Die a Little More Chapter Two by Archica

Ino reached the gateway to Konoha as the sun began to rise over the hills and trees, casting orange light over her path. Two figures came into view up ahead, and their shapes were clearly recognizable to her. Shikamaru and Chouji, her friends.

When she reached them, their solemn faces seemed dark, eyes avoiding her until she spoke. "What's going on?"

Chouji still refused to meet her eyes, but Shikamaru looked at her and shook his head, as if he were disgusted. "How could you, Ino? That bastard killed Asuma!"

Ino froze in her place, eyes wide. "What?"

"You know what I'm talking about," Shikamaru told her, "We saw you."

"Saw what?!" Ino yelled, defensive.

"You leaving that motel room ten minutes before he did."

Ino remained still, staring at Shikamaru. He knew. Chouji knew. Hell, the Hokage probably knew. "It's none of your business," she finally said.

Shikamaru looked shocked, as if he expected an explanation, something to prove that what he saw was wrong, that it had been some mistake. He wanted it to be a mistake. "He killed Asuma," he said again, in a way that suggested she didn't hear him the first time.

"I know that."

"And you're sleeping with him?!"

She wanted to tell him he didn't understand, that it wasn't what he thought it was. But if she told her friends what she was doing, what the deal she had made with Hidan was, they would have stopped her. There's no way they would let her go back. She was so close now, she had to follow through.

"Like I said, it's none of your business."

Chouji looked up at her then, surprised. Shikamaru's face reddened. He looked like he wanted to slap her or shake her or scream at her. But after a few moments of gaping at her, he slumped his shoulders and looked at the ground. "If you're going to continue this betrayal, then... you're not welcome in Konoha anymore."

The declaration didn't really surprise Ino, but Chouji gripped Shikamaru's arm. "Hey, that's going too far. She probably has a good reason, right Ino?"

Ino shrugged. "Sure I do. He's hot. I think he's even hotter than Sasuke."

Chouji shook his head. "You're just trying to fool us. You have some kind of plan, right? You're trying to do something on your own!"

"That's right," she said with an airy laugh, "I'm trying to have a good time. On my own. You two losers could never satisfy me, not that I'd let you try. But Hidan is different. He's strong, you know. He has a body like steel."

Shikamaru shook Chouji's hands away. "You're a bitch, Ino."

"So? At least I didn't let Asuma die right in front of me without doing anything."

Both boys' jaws dropped. They looked at her with horror, and she smirked at them, realizing she had hit the right nerve. This would make them hate her. This would make them leave her alone and not bother to follow her again. This would make them not cry if she failed and Hidan killed her. They had cried enough already.

Shikamaru was silent for several minutes, watching her with contempt. She thought he would really slap her then, and she waited for it. But turned his back to her. "Get your belongings and leave Konoha," he said flatly, so flatly that there was no room for a response. Even Chouji remained silent now, looking between his friends sadly with a look of defeat on his face.

Ino's smirk faded slowly as she walked past them toward her home. It was so early in the morning that few people were up and about. It was best this way. She had moved out of her parents' home, into a tiny apartment. She packed a few bags with clothing, personal items, weapons, a map, and all the money she had. As she walked by her night table, she spotted a photo of herself with Asuma, Shikamaru, and Chouji. She took it out of the frame, folded it, and slid it into her purse.

She turned out the lights and left, walking through the village and to the gate. No one was there to see her off, and she was thankful for it. She couldn't bear to see her former teammates again, not like that. As she took the first step outside the gate, someone appeared behind her. She turned around.

Shikamaru stood just inside. "Ino, if you stop what you're doing and apologize to the village, you'll be welcomed back in."

She wanted to cry so badly her eyes were stinging. But she laughed at him. "I don't want to come back. This place has nothing to offer me."

"Fair enough. I just... wanted you to know that." And he disappeared.

Ino spent the next six days in a motel room, not the one she met with Hidan in yet within walking distance. The first two days were spent sobbing in the double bed in the center of the room, wrapped in the fetal position and not bothering to eat, sleep, or shower. She had lost everything, or rather shoved everything violently away. But on the third day she decided that her time would be better spent on trying to think of a way to kill Hidan. After all, if she succeeded she could return to Konoha with his head. And if she didn't, well, it didn't matter anyway.

On day seven she rose early from the bed, not from sleep for she hadn't really slept at all since she had been exiled. She showered, fixed her hair, and put on some makeup. She didn't really care about looking good for Hidan, but she had enough womanly pride to make sure she was neat and clean, despite how she felt on the inside. She pulled on a pair of jeans and a purple t-shirt, smirking a little when she imagined how disappointed Hidan would probably be. He was used to her sauntering in with miniskirts and halter tops.

She shoved a handful of kunai into her purse, along with rope, wire, and everything else she could fit inside. She had a vague plan, but she was determined to make it work. She just hadn't decided what tools she would be using yet.

When night fell she left her motel room, locking the door behind her. Within minutes she was standing outside the room she had become grimly accustomed to over the past few weeks. She knocked twice and he opened the door. He was wet again, water dripping from the tips of his hair, a couple of strands slipping to fall over his eyes. She remembered asking him, after the second time she had come to meet him and found him freshly showered, why he did so minutes before he expected her.

He had smiled and seemed happy that she asked, as if he was waiting for an excuse to talk to her about his crazy religion. He explained that cleanliness before and after an unclean act would allow such an act to be forgiven. Or something. Ino hadn't really paid much attention to him after the first five minutes of rambling.

But tonight, unlike the rest of the nights, he seemed a little disheveled. His pants were wrinkled, his hair hanging somewhat messily compared to the usual slicked-back neatness. She almost asked him if he'd had a bad day before she reminded herself that she didn't care.

He looked her up and down. "What, is it laundry day or something?"

She gave him a dirty look and stepped past him, entering the room. She tossed her purse onto the nearby table as usual. Hidan closed the door behind her and before he could turn around she had pulled off her t-shirt and tossed it toward him, hitting him in the face.

He reached up to pull it off his head but she threw her jeans at him before he could succeed, this time almost knocking him backward. He regained his balance and finally uncovered his face. "What the fuck was that for?"

Ino stood near the edge of the bed in her underwear. She shrugged. "I saw that in a movie once when I was a little girl. I always wanted to do it."

Hidan was still holding her clothes and he looked at her strangely, his eyes resting on her for a little too long for her comfort, especially with that weird expression on his face. It almost seemed as if he were picturing her as a little girl, and wondering where the hell she went wrong.

She looked at the bed. "Well? Don't you want to get started?"

He dropped her clothes onto the floor. "Sure," he said quickly, climbing onto the bed and waiting for her to do the same.

She crawled from the foot of the bed up toward him, scraping her body against his as she inched her face closer to his lips. He blinked. "So, you're acting out all your childhood fantasies?"

She drew back. "You don't like it?"

"Of course I like it," he said as if it had been obvious, "Don't really get it, but I like it."

"Then shut up and enjoy," she whispered.

An hour passed. For perhaps the first time, Ino had completely taken control of the entire situation, leaving Hidan just a little confused but ultimately blown away. It was if she had acted out scenes from all her favorite trashy romance novels. For all he knew, she had. It was usually he who made her cry out, tremble, thrash, and moan. But Ino was in charge tonight.

Finally they both laid on their backs panting. He rolled to look at her. "You going to tell me what that was about?"

She didn't look away from his eyes. "If I can't kill you tonight, I die. I thought I'd better fulfill all my stupid romantic daydreams."

He looked away from her gaze. "Damn, don't be so fucking negative."

She looked at the ceiling. "Why not?" she asked in such a small voice that he barely heard her.

He looked at her again. "You never know, you might kill me. Wouldn't that be a fucking hoot?"

She closed her eyes. "It doesn't matter. Not now."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"My friends, my teammates, they found out about us."

Hidan sat up suddenly. "Seriously?"

"I was exiled from the village."

"Shit, that's rough. All because you're trying to kill me?"

Ino sat up too, pulling the sheet up to cover herself. "They think I'm just sleeping with you. I told them I think you're hot."

Hidan laughed. "And they believed that?"

"I said you satisfy me in ways they never could. I said you have a body like steel."

He grinned broadly. "Fuck yeah. You're more honest than I thought."

She looked at him sideways. "You're such an egotistical bastard."

He grinned again, and she sighed and laid back on the bed. He looked at her curiously. "Well? When are you gonna try it?"

She sat up again, this time sliding off the bed and into a standing position, still holding the sheet around herself.

"Oh yeah, I've been meaning to ask you," he said, "Why do you bother covering yourself up after we fuck? I've already seen it all."

She looked down and to the side, a small hint of pink appearing in her face. "Because you stare too much after it's over."

"Like you don't stare at me."

"That's different," she said, picking up her purse from the table, "You have no shame."

He laughed at that, and she smiled to herself. He was completely off guard. She slipped her hand into the purse and pulled out a lone kunai. She placed it in the hand behind her back, holding the sheet together. She walked back to the bed. "When you do the curse jutsu, do you want me to put my clothes back on?"

"Why would I?"

She stepped with her knees up onto the bed, getting closer to him. "I don't know, I just thought it would be awkward, you know, to kill me while I'm naked."

He shrugged. "Put your clothes on if you want. Doesn't matter to me."

"I will," she said, straddling him with her knees on either side of his waist. "Want one last look?"

He grinned and nodded slowly. She grinned back and slowly released the sheet, the hand holding the kunai still behind her back. As Hidan drank in her form once more, she suddenly drove the kunai into his chest, exactly where his heart would be.

He blinked and a few drops of blood escaped his mouth. "What the fuck? You already tried the heart!"

Almost instantly she pulled the kunai out and drove it in again, into his right lung. Then again into his left lung. Then again into his liver. She stabbed him again and again, trying to hit as many vital organs as possible. She stabbed into his stomach, grinding the weapon into his flesh as he coughed up blood.

Before she knew it, she was screaming each time she brought the kunai down, so loudly and so furiously that her voice was cracking, her throat becoming dry and sore. Something inside Ino had snapped, and all she wanted in that moment was to stab him again. And again. Until he stopped moving. Her eyes were wild, staring at him and yet seeing nothing but pure red.

He looked up at her through the haze of pain and blood-spray, watching her completely and totally fall apart. It was like watching someone slowly tear open the seams of a doll. Somewhere in her screams of rage, words became distinguishable.

"Everything! You took everything! Everything is gone!"




He caught her wrists in his hands. "Stop. It didn't work. You can't kill me like this." And there was nothing smug about his voice.

Her eyes became saucers as she went still for a moment, staring at him. Then she screamed again and tried to jerk herself free from his grip. She was jerking wildly, screeching at the top of her lungs, her head flung back and her eyes watching the ceiling.

Finally, after several painful minutes, she blacked out. Her whole body went limp, crashing into Hidan. He was severely wounded and her face shoved into his chest didn't help matters, but as he had told her, he wouldn't die.

He carefully pushed her off himself and onto her back in the bed, then covered her with the sheet. She was unconscious and her breaths seemed to come with effort, but she was certainly still alive. He climbed out of bed, cautious not to wake her, pulled on his pants, and sat down at the small table in the room, watching her sleep.