Pein's strong hands grip Konan's as they sit in the silence. Her own hands are slender and flexible but just as strong as his, and she bears the crushing pressure without a sound.

Heavy-lidded eyes blink as he draws her closer to him and places his forehead to hers; and that is the only sign that this is out of the ordinary.

"Pein…?" she asks as iridescent eyes cloud over. He does not answer immediately, and she is about to call him again when he speaks.

"The Akatsuki has fallen…" he mutters quietly, almost inaudibly. "Madara betrayed us… The Bijuu are on the loose…" He trails off.

"Pein…?" she tries again, slightly frightened.

"Hm?" He looks up at her slowly. His expression is blank – he is not guarding his emotions; they are not there.

"Pein, I'm… scared," she whispers, tightening her fingers around his. "What happened to the leader of Akatsuki? Where is the strong, confident man to whom the strongest missing-nin answered?"

Where is the man with whom I have fallen in love?

He gives a hollow laugh, bitter and mirthless. "He fell with the rest of the Akatsuki," he tells her. "He died along with his organization. All I can do now is sit and watch Madara's plan unfold. I am powerless."

Konan shivers in sympathy. People are driven by the need for power, she knows, whether is be the power to protect loved ones, dominance, or revenge.

Without power, without a way to change anything himself, Pein, who has spent his whole life working toward ultimate power, is nothing.

Her God has suddenly become vulnerable, and as his angel it is her duty to help him. But what can she do?

Of its own accord, one painted hand slips from Pein's hold and rises to his face, gently tracing his defined features and piercings.

His eyes snap open and fly to hers and his deathgrip tightens. "Konan, what – "

"Pein," she murmurs

(because Nagato is gone, and Yahiko is gone, and this is a new creature altogether, and this is God)

"when you have nothing left to lose, the only thing you can do is gain."

His hand travels up and captures hers, stilling it. "Konan."

She begins to withdraw her hand, but he refuses to let her go, tugging her even closer instead. "Pein…?" Her eyes are wide in confusion.

"I do have something to lose," he says softly, "but I will not let go of you." He stands and pulls her up with him, eyes gleaming with renewed vigor. "From now on, I will only gain."

"Pein – "

"Come, Konan," he motions with his free hand, looking like God going to face chaos and the Devil, "let us step forward together."

"Yes," she agrees, following him.

And God and his angel went forth, and conquered, and gained peace.


- - -

So she finally gets her happy ending. But about Madara… I'm so exhausted from trying to figure out who is the top person in the Akatsuki. Pein is Leader, but he takes orders from Tobi, who is actually Madara. But Pein has plans of his own for the Bijuu, which completely exclude Madara, implying that Pein is stronger than Madara. Bleh…