HAHAHAHA!! My first OroKabu story that shall span a decent amount of time!! In other words it shall be longer than one or two chapters. And it is dedicated to AngeloftheOdd!!! Happy Birthday, hun!! (I know I'm a day early, but I can't guarantee that I'll have the time tomorrow to post it.) This -whole- story's for you!! I apologize that I only managed to get the first chapter done, but it seems university has caught up to me...finally. BUT YES! This one's for you!!

Anyway, all that good ol' copyright stuff applies. In other words, characters aren't mine, storyline is. I would appreciate being asked before anyone uses this anywhere else (if it is used anywhere else...I dunno). Or, if you -don't- ask me, at least credit me. Because I -will- find it. I don't have a life outside my laptop, so there's no doubt that I shall eventually come across it. Yeah...I'm really brain dead right now. Sorry...

Rated M for later chapters!! Right now? Umm...nothin'. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN to my lovely partner in crime!!!


Kabuto Yakushi dragged his tired body down into the Sound's latest location. Everything hurt. He'd exhausted the majority of his chakra reserve defending himself from the ambush he'd encountered in Grass country, rationing the rest of it as best he could to heal the wounds he'd sustained. But now he was back and he wanted nothing more than to sleep. For the past two weeks it had been non-stop work for the platinum haired surgeon, everything from formal paperwork to new experiments to field missions "only he could do". He'd be damned if he let anyone keep him from his goal of rest this time around.

Stumbling down the dimly lit hallways, the oto'nin finally made it to his own personal chambers, barely mustering the state of mind to kick his door shut behind him. Kabuto's body was beginning to slow down now that he was surrounded by familiar objects, his adrenaline gradually wearing off. To Hell with getting changed; he could clean himself up in the morning. He collapsed in a heap on his small bed, filth and all. However, as his face hit the bed, the boy flinched. Before he could allow himself the blissful release of unconsciousness, Kabuto propped himself up and removed his glasses which had painfully dug into the bridge of his nose. Setting them aside, he made a quick mental note to ask Orochimaru for contact lenses sometime in the future.

There was no way of knowing exactly how long he'd been out, but the medic was positive that it was far from long enough. His body protested every move Kabuto made in his attempts to escape that which had interrupted his rest. What this disruption was, exactly, he didn't know, nor did he care. He just wanted to sleep. He hadn't even restored all his chakra yet.

"Kabuto, get up."

The smooth, dark voice that issued the command was one Kabuto knew well, but his slumbering brain could not yet accurately place it. On his back, he felt a warm hand applying pressure in an attempt to wake him, pressing down harder with each passing second. Grumbling incoherently, the surgeon batted irritably at the invasive and persistent hand. Why couldn't this person just leave him alone? Could they not take a hint?

"I'm going to give you one, last, chance. Get. Up. NOW." With the words spaced and emphasized the way they were, Kabuto's mind was able to identify the speaker. And it was not a pleasant discovery.

Oh shit!! It was Orochimaru standing above him! Why didn't he realize it sooner?! Flailing slightly, Kabuto sat up as quickly as he could, causing the older man to take several swift steps backwards. The oto'nin could feel the heat on his face, embarrassed at having had his master come to wake him. He'd never failed to wake before Orochimaru. He had to explain himself.

Raking some of his dirty hair out of his face, Kabuto bowed his head apologetically. "L-lord Orochimaru, I apologize for my appearance and rather rude responses, but I had quite the run with that task you gave me yesterday. If it's not too much to ask, I'd like to sleep another several hours before undertaking anything else."

Orochimaru scoffed unsympathetically. "No such luck, Kabuto. Did you forget why you had to get back by today?" His tone was flat and unfeeling. Clearly, the leader of Sound did not like being the one making the wake-up calls.

The surgeon rubbed at his eyes with the back of his hand, sight bleary from having just woken up and the lack of his glasses. His mind was working its fastest to try and remember what it was Orochimaru was alluding to, but he couldn't quite place his finger on it. Moreover, the look on his master's face dictated that he'd best find that answer soon.

"The…um…discussions with the surrounding village leaders, my lord?" Kabuto flashed a shy smile in an endeavor to placate the snake lord. It didn't work.

"Yes," Orochimaru snarled impatiently, "And we have precious little time before that meeting is set to happen. Both of us have to be there, Kabuto, and I will not be seen with you in such a pitiful condition." As if to accentuate his point, the older man took hold of Kabuto's face, scrutinizing every inch. "Get yourself cleaned up."

Nodding slowly, Kabuto turned his body, planting his feet on the solid stone floor. However, as he attempted to stand, the boy's head swam and he almost immediately fell back. He was still drained from the previous evening's strenuous tasks, and his body had not yet managed to recover all of its chakra. There was no way he would be able to recover fully before the meeting.

Orochimaru stared at his personal medic, far from happy with the rather contemptible performance. "Well? What are you waiting for? I thought I told you we don't have all day."

"I apologize, my lord," Kabuto answered honestly, "But my body still seems to be worn down, and hasn't had the time to recover properly just yet. If I could just come in later…"

The San'nin rose a silencing hand, cutting Kabuto short. "If you come in late, Kabuto, do you know how that will reflect on me?" Orochimaru's smooth voice was laced with venomous anger, something Kabuto knew to be a sure sign of potential violence. "You are my right hand man, Kabuto, not the other way around. If anything, you should arrive before me. Now. Get. UP!"

Kabuto flinched at Orochimaru's muted fury and made another attempt at standing. Once again, his body buckled underneath him, causing the silver haired medic to have to take a seat once again. He sighed heavily, replying calmly, "I'm sorry, Lord Orochimaru, but I just can't. You'll have to go without my company. Why don't you take someone else? I should be completely refreshed by the afternoon."

Apparently, Kabuto's was not an acceptable answer. Orochimaru leaned over, grabbing Kabuto by the front of the shirt and dragging him off of the bed. The younger man stumbled to try and stay upright, crumpling against his master's solid body. Orochimaru didn't even pause. Without even looking at Kabuto, he dragged the boy along behind him, making his way to his own personal chambers and the attached, private, bathroom.

"Wh-what are you doing, Lord Orochimaru?" Kabuto stammered, face flushed and hands gripping the snake manipulator's shirt to maintain a semi-standing position.

"If you can't clean yourself, Kabuto, I'll have to do it."

The answer was spoken so calmly, so matter-of-factly, that Kabuto had to take a moment to fully understand the implications. And when he did, he attempted to get away. "N-no, Lord Orochimaru, I'm fine! Really! Isn't there anyone else you can take with you?"

Untying Kabuto's headband and dropping it to the floor, the San'nin shrugged elegantly. "Perhaps," he mused, "But none who could properly represent my power and influence the way you could. Now stop squirming; you're making this much more difficult then it has to be."

Kabuto bit his lip and did as he was told, still forced to lean heavily against Orochimaru. Those long, pale, fingers made short work of Kabuto's filthy clothes, tossing them in a heap to one side. The last thing to go was the surgeon's hair elastic, releasing the dirty locks to fall around his face. With one arm wrapped around the boy's waist, Orochimaru turned his shower on, testing the temperature with his free hand. All the while, Kabuto hid his face behind his platinum hair. He knew he was blushing, he could feel it. But if Orochimaru were to know…there'd be no end to his humiliation. His master didn't see him that way, and Kabuto repeatedly told himself that he didn't see his merciless leader that way either. And yet, there was something undeniably thrilling about being bared so completely to the powerful man.

"Kabuto, lean against the wall here. I need to get out of my own clothes." The statement was presented with the same calm and offhanded demeanor as everything else the San'nin had said since they'd arrived in his room, and it was beginning to unnerve the medic. How could the older man be so casual about this? It's not like they were discussing the weather, or even their latest live test subject! They were about to shower together, damn it!

Sighing shakily, Kabuto did as he was told, focusing as best he could on regaining all the chakra he'd lost. But now there was the problem of his nerves, on top of his exhaustion. The idea that his master was stripping bare just behind him was not helping his abilities to stand. If anything, his knees felt even weaker than before. No! He had to focus. Closing his eyes, Kabuto forced several deep breaths to clear his mind. He slowed his racing mind and heart, repeating like a mantra that this encounter was strictly professional.

Just as he'd managed to calm himself, however, Orochimaru snaked an arm around the boy's waist once again, nonchalantly leading the oto'nin into the shower alongside him. Kabuto flinched instinctively as the water hit his sore body, washing over some of the cuts that hadn't fully healed just yet. He shivered in spite of the water's warmth. Nonetheless, due to his master's supporting grip, he stayed standing even as his body cringed away.

Orochimaru disentangled one arm from his subordinate's waist, running his hand through the younger man's hair, tugging none too gently at the knots he encountered. "You really ought to wash your hair more often, Kabuto," the snake lord scoffed in a reprimanding tone, "This is just pitiful."

"My apologies again, Lord Orochimaru," Kabuto muttered, wincing slightly as the raven haired man tugged at his hair. "I'll see to it that I clean it properly this time around." The oto'nin did his best to bite back the cynicism in his response. It wasn't his fault his hair was so awful. It was Orochimaru's! The tyrannical San'nin didn't give him a break.

The leader of the Sound either chose to ignore the other's tone, or simply didn't catch it. Whatever the case, Orochimaru picked up the bottle of shampoo and handed it to Kabuto. At the same time, he also retrieved the bar of soap, bringing it up to clean the boy's shoulders. "We have very little time," Orochimaru explained as his personal medic tensed under the attention. "I'm not going to simply stand here and hold you up. I'd be surprised if we made it even now."

Kabuto closed his eyes and tried not to think about his master's hand gliding over his body. Instead he distracted himself by focusing on washing his hair, his own hands trembling horribly as he began the process. His fingers worked the soap into the mass of platinum locks, ensuring even distribution as his perfectionist habits dictated. Unfortunately, Kabuto could only drag out washing his hair for so long, and he was soon forced back to the reality of his master - a man he had sworn his life to - carefully washing every inch of his body.

"I-I think I've been sufficiently cleaned, Lord Orochimaru," Kabuto stammered awkwardly. Anything to kill the painful silence.

"I'll be the judge of that, Kabuto. It's not your reputation on the line." Setting the soap aside, Orochimaru took hold of Kabuto's shoulders and turned the boy around to face him.

Instinctively, Kabuto closed his eyes, his whole body tensing. This was ridiculous! He was a doctor for God's sake! He should be perfectly fine looking at the human body; it's not like Orochimaru had something he didn't. However, as Kabuto finally convinced himself to look, he realized how very wrong he was. The man was a God! There wasn't a flaw to be seen on the San'nin's body. How had Kabuto not seen this before? Lord only knew how many medical exams he'd performed, how many routine check ups. But, then, those were never conducted in the shower, never slicking that gorgeous raven hair to Orochimaru's perfectly sculpted porcelain body in breathtaking contrast. Those eyes of liquid amber stared uninterestedly at the boy, assessing the medic's appearance. Kabuto's face flushed deeply and he could feel his heart pounding against his chest. His master was the definition of magnificence.

Orochimaru took Kabuto's face in his right hand, tilting it from side to side, humming soft approval under his breath. "Yes, I suppose you are clean enough for the time being," the leader of the Sound muttered, "Now all that's left is to make sure you can walk in on your own." With that, Orochimaru took hold of Kabuto's waist again, reaching around the surgeon to turn the shower off and escorting the other out.

As the cold air of their underground home brushed against Kabuto's body, he shivered and impulsively curled in closer to Orochimaru's. The older man laughed derisively to himself, keeping his medic attached to him as he leaned over to pick up one of the bathroom's many cotton towels. He then tossed it casually on Kabuto's head, using his long fingers to begin roughly drying his right hand man's hair. Kabuto flinched at his master's almost careless motions. Could the man be gentle with anything?

"Lord Orochimaru, I'd really appreciate it if I could cover myself with something. It's quite cold in here." The platinum haired man winced again as some of his hair was caught painfully in the pinch of the towel's movement. "And would it kill you to be a little softer?"

Chuckling, Orochimaru pulled harder at the other's hair, clearly disregarding the suggestion on purpose. "Well, it seems your intolerable attitude has returned in full," the San'nin sneered, "Now what if I do this?" Orochimaru then released Kabuto, taking a step backwards to leave the surgeon standing unassisted.

Kabuto gasped sharply, his legs trembling at the lack of support. He stumbled slightly, catching himself before he collapsed entirely on the floor and shot a withering look in Orochimaru's direction. Now the man was just trying to humiliate him. There was no way he would let that happen, not after he'd already been submitted to an abetted shower. Kabuto slowed his breathing, calming his frayed nerves and allowing his chakra to flow at a normal pace. Gradually, he righted himself entirely, donning a superior smirk as he did. So much for Orochimaru's little game.

"Not bad, Kabuto," the snake manipulator conceded, wrapping a towel around his own tapered waist, "Just remember to keep that attitude in check when we're dealing with our guests." Casually, he tossed another of the large white cloths at Kabuto. "Dry yourself off and get dressed. We're already late."

The oto'nin shook his head but did as he was told. Orochimaru always took that tone with him when politics were involved. It was clear the San'nin didn't like dealing with the small time village leaders, and Kabuto couldn't blame him. Usually, they were older, balding, men who had it in their pitiful minds that they held more power than they actually did. And this led to the fools being arrogant windbags expecting Orochimaru to bend to their wills. Luckily, both Orochimaru and Kabuto were skilled at manipulating their words and, in turn, the minds of others. Unfortunately, that didn't make the experience any more pleasant for either man.

Toweling himself off as best he could, Kabuto looked around the bathroom before turning his attention back to Orochimaru. "I hate to be a bother, Lord Orochimaru, but just what am I supposed to wear? You didn't exactly give me the time to retrieve clean clothes this morning." Sometimes the surgeon found himself wondering if the leader of the Sound ever thought anything through.

Orochimaru glanced around himself as he pulled his own clothes back on. Offhandedly flipping his long raven hair out to sit properly on his shoulders, the older man regarded Kabuto uninterestedly. "I suppose I could lend you something of mine," he muttered almost more to himself than his subordinate, "You aren't that much shorter than me."

"And just what of your's am I going to wear?" Kabuto retorted, tightening the towel around his waist. "It would be just as effective if you simply let me return to my room and dress myself in my own clothing."

"Watch your tone, Kabuto. Or I may just take you to our meeting as you are now." Clearly, Orochimaru was only willing to put up with so much of Kabuto's snide remarks this morning, but was not beyond joking just yet. It was comforting to know the San'nin wasn't too upset with the medic. Flippantly tossing his used towel into the pile of discarded clothing, Orochimaru added, "Now stay here while I grab you something to wear."

Kabuto sighed resignedly. There was no arguing with his master some days. As he watched the older man step out, the oto'nin leaned back against the cold countertop of Orochimaru's sink. This had been, by far, the oddest morning of his decade of service under the San'nin. He couldn't get the image of Orochimaru's perfection out of his mind's eye, nor could he understand how the man could have been so nonchalant about the whole thing. It was true that he and Orochimaru were far from the simple 'master and servant' dynamic that everyone seemed to think they were, but they weren't necessarily 'equals' either. And their relationship certainly wasn't one that would allude to showering together. At least that's what Kabuto had understood until this morning. However, Orochimaru had been impatient, and if the medic knew one thing about the older man, it was that he had a tendency to do whatever was necessary to get what he wanted, when he wanted it.

Slipping back into the bathroom, Orochimaru held out a fist full of his old Jounin clothes from his time during the Chunin exam. "These should fit you, Kabuto," he said flatly, "Now hurry up. We were supposed to be there almost five minutes ago."

The younger man took the outfit gingerly from his master, eyeing it skeptically. "You want me to dress like some sort of generic Jounin? I thought I was supposed to be representing you, my lord."

"You are. Which is why I'd rather you appeared in front of our 'guests' fully clothed." Orochimaru smiled mockingly, eyeing Kabuto over. "Although I have to admit you don't look half bad in nothing but a towel."

Kabuto flushed and nearly dropped the clothes he'd been given. "E-excuse me? I don't think that's really appropriate, Lord Orochimaru." The surgeon tried desperately to calm his nerves and slow his heart rate. Orochimaru had said odd things before, but that was too much.

Laughing, Orochimaru waved off his medic's indignation. "Calm down, Kabuto. I'm just kidding. Now get dressed. We've wasted enough time with your pitiful morning habits as it is."

Once again, Orochimaru had managed to make the whole thing Kabuto's fault. Wonderful. Pulling on the clothes he'd been given, Kabuto ran his fingers quickly through his damp hair to work out what knots he could before tying it back as usual. He had to admit, he didn't look half bad.

The San'nin clearly wasn't willing to allow Kabuto the time to analyze his appearance, as he hooked his arm with the medic's and began walking briskly down the hall, the younger man stumbling to regain his bearings. He still didn't have his glasses, the lenses having been left on his nightstand table in his room, and he didn't like the idea of not being able to see these minor lords' faces. He'd only seen Orochimaru so well because they'd been so close together. Somehow, Kabuto doubted he'd be allowed to get so close to these representatives.

However, before Kabuto could get a word in about his current state of impairment, Orochimaru had already thrown the doors to the meeting room open, smoothly swinging Kabuto in front of him so as to precede him into the room. The oto'nin staggered slightly, swiftly righting himself and smiling with his trademark arrogance. He had to make the first impression, a job that had become his alone since the clash he and his master had suffered against the other two San'nin. And that meant not letting on that all he could see of the four other men were coloured blurs.

Orochimaru walked in confidently, Kabuto stepping to the right to add to his master's entrance. The small chatter that had begun circulating with the medic's unannounced entry ceased as the leader of the Sound stepped in, slowly and gracefully taking his seat at the head of the table. And so began the song and dance Orochimaru called 'negotiation'.

Kabuto stood at Orochimaru's side, watching on in subtle awe as the snake lord talked circles around the foolish old men. He drew them in with his falsely sweet tone and soft laughter, stringing them along the path he wanted them to walk whilst they all thought they were leading him. The oto'nin had always admired this talent of Orochimaru's, this ability to manipulate people into doing what he wanted while convincing them it was what they wanted. Some days, he couldn't help but wonder if perhaps the man had done that to him. Others, he thought that maybe he'd managed to do it to Orochimaru, and it brought a faint smile to his face. The game of control between them had become one that both were all too familiar with.

Two hours of delegation ticked by, the medic shifting his weight from one foot to the other as he patiently waited for Orochimaru to bring it all to an end. With one fluid motion, the raven haired man did just that, offering a rehearsed closing statement before getting effortlessly to his feet. His golden eyes met Kabuto's sable one's, wordlessly dictating that the boy once again precede him. Offering a low, humbled, bow as his own silent farewell, Kabuto moved easily to the door, opening it for the San'nin and falling into step just behind the older man. It was an odd habit of Orochimaru's, to leave before his guests. And yet it always had the desired effect, and Orochimaru always got what he wanted.

"I think that went over fairly well," the pale man offered over his shoulder. "What about you, Kabuto? Do you see any problems arising from this?"

Kabuto shook his head. "None whatsoever, my lord. You handled that perfectly. I highly doubt any of them will come to conflict with us." He went to habitually adjust his glasses, only to lay his long fingers on the bridge of his nose. Right…that's why Orochimaru seemed a tad blurrier than usual.

Chuckling lightly, Orochimaru shrugged and replied smugly, "These encounters get easier every time, Kabuto. And if you continue to accompany me, it won't be long before I can send you in on your own. You yourself have quite the way with words."

The platinum haired man smiled at the casually directed compliment. At least this time around, his merciless leader had stepped out of the room in a good mood. "I'm flattered, Lord Orochimaru," Kabuto returned, "But if you're no longer in need of my presence, I would very much like to put my own clothes on. And my glasses as well."

Orochimaru paused and turned around to face Kabuto, eyeing the boy from head to toe. "I thought you looked different this morning," he muttered almost more to himself than the medic, "Why didn't you say something? I bet you don't even know what those men look like now."

"Well you didn't exactly give me a chance, Lord Orochimaru," Kabuto retaliated. "In fact, if I recall correctly, you had insisted that my returning to my room would waste too much time."

Frowning deeply at the other's tone, the San'nin walked up to stand just shy of the boy, closing the gap between them with little more than a single stride. "I wouldn't have had to say that if you hadn't slept in, Kabuto. Don't try to blame me for your shortcomings." Orochimaru stared threateningly down at his right hand man, serpentine eyes locking with unwavering dark ones. "Now go get your glasses and report back to me. I have quite a bit of work for you today."

"My shortcomings?! I wouldn't have had to 'sleep in' if you hadn't sent me on that ridiculous mission last night! Any Jounin could have done that! I swear you take pleasure in overworking me the way you do!" Kabuto bit off the rest of his words, swiftly shutting his mouth. He hadn't meant to react like that. He'd meant to keep that all to himself. But he was still tired, and fed up with being blamed for things that weren't even entirely his fault.

Orochimaru was clearly taken aback by Kabuto's uncharacteristic outburst, pulling away slightly and regarding the boy with mild confusion. Tense silence stretched on between the two for an immeasurable moment, every second dragging on like hours. Finally, softly, Orochimaru began to laugh, a low inaudible chuckle at first, gradually swelling to whole-hearted mirth that echoed down the stone halls. The sound sent shivers down Kabuto's spine, the medic shuddering in spite of himself.

"Overworking you, Kabuto?" Orochimaru teased as his laughter trailed off, "Are you trying to tell me that you can't handle it? That perhaps I should reconsider just what I let you do?"

Giving a soft sigh of relief, Kabuto shook his head, absently rubbing the bridge of his nose with his thumb and middle finger. "No, Lord Orochimaru. That's not what I meant," he replied calmly, "I'm just saying that I'd prefer it if you gave me tasks that fit my position. You have plenty of lower ranked ninjas in your employ, my lord, and I would like it if you used them instead of me on occasion."

The older man's broad smile remained fixed on his face as he turned away from the other and started back down the hall. "I suppose I can do that, Kabuto. After all, you asked me so nicely, didn't you?" He waved offhandedly over his shoulder, wordlessly dismissing Kabuto from his presence.

Something had Orochimaru in a good mood, and the platinum haired medic thanked whatever God there was for it. It wasn't often that Kabuto could get away with talking that way to the San'nin, and it was an even rarer occurrence that Orochimaru simply waved it off and joked about it himself. Perhaps the day wasn't a total loss. With any luck, he'd have time to visit his lab before the day was out.

Kabuto made his way down the long, dark, halls by memory alone, his vision being of very little use to him at the moment. His soft footfalls were the only sound, preceding him with their faint echoes. The silence was oddly comforting, wrapping around the oto'nin like a peaceful blanket. Maybe he'd just steal that extra hour of sleep he'd wanted before reporting to Orochimaru.

However, as the young man reached his room, he could hear something just beyond his door. Someone was in his room. Cautiously, Kabuto took hold of the doorknob, inching it open slowly so he could peer around and see just who the invader was before doing anything rash. When he saw just who it was, though, all of Kabuto's discretion went out the window, the medic throwing his own door open furiously.

"Sasuke!! Get OUT!!"

The Uchiha turned around and looked at the irate surgeon with outright boredom. "Nice outfit," Sasuke snorted cynically, "You forget to do your own laundry?"

Fists clenching tightly at his sides, Kabuto snarled with forced patience, "How I dress is none of your concern, Sasuke-kun. Now get out." It was no secret that Kabuto despised the punk Uchiha in his life. Had it not been for Orochimaru's interest in the boy, the medic would have killed him long ago. And Sasuke knew it, using the information as leverage to push the surgeon around and do whatever he felt like. Today, though, Kabuto would have none of it.

"And just what are you going to do to me? I'll leave when I feel like leaving." The insufferable boy turned around again, resuming his tearing apart of Kabuto's room.

That was it! Storming up behind the boy, Kabuto took a fist full of Sasuke's hair and dragged him towards the door kicking and screaming. He then threw the boy out callously, smiling darkly as the Uchiha landed on the cold stone floor with a dull 'thump'.

"If I catch you in my room again, Sasuke-kun, I won't be quite so friendly on seeing you out," the oto'nin sneered mockingly before slamming his door in the stunned boy's face. He then promptly collapsed on his bed, screaming in frustration into his pillow. He did not get paid enough.


To be entirely honest with you all, I'm not even sure Kabuto gets paid -at all-. Huh...just a thought. Please review!!