Laughter all around me.

Husky giggles and whispers between chews, shiny white teeth exposed to me, snorts creeping into my ears. They're having fun, obviously enjoying themselves.

I put down my chopsticks and take a sip of water, trying to get rid of the lump in my throat.

I'm sitting next to familiar people, acquaintances, friends, but I feel unnoticed. They are talking to each other, chatting and babbling about things I know, people I know, places I know. But nobody is talking to me.

I stand up with a smile. A fake smile. I wonder why they don't notice. Or maybe they do, but they don't care.

I lock the door behind me and breathe a sigh of relief. I always complain about being alone, but I can't stand being around people, either. They're too noisy, too shallow. I just had to get out of this.

If I felt like laughing, I would laugh at myself right now. I'm locking myself away from my own party, hiding in the bathroom while my guests are enjoying themselves. How stupid is this?

Before I can think about it, I have slipped out a kunai. I aim it at my wrist, but stop right in front of it. I let the cold metal wander across my delicate skin, gliding up and down without really touching it, teasing.

I know this is stupid. I know it doesn't help. I know I'll feel even worse after it. But the moment the sharp metal of the weapon cuts my flesh, the moment I see the blood spill out and feel the pain shoot through my body feels so good, so relieving.

I move the weapon closer to my wrist, the blade already touching the skin, but still not hurting it. My body is shuddering with excitement. I am barely able to stand the tension any longer.

A familiar voice calls out my name.

"Deidara-kun, where are you?"

Damn it.

I put the kunai back into my pocket and pull my sleeve over my wrist quickly. Then I flush the toilet and unlock the door, facing a well-known person outside.

Sasori eyes me and frowns.

"Are you okay, Deidara-kun?"

Oh. I forgot.

"I'm fine", I reply and force the fake smile back onto my face.

Sasori gives me a confident look. Scary, how even wary people like him fall for it.

"They wait for you to open the champagne", Sasori says.

Of course. Eating and drinking, that's what people are interested in.

It's my birthday today. I only gave a party because everyone else does. I was astonished about how many people I know when I wrote the invitations. About thirty people are sitting in my garden. Most of them are former schoolmates from the academy, some are shinobi I teamed up with on missions, and some others I know because they are living next door.

Everyone I met once knows me. It's actually pretty hard to not know me. Whenever I appear I cause an uproar. I like explosions, I like bangs, and usually I also like talking. A lot. I'm known for talking my head off most of the time. I don't know why I do that. Maybe I keep talking loads of rubbish so that there is no time left to talk about serious things. Maybe I try to shut up the inner voices of mine, the voices that keep telling me to do strange things. Like cutting myself at my birthday party.

I pop the cork too hastily and spill the champagne. The sweet sparkling liquid is running down my hand, making it all wet and sticky. The mouth on my palm opens and licks it off at once, causing some of my guests to avert their eyes in disgust. I clench my fist in order to hide the tongue sticking out of my hand. I hate when it does that. People think I am in control of them, and most of the time I am, but sometimes they react instinctively. It's similar to when you blink when dazzled by light, you can't control that, either.

I wipe off my hand at my pants and pour the champagne. My guests drink a toast to me and down one glass after another. I start to feel a bit dizzy after a while, and I like it. I like that hot flush on my face and I like how my body relaxes after drinking alcohol. I don't feel like talking today, though, so I am glad when people start to leave the party.

Most of them have given stupid presents to me. As expected, tons of clay, as if I didn't have enough yet, and other funny things referring to my abilities or habits. Most of the people aren't very inventive with choosing presents, but at least most of the things are pretty useful to me.

The last guests leave when it's already dark. I feel a bit exhausted, but I'm not tired at all. I like the nights. I like flying over the village on one of my birds when it's dark. Everything is quiet then and mostly it's cold up in the sky, which is good to calm down. But today I won't travel through the skies. I have to clean up.

Two slate eyes meet mine when I start to collect the plates and glasses from the table.

"Shall I help you, Deidara-kun?"

My face is already hurting from all that fake-smiling today, but I guess I can do it one more time.

"No, thanks, Sasori-san", I say, "feel free to go home, hn."

He smiles at me and picks up some dishes as well.

"I'd like to stay and give you a hand", he says, "if I'm allowed to."

"If you insist, hn."

I avert my eyes quickly and turn around. I don't want him to see that I'm blushing. I don't know why, but for some reason it feels good to be near him.

"If you don't want me to stay, just tell me", he says, "I don't want to get on your nerves."

"No", I exclaim, surprised at my own reaction, "please stay."

He gives me a faint smile and continues to clean up.

We bring everything inside and put it in the sink. Sasori turns the water on.

"Wait", I say, "you don't have to wash the dishes now. I'm going to do that tomorrow, hn."

He really wants to help me. He. Really. Wants. To. Help. Me. Weird.

"You should go home now, hn", I say. Funny. Didn't I tell him to stay a few minutes ago?

"I forgot something", he says and walks over to me, "I forgot to give you your birthday present."

A pair of warm, juicy lips is pressed against mine within the next second. I pull back from him.

"You really should go now", I say, my voice shaky. He totally caught me off guard. I like him. I really do. He is probably the one I wanted to kiss more than someone else, but I'm not ready for this.

He doesn't apologize, but smiles at me. Not a smirk, a smile. He seems totally confident with what he has done. As if he planned it.

"Happy birthday, Deidara-kun", he says and starts to walk towards the door.