Sasori, still on Deidara's bed, could hear the sound of retching almost immediately after Deidara got out of the shower. His partner must have made himself sick from stress. He thought about knocking on the door to see if the blond was alright, but quickly decided against it. It would be better to leave the blond alone until he came out. Which, sure enough, was only a few moments later. When he stepped out, Sasori had to keep himself from furrowing his brows. His partner was wearing a new pair of pants, but was holding his shirt over the front of his torso, as if he were trying to hide part of himself.

"Are you okay?" Sasori asked as calmly as he could, keeping his eyes on the blond's face. Unfortunately, it was much easier said than done; Deidara's eyes were glassy, almost as if he had died. His face appeared emotionless, which was something the redhead had almost never seen. Deidara always had some sort of expression on his face, whether it was anger, smugness, or happiness, there was always something there. To see his face completely void was enough to make Sasori want to look away.

For a moment, Deidara said nothing, and then he shook his head. "I need help, un," he whispered, refusing to make eye contact with the puppeteer.

"What is it?" Sasori asked, quickly getting up from his spot.

Without a word, Deidara turned around to show the redhead his back. The skin had been completely burnt, and was beet red. Parts were already beginning to peel, and it looked like others were going to begin to swell up. Not a second later, Sasori was tearing through his desk, pulling out whatever medical supplies he could get his hands on. He definitely had burn cream, but he was going to have to cover the burns with some sort of bandaging. If he didn't, there was no way the blond was going to be able to get an ounce of sleep. Any sort of rubbing against the burns would result in an excruciating pain.

As soon as he got his hands on some burn cream, Sasori seized Deidara by the wrist, accidentally making him drop the shirt. The blond's eyes widened, and his partner couldn't help but look at his chest. As quickly as he could, the redhead looked away and sat Deidara down at his desk, chest against the back of the chair. In that one second, Sasori had managed to spot several hickeys, as well as two huge bruises that completely covered the bomber's sides.

Something that could only be described as pure rage began to boil up inside of Sasori's chest. He wasn't angry at Deidara; with the blond's current condition, it would be absolutely ridiculous. Rather, he was infuriated with the deceased guard that had no doubt caused the injuries. "Deidara, where did you get these burns from?" he asked as calmly as he could manage, although he could feel his voice shake while he spoke.

Thankfully, the blond didn't seem to take notice. "I set off a bomb to attract attention, un. I was careless, and I didn't get far enough away..." he trailed off, voice dropping with each word, as if he expected to get scolded for his negligence. Which, in any other situation, was a very realistic possibility.

"They'll heal up in a few weeks," Sasori said, squirting a generous amount of burn cream into his hands. As soon as he touched Deidara's back, the boy inhaled sharply and tried to move away, not expecting it to be so cold. "You're lucky you didn't get any third degree burns. They're all first or second, for the most part."

"Yeah, un," Deidara murmured, letting his arms hang over the back of the chair.

"Did you get any burns on your chest?"

"No, I turned around just in case any debris hit me, un," Deidara murmured. "Don't bother putting bandages on."

"It's going to be harder to sleep."

Deidara shrugged. "It's fine."

The redhead leaned close to his partner, who was currently busy staring at the wall. It wasn't until his mouth was practically next to the blond's ear that he spoke. "What did he do to you?"

The blond shook his head. "Nothing, un."

"It doesn't look like 'nothing' to me," Sasori retorted, hands moving up to gently massage his partner's shoulders.

"What did you want to talk to me about, un?" Deidara inquired, quickly changing the subject.

"The guard, he was—"

"I don't want to talk about it, Sasori, un."

"Listen, this is important."

"I can't say I give a shit, un."

"Brat, I fucking killed him!"

That was enough to freeze Deidara in his spot, eyes widened like he had just seen a ghost. He tried to form words, but nothing came out. The corpse's mangled body made its way into Deidara's mind, and he tried to shake it out, but it refused to go. The guard had been absolutely destroyed. "You...did that, un?" he whispered, taking a step back. "Why, un?"

"Do you think I'm oblivious?" Sasori inquired, raising a brow as if he were actually amused. "I knew what happened as soon as you caught up with me, brat."

Deidara's eyes widened. Then why had he forced the blond to tell him? Part of him wanted to be angry, but a larger part was terrified of what his partner would do if he completely blew up now. "But..."

"What, brat?"

"Why didn't you just shoot him, un?"

Sasori had to hold his tongue, afraid that he would throw a stinging insult at the blond. He settled on shrugging and looking away from the bomber. "I was angry."

"Why, un?" When he received no response, the blond turned around. Sasori was looking at a spot just above Deidara's head, hardly paying attention to what he was saying. "Sasori!"

"I was angry. I was so, so angry. And I just...lost it."

"But...why, un?" Deidara repeated, hoping to get an answer this time.

"Because he hurt you, brat," Sasori explained simply, as if the answer were extremely obvious.

"...Un?"

Sasori sighed. "When you came back, you were hurt."

"Yeah, but—"

"'But' nothing. He was responsible for hurting you, and I intended on giving him that same kind of hurt on my way back."

Deidara decided it would be best not to ask "why" again, for fear that the redhead would lose his temper. He understood that Sasori had gotten angry because Deidara was hurt, and that he had killed the man because of a severe emotional reaction. But...what did it matter if the blond got hurt? It happened all the time. Especially since it was a very private matter, he didn't understand why Sasori got himself directly involved in it, or why he kept going at Deidara like the Spanish Inquisition about it.

"Sasori, what did killing him accomplish, un?" he asked instead.

Sasori shrugged. "I blew off some steam and killed a total bastard."

"What does it matter that he fucked me, un?" Deidara then blurted out, not sure how the redhead was going to react.

"Because he—"

"Yeah, yeah, I got that already, un. But what does that matter? It's completely irrelevant to the Akatsuki, it wouldn't have harmed our work in any way, and it was an entirely personal matter. You're the one that keeps bringing it up, un!" Deidara exclaimed, surprised when a small smile broke out on Sasori's face. A moment later, it faded, and he stared at the blond with a blank expression on his face. He thought for a few seconds, and his face twisted, giving him a pained look.

"Because I couldn't stop it!" Sasori shouted suddenly, seizing the blond by his upper arms. The blond tensed up, knowing that if something bad happened, there was no way for him to get out of it. "Why couldn't I do anything! Fuck, Deidara, I didn't want this to happen to you..." Sasori whispered, leaning forward to press their foreheads together.

"I...I don't understand, un," Deidara whispered, although he really did. But he didn't want to.

"God, you're so oblivious, brat," Sasori murmured, releasing his grip on the bomber.

"Un?"

"I'm going to go for a walk. I need to let off some steam."

The door slammed shut, and Deidara could do nothing but stare at where Sasori was, perplexed, but too exhausted to think of the matter any further. He was miserable, sore, and he wanted to go to bed. It was too early for that, though. Konan would no doubt be in his room soon, asking how their assignment had been.

With a heavy sigh, he limped his way over to the bed and collapsed into it, absorbed in the comfort of the sheets against his skin. Still, his mind was on Sasori. What the hell was that? The redhead was always up front with him. What had made him begin to beat around the bush now? Deidara's chest ached. He, unfortunately, longed for the redhead to be there. Why? Hell, he had no idea.

Much to his dismay, his curiosity had been piqued about his partner's words, and now he wanted to find Sasori. With a defeated sigh, he pulled himself back out of bed and slowly made his way to follow the redhead. There was no way the man would have gone outside; they'd be in lock down until Pein made sure the area was secure. Where had Sasori gone the last time he was stuck in the base...

Deidara snapped his fingers, and tried to stand up, only to collapse a moment later. On the other hand, maybe he could wait for the redhead to get back.

It was late, but Sasori knew his friend would still be awake. The Uchiha only slept about four hours a night, meaning that there were still quite a few hours to catch him. The redhead knocked on the door this time, just in case. Not ten seconds later, the door swung open and Itachi looked at him, somewhat confused. "Aren't you usually sleeping right now?"

"I can't stay in my room," Sasori explained quickly, letting himself into Itachi's room. Kisame's bed was still made, meaning that the man had yet to return from his assignment. "How's Kisame?"

"Good. He stopped at a motel on the way back; he finished up his work about an hour ago."

Itachi watched the redhead carefully, observing all of his movements. Especially when it came to conversing with the Uchiha, his body language said more than his words. "You're angry."

"I'd applaud you for the observation, but I think it's pretty obvious."

Itachi nodded. "It also wouldn't take a genius to figure out that it's because of Deidara."

"Loosely."

"Something happened to him, yes?"

"Mhm."

"The kid looked like a wreck when he got back," Itachi commented.

"I know."

"Would you like to tell me?"

"It would help."

"Hn," the Uchiha grunted, signaling for the redhead to begin.

Sasori took a deep breath, and ran a hand through his hair. "Deidara got is into Oto by sleeping with one of the guards," he explained quickly, trying not to get upset at the thought.

"Ah, so now your chances of banging him anytime soon are essentially shot."

"Though it's true...that was actually not what I was going for."

"Interesting."

The redhead shrugged. "That would have been easy to deal with. You see, I saw Kabuto there. That in and of itself isn't all that extraordinary, but he said something about Deidara, and I attacked him."

"Oh? Why?"

"I don't know."

Itachi rose a brow. "Now that is unlikely. You, from what I have gathered, are hyper aware of your emotions. You just ignore the ones you find displeasing."

"Such as?"

The Uchiha shrugged. "Jealousy, love, human sympathy, kindness...I could go on, but I think you get my point."

Sasori nodded. "It's necessary if one wants to avoid emotional hesitation."

"It's useful when it comes to battle, interrogation, and kidnapping. In the current situation, I believe your smothering of emotions is proving to be rather detrimental."

"How so?" Sasori inquired, running his hands through his hair again.

"How about you tell me?"

Oh, that was so like the Uchiha. Playing along, Sasori sat for a moment, twiddling his thumbs together. "Oh, God," he groaned, letting his face fall into his hands.

"You are overly possessive. You found that the Oto guard slept with Deidara, and you got jealous. Jealousy turned into rage, and you took it out on the first person to mention your partner in a negative light. But why were you jealous? Certainly not because he was having sex. It's deeper than that. But what is it?" Itachi prompted, rolling himself a joint as he spoke.

The redhead sat in silence, shaking his head. "It makes me feel sick."

"Are you disgusted by Deidara?"

"No!"

"He was the one to suggest sex, after all..."

"He's insane. He has no limitation on his sexual promiscuity," Sasori shot back, glaring at his friend.

"You're not going deep enough. I'd offer you some weed, but I want you to figure this out first. The answer is very simple," Itachi said with a smirk.

"I killed the guard, you know," Sasori murmured, letting the topic drift somewhat.

"Did you?"

Sasori nodded. "He was disgusting."

"You forget that Deidara initiated it. If the boy offered to sleep with you, no strings attached, you would accept in a heartbeat."

"He hurt my partner."

"Kisame gets hurt all the time, and I find no reason to seek revenge."

"I wanted him dead...because Deidara was hurt," Sasori murmured, mostly to himself. As he turned the words over in his head, they began to make sense.

"What do you care?"

"Seeing him like that infuriates me."

"Did you tell him that?"

"Of course not."

"Ah. Why?"

He shrugged. "It isn't important."

"Do you still feel sick?"

"Somewhat."

"Because Deidara is hurt?" Sasori nodded. "How do you feel around him?"

"Angry. Sick. Nervous. Worried."

"Anything else?"

"Every once in a while, the brat makes me happy."

"Sasori, have you ever experienced a crush before?" Itachi inquired, pulling out his lighter.

"No, and I don't intend to," the redhead snapped back.

The Uchiha nodded slowly. "Mhm. You might want to look into it. Unfortunately for you, I think it's a bit too late to be avoided," he said casually.

Sasori's eyes widened. He blinked a few times and glanced at Itachi, who was obviously waiting for some sort of response. "You're not saying..."

"It's likely."

"...Fuck."

Itachi couldn't help but smirk at his friend's response. "You should get back. I want to get a smoke in before I go to bed."

"Fair enough. I'll see you around."

"Hn."

Sasori returned to his room to find Deidara lying on his bed with an open book in his hand. When the redhead came in, he paid him no attention. He looked more than uninterested in the book, but it was likely that he was just as uninterested in talking to his partner.

"I didn't know you liked reading," Sasori commented, leaning to the side to get a better look at the novel.

"I don't, un," Deidara grumbled. "But everything hurts, and this is the least painful pastime I can think of," he explained, unenthusiastically flipping a page as he spoke.

Sasori nodded, and sat next to the blond. His partner squirmed a bit, then settled back into place. "I've read that book."

Deidara glanced past the book to give him a flat look. "I know. It's yours, un."

"Ah."

"You're not mad, un?"

"I have too much to think about to care."

"Huh."

Sasori looked his partner over, and experienced the same wild anger despite knowing that he would see the bruises decorating the blond's chest. He managed to mask it well enough, trying his best to take his eyes off Deidara's torso.

Not fully aware of what he was doing, he began to run his hand gently over the blond's collarbone. He felt the young man shudder at his touch, which made the redhead's face begin to grow hot. It wasn't until Deidara began to inch away that they started to speak again.

"What are you doing, un?" Deidara grumbled, hitting Sasori's hand away with the book. When the redhead did nothing but shrug, he scowled.

"Geez, you're in a bad mood."

"Everything hurts, un."

"I'm sorry."

"What, un?"

"I'm sorry," Sasori repeated.

"...Un."

The puppeteer stretched his arms as he spoke. "Aren't you tired? It's almost one in the morning."

"Yes, un."

"Why aren't you sleeping, then?"

"I wanted to wait until you came back, un," Deidara stated plainly, as if there was nothing out of the ordinary about his statement.

Sasori, on the other hand, felt himself blushing even more. "Why?"

The blond shrugged. "No idea."

"That's a load of shit." The redhead sighed, and took the book out of his partner's hands. "Go to bed." Not long after the words came out of his mouth, Sasori found himself moving the covers back.

"Sasori—Hey, what are you doing?" Deidara cried out, scooting to the far corner of the bed. T he redhead, not long after moving the covers, began to climb into the bed.

"God, you're loud, brat." He flicked Deidara's light off and adjusted himself so that he was relatively comfortable. The bed wasn't made for two full sized men, leaving the artists cramped and practically crushed against each other.

"What the fuck, Sasori, un."

"I can leave, if you'd like."

"Why are you in my bed."

At this, the redhead shrugged. "Use your imagination, brat."

Deidara groaned, and tried to turn over so that his back was facing his partner. While he succeeded, he found himself pressed against the redhead in a more compromising position than he would have liked. "Goddamnit, un."

"I'll get up."

"No, you're warm, un."