Disclaimer: The characters, items, places etc of Naruto are property of Masashi Kishimoto. These objects are used without permission for entertainment only, not for making money. No infringement is intended.
Written for an anon LJ meme, for a prompt involving Akatsuki camping, toasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories. I included all of Akatsuki, including some who may not have met due to canon, as the prompt requested they were all alive. Please enjoy! :)
Camping With Akatsuki
By Nanaki Lioness
"This is such a stupid fucking idea."
"Quiet Hidan," Pain told him with far more patience than any man should ever possess. "It's partially your fault anyway."
"I didn't do anything!" Hidan protested, unimpressed. He'd been dragged from one of his rituals into the middle of nowhere on what Pain was calling a 'session in learning respect'. What he really meant was he and the rest of Akatsuki were being forced into a camping trip, complete with badly erected tents and marshmallows around an impromptu fire lit by Itachi.
"You forced my hand when you slaughtered that village of religious monks," Pain continued wearily, holding out his stick with a pink marshmallow nestled on the end into the fire.
"They were heathens!"
"They were minding their own business. Akatsuki as a collective are beginning to stick out thanks to the extra-curricular activities you people have been up to. Deidara! Was there really any need to bomb that village of farm labourers?"
"I don't need a reason, yeah."
"You do when working under me. Sasori, you let him get away with it again too. You aren't blameless in this."
Sasori, who was sitting as far away from the fire as he could get while still being included in the criminal circle, simply said nothing. He looked across and gave Pain an impassive glance that spoke volumes.
"Don't give me that look else I'll be using you for firewood. Itachi! I'm unimpressed by rumours that you actually saved an old man in the village Deidara bombed. We are Akatsuki, not the Fluffy Puppy Dogs and Rainbows organisation, got it?"
Itachi gave no response, not even bothering to look in Pain's direction. Pain put one hand to his forehead, wondering whether he was working with a bunch of preschoolers or some of the world's most feared criminals after all.
All eyes turned to Tobi, who was happily toasting marshmallows and looking rather happy with the current arrangement.
"Why not what, Tobi?" Pain asked, employing the same patience a parent might with a slow child.
"Why can't we be Akatsuki and the Fluffy Puppy Dogs and Rainbows organisation?"
"Is this idiot for real?" Kisame finally murmured when a stunned silence rendered the rest of Akatsuki speechless.
"Tobi, it's bad practise to go around murdering people on one hand and saving them on the other," Pain explained carefully. "It makes us look bad."
"Surely it would make us look good?"
"Criminals being nice never looks good, Tobi."
Tobi shrugged, apparently not too worried either way as he continued to hum happily to the sound of crackling firewood.
"So we're stuck in the middle of nowhere," Kisame pointed out despite it being obvious when he felt they had been silent long enough. "Camping for the purpose of learning respect. I'm confused."
"Just toast your marshmallows and be quiet!" Pain snapped, his patience finally wearing out. He'd rather been enjoying the silence.
"Perhaps we should tell ghost stories," Konan suggested, her voice holding a layer of smug satisfaction that she'd mentioned the idea purely to annoy Pain. Pain cast her a glance of disbelief, which quickly turned to horror when there was a mild murmur of agreement amongst the criminals.
"I'll start!" Deidara called, reaching into one of the bags of supplies and pulling out a flashlight. He held it under his face, attempting to look menacing and managing to look ridiculous instead. "It was a dark and stormy night-"
"I expected something more creative from you," Itachi's smooth voice interrupted as he reached over and plucked the flashlight from his blond comrade. Looking at it for a moment in quiet contemplation he finally held it beneath his chin, activated his Sharingan and managed to pull off the menacing look Deidara had been attempting rather well. "One dark evening, a young boy returned home to find the streets littered with blood and corpses. Upon the rooftops, the assassin lay in wait for him to return to his home, where he would be waiting to slay him just as he had done the rest of the family."
"We all know how this ends," Kakuzu intoned quietly, inspecting his toasted marshmallow idly. "The assassin fails to kill the little boy and flees the village to join a criminal organisation for shady reasons best left known to only himself."
If Itachi was capable of any expressions that weren't 'indifferent' and 'pissed off', he might have looked just a little shamed at the suggestion.
The flashlight was pried from his hands by Zetsu, who held it underneath his face and leered like he had just found a bloody corpse to feast upon. "Under the light of the moon," he rasped, his voice ringing sharply through the air. "A group of people sat around a burning campfire, toasting marshmallows and completely unaware of what lay waiting in the trees around them."
Something about his voice sent a collective wave of mild discontent through the listening group. No-one interrupted, letting Zetsu continue his tale.
"Little did they know, a ghost was well known to haunt the campsite they currently occupied. A lady dressed in white, whose wedding day was cut short when her new husband strangled her and dumped her body in the woods."
"Boring," Hidan finally spoke. "Who cares about some bitch with bad taste in men?"
A crackle of movement in the trees behind them silenced him immediately. All heads turned to face it, with faces ranging from the usual apathetic to mild concern.
"She haunts the woods, waiting for young and single men to appear so she can seek a new partner," Zetsu continued his tale. "She seeks him and when she finds him she tries to kill him, convinced he will keep her company in the afterlife."
"Young and single men?" Konan echoed, eyes flickering in mirth. "I count three who should be worried here."
Her eyes fell on Hidan, Deidara and Itachi. Snickering from the other members indicated that they were either laughing at their comrades, or perhaps relieved the ghost's preferences didn't include them.
"The lady in white, known to locals as the Grieving Widow, stalks the men and waits for them to be alone," Zetsu continued, his voice even more ominous due to a quick switch in the speaking personality. "She has a known fondness for painted nails and black cloaks-"
"Now you're just making shit up," Hidan snapped at him, snatching a toasted marshmallow from Kakuzu before his partner could eat it.
"You say that like you actually believe the rest of what he said, yeah," Deidara responded smugly, his uncovered eye sparkling with amusement.
Another crack of twigs from the woods soon had Deidara looking a little more concerned. He shared a glance with Hidan, which said much the same thing. Itachi kept his cool indifference, idly eating yet another marshmallow.
"Stop eating all the fucking marshmallows!" Hidan yelled irritably at him.
"Itachi has a sweet tooth," Kisame snickered, earning a glare from Itachi that promised 24 hours of Tsukiyomi pain if he dared continue his sentence any further.
"The Grieving Widow-"
"Oh shut up about that stupid jilted bitch," Hidan sighed at Zetsu, rolling his eyes languidly. "She isn't real and you're shit at telling ghost stories."
He laid down with every intention of sleeping, preferring the open sky to one of the tents. Closing his eyes he prayed to Jashin, promised bloodshed in his name in the morning and promptly fell fast asleep.
It was a mistake. Zetsu didn't seem too impressed that his story had been cut short, and he procured the flashlight to continue telling it to the rest of Akatsuki.
"The Grieving Widow comes for men while they sleep," he remarked with a trace of delight in his tone. "It's when they are most vulnerable, after all."
"Then shouldn't we wake Hidan?" Tobi asked worriedly.
"I don't think you get the point of this, do you?" Deidara murmured, halting in his consumption of marshmallows to crawl across to Hidan's sleeping form. "Continue, yeah."
"She wakes the sleeping men by shaking them and wailing in their ear," Zetsu happily filled in. Deidara smirked and lowered his lips to Hidan's ear, putting his hands gently on his shoulders.
"Hidannnnn," he wailed, shaking the other's shoulders. "Hidannnnnn, I've come for youuuuuu."
Hidan awoke screaming girlishly, battering Deidara off and scrambling backwards as best he could. He brushed his clothing down, almost like he was trying to rid himself of any ghostly essence.
Deidara was laughing unabashedly- even Itachi had the hint of a smirk on his face, and Sasori had finally ventured closer to the circle to watch in fascination.
"You fucking asshole!" Hidan screamed, pointing at Deidara. "I'm going to fucking kill you!"
He pulled himself up and grabbed his nearby scythe from where it rested in the grass, brandishing it threateningly. Deidara stopped laughing, visible eye widening in fear.
"We're comrades, yeah! You can't kill me!"
"No! Leader! Leader!"
Pain watched from the sidelines, sending Konan another sharp glare. She gave him a serene smile in response, clearly not feeling responsible for the actions of her teammates despite the whole thing being her suggestion.
"Stop it, Hidan," Pain finally sighed, looking up at the starry sky. Really, he wondered for his own sanity sometimes- what had he been thinking when he had suggested this?