A/N: Giftfic for serpents_tooth, because she knows what a hummingbird necklace is for. She wanted Jiraiya/Orochimaru with Naruto/Sasuke parallels. In her words, "Jiraiya pre-Sasuke- being-an-idiot-and-leaving watching the two of them and comparing - nay, despairing because he has a good idea of what's about to happen. But some things, you have to learn for yourself."

You people have no idea how HAPPY that idea made me. -^___^- I so badly needed a Jiraiya/Orochimaru plotbunny. *loves it and feeds it lettuces and carrots and pets it to death* X3 Wai.

. . . I wanted it to come off sexier, though. *pouts*



"The Things Unsaid"



"The truth is you could slit my throat

And with my one last gasping breath

I'd apologize for bleeding on your shirt."

~ "You're So Last Summer"; Taking Back Sunday



I . . . don't know exactly how to tell him.

I don't really even know if I should.

Really, I was never that smart. As far as common sense goes, in fact, you may as well just kill me now. How many times Orochimaru and Tsunade had to save my ass because of my own idiocy, I'll never know. I wouldn't have seen this side of thirteen if it weren't for them.

How DO you kill someone who's saved your life, anyway? Someone you spent years with, training with and fighting with/beside/because of/for . . . How do you kill that person?

How do you kill one of your precious people, one of the ones you made your promises to?

I don't remember when he changed. When I'm being really honest with myself, he never did. Tsunade did and I did, but Orochimaru was always Orochimaru. Nothing he's done was out of character for the person I knew.

The person I . . .

So what does that mean, anyway? A kid who's fucked up enough that decades later his teammates aren't surprised by the disgusting things he's done . . . what would he have had in the village, anyway?

At least he's happy as he is.

I can't believe I'm thinking this.

I should probably tell Naruto that I know. Although, frankly, I'm not even sure if HE knows . . .

The Uchiha brat definitely does. I haven't seen much of him, but what I have assures me of that much. He wants power, but he also wants Naruto. He doesn't seem to understand quite why, though. The jealousy by itself is bad enough, but the obsession he can't get over makes it worse. Small thing to be grateful for: Orochimaru was never that bad. He always understood himself.

And I wasn't important enough that he needed to be jealous of or obsess over me.

I should probably be grateful that Naruto doesn't fully understand what is happening right now. Be grateful that he doesn't understand his feelings or Sasuke's or any of it.

Naiveté can be a good thing. For one thing, if you never understand how strongly you feel about a person, it's got to hurt a hell of a lot less when you lose them.


I wish they didn't remind me of us so much. I wish, I wish.

It hurts to think about that time and how stupid we both were. Because we were both stupid- I should have known what kind of person you were, and you should have known that I couldn't be like you.

We could never have been happy together.

But I can't forget what it was like. It was never a relationship like normal people have, with flowers and candy and anniversaries and the like, but . . . I liked it.

Well, of course I liked it- I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't. There was just something about him that made me happy. I'd like to think he felt that much, at least.

But we weren't enough for each other.

If we had been, I'd have followed him or he'd have followed me. Or maybe, if we had been, neither of us would have left at all.

I remember the first time he kissed me. We were . . . what, thirteen, fourteen? We'd finished some really difficult mission- we'd almost died, actually- and as soon as we got back from the village he dragged me off, saying something about training to Tsunade and Sarutobi-sensei, because according to him I needed it after my pathetic showing earlier.

So he dragged me off, me whining the whole way, and as soon as we were out of sight . . .

Wall. Back. Mouth.



First kiss. Clumsy, awkward, kind of nervous, teeth accidentally knocking together and lips with no idea what they should be doing. Orochimaru didn't like people, and people didn't like me, so neither of us had any experience with anything like that.

It was a lousy kiss, though I didn't really know it at the time. But it was a kiss, and it happened, and then he yanked himself back and started yelling at me for being such an idiot, and then we went and trained like none of it had happened. And then we did it again afterwards. A lot.

So our not-exactly-a-relationship went on for the next few years, whenever we ran into each other alone. We never planned those meetings or said anything about them. They just occurred. When they didn't, they didn't. And I pretended not to look forward to them and he never seemed to, so that was it, really. Otherwise we were the same, sniping at each other and squabbling and him kicking my sorry ass pretty much every time we sparred.

But I realize now that we weren't really the same at all. I realize that we were more protective of each other, more obsessed with each other, more jealous of others who got in the way.

Sometimes I think that our not-a-relationship was the reason that everything really fell apart. I know that's stupid, of course- we were kids, nothing we did mattered- but I can't help feeling that if I hadn't been so stupid and let it go on like that, everyone would have been better off.

Besides, it's a lie that children's choices don't matter.

Children's choices are the difference between Tsunade-without- her-brother and Tsunade-with-her-brother. The difference between a forfeit and a chuunin. The difference between a genius of bloodline and a genius of hard work.

I have never liked people who inherited their skills. It is unfair and irritates me. Especially skills like the Sharingan- that horrible ability that steals years of another person's life, steals techniques that have taken a lifetime to perfect and both masters and destroys them.

It is disgusting. A shinobi should not use such a thing.

I never claimed to be any kind of moral role model, but there are some things I can't forgive. Like such cruel techniques or people who won't let themselves be happy.

Or people who can't answer other people when they say, "I love you."

That last one, of course, means that I hate myself.

Once, someone told me that they loved me. Once, they said those words.

And I said nothing at all. Not even a refusal.

The next day, they found out about Orochimaru's experiments.

I wish I could say I'd been surprised.

I really they never would have found out if he hadn't allowed it. He was too clever that way. Still, forget "realization." Even if I had never kissed him, that day would've still hurt more than anything before or after.

So maybe, even if I told Naruto what I suspected was coming, it wouldn't change anything. The same way I can't change what Orochimaru and I did. Even if I told him, "That Uchiha likes you like a boyfriend" and they had something . . . would it be enough? Could it be?

Maybe . . . but I can't bring myself to believe it. But then again, maybe I'm judging them by us. Maybe that's not fair.

Really, though, love doesn't always change people as much as the stories claim. Doesn't necessarily make them better or anything like that.

Sometimes, in fact, it makes them worse. And every time after that, when you see them you have to hate them, or you'll do something so stupid that no one, not even you yourself, will be able to forgive that mistake.

That's why I write the stories now. The stories where no one is ever lost for words and, even if they were, their partners would understand that for them at least, sex meant love. The stories where everyone is happy in the morning.

I write them.

That way, everything always turns out okay.



* ende *



. : let's rewrite an ending that fits : .