Title: Phantasm
Pairing: Yahiko/Konan [before 'Pein']
Rating: PG-16
Warnings: Light sexuality
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: Here is the highly anticipated scene from chapter 511. I apologize from lack of updates. There was a lot of drama, problems, a death in the family. I wasn't quite sure about the quality of this chapter. I feel that I wanted to pinpoint on Konan's emotions more, and her feelings about Yahiko's growing unrest and anger. I hope I conveyed it. The story, sadly, will be coming to an end soon. 2-3 more chapters, max. Updates will be more frequent. Happy belated New Year. Reviews are much appreciated, as always. This chapter is somewhat longer to compensate for my absence. Also, the song lyrics are featured on Eden of the East. It's a beautiful animation.


"We live a dying dream, if you know what I mean...It's all that I've ever known."

Falling Down by Oasis

Part 6:: 18 Years Old::[2]

Yahiko had never fully understood weakness - until he realized the truth. About everything. It was so clear, he felt stupid.

It was when he had been injured when training with the Akatsuki. It was when they still lived in the shack that Jiraiya had given them; now years old, it had grown ramshackle, dilapidated. Grown out of.

In the earliest stages of forming their soon to be infamous, notorious group, a group that held the future of this world and this generation, and even the next in its grasp - Yahiko had nearly died.

Or so Konan had claimed. She had been worried he'd bleed to death, looking at him with painfully apprehensive eyes as she gently laid him down on the makeshift bed on the floor, a crude healing station. The towels and tatami mats were stained with old blood. The shuriken that had been embedded deeply into his left shoulder, his lower back, were all carefully removed by Konan, patiently through his gritty cries and clenched teeth as Yahiko endured the pain, the stitching, the bandaging.

"Never thought...you'd become some medic," Yahiko was faintly hoarse, feeling fatigued as he curiously watched Konan work, finishing the bandages on his wrist. His forehead, thoroughly bruised from a slight gash, was already wrapped up along with his torso and chest.

Strips of gauze with matted tissue and blood were pushed aside. More bandages. "Yahiko, you know I don't mind." It was Konan's way to be carefully calm, placid, still even in crisis, her hands not shaking or trembling, the only proof of her emotions in her eyes.

And at that moment, a strange feeling overwhelmed Yahiko - and maybe it was a little impulsive, too impulsive...but he wanted to prove it to her, say any thing at that moment just to convince her - Akatsuki, it was just beginning, and he wouldn't always be so prideful and self-assured that he would always get so hurt. (And that he could make her happy again, in some way, any way.)

"Konan," Yahiko began, before he winced as his abdominal muscles contracted painfully as he tried to get up. Konan frowned, before gently holding his lower back and lifting him to sit. Yahiko held back a cry of pain, eyes shut tight, the world dark and sprinkled with brilliant stars -

Until he opened them, regained his vision, came face to face with Konan.

It was then that Yahiko understood how he felt, how things were. And from there, he could never go back.

Was Konan the same person? Quiet and affectionate once, yet as they grew older she had changed, becoming lithe and almost graceful. Authoritative and strong; yet still kind and calm. It was all bittersweet. And how she looked at him with eyes that were nearly entrancing, embracing...

Yet Konan had never been hesitant to fight for her survival or theirs. She had done everything she could for them, faithfully stayed at his side as more than a companion, and Yahiko kept taking - and what if it all came to an end? Because she was there when no one else was and she didn't deserve this life.

It was like a debt Yahiko could never repay: just her presence, her words. And this thought would be carried with him for too long, maybe forever. But he wanted to keep her.

"Konan - " Yahiko started again, but she quieted him with her melancholy eyes, faint and timeless smile. That worn out, sympathetic look. The look he wanted more than anything, more than success, maybe Hanzou dead at his feet, even -

Kissing made him forget all of it, those sudden thoughts that sprang on him, contradictory and ridiculous thoughts that could have been true.

"Don't ever -" Konan said, in-between their kiss, "- Die, OK?"

Yahiko pulled away, breathless, still slightly numb from antiseptic. Don't ever leave, he wanted to say - and he realized he was selfish, loved her too much, that one day Konan would suffer for it. So he obliged.

"Don't worry. I'd never," Yahiko said, so reassuringly he nearly thought it was true.

(A wonderful lie.)


Konan awoke to the sickening sound of groaning, twisting metal in the middle of the night.

The digital clock by her bed read 2 AM. Konan wrapped the blanket around her shoulders more tightly, covering her mouth, biting at her cheek and willing it to go away, the fury and the hatred and sadness she sensed in this house. And all at once, everything was still. No longer could Konan hear Yahiko's sharp screaming, Nagato's sturdy loud replies. Only silence, which only made her heart pound with a strange apprehension and bitterness.

In the morning, she awoke to realize she'd slept far too late.

It made Konan suddenly remember being a child again, days before her mind could process the words war, manslaughter, death, starvation, famine - nothing fearsome or evil existed. When people she met would smile at her and automatically be kind. Little again, so she could sleep late into the morning before her mother would gently wake her up. She couldn't remember her mother's face, her expressions; it made bile rise in Konan's throat. She swallowed heavily. The memory made her irrationally sad, with a deep sense of longing for something she couldn't identify.

Rain slammed against the windowpanes in a violent and almost vengeful fury, reflecting their moods.

9 AM, and Konan padded barefoot through the apartment with the draft, musty smelling walls and unswept floors, feeling chilled from the silence - without warning, she was alone.

Nagato's books were not scattered across the table or by the window overlooking the city as they usually were. Instead, they were neatly stacked by the cheap bookshelf. As if they hadn't been touched. Yahiko's tools were not laid out on the counter from repair; his presence, the evidence of his life, didn't exist.

Her heart beat strangely, flying into her throat. Konan trailed her fingertips across the counter. Could not think anything, could not feel anything when she saw the twisted kitchen faucet, a funny looking metal knot.

Konan walked back towards the bedroom; made no sound, forgot to close the door. (How had they become so far apart?)

Lying back down, even despite the time. Not questioning where they'd gone. Not thinking to go after them. Too tired to interrogate, to think. To wonder. Only crawling back into the inviting blankets, the empty bed that beckoned her, hoping to lie down not to dreams, but to static. Uninterrupted darkness.


Amegakure's wastelands, scattered with ashes and debris, remnants and relics of storms and disaster, past bloody battles.

A vast and empty land that had once haunted them as children.

Yahiko approached them. Nagato felt a strange weight settle into his chest, lying heavily there; instinct continued to assault him, this isn't right.

Their soldiers - the members of Akatsuki, stood tall and strong, vigilant. True tools, weapons. But this wasn't correct, no - Nagato thought bitterly to himself, they were doing this for their own payoff, not for loyalty, bravery, pointless and petty labels that didn't guarantee the scarce money and protection they'd been offered. Despite the many who had fallen, brutally butchered by Hanzou's men, bleak. symbols of Hanzou themselves.

Akatsuki: a bloody dawn.

They were no longer saviors of purity, with a vision for peace - blood drenched now, their morals and ideals; but then, had they ever been pure to begin with? Nagato would like to think so.

Though at least when Yahiko spoke - recognizable as their true leader, their voice, their guide, everyone listened. Nagato could no longer understand what Yahiko once told him, in secret: you are the bridge to our peace. He'd always been somewhat grandiose. Hopeful. It stung, and Nagato could not bear being something beyond himself (because it can't possibly be true).

"We have a proposition - a plan. You will become a part of our victory," Yahiko spoke proudly.

The leader of the warriors stepped forth, appearing scarred and menacing, though almost weary. "Victory. How many times have I heard that - well if you're not gonna pay up front, let me tell you, our services don't come for free -"

Yahiko silenced him, shoving the edge of his blade into the soft, black earth. "We're giving you freedom. Reclaiming our land from Hanzou. Ending his stifling hold on Amegakure." Freedom. The constant prize man always pursued; the ultimate payoff, and to Yahiko this was enough -

The head of these criminals, true criminals unlike the kind that the Akatsuki were called - former criminals of senseless raids, slaughter - simply laughed. "Freedom, some goddamn joke, huh. Knew I never should've paid any attention to what that guy had to say to me," the man spoke sharply and off-handedly of his contact, signaling for his band of men to leave.

Yahiko had a plan. Nagato had seen him painstakingly lay them out night after night, loss after loss. Even when they won, reclaimed some territory that Hanzou's army had taken over deep within the city. But those wins, Yahiko would say, those triumphs - they were small, meaningless, just hacking away at the outside. They needed to get in. And firepower, their strength, it wouldn't do.

"See", Yahiko had said in an excited voice that made Nagato remember their distant childhood, "We were doing it all wrong. You were always right, Nagato - I mean, all those times you said you hated fighting too, that we couldn't win if we fought. You were right." Nagato had kept those words in the back of his mind for weeks. You were right. They felt almost empty.

He'd proposed a treaty, one he would present to Hanzou that day - a peaceful way of ending it. Secretly Nagato knew this was almost like a defeat, a surrender, a white flag Yahiko was reluctant to give...but Nagato also had seen Yahiko's true heart. When Konan had bandaged his wounds even long ago, and he'd looked at her with a gentle softness and sort of attachment that made Nagato feel almost alone, yet surprisingly hopeful himself. Nagato knew deep inside, the truth: they were always lured and alluded by peace, the ideal of utopia. And a compromise was the only way.

"There won't be any battle. We only want you for security. Think of you as our bodyguards," Yahiko said, smirking, his boyish humor resurfacing for a moment as he threw a bag heavy with cash, which the leader easily caught. "Of course we know you want money - it's human nature. Think of it as an...incentive."

The leader paused, staring at the bag. He opened it, examined its contents before shaking his head, appearing satisfied, arrogant.

"You sure know how to be persuasive, huh. This sure is some freedom right here," he laughed almost scornfully, as Yahiko's quiet smile fell for a moment, replaced by a distant and almost young expression. Then Yahiko quietly laughed to himself; throwing his head back slightly, staring straight into the rainy sky, face pelted with rain.

"It's the salvation of our kingdom," Yahiko said to himself, as Nagato began to explain their plan, suddenly obligated to do so by more than loyalty alone.


The second time Konan awoke, she felt dull and lonely and the rain had only grown harder.

What time was it? Konan was unsure. A heaviness lingered in her heart. She'd slept restlessly, suddenly extremely tired. She had never told Yahiko, despite their closeness - the close contact that had bound them together invisibly, through his lingering touch - that oftentimes, she'd grown weary and tired of battle. Almost three years of her life had been filled with an escalating turbulence.

A turbulence not only from the battle, the endless acts of bloodshed, but of feeling as well.

Konan could remember the time that Yahiko had first truly touched her; the day they had first done something so choppy and raw and complete as sex. Her head had spun, and her feet had felt like they would melt straight through the floor. When he'd finished, Yahiko gently set her back down, and Konan couldn't help but notice his arms were shaking. Her body, veins, skin still tingled with pleasure, and -

Love, because she looked into Yahiko's face and what she saw was no hatred for anyone, or a desire to kill their adversary, no pent up need for destruction, but her own heart reflected back. Young and emotional feeling like they were children again, back on their own and bound by juvenile affection.

How long had it been since he'd touched her?

Konan slowly arose. Walked to her closet. Noticed the time. (Evening.) Winds whipping and howling violently outside the apartment. Slipping on her cloak. Slowly zipping the zipper, hiding her casual clothing of normal women. It wrapped her in the violence she'd witnessed.

Clutching the high neck's cloth to her mouth. Blunt nails digging into her palms, a fury welling within -

Screaming into the material, bloodily, brokenly - bleary anger and confusion, why had they left and why was Yahiko so changed? she loved them both, and - how would it end, WHY THEM, why NOW, it wasn't fair it was never...

Konan leaned against the closet, eyes shut. A weakness was creeping up on her that she'd never allowed herself to feel: exhaustion, a desire for peace. It would always overwhelm her, that pointless and grandiose fantasy of a normal life, where Nagato's rinnegan did not exist, she would know she had loved them both enough, and Yahiko would feel -

She didn't comprehend it at first. The sounds.

The sudden loud shattering sounds of the window panes imploding. A blunt crash, splintered cheap wood and the lock had been broken, the door kicked down. Crunching of footsteps on broken glass. Intruders in the living room. The first thought: they had to be with Hanzou. Akatsuki, the soon to be saviors, soon to be kings, notorious in their acts of terrorism against their leader and his army - and they'd finally come (but why?) All erratic feeling and confusion was replaced by this calm and unsettling mantra.

It became painfully clear. Senses heightened by defense and adrenaline. Running from the bedroom to her outside balcony, their footsteps close behind. Konan could sense their chakra but she was ready for them, hadtobeready -

Then, a whirlwind of butterflies, masquerading as beauty, deadly as the edge of the blade, encasing her. Encasing them, and the present was a carousel of dancing and spinning turbulence, and the future wasn't clear. (But I don't care if I die, she thinks, Because at least they aren't here with me.)