chozaxorochimaruxfemaleoc, because Choza’s wife never actually got, you know, a name or anything. The canon age difference between Orochimaru and Choza is twelve years; I tightened that up to ten. Timeline is woobly because wtf you want me to believe all this shit happened in like fifty years fuck you kishimoto.
Everything smells like blood and ash and there is a child on top of him.
Not on top, per say; perhaps it is more correct to say he is on top of the child, half-cradled in a wedge of rock.
(natural? No, but it certainly looks it.)
His chest is full of hollow rasping and the pain has dulled to an allover throb. He knows this is a bad thing. He knows that he needs to get up, to seek help, to find- who was he with? What was he doing?
“Don’t move,” the child hisses, and hands that are far stronger than a child should have pull him down. The child is warm. Unusually so.
He makes the mistake of closing his eyes.
The child- Akimichi Choza- is ten years his junior, only newly a chunin.
Desperate times indeed, when a clan heir is put on the battlefield.
“You need a heavier flak jacket.” Choza says to him, leaning on a bo pole twice his height and munching on a rice ball. The older man snorts. “No I don’t.”
“Yes you do. You can’t carry heat to save your life. One good rainstorm’ll do you.”
“Choza!” Comes a call from outside the medical tent and he grins, distorting the blue streaks on his cheeks.
The smile is almost disturbing in how pure it is, how completely gentle in this the heart of hell.
“Duty calls. Or at least Ino does. And if I don’t go now he’ll start screeching.”
Choza stuffs the last of his rice ball into his mouth. “Don’t go freezing to death.” He says to the grown man he dragged back behind friendly lines.
Orochimaru barely has time to think of a retort before the chubby chunin is gone.
The second time they meet is again in a tent, but this time it’s the mess and this time Orochimaru is getting a Look.
“what?” He asks, and he can tell this amuses Jiraiya because of how the idiot snorts.
“Go back and get more food.” The littleish redhead orders.
Orochimaru lifts one elegant brow. “This is sufficient.”
“For a garter snake.” The redhead responds cheerfully. “Which you are not.”
Jiraiya is flat out laughing now. Orochimaru takes a deep breath. “If I wanted a mother, I’d find a way to resurrect mine.” He says shortly.
“I bet she’d tell you to eat more, too.” Choza says, holding his ladle like a club. The hair net makes the outfit, or so Jiraiya claims later.
The war is over.
“There will be other wars.” Choza says this to Orochimaru. He is fresh from his jounin exam. “There always are.”
“Is peace a fallacy?” Orochimaru asks, curious, intrigued and wishing he wasn’t.
Choza shakes his head. “Peace is never a fallacy.” He says.
“Yet you believe there will be more war.”
“War is inevitable and so is peace.” Choza says. “As long as they exist, they are. That’s that.”
His friends come soon after, Shikaku slouching and looking half-asleep and Inoichi with a cardshark smile. Orochimaru bids Choza goodnight.
“Interesting company you keep,” he hears Shikaku say.
“Better than some.” Choza replies. “I’m hungry.”
“You’re always hungry.”
“You’re not wrong.”
Orochimaru leaves the bar and thinks about peace and war.
Peace is boring and Danzo offers such fascinating things.
Orochimaru doesn’t mean to stalk the street where the Akimichi Compound begins but it is smack-dab in the middle of the restaurant district, for obvious reasons. There are carts there open late.
One night he meets a woman. She is plump and gentle and practically has ‘Choza’ written all over her.
“You must be Orochimaru.” She says as she serves his dumplings. “Choza said you come here sometimes.”
Orochimaru wrinkles his nose. She smiles. “He said you’d do that, too.” She said.
Orochimaru begins avoiding the street. He contemplates Danzo more heavily. Opportunities are slim when there aren’t kunai in the air.
Choza is a threat and Orochimaru can’t figure out how, at first.
Then he attends the Clan meeting, which is technically his job as he is head of a clan (what clan? He is the only one left, a nation in being, a kingdom of one, whittled to nothing by fight after fight.)
Tempers rise and Choza cools them. Words become sharp, and Choza dulls them.
Danzo puts a piece down on the field, and Choza counters it.
Whether they realize it or not, Shikaku and Inoichi back him up. Fugaku does, too.
Danzo stares at a broad chested, red haired wall.
the Third declares the session over.
Orochimaru does not recognize the smile Choza gives.
It is not gentle, and it is not cheerful. It is the smile a wolf might wear before a wounded deer.
When Choza leaves, despite his great size, he makes no sound.
Orochimaru’s first mistake is agreeing with Danzo’s desire to take an ANBU.
His second mistake is not paying attention to the familiar size and movement of that ANBU.
His third mistake is looking Choza in the eye when the other ninja asks him, “Is this worth it?”
In Choza’s study, drinking Reiko’s tea, Orochimaru does his best to stay silent.
It only works for so long.
When he is done, Choza says, “There are better ways.”
Orochimaru looks at him. “What could you come up with,” he asks, “that I have not?”
The argument here is clear. One of these men is a Sannin, a genius. The other is the next in a long line of romantic overfed fools who tend to die on battlefields like dominoes falling over.
“If Danzo is dead,” Choza asks, turning a pen in thick fingers, “who would fill the void he leaves?”
Beside him, Reiko pours more tea.
The night air outside is still.
The first night Orochimaru spends at the Akimichi Compound ends in the early morning. He slips from the back doors in the shape of a viper and when he washes away the scented smoke from their bedroom he almost misses it.
“Your husband I can understand,” Orochimaru says to Reiko as she brushes his hair. “But why you?”
Reiko gives Orochimaru a considering look in the mirror. “My parents were mercenaries.” She says.
She doesn’t elaborate. She doesn’t have to. Mercinaries don’t last long in the ninja world.
Orochimaru begins writing grant requests and keeping careful tabs on Danzo.
Hiruzen picks Minato and Danzo dies.
It’s quite the thing, actually- an explosion exposing the continued existence of a secret intel branch that the Third had officially disbanded. Children are found long thought lost.
Minato goes through the rubble with a fine-toothed comb and when he comes to Orochimaru it is with a hard edge and a warm smile.
“It would be best,” he says as he reads through Orochimaru’s grant requests, “to perhaps be a bit more transparent with things like this.”
“I suppose.” Orochimaru agrees. “Though, Lord Fourth, there will always be a need…”
“So I am aware.” Minato admits, and he signs the paperwork.
“I’m pregnant!” Reiko says to Orochimaru when she brings him lunch at the worksite.
He stares at her.
When Orochimaru wakes up, he can hear Choza laughing.
“We’re fairly certain it’s mine.” The Akimichi says.
“Only fairly.” Reiko scolds him.
Orochimaru finds himself wishing desperately that he drank.
There is another war, and this time Choza is big enough to lift him, guard him, stand in front like every other idiot member of his idiot self-sacrificing clan of idiots.
“Run!” Orochimaru snaps and it comes out a hiss. Choza bears teeth at him, swings his bo pole. An approaching enemy is speared on it, thrown like a rag doll.
“If I don’t bring you home,” Choza says, “Reiko will kill me.”
Mud is churned with blood. Rumors come of the Salamander declaring peace.
Choza and Orochimaru share a look.
Peace won’t last.
The baby’s name is Chouji, and he has a fascination with Orochimaru’s hair.
“You know I’ve never seen a child who likes to chew as much as this one.” Reiko says.
Orochimaru winces and holds the little butterball at arm’s length.
“You’re bad at this.” Choza says to him. “Doesn’t your library have books on childcare?”
“It is a library and a research center.” Orochimaru says sullenly.
Choza takes Chouji effortlessly, presses a soft kiss to Orochimaru’s cheek before immediately vacating his personal space.
The servants dutifully sweep up the winding trails their Clan Head’s viper leaves in the compound dirt, and say nothing.
Behind the scenes photos by photographer Justin Borucki for Kerrang! magazine. New Jersey, 2004.
“I was hired by Kerrang! magazine to follow Gerard and Ray around and revisit the making of their latest album (I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love). We visited a hospital, the bar where they played their first gig, their childhood homes (Ray’s childhood bedroom is pictured), their practice space, and a diner that they ate at a lot when making the album. Most of these images were never run or seen by the public.”
(Updated) So, during Gerard’s 2nd panel today, someone asked, “What’s a good idea that you’ve had that never got to see the light of day?”
And Gerard goes, “I wanted my band to dress like Chimney Sweeps. Like, I really wanted to have us be in chimney sweep costumes and no one wanted to do it and it got shut down…. And I think it was an awesome idea! And this was before Panic! At the Disco by like a year! And then those dudes came out and I was like, ‘See?!’ ”
And then some girl shouts, “It’s not too late!”
Then he replied, “I’m one guy now…”
And another girl goes, “That didn’t stop Brendon!”
Today is the last of only three days that you can say that one of the Emo Trinity singers in his 20s, one in his 30s, and one in his 40s.
UPDATE: since this gained far, far more attention than I could have ever dreamed, I feel like it is my duty to add that this was posted on April 11, 2017. It is no longer relevant (but by all means, continue to reblog to prove you were alive for such a glorious moment in history.)