A/N: Written for naruto_500's prompt "First Kiss".
Word Count: 769
There were many reasons to love Orochimaru.
Despite what others might think about his master, Orochimaru-sama was generous. It took a special kind of man to embrace an orphan - one that everyone had already deemed a monster - with warm, welcoming arms.
Kimimaro had spent his entire childhood in darkness, separated from other children, cast away from the judgmental and fearful glares of the adults in his clan. He wasn't like the rest of them, an exile in his own land. His home was a prison, where his own drawings on the walls were his only companions, one dimensional and silent, all lines and hard edges in colors as achromatic as his existence.
Then one day, Orochimaru-sama had come; Orochimaru-sama had found him.
"Perhaps you can find something interesting to do while you are alive. Like how you found that flower. Like how I found you..."
Orochimaru took the small, ragged child, and transformed him into something else, replacing tattered garments with silk robes, ignorance with knowledge, solitude with devotion. Kimimaro's existence was no longer obsolete, a phantom amidst dark shadows, the remnants of the extinct Kayuga clan.
He had someone to serve, someone to protect, because Orochimaru believed in him, made something out of him. Something elegant. Something beautiful. Orochimaru-sama filled a void Kimimaro had never noticed before, quenching the thirst of parched lips he never knew were dry.
In the land of Sound he'd come to know a different kind of darkness, one that wavered between reality and dream to the rhythm of flickering candles. This was a different universe from the one he'd known.
All this he thought, as he silently followed his master - the axis of his new world - into the woods, small legs struggling to keep up with the Sannin's pace. The lullaby of candles was replaced with nature's own melody, insects chirping and buzzing, a soft hum like the concentration of chakra in one's hand for a complicated jutsu. They sat side by side, damp grass clinging to his robe, making the silk feel cool against warm skin.
"What do you see, Kimimaro-kun?" Orochimaru's voice was like a parting of wind in the breezeless night.
With the heavy foliage surrounding them it was hard to see anything at all. "Trees," Kimimaro said simply. "Darkness."
"Look again." Pale knuckles tipped his chin, making him look at the sky.
Through thick tree branches he could see the feeble light of stars. But always afraid to make a mistake and disappoint, he hesitated before replying, "Stars."
"Darkness isn't something to be feared, but something to be embraced. Without night how could you appreciate the beauty of the stars?" Orochimaru's strong arms wrapped around him, bringing him close to the man's chest. For a moment Kimimaro thought he could feel the soft beats of his master's heart on his back, until he realized they were his own, that he was trembling in this cold embrace.
And Orochimaru's hands were ice-cold as they stroked him, small touches here and there: a shoulder, a cheekbone, fingers curling through Kimimaro's hair.
"Without night, days would have no end. The flowers you so carefully cultivate would dry and wilt under the sun, unable to find solace in the kinder light of the moon." His voice was a half-whisper, like something coming from inside Kimimaro's head.
He felt the bones shift inside his body as he was gently - but firmly - made to turn around and face Orochimaru. "You're like those stars, Kimimaro-kun, bright even in darkness. Maybe that's how I found you." The gold, snake-like eyes had become the sun of Kimimaro's new world, basking in the glory of their praise and approval.
No one had ever looked at him the way Orochimaru-sama did. No one had ever made him feel like this. No one's mouth had closed on his lips like this.
His cheeks colored as blood rushed to his head in dizzying waves, eyes fluttering and lips slightly parted, while the ground beneath his feet disintegrated. An invisible force lifted him to the air, making him whirl, making him soar.
This was a gift.
Another gift from this man; the man who had chosen him and made him special, wanted, useful; the only person who had answered his childhood prayers and given him a new life. Orochimaru-sama deserved to be acknowledged and worshipped as the only true god. Someday Kimimaro would cease to exist and be absorbed into this higher being. This knowledge made his body hum with pleasure.
It was a rare honor to become a tool in the hand of god.
- Fin -