There are two types of people who can't look you in the eyes; someone trying to hide a lie, and someone trying to hide a love.

"If we don't take a break soon, I'm going to perish."

I cut my eyes towards my brother, Alex, watching as he raised his hand to shield his face from the sun. It was indeed hot, but he was being a tad melodramatic. "Exaggeration much?" I asked, stumbling a bit over the loose gravel under my feet. We'd been following the river for a couple of miles now, heading for Amegakure. It was the nearest village and we needed to restock on a few things, at least what little we carried on our backs. I never let us stay for too long in any one place. We had nothing to run from, not specifically, but places tended not to look too kindly on homeless teenagers cluttering up their streets. You know how the rich liked their view to be all pretty storefronts and flowers, god forbid they be reminded that the lower class existed.

I glanced at the clear blue of the rushing river, debating the safety of drinking it. Well, there were two options; get a little stomach-ache from unclean water, or get a little dead from dehydration. "All right, we can stop for a little while. But we have to get to shelter before nightfall!" I tacked on the warning at the end, but I already knew Alex had stopped listening as soon as I'd granted the break. He dropped to the ground near the river, cupping his hands and drinking with greedy swallows. I sighed, watching with a fond smile. It wasn't a lavish lifestyle, but we had each other. That was more than I could say for countless other orphans, left alone to fend for themselves. Alex and I had always had each other, being born only a year apart. I'd all but raised him, after all.

"Thank god," Alex muttered, water dripping down his chin. His dark hair gleamed violet in the sunlight as he tilted his head back, panting. "We have to find a better way of travel. My legs feel like they're fifty years old while the rest of me is still seventeen."

I snorted at the creative depiction, almost choking on the swallow of river water I'd taken. Once I'd cleared the water from my mouth (and lungs) I sat back on my heels. "Your brain is fifty too, no one complains better than the old," I teased. He raised a rather impolite gesture at me. I could complain, but truth be told, he'd probably picked the habit up from me.

"How long 'til we reach Ame?" Alex asked, puffing his fringe out of his eyes. Absently, I noticed his hair was growing longer, a touch past his ears. My own hair was down to my chin, any longer and I'd have to take a knife to it. Longer hair became matted too fast.

I remembered my brother had asked a question when he tossed a smooth stone at me, hitting my knee. "Watch it," I warned. "It'll be a day or so, depending on how fast we feel like moving."

Alex groaned, "I don't feel like moving at all."

I was glad he was complaining, it meant I didn't have to admit to wanting to camp out already, myself. The heat of summer and the uneven trail to trek across was exhausting. It was tedious and harsh, and I doubted we'd find much comfort even in the village. Hotels were too expensive, Alex and I tended to camp outside or find little hovels to spend a night in. We weren't decorated, but we were making it.

"The classy life of a rogue shinobi, eh?" Alex drawled, snapping me from my planning ahead. "Kill a couple criminals, earn a few coins? Maybe we can afford a bed for a night or two."

"Not a lot of people like hiring a scruffy kid," I reminded Alex. I didn't want to confess to hating doing dirty work, not unless we were assassinating a truly awful person. I'd put an arrow between a rapist's eyes without getting paid, but a common thief? Hell, my brother and I stole from time to time. But, you did what you had to when your belly was starved.

I heard the distant sound of twigs crackling suddenly, prompting me to rise to my feet and stiffen in preparation. My ears pricked up, pointed and as attuned as the wolf my kind were named for. I was a Lupus ibrida, while my younger brother had been born a Feles, and he took after it well, being as meticulous and as sneaky as any cat. I had inherited my traits from our mother, and Alex from our father. Also like my mother, I was paranoid and cautious. After a few moments of silence, I deduced it must've been an animal traipsing along. That, or I was hearing things, and that was never a good sign.

"Everything good?" Alex asked as I went to sit beside him, once I'd deemed things safe.

"Must've been an animal or the wind," I reassured. My fingers found their way into Alex's hair, where I began to comb through it. As short as it was, at least it didn't tangle easily. Alex hummed in contentment.

"Do you remember being little, and mom would braid our hair? She liked when I let mine grow out." Alex smiled at the memory as he shared it. I did remember, but unlike Alex, memories only felt bitter to me. I felt cheated and like we'd gotten robbed of everything that could have been.

I grit my teeth and smiled anyway. "You liked when she would sing while doing it. Remember the flower crowns she would make when we went out to the meadow?" I grinned. It had been years, but I remembered everything with vivid clarity. I had been nine when we last saw our parents. Alex, then eight, had mostly good memories, still. I'd tried to protect him from what had happened, to keep his images of home and our family untainted.

"Sometimes, I still wish we were back home," Alex wistfully murmured. Guilt welled inside me, but there was nothing I could do. They'd burned it down, a town barely on the map had gotten burned off completely. Now, it was a speck of ash to anyone who happened across it. I'd left my memories amongst the ashes, but Alex hadn't, and I couldn't ask him to. Instead, I sighed, and set my hand on his shoulder.

"We have a home in each other," I reminded him. "We can rebuild a house of our own, someday. We can even get a dog, like you always wanted!" Our mother hadn't let us have one. Now, I was glad she didn't. It would've been one more thing those vagabonds had stolen from us. Alex and I hadn't been the only survivors in the ruins of our tiny town, but everyone had gone their own separate ways. Back then, I had wanted to stick with someone. Now, I no longer cared what had happened to them. If they couldn't take Alex and me in, they were bastards who deserved what came to them.

My brother and I ended up homeless and nomadic, resorting to extreme measures to feed and clothe ourselves. After nine years, I'd say we were pretty damn good at taking care of ourselves, something that took most others their whole lives to learn. We had something to be proud of, at least. "But, between us," I whispered, "sometimes I wish the same." Alex leaned against me then, a quiet moment passing between us.

Out of nowhere, my skin prickled and my hair stood on end. The very air around me grew tense and staticky, screaming of something wrong, but time crawled to a stop before I could stand and figure out what it was. Panicked, I grabbed Alex's shoulder and yanked him to the side, pushing him to the ground and covering him. My heart pounded in my ears.

Ba-dum. Ba-dum.


The ground ahead of us exploded in a flash of light and a deafening echo. My ears were ringing even after the explosion had dissipated, but I was hesitant to move in case the grass beneath my feet exploded. I could hear, but it was muffled. That was why it took me a moment to realize that the voice speaking was coming from a complete, and clearly dangerous, stranger. I sat up and off Alex, but my body was shaky and I was still too disoriented to get a grip.

"What'd I tell you, yeah? Art is transient, it's beautiful, it's a bang!" I heard an unfamiliar male voice exclaim, his gleeful tone bleeding through the ringing. I struggled to regain my composure so that we could make a quick escape, hopeful that the man hadn't noticed us. Faster than my senses, though, was Alex's temper.

He pushed me the rest of the way off, where I sat unhurt in the grass, watching as he bolted upright. "Oi, dumbass!" Alex shouted, "what the hell is wrong with you?! You could have killed us!"

Well, there went my brilliant plan of escaping and hiding. Panic crawled up my throat, worried about getting involved with the perpetrator of such a powerful explosion. I cursed Alex's short fuse as much as myself for agreeing to take a break, we should have just kept going and not sought out trouble.

Sitting up, I caught sight of a great white bird hovering above the ground, not more than a few feet away. A young man sat aboard the lifeless looking creation. He had been so close, had he been nearby all that time? I'd not noticed him once! "Oh yeah?" the man asked, cocking his head and causing his long golden hair to fall more into his face. "And what's a little boy like you going to do about it, un?" he asked, amusement shining in his voice. I was hoping to brush the incident off and get out of the mess unscathed, maybe use the blond's apparent humor to my advantage, but Alex had other ideas.

He stood, his fists clenched at his sides. "I'll kick your teeth into your lungs," he snapped, rage glinting in his eyes.

I kicked his ankle before rushing to stand. "Shut up," I hissed at him quietly, for only us to hear, "quit it before you get us—"

…in trouble. It was too late.

The young man hopped down from the bird and landed on our side of the river, too close for comfort. A sneer painted on his face made him look menacing, and a shudder raced down my back. "Well, well, look what we've got here, Sasori no Danna," the man clicked his tongue as he appraised both Alex and me. "Two little kids out by themselves, yeah. That's pretty dangerous, you shouldn't be out all alone. Don't you know things lurk around here, waiting for a pretty face to wander past to take advantage of?" A wicked sneer curled the blond's lips. Off to the side I heard a faint sigh, and I could only presume it was the "Sasori" person the blond had addressed, though I still couldn't see anyone else.

I swallowed my heart where it'd jumped up into my throat. "We don't want any trouble," I said, hoping to diffuse the situation. "We're just passing through, let us go."

"Yeah, what the fuck do you want with a couple of 'kids' after all?" Alex snarked. I cursed him under my breath and shot him a look.

The stranger also aimed a look towards my brother, causing a chill to overcome me as his blue eye narrowed in observation. I started for Alex, but the blond was closer at the moment, having landed only a foot or so from my brother. I gasped as his arm shot out and grabbed Alex by the hair, yanking him forward. Alex cried out, his hands reaching up and digging his nails into the blond's wrist, but it hardly appeared to faze the shinobi. He was wearing a headband, but I hadn't caught sight of the symbol, yet.

"Mouthy bitch," Deidara smirked. He glanced sideways at me, and then turned his head to call over his shoulder. "Oi, Danna, I say we take these two with us. A couple extra pairs of hands, maybe the occasional stress relief," he smirked down into Alex's face. My brother's efforts to free himself were violent, but futile. "Been a while since we took captives with a pretty face, un."

My heart was starting to ache inside my chest, racing too fast for me to keep up with it. "Let go of him!" I shouted, bringing both my hands up. I was fully prepared to electrocute the bastard in front of me (and maybe shock my brother a bit by accident, but all in the name of saving his life) when, from behind me, I heard an unfamiliar voice start to speak. A sharp pain stabbed me in the back suddenly, drawing a cry from my mouth.

It happened in seconds. The first second I was stunned, a hot fire spreading across my back. The second, my arms dropped, limp, and I found my muscles wouldn't respond to me right. It was as if they were filled with lead and were too heavy to lift. The third, I was collapsing to the ground, unable to hold myself up. My head began to pound, dizziness and nausea overwhelming me; combined with panic, they were a deadly concoction. Darkness was starting to pull across my vision. I could hear Alex screaming my name, but I could do nothing to assure him I was all right, that everything was going to be all right. "Now, that isn't any way to behave. We've all but saved your lives," the unfamiliar, masculine voice warned. Saved my life, by stabbing me, poisoning me? I wanted to scream, to sling every obscenity I had in storage at the man.

"Leader-sama won't be pleased with extra mouths to feed," he sighed. Boredom shrouded his tone, along with an edge of annoyance. I worried that he would disagree with the blond man and instead decide to kill Alex and me. I wasn't about to die like that, completely unable to stand a chance. "But," the man, who I had yet to see, continued, "we'll see if they can prove their worth."

Frantic to regain control of my body, I sucked in shallow breaths, struggling fervently to move my prone limbs. Not even my fingers would twitch in response. I sank further into the darkness, unconsciousness falling over me too fast for me to battle it. My eyelids fluttered despite my exhaustion as I clung to consciousness. The last thing I saw was a man standing above me, the grey in his eyes reminding me of a storm. I watched his lips move as he knelt close to me, but I was too far gone to hear what he said.

I dreamt of storm clouds and my brother screaming for me.


"Let…right now…you bastard!"

"Let us go right now, you bastard!" The shouting voice snapped into jarring clarity, the muffled words jumping out at me and making my ears ring with the volume. I bolted upright, the chill of the stone floor beneath me having seeped into my flesh past my clothes. I shuddered with the cold as I whipped my head around, struggling to find the source of the shouting voice. I had no idea where I was, nor why I was there. My memory was fuzzy and mottled with blank spots.

I spotted Alex in front of me, banging his fists on a stone door as he shouted at it. The sight of him awake and obviously well enough to get angry filled me with relief—we were alive and we were together, that alleviated two of my biggest fears. "Alex," I rasped, my throat raw and dry.

His head snapped to the side, the dark ears atop his head perking up from where he'd had them flat against his hair in his fury. "Finally," he said, his arms dropping from the door as his whole body sagged. "Thank god. You've been out for over an hour."

I was about to speak when, from the other side of the door, came a loud banging. "Shut the fuck up in there!" a man shouted. I could just picture him snarling through the door.

Alex stood up on trembling legs to walk towards me, where he collapsed over me and straddled my legs to throw his arms around me. I could feel him shaking, his angry bravado giving way to fear. I was scared, too. Scared, and confused and more than a little pissed off. "Are you hurt?" I asked, hugging him back and hiding my face against his shoulder. I was the older sister, the one who was supposed to be strong, but all I wanted was to hide against my brother and cry. Getting kidnapped by strange, obviously dangerous men could make the toughest of people crumble a little, okay?

"That man—the one with the red hair—he hit you with that needle and you went down like a rock. I thought he'd killed you," Alex whispered into my hair.

My thoughts were still jumbled and my body ached, but I could move, and that's all that mattered to me. "It was a poison, nothing serious. I wouldn't worry unless I start seeing weird stuff, okay?" I reassured, rubbing Alex's back. I couldn't fathom the level of my terror if I'd seen what Alex had, if I'd presumed my brother dead. I felt guilty when it wasn't my fault, thus that guilt soon turned into anger. "Where are we? Where are the men?"

Alex fell silent. I didn't take it as a good sign. "Alex? What is it, what did you learn?" It'd only occurred to me then that Alex might have been awake throughout the whole ordeal. "What happened while I was out?"

"One question at a time, will you?" Alex hissed, pulling away some to look at me. "It…nothing bad happened. The man, the one with blond hair? He flew the three of us back on his bird, the man who stabbed you came on foot, I haven't seen him since. Blondie dragged me and you in here and locked us in. They're…"

Alex trailed off and didn't pick up again until I nudged him to go on. With a broken-up expression, Alex sucked in a weak breath. "They're Akatsuki. They took us to their hideout. I don't know what they're going to do with us, Amaya…The blond only said he'd be back after talking with their leader."

My heart started pounding over Alex's voice, thrumming in my ears, in my throat, choking me until I could scarcely breathe. Akatsuki? Why would the Akatsuki kidnap two rogues—two teenagers with nothing to offer? Of course, I knew their base was in Ame, but I'd never considered them a threat. I never considered I would run into any of them, much less head on. "Oh my god," I muttered under my breath, my hands tightening on Alex's shoulders.

We weren't going to get out of here.

The door creaked open then, making both of us stiffen. I held my breath as the door shoved forward and someone stepped through, a different man than the ones who had brought Alex and me here. His silver hair was slicked away from his face, and when he turned to face us, his lips turned up in a fierce sneer. "Shit, you didn't say they were together. What the fuck did I interrupt?" the man snickered. Repulsion churned in my gut as Alex stood up, pointing an accusatory finger towards the still sneering man.

"We're fucking siblings, you dumbass," Alex snapped, "where's that blond idiot? What do you want with us?" The smirk fell right off the man's face as he listened to my brother's sharp words. The air grew tense and heavy and, for a moment, I anticipated an ugly fight. That was when someone else stepped from behind the door, someone who sent a chill down my back.

Stormy grey eyes landed on me as the redheaded man stepped in front of the other seething man. He gave me a once over before he raised one hand, indicating I rise. "Stand up," he ordered, his voice cool with indifferent commandeering. It brooked no argument in spite of its carelessness, certainly not from me. My nails scrambled against the floor as I hurried to stand, my legs feeling like jelly as they supported me.

The redhead approached and circled me. I felt much like an animal on display, I couldn't tell if he was appraising me or inspecting me for injury. If I had any, they were his fault in the first damn place. Finally, he came to a stop in front of me. I had to tilt my head up some to keep eye contact, as if I didn't feel intimidated enough. "My partner and I have consulted with our leader, and he's chosen to keep you at our sides." The man launched into an explanation before I had even fully gained my equilibrium. It was all I could do to keep up. "From this time forward, you belong to the Akatsuki. You'll be coming with me."

Why? What? For what purpose could the Akatsuki possibly have in keeping two homeless teenagers, hardly ninja, in their grasp? The realization that my brother and I may very well have become slaves to the Akatsuki shook me to my core. I flinched when the redheaded man sighed, my mind reeling as I worked to decipher everything he'd told me. "We aren't worth that trouble," I dryly said. The man from earlier snorted as he took his leave, with one final cut of his violet eyes towards me.

The blond from earlier slipped past him, swaggering through the door with all the power of someone who had just won. What he'd won out on made me sick to think about; my brother was not a prize to be gloated over. "The boy is mine, yeah," he grinned something wicked. "It's always more fun when they fight, ne, Sasori?" He lifted his chin arrogantly, looking down at Alex as if challenging him. Alex rose to the call, lunging forward and shoving the blond back.

"You're sick, let us out of here!" Alex snarled, his teeth glinting as he bared them. If I could have told him to shut up, I would've, if only to spare us more danger.

The blond beat me to the punch as he pushed off the wall he'd landed against when my brother shoved him. "Too late, pretty boy, you two are ours, now."

He started for my brother and something in me snapped. I pulled away from the redhead (Sasori, I had to remind myself) when he went to grab for me, earning an impatient huff from him. Good, if I was going to take a stand I might as well piss them both off. "Don't you lay a hand on him!" I warned.

The blond threw his head back with a laugh, his eyes gleaming with glee. "This is rich, yeah. Finally, something exciting around here!"

Sasori's hand clamped around my arm before I could take another step, his fingers digging into my flesh. "Fun for you, perhaps. I don't have the time for you to drag me into your messes," Sasori said, his eyes aiming a hard look towards his partner. "I'm taking the girl back. Try to keep that one alive, Deidara."

Deidara and Sasori, I would try to commit that to memory. Sasori dropped my arm then, prompting me to glance towards him as he raised his right hand. If he thought for a second I would walk out and make this easy on him, he—

"What the hell?!" My panicked words bubbled forward when my body began to walk forward, entirely without my permission. I caught sight of Sasori's fingers moving, the faint glimmer of blue making goosebumps rise on my skin. Chakra strings, he was a puppet master, a manipulator.

Having someone reach inside you and control your body was one of the most terrifying feelings I have ever, and probably would ever experience, and there wasn't a thing I could do to save myself from it. Sasori led me out of the room and down a thin corridor, out into a maze of stone hallways and dim lights. It was all dizzying to drink in, by the time we arrived at a door, I couldn't even say how we'd gotten there. Sasori reached past me to open the door, where he shoved me inside the room none too kindly.

From down the same corridor I heard Deidara call out to us. "We have a mission for tomorrow, Danna. Pein-Sama wants us to test their skill, yeah!"

Sasori tilted his head back with a sigh, as if the mere thought burdened him. "If you would let us go, you wouldn't have to suffer so much," I remarked. My mouth snapped shut at the frigid look Sasori aimed towards me. I could still hear Alex cussing up a furious storm before Sasori shut the door, blocking any view I might've had of my brother.

I swallowed when Sasori turned to look at me. Discomfort prickled my skin as Sasori studied me, making me feel like I had high expectations to meet under his scrutiny and I was failing all of them. When he finally turned away from me, I exhaled a sigh of relief, but couldn't remember when I'd started holding my breath. Sasori slipped the black and red cloak off his shoulders to toss it onto his bed, and without his gaze boring into me, I felt brave enough to speak.

"Where are we? Why did you bring my brother and me here?" I asked, hoping to gain even the slightest insight as to what the fuck was going on. Were we meant to be allies to the Akatsuki? Or were we servants, slaves to Sasori and his partner?

Sasori kept his back turned to me as he approached his desk and picked up a scroll, taking several seconds to answer me. All the while I shifted my weight from foot to foot impatiently, imploring him to speak. "You're at our Ame base," he eventually said, and a part of me wondered if he'd been debating how much he should reveal to me. "Deidara's decision was of reckless boredom, but our leader chose to keep you to gauge your worth. An extra pair of hands perhaps wouldn't hurt, but make no mistake, if you get in our way we won't hesitate to dispose of you."

Well, I hadn't any doubts, but I appreciated him clearing it up. It was ironic, wasn't it? So much so it almost made me laugh. Alex and I had tried so hard to lead a life without breaking the law, to get by without any trouble. Now we were trapped, enslaved by two of the most dangerous men in the world in an infamous organization. Luck and fate didn't look too kindly on us, did it?

Jarring me from my thoughts, a small explosion shook through the walls. The resounding "Boom!" that echoed made me flinch, and I watched as Sasori rolled his eyes. It was as if he was familiar with it happening, even if it still irritated him. He set down the scroll with a slam as he turned around. "He's going to kill us all one day," he grumbled, "Deidara!"

He went for the door, but before he could leave, I stopped him. "So…Danna, what am I supposed to do while you're gone?"

Sasori glowered at me, not half as amused as I was. It was abundantly clear he had a short fuse. I was still trying to decide if that could work in my favor or against it.

Taking in a slow breath, like he was trying not to lose his temper on me already, Sasori schooled his expression into something more neutral. "You aren't to touch anything without explicit permission," he warned. "The bathroom is through the door to the right. You're to sleep in the corner by the window and be quiet, understood?"

He slammed the door in my face before I could say anything. Inwardly, I thought that sleeping in the forest was better than that, as I went to take a seat in my corner. Outside, the grass was softer and there was a view instead of the depressing sight of stone around me.

Feeling nosy, I peered over at the tools covering Sasori's desk, a messy array of screws and other small pieces I couldn't name. They must be tools Sasori used to work on his puppets. I had never met someone like Sasori, who could manipulate things with chakra strings, I'd only heard tales. Now I know why; it was chilling to even think about, much less witness and experience.

From down the corridor, I listened to the sound of Sasori and Deidara's combined voices yelling, along with what I thought sounded like Alex's laugh. I grimaced when footsteps headed back to the room and Sasori stormed inside, all silent anger and the promise of trouble. The moment he turned to look at me, I averted my gaze to the floor. "You look dirty," Sasori told me, taking me off guard. "You need to wash off."

"You know how to flatter someone, don't you, Danna?" I drawled out the name I'd stolen from Deidara. The nickname appeared to annoy him, and that bestowed me some satisfaction. Too bad it didn't last long.

Sasori narrowed his eyes, and I knew I was in deep. He headed for me and knelt in front, too close. I pressed my back against the cold wall behind me, but it offered no protection. "Listen, girl," he spoke slowly, certain to make me catch every syllable. "I don't have the patience to deal with any nonsense from you. Respect and listen to me and it will be easier for both of us, understood?"

Feeling numb, I nodded my head, not brave enough to open my mouth and talk. I had to find the line and know when I shouldn't cross it, but it was next to invisible with Sasori, and already I'd almost gone too far. I recoiled some as Sasori stood straight, walking away and heading towards the closet on the left. He pulled out a shirt, something crisp and clean, and tossed it towards me. "You'll wear that until I can get you something else."

He left me with that, the silence that fell over the room cold and not half as relieving as I'd hoped for. I scrambled towards the door to try and open it, as if I might somehow magically find a way to escape with my brother in tow. I wouldn't have to worry about it, though, the door was locked and wasn't budging. In my frustration, I kicked it with a swear. I was getting locked up like a fucking dog to wait on its owner to come back. My entire life had changed in the span of a day. I was too used to freedom to get caged away!

I snatched the shirt as I went to shower, pettily deciding to use as much of the hot water as I could. Once I'd stripped down, I discovered something that had slipped past me. Something horrifying. Around my ankle, there was a metal bracelet. No wonder I'd felt so weak and dizzy—it was a chakra restriction bracelet. Even if I'd been brazen enough to fight, I had no means of doing so, not with this disgusting device locked on me.

Furious, I scrubbed myself raw underneath water as hot as I could stand it. I couldn't wash away my panic and rage, but at least the water washed away my tears.

I spent too long in the water crying and wishing I could have done things differently; could have stopped everything from happening. When I stepped out and dressed, the shirt fell to a little below my thighs. Yeah, great, totally not uncomfortable. I wasn't going to put my mud-stained pants on again, so all I could do was keep the shirt in place. I went outside again and thought I could hear voices arguing, but they were so faint it might as well have been my imagination.

Sasori chose that moment to come back to the room, and I glared at the door as it opened to reveal him, annoyance painted on his expression. He spared me a glance only to turn his full gaze onto me a moment later. I suddenly felt exposed, my legs too bare, the shirt too small.

Sasori cleared his throat. "Prepare yourself for tomorrow, Deidara and I are still discussing you two accompanying. I want to test your strength."

"So, what am I, an ally or a servant?" I asked, folding my arms.

Sasori scoffed. "You're whatever I decide."

That wasn't at all a comforting answer, nor did it even tell me anything. "Test my strength?" I repeated, my tone holding a razor-sharp edge. I was completely over Sasori talking down to me, treating me like an animal. "I'm strong enough to blow you to pieces if you didn't have this fucking bracelet on me!"

Alex was the temper between us, but even I had a limit. Sasori cut his eyes towards me, his lips curving in a smirk. The reaction did nothing to satisfy me, nor did— "Hey!"

My body was moving without a single cue from me, walking towards the corner and sitting down, collapsing without much grace. "Stay," Sasori told me, lowering his hand. He said the order with complete seriousness, but I thought I caught a glimmer of amusement in his eyes.

"Stop doing that to me," I snapped, shivering. "It's not fair, and it's frightening. Save it for your dolls."

Sasori was done acknowledging me, it seemed. He dumped a blanket over me and walked past me, took a seat at his desk, and began to work. I couldn't quite see his project, and I snapped my head away, shutting down my own curiosity. I hated not having control over my own body. I longed to go back to my life this morning, free and safe with Alex.

I longed for so much, and I doubted any of it would ever happen.

"Is all you do yell and play with clay?" I grumbled, staying across the room from the blond. I didn't trust him anywhere near me. The clay the blond used wasn't normal—it had to be infused with chakra, with the way it enlarged and exploded at his will. When he had caught Amaya and me earlier, he had molded a small white bird, only for it to inflate to unbelievable proportions. The redhead had carried my sister over, limp and out cold, but very much alive. My chest still ached remembering those few moments I had thought she was dead. I could live without a lot; anything but her.

The redhead had placed Amaya on the back of the pristine white bird, all while Deidara wrestled my arms behind my back and tied them there before dragging me onto the bird, myself. "Keep it up pretty boy," Deidara sneered, "I love a little struggle, yeah."

My stomach had dropped through the bird and forest floor.

"I'll see you back at the base, Danna," Deidara had saluted his partner goodbye, and then the bird was fucking flying, like it was real. I still remembered the sinister look Deidara had given me when I'd asked where he was taking us. I'd decided I'd never wanted to find out. Too bad the choice wasn't mine.

Deidara snorted, flicking his eye towards me. His other was covered by an odd metal contraption. I wanted to ask if he still had his eye at all, or what the thing attached to him was for, but there were more pressing questions. "How long are you going to keep us here?" I grit out, clenching my teeth to keep them from chattering. The room was freezing, the entire base was as gelid as a winter's night.

Deidara shrugged. "Until I get bored of you, un. You're not going anywhere, you're useless with that chakra bracelet," he smirked. I glanced at my ankle, where the restriction bracelet sat locked and ugly. It wasn't as ugly as the bruise around my wrist, where Deidara had gripped it and dragged me to his quarters.

"What if I blow your brains out, like the explosions you like so much?" I grinned viciously. It was the wrong thing to say, if Deidara's cool expression was to go by. He reached out and took my arm again (as if that bruise needed any additional help) and yanked me forward, where he tossed me onto his bed. I grunted when I landed, the mattress dipped beneath me and the sheets rustled about. "You asshole!" I snapped, shaking my hair from my eyes to glare up at Deidara, who had come to stand before the bed. "Wipe that smirk off your fucking face!"

Something wicked came over Deidara's expression. He reached down and grabbed my leg, tugging me down to the edge of the bed. "Watch your mouth, little one. You don't know who you're dealing with, yeah," Deidara sneered, his eyes glittering cruelly.

I opened my mouth to snap something back, but before I could, a wet and warm sensation on my leg startled me out of it. I flinched back and Deidara chuckled, holding one hand palm-outwards while the other still on my leg slid further up. A mouth sat in the middle of his palm, a pink tongue lolling out for a brief glimpse. Jarred by the revelation, I scrambled into an upright position. "What the hell?"

"Kinjutsu," Deidara said, winking at me.

"You did that to yourself?" I asked, still in shock by the revelation. I'd never seen or heard of anything like it; mouths on your hands? "That's how you make your sculptures," I said, my eyes widening with realization. Several small statues littered Deidara's room, no less impressive than the giant one I'd witnessed earlier.

Deidara cocked a brow, as if caught off guard by my reaction. "Comes in handy when creating art, yeah," he confessed. Taking a bit of clay into his hand, he allowed the hand to consume it. I watched in awe as it ejected a small clay bird, the details on it perfect. Deidara tossed it into the air and I recoiled as it exploded with a flash of colorful sparks.

A laugh burst from my mouth before I could stop it, completely delighted by the show as sparks rained down around us. "That was beautiful!" I exclaimed. With a penchant for fireworks and destruction, how could I not feel impressed?

"Art is a bang, yeah." Deidara was grinning proudly when the door flung open suddenly, the redhead from earlier standing in the doorway. Startled by the entry, I backed away, but Deidara didn't appear put out.

"What the hell are you doing? I've warned you once, you're going to blow up your room if you keep this up, brat." Anger gleamed in Sasori's eyes. "If Kakuzu doesn't kill you for the expenses first, I'm going to."

Deidara pursed his lips and waved a hand in dismissal. "It's art, my man! Just accept art is an explosion and quit barging into my room, yeah!"

It was like watching a married couple, I inwardly smirked. Sasori rolled his eyes. "True art doesn't vanish in the blink of an eye," he retaliated. His gaze lowered to me, then, and I couldn't help a flinch. His gaze was cold and penetrating, making me wish I could disappear beneath the blankets. "Don't get attached to that, either," Sasori warned before taking his leave, the door slamming shut behind him.

"I've gotten downgraded to "that" now?" I asked, indignant. Deidara chuckled as he began to mold another creation.

"You'd rather us call you pet?" Deidara smirked, turning his back to me. "It's about all you're good for, now, yeah."

Jackass. He thinks I'll sit pretty for him?

It'll be a cold day in hell before I willingly stayed captive.

This is the second story I've written involving original characters! I recently rewrote the first one and it took me a few months, here's hoping this one takes much less time. It was written as very self-indulgent, so there's little plot in it. I'll try to fix it, but here's the warning; this is no masterpiece lmao.

Amaya is my OC, there's art of her on my profile!

Alex belongs to my best friend, who goes by Sasuke Neko on ff . net and SpaceDaddy18 on ao3!

Sasori is human in this story, around the age of early to mid-twenties.

This story mixes points of view, some may find that disorienting, apologies for that. It bounces between first and third narration with a line break to indicate, and will also divide focus between the four main characters.

Warnings for this story include; violence toxic relationship situations, dub-con moments, and general problematic behavior. Because I was fourteen when I wrote this, and I was a problematic and dramatic kid, and now as an adult trying to rewrite all of that…it's…it's going great. Ten outta ten.