A flicker of doubt, a flash of a grin. Another drop of sand fills the hourglass of time.
Golden fire clawed at the bowing timbers, cackling at the scorched wood gave up its fight and tumbled to the burning floor below, sending billows of ash rising in their wake. The fire dull roar all but drowned out the screams of the people trapped within, their dying cries punctuated with hacking coughs as smoke wormed its way into their lungs. A cloaked man stood in front of the burning household, single blue eye opened wide and shining as another wood beam collapsed, sending a tongue of fire flaring defiantly at the night sky. A chuckle forced its way up the man’s throat as he watched the by products of his creation with glee, a crazed grin splitting his face in half. There were few things in life that could inspire such a smile, make excitement pour like liquid fire through his veins. The power of an explosion. Such a beautiful sight. So fleeting, yet so… brilliant. Nothing could compare, in his eyes, and nothing ever would.
He stood still as he felt a breeze brush past his face, sending flurries of silver ash spiralling through the sky, twirling around him and settling over his cloak. He pushed a strand of his blond hair impatiently away from his other eye, the light from the fire sparkling off the scope that had hid behind it. The lens focussed in as the fire ruthlessly tore through what remained of the house, calling an end to the screaming that had woven with the voice of the fire, an accidental symphony which made the hairs on his arms stand on end. He rubbed them appreciatively, head held aloft as he bathed in the warmth of fire. It was all too rare that he was able just to stand and enjoy this, often he was forced to flee for fear of his life as a dozen ANBU members tossed kunai at his back. Such a shame. It was only at times like this that he ever truly felt free, as if he danced with the flames as they darted towards the sky, destroying that which people had called ‘art’. He scoffed, tilting his head to the side a little, grin growing wider as he felt the warmth caress his ear. There was no beauty in something that stood forever, rotting away in someone’s home, dull and flat. No, true art was something quick, a sudden explosion that makes you blood rise with excitement as it sends scarlet fire tearing away at the boundaries of life, destroying all that stood in its way.
His head lowered as he felt the fire’s warmth begin to recede, sighing happily as he watched the fire blow itself to dust. The once ‘beautiful’ manner that had stood there was gone, swallowed by his explosion, leaving nothing but crumbling wood and ash. He examined his work with a critical eye and nodded with satisfaction, before fading once more into the trees. He headed back to where his temporary camp and partner were waiting, a comforting breeze running its fingers through his hair. A frown threatened to impede the blonds’ peaceful expression as his mind strayed to his wayward partner. Tobi knew nothing of beauty, nothing of art. He merely bumbled his way through the world, oblivious to anything and everything that mattered. It was a wonder that he was even able to get in to the Akatsuki, for they were, above all, a group of artists. They were bound together by their talents, and that is what set them apart. Tobi, however…
He sighed, pushing aside such thoughts as he stepped lightly onto a small boulder, bounding softly from it to the grass as he slowed his pace. What was the point of brooding on a question he knew would never be answered? He should cherish the peace he felt around him for as long as possible, it wasn’t going to last much longer. Reaching the outskirts of the small clearing he’d picked for their camp, he paused, gazing through the trees. From here he could see the faint outline of his partner’s form against the light of a small fire, patiently reaching out and stirring a small pot placed over the cackling flames. The fire’s light flickered over the small orange mask that lay by the boy’s side, carefully placed out of the way of the dancing flames. Deidara watched his progress in silence. Tobi confused him. At times he could act like a complete imbecile, naïve and immature, bounding through life with that stupid smile on his face. Infuriating. But at others…
“Deidara Sempai, you’re back!” Tobi’s light voice carried over the wind towards him, the boy turning towards him and giving him a broad grin. The mask was back in place, fitting so perfectly he doubted for a moment that it was ever gone. Deidara blinked. He didn’t know Tobi had seen him. “Come on over! Dinner is nearly ready. I went out and picked some mushrooms especially…”
Tuning out the rest of the conversation with practised ease, he walked forward, irritated expression slotting back into place. “Better not poison me again, un.” He sat gingerly at the edge of the fire, dimly remembering the last time Tobi had picked mushrooms for dinner. The afore mentioned boy shook his head briskly, plopping down besides him.
“No, of course not! I was very careful this time.” He brandished the ladle to support his point. “If it had spots, I left it well alone.”
“Good.” He waited in silence as he watched Tobi fuss with the food, careful not to spill as he expertly separated the soup into two different bowls. Deidara took one with a grunted thanks, watching Tobi out of the corner of his eye.
Yes. Tobi most certainly confused him.