A/N:

Ahhh, I'm sorry it took so long to update this D: The chapter has been done for a while, but when I moved into college, my computer got a virus, and then refused to connect to the wifi for three weeks. Ughhh. I'msosorryyyyy. But here's a new chapter! Sorry about the wait you guys ;-;

oooOOOooo

Hidan leaned against the counter and sighed heavily. Kisame had him closing the shop for the day, and he hadn't seen more than fifteen people since his shift had started. The shop was almost ready to be locked up for the night, and in fifteen minutes maximum, the albino would be running the fuck out of there, trying to get home as fast as possible.

In the meantime, the low amount of customers gave him time to think. Usually, he didn't mind, but as of late his brain was filled with thoughts he didn't want to have. After his discussion—if one could call it that—with Kakuzu, he began to question everything. Especially his religion. That, more than anything else, terrified him. He had clung on to Jashinism for so long that he couldn't imagine a life without it.

But even with such a dependency, his ability to believe in it so readily was wavering. Kakuzu had brought up an excellent point that the albino couldn't overlook. Hidan was cutting himself deeply, just like his religion commanded, but his friends weren't getting better. Sure, he was getting better, but that wasn't what he was doing these rituals were for. Deidara was just as depressed as ever, and he hadn't heard a thing about Itachi.

And Jashin was supposed to make everything better. So...why wasn't anything working.

The albino shook his head, and ran a hand through his unruly hair. How the fuck was he supposed to deal with this? His life was going from decent to completely out of control faster than he could handle, and it was actually beginning to scare him. Who was he supposed to talk to? Deidara certainly couldn't handle any more; he had enough of his own problems to take care of. And Itachi wouldn't be able to get out enough words to say anything useful.

That left Kisame, Sasori, or Kakuzu. Sasori was automatically out, Kisame he still had to deal with in a professional setting...that left Kakuzu.

And he was the bastard that had messed everything up in the first place.

Hidan sighed again. Why did everything need to be so complicated? Fucking Kakuzu, messing up everything that he had worked towards. He had believed in his system so deeply that no one had been able to do this to him. What the hell was going on?

With a groan, the albino looked at his watch, only to realize with a small amount of glee that it was time for him to get the hell out of there. After following all of the procedures that Kisame had shown him, the coffee shop was locked up, and he was on his way home.

Even then, he couldn't get his mind off of the problem. The people heading home from work couldn't distract him, and neither could the man that nearly ran him over while he was crossing the street. That was an extremely bad sign. When he couldn't even cover up his problems with blind rage, there was definitely something wrong.

To make matters worse, Kakuzu was already home when he opened the door.

"How was work?" the older man asked, not bothering to look up from his paper.

"Fuck off."

That, on the other hand, earned him a quick glance. "A normal day then, huh?"

"Fucking worse," the albino grumbled. Normally, he would have at least sat next to Kakuzu and humored him with small talk, but he was in no mood. He wanted to go into his room and cut himself.

But at the same time, he didn't. And that was another thing that was terrifying him. He wanted to watch himself bleed, but he didn't. Wanted to cut, but didn't. Wanted to sacrifice, but didn't.

Hidan stifled what was going to be a loud groan, quickly turning it into a scowl instead. Before Kakuzu could say anything else, he stormed into his room and quickly slammed the door shut. Automatically, he walked over to his desk, and pulled out every single razor or blade he had brought with him. There were quite a few, and all were in perfect condition. After all, if he was going to slice himself open, might as well do it with something nice.

Carefully, he picked up one of the smaller razors, and held it against his wrist. Normally, he would have dragged it across his skin without a thought. But now, he didn't want to. When he really thought about it, Hidan couldn't remember the last time he hadn't wanted to cut himself. Sure, sometimes he felt bad about it, but continued through with it anyway. Now, he just didn't want to.

"Jashin damnit," Hidan grumbled, throwing the blade down onto his desk. What the fuck was getting into him? His hand slammed against the desk with a loud thud, and a slew of curses came from his mouth. Why. Why. Why.

He didn't even want to look at the blades. How the hell had he gotten to this point? Grumbling under his breath, he scooped them up into his hands, careful not to accidentally cut himself in the process. Before he knew it, he was back in the main room of Kakuzu's house, standing silently in front of his guardian.

For a few moments, Kakuzu didn't even notice he was there. Then, when his eyes flickered up for a moment, he froze, and the two men stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity.

"...Where the hell did you get those?!" Kakuzu sputtered. He was aware that the albino had blades, but not that many. "What were you—how did—Hidan."

Completely ignoring the outburst, Hidan held the sharp objects out towards his guardian. "I don't want them."

"...Pardon?"

"I don't want them," Hidan spat, narrowing his eyes at Kakuzu. "For fuck's sake, just take them!"

"Jesus, calm down..." Kakuzu grumbled, but frantically took the items from the boy nonetheless. As he held the items in his hands, he couldn't help but notice what good shape they were in. "How long have you had these?"

"For fucking ever, asshole," Hidan mumbled, eyes focused on the ground. For the longest time, he had been proud of keeping his weapons in such good condition. Now, however, he felt a bit of shame, and had little to no idea as to why. "I don't want them," he repeated once again, shaking his head as he spoke.

Kakuzu looked down at the knives, and then back up at Hidan. "What's gotten into you?" he asked as calmly as he could. The two of them were both extremely uncomfortable, and the older man had almost no idea of what to do to make things better.

"I'm just...done."

"What do you mean?"

"I'm not fucking doing this anymore," Hidan said with a shrug, and as casually as he could, left the room.'

Kakuzu, on the other hand, couldn't have forced himself to move if he wanted to. Shock had frozen him in place, leaving him to think about what the hell had just happened. If he had understood everything correctly, Hidan had just come in, dumped all of his items that he usually used for self harm, said he as done, and left. Done, meaning finished with cutting himself.

But why?

Hidan was dedicated to Jashinism. What would have gotten him to change his mind so quickly? It hadn't been that long since he had last cut himself, and the wounds were as deep as ever.

With a heavy sigh, Kakuzu placed the blades on the coffee table directly in front of him. What the hell was he supposed to do with all of them?

oooOOOooo

Itachi waited outside of the coffee shop, awkwardly shifting his weight from foot to foot and checking his watch every few minutes. Today, he was going to try something new. Namely, walking home from work with Kisame. The logic behind it being that maybe if he forced himself into situations where he needed to talk, it would progressively become easier for him to speak. This experiment would either excel, or crash and burn. For him, there was no middle ground.

So, as he stood there and continued to check his watch more often than necessary, a sickening feeling of dread began to creep up in his stomach. What if Kisame didn't want him there? After all, this walk home was probably the only alone time he had for most of the day. Or, even worse, what if Kisame tried to talk, and he couldn't say anything in return. Unfortunately, the later seemed much more real, and bothered the Uchiha more than the former.

The latter showed that he wasn't making any improvement. Which meant he was falling behind his friends. Hidan was already employed. Hidan seemed to be doing fucking fine. Why wasn't he making any progress?

He just wasn't trying hard enough.

But even though he told himself that, the idea of speaking was still mortifying. After weeks of being in Kisame's home, though, the fear had transformed from what it was before. When he was still in the hospital, he wanted to punish himself, to keep himself distanced, and to remind himself that he was worthless. But over time, the ideas were beginning to fade. So why was he still scared? Habit, perhaps. Mere habit could have been keeping him from recovering.

Unfortunately, it seemed very human, making it an all too real possibility. And if that was the case, this would be the perfect way for him to start trying to break the habit.

His thoughts stopped short, and his chest clenched up when he saw Kisame headed for the door. Before the older man even stepped outside, he saw Itachi standing there. There was no getting out of it now.

The door swung open. In those few seconds before Kisame spoke, the Uchiha truly wished to stab himself right then and there. He thought he needed to say something, but not a single word wanted to leave his throat. He was borderline panicking, and didn't know what he was going to do if Kisame didn't say anything at all.

Thankfully, that was hardly the case. "Woah, what are you doing here?" Kisame asked, shooting the younger man a wide grin. He looked tired, but Itachi wasn't surprised in the least. The shark like man had been working for at least the past twelve hours, maybe even more.

Instead of saying anything, Itachi simply shrugged. Goddamnit.

"Were you waiting for me?" Kisame asked, pushing a little more in an attempt to get a response.

For a moment, Itachi thought about the response. "Yes." He rubbed his hands together, only to notice that they were getting clammy. Trying to ignore it, he focused on walking and trying to talk.

"Why?"

Another shrug. This time, however, the Uchiha opened his mouth to say more. "I wanted to."

"...Why?" Kisame asked, now more puzzled than ever.

"Company."

"...Oh. Okay." The shark like man wasn't exactly sure what that meant, but Itachi had said something, so he'd take it.

For about a half a mile, neither of them said anything, but were both thinking rapidly. Kisame was wondering what had gotten into the Uchiha, while Itachi was panicking about what to do next. He certainly hadn't talked enough, but what was he supposed to do? Was it all right for him to say more, or had he actually said enough? Knowing his way of thinking, the answer, no matter what he told himself, was no. He hadn't said enough.

"How was your day?" Itachi forced out, barely loud enough for Kisame to hear him. But when the shark like man did, he almost looked as if he was about to faint from shock.

"Uhm...good. I guess. I put Hidan in charge of closing, so God only knows how that'll end up."

"Oh." Silence fell over the two again. "How is Hidan?"

"Loud."

At this, Itachi couldn't help but smile. He would have been surprised to hear anything else. After all, for as long as the Uchiha had known him, Hidan had been loud and obnoxious at all times.

It was as they continued to walk home, a new wave of silence overcoming them, that Itachi began to piece together what was wrong. His heart was beating rapidly, from a fear and anxiety that he had never felt before. He felt like he wanted to vomit, not like he hated himself, and everything that he had ever done in his life. Though it was new, it was by no means better. His heart clenched and unclenched, and for a moment, he thought he was going into cardiac arrest. Then, he remembered that he was messed up mentally, not physically.

When they got home, he quickly excused himself, and slunk into his room after Kisame thanked him for keeping him company on the way home. Itachi practically threw himself onto his bed, and took a shaky breath. What the hell? He had never felt anything like this before. Cautiously, Itachi reached up and touched his face, immediately noticing that it was red hot. Was he...blushing?

The man shook his head violently and took a deep breath. What was happening to him?

oooOOOooo

Deidara walked down the street, coffee in hand. He had managed to go out on his own for the first time in years, and the only condition that Sasori had was that he got something to eat while he was out. Even though he only got a coffee and a small pastry, it counted as something. For a moment, he had contemplated lying, but with all of the faith the redhead was putting in him, it would have been hard to tell such a huge lie to his face.

He had gotten the coffee a while ago, but he had only gotten halfway through it. He wasn't exactly sure of what he had ordered, but it tasted like it was more sugar than coffee, which in his case was somewhat terrifying.

After another small sip of coffee, the blond became faintly aware of what sounded like a few sets of footsteps behind him. Still, it was a city, and he didn't pay much mind to it. After all, plenty of people walked around at night. That didn't make all of them bad.

Deidara ran a hand through his hair and sighed heavily. He thought he was going to be home a lot earlier than this. Sasori probably didn't think much of it. Either that, or he was enjoying his alone time. Still, the blond slipped the cell phone out of his pocket and sent his guardian a quick text to let him know he was on his way home.

Not a second after he slipped the phone back into his pocket, a hand roughly seized him by the shoulder, and spun him around. The force of the movement sent the coffee out of his hand and all over the ground.

"Hey, what the fuck, un!" Deidara growled, narrowing his eyes at whoever had just grabbed him. Standing in front of him were two men that could only be described as ugly as sin. Not only that, but the blond could smell the alcohol on their breath.

Deidara would have been more nervous if he wasn't both pissed and wondering why the fuck things like this had to happen to him.

"Fucking good. If you drank any more of that, you would have gotten even fatter, you dumb bitch," the man who had grabbed him slurred.

Deidara's eyes automatically moved down to his body, to see whether or not what the man said was true. Thankfully, his brain took over, and made him look back up at the attackers. "Fuck off, un," he growled, only to get slapped across the face. The other man, who was standing not far behind the initial attacker, grabbed a handful of his hair and pulled him back up. A pair of lips locked against the blond's neck, and he tried to thrash violently at his opponent while teeth sank deeply into his skin. If it didn't break, there was definitely going to be a mark there for a while.

"Watch your mouth, bitch."

A hand slipped between Deidara's legs, and he nearly screamed at the contact. There were very few people that had touched him like that before, and it was nothing short of humiliating to kno that a few drunks were getting so intimate with him. "Goddamnit, it's a man."

"Good, he'll be tighter."

Seeming to agree on that point, the other man went to grab at Deidara as well.

Once the initial shock of the situation wore off, Deidara began to think. If they thought the blond was just going to stand there and take it, he had another thing coming. He couldn't eat right, he couldn't take care of himself right, and he couldn't be in public right, but if there was one thing he knew how to do, it was put up a fight and run.

In one swift move, he shot his leg up and slammed his knee into his attacker's crotch, pulling himself away as soon as the man sank to the ground. Thankfully, the other attacker was too drunk to process what had happened in a timely manner, and Deidara bolted towards home as fast as he could, keeping his legs moving no matter how much they ached for him to stop.

Deidara all but slammed the front door open, and dove into the main room. After shakily making sure that the door was locked, he sank onto the couch. It wasn't until he was sitting that he realized how much his body was shaking, how fast his heart was beating, and how terrified he really was.

A freezing chill ran down his spine, so he pulled his knees up to his chest in an attempt to warm himself. After years of starvation, he knew it wouldn't work, but it was more of a habit at this point. Now, though, it wasn't cold because of a lack of fat, it was a cold resulting from sheer terror.

All he could do now was pray that Sasori wasn't home. But knowing the redhead's social life, he knew the man was no doubt either in his room, or at the kitchen table.

Sure enough, the slamming of the door and Deidara's frantic movements were enough to bring Sasori into the main room of the apartment. For a moment, he seemed confused, but when he saw the blond's pale, shaking frame, he immediately began to panic.

"Are you okay?" he asked quickly, moving so that he was standing directly in front of the younger boy. He hadn't seen him like this ever, and that was saying something.

Deidara blinked a few times, ears hardly processing what Sasori had said. "...Deidara? Are you all right?" the redhead repeated, this time grabbing the younger man by the shoulders.

Just the touch was enough to snap the blond back to reality. Deidara's head snapped up, and he did his best to shoot a grin at his guardian. "What, un?" he inquired, forcing at least a small amount of happiness onto his face. But as he saw Sasori's expression change, he knew that he wasn't fooling anyone.

"What happened?" the redhead asked slowly. "Are you okay?"

Inwardly, Deidara cursed to himself. Those words. It was always those words that sent him over the edge. Tears began to form in his eyes, and he quickly focused on looking at the ground. "Yeah, un." He didn't want to tell Sasori of all people. He was far too embarrassed. After all, he would be reluctant to tell either Hidan or Itachi about what had just happened. It made him look weak...like he wasn't in control. And if there was one thing he feared more than being fat, it was losing control of his life.

Had he actually gotten raped, he probably wouldn't have even attempted to return home. Deidara would have no doubt ended his life as soon as possible, and made sure that his body was never found. He'd rather let the rapist get away than let anyone know he had been abused and taken advantage of in such a manner.

"Dei..."

The softness of Sasori's voice terrified him. He didn't understand why his guardian was being so kind. He probably deserved to be hurt in the way that he was, so why did he even pretend to care? Whether the kindness was genuine enough, it was enough to make the blond snap. Before he could stop them, the tears fell from his eyes, staining his pale cheeks. How could he let himself cry in front of this man? He didn't need to put even more of a burden on him.

Rather than acting disgusted, however, Sasori practically threw himself next to Deidara and wrapped an arm around the younger man. "Shit, are you okay?" he asked frantically, moving to brush the hair out of the blond's eyes.

"No. Don't. I'm okay, un," Deidara whispered shakily, moving his head away from Sasori's reach. He couldn't deal with this. He was thinking too many things, and feeling too many things all at once. His brain didn't know how to process any of it, and he was one step short of launching into a full on panic attack.

Sasori, on the other hand, didn't seem to notice any of this. "Fuck, Deidara, what happened?"

Without thinking, the blond turned to look at Sasori, and with his single eye, immediately took in the amount of genuine worry on the older man's face. It was something he hadn't seen in years, if at all.

A moment later, he noticed that Sasori was no longer focusing on his face, but slightly below that. What the hell was he...? Oh. Oh. An intense heat rose up to the blond's face, and he turned away as quickly as he had looked over before. He had forgotten about that.

"...Is that a hickey?" Sasori murmured, now more confused than anything else. Slowly, one of his hands reached up to brush against the bruised flesh on Deidara's neck, but was quickly swatted away.

Deidara looked back at the redhead, and squeezed his eye shut before opening it again. There was no getting out of this. Any lie he made up would be a million times worse than just telling his guardian what had happened. Especially since he had already noticed the mark on the blond's neck. Still, it was easier said than done. For the longest time, the two of them sat in an uncomfortable silence, not sure of who was going to speak first.

Finally, though, the blond managed to force a few words out. "I almost got raped, un," he whispered, voice barely audible. He was so quiet, he could hardly hear himself speak.

Even then, Sasori looked as if he was trying to process the words. "Excuse me?" Sasori blurted out, hoping that he hadn't heard the boy right. He could feel his heart beginning to pick up in his chest, and fear began to seep into his system, despite the fact that the act had already happened. "...Did you just...what did you...could you...say that again?" Sasori stammered. Letting him go out alone was an awful idea. What the hell had he been thinking?

Deidara shuddered, but moved closer to the redhead. The older man was warm, and he had never been so freezing in his life. "I almost got raped, un."

"...Almost?" That single word didn't keep a wave of white hot anger from seeping into Sasori's system. All he wanted to do was go out, find whoever had touched the blond, and beat them to a bloody pulp.

"I fought back and ran, un."

When Sasori looked back at the boy, he saw that he was staring at his lap, obviously embarrassed by what he was saying. What perplexed him was the idea of Deidara fighting. The boy looked like the wind could blow him over, so how had he managed to not only stand his ground in a fight, but get away without any significant injuries?

Sasori opened his mouth to say something else, but quickly shut it when he saw the expression on the blond's face. The boy didn't want to talk about it anymore. Rightly so, too. Instead of speaking, the redhead wrapped both arms around the younger man's shoulders and pulled him close. Thankfully, Deidara didn't panic. Rather, he rested his head on the older man's shoulder, said nothing, and made no attempt to move. There was no noise, but he could feel tears begin to soak his shirt. With a heavy sigh, Sasori picked up the younger boy's head and made him make direct eye contact.

Without thinking, he leaned forward and pressed his lips gently against the blond's forehead. "It's going to be okay," he whispered gently. Neither of them knew whether or not to believe the words, but for the moment, they both pretended. Maybe, for a few minutes, everything could be okay.