I'll hold your tears as a ransom

As far as Kakuzu was concerned, he should already be leaving this stupid village.

But no, Leader-sama said he had to wait for his partner on all of their missions. And Hidan the Dumbass had decided to visit a nearby Jashin temple, leaving him with the excuse that, "If these motherfuckers are the real deal, they can give me an updated version of the ritual! I'll be able to do it twice as fast! Isn't that worth a few frickin' hours here?"

Begrudgingly Kakuzu had agreed, but now there wasn't much for him to do. He hated this village, absolutely hated it with a passion, and he didn't see why Leader-sama couldn't have sent someone else. Instead of sending him with that asshole he was forced to call a partner, why not send Itachi and Kisame, or those stupid fighting artists?

So he walked the streets of Takigakure, torn between boredom and an all-consuming bitterness. It hadn't changed much, he'd noticed. Idiots, keeping everything the same all the time. There were several stalls along the streets, selling things, but none of the merchandise interested him enough to actually make him stop at any of them. More organized stores were few and far between, most being restaurants.

Preoccupied with searching the crowd for any sign of Hidan, he suddenly felt himself run into someone. He thought he felt a hand against his hip, but decided he must have imagined it. Before him was a woman, who couldn't have been more than twenty years old, having stumbled back. She had blonde hair that barely reached her shoulders, and reddish-purple eyes. Her attire consisted of nothing more than a plain beige T-shirt that was hanging off one shoulder, a pair of black shorts, some fishnet leggings wrapped around one ankle, and bandages covering the other thigh and both her feet. She didn't even wear shoes.

Obviously the one who had bumped into him, she clasped her hands behind her back and bent forward in an awkward bow, her short hair falling in front of her face. "I'm sorry about that! I should pay more attention to where I'm going. Forgive me, please."

He grunted, brushing past her. "You'd probably do well not to go head-on into anyone else."

"Oh, of course! Thank you!" She flashed him a grin, and then took off in the other direction.

Kakuzu raised an eyebrow, as this would not have been common behavior for any normal person. Running into someone and then hauling ass the opposite way? He shook his head as he decided that perhaps she had been drinking. That was the most likely explanation.

As he sat down on a bench at the side of the street to rest, and looked around the area he'd stopped in. Strange, he seemed to remember more children in the village the last time he'd been here. Maybe there were less and less people getting married and pregnant?

Shrugging it off and deciding on that answer, he idly wondered where Hidan was. Shouldn't he be finished at that temple by now? If all he was doing was getting a better version of his sacrificial jutsu, it shouldn't have taken him that long. Maybe the Jashinists here had decided to wine and dine him, glad that they had some company that shared their beliefs, wanted to keep him around as long as they could.

Reaching into his pocket to find some money for lunch (he hadn't eaten anything at breakfast, so it was worth it), Kakuzu snorted mentally. They could keep him till their immortality ran out, for all he cared. He deserved to be with his kind, and Kakuzu sure as hell wouldn't mind them taking the bloody idiot off his hands.

He blinked a few times when his hand touched his stack of bills. It wasn't as thick as it had been when he'd left the base. Pulling out the money, he counted it quickly. Cursing under his breath, he shoved it back in his pocket after realizing that he was missing around 3000 yen. "How the hell did I just lose it? I know it didn't fall out!"

"Looks like Suri-chan got you!"

He started and then looked beside him. There was a young man who had a little girl with dark, dark hair in braids on his lap. He was playing with her hands, sweeping them up and down with her, but he was definitely talking to Kakuzu. "And who the hell is Suri?"

"Suri-chan. Her full name's Suri Heikin, I believe, but most everyone just refers to her as Suri-chan." The man grinned as he tickled the little girl's stomach. "She's a pickpocket who does most of her stealing around this district, and it's funny because her name means 'pickpocket'... like her parents knew what she was going to grow up to be or something. Her favorite targets are tourists - though she does make victims of the locals if she gets the chance to. She's a nuisance, mostly, but everyone sort of just says, 'Oh, Suri-chan got me again!' and lets her have the money. She never takes anything big - like if there's some noble in town and she decides to pickpocket them, she won't take more than maybe 4100 yen from them, even though she could probably get a lot more. You shouldn't worry about her."

Remembering the brush against his hip as that blonde woman in the street ran into him, Kakuzu scowled. He would have never guessed someone who appeared so unskilled could possibly be good enough to pick someone's pocket - especially his. If he'd been anyone else, he probably would have just laughed it off, made fun of himself for allowing himself to be pickpocketed by some ordinary woman. She hadn't taken a large amount, after all. But it was important to him - it was more the principle of the thing than the money, really. But still, the money was important. "Do you know where I could find her?"

The man shrugged. "She might be in a restaurant. As far as I know, the only thing she does with the money she steals is buy herself a meal."

Kakuzu sighed as he stood up. There were few restaurants in this part of the village, sure... but he'd have to check every single one for a woman who really had no traits that made her stand out.

Before he could actually leave, he felt something pull on his cloak, and looked back. The little girl with the braids was tugging on it, looking up at him with big blue eyes. He sighed and turned to face her. "What is it?"

The girl smiled at him before pointing further down the road, in the direction where the blonde woman had run off. "Suri-chan's fav'rite pwace to eat, at Take Kyuuden. You prob'ly find her dere."

Kakuzu nodded at the girl before putting a hand on top of her head and rubbing the hair. He just couldn't seem to give her a glare or anything; she was actually being helpful, unlike most children. "Thanks, kid."

"Bye-bye!" she shouted as he walked off.

He stalked off down the street until he came to an open restaurant with the name Take Kyuuden printed on a faded sign at the top. He entered and proceeded to scan the crowd for the woman who had made a fool out of him.

And there she was, sitting at the counter. Just sitting. Not eating or drinking or anything, just sitting and staring up at the menu like she was deciding what to order. She didn't look any different than before, except that she was holding a handful of yen, and that he could now see there was dried blood on the bandages around her feet.

He went over and took her by the arm. "You!"

The blonde, Suri, turned around, obviously frightened. She took one look at him, apparently realized he was someone she'd pickpocketed, and went bolting for the door. "Oh shit!"

Kakuzu ran after her. "'Oh shit' is right! When I catch you, there'll be hell to pay, you bitch! Get back here!"

Hehe... well. I LOVE KAKUZU LA LA LA...

I couldn't resist. I also love the title of this one, as shown by Kuzu-chan's last comment there...

Hope you like it everyone! Please review because I love your reviews! ^^