"Ah..." Deidara looked up at the ceiling. "It's starting to rain, un."
Sasori looked at the training room's ceiling as well. It was a big room, with grass and broken stone. It was one of the rooms that jutted out from the tower, something keeping it not-so-straight. On the far end of the room, the last quarter of the ceiling was made from glass, to let natural light in. Slanted down, the rain was steadily beginning to slide down and drip off of the glass.
"So... un." Deidara started, trying to keep his voice low for fact there was a sleeping girl resting against him. "What's up with you?"
Sasori kept watching the rain drops moving around on the glass. "What do you mean?" he asked emotionlessly.
Deidara cocked an eyebrow. "You're not acting quite the same as you used to, un." he sighed "You're hiding something. I can tell, un."
Sasori sighed, too, "I guess." he looked away, contemplating whether to say anything or not. "This whole human experience is just flooding back to me. The emotions of... everything... are just too entirely overwhelming," He sat back against the wall letting his head rest against the stone. "I feel the same things and more from when I was a child. They're all exploding and it's very pressuring." he explained to Deidara calmly.
Deidara was a little surprised Sasori let all of that go without some prodding. "Danna..." he started,
Sasori waited. Waiting. Waiting. He twitched, "What?" he tried not to be too loud in his small amount of anger.
"Sorry, Danna, thank you for telling me, un."
Sasori felt awkward at that, so he chose not to reply.
Sakura was slowly sinking down Deidara's shoulder, until her forehead was against his side. This made the blonde snort. "You know, she's probably the weakest we've ever kept in the Akatsuki, un."
Sasori kept his face unchanged, watching her pink hair fall closer out of sight into his younger once-partner's lap. Instead of letting himself feel what he was sure was jealousy, he instead chose to try to focus on talking. "She wasn't weak, before this. Pain must have plans for her. And that means she'll probably get stronger again. Possibly even stronger than that." Sasori looked away and combed his fingers through the grass straggled across the broken stone and dirt. He wondered what this place would have looked like before it was broken down from all of the training done. The training rooms around the tower were designed to give you a taste of every type of terrain and weather condition. Special jutsus letting the room adjust and change to rain, sleet or snow according to what you need. He didn't know why but he was excited to show that to his new partner. Sasori shook his head.
"What is it, un?" Deidara could have sworn he saw his Danna's now-flesh cheeks tint the slightest red.
Sasori gazed off for a few more seconds before he stood up from the cold, damp floor. "Nothing, kid." he motioned to come along and started down the room and out of of it.
Deidara didn't know what to do with Sakura sleeping nearly on his lap. So, as gently as possible, he picked her up and sighed as he cradled her. "If anyone saw us now, the Akatsuki would be a joke." he grumbled before walking out of the room.
Sasori stopped himself just outside of the door when he remembered he couldn't be too far from Sakura. He sighed and waited for the two of them, expecting to hear two sets of footsteps but finding himself annoyed when he turned around and saw that Sakura was still asleep, with her head now cradled in Deidara's arm with his other hooked under her legs.
"She needs sleep and you know it, un." the blonde remarked, noticing at Sasori's face.
The only thing Sasori could think was 'That's not it at all '. He let Deidara walk ahead of him as they started up the stairs to his room that he'd grown so accustomed to. "Do you know when Pein wants us to carry out our orders?"
Deidara shook his head, shifting his arms to better-carry her. "No, probably just more of a task rather than a timed mission. When the two of you are feeling better, un." After enough walking he stopped at the door so Sasori could open it.
Eventually they had her settled in her bed and Sasori was back to sitting in his own bed as he was just a few hours ago. He went back to flipping through Sakura's sketchbook and Deidara stayed and looked with him. "I'm going to have to get her a new pad, un. She draws through these fast."
Sasori's fingers hesitated for just a moment mid-flip of the page. "Where'd you get this one?" his thumb caressed the smoothe paper as he thought about it. He turned to a new drawing.
"I had it in my stuff from when I went into town last, un. She'd mention she drew a bit when we got into an art discussion. I honestly think a bit doesn't cut it, un. She's a professional."
Sasori silently agreed. Three artists, now.
Deidara stiffened when the page landed on a picture of himself. Reading a book, casually kicking back in a chair, seeming engrossed in whatever he was reading. "I wonder when she did this, un."
Sasori turned the page before Deidara had finished admiring it, making the blonde straighten up and walk to the door, waving his hand-his tongue sticking out- at Sasori and left promptly.
Sasori worked on the only puppet he'd had left in the world until he passed out himself. It was around three in the morning when he found himself being tugged at, jolting him awake. It surprised him every time he woke up, after being in the grey so long. He let his eyes adjust to the darkness and found Sakura standing by his bedside, her eyes closed as her head wobbled forward and back sleepily.
"I'm sorry…" she mumbled to him, "I need to use the restroom."
This confused him for a second as he squinted sleepily at her. Why doesn't she just go? He blinked the blur out of his eyes when he'd remembered that the closest working bathroom was downstairs and even farther down a hall. "Well, I'm glad you remembered instead of just wandering off in the darkness."
She replied with some quiet noise and a nod, swaying dangerously.
Sasori stood up and stretched one arm, the other grabbing her upper-arm and holding her steady before getting a better hold of her and leading her out of the room and to her destination. Unfortunately for the both of them, he still wasn't used to his human body and had yet to train his eyes for normal night-vision. After the last bump in the head, Sakura woke up enough to begin guiding him around. "I feel like a little kid again." She told him fondly.
Sasori was keeping his arm out to feel for any walls or people. "Why?"
Sakura saw her destination and stopped Sasori just outside of the door. "When I was a little girl I was afraid of the dark and I asked my parents to help me to the bathroom like I asked you."
So you were adorable when you were a kid, too?
What was he thinking? He cursed at himself and held his face. Sasori hated emotions. Foolish things making him hate what he's thinking. His mind started spiraling into thousands of excuses for his thought processes' behavior this past week.
First real girl he's been around in twenty years. Like Deidara had said, she's very likeable! This is also the first time in twenty years that he's had emotions. He'll feel everything right now. Haha...
By the time Sakura had finished washing her hands and came back out, she found herself watching the emotions crossing his face, him nodding then putting his emotionless mask back on. "You about done?" he asked, leaning forward to rock on his heels.
Sakura froze as he leaned forward, his forehead touching hers for a second before he quickly rocked back. He only let out a few cut-off breaths as he tried to give an explanation.
"You really can't see anything, can you?" She kept her voice even and smiling, her forehead tickled where his hair brushed acrossed it. Though, she was never one to make things awkward.
He nodded dumbly and smacked his palm onto his forehead, scrunching his eyes shut and shaking his head at what had just happened.
Sakura ignored this, grabbed his hand and began leading the way back.
She was already getting tired again and her eyes drooped until they were nearly closed.
Sasori noticed how she was walking fine on her own and he let himself smile in the dark. "Are you feeling any better?"
She pondered a bit as she turned around to help him up the stairs. "A bit, yes. I can stand without wobbling." She chuckled trying to be friendly, "Though I've always been able to, and now kind of have to, ignore how I feel."
He got the hang of the stair's setting and walked up it with ease, though she still had a hold of his hand, and something was stirring in his stomach. Is that hunger? "Why? Shouldn't human—we pay attention to our bodily functions?"
She shook her head, opening their room door and letting go of his hand. "No one else cared, so why should I?" Sakura sat down on her bed frowning, still tired and annoyed by it.
Sasori didn't answer. He just quickly found his bed and waited to let himself think until he knew she was asleep. Didn't want any more stupid emotions conflicting with his face.
Quite a few hours later, long past the sun rising and barely lighting up the dull grey rain clouds, Sasori was roused by his shoulder being shaken, making him turn further onto his frontside in his bed, his nose finding it harder to intake air as he buried his face deeper into his pillow. He sighed and lifted up his head, peering next to him.
Sakura had this small smirk that was trying to hide amusement. "I'm sorry to say this'll be more of a regular thing. You know you can wake me up, too, if you need to go somewhere. How on earth did you go to the bathroom when I was out for so long?" She opened her mouth to say something more, but the guilt of talking too much weighed her down, reminding her of the older days. Her face sunk a bit.
Figuring out what was on her mind, though, Sasori made himself talk freely, sitting up and stretching. "I'm a male. There's a window." He gave her the straightest face possible.
She laughed, her cheeks lifting and her nose crinkling.
He loved it.
"Didn't know you were one to make many jokes." She held out her hand and he took her wrist, standing up straight. His legs shook a bit as the blood flowed through them.
"So when's our mission?" Sakura asked, letting go of his hand and walking to the door.
He opened the door for her first and gestured her forward like a gentleman. "Whenever you feel good enough to go, I guess."
Sakura, out of old habit looked at her hand and gripped it to a fist, missing her old leather gloves. "I feel pretty sturdy right now. Not the greatest, but I can actually move without getting tired. Dizzy, though."
He looked at his own hands, noting his nails were bare of polish and his old ring. Tobi had that, now, didn't he? "You need three meals a day and haven't gotten that at all. 'Course you're dizzy." She wouldn't have a ring either, would she? Hope she doesn't feel left out. He shook his head.
"You know, for someone who hasn't been human for twenty plus years, you think a lot about health."
Sasori turned his eyes from the stairs they'd reached and let her go ahead of him. "I'm just smart." He waited until she started descending before grabbing the white hood of her sleeveless jacket, but not pulling.
She stopped, turning her head and looking back at him, cocking an eyebrow.
"Just making sure you really are as sturdy as you say." He kept his hand there, hoping his face was as emotionless as he'd like.
Sakura gave a soft smile and continued, going the same route as last night with a lot less wall-bumping.
First a big breakfast with as much proper nutrition they could achieve, finding out where their mission would take place, then eventually a bit more training and lunch. Sakura still seemed normal and healthy. She tapped her finger against the wooden table they were sitting at in the library. She had been brushing up on the medical jutsus Tsunade had taught her and felt very impatient for some reason.
Sasori kept close-by, sitting in a chair and tooling around with a new puppet, having finished the older last night. Deidara sat across from her, on the other side of the table. "Cabin fever? Un."
Sakura's eyes shot to his from the raindrop-clad window where they'd been lingering the past few minutes. "What? Oh, haha, yeah. A bit, I guess." She tucked her fingers underneathe her palm and closed her eyes, taking a deep breath.
"When are you guys leaving? Un."
Sasori thought about it, looking at Sakura in her strange state. "Tomorrow, I guess. I'm not used to being able to stay awake for hours-on-end yet and she can't, otherwise I'd say we'd go tonight." he put his wooden screwdriver in his mouth and picked up a nearly invisible string, staring to wind it around his index finger.
Sakura felt a twinge of excitement and smiled, keeping her eyes closed. "Thank you," she said quietly. "That makes me feel better already." Her smile grew bigger as she thought about doing her first real mission as a member of the Akatsuki. She blinked open her eyes and thought about it. She enjoyed her newly-found villainous ways. Not that her thoughts are exactly villainous, but she enjoyed being apart of this group and she wasn't against the fact that they, and now she, are the bad guys of the world. They were hers, she was theirs… and that isn't bad at all.
Sakura shook her head again and looked at both Deidara and Sasori.
"What? Un." He looked back at her.
"Just thankful." She smiled. "Sasori, when you're done, want to go get lunch?"
He nodded with the screwdriver in his mouth, his eyes entirely focused on his new puppet, growing more irritated at the material he had to work with. Just wood. He couldn't let himself show that, though. Sakura seemed the type to be horrified of using carved-out bodies as his puppets. He shook his head. She doesn't know about that and she never will.
Sakura looked at the puppet, the wood freshly carved and sanded. Her mind went back to when she'd first fought against him and his puppets. Fighting against him, how she nearly died. Her eyes turned away and she tried not to sigh.
Then the screwdriver dropped to the floor. Sasori's hand was shaking and he was now sweating a bit.
"What's wrong?" Sakura turned as soon as she heard the clunk against the floor. She picked it up for him, holding it out.
He shook his head and gently placed his puppet down on the table, gripping his knees and hanging his head down. "It's nothing. Just had a strange thought and… just weird emotions. It's gone, now, I don't even know what it was." Just that it was a bad thought. He mouthed to himself.
Later on, after Sasori had calmed down, they had gone to their room after lunch so he could lie down. He'd said he was just a little tired from waking up in the middle of the night.
Sakura had the feeling it wasn't that at all. Something was just telling her that it had something to do with his past. She rested her cheek on one of her knees, letting her pencil fall onto her pad of paper. He was asleep, now. She could let herself think freely without being afraid to show emotion, being too insecure to let herself show the bad emotions anyway.
She'd been wondering for a while how far this connection between them would go.
'…and maybe try not using your chakra. I felt that.'
She recalled Sasori's words from yesterday at the training grounds. If he felt the fact that she used a tiny amount of chakra in a punch… if they couldn't get too far from each other because their souls are connected and would rip away from one body… who says he couldn't feel her emotions or even eventually read her thoughts? Hopefully he doesn't learn the truth about their past and those memories stay forgotten.
It was an agreement between her and Deidara, however silent it may have been, to never talk of the past events. Deidara had forgiven her, but who knows if Sasori could live with her after learning the truth.
He was helpful in the end. He didn't hate her by any means when he died.
Sakura shook her head as if that would shake the thoughts from her mind and picked her pencil back up. Draw something happy. She told herself.
Night came quickly and Sasori woke up from his five-hour-long nap, feeling fully awake and comfortable. He sat up and looked to his right, hoping to see Sakura at least resting or something.
She was laying down, but in a strange way. Her head was more near the middle of the bed and her arm was hanging off of the bed with her fingertips nearly touching the ground. Her green eyes were open and staring blankly ahead. Sakura was still.
Sasori was curious, but grew worried as he saw she wasn't blinking. He couldn't even tell if she was breathing. He stood up quickly, calling her name as he pressed his hand to her shoulder to shake it. "Sakura!"
She jumped, taking in a huge breath and immediately closing her eyes. "You scared me."
His next thoughts were a mixture of I scared you? And relief. He exhaled and relaxed.
"I just got lost in thought. I do it some times when I know I'm safe."
Sasori sat down next to her on her bed and hung his head, shaking it.
"I'm sorry…" She mumbled in a small voice.
He grimaced. "Don't… be sorry. I just over-reacted." His hand was hovering above her shoulder. He couldn't decide whether he should or not; but he wanted to rub her back and comfort her. For some reason he was irritated again. He patted her shoulder instead. "Did I keep you waiting long?"
She shook her head. "Oh, no. You needed your sleep. I kept myself busy. Thinking and drawing. I wasn't waiting. I was just biding my time. I also…" She reached under her bed as she spoke, pulling out a long, rolled up piece of paper. As she unrolled it, she revealed a map that she'd seemed to have drawn herself. The ink was still settling into the yielding material of which the detailed countries and roads were drawn on. "Figured out a good route to take on where the guy was last seen." Sakura smiled at him in a friendly way.
His hand was still on her shoulder and it became more relaxed and settled there as he took in the image in front of him.
Sakura enjoyed the feeling. She wasn't something of inconvenience to him, at least. She hoped.
He noticed where his hand was, though. How her bare arm was touching him and how close they were as she pointed out the map. He stood up, ruffling her hair a bit. "You did a great job and I think the route is perfect." His voice was soft. Why? And isn't that too nice for him?
He shook his head. "We should have dinner, though. I'm determined to having you eat properly. You're looking a lot better, we can definitely leave tomorrow." Sasori's words came out in a bit of a jumble as he shuffled over to the other side of the room, grabbing his puppet and tool kit off of the wooden shelves.
Sakura watched him and smiled. A knowing smile. But it was soon wiped from her face, she can't assume too much. "Do you need help carrying those?" She stood up, ready to take anything she could. His hands were full and he was already putting a couple of brushes in his mouth.
He shook his head and motioned to the door with a tip of his head.
She smiled once again, took his toolkit and opened the door for him.
"Why can't you just make all of your stuff fly on strings like you used to do with all of your puppets?" Sakura chuckled, recalling his hundred puppet technique.
He stopped in the door way, staring down at her. How might she know about that? Pein wouldn't have given her much information on me. Maybe Deidara?
She nearly panicked at the thought of him figuring out their history. She began fumbling over the kit, looking down at her bare feet.
Sasori moved from the doorway and motioned her to follow once again with the tip of his head, his brushes still in his mouth. Sakura followed behind a few steps, trying her best to keep breathing normally.
A/N: My computer had exploded, and I'd had no extra copy of what I'd written on this except for the first paragraph or two. I was able to pull it all off and now I have kind of two versions of it. I'll be pulling out bits and pieces of both (as otherwise some things wouldn't make sense because I'd thought I'd written it in the last chapter). I hope it wasn't too weird and that you enjoyed it all.