Beta'd by Chillybean
"Ugh…where…exactly am I?" Deidara gasped as he leaned against the soggy wall. He had been walking around in the dark tunnel for ages and it didn't seem like he was getting anywhere at all. The air was unnaturally wet considering that it hadn't rained for the past few days. His wings felt heavy and were literally dragging on the ground as he walked.
The blond peered back at where he'd come from, and then turned front in the direction of his path. He couldn't even tell if he was moving forward at all with nothing but dark emptiness surrounding him. "Ah…!" Deidara gasped as he dropped his head into his hand. He gritted his teeth as another pounding wave of pain attacked him. With all the strength he had, he willed his body to move forward, navigating his way through the darkness with his right hand on the wall beside him.
"Huh?" Deidara paused in his step. He slowly turned his head towards his right, careful not to move too much so that it wouldn't worsen his headache. "What's…" His hand ran over the wall, feeling the bumpy outline that had caught his attention.
"A door, un." Immediately brightening up at the thought that he may be able to escape, he felt around the wall before finding the doorknob. He turned and carefully swung the door open to see light coming from inside. However, the instant the blond stumbled in, his relief was promptly shattered.
He quickly brought his hands to his mouth, trying hard not to vomit as he stared at the large amount of body parts from various insects that had been stuffed in some sort of clear container. The room was filled with the stench of rotting flesh. Suddenly, Deidara felt that the room decorated by butterfly wings wasn't so bad. At least he didn't see any floating hands and heads inside clear fluid (which he doubted was water).
Quivering, Deidara slowly took a step back, only to bump into an obstacle that wasn't there before.
"This isn't good." A voice spoke, startling the butterfly as he instantly tried to make a run for it, only to have his wrist caught.
"Let me go!" Deidara curled his other hand into a fist and threw it at the silver haired insect, only to have that wrist caught as well.
"I must say, I'm surprised that you can move. A normal insect would have been paralyzed for a few more hours."
"Who are you? What do you—ugh…!" Deidara collapsed to his knees as his head spun painfully from the abrupt movement. Weakened by the pain, he couldn't find any strength to resist as he was pulled up by his arms and thrown over the insect's shoulder like a sack.
"Orochimaru has been longing to meet you, Swallowtail Butterfly, Deidara-kun. Let's not keep him waiting."
"Oro…c-chimaru…?" Deidara gasped as his bluebell irises dilated in horror of the name.
"What in the world is this?" Karin muttered with shallow breathes as she stared at the golden dust scattered over the ground. "This scent…it can't be—why is he here in the meadow?"
"Karin." An icy voice broke the female from her thought as she looked up to see Sasori sitting on the very top of a grass blade. He was glaring down, almost murderously, at the yellow powder glittering under the moonlight. The red haired mantis felt his heart stop when he arrived at the scene, instantly recognizing what the golden dust was and who it belonged to.
"What did you find out?"
"A-ah…" Karin hesitated, but she knew that Sasori was on the edge of his patience. She bit her lower lip and tried to think of excuses she could use, but a blue blade slashed by, splitting the ground at her feet and missing her toes by a mere pinky's length.
"A-alright, alright!" She screamed. "It's Kabuto! I can smell Kabuto's scent here, you happy now?"
"Kabuto?" Sasori literally growled out the name as he flicked his tongue. His suspicions were confirmed, and it turned out to be the worst case scenario. He instantly began to regret his decision to not to kill the beetle. He tugged hard on the thread that was binding the mosquito, preventing her from trying to sneak away.
"Take me to him."
Karin parted her lips to protest, but she wasn't able to say anything when she caught a glint of desperation in the mantis' eyes. She gaped, realizing that the tone the mantis had used wasn't a command, but more of a plea.
"A-ah…" That was all she could muster out, helpless to form proper words in her stupor. If she was stunned by Sasori's change before, she was definitely shocked into speechlessness now. The news of Kabuto, and more importantly Orochimaru, being in the meadow was so far back in her mind that for the first time in her life, Karin couldn't find it in herself to care. Wordlessly, she pushed herself up from the ground, flapping her wings a few times to steady herself as her arms were still bound against her body.
Sasori trailed behind Karin as they entered the forest. The voices of insects of the night flittered through the air like autumn leaves rustling against a gentle breeze. The mantis was listening to their whispers cautiously, his eyes watching for any irregular movement, when a glint caught his gaze. The mantis momentarily paused in his step as he looked towards the empty space that had grabbed his attention. He resumed his pace a second later before the mosquito could take notice.
As they walk deeper and deeper into the forest, the whispers began to fade. Although it was still there, the voices were clearly much fainter than before. Sasori's eyes darted around, noticing that the quieting air wasn't the only change happening within his surroundings. It was only when the mantis looked up that he saw a sheet of white covering the tops of the trees, shielding the sky from his view. Sasori snapped his head back down when he sensed that Karin had stopped.
"What is it?" He asked looking forward, only to see darkness.
"There are three—no, four insects." Karin replied slowly. "I recognize their scent from when I was working under Orochimaru."
"Then what are you doing?" Sasori asked coldly. "Walk."
"Are you stupid?" Karin snapped as she turned back to glare at the mantis. "This means that we're nearing Orochimaru's hideout! You can walk the rest of the way by your—" The mosquito wasn't able to finish as she shrieked when she was lifted off the ground by the back of her shirt.
The Orchid Mantis ignored her scream as he released the binding around her. He took a few steps before he lifted her over his head and hurled her into the darkness with shocking strength. Karin's wings flapped violently, but they did nothing to stop the force of her fall as she disappeared into the shadows.
And then, Karin let out a blood curdling scream which caused the whispers of the forest to come to an abrupt stop.
"As I thought." The mantis moved forward, keeping his steps light and soundless as he followed the direction of Karin's screams. The closer he got, the webs that Sasori had noticed on the way began to grow thicker and thicker until they were covering the entire area like snow.
Spiders. Sasori ducked under a thread and leaped over another, careful not to trigger it to alert the enemy of his approach. As Karin's voice grew closer, Sasori soon began to make out other softer voices. He scaled a tree, expertly dodging all the threads his keen eyes detected, and landed on a thin branch. Glowing blue thread shot out of his fingertips which he threw over a branch by his head and attached them to the end of the white web that was blocking his vision. With a pull, the white curtain was pulled up, giving him a clear view of the web-covered surrounding and, more importantly, Karin.
The mosquito was thrashing about with her back glued to the sticky cobweb that she couldn't break free of. "You bastard! You'll pay for this!" She kept shouting, coming up with all sorts of curses and swears to insult the mantis.
"Hm? That voice…" Someone spoke, causing Sasori's eyes to trail to the shadows where he spotted a fat Antlion larva* with a partly bald head. He remembered the insect as Jiroubou, one of Orochimaru's elite bodyguards. He was together with a four-insect team that made a rather large impression on the mantis—as they enjoy referring others as trash when they were no different.
They were a group of worthless juvenile insects in the mantis' perspective.
That means those other three are around. He thought in the back of his head. His eyes trailed around Karin and easily spotted three other silhouettes. One was dangling from the web, while the other two slowly stepped out from the bushes.
"Well, well." The smallest of the group chuckled. "Karin, didn't think I'd see you again, traitor."
"Tayuya." Karin spat, glaring daggers at her fellow female insect before she yelped, shivering when the spider suddenly crawled up from behind her. "Kidoumaru…!"
"How nice of you to drop into my web." The Anelosimus Studiosus*, Kidoumaru, cackled. "I'm sure you haven't forgotten what we do with trash?"
"S-Sasori you ass!" Karin shrieked from the top of her lungs. "Hurry and help me!"
"Sasori?" The two headed Robber Fly* gasped before he suddenly fell silence. Immediately sensing that something was wrong, the other followers of Orochimaru turned, only to watch as their teammate's joined heads rolled off his shoulders and fell to the ground.
"Sakon—!" Jiroubou shouted, only to have blood dribble out of his mouth as a large, blue blade went though the center of his chest, where his heart was located. Kidoumaru and Tayuya stared in utter shock as the blade was retracted. The large body of the Antlion tumbled to the ground, revealing the Orchid Mantis with the blood of their comrade illuminated eerily against his stoic face.
"Tayuya, retreat, hurry!" Kidoumaru shouted and the female insect wasted no time darting towards the direction of their hideout.
"Why!" Tayuya shouted as she spread her dusty wings and flew after the spider running ahead of her. "Why is that bastard here?"
"It must be Karin!" The eight limbed insect snarled. "Pick up your speed! It'll be over if he catches us!" He swiftly whizzed through the maze of web with the Uropyia Meticulodina* flying right behind.
"We can take him!" Tayuya bit out. She pulled out a flute from her shirt and clutched it tightly in her hands. "Fatty and birdbrain are idiots for being caught off guard. It's been cycles since we saw that bastard. We've grown stronger!"
"Are you stupid?" Kidoumaru snapped back. "We didn't even sense his presence until Sakon and Jiroubou were killed! We need to hurry and report this to Orochimaru-sama!"
"You're just afraid!" Tayuya said with a disgusted look. "Since when did you become such a wimp?" She then tilted her wings, making a sharp turn as she passed by some webs and landed on a withering tree. Her brown wings folded around her, the colours and curls at the end of the wings perfectly mimicking a dead leaf, allowing her to blend in with the real ones. There, she crouched stilly, waiting for her prey with her flute against her lips. She never took notice of the auburn eyes staring down at her from above.
Kidomaru flicked his tongue, but he didn't do anything and simply kept on running. He didn't look back to see how his companion was, as he couldn't afford it nor did he care enough. He needed to put as much distance between him and the mantis as possible. Right now, the most important thing he needed to do was return to the hideout and alert Orochimaru of Sasori's appearance.
As he ran, he listened tentatively, trying to hear Tayuya's flute sound, which would definitely be heard if she had engaged in a battle. However, there was nothing. The air was unnaturally silent. It was so quiet that it made sweat pour down his tan skin. He didn't like the feeling of this at all. There was something wrong with the entire situation, but the fear and the instinct to survive didn't allow him to dwell on that matter for long.
He almost let out a sigh of relieve when he saw the opening within the hollow tree that led to his master's base through the thick curtain of his white webs. He picked up the speed, about to reach it when—
"Hm?" A voice literally hummed right beside his ear before a cold hand grabbed him by the back of his head. "So that is where Orochimaru's base is?"
The hand pulled the head back, stretching the spider's neck to its limit as a blue glow flickered. Kidoumaru's body crashed to the ground. It rolled a few time from the force, slowly coming to a stop as fresh blood bled from the part where his head was missing. Sasori slowly stepped out into the moonlight and glared at the entrance to the hideout. He casually tossed the head over his shoulder. It bounced across the dirt, making a soft thumping sound, while Sasori's blade formed in both his hands. With a powerful slash, the web before him was torn down, revealing a narrow passageway within the hollowed tree.
"Damn it…" Deidara gritted his teeth as he struggled to move. His body trembled painfully as he tried to get his hand to move, but all he could manage was a small twitch of a finger. He gritted his teeth as sweat poured down his skin. "Damn it, un…!"
He squeezed his eyes shut, then reopened them to the sight of the sickening room that was decorated by butterfly wings. In the end, that silver haired insect had dumped him back to the room he had woken to and left after injecting something into his body that paralyzed him. He knew that it was only a matter of time before Orochimaru came, but he couldn't find it in himself to do anything. He didn't even know why he was here. He couldn't figure out what Orochimaru wanted from him, and from the stories he heard from Hidan and Nagato, he didn't think he wanted to know.
"Sa…sori no Danna…." He whispered out the name as he felt hot tears threatening to fall from his eyes.
Deidara's eyes immediately snapped up. His body froze mid tremble as he watched the door slowly swing open. From the position his head was in, he could only see a pair of feet slowly step into the room. The butterfly instantly knew it wasn't the silver haired man from before, as this person's skin over his feet was extremely pale, to the point where it looked unnatural. Like some sort of disease.
"Kukuku…" A hoarse voice laughed, causing an unpleasant chill to rush through the blond's veins.
Deidara felt his body unwillingly jolt when a cold hand was suddenly placed over his head. His eyes widened in shock as he stared at the stitches of the insect's clothing.
When had he gotten so close?
Just a moment ago, the mysterious stranger was at the doorway. But at some point without the blond noticing, he was already in front of him. The bed sagged down with the extra weight, causing Deidara's limp body to slide closer to where the insect sat.
The cold hand brushed his bangs up, removing the golden locks that blocked his other eye, widening his range of vision. When Deidara took this chance to look up, he was met with a pair of golden eyes and a sickly wide smile plastered over a raven haired male's face. Immediately, the creepy face of the insect told the butterfly that he was Orochimaru, the twisted insect who had once went after Itachi and Sasori.
"It's certainly a pleasure to finally meet you, Deidara-kun." He said in his scratchy voice. "My name is Orochimaru. I believe you've heard of me before from Itachi-kun?"
Deidara kept his lips sealed, but he couldn't help but feel fear spike through him as a droplet of sweat slowly rolled down his face. How did Orochimaru know of his relationship with Itachi?
"Kukuku, from your reaction," Golden eyes gleamed in delight, "you are acquainted with Itachi after all."
The butterfly kept his gaze down, determined not to say anything as he felt the hand continue to caress his face. "I've heard about your unusual traits and beauty, so I came to the meadow to see for myself. But to see that you are friends with Itachi was certainly an unexpected surprise."
The cold hand slipped beneath his chin, gripping tightly as Deidara was slowly lifted up by his head. He tried to command his body to move, but still, his limbs refused to obey him. "Such beautiful wings."
Deidara let out a small gasp when a hand grabbed his wing, pulling it up so that it would fan out.
"Oh, but it's damaged?" Orochimaru noticed when he saw some of the coloured scales on the beautiful wing had been scratched off. "And I told Kabuto to be careful when handling you."
The blond felt utterly sick to his stomach at the way Orochimaru spoke, as though he was nothing more than an object for his enjoyment. "Don't…touch me." He gritted out, but Orochimaru merely smirked wider, seeming happy that he was able to get words from the butterfly. "Get…your dirty hand…ugh!" Deidara cried in pain as he was slammed down onto the bed.
"You're as they say: feisty and stubborn." Orochimaru chuckled as he caressed the blue patches on the wings that a male Tiger Swallowtail butterfly shouldn't have. "Completely opposite of Itachi. You two are truly the sun and the moon. Tell me, if I use you as bait, would Itachi willingly come to me?"
"You…!" Deidara bit down his lips in pain when Orochimaru brushed his fingers over the damaged part of his wings that he had scratched off. "T-the reason you brought me here…is because of Itachi?"
"Of course not." A long, pointed tongue snaked out from between Orochimaru's lips. "I told you, it's you that I wanted. The fact that you know Itachi is just a bonus." The raven hummed as he examined the wings. "Such unusual colouring indeed. Hard to believe that you are a male."
"What are you imply—!" Deidara's irises shrunk when his obi was suddenly ripped off of him. His kimono fell apart, sliding off his body and revealing his skin to the insect hovering above him.
Deidara laid in absolutely stillness. He wasn't able to comprehend everything, even when the cold hand left his wing and started to trail down his body.
"Kuku, a male indeed." Orochimaru smirked. He could tell that the butterfly was too frightened to even react. He allowed his eyes to wander as he licked his lips. He glanced to the feminine wings, then back to the body that belonged to a male. "To have a female's wings isn't a natural occurrence that can be deemed possible. That is, unless you were born from an egg that was supposed to contain two bodies, but merged into one." The pale insect said as he lightly ran his hand over the breathtaking wings again.
"Meaning that even if you are a male on the outside…" Orochimaru licked his lips as his hand trailed back to the smooth body and slipped between the blond's thigh. Deidara's eyes snapped open, a sharp scream tearing out of his throat as he felt fingers penetrate him painfully.
"You would have the inner structure of a female."
Robber fly (Sakon Ukon) – the name "robber flies" reflects their notoriously aggressive predatory habits. They have extremely sharp eyesight and can fly at devastating speed to catch other prey midair. They have stabbing mouthparts which inject powerful neurotoxic venom and digestive juices into the victim, dissolving its innards, which the fly sucks afterwards.
Antlion larva (Jiroubo) – They live in sandy places, where they dig a funnel-shaped pit, designed so that no insect can climb its steep walls. The antlion larva then buries itself in the bottom of the pit. Whenever an unfortunate insect steps on the edge of the pit, the sand collapses and the victim falls to the bottom, and into the antlion larva's deadly jaws.
Anelosimus studiosus (Kidoumaru) – is a member of the tangle web spider living in both North America and South America. They are one of the rare social spiders, known for living in large web colonies of between 40 to 100 individuals. The Anelosimus studiosus is one of the arachnids responsible for the massive web discovered at Lake Tawakoni State Park.
Uropyia meticulodina (Tayuya) – this moth is known for its mimicry to a dead leaf. The wingspan of an adult moth is 45-55 millimetres. Its wings have a pattern of the curled dead leaf with shading which is created by minute scales. They can be found in China and Taiwan.
I am so sorry for missing two updates. I hadn't mean to drag this long, but I hit a block on the plot and it took some time untangling the knots. I'm really sorry, I'll try my best to write up the next chapter this month. However, if I can't make it on time again, then I'm afraid it'll have to come out next month at the latest.