Words like freak, and monster, were words that Zetsu was used to hearing directed at him. Hell, he was even used to being called things like experiment-gone-wrong, and he just couldn't imagine anyone saying anything other than an insult to him. He was used to people saying they wished he would die, but when Pein found him, things weren't so bad. Pein was kind to him and treated him like something more than a freak. That's what Zetsu had felt when Pein took him home.

-LINEBREAK-

"Run away!"

A group of girls shouted as they saw Zetsu approaching them. The girls screamed, running back towards the orphanage building, leaving a hurt Zetsu in their dust. Zetsu didn't understand why everyone ran away from him – he only wanted to be friends! But… they always acted like Zetsu would kill them and then devour their corpses. Zetsu just couldn't understand what he had done to make people fear him like this.

"Why...?" Zetsu whispered to himself, wiping his tears away. "Why do they treat us like... like a freak? We are a freak... that's all we are to the others... they don't care who we are inside, but only who we are on the outside. We can't... we can't help that... that we're like this, but... I wish we were someone else."

Zetsu sat on the cold pavement, sobbing, whispering a conversation between his two halves, knowing that all of the other kids and even the orphanage staff watched him with resentment in their eyes. He was just a waste of space to the others – something that should've been murdered as soon as it took its first breath.

On adoption days, all of the kids but himself were lined up, hoping that it would finally be their turn to be adopted... all except for poor Zetsu. No… Zetsu would sit in his bedroom and cry to himself as he always did when he was forbidden from having any social experiences.

The bell soon rang, breaking Zetsu from his thoughts and signalling that it was time for dinner. Zetsu sighed, knowing that he was to go straight to his room - he wasn't allowed to eat with the other kids.

It was always the same old, same old... he would be sealed away from the rest of the world, only being allowed out of his room once a week to play outside and get some fresh air. Zetsu knew that the next adoption day was tomorrow, and seeing as he was already rather saddened, this fact brought him to tears.

"When will it be our turn?" Zetsu sobbed to his darker half. "Who knows…? Maybe never... but if that's the case we only have to wait for ten more years before we turn eighteen and can leave forever."

Zetsu nodded, entering his bedroom and closing his door behind him, jumping onto his hard bed and pulling the covers up and over him, trying to block out the horrid cold that was always his room.

"Maybe tomorrow someone will take us home..." Zetsu whispered hopefully as he yawned and closed his eyes, not hungry enough just yet to stay awake and wait for his cold food. "Just don't get your hopes up..."

-LINEBREAK-

Zetsu sat at his window, watching all of the adults walk up the path to the orphanage, smiles and happy expressions on their faces. He wished with all of his being that at least one of those people would be here for him - but Zetsu knew that it was impossible. Zetsu sobbed quietly, jumping back onto his bed and crying into his covers. He hated this place, hated this village, but most of all, he hated himself. He despised his life and wanted to die. He wished that there someone to love him, but it seemed to be impossible given his current lifestyle. Especially his looks - who could love an Oreo-coloured plant?

-XX-

When Zetsu knew that most of the adults would already have left with their new child in tow, he dared look back out of his window, watching the darkening horizon, closing his flytrap slightly from the chill. Absorbed in the night sky, he didn't hear a knock on his bedroom door. He only snapped back to reality as it swung open, the hinges creaking loudly in protest.

Zetsu turned to the door, slight fear in his features, and the man and woman with the orphanage worker could sense it. Zetsu looked over the two newcomers, and he couldn't help but think that though the woman looked very pretty with her blue hair and paper flower in the bun atop her head, the man that was with her looked rather scary with all of his piercings.

"This is him..." The worker said quietly, disgusted at being forced to show someone so vile to a potential buyer. "I told you that you wouldn't want him, but -"

"Shh!" The strange woman snapped, angry eyes on the worker. "He's only a boy!"

The woman turned back to smile at Zetsu and Zetsu felt himself blush, closing his flytrap completely in shyness.

The man laughed. He walked into the room, sitting down next to Zetsu and putting a hand on the flytrap. He felt the plant shiver in response.

"Hi." The man introduced softly. "My name is Pein... and this is my friend, Konan... What is your name, young one?"

Zetsu opened the plant a crack, peeping out warily. "Z...Zetsu..." He whispered, looking at the ground.

"Zetsu... what a nice name." The man – Pein - smiled genuinely. He beckoned for Konan to come by his side and she did, kneeling down next to Pein, smiling also.

"We're looking for a nice little child to adopt," Konan said, eyes never leaving Zetsu's golden ones, "but none of the others down stairs are what we want. When we felt your chakra we asked to see you but those jerks that take care of you kids tried to refuse."

Zetsu frowned. "Are you going to pick someone else, too?" He whispered.

Pain chuckled. "No, I don't think so. I think you're just what we want. What do you think, Konan?"

"Yes." Konan smiled, placing a soft hand on Zetsu's arm. "I like him."

"You... like us? No, they don't - they're lying! But... You're willing to believe anything if it means leaving! Why did you have to talk? Now they'll think we're a freak as well and leave us here!"

"Zetsu..." Pein said softly, reaching out and patting Zetsu's oily hair. "We don't think you're a freak at all. How about it? Want to come home with us?"

Zetsu frowned before smiling brightly. "YES!"

Konan giggled, picking the tiny boy up and carrying him out of the room. "When we get you to our home we'll feed you a big feast; you look like you could use quite a few good meals."

Zetsu grinned, hugging Konan. He had never received physical contact before unless it was to hurt him, but he had to say, hugs felt nice - like he had always dreamed that they would.