When I think back to those peaceful days of my childhood, the first thing that comes to mind are my father's birds. He kept dozens and dozen or them of them in a big shack on the hill behind my house. People always came to him when they needed to send a message over long distances. The government had birds too of course, but they never let civilians use them. My father would rented them to anyone who asked.

Every morning, it was my job to get up before the dawn and feed those birds. That was always my favorite time of the day. I would open up the cage and all the birds would flutter out past me and eat the grain from the plates I would lay out for them. Then they would soar around and around until I called them back.

My favorite bird was named Arashi. He was about the size of a chicken, but he was sleek and graceful when he twirled through the air. His feathers were the color of the clay figures my mother made before she put them in the kilm. Arashi would always be the first to come back when I called, and when I fed the birds, he was the only one who would eat out of my hands.

The kids that I knew growing up always stayed away from me because of my hands. Some would run away when they saw me and some of the bigger boys would try to hurt me, but deep down they were all just scared. Arashi was never scared of my hands. He treated me like a friend would, and I loved him for it.

When I think about my childhood days there is always a sense of peace hanging over the place, but now, years later, it seems like a false peace, a forced innocence my parents blinded me with, hiding me from the reality of the Shinobi world. But the Shinobi world always finds a way to interfere with the lives of civilians, and they entered my life the day they showed up at the door demanding something from my father, or rather from me.

My bloodline has many uses, from spying to my favorite, making art. The Stone Village insisted that I be enrolled in the academy. When I father refused, our family was secretly dubbed a "threat" to the order of things. In the Earth Country, threats are eliminated immediately.

That night I woke up coughing. The air was hazy and much warmer than it should have been this time of year. A redish yellow glow was coming from the hallway. My eyes were watering and I was still coughing, but I threw back the covers and went to see what was going on. My eyes widened when I saw the blaze that was eating up the old familiar wood of the house I knew so well. I stood there transfixed until I heard a voice screaming something over the crackling and splintering of wood.

"Run!" it was my mother's voice and she sounded frantic. "Deidara, run!"

"Mama! Mama where are you!" I managed to yell between coughs.

"Go! Mama will be alright!" she called back.

I took a few unsure steps forward, but was immediately pushed back by the heat of the flames. The smoke was thick now and covering my nose and mouth I ran back into my room and to my window.

In one jump I was over the window sill and on the soft grass outside. Not stopping to look back, I ran to the first place my instincts took me, the bird shack. I was wearing only my pajamas and no shoes, so the rocks on the hill cut my feet mercilessly. The air was cold compared to the house and seemed to cut right through me, but ignored all that and kept running. To my horror, when I reached the top of the hill I saw orange flames leaping from a side of the cage.

In an instant I found myself beside it, retching the door open and feeling the rush of feathers against my skin as the panicked birds burst out. They didn't stick around to soar in the air like they normally did, but disappeared into the sky and forest. I looked back inside cage to make sure that everyone was out. Huddled in the middle of the coop was Arashi, his clay-colored feathers squeezed against his sides and head bent low.

"Arashi! Arashi come out!" I yelled at him but he wouldn't budge from the spot. Instead he lifted his head up and looked at me with dark glowing eyes and squawked. Save me, I'm scared.

I reached my hand out to him and called his name, but he only squawked again. The flames on the shack were spreading, and my one and only friend was still inside. Forgetting about everything, I stuck my head through the entrance, then tucked my shoulders in as close and they would go and shimmied my way into the small opening. Fire was just inches away from my skin, and the pain of the burns was completely ignored when my arms finally reached through and grabbed Arashi and pulled him out.

For a second, I was stuck. Panic seized me, thinking I was going to burn to death jammed into the doorway of the bird shack. I bent my knees in and pushed on the wood of the shack. Suddenly, something gave way and I tumbled onto the hard ground, Arashi clutched to my chest. Without thinking what I was doing, I rushed back to the main house. I didn't get far down the hill before I was forced to stop and stare.

My home, everything I ever knew, was aflame. I watched, unable to breath, clutching Arashi to my chest all the harder. Tears streamed down my face, and this time they were not from the smoke. My entire world was burning to the ground I could get myself to do nothing but squeeze my best friend as hard as my six year old muscles would allow me. On my instinct to save him, I'd left my family alone, probably to their deaths.

The next morning the Stone Shinobi found just what they were looking for; a six year old boy with blond hair, blue eyes, and his mothers hands, his feet bleeding and his skin singed, standing still transfixed at the top of a hill next to a burned down hut, clutching a small bird with clay-colored feathers that had been strangled to death to against his chest without him realizing it.