Disclaimer: If I owned Naruto would I be writing things here instead of making them happen?
Akatsuki Go: To Deidara's Installation
The Akatsuki had met in the large cave that housed their bijuu-containing statue. However, one member was conspicuous by his absence.
"Well, what is the meaning of this?" enquired their Leader, holding up a piece of black card. Each member held an identical card of their own. In stark capital letters, also black, the cards read:
HANGING BASKETS ON THE STAIRS OF PISS'
On the reverse side, in smaller letters, was that day's date and '22:00'. At the bottom of the card was an address in tiny writing, with a note in Deidara's handwriting scrawled just above it.
Sasori noticed the cards were engraved rather than just printed. The puppet master approved. He valued quality. Sasori didn't need to read his, though he did anyway. His was the only card without a handwritten addition.Deidara had told him about this in person, the previous night, and after only some nagging the puppet master had conceded to attend. Just for a little while.
"I have no idea. What's it supposed to be anyway?" Kisame answered Leader.
"It's an invitation to the opening night of an art exhibition," Sasori informed him tiredly. Sometimes he felt like he was the only one who knew anything around here.
"'Great place for you to pick up girls'," Kisame read his personal message aloud. "What do you think he means?"
"Mine doesn't say that," Zetsu said, "Tobi got one too. His says 'I had a spare. For fuck's sake behave.' Now that was hardly necessary."
"Tobi is a good boy," said the orange-masked nin sagely.
"I think we should go. It can't hurt," Kakuzu unexpectedly put in.
"What does your message say?" Leader was curious as to why Kakuzu, of all people, would be in favour of such a thing.
"'Art makes a good investment.'"
"No it doesn't," Sasori contradicted, leaning over to look. "It says 'There's free wine'."
Kakuzu snatched his card away and glared at the redhead.
"What does yours say, Itachi?" Kisame asked his partner.
The Uchiha squinted at his card, turning it this way and that. Kisame read over his shoulder, "'If you don't turn up, I'll know you can't see well enough to read this…'"
"We're going." Itachi's tone was final.
"Pardon? Since when do you give the orders around here? I am the Leader, and I say we are going."
Itachi was too mature to point out that he had just said that.
"Where's Hidan?" Leader had just noticed the immortal Akatsuki was also missing. He had thought there had been a refreshing lack of profanity-riddled religious banging-on in this discussion. "Oh well, I'm sure he'll turn up at some point. Tally ho then!"
Most of the Akatsuki were staring in shock.
"Bloody hell, I didn't know Deidara was that big," Kisame whispered to no one in particular.
The huge chimney of the Tate Modern loomed up in front of them. They hadn't quite been expecting this, despite the fact their invitations had 'Tate Modern' written on them. Men never read anything properly, thought Konan, being the only one apart from Sasori who had known about the exhibition's location. She hadn't taken part in the invitation debate in the cave, but there had been no question she would attend. All 'her boys', as she mentally called them, were dear to her, if in different ways, and Deidara had written her such a sweet message. She had a feeling this meant more to him than he would let on.
"This way. It's on the third floor," Sasori led the way through a door to one side of the chimney. A man dressed in black and wearing an earpiece stopped them, but Sasori showed his invitation and was waved through, so the others did likewise and also got past with no trouble.
"How do you know your way around this place? I didn't think it was really your sort of thing," Kakuzu enquired of the redhead as he led them into a lift to go up to the next level.
"It isn't. Deidara used to drag me here all the time. I sat in the restaurant reading or went across to the proper art gallery while he looked at the pseudo-art."
When the lift stopped Sasori led them into a blindingly white, too brightly lit room at the end of a walkway. It was filled with people, all arty types by the looks of them. Usually some of the Akatsuki might feel a little out of place in large groups of people. Here Konan's blue hair and Leader's multiple facial piercings were positively tame compared to some people's appearances, and no one gave Kisame's blue skin and gills or Zetsu's two-tone face and large spiny plant a second glance.
The group made its way over to the centre of the room, where many people were standing around chatting and looking at something. Before them was Deidara's artwork, an installation piece. Boards made up walls, painted blood red, and a simple black chair was placed by one wall. On the white floor lay the body of Hidan, stripped to the waist and bleeding a puddle from its neck. The immortal's severed head sat on the chair, dripping blood down into a pool
on the floor and shouting foul-mouthed abuse and extremist religious propaganda at everyone who passed.
"Er… Well, it's very…" Leader felt he should say something, but he didn't quite know what.
"Modern art," Sasori finished for him.
"You bastards! Put me back together! Kakuzu, did he pay you?!" Hidan screamed on seeing his fellow Akatsuki.
Two middle-aged women passed behind them, deep in conversation. "It's so moving… I never thought anything could surpass his last work… You know, that self-portrait piece, what was it called?"
"The sculpture? 'I'm Not An Artist, I'm A Fucking Work Of Art', you mean? Oh yes, it was beautiful! The interplay of light and shadow was sublime, but this… And he's so young too! And so sexy… I wonder if he'd like to do a study of the female form…" Giggling, they passed out of earshot.
"So where is the brat?" Itachi asked, looking as though something nasty had just crawled into his mouth.
"Speak of the devil, and he shall appear, un," Deidara's voice came from behind the group. They spun round and there stood the man of the moment himself, nonchalantly dipping the ends of his fringe into a glass of red wine and sucking it off.
"Where's your coat?" Leader demanded, immediately noticing Deidara only had on the pants and fishnet shirt he usually wore under it.
Ignoring him, Deidara asked, "So what do you think?"
"I like it." Kakuzu said. He would. "Now, you mentioned something about free wine?" Deidara flicked two fingers in its direction and Kakuzu hurried off to take full advantage.
"Deidara, hi," drawled a man's voice. The blond turned round.
"Damien! You came," he smiled.
The artists stared each other down, until Damien abruptly turned back to Deidara. "I wouldn't have missed it for the world," he continued, touching the blond's arm, "You were so supportive of my Turner Prize entry."
"Sasori-san? Is something wrong?" Kisame asked, curious about his colleague's behaviour.
"I fucking hate that overrated idiot," the redhead spat. "Just you watch him."
"I never doubted you'd win, un."
"You should have won this year's. It's stunning," Damien was saying. "Such fury, such raw passion. It's so you. I adore it."
"See?" Sasori told Kisame. "Look at the smooth bastard."
Leader, Zetsu and Itachi had now got involved. "What? They're friends! He's not doing anything!" Leader said, confused as to what Sasori's problem was.
"Thank you. But you know I couldn't enter, it's against the rules," Deidara seemed to glow under the other artist's praise.
"Hang the rules! It's all politics though, isn't it? Such a sad state of affairs these days…"
"What are you working on at the moment, un?"
"I think you're overreacting, Sasori," Itachi said, watching the two artists converse.
"Actually I have an idea for a project combining organic media and sculpture. Would you do me the honour of a collaboration?"
"Well, I am about to start work on a new piece of my own, un."
"You must tell me about that. Walk with me, there are some people who are absolutely dying to meet you."
He linked arms with Deidara, and with a "See you later, Danna!" they disappeared into the crowd.
"I am not overreacting. I tell you he's up to something!" Sasori growled. "I'm going to keep an eye on them."
"Don't be ridiculous!" Zetsu stopped Sasori from going after his boyfriend. "You can't stalk them all night! You have to trust Deidara."
"I trust him all right, it's that slimy git of a so-called Damien I don't trust!" Sasori saw Zetsu's logic in not following Deidara, but he still wasn't happy. Until that moment his attention was distracted by Kakuzu hurrying up to them, the bottles of cheap wine hidden in his coat clinking as he went.
"Come with me! You won't believe what I've just seen!"
"Hey! HEY! Get back here, fuckers! I want to see too!" Hidan had so far failed to see the funny side of his predicament.
Slightly out of breath, the Akatsuki arrived on the other side of the room to be confronted by… Tobi. Sitting on a sofa in the corner, with a beautiful, scantily-clad woman perched on each knee.
"I love this mask of yours, so symbolic…" one woman drawled seductively, stroking his face.
"Mmmm, yes… and so mysterious. Quite the turn-on…" the other woman chuckled, sliding her hand up the front of Tobi's shirt. The swirly-faced idiot-nin seemed quite comfortable with the attention.
"That bloody well just about does it!" Kisame erupted, quite unexpectedly. "How come someone like him can get women like that and I can never find anyone? I tell you what it is, it's so easy for women to attract a man but the opposite certainly does not hold! If you're a gentleman they just don't want to know, and if you're an arsehole they badmouth you! There's no pleasing some people."
A pretty young woman with lip piercings and a green mohawk tapped Kisame on the shoulder, but he was too involved in his rant to notice. Looking offended, she returned to her friends.
"Ah, Kisame, I think that girl may have…" Zetsu tried to interrupt.
"What exactly is wrong with me? I'm a nice guy! Well, there is the whole gory slaughtering of random strangers thing, but I can still be caring and romantic! I'd give foot rubs and leave her little gifts and thoughtful things like that! And I'm attractive and kind and not smelly or uncouth or boorish or ill-mannered, aren't I? Aren't I?"
"You're manly yet sensitive, un," Deidara said, coming up behind the shark-man and patting him on the shoulder.
"Where have you been?" Sasori instantly demanded.
Deidara opened his mouth and, strangely, Hidan's voice rang out, "You blond bastard! Where are you?! I'm going to sacrifice your arse off for this, you little shit!"
"Networking, Danna, networking, un!" Deidara laughed. "Oh Kisame, there's someone here you might like…" He tried to subtly point across the room, which, as everyone knows, is impossible. So Deidara very obviously pointed across the room at a tall woman dressed in rubber fetish-wear and killer heels.
Seeing where the artist was pointing, Kisame gasped. "Deidara, what are you thinking? I'd never have a chance with a woman like that!"
"Nonsense, un! She's just your type! Go on, go and talk to her. She does erotic sculpture. Keeps piranhas," Kisame began to make his way over. "And don't say anything stupid, un!" Deidara called after him.
Just as Deidara had turned back to chat to his fellow Akatsuki, a hand lightly grasped his elbow. It was another artist, a man who looked to be in his late fifties.
"Darling, you have inspired in me the most wonderful vision! I see a video installation, fractured, disorienting, controversial, provocative…"
"You will be nude, laid out on red silk, quoting the works of Lord Byron, myself seated at the piano, driven to erotic convulsions by your speech… It will be divine, it will be Eden, it will…"
"No," Sasori put his foot down with a firm hand. "Absolutely not."
"And who might you be?" The man looked down at Hiruko with an expression of mild disdain, as though the puppet was a small lapdog that had just farted.
"His boyfriend. And I will thank you to take your leave." The poisoned tip of Hiruko's tail raised slightly, just enough to convey Sasori's message clearly without causing a scene.
With a sniff, the older artist turned his back and flounced off.
"Well, he was unnecessarily camp," Leader remarked.
"Thanks, Danna, un. He's a creepy old perv. And it was a crap idea. Byron, pshh!"
Meanwhile, Kisame was doing rather well with his rubber-clad beauty.
"…also studies in cultural and ethical ideals of the body, the sexualisation of innocence. Deidara was kind enough to help me with an experimental project on the female orgasm a couple of years back," she was telling him. "But right now I'm all about the penis."
Kisame was both confused (female orgasm? He was pretty sure Deidara was a man. Not that he had been looking or anything), and valiantly suppressing his nosebleed at this sort of talk.
"Er, sounds interesting."
" Oh no, let's talk about you. I love your mods. Is it a full-body tattoo?" She stroked his cheek flirtatiously.
Choosing to ignore this remark, the blue-skinned man merely sipped from his glass and eyed the woman knowingly.
"So how do you know Deidara?" she asked.
"Well actually he's a close friend of mine," Kisame played his trump card. His amour seemed impressed.
"Really?! So you're an artist too?"
"No, no, not me."
The woman seemed slightly less impressed. "What did you think of his installation?"
It was then that the inevitable happened. Kisame undid all his earlier good work in one fell swoop by doing exactly what Deidara had specifically told him not to. He said, "I don't know, I haven't got a clue about art, especially not this sort of thing. It's just a load of pretentious twaddle really, isn't it?"
"Hmm. Well, maybe I'll see you later," said the woman frostily, turning and walking over to another group. Realising he had blown it and slightly dejected by this fact, Kisame returned to his colleagues.
"What did you say, un?" Deidara immediately demanded, seeing something had clearly gone wrong.
"You don't want to know."
"I most certainly do want…" Deidara cut himself off, froze in apparent horror and ducked down. "Sasori no Danna! Hide me!" he stage-whispered, trying to crawl behind Hiruko.
"What are you… Get off!" Deidara was now trying to climb onto Hiruko's back and prise the huge puppet open. Sasori shook him off and he slid to the floor. "Deidara, you know damn well there's not room for both of us in here!"
"It's Brian Sewell, un! Don't let him see me!" The blond was now lying on the floor, squashed as close to Hiruko's body as he could get.
"What are you so scared about? I thought you said he rubbishes everything and is an out-of-touch ugly old coot who hasn't any clue what he's talking about?" Leader queried.
"Yes, but I might have also said that in an interview last week, un… and he just possibly could have found out about it…"
By now the critic had disappeared into the crowd and had apparently not spotted Deidara yet. Relieved, the artist sat up and came face to face with his Danna's puppet. Both of them. Whoa. Seven glasses of wine were catching up with him, and red wine always had the same effect on Deidara; sooner or later he would get all horny. He giggled, reaching up to wrap his arms around Hiruko's neck and whisper to Sasori, "Sasori no Danna, when we get home…"
And then Deidara said something that cannot be repeated here, for if it were it would cause this story to be instantly banned under the Obscene Publications Act.
A hush fell on the room.
You know that kind of whispering one does whilst drunk? The kind one thinks is perfectly normal whispering that nobody other than the intended persons can hear, but in actuality more closely resembles shouting. It often happens while one is also talking about someone behind his or her back when that person is standing about three feet away. Well, that's what Deidara just did.
Luckily he was the star artist in a room full of people involved with the art world, which is the only situation in which anyone can get away with doing that. After a moment of shock everyone in the room seemed to collectively think 'Ah, artists,' or something along those lines, and carried on their conversations as usual. All except Sasori and Deidara's fellow Akatsuki, who looked revolted, and Sasori himself, whose Hiruko face didn't look much different to usual. Only the Lord himself knows what the redhead was thinking at that moment… However they swiftly forgot it, noticing people beginning to move towards the door.
"Good, it's over," grunted Itachi, leading the rest of the Akatsuki, following the crowd.
"Oh no, that was just the show. We're having a dissection at the Morgue, un. Care to join?"