[DISCLAIMER: I DON'T OWN NARUTO! As much as I would LIKE to own Naruto, it's sadly not a reality. Oh well, can't get everything you want. A]
A/N: I got the idea for the story in the middle of the night, right before I was about to fall asleep. It was like a light bulb lit up over my head at random, and then I shot out of bed, ran to my computer downstairs and started typing! But I didn't get very far that night because my mom gave a huge 'WTF? Why aren't you in bed?' look 'cause it was like one in the morning. But greatness cannot wait! Of course that didn't fly with her, so I had to go back to bed and (key word) try to sleep. This is my original idea and I don't think anyone has tried something like this with this pairing so… yeah! Hope you like it!
DAY 1—MONDAY—10:33 P.M.
Akasuna Sasori didn't care much for his job. This so called occupation was only temporary, so he ignored the details and did what he was supposed to do. Of course the ideal part of it, that he thought would make the job easy, turned out to be annoying. The basic title for his job was a suicide hotline operator. At first, he thought there would be a phone call every now and then, and he would have to pretend to listen and read off some facts to the person and that would be it. But he had it wrong; all he had done for a month was listen to dial tones and prank calls.
Though, there was a joke amongst his co-workers. They said if anyone did call Sasori's line, he'd probably push the person over the edge to actually kill themselves, since he certainly wouldn't be able to help them.
There were two other suicide line operators for the city. They were Kisame and Kakuzu. They weren't bad people; he just had no interest in them, and neither of them seemed to be right in the head always.
So every night, on the fifty-third floor of the Intercity Communications Tower, a bored Sasori sat with nothing to do except stare at a wall and wish for the daytime to come so he could go back to his artwork.
RING! RING! RING!
"If this is another prank call…" Sasori sighed and picked up the phone. "Hello?"
"Is anyone there?"
"Un…" A quiet male voice answered.
Sasori sighed. It didn't seem like a prank call, so he might as well read off the help card and get this over with.
"Welcome to the suicide hotline for your city. At our establishment, we will listen to your problems and help you find a solution to your depression both in and out of this phone conversation. How may we help you?"
"Is this a recoding?" The voice asked. He sent an annoyed look through the phone, taken aback by this person's bluntness. Did he really sound like a recording?
"Uh…? No, this isn't a recording." He answered, feeling a nerve twitch above his eyebrow.
"You sounded like a robot, un…"
By now, he could tell that this person wasn't an adult. Most likely a teenager, but either way, they were becoming irritating. And what exactly could the person have expected? A happy hello and all their problems would be gone? This was why Sasori didn't want to take the job in the first place, stupid teenagers. But, the pay was decent and he only had a few weeks left to go before his new job started. So he decided to just grin and bear it.
"Look, brat-! I mean…" He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Look, kid, why did you call?"
"Parents abuse you?"
"Bullied at school?"
"Kid, the point of this is for you to talk to me." Sasori could hear Kisame chuckling on the other side of the cubicle. He punched the thin wall, telling the man to shut up.
"I'm… depressed…" The boy mumbled softly.
"Okay, why are you depressed?"
"Lots of… reasons. I guess, un…"
"Alright. Are you still is school?"
"Un… High school."
"How are your grades?"
"Are you bullied?"
"No. I'm a senior…"
"I actually have a lot of friends." His voice was growing louder, but more distant, as if he was no longer focused on the world he was occupying. Sasori sighed and went through his list of what could make a teenager depressed. But every time he thought of something, he saw it as a trivial matter such as running out of eyeliner or being dumped. So he picked up his help card again.
"Do your parents abuse you?"
"No. Neither of them does."
"Are your parents divorced?"
"Yeah, but they've been like that since I was young, un…"
Sasori was out of things to ask. What else could make a teen depressed, besides the obvious? If he knew what the kid was upset about he could just say get over it and move on. He might get fired for saying it, but he hadn't slept at all last night and now he was talking to some brat on the other end of the line who seemed perfectly fine.
"Pssst! Sasori!" Kisame whispered harshly over the small wall.
Sasori covered the phone with his hand and looked up to see the blue man peeking over into his area. "What?" He glared at his co-worker.
"Ask him what he likes to do." Kisame grinned and disappeared behind the wall.
Sighing, Sasori removed his hand and put the phone back up to his ear. Might as well try it…
"Alright, brat. What do you like to do?"
"What do I like to do? Umm… I like to make clay sculptures. I guess I'm an artist, un."
Sasori was again surprised by the teen on the other end. [The fact that Sasori was also an artist made it slightly easier to talk to the person on the other end, and it made things more clear. Many of his fellow artists could be described as unstable or insane, but none suicidal. So maybe the kid was just getting the two mixed up?
"I'm also an artist. This is only a temporary thing 'til my new job picks up in a few weeks."
"Really…?" The kid on the other end sounded as if he had just realized something. Sasori raised an eyebrow, even though no one could see it.
"Yes. Why do you sound so surprised?"
"It's just… That explains why you suck at this, un." The boy chuckled half-heartedly while Sasori groaned. If he sucked that bad, why did the kid keep talking to him?
"You're the one that called me, so don't complain. I'm not the one who has problems."
The line suddenly went quiet.
"Shit…" Sasori rubbed his left temple to ward off the headache blooming there. Kakuzu and Kisame's joke echoed in his head and he became even more annoyed. This was his first time he had ever talked to someone with a real problem. So neither of his co-workers could blame him, but he could blame himself if the kid did actually kill himself while he was talking to him.
Sasori tried to think of things that cheered him up, hoping that it would help the kid, only to find that he didn't actually know what to say. He wasn't really the most sociable person, and he didn't have very many interests that a teenager would care for. So he went to the alternative, quickly saying:
"Tell me about your art."
"Hn…?" The teen responded in a more surprised tone.
"Tell me about your art." Sasori repeated a little more calmly.
"What about it?"
"You said you like clay, right? What do you like to make with it?"
The teen took a moment to respond, but once he got going, it was easy to see that he was enthusiastic about his work. He told stories about winning a few prizes for his sculptures and how he enjoyed creating them so much. While the boy continued for a while, needing no input from the redhead, Sasori found himself smiling. He knew art was something that could make everyone's heart rise. Even depressed, melodramatic teens could know the wonders art creates and expresses. Though, there was one thing Sasori was interested to hear from the brat.
"What do you think true art is?" The question slipped out of his mouth without his permission. Mentally slapping himself, he waited for an answer nonetheless.
"Art should only last a moment, so that its beauty will show bright for a mere second, then fade away forever, making the viewer want more. True art will always be fleeting, un." The brat spoke fluently, almost poetically. Sasori would give him that compliment. But that didn't change the fact that he was incorrect.
"True art is eternal. It should be appreciated throughout time and be admired. Why would you want something you worked so hard on to just disappear?"
"It wouldn't be gone forever, it would still be in the minds and memories of whoever saw the masterpiece. They would love it after only a second and wish for more. Besides, how many things do you see that last forever?"
"You're wrong, art is eternal. And don't you think such rare and beautiful things that last forever should be treasured?"
"No. Fleeting, un."
"Eternal, and stop being a stubborn brat."
"Hmph. I've gotta go. You suck at your job anyway." The kid on the other end sounded much less energetic and now more irritable. This, oddly, relieved Sasori. If the kid was mad, his focus would be diverted from his depression. Then he would be less likely to kill himself.
"My name is Deidara, by the way."
This again slightly surprised Sasori. Did it really matter what the brat's name was? It wasn't like it was a good thing for someone to be calling him. If it was a normal conversation with someone he knew and was just talking on the phone to them, that would be fine. But the kid, whose said name is Deidara, is talking to a complete stranger that works on the city's suicide hotline. Did that sound like a person you wanted to tell your name too?
Sasori sighed to the teen on the other end who had questionable sanity.
"Fine by me, goodbye."
"Ah-!" The dial tone could already be heard, the brat had left Sasori hanging on the line.
He let the phone drop back down on the charger so he could fully rub both temples. But no matter how hard he rubbed, it seemed the headache Deidara had left behind would not go away. Sighing again, the redhead leaned back in his chair, only to see Kisame come around the corner with two steaming cups of coffee in hand.
The blue man, upon seeing Sasori's drained expression, laughed good-naturedly.
"Here, want some of Kakuzu's famous cheap-ass coffee?"
"Sure. I need the caffeine anyway. How much longer until my shift is done?" Sasori asked while grabbing the warm cup and taking in the steam through his nose. It was just how he liked it, straight black with no cream or sugar. Plus it was bitter enough to rot out anyone's stomach, just how he liked it.
Taking a nice big gulp, Sasori sighed in heaven.
"Now, how can you drink that stuff everyday and still have snow white teeth, when my teeth have all kinds of stains?" Kisame leaned up against the thin wall casually while sipping his own Cup-of-Joe leisurely.
"For one, I don't eat raw meat." The redhead smiled with dreamy eyes as the steam from the warm cup started to relax him. Even his headache started to melt away. This moment was the perfect example of the one upside to the job; he could relax all he wanted. And if he wished, he could turn around and look outside to the glowing city in the night. The entire back wall of the fifty-third floor was all glass, giving a perfect view of the stars above and the shops below.
"Ha-ha. Very funny. By the way, you're a natural at this, ya know?" Kisame now smirked down at his co-worker, satisfied.
Sasori only glared up, now reminded of his verbal encounter with the teen.
"It seemed that kid liked ya. He sure got you arguing pretty well."
"He was a brat." Sasori said, taking another sip of the coffee. He hoped that this lukewarm caffeine-saturated brew would be the cure to the pain in his skull.
Kisame chuckled and put a friendly hand on the irritated redhead's shoulder. "Doesn't matter now, I'd just go home and get some sleep if I were you."
"It's midnight already? How long was I talking to him?"
"Ahh…? 'Bout an hour and a half I guess. Time flies when you're having fun, eh?" Kisame chuckled and removed his hand, enabling Sasori to get up from his chair. Grabbing his coat, he slid his laptop into his bag and slung it over his shoulder.
"Maybe that kid will call tomorrow, hmm?" Kisame laughed in his general direction as he started for the elevator.
Sasori merely rolled his eyes and pressed the first floor button for the elevator to go down. When the doors reopened to the lobby, he quickly walked out and started down the empty street. His apartment was only five blocks away, and he didn't mind walking. It had been a long night and all he wanted to do was fall asleep in his own bed.
Thunder sounded off in the distance as he turned a corner. It had been raining a lot for the past week, and it wasn't supposed to let up anytime soon. He hurried down the street with a quick, confident stride, hoping to beat the weather. He was only one block away from his home when he heard gunshots, a usual occurrence in this part of the city. Sasori ducked into an alley and waited, letting the two cars screech past his hiding spot and listening to them launch bullets at one another. When the gunshots faded into the distance and he heard nothing for ten seconds, he extracted himself from the alley and started off toward his home once again.
Sasori had never really liked the city, with its high crime rates and violent gangs. But if anything, he hated the suburbs even more. Those were nothing but annoying "friendly" neighbors who were obsessed with their lawns and kids and who judged everyone behind their backs. Now that was hell, at least it was for him. Besides, it wasn't like you could find any prominent art galleries or museums in some small town. So despite the unappealing part of the city he lived in, there were some definite bonuses to city life.
Sasori sighed with utter relief for the first time that night when he saw his home in view. The gray stone building was actually very cozy, well, some would say small. It only had three levels. The first floor was the lobby, large kitchen and laundry room. The other two floors were where the residents lived. Four apartments on the second floor and three on the third. The third floor residents got two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, living room and their own small laundry room. The second floor residents only had one bedroom, tiny kitchen and bathroom, with a living room. Though he lived by himself, he needed the extra room for his art supplies, so he lived on the third floor.
Entering the lobby, he was grateful to feel the welcoming heat from the vents. He went up two flights of stairs and down the hall to his own apartment, his sanctuary. Sliding the key in and entering his solitary haven relaxed him even further. He was glad to be home.