A series of short, AU Akatsuki drabbles. Just for fun. Enjoy!

Characters are Kishimoto's, not mine.

Deidara

Almost there, he was almost there. He could taste his own death on his tongue, tangible and metallic, as real as the pulsating controls under his fingers. He didn't know whether to laugh or weep but he had promised, so he smiled while his heart sped up and tears salted his cheeks. For the good of… He had forgotten. Forgotten everything, in the face of his death, his brilliant, blazing doom.

The ship looked tiny from where he was. Buoyed up in the rush of blue, unknowing. They probably saw the plane by now, they were probably pointing, wondering what would happen. Deidara smiled, because he was coming for them, him and him alone, forget the metal, the bombs and fuel surrounding him, he was the plane, it was his own glorious vessel and he was going to take them down, all of them. He wished he could be alive to see the explosion, fire and water and bodies mingled with screams and cracks, blasts big enough to send men flying across, into the fathomless sea. He was laughing now, laughing in earnest, because he couldn't care about dying anymore, not now when his hand felt glued to the throttle. The plane was embracing him now, humming with its promise of destruction, still hiding the secret of its devastation.

We go down together, Deidara thought, and he was so close now he could see the fear of the men below him and as he jetted downwards, throwing in a couple joyful spirals he thought of nothing but the aircraft around him, the detonate button under his shaking finger. Yes, detonate.

He saw flames, and he heard screams but he probably was just imagining them. It was a beautiful, perfect, complete attack. He fell, suspended in his aching, dazzling doom.

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Konan

She despised herself. She wanted to burn her clothes, every one of the exquisite dresses, and throw away her jewels. Throw away those shameful gifts of lust, that her shameless customers-her patrons-bestowed upon her as if they were nothing, another thousand francs, thrown away into the abyss of her perfect sins.

Paris glittered like hell before her. Montmartre was alive, it was crawling, infested and soon she would be called down, in her white dress that clung to her like paper and her rubies that were as big as her eyes. She would have to kick her legs up in the air, grind her body against men twice her age, smile, lick her lips, tease and then she would stagger back to her room, weeping and delirious. She knew the routine.

Konan was wasting away. Her bangles slid off her wrists, got lost on the shrieking, twisting dance floor. Her hipbones were sharp beneath the folds of her immaculate dress, and she barely had to lace her corset anymore. She liked to laugh in private, with a glass of champagne from some Monsieur, whose name she did not know. Je me transforme en fantôme, oui, she would giggle, voice husky from too many cigarettes, speaking to her reflection in the mirror that was hazy with powder and lipstick, bientôt, lá serai plus rien! Rien n'est parti pour eux á l'utilisation.

She examined herself relentlessly, trying to find the spark that all her men found. But there was nothing in her eyes that were dark as bruises, nothing in her sunken cheeks and white throat, her skin that looked as thin as paper. She looked like the ghost she wanted to be. And that was what she took refuge in. Because she knew no one else could possibly save her, there was no God, true or false, looking out for her no matter how hard she wished. Paris adored her and she was completely alone under the sordid red windmill.

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"I am turning into a ghost, yes,"

"Soon there will be nothing left! Nothing left for them to use."

Sasori

He had someone else dig up the body. Not because of his conscience, not because he didn't want dirt and death on his hands. But Sasori was not suited to physical labour, he was suited to the miniscule, the tiny moderations with scalpel and his slender fingers. So one of his eager students went out, ready to do anything-anything-for his master.

And so now the body was laid out, the man's face wasted and empty, his limbs stiff. Sasori looked the body over coolly; he could not imagine this man alive. He was another hard machine now, broken, but he was no human. Sasori touched the hard bicep, pulled back an eyelid to reveal a light eye that saw nothing. He smiled.

Così c'è un'anima dopo tutto , he said to the student who was watching him expectantly. "We could bring it back, then, couldn't we?" He said this to the dead man, his fingers skirting over the bloodless face.

His student shook when he handed Sasori the knife. But his master's hands were steady when he made the incision, clean and straight across the man's chest. The student watched, transfixed, as the skin was pulled apart to reveal the secret galaxy of the man's innards, the brilliant corona of the heart. Sasori smiled.

"You wonder-can it be re-animated?" His voice danced, lulled as he probed gently at the organ, "No," his voice had sunk to a whisper as he reached out to touch the heart with his bare fingers, "It is dead," He said and the student nodded.

"You believe it, then?" The student asked timidly and Sasori shrugged, withdrawing his hand from the man's body, wiping it on his robes.

"That the heart is the centre of being? How are we to know?" He bent, peering intently at the organ, "But replace it-couldn't we? Tear it out, create something some…mechanical…" He stepped away, reaching for the sheaf of his notes.

"What if it is not the heart, then? How could we re-animate a soul?" The student took his master's place, looking at the organ as if it were volatile.

Sasori shook his head, "That is only in God's hands, Bernardino. But with a heart he could live, could he not?"

"But…he would be empty," Bernardino straightened, "A puppet, nothing more."

Sasori smiled, "Yes. Nothing more."

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• "So there is a spirit, after all,"

Itachi

He traveled from town to town a handsome wraith, leaving before anyone started digging into his past. He came on a beautiful grey mare, his clothes stylish and new, his hat pulled low and everywhere he went there were rumors of his fortune, mothers wanting him for their daughters. He would dine with them, dance with them sometimes, occasionally hunt with their fathers and brothers and then he would leave without a word, another handsome stranger. He traveled as far as Ireland, and then back through England, and to Scotland. He never rested.

They whispered about gambling debts, about bounties or perhaps a mad wife. But none of them believed anything sinister about the well dressed, quiet young man who attended their suppers with a solemn face, eyes down turned and so very polite. They were hungry for him everywhere he went-hungry for his handsome face, his rumoured fortune and his mystery. But he would always leave, and in a couple weeks' time he would be forgotten.

They were all wrong about him, of course. He had no fortune, not anymore at least. He had no debts, he was not hunted and he had never been married. He was running that was all, running from ghosts that he couldn't get away from, couldn't stop. He was being pursued by shadows, shadows that closed invisible fingers around his throat, hung off his neck no matter how hard he galloped. No matter how far he went to escape. They clung to him, whispering in his ears, whispering for vengeance, for redemption, for love and for everything but what he wanted to give them. They screamed at night, clutching him in their madness and fury, the tortured him and all he could do was run, run until one day they finished him.

Kisame

The sea crested and roared behind him, the only being stronger than him, he smirked. And even the sea itself could never take down Sparta. Kisame hefted his shield up, ignoring the cries and commands around him and grinning toothily at Ilium, glittering in the distance, waiting patiently for its destruction. He could break the proud walls; bring Priam to his knees single-handedly. He needed no heroes, no demi-gods and no Kings to aid him. He had his hands, his sword, and his strength. His heart was pounding, blood rushing in his head. He wanted to fight, wanted to flavour the earth with the blood of the enemies he never chose. He would never see their faces and their screams would never reach him, never stay his hand. No one could take him down, he who was more monster than man-more God than mortal. His weapon was fear, and it struck viciously and never forgave. His defense was pride, something unbreakable and unfathomable.

I will ruin you, was his battle oath, I will bring this city down to its belly, I will lay it to waste. The battle seemed to take forever to begin, days melded to weeks until the talking was over, until the clash of metal that was more welcome than any words of peace.

He could never describe the beauty of battle, the stunning crisis of death all around him. He was strong and he had no fear. The sons of Ilium could come at him, could strike at him and their spears would never reach his skin, never pass the mass of his strength. He would raze the skin from their bodies, his sword shrieking through the hair, his shield joyfully dissonant as their helpless weapons clashed against it. And he watched those brave boys, brave men fall to his blade, heard the blood bubble in their throats. He laughed because he was the strongest, no God or mortal could touch him. Let Zeus himself come! I will take him down! He laughed to the end, laughed through the blood and even when it was over and he was alone, Zeus never dared come close.

Pein

Pein dreamed of being a ghost. He dreamed of invisibility. Of sliding and shimmering through the world, undetected. He wanted to witness, to observe without anyone looking at him, judging him, touching him.

He dreams of disappearing when he is alone backstage, eyes shut against the pound of music and the whispers of sultry, underage girls, the sweet smell of hash. He dreams of disappearing when he is onstage, armed with a guitar and a microphone and disguised in the lights, the shadows, the noise. His fans scream, he shines like a deranged God, studded in metal-that is his disguise after all, that is how he hides. They hear his music, and they see his perfect face, his lean body and that is all they want. It is nothing but a costume and somehow, they worship it.

He likes the feeling of destruction-drinking hard liquor, smoking cigarettes, shooting up. He likes to fight his body, a new piercing, or a new drug. He likes waking up and not knowing what he had done, what he had ruined the night before. But he is too frightened to kill himself.

He is strong, no matter how hard he tries to destroy himself. His body fights back, skin white and tense, lungs charred, heart frenetic, beating like something incarcerated behind his brittle ribcage and his eyes bloodshot. His voice still bursts from his throat, music springs from his fingers. He has made himself exactly what they want.

Pein dreams of disappearing as he falls asleep, reality skewed behind a haze of opiates. He can picture it then, first his fingers will go, and then his hands, the blank space eating its way up his arms, down his chest and up over his head. It will overtake his mouth, his jaw, his nose at the same time as it travels down his legs, going until there is nothing left but his eyes, watching, until he drifts into a dreamless sleep and there is nothing left at all.

End of part one-four more to come.