Uchiha Sasuke was a very interesting person. At eight he'd witnessed the annihilation of his clan, at twelve he'd been deemed a child prodigy, at thirteen he'd defected from his village to train under the influence of a man who planned to kill him anyway, and at fourteen he'd been raped by the man and thus become pregnant.

It was some crude form of human experimentation, although Kabuto would have cursed the word 'crude' to all oblivion. To him it was all finesse, a grandiose work of art and science that laid its roots in precision and years of sweat and corpses. The fucking, in comparison, was simple.

It would be, after all, another Uchiha offspring, a 'just in case' for Orochimaru. It wasn't meant at all as a restoration of the clan. But if somehow things didn't end up quite the way Orochimaru had planned, the Sannin would have a back-up plan: the fetus beginning to uncurl in the Uchiha child's stomach. Sasuke couldn't run away until he'd had the thing, and once he did run away, well - what he left behind would be even more powerful than the original.

Sasuke was six months pregnant and Orochimaru had stopped training him altogether, with the undulating sentiment that it was 'bad for the baby.' He had Kabuto give Sasuke check-ups twice weekly to make sure everything was routine and there was nothing exceptional, or irregular, or abnormal.

As if the child of Orochimaru and Uchiha Sasuke could be anything but exceptional.

The cold stethoscope on his stomach reminded Sasuke of tender, frigid hands.

When he was alone in his room at night Orochimaru would sometimes come to visit, and like a disembodied ghost, lift up Sasuke's shirt and trace the spider web stretch marks on his inflated stomach with long, pale fingers. He would whisper sweet nothings into the heavy silence between stone walls and smirk when chills ran down Sasuke's spine. When the sun rose hesitantly over the horizon in the mornings, Sasuke's agitated vomiting was not due to morning sickness.

Sasuke knew he'd been used. Not in the way he'd expected - where Orochimaru would make him his vessel before he ever even killed Itachi - but in a way so much deeper and more degrading. Orochimaru had never meant to use him as a vessel to begin with. I want your body, Sasuke. And so he had. But only to produce something stronger and more capable, something worthy to be the mortal shell of Orochimaru's soul. Simply a means to an end, that was all he was, really.

And when Sasuke had managed to pick himself up off the floor, up out of the pool of blood, he had never managed to pick his dignity up with him.

When he sat in room that day Sasuke contemplated a seppuku of sorts, a cleansing, with its roots laid in blood and sweat and corpses. He had rid himself of his shirt and was kneeling on the floor, eyes closed and both hands on his stomach, listening intently, almost desperately, for any signs of a second heartbeat, any signs to convince himself otherwise.

But Sasuke heard nothing, and besides, the thought of a baby Orochimaru was a scary thing. He couldn't, after all, allow himself to be responsible for giving life to such a monster, for bringing it into the world (as horrible as the world may be, there just isn't room for more atrocities).

For six months images had flashed behind his callous, lifeless eyes, frozen into the retinas. Of babies with long black hair and yellow snake eyes, choking on their own gangling, disgusting tongues. Children with scales for skin, wet with slime and cold, like the stethoscope pressed against his stomach, like Orochimaru's hands. A baby with Sharingan eyes staring up at him and raven locks. Babies lying dead, smothered in the blood of their disregarded parents. His mother and father, dead, wide glassy eyes like an ultimate, posthumous plea.

Please.

No.

This was not what he had wanted; never had he planned to revive the Uchiha clan this way. This child, cursed to hell.

No.

As a ninja, he'd done harder things than plunge a kunai into his stomach. At eight, he'd witnessed his clan's annihilation, at thirteen; he'd attempted to murder his best friend... It was truly a token to the influence of these things, that after the first strike, he felt as if he'd never done anything easier.

When he passed out, he knew he was still going to live, despite the copious amounts of lost blood. He knew he was still going to live, despite the inevitable wrath of Orochimaru and Kabuto's indulgent smirk. Despite the fact that he would have to get the hell out of here, and fast, and that he still had to kill his brother, and that he was a wreck, and was fat and had holes in his stomach. It was a baptism of sorts, signifying something new, a firm and resilient no to a former lifestyle of pleases and don'ts and please don'ts.

A baptism drenched in blood.