**WARNING: This story contains a crack pairing of DeidaraxIno. If you do not like this pairing, PLEASE TURN BACK NOW. THIS STORY IS NOT FOR YOU!! D:
*NOTE: This story has been fully edited and some revisions have been made, but nothing too big. I thought I would go through and try to fully correct everything now that the story was complete. :D
DISCLAIMER: I do now own any of the characters or places mentioned in this story, they belong to Masashi Kishimoto.
Chapter 1: They Say Everyone Has A Doppelganger
"There is time before we set our plan into motion. Since there is not much else to do until then, you may do as you please. Just be ready to answer our call at a moment's notice."
Tch. Yeah right. No doubt Pein-sama was exhausted and wanted recovery time for himself. They had all been busy preparing... with two bijuu down and Orochimaru out of the picture-- ugh.
"Stop thinking about it! I'm on vacation as they say! I only need to worry about myself, un!" Was stated as a figure paused at a rock near a stream. Deciding to rest on it for a minute, he looked down on his reflection.
If he had to make a prediction for his future and what he'd be doing... he never would have guessed it would be looking for people with tailed monsters in their bodies to use as weapons in a plot for world domination. No matter how majestically his leader put it... unifying all nations under one... was 'world domination' in his opinion.
Bluish green eyes met his reflection's before moving to study his organization's trade mark black cloak spattered with red cloud designs. 'Akatsuki'. Hmph. Getting to his feet he carefully unsnapped this symbol of united brethren for a so-called worthy cause and pushed it from his shoulders. He folded it and put it in his traveling pack. While on a 'vacation' he didn't need to wear that which he was forced to in the first place.
"Stupid Itachi-san, un." He muttered before sighing and sitting back down on the rock, resting his pack at his feet. Looking back at his reflection he smirked. He was a good looking guy, no doubt about it. Golden sun colored hair with a sky-colored blue for eyes. Heh, a much better combination than the all time favorite of simple 'blonde hair and blue eyes' he thought. It was so dull... no depth at all.
Depth and creativeness were important to someone like him. Maybe even crucial, to a point, to he who was an artist. Yes he, Deidara, was a gifted artist in his own right, even if there were some who begged to differ. Biting his lower lip lightly he frowned at the thought process of other people until he caught his reflection once more in the stream's mirror. Such a pouty face was unbecoming on a man so he desisted at once.
Oh well. There was time to take in new inspiration while on his break. He would use this time to create a piece worthy of awe from all who might try to mock his style. Smiling he looked down at his gifted hands and watched as they licked their lips hungrily in anticipation for the moment when they would get to take an ordinary piece of clay and make it a creation worth its fleeting beauty.
Until then they would have to wait until inspiration came. Getting to his feet he decided to continue his journey. Grabbing his pack he swung it over his shoulder while looking off into the distance of his destination. Inspiration was sure to be found in Bird Country.
* * *
"Chouji! Stop-- that's mine! ARGH!"
"Ah, sorry Ino... it was near my plate so I--"
"Don't lie! You knew it was mine! Do something about him! Shikamaru!"
Troublesome. Shikamaru winced slightly as he watched his two comrades in a bemused fashion. Damn... Ino could wake the dead the way she screeched sometimes. He sighed, closing his eyes. Hopefully this mission would be carried out quickly.
"Shikamaru! I'm talking to you!" Ino growled at the sight of the lazy boy trying to ignore her. When he still didn't reply, she took it upon herself to start shaking him.
"I hear you..." Shikamaru sighed again, pulling himself free. "Here, take mine. Chouji, in the future be more cautious."
Chouji nodded his understanding as he chewed the dango he had just put into his mouth. Ino looked between the two and sighed in annoyance. It was always the same. Taking the dango Shikamaru offered her, she reflected on the other times things like this had happened. She sighed again. She was a Chuunin now! Why did she have to keep doing missions with those two anyway?! And Shikamaru always got to be the leader!
Pushing unpleasant thoughts from her mind she decided to take in the last bit of scenery instead. Only patches of trees remained in a balding landscape as she and her team made their way out of Fire Country. Open grasslands stretched out to meet them as they left forest behind for rolling hills. Hopefully this mission wouldn't take too long. She and Sakura had been talking of studying from a book Sakura had recently gotten her hands on. With the medical ninjutsu field constantly expanding Ino wasn't about to let herself fall too far behind! She wouldn't let forehead girl always beat her!
Hmph. At least Sakura could never beat her when it came to looks Ino thought with grim satisfaction. Sakura wasn't ugly or anything like that... but she... Ino was what some might consider the 'Golden Rule' of beauty. Butter-cream colored hair and clear baby blue eyes. Ha! When it came down to it... Sakura may have gotten to be on the same team as Sasuke-kun and gotten to spend more time with him... but it was she who looked best with Sasuke! They complimented each other so well!
"Ah ha ha!" Ino beamed as she ate her dango, suddenly feeling more cheerful.
Chouji and Shikamaru watched Ino with caution. She was thinking weird, girly things again wasn't she?
"Hurry up and finish. The quicker we get to Bird Country, the quicker we can get to work on our mission then go home." Shikamaru commented slowly to his team before looking up at the cloudless sky. Typical.
"Yes!" Ino and Chouji nodded their agreement and quickly finished their lunch they had stopped to eat.
After packing away their picnic-like lunch, the three set off toward their destination where their mission awaited them. To Bird Country.
* * *
"Ah... I still don't know whether we should be angry or relieved that the preparations aren't complete." Ino commented lightly as she walked in circles while Shikamaru and Chouji watched from Shikamaru's guest bed.
"Maybe it's good in the end." Chouji replied as he leaned back on his hands that rested behind him. "We can rest after our journey from Konoha while we wait."
"Yeah but now it's one day longer that we have to stay here." Shikamaru interjected, trying to keep his displeasure to a minimum. It wouldn't do to get moody at the moment.
Ino halted in her tracks, watching her team for a moment before looking out of the only window in the small room. The outside fresh air looked inviting and she seemed to recall some pretty-looking flowers that had caught her interest as they had entered the small country. Hrm.
"Is it okay to go off on our own for a bit?" Ino pointed this question at Shikamaru. It was a bit of a pain but she could deal with it. Normally she wouldn't answer to Shikamaru... but since this was a mission and he was team leader, she figured it best to get his permission. Duty to rank was one thing she actually admired about him.
"That shouldn't be a problem as long as you stay close enough to where we can call you back quickly if something comes up." He replied after a minute, looking out of the window now. Some clouds had started drifting lazily overhead. Now might be the best time to try and relax a bit.
"Later!" Ino called happily, waving from the door as she left the room.
"I-Ino!" Shikamaru tried to call her back to discuss how they would call each other if needed but she didn't return. She just couldn't wait to get away, could she?
"Shikamaru." Chouji said lightly after a minute, giving his best friend his notice of leaving as well. New country meant new snacks to try. It was only normal to be curious!
Shikamaru looked at him and nodded his understanding. Watching his friend leave, he went into a silent debate of whether he should check in with his client one more time or just head out to a nice place for a past time of his. Duty won out.
* * *
She liked the gentle breeze that caressed her today. It felt nice and it seemed to make the flowers before her dance and sway in a ballet-like motion. It was pretty. A quick exploration had led her to a park that seemed to be made for nature viewing. There were trees, grassy hills, various plants, little animals, and in the center a beautiful fountain. Given the name of the country, Ino found humor in how the fountain looked like a giant bird bath. Noticing the benches set around it, she went to have a seat at one and watched the people for a bit.
* * *
"There's a park nearby that might be helpful, onii-san! I know a lot of people who go there for the peace and quiet! For being so small there is a lot to see! Like flowers and hillsides! Wild life... and many birds, of course!" A young boy said excitedly as he cleaned up used dishes from a table.
Deidara watched him with minimal interest. He'd asked if there were any known places where one could go for inspiration-seeking... and he received a loud salesman reply in turn.
"Ah..." He did his best not to frown. "How can it be peaceful if everyone goes there, un?"
"Oh! It's like a library, onii-san! Everyone knows to stay quiet... so they don't scare away the birds and stuff." The boy replied with a bright smile as he finished his task. "You really should check it out!"
He watched the boy carry the dishes away before turning to face the exit of the small inn he was staying at. Bringing a hand to his lips he chewed his thumbnail lightly with a thoughtful expression. A nearby park? Hmm. Might be worth a look. Especially if it would be quiet. And birds could be a bonus since they seemed to influence a lot of his art pieces. Pulling his hand from his mouth he looked at it and clenched a now Akatsuki ring bare, elbow length fingerless gloved fist. It felt weird. And now, without his clay packs and hitai-ate, he realized he felt a bit naked without his usual assortment of accessories.
He eyed the gloves with distaste. He didn't want to wear them but figured they were for the best since he wanted to cover his special hands from curious eyes. He wasn't to be bothered with explanations... especially if he was on vacation where he couldn't take care of people who annoyed him.
Brushing some hair from his shoulder, he left the small inn and went to find the park. Whether he found inspiration or not, at least he'd have some quiet time to himself.
* * *
The sound of the birds chirping as warm sunlight streamed through the filtering tree leaves and the gentle blowing wind was like a dream.
Cha! Stop! Deidara waved a hand in front of his face as if to shoo away those pestering, girly thoughts. Maybe he didn't like this vacation idea after all... not when it made him act like a simpleton.
"Ah... excuse me, Onii-san..."
He turned at the call to see two young girls probably a few years younger than him watching him shyly.
"If you're finding it too hot... there is a fountain a little ways that way." One of the girls pointed out the direction as she blushed under his gaze.
"Yes! The water is cool and there are benches seated around it... some in the shade, if you desire." The other girl added before giggling childishly. "We could... accompany you, if you'd like."
They both squealed excitedly as Deidara just stood there and stared. What the hell? Did they think he was a bishounen... made for them to ogle? Once again he was forced to fight the urge to frown.
"No, thank you." He attempted a charming smile as the girls looked disappointed before walking away.
The news of the fountain did interest him though. The sound of water was always pleasant. Following the direction the girls had pointed out he soon found it. It looks like a giant bird bath. He mused as he took in the stone base the size of a small pond. It stood about three feet high and in the center there was a four layer tier that poured water from each layer, the top most arching in the air. The six benches that surrounded it were occupied with couples, families, and friends. Spotting one with only one person on it, bending over to probably get something, he made his way over to it.
Sitting down he took note that it was a teenage girl he shared the bench with before turning to the side to look the fountain over again.
Ino froze for a second at the feel of someone taking a seat next to her. Releasing the flower she had been looking at, she sat up straight from her hunched position and turned her head to the side a little to see who had sat next to her. The first thing she noticed was black elbow length fingerless gloves.
". . ." Eek! Did this person have a gothic fetish or something?! She chose to end her curiosity there. She really didn't want to know. Instead she turned her attention back to the fountain. Looking down at the water she noticed her reflection. The sky made such a nice background for her...
Deidara's interest fell to the pond-like base of the fountain. The water was clear, marred only-- or perhaps enhanced?-- by his reflection...
Their eyes met, each mirroring the other's as they widened slowly with surprise. They stared at the opposite reflection that mimicked theirs. Then, as if reading each other's thoughts, they turned quickly to face the other outside of the fountain. At the sight that the water wasn't playing tricks on them they both jumped to their feet, thinking along the same lines.
-Chapter 1 End-
Author's Notes: Ahaha. So. Could you see the differences? I don't think there were that many in this chapter. -shrug-