FIRST!

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Orochimaru had seen things no child should ever have to see. Murder, rape, death, destruction; any chance he'd had at being a normal, functioning human being was stolen in those early years. The world taught him that innocence was little more than a phase of life. Only when it was shattered and one was free from it, did a person truly know who they were. He survived, no matter the cost. He took what he needed from the weak and killed anyone who got in his way. It was never personal, just a law of nature. The strong survived and the weak died.

But she was different. She too had seen the dark side of human nature. She too had fought and struggled all her life as a jinchuriki; and yet she retained such an idealistic viewpoint on this world. No one is irredeemable, she said. Evil was just a word, underneath it all was just pain. To her, mercy was the ultimate victory. She sacrificed, she endured and when given the chance, she forgave. Always.

She was similar and yet she had such a different point of view. How? He wasn't sure; all he knew for certain was that when he engaged her in conversation she made him want to believe what she was saying, even if he never did. In time they grew closer, she became the closest thing to a friend he'd had since Jiriaya, eventually he loved her.

He had never been a normal, healthy child. He was morbid, naturally cruel, and evil. But for her, for Kushina he could be human. He would play the part of a good person for her, because somewhere in that shriveled up black mass he called a heart, she became more important than even him. He ceased his quest for power, let Minato take his shot as the Fourth. He cared nothing for it now; he cared only for her and their family to be. For the first time in his life, he was content with what he had and wanted no more. He was…happy.

And then the day came, his son was going to be born.

He oversaw every single protective measure set up around the area where the birthing would take place. He drew every seal, set every trap, and chose every posted guard himself. With some convincing he even acquired Minato to aid him, citing the rather large target Kushina would have on her back during his son's birth, what with the fox's seal weakening and all. If something went wrong, if someone so much as put one toe within that perimeter that wasn't supposed to be there, they would be dead before they could even realize what had happened.

And yet somehow it all went wrong.

He had been called away against his better judgment by Jiriaya, something about a village perimeter breach by a very powerful chakra signature. Minato had assured him that everything would be fine and Kushina urged him to see what was going on. When he got there he found an entire platoon of men slaughtered. Just as he had begun examining the bodies he saw the giant demon fox roaring off in the distance.

In that instant, he knew that something had gone terribly wrong.

"You can't go Orochimaru!" Jiriaya shouted at him, blocking his path. "We need you to help contain the fox!"

"That does not concern me, fool!" He hissed, the Kusanagi longsword appearing in his hand. "Now stand aside!"

"Come to your senses!" Jiriaya argued. "What would Kushina want you to do in this position?"

"She…" He clenched his jaw, strangling the snarl of rage in his throat. He knew exactly what Kushina would have him do. His every inhuman instinct was roaring in disapproval but he knew what had to be done. "Very well, your point is made." He lowered his weapon and they charged for the site of the fox's rampage.

It was a fight he hardly survived. The Legendary Sannin vs the greatest of the Tailed Beasts. Truly a battle worthy of song, and yet he remained unfocused, he gave his orders without mercy or care as to the safety of his men. He allowed himself to revert back to that monster he was before he'd met Kushina. Manda's snakes died by the thousands in that fight, trying to wrangle the monster and keep it away from the village he cared nothing for.

Eventually, and quite suddenly, the fox vanished, sealed away in a new container. He cared not whom this container was, his interest was only in Kushina and his son. A son they had yet to even agree on a name for. It was the old man himself who brought her to him. Dead, given her life to protect Minato and the container he sealed the beast into. Its massive claw had pierced through her abdomen, almost cutting her in half.

"What of my son?" He hissed; the tone in his voice heart-wrenchingly hopeful.

"I'm sorry, Orochimaru." Sarutobi sighed, putting a hand on the man's shoulder. Orochimaru ignored it, staring at his wife's broken, smiling face.

In that instant of losing everything, the fragile dream he'd crafted around his mind shattered. And in waking, he found himself alone. Kushina had given him hope; hope that even a monster such as he could be redeemed. But it turned out that the truth was happiness was just like innocence; a phase that was destined to end.

He saw the truth now. He was a snake, who once upon a time dreamed and hoped he could become a man. Now, the dream has ended; and the animal has reawoken to the way the world truly is. The strong survive and the weak die. And he would be the strongest. He would indulge, nothing else would exist.

And then a thought occurred to him. Who was it that called him from his wife's side? Jiraiya, to help Konoha. Who swore to him that he'd take care of Kushina and his child while he was away? Minato, leader of Konoha. Who convinced him to not search for Kushina and help a village he cared nothing about? Jiraiya, again for Konoha.

A smile most twisted and cruel spread across his face. That was it then. He now had a target; a target for all that wonderful hate that had been festering in him since he was just a boy. A hatred for the hypocrisy of this village and its preaching ideals of peace and unity and family, when he had only met one person in this entire place who had ever lived up to it.

Hatred consumed Orochimaru that day, and he vowed he would never again allow it to fade away.

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Yes, I have released another Naruto fic at long last.

This is in response to the "Naruto is Orochimaru's son" fanfics I've been seeing, and the surprising lack of Orochimaru/Kushina fics that I would think would go with them. I make no promises on a release date but I am considering releasing my own take on that concept which would make this something of a prequel.

If anyone has anything constructive to add to make this better, by all means, let me hear it.

Keep kicking ass.

GN