Title: Circumstances of Coincidence.

Rating: PG-13.

Author: Lell.

Written for: 24 Hour Themes on LJ, 11pm.

Warnings: Language (hi, Tayuya fic, necessity) and references to what some folks enjoy doing to the Lolita-types they pick up off the streets.

Summary: How chance can shape a person and the life they lead. Tayuya, Orochimaru and why she never looked back. First meetings: discuss.

oOo

He caught the girlchild with a grubby hand reaching for his belt purse and his attention only lingered because, when he pushed that fragile joint back on itself and felt her wrist strain with the effort, her eyes didn't show any pain. Instead, she struggled and snarled, spitting curses left right and centre while her irises burned in her gaunt face. Her attempts to pull free were ineffectual against a ninja of Orochimaru's caliber and he eyed her with a blend of irritation and curiosity.

"Let the fuck go, bastard," she hissed as she wrenched against the iron vice his fingers formed. She couldn't have been more than seven, but her foul tongue matched her vicious looking sneer and thatch of matted hair that might have been some shade of brown or red beneath all of the grime. Orochimaru raised a perfect eyebrow as he easily dodged a furious kick at his knee and, just as calmly, backhanded the brat across the face.

She got up, blood leaking from the corner of her mouth and he smirked at her. "You picked the wrong person to steal from, little girl."

The streetrat fumed at that, though whether it was the 'little' comment or her failure as a pickpocket that provoked her anger, the Snake Sannin wasn't sure. Whatever the cause, the rage seeping from the pores of a mere child was potent enough to be amusing. She was intriguing.

Or maybe Orochimaru just had a penchant for kids.

"Bastard," she repeated even as her lip began to swell where he'd hit her. "You're just a rich fuck who had his eyes open for once." She spat on the ground, saliva and blood mingling in the ochre dust so characteristic of anywhere in Suna. Her chin jutted in defiance, a proud sort of anger from such a scrap of a girl. "You got lucky."

Her clothes were filthy, Orochimaru noted with absent distaste as he watched her wipe the blood from her mouth with a grubby sleeve. However, the muscles that showed through the gaps and tears were fine and sinewy, no trace of baby fat despite her tender years.

Her ribs glared almost as angrily as her charcoal-ochre eyes did.

Sullen about her failed venture, she shoved past him with a few more choice curses, ready to dive back into the crowd, but Orochimaru accosted her just as easily as he had the first time.

"Give it back." She looked prepared to fight to keep the money purse he'd clearly felt her snatch when she'd pushed past. "Now."

She attempted to resist anyway.

It was fairly amusing, watching her snarl and swipe at him. She lacked skill, but fire, that she had aplenty. Her verve was rage filled. Pure, animalistic anger at being denied what she wanted, what she needed. This was a girl who hated easily, who hated everything and anything. This was a girl for whom obscenities rolled off the tongue without conscious thought anymore. A hard one.

Her resistance ended abruptly, shattered into startled stillness when metal hitting the ground pealed in outrage. All attempts to dig her nails into Orochimaru's pale, flawless skin ceased immediately as she scrambled for the stained, silver tube rolling away from her.

He was faster.

Orochimaru twirled the instrument curiously around elegant fingers and was treated to seeing the girl's eyes move with it, like a starving cur watching the first meal it had seen in a long while. Hungrily.

It was odd for a penniless brat such as her to own such an item. Beneath the grime that came from its owner not having cleaning oil readily available, the flute was a remarkably well crafted one. Even with its dirt, it had obviously been treated well.

Orochimaru cast another, considering look at the girl, tongue flickering out absently. She didn't even notice, intent as she was on her prize, her prize in his hand – elongated tongues barely scratched the surface of her attention.

A feral hellcat with a taste for music, who had an instrument that would play a pretty tune when she put those grubby little hands to it, who ran the streets of one of Suna's backwater civilian settlements, who had a whisper of power about her.

His fingers curled around the shaft of the instrument and she stiffened, defensive now as her hackles began to bristle tangibly.

"You want this?"

Another blood-laced gobbet of sputum hit the ground as an answer.

"Come with me."

She curled her lip at that, clearly dismissing this as a false offer. If she had lived here for any period of time, she would know what happened to fools who agreed to go with strangers – it ended with a flash of steel and the bubbling last sigh of an idiot with their throat cut in some dark alley.

"There are older fucktoys around with more fat on them," she informed him, crudely. The look she sent him was dripping with contempt. "Unless you're into that sort of thing. And I'd bite your dick off if you put it anywhere near me." She bared her teeth for emphasis.

Orochimaru ignored her poison, more fascinated by her manner than anything else. She was a younger, meaner, more foul-mouthed version of Tsunade, and had more hate than his weaker teammate could have ever possibly held.

She was perfect.

He held out his hand, flute still locked in his grasp. She bridled, a caged animal that wanted to run, but he still held her treasure so she couldn't, not yet.

"If you come," he told her, gesturing with the dirty flute, "there'll be food." She looked unimpressed. "Other young people, like yourself, a bed to sleep in." Her lip curled. "I'll clean this for you."

"…"

He'd found a weak spot and he allowed her precious instrument to dangle casually in the air since his cavalier handling of it incensed her somewhat.

"I can help you to be stronger." Orochimaru's voice wove lace fine threads of persuasion in the noon-warmed air: lulling, convincing, mollifying. "No more scrounging, no more depending on others. No more being this low, this powerless."

She shook her head – an angry 'no' – but she was too raw in personality to hide the glimmer of interest in those dark, deep eyes.

He withdrew the flute in a swift, sharp action and she growled in protest as her face once more hardened into those harsh angles.

"Give it back."

"Come with me."

"Give it the hell back, shithead!"

"Give me my money back and you'll get it."

"Fuck you."

Nonetheless, his money purse hit the ground, an eruption of reddish dust spiraling upwards as she stared at him in challenge across the space between them. His finely tuned senses could see the minute tremors of wire-taut muscles as she, probably, battled with the 'fight or flight' instinct.

He caught her gaze and his eyes held promise.

"I'm not lifting my skirts for you," she ground out finally and she folded her arms, all scraggly limbs and tangled hair wrapped up in tattered clothes. "And I don't fuck around with other kids."

"I'm sure they'll be delighted to meet you as well," Orochimaru replied silkily – the twins especially, he fathomed, would gain endless amusement from a firebrand such as this one since they were beginning to tire of the large one from Earth (who was too placid) and the too many limbed enigma he'd found on his last visit to Grass country (who was too intelligent.) Noting her sullen expression, his inner (and outer) sadist chuckled at the thought of this one making her place in their happy little family.

He turned away, judging that she no longer needed his whole and total attention since, while he still had her flute, she was probably going to follow. If they departed now, they'd be able to reach the base just before midnight, if they were lucky.

Almost as an afterthought, he tipped his head a fraction towards where he heard her padding along just behind him.

"Do you have a name, girl?"

"Do you?"

"Touché."

It wasn't important – no point in naming her until she'd survived her 'initiation' rite and he definitely wanted to scrub her down before he put his fangs anywhere near her skin.

Behind him, the young girl followed cautiously. Her wary, suspicious nature ran deep, but she had the heart of an opportunist and was certainly going to make the most of this upheaval in her life.

…bastard was going to pay for laying a hand on her flute, though.