Though the tears continued to flow for Orochimaru, they flowed less and less over the weeks. Itachi had freed him from slavery, and taken him in as a lover. Orochimaru could ask for nothing more. He could usually be seen with Itachi, whether sitting at his feet and reading or doing something Itachi told him to do. He was never far from the Uchiha's side, and couldn't even bear to sleep in another room.
Out of fear or love, Itachi never bothered to ask. But one night, he got his answer.
One night, he awoke to someone gently shaking him and whispering his name. Itachi woke up and turned over, only to see Orochimaru sitting on the edge of his bed and looking like he had just seen a ghost.
"Itachi?" he murmured, "May I sleep with you tonight?"
Itachi slowly sat up, rubbing his eyes. "Why?" he asked. "You've been fine for weeks, now-something wrong?"
Orochimaru hesitated, then nodded.
"Can you tell me what?" Itachi pressed. Orochimaru hesitated again, but obliged.
"I-It was a nightmare…he came back for me…and took me away from you…he told me I would never see you again…and then he raped me…again…"
Itachi sighed and sat up, wrapping his arms around Orochimaru and pulling him into his lap. "Calm down," he murmured, gently stroking Orochimaru's hair. "I'm here…" He could feel Orochimaru's shoulders shaking, and moisture slowly seeping into the tee-shirt he was wearing to sleep in. Orochimaru's pale hands clutched at his shoulders, and he curled up in Itachi's embrace as tightly as he could. Itachi slowly laid down, letting Orochimaru lie next to him and cling to him. It took Orochimaru a good ten minutes to cry himself to sleep, but with Itachi comforting him and calming him, he fell asleep relatively quickly. Itachi fell asleep with his arms wrapped around Orochimaru, and neither moved until the morning.
Over the days and weeks that passed, Orochimaru's wounds slowly healed, both bodily and mentally. He was less and less hesitant to speak his mind, and he wasn't afraid to ask for something if he needed it. He still stayed close to Itachi, but he was less skittish and had less separation anxiety. Konan checked him over occasionally, and said every time that Orochimaru was fine, and Itachi was doing well taking care of him. Orochimaru's fears, however, had to be dealt with over time. He had a fear of being touched around the head and the hips, due to the beatings and rapes, and he usually suffered from separation anxiety. His fear also of being left alone seemed to stay the same over time; no matter what, Itachi couldn't stop Orochimaru from virtually waiting next to the door every time he went out. He didn't really, but Itachi knew Orochimaru wasn't happy whenever he left.
Orochimaru stood up from the couch when Itachi entered the room, walking over to his lover and greeting him with a kiss. Itachi returned the kiss, then stepped back and moved around Orochimaru. He dropped his weaponry and cloak on his bed, then went back to Orochimaru and embraced him. "Miss me?" he asked, sitting down on the couch with Orochimaru. The sannin nodded, and the two settled comfortably one next to the other. Itachi lay against the back of the couch on his side, one arm supporting his head and the other wrapped around Orochimaru. Orochimaru was lying on his side, both arms around Itachi's neck and face tucked into his shoulder. Itachi glanced up as he heard the door open, and Orochimaru slowly lifted his head from Itachi's shoulder. Itachi noticed Kisame walking in and settled down again, but Orochimaru didn't. He sat up, waiting until Itachi did as well to calm down. Even though his body relaxed, Orochimaru waited for orders.
"Orochimaru, you're fine," Itachi said, swinging his legs over the side of the couch. Orochimaru tucked his legs neatly off to the side, making sure he wasn't in Itachi's way. Itachi stood up, motioning for Orochimaru to come with him. Orochimaru stood up and happily following Itachi, remaining a step or two behind to show respect. Itachi led Orochimaru into the bedroom and began digging around in his closet. Orochimaru stopped a few yards away and stared, curious. Itachi dropped to his knees and began digging again, finally coming up with a banged-up old cardboard box. He stood up, blowing the dust off its lid and sitting down on the bed. Orochimaru hesitantly walked over to him, and then sat down as well. Itachi lifted the lid off the box, revealing an Oto headband.
"You are the Otokage," Itachi whispered, "And your village needs you. I'll go with you and overthrow Sasuke, and you can take back what is yours. Then, you can take his body and rule Otoga again…with everything you always had, and more."
Orochimaru stared at Itachi. "Then…what's-?"
"I'll be joining you."
Orochimaru's eyes widened, and he scooted back a bit, away from Itachi. "No…you can't…don't just give everything up-!"
"I'm tired of waiting," Itachi said softly. "Your medic can do something about my eyes, and we can be together without fear. Akatsuki means nothing to me; it never has meant anything to me. All that mattered was that I could do something about my eyes…how they're deteriorating. And then I met you, and I stopped caring. I realized that was wandering aimlessly in life…I needed something to devote myself to, a reason to live. And then…then I found it." Itachi leaned forward, putting his arm around Orochimaru and drawing him close again. "Could you ever accept that you are my reason to live?"
Orochimaru froze, unsure of what to say. It seemed words would ruin the moment, and yet, Itachi had to know…he finally came up with an adequate solution. Orochimaru leaned forward…and kissed him.
Itachi and Orochimaru snuck into Oto a few days later, and assassinated Sasuke. It wasn't hard; no one liked him, and everyone in the village rose up against him when they heard Itachi and Orochimaru were moving for the throne. Kabuto welcomed Orochimaru back with open arms, and played a crucial role in taking back the village. Orochimaru was able to take Sasuke's body, achieving his lifelong dream of possessing Sharingan. Itachi decided to wait until Orochimaru transferred bodies again to have sex with him; he found that even though it was Orochimaru's soul, it was still Sasuke's body, and he couldn't bring himself to touch his brother's body. Orochimaru was still afraid of being raped, however, and it took the three years in Sasuke's body to get over it. When he transferred again into a new body, he simply transplanted Sasuke's eyes and retained his Sharingan. Itachi and Orochimaru considered themselves free to have sex, and did so almost immediately-much to Kabuto's chagrin.
Kabuto himself seemed to move along as though nothing had happened. Orochimaru had requested that he do so, and Kabuto honored his master's wishes. The Sound Five were happy to see their master again, and remained his loyal servants until their dying day. The Akatsuki declared Itachi a traitor and went after him with Orochimaru. Neither were ever caught.
Itachi died to save Orochimaru, who tried to suicide several times out of depression. An attack in the middle of the night had Orochimaru trapped, and Itachi rushed back into the burning complex to drag him out. Itachi pushed Orochimaru out of the way of a falling chunk of ceiling, telling him to run and never look back. Orochimaru made it out, but Itachi's remains were never even found. Kabuto saved Orochimaru from suicide three times before helping him move on. Orochimaru had a shrine built and dedicated to Itachi, and still struggles to keep going to this day. Every morning, he visits the shrine, a habit somewhat like Kakashi's. However, he is not perpetually late. Kabuto worries about Orochimaru, but allows him his freedom. He knows that Orochimaru would never accept him being too close.
However, at night, the nightmares of the day his lover died still haunt Orochimaru. And Kabuto is the one who takes him in his arms, and holds him the entire night.
All to be forgotten the next morning.
A/N: Wow, I had the worst writer's block on this. Still, I need to wrap it up, and thus, present you with this pile of brain mush. Please review and let me know what you think; it encourages me.