Apprentice

Ok, look, even though this is really short, this is just the beginning! I am working on the next chapter, so bear with me.

Those faithful to me will hopefully not notice that I am going against myself and writing about Orochi-sama instead of Gaara. Heh heh.


Prolog

Orochimaru smirked into the darkness, listening to the shrieks and screams of pain coming the other room. Nearby, Sakkon and Tayuya looked at him nervously, as his long, snake-like tongue uncurled itself and licked his lips.

"Orochimaru-sama is getting restless," Sakkon whispered.

Tayuya gulped. "The screams of the woman must be getting him excited," she whispered back.

"Silence!" Orochimaru hissed, causing the two kids to jump. "I didn't give you permission to speak."

Sakkon, age four, bowed his head. "Gomen-nasi, Orochimaru-sama."

Tayuya, aged five, repeated the gesture. "Gomen..."

There was a long, bitter silence, as the two children watched Orochimaru's tongue flick and sliver, almost snake-like, in the empty space. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Kabuto, much younger at the time, pushed himself into the room, his hands covered in dark, thick blood.

"Orochimaru-sama," he began, but was cut off as Orochimaru's tongue flicked out, covering his stained hands. When the tongue slivered away, the blood was gone.

"Yes?" Orochimaru beckoned him to continue what he was saying.

Kabuto gulped, trying not to look disgusted, whipping his cleaned hand son his shirt anyway. "Orochimaru-sama, Reiko-san is alright. She is healthy and resting, and—"

"It makes no difference to me how that woman is," Orochimaru interrupted. "What about the child?"

Kabuto sighed. "Very healthy. Five pounds, twelve inches. A girl."

Orochimaru chuckled darkly, standing up. "Good, good. Girls are easier to train." He walked past Kabuto, whose eyes followed him warily. Turning, the dark-haired sennin called almost happily, "Come, come, Kabuto. Let us go see my daughter!"

"Orochimaru-sama," Kabuto said, following him. "There's something you should know."

"Not now, Kabuto," Orochimaru rebuked. "Tell me later."

"But... Orochimaru-sama..." Kabuto sighed, and shrugged. "As you wish."

Orochimaru smirked, pushing open the door to the room next to his. It was dark, lit only by a single candle, set on the bedside table. The bed was large, with the sheets bloodstained and soaked in sweat. Amongst the blankets was a thin, pale girl clutching a bundle of blankets. She instantly began shivering as soon as the sennin entered the room.

Orochimaru crossed to the bed, standing over the whimpering girl, smirking cruelly. "Give her to me," he ordered, reaching out for the baby girl.

The girl Kabuto called Reiko shook visibly but shook her head, clutching the bundle of blankets to her chest.

Orochimaru scowled, drawing back his hand threateningly. "Give her to me," he repeated.

Reiko shook her head again.

"Orochimaru-sama," Kabuto cried, "don't! We need her for the child to grow up healthy!"

SLAP.

Orochimaru scowled, lifting the bundle of blankets out of the girl's arms as she shivered and fell limp. "So weak. We don't need her." He turned away from the bed as Kabuto rushed forward to check on the girl. "Let's see, now," he mused, lifting the blanket from the baby's face. "Kabuto, bring the candle."

Kabuto obeyed, abandoning Reiko after finding she was only unconscious, holding the candle above Orochimaru's head, casting the baby's face into the light.

"Ah..." Orochimaru smirked.

The baby girl blinked in the sudden light, revealing the color of her eyes. The right was dark, the same black as her mother's. The other, however, was a light golden color, the pupil long and thin, horrifically snake-like. Dark fuzz covered the top of her head, soft and smooth under Orochimaru's fingers as he gently stroked it. The baby girl gazed up at him, unblinking, as he chuckled.

"You see, Kabuto? This is my child," he said darkly, moving to exit the room, the bundle of blankets secure in the crook of his arm.

"Orochimaru-sama, what about Reiko-san?" Kabuto asked, looking at the bed.

"Oh, yes. Thank you for reminding me." Orochimaru turned, shifting the child so that she was sitting up in the crook on his arm. He looked down at her. "Watch now," he said quietly, pointing towards the bed so the baby knew where to look. Turning back to the bed, he made a seal to summon chakra as a snake slid out of his mouth.

"Orochimaru-sama!" Kabuto shouted, jumping out of the way, barely in time.

Orochimaru smirked, licking his lips. "You see? She is weak."

Kabuto gulped, trying to ignore the corpse on the bed. "O-Orochimaru-sama..."

"Oh, yeah, what was it you wanted to tell me?" Orochimaru asked, resting into the cradle that had been set by the wall and picking out a small, plain white nightshirt.

"It's about your daughter, Orochimaru-sama," Kabuto explained. "As I was examining her, I noticed something."

Orochimaru tossed the blanket at him, pulling the tiny shirt over the girl's head; it was long enough to just barely cover her toes. "And?"

Kabuto sighed, folding the blanket over his arm. "Her vocal cords are not fully developed. My hypothesis is that she may be able to make noises to show what she wants, but never be able to form words. In order for her to communicate, you will have to find a mediator, or create a new Jutsu allowing her to speak in our minds."

Orochimaru frowned slightly. "Can it be fixed?"

Kabuto shook his head. "Not by me. My healing returns people to their original state. Because she was born like this, I cannot change it."

Orochimaru sighed, looking down at the baby girl. "A Shinobi who cannot speak Jutsus... can speak them in her mind. It is the same, if her will is in it."

Kabuto raised an eyebrow. "What?"

"She will do fine," Orochimaru announced, lifting the child so she was level with him, her two-toned eyes gazing into his. "Her name shall be Shizuka."

"Silence..." Kabuto translated. "I see. Orochimaru-sama."

"We will find the mediator when the time comes," Orochimaru stated, cradling Shizuka in one arm. "Until that time, I shall gain her trust. She will serve me unquestioningly."


The next chapter has to do with Shizuka's later life. I wanted to load it but I only had one page done, so yeah. PLEASE REVIEW!!!