"I know this may sound stupid, Sasori-danna…but what were you like before you turned yourself into a puppet?" Deidara asked as they trudged through the woods. Ah. Deidara and his questions.

They were on a supply-gathering mission. Nothing too stressful. Sasori had opted to leave his puppet armor, Hiruko, back at the base. Sasori pondered that question for a moment, mulling it over in his head. That had been over twenty years ago. All he remembered from that time was sadness. That deep, sinking feeling only brought on by loneliness. He glanced over at Deidara with his glassy, doll-like eyes. Although he didn't look a day over fifteen, he was still taller than the eighteen-year-old terrorist bomber.

"I was always alone. My parent's died when I was very young, and when I tried to replace them with puppets, it only turned me colder." He said, his tone emotionless and bored. Deidara was quiet for a few minutes.

"That explains a lot, hmm." He finally said, breaking the awkward silences that had fallen over the partners. "I lived with my mom. Dad left before I was born. She was always really bitter towards me about it. She thinks I made him leave. Like I asked to be fucking born. So I didn't spend a lot of time at home. I guess maybe that's why I'm such a loudmouth brat. No one ever raised me. I just sort of…did it myself."

The silence set in again, the only noise being the sand crunching beneath their sandals. They were on their way to a small village in River Country, were they usually gathered their supplies for the base. The plan was the same as it ever was. Get there. Stay in the same hotel they always did. Get the supplies. Head home in the morning. They'd done it countless times.

Sasori finally spoke. "I had at least a little guidance from my grandmother, Chiyo. I'm feel sorry for you, Deidara." He said. It sounded like he was going through the motions, no feelings entered his voice whatsoever.

Deidara tossed his head. "Tch. Don't feel sorry for me. I could've had it worse, I suppose. But…thank you." The blonde smiled cheekily. Sasori turned his head to look forward.

"We're almost there."


"Do you think we could get chicken? I want to make bakudan!" Deidara exclaimed as soon as they entered the market. Sasori noticed haw excited he looked. He gathered that bakudan was the boys favorite food. The red head checked their budget list, and nodded.

"Yes, I asked Kakuzu to give you my rations this month. I didn't need anything. I don't eat, and my tools are lasting quite well." Sasori explained, reading over the paper. Deidara was shocked. He turned to his partner, a huge smile plastered on his face.

"Really? You mean it?" The nineteen-year-old exclaimed. "I can get nori, too! And that means I don't have to eat the disgusting pilaf Hidan always tries to push on me! Thank you, Sasori-no-Danna!" He hugged Sasori's crickety wooden arm tightly, before bouncing away to gather his food rations. Sasori caught himself smiling, so he coughed and rubbed the arm Deidara had squeezed.

"Deidara, wait for me. You'll get lost."

He followed after the rambunctious blonde as fast as he could.


They lugged their burlap sacks back into their hotel room, Deidara with a many more bags than Sasori. Not only because he had gotten extra food for himself, but because he had offered to carry everyone else's rations as a thanks to Sasori. As they dropped everything in the corner and prepared for bed, Deidara couldn't help but ask the question that had been burning on his mind since earlier that day.

"Sasori-no-danna?" he began politely, walking into the bathroom where the older man was washing the grit from his face. "Did you have a girlfriend in Sunagakue?"

Sasori was silent for a few moments, as he patted dry his wooden skin.

"No. I prefer men." Was all he said, before walking passed Deidara and back into the main room. There was only one bed, since Sasori didn't require sleep. He would stay up, and work on schematics for future puppets like he always did, and Deidara would sleep on the single bed that was pushed up against the wall.

Or so he thought.

"Really? You're gay?" Deidara chimed as he walked after his partner, following him to their bags.


"Do you think I'm attractive?" The blonde deadpanned.

Well, Sasori certainly hadn't expected that.

"I don't really think of you that way, Deidara. You're much younger than me, and you're also my partner. We go on missions together. We're in the same organization. That's all. Nothing else." Sasori explained, as he pulled out his blueprints and his pencil. When he straightened up and turned around, Deidara was standing there with his arms clasped behind his back, and he had a light pink blush painted across his face. He looked a little ashamed…or maybe that was sadness.

"You don't then, do you?" He grumbled. Sasori cocked his head to the side.

"Don't what?"

"Think I'm attractive." He lowered his head so his long blonde hair fell over his shoulders. He'd taken off his headband, so most of his hair was loose. "I've had people call me beautiful all my life. Hmm. Sexy, hot. Mostly older guys though, and they all thought I was a girl. But you know I'm a guy, but you don't think I'm beautiful. Is it weird that I look like this?"

Sasori sighed, and set his things down on the writing table.

"Deidara." He began, approaching the young ex-Iwa nin slowly. "It's not that I don't think you're…aesthetically pleasing. I do. You're gorgeous. But there's more to being attracted to someone than what they look like. There's personality-"

"And I have a rotten one, right?" The blonde cut his superior off, anger now entering his voice. "I'm just some brat, hmm?"

Sasori calmly waited for the boy to finish, before he began speaking again. His voice matched his facial expressions, and he coolly went on to explain himself.

"You did not let me finish, nor did you interpret what I said earlier correctly. You asked me if I was attracted to you. I didn't say no, Deidara. I just mentioned that our age and profession stopped me from seeing you in a romantic way. As for your personality, you didn't let me explain that the way you skipped through the markets today, the way you haggled with shopkeepers and tried every free sample there was…I loved it. I love watching you, Deidara. I think you're a breath of fresh air at the organization. I often wonder to myself, 'What is he doing here, of all places?' I do think you're attractive, Deidara. But there is nothing I can do about it. You're much too young, and Leader would have our heads if he caught us…in a relationship. I'm sorry. But that's just the way it is."

Deidara was silent after that. He avoided Sasori's eyes as he walked on shaky legs to his bed. He collapsed on it, and laid facing away from the writing desk.

Sasori was regretful for having to deny Deidara. He knew the boy wanted to be loved. Given the bomber's background, it was to be expected. Sasori just wasn't the one to do it. Too many factors were stacked against them. He wouldn't complicate the boy like that.

Hours passed, as Sasori sketched and mapped out what he thought was going to be his next creation. But as his mind wandered, he began outlining a fit, male frame. Slender, but toned in all the right places. Buy the scale on his paper, the puppet would stand at roughly five foot and seven inches. He gave him slender hands and lastly, once he finally caught himself, he noticed he'd given it long hair waist-length hair drawn up into a half ponytail.

He'd absentmindedly constructed a Deidara puppet. Despite himself, he admired his handwork. His partner was very beautiful, and he did brighten up Sasori's dull life with his…explosive personality. They spent all their time together, Sasori accompanied Deidara during all of his meals, and they shared a room not only during missions, but at the base as well. Hidan thought it was ridiculous to build an extra bedroom for someone who didn't sleep.

"Sasori-no-danna." The voice was small and quiet, but Sasori knew the boy was awake.

"What is it, Deidara?" He asked softly, not turning around from his position. He wanted to finish his design. He never left a puppet half completed. There was a long pause on Deidara's part, and then suddenly,

"Make love to me."

Sasori sighed softly, although he was becoming frustrated. He knew it may seem to the boy that he didn't care…but he did. He just couldn't take things that far. He couldn't let himself fall in love with Deidara. It was much too dangerous, for the both of them. The feelings would cloud their judgment…and that was a death sentence for Shinobi.

"Deidara…I can't-"

"Please…please, just this once, hmm. Just for one moment, I want to feel wanted…loved…please…" He cut Sasori off with a voice so pathetic and needy that it sent a dagger right through what was left of the Sand nin's heart.

Sasori walked slowly over to the bed, and sat down on the edge of it. He reached out a hand and rested it gently on Deidara's bent knee.

"I'm sorry Deidara. But I…I can't have you just once. I'd need you every day after today." He said, every word rang true in his heart. Deidara turned to face him, tears streaming down his soft, pale cheeks.

"Sasori-no-danna…you already have me. Hmm…" He whispered weakly. He sat up, and scooted closer to his danna. His man. "I'll…love you regardless. You're the only one who's shown me kindness. You've accepted me…supported me and protected me."

Sasori dropped his dead, doll-like gaze to the floor. "I know. I know that Deidara." He mumbled. Deidara was moving closer and closer to Sasori, until he was wrapping his arms around the older man's wooden shoulders.

"Then tell me. Tell me why we have something? Hmm. Pein-sama won't be upset…he's in a relationship with Konan! And Pein is a lot of things; an asshole, a sadistic bastard…but one thing he isn't is a hypocrite. The only thing stopping us is you! Why?"

"Deidara…" Sasori said in a warning tone. But the boy pressed on.

"Why? Is it me? I know I can be annoying…and I'm sorry…I'll try and be better! I will!"

"Deidara…stop…" The puppet master was almost growling now, an emotion that felt a little like rage bubbling up in his throat. He wasn't angry at the boy…no…he was angry at himself.

"I'll take on extra chores at the base…I'll stop being so bratty! I'll change, just give me a chance!" The blonde's voice was raising, the desperation painfully clear in the way he stared intensely at his wooden partner.

And then suddenly, something deep inside Sasori snapped. The real reason for denying Deidara reared its ugly head, and before he could stop himself, Sasori was screaming.

"What if you die? What if you leave me all alone? What if I fall in love with you, and fate tears you away from me like it did with Mother and Father? And then what! I'm all alone, again! All alone without the one person who's made me feel again! I can't handle that, Deidara! I can't bear to fall in love with you, and then lose you!"

"Sasori-no-danna…" Deidara was smiling softly, moved deeply by Sasori's words. He reached up and gently cupped the man's smooth, flawless face. "You already love me. Hmm. Or else you wouldn't be so afraid to lose me. You would be just as hurt if you lost me right now, as we are, than if we fell in love. What if you…lost me before you could ever touch me? Kiss me? That regret would swallow you whole." He leaned in, and pressed his lips against the puppet master's chin. "I'm afraid to lose you too."

"Deidara…" Sasori reached out, hesitantly, and wrapped his arms around Deidara's waist, pulling the boy into his lap. "Deidara…thank you."

There was a long, comfortable silence, before Deidara spoke again.

"I know this may sound stupid, Sasori-danna…do you have anything? You know…down there? Hmm."

Ah. Deidara and his questions.