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Sakumo grinned as he looked out the window overlooking the back garden, waiting for the tea to brew and the fish to grill nicely. It was a quiet morning; peaceful, with a pleasant and unexpected hint of coolness in the air, though it was still warm enough not to discomfit his mate.

Sakumo had opened up parts of the house to let the fresh air into their den before he got started on breakfast. Not in their bedroom, though, which was still dim and quiet when Sakumo slipped back into it with a tray, heavy with breakfast.

He put it down beside the futon where his mate still slept and slid back into it himself, nuzzling Orochimaru’s shoulder and sweeping a hand down his side, then up over the heavy swell of their cub safe inside him. He stirred slowly, lazy and warm, and Sakumo trailed light kisses over his shoulder, neck, and jaw as he woke.

“Ohayou, lovely.” Sakumo said contentedly, resting his chin atop Orochimaru’s arm.

Orochimaru turned a little, golden eyes soft with sleep. “Ohayou. . .” he murmured, then reached up and stroked Sakumo’s face, rolling onto his back with a soft groan. Sakumo nuzzled him and pressed firmly with his knuckles at Orochimaru’s side along the arch of his back, feeling the muscle there ease under the pressure. Orochimaru groaned again, a lighter sound this time.

Sakumo smiled as he drew back, pulling the breakfast tray closer. He paused as Orochimaru brushed a hand over his hip, then his forearm, clasping lightly, and looked back to meet Orochimaru’s gaze.

“Happy birthday, wolf-heart.” Orochimaru said, tone warm, and Sakumo grinned. “You should have woken me.”

Sakumo cocked his head. “You’re awake now.” he pointed out, dipping down to claim a soft kiss, then sitting up and bringing the tray to rest on the futon itself. He’d forgone the shibazuke, with the distaste for it his mate had developed since their cub began growing, but there was rice and miso, the freshly-grilled fish he’d bought on his way home yesterday, soft-boiled eggs, melon, and his favourite tea which he knew they had been out of for weeks - and he hadn’t been able to find at the market - but had appeared mysteriously again in the cupboard yesterday. “And we can share breakfast.”

“Mm. . .” Orochimaru slowly sat up, and then shifted to rest his back against the wall. They had moved the futon here from the usual place in the centre of the room as Orochimaru’s pregnancy went on and he found the support occasionally more comfortable. Sakumo found himself resting more easily with his pregnant mate tucked between himself and the wall as well, no matter how capable he knew Orochimaru was.

“That’s what you want?” Orochimaru asked, and Sakumo nodded. “You are easily pleased, wolf.”

Sakumo grinned at him again and offered a pair of chopsticks. Orochimaru smiled, soft and sweet, and ignored them to reach up and cup his jaw, drawing him in for a slow, lingering kiss.

Sakumo rumbled protest as he pulled away, burying his face against Orochimaru’s shoulder and finding his mate shifting in welcome, letting him press even closer. He closed his eyes and breathed in his mate’s scent; rich and changed with his pregnancy but still familiar and only all the more beloved for the differences it had developed.

“I do so love you, mate.” Sakumo said softly, against his shoulder. Orochimaru hummed and rubbed a hand over his thigh, back and forth, leaning his head against Sakumo’s. He lingered there for a long few moments, then drew himself away with a brush of a kiss to Orochimaru’s throat that made him shiver, letting out a soft sound.

Sakumo smiled as he sat up properly again, slowly taking up his chopsticks as Orochimaru accepted his own, drawing the tray closer so he could remain snug against his mate’s side. Orochimaru prodded him with a low laugh, but didn’t protest Sakumo remaining at his elbow as they ate.

“You know I would have done this for you,” Orochimaru said after a few bites, stirring the yolk from an egg into his soup, “I’m not so incapable.” He arched an eyebrow.

“You’re never incapable.” Sakumo said, returning the arch look. “Ever.”

Orochimaru’s lips twitched, and he tilted his head slightly in acknowledgment. Sakumo captured his free hand and turned it over, kissing the inside of his wrist, then nipping it lightly. It might please Orochimaru to hear it, but it wasn’t flattery.

“You know it makes me happy to know you are right here, waiting. Warm and safe. With our cub.” Sakumo said quietly, eyeing his mate, uncertain how he would take that.

His eyebrow went back up, and his lips tilted at one side, but he nodded. Sakumo relaxed and took another bite of fish.

“You know you can have me here in our bed any time you like.” Orochimaru pointed out.

“If only that were true.” Sakumo countered wryly, and dipped his head to bump his cheek against Orochimaru’s shoulder. “Knowing you belong, and are here so often, doesn’t make me any less pleased at the thought.” He tilted his head to catch Orochimaru’s eye without drawing back too far. “Or . . . simply to know you are here, asleep, waiting for me.”

Orochimaru hummed but didn’t comment, stroking Sakumo’s thigh again, then letting his hand rest there as Sakumo lingered against his shoulder. It remained when Sakumo straightened again, returning to his breakfast, and he nudged companionably against his mate himself as they finished the shared meal.

Sakumo pushed the tray aside but didn’t move to take it away yet, leaning into Orochimaru’s side and rumbling contentedly. He shivered, closing his eyes, as Orochimaru’s fingers began to comb through his hair, long, smooth caresses and gentle scratches that ran all the way down his nape.

Sakumo was tempted to simply sink down and let his head rest in his mate’s lap.

“Are you sure you don’t want anything special for your birthday, wolf-heart?” Orochimaru asked, stroking his cheek. “I may not be in any shape to play games,” he said wryly, “but we’re both here, home, together. . .”

Sakumo rumbled softly and pushed into the gentle touch, twisting to face his mate and sliding his own hand over Orochimaru’s stomach. “Oh, lovely.” He nestled his face against Orochimaru’s. “How could I possibly want more than you’re already giving me?” he asked, stroking the taut swell their cub made in his mate’s body.

“You are easily pleased.” Orochimaru said softly. “Nothing else?”

“You call creating and carrying a cub easy?” Sakumo teased gently, nipping his mate’s jaw and making him laugh.

“Mm, true.” Orochimaru caressed his face and drew him into a kiss. “I don’t think you’ll be getting this little one for your birthday, though.” He shifted a little against Sakumo, his own hand brushing past Sakumo’s on his belly as he sighed. “Not quite yet.”

“Our cub will be born when they’re ready.” Sakumo said, amused. “And that isn’t what I meant, in any case.” Sakumo paused, closing his eyes as he nuzzled Orochimaru with needy affection. “Don’t make light of what you’ve given me, lovely.”

Orochimaru hummed a curious note and Sakumo opened his eyes, taking a breath, to meet his mate’s gaze. “You gave me pack again, when I thought I would never have it. Not only our cub,” he smiled at the words, glancing down his mate’s body, sheltering their little cub so well until they were ready to be born, “something I had given up on ever having, but you, lovely. Pack. Family. Mate. Home.

Orochimaru’s breath caught, and Sakumo nuzzled his face again. “No. How could I ask for anything more when you’ve already given me everything to make my world?”

“Oh. . . Wolf-heart.” Orochimaru cupped Sakumo’s jaw and rested their brows together. “I love you too. My mate. My family.” He wound his arms around Sakumo’s shoulders, pressing closely against him.

Sakumo rumbled affectionately as he nudged his mate down and cuddled around him, one hand curled beneath Orochimaru’s back, the other resting over their unborn cub.