The confrontation was just as deliciously awkward as Deidara had imagined it would be. Of course, Ino had basically kicked out everyone except Itachi first, something that had Sasori grumbling about how the stupid girl had no respect for her elders and blah blah blah.

Deidara snickered at that. Sasori didn't like teenagers very much.

The only reason anyone had agreed to it, and Deidara knew this for a fact, was because there was literally no way in hell that Ino would be able to take down Itachi by herself and without the element of surprise.

"Is anyone going to be able to hear us?" Ino demanded immediately. "This involves information that both you and I are going to find sensitive."

Deidara could feel how much Itachi wanted to raise an eyebrow at that, despite keeping his outward countenance impassive. "Yes."

"Tch." Ino crossed her arms, her legs following suit a second later. "Fine, but if this gets out when you don't want it to, don't blame me."

Deidara could feel Itachi's irritation, and Ino's was almost palpable. This was fun.

"Of course."

"Great." Ino snapped her head to the side to get her hair out of her face, and then stopped stalling. "Deidara? Yeah, I found him. He's in your head. He's got some of Konoha's village secrets as a result, or at least claims to. He said a few things about the massacre that I didn't believe, so he asked that I mention 'Shisui's eyes and the one-eyed bloodline-thief,' in order to get you to believe me."

Itachi's head was racing through contingency plans and probabilities at lightning speed, so fast that Deidara's own head was spinning, thinking up ways to keep Ino from learning more, ways to keep Deidara from learning more, ways to make sure neither one told anyone, ways to make sure that Sasuke didn't find out, ways to keep things under control without killing anyone, ways to kill them if necessary—

"So it's true, then." Ino muttered, eyes having been trained on Itachi's face the whole time. Right, Yamanaka; she probably knew histrionic movements pretty well, all things considered. "I figured. Didn't want to, but I figured it was."

"You will tell no one." Itachi said.

"I'll tell whomever I damn well please!" Ino snapped, though she shrank back in on herself when Itachi turned to her with his Mangekyo spinning. "Fine, I'll tell only Tsunade-sama. She needs to know. Anything I learn or will learn about Konoha's secrets while extracting Deidara will be relayed to her."

Itachi relaxed minutely, though only Deidara could tell. Apparently, telling only the Hokage was enough.

"Relay to her my wishes that as few people as possible be told as well."

"Yeah, yeah." Ino waved a hand dismissively. "Now call the others in so that I can tell them the so-called good news."



Deidara amused himself by watching people's reactions as they were told about what happened. Granted, he could only sense what Itachi did, could only see what Itachi saw, and couldn't really muse on it very much unless Itachi did the musing for him, but… it was enough. Thankfully, Itachi's Sharingan was activated at the moment, and wasn't that a surprising thought to have.

"I've found Deidara." Ino spoke without preamble.

"Great. Why did you need to speak with just Itachi?" Sasori was blunt and unforgiving. Deidara had found it funny when aimed at others , once upon a time, but having been in Itachi's head for as long as he had, now, he could no longer dreg up that same amusement.

"Let's just call it patient-doctor confidentiality." Ino smirked. "I told you I found Deidara. I didn't say where."

"Fine, where?" Sasori was the spokesperson of the group for the moment, if only because he was more emotionally invested in this than the others

Ino pointed at Itachi.

There were several seconds of silence as the occupants of the room, everyone in Akatsuki, looked from Ino to Deidara to Itachi and back.

"I call bullshit." Hidan declared, breaking the silence. It was really a miracle he had kept quiet thus far, a thought that Itachi and Deidara both shared, to the latter's not-quite-surprise.

(There wasn't much about Itachi that surprised Deidara anymore.)

"She proved it already." Itachi spoke softly, cutting off Ino as she bristled at the insult to her skills. "That was why she asked for everyone to leave earlier."

"How were you unable to sense him, then?" Sasori rounded on Itachi. Ouch. Angry Sasori. Mean Sasori.

"I wouldn't know." Itachi spoke smoothly, smothering any anger as soon as it bubbled up. "The only mental techniques in which I profess mastery are those connected to the Sharingan."

"Hmph." Sasori turned back to Ino. "Now what? How long will it take you to get him out? What's going on while he's in there?"

"He's stuck in some translucent purple box in the middle of Uchiha's mindscape." Ino sniffed. "I'll have to find a way to break that and drag him out by force. I didn't get any information on his situation, but it seemed to me that he was probably perpetually awake and aware of… well, pretty much everything."

"When you say everything…" Kisame started, glancing at Itachi.

"Everything. Everything Uchiha sees, feels, hears, smells, tastes, even thinks is being transmitted directly to Deidara, and he has no influence over anything whatsoever." Ino grinned, the look almost sadistic, marring her pretty face. "I'm surprised he's not insane by now."

Rude, Deidara thought.

"You seem happy about this." Kakuzu pointed out.

Ino sniffed, tossing her head. "He called me ugly."

"Deidara did?" Kisame clarified, looking just slightly confused. Probably because Deidara calling Ino ugly was half a step away from calling himself ugly.


He was having an easier time ignoring Itachi's thoughts, now, but he paid attention to the sheer panic that suddenly hit the man. It had been floating around, almost hazy, since Ino had first mentioned that Deidara knew things, but it had exploded at this.

Itachi's mind was his last refuge, his only refuge, and it was—


Deidara winced at the pure fury that consumed Itachi then. Intentional or not, Deidara had invaded Itachi's privacy in one of the most horrifying and intensely intimate ways imaginable, and that wasn't something that was all that simple to forgive.

The various reactions, once Itachi took the time to make note of them, weren't even all that amusing, unfortunately. Hidan was laughing, but everyone else just looked some variant of bored, uncomfortable, or thoughtful.

What a bummer.

Well, it was slightly funny to see Hidan get yelled at for making some comment about Ino's chest and Deidara and just otherwise making an ass of himself.



I'm assuming you can hear me.

Deidara blinked. That was… that was Itachi. Talking to him. Meditating and standing right in front of the big purple box but not seeing him, talking with his thoughts echoing around him instead of just saying the words normally.

…And continuing right away because he couldn't sense whether or not Deidara was ready for him.

I won't assume that you were aware of where you were going to go, or had any influence over such. I believe you would have chosen Sasori in that case.

"Yeah, I know. You already thought it all over, un. I felt you make that decision. I felt you make the decision to even try this. I just didn't expect it to work. Though, since I'm guessing you can't hear me, it probably didn't."

Itachi was silent and impassive for another fifteen seconds, at which point he sighed.

It seems that my attempts to set up a line of communication were unsuccessful. I can only hope that you try to avoid things you know I would prefer you not see.

"No worries on that front." Deidara snorted.

The next time Ino traces you back or tries to get into my mind, I will attempt to meditate beforehand so that I may speak with you properly, or at least through her.

"Works for me."

Itachi was silent for several seconds, gazing about ten feet to left of where Deidara actually was, and then he just… wandered off.

Back to the boring, then.