SUMMARY: One afternoon in the Akatsuki hideout, Itachi is lost, Deidara is bored and Kisame has probably gone swimming. Itachi has something that he is trying to hide, and Deidara is acting strangely perceptive. Slight Itachi/Deidara.
SPOILERS!: chapter 380+ (i think?? *.*)
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Okay, so I realise Deidara's not theoretically supposed to be alive in the time frame this is set, but he demanded a part, so who am i to deny him? For some reason this all just fits perfectly together, so you'll have to excuse me and read with a little bit of suspended disbelief :)
Written in 3rd person, Itachi's POV.
Being an aspiring writer any feedback is hugely appreciated!
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Naruto, Masashi Kishimoto does, but I wish I did!
The Last Days
Itachi knew his time was drawing to an end. Or rather his plan – the one where Sasuke was to kill him, restore pride to the Uchiha clan and become a hero of Konoha, the Village Hidden in the Leaves. He could almost feel his time closing in around him, the distance darkening along with his eyesight.
Itachi groped at the wall for the third time that afternoon, searching. He decided he was either in the kitchen of the Akatsuki hideout, or in the bathroom. He couldn't tell; they both smelt the same. He wasn't completely blind, but he was close to it, and with the lights inconsiderately shut off, he was as good as helpless. Helplessness was never a thing he aspired to, and it was something he was not at all used to. Uchiha Itachi detested helplessness, because it jeopardised his plan.
So he fumbled with his fingertips, grazing the coarse wallpaper, feeling foolish. He could not afford for anyone to walk in on him. He thought that Kisame, being his partner, had caught on to the fact that Itachi was not as sharp as he was supposed to be – in fact he was currently very nearly pathetic – but Itachi had never told Kisame. And that meant the rest of the Akatsuki were not supposed to know at all.
His fingertips brushed the corner of what must have been a mirror – so perhaps he was in the bathroom? He held his right hand down, gradually ... yes, these are the taps ... Itachi kicked off his shoes and felt the soft, if slightly damp, rug embrace his skin. Right, he thought, so the door was to the left ...
Itachi breathed a sigh of relief when his palm came into contact with the cool, round door knob and he twisted it open. It was a little lighter out in the corridor, and he concentrated his bleary eyes on a rectangle of white among the mass of black. It must be the window. It was clear the sooner he got to his room and rested his eyes for a few hours, the better. After all, Pain had issued him and Kisame another small mission the next afternoon. Itachi needed to appear at least half alive by then.
It was lucky that Itachi knew the layout of the hideout like the back of his hand. He was not proud of it – besides, he still knew the streets of Konoha better, but that was all in the past now. The closest to 'home' the hideout could come was to do with his murderous reputation – everyone thought he had truly turned psychotic at the age of fifteen and murdered his entire clan, so it was in fear that they respected him. Except Madara, of course, who knew the truth. As long as another member wasn't plotting his death, hiding around the corner with a kunai in hand, ready to gouge his heart out or something morbidly crazy like that, then it was a reasonable 'home'.
Due to the light it was better in the corridor than the bathroom, he thought. He soon made his way to the stairs, and began to ascend them, careful to do so like an ordinary not-nearly-blind man, in case someone were to wander by and spot him. In a lazy gait, he reached his bedroom – the journey had gone off without a hitch. No one had seen him; Itachi would have been able to sense their presence, he was incredibly good at reading the slightest flicker of chakra in the air. It seemed everyone was on missions, or perhaps they were just wandering around outside, causing havoc in their own personal ways. Kisame had probably gone to the sea or something; given that it was his day off ...
Itachi opened the door. Immediately he was greeted with a cool burst of air. Apparently the window had been left open; he could make out the dark red curtains billowing in the breeze. The sun had sunk to just below the windowsill and lit he and Kisame's shared room with a pleasant light. He shut the door with a soft click. He was utterly and perfectly alone. The first thing he did was make for the bed. On realising that he needn't remove his already absent shoes, he rubbed the bare skin of his feet deep in the carpet, dragging himself towards the direction of his bed. For a moment he seriously considered jumping on the bed; for the sole reason that his sense of touch was not dull. He would sleep fully clothed – it was only for a few hours. Pain would probably hold another gathering when he returned, and Itachi needed to be alert.
He reached a hand up from the inside of his cloak, suddenly deciding that he would rather sleep without it. The first button undone with a pop, then the next, as he shuffled along. He wanted the breeze on his skin.
Was it him or was the room moving? The curtains billowed but there was something tall and yellowish bobbing to the right. He thought for a moment that it was a trick of the sharingan, perhaps this was the final stage of the blindness – perhaps he would be blind completely by the end of the day.
And then Itachi heard a crash. The tall, yellowish thing stopped. An intruder was in his room. If this was his room ... Itachi couldn't be sure, so he stood deliberating it for a moment, his eyes utterly unhelpful. He decided to give up on focusing them and stared blankly ahead, using instead his other senses. His ears immediately began to prickle, he heard the swishing of material that wasn't the curtains; he smelt a scent like ... peaches?!
'Kisame?' Itachi tried.
He heard someone curse under their breath. If it was Kisame, he would be alright, because Kisame almost knew the truth. But if it was anyone else ...
'You get lost often, un?' a voice asked.
If Itachi hadn't killed off his flow of human emotions long ago, he probably would have jumped out of his skin, or shouted out, or demanded to know why Deidara was sneaking around his room – he would have given a normal reaction. But this was the Akatsuki hideout. And the extent of Itachi's reaction was a tiny flinch that affected only the minute details of his posture. The hand undoing his buttons froze; his facial expression tightened, at the corner of his lip, the corner of his nose and the corner of his eyes. It was a good job he had bangs. Hopefully Deidara wasn't looking. Hopefully Itachi could whip out a kunai, and his fearsome reputation would be enough to make Deidara run from the room, shrieking. But unfortunately, by the sound of it, the blonde was doing no such thing. Itachi turned around a little, so that he was facing the open windows, to see a dull Deidara poking around at his possessions; rattling things, opening things, moving things around.
'No one's here, it's just us two,' Deidara explained unaffectedly. 'Pain's even finally out, he said something about a Jeraaya-Sensei or whatever ... not that I care, un,' he added in a bored voice.
Itachi still hadn't made a single movement. In the small recesses of his mind, it occurred to him that if he didn't move soon Deidara was going to get suspicious, and probably accuse him of being dumb as well as blind. So Itachi decided to make for his bed – he was going to lie down and close his eyes – that way he wouldn't have to pretend he could see, he could just talk to Deidara, threaten him and mock him as per usual, until he leaves.
Deidara had stopped poking around. Before Itachi could move Deidara spoke, whilst rattling something that sounded strangely like beads in a pot. Itachi wondered idiotically if Kisame had begun the hobby of collecting teeth.
'You were looking for your medication, weren't you?'
'Your medication, un. You were looking for it.'
'I don't require medication, are you sure it's not Hidan's or somebody's?' asked Itachi placidly. He had been living a double-lie his entire life, who was to say he couldn't shake someone as thick as Deidara off his tail? At least, that's what Itachi thought on the assumption that Deidara was actually thick, and not some kind of secret genius.
'It was on the table in the main entrance,' Deidara explained in his usual unaffected tone. 'I saw that basket-ball-faced partner of mine swipe it out of Kisame's pocket this morning. Then I stole it from him, un!' he remarked in a triumphant kind of way, before becoming entirely serious again, if not a little accusing. 'Either Kisame knows something about you that the rest of us don't, or he put your cloak on this morning, un. The one you've got is inside-out, by the way.'
Itachi could have sworn a blush had crept up into his cheeks, but he tried his best to ignore it. He was becoming extremely careless, if his cloak was on inside-out and Deidara of all people could understand what was going on, then he was seriously losing his touch.
'Go away, Deidara,' said Itachi expressionlessly.
'You know what, un?' the other asked, completely ignoring him.
Itachi said nothing.
'I don't really understand why you're taking medicine to help a disease that's incurable, un. No one can get their eyes back after they've ... you know, un ... broken. Pain's not gonna want to hear what's happening to his great Uchiha.'
Now it was time to sleep! Itachi thought madly. Deidara's suspicious! In one swift, un-ninja-like movement he turned on the spot and took a giant step towards the part of the room where his bed definitely was. But during the past minute or so his half-undone cloak must have fallen from his shoulders because it was now swamping his twisted feet. In fact his feet had become so twisted in the cloak that it was by no miracle that he promptly, and very ungracefully, fell over.
To Itachi's greatest dismay, he found himself on his bottom, his legs stuck, looking up into the domineering blur of a blonde-topped Akatsuki cloak. Deidara sunk lower until his pale face was level with Itachi's. Now that Deidara was closer, Itachi could have sworn that Deidara looked sympathetic. But then again who was he to analyse things by sight.
It was quiet.
'You know,' Deidara began. 'It wouldn't be all that bad if you weren't ...' he trailed off.
Itachi was suddenly curios – what on earth was Deidara going to say? – and it was possibly the strongest form of emotion he had felt for years other than his usual affinity of angst, though he would never admit it. He fought the urge to ask.
'... because if you were, of course, it would make no difference ...' Deidara sounded as though he was thinking.
All in all, Deidara thinking was a cause for concern. It usually signalled the influx of explosive clay; the solution to all the blonde's problems. If Itachi had been his usual self he would have immediately leapt up and left the room without a moment's hesitation.
'... I would still be able to do this ...' And with that all light in Itachi's sight disappeared at once, and then he saw a small glimmer of blue – was it Deidara's eye? – very, very close to his face. His breath caught in his throat and he dared not to move. Then Itachi felt something warm and soft press to his lips. He almost choked.
Deidara had just pushed a pill with the tip of his finger into the small parting of Itachi's mouth. A shiver ran the length of his spine.
'W-why are you doing this ... ?' asked Itachi, the pill unmoving at the front of his dry mouth.
He felt a cool smooth glass held against his hands, and gratefully took a sip of water to wash down the pill, waiting, but not really expecting an answer.
If I were what, Itachi wondered. Could Deidara really know the truth – about his loyalty? The fact that his little brother meant more to him than the Akatsuki ever would? No, Deidara was just being so vague, and Itachi was paranoid.
'Two pills, un.'
Deidara pressed another to Itachi's lips in the same manner, now possibly even closer. Itachi felt himself leaning back, sure that if he didn't Deidara would soon be on top of him. He took another sip of the water, suddenly conscious of the fact that he was being stared at whilst drinking. It was a downright invasion of privacy.
'I can take care of myself,' Itachi said, a hint of bitterness in his voice. He didn't mean to sound bitter, he was just defensive. And Deidara was untrustworthy.
Deidara then began to do something; he was shuffling around with the contents of a pale green blurb, perhaps it was a bag. Itachi couldn't make it out.
'Yeah, un. But you didn't shave properly yesterday,' drawled Deidara, to Itachi's inner horror. It sounded as if Deidara might burst out laughing. 'It was Tobi who pointed it out to me, and you know how short-sighted that idiot is. It must have been obvious. He wouldn't batter an eyelid if I dyed my hair luminous pink ...'
'What are you doing?' asked Itachi suddenly. Deidara had pulled something grey from the bag and was fiddling with it in his hand.
'Relax, un,' he said, switching some kind of switch and the object in his hand began to buzz. 'I'm only going to shave you a bit. Properly,' he added.
'You're not!' Itachi burst out before he could stop himself.
'Just shut up and hold still! I'm only doing this because everyone's out!'
Itachi shuffled backwards, but Deidara was having none of it and edged closer so that the distance between them never changed. Itachi shuffled backwards a little more, and still Deidara followed. Itachi then took a flying move backwards, crawling on his hands and feet in a pathetically ungainly manner, and could feel his cheeks flushing. Deidara was now positioned in a crawl also, but one on his front that appeared a lot more predator-like. Paired with the shaver it seemed that he was about to lock into deadly battle, his weapon raised.
To Itachi's dismay, a small moan escaped his lips. He had meant to say something like 'Go away!' or 'Get the hell out!', but Deidara knew his secret now. That meant there were endless possibilities to the blonde's seemingly dense brain.
'There, un,' said Deidara triumphantly. 'That wasn't so bad, was it?'
Itachi was now pressed against the wall by an uncomfortable part of his spine. He felt defenceless with his arms and legs sprawled in odd directions, his cloak around his ankles, and Deidara almost on top of him. Itachi could hear the other's breath now that the razor had stopped.
'Y-you've done it?' Itachi asked in a small voice.
'Yup,' Deidara popped the word on his lips. 'Just your chin, the underside of, un.'
At that Deidara made a sound that was incredibly close to laughter. It was a free, polite and almost fun sound, and if Itachi hadn't been so close as to feel the very tremors in his chest, he wouldn't have believed it.
'What is wrong with you, un,' Deidara said, quickly leaning away and replacing the razor in the bag. 'You're lucky it's me you're acting an idiot in front of.'
Itachi felt himself relax a little, only because he had regained what little personal space there was between them both. Deidara had stopped moving, but Itachi could tell that he was looking down. Deidara was right. Of course, if Itachi had been anything close to his normal demeanour he wouldn't have allowed the blonde to remain in his room no more than five seconds after discovering him. He would have had the upper hand by far, not the other way round.
'I won't tell,' Deidara said in a low tone.
Itachi blinked for a long moment, realising how sore his eyes were. This person sitting in front of him was so unlike Deidara, and Itachi could do nothing more than surrender to it.
'Is it … obvious?' he asked slowly.
'No, it's not obvious,' came Deidara's reply. 'If you really must know, you compose yourself well. No one here is really supposed to give a shit about anyone else's physical condition, hn. They all seem to think you'll hack their heads off if they so much as make unnecessary eye-contact with you. I, on the other hand, dislike your sharingan, it's an insult to my art, so I've noticed. But only just.'
Itachi then felt something brush at his legs; he felt it through his socks. His eyes flew open, and as if by some small degree of luck, he could see that bit clearer. Deidara was carefully uncoiling the cloak from around his feet. Itachi watched for a long time, as Deidara sat there, cross-legged, folding the material neatly in his lap. Itachi was amazed at how stupidly obvious it now was – the cloak was clearly not his own. Although his sight was neither perfectly clear nor bright, he could see a label poking from the collar, some form of thick black marker scrawled across the washing instructions. Only Kisame would use something as brash as a marker pen to identify his possessions.
'Kisame knows,' Itachi said, though it was more a speculation than a fact.
'Maybe … But maybe he takes a little care of you … just like I'm doing.'
Deidara: Hey, un! Hope you enjoyed the story! This author has worked very hard, she would like to know what you liked/didn't like about it, but is too modest to directly ask, un, so I'm helping her out.
Itachi: Me too. Comment. But you don't have to.
Deidara: Yeah, un, they do.
Itachi: It's a free world.
Deidara: Says Sir. Bound-By-Fate …
Itachi: What was that?
Deidara: I said—
Itachi: Give it a rest, bimbo.
Deidara: Weasel …