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Spirited away

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A hot summer day a small and skinny boy was outside working in a garden. The clothes he wore was both too big and old, making him look even smaller. If someone would come by and ask him his name he would not be able to answer, since he was mostly called boy or freak by his relatives, and he didn't think that was something someone would name their child. He could, of course, be mistaken but even at four he knew that his relatives was far from normal in their ways of handling him. At least he thought he was still four. His cousin had just had his fifth birthday the day before and even though he didn't believe that they would celebrate his birthday he still believed that they would tell him when it arrived, if just so they could complain that they've had him for another year.

Since he'd been outside working for a couple of hours without any water, it wasn't strange that when he first heard the voice he thought he was imagining it. Especially since the voice was complaining about not finding any juicy mice.

"Hello?" He finally said. "Is there anybody there?"

"A freshly hatched speaker!" The voice said at his feet.

The boy sat down in surprise.

"A snake? I didn't know that snakes could talk."

"Of course we can talk; it's just that you twoleggers usually don’t understand out noble language. What's your name hatchling?"

"Oh, uhm, my relatives usually calls me boy or freak," he blushes slightly. "But I don't think that's my name."

The snake rears back hissing, too angry for any real words.

"No hatchling should be deprived a name, especially not one who speaks our noble tongue! And the skin you wear is too big for you! This is a travesty! A travesty! Don't worry; I'll help you, since this next doesn't seem to take care of you I'll make sure you'll get to one who will."

And before the boy has a chance to protest, not that he would since he believes that anyplace would be better than here, they disappears in a puff of smoke. Left behind is a small puddle of a black tarlike substance, which oozes for a while before sinking into the dirt, leaving a dead spot behind.

The boy, on the other hand, is suddenly somewhere completely different. A place with lots of rocks and grass, and snakes everywhere. Small snakes, large snakes and even snakes in all colors and patterns. There's also a large opening that seems to lead into a cave of some sort.

First he doesn't understand what the snakes are saying, only hearing hissings, but once he shakes his head he can understand them again.

Unknown to him it was his magic that gave him the power to understand parselmouth this time, and not the horcrux. Belief is after all one of the most important thing when it comes to magic.

"Manda! Manda!" The small snake that brought him here quickly disappears into the cave, the small boy hurrying after. "Manda, wake up you big lump of flesh, I need your help!"

The boy can't help stumble back when the boulder in front of him moves and opens an eye.

"Worm, stop your yelling before I crush your insignificant body."

He never knew that a snake could look affronted, at least not until now.

"You overgrown handbag!" The snake sniffs. "Here I come bringing you a newly hatched speaker, and what do you do? Insult me, that's what."

Manda flicks his tongue out, tasting the air before focusing on the child.

"Eh, hello," the boy says when the small snake gives him a nudge.

"Just look at the way those twoleggers treated him, I just knew I needed to rescue him. They haven't even named him."

"Send him to Orochimaru, it's only right to let one speaker name another. He will most likely summon one of us within the next day or so. Lazy bastard that he is, I should just eat him the next time he dares to summon me." Manda flicks his tongue again. "Give the hatchling some better skin to wear and some food." He then closes his eyes and goes back to sleep.

The child follows the small snake out of the cave, listening to it mutter on about arrogant, overgrown, puffed up balloons. It doesn't take long before he's been given some fruits to eat, and after he's shoved into a hot pool of water with orders to clean himself up. His clothes are ripped to pieces and when he tries to protest he's instead presented with a new set. It fits him better than his old ones, a little on the big side and made of what he suspected is snakeskin. But if it is, it's strangely soft and in muted green and brown colors. The child falls asleep in a nest with other hatchlings.

The young boy knows that he should ask questions and demand to be returned to his relatives, but for the first time he can remember he's eaten till he's full, been allowed to have a bath in warm water and is wearing clothes that more or less fits him. Lying in the bed with the rest of the small snakes he feels safe, protected. And around his arm is the small snake that took him here, it has promised to stay with him as long he's here. But had said it couldn't follow him when he would go to his new home, since they wouldn't appreciate his splendor there. The boy isn't certain what splendor means, but knows he will miss the small snake.

The next morning he's presented with more fruits and even some nuts. He also has been claimed by two of the newly hatched snakes, one a bright red color and the other a shimmering black with white markings. They were too small to be able to speak clearly, but they both insisted that he was theirs.

"Not bad," his other snake friend said. "They will be able to protect you when they're bigger. The red one is poisonous and the black one might be able to shoot lightning from his rattle. Well, at least when he grows big enough to get one. Now at the moment they're as helpful as a wristband, they look pretty but the only thing they're good for is a distraction if you would throw them at someone. I on the other hand might not be poisonous, but at least I'm smarter than 90% of the population here, if it wasn't for the fact that my body disagree with chakra I would of course go with you."

The boy wants to ask questions, but has already learnt that he'll be punished if he does. Instead he just gives his friend a small smile.

"Now, it for some reason this doesn't work out for you, don't be afraid to summon Manda. He'll take care of you and will either crush or eat your enemies for you. If he tries to slack of I'll give him a lashing he'll never forget."

He can't help the giggle when he tries to imagine the small snake lecturing the giant one.

The rest of the day is spent playing and talking to different snakes. Not all of them have names, the one that brought him here doesn't and neither does the youngest one. A rather large green ones tells him that he can name the two small snakes that has claimed him, but that he should wait until he has the right names for them. The next day starts of the same way as the last one, but just after lunch three of the snakes come to attentions.

"Oh, we're being summoned, hurry here young speaker."

They curl around him and in a puff of purple smoke he's gone.

Chapter Text

Orochimaru isn't having a good day, not even a good month. His two so called teammates has left Konoha, one to try and drink herself to an early grave and the other; well he didn't really know why Jiraya felt the need to leave. All he knew is that they left him behind in a broken village that even not, more than a year later, was slowly fixing itself again. This was why he was here, with two other ninjas that he hasn’t felt the need to remember the name of, checking out rumors of bandits in the forest surrounding the village. He's been outside so much that his normal pale skin has taken on a slight golden hue. Orochimaru misses his lab and experiments.

Finally he's had enough and summons some snake to help them search for traces of the mysterious bandits that they haven't been able to find. And for once something unexpected happens, with the snakes comes a human child.

Orochimaru thinks that this will be the first and only time he'll ever see an Uchiha gob smacked.

"Orochimaru-sama, Orochimaru-sama, we bring you your hatchling!" The first snake says excited.

"Idiot!" The other one snaps. "Orochimaru-dono, we present to you a young speaker. His past nest was incapable of taking care of even a worm."

The third one nudges the boy.

"Um, hello, o," the boy hesitates. "Maru," he finally said, or rather hisses since he doesn't speak in a human language.

The third snake nudges him again and hisses something too quietly for Orochimaru to hear. The child gives the snake a dubious look before turning to the snake senin again and lifting his arms up in the universal signal to be lifted.

Orochimaru has known snakes long enough to know that this is a test, and a test he better not fail. He doesn't know why they've decided that he is the best person to raise this child, but knows that if he doesn't do the best he can he'll never be able to summon a snake again. So he bends down and gently picks up the small child, ignoring but noticing the small flinch and the way the child first goes stiff and then when nothing happens almost melts in his arms. Abused, touch starved and malnourished he clinical registers. Hopefully only physical abused, but time would tell. For now he needed to get the child to safety and checked over.

"Ah, Orochimaru," the hesitant voice takes him from his musings. "What?" It's clear that the nameless ninja has no idea how to ask what's going on.

"Are you not going to introduce us to your young friend?" The Uchiha asks.

"I would, but since I doubt that he knows our language it would be a waste of time. I would, on the other hand appreciate it if we could cut this so called mission short. I would like to take my new," he hesitates for a moment thinking of which word to use. "Son, to the hospital to get him checked over."

A dark satisfied pleasure curls in his stomach when he sees the reaction of his word on the other two. It always amused him when people react to just one or a few of his words. He might never be hokage, but can still influence the people around him.

The Uchiha, and he really should try to learn his temporary teammates names, take a step closer but abruptly stops when two small snakes unwinds enough from the child’s wrists to hiss at him. Not that they're old enough to be dangerous or even speak more than a few words. Orochimaru can feel his lips twitch when his female teammate’s pales even further seeing the red snake slithers inside the child’s clothes. This is more entertaining than he's had in over three years, when he tricked Jiraiya to wear female clothes for a mission.

At least it doesn't take long for them to decide to head back to Konoha. Orochimaru banish two of the snakes but leaves the third, mostly so he can quietly ask it about the child in his arms. The child that seems to have fallen asleep, which probably is because of the way he was summoned here. Something in him bristles when he heard that the young boy doesn't even know his own name. A possessive feeling slowly curls inside of him, like a snake coming out of hibernation. The child might not be his by blood, but now he belongs to him anyway. And Orochimaru has few enough things that he thinks are important to him, but those that he has he guards like a nesting dragon. Two of those things had been his former teammates, but with the way they both abandoned him he isn't so sure anymore that they're worth it.

It doesn't take long before they're back inside Konoha and Orochimaru ignores the other two as they go to report, instead he shunpun to the hospital. There it's only a couple of minutes before he's in a private room. The bed makes the small boy look even smaller and he can't help the snarl when one of the nurses takes out a scissor to cut off the clothes. Instead he increases the boy himself, dismayed by the bruises and the way he can easily count the boys ribs.

Since the nurse fled instead of staying to help he takes it on himself to hover while the doctor examines the child.

"Nothing to serious, with a bit of care he should make full recovery. He'll need a high calcium diet for a while, but he's young enough that he's growth won't be stunted of his bones bristle. Just be careful the next half year and his bones should have recovered. I'll make sure that you'll receive a diet plan, but for now it's better that he has many small meals instead of a few large."

"Any signs of sexual trauma?"

"No, he's been lucky in that. And he's young enough to be able to bounce back from any psychology abuse. As soon as he starts to feel safe and has a steady home life I'm sure he'll be fine."

Orochimaru can tell that the doctor doesn't expect him to keep the child and sends him a glare that has the other man paling.

"And the reason he hasn't woken up yet?"

"Chakra exhausting, as soon as he's been able to recover he should wake up."

"Interesting, especially since he doesn't have any chakra coils," Orochimaru muses before dismissing the doctor.

The child would wake when he was ready, and all he could to was wait. He also would have to think up a name for the child. Orochimaru scrutiny the child for inspiration, one thing he's never been good at was naming things. But before he can make a decision the door opens and the hokage comes inside, followed by Inoichi Yamanaka.

"Ah Orochimaru-kun I heard the most surprising rumor and just had to see if it was correct or not."

"Sensei, as you can see the rumors are correct."

"Yes, it appears so," he gives the younger man a proud smile before he becomes serious again. "But you understand why we need to make sure of his background, if just to be certain who to protect him from in case someone comes looking for him."

"Yess," the answer is almost a hiss.

"Inoichi will be careful, I promise. Ah, and it appears that we came at the best moment. Hello there young one," he gives a gentle smile and gets a small one back after the child makes sure that Orochimaru is there. "Can you tell us your name? Or where you came from?"

"Sensei, he doesn't speak our language, at the moment he either speaks snake or his original language, whatever that's called."

"Ah, I see. Perhaps Inoichi-kun can be of help there. Do you think that you can give the boy our language?"

"I can give him the foundation of it. Any more would overwhelm him and would possible overwrite his original language. But with a foundation he would have no trouble picking it up."

The boy watches warily as the blond man comes closer and Orochimaru has to suppress the instinct to snatch the child up. Instead he takes the child’s hand and offers a reassuring squeeze. Inoichi sits down in the bottom of the bed and makes eye contact with the green eyes child. More gently than he usually is he enters the child’s mind and rifles through his memories. Usually he goes to the oldest first and work his way forward, or just searched for the relevant one. But, to make it as painless as possible, he just watches the memories like a rewinding movie.

First come the meeting with Orochimaru, and isn't that a slightly chock, to see the usually cold man handle the small boy with care. Then the snakes, and Manda looks even bigger than normal, and back again to a bland neighborhood with houses all looking the same. A thin woman with a piecing voice, a cupboard under the stairs, a fat man with a purple face yelling, a spoilt child hitting doing just what his parents has taught him. Loneliness, pain, hunger, words that hurt. An old man with a ridiculous beard leaving him outside wrapped in a blanket, a huge man with a bushy beard.

And here is where it becomes strange since the boy remembers a flying motorcycle, flashes of green and a high pitched laugh. A woman begging, a man yelling. The woman and man waiving sticks around, creating sparkles for the boy. The man, probably father, turning into a stag and another into a big black dog.

Inoichi gently pulls out, after leaving basic knowledge of their language behind. The child looks on the verge of falling asleep again, but didn't seem to be in any pain. Which was very lucky since Inoichi has a feeling that Orochimaru wouldn't let him live long if he'd hurt the young boy.

"I can give a basic report now, but I need a couple of hours before I can make an in-depth one." When the hokage gives him an inquiring look he elaborates. "Usually I just search for the information or memory, but to make it as painless as possible I let the memories roll by."

"Very well, is there something you feel we should know now? Otherwise I'm expecting a report tomorrow."

"The child comes from another world; he doesn't have chakra but something else instead. His parents used some kind of sticks as focus, and he might develop the ability to turn into an animal."

The hokage dropped his pipe in surprise but Orochimaru just smirked, shoving that he already knew at least some of it.

"Orochimaru-kun, have you decided on a name yet?" The hokage visible decided to ignore the short report until he had had time to think of it.

"Midori, for his eyes."

"Yes, they are a spectacular color. Now I think it's best to leave you and your new son, I'll make sure to update your file," he turns to leave. "Oh, and I believe that congratulations is in order."

 

Chapter Text

The next two weeks went quickly. Orochimaru was able to take his newly named son home after staying one night at the hospital. He might not have a compound as someone there larger clans, but he still has a large house at the edge of town that had been in his family for generations. With only the two of them living there, some parts of the house was still uninhabited. He also quickly realized that he needed to stop his more dangerous experiments for a while. It also meant that he wouldn't accept the invitation to join Root.

The first days Midori stumbled over the words and were mostly quietly observing everything around him. Since he, at the moment, either didn't have any preferences or was too afraid to voice them, Orochimaru bought clothes in neutral colors and some toys that he knew was popular. The only thing that Midori actually expressed a desire to have was a big stuffed dog. Orochimaru remembered what Inoichi had said about people turning into animals and assumed that it reminded him of one of those.  While Orochimaru didn't feel the need to buy all that much, his old sensei didn't have the same feeling. Luckily he was wise enough to know better than to overwhelm Midori and only had a few things every time he was by. Instead he was by at least once a day, to as he put it; catch up with his favorite student and his son.

Midori was more happy than he ever had been before, not only had he a new home and someone he might be able to call dad or otosan if he ever had the courage to. He also didn't have cook or clean the house or anything. Well, he needed to keep his own room tidy, and that was another thing, he had his own room with things that was his in it. He also was allowed to take care of the garden, mostly because Orochimaru, or Maru as he called him, didn't have any interest in taking care of it himself. But it wasn't something he needed to do; just something he could do it here wanted. But the best part of it was when Maru took him to the lab, there were so many strange and slightly horrifying things there, and he even was allowed to help! While his new father didn't let him cut things up he got to crush leaves, insects and mix different things together. One time there even was a frog that Orochimaru cut open, pointed out the different organs, and then used the spleen of in one of his concord.

The hokage, or ojisan as he asked Midori to call him, and been torn between amused and exasperated when he was told. Amusement had won in the end.

Orochimaru didn't have any missions for the first two month, but after that even he knew that he needed to start working again. So with reluctance he sat down and explained for his son that he needed to start working again, and that it would mean that he would be away from home for a couple of days from time to time. But that he would make sure that he didn't take any missions that would keep him away from long.

The first missions went without any problems, especially since he'd summoned a couple of snakes to keep Midori company. The next one, on the other hand, was when Danzo made his move and sent some of his Root underling to retrieve Midori in hopes of getting the snake senning for his organization. The three made into the house, but was quickly killed by the snakes guarding Midori, while the child slept through it all.

Inoichi didn't think that he was payed enough when three large snakes suddenly dropped of three dead bodies at his feet’s. At least he wasn't the only one there since Ibiki also was working night. Now he had two possible three problems. First to figure out who these three people were and where they've done from. Second to figure out whether Midori was safe, hurt or unharmed. And three, how to stop a rampaging snake summoner if his son wasn't unharmed. He wasn't certain that Konoha would survive if that proved to be the case.

It didn't help that he had no way on checking on Midori, since the snakes refused to let him in to the house and he was in no hurry getting attacked. Luckily Midori was used to wake up early so it didn't take more than four hours of waiting outside the house before he spotted the young boy. Inoichi decided then and there that the best thing he could do was to invite the child over for breakfast, perhaps he would get along with his own daughter. And if he stayed over for the next night, what was the harm? At least there would be no one stupid enough to try and do something to him there.

Orochimaru was not amused when he heard what had happened, but managed to thank Inoichi for his help in a threatening way. Inoichi was actually impressed with the way he managed to sound so threatening while all he did was thanking him. And if Danzo a couple of weeks later had an accident and was forced to retire there was nothing that could be used as evidence of foul play. Not even when the old man was found dead in his sleep sometimes later.

The hokage decided that it was for the best to take Orochimaru out of the active roster and then just so his old student wouldn't be bored assigned him a team of graduates. At least that was the reason he gave Orochimaru when the younger man demanded an explanation. Orochimaru on the other hand thought it was some bizarre punishment for the late Danzo's, mysterious, demise. In any case he couldn't turn the assignment down and he was now the sensei of three brats.

 

---

Anko Mitarashi was waiting for her new sensei and at the same time trying to figure out whether she would be able to work together with her two teammates. She didn't know them very well, so it was hard for her to know if they were complete assholes or not. If they tried to hold her back she would kick their asses so hard that they would be able to feel it for a month. Yamato looked so boring, just sitting there looking straight ahead, and since he was a year older then her and they hadn't been in the same class she didn't know if he just missed the exam last year or if he'd started class a year later. If she wasn't trying to make a good impression on whoever the new sensei was she would try and pinch him or something to get a reaction. At least she knew that her other teammate, Kabuto Yakushi, was believed to be something of a genius and that was why he graduated at nine, two years younger than her. And he was also boring, sitting there with his nose in a book. This was going to suck.

Then the classrooms door opened again and one of the strongest people in the town stepped in, looking slightly displeased.

"Team nine; you have fifteen minutes to get to training site five." He turns around without another word and is gone.

Anko can't stop the large grin on her face, this would be amazing, Orochimaru was her new sensei. She quickly turns two her teammates.

"If either of you messed this up I'll drop you naked covered in honey into the forest or death."

Yamato looks a little taken aback while Kabuto gives her a small bland smile.

It takes them just slightly over ten minutes to run at full speed to training ground five. A few minutes later Orochimaru arrives with a child, most likely his son. The three graduates can't say for sure, since neither of them has seen the son before.

"This is Midori; if any of you even think about harming him in any way you'll learn how fast it takes for a snake to digest you." The threat is lessened when Midori shyly waives at them, apparently it isn't uncommon for his father to threaten people around him. "Now, for the next week or so I'll make sure to test your strengths and weaknesses before we'll even start thinking of taking any missions. I expect you to work together; I don't care if you hate each other you will work as a team for at least two years. I know that some let's their students take the chuunin exam after just one year, but I don't care how good you are we will wait at least two years. This is for your benefit since it takes times for both your minds and your bodies to mature. For the same reason we will only do D ranked missions for the first half year. Now, who can tell me the purpose of D ranked missions?"

All three raises their hand and Orochimaru points at one of them.

"To help with teamwork in a safe environment."

"True, but what more?"

Yamato hesitates, their teachers hasn't said anything else about the reason for D rank missions. He looks at his two teammates but they also seem to be confused about what kind of answer is required.

"No one? Well one of the reason is that you'll get to try different work that might be of help one day if you need to go undercover. Another is that they're used as mock situations, babysitting can be a lot like guarding a client; you need to know about edible plants to be able to survive in the wild. And you also learn about the town and its citizens who can be helpful in case of emergency, both to keep them safe and so they know that they can come to you in case they see something suspicious. This is unfortunate one thing that many ignore and instead they only do the bare minimum of these kinds of missions." He suddenly pierces them with a look that makes them come to attention. "You are all three orphans, yes? Then say that you do a D rank mission helping out in a restaurant or a store. There is a possibility that if you do your best and not only the bare minimum that the owner will remember you and give you a better price of his or her wares. Now, I want you to think of your strengths and weaknesses until tomorrow. Right now I have an experiment I need to get back to. You will be at my house at eight tomorrow morning."

He doesn't wait for them to answer, just turns around and gathers his son up before vanishing in a puff of leaves.

"Ok, I don't know about you, but having someone like Orochimaru as our sensei is going to be great," Anko is almost vibrating of happiness. Sure it would suck to have to wait two years before they would have the chance to become behind, but she has the feeling that they would only need one try to succeed. "So, since we're supposed to work together and all that shit, what do you say about we do our so called homework together?"

"I don't mind Anko-chan, sempai?"

"Yes, it's a good idea. It'll give us some insight on each other’s weaknesses."

"Good! Let's get some dango." Anko grabs the boys’ arms and starts dragging them after her.

 

Chapter Text

Anko is knocking on her sensei's door before half past seven. Ok, so it might be closer to seven than half past, and what she was as knocking most people would think of banging. Luckily it doesn't take long before the door opens.

"Morning se... I mean chibi-chan," she beams down at the boy who looks at her seriously.

"Morning, would you like to come in? We were just about to have breakfast."

Anko hesitates, in one hand it's probably rude of her to just barge in, on the other breakfast. She had been too busy to eat breakfast today, not that she had that much at home.

"Sure! I would love to come in."

Midori opens the door wider and Anko sees the large snake behind him for the first time. Ignoring that she quickly takes of her sandals and follows them further inside.

"Good morning, sensei!" The glare she gets in return tells her that Orochimaru is not a morning person. It also gets her to help Midori with the breakfast, not that the kid needs a lot of help. Anko has never had or heard of pancakes before, but they're almost as good as dango. And the whipped cream and fruits only makes them better. "Midori-chan, marry me!"

Ops, the glare from sensei tells her that that was perhaps not the best approach. Luckily Midori giggles, which make the glare of doom disappear.

"Sensei, you must try this, it's fucking fantastic." And the glare is back; apparently she needs to think before she speaks if she wants to make it to genin alive.

"Maru isn't a morning person, he needs tea to function."

Anko sort of blanks, she can't grasp that there's someone calling Orochimaru Maru. She wonders if she would survive doing so, but a look at the older man tells her that no she wouldn't, and that he knows what she's thinking about.

"I'll do the dishes!" She almost drops the plates in her hurry to leave the table, but manages to keep a hold of them.

A knock on the door interrupts her planning on how to get someone to call Orochimaru Maru-chan to his face. She waives at Kabuto when he enters the kitchen, getting foam in the ceiling and snickers when Orochimaru mutters that this one at least waited until half past seven.

Midori politely but forcefully offers Kabuto breakfast, he managed to do it in a way that the older boy can't decline. And Anko is impressed, she doesn't know Kabuto that well but she's never seen anybody manage that before. Not the breakfast thing, but get him to accept something when he doesn't really want to. She's even more amused when he takes one bite and then more or less hunches over the plate to keep it.

Midori ignores the appreciating noises and quickly takes the last three pancakes to make three rolls of them filled with fruits and cream.

"For Yamato when he comes here," he tells the others.

"You're far too softhearted, brat," Orochimaru tells him, but ruffles his already tussled hair.

Just before eight, there's a knock on the door again and this time Anko hurries over to open it.

"You're late!" Yamato gives her an unimpressed look that clearly stated that he didn't believe her.

Before she can say anything else a long arm sneaks around from her back and shoves the door wider. Anko does not squeak, but she can't totally suppress the surprised sound from escaping.

"Ah, Yamato-kun you're the last to arrive. Midori has saved you some breakfast. Why don't you take it outside while the rest of you teammates help with the garden? If you three would leave your reports about your abilities I'll go over them."

I'm just a few minutes the four of them are outside looking at the garden. It quite a nice garden actually, with a flower patch and another that might be vegetables in a couple of weeks. There were even some bushes and trees with fruits on them. And snakes, there were a lot of snakes around if they knew how to find them. Not that they appeared to be hiding, not in the way they came out to greet the green eyed child.

"Can I let them?" Anko asks while hovering at Midori's shoulder.

"Uhm, sure," he gives her a shy smile and Anko can feel herself melting.

If it wasn't for the fact that she would die a gruesome death she would absolutely jump the kid when he got older.

Midori starts puttering around the garden, and remembering their sensei's word, the other three starts helping out. But they can't help being curious about their sensei's son. After all, not many has seen him since his father isn't the most social person.

"Are you planning on following your father's footsteps and become a shinobi?" Kabuto asks after a couple of minutes.

"He is not," a voice says and the three genin jumps in surprise. "Midori doesn't have any chakra coils. He does on the other hand have another type of kekkei genkai that I hope you'll help us figure out. Kabuto, you've written that one of your strengths is your chakra control. Please feel free to try and feel Midori's chakra."

"Of course sensei." Kabuto goes over to the younger boy and concentrates on what he's feeling around him. "I can only sense the same amount of chakra as a civilian has," he furrows his brows. "There's something else though, I'm not sure what it is. It feels similar to chakra but more, playful? I'm sorry, I can describe it better."

"No, that's actually quite good. Is seems that you were correct in thinking that you have chakra controller."

"Thank you sensei," Kabuto can feel his lips twitch up in a pleased smile.

"Yamato, have you checked to see if you have an affinity to Mokuton yet?"

"Ah, no? I wasn't aware that I should."

Orochimaru sighs.

"You're clearly related to the Senju, probably a bastard of some kind. With their higher than though attitude they will never accept you, but that doesn't mean that you can't have inherited some of their abilities."

"Ah," Yamato smiles a creepy smile. "Thank you for telling me, I'll be sure to test it."

"Anko."

"Yes, sensei!"

"You are the top of your class. They seemed especially impressed with your accuracy. Yet you wrote brawling as your, what was it, kick-ass skill."

"Nothing beats a good kick-assing sensei!"

Orochimaru first looks slightly taken aback by her enthusiasm but then smirks.

"Oh, this is going to be interesting. We're going to training ground 44, you have two hours to go home and pack enough supplies to last about two days. Feel free to pack anything you think you'll need."

"Isn't that the forest or death?" Yamato asks.

"Yes, I believe that's what's it's usually called. You now have less than two hours."

Orochimaru watches as his three students’ hurries away to pack.

"Come Midori, we also need to pack some things. Make sure that you have some spare clothes and a blanket, it can be slightly chilly at night."

"Yes Maru," Midori shyly smiles and reaches out with a hand, the smile becomes larger when Orochimaru gently takes it and leads him inside.

Chapter Text

The next four days are, for the genin, terrifying, exhausting, horrible, educational and some of the most fun they've had in a long time. The forest is full of things trying to eat them, or else just kill them in different ways. Luckily for them so did Orochimaru actually care enough to step in before anything fatal happened to them. Even if it was only to not have to fill in paperwork. And because it would upset Midori. In those four days Team nine learnt that they would do anything in their powers to keep Midori alive and unharmed. While it wasn't the lesson that Orochimaru has tried to teach them, or even knew that they been taught, they knew that he would approve.

They arrived back late the fourth day and Orochimaru just sighed and ushered them to an empty guestroom when it became clear that they're in no condition to get home.

Yamato wakes up feeling warm, slightly squished and trapped. Somehow he's ended up in the middle of a puppy pile with his teammates. Which is probably for the best since Anko would probably have squeezed Kabuto to death in her sleep. He colors slightly when he realizes that his female teammate has managed to more or less undress in her sleep. Luckily the blanket stops him from being certain. As it is he's seeing more skin that he's comfortable with, and feeling it since she refuses to let go.

When the door opens he doesn't know whether he should be grateful or embarrassed, he settles on embarrassed when he meets his sensei's amused look.

"I wasn't aware you three was this close already," Yamato wants to be swallowed by the earth; his sensei is an evil, evil person with a warped sense of humor. "Breakfast is in half an hour, you should have enough time to wash up before that." Then he picks up a discarded pillow and throws it at Anko's face, hard enough that it explodes in a cloud of feathers.

The room descends into chaos for a couple of minutes as the feathers rains over them. Kabuto ends up in the floor, halfway beneath the bed while Yamato has his face pushed into the whole pillow on the bed as Anko tries to climb the wall.

Kabuto quickly decides that the better part of valor is to leave the room and wash up while the other two battle it out, or something. Not that they noticed his sudden disappears, Yamato was trying not to suffocate and Anko still hasn't woken up enough to figure out where she was. Kabuto was therefore the first to wash up and enter the kitchen. He just cast a glance for Orochimaru, who's sitting at the table reading something, and then goes over to the smaller boy.

"Morning Midori-chan, how can I help?" He can feel the approving look he gets as he smiles.

"Good morning, Kabuto-kun. You can cut the tomatoes."

They've quickly learnt that while Midori could understand them without any problems, he sometimes stumbled over the words. Which made him shy with speaking to people he didn't know well. Apparently this wasn't his original language which meant that he sometimes had trouble finding the right word. He was getting better, the more he spoke the easier it became, but since he didn't speak much with those he didn't know it took time.

"Midori-chan! Morning!" Anko burst into the kitchen and gathered him up in a hug. "Please save me from Yamato-kun, he's a pervert!" She laughs gleefully and runs away with him in her arms.

Yamato ignores them as they go by and instead takes over at the stove. Kabuto snickers but continues to cut up the vegetables.

Orochimaru drinks his tea; he's starting to have this strange suspicion that he somehow gone from having no family to suddenly having four children. Perhaps he shouldn't have let Midori feed them the first time they came, or was that only a rule for wild animals? Not that he thought it was that much of a difference between the two.

"Brats, we're going to the hokage after breakfast."

Three pairs of eyes looks at him in confusion, and one in happiness since Midori likes going there. Or at least as happy as Midori got, which was more like a muted happiness tangled with wariness. Sure, the kid could smile and probably fool most people, but Orochimaru could still see the wariness underneath. Only time would take that away. At least Midori had stopped freezing when he moved to close to fast, and the flinches only happened around unknown persons or when he was half asleep.

"Why?" Anko asked, bringing him out from his thoughts.

"I'm not what most people would call a people person, concern was raised whether or not I would be a good sensei," he finally says and doesn't mention the concern that some had that he would end up either kill his students or experiment on them.

"You're a great sensei! I'll kick anybody who thinks otherwise in the nuts!"

"I don't think the council would appreciate that Anko, but I'm grateful for the sentiment."

Anko flushed and almost vibrates on the chair.

"We're leaving in half an hour; make sure your room is tidy. After we've been to the hokage we'll take on an assignment. Midori would you like to come with us or would you rather stay here?"

As always Midori looks surprised to be asked, which is one of the reason Orochimaru keeps asking.

"Can I bring a scroll?"

"Yes, you may bring a scroll. One about poisonous plants would most likely be appropriate, since many D rank missions is tending gardens. If you're lucky you'll find one."

"You really think that there can be poisonous plants in the village?" Yamato asks as Midori hurries away.

"Of course, in Midori's garden alone there are at least seven kinds three of them flowers. It's something all of you should learn, since you can say many things with a bouquet. There is first the language of flowers, and then how poisonous they are."

"So you can both insult someone and poison them at the same time, interesting," Kabuto says with a small smile.

When Midori returns with a scroll they quickly puts away the breakfast things and leave the house to walk towards the hokage tower. Anko is describing the virtue of dango while Kabuto is quietly talking to Orochimaru about different poisons and their effects. Yamato has somehow ended up holding Midori's hand.

When they arrive at the tower they quickly go upstairs and then Orochimaru stares at the secretary until he whimpers and lets them in.

"Ah, Orochimaru-kun must you always frighten my assistants?"

"I don't know what you're talking about, sensei. I didn't even say anything."

"Fine," the hokage sighs before lighting up his pipe. "How is having your own team going?"

"It's an interesting experience so far."

The hokage gives him a look that says that he knows what the younger man is doing, but that he will allow it for now.

"And what can you tell me about your students?"

The hopeful look he gets from his so called students makes him unbend slightly.

"Anko will make an interesting addition to the T&I after she's gained some experience. Kabuto will make an excellent medic or assassin, or both I suppose depending whether he wants to focus on just one of them or not. Yamato would do well in ANBU or maybe as an infiltrator if he's inherit the Mokuton. We've yet to determine this."

Sarutobi coughs around his pipe, almost dropping it in surprise.

"The Mokuton?"

"Yes, I feel that there's a high probability that he has it," Orochimaru says smugly.

The hokage can only imagine the chaos if he genin really has it.

"This is some kind punishment for making you take a team of genin, isn't it?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about; I'm just trying to bring out the best in my students."

"I'm sure." He turns and smiles at the four children. "And how do you like Orochimaru-kun as your sensei?"

"Orochimaru-sensei is the best!" Anko proclaims loudly.

"He's taught us much," Yamato agrees.

"He's very knowledgeable," Kabuto says with a smile.

"I see, and what have you been learning so far?"

Anko pulls the other two closer so they can confer.

"Always be on Midori's good side since he's the most dangerous person in Konoha." Anko finally says.

The hokage blinks in surprise, while Orochimaru smirks and Midori blushes and hides his face in his hands.

"Can you please explain that?"

"It's simple. Everyone knows that Orochimaru-sensei is one of the most dangerous people, if not the most dangerous person in the village. And since Midori has him wrapped around his finger that means that he's even more dangerous. I mean nobody thinks that Danzo died of natural causes, and he was a creepy old man. So either he tried to do something to Midori, or he scared him, and Orochimaru-sensei killed him for it." Anko takes a breath. "And let's not forget how cute Midori is, he'll turn it into a jutsu one of these days."

Sarutobi wants to bang his head on his desk, that's the kind of logic Orochimaru used and he now has three students that also uses it. He can feel the headache this will bring him.

"Kukukuku, I've never laid a finger on Danzo." Which isn't him denying that he killed the other.

"Perhaps you and your students would be interested in a mission?"

"Yes, I believe so. Preferably something outside."

"Very well, it appears that Tora has escaped again."

Orochimaru stiffens a grimace but accepts the mission. He would never know why the Daimyos wife named all her cats the same, or why she kept cats since they all tried their best to escape her. At least his students, or minions, seemed to like the chase. The cat wasn't as happy, especially when Anko used one of her kunai to stop him from going into an alley. The cat retaliated by swiping his claws at her. Kabuto stopped the oncoming cat fight by using his jacket to capture the animal.

All in all their first mission was a success and they had time for another after a quick lunch. Painting a fence wasn't the most fun, but the cookies made up for it and also the small pay they got at the end of the day for the two missions. Orochimaru even took time to drag them over to the bank so they could open their own accounts, and held an impromptu lecture on how they best distributed their money.

When all he got in response was wide eyes as they clutched their new bankbooks he sighs and ends up buying them dinner.

"We're doing missions tomorrow in the morning and then in the afternoon we'll check to see what your chakra affiliations are. You will also start learning anatomy."

After getting a Hai sensei from his students he lets them go home, he hopes it means that they'll go to their own homes and not his. At the house he checks that Midori has something to occupy himself with and then shuts himself in his lab. He suddenly got an idea on a seal that would be able to store some of his chakra in another person. If he managed to get it to work right he would be able to put it on Midori so he would always be able to find him, and perhaps even let the boy use it in a case of emergency.

Orochimaru therefore spends the night in his laboratory trying to design a seal; he knows it will take a while before he gets it right. But he will succeed. He only knows its morning when Midori knocks on the door to let him know that his students have arrived.

As his students weeds a garden Orochimaru continues to write in a notebook. There's two ways he can design this seal, the first one is rather crude but easier. Before he met Midori and became responsible for the child he would have gone for the first one. He would have gotten lost in his own head and wouldn't have seen any problem with the fact that his chakra would had most likely driven the subject mad or at least irrational. But it would had been easy to put it on someone, all he would had to do was to bite them forcing some of his saliva and blood into the other person's bloodstream. But this isn't the way he will go, not with Midori believing in him, something he never thinks he'll get used to.

The second way is far more complicated, and means that he will be painting the seal on someone. But it will be much more elegant and stronger in the long run. And less dangerous to the person it was put.

He was so immersed in his work that he didn't notice that his students had finished their mission. It wasn't until Anko hesitantly tried to get his attention that he noticed. Orochimaru quickly made sure that they actually had done the job while he was occupied, and then nodded to them before leading them to the tower. There should be enough time for another mission before lunch.

When they were finally done with the missions for the day he sends them off to get cleaned and tells them to come to his house in an hour. After making sure that Midori has enough food, since he refuses to let the boy have any relapses, Orochimaru gathers the things that will be needed in the afternoon. Luckily he doesn’t need to buy any more chakra papers since he still has some left over from one of his experiments. And the scrolls are also easy to find, he hesitates but then takes out one of the scrolls that he technically isn't supposed to have. But if he's correct in his suspicion about Yamato he'll need it and it's not as if the teenager will be able to find information elsewhere.

Orochimaru has time for a light snack before there's knocking on the door. Before he, or Midori, even has time to stand up from the table the door opens and his three students enter. It seems as if he was right after all, there will be no way of getting rid of them now.

Quietly he observes the three teens, Anko is loudly making her presence known, Yamato is berating her on her manners in a hushed tone and Kabuto is egging them on with a smile. Hopefully they'll be good for his son, if not; well there is always the chance of an unfortunate accident. The three quiets down when they suddenly feel killing intent filling the room. Midori on the other hand, sighs and sighs and eye roll gives his father a nudge, breaking him out of his thoughts.

Not long after they're outside in the backyard listening to Orochimaru telling them about the different chakras. He starts with Anko and isn't surprised when she turns out to have fire. Yamato is somewhat of a surprise, not that he has wood, but that he also has water and earth. Orochimaru suspects that he might even have yang, but that will not manifest until the teen has matured more, if it manifests at all. Kabuto ends up having earth, water and wind. Somehow Orochimaru has a suspicion that all three will end up being powerhouses.

In the end he has four papers left and gives one to Midori when he looks curious. Not that he believes that something will happen, since he doesn't have any chakra.

"Try feeling your power and push it into the paper in your hand." He doesn't say that nothing will happen, and is glad when the paper turns into a butterfly and flies away. "Interesting, here try again."

The second turns into some kind of flower, nothing native to the area. The third somehow turns into mud and the last one becomes a shocking yellow handkerchief.

Anko, the mistress of mayhem that she is, pulls out an explosions tag and gives it to Midori with a smile before Orochimaru can stop her. The backyard fills with purple smoke and the scent of lemons.

"Ah, ops?" She says when she notices the look Orochimaru gives her.

"Refrain from giving Midori any kinds of seals." He takes a calming breath. "I believe it would be good for you to do some endurance training. Why don't you wait here for a little while, I need to locate someone."

He ignores the way his three students pales when he mentions endurance training, and closes his eyes so he can find the chakra of the person he's looking for. It doesn't take long and he shunshin away. Gai is of course more than happy to help and it isn't long before they return.

"Yosh! Let's use our youthful power to run ten laps around the village!"

When his three horrified students’ turns towards him, Orochimaru just raises one eyebrow and they start running after the green clad man in defeat. Orochimaru on the other hand ushers Midori into the lab to see what he can learn about the boy’s effect on seals. Nothing conclusive it turns out, while Midori has some effect it isn't always the same but it is always similar to what the seal does.

Chapter Text

After a couple of weeks Orochimaru decides that his students are ready for a C-ranked mission. They've progressed at an acceptable rate and are probably more advanced than their previous classmates. They're also spending more nights than not at his house and have also taken over part of his garden.

Orochimaru feels rather proud over himself that he not only hasn't killed one of them, but that they also seem to like him and they absolutely adores Midori. Not that he would tell them that, instead he waited until they were at the mission desk and asked if there were any C-ranked missions available.

Luckily it's not the hokage that's manning the table today, so he can choose the mission himself.

"This one seems promising, it should be hard for you to mess it up to much," his students beams at the underhanded compliment while the clerk sputter at the insulting way he made it. "We'll leave tomorrow morning, so you have today to pack. It's a simple missive mission, so hopefully we won't be longer than five days." He turns to Midori. "I'll see if Gai is here, otherwise your coming with us."

He ignores the horrified noises his students make, and gently ruffles Midori's hair. Midori pouts.

"Fine," he agrees reluctant.

If Orochimaru someday would meet his son's previous family he would gleefully torture them to death. Even now Midori was afraid to protest when told something he didn't like. Not that Midori disliked Gai, but he would rather go with the others on the mission. Gai was just so loud, and green, and teeth that sparkly couldn't be normal.

Gai was, of course, more than happy to look after Midori for a couple of days.

"I will protect him with my life!"

"Yes, you will," Orochimaru agrees as he gives the younger man a bag with Midori's things.

"We will celebrate our time together with ten laps around the village!" He notices the small frown forming on Orochimaru face. "Midori will try his hardest with his youthful skills and I'll carry him the rest of the way!"

"Very well. Keep him from seals, they appears to react strangely around him."

"You are a good father Orochimaru," Gai suddenly says with a serious tone. "I'm honored that you think highly enough of me to let me look after him."

Midori has never seen his father flustered before, but he's almost certain that he is right now.

"If I come back and find him in a green jumpsuit I'll geld you," Orochimaru says conversational before patting Midori on the head one last time before he leaves.

Chapter Text

The mission is, at least in Orochimaru's opinion, a success. While they were attacked by some bandits, those were quickly subdued with only minimum harm on his students. Anko had shown that she had no trouble in using psychological torture on someone for information, not to mention poison. Kabuto would in time become frightening good with his scalpels, he just needed more practice. Yamato would never be as vicious as his teammates, but he would never have problem in interrogating prisoners on missions. Or scaring children. Orochimaru was actually rather proud of his students, but was at the moment more interested in getting home for a shower before picking up Midori. The three terrors could rapport to the hokage by themselves, it was good training for them and since he still was going to do his own report the next day he could always correct anything they've gotten wrong.

Gai opens the door as soon as he knocks, giving him a blinding smile. But Orochimaru can see that the younger man looks a little nervous.

"Orochimaru-san! Young Midori isn't here at the moment; he's away strengthening his bond with his friend!"

"His friend?" Orochimaru wasn't sure whether he should be pleased or worried, pleased about the fact that Midori was opening up to more people, or worried because he hadn't been there at the time to make sure that it was an acceptable individual.

"Ah, he met young Uchiha Itachi and decided that they were friends. It was a really touching moment! Springtime of youth!"

Orochimaru frowns in thought.

"Isn't young Itachi an Anbu?"

"Well, yes. But he's only a couple of years older than Midori."

Orochimaru hums while wondering if the meeting was a coincidence or not.

"Are they at his place then?"

"Of course not! They're taking a stroll in the park!"

"A stroll in the park?" The only persons who took strolls in the park were couples.

"Ah," Gai laughs nervously when killing intent suddenly forms around him. "Midori wanted to look for new plants and snakes, and the park was the closest space with greenery. Any further away and I would have to go with them. Yosh! Let's go and get them!"

Orochimaru follows the other a block over to the small park that's next to a playground. Since it's still so early in the day there's not that many couples there, more children and their parents. It's easy to find Midori and his new friend, who seems to have a smaller shadow. At the sight he finally relaxes.

"Maru!" Midori throws himself at his guardian and is quickly lifted up.

"Orochimaru-sama," Itachi says with a polite bow.

"Maru, I've made a friend. He's really bad at playing, but me and his little brother is teaching him," he gives Orochimaru a look. "Can I have a little brother?"

"Of course you can, as long that he doesn't belong to someone else you can keep him if you find one."

Itachi frown, but doesn't protest that that's not the way you get a brother. He still has trouble understanding why Midori decided to befriend him. He takes a firmer grip on Sauske, just to be on the safe side. Orochimaru just raises an eyebrow in silent judgement.

"Itachi-kun, why don't you go home with your brother? Midori can come over and play with you tomorrow."

"Yes Orochimaru-sama," there's not much else he can say to that, and after a quick bow he turns and drags his brother with him.

Midori gives a waive and Sauske waives back before hurrying after his brother.

"Midori, why don't you say goodbye to Gai and then you can tell me all about your new friend." Not that he's that interested in the young Uchiha, but he is curious about what Midori has observed about his new friend. Knowledge is always good to have even if it's just that Itachi likes tomatoes, his brother and Pocky. What was more interesting was that he wasn't so fond of his father.

Orochimaru almost wishes that he still had his old mindset since he was certain that he would have been able to twist the young Uchiha into a mindless puppet. He wonders if the hokage is aware how much of a leash Midori is, that he most likely would have already abandoned the village if it wasn't for this child. His dark thoughts are derailed when Midori blows a raspberry on his cheek and then gives him a slightly worried look. When all he gets in return is a raised brow he smiles shyly.

"You, my dear, are going to grow up to become totally terrifying," he shifts his hold slightly. "And end up ruling the world."

Midori just giggles and snuggles closer, happy that his favorite person is back again.

The house, when they arrived home, feels larger and emptier than before, but Orochimaru knows that will only last until his pupils arrive. He's not even sure that they have another place anymore or if they actually have moved in. Perhaps he should start charging rent from them, or at least make them pay for the food they eat. On the other hand, it does mean that he has three minions close to babysit and do his bidding. And he almost has them fully housetrained. Something they prove when they come in later with takeout.

"This does not mean that you'll get out of grocery shopping," he tells them and ignores the way Anko flops dramatically over Midori, who staggers at the sudden weight.

"Mi-cha, your dad is picking on me. Tell him to stop. I need a hot shower not go grouping vegetables."

"Considering that grouping vegetables is probably the only action you'll get, I don't see why your complaining," Kabuto says and dodges the kick.

Anko snarls in response and throws herself at him, ignoring the way Yamato snatches Midori from her. The snake sennin sighs and throws a glass of water at them.

Luckily a knock on the door stops them before they can start fighting again. Gai greets them as if he hadn't just seen them.

"I've come to return young Midori's things!" He shoves the bag at Yamato, who's the closest. "Here is also some foodstuff so you don't need to go shopping and can instead regain your youthful strength!" Kabuto manages to catch the bag when Gai makes a gesture with his arms. "I'm off to find my eternal rival!"

Gai turns to leave, only to stumble when Midori calls after him.

"Have fun on your date!"

"I'm not dating Kakashi!" Gai wails as he hurries along.

Anko cackles and makes Midori high five her.

The rest of the day and evening is as calm as they get with everyone at the same place, which is probably why Orochimaru is lulled into a false sense of security.

Since he needs to visit the hokage first thing in the morning he tells his students to make sure that Midori gets to visit his new friend. They readily agree and he decides to trust them for once. Which is why he tells himself that he only has himself to blame, when he arrives at the Uchiha compound, and finds Midori dolled up in a small kimono and a large hair ornament. And while he looks absolutely adorable in it, it's not appropriate for playing in. And maybe more important makes he look like a girl, something most males dislikes. Orochimaru himself has no trouble with the androgynous look, but then he himself has no trouble in playing female if he needs to.

"I'm going to teach my so called students a lesson about anatomy, especially about nerve endings," he tells his son.

Mikoto, Itachi's mother, gives him a smile in greetings.

"Midori-chan looked so cute that I felt it best to let him be," she sighs. "If I only had a daughter or that one of my sons would let me dress them up. I've always envied you Orochimaru-kun; you look good no matter what you wear."

To his horror, Orochimaru can feel himself blush. It's been years since the last time he blushed.

"Ah, thank you," he gives her a slight bow.

"Such a modest young man," while Orochimaru has been called many things, modest isn't one of them. "You will of course stay for lunch."

"I wouldn't want to impose."

"Nonsense, you're far too skinny."

She quickly disappears inside before he can reject the offer and he's faintly impressed. Before now he hadn't understood how she could be friends with Kushina, but he's starting to understand. He resign himself to stay for a while, at least there would be free homemade food.

"Your mother is a formable woman," he tells Itachi who gives him a slightly bewildered look before succeeding to turn it into the bland Uchiha gaze. "Now, Midori why don't you tell me which of my students helped you dress."

"Kabuto made my hair and Anko gave me this dress," Midori smiles at Orochimaru.

"Kimono," he corrects and Midori repeats the word. "And what did Yamato do?"

"He took pictures and told me that I could get his books when he perished. What's perished?"

"It's what happens to him when I set my snakes on him."

Midori giggles while Itachi doesn't seem to know whether he should be worried or not. Soon after that Mikoto calls them in for lunch.

The lunch is, for the most part, enjoyable for all of them. Mikoto kept trying to get Orochimaru to eat more, Midori had fun in trying things he hadn't eaten before and the Uchiha's was happy that their guest was happy. So everything was fine, that is until Fugaku arrives. And while he didn't say anything he made it clear that he wasn’t happy with having guests. The relaxed atmosphere became stilted and while Midori was too young to understand the undercurrents he still pressed closer to Itachi for protection.

No one can claim that Fugaku is stupid, but arrogant is another thing. So when he arrives home for a quiet lunch with his family, where he can check up on his sons or rather Itachi's progress, and find out that Orochimaru is there with that brat he's adopted he's not happy. But another thing Fugaku is, is ambitious so he smiles and makes nice. Because even though he doesn't like Orochimaru, it is a good thing to be seen in a friendly meeting with him, no one wants to piss off the snake sennin and if people believe that they're friend it can only be a good thing.

"Orochimaru-san, it appears that our children get along."

"Yes, so it seems," Orochimaru agrees, sounding unimpressed with his statement.

Fugaku grits his teeth’s but manages to form a stiff smile.

"Perhaps it would be a good idea to write up some kind of marriage contract."

Orochimaru slowly blinks and a smirk forms on his face, suddenly Fugaku has a nagging suspicion that he's made some kind of mistake.

"Oh! That's a wonderful idea," Mikoto says with a smile. "Midori seems quite taken with Itachi."

Fugaku doesn't frown, but it's a close thing. He had been thinking of his younger son, who didn't seem to be the same prodigy as his firstborn, than at least he would have been of some use to the clan.

"Nothing binding of course, but I'm agreeable to have them promised to each other say until Midori is sixteen and then we can either renegotiate or break it of incase they've grown apart."

"Sixteen," Fugaku repeats, which would mean that the brat was a civilian. He wondered if it was because the brat didn't have enough chakra or just wasn't good enough. He was starting to regret this already.

"Maru?" Midori didn't understand what they were talking about; just that it involved him in some way.

Orochimaru gives him a smile.

"We were discussing that you perhaps would like to marry Itachi-kun when you grow up." If Midori is in any way like him he will want to grab hold of the things he holds dear in any way he can and never let go, the problem with people is that they sometimes decides to leave.

"But we're both boys," Midori says confused.

"That is not a problem," Orochimaru promises him and ignores the way Fugaku first pales and then becomes red-faced with anger.

When Fugaku starts spewing angry and hurtful words all Midori wants is that he goes away. Away from them, where Itachi tries to become one with the wall, while clutching his brother and Midori protective. Where Mikoto face become pinched. Where Maru's smile stays but changes into something nasty. Midori wants him to go away. And with a crack he does.

Not that he goes a great distance, just outside and into the three there, tangled into its branches.

"Good work, Midori," Orochimaru praises and gently ruffles his hair. Midori sways, suddenly tired like he's run a great distance. "I believe that it would be best if we left for now. Please contact me when you want to discuss the terms on the contract."

"Yes, it's probably best," Mikoto agrees. "I'll talk to you in a couple of days. Itachi can visit tomorrow, unless he must work. I'll let you know in that case."

Orochimaru nods and then gathers up Midori, who's almost asleep. He quickly makes his way home, his head full of thoughts and speculations about Midori's strange power. Perhaps it's time he tried to find out more about it.

Since his students are all away doing different things and Midori is sleeping in his bed, now is the perfect time. Orochimaru quickly summon one of the older snakes and asks her if she knows anything about Midori's power, or if she knows where he can find information. And while she doesn't have any useful information she promises she'll get the word out. So now all he can do is wait. And perhaps do one or two experiments, nothing invasive but he should be able to figure out a way to test what else Midori can do.

The next week is filled with discussions on how the contract should be written and what should be in it. The most important thing for Orochimaru is that Midori should be safe in case something happened to him, so one of the first things written down is that Midori will be adopted into the Uchiha clan if Orochimaru for some reason would perish. The other thing he does during this time is tests on what else Midori can teleport and getting updates from the snakes. And while he receives a couple of text, it's not in any language he can read or is familiar with. It appears to be hopeless, that is until a small red snake suddenly arrives with news.

"Large two-legged speaker! I come with grand news! Feel free to honor me with small squeaky rodents!"

Orochimaru sometimes wondered why all snakes started out more or less crazy. It's only when they get older that they calm down and becomes sane and rational.

"Yes?" He asks, since it's apparent that the snake won't say anything else before he asks.

"We found an old one! It's completely mental from age, whines about its master and some kind of slithers. But! It has lots and lots of squiggles on paper! We'll send it to you when you show us a large space!"

"Ah, very well, please follow me." He shows the snake on of the empty rooms that he has and it doesn't take long before it's filled with books and scrolls. "Thank you for your help. If you don't mind me asking, what happened with the old snake?"

"Oh! We took her with us. She's happily making rodents into statues, too bad she's so old otherwise I think that Manda would make a move on her!"

The snake disappears in a puff of smoke, leaving Orochimaru with that mental image.

Most of the books turn out to be a waste of space, but there are a couple that he can read. It takes a while before he realizes they are written in snake language. Orochimaru hadn't been aware that you could write in snake, but now he started making plans on always writing down his experiment in this language, it would be safe from all who couldn't talk with snakes. While reading Orochimaru learnt a couple of important things. Midori was doing magic; he would need some kind of focus like a staff or wand. And Midori seemed to be powerful since he already knew how to teleport, even if his control still was iffy. The fact that he sometimes managed it at all at such young age was almost unheard of.

This made Orochimaru both proud and apprehensive since it wasn't that uncommon that powerful children were kidnapped. He would need to put some kind of tracking seal on Midori so he could always find him. Or rather he would need to invent some kind of tracking seal and then put it on Midori, since seals had a habit of behave oddly around Midori.

While all this was happening Mikoto had finished writing the contract and, after getting Orochimaru's signature, walked over to the hokage to lay down the law. Meanwhile Fugaku spent one evening at a bar complaining about how his oldest son had been promised to an insignificant male civilian child, completely ignoring that said child had somehow transported him into a tree. The rumors went rampant, and it didn't become uncommon for Uchiha's to be stopped when they were shopping so they could be asked questions. This, of course, led them to be invited home to the other housewives so they could continue to gossip. In just under a month, the Uchiha's went from being avoided to become welcomed into the homes of most people in the village.

Mikoto didn't care, she was happy with making it clear to the hokage that her son, no matter how much of a genius, wouldn't be forced into performing honey-traps, or to kill children. He would also only have local solo-missions until he turned thirteen. It helped that Midori had been with her in the first meeting and gave him one of the most woeful look she'd ever seen. Sarutobi had caved after just a couple of minutes.

 

Chapter Text

The next couple of months were, for Orochimaru, filled with reading the texts about magic, training with his students and testing Midori's abilities. He also went on a couple of missions with his students, but refused to take those that would make them be away for more than a few days. Everything was going fine until one morning when Midori woke up with much longer hair than he went to sleep with. After a minor breakdown and lots of assurance that he wasn't a freak and wouldn't be sent back to his aunt, Midori finally calmed down.

Orochimaru, on the other hand wanted nothing more than somehow hunt down this aunt and flay her alive and then hang her with her own entrails. His students took one look at him when they arrived for breakfast and decided that they could train on their own, or perhaps find Gai so he could run them to the ground. Anything than staying.

Apparently Midori had wished very hard the night before that he could have the same hair as his Maru, and his magic had decided to try and grant him that wish. While his hair had grown long during the night, it wasn't straight or so black he sometimes looked shrouded in shadows, instead Midori had black hair with a reddish tint going down his back in a riot of big and small curls.

"Midori your perfect just the way you are now, so I would appreciate it if you didn't try and change anything else, or try to wish for it."

"I'm sorry Maru," Midori sniffed at his shoulder.

"I'm no angry; it's just that trying to change your body without proper knowledge in things like anatomy can be quite dangerous. Especially when you’re a child and not done growing, if you want to change something about your appearance we'll talk about it but there won't be any modifications until you stopped growing." Orochimaru is uncertain if this is the right way to handle this, but figures that as long as Midori won't experiment on himself alone its fine. "Now, perhaps you want to help me translate this book about magic creatures?"

"Yes! Let's see if there are any magic snakes or dragons!"

"Perhaps there will be," Orochimaru agrees, thinking on how he could create some of these creature, it shouldn't be too hard to get some kind of flying snake, or one of those cavernous horses either by grafting the wings on them or by some kind of genetic manipulation.

The rest of the day is quiet and calm, filled with reading and, mostly, child safe experiments. It still doesn't surprise Orochimaru when, two days later, he gets a summon to the hokage. He might have released some killing intent when Midori had his panic attack, and the hokage probably wanted to know the reason.

Watching Sarutobi splutter and almost drop his pipe when he spots Midori's long hair almost makes up for the inconvenience of the meeting.

"You requested a meeting hokage?"

"Ah, yes, yes I did," Sarutobi tears his eyes from Midori and his suddenly long hair. "I wanted to ask about what happened two days ago. I've reports of civilians fainting because of a sudden spike of KI that came from your home."

"I apologize, Midori was upset and it set me of."

"And how likely is it to happen again?"

"I believe that we've taken care of the situation," he gives the hokage a smug look, which doesn't help Sarutobi to understand the situation.

"You do know that I can order you to explain what happened?"

"Yes, you can."

Sarutobi sighs and waives them out of the room.

"Just be more careful in the future."

"Of course. Come Midori; let's go see if Kabuto is at the hospital if you're lucky he can show you the morgue."

"No dead bodies!" The hokage shouts after them even though he suspects that Orochimaru only had said so to freak out the people outside.

The last thing he hears before the door closes is Orochimaru's laugh.

Orochimaru does take Midori to the hospital, but only to snag Kabuto as a babysitter since he needs to check up some things before he starts experimenting on animals. Kabuto takes one look at the young boy and promptly shows that he knows exactly how to react as he gives Midori a warm smile.

"Look at you, you look even more like your father now," he tells Midori and is rewarded a smile that lights up the room.

"It's not straight," he complains softly even as he wraps his arms around Kabuto's neck as the teen lifts him.

"Who wants straight hair when you can have curls? Let's go pick up the rest of the team and then go visit your friend. I'm sure he'll be amazed by your new look."

While Midori is visiting his friends Orochimaru is talking to snakes. He managed to grab the two that's bonded to Midori and is trying to impress to them the need to guard their charge, especially now since Midori somehow have become even more adorable. The two young snakes finally come to the conclusion that perverts are bad and should be attacked on sight. Orochimaru is a little concern about using an orange book as reference, but figures that anyone that comes near Midori with one that color only has himself to blame. He does not manage to convince them that they want wings, but a white snake he summons agrees to let him try on a couple of its eggs.

He then realizes that even though Midori won't become a shinobi he still needs to have some kind of formal education, homeschooling him won't be enough. How old were civilian children when they started school anyway, and how many years did they attend? Perhaps he could ask Mikoto when he collected his ward, since he was certain both Midori and his students would end up there. Somehow he didn't thing his students ever ate at their own places, it was either here or the Uchiha's compound. He should probably make sure that they didn't mind having them over so often.

Orochimaru frowns, wondering when he became so worried over insignificant things, perhaps he should visit Ibiki and see if there were any prisoners he could help question. He didn't believe he lost his edge, but it would be nice to confirm it. And he did have some time before picking up Midori and the rest of the brats.

If Ibiki was surprised to see him he didn't show it. Then again, Ibiki never looked surprised no matter what happened. Orochimaru was directed to a room where a suspected spy was. The man claimed to be a civilian merchant, but he had been seen poking around where he shouldn't been. So now they needed to know if he just had been lost, as he claimed, or if he had been looking for confidential information.

The next hour was one of the most bizarre interrogations in the TI history. Since the man might be a civilian they couldn't torture him right of the bat, they needed him to slip up first. Luckily Orochimaru was very interested in the civilian school system and spent the first half hour asking detailed questions about it. Which was as long it took for the so called merchant to crack, and then he spent the other half hour getting every last detail on who he worked with.

Afterwards Ibiki gave him a pat on the shoulder and some pamphlets about the different schools in the village. After a quick visit to the bathroom, to check that he didn't have any blood on his clothes, Orochimaru left for the Uchiha's compound.

That night Orochimaru discovered that Midori should be starting school in the spring. This meant that he only had a few months to prepare him. While he still didn't know what they taught there, teaching Midori more about poisons and defense was probably a good idea.

 

Chapter Text

Civilian school was, Orochimaru decided, a huge letdown. Not only were they teaching just the basic in math and literature, there were no classes in defense of any other important skill. In the first week he had also been called to school for the most absurd reasons. Orochimaru couldn't understand what their problems were with Midori having his snakes with him, it was clearly the teachers fault for using an orange notebook, and telling him that his son shouldn't wear hair ornaments was just silly. While he could understand why they've been upset when the other kid had his nose broken, it had clearly been in defense, all the kids were in agreement that the other kid had thrown a punch first.

The only reason he wasn't taking Midori out of school were that there were at least two other children with shinobi background in his class that had as much trouble as Midori. The Aburame kid’s insects had, if you could believe the girls, suddenly attacked everyone. According to Midori the girls had teased the Aburame girl and told her that she was gross for having insects all over her. Orochimaru had managed to have a civil discussing with the girl’s father and learnt that Hotaru's chakra coils were too weak for her to be able to properly use the clan techniques and didn't have the right mindset so become a shinobi. The Nara kid on the other hand were more interested in business than fighting, but would still learn the basics in shadow manipulation in a few years. Midori had proudly presented his new friend Shinki to Orochimaru the second day of school, dragging the other boy after himself in a way Orochimaru recognized Anko did to his other two students.

"Maru! This is Shinki, he likes looking at clouds, numbers and pears!" Orochimaru wondered if he should stop Midori from spending so much time with Gai, but then realized that his students also exclaimed when they were telling him things they thought were important.

"I see. Then he can help you with math if you have trouble with it during class."

"Maru-sama," Shinki gives him a bow but doesn't say anything else.

"Shinki-kun! Oh, my apologies Orochimaru-san, I hope he wasn't bordering you."

"Not at all Nara-san, I'm always pleased to meet my son’s friends."

Orochimaru can almost see the wheels turning in the Nara's head and smirks.

"Perhaps you and your son would like to come over some day for tea?"

"Perhaps," he agrees and takes Midori's hand.

"Bye, Shinki-kun I'll see you tomorrow!"

"Bye Midori-kun, Maru-san," Orochimaru would deny enjoying hearing the shocked gasp from the older Nara over the nickname.

Hotaru's presentation was similar in that Midori dragged her over with the Nara following behind.

"Maru! This is Hotaru; she likes strawberries, flowers and has bugs in her arms!" He gives his father his best puppy eyes. "Can I have bugs in my arms?"

"You have snakes in your hair instead," Orochimaru tells him and thinks that he perhaps should keep Midori away when he has his students training in how to do reports. "It's a pleasure meeting you Hotaru-chan."

"It's nice to meet you, why, because you're Midori-kuns father."

"You talk funny," Midori tells her with a giggle.

"Midori," Orochimaru says gently, making the boy's head drop.

"Sorry," he mumbled and squeezes her hand that he still holds.

"It's ok, why, because it's true." She tells him.

"The Aburame often talks like that or similar. It's a holdover from how they communicate with their swarms and nests. I suspect that their brain neurons work differently than other clans, the same way the Akimichi's metabolism is different from those outside their clan." Orochimaru stops and realizes that he lost them in his explanation. "Since Hotaru-chan talks to insects her language is slightly different."

"Oh!" All three children say and give him admiring looks.

Orochimaru isn't certain how to proceed when they don't say anything else and continues to look at him. Where are their parents he wonders, shouldn't they be here to pick up their offspring.

"Can Hotaru and Shinki come home with us?"

"As long as you won't claim they followed you home and keep them." He sees the look another parent gives him and figures that he probably should have expressed that different. "Have you two told your parents?"

When they nods he figures that's enough and lets them come and invade his home.

Apparently, letting children try and make their own neurotoxin isn't something most parents think is appropriate. Orochimaru can't understand what the problem is as he was supervising them the whole time, making sure they didn't accidentally poison themselves. Just because Midori won't become a shinobi doesn't mean he shouldn't know how to protect himself. And the children had all enjoyed themselves.

It was decided that the next time they would all go over to the Nara compound instead. At least Mikoto had been sympathetic when he told her the next day when they were over for dinner. Itachi had, on the other hand, looked worried until Midori had given him a couple of kunai dipped in the neurotoxin he'd made. He'd then promised to try them out on his next mission.

Anko had already tried the toxin on someone who tried to spy on the women bath, and told Itachi it worked great. Orochimaru, when he heard this wondered if it was his old teammate who'd been the victim of someone else, but found that he didn't care either way. Kabuto had tried some on one of the more trying patients, and told a beaming Midori it really help calming them down. Yamato just sighed and hoped no one would get arrested, but promised to also try it when he had an opportunity. He couldn't stop himself from glancing over to his two teammates, making everyone know who he planned to try it on.

"At least try and not get caught, I'm not going to rescue you if you get arrested."

"Don't worry Sensei, we'll be careful," Anko promises.

The next week was the first visit to the Nara compound, which were both a success and a disaster. Midori took one look at the deers and started to cry; calling out a name no one else could understand and must be from his old language. The stag, which according to one of the elders there was dangerous to strangers, walked up to the crying child and snuffled in his hair. It also let Midori hug its head, carefully not moving so its horns wouldn't hurt the boy. Embarrassing, for Orochimaru, it took him a couple of minutes before he remembered that Midori's father had been able to turn into a stag. Meeting one had prompted a memory, which explained the crying. Since the herd didn't seem to be a danger to Midori, unless you meant in the way it tried to herd the child into the center of the herd, Orochimaru let them be.

After that disaster the rest of the visit went well. The children played and Orochimaru agreed to let Shinki's parents teach him shogi, since he only knew the basics at the moment. He actually quite enjoyed it, especially when he managed to win his first game after just one hour tutorial.

After the visit the Nara's all agreed that while Midori might not be of Orochimaru's blood, he was clearly his son in any way that mattered. They both attracted snakes, three green garden snakes had found Orochimaru while he was learning shogi and Midori somehow managed to find a viper that he then carried around like some kind of necklace. Midori also proved to have two small snakes in his hair, that emerged when it was lunch and claimed an egg each.

If Midori hadn't seemed so happy about living with Orochimaru the Nara would have gone to the hokage when they learnt that Orochimaru let Midori into his lab.

"He won't do any human experiments until he's older, and nothing on himself until he finished growing," Orochimaru tells them. "And of course only if he wants to, I won't force him if he's not interested. At the moment he's more curious about plants and has a small obsession about dragons."

This is proven when someone asks Midori what's best about Itachi.

"He can breathe fire, like a dragon. And he has really pretty eyes."

While Orochimaru doesn't mind that they're making sure that he takes good care of Midori, he find its insulting that they haven't cared until Midori befriended one from their clan. This is what he doesn't like about the bigger clans, they are more than happy ignoring everything and everyone outside their compound. If they really cared about the village they should make sure that there were no threats both in and outside the village. But while Orochimaru is powerful he's no match for a whole clan, so instead he crushes the next person who challenges him in shogi. They're all so small-minded he thinks, while Orochimaru doesn't want to become the hokage he sometimes still wishes he was in charge of a village.

"We've upset you somehow," Shikaku says to him as they take their leave.

"I just finds it strange that you all enjoy watching the clouds, it makes you miss so much of what's happens on the ground. At least until it's shoved in your face." He takes a firmer grip on Midori, who's sleeping with his face on his shoulder. "Why is it that all you big clans forgets that there's a world outside your compound?" He shunshin away before he can receive an answer.

Chapter Text

While Orochimaru either trains his students or does research in the strange world his son came from, Midori gets used to going to school and being around kids his age. While he would never be comfortable with large crowd or have many friends, those friends he manages to find would end up very close. Midori found most civilian children to childish in their worldview, they didn't believe that they would ever experience real evil. Midori on the other hand fully believed in evil and knew that his father had saved him from it.

When Orochimaru and his students are out on a mission Midori is either at Gai or the Uchiha's depending on whether Gai or Itachi has a mission on their own. While Mikoto is welcoming Fugaku either spends his time glaring or at the pub complaining about everything.

Yamato finally manages to create a small sapling that sprouts leaves in his hand. Kabuto's chakra scalpels are used successfully on a mission and Anko sweet talks Ibiki to let her interrogate a suspected spy. She uses a snake that she pulls from under her shirt to get the confession and the snake sennin lets her sign the summoning contract.

Orochimaru works on what kind of focus Midori can use for his power, using a small stick seems idiotic it can easily be snapped or stolen, better something bigger. Since he doesn't know if it must be made out of wood or if other things are acceptable as well he decides to use the known material. When Yamato finally has control enough to make a quarterstaff he has the teen make one for Midori and one that he can experiment on.

According to the books he's read there needs to be some kind of core inside the focus, usually from a creature but it could also be something from a family member. Therefore he mixes a grinded snake fang with some scales and a few of his hair. Just to be on the safe side he also mixes in some of his blood. The inside of the staff is coated with the mixture and Orochimaru lets it dry for a while before putting metal on both ends of the staff.

The metal proves to be a bad idea as they explode when he gives the staff to Midori. He wonders if it'll work better with some other type of metal or if he should try another type of material altogether. Luckily Midori isn't hurt and is mostly baffled what happened, he's a little scared but mostly impressed by the explosion and the sparkles. Anko tries to get him to do it again and the other two is more or less egging them on.

"The mixture seems too been slightly too volatile," Orochimaru mutters. "Perhaps it would work better with something stable mixed into it." His eyes snap to his students, and while he would never call them stable they are part of Midori's family. And both Yamato and Kabuto are rather calm. "Students, I will need some of your hair and blood."

It says a lot that they don't question this request and just provides the samples. Orochimaru wonders just how far they would obey him before he ruthlessly squashes that thought. It would be so easy to go down that road, but it would tear everything he built up down. If he could be certain of success he would most likely still do it, but with the presence of Midori he had more eyes on him than before. As it is he gathers the samples so he can try again later.

The only other noteworthy thing that happens that week is that Midori has a medical checkup to see that he's doing fine and hasn't had any setbacks. Midori squirms while the doctor looks him over, and refuses to let go of Orochimaru's hand. Luckily everything is looking good, while he still needs to eat iron rich food still has slightly more brittle bones than most children, his weight has improved and his growth has started to catch up. He most likely will be more slender and shorter than he otherwise would be, but the doctor can't say for sure since they don't know his parents. But if he's lucky he just will be a late bloomer and have a growth spurt then.

Midori doesn't care what the doctor is droning on about, he just wants out of there. But he gives the doctor a smile when he's given a sucker.

"It might be a good idea to have young Midori takes some extra vitamins since he's started school and is meeting so many new people. While his immune system seems to be doing fine at the moment, Midori will probably have an easier time getting sick than his friends. And we still can't say whether our bacteria is different from where he came," is the doctors parting words.

Orochimaru is in a pensive mood after the checkup, on one hand he still fantasies about what he wants to do with Midori's previous family, on the other hand he's happy with the progress Midori's done. So he's feeling both murderous and happy, a strange combination.

"Maru, can I have some ice-cream?"

"May I, and yes you may as a reward for your conduct at the hospital."

"I love you, Maru," Midori says and Orochimaru thinks he might be having a heart attack, since it feels like his heart will explode.

"I have strong fond feelings for you too," he finally manages to say, which seems enough for Midori since he breaks out in a wide smile.

The ice-cream Midori ends up getting is so big that he doesn't manage to finish it before it melts, and Orochimaru has a suspicion that he accidentally taught the boy about emotional manipulation. This can be a powerful weapon if used correctly, but not something that he himself is very good at. Orochimaru doesn't think any of his students knows how to use it effective either, so perhaps he should see if he can find someone who can teach them. Anko, at least, should already been taught the basics in seduction but he's uncertain how much the boys been taught at the academy. It varies depending on which teachers that's there.

Orochimaru becomes aware of Midori's questioning look and gives him a small smile.

"Don't worry, I'm just thinking. What would you think about having Mikoto teach you some things?"

"Ok," Midori says unconcerned, so far everything he's learnt outside of school has been interesting, and he likes Itachi's family, well except his father but no one seems to like him.

But before Orochimaru has a chance to ask Mikoto about her teaching Midori and his students he gets a summoning to Konoha civilian council. Orochimaru has no idea why, since they don't involve themselves with the shinobi side of the village. But since it's a formal summoning he can't decline. Not that he wants to, he's rather curious about what this is about, especially since the note told him to bring Midori to the meeting. Unknowingly a smirk spread over his face, whatever they planned it would misfire spectacular, of that he was sure.

Five days later Orochimaru was standing before Konoha civilian council with Midori by his side. They were both dressed for the occasion and Orochimaru was quite proud of the way his son held himself. A look at the hokage told the snake sennin that the older man didn't know why they've been summoned. It appears that the civilian council was trying some kind of power play. How utterly delightful, he couldn't wait to crush them completely.

"Why have this," he hesitates since he knows that whatever he will try and say as a complement will sound sarcastic. "Council summoned me and my ward? It was my understanding that you dealt in civilian matter."

"It is a civilian matter we're here to discuss," a middle aged woman in dark red dress says. "There have been some concerns brought up about your ward, especially your suitability in the role as his caretaker."

"Why would the civilian council even have a say in this, I am a shinobi."

"Yes, but your ward isn't," the woman says smugly.

"May I hear these concerns?" Perhaps he should have kept an eye on the power struggle after Danzo's untimely death.

Sarutobi wants to bang his head against the desk in despair, this will not end well. But instead he looks around and judging by the smug look on his former teammates this is something they're response for. He's uncertain what they hope to accomplish. Why was it so hard to remember that Orochimaru was part of a clan and therefore went under clan law? He suspected that it might have something to do with the fact that Orochimaru didn't have a clan name, but then again no one in that clan did. Snakes, after all, didn't see the point of family name, they recognized each other anyway and that was all that mattered for them. That Orochimaru was the last one living here was of no consequence, especially since he now had his son and his students. Sarutobi hoped that this wouldn't end in bloodshed.

"It has come to our knowledge that he used snakes to attack one of his teachers."

"While it's true that his snakes attacked a teacher, it was not on Midori order."

"So your ward has dangerous animals that he can't even control."

"If the teacher hadn't been carrying an orange notebook they wouldn't have attacked, they thought he was a pervert."

Silence meets this statement, since all of the adults are aware of the existence of the orange books and what they're about. The hokage look at the ceiling to keep from laughing, and there are a couple of suspicious coughs heard.

"Yes, well," its clear the woman doesn't know how to respond that statement. "Midori is a boy and should wear clothes that are appropriate for his gender; he should also cut his hair."

"Midori wears the same type of clothes I do, and his hair is shorter than mine."

"You are a shinobi, and we all know what that means."

Many in the room take a shocked breath, but Orochimaru gives her a look like she's an interesting specimen.

"Now, now, tell us what you really feel," he more or less purr at her.

"Young Midori should be put in a real family that can stop this nonsense with snakes, and this so called contract he has with Uchiha Itachi. Itachi-kun should have the opportunity to date girls his own age, not be bound to a boy younger than himself."

"And I guess that one of these young girls he should date is a daughter or close relative to you?"

The woman flushes an ugly red and sputters. Orochimaru opens his mouth to say something more when he smells ozone, something he's started to link with his young ward doing something seemingly impossible. The woman makes a surprised noise as she suddenly shrinks and change shape until she becomes a very fluffy hamster.

"Well done," he compliments Midori and gently ruffles his hair, ignoring the chaos around them as he takes his ward home.

Sarutobi takes a deep breath before laying down the law, there will be no more summoning Orochimaru to try and get his son. He pretends he doesn't see the upset hamster; she will turn back to normal in at most a day or two.

 

Chapter Text

After the meeting Sarutobi drags his two old teammates back to his office. He really wants to know what the hell they've been thinking. Perhaps it's time for him to find new people to counsel with, apparently this two are beginning to lose their minds.

"You need to remove that child from Orochimaru; he's too powerful to stay there. And he needs to start training as a shinobi as soon as possible."

"Midori-kun is a civilian, and will stay so. He doesn't have enough chakra to become a shinobi, isn't interested in becoming one and hasn't the body to become one."

"You saw what he did to the council woman!"

"Enough!" Sarutobi forcefully says, tired of their rants. "My decision is final. And if I find out that you've tried something I will not stop Orochimaru from getting his revenge."

Not that he would be able to stop the younger man if Orochimaru wanted revenge.

After the other two left he quietly asked the Anbu to keep watch over them, so he'd know if they planned to try anything foolish. Sarutobi sat behind his desk and tried to figure out how it had ended up like this. He suddenly felt very old and tired. He still couldn't understand how the student he'd been the most worried for while mentoring, ended up being the first one with a family of his own, ties to some of the strongest clans and a bright future as a jounin Sensei. While the other two ended up as vagabonds, one spending her time drinking and gambling her life away while the other one spent more time spying on women bathing and writing porn than gathering useful information. How and where had it gone wrong with two thirds of his students?

Perhaps it was time for him to, once again, try and get his two students to return. He'll start with Tsunade this time, it shouldn't take too long to find her again and it would keep young Kakashi from taking another risky mission for a while. Anything he could do to keep the teen from committing suicide by mission was a plus in his book.

And perhaps he should send Gai with him, that would both help distract Kakashi from spiraling downwards and becoming depressed, if only since the other annoyed him too much, and get Gai spend some of his energies away from the village. Ever since Orochimaru had trusted him to look after Midori the younger man had tried to keep himself in the village as much as possible.

Sarutobi was quite pleased with his plans and quickly called for the two teenagers. Gai arrives promptly, as always, while Kakashi is late. After waiting for five minutes Gai apparently loses patient and runs out shouting about un-youthfulness. The hokage sighs and just resumes working on his paperwork while waiting. It doesn't take long before Gai comes back, carrying his friend.

"Good, you're both here. I have a mission for you that while it shouldn't be dangerous it will be time consuming and difficult. So pack for being away for a while."

"Yosh! I'll pack all my clothes!"

"Ma ma, let's wait until we know the mission."

"I want you to first find Tsunade and try to convince her to come back to Konoha, and then do the same with Jiraiya."

He can almost see Gai vibrate with the need to start.

"Yosh! Come my youthful friend, and let us start! Let's meet at the gate in one hour, if I'm late I'll walk on my thumbs backwards up all the stairs in Konoha!"

Gai rushes out of the room while Kakashi slowly amblers after him. Well, that should keep them occupied for a while. Now he just needed to decide what to do with his old teammates, he just hoped that they would agree to quietly retire. That reminded him, he needed to know if or when the hamster turned back into a human again. So much to do and so little time to do it on, it was getting harder and harder to remember everything.

On the other side of the village Orochimaru was wondering if he would be able to borrow a couple of prisoners so that Midori could practice turning them into animals. He was interested in knowing if they would all turn into hamsters or if they would become different animals, and what decided which animal they would turn into in that case. Did this mean that Midori could turn animals into humans or did it only work one way? There was so much that he wanted to know.

"Do you think that woman that turned into an animal will be ok?" Midori asks him worriedly.

Orochimaru blinks, since he hadn't been worried about that at all and needs to change gears in his head.

"Yes, of course she will. It was an impressive transfiguration, but since you're still growing and your powers are still maturing she won't stay that way for very long. The fact that you managed at all is a testament of how strong you are."

"You want to experiment."

"It's a fascinating idea of turning humans to animals. Do they all turn into hamsters or would they turn into different species."

"You wouldn't turn into a hamster, Maru. You would turn into a snake or a dragon."

Orochimaru gives him a pleased look and ruffs his hair.

"Considering that she still had the same coloring as before, I would turn into specie with black scales. Perhaps we can experiment when you're older and has more control. We wouldn't want someone to become struck halfway."

For a while everything is peaceful, Midori goes to school and ends up skipping a year when Orochimaru thinks they go over things too slowly and teaches him instead. Both his friends changes year with him when their families actually takes the time to compare the different schools and also realizes that the civilian school is much slower than the shinobi. It causes a small stir since there's no reason for one school to teach things slower. In the end they put some of the teacher from the shinobi side over to the civilian.

Orochimaru also manages to create two snakes with wings out of the seven eggs he'd had to work with. The wings that worked were bat and sparrow hawk which also led to some other changes. The one with the sparrow hawk wings also had feathers around its head and partway down its body, it kept muttering about rain most of the time. The other with the bat wings also had the claws and used those to sometimes climb but mostly gather all the shiny things it could find using them as a nest. As soon as he was certain that they would live he summoned one of his ordinary snakes so they could take them back to their dimension, that way he would get updates on how they developed without having to monitor them all the time. He was also interested in whether the wings would breed into the next generation of if those would turn into ordinary snakes again. Well, now that he knew that he could do it what other animal could he try with. His mind flashes to one of the books from Midori's original world, one that they couldn't read but had pictures on a lot of strange creatures. Yes, horses would be next.

Midori's first birthday there has a small gathering with his friends and family and Anko gleefully whishes him a happy one year. Gai had also managed to get back in time for the party and gave him a small green wooden dragon and a tale about slug princesses and perverted toads.

A couple of months later Midori has a growth spurt which leads to him not being the shortest kid his age and his bones to hurt. Its worst in the mornings when he has to get out of bed and his joints doesn't want to cooperate. Orochimaru gives it a few days in hopes that it will pass, but after a week lets the hokage know that they're leaving for a while. Sarutobi looks at his old student and just ask that they will send reports on how it goes.

When Gai and Kakashi had searched for Tsunade they did so by going on rumors and old sightings, so it took them a couple of weeks to find her. Orochimaru on the other hand sends out a request to all the snakes and just starts in the direction where she had been when the other two shinobi had found her. It would be much easier if he could go at top speed, but since he both has his students with him and carrying Midori it's slightly slower. It doesn't help that Midori is curious about the outside of the village and they have to stop and see the sights. Even then it only takes them five days to find Tsunade.

Tsunade doesn't look impressed to see Orochimaru.

"I already told the other two that I'm not going back," she hissed angry.

"I could care less if you whether you step foot inside the village or not," Orochimaru says coldly, full of distain. "You will heal my son or I'll slaughter enough people to fill a lake with their blood and drop you in the middle of it."

"I, what, son?"

Orochimaru lifts Midori so he dangles in front of Tsunade, who doesn't seem to know what to think of this.

"Hello!" Midori chirps. "We brought a present to your student."

Yamato holds out the piglet that they caught two days ago and that Midori had thought to cute to eat. Now it's sporting a big red ribbon and Anko has learnt to prepare her catch away from the camp.

"Oh, she's adorable, what's her name?" Shizune asks as she accepts the animal.

"We thought that you should name her," Kabuto says smoothly since they've haven't had a thought of naming the animal.

"Oh, I know, Tonton."

Tsunade sighs since she knows that there's no way that the pig is going away now and gestures to Orochimaru to follow her. She doesn't know if she should be surprised or not that he continues to carry the child he claims is his son. The inn where they're staying isn't very far so she waits until they've entered her room before talking.

"Explain to me how you have a son."

"I would have thought that someone with your medical knowledge would know how children are made; perhaps I was mistaken in thinking that you would be able to help."

"Orochimaru," she growls.

"Tsunade," he drawls back.

"Fine! You, kid let's have a look at you." Tsunade makes her voice softer and gives the kid a smile. "Put him on the bed. Now what's your name?"

"I'm Midori; Maru said that you were a slug princesses. Snakes are much cooler."

Yes, that was Orochimaru's son alright, Tsunade thinks.

"I will need to scan you so I can see what's wrong, do you want Maru to stay or leave?" She can't help but smirk when she uses the nickname.

"Stay," Midori grasps his father's hand and holds on as hard as he can.

Tsunade just wants to coo at the sight, but is rather certain that she'll get a snake flung into her face if she does, so she stops herself. The urge to coo disappears when she uses her chakra to get a feel of what's wrong. Furiously she turns towards her former teammate.

"Brittle bones, stunted growth, scarring in the lungs, weak immune system and deteriorated eyesight. Please tell me that you fed whoever did this to one of your snakes." She frowns. "And I can't pick up any chakra coils, that can't be right."

"Midori isn't from around here; a snake found him and rescued him then sent him to me since I'm also a speaker." When he sees that she doesn't understand what he's trying to tell her he sighs. "He's from another dimension, as much as I would love to go and show his previous caretakers the errors of their way, I can't. Midori doesn't have chakra, he has something else, and his people call it magic and seem to use it to bend reality."

Tsunade takes a deep breath, as much as she wants to ask questions now aren’t the time.

"I'll fix what I can, but some things only time can fix," she tells him before turning to the young boy again. "Now, this will hurt so I would like to make you sleep through it."

"Maru," Midori begs.

"Of course," Orochimaru puts his hand over his son’s eyes. "Sleep." He pushes his chakra into the body and Midori falls unconscious.

"Anything you can tell me about his powers before I start?"

"Go slow, it seems to be somewhat sentient from time to time and will help you if it has time to understand that you're trying to help him."

"Sentient?" She wants to scoff in disbelief but refrains.

Tsunade takes a calming breath and gently starts pushing her chakra into the body lying on the bed, she goes slowly, more slowly than usually since Orochimaru is a lot of things but one for jokes isn't one. And then she can suddenly feel the power, somehow both familiar and so different from chakra. It's wilder and, not that she would ever admit it, feels curious about what's she's doing. She can't withhold the gasp when it suddenly seems to understand what she's trying to do and starts helping out. The scarring in the lungs disappears completely and the bones grow stronger. Somehow this magic is taking hold of her chakra and pulls from her the energy it needs. She should be afraid, but she can feel that she can break free if she needs to.

Tsunade frowns when she does one last sweep and feels something strange in the faint scar the boy has on his forehead. If magic could leave scars behind it, it would probably feel like this, magical scarring inside the lightning bolt. She uses her chakra to cleanse the scar from any strange residues before removing her hands and almost falling when the dizziness hits. It's only Orochimaru's hands that keep her on her feet.

"Done. I've removed the scarring, fixed his eyes and made the bones stronger. He needs to build up his immune system by himself, but I've strengthen it a little. His bones should be fine unless he has a major growth spurt, then he might need to have them strengthen again. Small growth spurts shouldn't be a problem since his body has time to recover between them. There was some strange scarring on the inside of his scar on the forehead, I've removed it."

"Thank you, when can I wake him?"

"Give him a couple of minutes, that will help his body recover from the changes I've made."

"Very well."

"So, a dad huh, tell me about it?"

"He's becoming better and better at emotional manipulation."

"He's got you wrapped around his little finger hasn't he?" She ignores the glare he gives her, used to them from their youth. "You do know that won't ever be able to become a shinobi, right?"

"Yes, I'm quite aware of that. I am still teaching him about poison and self-defense, and the snakes are fond of him."

"Good. You can wake him now."

The look he gives her tells her that he's aware how curious she is about his son.

"Midori, it's time to wake up," he can't resist stroking the soft hair, but gives it a light pull when all Midori does is to grumble. The half-awake glare he receives makes him smirk in return. "How do you feel? Does it still hurt?"

Midori draws a surprised breath when he notices the lack of pain, and finds that he also can pull in more air than before.

"Whoa," he says when he sits up, feeling slightly dizzy. "I'm fine, I just felt dizzy for a moment. My head feels lighter."

"Apparently there was some internal scarring that Tsunade removed. You should thank her for being thorough enough to find and remove it."

"Thank you, Tsunade-san," Midori says sincerely.

"It was no problem kid." She looks him over critically, to determine that she hasn't missed anything. "You should eat as soon as possible; you've used a lot of energy."

That Midori's stomach growl just as she says that makes her smile and even Orochimaru looks amused.

"Could I perhaps leave Midori in your care for a little while, I have some errands I need to run. I'm certain that my students will keep you company."

Tsunade recognize that look and tone of voice, it means that this is some kind of test. She just doesn't know whether it's for her or Midori, or both of them.

"Sure, that shouldn't be a problem," she agrees suspicious. "I would love to get to know your son and students better."

"Good," he gives her a nod and then turns to Midori. "I'll be back in at most a couple of hours. Listen to Tsunade and refrain from turning anyone into an animal. You have snakes, use them instead or my students."

Tsunade ignores the inner voice that demands that she asks about the animal comment and instead ushers the young boy out of the room. Who would have thought that Orochimaru would end up being the parentally one. Her own student is waiting downstairs with Orochimaru's three hellions. For some reason the piglet is now wearing a pearl necklace and she just knows that there's no getting rid of it now.

"So, food everyone?" They all agree and Tsunade takes them over the street to the closest restaurant. "Midori-kun I want you to pick something filling, with lots of vegetables. And if you finish it all you can also have some dessert."

"Wouldn't it be better to start with the dessert?" Midori ask and looks at her with big innocent eyes.

"Desserts come after dinner," she tells him, and just knows that this is the wrong approach since she just made it clear that she was willing to argue the issue.

"Dessert is part of the meal, so it shouldn't matter if we eat it first or last."

And this is exactly the kind of brat she can see Orochimaru raise. Tsunade has never been able to win an argument against Orochimaru while on the same team, well at least not when he really cared about the subject. She has a suspicion that his son will prove to be the same, but her pride makes her at least try.

Orochimaru gives her an unimpressed look when he finally arrives and sees the amount of dessert plates on the table.

"I was under the impression that Midori was supposed to eat a meal, not sweets."

"Maru! Tsunade-san gave me desserts both before and after dinner!"

"Yes, I can tell. The sugar rush is quite evident; hopefully you will crash soon and sleep until morning."

"Your son is a menace and a brat," she tells him. "I would feel sorry for you, but he's exactly like you were at that age so you deserve it."

Orochimaru gives her a smug look as he picks up his son who's starting to yawn. Tsunade doesn't know how he did it, but Orochimaru somehow arrived just in time to catch his kid falling asleep.

"Are you staying the night, or are you leaving again?"

"Staying, the brats can watch over Midori while he sleeps."

"Of course we can sensei," Anko agrees and flutters her eyelashes at him. "We can take him to bed with us."

In a few more years that comment will be full of insinuation and sexual undertones, but at the moment she falls short. Orochimaru is proud of the attempt but still gives Midori over to Yamato since he's stronger.

"Here," he gives her a key instead. "I've rented a room for you. There are only two beds so you need to share." Finally he drops a snake on Kabuto's shoulders before making a shooing motion.

Tsunade's small minion gives him a bow before hurrying after the rest of the kids.

"In a couple of years she'll perfected the way she says that and I will take great pleasure to see her use it on unsuspected shinobis." He tells his old teammate. "I'm hoping that she'll teach it to the other two and that they'll use it on the pervert the next time he stops by the village."

"Jiraiya hasn't been around?"

Orochimaru snorts and sits down on an empty stool.

"As far as I know he's going around peeking into women's baths, writing porn and calling it spying on suspected persons."

Tsunade grimaces because she can easily see him doing just that.

"And sensei stills the hokage?"

"Yes, and I recently became aware that he was right in not making me his successor. I haven't the right kind of mind for it, at least not for this type of village."

"Oh?"

"Yes," he says sourly. "I don't think the civilians would last a month if I were forced to listen to their complaints and whining."

Tsunade's lips twitch in amusement as she imagines that. The rest of the evening and most of the night is spent talking, sometimes about past missions and what they've been up to recently. They both avoid topics that would turn sour and Orochimaru refrains from using too many hidden insults and barbs. While nothing is solved the air between them is cleaner than in a long time.

 

Chapter Text

Itachi gives Midori a small smile when the younger boy opens the door.

"I have some errands to run and wanted to ask Orochimaru-san if you can come with me."

The smile he gets in return is almost blinding.

"Maru! Ita-chan is taking me on a date! Bye!" He quickly closes the door behind him and pulls the older boy away from the house. "Quickly, before he realizes what I just said."

Itachi is torn between panic and manic giggling but pulls the other close and shunshin away just as the door slams open again. Luckily there are a lot of people out shopping or just wandering around the market enjoying the sun so the two of them can keep away from the three students searching for them. And while they're having fun, Itachi doesn't really think that you’re supposed to be forced to duck behind a crate of tomatoes to hide while on a date. He has a nagging suspicion that he's doing the whole thing wrong. Perhaps he should ask Shisui about it later, the other boy is a couple of years older and should have had some experience. At least they're holding hands, which isn't so much a romantic gesture than so they won't get separated.

Itachi ends up buying a bag of tomatoes from the amused farmer, so at least Sasuke will be pleased. His other errands takes more than double the amount of time they usually takes, which means its lunchtime when they're done. So of course he takes the younger boy home for the meal, his mother won't mind and he knows for a fact that his father is busy with meetings.

"Oh, look at you, you've grown," Mikoto coos over their guest and Itachi suddenly notices that, yes, the other is taller than the last time he saw him.

The older boy has a vague idea that he should comment on his dates hair for some reason, but isn't sure why or how. 'Nice hair' probably isn't the right thing to say, even if the other has nice hair.

"Here are the things you wanted me to get." He hesitated; he should probably ask that it's fine that Midori stays for lunch. "Midori is having lunch here, if that's ok."

"Of course it's ok, you're always welcome here, Mi-chan. You to go and wash up, the food is almost ready."

Itachi somehow isn't surprised that the lunch gained four more people, and that three of them was giving him evil looks. Orochimaru mostly look amused and distracted as he had a scroll by his elbow that he was writing on.

Mikoto clicks her tongue at him for working at the table and the snake sannin just finish writing the seal before putting the scroll away.

"Did you have fun today, Midori?"

"Yes! We hid from Anko behind the tomatoes."

"Good, I'm pleased that you enjoyed your time with Itachi-kun." He deftly catches the tomato that Anko throws at Itachi and gives her a look. "Mikoto-san, perhaps you would be willing to give Anko some lessons in the female arts."

"Oh, gladly. I'm sure I can teach you a lot of interesting things. I might not be a kunoichi any longer, but I still remember what's important to know."

No one seems to notice that there's someone missing from the table, and Mikoto doesn't even think of her husband who was spending more and more time away from the house.

Anko sulks for a moment but decided that there will be other opportunities, especially if Itachi will invite Midori on more dates.

"The academy said that kunoichi's mostly does information gathering." Anko's tone clearly says that, that sound boring.

"True," Mikoto agrees. "Would you like to learn the best way to kill someone using a pair of stiletto heels?"

"Oh, that would be so cool," Anko says, her eyes wide.

"That does sounds cool," Kabuto agrees, giving Mikoto a hopeful look.

"If it's ok with Orochimaru-kun."

"If you want to learn how to kill someone with stiletto heels, you need to first learn how to walk in them. And not by cheating with chakra."

"Sensei, can you walk in heels?"

"Yes, but I find them to be impractical while going over a mountain."

"Have you ever killed someone with stiletto heels?"

"No, on the mission where I wore heels I used my hairpins through the ears instead. Much less of a mess."

"Sensei, you're so cool," Anko tells him seriously.

Itachi can't help but to think of the hair ornaments that Midori often wears.

"Thank you Anko, but I'm certain that you will be able to do the same."

"Wait," Mikoto says. "I think I remember this, was this the time when you walked into the village wearing the purple dress?"

"Yes," he agrees suspicious.

"And on the way to the tower people couldn't stop from proposition you?"

"Yes, I had three immoral offers while going to give my report."

"And? Did you take one of the offers?"

"No, I did not. Two of them apparently mistook me for a female, and were quick to redraw their offer. The last one didn't mind that, but was put off by my age."

"And how old were you, sensei?" Kabuto asks.

"A couple of weeks from turning fifteen I believe."

"Would you have accepted?" Mikoto wonders.

"I have never been interested in pursuing the pleasure of the flesh. I have tried it out, but it doesn't interest me as it does some, so no I wouldn't have accepted."

Yamato really doesn't want to know about his sensei's sex life.

"What's the strangest thing you've ever used to kill someone with?"

"Difficult question, I once mixed poison with shinobi nail polish and lightly scratched my victim."

"Shinobi nail polish?" Itachi asks, he wasn't aware that there existed more than one type and had only seen civilians wear it.

"Yes, it's not that common since the process is difficult and the end result rather expensive. For a while you could only buy black, but now there's a few more colors available." Orochimaru explains. "If you infuse it with chakra while wearing it, it makes your nails extremely hard; some people can even use it to grow claws for a little while. I'm sure there's more you can do with it, but I haven't experimented with it."

The rest of the meal is filled with chatter until Kabuto has to leave for the hospital where he's shadowing some of the doctors and learning the basics of medical jutsu. Orochimaru let's Itachi says his goodbye to Midori before taking his son home. He has some ideas about mixing chakra with magic and is curious if it'll work or not. He hopes it will work since he needs at least some magical powers if he wants to be able to make potions.  Hopefully the seals he's invented will help, but he needs to do some more research before he test it out.

It takes a few weeks but he's finally ready to try, if this works he will later be able to give some of his chakra to Midori and making sure that he will always be able to find him.

"Midori, I want you to fill this glass ball with your magic."

"How do I do that?"

Orochimaru might not know much about the strange power, but one thing he knows is it will only work if Midori believes it will work.

"Take the ball in your hand," he directs. "Close your eyes and feel the magic within you, then gather it into your hand and slowly push it into the ball. Stop when it feels full."

Luckily the ball doesn't explode, but it shines brightly before cracking.

"I'm sorry! I'll do better!" Midori turns bright frightened eyes to the older man.

"Shh, don't worry, you did fine. We'll just try again, slower this time." He gently brushes his fingers through Midori's hair and tries to dampen the killing intent filling him. "Perhaps a pearl will work better, let's try that next."

Midori gives him a small smile, ignoring the killing intent filling the room since he's grown used to his guardian releasing it from time to time, and picks up a pearl from the table. This time he manages to fill it without trouble. They both inspect the glowing pearl with fascination.

"Do you think that you can do a couple of more, or do you need to rest?"

"I'm fine, Maru, I can do some more."

Orochimaru hums skeptically but hand him another pearl. Midori manages to fill that one too, but he's clearly flagging so afterwards they discuss plants and how they can be used. Both of them forgetting the school work that Midori should do instead. Not that it matter much since Midori's grade is good, even if it's not the top one. There were just so many other more interesting things he could learn, who had time to learn about litterateur when he could learn about mixing poison instead.

Orochimaru crushed one pearl and mixed the dust with ink, using it to write the seal on himself, a seal that hopefully would give him enough magic to mix potions. It frustrated him that even if he and Midori did exactly the same thing his potions wouldn't work. Not that they could make many potions since they didn't have the right ingredients here, but if he could make this work he was certain that he would be able to find substitutes. At least Midori enjoyed working with the ingredients they had, and was even now happily chopping up slugs.

As the seal was finished he felt something, a small fluttering in his chakra, that he hoped was the magic taking hold. Now for the testing, this would most likely prove difficult since he would be at most a strong squib. Potions would probably be the only thing he could do, even if he hoped to be able to learn how to sense magic. That way he would always be able to find Midori if he was close, since the boy was the only magical being in the world.

The potion at least looked correct, even if it smelled atrocious so Orochimaru took it with him to the T&I where there were persons he could test it on. Persons it didn't matter if they lived or died, but in this instance he hoped they would live since the potion were supposed to either help regrow bones or help mend them. And there were a lot of prisoners with broken bones he could test it on. Anko came with him, since she looked forward to joining the T&I after she became a chuunin and this would be good practice. And it was always amusing to see her sensei getting into places he had no real right to be in with just a glare and a lot of attitude. He didn't seem to understand that the T&I weren't his personal space for all his experiment subjects. Ibiki usually just pointed him towards the prisoners that they didn't have any use for anymore.

Anko just knew that Orochimaru was proud over how much she and the boys had grown and that they would be entered into the chuunin exam soon. She just hoped that he knew that, that wouldn't stop them from coming over, it just meant that they would be away from the village more often on their own. But now she wanted to know what sensei had in mind with that awfully smelly fluid, especially since he was looking so smug.

Chapter Text

Everyone looked over when the door to the hokage's office opened and most reached for their weapons before recognizing Midori.

"Maru! Where do babies come from?"

"In most species it's the female that carries them, or lays the eggs." Orochimaru calmly says, ignoring the horrified faces the others in the room does when they hear the question. "Why?"

Killing intent slowly starts forming around him; looking for a threat and making those that blushed at the earlier question blanch instead.

"I found a mini Gai, look!" Midori reaches behind himself and pulls out a younger boy in green that looks both confused and excited.

"Hello! I'm Rock Lee!"

"How fascinating, but I'm sorry to say that Gai hasn't managed the skill of splitting himself into smaller versions of himself. Why don't you go over and introduce him to Gai. I'm curious on how they'll respond to each other."

Midori happily draws the boy away again, now that he has his father's blessing on doing a social experiment.

"What?" Orochimaru asks when he finally noticed the looks the others in the room is giving him.

"Why, how can you just calmly answer him when he barge in asking on how babies are made?" One of the Akimichi's asks.

"Reproduction is part of nature, as long as Midori asks because he's curious and wants to know I'll answer his questions. In a couple of years he will most likely become curious in the differences between male and female and how coitus works. Since he's in a contract with Itachi I will concentrate on how it works between men. There's not that many good texts that explain everything so I've started writing my own that he will receive when he asks about it."

"You, my man, are my new hero," the Akimichi says. "I'll pay you if give me a copy of it when you’re done."

The rest of the men quickly agree, since this would make the dreaded talk so much easier. Orochimaru on the other hand gives them a suspicious look before agreeing, since he really doesn't understand what the problem is. While he himself is rather indifferent about sex, he knows that most others finds it enjoyable and does it frequently. And since the other occupants are parents they should know more than enough to teach their children at least the basics. There must be some reason why they want his text on the subject, especially since they haven't shown any interest in anything else he's written.

"Actually I think I've changed my mind," Orochimaru tells them.

"What?! Why?"

"I don't see why you can't answer your children's questions yourself, unless you don't know the answer, in which case I would wonder if you really are the father."

"Troublesome," the Nara mutters. "Most would find it embarrassing or uncomfortable to give the talk to their son."

Orochimaru gives him a blank look.

"Not only is the sexual act a natural part of life but I was in the same team as Jiraiya so I know that people talk about sex, in some cases often and with great details."

"Yeah? Let's hear you do that then," one of the clan less shinobi in the room says with a smirk.

What follows are something that will never be spoken of again, as Orochimaru does just that and a group of people realizes that he has great voice to listen to. It doesn't help that he goes into intimate details that has most of them squirming in their seats, some of embarrassment but most because of the pictures he paints with his voice and words. They all stays transfixed until he's done and then there's a rush to the bathrooms or other private places. Orochimaru looks after them and leaves in a huff, they weren't even done with the meeting yet. He had at least had time to sign his students up to the next chuunin exam before the interruption.

He hasn't taken many steps outside the hokage tower before Mikoto finds him and gleefully drags him with her. That's how he somehow ends up having lunch with most of the wives of the men that had been in the meeting. At least they reacted better when he told them about the meeting and the way most of the men had run away when he'd finished describing the sexual act between two persons. If fanning themselves and giggling were better.

"You are a treasure, don't let anyone tell you different," Mikoto tells him and pads his cheek.

"I'm starting to miss the time when everyone was afraid of me," he mutters and accepts the fruit salad that's the dessert.

"Oh, don't be silly, they're still afraid of you but now it's mixed with the knowledge that you can make them come with just your voice."

"Yes, it's too bad that I'm a married woman," one of the others agrees.

Orochimaru just wonders why all shinobi are insane; luckily he sees his way to escape outside the window.

"Ladies, I would like to say that this was a pleasure," he says as he rises and quickly pays his bill before exiting.

Through the window they see him greeting Midori and his three students. After listening to what the young boy has to say he gently ruffles his hair and then has his arm captured by Anko who starts dragging him along. Yamato puts Midori on his shoulders and Kabuto sends a look at the restaurant before catching up with the others. They didn't like the fact that their teacher apparently had had lunch with a bunch of females, if one of them tried to get their claws into Orochimaru they had another thing coming. It was bad enough that they had to share him with the Uchiha clan. They would not be sharing him with anyone else.

Not that they had a lot of time to worry about it, because in just a few days they were going away to Iwagakure in the Land of Earth to participate in the chuunin exam. So they need to pack, check their equipment and in some cases buy new ones. Midori spends most of the time pouting, since he's not coming with them and is going to stay at the Uchiha compound in the guestroom at Mikoto.

"Don't worry chibi-chan we'll buy you some souvenirs," Kabuto tells him.

Anko slips him some kunai for protections, while Yamato in a serious voice tells him to always eat his vegetables. Orochimaru rolls his eyes at the display, his students are behaving ridiculous.

"Midori, we will at most be gone a month and a half," he thinks he's supposed to offer some advice since they'll be gone for a while. "Behave yourself for Mikoto, and remember there's no such thing as to many snakes."

Midori looks at him with big wet green eyes and a wobbly lip and Orochimaru can't help but to brush his son’s forehead with his lips. The affectionate display feels both alien and right.

"Sensei," Anko whines. "Can you kiss my forehead to?"

"Absolutely not," he tells her, gives Midori one last pat on the head and leaves with his students trailing behind him.