Author's Note: This is an extremely late birthday present for dinda-chan on DeviantART, who has been a huge support for this wonderful crack pairing. Check out her gallery for fanart of both the Religion and Music series as well as other general HidanxTayuya!

This is also for all of you loyal fans, because I love you so much.

Last time. I hope you enjoy.

The Future of Religion and Music

I don't know what I did to deserve this. I don't know how someone like me, someone who has killed, someone who has deceived, someone who swears like there's no tomorrow, could end up being so fucking happy with life.

But it took a long time to get there. Sounds cheesy, I know. THE PATH TO SUCCESS IS FULL OF FAILURE and blah, blah, blah...all that shit. You know it. Yeah, it was that way.

Not so much in the beginning though. Yeah, that wasn't so bad.

...Wait a second, "beginning?" What the fuck, I've already told you that story. You know that by now. Or at least you should. If you don't, I'm afraid you're brain dead. Or just ignorant. Yeah, that's it, ignorant bastards...

Holy shit, I suck at telling stories. Nothing's changed.

Okay, OKAY, I'm moving on. I'll tell you what happened after college.

After I graduated, I moved back to my tiny apartment for a little while, just to figure out what I was going to do with my life. You know, I really hate it when people say shit like that. "What do you want to do for the rest of your life?" It's hard for all kids. It's especially hard for a delinquent like me, who, up until only a few years ago, was planning on either killing for a career or sacrificing myself to Jashin. So, no, you damned guidance counselors, I don't fucking know what I want to do with my life, now that those plans have been scrapped. I didn't know what I wanted to do right after college, and I hated the fact that I was expected to know everything right after graduating. It's doesn't work like that, dammit.

My landlady was the one who got me my job. She had a friend who knew a friend who was the wife of a guy who worked for another guy who ran a company in Tokyo that was hiring...I think. Was that it or he know another guy? Or...never mind. How are we related then? In no fucking way. Works for me. I got hired to do marketing work.

How anyone goes into marketing with a degree in religious studies is beyond me. What the fuck ever. I'm making money and that is what is most important. I have people to support now.

Tayuya was never "officially" employed, if that makes any sense. She was her own boss...in a way. Even when she was still studying in Paris, she would have work performing at weddings, funerals, and stuff like that. She was paid well, as expected. That's what you get when you're good at something.

That didn't change after she permanently came back to Japan. Her reputation grew so quickly all over the world that she was getting jobs to play her flute all over the country. Surprisingly, Orochimaru didn't play any part in any of those jobs. I don't think he even bothered to try to advertise for his daughter, because he knew just how famous she was.

I could see that horrible little smirk on his face every time he heard that Tayuya got a new job. It was like he had planned it all...

And then it hit me. He had. He had been a dick to make it all possible. All the advertising, all the blackmail, all the bribes all throughout high school. What the hell. It may have been the only time being a total dick paid off. To top it all off, he hadn't done it for himself. Is it still a dick move if you do it for someone else? Or is that just the way the world works?

I've been thinking a lot about philosophical shit lately, in case you couldn't tell. It's become a part of life for me. I never had a chance to think all those deep thoughts you're supposed to, so I'm catching up.

That's why I'm asking what I ever did to deserve all this happiness.

You can probably imagine that the proposal wasn't all that romantic. I TRIED, JASHIN DAMMIT, I TRIED! What, you don't believe me? Shut the hell up, I can be romantic when I want to be. I tried to invite Tayuya out to a nice dinner with the little money I had (I had just started working for the marketing company.), but she didn't bother.

"Yeah, I'll marry you," she sighed, rolling her eyes.

I stared at her. "What the hell, I'm trying to be romantic and shit here. Humor me, you bitch."

Tayuya crossed her arms and shook her head. "I don't see the point of taking me out to dinner just so you can act like a dumbass in public. Were you expecting me to start crying and shit? Not gonna happen." She motioned at my tiny apartment. At least it was clean. "Do you know what I think of you when you try to spend money you don't have? I think you're an idiot. You can take me out sometime when you have money."

"I'm the one with the real job!" I shouted angrily. Oh, my Jashin, this girl knew exactly where my buttons were and just how to press them. "You depend on the public loving your music. If people ever start hating you, you're gonna be dirt poor!" At the time, I wasn't really thinking about what I was saying. Orochimaru was loaded. He would give us whatever we wanted, and we both knew it. I sort of hated the fact that Tayuya wasn't considering bringing his money into this.

Tayuya shook her head again. "Not gonna happen. Even if business slows down, I get paid a shitton to play. I could probably live off what I've made so far for the rest of my damn life."

I was still confused. "So why won't you let me take you out?"

"Because you're gonna want to pay for everything yourself, anti-feminist!"

What the fuck. Where the hell did that come from?

"So let's go out somewhere cheap and each pay for ourselves. We did that when we were teenagers. Why can't we do it now?"

I looked down at her, surprised. She had been thinking of me. Deceptive bitch.

I smiled. "Yeah, let's do that. And...you'll really marry me?"

"I said that I would," Tayuya said back, walking up to me and leaning her forehead against my bare chest. She exhaled softly and I could feel her smiling. "Let's get married...you fucker."

So we got married.

It was small but not cheap. We only invited family and close friends. Well, okay, I guess Tayuya invited her family, and I invited my friends. They were all we had. Except Yugito. Yeah, Tayuya invited her, her one friend. Yugito was actually the maid of honor. That was nice.

Apparently though, Tayuya had a lot of trouble getting her extended family to come. Her father and her brothers had no problem. Her cousins, however, they were one hell of a problem. Especially Kin. I don't know what that bitch has against Tayuya. Well, okay, I sort of do. Kin is pretty jealous of her. I guess that, when you're the only two women left in the family, there's competition, in Kin's eyes at least. I don't think Tayuya gives a fuck. I think she's just trying to live her life. Kin was always the one making it into a competition, not Tayuya. I think that Kin still thinks it's a competition.

Tayuya actually asked her to be the maid of honor first, not Yugito. It surprised me. Kin refused. That didn't surprise me. Kin didn't even want to be a bridesmaid. Again, no surprise. She showed up but she wasn't in the wedding. Konan ended up being a bridesmaid for Tayuya, and the two of them were okay with it, but I could feel an awkward tension throughout the entire ceremony and reception. It didn't really bother anyone, and it didn't ruin anything...I guess. I try to stay out of Tayuya's extended family as much as I can, even today. Sometimes I feel like a bad husband for doing that. Stupid, I know. I should at least try to get along with my in-laws. For the most part, I do, which is a miracle in itself. It's just...Jashin family is so damn complicated.

So why do I have one?

...I'll get to that in a second. Tayuya and I went to Vienna, Austria, for our honeymoon (By this point, I was making a decent amount of money at the marketing job.). It's not a very religious place, but I still got something out of it. I mostly agreed to go for Tayuya, since it's such a musical city. Hell, it's a musical country. The whole damn country is obsessed with music! Seriously! Jashin, I'm such an idiotic pushover.

Not to say I didn't have a good time though. I did have a good time. Tayuya was happy. That was all I needed. She even got more offers to play at concert halls in Vienna. Since then, she's been back to the country several times, playing all over the place.

When we came home from our honeymoon, a surprise was waiting for us. I...I'm still in shock that it happened. Orochimaru welcomed us back to Japan, which was normal. But...he drove us to his home and said, "It's yours."

"What?" I said.

The pale man turned to me and smiled. "My sons have all moved out, and my daughter is married. I don't need this house anymore."

"Dad, no!" Tayuya insisted. "We've found an apartment we like. We don't need your house, dammit! Keep it for yourself!"

Orochimaru shook his head. "No, I insist. I don't need such a huge house. What's the point? I'll move into that apartment you found. A married couple needs a house. Would you accept this home as a wedding gift from me?"

"Jashin dammit!" I swore. "Shut the hell up, old man! You're going friggin' crazy!"

"YOU shut the hell up, Hidan," Tayuya hissed, whipping her head towards me. She glared daggers and then looked back at her father. "Dad, that's ridiculous. You paid for the entire wedding, Dad. We don't expect you to pay for everything in our lives."

Suddenly, I saw Tayuya's eyes widen. Her face went completely pale, and her bottom lip was shaking. I didn't have time to think or react. She grabbed my arm and dragged me out of Orochimaru's car. "Come on, Hidan, let's go inside."

"What the...?"

"Shut UP!" she nearly screamed. "Get the fuck out of the car. Do it!" She practically yanked me out and opened the trunk. She grabbed all our luggage at the same time and nearly ran inside the house. I followed after her, still confused and picking up any luggage she dropped.

Once we were inside, I couldn't stop the words. "What THE FUCK was that about?" I snapped, turning Tayuya so that she was looking at me. "Tell me what just happened. Don't keep any damn secrets from me, bitch!"

Tayuya glared back at me. "Don't question me. Not tonight." She then shoved me back a bit and picked up a bag. "Just...Goddammit, Hidan, just put this stuff away. Take it up to my bedroom. We'll start talking about moving in tomorrow in the morning."

I decided not to question my wife. Not when she was sounding so sincere.

Two years later, Tayuya and I decided to go on a vacation to Indonesia. She was the one who brought it up. When I asked why she wanted to go, she said, "We went to a musical country for our honeymoon...and for me. We should go to a religious country for you."

"You're shitting me," I said back. We were sitting at the kitchen table, by the way, eating breakfast on a Sunday morning. It wasn't the kind of conversation I was expecting to have that morning. I was thinking more, "What can we do today that won't piss either one of us or both of us off?" That was how it was in our day-to-day lives. It worked for us...in a really strange way.

Tayuya smirked. "Nope, I think we should go to Indonesia. What do you think?"

We went.

We had a fucking awesome time.

About two months after we got back from Indonesia, Tayuya told me that she had been offered a job on the other side of the city. I figured that I'd be alone for a few days. Whatever. I kissed her goodbye and let her go.

But then, as soon as she closed the door behind her, I got this sinking feeling that something was wrong. My stomach knotted and a nagging voice in the back of my mind kept telling me that she was lying to me. Tayuya was a bitch, no doubt, and she often manipulated me, but I never thought she would lie to me. I walked into the bathroom to splash water on my face and noticed something strange in the trash can.

My eyes widened. I ran out of that house so fast I could compete on the Japanese Olympic Men's Track Team. Tayuya was just about to pull out of the driveway when I stopped her. "YOU'RE NOT FUCKING GOING ANYWHERE, YOU LYING BITCH!" I screamed, not caring about our neighbors. They had to be used to it by now.

Tayuya glared at me through the windshield and tried to jerk the car away. I swore loudly and chased after her, jumping in front of the car. I mentally prayed she wouldn't run me over. She wouldn't do that...right?

"GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY!" I heard her scream. She tried to steer the car away again but couldn't get away from me. I watched as she burst into tears, completely giving up.

I didn't know what else to do. The last time Tayuya cried so hard, I could only give her my shoulder.

So I did...again.

"Talk to me," I insisted gently as I helped her out of the car. She grabbed me and refused to let go, clutching my leather jacket with her sweaty palms. I felt like crying myself, but I knew I couldn't. Not now. I had to be her rock. I always had been. But I wasn't so sure what she was crying about. I didn't want to ask. I didn't want to ask her anything I knew she didn't want to answer.

She let out a shuddering breath. "You know..."

I nodded. "When?"

"Two days ago."

"And you're on your way to...?"

She just nodded. "I...Oh, God, I don't..."

I pushed her back so I could look into her eyes. "Don't do this to me, Tayuya. I'm your husband."

"But it's not your body," she snapped.

I shook my head. "No, it's not but I should be allowed to know when my wife is pregnant."

I don't know how long she cried for. I didn't bother to keep track of the time. Why in the hell would I want to remember something like this anyway?

Suddenly, Tayuya spoke. "If it's a girl, I'll die."

I stared. "...What?"

She looked up at me, her eyes both terrified and serious. "If it's a girl, I'll die. You know it."

I shook my head. "No, I don't see the connection." I feared what the reaction to that statement would be. Tayuya wasn't exactly known for being compassionate or understanding.

Predictably enough, Tayuya glared up at me. Her eyes were red and puffy from crying, and her cheeks were warm and pink. It pained me to see her like that. It reminded me of that time she got drunk off the vodka shots in the bar when we were teenagers.

"Think about my mom, dumbass," she said. "Six boys, no problem. One girl, dead."

Oh, shit.

"That won't happen," I insisted quickly. I didn't want her to have an abortion just because she thought she'd die if she had a girl. What the hell! Who thinks like that? ...Someone who lost her mother when she was born a girl, that's who. I suddenly understood. I wasn't angry anymore. It made sense in Tayuya's mind, and I got the message completely. My eyes softened. "There's no proof of any of that," I continued. "None of that. There's no proof that it'll be a girl, and there's no proof that, if it is a girl, you'll die. That won't happen, not to a strong bitch like you."

"You're no doctor!" she sobbed. "You don't know!"

Suddenly, an idea popped into my head. "Then let's go ask a doctor," I said. "Let's ask Kabuto."

Tayuya looked at me like I was the stupidest person on the planet. Maybe I was. Maybe I am. Jashin only knows. She swallowed thickly and shook her head. "No, I don't want to ask him. Besides, he's a surgeon, not a women's doctor, you idiot."

"...Does anyone else know?"

"No. I was gonna...you know...before anyone could find out."

Jashin, I had never expected this. I had all sorts of conflicting emotions and shit. A few years ago, I wouldn't have cared. And I'm actually all for women's rights, believing it or not. I figure that, if women have their rights, they'll be happier, which means we'd all have to deal with crazy bitches a lot less often. Or something. I suck at sounding feminist-like. I also suck at sounding compassionate and shit. You know. Almost as much as I suck at telling stories.

But this...I sort of felt betrayed. Like...like my own wife didn't trust me. Like she didn't think I was worth telling the truth.

Eventually, Tayuya calmed down, and the two of us went back inside. We barely spoke for the rest of the day, and when we woke up the next morning, it was still awkward between us. It wasn't until noon, when I walked into the kitchen to make my lunch, when Tayuya finally spoke to me.

"You better take care of us, you fucking bastard."

So, about seven months later, our daughter was born.

I'm going to spare you all the details. The cravings, the mood swings, the tiredness, the anger, the sadness, the pain, everything. Use your knowledge of Tayuya and your imagination. Besides, that should be more graphic than anything I could ever tell you. The human imagination thinks up some crazy shit.

Anyway...

We named her Ai. "Love." Because it was our love that...oh, forget it. I'm thanking that hotel in Bali. That was some room...

She was a pretty baby, as far as babies go, I guess. I dunno. I hadn't seen a lot in my life. (Believe it or not, Tayuya and I actually had kids before Pein and Konan did, even though they got married before we did.) She was born with pink hair and eyes, and that hasn't changed, even though she's almost a teenager now. Jashin, where the hell did the time go?

Orochimaru was absolutely thrilled when he learned he had a granddaughter. None of his sons were married, so the chances of getting any kids out of them were low. Of course, the man absolutely doted on her. He spoiled her rotten and gave her all sorts of cute shit she didn't need. Her uncles didn't give her nearly as much, which was to be expected. Cheap bastards.

And Ai absolutely adored her grandfather. She loved spending as much time with him as she could, from the moment she was born.

Up until...yeah...

Ai was six when it happened. Orochimaru was old. He got sick. So suddenly. I suddenly knew why he was so serious about giving us his house. He knew that he didn't have a lot of time left, and he wanted us to be taken care of, to have a place to raise our family. Where did all that time go, too? Looking back, our lives during that time were such a blur that we didn't bother to keep track of what was going on. We just lived without thinking about time. I don't know if that was the right or the wrong thing to do. Maybe we would have taken more time to enjoy each moment rather than just living like we had forever.

Nothing is forever.

Tayuya was a wreck the entire time her father was in the hospital and for several weeks after he died. It was mostly up to me to keep things together. I'm still shocked that I did.

"Mommy?"

Ai tried to open the door to our bedroom, where Tayuya was wallowing in her misery. I knew that Ai meant well. Tayuya knew it, too, but...I just couldn't let Ai disturb her. "Come on, baby," I said, picking her up, "let's leave Mommy alone."

"But Mommy's been alone," Ai argued, clutching to my shirt. "I'm sad Grandpa's gone, too, but I wouldn't want to be alone. Why doesn't Mommy want to be with you and me?"

I had no good response. "I don't know," I confessed. "I don't know, baby. I just hope that she'll join us again soon."

Ai didn't reply.

Later that same day, Tayuya went to the cemetery to visit Kimimaro. Orochimaru had been buried in the same general area, along with his wife's ashes. The three of them were together in one place, the one place Tayuya couldn't go. The three people who meant so much to her were so close...yet so far away. I suddenly realized how lucky I was never to know my family. It meant I couldn't lose much.

But I suddenly had a family now. And I would lose them all one day.

No...I couldn't think about that.

Never...

I just kept holding Ai. I just wanted to hang onto what I had. The love in my life. Love sure did make life complicated, but it also made it a hell of a lot more interesting.

And things got better once Tayuya recovered. When she returned home from the cemetery, she picked Ai up in her arms and hugged her so lovingly. I knew then that we would be okay. I also realized just how much Tayuya had grown. I never once heard her say that her father's death was her fault.

Progress. Indeed.

We moved on with our lives from there. Tayuya didn't want to have anymore kids, so Ai is our one and only. I'm okay with that. I love Ai with all my heart. She's enough for me. She and Tayuya.

For her thirteenth birthday, we're going to America. Ai has always wanted to go. Tayuya got an offering to play at a concert in New York City. My company does business with American companies, so I'm going to be settling a deal.

That works.

Everything works.

Religiously. Musically. Lovingly.

Yeah, I'm happy with that, despite our losses.

I'm going to go tuck Ai into bed now. And then I'm going to bed with Tayuya. It's late.

Thank you and good night.

THE END