INTRO: Hi!! This is Chihiro-chan, or I Love My Puppeteers. You can just call me Chi, haha. Well, this is my first fanfic, so... i'm really not sure how good it is. I mean, my friends all said it was good, but they're my friends, y'know? o.O' As for you, I'll probably never really meet you in RL, so please review!! Flames I will take, if they help me to improve. ' Thanks! Please enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: If I owned Naruto, all the guys would be hot, Sasori, Dei, Kuzu and Hidan would be alive, Deidara would hit on Sasori every waking moment, in the end, Orochimaru would kill Ino and Sasuke together, the Akatsuki would kill Orochimaru via Chinese Water Torture, Sakura would be in a coma, Hinata would get some guts, and the Akatsuki would dispose of everyone I dislike and take over the world. So, probably quite thankfully, I do not own Naruto.


"Forgiven"

"Deidara, honestly." Sasori snarled, red flashing into his dark brown eyes. He threw down the pieces of the puppet he had been working on, the shattered remnants clacking loudly on the stone floor. The charred limbs smoked silently, the pitiful victims of the terrorist's bomb. "What the hell was that for?"

The puppeteer glared venomously at his partner, demanding an answer.

But the blonde stared back, just as infuriated. "You and your damn puppets, that's all you ever work with, un. Do you know how frustrating it is? You're so out of it lately, Sasori!"

The redhead blinked in surprise. Deidara scarcely found the nerve to stand up to his teammate, much less the nerve to actually blow up one of his human puppets. But his anger soon replaced the shock again. "Is there a problem, Deidara?"

"The hell there is! You've been—"

Just then, Pein entered the small room, interrupting their fight. "Sasori, I'm sending you on an independent mission."

He sighed heavily, turning to face his Leader. "What do you want me to do?"

His voice was strained and leaden with poison, and his body was stiff with outrage.

The pierced face raised an eyebrow at the two partners, before continuing to address the puppet-man. "Go to the Five Shinobi Nations and obtain at least two subordinates from each village. We need more inside information."

Sasori returned his gaze to Deidara. "Fine. It'll be better than being with this little shit."

The 'little shit's natural, blue eye widened in stunned shock at him, unused to the cruel hatred, this time, knowing that it wasn't a tease. Pein shook his head. "I don't know what you two were fighting over, but don't let it distract you, Akasuna no Sasori. Our next move depends on having subordinates." Emotionlessly, Pein pivoted about to leave the work room.

The puppeteer scoffed at Leader-sama's back. He didn't give a crap for subordinates at the moment. Snappily, the redhead pulled out a scroll, summoning a battle puppet. He wouldn't risk damaging his own body for such a petty mission.

Sasori unfastened the catch on his Akatsuki cloak and lowered the clothing, until his heart was exposed. All the while, he was aware of Deidara watching in stony silence. Ignoring the blonde, he then peeled back the cloth on his battle puppet, unveiling the socket in which his heart could be transferred to. Still immensely incensed, he rashly and savagely grasped the edges of his heart's container, ripping it out of his chest, quickly extending the imprisoned organ to insert in the second body.

However, his aim was off, and where his unconscious hand should've placed it into the puppet while he was temporarily 'dead', the heart merely thunked limply against the hole.

Deidara inhaled sharply, all former dissatisfaction gone, the blood pounding in his ears as he watched his Danna fall, comatose and broken. The figure, rendered a simple puppet without Sasori's heart, lolled on the floor, utterly prone. The blonde terrorist leapt up, and landed agilely beside his partner. He pried the heart from the hand, about to slide it into the second puppet.

But he hesitated, his huge, blonde bang falling smoothly over his left scope eye. Sasori wouldn't remember anything that happened when his heart was displaced, would he…? Deidara blinked slowly, kneeling forward, over his teammate's lifeless body. He whispered to the unconscious puppet-master. "Sasori no Danna, I'm sorry. I didn't…. I didn't mean to make you that mad, so… please don't hate me, un. I guess… I was just mad too, because lately, I've been feeling really weird. A… Around you, Sasori no Danna. I think… no… I know… I love you, un."

Shivering, he bent further over the frame, and lowered his own head to Sasori's. Deidara touched his lips to the redhead's, feeling the cold mouth on his. He closed his eyes, a hot feeling growing in his stomach as he leaned into his Danna's perfect face. Even as his love lay completely ignorant, he felt so blessed to be allowed this close to the man he held dear, to be so near those gleaming, dark hazel orbs, the flawless, perfectly chiseled nose, and able to touch the soft, icy lips. Quivering in wonder, he tentatively straightened up slowly, delicately taking himself away from Sasori; as if afraid he would wake up the male. He leaned back, a warm sort of chill sleeking down his spine. The boy smiled crookedly, an apologetic look on his face.

Carefully, he took the contained heart, and rolled it softly between his hand mouths, before sliding it into the second puppet's heart slot.

The blonde quickly jumped back to where he stood before, an action so differing from the tender movement he possessed before, touching the ground lightly with his painted fingers.

Sasori, in his new body, blinked several times before the eyes filled in, wide, dark and dangerous. Suddenly, he snapped upright, like a levered toy. He lowered his head slowly, a shadow darkening his face. "Deidara."

The partner nervously acknowledged the elder criminal, sorrow and remorse just barely concealed in his expression. "Yeah, Danna?"

The puppeteer's statement was so much more stinging and bitter than the blonde had expected. "You're a goddamned brat, you know?" Obvious detestation lurked in his speech, revulsion more prominent and real than any jibe he'd ever heard. Deidara's heart thudded loudly, misery overwhelming him. He really hadn't expected Danna to become so upset over one blown up puppet… But then again, it was his precious art, the human ones, his treasured pride and joy. And he'd been wrong to attack Danna when he knew clearly well, that he was still in a pissy mood from having to repair all one hundred puppets completely, from the chaotic fight with Haruno Sakura and his late grandmother.

A freezing blanket settled over the bomber's chest, and he trembled as he crouched there, wishing that Sasori would just physically hurt him, instead of killing him this way, with his murderous words.

He bowed his head as the ominous man strode by, dark green cloak rustling so close to Deidara. When the fair-haired boy dared to look at his departing associate, Sasori had already gone too far around the bend in the hall for him to see the redhead. He directed his notice back to the original body, but it was gone, summoned inaudibly into the puppet's scroll. "Danna…"

--xoxoxo--

Tobi snuck forward, black gloved hands curled comically, as if he were a miniature little tyrannosaurus rex. Deidara-sempai would never expect him, sitting all stupid-like in the work room. Suddenly, the orange-masked man leapt forward, clamping his hands on his sempai's shoulders. "UWAHH!"

Giggling, he poked his head around to face the blonde. "Did Tobi scare Deidara-sempai?" He asked perkily, cocking his head, the great shock of black hair flopping about. To his astonishment, his superior did not attempt to slay him. In fact, he had little to no reaction. "Sempai?"

Deidara still slumped sluggishly in the small area, his blue stare dulled and blank. "Aww, Dei-chan is sad." Tobi sympathized, wrapping his arms around the smaller boy. But still, his sempai startled him further, by suddenly returning the embrace. The masked Akatsuki jumped in surprise as Deidara's own arms curled tightly around his torso. Something had seriously upset his master, and this frightened Tobi. Hesitantly, he slid up his mask to reveal his mouth, and then gently pecked the bomber's cheek, hoping to cheer him up, still wary of risking his life. Deidara didn't even resist, so dead was he. His world was swirling so quickly around him… He couldn't even think, for his scrambled thoughts. Confused, the blonde lost control of his every action, and completely in his subconscious, he twisted about, and lunged forward, caressing Tobi as he had Sasori's body. But unlike his kiss for Sasori no Danna, as he leaned in further, pressing his lips tighter against the staggered Tobi, he didn't know what he was feeling. It didn't feel like the love he had for his Danna.

--xoxoxo--

Hidan rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Oh, fuck off, the both of you." He snarled foully, lazily swinging his great scythe at Deidara and Tobi. The two were partaking in something best described as a Hug-Fest, and the Jashinist did not appreciate such affection. "Now, dammit!"

Kakuzu stopped the albino in his dark voice. "Stop it, Hidan. Let them be gay."

But the religious man was not appeased. "It's fucking sick, lookit that shit." He snarled, referring to Deidara's fond cuddling.

"Leave them alone." Kakuzu repeated wearily, emerald eyes glinting softly in the dimmed room. He roughly reached out a hand to drag along the younger of the two teammates, taking the white-haired zealot behind him. "Hey," Hidan continued to argue, "that's not even right. Before, that little Blondie was all 'DannaDannaDanna, goddamned Sasori no fuckin' Danna, and now he's sucking out that orange-faced shit's tongue? Sick." He repeated, allowing himself to be finally led away.

Tobi struggled upright, unaccustomed to his sempai being so warm and friendly. "Deidara-sempai, Hidan-san's right, why did you not like Sasori no Danna anymore?"

Deidara broke the contact quickly, his blue eye glowing sharply. "What? There was never anything between us, and never will be, un." Even as he spoke the sharp words, the blonde could feel the acidic lie burning at his chest. Yeah, fucking right.

--xoxoxo--

The puppet-master slunk desolately back towards the cave, finally done with his mission. It had been a full two weeks and would take to noontime for traveling back, but could've easily been less than one week. However, his anger at Deidara had kept him away for so many extra days. Yet… was it really his fury that kept him off? Sasori blanched, shuddering in the cool climate of the thick forest. He closed his eyes, agony sweeping through him as he remembered what he had said to Deidara before he left. He'd called him names, old ones, though both he and the boy knew that the insults had never been filled with so much truth and reality. The puppeteer hated himself, in that moment, and wished he could throw out his heart and destroy it, for doing what he had. The blonde's eyes contained so much horror, so much pain. And it killed Sasori, to think that he had inflicted that feeling. It was a horrible thing he'd done. He didn't know what possessed him to hurt his partner so badly, and he truly detested himself. But also… though he would never have admitted it, Sasori had wanted to see if the boy would come after him in worry.

Apparently, Deidara had had better things to do, than to go and chase after a teammate who had snapped out so harshly at him. And for the whole damned ordeal, Sasori had no one to blame but himself. It really hadn't been the blonde's fault that the stupid puppet got blown up. He had only been trying to wake his partner up to the unhealthy antisocial life he was heading into again, and gotten impatient with the redhead's stubbornness. So, at one point… Deidara had cared about him, at some degree.

Suddenly, an unjustifiable mix of freezing and blazing sparks shimmied down his entire body. His first, brainless thought was Genjutsu, but he knew that the option was impossible. He would've long before known someone was there. Sasori gasped, slumping against a thick rowan tree. His dark eyes were large with realization. The red hair fell loosely against his brow as he tilted his head back, staring in shock at the thick canopy above. "Deidara… You brat…" He whispered, the warmth spreading through his wooden body again.

--xoxoxo--

Tobi rested his chin in his covered hands, eyeing the quiet blonde on the bed across the room from him. Dei-san had been sharing his chambers for about nine days now, and it was getting more and more awkward. The bomber kept on saying that he loved Tobi, but the newer Akatsuki could tell that every time he said it, the words were hollow and strained, each syllable killing him. But Deidara-sempai insisted that all he and Sasori no Danna shared was a broken friendship, over some other stupid argument about art. Even then, it was an obvious lie. Once, the terrorist had been frantically hugging the black-haired man, and Tobi really had no choice but to hug tightly back, but from the hole in his mask, he'd seen Leader-sama disdainfully passing a look with Konan-chan, a sad expression on the latter's pretty face. And hadn't Pein-sama been the last person to see Sasori and Deidara together, when the puppet-man had left in a fury?

Suddenly, the blonde bounded across the quarters, placing his hands on Tobi's shoulders. His azure eye was alight with a fiery tinge, and he grinned oddly.

--xoxoxo--

He was back too soon. He still wasn't ready to see Deidara, not after… The redhead shut his dark lids, touching his Akatsuki ring to his lips. He stood on the water for a moment longer, before forcing his eyes to reopen, and thrust his fist towards the massive rock. A beam of whitish, opaque light appeared between the stone of the ring, and the seal on the rock. Then the large boulder shuddered, and rolled shakily up into the top of the cave mouth. Breathing in, Sasori took one step forward, and entered the grotto. Immediately, he saw Kisame rushing towards him, the blue man hefting up his great sword on his shoulder. "Sasori." The shark-nin greeted him, a concerned look on his face. "You've been gone so long."

The puppeteer knew then, what it was he had to do. "Kisame," he rushed on, "where's Deidara?"

The former Kiri ninja shifted uncomfortably. "Uhm… If anyone, Tobi would know. Hey, they're—"
But before he could continue, Sasori had already fled, either to find Tobi, or Deidara himself.

--xoxoxo--

The look terrified his victim, recognizing Deidara's face as having the same desperation on the day Sasori-san left, the emotion just barely buried under the twisted smile. "Deidara-sempai?"

"I love you, Tobi-kun."

The blonde murmured, leaning closer to the mask.

--xoxoxo--

His first look was in the kitchen. The redhead swept quickly across the whole room, checking every seat with a careful eye, looking for any sign of his partner's former presence. He even went to the point of ducking under the table, finding, of course, nothing. No… It seemed improbable that Deidara be in this room, anyhow…

--xoxoxo--

The new Akatsuki understood what his poor sempai wanted, and he hadn't the heart to deny him. He gently glided his orange face covering upwards, revealing his mouth. He angled forward, preparing himself…

--xoxoxo--

"Deidara?" Sasori burst into the workshop, a pang of guilt coursing through him as he saw the spot where his partner had stood, where his bomb had exploded but a week ago. But he was absent from this room, as well. The kid had to be around, somewhere.

--xoxoxo--

A spark of pity raced through Tobi, and he reached out a gloved hand behind Deidara's head to pull him slowly closer. 'Poor Sempai', he thought, sympathy in his innocent mind. 'I know he loves Sasori no Danna… So why is he pretending he loves me instead?' He wanted to comfort this sad, lonely, broken child.

--xoxoxo--

He stood, shocked, in the doorway of his and Deidara's bedchamber. It was completely empty. The blonde's blankets and simple pillow had been vanished away. Sasori inhaled slowly, hating himself more and more. Had he hurt the younger artist so much that he'd decided to move out of their room? 'Tobi's room. Kisame said he would know where Deidara is.'

--xoxoxo--

Finally, after far too long, Deidara felt himself locked in the clash, the kiss. He didn't feel anything though, and he was not surprised. Not even physically. He was unaware of the touch of Tobi's small mouth against his, oblivious to the feel of the loving gesture. But he was trapped in it. And he couldn't escape.

"Tobi, where's D—"

He froze, heart pounding disastrously in his chest cavity. It was his voice. Danna. His beloved Danna.

--xoxoxo--

Sasori could not breathe. He was transfixed in the frame of Tobi's door, another chill screaming down his body. But this time, it did not bring an extra spindle of warmth. It was a mixture of every dreadful emotion possible.

Horror. Misery. Depression. Indignation. Disbelief. Outrage.

Betrayal.

He opened his mouth to speak, and when the words came out, they were as harsh and cold as on the day he left for his mission. "Well, I'm… Sorry I intruded."

He quickly walked out of the frame, clicked the door quietly behind him, and proceeded, trance-like to his room. Every step was unconscious as he filed slowly towards his destination. It was only when he closed his own door behind his heel, sat numbly down on his bed, and stared hollowly at the wall, that he let the pain wrack his heart.

--xoxoxo--

The blonde was still gaping at the shut door, hurt stabbing at his gut. He hadn't been told that Sasori no Danna had returned. He knew that the look on his partner's face had been ready to apologize for everything. And now, it was Deidara's fault. He had hurt his Danna.

--xoxoxo--

"Sa… Sasori, can I come in?"

"…Yeah."

"What's wrong?"

"You know damn well what's wrong. Everyone does."

"…Yeah. I'm sorry about that."

"It's not your fault. God."

"Yeah. Yeah, I know."

--xoxoxo--

"Deidara?"

"Hmn."

"You okay, Deidara?"

"Just… fuck off. Okay?"

"Oh… okay. I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"I… I don't really know."

--xoxoxo--

Kisame sat across the room from Sasori, on Deidara's bed. He rested his chin on his blade, Samehada's, hilt. "You really like him, don't you?"

The redhead was lying on his own bed, arms tucked under his neck. He stared, unseeingly, at the ceiling. His auburn eyes were barely lit, a lackluster glaze to them as he answered tonelessly, "Well, I was kind of late, wasn't I?"

The shark-nin shrugged, cocking his pale blue head. "Who knows? If you ask me, he doesn't seem too happy with Tobi."

Sasori turned his head weakly to face Kisame, with an exhausted energy. "Why're you even trying to help me?"

He shrugged again, beady, black eyes searching the puppeteer's large, russet ones. "It's awful, watching you mope around all the time. You used to be really close to him, and now, you're… dead."

The wooden figure rotated his head to face the roof again. He spoke in a barely audible voice, "Maybe it's better off this way."

--xoxoxo--

Tobi got off of the sofa arm, studying his sempai, flopped like a rag on the furniture, eyes glassily watching a fly buzz about the light in the sitting room. "You really want Tobi to leave?"

"Yeah." The reply was short and bitter, devoid of any sentiment.

The masked man lowered his head. "Oh… Alright. If Sempai needs anything, he'll call Tobi, right?"

"Sure, I suppose, un."

Unable to help anymore, Tobi stepped toward the exit. He felt so horrible for his master… Was it his fault that he and Sasori no Danna were so ruined now? He wanted to help, but… Once out of the door, he shut it loudly behind him to ensure it was closed, but instead of going away, he slid his back down against the port, crouching loyally in front of the room to make sure Sempai wouldn't do anything stupid. Like kill himself.

--xoxoxo--

Kisame could no longer take it. Their actions were horrible, the way that Sasori, once in a while, still believing he was to blame, wandered about the cave, searching for Deidara, but then the blonde would always conveniently have a mission with Tobi, or just mysteriously disappeared. The shark-nin had even caught him lurking behind a half-closed door once, using his scope eye to check if the puppet was approaching his direction.

So that's why he was going to take matters unto his own hands.

"Oi, Deidara, you freak."

He shouted, greeting the terrorist as he usually did. The boy only scowled darkly at the shark man, mild annoyance on his face. "You've got a mission with Sasori-san. Go get firewood, our stock is running low."

Or it was chucked in the lake outside of the lair.

Deidara narrowed his normal eye, obvious discomfort in his attitude. "Why can't you get someone else to do it, un?"

Kisame leered ominously at the young artisan. "Because no one else has free time like you two. Besides, it's orders from the top."

The bomber grumbled to himself, lifting his body off of the sofa. "You've already told Sas… him about it?"

The blue ninja shook his head in revulsion at Deidara. "Yes, I have, you coward. Hurry up, he's already waiting at the door and won't like to be kept waiting any longer."

The blonde's face visibly paled, and he quickly fumbled for his things as Kisame turned his back, a contented grin placed between his gills.

--xoxoxo--

Sasori saw his partner arriving, and blinked slowly, uneasiness beginning to spread. He was almost positive that the order was completely made up by Kisame, and Pein had no such idea that his excruciatingly collected firewood stock from the last time he and Konan had made that run, was lying, saturated, at the bottom of the lake. And his appreciation for the shark-nin's tact was dwindling.

"Let's go."

He suggested stiffly, shuddering as the chill beset him once more. The image of Deidara and Tobi, entwined so closely… It had been burned into his memory, and he could hardly bear to even look at the blonde's lips.

The entire journey, for well over an hour, was completely silent, except for the younger of the two swearing softly to himself when he got a splinter in his palm. Being in his original human body, the puppeteer did not trust his mouth to say anything, afraid that it would speak as it had that day he hurt Deidara, intentionally, with the words so bland, but so poisoned with true hate.

Then, as Sasori was shouldering his cloak higher in discomfort, he leaned over to pick up a thick, fallen branch. He next heard his teammate's voice cry out, and a thud as he hit the floor.

Deidara yelped as he fell, tripping over a stupid, freaking rock. He landed messily on his face, gathered sticks spread out everywhere. He lay defeated, not finding enough energy to get up again. And, as always, when he fell, Sasori no Danna did not concern himself with assisting the blonde. How prominently had he screamed to his love, with that false kiss, that he did not care for his heart, and instead favored Tobi's? 'Danna… I don't want Tobi, un. I really don't. I want you.'

He was startled then, when he sprawled face down on the ground, and he felt hands take him under his armpits, and tug him upwards. Sasori. He was so relieved and exultant that his Danna didn't try to kill him for everything he'd done, that Deidara let himself be propped up against a vast tree trunk by his partner.

"We should rest awhile."

The redhead advised softly, sitting back against another tree himself. The two sat in utter silence for a long age, both dazedly avoiding one another's gaze, afraid of what the opposite might say or do.

Finally, Sasori spoke again. "Deidara… I'm sorry, about what I said, that day before I left."

His breath caught in his throat, stunned. "What?"
The elder artist let fall his head, and he subconsciously fiddled with a long strand of grass. Was his partner going to make him repeat his apologies? "I said, I'm sorry." He repeated, sincerity in his voice.

"I heard that, but what for?"

Sasori looked up at Deidara, astounded. "That day. Before I went on my mission. I called you all those things… And really meant them."

The blonde breathed out slowly, hugging his knees to his chest in confusion. "No, you didn't, Sasori no Danna. If you did, you wouldn't be apologizing now."

He argued painfully, "But you—"

"If anyone's saying sorry, it should be me, un."

The redhead raised a brow, skeptical. "Why you?" He asked, curious.

Deidara lowered his chin slightly, an ashamed look spreading over his light features. "For… For when I was with Tobi. You know, you saw us, yeah. And then, later, after Tobi left, Kisame-san came in, and he…" The boy said in a quiet voice, humiliation clear in his showing eye, "well, he told me that you liked me, Sasori. I hurt you, didn't I?" He gloomily watched his hand mouths lolling out their tongues, as if mocking him on their own accord.

Sasori felt a twisted grimace contorting his lips. "Damn Kisame," he swore under his breath. "But it's not your fault, Deidara. You didn't know at the time." He protested, feeling a sharp pang of aching. It had hurt him, so badly. But to hear his friend express regret… it was the cool salve, soothing on his broken heart.

The blonde nodded slowly, closing his palms into a fist as to not look at the mouths that decorated his hands. He hesitated before speaking what he knew to be his most important confession. "Sasori… I do love you. Truly and honestly."

He gazed at his Danna with the gleaming, sapphire eye. The redhead was looking back at him, just as gently. Deidara knew what it was he wanted to do. So he knelt forward, and moved slowly towards his partner on his knees, approaching him. As he neared the puppet, the blonde bent frontward, tilting his head close to his love. He leaned an arm on the tree behind Sasori's head, and extended his neck, towards the wooden man. He wanted show his dearest what he meant to him this time, for real…

Sasori's eyes were wide with surprise as Deidara neared him. As his companion's soft lips drew closer to his cold ones, he continued to stare in fixed fascination at the enormity of what was about to happen. But then, something cold, malicious inside his locked heart scattered over his emotions, and without even knowing, hardly believing what it was he did, Sasori turned his head quickly away, the speed of his rejection causing the side of his face to scrape into the maple's bark. He clenched his eyes shut, a horrible feeling spreading through him. He could hear the slight intake of breath from Deidara, wounded and stunned, and he could feel his partner dejectedly moving backwards again, back to his own tree. He knew that the blonde was sitting, with his head tucked, in a withdrawn way between his knees.

The puppet still crouched there, body tense with fear and eyes still shut. Loosening his frame a bit, the redhead lowered his ears between his shoulders, extremely reserved. As the two of them sat in a most awkward silence, he wondered… and had to ask, to save himself the misery, or to get it over with already.

"That time with Tobi…" He started in a faint voice, "was that the first time you two… kissed?"

Deidara cautiously pulled his fair head out from under his arms, despair in his face. He could not lie to his Danna. "No… It was right after you left, that day."

"Oh." Sasori kept his lids down, unwilling to see his lover's face. So it would not have been he who made Deidara feel so uplifted, first, then. Tobi had been the one to make the young artist feel loved.

They sat in a longer moment of unbearable silence, and throughout what must have been an excruciating eternity, the puppeteer kept his eyes closed. He was startled to some extent then, when Deidara yelped with a little shout of enlightened realization.

"Danna, you're jealous?"

Sasori's eyes snapped open, alarmed. "What?" Though as soon as the words were uttered, he recognized what it was that Deidara had found out.

"Sasori, you're jealous that Tobi got my first kiss, aren't you, un? That's why you didn't want me just then?"

The red haired man shuddered, taking in just how pathetic it sounded, no matter how true. He was dimly aware of a hot blush stretching across his face, reddened flushes one of the morbid exceptions to his puppet-body rules. His features displayed enough of a reply, and he once again, did not trust his mouth to splutter anything out that he could very well regret.

But Deidara began to speak anyhow, and it was with great gusto that he explained, wringing his hands, standing up and pacing in a small circle. "Well, Sasori, you know when you switched bodies for that mission?"

"Yes…" He answered warily, eyes following his teammate with some uncertainty.

"You kind of missed sticking your heart in there and… before I put it in for you, I…. I sort of kissed you, un."

He sheepishly looked at his partner, a slight grin on his face. The elder of the two blinked slowly, guiltily pleased at the news, but still unconvinced. "Deidara… If that's so, then it didn't count, because I was, in all technicalities, dead."

The blonde's grin gradually broadened into a beam, and he walked slowly towards Danna. "Okay, so that might be true, un. But this… is my first, real kiss."

And as he leaned to Sasori again, this time, the puppet did not resist. Instead, he shivered as Deidara took a gentle hold of his arms and pulled themselves closer together, whispering back, "I love you, Dei—"

The taller man shushed him, drawing closer with adoring eyes. "Don't have to say it, un. I know."

Then, their lips contacted, and Deidara felt a burning devotion in his chest, and then caressingly took the back of his love's head, touching the soft, fine red hair with a gentle hand, as if afraid that he would break apart his fragile Danna. And he kissed him with more passion and ardor than he had ever done so with Tobi, all joined. He was aware of Sasori wrapping his icy, and yet, so warm arms about his cloaked torso, and the two fell deeper in love with one another, in that perfect moment, and everything that they had ever done, was completely forgiven.

--xoxoxo--

The shark-nin looked up from the water jutsu he was perfecting, a light of amusement flitting into his small eyes as he watched Sasori and Deidara walking back from their mission, heading into the Akatsuki cave. His mouth crinkled into a humored smile, observing how closely they strode, and how the shorter puppet seemed transfixed by his taller partner's face, and the other way around, as well. Kisame threw his head back, waiting for the large boulder to slide shut behind them before allowing a chortle to escape his throat.

"Haha, they forgot the firewood completely. Now I'll have to send someone else to go get it, aha."

Just then, he was aware of another presence behind him, one not at all menacing. "Tobi-kun," he acknowledged shortly without turning around. The orange-masked boy cocked his head, a wavering tone speaking, "They look so happy, don't they?"

An expression of mild concern took Kisame's face, and he pivoted about to face the newer Akatsuki member. "Oi… Tobi, you're not upset are you?" He inquired in his raspy, aquatic voice. "Sorry, I knew you and Deidara-kun were together, but it really killed me to see a tough guy like Sasori so messed up."

The answer was amazingly, but truthfully cheerful. "Oh, no, not at all. When Sasori no Danna and Deidara-sempai are both happy, Tobi is less likely to get hurt."

A crease furrowed Kisame's brow as he shrugged. 'Well, at least it's Tobi.'

--xoxoxo--

Deidara stared miserably at the abnormally clean bed, undraped by sheets. "Kuso," he swore sadly, "I left all my stuff in Tobi's room, from before, un. I should go get them…"

He looked apologetically at his partner, about to leave to retrieve his items. But Sasori blinked slowly, "It's kind of late… Would you wake him up?"

The quieted terrorist shrugged lightly. His comrade reached out a hand to take his elbow as Deidara turned to leave. "No. You don't have to, get your things in the morning. I'll let you share my bed…"

The blonde felt a deep color flush his cheeks. "Uhm, Sasori no Danna, is that..?"

The puppet smiled laughingly. "Brat, I'm not going to do anything."

Assured, the childish artist followed Sasori on the thickened tatami mat, sliding under the light blankets. "G'night, Danna." He grinned as his teammate flicked out his index finger, a chakra string catching the lamp's rope and tugging it, throwing the room into darkness, the only visible thing being Sasori's blue, glowing energy. Soon, that too, disappeared. "Good night, brat."

It was seemingly just another end to the day, with the traditional respectful farewell from Deidara and the ridiculing one from Sasori, but in all reality, it was completely different. Because that night, the blonde finally stretched out his arms and enfolded his love. And he cradled Sasori to his chest, breathing in the deep, individual scent of the puppet, so grateful that this time, he held who he truly loved, and not someone he pretended to care for. And the smaller partner had allowed Deidara to shift him closer to the sculptor's torso, hugging his wooden form endearingly. He let his love be the puppeteer then, so appreciative and feeling so lucky, that it was in these arms that he was being embraced.

Both fell asleep, finding nothing but each other in their hazed dreams.