Disclaimer: (Shifty eyes) Sorry, not here right now. Busy hiding from the men in black coats (lawyers). We've been playing hide and seek for hours now and they still haven't found me yet! …Leave a message? (I no own Naruto and co.)
You readers should pay special attention to the quote listed below.
…You guys are seriously going to let ME decide the pairings? I must warn you: SasuSaku, NaruHina, and ShikaIno will not find a home in my fanfic. Here's another warning: I absolutely LOVE crack pairings… (Although I AM receptive to other traditional pairings on the side…)
Genius might be described as a supreme capacity for getting its possessors into trouble of all kinds—Samuel Butler
The trip to the main lair in Rain was rather uneventful—well, if one ignored the fact that Lilith ran into a rock, two trees, and fell off of a branch. Tobi didn't escape unscathed either. He didn't fall off of branches, he ran into them with alarming regularity.
At least Sakura, Ino, and Hinata got to demonstrate their medic abilities. Then they promptly asked how it was that she and Tobi had managed survive this long. To which Lilith replied that Tobi was bad luck, since this had never happened before.
Tobi vehemently denied this, shouting that 'good boys' aren't bad luck; it just wasn't possible.
Whereupon he ran into another branch, cutting his rant short. Luckily, he wasn't hurt too seriously; his mask just got rammed into his face, is all.
Despite all of this, they still managed to get to the base in one piece early the next morning (since they had left the volcano at dusk).
Dissipating the genjutsu that masked the base's front entryway, Lilith and Tobi suddenly shivered.
"Bad feeling?" Sakura asked, remembering the scene from the night before.
They nodded, a freaked out look on Lilith's face.
Gulping visibly, Lilith opened the innocuous-appearing door, to reveal: the base actually extended into the rock face behind it and was much larger than Sakura, Ino, and Hinata would have thought. Cleaner than they would have imagined possible, too.
Lilith motioned for them to follow her, as she opened another door and walked down a hallway. Soon, the girls were hopelessly lost, even though Lilith seemed to know where she was.
She stopped in front of a rather inconspicuous door and knocked quietly. There was a muffled, "Come in." Heeding, she opened the door to reveal, not just Pein, but Konan as well. From the looks of it, the two were more than neck deep in paperwork: Lilith could barely make out the tops of their heads.
She cleared her throat, stifling a chuckle at the pair's expense.
A couple of piles were pushed away, revealing Pein. He stared at Lilith and Tobi for a moment, and then inspected the Leaf kunoichi that had followed Lilith in. He sighed heavily. "Welcome, new excuses for more paperwork." He directed a pointed glare at Lilith. She shrugged.
He waved his hand. "Shut the door, will you?" Openly smiling, Lilith did so. "Thank you." He rubbed his temples wearily. Sighing, he fixed a half-hearted glare at his adopted sister. "YOU. Are in very, very, big trouble."
She blinked. "What did I do, Pein-nii-sama?"
He ignored her and gave Tobi the same look. "You too, Tobi."
The troublemakers had identical auras of confusion.
"You seriously don't remember the…present…you two left for us to find? Or, more specifically, Deidara?"
Lilith started to shake her head no, only to stop as the answer dawned on her. "OH! Oh…haaa…" She started to laugh nervously, putting a hand behind her head.
"It wasn't funny. To add insult to injury, you invited the two people who LOVE this sort of thing over to witness. AND. TAKE. PICTURES."
"Deidara is probably looking for you. I suggest you two get a head start."
Lilith nodded hurriedly. "Sure, thanks!" She strode to the door, opening it forcefully only to see…
She gulped. "Um…Hi…Deidara-nii-san!" A nervous smile adorned her face at seeing the blonde, Ino-lookalike's decidedly unhappy expression. "Uh…How…are…you?"
"Lilith," he said calmly, with no hint of anger.
She stopped cowering for a moment. "…Yes?"
"It was your idea, right?"
"TO FREAKING KILL YOU!!"
Lilith eeped and took off down the hallway, Deidara in hot pursuit with an already lit bomb.
Pein, meanwhile, told them to shut the door, muffling the explosions that came seconds later.
"Is…Lilith-chan…going to…be alright?" Hinata asked worriedly, glancing at the closed door.
"She'll be fine. This happens at least once a week." He gestured at the paperwork. "Thus all of this."
"Repair bills?" Sakura guessed. Pein nodded tiredly.
There was an awkward silence.
Konan, surprisingly, was the one to break it, pushing some stacks of paper to one side to get a clearer look at the kunoichi. "Lilith seems to like you three a lot."
They were startled, a little. "Uh…How could you tell from that brief interaction?"
The blue-haired woman smiled. "Of course, I've known her for a very long time. She calls me her 'onee-chan.'"
The three got the distinct impression that they could grow to like Konan.
Pein cleared his throat, ignoring the screams and explosions right outside his office door. "I don't really see any reason to delay this. If you still feel up to joining, go right ahead. If Lilith didn't trust you, you wouldn't be here in front of me. I trust her judgment."
"Um…thank you, Leader-sama," the three bowed.
"Sir? If I may ask…what exactly did Lilith do?" Sakura inquired.
Pein grimaced. "Long story short, with many details left out, it started with Tobi and Lilith replacing his, Deidara's, wardrobe with all female clothes. Revealing ones. He had to put them on in order to ask one of us to borrow regular clothes."
Their expressions mimicked his. Suddenly, a light dawned in Hinata's eyes.
"Um…Leader-sama? Didn't…Deidara-san…die…by Uchiha Sasuke's hands…five years ago?"
The corner of Pein's mouth twitched upwards. "I'll let Lilith fill you three in on what has been going on in the Akatsuki for the past five years. Don't forget to inform us about Konoha as well." They nodded their understanding. "Good. You're going to have to share a room with Lilith for awhile, until we can make separate rooms for you. Hers is the largest and cleanest one, shockingly enough."
"We understand," Ino supplied for all of them. Just then, there was an extremely huge explosion. Pein and Konan desperately grabbed the paper stacks in order to keep them from falling off the desks and scattering everywhere. Two more explosions of the same caliber followed a couple minutes later.
The three kunoichi, used to performing this service for Tsunade, helped steady the towers of paperwork. Pein and Konan both nodded their thanks, just as Lilith smashed the door open, causing one of the stacks to fall anyway.
Pein sighed. Then he took a good look at his sister.
She was covered head to feet in black soot, ashes, and char. She gave him something between a mock salute and a Hail Hitler one. "Mission accomplished, sir!" She coughed, even her breath coming out black and charred. "The new rooms have been blasted out; now they just need to be cleaned!"
He nodded solemnly. Turning to Tobi, he said, "Stay here while Lilith takes the others to their temporary room."
Noticing the Leaf kunoichi's concern, Lilith gave a bright smile and coughed some more. "You should see the state Deidara-nii-san is in; if you think that I look bad." She wheezed a little. "This way, this way…"
Having no choice, they followed.
Poor, poor Pein and Konan. Lilith sort of got what she deserved. I do explain more about this incident later. YES, ITACHI SHOWS UP IN THE NEXT CHAPTER!
Don't forget to vote for your favorite pairings!