Kabuto was alone.

Dead, stone, alone.

He had never thought he would be without Orochimaru-the sannin always claimed immortality, and he was so powerful…but such was the price of bliss. Arrogance usually came with it, and so did ignorance. Orochimaru himself, Kabuto as well, had failed to see Sasuke growing restless, and how dangerous he was now. And then the damned brat got in close with Orochimaru, and then he killed him. And while he was sick, no less! It proved nothing! It only proved Kabuto's point that Sasuke was a lying, sneaky, conniving, underhanded, ungrateful, freeloading brat, and that he and his brother should have switched names. Kabuto angrily cast aside the syringe he had filled with serum for an experiment-he couldn't concentrate. The thought of going on as normal infuriated him. It was disrespectful to Orochimaru-sama!

Kabuto sighed and turned away from his work, cleaning everything up and putting it all in its proper place. Drugs in cabinets. Tools in trays. Bodies in the morgue. Kabuto finally went back to the lab to check for anything else out of place. He spotted a single bottle on the counter and sighed. Sloppy. He should never have missed that to begin with. Kabuto glanced at the label: some deadly poison he had no cure for. Why was this even out? He hadn't been testing it-

Oh, right. He was debating whether to kill himself or Sasuke with it.

Kabuto sighed. Speak of the devil. Sasuke had just screamed at him down the hall; something about dinner. Kabuto glanced down at the bottle in his hand. Should he…should he not…it would be easy to cover up. And no one liked Sasuke anyway…Kabuto nodded once. It was settled, then. Poison Sasuke tonight, before he lost his resolve. He called back, "I'll be there in a minute!" and shoved the pills into his kunai pouch. If he crushed one into powder, Sasuke wouldn't taste a thing. Mix it in with whatever he was giving him. Kabuto hurried back to his room, soundless and unseen in the stone hallways of Otokagure's underground complex. Kabuto's heart pounded with anticipation-finally, his lover would have his revenge! Kabuto didn't know what would happen to Orochimaru once Sasuke was dead, though…well, it was only his soul that was trapped there, so he would most likely go back to his body. Kabuto was planning on going to the grave and spending the night anyway-and if he could start Orochimaru's heart again, it would encourage his soul to come back-

"Kabuto, now!"

Kabuto grit his teeth and, controlling himself with great difficulty, replied, "Coming!"

OOOOOOOOOOO

Sasuke died that night.

Kabuto didn't know what had happened: he didn't hear the screams. He didn't see the writhing, twisted motion of Sasuke's body, fighting the spasms of the poison. He couldn't stop the advance as the venom crept up to Sasuke's heart, wrapping tenderly around it and suddenly causing it to implode. Next came the lungs, collapsing in on themselves. And then the rest of the organs just…shut down. Kabuto couldn't find Orochimaru's soul, and couldn't guide it. It was up to Orochimaru to find himself and 

come alive again. Kabuto had disintegrated the diamond above the tomb with his ninjutsu, baring the body and allowing it to breathe if it ever regained its soul. Kabuto must have sat there for hours, even though Sasuke was long dead, wanting to be the first thing Orochimaru saw when he awoke from his death-like trance. He had healed the wounds, and hoped that this would help Orochimaru's body recover.

Eyelids fluttered.

Kabuto's eyes widened, and he leaned forward in expectation. Had he imagined it? The movement was so tiny, it was hard to decipher…there, again! Orochimaru had found his old body, and had come back to Kabuto. Kabuto reached out, pulling the body from its tomb and into his arms. Orochimaru's breath flowed like a waterfall, and his heart beat like the hooves of a thousand horses, eventually settling into a rhythm and allowing dark amber eyes to open. A deep, gravelly voice spoke, and a long-fingered hand rose to caress Kabuto's cheek.

"Kabuto," Orochimaru whispered, "This is a dream. You have to wake up. Sasuke is dead, but my soul has been released into the open. It will take me a very long time to find you again, so I have sent a part of myself into the blood in my room. Go, consume it. I will be with you, and the rest of my soul will be able to find you again. Wake yourself up, Kabuto-you know how."

Kabuto shook his head furiously. "It isn't true!" he said desperately. "Then how are you speaking to me now?"

"I told you, my soul is wandering. I can communicate to you through dreams, because dreams are infinite. Dreams have no limits. In dreams, you could be anywhere. But Kabuto, I promise, I am alive. I will be with you soon. Please, do not give up. Just go and dispose of Sasuke's body. Give it to Itachi. He'll be happy. Now, wake up. Give Sasuke to Itachi, and wait for me. Do not disturb my grave. I'll take someone else's body. And besides, have you not already sealed me in diamond? It's perfect. Leave it. Go. I'll be back soon."

Kabuto could see Orochimaru's body begin to fade away in his arms, and knew he was waking up. "No!" he cried, clinging to what he had left of Orochimaru. "If this is a dream, I want to stay in it forever! I can't lose you! Not again!"

Orochimaru smiled up at him, his face suddenly calm and serene. "You won't lose me," he whispered, "I told you I'd be back. I'm sorry."

And Kabuto was brutally yanked back to the world of consciousness.

He was in his bed, and the clock on his nightstand read 2:27. Kabuto sighed and turned over, pulling the blankets back up over his body. He had tossed and turned so much that he had lost the sheets, and his pillow was on the floor. Kabuto sighed and picked it up, trying to go back to sleep. But wait…Orochimaru had told him to get some of his blood into his system…oh, he wouldn't sleep for the rest of the night at this rate! Kabuto sighed and rolled out of bed, dressed only in boxers and hair undone. He slipped out of his room, wrapping a kimono around his body and stepping into his shoes by the door. He went down the hall to Orochimaru's room, opening the door and stepping inside. Most of the blood had been hastily cleaned up by some poor sod Kabuto had screamed at to do it. But there was still some splashed on the walls…fresh? Impossible! But it was dripping red-purple, so Kabuto knew it was 

Orochimaru's. No one else bled purple. Kabuto hesitantly raised a hand to it-his mind told him no, his heart told him yes, Sasuke told him no, the rest of the village told him yes-! Kabuto flinched, and his fingers shot forward. Blood smeared over them, and Kabuto suddenly realized that his entire palm was covered with blood.

He had accidently cut himself earlier across the knuckle.

Orochimaru's blood dripped into the wound, and Kabuto's body tensed as the sannin slithered over him, sharp fangs tickling at the side of his face and threatening to bite. Kabuto felt the sting of a blood rise to the surface as Orochimaru's teeth pierced his skin, and he suddenly screamed in pain, clutching at his left eye. The pain was immense! What was happening?!

Kabuto staggered over to a mirror, shattered though it was, and hauled himself up on the vanity in front of it. His hands gripped the wood for support, and Kabuto was slowly able to stand up. He raised his head, looking into the mirror-

He almost fell over in shock.

A golden eye stared back at him, rimmed by violet and slashed by a vertical pupil. Kabuto gasped, staggering backwards and suddenly having the strength to stand. Now he knew what Orochimaru meant by, I'll always be with you. But this was a bit too close for comfort!

Kabuto, please, calm down. I should be out of your hair in a week or two. You are strong; you will draw me back. Don't give up, and don't stop hoping. I will return.

Kabuto slept well that night.

A/N: Done! It doesn't show anything else about Kabuto in Shippuuden, so I'm calling this one finished. Please review, and let me know what you think! –cough-peoplewhohavethisonalert-cough- Anyway…press da magic button for cookies and cake!