A/N: Holy fuck, I'm such a horrible author. I'm so sorry, guys! It's been monthes since I last posted, and I feel horrible. I've had writer's block for War Note ever since the last chapter, since I'm a noobish dweeb who plotted out the first and second chapter but not the third. But, thanks to your reviews, AkiYamazaki's beatings and scoldings (Love you too, Aki,) and my incredible guilt, I finally completed it. I know, the extra 1500 words aren't even close to an apology, but at least I tried. I am freaking relieved right now.
A great man once said, "You fall several times- you get up eight."
As soon as I heard that, I thought of you. Because your life is like a rollercoaster. Because your parents died, and then you grew up to be my life's motivation.
The only real reason you're falling is because people are tripping you.
I really wish I grew up in New York. Then I would have met you.
But if I did that, then, I guess Madara would be tripping, huh?
But still. I only hope that we'll meet each other eventually. For real.
I'm stalling, aren't I?
What I'm trying to say is…
I've been assigned to a Kamikaze mission. It's a suicide bombing and…
And I'm not going to come back.
I take in messy red hair and bloodshot grey-brown eyes. I take in long blonde hair and blue eyes. I take in messy red hair and grey-brown eyes. I take in long blonde hair and blue eyes. I take in messy red hair and grey-brown eyes.
I think I'm going insane.
I sigh and rub my temples soothingly, my actions calming the ache in my head but not the ache in my chest.
It wouldn't even mind it that much, but under these circumstances…
I mean, I haven't… hadn't ever even met him. Why am so miserable? Why is he always plaguing my mind? I can't… I can't stop thinking about him. I can't-
I splash my face with a handful of cold water, leaning over the sink to make sure it didn't get on my clothes.
Just keep it together, Sasori. Everything will be fine.
No it won't. He's dead. It won't be fine.
You haven't met him.
He was your life's inspiration.
He was an annoying brat.
You were an annoying douche.
I sigh harshly and bang my head on the bathroom cabinet, the water soaking into my red hair.
I knew my subconscious was right. I knew Deidara's death was getting to me. I knew I was sad.
I just didn't know what to do about it.
A loud ringing woke me up from my slumber.
I growl savagely, leaning over and glaring at my phone.
It didn't seem fazed.
I pluck my handset from the receiver and checked the name.
'Incoming call from PINCUSHION.'
I sigh harshly, my lips curling up into a sneer. Why the hell was Yahiko calling this early?! I press 'TALK' and push the phone to my ear impatiently. "What do you want?"
"Aw. Two weeks since I last spoke to you and that's the first thing you say? I'm wounded, Saso~"
"Shut up," I mutter, mildly irritated, "You shouldn't have called this early. I'm busy."
"Busy doing what? I don't think drooling over a pillow counts as 'busy,' Sasori."
I growl savagely and glare at the phone.
I think it started to shiver.
"Whatever," I say coolly, "Why'd you call?"
"The others and I were speaking about you-"
"And we came to a conclusion. You need to get out more."
"So what?" I mutter, slightly sulky that they were talking about me behind my back.
"Soooooo, you're coming to the park with us. Now."
I twitch. "And did I agree with that?"
"No. But we're making you come anyways. No objections."
I twitch again as Yahiko hung up on me. He was probably laughing right now.
I sigh and consent, walking to the front of my apartment and pulling on my red hoodie, then slipping on my blue converse.
Then I proceeded to take them off as I realized that I was only wearing a baggy sleep-shirt and my boxers.
The park was only about two kilometres away, so I walked there.
My heart sped up at the sight of every blond, at the thought of one being him, that he'd walk over to me, tell me he was pulling my leg, tell me that he was okay. Or even that I'd come home and there'd be a letter from him pushed through the letter slot, telling me that he was okay. Tell me that he was okay.
But it'd had already been two weeks and that hadn't happened yet.
Tell me he's okay.
As I near the park, I see Hidan waving me over like a madman, yelling, "Oi! Woodcock! OI! Here, Puppetfucker!"
I roll my eyes as mothers cover their children's ears and glare darkly at the albino.
After all, their angel children would be cussing like that eventually.
Kakuzu whacks Hidan over the head, making him whine and pout whilst melodramatically moaning out curses. I roll my eyes a second time, making my way over to the dumbasses.
"Heeeeeey, Saso. S'up?" Yahiko characteristically grinned at me, his face lighting up (literally) as the sun hit his piercings and blinded me for a moment. I winced and covered my eyes until a cloud painted over the sun.
Sighing in relief, I finally answered him. Looking up slightly, I matter-of-factly intoned, "The sky."
The others chuckled slightly, and Yahiko stuck his (pierced) tongue out at me childishly.
Please, please let him be okay.
Hidan began rambling purposelessly, and the vibe that Kakuzu gave off made me and the rest of the moderately-intelligent members take a few steps back. The expression on the tan man's face radiated, 'Hidan-I-swear-to-god-if-you-don't-shut-the-hell-up-I'll-drag-you-home-on-a-piece-of-sandpaper-pour-lemon-juice-on-your-cuts-rip-of-your-dick-and-then-shove-it-up-your-ass.'
Or something like that.
Kisame and Itachi were currently in a deep conversation consisting on just small-talk. I swear to god if Kisame mentions how 'delightful' the weather is one more time I'll murder myself.
Well… Not that I wasn't already planning to do that…
Konan and Yahiko were currently getting a few bottles of water for us all at a snack stand. I could see them standing in line at the other side of the park. Yahiko's bright orange hair is like a beacon, I swear.
I have the strange feeling that an airplane is going to mistake the park for a landing pad.
I smiled faintly. Actually, just being around my happy-chappy overly optimistic friends was making me feel a bit better. Maybe I should come out of my hermit-hole more often…
Konan and Yahiko strolled back to where Kakuzu was currently pushing Hidan's head into a fountain. They only paid the two a passing glance and continued walking towards the more rational- albeit more boring- members of the group.
Then Yahiko characteristically ran back and poured one of the water bottles on Kakuzu's head.
…And promptly started a water fight.
Itachi and I ducked behind the memorial statue of Alexander Hamilton, both of us holding a water bottle in our hands, with a few thrown unceremoniously into Itachi's book bag. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a smallish ballpoint pen. I rammed the pen haphazardly into random spots in the plastic (me, being too lazy to be OCD at the moment) and threw it above the statue into the grounds where Hidan and Yahiko crouched, Itachi following my lead almost right after, but instead of punching holes into it, he just simply took off the bottle's cap.
The Uchiha and I rolled army style across the opening and squatted behind a bush.
The water fight picked up. Kakuzu shoved an open bottle downwards into Hidan's pants, Kisame dumped three bottles onto Itachi's head consecutively, Yahiko gained a large and rather nasty bruise when laughing at Konan, who looked like an uncomfortable, wet cat, who promptly nailed him in the face with a fully-capped water bottle.
Then, the others decided it would be fun to gang up and chase me around the park while nailing me with water balloons and left-over uncapped water flasks.
By the end of the fight, everyone was soaked, tired, and felt sort of violated. During the fight, Konan and Kakuzu were hiding in a tree, and a branch caught onto her shirt and ripped it, revealing most of her huge boo- ahem, I mean cleavage. Not to mention, I can't count how many times Hidan was pantsed and/or forced to streak.
Luckily for Konan, Yahiko had a pin in his book bag which he grudgingly gave up after joint whacks to the head by Kisame and I.
Unluckily for Hidan, true to the aforementioned vibe I described, Kakuzu actually did bring sandpaper to the park.
I almost feel bad for the poor guy. …Well, I would…
…That is, if the sandpaper hadn't given him an erection.
I'm scarred for life. Stupid, injudicious, paraphilac arsehole…
…With no moral values…
…Or correctly viewed religion,
…Or accurate standards…
…Or correct self-value…
…Or correct view on art…
…With a huge amount of imp-like, wry, sarcastic humor…
…And ability to see the beauty in things that have none…
I twitch inwardly, making my friends look a bit concerned for my well-being.
I realized that my insults to Hidan erratically changed into wistful musing about Deidara.
And now I'm depressed again.
Tell me he's fine. Tell me he's fine. Tell me he's fine. Tell me he's fine. Tell me he's fine. Tell me he's fine. Tell me he's me he's me he's me he's me he's me he's me he's fineTell me he's fineTell me he's fineTell me he's finetellmehe'sfinetellmehe'sfinetellmehe'sfinetellmehe'sfinetellmehe'sfinefinefinefinefinefinefin efineeeeeeeeee
I feel like an Army wife. I deadpan at the thought, my friends only giving me a passing glance. They learned that I was temperamental years ago.
I swear I'll never roll my eyes at a 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' book again.
My life is so horribly trite.
I was born in a different country. I came to America as a semi-legal immigrant. My parents died when I was five, in a car crash, no less. I was raised by a slightly senile old bat who kept forgetting my name (I love Granny Chiyo to bits, but she drives me insane sometimes.) I grew up not knowing how to trust. I had no friends in elementary or middle school. My high school/collage friends were very distant.
Then, I wrote a letter to an even more corny (and more or less clichely unpredictable) soldier fighting for our country. Somehow we became good friends despite the fact we have never met. I learnt to trust him, despite the fact I've only known him for a few months. My life changed for the better. I became happy. Quit my shitty job. Have gotten my dream occupation. Became closer to my friends, and actually started smiling…
And then he dies, and I retreat to my old, stupidly stoic, way too self-reliant self.
Fate owes me big time for having to put up with this shit. I swear to god, if I don't win the lottery this month I'm screwing it all and moving to Bangladesh to become a sheep-herder.
I heard that that was a good profession for the mentally insane.
Around me, my friends have flocked together and are laughing at some random joke or idiotic comment sputtered out by Hidan. I don't, however, considering I never heard the joke, and I was never one to pretend for the benefit of others.
The others stopped laughing and stared at me I half-glared at them and irritably inquired, "Why are you all looking at me like I have seven heads?"
Hidan quickly responded, "Because you do," but was quickly locking in a head-lock by Kakuzu, who seems intent on killing the unfortunate sadomasochist someday.
Konan frowned sadly and muttered, "You're turning back, Saso. You seemed like you were getting better…" Her concerned honey-amber eyes stared holes into me. I guess my friends aren't as oblivious as I thought.
"Turning back into what, exactly, Konan?" I articulated unemotionally, raising my eyebrow slightly and playing the ignorant card. The way I spoke actually scared me a bit. Was I really turning back?
The words that the brat wrote to me sounded in my head, complete with a smooth, boyish voice that I created to impersonate Deidara to recite them. 'You might fall down, but you'll get back up. Because you are the most stubborn bastard I've ever known.'
Konan looked frightened and dejected. I wanted to go back and respond again, but I can't, and apologizing would make me look like a two-face, so I did what I always did;
Pretend to be a heartless asshole and hope that everything cleared itself up, while I sat in a corner writing emo poetry.
It was a good plan. I liked that plan. But, unfortunately, other people didn't like that plan.
So that's why Konan slapped me hard across the face.
"You're such a dick, you know that!" Konan shouted. She glared at me, the stare cutting into me like a knife, "I'm fucking worried about you and all you can do is make a smart-assed remark and pretend that we'll keep on caring whether you're alive or not and worry about you nonstop! That's fucking unfair, and you know it, too, Akasuna!"
Her accusations hurt a lot more than the slap. Mainly because they were all true.
She continued glaring at me, probably expecting exactly what I was going to say next. So I did it.
I stared apologetically into her eyes and murmured, "I'm sorry."
Seemingly, though, she didn't expect it. Her eyes widened and her mouth mashed into a tight white line. We stared at each other for a while, the other members staring at us in turn. Konan was the one who broke the silence. "I…" she swallowed slightly, her voice small and shaky, "I think we deserve an explanation, Sasori."
So I gave them one.
It's been a few days since the day at the park, and I've gotten worse in some ways, and better in others.
I'm still sad. I'm still delusional. I'm still annoyingly sentimental.
But at least now I'm doing something about it.
I've gotten a few puppets done, and a few of the older ones have been sold. I'm still keeping up with the rent and am paying the bills. I can also afford food and art supplies. I can't, however afford possessions for personal use, but whatever. I figure that once my shop will become popular, I'll be able to come up with the money for anything I want.
Yay, optimism. I feel like a dweeb.
I've also come up with a name for the art shop.
No, it isn't 'Deidara' or anything sappy like that.
It's called 'War Note's.' …Which isn't much better, now that I think about it.
I deftly carve almond-shaped eye-sockets into the warm umber wood. It's shesham wood, which is usually the type of lumber that I use for puppets. It's easily carved, highly durable, and attractive. …Okay, why am I talking about wood?
I sighed and rolled my eyes at myself, turning the sharp carving knife to flick the shavings out of the socket without nicking the rest of the wood. The body of this particular puppet lay neatly on the floor beside me. I usually work on the body before the head, considering the face was usually the hardest to make. Was the puppet sad or happy? Was their facial feature delicate and sympathetic, or rough and sharp? What color hair and eyes?
As I take out a pencil and mark out the outline of the mouth, my phone rings. I rolled my eyes for the fifty-seventh time that day and picked up the cell to check who was calling. Almost inevitably, the screen read, 'Incoming call from PINCUSHION.' I clicked 'Accept' and placed the phone by my ear, cocking my neck to cradle it between my ear and shoulder while continuing to neatly mark off dimensions. "I'm busy, Yahiko."
"I don't think drooling on your pillow counts as 'busy,' Saso."
I raised my eyebrow, staring, vexed, at the half-finished puppet head. "Yahiko," I stated exasperatedly, "I'm working on my puppets."
I snorted at him in both amusement and annoyance. "So, why'd you call?"
"Well, uh, apparently, my long-lost cousin or something just came back from fighting in the war, so you can come and maybe… he'll have known Deidara? I mean, uh, if you want. You don't… have to come. It's just an offer, um…"
I love how he's talking to me like I'm a depressed suicidal.
I snickered at him. I've never heard or seen Yahiko, the inappropriate- perverted, oblivious, loser- feel awkward. Ever. "Yeah, I'll come," I answered in a bored manner, shrugging slightly, "It's not like I have anything else to do."
My ginger-headed friend's bright smile could almost be felt through the phone line. "Great! Come to tha' hospital at 5:00. It's the 'reunion,' or something like that."
I pushed the 'hang up' button and turned to the clock to check the time. It read '4:57.' The hospital is fifteen minutes away.
After sprinting to the clinic (and getting there several minutes late,) I met up with Yahiko, his grandfather Jiraiya (who raised him) and his younger cousin Naruto (who Jiraiya also raised.)
Naruto was aptly rambling about how he couldn't wait see his older brother again… and something about a magical sweater. The poor kid needed to be enrolled into a mental hospital.
Jiraiya was listening intensely to Naruto, hoping to find out more about his 'long-lost kin.' Yahiko and I, however, zoned out after Naruto mentioned a purple zebra.
I glanced around. Women and children were embracing injured men in camouflage uniforms. They were all smiling in relief, laughing as tears ran down their faces. I wanted to be happy for them- I really did, but all I could think was 'Did Deidara know any of these men?' which led to 'Were they in the same troop?' which led to 'Why weren't they the ones dying?'
I swallowed uneasily. Maybe I should've stayed home. Suddenly, I felt a finger tap me on the shoulder almost shyly. Turning around perplexedly, I noted that it was Naruto.
He smiled timidly-something I first thought that Naruto wasn't capable of- and asked, "Uh, Sasori, did you care about Deidara? Like, a lot?"
I blinked and nodded slowly, not sure where he was going with this.
"Then he's still alive," stated Naruto positively, beaming, "If you love something, let it free. If it loves you back, it'll come home. Besides, fate owes you."
I smiled hesitantly back at him. Even though I knew what Naruto said wasn't true, something inside of me wanted to believe it.
I looked around again. Potted plants stood peacefully in each corner, surrounding long lilac-white benches without backrests. The walls were sterile white, and the floors were tiled with slates made of stainless steel. It looked both peaceful and unsettling at the same time. The smell of chemicals stung my nose and forced me to shallowly breathe through my mouth.
Yahiko was looking around almost frantically at the opening and closing of each door.
"Madara?" I asked him, knowing how he felt completely.
He looked at me almost sympathetically, nodded slowly, and responded, "Yeah. He said he might be here, if he didn't have a mission."
I nodded too. He was worried about him. I could tell.
And then I was faced with reality.
Madara might not come back from that mission, just like Deidara didn't come back from his. Shivers ran down my spine.
'And I'm not going to come back,' recited the boyish voice calmly, 'And I'm not going to come back. And I'm not going to come back. And I'm not going to come back. And I'm not going to come back. And I'm not going to come back. AndI'mnotgoingtocomebackAndI'mnotgoingtocomebackAndI'mnotgoingtocomebackAndI'mnotgoingtocomebacknotcoming backnotcomingback.'
Naruto's voice sounded, too, 'It'll come home. It'll come home. It'll come home. It'll come homeIt'llcomehomeit'llcomehomeIt'llcomehomeIt'llcomehome.'
I honestly don't know what to believe anymore.
Yay, more optimism.
I turned to Yahiko. "Oi, where's your cousin?" I asked, raising my eyebrow slightly.
He blinked at me. "Eh? Oh, he got pretty badly wounded on his last mission. We'll be allowed to see him in…" he clucked his tongue and looked down at his watch, "About four or five minutes. Give or take a minute or two."
I nodded leisurely, hiding my inner turmoil. 'Badly wounded'…
I looked around a third time to clear my head. I frowned thoughtfully as I saw a few veterans sitting alone in the corners of the rooms. It was really sad; these men gave their lives for their countries and no one came to visit them or thank them for their deeds. I couldn't help but wonder 'Is that how Madara and Deidara felt when no one sent them letters?'
A nurse came over to us and tapped Jiraiya on the shoulder. "Excuse me, sir," she asked, smiling pleasantly, "Are you here for Uzumaki?"
Jiraiya grinned back and nodded, turning to follow the nurse as she led them down the halls.
I hesitated for a second. Did I really want to know if the guy knew Deidara? Would it be rude to intrude in their personal reunion? The answer to both those questions was yes.
So I stood up and followed.
And when I saw him, half-awake with long flaxen hair and half-lidded stormy eyes, I felt no doubt.
Fate did owe me, after all.
A/N: I AM FINALLY DONE THIS TRILOGY. YES.
Special, huuuuuge thank you to jojo507, Germania, Desaicedancer and AddictedToCorn for your reviews and support. I love you guys! You helped me power through my WB and made me feel fuzzy inside. I feel really guilty for not replying to most of you, and if I did, I probably said something awkward. ^^' Also, thanks to the anonymus reviewer Me, who also reviewed and made me feel fuzzy insade. Haha!
Thanks also to AkiYamazaki, who, despite giving me eight bruises, also helped me through my WB. :)
I love everyone who's reviewed and read WN, and, for the most part, had a fun time writing this. So thanks a lot!
Morbid ish out~~~~~~~