A/N: HAPPY CHANUKAH!!!!!! XD And for you athiests, HAHA! YOU DIDN'T GET ANY PRESENTS! XD Kidding, kidding. I had one hell of a Chanukah. First off, we had trouble buying a menorah since it got lost in the move. We have a theory it's in my mom's stack of 'unsorted assortments', which means it's probably lost forever. Anyway, my step-mom nearly set the house in fire trying to make latkes, but the second time we made them they were delicious. Then my mom nearly set herself on fire trying to light the menorah. Then I was barraged by family I've so recently met, and tried to get to know everyone in one breath. It was wonderful. Have fun, and review, please, because this is the end of the story!
Deidara sighed, wiping his forehead and scanning the dining area. Ah, that group looked like they needed to get a check. Deidara walked briskly over to them. "May I interest you in some dessert, or would you prefer the check, un?" he asked politely.
"Ah, check please," a man said. "There's something I've been wondering, actually."
"Hmm?" Deidara paused, studying the man more closely.
"You wouldn't happen to be Deidara?" Deidara nodded.
"Oh really?" now the two other women were interested.
"I've seen some of your work," one of the women spoke up.
"That's an understatement," laughed the second woman. "She has a painting of yours hanging in her living room." The first woman blushed as the others laughed.
"Ok, I admit it, I'm a big fan. But your work is rather amazing." Deidara blinked and gulped, a small, shy smile parting his lips.
"Arigato, I'm deeply honored," Deidara bowed politely.
"Ah, but I read your little biography that came with the painting," the woman said, glancing at the check. Knowing what she was thinking, Deidara picked it up absently. The woman glanced up at him, and he gave a little smile.
"Thank you so much, un. I guess you'll be going to the show this Saturday?"
"Oh of course!" the woman exclaimed. Deidara grinned.
"Good to hear, yeah!" Deidara said enthusiastically. "I'll go get this rung up for you, un."
Deidara was standing in the kitchen, brushing Aiko's red hair, when Tobi came in with the mail. "Ooh, look, a postcard from Itachi and Kisame," Tobi said, passing the square of paper over to Deidara. Deidara, in turn, passed Tobi the brush so he could continue brushing Aiko's hair.
"A lot of boring meetings, but I got Itachi-san to go to a faire with me. Score! -Kisame," Deidara read aloud. "Kisame is stealing the free soap. -Itachi-san." Deidara chuckled. "P.S. we're bringing Pein home with us for two weeks." Deidara flipped the card over. "So they're in England, un? Why would they bring Pein back?"
"At least we get to see him. When was the last time we saw him?"
"We all went to the airport to see him off, un. That was. . .five years ago, un." Deidara checked the calendar, just in case.
"Who's Pein, nyaa?" Aiko asked, her left blue eye betraying her curiosity while her right red eye remained emotionless.
"A friend of ours, yeah," Deidara replied, taking the brush from Tobi and finishing off her ponytail.
"Oh! Look at this!" Tobi cried, extracting a letter. " A five year high school reunion."
"What's that, nyaa?" Aiko asked.
"It's where everyone from our graduating class in high school comes for a big party," Tobi said.
"Can we go, nyaa?" Aiko asked excitedly.
"We'll see," Deidara muttered. Tobi pouted.
"Aw, you don't want to go?" he asked. Deidara shrugged.
"We'd only be seeing Pein, yeah, and if he's staying for two weeks we'll be able to see him some other time, un."
"But what about all your old teachers?"
"Why would I want to see them, un?"
"I'll bet Iruka-san is there," Tobi persuaded.
"Sometimes I wonder who the adult is, yeah. Fine, we'll go, un." Aiko and Tobi both cheered.
"Hey, since when did they get a pool?" Deidara cried. They had arrived at the reunion to find themselves the only ones from the group who had showed up so far. But that was about to change, seeing as how Hidan and Kakuzu had just showed up. Kakuzu lingered back, watching Hidan sneak up on Deidara. Aiko saw as well, and reached up to have Tobi hold her. Tobi did so, and in the process missed Hidan grabbing Deidara and throwing him into the pool. Hidan dropped to the ground, laughing maniacally as Deidara spluttered to the edge of the pool, dragging himself out like a wet cat. Aiko giggled, wiggling in Tobi's arms. Deidara finally pulled himself from the pool, and Hidan recognized a life or death situation and took off. Deidara gave a war cry and chased after him. Tobi sighed, shaking his head and setting Aiko down. Kakuzu stepped up to them, patting Aiko on the head and slipping her a piece of candy.
"Arigato, Kakuzu-san, nyaa," she said, unwrapping it and popping it in her mouth. Kakuzu smiled and looked up at Tobi.
"Good to see you, Tobi," he said. "How have you been?"
"Not bad, and how about yourself?"
"Good. Did you get a postcard from Kisame and Itachi saying they'd bring Pein?"
"Oh, yeah," Tobi replied. "Do you think they'll actually bring him? Last time I heard he refused to come back."
"I'm not sure about that. With that whole flight thing and the storm and that huge fight, who knows what actually happened."
"At least we get to see him," Tobi said optimistically.
"Die, bastard, un!" Deidara screamed, tackling Hidan into the pool after a long chase about the field. Hidan screamed as they crashed into the water, blubbering and bubbling under the surface. Soon both of them were bedraggled and sopping wet, scrambling out of the pool.
"Ok, I think we're even," Hidan panted. Deidara did a victory dance. Tobi rolled his eyes.
"Does going back to visit high school give you back your former immaturity?" Kakuzu asked.
"Hey, he set himself up for it!" Hidan argued. Kakuzu rolled his eyes.
"I can't believe Kakashi-sensei let them get a pool, yeah! Something has to be behind that, un."
"What does it matter to you anyway, Deidara?" Kakuzu sighed.
"It would've been so nice to have a pool at school. . . Oh well, un. What have you two been up to, yeah?"
"Keeping him out of trouble."
"Getting into trouble."
"Why am I not surprised?" Tobi sighed.
"Daddy, I'm bored, nyaa!" Aiko whined. Deidara looked down at her.
"What do you have in your mouth, un?" he asked. Aiko didn't say anything. "What do you have un your mouth, un?" Deidara repeated more forcefully.
"A piece of candy, nyaa," she mumbled. Deidara sighed, turning to Kakuzu.
"If you really want to give her a gift, put ten pounds in her college funds, un," he said. Hidan reached in his pocket and handed Aiko a piece of candy. Deidara sighed. "Do you know how hard it is to raise a healthy child in this age? Here, Aiko, give me that, un," he said, taking the candy. "And thank Hidan, yeah."
"Arigato, Hidan, nyaa," she said. Deidara patted her head.
"Good girl, un."
"Hey, I see Zetsu! I haven't seen him in a while. . ." Tobi glanced at Deidara, who waved him off.
"Go. I'll stay here, un," he replied.
"All right." Tobi excused himself and walked over to Zetsu. Deidara watched him go, then turned back to Kakuzu and Hidan.
"Let's go inside, it's too hot, un," he said.
Deidara, Kakuzu, Hidan, and Aiko were all sitting at one of the tables that had been erected for the reunion. "No, honest, I was reading that playing Mozart when a baby is sleeping makes them smarter," Hidan was saying.
"Did you read that online?" Kakuzu asked.
"The internet is so unreliable, yeah," Deidara said.
"I see Kisame and Konan, nyaa!" Deidara, Kakuzu, and Hidan all turned to see the blue twins walking towards them. All four got up and greeted them with hugs.
"How was England?" Kakuzu asked Kisame.
"Fun. And we actually managed to bring back a little surprise."
"Oh, right, and this is for you," Kisame said, giving Aiko a piece of candy.
"Arigato, nyaa!" Deidara sighed and took the candy.
"You'll get it later, ok, un? You've had enough for now, yeah."
"Ok, nyaa," Aiko sighed.
"Don't tell me you actually got Pein to come with you?" Kakuzu said. Kisame grinned.
"Better look behind you, if you don't believe me," he said. Kakuzu, Hidan, and Deidara all turned to see Itachi and Pein. Pein had gotten some scary piercings, and looked rather dangerous now. Aiko, at first, drew closer to Deidara as they approached, but Deidara pushed her forward and she stumbled away from him, looking shyly up at the man. Pein looked around, then crouched before her, looking her straight in her mismatched eyes.
"And what's your name?" he asked.
"Aiko, nyaa," she replied confidently. "What's yours, nyaa?"
"Pein. Where did you pick up your little speech impediment?"
"No idea, nyaa. Tobi says it must be genetic, nyaa." Deidara rolled his eyes, standing back and letting the two talk.
"And how old are you?"
"Um, four, but my birthday is in three days, nyaa," she elaborated.
"Ah, already lying about her age. Takes after her father, I see," Pein said, smirking up at Deidara. Deidara rolled his eyes, but didn't say anything.
"Does your nose hurt, nyaa?" Aiko asked.
"Daddy won't let me get my ears pierced, nyaa."
"I see. Well, once you're eighteen, you can get them pierced."
"What happens then, nyaa?"
"You'll be an adult." Aiko glanced back at Deidara, who shrugged.
"But Daddy's gonna always be my daddy," she said. Kisame laughed, and even Pein and Itachi let themselves smile.
"That was absolutely adorable," Kisame stated. Aiko didn't look up, keeping her eyes glued to Pein. Pein was likewise.
"I have a small present for you," Pein said slowly. Aiko blinked at him.
"Arigato, Pein-san, nyaa," she said. Pein reached in his pocket and pulled out a piece of candy, handing it to her. She smiled and gave him a quick hug, before turning around and handing the candy to Deidara. Deidara smiled, and patted her on the head.
"Good girl, un," he said.
"My, you certainly have her well trained," Itachi said as Pein stood up.
"She's not a dog, yeah," Deidara said. "So, Pein, what have you been up to, un?" Pein shrugged.
"Stuff? You runaway for five years and do stuff?"
"I talk to you once a month," Pein pointed out. "Come on, let's sit down. I'm a bit jet-lagged."
It was midnight, three days later that Deidara was up painting and got a phone call. He got up, setting down his pencil and answering the phone. "Hello-" he stopped, sighing. "Oh. It's you, Sasori."
"May I speak to Aiko?"
"She's in bed, yeah. Do you have any idea at what hour you're calling, un?"
"I know it's midnight, but I have a right to talk to my child."
"I'm not going to wake her up, yeah. She's growing up, and needs her sleep, un." Deidara walked back over to the couch, crawling back up on it and continuing his drawing. "I'll tell her you called, yeah. I know exactly what you're going to say, too: Happy birthday, and there's twenty pounds in the mail, un." Sasori said nothing for a long while. Finally, a wave of static signaled Sasori's exasperated sigh. "Look, I only have to deal with you once a year and it's always a trial for me, yeah. But you know, she doesn't really hate getting these calls, un." Unknown to Deidara, Aiko was creeping down the hall at that very moment, pressing her ear to the closed door to hear what was being said.
"So Tobi isn't good enough?"
"There's something about knowing you have two biological parents that makes you happy, yeah," Deidara shot. "You grew up with Chiyo-sama, and wouldn't you have liked a call from your dad, un? Anyway, I'll tell her you called, and you can call back tomorrow, yeah." Deidara paused. "How hard is it to remember? It's one number, un."
"You're still such a brat, Deidara. You have no idea what it's like in the real world. You have no idea what it's like to not have someone taking care of you, giving you money, finding you jobs, or anything. You don't even have clue one about work."
"Mmm-hmm," Deidara mumbled, concentrating more on his picture for a moment. "But I know you sure do know what it's like to have all that, yeah."
"The childcare checks, yeah. They've been coming from Chiyo-sama, un." Sasori stayed silent. Deidara sighed. "Look, I don't want any more trouble, un. You call tomorrow, yeah."
"Fine. Be a selfish little brat," Sasori huffed.
"Same to you, un." Deidara hung up, replacing the handset. Stretching, he glanced at the clock and sighed, making for the door. Aiko hurriedly scurried back to her room, but wasn't fast enough. "What're you doing up, un?" he asked, looking tiredly down at her.
"Um. . . I wanted to get a glass of water, nyaa," Aiko said. Deidara rolled his eyes. Children were terrible liars. He patted her head. Luckily, she wouldn't need to lie, hopefully for the rest of her life.
Deidara knocked on the apartment door, and a familiar blonde girl- woman, now- opened the door. "Hey, Ino-chan, un," Deidara said, smiling slightly. Ino grinned and stepped back to allow Deidara in. "Nice place, yeah," Deidara said. "Your man has a lot of dosh, un?" Ino shrugged.
"He's just a normal guy," she replied. "You didn't think I could earn enough money to afford a place like this?"
"No, the kitchen was still intact. Either he's a professional chef, or he hires a cook, yeah," Deidara replied. Ino smacked him upside the head.
"For your information, he does cook," she said. "He liked food."
"Hmm? This him?" Deidara asked, looking over at the coffee table at a picture.
"Oh, yeah," Ino said. Deidara peered closely, smiling slightly.
"What's his name?"
"Ah." Deidara looked back up at her. "Do you talk to your parents at all?" Ino sighed.
"No. But I do talk to my foster parents a lot," she replied, grinning.
"Iruka and Kakashi were that good to you, un?" Deidara asked. Ino shrugged.
"They weren't really parents, I guess, 'cause I was older, but they were ten times more my parents than my, you know, real ones," Ino replied. "Are you happy, Deidara?" she asked suddenly, after a long moment's silence. Deidara paused.
"Are you, un?" he asked. He knew the answer. He could see it in the picture on the table, in the curve of her smile, and in the radiance that poured off of her in radiant beams.
"Yup," she replied. "And you?"
"Sure, yeah," Deidara said. "Right, I came over to return that book I borrowed, un." Deidara reached in his bag and handed Ino a book.
"Did you like it?" she asked, taking it. Deidara shrugged.
"It was all right, un. Tobi liked it a bit more than I did, un."
Deidara returned home to Tobi's welcoming arms, and Aiko attaching herself to his knees. Deidara smiled, relaxing against Tobi and patting Aiko's head affectionately. Yes, he was happy. You could see it in the family portrait he had painted way back when Aiko was born, in the happy, helplessly loving grin Tobi had plastered over his face, the way Aiko giggled and wrapped her arms around him, and the twin gold bands on their hands. Yes, this was happiness, and they were very lucky indeed.
A/N: Review if you liked, review if you didn't, review if you had NO OPINION!! XD