AN: Personally, I believe one should always read the words of an author, if said author has anything to say. I do not consider myself an author, though, so feel free to skip this part. But then again, I just might have a different concept of 'author'. I'll just mention a few facts here, won't take that long. For starters, I claim nothing but the 'what-if' situation presented here. It is believed it was Kishimoto Masashi the one who let us know about Uzumaki Naruto's story, along with every single one who played a major role in his life's. I make no profit of this either. That being said, I'll just add I'd be very glad to have whoever reads this leave a review. Regardless of being being my first fanfiction ever, I'd like to hear what YOU think. Cronstructive criticism is always welcome, but you can throw at me whatever you wish to, I'm confident on my survival skills as far as review-induced effects go. Ah, and one more thing: if you notice any kind of mistake, please be so kind as to alert me about it. That was pretty much it, thank you for stopping by.

Art; In Every Sense of the Word
Saigono Safira
[Lady Safira]

'Damn that Copy Ninja…'

Quick steps on hard tree branches were all that could be heard, a light sound between regular pauses as he rushed back to the cave where the Akatsuki members had assembled. As strange as it would seem coming from him, he figured it'd be wiser to take the route of the old, tall trees; he didn't dare running on the soft grass and eventually be spotted by the Kyuubi's Jinchuuriki, let alone go through the same path he had had the monster follow him. The Jinchuuriki was not the problem, he had already come to the conclusion, and he could take care of him. And he would. He'd be way easier to capture than that Gaara. The problem was that Copy Ninja and his Doujutsu. Good thing he had managed to escape it. The attack had instead hit his clay bird's wing, turning it into apparent nothingness, and that forced him to jump off so as not to be caught in the resulting explosion. With that, the Jinchuuriki's unnoticed approaching from the smoke had been unavoidable, but it was nothing compared to what could've happened if he had got himself trapped in the Copy Ninja's technique, whatever it was. The fact that he, who was no Uchiha, was able to use the Sharingan in a way probably similar to Itachi's made it all the more difficult for him not to simply turn around and try out his Art against that cursed eye, to say the least.

He would get to that soon enough too. Yes, he would show the little beast and his gang such an Art display… And he'd make sure it would be the very last thing they'd ever see.

Unfortunately, such a work of Art would have to wait, his eye, which had grown wider and eager with the perspective of fleeting, powerful light, turning into a frown while coming to that conclusion. He still had a small piece of clay, ready to use. But he wouldn't use it then. No, that small amount was not to become Art in that moment. That would be one of his greatest masterpieces, regardless of its size. As such, it wouldn't be used for the sake, or quite the contrary for that matter, of some unworthy Jinchuuriki. The other, the Kazekage, had been strong enough for him to use one, although the mass destruction that would make it what he'd call a true work of Art had never come to be. Therefore, the one bearing the Kyuubi simply did not have what it took to present the world with Art in its true form.

Despite his unsuccessful plan and the pain from the loss of his arm that, only after three days and three nights, was starting to slow him down, a smirk made its way to Deidara's lips. From where he had left the Konoha shinobi, the ghost of a threatening, pained cry reached him. So the Jinchuuriki had finally realised he hadn't been able to rescue a fellow monster. It still puzzled him, in some way, how the Kyuubi's host had tried to get the Kazekage back. It didn't matter, though. As he'd said to the uncontrollable Jinchuuriki, they were no more than monsters, and he'd end up the same way the one he had tried to save had.

Deidara made the effort to move faster, the pain stinging sharply every time he landed a foot on a tree branch. It wouldn't take long to finally get to the cave and, if he was lucky enough, Sasori had yet to leave after them. He should've been finished with the two kunoichi by then. As he sped through the leaves, he remembered how he had found it strange to see Hiruko's unchanging gaze locked in one of them. An old woman should not be that much of a threat. If one had known Hiruko was nothing but a puppet of Sasori's instead of the Puppeteer himself, one would have found no reason for Deidara's conjecture because, as a puppet, it meant nothing if it was looking at an old woman or not. However, for him it felt like Sasori was almost teasing the strange woman. She had also looked quite dumbfounded by him. It could be that she and Sasori were related in some way, but that didn't matter either; Sasori would not be stopped by that. Even if that were true, it wouldn't make him even hesitate for a second. Deidara knew he had long severed any bond to his home village. And Sasori wouldn't let a Jinchuuriki run around freely. He had had Itachi know that. Deidara's grin grew wider then. He, who had captured a Jinchuuriki already, and a Kazekage at that, he thought with satisfaction, would be in trouble when he got to Sasori. He had left him with two kunoichi and lured the creature outside with him. That was surely more than enough to have Hiruko's tail lash out at him more than once. But the Jinchuuriki was still alive and good to take down. Thanks to the Copy Ninja, Deidara couldn't take him.

A noise of both annoyance and amusement came out from deep in his throat.

'That probably will only make it worse. Sasori-no-Danna will scold me again for not being prepared. Hmm.'

The smirk that had never left his features became a simple but otherwise true smile as he thought of the fellow artist he so openly respected, and the one he showed more than respect when alone. He felt somewhat restless to have Sasori reprimand him for his lack of proper arrangements. That always made him grin. For it was not the rashness of Hiruko's grunting that seeped in through his skin. It was the caring in Sasori's voice, hidden in false apathy. Later on he'd reprimand him, in whispers, for being careless enough to give the Konoha shinobi the chance to kill him. To which he'd simply reply, with a confident smirk, that he just wasn't the type to plan things through. That was pretty much the way it would go, he was sure.

Deidara came to a halt. The pain shot roughly once again with the landing, but he promptly ignored it. Although he was still surrounded by thick greenery, he knew he'd find the cave with a few more jumps. Had it been Sasori, he'd probably have kept himself hidden in the forest and focus on looking for the target's chakra signature before returning, or the enemy's for that matter, so as to avoid unpleasant surprises. It was Deidara standing on the tree branch, though, and for once he felt he understood what Sasori meant whenever he went on how he disliked waiting or keeping people waiting. So he did quite the opposite. After a few seconds of heavy breathing, it was disregarding the remote possibility of the two kunoichi escaping from Sasori alive that he took off.

No heed was paid to his surroundings. It hadn't taken him long to get familiar with that forest, and so it was nearly an unconscious action. When he did take notice of the landscape, as he left the shelter of the leaves and wood and landed on the top of the cliff that was greeted by the open entrance to the cave beyond the still waters, what he saw made him feel as cold as death.

For the cave beyond the still waters was no longer there.

The weird feeling that had assaulted him left almost as instantly as it had come, though, and the corners of his lips turned slightly upwards. He had heard a loud noise coming from this direction, but he hadn't thought it had caused that much damage to the place.

'My, my. Sasori-no-Danna sure didn't hold back on those women. Hmm. 'Guess I'm the one to blame here; It was me who pissed him off like that in the first place… Feels strange to see this knowing Sasori-no-Danna was the one who did it.' His smirk grew larger then. 'Come to think of it, I wish I was here when it happened. Two artists create better than one, after all. Hmm.'

He took his time gazing at the remains of the shelter within which the Akatsuki had extracted yet another Bijuu not that long before and let out a sigh, somewhat upset for having left the place, even if it had been in order to capture a Jinchuuriki.

'Leader won't like it, though. Hmm.'

Starting then to take the sight in more attentively, he noticed the many figures scattered along the rocks, involved in torn cloaks. Each of them was still, and many were in pieces. He wouldn't have thought Sasori had had to use those many puppets. He was so strong with Hiruko alone, surely there was no need to use anything else with those two women as opponent. His eyes started to seek Sasori, hoping he was still there. He wouldn't leave his puppets there, even if a great number of those were broken. He'd easily fix them after they were finished with the shinobi from Konoha.

As his eyesight turned slightly to the right, he spotted a group of five figures. Two facing three others. Neither was moving. Deidara couldn't tell with certainty from that distance, but both kunoichi seemed to be standing with no little effort, so he figured Sasori's poison was doing its magic. No surprise there. Sasori was right in front of them, a puppet at each of his sides. And it was the fact that Sasori was revealing his true form in the battlefield that got him stunned. It had been long since the last time Deidara had seen him fighting, not using Hiruko or any other puppet from his collection but himself, as he put it. He wasn't complaining, though. Sasori was, no doubt, looking down on the poor women and ready for the final strike, as life clung to their bodies for the last moments. That should be why he was so close to them. As the two women were still alive, Deidara decided he wanted in. He'd let them become a work of Art. Sasori might have had the same plan in mind, but Deidara would have it his way. Surely he could manage to get a few remains of his clay, such that didn't involve his last piece, to reward the ones who got to face Akasunano Sasori. They deserved that.

With no more thinking on that matter, but a renewed sneer on his face, he jumped off the cliff, landing soundlessly on the water. And so he proudly and boldly took a couple of steps towards the standing silhouettes.

Only then he saw the look on the two women's faces. It wasn't one of dread, but one of disbelief. There was no fear on their features; both were leaking determination. So they did not fear death. That's what one would expect from any shinobi, but Deidara had come to see many brave of those grow coward when faced with Sasori. Ever the more reason to give them a fitting death. Their eyes never left Sasori's frame, as if drinking every trace of his face, and so he followed their gaze, as he took a few more steps.

But he didn't get much closer. He only lay one foot on the rocks, and the sound of it alarmed the women, who looked quickly to their left, instantly positioned for fighting. The younger one was, at least. The elder was on her knees, too weak to stand, but still looking at the newcomer with resolve.

Deidara never registered any of that, though. His eyes could see no more than his partner a few feet ahead. And the swords, held by the two puppets by his sides, that pierced through the only thing that kept him from not being human. He saw its red letter, stained with deep purple, his lips parted. His gaze then upon the other's face, cast low, Sasori's eyes hidden by his red hair. His mouth was opening and closing in slow movements, as if he had been in deep conversation with the two others though starting to, little by little, fall asleep but still trying to say every word he intended to. He showed no reaction what-so-ever towards Deidara's arrival. However, he did seem to notice his opponents' alarm. And that was, apparently, all he needed to know Deidara was there. His head did not move in his direction, and Deidara was still unable to make out his eyes. Neither could he see the trail of dark liquid sliding from his lips and down his chin.

And the fact that Sasori was indeed aware of Deidara's presence was denoted by his lips alone, which rewarded him with the subtlest of grins. Simultaneously, a breathing noise which could only be associated with something along the lines of contained self-assurance made its way out of his throat, as if he had been expecting exactly what was happening right then.

None moved one inch for what felt like hours to Deidara. The only sound that could be heard was the weak trickling of purple. For a last, brief moment of lucidity, he considered the possibility of both he and Sasori having been caught in some kind of jutsu from the enemies' part. But then again, if that were the case, those would be by then making their move. That did not happen.

Once again, nothing but his mouth moving, Akasunano Sasori's words were slowly and almost with no sound at all shed in the air, words that would be kept floating above the old rocks for many a year.

'Again… You've kept me… Waiting…'

His voice sounded distant, as if coming from another world already. His voice was dying, and that last word could barely be heard by those present.

Deidara stood silent, before a hesitant, sceptical smirk, along with a frown, distorted his usually fearless features. That voice had sounded so weak, so resigned, so unlike the Sasori he knew…

'O-oi, Sasori-no…', he called out in what felt like a false confidence, but he never really finished the name, seeing Sasori finally moving.

As he fell to the ground. Feet gave in, knees bent and whole body descended in unbelievably slow motions, casting a trail of purple drops behind. The ragged cloak he wore ghosted about him, as though he were floating on a soft breeze, not sinking down lifeless air. The swords grating deeper through his frame with the movement, the dragging sound would've made anyone sick and rush to grab his own chest. Deidara felt a sudden urge to do so but for some reason he could not move. He could not move a finger, he could not make himself blink. His eyes would not spare him from the sight ahead.

At last, the stabbed collided with the rocks, the two dark puppets following. Akasunano Sasori's fall was accompanied with the most horrifying symphony of cracking sounds.


And it would appear it was that symphony what reawakened in Deidara the ability to move. He sprinted across the cracked stones, tripping more than once, his breathing uncharacteristically sharp with each step. He never got to see the now empty shell that had once been Sasori's body hanging on some nameless device that pressed it against the wall. Nor did he notice the bewilderment on the scrutinising kunoichi's faces at his actions. The running seemed to take way too long until he reached the fallen bodies, during which the countless and yet so precious times he had seen that never-aging face flashed before his eyes. Without stopping, he shook his head violently, and that only made him trip once again, this time falling right in front of the body in the middle.

He let out a low whimper of pain, though not caused by the one that hurt the most. Sasori's hair, as flawless as ever, was everything he could see as he raised his head slightly from the ground. So warm, so soft, he remembered how it felt to run his hand through it. He wanted to do it again, and again, but in that moment he thought it wouldn't feel as soft… And he feared that. Thoughts on capturing the Kyuubi's Jinchuuriki had long left his mind. Right then, the crimson he could see beyond those locks filled him inside, leaving no room for anything else. Furthermore, any thoughts that could've crossed his mind would no longer give him any answers.

For those whispered words had been everything it took for Deidara to be no longer capable of any kind of logical thinking.

Moving on his knees, he stirred the puppets aside hastily, grabbed the handles of the swords and, one by one, pulled the humiliating weapons out of Sasori's body. When he had the last sword on his hand, he gazed at it for a moment, his eyes following the dark liquid sliding down the blade. Then he turned his head almost too quickly to look over his shoulder at the kunoichi standing a short distance behind him, and he observed the young one, who instantly readied herself for a new clash. He nearly laughed at that. Not that it was the wisest thing to do; she was obviously at her limit, but he was missing one arm and he didn't have any clay he was willing to use on those two. He fixed his eyes on her injured, barely standing body. Those wounds had undoubtedly been caused by blades. In that case, the poison should have made it through the skin. And yet, the kid was still standing.

The little lucidity that seemed to have stirred up inside and allowed him to perform such examination left him as he slowly stood to face the women with a misplaced smirk. Their eyes followed his every move with wariness. He felt once more the urge to laugh at them. But he refrained himself from doing so, although he didn't let a light snigger pass up.

'Sasori-no-Danna… Bring him back.'

There was no wavering in his voice whatsoever. No crack in between his words, no rising of tone in his demand.

The pair, though, did react to what he said the way he had wished for them to. Eyes grew wide, and the younger's arms, which had been raised and ready, dropped faintly at the weight of the enemy's words. Neither gave an answer, and silence fell between both the yet standing and the crushed soldiers.

'Sasori-no-Danna got you… You died, right?', he asked the kid, 'You're all beaten up and you can still stand!', his head turned from the younger to the elder, eyes large and mesmerized by what he could see in the woman, 'Ha, I get it now. She brought you back, didn't she?'

His eyes were once again on the kid, pointing at the other woman and waiting for an answer. That never came. They only stared, unmoving, until it seemed Deidara's patience had reached its limits. He gritted his teeth at the unresponsive pair before his voice cut the air and turned it into mirrors for the sound of his wrath that came out of his throat.


He yelled, never turning his face away from hers, and it would seem he'd dash towards her and take her life with a heartless strike. However, he did not. For some reason, he wouldn't step off the very rock on which he stood. The very rock that held the body from which Sasori's life had been stolen, broken. He shouted, he pointed his condemning finger at them, he threw his arm in the air, but he wouldn't leave that spot, he wouldn't lay his foot beyond that crack in the ground, not even an inch away.

'Ch-Chiyo-baa-sama…', he heard the kid's call, and immediately his head rose to face her, although his was not the attention she sought. Her eyes were still observing him, but her head was slightly turned as if to look over her shoulder as she wordlessly asked the elder for enlightenment.

Deidara waited expectantly, a smirk creeping its way to his lips once again, nearly hopeful. It didn't last, though. The old woman would not answer, even if it were for her ally. Her eyes too were laid on him, deep in thought, stunned, and he thought he could see something there that felt like pity. And that made his jaws press each other tightly once again.


He was panting, his hand trying to hold still what was left of his other arm, although he could no longer feel the pain that had made him flinch just minutes before. He would not lose sight of the old woman on her knees, she, too, out of breath. Again, she said nothing, she did nothing, and she too would not lose sight of him. Deidara felt he had almost been expecting that.

'You won't, now, will you? Heh… You won't… No, you won't…'

Repeating those words in a trance and sometimes with a light chuckle in between, he turned his back on the pair and stood by Sasori's side. He kneeled down and, ever so carefully, moved Sasori's body so that, had he still been able to use those empty eyes that yet, for some reason, seemed to hold some kind of amazement, he'd see snow-white clouds, carried by a serene wind. Deidara was then finally able to take in the other's features properly, no longer hidden behind red hair. That resigned smile he had shown him was still there. And for him, it was unknown how it had ever got there. His gaze fell on the trail of dark liquid on Sasori's chin. Hand moving slowly, it numbly reached and took it on its fingertips. Those then moved towards his own face, and his tongue peeped out to steal it for itself.

Oh, bitter juice it was. For an instant, he felt the closest thing to a thrill at his reach.

Meanwhile, the two kunoichi stared in awe and disbelief at that series of events. Ever since Deidara's arrival, it would seem, to them, that they were witnessing something way beyond their understanding. It didn't take long, though, for the youthful one to regain composure.

'Chiyo-baa-sama', she repeated, by then free of the bewilderment that had claimed her, resolve clear in her voice. That time she did look over her shoulder at the elder. 'This is our chance. We won't be able to do much, but Naruto and Kakashi-sensei should be on their way back here. We can at least weaken him, in the case they had trouble leading with him. Chiyo-baa-sama, we should…'

She stopped mid sentence once she took a proper look at the elder. The skilled kunoichi, with half-closed eyes, had her gaze landing ahead. She seemed to be trying to figure something out, something hard to grasp. The deepened creases one her forehead let all her effort show. The young fighter wondered if she had even listened to her, and was about to call her name again, but she didn't. Tired and thoughtful eyes closing completely for a moment, she knew the old, wise woman had found an answer, somehow.

'There'll be no need to', she sighed, and that earned her a look of confusion from her younger partner. Only after a couple of seconds she realized Chiyo-baa was actually replying to what she had said. The confusion remained, though. She still couldn't bring herself to understand her words.

They had little time to get her back to Suna; the poison had been inside that aged body for a significant amount of time already. But then there was that Akatsuki member. To simply run off out of sight of some S-ranked nukenin as those of the Akatsuki would be impossible for two severely injured kunoichi. Moreover, he'd probably pursue them and that would only endanger the village, which had already been attacked by that group, the result being the abduction of the Kazekage. The village, without its leader, could not endure another attack. So trying to hold the enemy until the others returned and only then flee, the two of them, was the only solution that came to her mind. Still, Chiyo-baa seemed to be rather unruffled, despite the sudden gloominess her eyes let show.

That gloom and quietness were closely linked, though. What had given birth to those was one thing only. One thing she had seen countless times before, one thing she had gone through herself, and yet it felt like something she had never seen before, something she would've never dreamt of beholding. One would think the age was finally getting to her.

But she knew. Eyes, like hers, which had seen so many different faces across that ever changing world and so many of those faces break, those eyes of hers could tell. They could tell. And she couldn't help but let a new kind of sadness show in her voice.

'He's lost already.'

And lost he was. The grin on his face was indeed broken, and his desperate gaze sought light in the only thing he could see. The two women had long been forgotten. His chuckling had subsided, but he then started to whisper to himself in a cautious way, his breathing uneven. Nothing but his arm moving, he reached for the bag that hang on his waist, the hand disappearing for a few seconds. When it came into view again, it held a little heap of white grains.

Those tiny, pale specks were all he had left of his explosive clay with him. What allowed him to lose himself for the most ephemeral of moments.

Something that looked so worthless and hollow, and yet hemmed so much in. Almost white dust that would be taken away with the wind in a blink of an eye, but it was tightly secured in Deidara's hand. True Art would last no more than an instant, and so he would not allow such beauty to flee and hide, never letting others praise it the way it should be. His masterpiece would soon carry out its purpose. Quite tricky to create, that masterpiece of his had proved itself to be.

A long time after he had joined the Akatsuki, he used his C4 chakra to create nanobombs, a concept of Art he had come to develop a short time before that day of inspiration for greatness. Those nanobombs were infused into the small sculpture he was then working on, with the same method he'd use to create the C4 Karura, probably his most deathly artwork, latter on. Afterwards, he grabbed another portion of clay, the size of a fist, and placed it beside his most recent handiwork. Putting some distance between his raw material and himself, he raised his hand and formed the proper seal, although doing nothing more than the gesture. He couldn't be sure it would work. He knew his nanobombs would eliminate every breathing thing at reach, using that function to enter a body and destroy it from the inside, but what he wanted it to affect was the yet to mould clay he had laid there. So, he had figured that, if he used his own chakra to involve the raw clay, it would make it easier for the nanobombs to combine with the molecules that composed the clay itself. If it turned out to be as he had thought, then the effect should be similar, being chakra a kind of energy only living things possess, though he doubted the clay would be completely destroyed. And that was how he wanted it to be. With that, along with a confident smile, he detonated the little sculpture.

There was no explosion. What had been his newest creation became nothingness, and the untouched clay he had left there turned into a grainy heap of white as if on a spell. Still from afar, he took his time admiring his masterpiece. It would detonate like any other of his creations, but its power, stimulated by the nanobombs which had flowed throughout its very essence and although not having a wide range, would be absolute. He kneeled down to collect those precious grains, and from then on he kept them in his bag always. He couldn't guess when the time to use it would come. But he knew it would come. Nothing would last forever, and his wait for the sublime display of True Art was no different. His masterpiece, unlike the C4 Karura, was no tool for utter destruction and simultaneously for fleeting beauty, it had been created for the sake of True Art only.

'See this, Sasori-no-Danna?', Deidara held it in front of Sasori's eyes. The latter's lack of reaction did not disturb him in the very least, 'Looks like sand, doesn't it? … White sand. Hmm.'

With his one hand, he held them high. His eyes followed its ascent as a wide grin illuminated his face, and they never left the sand on his hand as he spoke.

'Yeah, white sand… Hmm. But, you know… Sasori-no-Danna, this sand will turn red. During an instant, it'll turn red. It'll become Red Sand. Hmm.'

'Sakura!', Chiyo-baa called out, alarmed, although her voice weak. She was still gazing at the one who had attacked her village, but she looked as if something most unexpected had been revealed to her alone. 'We have to leave. Now!'

'What?', Sakura turned her head once again and looked at the elder, but quickly resumed her observation on the enemy, hoping to see whatever it was Chiyo-baa had.

Deidara, paying no attention to the others, slowly rotated his hand and moved it above Sasori's fake body and himself. The white grains fell on their cloaks, on their hair, on their faces. He then let out a long, contented sigh, the thrill that filled him inside whenever he was about to witness the fleeting beauty that was Art starting to take over.


'Y-yes!', the younger hurried to her companion's side and, helping her with an arm on her shoulders, the two kunoichi abandoned the battlefield. In midair, both looked back over their shoulders towards the ones left behind. In the eyes of one of those, one could see confusion, but in the other's, there was sorrow and regret.

Deidara, then alone, although any fool who could have been present would not have any effect on him at all, leant down, his face closer to Sasori's. His grin grew wider, his eyes insane.

'So what do you say, Sasori-no-Danna? We'll finally become Art, see? Hmm?'

Suddenly, his expression changed. He fixed his eyes on Sasori's more attentively, taken aback by something he apparently had heard him say. But his bewilderment didn't last. Soon he was laughing at himself, as though realizing what he had heard was actually something he should have expected. The sound of his self-mocking began to fade before long, the remains being that plain smile only the one below him could summon.

Despite what Sasori had just said, he didn't feel like arguing on that. For some reason, it felt superb to hear Sasori's light and slightly annoyed voice, even though it sounded ever so distant. Deidara would take care of that in no time.

'Aa, cut it off already, Sasori-no-Danna…', if all one could see was Deidara's face, it would be quite a challenge to classify his expression, for there was both amusement and impatience, as he appeared to be waiting for the right moment to speak, 'Fine, then. We'll do it like this…', he bowed his head lower as he told the other what he had in mind, 'We'll leave this place with this… That's it, we'll become a masterpiece right here, my way. Hmm. My Art. No, Sasori-no-Danna, listen… Then… When I get there, we'll… You'll have it your way… Yeah, then we can be a masterpiece of your Art… Yeah, yeah, all that eternal talk. Hmm… So, is that good enough?'

He did nothing but stare at Sasori for an indefinite amount of time. Waiting for an answer, a sign, something that would tell him Sasori wanted to make that deal. He had everything ready to show the world the purest of Arts. The moment would come. Those pale seeds, spread across skin and cloth, were beckoning, desperate to be unleashed.

And soon enough, the moment came. It would seem Deidara had seen something in Sasori change, and thus giving him his answer.

'Deal, then?', he breathed against Sasori's face, 'You won't have to wait too much, Sasori-no-Danna. Hmm.'

A barely discernible sigh escaped his lips, as if no more worries remained in his mind. Maybe it was that peace of mind one felt when one dies doing what is said to be the right thing. Unlike those times when he was about to use exploding sculptures, there were neither sharp breathing or eyes growing wide with expectation; he made no sound breathing and his eyelids were half-closed as he looked downwards at Sasori.

His gaze suddenly moved slightly ahead and stopped on his hair. For some reason, the fear he had felt before as he yearned to touch it had left without him noticing, and so he reached with his hand.

It felt the same. Exactly the same. Moving his hand slowly, he could almost hear Sasori's voice coolly demanding him to stop the few times he had dared as much as to caress his hair. He could do it for a while there, and yet he felt like he should not. His fingers came to a halt and he wondered if, in case he was not going to do what he was about to, Sasori's hair would be just as soft for all eternity. He figured he'd be contradicting himself if he believed so. That thought, however, reminded him of what he had just told him.

'Yeah… You've waited long enough, right?… Hmm…'

Leaving the cosiness of red hair, his hand snaked through the nearly invisible space between their bodies, in front of his chest. Slow fingers formed a hand seal, and his eyelids closed at last, blinding him from the outside.

Strangely enough, though, he realized he could still see. Sasori was still holding his eyes captive, but there was some distance between them. He was somewhere ahead, watching him. The sun should be setting already by then, he guessed, as there seemed to be some reddish glow bothering his eyes. Or maybe it was just the colour of Sasori's hair fooling him again. He didn't give it much thought. On Sasori's lips rested the faintest hint of a smile, and Deidara wanted to give it a closer look. But his feet wouldn't move. Although with his eyes closed and yet able to see so much, he felt once again the hard rock under his knees, and he regained consciousness of his raised arm. His grin grew wide and he finally took flight.