"Deidara, we have a mission,"
Sasori pulled on his coat and buttoned it up to his chin. He looked at his partner, who had heard him and was packing dense cubes of clay into his bag.
"Lucky us," Deidara smiled foxily. "Spending Valentine's Day away from here,"
"Well, we could have done that anyway," Sasori replied. "It would just be suspicious, that is all,"
Deidara sighed happily. This year's Valentine's would go ahead very nicely indeed. "Here's your scroll," he said, handing one over to Sasori. It was the one which summoned the Third Kazekage puppet. Sasori smiled and tucked it into his sleeve.
Deidara walked over to him and paused a little. He looked into Sasori's eyes and smiled sheepishly.
"You look happy today, yeah," he said, his voice kind of teasing. Sasori nodded and nudged him away, not wanting to reveal the blush that crept across his cheeks.
"Let's go, brat," he answered. He threw Deidara a look over his shoulder. The Iwa nin rolled his eyes. The mouths on his hands chomped audibly in anticipation of the mission.
Suigetsu and Itachi looked up as Deidara and Sasori came by, walking side by side. Suigetsu smirked at them. The blonde guy nodded at him, but that was all they did.
"Are they going out on a date?" Suigetsu asked once they disappeared. Itachi took a delicate bite of his toast.
"No," he said. "Pein has a mission for them, finally," I've grown sick of doing all the work, he thought.
"What is that?"
"Come on," Suigetsu nudged Itachi's foot under the table. "Let's go somewhere today, Uchiha. We deserve it,"
Neji and Sasuke stopped at the side of the road. Sasuke looked nervously at Neji, not knowing what exactly the Hyuuga was thinking. Sasuke had known the attack was a genuinely bad idea, but…it was the only way. Neji wouldn't have keeled if he'd just asked him to come out with him. Does he still… love me?
"Neji, I just—,"
The Hyuuga held up a palm. "Shush, Sasuke,"
Neji thought it over once more in his head. Was he sure that he could come out of Konoha every time, without fail? Was he sure that he would never be followed? Was Sasuke never going to stop loving him, as he would never stop loving Sasuke? There were so many questions, so many things that made his sudden idea seem dumb and flimsy, but…
"I have a proposition for you,"
He looked at the Uchiha, still slightly hurt by the guy's attack. His back and his forearm hurt. But he was even more emotionally damaged, because whenever he looked at Sasuke, he would ultimately remember that stabbing pain in his heart when he left him two years ago. Neji had trained every day after that, accepting Hiashi's every order, every invitation, because he wanted to get his mind off of Sasuke. When Hinata asked him to please go out and get something for him, he did it, and when Hanabi was sick, Neji offered to take care of her until she got better. He closed his eyes and waited for Sasuke to answer.
"What…what is it?"
Neji walked closer to Sasuke and rested his head on his shoulder. He was tired of it all. Tired of everything. He wished Sasuke wasn't a missing nin. He wished Konoha didn't want to lock the Uchiha up. Then everything would be okay. He sighed into Sasuke's shirt.
"Let's just go," he said cryptically. "And let's spend every Valentine's Day together…but other than that, do not come and find me. I will not come and find you…but," he looked up into Sasuke's eyes. "Every February the fourteenth, we will meet. Yes?"
Sasuke exhaled loudly. He had been afraid, so afraid of Neji breaking it off completely. This was much better than he thought, although it was kind of sad that they were only going to see each other once every year. Sasuke reached out and held Neji's hand.
"Yes," he said. Because in his mind, he knew he had too many other things to do and visiting Neji once a year was probably the maximum he could do if the Hyuuga didn't become his travel companion. And it was obvious he wasn't about to. He never would, because Neji would never comply by Sasuke's standards. And Neji knew that too.
Neji ignored Sasuke's apology. He didn't know why he said it, but it sounded so right.
"It's okay, Sasuke," he said, his voice thick with tears. "It's okay,"
Hidan propped is legs up on the table and he looked devilishly at Suigetsu who stared back at him challengingly.
"Say a word, Jashinist," the mist nin hissed. "And I will have your head,"
Hidan laughed loudly, throatily, when Itachi came and pushed his head to the side. Hidan's neck cracked.
"Owwww! You idiots!" Hidan craned his neck from side to side. The night before, he had walked back in on Itachi and Suigetsu—kissing. Of course, they weren't just in the dining room. Kakuzu had gone to that gross collection office in the bathroom, and Hidan had decided it was time to head back. Kakuzu erupted at him, and had growled at him all night, but Hidan had just ignored him. Then he'd crept up and there he saw it—
"Easy, Itachi," Kisame rumbled. The sharkish man took a drink of water at stared hungrily at Suigetsu's sword. "I know he's annoying, but let's refrain from breaking each other's neck, shall we?"
"Yeah! What he said," Hidan protested. He folded his arms. "Not that you can kill me, anyway,"
Kakuzu took his seat next to him. Now that Deidara and Sasori were no longer here, it was hard to say who would cook. They all knew it was Deidara's secret hobby, cooking. It had been one of Hidan's running sexist joke for a while, about how Deidara looked like a woman and liked the kitchen. Itachi, being the quietly upright man he was (well, to some extent), had always berated Hidan whenever he did this. Not because he cared about the Iwa nin, but because he didn't like sexism. Hidan sighed loudly.
"Any more of that salad, Kakuzu? Or did you really let blondie eat it all?"
"It's gone," Kakuzu said simply. Kisame looked in the fridge.
"Well, we can all have a tuna sandwich," he said hopefully, trying to entice the others into seafood that wasn't shark.
Itachi rolled his eyes. Suigetsu laughed and casually put his hand on the Uchiha's knee under the table. Hidan groaned and cracked his neck a few more times.
"Hidan," Kakuzu said. "Isn't it Valentine's Day today?"
Hidan grinned widely. He looked at Itachi and nodded in the general direction of Suigetsu, with a look in his eyes that said I know what's going on under there. Itachi's cheeks flamed up instantly and if his eyes could speak, they would have snarled at the Jashinist.
"Yeahhhhh," Hidan answered. He stretched and grinned. Sasori…Deidara, and now Itachi and Suigetsu. This was fucking fantastic.
"It's a wonder you're no longer complaining," Kakuzu said. "Maybe there is a God after all,"
"I don't need to whinge" Hidan bragged. He kept looking from Suigetsu to Itachi. "This is the best Valentine's Day ever,"
Sasuke wrinkled his nose as Neji set the plate down in front of him.
"What is this?" he asked. He was wearing just a bathrobe, and Neji was fully clothed in a loose outfit.
"It's my favourite," Neji said. He sat down and looked across the table at the Uchiha. "Maybe someday you'll learn how to make it for me,"
Sasuke smiled, picked up a pair of chopsticks and tasted some.
"It's nice," he commented. Neji smiled and piled a spoonful onto his bowl. He nodded at the other dish he'd made. "Here, have some of thi—,"
Sasuke stood up suddenly, pushing his chair back from the table. Neji looked up at the Uchiha strangely.
"What are you doing?" he asked, sounding supremely annoyed. Sasuke's face broke out into a shy smile.
"Happy Valentine's," he said. And with that, he kissed Neji. As he did so, he opened one eye and pushed a small package into Neji's bag.
It was a bag of orchid seeds.
"Deidara, what is this?"
Sasori poked the clay form in front of him with a single finger, not daring to touch it for too long, a tiny bit worried it would explode. Deidara swept up next to him and picked it up in his hands.
"It's for you," he said. He held it out in his palm. Sasori picked it up gingerly between his fingers. Deidara laughed at his trepidation.
"It won't explode, don't worry,"
Sasori closed his fingers around it. "Then what is it?"
Deidara's eyes twinkled. "Just wait until nighttime," he said mysteriously. "Then I'll let you release it into the air, and you'll get something nice,"
Sasori smiled, blushing again. He hated himself for blushing so much, like some lovesick schoolgirl, but…his crush on Deidara had deepened over the past few days, ever since the Iwa nin had accepted him and had even confronted Hidan for the sake of their relationship, and Sasori was eternally grateful for him. He hadn't really done anything for Deidara on this day, but he knew the blonde wouldn't really mind. The redhead slipped the clay thing into his pocket and kissed Deidara on the earlobe, because he knew it was his favourite spot to be kissed, as odd a location it was.
They all sat there, eating their tuna sandwiches, when Hidan piped up.
"I have something to announce,"
Suigetsu and Itachi looked up in unison, while Kisame grunted and Kakuzu ignored him completely. Zetsu was slithering around somewhere else in the Lair, having come back not too long ago.
"Wow," Suigetsu intoned, trying to make light of the situation. "What a surprise,"
"No, no, no," Hidan said. "This is something really, really surprising. You'll definitely wanna hear it,"
"Then hurry up and out with it," Kakuzu rumbled.
Hidan clicked his tongue in excitement. "I invited Pein out to dinner under the pretense of being a single woman," he said. "Do you think he'll go?"
Kakuzu sighed loudly in exasperation. Suigetsu relaxed, and he could feel Itachi do that too. Kisame laughed.
"Leader will kill you," Kisame grinned. He put down his sandwich. "But I think he'll accept your invitation,"
"Oh, I know," Hidan said, leaning back in his chair. He wagged a finger at Kisame. "But remember, I can't die,"
Thanks to everyone who has ever read this: the views and people favouriting this story, adding it to their story alert etc, is the sole motivation behind me continuing this. It's kind of sad that it's over!