Sometimes the best things in life come with Warning Labels. Happy Birthday, Kabuto!


Food Coloring

Kabuto Yakushi stood in front of the stove warily. Dressed in house slippers and a light purple bath robe, he gave a jaw-cracking yawn. It was 2 AM, and he was dead tired. With a rapid motion he yanked the brown and blue bag of flour out of the cupboard above him and slammed it down onto the stovetop. The white puff that exploded from the opening clouded his vision and tickled his nose, making him want to pound the defenseless powder repeatedly.

He yawned again, sleepy and frustrated tears forming in his eyes, making a smacking noise with his sleep induced saliva as his tongue hit the roof of his mouth and squished shut with thick drool. Why was he up?!

Oh yeah…

-o-

"Kabuto… I need something sweet to help me fall asleep."

He now wished that the hissing voice that purred from the foot of his bed, had been a bad dream, and the dark silhouette of his master's form standing in a dim outline in front of his closet mirror, had just been a vision of his hazy mind. Although, he knew it was all too real by the moonlight that glinted through his bedroom window, shining in those glowing violet eyes, with pupils thinning even more than usual in the soft darkness, entrancing him, making him wish even more that it had been a nightmare and that the slithering snake would strike suddenly and coil around him under his dark covers, maybe eventually slither across his stomach and…

"Sirr, it's the middle of the night."

Kabuto had moaned quietly, and shifted beneath his sheets, trying desperately to ignore the intruder standing at his feet, and the heated thoughts that had suddenly intruded his mind. Something sweet, huh? Only in the young teenager's wildest dreams could he imagine the perfection of what that could be. He pulled the blanket closer, and flushed the images from his mind, just as a cold air settled throughout the room.

He could feel Orochimaru's eyes drilling holes through his blanket, and he ignored the blush that heated his cheeks, unconsciously pressing his face further into the cool satin that lined his pillow.

"I want…"

Kabuto gulped, his mind raced, scrambled, deflated, and he could feel his unbound hair fall around his bare shoulders, making his entire body tremble with delight. And then, Orochimaru's seductive voice was whispering like a gentle airy rumor through the night.

"Pineapple upside-down cake."

… And just then, Kabuto's mind turned upside-down. He felt the blood rushing to his head, not realizing how short of breath he'd gotten. His spirits sank, slipping right through the mattress and thudding to the carpet below to mingle with the monsters that must certainly be roosting under his bed. What else could bring him such cruel luck? He snorted suddenly, loosing the tight anticipating grip that he'd acquired on his sheets, and turned around again, burying himself from view.

"Go to sleep, Orochimaru-Sama it's late…"

He'd managed to whisper, even through the brittleness that had surrounded his heart. He even sneered at the silent laughter that his master was shaking with.

"I know… You'd better hurry, dear Kabuto."

Oh right, the no choice thing. His nerves twisted sharply.

Kabuto gulped at the malicious teasing and gritted his teeth ferociously. The recent disappointment evaporating and flaring so suddenly into anger that he actually kicked his blankets to the ground, and stomped his feet on the padded floor, trying to make as much noise as possible, letting that snake know just how incredibly pissed and riled up he really was for getting such a rude awakening. He didn't even flinch as he clipped shoulders with Orochimaru, nearly knocking the black haired cretin and his deadened arms to the ground. He realized too late that the extra energy he was using to stomp across the floor was useless as the padded shag just absorbed each footfall.

Orochimaru's chuckle followed him towards his desk, encircled his body as he slipped on the robe over his boxers, and finally made his ears feel like they were bleeding as he threw his thick bifocals over his nose and ripped the door open, slamming it sourly behind him. The hissing laughter halted, but Kabuto's bitter mood followed him obediently into the kitchen.

Where he currently stood…

-o-

Kabuto seethed internally. He could still see Orochimaru's teasing smirk behind his drooping eyelids. He bent down, grabbing a fistful of metal and nearly yanking a closed cabinet door off its hinges. Metal pots clashed around inside, rattling together annoyingly. The clangs pierced his ears in the silence.

Making cake for his master at this ungodly hour in the morning didn't fair too well with his sleep induced mind. He finally pulled out a round baking pan from the dark recesses of the kitchen's storage space, and held it up triumphantly. Stainless steel debris now decorated the tiled linoleum beneath his feet. He left the pan on the stove's burner and grabbed the abused flour in one arm.

Maybe he should just poison his uncaring boss. Put the old bastard out of his misery… And even as he leveled off a cup of colorless dust and threw it into a mixing bowl to float around mysteriously with the water he'd already added, he felt guilty. He didn't hate Orochimaru… and knew it was just the frustration of his lost excitement and his own tiredness that was making him grumpy. Kabuto let out a long sigh and tried to blink the drowsiness away. This wasn't the first time he'd been woken up at tedious hours to do some unbidden deed for his superior, but this was the first time since Orochimaru's accident that he'd been woken up for a retarded reason! Actually, it was a bit of a relief that he wasn't awoken with cries or yowls of pain. Kabuto cringed at the memories.

But… cake?!

Kabuto shook his head at the ridiculous request, and tried desperately to find the good in it, searching all corners of his mind for some sort of light. Too damn bad he didn't have a map.

Two eggs were nicked against the corner of the counter top and swiftly beat into the rest of the batter. Fingers collided harshly with the buttons on the oven and the cake was poured evenly along the bottom of the batter pan.

Now all he had to do was wait for that part while he put his culinary skills to the test with dividing up what little pineapple that was being stored in the refrigerator.

Kabuto caught a glimpse of his disheveled appearance in the reflective piece on the side of the fridge. His hair was a mess; and his robe was hanging half way open, revealing his flat, but embarrassingly soft and under-developed stomach. Kabuto ran his fingers through his long ashen hair, and self consciously pulled the robe tighter, hiding himself. No wonder he was no more than Orochimaru's slave, ordered to do these disgustingly simple tasks.

He tore his grey blue eyes away from the mirroring metal, and briskly gathered the yellow fruit from where it was hoarded away in the ice box.

The butcher knife was balanced between nimble fingers and busy slicing the block of acidic flavored food in long rectangles. Cooking was actually relaxing when he was doing it, and he was almost sorry for making such a big scene in the bedroom when asked to perform… but, his guilt ridden sorrow disappeared in a heartbeat when a shrill racket erupted from his soft pocket, blaring one of his master's favorite heavy metal bands. Kabuto jumped and the knife that was so carefully being pressed into the thick pineapple was now being severed into the knuckle joint of his pinky.

Kabuto swore loudly as red dripped across the blade and onto the cutting board beneath him. He threw down the knife, which stabbed upright into the pineapple block, before falling onto its side with a dull thump, then damned the phone and pressed a dishrag to his cut to quell the red from covering the entire kitchen floor.

Great… now he had another mess to clean up. Sarcastic excitement drummed in his chest. He stuck his injured hand against his chest and dug Orochimaru's phone out of his robe's deep pocket, wondering just slightly why the other's cell would be in his bathrobe, he ended up crushing the entire phone in his right palm, effectively hitting the side button and killing the stupid ring tone! Kabuto squinted at the flashing screen, the name that read across it not surprising him a bit. "Orochimaru…"

He flinched at his pulsing cut, and at the rapidly crimson stained cloth. Kabuto sighed and flipped the cellular device open. "Yes, sir…?" He droned into the other line.

Orochimaru chuckled from the other end. "Just checking on you, Kabuto. Are you almost finished?" Kabuto could here the amusement in his master's voice, it sounded like it was choking him. He guessed that Orochimaru was talking through the speaker by the faraway sound in his tone.

The medic slipped the bloodied rag away from his finger, examining the wound with tired eyes. "… Sir, I'm two rooms away, and you had to…" Then he remembered—He stopped, sliding the fresh cut between his lips as he spoke, and licking the blood away— the man couldn't move as easily anymore. Forget the fact of how he'd turned the speaker phone on… and dialed. Probably with his tongue… the surge of excitement that coursed through Kabuto's body at that moment, actually stung. He swallowed down all lumps, "Nevermind, I'll be there soon. It's nearly finished." His words were slurred around the digit in his mouth.

Orochimaru hummed in his ear, "Are you eating without me?" The snake had the decency to sound offended; the soft tone in his voice was tugging gently at his young apprentices heartstrings. Kabuto sucked on his finger harder, lavishly tasting the coppery flavor against his tongue, savoring the salty tang that was left on his lips, imaging Orochimaru's silky smooth voice, so close to him. Flowing around him like the blood flowing in gentle rivets across his tongue. Kabuto moaned into the receiver. "Don't talk with your mouth full."

As soon as the voice reprimanded him, his finger slumped against the base of his cheek, and he gripped the sink to stay standing. "S-sorry Sir." Kabuto fixed his stutter. It wasn't appropriate. He was making a fool of himself. "Orochimaru, Sir, I'm sorry, it's late. Your meal will be done shortly." As always, Kabuto felt his profuse apologies were never enough. His words could never be formal enough to please the snake. He would never be enough to please the serpent.

Even after all of his studies, he couldn't save his lord's arms. He wasn't capable of such a heavy deed. He would never be good enough. Never. That's why the Uchiha brat was so important to Orochimaru, wasn't it? That boy would be the doctor's replacement, and Kabuto would be cast aside.

The young physician sighed. At least he could spend the rest of his countable days making cake for his master—the one he cared about—the one he wished would care for him in return…

"Kabuto, hmm, are you listening?"

Orochimaru's hiss in his ear snapped Kabuto out of his thoughts, once again. He sucked in a sharp breath, berating himself, and shifted on his feet uncomfortably. "Something you needed, Orochimaru-sama?" He managed to speak, spitting into the mouthpiece accidentally. He could just picture Orochimaru's lips, dark and smooth around a perfectly white toothy grin. Kabuto slurped blood from the slice on his finger as if it were a snake bite.

There was silence for a moment, the ticking of the clock on the far wall loud and booming in the humiliating pause, "Oh, yesss," The hiss that made the noisy ticks vanish, and then, "make the cake red."

What the hell? Well, that probably wouldn't be a problem, seeing the bloody chunks of pineapple that were slaughtered across the cutting board. Kabuto smirked to himself, sometimes wishing he wasn't such a goody-good doctor. "Right away, Lord Orochimaru." Kabuto's voice came out relatively calm, despite his grotesque thoughts. It only took him a moment to hear the familiar howling through the ear piece, echoing loudly from down the hallway; cruel laughter. Sadistic bastard.

He squeezed his eyes shut as the calm voice ghosted through the other end of phone. "You entertain me, Kabuto…" Orochimaru chuckled then, and the line went dead. Kabuto's stomach dropped to his feet. He didn't want to amuse Orochimaru that way… he knew he could be capable of so much more… he just… Kabuto let the phone fall away from his cheek, his loose flowing hair replacing the area around his face immediately.

So much for sexual fantasies…

After gathering a good amount of chakra in his palm, the medic pressed the green glow against his injured appendage, healing it so that the mark the size of a paper cut was the only thing left. There, now he could get back to work.

Kabuto turned the sink on full blast, letting the water run until it turned cold. He stood up straight and slipped the small cell phone back into his robe. Turning with careful steps, he gathered the sliced fruit from the cutting board and held it beneath the icy flow of liquid. He let the temperature numb his hands and rinse the food clean from the red goop, while his mind wandered aimlessly.

He thought about his goals. He thought about his life growing up. He thought about his village. He thought about how he'd betrayed so many in the past. He thought about how he never wanted to betray someone again. And then he thought about Orochimaru. He thought mostly about Orochimaru. He thought about the ninja's strength. About his lord's dreams. His voice. His controlling aura. He remembered when Orochimaru cried the night after he'd killed his own sensei. About how the snake whimpered and wished he wasn't immortal anymore. Kabuto's eyes furrowed at his master's limp arms, and how they burned his hands every time he handled them—he shuddered at the feel of the ice water that was running over his palms now. He'd gotten so used to the feel of fire on his hands, and the cold water sent his nerves into shock.

Kabuto cringed and ripped his hands away from the faucet. He left the cleaned pineapple in a glass bowl and turned the tap off. Orochimaru was the bad guy… right? Kabuto didn't understand why he had pitied the bad, or why the bad made him feel so good.

The oven shrilled, disrupting his thought patterns again. He was halfway bent over and pulling the baked dish from the oven when he heard the toilet flush from down the hallway. Kabuto was all smiles after that. At least Orochimaru was getting the hang of going to the restroom by himself again, no matter how tough that must be.

He hurriedly shut the oven off, and whipped some powdered sweetener into another bowl before grabbing the little box of food dye from off the top of the microwave. The bright yellow label on the side of the box caught his eye. "Non-Toxic. Keep out of reach of children." Now if that wasn't the contradiction of the year. Kabuto chuckled and added the deep ruby color into the white frosting mixture before beating it senselessly. The frosting ended up looking slightly more like a tickle me pink, instead of bloody crimson when he was through with it.

The boy grinned gently and pushed his glasses up from where they were sliding with his birdie. He frosted the finished golden cake evenly and threw the yellow fruit atop the pink, dusting it with soft powdered sugar to give the girly looking cake an even more flighty feeling.

Kabuto admired his culinary genius skills for about two seconds before he found himself yawning into his palm. He rubbed his abused eyes tenderly, and realized how light headed he suddenly felt. He grabbed a polished Kunai instead of the knife, and sliced the cake into large triangles before dusting his hands on his floury robe, departing the semi-cleaned kitchen and venturing back towards his bedroom.

The door creaked open softly and Kabuto fingered the light switch for only a moment before freezing.

The lights stayed off. The room was bathed in a sea of moonlit blackness. Kabuto squinted across the room and sighed, there was Orochimaru, curled up in Kabuto's thick comforters… asleep. Kabuto's lips twitched. He didn't know if he should scream or smile. He felt like pulling his hair out, but at the same time felt a strange peacefulness settle in the air.

He let his hand fall from the switch, and pushed his way into his room letting the heavy door fall shut on its own, with a quiet thump. The cake stayed balanced in his upturned palm as he padded his way across the shaggy grey carpet. He stopped right at his bedside and looked down at his master's sleeping form, bathed in moonlight, and face smoothed from any unnatural feelings or discomfort.

Kabuto hated to admit it, but Orochimaru looked… peaceful. He shuddered at the thought that his lord could somehow be dead, but shook it off when he noticed the deep rise and fall of the other's chest.

Orochimaru had never lain in his bed before… not even before, after they'd just barely met, and Kabuto was sick with a fever. He usually kept his distance from other's personal objects, despite his selfish lifestyle. He loved physical contact… but, Kabuto had never seen his teacher touch his personal belongings before. It sent a new wave of emotion through him.

The white haired boy set the cake on his nightstand, right in front of the old photo-less frame, that was propped against his lamp, and sat down on the edge of his covers. He glanced back over his shoulder, and was afraid to move another inch. Afraid of disturbing the peacefulness that his master had succumbed to—Fearful of breaking his lord's slumber.

His fingers reached out on their own accord, and he combed them through the silky thin strands of Orochimaru's dark tresses. God, this was so wrong. Orochimaru was nearly thirty years his senior… but, he couldn't stop the remembrance of the time Orochimaru schooled him of what "living eternally" was. He was never going to change, never going to age… and Kabuto found that thought comforting somehow.

He was willing to give this man everything. He wanted to give this man everything, and was fully prepared to ask for nothing in return. He gave a wistful sigh. Maybe in his dreams. His fantasies. Kabuto yawned silently.

Tired.

He looked down at Orochimaru again, sleeping peacefully. Needed something sweet… my ass. Kabuto sneered harmlessly and decided that their sleeping arrangement wouldn't matter.

Well, at least now he could get some much cherished rest; he lifted his feet up onto the bed, burying them beneath the blankets and throwing his robe off to the side. Boxer clad, and dead tired he lay down beside Orochimaru. Making his dreams come true one step at a time. His eyes closed exhaustedly, and he let himself start to drift, listening to the lullaby of his master's gentle breaths.

And in the next instant he was dreaming. A pleasurable dream that sent shivers up and down his spine and left him nearly panting. Something wet traced up his arm. A warm slick tongue sliding across his bare shoulders, and across his neck. Leaving a trail of wet hot kisses in their wake. Long silken hair fell across his lips and tickled his nose, and there was a hot breath ghosting across his throat that left him feeling winded. Kabuto couldn't hold back as he moaned against his wishes.

This was one dream that couldn't get any better, and he never wanted to wake up… until… "Kabuto," He nearly gasped. That was the first time that Orochimaru's voice had been so crisp and clear in his fantasy, except something was different. His body felt like it was burning… almost painfully. A fire growing hotter with each second. "…I know you're awake."

Kabuto's eyes snapped open at the whispery voice in his right ear. "O-Orochimaru-Sama… I…" He was trembling. Oh fuck. "Oro… Am I… This is a dream." He stuttered, but the snake's cool breath fogging up his forgotten eyeglass lenses said other wise.

"L-lord Oro…" Kabuto stopped. He couldn't speak anymore. He felt his eyes burning, along with Orochimaru's hot arm pressed against his naked side, so fiery against his own pale clammy skin.

"The cake smells delicious, dear Kabuto." The boy squirmed at his master's voice, and he shivered again as Orochimaru's tongue retracted back between his teeth slowly.

Kabuto coiled in on himself, "You were asleep, Sir. I should have woken you." He forced his voice to stay calm despite his hammering heart.

Orochimaru chuckled against his cheek, as usual not understanding personal space, unless it was with someone's possessions. Kabuto sucked in a breath and held it. "Don't be so tense, Kabuto." The snake's voice smoothed into butter, "After all, it is your birthday." And with that, Kabuto blinked.

His… birthday?

His Birthday?!

Kabuto hadn't celebrated his birthday in… four years! That's right… it was, February 29th! It really was his birthday. He had forgotten completely.

Orochimaru hummed against him again and nuzzled his cheek. "I hope you enjoy your cake… see, it was a bit difficult trying to do it myself." Orochimaru's nose tilted his student's face towards the nightstand, where the pineapple dessert sat loyally. Kabuto grinned in spite of himself.

Orochimaru mirrored the younger teen's expression, "Hehe, you're only what, five?" Orochimaru chuckled with a wide sinister grin.

"I'm twenty, sir." Kabuto blanched. Gee, he really was getting old.

Orochimaru laughed, "Technically, not in my rule book." He thought about the calendar by his desk, and remembered the small print under the circled date that read: "leap year".

Kabuto smirked back, "Technically, if that were true, you'd be a pedophile right now." He teased, relishing in Orochimaru's good mood. It felt nostalgic.

"Is that so?" Orochimaru hissed, letting his tongue dart against the other's cheek again, and feeling him shiver.

Kabuto clenched his teeth, "Not technically." He panted.

The man's pale skin glistened in the waves of platinum moonlight as Kabuto examined his bed mate's face. So pointed and serpent like. It reminded the boy of poison. An addictive deadly poison that one couldn't live without.

"Kabuto," Orochimaru's eyes closed softly, and Kabuto could tell he was serious. "I can't move my arms… they hurt. I do want to…" Kabuto didn't let him finish. He twisted around, forcing them to face each other and snaked his hand underneath the other's arm. Kabuto lifted it gently, even as the cursed skin nearly scalded him.

"Sorry." He apologized when Orochimaru swore softly. Kabuto lifted the limp appendage up and let it rest around his shoulders; before moving the man's other hand to lean against his chest. "There, are you okay? Does it hurt?" Kabuto fussed, and tried to shift closer to relieve the strain. Orochimaru's arms made his skin feel like it was melting beneath them, but it was also nice in a way.

Kabuto shifted beneath the blanket, pulling the covers down with his toes to make up for the added heat. Orochimaru gave him a crooked smile. "I can't really feel you, Kabuto. Everything's numb." His eyes searched his apprentice's sallow face. Tired wrinkles fitted in neat rings beneath his eyes.

"I'm sorry, Orochimaru, Sir." He breathed and traced his master's fingers that were pressed against his chest. When the snake flinched beneath him, he searched for a reaction. "Did you feel it?"

"Just a nerve reaction…" Orochimaru breathed, and slumped down in the pillows before coming back at Kabuto with renewed strength. "So, how about that cake." He chuckled spiritedly, to which Kabuto grinned.

"Thank you." Kabuto smiled meekly, stretching backwards to feel around in the darkness for some of the dessert from the nightstand. The metal fork clattered to the ground the moment he reached it, as the snake beside him pounced forward, startling the medic.

Kabuto gasped as Orochimaru's lips were suddenly all over his own, and his long sneaky tongue was tracing every inch of his mouth, sending tingles and shivers all throughout his body. He couldn't breathe. If this really did turn out to be a dream, he'd put himself to sleep permanently the instant he woke up. Orochimaru chuckled a little when he pulled back. Closing the kiss off slowly and letting the small string of saliva trail between them, glowing in the pale light.

He felt himself trembling as he snuggled closer to Orochimaru, and he felt the snake's arms mysteriously tighten around him. The motion seemed almost effortless. Kabuto was panting, breathless, blushing from head to toe. He fisted his hands desperately in the other's shirt and let the peaceful silence take over.

He could feel his eyelids drooping, even as Orochimaru breathed out a sweet "Happy Birthday" and blew some of the boy's snowy white hair away from his face. Only five years old… and he'd already been granted so much. Kabuto couldn't stop the wide grin that took over his face, chuckling as he realized how truly his relationship with the snake demon was so much like the warning label on the box of food coloring.

"I hope all your wishes come true."

"They already have, Orochimaru-Sama. They already have."

They ate the cake together when the sun came up.

// end \\