I'm at loathe to say anything I write is romantic, but most of these seem to take that tone. In a way, I guess it is open to interpretation. I guess I can admit UST though?

These will all be stand-alone stories.

Please read and review, this is quite different from what I normally write unfortunately.

The Origami Pig

The rain beat its harsh coolness against the windows of the hideout. It just made the temperature a bit colder than it already was: sub-zero freezing.

Already, Konan could see the raindrops slowly transform into sleet. It was colder, and harder, but already, the roaring sound of water outside was softening to wet soft sounds.

Quietly, she felt a cool hand circle around her neck.

"Cold?" she heard a voice. It was sharp and sudden against the quieting weather despite its soft almost gentle tone.

Konan slowly got up from her sitting position and the hand fell away.

"Sasori-san," she said, stepping a few paces back.

The thing about Akatsuki… the thing about partners was that the partners were similar. Every one of them seemed to pick up their titbits of ba- no, bad was the wrong word… idiosyncrasies from each other.

Konan had picked up the cold distant status Nagato had imparted her.

And Sasori?

He seemed to gain the idea that personal space was an idea for other people. Perhaps and influence from Orochimaru?

That was ironic, as a user of the puppet jutsu, his enemies were always so distant from him, making battles not-so intimate, hardly anything more than something as distant or as boring as war. As a ninja, you would face hundreds of puppets, never seeing the master behind them. It really was like war where feelings and passion played no part.

The result of his quirk however, was painful to say the least. His behaviour immediately cancelled out the elegant superiority she carried around with her and made her feel uncomfortable. His glassy eyes reflected no emotion, but picked up the hidden traces of sympathy or anger, she felt.

He was only a few years older than her. This sudden changing of status of who was whose superior should never have happened.

The tipping of hierarchy occurred so suddenly and naturally that even Konan was slightly disturbed by how easily control came to the puppet master.

"Are you cold?" he repeated. His tone was forever smug. The kind of smugness that died away from Nagato once Yahiko had died. Why was he so condescending? The fact that he, the emotionally if not physically distant puppeteer was gracing her with a full sentence?

"No," she moved to get out of the room.

He moved his body to block her.

Konan could have turned into paper, float freely out of the room. And she was half in mind to consider this. It would have broken this strange unofficial ritual between them, but bonds were no longer sacred. Let alone a bond that came about through curiosity, hunger and coldness.

As if sensing the danger, Sasori pursed his lips somewhat annoyed, it was a tedious situation but it had to be dealt with.

"I just want to talk." Relax.

Konan heard his unspoken word.

"Yes?" she said murmured. She was used to his oddities if not satisfied with them.

He wandered closer to her and placed a cold palm against her cheek.

It was hardly a romantic gesture. Sasori seemed to do it to everybody far more than Orochimaru did. But for this one moment in time, his face was incredibly close.

It was close enough that she could see his painted eyes, the small incisions made upon his wooden lips, there was even a false shine on his cheeks. What reality had created, Sasori could easily replicate and more. His skill at it was almost a mockery of the whole concept of being alive. The dead puppet could easily replicate anything that crossed his fancy. By separating himself so far from humanity, perhaps he had gained that God-like ability.

But thinking that someone else could almost be like Nagato was wrong.

In his gaze held a hunger. If she asked and he felt obliged to answer, he would not have been able to name what he desired. It was this raw energy whose soul concern was to feed. If she pressed further and if he had a more open personality, he might have said that the hunger reminded him of baked sand and hot sun.

But even then, he would never be able to pinpoint what exactly he sought for.

"Are you cold now?" he whispered. There is something about a dark room that prompts one to whisper, to not disturb the perfect shadows of the night.

"No," Konan answered back and she made as if to move away from him and out of the room.

He blocked her again.

"Do I scare you?" As tactfulness and what passed for politeness failed, he resorted to baiting her.

"What do you want?" Konan asked quietly, resigned.

He walked softly towards her and she backed up against the wall. It wasn't the first time this had happened and she knew it probably wouldn't be the last.

But there was something in her as well that felt somewhat responsible for sating whatever it was he was seeking. Inside, she knew that his proximity to her, the things he did to her did no more sate his hunger than would water fill an eternal well.

There was an ever fascinating curiosity that surrounded Sasori. He liked to touch her too smooth skin. Smooth as only paper can be.

Konan wondered if his affinity for touch was because of Orochimaru or whether it was he that passed it on to the snake Sannin.

Slowly, she felt him lick the side of her face. Tasting the funny sort of cold, sort of warm flesh that made up her body. Perhaps it was Orochimaru's influence after all. His tongue left behind no trail of saliva and only succeeded in lowering her skin temperature by another degree or two.

Sasori lightly ran his fingers over her manicured nails and once more brushed her cheek. Before slowly digging his chakra strings into her flesh, deep into the muscle until it connected to her chakra channels. He idly explored, maybe contemplating what it would be like if she suddenly turned into paper. Would he too feel the freedom and the buffet of the wind?

He pushed the chakra strings further and he looked directly at her eyes. Not out of concern, but out of this interest at observing her reaction to this blatant violation of courtesy and comfort zones.

Konan remained tense. Was it truly possible that somebody could be so separated from humanity that even the simplest protocols were ignored?

She could feel the caress of his chakra strings, pulling here and there but never moving her limbs. She even felt the tingle of his always too cold chakra behind her eyeballs.

If he had asked her right then: Are you cold?

Konan would have said yes.

Sasori's chakra was cold to the point of burning.

"Sometimes Konan," he started, haltingly. Uncharacteristic of the puppet master to hesitate. "It seems you avoid me in the corridors, always busy when there's something I need to ask. Always leaving when you see me coming. Why is that? I wonder…"

Sasori had long stopped wearing Hiruko when he came to meet Konan. In some odd way, she supposed she ought to feel flattered. And she did.

He remained silent while waiting for her reply. His hands did not stop moving though, drawing small circles upon her bare shoulders.

He had to look up to meet her eyes. He was older than her, he was heavier than her but he was about just three centimetres shorter.

It wasn't that much of a difference, but as he glanced upwards, he wished he had made a taller version of the puppet body that covered his heart.

"Please stop Sasori-san, you're making me uncomfortable," she said. Moving her arms a bit, she attempted to lightly push him away. But Sasori must have been determined to have another conversation with her for he did not take the hint.

"Konan," he said quietly.

Her eyes narrowed by a fraction. She did not care for such things herself but generally, when referring to the Leader's partner, there was at least a lot more respect than this intimate intonation he was taking into his tone.

"Is what you do art?" Sasori ignored her obviously tense figure, his wooden hands digging into her shoulder almost painfully. He kept her still as his eyes scanned across her face, looking for the defiant behaviour that was not there.

He had always thought Konan was too compliant for her own good. He used to think it was a behaviour reserved solely for Leader, Konan's partner. The first time he touched her, he was startled to find he was wrong. She was too compliant to everybody. Everybody's personal puppet.

Konan contemplated just leaving. Leave Sasori standing in a room full of paper that soon would no longer be there. But he needed this. This conversation. There was some kind of craving for company that perhaps also spurned his need for touch.

Maybe he craved for company that wasn't too human, too emotional until the only thing that was left was the physical.

And Konan wondered whether it was a good thing or bad thing he considered her a suitable candidate.

"Art doesn't destroy," Konan said, forming a paper shuriken that peeled from the side of her neck. It slowly dragged across Sasori's cheek and he shuddered, sighing, his already lidded eyes almost shut. His body pressed imperceptibly closer to hers.

It wasn't like he could even feel the touch of her paper though. But Konan couldn't tell if he was humouring her, or humouring himself.

Origami had lost its flavour for her. By incorporating it into her jutsu, she had unwittingly destroyed what she used to love.

Paper flowers were acceptable. They were perhaps one of the only shapes that she did not use for the fight and for the kill.

"Art is eternal," he mused. "Paper is fragile but I've seen you keep those flowers on display and they remain undamaged."

Then, his thoughtful voice cracked into something cold and cutting. His face moved closer to hers until their lips were barely an inch apart.

"Paper tears," he hissed.

"Wood rots," Konan replied quietly. Her voice was always calm, almost to the point of adopting the languid intonations Sasori had.

His grip on her shoulders was growing painful now and Konan pushed at his arms, giving him a pointed gaze.

A soft sigh of assent came from his lips and he slowly loosened his grip, only to move his hands gently back to her face.

Their bodies were still pressed tightly against each other. His right foot stood between her legs.

Sasori moved his face so that it rested next to hers on the wall, giving Konan an unobstructed view of the rest of the room. Uninteresting furnishing, dull light. It was more interesting gazing in Sasori's tawny eyes despite the fact that his gaze was just as bland as the rest of the room. It was bored and filled with apathy even with the cold and intense passion in his voice.

Her paper skin would long have cut normal flesh if Sasori still possessed that. Those that touched her often found red streaks of paper cuts marring their flesh.

Wood was stronger than paper though. Her skin did nothing against his, not even leaving behind any sort of thin imperfection.

Konan was a patient woman.

It took patience to fold thousands of paper cranes.

And it was patience that kept her from leaving Sasori's hungry gaze.

It was ironic. She was but mortal, as a puppet, he never aged. Yet think, who was the more patient of the two? One had all the time in the world, and one didn't.

She couldn't see Sasori now, his head next to hers prevented her from turning to meet his eyes anyway. But she felt the smooth silken strands of synthetic hair brush against the edge of her ear. His chin that barely touched her shoulder moved as she felt him begin to speak.

"You've always been like a puppet, Konan. Even if I made you immortal, I doubt you would behave any differently. It's like you are dead."

"Is it more comforting to find someone out there like you then?" She asked.

Sasori didn't reply and Konan did not think he would. Then after an eternity he managed to sigh out, "You're not like me."

The usual irritation in his voice wasn't there. Perhaps Konan was wrong that respect for her had been entirely dumped.

His left arm gripped her right hand and moved it so that it lay pinned next to her head. She could easily feel his cool false breath against her face. It was the breath of a dead person.

Both Konan and Sasori were naturally stoic and unemotional people. But while Sasori was non-human enough to feel nothing, nothing, from the close proximity of their flesh, how they shared their breath, Konan felt her discomfort increasing.

It wasn't like they never had these… sessions before. In hallways, sometimes when he entered her room at night, it always started with the same question: Are you cold?

Unsaid were the words: Do I make you cold? Can paper feel more than the dead wood?

Sasori brought his head up again to stare at her. His half lidded lazy gaze spoke more than apathy.

Slowly, he bent forward.

It might have been a kiss, Konan thought. But she was unsure. This thing seemed more mundane than a simple medical check up and by the time he left the room, she still did not fully comprehend the significance of the action, if there was any meaning to it at all.

Then, he dropped her arm and left the room, not looking back. After a few minutes, Konan too retired for the night.

The day Sasori died, she reached Suna before Zetsu or Madara did. Kneeling by his body, she left a paper flower.

Paper would blow away easily in the desert wind.

Sasori had been right. Paper tears far too easily.

Quietly, she brushed her hands through his hair, a bit startled by the wide open expression his eyes have taken in death.

It seemed to be her turn to touch him this time.

Maybe there was peace in his eyes. It was difficult to tell.

But maybe, out here in the sand and sun, his hunger had been sated at last.

Zetsu reached Sasori's body soon after Konan left.

The flower had already gone.



Ehm, I bet all of you people can tell that this is not romantic? (Somewhat uncertain tone of voice, so don't mind me. As I said, your guess really is as good as mine. Some writer huh? Doesn't even know what is happening in her own story.)

Oh well, this has to be one of those stories I really hesitate to put up. Believe me, there are about five on my computer I don't want to post because I worry about quality… and this is borderline one of them.

But anyway, please review? One word reviews are fine when it comes to that…

So, review?