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.
Warning! This fic is part of a series! If you are interested in how Itachi and Deidara got to this point, please read in order: 'The Preferable Path To Perfection Is You', 'Every Light On This Path Is For You' and 'The Path To Christmas'.
First the boring stuff. This fic is AU DeiItaDei. Since I got a rather caustic review on one of the other fics regarding this, I will simplify it now. The dominant role is mostly Deidara's. Occasionally it is Itachi's. If you don't like this idea, then please do me a favour and accept you were warned and don't complain to me about it. Thank you.
I also write emotional relationships over smut, and concentrate more on plot than mindless romance. These are two guys in a relationship together doing everyday things- the Path series centres on their life together, not what they do in the bedroom. They're just like any other couple only they are guys. Okay? Good.
With You I Will Journey Life's Path
By Nanaki Lioness
The middle of January brought with it the first snow of the year. It crept up on them in the night, blanketing the world in crystal flakes that shimmered under the light of the aura-cast moon. Deidara was the first to discover this, standing with the front door open and looking out in awe at the snowflakes that lightly assaulted the ground.
He stretched one hand out slowly, not feeling the chilly breeze in the air as he did so. A voice from behind him seemed to however, causing him to glance around with a smile on his face.
"It's freezing," Itachi murmured as he wrapped his dressing gown around himself tightly, stepping up behind Deidara and slipping his hands around him. "What- oh."
"It's snowing," Deidara pointed out needlessly.
"So I can see," Itachi sighed. "This is going to make driving to college hell."
"College? You're still planning on going?"
"They might close it, yeah."
"They might not."
"Oh come on! You mean you won't spend a day at home with me making snowmen and having snowball fights?"
"No," Itachi replied shortly. "Because I'm not five years old. Close the door, you're letting all the heat out."
"No, you're ninety," Deidara sulked, but he closed the door anyway and joined Itachi in making coffee and breakfast. He opened the curtains and consumed his sitting on the windowsill, eyes fixed on the falling snow as if he had never seen it before.
"You're one of those people who actually like this stuff, aren't you?" Itachi asked as he leant against the wall next to his partner, coffee cradled in his hands.
"What's not to like?"
"The cold? The fact snow turns to ice and makes the roads treacherous?"
"It's pretty, yeah."
"So are you, but that doesn't mean you're good in anything more than small doses," Itachi countered, smirking as he sidestepped Deidara's indignant yet playful slap in his direction.
"Are you actually going to college in this?"
"Yes. Are you actually going to skip because of it?"
"You realise how bad that's going to look, considering they know we live together."
"Tell them I'm sick, yeah. I told you, it might not even be open!"
Itachi gave him a smile and left him where he was while he showered and changed, coming back twenty minutes later looking presentable. Deidara was still sitting half naked on the windowsill, his sketchbook in his hands as he furiously attempted to get the scene down on paper.
"Have fun then," Itachi sighed when he realised he wasn't going to get any joy out of his boyfriend, giving him a soft kiss. "I'm going to leave earlier so I can drive slower."
"Let me know when you get there, yeah," Deidara replied before waving him away so he could continue his sketch in peace. He stayed where he was until the sketch was finished, pleased that he'd drawn it on one of his watercolour pads because that was the medium he planned on using to paint it. Seeing no time better than the present he set about collecting his paints, settling down at the table and getting to work.
As always with his art, Deidara found himself so absorbed he was unaware of the time until he was given a reminder. This came in the form of the beep of his phone- a text from Itachi, telling him in his usual stern yet polite way that college was indeed open and he had made it safely. Deidara rolled his eyes, tossed his phone to one side, and went straight back to his painting.
Halfway through his careful crafting of the night sky on the piece he heard the distinct flutter of the letterbox, signifying that the post had arrived. Seeing it as a moment to take a break he went out to collect it, expecting bills as he did so. However the envelope that greeted him on the mat was unusual and hand written, addressed to Itachi. He frowned lightly- everybody knew they were a couple now, all companies that would send bills included, so it was strange to see only his partner's name in front of him.
The neat script was unrecognisable on the creamy envelope and he found himself fingering the edge of it lightly, wishing he could open it. He wouldn't- not without Itachi's permission at least. Abandoning his painting for the moment he grabbed his phone and sent his partner a text explaining about the mysterious envelope, hoping he would reply soon.
He wasn't disappointed. Itachi's reply was exactly what he wanted to see, telling him to go ahead and open it, then text back with the contents. Deidara gleefully tore into it, being greeted with the sight of two intertwined bells. He frowned, opening it up for further details.
'You are cordially invited to the wedding of Nagato & Konan', the inside declared, which told him nothing at all since he had absolutely no idea who they were. Itachi obviously did, so he texted the information to his partner in the hopes he would learn who they were.
He didn't expect verbal reply in the form of a phone-call instead of a text. "Itachi?" He replied as he answered the ringing, glancing at the time. "Shouldn't you be in a class?"
"I made an excuse and left," Itachi replied sharply. Deidara didn't get the chance to congratulate his partner for what he knew was a monumental decision, considering his aversion to looking imperfect."Nagato and Konan? Are you sure?"
"Positive, yeah. It's in my hand right now. Who are they?"
"They work with my father," Itachi sighed, and Deidara could almost see the look of confusion on his boyfriend's face as he spoke. "I have no idea why I have an invite, considering I've only met them a few times. I'll call my father later and see if he can give me any further details. I have to go now- I'll talk to you later."
He had hung up before Deidara could reply. Shrugging, he left the invite on the side and went back to his artwork- Itachi knew less than he did, so there was nothing more he could do with it.
He was interrupted once again an hour or so later when he was putting the finishing touches to the piece, glancing up in surprise at the sound of the doorbell. They were both usually at college, which meant they shouldn't have had any visitors. Regardless he went to answer it, scowling immediately when he realised who it was.
Sasuke returned the scowl, folding his arms and glancing past Deidara. "Where's my brother?" He asked curtly, skipping the usually polite greeting stage and getting straight to his point.
"He went to college, yeah."
"In this weather?"
"This is Itachi," Deidara pointed out. "Of course he did."
"True," Sasuke sighed. "What a priss. Anyone else would have just taken the day off."
"Like you from the look of it too."
Deidara shrugged at that, guilty as charged and unconcerned. "Get in if you're coming inside, yeah. It's freezing out here."
"What makes you think I'm coming inside if Itachi isn't here?"
Deidara glared at the younger Uchiha before grabbing his coat, shoes and keys. He slammed the door behind him and ran his hand along the hallway windowsill, gathering the snow in his hands tightly. He launched the snowball at Sasuke, who ducked but still got hit on the shoulder.
"Is that a challenge?" Sasuke declared, eyes narrowed dangerously at Deidara.
"If you want it to be, yeah."
"We start in five seconds," the younger Uchiha replied after a moment's hesitation. "You take one side of the path and I'll take the other. Five, four, three-two-one!"
He was already gathering snow in his hands as he spoke, catching Deidara in the back as he ran to one side of the path. Deidara was quite proud that he didn't shriek in protest at the unexpected assault, glaring across to Sasuke as he assumed his position on the other side of the path.
"Sasuke?" Deidara called before they began. "Do you know who Nagato and Konan are?"
Sasuke lowered the snowball in his hand, frowning lightly. "You guys got an invitation too? They're people who work with our Dad, but I don't know why we have invites."
"Itachi said the same," Deidara mused.
"Nagato is a good friend of our father," Sasuke explained with a shrug. "And our uncle is their boss. It could just be that they want all the family together for some absurd reason, and they're using the wedding as a convenient place to do that."
Sasuke ended the conversation by launching his snowball at Deidara, who shrieked in surprise and covered his head with his hands. Sasuke smirked as he gathered snow into another ball, eyes dancing with mirth when Deidara glared at him.
"You are such a pussy. Are you going to throw anything at me or not?"
"How about my fist?"
Sasuke held one hand out in a taunting gesture. "Bring it."
"No thanks. Your brother might kill me if I do, yeah."
"He might come to his senses and kick you out," Sasuke sighed, earning himself a snowball to the face which was most definitely aimed there.
"Jackass. How do you two share DNA?"
"Well you see, our mother and father loved each other very much and-" He cut himself off, looking momentarily appalled. "Wait. Scratch that. I don't want to think about it."
"I mean Itachi's so nice and you're so... Not nice."
"I see you're as dim-witted as usual."
Deidara, who had been packing the snow in his hand firmly enough that it had begun to turn to ice, launched it straight at Sasuke once more. Sasuke dodged and threw one back, which began their war in full velocity.
"Hey, Sasuke?" Deidara panted when they had both taken a mutual break to catch their breath. "How about we call a temporary truce when Itachi gets home?"
Sasuke's lips widened in a grin as he immediately caught what Deidara was attempting to say. "Of course," he agreed smoothly. "That sounds like a fair idea."
Itachi arrived home much earlier than either of them expected. They had abandoned their snowball fight in favour of other activities- Deidara was on his back making a snow angel and Sasuke was attempting to make a snowman. Neither of them had commented on the other's choice of action, both knowing they were being equally childish.
"So this is how you spend your day off- you too, Sasuke?" Itachi reprimanded as he walked carefully down the now-icy path. Sasuke simply ducked behind his snowman and gave no reply.
"How was college?" Deidara asked, pulling himself to his feet. He was on the opposite side of the path to Sasuke so Itachi turned to greet him, giving him a small smile.
"Cold. The heating broke, so they sent us home."
"I bet you were the only one in class."
"No, apparently I wasn't the only one to care about my educ-"
He halted as two simultaneous snowballs found their way to him from either side, causing him to narrow his eyes and glare- though who to glare at first, he wasn't sure. He chose Sasuke, mostly because he still hadn't received an answer from him.
"If I can't skive off on a snow day, when can I?" Sasuke protested to the silent question.
"My college is in the town over and I still managed to get there. What's your excuse?"
Sasuke shrugged. "You wouldn't want my excuse. Besides, you can drive. I haven't passed my test yet."
"How are the lessons going?"
"Fine, fine. I hear you got a wedding invitation as well, by the way."
Itachi nodded, features slipping into a confused frown. "I did. You got one too?"
"Yeah. I'm going to guess it's probably something to do with making the family look good or something. It's Nagato and Konan- there's bound to be lots of higher ups from the company attending."
"I'll go and call our parents to see why," Itachi replied, slipping inside the house and leaving Deidara and Sasuke to size each other up from opposite sides of the path once more. Sasuke slowly began to gather snow in his hands, keeping his eyes on Deidara as he did so.
"Let's get lunch and something warm to drink?" Deidara offered instead with a shrug. Sasuke seemed to think about, nodding and waiting until Deidara was ahead of him on the path to throw the snowball he had been making at him.
"Jerk," Deidara chided, but he didn't retaliate and stepped gladly into the warm house.
Itachi was in the middle of his phone-call, a frown permanently etched onto his face. "So it's where? How far away is that? Six- are you kidding? Six hours away?"
Sasuke looked unimpressed at that sound of that, sitting down on the sofa sulkily and glaring pointedly at Itachi until he finished his call. Deidara went back to his painting, which had dried nicely in the time he had been absent. He couldn't resist picking up his paintbrush however, seeing a couple of details that needed to be touched up.
"Why are you touching that?" Itachi asked as he hung up the phone. "Deidara, it looks incredible. Leave it alone."
"You're not an artist, yeah. It still needs work," Deidara argued with a shake of his head. Itachi knew better than to push the issue, letting it drop with a soft sigh.
"So?" Sasuke cut in, gesturing impatiently to Itachi. "What did he say?"
"Apparently uncle Madara is Nagato's best man."
"And apparently that is grounds enough for us to receive an invite," Itachi concluded, still looking confused despite the fact he was supposed to be explaining things. "It's being held in a church further up the country. Apparently Konan's family are there and they decided it would make a decent venue."
"So are you going to go?"
"Probably. Are you?"
"I don't think I care enough."
"That isn't very polite, Sasuke. It's their big day- it means a lot to them I'm sure. I could give you a lift."
"Didn't you say it was six hours away?" Sasuke asked, eyes flitting across to Deidara. "You expect me to spend six hours in a car with him?"
"Don't start," Itachi reprimanded lightly. "I think it would be fun."
"You actually want to go?"
"It would be a nice few days away if nothing else, surely?" Itachi shrugged lightly, glancing to Deidara. "Do you fancy that idea?"
"Am I invited?" Deidara asked, looking a little sheepish.
"If you aren't I'm sure I can arrange it so that you are."
"You willingly want to spend time in the vicinity of uncle Madara?" Sasuke tried again, taking a different tactic.
"You do have a point," Itachi sighed after a moment. Deidara glanced up from his painting, interest peeked by the idea of Itachi speaking negatively of anybody.
"Of course I have a point!" Sasuke pushed. "The guy's an asshole, Itachi! Don't you remember that time we went to stay with him and he shut me outside for the afternoon? And don't you dare say I deserved it, it isn't my fault his stupid fucking cat tried to trip me up."
"The cat wasn't aware it was going to trip you," Itachi chided lightly. "I don't think threatening to throw it out of the window in Madara's earshot was the smartest idea, however."
"The thing's a hellspawn anyway. It would do the world a favour if I poisoned it. I was allergic to it anyway, it kept making me sneeze."
"It was ten years ago, Sasuke," Itachi sighed. "Considering it was an old cat then, I highly doubt it's alive anymore."
"Good. Maybe it's having a party with Satan in the fiery below- though, with an owner like Madara, it's no wonder. The poor thing didn't stand a chance of being normal or, you know, sane."
"I think I want to meet your uncle," Deidara mused. Both Uchiha siblings turned to face him, eyes narrowed in the same identical incredulous way, causing him to shrink back slightly.
"You don't," Itachi warned him. Sasuke nodded his approval.
"You just don't."
"So when it is again?" Deidara asked, changing the topic quickly to get his boyfriend and his brother to stop looking at him like he was crazy.
"Valentine's Day," Itachi replied. "I could look into hotels in the area if you'd like. We could go there after the wedding reception and spend the night together."
There was a wicked gleam in his eye that Deidara caught immediately, setting his paintbrush down and returning it. Sasuke glanced between and promptly put two fingers into his mouth and pretended to gag, earning a scowl from Deidara and a light tap on the arm from Itachi.
"Aren't you going to invite Naruto along?"
"No," Sasuke replied immediately. "Naruto's a jerk. Why would I invite him?"
"Because he's your boyfriend?" Itachi sighed. "Let me guess- it's off again right now?"
"I told you, he's a jerk."
"You'll be back together next week."
"Not this time."
"You say that every time," Itachi reminded him, a tiny grin on his face. Sasuke and Naruto's relationship was volatile, as expected, and left them breaking up and making up frequently.
"I'm going home," Sasuke snapped sharply. "I'll see you later."
Itachi tapped him on the forehead and guided him to the sofa, shaking his head with a bemused sigh. "No, you're staying for lunch. Deidara, could you give me a hand?"
"You know me," Deidara responded, looking slightly intimidated by the request. "I can't cook, yeah."
"You know how to chop vegetables, don't you? Come on, it'll be quicker if you join me."
"What about Sasuke?"
"He's our guest," Itachi admonished.
"I don't want food poisoning," Sasuke pointed out, glaring at Deidara. Deidara glared straight back, reddening slightly. For once, Sasuke's insult actually had some basis. "Look at what you did to my brother. Really, what possessed you to cook rice and leave it on the side all day to become a breeding ground for bacteria?"
"Leave him alone, Sasuke," Itachi commanded.
"You're defending him when he made you so sick you could barely get out of bed?"
"It was an accident."
"I reckon he intentionally poisoned you," Sasuke muttered, folding his arms and glaring at the artist across the room.
"You guys have known each other for over a year now," Itachi sighed as he headed to the kitchen, exasperation in his tone. "You really could try harder to get along."
"We could..." Deidara began contemplatively.
"But we won't," Sasuke finished flatly.
"How about this weekend we spend an afternoon out together?" Itachi suggested, ignoring the two horrified glances he received for the proposal. "We could go to the seaside."
"Because it's fucking snowing!"
"We can spend the time in the arcades. I fail to see the problem, Sasuke."
"It's official," Sasuke noted after a few dumbstruck moments, where Itachi vanished into the kitchen. "Being with Deidara has finally warped your brain."
Author's Notes: Hello! :) I love working with these guys, seriously, they just don't leave me alone. I've taken a different twist this time. Thank you for voting in the poll- there were some clear winners, which will become obvious as the fic goes on! Thank you if you are a returning reader, and welcome if you are new!
This is set shortly after The Path To Christmas, just for timeline's sake by the way :) Also, re: the title- full credit goes to BrandNewOrange. I struggled for ages to name this, so I made her MSN with me and hounded her until she gave me a name, because I'm nice like that. Thank you Orange, you are amazing as always!