This is short, I know. Very short. Better than nothing, though, don't you agree?

I'm still on hiatus, but it's like a semi-hiatus and I'm not even sure whether I actually am on a hiatus ._. It's complicated, I know.

Anyways, I hope this update will encourage a certain someone (wink wink nudge nudge you know who you are) to continue writing. If not, I'll just continue trying.

Indeed, in this chapter you do not find out what Deidara said to Tsunade, so that cliffhanger will remain unsolved. But I'm pretty certain you'll find out in the next chapter.

Chapter 10 – At the infirmary

"Iwaga." Yuiko's head popped out from behind the door.

It was nearing 12 o'clock and the infirmary was peacefully quiet. Sun shined in from the windows, a couple of rays reaching the footboard of Deidara's bed. He was sitting cross-legged under a blanket, setting down tarot cards on his lap. The nurse's appearance made him glance up towards the door.

"You have a visitor," Yuiko said and opened the door wider. From behind her back stepped out Sasori, eyeing Deidara with a level look. He was dressed in a black leather jacket and a gray shirt – Deidara guessed he'd ordered some new clothes.

Neither of the males said anything and Yuiko seemed to think it was because of her. "I'll leave you two alone then," she said and slipped out of the room, closing the door behind her quietly.

Deidara still didn't say a word. He watched Sasori cross the room to his cupboard and place a small, fluffy teddy bear with a white rose between its pawns on the counter. Gaze directed at the floor, the redhead stood still in silence by the bed for quite some time.

Finally he turned and seated himself on the bed next to the blond's, deciding to break the silence. "Why weren't you in class?" he asked.

"The nurse said I might experience dizziness and advised me to stay here for the day to rest," Deidara muttered, trying to appear casual and still into his activity as he flipped another card off his deck and placed it on his lap.

Sasori raised an eyebrow at them. "You're into fortunetelling?"

Deidara wasn't sure why this question irritated him. Maybe it was because Sasori was the one asking and his voice came across mocking, even though that might've been absolutely involuntary. The blond nodded wordlessly and added another card from the deck.

"What do the cards say?"

There were no doubts anymore, Deidara decided. The redhead was mocking him. "They're wondering together with me why you're here again."

"I'm here to see how you're doing," Sasori said.

Deidara rolled his eyes and put his deck down; flipping his hair out of his way, he looked at Sasori with a scornful expression. "Oh please," he said. "You haven't liked me since day one. What's my well-being to you?"

"I really did not mean to attack you like that," Sasori said sternly. "I am trying to make up for it."

Deidara rolled his eyes. "A plushie will hardly suffice." He gathered up his cards and replaced them in a small box, tossing it on the counter, thus knocking over the teddy bear with a rose. "That is, if I were expecting anything from you," he added. "Which I'm not. So you can just go on and leave."

Before meeting the other's eyes, Deidara's gaze momentarily halted on what was supposed to be a get-well present and he grabbed the rose into his hand and shoved it in Sasori's face. "In fact, take this goosefoot with you and give it to some other whore who would actually appreciate it."

Sasori eyes the rose in his grip for a moment, trying to find a fault to it, when it clicked in his head and realization thundered through him. His eyes narrowed and moved to the blond. "You're not mad about getting beat up; you're still holding a grudge against me for the one-night stand." This sentence could've been an accusation, an assertion, an argument of defence or all the previous ones.

Deidara's eyes furrowed into deep grooves and eyes glowed a dangerous blue. He threw the blanket off himself and pulled his t-shirt up in a harsh movement, revealing a horribly bruised chest and stomach. He watched as Sasori's eyes ran down his face to his bare skin and flickered.

He growled, "Yes, I'm still fucking mad about-" The words died in his throat when Sasori's cold, long finger traced down the bruise on his ribs, sending a shiver running down his spine. The finger went way farther than the bruise, though. It slid down the blond's stomach, further and further, until hooking onto the hem of the black sweatpants he was wearing.

Deidara gave a low growl at this. His hand extended and was about to slap the redhead, but was effectively stopped and brought to a halt by Sasori's hard grip. Not too hard, though; just enough to keep the hand in place.

"Pervert," Deidara hissed and let his t-shirt fall and cover his stomach once again.

Sasori released his hand and sighed. "Sorry."

"Heard that before. Got something new?"

Sasori pinched the bridge of his nose and inhaled calmly. This – brat – was just so much to deal with. Seriously, did he act like this with everyone, or was he a special case? Deep inside, Sasori was sure he knew the answer.

"Believe it or not, brat, I didn't come here to argue with you."

"Oh, really?" The scepticism was evident in Deidara's voice as two eyebrows raised in synchrony, expressing theatrical disbelief on the blond's face. "Because to me it seemed exactly what you're doing. Forgive my misinterpretation then. Why did you come here?"

"I came here to ask you out." The redhead's bluntness made Deidara quiet instantly and the two eyebrows that had been raised in question, lowered back to their original place. To the blond it was obvious it seemed the other was playing another bad, tasteless joke on him.

"This isn't even funny, Sasori."

Sasori snorted when realizing the reason for the misapprehension. "You misunderstood the hellhole doublespeak. I meant 'go out' in the most literal sense of the word." He paused for a moment to understand whether the other had caught on. "Go out as in out of here. Out of the hellhole."

"As in run away?" Deidara guessed.

Sasori shook his head. "Not exactly. We'd be back before anyone noticed our absence in order to avoid punishment."

Deidara stared at him dumbly. "Why?" was all he could think to ask. "Why are you asking me along?"

"I'm trying to compensate for my bad behaviour," Sasori reminded him. "Surely you're sick of this place."

It wasn't as much of a lucky guess as it was an apparent fact. Every student in Otogakure no Sato Academy was downright sick of it; there wasn't another imaginable option.

"You're just trying to get me into trouble," Deidara said, even though he couldn't deny the fact that fleeing this place for even one night sounded most appealing to him.

Sasori dramatically rolled his eyes. "If I wanted to get you into trouble, I doubt I'd go as far as to actually plot a devious plan like this. Dropping a bag of snuff amongst your things would suffice."

Deidara paled, as though just now realizing how easy it was here to dig a hole for someone and not fall into it yourself. A miniature smirk spread across Sasori's face.

"Relax, it was just an example. I didn't say I was going to do it."

Deidara nodded a little uneasily. He hated how vulnerable he was coming across, but he couldn't really help it – he wasn't used to this kind of life. Always watching your back like in a battlefield. Continuously suspecting everything and everyone and trusting no one. Deidara couldn't deny that compared to Sasori, he was a newbie in this madness.

"Are you in?" Sasori asked him, befuddled at how silent the other had become. His words were what made the blond snap out of his daze.

"Alright," Deidara agreed, not able to deny the opportunity to escape from this place for even a matter of hours. "Yes."

Sasori nodded and forced himself up from the bed. "I'll come to get you around ten. Put something warm on." He started walking towards the exit, but halted mid-way, giving the blond one last glance over his shoulder. "Oh, and by the by, that chocolate inside the bear isn't poisoned." He proceeded and let the door swing shut after himself.


Deidara was allowed to leave the infirmary hours after the school day had already ended. He'd eaten lunch at the infirmary (nurse Yuiko had brought it for him from the canteen) and, though cautious of the gift at first, even took a small bite out of the chocolate bar. Deeming its taste wonderful, he soon ate the rest of it as well.

Back in his room, Deidara changed his clothes. He felt like bashing himself for checking in the mirror way too often, just to make sure all his clothes matched. Truth be told, there wasn't much to check or even match. All his clothes turned out to be black anyway, thus emphasizing greatly his light hair and making his skin look paler than normal.

A frown curved his eyebrows at the sight. For a moment he wondered what his mother would say if she saw him, if she knew everything that'd happened during the relatively short period he'd spent in Oto no Sato. 'I hardly recognize you,' she would probably say.

That much was true; Deidara had trouble recognizing himself, too. He couldn't quite remember anymore what he had looked like before all hell had broken loose; that is to say, before Tobi's death. Had he smiled more than he did now? Had he been tanner? Deidara couldn't remember.

The only thing he truly knew was that he had changed a lot; both look- and personality-wise. Even if he couldn't picture his past self, he could still feel the transition inside himself.

But he felt stable. He felt balanced.

He wasn't overly shy anymore, afraid what else he might find around the corner in this crazy, prison-like school. He would've been able to face Hidan covered in blood without fear.

He wasn't revenge-obsessed anymore. He was well on the road to put what had happened between himself and Sasori behind him and move on. He could be friends with Sasori, as much as anyone could be friends in a place like this where anyone could (and probably did) hide a knife behind their back.

He wasn't as healthy as he'd been before all this, but he felt like he could cope with the problems from now on. He could face them, not run away. He could put up with this madness without going insane himself. He would survive the time he'd have to spend here.

All those thoughts, mental sentences, ran through Deidara's head as he stared blankly at the mirror.

A knock on the door made him look away from his reflection he'd stopped seeing a while ago, sometime when he'd lost himself in his thoughts. He turned around and walked to the door, opening it in a steady motion. It swung to the side, revealing Sasori standing behind it.


To be continued...