It was very different from his normal behavior, I found. The loud and obnoxious man that I'd come to loathe now stood stoic, silent, and unmoving. I watched him with intrigued eyes, wondering what could possibly be going through his mind. Was there anything going through his mind? I know I'd been one to tell him of his dense behavior on a regular basis, but this wasn't a time to think of insignificant moments such as those.

I gave a quick once-over, the blazing flames that erupted from the buildings and the shimmering moonlight from the night sky above being the only sources of light. His cloak was now tattered, beyond any sort of repair, though that didn't seen to bother me as much as it would normally have at the moment. Small glowing embers floated around us, and his pale skin was scorched and painted with the blood of civilians. Hundreds of men, women, and children that he'd slaughtered without a second thought. Or had he previously thought about this, and I'd never taken the time to notice? It wasn't my concern, I told myself. If Hidan wanted to tell me, I would have heard it a hundred times by now between bounties. Although he'd never mentioned anything regarding his old village and his plans to annihilate it, I certainly remember the sudden bright look in his eyes when Leader had told us of a mission in Yugakure. He'd composed himself quickly, but I hadn't missed it.

I expected anger towards Leader for proposing a ridiculous idea to him. Or loathing for his village, followed by the same rant about how everyone he knew had suddenly betrayed him. Even resistance towards returning to his home. But not hope.

Though, a part of me was wondering as to why I was so surprised at his reaction; he'd mentioned his hatred for his village on numerous occasions, but I never thought that he'd want to go back. Not after what they'd apparently done to him. But who am I to say how he should or shouldn't feel? I wouldn't return to my village after they'd exiled me and ridiculed my very existence. I'd gotten my vengeance. I'd made them pay. The feeling of ripping their hearts directly from their chests was intensely gratifying. Hearing their screams and begs of mercy had put a wide grin on my face. Watching the life fade from their pleading eyes could only be described as priceless. But what of him? My mind was suddenly back on the man in front of me. What if Hidan didn't think it was enough? Had the massacre of his neighbors not satisfied him enough? I knew Hidan as a man to never be quite pleased with anything, but this wasn't the same as renting a hotel room for the night; his entire life was built and destroyed by the remnants of the village that we both stood before.

I soft thud catches my attention, and I'm snapped out of my thoughts once more. I look over to Hidan and see that his scythe - soaked in the blood if the innocent, yet according to him, the worst kind if sinners that walk the earth - had had fallen to the ground. He still maintained a grip on the handle, but it was loose and nearly ready to fall with the blades in a matter of moments. I only observe as the muscles of his back and shoulders suddenly relax, as though a weight had finally been lifted off of his shoulders. But there was no sigh if relief. No sign that he was pleased with what he'd done, or liberated with the knowledge that his village was finally gone. I was assuming that this was what he'd wanted: he'd wanted me to go ahead and retrieve the bounty while he began his final slaughter of his home. He wanted to mercilessly kill every last living being that resided here. Buy it only left me to wonder: had he felt accomplished? Did he feel that he'd finally done what he'd come here to do? I would most likely never know.

However, coming back to the demolished village wasn't exactly what I'd had in mind when Hidan told me that he was going to stay at the hotel for the day. I'm still not sure why I hadn't dragged him along with me; I usually force him to follow when he's stubborn and drag him along to the bounty so we can finish faster. But for some reason or another, I'd simply left him behind. I will admit; it was foolish of myself to leave Hidan - a man easily deemed as insane - in his old village that he'd said plenty of times that he'd hated, by himself, without any sort of supervision. But it was in the past, and I couldn't change it now.

The moment I'd arrived, the sack containing the man's incapacitated head still within my grasp, I had to stare for quite a while before I'd finally registered what had been done. The night having fallen, I didn't notice the plumes of smoke at first, but the eerie red-orange glow of the fires in the distance and the smell was not hard to indicate, and there were massive amounts of it by the overpowering stench that I had breathed in.

Even as I approached Hidan - who still hadn't moved once since I'd finally returned - he didn't seem to acknowledge my presence in the least. Something I'd found interesting upon advancing towards him was that his Jashinist rosary, still hanging around his neck, wasn't being held in prayer. Hidan had told me numerous times that the core of his faith was slaughter and massacre, yet here is was, drenched in the smell of death itself, and not praying to his ridiculous god. Curiosity was begging for me to ask about this odd behavior, but I didn't speak, figuring that words were not necessary at a time like this. I recall not speaking for quite a while after I'd slaughtered my own elders… though, the fact that I was already alone may have been a factor as of why… but nonetheless, silence would seem normal.

And now I am back to my original predicament; Hidan's silence was deafening to me. Even over the sounds of the burning houses collapsing on top of each other, there was something about his silence that would always get to me. Having become used to his incessant ramblings and annoying rants, I have adapted to the background noise of his voice, cursing and swearing and screaming for my attention. Now… nothing.

He turns around. Walking almost directly towards me, I take a miniscule step to the right, allowing him to pass. As he walks by, I make sure to examine his eyes; I have found that eyes are the only way to see the truth in people anymore. They are expressionless and emotionless. At least, at first glance they are.

I see something else. There is something more behind the initial violet color of his iris. I see some sort of pain, yet it's something I can't put my finger on. I attempted to try and solve what this odd look was, but to no avail. Temptation rises and I'm almost asking him what he's thinking, what he's feeling. But as he continues to walk, scythe once again set on his back and never breaking his stride, I know it's a hopeless endeavor.

Unfortunately for myself, my conscious, and my curiosity, I haven't let it go. The amount of unnecessary chatter on his part had nearly ceased altogether, but it somehow managed to snake its way back and after three days of walking to the exchange point, back to base, and stopping partway to snag another bounty that could prove beneficial to Akatsuki.

Currently, he was talking about Jashinism - like there wasn't anything else to talk about - and reminding me once again of the commandments and the beliefs of the devout followers. However, the topic itself reminded me of his carnage upon his village; how he hadn't prayed. I glanced over at him briefly, mind still trying to figure out what his reasoning was behind it. Had he simply not felt the need to? I shook my head to myself. That was a completely absurd idea. Hidan always found the time to pray. If it meant keeping me waiting, it was all the more reason to do so. Maybe he didn't feel the civilians were worthy of his killing? Again, I brushed if off. I struggled for more theories, then something he'd said in the middle of his talking caught my attention."… and even though the training was a pain in the ass, it was all for my own gain; I didn't go through that shit for anyone else but me."

And it was clear. As clear as day. The slaughter wasn't for his god. It was for him. He was the one who had wanted this since he'd left, most likely. He needed to finish what he started. I turned my head to face him, and - since his talking had stopped by now - he felt my gaze and returned it, eyebrows furrowed and a question in his eyes.

Keeping our eyes connected, I finally asked, "Are you liberated?"

There was a long silence. Though our walking had never ceased, all of the conversation (more along the lines of a one-sided discussion) had died in an instant. He looked at me, holding the same perplexed expression on his face. Something was telling me that he knew exactly what I was referring to, but just wouldn't say. After even more silence had ensued, he dropped the confused look altogether, turning his eyes straight to the road. Once again, his face was emotionless, just like when he's initially walked away from the dying fires and billowing smoke. I didn't know what to make of this, and kept my eyes focused on him for a while longer before following his example and looking to the road as well.

He could tell me if he felt it necessary. Maybe in a few days, or maybe never. I told myself then that I didn't need to know anyways; he'd obviously wanted me gone to complete his task, and I felt certain then that he wanted the subject to remain that way. All for his own gain. It was for no one else but him.