Disclaimer: The characters, items, places etc of Naruto are property of Masashi Kishimoto. These objects are used without permission for entertainment only, not for making money. No infringement is intended.
This fic is a sequel! In order to understand some events you will need to have read the first fic, 'The Preferable Path To Perfection Is You'.
Okay, here's the boring warning part: Alternative Universe DeiItaDei- this means it is set in our world, not Konoha and is about the homosexual pairing of Itachi and Deidara with the dominant role primarily being Deidara's, but occasionally Itachi's.
I like to write emotional relationships more than physical ones, so if you're after pages of gratuitous smut you're going to be disappointed. However! There are some physical moments this time around, but nothing major or greatly detailed.
Now with that out of the way- if you're here because you read the first fic and enjoyed it, a massive THANK YOU to you for wanting to read this one. If you're a new reader- welcome! I advise you read the first fic for background information if you like the sound of this one :)
Without all the secrecy involved in the first fic that required a full Itachi-centric narration, I will be changing point of views in this one sometimes. It will switch between Itachi, Deidara and occasionally even Sasuke (who, due to popular demand, will be making more of an appearance this time!) and it will be very obvious whose view is being shown.
Finally- please enjoy! :)
Every Light On This Path Is For You
By Nanaki Lioness
Itachi was slowly hauled from the touches of sleep by a sound he was very sure shouldn't have been present unless it was December. Straining his hearing, he sat up slightly and attempted to see if he really was listening to The First Noel and completely unsurprised to find that he was. He laid back down with a soft sigh, letting the sound permeate his mind- it wasn't unpleasant and it wasn't harmful, so why stress about it?
It had been a month since he and Deidara had tentatively entered a relationship together, and they had both settled into it rather well. There were still some issues but every new relationship was guilty of that and they were mostly minor. The only pressing one was that Deidara hated that Itachi wanted to keep their partnership a secret because he worried for his perfect image, and that it might get back to his father. Itachi would never admit the former of course, but they both knew it was true.
Listening to the music in the background, he could come up with no logical explanation for Deidara's current taste in music. Perhaps he just really liked Christmas carols? He knew to ignore that presumption- this was Deidara. He slipped out of the bed onto the cool carpeting, padding out into the hallway towards the living room. The melodic tones of Silent Night flitted through the air along with Deidara's soft singing voice, more in tune that Itachi had expected it to be as he pushed open the door.
The living room was not very calm as the lyrics of Silent Night might have persuaded him into thinking, but it was very bright. Itachi felt like shielding his eyes as he glanced around his highly decorated living room.
"Good morning," Deidara waved, giving Itachi a grin. He was sitting on the floor by a tall Christmas tree, untangling a set of lights. The tree was bare but the brown box of ornaments sitting next to Deidara indicated it wouldn't be for much longer.
Itachi told himself that surprise at Deidara's actions was really getting old, simply shrugging and walking through the room and into the kitchen. He grabbed a glass of water and walked back through to the living room, sitting back at the table and fixing a curious gaze to his friend.
"Go on. Please explain to me what artistic venture you've embarked on this time," he asked evenly.
Deidara looked amused, getting up from the floor and brushing himself down. "None," he replied, finally instilling some surprise in Itachi. "I just like Christmas, yeah."
"Surely half the magic is waiting until it's actually Christmas?"
"I should have put this up in September," Deidara protested. "You understand, right? You look confused, yeah."
Itachi raised a curious eyebrow at him. "Am I falling for a trick if I say I need you to explain?"
"Commercialist Christmas begins in September," Deidara replied, nodding as he stated his fact proudly, turning back to the tree and leaving Itachi to finish his water and decide whether or not he should get a coffee or whether he should just go back to bed and try the day again. He decided on the latter, heading back towards the bedroom.
He had passed one foot through his doorway when Deidara called his name, causing him to pause and turn as the blond jumped up and dashed across to him.
"I missed you entering," he explained. "But I've got you this time, yeah."
He laced his fingers into Itachi's hair, pulling their lips together in a chaste kiss that was broken mere moments after it had begun. Itachi simply blinked in surprise, following Deidara's hand where it pointed upwards. Of course, a sprig of innocent looking mistletoe had been pinned above them, explaining their current situation.
"So this was your plan?" Itachi asked, a tiny smile on his lips.
"Plan? No, this is just a bonus."
Itachi's face fell. "So you want to keep the decorations up?"
"Of course! Don't tell me you hate Christmas, yeah."
"I don't, but I might be sick of it by the time it gets here if you don't dull these decorations down a bit."
"You have no Christmas spirit."
"I have plenty in December itself."
"I- oh never mind," Deidara sighed, reaching out to tangle his hands into Itachi's hair and pull them together in another, deeper kiss. Itachi instantly forgave him for everything, his owns hands creeping up into the other's hair as he felt himself being pulled slightly into the room and back up against the wall.
They were under a mutual agreement to take things slowly. Neither of them had been in a serious relationship before (or ever, in Itachi's case) and both of them agreed they respected each other far too much to push things. The idea of a messy breakup that would leave them both alone and not even friends frightened them both, so Itachi had to wonder why on earth Deidara's hand was roaming slowly down his back.
"What are you doing?" He breathed, pulling away from their kiss and halting the hand with his own.
"This," Deidara replied as he yanked his hand free from its restraint and wrapped it around Itachi's waist. A completely innocent act- Itachi mentally kicked himself for his hesitation.
The moment was gone, leaving Deidara to look slightly hurt as the soft tones of carols resonated around them, inappropriate already and even more so with the turn of atmosphere.
"What did you think?" He asked quietly, knowing the answer. Itachi gave him a guilty look, averting his eyes to the floor. "Trust me, yeah. I don't want to screw this up with you. I'm not going to make any moves you don't specifically ask me to."
"I know," Itachi sighed, tilting his head back to the wall and playing with a few strands of his loose hair. "I don't know what I was thinking."
"While we're on the subject, when are we going to be able to stop keeping this a secret? It's been a month, yeah."
"One person doesn't count."
"Deidara, we've been over this-"
"Yes, and every time you give me some stupid excuse. I'm proud of this relationship and I don't care what anyone thinks, yeah. Why do you?"
Itachi finally met his eye. "You know why."
"If I were a girl, would you feel differently about everyone knowing?"
"No," Itachi told him firmly, shaking his head and surprising Deidara. "It's nothing to do with gender. I can't risk this getting back to my father, Deidara. He's always been of the impression that any relationship is a waste of my time and I should steer clear."
"You realise the only person who is likely to ever speak to your parents other than yourself already knows?"
"Sasuke isn't malicious."
Deidara laughed shortly, his opinion apparently different, but he said nothing on the matter. "Who cares what he thinks, anyway? Didn't you say you were past needing his approval, yeah?"
Silence reigned, leaving Deidara to exhale heavily as he realised the problem immediately.
"Your complex is still tied to him, isn't it?" He sighed. "Why didn't you just tell me that?"
"I'm done with this conversation," Itachi muttered, pushing past Deidara in an attempt to slip from the room.
Usually Deidara let him run away- he hated to make his partner uncomfortable, and nor did he want to add to his worries. However, something made him reach out and grab Itachi's arm and pull him to a halt rather roughly.
"No running away," he near-pleaded. "You're twenty two- start acting like an adult, yeah."
The words were rough and heated, leaving Deidara to brace himself for a snappy response. It didn't come- Itachi simply blinked a few times, apparently unsure of how to answer the request.
"Sorry," Deidara uttered. "I didn't-"
"You're right," Itachi interrupted. "I shouldn't be running away and I shouldn't be hiding when I am proud of you- of us."
"So you'll call your father?"
Deidara glared at him, pursuing his lips in distaste. "Didn't you just say you would?"
"I just said I shouldn't be running away," Itachi shrugged. "Not that I was willing to change it."
"You're a coward, yeah."
"I know. What else is new? Cowardice on my behalf was the very thing that kept us apart for months."
"Don't you see the problem with that?"
Deidara was left with only silence as a response, hearing the bedroom door close in the distance instead. He felt a wave of pity wash over him rather than anger or any other emotion- he would hate to live like Itachi, constantly having to make sure his outer-image to the world was perfect.
He stepped across the room and reached for the phone, scrolling through the built in phonebook. Itachi wasn't going to be very pleased with him, but sometimes you had to be cruel to be kind.
"Sasuke," he greeted when the number he speed dialled connected, his tone curt. Sometimes you had to swallow your pride and enlist the help of the enemy, too. "Can you come round? I need to talk to you about your brother, yeah."
Deidara was unimpressed when Sasuke finally did show up- at nine that evening, long after the artist had given up hope that he would show at all. He and Itachi had spent the day dancing around each other until Itachi had decided to have an early night, leaving Deidara with his sketchbook on the sofa and the uneasy feeling that he should be sleeping on said sofa that night.
He gave Sasuke a weak smile as he opened the door, stepping aside to let him inside and refusing to wither under the harsh gaze he was currently being thrown. He was feeling bad enough as it was without the young Uchiha's additional harassment.
"This better be good," Sasuke warned.
"I need your help, yeah," Deidara explained, getting straight to the point and hoping he would get to explain himself before Itachi came to check what was going on. There was no way his partner was asleep, after all- the early night had clearly been an excuse.
"Is that so?"
"Don't say it like that! Look, your brother is driving me crazy with his refusal to go public with our relationship-"
"Am I supposed to blame him for that? I wouldn't want to be associated with you, either."
"You little prick! Just listen, would you? He says himself that he's acting like a coward and that he feels he should be able to just tell your father about us, yeah. I want to help him."
"Congratulations, then. I'm going home."
Sasuke halted, two steps away from the front door. He exhaled irritably and turned to face his curious brother, who had finally ventured to the hallway.
"Your boyfriend is an idiot," Sasuke told him firmly. "And so are you. Why won't you tell Mum and Dad?"
Itachi sent a glare in Deidara's direction, causing the blond to back up into the living room and close the door quickly. Sasuke stepped back across the hall, lowering his voice so only Itachi could hear.
"It's about time we broke you of this complex," he declared before entering the living room as well, halting in the doorway and frowning at the decorations and the sound of carols.
"What the fuck happened here?" He asked bluntly.
"You're standing under mistletoe," Deidara pointed out with a smirk on his face, causing Sasuke to rapidly step completely into the room so the blond didn't get any funny ideas. Itachi followed, eyes widening as Sasuke went straight for the telephone.
"Sasuke," he called warningly. "What are you doing?"
Deidara swiftly grabbed Itachi as he attempted to make his way over to his brother, keeping him from snatching the phone from Sasuke's hands. Itachi struggled for a moment until Sasuke's voice turned his blood cold.
"Oh hi Mum. Is Dad there?"
Sasuke smirked and held the phone out in the silence that followed the 'yes, I'll get him', Deidara letting Itachi go so he could take it. The elder Uchiha gave them both a scowl for their actions, but he snatched it and held it to his ear just in time to greet their father regardless.
"Itachi? Your mother said it was Sasuke."
"She did?" Itachi struggled for a moment to try and cover his brother's intervention. "No, it was me," he finally settled with, before swiftly changing the subject. "How are you?"
"I'm fine, son. Is there a problem? You don't usually call."
"No, no problem."
Silence reigned as Itachi glared once more at his two companions, who wisely slipped out into the hallway to let him continue without diverting his attention.
"Do you think he'll tell him?" Deidara whispered to Sasuke as they listened up against the door, trying to make out Itachi's quiet tone.
"How would I know?" Sasuke replied curtly.
"Just making conversation," Deidara muttered, wondering which deity he'd managed to piss off at some point in life to warrant being stuck in the forced vicinity as the younger Uchiha.
Itachi's voice hitched to a much louder, almost shrill tone which caught both of their attention swiftly, clearly making out what was being said.
"No, you don't need-!"
Silence. Both of them tentatively stepped away from the door, which was just as well as Itachi flung it open moments later.
"They're coming here," he bit out, looking troubled. "How am I supposed to tell them face to face when I couldn't do it over the phone?"
"Why are they doing that?" Sasuke asked, his voice calm and reasonable against Itachi's more flustered tone.
"They think there's a problem," Itachi sighed. "Because I couldn't talk."
"Do you really care what they think anyway? Are you going to stop dating the idiot if they disapprove?"
"I am here, yeah."
"Unfortunately. Are they coming no- what the hell are you doing?"
Itachi halted in the process of pushing his brother down the hall to the front door. "Yes they're coming now and that means you're leaving."
Deidara snickered behind them as Itachi opened the front door and roughly shoved Sasuke out onto the porch step, instantly stopping when Itachi whirled around to face him.
"You too," he admonished, repeating the process until Deidara was also on the porch before slamming the door in their face.
Deidara and Sasuke exchanged the same simultaneous glance of horror at sharing the same space before they hammered on the door harshly in an attempt to change Itachi's mind.
"Don't you have a key?" Sasuke asked when they'd been knocking for close to thirty seconds.
"Not on me, yeah. Do you have a spare?"
"Only for his car, not his house," Sasuke replied wearily, giving up on the knocking when it became apparent nothing would change for doing so.
"Maybe he'll change his mind, yeah."
"Maybe he won't. He's barely even sees them these days, so why does he care what they think?"
Deidara hesitated, finally beckoning for Sasuke to follow him up the garden path. Curiously, Sasuke did so, scowling when he realised they were heading for the large tree.
"You can't expect me to climb-"
"Get climbing right now, yeah."
"I don't do what you tell me."
"I want to talk to you about your brother," Deidara explained. "Get climbing."
Author's Note: Finally, it's back! :) I'm loving writing this universe again. I won't be updating quite as quickly as before with this one since drafting is giving me some trouble. It won't be more than about a week between chapters, though.
Thanks for reading and if you're here from the last fic, I hope I manage to live up to your expectations with it. I'm pretty nervous about not doing so! :)