A/N: sorry about the long wait. Yes, I decided to write another chapter. I think my sister's to blame – I know she'd kill me if I stopped writing this! oO

jk. Actually, so many of you said you'd like another chapter that I just couldn't say no. I want to give a big thank-you to all reviewers! I appreciate you all so much! –hugs-

Anyway, last chapter I asked if my writing was too angsty – sorry I was unclear, I was referring to the first chapter and a bit of the second, not the third which was totally fluff and humor, not angst. Again, sorry I was unclear! –facepalm- I can be so dumb sometimes! lol.

This next chapter is even more wonderfully fluffy ItaDei, although I apologize for shortness. Also, I think I'm going to lower the rating – this is more of a K+ fic than a T-rated fic isn't it? –sweatdrop- what was I thinking? Well, I don't know – you guys tell me what rating this should be! And yes, this is sadly the last chapter.

Oh, and be prepared for a crazy jutsu at the end! It's a bit of crack-fic humor for you. Heehee.

xxx

Chapter IV

ATTACHMENT

Itachi snorted and leaned in to place a kiss on Deidara's cheek. "I mean it. I swear I'll kill you one day.'

Deidara closed his eyes, smirking. "You're too attached to me to do anything of the sort."

Itachi pulled away and looked at Deidara pointedly. "Yes, I suppose I am." His eyes narrowed. "I'm too attached. But you're the one who'll have to break that attachment." The Uchiha's words hung for a moment in the cold air. Deidara released his breath in a puff, exasperated. Itachi was going on about this again. "I will die one day," Itachi said offhandedly, tone measured as usual. "And you will have to let me go."

The blonde fumed. "We went over this. I already told you, you bastard—"

Deidara's sentence was cut off by a cry from behind him. "DEIDARA! SEMPAI!" Tobi yelled, his shout muffled by the long distance between them and the thick layers of snow. "PEIN-SAMA AND SASORI NEED TO TALK TO YOU! COME ON! IT'S ABOUT YOUR NEXT MISSION!" He motioned for the blonde to get going.

Because they all knew Sasori hated to be kept waiting. Itachi snorted in contempt, annoyed that their conversation had been interrupted.

Deidara grumbled, and without another word, he turned away from Itachi and stalked back to the hideout. The Uchiha stood silently, watching the blonde's disappearing form. Snow had begun to fall again, and Itachi found himself shivering at the sudden cold. His Akatsuki robe wasn't enough in this weather.

What had he gotten himself into, forming attachments that would end up hurting him? That was the kind of ridiculous nonsense Sasuke had once believed in. Friendship. Love. Loyalty. Itachi knew that when he was around Deidara, those words made sense. They seemed real and worthwhile, not just a bunch of unreachable ideas. But when the blonde wasn't with him, Itachi began to question if it was all worth it and if it was even real.

Dusk had begun to fall. Itachi walked farther into the woods, soothed by the darkness. If he ended up alone again, what would be new? he asked himself. He clenched his teeth. No, this was ridiculous. He couldn't keep pretending he as unaffected by it all. What he needed to know was what had happened to the cold, calculated malice of the Itachi who murmured his own clan. That Itachi had a heart no one could reach. That Itachi would never have . . . would never have let himself fall in love.

In an attempt to suppress his feelings he'd only made them stronger.

But perhaps he could try being human once in a while. Itachi frowned. It was strange to think of having a normal life. He knew would never have one—he was a murderous, guiltless criminal after all. But who said he couldn't have the luxuries others possessed?

Itachi smiled slightly. He was sure Deidara wouldn't like to be thought of as a luxury.

xxx

Sasori and Deidara's conference with Pein was over. The door shut with a quiet click behind them. "Tomorrow, danna?" Deidara whined. "Do we really have to go so early?"

"Yes," Sasori replied, rolling his eyes. "This mission's important. We can't leave any later than tomorrow."

Deidara pursed his lips. "Ugh. Fine. Well, I'll be going now. It's late." He waved to the puppet-master as they both walked their opposite ways down the hall. Deidara stopped once Sasori was out of view and stood there thinking.

Where was Itachi? Deidara somehow didn't think the Uchiha would have gone back to their room. Itachi would probably be sulking somewhere, Deidara realized with a snort. He knew the Uchiha had been thinking about their conversation just as much as he had been. This had to be resolved. He wasn't going to have Itachi thinking he would just give him up! Deidara started back down the hall, turning into the main room of the hideout. As expected, Itachi was sitting by the fireplace, silent as a stone. The firelight cast red shapes across his face. Deidara took a step closer and realized the Uchiha's eyelids were closed.

He took another step nearer just to be sure. The shadows in the room wavered as the flames in the hearth lapped at the wood burning there. Deidara couldn't be sure Itachi was sleeping—he half expected the Uchiha to spring up and lecture him at any moment.

Deidara bent down and touched Itachi's shoulder lightly. The Uchiha shifted and sighed but didn't open his eyes.

The blonde watched him with a small smile. It was rare for him to be able to watch Itachi in sleep. He got to see another side of the Uchiha—a vulnerable, needy Itachi that was hard to glimpse otherwise. The dark-haired ninja was a professional at hiding his feelings, but when he was sleeping, he couldn't do anything about that.

Deidara sat down next to the Uchiha and took his hand, eyebrows furrowing as he noticed that Itachi's fist was clenched. The blonde carefully opened Itachi's palm and held it between his own. Slowly, Itachi's eyelids began to flicker upwards. Deidara saw a bit of shock pass over his face, and then the mask of impassivity fell into place over the Uchiha's beautiful features.

"Deidara?" Itachi muttered, blinking.

"Bastard," the blonde whispered back affectionately, a hint of a laugh in his voice. "Why are you sitting in here? Why didn't you go back to our room?" Deidara knew the answer, but he wanted to hear what Itachi would say nonetheless. The Uchiha shifted into a sitting position, shaking his head to clear it. He was still waking up. Deidara had the sudden realization that Itachi was uncannily cute when he was sleepy.

"Hmm . . ." Itachi mumbled.

"Never mind," Deidara said suddenly, no longer desiring to discuss this with the Uchiha. Not yet. "Come on, un." He put an arm around the grumbling Uchiha's shoulders and heaved him to his feet. Deidara chuckled silently when he realized that Itachi could hardly stand on his own. He must be really tired, he blonde thought to himself.

Deidara half-dragged, half-carried the Uchiha back to their room and set him down on the bed. Itachi immediately buried his face in a pillow, without even bothering to take off his Akatsuki robe.

But Deidara would have none of that. "Itachi!" the blonde whispered threateningly, grabbing the Uchiha's shoulder and flipping him over on his back. "Don't think you can go to sleep just yet, un!"

Itachi didn't snort good-humoredly or even smirk in response. He looked back at Deidara with disinterest, clearly annoyed that the blonde wanted to talk to him. "I want to sleep," he commented quietly. Deidara knew that tone—the tone Itachi used right before he lashed out in anger.

Deidara let the Uchiha's shoulder go. This wasn't going well at all! The blonde's mind raced to find the right thing to say—anything to get his feelings across. He opened his mouth and Itachi raised an eyebrow at him, so he stopped before he was about to say anything. He found himself reaching out again, this time to cup the Uchiha's cheek. Sometimes actions are better than words.

Itachi's face hardened slightly at the contact. Deidara felt a frown forming on his lips. The moment stretched on and Deidara felt the air become more and more tense. Itachi couldn't just brush him off again, could he? That would be cruel. That would be just like Itachi. Deidara felt his palm sweating against the Uchiha's smooth cheek.

He saw a flicker of something pass across Itachi's face. The Uchiha had regained some of his self-satisfied attitude. He seemed almost resigned.

Deidara withdrew his hand and leaned closer, still keeping eye contact. "You understand, don't you?" He knew they'd both been thinking about it this whole time—how Itachi was preoccupied with death and what would happen if he died, but how Deidara wasn't willing to forget about Itachi and he wasn't going to let him go either. "I won't ever stop loving you, not even after you die," Deidara said, smiling, surprised at the fierceness of his own voice.

Itachi's eye twitched and he looked away. Deidara crowed in triumph. "So I've won, un? I've finally made you to see my side of this?"

Itachi's face sobered and his eyes grew cold, but Deidara recognized the expression as one of sadness. The Uchiha was hard to read, but Deidara had practice with it, after all.

The blonde let his hand fall to Itachi's shoulder. "Look at it this way, un." He leaned closer and rested his forehead against Itachi's. "Life is short. If you spend all of it worrying about how it will end, it will end before you know it." He felt Itachi's breathing against his skin. "Live in the moment. Life is like art—it isn't permanent." He breathed in the smell of Itachi's hair. The bastard was definitely using his shampoo. "Live that way and you'll find happiness."

Deidara pulled away and realized that the Uchiha had closed his lids, with an expression of profound calm on his face. Those black eyes snapped back open in a second, however, and Itachi's face slipped under its mask of disinterest one more. It was clear Itachi was never going to admit to anything . . .

The Uchiha was still playing that same card. "You have to be careful not to form an attachment, Deidara. It will only hurt you."

The blonde was getting sick of this. "Are you saying that you don't love me, un?" he gritted out between his teeth.

Itachi paled. "No, no!" He shook his head rapidly.

Deidara continued to glare at him. Finally he snorted. "You just can't deal with the fact that you've lost the argument," he growled, deciding a different approach was needed. "Sometimes you act like a baby, un! Seriously, don't you know you're gonna be mine forever?" The blonde chucked as Itachi's pale cheeks showed the hint of a blush. Deidara's fingers were now busy pulling Itachi's robe from his shoulders. The Uchiha watched, a bit mesmerized, as he was slowly undressed. Suddenly, he snapped out of it, but his reaction was a bit too late. Deidara wrapped arms around him, smiling that smile of his that Itachi loved and hated because of its affect on him. "I think you're resigned to your fate, un. You've given up."

Itachi wasn't one to argue with that. It was all he could do not to lose himself in the warmth of Deidara's kiss. A weak thought fluttered on the surface of his mind . . . why was he resisting? Shouldn't he live in the moment? Not worry about how things would turn out? Itachi's arms shot up to hold Deidara as the blonde kissed him. His body seemed to have answered those questions on its own. He let Deidara move to sit with his legs straddling his waist and forgot about the future completely.

The strings of their lives were too hopelessly tangled now.

Deidara pulled away from the kiss and looked down at Itachi a bit breathlessly. There was a moment's pause and then he began to speak. "You know, I have a mission tomorrow, un. It's a real important one too. I'm gonna be gone for six days."

Itachi's eyes narrowed at the interruption and at the news. "What?! I can't . . ."

"Can't what?" Deidara asked slyly.

Itachi's eyes flickered. "I can't . . . live without you for that long."

Deidara had a hard time not smiling. "Not so cold-hearted anymore, I see, eh, Itachi?" The blonde gulped as the Uchiha gave him a deadly glare. "Well, you know, I was just kidding about the six days thing! I'll only be gone for two days, un!"

Itachi blinked slowly. "Good. Because otherwise . . . you'd be in for it."

"Stop giving me that scary look, un," Deidara complained. "I don't like it, un."

Itachi snorted. "How can you be afraid of me? You're sitting on top of me. I can hardly move."

Deidara smiled. "Are you saying that I have the feared Uchiha Itachi-" He leaned down and tickled the other ninja with a lock of his hair, "-at my mercy? Un?"

"No." Itachi sat up, smirking at the blonde ninja, who immediately fell off him in a clumsy heap. "Uchiha Itachi is never at anyone's mercy." The dark-haired ninja stood up and pulled Deidara to his feet. "Mangekyou Sharingan!"

Everything disappeared and they were surrounded by orange skies. Deidara found himself standing in the middle of a shallow lake, reflecting the orange sky above. It stretched on in all directions as far as the eye could see.

Itachi stood in front of him, grinning.

"I'm not your enemy! Why are you doing this?" the blonde whispered, confused.

The Uchiha took a step towards him. "Torture isn't the only thing I can use this jutsu for, Deidara . . ."

"What?"

"The Mangekyou Sharingan is a time-warp—but I can use it for more than torture. We have 72 hours to do anything we want."

Suddenly it dawned on Deidara. "You mean anything . . . like . . . this?" He grabbed Itachi's shoulders and kissed him passionately.

Itachi blinked calmly. "You catch on quite quickly, don't you?"

Deidara grinned. "You're a genius, un. To think of something like this. A total genius."

Itachi smirked, surprising the blonde by catching his lips in another kiss. The Uchiha pulled away. "Nine-thousand nine-hundred ninety-nine kisses to go."

Deidara's eyes widened as Itachi brought him closer. He was definitely going to be tired for his mission tomorrow. He was sure of that . . . but somehow he didn't care too much.

fin