Note: A random idea that occurred to me in the midst of studying for exams. For those of you who don't know what masala dosa is, no worries, read on and learn. There are pay phones in the fic. Why? Because they're convenient. ALSO, no offense to any lovers of Chinese food. I myself love Chinese food, but there is some serious bashing happening on Hidan's part. XD So yeah, just thought I'd warn you. Enjoy, and reviews are always love.
It was a well known fact that the Akatsuki was an organization well-versed in acquiring members possessing highly particular penchants.
Itachi had a penchant for psychologically scarring his younger brother, Deidara a penchant for performance art, Zetsu for devouring corpses, and, most relevant in this case, Kakuzu's penchant for scoring bargains.
It was because of his thrifty tendencies that Kakuzu sought out the cheapest restaurants and take-out joints under the sun, and that explained why the Akatsuki were forced into eating Chinese food every Friday night.
Not only was Chinese food the cheapest and most filling, but Hidan loathed it with a burning passion, and spiting his partner was a selling point in itself for the Falls nin.
However, one day, in the midst of a regular, routine mission, Hidan changed all of that by pointing out a place that was even cheaper.
"Seriously, never had anything like that in my life. It's like this big flat crispy bread thing they fold over into a crepe, and you eat it with this green stuff that—honestly—looks a lot like baby shit, but oh my God it's good."
Needless to say, it took several more of Hidan's off-colour descriptions to compel the Falls nin into trying it, if only to shut his partner up.
"I'm not eating Chinese again, you bastard. See what happened last time? I fucking barfed. And that place I keep telling you about tastes a hundred times better, not to mention it's cheaper…"
Kakuzu halted abruptly on the road, causing Hidan to run into him from behind.
"Cheaper?" he echoed.
Hidan gave him a weird look. "Yeah."
"How about," Kakuzu said generously. "We eat at your restaurant today."
30 minutes later.
"This is it?" Kakuzu inquired skeptically, raising an eyebrow at the tiny, dingy-looking restaurant.
The restaurant's name was spray-painted rather sloppily in red on the window panes, some rather pathetically drawn stars and happy faces serving as embellishments around it.
"The Masala Dosa Hut," Kakuzu read dully, staring doubtfully at the Come in, we're open! sign. "You've eaten here before?"
"Plenty of times," Hidan replied, looking rather pleased at finally having had his way as he opened the door, beckoning Kakuzu inside. "You'll love it. Say any different, and I'll say that Chinese take-out finally corrupted your fucking brain."
"I'll take your word for it," Kakuzu muttered as he entered, stopping almost immediately to stare in disbelief at the décor. Strings of confetti dangled haphazardly all over the place, looped around lamps and the single ceiling fan that spun lifelessly overhead.
The wall decor was comprised of out-dated foreign movie posters that were covered in what he hoped were food stains. Beneath them, the walls consisted of a division of peeling, egg-speckle wallpaper and faux wood paneling. And on the single bathroom door, the sign was missing, replaced with a yellowed sheet of line paper that read:
Boys/ Girls – bring your own toilet paper
Repulsed, Kakuzu slowly made his way over to a table, clutching his chair when it wobbled under his weight. Hidan had gone over to the counter to make their order. Several minutes passed, and with it, the aroma of the food gradually grew in intensity.
Despite its…uniqueness, Kakuzu had to admit it was a rather appetizing smell. Somewhat exotic.
Hidan eventually made his way back to the table, plopping down in his chair and drinking mango juice out of a juice box.
"Are you sure," Kakuzu said after a moment, voice flat, "that it's safe to eat here?"
Hidan squinted at him over his straw, brow furrowing before he lowered the juice box.
"What the hell do you mean?"
"You're immortal," Kakuzu pointed out. "It won't affect you if you wind up with a fatal case of food poisoning."
"Pfft, you wanna talk about food poisoning, talk about that cat shit with noodles you bring back every Friday. At least here, the stuff they cook with is actually clean," Hidan retorted, leaning back in his chair.
Kakuzu rolled his eyes and left it at that, crossing his arms as he awaited their order.
It arrived five minutes later, piping hot from the kitchen and emitting that enticing, exotic aroma with startling intensity. When the waiter unceremoniously dropped two large metal platters onto the table, Kakuzu didn't quite know what to make of the things on his plate.
Just as Hidan had described, the food consisted of some large sort of fried crepe folded in half, stuffed with something resembling curry. Surrounding the crepe were several little metal bowls filled with rather toxic-looking condiments, including the green "baby shit" Hidan so loved.
Kakuzu experimentally broke off a piece of the crepe, raising it critically before his eyes and rotating it left and right.
Hidan looked affronted.
"What the hell are you doing? Eat the goddamn thing."
Kakuzu glanced doubtfully at him, somewhat unsettled to see that Hidan had slathered the toxic-looking green condiment all over his crepe and had already eaten half of it.
Giving in, Kakuzu tugged down his mask, about to put the piece of stuffed crepe in his mouth when Hidan stopped him.
"Wait, wait, wait—"
Hidan took the bowl containing the green liquid and dumped it all over the crepe, shaking out every last drop before pushing Kakuzu's platter back towards him with a smug look on his face.
"Now eat it."
"What exactly is that?" Kakuzu demanded, looking paranoid. "What is it made out of?"
"What does it matter if it tastes good? Just eat it!"
Aiming a dark glare at his partner, Kakuzu finally relented and carefully cut off a fair-sized portion of the dripping crepe, staring at it doubtfully for a few seconds, before finally putting it in his mouth.
Several things happened at once.
The toxic green liquid, which just happened to be green chili chutney, combined with the crepe's stuffing, which just happened to contain copious amounts of chili powder, generated a burning, sizzling sensation so intense it razed not only his entire mouth but the entirety of his throat and esophagus.
Hidan raised his head, lips pursed around the straw in his juice box, staring blankly when Kakuzu made a choked, rasping noise, tears springing uncontrollably into his eyes, then clutched at his chest as all five of his hearts simultaneously went under cardiac arrest, sending him toppling off his chair and onto the floor.
It may have been an allergic reaction, or it might have had something to do with the fact that the spice elevated his blood pressure through the roof. Whatever it was, it had compelled all five of Kakuzu's hearts to groan "fuck this" at the same time and simultaneously crap out.
Miraculously, though, the heart in the lower left half of his body managed to start itself up again when Hidan stood up and kicked him in the side, obviously in a half-assed attempt to fix whatever had his partner lying motionless on the floor.
"Kakuzu, what the hell's the matter with you?" Hidan demanded, actually looking somewhat alarmed at the sight of tears trickling from the corners of the Falls nin's blankly staring eyes. "Asshole, if it was that bad, you should've just said so!"
It was when Kakuzu attempted to respond that he noticed that he was completely paralyzed. The single, feebly beating heart in the lower half of his body was incapable of supplying enough blood to the parts of his brain controlling speech and movement.
Motionless, flat on his back, staring with blank, wide eyes at the lethargically spinning ceiling fan and the tacky, sparkling confetti hanging aimlessly from the walls—he looked, more or less, completely dead.
Hidan toed him in the side a few more times, his sour expression eventually morphing into one of genuine shock as Kakuzu remained motionless, gaze fixed unblinkingly on the ceiling.
"Oh, shit," Hidan said blankly.
Check my pulse, you fucking idiot! Kakuzu thought furiously, trying to move his fingers. Stop staring and check it!
To his relief, Hidan actually kneeled near his side and reached out, only to stop shortly beneath his neck and pat at his cloak, searching until he found his wallet. Kakuzu stared helplessly at the ceiling, straining to see what his partner was doing. A moment later, Hidan stood up, shaking some change out of the wallet and starting towards the pay phone on the nearby wall.
Oh, good, Kakuzu thought in faint relief. He's getting help.
Hidan inserted a quarter and waited. A few rings later, someone picked up.
"Yeah, it's Hidan. Lemme talk to the Leader."
Good, that's good, Kakuzu silently encouraged, thankful for his partner's rare moment of clever insight. Hurry up.
Hidan's voice drifted to him from somewhere overhead.
"Give the fucking phone to the Leader, Tobi. Shut up—I don't give a shit if you're on the line."
Getting help, any minute now, Kakuzu reassured himself.
"…finally." There was a pause. "Yeah, it's Hidan. Uh, Kakuzu's dead."
The Falls nin blanched.
"I don't know, he just fell over…how the fuck should I know? What?... well he sorta just choked…grabbed his chest and started crying like a little bitch, and—yeah, we're in a restaurant."
If Kakuzu had found himself miraculously capable of generating the slightest bit of movement, he would have hurled the tissue dispenser at the back of his partner's head.
"Look, what do you want me to do?..…uh-huh...and—what?...fuck you I'm not giving him CPR!"
Jackass! Kakuzu raged. Check. My. Pulse!
The sound of advancing footsteps neared him, and suddenly his view of the ceiling fan was obscured by Hidan's head. The Jashinist stood over him, head tilted contemplatively to the side as he peered down at him with narrowed eyes.
Get help, Kakuzu seethed, hoping his eyes might convey some semblance of his vitality. I'm alive, you idiot. I'm not dead!
A moment later, Hidan raised the phone back up to his ear.
"Yeah, he's dead. Of course I'm sure, I'm staring right at him—"
Kakuzu felt like screaming, and was sure he would have had he possessed the ability.
"Okay, okay, I'll bring his body back," Hidan groused, then hung up the phone. "Asshole."
Despite the fact that Kakuzu felt like throttling the Jashinist, some hope remained in the fact that Hidan would have to rush him back to headquarters, if only he would hurry up—
Wait, where's he going? Kakuzu wondered in a panic as Hidan's footsteps moved away again. A moment later, his voice drifted back across the restaurant.
"Hey, yeah you. Your dosa just killed my partner. Yeah, he's lying over there, under a table or something—but, hey," Hidan's voice hushed into a conspirator's murmur. "Am I gonna get a refund or coupon or what?"
Kakuzu finally passed out.
A week later.
"Let me get this straight," Pein said slowly, his fingers forming a steeple beneath his chin. "Seven days ago, you suffered five simultaneous heart attacks."
"You recovered," Pein continued, staring at him unblinkingly. "Only to suffer yet another series of heart attacks just yesterday."
"And," Pein paused, as if mulling over the information the Falls nin had given him. "This is supposedly because you indulged in the same behaviour that had caused the first series of heart attacks."
Pein stared at him.
"…you want me to vacate Hidan from his position as your partner, because you believe he is taking advantage of your inherent weakness for bargains by compelling you to dine at a particular low-price restaurant, and has thus, inadvertently, devised a plot to slowly, but surely, kill you via supposedly lethal doses of masala dosa and chili chutney."
The room was silent for a moment.
"…yes," Kakuzu affirmed, voice somber.
Pein slowly unlaced his fingers, laying his hands flat on the desk as he leaned back in his chair, aiming a piercing, dour look at the Falls nin.
"Get out of my office."