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Friday, January 9, 2009

Bitten Off Chocolate

Language: English
Author: Murasaki Kaida

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Naruto, unfortunately.

NOTES: I've been writing so much humorous HidaTema stuff lately that I think I've started to lose track of what they'd actually be like in the canon verse. So I'm trying my hand at what I could easily see becoming the dark relationship between Hidan and Temari, with just a twist of psychotic romance. When I say dark, I mean DARK. The timeline skips around a little, but this is on purpose - I always find that skewed sense of time can add an edge of confusion and insanity.

Many thanks to Rel, whose attention and encouragement keeps me writing and striving to be better.

No beta but myself for this one. For some reason this story feels very personal, and I'm guarding it's contents like a rabid Cerberus.

It’s strangely beautiful, Temari decides. Like how when a vase breaks, after you get over the shock of the noise you can stare at the pretty shapes the china has made. The smooth curves that still try to follow the vase’s shape, and the quiet viciousness of the edges, dusty and exposed like bitten-off chocolate.

It’s the crack of dawn, and the sun hasn’t appeared above the barricades surrounding her village yet. The darkness of the sky is receding, becoming pink and orange and yellow like old bruises. The minimal light casts long shadows, and the night’s sandstorms have whipped scratchy grains over the crime scene and the body.

It’s a woman, Temari notes. A woman whose hair is only a few shades darker than her own. It spills across the sand like escaping liquid, tinged pink and red at the tips. It looks like tendrils – living, moving tendrils.

There are red marks around the neck. The body’s upper half is exposed, the small breasts bare. A pike had been speared the through the heart – hard enough to lance into the ground upon exit of the body.

It pins her in the middle of a bloody circle.

“Jounuchi Hirano.” The medic nin coughs into his hand and looks at Gaara. He kneels near to the body, but outside of the circle. None of the nin surrounding the scene have dared to step over the dark, crusted line. “Age twenty. Civilian. Cause of death...well, it could have been strangulation or the chest wound. I’ll have to do some tests.”

She was beautiful, Temari thinks. Even in death. The stab of envy she feels, low in her stomach, grows when she looks at first the red marks on the neck, and then pike through the stomach. It should have left blood. Should have been a mess. But someone had lovingly wiped the blood away from the wound, leaving Jounuchi-san’s tanned skin bare for the sand.

Blood would have splattered – landed on the breasts, the stomach. Droplets on the face.

But the body is completely clean, but for the grains that dust over it.

Temari steps forward, her toe almost on the line of blood. The nin around her tense and watch, as though to step on the spilled lifeforce would be to trigger a mass of exploding tags. It makes her want to. It makes her foot twitch forward a tiny little bit.

She stares at the symbol that has been carved into the chest. The circle with an upside-down triangle, so neatly done and so carefully positioned so that its lower swell fits snugly between the body’s breasts. The triangle looks like a piece of broken vase. She wants to touch it – to feel the smooth curve as it tries to keep shape and the jagged edges.

Like bitten-off chocolate.

“This is the fourth one this month,” Kankurou says. His voice quavers a little, and Temari looks over at him. Perhaps it is the shadows as the sun begins to rise, or shadows from his black cat hood, but he looks a little green. He looks at Gaara, and then Temari, a muscle in his jaw twitching.

“One every week,” Gaara murmurs, not looking away from the body. “On the same day. And yet no one sees or hears anything.”

The cluster of nin surrounding the scene look at him in horror, their faces pinched. One freshly promoted chuunin, who is standing at the back of a group of men and staring at the bloody circle, runs away and vomits. Temari watches him and can’t remember a time that she’s been swayed by the death of just a name and a face.

Temari looks at the body. The flesh of the stomach is dappled and marked, speaking of childbirth. The bare feet that peep out from the hakama are slender but well-worn on the soles. The body is imperfectly perfect, in its petite jagged-edged beauty.

Just like the other bodies from neighbouring villages, in the circle of murder growing ever closer to Suna. Until now.

“No signs of...of sexual intercourse,” the medic says, looking ill. “N-no signs of struggle, either.”

Of course not, Temari thinks. And then, these medics were sent to Konoha to be trained by the Hokage and Haruno Sakura – I thought they’d have more backbone.

“How is it doing that?” A nervous jounin asks, pointing at the ground. “The sand should have blown around by now. But the circle’s still there. How...?”

“I don’t know,” Gaara says, and like a dam breaking, all the nin in the nearby area take a step back. The air becomes noticably more panicked. While they’ve been able to believe that the Kazekage was controlling the sand to keep the crime scene intact, they’ve been able to put some level of something...humane to this moment. Something in their control.

Temari watches them pale, and their reactions interest her. It would be the normal reaction to something like this, she knows, even as a ninja. It makes them healthy and good people. It makes them involved on a justifiable level.

“This,” Gaara says – and the loudness of his voice surprises Temari. She twitches and watches her brother with wide eyes as he steps to the side of the body – one foot bypassing the circle – and kneels alongside it. Her stomach clenches and the urge to drag Gaara away is so strong. Too strong.

She could do it. She could pull him away and he probably won’t struggle. Not physically. But she’d damage his reputation as Kazekage, and damage him – and that was the whole point, wasn’t it?

She’d trade her sanity in for Gaara, even if it meant letting him near such things.

As Gaara reaches out towards the body, Temari winces. She knows that to protect someone sometimes meant that you can’t protect them from yourself. Or the things that you cause.

Gaara touches the lines of the symbol on the body’s chest. “What is this?” He asks, his dark-rimmed eyes narrowing. “This is new. This wasn’t on any of the other women.”

Women? Temari’s eyes narrow. Yes, she supposes they were all women. Imperfectly perfect and with jagged edges. She clenches her fists and her nails make little cuts in her palms.

“I don’t know, Kazekage-sama,” the medic replies, and the other nin echo him. “It looks like a symbol of some type. I’ll see if I can research it. And...since this is like what’s happened elsewhere...I’ll send the symbol to neighbouring countries for information.”

Once it reaches Konoha, it’s all over. The thought is so sudden and desperate that Temari tenses, before she forces her muscles to relax.

Too late. Gaara looks up at her. “What’s wrong, Temari?”

Everything’s wrong. I could help. I could tell. I could make all of this stop if –

“Her stomach. She has children.”

- I wanted to.

Her eyes widen. Gaara probably thinks it’s because of the hand of comfort Kankurou puts on her shoulder, or a strange display of feminine sympathy. No. I do want this to end. This. The dead and the dying.

But part of her knows that it is the price she has to pay.

Maybe that is the message. Maybe that is why Jounuchi-san looked kind of like her. Why Jounuchi-san has that symbol carved into her.

“Take her in,” Gaara says, rising. With a small burst of his chakra, he sends the cursed sand away. The ninja all around step back, watching the dark grains get sent from the village and over the barricades. Two nin struggle to remove the pike from the ground and the body. When at last it’s tugged free, the body and the weapon are taken away, leaving only some more stained sand and the faint shape of where the body had lain.

“ANBU?” Gaara asks.

“Investigating,” one of the jounin replies, sweat beading along his forehead.

“Go,” the Kazekage intones. “Investigate Jounuchi-san and any connections she might have to the other victims. Inform...her family. Keep a look out.”

The nin all nod respectfully and take off. Temari can feel the air get thicker as she’s left alone with her brothers.

“I don’t understand it,” Kankurou says. “It’s sick!”

“It’s deliberate,” Gaara says. As the sun rises higher, the light warms his face and it takes Temari’s breath away. He’s always been the epitome of everything she’s feared and everything she once had to live with in a cell of nastiness and lies.

He’s like a rising sun, really. Whenever he reaches his high point, he warms her and gives her life. When she thinks about it, she and Gaara are broken pieces. They kept the right shape and had rough edges.

She looks at Kankurou. He is like the glue that holds them together. The most rational one of all of them.

Temari looks at Gaara. No. Gaara was becoming better. He was becoming part of something whole again. She feels awed by him, watching as he sends the rest of the sullied sand away without twitching a limb. His dark-rimmed eyes turn to her.

She feels wracked with guilt and jealousy.

“This has been enclosing on us for a while now. And now it’s hit us.” Gaara stares at the spot where the latest of his people has been slaughtered under his nose. “The same story every time.”

“The same time and method,” Kankurou echoes, pulling his hood down and rubbing his temples.

“All women,” Gaara nods. He begins to pace. “All young and all killed in the same way.”

“Except for the symbol.”

“Except for that.”

Temari’s head spins. She braces herself against her fan.

“Cleaned of blood,” Kankurou says.

“Laid out carefully in a circle.”

“Almost routine.”

Gaara stops pacing and stares out towards the barricades, his profile calm but his eyes glazed with something that Temari hasn’t seen since Shukaku has been extracted.

“Not routine,” he says. “More like ‘ritual’.”

Temari’s blood runs cold. Kankurou gapes and clenches his fists, but she feels everything loosening in her body like a tripwire. She has to put a lot of her weight against the fan to remain standing. The world seems to dance in front of her eyes at someone else’s command – all specks and static and loud humming.


She jerks. Both of her brothers are staring at her now, and she somehow wonders if they can see it. The taint on her soul. The seed still between her thighs.

“Why don’t you go and write a report?” Gaara asks. “We will inform the elders and begin looking for information on the symbol.”

Of course, Temari thinks, they would give her a way out. They don’t want her to feel like a weak little woman, and god forbid she must look like one. She straightens and straps her fan to her back. In her mind’s eye, she imagines what the body had looked like when it still had pumping blood and eyes that could see.

She wonders if it’s heart had quickened when it had seen the one that had killed it. If it’s lips had been wet by his kiss when he seduced it. If it’s core had become damp with longing when he had led it away by the hand.

Temari nods and leaves her brothers there, contemplating the sand, as she speeds away.

Had it thought he would touch it? Had he bared it’s breasts when it was still breathing, looking at him with admiring eyes? Had he teased it? Smiled at it?

Her stomach clenches. Had it laid down in the circle willingly?

She hopes not. Because if it hadn’t, then it kept a difference between her and them. And it means that she doesn’t have to hate any of them.

She lays on the futon and feels his fingers running through her hair, his warmth spooned against her back. His fingers encounter all tangles and separate them, prying the blond strands apart. She turns to smile at him over her shoulder. His grin is slow, and his eyes glittering like amethyst.

It’s a delicate little dance and she sometimes wonders what would happen if one of them were to stumble and fall.

She lies awake at night hearing the desert dogs howling and watches the almost angelic shifts of his face as he sleeps naked beside her.

Temari used to fight, once upon a time. There used to be a clear line between right and wrong. Just like there used to be a clear line between love and hate. She has given him everything and every part of her, but she wonders if it will ever be enough. And she wonders if he still plans on taking her sanity without bothering to ask for it.

He devours her fear and surprise, delights in her twisting face and the power of leashing her to him with every bit of shock he instils in her. He pushes between her legs, in places where they could easily be seen, and all the while he stares at her – branding her with his eyes and lips.

As he thrusts into her, his strong arms supporting him and silver strands hanging in front of his hooded eyes, his lips draw back from his teeth. His rosary swings against her chest. Every pump of his cock is a stamp of possession and she wonders when she, the sister of the Kazekage, began confusing obsession with something more.

He’s beautiful beyond compare and she aches for him – she is beginning to think that she loves him more than she’s actually capable of. He who outshone everyone else...he who grounded her...he who tamed her.

He’s insane and rough and cruel. He’s never sorry when he gets carried away and bruises her wrists and thighs. He acts like he’s sorry – he says the words and makes the gestures. But he’s marked her again, and she can see past his apologies to the mocking look in his eyes. He admires the bruises he leaves on her skin – he touches them not with regret but with reverence.

They live in secrecy. A morbid affair between the dregs of a once proud kunoichi and a religious madman – and yet his mark on her seems so clear that every day she fears and anticipate a spotlight falling on their sins.

Can people see him on her? Smell him on her?

Can they tell sometimes as Temari stands there and tries to hide her flush that his seed still stains her inner thighs from a frantic rut stolen in the midnight hours?

She touches his silky silver hair and he gives her a considering, amused look. Sometimes he smiles – a true smile. He only ever smiles for her but it’s always gone in a flicker and he’ll be smirking once more, waiting for her to stumble and fall.

If it happens, he’ll see it.

He’s everywhere.

She can’t even consider hiding from him like she had after their first time, in Rain Country. She’d been able to hide when he was closing in on Suna, leaving sacrifices and terrified nin in his wake. He’s always here now. He’s always watching, and sometimes she imagines that she meet his eyes when she looks into the shadows of every nook and cranny in her village.

He’s loose here, where him and his people had taken something very precious to her. And she remains silent.

Would they ever believe that she’s capable of deceptions?

“You okay?” Kankurou narrows his eyes at her. “You’re...different.”

Kankurou watches her now too, and she wonders if he sees the brand on her. That fiery brand he imprints into her every night that he slips beneath the covers of her futon and settles into the cradle of her hips. It makes her proud and panicked and lonely as she smiles at her brother and says her excuses. His new girlfriend appears to slip an arm about his waist, and the smile freezes on Temari’s face.

What’s it like to love in public?

What’s it like to know the difference between love and something...else?

And all the while, from his hiding place, she feels him watching her.

Is she as obsessive and cruel as him? The thought makes her pause beneath him, and his eyes flick to hers as he stills his thrusts. “...Suna?”

He won’t even say her name.

Are they both lost in something they never planned for?

He doesn’t look lost. He looks like he has a purpose, a plan. He’s so focused on something she can’t see that it scares Temari. It reminds her that what she feels has to be kept hidden from him, because he was Akatsuki and he was – is – a murderer and he will probably hurt her.

But she can’t stay away.

No, he’s not lost. She can see even as her orgasm pulls her beneath the tide that he’s not melting away as he comes, gripping her wrists so tightly that her hands go cold. It’s more like he’s shedding a skin, getting rid of something he doesn’t need anymore. His hipbones grind into her as he holds himself there, and he feels so hot inside her, flooding her womb as he shakes and drops onto her in a mass of sweat and harsh breathing. Temari feels him gasping into her neck, fanning the damp skin there, and she smiles to herself.

She really does feel something for him, and this...this hiding of his face, this little show of weakness...

It makes him seem more accessible somehow. She could spend hours thinking on his reasons for doing the things he does, and she’s not sure she’d ever understand. His mind is so far out of her reach – out of everyone’s reach – with the pure insanity and religious fanaticism that comes so naturally to him. And as she stands at her window, staring at the sunset each evening with her head cocked to the side, she doesn’t know if she feels lucky that he chose her or if she’ll be the next one pinned to the ground by a pike.

How it started, she can’t remember clearly. It had something to do with Shikamaru, and something to do with Gaara.

There was a point when, no matter how much progress he made, Gaara still scared Temari. And it always upset her, because Temari knows that blood is blood and everyone in Suna is responsible for the way Gaara is. She never wanted to be scared of him, and to her, her reactions didn’t make any sense.

She didn’t know who she was digging up in Shikamaru’s forest, because he never told her who was there. She didn’t stop to think that there might be a reason he’d never mentioned whoever was yelling loudly from beneath the dirt and the leaves, because she was angry with him. She wished it was Shikamaru and Ino in this dirt grave she was uncovering, wished it with all her heart. She’d always watched Shikamaru, watching him and wanting him.

He hadn’t noticed, and he’d gone for that anorexic little slut instead.

She’d uncovered the grave as much out of spite to the one who’d unknowingly jilted her as out of curiosity.

Temari still feels sick when she remembers what she uncovered that day, and what it started.

She wonders if she’d have been relatively normal by now, if she’d just ignored his bitching from deep within the ground in the Nara forest.

But she’s also happy. Because when she found him, something resonated within her.

She was scared of him.

And it made sense.

Hidan is killing people in Suna and Temari knows she should tell. Everyone is at risk from this beautiful demon – the bastard she saved. Temari’s always been equally as disgusted by him as she feels she can’t live without him. He’s the one she feels can treasure her jagged edges without getting cut. He’s the one who looked at her and thought she was beautiful as a broken piece.

She’ll never tell him how much she relies on his attention, of course. But she has the horrible feeling that it shows.

She’s not sure it’s for his sacrifices anymore, either. He’s killing her people – her brother’s people – and she thinks it’s because he likes to see the colour leave her face. He’s often spoken about sacrificing her to his God, about how he’d love to see the life slip away from her eyes.

She should tell not just for Suna’s sake, but her own. It’s her duty as a ninja to report this, and yet every time she rises from the chair in her quarters to do so, she freezes.

Everyone would know that she’s lied. That she’s fucked him and wanted him and loved him. They’d all know and she’d become a traitor, a bitch, a whore. Her brothers...they wouldn’t be able to look her in the eye again. She’d probably even be exiled.

But she hates herself. Because that’s not the reason she’s hesitating.

Every time the beast...the beast who calls himself Hidan...touches her, her skin prickles and the threat she feel chokes her as he smirks down at her with his amethyst eyes. It’s all she can do not to shake, and she’s amazed that no one in Suna has managed to detect his evil chakra yet. She feels sure, whenever he corners her in her rooms and runs a hot, earth-shattering path down her neck with his mouth, that someone has to sense him soon.

Kankurou. Gaara.

Whenever she thinks of the brother she used to fear and now sees as the sun, Temari feels sick. Sometimes, when Hidan touches her and puts his hand to her throat, telling her how he’d like to strangle the life from her, she thinks of Gaara. And she finds the strength to pull away.

One night, Temari watches Hidan pull on his pants. They’re too small for him, and his hipbones are clearly visible above the waistline. His scythe rests against her wall, and the robe he’s used to replace the Akatsuki one is flung haphazardly on the floor.

His silver hair is perfectly in place. He doesn’t look at her.

“What did you think, when you killed Jounuchi Hirano?” She asks.

He doesn’t look at her – simply sits down on the end of her futon to pull on his sandals. “That her name?”

Temari feels the sweat drying on her skin and feels coated in dirt. She swallows. “How did you do it?”

He rests his elbows on his knees and looks at her. His face is so beautiful that it makes her heart ache. Her body sings for him – he plays her like she’s an instrument. Something he puts down again after every song. Every time. “I showed interest in her. Her husband didn’t fuck her anymore and she’s a sucker for a pretty face.” He snorts, his deep voice purring. “She didn’t need any convincing, seriously.”

Temari pictures the body, living, as it looks at Hidan in wonder. She feels cold and angry and all at sea. She stares at him with hard eyes and waits for him to continue.

He laughs, an edge of hysteria to the sound. “I kissed her on her lips. I told her she had the power to make me very fucking happy, if she’d follow me. She took my hand...” He holds his large hand up and closes it. “And she let me lead her out. No one saw a fucking thing, seriously. No one cared.”

No one cared.

“I took her outside, and I walked her to the place I’d made the circle in.” He smiles, the memory a fond one for him, and Temari can’t believe he’s just fucked her - sweated on her, kissed her, come in her.

“I put my hands around her neck and I squeezed – squeezed like my fucking life depended on it.” He laughs softly, and begins to crawl up the futon towards her. He smells like blood and her bath products, tinged with the desert scent that clings to everyone in Suna. His eyes are shadowed and his mouth twisted.

Temari gasps when his hands lock around her neck. They’re large and manage the task easily. His fingernails dig into the nape, beneath her loose hair, before his fingers tighten. She chokes, staring at him wide-eyed.

She doesn’t know when she became so weak, but she has the feeling that it’s been happening for a while now.

“I used a paralysing jutsu and put her down on the floor, my hands still round her scrawny fucking neck.” He tightens his grip and Temari gags, her fingers scrabbling uselessly at his hands. “I was thinking of you the whole time, Suna. I was thinking of this and it was making me fucking hard, seriously.” The pressure increases and Temari goes into a blind panic, her air cut off so suddenly that her limbs flail like fish out of water.

She thinks of Gaara and thinks of the body. She knows she should have told and wishes that she had, even while she knows that she never will. When she looks into his face, she just knows.

And so does he.

Hidan laughs wildly, his eyes wide. Temari can see all of his teeth, his grin is so broad, just before the black spots start taking over her vision. Her lungs are burning and her neck hurts. She doesn’t know which part of her feels like it’s going to burst first, her chest or her head. She grips his hands and tries to choke out a plea. Hidan shakes her so that her head flops around.

“I jammed the stick through her like she was fucking butter, and I made Jashin-sama soooooo proud!” He cackles.

He lets go of her so suddenly that she falls down and forgets to breath for a moment. After several frantic beats of her heart, she inhales sharply and begins to cough. Hidan’s straddling her, his body shaking with excitement and his cock hard against her stomach. When she looks at him, she can see his eyes fixed on the bruising that has to be around her neck.

“When it’s you, I’ll make it good,” he breathes, his eyes wide as though he’s been filled with incredible realisation. “I’ll make it fucking perfect, seriously.” He pauses. “Unless you kill me first.”

Temari stares at him. She’s tried that before. She tried it many times after first digging him up. She wonders if he truly wants to die – wants her to kill him. She wonders if part of him sees her as the only one capable and, if so, if she really had to be his biggest disappointment. She’s inexplicably hurt by him. By everything to do with him. When she looks at him, she wonders if that’s all he wanted all along, even though she knew that he never wanted anything else.

“Am I like...bitten-off chocolate?” She wheezes around her wounded throat.

Hidan stares at her. His eyes are hard, like jewels, and his grin frozen like a gargoyle’s.

He stands up and begins to laugh – hard, barking laughter. His body shakes with it as he pulls on his robe and grabs his scythe. He looks at her.

“You’re a fucking madwoman, you know that? Bitten-off chocolate. The fuck do you think you are – a candy bar? You’re a nut bar, I can tell you that much, seriously. Geez.”

The slamming of her door should have made her heart stop. For a moment, it felt like it had made her head stop. She should tell Kankurou. Tell Gaara. And yet her body knows that she won’t before the ability to think properly returns to her. She stays there, huddled naked on the futon, sitting in the wet patch.

She wonders what body he is picking up now. If it looks at him with wide eyes, and if his lovingly reverent look will truly be false – a ruse.

She stares at the place that he’d stood, somehow stunned to no longer see him there, and touches her throat.

She thinks of Jounuchi Hirano.

And feels jealous.

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