A/N: Yay, plot and twists! I won't be quite as focused on the mental exploration after the first chapter/prologue, whatever you want to call it, but it's still going to be a huge part of the story.

o.o.o.o.o

"NO!"

Deidara continued to shout mindlessly for several minutes, his anger and denial strong enough to even shove away the blasted sensations still coming from Itachi.

"No, no, no, NO, NO!"

Deidara's hatred for Itachi was immense. He had never wanted to join any organization after defecting from Iwa. Crime was alright. He even found it fun sometimes. But organized crime was not, no matter how small the organization was. He didn't enjoy taking orders. He could take a job, maybe even a few, from the same person, but working under someone… the thought made his stomach turn.

And it was Itachi's fault that he had had to do just that for the past several years.

Now he was stuck in Itachi's head with no way out, and he probably couldn't get out, either. He couldn't sense his own chakra. He obviously had no idea what Orochimaru had done to put him here. He didn't know why he was trapped. He just…

Argh! And now there were more ideas and sensations and thoughts and sights and things, things, things coming from Itachi and, and…

He couldn't think anymore. His anger was spent, and he no longer had the focus to keep Itachi's mind away from his own.

The first thing he felt again was the pain.

o.o.o.o.o

Deidara had taken to sitting at the edge of the box he was inexplicably, inescapably trapped in, back to the wall. His eyes were closed, and his face marred into an ugly frown. He couldn't really focus, because as soon as he tried to think, the influence from Itachi overrode him.

It was like… like trying to sing a song while the radio was blasting a different one. The radio couldn't hear you, nor did it care for changing the tempo or key of the song it was playing. You could hear the radio, however, and the key that it was in threw you off; the tempo made you try to speed up; the words of the song it played only served to confuse your own lyrics.

He eventually resigned himself to just mindlessly floating along to the tune of Itachi. He seethed in anger about not being able to ignore it at all. He was better than this!

Then there was a call on the rings. Both Itachi and Kisame found an out of the way place and created the holograms in the meeting cave.

Deidara paid as much attention as he could to what Itachi was seeing, because he couldn't take even a second to himself look at the things that interested him. It was an especially irritating aspect of this whole thing (the other irritating aspects being… all of them), as every time he forgot himself and tried to look at something else, he had to deal with the fact that he could only look in the direction of whatever Itachi was looking at. Deidara wanted to at least glance at Sasori… Itachi's eyes never wavered from Leader.

"Listen, can we just move the f*** on?" Hidan complained, drawing what few conversations (two) that were going on in the cavern to a halt.

Pein stared at him for several seconds, and then turned to Sasori, who was actually there physically, though in Hiruko, as were Pein, Konan, and even Zetsu.

"There was an incident with Orochimaru yesterday." Sasori stated. "At one point, he got behind Deidara in his blind spot, and used a technique that I am unfamiliar with."

"So? What happened to blondie?" Deidara frowned from where he… existed. Still, it wasn't like Hidan was any more polite to anyone else…

"I was getting to that." Sasori sounded irritated. "He's unconscious, but I'm going to make a preemptive diagnosis and call it a coma. I tried to do a medical technique to wake him up, since there didn't seem to be anything actually keeping him unconscious after I healed all his wounds and checked for poison, but there was something blocking it… the brat is alive, and by all standards, he's healthy, but…"

"But?" Konan's eyes were narrowed.

"I think his soul is gone."

Silence.

"What?" Kisame breathed, eyes wide and making his normally small pupils seem almost nonexistent.

Deidara frowned, but couldn't find it in himself to panic yet. They knew what was wrong; someone would probably be able to figure out how to get him back; his body was, by all accounts, fine, and his soul, while not exactly in the most desirable of places, was whole and safe.

"It still exists, somewhere." Sasori growled, "But it's not in his body for some reason, and I don't know how to get it back. I tried several diagnostic techniques to check. By all accounts, he should be dead, but for some reason, he isn't. He isn't dead, but his soul is definitely gone."

Images flashed in Itachi's head, a number of people with pastel eyes without pupils, one man in particular with long, pale blonde hair and blue eyes. An impression of a deep voice, and respect borne of previous interactions, floated along with them, and the slightest twitch of facial muscles indicated the—very, very small—beginnings of a frown, showing the slight strains of displeasure running through the memories.

"In which case the technique resembles that of a Yamanaka." Itachi spoke in his custom monotone, but Deidara felt the effort that Itachi actually put into keeping his voice so low, even, and emotionless. It was especially impressive as, halfway through his sentence, a line of fire burned a line through the man's spine and lit up his lungs, urging him to cough. Itachi showed no outward sign of it, not even a twitch. Deidara let out a yelp, but he wasn't nearly as surprised as he had been the first time this had happened. This was the seventh.

"The Konoha clan focused on interrogation?" Kakuzu asked. All eyes were focused on Itachi, who showed no discomfort at their gazes.

But Deidara felt that discomfort. The way people looked at him, especially within Akatsuki, was very different from how people looked at Itachi.

"Yes. Their most basic techniques consist of projecting their souls out of their bodies and possessing an opponent, while teammates keep their unconscious body under guard." Images of a forest and a teenager that looked to be asleep in the middle of a battle flashed through Itachi's head.

"You think Deidara might be possessing someone, and simply hasn't contacted us yet?" Pein kept his gaze focused on Itachi, to a level where Deidara began to feel uncomfortable and irrationally fear that he was staring through Itachi and right at him.

"No." Itachi's voice was clipped. "Deidara is not a Yamanaka, or of any other clan that has such techniques. He has not had such training as to assert his will over the person whose body he is inhabiting, and may not even be aware. If he is… there is a chance he may eventually figure out, but I believe that that would take much more time than we have at our disposal." The thoughts made Deidara frown, but he couldn't get angry at Itachi without feeling like an idiot. The man's train of thought, the process he went through to reach that claim, were laid out too clearly for Deidara to refute it, especially since he was trapped in someone's mind and had no control.

"So…what're you saying we should do?" Hidan actually looked a little interested, Deidara noted, though he was surprised to note that a small corner of Itachi's mind did as well before the though was pushed away as exceedingly irrelevant. Itachi mulled over the question, and Deidara had trouble keeping up with the lightning fast images, words, and impressions that made up the dozen or so plans that Itachi cycled through before returning to the first, and settling there. The thoughts were focused on one face in particular, one that Deidara thought looked remarkably like his own for some reason. The impressions behind it (young, weak, easily impressionable, well-versed in clan techniques, daughter of the clan head) left no question as to why the girl was at the forefront of Itachi's mind.

"I suppose that I am suggesting… that we kidnap a Yamanaka."

o.o.o.o.o

A/N: I kind of wanted to go further, but this is as good a place as any to stop, and better than most of those. So… yes, they're kidnapping Ino. To help save Deidara. Who is trapped in Itachi's head. With no way out. Fun, huh?

To be honest, I actually hadn't planned on involving Ino, or any Konoha nin, really. But the opportunity presented itself, and was just too perfect, not to mention that I couldn't steer it out of that direction if I tried. After all, "The story writes itself. The author just puts it down on paper."

Ja ne,

Phoenix.