So. Um. This is pretty much my inagural Sasori/Deidara fic. I wrote it while I was half asleep and dead exhausted - though it was six p.m.; I really don't have an excuse.

Dedicated to Falling Tears of Death, who wrote the poem at the end. And thanks to metafora89 for convincing me to publish it. Ha...

Assessment

Sasori, half puppet and half human, can't really love. It's understandable, really, seeing as he can't really live, either. But some days Deidara can't seem to comprehend it. [DeiSaso, canonish]

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To love the softest hearts are prone,
But such can ne'er be all his own. -Lord Byron

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"Say it, Sasori-danna," Deidara demands, sounding very much like the petulant child he is. "Tell me you love me, un." He rests his chin on Sasori's knee in very much the manner of a supplicant, but his blue eye, when Sasori meets it with his own, is defiant. To Deidara, it's more like a challenge than anything.

"Why should I?" Sasori asks, not removing his fingers from Deidara's thick blonde hair. He continues undoing the topknot, discarding the scarlet band that holds the hair in place and letting it drop down somewhere to the floor. Deidara's hair falls down in a golden sheet, wavy and settling across his face, inelegantly obscuring his eyes.

He shakes it out of the way impatiently. "Just say it, un."

Amused at his persistence, Sasori gives a chuckle that sounds surprisingly rough and gravelly for such a young form. "You know I wouldn't mean it."

A shrug. "Does that matter?"

"Only if you convince yourself that I do."

Deidara doesn't answer, just looks up at him, mouth set in a half-smirk, blue eye taunting. He's proud, Sasori thinks, and not for the first time. Haughty and foolish, blinded by his arrogance. Not in the same way as Itachi, who is arrogant because he deserves to be, or Hidan, who is arrogant because his strange god allows him to be so. Deidara is arrogant in the manner of a child, looking up to laugh into the frightening world's face, clinging to his assumptions, his art, because they are all he has left to anchor him.

Abruptly, he reaches out and grabs Deidara by the chin, tilting his face upward, staring hard into that single eye. So young, he thinks. He was never that young, never that desperate. Deidara is held together by sheer defiance. "If I told you I loved you," he says, feeling the truth of his words as they leave his mouth, "you would break."

Instead of the vehement denial Sasori was expecting, Dediara shuts his eyes. "Your hands are cold, un."

Sasori can't feel anything. "Are they?" He doesn't care.

"They're always cold." With a shudder, Deidara twists his head out of Sasori's grip and rocks back on his heels, until he is seated cross-legged at Sasori's feet, his Akatsuki robe billowing untidiliy about his legs. He gazes at Sasori steadily, while Sasori, uncaring, stares at nothing in particular.

The silence is broken with Deidara's murmur. "Danna."

Sasori turns to look at him. Deidara has placed a hand on his knee, is leaning forward and moving upward even as Sasori watches, and feels nothing. The black and red fabric of the Akatsuki robe ripples under his touch, abstracted clouds moving across a background of night.

Soon Deidara's face is close to his own and Sasori is able to see the desperation in his eyes, and feel a twinge of surprise at the expression.

"Danna," the ninja says again, his lips nearly brushing Sasori's.

"What?" Sasori asks, and the question is flat and harsh, and he almost despises himself for ripping through the breathless tapestry Deidara has created. Almost.

"May I have... a moment of your time, un?" His request is a whisper.

Intrigued, Sasori leans a little closer and obediently forms his lips into a slack 'o' - just, he tells himself, to see where it will lead.

Deidara covers them with his own, clumsily, tenderly at first and then more roughly, grabbing the back of Sasori's neck and slamming their faces together. His lunge means he is practically in Sasori's lap and still falling, and the chair tilts backwards until Sasori is lying flat on the ground, Deidara sprawled out on top of him.

His robes are getting in the way, Sasori notices, amused. His head hit the packed floor rather hard but it doesn't hurt; of course, it doesn't feel like anything. And when Deidara kisses him again, he still can't feel, can't respond, and he imagines that his lips are cold, just like his hands.

Still, Deidara doesn't seem to mind. Child, he thinks, with leftover contempt, and does nothing to get up.

Finally, Deidara sits up, slightly flushed. His hair falls about his face, still loose, and its slightly messy appearance makes him look even younger. The look of defiant desperation is still in his right eye, the other one blank and metallic with that ridiculous eyepiece he wears. "That was like kissing a dead person, un."

Sasori, still lying on the ground, gives a sardonic smile. "You see?"

Deidara ignores him. "So now will you tell me, un?"

And oh, Sasori thinks, we're back to that again. "No," he says flatly. "I thought you realized. I don't love. Regardless of how many times you try to touch me." Tiring of whatever game Deidara thinks he's playing, he shoves the blonde away and sits up, pulling his legs back under him. The joints are a little stiff, making him wonder how much damage would have been inflicted if he had an actual body.

"Yeah, well, nothing's stopping you from saying it," Deidara replies rather huffily.

"I don't see why you're making such a fuss," Sasori tells him, propping himself up on his arms and wondering if leaving the room is worth it. When he sees Deidara moving closer once more, he decides to stay - purely for curiosity's sake, of course.

Deidara's bold blue eye is narrowed as he leans over Sasori again. "Does it matter?" he asks quietly. The puppet master seems to recall him asking a similar question earlier.

"No," Sasori says, and his reply is much the same as it was before. "Only if you convince yourself that it does."

Instead of giving a verbal reply, Deidara closes the distance between them for another kiss. This time, Sasori brings his arms up and rests his hands on the small of the blonde's back - his cold hands, maybe Deidara can feel them through his robe like little blocks of ice. He guesses, anyway. Maybe they've warmed with the ambient temperature, maybe not.

Deidara's only response to his clumsy gesture is to deepen the kiss. Intrigued, Sasori tries to feel, to imagine himself feeling, to respond appropriately.

Just to see, he tells himself as he reciprocates Deidara's eager advances. Just to see, that's all there ever is to it. That's all there ever will be.

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If I had a heart made of steel,
of wood and splinters,
it would be you -
The one who could coax
a clamorous rythm -
saying I love you.

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As usual, I don't own Naruto. Reviews, con crit, et cetera is adored. (Hint.)