Characters: Akatsuki, plus Orochimaru, minus Deidara. Kindasorta Kakuzu/Hidan, except for . . . not . . . really.
Warnings: Hidan's mouth. Various character deaths and injuries. Also, miscellaneous innuendo. Misuse of fanon tropes. Some screwing up of the canon timeline/events. Stripping, albeit unfortunately not on-screen. And the fourth wall gets thoroughly and completely broken.
Summary: Pain and Konan decide it wouldn't be such a bad thing if Akatsuki were to double as a dating service, which leads to Kakuzu being forced to take his new partner (or, rather, Partner), Hidan, out for a nice romantic dinner. Or something.
A/N: With clickable footnotes! (It seems that backspacing will bring you back to where you were.) . . . Also, I miss Akatsuki. ;;
“. . .Interesting intelligence concerning Danzou’s intentions within Konoha, don’t you think?” asked Konan, flourishing the latest letter from one of Akatsuki’s secret sources.
Pain nodded, then asked, “And what are the rest of these letters?”
“Hm. . .” Konan riffled through them quickly. “Phone bill. . . heating bill (don’t they know not to put our names and address on these things? What if someone intercepted it?). . . junk mail with one of those ‘Missing Children, Have You Seen Me?’ things on the back — oh look, that one’s Sasori-san; nice to know his grandmother’s still looking for him. . . Insane Shounen Villains Who Want to Be God Quarterly. I thought we had cancelled our subscription to that.”
Pain made a horrified noise, almost just like the noise he had made that one time when he noticed a spider in the bathtub while Konan was giving him his sponge bath.1
“Cancelled it? No! Why would I do that?”2
“And,” Konan continued, ignoring him, “Here’s a dispatch from Zetsu. Oh, dear. Kakuzu’s killed his partner. Again. And cut his heart out and kept it. Again. And turned the rest of his body in for the reward money. Again.”
Pain had a distinct feeling that this wasn’t going anywhere good. “. . .Er, this behavior of his is almost certainly engendering severe pain for the families of the deceased, thus bringing the world one step closer to appreciating the true pain and horror of the shinobi system?” he tried, looking at his common-law wife/vice-president/secretary/angel/home health aide/origami manufacturer hopefully.
Was she going to buy it?
Nope. She wasn’t buying it.
“Oh, for Your sake, Pain,” Konan fumed. “Can’t you see how he’s undermining Akatsuki as a whole? He’s ruining morale, and we’re starting to run out of recruits. This was the fifth one this year. This whole situation is getting ridiculous.”
“Kakuzu really is emblematic of the materialism which causes so much suffering in our world.”
“He’s a creepy old geezer who would do anything for some cash.”
“Let’s see. . . two-man teams are a basic part of Akatsuki; I don’t want to have to modify that now. So we’ll just have to find someone willing to work with him. Or rather, someone he’d be willing to not kill? But how?”
“Find someone with no heart and no bounty on their head?”
Konan gave him a scornful look. Damn. She was getting far too good at that.
“Pain, everyone in Akatsuki has a bounty on their head. Stop being ridiculous. No, no, we need to choose his next partner very carefully, that’s all. We need to match him with someone whose personality is. . . compatible with his.”
She paused for a second and considered what she had just said. Yes, that was it! “We need to understand him, and then find him a partner he can have a fruitful and lasting relationship with. We won’t just set him up with random people anymore, no! We’ll find the one who’s meant for him! Then he’ll stop murdering his partners and settle down into a stable two-person partnership, I’m sure of it.”
And it was at that moment that Akatsuki, already one of the most sinister terrorist groups to menace the ninja world took on a new dimension of horror and became one of the most evil organizations known to man: a dating service.
Really, everything just went downhill from there.
Pain and Konan spent the next week researching Kakuzu’s personality exhaustively, and using a number of extremely advanced systems to extrapolate from this data the personality of his perfect partner.
. . .Okay, actually they just opened a phone book at random places,3 calling people in the middle of the night and asking them if they were interested in participating in a dating service for missing-nin, preferably batfuck crazy ones who were capable of defending themselves and/or didn’t mind dying horribly.
After they had finished with this advanced procedure, they found Madara,4 got him completely plastered, and asked him to pick which of the candidates they had come up with he thought was the best fit for Akatsuki.
That was how Kakuzu was matched with the wonderful man he was to spend the rest of his life with.
“Wonderful!” said Pain in delight as he read over the dossier they had accumulated concerning the young man in question. “He seems to be a very religious person. I hope he can do something to awaken poor Kakuzu’s spiritual side.”
Now all they had to do was arrange a date for the happy couple, and they were home free.
“And this, Kakuzu, is your new partner,” exclaimed Pain, feeling rather pleased with himself. It felt quite good to know that he was doing something to improve the wretched, godless lives of the poor fools who worked for him. Or maybe it was simply the fact that he was wearing one of his girl bodies today. Girl bodies were so nice and soft and squishable.
Kakuzu looked over at the young man sitting in the chair next to his. He had slicked-back silvery hair, violet eyes, and a rather deranged smile.
“All right. Fine. Hello, uh. . . Hidan-san? I’ll be seeing you later, I suppose. Actually, right now I have some business to attend to,” he said as he got up and stretched a bit. “Oh, before I go — you don’t happen to have a functioning cardiovascular system, do you?”
“Kakuzu!” cried Pain in dismay. “What rudeness! Is this any way to treat your Partner?”
Something about the way he had said it made Kakuzu feel quite sure that there was a capital P in Partner.
“Hey, yeah. What the fuck is wrong with you, you asshole? That blue-haired chick promised me you’d buy me dinner. Where’s my motherfucking dinner? Can’t you see I’m hungry, here? Jashin will punish you!”
“Yes, dinner would be excellent. Perhaps as the two of you eat and, uh, bond with each other, you could seize the opportunity to discuss the pain inherent in every aspect of our world.”
Kakuzu was beginning to suspect that there was really no way out of this.
Somehow, the time they spent walking5 to the restaurant had turned into a session of Getting to Know You.
“. . . So of course Jashin-sama is like the most fucking important thing in my life. I made a personal commitment to Him, and to be a badass in His name and slaughter lots of heathens. . .”
Kakuzu shook his head in disgust. This had been going on for hours now. He couldn’t wait to get Hidan alone in a nice, quiet spot somewhere, set the mood, and then hack his chest open with a rusty hatchet.
“So tell me,” he said, desperately trying to change the topic. No way was he listening to another five hours of Hidan’s religious experiences. “Do you have a functioning cardiovascular system?”
Hidan gave him an irritated look. “Uh, some of the time, yeah. What the flying fuck, though. Haven’t you been paying attention to anything I’ve been saying?”
“Not really. Mostly because I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. As far as I can tell, you’re just a time-wasting idiot.”
Hidan made a horrible, inhuman scream. It wasn’t like Pain’s spider-in-the-shower sound, but was louder, screechier, and more akin to the sound made by the average thirteen-year-old fanboy when he discovers that while many people share his love of his favorite manly characters,6 they often express it in a slightly different way.
“You’ve never heard of Jashin-sama?! The fuck? I was told this dating service was for people with a strong faith — what’re you doing here?”
I was told this dating service was for people with a strong faith — Oh, that was so like Leader-sama. Trying to set him up with some fundie nutjob. Trust a guy who obsesses over being God to put way too high a value on religion.
“Okay, okay. I’m going to tell you about Jashin-sama right now, motherfucker, and give you a chance to convert, and if you don’t. . .” he went on to mutter something that sounded to Kakuzu worryingly like, “. . .Not responsible for what the fuck happens to you.”
Hidan pulled a slightly crumpled, glossy pamphlet out of one pocket and handed it to Kakuzu. It bore a picture on front of several smiling people in various stages of disembowelment. Well, at least that didn’t look too bad. It was entitled, ‘The Joys of Jashin: How to Find Spiritual Fulfilment with Our Congregation.’ Kakuzu wondered briefly whether the disemboweled people were meant to represent the congregation. Probably not, he decided. But then again. You never could tell.
Looking over, he noticed that Hidan was now holding a small, battered-looking book, which he was staring at intently. That couldn’t be good.
“And then Jashin said to His disciple,” Hidan read aloud, “‘Thou art a fucking fucker who fucks fuckers. Why dost thou not go die in a fire?’ And the disciple, hearing these words, began to tremble and immediately found himself a fire to go die in. That fucker.”
It was another four hours before they made it to the restaurant. During that time, Hidan and Kakuzu had both killed the other once, and Kakuzu had slowed down the entire process greatly by insisting they stop every time they saw a bank. It was important to investigate each bank’s savings rates, after all.
“Here we are,” Kakuzu announced gruffly as the restaurant finally came into view. “Since our Leader has requested it, I suppose I could deign to buy you a meal.”
He then proceeded to narrowly dodge Hidan’s scythe. He wasn’t getting caught by that one again.
“You fucking bitch! You’re not taking me to McDonald’s! What happening to this being a romantic dinner, you bastard?”
“McDonald’s is very romantic,” muttered Kakuzu, feeling somewhat hurt in spite of himself. “And it’s fast. If we eat quickly, we’ll have more time to make money.”
“I’m being very magnanimous. I’m offering to buy you dinner, aren’t I? Just make sure it’s off the dollar menu. And only one thing. Oh, and if you can, see if you can sneak some coins out of the donation box thing while the cashier isn’t looking.”
He spent the next hour and half running wildly through the parking lot, trying as best he could to dodge Hidan’s attacks and occasionally trying to identify the actual meaning of the long string of profanities he hurled at him. (Meanwhile, inside the restaurant a number of children were pressed up against the windows, staring at the spectacle. “I hope the crazy one wins,” said one. “No, definitely the ugly one,” said another.)
Since Hidan had vetoed McDonald’s fairly decisively, and his own favorite restaurant had been permanently shut down following a health inspection,7 it was time to think of somewhere else to eat. After some deliberation, the pair agreed on the one thing they would agree on that evening: it couldn’t hurt to seek out the advice of other Akatsuki members.
Itachi gave the two partners (or, rather, Partners) an unreadable look. Damn! Why did he always have to be so creepy to be around? Even Kakuzu felt a twinge of unease whenever he saw the guy.
“. . .Er, where’s Kisame gotten to?”
“He’s gone swimming with the fishes,” replied Itachi coldly. A mysterious icy breeze came racing out of the forest and ruffled his midnight black hair. An owl called eerily from a nearby tree.
There were a few moments of awkward silence. Kakuzu wondered irritably why it was apparently okay for Itachi to kill his partner. What made him so special?
“I didn’t kill him,” Itachi clarified.
Damn, thought Kakuzu. He could have used that as leverage in his conversation with their Leader about how he did not need to be working with this psychopath — a conversation he planned to have very, very soon.
“He enjoys spending time with the aquatic wildlife. He says the fishes are his friends. Although I think that in actuality he simply eats them.”
“We could eat fishes,” suggested Hidan. “As long as they’re not cheap fishes like this asshole probably wants. Hey, you know, Jashin-sama fucking hates cheap fishes.”
Itachi started to ask, Who? but was silenced by a ‘Trust me, you don’t want to ask’ look from Kakuzu.
“My annoying Partner and I,” Kakuzu grumbled, “Were looking for somewhere we could eat dinner. We were wondering if you knew of any —”
“Hey, what the fuck’s with those shoes?” interjected Hidan, staring at Itachi suspiciously.
“Hidan, don’t interrupt — Whoa. Uh, Itachi-san, what is with those shoes?”
“Oh. Those. I was just heading to my other job.”
Seeing the two utterly blank looks, Itachi sighed and continued. Why did everyone have to be such ignorant fools? “Obviously I’m secretly a stripper. Don’t you read any fanfiction whatsoever?”
“Attempting to derive monetary profit from fanfiction is a bad idea. So no.”
“Well. If you knew anything at all, you would find that it is very obvious that I’m a stripper. After all, I am an impoverished teenage runaway, needing to find some form of employment to pay the bills8. And it’s not as if I already possessed any skill set — for instance, any of the great number of skills the average shinobi possesses — which would allow me to perform services people would pay me highly for.”
“Hey, Kakuzu, I’d go to a strip club. Any chance we could get any food there?”
Itachi considered his answer very carefully before replying. In truth, food and drinks would both be available. However, in his long career as a spy, Itachi had developed the incredible talent known as lying to people. All in all, Kakuzu’s partner looked extremely obnoxious to be around. And besides, Kakuzu was bound to be an absolutely terrible tipper.
“Unfortunately,” he said gravely, “It would simply impossible for you to obtain food of any sort. I recommend that you look elsewhere in your search for nourishment. Good evening.”
“What sort of stupidity are you wasting my time with now?” demanded Sasori.
Ah, thought Kakuzu. A man after my own heart.9 Why couldn’t I have been paired with him instead?
“It’s not as if I eat anything anyway. You can ask Orochimaru though, if you like. He’s just in the other room there. Although he’s gotten sort of . . . weird.”
Kakuzu couldn’t help but feel some apprehension about this. When a talking puppet thinks someone is weird, it’s safe to say that there’s something very distressing going on.
However, even Kakuzu, with his many years of experience and cynicism, could never have anticipated the abhorrent discovery he and Hidan would make upon walking into Orochimaru’s room.
“What the fuck is he doing? Doesn’t look like something Jashin-sama would approve of.”
“Is he doing pilates?”
Sasori sighed. “He’s always doing pilates these days. He wants to live forever, you know. But instead of going about it in a normal, healthy way10, he keeps doing all these stupid exercises and eating health food. I think he’s having a mid-life crisis.”
Orochimaru paused in the middle of his exercises and fixed the three interlopers with a baleful glare.
“Did you actually want anything? Or did you just come to laugh at a person who actually cares about his health?”
“He keeps taking all sorts of weird vitamins, too, and putting up thinspiration pictures on the fridge,” complained Sasori.
“Uh. Okay.” Kakuzu was beginning to feel a bit out of his depth. He didn’t even feel like asking either Sasori or Orochimaru for their hearts. Actually, he wasn’t even sure whether Sasori had one. Maybe kinda sorta? “Orochimaru, we were just wondering if —”
“I am so fucking hungry I can’t even stand this shit! I’m going to die! For real this time!”
Orochimaru brightened considerably at that. “Ooh, don’t worry; I’m sure I could whip something up for you.”
“It doesn’t have snakes in it, does it?” asked Kakuzu suspiciously.
“Hardly. I quit eating snakes months ago. Now I’m on a —”
“— Macrobiotic diet,” finished Sasori. “It would be hard for me to forget that, given that you mention it every two seconds.”
Kakuzu and Hidan considered this. For about a grand total of two seconds.
“Jashin-sama fucking hates diet food. Anyway, I ate earlier, actually.”
And that was when Kakuzu killed Hidan for the second time that evening. It felt quite refreshing, actually, after all that walking.
Meanwhile, while Kakuzu was busy eviscerating Hidan, Sasori and Orochimaru were having a deeply meaningful conversation of their own, a conversation that would mark a great turning point in their relationship.
“No, I’m not eating your weird food either. And watching you exercise frankly disgusts me.” Sasori had a point; it really was disgusting. People just shouldn’t bend like that. Orochimaru was almost certainly flexible enough without exercising.
“Nothing I do is ever good enough for any of you, is it?” cried Orochimaru, his pale face contorted in agony. “Fine, I’m leaving, then!”
And leave he did, running out the door and wailing loudly as he ran.
Little did Sasori know at the time that this was the last time he would ever see the creepy snake ninja in question.
It was later.
After their evening of disappointment, Kakuzu and Hidan had finally succeeded in locating a hotel.
“Can we get two single rooms? Thank you.”
The girl behind the counter named a price absentmindedly, and although it was much too high, Kakuzu got out his wallet and counted out his half of the money.
“Right. Great,” said the girl, who then looked at the money in a somewhat suspicious manner. “And the rest?”
“That’s his problem,” said Kakuzu, gesturing at Hidan. “Why don’t you give her her damn money so we can get some sleep?”
“Hey, go fuck yourself! Don’t you know Jashin punishes assholes who swear all the fucking time? Anyway, I can’t pay shit. I donated all my money to the noble cause of Jashin. Part of my motherfucking conversion.”
“Look, either pay for his room as well, or stay in one room. My shift’s almost over here, you guys.”
Honestly, Kakuzu had never faced such a dilemma in his life.
He didn’t want to share a room with Hidan.
He did not want to share a room with Hidan.
“Can we just make that a double, then?”
“Ohhhhh,” moaned Hidan. “Ohhhhh Jashinnnn. That’s sooo fuckinnnng goooood.”
It wasn’t his fault that he was something of a masochist.11 “Right like that. Like that.”
Kakuzu put his hands over his ears in a futile attempt to drown out the sound. How was he going to balance his checkbook now?
“Can you be quiet?”
“Oh — What? No. I can’t! You’re not appreciating my religion, bitchface. Why’re you so fucking intolerant?”
Kakuzu wasn’t sure what annoyed him more: that Hidan’s rituals were so loud and got blood all over the furnishings (didn’t he know how expensive it could be to get blood out of fabric?), or that he seemed to enjoy them so much. He was leaning towards the latter. It just wasn’t natural to enjoy religion in that sort of way.12
“You wouldn’t have to do this if you hadn’t insisted on killing the maid,” he pointed out.
“I fucking wanted to! You need to stop being such a dick and show some fucking respect for the people around you, you know that?”
“Now that you’ve killed her,” Kakuzu continued sadly, “She won’t bring us any more miniature soap bars or little bottles of shampoo. If we’d gotten enough of those, we could’ve sold them, you know.”
Kakuzu held the lone tiny soap bar he had managed to get lovingly in his hand. It was so cruel that the poor thing would now be alone forever. So cruel.
It was going to be a long night.
“It worked like a dream,” Konan mused happily. “I’ve heard they went and got acquainted with the other members of our fine organization, and they even spent the night in a hotel together. It sounds like they have the makings of a fine lifelong relationship. True love is such an amazing thing.”
“Any other news?” Pain asked, trying to sound calm although in truth he was feeling exceptionally pleased with their efforts as well.
“Well, uh, yes. Unfortunately. I’ve gotten another very strange message from Zetsu.” Konan’s brows knit together as she tried to decipher the bizarre note she held in her hands. “Apparently Orochimaru has decided to leave Akatsuki. But the circumstances seem very unclear. For once, Zetsu obviously wasn’t there himself; I think he must have tried to do the best he could from eyewitness accounts.”
Pain raised his eyebrows. “What happened?”
“As far as I can tell, Orochimaru and Sasori got into an altercation of some sort. Orochimaru went off in a huff after that. A little while later, it seems that he was spotted in a bar, where he got incredibly drunk and complained about . . . something to do with health food and pilates, apparently.”
“Pilates cause pain,” Pain observed wisely.
“That’s just because you really can’t do exercise of any kind at your weight. You know that. Now aren’t you glad I was there to pick you up off the floor that one time?”
Pain nodded, wincing at the memory.
“Anyway, I’m not sure what happened in the intervening time, but a few hours after that he showed up at some strip club, still drunk off his ass, it seems, and started harassing the strippers. Apparently he kept saying, ‘I want your body’ over and over again. Then Itachi-kun cut his arm off and he fled. For good, apparently.”
“Wait. Itachi was in a strip club. Itachi was in a strip club? We are talking about the same Itachi here, right? Uchiha Itachi? Tall, black hair, red eyes, always going around with a sour look on his face? What was he doing there to begin with?”
Konan sighed. She loved Pain,13 she really did. It was just that she couldn’t help but feel sometimes like he led a horribly sheltered existence these days. “You really don’t know? Don’t you read fanfiction?”
“Inane leisure activities hold no interest for me,” he sniffed.
“Fine. Anyway. I think Orochimaru really is gone for good, though. He’s not going to risk coming back after that.”
They considered this for a moment. Rain fell noisily in the street outside.
“Sooo. That means that Sasori’s all by himself now, doesn’t it?” mused Pain.
“That it does,” said Konan.
“So. . .”
“I think Sasori needs someone to make him into a real boy.”
“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”
There was no going back.
1 And honestly, she had totally overreacted when she said that that wasn’t behavior befitting a shinobi. Sure, the spider hadn’t actually been a threat to him in any way, but it was all hairy and stuff, and its legs. . . .
2 Pain had his reasons for being particularly concerned with reading this issue, as the cover advertised that it contained a lengthy article entitled ‘How to Draw Obnoxious, Spiky-Haired Teenage Protagonists into a Battle Certain to End in Your Defeat by Threatening the Lives of Their Friends.’ Good stuff.
3 Although they studiously ignored anyone with the family name Uchiha. They had had far too much of that already. Madara was a creepy jackass, and — contrary to his public persona — Itachi could be such a pig sometimes. Didn’t he realize that it wasn’t polite to use up all the hot water when he showered?
4 Who had been locked in a padded cell, talking about himself in the third person and crooning on and on about how he was ‘a good boy.’ Uchihas, eh?
5 Because shinobi were far too advanced to invest in cars. Or, for that matter, any vehicle more sophisticated than a rowboat.
6 And also fantasize about them working up a sweat together.
7 Apparently is wasn’t appropriate to stash bodies in the produce freezer. On second thought, it was true that the meat freezer would almost certainly have been a more acceptable location. Hindsight was always 20-20 in these matters.
8 And buy fish food for Kisame’s aquarium, and condolence cards to send to Sasuke.
9 Although he did hope that in actuality no one was really after his heart. That was only okay when he did it.
10 Like skinning himself and turning himself into a puppet.
11 Which is to say, Pain turned him on. Oh baby, all those bodies.
12 That sort of way.
13 Possibly in the same sort of way that Hidan did.