Hey-o. Just had this hanging around in my thoughts for a while and decided to put it out there. A bit...weird...but I enjoyed writing it and so therefore, hope you enjoy reading it. Just something a bit crack-y for a light read.

Note: I use the suffix -tan in places here, because I read that it's a cutesy/childish thing to do?

Warning: contains coarse language and slight hints of M/M pairing

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of its characters

It was early morning at the Akatsuki hideout, and Itachi Uchiha was enjoying a fresh cup of coffee while pouring over a rather interesting scroll about a complex healing jutsu he'd never heard of. He'd found it amongst Orochimaru's things when he and some of the younger members had been rifling through the snake's belongings the day before. Since there hadn't been any sign that it was dangerous, he'd decided to maybe have a look at it for a spot of light reading.

Somewhere in the depths of the hideout, he could hear cursing and thudding noises combined with what sounded like complaints about Kakuzu. Well, the zombie duo appeared to be awake.

So much for his peaceful morning coffee.

With a sigh, he sipped at his drink; the kitchen door bursting open a few minutes later and a thoroughly pissed off Hidan entering –covered in blood –with Kakuzu right behind him.

" –Would you quit interrupting my fucking rituals?" Hidan snapped aggressively. "It's bad enough you wake me up so goddamn early, so you could at least respect –"

" –Shut up, Hidan," Kakuzu growled in his thick, ominous voice.

"You fucking heathen," Hidan grumbled, "Why can't you be more like fucking Itachi? He leaves Kisame to sleep. Although I never thought that fucking sharks slept…"

"Kisame is a human," Itachi remarked flatly; not bothering to look up from his drink.

"Like hell he is," Hidan sniggered, "Uhh, Itachi, I think your eyes are worse than you fucking think. Have you seen the fucking guy…"

" –Why can't you be more like Kisame?" Kakuzu shot back as he headed for the coffee machine, "He doesn't talk so much."

"Tch; you'd miss my beautiful voice if I stopped talking so much –admit it, Kakuzu," Hidan laughed, "Bet that's why you haven't sewn up my mouth yet!" Itachi rolled his eyes and wondered if Kakuzu would allow for him to have another coffee. It seemed like it was going to be another one of those days. The only thing that was missing right now was the Tobi-Deidara combination that seemed to amuse Kisame to no end but drove everyone else insane.

"Don't tempt me," Kakuzu muttered. Suddenly, the door burst open and Tobi made a dramatic appearance; in an unusually upbeat mood as always.

"Has anyone seen Deidara-senpai?" he exclaimed in a shrill voice. Itachi let out a sigh. Typical. Whenever he wanted to have even just a small break…this happened. The people in this organisation drove him mad sometimes.

" –Hmm? Deidara-chan?" Hidan frowned; scratching his head, "Haven't seen him since last night. Probably still sifting through Orochimaru's shit." He yawned and looked irritated at his body's indication that he was tired, "Try the fucking snake's lab." Tobi saluted obediently, and was off again in a flash of orange; darting past Itachi and nearly spilling the remnants of his coffee all over him.

This day wasn't going well.

"Hurry up, Hidan," Kakuzu growled, "Pein's given us a mission this morning, so quit dragging your feet."

"I'm tired," Hidan whined as he followed his partner out of the kitchen again, "Can't we go later?" Itachi just heaved a sigh of relief as they finally disappeared. Sometimes he really did feel sorry for Kakuzu, having to deal with Hidan. It was witnessing, well, any of their interactions that he was glad that he and Kisame actually got along.

But Itachi wasn't allowed to enjoy the peace of the kitchen for very long.

Suddenly, a loud, high pitched wail erupted from somewhere in the hideout. Itachi let out an irritated noise; slamming the scroll down on the table. Was a little bit of quiet really too much to ask for? He was going to have to request another mission from Pein pretty damn soon before the rest of the members of the Akatsuki drove him insane.

" –What's the racket for, Tobi?" he called out in a flat voice; finishing his coffee.

"It's not Tobi, Itachi!" Tobi hollered out; sounding even more distressed than the screaming that was currently causing Itachi's ears to throb unpleasantly. With a heavy sigh of realisation that no one else was going to investigate, he stalked from the kitchen; following the sound. It didn't sound like they were under attack –and Zetsu would've warned them if any intruders had gotten close to the hideout.

He quickly located the room that was the source of the noise –Orochimaru's old lab. Tobi was standing in the doorway, making distressed noises. Whenever he tried to enter the room, the screams would intensify, so he was backing away slowly.

"What's the problem?" Itachi inquired, rolling his eyes and wondering what trap Tobi had sprung in the snake's lair. Tobi just turned to face him and gave a dramatic sob; just pointing into the room. Itachi stepped forwards and peered in; ready to strike if there was any sign of danger.

It wasn't difficult to find the source of the noise.

Sitting in the middle of the room, beside an opened scroll, was an Akatsuki robe lying in a heap. There was a lump moving about within it; obviously the source of the ungodly noise. Tobi gave another sniffle as Itachi moved forwards with a raised eyebrow –wondering why Tobi was so distressed.

And then something crawled out of the robes. Itachi lowered the kunai he had raised and stared in disbelief; clamping both hands over his ears.

It was a baby. It was a human baby.

The baby sat up in the robes; bawling its eyes out; bright blue eyes quite obviously distressed. Itachi drank in those big eyes and the long blonde hair that was styled in half a ponytail; blonde bangs falling across half its face. It was clutching at a forehead protector that Itachi recognised as…

"Deidara?" Itachi queried hesitantly in confusion. The baby, apparently recognised this name, quit his crying and quietened down into soft sniffles. Itachi lowered his hands from his ears as the baby promptly stuck a thumb in his mouth; revealing a tiny mouth on the palm of his hand; sniffles continuing. With his free hand, he rubbed at his tearful eyes.

"Ma-mommy!" he called out; reaching out with a tiny hand towards Itachi. A vein twitched in Itachi's forehead.

"Fire style –" He began angrily, but was promptly grabbed around the waist by Tobi.

"NOOO!" Tobi wailed, "He's just a little baby! No fire style! No fire style!"

"Unhand me!" Itachi growled as the baby Deidara promptly began bawling at the sight of Tobi. "What's going on?" Tobi, relieved that Itachi wasn't about to unleash flames on the child, scuttled forwards and picked up the little child. Deidara cried even louder.

"No! No!" he protested in his child's voice, "Wan mommy! Wan mommy!" Little hands reached out towards Itachi; struggling to escape Tobi's grip. "Ma-mommy!"

"Deidara-senpai!" Tobi sobbed, "Tobi will take care of you! See, Tobi is a good boy!" Ignoring the crying child, Itachi slunk past Tobi to examine the scroll on the floor beside Deidara's Akatsuki robe. It looked like some kind of forbidden jutsu or something…though incomplete… With a sigh, he picked it up and scanned through it.

A quick analysis indicated that it was a failed experiment of Orochimaru's. Ugh. He'd have a proper look at it later; but for now…

"Tobi; shut him up, will you?" Itachi grumbled; cringing at the pitch of Deidara's screams.

"He –he doesn't –doesn't like me!" Tobi exclaimed; obviously hurt and upset about this. "He thinks you're his mother!"

"Mother?" Itachi grumbled darkly; red eyes flashing crossly. "I am not a woman!"

"Mommy!" Deidara screamed. Unable to stand it anymore, Itachi grabbed the child from Tobi and held him in one arm. Almost as soon as he was in Itachi's arms, Deidara calmed down; tucking a thumb into his mouth and looking up at the Uchiha with big eyes as though he hadn't just been throwing a tantrum.

"He's so cute!" Tobi squealed in delight as the little blonde child snuggled up against Itachi's cloak. The Uchiha made an annoyed noise.

"Come on; we should inform Pein about this," he muttered darkly. "Mommy?"

"Mommy," Deidara repeated in delight; giggling cutely.

"…Well, this certainly explains the crying," Pein remarked dryly, having wondered why Tobi had disturbed him in so much distress. Currently, there was a baby version of Deidara happily bouncing on Konan's knee while Itachi sat at the table, pouring over the scroll that had been found beside him. "Itachi, do you care to explain why there is a baby here?"

"It's Deidara," Itachi replied flatly, "He went poking his nose into Orochimaru's forbidden jutsus when I specifically told him not to…and he accidentally activated one." Pein sighed heavily; rubbing his forehead in exasperation. " –This was apparently one of his failed experiments."

"Well obviously," Pein muttered, "Is it reversible?"

"Apparently it was intended as a way to raise an army of powerful ninjas," Itachi muttered, almost to himself, "It transforms a person into an infant with all their abilities intact, but memories gone, and they then age at a greatly accelerated rate until they reach the desired maturity as specified by the caster –at which they then age naturally…"

"So, this would theoretically allow someone to take a high-level ninja, turn them into a child, and then raise them to be loyal to them?" Konan inquired curiously as Deidara gummed her pinkie finger, since he didn't appear to be teething yet.

"That appears to be the general idea," Itachi admitted with a small frown, "Orochimaru's last test subjects aged at a rate of about four months per day…and it…" he scanned a little lower, "…Was deemed a failure because when the subject reaches the age the jutsu was cast at, all memories return and the technique is undone…"

"Well, that's promising, at least," Pein sighed, "Deidara was…nineteen, correct?" Itachi nodded once, "Then in approximately two months, this jutsu will resolve itself?"

"Apparently," Itachi replied flatly. Pein mulled this over for a long moment. "What are your orders?"

"Deidara is a valuable asset," he admitted, "It would be a shame to have him killed when he will revert to normal in less than two months; and we cannot risk him falling into enemy hands before that time…" Konan chuckled to herself as Deidara promptly blew a bubble with one of his little hand-mouths. Itachi suddenly realised what their leader was implying.

"You can't possibly expect me to –"

" –He thinks you're his mother, Itachi," Konan remarked with a small smile as baby Deidara grinned up at Itachi.

"Pein –"

"I won't hear another word about it," Pein ordered darkly, "Itachi, you are responsible for caring for him until he is...back to normal." Itachi made an annoyed noise but did not protest any further as Konan handed him the child and exited the kitchen behind Pein. He just stared down at those blue eyes as Deidara tugged on his bangs.

"I told you not to touch those damn scrolls…" he grumbled and then sighed. He could totally do this. Two months was nothing. He knew about babies. It had been a while since Sasuke had been one, but how hard could it really be?

Three hours later…

" –Why won't you stop crying?" Itachi exclaimed weakly, unable to believe that he was being defeated by an infant. He was pacing about in the living room, with Deidara bawling uncontrollably on the couch in a fresh diaper and a playsuit that Itachi had sent Zetsu out to purchase. "Please stop crying, Deidara…stop crying!" Begging and yelling did not appear to be very effective at placating babies.

" –What is wrong?" Itachi groaned; clutching his face; his usual mask slowly falling away as he struggled to comprehend what was happening, "I changed your diaper; you're warm…hungry? Are you hungry?" Deidara wailed even louder as Itachi quickly opened a jar of baby food that Zetsu had procured, and got a spoonful ready. Blue eyes peered at it in interest, but the crying did not stop.

"Food…" Itachi mused; holding the spoon up to the baby's mouth. Deidara just turned away; batting the spoon away.

"Da-da!" he cried, "Mommy, no!"

"I don't know what you want!" Itachi exclaimed angrily –having already been informed by Konan that he was not allowed to cast genjutsu on a baby to try and calm him down. He scooped up the infant; feeling him wriggling and trying to escape.

"Deidara…" Itachi grumbled, trying to get the spoon towards the baby's mouth –but he was surprisingly agile. Come on, the kid had four mouths; how could he not be getting the spoon into any of them?

"DA-DA!" Deidara screamed; right in Itachi's ear and the Uchiha gritted his teeth; really trying hard not to drop the kid. "Foo Da-Da!"

"What is da-da!" Itachi exclaimed, "Food! Look, Deidara –food!" The baby just turned away from the spoon and wailed again; his little face turning red. Itachi let out an exasperated groan as Tobi appeared in the room; hands clamped over his ears in pain.

" –Can you get him to eat?" Itachi sighed heavily, "It's all I can think of that could be wrong." Tobi took the spoon Itachi was holding as the raven got a better grip on Deidara.

" –Here comes the little birdy…" Tobi cooed, zooming the spoon in towards the baby's wide mouth. Deidara, suddenly distracted by the zig-zag motion, actually accepted the food into his mouth for a moment before immediately spitting it back out onto Tobi's mask. Tobi let out a distressed sob.

"Deidara-senpai…why are you so mean?" he sniffed sadly.

"Da-da…" Deidara sniffled.

"What does he keep saying?" Itachi sighed, "What is 'da-da'?"

"Tobi thinks…" Tobi commented, "Baby talk for 'daddy', yes?" Deidara just nodded once; mid-sob.

"Da-Da," he repeated.

"He wants his daddy," Itachi deadpanned, "Are you kidding me? He really thinks he has a father? 'Da-da'…"

"Da-Da," Deidara echoed.

"Why did I have to be 'mommy'," he muttered flatly, "Who is 'da-da'? Why aren't you 'da-da'?" he demanded of Tobi, "Didn't you find him? I thought babies became attached to the first things they saw. Why aren't you 'mommy'?"

"…Maybe he thought Itachi looked more like a mommy…" Tobi chuckled; leaping back a pace when Itachi glared dangerously at him. He sighed heavily; bouncing the baby to try and calm him down.

"…Itachi, what's this infernal noise, and can I kill it?" Kisame's voice complained from somewhere down the hall. Deidara's ears pricked up, and he suddenly stopped crying. Itachi looked down at the baby in his arms and turned to face his partner. " –It sounds like a b –Itachi, why do you have a baby…That looks like…"

"Deidara," Itachi deadpanned, "He messed around with one of Orochimaru's jutsus and now he's a child." He shifted the infant slightly so that he could see Kisame, and almost lost his grip as Deidara wriggled; arms stretching out to the bigger man.

"Da-da!" he cooed, "Da-da! Da-da foo!"

"What?" Kisame remarked flatly.

"Oh, you've got to be kidding me," Itachi muttered as Tobi bounded over to Kisame excitedly.

"Kisame-senpai!" he cried, "Congratulations!"

"Congrat –what?" Kisame repeated.

"Tobi is so jealous!" Tobi exclaimed, "He wanted to be Deidara-senpai's daddy, but Kisame-senpai –"

"Oh hell no," Kisame responded darkly as Itachi shoved the child into his arms. The shark-man gingerly held the infant at arm's length in one massive hand; a sceptical look plastered to his face as Deidara blew bubbles and then repeated the word, "Da-Da!"

"Congratulations, Kisame, you are now a father," Itachi remarked dryly.

"Why me?" Kisame complained, "I have zero parental instinct. Why doesn't Konan have him?"

"Why Konan?" Itachi inquired.

"…Well, I assumed that she'd be his mother," he reminded him, "…Being the only female, in the Akatsuki…" Tobi laughed brightly as Itachi looked mutinous.

"…He thinks…He calls me…" Itachi grumbled.

"Mommy!" Deidara giggled; looking at Itachi and giggling mischievously; all signs of his tantrum gone. Kisame failed to withhold a snigger of amusement.

"…He thinks you're his mom?" he confirmed incredulously.

"Shut up," Itachi muttered, "There's baby food on the couch; he wants his dad to feed him."

"Oh no; you're not dragging me into this," Kisame assured him; trying to hand Deidara back to Itachi. Deidara clung to his hand wildly and just winded up dangling from his wrist. "What the hell…"

"You're his father. Take responsibility," Itachi sniffed, smirking at the displeased look on his partner's face. "The jutsu wears off in about two months, and Pein has ordered us to care for him until then."

"I'm an S-rank criminal. Not a babysitter," Kisame reminded him dryly.


"Tch…I guess this means I can't kill him..." the swordsman scoffed, but wandered over to the couch and settled baby Deidara on his knee as he reached for the baby food. This time, Deidara ate without complaint. "…This is easy…"

"You say that now…" Itachi growled darkly; his ears still ringing. He sighed, looking at the adorable baby, looking a little out of place on Kisame's giant knee. Two months. This was only going to last two months. And he was going to grow up quickly…so at least they wouldn't have to endure so much crying for too long.

It was a little comical; seeing an intimidating, sharp-toothed giant feeding a bubbly, blonde baby, but instead of smiling, Itachi sighed again and began making a list of things to send Zetsu to get.

Day Three.

Age: 2

A dog-tired Itachi stumbled into the living room and practically face-planted on the couch. Kisame looked up from where he was giving Samehada a good clean.

"Where's Deidara?" he inquired curiously; not seeing a small blonde in tow.

"What?" Itachi muttered, "I thought you were watching him?"

" –I thought you were watching him," Kisame frowned, and Itachi sat up; rubbing his eyes.

"No, I told you I was going to have a nap," he snapped, "Since I'm the one that has barely gotten sleep in the past three days."

"Hey; that kid's crying wakes everyone up," he reminded his partner.

"I'm the one that gets up though," Itachi growled, "Where is he?"

" –I thought he was with you." The pair of them exchanged glances and let out exasperated sighs; Kisame leaving his sword on the couch as they both stalked from the room.

"Deidara!" they both hollered, "Deidara!"

" –Come on out!" Itachi shouted in a fed up tone, "Deidara!"

" –Konan…have you seen Deidara?" Kisame inquired of the blue-haired woman who was casually walking past.

"Have you lost him again?" she asked with a sigh.

"What do you mean 'again'?" Itachi demanded.

" –Nothing," Kisame immediately answered.

"Deidara!" Konan hollered; the three of them splitting up to cover more ground. Pretty soon, everyone in the hideout was trying to locate the toddler, who, since beginning to walk, had become a right nuisance to keep track of.

"I can hear him!" Itachi grunted; hands on hips as he stared around the kitchen. What he wouldn't give to have a Byakugan right now… "Deidara, stop playing!" About an hour they spent looking for him; without success. Itachi was about to call it quits and resign himself to Deidara having managed to fall out a window and be eaten by some creature when there was a, "Holy-ever-living-fuck –what the hell is this?" from the front door –signalling that Kakuzu and Hidan had finally arrived back from their mission.

Itachi arrived at the front door to discover a blood-stained and rather panicked Hidan with a toddler Deidara clamped to his foot.

"Bad boy," Itachi scolded crossly, stalking forwards and crouching down, "Let go of Hidan." Deidara just pouted and gripped Hidan's leg tighter. "Deidara. Let go, or you're in trouble."

"Mommy…" Deidara complained.

"What the fuck?" Hidan exclaimed.

"Don't curse in front of a child," Itachi snapped from the ground, "It's a long story."

" –Is that Deidara-chan?" he inquired incredulously, "…Why did he call you 'mommy'?"

"He messed with a jutsu and got turned into a baby," Itachi muttered as explanation, finally prying Deidara's hands from Hidan's leg, "He thinks I'm his mother and Kisame's his father." Hidan burst out laughing –much to Itachi's displeasure. He could already recognise the face that Deidara made just before he burst out into a tantrum.

"Don't cry," he scowled, bouncing the child on his hip, "We've been looking everywhere for you. Don't make me put you in time out."

"…Uhh…Itachi…" Hidan chuckled, "…You really are a mom, aren't you?" Itachi glared red at him. "Deidara-chan…fuck you're cute aren't you. I hate cute."

"Stop swearing," Kakuzu growled darkly. Deidara tugged on Itachi's bangs for attention and then pointed at Hidan and Kakuzu in turn.

"Hidan," Itachi introduced, "…Kakuzu."

" –'Kuzu," Deidara attempted, pouting when Kakuzu actually laughed a little, "Hi…Hi-tan…" A vein twitched in Hidan's forehead.

"Hidan," he corrected angrily; leering down at the child. Deidara just reached out a chubby hand and the mouth on his palm sucked cutely at the tip of Hidan's nose.

"Hi-taaaan," he repeated gleefully. Hidan made a disgusted noise pushing aside the brat's hand and wiping his nose with a scoff. "Hi-tan. Hi-tan."

"Ugh," Hidan snorted, "Well, I guess you really are Deidara-chan, aren't you?" He flicked the kid on the nose and stalked off after his partner. The Akatsuki was full of weird-ass creeps; why should he question that one of them had been turned into a baby?

" –Stop running away," Itachi growled at the child, who just stuck out all four tongues and waggled them mockingly. "Ugh. You are Kisame's problem now. Konan! I found him!"

"There you are, little one," Konan remarked with a small smile as she appeared around the corner, "Itachi, you seem tired. I'll watch him while you have a sleep." Itachi gratefully dumped Deidara on her.

"Do not take your eyes off him," Itachi muttered darkly.

Day Nine.

Age: 4

Thunder rumbled violently outside and lightning flashed viciously. The rain was pouring down; clattering against the windows. Itachi suddenly found himself being shaken awake. He blinked sleepily; seeing a figure beside his bed as lightning lit up the room. Automatically, he leapt back; ready for a fight –only to find that it was just Deidara; standing there with his hair down and his eyes wide with fright.

"Mommy…" he whispered, "Mommy I'm scared."

"Go back to bed," Itachi muttered; rubbing his eyes, "It's only a storm, Deidara."

"Don't wanna…" Deidara protested in a small voice; tugging on the shirt he was wearing –one of Itachi's old ones. "Mommy…can I sleep here?"

"No," Itachi growled firmly, "Go back to your bed."

"Mommy, please!"

"No, Deidara." Deidara let out a whimper, and with the next roll of thunder, scampered across the room to wake up Kisame. Itachi groaned sleepily; getting out of bed to escort the child back to his own room.

"What?" Kisame muttered; barely awake.

"Dada; can I sleep with you?" Deidara inquired sadly, "I'm scared."

"Itachi…what's going on?" Kisame grumbled, sitting up slightly.

"Deidara's scared of the storm," Itachi informed him; taking Deidara's hand firmly, "Come on, back to bed."

"No! Wanna stay with mommy and dada!" Deidara protested; tears beading in his eyes. Thunder cracked again; louder than before, and he wrapped his arms around Itachi in terror; burying his face into his 'mother's' pyjama pants.

"Itachi…the kid's about to cry again…" Kisame muttered, "Just let him sleep in your bed."

" –With dada!" Deidara cried; voice muffled by Itachi's clothes. He tugged on Itachi's hand; dragging him over to Kisame's bed.

"No," Itachi informed him firmly, "One of us. I'm not sleeping in Kisame's bed."

"Both," he insisted; letting out a wail and diving under the covers of Kisame's bed as he heard thunder again and the rain beat down on the windows even harder than before. Kisame made a sleepy noise; moving over to the far side of the large bed; the little lump that was Deidara following him.

"It's fine, Itachi..." Kisame muttered; still mostly asleep.

"Mommy," Deidara called insistently. "MOMMY!"

"Okay, fine," Itachi finally snapped, letting out a sigh and clambering into Kisame's bed. "One night. This is the only time." Deidara nodded earnestly, and dragged him closer so that he was nestled safely between his two parents. Kisame and Itachi looked over each other, a little closer than they were comfortable with, both letting out a heavy sigh as Deidara almost instantly fell asleep.

Day 12.

Age: 5

"I don't wanna take a bath!"

"Get back here, you little fucking brat!" Hidan snarled aggressively; racing after Deidara as the butt-naked child streaked through the hideout completely covered in mud.

"Mommy! Hi-tan used a bad word!" Deidara tattled, skidding around the corner and running into Kisame, who suspected that the kid would try and escape bath-time. Instantly, Deidara was scooped up unceremoniously, and carried by his ankles towards the bathroom; dangling upside down.

"Daddy, put me down!" Deidara complained; his muddy hair flopping across his face.

"Fine," Kisame sniffed flatly, as they reached the bathroom; dropping him directly into the bath. Deidara surfaced with a high-pitched scream; desperately not wanting to take a bath. "Hidan; I thought you were supervising."

"He gave me the fucking slip, okay?" Hidan snapped.

"Hi-tan said a bad word!"

" –Quit telling on me, you little fucking asshole," the Jashinist cursed as Kisame grabbed the nearest sponge and began scrubbing down the kid, who looked completely distraught at being bathed.

"Don't!" he snapped; clutching at his hair, "You get soap in my eyes!" While he was busy being distracted by Kisame, Hidan snuck up and attacked his hair with the shampoo. Of course, Deidara kicked up one hell of a fuss; biting and clawing to get away, but in the end, he lost and was subsequently cleaned.

"Stop squirming," Itachi commanded; agitatedly brushing Deidara's hair as the blonde sat in a towel, drying.

"I don't like it, yeah," Deidara complained, and Itachi was a little annoyed to note that the old Deidara's speech habit was back already. Despite his protests, Deidara wound up with his hair brushed and tied up the usual way, dressed in one of Itachi's shirts with a sash tied around his waist. "Mommy…I found some really cool stuff in Tobi-niichan's room!"

"What kind of cool stuff?" Itachi inquired apprehensively.

"This soft stuff…" Deidara frowned; trying to describe it. "It tasted weird, but when I do this –" He made an all-too familiar hand sign, "It goes boom."

"Oh dear," Itachi sighed heavily, as there was a sudden explosion, followed by a resounding shriek from somewhere in the vicinity of Hidan's room. Deidara burst out giggling. "Did you put some of it in Hidan's room?" Deidara nodded mischievously; cackling to himself.

"Hi-tan was mean and pushed me in the mud so I had to take a bath, yeah," he smirked, "So I made him go boom!" Itachi sighed heavily as Hidan –or well, Hidan's head; because it was unlikely he was still whole at this point –began cursing even worse than usual.

" –You can't just blow people up," Itachi scolded flatly; scooping the child up and flinging him over his shoulder. "We're going to see Hidan."

"No!" Deidara howled, "He's going to kill me!"

"You almost killed him," Itachi growled. "Where's Pein? He'll know what to do with you…"

As soon as they appeared in the hallway, they encountered a rather sooty Pein and Kisame, who had likely been just outside Hidan's room pre-explosion. Itachi smirked at them and Deidara looked undeniably guilty.

" –Bad boy," Pein growled, "Time out."

"No!" Deidara complained.

" –It's a time out, or the sharks," Kisame growled warningly. Deidara sniffled, "No crying. Kakuzu's going to have to sew Hidan up now. So it's a time out, or the sharks."

"T-Time out," Deidara snivelled with a pout, and was handed over to Pein.

Kisame and Itachi sighed heavily. It had been an exhausting twelve days. The crying had stopped –mostly –but the tantrums had intensified. And now, it appeared, Deidara had rediscovered his exploding clay; at Hidan's expense.

He still liked hiding from them; and rather enjoying playing pranks. But Pein was very effective at locking him in a closet for time out, and Kisame sometimes filled the basement with water and sharks and left Deidara sitting on the stairs begging to be let out and repenting his bad behaviour. It was…unorthodox…but it made sure he didn't misbehave too badly.

"I can't believe we still have weeks of this," Kisame muttered, "We should've just killed him and gotten it over with."

"…Pein thinks he's valuable," Itachi reminded him flatly, "We have our orders."

"Tch," he scoffed, "You're actually good at this. Maybe you were meant to be a parent. If I didn't know you; I never would've believed that you slaughtered your clan." Itachi glared at him darkly and he held up his hands to indicate that he meant no offense.

" –Shut your mouth, Hidan," they heard Kakuzu snorting, and turned around to see him carrying his partner's body parts off in a sack.

"I'm going to fucking murder that kid!" Hidan's head could be heard vowing from somewhere at the bottom of the bag.

"Why the hell is he Deidara's favourite?" Kisame inquired flatly. Itachi just rolled his eyes.

Day 15

Age: 6.

"Where do babies come from, yeah?" Deidara asked curiously, whilst sitting at the dinner table with Itachi and Kisame; eating something Konan had whipped up for them all –the ones who were currently at the hideout.

"Eat your vegetables," Itachi muttered. Deidara just scowled.

"Daddy, yeah; where do babies come from?" he asked again. Kisame sighed; rubbing his forehead in exasperation. He hadn't stopped asking questions in three goddamn days. The kid just wouldn't shut up.

"Ask your mother," he sighed.

"Don't play with your food," Itachi growled; irritated with how actually very motherly he was being.

"Where do babies come from?" Deidara repeated a third time, "Because Aunt Konan said that babies happen when two people love each other very much, yeah. But Uncle Zetsu says that they come from seeds, yeah. And Hi-tan says that they grow in mommy's tummy. And Tobi-niichan didn't know, yeah. And daddy, why are you blue? Mommy's not blue, yeah."

"Enough questions," Itachi snorted darkly, "Eat your dinner."

"But where do babies come from?" he whined.

"They're all sort of right," Kisame finally answered vaguely, and Deidara appeared to be mulling over this; his childish brain trying to put everything in place.

"…So…when a mommy and a daddy love each other…" he theorised, "The daddy gives the mommy seeds, and the mommy eats them and a baby grows in her tummy?" Itachi and Kisame both gagged on their meals; spluttering and choking at what the child had said.

"Well…" Kisame coughed, "…In a sense…" Itachi glowered at him.

" –So did you eat daddy's seeds?" Deidara asked the Uchiha; Kisame spluttering on the water he had intended to use to stop himself from choking. Itachi went a shade of pink that he was rather embarrassed of.

"No," he informed him flatly. Deidara looked more perplexed than ever, "We'll tell you when you're older. And don't ask your uncles about it –especially Hidan." He was a genius, dammit; why couldn't he bring himself to give a logical, informative description of where babies came from?

"Can I have a brother, yeah?" was Deidara's next question.

"You have a brother," Kisame pointed out.

"Tobi-niichan doesn't count," he pouted, "I want a little brother, yeah." Kisame and Itachi exchanged deadpan glances and reached a consensus.


Day 18.

Age: 7

"Kisame…if you would…" Itachi remarked flatly. Kisame obligingly stooped; removing Deidara from where he was latched onto his 'mother's' leg and plonking him down on the ground.

"I don't want you to go!" he exclaimed tearfully; running back to Itachi. Itachi just raised a foot and held him back with his heel firmly against Deidara's forehead, "Mom! You're so mean! Stay here!"

"We'll be back in a few days," Itachi assured him with a sigh, "You'll be fine. Hidan's promised to do some training with you –provided you do not blow him up." Deidara's eyes lit up in excitement.

"Really, Hi-tan?" he exclaimed in delight; eyes glowing at his hero actually agreeing to teach him. "You mean it?"

"Itachi, you're a jackass," Hidan growled crossly as Deidara sprinted across to him and hugged him around the waist happily. "And you're a brat," he added; trying to pry the child away from him and being rather unsuccessful. This proved to be distraction enough for Itachi and Kisame to depart.

As soon as they were out of sight of the base, Kisame let out a thoroughly relieved groan.

"God it's good to get away," he sighed.

"I hope Hidan doesn't hurt him," Itachi mused with a small frown.

"Worried about the kid, are we?" Kisame mocked. Dark eyes slid across to him and he chuckled; knowing to shut up. He couldn't resist a few more jabs though. "…You're enjoying this, aren't you? I heard you reading him a bedtime story last night."

"He refused to go to bed," Itachi sniffed flatly.

"I just cram him in bed and put paper bombs around it so he can't get out with getting blown up," his partner sniggered.

"…Why didn't I think of that…"

"Coz you're the mom and you want to protect your darling baby."

"Shut up, Kisame."

"Yes, Itachi."

Day 21.

Age: 8

Itachi yawned, smelling something really good coming from the kitchen as he and Kisame arrived back; having completed their mission in record time. He was tired and hungry, and his eyes were aching from overuse of his Sharingan.

"Mommy, you're back!" he was greeted by an enthusiastic blonde child hugging his waist; apparently coated in flour. "Look, yeah! Aunt Konan let me help!" Itachi raised an eyebrow, seeing that Konan was baking a cake along with dinner. There was a step stool up at the bench, indicating that Deidara had been stirring the batter until a few moments earlier.

"…Very good…" he replied; recognising the look in Deidara's eyes as one of a child desperately seeking praise. Oh, so he was at that age?

"I cleaned my room too!" he exclaimed proudly, "And I peeled the potatoes for dinner, yeah."

"He's been very helpful," Konan confirmed with a small smile; patting him on the head lightly.

"And…And mommy; come see what I made!" Deidara exclaimed; tugging on Itachi's sleeve. Itachi sighed, but had to smile a little –he just looked so excited, and it was difficult not to see a touch of a young Sasuke in him. They caught up with Kisame near the stairs, and Deidara dragged them upstairs to his room.

"Look, look, yeah!" he exclaimed, when they joined him in the doorway. He held out both hands; a small clay bird sitting in each palm. "I made art, yeah! And that's not all –"

"Oh crap…" Kisame remarked flatly.


There was a huge explosion that rattled the house, and a thud as Itachi and Kisame went flying back into the nearest wall; faces blackened and clothes singed.

Itachi's eyes flickered open as he coughed out a mouthful of soot. A sooty-faced Deidara was standing there in the ruined doorway; grinning gleefully from ear to ear.

"Art is a bang!" he declared proudly, "Wasn't it beautiful, mommy!" Itachi sighed heavily.

"…Beautiful, Deidara," he agreed in a tired voice; his ears ringing. Deidara's blue eyes were brimming with pride. "…But just…not in the house, next time?"

"Got it, yeah!" he exclaimed in delight, "And after dinner you should come see me practice my taijutsu! I'm really good, yeah! Hi-tan and Unc' 'Kuzu have been teaching me! When I grow up I'm gonna be as strong and smart as mommy, yeah!" Kisame looked flatly over at Itachi, who appearing to be smirking to himself a little. "Mommy, come train with me? Tobi-niichan says you're real good at shuriken-jutsu…" Itachi suddenly had a flashback to his childhood…What had he always said to Sasuke?

"…Maybe next time."

Day 24

Age: 9

"Deidara! Get back here you fucking little shit!"

"It's your turn," Kisame grunted from his bed on the other side of the room. Itachi groaned.

"I did yesterday," he muttered, "Your turn." There was a second explosion from deeper in the hideout and another howl from Hidan. When it became abundantly clear that Kisame wasn't getting out of bed, Itachi kicked off his blankets and stalked to the door, in time to see and hear a screaming Deidara sprint past with Hidan hot on his tail; a towel wrapped around his waist, and half an arm missing.

"I got this," Itachi grumbled.

"Bullshit you do," Hidan snapped, "Keep your fucking kid on a leash. He's a fucking menace." Itachi turned to glare at Deidara, who was panting; leaning up against the wall. Itachi's Sharingan spun into life, and the blonde was suddenly frozen; completely trapped in his genjutsu.

"It's taken care of," he assured Hidan darkly, "Don't provoke him. I know you provoke him."

"He flipped out because I ate his fucking cereal!" Hidan snarled, "Let me dismember him. It'll save a hell of a lot of trouble! Yesterday he blew my legs off because I wouldn't let him play with my fucking scythe!"

"Go back to your shower," Itachi advised darkly; rubbing his eyes and yawning, "I'll get Kakuzu to tie him up later as punishment." Hidan just snorted hot air out his nose and stalked off to go find his arm. Itachi yawned again as Kisame came to the door of their bedroom.

"Is he being a brat again?" he inquired flatly.

"Yes. I really thought we were over these ridiculous tantrums." Kisame let out another sigh and rolled his eyes.

" –I'll go summon the sharks into the basement."

Day 27

Age: 10

A tear-stained Deidara stumbled out onto a small dirt path; his feet bleeding. He sniffed and wiped his nose; remembering that he was a ninja –ninjas didn't cry. Sniffing again, he looked along the road and decided to head in the one that led far away from the house. He'd never been this far before –he'd never been allowed this far before.

Unable to prevent more tears from beading in his eyes, he rubbed them again as he kept on walking. He shouldn't be crying! It should be mom and dad that were the ones crying!

"I hate you! Parents aren't mean! You're not my real parents!" he remembered yelling. Why had he said something like that? He didn't even remember. Maybe he was just being a brat…maybe. That wasn't why he'd run away though. He'd run because of what Hidan had said next.

"Of course they're not! You're a fucking adopted orphan, you fucking stupid little shit!"

From the way mom and dad had looked at him, Deidara had known that he wasn't lying –and, when they hadn't denied that they weren't his real parents, he had felt…betrayed. So he'd turned and ran; and not really knowing why he was running. It wasn't that Hidan had insulted him; he did that a lot anyway, and he'd grown up with that –knowing that was just what Hidan did…It was because the people who were raising him…weren't his real family!

He felt like he'd been living a lie!

Where were his real parents, then? Why was he there? Why had those fakes pretended to care about him?

The questions just made him sob even harder; so much that walking hurt.

Unable to stop crying, he sat down on a rock and tried to wipe away his tears on mom's shirt. It wasn't quite long enough for him to wear as a tunic anymore, so mom had made him a pair of pants by cutting and sewing together a pair of his dad's arm warmers. He still needed a sash to tie it up…but it functioned.

Were they ever going to tell him? He knew the meaning of the words 'adopted' and 'orphan' –or at least had a meaning to apply to this situation. He'd read a few books…and associated those words with someone who wasn't wanted.

Why hadn't his real parents wanted him? What had he done to make them leave him with strange people when he was just a baby?

He was still snivelling an hour or so later when a cart pulled over.

"Hello?" a small voice inquired curiously, and he looked up to see a girl; about his age, standing there looking at him curiously. "Are you lost?" Wordlessly, he nodded. She looked up at the cart –to where a man was sitting. "Daddy?" Daddy.

"Where are your parents?" he asked kindly. He looked kind. Well, he looked like how Konan, and sometimes mom looked –and that was how Deidara saw 'kind'.

"Gone," he managed to sniff out. The little girl looked up at her dad and he frowned to himself.

"…What's your name, kid?" he inquired.

"Deidara. Just Deidara."

"…Okay…come on sweetie," he called to his daughter. The little girl stuck out her hand and Deidara took it shyly; making sure his mouths behaved themselves. The pair of them got back up onto the cart and it began trundling off.

After a while, they pulled up at a small house.

"We're home," the little girl giggled; tugging Deidara down from the cart and dragging him to the door, "Mommy! We're home! And we found a lost boy!" He wondered what her mommy was like. He was a little surprised to see a woman; like Konan, appear from the kitchen in an apron. He looked at her quizzically, but didn't ask questions. The girl's mommy was a girl?

Well, in the books he'd read, he'd noticed that mothers were usually girls…but he hadn't known that was true…

"Oh you poor boy," the woman crooned, dropping to her knees and looking at him, "You're a mess –I'll run a bath for you and find you some clothes. Are you hungry?" When he nodded, she straightened up, pressing her lips up against the man's for a long moment. Deidara didn't really understand the gesture; but they looked really happy.

"Come upstairs," the woman murmured with a bright smile. Deidara blinked in surprise; he hadn't seen big smiles like that before. He took her hand meekly as she led him to the bathroom to run a bath. As the water heated, she inspected the cuts on his knees and feet.

"What was that?" he inquired curiously.

"What was what, dear?" she asked sweetly.

" –The thing…you did back there?" he frowned, "You put your mouths together." The woman blushed a little and her face appeared surprised.

"Oh that? It was a kiss," she explained, "…You've never seen a kiss before?" He shook his head.

"I've read about it," he admitted with a frown, "Why did you kiss?"

"That's what mommies and daddies do," she chuckled, "When you love someone, you kiss them. And if a parent loves a child, you kiss them on the forehead."

"My parents never…never did that…" Deidara's shoulders slumped, and found himself tearing up again but not knowing the reason.

"Oh, sweetheart…" the woman whispered sadly, "Oh I'm so sorry. I'm sure they love you very much. And they must be worried sick about you."

"No," Deidara shook his head firmly, "They won't be." They don't need to be worried about me, because they're not actually my parents…

His bath was nice. No one dumped water on him or got soap in his eyes. And when he got out, he had a set of clothes that fit really well.

"My son is about your size, so it's a good fit," the woman chuckled, "Come have dinner with us. You're looking too skinny." Wordlessly, he followed them to a nice little room, where they knelt at the table for dinner. The mother and the father sat on one side of the table, and the two children on the other –but there was a spot between the kids for him.

"Come sit with me, Deidara-kun," the little girl chirped brightly. He sat; a little overwhelmed by this…friendly atmosphere. And the way the mom and dad interacted…it was so similar to his own mom and dad, but so different as well.

They seemed comfy with each other; like they trusted each other. But the mom smiled a lot more; smiled happily at the dad. He wondered if this was what 'love' looked like. Konan had told him a bit about love. She said it looked beautiful. And when the man briefly kissed the woman on the lips; they looked beautiful.

The little girl asked a lot of questions; and he answered shortly –because this was the first interaction he'd had with anyone his own age. He didn't know what he was meant to do. Mostly, he was just fascinated by this family.

No one was yelling. Certainly, no one was cursing. None of them looked strange and there was no kind of weird jutsu that he could see. The mother was telling her kids to eat their vegetables –like how his mom did…but she seemed soft and gentle…and not like she would trap her son in genjutsu if he did something bad.

He slept there that night. She read him a bedtime story, and then kissed his forehead with a goodnight. It made him feel warm and happy inside. And safe.

"What were your mom and dad like when you were little, yeah?" Deidara asked curiously the next day as he went exploring with the two children down through the village. All around, he could see other kids with their mothers and fathers –he wished his mom and dad looked at each other like these ones did.

"Nice," the little girl informed him with a giggle, "But strict. They made us do our chores and our homework, and if we didn't, we'd be sent to bed with only bread for dinner…" Her face soured at that memory, but giggled again, "We went out for picnics, and daddy would put us on his shoulders, and we could see the whole world!"

"Not the whole world," her brother corrected.

" –Mostly," his sister sniffed, "And when it scary and rainy, we would get into bed with them, and mommy would hug us, and dad would hug mommy and protect us!" She giggled again. "What were your mom and dad like?"

"Strong," was the first word that came to mind when Deidara thought about his parents. "Dad's really big and strong, and mom's really smart and always makes me eat my vegetables, yeah." He was a little entranced by the families around him. They all looked so kind. He saw other moms and dads kissing each other and his heart wrenched. "But I don't think they loved me." He hung his head.

"Why not?" the girl inquired curiously.

"They never said it, yeah," he shrugged.

"Deidara-kun, you're silly," she laughed, "Parents don't have to say it! It's in what they do! Like I know mommy loves me because she plaits my hair for me, and helps me with homework, and reads me stories, and fixes my clothes."

"Yeah; and daddy will always protect us," the boy chuckled, "And he says the carvings I do are good, and even after I'm bad, he will still be nice to me!" Deidara considered this for a moment, thinking back to all the things that mom and dad had done for him…

"Help!" A cry came from further up the road. "Bandits! Everyone get inside! Bandits!" a man came streaking into the village; panting heavily. Suddenly, masked men appeared up on the roof while Deidara and the children were still in the open.

"Get back, yeah!" Deidara exclaimed; thrusting his hands into the pouches of exploding clay he'd snuck from home. The girl and boy quickly rushed for cover as Deidara's mouths kneaded chakra into the clay. As several of the bandits descended to the road, he flung the small creations at them.

"Katsu!" he growled, and the village was suddenly wracked with explosions.

As the smoke cleared, he was horrified to see that some of the bandits had escaped, and were busy breaking into the closest buildings –except for a few coming closer to him. Gritting his teeth, he started chewing clay again.

"No you don't, brat!" one of the bandits snarled viciously; leaping forwards with a kunai and flinging shuriken straight at Deidara. He leapt aside, letting loose another explosion but the ninja somehow managing to evade it.

"Tch…you're nothing but a kid!" another growled; coming up behind him and aiming a swipe at his head with a kunai. Deidara dropped to the ground; aiming a sweeping kick to his ankles. He was better at taijutsu than they were expecting. When Hidan trained him, he aimed to maim, so he had had to get good –and quickly.

He gave a wild yell; suddenly surrounded by three bandits. He couldn't stop shaking.

"Hey," a cold voice remarked casually in a tone that caused all the bandits present to turn and look. Deidara peered around in shock.

"Get away from my son," Kisame growled darkly.

"Dad!" Deidara hollered out as Kisame leapt forwards with Samehada in hand; easily taking out the bandits closest to him as they rounded on this new threat. They barely had any time to react though, since shuriken went flying and every single one met their mark in the necks of the bandits. Deidara's mouth fell open as he looked up to the roof to see his mom standing there, grasping a bandit by the neck; red eyes blazing.

It was over in moments.

Kisame returned Samehada to his back as Itachi leapt down from the roof and stalked over to him.

"What do you think you were doing?" Kisame growled; an intimidating sight as he folded his arms aggressively, "Running off like that! You worried your mother and Aunt sick!"

"You are in so much trouble, young man –" Itachi began to scold, but that was until Deidara lunged forwards and wrapped his arms around his mother in a tight hug. "…Deidara?"

"You were worried about me, yeah?" he inquired; voice muffled.

"Of course," Itachi rolled his eyes, "We've been looking everywhere for you." Deidara sniffed dramatically.

"You're not mad?" he inquired in a meek voice.

"Oh we're furious," Itachi informed him flatly, "Hidan's livid. Now, are you coming home?"

"Um…just a minute," Deidara mumbled, leaving his parents standing there for a moment and running into the house of the young girl and her family; darting up the stairs and quickly changing his clothes. When he exited the house, he felt better. He liked these clothes. It reminded him of his mom. He remembered laughing when he wound up pricking himself with the needle a dozen times, and cursed because he wasn't very good at sewing…

"…Those are your parents?" the little girl breathed. He grinned.

"Yup," he informed her proudly.

"…They are so cool."

"…Sorry about the mess," Itachi called out casually to the villagers as he grabbed Deidara's hand and began escorting him back out of town. No one tried to stop them.

As they began to near the hideout, Deidara suddenly drew to a halt and refused to move a step further.

" –Don't make me carry you," Kisame growled warningly. Deidara pouted and his shoulders slumped slightly.

"Mom…dad?" he queried hesitantly, "…Why don't you ever kiss each other?" Itachi and Kisame blinked a few times and exchanged looks. "Don't you love each other?"

"…No, we don't," Itachi informed him bluntly. Deidara's expression fell further, "…But we…" he gritted his teeth and checked over his shoulder to make sure no one else was going to hear this, "…But we both love you. Right, Kisame?" He glared at his partner.

"…Right," he agreed reluctantly. Deidara sighed heavily and then folded his arms –looking up at them stubbornly.

"Kiss each other," he demanded.

"Deidara –"

"Do it," he countered, "Or I'm not coming home!"

"Don't be childish," Itachi growled. Deidara pouted and looked upset.

"But –but I saw all those families, and the parents always looked so happy to be together," he complained.

"Look, I'm just going to drag him back by his hair," Kisame offered.

" –I'll run away again, yeah," he snapped.

"Kakuzu will tie you up."

"Kisame; enough," Itachi snapped and sighed, leaning up and quickly placing a kiss on Kisame's cheek; startling his partner, "…Happy now?"

"No," he sniffed; planting his feet, "I know you don't love each other, but I want you to kiss each other like you do. Just once, yeah. I…" He paused sheepishly, "I don't know my real parents…but I want to have one memory of my mom and dad being in love."

"Deidara; we're sorry we didn't tell you," Itachi sighed, "We were going to –" That was a lie. They'd been hoping that the bloody jutsu would end before they had to deal with that kind of conversation. And then he saw the crestfallen look on the young boy's face. He knew that face far too well. Such disappointment…

Heaving a huge sigh, he turned to face Kisame; the bigger man raising an eyebrow but knowing what Itachi had in mind without the raven having to say a word. Itachi nodded; knowing that Kisame was waiting for some kind of confirmation.

So gently that he couldn't believe that it was Kisame, Itachi felt a large hand grip his cheek softly. His eyelids fluttering, he looked up into the other man's face; trying to imagine, just for a moment, that he was in love with him.

Kisame leaned in; resisting the urge to roll his eyes as he pressed his lips up against Itachi's. The Uchiha's eyes were closed as he took a step closer. A quick flick of his eyes across to Deidara informed him that this wasn't good enough.

Tugging Itachi's lithe body towards him, he wrapped his other hand around the raven's waist, feeling slim hands grip the front of his shirt as he deepened their kiss. Itachi's eyelids batted in surprise, feeling Kisame's lips move against his. Almost slyly, a tongue trailed against his lips and he pulled back just slightly.

"Kisame…enough…" was all Itachi had time to say before Kisame reattached their lips; his tongue slipping into the Uchiha's mouth. Itachi was surprised to find his breath hitching as he fisted his partner's shirt a little more fiercely; the hot muscle in his mouth dancing with his. He was even more surprised to find that he'd actually started shaking a little –lips kissing back breathlessly as one hand slid to Kisame's neck to tug him in closer. His lips were rough, but the kiss deep and hot.

Kisame withdrew his tongue, fiercely pressing his lips up against Itachi's once, twice, and then softly the final time. They remained looking at each other for a long moment; both breathing harder than they thought they ought to be; and Itachi looking a little more flushed than usual. Slowly, Itachi's hand slid down Kisame's chest, a little bit too aware of how muscled his partner was. He swallowed, and took a step back, abashed.

"Let's go, Deidara," he said firmly, and Deidara grinned to himself as Kisame blinked blankly –a little surprised at himself and the heat he was currently feeling.

"Dad?" Deidara asked suddenly, "…Can I sit on your shoulders, yeah?" Kisame paused for a moment and then let out a defeated sigh.

"What the hell…" he muttered; lifting the boy with ease and placing him on his shoulders.

"I can see the world from up here!" he exclaimed in delight.

"We're spoiling him," Itachi remarked flatly.

"It's okay," Kisame shrugged, "Hidan's going to be furious at him for running away."

It stormed that night. The thunder was especially bad, and Deidara was terrified that Hidan was going to come looking for his head (which he had vowed to do). He had slunk into his parent's room, and shaken Itachi awake.

"Please mom?" he begged.

" –I told you it was only that one time," Itachi grumbled, "Back to bed –you're old enough now."

"But I wanted to feel safe…" Deidara mumbled; explaining what the little girl had said.

And when he was half-asleep, Kisame agreed to a lot more that he'd admit to. So it was that Deidara got his way; snuggling up in his mother's arms while Itachi dealt with having Kisame's large form spooning him; a thick arm slung around 'mother and child'. This was far closer to Kisame than Itachi had ever been before, ever; able to feel his every movement of his chest as it rose and fell with each breath; practically able to count his abs, they were pressed that tightly together.

"…Go to sleep, Itachi…" Kisame rumbled; his mouth just beneath Itachi's ear. The raven shivered, feeling Kisame's lips brush up against the sensitive skin of his neck as he breathed; almost as though he was kissing him softly with each inhale and exhale.

"...Goodnight, Deidara," Itachi whispered quietly, pressing a gentle kiss against Deidara's forehead; a gesture that had been included in the child's list of 'I wants'.

For a moment, as Itachi lay, trying to doze off, it was almost easy to imagine maybe, that they were a very strange little family. He smiled softly to himself as he remembered Deidara as an infant, bouncing on Kisame's knee; the toddler's first steps and reading him bedtime stories. The arguments at the dinner table; and the way Kisame claimed to have no parental instincts but was so good at playing with the kid and had been just as worried about him when he'd gone missing…And the way he grinned with Deidara proudly sitting up on his shoulders...

He chuckled to himself, hugging Deidara tighter to him and feeling Kisame shift a little more; arm relaxing so that it was curled around the raven's abdomen…and so his lips were more firmly pressed to Itachi's neck.

"Kisame?" Itachi frowned warily, but there was no answer so he didn't pursue it. Kisame's breathing was deep and even; lips grazing his skin. He wondered if the contact was accidental or on purpose.

Kisame really didn't know.

Day 33

Age: 12

"…Go ask your father."

"Dad! I have a question, yeah!"

Itachi grimaced; facepalming and turning and stalking off down the hallway towards Hidan's room.

"Hidan! Don't talk to Deidara about sex!"

"It's about time he fucking knew!"

" –He's twelve!" Itachi snapped as he spotted the Jashinist, "And didn't realise that two men weren't his biological parents! You're going to scar the kid!"

"He's gonna hit fucking puberty soon," Hidan scoffed, "Better he knows now than gets freaked out by his first hard on!"

"And the concept of sex, when he has met three females in what he thinks is his entire life, isn't going to be emotionally damaging?" Itachi growled.

" –He's going to be sixteen in like two weeks," Hidan rolled his eyes, "And by that time he's gonna be horny as fuck and not give a shit."

"But meanwhile…" Itachi pointed out; pausing dramatically as there was a horrified, shrill scream from somewhere in the direction of the kitchen. "…I rest my case." Deidara came sliding around the corner; wide-eyed and terrified.

"Mom…" he whimpered, "Hi-tan says that people don't need to be in love to have sex. You and dad aren't in love, and you share a room. Do you have sex?"

"No," Itachi assured him firmly; glaring over at Hidan, "We're both men. Why would you ask –" He spotted Kisame glancing sheepishly around the corner. "…You didn't, did you?"

"He wanted to know," Kisame defended himself, "I'm not gonna lie to him –remember what happened last time we did that?" Itachi turned slightly pink and clamped his hands over Deidara's ears.

" –Well, that does not mean you tell a twelve year old boy about gay sex!" he snapped flatly, "Kisame, he thinks we have sex!"

"You sent him to me," Kisame argued back, rolling his eyes. Itachi unclamped Deidara's ears and resisted the urge to laugh at his horrified expression.

"Your father and I do not have sex," Itachi assured him firmly.

"Yeah; he's actually having sex with me," Hidan smirked. Deidara let out a horrified wail as Kisame leapt forwards to quickly reassure him that that was Hidan's sick idea of a joke.

That was the day he saw how violent his mother could be.

Day 42

Age: 15

Kisame returned back from running errands to discover that the hideout was strangely quiet. Itachi was sitting in the living room looking in rather a good mood.

"Where's Deidara?" he inquired warily.

"...In his room," Itachi replied innocently, "He tried to sneak out again." Kisame rolled his eyes in exasperation. Since Deidara had hit his early teens, he'd become impossible. Nothing they could say could keep him calm; or keep him in the hideout. They had to confiscate his clay, and his kunai, and barricade his window. They told him to not leave the hideout, so of course it was exactly what he tried to do. Pretty much continuously.

Approaching Deidara's room, Kisame could see evidence of a struggle –and quite a large-scale one. The floor was singed –fire-style, most likely. There was a bit of blood –probably Hidan's –holes in the wall from Kakuzu…and a large chunk of blackened wall missing. Okay, so Deidara had played up again…

He peered into the room; the door having been removed by an explosion. Deidara was lying on his back on his bed; completely motionless. Tobi and Zetsu appeared to be looking at his body rather curiously. Kisame sighed in exasperation; recognising the state of unconsciousness.

"Itachi!" he shouted down to the living room.

"He was being belligerent and disrespectful, and he'll be fine in a day or so," Itachi replied back calmly.

"That's not the point," Kisame hollered, "If he acts up, grounding him is sufficient! There's no need to use Tsukuyomi on him!"

Day 48

Age: 17

"Deidara, be reasonable," Itachi sighed heavily.

" –Deidara-chan, listen to fucking Itachi," Hidan complained.

"Drop the –chan, yeah!" Deidara snarled angrily, hoisting his backpack further up onto his back, "I'm not a kid anymore! I can do what I want with my life, yeah!"

"No you can't," Itachi rolled his eyes, "Come back inside and stop making a scene."

"No!" Deidara protested, "I'm sick of you trying to run my life, mother! I'm old enough to do what I want!"

"We already agreed that you're staying with us," Kisame growled.

"There you go again, yeah; just deciding my life!" Deidara snarled, "You don't respect my art, and you're not letting me do what I want!"

"You don't know what you want," Kakuzu rolled his eyes.

"I want to leave here. I don't want to join your stinking organisation, yeah," he snapped.

"Fuck, I thought I taught him to curse fucking better than that," Hidan muttered.

"Shut up!"

"Aw, where's my cute little Deidara-chan gone?" Hidan complained.

" –Dad, you and mom are the worst! You don't appreciate me, and you're just trying to keep me locked up here, yeah!" Deidara exploded, "I've been trapped here my whole life! I want to see places, yeah! I want people to see my art!"

"…It's been forty-eight days…" Kakuzu grumbled under his breath –but Deidara didn't catch that.

"All I get is hand-me-downs and death threats! I want to find something better than this shit, yeah," he snorted, "I know it's out there! I'm out of here, and you can't stop me!" Kisame and Itachi exchanged glances and Itachi rolled his eyes; letting his Sharingan fade.

"Fine, we'll do it your way this time," he sighed.

"You can't control me anymore, yeah!"

"…Oh really? Kakuzu," Kisame nodded and the threads holding Kakuzu's limbs together suddenly shot out; wrapping tightly around Deidara's entire body and preventing him from moving. He tried to start yelling obscenities but Kakuzu made sure to bind his mouth closed for the meantime.

"I'll go start filling the basement," Kisame remarked flatly.

"I'll go see if we have any red meat," Konan commented conversationally.

" –It's not so bad, Deidara-senpai," Tobi remarked as Deidara was unceremoniously dragged back inside, "…Okay, it's good…but you were being a bad boy. Kisame will let you out when you promise to be good and stop trying to blow us all up."

"This is child abuse!" Deidara yelled as he was dangled upside down from the roof of the basement; completely tied up with only a small lantern to see by. There were sharks circling predatorily in the murky water beneath him. "This is cruel, yeah! I hate you! I hate mom! This is sadistic! This is torture!"

"No," Kisame informed him simply, "This is you being grounded."

Day 54

Age: 19

"I can't believe it," Konan sighed as she and Itachi shared a pot of coffee in the kitchen. "This jutsu is finally going to end…"

"What jutsu, yeah?" Deidara inquired curiously, coming into the kitchen and sitting down opposite Itachi; bored. Kisame entered the kitchen and began fixing himself a sandwich.

"Oh, nothing," Itachi replied; wondering for the hundredth time why Deidara hadn't noticed that he seemed to age so fast when no one else was. "How are you feeling today?"

"Tch…doesn't matter, yeah," the blonde snorted moodily. Itachi sighed heavily and looked over at Kisame, who nodded shortly.

"…Deidara…" he remarked in a serious tone. The blonde's expression paled; wondering what he'd done wrong, "…Your father and I…just thought it was important that you knew…" God, he couldn't believe he was saying this, but knew that every child wanted to hear it during their life. "…We're very proud of you." Deidara's face lit up happily and he bounced around the room to hug him.

"Thanks mom!" he grinned, "I love you guys, you know that, yeah?" Kisame laid a huge hand in his hair and tousled it with a touch of affection.

And then suddenly, the expression on his face changed. Konan saw it from across the table and couldn't help but laugh as Deidara recoiled in horror.

"What the fuck?" he exclaimed hotly, "What the fuck am I doing hugging you, Itachi?" Itachi and Kisame exchanged glances.

"Well that was fucking fast," Kisame admitted dryly. Deidara stared around them wildly for a moment; touching his face and body in disbelief.

"I'm…I'm…" he frowned. "What?"

"Deidara's back to normal!" Kisame hollered into the depths of the house, and suddenly, Tobi came rocketing through; attaching himself most forcefully to his partner.

"Deidara-senpai!" he cried out in utmost delight, "You're back, you're back! Tobi missed you!"

"Get off me, you idiot!" Deidara snapped flatly; pushing Tobi away with an arm and a leg and stalking over to the living room to escape from him. "What the hell are you talking about, yeah? The last thing I remember…"

" –You were messing around with Orochimaru's scrolls?" Itachi remarked deadpan, "When I specifically told you not to?"

"You're not my mother; I don't have to listen to you, yeah," he sniffed, and was surprised when everyone in the room chuckled –for indeed, everyone else was now in the room with him, most amused.

"It's been almost two months since then," Pein informed him smoothly.

"Two months?" Deidara exclaimed, "What the fuck, yeah?"

" –You were transformed into a baby when you opened a particular scroll," he replied, "You took on Itachi as your surrogate mother and Kisame as your father, and they looked after you."

"Looked after me?" Deidara snorted, "More like hung me in a…" He blinked in surprise, "Hang on, what…" He frowned to himself in confusion. "I think I…I think I remember…" He gripped his forehead in confusion, "Maybe?" Itachi took a seat and sipped at his coffee contentedly. Well, this was good. Things could go back to normal. It was a bit of an inconvenience but…

"It's gonna be good to have the old Deidara-chan back," Hidan sniggered.

"Don't call me that, Hi-tan!" Deidara snarled, and then quickly clamped his hands over his mouth; startled that the nickname had so easily fallen out. Hidan roared with laughter as the blonde turned red.

" –Aw, isn't he cute?" Hidan cackled.

"I'm not cute, yeah!" he snapped back.

" –You used to follow me around," he sighed mockingly, "I was your hero. It feels like only a few days ago that I was teaching you taijutsu and you were begging me not to tell Itachi about your porn stash…"

"Hi-ta –Hidan!" Deidara corrected himself; these memories suddenly flooding back. He glowered at him, and then suddenly, his eyes turned to face Itachi.

" –You used that fucking Sharingan on me, didn't you, yeah?" he growled mutinously.

"You were misbehaving," Itachi shrugged coolly. Deidara gritted his teeth and then smirked, and the Uchiha really didn't like that smirk.

"Itachi and Kisame kissed," he declared loudly; pausing for dramatic effect, "On the mouth. With tongue." Itachi's hand froze with his coffee halfway to his mouth; eyes slowly turning red. The gazes of the other Akatsuki members turned to peer at both Kisame and Itachi; expecting to hear some kind of denial. Kisame coughed awkwardly.

"I'm going kill you, you little brat," Itachi declared in a cold voice, coffee clattering to the ground, forgotten as the Uchiha lose his composure and started sprinting after the blonde.

"Itachi wants to have hot gay sex with Kisame!" Deidara crowed.

"Fire style –" There was the sound of flames erupting and the smell of singed hair drifted down into the living room.

"He's only mad because it's true, yeah!" Deidara hollered.

" –And I thought he was a brat before," Kakuzu muttered.

"Deidara-senpai!" Tobi wailed; racing from the room to aid his partner.

"Wanna make this a free-for-all?" Hidan inquired of Kakuzu.

" –Kisame; get the sharks," Itachi could be heard demanding from somewhere in the distance.

"Yes Itachi," Kisame called back with a chuckle.

"You're not my parents; you can't ground me anymore, yeah!"

"Oh, this time, it's torture," Itachi snarled, "We took care of you; we fed and clothed you; we let you sleep in our bed when you got scared –"

"So it's 'your' bed now; and not 'Kisame's bed'," Deidara teased with a smirk, "He told me about gay sex. Maybe he wants to do it with you too."

" –You are so ungrateful, you know that?" Itachi was yelling, but he wasn't even all that angry. In fact, he was blushing a little bit at the various reminders of how close he and Kisame had been forced to become in order to attempt to raise an unconventional child. No matter what happened from now on, he would always have that one night, where he had been able to pretend, for a moment, that he had a child, and a lover, and that they had been a happy, caring family. Although, if he thought about it, having a baby Deidara around had changed them into 'mom' and 'dad' and 'Uncle Kuzu', 'Tobi-niichan', and 'Uncle Pein'; 'Hi-tan', 'Uncle Zetsu' and 'Aunt Konan'. They were, sure, all S-rank criminals who had deserted their villages and their lands…but they did kind of have each other.

"I finally get to fucking cut you into pieces, you little piece of shit!" Hidan roared.

…In a way. And he guessed that that was kind of nice.


So there is is! Hope you liked. Leave a review? Just a teeny touch of KisaIta...And a ?heartwarming? ending?

Much love

xx K