Orochimaru sat quietly on the stool Kabuto had instructed him to sit on, holding as still as he could while Kabuto repaired the damage done to his back. It wasn't much, but Kabuto had still wanted to check him over. Orochimaru thought Kabuto only wanted an excuse to get his hands all over him, and frankly, he wanted an excuse for Kabuto touch him. And so he consented to a lengthy session in the office, just letting Kabuto run his hands over his body and heal whatever he thought necessary to heal-or whenever Orochimaru flinched in pain. Orochimaru sat quietly, letting Kabuto do his work and obeying every order he was given. He was content to just sit there; it was the first time he had been able to do so in weeks.

"Orochimaru-sama, what exactly happened back in the Akatsuki?"

Orochimaru stiffened slightly, and Kabuto felt it immediately in his fingers, which were resting on Orochimaru's shoulders. Kabuto's fingers began to move in long, slow, circles, easing out the knots of tension in Orochimaru's shoulders. Orochimaru relaxed a bit under Kabuto's soothing touch, but Kabuto knew it was still a sensitive topic. A week later and Orochimaru still shied at any move made towards his head, and clammed up when Akatsuki was mentioned. Kabuto had only asked once, but he still knew Orochimaru was badly traumatized.

"It started with Sasuke."

Kabuto's heart leapt to his throat; maybe Orochimaru would finally give him an idea of what had happened! He kept his mouth shut, though: the worst thing he could do was rush Orochimaru.

"He imprisoned me in his mind…and during that battle, he couldn't hold me back anymore, so I broke free. Itachi was the victor; he killed Sasuke, seeing him as a threat, and took his eyes anyway. Three tomoes was good enough for him, he said, and he got his own version of the Mangekyou because Sasuke was dead-and now Kisame is, so it's full. Itachi…at first, he only wanted me as his slave. He wanted me broken so I would come to him willingly. Oh, I broke alright. But he still couldn't have me. Kisame and Pein wanted me, and half the Akatsuki wanted my virginity. I…I couldn't fight them, for some reason. I couldn't even stop them from touching me…" Orochimaru angrily shook his head, and Kabuto realized that self-blame was setting in. It was common among abuse and rape victims-God, what had happened to Orochimaru?!

"I was nowhere near strong enough, and Itachi had to come and save me. He-he stopped treating me like garbage after that, and started defending me. He kept me safe, and…for a while…I thought he actually cared about me, and was growing on me. But then…Kisame tricked Itachi…to take me away from him…and he gave me to one of his friends, telling to do whatever he wanted to me…it was the worst beating I ever got. And he-he tried to rape me…I couldn't do anything. I just lay there and cried. Finally, he realized that I didn't do anything…and he stopped. He took me to Itachi…and he took me to Konan…she healed me, and Itachi took me back to his room. We stayed there for a little while...and then Kisame attacked us. I-I killed him. And then Itachi ran away with me…and we came straight here."

Kabuto's eyes were wide by the time Orochimaru had finished. There wasn't much detail to his story, but Kabuto knew what had happened, and that was all that mattered. He wasn't going to push Orochimaru any further today. Kabuto wordlessly walked around to face Orochimaru and put his arms around him, just holding him and trying to comfort him somewhat. Orochimaru's hands found Kabuto's shoulders and wrapped around his neck. Orochimaru buried his face in Kabuto's shoulder, fully aware that his emotions were swiftly overtaking him. Tears were pooling in the corners of his eyes, and his shoulders had begun to shake. Kabuto gently stroked his hair, assuring him it was alright. Orochimaru suddenly lost it-here was the love, the comfort, the attention, he had needed and never had in Akatsuki. He let it out, tears pouring down his face and sobs wracking his skinny body. Orochimaru was done-he only wanted Kabuto, and wanted nothing to do with anyone else at all. Itachi had both broken him and saved him-and Kabuto wasn't sure which to hold against him. As Orochimaru sobbed, Kabuto carefully picked him up, wordlessly carrying him to his room. A long back way saved Orochimaru the pain of breaking down in front of everyone in Oto, and Kabuto entered his master's suite with the silence of the many snakes that resides there. Most of them came scurrying over to Kabuto, worried about their master. Kabuto ignored them for the most part, setting Orochimaru down on the bed and sitting down next to him.

"You okay?"

Orochimaru shook his head, and Kabuto sighed lightly. He reached around, behind Orochimaru's back, and carefully pulled off the rope belt that was around his waist. He lifted Orochimaru a bit, bracing him on his shoulder as he removed also the tan overlay, setting both aside. By now, Orochimaru's desperate sobs had softened to the occasional gasp, or the soft whimper when Kabuto stood up and walked away. He came back with a cream-colored kimono, which he set around Orochimaru's shoulders and tied with a white sash. Orochimaru sat quietly now, his tears hardly falling anymore. Kabuto knew it was dangerous for Orochimaru to be alone: he had cut himself before, and Kabuto didn't put it past him to do it again. Orochimaru had trouble opening up to someone, and tended to keep all of his emotions to himself. Thus, he had no outlet for his emotions, and took it all out on himself. Kabuto sat down next to Orochimaru and put one arm around him, letting Orochimaru lean on his shoulder. No words were spoken for a few moments; none were needed. Besides, words would ruin such a moment.

Finally, Orochimaru began to relax a bit. His muscles uncoiled, and he began leaning on Kabuto more and more. Kabuto stretched out on the bed, putting his bare feet up on the bed and laying back against the pillows piled against the headboard. He pulled Orochimaru back with him, letting the sannin put his head on Kabuto's shoulder and lie next to him. Kabuto's hand began to move in Orochimaru's hair, gently stroking and comforting Orochimaru. Kabuto had no idea how much time passed; he didn't want to get up and check and ruin the moment. And Kabuto wasn't about to be reminded of how tight on time they were for running the village, evading Akatsuki, and keeping up with-

He was doing it again.

Kabuto took a deep breath, relaxed, and fell asleep right after Orochimaru did.



OOOOOOOOOO

Orochimaru woke up strangely comfortable.

He moaned slightly and shifted a bit, not opening his eyes to see whose arms he lay in. He didn't have to; only Kabuto would ever be daring enough to embrace him in such an intimate manner. Orochimaru shivered and began groping blindly for the blanket; it seemed that neither of them had slept very soundly.

Or Kabuto was a blanket thief.

Orochimaru sighed as he was forced to open his eyes, and found that Kabuto had stripped down to boxers and had his arms wrapped tightly around Orochimaru. Orochimaru smiled and grabbed the blanket from around their ankles, sliding down a bit and kicking it up into his hand. Kabuto stirred, but did not wake; Orochimaru gave a little huff of relief. He wanted to prolong this moment. Orochimaru settled deeper against Kabuto's chest, tucking his head into the genin's neck. Kabuto was very comfortable…

At least, until that happened.

Orochimaru and Kabuto both started at the sudden banging on the bedroom door, and Kabuto jumped almost ten feet in the air. Shouting accompanied the banging, and Orochimaru's nasty threats soon followed. But then a single word caught Orochimaru's attention: weasel. He had caught Itachi's name amongst the chaos. Orochimaru sat up excitedly, throwing back the sheets and bolting out of bed. Kabuto followed, grabbing his clothes along the way and pulling them hastily on as he made for the door. He had just settled his sash around his waist when Orochimaru opened the door, asking about Itachi. The ninja, a male of his young thirties, told Orochimaru that Itachi had arrived at the gate a few minutes ago requesting to see him. This ninja was a gate guard; he had personally answered when Itachi called. Orochimaru shoved past the guard, not caring about his current state of dress. He had on a kimono over his black pants and shirt; it covered everything, and didn't look hideous. He would live. Orochimaru jumped into a pair of thin sandals as he ran out the door, and made it to the gate in no time. He slowed to a walk a few steps away; he brushed himself off, straightened his clothes, and stepped forward. His pale white hands set on the latch for the massive gates; they swung open at the flick of a wrist and a bit of chakra for effort.

Itachi stood in front of Orochimaru, without his Akatsuki cloak and an Oto headband.

Orochimaru gasped, both hands coming up to cover his mouth. "No," he whispered, taking another step back. "No, you wouldn't…you couldn't…!"

Itachi smirked and swept into the village, picking up Orochimaru and spinning them both around in a wild circle, terminating with a passionate embrace. "Consider yourself my Kage now," Itachi said with a grin. "I'm still stronger than you, but for now…I'll live. Just keep me busy!"

Orochimaru smiled and stepped back. "I will," he said softly. Itachi's arms were still around Orochimaru's waist; he drew the sannin closer to himself, a pensive look on his face.

"Orochimaru…now that we can be together…"

"Don't even say it."

Orochimaru shuddered and pushed Itachi away. "I-I can't…don't make me choose," he whimpered. "Don't make me choose between my faithful servant and my rescuer. I just-I can't do it. I'm sorry."

"No, that wasn't what I was going to ask," Itachi said quickly. "I was going to ask if it would make things awkward between you and Kabuto…since you're back together with him. Besides…I know how much you love him."

Orochimaru quieted. "Thank you," he said, almost inaudibly. "I can't believe you would do something like that for me…"

"Sometimes, when you love someone, you must break your own heart to spare theirs."

The look on Itachi's face was gentle; his eyes were calm and deactivated Sharingan. Having Sasuke's eyes, Itachi could now loose his Sharingan from its constant strain and let it recede into the depths of his eyes, giving way to a soft, coal black. His hands were soft as he guided Orochimaru's head towards his shoulder and stroked his hair, trying to reassure him. But of what, he didn't know.

"But…may I ask for one last kiss?"

Orochimaru half-turned, one of Itachi's arms still around his waist. Kabuto sighed and rolled his eyes.

"If it shuts him up and keeps him out of your pants."

Orochimaru smiled at the joke, then turned back to Itachi. He nodded twice, giving Itachi his own permission. Itachi leaned forward, one hand coming up from Orochimaru's hair to hold his head as their lips met. Itachi held his tongue out of respect for Orochimaru; he only wanted a farewell. He broke the kiss fairly quickly, also out of respect, and took one final step back. "I'll settle anywhere you want me to," he said, taking Orochimaru's shoulders in his hands. Orochimaru shrugged.

"Anywhere," he said. "I will allow you a spot in the complex if you wish. Or, you could get an apartment or a house out further…whatever you want."

"I'll stay," Itachi said. "In the complex, I mean. But towards the edge; you and Kabuto will probably need the privacy."

Orochimaru sighed. "And such is the price of love."

Itachi gently pushed Orochimaru back, right into Kabuto's arms. He gave Orochimaru a soft smirk and headed into the complex, leaving Kabuto and Orochimaru standing in the middle of a crowd, Kabuto with his arms around Orochimaru's stomach and Orochimaru with his head on Kabuto's shoulder. Orochimaru glanced up, noticing all the people, and gestured like he was shooing away a pesky bug.

"It's not polite to stare."

A/N: A little humor for the end note there. Well, that does it, folks! I was pretty writer's blocked on this, partly because there's a new ItaKaka fic swimming around up there…-taps on head and pile of brain mush plops out-I will be making that a beautiful sculpture in a few days. So! keep an eye out for it, and make sure to review, both for this and that. Thank you to all my loyal reviewers and even a few irregular ones, and I hope you enjoyed this fic as much as I did!