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"Konoha," Deidara mumbles slowly as he inspects the stranger sitting on the floor.

The dark-haired boy, about his age, with whom he almost crashed against while both ran through that forest in opposite directions, wears a forehead protector with the symbol of the Village Hidden in the Leaves engraved.

"H-Hiya!" He babbles as he waves his hand in a nervous gesture.

Deidara lowers his kunai attached to an explosive tag. No. This kid can't be a threat.

"This is an exclusive place for Iwagakure people! You shouldn't be here, hm!"

The boy slowly raises his orange goggles above his forehead, casting him a disapproving look. He stands up and dusts off his clothes.

"Don't be selfish. I want to find my Heart Stone too. My teammate entered here and found it. I'm not going to be less than him!" His stomach roars and the Konoha genin falls on his knees, holding his belly with both hands. "Have you got something to eat in that backpack you've got?"

Deidara holds his pleading stare, he doesn't feel any pity.

"Yes, I do, but it's my food, and I'm not gonna waste it on someone foolish enough to get into Senzu Plains without supplies."

He carries on walking without further consideration. Every second he loses is a second he could be using to find his Heart Stone. The boy grabs the back of his uniform, forcing him to stop.

"Please have mercy! This morning I had my last bag of crisps for breakfast!"

Perhaps because it's too pathetic to see him beg on the verge of tears, Deidara finally softens; he beckons him over and leads him to a bush on the edge of a glade. He sticks his arm inside a gap between the leaves until he found what he wanted. His hand closes around the berry and he pulls, plucking it from the stem.

"Didn't they teach you survival at your village academy, hm? Here you go, eat as many as you want," he offers the dark blue elongated berry to the Konoha kid, but he doesn't take it.

"For your information, yes, they taught me, but they also taught us that it isn't a good idea to eat fruits from strange bushes. This plant doesn't grow in the Land of Fire, it could be poisonous!"

"It isn't. They're called honeyberries. Haven't you tried Iwa honeyberry tarts yet? They're quite famous."

The boy squints.

"And how do I know you're not tricking me to get rid of me? Or trying to give me a diarrhea attack, or god knows what the evil effect of those things is?"

Using his thumb, Deidara gets rid of the thin layer of dust that covers the fruit before biting it. At this point of the year they are a tad overripe. The tart tinge he likes so much hardly detectable among that cloying sweetness, but still enjoyable. After swallowing, he offers the rest of the fruit to the foreign boy, who takes it without hesitation.

"Now that I think about it, I'm going to take a few for myself, hm. It never hurts to have extra supplies."

Deidara takes his backpack off, opens one of the side pockets and sticks his arm back between the branches, looking for berries. Meanwhile, the Konoha genin kneels at his side after eating the half berry he gave him.

"Mmm... I don't know if it's because I'm starving, but this is very good!"

He mimics him, looking for more berries through the thicket, which he eats straight away without cleaning first. Deidara is content with just a small handful, knowing that they don't last long, especially when they're overripe.

"Take more for later, if you leave any at all at this rate," he says as he watches him binge. "How the hell did it occur to you that it was a good idea to get in here without food?"

"Yes, I brought food, but," the boy paused to chew and swallow "I get hungry when I'm anxious, so I ate almost everything on day one."

Deidara stands up again, ready to move on. He's been lucky to stumble upon him, otherwise he would have starved out there.

"Well, good luck in your search. Stay alive, hm."

He hasn't even taken two steps when he hears his voice again.

"Don't leave! Take me with you!"

A grunt of annoyment escapes him.

"Not being funny but you look like a burden more than an asset."

The boy stands up.

"I won't burden you! I promise! I can be useful to you! I am an Uchiha and although chakra doesn't work in this place, I can still use my sharingan!"

"Uchiha..." he repeats.

Deidara has heard of that clan. Onoki-sensei doesn't particularly like them because reasons.

"Then you don't need me," he says, spinning around, nose in air. "And I don't need anyone with blood limits that came as standard to solve my life. How unartistic, hm."

"Huh?" The Uchiha blinks and Deidara carries on walking, tired of wasting time. "You say weird things."

"OK, bye."

He's probably used to everyone kissing his feet only because of his eye. The ancient clans in Iwa aren't that haughty. The kid must have noticed by now how his precious sharingan hadn't magically made him find his Heart Stone.

"Can I follow you from afar even if we don't go together? You don't know what it is to be here on your own for days!"

"No. Go on your own."

The boy utters a fake whining.

"You're so mean. Did you know that?!" he says, Deidara ignores him to see if he goes away but he doesn't and after walking for a few minutes in silence, he speaks again. "I'll do anything you want! Please!"

A rustle of leaves makes him stop. Deidara moves his hand near the compartment where he keeps the explosive kunais and examines the surroundings, trying to find the noise again.

"Have I convinced you?" The boy says.

"Shush."

When he notices his tension, he also becomes alert and activates his sharingan. A moment later, the kid with the goggles grabs his arm, pointing at the direction of the path where they came from.

"There!"

A giant boar, furious and out of control runs towards them. Deidara worries a little, he would love to see if he can beat it but he isn't stupid enough to think he has a chance without the element of surprise. Both run away in the opposite direction. The ground shakes with every step the beast takes. Without being able to use his chakra, he cannot concentrate it on his legs to run faster, but Deidara is confident in his endurance. They'll give it the slip, eventually. The huge wild boar stops at the edge of the wooded area, it doesn't look like it's going to adventure past it. They're safe.

"Phew..." the boy is panting, Deidara too. "We were lucky..."

The new landscape looks much more arid and is full of weird limestone formations, which storms have been moulding for millions of years. Deidara walks towards one whose shape reminds him of the mushroom cloud of a detonation and sits in the shade. The Uchiha does the same, but he's too tired to tell him to get lost. He searches for the bamboo water bottle among his things and quenches his thirst.

Deidara feels a pair of eyes fixed on him. Turning his neck, he finds him pouting with sad puppy eyes. The boy looks at his water bottle, then at him and then back to the water bottle. It's his only water, so Deidara surprises himself by passing it to him.

"Thank you!"

He snatches it from his hands and starts drinking, his throat contracts and expands with each gulp.

"Okay, don't finish it, hm. We have to spot a water source first."

And he doubts there's any in that area. The most important thing in survival, or that was what he learned, was to find a source of drinking water. Deidara thinks that hopefully it isn't as difficult as finding the stone. When the boy is done with the bottle, he notices it's way lighter than earlier. The cheeky shit has nearly drunk it all up.

"I'm sorry," he says. "But if we want to succeed we have to stay strong and hydrated. By the way my name is Obito. Yours is Mokumi, am I right?"

"What!?" Before putting the water bottle back in the bag, Deidara reads the three carved syllables near the edge. "That's the signature of the craftsman who made it."

"Oops. Mine says my name on it,” Obito diverts his attention to the pebbles on the floor, takes one, examines it and after a few seconds he throws it away. "And what's your name then?"

"The great and amazing Deidara, hm."

"Can I call you just Deidara?"

"Hmmm... Nope."

Obito is busy studying another pebble. One with tiny green crystals attached.

"This one is pretty," he says. "I wish it were mine, I'm tired of searching but I'm not going to give up."

Deidara, who has just started, is more motivated. There are not many stones in that desert area of white salt-like sand.

"Mine isn't here," Deidara replies.

"How do you know?"

"I don't know, but Onoki-sensei always tells us that you have to let your instinct lead you instead of seeing with your eyes or something of the sort. I'm going to look in another area, like that hill over there," Deidara points east. "I like that place better, hm."

"I bought a map before coming here," Obito searches his pockets, pulls out a folded paper several times and tarts to unfold it. "But it hasn't helped me much. And before you ask me if they have taught us orienteering at Konoha Academy, yes they have. Maybe the map is wrong."

"That map is definitely wrong, hm. You have been scammed, it's a very common scam among tourists."

Deidara doesn't even bother examining the map to double check. In the end, they are more like souvenirs from Iwa than anything else, just like the guide of minerals and gems and their corresponding meaning.

"Y-you mean they've ripped me off!?"

"The Senzu Plains isn't a normal place. It's a sacred land, controlled by demi-divine beings whose speciality is genjustu. It's constantly changing. Maps won't work here."

"That explains everything," Obito crushes the paper into a ball and throws it a few meters ahead. "But on the bright side. That confirms it wasn't my fault."

"Don't litter here, hm! You're gonna anger them!" That paper ball could be useful, Deidara takes it puts it in his bag. After all Obito doesn't want it, there's nothing wrong with keeping it. "I've decided that you can come with me. We better go now, there's no water in this place and I doubt there's any food. Let's get out of here before night comes."

Obito jumps to his feet.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'll do my best! I won't let you down!"

Their steps leave two parallel rows of footprints in the white sand. Behind them the sun falls, getting closer and closer to the horizon. Occasionally, Obito picks a stone and then throws it away again, disappointed. Deidara ignores them all, completely convinced that none of those is his. His feet are a bit sore and his empty stomach protests from time to time, but the hill looks closer and doesn't trust that place to spend the night.

The stroll has helped him get to know Obito better, he's discovered that he was in Iwa to attend the Chuunin's exams until his team got disqualified. As there was Konoha people still in the process, his team mate got bored and decided to amuse himself looking for his Heart Stone, He found it on the same day. Obito got jealous and sneaked into Senzu Plains without telling anyone.

"That was two days ago," he carries on. "Kakashi found it quite easy so I thought it would be the same for me. I was starting to think that I wouldn't get out of here alive again, until I bumped into you."

"Good job staying alive for two days, hm."

"It wasn't easy. The first day a tiger nearly eats me alive. And you don't know how scary this place gets at night, with all those strange sounds and... I haven't slept much, but I'm not tired. Stress keeps me alert," a stone gets in the way of Obito and instead of checking it, he kicks it. "And you? Why did you come here?"

"I was tired of waiting. In Iwa we all have an appointment set to find our stone. Mine was gonna be in a few months but I was sick of waiting so while everyone was busy with the Chuunin exams I came here. Also, we aren't allowed to come here in pairs or groups, because it only takes one Heart Stone to see through the genjutsu that surrounds this place, so one ninja can guide the rest out of here. Lord Third doesn't want that, hm. That's why he tests us separately."

"But your family must be worried about you! Does anyone know that you're here?"

"I left mum a note. Everything is fine."

"Now that I think about it, I didn't leave a note to Minato-sensei. I planned to be back before dinner time so..."

It darkens at the same time that the sun starts to set. In the limits of the desert, the landscape changes gradually, patches of earth the color of chocolate appearing among the white sand. Afterwards, a stony area that makes them stop and look at the thousands of pebbles at their feet. Deidara kicks them, looking for something interesting that could be buried underneath.

"Once someone was here for seven months, hm," Deidara kicks morepebbles but nothing catches his eye. "And others haven't even returned."

"Great. We'll get out of here when we're old and wrinkly like the Third Tsuchikage," Obito says.

"I plan to leave before that."

"Don't worry! If I find my stone before you, I will help you find yours. I'm not going to leave you here on your own. You saved my life."

Deidara would rather not see that happen. Finding his Heart Stone by himself was essential for his growth as shinobi, it's not fair.

"I don't want an Uchiha to spoonfeed me. One must do this test on their own, otherwise, they would organize group expeditions."

Now they are at the foot of the hill and soon will be completely dar. Deidara chooses a sheltered place among big rocks to set up camp.

"There must be some reason for us to meet here," Obito insists. "Teamwork is important too and friends must support each other."

Deidara looks at the boy and doesn't have the heart to say anything that wipes his kind smile off his face.

"Let's do this before night falls. Help me get firewood, hm."

"Right away!"

The word keeps buzzing in his head. Friends...

Obito stumbles and falls forward. When he gets up, he looks at him and says he's fine, and that at least he has found the first branch. Deidara shakes his head disapprovingly, but a hint of a smile stretches up the corners of his lips.

Deidara starts by clearing the area of anything that can catch fire and makes a circle of pebbles to control the fire better. Obito is passing him branches, which he organizes as he learned during class. Then he removes the matches from his backpack along with the useless map, shoves the paper between the logs, drags the match down the side of the box and brings the tiny flame on to the paper. Obito stretches his arms out to warm his hands in front of the flame that rises and dances in the air, to the creak of the burning wood.

"I would have killed for a fire the other two nights," he says.

"Why didn't you make one?"

"I didn't want to draw attention. When you're alone, the best thing to do is to keep a low profile. You see? Going together makes things easier."

Deidara decides that he wouldn't have liked to spend the night like that.

"This is like camping, hm."

He sits on the floor and crosses his legs. Then he opens his backpack and takes one of the packages of beef jerky strips he bought. He breaks the seal, takes half of the strips and passes them to Obito.

-"Thank you! He puts several in his mouth and chews. Itamakimafffu."

Deidara just eats his share unceremoniously. Manners don't matter so much when one is in a situation like that. There's only a little water left in the bottle. Deidara takes a sip and gives the rest to Obito.

"I ask the first turn to stand guard!" He says "I want to compensate you for everything you've done for me."

"Up to you."

Deidara gets up and walks a few meters. He doesn't see much further, so he can't tell which is the best place direction to take come morning. The jerky has left him thirsty and the tiny amount of water he had didn't help much. They better find something tomorrow. A river, a lake, or some rain.

"There are a lot of trees on this hill. There must be a spring somewhere, hm."

He gets a snore as answer. Deidara looks back and sees Obito curled up on the floor, completely unconscious. What a mess, he thinks as he returns to him and sits down.

"If you were tired, you could have said it, you fool. It's not like I'm sleepy," he mumbles, even though it's useless.


 

His Heart Stone has to be in a difficult place to rech, Deidara is convinced of it. Without chakra, climbing the mountain wall becomes more dangerous and difficult, but he does it the same. Perhaps one of those stones scattered around the small ledge is his.

Deidara stretches his arm to grab another protrusion on the rock, flexes his knee and puts his foot in a higher slot. Carefully calculating his movements until he reaches the ledge.

"Deidara!" A few meters below him, Obito comes running." You were right! There is a river! A river and a waterfall! And there's fish! Come down quickly!"

"Coming, hm!"

He hasn't drunk any water for half a day and thinking about it makes his mouth dry mouth feel pastier.

None of the stones seems to have anything special. Disappointed, Deidara drops them one by one and starts to descend. Obito has disappeared again and he hopes he is at least trying to catch the lunch. But after following the path Obito went through, he sees all his clothes lying on the shore and him inside the water.

"Be careful, a leech might bite your ass, hm," he jokes.

"I needed a bath. Remember that this is my third day here.” Obito dives into the river and appears again near the shore. "Wanna join me?"

"It doesn't sound bad. Maybe later."

"There are stones here too. One of these may be the ones we're looking for."

Deidara kneels down, makes a bowl with his hands, fills it with water and drinks. He repeats the action until he isn't thirsty anymore. He also fills the bottles, his and Obito's, since he seems to be too busy skinny-dipping to make it himself. He finds it funny, all that time Onoki-sensei telling him he was the most irresponsible student he had ever had, but next to that boy, shit... Next to that boy he's a fucking role model.

He's jealous to see him there having such a good time, but he needs to fill his stomach first with something that isnt berries or beef jerky strips. He takes a kunai out and follows the shore towards the small waterfall that falls in several thin jets from the upper level. The moss on the bottom makes the water look slightly greenish and soon he locates the mottled loin of a semi-camouflaged rainbow trout there.

He aims, concentrates and shoots. The rising slime soils the water and makes him lose sight of his target. He waits impatiently for a few seconds and finally sees it, skewered at the bottom of the river by the kunai. He recovers the weapon and grabs it by the tail.

"Come on, get out of there. Look what I've caught, hm," he lifts his capture in the air and sees something coming out of the water behind Obito. Something gigantic. "Obito, get out of the water! Now!"

Frightened, the boy looks back. A giant catfish throws itself at him with its mouth open. Deidara throws their lunch and the monster swallows it. Obito jumps out of the water and dresses in a hurry.

"Dei!? You saved me again!"

"You are not here on a day trip!" He tells him off and throws him a kunai with an explosive tag that Obito catches.

"I'm sorry! Being here doesn't mean that I have to neglect my hygiene! How would I know there was a monster nearby!?"

Both throw their kunai at the same time. The double explosion manages to scare the fish away.

"I hope you can catch something in the next two minutes, if that thing hasn't scared away all our food, hm."

"Don't be so grumpy! At least we are fine!"

Deidara is distracted by another intruder. Something looks at them from behind a tree. It is a wolf pup the size of a large dog. It's a relief that they haven't found adult or they would have to fight again.

"Hey, look at that," he whispers.

The wolf pup runs away. His friend doesn't reply. Deidara spins around in his direction. The backpacks are there, but Obito is nowhere to be seen.


 

Obito has left Deidara to get the wrong impression of him for too long. But that ends there. If he doesn't do anything, his new friend will get fed up of him. He must fish something no matter what. With his sharingan, he can see all their movements, no matter how elusive and slippery they are.

"You'll see how I'm going to get us some food before you can even finish setting the campfire!" Obito looks back and sees no one. His heart skips a beat. "Deidara?"

He isn't there. Their backpacks have disappeared too.

"Deidara!" He shouts out loud.

If Deidara has had enough of him, he could have told him. And he didn't have to leave him there with nothing. Obito wants to cry. No one likes him and he is sure that Rin only puts up with him out of pity. Since he has no strength to assimilate he's alone again and quite possibly doomed, he sits on the edge of the river and watches the water run. He's not sure, but it's as if the sound of water rushing has died down. Also the rumor of the breeze through the leaves can't be heard anymore.

What if Deidara hasn't abandoned him? What if he's in danger?

He jumps up again and activates his sharingan. An unusual yellowish wave envelops his field of vision, slightly deforming things. Obito takes a couple of seconds of confusion to recognize the genjutsu. Deidara is there, now he can see him, but his friend seems unable to do the same.

"Where are you!?" he hears him say.

"Dei! I'm here!"

He doesn't react. Obito watches him crouch to pick up the backpacks. What he's learned about genjutsu is that there's several ways to break it and if one does not work, another will. No technique is infallible, much less for the sharingan. If the genjutsu has appeared where there was nothing before, it means that someone or something has cast it. He just has to find them.

"Why didn't I train my sharingan better as soon as I got it?" he complains.

Obito tries anyway. He looks in the air for those patches where the technique feels more concentrated and follows them. Soon, he realized that it's like following a trail. After continuing uphill for a while, Obito sees a wolf. It's big, despite having the facial features of a puppy. Obito doesn't want to think about its parents' size.

"Hey! Have you done this!?"

The puppy runs away as he keeps chasing it.

"Stop!" He shouts in vain.

Of course he won't obey, what a stupid idea. He quickens his pace, reaches it and leaps on it, clinging to its neck. The puppy gives a pitiful shriek and tries to break free but Obito grips it harder. He has never ridden an angry horse but he thinks it must be very similar to that.

"Break the genjutsu, come on. I have to find my friend."

After kicking and squirming a little, the wolf gives up. Obito sees the wavy curtain that covered his field of vision disappear.

"Bad boy!" He scolds him in a firm voice, but he soon softens, after hearing the faint, sharp whine. "Aww, I mean good boy. Good boy."

The puppy waves its tail while Obito scratches behind its ears.

"You'll help me find Deidara, right?" When he says that, the wolf turns and runs away. "Fine, leave! But this is your fault and you should take responsibility!"

Obito hasn't noticed that all the trees on that side of the mountain are dry. And that there's a human skull nearby. A chill makes his hair stand. He has to find his friend.

"Deidara!" He shouts and jogs back down.

He keeps calling him while he runs. He looks for him in the river and in the surroundings and then follows an uphill path towards the river source.

"Deidara!"

His concern turns into dread. Obito rushes uphill, never stopping despite being short of breath.

"Obito!"

"Dei!" He looks in all directions, trying to detect any movement with the sharingan.

"Help me!"

Deidara is in trouble and a hundred and one tragedies go through Obito's head.

"Where are you!?"

"I got lost! The genjutsu ended and I didn't see the ravine and...!"

Obito locates said ravine and approaches the edge. Deidara is there, on a ledge that protrudes from the almost vertical wall.

"I'll get you out of there!" Obito exclaims.

He lies on the floor face down and stretches his arm. He wonders if it will be enough.

"I've lost our backpacks, hm. I had to let them fall."

"Stop worrying about that!" Obito urges him and a piece of ledge falls down, unable to bear Deidara's weight any longer. "Give me your hand!"

Deidara stretches his arm and takes his hand. He grabs a small protrusion with the other and uses his foot to propel himself. Obito pulls up, using all his strenght, letting out a curse because he can't use chakra. The protrusion breaks broken, Obito's heart skips a beat when he sees Deidara hanging from his hand. But then something happens, the detached rock that has remained in Deidara's hand starts to shine. His friend seems more surprised by this fact than by being in mortal danger. Obito wasn't going to let him go anyway, but he feels like he should tell him off for that.

"It's my Heart Stone!"

"Dei, focus!" "Obito's arm is getting tired. "I don't want to see you splattered down there!"

Deidara keeps the stone in a pocket and grabs another slot on the rock. As soon as he's out of danger, they both hug.

"Don't scare me like that!" “Obito squeezed him tight in his arms. He felt a bit light-headed. Deidara took the stone from his pocket, which glowed with an intense golden light. "You've just given me a headache and you're not gonna say anything about it?"

"Thank you for saving me. I nearly die."

Obito pouts.

"I don't like you saying it so casually."

"But I trusted you, hm," His jaw loosened and Obito felt both weightless and euphoric. "You looked so serious up there, so worried," Deidara looked at him and he frowned. "What happened to your eyes?"

"What happened to them?"

"They had two of those... Black thingies. Now there are three."

He stands up, not caring about his dizziness, aware that there's a reason for it.

"Did I wake up the third tomoe!?"

Obito couldn't wait to boast in front of the people of his clan who didn't bet a single ryo on him awakening his sharingan at all. He detects the flight of a mosquito in the air and with a rapid movement catches it in his hand. Several seconds later, he releases him, laughing proud.

"Looks like something important has happened, hm."

"My sharingan has just gotten even better! There are some jonin in my clan who don't even have the second one yet. I wanna see their faces when they find out."

"So it was worth coming here, hm. We didn't find your heart stone yet but you're stronger now."

With a four-pointed throwing star, Deidara scratches the fragments of stone that don't shine. Obito turns off the sharingan and checks around. He still doesn't get used to the huge amount of information that his new eyes collect from his surroundings and that his brain must process.

"I also bought a Heart Stone guide. If I still had it we could have checked yours on it."

"It's pyrite," Deidara replies. "Pyrite crystal."

"Nerd."

He kneels by his side to see it better. Deidara sticks his tongue out.

"There's a lot of mining around Iwa, everyone knows that."

"It's beautiful," Obito passes his thumb across the surface of the chaotic cluster of cubes. Congratulations on having found it."

But it would have been nice to find both.

"Now your turn," Deidara says.

"Let's be realistic. We have no supplies and I doubt we'll last long without them. Think that I have also gotten something out of this, I won't return empty-handed. And I have made a new friend."

Deidara puts the stone back in his pocket, stands up and takes the dust off his clothes.

"And friends help each other. Now that I know how to get out of here it's not as if we were isolated from the outside. We won't leave without your stone, hm."

Obito feels that he's about to cry.

"Thank you," he appreciates his help but he still feels bad for him, as if it wasn't fair to drag him into his search now that his is over. "But if we can't find it before sunset, we leave."


 

Deidara said yes to avoid an argument with Obito and be able to use that time in something more useful, such as looking for his Heart Stone. But he doesn't plan to leave without it, no matter how much the other insists. The sun is about to set and the light is dimming. Since they have no more matches, they'll have to light the fire by rubbing two sticks. At least they are not far from the river and have found lots of bushes with berries.

"Agh! I give up!" Obito drops to his knees after reaching the top and checking a few stones without success. "I can't stand this anymore, this is impossible!"

"Half an hour ago, you said you felt it was close," Deidara reminds him.

"It was my imagination, I'm sure of it," he grabs the first stone he finds and points it with his finger. "You... You will be my Heart Stone from now on! There's nothing more to say!"

Deidara can't help laughing, watching Obito kiss the stone and hug it against his chest.

"You know that's not how it works, hm."

"Well, now it is. This will be my stone because I say so.” He stands up and puts it in his pocket in a determined gesture. "Let's get out of here."

When he goes one step further, he stumbles upon another and, with a little shriek of surprise, falls to the ground. Deidara observes how this stone lights up a moment when it comes into contact with Obito's foot.

"There! There it is!"

Obito turns around quickly, forgetting about complaining.

"Where!? I can't see anything!"

"It's one of those, hm! I just saw it light up!"

Obito touches them all until he finds the right one. He holds it in his hand, staring at it as he gapes like an idiot, unable to react.

"Tell me I'm not dreaming, Dei," Obito's stone is very different to Deidara's. It's blunt and oval, black and shiny. "But why does yours look so good and mine has to be black?"

"It's jet," Deidara tells him. After seeing Obito's confused glance, he decides to tell him a bit more. "Millions of years ago, that stone was a tree."

"And it's been here all that time waiting for me..."

"I think it suits you. You can take it to a craftsman to make a medallion out of it. Many people in Iwa do it."

"I'd rather keep it like this," Obito runs his fingers across the surface, as if trying to dust it off. Then he sighs. "And this adventure has come to an end. I had a good time."

"But you've been complaining all the time!" Deidara reminds him.

"Everything went well. I don't have any more complaints,” Obito puts the stone away. "You'll write me letters... right? I don't want our friendship to end here."

"Yes. We can do that, hm. We better go, now that we have the stones I would like to sleep in a decent place tonight."

Deidara doesn't like the idea of their friendship ending after he leaves, too. Their villages are not allies, but they are not enemies either. There is no reason why they shouldn't be friends. They descend from the top just when the first stars begin to appear.

"And I'll send you lots of presents. I will send you typical Konoha food!"

"Okay, but if it's too heavy, the courier will struggle to deliver it."

"Will you visit me?"

"Aren't you getting too excited about all those plans, hm?"

Obito passes his arm around his shoulder and laughs. Deidara does the same. He likes it when people get too excited about things. Perhaps in Konoha they'll appreciate his art better.

"They always tell me that I am too enthusiastic. Then, let's celebrate that Obito and the great and amazing Deidara found each other before thinking about the day we meet again."

"What about the heart stones? Aren't we going to celebrate that too?" Deidara asks.

"Oh. It's true. That too, I guess."

Deidara smiles, happy with the answer.