Prologue

The dark woods had always seemed inviting to Shikamaru, somehow soothing even though the tall trees blocked his beloved sky. He had always felt at peace among the silent trees and the gentle sounds of the animals. He supposed it was because they were his woods, his trees, his animals. But now, as he jogs (as fast as the lazy shinobi moves outside of missions) through the forest, ignoring the unrest of the woodland creatures, his head's pounding, his chest tight.

He knows he should feel guilty about his late night forays into the Nara forest, he knows that his teammates, his family, his village; no one would understand what he was doing. And he did. The guilt pulled it him whenever he left the forest and racked his mind on his way to the dirt covered clearing. And yet, and yet he couldn't help himself, couldn't bring himself to stop. Every night that he was home in Konoha he found himself, without fail, leaving the comfort of his warm bed, ignoring the vigorous protests of his lazy mind and tired limbs, and venturing deep into the forest.

At first it was out of a need to see the mound of dirt still intact, to hear the screaming curses, to sense the deer still guarding him. A need to know that Hidan was still there drove him to come, night after night. Then he would sit, finding peace amid the violent threats and muffled swearing. As long as Shikamaru could still hear him, he knew that Hidan was still there, still trapped.

For months it passed in such a manner. Shikamaru would leave his home silently in the dark of the night, only after everyone else was asleep and he sit in that deep, secret place listening to Hidan scream promises of pain and suffering. Sometimes he would leave after a few hours. Sometimes he fell asleep there among the trees. Sometimes he sat awake all night, unable to sleep as thoughts of his sensei and the Jashinist filled his mind and tormented him.

Then one night it all changed as abruptly as the wind changes directions. Shikamaru had been sitting in the dark by that mound of dirt for hours and he was drifting in and out of consciousness when suddenly the yelling and the string of curses just... stopped. Everything just... stopped.

Shikamaru had stiffened. He knew that Hidan couldn't have escaped while he had been sitting there, but the sudden eerie silence put him on edge nonetheless. He stared at the ground, willing for Hidan to say something, anything, just so he'd know he was still there. Then it came, a question so simple, so ordinary, no one would expect it to change their life forever.

"I'm bored as fuck. You wanna talk or something?"

Once Shikamaru got over his disbelief, the conversation came surprisingly easily. Hidan was absolutely fascinating to Shikamaru. He may not have been the brightest person Shikamaru had been troubled into talking too, far from it in fact, but he always had something interesting to say; about Jashin, about his partner, Kakuzu, the things he's done over his long and bloody life, and sometimes even gossip on the other members of the Akatsuki. The man could ramble for hours, but Shikamaru had no complaints. The stories were captivating and the brunette preferred listening over talking anyway. Talking was usually far too much trouble for him to bother with.

Somewhere along the way though, as the months passed by, Shikamaru started talking too. He talked about his missions, though he knew he shouldn't, he talked about his teammates, and about random things that had annoyed him throughout the day and that list was long.

The weird thing was, despite all the cursing and swearing, and the fact that he still called him a 'heathen', Hidan actually seemed to care about what he had to say. He responded enthusiastically to everything the shadow-user said. Shikamaru told himself that it was only because the Jashinist had no one else to talk to, but somehow their conversations became the highlight of his day.

So Shikamaru jogs through the dark forest, painted in dark blues and violets by the night, his mind filled with thoughts of what he wants to talk about with Hidan, of all the stupid, inconsequential moments he wants to share. A smile tugs at the corners of his usually solemn mouth as he burst into the clearing.

A question greets him, another question just like the first. One that was asked so easily, so effortlessly in a smooth voice muffled by so much ground. A question that would break apart his world, that would shatter his views on everything.

"Hey, Heathen. So are you going to let me the fuck out of here today?"

-o-o-o-

A/N: An idea came to my mind this morning as I woke up and here it starts. It will be full of drama, bloodshed, Hidan's potty mouth and HidanxShika goodness. Should I continue, yea or nay?