A/N: Hey everyone. You lot asked for it so I made the sequel. Finally. First off I guess I should thank everyone for favouriting Sickness and Health. Other than that, I guess all that's left now is the story :P
Health Changes Things:
A week had passed since Deidara's unpredictable bout of illness, and since he had recovered he had more or less been trying to avoid a certain dark haired man. Unfortunately he remembered in perfect detail what had transpired during his fever and it honestly made him nervous. The only reason he had done any of it was because he had had a nightmare about Sasori's untimely demise at the hands of the pink haired kunoichi from the Leaf, or at least that's what he preferred to think. Even so, he was definitely sure that if it had been Tobi looking after him he wouldn't have freaked out like that. Actually, he still would have freaked out, but it would have been for an entirely different reason.
The bomber paced across his room a few more times before taking a deep breath and heading for the kitchen. The day was dragging on and he hadn't eaten yet, so it would only have been a matter of time before he was forced from his room for one reason or another. For some reason he couldn't figure out Pein hadn't given him any missions since he got sick, not even anything short and simple. It was like he was under some inane form of house arrest.
As far as Deidara knew almost everyone was absent from the base, everyone but Itachi, hence the reason he had taken to holing himself up in his room. Still, the base was fairly large, what were the chances of running into him in the kitchen so late in the day?
Apparently there was still a large possibility as he found out upon entering the kitchen. The dark haired sharingan user was seated at the table bent over a scroll which was unravelled to take up a good portion of the table's surface. Paling slightly at the sight of his not-really-an-enemy-anymore-enemy he opted for the silent treatment, knowing that even if it didn't coax the other into talking that it would hide any possible unwelcome emotions from showing through in his voice. Turning towards the cupboards he pulled out a bowl from one, a spoon from a drawer and a box of cereal from another cupboard before turning and placing them carelessly on what he privately referred to as 'his' part of the table before turning again to find the milk. Bottle in hand he sat heavily on the chair opposite Itachi, slamming it on the table harder than necessary.
Itachi glanced up at him with blank eyes before turning back to his scroll, shifting its position.
Letting out a small puff of air which ruffled the hair hanging over his face he grabbed the cereal box, his hand brushing Itachi's as the other man moved his scroll further across the table once more. Deidara's face burned red as he brought the box closer, thankfully hidden by blond bangs that he had yet to tie up in his usual fashion.
'What the hell am I doing, un?' His face was an enemy now, it was betraying him. All he wanted to do was smack his head against the table until he felt normal again, but that would only draw more attention.
Unbeknownst to Deidara as he was fretting over his reactions Itachi had lifted his onyx eyes from the complex scroll, silently observing him with his usual blank expression. It was easy to see that the blond was uncomfortable, but that in itself was unusual. Whilst Deidara was never exactly enthusiastic about being near him he usually settled it with glares and an overall angry aura. There had never been a sense of discomfort present before.
"Deidara?" Itachi never had any trouble keeping his voice steady and emotionless, a skill many of the others in the base were severely lacking in. It was hard to miss when Deidara nearly fell off his seat at the sound of his name, or possibly at the sound of Itachi's voice, it was impossible to tell.
"What, un?" His voice was shaking ever so slightly with something that, surprisingly, wasn't anger, at least not anger directed at the raven haired man. He mentally kicked himself for letting his emotions get the better of him when he spoke. It tended to make him easy to read, so he kept his eyes glued to his bowl of cereal. Noticing this Itachi returned his own gaze back to the scroll, silently pleading for his eyes to cooperate more than they had been. He needed to memorise the contents of it, but some of the writing was tiny, bad enough to try and read with perfect eyesight.
"Your hair isn't up." He commented, accidentally letting slip a tiny hint of curiosity at the fact. He could have sworn he heard a noise, but when he glanced up he saw Deidara's tightly clenched fist and decided it was probably one of his hand mouths protesting their rough treatment.
"Is that a problem?" He tried to sound angry, but it was clearly forced. Of course that was because, surprisingly enough, he wasn't angry. In fact, the accidental slip of emotion from the Uchiha had given a rather large boost to his ego that had been damaged by his flaming cheeks. It wasn't a small thing after all, getting emotions from the quiet man.
"No, it is merely different." It was a curious thing, trying to read the change in attitude of the man who had once classified him as their number one in-base enemy as they spoke of trivial things.
Silence reigned over the kitchen as Deidara finally got around to eating the food in front of him and Itachi went back to attempting to decipher the tiny script.
Whilst eating Deidara couldn't help but spot the way Itachi's eyebrows furrowed in concentration and frustration. It wasn't because he was staring, because he most definitely was not, but because it meant that the man before him had relaxed his mask and was showing emotion, even if only a tiny bit. That thought annoyed the bomber, because he couldn't figure out what it meant, but also because he couldn't figure out what he wanted it to mean. It was easy enough to assume that he only kept the mask on for Pein, and with him gone from the base he felt able to relax a little. It was also perfectly safe to assume that Kisame had probably seen that sort of thing too, being his partner. But for some reason he couldn't understand those two statements irritated him immensely.
"What are you even doing, un?" He asked finally, dropping his spoon into his now empty bowl and leaning back in his chair, observing Itachi from behind his bangs.
"Reading." Was the immediate emotionless answer he got back. Deidara's eye twitched in annoyance at the response, not impressed with how things were turning out.
"Jeez, I can see when I'm not wanted, un." Pushing his chair out so that it scraped across the floor he dumped his bowl in the sink and quickly cleared the table. Itachi tensed when his angry footsteps left the kitchen, slightly confused as to why he had gotten so defensive about the scroll. Was it really that much of a big deal to admit to his weaknesses every now and again?
"And now he's mad." And that was that. If Deidara really was mad then it was necessary to give him some space to let off some steam, but that didn't mean Itachi was happy about it. He was trying to change the bomber's opinion of him, but so far he was failing miserably. It looked as though he really wasn't all that great at dealing with people after all, for all everyone seemed to think he was great at dealing with sick people. Unfortunately people – particularly people in the Akatsuki – tended to act extremely different when they were sick in comparison to when they aren't. It was a troublesome fact, especially considering he had no idea how much Deidara remembered of the time he was sick.
A loud explosion shook the kitchen and Itachi couldn't help the almost amused smirk that graced his face for a fraction of a second as chairs fell over. It had actually come sooner than he had expected, the bomber usually walked the base a few times before resorting to blowing things up. Barely contained concern painted his pale face as several more explosions rocked the room in quick succession. That could only mean Deidara was a whole lot angrier than he had first assumed. What had made him so angry was a complete mystery, for surely it couldn't simply have been due to his harsh response. The younger man wasn't that emotional, there had to be something deeper affecting him.
Rolling up the scroll which he had to retrieve from the floor where it had landed after the second explosion he shoved it into one of the pockets on the inside of his cloak. There was no need for him to be wearing it, considering he was staying in the base, but it had its uses.
With the almost constant stream of ground shaking explosions it didn't take long for the raven to find where Deidara had run off to, but once there he hung back, watching as small white clay creatures were dropped to the ground, creating holes and ditches wherever they landed. It was a relief that they weren't any bigger, otherwise it would be likely to attract attention and, with them being right outside the base, that wouldn't be a good thing. Dark eyes shifted to observe Deidara, sitting high up in a tree and muttering things to himself as he continued to make the small bombs. At the rate he was going he would surely exhaust his chakra before he calmed down, even if the bombs were relatively small. With a silent sigh Itachi sat down where he was, leaning back against the wall of the base to wait for the blond to calm down enough for rational speech.
Deidara stood in front of the supposedly sleeping Itachi with his hands on his hips. What had possessed the man to follow him, and why had he fallen asleep so defencelessly? That sort of behaviour was strange enough for someone in the Akatsuki, but even stranger for the Uchiha. Blue eyes stared curiously, watching his chest rise and fall beneath his cloak. The look on his face was practically peaceful, and that scared Deidara. It was completely going against 99% of the image he had projected of himself up till then and it was shaking the bomber's understanding. The only other time anything like that had happened was during his own shameful meltdown when he got a glimpse of a kind and caring Itachi instead of just the man who forced him to join Akatsuki and mocked his art. Watching Itachi sleep reminded Deidara of how drained he felt, having expended most of his chakra blowing things up in anger. Sleep sounded like a really good idea, but he didn't really want to fall asleep next to the Uchiha. He didn't even want to imagine what sort of ideas that might put in other people's heads if anyone saw them before he woke up. Blinking his suddenly heavy eyelids he dragged himself back inside the base. He didn't get far. A few metres inside the base fatigue from his chakra usage and several sleepless nights overwhelmed him and he collapsed in the hallway, slumped against the wall in a semblance of sitting.
Deidara had another dream. One of the situation he knew so well and the scene he always imagined to accompany it. His Danna, standing in the centre of the cave in all his glory; Sasori's grandmother, that irritating old hag; and that stupid pink haired bitch who tore apart the remainder of Sasori's existence. It was never the same exact dream twice; occasionally one of his assailants would be defeated, but in the end Sasori always wound up dead. That was a set rule; there could be no happy ending.
He twitched in his sleep, his mouth forming soundless words as he was forced to watch, always unable to interfere in the battle as though there were a force field separating him from the rest of the cave. The old woman was dead; he couldn't help the smirk his lips formed into or the small spark of hope that perhaps it would be different this time. Sasori spun and stared at him, looking him straight in the eyes. Deidara blinked, his expression changing to fear as he saw the pinkette from the Leaf charging towards his Danna. Opening his mouth wide he shouted and screamed, begging the puppet master to turn his attention back to the battle, to finally survive, but his words didn't reach, they never did. He clenched his eyes shut as the girl stabbed a sword through the puppet's heart container. That sight was one he had seen far too many times before. When he believed it to be safe he opened his eyes again, but the scene before him had changed. It was no longer Sasori lying on the cave floor; in his place was the lifeless body of none other than Itachi Uchiha, a sword through his heart. While Sasori was a puppet Itachi was human, his blood coated the rocks, pooling around him like a grotesque painting of death.
Letting out a sharp cry he opened his eyes, jolting forwards only to hit a barrier of resistance. Heart threatening to leap from his chest he slowly turned around, finding himself face to face with Itachi. To his utmost embarrassment he let out a tiny whimper, fisting his hands in the raven's cloak. He was repulsed by the position he was in, yet he couldn't bring himself to move. The hand now on his shoulder and the fabric in his hands, they were both oddly reassuring. As much as he hated to admit it, that dream had shaken him, and being able to touch the man in front of him helped assure him that there was no evil mastermind lurking in the shadows waiting to kill everyone around him.
"Are you alright Deidara? It looked like you were having a nightmare." The reasonably calm voice coaxed Deidara to look up into onyx eyes. He almost flinched away, frightened by the extreme worry easily read in them. The sleep deprived blond felt his cheeks heat up and he quickly averted his gaze, burying his head in Itachi's chest instead of facing him.
"I'm fine, un." He mumbled through the fabric of Itachi's Akatsuki cloak in an entirely unconvincing way. They both knew that if he was fine he would have shouted and screamed and would be miles away from the raven, not cuddled up against his chest.
"If you say so, but I'm here if you decide you want to talk about it." Deidara chuckled darkly, tensing when he felt a hand on the back of his head. It was only then that he even really noticed that he had forgotten to tie up his hair. Not that it mattered anymore. All that mattered was the fact that his heart was still pounding so loudly he swore Itachi could hear it; that and his flaming cheeks which refused to return to their normal colouration. Taking a deep breath he closed his eyes again, surprised when tears started rolling down his face. His brain was beyond his own understanding now.
Itachi buried his hand in Deidara's long blond hair and gently pulled his head away from his chest. If he was clinging to him like that there was no way for him to tell what the blond was thinking. What he saw gave him a bit of a shock. Not only was Deidara's face as red as a tomato, he was also crying. It actually, physically, hurt to see the man in his arms crying like that. Collecting his thoughts he placed a light kiss on the bomber's forehead before gently wiping away the tears staining his face.
"Are you sure you don't want to talk about it?" He pushed cautiously as he ran his fingers through the other man's hair, part of him wanting to find out what had spooked him so much and half of him just hoping that talking would help him calm down.
"Mmmnnnh…." Deidara bit his lip nervously, eyes downcast, but at least he had managed to stop crying. The hand in his hair was soothing, and since his brain was confusing him he decided to act on instinct instead. He wasn't even disturbed in the slightest by the light brush of lips on his forehead; he was just going to go with it. This strange touchy-feely Itachi was keeping him rooted to the present, to the truth, so he wasn't about to complain. Still, he didn't want to seem weak, so he didn't really want to tell Itachi that the dream was actually about him dying.
When Itachi stopped trying to find out what was on his mind he actually found himself calming down. Sure, people always said that it was better to talk about things rather than keeping them bottled up inside, but for a usually talkative person like Deidara perhaps a bit of silence was all he really needed. Not that it would have had the same effect if he was alone. He knew the reason; his heart was telling him that he liked the contact, and for once he would listen.
Taking a deep breath he let it out slowly, relaxing his grip on Itachi's cloak and tilting his head up so that azure eyes met onyx. The man in front of him was suddenly an open book, and deep inside he knew that he was the only person – in the Akatsuki anyway – to have seen him like that. A miniscule smile graced his lips and he straightened up, bringing his face that much closer to Itachi's. Those onyx eyes stared curiously down at him, trying to figure out what the blond was thinking. Deidara didn't miss how the gaze alternated between his eyes and his lips.
"Itachi… Thanks, un." Before the raven haired man could even inquire as to why he was being thanked he found himself unable to talk due to a pair of lips being pressed against his own. His initial shock quickly disappeared and his hands found themselves resting on the bomber's hips as Deidara used his cloak filled hands to pull him closer.
Itachi hadn't expected things to happen as quickly as they did. He had been preparing himself for it to be a long, arduous task, trying to get behind Deidara's defences, but as usual his expectations were completely shattered. That seemed to be happening a lot in regards to the man he was kissing. When they pulled apart for air he felt the irrational need to question the bomber's sanity.
"What brought that on?" He asked, a hint of amusement in his tone as he silently cursed himself for trying to ruin the moment. Deidara laughed lightly, his cheeks flushed a rosy pink.
"The way you were staring at me, you were practically begging for it!" His expression suddenly sunk, his hands slipping from Itachi's chest as a thought passed through his head. What if I misread him? Did I just make a fool out of myself, taking advantage of his concern? Shit, I'll never live this down. Scowling he pulled out of Itachi's grip and climbed to his feet, smoothing his hair down with one hand as he tried to read the new look on the raven's face. There was definitely confusion, but the rest… well, he was in no mood to try and analyse anything.
"Deidara…" The blond shook his head, not interested in whatever explanation the man had come up with.
"You're teasing me aren't you? You're making fun of me for what happened last week, un!" Because that was where the whole mess started, at least for Deidara. How was he to know that Itachi cared, that he was sincere and was truly worried about him?
Itachi wasn't sure where the sudden bout of self-doubt had come from, but it was uncalled for and it needed to stop. Getting to his feet he pushed Deidara up against the wall, possibly with a bit more force than necessary, and forced the blond to look him in the eyes. He could easily read the other man; guilt, fear, anger and confusion.
"Who said you could make all the decisions by yourself?" His voice must have come out more threatening than he had intended since the bomber flinched at his words. He sighed, looking down at their feet momentarily before looking back up, his expression softer. "What I mean is, you're jumping to conclusions without listening to anything I have to say. Do you understand where I'm coming from?"
Deidara nodded slightly, the anger dissipating from his eyes, but the fear remained. The raven couldn't tell what the fear was of, so he realised he had to be careful about what actions he took. But even though he was extremely practised in acting according to situations he wasn't sure what he should do. Despite all his skills he couldn't think of the right way to say what he wanted to get across.
"…" Deidara mumbled something incoherent, trying to avoid the piercing onyx eyes that watched him so closely. Itachi took that moment to press his lips against the bomber's once more, taking advantage of his open mouth to engage in a deeper kiss than the first. Deidara's hand crept up to Itachi's chest and gave a weak shove, but that was as far as his resistance went before he melted into it, kissing back. He was held securely against the wall by the raven's hands settled firmly on his hips.
They were both gasping for breath when they broke away, but Itachi still forced himself to talk.
"Do you… still think I'm… teasing you?" He demanded, still trying to catch his breath. Upon glancing at Itachi and noting the pale pink tint to his cheeks Deidara really had no way of arguing back. He rested his head on Itachi's shoulder and closed his eyes, shaking his head instead of trying to voice his thoughts.
"…I believe you, un." His brain was screaming at him, pointing out all the things that were wrong with the situation, but he stubbornly ignored it.
Sometimes logic was unnecessary in life, and he decided that now was definitely one of those times.
A/N: So yeah, that's that. It sort of went and did random things again... It's also incredibly perspective jumpy... For some reason I can't really avoid doing that when I write this sort of thing. Oh well.