Dark: So this is a little one-shot I wrote to kinda vent my emotions, therefore some people are gonna suffer. XD I also wanted to work on my battle scenes and Saso's POV.
Dei: Why am I so helpless in this one? It's not fair, un!
Dark: Because you're my favorite, therefore you get to suffer with me. :P
Saso: Just deal with it, brat. Besides, I kinda like seeing you on the ground and-
Dei: Too much information, Danna! D:
Dark: LOL XD Well enjoy the story, and don't forget to review!

Summary: On the way back from a mission, the artists are attacked. And one of them may not make it out alive...

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. If I did, SasoxDei would be totally and completely canon.

Warnings: Mild swearing, a lot of fighting, and a little bit of SasoxDei fluff.

Deidara growled as he held up a kunai to defend against the enemy shinobi's swords, not happy with having to fight in hand to hand combat. The weapons met with a loud clink, the force sending off sparks. That's what I get for overdoing it on the explosions, like Sasori Danna is always telling me. Ironic.

The blonde shoved the Mist nin away in an attempt to knock him off balance, while he moved backwards to regain some distance. Panting slightly, he glanced over at his partner.

Sasori had a calm demeanor about him, even when the shinobi he was fighting nearly managed to get past his puppet. The redhead was not hidden away in his Hiruko puppet like usual, because this mission had required stealth. And Hiruko was anything but stealthy.

Deidara turned his attention back to his own opponent, reaching into both of the pouches he wore on his waist and hoping that he had even the smallest bit of clay left. Yet again he came up dry. "Tch. Dammit, un."

The mission had been a simple "get in, kill the target, get out" type of assignment. The artists had not prepared for the assailants that were waiting for them. They were two rogue ninjas, both formerly of the Mist, and fought on a Jonin level. The one the blonde was fighting was tall, with light blue hair and sharp grinning teeth. He fought with a set of broadswords and almost abnormal strength. Sasori was fighting a shinobi with shoulder length brown hair and cold green eyes. Deidara hadn't seen much of that one's fighting style. He scowled, trying to figure a way to defeat his opponent, who obviously excelled at Taijutsu.

Sasori brought his right hand down in a swift move, effectively slicing through the chest of the enemy. He gave a small smirk, only to feel it fall away as the man dissolved into a puddle of water. Water clone?! When did he...? Wait, that means...

The puppeteer snapped his head to the left, eyes widening as the shinobi he had been fighting came up behind Deidara while the other one distracted him.

"Behind you!"

Deidara looked over in surprise at his partner's warning, then glancing over his shoulder and barely ducking the incoming attack. Kunai in his mouth he punched the brunette forcefully across the face, then proceeding to give a well-placed kick to the stomach.

Sasori ran forward to help, his puppet firing multiple poisoned weapons at the broadsword user. Flashing his sharp teeth he dodged them all, backflipping away from the battle. In the blink of an eye, he weaved several hand signs and the area became overcast with a thick fog.

The artists both looked around, knowing this was a bad sign. Deidara blinked, trying not to let his fear show on his face. He backed up slowly, trying to listen for any signs of footsteps or breathing besides his own.

"You are both familiar with Kirigakure's Silent Killing technique, correct?" a voice asked from somewhere in the haze. Sasori turned restlessly, uneasiness creeping up on him.

"You should feel honored; only the toughest opponents get the opportunity to have their death delivered by such an advanced technique," a deeper voice added, setting Deidara on edge. He took the kunai into his hand once more, looking left to right repeatedly. Suddenly there was a burst of pain on his right leg, causing him to stumble in surprise. There was a deep gash which was dripping with blood, soaking into his torn pants.

Then the pain returned, on his left leg, his arms, his stomach, and finally his neck. Deidara let out a gurgled cry, hand flying to his neck where it had been sliced right open. He fell to the ground, eyes wide and brimming with tears.

Sasori felt a pang of worry, running towards the direction the pitiful sound had come from and hoping to whatever god that Deidara was okay. He barely even noticed when the cuts flew across his body, not being able to feel a single one.

"Gitai, this one won't die," the deep voice said without emotion, ceasing in his attack. "He's not human."

Ignoring him, Sasori stopped in his tracks. "Deidara! Where the hell are you?!"

Deidara coughed, blood welling up in his mouth. He tried to answer, but between the pain and the blood loss, he couldn't speak. This can't be it... Can it? Am I going to die here...?

Sasori heard the blonde coughing, immediately turning left and trying to see through the mist. He finally caught sight of a faint black color, and running closer was able to see more details of the fallen blonde. And so far it wasn't looking too good.

The redhead fell to his knees next to his partner, feeling his heart tremble. Deidara looked up at him with terrified blue eyes, blood dripping down from his mouth and the hand that covered his throat. He tried to talk, but only ended up coughing again, more blood spurting from his mouth and under his hand.

Sasori suddenly felt numb. He stood up, disconnecting the chakra threads from his puppet. "Oh? Are you surrendering?" the one named Gitai asked, whereabouts still not obvious.

Not answering, the puppeteer pulled open his cloak and let the fabric fall to the ground. He lifted his head up with his eyes wide, coil unwinding from his stomach and blade wings unfurling.

"What the hell are you?!" Gitai shouted in surprise, accidentally letting the mist thin slightly.

Slightly was all that Sasori needed. He held his hands up, preparing to attack. "I'm your worst damn nightmare."

The mist erupted with fire, the flames burning away the fog. The enemy shinobi became visible, standing a little ways away from the livid redhead. "Daisuke, let's go," the blue haired one said, grinning as he twirled his swords and ran forward. Daisuke simply stood there, seeming to be analyzing the situation.

Deadly poison dripped from Sasori's stomach coil as he moved to meet Gitai, wings propelling him forward. The broadsword user prepared to attack, then gave a sly smirk and jumped right over the puppeteer's head.

The next few seconds were nothing but a blur.

Sasori saw Daisuke mere feet away with a kunai raised to his heart container. There was no way he could move away fast enough. And then there was blonde hair.

The brunette shinobi still showed no emotion as his weapon was driven into Deidara's chest instead of Sasori's.

Deidara let out a strangled gasp, squeezing his eyes shut as the cold metal pierced through his heart. Daisuke threw him to the ground, releasing his hold on the kunai. His right eye opened slightly, and though his vision was blurry he could see that his partner was still safe. I made it in time... A solitary tear escaped down his face.

Sasori couldn't comprehend what had just happened. But he did know that Deidara was fatally wounded and these guys were to blame. His vision was clouded by a red haze.

5 minutes later, he could see again. His wooden body was covered with crimson splatters, and both of the Mist shinobi lay in a bloody heap in front of him. He stared at his hands, unnerved by his sudden burst of feral anger. Sasori then remembered Deidara. He looked down at the now unconscious blonde, heart aching.

He kneeled down, brushing the stray pieces of hair from Deidara's face. Sasori took hold of the kunai that was still embedded in his chest, grimacing as he pulled the weapon out. The blonde didn't even flinch, which worried the puppeteer even more.

Sasori leaned his ear down to Deidara's chest slowly, closing his eyes and bracing himself. 3 seconds passed. 5 seconds. 10 seconds. 30 seconds. Not a single heartbeat. Sasori opened his eyes, and if he was still human there would have been tears flowing down his face. He wrapped his arms around the blonde, and laid in that spot for what seemed like forever, letting an occasional shaky sob escape his lips.

An hour later, Pein contacted him mentally. Is the job complete?

Sasori stared numbly into the distance. "Yeah," he said in a hoarse voice.

Good. I expect you both back in a few days.

The puppeteer closed his eyes. "Deidara's not coming back," he replied in a broken tone.

Why not? Pein asked suspiciously.

"He's dead," Sasori whispered, tightening his hold on the blonde that lay lifeless below him.

There was a pause. How long?

"What?" Sasori asked, opening his eyes slightly again.

How long has he been dead? Pein repeated in a stern voice.

The redhead blinked slowly, shaking his head. "I'm not sure... probably no longer than an hour and a half... Why?"

There was no reply this time, and Sasori looked up at Deidara's pale face. He let his head fall back down to the still chest, with no intention of getting up. To hell with Pein, there was no way he'd be back at the base within a few days...

There was a sudden movement below him, and Sasori jerked his head up in surprise. Deidara's eyes fluttered open, and a gasp escaped from his mouth. His injuries seemed to slowly repair themselves, and color returned to his pallid complexion.

Sasori stared in disbelief, touching a hand to the blonde's face. "Deidara?"

Deidara breathed heavily, turning his gaze to meet Sasori's. "D-Danna?"

The puppeteer let out a sigh of relief, his forehead falling forward onto Deidara's. "Thank god you're okay," he breathed, hands entwining with his partner's. Sasori swore he heard a faint 'You're welcome,' echo through his head.

Deidara closed his eyes, enjoying the closeness of the redhead. I thought I was dead... I know for a fact I was... So what happened...?

"Don't ever do that to me again," Sasori said, closing his eyes as well. Deidara smirked.

"I'm not gonna make promises I can't keep, un. But I'll try to be more careful, for your sake." He opened his right eye a bit, and pressed his lips against Sasori's. The redhead relaxed, all traces of worry and uneasiness fading away.

After a few moments Sasori pulled away, eyes half-lidded as he gazed down at his partner. "You're not allowed to die before me, all right?"

Deidara let out a small laugh. "Whatever you say, un."

Nagato coughed, energy almost completely gone. Konan watched with concern. "It wasn't necessary to do that, you know," she said in her soft voice. "Deidara could have been easily replaced." He glanced up at her, a thoughtful look on his face.

"While that is true, Sasori shares an extremely strong bond with him. We'd probably lose him as well if Deidara was taken out of the picture, which the Akatsuki can't afford right now. And..." Nagato trailed off for a moment, turning his gaze to the floor. "I thought about what it would be like if I lost you. It's not something I'd want someone else to go through."

Konan blinked, surprised at the last comment. Then she nodded in understanding, turning around to leave. "Yahiko would be proud," she said barely above a whisper, making her exit.

Nagato looked up as she left, and a small smile found its way onto his face.

Dark: Done! I even threw in a little KonanxNagato at the end, which I totally wasn't planning for. I think the last part was my favorite little piece of SasoxDei fluff I've ever written, by the way.
Saso: *glomps Dei* You scared me! D'X
Dei: *flails arms* Can't breathe! :O
Dark: Aw you two are so cute. X3 Anyways make sure to leave me a review! They help me live!