Katsuko spent a glorious six months with Deidara. After he had officially declared her his girlfriend, they spent every waking moment they could together. When he wasn't working, they were at either his house or hers, creating art together. If they weren't creating art (hard to believe that sometimes they didn't feel like it), they were at the movies or the café or just walking around, looking at the town and window-shopping and enjoying each other. Sometimes they didn't even have to talk. Katsuko was happy because she had never just not talked to someone and felt lucky to be with them.

Since Deidara was a ninja (and Katsuko had yet to enter the Academy), he was busy a lot of the time on weekdays. That meant on weekdays, Katsuko was bored to death. She would sit around her house in the balming heat, having draped herself over the kitchen table and in front of the only electric fan in the house, with the phone beside her, waiting for him to call and say that Tsuchikage-sama had given him the day off. Every so often she would get a snack; sometimes she would unplug the fan, take her whole "Deidara Central" hookup to the living room, and lie down on the couch to watch TV with the fan aimed at herself. Sometime after that was usually when her mother would come in and take the fan back to the kitchen, berating Katsuko for being so selfish.

Sometimes, when her mother was out of town, Katsuko would just let Deidara sleep over at her house. She knew she wasn't supposed to have anybody over while her mother was out, much less her boyfriend. But that was what made it all the more thrilling; there was always some rush to committing the forbidden.

And usually it wasn't just because she felt like it; that she called him up and asked if he wanted to come over tonight. More often than not it was because Deidara had come from a tough mission or strenuous training, something where he hadn't gotten to see her for a while and they were both missing each other. He would call her and tell her that he was coming back from a mission, and she'd either say he could come or not, depending on whether her mom was home or not. A lot of times she wasn't lucky and he called when her mom was still home; but that just made the nights spent together even more special.

Deidara would then call his own mother, Shizuka Tekuchi, and tell her he was spending the night at Katsuko's, which Shizuka didn't mind because she was busy taking care of Deidara's cousins; they came to visit often so that their parents could go on missions. Soon after he called her, he arrived at Katsuko's house, and because she'd unlocked the door for him, he came right in.

He'd call her name a few times, and then lie down on the couch. He was usually too tired to move much, so he just collapsed. Soon after, Katsuko would creep into the living room with a blanket and, if he'd told her he was hurt, the first-aid kit. She would lie down next to him, and treat his wounds if he needed it. If not (or when she was done), she simply curled up next to him, laid her body against his, and just held him... let him hold her. He wasn't usually asleep before she got there, and they might talk for a few minutes. They didn't talk about anything in particular really. He would tell her about the mission or training, how hard it had been or how easy it had been (even if he was hurt, the stubborn ass), and then he'd ask how her art was coming along. She'd say fine, and ask how his was. And he'd just grin at her, kiss her forehead, and go, "My art is a bang, as always."

During the six months she was together with Deidara, many things happened. Though Deidara hadn't yet been promoted to Chunin rank, Tsuchikage-sama did recognize his talents. He allowed Deidara to operate a small dojo while the rest of his team was going through their afternoon training exercises. Deidara seemed very happy about it, though he was tired more often and Katsuko didn't like to see him tired or sick. But if he was happy, then she was happy.

Also, Katsuko turned fifteen. Her mother had begrudgingly agreed to let Deidara make her birthday cake, since he had practically begged, but from what Deidara had told Katsuko, the woman had hovered over him every minute, smacking him on the head with a wooden spoon if he didn't do it right. Katsuko thought it was a little funny, though the bruises on Deidara's forehead begged to differ. The cake turned out great though, with a bunch of frosted fireworks above the words Happy Sweet 15, Katsuko-chan in red icing. She couldn't quite imagine Deidara standing over the cake, squeezing out the decorating gel and meticulously painting each mini explosion onto the cake, but he boasted that he did it all by himself. It tasted okay, at least.

Towards the end of the six months they spent together, Katsuko began to notice a shift in Deidara's behavior and disposition. He was spending more nights at her house, which he had talked to her mother about. Apparently, his aunt was pregnant and, therefore, could not go on missions; she was staying at his house along with his cousins, and Shizuka was having a hard time with it all. Deidara said that sometimes there wasn't anything to eat when he got home from the dojo, and so he had to spend what little money he earned to get food - sometimes for everyone. He wanted to help his family and give his room to his aunt, but he wouldn't have had anywhere to go, so he asked Katsuko's mother (a gutsy move if she ever saw one.) She agreed, but later complained that her daughter was becoming a housewife. It was partly due to the fact that, because Katsuko wanted to make sure her boyfriend, the first (and at the moment only) love of her life, was taken care of, she made a separate dinner for herself and Deidara. She also was openly romantic with him, but toned it down in the company of her mother.

So when Deidara got off work at the dojo, he came straight to Katsuko's house. When he would come home now, he would be insanely tired and sometimes irritable. He would drop down on the couch, hugging his duffel bag that said DEIDARA SENSEI, and try to fall asleep. When Katsuko would bring him dinner, he wouldn't want to sit up and eat. More often than not he ended up with his head on her lap, being spoon-fed. Sometimes he sat up and ate, but during those times all he did was complain anyway.

That was another thing that had changed. Katsuko knew her boyfriend as an upbeat, optimistic person. He was always happy, and if someone said anything negative, he would immediately try to take the positive out of it, smiling all the while. But lately that part of him seemed... gone. Gone, or just resting maybe. She didn't know, but she missed it. He was always in a bad mood now. If he wasn't angry and criticizing everyone, he was depressed and didn't want to talk at all.

The complaints were mostly about one thing: his art. "I know my art hasn't been that great lately," he would grumble as he crossed his arms, "but do stupid assholes really have to call it crap, hmm?" He said that some villagers had been coming to the dojo and making fun of the fact that some of the ninja techniques he used he called them art. He'd recounted one time that a man told him it wasn't good as art, it wasn't even useful as a jutsu. That time he had just come home, gone straight up to his room, and stayed there until morning. Katsuko had gone to check on him once, but when she tried to ask him what was wrong, all he did was grunt and shrug her hand off his shoulder.

She was really worried about him. It didn't seem like these people would let up and give him a break, and he was a sensitive person. He was the kind of person who got upset and mad at the littlest thing someone said. It was like if somebody insulted him, that was the same as a slap to the face.

She just hoped people - Deidara included, the hothead - didn't take this to a physical level. She really didn't want to get a call saying her boyfriend was in the hospital.

WOW. Not a lot of real action in this chappie. Mostly it was a kind of filler to explain how their relationship had become over the course of six months before some of the rising action starts. There will DEFINITELY be some in the next chapter, I PROMISE.

... And sorry for not updating sooner. I'm trying! But this time it was NOT my fault. I had this done WEEKS ago and wouldn't let me update it! Bogus right? Well, I'm glad they fixed the problem so here you go everyone!

Love to you and all reviews show me love! ^^