The silver-haired teen sighed. "Coming, Orochimaru-sama!" he called back. He finished tying the knot in his hair tie and slid his glasses up onto his nose. He thought they were perfect for his role as a spy. First, they gave him a nerdy, cluelessly innocent look that make him seem perfectly harmless. They also provided a measure of protection for his eyes, so long as he didn't let them break and they suggested a weakness he didn't have. He exhaled slowly, turned away from the mirror he never used and stepped into his sandals. He slid out of his room, making sure to lock the door behind him.

His footsteps echoed eerily off the stone walls, floor and ceiling as Kabuto walked down the hallway to his master's office. It wasn't a long walk; Orochimaru had purposely located Kabuto's room near his own in case he may need him for anything.

The wooden door creaked a bit as Kabuto pushed it open by the snake door handles. The room was dark; only three scattered candles threw some light across the room, throwing the shadows into frightening shapes. A distorted-looking Orochimaru sat behind the small desk in the corner. Kabuto gave a sharp inhale; blood was almost completely covering the bandages on the snake sannin's arms, and he looked both furious and in pain.

Swallowing the lump that rose in his throat, Kabuto stepped forward to make Orochimaru aware of his presence.

"You wanted to see me?"

"I think you know what's wrong," Orochimaru hissed. His long black hair was sticking to his paper-white, sweat-soaked face, and his chest was heaving with his panting breaths. Kabuto crossed the distance between them with several long strides and boldly stepped towards his master.

"Show me the arm."

Orochimaru gave Kabuto a growl of warning, but extended the arm and let Kabuto pick it up by the hand and the elbow.

"Were you trying to move around again?" he asked in a somewhat scolding tone.

"Of course I was!" Orochimaru snapped irritably. "I thought you were smart!"

"This could be caused by any number of things, Orochimaru-sama, moving around the most common cause." Orochimaru had no answer for this, and fell silent. Kabuto carefully turned the arm he was currently holding, trying to find the source of the bleeding. He took note of every one of Orochimaru's winces and his attempts at stifling them. It pained Kabuto to know that his master was in pain; he had long ago sworn himself to Orochimaru and had refused to allow harm to come to him. Seeing him in pain was enough to make Kabuto's heart pull.

"I'm sorry," he murmured as Orochimaru gave a strong yank against his hold and let out a hiss of disproval. "But I can't see what I'm doing. Come on; I need actual light."

"You're bordering on insolence. Kabuto," Orochimaru warned, but he somewhat obediently followed Kabuto back to his room.

As Kabuto unlocked the door, he pushed it open and stepped aside, all in one smooth movement to admit Orochimaru. "The bathroom, please?" Orochimaru gave a curt nod and stepped into Kabuto's apartment, then into the small bathroom on the left.

It was small, but sufficient. There was a toilet in the corner, a shower a few feet away, and a sink across from that with a towel rack on the opposite wall. The floor was tiled, and Kabuto as an attempt to add something to the place painted the walls, probably. Orochimaru stepped back and let Kabuto open the under-sink cabinet and pull out a roll of bandages and some ointment.

Kabuto straightened and placed the bandages and the ointment on the counter next to the sink and quickly washed his hands. He hastily dried them off, not wanting to keep Orochimaru waiting, and carefully cut the edges of the old bandages.

Orochimaru flinched, but made no move to pull away from Kabuto as he unwrapped the blood-soaked bandages. Dry blood was flaking off as Kabuto peeled the bandages off Orochimaru's arm and put them aside. Kabuto moved Orochimaru's arm to the sink and turned on the water. Lukewarm water flowed over the wounds and Orochimaru groaned at the pain. Kabuto bit his lip, almost feeling every ounce of Orochimaru's pain as his own.

"I'm sorry," he repeated, drying the water and smearing ointment on Orochimaru's arms and wrapping the bandages around them. Kabuto was careful to avoid the sensitive areas as he held Orochimaru's arm still. Orochimaru, although trying not to, took notice of how perfectly Kabuto wrapped the bandages; never too tight, never too loose, just the right amount of pressure to stop the bleeding. The bandages were even layered perfectly, one edge overlapping the other until finally, Kabuto had to stop and push up Orochimaru's sleeve a bit more. Orochimaru leaned over and looked at the fresh bandages; they looked as perfect as they felt: even pressure, perfect overall, and no blood anywhere. Kabuto raised a pale hand and brushed Orochimaru's hair out of the way, then pushed up his sleeve and finished winding the bandages around his arm. He tied the knot and Orochimaru couldn't feel any difference in the pressure, let alone the fact that his arms were even wrapped. As Kabuto repeated this on the other side, Orochimaru couldn't keep himself from asking,

"Where did you learn how to do this?"

Kabuto didn't answer immediately; Orochimaru turned his head and noticed that Kabuto's face looked like stone. "My father taught me initially and then i just got a lot of practice."

Orochimaru also noticed dark circles under Kabuto's eyes, and he realized that he was tired. Orochimaru waited until Kabuto was done with his second arm before asking another question, this time a bit less personal.

"Have you been staying up late again to finish paperwork?"

Kabuto ducked his head as he hid a flush and muttered, "Yes."

Orochimaru sighed and touched Kabuto's ponytail, drawing his attention.

"How would you feel about having someone help you out with all this?"

Kabuto was quiet for a moment. "I don't know. It would be kind of nice, but on the other hand, I might feel a but...uneasy about it, trusting another."

Orochimaru followed Kabuto as he exited the bathroom and stood over a desk against the wall across from Kabuto's bed, shuffling papers. Orochimaru watched as he threw the papers into piles, then glanced at the clock.

"Oh, crap," he muttered, thrusting the last of the papers into a pile and walked quickly over to the kitchen area of his apartment. "Would you like anything? Are you hungry?"

Orochimaru sighed. "You really are overworked. You are taking that assistant, pick anyone you want, as long as they help you and take a bit of the load off your shoulders."

Kabuto sighed. "Fine. I'll look for someone when I find the time. Now, would you like something to eat? It's almost noon."