Well, it's almost 4 o'clock in the morning, and this chapter has been burning a hole in my laptop so I decided to finish it after my jam packed day of classes; so for all you Kakuzu fans, enjoy!
-I don't own any Naruto characters, they all belong to Kishimoto
-Kin is mine, so don't steal her! ;o
Chapter 1: 12,000,000 Ryo
The bright, golden sun had risen to the highest point in the sky, its sweltering afternoon heat able to triumph even the strongest of ninja. But harsh mid-summer heat waves and the risk of dehydration didn't stop some from going about their daily lives.
Though the ground was dry, cracked and dusty, as it hadn't rained for weeks, a single pair of feet plodded on, one foot after the other carelessly kicking up small clouds of parched earth. The bounty hunter's sharp eyes were dazed and focused on nothing in particular, but the overwhelming amount of green violently forced its way to the center of her attention. How did all of these trees still display such vibrant, dazzling colors with so little rainfall in this scorching heat? Mother nature sure was a phenomenal being.
The eerie quiet of the forest became more conscious as each soft footstep sounded like shattering glass. Was she the only one making noise? As there wasn't a single wisp of wind to rustle the leaves or cool the droplets of sweat that decorated her brow. It was far too hot for the birds to be chirping, for they sat miserably in the trees with their delicate beaks wide open, breathing heavily.
The continuous sound of leather shoes scraping across the ground was far more irritating than the way the bounty hunter's clothes clung uncomfortably to her sweaty body. The weight of one pricey, full-grown man had been heaved over a small, but sturdy feminine shoulder. The bounty had been much too tall to be properly carried, and a pair of lifeless legs thoughtlessly trailed behind, his executioner being a bit on the small side.
The exchange station was near, and became closer with every painstakingly slow stride. Though, with each step she took the heavier her bounty seemed to get, and it didn't help one bit that he was already quite a hefty fellow. The young woman's back, neck and shoulders ached a good deal and fussed profusely anytime the deceased figure began to slip, throwing her center of balance off. No matter how much the hunter's body complained she wasn't going to leave this corpse to rot into the earth, not a chance.
Brilliant yet blistering rays of sunlight began to flicker through the hunter-green leaves more frequently than normal, a telltale sign that the forest was thinning. The outline of a small, nearly abandoned building began to come into view through the dispersion of trees. Just a little farther.
The sun beat down ferociously upon the bounty hunter and her slain target as they ambled out from under the safety of the foliage's cover. There were only a few hundred feet of searing open land, but it wouldn't be so bad if her pale skin wasn't already rejecting the large incoming and unavoidable vitamin D dose.
"Back so soon Kin?" Greeted the bounty exchange master.
Still blinded by the sudden change to darkness, Kin rubbed her eyes in hopes her pupils would dilate faster.
"Eh, it's been a few days, Zangei. I don't want anyone else making or taking my money." She replied, setting the corpse of a middle-aged, rogue ninja down with a thump. "I see the exchange office is still in this abandoned building's dingy bathroom."
Zangei's exchange office has been hidden in one of the building's bathrooms for years, and it was surprising how often it was over looked. The structure itself looked so run-down that it had practically been deemed harmless. It's just there, an eye sore, standing out like white on black, and yet no one cared enough to bother it. Though, it was mainly left untouched by locals and surrounding villages as they forgot such a building even existed.
The bounty exchange master let out a short snort, before heaving the corpse up onto a metal gurney that could be pushed back into the wall, like a human filing cabinet. Kin watched patiently as her bounty disappeared into the depths of the exchange station, never to be seen again, well, by her at least. She wasn't entirely sure what they did with the bodies of past bounties, and really didn't want to know.
"You're starting to sound a bit like Kakuzu with all this money talk, but more importantly, I do believe you've just earned yourself 12,000,000 ryo for this one. And might I add, it's quite impressive that almost every corpse you bring in is practically unscathed. They must be worth every single ryo, eh Kin?"
"Most aren't worth the trouble of quick cash." She griped under her breath and out of earshot, but still nodded in agreement.
But, just who's this Kakuzu I'm being compared to? Kin had not a clue whom Zangei was talking about, though he did make him sound like a regular. But that didn't matter; she was getting to her targets before this bounty hunter was. Which meant money, and a lot of it, if her intended victim had a high price hung over his head. Though, the higher the price was, the stronger the opponent would be, which in turn, causes the large sum of money to be a riskier challenge. But, the previously mentioned twelve million ryo sounded of gold as it rolled off of the bounty exchange master's lips. Oh, and was it worth it.
The young woman keenly observed Zangei's skilled hands dial the combination of a lock, to the very well secured vault opposite the wall of corpses. Maybe, after all these years she'd finally learn the combination, but it became harder to see the closer he moved to the vault. Her ears caught a quiet, 'speak of the Devil', muttered through dry, chapped lips as he glanced her way. She wasn't sure why he'd say that until a soft breeze brushed the nape of her neck. He wasn't muttering about her or the lock, but about who had just entered the bounty exchange shop.
"Hurry the fuck up and get your fucking money Kakuzu." Hidan sneered at his partner, clearly not wanting to be anywhere near or have anything to do with the bounty exchange office.
Kin discretely peeked over her shoulder, curious about the two men that had just entered the room. She felt like she's seen the pair once or twice before, but couldn't quite think of when or where. One of them had to be the 'Kakuzu' Zangei had mentioned only minutes before, not that she was curious or anything. Amber eyes were immediately drawn to the single, eye-catching scratch that severed any ties with each of their hometown villages, an obvious sign of a rogue or missing-ninja. But the way the pair was dressed, to her, seemed incredibly strange. A long, silky, black cloak with a high collar and multiple deformed, red clouds screamed attention to her dilated pupils. Wearing such obnoxious and easily identifiable clothing as a rogue was an easy way to get yourself killed in the ninja world, and quickly at that.
Maybe their strange choice of clot-
"Hey!" the silver-haired man jabbed, interrupting Kin's perplexed thoughts, "What the fuck do you think you're looking at bitch?"
His hair was pushed back and gleamed the color of dull silverware in the room's dreary, artificial light, and his eyes, they glistened a luminous amethyst. Kin found him to be a bit attractive, that is, before he opened his particularly foul mouth.
"Hidan." The masked man growled dangerously at his partner.
Hm, so the one with the obscene mouth isn't Kakuzu.
Kin gave Hidan a snide smirk and remarked, "I'm not sure yet, Potty Mouth."
"Who the fuck do yo-"
Five of Kakuzu's tanned fingers had already begun to crush his partner's esophagus before one more word slipped from his lips, in an effort to shut him up. Maybe permanently, if he gripped Hidan's throat tight enough and completely pulverized his windpipe. That did sound rather appealing, as ignorance was virtually the only thing that crawled its way out of Hidan's mouth.
"It's nice to see another familiar face so soon, Kakuzu." Zangei said trying to break the newly formed tension, as he pulled a large briefcase from the safe.
You can't fucking see his face you fucking dumbass, Hidan fumed internally, unable to talk since Kakuzu's hand still remained firmly around his throat.
"I've only come for my money, " Kakuzu's voice was deep and less threatening as he tossed his bounty's corpse to the ground like a rag doll, "don't tell me you don't have it Zangei."
Kin curiously eyed Kakuzu, he was tall and from the looks of it, his body seemed to be very well built. Though, a discarded cloak might reveal his body's true stature. But the most mysterious thing about him wasn't the fact that he wore a mask that concealed the majority of his face, but were his eyes, fern-green colored irises with red sclera. It seemed much more unnatural and unusual than Hidan's gorgeous amethyst stained eyes.
"Ah, such typical thing for you to say, Kakuzu." The bald man hefted the briefcase onto a desk and patted its armored side blithely, "But don't worry."
Zangei gingerly pulled a key from around his neck to unlock the strongbox, and all eyes were on him the moment the lock clicked. His swift and skilled hands began to quickly count out Kin's twelve million. Kakuzu being the man he is, and will always be interested in money, and was curious as to what this young woman's bounty would amount to.
His sharp eyes floated over every single bill that passed through Zangei's rapid hands, as Kin really just appeared to stare at it, most likely internally drooling at the sight. Kakuzu didn't think she'd amount to much, but was exceeding his initial judgment.
Three million, four million, five million…ten million, eleven million, twelve million.
"There's no way.." the masked man muttered bitterly under his breath.
"Alright Kin, you're all set."
The young bounty hunter gripped each bundle of money protectively, and stuffed it into the available areas of the cross-body bag that hung dangerously from her left shoulder. In Kakuzu's eyes a metal briefcase seemed to be a much safer, and even a more logical decision. Oh for Heaven's sake, she didn't even double-check the count of her money, but instead lustfully gawked at it.
"Twelve-million ryo is a lot of money, for such a little girl." His voice was quizzical with underlying tones of hostility.
"Yeah," Kin raised an eyebrow at Kakuzu as she sauntered past him, "and just what are you going to do about it?"
A/n: -For those of you confused as to who Zangei is, I promise he's an original Naruto character! (He can be found in Naruto Shippuden Ep. 76)
-If any of you are interested in what the sclera is, it's basically the whites of your eyes, though Kakuzu's happen to be red.
-12,000,000 ryo in the Naruto world is equal to about $1,560,000, now that's a lot of moolah!
-And I apologize for any silly grammar and spelling errors, it's way early and I'm way tired ;o
-Oh, and thank you darling people for reading my fic!