Orochimaru looked up as the door slid open, smiling slightly as his mate stepped out onto the engawa, pausing to take a deep breath of the still slightly wet air. He closed the door and moved towards Orochimaru, smiling slightly. He shifted as his mate approached, folding one leg and tucking his ankle under the opposite knee.
“Hello.” Sakumo knelt, kissing his cheek in a caress which became a gentle nuzzle. Orochimaru tilted his head into it affectionately, then turned to brush a fleeting kiss to one corner of Sakumo’s mouth in return. Sakumo smiled, settling at his side, warm and solid and just shy of leaning into Orochimaru. He remained silent save for a low sound of contentment.
Orochimaru flicked a glance out to the garden, checking on Kakashi once more, then returned his attention to the book he held. Perhaps now a little more comfortable and content himself, leaning closer to his mate’s warmth. Sakumo gave an inviting rumble and trailed a caress over Orochimaru’s thigh and up over his waist to his arm.
“. . .lovely?” Sakumo asked after a few minutes, fingers idly straying up and down Orochimaru’s arm.
“Mm?” Orochimaru prompted without looking up, half his focus remaining on the seal array laid out in the journal’s pages, trying to make sense of the incomplete design.
“Why is Kakashi making that face while he runs around chasing . . . are some of your snakes out there playing with him?” Sakumo asked, his hand pausing briefly and squeezing Orochimaru’s forearm.
Orochimaru raised his head and cast his gaze out over the garden. “I think he is chasing frogs.” he said absently. “There aren’t any toxic ones in our area,” he added, “so I’ve left him to it.” Kakashi pounced on something out in a small depression in the grass, rolling around and making another face, scraping his tongue against his teeth. “You remember the Uchiha girl who was trying to make friends at the park?”
Sakumo leaned against him a little more, humming. “Yes, of course. She came back? That is, she came here?” Orochimaru hummed and nodded, but before he could continue- “Oh damn, tell me he didn’t bite her?”
Orochimaru laughed, a bit startled. “No, no he did not. She is fine. If not perhaps a little more determined to make friends.” He shook his head. The Uchiha stripe of determination was . . . odd. “She brought him a treat to share. Her mother was horrified, of course, to bring her here,” he said dryly - as though he would just attack an Uchiha, no matter how fascinating he found their doujutsu, “but evidently could not refuse her.”
“. . .she brought Kakashi a treat?” Sakumo repeated dubiously.
“Candy. It was . . . not to his taste.” Orochimaru said wryly, remembering the rather unpleasantly stunned expression Kakashi had worn as he had half-reluctantly tried the pale yellow treat he’d been offered. He looked at his mate. “It appears he has definitely inherited my sweet tooth rather than yours.”
“So now he’s chasing frogs.” Sakumo observed, lips twitching. “Because frogs are much tastier than candy.”
“More fun, too.” Orochimaru suggested, arching a brow as Sakumo turned to face him. “Do you disagree? He’s still a cub.” he pointed out, idly remembering chasing frogs himself when he was small. Or scaling trees - his mother watching from among her poison beds, tending the pretty, deadly flowers carefully - to investigate nests hidden in their branches for eggs, or to lie in wait to catch birds.
“That he is.” Sakumo said, his voice warm and fond. He gave a soft, happy rumble, shifting to rest his head on Orochimaru’s shoulder and still watching their cub tumble about in the safe confines of the half-wild garden.
Orochimaru twisted fluidly, freeing one hand and wrapping it around Sakumo’s shoulders, stroking idly. A deeper rumble of pleasure built in his throat, and he nuzzled into Orochimaru’s shoulder with a little more force. Orochimaru smiled and craned his neck to kiss Sakumo’s brow, eyes straying back to Kakashi. He was getting a little muddy after so many playful leaps and rolls in the garden, which was just shy of waterlogged after the past few days of intermittent rain. He still looked to be quite enjoying himself, however, and it wasn’t chill enough to worry for his playing in the wet. He would wash, and so would his clothes.
Sakumo drew a deep breath, pressing his nose into Orochimaru’s shoulder, then lifted his head. Orochimaru let his arm fall from around his mate, straightening a bit to allow Sakumo to draw away, but he only slid his legs and hips further down the engawa and stretched out, nudging his head proprietarily onto Orochimaru’s bent thigh.
He laughed softly and ran his fingers through his wolf’s hair, scratching lightly as he trailed his fingertips down to Sakumo’s neck. He pulled the tie holding Sakumo’s hair free with a flick of his wrist, ruffling the freed tail as Sakumo pushed his head closer and nudged more firmly in against Orochimaru’s hip, giving a small happy whine.
Orochimaru smiled down at his mate, petting fondly and looking out to check on Kakashi again. Their cub was somehow wet much of the way up his calves, though Orochimaru hadn’t seen him go at all near the pond, and had flopped over now, still and quiet, leaning against a rock. Orochimaru suspected he was beginning to wear himself out.
Orochimaru turned his attention back to the journal, lifting his hand from his mate’s hair - Sakumo sighed, a faint thread of a whine accompanying the soft breath - to turn the page before returning his fingers to Sakumo’s neck. He squeezed firmly, and Sakumo grumbled, sagging lower where he was stretched out across the boards and Orochimaru’s lap, every muscle going lax.
A short time later a sharp yip broke Orochimaru from his thoughts and he raised his head just in time to see Kakashi take a leap up onto the engawa directly in front of his father. Orochimaru laughed softly, smiling fondly, and Kakashi grinned back at him, scrambling nearer - muddy feet and splatters and all - without coming out of his crouch.
Orochimaru swiftly held his journal up and out of range, eying the mud smearing over his pants as Kakashi bumped over his lap - nearly kneeing Sakumo in the face - to stretch up and nuzzle his jaw, hands curling into his shirt. “Hello little one. Have you had fun?” Orochimaru asked, lifting his free hand to stroke a bit of hair out of Kakashi’s grinning, slightly flushed face and wipe away a bit of mud. He kissed his son’s brow.
Kakashi nodded happily as he slid back down to the engawa with a quiet thump. “Yes Mama!”
“Did you catch anything?” Orochimaru asked, arching a brow.
“Yes!” Kakashi slid sideways and curled up, snuggling close to Sakumo’s chest, licking his chin as Sakumo rested a hand on his back before tucking his head down as well, making a tiny huffing sound. “Put it back by the pond though. Not hungry.”
“Not hungry, or not hungry for frog?” Sakumo asked with a low thrum of amusement, rubbing his back.
Kakashi yawned, then sighed, curling his legs in a little more tightly and probably getting Sakumo’s belly rather wet as his knees folded up against his father. “Not hungry.” Kakashi said sleepily, butting the top of his head against Orochimaru’s thigh. Orochimaru reached down to ruffle his damp, messy hair, then squeezed Kakashi’s shoulder before returning his hand to rest on his mate’s neck.
Sakumo hummed, shifting a little and tucking Kakashi more neatly against his body. He squirmed and whined softly, nestling his head against Sakumo’s collarbone.
Orochimaru kneaded his mate’s neck, watching them settle for a few more moments before inspecting himself - slightly muddied but not too badly he supposed - and lowering his book to a readable height once more. He idly petted his mate’s hair as he listened to Sakumo’s low, soothing croon and Kakashi’s sleepy murmurs, content.