Come What May

The entire world seemed quiet, everything muffled and softened by the gently pouring rain. Colors were dulled, casting a gray outline over the entire city. Lights struggled to make a difference, to force their dying yellow glow on the neglected neighborhood, illuminating streets that would rise to a whole new level of dangerous in the darkness.

Rapid footsteps are nearly drowned out among the soft patter of the raindrops on cracked and damaged concrete. Calculating eyes, not quite past the point of panic, but increasingly close, flicked around his surroundings, pushing his body just a bit faster every time one of the streetlights behind him fizzled out. He couldn't outrun it though, he could feel it without looking, the unnatural inky black sliently slipping over the ground behind him. If he hesitated, if he stopped for a second, made one single mistake, it would capture him.

Every trick he'd tried had only managed to stall them at the very best. Every angle he'd come at the situation with, every ace he'd pulled from his sleeve. All the things that usually succeeded in getting him out of harms way on every previous mission had fallen through.

He had to get away, there was no choice. The information he collected was unquestionabley the single most important bit of data he'd ever found. His boss absolutly had to get it. All he had to do was outwit his attacker. The question was, how? He'd had yet to see any human being at all, but he wasn't stupid enough not to recognize jutsu when he saw it, especially powerful jutsu, crafty jutsu. He couldn't do any damage, because the murky shadows took it all. He couldn't just slip around a corner and hide in the darkness, seeing as that was the very thing that was after him. Outrunning it was impossible as well, his body would tire out long before the inanimate shadows would.

Skidding slightly and making a sharp right he darted into a narrow alleyway, consumed in darkness. He ignored it, it was natural darkness, caused by lack of light, not that inky, living shadow that was pursueing him. There was nothing unsafe about the dark as long as you always had an ace in the hole. Keen eyes scanned the area as he ran along, this was it, this was definitly one of the entrances. Perfect. No one alive could break through his boss's barriers.

A chainlink fence towered over him a short distance away, blocking his path and thusly his escape route. That was okay though, he reasoned, slapping his hands together and making a short series of seals without stopping. He smiled to himself, whatever idiot it was that thought they could stop him was way outmatched here.

His smile dissapeared then at the loud slap of something wet hitting the ground in front of him. He internally swore, unable to stop himself or change his course as the sole of his foot stepped into something that was halfway between liquid and solid. Before he even had time to look down black tentacles erupted and twined themselves about his leg, nearly causing him to break it as his momentum pushed him forward though the appendage was held firmly in place. The bodiless limbs squeezed then so strongly, twined about his leg like a kraken attacking a ship out on the sea. He couldn't help the pained cry that escaped as he heard and felt the POP of his hip dislocating, followed by the splintering crack of his knee, and then his ankle.

His scream broke temporarily through the hushed night, softened back to the muffled normalcy by the rain.

The shadow tentacles retreated back into their puddle after he'd collapsed, which seemed to fade away, absorbing into the ground like it'd never been there in the first place.

Panting heavily through gritted teeth, he growled in determination, pushing himself up with only a small pathetic whine at the pain stabbing through him with every movement. He crawled forward like a three-legged dog. He was so close, he just had to get into the safehouse. It was right there, at the junction of the alleys. He could crawl if he had to.

He concentrated chakra in his leg, trying in vain to repair the damage. It was easy enough to get his hip popped back into place. Though the pain neared unbearable, it was over within an instant, and he chuckled for a brief victorious moment before pushing the pale green glow of chakra down his leg to his knee. It was not so easily repaired, seeing as it had literally been crushed. The shards of bone would be impossible to repair in the limited time he had.

It's okay.. he just had to keep crawling. He was almost there. The only obstacle left was the fence.

Movement caught his eye and he rolled instantly, barely dodging another shadow that shot out across the alley and impaled itself in the weak brick of the building. He was forced to the side again as another came darting from the darkness, barely missing his chin and imbedding itself in the wall. He grunted in effort and pain as he scrambled to avoid three more that shot out, effectively pinning him there in a seated position with his back pressed against the brick.

He stayed where he was for a few heartbeats, before pulling a knife out of his pocket and with a snarl, swinging it in a wide arc, slashing a trio of them and rolling to freedom. Cheap tricks like that wouldn't stop him, his mission was far too important. The knowledge in his head was too pertinent for him to be stopped by some faceless enemy.

With his chakra still pooling around his crushed knee and ankle, he hobbled onward, stopping at the chainlink and making the handsigns again. When he completed it he slammed his hand against it and a hole appeared, tunneling backward farther than the fence reached. It was then that the illusion of the fence and the alley behind it flickered out to reveal nothing but a dead end.

He sneered, all he had to do was step inside and he was home free. And his master would finally know the secret. He would be safe and sound and he could revel in the glory of having gained such astounding information.

He gingerly lifted his ingured leg up and through the swirling dark tunnel, but before he could finish, the gleam of a blade caught his attention from the corner of his eye. He moved out of the way only for another one to whip out and slash him across the face. He lost his balance and fell, trying to rub away the stinging in his cheek. Dammit, all these stupid little tricks were getting old. Whoever the hell was after him needed to show themselves. They were toying with him, he knew all too well. He was exhausted and injured and all he had to do was step through the portal and he would be safe, but whoever it was didn't even seem to be worried, seeing as they were just using the shadows to slap at him, delaying his escape.

When he pulled his hand away he winced at the slight smear of blood on his palm, then wiped the back of his hand across it to get rid of the remainder. Just a scratch on the cheek, nothing worth repairing immediatly. It's not like it would kill him.

He rolled himself to his feet, holding the hunters knife defensively in his dominating arm and scooting himself slowly toward his escape route. He stiffed and whirled at the new presence that flickered into existance behind him, reaching into his back pocket and pulling out contact bombs and throwing them blindly. The figure shrouded in darkness only smiled as three shadows vined up around him and quite literally swallowed the bombs, expanding and releasing a small puff of smoke when they went off before retreating back to the ground.

"Kabuto Yakushi... correct?" The man said with a voice that would be smooth as silk, something that could lull someone to sleep it it weren't for the extreme undertone of 'I-don't-want-to-be-here' underneath.

He tensed at the mention of his name, stiffening back into a defensive position and glaring a the sillouhette of his attacker. Finally they show themselves, now he could dispose of them and be on his way. These games had gotten old a looong time ago.

"Mm. You don't have to answer. I know it's you." He said, pulling out a pack of cigarettes from one pocket and a flint lighter from the other. He slipped one of them from the pack and popped it into his mouth. "You've been blacklisted, it seems."

The figure stepped forward, flicking the lighter and sneering in the brief macabe light. Slender, clever eyes laughed at him with nothing more than a small crook in the corner of his mouth for as econd before he slapped the lid back onto the lighter and returned both items to his pockets. The man known as Kabuto refused to shrink under his presence. He wasn't afraid, he'd seen far more terrifiying things than this fool could ever be capable of.

"You've assisted in kidnapping, illegal genetic experiementation, and of course countless murders. You really should be more careful, you know. Leaving fingerprints everywhere."

"Quit the monologging and attack me already. I have places to be. " He replied, repositioning his glasses.

"Hm. You wouldn't say that if you knew what was about to happen to you."

Kabuto remained quiet this time, patiently eyeing the man as he stepped forward again. The sillouhette dissapeared and the facial features revealed themselves again, wearing the same calm mask that balanced on some line between sadistic pleasure and utter indifference, but it didn't help. He had no idea who this was. A high ponytail, open, black, pocketed vest with no shirt underneath, and what was that pendant around his neck?

No.. wait.. he knew what that was.

"A Jashinist?" He said, raising a white brow. "I didn't think they existed any longer. And I certianly didn't think they were dumb enough to wear it out on their sleeves."

"Ooh you know of Jashin then?"

"I know more than you'd probably be comfortable with me knowing." He replied, smirking in a mock imitation of his attacker.

"Actually, that makes everything easier. Seeing as you're about to meet him."

"Am I? I think you're mistaken."

His attacker smiled, and the cold look in his eyes suddenly melted away by the fire exploding within them. In a flash the man moved forward, Kabuto barely had time to pull out his weapon to block the attack. And no time at all to block the second, seeing as he suddenly couldn't move his body.

"I don't like cocky fuckers like you." His attacker growled, delivering a knee into Kabuto's gut and shoving him backward onto the ground. "You know of Jashin eh? Tell me what happens when I taste your blood then." The spikey haired man said, whipping out a telescopic pike and snapping it downward until it was unretracted. With a quick motion he scraped it across the cut on Kabuto's cheek, and then stepped back.

The victim glared, unwilling to admit that his knowledge on the subject was only bare minimum. Injesting blood did any number of things though, if he remembered correctly. It was a large part of the religion. He struggled against the shadow hands that restrained him on the ground, wincing in pain when they only squeezed tighter.

"You're lucky I'm not a sadist. So don't forget to thank Jashin Almighty for sending me instead of someone else." With that his attacker extended his tongue and licked the blood from the tip of the weapon, twirling it too fast to see then before grunting as he shoved it through his palm.

Kabuto stared wide eyed as the man's skin changed color right before his eyes, skin turning to the same inky black as the shadows he comanded, broken by the stark white of tribal, skeletal-like markings across his face, chest, and arms.

What.. what the hell was this? His chakra was surging, mixing around and twisting with some other indescribable power in his veins. This.. this wasn't jutsu! It couldn't be! But what was it! It couldn't be possible that there was a forbidden technique he didn't know about... he knew EVERYTHING!

This wasn't part of Jashinism.. was it? It was just some harmless stupid little religion for emo teens and adults with sick, twisted, sexual fantasies. Though, it didn't matter what it was, did it? He would have to put a stop to it, before this man killed him, as he so boldly claimed he was going to. Luckily for him, the best way to stop any attacker is to kill them first.

The skeltetal man squeezed a few rediculously big drops of blood on the ground, smearing them into a circle. More blood fell, and was drawn into a triangle in the middle. The man's face was absolutly expressionless, regarding Kabuto as if he were already a corpse.

Trying to resist the trembling of his hands, the glasses-wearing victim made a handsign with one hand, muttering an incovation word along with it. He imagined the trap set up in the alleyway, not by him but as a safeguard for his boss's employees. One that should have been triggered as soon as this spikey haired, religious nutjob set foot within three feet of the unmasked portal. Oh well though, at least you could manually activate it, as long as you know how.

But his attackers eyes didn't shift except for a wince as mechanical sounds pervaded the air and he suddenly had two dozen arrows sticking out of his body, a living pincushion.

Kabuto didn't even have time to smile at the victory before pain erupted within him like a million little daggars. His mouth gaped open in a silent scream, vision blurred in bulging eyes and ears rang. What was this? What was this black magic? He wasn't doing anything more than looking at him and he felt like he'd just been stabbed a hundred times in a hundred places all at once.

He choked out as the tentacles around his body seemed to wriggle in excitement of the severe blinding pain within him. He couldn't blink, he couldn't move his body, stiffened against the agony, he couldn't even suck in a single solitary breath.

"That kind of hurt..." The Jashinist said, cracking his neck. "Any other traps you'd like to set off? More brilliant ideas? You better get it all out of your system before I send you to Jashin."

The shadows restraining the victim shifted and pushed upward, hoisting Kabuto up and restraining him into a standing position, the single shadow wrapped around his leg squeezed tightly, and a pained breath hissed in through clenched teeth. His hands were secured to prevent any more signing, and the spikey-haired man sneered.

"You.." Kabuto gasped finally after forcing his mind to apply his medical skills to himself and numb the pain enough to where he could function, his eyes falling wider still and face going slack. He couldn't think any more, now that the realization had hit him. The man had just been stabbed clean through with 24 arrows, and barely even flinched. And yet he was the one feeling the deadly pain from it.

He knew who this was now. It was the very person he'd been trying to collect data on, the one who'd gained immortality through that man his boss had spoke about. The one who couldn't die by meer physical attacks alone.

This was... the other immortal.

"I grant you this soul, Jashin, stained throughly with the blood of others, the weight of it should suffice you for another month. I ask for your continued blessing, and thank you for all you've done for me already." The man said in monotone, bowing his head slightly after taking the cigarette out of his mouth and flicking it off into the shadows.

Kabuto choked, the wall behind the immortal man flickered, and then died, returning to the image of a chain-link fence. Shit, what was he going to do, he couldn't move even if he weren't restrained. He had to get this information to his master, whether he died or not, it was crucial. And now, he even met the man. If he could survive, everything would go so perfectly.

But.. he wasn't going to. He had no other tricks up his sleeve. He'd never thought in a million years that the immortal would come after him himself. To be brutally honest, he hadn't even been completley convinced that the silver-haired, pink-eyed one had existed, let alone a second one.

The immortal man, chuckling, lifted the pike above his head. "My body is your vessel, Jashin." He said quietly, and Kabuto watched, time slowing down, his heartbeat thundering in his ears as he swung the weapon down toward his own chest. It registered just before flesh parted that this was a sacrifice. That he was a sacrifice. That this was the never-seen-because-no-one-survived ritual that only the highest of priests could perform. And he realized with tears welling up that he had been doomed from the second he'd been asked to do this task. No one with a secret as huge as this would simply let someone walk off with the knowledge that Kabuto had.

Another explosion of pain erupted within him, searing and burning to the point where he thought his body might just combust and turn to ash. He couldn't even scream. He couldn't do anything but stare dumbly at a laughing skeletal man, unable to hear anything other than his own slowing heartbeat reverberating in his eardrums.

No.. no. He had to.. to get the knowledge.. to..

He couldn't do it, he couldn't even think.

He had nothing left. He was going to die. He had failed.


One last beat, one last wheeze, and his eyes rolled backward.

The world went black.


Shikamaru continued laughing, unable to understand why he was doing such a thing, but not really willing to find out. It happened every time, after all. Every time he saw the surrender in their eyes, the recognition of their own death. When he watched as they gaped at him, trying to understand what he was, what was happening.

He couldn't help himself but laugh.

Fucking heathens.

It's what they got, what they deserved. He delivered them unto Jashin, and they would be judged before a God. They would see for themselves that he was real, and they would cry and repent for their actions like the pathetic athiests they were. They would cower in fear and plead for mercy before they were devoured.

His laughter slowed to the point where he could control himself again, and he quickly pulled the giant stake from himself, gritting his teeth against a moan of pleasure that threatened to escape him. And now he had to pull all these arrows out... Damn. The ritual wasn't going to last that long. Which meant this was really going to hurt.

He retracted the weapon and put it back into it's small clip on his belt, sighing in exhaustion as Jashin accepted the soul, and the ritual ended, letting his skin pale back to it's usual color.

"Ooww..." He said aloud, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Fucking arrows... seriously?" He muttered, grabbing the head of one sticking out of his chest. Inhaling sharply, he yanked it out and let it fall to the ground, growling under his breath as he tried to numb the pain, waiting for his body to begin healing.

Oh, that smarts.

"One down. A shitload more to go."

Getting used to being immortal hadn't been much of a challenge, the hardest part was fighting the urge to pass out momentarily when his heart was pierced or his skull cracked open.

It was always the part after the battle that ended up being the worst. After the thrill and adrenaline were gone, after the ritual ended and any remaining wounds were left to be dealt with. Normally being in ritualistic mode instantly healed everything, but if his body was still pierced, obviously it couldn't repair itself. And so now he was left with nothing but his self-training and largley increased pain tolerance to get him through the cleanup process. He'd made a mental note to ask Hidan how the hell he still enjoyed it when not in ritual skin, and was reminded every time he had to go and make one of these troublesome offerings.

Four more bloody arrows were on the ground at his feet now. And another clattered down after a short outburst of swears. This was a slow process, he unhappily admitted to himself. That Kabuto bastard didn't really put up much of a fight, but he'd had one hell of a devious mind. The pursuit of him so far had been a tedious one. He was a quick little shit, smart and unafraid to cause pain to anyone who got in his way. 2 normal civillians had been injured in the nerd's failed escape schemes.

He had been unusually prepared, actually. It was weird, as if he'd known someone would be after him. Then again, the guy was some sort of spy or something. And obviously he hadn't expected an immortal. It made him ponder briefly on what kind of information he'd been gathering before Shikamaru had put a stop to it.

Hm. Well, it didn't matter anyway. Jashin had his sacrifice and he could go back to his normal life. Or... what had become normal. Moving from place to place, sneaking into abandoned buildings, or old bunkers, and staying there until the time came when a sacrifice was due. And by then he'd already narrowed his choices down to three people. Whoever he found first was insantly targeted.

It was a little bit of a drag really, having to sneak around from place to place, hack into computers and look up information. He almost had grown to despise technology, made everything so troublesome.

But that's what happened when you tried to turn being a murderer into being some twisted form of vigilante. It was work. Being a good person was always the hard road, protecting was always the more difficult choice. And he knew that more than anyone. That's why he was in this whole stupid mess in the first place. Damn, it sucked to have morals. Hopefully he'd be able to ignore them after a few centuries..

"Gaah Son-of-a-biiitch!" He snarled, when one arrow decided to snag itself on something inside him. There literally could not be a worse place to get a splinter, seriously. He only had 13 more left now, and the first few holes had already stopped bleeding. He took a moment to brace himself further, and with a grimace he yanked again. It came out, but not without tearing something. Blood squirted in an almost hilariously fake display from the wound, like the over-the-top effects one would see in an old, poorly-funded movie. It it didn't hurt so fucking bad he might have taken the time to enjoy the weird humor of the moment.

"You're lucky you're already dead." He growled through his teeth to the corpse.

And then he blinked. He'd forgotten to undo the shadow jutsu, which continued to restrain his latest victim. But not only that... He mentally kicked himself. Why was he doing this the hard way?

He took a breath and closed his eyes, and at his silent command the three-dimensional shadows removed themselves from the body, discarding it like a sack of rotten potatoes and wormed up his own, grasping the few remaining ends of the arrow by the heads. He took one more heartbeat to brace himself yet again before snapping his eyes open. Taking the cue, all the remaining foreign bodies were removed from him all at once.

He made a slight choking sound and slapped his hand over his mouth at the pain. But after standing motionless for a good ten minutes and focusing on his breathing, he was okay again.

Well. That certianly moved things along quicker.

He sighed and clapped his hands, finally stepping from his Jashin circle and over all the discarded arrows. He still couldn't believe Kabuto had used something so primitive... But then again, it would have been effective enough were he not unkillable.

He stretched, and took the time to pop his back before grabbig both arms of the limp body and slinging it up over his shoulder. All that was left now was taking him to an exchange point.

Yeah.. the vigilante thing to do was drop him off at the police station, but hey, just because he was immortal didn't mean he liked starving. And he might as well get paid for all his efforts.

Kabuto was a wanted man too. He'd bring in at least a couple months worth of money, if not more. It was surprisingly easy to make it last when you didn't have bills, or car insurance, or rent, or any of those other annoying little money vaccums.

Pushing chakra into his feet, he launched himself upward, landing on the two story roof with only one extra push off the opposing wall. Before taking off he turned around and looked down at the mess he'd made of the alleyway, tsk'ing.

"Clean it up guys." He ordered, and one the command two living shadows ever-so-slowly pulled free of the walls, plopping onto the ground and pulling themselves up on twig-like legs. With mouths akin to an anteaters, they moved forward, one sucking the arrows up like a vaccume and the other melting into a puddle and running in a small trickle to cover the blood circle and the other miscellaneous spatters. Smoke fizzled from the ground momentarily as it vaporized the evidence, and Shikamaru, nodding in satisfaction, turned and went of his way, speeding along the rooftops in a blur with a dark purple meteor tail fading out behind him.


4 hours later he sat on the edge of the tallest building in town. A not-so-impressive 15 story that pointed in a pyramid upward at the top, giving the Jashinist perched on the small ledge something to lean back against.

He inhaled from the cigarrette in his mouth, exhaling through his nose into the chilly night air. The sun would be rising in a few more hours, and he would retreat back to his safehouse to rest for a few days before he picked up and moved on to a new city or town.

He'd rather enjoyed his stay in this one. It was rather pretty, being older and more rustic looking. Most of the buildings had that back-in-the-day feel to them, and he might guess they were more than a couple decades old. Not so old that they were disgusting and falling apart, but enough to give him a strange sense of welcome...

It was just big enough to send a glow of light up in the night sky, reflecting off the clouds and creating a heavenly sort of picture. And it was small enough to where the smog stayed mostly near the ground. On his post so high up, the air was crip and refreshing.

He sighed and flicked the smouldering filter of his cigarette off the edge of the small-time skyscraper, putting his arms behind his head and leaning back on them like a pillow.

It wasn't such a bad life, being a rogue. Once he'd gotten past his first sacrifice, (an absolute mess that had been,) everything sort of fell into place. Now that he generally knew what to expect he sometimes wondered why the hell he hadn't ever thought to do this sooner. There were no deadlines to meet, no places to be, no one to worry about but himself. The doldrums of the average life didn't affect him at all. He was free in every sense of the word.

Of course there were things that he missed. A comfy bed, refridgerators, the occasional television, the satisfaction of knowing where you'll be going to sleep at night after night, and some occasional company that wasn't a shadow puppet or dead body... but they were all just luxuries that could be easily lived without, as long as you had things to distract yourself with. And hobbies were something that continued to elude him, except for working out, planning his next sacrifice, polishing his few weapons, smoke-bombs, and coninueously working on improving his techniques, he still didn't have much of a life...

He didn't need a good mattress to sleep on, seeing as his body healed so quickly now that each morning he woke up feeling perfect no matter what kind of surface he spent the night on. And food was never hard to come by, honestly. He always had enough cash on hand to keep himself going.

Teachnically he didn't need anything but the clothes on his back. But speaking just of the mentality of things, it was nice to at least pretend he was human. To have the few normalities of the everyday life and not existing in the same, monotonous little bubble in time. Simple things like a change of clothes were a comfort. Especially when you literally had to break into places just to take a shower.

Not to say he wasn't human... but there were a lot of long nights he'd spent just pondering over his new life, his abilities... and it always came down to one thing. He was one of two people on the entire earth who could not die. And that alone put him in another species category.

He wondered a lot too of the future. How things would be when he'd outlived everyone he knew, outlived their children and their grandchildren... How things might change, how he'd have to adapt...

And it was thoughts like these that always made him think of Hidan. However old he technically was... He'd entertained himself with the thought of the man living faar back in time, changing along with the flow of society. Hidan in a suit of armor, Hidan in a rainbow sancho and half moon glasses, Hidan in bellbottoms, Hidan in an Elvis suit! Usually it was too hilarious to even think about and so he wrenched his train of thought away, most times only for it to meander its way right back to the immortal.

It was troublesome, in a way. But also comforting. He wouldn't outlive everyone he knew...

He smiled to himself and closed his eyes ,inhaling deeply from the cancer stick. Today was exactly six months from when he'd made the deal. It was the day he'd written on piece of paper and had one of his shadow minions deliver. And there were only a few hours until daylight.

It was a good thing Jashin didn't go by conventional time, or Hidan and himself would both be dead.

That crazy albino... Shikamaru was only vaugley concerned as to whether he'd show or not. And honestly it wasn't even corncern for his life. Nope, he just wanted to see him. He so far beyond his denial that when he'd thought about how much he'd fought his feelings for the zealot it made him want to laugh out loud... and maybe punch something. He couldn't have just enjoyed it, could he? That short little amount of time he'd had. He had to sit there worrying about how wrong it was, about how Neji would react, about all that stupid bullshit that hadn't made any difference in the end anyway.

And now he was in a whole different boat. Instead of trying to convinve himself he didn't love Hidan, he was trying to contain the emotions that continued to force their way into his brain whenever he thought of the man. The happy content he'd felt, as well as the anger he still couldn't rid himself of after the bastard had chosen Kakuzu.

So yes, he was all too eager to see him.

And to fight him.

Spontaneous new jutsu's and techniques had made themselves available to Shikamaru. And though his sacrifices occasionally put up a good fight, he was excited to get to really test them out. And he wasn't going to go easy on Hidan either, the zealot was going to have to work his ass off if he wanted his blood. Call it teasing or flirting or whatever you want, but he was going to prolong this reunion as long as possible.

...If he showed up... that is.

Dammit, surely he wouldn't forget! And surely he would be able to track the Nara down, especially if the revered tracker Kakuzu assisted. He hadn't made it too incredibley hard to follow his trail... Did he?

He wasn't overestimating the moron was he?

Damn, he'd be really, REALLY pissed if he didn't show. And also dead... But mostly just pissed.

"Where the fuck are you..." He mumbled almost inaudibley, opening his eyes just in time to catch the shadow moving on its own out of the corner of his eye.

Hmm. That certianly wasn't his.

He grinned widely and internally leaped in joy before sighing and activating his shadow possession. The shadow anomoly was caught with ease, and there was only a single heartbeat of silence until curses exploded into the air behind him.

He smiled and tipped his head backward to find a dark cloaked man holding a scythe over his head, his body trembling slightly in his efforts to escape Shikamaru's hold on him. His eyes met shaded violet under the hood of the cloak, and he held the teasing stare as long as he could before the upside-down man above him gritted his teeth in a grimace.

"Goddamit, quit staring at me!"

"You seriously think you can just sneak up on me? I see we still haven't grown any brains..."

"You Shithead! Just let me down! My fucking arms are getting tired!"

"Were you going to cleave my fucking skull in two or what!?"

"Hey, it's not like it's gonna kill you!"

"Yeah but that's just gross, and it would probably piss me off."

Finally he stood up, mimicing Hidan's stance and switching the jutsu into mime-mode. Casually he forced Hidan to toss his unimpressive single bladed scythe over the side of the building, receiving a growl in response. He deactivated the Jutsu while simultaneously diving out of the way. Just as expected, he dodged a blow from Hidan's red-hazed hand, turned into a weapon with nothing but condensed chakra.

"Have you learned any new tricks?" Shikamaru said, dodging two more swings and then delivering a kick of his own. Hidan not only blocked it but caught him by the ankle, sneering before a red-laced shadow tentacle extended from his arm and wrapped itself around Shikamaru's leg. His eyes widened and he struggled to get away, but he hardley had time to move before his opponent heaved and he was flung into the air, rising several feet in an arc and slammed into the vertical wall on the other side of the building.

He spit a wad of blood out and coughed, mentally kicking himself for being arrogant before he was tossed again, Hidan's stolen control over the shadows acting almost like one of Kakuzu's arm extensions. Hah, of course he would imitate the old man. They'd probably been working together to train him up all this time. It wasn't as if Shikamaru and Hidan's born-again lover were on good standings with each other. Surely the bastard would donate a little bit of time to make sure Hidan gave the Nara a good beating during their reunion.

Damn. He hadn't even considered that.

He grunted again, drowned out by the shattering of glass as he was slammed into the other side of the building, and immediatly condensed chakra in his hand. When he was lifted back up moments later he waited just until he was hovering over the silver-hair of his opponent before making a little shadow whip of his own and snaking it around his opponents neck, simultaneously breaking the grip of the other tentacle with a quick slash from a chakra foot-blade.

Using his momentum as he fell back down and landed safely on the roof, he flung Hidan up into the air, letting him go at the last second instead of slamming him into anything. Without hesitation he bounded to the edge of the roof, leaping out pocahontas-style and flipped, pooling chakra in his legs. Hidan came flailing down just as he coiled his thighs and kicked, nailing him perfectly in the chest and sending out a ripple of air as the zealot was flung backward and went crashing down onto the roof of another lower building, just barely managing to break the tumble before he skidded off it as well.

Using Shadow whips as a grappeling hook, Shikamaru Spiderman'd his way over to land on the roof, not sparing even a millisecond after his feet touched concrete to charge. He opened his hand behind him and pumped chakra into the seal sewn into his fingerless glove, wrapping his hand around the staff of the weapon that flashed into existance with a small burst of deep purple. Hidan's eyes went wide for only a second before they were replaced with anger, and he pulled out one of his telescopic pikes and extended it just in time to block the attack, locking the two in a grapple.

"YOU LITTLE SHIT! You stole my fucking scythe!?" He said half in anger and half in amusement.

Shikamaru smirked and pushed away, pinwheeling the giant weapon before slamming the butt to the conctrete. "Yeah. You really didn't suspect it all this time?"

"Son of a-Goddammit Pineapple head I fucking tore that city apart looking for it!"

"Well. Finders, keepers."

Hidan's eyes narrowed and he jetted forward with chakra enhanced speed. With a simple swing of the scythe he was forced to stop and flip to the side, and then again when the weapon continued swooping back and forth at him.

Shikamaru smiled, once you were used to it, it was actually one hell of a weapon, and with the 'improvements' he'd made to it, there was no way he was letting the albino reclaim it.

"I'll fucking take it back!"

"I'd like to see that."

"How the fuck did you get so good at handleing it so fast!?"

Shikamaru retreacted the weapon, sending a quick pulse of chakra into it while whipping it forward. With a long string of clicks, the once solid staff of the weapon broke into millions of little segments, creating a flexible spine and transforming the triple bladed scythe into a completley new weapon. Hidan gawked for half a second too long before trying to get away, and the weapon wrapped around Hidan's torso, with the three blades impaling him as an anchor right through the gut.

A choked grunt of pain sounded briefly before, with a flick of his wrist, Shikamaru retracted the spined scythe and pulled Hidan roughly up close.

"I've had a lot of time to practice." He said lowly, doing his best not to sound bitter.

"What'd you fucking do to my scythe!?" Hidan growled in his restraint.

"Upgraded it. You like it? No need for a flimsy little retractable cord now."

With that he snapped the cord upward, throwing his opponent into the air, spinning like a top. The blades ripped free of the silver-haired Jashinists abdomen, sending out a spiral of blood and dazzleing Shikamaru with the morbid beauty of the attack.

He stared a little too long, it turned out, and by the time he'd slung the weapon back to reattach to Hidan the zealot had recovered in midair, grabbed the end of the weapon tucked it under his feet, managing to run along the outstretched spine like a tightrope.

That's not even physically possible! His head screamed, unable to force any other thought out in time to dodge the chakra hazed punch Hidan delivered right to the side of his face, gripping the weapon firmly with his other hand and tearing it from the Nara's grasp as he went careening over the edge of the building.

Hm. Hidan's warnings about getting cocky had rung true after all.

Hah. But not really.

Intentionally chomping down on his tounge and restarting the bleeding as he plummeted, he worked up a wad of blood and spit into his hand, sending a small surge of chakra to activate the seal on his glove once more. Initially summoning the weapon didn't demand payment, seeing as he kept it in a specially designed locker that Jashin designed for him between planes of reality. But transporting it out of one reality and taking it to a different spot in the same one wasn't such an easy process, and therefore required a little blood.

Immediatly the scythe phazed back into his hand and he launched it without hesitation, letting it break through a window and latch onto the brick. He had just pulled himself to a stop and planted his feet onto the side of the building when a pale blur came racing straight down, crashing into him and once again severing his hold on the weapon.

Punches and kicks were exchanged in midair before Shikamaru, still being slightly more agile, managed to maneuver himself on top of Hidan, pushing off against his stomache just before the pale immortal collided with the concrete.

He landed softly, thanks to a certian psycho breaking the fall for him. And he sent one more chakra drip into his hand and the sealing circle, banishing the weapon back to it's holding cell. If he couldn't keep ahold of the damn thing then it would just be a nuisance.

"YOU'RE REALLY STARTING TO PISS ME OFF! " Came Hidan's snarl from the still dusty crater, and again a blur raced outward from the smoke, both hands and both feet aflame with red chakra. Shikamaru took a half-second to spit out a wad of blood and pulled out his own telescopic pike and snapped it to full extension before swinging. It slashed right through the albinos neck before he poofed out of existance.

Eyes widening, Shikamaru ducked, feeling the air from his attackers swipe behind him and absently noting the few black hairs that floated to the ground in front of him. He dropped his legs under him and backward and pushed with his arms, sucessfully sliding himself beneath the mans legs and rising up behind him, snaking a shadow tentacled around his neck and yanking him back and down by the throat.

Hidan's head smashed into the ground only for him to poof away into the air again. Brows furrowing, Shikamaru whipped around in time to sidestep a swipe of the zealots pike and grab his arm, slamming it into a raised knee right at the elbow. It cracked audibley and his opponent released an angry yelp, not stopping for even a millisecond to tend to his wound before whirling into a roundhouse.

Shikamaru whirled too, ducking low and extending his leg, sucessfully catching the fellow Jashinists ankles and maneuvering the weapon from his hands before he was sprawled on his back. Without hesitation Shikamaru poured chakra into his weapons and spun both pikes in his hand like batons before lifting them up and slamming each one down through a broad shoulder and into the cement below.

Hidan's body stiffened as he fought through a seizure, glaring daggars at the Nara with gritted teeth and bug eyes.

Giving the man the best amused grin he could work up, he stepped back and regarded him with feigned boredom, even going so far as to pull out a cigarette and light it, exhaling a puff of smoke just as the albinos body relaxed onto the ground.

"Dammit..." Hidan panted, reaching up to yank one of the stakes from his shoulder. "Would you just hold the fuck still?" He gave a half-moan at the sickening sound of the weapon pulling free of him, and went to repeat the action with the other.

"Where's the fun in that?" The Nara replied, pausing to take another drag. "Maybe you should quit fuckin' around and get serious." Holding the cigarette between his lips, he dashed forward right as Hidan rose to his feet. He wouldn't give him the chance to make any more clones. That was seriously starting to get annoying. He rushed him, pulling out two of his special chakra blades that resembled bronze knuckles with knife-like extensions and alighting them with purple-black flames.

He gave an extra boost to his feet, vaugley put off by the fact that Hidan didn't seem to care that he was being charged at. The notion was knocked away when movement caught his eye and he had to suddenly avoid a minefeild of tarry puddles, the same trap he'd just used on his most recent sacrifice. Even getting near one would result in those 3D shadows shooting up to bind you in place.

While he weaved through the traps, Hidan started running in an arc around them, whipping out the tangible shadow extentions as he did and flinging them at Shikamaru, creating more distractions as he tried to maneuver through a mine-feild and dodge the whip-like attacks being thrown at him.

Stopping on a dime and whirling, the Nara let loose a dark wave that rippled out from his body, avoided easily by Hidan with a leap into the air. Smiling to himself, he twirled one of his blades around a single finger, taunting. And reacting as he planned, an angered albino landed on the ground and charged.

Quickly he chucked the blade at Hidan's shadow, causing the psycho to come to sudden stop and roar in anger after a few seconds of labored breathing. He glared at Shikamaru for a heartbeat, breathing heavily. The Nara could practically see the gears turning in his head.

He honestly was just a little dissapointed, his opponent had the ability to copy and manipulate everything that Shikamaru himself was capable of, and yet he didn't seem to be experimenting even. Then again, maybe he didn't know what all he could actually do.

He'd just taken a breath to say something he heard the fast-paced footfalls behind him, then twirling out of the way and missing having his head cleaved open yet again by only a hair. The cigarette held between his lips took the damage instead, cut off down nearly to the filter.

He spit out the end and slashed at what he could only assume was Hidan's shadow minion swinging the previously discarded scythe that Hidan had started out with. They locked in a grapple again, and Shikamaru broke it by throwing his foot up to hit the monster in the groin. His foot only ghosted through it, something he mentally kicked himself about when the inanimate being hopped away and raced toward it's restrained master.

Shika started immediatly after it, but it moved with the speed of light, or... the absence of it. In the blink of an eye it plucked the blade from the ground, taking the time to hand Hidan both weapons before fading from existance.

The spikey haired Jashinist continued his charge, leaping up and flipping over his opponent when the scythe was swung low. The albino continued the swing in a complete circle, arcing it higher and forcing Shika to duck under it. He slashed with his own remaining blade at Hidan's abdomen, who tossed the large weapon into the air and side-stepped the attack, clasping onto Shikamaru's wrist and yanking him forward.

Caught off guard by this, he stumbled forward and was grabbed by the waist and hoisted up onto Hidan's shoulder. Alarm bells rang in his head when he was restrained by his own stolen jutsu, inky black ropes wrapping around his ankles, knees, elbows and wrists.

"What the hell are you doing!?" He shouted, squirming in the humiliating position as the scythe came falling back down, snatched from the air by the zealot as he started slowly down the street.

"I caught you. You're my hostage now. So quit wiggling around."

"Fucking put me down Hidan!"

"Nope. Got a sacrifice to make, and times running out."

Shikamaru sighed loudly, letting his body fall limp. He could probably get out of this easily enough, but Hidan was right, time was running short and they'd done a lot of damage to city property... it would be a good idea to remove themselves from the scene.

"Do you really have to carry me like this? I pretty much just kicked your ass, this is embarrasing."

"That's what fucking happens when you steal my shit." The zealot replied calmly. "Maybe if you would have held the fuck still and let me cut you it could have been over and done with."

"I'll cooperate if you let me down."

"Not a chance Pineapple head, I caught you fair and square."

The Nara rolled his eyes. That was a dissapointingly undramatic end to the fight, being carried off like a prize. Where the hell were they going anyway? He voiced the question aloud only to be roughly repositioned on the muscled shoulder.

"Somewhere private." Came the robotic reply.

The prisoner's skin crawled pleasantly at this. Going somewhere private to perform a sacrificial bonding ritual? How morbidly romantic.

Seriously though, he couldn't help the jolt of excitement that shot through him at the small flicker of hope. Did Hidan break up with Kakuzu? Had he finally come to his senses?

"Why?" He said, clearing his throat and inwardly cringing at the obvious fangirlish excitement that leaked out with just the single word.

"Keep your panties on. We just need to talk. I... remembered some stuff.."


"Yeah. Got fucking cotton in your ears?"

Shikamaru remained silent, chewing on his lip in thought. What the hell could he have possibley remembered that he felt inclined to voluntarily tell the fellow Jashinist. And judging by his demeanor it wasn't exactly something positive. Had he recalled something during their brawl? Or was all this just a cover-up for some other means of shennanigans?

He furrowed his brow at the thought. It better not be, or he was going to beat the shit out of him all over again.

"Can't believe you fucked up my scythe..."

"I made it better." He mumbled back.

"You have any fucking idea how long I've had that thing?"

"Awwe, I didn't know you thought of it like a security blanket."

"Never mind.. just shut up." The albino growled, again repositioning Shikamaru.

"Make me." He replied, yelping when his ass was suddenly smacked harder than any normal person could. Holy fuck taht was going to bruise!

"Now shut up."



Hmm. Not so sure how happy I am with this as a start, I've had this done actually for quite a few days, since my birthday actually, which was a week ago. But I wanted to go over it like 30 times to make sure I was satisfied with it. But I haven't had 5 goddamn seconds to fucking sit down and do anything. Even right now I'm rushing.

I just really hate life sometimes guys. Bleh.

Anyway, uh, yeah so, mer. I don't know what else to say so, here you are.

Enjoy, thanks for reading, I love you, forgive typos, and most of all Please, Please, Please, PLEASE! Leave me a review. I'm sooo unmotivated right now guys.. I need it.