In honor of summer, I have decided to write my friends a bunch of one-shots. This one is dedicated to Takara-chan, whom of which is the main character of this story.

I don't own Naruto.

Enjoy.


Two young children sat at a swing set, a boy and a girl. They were young, just barely into their teenage years. The boy had long blond hair, of which the girl was putting into a pony tail on the top of his head. She only pulled up half, leaving the other half of his hair to cover one of his two blue eyes. He looked up at her, taking in the sight of the moonlight kissing her pale skin. Her dark hair seemed to bring out the glow of her skin.

"I'm going to be leaving the village soon, Takara, yeah."

"A lot of the boys in the village are." She whispered softly.

The blond haired boy shook his head, disagreeing with the girl at his side. His reasons for leaving were different than their reasons. She of all people could understand he never did anything for the same reasons as others did. However, to Takara he was merely a boy, a wanderer who had been taken in by the Sound. She didn't know his reasons for being in there held a darker purpose involving Orochimaru, her beloved leader. He had felt bad for deceiving her but it was a mission he had to do, else he'd be in serious trouble with his leader.

"So you're going to leave and become a famous artist?" Takara asked, "And an even greater ninja, right?"

"That's the plan, yeah."

The boy crossed his arms across his chest, staring at the stars above them. He sighed. He merely had one last night before he was forced to face reality once more. Takara was a great companion. She had really helped him feel like a normal person. She didn't care what others thought of him. She liked him for him, or at least who he was pretending to be. And that made him slightly afraid to tell her the truth about everything.

"So, if you get really famous and I'm ever in a bind… You'll come save me, all right?" Takara asked.

The boy looked at her, confused. She just sat on her swing, pushing herself back and forth. She wasn't smiling or laughing. She was completely serious. She actually wanted him to promise to protect her. He nearly sneered at the thought of being asked to save her. She was a strong kunoichi. She had proven it in their spars together. She never held back, even on a friend. Besides, he wasn't the hero type.

"What?" He asked, taken back.

Takara's face stayed neutral and she still hadn't looked at him yet. She watched the stars above them, as if she were holding the conversation with them and not him. He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. For a moment everything fell silent around them. All that could be heard was the soft squeak of the swing as Takara forced it to move. She looked so much younger, like a little child.

"If I'm ever in trouble, my hero will come and rescue me… I want to experience that, at least once…" Takara said softly.

It still made no sense to the boy. He figured it was just some girl thing. They liked the idea of being a damsel in distress. When the kids of the village asked Takara to play, she always took the role of the knight, not the princess in need of rescuing so the boy had no idea why she was asking such a thing. But he sighed. Even though the two of them were sixteen they still acted like kids.

"Come on! Promise me, Deidara!"

"All right, I promise, un."

He left the village that night. His partner Sasori had gotten the information they needed from Orochimaru's dungeons. He didn't get to see Takara again, not for a very long time. He regretted not telling her that he had a crush on her. But it wouldn't have turned out well for either of them anyways. Takara was loyal to Orochimaru. He was loyal to an organization that really didn't like Orochimaru and wouldn't really care about who got in their way so long as they got to hurt the snake sannin.

He missed her despite their differences in loyalties and had kept tabs on her over the years, just to make sure she was doing okay. Sasori called it an obsession and Deidara merely said he wanted to be a hero, if just once. When Sasori heard this he rolled his eyes and went back to his puppets, mumbling something about stupid blond idiots and repugnant explosions that weren't art. Deidara was more than delighted the day Pein gave the orders to make her a subordinate.


A tall blonde man stood across a clearing from a woman. His hair was long. Half of it was pulled up in a pony tail while the other half covered a portion of his face. His pony tail bobbed every time he moved. Though the woman he was fighting couldn't see his face or his hair for he was wearing a straw hat that shielded his head from view. His body was covered by a large black cloak with red clouds on it. He grinned at the woman across from him, as if mocking her. He threw a clay bomb at her, only to find she dodged before it exploded.

She was tall, though not as tall as he was. Her long brown hair was matted with sweat and something much like blood, though it wasn't her own. She wore a brown cloak and a green sleeveless kimono top. Underneath her cloak were about five or six different types of weapons. The two in her hands were hand scythes. She shook her head, glaring at him with intense chocolate colored eyes.

"Babe, you really should be on our side, un." He told her.

She gave a smile, shaking her head. She threw both of the scythes at his head. He dodged out of the way with a simple side step of the blades. They became embedded in the wood of a tree. Her smile was gone in an instant. She dove to the side, hoping perhaps to get away but the blond lunged at her, throwing her against a tree. She heard the bark snap around the impact and she tried to pull herself away but the man shoved her back.

"Maybe, but I like what side I'm on." She replied, "Less crowded, you see…"

He shrugged ever so slightly, taking her hand and pulling her to her feet. She narrowed her eyes, scrutinizing him, not knowing what happened to bring about the sudden change in character. She stepped back, just in case he attacked once more. He had attacked her out of the blue, demanding that she be a subordinate for the Akatsuki, an organization of which cost her best friend her life.

"For someone who hates their village, I'm surprised you aren't eager to join, yeah."

She scowled, her face taking a neutral appearance as her eyes changed. They no longer held their normal good humor. There was an iciness that the man could feel radiating off of her. She may have hated the Sound but she still didn't see a need to go and seek revenge. Revenge only led to more revenge. It was like playing with fire, something she had learned not to do the hard way.

"I will choose the side I'm on, it won't be determined by anyone…"

Suddenly the woman stiffened. She sniffed the air before turning around. Her eyes widened when she saw a man standing behind her. He smelled of wood and wood varnish. She cursed under her breath. The blond haired man watched this, amused by her reaction to his teammate. She knew she was out numbered and quite possibly outmatched yet she was going to fight on as if she were on equal footing with them.

The blond haired man's partner was hunched over. His face was covered by a strip of cloth and his hat. He took wore the black and red clouded cloak that symbolized everything that Takara loathed. She wanted to do nothing more than to slaughter them right then and there but she knew better. Rushing in was what cost one of her friends his life. She learned from his mistake, even if he didn't get the chance to.

"She doesn't look too cheerful, hmm?" the blond asked his partner,

"Of course not," Sasori said unemotionally, "You have done nothing but piss her off with your 'art.' Naturally, she isn't going to be very even-tempered. So don't get her all riled up, understand? That would be critically hazardous right now."

"I'm still here, you know," She reminded them.

Both men turned to look at her. Takara almost regretted bringing their attention back to her. She glanced between the two of them. They had to have had some sort of weakness. All shinobi do. Finding it during a battle is like an art form, a dangerous albeit useful tactic, for one must be careful or they would reveal their weakness to the enemy, making it easier for them to kill the questioner.

"Why don't we just all bow, leave and pretend like this never happened?" Takara suggested.

Both men sent her an incredulously look. She shrugged. She tried and that's what counted. She took a step back only to have the men take a step towards her. She feinted for the left only to have the blond mirror her movements. The woman frowned, glaring at the man darkly. She was in a little more trouble than she thought she was.

"Sorry, we've got strict orders to not let that happen, yeah." The blond said.

"Our Leader wants you, either alive and as our subordinate or dead." The other man said.

"Too bad… I'm rather attached to life." She mused.

Without a second thought she blurred into motion, much too fast for their eyes to see. She grabbed the blonde's arm with her one hand, braced his midsection with the other and threw his into the dead center of a tree. His back exploded into an inferno of pain. The woman didn't need to wait for her to get up as the ninja recovered almost instantly. He staggered to his feet, glaring daggers at her.

"You'll have to do better then that," He hissed between clenched teeth.

The woman was stunned. Most shinobi would have been incapacitated by a hit like that, especially in such a sensitive area, like the back. She narrowed her eyes, critically analyzing the man before her, trying to determine if the attack had any affect at all. The man was more tolerant to paint than she thought. She knew she would have to take it up a notch if she was going to take him down and get away.

She steeled herself when she saw him running towards her. She raised her arms up. To defend herself as a flurry of kicks were sent towards her. She managed to block a few good blows before the cloaked blond hit her with a round kick, sending her stumbling back a few feet. She hissed in pain before glaring at the man. With a light grunt she sent the ninja flying back with a kick to the gut. It gave her enough time to find her footing and resume her stance.

The man growled and ran in a semi circle to the support beam, running up it to launch himself towards the woman once again. She side stepped the attack grabbed the man's cloak and one of his legs in mid air. She spun around once to gain momentum before tossing him into the branches of a tree high above their heads. Unfortunately the woman had forgotten all about the blonde's partner.

She turned, just in time to see a flash of silver. She had managed to jump back just in time, before it became anything worse than that. However, smoke began to pour out of the tip of the blade. The woman inhaled automatically, trying to get a breath in before the poison reached her but she inhaled too late. He had poisoned her. As she jumped back she could almost feel the smug smirk he was giving her.

"Fu-crap…" She hissed through clenched teeth.

She hissed as she remembered her vow to her fallen friend. To no longer cuss as much as she did. It was harder than she thought it would be. She had been so far successful and she was pretty sure that if her friend were still around she would be very proud of her accomplishments. It wasn't much but Aiko would have been very, very proud of her.

The woman winced staring at the man, trying to find some opening to take and take him out of the game. She found none. He seemed almost untouchable. He stared at her, his blade coming up from behind him, making him look like a deadly scorpion. She swallowed hard, reaching into her cloak and drawing Aiko's old blade. She saw yet another flash of silver.

She felt her breath slip from her lungs and she dove forward to avoid the deadly blade that sought so eagerly to cleave open her flesh once more. She had to hand it to the men. They were indeed determined. She was far too weak from his poison to fight him. But she no longer had the option of running. Aiko's blade, always so comfortable in her grip felt heavy and her movements sluggish.

Her arm didn't seem to want to move as fast and she needed it to, and her feet seemed more clumsy then normal. She bit her tongue to keep from swearing every curse she was thinking about the man. All she could hear was her heart, throbbing in her ear, and all she could feel was the pain jolting up from stomach, and the warmth that spilled down from it. She shook her head as her vision lost its clarity.

She knew she was going to have to react on pure instinct to keep herself alive. She knew that it would be over soon. Her heart thrummed loudly in her chest, pounding so hard she was amazed he couldn't hear it. She swallowed and backed up, away from the hunched man. 'So this is how I die…' She thought bitterly. 'There's no way I can get away now! Sorry Aiko… I tried. I did.'

"Can't you do better then that?" The man taunted with a sneer.

He watched as her chest heaved from the effort to keep moving, keep breathing. A snarl escaped the pale lips of the brunette and she lashed out at the man who knocked her sword aside as if it were nothing. She fell to the ground, landing with her face in front of Aiko's blade. Slowly she looked up to find the man's blade in her face as well. Poison dripped from it.

"Give up." The man ordered, "Or you can die."

"Boy, oh, boy…" She sighed, "The price of freedom sure is high."

Suddenly the blond burst from the trees. The woman took advantage of the hunched man's distraction and plucked her blade off the ground and scrambling to her feet. She held the blade in front of her, seeing Aiko's smiling face in the reflection of the blade. She glared at the men, hatefully. Slowly she closed her eyes, recalling Aiko's words when she gave her the blade.

"Never let anyone crush your dreams." She whispered, "And no matter what, protect your honor as a kunoichi!"

She began running towards the two of them, raising the blade high enough to swing. She had determination burning in her eyes. Her legs were weak and she felt like she would fall upon each step. Only before she was about to cut off the blonde's head did she stumble. His eyes widened and he took a step back, catching her in his arms. She cringed when she looked him in the eye.

She tried to push away from him but he held her tight. She struggled in his grasp but he wouldn't let her go. He picked her up bridal style, taking her swords as well. There was a loud puff of smoke and two clay birds sat on the ground. He jumped onto the backs of one of the birds, carrying the woman. She lashed out, slapping him in the face. She knew that she didn't have the same energy that she had before the fight and did require some assistance even for simple tasks.

Unsure of what to say, the woman shook her head and just looked at the blond. She was abnormally silent, although that was inevitable, seeing as how she had lost her freedom in one brutal battle. She wasn't a medic but she knew the poison wasn't going to kill her. If the man had wanted to he would have killed her earlier. It was merely meant to stun her so she was easier to capture.

"Have you ever flown before, hmm?" The man asked.

"Flown?" The woman tentatively repeated.

Her eyes widened when the bird began to rapidly rise into the air. She gripped the side of it, digging her nails into the malleable clay, to keep herself from falling off the side. Her heart rate accelerated as she was lifted higher and higher off of the ground in a mere matter of seconds. She clamped her eyes shut. She could hear her hair flapping wildly in the wind. If she fell she doubted that either man would really care too much.

"Relax Takara, yeah." The man said.

The woman looked up at the man, surprised he knew her name and that he was using so informally. He stood up with perfect ease against the wind. His long blond hair was flowing in the wind. His hat hung in his left hand. Takara vigilantly opened her eyes looked up at the man surprised. He was staring out into the open sky, which was turning various shades of orange now, and was very laidback. Her eyes widened in realization.

"Deidara?!" She cried shocked but happy at the same time.

He looked back at her with an arrogant grin. He was taken back, and almost thrown off the bird when Takara threw herself at him, hugging him. His arms wrapped themselves around her waist, keeping them both upright for the most part. Sasori was watching them but both of them were beyond caring. Deidara winced when she began hitting his chest with the soft part of her fists.

"You idiot! You could have told me who you were!" She cried.

"It was more fun that way!" Deidara said, "Besides, no one in the Akatsuki knows that I know you besides Sasori-Danna and Konan-chan. If you became our subordinate as soon as you saw my face they'd know something was up."

"So this is what happened to you, Dei…" Takara mused.

"People change Takara."

Takara was silent for the rest of the trip. She was lost in thought as they flew to the Akatsuki hideout. Takara knew that if she tried to escape she wouldn't get far since she had no idea how they got there in the first place. The land below was so much different when they were in the skies than on the ground. Plus, Deidara could spot her out of the sky in a heartbeat so it was useless.

"I missed you…" Takara finally said after a while.

Deidara stared at her, taken back for a moment. He hadn't expected her to be so bluntly honest about him leaving but she was talking about it with ease. Perhaps she was a little stronger than other girls were with their feelings and stuff. Then he grinned. Now it was her turn to stare at him. She had no idea why he was smiling like that but she couldn't deny that the corners of her lips were curling up in their own smile. It was sincere, her first good smile in a long time.

She looked over the side of the bird, gasping at what she saw. They were now flying by an ocean, not a tree around for miles besides palm trees. The display that was painted before her eyes was beautiful. The glorious, burning orb that was the sun had only begun to go down. It made the impression of slowly immerging itself in the calm waters of the sea.

The warm rays tinting the azure waves in orange and red. The foam on their waves took on a tantalizing fuchsia hue. The vast skies were now a stage where purple and gold fought, and the tiniest bits of night blue would appear at the edge of heaven. When Takara looked over to Sasori she saw he was unmoved by what he saw. She wondered how he couldn't be. This was infinitely beautiful. This was art.

"So pretty…" She whispered hushed.

"It's the face… isn't it, hmm?"

She looked up to see Deidara leaning over her shoulder, pointing to his face and attempting to pull of suave. She nearly laughed at the idea but her heart rate began to pick up. Deidara had never known, but she had a crush on them as children. The crush merely got worse with time and she feared that she might tell him. If Deidara didn't like her the same way he would most likely just blow her to kingdom come.

"I was talking about the sky, idiot." She retorted.

"You're killing my ego, Takara, un…"

"Your ego is so blown up it needs a little puncturing every now and then." Takara replied coolly.

Deidara swallowed when he saw her flick her hair over her shoulder. Soft strands of her hair brushed against his cheek. He knew she wasn't teasing him on purpose but everything she did seemed to drive him insane. He wanted to tell her how much he missed her too but his pride wouldn't let him. She should have known that. She was, after all, the person who knew him best.

"Takara… If I died would you miss me, hmm?" Deidara asked.

"What?" Takara asked horrified.

"Would you, hmm?"

"Of course I would!"

Deidara smiled despite himself. He began to maneuver the birds to land. He felt worry surge through him. He didn't want Takara to get hurt by Pein. She had a rather large mouth and it was bound to get her in trouble he was worried about her safety. Hidan alone would try to take her on. She had gotten stronger but she was still recovering from the poison. He sighed, noticing her sword firmly grasped in her hands.

When they landed they got off their birds. Takara could almost feel the sneer he gave the bird. Deidara merely smirked and the two birds flew up towards the sky. He preformed a single kata before the birds burst, leaving a fiery explosion of colors above their heads. Takara smiled. She was glad he hadn't changed his opinion of art. She wouldn't admit aloud how much she really missed his art.

"Hurry up, brats. I don't want to keep Leader-sama waiting." Sasori ordered.

"He just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You think he just needs a good ole fashioned hug?" Takara asked, whispering so the puppeteer wouldn't hear.

"Sure, try it. And you'll be a puppet faster than you say shit, yeah."

She shot him a quick charming grin. He stared at her, wondering what she could be thinking behind her chocolate colored eyes. Mirth was dancing in her eyes as bright as any flame and for a moment her eyes seemed to be more of a Merlot color than chocolate as the sun's dying light shone across her face. She tilted her head, and looked back at Sasori.

"It might be worth it." She said.

Deidara shook his head, yet he couldn't stop the smile that crossed his lips. It was hard not to smile around Takara. He was glad they had been sent to get her. He had missed her so much, more than he'd ever admit to anyone. Her presence was more than bearable and she was a better companion than Sasori. She agreed with his art, loving every explosion, bomb or clay creation he made.

"Are you ready to meet Leader-sama, hmm?" Deidara asked.

"Sure… Why not?"

Deidara didn't know if Leader would want her after he saw her. She was a great asset to their organization, that much Deidara knew but he had no idea how long she'd get to stay around. He watched as she walked towards the cave that could lead to her imminent doom. Feeling compulsive he grabbed her hand, spinning her around before she could say anything to protest.

He kissed her. For a moment her eyes widened and she didn't react. Then she smiled into the kiss and pulled away. She looked up at him, completely breathless. She nearly laughed at the irony of her situation. She had lost her freedom but gained the one thing she truly desired. Deidara just stared at her, almost holding his breath as he waited for her to say something.

"Took you fucking long enough…" She whispered before kissing him again.


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