AN: I will be disappearing for a week or two after this chapter as I'm going to stay at friends for a while. I will try and update soon though.

Now, I feel it's necessary to point out, that yes Jashinism is a real religion. Coming from ancient Japan(obviously) Now, I don't mean any disrespect to this religion but I am using it, and Jashin in my own way for this story.


Kakuzu was going through a huge amount of inner turmoil. He wanted nothing more than to throttle Hidan for information but every time his emerald eyes drifted over to his partner, Kakuzu re-evaluated his thoughts. Hidan was oddly silent and very much on edge. Kakuzu couldn't help but notice the changes in Hidan. Or maybe there were never changes and Hidan had been like this all along. Kakuzu couldn't recall whether his partner had always looked so sharp and defined, almost regal. Hidan turned his head to catch Kakuzu staring. Hidan's violet eyes darkened in annoyance before he looked away with nothing more than a bristle of irritation. Kakuzu still didn't know whether he could really believe Hidan had a part in this 'Cleansing' that apparently Pein was planning. It seemed outrageous that Jashin was real. Kakuzu always played Hidan's religion off to nothing more than a deluded phantom. The immorality was something he could never explain but it didn't stop him from trying. If there really was Kami that was all for Pein's plans then it seemed that nothing could stop it. Pein himself, was going to become a real Kami?

"Stop thinking about it. It would be best if you just forgot what happened." Hidan muttered from beside him.

"Does this make Pein the enemy?" Kakuzu asked.

"Not to me. To you, then I guess." Hidan said with a non caring shrug.

"Then we...I will kill him before it becomes an issue."

"That's not in the plans! Don't put me in a fucking position like this!" Hidan stopped walking in favor of screaming at his partner. "I would be forced to kill you."

"You can try." Kakuzu replied darkly.

"Kakuzu...You have no idea of the power I hold right now. And I'm nothing more than Jashin's pawn. I am not Pein's follower but Jashin will do everything to ensure Pein's plan in carried out." Hidan frowned, his white brows drawing together. "I'm not talking about this anymore. Don't fucking question me again."

"Don't tell me what to do you little piece of shit." Kakuzu snapped back.

"I mean it Kakuzu." Hidan ended the conversation, his mouth snapping shut.

The two males continued following the almost non-existent trail of Gaara through the mountain ranges in uncomfortable silence. Even though Gaara was an extremely skilled shinobi, they were still better. Following the traces of Gaara was difficult but every now and then, something showed up. A forgotten footprint, disturbed rocks and tiny slithers of sand. Neither Akatsuki nin had any idea where Gaara was going. All they knew is that if they kept following these mountain ranges they would end up at the ocean.

Hidan was in a foul mood. The mountains were cold and he had lost his cloak back at the fight. He shouldn't have used that jutsu and no doubt Pein would contact him about it. It would be a great shock to the man, as Pein had no idea Hidan even knew about the jutsu, let alone could activate it himself. Hidan wondered how everything had just got so complicated for him. He knew to some degree it was his own fault for slipping up so many times but Kakuzu brought out the worst in him. Yet, Hidan knew he would do everything Jashin asked for, to ensure Kakuzu was spared. To ensure Deidara was spared. Hidan doubted Deidara would ever forgive him, for saving his life but letting Sasori die along with the others. Hidan began to think it was selfishness on his behalf to spare the blonde artist. Maybe he should let Deidara die along with everyone else. It made him uncomfortable to know he had the power to chose whether someone lived or died.


Deidara felt his heart jump nervously. He felt he could be walking to his own death but it was now or never. With the Fourth Shinobi War declared, there may be no other chances to do this. Deidara hesitated outside a door, he knew without a doubt that the person occupying the room behind the door would know he was there. Before Deidara could even bring himself to knock, which he was unsure why he was even going to bother considering why he was there. The door opened. A crimson eye stared at him, the rest of the room was dark. Itachi didn't seem overly surprised to see Deidara there.

"I can only guess as to why you're here." Itachi said softly.

"It's now or never un." Deidara confirmed boldly. He tried not to dwell on Itachi's oddly weak voice.

"Very well." Itachi opened the door further and stepped out into the hall. "I will prove to you that my eyes are far superior to your art."

"Tch, don't under estimate me un." Deidara walked side by side with the Uchiha.

"Even if I over estimated you, you still wouldn't have a chance." Itachi replied, though his voice lacked real malice.

"You know, you've gone soft since your brat of a brother has been brought back into your life un." Deidara observed casually.

"Perhaps." Itachi agreed. Deidara scowled at Itachi. "Do not worry, Deidara. I will not go easy on you."

"The abandoned field outside Ame will be best un."

"Is Pein aware of this?" Itachi asked after nodding his head in conformation of the field.

"No un." Deidara shrugged nonchalantly.

"Yes." A cold voice said from behind the two young males. Deidara flinched and Itachi smirked. "I will not stop this match, but it will not be to the death."

"Yes, Leader Sama un." Deidara then spun around. "Wait, does that mean you're going to be watching?"

"He's not the only one, brat." Sasori said casually as he joined them in the hall. "We've all been waiting for this match since you joined the Akatsuki."

"Indeed. It is a shame that...not all our members are here to see it." Pein said quietly.

"Hey, Sasuke." Suigetsu said as the two teenagers rounded the corner. "I bet you that Deidara will grind your brother's ass into the ground."

"What are you willing to bet?" The young Uchiha asked with a smirk.

"Betting is not a good practice Sasuke." Itachi reprimanded with a slight frown.

"Bet high Suigetsu! I won't lose un!" Deidara was starting to feel extremely hyped up about the fight.

"Don't get too cocky brat." Sasori muttered.

"Enough, if you men were left to your own devices nothing would ever get done. Fights would never be fought." Konan appeared in front of them all in a swirl of paper. "Well, shall we?"

The males followed Konan diligently. Not willingly to risk their pride by starting a fight with her. Even Pein was slightly subdued. The civilians and shinobi alike watched the group of Akatsuki nin in interest as they walked to the gates of Ame and out to the abandoned field. Some of the braver shinobi followed them and before long a small crowd had gathered at the field. The spectators all spread out in a circle formation around the field but giving the two fighters plenty of space. Pein placed a barrier around Deidara and Itachi to keep any of Deidara's explosions from harming the crowd.

"The only rule is not to kill each other." Pein called out, the crowd fell silent as he spoke. "Begin."

Deidara and Itachi stood at a distance of roughly five metres apart. The blonde licked his lips eagerly and flipped his bang over. Itachi wouldn't have any qualms about trying to catch Deidara in a genjutsu straight away. The Uchiha would love nothing better than to completely embarrass Deidara by ending the match in mere minutes. Deidara wouldn't let that happen though. He could feel Itachi's genjutsu trying to pull him in but Deidara simply shrugged it away.

"I don't think so, Uchiha." Deidara shoved his hand into his clay pouch. The hand on his mouth greedily accepted the substance and began to chew it thoroughly.

"You can throw genjutsu off?" Itachi asked, surprise just evident in his voice.

"Sure you want to go through with this bet?" Suigetsu asked Sasuke loudly.

"I am unsure," Sasuke said with a smirk as Itachi threw him a dirty look.

Deidara used Itachi's slight distraction to form a Nendon Bunshin. Deidara hide himself in the damp earth and let his clone attack Itachi. The clone was melted down into clay with in seconds. Deidara didn't mind though, he was counting on it. Deidara reemerged from the earth. Itachi was standing in front of the clay. Deidara held his hand out and the mouth spat out eight small birds. Deidara enlarged them and sent them flying. Itachi neutralized two with a ration attack and let the remaining six blow up around him. A charred log laid on the ground where Itachi had once stood. Deidara ducked instinctively, narrowly avoiding Itachi's punch. The Uchiha spun his leg around and his foot connected with Deidara's side. The blonde grunted as he was thrown across the ground with the force. Deidara then exploded. Itachi was blown back a few meters before regaining composure and sliding to a halt. The explosion hadn't hurt him but it was slightly startling.

The ground rumbled quietly, it was the only warning Itachi got before a foot came flying out from the earth. Itachi jumped back to avoid that foot connecting with his chin. Deidara was fully out of the ground and he balanced on his hands for split seconds until Itachi kicked him straight in the stomach and sent him crashing into the ground. Itachi watched Deidara wearily, waiting to see if it was Jibaku Bunshin. Deidara was back on his feet almost instantly after hitting the ground. Itachi was almost impressed with the blonde's speed.

"Not bad, Itachi un." Deidara wanted to look around to find Sasori. He resisted the urge though, knowing Itachi would use that distraction against him.

"Tch, you're all talk Deidara. You should have just accepted I'm far superior to you. Now not only will you know it, so will everyone watching." Itachi goaded.

"I'll make you eat those fucking words." Deidara felt a surge of anger rush through him and he ran at Itachi head on.

Deidara thought back on the training he did with Migurashi Teme and Sasori. The tai jutsu lessons flowed through his memory. Deidara crouched down to avoid a high aimed kick then retaliated with his own high aimed kick. It connected with Itachi's chest and Deidara brought his leg up and over his head. Spinning his body around as he did so. Itachi was thrown spiraling through the air and Deidara was after him straight away. Itachi hit the ground and Deidara jumped high in the air, bringing his fist down. The air whistled past his ears. His speed had heightened even more since he used this jutsu against Migurashi Teme. Deidara wondered if he might actually kill Itachi by accident.

"Taka Tobikomo Bakudan!" Deidara slammed his fist into Itachi with alarming pressure and speed before bringing his legs down into Itachi's chest then jumping away. Deidara felt himself be winded by the force he hit Itachi's body with. Deidara risked looking back at the Uchiha, slightly worried that he may have killed the man. Itachi's body was laying still, blood ran out of the corner of his mouth. Deidara moved cautiously closer.

"Deidara, you never did learn." Itachi's head turned almost puppet like towards Deidara before he opened his mouth widely and crows spilled out in a grotesque fashion. Itachi's body disappeared leaving nothing but screaming crows. Itachi formed the hand seals for a katon jutsu and sucked in a large amount of air to strengthen the fire. He could feel it burning in the pit of his stomach and he released it at Deidara's back. The blonde jumped in the air and landed on a formed bird before the fire could hit him.

The air was full of sweltering heat from Itachi's fire ball and Deidara could feel sweat run down his back. He had only narrowly avoided the attack. Deidara berated himself for getting caught in Itachi's genjutsu so easily. Unless he was expecting it fully, waiting for it. Deidara had trouble throwing the genjutsu. Deidara would have to pay more attention. The bird hovered in the air about twenty metres from the ground as Deidara planned his next move. The hand on his mouth finished chewing and Deidara began to drop small spiders down on the ground. Exploding them whenever they neared Itachi. None of them succeeded in actually damaging the male but Deidara kept dropping the spiders. Deidara dropped his final lot of spiders.

Itachi had grown complacent and didn't bother moving as the clay pests fell out of the sky. He readied a weak ration attack to neutralize them. Itachi watched as they grew nearer, only two metres away now. Then suddenly, instead of been small spiders, no larger than a shuriken. They grew in size almost instantly. The spiders were now the size of a large cat. There were five large spiders now hurtling towards him. Itachi swore and strengthened the ration attack. The spiders exploded and Itachi felt his ears ring. The ration jutsu had mostly protected him but he could feel his skin blistering from the explosion. Itachi scowled darkly at letting Deidara fool him so easily. The blonde menace was now streaming through the sky rapidly. Heading straight for Itachi.

Deidara cackled with glee as Itachi fell for his attack. He wouldn't give Itachi even a second to gather himself though. Deidara jumped off his bird at the last minute and landed back on the ground. Itachi moved out of the way, expecting the bird to explode. Deidara let it hit the ground and melt back into clay. Deidara smirked. Itachi had moved to stand back where the clay from Deidara's bunshin was. The blonde sent chakra strings to the clay and pulled it up off the ground. The clay threw itself as Itachi's back with Deidara's direction. The white substance wrapped itself around Itachi's upper body. It was constricting him and started expanding, moving to cover his whole body. Deidara left Itachi's face free.

"Surrender un?" Deidara asked cockily. He looked into the crowd, passing unknown faces before finding Sasori's. The red head shook his head with what Deidara recognised as disapproving. Deidara swore and forced himself out of the genjutsu. It was his own body covered in the clay. The memory of Itachi defeating him this way over four years flooded back to him. Deidara felt himself fill with rage. Itachi stood in front of him, a kunai poised at Deidara's throat.

"I could say the same to you. Doesn't this feel familiar, Deidara?" Itachi asked condescendingly.

"You can fool me once," Deidara said quietly, his blue eye shining behind a mess of blonde hair. "But the hell I will let you fool me twice!" Deidara screamed out in Itachi's face. "Katsu!"

Itachi was blown back by the explosion, he brought his arms up to shield his face. The Uchiha hit the ground without any sort of grace. He was grateful for the cloak as it protected his skin from the raw heat. Itachi could still feel more blisters forming, the smell of burning skin filled his senses and Itachi coughed violently. The explosion had completely winded him. Itachi sat up and felt his ribs groan in protest. A cold blade was pressed again his throat from behind.

"I hate you. Today, you will feel the humiliation you put me through. Today, my art will be superior un." Deidara told Itachi, his voice quiet so only the two of them could hear.

"It's not over, Deidara." Itachi disappeared in a cloud of smoke. He had used a Kage Bunshin as he was blown through the air.

Deidara felt a hand wrap around his ankle and try to drag him into the ground. Deidara began to wonder if he could actually win this fight. Everything he threw at Itachi didn't seem to be enough. Deidara was heavily weighing up the options of using the jutsu he had made for the demise of Itachi. If he used it, most likely it would kill the Uchiha but then again, if he didn't fight to kill he might not win. By fighting to kill, Deidara could hope that he knocked the man out. The only risk was that he accidentally killed Itachi, but he was sure Pein would stop that happening. If not, well it wasn't his loss, Deidara thought callously. He switched his body with the pile of clay from his bird and exploded it. A small crater was blown into the ground and Itachi was forced to bring up a wall of earth to protect himself.

Deidara scoffed. "Iwa Yado Kuzushi!" The rocks from the earth Itachi was using as protection dislodged and then the whole barrier collapsed. Itachi avoided the miniature avalanche as Deidara knew he would. It was more done out of spite than anything. Deidara then bought a handful of clay up to his mouth and ingested it. Deidara expelled the clay out of his mouth and it began to rapidly form into another Deidara. The blonde was sorely tempted to use the full force of the attack but he was unsure of how powerful Pein's barrier was. It was extremely reckless using it but he no longer cared. Deidara created another bird and flew into the sky to avoid the danger zone. Itachi eyed the fake Deidara with apprehension. "Katsu!" Deidara called out from the sky.

The clone of Deidara exploded. Then, nothing. Nothing happened at all. The spectators looked mostly confused. Except for Sasori who frowned with disapproval. Deidara watched from the sky to see how Itachi would deal with this attack, designed specifically to kill the Uchiha. Deidara activated the second part of the jutsu. A bird that had flown lower fell out of the sky as the microscopic bombs exploded and disintegrated it's cells. Deidara glanced at the crowd. No one had dropped dead so at least Pein's barrier was substantial. Deidara looked back at Itachi with intent concentration. Deidara's eye widened. Itachi just used Chidori against himself. It was a smart move, Deidara guessed. It probably saved his life because no doubt it neutralized the bombs. However, Itachi would have severely injured himself. Deidara flew back down to the ground.

"I created the jutsu just for you. I call it C4 Karura un." Deidara said smugly to a hunched over Itachi. "How'd you figure out what it did un?"

"I have the Sharingan. Which can see chakra attacks. Are you really that much of an idiot Deidara?" Itachi replied, his voice slightly wheezy.

"Whatever, you're still the one on the verge of collapsing. Not me un." Deidara stretched leisurely to prove his point.

"Amaterasu." Itachi looked up sharply, his Sharingan taking the form of the Mangekyou. A flame, blacker than midnight burst out from Itachi's right eye and attacked Deidara. It burnt the younger male to ash with in seconds.

"What a rash move. Honestly Itachi un." Deidara tsked and kicked Itachi into the ground. "Are you just damaging your own body for fun now un?"

Itachi let Deidara pull him up off the ground by the neck of his cloak. The blonde stared down into Itachi's face with hatred. Itachi smirked. Deidara dropped Itachi and fell backwards onto the ground. Deidara was pulled into Itachi's deadliest genjutsu, Tsukuyomi. Deidara tried to fight the genjutsu off but it was no use. Itachi had caught him with it with his still good eye. Deidara was fully emerged in the genjutsu now.

"How reckless of you Deidara. Forgetting to keep your eye covered. You got too far ahead of yourself. And now," Itachi stepped towards Deidara, pulling out a katana as he did so. "Well you know what happens now only too well."

Deidara screamed out in pain as Itachi administered constant stabs into his body. Deidara felt himself fall out of the genjutsu sooner than what he had previously experience. There was still just over fifteen hours left of the torturous jutsu. The blonde was breathing heavily. Itachi had sunk onto the ground in front of him. Despite the pain and weariness Deidara felt, he smirked.

"Guess i...it was just...too mu...much for you un." Deidara coughed heavily. He was hunched over, his arms supporting most of his weight.

"You're no better off than I am now." Itachi muttered coolly but Deidara didn't miss the slight catch in his voice.

"Want to...bet un?" Deidara then used the remaining of his energy to pull himself up on his knees and punch Itachi in the face. Itachi flew back a few metres and collapsed. "I...won un." Deidara attempted to stand up but before he even got half way, his body gave out. Deidara waited for the ground but instead his landing was softened. Sasori looked down at him with his brown eyes.

"You did well, Deidara." Sasori said softly. "You can rest now." Sasori's last words seemed unnecessary as Deidara had passed out before Sasori could say them.

Deidara could feel himself sink in and out of consciousness. The effects of Tsukuyomi were lingering. His sleep was plagued with nightmares of torture and endless darkness. Deidara couldn't tell whether been put under Tsukoyomi multiple times lessened it or heightened the genjutsu. Small things registered in mind such as people been in the room, soft talking. Deidara couldn't make out what they were saying, it filled his ears with a slight buzzing noise. The darkness took him once again, before he could figure out who was talking. It didn't really matter to him because by the time he came back into consciousness again, the people from before were forgotten, wiped from his memory. Deidara was aware that he was coming around fully when the pain began to register. Every single place that Itachi stabbed in with a katana in the Tsukoyomi ached. Alternating between ice and fire pushing deep into him. Deidara willed himself to pass out again to avoid the pain. The darkness claimed him once again.

Warmth was something that came to Deidara's mind as his eye began to flicker. He was still asleep, but now he merely only asleep. The darkness had slunk away, back into the shadowy recess of Deidara's mind. Deidara pushed himself further into the warmth. It reminded him of the days he spent in River Country, laying around on the hill tops in lush green grass. The summer weather there had always pleased him greatly. However, the smell was different. Instead of fresh grass, blooming flowers and the smell of the sun warming the earth. The smell was musky, like been in the middle of deep forest. Deidara inhaled deeply, the smell was familiar and comforting. He felt, more than heard the vibrations of a small laugh. Deidara opened his eye slowly.

"About time you woke up." Sasori said, "I was growing tired of waiting."

"You're always so impatient Danna un." Deidara whispered back, his throat feeling hoarse. Sasori handed him a glass of cool water which Deidara drank gratefully. "How long was I out for un?" Deidara asked in a more crisp voice.

"Five days. The third day was the worst. You only stopped squirming and moaning in pain when I la..." Sasori almost blushed and feel silent.

"Thank you." Deidara replied softly. He assumed that Sasori wanted to say that Deidara was comforted when Sasori laid with him. Deidara didn't mind that Sasori couldn't say it. He was just happy that the red head took the initiative to try and calm him.

"Itachi is still out." Sasori said with slight amusement.

"Ha! I'm going to go draw on his face un!" Deidara sat up quickly and the whole room spun on him. Sasori seemed to triple and Deidara collapsed back onto Sasori's chest. "Maybe later un."

"Are you happy now?" Sasori asked, his arm coming up to wrap around Deidara's waist. "Will you be able to end this childish rivalry now?"

"It will never end un." Deidara said through a yawn. "Not until one of us is dead un." Deidara mumbled out the last sentence and fell back asleep.

"Tch. Stupid brat." Sasori said fondly.


Hidan and Kakuzu continued through the mountain ranges. Entering the range Tentou Makai. Hidan's cursing and mumbling had increased as the mountains were becoming almost impossible to pass. The peaks disappeared into the clouds and there were shafts that dropped into endless caves everywhere. Hidan's lack of attention had almost caused him to fall down a few shafts already. The only thing that stopped him was Kakuzu's large hand grabbing him and pulling him back to safety. Hidan was still on edge, Pein still hadn't contacted him but he knew it had to be coming. This mission was seeming endless. Impossible. The former Kazekage was at least a week ahead of them now and unless he doubled back it was doubtful they would catch him.

"Maybe we should set a trap." Hidan suggested.

"A trap, because that would work so well as Gaara is ahead of us." Kakuzu said with annoyance.

"No, idiot. For when he returns. I mean if he keeps going he will end up in the fucking sea." Hidan sat down on a large boulder, pulling his legs up underneath him. Signaling he wouldn't be moving for a while. Kakuzu sighed and sat down next to Hidan. "Gaara will have to come back this way eventually. So we make it look like we've given up, head back towards Kigakure and lay a trap somewhere along the way."

"Hidan, I didn't think you were capable of using your brain."

"Fuck up Kakuzu." Hidan shot out in irritation.

"I didn't say anything you fucking psychopath." Kakuzu looked at Hidan with confusion.

"I guess I was wrong." Pein chuckled.

"Fuck you asshole. You're not a Kami yet." Hidan replied, not speaking out loud.

"How did you use the jutsu?"

"Jashin knows everything. You're just lucky he wants you to succeed."

"Have you opened your loud mouth and told Kakuzu?"

"No. I'm forbidden from doing so. Jashin told me how to use the jutsu."

"Why didn't it kill you or Kakuzu?"

"Jashin protected us."

"I see. Have you caught up to Gaara yet?"

"Once, but it was trap. That's why I used that jutsu. He's somewhere in Tentou Makai. It's like trying to find a fucking needle in a haystack."

"I want him dead! If he's in Tentou Makai, he's too close to... Just find him!"

"Getting nervous that he's going to find your daughter Pein?"

"You...How the fuck do you know about her?"

"I told you already. Jashin knows everything. Fuck, doesn't anyone ever listen to what I say?"

"Then protect her. If she dies. I will punish you. I won't use that jutsu. I'm sure that will greatly displease your Kami."

"Che, you will use that jutsu no matter what. But don't fucking worry. I will make sure the brat isn't harmed."

"..idan...Hidan!" Kakuzu stabbed his fingers into Hidan's naked chest. "You know what? I'm just going to leave you here to fucking rot. I'm sick of your shit."

"The fuck 'Kuzu?" Hidan snapped open his eyes in confusion.

"We should head back, set up a trap. I'm not going to head further into the mountains and listen to your constant bitching about how cold is." Kakuzu muttered.

"Is that your way of saying I'm right?" Hidan asked with amusement.

"No."

"It is too, just say it! I'm fucking right bitch!"

Kakuzu grabbed Hidan's head and held it still before pushing his mask down around his neck. Hidan gave a smirk of pure arrogance and pushed his lips against Kakuzu's eagerly.

Pein opened his eyes. The connection between himself and Hidan had been severed. He didn't waste the energy in contacting Hidan again. There was nothing left he wanted to stay to the Jashinisht. Pein the smirked, he had a Kami on his side. Pein was well aware of Jashin's existence but he never paid real attention to the destructive Kami. For one of the first times, Pein was grateful for Hidan's place in the Akatsuki. The zealous man was the messenger of Jashin of who Pein had a newfound interest. It would be greatly beneficial to him. If Pein was to succeed in his plan, he would need everything to be perfect. Nothing could go wrong or the plan would crumble in his hands. It could be the death of him if things went wrong. Pein was interrupted in his thoughts as a shadow, blacker than the surroundings of his room appeared.

"What is it, Sai?" Pein asked, cold annoyance in his voice.

"The Alliance are preparing a full scale attack on Ame. They will attack in three separate groups. A hundred shinobi in each." Sai informed, not been affecting by Pein's annoyance. "They will attack from the East West, South West and North East in a weeks time."

"Three hundred shinobi? They think they can take on Akatsuki and Ame with that amount? We will crush them!" Pein scoffed at the Alliance's naivety. "Assemble in my office. Now." Pein called out astrally to various shinobi. "Sai, stay here."

"Yes, Pein Sama." Sai then gave a fake smile. His eyes remaining emotionless and dead. "You're rather cocky about this aren't you? The Alliance have at least a thousand shinobi and yet they only plan to send a fraction to take Ame? Either Ame is weaker than you give it credit for, or, it could be a trap."

"Even if it is a trap. I have the power of a Kami on my side. Nothing will stop me now." Pein glanced at the door, only mere seconds later a knock came. "Enter."

It took no longer than fifteen minutes for all the shinobi he called for to assemble. None of them would dare keep Pein waiting. Itachi, surprisingly took the longest despite the fact he was in the building. Though it could have something to do with his disheveled appearance. Deidara kept sending smug glances over at the older Uchiha.

"The time for the first true battle is upon us." Pein said, silencing the shinobi. They turned their full attention onto him. "I will be sending six squadrons to halt the Alliance's planned attack. From informations received, they are sending three one hundred armies to attack Ame. They will be coming in from three separate locations. I want three squads to meet them head on and the second lot formulate the best method of attacking them unawares after the first squad engages contact."

"How many are you sending?" Sasori asked.

"All the current available members of Akatsuki and five hundred and forty Ame nin. I wanted them flattened, wiped out within the day of engaging battle. The Alliance will know they have no chance against us." Pein looked around the room, his ringed eyes gazing into the eyes of the shinobi. "Konan, Sasori, Itachi, Deidara, Sasuke and Suigetsu. You six will be the captains. Deidara and Sasori will take the army coming from the East West. Sasuke, Suigetsu you will take the South West and Konan, Itachi take the North East."

"If you don't mind me asking, Pein Sama. Why have you called us here too?" Hatsuharu asked, cautiously. Along with the members of Akatsuki, five Jounin were also called in.

"You five have been chosen for second in command. Sai, you will be second in command for Itachi. I have already chosen the shinobi who will be on your squads. It's now up to you to get them organised and marching. You will leave in four days. Captains, take these scrolls. It has your second in command and the chosen hundred shinobi." Pein handed the scrolls to his captains. "Dismissed."

Konan stayed, longer than the other Shinobi. "Nagato, this is a reckless move. You're sending nearly all of Ame's force. The only ninja left in the village will be Gennin and those from other villages yet to be approved as Ame nin."

"Don't question me. I can not fail now." Pein snapped, he watched Konan leave the room. The amber eyed female shot him a cold glare before slamming the door.

The twelve shinobi headed to a large room which was used to strategize battles. Simple maps and detailed maps lined the walls of the room and a large rectangle table sat in the middle of the room. The shinobi wearing Akatsuki cloaks took the seats on the right side of the table. The other shinobi remained standing. Sai sat opposite to Itachi to make things easier for them. The captains opened their scrolls and read out the names of their second in command. The shinobi took the seats opposite their captains.

"Hatsuharu un." Deidara smiled lightly. Happy to have the Jounin working under him.

"Katsuro." Sasori said flatly. A Jounin male with dark brown hair and well tanned skin took a seat in front of him. Sasori then scowled. This Jounin was previously from Suna. Abandoning it for Ame.

"Akane." Sasuke eyed a young kunoichi apprehensively as she took her seat. The kunoichi seemed to be focusing towards Deidara and Sasori.

"Hey, it's you un!" Deidara pointed a finger in recognition. "You've joined Ame un?"

"Obviously she has you brat." Sasori said dryly.

"I became a missing nin for awhile. Kiri tried to hunt me down after they realised my part in the explosion of the Mizukage's tower. I heard that Ame were taking in any missing nin so here I am. It's nice to see you two haven't killed each other." She smiled warmly.

"Eh? Akane? Do you remember me?" Suigetsu asked, slightly surprised.

"Enough! We aren't here to catch up. Do that in your own time." Konan snapped out loudly. Everyone fell silent. "And, Hiro." A nervous looking male with short blonde hair took a seat in front of Konan.

"I guess you're mine then." Suigetsu laughed darkly as the lone standing kunoichi came to sit in front of him. "Akiko, is it?" She nodded in confirmation, her head bowed slightly.

Deidara, Sasori, Hatsuharu and Katsuro chose to move further down the table away from the other groups to discuss their plan. It seemed Pein had given them the best possible landscape for their respective strengths. As they would be fighting in the Wind Country. The wide open spaces gave Deidara the best chance to use his bombs without trees obscuring his view. It was also easier for both himself and Sasori to work with sand and rock as they used doton. Though, Sasori rarely ever used it. Preferring his puppets. It would also be a bonus for him because he could control more puppets over a longer distance in open areas. Their main problem would be hiding the second squad.

"I should lead the first squad un." Deidara said, quickly nominating himself. "I tend to be a bit...well over excessive with my attacks and stealth isn't my thing. Also, you grew up in the desert Sasori Danna so you could prepare the second attack easier un."

"I agree with that." Sasori was always surprised when Deidara used his logic.

"I think Pein was assuming that also. He's given me the shinobi that use out right attacking jutsu un."

"It seems I have a fair few genjutsu users and shinobi that excel with trapping." Sasori nodded his head, once again agreeing with Deidara.

The discussions went on for hours, long into the night before the shinobi finally bid each other farewell and headed either home, or simply to other rooms in the building. Both Sasori and Deidara returned to their room, walking in silence. The air was still warm despite the late hour but the humidity had lowered somewhat. Deidara yawned and fell into bed gratefully. Earlier in the day, much to Sasori's annoyance. Deidara had pushed their beds together. In effect, creating a double bed. Sasori disliked the fact he would now be stuck sharing a bed with the blonde constantly but he didn't care so much that he bothered pushing the beds apart again.

The light was switched off and the two males lay in bed silently. Deidara began to squirm and Sasori resisted a sigh. Slowly but surely Deidara continued wiggling until he migrated across the bed and into Sasori's side. Deidara had his head to the side, staring at Sasori.

"What?" Sasori asked with irritation at the blonde staring at him.

Rather than replying, Deidara rolled himself on top of Sasori. Leaning down to kiss Sasori deeply. Sasori complied but quickly flipped Deidara over, refusing to have the blonde try and dominate him. Sasori swiftly took control of the situation and had Deidara panting with need and pleasure within minutes. Sasori smirked at the hold he had over Deidara. The blue eye of Deidara was looking up at Sasori with passion and pure want.

"Please...Sasori Danna un." Deidara begged, his breath catching as Sasori shifted his knee lightly.

"Impatience will get you no where." Sasori tsked.

"Coming from you un?" Deidara then gasped.

The two artists spend the night, wrapped around each other. Consummating their relationship. Deidara had never felt so alive. The feeling of Sasori, on him, in him. It sent his nerves on fire and made him shake with ecstasy. Sasori was less affected, he seemed more smug about it than anything. Deidara didn't care, he rested his head, his messy blonde hair falling in all directions onto Sasori's chest.

"I love you un." Deidara whispered out quietly, almost so quiet that Sasori didn't hear it.

"Goodnight, Deidara." Sasori replied. Deidara fell asleep quickly, his very soft snores reaching Sasori's ears. "I love you too brat." He said softly, once he was postive Deidara was asleep.