Ok, Pein and Konan are my new fave couple. Anyways, I wrote this a few days ago. I hope you like it. My friend and sister say it's good, so I'm really hoping it is. Please read and review!

Konan stared dully at the scrap of paper she held in her hands. Pein was gone again, leaving her behind. She tore the paper up and flung the pieces into the air. They fluttered to the floor.

She growled. Pein didn't appreciate her enough. That's what was making her so angry. She did whatever he told her to do without complaint or question. And how did he repay her? By leaving her.

Konan sank onto the soft bed and glanced around. She really had nothing to complain about. She had a place to stay, food to eat, and had the freedom to go wherever she wanted when she wanted. Well, most of the time. Pein didn't like her "prancing around from village to village whenever you get the urge to see new scenery." She hated his protective nature, but secretly, she liked to imagine he did that because he cared about her.

Pein didn't get close to many people. She was one of the few whom he actually felt comfortable around. She supposed it was because they were so similar. Her thoughts drifted back to the day they had first met. He had been seventeen, and she had been thirteen.


"Stop your wiggling, Kazu, or I'll whip you good." The older woman snarled as she yanked hard on the rope binding the young girl together.

"I-I'm sorry, Yasu-san. I will try to be better. The ropes just hurt my skin." She whimpered when the woman grabbed a fistful of her hair.

"Shut up, you annoying brat." Yasu hissed. "If I have to tell you to behave one more time, I will whip you. And maybe I'll whip you so hard, you'll die."

Kazu's eyes widened. Yasu was mad at her every day (the complete opposite of the meaning of her name, "calm"), but not once had she threatened to kill her. She mumbled an apology and hugged her knees tightly to her chest. She felt safe doing that, as if an impenetrable wall had sprung up, protecting her from cruel people. She sniffed and a tear fell onto her arm. She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, leaving a streak of dirt.

Leaning back against a building, she glanced up at the sky. The sun was mercilessly hot today. Of course, Yasu had protection from the heat by a straw hat. But Kazu had nothing. She was used to it, though. This was the tenth time Yasu had dragged her to the market ever since Kazu had turned thirteen. Before, Kazu had thought maybe Yasu was being nice to her. But it soon became apparent to the child that her intentions were pure evil.

The first day of sitting here had been an unpleasant experience. Strange men stopped by to look her over. They examined her arms, legs, teeth, and the rest of her. She was uncomfortable with them, and asked why they were treating her like livestock. One of the men had actually laughed and said that she was not in the position to be asking such questions. Kazu felt her stomach churn when Yasu said that she would be going home to the highest bidder after ten days. She couldn't believe that Yasu, the only family she ever knew, could be capable of selling her like that.

Now, Kazu had lost track of how many men had bid for her. She didn't have any control over whom she went with, so why worry about it? Her fate was in the hands of Yasu and the man who would buy her.

Lifting her hands, she brushed her hair out of her eyes. So far, all the men who had stopped to see her had commented on her strange hair color. Blue was weird, she knew, but she had no idea of where she had gotten it. It could have been passed onto her by her father or her mother. She had never seen her parents. Yasu had found her as a baby and raised her. But now, she was nothing to Yasu except a burden and a way to get money.

Kazu squeezed her black eyes shut when a man stopped. He leered at her.

"Get up, girl. I want to check you over."

Kazu pretended to be asleep. Maybe he would get mad and kill Yasu. Or, maybe he would even kill her. She wasn't sure which option was more appealing.

"I said get up!" He growled, clearly not in the mood for her disobedience. His big hands covered her shoulders and jerked her to her feet. She didn't look up as he poked and prodded her. He nodded approvingly. "I like the look of her. She'll turn out to be a beauty. I"ll give you 10,000 yen."

Yasu gasped. That was the highest bid. She greedily licked her lips. "Sold." She rasped.

He grinned, then forced her jaw open. "Let me see your teeth."

Kazu's eyes narrowed. She bared her teeth and bit down on his finger. He let loose a string of profanity and cursing.

"This wicked brat!" He swore. "She bit me!" He held up his finger. A few drops of blood dripped to the ground.

Yasu paled. "Uh...that just means that...um...well, your customers would like a feisty young girl, wouldn't they?" She asked hurriedly.

"Yes, but not feisty like that!" He took a step back. "I change my mind. She's not worth my money after all."

"Wait! Don't leave. She'll behave for you. I promise. All you have to do is show her who's the boss." Yasu pleaded, her eyes frantically looking from Kazu to the man.

"No." He spat on the ground in disgust. "I'm leaving now."

Yasu watched helplessly as he stormed into the distance. Then, she turned on Kazu, her eyes blazing. "You stupid, stupid girl! How dare you make a mess of things! I told you to behave!" She reached a thin, bony hand for a sharp stick lying nearby. "I'm going to teach you a lesson that you'll never forget!" With that, she swung the stick onto the helpless girl. Although Yasu was a thin woman, she was strong.

Kazu cried out in pain. "Stop! Please!" She begged. She covered her face with her arms, attempting to protect herself.

But Yasu didn't hear her pleas. She was intent on beating this girl, even if it meant her death. Right now, rage had control.

Suddenly, the stick was grabbed out of Yasu's hands. "That's enough."

Yasu glared at the person who dared to interrupt her 'lesson.' "Who are you?" She seethed.

"Someone who doesn't like the way you're treating this young girl. What did she ever do to you to deserve this kind of treatment?! I don't want to see you anywhere near her again. In fact, I'm going to take her with me."

"B-but you can't!" She sputtered indignantly. A maniacal grin twisted her face. "You have to pay me."

"I would think that you would be glad just to have her out of her hands." The mysterious man said dryly. "But if that is what it takes, then fine." He threw yen at her feet. "There's 10,000 yen. That's the amount the other man was going to pay, I believe."

Yasu snatched the money up, and, after stashing it in a pouch, hurried off without a backwards glance.

Kazu stayed rigid. Maybe the man would go away now and she could escape. She peeked an eye open. A sandaled foot was mere inches from her face. She scrunched into a ball. "Please. Don't hurt me..." She heard movement, then a hand lifted her head. Her gaze collided with his. Her mouth dropped open. He had the most bizarre looking eyes she had ever seen. They were a dark gray, then a lighter gray, then light pink.

"I'm not going to hurt you." He said gently. "Let me take a look at you." He looked startled when she shrank back, fear in her eyes. Then understanding dawned. "I just want to see your injuries to make sure you're not severely injured."

Slowly, she crawled over to him. He carefully lifted her to her feet, then proceeded to lightly run his fingers over her arms and legs. "Nothing appears to be broken." He murmured. "Let's get you back to my house."

She nodded dumbly, too afraid to speak up.

"What's your name?"


"Kazu." He repeated. "'Obedient', eh? Don't like it. I'll name you something else." He hesitated. "Where were you born?"

"A little south of here. At least that's what Yasu-san always told me..."

"All right. Then I'll call you Konan." He stood and reached out a hand.

She bit her lip. Should she trust this strange man? He had rescued her, so maybe he wasn't all that bad. She took his hand, marveled at the strength she felt. His hand was rough and calloused, like he was used to hard work. Glancing up at him, she was once again drawn to his eyes.

"Don't worry." He whispered, having seen the doubt in her eyes. "You can trust me."

Konan stared wide-eyed at Pein's house. It was small, with only one bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. The walls were all white, as were the blinds. The bedspread was a dark gray, but other than that, there was no color. She wrinkled her nose. White was bland. Why couldn't there be reds or blues or yellows? She thought about asking, but fear kept her silent. She didn't want him to get mad and throw her in the street.

Pein disappeared into the bathroom. He came out with some ointment and a damp cloth. "Hold out your arm." She did, and he ran the cloth down her arm, cleaning off the dust and grime. He repeated the action with her other arm, then sat her down on a kitchen chair. He washed her legs up to her knees, then set the cloth aside. "Stand up."

Konan rose, biting the inside of her lip. What was going to happen to her now? Her hands trembled as he studied her.

Pein scowled. This girl was terrified. He briefly wondered how badly Yasu had treated her. Konan was so thin, he could count her ribs. Her clothes were tattered and dirty. Fading bruises could be seen on her arms and legs. Anger swelled up within him. How could anyone treat this innocent girl so horribly was beyond him. He sighed. He had no idea what he was to do with her. He had not intended to purchase her, but she reminded him so much of himself. He shook his head clear of those thoughts and focused on the girl. "Get out of those clothes. They're not even worth using for rags."

Konan shrank back, certain that now he would show her his wicked side. But he walked off, only to return with a shirt and pants. "Here. They'll probably be too big, but it will work for now. You can change in the bathroom. Use this cloth to clean off the rest of yourself. I'll be outside. Call me if you need anything." And with that, he left her alone.

Konan stood there, too stunned to move. This was all too good to be true. She pinched her arm. It hurt. That meant it wasn't a dream. She moved into the bathroom and proceeded to scrub her body clean. Unfortunately, she ripped open an old wound. Blood oozed out. She screamed. She hated the sight of blood.

The bathroom door burst open and Pein rushed in. His gaze raked over her, coming to rest on the injury. Grabbing a towel, he knelt beside her and pressed the towel against her wound. "Don't worry. I'm going to take care of this. It will hurt, but hopefully it will heal."

Tears welled in her eyes. He was so kind to her. All her life, she had been dealt with harshly. Beatings and whippings were every day occurances. But with Pein, she felt safe. It was as if he knew what she was going through and wanted to help her. Once he had her bandaged up, she fell to the floor in front of him.

"Whatever you want me to do, I'll do it." She choked out through sobs. "You've been so nice to me even though you hardly know me. Please, let me stay with you. I'll do anything you say...Just please...don't send me away..."

He stared at her for a minute, unsure of how to respond. Here was this girl, pledging her allegiance to him, and all because he had rescued her from her caretaker. What use did he have for her? She was skinny and not very strong. She would be just a burden, right? But then again, he couldn't turn her out onto the street. Who knew what horrors a young girl like her would face? Especially with animals called men roaming around. He shrugged inwardly. Perhaps someday she would be of use to him.

"You can stay." He said finally.

Konan looked up at him, her tear-stained cheeks glistening in the light. "Thank you." She whispered. Standing up, she flung herself into his arms and squeezed him tightly, burying her face in his chest.

Needless to say, Pein was shocked. Never before had anyone attempted to hug him. He hadn't let them. But there was something about this girl that touched him. He slowly put his arms around her slight frame. "You're welcome."

Konan yelped and yanked her hand away from the stove. She fought against tears of frustration. For an hour, she had been trying to make rice for Pein. Today was his eighteenth birthday, and she wanted to do something special for him. But nothing seemed to be going right. This was the fifth time she had burned her hand. At least it wasn't very serious. She knew where he kept the medicinal items, so applying some salve would help.

Passing by a window, she shot a look outside. Pein was still there, fiercely attacking that training dummy hanging from a tree. She loved to sit and watch him train for hours on end. He was powerful and fast.

And he would most likely be hungry when he was finished. Konan hurried to the bathroom and quickly applied some salve on her burns. She bypassed the bandage, certain that it would call his attention to her hand. She rushed back to the kitchen in time to see the water boil over.

"No!" She cried out. She grabbed the pan away from the heat and set it on a back burner. "Why can't I get this right?!" Growling, she turned around and kicked the wall. Pain coursed through her bare foot. She grimaced. Why didn't she ever thing about what she was doing?

Konan sighed. Her special dinner for Pein was going to have to wait. She mopped the water up, muttering to herself about how stupid she was. She was so absorbed in her cleaning, she failed to notice Pein walk in and survey the mess.

"...What happened in here? It looked like a tornado hit it."

Konan let out a screech as she jumped five feet in the air. "Pein-san! You scared me." She gasped.

"Sorry. What happened?"

"Well..." She paused. "I was trying to cook you some rice..."

"What for?"

"...For your birthday..." She whispered. "Turning eighteen is a big thing. At least I think it is. And I couldn't think of anything else to do. I don't even have a present for you."

"I don't need anything." Pein broke in. "And I'd rather not celebrate my birthday."

Konan looked curiously at him. Why would someone not want to celebrate his birthday? She loved it when her birthday rolled around. Of course, she never received any presents, but it didn't matter to her. Although she wondered why, she figured it was his personal business. If he wanted her to know, he would tell her.

But he was silent. In fact, he didn't talk the rest of the day. Konan once caught him staring into space. It was like his mind was millions of miles away. She hoped that someday he would open up to her.

Time passed by, and soon Konan had lived with Pein for three years. She was now sixteen, and he was twenty. Under his tutelage, she had learned to cook and soon surpassed him. She also begged him to teach her some ninjutsu, genjutsu, and taijutsu he knew. To his surprise, she developed her own abilities. He surmised that at least one of her parents had been a ninja.

Konan seemed to blossom overnight. Soon, she had caught the attention of most of the eligible young men in the nearby village. Pein didn't seem to mind, as long as he approved of them first.

That all changed one summer day. It had been a fairly mild summer until mid-July. Then it was hot day and night, with little relief. She didn't complain, though. Pein seemed to have no patience with anyone who complained.

Four days after the heat wave began, Konan sneaked away from the house. On an earlier walk with Pein, she had discovered a lake less than a mile away. That was where she was headed. She desperately needed to cool off.

The sun, high in the sky, beat down mercilessly. Sweat beaded on her forehead. Yes, a swim was just what she needed. Once there, she glanced around. Upon seeing no one, she slipped out of her tank-top and shorts and jumped into the water. It felt cool against her skin.

Konan sighed blissfully. She floated on the surface, oblivious to her surroundings. She should have been more observant, because ten minutes later, a man grabbed her. She heard a shriek and was surprised to discover it was her own.

"Come here, Sweetie. You don't have to scream. I just want to have some fun with you, that's all." His breath was warm against her neck, and he reeked of alcohol.

"No! Let me go!" She yelled, struggling to escape. His grip was too strong, however, and he pulled her closer. Just when she thought all was lost, a voice called out to her.


"Pein! Help me!"

The man snarled. "Is she yours? Well, too bad! She's mine now!" He bent to kiss her and Konan shuddered.

Pein's eyes narrowed. "Keep your filthy hands off of her." He growled. He disappeared.

Konan hardly dared to move lest her attacker actually manage to kiss her. She knew that Pein would rescue her. Sure enough, Pein reappeared and grabbed the guy.

"I said, keep your filthy hands off of her." He brandished a kunai in his right hand. "Now you pay the price." With that, he plunged the kunai into the man's chest.

Konan yelped and squeezed her eyes shut. She had never seen anyone be killed before. It frightened her to see just how powerful Pein was. She started to shake violently. If he could do that to a strong man, imagine what he could do to her.

Pein wrapped his arms around her. "Shhh. It's okay. You're safe now. I won't let anyone hurt you." He looked over his shoulder at the bank where her discarded clothing was. "Come on. Let's get you back." He lifted her effortlessly and cradled her against his chest. Setting her feet on solid ground, he motioned to her clothes. "Get dressed."

She nodded, too numb to realize that he was seeing her in only her underclothes. Pein, on the other hand, was completely aware of that fact. He swallowed hard. In three years, she had grown into a beautiful young woman. She was no longer straight as a rail, but had curves in all the right places. Needless to say, he had imagined what it would be like to kiss her, to touch her skin, to feel her heartbeat against his.

Finally, he could stand it no longer. Gripping her shoulders, he bent down and roughly kissed her. Konan squealed in surprise. Never before had he done this. Why, she wondered, was he kissing her? Then, just as quickly as he had kissed her, he stopped. Their gazes locked.

Konan was confused. She gave him a questioning look, which he ignored. He held her upper arm firmly and, after scooping up her garments, propelled her towards their house. She had to run to keep up with him since he was a good five inches taller than she was. She was gasping for air by the time they reached their destination.

Konan blinked in surprise when he shoved her in the bedroom. He followed, shutting the door behind him. "Get on the bed." He said tersely.

She clutched her clothes to her chest, unsure of what to do. She obeyed, and sat down. Pein soon towered over her. His fingers dug into the soft flesh of her shoulders as he pushed her down.

"Wh-what are you doing?" Konan finally managed to squeak out.

"I'll do anything you say." He murmured into her ear. "That's what you said three years ago when I first brought you here. Well, now I'm going to take you up on that offer."


Konan sighed and dragged her mind from the past. That had been ten years ago. She punched the mattress. She didn't know why she bothered to stick around. He clearly thought nothing of her except as a tool, for both fighting and his physical wants. She remembered what he had written on the piece of paper she had torn up.

"Don't bother to wait up for me. I'll be late coming home."

He most likely had to run an errand for Tobi. Most of the time, he took her with him. But every once in a while, he would leave her behind. When that happened, she just drifted from room to room, waiting for his return. Never had she been awake when he did come back. But she determined that tonight, she was going to be there waiting for him. She had some very important things to discuss with him. And if things turned out the way she thought they were going to, she was leaving.

The minutes ticked by slowly. An hour passed, then two, three, four. It was three o'clock in the morning before he stepped through the door. If he was surprised to see her sitting on the couch, he didn't show it.

"Why are you still awake? I told you to go to sleep." He fairly growled.

She shook her head. "I know. But we have to talk."

He moved towards the bedroom. "Can't it wait until tomorrow? I'm exhausted."

"No!" She rose, her eyes flashing. "Don't turn your back on me. I am not in the mood." She regretted saying that the instant he appaeared behind her, his hand at her throat.

"Care to say that again?" He breathed before licking the back of her neck.

She took a deep breath. "Pein, listen to me. Please." When he didn't reply, she plunged right in. "I'm tired of this."

He stepped back. "Tired? Of what?"

"Of us." She kept her gaze focused on her toes. "Of not knowing whether or not you really do care about me."

"Of all the ridiculous things to say..." He stared at her. "Do you honestly have to ask?" At her nod, his shoulders sagged and he turned away. "I thought I made it clear..."

"Not clear enough, obviously." She retorted. Surprisingly, he didn't threaten her or smack her like he normally would do when she got "disrespectful." Instead, he tenderly embraced her, astonishing her completely. Doing something tenderly wasn't his style.

"...I'm sorry..." He whispered. "I never thought I would need to say how much I care about you. Besides, I didn't want the other Akatsuki to know how good our relationship is. But I'll make it up to you. Just don't leave me." Hs grip on her tightened. "I need you."

Konan melted. He sounded so sincere. And, if there was one thing she knew about him, he never said something he didn't mean. "I'll stay." She said.

His lips brushed against her cheek. "Good. I don't think I could live one day without you."

The blue-haired woman smiled. Pein might not be the romantic some women look for, but she didn't care. She had grown to love this strange man and told him so many times, even though not once had he expressed his feelings.

As she lay in bed, nearly asleep, she dreamed she heard him whisper those three magical words.

"I love you."