Snap Back To Reality 26
Orochimaru Part 1/2
"I think it's about time you got yourself another student"
Orochimaru had refused multiple times of course, but his old sensei was as persistent as any monkey. He didn't know what else to expect from the now senile man. Old age had made him more annoying if anything. Orochimaru had more important things to take care of. Unlike his two teammates who floundered away being useless, he was working day and night to transcend his limitations. To take on a Genin, would only get in the way of his goals.
That had been his thought process for quite a long time, until the Hokage demanded he take on a student within the next three years or the man would choose for him. Something about his growing antisocial behaviour being rather destructive or something. Orochimaru didn't care, he just didn't want to be bogged down to a child of all things. He had met Jiraiya just to get his old sensei off his back for a few weeks, and that was when he first encountered the name Suzuki Hina. Jiraiya had loudly complained about a brat who demanded to learn Fuinjutsu of all things. Orochimaru rationalised that if he managed to find a student himself, one who was smart, and morally bankrupt enough to participate in his experiments with him, then it wouldn't be an utter waste of time. He just needed someone who wasn't going to bother him too much.
So he tracked down the little girl as his first candidate. He found her sprawled out on a training field, surrounded by notes on her research. It seemed she had taken her self-assigned Fuinjutsu seriously. She had emerald green hair darker up the top and fading to a vibrant lime at the tips, and viridian sea green eyes, and oddly enough the first thought that came to his head was broccoli when he thought of the girl. That did make him smile a little.
On the occasion he did find joy in frightening children, so he jumped down from his perch and abruptly asked the girl what she was doing. She jumped in fright before a recognising glint took her eyes, and she became even more jumpy. Orochimaru wondered what he had done to elicit such a strong response. He struck up a conversation to test her out, and she began acting like a petulant child. Orochimaru tched. She was acting, and he wanted her to squirm, and what better way to do that than to call her out.
"Don't try to put on an act. It's unbecoming."
If it was possible her eyes popped out of her head even more. Orochimaru gleamed some amusement from this girl, but so far, he hadn't seen anything noteworthy enough to get her the spot as his assistan—um student.
"What's gotten you so frightened? Not excited to see a Sannin?" Orochimaru asked, circling the girl. It was a classic tactic to assume dominance in a conversation.
Orochimaru expected more stuttering, maybe some half-baked responses. He really did want to know why she was so afraid of him after all. He did not expect for her eyes to take on a calculative sheen, for all her jitters to leave her in an instant, and for her to bow and ask for his help studying of all things. Orochimaru took a moment to consider the route he would take on determining whether she was a good candidate or not.
"What do you know of the fundamentals of sealing?" Orochimaru finally asked.
"Nothing actually. Jiraiya-sama just dropped this on me and left. I need to be able to decode it if I want to learn more from him," she replied with a rather childish pout.
He left her without even telling her the basics? Orochimaru sighed. Jiraiya was a grade-A idiot. Even he needed the basics before he could begin studying how to decode a Fuinjutsu piece. A normal Genin without the Hokage as a connection would not be able to acquire the materials on her own to get it down. He would instruct the girl, if only because he wanted a way to test her worthiness to work with him. So he explained the basics rather abruptly, only for the girl to stumble towards a notepad to start scribbling down his instructions in hasty excitement.
"Thank you, Orochimaru-sama. I mean, I've tried getting more information but it's hard when everything's hidden away. This is going to set me ahead! I think I can understand the seal now."
She surprised him once more. She had managed to decode a seal from just barely being told the basics. She had a keen mind then. He let her continue her explanations of the seal and was surprised she managed to get it right. Definitely a candidate, he noted down.
"A keen mind indeed. How old are you?" he asked curiously. If she had a sensei, he could always plan their murder later and take her as his own.
Six? She looked around seven or eight judging by her height. So a young prodigy then. He wondered who her parents were. One of them had to have been from a prominent clan, even if her odd colouring could only be from an unimportant house.
"Which clan do you belong to?"
"I-I don't have a clan. My parents are civilians."
Parents. Plural. She came from a wholly civilian family. It was unheard of for civilian children to be prodigies. Even Minato had been a late bloomer because civilian children just didn't have the means to be prodigies. Half of it was normal childish mentality and the other half was situational. There were reasons why half the prodigies came from the Uchiha and Hyuuga clans, because they pushed their children from a young age. Rarely did any child have the drive to push themselves on their own.
"Impressive. I didn't come from a clan myself, but knowledge is given to those who search. You are willing and so a clan is not necessary."
Orochimaru didn't come from a clan but he had ninja parents. They had died a long time ago, and their deaths had pushed him to be who he was today. In the scheme of things, beyond him, they were inconsequential. Death had a way of doing that to people, to erase all their efforts in one single sweep. It made a fire burn inside of him, one that couldn't be quenched, not when he knew he was smart enough, great enough, to overcome it. When he looked down, he saw a sliver of himself in Hina, only a tiny bit of course, but it was great praise coming from him. This child wasn't utterly useless, but she was just his first candidate. He needed to go out and find more before making any concrete decisions.
"Thank you, Orochimaru-sama. Now I just have to rub it into that troublesome man's face!"
Hmmm… maybe he liked her a tad bit more now. He would approve of anyone showing up his perverted teammate. He gave her a nod before taking his leave. He'd wasted enough time as is.
Shimura Danzo was a man Orochimaru loathed, and ROOT was a necessary thorn in his side. Without Danzo, Orochimaru would not be able to freely conduct his experiments, but by allying himself with the old warmonger, he'd signed away a part of his research in return. He had created the Foundation's secrecy seal for the man after all.
"How are the failed members doing? Any you'd like to donate?" Orochimaru asked as he crossed his legs comfortably on the couch.
"Our success rates have been improving as of recently. You will need to search elsewhere," Danzo said roughly.
"My, my, then why bring me here today?" Orochimaru asked.
"I had a member of ANBU killed last night. There was a slip up on your part and he found one of your experiments."
Orochimaru froze. No, he always ensured to keep a tight ship. No one passed his notice. He had several contingencies in place including exits, explosions, and a way to cart his research with him if need be. No experiment could have escaped. His lips thinned in irritation. No doubt this would be used by Danzo for another favour from him.
"The bodies speak for themselves. I've assigned you to a 5-month mission to the front lines."
"That's a long time," Orochimaru said, grinding his teeth together in fury.
Danzo gave him a hard look, unperturbed by his killing intent. Orochimaru tched before folding his arms and leaning back. This man had a knack for digging into his skin.
"Reflect on your decisions in that time. I will need you out of the village while I sort out your mess. In return I will be assigning all the new possible ROOT candidates to your team."
"You want me to screen them for you?" Orochimaru asked, mouth pulling together tightly in irritation.
Had he just been demoted to a recruiter? Orochimaru didn't stay for long after that, not when his nerves were on end and when he wanted so desperately to rip Danzo apart and make the man beg at his feet where he belonged. Soon, he reminded himself. Soon, when he was immortal and strong enough, he would overcome anyone and anything that thought itself strong enough to chain him down. Then they would rue the day they even tried.
When he turned up for his cursed mission, he spent a good amount of time looking over the candidates. All Jounin level, all people who Sarutobi wouldn't mind letting Danzo join in on his little private army. His mentor had become weak in his old age. If Orochimaru was Hokage he would proceed with a public execution of anyone related to ROOT. To allow anyone, even someone you called a friend, to amass an army within your own village that wasn't under your control, was absolutely ridiculous. His thoughts were cut when he noticed a familiar green head of hair walk towards the group.
Orochimaru was indeed surprised, and very angry. Out of all the candidates he had screened to be his assistant, the only one with any promise had been Suzuki Hina. Now Danzo had his sights on her, and after his slip up the man could ask for anything from him. Orochimaru decided he would not talk to the girl, not until he calmed down, and he did, by the end of the 3-week trip. His anger had always been a point he wanted to work on, since it seemed to rage silently for a long time.
He walked up to the girl and her mentor, an inconsequential Jounin who was just above average enough not to have died by now. He sat by the green haired Genin and watched with mild amusement as she became rather fidgety again.
"How odd, a Genin such as yourself among the Jounin. One would think a force was at play on this decision."
She narrowed her eyes at him in suspicion. For a child who barely lived past half a decade, she did have a keen mind.
"Do you know who it is?" she asked.
He just tilted his head down, as if that were an answer on its own.
"Orochimaru-sama, you were Hokage-sama's student. What do you think brought about this decision?" the Jounin Inuzuka asked
"It wasn't Sarutobi-sama," Hina cut in.
"And what makes you say that?" Orochimaru asked, a hint of danger entering his voice.
Just how much did the little girl know? She couldn't have deduced a culprit, not with her limited understanding of Konoha politics. Keen mind aside, Orochimaru knew there was a big difference between knowledge and intel. There were certain things that only people in positions of power knew.
"Hokage-sama would not have any reason to send me here for 5 months. So far Konoha isn't in as dire straits as Iwa. We have a steady supply of capable Jounin, and he strikes me as the kind of man who cares about children. The only other people with the power to assign important team missions is one of his 3 councilmen. I don't know the motive, but that is what I assume is happening right now."
Orochimaru had once again underestimated the girl. He looked at her in a new light. Those sea-green eyes knew who it was, and what for, and he for once was frustrated. This girl would have made quite a fun new toy, someone he could keep around without wanting to pull out his hair. She was smart and mature for her age, and he would go so far as to dissuade Danzo from recruiting her, if only to keep her for himself. A word of warning was a given.
"Careful Hina-chan, your accusations are dangerous despite your deductions being quite astute," Orochimaru replied with an unnerving grin.
"If I may Orochimaru-sama? How do you know of my student?" the Inuzuka asked, his tone a little harsher.
"Hina-chan didn't tell you?" he asked, his voice basically purring at the realisation.
"It was at the week break we had," she piped in, before the Sannin could take control of the route the conversation was going to go. "I had bumped into Jiraiya-sama at a hot-spring and he gave me a Fuinjutsu sealing scroll to decode. I was out at the training ground with my notes when Orochimaru-sama gave me some good pointers."
Orochimaru chuckled as her sensei sent her a look of disapproval. If he had it his way, this man would die once Hina became his student. Then Orochimaru could continue what was important to him in peace without being hassled on all ends. It was the only win-win situation he could see considering all the other brats he had taken to looking for had come up desperately short of his standards.
"How far did you go with Fuinjutsu?" Orochimaru asked curiously, yellow eyes gleaming in interest.
"I didn't—I uh—sensei and I were focusing on honing my Taijutsu and Ninjutsu first. I would love to learn Fuinjutsu but there's hardly any time to," she said quickly.
"There's always time to learn. Well then, it seems like it's my shift."
With that Orochimaru left. He would be remiss to not teach Hina a few lessons during this trip. He would also need to get an understanding of her character. His work required a modicum of indifference and even he knew it. What he did could be considered evil and inhumane, and he wanted to know if this girl had it in her. He would have to test it of course.
Orochimaru found the time for his first test when the sensei and his student came back from their scouting mission.
The Inuzuka began a succinct mission report. As far as his clan members went, he was one of the more articulate ones.
"There was one Kumo-nin we had to dispose of," he said.
"Where's his body?" Orochimaru asked, smiling a cruel smile.
"I left him under brush not too far from here," Hina spoke up.
"Take me to him."
The girl, much to his distaste, sent her sensei a look for approval before he nodded and gestured for her to leave. Orochimaru walked on ahead in distaste. Somehow, he had managed to get it in his head that Hina was his property now, and although he knew it would be illogical to act as such without that actually being the case, he couldn't help it. He was incredibly possessive of his things after all. He was interrupted from his thoughts when she scrambled ahead of him and led the way to the body. Orochimaru pulled it out from the bush. It was time for lesson one.
"Ah… can I ask what exactly you plan to do with the body?" she asked curiously.
Orochimaru summoned a snake and it slithered down from his wrist and latched onto the corpses neck. The veins bulged with poison before receding into the rest of his body. Then Orochimaru went through a few hand seals and a chakra scalpel appeared in his hands. He began cutting into the boy's neck to the top back of his head. He pulled the skull of expertly revealing the brain inside. A rather small snake slithered out of his mouth, down his arm and into the opening.
"Are you going to control him via his frontal cortex?" she asked hypothesising.
Ah, there it was, her surprising knowledge. Orochimaru smiled pleased with his choice. Yes, she did have more than a keen mind, she had somehow managed to find a way to get her hands-on knowledge no Genin should have. That was something he couldn't help but admire in anyone.
"Yes and more. The snake that bit him has a poison that reacts with air and turns into acid."
"He doesn't have any oxygen in his blood, until it spills out," she said in confusion.
Orochimaru tilted his head at that, his eyes appraising her further. He did enjoy how she switched from a curious mind to a wary child under his predatorial gaze.
"Yes, it will oxidise when it comes in contact with air. Until then my summon will be controlling him from the inside."
She watched in shock as the boy stood up, his arms sagging to his sides like a rag doll, his eyes unfocused despite looking around. Like a marionet he sagged forward before standing up straight. Orochimaru enjoyed the look on her face. It wasn't one of disgust but of awe and curiosity. Yes, she did have part of what it took to be his assistant.
"You must have a plan involving him then?" she asked.
Her face was now one of pure excitement and Orochimaru hadn't had someone look at him with those eyes before. He almost wondered if they were reflecting his own, full of scientific curiosity, and a thirst for knowledge and power. He couldn't help the smile that pulled at his face, reciprocating her feelings.
"A Shinobi refrains from initiating combat if they can. You will do well to learn this lesson. We will be taking this camp without raising a finger."
The twinkle in her eye makes him believe that—yes—she had passed his first lesson.
The second lesson had been interesting. He watched as the girl killed the tortured boy without an ounce of hesitance, ending his pain. He didn't know what to think of it. It seemed she had her own convictions and moral code, which was unusual in a child her age. This was their developmental stage, and as such she should be at the age where she questioned her decisions, what was right and what was wrong, but when he looked into her eyes, they seemed older. It was almost like this little six-year-old child had more than just a keen mind for her age. She had experience in her stance that made little sense. Maybe children these days simply matured quicker? Orochimaru didn't quite understand, and he recalled at her age being just as smart as her, but not as sure when it came to the ways of the world. He was still finding himself then, like all children did. How did someone just skip that stage entirely?
"Ugh, kid you're too soft," Suki growled
"And you're being petty," she huffed at the lady.
"They're Kumo-nin, they ain't even worth shit!"
With that Suki stormed off. Hina let out an exasperated huff. Orochimaru watched the interaction with amusement. Suki, despite being a good candidate for ROOT on paper, was actually ill suited to the role simply because of her overabundance of emotions.
"Her hatred for the enemy is rather blinding."
"It was cruel," Hina said frowning. "It's one thing to torture for information, it's something else to let someone suffer for no reason at all."
"There was a reason," Orochimaru stated amiably.
"There was?" she asked in surprise.
"Well she hated him."
The look the girl sent him was rather amusing. She looked like a goldfish, gaping with her mouth open like that… well a rather green goldfish.
"You don't agree with her actions?" Orochimaru asked amused. "How quaint."
"I'm not going to stop her. It's not my place to do so, but I don't have to stand back, and watch people suffer without cause," she replied evenly, as if she was justifying her decision.
Ah, that explained some of her thought process. Orochimaru could work with that. He could see it behind those cold calculative words of hers. Hina didn't care. She helped that boy simply because it had been pounded into her that it was the right thing to do. The girl didn't do it out of a feeling of innate sympathy, like many children her age would act on, she did it because of cold logical reasoning. Orochimaru wondered what idiot had taught her about useless ethics. Things as arbitrary as morality were useless for people like him and her. It was a chain that prevented them from progressing. He had shed it like old skin when he was a teenager, that weakness that was a need to conform to others' standards of good and bad.
"I thought this would be a good learning experience. It seems it was," he stated.
It was for him. When she became his student, he would make sure to pound that illogical way of thinking out of her head. She was putting on an act to be good when she so clearly wasn't. For the first time in his life Orochimaru had found someone with the same eyes as him. Maybe taking on a student wouldn't be so bad.
Orochimaru had started his human testing on the cursed heavenly seal. It was a way for him to live on through another body. His essence, his chakra was a driving force in this study, a way for him to continue on. Not to mention he would finally be able to master the sage arts that he was so unfairly denied. He had once again become immersed in his research, and thoughts of finding a student were put to the side. Sarutobi could bug him for a little while longer. He had already found the perfect candidate after all, and he was a patient man if nothing.
He would have continued in perfect scientific immersion if it weren't for Jiraiya dragging him to a wedding of all things. He brought a Jutsu scroll with him as a gift, having completely forgotten that Nara Shikaku was marrying in the first place. He would have left as soon as he came had he not spotted a familiar mop of green hair once again. She was teasing the Nara clan head about losing his virginity of all things. Just how many connections did this girl have? He wasn't so sure Danzo could get his hands on her considering children weren't allowed to join ROOT as per the Hokage's demands, and she was nowhere near the level of incognito that was required when whisking away a child without suspicion. Orochimaru was rather pleased by the thought. Even if Danzo wanted her, the man wouldn't be able to lay a finger on her. Orochimaru on the other hand, could easily orchestrate an accident which would get rid of her sensei, and then Sarutobi would finally be out of his hair in regard to a student. No one would turn down a Sannin's offer of tutelage.
Eventually his future assistant went to stand by a tree awkwardly, hobbling over in her crutches. He did recall she had defeated a Jounin and sustained quite the injuries. Of course she had potential in the field as well. He decided to startle her again. Her expressions of fear were quite amusing, and this wedding had turned out to be a bore.
"Jiraiya is teaching you again?"
She jumped, nearly dropping her plate of food. She turned her attention to him with wide eyes before letting out a rather rough breath and getting her balance again. Somehow, scaring this child and making her flustered had become an amusing game.
"Orochimaru-sama," she said, a wary glint in her eyes.
"It's a pity our mission got cut short Hina-chan. There was more to teach you," he said shaking his head.
"You don't like weddings much do you?" she asked instead munching on sushi and trying not to look alarmed. She was doing a poor job of it too. How cute.
"These little festivities help boost morale during war," he said vaguely, before slitted amber eyes trailed down to her neck. He wondered if she would survive a cursed seal of his. Was her body as worthy as her mind?
"Y-Yoshino-san is feisty," she pointed out, rubbing her neck, and looking away consciously. So she had noticed then?
Orochimaru ignored the poor attempt to change the subject. "Jiraiya is not a good teacher. If you have any questions you can come find me. I'm usually at my lab in the Soraya district."
Her look of alarm and shock was rather fun. The wide range of emotions he could elicit from this child was unendingly enjoyable, and he knew he'd found a good toy to play with. He hoped he wouldn't be bored soon.
"T-thank you Orochimaru-sama, but I have vowed to get strong on my own merits."
Orochimaru's smile faded. Why would she refuse his help? Strong on her own merits? What a silly idea. All children were useless until they weren't, and they only got to a stage of being mildly useful by listening and learning from their betters.
"Surely accepting help from me is not so different than accepting help from Jiraiya, or any different to your current Jounin sensei," he reasoned.
Hina's face scrunched up in frantic thought. Her visual cues were terrible for a ninja. Orochimaru could practically read her coming up with excuses and he wondered why she had to. A child like her should be jumping at the opportunity to work with him.
"Not to be rude Orochimaru-sama. I'm just rather stubborn when it comes to teachers. My sensei makes training plans for me, but I learnt the taijutsu forms on my own, as well as all my jutsu. I want to make my power my own. It's a personal nindo of mine, so if I were to come to you for help, I'd like to keep it that way please."
Orochimaru didn't quite understand her perspective. It seemed she valued independence to an unhealthy level. He could understand the sentiment of owning one's own power for themselves, but at her level she shouldn't be so choosy. He certainly wasn't beyond bending over to Sarutobi in his early Genin days. Power was power, but maybe Hina was simply prideful in a different way. A far less practical way, he reasoned.
"That is certainly an admirable nindo but do take to heart that sometimes life's gifts are gained through alternate means."
"I will keep that in mind."
Orochimaru wondered if someone had told her to keep away from him. There was no other reason for her to be dismissive of him like this. It made him rather furious. No one said no to him, certainly not a brat. When it came down to it, he was ready to teach her, her place. It would be under him and she would learn to thank him for it. He hadn't just found a new amusing toy, and a way out of being chained to a bunch of snot nosed brats, for her to refuse him. Once again seeing her had made him angry. Orochimaru really did need to work on this irritating temper of his.
Ah yes this is Part 1 of the 2-part Orochimaru POV special! This chapter was mostly a rehash of the old chapters, except with a few tid-bits with Orochimaru's own personal conversations with Danzo. The next chapter is also an Orochimaru POV. The only other perspective I've written so far is Taichi's (Hina's older brother) but that's much later.
RileyBlue00- Yeah Hina's giving up a lot of her humanity to get the power she wants. Is that a good thing? I'm honestly leaving that an open-ended question. Thanks for your thoughtful review!
M2R- Ayye thanks!
Hi Exclamation Point- Yeah there's a lot of aspects of Hina's life that come in and out of focus, including people and situations. We're not getting a lot of Guy for now, because she's in a part of her life where she hardly sees him. Although there will still be tidbits of him later on. More people will be coming in and out of focus during the different arcs. Orochimaru is going to be a main focus characters for the next 10 or so chapters! Thanks for reviewing even though you were tired XD
Ptbv- Thanks for reviewing!
Apperatus- Yup Hina coming up with excuses so she doesn't have to feel bad about her actions is definitely unhealthy XD But it helps her get through this!
ita123- If I remember correctly Orochimaru leaves the village sometime after the war ends, and I haven't actually concluded the whole war yet, so I haven't really even written that part yet! Thanks for reviewing and honestly your English is fine!
Dacube24- You're spot on! Hina is definitely going to have a breakdown XD Not to mention her thoughts are being shaped in a very terrible way right now
gogo bananas- agh! I appreciate that bro!
ThousandDaysOfLaziness- Sorry can't do considering this is all pre-written content. Don't worry she does get older. Everything that happens till chapter 35 all happens within the span of a year. Cause this is a plot heavy time of her life.
Guest- If I'm being honest. That was a plot hole. My bad :')
MonsteraGecko- Yes take those study breaks! They help you refocus! Also I'm glad you like Shisui and the total concentration breathing! It's totally from demon slayer so I can't take credit for that XD
noahs95- Thanks! Glad you like it!
Kamyenh- From what I know it's incredibly hard. Like you have your affinities and then your secondary affinities and then learning your opposite affinity is apparently impossible to some because of the sheer hardness of it.
DarksiderForever- Hina-tan is a bad bad goirl so she won't be doing that XD
Kamyenh- Agh my heart! Thanks for checking out my art!