Disclaimer: All characters in Naruto belong to Masashi Kishimoto.

Title: Obsessive
Summary: "It's a similar jutsu to the one I usually use. You know, the one where my skin changes color and I look totally bad ass? You must've heard about it before. It's like that, except you only feel the pain." Hidan x Sakura twoshot.
Time-Period: Not really sure. I'm not caught up with the manga, and a lot of characters and things have already been killed of... Well, I'm sure it will be easy to figure out. Time-period isn't that big of a deal here, anyways.

For: SpeedDemon315's contest.
Pairing: Hidan x Sakura
Theme: Ardor - intense devotion, eagerness, or enthusiasm; zeal

Eheh, it was originally going to be a oneshot, but the fic got a little too long. I hope you enjoy the last chapter!

Hidan awoke to the incessant chirping of birds, the blindingly bright sun, and a disgusting, slimy, tongue darting out to lick the side of his face. Needless to say, he was not in a good mood.

"What the fuck?"

The back of his head, which was mostly healed, was throbbing dully with pain. When the memories of what had recently occurred returned, he clenched his fists.

"Shit!" He yelled, slamming his fist on the ground. "Sakura!"

He wiped any dirt from his face and looked around, only to find the clearing empty. Whatever animal that had been licking his face had wisely left him to his own thoughts. His strength had returned, but his body was still in pain. It looked as if the rogue-nins simply abandoned him, not knowing that he would be healed in a matter of time. He brought his hand to the back of his head and felt the dried blood.

As he stood up, he contemplated on whether or not to follow after Sakura. She finally got what she had been nagging him for the past couple of days- freedom from his jutsu- and good riddance, too! She wasn't the only person tied down to the damn technique. He had been forced to refrain from getting too badly hurt, which meant less rituals and more drawbacks when fighting. And as for converting her, Hidan could always find a few more sacrifices and do a couple more rituals in repentance.

A wave of guilt consumed him as he started walking back the way he- they- had come. He took a couple more steps in the direction before he finally admitted to himself that he could not just leave her. Despite how much of a bitch the woman was, she really did grow on him. Turning around, he let his eyes wander around the clearing, noticing instantly the many things the rogue nins did not bother to hide.

The trail, although subtle for civilians, was obvious in the eyes of a shinobi, from poorly-hidden footprints to broken twigs and branches. As he followed along, however, he noticed many startling differences. A few trees had been torn in half, and there were a few crater-shaped dents in the dirt and boulders he passed by. It looked as if Sakura had awoken and was struggling fiercely. A grin found its way to Hidan's face as he felt some pride in the kunoichi.

Jashin had definitely chosen well.

Even in her obviously weakened state, as well as the fact that she was so grossly outnumbered, Sakura was still fighting strong.

The trail eventually became more inconspicuous, and Hidan suspected that they had finally managed to either knock her out, or fully detain her. It must have taken a while, and once Sakura awoke again... His grin widened at the thought, but faltered when he considered how many days he had been unconscious for. According to the trail, he was about three to five days behind.

Their large numbers would slow them down considerably, as well as Sakura's struggling. It helped that he was a fast runner, but even so, it would take many hours, or even an entire day, to fully catch up with them. Hopefully they wouldn't do anything too bad-

Jashin, he was becoming a softie! Who cared what happened to her? As long as she was still alive. Mentally slapping himself, Hidan quickened his pace, despite the protests his legs made. He needed to get to Sakura as quickly as possible- to convert her to Jashinism, he told himself. Once he found her and determined her safety, he would rest and allow time to soothe his aching muscles.

Hours passed, and Hidan grew increasingly impatient. The trail was leading deeper and deeper into forest, and he still hadn't caught up with them. Signs of Sakura struggling were nowhere to be found, and despite what he tried convincing himself, Hidan was also growing more and more worried. She may have been able to defeat the group once, but she had the element of surprise, and their underestimation on her side. Now, however, her abilities couldn't make up for the large number of jounin-level rogues.

Strangely enough, Hidan found that his surroundings seemed nearly identical. He could have sworn he had passed by the very same tree branch at least four times in the past couple of hours. Grabbing a kunai, he slashed an 'X' on the tree trunk and proceeded to follow the trail with an increased speed. In about twenty minutes, he estimated, he reached the branch he had cut an 'X' into.

"Dammit." He swore, clenching his fists. He had been wasting time simply going around in circles!

"Kai!" He released the genjutsu, and a few trees diminished in his view. Replacing them were two wooden poles and an opening that lead underground. It was hidden among the foliage, and the genjutsu, which had been so insignificant, was nearly undetectable as it changed the appearance of only two poles and the small entrance. The surroundings had conveniently allowed the user to cast a weak genjutsu.

Wasting no time, Hidan headed in, brows furrowed in frustration as he heard the nins laughing from their victory. They wouldn't be laughing in the near future.

"Exactly what was in the syringe? When will she wake up, dammit!"

Hidan paused for a moment, staying in the shadows. He peeked around the corner and saw that Sakura hung from the wall, a rope tied both her wrists together. Dirt was caked all over her clothes and face, and her hair was mussed.

If they had been traveling together still, he would have laughed and told her she looked like shit, but they weren't traveling together, and he wasn't in a laughing mood, either. Hidan pulled back, and listened to the men conversing.

"Some anesthetics I stole in Grass. An entire dose could knock out a beast."

"How much did you inject into her?"

"Half a dose. Any more and it would have killed her, and despite how satisfying that would be for me, I'm sure everybody else would want a piece of her after humiliating us like that."

"Fucking bitch could sure pack a punch."

"Hey, she's waking up."

"What? It's barely been a week! She should be unconscious for at least two more days!"

Hidan stiffened, the temptation to turn the corner and simply jump into action was great, but he knew that with Sakura in such a vulnerable position, he would have to think this one through. Cursing under his breath, he tried to formulate a plan.

His mind was blank- when had he ever needed a plan? He was immortal, dammit! He rushed into things all the time and although he got hurt, it wouldn't matter. Kakuzu was the one who usually planned things out. That man had everything down to the last detail- well, digit was more like it.

And so Hidan waited, unsure and hesitant, and all the while trying to find the right moment to lunge.


He froze. How had she seen him? And why would she give him away like that? The stupid woman was probably so delirious that-

"Sorry pinkie, but your boyfriend isn't here to save you."

"You're going to wish you never messed with us, bitch."

There were a couple more angry outbursts, but somebody cleared his throat and silenced the rest of the rogues. Hidan figured it was their leader, the one who would be responsible for Sakura's death.

"She could be a great asset to us." A loud, booming voice exclaimed. Hidan could imagine him walking around Sakura, examining her like something bought in the market. He could imagine Sakura glaring at the man, eyes tearing him apart, limb by limb. She would be livid- he knew she was an avid feminist, if the glare she directed him the first day they met meant anything. He was only checking her out- what was so offending about that?

There was a murmur of displeasure.

"She gave us such a hard time!"

"She humiliated us! Kill her!"

And almost immediately, another round of shouting began. Hidan stopped himself from sighing in agitation. He was fighting, not with an organization of jounin-level nins, but an angry mob of egotistical men whose pride had been severely wounded.

"I'd never join this pathetic lot of- of boys who call themselves ninja." Sakura announced, her voice harsh. Hidan risked a peek, and noticed that although her voice sounded strong and confident, she looked utterly exhausted and weak.

"Us? Pathetic? You're the one who's completely helpless, girlie."

There was a short pause, and her head lolled to the side tiredly, "I'm not the one completely outnumbered. It took your entire team to restrain me- and I nearly escaped more than once, too!"

"That does not matter. If you will not join our organization, you will die tonight."

There was a moment of silence, broken only by few who muttered out words of agreement.

"Tell me, then... What happened to Hidan?" Her voice held a worried tone to it, and if he was correct, she sounded almost guilty as well.

"He's dead. We killed him with a kunai to the base of his skull."

Hidan, who was surprised at Sakura's concern for him- as well as the fact that he was still undetected- continued to watch, a mere twelve feet away from the large group.

"Impossible." Sakura murmured, disbelievingly. Hidan never really explained to her how his immortality worked. She only knew that he had been able to reattach his limbs after being blown apart, but she had no idea about anything concerning the damage done to his head.

Dread and hopelessness filled her being as the man's words sunk in. His death really could have been possible.

"He couldn't be... No- he's not- you're lying! Tell me, what happened to him!" She started out with a whisper, but by the end of her exclamation, she was yelling and near hysterics. It was a miracle her voice hadn't cracked once.

Hidan could tell she wasn't in a stable state of mind. Her entire body was limp and her pupils were both dilated and unfocused. She didn't even have the strength to lift her head properly!

"Sorry honey, but your boyfriend is dead. You'll see him soon enough."

"Dammit..." Sakura muttered, allowing her head to fall forward limply. "... It's... My fault."

"What was that, pinkie?"

It seemed Sakura was completely lost as she started to mutter nonsense. Her frail-looking body quivered as the jumbled words left her lips. The men, confused and angry still, decided to simply watch as she rambled on.

"He shouldn't have died- I wasn't strong enough to protect- not myself, not Sasuke, not Hidan. Why couldn't I- I'm still a failure- still weak and tired and helpless and I tried so damn hard. It's not fair, not fair, not fair..."

Tears fell in small streams down her cheeks and Hidan watched, dumbfounded, as she continued to mutter insecurities that were not true.

"Shut up! You there," He gestured to one of his cronies, "get rid of her. She's of no use to us, now. Insane bitch keeps blubbering."

Snapped out of his reverie, Hidan decided it was his cue to attack, and lunged for the nearest nins, swinging his scythe. Using the element of surprise, he managed to take out half in just a few, quick strokes. Their bodies fell to the ground with crippling wounds. He had been running his chakra through the scythe, a trick he picked up over his many years. A thin layer of chakra would coat the ends of the blade. Directly hitting his targets would not be necessary- he only needed to get the blade within three inches of their skin to strike.

He wasn't in the Akatsuki for nothing.

"You again? How are you even alive? I saw you fall with the kunai sticking out of your-"

The man was silenced as Hidan swiped at him. Blood splattered across Hidan's face as the rogue fell lifelessly to the ground. Licking his lips, Hidan pulled his scythe back and glared challengingly at the rest of the men who were staring back at him with shock written across their visages.

"Too much talk." Hidan stated with a smug smirk, he turned to the ringleader who stood taller and tougher-looking than the rest. His fists were clenched and his eyes were narrowed. He was obviously livid, and in a fit of rage, roared an order for the men to kill Hidan immediately.

Hidan merely laughed as they charged at him. Hearing the battle cries and feeling their auras of overconfidence left him feeling more exhilarated than ever. He couldn't remember the last time he had been able to enjoy a sacrificing spree. He toyed with the rogues, dodging punches thrown at him, stepping by the numerous weapons thrown hastily towards him. Their moves were slow, and their attacks were sloppy. It seemed they relied heavily on their number instead of their level of skill.

Hidan felt confident- he knew it was an easy match for him, now that their numbers had dwindled to a mere six or seven.

He was having too much fun to notice the leader stalk over to Sakura's delirious, rambling self, knock her unconscious, and start to cut the ropes that bound her. He was almost finished cutting through the thickly wound threads when Hidan finally realized.

Hurriedly, he finished off the rest of the men and lunged towards Sakura's current captor, but stopped barely four feet away when the man unsheathed his katana and held it against Sakura's throat.

He knew that he was acting irrational. He was only in this situation because of his impulsive tendencies, after all. He didn't necessarily need to save Sakura from her impending death. He knew it was going to happen someday, whether she was an old, retired woman, or even the next time she went on a mission. He knew she wasn't immortal like him.

What he didn't know was why that thought bugged him. He didn't understand the strange and so unusually strong impulsive feeling to take her out of harms way. It was possible, he thought, that maybe the urges were some sort of side-effect from the jutsu, as unlikely as it was. It was the only reason he could come up with- the only one that made sense, anyways.

"Let her go." Hidan demanded, narrowing his eyes at the leader.

"No." An immediate refusal was given. What did Hidan expect? That he cooperate and release her?

Hidan could only watch as the man glanced around the room. Nin were scattered on the floor, some dead, some still alive. A young man, no more than twenty four, lay on the ground, moaning. His arm and chest displayed a large gash where Hidan had slashed with his scythe. Blood flowed from the fresh wound, spilling onto the ground and forming a small puddle around the dying man.

"My men... Defeated..."

With his pride wounded, and his rage at an all new high, the leader let out a cry before pressing the blade into Sakura's neck.

Before the blade could do too much damage, Hidan had already killed the man with a kunai thrown straight to his head. Fortunately for him, he had not been wearing a forehead protector, making his skull an easy target. Picking Sakura up off the floor, he started sprinting towards what he believed was the direction of Konoha. He had no experience in any medical jutsu, and Sakura was bleeding heavily.

"It hurts..."

Hidan glanced down for a quick second, and took note of her pale, fragile features. She was unhealthily skinny, and her eyes had a strange glaze. It wasn't as if she was really present in her conscious mind. He could tell that her chakra levels were dangerously low, and now that he was able to inspect her more closely, he noticed multiple wounds scattered around her body. His concern for her rose, and his legs acted accordingly, moving faster and swifter.

"Shut up. Talking will make it worse, dumbass. You're the medic, you should know this." Hidan ordered, harshly.

"Hidan... You came?" She croaked, before coughing heavily. Blood dripped from the side of her mouth, but she was smiling.

"Shut the fuck up, Sakura." Hidan replied.

"Okeydokey, artichokey." Delirious. Definitely delirious. She soon fell back into unconsciousness, and Hidan had a feeling she probably wouldn't remember their short conversation, or anything that had occurred recently.

In what he believed was the longest four hours of his life, Hidan finally reached the gates of Konoha. If he was correct, it was around five a.m. in the morning. Panting heavily and chakra reserves nearly half empty due to his enhanced running, Hidan stepped through the wide gates of Leaf.

"Sakura!" Kotetsu exclaimed, running up to them. A quick glance at his surroundings told Hidan that the approaching ninja was completely alone guarding the gates. Looking up at Hidan with suspicion clearly written across his face, he asked, "Who are you supposed to be?

"It doesn't fucking matter who I am. Take me to the hospital, now."

Kotetsu shook his head, "I can't allow you to pass through until I have-"

He didn't have a chance to finish because he was knocked out cold, lying on the ground. Hidan growled in frustration as he sprinted ahead, hoping he would somehow come across the damn hospital.

"Sakura-chan!" A worried voice exclaimed.

"Fucking hell." Hidan cursed, enhancing his legs with chakra once again in hopes of outrunning whoever recognized the woman in his arms. It was of no use as a blond boy came running up to him. Hidan clenched his teeth as he wondered exactly why the man was up so damn early in the morning.

"Who are you, and where the hell are you going with her?" When he saw what condition his friend was in, he gasped. Stricken with both horror and shock, Naruto nearly tripped over himself as he continued to keep up with the man's pace.

Although the guy looked mean, he was helping Sakura, and Naruto figured he couldn't have been the culprit that wounded his best friend. Even so, he didn't fully trust him. Something about this guy seemed dangerous.

Naruto's eyes narrowed as irises transformed from a bright blue to a dangerous red. Naruto demanded, "What happened to her?"

"Show me where the damn hospital is." Hidan replied, ignoring his question. Naruto merely nodded, and Hidan watched as the boy, whose features looked more fox-like, ran ahead, leading him towards Konoha's hospital. He thanked Jashin, grateful for coming across a nin who had at least an ounce of common sense.

Silence reigned as the two ran in full speed towards the hospital. They could not waste any more time- not with Sakura's life on the line. Once they reached the building, a few medics who happened to spot them quickly escorted them into an emergency room. After placing Sakura on one of the cots, both Hidan and Naruto were ordered to wait outside of the room as they worked.

"You better start answering my questions." Naruto suddenly declared, his arms folded over his chest. His once fiery red eyes had returned to their normal shade of blue, showing that he had calmed down considerably with the knowledge that Sakura was in safe hands.

"Why the fuck should I do that?" Hidan retorted, glaring at Naruto. He was tired, frustrated, worried- and this guy had the gall to demand some answers from him! Hidan inwardly growled. The blond shit should be grateful that he had been able to reach her in time and save her sorry ass.

"Because she's my best friend and I have to know!" Naruto countered, glaring right back. Hidan rolled his eyes- but complied, waiting for him to ask his first question. Sakura obviously meant a lot to him, so maybe the blondie did deserve to have his questions answered.

Naruto sighed, "Sorry. I was just really worried about her, and seeing her like that..."

Naruto unclenched his fists, releasing the tension that had built up. He had been so worried about her. Sakura was a capable kunoichi- seeing her in such a critical state was rare, and he could not stand being unable to help her in her time of need. It was even worse knowing that he hadn't been there to prevent the damage, but the worst thing was not knowing if she was going to make it through or not.

"... What happened?"

There was a pause, where Hidan took the time to recollect the information and decide what to say. Revealing himself as Hidan, ex-Akatsuki, probably was not the smartest idea. He needed to approach this like Sakura would- tactfully. It wasn't his way of doing things, but he would try to the best of his ability. Despite how tedious it was, he wanted to see Sakura when she awoke instead of trying to escape Konoha hunter-nins.

"I met her while traveling to a village on the outskirts of Fire Country." Hidan started to explain. He made an effort to refrain from swearing. He figured he could also twist the story a little. "We happened to be going in the same direction. At one point, we parted ways. She was ambushed by some rogue ninja, and once I'd heard, I came to her aid. She was unconscious, and they were about to kill her when I reached their hideout."

Naruto nodded, taking in a deep breath. If it weren't for this kind stranger, he might have been unable to see her alive again. Grateful, Naruto locked eyes with Hidan before saying, "Thank you. I think I can speak for everybody in Konoha when I say that I'm grateful to you for helping her."

"Hm." Hidan replied, unused of such gratitude. Turning away with his arms crossed, he muttered, "Don't mention it."

Another moment of silenced was shared between the two, until the door to the operating room creaked open. Both men stood straight as one of the medics stepped out. A bead of sweat trailed down her forehead, and she wiped it away with the back of her gloved hand. Her breathing was heavy, and Hidan felt the nervousness bubble up inside of him once again. From the woman's facial expression, it didn't look like things were going so well with Sakura.

"Is she okay? What's happening in there?" Naruto demanded in a slow, cautious tone. The medic refused to make eye contact with either Hidan or Naruto, instead choosing to look down at the floor as she shook her head. There was a small pause before Naruto rushed into the room, pushing the medic to the side. She didn't seem to mind, and watched with sad eyes as the blond leaned over the girl.

"Too much blood was lost, and her chakra reserves were completely depleted. Her wounds are too deep, and the substance she was injected with is toxic to humans... I'm sorry, but we have tried everything we could. There is nothing else we can do."

Naruto reached over her face, his hand hovering just over Sakura's cheek. When his fingers brushed against her cold, pale skin, he instantly drew his arm back as if he'd been burned.

"Can't you save her?" Naruto yelled, turning to the medics. "There has to be something else you can do! Anything!"

Hidan had to take a moment for the information to really sink in. His brows furrowed at the unfortunate news. Sakura was not going to make it, was going to die. She was going to die like everybody he cared about did. His heart clenched painfully at the thought- he may pretend that he did not care about anyone other than himself, but it was his way of coping with the unceasing losses. It was the price to pay when you were immortal.

He would rather endure massive amounts of physical pain than to feel constantly abandoned by those whose bonds have been severed by death. It was why he didn't mind making a bond with Kakuzu. It may not have seemed like it, but they were friends. With Kakuzu's many hearts, and his ability to continuously add more, Hidan considered him to be immortal as well, thus enabling him to take the risks of befriending him.

"Just don't let her die, dammit!" Naruto was near hysterics as he desperately pleaded the medics to save Sakura. "Call in Baa-chan, she'll know what to do!"

But Kakuzu had died, just like the others.

"Fuck! Don't leave me, Sakura. Don't you fucking dare!" Naruto was crying now, holding Sakura to his chest. Her body lay limply in his arms- cold, pale, and more frail than he had ever seen her before. Hidan shut his eyes for a moment. Lying there was not the Sakura he'd met.

The Sakura he had gotten to know was an incredible fighter. She was strong-willed, and passionate in everything she believed in. Her loyalty to her village was as intense as his own loyalty towards Jashin. Hidan respected her, and would go as far as saying that he liked her, as well.

"Stay with me, please." Naruto croaked- by now, the remaining medics have left the room, allowing them privacy. "You can't go... Not yet..."

And now she was going to die. Just like Kakuzu, like everybody else he ever gave a damn about had.

Hidan couldn't allow that. He was sick and tired of having death wrench his friends from his grasp. He was tired of having to cut and stab and slice himself open in order to numb the emotional pain he had to deal with every time someone he gave a rat's ass about passed away. He was tired of pushing everyone away in order to save himself from their inevitable deaths and the heartache that came with it.

"Kami, don't let her die." Naruto sobbed, "I didn't even get a chance to say good bye, dammit!"

He was too selfish to give Sakura the freedom that comes with dying.

"Move aside." Hidan demanded, standing before Sakura and Naruto. There was only one way, he knew, that would save her, now.

"What are you going to do to her?" Naruto snarled, tightening his hold around her in a protective manner.

"I'm going to make sure this bitch lives." Hidan replied, all thoughts of abstaining from swearing gone. "Place her on the ground."

"I don't trus-"

"It's the only chance I- she has." Hidan snapped back, sounding almost desperate. At his tone, Naruto finally allowed himself to relax slightly.

He waited for Naruto to gently place Sakura on the ground. When he reluctantly backed away, Hidan bit the tips of his fingers, drawing out blood. Around her body, he drew the many symbols needed for the technique he was about to perform. As soon as he finished, he stepped back to view his work. The resulting shape was a circle with a triangle in the center- the symbol for jashin.

He was going to convert her, resulting in her immortality, resulting in her survival.

The jutsu required an immense amount of chakra, and was usually done with a group of at least five people to lessen the chakra strain. Because the subject had not expressed consent or any willingness whatsoever, it would require even more energy than usual. If she had been compliant, Hidan would have been able to do perform the technique on his own, had he been at full health.

He knew his reserves were running low, and despite how big they originally were, there was a high possibility he wouldn't be able to make it. Taking a deep breath to calm his nerves, Hidan placed his hands atop of Sakura's stomach. He needed another source of chakra. Swallowing his pride, he turned to Naruto with an almost pained expression, "I'm going to need a shitload of chakra for this."

The request was clear, and Naruto nodded dutifully. He would do whatever it took to save Sakura. As soon as Naruto set his hands on top of his, Hidan started chanting the words needed for the conversion jutsu. The symbols simultaneously started to glow an eery white before coming together underneath his hands. Naruto winced as enormous amounts of chakra were forced from his very being.

Hidan finished the jutsu, and Naruto watched in amazement as the symbol of Jashin materialized around her navel, similar to the seals around his. Hidan, breathing heavily, pressed his fingers to her neck to check her pulse. It was weak, but still there, thankfully. Naruto wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead, and sighed in utter relief.

"She's okay, now, right?" He inquired, lifting Sakura in a semi-prone position. Hidan merely nodded, and turned to Sakura. When she found out about what he did, she would be enraged- but he would rather have her angry at him than dead. She would get over it, eventually. He knew she wasn't the type of person to hold a grudge.

"She won't wake up for another day or so." Hidan stated, watching as her chest rose and fell with each breath she took. Naruto lifted her back into her cot and tucked her underneath a blanket. The two men simply watched her as she lay asleep, their breathing heavy and their shirts soaked with sweat.

Naruto let out a sigh of relief- Sakura would remain alive! He wouldn't have to hold a funeral for her, wouldn't have to stand in front of a large crowd and tell them just how much he appreciated her,- not that he didn't express it enough, already- wouldn't have to walk up to her open casket and place a flower on her corpse- he was just so relieved that she would be fine.

"Fuck." Hidan swore, brushing away some blood-soaked hair that had fallen in front of her face. With a grimace, he muttered, "You are more fucking trouble than you're worth."

It wasn't very long until Tsunade came barging in. Her eyes were wide, and her breathing was erratic as she demanded, "What the hell happened here?"

Hidan cursed under her breath. He considered himself to have a decent level of cleverness, but talking his way out of this was going to be a tough one, especially since he was dealing with Konoha's Hokage. Luckily for him, Naruto stepped up and explained everything, from what Hidan had told him earlier, up until now. Tsunade still seemed suspicious, however, and warily stood beside Sakura's side as she examined her.

When the Godaime visibly relaxed, Hidan rolled his eyes- of course his jutsu would work! Tsunade turned to Hidan with an expression of disdain. He glared back in response.

"Why was our guard unconscious?"

"The little shit wouldn't let me pass, and Sakura was fucking dying." Hidan replied, back to his disrespectful self. Tsunade narrowed her eyes at the blatant display of rudeness. She still felt distrusting. There was something off about him- she could already tell he was dangerous, but that wasn't the point. Hadn't she seen him somewhere? His necklace and scythe seemed so familiar...

"What is your name, boy?" Tsunade growled, crossing her arms over her chest. She knew he couldn't be as evil as he seemed if Sakura had befriended him, and he had even allowed the guard to live. The fact he had gone through so much trouble to save her apprentice was something to consider, as well. The man was obviously exhausted, and if he didn't see to some proper rest, problems in health would arise.

Hidan wondered if it would be better to tell the truth, or make up a name. They still didn't recognize him, but he knew they would find out eventually... Being honest about it now could create less suspicion in the future when they realized he was telling the truth. Not only that, but Sakura would probably blab everything away when she awoke.

Stupid bitch probably wouldn't be able to keep her mouth shut for a second.

"Hidan." His reply was short and straight to the point.

"Hey, I've heard of that name, before." Naruto claimed, thoughtfully. There was a short period of quiet before he spoke up again, "Shikamaru buried him alive, or something like that. It was a long while back, though. And now that I remember- from how they described him, of course- he looked a lot like-"

"Are you stupid?" Tsunade interrupted, causing Naruto to huff in indignation. "It is him, idiot."

Hidan stood up abruptly at the tone of her voice. He was willing to continue fighting, dammit! He had made it this far, had put in so much energy- there was no way he would back down, now. His body now tense, he expected the two to come at him, and although he had absolutely no chance of winning, his pride would not allow him to simply run away from a battle. However, neither Naruto nor Tsunade made any move to attack him.

Sakura had stirred slightly in her sleep, efficiently distracting Naruto, while Tsunade simply stared at him in contemplation. Hidan remained stiff, wary of her still. He had heard so much about the woman, of the Godaime Hokage. She was one of the most powerful medic-nin, and skilled in many areas of combat. She was known to be an excellent kunoichi, and famous for her super strength and her eternally youthful appearance- as well as her drinking habits and horrible gambling abilities.

"You will have to be interrogated, later." Tsunade said in a firm, confident manner. She knew how weak the man was- it would take little effort to overcome him. She had many questions to ask, and was curious about Sakura's side of the story. It was obvious not everything was explained. There were too many large gaps in Naruto's explanation that she wanted to know more about. With a slight nod, she added, gratefully, "Thank you for saving my apprentice."

Hidan's eyes widened slightly in surprise. Apprentice? Sakura was the Hokage's apprentice?

... That explained a lot.

He knew Sakura was an accomplished fighter, but he had no idea she was training under one of the most prominent kunoichi. Knowing this tidbit of information assured him of her potential, and he felt less regretful for forcefully converting Sakura into Jashinism now that he knew she would most likely be able to handle it. However, the fact that he had no idea of this troubled him. He barely knew anything about the woman, he realized.

He'd only known her for a couple of weeks, give or take, yet she had struck something in him so hard that he had gone out of his way to save her- and he never acted out so selflessly, before. He was no hero, so why should he even bother pretending? He nodded weakly in response to the Hokage's statement, but stared warily as she approached him.

"Sit down, boy. You look as if you're going to fall over any second now." Tsunade ordered, placing a hand on his shoulder and shoving him down on the chair. Hidan wordlessly complied as the little energy he contained, drained away. He really was exhausted. And now that the Hokage suggested it, all he really wanted to do at the moment was just lie down and drift off...

When Hidan awoke, he was lying in a cot with the taste of sleep still thick in his mouth. His limbs felt heavy, but he felt much better than before he passed out. Sitting up, he observed the room, noticing that it was empty. Just outside the door, he felt two presences. So he was being guarded, eh?

"He's awake, go inform the Hokage." One of the guards suddenly declared. Hidan raised a brow in slight confusion. He hadn't made enough noise to be heard from behind the doors, and his chakra reserves were still low enough to be considered unconsious.

"Of course! Let youth fill my being and allow me to run as-"

"Just go." The man hissed, obviously annoyed. As soon as the second presence disappeared from detection- there was something strange about the man's chakra signature, something he couldn't quite figure out- the other opened the door and stepped in. His long, brown hair was tied loosely in the back, and his strange white eyes scrutinized him.

Jashin! Konoha was filled with freaks.

There was Itachi, who he shouldn't have listed because he was on a completely whole different level of freak, his revenge-obsessed brother, Sakura with her uncommonly pink hair, Kyuubi's vessel, the guard who had a weird chakra signature and started babbling about youth, and now this white-eyed guy that was somehow able to sense his consciousness from behind closed doors.

"You are to remain here while waiting the Hokage's arrival." The guard stated, stiffly. Hidan fought the urge to roll his eyes- one of those strict, formal men. He could already guess how the man behaved on a regular basis, if he was correct in his assumption that this guard was any similar to Itachi. The man was always silent and so unnaturally stoic- it was as if he contained no emotions, whatsoever.

Hidan nodded his head in acknowledgment and asked, "How long have I been out for?"

"Twenty-four hours."

Hidan seemed to consider that for a moment as he turned away from the guard. He was thirsty, and his stomach was considerably empty, but he wasn't feeling too desperate for some food or water. He decided he'd be able to wait. Looking up to meet his guard's gaze, he asked, "How is Sakura doing?"

Neji felt reluctant to answer. He had been ordered to guard this man and to keep his identity and capture- if it could even be called that- a secret to the rest of the villagers. It wasn't a difficult mission, especially considering even he had no idea who he was guarding. He had been told very little information, except that the man was to be detained in the room until the Hokage made an appearance, and that he had saved Sakura so he was to be treated more like a guest than like a prisoner.

"She has yet to awaken."

Hidan grunted in response, then stood up to stretch. He was about to search the room for a source of water or food when the guard gestured to a cup of water and a sandwich, left on a table at the foot of the cot. Although somewhat grateful, Hidan did not show any thanks as he chugged down the water and quickly stuffed the sandwich into his mouth.

"So," Hidan started, swallowing before he continued, "when can I leave this shit hole?"

Ignoring his rudeness, Neji replied in a polite, business-like manner, "Not until the Hokage speaks with you."

"Damn." Hidan cursed, unhappy with the appointment with the Godaime. Interrogations were so tedious. No matter how much torture he was subject to, he was always able to keep his mouth shut- why would this be any different? It's not like he had any information about the Akatsuki, either. That was probably the first topic they would discuss with him. Inwardly cursing, he muttered, "This is going to be a long day."

He sat back on the cot, tapping his fingers beside him as he waited in awkward silence. The guard stayed by the door, simply watching, analyzing him like some stupid scientist. Forget about Itachi, this guy was more like Orochimaru, with his creepy, fucked up experiments. Or Sasori, and his even creepier puppets.

Wow, he knew a lot of freaks.

A few minutes later, the Hokage finally arrived, dismissing both guards, telling them that she had everything under control. Standing before him with her arms crossed, she promptly started questioning him. Hidan cooperated- many of the questions were similar to the ones Sakura asked, and answering them was easy enough. Like he had predicted, he was asked questions that focused mainly on the Akatsuki. He was also questioned about how he had managed to escape Shikamaru's trap, and how long ago, among other things.

Tsunade stopped for a moment, her expression suggesting that she was contemplating something. "Hm. Your answers have been satisfactory so far, but besides the-"

The door suddenly burst open, revealing Sakura dressed in a white hospital gown. Behind her was Naruto, laughing nervously as he rubbed the back of his head. The Hokage growled, obviously displeased with her unexpected appearance.

"Naruto! I told you to keep Sakura in the room while I-"

"I tried, baa-chan! Really, I did, but she threatened me saying that she would make sure I didn't step within a two meter radius of Ichiraku's!" Naruto explained, sounding terrified at the thought. The Hokage proceeded to pinch the bridge of her nose as she demanded the two to leave immediately. Of course, neither of them listened, and Sakura defiantly marched up to him, obviously furious.

"What did you do to me, Hidan?" Sakura demanded. Hidan examined her healthy form. She was no longer a sickly pale or extremely thin, and her wounds had healed significantly.

"No 'thank you for saving my life, Hidan'?" Hidan inquired, mocking her. With a scoff, he added, "Ungrateful bitch."

Sakura was in no mood for any teasing and joking. Feeling almost defeated, she glanced over at Tsunade with an almost pleading expression. With a sigh and an off-handed warning about being careful, the Hokage left the room, taking a resisting Naruto by the ear and dragging him away. His protests, and her shouts could be heard as he was pulled down the hall. As soon as their voices died away, Sakura promptly turned to Hidan and proceeded to blow up in his face.

"I had everything under control! I would have handled everything perfectly fine on my own! You didn't need to step in, Hidan!" She grunted, frustrated, before she continued, "And now you've placed another one of your stupid techniques-"

"Under control?" Hidan yelled, indignant, and unable to listen to her, any longer. She could rant on about his technique, sure, but she was in no position to tell him that she was 'handling everything perfectly fine'. He had been so fucking worried, and here she was, acting all self-righteous. Angrily, he declared, "You nearly fucking died, Sakura! If I hadn't fucking stepped in-"

"I could have handled myself fine out there!" She argued, her face now red with anger.

"You were tied up, drugged out of your goddamn mind, and completely fucking vulnerable. You call that 'handling it fine'?" Hidan retorted, his fists clenched in anger. The least she could do was be a little grateful he had actually bothered to come back for her instead of leaving her to fucking die like he should have.

Sakura could only stare at him, speechless. Naruto hadn't told her about that part of the story. Before she had a chance to compose herself, Hidan sneered as he turned to walk away from her.

"I'm fucking done with this shit. This is the last time I ever try helping-"

"Wait," Sakura pleaded, grabbing on to his arm before he could walk away. Hidan was about to rip his arm out of her grasp, but one look at her utterly confused expression left him sighing in resignation. He did, after all, forcefully convert her into Jashinism. He owed her an explanation at least.

"They managed to fucking knock me out. When I woke up, I followed their trail and found their base. They had drugged you up with some strong anesthetic from Grass and had you tied up by the time I found you. I watched for a bit- they offered you a chance to join them, but you refused and started talking fucking nonsense, so they decided to kill you. I stepped in and got you back to Konoha and into the hospital where..." the medics said you wouldn't survive, so I did the only fucking thing I could to make sure you lived.

Hidan stared at her, feeling too apprehensive to continue speaking for the first time since meeting her.

"Where...?" Sakura encouraged, much calmer than she had been only a couple of minutes ago. She was listening intently, looking so curious and eager and goddammit, he couldn't do it.

Did he really want to tell her? Did he really want to reveal that he had developed feelings for her? She already hated him- no, loathed him! And now that he really considered it, she would only hate him even more once he informed her about his technique. He might as well save himself from the humiliation and rejection. She didn't have to know that he had thrown away his pride to finally admit that yes, he did care about her.

"I took advantage of your weakened state and performed the conversion technique. You are now a full-fledged Jashinist. Immortality and fucking everything that comes with it."

It took a moment for the information to sink in. When it had, she simply lowered her head as her small body shook with rage. Hidan inwardly winced, noticing that she was so angry at him that she hadn't even attempted to punch him yet. Outwardly, he wore a smirk on his lips and had his arms folded in front of his chest in an arrogant manner.

When Sakura finally came to her senses, she glared up at him, tears streaming down her face as she slapped him. Her hands weren't enhanced with chakra, but the impact was still as painful- just not in the physical sense. Hidan's eyes fell downcast, knowing fully well he deserved it, but hardened immediately when he knew it was what he needed to do.

"You bastard!" She exclaimed, clenching her fists at her sides. "I can't believe you actually- I'm so- just- just go! Leave! I never want to see your face again!"

Hidan submitted to her demand and left the room with a blank expression. As soon as the door clicked shut behind him, Sakura collapsed on the ground, devastated. She would never be able to lead a normal life!

Naruto abruptly barged into the room, running to Sakura's side as soon as he saw her state. He wrapped his arms around her consolingly, and allowed her to clutch on to his shirt as she continued to cry. "Sakura-chan! What happened? Did he hurt you?"

As Sakura recited her story from the moment she had the misfortune of meeting the white-haired man, Naruto would rub her back to comfort her. He would nod along and listen intently as she spilled everything that had occurred during the weeks she was out of Konoha's protective walls. She purposely left out awkward situations,- like waking up and realizing he was naked- of course, finding it unnecessary to tell him. By the time she reached the part Hidan had explained to her, Sakura had calmed down considerably.

As she retold his story, Naruto stiffened when she explained how he had taken advantage of the situation to place a jutsu on her that would convert her into his bizarre religion. What really got to him was how Hidan had supposedly 'taken advantage of Sakura'. If he remembered correctly, the guy was just as worried as he. He may not have expressed it like Naruto had, but he could tell- from the way Hidan had held her, the way he had looked at her- everything. He was sure of it.

"Sakura-chan, listen to me for a second." Naruto stated, tilting her chin up so that he could establish proper eye contact. "I don't think he told you this, but the medics couldn't save you. You were dying, Sakura-chan. Whatever technique that was, it was the only thing he could do."

He paused, thinking about Sakura's account of Jashinism.

"If it really is that bad of a jutsu, then I guess he just couldn't let you go."

Knowing this information caused her to feel almost guilty- almost. He would never be able to take back the curse he had forced her into. She would have to live through lifetimes, watching as friends and family died. So what if she could survive a severed arm, leg, or even a head? Who cared if she could walk after being crushed by boulders or if she could breathe after drowning in an ocean?

It would never be worth it, being forced to watch as her friends grew up and formed families normally, while she could not. She could not bear watching a child and husband grow old and die without her, and she would never consider forcing immortality on them. Bonds would be made, and forcibly torn apart by death. She was a person who functioned mainly on emotions, on loyalty and bonds made through friendship and family. Knowing they would inevitably break as decades passed- it was absolutely agonizing.

Ironically, as she continued living, she would also be left behind...

Realization dawned upon Sakura.

"... I guess he just couldn't let you go."

Fists clenched, Hidan silently walked out of the Hokage's office. She was now satisfied with the answers given, and finding no use for him, allowed him to leave the village, warning him to remain undetected and unseen from too many villagers.

He should consider himself fortunate, she said. Hidan rolled his eyes in contempt- fortunate his ass.

As he stepped out of the gate, he smirked at the guard, who stood with his arms crossed and his eyes narrowed in a glare.


He turned around to find Sakura, jogging to catch up with him, but instead of waiting, he turned back around and continued walking away. He was not in the mood to hear her bitching, and he knew he wouldn't be able to stand looking at her for any longer. He just wanted to leave the damn village and be done with her. He heard her footsteps come nearer and nearer, but refused to turn around until he felt her hand grab his shoulder.

"What the fuck do you want, now?" Hidan growled, wrenching his arm away. There was no turning back- he couldn't tell her the truth, now. Sakura paused, unable to speak. She hadn't thought of what she would say to him- instead, she had impulsively ran after him when she realized exactly what Hidan was trying to avoid. She wanted to thank him and hug him and ask so many questions, but she didn't know where to begin.

"I just..." She started, but stopped when she met his eyes. Awkwardly, both turned away. Softly, she inquired, "Why...?"

Hidan knew exactly what she was referring to, but he wasn't going to answer her. Why did he bother going back for her? Why did he execute the damning technique, instead of letting her die? Meanwhile, Sakura knew the answer to her question. She just wanted to hear him say it, she needed the confirmation, to know for sure.

"Figure it out on your own. I'm fucking leaving."

Sakura flinched at his tone, and watched, disappointed, as he walked away. She stood in silence as she watched him- what could she do, now? He was leaving, dammit. He had refused to give her a chance and was walking out of her life!

He may seem like he didn't give a damn about anything other than himself, but she knew there was more to him than his flippant facade. Now that she was subject to the consequences he had been facing for years, she finally understood. Despite what he believed, Sakura knew they were at least friends.

She had to say, had to do something!

He was walking further and further away from her.

Ten steps...



She couldn't let him leave, couldn't let him destroy another bond.

Swallowing her pride, she ran after him once again. Just as she was about to reach him, he turned around with an irritated expression on his face. Before he could speak, however, she had wrapped her arms around his neck and buried her face in his chest, nearly knocking him down.

"Thank you, Hidan."

Hidan's eyes widened- how did she know? She wouldn't have thanked him unless she had known.

As if reading his thoughts, Sakura muttered into his shirt, "Naruto told me."

Hidan relaxed and reluctantly placed his arms around her waist, drawing her closer to him. The two stayed like that for a moment, before Sakura looked up at him with a nervous expression.

"Stay?" She pleaded, blushing. She should have thought this out, before. It probably would have been less awkward on her part. "With me."

"No." He didn't even consider the idea and had instantly rejected her request.

Embarassed, Sakura quickly transformed her humiliation into anger as she pulled away from him and demanded, "Why not?"

"Your Hokage said that there are some people who'd recognize me and try to kill me." Hidan replied, shrugging. Sakura bit her lip- she had forgotten to consider Ino, Shikamaru, or the others who were greatly affected by Asuma's death. They would definitely be unhappy with Hidan living in Konoha.

"Maybe we could change your appearance." Sakura suggested, "We could dye your hair and-"

She was silenced as Hidan lifted her chin up and and kissed her. Sakura could do nothing but widen her eyes in surprise. When they parted, Sakura was still red in the face, and sputtering madly.

"You have no idea how long I've wanted to do that, bitch."

She couldn't speak- her heart was beating erratically, and she had an extreme case of butterflies in her stomach. She hadn't felt this way since... Well, she had never felt this way! The only time she had been so flustered was when she almost kissed Sasuke- who happened to be Naruto, that idiot- and when she had pleaded Sasuke to bring her with him, but neither times had she felt such intenseness.

"You stay in Konoha. The next time you're out on a mission, I'll find you." Hidan stated, smirking at Sakura's speechlessness.

"How?" Sakura replied, weakly. Sakura knew she respected him,- he was loyal, dedicated, and an exceptional fighter- she considered him a friend at the very least, and she was obviously attracted to him physically, but could she consider him in that way? Could she grow to love him, and live the rest of eternity with him?

"I have my ways." Hidan responded, before pulling her in for another kiss. This time, however, Sakura happily reciprocated.

Of course she could. It's not like she had much of a choice, anyways.

End of story! I hope you enjoyed reading!

Please review!