That heartbeat…that beautiful, familiar heartbeat…it was stopping…

Orochimaru's heartbeat was slowing under Kabuto's fingers as he sought to repair the damage inflicted on his body by Sasuke. If Orochimaru had enough strength left, he could transfer…but with the state he was in, and his soul almost all the way out of his body in Sasuke's mind, there was no hope for him. Kabuto's hands clutched desperately at Orochimaru's green chakra pouring from his very essence to fill Orochimaru's wounds. Though the bleeding on the outside stopped, Orochimaru's insides were hemorrhaging, and he was dying quickly.

Orochimaru's heartbeat…was fading…

"K-Ka…bu…to…"

"Don't talk."

His voice is terse and short, like he's scolding a child trying to get his attention so his punishment can be over with. Orochimaru seems to know Kabuto hates him, yet loves him so dearly: he quiets, and Kabuto can swear he sees a small tear falling down Orochimaru's cheeks. His dark hair holds evidence of his wounds: blood matted it and made it sticky…Kabuto is almost afraid to touch Orochimaru, for fear the sannin will break.

Fading…away…

"Kabuto…don't forget…me…"

And he slips away.

The screams that puncture the night are hair-raising, and Kabuto knows why. The screams are his own, a desperate lament for one he lost and held so dear. He truly loved him; and now that insolent child had taken him from him! He had to avenge his lord-he had to wreak his vengeance on the petulant child that had stolen his only reason to live!

Golden eyes close forever…and a beautiful heart stops beating…

And Kabuto knew what he had to do.

Half-crazed with grief, he suddenly plunged his fingers into Orochimaru's chest, hands searching for the slick muscle that would make him one with Orochimaru-one even more than Sakon and Ukon. They would be pathetic compared to this-they were still two separate beings! Kabuto and Orochimaru were one, and always would be forever. Because Kabuto would not die. Orochimaru would reside in Kabuto's body until Kabuto could regain Orochimaru's soul, and then Kabuto would make Orochimaru a body with cells from his own-cells that he would house from Orochimaru's body. Kabuto's fingers fastened around the cold muscle of Orochimaru's heart and he ripped it from the sannin's chest, tearing blood vessels and arteries. Blood cascaded from the body, further soaking Kabuto's hands, the floor, everything…Kabuto brought the deadly heart to his lips, fastening his teeth over one half of it. He tore off the chunk of muscle, chewing and swallowing. He slowly consumed Orochimaru's heart, finally swallowing the last of it, panting a bit from the shock of what he had just done. Still, a crazy smile came over his face: he and Orochimaru were one now, and no one could ever steal him away from him! Kabuto knelt next to the body and slowly reached out, brushing Orochimaru's black hair from his face.

"Beautiful love," he whispered. "Bitter tears of pain you cry, but nevermore will you feel pain…" Kabuto lowered his head, caressing Orochimaru's cold, deadened cheek. "My love, you'll be yourself again," he whispered, "I swear, you'll be without me soon. But for now, I must ask a favor of you. You must help me defeat Sasuke and avenge you-and then I can set you free."

Kabuto stood up, wiping the blood from his mouth, and moved to walk to the door, but a sharp pain in his left eye brought him crashing to his knees, clutching at the eye and screaming. Kabuto waited for the pain to subside, then staggered to his feet and caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror.

His left eye was a beautiful golden hue, sparkling with the fire of amber long lost. Kabuto gasped with shock, and suddenly grinned.

Hush, my love, don't cry-bitter heart of pain and sorrow…no more tears will you cry tomorrow.

He and Orochimaru were truly one. He had taken his lover's heart, but he would set him free again soon. They were truly one: even more so than the night they had spent together last night, when Orochimaru begged Kabuto to relieve him of his pain. Kabuto had done so, and thought Orochimaru beautiful writhing under his ministrations. Now, though, Orochimaru was beautiful as well…but in a completely different way. His heart beat as one with Kabuto's, and they would not part until that insolent child was dead.

And Orochimaru would live again.

Heart of tears and sorrow,

No more tears will you cry tomorrow.

A/N: My take on how Kabuto integrated his master's remains into his body. Wow, I can't believe I wrote this…it's really creepy…well, whatever. Been floating. Might make this multi-chapter, depending on the reviews I get. Review, please-I will certainly welcome them. Review!!!!