Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, I make no money of this fanfiction.

An: thank you for the reviews, they keep it alive. (With 'it' I meant the writing spirit.)

Leading Astray...


Itachi returned to their camp with a resolve. Of course that teaming up with a stranger asked of him to adjust to it. Itachi was willing to do that he just wasn't sure he was able to... he didn't have to do anything of the sort before. With a smirk he realised that being teamed up with Kisame had long since become a routine and in that way maybe even a bit boring even if that, considering his so called profession, was a good thing... most of the times.

Maybe that was the whole cause of his interest in the platinum haired ninja, Itachi was just curious.

His face showed no emotion finding Hidan scowling by the fire, the Akatsuki cloak now hanging loosely on the well built shoulders, despite the hot temperature of the night.

"We have something to discuss." Itachi said calmly, sitting on the other side of the fire, facing the man. At first it seemed he was being ignored but then Hidan's purplish eyes focused on him, a slight smirk stretching on the lips.

"Sure." It looked like Hidan was about to add something inappropriate, the smirk was making him nervous... it just didn't belong.

"The mission. I need to know what you're capable of and how to use your strong sides." But as Itachi now saw the smirk before was nothing fidget-worthy. The one of those lips right now was a whole new matter, and the purple eyes looking right into his. That was probably the thing that got to him the most. Hidan was acting like he was just a human and his eyes wouldn't be glowing crimson capable to kill better than any huge scythe could.

"Well...I'm capable of many things, Itachi."

"Get serious."

Hidan scowled then as if Itachi was ruing all the fun, the manly shoulders pulled up in a careless shrug. "I can take a great deal of damage."

"That's not useful."

"You think?"

"Yes. The mission is a stealth one, we can't just barge in, we need to sneak in, get a scroll of sorts and kill whoever is guarding it, but we mustn't draw too much attention, the location is the tricky bit, it's in the town so some sort of infiltration could be needed."

Another shrug told Itachi how Hidan didn't really care of anything he said. "Sounds easy enough. How far are we from the target?"

"Three days travel. Two if we take a shortcut through the swamp."

"A swamp?"

"That's what I said."


It wasn't like Itachi liked the idea but there was no need for Hidan to act like it was his fault either... Itachi's annoyance grew with each childish grimace the man pulled. And when Hidan yawned as if their conversation would be over he couldn't help but let the annoyance show in his voice.

"So, we take the shortcut or not?"

Itachi noticed the amusement in the violet eyes because he was maybe staring too intently at the man but still there was something scary about the way Hidan's eyes turned darker when amused.

"If you say the fire is too big, it's too big Itachi."

Itachi didn't answer, his eyes narrowed before he nodded. "We're taking the shortcut."

He didn't trust the man. Sure Hidan had just now clearly stated that he is in charge and Hidan is fine with it...but something about it was off. Hidan's tone had been almost menacing. It was a good thing Hidan remembered and took in count his words about the fire but mentioning and putting it like Hidan now did was unnecessary.

While he was thinking and musing about the oddity sitting across from him he didn't notice Hidan watching him, but when Itachi finally lifted his head to say that they should get sleep no matter how short it would be, he paused... and in a long time since he remembered he felt endangered.

And he had to admit the feeling was weird but it was a thrill.

Shivers rocked his body as if a cold breeze would have swept over him, their eyes still locked...Hidan's expression gave Itachi the illusion of a beast, ready to leap at him, to do what...he didn't know.

"Get some sleep."

"Yessir." The mocking tone shattered the illusion and Itachi almost felt like sighing in relief when the man grinning from ear to ear laid down on the back, the pale strong hands gripping the silver pendant with the triangle in the circle, the violet eyes closed.

For a while Itachi just watched the calm face ...so calm as if there wouldn't be a worry in the world... it was funny how even the evilest of men could look angelic in their sleep. And he had no doubt this man was evil...had to be, otherwise he wouldn't be here under the Akatsuki banner and he supposed that made him just as evil, if not more.

Itachi managed to rest somehow, he wouldn't admit but that was possible only because Hidan was sleeping soundly, it let him close his eyes and doze off, unconsciously keeping check on the soft snores, it made him feel safe...the fact that the man was in the dream world. It was the same as being alone because even if the body was here, the mind was far away.

But still Itachi didn't feel all fresh as the dawn came, long used to it he got up feeding the fireplace with few branches before using another one to poke Hidan's ribs with it. "Get up."

Amazing how the man slept so deeply, Itachi was envious! He wished he could too... it just made him poke harder, his face sour as the man just groaned and turned on the side, a pale hand still holding the silver pendant.

Itachi poked harder. "Get up."

It wasn't working.

"We're under attack."

That wasn't working either. Maybe because Itachi said it without emotion but he wasn't going to scream, though he was curious if that would work.

Instead he sighed and stood up, putting his cloak on his shoulders for warmness as the morning air was rather chilly, when he was ready to head out with his weapons at their rightful place, he went for the sleeping Hidan once more, determined to make it quick.

He had to say it to himself before he called out the name. It was like he needed to make sure how it would sound.


It didn't sound bad.

"I'm up."

Itachi stood up from his crouching position, just slightly surprised how quick the answer came even if it was grouchy and unpleased.

"We're heading out."

"Give me a minute."

Itachi didn't object to that, he just stood there and for a while he thought the man is just sleeping there, but the lips were moving as if there would be silent words spoken for no one to hear.

Hidan seemed uncaring that Itachi was there but Itachi on the other hand suddenly felt like he's watching something he shouldn't, he turned away confused. Was Hidan really and actually praying? The thought was disturbing.

He had never heard of the Jashin-Sama Hidan had mentioned last night and Itachi was sure he wouldn't want to know. Better not to show interest at all, if the man was some kind of zealot it was better to act like he knew nothing of it and did not care at all, otherwise there was the risk of the said zealot trying and pull him into it. That's how it went with the believers.


"So what's the days plan?" Hidan asked as they were now running at full speed through a forest. Itachi noted how Hidan kept up with his speed just fine, he could go faster, but there was no need and the energy should be saved for the mission itself not for reaching the location of it.

"We should reach the swamp in few hours, then it's just to cross it. Pein-Sama told there could be few trying to stop us in case we took this route ,but they shouldn't be big problem and we could avoid it if we move silently and quickly."

"Why avoid it if we can just deal with them?"


"Exactly Itachi...exactly."


Reaching the swamp appeared to be the easiest part, moving through it was the hard one. It was all wet, the tree branches green and slimy and that way they had to move on the ground, there they had to watch their step carefully.

Itachi moving in the front tried his best to keep somewhat dry but he had already lost that fight, his cloak was drenched just because of the drops that kept falling from the trees and his feet had soaked after five minutes in the swamp, Hidan was doing worse than him though. The man was cursing non-stop following after him like a mad rhino, disregarding Itachi's warnings about particularly dangerous places where to set ones foot, that resulted in a very wet, angry and dirty Hidan.

"Fucking pond. The fuck is this place? Itachi how much farther? I'm a fucking mess."

"Hidan, we need to be silent, stop whining and we're not even half way through."

More cursing and louder than before came from Hidan, Itachi didn't know if Hidan knew and did it on purpose but for a good while already, they had company.

Apparently detection and hiding was not Hidan's fortes.

"Fuck this, even my underwear is wet, it doesn't feel nice...cold and wet, I'm shrinking...eww!"

Itachi shook his head right before he lost the ground under him, his foot slipping into dirty water, he would have been just fine, probably would end on his knees yet Hidan obviously thought differently grabbing hold of his cloak and pulling him back with enough force to hear the fabric tearing...

Straightening up and putting his hand on his neck he glared at the man. Hidan was of course in a foul mood but Itachi was no better, the coldness and wetness was eating away at his patience and maybe he was most annoyed with his own slip-up. His stamina was starting to fail him and more often than necessary he made little mistakes.

He didn't say a word, he didn't really had the chance.

"You didn't say it would be this kind of...swamp! This is...wet."

"It's a swamp...it's supposed to be wet."

"We need to stop."

"No, we need to keep going."

"No Jashin damn it, we need to stop!"

Hidan was on the edge and Itachi could clearly see it, and somehow he thought it had nothing to do with the wetness, the way Hidan was almost shouting seemed theatrical.

When the man stepped closer to him, looked into his eyes, and leaned closer still... Itachi froze, his hand automatically going for his kunai but apparently there was no need.

"Let me take care of them." The whisper in his ear was silent and low, Itachi wanted to shake his head 'no' but didn't...if he would they would touch, too close...Hidan was definitely too close and was waiting for him to answer.

He had to credit the man for noticing their followers and then putting up a rather good act.

"No, it can be an ambush. There's probably more than just three." Itachi said wanting to step away but didn't, and since Hidan still wasn't pulling away from his private space he had no choice but to breathe in... Hidan had the scent of swamp, yet there was something manly under that.

"That's why I said let me take care of them. I'll be back before you know it and you can scout the surroundings or something while I'm gone."

That wasn't the way it worked... Itachi had the suspicion that this Hidan had never before completed missions...at least not in a team.

But now Itachi had the chance to satiate the obnoxious beast of curiosity inside of him. "You have to be quick about it."

There were many ways to thank someone for letting them kill a few people, but Hidan thanked him in the way that left Itachi speechless, breathless and maybe a bit confused and angry.

Hidan had licked his cheek, pulling back grinning psychotically before jumping off in the direction of their pursuers.

Itachi could try and understand the meaning of it, but he had no time for it, he had to make sure he sees everything from the beginning till the end, it was the best way to gauge Hidan's abilities. Watch him in a fight.


An: thank you for reading, let me know what you think of it...