It might have been the summer time, with Pein having given everyone some time off, but Konan still decided to patrol Amegakure.

The sensation of flying was enough to calm her down, anyway, and it gave her a chance to think and relax, getting a view of the whole village. The weather was cool, but not raining or cloudy, allowing Konan to soar between the tops of the buildings, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying everything for how it was. Moments like these didn't occur to often, so she was going to enjoy it while she still could; there was nothing going on otherwise that she had to do, and she doubted anything would be happening in the village in the first place. Either way, she merely continued on, swooping past the buildings nearer the middle of the village, the tallest ones around. For a moment she found herself closing her eyes, feeling nothing but the wind on her face. It felt almost strange to know she could have this time to relax; and there would always be things to worry her. But shaking it off for the moment, she opened her eyes once more and continued on through the sky.

But as she did so, she noticed something she hadn't before. Something fluttered past her vision, disappearing for a second only to reappear again. Blinking in surprise, Konan twisted slightly to get a better view of it, only to find there was a bird made entirely of paper flying alongside her. To begin with Konan couldn't help but just watch it, smirking at how it flew and circled around her just like a real bird would have done, the skill with which it was made intriguing her and catching her off guard. Most of the time it was her that made the paper creations; so to see one that had come out of nowhere made her curious, and meant she continued to watch it as it went along with her, it taking a little while longer before she snapped out of the trance it had gotten her in to.

Finally realising what she was doing, she pushed aside the admiration for now. Narrowing her eyes, she moved closer to it, wanting to get a better look and figure out where it had come from, a little more wary of it now. She was supposed to be the only one that could control paper, so if someone else had created this, Konan immediately became suspicious. If anything, she began to move away from it; for all she knew it could be a paper bomb, or something that would end up injuring her somehow. But as she continued flying, her pace slowing as she tried to get a better look at it, her suspicion began to fade. The bird merely fluttered alongside her in the wind, doing nothing to get in her way or remain close to her. Though that fact in itself seemed stranger than the idea of it being an attack on her; why would someone be doing this?

Or better yet—who was doing it?

Obviously having an advantage from her viewpoint, Konan began to circle round the buildings, scanning each of them and everywhere else in order to find the owner of this paper bird as it continued to follow her while she flew. Though every building she came to was empty; nothing to show any signs of someone around. One moment she even glanced down at the floor, wondering if someone was doing it from there; but she shook it off, forcing herself to think rationally. They wouldn't be able to do it from down there; they had to be higher up in order to see her closer and be able to make it follow her—and hardening her resolve, Konan narrowed her eyes and picked up her pace, wanting—no, needing—to find this person. They had caught her interest at the same time as frustrating her slightly, and there was nothing else that mattered to her right now. A few minutes passed and she still remained searching, glancing up at one of the taller buildings as she passed it and then going on.

Only to hesitate as she realised there was something up there that shouldn't be.

Curving back round, she checked once more and finally noticed you sitting on the edge of the roof, leaning back against the building and just...relaxing, looking over the village and enjoying the view. With jaw-length blonde hair and ice blue eyes to the point where both were almost white, you passed your gaze over her and your eyes met for a moment, Konan slowing even more as she was caught in the intensity of your gaze. She hadn't seen many people who could show that much intensity in their eyes—well, besides Pein. Something about you made her pause; made her want to know more and get closer—a thought that wasn't helped as you moved slightly; several more paper creations flying towards her. They were a selection; two butterflies, and another bird, and watching as they flittered around her, Konan couldn't help but smirk slightly, looking back at you to find you were doing just the same thing. Once again she was caught by your features, and giving in to her curiosity, she flew over, landing gently next to you.

To begin with, you remained silent, gazing up at her and admiring her beauty. You didn't exactly know her; but you knew enough—you knew she never passed a thought to what she looked like. To how beautiful she actually was—she had other things on her mind; one of many things that made you intrigued about her. Konan had never felt it before, but a sudden flash of emotion built up within her with the way you were looking at her so intently; not a bad feeling, just...unusual. Not certain as to how to react to it, she shook it off to question quickly,

"What are you doing up here?"

"I just like to get some air sometimes. There's a good view up here, and it's calm, peaceful and quiet. I—I didn't distract you, did I? I just thought I'd..." You replied, trying to finish your sentence only to find you didn't have the words to do so.

You'd just noticed her in the village; had always seen her around and wanted to know more. When she had flown round the village you had watched her do so, wanting to do something to bridge the gap between the both of you, but not quite knowing how. It was only today, a strange sense of tranquillity having come over you; having been considering it for a while now, that you finally decided to do something about it. A decision that ultimately came in the form of your paper creations. Before you'd seen Konan control paper, you hadn't known how, but through your abilities you had learnt you could do the same. By sending those to her, it had been a silent way of saying you admired her abilities—but expressing this in words was not something you were sure you were going to do, instead staying quiet as Konan finally replied,

"No; it was fine—you can control paper too?"

"Not exactly. I can control things with my chakra; meld materials into different shapes, make them move and use them for my own needs. Seeing as paper is light and can be folded...it's easier for me to control. Though it's never going to be as good as yours, Konan-chan; yours is a lot more powerful—well, that's obvious considering you're in the Akatsuki."

Once again that strange feeling rose within Konan the moment the words came out of your mouth, and it was only as she felt a strange heat rising in her neck that she realised what it was: complimented—embarrassed, even. Flattery wasn't something Konan came across often, but she was beginning to get the feeling it was more to do with who was saying it that what was actually being said. But no matter what she did she couldn't control it. Instantly a shiver of emotion sprang into life within her, and it wouldn't go away. Then realising she was simply staring at you, entranced at what you were saying, she responded, slightly quieter this time,

"I'm not as powerful as some—"

But instantly you cut her off, shaking your head as you responded firmly,

"No; you are. Just because you're a woman doesn't mean you can't keep up or you're not as strong—you're definitely their equal. You work with Pein, don't you? Well—Leader."

"How do you know?" Konan swiftly questioned in return, and glancing away for a moment, you contemplated how to reply, but eventually shook it off and looked back up into her eyes.

You had said before you wanted to bridge the gap between you both; but there was no way you were going to do that if you weren't willing to speak, and as such you explained your story. You'd actually lived in Amegakure all your life, and therefore knew of the Akatsuki—knew of what Pein had done to free Amegakure from Hanzo—but as the war had been going on when you were younger, you had travelled in and out in order to try and earn money and just to generally survive. It meant you hadn't spent as much time here as others as a child; but now that there was nothing stopping you, you had returned to your home village, wanting to reconnect with it.

Instantly Konan found herself automatically relaxing with your words; after having experienced firsthand the effects of the war, she could easily sympathise with you and why you had done what you had in life. You'd been through similar things to what she had; there was no way you could have had parents if you had been simply travelling in and out of Amegakure on your own—just like she had, you had lost everything during that war, and had been left to fend for yourself. But still this sympathy continued further. At least she had had Yahiko and Nagato with her to help her get through it all—to rely on and know they had her back. But you had had no one, and had been forced to become independent and utterly self-reliant. Though as Konan looked at you now, she could see it hadn't made you arrogant or vicious in anyway. You had simply accepted it as a fact of life, knowing the war was getting to so many people, not just you. It would be ridiculous for you to act spitefully towards those around you because they had had things differently; so you just went on as normally as you could.

Abruptly noticing she hadn't responded to your words yet, absentmindedly smiling at how you had developed as a person even with how much you had been through, Konan quickly shook it off, focusing back in on you as you remained gazing calmly back at her. Not about to rush her answer when you knew the past must be hard for her to think about, you said nothing as she eventually nodded slowly, replying softly,

"After the war, everyone had to reconnect, really. But...what's your name?"

"Kurai. Kurai Tasu," you responded simply with a small smile.

But Konan—although she hesitated for a moment at the idea of doing it—decided to continue. Now you had gotten introduced, it meant you had formed a connection; but it wasn't enough the way it was, and she needed to know more about you. That curiosity that had erupted when she had first met you hadn't faded away, and now she had the chance to slate it...she wasn't about to let it pass her by. She simply asked you questions; what you were doing now and where you had worked when you hadn't been in Amegakure. The past—the war—was a subject she tried to steer past, however, as not only did she know it was painful for you to talk about, but it was painful for her, too.

A trait that you couldn't help but smile at. Although she worked with Pein—an incredibly aloof and stoic man—and was very stoic and emotionless herself, she still maintained that fierce protectiveness over her friends and those close to her. She still maintained the connection to her past, and never forgot the things that had made her who she was today. The idea of how her past affected her even now was one you connected with; a sadness that would never fully go away, but knowing you could work towards a better future and overcome the hardships that had occurred when you were younger.

As you spoke, Konan finally sat down next to you, her wings folding away, and you began to talk. Slowly, over the course of the day, you began to get to know each other. It was a meeting that had seemingly come out of nowhere, but for the both of you, it was one you didn't regret had happened. You understood each other, and with your similar personalities and beliefs, you knew there was nothing that Konan wouldn't understand. Having contemplated making those paper creations to send to her all this time, you couldn't help but be glad you had finally decided to do it, having never expected you would have caused this. Suddenly you knew a friendship had been formed, and although it was unexpected, it was one you both knew was mutual and one that would continue to last.

After having seen Konan fly past so many times, you had learnt her patterns; what she was doing and where she would look. But it was ultimately this fact that made you hesitate as the sun finally began to lower in the horizon; as night began to reveal itself. It had been a meeting that you had instigated, pulling Konan out of her normal routine in order to do so. But it couldn't always be that way; and glancing down, hiding a sigh at the idea of what had gone on and what would now have to happen, you looked back up with a smirk to state apologetically,

"I'm sorry, Konan. I'm probably distracting you from your job—what you need to do, aren't I? I apologise."

"No, Kurai. Not at all; there's not much going on in the village at the moment—I just came out to get some air, that's all. But...I suppose I should be getting back. I'll have to speak to Pein," she replied quickly, trying to make sure you understood there was nothing for you to apologise about.

Standing up, Konan once again unfolded her wings, with you looking on with a smirk of admiration in the meantime. Turning back once more, she gave you a small smile, saying a soft goodbye—that she'd see you around. As your gazes both met for one last time, you both saw something in each other's eyes that you weren't quite sure of; but knowing that now wasn't the time to try and figure it out, Konan nodded in your direction, before turning and disappearing off into the sunset. For a moment you hesitated on the rooftop, watching long after she had gone, thinking about what had happened today; but eventually you stood yourself and turned, heading down from the roof and to your own home, still thinking about Konan in the meantime, something that was reflected in Konan. Why were you both so entranced by what had happened; by what you had seen in each other? Neither of you could come up with an answer. All you knew was that you didn't mind—if anything, you wanted it to continue.

Your thoughts remained on each other as the night went on.

Then the next day dawned, and as Konan went about her day, she constantly had flashbacks about meeting you the day before, until eventually she couldn't take it anymore. Telling Pein she was going to patrol Amegakure, she simply explained that although there was nothing going on, she might as well check; it gave her something to do. With that, however, she left, taking to the skies—with an altogether more different route this time around. She didn't bother heading to the outskirts and going round the buildings in a methodical manner and checking the village. Instead she knew exactly where she was heading, and went straight there, keeping a close eye out for you. Of course, she didn't get her hopes up; neither of you had stated that you were going to be meeting back there, or even meeting up at all. There was no harm in checking, however, and she would just fly past; just once, to see if you were there.

But even Konan couldn't stop the uplifting feeling that hit her as she spotted you sitting there.

The day followed in much the same way it had done before; with you both simply sitting and chatting to each other with the time you both had free, and it only continued as the days went by. Every time Konan went out flying, she kept an eye out for you, looking out to make sure you were there, and automatically worrying if she didn't spot you right away without even noticing she was doing it. But you went through the same thing. You would arrive early, waiting for her, and get agitated if she wasn't there on time, continually causing you to scan the horizon for any sign of her wings—and always being so relieved when she did turn up. As the days went by you got closer and closer, always stopping to talk and spending a large amount of your time together.

But it was no surprise, really. You connected with her—and Konan connected with you—on so many different levels. You shared some of things you had been through in life; showing how the war had changed you as a person and how you now tried to help whatever people you saw that were in need. Trusting ninja villages, however, was a different matter; though you weren't angry as such towards them, there was always an uncertainty there that stopped you from ever sympathising with them and being friendly towards any ninjas you saw from them after all that had gone on in your childhood—something Konan could definitely sympathise with. Although your pasts weren't something that were particularly happy for both of you, you still found yourselves talking about it often; it almost became a way to heal the misery you had felt back then—but the world was still not at peace; there were always problems.

"But they don't understand; they're the ones fighting and the others just hear of what's happening; they don't truly know what's going on. Sometimes I think it would be better if war affected the whole world—then everyone would know what it was like to see the destruction of the environment; the people. They'd see how it overwhelms everything in its path and they'd do whatever it took to stop it from happening. Through it...they'd finally unite in a way that had never been possible before."

For a moment, however, Konan was silent in her response. She completely agreed with your opinion, true; it was exactly the way she felt. Better yet, it was almost like the Akatsuki's plan for the world itself. Understanding how her past had been was one thing...but you understood so much more than that; everything about who she was and why she was doing it now. All she could do was stare at you in amazement to begin with, caught up in the intensity of the connection between you both, before the situation with the Akatsuki and their plan just came tumbling out of her mouth. She didn't worry that you might say something or go against it; you knew where their view was coming from—you had experienced the same thing and could comprehend the true meaning behind the entire thing, instead of the surface image that everyone saw.

You watched her as she spoke, torn between two emotions. A part of you was happy; she was telling you something that not a lot of people knew and that was close to her heart. It was her goal in life—along with Pein's—and it meant a lot to her, and the fact that she was letting you in on it made you feel special, a feeling spreading in your stomach as your eyes ran over her face once more. But at the same time...you were hesitant. You weren't in the Akatsuki; Pein probably had no idea you existed, and if he had any idea of what Konan was doing, you would most likely get into a lot of trouble—and Konan, too. As such, you shook your head as she finished speaking, responding softly,

"Konan, you shouldn't be telling me this; I'm not part of the Akatsuki, after all. What would Pein—"

But instantly she cut you off, a determined and firm look appearing in her eyes as she faced you head on and replied firmly,

"No. I always protect my teammates and those I care about, and I'm not going to let you get into trouble because of this; even ifPein is my childhood friend."

Abruptly with those words your past came back to you, flashbacks of so many things that happened flicking through your mind. Falling silent, you turned slightly, your eyes going glassy as you thought through everything you had been through; hearing what Konan had just said. Frowning at your reaction, Konan stayed quiet to begin with to see what you would say, only to blink in surprise as you responded quietly,

"It's good to see you're so close to him even now; you protected each other over the years and stuck together to survive the war. I didn't share that."

You said nothing more than that, but you didn't need to. Konan already knew what you were talking about. She knew that you had lost friends and family during the war in the same way she had. But the difference between you was that she had found Yahiko and Nagato and banded together to form a group, while you had been left to fend for yourself. You had had to become more independent than any of they had in order to just stay alive. Sympathy swelled in her chest; and other feelings too. The ones that had been building all this time—and that she had just never noticed. Gazing out across at the skyline of Amegakure, she could no longer deny them now that they were this strong, and as such breathed,

"I'm sorry, Kurai. That never should have happened to you. But...we're changing this world; and I want you to be involved with it. I want you to have the peace that we're striving for—when it comes down to it, you deserve it as much as we do."

Turning to you now, she gently cupped your face and turned your face to hers, causing you to finally look up into her eyes in anticipation as she added with a small smirk,

"We have to stick together, after all, right?"

With that, smirk broke out onto your face, and you leant forward, pressing your lips against hers. Immediately her hand slid round the back of your neck as yours went around her waist and pulled her closer. Tracing her bottom lip with your tongue, she hesitated, nibbling on your lip and causing a small moan to sound out, before she eventually opened up, allowing you inside to explore thoroughly within. Moaning in return, your grip on her waist became tighter, gently; sensually caressing her sides as you did so. Her other hand now began to move, lifting up your shirt and drawing her fingers across your chest, making you shiver at her touch. You then reached up and began to undo her Akatsuki cloak, raising an eyebrow as you finally got to see what was underneath. She merely looked as calm as she always did at your expression, however, leaning back in for another kiss and fully climbing onto your lap.

Explaining to Pein would come later.

Konan, after all, had more important things to do at the moment.