Warning: I've done some revising, as you can tell from the lack of prologue. Don't worry, everything deleted will be explained in this chapter. None of my changes will be plot-altering, I'm just sprucing up the grammar and ridding the story of the vile toxin that is bad writing. :)

Chapter One: Suspicious Mops and Sumo Wrestlers

Jayden Itishi sighed mournfully. Her cousin, Claribel Sazume, shot her a glare and went back to her sketchbook. Jaye sighed again. "What is your problem?" Clari said, snapping her sketchbook shut.

"The electricity's out, and I don't have anything to do!"

"Listen to your iPod."

"It's not charged."

"So charge it."

"The power's out!"

"Sounds like a personal problem," Clari stated, cranking up the volume on her own iPod. Jaye shot her a jealous look before scrunching her head in the pillow angrily. The night had been going perfectly fine until a huge storm racked their poor house and caused the electricity to malfunction. Luckily, Clari had some odd fascination with scented candles, so they had plenty of light. Unfortunately, the conflicting smells were making them both nauseated.

Jaye sighed again, revealing her face from the pillow. "I'm going to bed," she declared, marching up to her room.

"Okay." After a while, Clari began blowing out candles, preparing for bed herself. She was tired after a long day of doing nothing, and today was an especially draining date.

Today was the anniversary of her mother's death.

Emi Sazume had died of some sort of ailment derived from the previous demise of Clari's stepfather and Jaye's uncle, Jacob Itishi. Clari recalled having a perfect, happy family before the plane crash that killed her stepfather. Since she had no idea who her real father was, Clari thought of the kind Jacob as father, and was just as devastated as Emi after his death. They'd moved in with Jacob's sister, Lily, and her daughter, Jaye, following his death. After two or three years, Emi got sick and died too, when Clari was twelve. That was four years ago.

At age sixteen, Clari couldn't honestly say that she thought of her mother often. Her last memories of her weren't really memories at all, just trivial escapades blurred with sadness and depression. Clari couldn't even really remember the happy times when Jacob was still alive, either. Lily and Jaye were her family now. They visited Emi's grave today, of course, and Jacob's too, but that didn't stop Clari's bitter resentment towards her mother. The fact that she, at ten years old, was stronger than her mother was a difficult thing to digest. When Jacob died, Clari had no one to go to. And Emi had abandoned her soon after that. She hadn't even really fought the illness that took her away. She embraced it with open arms, leaving Clari to fend for herself.

Clari shook her head to clear it of those dark thoughts. She just needed to go to bed and sleep off the thunderstorm. There was a flash of lightning and she waited in anticipation for the roll of thunder that would seep through the music blaring from her earbuds. A movement at the window caught her eye, a shadowy blip in the otherwise blinding white light that illuminated the blinds. She paused and squinted. She saw something (or maybe someone) move. Another streak of lightning unveiled a perfect humanoid silhouette.

Trembling in fear, Clari scrambled out of the room. She attempted to catapult over the couch, fell right on her face when she failed, then scurried back up and bolted up the stairs to Jaye's room. When she burst open the door to the toxic waste dump, she could make out the vague bundle of blankets that was her cousin's sleeping form.

"Jaye! Jaye, I think someone's trying to break into our house! Jaye!" Clari whispered, violently shaking her cousin's shoulder. With a loud yell, Jaye jolted awake and pushed Clari off the bed. Hard.

"Clari!" she yelled, trying to untangle herself from the blankets. "Holy shit! What are you doing?"

"I think you just broke my ass..." Clari groaned, curling up on the ground and grabbing said area.

"Well, that's what happens when you mess with those of us who have a black belt in karate!" Jaye accused.

"Nevermind!" Clari dismissed, standing up. "I think someone's trying to - "

She was interrupted by a loud crash downstairs, and she felt her blood run cold. Impossible! They were already inside the house? Jaye's eyes widened with understanding and she ushered Clari into the closet. Before Clari could close the door, she'd grabbed a metal baseball bat and was swinging it experimentally. Rolling her eyes, Clari grabbed the back of Jaye's shirt and pulled her back inside the closet, shutting the door soon afterwards. Jaye inconspicuously handed Clari a mop.

"Why do you have a mop in your closet?" Clari hissed.

"Funny story, actually - "

Clari hushed her when she heard voices outside.

"What the fuck is that smell?" one person, a guy, said.

"I don't know..." said another person, this one female.

"I think it smells like the inside of a - " a third speaker (male) began.

"Whatever it is, it means that she's here. Search for her. If you find anyone else, bring them too me...alive," said another man, cutting off the third speaker.

Jaye and Clari glanced at each other nervously. They fought for a view through the crack between the door and door frame, just in time to catch a shadow passing in front of them. They held their weapons ready.

The door opened, revealing a tall man in some kind of robe and mask. Clari had time to assess only this before Jaye leapt out of the closet.

"DIE!" she screeched, swinging the baseball bat with full force. In one quick motion, the man had taken the bat and Jaye was laying on the floor, unconscious. He turned to Clari defiantly, as if daring her to be as stupid as her cousin. She timidly poked him in the ribs with the mop. "Die?"

He twisted the mop from her grasp and flung her over his shoulder, grabbing Jaye by the neck of her shirt soon afterwards. Clari struggled, but the guy was freakishly strong. Like, sumo wrestler strong. Truthfully, Clari didn't even know if sumo wrestlers were strong, but if she had to compare this guy's strength to something, it would definitely be a sumo wrestler.

He dropped them onto the couch in the living room. The rest of the group had gathered after hearing all the commotion. Clari counted nine in all. There was something familiar about them...she just couldn't put her finger on it.

"Kakuzu," one said. "I thought I told you to bring them alive?"

"She attacked me! Besides, she not dead; just unconscious," said the one named Kakuzu.

"But unable to answer questions," the leader chastised.

"She can't, but the other one can," Kakuzu pointed out. All nine pairs of eyes looked at her. She trembled and nudged Jaye with her foot, hoping to wake her.

"What is your name?" the leader asked.

"Um...Claribel Sazume...my friends call me Clari," she added. "And this is Jayden Itishi...also known as Jaye."

"Clari!" one of the nine robed figures (she thought he was the third person from earlier) said in surprise.

Clari shook her head as if to clear it. "Um, I'm sorry. Do I know you?"

The leader raised an eyebrow. "You mean Emi didn't tell you about us?"

"My mother is dead," Clari said, scowling. What was this, some kind of joke? Because if it was, it wasn't funny. At all. The nine figures had the decency to look rather uncomfortable, at least. Jaye chose that awkward moment to sit up, rubbing her forehead.

"What happened? Shit...I have the migraine from hell..." she mumbled. She noticed the nine figures. "Who the hell are you?"

The leader cleared his throat. "We are the Akatsuki. I'm Pein - "

"Did you say you were the Akatsuki? Are you stoned or something?" Jaye exclaimed. "The Akatsuki are characters from an anime. They don't exist."

"We are not, as you call it, 'stoned,' " Pein said. He stepped into the flashing white light of the lightning, and the girls gulped in surprise. The ringed eyes, the spiky orange hair, the glinting silver piercings...this was either the real Pein, or someone who went to quite some lengths to have an identical appearance. "We are the Akatsuki. I can supply proof, if you want. But I don't think you want that."

"What are you doing here?" Clari squeaked, shrinking into the soft recesses of the couch. This isn't happening, she thought frantically, racking her brain for explanations. This isn't happening, this isn't happening...

"You said you were Clari, right?" Pein began, turning his intense gaze towards her. It softened, just a fraction, but Clari convinced herself that it was just a trick in the lighting. "Claribel Sazume? Emi Sazume's daughter?"

Clari mutely nodded her head, wondering how the leader of a secret organization (or some psychopath who thought he was the leader of a secret organization) knew who her mother was.

"It happened a long time ago, in our world," Pein sighed, launching into story-telling mode. "The Naruto world, you might call it. Emi Sazume is from that world, Clari. She was born there, she was raised there, and she conceived you there. It wasn't until she was almost three months pregnant with you that she came here, to this world.

"Emi had been our informant for quite some time, a few years. She worked as a waitress at a bar where a lot of important people went to drink, and she reported what she found. She was a very productive information source, and good at what she did. It was amazing that she was discovered, but she was. She came to us for help, and we granted it to her. It was a tricky and chakra-consuming task to get you two here, but we did. The only condition was that, in case of an emergency, we could use your house as a hide out of the most impenetrable kind. Emi agreed, and she came here. She had you, and she married Jacob Itishi.

"We used our advantage a couple years back, when you were one or two years old. We stayed for two weeks. It was during that time we learned of our...anime." The very word seemed to hiss from Pein's mouth, and it sent an irritated ripple throughout the group. "Anyway, we ended up burning down your house. That's why you came to live here, but we left before you did. You," he said, pointing to Jaye, "don't know about us. You've never met us. And Clari, you being so young when you did, I'm not surprised you don't remember us."

Clari and Jaye gawked at him, at a loss for words. Clari was having trouble digesting the whole situation. It was like asparagus. Or broccoli. Or worse, zucchini. It just wouldn't seem to go down.

Jaye turned to her cousin and hit her. "You lucky bitch!"

"What? Jaye, you don't honestly believe them?" Clari said, snapping out of her stupor. It seemed that denial was the only coping mechanism at this point. There was no way in hell that she and her mother came from another world, one based off of a cartoon, to boot.

"Uh, hello? Have you seen them? They're exact replicas of the Akatsuki in Naruto!" Jaye pointed out.

"Yes..." Clari admitted, glancing over at the Akatsuki, who were waiting for them to finish. "But I do have one problem with your story - well, actually, I have a lot of problems with your story, but this one seems to be the most practical for evidence. You said that you met me when I was two, right? That was...fourteen years ago. That would make some of you like, five or six. How do you explain that?"

"Time moves differently in our world," Pein explained.

"Dammit!" Clari muttered, defeated.

"So are you gonna let us stay here willingly, or are we gonna have to kill you first?" Kisame said bluntly.

"Well, when you put it that way..." Clari said. She looked at Jaye, who shrugged. "Okay, you can stay. But you should know that we don't live here alone. Jaye's mom lives here to."

"Should we have to worry about her...?" Konan inquired.

"No, probably not. She's not home very often anyway," Jaye said dismissively. "In fact, she's on a business trip right now."

"Great," Pein said. "Now, where will we be sleeping?"


The house consisted of five bedrooms with a basement and small attic. Jaye, Clari, and Lily already took up three bedrooms. As they were giving the Akatsuki a tour of the house, they appointed rooms.

"Hidan and Kakuzu can have the basement, since it has two single beds," Jaye instructed.

"Fuck no! I hate basements!" Hidan complained.

"Deal with it!"

"Make me, bitch!"

"I can see this is going to be a pleasant visit," Clari remarked. In the end, Kisame and Itachi got the basement.

When they passed the living room, Clari said to Zetsu, "This couch pulls out into a bed. You can sleep here."

"Deidara and Tobi can have the guest room with the bunk bed," Jaye appointed.

"Oh! Tobi calls top bunk!" the masked man called, sticking his hand in the air and jumping up and down like an idiot.

"Whatever," Deidara pouted, expecting having to bunk with Tobi, but being disappointed either way.

"There's an air mattress and a futon in the attic, for Hidan and Kakuzu," Clari said.

"I hate attics too!"

"Tough shit!" Jaye yelled, quickly slamming the door to the attic shut.

"So, I assume that we're sleeping in the last guest room, correct?" Konan asked.

"Yes...but there's one thing..." Clari said.


"The last guest bedroom only has one bed," Jaye explained, opening the door to said room. "But it's queen-sized, so it should be big enough for you both."

Konan's blush was instantaneous, but Pein didn't seem bothered by the predicament. "I don't care," he said, looking at Konan. "Do you mind?"

"What? Um...no, I guess not..."

"Great! Sleep tight!" Jaye exclaimed before they could change their minds and explore the alternatives, all of which required her or Clari giving up their room and bunking together. She closed the door, leaving just her and her cousin in the hallway. "Can you believe it, Clari?"

"Believe what?"

Jaye gaped at her. "Hello? Your mom came from the Naruto world, was in cahoots with the Akatsuki, who are now living with us! Doesn't that excite you just a little?"


"Oh forget it! You're hopeless!" Jaye said, turning away crossly.

"You can get as excited as you want," Clari permitted, walking towards her room. "But frankly, having nine criminal ninjas living with me is rather frightening. Therefore, I'm going to sleep and hoping that this is a dream. Goodnight."


Tobi was the first to arise the next morning. He didn't know what to do, so he simply stayed in bed. Deidara woke up soon afterwards because Tobi was constantly shifting positions. When he was done shouting at Tobi, he decided that he was hungry. He dragged himself down to the kitchen, stood in it for exactly 3.2 seconds, then went back upstairs to get one of the girls to make breakfast. Jaye didn't exactly seem like the culinary type, so he knocked on Clari's door instead. There was no answer. He knocked again. Still nothing. Shrugging, he just opened the door.

With one slightly curious glance at the colorful bedroom, he focused on the bed, in which a sleeping Clari lay in the mangled blanket. This was the first time he'd gotten a good look at her since she was two, so he assessed her thoroughly. The first thing he noticed was that her hair was three different colors. Most of it was a light brown like when she was a kid, but it had blue streaks and black tips and only came to about her shoulders now. She was short, probably a whole foot shorter than he was. The only thing he could see on her face was the smeared eyeliner and freckles. He tried to remember what color her eyes were, and the color blue came to mind.

"Staring at her in bed like that is kinda creepy Deidara-senpai," Tobi said from behind him. Reflexively, Deidara smacked him on the forehead. He pondered on how to wake her up. He looked at the palm of his hand, where a mouth was waiting hungrily. Shrugging, he went back to his room to get clay. Tobi gasped and followed him. "Deidara-senpai!" he said, abashed. "You can't wake her up with a bomb!"

"Oh? And why not, un?"

"You'll kill her!"

"I'm not that careless, un," Deidara said, dropping white clay into his hand-mouth. "I'll make the bomb small."

"Deidara-senpai, why don't you just tap her on the shoulder?"

"Because that's no fun." He walked back into Clari's room and let the tiny bird flutter inside. Tobi watched in horror as he clapped his hands together and said "Katsu!" The bird blossomed into a little ball of flame, large enough to scorch the blankets and wake up Clari, but not large enough to kill her. She did topple out of bed and scream, however, when she discovered that her bed was on fire.

"DEIDARA!" she accused, while hitting the growing flame with a shoe. "PUT THIS FIRE OUT!"

"I can't, un."

There was no need for him too. Clari had violently beat out the fire with the random shoe, leaving her bedspread and sheets charred. She wheeled around blindly chucked the shoe, hitting him square in the chest. It fell to the ground harmlessly. Clari didn't have the best arm. She huffed, causing strands of tangled, multi-colored hair to fly out of her glaring face, only to fall across it again. She marched up to him and shoved him much more powerfully than she had thrown the shoe. He was right; her simmering eyes were a deep blue.

"What the hell?" she yelled.

"I was hungry," Deidara explained.

"You were hungry? Why didn't you just shake my shoulder like a normal person? Or better yet, why didn't you just make something yourself?"

"Because that's no fun, un," he said again. Clari looked ready to strangle him when Pein and Konan sluggishly arrived.

"What's going on?" Pein yawned.

"He blew up my room!" Clari shouted, pointing at the perpetrator.

"Deidara, why did you blow up her room?" Pein asked without interest.

He shrugged. "I was hungry, un."

"Yes, me too. Clari, would you mind making us breakfast?" Pein said, migrating downstairs. She watched him and Konan go, agog. At least the latter gave her an apologetic glance. Deidara smiled at Clari and patted her head. She watched him walk downstairs before picking up the shoe and throwing it at him again, this time hitting him in the back of the head. He wheeled around, rubbing the blonde target.


"Don't do that!" she screamed.

"What, blow up your room or pat you on the head, un?"


He smirked. "No promises."

Hidan and Kakuzu passed her alone in the hallway. "I'm hungry," Kakuzu declared, having missed all the commotion. Clari turned on him, thoroughly irked.

"Go fuck yourself!" she suggested shrilly, before storming downstairs to make waffles.


Almost everyone was awake by the time Clari set a huge plate of waffles on the table. Seating was limited, so she sat on the counter with Kisame, Deidara, and Tobi. There also wasn't enough syrup, so she ate her waffles with peanut butter.

"What are you doing, Clari-chan?" Tobi asked as she prepared her breakfast.

"Eating breakfast," she said, taking a bite of her peanut butter-covered waffle. "And it's just Clari."

"Oh. Well, why did you put peanut butter on your waffle?"

"Because there wasn't enough syrup for everybody and peanut butter is good with almost any breakfast item," she explained.

"Oh," Tobi said again. "Can Tobi try it?"

"Sure," she said, handing him the peanut butter jar. She watched in anticipation as he spread the gooey substance on his waffle. He handed her the peanut butter jar and hopped off the counter, happily skipping down the hallway with his plate of waffles. Clari slumped. She was wondering how Tobi ate without showing anyone his face. Now she knew.

"Can I try that?" Kisame asked, pointing to the peanut butter.

"Yeah, here."

The a shrill whistle erupted throughout the house, causing the whole Akatsuki to leap out of their seats and get into defensive positions. Their waffles flipped through the air and landed all over the kitchen, creating quite a mess. One even managed to hit Clari in the face. Fortunately, it didn't have anything on it yet.

"Guys, don't worry about it," she said, hopping off the counter. "It's just the telephone."

"Telephone?" Pein asked.

"Um, yeah...a communication device," Clari explained, grabbing the phone and peeling a syrupy waffle off her foot in disgust. "Hello?" She listened intently for a moment before saying: "Yes, of course. She'll be there soon." And hanging up the phone.

"Who was that?" Konan inquired.

"Jaye's boss. She's supposed to be at work. JAAAAYYYE! GET YOUR LAZY ASS DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW!" she boomed. Looking around, she sighed and rubbed her temples. "Will someone please go upstairs and wake her up? Get me the mop out of her room, too."

Hidan perked up. "I'll do it!"

They watched him sprint out of the room. Ten seconds later, they heard Jaye's voice.





Hidan came sprinting downstairs carrying the mop, which he proceeded to thrust in Clari's face. A disgruntled Jaye came down a few minutes later, her short black hair sticking up at odd angles, her gray eyes seething. But at least she was dressed and her eyeliner wasn't too smeared.

"Jaye, you're supposed to be at work -" Clari began.

" - yeah yeah, I know," Jaye said dismissively, dragging her fingers through her hair and grabbing her keys off the counter. "I'm leaving right now."

"But wait -"

Jaye had already slammed the front door shut, leaving Clari alone with a sticky kitchen, a mop with suspicious brownish-red stains on it, and nine S-ranked criminals.


When Jaye came back twenty minutes later, most of the Akatsuki were crowded around the television, watching a cartoon. They didn't even bother to look away from the screen when she walked in.

"What are you watching?" she asked, leaning over to see the screen. "Phineas and Ferb?"

"Shhh! I want to find out what they're gonna do today!" Kisame said.

"Oh, you've got to be kidding me," Jaye muttered, marching into the kitchen to find Clari and Deidara cleaning up breakfast. "Deidara? You're actually cleaning?"

"Yes, un. Is that so surprising?" the blonde artist said, feigning hurt.

Clari rolled her eyes. "The only reason he's helping is because Pein is making him."


"He blew up my room this morning."

"I was hungry, un!" Deidara defended.

"Whatever," Clari dismissed. "Anyway, why are you home, Jaye?"

"Oh, the boss just needed me to run a quick errand."

"Cool. So you're off for the rest of the day?"


"Would you mind helping us clean the kitchen?"

"Yes, actually, I would. Have fun!" Jaye said cheerfully, walking into the living room. Clari sighed and continued to mop syrup off the floor.

"There's peanut butter on the ceiling, un," Deidara noted, staring up at the circle of peanut butter. Clari looked up, too. With another sigh, she got a chair, placed it under the peanut butter stain, and stood on her toes with a rag to clean it. She couldn't reach.

Deidara snickered. "You need me to get it?"

"No," Clari snapped. "I don't need you blowing up my kitchen, too."

"Are you ever going to let that go, un?"

"Probably not," she said thoughtfully, trying to reach the ceiling again.

"Clari, you're being stupid, un. Let me get it," he insisted.

"Nope, I got it," she said, grabbing the mop and using it to clean the peanut butter. Deidara rolled his eyes.

"You are so stubborn, un."

"Look who's talking."

Zetsu walked in. "What are you doing?"

"Cleaning peanut butter off the ceiling," Clari explained, pausing in her vigorous scrubbing to look at the plant man.

Zetsu just shook his head and opened the pantry. "You don't have any food."

"Sorry. I'm going grocery shopping as soon as I'm done."

"Well then, stop flirting and get a move on. I'm hungry," Zetsu's black half complained. He proceeded to drift out of the room.

"Well," Clari muttered crossly, returning to her task. Deidara chuckled and continued to wipe syrup off the counters.


Jaye actually volunteered to stay with the Akatsuki (the girls definitely weren't leaving them alone in their house) while Clari went shopping. She detested shopping, and besides that she didn't even know what to buy. So after Clari got a shower and did her hair and such things, she managed to pry Konan away from the television and ask her to come.

"Why?" Konan asked, eying Clari's outfit critically. It was a pair of black ripped and paint-splattered jeans, a dark purple t-shirt with a skull design on it, gray converse, and an array of spiky bracelets over fishnet gloves. Though Jaye and Clari were both considered "Goth" by the general public, their styles were different. Jaye preferred simple black pants, band t-shirts, combat boots, and minimal jewelery (normally consisting of a necklace with gloves of some sort) while Clari was a little more flashy. These conflicting styles weren't evident in their personalities, however; if anything, they were reversed.

"Because I need to get you guys some normal clothes, and I don't know anyone's size," Clari explained.

"What makes you think I do?" Konan inquired.

"Um...I don't know. I just figured you'd have a better idea."

Konan looked Clari over again. "Will I have to dress like that?"

"Not if you don't want to..." Clari mumbled, relatively offended. "You're closer to Jaye's size anyway. Come on."

She led Konan upstairs and let her pick out a black tank top with white skulls on it and jeans. They left, Clari explaining how a car worked on their way out.

Jaye looked around her at the eight people left. They'd figured out how to change the channel and were now watching Courage the Cowardly Dog on Cartoon Network. She couldn't help but smile. Clari hated this show; when they were little, she used to cry when she watched it. It was so bad that Jaye used to threaten her with it in order to get what she wanted. She had to admit the show was creepy, but still; it wasn't worth crying over.

After three episodes, another cartoon came on. Jaye was too bored to be bothered by it's title. What is with these guys and cartoons? she wondered. Are they drawn to them because they're from a cartoon, or because they're just that childish? Whatever the reason, Jaye didn't want to watch cartoons all day, and she couldn't convince the remaining Akatsuki to change it. So, she whipped out her usual alternative: her iPod (which was now fully charged).

Hidan looked at her curiously. "What is that?"

"An iPod," Jaye said.

"Well, what the fuck does it do?" he asked impatiently.

"It plays music."

"Let me see." He grabbed for it.

She moved it out of his reach. "Ask nicely."

"Give me the fucking music-pod!"

"That wasn't nicely," Jaye taunted.

"Give it to me!"

"Say please."

"No! Give it to me or I will cut your fucking heart out and feed it to Kakuzu!"

Jaye gagged. "That's just wrong. Kakuzu, would you eat my heart?"

"No, I don't eat stone," Kakuzu answered.


"AH HA!" Hidan exclaimed, snatching the iPod from her hands and ripping the headphones out of her ears. "I got the music-pod!"

"Hey!" Jaye said again, reaching for it. "Give it back you bastard!"

Hidan leaned away and put the headphones in his ears. "What the fuck is this?"

"Katy Perry," Jaye said, pouting.

" 'I kissed a girl and I liked it? The taste of her cherry chapstick?' " Hidan quoted, making each phrase sound like a question. "What the fuck?"

"She's weird," Jaye defended. "But she makes good music."

"Ugh," Hidan sneered, throwing the iPod back to her. "That's disgusting."

"I don't think so," Deidara commented.

"You're fucking disgusting," Hidan retorted.

"What, you don't like lesbians?" Jaye said, actually surprised.

"What? Fuck no! It's against my religion," he stated.

"Huh. Interesting."

"What the fuck do you mean by that?"

"Most guys like lesbians," Jaye said, smirking sadistically. "I just find it interesting that you don't."

"What the fuck are you implying?"

"She's implying that you're gay, stupid," Kisame put in.

"No one fucking asked you!"

"It would explain why you go shirtless all the time," Zetsu accused.

"What? That has nothing to do with being gay!" Hidan yelled.

"So you are gay!" Jaye exclaimed.

"Fuck no! Gay people freak me out," he said.

"Homophobia is wrong, Hidan," Zetsu chastised.

"Fuck you!" Hidan shouted, standing up and walking away.

"Where are you going?" Jaye inquired.

"None of your fucking business!"

"Probably to go sharpen his scythe," Kakuzu suggested. "Apparently, it soothes him."

"Or to go kill himself again," Kisame added.

"Well, there are no towels upstairs, so he better be sharpening his scythe," Jaye threatened.

"You'd like that, wouldn't you, un?" Deidara commented.

Jaye threw a pillow at his head.


"Shopping is boring," Konan decided as they slowly traveled up and down the isles, searching for anything they might need.

"Yeah, it is," Clari agreed, turning into the produce section. "But we need food and clothes, and this is the only way to get it."

"We could steal it," Konan suggested. "It's a lot more interesting."

"We could, but it's not legal."


"So, I don't want to get arrested," Clari said with a note of finality. Konan shrugged and drifted over to the peaches, which were her favorite fruit. She called over to Clari. "Hey Clari? Can we get peaches?"

"Sure," Clari said, pushing the cart over to her. She stared at the two options for a second. "What's the difference between white and yellow peaches?"

"The inside of white peaches is white, and the inside of yellow peaches is orange-yellow," Konan explained.

"Do they taste any different?"

"I don't think so," Konan said.

Clari shrugged. "We'll get two of each."

That was how their whole shopping experience went. After several hours, they checked our with the four peaches and other various food items along with clothes for each of the guys and hair dye for Clari. She blanched when she saw the total, but she figured that this would last a while and swiped her credit card.

"Family in town?" the cashier laughed.

Clari sighed. "Something like that."

"Well, good luck," he said cheerfully as she walked out.


She and Konan each pushed a full cart to the truck. The groceries filled the back.

"Wow," Clari commented, looking at the receipt. "I don't think I've ever spent this much money in my life."

"We could have gotten all of this for free," Konan said.

"I'll stick to cutting coupons," Clari remarked. "I don't think Lily would react well to me being in prison."

"Suit yourself," Konan said, biting into an apple that she produced from her pocket.

"Wha...how did you...?" Clari began, but she let it go.You can take the criminal out of the crime, but you can't take the crime out of the criminal...or something like that.

When they walked through the doors with the first load of groceries, everyone was still glued to the TV, watching iCarly. Well, Clari thought. It's a step up from Scooby-Doo, I suppose.

"Hey, you wanna help us with the groceries?" she asked.

"No," everyone said in unison.

Konan scowled. "I don't think it was a suggestion."

In the end, everyone helped. It took forever to unload the groceries and put them away, and they were left with a pile of plastic bags when they were done, but at least Clari had enough food to start dinner. Everyone else continued to watch TV in the living room. She felt a tradition in the making.

Hope you enjoyed the first chapter! And I know the prologue had a bit more information about the whole "Emi" situation, but I think this way's better. I'm going to give you the puzzle pieces little by little. I think my revising will make the story a lot better, so if you've already read it...well, you should read it again. If you liked it before, you'll really like it now. Just wait until the revising is done. :)