A/N: I was inspired by...Pein. Yeah. Let's just leave it at that :P
Takes place when Deidara's still young and newly recruited.
Warning: Language, slight violence, slight OOC.
Disclaimer: All rights belong to me. That's right! I've finally done it! I OWN NARU- *gets smacked in the head by a book*
Masashi Kishimoto: Hello~
Obsidian: Damn you Kishimoto-sama...
"Deidara get down here this instant!"
"What are you- my mom un?"
"I'm being serious!"
Deidara paused in his actions to make a mocking face at his livid partner. "No."
Sasori's lips were in a tight line.
"Come on Deidara," Kisame said. "Don't be stupid now."
"I'm not stupid hmm. I'm smart. The smartest out there!"
Sasori felt an eye twitch. "Put your big ego on hold for a moment will you?"
Deidara scoffed and then looked away, grabbing the branch above him before pulling himself up another few feet. "Shut up un."
Pein merely stared as Deidara continued climbing the two hundred foot tree, a good amount of distance away and silently watching. He might have said something to the child to get him to come down, but chose not to. The blonde wouldn't listen to anyone at this point and he really didn't feel like teleporting into the tree just to retrieve the Iwa nin. Because after all, Pein had nothing to do with it.
It all started with Hidan.
Hidan- who was now lying in several pieces on the ground in a state of unconsciousness.
Pein had decided that his members needed fresh air, and out of the kindness in his heart, chose to take them out on a walk.
In their base's backyard.
But that wasn't the point. The point was, that he had been leading the group of five outside and through a wooded path in their forest that made up a section of their yard when an argument started up.
At the time, it had just been Deidara and Sasori bickering about art as usual. Then Hidan intervened for the fun of it, opting to pick on the youngest one there as any loving friend would do.
Deidara didn't think any of it was loving at all.
"Art's a bang un," Deidara insisted.
"No it's not," Sasori drawled, looking in front of him. "Your views are so childish."
"Yeah- they soooo are," Hidan snickered from behind the pair.
Deidara glared over his shoulder. "Who asked you?"
Hidan scoffed, looking off to the side. "I didn't need to be fuckin' asked. All you ever do it talk shit about Sasori's art when it's yours that looks like it."
Deidara came to a halt, turning around to glare at him. And it was one nasty glare. It could have possibly rivaled Itachi's at the moment. But neither Itachi or Konan were with them. They were still inside the base fixing the bathroom door which Hidan destroyed when Kisame wouldn't open up. "Say that again un," Deidara challenged the Jashinist. It was only a year since he joined the organization that was Akatsuki, and Hidan had immediately rubbed him the wrong way.
Hidan grinned like a maniac. "Your art's shit. No wonder Itachi was able to beat you so easily. I mean, the guy is a thousand fucking times better than you," he laughed.
Deidara shut him up pretty good with a fist to the face.
At this point, Pein had stopped walking and turned around to tell them to break it up. But he didn't need to, for Kisame and Kakuzu did it for him.
"Cut it out you guys!" Kisame said, pulling Deidara off the silver-haired man.
Hidan glared, holding his bleeding nose. "I was just messing around bitch! You didn't have to break my nose!"
"I'll gladly break something else if you insult me again un," Deidara sneered.
Now one would have thought Hidan would have the sense to stop the argument right there. But Hidan being the provoker he was, decided it would be so much more fun watching Deidara's face turn red in anger.
"Whatever. You're just jealous I mentioned Itachi's name," Hidan sneered back at him. "Everyone knows he's so much better at you in everything. I mean fuck! The bastard can climb a fucking tree better than you. What the hell is up with that?"
The veins could be heard popping on the Iwa nin's forehead. "Say that again you asshole!"
"Gladly!" Hidan laughed, eyes narrowed. "Itachi can climb a tree better than your sorry ass ever could!"
And after that Deidara saw it fit to shut the Jashinist up with a clay beetle.
Hence the reason Kakuzu was currently tending to the man.
After blowing Hidan up, Deidara then chose to prove him wrong, deciding to pick the tallest tree they were closest to and try and climb to the top.
And that was how they ended up in this situation.
With Sasori and Kisame trying to coax the blonde back down.
Pein's eyes narrowed, watching as the blonde continued climbing higher yet onto the tree's unsteady branches. He had no idea why the Iwa nin thought it necessary to try and kill himself on a daily basis by pulling off dangerous stunts, but he couldn't afford to lose a member so valuable to them. Not that the blonde would die from a fall at that height or anything. He was more likely to break a few limbs and puncture several of his organs- both which could easily be fixed by Kakuzu.
So why was it that his chest constricted every time Deidara lost his footing?
Duty to his fellow members he supposed. After all, they had all managed to give him a scare at least once during their time in the organization.
And Deidara was their youngest and newest recruit. He'd be lying if he said that the others in the group didn't find themselves drawn to the slightly crazed blonde. It was as if something in them said to keep the teen safe from harm.
"Will you come down already?" Sasori's frustrated voice snapped him out of his thoughts. The redhead was standing directly under the tree, head tilted back as he glared at his partner. Next to him was Kisame, hands on his hips and eyes narrowed. They were both watching the blonde's moves carefully.
Deidara looked over his shoulder and stuck out his tongue. "No way un!"
"Just what are you trying to do?" Kisame asked. "Hidan was just joking around. We all know you can climb a tree!" he called up.
"That's not it at all!" Deidara called back down to them. Sure he had started out with the intention to prove them wrong. But... His gaze lifted to the very top of the tree. The place he had almost made it to. A feeling of warmth spread through his chest as he looked at the clear blue sky and clouds above. He just wanted to sit up in the heavens and admire the view. It was so calm and beautiful up in the sky. He could see everything and feel elated- feel powerful!
Flight was beauty.
Flight was art!
With this in mind, Deidara grabbed the next branch above him and swung himself up, latching onto another before skillfully scaling the tree once again. The branches were getting thinner and thinner as he rose, but so long as he was careful and kept his feet balanced well enough- he wouldn't fall.
Sasori snorted under his breath, tapping his foot impatiently. "This idiot's going to get himself killed..."
"He'll be fine," Kisame muttered more to himself. "I think Itachi climbed this yesterday for training. That might be why Hidan mentioned it."
Itachi and Konan walked into the clearing at that time, the former's eyes immediately snapping up to the blonde figure climbing the menacing tree. "What is he doing?" he asked.
Kisame looked over his shoulder. "Itachi!" he grinned, motioning to the tree he stood under. "Deidara's just trying to get to the top. But it shouldn't be a problem since you did this yesterday, right?"
Itachi slowly blinked, and then watched Deidara pause as he tried to figure out where to grab next. "Kisame...you do realize I told you that this tree had several unstable parts and that it should not be climbed until I got rid of the dangerous branches...right?"
Kisame choked on his spit as Sasori turned a fierce glare onto him.
"What was that?" the puppet hissed.
Konan sighed lightly, placing a hand to her head. "Whose idea was this?" she asked.
Kisame pointed to an unconscious Hidan who was currently being patched up by Kakuzu. "It was him!" he cried. "He said Deidara couldn't do anything better than Itachi and then brought up the whole tree thing! Then Deidara got mad and blew him up before climbing. He won't come down!"
"Relax please," Konan muttered. "Getting worked up over it will do nothing. Besides, I'm sure Deidara is smart enough to avoid all the dangerous spots."
Itachi scrutinized the top of the tree. "Perhaps..."
Pein listened to the conversation from where he stood several feet away with little interest. Hidan shouldn't have provoked Deidara and Deidara shouldn't have gotten so worked up. Although...if Itachi said the tree was unstable...
As if on cue, there was a loud cracking noise from above, and all heads in the area snapped up at lightning speed.
The branch Deidara had been standing on broke in half, and now he was dangling with one hand gripping the tiny branch he managed to grab before falling. He stared down at the ground with wide eyes and then felt them grow wider as the branch he held began bending down. That only meant one thing.
The twig snapped off of the tree, causing all his weight to plummet down.
Deidara's body acted before his brain, hooking his legs around another branch before he could fall anymore. He swung upside-down, staring at the tiny figures of his fellow Akatsuki members below him who seemed to be looking up at him.
He might have praised himself on effectively gaining their attention and saving himself at the same time had it not been for the fact that the branch he was currently hanging off of broke clean off the tree.
Damn tree! It was perfectly fine a moment ago, and now it chose to self-destruct?
Deidara cursed his bad luck, reaching into the clay pouch at his waist.
It was empty.
Meanwhile, those below was kind of having a panic attack. Or rather- Kisame was.
"Someone do something!" he shouted.
Sasori kicked him in the stomach before knocking him to the ground. "Shut up! Do you think shouting's going to accomplish anything?" he yelled.
"Speak for yourself," Konan murmured, dragging the redhead off the poor shark nin.
Pein liked to believe that only he and Itachi cared enough to wait and see what happened. After all, the blonde was smart, and he still had several hundred feet before he met with the ground. It was plently enough time for the bomber to do something of use. There was no need to intervene yet.
Deidara was in a bit of a predicament. He had no clay in his pouch, so all plans of forming a clay bird to fly down to the ground with safely flew out the window. He supposed he could call for help, but that would require giving up his pride and whatever dignity he had left. Let it be known that Deidara was no begger. Well...he guessed the only thing he could do then was...fall and cushion the blow with his arms as gently as possible?
...Yeah. He was screwed.
Good thing Kakuzu was down there.
Pein watched Deidara and concluded after several seconds that the blonde had no actual plan- if the ball he was curling himself into had anything to do with it. It occured to him a moment later that he actually intended to crash like a cannonball into the ground. The ground which was about as hard as a rock. Hitting at a height like that would kill the boy.
It looked like he and Itachi were on the same wavelength, seeing as the younger male made no move to move and seemed to be calculating the outcome instead.
Therefore it was perfectly reasonable when Deidara went slamming into the ground a minute later at Sasori's feet and didn't get back up.
Almost subconsciously, the group of criminals gathered around the unmoving blonde, staring down at him and the awkward angle his left leg was sticking out in. Even Kakuzu had joined them.
He knelt down and listened for a pulse, looking up when he heard a faint one. "Well..." he said. "He's not dead."
"...That's...a relief?" Kisame questioned more than stated.
Konan rolled her eyes, pushing them away to gently raise Deidara to a sitting position. "You idiots have no idea what you're doing. He could have a concussion or broken ribs and that's all you morons can say? And may I be so polite as to inquire why none of you tried to catch him?"
They stared at her. And then-
"Well why didn't you catch him?" Sasori asked.
Konan's brow quirked. "Because I was trying to stop you from killing Kisame. Now shut up and help me get Deidara inside!" she snapped.
When Deidara woke, it was to a pounding headache and blurry vision. He was aware that he was lying down on a bed, and the musky scent of dried clay and river water in the atmosphere let him know that he was in his room. There were also several chakra presences to the side of him, and low voices murmuring amongst themselves.
"How the fuck is this my fault? I didn't tell the fucker to go up there!"
Or shouting. Shouting amongst themselves worked too.
"You provoked him."
"Well fuck you Leader-san! From what I heard, you didn't try and catch the bitch at all!"
"Excuse me? Hidan, if you'd prefer to keep your head at the moment, then I suggest you leave."
"Hmph. Whatever. I just came to check up on the idiot anyway."
Deidara slowly blinked. It was hard to believe Hidan cared after calling him three names in a row. But that was just the way the Jashinist was so...
"You're awake?" a voice questioned.
Deidara glanced to the side, taking in the figure of his leader and Itachi. He didn't try to move his body. It felt heavy and sedated for some odd reason. He wouldn't be surprised if it was Kakuzu's painkillers doing the work.
Pein looked down at him. "You took quite the spill," he said.
"I've had worse un..." Deidara muttered, glancing from him to the Uchiha. "Why are you here?"
"To see how you were," Pein truthfully answered. "You've been out for about a week."
"What!" Deidara snapped to a sitting position. Or tried to anyway. He managed to get halfway up before feeling a sharp pain run up his spine and cause him to fall onto his side. "Ow...?"
Pein, like the good companion he was, helped the blonde lay back down properly. "You've done some damage to your spinal cord and left leg. A few ribs are broken, but other than that- you're in good shape."
Deidara chose to stare at him. "You call that good shape un?"
Pein stepped back. "I'm going to believe it's the painkillers talking right now and not you." He turned around. "I was just making a daily check-up. Get some rest. You'll be back on the mission roster by next week."
"Gee, that's some great recovery time," Deidara uttered under his breath. He sweatdropped when his leader turned back around to glare at him. "It's...the painkillers hmm."
Pein narrowed his eyes, walking out the door. "Just get better already."
Deidara sighed, closing his eyes in slight annoyance. He should have known something was going to go wrong when he took up Hidan's challenge. But could he really help himself? He wasn't about to be looked down on anytime soon!
"Deidara, can I ask you a question?" Itachi asked, staring down at him.
Damn irony! The blonde opened his eyes reluctantly. He had forgotten all about Itachi. "What is it un?" he tiredly asked.
Itachi sat down on the edge of his bed, his gaze never once leaving the teen's face. "Why did you feel the need to surpass me? You knew that tree was dangerous. I told you the night before it was when you asked me about it earlier."
Deidara looked into the pair of onyx eyes and then scoffed, averting his gaze. "It had nothing to do with surpassing you un," he said. "I was just trying to get to the top."
Itachi sighed heavily and then stood. "You're a horrible liar. Maybe you should work on that while you lie in bed for the next week." He started to leave, only pausing in the doorway to look over his shoulder and see the fierce glare on the blonde's face as he watched him go. "By the way," he started to say, eyes turning crimson. "If you ever attempt to do something so stupid again, I will personally put you in worse condition than you already are."
Then he left.
Needless to say, Deidara was quite speechless.
And horrified. Couldn't forget the horrified part.
A week later he was up and about, hobbling around on a crutch Kakuzu had provided. He would have been grateful had it not been for the fact that Kakuzu had made the crutch out the bones of his latest enemy nin.
Deidara limped down the halls, curious as to why he hadn't seen Sasori or Kisame the entire week he was bedridden.
He entered the kitchen, noticing everyone but the aforementioned men inside gathered at the table they ate at.
Hidan looked up, grinning at him. "Well look who decided to fuckin' drop in. How ya feeling bitch?"
"A lot better before the name-calling," Deidara said with a roll of his eyes.
Hidan laughed. "Whatever. See Konan? I told you he was fine," he told the blue-haired woman folding a sheet of paper.
Konan glared at him. "You also said that after you woke up and saw him lying in a crumpled heap on his bed."
Hidan sheepishly shrugged. "Whoops."
Itachi looked at the blonde teen who was still clad in his pajamas. "Did you take the medicine I left for you yesterday?"
Deidara twitched slightly. "Yes..." Oh he took it all right. And almost died from the taste.
Itachi smirked, purposefully looking away. "Glad to help."
Deidara felt the tiniest vein pop.
Kakuzu studied the Iwa nin as he shifted from foot-to-foot. "How's the crutch?" he asked.
Deidara glanced at the stick of bones supporting him and then looked at Kakuzu with a smile so fake he blinded himself. "Perfectly fine un." Nevermind the fact he poked himself in the eye with it six times since he woke up.
Kakuzu nodded and then went back to counting their mission funds for that week. "Good."
Deidara released a quiet sigh, looking wearily to his leader. "Do you know where Sasori-no-danna and Kisame-no-danna are?" he questioned.
Pein looked at him over the rim of his tea cup. "They're outside."
The blonde lifted a brow. "Why are they-?"
"I don't know Deidara. Check if you want to," Pein cut him off, looking irritated.
Deidara harrumphed, narrowing his eyes. "Well someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed un."
Pein glared. "What was that Deidara?"
"Painkillers," the blonde quickly said before turning on his heel and hobbling out the kitchen.
Kakuzu tilted his head to the side, pausing in his money counting. "That's odd. I didn't give him any pills today," he said.
"Why would you even say that?" Itachi murmured as Pein stood to his feet and stalked out after Deidara. "He'll be back in bed for another week now."
Deidara wasn't sure what to expect after making it outside to the backyard where he had his rough spill a week ago. But it certainly wasn't seeing Kisame and Sasori chopping down the tree he fell from with a handsaw.
"S-Sasori-no-danna un! Kisame-no-danna!" Deidara shouted out to them, cupping a hand around his mouth.
The two never paused in their work, but did spare him a glance.
"Good to see you alive," Sasori dryly commented.
"Hey kiddo!" Kisame cheerfully said.
"What are you doing un?" Deidara asked.
"Getting rid of this thing," Kisame said, giving a particularly vicious tug of the handsaw.
"We've been working on it for a while," Sasori absently muttered as they successfully managed to saw through the tree. "The trunk is really thick-"
"Ah! Look out below!" Kisame shouted at him as they tree began falling in the blonde's direction.
Deidara's eyes grew wide. He would have moved out the way. But it was kind of hard with a crutch and broken leg.
With the way things were going, it kind of made him wonder if his luck had always been this bad or if he was just too oblivious to notice the danger surrounding him at all times.
A pair of arms wrapped around him, removing him just as the tree crashed where he had been standing.
Deidara blinked as he and the person that had grabbed him reappeared at the base's entrance. He looked over his shoulder and blanched. "Leader-san!" he exclaimed in surprise.
Pein stared at him intensely. "You're welcome."
Deidara deadpanned. "Thanks."
Kisame and Sasori ran over, sweat dripping from their brows from their hard work and accidental near death attempt on a fellow member.
"Are you okay?" Kisame asked, skidding to a halt. "We didn't mean to-"
"Sorry for not visiting you brat," Sasori interrupted. "I thought you might like to be surprised."
"Oh I was surprised all right," Deidara said under his breath. "But..." he looked at the two men he respected very much and grinned. "Thank you un. It was very sweet of you guys. I didn't think anyone cared to be honest."
Sasori frowned, bopping him lightly over the head. "Of course we care brat. Everyone does."
"Yeah- just like you'd care if one of us got hurt, right?" Kisame said with a toothy grin.
Deidara put on a thoughtful face. "Well..."
Kisame's face dropped. "Deidara!" he cried.
Deidara smiled, blowing a raspberry. "Kidding un!" A hand clamped down on his shoulder, causing his smile to drop and head to turn. He really wasn't liking the look on his leader's face. And neither did Kisame or Sasori apparently, because they booked it inside as quickly as possible, leaving him alone with the orange-haired man.
"Y-Yes Leader-san?" Deidara said, cringing slightly under the dark aura the man was releasing.
"I thought I told you..." Pein's grip tightened on his shoulder, "to be more careful."
Deidara blinked. "Eh?"
Pein sighed, stepping away. "Every time I look at you, you're either doing something stupid or already suffering the consequences of your actions. I would call you an idiot and lock you in your room, but I think you'd do more damage by yourself than with everyone else." He looked at the large tree that Kisame and Sasori had finally chopped down. "I want all of my members to remain safe. This organization cannot function with a broken wing- so it's important no one gets hurt," he said.
Deidara deadpanned. "Of course."
Pein glanced sideways at the blonde before smiling and ruffling the front of his bangs.
The Iwa nin scowled. "Hey!"
Pein turned around and motioned for him to follow. "Come on. We're getting lunch."
Deidara's scowl turned into a small smile. "Okay un!"
Zetsu looked away from the two walking inside the base to the masked man beside him. "See? I told you having a child in the group would bring them all close together," Black Zetsu triumphantly said.
Madara rolled his eyes beneath his mask, uncrossing his arms. "Shut up Zetsu."
"But we saw you rescuing him from that caving building on the last group mission," White Zetsu said with a snicker. "Could it be...? The great Uchiha Madara has...feelings?" Black Zetsu gasped in mock disbelief.
Madara glared at him, jumping down from the tree they were sitting up in. "Again. Shut up Zetsu."
"Aw. You know you love me."
"What part of shut up do you not understand!" Madara roared with a popped vein.
Zetsu raised his hands in surrender, a wide grin on his face. "Shutting up now."
A/N: And who knows what those two were doing. Kidding :P
I had fun writing this- it was one of my more 'in character' ones. Haha, I wonder what that says for my other fics since this was definitely not IC.