he's at a car dealership, picking for the perfect ride. He catches my eye and smiles.

"Akasuna no Sasori. And you are Ino of the Yamanaka clan, am I right?" Akasuna no Sasori. The one Sakura defeated. She described him as a 'pretty boy with deadly toys and a psychotic drive'.

Why am I being visited by the dead so much today?

"Am I still alive, Sasori-san?"

"Barely," he replies with no change in expression. There's a pregnant pause.

"If you escape with a few scars, I'd like you to do me a favour."

"What kind?"

"Take care of my partner. My former partner. I don't need to care about him, that little man-whore who replaced me goddammit, but I might as well let you know he'll probably blow himself up."

"And you're telling me this… why?"

"So you'll be prepared. That way you won't cry as hard when he dies. I don't want him whining to me about leaving you behind up here, alright?"

I shake my head. "Funny. If you weren't such a prick, I think you would be fun to hang with."

Sasori smiles. "Thanks. Now it's time for you to-"

He's cut off, and I'm yanked to who knows where.


Argh! I don't think this chapter was as good as my others. (manages weak smile) At least I finally updated?

I'm so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, sorry that I didn't update for SUCH a long time! It was because

a) I lost my memory stick which has my fanfic files on in (I found it again)

b) I couldn't decide how to write the fight scene. (I'm terrible with fight scenes)

c) I got lazy.

d) I was working on other fanfics (ooh, if you like DeiIno, SasuSaku, InoSaku friendship, drama, rebellion, and upcoming lemons, check out Entwined By Memories)

By the way, I don't edit my work. I don't even reread the draft. Usually it's because I'm lazy, or I want to update the fanfic. I'm sorry for any mistakes in this.

Thanks for reading, and please, please review!