A/N: I can never concentrate when I'm writing this story. My train of mind just wanders so much in the process… maybe it's because that's such a large part of what the story focuses on?


Deidara couldn't sleep.

It wasn't that he didn't want to. It wasn't that he was feeling like an insomniac. It wasn't that he was thinking too much and couldn't clear his mind.

It was that he was literally incapable of sleeping.

Deidara found it almost calming, now that Itachi was asleep again. Deidara could see Itachi's dreams, but it wasn't as intense, as overwhelming as the older man's day-to-day thoughts. The dreams were detached, vague… and Deidara could ignore them in favor of his own thoughts.

The process of watching someone fall asleep from the inside was a strange one. A person didn't generally remember falling asleep, only a growing sense of being less aware of the world around them, and then waking up the morning after, sometimes with a dream or two lingering at the back of their mind. The actual moment of falling asleep was impossible to pinpoint in memory unless one fell asleep in a split second from exhaustion or a drug.

It was a strange process, Deidara thought. He had spent the entire day being pushed and pulled in whichever direction Itachi's thoughts took him. And then, when Itachi finally lay down in bed, the thoughts had cleared. It was a little like meditation—a practice that Deidara had precious little patience and attention for—in that Itachi slowly just wiped his mind of all thought and feeling. And then Deidara realized that this wasn't Itachi's doing… it was a natural process as he fell asleep. The thoughts didn't just end… they slowed, and then seemed to almost float away as the dregs of sleep came back after their morning leave and grew over the mind.

Deidara felt as though a weight was taken off his shoulders as Itachi fell asleep. He slowly came back, back into control of his own thoughts. He got up off of the 'ground' and moved to crack his neck and stretch, to do whatever it was that he needed to do after lying on the 'ground' all that time, but found that it was unnecessary. Maybe it just wasn't a problem when he was nothing but a mental representation.

He looked around, noting that it was still rather dark. So Itachi hadn't started dreaming yet. That was… interesting.

Would he stay in Itachi's head forever? Not in the idea that he would end up back home, but in the sense that his soul may randomly transfer to a different body in the middle of the night. What if he just suddenly found that the person waking up was Hidan instead of Itachi? Or Sasori? Or… actually, it seemed that Itachi was probably one of the better people to have ended up inhabiting. Most of Akatsuki seemed rather insane—Deidara had a sneaking suspicion that he would have ended up hearing voices if he'd ended up in Zetsu or Hidan—and…

His train of thought had changed too quickly. He should have been able to focus on the problem at hand, figure out if he would 'transfer' or stay. But to do that, he had to figure out what his entrapment consisted of in the first place. Like… what was the box made of?

Deidara crept over to the faintly glowing wall of the box. It was supposedly translucent, judging by what he had seen earlier, but at the moment that could only be seen at the bottom, where hints of tamped down ground with only a few hints of grass could be just barely seen.

He started to pace around the box, slowly, looking for a crack or thin spot. The box didn't show any weak points, however, appearing to be completely uniform and flawless.

How boring.

Deidara tried closing his eyes and seeing if he could sense anything from it. He didn't have chakra of his own, and there was nothing to be sensed from the box itself. Cursing, he began to pace around the box, full of frenetic energy.

His own thoughts were like wasps. There were levels of thought to Itachi that Deidara didn't enjoy experiencing, for a reason beyond them being Itachi's; some of the thoughts gave him headaches from the complexity. Deidara could name dozens of explosive chemicals off the top of his head, exactly how each atom bonded in them, and just which ones to use in which quantities to get the largest explosion with a set budget and circumstances. That, however, was a different from of complexity from genjutsu, particularly Itachi's kind, and the several hours that the Uchiha had spent ruminating on a new technique had left Deidara's head spinning… or would have, if he had had time to actually try to gather his thoughts.

Eventually, the world outside the cage, for Deidara could think of no better word for the 'box' in question, began to lighten. Another dream, then, though Deidara chose to ignore it, now that he could.

He caught flashes of color occasionally, through the corner of his eye, though the dream appeared to be primarily in black and white, like an old television set, grainy and unfocused. Though, he thought absently at one point, it seemed to be better than the lack of perception that Itachi strangely had.

And that thought dragged him away from his own situation and on to that of his… comrade.

Itachi was obviously sick, definitely in great pain. Something with the lungs, of course, and most of the body, but Deidara could tell that it was mostly the lungs. Itachi hadn't thought on it much, yet, only a few peripheral thoughts of weariness and comparisons on the severity to past days. The same had gone for his eyes, and strange thoughts regarding his clan that… didn't… feel…

He felt guilty.

Deidara realized this with a jolt. Deidara himself wasn't very used to feeling guilt, and was happier that way. He was a bit of a hedonist, he knew, but as and S-rank criminal, he wasn't expected to care about other people, particularly not when the people he should be close to, like the other members of Akatsuki, weren't his associates by choice. In any case, Deidara had finally identified the feeling that had confused him so much.


Itachi felt guilty about killing his clan.

Itachi was sick and probably dying.

Itachi was going blind.

And from what Deidara could tell, not even Kisame knew.

What the h*** was going on?


A/N: I am on a roll this week! In any case, here's your shiny new chapter of undiluted Mind Screw. I wonder if your heads hurt the way mine does?