School the next Monday passed without event. The day after that was the same. Wednesday featured a fight and following incarceration with the principal for Kakuzu and Sasori. (Sasori wouldn’t pay Kakuzu to move, and Kakuzu made Sasori late) (Sasori won, through pure psychosis.) Thursday contained the explosive tempers of Deidara and Sasori. Barely. Friday…
Ah, Friday. It will henceforth be known as The Dooms Day, aka the Day Hinata tried to blend in with the furniture.
Ino, with an uncanny perceptiveness that had been honed through years of sticking her nose into other people’s business, found out about Hidan and Hinata.
By fifth period lunch, everyone knew.
Every time Kisame looked at the albino, he would start laughing so hard his face turned peach. The girls of school would either shoot Hinata tiny grins or encouraging gestures (thumbs ups, waves, wiggled eyebrows, etc) or strange wondering looks (they could not understand what had gotten into the shy girl).
And then… Sixth period came, and Neji got a moment to corner his cousin. “Hinata!” he hissed, blocking her exit from their shared fifth period Geometry class. “I’ve heard some very disturbing rumours today… I had hoped you could clear things up.”
Sinking into a nearby chair, Hinata sighed. Here we go… “Which rumours, Neji-kun?”
“The ones about you and Jashin. You already know what I mean, Hinata. So tell me, it’s not true, right?”
Why had Tenten thought it was such a good idea again? The smaller Hyuuga took a breath and looked down at her hands, which were twisted together in her lap. “It is true.”
Neji stared at her. “How? Why?” he asked, baffled.
“Because he sees me,” she said softly as she looked up at him. “Because he knows that I exist. Because he wants my attentions. Because he respects me. Because I can talk to him.”
“What are you talking about, Hinata?” he demanded, shaking his head. “He’s rude, and coarse, and violent. He talks to you like you’re some sort of… sexual item! How could you think he respects you! No, this isn’t right. I won’t allow it.”
Oh, he went there did he? “I know that he respects me,” Hinata stated as she rose to her feet, “because if I tell him no, he won’t force me. And if talking to me like a sexual item is bad, then talking to me like the family breeding cow is just as callous!” She glared up at her cousin, daring him to contradict her. “How are you, telling me who to spend my time with, any better?”
He blinked, mouth open in shock. There was stifled snickering behind him and he whipped around. “YOU!” he cried. “You’ve turned her into… into this!” He pointed at his cousin. “This rebellion of hers is YOUR fault!”
“Guilty as charged,” Hidan retorted. “Now go the fuck away. Can’t you see the lady doesn’t want your company right now? And maybe, just maybe, if you apologize for being a sexist, stick in the mud ass later, she’ll forgive you.” He sneered. “If you’re lucky!”
Neji sputtered. Finally, he managed to say a coherent sentence. “Sexist! You can’t talk about sexist, you perverted imbecile!”
Hidan rolled his eyes and quirked a brow at Hinata. “And I’m unoriginal?” he asked dryly, holding a hand out. “Let’s ditch this stiff bitch, seriously.”
Running a frustrated hand through her hair, Hinata sighed. This went out of control, fast. And Neji… Glancing at him, she didn’t see anything but the judgemental look of her own father. Maybe another time, another day, they would be able to work things out. But for now, there was no saving this.
Blinking back a sudden surge of helpless emotion, Hinata brushed past her cousin and placed her hand in Hidan’s waiting palm. “Okay.”
Hidan dismissed Neji completely and interlaced his fingers with Hinata’s before tugging her from the room. “To the cafeteria?” he asked.
Nodding quickly, she let out an adorable little growl and rubbed her eyes with her free hand. “Fucking family,” she muttered as they walked. “Always a pain in the ass.”
“You’re kind of sexy when you growl and swear,” he told her bluntly, grinning. “Kinda makes me wanna take you into a closet and fuck you senseless…”
He got a quirk of the brow, before she reached over and punched him in the shoulder. She was still blushing though. “Have you seen the closets here? Gross.”
“True enough. Ah, well, there’s always that hidey hole… Aww, fuck, I’m hungry! Food first. Fuuuuckk.” He picked up his pace, dragging her along. “I spent all last period running from that fucking counselor torture bastard. Worked up an appetite.”
Hinata shook her head giggling and hauled back on his arm. “Chicken or beef?” she asked as he turned.
“Chicken’s got better breasts,” he said, just to make her blush. “But I’m a fan of the real meat.” The innuendo was unavoidable.
“Relentless,” she muttered, amazed. “What are you gonna do when I’m used to all that?” she asked as she pulled her backpack around and dug into it.
“Then I’ll get dirty,” he replied with a smirk, watching curiously.
She giggled again and hoped her cheeks wouldn’t get any redder. She yanked out a cooler bag and grinned at her date. “Since Neji is a sexist, as you’ve already observed, I’m usually the one who brings the lunches.” The blue bag dangled from her triumphant hand. “And since he’s not eating with me…”
“Hinata, are you asking me to eat Neji’s lunch? ‘Cause my fucking answer’s ‘yes’,” he said with a grin. “Let’s go to the quad. Probably find that bastard around somewhere.”
“Which one?” she asked sweetly. “There seems to be more of them each time I turn.” She slung the bags back over her shoulder, thinking about what today meant. The school knew about them. She had just shouted down Neji. And given away his lunch. Which mean Neji would be eating cafeteria food… and her father would probably get the full report before she even got home.
He glanced at her. “Worried?” he asked observantly.
She flicked her own look at him before gazing back down the hallway. “Yes. But, my choice; my issue.” Hinata flashed another of her wry smiles at him. “I’ll be fine.”
“Okay,” he said simply.
They quickly reached the quad and he grinned a touch evilly. “Oh, looky there! Uzumaki!”
Naruto jumped, startled and turned as the albino nearly flipped him over the table. And then gave him a noogie. “Gah!”
Standing off to the side, Hinata could only blink at the two of them. Former crush meet current… guy. She winced at her own lame thoughts before sighing. What the hell was Hidan doing?
“I just wanted to give ya a warm fucking thanks,” Hidan said with a grin, releasing the blond. “For giving me her name!”
“Uh… okay?” Naruto rubbed his sore scalp and looked at Hinata. “Er… I don’t know what you’re talking about…”
She gave him flat look. Well, no, he wouldn’t know. He was clueless from day one. Funny how she didn’t feel like forgiving him today. Instead, she turned to Hidan. “Give him an extra noogie for me, will you? I’m going to be over there.” She pointed off to a table in the sunlight.
Naruto blinked, then flailed when Hidan gleefully attacked. Ten minutes later, the grinning albino joined her at the table, where Kakuzu was eating with her in silence.
Without looking up from her chicken teriyaki, Hinata pushed the other container towards him. She was also curiously stabbing her food a little harder than necessarily.
Hidan eyed her. Looked at Kakuzu. Kakuzu made a ‘pay me’ gesture. Hidan held up two fingers. “So, I see that food has behaved poorly,” Kakuzu commented in a would-be casual tone.
Hinata’s free hand dipped down into her bag, pulled out a five, and handed it to Kakuzu. “Not talking about it.”
Hidan burst into a fit of laughter at the torn look on Kakuzu’s face. “Alright, alright! She wins!” He nearly fell out of his seat from laughing so hard.
Confused, Hinata swung her pale gaze from Hidan, who looked like he was going to split a rib, to Kakuzu. “I win?”
“He was going to pay me twenty later for asking,” Kakuzu said with a sigh, but pocketed the five quickly. “Because he’s a pansy.”
The laughter abruptly stopped. “OI! AM NOT!”
“FUCK YOU, BITCH!”
“Shut the fuck up, cunt!”
Watching the two of them go at it, Hinata tilted her head at them and felt strangely okay with the world. Though…
“You know… If you don’t want the lunch, Hidan, I can give it to Kakuzu.”
He snatched the bento box up so fast that it was a wonder he didn’t hurt himself. “NO FUCKING WAY! This shit’s mine now, Hinata!”
“Oh quit your whining,” Kakuzu snapped. He paused and turned at a commotion, watching Konan beat the tar out of Suigetsu. “Oh, he’s back? Didn’t Sasori almost kill him…?”
The one girl at their table lifted a brow, glancing back and forth between the two. “Do I want to know?”
“Douche fucked with Sakura. Karma kicked his ass,” Hidan scoffed.
Kakuzu shrugged. “He pissed Sasori off back during that assembly. Don’t you remember?”
“That was him?” Hinata blinked. “He’s not that tough looking. Why did he pick a fight with Sasori of all people?”
“‘Cause he’s a fucking retard?” Hidan said, shrugging.
“Hmmm,” Hinata was only half paying attention; Konan was really pummeling the other boy.
Hidan grinned. “You should come hang out with us at the junkyard,” he suddenly said.
The girl refocused her gaze on him and frowned. “Why?”
He shrugged. “Why not?”
She nibbled on the end of one of her chopsticks. First there was her father. Then there was Neji. Then there was any number of other family members who probably would be hissing to get to her… and then there was Hidan just being himself.
Hidan grinned. “After school.”
Kakuzu snorted. They would all be there, too.
Deal with Hidan, Kakuzu and his friends in an unfamiliar place for one evening or deal with her family for the whole weekend… “Maybe.”
Hidan eyed her. Kakuzu quirked a brow. “… I’ll buy pizza,” Hidan said.
It took a moment for Hinata to realize what Hidan meant by that, then she grinned. “It’s not a question for bribing me, Hidan. It’s whether I really want to be surrounded by guys who I hardly know for a few hours. I mean, what am I going to talk about? What are we going to do?”
Hidan leered. “I have a few ideas.”
Kakuzu smacked him upside the head. “Unless things get violent, it can get boring. We play cards, do homework… Itachi pines after Sakura.”
“If I have someone to play poker with, I should be fine,” she mused. Okay, maybe the evening wouldn’t be a disaster.
Hidan cackled. “Hell yeah! Just don’t play fucking Kisame for money; you’ll lose every god damn thing.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” And bring my homework.
The junkyard. Hidan’s place of work, esteemed hangout for a group of overly violent, sadistic and oftentimes masochistically-inclined young men. And currently the spot of not one, but two guests. One invited, the second having invited himself for something that resembled a study group but was closer to an independent shop class. Luckily, those involved—Deidara, Kisame, Sasori and Itachi, had moved past the violent stage of negotiations as it were… And straight into antagonistic whispering.
Luckily, Hinata’s presence had gone largely ignored by everyone save Hidan and Kakuzu… Not that Kakuzu would be there for long. He had work soon.
“Comfy?” Hidan asked the quiet Hyuuga, peering over her shoulder at her work.
Tucking a lock of hair behind an ear, Hinata hummed and nodded. Realizing that was probably a little rude, she turned her head and smiled up at him. “Yep, I’m fine.”
He smirked and sat back. “Good. Kakuzu, you leaving soon?”
Kakuzu grunted, scribbling something down on his homework. After a minute, Hidan’s hand whipped out and smacked him hard on the cheek. “Oi, fucker! I asked you a fucking question!”
Kakuzu glared at him, angry. “Do you want to die?”
Hidan scoffed. “Who the fuck do you think you are?” he retorted.
Thankfully, before the argument could escalate any further, a shoe came sailing across the room to thunk into Hidan’s chest. “Shut up, you idiot, we’re working!” Sasori snapped, receiving a mutinous scowl for his efforts.
Meanwhile, Hinata was thinking really hard to herself. Really determined thoughts. I will not cringe. I will not hunker down. I will not whimper. I will not give Hidan a lost puppy look just so that he will let me leave… These guys are insane. And crazy. And I can’t believe I’m more concerned about keeping blood off my homework than I am finishing it.
There was one happy thought. After this, facing the family will be a walk in the park.
A tremulous smile made its way onto Hinata’s lips. However, as Hidan turned to respond to Sasori’s assault she frowned slightly and devoted all of her attention to the textbook in her lap. Business Management never made so much sense before…
“Idiot, rather than fighting with your friends, pay attention to the girl,” Kakuzu growled, standing. He began to gather up his homework, depositing it in a nearly empty folder. “And maybe do your homework for once?”
“Fuck you,” Hidan retorted, but settled down. “What are you doing, anyway?”
Kakuzu rolled his eyes. “Sasori, I’m leaving.”
“Coming,” the redhead replied, gathering his own belongings. “We’ll finish this in class tomorrow?” he asked Itachi.
“Aa,” Itachi’s low voice murmured. “There’s only the three joints left to weld.” There was a pause. “After that, we just need to test its range.” Hinata was surprised to hear an eager note to his voice. The older Uchiha was a mystery to her. In fact, he still intimidated her. How Sakura was able to love the man was beyond Hinata’s understanding. He was so… stoic.
“Can we do what I suggested, un?” Deidara asked with psychotic glee.
Sasori scoffed. “Are you that eager to get expelled? We’re not shooting mini bombs, idiot.”
“Tch! Who’s asking you, un?!” Deidara retorted.
“Sasori, don’t make me late for work,” Kakuzu warned.
Sasori scowled at his blond artistic rival. “We will continue this discussion another time. Ja,” he said, and hurried after Kakuzu out the door.
Hidan prodded Hinata’s shoulder. “Oi, you spacing out or something?” he demanded gruffly.
“No!” she yelped, dropping her pencil. Thankfully, her long hair swept down to hide her face as she reached down for the rolling stylus. So far, Hidan’s friends hadn’t smelt her fear, so hopefully the same could be said for embarrassment.
Hidan frowned irritably. “Hinata, are you okay?” Though she tried to hide it, he could clearly see how tense she was.
She froze, thoughts continuing on the previous strain. Okay, so maybe his friends couldn’t, but apparently Hidan could. Well, it’s Hidan. That’s okay right? Yes? Okay, she needed out. Just for a minute. Several if she could grab them.
Blinking her way out of her thoughts, Hinata snatched the pencil from the floor and sat back up, battle plan in place.
“Uhm, Hidan? I’m gonna go outside for a bit. I’ll be right back.” And smile. There that wasn’t so bad. Wait—why was Hidan looking at her like that?
Hidan’s brows had furrowed with a mixture of scepticism and annoyance. “Not alone,” he said after a beat. “Seriously, this isn’t the kind of place to just stroll around with. Take someone with you.” He scowled even more. “Actually, it’s about time for me to do my rounds anyway…”
Be alone with Hidan in a darkening junkyard or be alone in this room with his friends? Hinata thought fast. “Oh. Never mind then. I’ll just stay here.”
He narrowed his eyes at her, but finally shrugged and got up. “Whatever works, still gotta do my rounds. I should be back in twenty minutes.” He caught Itachi’s eye briefly, for no apparent reason, shrugged at the Uchiha, and turned away from Hinata.
The foul-mouthed boy paused in the doorway, picking up a shovel. He glanced back at Hinata. “You sure?”
The question surprised her and she felt like hugging him for asking. For all that Neji said he was a coarse man, Hidan could be sweet sometimes.
Smiling slightly, Hinata tilted her head. “Give me one reason for wandering out alone with you.”
He smirked. “Extracurricular activities?” he said, mostly teasing.
So predictable. She blushed anyway. “Goodbye Hidan,” she said firmly, pointedly focusing back on her textbook.
He snickered and shut the door behind him. Silence fell for a beat, and then— “Ah, fuck, I gotta papercut, un!”
“Can you be any more of a wuss?” Kisame asked, while his best friend just sighed.
Forcing her eyes to scan down the page, Hinata jotted down a few answers and bided her time as the argument near her seemed to draw Itachi’s attention. In the middle of one of Deidara’s responses, she slid her homework off to the side and stood up.
“I’m getting a drink,” she mumbled and fled out the door.
Deidara blinked after her. “Sakura’s better at that, un,” he commented. Why does Hidan have to be interested in such a mouse?
“Not by much,” Kisame snorted. “Pink hair is hard to be subtle with. Ouch!” He turned and scowled at Itachi, rubbing his shoulder. “It’s true!”
His friend tilted his head at the door, fingers already busy at his phone.
“Hey, Hidan’s supposed to be watching out for his own girl. We aren’t babysitters,” blue boy protested.
At this, Itachi looked up and gave him a flat look. “Go.”
Gaaahh… Kisame slid out of the chair and hustled for the door, muttering, “You’re such a bitch without Pinky around.”
Deidara snickered at him. “Have fuuunn,” he teased.
The Uchiha didn’t respond at all. He simply flicked open his phone as it buzzed angrily, then snapped it shut again.
Grumbling, Sharky yanked the door open and walked out. Now where was that chit?
He walked around the corner and found her slumped against the pop machine.
There were few things scarier than seeing a huge blue man materialize out of the gloom. Such as said huge blue man materializing out of the gloom, scowling.
She didn’t realize he was scowling in general until he directed that scowl at her.
“Didn’t you hear Hidan?” he growled. “No wandering alone.”
Her hands came together, one gripping the other as she looked away. She wasn’t wandering! She was just out here getting some air. And it had been a relief for half a minute.
“I was going to come back inside. Soon.” She stuffed her hands into her pockets.
There was a huff of air from Kisame. “Right. Why the hell are you hiding out here?”
Hinata cringed. “I’m not hiding.”
“The fuck you ain’t.”
Inside her pockets, her hands were curling into fists. She just wanted some time alone. Just a few minutes. She didn’t want to be in a room where everyone watched her and judged her. And always found her below their expectations… If she wanted that, she could just go home.
“I just want to be alone okay?”
Kisame loomed closer. “No.”
Her whole body tensed as he moved. “Go away.”
“Not happening.” He actually sighed.
Hinata turned to look at the machine, pretending to browse through the choices. “Just… give me a minute.”
She could see him watching her from the edges of her peripheral vision. He was rolling his eyes.
“What’s with you?” he asked bluntly.
Oh God… He just wouldn’t give up. Hinata shut her eyes and pulled her hands out of her pockets to drag her fingers across her scalp.
“I just needed some air.”
“You got some,” he retorted. “So get your drink already and go back in.”
Arrgghh! I do not need another person bossing me around today!
“Back off already!” Hinata burst out, turning to look at him directly. “Who do you think you are? Neji?”
Kisame’s eyebrow twitched. “Hey, Hyuuga. Just get your fucking drink and go back inside,” he repeated. “We don’t want you getting hurt.”
“Hurt by what?” She looked around at the silent junkyard and its dry dirt roads. “There’s nothing here!”
“Fuck.” Kisame groaned clearly frustrated. “It’s a goddamn rule okay? Girls are escorted outside of the office. It’s a fucking basic safety rule. Hidan’ll get fired if we leave you alone out here.” He waved an agitated hand at a black dome tucked under the eaves of the roof. “You want that? Cuz there are fucking cameras.”
Hinata blinked, all the fight draining out of her. “Oh…” Oh God. She was so stupid. “S-sorry…” Should have known there was a reason. Should have known it wasn’t about her. Stupid, stupid, stupid girl.
She turned and barely glanced at the machine, pulling a dollar out of her pocket and feeding it in. I am such an idiot, repeated through her head as Hinata pressed down on a button, not even seeing what she selected. I could have gotten him fired…
Hidan appeared, looking a little annoyed. “Oh, Hinata! Didn’t I say you had to go with someone?” he asked, and frowned. “Sprite? Really?” He waved in what could have been thanks in Kisame’s general direction.
This time, Hinata blushed in humiliation. “Y-you did say that,” she mumbled. She heard Kisame heave a sigh and leave. “I-I just thought you meant further away.” She gestured at the dirt pathways spreading out from the building.
Hidan sighed. “Shit, I guess it’s my fault. I didn’t fucking explain.” He shifted and made a face, muttering something that almost sounded like ‘sorry’, shockingly enough.
“No!” Hinata blurted staring up into his red eyes. Couldn’t he see? It wasn’t his fault. It was hers. “I didn’t listen. It’s my fault.” She looked down at the cold drink in her hands. “I didn’t think. I’m sorry.”
He smirked. “How about we just blame the bastard and go for a walk?” He gave her the most charming grin he could muster. It was closer to a leer than a grin.
Hinata gave him a watered down smile. “Which bastard?” she asked softly as she stepped forward to stand beside him.
He grabbed her hand and started back the way he’d come. “Yes,” he said. “That bastard…s.” He smirked.
She looked up at him perplexed. That didn’t even make sense. Blame them all? For the whole misunderstanding? Hinata blinked and then giggled. It was rather tempting.
Hidan grinned. “And he emerges victorious! Just remember, when your friends ask you why you smile, you can tell them it’s cause of me. I don’t mind taking the blame.” He smirked.
“I smile!” Hinata protested, frowning at him. “On my own, I mean,” she clarified. She wasn’t like Neji, never showing any emotion.
He smirked. “I was referring to the ‘I’ve sexed up a god’ smile,” he replied teasingly.
She actually stumbled.
“Hidan!” she yelped, face scarlet. “I do not have…” She determinedly looked away. My, what a nice old gutted washing machine…
Hidan smiled faintly and let them lapse into silence for a beat. Then, “You know, you’re not so bad,” he murmured.
The shy girl next to him sighed. “I nearly got you fired,” she admitted miserably.
He snorted. “Not really. My boss is too lazy to hire someone else, unless he’s caught by the union. Still, we like to play it safe… But it’s alright. I don’t blame you for it.” Pause. “Of course, if you feel that bad, you can make it up to me.” He smirked.
“I…” Hinata shook her head, “I don’t know whether to kiss you or hit you.” On one hand, good, she didn’t nearly cost him his job. On the other, he was still being a lecher.
“Can I pick ‘all of the above’?” he asked, grinning widely.
Her left eyebrow rose. “Really?”
He shrugged. “I’ll settle for a kiss if you’re shy,” he teased.
Now smiling slightly, Hinata stopped walking and turned to look at him. “You’re horrible,” she murmured.
Hidan smirked. “I try. And mostly succeed.” He held out his arms hopefully.
Laughing quietly, Hinata stepped in. “You’re not so bad yourself,” she said as his arms closed around her.
“As I said; like a god,” he said, snickering. And then, before she could think up a reply, he caught her mouth and gave her a toe curling kiss. It wasn’t innocent at all.
When he finally pulled back, Hinata blinked up at him. “Uhm, what were we talking about?”
“Outer space, space cadet,” he replied, still holding her. He wasn’t quite ready to let go yet.
The pale girl hummed, trying to think. Standing here, embracing like this, it was nice. Really nice. For once, she didn’t feel pressured to do anything. Okay, maybe besides one thing. Reciprocation was definitely on the to-do list. She leaned back in and initiated her own kiss.
He grinned and returned it… And that was how Deidara found them. The flash of a camera announced his presence, accompanied a cheer. “I HAVE PROOF, UN!” the blond cackled, and ran away as fast as he could.
A/N: Yes, that last bit was tagged onto the end of ch 22 of Sand Trails.
It was what I call a ninja teaser!