Hey, dudes. Now, you may be surprised to hear that I'm starting another fanfiction, a multi-chaptered one, at that. I'm already juggling Ninja Themes, along with Akatsuki Genius. Well, the truth is, Akatsuki Genius will be taking a hiatus for a pretty long time.

Anyway, that's not your stuff to worry about. Those are my concerns. The first chapter of this story is painfully short, but I promise the next chapter will be up tomorrow. I absolutely, positively promise.

Oh, and one more thing: I'm not like some of those authors that complain that they're not getting enough reviews, and they're not going to post another chapter until they get x amount of good reviews, but can you guys please try to leave a review if you read the story? It doesn't have to be anything long, just drop a review in the box and press the button.

And that's the Author's note. Just enjoy the story, and hang loose, dudes.


"No."

Pain sighed at the blond Nin's firm negative, and ran a hand through his hair; this wasn't going to be easy.

"Deidara, there's no other option," He reasoned, "Tobi completely snapped his leg in two. He's going to take quite a long while to recover, even with the help of Sasori." The recipient of the speech frowned deeper, and crossed his legs on the bed.

"No," Deidara replied once more, letting his eyes idly travel around the room that he had seen many times before. He refused, absolutely refused to comply with his leader's request, no matter how harsh the punishments, no matter how good the rewards.

Pain sighed once more. He knew it would come to this. There was always one thing that Deidara would do anything for, and Pain knew what it was.

"I'll buy the highest quality clay for the rest of the year." The Akatsuki leader frowned as he realized just how much the bribe sounded like a plead, but it worked. Deidara's eyes flickered upwards and momentarily widened to comical sizes, before he altered them again and crossed his arms.

"What brand?" He demanded to know, not letting his guard down; Pain was the master of trickery, as he had learned many times before.

"Terracotta," Pain wearily answered, tired of the explosion specialist's avoiding. Deidara proceeded to tap his finger against his chin. "Hm…No." Deidara leaned back onto the bed, satisfied by his answer.

Pain's eyes narrowed. Bribes and persuasion didn't work; intimidation was the only one left. "Deidara," He began, his voice low and dangerous, "I'm not giving you a choice. I am your leader. You obey me."

Deidara's frown melted into a pout, and he crossed his arms. "But Pain-sama," He whined, "Why does it have to be him? Why not Kisame? Why not Kakuzu or Hidan? Why not even Konan?"

"Kisame is injured. Kakuzu and Hidan are in the Lightning Country."

"Then what about Konan, un?"

Pain shot Deidara a hazardous glare, and the blond squealed.

"You require a partner, and with Kisame's injury, Itachi is the only person available to fill that spot. Your grudge will have to be put aside. Your first mission is tomorrow."

Deidara opened his mouth to protest, but the Akatsuki leader had already left and shut the door, leaving Deidara with no other option but to stare, dumbfounded, at the door.

Rage bubbling from his stomach, the blond let out a yell and slammed his hand on the bed. He couldn't! It was simply impossible! No way was he going to be partnered with that..That weasel!

"Believe me, I'm not happy about it either. I'd rather not be called a weasel."

Spinning around, Deidara found himself face to face with him. Itachi Uchiha, in all of his smug glory. The blond stumbled backwards, carelessly flinging a hand over his eye to save himself from the perpetrator's Sharingan.

After a few seconds went by and Deidara realized no Genjutsu had been used, he scrambled back to his feet and honed on to the Uchiha with a glare full of pure, unbridled hate. Itachi raised an eyebrow at the blond nin's fighting stance.

"Your feet are too far apart. Your arms aren't high enough, I could toss a shruiken right between your eyes. You're expending too much chakra with your shear attitude, and I merely have to give you a soft shove and you'll fall." The Sharingan expert said all of this without blinking, his gaze cool.

Deidara's cheeks burned and turned a violent red as he realized he was being lectured. Making it a point to fix his stance's errors, he growled, "Listen here, weasel, it has been my primary goal for the last year to kill you, and to kill you painfully. Just because we're partners doesn't mean I won't take the opportunity if it shows itself, so you better watch your behind while we're together."

Itachi didn't even flinch. He merely waved his hand, uninterested, and proceeded to leave the room. Hesitating for a second with his hand on the door knob, he spoke one final time, an echo of his leader's leaving words, "Our first mission is tomorrow. Meet me at the mouth of the hideout at 7:00. Don't be late."

With that, he took his leave, leaving Deidara to glare at the door in which he exited.

"Tobi," The blond nin moaned, "Please get better soon."