The smell of ink was strong in the air. Black, green, blue, red, purple, and gold paints all lay on the table next to the pale-skinned man sitting on his bed, a paintbrush poised over his hip. His shirt had been discarded, leaving him only clothed in his dark pants. Orochimaru leaned back slightly to apply the tattoo he was working on, the muscles in his abdomen working hard to keep him upright, and yet leaning back at the same time. Orochimaru brushed the last part of the tattoo onto his skin, pushing his pants down a bit farther on his slender hips. The cool air of his underground lair failed to chill him: whatever could make the master of fear tremble would have to be below negative forty Celsius, and enough to make even the toughest of shinobi faint with pure fear. Orochimaru leaned on one arm, finishing up the details of his tattoo with his free hand. Just as he was applying the last of the marks to the tribal snake design, a knock echoed on the hollow wood of his door. Orochimaru sighed roughly, setting the brush down on the table and wiping his hands from the smudges of the paint. "Come in," he called, permitting whoever wanted entrance to come into his room.

Kabuto entered, closing the door behind himself. Almost immediately, his nose wrinkled, and he cast about the room, seemingly searching for something. "It smells like ink in here. Orochimaru-sama, if I find one needle in this room-"

Orochimaru allowed a disparaging snort to escape his throat. "Not this time," he said, gently blowing on the tattoo to dry it. "But you might have been better giving me that warning a couple days ago."

Kabuto's eyes widened in shock. "Oh, you didn't-"

Orochimaru smirked and turned around, pulling his ebony hair over his shoulder. There, on each of his shoulder blades, was a perfect rendition of a snake-a cobra. Across the back of his neck read: "Amaranth." Kabuto sighed, almost ready to punch himself. Where had Orochimaru picked up this deplorable habit of marking every body of his? He hadn't liked it when Orochimaru had been using temporary inks, but when it came to needles, Kabuto drew the line. "And how many times have I asked you not to do that to yourself?"


"And have you taken anything I have said to heart?"

"Oh, Kabuto. Dear, naïve, Kabuto. While you're probably right, you're not living in a borrowed body. I am. I don't need to worry."

Kabuto sighed again, rubbing his forehead. He could feel a headache rapidly approaching, and blamed Orochimaru. "That attitude is going to kill you one day," he muttered, not caring if the snake sannin heard him or not. Orochimaru shrugged, and pushed his hair back over his shoulder. As he turned, though, a metallic gleam from Orochimaru's pale stomach caught Kabuto's eye. If his eyes had been wide before, they were ready to explode now.

"You pierced your navel?!"

"Um…yeah…I meant to talk to you about that…"

"When did you do this?!"

"At Tayuya's sweet sixteen…her cousin's a professional piercer…"

"Isn't her cousin in jail?"


Kabuto was ready to shoot himself now. Orochimaru had both tattooed himself and pierced himself, all in the space of a week. God knows what else he had done. This body seemed to have an unusually high tolerance for pain. Either that, or Orochimaru's new passion was taking a rather grim turn. "And how, pray, did you convince them to do it?"

"Easy," Orochimaru snickered. "I handed them a picture of the design and a wad of cash and said, 'do it.' And then they fired up the needle gun and that was that."

"They got to see you shirtless."

"Pretty much, yeah."

Kabuto rolled his eyes. Still, he couldn't exactly blame the girls for wanting a glimpse of Orochimaru without a shirt on. If even someone like him, who, at times thought he was asexual, could see the snake lord as more attractive than a magnet, it was then that one knew Orochimaru was the epitome of appealing. Still, Orochimaru wasn't getting off that easily.

"Did they at least have everything sterilized?"

"It was a new set of needles, relax!"

"And anyone working on the tattoo had gloves on?"


"And they cleaned the area with alcohol?"


Kabuto sighed. He couldn't deny that the operation had been sanitary, then. If Orochimaru was telling the truth. Which he doubted. Orochimaru had another deplorable habit, and that was lying. Kabuto had never heard so many lies come from one person's mouth in his entire life. And that was saying something, because Kabuto's entire life was based on lying. Well, he might get Orochimaru to tell the truth.

"You are lying through your teeth."

"Actually, not this time." Seeing Kabuto's skeptical expression, Orochimaru added, "I know you don't believe me, but I actually am telling the truth."

Kabuto looked less than convinced, but Orochimaru couldn't think of anything else to say that might convince Kabuto to believe him. And so, Orochimaru shrugged, and reached for his shirt.

"How many more do you have?"

Orochimaru paused, and dropped the shirt again. He pulled up the left leg of his pants, turning his leg so the inside of his knee was visible. In said location was inscribed the Japanese kanji for "love." "One." He dropped that leg of his pants, and pulled the other one up so Kabuto could see his ankle. There was a purple-and-black snake, wrapping around Orochimaru's entire ankle and even extending down over his foot a bit. "Two." He turned around and pushed down the waistband of his pants, showing off the kanji in his lower back: BYE BYE BEAUTIFUL. "Three." He lifted his hair, revealing the most recent tattoo: the snakes with the "Amaranth." "Four." The hair fell, and Orochimaru turned around again. He turned over his wrist, revealing a tribal sun design. "Five." He pulled his pants down, completely off one hip now, exposing an iguana on his thigh. "Six." He settled his pants back into place, and reached for his shirt again. Kabuto looked absolutely horrified at the sight of Orochimaru's many body markings, all made permanent in black inks.

"And how many piercings?"

"The one in my stomach, four in this ear, and two in this one."

"Kami! Orochimaru-sama, do you get off on pain?"

Orochimaru smiled sadistically. "No. But I do have a high tolerance for it. And let's face it: this is pretty much a no-regret deal."

Kabuto couldn't argue with that. If Orochimaru didn't like a tattoo, all he had to do was switch bodies. It would suit his master's fickle interests nicely. "Are you getting more?"

"Is that a serious question?"

Kabuto glared at Orochimaru was the sannin pulled his shirt down over his stomach and pulled his hair out of it. "Answer me!"

"Of course."

Well, that at least, was an honest answer.

A/N: Yeah, no explanation…just had fun doing it. Heh, that's what she said. Review, por favor.

Also, being the Nightwish fangirl I am, I have hidden little song references in here. Find 'em.