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Hold, hold on, hold onto me

'Cause I'm a little unsteady

A little unsteady

Loneliness seemed to pervade every nook and cranny within Orochimaru's life in Konoha. Every mission proved even further that his time in the village was coming to an end. The countless stares, muttered insults, and curses could only be ignored for so long before the Sannin came to his wit's end.

The bitterness and resentment that bubbled inside him near overflowed and the man could feel himself change, twist into something indecipherable from what he once was; Orochimaru slowly became the monster that everyone expected, wanted, him to be. He might as well damn prove it, he thought one night as he schemed hateful plans to raze the village he once swore his loyalty to.

And he was ready to show them all just how much he can prove them right, ready to commit an act that would irredeemably damn him. That is, until an angel descended from the heavens and showed him the light. Of course the reality of it was that a woman, naked and flailing, slammed into his body with all the might of gravity and the rest of its natural components, breaking a few ribs and causing more physical harm than he'd ever felt in a long while. It remains a mystery to this day how Orochimaru of the Legendary Sannin could not sense the woman-meteor that aimed at him that fateful day.

Despite the fact that she had caused him bodily harm, Orochimaru could not overcome the sheer hilarity of the situation, a rare smile creeping onto his face as he looked upon the woman. For all of the chaos that usually reigned free in the village it was this meeting that made the Sannin think of how ridiculous it all was. With that moment of clarity, and like the sun parting the dark grey clouds, Orochimaru decided that perhaps staying in the village could still be worth it.

Just as Shun had appeared to him, their tumultuous relationship soon followed the same pattern. At first Orochimaru had tried to appeal to the woman he fell in love with at first sight- though he did not know it then that what he felt was love and not the more shallow feelings of lust and attraction. He tried to woo her the only way he knew how, with promises of sexual satisfaction among other things he had thought would be appealing to a woman with her appearance.

But with the way Shun had vehemently denied his advances, he should have known that Jiraiya's advice would prove to be insufficient for her; had his wayward teammate ever once had a relationship that lasted or was even remotely emotionally satisfying? So Orochimaru thought perhaps it was just him that had to change. He tried, to the great Sage did he try. He became quieter, less apparent, more submissive and yet even then it just made Shun ignore his existence even more. She even seemed relieved to see that the Sannin relaxed his advances and left her alone.

Orochimaru drove into his work by then. Headlong and reckless and with all the wrath of a man with a broken heart. On the battlefield was where he belonged after all, covered in the blood of his enemies and even the people he was supposed to call his teammates.

(His mind echoed the word friends but he knew better. Never once had the shinobi at his side considered him a friend. Had they ever seen him anything more than the monster they labelled him to be?)

The Kumo nin in front him charges with his electrified blade, the sparks dancing on the metal as if to give a dance before one passes on to the next life. But the dance is not for Orochimaru, no, his own blade impales itself straight into the heart of that Kumo nin with effortless cruelty. He does not even spare the dying nin a second glance because Orochimaru is callous and unforgiving, exactly as he was and should be. He snaps his wrist to flick the blood off Kusanagi and moves on to the next.

It is after he has killed enough to be considered a slaughter that Orochimaru stops and looks around him. Unknown enemy nin lay at his feet as if asking for dominion though their hands are splayed and not praying. It's fine, he thinks, he is not a god after all, not foolish enough to think himself one because what god weeps over the emptiness of their own heart?

Mitsuki is born and Orochimaru hopes it makes the woman happy. He knows the woman considers herself unfeeling and detached but he sees the small flickers of emotion that passes through her eyes. As he hands the small bundle into her arms, which she accepts with a gentleness he hadn't expected, he recognizes the look of parental fondness on her face. He knows that emotion because he has seen it countless times on the faces of parents whose children were perfectly normal and not him. Seen it though never felt it because Orochimaru has been alone for as long as he can remember.

Mama, come here

Approach, appear

Daddy, I'm alone

'Cause this house don't feel like home

Perhaps if he had asked what she felt towards their child she would have recoiled back as she usually does but it could just be that the woman he feels unapologetically enamoured with is so detached from her emotions she could not recognize them herself. Perhaps she would not recognize them. It doesn't matter in the end, however, since Orochimaru is used to the closed off look that people give him and it shouldn't be a surprise that Shun would do the same as well.

When Orochimaru kills his sensei he wonders if things would have turned out differently if he had never met the mother of his child and the love of his forsaken life. Would he have left Konoha then? Flattened the village as he originally had planned and took petty revenge for the years of hurting he had suffered through? Orochimaru belatedly realizes that even now he is still hurting.

Hiruzen coughs out a few words, though the snakes restricting his limbs and the numerous blades skewering him made it difficult for the words to come out.

"W..why?" He asks, looking up at Orochimaru and even after all these years there isn't a trace of blame in those old eyes, just the need to know the reason behind this. The Sannin thinks the dying man a fool.

"Shun wished for it. And I have been wishing for it for years." Orochimaru looks at the clock and notes that the poison will start to activate in a few seconds.

Just as he had planned the Sandaime's coughing turns into a wheezing and blood starts to drip from his eyes, nose and mouth, "I-I'm s...sorry..that I couldn't...do m-much else for y…"

Sarutobi Hiruzen's voice fades away as the light in his eyes fade away too. Orochimaru's lips press together into a firm line and he struggles to keep the feeling of regret smothered beneath him. Maybe he should have chose a slower acting poison. He would have like to know just what Hiruzen meant by apologizing. For what? All those years of choosing the village over his own family, his team, Orochimaru himself? Apologize for treating Orochimaru like a son all but in name and then rip it all away for the sake of protecting the village?

A cynical laugh comes out of the Sannin's mouth as he looks down on the man he once considered to be the only one who understood him. The dead Hokage's intestines have been coughed out violently and laid strewn across his robes and floor, a pool of blood causing the robe to be more red than it had been white. Orochimaru steps back into the shadows and returns to being the nightmare at the back of everyone's minds. The next day, no one questions him.

Shun was suicidal even on her best days. He'd taken the precautionary measures soon after she started living with him by hiding all his weapons and other volatile material. It proved for naught when they both realized that she was indestructible after a certain incident involving her and a steak knife. The metal of the knife bent before it could even leave a scratch on her.

He understood, on some level, why she would try to off herself. She was living in a strange world with a man she barely knew, and after she was allowed to roam outside, she must have realized how much the villagers hated the man she lived with. It's enough stress to figure out your way in life, let alone when you're strapped with a monster and his child.

But the thing with Shun is that for all of the cutting insults and hissed threats, she always had it in her to make Orochimaru feel better.

Mother, I know

That you're tired of being alone

Dad, I know you're trying

To fight when you feel like flying

"You look like you had fun." The pink eyed woman, curled up on the couch, said as he came through the door one night covered in viscera from his last mission. It was the kind of mission that left a panging hollowness within him and made him question his humanity.

Unfortunately, Orochimaru was not in the mood to entertain his wife, "...There were children."

That seemed to alert the woman that something was off. His lidded eyes, the blood covered blades strapped to his side, and the slight tremble in his right hand connected the dots in her mind. Against her better judgement, she stood up and approached him. Orochimaru remained still, afraid that he would hurt her.

"I do not think I can...I cannot entertain you right now." He tells her, his voice a whisper because the noise in head remained too loud along with the fact that Mitsuki was still asleep. He knows he won't be able to deal with the only two he cared about accusing him for his crimes.

"Are you okay? Fuck, I mean of course you're not. How about we just...Let's get you cleaned up first." She shakes her head and grabs his hand, the one trembling and still soaked to the nail with red.

She makes him a bath and even takes it upon her to wash his hair. It must have been one of the most comforting things he's ever felt in his life. The grime and guilt wash away with the rest of the muddied water, going down the drain as they get ready for bed. He's thankful neither of them care much for him being naked for a moment, the memories of death at his fingertips too fresh to worry about other things.

They're laying in bed together, him on his back and she on her side, away from him as she always has. Shun originally slept in the second bedroom until Mitsuki came along. Now she usually sleeps on the couch until her aching back forces her to spend a night on the bed.

The quiet as they lay together- awake because who can sleep when they're alive yet surrounded by ghosts- span for what feels like an eternity. Orochimaru also knows their son to be awake, the feeling of the boy's small chakra in the bedroom nearby brings some measure of comfort. He decides to speak up when even the quiet became too loud.

"I love you." He tries, tired, so tired, but wanting to convey this much to her.

"...No." She answers simply.

"Please," He tries again, this time in a whimper. It's too much to ask her for anything, the rational part of his mind says but there's fog in his head that his heart doesn't have so the words that leave his mouth are, "Why won't you love me?"

Orochimaru is met with silence and it stays silent for the rest of the night, both with too much to say yet neither conceding and telling the other; stuck in a perpetual stalemate, so near physically but eons away from connecting their emotions. It's like the sweetest torture and it damn near brings the Sannin to tears.

But if you love me, don't let go
Whoa, if you love me, don't let go

Orochimaru cannot remember a time where he's ever felt so possessive of anything. He didn't belong in this village so he never felt that anything within these walls ever belonged to him. Possessions slipped out of his fingers easily after he gets bored of them, taken away easily if someone stronger than him wanted it. When it became clear that there weren't many people strong enough to take things from him anymore, he just abandoned his possessions whenever they weren't useful, letting them rot and rust and turn to ash.

He cannot imagine letting Shun go like that.

It's because of this newfound stubbornness to let her go that Orochimaru despises the little Uchiha brat. An old voice in his head tells him that he's getting worked up over nothing, that the child simply has puppy love for his wife but Orochimaru bristles at the thought of someone trying to take her away. He concedes the fact that Itachi is just a child, physically similar in looks with their own son, so there was no way that Shun would ever return his feelings along with the fact that the woman found most human company repulsive.

Orochimaru stays wary however, he knows the Uchiha clan like he knows his own demolished clan. Knows that the red-eyed ninjas they produced were prone to bouts of obsession and extreme emotion that ranged from icy fury to all consuming love. Shun would never know about the extent he went to keep the clan heir as distanced from their family as possible, neither would she know Itachi's own frenzied love for that was veiled by the social strangeness of the child.

The Sannin had talked to Itachi's father, Fugaku, about the wedding candidates for his eldest and was pleased to see there was quite a list of matches. It helped that he had brought even more applicants from various noble families in the Land of Fire. Should Itachi deny them all, Orochimaru had coerced Fugaku into forcing his son to marry by way of Madara's Sharingan. If those eyes could control a nine tailed beast it could control a mere child.

He was uncaring of the boy's feelings, should they be genuine or not didn't really concern him in the least, as long as his family stayed whole and safe. Orochimaru told himself the same things as he returned to the battlefield, killing all that stood in his path. It was all for his family, he said, he doesn't fight for the village nor for himself because the only thing that mattered was his family.

Hold, hold on, hold onto me
'Cause I'm a little unsteady
A little unsteady