Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of its characters (really, do you think any of the Akatsuki would be dead if I did?).

Warning: This particular chapter doesn't have any spoilers for the manga, but later chapters may.

1. Love

"It is not good for man to be alone." According to some legends, the deity who created the world spoke these words when he brought the first woman into being.

Pain watched Konan as she stood at the window, staring out at the never-ending rain. The pale light that filtered through the clouds made her look sickly, but he knew that nothing could be further from the truth. Konan had endured a great deal, had never been afraid to fight beside him, and had honed her humble paper weapons into tools of fearsome destruction. She was not only strong, but also gave him strength by her unwavering loyalty. No matter how bad things got, Pain could always be sure of her reassuring presence at his side.

He closed the distance between them, standing behind her and brushing his fingers over the flower in her hair. "Konan," he said, "I've made a decision." His voice was hushed. There was no particular reason for him to whisper, but the room they were in was silent, and he felt that it would be a shame to break the quiet.

"About what?" Konan didn't turn to him; instead, she locked eyes with his reflection in the window.

"Now that I have undergone this change, I no longer feel that it's prudent to speak to our people directly. I don't want to risk anyone hostile learning my secret. Therefore, I need an intermediary. Someone to pass my decrees on to the shinobi under our command and convey their reports to me." He paused. What he was about to say next sounded melodramatic, but it was the best way to explain what he had in mind. "I need an angel."

She nodded slowly. He knew that she was considering the idea, and concluding that it was a wise one. "Who were you thinking of for this job?"

"You, of course," he said in a tone that suggested this was completely obvious.

She looked away, no longer gazing out into the rain. "Me, an angel?" He could see the expression on her face reflected in the window, but couldn't read it.

"Is there something wrong with that?"

"Angels are...supposed to protect people. They swoop down from the heavens to save those who are worthy from terrible fates." She closed her eyes. "Someone who couldn't even save one of her best friends doesn't deserve to be called that."

"Don't say that!" Pain had forgotten his earlier resolve not to disturb the quiet atmosphere, and his voice echoed through the room. "It wasn't your fault, Konan. If anything, I am the one who should accept the blame."

There were tears welling up in her eyes, and as he watched, a single tear slipped down her cheek. He could see that his words hadn't convinced her, and he knew that in addition to blaming herself, she believed that he blamed her. He'd told her over and over again that he didn't, but she never seemed to accept it.

I hate this. I hate seeing her like this. Pain remembered how she had always tried to comfort him when he cried, back when he was just Nagato. But what can I do? If she won't believe my words, what can I do to show her how important she is?

Pain reached out and caressed Konan's face, gently wiping away her tears. There was a draft blowing in around the edges of the window, and Konan's skin was cool to the touch. Slowly, Pain leaned in and placed a soft, tender kiss on her lips.

Her eyes widened. "W...Why?" Why do you call me an angel, when I'm just as flawed as anyone? Why are you showing me this kind of affection? Why, when it was my weakness that led to my capture, and to Yahiko's death?

"Because," Pain said simply, "it is not good for a god to be alone."

A/N: I've been reading through a lot of PainKonan drabbles lately, and I've always liked the "twenty themes" or "fifty themes" format. So, I've decided to do a set of PainKonan drabbles based on either twenty or fifty themes. (I have fifty, but I don't know if I'll get good ideas for all of them.)

As always, reviews are welcome!