Drabble! For the superhero!AU, because I’m still deciding whether or not to cut this bit, so I thought I’d toss it up here in the meantime, because there’s not enough parent!Orochimaru in the world.
Orochimaru’s phone rings while he’s in the middle of wrangling Anko into a bath, and he lunges to catch her around the waist with one arm while the other hand snatches the mobile off the counter and accepts the call.
It is, in retrospect, probably a mistake.
“When were you going to tell me that you got saved from becoming a pavement splatter by the White Fang?” is what Tsunade opens with.
“The what?” Orochimaru demands snappishly, only halfway listening at best. “Anko, you are eleven, personal hygiene should not be a daily battle—Anko—”
“But I took a shower two days ago!” Anko protests, wriggling like a greased eel. “And I only played in the dirt once, Dad, lemme go, I’m fine!”
“No, that’s not—Anko!” Since he’s only hanging on to her with one hand and Anko is well-practiced in this game, she jerks, twists out of his grasp, and bolts. Orochimaru lunges after her, cursing whatever impulse ever made him think that parenting was within his admittedly considerable skillset, and almost drops the phone into Manda’s tank as he trips over a discarded pile of textbooks. A quick sidestep catches the phone and keeps Orochimaru on his feet, if only just, and he ignores the snake’s amusement in his mind as he juggles it, then presses it back to his ear.
“Trouble?” Tsunade asks, in the tone of voice that means she’s laughing at him and doesn’t care if he knows it.
“I loathe children,” Orochimaru says, scraping his long hair out of his face with a grimace. “Were you the one who talked me into this?”
Now Tsunade is audibly laughing at him. “No, Orochimaru, I wasn’t. In fact, I clearly remember telling you that it wasn’t going to be anywhere near as easy as you imagined and that you should think carefully about the decision. Care to say it?”
Like hell Orochimaru is ever going to say yes, you told me so to Tsunade—the only one he’s less likely to admit such a thing to is Jiraiya. “You were saying?” he asks instead, cool enough that she’ll definitely notice he’s not pleased with the demand.
He doesn’t have to see Tsunade to know she’s rolling her eyes at him. “Today, when you almost got up close and personal with the express line to Tanzaku Boulevard. The White Fang saved you.”
“The White Fang,” Orochimaru repeats distastefully. “Is that his name? He uses an article in front of it? My good opinion of him is sinking rapidly.”
“Good?” Trust Tsunade to latch on to the one part of that sentence Orochimaru would rather she have missed. “Orochimaru, I’ve known you since you were born. The only heroes you’ve ever had a good opinion of are Tempest and Hellcat.”
Orochimaru huffs, even as he heads down the hall with one ear trained for any sign of his wayward daughter. “We’ve had this discussion multiple times—violent street crime is the real threat to Konoha, not those flamboyant showmen Sharingan and Shodai deign to deal with every now and then. If more heroes took the time to see the larger picture and address—”
“You’re preaching, but I’m already in the choir, Orochimaru,” Tsunade says, wearily amused, and a quick check of the clock above the kitchen sink makes Orochimaru realize she must have just gotten off shift at the hospital. No wonder she sounds like she’s in need of a solid eighteen hours of rest. There’s a quiet sigh over the line, and the she adds pointedly, “Good opinion?”
“I said it was sinking,” Orochimaru reminds her, annoyed, and opens the linen closet.
“AAAAAAH!” Anko screeches, bolting past him with a pillowcase over her head.
Conversation forgotten, Orochimaru spins to give chase, and is just in time to see a sock-covered foot thrust out from around the corner directly in Anko’s path. She hits it running full-out and goes down with a shriek, and Orochimaru wastes no time cornering her.
“Kabuto, don’t trip your sister,” he says, even though what he really wants to do is thank the boy and promise all the lab materials he could want for the next month.
“Sorry, Dad,” Kabuto says perfunctorily, pushing his glasses up his nose and regarding Orochimaru as if he is aware exactly what Orochimaru is thinking. He could be, for all Orochimaru knows—they’ve never determined the exact extent of his mimicry abilities. Orochimaru’s had thoughts about copying brainwave patterns as well as physical forms, but—
“Daaaaad,” Anko complains, though she seems to have at least stopped trying to get away and is flailing sadly on the hardwood like a beached starfish.
“Bath,” Orochimaru tells her firmly. “And because of this little production you’ve put on, and seeing as I am fully aware that you know better, Kabuto gets to pick what show you watch.”
Kabuto looks smug, and Anko’s expression shades towards murderous. “But—!”
“Bath, Anko, or you won’t get to watch a show at all tonight. And Kabuto, go pick up your textbooks in the living room before someone trips over them again.”
“Yes, Dad,” they both chorus, varying levels of sheepish, and head in opposite directions.
When they’re safely out of earshot, Orochimaru sighs, shoving his hair back behind his ears and retrieving his cell phone from where he dropped it. There are a few new scuffs and a small dent, but it’s still working, and to Orochimaru’s great annoyance the call is still in progress. He rolls his eyes and returns it to his ear as he heads back to the kitchen.
“I hate you,” he informs Tsunade testily, rolling up his sleeves again and sandwiching the phone between his ear and shoulder so he can finish the last of the dishes.
Tsunade laughs at him, the witch. “Of course you do.”