Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto and I am making no money from this story.

AN: This is based off an RP I had going a while back, but it doesn't deviate from canon too much; I just ignore the third info book.


Poisoning

by Evandar

Kakuzu's expression remained perfectly neutral right up until the point where he lurched forward and threw up all over Hidan's shoes. Hidan looked down at the back of his team mate's head and the yellowish orange splatter – complete with half digested bits of noodle and a couple of things he didn't want to try and identify – and sighed. He should have known this would happen one day.

"Fuck," he muttered. He bent down, heaved Kakuzu back on to his feet, and guided him non-too gently into the hotel bathroom, trying to pretend that his shoes were not squelching.

"This is your own fucking fault, bastard," he said. Kakuzu's only response was a feeble noise that could have been intended as an angry growl. Hidan ignored it. It was Kakuzu's fault, technically.

He had learned very early on in their partnership – if it could be called that – that if he wanted to eat on their missions then he either had to get used to hunting down and cooking whatever specimens of local wildlife that he could come across or shut up and put up with Kakuzu's choice in restaurants, which were all invariably cheap and dingy with décor that suggested that their better days had come at a time long before even Kakuzu had been born. And while Hidan wasn't too bad at cooking, there was something terribly depressing about hunting squirrel in the rain, and after three days of doing so he'd decided to risk the option of a Kakuzu-approved restaurant.

He'd managed to eat the interesting concoction of noodles, some type of meat that he'd been unable to identify – which, considering the variety of wildlife he'd eaten since the start of his partnership with Kakuzu, was not a good thing – and some lumps of…something that had, possibly, once been vegetables. He'd been safe, he supposed, seeing as how he couldn't get food poisoning, and he'd assumed that since Kakuzu ate this sort of stuff willingly that he'd be fine too.

Evidently, Kakuzu's iron stomach had failed him, and the result was…not pretty by anyone's standards. Honestly, Hidan hadn't thought it was possible to make that food less appetising but apparently regurgitation did the trick.

He wondered if this meant he'd be able to get a new pair of sandals out of this. He glanced at Kakuzu, who was doubled over the toilet, and grimaced. Probably not.

He kicked the sandals off and dumped them in the sink with some cold water, trying desperately to ignore the smell and the, ah, fascinating texture. He wrinkled his nose at the state of his pants and stripped those off too, a wet cloth taking care of the state of his feet. He's shower properly later; he had a sick man to take care of.

He removed Kakuzu's weird-ass hood thing first, earning himself a low growl between retches. "What do you think you're doing?"

"Taking care of you, moron," Hidan snapped back, pulling Kakuzu's surprisingly thick black hair away from his face with his hands. Kakuzu's skin was cold and clammy, almost like a fish. Not good. Hidan hated fish.

Kakuzu gave one more cursory grumble before succumbing to the need to continue to purge his stomach of the culinary disaster he'd insisted on eating. Hidan simply sighed and let him get on with it. When the retching stopped, Hidan hoisted Kakuzu back to his feet and half carried him back into the bedroom. It wasn't an easy feat by any means. Kakuzu was considerably taller and more well built than him, and while Hidan wasn't exactly scrawny – at least not when compared to Itachi or Deidara – he was still slight enough to make hauling Kakuzu's dead weight a few feet a difficult task.

"You could help, you know," he growled. "It's called walking. Being sick doesn't stop you from putting one fucking foot in front of the other."

Judging by the baleful glare he got in response, Kakuzu would be just fine. Hidan couldn't be quite sure about himself, though. He was pretty sure that as soon as Kakuzu was back up to speed he would start trying to kill him again, and while some of the ways he went about it were inventive enough to be admirable, Hidan was getting a bit tired of shoving various body parts back into their original positions.

He managed, somehow, to manoeuvre Kakuzu onto the bed – old and rickety and probably not entirely sanitary; there were some pretty suspicious stains on the sheets – and he removed his partner's sandals and Akatsuki cloak. Kakuzu gave a growl that sounded suspiciously like "go to hell", but Hidan ignored him. He would be making Kakuzu comfortable through his – thankfully temporary – sickness even if it killed him.

Or maybe not. More like, even if it resulted in yet more attempts on his life, as Hidan was pretty sure that he wasn't going to die any time soon.

"You want some water or something?" he asked.

Kakuzu grimaced but nodded. The expression looked kind of weird with the stitches on either side of his mouth, and Hidan got the impression that that was one of the reasons why Kakuzu kept his face covered all the time. It wasn't like the vast majority of people would appreciate the view.

Then again, the thought that Kakuzu was body shy was laughable. In all his time in Akatsuki – though admittedly, he'd only been a member for about six months – he'd never known Kakuzu to be bothered by anything except Hidan himself. He was about as communicative as a block of wood, most of the time, and the only time Hidan could really get a rise out of him was either when he talked about religion – not too much of a hardship even if Kakuzu was a militant atheist – or when he did something so irritating that Kakuzu tried to kill him again. Sometimes Hidan thought that he would have preferred a partner that he could actually communicate with, like Deidara or Kisame, but he'd quickly resigned himself to the fact that it would never happen. For starters, Kisame and Itachi worked together far too well for Pein to even consider splitting them up to accommodate Hidan; Sasori and Deidara, while not quite as perfect a team, were far too close personally to be split up. Deidara called Sasori his "danna", for fuck's sake, and while most of the Akatsuki thought that he meant "master", Hidan thought that the actual meaning was probably somewhere closer to "husband".

Besides, it had taken him all of five minutes into their first mission for him to realise that – brigade of wannabe immortals most of the Akatsuki might be – he was the only person capable of living with Kakuzu. Literally.

And anyway, when Kakuzu did get past his absolute loathing of everything Hidan said, did and stood for, they did work together pretty well. All the same, Hidan thought that Pein might just hate the both of them.

Kakuzu was watching him, he realised, through slitted eyes. It was a truly evil look that promised years of pain, and Hidan grinned at the sight of it. Probably not the best reaction he could have had, but seeing Kakuzu as weak – feeble, really, what with the whole not being able to walk thing – was kind of freaky. Kakuzu might be ancient, and a godless heathen, but he was still one of the most powerful people that Hidan had ever met.

It was then that Hidan realised that without his cloak – which he'd flung to one side as soon as they'd got back to the hotel room – and with his pants soaking in the sink along with his sandals, he was mostly naked. Wonderful. He dove for his pack and the spare pair of pants that it contained, only turning back to Kakuzu when he'd pulled them up over his hips.

"You puked on my other pair," he said by way of explanation, "along with my sandals, which was pretty fucking disgusting, by the way. I mean, seriously, those things have open toes for fucks sake."

Then he remembered that Kakuzu wanted water, so he headed back into the bathroom. He flushed the toilet as he passed it, getting rid of the vomit. The glass he found on the counter was chipped, but clean – incredibly – and he filled it with cool water from the tap before returning to the main room.

"I told you those restaurants are a heap of shit," he said. "But no…why listen to Hidan? He only has common fucking sense."

Kakuzu glared. Hidan simply sat on the edge of the rickety bed – which creaked ominously at the extra weight – and supported Kakuzu's head as he took a sip of water.

"Why are you not ill?" Kakuzu rasped out. Apparently throwing up had fucked up his vocal chords, but damn he sounded pathetic. His question was stupid too.

"I'm immortal, you daft fucker," Hidan reminded him.

"So am I," Kakuzu argued, reassuring Hidan that he'd be absolutely fine by continuing to be a belligerent old bastard.

Hidan snorted. "I figured out three ways to kill you by the end of our first mission," he said. "You're not entirely immortal. You're close by you can still die. I can't. I can't even get sick, no matter how many plates of cat shit and noodles that I eat."

"How?"

Hidan realised that this was the most interest Kakuzu had ever shown in him.

"And if you say anything about that false god of yours then I'll slit your throat."

"For all the good it would do," Hidan sniped back. He sighed. "I was born this way," he explained after a moment. "I wasn't born into Jashinism, not really. I mean, my parents were Jashinist, but it was a sort of village wide thing, like that Will of Fire thing Konoha has going on. Anyway, my mother's husband – bastard – decided that I wasn't his son – apparently I didn't look much look like him, not that that was too much of a fucking hardship – and he decided to kill me. It didn't work and it freaked the hell out of both my parents, so they, uh, gave me up. Handed me over to Father – he was the priest at the local church, by the way – and left me there."

Kakuzu was looking at him sceptically. Hidan didn't blame him; most people did.

"I…see," Kakuzu rasped. Then, "what village are you from?"

"Why?" Hidan asked. Why on earth would Kakuzu care about that? Did he think Immortality was in the water over there or something?

"I want to know so I can avoid it," Kakuzu replied after a moment.

Hidan laughed sharply. "Yuugakure," he said. "And there's no point in avoiding it. I destroyed it." He saw Kakuzu's eyes narrow and stood. "Get some rest," he said quietly. "I'm going to put the bin next to the bed if you want to upchuck again."

He didn't know what it was about Kakuzu, but it seemed that the only times he ever showed any interest in Hidan at all were the times when he either tried to kill him or when he wanted to ask all the wrong questions. After providing Kakuzu with the bin, he went back into the bathroom to try and salvage his pants and his sandals.