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Warning: Manga spoilers ahead!

Twenty Truths About Hidan

1. If you were to hand someone a picture of Hidan and ask, "How old do you think this man is?", they would probably respond that he looks like he's in his early twenties. Hidan is, in fact, 257 years old. He remembers the days before Konoha was established, back when there were only one or two real shinobi villages and most ninja were part of nomadic tribes that wandered from place to place. A historian would recognize his forehead protector as a priceless antique, dating back to the time before the Hidden Village of Rain changed their symbol from three vertical lines (representing raindrops) to four.

2. The other members of the Akatsuki organization are the only people who know how old Hidan truly is, and every last one of them envies him for it. They know that no matter how strong they become, no matter how much of the world they conquer, they will eventually age and die. Their strength will wane, and they will either succumb to an enemy's blade or to the betrayal of their own bodies. That will never happen to Hidan. For this reason, even the Akatsuki's Leader, a man so powerful that he can wipe out squads of jounin with minimal effort, is jealous of him.

3. Hidan is just as jealous of the other Akatsuki members as they are of him. They envy him because he can't die, and he envies them because they can. One day, each one of them will die, and on that day they will meet their Maker. They will see His face, and hear His voice, before being sent to Heaven or Hell. Hidan has devoted his life to serving the Deity, but he will never get to stand in that Being's presence and be told that he has done well. For that reason, he is more jealous of ordinary mortals than he will ever admit.

4. There is one truth about Hidan that not even Hidan himself knows: he is a father. Nearly twenty years ago, he passed through the Hidden Village of Mist, and spent a night with a woman there. Nine months later, she gave birth to a baby girl. That girl is now nineteen, and the third-youngest jounin in the Mist's history. (The youngest two, of course, were Hoshigaki Kisame and Momochi Zabuza.) She is destined to be one of the few shinobi who will die of old age, because old age is the only thing that can kill her. She has her own genin team, and is planning to bring them to this year's Chuunin Exam in Konoha. Nara Shikamaru is scheduled to be the proctor for the Third Exam, and God only knows what his reaction will be when he recognizes the Mist sensei's distinctive silver hair and pink eyes.

5. Hidan's religion is even more ancient than he is. It dates back to a more brutal time, when the various nomadic shinobi clans were constantly at war with one another, and "peace" was a word that had no practical meaning. At that time, all ninja lived only to kill those from enemy clans, and knew that their fate was to die in battle. A religion that celebrated suffering and death made sense for such people. Since that time, many ninja villages were founded, and shinobi became protectors and upholders of the law. As the role of the ninja in society changed, the old faith of Jashin gradually died out.

6. Hidan thinks that all the so-called "progress" that has been made in the shinobi world since his childhood is, as he would say, "stupid bullshit". From his point of view, shinobi always have been killers, are killers now, and always will be killers. Trying to sugarcoat it with pretty phrases like "protector of civilians" and "defender of the village" is just a waste of breath. To him, ninjas are still the same old assassins-for-hire, just in disguise.

7. Despite all their bickering, Hidan and Kakuzu actually do like each other. Well, perhaps not like, but they've developed a grudging respect for each other. Hidan may be an arrogant religious fanatic who complains about everything under the sun, but he can take down almost any enemy. And Kakuzu may be a miserly, money-obsessed mercenary, but he never fails to stitch Hidan back together on those rare occasions when someone manages to seriously injure him. So while the two appear to constantly be on the verge of coming to blows, in reality they work well together and protect each other during fights.

8. Everyone thinks that Hidan and Kakuzu hate each other because of the way they argue all the time, but the only Akatsuki member that Hidan ever really hated was Orochimaru. Everything that Hidan believed in, Orochimaru treated with disdain. While Hidan believed that he had been born and given his special abilities for a purpose, Orochimaru thought that life was inherently meaningless. Where Hidan had an immense respect for the divine, Orochimaru thought that he, a mere human, could become a perfect being akin to a god simply by learning all the jutsus in the world. If Orochimaru hadn't been a fellow member of Akatsuki, Hidan would have killed him about a week after first meeting him.

9. Hidan just doesn't understand Sasori. Hidan hates his immortality and wishes that he could die like every other human being. Sasori had the mortality Hidan envies, but gave it up of his own free will. He did everything he could to make himself immune to death, even to the point of replacing flesh and blood with wood and steel. This is something that Hidan can't comprehend, and for that reason, he has always thought of Sasori as the most mysterious member of Akatsuki.

10. Hidan made his first kill at the age of seven. So, while he was once a cute little kid, he wasn't an innocent child for very long. At the time, most people in the shinobi world didn't see anything wrong with this. Most of them, with the notable exception of the late Third Hokage, still don't.

11. There is only one way to kill Hidan. In the Jashin religion, blood has power—hence why the ritual that a devotee uses to sacrifice an enemy requires him to taste that enemy's blood. But it works both ways: if an enemy tasted Hidan's blood, that enemy would be able to overcome Hidan's immortality and kill him. Hidan knows this, and hopes that someday he'll face an opponent smart enough to figure it out. He won't simply tell an opponent and let them kill him though, because he wants the person who finally destroys him to be worthy of that victory. Someone who has to be told how to do it doesn't deserve the honor.

12. Although Hidan doesn't mind working with Kakuzu, he'd rather be partnered with Deidara, because Deidara is by far his favorite colleague. In many ways, they have a similar mindset: both are utterly devoted to one particular concept above all else. For Hidan it's religion, and for Deidara it's art. They center their lives around these things, with every action being calculated for its value in relation to them. Neither one cares what anyone else thinks, and both are quick to attack anyone who insults that which they hold most precious.

13. Hidan joined Akatsuki without knowing what the group's ultimate goal was. The reason why he would do such a thing is simple: out of all the ninja he's met in the last century, they are the only ones who don't pretend to be nobler than they are. They know that to be a shinobi means to be a killer, and they don't apologize for it. They don't pretend to be doing what they're doing for the sake of others. They ask for no mercy in battle, and they give none. Hidan thinks that out of all the shinobi in the world, only they are honest.

14. Just over two centuries ago, Hidan was a jounin of the Hidden Village of Rain. Like many jounin, he had been given a team of genin to teach. They were among the brightest of the Rain's young shinobi, eager to defend their homeland and honored to be under the tutelage of "Rain's Immortal". On one of their early missions, they were assigned to steal a secret jutsu from the Hidden Village of Sand. The ninja defending the scroll were more numerous and stronger than they had expected, and one by one, Hidan saw his students cut down by the enemy. Returning to the Rain, he slammed the scroll angrily down on the Amekage's desk. "You knew!" he shouted. "You knew damn well what kind of resistance we could expect! There was no way in hell those kids were going to survive, and you knew it!"

The Amekage looked calmly up at him, not even bothering to rise from his seat. "We knew there was a high probability that the rest of the team would not survive. But we also knew that you would succeed in bringing back the jutsu we sought, and that is all that matters. For the others to distract the guards while you stole the scroll containing the jutsu, that was enough."

"Are we just tools to you then? Do you care nothing for the pain of those you send out to fight and die?"

The members of the Village Council, who stood behind the Amekage, now stepped forward. "All shinobi are tools of the village. The greater good of the village must be served, even if it means that some shinobi die," stated one old woman.

Before anyone could react, Hidan had pulled out a kunai and pinned the Amekage's right hand to the table with it. Wrenching the blade free, he lifted it to his mouth and slowly licked the blood from it. The Councilors drew back in fear as Hidan's skin turned black, with white markings outlining the position of the bones. "Those who do not understand the pain of others," he said through gritted teeth, "will face the wrath of the gods."

On that night, Hidan slaughtered the Amekage and every member of the Hidden Rain's Village Council. He then fled the village, and was declared a missing-nin. Although numerous ANBU squads were sent after him, few were able to track his movements. Those that did encounter him never returned.

15. Aside from Shikamaru, only one person whom Hidan intended to use for his sacrificial ritual has ever escaped. This notable event occurred about six years before Hidan joined the Akatsuki. Not being an Akatsuki member yet, Hidan did not recognize the red-and-black cloak that the blue-haired woman wore, and so didn't realize just how strong she was. Not being an expert on poisons, he also didn't recognize the white flower in her hair as being a rare species that, when crushed, produced a vapor that induced unconsciousness in anyone nearby. After evading his scythe for several minutes, she got close enough to stab him in the gut with a kunai. When that failed to kill him, she plucked the flower from her hair and squeezed it in her fist, covering her nose and mouth with a piece of fabric held in the other hand. Hidan's vision went dim, and he felt his legs getting wobbly. He woke up several hours later with a dull ache in his chest. Looking down, he soon discovered the source of the ache: his ribcage had been broken open and his heart cut out. Retrieving it from its current location (pinned to a nearby tree with a kunai), he put it back in the proper spot, pushed his ribs back into place, and wound some bandages around his chest with a grimace. Well, damn, I really fucked up this time. I'm gonna have to apologize to Jashin-sama for this.

Six years later, when he was being introduced to his new comrades, he immediately recognized the lone female member of the organization as The One That Got Away. By the way her eyes widened and her jaw dropped, it appeared that she recognized him as well—and was understandably surprised to see that he wasn't dead. Both of them extended accusing index fingers in the other's direction and exclaimed, "You!"

Given that S-rank criminals typically do not appreciate attempts to kill them, it's no surprise that this second encounter led to a battle between the new Akatsuki member and the older one. Even by Akatsuki standards, it was a rather brutal fight. This was evidenced by the comments of the watching Akatsuki members, which included things like, "Is she trying to beat him to death with his own severed arm?" and "Huh, so that's what a spleen looks like." The Leader finally broke it up, and convinced Hidan and his opponent to put aside their differences. (In other words, he threatened to kill them both if they didn't stop trying to kill each other.) Kakuzu sewed Hidan's arm back on and replaced the kunoichi's spleen, and they lived happily ever after.

Or as happily as cold-hearted murderers who'd love to beat each other senseless can, anyway.

16. After having lived such a long and dangerous life, few things can frighten Hidan. But the first time he saw Kakuzu summon the four elemental spirit masks concealed in his back, Hidan was scared. It wasn't the sheer power of the jutsu that unsettled him. It was the fact that each mask had been created from the heart of a shinobi whom Kakuzu had defeated. When Sasori turned an opponent into a human puppet, he wasn't truly creating anything new—he was simply transforming the person into something that could be preserved and controlled. But Kakuzu used the hearts of his enemies to create a completely different being, a new form of life. Hidan was deeply uncomfortable with this, because it represented a human being usurping a power that rightfully belonged only to the gods. After several years as Kakuzu's partner, he still doesn't like that jutsu. But it's gotten them out of many a tight spot, and his god hasn't smote Kakuzu yet, so he puts up with it.

17. The day Hidan's students were killed is the only time he has ever shed a tear. During his travels around the world, he occasionally hears news from his home village. He heard about it when his former sensei, his old teammates, his parents, and his siblings died. But by that time, he held only hatred for his former home in his heart, and so he did not cry for them. He will not cry if Kakuzu is ever killed, but he will, perhaps, say a prayer for his partner's soul.

18. Hidan's immortality is an advanced bloodline, but not one that he was born with. His devotion to his faith is so great that his deity has literally transformed his body. This divine gift froze his aging, granted him invulnerability to injury, and made him impervious to illness and poison. The transformation itself was agonizing, as if all human weakness was being burned out of him. Immediately afterward, Hidan was exhilarated. He had achieved a dream that men had pursued for as long as the human race had existed: eternal life. As time went on, however, he began to feel that his "gift" was overrated. He has lived for his god, but will never get to meet Him. If he could, he would give that gift back.

19. In the past century, there is no one that Hidan has been truly close to. During his first hundred years of immortality, he cared about friends, cherished comrades, and loved a woman. But then he discovered the downside to his immortality: those he loved didn't share it. Ordinary people know that they will lose some of their loved ones over the course of their lives, but Hidan is the only one who must live with the inevitability of losing them all. Any time he becomes close to someone, he knows that he will someday have to watch them die. This has happened dozens of times. Some have died the sudden, violent deaths characteristic of shinobi; others have succumbed to age or disease. Having endured the pain of loss so many times, Hidan now steadfastly avoids forming emotional attachments to others. Although he prefers Deidara's company to that of any other Akatsuki member, he is glad that the Leader did not make him Sasori's replacement. If he were to be partnered with Deidara, the artist ninja could easily become a precious comrade, even a friend. Hidan has lost too many precious comrades and too many friends to ever want another. It's easier to allow Deidara to remain simply another member of the same organization, no more important than any of the others.

20. Hidan's last words are not what one might expect from a person like him. After 257 years of life, after traveling the world, after killing dozens of people, he finally meets his match in a boy not even one-tenth his age. The boy is the opponent he has long hoped for, one who's smart enough to figure out the one and only way to kill him. As the shadows recede and his vision starts to fade, a grin spreads across his face. His opponent looks confused, and it's easy to understand why. He expects the prospect of imminent death to produce sorrow, fear, or at least anger—not happiness. Hidan laughs softly at the boy's puzzlement, and raises a hand to beckon him closer. Warily, Leaf's genius approaches, and Hidan whispers two words to him: "Thanks, kid."

A/N: I was first introduced to the 20 Truths format by reading the fic "Twenty Matters of Pride to Hyuuga Neji" by Kraken's Ghost. It's really good, and you should definitely check it out.

A couple of notes on the individual parts:

#11 is my theory for how Hidan can be killed (I'm sure other people have thought of it too), and I think it actually has a decent chance of being correct. #6 and 10 were sort of inspired by a thread Fading Echo made on the NF forums, pointing out that even the good guys in the series are part of a military organization that essentially teaches children how to kill. The boy in #20 who figures out how to kill Hidan is, of course, Shikamaru.

This is the first time I've written a fic in this format, and I hope you all enjoyed it. Please review!