Emiko hadn’t spoken a word since she had come bursting in last night. She hadn’t cried for long, though I had a feeling she’d been crying a lot more before she arrived in our room.
Figuring she’d need some time alone, I had wandered into the adjoining room and settled myself on the couch. Not five minutes had passed when there was a rhythmic knocking on the door, and in sauntered the blonde male from the other day.
The fact that he was here alone made me suspicious, and from the way he sat himself down on the chair across from me, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was going on elsewhere in their base and that he was just a distraction.
‘D-Deidara, was it?’ I greeted him with a small wave.
‘The one and only, yeah!’ He grinned at me, but the expression didn’t reach his eyes. Yep, definitely something going on.
‘Erm, is everything alright?’
His smile faltered, as though surprised I had picked up on it so quickly. ‘What makes you say that, smaller Emiko?’
‘It’s Mina…’ I held back the eye roll at his forgetfulness and continued. ‘I just thought it was strange that you came to check on us alone.’
‘Oh yeah, well, Sasori has other things to deal with at the moment…’ His eyes had a somewhat faraway look in them as he spoke, but he soon shook himself out of it. ‘Anyway, you guys must be bored, cooped up in here all day with nothing to do.’
I waited for him to get to the point, wondering where he was going with this line of thought, but movement from the doorway caught our attention.
‘Hidan, you bastard, what do you want, hm?’ Deidara spat, standing to greet the silver-haired male almost suspiciously.
‘Pein told me to ‘get out of his sight and make myself useful elsewhere’ because apparently he doesn’t approve of performing rituals in the dining hall. Filthy heathen…’
I gulped down the lump that tried to arise in my throat at the word ‘ritual’, not finding any need to hear the details on such an event and hoping futilely that he would leave. Sinking further into the couch and praying for invisibility, I held my breath.
‘You’re stupidity never ceases to amaze me, yeah. Go find someone else to annoy. I’m busy.’ The blonde waved a hand in dismissal but the action only received an amused grin in response, something alighting in Hidan’s eyes as his magenta irises moved to greet mine.
‘Busy, eh?’ The grin that followed was not something I would have missed. ‘Need a hand with that?’
My eyebrows knotted furiously at whatever he was implying, but Deidara spoke before I could.
‘You’re sick, you know that, right?’
The taller and, did I mention, half naked man lifted his hands and pushed his palms out innocently. ‘Hey, I just meant in distracting the runt. You’re the sicko who’s implying otherwise, dipshit!’
I shuddered as Deidara folded his arms across his chest, opening his mouth to speak but being cut off just before the words could form.
‘Anyway, I actually brought this.’ He tossed a small, shimmering object towards the blonde, who snatched it out of the air with startling precision. Deidara glanced downwards at the item, eyes widening ever so slightly before he met his comrades gaze once more.
‘Why did you–’
‘Pein was pissing me off so I figured I’d hand these out to a few prisoners. That bastard needs to fuck off with ordering me around.’
I winced at his vulgar language but again refrained from commenting. I spared a moment to pray that Emiko wasn’t listening and didn’t come barging in from the bedroom to pick a fight with this guy too.
‘Well, I’ll see you around, blondie. Maybe I’ll catch you later, runt!’ His eyes twinkled mischievously as he stressed that last phrase, making me wonder whether his words actually held a deeper meaning to them. But I didn’t dwell on it, he seemed far too dense to actually mean anything deeply.
A strange silence engulfed the room as he left, until Deidara turned sharply to flick that same object in my direction. ‘As much as I hate to agree with that guy, we all agree that Pein needs to be knocked down a peg… And I guess you aren’t the worst person I could give this to.’
I just barely caught the flying object, albeit clumsily, pausing to examine it and failing to notice the blonde make his way to exit the room.
It looked like a food pill. It was small and round, with a silvery sort of shimmer to it that I could not identify. ‘Hey, Deidara? What is…’
I trailed off as I realised I was now alone once again. Sighing in frustration, I tucked the item securely in my pocket and made a mental note to show Emiko the pill later. I was sure she’d know it immediately.
Just one hour. One more painstakingly long hour until our oh-so-powerful, reigning leader and his cronies left our base, for which I could not wait. They had already messed up too much of my perfectly good, working system with the shift change, not to mention several personal matters that had now been compromised.
It had taken far too long to calm myself last night, and yes it was true, I had been avoiding her ever since. It annoyed me to no end that my emotions, that I have had in complete control for as long as I can remember, all just seemed to fly off the handle whenever I was around her, and despite my incredibly best efforts, I could no longer deny that certain attachments were forming.
A small, very, very small part of me, tiny in fact, wanted to just throw caution to the wind and go with my gut instinct, but I had managed to hold that part of me in check so far. I was no fool. And I was definitely not going to allow a mere woman to compromise my position so easily… Especially not one like her.
I shook my head internally, hurriedly pulling myself out from the tangle of thoughts that was forming and concentrated on what Pein was saying. He had gathered the members of the base and has been going over an unnecessarily detailed description of how he wanted a new extension of the base to look, and lucky me, I had been forcefully dubbed head of the project.
‘Now, I want to be sure that you’re all perfectly clear on my expectations of you over the next few weeks. I don’t feel the need to drag this war out any longer than the rest of us, but unless there are some serious changes to the way things are run I find it hard to believe there will be a favourable outcome for our forces any time soon.’ The orange-haired male turned his attention to the blonde beside me. ‘Deidara, how are the defence lines doing?’
‘They’re definitely improving, but I’m going to add a mine field to the area surrounding the medical centre anyway, just in case there’s another attack on them, hm.’
‘Very well. Sasori?’
‘I’ll start working on the plans for the extension right away, leader-sama.’
Pein nodded, his gaze lingering on mine warily a few seconds too long for my liking. I didn’t appreciate being doubted, and I certainly wasn’t keen on the look of mistrust I had just received.
If it hadn’t been for the Uchiha opposite me speaking up and querying the leader on something I wasn’t remotely interested in, I probably would have commented. I doubted Emiko would remember her meeting with this member, and if she did I’m sure she’d be just as furious at him as she was with me. After all, he was the one who knocked her out after the death of her old comrade.
Damn it, there she was again, always creeping into my mind, unwelcome and uninvited.
‘Are there any more questions?’ Pein’s ringed gaze scanned the group one final time before nodding his head once and moving toward the exit. ‘Very well. I will contact you when I have further instruction. On with your business.’
I turned away from the group, vaguely aware of Deidara trailing quietly behind me as I headed back to my room. I suppose I had to face her at some point.
I slowed down to throw him a strange look over my shoulder. ‘Deidara, I hate when you do this. Just spit it out.’
The blonde, unable to hide his amusement at my obvious irritation, chuckled. ‘Alright then. I was just going to ask whats on your mind.’
‘What are you talking about?’ I really wasn’t in the mood for his games.
‘Oh come on, Sasori. I’m not as dumb as you make me out to be! I’ve known you long enough to tell when somethings distracting you…’
…Nosy, observant brat. Choosing to ignore his question, I quickened my pace and rounded a corner, hoping to lose him, but the idiot persisted.
‘You know, if you’re worried about her, you can tell your old buddy!’ I could hear the grin in his voice, but that only served to annoy me more.
‘I don’t know who you’re referring to. Anyway if there was something on my mind, you’d be the last person I’d turn to.’
‘Ouch! That’s harsh…’ He scoffed, but I could still hear the humour behind the words. ‘Fine then, if you want to keep it all bottled up inside, be that way. It’s not healthy though! You’re only human.’
‘Don’t remind me…’ I muttered under my breath, stalking away and finally losing him from my trail. It was only when I was alone again that I began to think, maybe he’s right? Although the thought of Deidara being right was almost enough to make me physically sick, I couldn’t shake the idea of getting a second opinion, since mine simply wasn’t helping me at all these days, it seemed.
My hand clutched the handle of my door tightly. Well, here goes nothing.
I pushed it open cautiously, half expecting Emiko to be on the other side with some sort of weapon aimed and ready to fire. But she wasn’t, and I felt my heart sink just a little from disappointment. I glanced around for her younger sister, but again I drew a blank.
No Sasori, this is a good thing. It means I can start the plans for Pein’s stupid base extension without distractions.
Shaking my head to clear my thoughts, I sauntered over to my desk, but as I did so, a tremendous shiver suddenly shot up my spine as though I’d just walked over someone’s grave. I paused, long enough to decide I was probably just losing it. I pulled out a blank scroll and slumped into my chair. The plans I came up with were going to be half-hearted at best, and after only a few minutes, I found myself completely lacking in inspiration as my eyes trailed subconsciously towards the bedroom door. It was shut tight and silent. Maybe they were both asleep and hadn’t heard me enter?
I frowned and listened intently for a few minutes, finding something unnerving about the silence. I suppose it couldn’t hurt to check on them…
I stood up hesitantly, making my way quietly towards the closed off room. Pausing outside the door and concentrating a further few moments, I came to an odd conclusion. Something was definitely not right.
Inside, the room was dark. The curtains were pulled completely closed, blocking off any last traces of daylight, but even through the dim lighting and severe lack of visibility I could tell that the room was empty. Shit.
I spun around and scanned the main room again quickly, as if I had simply missed them before and they were actually either asleep on the couch, or slouching on the windowsill just out of sight. But again I found myself alone, and my nose scrunched slightly as I tried to think where else they could be. They couldn’t be far, they didn’t even know their way around the base, so there wasn’t much chance of them being able to escape. Besides, someone would have spotted them by now and raised the alarm, of that I was sure.
So where the hell were they?