Author's Note: I had this fanfiction on my hard drive since the beginning of March, (it was even all nice and complete), and I'll even admit that I once tried to upload it… only to delete it soon after. I can't say I'm expecting much out of this, but I feel that it still deserves to be posted on the site, at least as something to remind me of my failures and successes, along with my development as a writer. Anyhow, please enjoy.

I give a special "Thank you!" to Gerald and Cristine who beta-read this. I also thank all of the songs that played on my Winamp during the course of writing this.

Edit: Changed a few grammar problems. I really hate how there's a lot of awkward sentences in this piece. Sorry for not fixing them all.

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He had expected that even Orochimaru would fall under the night's spell, but then that was something impossible, wasn't it? The other boy never seemed to be even remotely influenced by anything else, not even the time. In fact, it often seemed that he could control time himself, using it to give himself a mind that should only belong to half-dead hermits and shady characters in a bar. But there he was, defying that entity. He sat up on the window sill, back rigid, eyes cast downward to watch something. The setting sun cast shadows across his face. Jiraiya coldly compared him to a predator examining its prey, deciding whether or not to play with its food or award a quick death.

How right he was.

There was a winged insect of some type, beating relentlessly against the window. It strived to get out in the almost-dark, quite unaware that Orochimaru was nearby. But maybe it did know the Konoha genin was there. Perhaps it long ago gave up hope of receiving help.

Jiraiya cleared his throat, somewhat nervous. He had started to dislike even being in the same room with the other boy now, much less in a small inn room in the middle of a small country. He just couldn't, not after that event happened. When Orochimaru didn't look up, Jiraiya decided to go on, attempting to keep his voice steady. "Sarutobi-sensei wants us now. He thinks it's best to leave while the night is still falling."

"The night is not falling. It's rising." His rival's answer was sudden, harsh. But he had at least acknowledged the white-haired genin's presence, and that's all Jiraiya could hope for at the moment. In fact, Jiraiya wasn't even sure if he had hoped for it. One side of him wanted Orochimaru to scream at him and the other wanted him to completely ignore him. But this answer? It was none of those.

"Oro—"

"What is it?"

His words came out like lava now, "Why don't you talk about it? Or if you can't talk about it, at least ask normal!" Jiraiya moved toward Orochimaru, realizing that the future snake had rested his gaze back on the struggling insect. "Look at me, Oro!"

"Oh?" Orochimaru instead turned to gaze out the window. He smiled softly, yet the feature appeared odd on his features. "That's all it deserves, don't you think?"

The two were coming back from the market to their hotel, arms loaded with bags full of miscellaneous items, some useless, some vital. They didn't dare question Sarutobi on his choice of chores this time, for it was better than sitting around in a stuffy room waiting for their target to walk out. Tsunade had already left them with her set of supplies, easily able to lift thrice their loads.

The path they were walking on was surrounded by a small, grassy meadow, dotted with flowers and shrubs. The sun was setting, framed by an aureole of red and orange. There were still a few sounds of people packing up their shops, but it was rather peaceful for the most part. Jiraiya was happily taking it all in, pausing here and there to note something in the grass. Orochimaru followed behind, not commenting on the other's behavior. He wouldn't admit it, but he enjoyed silence more than criticizing and arguing with the future frog hermit.

Jiraiya suddenly stopped, his eyes lighting up as he saw a quick flash of light above a shrub. He called out, gesturing as wildly as he could with several bags in his arms. "Look at this! Is that a firefly? Is it?"

Orochimaru came up, taking his time. He raised a brow as he noticed that the spot Jiraiya had pointed out was empty. He frowned and was about to move on when Jiraiya let out another cry.

Inches from Jiraiya's face was a small dot of light, flickering on and off. The sun had set enough so that the lights were also appearing all over the meadow, flashing and then disappearing. "They're fireflies, aren't they? I've never… I've never seen them before…" He spun on his heel, straining to get the full view of the meadow.

Orochimaru had looked up to get a glance, but he continued on, only stopping when he realized that Jiraiya didn't plan to move anytime soon. He only said one word, his meaning obvious.

"Jiraiya."

But the white-haired boy had put his bags down on the path and was starting to wade through the sea of grass, mesmerized by all of the lights. They were apparent now, there for all to see. But why did they keep disappearing? Why did they keep on evading Jiraiya's touch?

Orochimaru waited a few moments before realizing he would have to do something to get moving again. Why did the other act so much like a child? This was not how they were trained… He placed his bags next to Jiraiya's and hurried across the field.

Jiraiya had stopped to examine a small cluster of fireflies on a bush, so Orochimaru easily caught up, placing a hand on the other's arm to try to pull him back onto the path. It was then that he realized why the small lights were entrancing. He surveyed one as well as he could, but he did his best to not seem particularly impressed. They glowed intensely, drawing their light from a source Orochimaru couldn't see.

What kind of strength was that? What gave them that courage to draw all the attention to themselves, standing out among the shadowy landscape?

Patting the other on the shoulder, Jiraiya started to laugh. "You know you're excited, don't hide it. I bet you've never seen them before either."

The more closed genin turned toward the other to scold him, only to realize Jiraiya was facing him too. A silly grin as set across his face and he still laughed, mocking the other. Orochimaru was almost chagrinned, but a different emotion was currently cruising through him, overrunning any other thoughts. Jiraiya had first thought it was the magic of the fireflies and just everything else that propelled the other to lean in and kiss him.

Kiss him?

Jiraiya pulled back and was about to say something, but he was easily pushed back into the grass by the other genin. The plants were high enough so that their lying forms weren't visible over the top, and once Jiraiya realized that he freaked, struggling to push the other off. Nothing in their relationship warranted this.

But Orochimaru was just stubborn and untiring, easily pinning the other down and moving now to place another kiss on his lips. He traced circles and other profound shapes on the other's chest and arms, easily relaxing his teammate. His breath was low and his words were almost incomprehensible. "Hide…? Hide? Showing them… showing them puts me at your level… doesn't it?"

He gave a single thrust with his hips, smirking as the other arched up against him, letting out a soft whine. The future snake sannin ran his thumb over the other's chin before leaning in once more, kissing hard. He quickly gained entrance into the other's mouth and used his tongue to explore, making sure he tasted every little bit. He stole that flavor and made it his, leaving Jiraiya feeling empty and violated, yet oddly fulfilled at the same time. Orochimaru noticed that Jiraiya had finally stopped struggling and he suddenly sat back up, breaking their kiss abruptly.

Jiraiya felt that he had been slapped when the other did so, but it was against all of his morals to complain. Instead, he reached up to bring the other back down, but Orochimaru slapped his hand away, now grinding his hips against the other. The pace was almost frantic, no rhythm, like those of teenagers in a night club, but he still had the skill to not show his emotions. It didn't matter much anyhow, as Jiraiya was currently giving off enough sounds for the both of them, his eyes shut tight as if denying that the person on top of him was Orochimaru. Maybe it was Tsunade… maybe it was really that really cute jounin sensei… They were still fully clothed, but he was still oddly stimulated. No no… it couldn't be the fireflies that got him like this, could it?

Damnit, Orochimaru had him.

The black-haired genin managed to pull down the material of his shirt to expose the pale flesh underneath. Orochimaru, giving off a soft smile, moved to trace languid circles on the other's collar bone. Even though it was starting to get cold, he couldn't help but notice that Jiraiya still felt warm and even almost comforting to him.

Push that thought away.

The genin plainly enjoyed this, smirking and giving off a chuckle at each little thing Jiraiya did in response to each of his touches, each of his words. The other was even starting to take in his insults now, giving a moan for every "you're too loud", or a whine for every "too needy, just like a girl."

Orochimaru moved up, tracing the other's jaw line with his tongue. He continued to press against Jiraiya with all of his weight, but the grinding motion had stopped. Jiraiya hadn't noticed until he realized that there was no more tautness where he had been holding Orochimaru's sleeve, knuckles showing white under the tension. He murmured something lowly, attempting to move Orochimaru's head so he could kiss him without the use of his hands. His teammate merely shifted, turning so Jiraiya's lips only graced his ear.

Jiraiya tried again, trying to embrace the other, but the snake-like genin once more denied him by pressing his hands down on his shoulders. He couldn't help but start to wonder exactly what Orochimaru meant. Sure, rape meant that one of the partners was unwilling, but was he himself unwilling? He didn't like it, but that didn't mean he hated it. And didn't making love mean that both partners were equal?

He couldn't help but close his eyes, blinking away a sudden rush of tears. Then this act wasn't any of that. It was not a romantic act that one sees in dramas, nor a rape story that are featured in confessions and court movies. This was… this was…

Fucking.

Orochimaru studied the other's face and smirked, yet the smirk only expressed itself on his lips, leaving the eyes and the rest of his features oddly dead-looking. He quickly ripped away the rest of the other's shirt, just as cleanly as he would later cut open a person. Jiraiya flinched, opening his eyes, never having really seen the other's power on something so menial.

He squirmed as his teammate once more used that tongue to trail down his abdomen. But now the other would stop here and there, sucking at certain places. They left red marks all over.

Orochimaru couldn't help himself, but he knew that he was going farther than he originally planned. There was no use denying that certain feeling down there, nor how each of Jiraiya's sharp intakes of breath excited him. He started to fiddle with the other's pants, purposely keeping his gaze focused down, no where near Jiraiya's face.

But it was then that Jiraiya grew desperate, finding that Orochimaru's interest in his pants over him appalling. He needed to do something to redeem himself, just somehow change the label to their act. Once he thought of something he did it well by quickly sitting up and moving Orochimaru so they were both facing each other, the black-haired genin on his lap. He could have sworn that he saw a look of surprise on Orochimaru's face, but he wasn't able to look long as he moved to place one of those damnable hickeys on the other's neck, marking him where it was obvious…

Where it was apparent, there for all to see.

Orochimaru had first thought that Jiraiya had stopped crying and was now going to whine more, but then he felt the other's touch on his neck. He struggled, pulling back, only to realize that Jiraiya had embraced him securely, crushing him against the other's chest.

He finally broke free after a few curses and more pulling, but when he did he moved slower, reminding himself to keep everything under lock and key once more. He kept up a moderate pace as he went back through the fields to the pathway. Jiraiya could hear sounds of him picking up the bags.

The other had left him there, breathless and sweating. He tried again and again to get up to his feet, but his weight seemed to have increased tenfold, making every effort to move strained. The cold washed over him brutally, taking the opportunity since Orochimaru was no longer there to warm him.

"Jiraiya, let's go now."

No!

The fireflies started to appear around him again, hovering almost curiously. They landed on the spots where he was exposed, bringing his attention to each little area due to their brightness. He clenched both of his fists, trying to think of a reasonable answer to everything. Did Orochimaru really mean to test him? Or was there something else, something that had been unspoken for ages?

It took him a good half hour to finally arrange his clothes to make himself look half-decent and then get up. He would have appeared calm to the rest of the world at that moment, for maybe he just tripped over himself or something. But that false image was shaken as he reached down in the semi-darkness to find his bags.

They were gone.

The beating of the insect was continuous now, calling out a vain cry for help. Jiraiya had been silent for sometime, not knowing what to say to say to Orochimaru's question. The snake-like genin had given his attention back to the insect, his expression once more blank.

Jiraiya opened his mouth to say something, but he stopped before he even started. He moved closer to the window, casting a long shadow against the wall. He extended a hand as if to touch Orochimaru in their new proximity, but the bug on the window sill drew his attention away.

He suddenly flinched, staring at the insect for a long time before looking up at Orochimaru. The other boy had a smirk on his face and met Jiraiya's eyes defiantly with his own.

It was a firefly.

They stared at each other for some time, yellow meeting black.

He suddenly started to speak, taking his time. He paused in-between sentences, letting the beating of the firefly fill in those wretched silences. "Do you understand now, Jiraiya? I tested you then, to see if you were equal to me." Orochimaru got up from the sill, moving so he was facing the window.

"But, I don't know if you failed or not. You were just as obvious… just as easily to manipulate as those fireflies that night, as the one here before me. But…" His voice trailed off.

Jiraiya looked down at the ground but he still couldn't help but inquire, "But?"

Orochimaru gave his last smile for tonight and moved to gently cup the firefly in one of his hands. He stood there for some time, absolutely motionless. Jiraiya, once he looked up, couldn't help but think that he gave off the impression of a statue, ultimately emotionless and never-changing.

But then that statue convulsed, smashing the firefly. "I want to grow stronger now, Jiraiya."