Title: Phantasm
Pairing: Yahiko/Konan [before 'Pein']
Rating: PG-16
Warnings: a more recent 'M' rated fiction, with darker/mature content to come later.
Summary: Konan knew she desired this closeness, shared between them like a hidden pact. Something reassuring to her. When Yahiko kissed her, one last time, too hard for her to breathe, it was confirmed.

Note: my first Yahiko/Konan fic. I usually write Pein/Konan (PeiKo) but I wanted to do something different. It's a late birthday tribute to Pein. It currently has a few parts. Please review...tell me what you think? Thanks. And BTW, you know I don't own, right?


"She wasn't in love but she would love him, if that would save her."

— Joyce Carol Oates (Black Water)

Part 1:: 13 Years Old::

Konan first noticed when Yahiko stared.

The origami butterfly between her fingers nearly slipped to the floor of the cave. A small fire crackled pleasantly near them; Nagato was curled up, asleep on his side. He'd been sleeping restlessly. He had been injured - a gash from slipping on a foothold while climbing a small cliffside.

Konan felt guilty. Nagato had been making faint sounds from the back of his throat and shifting, unconsciously not moving his bandaged leg, all throughout the night. But he didn't wake up. She and Yahiko had been keeping watch. They didn't feel safe, just falling asleep. Maybe it was the scare of Nagato falling that had shaken them; but they'd nearly ran into robbers not very long ago, and an unknown threat always seemed to loom over them. Yahiko was restless. And Konan was too.

As she sat folding her butterfly, she felt eyes on her. At first Konan thought it was Nagato. Then she looked over and she saw his sleeping figure lying still on the cool cave floor, his chest rising and falling slowly.

It was Yahiko.

Konan looked up from her origami, and saw Yahiko gazing at her with such an obvious intrigue etched onto his face that she felt heat prickle to her cheeks. She wasn't used to being looked at...intensely.

She fingered the hem of her shirt, looking away. It was ragged, and dirty, and wet.

And when she raised her eyes again and returned his stare, she almost felt her heart skip. Yahiko - was it really Yahiko? The boy she'd known since the ragged first days of the war, the little boy with the cut on his cheek and bruise near his eye, beaten for scraps, her companion, her friend? Better than her parents, than her sister or brother?

For a brief second it seemed like it was no longer that Yahiko.

(She felt afraid.)

Yahiko's eyes widened when he realized he'd been caught look at her. He mumbled something incomprehensible and turned away. She saw the back of his neck was flushed and his ears were crimson. Konan picked up the butterfly again and continued to fold its wing. As if it'd never happened at all.


The early evening slowly gave way to the dead of night. Nagato was now fast asleep, completely still. Yahiko sat beside Koan, because the fire had been put out and neither of them could feign sleep.

Yahiko - he knew that Konan hated to feel alone in the dark, even at 13. It made her lonely. Lonely, she'd whispered in a reveal to Yahiko one night, while they were trying to go to sleep, in the days before she'd found Nagato, helpless. She remembered he had asked her why was she afraid to be alone?

Lonely and alone. They were two different things.

Konan sighed, eyes growing heavy, her eyelids burning from fatigue. She didn't want to say it, but she was freezing cold from the nighttime rain. It soaked the air and made her have a chill. Her hands shook, so she sat on them; Konan clamped her teeth down, willing her body not to shiver.

"Are you cold?" Yahiko asked, his voice cracking a little, echoing quietly off of the walls of the cave. It was the first time they'd talked in what felt like forever. He was usually chatty and talkative, but had been almost somber since Nagato's fall. Konan thought it was because they were delayed in their travels, but perhaps it was from something else.

Konan shook her head. "I'm not cold." She was always this way. Denying the painful things. It made Yahiko grit his teeth. Made him hate it all. Because they couldn't even be warm.

Yahiko shook his head and shoved his coat at her. She blinked in surprise. "You are too cold Konan, you're...you're shaking all over the place," he said, almost angrily, and she was surprised.

Konan gently pushed the jacket back. "Why were you staring at me?" She blurted out, fidgeting, suddenly anxious and cursing herself. Really, she hadn't planned on asking him, but the words had just tumbled out on their own.

"I - I wasn't staring at you!" Yahiko replied, his eyes flashing. Konan was unsure if he could see her frown in the dark.

"You were," Konan insisted, feeling much too close, close enough to hear his uneven breathing. "Earlier, you were...I don't know."

"I wasn't," Yahiko muttered, challenging her.

"You were - just don't be a liar, Yahiko! You-" Konan insisted, because she couldn't help herself anymore; and Nagato wasn't awake anyway, and it wasn't fair he was making her so uncomfortable -

Then Yahiko was kissing her. Or at least that's what Konan thought was happening after a moment of raw shock passed, her scalp tingling, from the sensation of something soft and chapped pressed against her own lips. Yahiko's mouth. It wasn't instrusive, it wasn't forceful...but it was there.

And in an instant, gone - Yahiko was turned away from her, his back to her, almost out of breath. Konan flushed, feeling uncharacteristically meek, as if something had been snatched from her that she didn't even know she had.

(What had this become?)


They packed up and got ready to move on the next morning. Nagato's injury was slowly starting to heal. He insisted he was no longer in so much pain.

"Are you sure?" Konan asked. She helped Nagato stand up, checking the bandage on his leg. His calf was deeply bruised a blue-purplish color.

But Nagato only smiled quietly and reassuringly at her. "It's all right... I think I'm fine now." She sighed. It was hard to believe him, after he'd been too hurt to walk before.

"I'll help you carry your bags," Konan said, walking over to his things, and grabbing one of the knapsacks.

Suddenly, it was taken from her grasp. Yahiko mumbled, "I'll get it. It's fine." Konan bit the inside of her cheek, frowning. He wouldn't meet her eyes.

She thought back to what had happened the night before.

After...after it happened, Konan could hardly sleep. She was awake before, but felt even more restless afterwards. Yahiko left her in the darkness. But she didn't call for him to come back. If she had, would he have come back?

It was all so troubling. It shook her. But then, Konan's heart skipped in an almost familiar way - because the feeling she got, when it happened, it could not be called a bad one. It couldn't. It would've been easier if it could have been. What had she felt?

Konan looked over as Nagato slipped on his rain jacket. Another day of traveling to their next destination awaited them. Chibi, Nagato's faithful dog, barked at birds flocking outside of the cave. Yahiko was trying to find the great Sannin, as he called them, of the leaf; apparently, they were in Ame. Yahiko had heard enough about them to know what they could do - he boasted of their abilities, claimed they would give them an "opportunity" (hope). Now they just had to find them. But...

"Maybe we shouldn't go," Konan said quietly as she approached Yahiko, making sure Nagato couldn't overhear. "What if Nagato..."

Yahiko stared at the ground as if in deep concentration. Water dripped and echoed off the walls. "We have to Konan. Especially now."

Konan's eyes narrowed. Then she softened them, and sighed. "I'm not angry at you, Yahiko. About what you did."

He whipped his head up, staring at her in surprise. Yahiko seemed to be caught off-guard by his own actions, breaking their gaze almost at once, clenching his jaw.

"I... "

She touched his hand. It was a tentative gesture, and Konan didn't know what it meant, exactly, but only that it felt right.

"It's OK. You don't have to explain," she said, smiling a little, because that felt right as well. She could no longer worry about how Yahiko - or Nagato - had changed, without her knowing, or becoming someone strange to her; a stranger that she did not know. She could not worry about those things. She couldn't let herself.

And it seemed it would not be that way, ever - because Yahiko smiled at her just barely, through his embarrassment, and Konan was sure.

"Come on," Yahiko said, pulling away, almost triumphant; once more that defiant and confident leader, the one who could lead them to do anything, powerful - and walked over to Nagato, gathering their bags.

Konan quickly slipped on her rain jacket, throwing her pack over her shoulder, catching up with the boys as they walked out into the veil of misty rain.

End of Part 1. Part 2 is coming...it's nearly complete. [[Reviews = L O V E.]]