Last of the Summer Roses - KeanBlade (2024)

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: one white rose Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 2: twenty yellow roses Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 3: fifteen peach roses Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 4: six pink roses Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 5: ten red roses Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 6: twenty one orange roses Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 7: twelve burgundy roses Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 8: white camellia Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 9: nine lavender roses Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 10: fifty green roses Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 11: basil Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 12: twenty four royal purple roses Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 13: one hundred blue roses Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 14: Statice Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 15: two dark pink roses Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 16: three coral roses Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 17: on hundred and eight cream-ivory roses Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 18: White Stargazer Lily Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 19: thyme Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 20: fifteen black roses Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 21: thirteen tea roses Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 22: thirty six amaranth red roses Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 23: one rose of sharon Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 24: comes before the fall Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 25: sampaguita Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 26: nine hundred and ninety nine dog roses Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 27: one white rose Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 28: correspondence I Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 29: no honor Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 30: not as heavy as guilt Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 31: star cut garnet Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 32: topaz Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 33: labradorite Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 34: correspondence II Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 35: Agate Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 36: onyx Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 37: rose cut tanzanite Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 38: ivy Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 39: moonstone Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 40: the thing with feathers Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 41: tiger eye Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 42: correspondence III Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 43: if wishes Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 44: star sapphire Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 45: hematite Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 46: amber Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 47: emerald Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 48: quartz crystal Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 49: begonia Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 50: coral Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 51: angels fear to tread Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 52: pearl Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 53: correspondence IV Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 54: amazonite Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 55: the better part of valor Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 56: amethyst Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 57: lock the door Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 58: aragonite star cluster Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 59: red jasper Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 60: lavender Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 61: tourmaline Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 62: diamond Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 63: opal Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 64: lapis lazuli Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 65: ruby Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 66: better to have loved Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 67: correspondence V Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 68: fear Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 69: aluminum Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 70: copper Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 71: the opposite of love Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 72: mercury Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 73: myrtle and edelweiss Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 74: run deep Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 75: meteoric iron Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 76: cold iron Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 77: magnesium Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 78: lead Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 79: tin Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 80: bronze Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 81: correspondence VI Chapter Text Chapter 82: lilac Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 83: brass Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 84: pewter Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 85: zinc Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 86: silver Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 87: blood is thick Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 88: come away Summary: Chapter Text Chapter 89: gold Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes:

Chapter 1: one white rose

Summary:

Love at first sight; reverence, and new beginnings.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

If you asked Tobirama where it started, he would tell you that it was late summer after he turned twenty one, only a few months before his twenty second birthday and a little over a month after that awful mission in Lightning country that ended up with him dragging himself back into Senju territory covered in blood, with his armor completely ruined– he had lost his fur on that mission, a fact that still sort of broke his heart– and missing three of his sealing scrolls. Mostly that wasn’t a problem, he had the mission report and payment and that was the most important thing, but one of them had been filled with some of the notes he had worked on while on his way out– that was what he got for taking projects with him he guessed– and that meant that reconstructing the work had been a laborious process and required repeating one or two experiments (he…didn’t love doing that) and left him concerned that someone could have picked up the work; none of it was too important and none of it was sensitive– he knew better than that– but still, he didn’t like the thought of it in enemy hands (it was too revealing if they figured out who wrote it, too embarrassing).

However, any worries about who had picked up the scrolls were shoved to the side when things with the Uchiha suddenly went insane; he had no idea what he had done, and no amount of Hashirama grilling him on it helped him figure out what he had done to make Madara hate him as passionately as the older man now did (it was a knife in his stupid heart, he should have known better than to think– however much he adored Madara’s chakra Madara himself he was a fool to think the other man would care, and Tobirama couldn’t decide if he preferred Madara’s hatred or his dismissal– dismissal meant his brother didn’t hate him the way they did now). It started with Madara fighting Hashi closer and closer to where their younger brothers fought, with him keeping an ever more watchful eye on Izuna (like he thought Tobirama was going to suddenly kill his little brother) and staring at the albino whenever he could take his eyes off Hashirama in their fights (it was suddenly clear that Madara had been holding back), and the Senju leader hated that, Tobirama knew his brother hated to lose Madara’s attention, it made Hashirama angry and twitchy to see the Uchiha focus on the younger, “How am I supposed to convince him to listen to me if he is so busy watching you to make sure you don’t kill Izuna?! Let up on Izuna and maybe Madara will stop” so Tobirama did as his brother asked (ordered) and made himself a little slower, a little more careful a little less proactive (and if he got hurt more, well, better that than Hashirama’s anger).

It didn’t work, oh Madara looked confused sometimes but that only seemed to make him watch Tobirama closer which made everything worse, especially when it changed again about a month after the watching started and Madara started throwing knives at him. Knives, as if keeping Hashirama busy– which he had been doing in increasingly flashy ways and Tobirama hadn’t been distracted by at all, that was his story and he was sticking to it– wasn’t enough and he needed to help Izuna with Tobirama now too (as if the albino wasn’t walking a thin line already with pulling back on how hard he went against Izuna), as if he had some reason to personally hurt Tobirama– which was the only reason he could think of that Madara wanting to help wouldn’t piss off Izuna– and want him dead. (Tobirama curled up in his room, tucked as far in the shadows as he could be, playing with Madara’s knife he had brought back from the battlefield– it was very pretty– and trying to breathe through the pain– one of the knives Madara had thrown had scored his thigh when Tobirama had to twist out of the way of Izuna’s fireball into its trajectory to keep Izuna from hitting another Senju, not a major wound but it hurt– of a poorly healed wound and exhaustion, he was just so tired and he could hardly bring himself to want to fight right now with Hashirama’s words ringing in his ears “What did you do?!”).

And then, of course, it got worse. It was a fairly normal battle at the beginning, though the Uchiha looked…odd, fidgety and exasperated and glancing at Madara constantly; so it wasn’t too much of a surprise when the Uchiha drew back except for Madara– who threw Hashirama with a jaw dropping gout of flame– and he looked straight at Tobirama before stripping off his gloves and throwing them at the Senju’s feet. Tobirama stared at the black leather and hoped no one could see his eyes get glassy but, he didn’t know what he had done and to have done something bad enough for this… He swallowed, keeping his head down and ignoring the sharp inhales of his clan as he leant down and picked up the gloves, running his fingers over the soft leather before tucking them into his armor and turning away. A challenge like that, all but a declaration of a feud and a statement of killing intent, meant that he would be safe until sundown; after that, well, he would need to watch his back if he wanted to live and Madara wanted him dead that badly. The trip back to the compound was silent, the other Senju shooting glances at him as they tried to work out what he had done that was bad enough– so much worse than just an enemy clan, this was personal– for Madara to declare a retribution hunt; and then of course there was Hashirama. The moment they arrived Tobirama followed his brother into the elder’s office, not even bothering to look at anyone else– half-numb from shock and aching hurt- and waiting for Hashirama to start yelling; it took a few minutes to start, which was almost worse – but then “What did you do? No really Tobi, what did you do that Madara– my friend– would think this was needed? Did you experiment on one of his clan? Steal their eyes?” (Tobirama ached) “Because the last time a retribution hunt was declared it was after a rape!”

Tobirama recoiled, eyes snapping to his brother “I would never-!” “Then what is it!?!” “I don’t know! I truly don’t know; I can’t think of anything that would…” Hashirama snorted and turned away; “You need to offer a formal apology” he said sternly “What?!” Tobirama yelped, “You can’t require that of me, not yet anyway” he said through cold lips, that his brother would ask this of him…gods, what had he even done? Was it some intrinsic character flaw like Izuna was always saying? Was there something (more) wrong with him to finally have Madara’s attention like this? What was happening? He was glad when Hashirama sent him away instead (but the clan without him to balance Izuna…he worried because Hashirama didn’t seem too).

If you asked Madara when it started, he would say it was late-ish summer when a patrol returned with Tobirama Senju’s fur and three storage scrolls that changed his life. Izuna had been gleeful about the fur– though disappointed that the patrol had only found it, not taken it– but Madara was much more concerned about the scrolls, the first two of which were supplies and empty respectively, but the third…Madara had never seen anything like it, papers and papers and all of them so smart, oh Madara had known that the younger Senju was smart– everyone knew that– but he was a genius, and more importantly he was willing to turn that impossible brilliance to making things better; to making peace and safety and training the children so well they didn’t die anymore (the amount of these papers that was devoted to creating an academy and keeping it fair and equal for all children, clan or not– and yes, he even thought about non-clan children– was astonishing to Madara), he was clearly committed to peace but also worried about keeping his clan safe in war, his jutsu notes were brilliant even if they were mostly scattered notes on the edges of other papers (and a little worrying, the way he talked about the healing jutsu was…odd), and even little worried scribblings about the Uchiha eyes and how he wondered if it hurt them to use the Sharingan (and something about acid damage to his eyes? That was worrying, if an enemy was attacking eyes they needed to know).

There was so much of the younger Senju in those papers, so much of who he was at the deepest level; not just that he cared about peace and would work towards it while still trying to keep his people safe (and that was the real problem with Hashirama and part of the elders problems with a peace agreement, how were they supposed to trust a man that never covered the rearguard of his own clan?) but that he was thoughtful (the children) and witty and sarcastic (bitchy notes about his brother and clan members and leaders of other clans that made Madara laugh, when was the last time he had done that?). And knowing all that, knowing the fascinating person in these papers how was he supposed to do anything but adore them? And ok, insisting on reading them aloud to his clansmen whenever they stood still long enough was maybe overkill (Madara wasn’t convinced on that) but it did bring his clansmen around fairly quickly (well, not elder Yashiro, but no one liked him and Madara was fairly sure he was evil and had no problem chasing him into the firing line between Tobirama and Izuna, where the albino obliterated him with extreme prejudice, the run home was uncomfortable) to the idea that they Needed To Have Tobirama (he was pretty! And deadly! And smart! And thoughtful! And wonderful!); all that was left was how to get him.

(Convincing them only took a month; “Have I told you about Article 17, Subsection 4—" “YES brother!” angry flailing, Madara ignored it “Such elegant phrasing. He's so brilliant. So thoughtful. So well-read. And the comments in the margins are hilarious. He's perfect.” “Please... make it stop... if I have to hear about tax law one more time..” he thought his uncle would understand better than that, it was only the fourth time he told them about it “I need to talk to Tobirama. I have so many questions. Should I write him a letter? Or is that too forward? When's the next battle?! Izuna, we're switching fighting partners!” “Are you KIDDING?! Your stupid tree will annihilate me! No!” at least one of the elders understood “If we give you permission to court and then hunt him, will you bug him about his notes instead of us?” “…maybe”).

So Madara started planning out a courtship, he was already watching Tobirama all the time (it wasn’t exactly an onerous job – so pretty...) so he just payed closer attention and worked on putting on a good display of himself; but what he saw worried him, the albino was pulling back, fighting less hard against Izuna (who also was in therapy at the moment, kid needed it, Madara was so glad the last clan therapist hadn’t been killed yet, the half Yamanaka was so useful) and letting the Uchiha land more hits (it baffled Madara, and worried him) for no reason that Madara could discern (except, there was something about Hashirama and the way Tobirama looked at him…) and Madara decided that he needed to get a move on before something happened, he wanted Tobirama with him as soon as he could make it happen to keep an eye on him (those healing notes…). So the elder Uchiha presented the knife promise that pledged his willingness to fight for Tobirama’s attention, and maybe throwing it at him on the battlefield was less than ideal but it wasn’t unheard of, Madara was just annoyed he never had the chance to say the words with Hashirama getting in the way all the time; either way it took a while but the albino never threw it back nor refused it so Madara just worked harder to find a knife good enough for him and it worked! Tobirama took the knife with him (the one made from obsidian and silver, a little more frivolous than Madara had expected but good to know) and Madara had the go ahead to move on to the next thing (the clan breathed a sigh of relief, the dithering over the knives was almost as annoying as the note reading).

So at the very next skirmish Madara took his gloves off and gave them to his (hopefully) lover – well he threw them again, but what else was he supposed to do? – in a pledge that he would always hold Tobirama’s hand, even when he couldn’t be there in person (the clan thought it was very romantic) and Tobirama picked them up! But he didn’t look at Madara after he tucked them in his armor (taking them with him was a good sign but…), just ducking his head and leaving without looking at anyone and Madara might, maybe, have had a tiny little breakdown about that. Luckily that was when his cousin Kikiyo got involved, the alluring Red Crane pointing out that it might be difficult for him to do anything, what with his being in a different clan and really he had expressed as much interest as he likely could, so maybe Madara should do a bridenapping? After all that way they could actually talk and if he agreed they would already be considered married, and Madara could – was expected to – steal his love away and keep him safe and happy and make the tired, sad look go away. Madara was thrilled, this was perfect, there was no way it could go wrong, not with Madara carrying a marriage rope and Tobirama having already expressed his willingness to listen (maybe that was why he looked tired? Maybe his clan didn’t like Madara courting him). (The entire clan slumped in relief, thank the eternal flame maybe the torment was over – though gods curse them if Tobirama changed his mind, a sad Madara almost didn’t bear contemplation, it would be so, so, so pathetic.)

Notes:

Disclaimer: I write fast and don't edit much- this is a place for me to not have to worry too much about perfection and just enjoy it- so things can be mangled at times. (I've got a wonky brain that can't see symbols as well, so I frequently can't even see mistakes) That's not something that's likely to change any time soon, so if imperfect writing puts you off this probably isn't for you

Now with beta!! The amazing VendettaX13 is the best and volunteered to beta this because they are awesome. I can't thank them enough for making this better.

Chapter 2: twenty yellow roses

Summary:

Sincerity; joy, caring, platonic affection.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Tobirama focused on the pack on his bed, doing his best to block out Touka’s keen eyes watching him from the neatly organized desk where his fierce, sleek cousin was watching him, “Do you really think complying with this is good for the clan? Really, Tobira? Because I’m good, I’m damn good, but I’m not the sort of heavy hitter that Izuna is” she asked quietly; Tobirama didn’t look up from the clothing he was folding neatly (not much, he didn’t have much anyway) “I don’t see how I have a choice. We were planning on treating with the Uzumaki for a bride for Hashirama anyway, that I am going makes no difference except to express more respect for them; this might be a good thing Touka” she snorted, “Yeah and the Senju that die at Izuna’s hand are nothing to worry about” his hands stuttered and froze and he swallowed hard, eyes burning where he was looking at the bed. “It was this or a Formal Apology” he said hoarsely, ignoring her sharp intake of breath as he went back to folding with shaking hands “and I can’t bring myself to strip down and kneel for the Uchiha. Not when I don’t even know what I’ve done.” Touka made a sharp noise behind him and he ignored it “I’d rather die in a retribution hunt than do that, maybe that’s stupid, but I can’t-“ his words were cut off as she stepped up to him and wrapped her arms around him; “I’m sorry little cousin, I didn’t know….of course this is the right choice if those are the options that Hashirama gave you. I would never ask you to do that.” She said softly into his hair; he sagged, relief scorching through him, “I wasn’t sure-“ “No” she said firmly, giving him a little shake “you are doing the right thing and we’ll- well, we’ll figure out a way to keep ourselves safe; you just worry about you ok?” He nodded but didn’t look up.

The forest was cool and dim as he slipped out of the compound the night before his birthday, there was no one to wish him farewell and his brother’s last words to him had been stilted and awkward, with Hashirama refusing to meet his eyes (it hurt) and Touka wrapping him hard on the head with her fan before he slipped away into the night (he had given her that fan when her father died too young to do so, had made it out of the bones of a bear and silk he had snatched from a lady in the Daimyo’s court on a mission; it wasn’t beautiful but she had never gotten a better one). It was a sharp sting to know he was going on something between a mission and exile- at least until Hashirama could figure out what was going on with Madara– but what was almost worse was that his brother wasn’t content to just let Madara kill Tobirama and have everyone move on– the most logical solution– and instead wanted him to shame himself in front of the man he loved, as if that was better for anyone other than Hashirama’s tender conscience. Tobirama shook his head sharply, he had a long way ahead of him and would have to run along almost the entire breadth of Uchiha territory after the lines changed last winter (it was smart on the Uchiha’s part to try and keep the Senju from one of their firmest allies but Tobirama was sure it wouldn’t last, this area was fought over constantly), which meant that he would have to be fast, quiet, and mute his chakra as far down as he could; it was going to be miserable and there would be no stopping once he hit their border line, not with him traveling alone.

He shook out his legs and stretched his joints, checking that everything was in place (he missed his armor, he missed his fur more) and took one last look at his old home; now it was time to run (and if he was running right past someone who wanted to kill him and hoping they didn’t notice, well, that was an acceptable risk and Touka probably thought he was taking the longer way around).

Madara was twitchy. He could admit that. He was feeling magnanimous enough to admit that he might be driving his clan a little nuts but what else was he supposed to do? it wasn’t like there was any way to bridenap Tobirama as long as the albino was in Senju lands and it had been almost an entire week since Madara had given Tobirama his gloves, a truly unacceptable period of time for Madara to have not been allowed to see his stunning (hopefully) intended. He fiddled with the objects carefully laid out on the bed in front of him (Izuna was in therapy right now so he could do this without any input from the peanut gallery), going over them with his eyes– for the nth time– it wasn’t needed to keep giving gifts at this point, but Madara wanted to see Tobirama draped in things Madara gave him, wanted to take care of the younger man and wrap him up in soft fur and warm hugs and anything and everything he wanted – and hoping that he would have a proper chance to give them to the Senju soon, you know, give them properly, without throwing anything (Madara knew Izuna was making progress when he teased Madara about throwing things at his pretty lover instead of giving them properly, said Tobirama would think he was being attacked not courted; Madara was just thrilled to have his baby brother not acting like a crazy person).

He sighed deeply– again– and smoothed down the fabric of the dark indigo yukata with its thin fur trim (ok, he might have gone overboard with the fur, maybe, possibly, he wasn’t sure and it wasn’t on everything, just, like, almost everything) comparing its color to the other three’s and hoping that he had chosen colors Tobirama would like as well as good patterns (and yes, maybe the brilliant vermillion was a bit bright, but it would match his tattoos!) but it was so hard to say with almost nothing to go on accept what he saw in battle (Madara had been sad to realize he wasn’t wearing the bright blue armor anymore, it had been a good look for him and the plain gray was just not right) and his own conjecture based off of what he had seen before and gathered from the notes (almost nothing). There was more than just clothing of course! There was a calligraphy set imported from the seal masters, and a fur cloak for the oncoming cold (and a fur blanket, and maybe gloves, he really hoped Tobirama liked fur ok?), there were books on things the Uchiha didn’t have in their library and good paper, and Madara even had a child in mind to give to Tobirama as a first student– Sukumi agreed, though the fact that Kagami was driving her a little nuts helped– so he had to have all the important things ready, right? And if Tobirama was ok with it Madara had other things, private things, to give too; jewelry and the anklet Uchiha wore to show their attachment in white gold and, um, other things (Izuna could never see the box of scented oils) so Madara was Ready™. He even had a bit of a speech prepared and everything! He was so Ready™ (and his clan were more than ready) all he needed was an opportunity to go chase down Tobirama and he could give it his best shot!

And as if a gift from the gods, that was the moment a breathless messenger burst in without any of the normal warning and respect and panted “Senju- Tobirama, alone, moving west, fast, out running us, along the border” and any aggravation Madara felt evaporated; this! This was his chance! Tobirama was probably headed to Whirlpool, which meant Madara even had a few minutes to make sure his hair looked nice before he had to go lay the trap! (Madara had no idea the impact that his stunned brilliant grin had on the poor shinobi, the man never quite recovered from the cuteness and when he saw Madara and Tobirama together later had a tendency towards curling in a ball and rocking muttering about demons and devils not being allowed to be so cute.) Madara took one last look at himself in the mirror and gathered the fur ruff that the patrol had brought back with the scrolls– Tobirama would probably like it back– and the lighter of the two fur cloaks (…yes there were two. Shut up) in case he needed it before nodding firmly to an amused (and relieved) looking Kikiyo and trotting to the front gates, time to catch himself his Senju!

Tobirama wasn’t flagging yet – his stamina was too good for that, but after running across almost the entirety of the Uchiha border he was beginning to feel the strain, running this long this fast was…wearing on him, and he knew a patrol had caught wind of him several miles back so Madara would be coming down on him soon, and Tobirama just didn’t mind the way he should (Touka would be furious) but after everything, with his death drawing closer, there just wasn’t much point in lying to himself and the truth was that he didn’t mind dying if it was Madara who did it (not when it wouldn’t make a difference to the clan). It was pathetic, he knew that, he did know that being terrified and resigned and desperately, pathetically happy about dying was not right but – but if he's going to die, he's going to die wrapped in the feel of Madara's chakra, looking at the man he loves, and that is a comfort that Tobirama just can’t give up (and why should he? It didn’t matter anymore after all, not to anyone but him). He felt Madara’s chakra swell in the distance, leaving the compound and starting out after Tobirama and boiling with anticipation (Tobirama knew Madara was a good man so it was sad that he would be so excited to kill Tobirama, sad and…Tobirama didn’t want to think he was a bad person, but sometimes-) so he picked up the pace, trying to run just that little bit faster (just because he was going to die didn’t mean he had to make it easy) and outpace the Uchiha clan head as he tracked the powerful surging chakra behind him; chakra that was completely focused on him, and that certainly wasn’t helping Tobirama run with the way that he just wanted to curl up and go to sleep in it (he could do that though, as soon as Madara caught up he could sleep the final sleep).

Madara grinned to see a flash of white in front of him weaving in and out of the trees at a blistering pace; but no matter how fast he was Madara had rest on his side, having only run under half as much as Tobirama at this point and he was a damn good shinobi, he would catch his winter fox and take him home and feed him and cuddle him and – focus. Madara exploded forward as they burst out of a break in the trees and removed Tobirama’s cover, flashing across the clearing and slamming into the slim back as it twisted to get away from him, bearing the albino to the ground with him in a rush and with a hand cupped around the back of his head (last thing he needed was to give the Senju a concussion), landing braced over the younger man’s chest (it was impressive he’d managed to turn that much in the middle of a fall, Madara was impressed, Madara was sort of always impressed by Tobirama) and staring at those mesmerizing eyes. It was because of that that he saw the fear, which frankly rather stopped him in his tracks – what-? – and drove his speech right from his mind. Tobirama took the chance to speak, although his prepared apologies fled “I’m sorry” the albino rasped “I’m sorry, I have no idea what you are so mad at me about, I- I don’t know- what did I do?! I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, but I just don’t know what I did, I don’t know why you- I don’t know how to make this better, I just, you can kill me I don’t care, but the clan- they all want me to apologize anyway so it’s not like they’re not mad at me and I- I don’t know what I did” Madara gaped, appalled and confused and what?! “No, no, no” he murmured, wincing when the albino flinched “that’s not- oh darling that’s not what’s going on, do you think-? What do you think is going on?” he asked staring at confused, tired, desperate, red eyes under him.

Notes:

Notes on courtship: the Uchiha courtship is based on a few different rituals from around the world, there are places where you gave gloves and giving knives was a thing in a few different places (you said yes by putting the knife in your sheath, snicker) where as the Senju are based on English- Victorian- where things were communicated with the fans and it used to be that throwing your glove at someone was a challenge to a dual (that's were "throwing down the gauntlet" came from) and a huge insult.

Chapter 3: fifteen peach roses

Summary:

I’m sorry, Please forgive me; sympathy, sincerity and gratitude

Chapter Text

Tobirama looked at the confused dark eyes above him and tried to ignore the warmth of the chakra settling around him and the smoke-clove fragrant hair falling around them in a shadow curtain; he didn’t understand what was going on, he didn’t understand why Madara wasn’t trying to kill him, he didn’t understand why the older man was looking at him like that, like Tobirama was worth something. Like Madara cared. “I-“ he hesitated, it was odd but there was nothing in Madara’s body language that indicated he was going to start strangling Tobirama even if he should be, in fact – Tobirama’s eyes fastened on the thick twisted rope in one hand, a rope that was impossible to mistake (it was a lovely rich purple and decorated with small silver bells, not the sort of thing you brought along to a fight unless the Uchiha had a tradition that Tobirama had never heard of). “I- you’re not hunting me?” he asked slowly, Madara blinked at him “Hunting you? I guess it could be called that but the Uchiha have never seen a bridenapping as a hunt….” Tobirama sucked in a shocked breath at the Uchiha’s baffled words “You-! Bridenapping?!” he gasped, Madara frowned “Do you not want me to?” he said slowly; Tobirama jerked and snapped his hand up to tangle in the older man’s clothing “No! I mean” he was blushing he just knew it “if that’s what you want then yes, um, please” he tried to ignore the way his voiced shivered with embarrassment and refused to look at Madara until the older man tipped his chin up with a wild smile (oh, oh wow, that smile…) “Good”.

The Uchiha sat back on his heels and tugged Tobirama up after him, winding the wedding rope around their wrists and tying them together; Tobirama watched the strong hands twisting the silk around their clasped hands with the soft chiming of silver bells as if from far away, it was surreal to go from expecting death to watching the man he… cared for bind them together with a wedding rope. “You know I haven’t forgotten what you were saying,” said Madara softly “but it can wait until I take you home. We’ll talk then, alright?” wordlessly Tobirama nodded, still feeling very off balance and having a hard time looking away from the rope (he- didn’t understand, Hashirama had said- he didn’t- he didn’t want to question it too much and have it stop, if this was a dream he never wanted to wake) until a sudden weight and warmth startled him out of his daze. What? Why had Madara-?

He looked up from fingering the stunning red fur cloak mouth open to ask only – his fur. Tobirama’s hand was shaking when he reached out to brush his fingers over the fur with its very faint gray markings “Where-?” he breathed. Madara smiled again, squeezing Tobirama’s hand gently “You lost it on a mission, right? A patrol brought it to the compound and I thought you might like it back” Tobirama swallowed hard “Yes” he murmured hoarsely “I- yes, it was a gift from my summons, after Hashi stopped talking to me for a while and I spent most of my time with them” he wasn’t really aware of what he was saying, too entranced by the sudden comfort of having it back (he missed the dark look that flickered over Madara’s face at his words, and the older man forced it away before he could see it). Madara held it out and flipped it around the albino’s neck, Tobirama’s shaking hand petting at the soft fur even as the older man tugged him to his feet and started to pull him after the Uchiha as he turned back to the compound; Tobirama hardly noticed, even his too fast brain had given up on keeping up with everything, he was too tired and there had simply been too many changes for him to keep up, never having been as good at understanding or keeping up with emotional events as he was with concepts and ideas; give him a fact or experiment and he could thrive for days, ask him to keep up with changing emotional input and he was lost after a few hours.

Madara tugged again, drawing Tobirama’s attention back to him; the dark eyed man was looking at him with a strange emotion on his face (concern? Glee? Pleasure? Worry? Tobirama couldn’t tell) “Hey, you good to run more? I’d rather get back to the compound faster” the albino nodded silently, giving himself a shake of cooling muscles and making sure that the fur cloak and ruff were fastened firmly; he looked at the Uchiha and synced their breathing before they both leapt into motion together, running in easy step at a slow loping pace that both could keep up for miles. Tobirama hesitated when the mukoton proof fire-hardened walls of the compound rose up in front of them, he knew that he would be entering as the soon-to-be-spouse of the clan head (and wasn’t that strange?) but he was still a Senju, still the Senju in some ways and he wasn’t sure “Uchi-“ “Madara, call me Madara” Tobirama nodded slowly and forced himself not to chew his lip (“don’t let them see you feel son”) “Madara, are you sure-?” “Of course, they all know and will be very pleased to see you. Trust me on this” Madara sounded smug “And Izuna?” Tobirama asked quietly. Madara sighed, “He’s in therapy now, it’ll be fine” he didn’t sound certain but the albino felt no need to argue and the older man lead him into the heart of the Uchiha territory (Madara was right, there was no anger, only something bizarrely like relief).

Madara couldn’t help but feel smug to the extreme walking in front of his entire clan with their hands tied together and Tobirama wrapped up in the gift Madara gave him (and the look on his face when he had given him back his fur… and what had he meant about Hashirama not talking to him for a while?), it was everything he had wanted (almost, the sort-of-lost look was worrying, but Madara would fix that) since he first read the plans for ensuring non-bias in teachers for the academy; and now he had it, now he had Tobirama close and tied to him where Madara could keep an eye on him and make sure he was safe and warm and cozy and happy and – focus. Madara didn’t bother to try and keep the strut out of his step (he had the best spouse, no one else came close and they all should be jealous) and made sure that their bound hands were clearly visible so that everyone would see that Tobirama was his, was Madara’s to cuddle and take care of and feed and keep warm and – focus. Kikiyo was standing in front of the main house to welcome them as the acting lady of the clan and part of the main family, watching him strut up to her with a faint smile on her perfectly painted face, though it darkened momentarily when she looked at a clearly dazed and worn Tobirama, the line of her red lips going ever so slightly tense before she spoke, “Madara-sama, Tobirama-sama, welcome home” she said in her even melodious voice as she bowed shallowly and gestured them in; Izuna was waiting for them in the foyer with a twitchy look on his face, he spasmed when he saw Tobirama, but nodded shallowly and did his best to look welcoming as he spoke “Hello brother, welcome home” the words were stiff but Madara was so proud of his brother for getting them out all the same. Tobirama nodded back with a wary look on his face “Thank you – brother. It’s… good to be home” (there was something a little too real about the way he said that, had the Senju home not felt like home to him?) Kikiyo smiled her close-lipped smile at them and passed a hand down Izuna’s dark hair in gentle approval for her little cousins effort. “Food is almost ready but we thought you might like to get clean before you eat with the family Tobirama-sama” she said; Tobirama sagged a little, “Please” he said a little fast “that would be very preferable” she smiled at him and Madara turned to his new husband (!!) and unwound the rope gently, placing a kiss on the pale wrist as he did so and loving the faint flush that rose on his cheeks. (Izuna did a good job of keeping his noises of protest almost silent, therapists were fantastic, too bad she couldn’t work with non-Uchiha with half as much success.)

Tobirama smiled a little, just a faint quirk of his lips, and touched Madara’s cheek for the briefest of moments before turning to Kikiyo who smiled at him and gestured him to follow her, and Madara watched them leave with a smug smile (he knew Kikiyo would leave out one of the yukata Madara had had made for Tobirama after he washed, Madara was looking forward to seeing him in more of his gifts); Izuna shifted next to him “So it went well?” he asked reluctantly. Madara blinked at him, some of his smug glow fading, “I- it’s a little confusing. He didn’t know I was bridenapping him when I found him and he just kept apologizing” Izuna sent him a confused look and Madara nodded bewilderedly “Right? I have no idea what’s going on, but he seemed fine with it and agreed to come with me so…” Izuna frowned “He did seem oddly docile” he said slowly, Madara shrugged “I think he’s tired enough he’s just going along with it at this point, but it is strange” he sighed “we’ll need to have a long conversation later but for now I guess most bridenappings start a little strange, so we’ll just have to wait until later” he said, dissatisfied. Izuna shrugged, having reached the end of his ability to be sympathetic with Tobirama apparently, “Either way, did you see how pretty he looks in my gift!?” Izuna groaned deeply at Madara and stomped into the kitchen; Madara grinned, full up with smug delight, everything was right in his world right now (and anything that wasn’t he would fix).

Madara stood fidgeting next to the table– having changed and washed up a little before dinner, he had to look his best– and waiting for his husband (!!) to come in (in one of the gifts Madara had got him if he was lucky) while ignoring Izuna lurking in a corner and muttering under his breath (Madara would have been annoyed hadn’t it been one of the mantra his therapist had given him “I will be unbiased, I know that I do not know, I will allow myself to forget”). There was a soft sound from the stairs and Madara straightened up like a spaniel on point, all but quivering with excitement (Tobirama! So smart! So pretty! So deadly! Taxation laws!); Tobirama stepped into the room and all of Madara’s thoughts slipped out of his head (Kikiyo covered her mouth with one long sleeve, Madara looked like he had been hit on the back of his head with his gunbai, it was cute, and stupid), his husband (!!!) was dressed in the indigo yukata Madara had had made for him and it looked…Madara swallowed, the color against Tobirama’s pale skin and the soft way the pale sandy fur brushed over his neck –

nnnhhhhhggggg

“Madara?” Kikiyo’s voice prodded him out of his daze and he stumbled a little before he got his feet under him and trotted over to his confused looking husband (!!!!) “You look…Wonderful” he said in a worshipful voice. Tobirama’s mouth dropped open in shock and he blinked at Madara for a second before a faint flush suffused his cheeks (Madara was pretty sure he stifled his whimper, maybe) “Thank you – Madara” the Uchiha nodded vigorously and held out his hand to his lovely Senju; Tobirama took his hand slowly and let the dark haired man pull him over gently to the table and seat him at Madara’s right across from Kikiyo (Izuna would be more proper, but that seemed like pushing it too far). Madara introduced Hikaku and his girlfriend Yuuka as they brought out the food– as the least high ranking members of the family– and blew out a breath of relieved air when Yuuka started the conversation (Madara was still looking for his tongue), her large warm eyes and fluffy hair making her a less intimidating factor when combined with how personable she was - as she well knew “I’m afraid we didn’t know what you liked Tobirama-sama so we tried to cover a range of Uchiha dishes and some milder things” the albino nodded to her with a faint twitch of the lips “Thank you Yuuka, I’ve never had traditional Uchiha dishes” he hesitated “I am partial to fish I’ll admit” and Madara blew out a relived breath when Yuuka, Hikaku, and Tobirama started an – only slightly awkward – conversation about the spicing of different clan dishes.

Dinner was… not as bad as Madara had feared – which was good, part of the point of the traditional first dinner was for the family to spread the word about the new spouse, the rest of the clan would meet him officially in two weeks at the feast but they would want to know something now; it was good it went well even if Izuna was quiet and excused himself quickly after the food was gone and Hikaku and Yuuka left soon after. Tobirama glanced from Madara to Kikiyo and then slipped away to the stairs, allowing them to speak alone; Madara glanced at his cousin with a raised eyebrow, and Kikiyo pressed her lips together “I don’t really know what’s going on here but there has been quite the miscommunication, I promised him that it really was a bridenapping and that you wanted him here and he seemed quite pleased with that really. As far as I can tell he wants to be here but isn’t sure why he is,” Madara frowned, that wasn’t great but reading people was Kikiyo’s specialty “you have wooing to do Madara, your man is yet to be fully won over.” Madara brightened, that he could do, that he wanted to do, he clapped his cousin on the shoulder and darted over to the stairs, ignoring Kikiyo’s last muttered word “more wooing, kami help the clan”.

Chapter 4: six pink roses

Summary:

I want to be yours; admiration, dignity, elegance

Chapter Text

Tobirama was still feeling a little shocky even after Kikiyo’s reassurance that it was bridenapping and no, Madara wasn’t mad at him, truly, there were reasons why he had thrown knives and declared a retribution feud and they weren’t him Madara being mad – well ok, she hadn’t said anything about the feud, but she had said he wasn’t mad and was indeed delighted to have Tobirama here, as was the entire clan and Tobirama didn’t understand. He trusted that the dark eyed kunoichi was telling the truth; the Red Crane might be well known in certain circles as one of the most talented geisha trained in recent years and add the that a singular a talent with poison and an easy ear to talk to and you had one of the most dangerous woman in Fire Country, but she was no liar. With that in mind he opened the door to the room Kikiyo had pointed out, only to pause as soon as he stepped inside, this was, this was Madara’s room, was Tobirama even supposed to be here? But this was the only room Kikiyo had pointed out to him, so even if it wasn’t, he didn’t know where else to go. Uncertain, the Senju sat on the bed and looked around the room; it was startlingly lush really, the walls covered with beautiful scroll paintings or rich jewel-toned tapestries and a thick fur on the floor as well as another on the bed. Tobirama ran his fingers over the rich brindle fur, it was really beautiful, and so soft, and probably warm (he had had no idea Madara liked fur, it was not what he would have guessed); he hesitated but – who knew how long it would be before Madara came up and he could ask where he was supposed to be (not here surely, not where he could pose a danger to the clan head,) so it should be alright if he just… Tobirama glanced at the door and then the very comfortable looking fur, debating.

Madara was so delighted to see that Tobirama had been willing to go into his room, that he was comfortable with being in Madara’s space and ---

Oooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh wwwwwooooooowwwwww

Madara didn’t recognize the high-pitched noise that slipped out of his throat, but! But! But! But! Tobirama was on Madara’s bed, curled up on the fur Madara had found for him and looking like, like, like, oooohhhhh; Madara leaned against the door frame trying to tame his heart. He staggered to the bed– Tobirama didn’t wake when he came close, and for a shinobi of his caliber that was saying something– and forced himself not to stare at the Senju– Oh! No! Wait! He was an Uchiha now!!!– the new Uchiha because that would definitely wake him up. It took a long time before Madara was able to tear his eyes away and go about his own nightly habits – and ok, yes, his eyes kept drifting back to Tobirama, all warm and calm and perfect, but he didn’t fall taking off his pants so he gave himself a pat on the back anyway. He hesitated before getting in the bed, what if Tobirama didn’t want-? The former Senju stirred a little, red eyes slitting open sleepily “’Dara?” was Madara whimpering again? He’s whimpering again isn’t he. But in his defense he would like to see anyone not whimpering when faced with a still-mostly-asleep Tobirama saying their name and making grabby hands. Not that anyone else was going to see it!!!!!

Tobirama stirred awake some point in the night, woken by a fluctuation of chakra on the edge of his senses and digging his way out of a sleep deeper than any in recent memory (he was so warm) to a firm (mmmm, lovely firm) arm around his waist; the arm tightened and a deep voice rumbled behind him “S’fine, patrol reporting in. All’s well” Tobirama shivered and blinked sleepily at the wall. He felt… Safe.

Tobirama purred happily and snuggled closer to the warm, firm, lovely smelling, fluffy thing in front of him (he should wake up), relishing the way the warmth curved around him and cuddled him closer– had he ever felt this welcome anywhere before?– it felt like he was wanted here, like someone would be sad if he left – and wasn’t that strange? (he should wake up). There was a rustle of sound (“is he still asleep?” “he was tired, it’s good” “are you-“ “Shut up! And go away”) but the person with him tugged him closer when Tobirama let out a grumpy hiccupping snarl (was someone whimpering? He should wake up) in protest of being disturbed, he wanted to stay right here and never ever move damn it! There was soft laughter above him and Tobirama burrowed closer, tucking his face in fluffy hair (um, he should wake up) and stubbornly refusing to move – not that anyone was really trying to get him to move in fairness, but Tobirama didn’t want to wake up and face the day, he didn’t want to face where he was and who he was with (there was only one person he could imagine being so relaxed with, one that always relaxed him, he should wake up) when he knew that as soon as he did wake up all the way his mind was going to start working again and spitting sh*t at him, making it impossible not to think (and overthink, he was waking up wasn’t he?).

“If you want to go back to sleep you can” Madara’s voice rumbled and Tobirama forced himself not to go stiff (it wasn’t a surprise, but still…), mourning the loss of his earlier relaxation as he pulled back and sat up on the bed, untangling his fingers from that wonderful hair with what he refused to acknowledge was a pout. “I’m awake now” the Senju said (was he still a Senju? It was unclear how this all worked) “I might as well get up” he grimaced a little as he took in his surroundings, apparently he had fallen asleep on top of the blankets in his wonderful new yukata, and Madara must have just not wanted to wake him when he came in and dealt with Tobirama’s clinginess rather more gracefully than Tobirama expected rather than wake him “ah, I’m sorry for falling asleep on you as well, I-“ Madara interrupted him with a forceful hand wave as he brushed the thanks off with “After all it’s the new normal!” Tobirama was confused, maybe they had no married couples that slept in different rooms in the Uchiha? That was how Father and Mother had been but maybe it was different here, and technically he and Madara were married (and no, that had not stopped being strange or a little disorienting yet) so it made sense that they would be expected to act as such (he really didn’t want to lose the opportunity to wake up like this again anyway either so if it didn’t bother Madara enough to go against tradition it was ok to steal the time. Right?).

“I don’t-“ Tobirama stumbled to a halt, words stuttering in his mouth as he tried to ask – he didn’t know what he was supposed to do, he didn’t even know what he was supposed to wear; Madara blinked inquisitively at him and he tried to gather himself into a semblance of calm “what now?” Madara frowned a little “Well, we normally introduce new spouses in the main family formally after the first two weeks with a feast– to give everyone time to settle in before being faced with the entire clan– but you can sort of do whatever you want, though I would rather you spend it with me” Tobirama felt overwhelmed again and Madara’s hopeful look wasn’t helping. “So you really did want to bridenap me? It wasn’t political or something?” Madara’s face fell comically and he dropped back onto the bed holding a hand out to Tobirama, the former Senju looked from the Uchiha’s hopeful face to his extended hand for a baited moment before slipping his fingers into the older man’s broad palm and letting himself be pulled down to sit on the bed in front of his…husband, “Ok, I think we need to clear somethings up. Why are you so surprised that I bridenapped you?” Tobirama’s head tipped to the side “…You were throwing knives at me.” he said slowly. Madara brightened, “You like it though? I’m sorry it took me so long to find one you liked, obsidian didn’t occur to me for a while” and his face fell as if not realizing that he should have been throwing obsidian knives at Tobirama instead of metal ones; Tobirama was flummoxed “But why were you throwing them at me? What did I do? I don’t understand and I’m sor-“ he was interrupted when Madara grabbed his tensing hands again “How else was I supposed to court you? And why are you apologizing?” the older man asked with a tense look on his face.

Tobirama’s brain ground to a halt “….court?” Madara nodded hard, “Of course, I would have rather just given the first gift to you properly like a good suitor but that was hard on a battlefield, Izuna laughed his head off over it” Tobirama licked his lips ignoring the buzzing in his ears “You give knifes as a first courting gift to state your intent?” he asked slowly; increasingly confused Madara nodded “Yes. Do- do you not?” Tobirama sighed and rubbed at his face, this was… a lot. “No, that’s not how Senju court. I had heard of something like that in the trinity clans, the Nara in particular give gifts as well right?” Madara was looking a little pale when he answered “Um, yes, the Uchiha use knives but the Nara give chess pieces and the Yamanaka and the Akimichi use other things, unless they have Uchiha blood. You had no idea I was courting you?” he was sounding more than a little thrown and somewhat horrified “No?” Tobirama murmured and Madara recoiled slightly “You-! I thought you knew, you picked up the knife! I thought-! You didn’t want to be here-“ Tobirama slapped his hand over Madara’s mouth and looked away embarrassed, looking around the room “Give me another knife” he said quietly. There was a pause after Tobirama dropped his hand and refused to look at Madara (what if he changed his mind? What if-) until the Uchiha stood and rushed from the room; Tobirama sagged, he should have known – he was always just so stupid! How could he have ever – a broad hand shoved a lovely knife under his nose, and Tobirama stared at it. It was lovely, made of brilliant red jasper and steel and- Oh. Tobirama reached out and took the blade from him, tucking it up his sleeve and looking up at the Uchiha through his lashes only to stutter at the shinning look in Madara's dark eyes.

Madara’s mouth went dry as he looked at the brilliant red eyes looking up at him, shadowed by frosty lases anddeadly. This was even better, Madara should do it like this every time, Madara should always give him gifts personally just so he could see this look; oh, and he had accepted Madara, properly this time and fully knowing what he was doing and yup, Kikiyo was right, he had wooing to do. Tobirama leaned up and tangled his fingers in Madara’s hair, tugging gently until the confused man bent down and the albino could brush a kiss at the corner of his mouth “Thank you Madara” and all thought flew right out of his head as he ducked into his collar and hair and flailed wildly for the right words - or any words. (eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyy) (and that blush – faint though it was – was not helping him gather himself) It took him a moment to calm down and think clearly again “So” he said uncomfortably “um, right, um, you – uh, you can do whatever you want as I said, though I’d like to spend time with you – oh! I have things for you! Scrolls and you can go into the library and um, other things, like the furs-“ Tobirama’s eyes went huge “You got those for me?” he asked flabbergasted; Madara blinked at him “Um, yes? I, do you not like them?” (they must have looked a bit silly just blinking confusedly at each other) “No, I, ah, I love them, they’re soft and um, thank you Madara” was Madara blushing again? He was blushing wasn’t he.

“I’m glad you like them” he said shyly, “I know you probably don’t want to wear yukata all the time so if you tell Kikiyo what you like to wear we can get some for you and some new armor? I- we- want you to be comfortable here. With me.” Tobirama tugged at Madara’s hair again gently “I’m glad to be here with you, very glad. Why don’t you go wash so I can, and we can eat?” Madara nodded a little dazedly, doing as he was told in a happy daze (Tobirama liked fur! Tobirama took the knife- Tobirama had two of Madara’s knives-! Tobirama had kissed him!) and only realizing he was humming happily when Izuna made a strangled grossed out noise “Yeugh! Stop humming, I don’t want to know how your night went!” jolted out of his please reverie Madara blinked at his brother in confusion before glancing at Kikiyo at the table, trying to figure out what his brother was talking about. “Whaaa?” Izuna grimaced “I don’t need to know how lucky you got!” Madara blinked “Lucky?” Izuna retched theatrically “Nooooo” “OH” Madara yelped, suddenly getting it “I- we- no!” “No?” said Kikiyo sharply, hands going tense on her usual white kimono patterned with red cranes “Is there a problem?” Madara shook his head vigorously, some of the happy buzz returning “I gave him a knife, properly this time – can you believe he thought I was trying to hurt him with the others? – and he took it and said he liked the furs and said he was happy to be here and-“ “Oh god” whispered Izuna, white with dread “If this is what he is like right now what is he going to do when they do have sex?”

Chapter 5: ten red roses

Summary:

You are perfect; beauty, passion, desire

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Tobirama had to smile a little at his reflection in the mirror, he had never seen himself look like this and he…rather liked it; the deep red-brown yukata with the thin black fur trim was perfect for this weather and it was nice not to wear his own clothes all of which were useful and utilitarian and not needed right now. Right now (if Madara was to be believed), he didn’t need to wear working clothing, he could get away with wearing something comfortable like a nice yukata and his normal dark pants and it would be alright; he didn’t need to be ready to help his brother with anything at a moment’s notice, didn’t need to go train, didn’t need to be ready to run to the healing halls or into battle, didn’t need to do anything at all, if he could bring himself to trust Madara. And he wanted to, he really, really wanted to believe Madara, wanted a chance to learn to trust that his – his husband wanted him; he knew that it was going to take work of course, he might have Madara but now he had to keep him and that thought sent a bolt of fear down his back. How had that not occurred to him? He had no idea why Madara wanted him enough to bridenap him, and until he did there was no way that he could do what Madara wanted to keep the dark haired man’s attention on him; he knew how quickly people tired of him, knew that though he might be a curiosity and exotic at first a little time would quickly prove that he was cold and distant and strange and not normal.

He took a deep breath, trying to force down the growing panic (“Just…go away Tobi, unless you have something useful to contribute”), he was married to Madara and he didn’t know why the man had decided he wanted to marry Tobirama but he had and gave every indication of being happy with his choice (the look in his eyes when Tobirama took the knife…). He was married to Madara and Madara wanted to be married to him, he could figure out everything else as they went; all he had to do was keep his husband however he could (what if Madara thought he was getting someone like Hashirama?) he had never pretended to be anything other than what he was, even when he was a disappointment to those around him, had never tried to be his brother– knew he couldn’t have anyway– just tried to be better and more useful, he would do that here. He knew better than to try to be anything other than what he was (“Why did you do that? You know it just makes people uncomfortable when you try to be someone-“ “Someone like you?” “Someone social Tobi”) and he wasn’t stupid, he knew what he was (“Don’t worry about him, its ok, he doesn’t like really feel things anyway!” a joke that ached) and what he wasn’t; he was useful and as long as he was that he was worth keeping around (at least a little). So he would be useful to his husband and clan, and when Madara realized that Tobirama wasn’t what he thought it would be ok, because Tobirama would at least be useful. Tobirama nodded firmly to himself, he could do that; but until Madara came to his senses Tobirama was going to enjoy this and soak up as much attention as he could (at the worst he would have Madara’s chakra near) for as long as he could. (But for today Tobirama was going to enjoy this, enjoy wearing clothes he would never take in a lab or to train, clothes that were comfortable and nothing more, clothes that were a gift.)

Tobirama brushed his fingers over the black fur and looked at his white mantle undecided; no, he thought, he would leave that off for now and put it on if he left the house (he didn’t really want to right now) however… Tobirama smirked a little and dug through his storage scroll for the sheath he knew was in there to tuck the jasper knife in as well as the first knife he had picked up from Madara. Strapping them on– one on each thigh– settled Tobirama a little even here in the Great House (he had considered the Uchiha a threat for long enough that no matter how much he trusted Madara and didn’t really care if anything happened to him anyway it was hard to relax), so he descended to the breakfast table more collected than he had been before. Well, he was until he stepped into the room and saw Kikiyo hiding a smile behind her sleeve as she looked out into the garden where Madara was tossing Izuna into koi pond. (Kikiyo nearly jumped out of her skin at the sudden huff of breath next to her, only managing to hide her flinch with the help of her long sleeves and thick kimono disguising her movement; f*ck she hadn’t sensed even a hint of him before he was next to her, Ghost indeed. She glanced at him out of the corner of her eyes, taking in his cool expression and the deep exhaustion barely hidden under it; then his expression softened and eased somewhat, something soft and calm turning his sharp fox-face stunning in the morning light as he watched Madara. Kikiyo smiled to herself, Madara was going to be just fine with this one, they just had to get him healthy.)

Tobirama huffed a laugh at Izuna’s wailing, the bright vivid look on Madara’s face making something warm bloom inside him; Tobirama had never spent much time around someone whose emotion and chakra so cleanly fit together and were so deep, not the bubbling, overflowing, unstable and changeable emotions Hashirama felt (emotions so loud they made Tobirama’s head ache) and expressed so wildly with so little regard to others; but a deep vivid passionate wash of feeling that always tugged on Tobirama’s attention like a sunbeam called to his summons. Madara watched his brother flail with a smug look and turned around to the house dusting his hands off only to freeze when he saw Tobirama; for a second the albino was worried, maybe he was unhappy to – and then a brilliant smile bloomed over Madara's lips and he started towards then only to stumble and freeze when he got closer (Madara was going to lose his mind, his wonderful husband (!) was stunning in another one of Madara’s gifts– there were two different shades of red and blue and even the darker red suited the albino every bit as well as he had thought it would– and he looked pleased. Madara needed to know what he was doing to get that look). Tobirama co*cked his head to the side and called out softly “Madara-“ (it was hard to drop the more formal address) “are you well?” the Uchiha head swallowed hard and nodded sharply, walking up to Tobirama and looking up at him from the lower position on the ground; for a second the albino hesitated, but he had promised himself he would take everything he could get so he stepped forward a little more and leaned down to press a fleeting kiss to the corner of Madara’s mouth before turning away and walking back into the house (so busy trying to shove down the flutter in his stomach, he missed Madara almost falling when he leaned after the albino). (Kikiyo was shaking with silent laughter at the dumb look on Madara’s face, however annoying Madara was going to be it was clearly going to be hilarious as well).

Madara stepped up next to him just as he reached the table and tugged the chair out with a smug look and Tobirama – Tobirama was sure he was blushing, he just knew it (he was, Madara was trying not to fall over) but he took the offered chair anyway willing to let the Uchiha pamper him if that was what he wanted (and Tobirama would be lying if he said that he didn't like it).

Madara was fairly sure he hadn’t had this good a morning in years, maybe ever. He had talked with his husband (!!) and they were on the same page, Izuna was looking lively and awake in the way he had slowly stopped looking over the years– Madara needed to increase the guard on the therapist, he wanted to keep them around and assassinations on therapists were worryingly common in the Uchiha though they didn't know who was trying for it– and Madara had thrown him in the pond, Kikiyo said Hikaku and Yuuka had liked Tobirama and were saying good things and everything was good in his world. And then, and then there was Tobirama in another one of Madara’s gifts looking amazing and soft and he had kissed Madara again! It wasn’t a proper kiss but if that was what he was comfortable with Madara didn’t care, as long as Tobirama was willing to sit with him and talk judicial policy and elected representatives he was good (and maybe being willing to cuddle with him at night, Madara had high hopes for that after last night). Izuna was even making a good effort at not glaring at Tobirama, and the albino was willing to let it go when he was; the only problem that Madara could see what that Tobirama wasn’t eating as much as he should have been, just picking at his food, though he gave no indication of dislike. Maybe it was discomfort at being in a new place and would get better? Madara would keep an eye on it and try to figure out what he liked to eat more than just the ‘fish’ they had gotten last night.

The peace was unfortunately broken when Izuna, refusing to look at Tobirama, said “And when will we have to watch out for your brother?” Tobirama blinked and Madara frowned, that was a really good question actually. “I don’t know exactly; I was on my way to Uzushio but it’s not a fast journey even for me and they will give it time before they tell Hashi that I never arrived. It would take me about four days running to reach them” the Uchiha stared, that was fast and there was no indication that he was bragging, seeming not to notice their shock “so at least a week, maybe more. And when brother hears I never made it he won’t be surprised anyway” Madara swallowed back his shock and frowned more deeply “What do you mean?” he asked slowly; Tobirama shot him a confused glance “Well I was running on the border of Uchiha lands and you – um, you seemed to be doing your best to kill me so it’s a logical conclusion” Madara felt sick and cold to the bone, the idea that Hashirama would have sent his brother – “He sent you past us thinking I wanted you dead?” Tobirama shook his head “Of course not, I chose my route” somehow that didn’t make Madara feel better “but he will have figured it out, after all I had refused to Formally Apologize to you– that’s why I was being sent to Uzushio– and he knows I was worried about you turning your anger on the clan with me gone”.

The silence was ringing, and the worst part was that Tobirama didn’t seem to realize he had said anything wrong. But Madara, Madara felt sick. It sounded almost like some strange tempting of fate; not quite suicide but not exactly trying to stay alive if it would help his clan and shield them from Madara’s anger to have him dead (Madara knew his temper and was a little surprised to know his husband (!!!) did too, if he had wanted Tobirama dead and found the other man beyond his reach he would have lashed out at the rest of the clan). And Hashirama had allowed this, had all but endorsed it if Madara was reading this right, and that wasn’t even touching the twist in Tobirama’s voice when he spoke of ‘formally apologizing’ (Madara hadn’t forgotten wet red eyes and desperate apologies, the way Tobirama had looked strung out and hurting when Madara had found him) or that the mission to Uzushio seemed like a thinly vailed banishment from the way his husband (!!!!) talked about it.

Izuna shifted in his chair “So in a week or so Hashirama will assume that Madara killed you?” he asked weakly, Tobirama looked confused “I should think so, it is the logical conclusion” “And he’ll be ok with that?” the albino looked away at Izuna’s question “The entire clan has been concerned about what I might have done to make you so angry Madara-sama” (the older man winced at the return of the formal address) “I think it will just be a relief to see that you haven’t decided to start fighting for real” but that wasn’t really an answer was it? Madara drew in a deep breath trying to calm the fury in his stomach, a glance at Kikiyo told him what he needed to know; she would look into this, and one look at Izuna told him that his little brother was looking confused as sh*t without even a hint of a glare. But Tobirama – his beautiful husband (!!!!!) had lost the soft look and the drawn pained look was back (Madara wanted to kill something) and Madara was not going to put up with that! He stood abruptly and reached out a hand to Tobirama when the albino glance at him “Why don’t I show you the house and garden?” he asked, pleased when his husband’s (!!!!!!) expression warmed a little. Kikiyo smiled “I’ll see that food is left out so there is no need to have a formal lunch” Madara nodded gratefully and led Tobirama out of the room, relishing the strong hand in his own.

Notes:

Thank you for keeping an eye on me senroh!

Also, disclaimer: not beta-ed past yet this point and I write fast and don't edit much so things can be mangled at times. (I've got a wonky brain that can't see symbols as well, so I frequently can't even see mistakes) Thank you VendettaX13 for working on this story and un-mangling it!

Chapter 6: twenty one orange roses

Summary:

I am committed to you; fascination, passion,

Chapter Text

Tobirama let Madara show him the house and most of the garden before he tugged lightly on their intertwined fingers to get his attention (and no Tobirama was not thrilled by that little amount of contact, he wasn’t) “What’s bothering you?” he asked softly, frowning when Madara gaped at him as he turned to face Tobirama head on and tightened his hold on the albino’s fingers “I – you – what? You – argh!!” the Uchiha spluttered; Tobirama flinched and tried to pull his hand back, not entirely sure what he had done to prompt this sudden anger but unwilling to push his boundaries and make it worse. Madara’s dark eyes went wide and he tugged Tobirama’s hand up, tucking it in against his chest and stepping closer to the albino “No, no, no, I didn’t mean you darling, you haven’t done anything, you’re perfect, like, so perfect it’s a little insane.” (Tobirama’s mouth dropped open as he stared at Madara in deep shock) “I just mean, how can you ask that? Don’t you see how screwed up it is that Hashirama did this too you?” Tobirama frowned a little “Did what?” he asked slowly. Madara sighed “Tobirama, he decided that you had done something to make me angry even though you said you hadn’t-“ “Madara the entire clan thought I had done something to make you angry” Madara shook his head fiercely “-and that was good enough for him? He should have trusted you over them, you’re his brother” Tobirama swallowed hard and looked away pulling back from Madara entirely, “If you are trying to make me feel better by telling me-“ the Uchiha swore and darted forward and curled his hands around Tobirama’s hips.

“Hey, please, don’t do this, don’t shut me out, please” Tobirama wouldn’t look at him, staring at the flowers and trying not to chew on his lip (“feeling is weakness son” and a sharp sting), how was he supposed to – Hashirama had only been doing what needed to be done, the clan was more important than Tobirama he knew that; it wasn’t Hashi’s fault if his idiot brother couldn’t – warm arms pulled him forward as Madara looped them loosely around the albino’s waist and leaned his forehead against the sharp collarbone “Don’t do this To’ra, you’re my husband, don’t shut me out” he murmured, a sharp edge (pleading? Angry? Tobirama couldn’t tell) in his voice. The former Senju shivered, Madara was right, he was already messing up wasn’t he? “I don’t know how to do what you want; I don’t even know what you want. I’m sorry I-“ Madara’s head snapped up at his words “No, you didn’t do anything wrong and I will say that as often as I have to damn it! As for what I want I – you, just you” but the Uchiha must have seen Tobirama’s confusion in his eyes when Madara lifted his head because he sighed and said “I want you to be honest and let me try and win your heart” and, well, Tobirama didn’t really want to tell him this right now but…he was supposed to be honest “You already have that though, you have for years.”

Madara was going to go even more insane wasn’t he, the sheer emotional back and forth was going to drive him nuts; first there was giddy joy and then anger and then concern and then contentment (he was holding Tobirama’s hand) and then worry and frustration that the albino didn’t seem to understand why Hashirama was in the wrong and then sharp fear when Tobirama started pulling away and now – and now happiness spilling though him like that perfect moment when light slanted under the clouds at dusk and turned everything gold; Tobirama loved him. loved him. loved him. And had for years! Madara was sure there was no joy greater than this in the world. “Oh” he whispered, looking into those dear red eyes, and then like a sledgehammer oh, you, you are the Center of my world now aren’t you? He licked dry lips and curled a hand around the pale sharp jaw “I have never in my entire life felt about anything the way I feel about you” he told the former Senju with complete seriousness; Tobirama’s eyes went huge “Hashirama-“ “Was a friend once upon a time, but even if he had been more; he isn’t that person anymore, no hush darling, that person would never have sided with his clan over his brother, would never have banished you or allowed you anywhere near anyone he thought was going to hurt you. I don’t know when he changed but-“ Tobirama looked down to where his elegant hands rested on Madara’s chest “He wants peace more than anything” the albino whispered and Madara shook his head “That’s not what this is, what he wants I don’t know but it’s not the peace we wanted, it’s gotten twisted up inside him somewhere.” Tobirama was shivering a little, it hurt; “I don’t understand, you never even looked at me before and then you just decided out of nowhere that you liked me? the White Demon?” Tobirama asked a little sharply (Madara was relieved to see a spark of fire again, he was sure the Hashirama thing was going to come up again but they would clearly have to take that slowly) and Madara brightened immediately “Your scrolls!” he said brightly “The patrol brought back some of your scrolls with your collar and I read them- of course- and oh gods of fire, To’ra, you –“ (Tobirama was looking at him again even if he looked completely confused) “you’re so smart, and your – your taxation laws, they’re so smart and the academy. How was I supposed to read about your academy and not fall in love with you!?”

Tobirama gaped at him “You love me?! No, wait, you decided you loved me because of my paperwork?!” Madara blinked, because, ok, put like that it was a little silly but “No- well, yes, but- that’s part of it but its more that – you're so intelligent- which is hot, really, really hot- and your notes say a lot about you” (oooo, the blush was back) “you’re committed to peace, you’re witty and thoughtful and intelligent and sarcastic and ok, the paperwork is hot but that’s just because it’s such a part of you, a place where you are yourself without having to wear your battlefield face; it’s stunning. And of course it helps that you’re gorgeous” wow, Tobirama was really pink now, it was so cute and Madara couldn’t stop himself from brushing fascinated fingers over the hot skin there; Tobirama sent him a weak glare but notably didn’t move away and his fingers tightened in Madara’s robe. “You don’t mean that” he muttered and Madara harrumphed “Kikiyo was right, I need to woo the f*ck out of you” he pronounced firmly and Tobirama buried his face in his hands (Madara didn’t mind, it meant the wonderful white head was resting against Madara’s collar bone which was the best) with a faint moan “No you don’t” he whimpered and Madara bit back a laugh, tightening his arms as he spoke “Nope. You don’t get to have an opinion, I need to woo you properly until you see how wonderful you are, anything else would be a slight against my honor and my clan would never stand for it” and for all his laughter he was deadly serious; he had is husband (!) now he had to earn him and keep him and while Tobirama didn’t seem to want to leave (he loved Madara, he loved Madara, he loved Madara) Madara was going to have to put work into keeping Tobirama present with him instead of vanishing into his head and the horrifying lack of self-worth tucked away there. It was a good thing Madara was never happier than when he was doting on those he loved and Izuna always threw a fit when Madara tried to fuss over him, so it was nice that Tobirama showed no signs of doing the same.

Chapter 7: twelve burgundy roses

Summary:

Be mine; unconscious beauty, very deep passion

Chapter Text

Any relief Tobirama felt about Madara letting the conversation go was mitigated by the glint in the Uchiha’s eyes and the happy flickering in his chakra (Madara was planning something he just knew it) as he led Tobirama through the rest of the garden and explained everything he had read in Tobirama’s papers; it was…a revelation to have someone care so much about what Tobirama had to say and Madara did care, that was clear in the passion with which he talked to Tobirama about the plans for the village and peace they didn’t have. It was amazing (and a little jarring, wasn’t Hashi supposed to care about peace more than Madara? But Hashi had never talked about any of this and Madara had clearly thought about it even before he found Tobirama’s notes) that Madara was so willing to draw Tobirama into a debate about the planning for clan autonomy verses village cohesion; it was a difficult problem with so much nuance and the Hyuuga were a good example of the problem “Madara you must have heard about the Hyuuga and their abomination of a seal for their eyes, that can’t be allowed” “At the same time you can’t ask us to set aside our clan values-!” “I’m not, the Uchiha clearly have traditions that are important to them but what if you have another situation like me where there are assumptions about knifes?” Madara paused, head tilted in thought as he frowned at the sky (he was listening, what the f*ck?!) “It’s not just culture, there’s the problem of the way clans manage blood line gifts, the Uchiha worry about members marrying out of the clan don’t they? You don’t permit members to do that and take children that might have the Sharingan away from the clan” Tobirama added gently and Madara grimaced, an unhappy look on his face “Yeah, that’s a problem I haven’t figured out how deal with yet, but a village would help, then it wouldn’t be marrying out of the Uchiha the same way. But yes, you raise a good point”

…..Tobirama was blushing again wasn’t he. Madara needed to stop or he was going to have to go hide somewhere for a while; actually, that sounded lovely, he wasn’t used to having to deal with this much emotion or attention and it had been years (longer than Tobirama could really remembers unless he counted his summons) since someone payed attention to him for more than an hour to listen to him give them orders and tell them how to kill. It was as if Madara thought he was worth more than as a weapon and that…. “Tobirama, you ok?” the albino started a little as Madara’s voice jarred him out of his thoughts; he blinked at the dark haired man, a little thrown by the attention and the fact that they were at the house again “hey, what do you need darling?” Tobirama licked his lips, struggling; he didn’t know, he didn’t know what he was supposed to do, he was supposed to be honest but he wasn’t supposed to need breaks and Madara was asking him but he needed to be focused to be useful and he had to be useful, he had too. Warmth spread where Madara was cupping his cheeks, brushing his thumbs over the tattoos; “What do you need?” he murmured and Tobirama – Tobirama took a leap “Quiet” he whispered roughly. Madara smiled warmly at him (oh dear, that was – Tobirama needed that to happen more often, he would do a lot to have that happen more) and dropped a kiss on a shocked Tobirama’s nose before turning and tugging the albino into the house by his hand and up the stairs.

“Do you want to sleep or just sit quietly?” he asked and shocked Tobirama responded without thinking “A nap” Madara nodded “Alright, I’ll go get food from downstairs then we can take a nap” he said firmly as he gently ushered the former Senju into his room and vanished downstairs. “Oh” said Tobirama into the empty room looking around and noticing abruptly all the fur, fur that Madara said was for him, that was… Tobirama shook his head sharply and propped his foot on the bed to start unstrapping the knives from his thighs when that was a little whimper from the door and the albino looked up a bit worried about what could make Madara make that sound; the Uchiha’s eyes were glued his thighs and the knives Tobirama was taking off “You – you were wearing the knives?” he whimpered and Tobirama frowned “Should I not have?” he asked slowly. Madara shook his head so vigorously his hair whipped around him “Definitely, definitely wear them, please, always wear them” he stuttered and Tobirama could feel his mouth tug up in a sly smile (it was a strange feeling, how long had it been since he had smiled like this?) as he shifted his weight and balance so that the yukata gaped at the neck and showed rather more skin than Tobirama normally bared as well as falling back farther from his legs as Tobirama went back to undoing the sheaths where they were strapped over his dark pants.

Tobirama just knew his smile was growing wider at the small wheezing sound from the door though he kept his head tucked, it had never occurred to him that he could have this kind of power, that he might enjoy it; he had always hated seduction missions and refused to do them as often as he could (father had loved that) and because he was so recognizable it hadn’t been to much of a problem since Hashirama took over the clan head, but before that there had been a few (when Hashi- who loved them- refused) and Tobirama could never stand the feeling of a stranger's hands on his skin. So this, playing this game because he wanted to, because he liked the way Madara sounded, because he would actually quite like Madara to touch him, was a revelation that sent a shiver of anticipation down his back. Madara cleared his throat gruffly from the door and set him self into motion again walking to the table pushed against the window and setting a tray of light food there; Tobirama bit his lip and ducked his head to undo the wraps around his ankles, arching his back a little excessively as he did so and feeling the yukata slip back and show his neck and the top of his spine and listening to Madara whimper when he turned back to look at Tobirama and the bed. Tobirama smiled into his knee but stood and righted his clothing after the wrap slipped off, he wasn’t sure how far he wanted to push this right now however fun it was to torment Madara; more than anything though it was…strange to know he had the effect on the Uchiha, he would never have guessed that Madara would find him attractive – it certainly wasn’t normal in his experience (honey pot missions had always required dying his hair, father had been incensed when Tobirama showed up with the markings on his cheeks and it became clear how hard it would be to hide them).

When he met Madara’s eyes the older man had a slightly glazed look in his eyes and looked away while ducking into his hair (unfortunately his hair slipped back on one shoulder and revealed the red tips of his ears, Tobirama couldn’t say that it didn’t thrill him a bit to make the fierce man blush) and cleared his throat again “F-food” he stuttered and waved at the tray “um, what do you like? Uh, other than just ‘fish’” Tobirama fought down the smile that wanted to crawl onto his face again (had he ever smiled this much in one day?) and moved over picking up a piece of smoked fish and then blinking at the food; smoked fish, fried fish, grilled fish, as if someone had taken his saying he liked fish and just done everything they could to give him what he wanted. Tobirama hiccupped on a sob and was horrified to feel his eyes fill with tears, he covered his mouth, desperate to hide the foolish tears; why was he sad? It was good, this was good, it had been a good day so why -? “Oh, oh pretty eyes, what – what’s wrong darling?” Madara whispered gently placing a hand on his hip and turning him to face the Uchiha, the older man whining slightly when he saw Tobirama’s tears; “Oh darling” he murmured, tugging his gloves off before wiping the wetness off of Tobirama’s cheeks “what’s wrong?” Tobirama hiccupped over a sob again and tried to duck away searching for words “I – I don’t” as they caught in his throat and choked him. Madara whined again and pulled him into his arms, rumbling softly deep in his chest where Tobirama could feel it vibrating against him soothingly; “It’s ok, take you time” Madara said quietly. Desperate to get himself under control he linked his breathing to the Uchiha and waited for himself to come under control before murmuring “You – someone made so much fish just because I said I liked it, that’s – I don’t know how to – no one’s ever done that for me before” Madara’s arms went tight around him before the older man forced himself to relax “Well things are different here” he said firmly and Tobirama pressed closer, shivering with the promise in those words.

Madara stared at the ceiling and forced his breathing even and slow, it wouldn’t do to make Tobirama feel that it was his fault that Madara was upset of that he was upset with the albino but – f*ck, how had no one done this for him? Never just tried to make sure that his favorite food was available to him, gods, that was – that was so normal in Madara’s life; anytime his family knew that he had had a bad day or was celebrating they tried to get him what he liked, even his clan had left his favorite rolls on his door step after a bad day, and no one had ever done this for Tobirama? f*ck. Tobirama laughed against his shoulder a little, though there was no humor in the sound “Touka would be so pleased with you, she has tried for years to get me to eat better” he said and Madara perked up a little (not about the food thing, that was worrying), maybe there was someone that had done their best, maybe she would even know what Tobirama liked “Did she know what you liked?” he asked and Tobirama shifted away a little, eyes going back to the table as he hummed a little, “I suppose so, but we normally just had whatever was available, I never really talked with the cook much. Touka did try to slip me blueberries when she found them and convince the cook to make blueberry tarts, but Hashirama doesn’t like them much” Madara…was getting confused by having this many conflicting emotions- and how hard must it be for Tobirama who almost never expressed himself like this as far as Madara could tell? He must be exhausted- he was glad that Touka had been around and plotting on how to talk to her, he was thrilled to know that his husband (!) liked blueberry and he was furious to know that they were almost never served just because Hashirama didn’t like them. It was confusing.

Madara squeezed the albino in his arms and then let the former Senju go to pick at the food, carefully watching to see what Tobirama had the most of and coaxing the other man to eat more as best he could- it wasn’t as hard as Madara expected really, as he had to do was hand the younger man something and distract him with a question about something in the village plans and Tobirama would normally at least nibble on it- before drawing him to the bed and flopping down, tugging a surprised Tobirama after him “You – you’re staying?” “Do you not want me to-?” “No! um, I mean, please stay, I was just – you don’t have to do clan work?” Madara shook his head quietly thrilled that his husband (!!) wanted him to stay and was starting to relax next to him “Nope, not for a day or two as long as nothing new comes up, Kikiyo and Izuna agreed to take over a lot of it so I could spend time with you” “Oh” whispered Tobirama, that look Madara loved and hated a little on his face; the soft surprised one that said he hadn’t expected something, that he was pleased and confused and quietly happy when Madara did something for him (holy sh*t was he going to be in for a shock once Madara could really start doting on him, best not to start today though, he needed to be eased into it clearly).

Madara snuggled down and cuddled his husband closer (!!!) thrilled when Tobirama went warm and relaxed with sleep, curled close and soft and making something brilliant bloom under Madara’s breastbone; he had never felt anything like this and – f*ck, now he was blinking back tears. It was just that for all the anger and hurt today had stirred in him he was so happy he almost didn’t know how to deal with it; and now, now he had Tobirama as his husband (!!!!) warm and relaxed and wrapped in furs Madara had given him and in Madara’s arms and he felt like he was going to float away. Tobirama snuffled (oh gods, he was so cute) into Madara’s hair and the yukata shifted open a little on his shoulders and Madara’s mind went blank again, ooooohhhhh, that china pale skin was just so…..ooooooohhhhh (was Madara whimpering again? He was wasn’t he, as long as he didn’t wake Tobirama up he could live with that) and there was another glimpse of the brilliant red lines framing the line of his spine (Madara wanted to lick them) and reminding him of the shockingly stunning sight he had made as he took off the knives Madara had given him (he had been wearing them!!!) and the wraps around his ankles. Madara was fairly sure that Tobirama had been doing that on purpose which was just so much better; that he might want to show off a little to Madara was just – Madara swallowed tightly, he probably shouldn’t be thinking about this when Tobirama was pressed so close and he didn’t even know if the albino wanted that sort of thing, it seemed a little wrong to run the risk of making his husband (!!!!!) uncomfortable just because Madara was, um, hot blooded as far as his husband (!!!!!!) was concerned. He needed something else to think about and actually, he had just the thing, he could start plotting out what needed to be done to…acquire Touka Senju; after all if she was as fond of Tobirama as he was of her- and it sounded like she was- then she shouldn’t have a problem with the Uchiha, um, barrowing her from her clan (though from what Madara remembered of her- tall, cold burning, lips the color of hearts blood- there was no way in hell anyone could take her anywhere she didn’t want to go).

Chapter 8: white camellia

Summary:

admiration/adoration

Chapter Text

What?!” Izuna didn’t yelp, he didn’t (and no that didn’t count as denial, hush) and no Kikiyo wasn’t allowed to smirk like that, it wasn’t fair. Madara shot him a disproving look, glancing back to his room to check if Izuna had woken Tobirama with his- ok, fine damnit- yelping (I will not be biased, I love my brother and want him happy ah, mantras, his new favorite thing) which was fair Izuna had to admit, his – uh, rival? looked way to tired, it was worrying even for Izuna. “You need to go get Touka Senju” Madara said again and Izuna stared at him “You want me to just walk up to her and throw her over my shoulder? Have you seen her? She would break me in half! With one hand!” Madara rolled his eyes “I’m not telling you to try and kidnap her, just feel her out, get a feel for how she feels about Tobirama and the Uchiha, I don’t expect it to happen all at once” Izuna whimpered, visions of trying to talk to the frightening Senju kunoichi and her laughing in his face before obliterating him dancing through his head. Kikiyo covered her mouth with one long sleeve and spoke in a quiet almost calm voice (we grew up with you cousin! We know when you're laughing!) “Mmm, just think, the Senju currently think that Madara wants Tobirama dead so I’m sure she will be delighted to talk to you” Izuna went pale and wavered on his feet. “Oh.” he whispered “oh I’m going to die” Madara rolled his eyes “Don’t be so dramatic, she doesn’t know that Tobirama didn’t make it to Uzushio yet so she’s not going to think he’s dead” Izuna slowly sank to the floor with a thin whine slipping out of his lips “You – you want me dead – my own family wants me dead” he moaned as his vision faded in and out.

Sudden warmth wrapped around his shoulders and dragged his attention back to the waking world to see Tobirama Uchiha crouched next to him and tucking a blanket around his shoulders while giving Madara a stern look “-honestly husband” (Madara had stars in his eyes. Literally. Izuna had no idea the Sharingan could do that - wait, was that a purple edging? but that- he must be mistaken) “why must you torment him, he’s doing so well with not trying to kill me” (Madara was still too floaty from Tobirama calling him husband to respond) Kikiyo laughed gently “Don’t worry Tobirama-sama-“ “Just Tobirama please” “-Tobirama, Izuna has always been” she paused “delicate” she said with a giggle. Izuna snuggled down in his blanket and pouted deeply; no one loved him, he had no friends and his family wanted him to die at the strong hands of a stunning woman and he was all alone in the world and he was going to die alone and unmoaned and then they would see how much they missed him and – Izuna’s increasingly dramatic train of thought was cut off as he was scooped into the air and tucked against Tobirama’s chest as the former Senju carried him into the living room and tucked him into the couch. “What exactly did you do to make him react like this?” Tobirama asked Madara in a slightly baffled voice “I know Uchiha are volatile but I had no idea it was this dramatic” “You know?” asked Madara in a confused voice and Tobirama hummed “Of course, the chakra- and therefor souls as chakra is a reflection of such- of your-….our clan” (Izuna could just imagine the look on Madara’s face, he was so glad to not have to see it) “is effected by the shape of your coils as used by the Sharingan, my guess as to the unusual movement in Uchiha chakra is connected to the movement of the Sharingan- the way it spins- and that leads to your tendency towards dramatics.” There was a long pause, before Madara spoke “How do – I don’t – I don’t even know where to start with my questions” he said in a despairing voice.

Tobirama huffed quietly (was that a laugh? Maybe?) and Izuna heard Madara move closer and a soft inhalation of breath; with great trepidation Izuna cracked his eyes open and peered out at his brother and… brother? Only to recoil at the sight of Madara curving his hand around Tobirama’s cheek as the albino turned into the touch with a faint blush and a soft look in his red eyes (Madara looked…calm, easy and gentle and softly happy; had Izuna ever seen his brother look like that?) and they sifted closer and – and Izuna NOPED his way right out of that. Oh hell no. he was not going to sit there and watching his brother kiss Tobirama, f*ck that, he would rather go let the Senju death lady kill him than watch that. Izuna launched himself out of the couch and tripped over his blanket, recovered, fell, rolled with it and used the speed to dive out the door; completely ignoring the shocked Hikaku as he went shooting past his cousin or the flabbergasted looks following him out of the main clan home. He was under prepared for the mission, normally he would have added at least a little armor or a few other weapons but there was no way he was going back in there and it wasn’t like it would help him anyway; he knew himself, the second Touka Senju raised on perfect eyebrow at him he was going to be too distracted to use bigger weapons even if he had them.

Izuna was already a good distance toward the boundary with the Senju before he realized that he had no idea how he was going to find Touka or if she was even out of the compound and he wasn’t a sensor like his brother or Tobirama, he had no way to figure it out. The Uchiha deflated a little as he wandered closer to the Senju lands and kicked at the ground; there he was, just doing his best and everyone wanted to make his life hard and he didn’t care that he was pouting; Chura said he was allowed to have his emotions and that he should express them (ok, she also said express them and then think them through so he knew what was causing them so that he could move forwards, but he was going to indulge his temper tantrum damn it! Chura could just deal and take her therapy elsewhere for now!). Izuna pouted deeply at the ground and stopped, tugging sadly at his hair missing the faint shift in shadows until Touka Senju dropped down in front of him, the sharp blade of her naginata resting against his throat as she looked at him with dark sharp eyes. Izuna froze, mouth falling open in a small ‘o’ as his eyes went wide and a soft shocked “pichu” sound wheezed out of him at he blinked at the tall woman, brain blank and empty as the sudden appearance of his goal in front of him.

(Touka was….confused. she had seen Izuna Uchiha before of course and was delighted to see the younger Uchiha fall into her hands the way he had; he was the perfect person to ‘ask’ if Tobirama had made it thought safely and it was so convenient for her that he just happened to walk near her- and gee wasn’t it strange that she had gotten confused about the territory lines, I have no idea how that happened Hashirama, no idea what so ever- it would almost be a crime to overlook her good fortune. Taking a moment to observe her prey Touka frowned a little; Izuna was distracted, pouting and sullen as he kicked at the ground- and ok, fine, it was….cute, but that didn’t make any difference-, what in the world could prompt that? Though it did make the chances that her little cousin was alive larger, Izuna should be quite pleased if his oldest enemy was dead. Mind made up Touka dropped down and slanted her blade at his neck in one smooth move, here was her chance to a..s…k… oh. damnit, that expression was adorable.)

Izuna scrambled to put together two brain cells only to lose them when one finely arched dark brow slipped up and she tipped her head showing off her refined face and perfect makeup; oh dear. He was going to die, and not even care wasn’t he? …..still better than watching his brother kiss his new husband “What are you doing out here Uchiha?” Touka asked and Izuna – Izuna opened his mouth and spit out the first thing he thought of “Avoiding watching Madara kiss his husband” he said and immediately winced, oops, he hadn’t meant to say that. Touka’s other eyebrow joined the first “Madara is married?” she asked skeptically and Izuna was torn between offense on his brother’s behalf and complete agreement “Only as of yesterday” he muttered sullenly, bottom lip sliding out as he thought about it again (how was he supposed to hate Tobirama when the albino was tucking him into blanket and the couch? Shut up Chura, he knew he wasn’t supposed to hate him anymore) (Touka wanted to face palm, why was that pout cute for f*cks sake?!) “Congratulations” the Senju said roughly and Izuna blinked, trying to keep up with what she was saying, “Oh, right, um thanks? He’s being insufferable” suddenly Izuna had a great idea, he could tell Touka all about it! she wasn’t there and couldn’t judge him and then when she figured out who Madara’s husband was she would understand what she was getting into, it was a fantastic idea!

Mind made up Izuna sat down in a sharp rush tugging the naginata down with him and shooting the Senju his most pleading eyes “It’s driving us nuts, like really, he found out that his husband liked reading and suddenly every mission had the attached goal of returning with a scroll of some kind even if it’s useless- we have so many bad romance novels from missions on samurai, that must be all they read- and then he likes fish and now Madara is asking everyone for any fish related recipe and you should have seen him when he was looking for the right knife!” Izuna’s voice was rising and Touka slowly sat across from him (still holding her blade steady of course) watching with wide eyes as he flailed and pouted “and then there was last month, Madara never cares about what he looks like! But suddenly he’s wandering around asking if we think the winter fox will like his hair and should he cut it? like, he loves having long hair even if he never takes care of it, and suddenly now he’s thinking about cutting it?! he kept it but then it was his clothing and whether he looked good in dark colors and-“ completely thrown Touka spoke without thinking “It’s a good thing he didn’t cut it, Tobi would have been heartbroken” only to wince a little (Tobi was never going to have any interaction with Madara, not even if they figured out why the Uchiha hated him; not with Tobirama in Uzu and Madara married, oh that was going to hurt when he heard). Izuna brightened, oh this was wonderful! He had someone to rant to and he had some information about what Tobirama liked (did it have to be his brother’s hair though? Izuna didn’t want to know this!) honestly this was a great success!

(Touka slashed her hand through the air, mind whirring as she tried to come up with a way to ask about Tobi without giving anything away but Izuna launch himself to his feet before she could looking bright and cheerful “Thank you for the talk!” he chirped and disappeared into the bushes. Touka sighed, well, it wasn’t a complete loss, she knew that Izuna at least probably didn’t know about anything happening to Tobi- he was the gloating type she was sure- and she got to tell Hashirama that Madara was married and watching him flail through his confused screwed up feelings about the Uchiha; that relationship had always wigged her out a little….)

Chapter 9: nine lavender roses

Summary:

Eternal love; enchantment, love at first sight

Chapter Text

Tobirama stared after Izuna’s flailing and falling out of the door- it was somewhat impressive really that he managed to make clumsiness work so well for him- “….what just happened?” he asked slowly and Madara sighed deeply and tipped forward into Tobirama, dropping his head on the albino’s collarbone without touching him anywhere else; it was cute how hard he was trying not to make Tobirama uncomfortable, and sweet really that he wasn’t taking Tobirama’s cuddling while asleep to mean he was ok with it while awake, the albino had never had anyone be so willing to listen to his boundaries (Hashirama had never cared all that much, always willing to ask Tobirama for anything and everything just because he had done something similar before; mostly he didn’t mind helping but sometimes…he just wanted a break and making another healing technique hurt). Tobirama carefully raised a hand and lightly brushed it down Madara’s long dark hair (so soft, like the down on a bird’s breast) tension slipping away when the older man purred and went easy against Tobirama in pleasure as the albino firmed his touch; it was strange beyond belief to be allowed to touch Madara so intimately after everything, he never would have thought this would be allowed for him.

Madara exhaled a long strange sound halfway between a pleased moan and an exasperated long-suffering groan, “What” he whimpered “is wrong with my brother?” Tobirama felt a smile crawl over his face and turned without thinking about it to hide his smile in Madara’s dark feathery hair, shivering when the older man nuzzled a little closer; “I really don’t think you have any place to complain; my brother is Hashirama” he pointed out and Madara did groan at that, stepping a little closer and sliding his arms carefully around Tobirama’s waist and starting to pull back when Tobirama stiffened. Suddenly worried Tobirama snapped his hands up and curled them around Madara’s elbows holding him still and forcing himself to speak through a tight throat, “wait, just, give me a moment” it came out thin and almost too quiet but the Uchiha rumbled deep in his chest and tucked his arms around Tobirama again, waiting calmly until the metal faded from Tobirama’s spine and he curved into Madara; shifting closer until they were pressed lightly together and shivering when Madara crooned gently at him. “You ok?” the Uchiha asked gently and Tobirama bit his lip, “Just not used to this” he whispered “Hashi is…forceful” Madara went tense against him for a second and pressed closer for a moment “If something bothers you tell me” he told Tobirama and the younger man bit at his lip harder, fighting against his ingrained need to keep his opinions and wants behind his teeth (what was the point in saying anything when no one would listen? At least that way he could pretend no one was hearing him just because he didn’t say anything) but he had promised himself that he would be honest and try with Madara, that included doing what his husband (…!) asked “I’ll…try. Just. give me a second to adjust” (try, try) “I…like it” he forced out and Madara shifted; lifting his head off of Tobirama’s shoulder and pressing a kiss to Tobirama’s temple as he shifted to a more encompassing hold “I can do that” he agreed.

It took a while for the shivers to fade out of Tobirama’s muscles even with Madara’s chest rumbling against him as the older man told him about Izuna’s temper tantrums in a calming voice. “-and then he told me that you trapped him with explosive tags and as he was adjusting so he couldn’t follow you-“ Tobirama giggled before he could bite back the sound “He didn’t deal with the change of balance and muscle distribution as well as he could have, it was really easy to shake him after that” the albino told Madara, delighting when the older man shook with silent laughter “Really? that’s not what he said” Tobirama shook his head “Nope, just the surprise of suddenly being female” “I am never letting him forget it” Madara said firmly. Tobirama sighed and drew back, ducking his head as a sudden rush of awkwardness flashed through him (what if Madara thought that-?) “Hey, don’t do that; I love holding you” Madara said a little too fast and Tobirama slanted a look at the other man through his lashes, blinking at the slightly strange look on Madara’s face. The moment was broken by Kikiyo’s entrance into the room, raising an eyebrow when she saw that Izuna was gone “The rabbit gone?” she asked and Tobirama sent Madara an incredulous look “Rabbit?” “Childhood nickname, Kikiyo insists on still using it” Madara said and sent Tobirama a mischievous look “you know the clan calls you my winter fox?” “I – what?” Madara smirked “It’s a good thing” he promised with a wink as Tobirama stared. Kikiyo raised an eyebrow “It’s like you’ve never had a nickname before” she teased gently and Tobirama responded before without thinking (he was doing that a lot, he had to stop, Father-) “I haven’t” he said blankly before adding “unless you count ‘Demon’” and the silence was ringing (had he said that wrong thing? Should he not have pointed out his reputation? Did he f*ck up? Hashirama always said-) and Madara stepped closer, curling a hand around Tobirama’s hip “Well you have several now” he said firmly and Tobirama searched his dark eyes for the disappointment he was so used to, a little floored when there was no sign of it.

Kikiyo cleared her throat, “Well if Izuna is gone already why don’t you show your winter fox your biggest gift to him” she said gently and Madara frowned a little “But Sukumi is out on patrol” he said and Kikiyo rolled her eyes, “The other one, the one next to his study” she pointed out in a long suffering voice. Madara brightened and looked at Tobirama; bemused the albino nodded and let Madara catch his hand and lead him into the wing of the house (thank god it wasn’t as large as the Senju house and only two stories tall) where his study/office was and gesturing to where Tobirama's was set up across the hall from his and opened into the garden full of new looking water features; he had showed it to the former Senju earlier- it still floored Tobirama that he had been given such a nice place- but not the room tucked right next to it with the closed door.

Madara forced himself not to fidget as he looked at Tobirama’s confused expression as he looked at the closed door to the library the Uchiha clan had collected for him; it wasn’t as big as Madara would have liked but it wasn’t like his husband (!) didn’t have access to the clan library and to the scrolls Madara kept tucked away in the head’s office (the elders would froth at the mouth if they knew that Madara intended to allow Tobirama access, but it was insane to refuse the smartest man of several generations access to materials that he might use to make things better for them). Either way the library had room for more scrolls that Tobirama might want to collect- especially given that Madara was pretty sure he wouldn’t have any interest in the samurai scrolls, he couldn’t imagine his husband (!!) being interested in trashy romance- while also including the things the clan had brought home from missions (he was so proud of his clan for everything they had collected, there were very few shinobi that hadn’t brought something back, even when missions went bad they snagged things, it was impressive! and might also have ended up being a competition...). Tobirama shot him a confused look but opened the door dutifully when Madara gestured excitedly, sliding the door open and then freezing for a moment when he got a look into the room; Tobirama stepped slowly into the room, looking around at the shelves covering the walls except for where the large windows looking out into the garden in the long room. It was spacious, light and airy even with the preponderance of scrolls and western style books tucked into the gleaming dark wood shelves and the shorter shelves in a paler wood reaching out into the space; it had hanging lights spread throughout the room ready to illuminate the shelves and large comfy pale leather covered chairs with accompanying furs for the cooler nights in front of the windows, their indigo brocade curtains pulled back to let the sunlight in on a shinning heavy elm table just waiting for him to cover it in reading material with a sturdy weapons rack fixed to the far wall. In other words it was as perfect for his husband (!!!) as Madara could make it.

“Madara” Tobirama whispered reverently staring around with naked shock that slowly faded into unabashed delight “what…?” Madara grinned smugly to himself “It’s your library, we don’t expect you to keep every book in here, the clan just snatched up whatever was convenient- well, not Kenshin, he kept bringing back fancy things, smug bastard- so some of them are pretty strange and-“ Tobirama spun to look at him with huge glowing eyes “You collected this for me?” he breathed and Madara nodded firmly “Of course, we wanted-“ Tobirama threw himself at the Uchiha and wrapped his arms around Madara’s neck and pressed a firm, exuberant kiss to Madara’s mouth, one hand tangled in his long dark hair and the other cupping Madara’s jaw. The Uchiha whimpered faintly, hands flying to rest on his husband’s (!!!!) waist as he tilted his head into the kiss, brain whiting out (ooooohhhhhhhhh) and then vanishing completely when Tobirama melted into him for all that the kiss was relatively chaste. This was……wow, Madara hadn’t been sure if this was part of what Tobirama wanted and getting it so suddenly….wow.

Eventually Tobirama drew back a little breathless and faintly flushed (Madara needed to see this look as often as he could) licking his lips and blinking at a dazed Madara; “You’re stunning” the Uchiha breathed dumbly, delighting at the bashful look that filled his vulpine face (he loved complimenting his husband-!!!!! when it got that reaction) “Um” the albino murmured before setting his jaw and gabbing Madara’s hand, tugging the dazed Uchiha after him as he looked at the books and snagged one before pushing the older man to sit in one large chair (Madara scrambled to pull his hair forward over his shoulder before he sat on it, he loved his hair but it was difficult sometimes) and dropping down to sit across his lap, throwing his long legs over one arm and settling in, already opening the scroll and absorbed in it by the time Madara caught up with events. This was… this was honestly one of the best ways he could think to spend the afternoon; he could sit with his husband (!!!!!!) and quietly plot how to retrieve Touka Senju and make Hashirama’s life painful (Madara was saving think about his former friend to much until he wasn’t around Tobirama, he was pretty sure there was a good chance that the albino would think Madara getting angry was his fault and it would have been hard to explain to his husband-!!!!!!! why he was so mad at the Senju leader when Tobirama didn’t seem to know what was wrong with how he had grown up).

In Madara’s opinion it was the nicest afternoon he had had in a long time, occasionally Tobirama would get up and get a new scroll and Madara could shift to tuck his husband (!!!!!!!!) closer and to keep his legs from going to sleep; but otherwise they sat quietly and for once Madara could just breath. He hadn’t had time to rest like this before and found himself drifting quietly as he dropped his chin on Tobirama’s white head and wrapped his arm around the slim waist watching the sun move across the hardwood floor and onto the few dark carpets; tracing the lines of the phenoxies and tigers in them and wondering lazily where Izuna was and how the clan was taking everything (silly question, he knew they were just pleased to get a break from Madara’s rhapsodies over Tobirama. Silly people, this was a break, nothing more, as soon as Madara was willing to spend any time away from his husband-!!!!!!!!! he was going to be inflicting it on them again plus Tobirama's new ideas). “That smile is evil” Tobirama said quietly, looking at Madara with one white brow raised; Madara snickered and shook his head “Nothing important” he promised and Tobirama shot him a skeptical look before dropping a kiss on the corner of Madara’s mouth and standing with a stretch (oh. oh dear. The line of his spine was…oh dear. And Madara could see a bit of his shoulder when he relaxed before he righted his yukata and that pearl pale skin was….oh dear) and looking at Madara over his shoulder, “Dinner time?” he asked as Madara blinked dumbly at him “Guh?” the Uchiha asked. Tobirama tilted his head in confusion and turned all the way to Madara “Madara?” “Wha? Oh! Um, dinner. Yes. Right.” the Uchiha stumbled to his feet and followed the albino out of the room. “Ah, I’m surprised you noticed dinner time” Madara said; Tobirama shrugged “Normally I don’t care much about meals, but I probably shouldn’t miss meals here, it might make the clan worry if I go missing for long” Madara frowned at the back of the white head remembering how thin the other man’s waist was; he would have to do something about that, as much as he disliked his husband (♥️) thinking that their clan distrusted him it also meant that Tobirama was remembering meals so Madara was torn.

He was surprised out of his pouting when he saw Izuna’s cheerful slightly gleeful face and Kikiyo’s rolling eyes, narrowing his eyes as he looked between his family and pressing a hand to Tobirama’s back when the albino’s steps stuttered a little as he took in their looks “Izuna…” Madara said warningly and his little brother smirked at him but darted away into the kitchen to fetch the food; “Kikiyo?” Madara asked. She rolled her eyes again, “He hasn’t told me” she told him, and he winced, pulling out Tobirama’s chair absentmindedly and leaning down, pressing a kiss to the white hair thoughtlessly as he considered what his brother might have done to look that smug. (Tobirama blinked and flushed a touch at the affection and Kikiyo fought not to coo over the two of them; oh kami but she was looking forward to the mass meltdowns they would cause together, they were bad enough on their own after all.)

Izuna pranced back into the room with food (fish Madara noted with a pleased look) and kept his self-satisfied look for the duration of dinner even as a slightly exasperated Tobirama tried to convince Madara they didn’t have to have fish every meal; to which Madara countered that if he told them what other food he liked they would know what else to make. Though Izuna’s glee did falter when Tobirama reluctantly explained that he hadn’t had a great range of food while growing up- his father didn’t believe in eating things that weren’t necessary- and so he wasn’t used to it- mostly rice, fish, and miso; it was just good that he liked fish- and he hadn’t bothered to change what he had when Hashirama took over and changed what was served. That rather brought the mood down which then appeared to concern Tobirama as much as it confused him (always blaming himself) until Izuna rallied and said firmly that they would just have to introduce him to new things! Tobirama rolled his eyes but didn’t bother to argue and after dinner he vanished upstairs again (after a slightly longing look in the direction of the library which made Madara smirk) to take one of his long baths while Izuna snagged Madara’s elbow, all but bouncing in place.

“What” Madara said warily, Izuna grinned “I talked to Touka today” he burbled and Madara spun to look him over, checking slightly franticly for injuries, he hadn’t meant for Izuna to just walk up to her! “Oh relax, I’m fine, she just- actually I’m not sure what she was doing- but all we did was talk while she held a blade at my throat, it was amazing” he breathed and Madara sighed deeply, he should have expected that “Izuna….” “Oh, right, so I told her you got married- don’t look at me like that, I didn’t tell her who to, Hashirama isn’t going to show up and steal your husband- and she said that Tobirama likes your hair. Specifically she said that ‘Tobi would be heartbroken if he cut it’ so you’re welcome” Madara knew he probably looked a little silly but; Tobirama liked his hair; the one thing that Madara had ever really done just for him even though it made his father furious. The one thing that was just Madara’s and didn’t belong to the clan at all “Do you think he would brush it for me?” Madara breathed and Izuna rolled his eyes “Yes brother, I’m sure he would if you asked. In the mean time I risked life and limb to bring back information for you and set up a line of communication so that we can start assessing the right way to acquire her, like you asked” Izuna was pouting Madara realized and scooped his brother up in a tight hug, thrilled when Izuna relaxed into it in a way he hadn’t really done for over a year (Madara wished it hadn’t taken him so long to figure out how to help, he had just always thought it came from the increasing arguments about peace and hadn’t realized it was deeper until he sent Izuna to the therapist about Tobirama and Chura told him that Izuna needed a long course of care to handle Sharingan scaring and chakra corruption, it had been a terrifying wake up call no matter that the half Yamanaka told him it wasn't his fault).

Chapter 10: fifty green roses

Summary:

Unconditional love; peace, calm, rejuvenation

Chapter Text

Tobirama shivered a little as he stepped out of the still warm water reluctantly, glancing at the sleep yukata laid out, it was one of his own that- like most of his possessions- he had brought with him but… Tobirama sighed at himself, only with the Uchiha clan (his clan) for a little over a day and already spoiled (he could almost feel father’s hand tight on his neck as he was forced to his knees) enough that he didn’t want to wear his older clothing with it’s harsh fabric (“what this time?!” father snarled, Tobirama bit his lip, trying to hide his tears as the fabric scraped over his too sensitive skin “Weak, always weak. Should have drowned you when you were born sickly” Hashirama trying to rub cream into Tobirama’s raw skin with small shaking hands they had been young then, back before the Naka river and Tobirama betrayed his older brother “when I’m clan head I’ll get you better things, get you stuff that doesn’t hurt little brother” Hashirama promised he hadn’t and Tobirama had never been able to break the part of himself that said he needed to not be weak, needed to not let himself go soft, couldn’t bring himself to stop waiting for Hashirama to fulfill his old promise). There was a sound at the door as Madara knocked “Tobirama?” and the albino sucked in a sharp breath, snatching up the clothing (the things Madara had made for him were all so soft) and shrugging it on, trying to ignore the scrape of the rough fabric; he was used to this, it was nothing new, his skin was just too sensitive and he would be fine.

Tobirama sucked in a breath and opened to the door and felt his face soften when he saw Madara’s warm dark eyes and the pleased light in them when Tobirama tipped his head questioningly as the Uchiha took his hand and started leading the albino back to….their(?) room “Would you- uh- wouldyoubrushmyhair?” the Uchiha asked in a rush and Tobirama blinked at him for a second before he felt his fingers twitch “Yes!” he breathed; he had always wanted to get his fingers in that amazing hair and to be given the opportunity just like that, like it was nothing… “yes” he said again, speeding up and pulling Madara behind him and pushing the man to sit on the bed as he went straight to the table where his scrolls rested before opening them with a flash and digging around for a moment and making a triumphant noise when he pulled out what he was looking for; the brush was one of the few useless things Tobirama owned, a fancy expensive thing with a complicated design of flames and feathers on the back that Tobirama had bought on a whim (whim, right, it had nothing to do with seeing Madara’s hair tangle in the last battles he had watched). Pleased he turned back to the confused looking Uchiha and considered his hair for a moment before twisting his fingers and chakra to gather water and chill out of the air until he was holding a long-toothed comb of ice that should work well the under layers of Madara’s thick hair. (He missed Madara’s huge eyes at the show of power and control, missed the way the Uchiha’s breath hitched and the flush slipping over sweeping cheekbones as he shifted in sudden discomfort.)

With a happy hum Tobirama dropped onto the bed and crawled behind Madara, to focused to really register the thready whimper from the older man as he settled and passed a hand over the long fall of ravens black hair (thigh length, Tobirama loved it) selecting a section and setting to work from the bottom up with the comb, quickly loosing himself in the repetitive movement and soft feel on his fingers; soothed by the wafting scent of smoke and spice – so very like his chakra that tangling his fingers in Madara’s hair was like touching his chakra made physical (and though Tobirama had touched it before it was different to be allowed to focus on it like this). Tobirama pouted when his fingers slipped though Madara’s air with no tangles and it was clearly time to stop so they could sleep; the albino pulled his fingers away with a sad little sigh and reached past Madara to place the brush and comb on the table next to the bed only to squeak a little when the older man wrapped an arm around his waist as he reached and twisted until Tobirama was all but in his lap, nuzzling at his jaw and rasping in his ear in a rough voice “Can I kiss you?” Tobirama whimpered and nodded, turning his head into Madara’s and shivering when the dark-haired man bushed their lips together softly, once, twice, three times and then pressing together more firmly when Tobirama planted a hand on the bed next to the Uchiha’s hip to get a better angle and press closer. Madara tilted his head, cupping Tobirama’s jaw and wrapping his arm more firmly around his waist as their lips moved together slowly; Tobirama relaxed, melting closer with a soft breathy noise, it felt…wonderful, every bit as fantastic as it had earlier in the library and it was like nothing Tobirama had ever felt - he had never known it could feel this good to kiss (it never had before, had never been something he wanted to linger in).

Madara drew back slowly and Tobirama pressed a quick kiss to the corner of his mouth as he moved, biting his lip harshly when Madara retaliated with a warm lingering press just under his jaw before drawing away “Thank you” the older man murmured, voice deep and rough in a way Tobirama was starting to become addicted too; “Mm, my pleasure” he murmured back twisting closer sleepily “I think this is the most sleep I’ve ever gotten, I don’t know why I just keep getting more tired” he mumbled into Madara’s neck. The older man tilted their heads together and tightened his hold “You’re relaxing and your body is catching up with how tired you are, give yourself time to recover” Tobirama made a small dissatisfied sound “I need to be useful” he slurred, exhaustion pulling at his defenses; Madara stiffened before forcing himself to relaxed at Tobirama’s small sad sound and shifting them to lie down, tugging at the blankets until they were settled over both of them and then rubbing up and down Tobirama’s back in long strokes. “Why do you need to be useful?” he asked quietly, Tobirama nuzzled closer, words penetrating only a little “Brother always wants me to be useful” he yawned a little “and the clan talked to me then” Madara went tight and Tobirama whimpered petting at the stretch of muscled shoulder next to his head until his husband (…!) relaxed again; “You don’t need to be useful here” he said firmly and Tobirama made an uncertain sound, “you’re plenty useful just as you are” Tobirama frowned a little, waking a little at the strangled tone in his words but Madara sighed and pressed a hand to Tobirama’s lower back “We’ll talk about this later” he sighed, cuddling the albino closer “sleep”.

Madara woke as he always did in a smooth shift to awareness with little space in between and the brush of breath across neck made him shiver; Tobirama was tucked into the curve of Madara’s body, pressed together as closely as he could get – greedy for touch as he always was (it worried Madara even as he relished it) but without the tenseness that so often hit when touched while awake, for which Madara was just - so grateful. He didn’t mind coaxing his husband (!) into comfort with touch but it was nice to see that when his brilliant mind wasn’t in the way he could so easily turn into touch. Madara bit back a sigh, the endless questions about Tobirama’s past mounting (his brother hadn’t talked to him for long enough that he had relied on his summons so deeply, somehow he had decided that self-sacrifice was needed to deal with Madara’s anger and had chosen that over an apology- even though he had apologized as soon as he saw Madara-, the needing to be useful and that wasn’t even counting the things Madara knew now that painted an unhappy picture; what he had eaten and why he was so tired and the way he was so surprised by people listening to him and how he turned into touch and had never had a nickname other than ‘demon’ Madara hated how his husband had been raised and he needed to set Hashirama on fire) “Madara?” Tobirama rasped, shifting to spread himself over the older man’s chest and blinking at him with sleepy warm eyes; the Uchiha smiled and rubbed a hand down his back “It’s nothing- To’ra?” he interrupted himself when his husband (!!) flinched ever so slightly- Madara never would have felt it if they hadn’t been pressed so close- “What-?” he asked, going still when his fingers caught in the fabric of the albino’s yukata and slid down enough to expose a little of his back where the pale skin was red and irritated “what happened?” he breathed, shifting the neck of the robe out of the way to see Tobirama’s skin, a little horrified by the irritation on his skin and the fact that the albino hadn’t reacted to it until Madara touched him.

Tobirama shifted, his eyes flickering away as Madara watched “It’s nothing” he muttered and Madara frowned darkly “This is not nothing” he snapped, cupping a hand gently around the base of the white head and rubbing a thumb against his jaw “what happened?” he asked again more gently. Tobirama sighed “I’m an albino, that leaves me…sickly. Defective and too sensitive” and Madara snarled, fighting not to grab at his husband (!!!) and irritate his skin more “There is nothing defective about you, not a damn thing” he growled into the shocked red eyes “nothing darling, I promise you that.” “Father-“ Tobirama started in an off balance voice and Madara brushed a kiss against his hairline “Your father was an asshole” something occurred to him “You’re not surprised, you knew your skin would be irritated” he whispered, plucking a bit of fabric between his fingers and grimacing at the feeling of it; nothing that would bother him much but against sensitive skin it would have been painful after a while “you brought this with you, you keep clothing you know hurts you?!” Tobirama looked away, tense and stressed against Madara as he pulled away to sit up, unintentionally giving the older man a better look at the red skin where the cloth had rubbed against him “It’s fine, I’ll get used to it. I just was wearing the things you gave me before and those were so soft that it was a surprise to put this on again” he muttered, looking away. Madara felt sick, “Why?” the younger man bit at his lip “Father…” he slanted a look at Madara under his lashes, conflict in his eyes before he spoke again “father said it was necessary to keep me from begin weak, Hashi promised to get me new things when he was clan head and then it just never seemed…important” he told the window and Madara sucked in a deep breath through his nose “Why did you spend so long without Hashirama talking to you?” he asked darkly.

Tobirama flinched and tucked his knees up (Madara shuddered at the sight of the painful skin on his legs) “Hashi didn’t do anything wrong he – he was so disappointed to lose your friendship and it was my fault and-“ Madara jackknifed up and curled his hands around Tobirama’s as gently as he could “That’s what he was upset about?!” he hissed. Tobirama chewed on his lip and refused to look Madara in the eyes; the Uchiha sighed and raised one elegant hand and brushed a kiss over his fingers and then reached slowly to curl his fingers around the edge of the yukata he was wearing, waiting until Tobirama’s muscles eased to slip it off his shoulder, hissing at the sight of his skin and brushing a kiss just above the edge of the irritation as he reached over to his other shoulder. It was a slow and silent and honeyed as he slid the cloth off of his stunning husband (!!!!) smoothing gentle caresses over pale skin as it was revealed, feeling tears prickle at his eyes at the sight of his skin; it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, no hives, but that wasn’t the problem, the problem was that Tobirama had thought it was necessary, he believed that he had to do something that would hurt him (no matter how minorly). The yukata pooled around his waist and Madara tucked his face into Tobirama’s neck “Please don’t do this again” he whispered, almost pleading “please let me take care of you; I want to clothe you in nothing that ever hurts, I want you to never do this to yourself again, I can’t bare seeing your skin like this” Tobirama shivered and curled his hand around the base of Madara’s skull “It’s alright” he whispered “it’s alright bright hawk, it doesn’t hurt that much” Madara shuddered “I don’t care, I don’t like seeing you like this, please” he begged. Tobirama sighed, “If it means that much to you” he agreed after a moment and Madara blew out a sharp breath of relief “Thank you, thank you”.

Chapter 11: basil

Summary:

hatred/love

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Touka couldn’t help sneering a little as Hashirama fluttered around his office; it had taken her longer than she expected to have a chance to tell the clan head about Madara’s marriage and had spent the last two days itching to tell him and see the inevitable meltdown only to find it a lot less funny than she had expected. Hashirama was…there had been the meltdown she had expected about not being told or going to the wedding and the strange thread of jealousy she had known would be there (she had long been aware of Hashirama’s preoccupation with the Uchiha clan head, his obsession about having the other man’s attention had never been so clear as it was when Madara started targeting Tobirama and ignoring Hashirama – the Senju leader had hated that more than he had been upset that his brother was targeted; Touka just didn’t know what Hashirama wanted Madara for, the Senju had no physical interest in men but the way he acted was not the way he treated his brothers- Touka wondered if he just wanted the Uchiha to have no one else in his world, wanted Madara to be in love with him even when he married and had children- and she tried not to think about it when she didn’t have to). But what sickened her was the way he was speaking now “-I’m so glad he’s not so mad at Tobi that he was moving on with things! I wouldn’t want him to think to much about Tobi, I just wish he had told me he was getting married! I wonder who he married” (Touka snorted, no he didn’t, not really) “they must be quite attractive, and I bet they’re optimistic, they should be able to help with the peace!” (you mean you think they must be like you, Touka had no idea why he seemed convinced that Madara was in love with him) “oh dear, I wonder if that’s why Madara was so mad” Hashirama paused and Touka went still “if Tobi did something to someone Madara thought he cared about he would be furious. I told Tobi to apologize to Madara, but he should apologize the spouse as well just in case” the Senju said with a firm nod and Touka spun, storming out of the room, too mad to speak.

For Hashirama to ask Tobirama to Formally Apologize to the Uchiha even when his brother said he hadn’t done anything was bad enough but to ask for this (it would break Tobi’s heart to have to apologize to the spouse of the man he loved) was just…Touka could imagine it; could imagine Tobirama stripping off his armor and shirt, taking off all but the bare minimum of undergarments and dropping to his knees in front of some cold eyed man, his sensitive skin too pale for the bright sun as he offered the man the choice of whip or blade (there hadn’t been a Formal Apology since Touka was very young but it had made an impression; there could be no deaths but otherwise…. Well. there was a reason that it was saved for only the most terrible of crimes possible). Snarling Touka slammed a hand into the wall, ignoring the hole in the wall and wide eyed look from the shinobi at the end of the hall; she wasn’t going to allow this, she wasn’t, she was going to figure out what had Madara so pissed off and she was going to make sure Tobirama never left Uzo – she didn’t know how but she would figure it out once she knew what was going on with the Uchiha. At least she had an in, she thought with a wolf-smile, the cute Uchiha heir seemed happy to talk to her, she could use that (and enjoy it).

The next day she was sharpening her blades with Haru sitting next to her trying to work his way through the chakra exercises Tobirama had left him (he was a good kid, small and quiet and lonely – ever since his parents had died he had followed Tobirama everywhere he could and flowered under the Senju heir’s attention. When he had asked her to keep an eye on the child she couldn’t disagree) when Hashirama yelled for her, darting into the yard while tying on his armor and bouncing in place “Skirmish with the Uchiha, at the east, there’s a patrol, I can ask about his marriage!” I thought you wanted peace, Touka thought bitterly, now you’re running out to start a fight you don’t have to; and of course you will ask about a spouse but not try to figure out what is wrong with Tobirama. f*cking asshole. But it would give her a chance to talk to Izuna so that was something. Touka dropped her hand and passed it over Haru’s hair before standing and darting to get ready for the fight; she was always ready to go fight whenever she might need to so it took little work to be ready and meet up with the others at the gates just after Hashirama.

The field was strange, Madara was there before them (of course he was, they didn’t have Tobirama to watch their borders now) and was all but silent with dark fury written over his face; holy sh*t, she took it back, Madara had never been angry at Tobirama at all, this was what anger looked like (so what had been going on with Tobi? Why had he declared a feud?) and she pitied Hashirama a bit (not much) to be the focus of that. The Uchiha was shredding every defense Hashirama threw up, scorching earth and air as he forced Hashirama not to say a word as he sought to keep up; he had all of Madara’s attention now and Touka felt a vindictive thrill at the knowledge that he might not want it after this, though, was there something odd about Madara's eyes? “Touka!” she turned at the cry of her name in time to get her blade up and deflect Izuna’s attack, baffled at the bright look on the younger Uchiha’s face as he looked at her “Hi!” he chirped when they got close, sending off a showy flurry of flame that Touka slapped away with a twist of wind (what-?) “so you know how I told you brother was driving me nuts-?” she twisted over his blade “it’s worse now, like really-” she kicked at his face, a little disappointed when she missed his nose by a hair “-they’re never apart and Madara keep’s giving him clothing and sh*t and I still have to take care of the clan stuff for a little longer-“ ok, what the f*ck? Was Izuna really going to spend the whole fight telling her about how unbearably sappy Madara was being? That was – there was a sharp pain in Touka’s chest “That husband better appreciate it” she snapped before she thought about it “Tobi would have flourished under that” and it burned that Tobi wouldn’t have that because she could just imagine him opening up and easing under all the attention Madara could ever give him, and he wouldn’t have that!

She growled and lashed out at the Uchiha viscously, sinuses stinging, softening only a little when she slammed him to the ground under her, not quite meeting his wide eyes “Why?!” there were no tears in her voice, none at all “why does Madara hate my cousin so much? Why did he destroy Tobi’s life when I know he would never have done anything to Madara” Izuna opened his mouth and his hand slowly touched her arm, something worried in the angle of his eyebrows “Mada-“ but Touka threw herself to the side as senbon arched where she had been, throwing a genjutsu at the attacker and turning back to Izuna with a sharp snarl in the face of his troubled frown “Never would have?” Izuna asked slowly, Touka tossed her head, bitter emotion twisting through her and tearing down the carefully built walls (she didn’t even know if Tobirama was still alive and even if he was this would destroy his heart, idiot that he was for loving Madara) and stirring the anger that had burned in her wildly “NO” she spat “not when my idiot cousin cared for your f*cking brother the way he has for years” Izuna chewed at his lip and stepped closer, “Touka-“ but Hashirama called the retreat and the Uchiha dew back as well. Touka shot a furious look at the field again but left with her clan; better to wait anyway, she needed a cooler head before she tried to find more if she didn’t want to say something she didn’t intend to again. Lucky Tobi wasn’t around to be angry that Touka had slipped his secret but still, she shouldn’t have said that (she was just so hurt angry).

Touka pressed her fingers to her eyes and just breathed for a long moment, sucking in cool air on the edge of Senju lands; this was risky, coming out here on her own just two days after the battle where she had lost her calm even if the Uchiha she had seen on patrol yesterday had been downright friendly, but she just…. Tobi should have arrived in Uzo two days ago and there had been no word yet; it could have been (had to be) that he had been slowed, that he had taken the long way around, that there was nothing wrong but…she had to know. And that meant finding an Uchiha to ask, so she was out here hoping that Izuna would be near by given that he had been the last two days if the patrol was to be believed (they had been confused when they returned, said that they would have sworn that the Uchiha heir was near but they never saw him and he never attacked so they never said anything to Hashirama). “Touka” she took a deep breath and opened her eyes to look at Izuna standing across from her looking troubled “What happened to my cousin?” she asked roughly; Izuna shifted, looked at his feet and took a deep breath, before pulling out a knife and holding it out to her (it was a lovely thing, long and stunningly engraved with cranes on it’s dark metal) “Do you know what this means?” he asked and she narrowed her eyes “No” she bit out and he took a deep breath “It’s how we ask to court in the Uchiha” Touka reared back, shocked “What!? that – Tobi – “ suddenly things clicked together (winter fox…looking for the right knife…throwing knives at Tobirama…seeing real anger on Madara’s face and knowing it hadn’t been there when he looked at Tobirama) “who is Madara’s husband?” she asked slowly, Izuna dropped his hand with a disappointed look but answered “Are you going to tell Hashirama?” he asked warily and she laughed harshly “Tell that ass? f*ck no.” thank god, thank god, thank god, thank god, he was alive (and, if she was right, happier than she had ever thought he might be). Touka shook herself sharply, straightening up, “You” she said to Izuna “wait here” “Where are you going?” the Uchiha asked “I’m going to get my cousin a present and grab my things; you are taking me to my cousin” she paused just before ducking under the trees, thinking for a second and glancing back over her shoulder at Izuna’s sad face before whirling back to him and plucking the knife out of his hand, shoving it into her sash as she slipped away and smiling a little at his delighted cheer.

Notes:

This was going to take longer but Touka was all "Hell No" when she heard she might not get to see her Tobi soon

Chapter 12: twenty four royal purple roses

Summary:

I’m thinking of you every hour of the day; majesty, royalty, adoration,

Notes:

A slight jump back in time

Chapter Text

Tobirama watched Madara strap his armor on from his seat on the bed with a tense face, yesterday had been so lovely and it had looked like today would follow that pattern and he knew that he couldn’t have all of Madara’s attention everyday but he just…”I’m sorry darling” Madara murmured and slid his hand through Tobirama’s hair and he arched into the touch. Madara was always touching him and Tobirama loved it, it was getting easier to relax into it faster after spending yesterday much the same way they had spent the first day of their marriage talking and sitting together and reading (Tobirama was grateful for the break from the emotional conversations and hadn’t argued when Madara brought in a seamstress and sat all of them down to go over what fabric the albino could wear comfortably and gone through his old clothes to get rid of everything that bothered Tobirama's skin- Madara had looked devastated when that had been most of it). “I know you have to go, I just…I worry” Tobirama responded, leaning into Madara’s hand “Don’t say anything to Hashi about me?” he asked softly. Madara scowled, “It’s only a few days before he will hear you didn’t make it, he will ask questions soon” Tobirama shrugged, trying to ignore the ache in his chest “But he doesn’t have to know early. I just – I don’t want Touka –“ the words caught in his throat and Madara sighed “If that’s what you want I won’t say anything for now” Tobirama closed his eyes in relief, “Thank you” he murmured; standing and curling his arm over Madara’s shoulder, tucking the other hand around the Uchiha’s sharp jaw and kissing him slowly. “Thank you husband” he murmured again as he drew away; Madara whimpered, dropping another kiss on his lips before dragging himself back “That was not fair pretty eyes” he groaned, Tobirama huffed a laugh and tugged his Uchiha down the stairs to the front door. Tobirama smiled a little and tucked Madara’s hair back, glancing at the door and grimacing “You need to go, the messenger has his the Senju compound and told Hashirama” Madara swore and Tobirama shot him a shocked glance “f*ck, you – you can feel that? Damn, To’ra that’s – why are you so perfect?!” he was blushing wasn’t he. Again. “Get going” he muttered, unable to look at his husband (….!) but catching Madara just before he left and dropping a kiss on the corner of his mouth “and stay safe”.

Tobirama stood and looked out at the garden, refusing to look at the door Madara had disappeared though even as he followed soothing dense chakra with his senses, chewing at his lip and running his fingers over the soft fur edging the cobalt yukata; “Are you alright?” Kikiyo asked softly as she walked up next to him, her geta clicking on the flagstones, he shrugged a little “I’ve never not been there” he murmured absently as he watched the flaring chakra of the people he loved and tried not to feel out Hashirama (as he had been trying not to feel his brother for days, not that it would tell him much, he had never been able to see his brother’s emotions in his chakra well, too many emotions frothing over and out too fast- and he could only tell the biggest emotions without nuance even in others anyway). Kikiyo sighed, touching his shoulder “Come on, they will be gone a while” Tobirama hummed absently feeling the spike in chakra as Madara hit the battlefield and the sharp slow whirl of the Sharingan going active, frowning a little at the slight flinch in Madara; suddenly thinking of the research he had been working on and turning to Kikiyo, maybe he couldn’t help there but he could work on this at least “Do you by chance have a place I could use for my research?” Kikiyo blinked and frowned a little at him and shook her head “Would you like one?” she asked, and he shrugged, “Eventually” he murmured “it’s good to have a dedicated space to work when making new jutsu and seals or working with chemicals. For now I can research in my office though, thank you Kikiyo” the Uchiha frowned a little but said nothing when he headed to the room he shared with Madara for his notes and then into his study/office next to his library (he still couldn't believe Madara jus gavehim that) to set up his materials there (maybe Madara would let him see what the Uchiha had on their eyes, that would help more than just trying to figure it out on his own) inscribing warding seals on a few drawers of his heavy black stained cypress desk; not anything Madara couldn’t get past but enough to keep others out of sensitive materials. The room was a cozy one opening out over the same gardens as the library and was done in elaborately carved black finished furniture and dark brocades that made it feel safe and enclosed, sturdy like he was in a well protected sturdy space - helped by the fact that the woods used were all chakra resonant and hummed softly in Tobirama's chakra sense with Madara's strength, something he must have done at least semi-intentionally in order to get it so completely covered over not only the desk and chair but also the side table and two tansu that remined Tobirama powerfully of his mother's back in the Senju compound, as well as everything else in the room.

He didn’t have time to do more than just set his things up and ward them (a strange feeling, letting himself settle in here was more of a leap of faith than he had realized, but he – he trusted Madara; not just to be a good man, but to care about Tobirama and remember him and it was…a lot sometimes to think about that and it had only been three days!) before he felt Madara’s chakra shift and start heading back to the compound. Tobirama smiled to himself and set down the papers, tucking them in the warded drawer and standing from the desk to go meet his husband (…!) when he came in the door and calling to Kikiyo where he could feel her in the other wing (he was glad both she and Izuna lived in the Great House, it filled what could have been a too large space with some life (the house had been built for a family larger than the one that lived in it, once with five brothers it must have been full and easy but now…). It was hard to wait for Madara even as he felt the Uchiha come closer at speed and Tobirama couldn’t stop himself from stepping out onto the engawa in front of the door and ignoring the looks from the clan members outside that saw him; Madara paused for a second when he saw Tobirama outside of the house and Tobirama – Tobirama felt a sudden rush of something warm and heady rush through him when Madara’s eyes landed on him and the Uchiha darted forward to wrap Tobirama in his arms, the albino cupping his face and pressing a lingering kiss to his lips for a long second, the smell of sweat, dust, and blood hanging heavy on him. Distantly he heard Izuna moan (“Oh come on! You were apart for a few hours, that’s it, just a few hours and not even in any real danger for crying out loud!”) but both ignored him, relishing being close and soaking each other in.

“Wounded?” Tobirama asked and Madara hummed as he nuzzled into Tobirama’s temple “Izu and I are fine – a few bruises nothing more” “And our clan?” Tobirama asked absently, leaning into the caress as he scanned the returning Uchiha with his senses and missing Izuna’s eyes going huge and the steps of the other Uchiha stuttering as they looked at the two shinobi twisted together (someone whimpered weakly “so pretty….”). Madara rumbled happily though he was still tense under Tobirama’s hands “Everyone’s ok, nothing too bad; it wasn’t much of a fight this time anyway” Tobirama huffed softly “And I’m sure that had nothing to do with you chasing my brother around the field that entire time” he pointed out, Madara groaned and dropped his forehead onto Tobirama’s shoulder “You could feel that? Stupid, of course you could feel that” (another whimper from the small crowd “pretty deadly”) Tobirama tugged his hair gently “You didn’t exactly hide it bright hawk” he said quietly, shifting as he became more aware of the audience and discomfort crawled up his spine now that he could tell everyone was mostly alright; Madara sighed and stood up, drawing Tobirama into the house as he told him about the battle “-I didn’t say anything about you either as you asked” “Thank you” Tobirama purred, pressing a kiss to Madara’s sweeping cheekbone. The older man tried to glower and sigh all at once and ended up succeeding at neither as he swept his hand up the albino’s spine, Tobirama shivering under the caress and pressing a little closer ignoring Izuna’s whining; the other Uchiha whined and pouted and occasionally the albino saw him glaring but Izuna always seemed to catch himself fairly quickly, it was a great relief honestly, Tobirama had never believed that the younger Uchiha would adapt so quickly.

Tobirama sighed and brushed his lips over Madara’s before tugging his husband (..!) up the stairs, calling over his shoulder “We’ll be down for dinner, Madara needs to clean up” (Behind them Kikiyo glanced at Izuna and both sighed, “And they’re still not f*cking are they, they are going to be nightmares”). Tobirama stepped into the bathroom with Madara and hesitated, he had helped Madara out of his armor already in their room but now… he chewed at his lip and looked at the Uchiha through his eyelashes “May I – may I help you?” he murmured and Madara’s eyes went wide “Yes” he rasped a little too fast and stepped back until Tobirama could move all the way into the spacious, soft colored room (Tobirama loved the rich blues of the tile and the deep raised bath that was fully big enough to fit a full grown shinobi and probably two – Tobirama had plans to check at some point) and going to start the water before coming back to Tobirama (he gazed at Madara, transfixed as he sometimes was by the majesty of the older man, the unconscious regal way he held himself stealing Tobirama's breath, he wanted to worship him). The albino licked at his lips and dropped his eyes to look at the fastenings on the Uchiha’s robes as he slowly worked his way down them and unfastened the belt wrapped around his strong hips; Tobirama dropped the belt on the floor and slowly pushed his husband’s (.!) robe of his shoulder, swallowing dryly at the expanse of firm sculpted muscles revealed and stepping closer the slid his hands down the impossibly perfect arms and tugged the robe away leaving Madara in his gloves and pants alone. Tobirama blinked, chewing on his lip and breathing a little fast, this man was his husband (!) his for reasons that Tobirama really couldn’t fathom but was so, so, grateful “To’ra?” Madara asked in a hoarse voice and the albino blinked a little dazedly “This is my favorite look on you” he blurted without thinking only to flush and cover his mouth as his words caught up and Madara – Madara just grinned abruptly and brilliantly, stepping in close and tracing the line of scarlet over Tobirama’s cheekbone “Is it?” he rumbled “I’ll have to remember that” the new Uchiha shivered and leaned into the hand, twisting to capture his hand and pressing a kiss to his wrist at the base of the glove before setting his teeth into the leather and tugging at it, glancing at Madara through his lashes as he did so.

The older man whimpered, and Tobirama lowered his eyes, reluctantly releasing the leather and using his hands instead to pull the glove off, brushing his fingers down Madara’s surprisingly soft palm “Why do you always wear them?” he asked quietly; Madara shuddered and his voice caught when he tried to speak “I- cugh- I, uh, I started when I started using the gunbai and just, ah, just got used to it I guess. I don’t like getting sh*t under my nails” he added a little sheepishly and Tobirama laughed lowly, dropping one hand and picking up the other to take the glove off, absently brushing a kiss over one strong hand as he did. Both hands free of gloves he fit his fingers around Madara waist, a brush against the defined iliac furrow making his mouth go dry, (Tobirama was…getting a sudden crash course in desire) not quite looking the Uchiha in the eyes when he spoke, “I love you, you know that right?” and Madara quaked under his hands, the Uchiha’s strong form shifting in response to Tobirama’s words (how had he gained this power?) and Madara leaning close to kiss him lightly “And I love you more than anything else I know” he murmured back, Tobirama purring and pressing close in pleasure for a long moment as the words trickled through him before stepping away to stop the water while Madara stripped off his pants while Tobirama was looking elsewhere and smiling when Madara trailed his fingers down Tobirama’s back and the former Senju called up a little water for his husband (!) to wash the worst of the grime away before stepping in the bath (the Uchiha didn't bother to try and hide his reaction to his stunning husband, he didn't want to make Tobirama uncomfortable or pressured but he wouldn't pretend that Tobirama didn't...turn his crank as it were.)

Tobirama st on the edge as Madara sank into the water with a groan, trying to swallow past the dry mouth, Madara was…. Tobirama had never wanted like this before and it was strange and heady to do so now, and Madara was perfection (Tobirama wanted that broad muscled shape stretched over him, wanted Madara pressing him down and shuddering against him, wanted to taste the skin only a few shades darker than his own, wanted- for the first time for himself- to see what the weight of Madara’s co*ck would feel like in his hand, in his mouth, in his body). “Will you wash my hair?” the Uchiha’s rumbling voice yanked Tobirama out of his reflection and he shook himself hard, carding his fingers through Madara’s tangled mane “Yes” he said, voice raspier than he had intended “anything” (it wasn’t exactly a problem to get his fingers in Madara’s hair, it was one of his favorite things in the entire world after all, and it allowed him to be distracted from the look of Madara in Tobirama's element, a visual he wasn't ready to fully face yet).

The anger at Hashirama was a dull burn in Madara’s gut and though he had forgotten it while bathing with Tobirama so near and putting his hands on Madara (taking Madara's clothes off), now he was remembering it sharply; he hadn’t given Hashirama space to speak, unwilling to listen to his former friend’s twittering and uncertain that he could keep his mouth shut if he had to hear what the asshole had to say, but unwilling to go against Tobirama’s wishes (he would have his chance later, have a chance to make Hashirama pay just as soon as Tobirama said it was ok). It had been…hard, Madara may not have given him room to say much but Hashirama had said a little and what he had heard....Madara’s hands clenched and he forced them flat against Tobirama’s back where his husband (♥️) was sleeping against him, wrapped in one of Madara’s softest robes; asking about Madara’s husband like he had any right, as if that was his business and not a single word of Tobirama passing his lips and Madara – Madara blew out a slow breath, tucking his nose into white hair and trying to force calm over himself, remembering what Izuna had said of Touka’s distraught words. That was how a sibling acted, not – not whatever sh*t Hashirama got up to with his neglect and casual overlooking of his bother that allowed his father’s abuse to continue and grow every year as Hashirama thought of Tobirama less and less as a full person and more as the tool their father had tried to craft. It made Madara so angry he almost couldn’t breath with it and it coiled like a shifting red beast in his breast until Tobirama shifted and purred against him; he was here now, here where Madara and his clan could take care of him and make him see how precious he was, because when the Uchiha at large had a chance to get to know him they were going to love him beyond all reason.

He ran his fingers down Tobirama’s back and crooned softly when the younger man shifted restlessly, so attuned to Madara that the Uchiha’s shifting temper disturbed his sleep even now; maybe he could talk to the therapist, not now, that would be asking too much too soon, but – maybe next month? After he had time to settle in and Madara could start to make him see how the way he had been raised was wrong and he had done nothing to deserve it; Madara knew there were some things that Tobirama would never listen to from a stranger (would never trust their opinion on) and thought that the reserved man might not benefit as much from it as much as Izuna (not everyone did, it depended on the person) but it was worth a try (there was almost nothing Madara wouldn’t try for his husband (♥️🌹)). It was too bad that the therapist was best with the Sharingan, having trained for dealing with that and the techniques needed to blunt the call of too clear memories of trauma; her Yamanaka like techniques (she was a Yamanaka by birth after all) specialized in helping Uchiha forget after so much time together and Madara just wished that there were more with her skill and that they weren't such targets- it would save his people so much pain-. That was part of what a village was to him, a place where there were more Yamanaka trained to help Uchiha and Uchiha that could teach Hyuuga and Hyuuga that could assist Yamanaka and—and Madara hoped for their future (after all, he had his future already tucked inside his arms, surely the rest of them could do the same?).

Chapter 13: one hundred blue roses

Summary:

Complete devotion; unattainable, the mysterious

Chapter Text

Tobirama purred a little, twisting closer to the line of sharp warmth pressed close to him and grumbling when someone spoke near the door “still having trouble getting him out of bed? Sukumi is in the compound again” “Don’ wana get up” he grumbled sleepily, almost whining as he pressed as close to Madara as he could; Tobirama had never been much of a sleeper in general but he had known that when he did get relaxed enough he hated waking up, now that he knew what it was to truly sleep, to relax and let things go for a while he resented it when he was asked to wake up even when the one asking him was Madara. “Pretty eyes, time to wake up, I have another gift for you” Madara’s warm voice rumbled in Tobirama’s bones where they were pressed together and the albino shivered, reluctantly shifting closer to waking; Madara’s gifts had so far been amazing (the clothing and furs and knives and books) and he knew that the Uchiha loved giving them to him so he really should really get up at this point. “Darling…” he whined and pressed closer, nuzzling into Madara’s fragrant cloud of hair and making Madara groan “To’ra…” the albino sighed and pouted but released the last vestiges of sleep and drew back as awareness slid over him followed by the reflexive wash of shame. Madara curled his hand around Tobirama’s jaw, “easy darling” the Uchiha rumbled and leaned up to brush a kiss over the red lines on Tobirama’s cheeks “it makes me very happy that you sleep so sound with me” he said and Tobirama’s lips twitched slightly into a faint smile, tugging at a lock of long feathery hair “Only with you” he corrected “I only sleep this well when I am with you” his smile softened and eased “when I was younger I used to wrap up in your chakra when I was upset” he confessed to the window, the vulnerability tugging at old scars.

Madara swallowed and shuddered under the hand Tobirama still had pressed to his chest “You – you did?” Tobirama’s memories were painful and sharp in the bright morning but there was nothing here that he wanted to keep from Madara, not really “Yes, you have – you have the most wonderful chakra” he breathed “sometimes I would wrap up in it and just pretend you cared about me and-“ his words were cut off with a sound that wasn’t a squeak as Madara lunged up and twisted to tuck Tobirama underneath him, pressing frantic kisses to the albino’s face “I wish – I wish I had known-“ he breathed and Tobirama couldn’t quite bite back the bitter taste in his mouth (he wasn’t bitter at Madara, just…he wished he had known years ago that this was something he could one day have, knowing that would have helped so much on cold nights with father's anger biting into his skin or a stranger's hands on him) “You didn’t even know who I was until you found my scrolls, you still wouldn’t care if you hadn’t” he pointed out gently and Madara went still against him for a second, dropping his head onto Tobirama’s chest “I – I wish I had known sooner” he rasped in a sharp voice and Tobirama winced “I didn’t mean it like that-!” he started to protest before Madara cut him off “I wish I had known but now that I do- know that I know what a marvel you are and know how much I can love you, how desperately I adore you- I just have more reason to treasure you” Tobirama shuddered and wrapped his arms around Madara’s waist, trying to ignore his prickling eyes and keep his breathing even and calm.

Madara crooned gently, ghosting kisses over Tobirama’s neck and shoulders where the yukata had slipped down without going father, nothing more than comforting touches that Tobirama soaked up like hard baked earth softened under rain “Easy darling” the older man breathed against Tobirama’s too pale skin “let it go, it’s alright, I’m here and now I’m not going anywhere” and his breath shuddered, hitched, and broke, a thin sob slipping past his tightly grit teeth. Madara whined a little and rolled them onto their sides so he could tuck Tobirama closer, petting down his sides and pressing close “oh darling, it’s alright” he rasped and Tobirama sobbed “I don’t – Madara-! – I’m not supposed to- I-“ and Madara whined again, tugging his sleeve down and wiping at Tobirama’s slowly wetting cheeks “hush, it’s alright, let it go, I’m here” he rumbled and Tobirama gasped, twisting in his arms with the force of his harsh sobs and feeling as though he was being torn in half by the strength of his twisting emotions. It felt like a strange creature living in his chest, one of his leopards driven mad with anger and pain and shredding his ribcage as it fought its way out; so powerful and painful that he didn’t even know what he was feeling anymore- grief? anger? pain and hope and regret and confusion- all of it knotted together so tight Tobirama’s jaw fell open in a silent scream pressed into Madara’s shoulder. (“oh To’ra, pretty eyes, breath darling, I love you, you are my everything, breath darling, I’m never going to leave you, not ever”) It took a long time for the pain the recede, taking with it the tide of his energy and leaving him limp and wrung out against Madara; breathing slowly against the older man where he was tucked under Madara’s chin as the Uchiha crooned softly to him.

“Alright pretty eyes?” Madara asked after a while and Tobirama huffed, far too tired to even feel more than vaguely ashamed of the emotional outburst; Madara hummed, “Let me up? Oh, no, darling, it’s alright, I’ll be right back, I just need to go get food and some work. Then we can sit and eat and I’ll work while you sleep” Tobirama peered at him out of bleary eyes, “you don’t have to-“ he slurred and Madara shook his head “Not up for debate To’ra, you need to eat and then you need sleep. I can give you my gift after lunch” Tobirama chewed at his lip but dropped his head as Madara slipped out of the room. He wished he knew what he had been feeling other than too much, wished he could articulate why it was this conversation that had broken him (he knew, he was learning to trust Madara, beginning to think of this as a safe space and – and Madara had seen Hashirama yesterday, had seen Tobirama’s brother and chosen Tobirama, come back toTobirama, he hadn’t truly expected that). He drifted, time curling in the room with the slow pace of a lazy cat until Madara stepped back into the room carrying a tray; the Uchiha hummed a little as he walked back to the bed and slid in with Tobirama again, tugging the albino up to lounge against him where he sat propped up on the pillows. Tobirama shivered, ducking his head as Madara arranged the tray “I’m sorry” he whispered; the Uchiha went stiff for a moment before relaxing and setting things down and cupping Tobirama’s face again “You did nothing wrong. Everything you are I treasure”.

Madara combed his fingers through his husband’s (his) hair and frowned a little at the clan document he was reading, Kikiyo had compiled it for him about the responses from the Uchiha’s allied clans to his marriage- though they were keeping it quiet who he was married to- all had responded with congratulations and varying amounts of surprise depending on who it was from (the trinity clans expressed the most, but the Uchiha had been closest to them for a long time, it had been generations since the Uchiha had clashed with the Nara/Amatchi/Yamanaka in anything other than a mission and he just wished they shared more borders instead of the single one with the Yamanaka). Congratulations were to be expected, he wasn’t surprised about that; what was interesting was looking at the changes underneath, the minute details of response that could be gleaned from mission distribution and patrol patterns that told Kikiyo and him far more than many would guess. “Madara?” he hummed “The trinity clans are taking my marriage as a sign of increasing power- they know I would never marry anyone weak- and the Hyuuga are watching the borders with the Nara more closely- they must think you a Nara- otherwise it is nothing out of the expected. They are scrambling to figure out who I could have married from outside the clan and who our new ally is” he said calmly, rubbing firmly at the base of Tobirama’s neck where his upper body was sprawled over Madara’s legs as his husband (his) turned into him and looked up with sleepy red eyes (the agony was gone now- for now- and Madara breathed a little easier for it). Tobirama hummed thoughtfully, gears whirring behind his eyes but said nothing about it, just twisting his fingers in Madara’s hair and tugging gently “I’m sorry I slept so long, I meant actually be useful today, I’ve been here for five days and I haven’t even looked at anything productive in that time” he sighed and Madara bit back the searing anger that rose up in him (he wanted to hurt something, wanted to burn the world that had forced Tobirama to think that he had to be useful to matter; it shredded him, tore at his mind and soul and burned and he swallowed it back, breathed through it and waited till he could find the words to speak again “You do not need to be useful pretty eyes, I want you here no matter what and no matter what you do” Tobirama looked doubtful and Madara could see him about to interrupt so he pressed a light kiss the pale lips and spoke before Tobirama could “but I do have a gift I have been looking forward to giving you and today seems a good day for it”

Tobirama examined his face for a long moment (Madara wished he knew what he was thinking) before he shifted up and sild a leg over Madara’s thighs, settling on the Uchiha’s lap and making dark eyes go wide as Madara curled his hands over Tobirama’s hips; “To’ra” he breathed softly and Tobirama smiled, leaning forward to brush their lips together gently once, twice, three time, and then lingered pressing close and tangling his fingers in Madara’s dark hair and sighing a little into Madara’s lips as the older man kissed back slowly. The anger drained out of Madara as they kissed, melting into his husband (his) and wrapping his arms closer around the albino and shuddering when Tobirama gently bit at his lip; gods, this…he whined into Tobirama’s mouth, gods he loved this man (adored him, treasured him, worshiped him) and as their lips moved together- slick and sinking into an open mouthed kiss, deep and mind numbingly wonderful- he felt as though his world was coming into focus and that focus was Tobirama. The albino dropped small licks on Madara’s lips as the older man shook, purring when their tongues tangled together and sucking gently- taking Madara’s brain with it- until he pulled back; a small satisfied smile on lips bitten red and shinny with wetness and his eyes hazy and warm. Madara could only stare and wonder, struck dumb with joy and wonder and fire in his veins (he burned for Tobirama, panted whenever the albino smiled just right, whenever he saw a flash or china pale skin, whimpered whenever red eyes slanted at him through snowy lashes just right).

Tobirama hummed, a pleased little sound, and bent to place a kiss on the corner of Madara’s lips, lingering and warm before he slid off the Uchiha’s lap and turned to the chest of drawers that held the clothes slowly coming in for him “If you want to give it to me we should keep going no?” he asked, sleeping robe sliding down his shoulders a little as he unbelted it and Madara – Madara whimpered and flailed (he wasn’t even going to try and deny that that was what it was) his way off the bed, spinning away from his husband (his), absolutely positive that if he saw more of that sinful skin he could not be held responsible for his actions (he had yet to see Tobirama fully unclothed, happy to move at whatever pace the other man wanted, but that didn’t mean that his mornings weren’t filled with freezing showers at the glimpse of flashing red lines he sometimes got). He drew a slow breath in through his nose and out though his mouth, in, out, in, out, in, oh gods of fire his husband (his!) was so stunning it hurt (literally, he sent a betrayed look at his lap) and he was going to be good, he was going to be so good because Tobirama deserved it and had had so little of it in his life; he nodded firmly, he would be good and he would give Tobirama his next gift and – oh, he should go fetch that shouldn’t he. “I’m – ah – um, going to go get your gift. Um. I’ll meet you downstairs” he stuttered out and fled (yes, he could admit that, there was no shame in fleeing from Tobirama overload).

Madara smirked at the bundle in his hand, carrying it like a strange, large kitten and ignoring the excited vibrating as he slid the front door open and stepped inside “To’ra!” he called and grinned at his gift when the albino called back from the living room, pleased that he wasn’t at the table; it would be a little harder to give him the gift there. Thoroughly pleased with himself Madara swaggered into the room, raised his gift, and deposited in Tobirama’s lap, well and truly pleased with the wide-eyed look. “Madara?” the albino said in a baffled voice, catching the small shape and blinking down at the gift “what-?” the Uchiha grinned “It’s your gift!” he said, about to go on but interrupted by said gift “Are you my new sensei?!?” Kagami asked, his dark Uchiha eyes bright and excited as he vibrated in Tobirama’s lap. The former Senju still looked shock “I – I don’t – am I allowed-?” he stuttered, and the anger raised it’s head inside Madara’s chest, only barely overwhelmed by his lingering smugness “Do you not want to teach? We heard that-“ but Tobirama interrupted him swiftly, looking like he was fighting the need to snatch Kagami close “NO! I – uh, I would love to teach him if its ok, if his mother won’t mind and it won’t – I mean, I’m the Demon-“ and Kagami cheered, wiggling in the albino’s lap like a happy puppy (he was too big for this really, but it was far too amusing for Madara to point that out) “I know, its so cool, my teacher is going to be the biggest, baddest shinobi ever!

(Behind them Izuna and Kikiyo watched with pained eyes “….did Madara just drop a child in Tobirama’s lap like he was giving him a puppy?” Izuna asked slowly, Kikiyo gave a pained nod “did my brother carry a child through the compound like a cat?” he asked, growing resigned; Kikiyo nodded again. Izuna sigh. Deeply. “A child. He gave Tobirama a child. What the hell will it be next?!”)

Chapter 14: Statice

Summary:

success/remembrance

Notes:

Short, but it was the logical place to break and I'm tired as f*ck

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Izuna glanced at Touka loping along next to him and barely held in his happy wiggling (he would trip- and no he hadn’t done that before- and that would be embarrassing); Touka had accepted his knife, he was taking the Senju back and Madara would be so pleased, Touka had accepted his knife, he would have someone to talk to about Madara’s ridiculousness, Touka had accepted his knife, his brother would be pleased (and ok, it might, maybe be nice to see Tobirama happy, maybe he would get another hug) and it was going to be awesome. Especially since Touka was going to stay, she had said so and that was the only reason that Izuna could imagine for the heavy pack on her back under her cloak- though it was odd that she hadn’t just tucked her things in a scroll, didn’t Tobirama make those? Why wouldn’t he have made them for his cousin?- and she had said so. (Izuna was so excited!)

Touka’s steps faltered only a little at the sight of the Uchiha compound but she pressed her lips together and shot Izuna a demanding glace to spur him into movement toward the gate; all but giggling Izuna skipped forward, nodding to the shinobi on guard gleefully and leading Touka down the street. She walked with her head held high and a perfect skeptical eyebrow raised and Izuna was positive that no one has ever been so cool, not even his brother (not even Tobirama and whatever he thinks of his new brother in law he has to acknowledge that Tobirama is cool as f*ck) and holy sh*t he’s excited to see her and Kikiyo annihilate anyone that looks at them funny- the two of them will be devastating- and that’s not even taking into account – Izuna stopped a few steps past Touka, not having realized she froze at once. She was staring at the main house like she had seen a ghost (ha) where Tobirama had just stumbled out of the house in a brilliant vermilion yukata that matched the lines on his face and his face – the look on Tobirama’s face was heartbreaking as his whisper slipped across the space between them “Touka?” and the sound the woman made was just broken, shattered in a way that made Izuna’s bones hurt. “Tobi” she rasped and then she was running, slamming into her cousin with the full desperation of someone who thought never to see family again, whispering Tobirama’s name feverishly as she crushed him to her; not that Tobirama seemed to mind with the way his hands were fisted in the back of her shirt and he tucked up against her. Izuna swallowed, looking past them at his bother and sliding past to stand next to Madara, wavering for a second before his big brother held his arm out and Izuna immediately darted under it; it – he had…forgotten, a little, what it meant to come close to loosing a sibling but the devastation, the shattered high agony in Touka’s voice when she saw the brother she thought dead was a sharp reminder and all he wanted to do is tuck himself against his brother and remember that Madara was alive, and he was so, so, grateful for that. Touka held Tobirama close and the two (former) Senju settled again in each other’s company; Madara pressed a firm kiss to the side on Izuna’s head and murmured softly “Good job little brother” and Izuna felt like he was just glowing.

After a long moment Touka drew back and cupped her cousin's face between her hands, Izuna didn’t know what she was looking for or what she said when her lips moved, but whatever it was was enough to make Tobirama slant a glance at Madara that was so overwhelmingly brilliant Izuna almost felt like he has stepped into liquid sunshine and Madara just seemed incandescent in the light of it; Touka laughed, loud and warm and yanked her cousin into another hard hug before drawing back again and speaking loud enough for everyone to hear “So little cousin, I brought a gift for you; one you should have had a long time ago and a wedding gift” she pulled out a fan, no a tessen with elaborate spines made out of shinning engraved steal and strangely plain blue silk the color of the armor Tobirama used to wear. He blinked at it and she laughed with her teeth all out “I know you don’t need it- not when you already caught yourself a man- but you really ought to court properly at least a little” he sighed, but slid it into his sleeve and smiled a little at her “Thank you cousin” he said, the fondness in his words turning it into something softer and sweeter (“love you sister”); she shrugged with an affectionate glint in her eyes and reached for the catch of her cloak “And the wedding gift!" she pronounced proudly as the cloak dropped and she plucked the lump off her back. Well, thought Izuna, sh*t.

Tobirama looked at the silent, tired looking child in her arms and visibly softened “Haru,” he breathed, reaching out and taking the child into his arms “what are you doing here?” the kid yawned and tucked his face into Tobirama’s shoulder but said nothing, just slumping into the albino as one long hand rubbed up and down his back gently. Touka laughed a little though there was rather less humor in it than there could have been “As if I was going to leave him behind with both of us here-“ Tobirama shot her a shocked look “You’re staying?!” and she smirked “Little cousin I live here now, surely you didn’t think that I was going to leave you alone in your husband’s home?” shocked looking Tobirama shook his head and Izuna preened a little- this was definitely better than he had expected- “Clearly no. And the little one wouldn’t be happy back there without us, this is what’s best for him; you’re here, I’m here, and I bet there’s other people that will help out. Like being in the Senju compound but with you there, and if anyone pushes him to talk I can skin them without it being kin slaying!” she said firmly, murder glinting in her eyes, after a moment Tobirama nodded “I suppose” he murmured “I will have more time for him here I think anyway” his eyes were fond on the pale head and Touka’s eyebrows winged up; she shot a sharp look at Madara that quickly turned pleased and approving “He’s an orphan, mother was a Senju and we don’t know who the father was. Tobi spent as much time with him as he could spare, Haru knows Tobi has other duties and won’t have as much time for him as he would like so don’t worry about that, but he will be happier where his Uncle is” she told Madara firmly. The Uchiha head nodded with a faint smile, “He and you are welcome in our house, there’s plenty of room” he said, hand shaking on Izuna’s shoulder and – well, Izuna knew what he was think about. He was thinking about their other brothers - and sister, all dead now and leaving the empty rooms echoing and too loud in their silence; he was thinking about having those rooms fill with voices again, fill with anger and joy and life.

Tobirama smiled at his cousin and stepped back a little, eyes turning immediately to Madara like that was the most logical place to look, like a compass turned north, and Izuna knew that Madara was looking back, was always looking back- never looked away to beginning with- and it was so f*cking cute that Izuna wanted to – to – to, to something; but he really sympathized with the faint wheezing sounds coming from the clan members gathered around as they slowly melted under the blazing sappiness. Madara squeezed Izuna shoulders and stepped forward to stand at Tobirama’s side, looking at the kid- sh*t, Izuna hopped this didn’t become a Thing- and Izuna vibrated in place until Touka shot him a look and summoned him to her side and then bounced to her with a happy skip. Tobirama laughed softly, “Is that a knife I see on your belt now cousin? I don’t recognize it” he said with a teasing glint in his red eyes (Izuna had been afraid of those eyes once, silly though that was for an Uchiha, he had feared the brilliant mind and the way Tobirama always seemed to be calculating, always thinking; he was learning better now, Tobirama might always be thinking but that didn't mean he was think about ways to hurt people - unless it was himself Izuna was beginning to worry) and Touka flushed a little and glowered at her cousin but also shifted her stance until the knife was on proud display on her hip and. oh. oh sh*t. Izuna suddenly understood Madara’s regular stupid look- the one that made him look like he had been slapped awake with a giant fish- because that – um. Touka showing off the knife Izuna gave her was just…. (was he whimpering? He was whimpering wasn’t he).

(Standing next to one of the houses a narrow-eyed shinobi watched Touka’s reunion with Tobirama. Slowly a slightly demented smile slid over the young man’s face- barely more than a teenager really- “so” he whispered to himself “so she thinks she can give better gifts than we can? Tch. She knows nothing, he is our winter fox, we are clearly the best at giving him gifts” and with those ominous word the shinobi vanished from sight; he had a Mission to do.)

Notes:

Not sure if this will happen on screen so: when Kagami meets Haru he's going to take one look at the small, quiet (Haru is selectively mute), sad looking Senju and decide that Haru is his now. He gets to keep Haru, because Haru needs it clearly and Madara-sama did it so he can too.

Also, giving kids won't be as much of a thing as it might look like. Tobirama is going to have a little pack of them but he has to much to do to really be their father properly (it takes a lot of work to be a parent) so its going to take a village to keep these kids in line and the others will pitch in lot. also, ninja kids, they're pretty self-sufficient. Basicly if their not as big a part as you expect they're not getting neglected.

Chapter 15: two dark pink roses

Summary:

Mutual love; gratitude

Chapter Text

Tobirama looked down at the small form tucked up in his lap with a sigh, he loved Haru dearly but he wasn’t totally sure what to do now; Haru was had always been traumatized after he had been there when his mother was killed (so close to the compound that it made Tobirama furious) and Tobirama had never really known how to help other than training him or sitting with him (he was not cut out to be a parent) so he wasn’t sure what to do now that he was fully responsible. He had been fed and Touka was somewhere insuring that his room was set up next to Kikiyo (thank the gods that Haru was self-sufficient in a lot of ways- all shinobi were, even the children) but he just…”Tobirama?” Madara’s soft voice startled him out of his distraction, “I don’t know what to do with a child fulltime” he blurted, his voice a little higher than normal. Madara blinked at him for a second and then smiled “Don’t worry about it, the Uchiha tend to raise children a bit communally- it helps when parents are out on missions- because we’re, um, all sort of related” he said with a wince “so don’t worry about it, Kikiyo and Izuna and Touka will help, as will Hikaku and Yuuka - Hikaku loves kids; there will be no shortage of people to care about him and insure he eats. It’ll be alright” he promised, dropping to sit next to Tobirama on the couch; Tobirama slumped sideways as best he could without disturbing Haru, and whined just a touch under his breath. Madara laughed deep in his chest and passed his hand over the fluffy gray-blond head examining his tan Senju skin, “Cute kid, where’d the blond come from?” Madara muttered quietly and Tobirama snorted, shifting surreptitiously closer to his husband, “Not sure, could be his father or it might be a recessive Senju thing; hard to say” Madara nodded “He does have the Senju amber eyes, though a bit lighter than normal. Maybe dad was from the lightning country, though the bone structure is a bit Hatake” Tobirama shrugged “Doesn’t really matter” he said and Touka’s voice from the doorway drew both of their attention “Damn right it doesn’t, he’s a good kind and f*ck all strong with doton as well as a growing gift for yang chakra. More importantly he ignores authority when they’re being stupid- like telling him to stay away from Tobi”

Tobirama flushed and looked away, he had hoped to…well, not keep it from Madara but, explain why the Senju wanted him to say away from the kids a little more gently (Touka raised an eyebrow at Madara and he frowned a little looking at his husband) or just…not like this. Touka sighed and walked over, holding her arms out for the child “Give him here, it’s time for bed. Then you two and I are having a Talk” she said sternly. Tobirama grimaced but let her pluck the sleepy child out of his lap with one last gentle caress, watching as Touka carried him out; “To’ra” Madara said quietly “what did Touka mean about the kids being kept away from you?” Tobirama grimaced down at his lap and fidgeted with his fingers until Madara covered his hands “Tobirama”. The albino sucked in a deep breath and leaned into his husband (!), pressing his face into the crook of the older man’s neck, “It’s – I’m the White Demon and, well, it’s a useful reputation and I certainly cultivated it, it protected my clan more than Hashi’s power: no one wants to anger a demon. But after a while…well, once Hashi started looking at my projects with distrust- and he has never known how to keep his voice down- the clan started to get wary and after a while they just – I don’t know. Some didn’t want me around their kids, some thought my ‘emotionlessness’ could be contagious, no one wanted their child to be like me. Others just thought that I didn’t have time and didn’t want to bother me and it just turned into a…thing” Madara blew out a slow breath and buried his fingers in Tobirama’s hair and the albino could feel the Uchiha forcing himself to relax; “Well, things are different here darling, we know better than to think that about you. You can have all the children here, far more than you could ever want” Madara said firmly, Tobirama sighed and pressed a kiss to the creamy skin under his lips “Thank you dear heart” he murmured; he wasn’t sure that he believed that fully but – he trusted Madara and it was a feeling he hadn’t felt in a long time, not fully (it was hard to trust Hashi when his bother didn’t trust him, when he knew his brother didn’t think about him as more than his reputation).

Touka laughed as she walked back into the room, Izuna following in her wake and Kikiyo slipping by towards the kitchen “Oh you’re so cute!” she cooed, Tobirama knew that she expected him to pull back and blush but – but Tobirama was just so proud of being with Madara he really didn’t feel any need to do that (even if his cheeks were definitely a little pink) so he just shifted closer, slipping into Madara’s lap all the way and wrapping his arms around his husband’s (!!) neck and looking at a wide eyed Touka “There’s room for you on the couch” he said innocently as Madara buried his face in Tobirama’s neck, shaking with silent laughter (Izuna looked like he was simultaneously being assaulted with a puppy and had eaten a lime, it was fantastic). Touka stared at him for a long moment and then sighed deeply, something bright and pleased in here eyes “Oh is that how it is?” she asked and Tobirama raised an eyebrow at her silently; she chuckled and threw herself down on the open space on the couch, wrapping her hand around Tobirama’s ankle where his feet rested next to her on the cushions and blowing out a silent breath and closing her eyes “f*ck, I really thought you were dead” she rasped, hand tight. Tobirama swallowed and Madara’s hands went tight on his waist as Izuna dropped to sit at Touka’s feet, leaning against her legs reassuringly (no one said anything when her hand landed on his hair) “I’m sorry cousin” the albino said softly and Touka shook her head “Not your fault, it was your best option given what Hashi was asking for. Which-“ her eyes snapped open and the leveled a sharp look at Madara “why did you declare a feud on Tobirama? It made sh*t so much worse for Tobi!” she was all but snarling and Madara was clutching Tobirama so tightly that it almost hurt.

“I - what? what feud?” he asked, worry clear in his voice. Touka paused, examining his face (Tobirama didn’t want to be here for this conversation) “You…don’t know” she said and Madara shook his head vigorously “NO! I would never – not – not To’ra, never” he breathed. Touka frowned “Then why did you throw your glove at him? Izuna said the knife throwing was a really bad attempt at starting a courtship, what the hell was up with the glove?” Izuna spoke up, forehead crinkling “What does it mean in the Senju?” Touka glanced at him, passing her hand over his sleek head (Tobirama didn’t want to be here for this) “It’s a huge insult, it says that the person you give- giving is less, hitting is worse and throwing is the worst- the glove to is so beneath you and so despicable you don’t even find them worth touching; that you think they are so disgusting is would be revolting to touch them and-“ Tobirama couldn’t do this. He stood in a sharp movement and brushed past Kikiyo just as she returned with tea. He wasn’t – all he could think of was the way it had felt to see the gloves at his feet and just knowing that (that Madara hated him, would never care about him at all, thought Tobirama was revolting) nothing was ever going to be ok again; how it felt the days after to have his bother exile him (to be threatened with a Formal Apology, the idea of humiliating himself in front of-) knowing that Madara would never touch him, the death of a foolish dream he hadn’t even realized he still held (fool, stupid, idiot, “don’t know why you even think that it matters, it’s not like you are ever going to get married Tobi! I’ll take care of that”) gods, how stupid could he get?

Doors, there were doors in front of him; he blinked at them a little blankly, his library, the library Madara and the Uchiha had made for him. He just – he pushed the doors open and drifted though the dark room to drop into one large chair, curling tight into its comfort. He was here, he was married to Madara, Madara…wanted him here (even if Tobirama had no idea why), Madara seemed happy to touch him, seemed not to mind touching Tobirama and letting the albino push as close as he wanted. Things. Things were different here (right?).

Madara watched Tobirama vanish from the room with worried eyes, fighting the need to follow right away; he needed to know what was going on first “Tobirama thought that that’s what I thought about him?” (it did explain some things) Touka bit her lip hard and looked back at Madara’s burning eyes “It was what everyone thought was going on, we didn’t know there might be another reason” Madara snorted “It was a second gift, giving knives is the first gift traditionally and then you can follow with a verity of things but gloves are traditional- if old fashioned- it’s supposed to say that you want to hold their hand even when you're not there; accepting the gift means that you have accepted the courtship and, well, want to hold their hand” Touka blinked, looking startled “That’s- that’s actually really sweet” she said (Izuna perked up a little- good to know!- before going back pouting- he wasn’t worried about the fox, he wasn’t!). Madara dragged in a slow breath through his nose, “And after that Hashirama thought-“ “The last time someone declared a feud like that- and followed it with a retribution hunt- it was because of a rape and you know Hashirama, how likely do you think it is that he didn’t throw that in Tobirama’s face? Not intentionally of course, never intentionally” her voice was bitter and worn, an old pain filled with old infection.

Madara swallowed hard, forcing down the burn in his stomach (he could- would- deal with Hashirama later, but later, Tobirama first) and flexing his extremities, trying to chase away the cold that had washed though him just before the searing heat of wrath. “Is that all” he asked in the calmest voice he could muster, uncaring when Touka recoiled a little in the face of his anger; she paused, watching him warily (even Izuna was tense and watchful, though he was probably planning to clear the way to whatever Madara needed to destroy) “There is…one thing” she said slowly. Madara lowered her with a bloody look, she licked her lips and said “Hashirama said it was going to Uzo- banishment- or a Formal Apology” Madara nodded, Tobirama had mentioned it before and it had been odd at the time but he hadn’t wanted to push (not when they were already working through so much pain) “an Apology is…um. Not a good thing-“ Madara felt the blood roaring in his ears so loudly that he almost couldn’t hear the entirety of Touka’s explanation or Izuna’s horrified exclamations (“and he was going to ask Tobirama to do that?!” a snort “Apologize to Madara and his spouse after he heard you go married and though Tobi must have angered them” to Apologize twice?!). There was fire in his fingertips, he could taste ashes on his tongue and smell blood in the air and he just – no. NO. not now. He had more important things than this, there would be time for that later; right now his husband (his) needed him right now and he couldn’t go to Tobirama angry, the albino wouldn’t get it right now. Tobirama first (always, always, always).

Silently Madara surged off the couch and stormed out of the room, he knew where Tobirama would go- where he hoped Tobirama would go (the only room that was his and his alone, the room Madara and the clan had made for him)- the doors to the library were slightly open to his relief and he stood for a moment, resting his hand on the door frame and just breathing. Tobirama was here, here, with him, where Madara could take care of him, everything was going to be better now even if it wouldn’t ever be all the way ok (never would be, not in this world and not with their pasts); Madara would make it better (no matter what). Blowing out a slow breath Madara pushed the door open and entered the room quietly, seeing the white head only barely visible in one of the large tall backed chairs Madara had placed in the room; like one of Tobirama’s water dragons emotion spun through his heart, the vestiges of anger melding with fierce adoration, the emotion so strong that Madara felt his muscles vibrate in resonance with it. Before he really although it through he was across the room and falling to his knees in front of the chair the albino was in and wrapping his arms around the long legs, pressing his face into them and just breathing.

“….Madara?” Tobirama’s voice was uncertain and hesitant (again) and Madara blew out another slow breath at the sharp spike of anger (not now, not now, not now) and just pressed closer until he could speak with out edges “I love you” (there was a sharp inhale above him) “I love you. Ever since I first really saw you the idea of touching you has filled my dreams, the idea that I would ever try to say anything like that to you is insane” after a moment Tobirama shifted, curling and dropping his legs so that Madara could drop his head in his lap, the elegant hands pet softly at his hair but Tobirama said nothing, just breathing softly and petting Madara until his fury subsided. “I’m sorry bright hawk” he whispered and Madara stirred “There is nothing you need to apologize for!” he snapped and then bit back a curse when Tobirama jolted under him “I’m sorry, just, why?” Tobirama sighed and leaned down over him “You must go so tired of reassuring me” his voice when he spoke didn’t quite manage to avoid bitterness and Madara pressed closer “Never, never darling. You – you’ve had more than your fair share of pain and there is nothing I would rather do than hold you through that, though anything. Besides, I thrive on being allowed to take care of the people I love- just ask Izuna- and there is honestly nothing that makes me feel more content than holding you” Tobirama huffed softly and tugged on Madara’s hair until the Uchiha looked up and he could kiss him lingeringly “Can we go to bed?” he asked, something worn and vulnerable in his eyes, Madara nodded; it would take time to make sure that Tobirama really did believe him but they would get there in time.

Chapter 16: three coral roses

Summary:

I love you; desire, excitement

Notes:

*throws fluffy smut in your face aggressively and yells* "Take that you lovely person!"

Also, you can pretty much skip this chapter if you want don't want to read smut; it's pretty much feelings and sex (sex is important as a show of trust from Tobirama and it's him taking control of his body and letting himself want; I think that's the biggest thing to take away)

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Tobirama took a deep breath as he stood in their room and looked out the window, he knew what he wanted and he knew he wanted it now (and wasn’t that strange?); and he trusted Madara, trusted that Madara would listen and would care. (Tobirama had felt his husband (!) shunting his anger away before he came to talk to Tobirama, it was hard to miss it when Madara’s cloves-saunaheat-valcanovent chakra filled with the rough sensation of pumice and the sharp tang of sorrel -Tobirama had never felt anger that was so…appealing); so he knew that Madara had been angry, angrier than Tobirama had ever felt for some reason and he had worked as hard as he could to leave that at the door and not bring it to Tobirama. The albino might not quite understand any of that (might not know quite why Madara was so angry), but he relished it when his husband (!) went out of his way to think about what would make Tobirama feel better; the consideration was like sunshine and hot honey sliding over his skin and Tobirama wanted. He smiled a sly smile into the window and checked his appearance over; an old yukata of Madara’s worn thin and belted loosely- the most skin Tobirama had shown the Uchiha so far- so that it shifted off his shoulders with the slightest move, his hair was still damp from the bath (short but through) and pushed back from his face like it was it gave him a different, softer look (it was fun to do this, to think like this, because he wanted to and to set himself up to look like himself instead of what the mission objective wanted).

Madara shoved open the door, grumbling at his hair as he did (Tobirama could still taste a little anger making flurries in his charka, the passion sparked on his tongue like bubbles in compressed water from a spout) and Tobirama smothered a laugh “Trouble husband?” he asked gently; Madara’s eyes came up and then he froze, eyes gigantic in his face as he swallowed hard. Tobirama forced himself not to smirk as he turned to his Uchiha and co*cked an eyebrow (and a hip, done just so the yukata slipped open enough to show a long slash of leg) “Madara?” he asked completely straight faced; Madara whimpered, clearly searching for words “I – uh – you – hnnn – you’re so –“ “Madara?” asked Tobirama again, walking closer and letting his hips catch a bit of a sway “your hair tangled again? Let me brush it?” Madara was nodding dumbly even as Tobirama spoke and he turned to fetch the brush to hide his face and the pleasure in his expression; after time with Madara and a bath the pain of the day seemed distant and he had no intention of letting that sh*t keep him from what he wanted, and he wanted Madara.

Madara wheezed when Tobirama turned away (he really did want to touch Tobirama didn’t he? that was…wonderful) and whimpered louder when Tobirama called an ice comb out of the air as he turned; Tobirama quirked an eyebrow again “Get on the bed Madara” he said and the Uchiha- who had just been moving forward- tripped and only just caught himself (oh, oh, wow, he really- he really did want Tobirama didn’t he) before staggering slightly into the bed. Tobirama settled behind him and tucked one leg under him but let the other fall outside of Madara’s, and the fabric of the yukata pulling back and leaving his leg mostly bare (Madara groaned, this was fun) as he tangled his fingers in the long dark hair and turned his attention to one of his favorite things to do; a light touch on his ankle startled him a bit and the Uchiha started to draw his fingers away until Tobirama nudged him with his leg and the touch returned lightly. Tobirama hummed a little in pleasure and Madara’s touch firmed as he traced the red lines on the albino’s ankle and Tobirama shivered, heat rising through his veins in a soothing tide; Tobirama focused on Madara’s hair again but found it harder than it had been with Madara’s ungloved fingers slowly tracing the lines of his leg and working his way up to Tobirama’s knee (every time he hesitated Tobirama nudged him and Madara resumed) before smoothing his hand down his lower leg, the broad warmth of his hand making Tobirama’s breath catch in his throat.

It was with reluctance that Tobirama stopped brushing- petting, it was petting at this point- he loved Madara’s hair, but the older man’s hand had moved above Tobirama’s knee and it was…distracting. “There” his voice was lower and huskier than he had expected and Madara shivered “tame again”. Tobirama slid past his husband (!) off the bed and insured that the fabric caught and pulled to bare his leg all the way up to the hip and a flash of his flank before adjusting the yukata again, delighted when Madara whimpered again “Are you doing this to me on purpose?” Madara rasped a little desperately and Tobirama laughed lowly as he placed the brush down and moved back to his Uchiha with the yukata sliding open on his shoulders; standing between Madara’s knees he smiled at the other man waiting so patiently for him. Tobirama felt his smile go soft as he raised a hand to trace the lines on the dear face and push back the heavy fringe so he could see all of it; it struck him at the strangest times, how handsome Madara was and how lucky he was to have the Uchiha willing to be his, he never would have thought that he could have this no matter what quiet things his heart whispered in his dreams. “I love you” Tobirama breathed and Madara’s eyes were warm and affectionate when Tobirama leaned down to press a light kiss to Madara’s lips, brushing their lips together once and then leaning down farther to commit to a deeper kiss as Madara rumbled at him. Yes, this was what he wanted.

Madara felt like he was ascending to the Pure Lands with the sleek shape of his husband (his) between his knees kissing him deep and long; carefully Madara rested his hands on Tobirama’s waist, shivering at the feel of smooth warm skin under his bare hands (he never wore gloves in their bedroom, he wanted to be able to feel his husband) where they slipped under the old fabric. Tobirama purred when Madara rubbed gently at sharp hipbones with his thumbs and nipped gently at his lip before drawing back and meeting Madara’s eyes his own warm and languorous, “On the bed husband” the albino purred and Madara whined, shoving off his own sleep yukata as he went and spreading out (Tobirama had pulled the blankets back, Madara hadn’t even noticed) on the cool sheets; for a second Tobirama stuttered, his pupils blowing large and licking at his lips as he took in Madara's naked form (yup, still got it) and sending something hot and proud flashing through him – it was good to see that Tobirama wanted him. Tobirama smiled, cat like and pleased as he slid on top on Madara, settling over the older man’s waist but holding himself elevated just enough that Madara couldn’t feel him as more than a brush of cloth and skin over the head of his co*ck; just enough to tempt him sharply with pushing up – but, no. Madara wasn't blind to the way that Tobirama pulled away from touch, wasn’t blind to how long it had taken for Tobirama to want anything like this, and there was no way in hell he was going to push this; not ever.

Tobirama leaned on one hand next to Madara’s head and used the other to smooth back his hair with a lingering touch “You are so good to me ‘dara, I don’t even know what to do with it” the albino said in a desire roughened voice; Madara shuddered, forcing his eyes up from where he could almost see his husband’s (his) arousal beneath the strategic folds of thin cloth (Madara could see the full expanse of his moonlight legs and the yukata had slid down to hang around his elbows, it was hard to think) and blinking as he tried to bring his brain online and respond. “Um. You – uh – f*ck To’ra, you deserve everything, I would give you the world if you asked” the Uchiha breathed; Tobirama bit his lip, stunning eyes glowing and (still) disbelieving (Madara hated that, the way he was surprised even now) but so, so warm “I don’t need the whole world Madara, just this one with you in it” and Madara just…he couldn’t – (his eyes were wet) but Tobirama shifted and dropped down and dragging a long moan from Madara’s lips as he shuddered when his co*ck settled against that amazing ass. Tobirama shifted back, cloth pooling over his waist; still hiding what Madara wanted most but – that could be forgiven in the face of the mind-blowing picture he made with a faint arch in his back and his head tipped to the side, eyes closed and mouth dropped open around a soft moan, the lines of scarlet curled around him along bones making him seem like something from a dream. “Mmm, you’re going to feel amazing” Tobirama purred and Madara whimpered, skating his hands up the long pale thighs; gods but Tobirama was just…Madara was running out of words for how beautiful his husband (his, gods of fire and flame, his) was, there just wasn’t enough words to encompass how amazing Tobirama was and how brilliant he shown in Madara’s eyes.

Tobirama shifted and bit at his lips as Madara’s co*ck slid into the cleft of his ass, both of them moaning at the sensation and Madara’s hips rolling up just to feel the slid of skin “to – ra!” he gasped and Tobirama purred again, rolling his own hips and both of them catching a rhythm for a minute before the albino tipped forward, bracing his hands on Madara’s muscled pecks and giving a pleased hum “Another time, another time dear heart, we should take our time, but right now – I want you” he gasped and Madara snarled, snapping one hand up and curling it around the back of his neck to pull the albino down into a kiss, swallowing the moan that Tobirama gave at the shift brushed his arousal against Madara’s sharply defined abs “Anything” Madara rumbled (another time he would lay Tobirama out and take his time, he would go ever every inch of dear skin and taste every sweeping red line, another time he would take Tobirama apart). The albino panted into his mouth whimpering as they moved together for a long moment until Tobirama gathered himself enough to pulled back and reach up to behind Madara’s head, pulling out a jar full of ointment and pressing it into Madara’s hands, something vulnerable flashing in his eyes “Do you want me-?” he asked (had to be sure when Tobirama looked like that) and Tobirama nodded “If you wan-“ he murmured looking even more vulnerable until Madara shuddered and his hand spasmed “YES, gods yes. I – please” he breathed and Tobirama’s cheeks flushed, a small oddly shy smile settling on his thin lips before he leaned down and kissed Madara lingeringly as the Uchiha fumbled to get the jar open. He slicked up his fingers and skimmed them over the curve of his husband’s (his) ass and down over the hole there; Tobirama shuddered and leaned farther to duck his head into Madara’s hair, gasping into the Uchiha’s ear and shivering in pleasure (he liked that then, good to know) as Madara skimmed his fingers over the ring of muscle, petting and rubbing for a long moment until Tobirama was moaning and only then gathering a little more slick and pressing in.

Tobirama was panting and moaning in his ear, shivering by the time Madara worked four fingers in to the tight heat (there was going to be no pain, not here, not with them) “’dara – want – please – ah! – more” the albino whimpered and Madara convulsed, he would – he would like to take longer (Tobirama so clearly enjoyed this he wanted a chance to really take his time, wanted to lick him open and finger him until he couldn’t think) but that was for later, for now, f*ck, for now he was going to give his husband (f*ck) what he wanted. Madara’s hands shook as he reached for the jar and slicked himself up “To’ra, pretty eyes, you ready” he gasped and Tobirama pulled back, shot him a dirty look and reached to take him in hand and slid down and back as he took control; Madara convulsed again, hand spasming as they went tight on Tobirama’s hips when the albino took him all the way to the hilt in one almost too fast slide. The albino let out a breathless whine and shuddered as Madara’s brain whited out for a long moment under the tight heat; “Sweet lady of fire, my eyes – can I? the Sharingan” Madara gasped, struggling to keep himself still, Tobirama nodded vigorously and moaned when Madara’s chakra pulsed with the activation of the Sharingan. The albino licked his lips and shifted up- both of them shuddering- before lowering himself slowly with a pleased noise and setting a slowly increasing pace that Madara carefully matched, speeding up only when Tobirama gasped in pleasure.

A keen slipped out of thin lips and Madara’s lips pulled back in an answering snarl as he found the right spot and pulled his knees up for better leverage as strength drained out of Tobirama’s limbs with every hit on his prostate; the former Senju was reduced to punched out whimpers as Madara moved and there had never been anything more satisfying to Madara than that, he could come just from that sound and the look of Tobirama so swamped in nothing but pleasure. “To’ra, darling,” Tobirama whined “I love you darling” the words were only barely gasped out between moans “beautiful” but it was worth it for the way it made Tobirama flush and shiver “stunning, brilliant,” he was shaking and open mouthed, tears collecting at the corners of red eyes “you are the Center of my world” Tobirama’s head snapped back and he gasped out a thin sound of overwhelmed pleasure; Madara was transfixed by the sight and so, so glad that he would never forget this. Tobirama’s pleased whines and soft sound mewling sounds sent the Uchiha over the edge a bare moment after and the Sharingan sharpened lines blurred and ecstasy twisted through him.

After Madara tucked his albino closer, rumbling in his chest when Tobirama curled closer with a pleased purr, post-org*sm was one of Madara’s favorite looks on his husband (his husband) he decided, and he needed to see it as often as he could.

Notes:

writing smut is hard...but as long as I avoid saying 'throbing' anything (avoiding 'rod' and 'manhood' is good as well) I figure I've done well enough to move on with

Chapter 17: on hundred and eight cream-ivory roses

Summary:

Will you marry me; charm, thoughtfulness, richness, perfection

Notes:

I'm coming off a run of chain migraines, so I'll respond to comments when my eyes can see straight for longer but thank you for checking on me you wonderful people!

also, this wasn't going to be smut but Madara was all "Hell no! I just got him in bed, no way we getting out yet" and ran away with my mouse, so *shrug* and then it got NSFW

Chapter Text

Tobirama awoke to a soft ache in his tail bone and a humming satisfaction from the rest of his body; gods of tides had he ever felt quite this relaxed? Calm and content and hazy and delightful – if this was how sex was supposed to make you feel he suddenly understood why people enjoyed is so much. Tobirama stretched lazily without opening his eyes, smiling when the strong chest he was splayed over rumbled against him “Feeling good?” Madara asked in a deep rasping voice and Tobirama purred against him “Wonderful, mmm, so much better than I knew I could feel” Madara snorted, pulling his fingers through Tobirama’s hair and rubbing his scalp “Well that’s quite the compliment” he was inarguably smug as he said it and Tobirama laughed softly, scratching at Madara chest under his fingers and enjoying the shiver it got him “Quite. You are the only person that I have ever wanted to sleep with” Tobirama said. Madara stiffened and Tobirama sighed, cracking an eye open to look at his husband “Don’t worry about it ‘dara, all shinobi do things they don’t want to and I got too recognizable to run them after Hashi took over” Madara’s eyes were dark and unhappy and something hot and wild flashed through them at Tobirama’s words but all he said was “But you wanted me?” and Tobirama sighed, shifting to rest his chin on his hands on Madara’s chest “Yes ‘dara, I want you. Quite a lot really, it’s rather strange for me” the sparked a light in Madara’s dark eyes as he smoothed his hand down Tobirama’s back, smiling at the soft purr it got him.

“And did you enjoy yourself pretty eyes?” he asked in a deep rumble, Tobirama stretched a again, relishing the warm ache “Immensely” he purred into Madara’s ear as he shifted up, lips just brushing over the Uchiha’s skin as he spoke “I’ve never had that you know, never let anyone else open me up, I always did that myself. You’re the first” Madara spasmed, the hand on Tobirama’s back going tight and pressing the albino down into him sharply a tense groan spilling past his lips, “f*ck, you – f*ck, To’ra” the albino laughed softly into the Uchiha’s ear, more than a little delighted with his husband’s (!) reaction. Madara swore again, hot and sharp and curled a hand around the back of Tobirama’s neck (oh, that was lovely, he would never have though that would feel so good, so calming) to drag him into a hot kiss that left Tobirama shaking with sudden heat; it was good, how was it always so good? “’dara, I want- mmm- I want” his breath stuttered and Madara laughed deep and pleased “What do you want pretty eyes?” the rumble of his voice was like thunder and safety and a distant volcano (Tobirama wanted to drown in it). And then- because Madara was a clever bastard- his chakra rose in his skin, small wafts of it spilling into the air like heady perfume and every thought that might have filled Tobirama’s head vanished.

He heard himself make a loud sound as if from far away, he knew his mouth had fallen open and that he was limp against his husband (!), felt Madara roll them over, knew he should probably be more aware; but, but all he could feel was the astonishing chakra. The energy that had comforted him as a child, had warmed him as a teenager in the arms of some mark he hated as his skin crawled, had filled and clouded his senses as a young adult when he curled in the trees far to close the Uchiha border protected only by his seals and his summons as close to that amazing chakra as he could get; Madara‘s chakra was safety and warmth and protection, was calm in its honesty and in the deep heart of it few would have really known existed (that was what had called to Tobirama first as a child watching his brother with his senses as he met his new friend, it had been that- the way the Uchiha he didn’t know burned with a steady brilliance so unlike his brother’s over powering radiance- that had called to Tobirama, tempted him to go closer even as he worked to distract Father from Hashirama’s absence. It was the way Madara’s emotions flared and sparked and jumped with passion in his chakra, spitting off light and warmth and best of all lasting, that had dragged Tobirama’s attention off the things he needed to do; calling to him with the endless blue-whiteflamemagmabirdwingwarm that lived deep in his heart. Madara loved. He loved. He loved like Tobirama had never felt before; faithfully and deeply and writ so deep inside him that Tobirama was sure nothing could ever wear it away. And as a child- before he knew better- he had thought maybe, maybe I couldn’t wear him away, maybe he would still care even after knowing me, because Tobirama was never stupid and he knew he was like water; like the tide that stripped everything with time, that wore away even the loves he thought would last- the ones he thought he would never lose).

Madara’s chakra rose again and washed over Tobirama like warm velvet and burning sugar; sweet and hot and heavy. Tobirama felt his back arch into the feeling- it would have been frightening if it was any other, but even as it robed his sense he felt calm and safe- whimpering he was sure and struggling to grasp at Madara with weak fingers as the Uchiha petted down his side, red-red-violet strafed eyes watching Tobirama like he was transfixed, hypnotized even as his hand caressed over the albino’s stomach and stroked the trail of hair there.

(Madara was sure this was the only thing he would be able to see when he closed his eyes; Tobirama dazed and whining, mouth open and wet, the shine of spit on his cheek as he whimpered- a thin consent note- and shook under Madara. He wanted more of this, wanted Tobirama stunned and overwhelmed and completely Madara’s; wanted, wanted, wanted. And he could have it, could kiss insensate lips and smooth his hand over the pale hair at his navel, could pet around the base of the co*ck he couldn’t see from this angle, could send tiny shivering shocks of his chakra through his fingers and hear Tobirama scream as his body jumped and shook with org*sm; Madara could have it and he did. He did.)

Tobirama’s vision wavered and flexed, senses roiling beneath his skin and fixating with single-minded intensity on the feel of MadaraMadaraMadara and forgetting for a suspended fractal moment that there was anything else in the entire world. Anything but MadaraMadaraMadaraMadara.

He came down from the high or up from the depths to the feel of Madara kissing his throat and turned his head for a sloppy kiss, flexed almost limp fingers as he wanted to reach, wanted to feel the heavy heat of Madara’s co*ck against his skin somehow; “’dara” he slurred “’dara, want you, want you” but other words slipped out of his fingers with the other man’s deep dark laugh. The Uchiha shifted, moving over Tobirama his hair a dark curtain around them (for a moment Tobirama’s mind flashed back to the forest, the being pinned under Madara and so, so pathetically happy that he was going to die with Madara’s chakra around him, and that hair was blocking out the world and it’s pain), he smiled a sharp wanting smile; possessive and hot and hungry (Tobirama thrilled, Madara wanted him) as he spoke “Can I mark you” he purred “can a mark your skin and paint you mine?” Oh. Oh “yes” Tobirama breathed dizzily; still floating and even hotter at the thought. The thought had nothing on the sight though, had nothing on Madara shifting over him so Tobirama could see, had nothing on watching his bare hand curl around his thick co*ck (Tobirama knew what that felt like in him and shivered) and stroke lazy and sure as his eyes roamed over the albino.

“Do you know what you look like? You look like sin and heaven and dream made flesh” (Tobirama shivered, warmth skittering over his skin) “you, like this spent and easy - sweet gods but I could take you like this couldn’t I? just flip you over and push in and you would be sweet and warm for me wouldn’t you? Relaxed and with wet my seed still in you, I might not even need slick” his hand left his co*ck and slipped back skating over Tobirama’s groin and down, pressing in and sending heat cascading over Tobirama. Madara moaned, deep and throaty as his head dropped down “yes” he hissed “I could couldn’t I. slide in and f*ck you loose and trusting” Tobirama whimpered, he wanted that, wanted to feel that, wanted Madara moving in him and taking care of him, wanted to be loose and easy and drifting and trusting. Madara snarled and bit at Tobirama’s neck, “Not right now, later, another time, after I bend you over and make you scream as I eat you out” Tobirama was whining and moaning again, Madara’s fingers a brand inside him. The Uchiha drew back and Tobirama whined at the loss of heat until he saw the Uchiha shift to watch his hand move between Tobirama’s spread legs, red-red Sharingan fixated on the sight of his fingers (two, three, four) pressing in and sliding out of clinging muscle as his other hand stroked his co*ck (should have known Uchiha would be visually oriented, Tobirama thought dizzily, arching into the touch and spreading his legs wider).

Madara swallowed again and again, trying not to drool as he watch his hand; he was the first, the first to ever touch Tobirama this way, the first to see him struggle to f*ck himself back onto Madara’s fingers and hear the wet sound of seed and slick as he worked five fingers into clinging heat (gods he wanted to eat his albino out). Tobirama was moaning again, still dazed and easy after his earlier org*sm- and wasn’t it delicious that he could do that with nothing but his chakra- but his pretty co*ck rising hard and delightful for a second time (he was going to see how many times he could do that at some point, f*ck him until Tobirama came dry and wailing). How had Madara been gifted this? How had Tobirama decided to give Madara this? there was no god the thank, it was Tobirama that had decided to give him this and Tobirama that had chosen Madara and he was damned if he wasn’t going to make that choice the best one his husband (his) had ever made. Heat twisted though him and he worked his co*ck faster as Tobirama twisted and whined, snapping over the edge as he watched his fingers press in and painting white skin whiter; Tobirama gasped at the feeling of heat on his abdomen, of cum dripping down his co*ck and slammed over the edge right after.

Madara curled as close as he could, clutching his husband (his) close as Tobirama let out tiny pleased noises as after-shocks and fain aches made themselves known (Madara might actually like that better than the screams); they would have to go down soon, and wash (together now maybe, Tobirama might need help staying up right and Madara was feeling a little unsteady himself) before they had anything to eat. Tobirama stirred and hummed a little “Well and truly married now” he purred in a smug voice and Madara blinked “We are?” Tobirama shifted until he could see Madara’s eyes “You bound us with a marriage robe brought me home to be witnessed by your people, all that was left was consummating it and formally presenting me to the clan, no?” the albino pointed out and Madara’s mouth dropped open, that was – that was true. In the eyes of the gods and the clans Tobirama was truly his now and Madara shook with delight, tucking his face into his husband’s neck; he was shaking as Tobirama’s arms came up around him, settling on his back and in his hair “Madara?” Tobirama’s rich voice- still rough with moaning- was concerned but not upset and Madara burrowed closer still. “I – To’ra gods you just – I, when I read your scrolls, when I found out how – how – how impossibly perfect you are I was so afraid that I would never be able to have you for myself. I didn’t know if you would ever look at me as anything other than an enemy and I just. I just” he snorted a wet laugh “I didn’t know how to deal with – I couldn’t – I want you to be happy- whatever that takes- but the idea of seeing you with someone else was like acid in my blood and I just –“ his words failed and a thin tight noise of twisted fury and heartbreak slipping out even as his arms turned to steel around Tobirama’s thin waist as possessiveness twisted like a living flame burning at his mind.

Tobirama purred gently, petting at Madara’s hair and tugging gently “oh dear heart, that was never going to happen, not ever. How could I ever be with anyone other than you when I couldn’t bear their touch? I never wanted anything but you ‘dara. Never” the Uchiha gasped, the words sinking into him and soothing the snarl of fear in his heart “yours ‘dara, always yours” Madara struggled to bring his breath under control; Tobirama was here, here with Madara, married and Madara’s, Madara’s. It took a while to settle his emotions again as Tobirama murmured softly in his hair “yours, always yours, never wanted to be anywhere else, yours” but in the wake of it Madara twisted to press a biting kiss into the elegant neck, biting harder as Tobirama’s throat vibrated under his lips with the albino’s purr. “Come on dear heart, I want to get clean” the albino murmured, tugging at Madara’s hair until the Uchiha moved with a deep grumble only to wince as he felt the mess covering both of them; “Clean would be good” he agreed and let Tobirama pull him from the room, transfixed by the sight of Tobirama’s fantastic ass as the albino walked in front of him.

(The sound that Izuna let out when Madara and Tobirama came down the stairs- dressed to Madara's disappointment- was delightful and Madara only noticed it because of the odd look Tobirama sent Izuna, “Are you all right Izuna?” the albino asked in a f*cked rough voice and Izuna let out a sound of deepest despair.)

Chapter 18: White Stargazer Lily

Summary:

purity, innocence and sympathy

Notes:

Short one till my head gets less angry

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Izuna had found hell. He was absolutely positive of it. He had thought Madara dithering over his hair and knives, or Madara’s adoring smitten eyes following Tobirama around, or Madara’s blissed out look whenever the albino touched him (or sat in his lap, Izuna’s teeth still hurt from how sweet the expression on his brother’s face was) was bad enough; but this, this was a new form of torture all together. Madara and Tobirama had had sex. There was no other explanation for the way Madara couldn’t get his eyes off the dark marks scattered over the albino’s pale neck (wow, hickies really showed up on his skin really well) or the, uh, everything about Tobirama (the faint wince when he sat, the rough voice, the lazy relaxed muscles, the way he leaned into Madara even more than before, etc.); and, and Madara looked smugger than Izuna had ever seen, like really smug (yuech). Izuna watched Madara stroke his fingers over Tobirama’s hand- which he had taken possession of as soon as they sat- and flip it over to pressed a lingering kiss to the palm; Tobirama’s fingers curled against Madara’s cheek and the look he shot the Uchiha was just, just, just, uhg, Izuna didn’t have a word for that, it was just so sweet and happy and warm and – oh this was hell. (Though…it was nice to see his brother so blissfully happy; and not just happy, he looked calm and relaxed, like he had always been on his guard and ready for an attack and now he was finally settling with someone to watching his back- Izuna just knew that Tobirama would destroy anyone that so much as touched Madara- and it was… Izuna hadn’t really noticed his brother stopping smiling, but the look on his face when Tobirama turned into him as he finished his food and brushed Madara’s dark hair back with a ghost of a smile on his lips and a brilliant smile in his eyes; the look on Madara’s face was something that Izuna would do almost anything to keep and wished his brother had never lost to begin with.)

A throaty chuckle drew Izuna’s attention away from his brother and Tobirama to look at Touka as she sat down next to them again after leaving to check on the still sleeping Haru; Touka smiled slyly and pulled out the fan she kept tucked in her sash, holding it in her right hand (you are too willing) and coughing to get her cousin’s attention. Tobirama looked away from Madara even as he shifted closer to the Uchiha; he took a look at the fan, rolled his eyes, and drew the fan Touka had given him out of his sleeve and flicked it open, letting it rest against his left cheek (no). The Senju raised and eyebrow and as she sat she absently touched it to her lips and flipped it at Madara (you kiss[ed him?]) with a raised eyebrow (Izuna had a feeling there was something going on here that he didn’t understand), Tobirama’s lips went a little tight and he leaned into Madara’s shoulder as he twirled the fan in his left hand (I wish to get rid of you), she leaned into the table and picked up a bit of fish while resting her fan against her left ear (you have changed) and Tobirama’s eyes flashed with anger (Izuna and Madara exchanged looks, um, what was going on?) and he snapped it open and shut before seeming to catch himself and fanning himself slowly (you are cruel, I am married). Touka pursed her lips and sat back presenting it in Madara’s direction with a casual gesture (do you love [him]), Tobirama shifted and pressed a kiss to Madara’s throat as he fanned himself slowly (I am married) and Madara looked at him like Tobirama was what the stars were made of (who knows, maybe Madara did think that, Izuna wasn’t going to discount anything at this point); Touka sighed and drew the fan across her eyes (I’m sorry) “It is good to see you looking so….glow-y little cousin” she said lightly and Izuna had the strangest sensation that he had missed an entire conversation in the few moments between Touka sitting and Tobirama kissing Madara.

Izuna looked from the Senju to the new Uchiha and back “That was…unnerving” he said slowly and Touka laughed a little, “Did Tobirama not tell you about the fans?” she asked- without addressing Izuna’s question he noticed- and Izuna shook his head, glancing at Madara to see what he said only to wince; yeah, ugh, he didn’t need to see Tobirama curling into Madara like that, tucked up against the older man’s throat with Madara’s arm around his shoulders. It actually took Madara a few moments to realize that he was supposed to respond to the question and shake his head, clearly having trouble listening to what they were saying “Um, no? Oh! No, he never said anything about fans, should he?” Madara said and Tobirama pressed a little closer, looking like he was trying to hide in Madara’s presence and hair. Touka rolled her eyes “When a Senju gets old enough their parents given them a fan, and then when the Senju feels ready to look for a relationship they start carrying the fan and using it through the courtship. If you wish to keep using the fan it is switched to a different style that indicates that you are taken, it’s our knife ritual” she said, her eyes going sad when she looked at Tobirama “Tobi gave me my fan, my father died before I was the right age” the albino snorted and shifted to slant a look at her from the safely of Madara’s shadow “I made it you mean. I still think you should have found something better than bear bones and stolen silk” he grumbled.

Touka sighed “I like this one Tobi, you gave it to me even if you never let me do the same until now” and she shot the fan he had tucked back in his sleeve a speaking glance “though I should have found you a married fan it seems” she said wryly as her eyes settled on Madara’s hand where it curved around Tobirama’s waist. The Uchiha head straightened and bright light appearing in his eye “What does a married fan look like?” he asked and Izuna whimpered; he could already see where this was going “This is going to be just like the knives all over again isn’t it? Please don’t let it be like the knives” he begged to his hands, searching desperately for something else to distract them with. “Why didn’t you carry a fan before?” Izuna blurted out without thinking, only to wince when Touka stiffened and Tobirama winced “Ah, I – um –“ he looked uncomfortable and the tense look was creeping in around his eyes “I am not….pleasing to most“ Touka snorted harshly anger bright on her face, absently snapping open the fan and slashing it as if cutting an unseen throat (I will hurt them) and Tobirama shifted uncomfortably but pressed closer to Madara anyway, twisting the fan and dragging it half open over his wrist (calm down); Izuna swallowed, there was a story there and given what Izuna knew about Tobirama’s life with the Senju….he felt a little ill, was there nothing he could ask Tobirama about without finding another horrible shadow in his past? Why was his story so sad? It made it very hard for Izuna to hate him.

Madara must have come to the same conclusion that Izuna had because is face went hard and angry and he blew out a sharp breath before reaching out to bodily lift Tobirama into his lap, tucking his face into the albino’s neck and sucking in several deep breaths (Izuna was torn, he was really glad that Madara had found a way to sooth his anger- honestly Madara in wrath was a little frightening even to Izuna- but at the same time….Madara was cuddling Tobirama- who seemed to not mind?- and smell him, wait, smell him? why?!). Tobirama frowned a little and shifted into a slightly more comfortable position and dragged his hands through Madara’s hair and murmuring something too soft for Izuna to hear as he watched with horror as one of Madara’s arms wrapped around the albino’s waist (they needed to feed their new albino) and the other hand smoothed up Tobirama’s back. Oh. oh no. Tobirama shifted back and curled his hands around Madara’s jaw, smiling like he was seeing the soft end of summer as Madara looked at him like he was the first flame; for a moment Izuna stared, stuck between cooing and feeling a little awestruck. Well. oh. oh no. he was stuck until Tobirama leaned down and kissed Madara. only. only it wasn’t just a kiss, it was a kiss, like- Izuna winced as Tobirama tilted his head and the kiss deepened and Madara rumbled. It wasn’t – it wasn’t that is was really all that filthy, but, uh, it was not chaste at all and it was, um, the emotion. That was the thing really. the emotion was so thick that Izuna felt oddly like he was seeing something that he shouldn’t, oh, oh wait. They probably had wild kinky- you could not convince Izuna that Tobirama wasn’t kinky- really, really emotional sex didn’t they? Oh he really didn’t want to know that.

“My purity” Izuna whimpered “my innocence” Touka snorted, looking at Madara and her cousin with undisguised approval and then rolling her eyes as she glanced at Izuna “You have my sympathy” she said dryly as Izuna slithered off his chair to curl up in a ball on the floor whimpering.

Notes:

the Senju fans are based on Victorian fan language

Chapter 19: thyme

Summary:

courage

Notes:

migraine injection today so should be back on track now! And answering comments tomorrow, just bare with me.
(also, the two new thing I posted I have had for a while and just to put up here to keep track of them)

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Touka thought that her cousin must be the bravest person in the world, she had always known he was strong but, this was different. It was….strange to be here, to see him; he’s so different here and it was difficult for her to figure out how she felt about it. Oh he is still Tobi, still brilliant and sarcastic and quietly adoring of children; but now, here, with Madara (and she has yet to see the two of them apart), it is like the door to a shut-in room have been opened and he’s just so….different. With Madara he is affectionate, with Madara he is physically affectionate (any time the two of them are anywhere near each other they were touching somewhere), with Madara he smiled, with Madara something about him went easy and calm and restful and Touka – hated that she has never seen him like this before even as it unnerves her a little (he is so different, but maybe that is just how he would have been if he had never been hurt they way he had by their family, maybe this is the person she saw peeking out around the edges of Tobirama’s ice ever since they were children being let out to flourish. Touka hoped so). So she watches as Tobirama lets Madara manhandle him and watches the way Madara focuses on Tobirama as if there is nothing else in the whole world, watches as Tobirama reaches out to Madara every bit as much as Madara reaches out to him, watches as her little cousin slants a wink at her while Izuna wails and she…regrets questioning him earlier even if it was only though the fans. Oh she had her reasons, Tobirama had never wanted sex before and it was so clear that he had had it with Madara and he was so different and even if she had known he loved Madara she just – jumped to worry instead of realizing how different things were here; she didn’t need to protect Tobirama, not from Madara or even the Uchiha, and it was only now that she truly saw exactly how deeply Tobirama had withdrawn into himself in the Senju compound (how badly the pressure of being universally feared and relied on at the same time had crushed him, the clan might like Hashi better but they had always trusted Tobirama).

Touka dragged in a deep breath and smiled at Tobirama, flicking her fan a quarter open and brushing it across her lips before flicking it out at him (I am happy for you) and he smiled, smiled at her with a tiny twitch of his lips that made him look young and bright and just – Touka had never seen that expression before and she didn’t really know how to handle it, it was just too f*cking cute and going by the look on Madara’s face he agreed and sh*t she needed some air. Touka stood sharply and grabbed Izuna, gently hauling him up after her, “Have fun love birds” she said to the couple, twisting the fan all the way open in a neat incidental looking flick-twist (go f*ck) “we’re going out but keep the screaming down or you’ll wake the kid” Tobirama raised an eyebrow as Madara flushed and grinned with all his teeth. Tobirama swept his half open fan around the back of Madara’s head and snapped it shut before drawing it though his loosely closed other hand (I am going to suck his co*ck and then he will f*ck me) before letting it drop slightly down (does that work?). Touka gaped, she had never – she – what?! she knew Tobi knew how to do honeypot and seduce but that – just – yeah no she needed time to adjust to this. Her fan flick open and then shut at him as she walked out towing Izuna (acceptable) behind her, she wanted time with her cute Uchiha anyway, they could wander around and she could see if they had better fabric selection than the Senju and then they could go take a peek at the border, if her guesses were correct the messenger from Uzo would arrive at the Senju compound this afternoon and she wanted to know when they had to start watching for Hashirama.

Izuna whimpered as they stepped out of the door and she absently brushed a kiss over the underside of his wrist before dropping his hand, tucking her fan in her sash as she did so (there was little point in carrying it without anyone that could read it, unlike most of the other Senju she didn’t use it to absently talk the way they did and so it wasn’t so strange to not have it in hand) she had always kept her fan on her because she had never forgotten seeing Tobirama, just barely eleven and tiny, solemnly holding out the plain, slightly clumsily made fan; he had made it himself from bones of a bear he had killed and silk he had stolen on a mission- Butsuma was livid she later found out- because he knew that she was supposed to have one and her father wasn’t going to be around to give it to her, as the child of the main line he was a fine substitute. It wasn’t the first time she had spent time with her cousin- she had always adored him- but there had been a few years when she had just…been distracted and spent rather less time with him; and then he gave her a fan he had made himself so that she would have one even if it was earlier than normal- thirteen was traditional- and she really looked at him and it was awful to find that he spent most of him time when not training or on missions with his summons because Hashirama wouldn’t talk to him after the river thing- if only she had been paying them more attention then- so she just. just reevaluated, took a good look around and made Tobirama the center of her life in the Senju clan; and it was easy, very easy in the end when he was really the only one that needed her and stood by her and stood up for her- had been doing so even for the two years they talked less- and sparred with her and just, when Tobirama loved it was like nothing else and there was nothing he wouldn’t do for you and it was frightening. She was glad Madara seemed much the same really, every bit obsessive and possessive enough to not only handle that affection but relish it.

“Touka?” Izuna’s voice called her out of her reverie and she looked at him, her adorable Uchiha, wondering if…”Does Madara – I don’t want to say love Tobirama because he clearly does but, will he treasure my cousin the way he should? Never take him for granted? That was when happened to Tobi with the Senju, he did so much for them and just kept giving even when they got so used to it that they didn’t even act like it mattered any more” Izuna blinked at her slightly rushed words but nodded firmly, something dark flashing over his face “Madara is never going to forget how lucky he is to have Tobirama; he is Uchiha, we never forget, it is our curse and our gift. My brother adores Tobirama like I’ve never seen, he worships Tobi and Tobi is his Center- the focus of his Sharingan, his tether and grounding force, you can see it in the change in his Sharingan- there is nothing in the whole world that he will ever hold dearer than his husband, not even me, not even the clan” Touka blinked, she had hoped for something like this but that – “That’s perfect” she breathed “there is nothing Tobirama won’t do for the people he cares about, much less the people he loves, nothing” she hesitated, taking Izuna’s arm when he offered it and walking with him toward the market ignoring the shinobi that might overhear (better to get rumors from her than from the Senju, better she create Tobirama’s reputation than anyone else, especially Tobi himself) “most of our healing jutsu are of his invention, it was he who figured out Hashirama’s mokuton an how to use it, he always had time to train or teach or spar, he made me specialized jutsu because I wanted to use lighting and it’s not my chakra nature- gods you should see the gifts he gives, it’s infuriating how good they are- and, Izuna there is nothing he wouldn’t do, kill, seduce- even though he couldn’t stand those missions-, take mission after mission after mission to keep the children from running them and he-“ she hesitated but, well, in for a senbon in for a shinobi “after his brothers died there was nothing he wouldn’t do to have them back, so he created a jutsu to bring back the dead”’

Izuna froze, the other clan members near enough by to hear going white “What?” Izuna croaked and Touka nodded, face dark and sad “He just wanted to hold them again, he was a child never allowed to mourn and far, far, to clever and he just – he found a way to call them back. But it’s flawed, he came to me crying after making it, said he wasn’t going to use it for people he loved, not when it was a half-life, good for only short amounts of time, good as a weapon nothing else. He never told his father even if that might have actually made the ass pleased with him and take it easier for a while- I would have liked that, would have liked it if Tobi wasn’t sent on missions he hated or beat bloody in the name of training every day, and he doesn’t heal like Hashi does- he never told Butsuma and never used it on the battlefield” Izuna swayed and Touka grabbed at him, realizing a little belatedly that maybe she should have been a little less blunt; she was used to Tobirama’s brilliance, used to his gift for the impossible, Izuna and the Uchiha weren’t, it might be harder for them to figure out how to feel about all of this that it was for her and even she- even after all these years- still got chills when she thought about what Tobirama would do when he loved someone and what he could do when he turned his astonishing mind to it.

“He – I – he never used that on us” Izuna spluttered and Touka nodded, “He has loved Madara for most of his life, even if he was willing to use it in battle- and he would if it was the only way to protect his family even though it would ruin him- he would never have used it against the Uchiha” it was clear that Izuna was struggling to take in all of the information she was dumping on him but Touka had never been all that tactful and he did need to know what Tobirama was capable of, needed to know how far he would go for Madara. “I – he’s loved Madara for that long?” Izuna asked, redirecting his focus onto something he understood and Touka grinned, more than willing to entertain him and the curious ears around them with stories of the times Tobirama had gotten into one thing or another because of Madara and his chakra.

“-and that’s why he was dressed as an exotic dancer- though he is completely qualified, just ask Madara- in the middle of Wind country trying to make a big enough fuss that Madara could get out the back without having to blow a hole in the wall and ruin your trading contacts there, he knew you needed that trade rout to get food and Tobi has always done his best to walk the fine line of doing what he has to to keep the Senju alive and trying to keep your brother and by extension your clan safe.” Izuna’s grin was getting worryingly wide as he stared at her over the last bits of their tea “That’s what happened?! I remember that, Madara talked about the dancer he saw on that mission for months, always said he wished he could have stayed longer to watch more of the performance, he’s going to loose his mind when he hears that was Tobi” and Touka laughed, full and open in the way she hadn’t laughed for longer than she wanted to think on. This was the best day she had had in a very long time. Izuna looked at her for a long moment, mirth fading into something a little more contemplative and thoughtful, his lovely dark eyes warm and wondering (gods but he was cute) “What is the difference between a courting fan and a wedding fan?” he asked and she arched an eyebrow but answered easily enough.

“A courting fan is made like mine, ribs made of metal, wood or bone normally and fabric in between, what exactly it is made of is supposed to reflect the person that carries it though mine – mine was just what Tobirama could find at eleven that he thought would suit me. A wedding fan is a little different, the same general shape and mechanism but instead of ribs and fabric it is made of dozens of thin slats of wood- again normally- laced together with thread so that it fold and unfolds like mine does, they are harder to make and quiet a bit more expensive normally” Izuna nodded thoughtfully and then stood, holding out an absent hand to her to help her up (she loved it, he was well aware she was more than competent, the way he stared whenever she did something impressive and the way he looked at her muscles was proof enough of that, but he also loved her makeup- was very impressed with her lipstick- and held out his arm as they walked and hand when he stood and she liked that, like that she was completely strong enough on her own but that he never assumed that that meant she didn’t want the little things, he cared about the things she wanted as well as those she needed, it would be very easy to fall in love with that). “What are we doing now?” she asked as she took his hand to stand, “We’re going to go to the market so you can find that special fabric you want for Tobi- Vicuña wool?- and then you’re going to help me figure out how to get a wedding fan for my new brother,” he said firmly and Touka smiled brilliant and pleased (and dazzling poor Izuna); yes, she thought, things were different here, but only in the best way.

Notes:

this one was written fast and I can't feel out if I like it or not, but I'm going to bed now and let the injection work (sleeeeppppp) so we'll see what you think

Chapter 20: fifteen black roses

Summary:

Please forgive me; death, rebirth, goodbye

Notes:

don't listen to sad music

Chapter Text

Tobirama smiled lazily as Madara pressed kisses up his spine, the feel of long dark hair brushing over his skin making him shiver even warm and sated as he was (he had said what he had to Touka for the look on her face but in his opinion it had turned out to be a brilliant plan). Madara laughed gently and settled down on top of Tobirama as a warm heavy blanket that felt like it was pressing him down into the earth when he so often felt like he was floating away “Happy darling?” Madara rumbled and Tobirama hummed happily “Very ” he could almost feel the smugness wafting off his husband (!) and it was intoxicating and very pleasing honestly “mmm, I’m looking forward to being introduced to our clan in a few days, though I will miss the quiet time with just you” Tobirama said, as much as he was ready to get back to work he was going to miss the long quiet hours just sitting with Madara. “It won’t be as bad as that pretty eyes, I have no problem getting help” Madara said and Tobirama perked up, twisting under the Uchiha and purring when Madara settled on him again “Really? I can’t imagine how much Kikiyo is having to deal with given what I did” he said and Madara frowned “That you did?” he asked and Tobirama nodded easily “I know that being clan head is a great deal of work, I always ended up doing all the paperwork so that Hashi could do the personable stuff given how bad I am with people” Madara pulled back, sitting up and acknowledging Tobirama’s sad whine by petting at his side, absently tracing red lines on moonlight skin “What do you mean?” he asked slowly “are you saying that you did all the clan head work? And what do you mean you’re bad with people? You are wonderful with the children and my clan, Kikiyo adores you and even Izuna has decided he loves you” Tobirama blinked at him in surprise “Izuna likes me?” and Madara frowned, leaning forward to brush Tobirama’s hair out of his face.

“To’ra, darling, Izuna would never admit it but he loves having a new brother, Kikiyo thinks of you as a cousin and is delighted that you are here to make me happy and thinks you're quite intelligent. Hikaku thinks you’re brilliant, Yuuka has decided that you are her new favorite person and Kagami worships the ground you walk on- and his mother thinks you are a kami for distracting him- and Haru loves you.” Tobirama gaped at him “and that’s not even going into how I feel about you darling, you are my everything” Tobirama swallowed hard and twisted his fingers in the ends of Madara’s hair where it pooled at his hip “Madara, dear heart, do you think it’s not mutual? I adore you, you are a good man Madara, as well as a great one and I treasure that. I don’t – I’m not good with words bright hawk but you – I love you Madara” and the Uchiha smiled, hot and searing before reaching out and hooking their fingers together. “Can I – To’ra, it won’t be long before Hashirama hears that you never made it to Uzo and then he’s going to start asking questions. I want to hide you but I won’t be able to unless I do something and I – I don’t want you to have to confront him, not yet, please” Madara’s dark eyes were wide and hawk-sharp and Tobirama swallowed, draping his arm over his eyes but tightening the fingers of his other hand where they were linked with Madara’s. He…didn’t want to deal with this. It wasn’t Hashi’s fault that things had gone the way it had (was it?) but he knew that Madara was angry with Hashirama and Tobirama just…(he wanted to give Madara anything he wanted, anything) “i don’t want to talk to him either” he whispered on barely a breath of sound, fingers tightening in Madara’s as the Uchiha sucked in a sharp breath.

“Oh To’ra” the Uchiha breathed, bending down and brushing a kiss over the pale wet cheek and smoothing his hand over Tobirama’s ribs “if you don’t, you don’t have too. I promise. I’m sorry” and Tobirama laughed hoarsely “It’s my brother” he rasped and Madara sighed, dropping to press his forehead to Tobirama’s arm “That isn’t always enough” the Uchiha murmured; “I love him” “That’s not always enough” “He’s my clan head” “Not any more” Madara said and Tobirama – just – (growing up with the best big brother in the world and two bright little brothers following in his footsteps and everything seemed bright and good- even the blood, from his hands, from his mouth, from his feet, from the enemy, seemed a brighter shade- seeing one cold corpse lowered into the ground; being too late to save the other and – only one brother left, one brother he hadn’t failed yet, one brother that was still his and Tobirama wanted to grab on and never let go but – but Hashirama never really looked at him anymore, not even after Tobirama put himself between father and Hashi over and over and over again, he never really seemed to be looking at Tobirama anymore and then – and then Madara and everything changed and Hashirama never trusted him and never looked at him and then he never talked to Tobirama either for a long time not after – “You should have tried harder to kill the little rat, I know you can do better, you will do better” “yes Father” – after everything sometimes it was hard to remember that. That. He was more than a tool- right?- more than a weapon that his brother aimed at their enemies and that Tobirama desperately tried to make into a shield- failing always failing- and he was just -) never enough.

“Darling, come back to me, it’s alright” Tobirama didn’t want to see Hashirama, he knew his brother had been doing what he had to and that he wasn’t really wrong about Tobirama but he just – he didn’t want to see Hashirama’s disbelief at the idea of Madara and Tobirama and he just – he was never enough and seeing his brother “pretty eyes please, come back to me ” always hurt anymore even though he knew Hashirama had done nothing wrong and “To’ra” he didn’t want to have to talk to Hashi, not yet “Tobirama” and the albino twisted into his husband (his, Tobirama’s as unlikely as that seemed) pressing his face into Madara’s hip and just breathing. “I love you” he whispered and knew the Uchiha had heard him when Madara sighed and tangled his fingers in Tobirama’s white hair, and “I trust you” he breathed “I trust you, do what you have to with brother” Madara made a tight cut off noise and bent forward, pressing kisses to what skin he could reach, “Thank you”.

Madara watched as Tobirama talked softly with Haru, the albino leaning against the Uchiha’s legs as he showed the child how to form hand seals in methodical movements before Kagami arrived to run away with his new best friend (at least that’s what Kagami said Haru was, Madara couldn’t tell what the little Senju thought – he didn’t really talk much, or at all as far as Madara had seen) and then Madara planned to take Tobirama on a walk through the houses garden and try not to think about anything bad for a while; in the mean time Madara had no problem with plotting out what he was going to do to Hashirama to keep the asshole off his back and he was going to enjoy it. While what Madara wanted was to pretend nothing had happened he knew that the Senju couldn’t let the disappearance of one of their most powerful fighters go without searching; as long as they thought there was a chance that he was alive they would never stop looking and Madara had no intention of looking over his back for the rest of however long it took for Tobirama to be steady enough to see his brother without it breaking him when Hashirama said something awful. And when people came looking the Uchiha would be the first place they looked after what they thought Madara felt about Tobirama, much better to go with his other plan and use the things Kikiyo had been getting ready for him and –

The door smashed open and Izuna appeared in the door, Touka a shadow behind him “Brother” the younger Uchiha said as Kagami darted in around Izuna’s legs and grabbed Haru’s hand, both children already aware of what it meant when the adults looked like that as they slipped out the door together to go find the off duty minder; Madara’s hand tightened in Tobirama’s hair before he forced it to relax, pulling on his hair hurt his husband and Madara refused to do that. Refused. “Izu?” “A messenger from Uzushio got to the Senju compound and Hashirama is headed our way” Madara glanced down at Tobirama for conformation and the albino nodded, a tightness appearing in the corners of his eyes; it looked like Madara was going to get his chance to put his plan in action sooner than he had realized (f*ck, he didn’t want to give up their nice afternoon together). “I have to go” he told his husband (beloved) and Tobirama nodded, raising and pulling Madara after him into their room to help him into his red armor “Darling, I’m sorry –“ “Hush Madara, it’s alright. I know – I know you have to, just, be careful and, come back to me” Madara’s heart hurt at the soft emphasis (how long would Tobirama doubt that Madara cared for him first above all others? Not that it mattered, Madara would do it as long as he had too) and he captured Tobirama’s face in his hands and pressed their lips together softly “Where you are is where I will always return” the Uchiha murmured into Tobirama’s lips and they lingered together as long as they could before pulling apart and Tobirama turned his eyes back to the ties of Madara’s armor (why did this feel so much harder than going to a battle ever had before?).

Izuna was waiting at the door in his own armor with Touka standing next him with a tight look on her face as she shoved a battered knife into the shocked younger Uchiha’s hands and in the cover of Izuna’s flustered flailing Kikiyo handed him the bundle she had gotten ready for him (Madara knew that Tobirama had seen it but his husband- beloved- didn’t ask) and the Uchiha shoved it into his armor, ignoring the way Izuna was blushing at Touka as he stepped out the door and hesitated just off the engawa until Tobirama stepped up behind him and tangled his fingers in Madara’s hair and leaned down to press a lingering kiss to the corner of Madara’s lips, before pulling back his eyes dark and full of trepidation; Madara looked up at the man he loved, so strong and brilliantly shinning and so much more than Madara had ever thought he would get. He blew out a shaking breath and picked up pale hands, pressing a reverent kiss to Tobirama’s long fingers, lingering with them pressed to his lips as Izuna joined him (blushing hotly) and drawing back to meet Tobirama’s eyes for a moment before turning, grabbing his brother and setting out for the gates at a run, joined by more of his clan as he went (and unaware- as was Tobirama- of the shaking knees of the clan members left behind that had seen the goodbye he exchanged with Tobirama; they had figured out that the two would be cute together but that….that was something a lot deeper than just cute).

Madara lopped across the ground at a ground eating run, Izuna pacing him with a dark face; neither one of them knew what Hashirama would do now, how the Senju would react to the disappearance and possible (probable as far as Hashirama could know) death of his last brother. If it were anyone else- or even Hashirama without what he knew now- he would assume he was running to a fight where the Senju would finally stop play acting and really commit to killing Madara; but with what he had seen, with how Tobirama responded to things and how he always seemed so shocked to have Madara’s attention and expected to be pushed aside (thought that he had to be useful to be wanted, thought that Madara couldn’t possibly be interested in him, thought that his comfort mattered so little that he wouldn’t think to ask for clothing that didn’t hurt him, god he thought he had to be useful), with Tobirama’s reactions on the top of his mind he had no idea what to expect from Hashirama. When it came down to it he didn’t know the other man at all, not really, and he needed to him there was ever going to be progress on peace (peace he still wanted and know Tobirama did too, he had read those notes after all) with the Senju and hopefully the other clans as well.

Madara hesitated on the edge of the field where his clansmen were already pulling back to meet with him when he didn’t rush straight into the battle; Hikaku stopped next to him breathing hard and with a nasty gash on his arm (they were at a stalemate now, the Senju wouldn’t attack Madara without Hashirama or Tobirama but they wouldn’t leave either) “They’re being strange, something’s different” the other Uchiha gasped and Madara nodded stepping out to stand in the center of the field, arms folded and waiting. He tipped his head back and felt the chill wind pull at his hair as it picked up across the grass, carrying the scent of rain under purple clouds, it was then as he looked up into the rainclouds that he felt it, felt Hashirama speeding through the trees straight to him; the arrow of a bow that his own actions had strung. The Senju head pulled to a stop across from Madara, wind snapping through the trees as the Uchiha looked at the man who might have been his friend again if things were different; Hashirama looked tired and pale, the strongly handsome lines of his face tight with some emotion Madara couldn’t name. “Hashirama”

(Tobirama stared at the gathering clouds, the feeling of Madara and Hashirama’s chakra meeting on a battlefield he wasn’t on. Touka stood at the door and watched him with dark eyes)

Madara said, voice firm and inscrutable. Hashirama straightened to his full height, meeting Madara’s eyes head on “Where is my brother Madara?”

(red eyes closed as the first thunder cracked)

a breath in, out, the taste of ashes

(air pulled in through thin lips caught and choked on an aching sound)

Madara reached in his armor for the package Kikiyo had given him

(pale hands twisting together painfully)

and pulled it out, white catching the slanting light as thunder snapped

(chakra sifted and boiled far away)

Madara tossed it between them at Hashirama’s feet.

(the sky broke open and water hesitated, held up over the entire Uchiha compound. Touka’s lips went tight)

The Senju stared at it and reached out with shaking fingers, behind Madara Izuna dragged in a shocked breath as Hashirama’s fingers closed on blood soaked white fur. “no”

(the sky shivered and the white head tipped back, totally focused on something else)

no, there must be some mistakeMadara watched impassively “He didn’t fight back” the Uchiha said “we didn’t know why he was there” his voice was firm and remote “there was no reason for him to come” he watched the Senju’s fingers go tight in white fur “I had no quarrel with him” a hitching sound from broad shoulders “tell me why your brother wanted me to kill him” and Hashirama shook. Fell forward over his knees, curled around the fur that so closely looked like his brother’s as a thin tight noise slid between his teeth “no

(and Tobirama folded forward- “no” -as the rain dropped from the sky in a sheet of falling water and Touka tipped her head back, slamming a fist into the door frame behind her)

The fur was white but for the blood. Plain white with no gray markings.

Chapter 21: thirteen tea roses

Summary:

A secret admirer, or forever friendship; I will remember always

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Tobirama shook silently, folding over to kneel in the soft moss next to the edge of the large koi pond as he ignored the water soaking him, all his senses filled with the chakra he could feel at the battlefield where his husband confronted his brother. He didn’t know what Madara was planning- had gone out of his way not to know- but there was no hiding the sharp twist of pain in Hashirama’s chakra and it just – (was it even him Hashi was upset about or was it that Madara was upset with him?) Tobirama had been raised at his father’s hand to be his brother's right hand, his sword hand; raised to be a tool that could be turned to whatever purpose father or brother wanted, but even more than that he had learned as a very young child- the one thing that he had decided for himself, the one thing he had chosen- was that the one thing that mattered to him more than anything in the world was his brothers. He had chosen early that keeping them from as much pain as he could was his highest goal, wanted desperately to keep them from the ache that filled his days, to keep them from bloody hands and a heart that would never fully relearn how not to be stone (if he had been a little better, pushed a little harder, failed a little less, maybe Itama would still be alive – he had thought that he had a little more time to push father into letting Itama train as a healer, but he wasn’t fast enough and Itama died). Tobirama remembered as a child looking down at his brothers all curled close and swearing an oath deep in his heart, I will do anything to keep them safe and happy, anything, even go against his father, even turn against his purpose, anything; and when he failed at that, when Kawa died, Tobirama felt like he went into shock, cold and broken. But he tried harder, he payed more attention, he did better, and it wasn’t enough when Itama died (and the parts of him that died with his little brother he didn’t even see until he was betraying his big brother on a river bank and realizing his should have buried his heart with Itama’s corpse), he wasn’t enough. Not ever.

And now…now Hashirama was in pain and it was Tobirama’s fault, the one thing he had sworn, had promised, had made his everything his whole life and here he was doing it; by his inaction and failure he was letting his big brother get hurt and no matter why Hashi was upset- whether it was Tobirama or Madara he was upset for- it was still his fault and his failure. He shook, gasping and soaking with the water he had unintentionally held back (he hadn’t lost control like that since he was a child yanking the water out of a pond when Kawa fell in) and the pounding rain that followed; how could he have allowed this to happen? How could he have failed his brother so badly? What if he did the same to the Uchiha, to Izuna or Touka or- gods please no- Madara? He curled tighter around the ache in his chest, a thin tight sound sliding past clenched teeth like a wounded animal (failure, failure, failure, what if he hurt Madara).

(Touka watched Tobirama fall apart with grit teeth and seething anger, trying not to hit anything again- the door frame was already cracked- but useless fury snarling in her veins. If only Madara was here he would be able to draw Tobirama out of his spiral but Touka knew from long experience there was little she could do but wait for it to pass and hope that her little cousin would come back. Things would be different this time, she promised herself, this time Madara would come back and pull Tobirama out of the dark places where Touka couldn’t reach him, this time Madara would be there to hold her cousin, this time Tobirama wouldn’t fall right back into his old habits because they wouldn’t let him. She just had to be patient and wait, Madara would return and she would watch over Tobi in the meantime- as she always had. And if she was thinking about burying herself in her own Uchiha’s arms for a while to forget this sh*t, well, that was the point of having an Uchiha wasn’t it.)

(Around the compound the Uchiha clan stared at the water falling from the sky, the memory of rain held frozen in the air wasn’t one they would soon forget and they exchanged wary glances, wondering – why was their winter fox so upset and how did they kill whatever was causing it?)

Madara looked at Hashirama and felt far away from the other man; he looked young suddenly, like a child in the dirt clutching the fur he didn’t even know Tobirama well enough to realize wasn’t his (a tactical risk, if Hashirama had noticed Madara was willing to play things differently, but he hadn’t and here they were), didn’t even realize Madara shouldn’t have had it given that Tobirama hadn’t worn it for over a month before he left the Senju compound (had Hashirama just assumed that his brother had stopped wearing it for some reason and never thought to ask? But no, of course he wouldn’t ask if something had happened, why ask a tool about a decoration?) so the explanation for that was unneeded as well. Hashirama whimpered over the fur and Madara felt water drip onto his cheek as rain pattered down on both of them, blowing in light sheets across the field (something in Madara twisted, he needed to be with his husband (beloved)) like sea spray “no, not my last brother, please Madara, I don’t understand” the Senju whimpered and Madara sighed deeply “He came to me wanting death and how was I to know what was going on until he was apologizing on the ground with gasping breath? Hashirama why did your brother want me to kill him?” Madara asked, trying to ignore the ache of even implying his beloved had died.

Hashirama gasped, looking up with wild eyes “The knives” he said and Madara raised an eyebrow “A gift, poorly given in retrospect, he saved one of my clansmen and I owed him for that” truth, Tobirama had saved Kenshin from bloodline thieves this summer and Madara was in his debt for that even though that wasn’t what he had been trying to do. “The glove?” Hashirama asked weakly and Madara co*cked his head “What of it? Do you never give gloves to your clan members?” Hashirama gaped, “But…that…” “Why did your brother want me to kill him?” Madara asked again, Hashirama had to acknowledge his guilt in this before Madara could leave (Tobirama needed him) and thus he needed the other man to answer this question “I thought you were mad at him” the Senju breathed and Madara raised his other eyebrow “Why? Did he say he did something about which I should be angry?” “No, but I – he always said he didn’t know what had – but I – but, I was so sure,” Hashirama’s voice was feeble and confused “you’re my friend” and Madara sighed, eyes drawn back towards home and his beloved husband “I am your enemy Hashirama, whatever may have been in the past it is past.” Madara felt his face twist as he looked at the child he had once thought could change the world with him and all he could think of was 'i don’t want to talk to him either' “your brother wanted me to kill him and it was you that set his feet on that path, for f*cksake Hashirama did you forget why we wanted peace to begin with?” no, Madara was done with this, he was needed at home; the Uchiha turned, gesturing to the clan to move out of the field.

There was movement behind him and Madara spun, fire already sparking even as the attack came and the Uchiha batted the halfhearted blow from Hashirama away (even now he couldn’t bring himself to really try to kill Madara could he), throwing the Senju back, fur clutched close to the big man’s armor. Hashirama staggered “His body” he gasped and Madara shook his head “We burn our dead” a pause “he was an honorable foe” and he had been, before he was one of them. “The Senju kunoichi that looked for him spoke to Izuna” he added “I don’t know where she is now” truth, though a little strained, he didn’t know where Touka was though he could guess; Madara shook his head “Go home Hashirama, mourn your dead and put your clan in order without your brother. I’m sure we will fight another time” he said. Hashirama bowed over the fur and Madara had to wonder, just a little, how upset he really was and why. Did he understand what he had done? What had happened? Or was he simply stuck on loosing something that he had never realized he could loose (how invincible and cold did Hashirama think his brother? Did he understand that under the blade that their father had made there was an astonishing man? one so brilliant and gentle and good that it took Madara’s breath away every time he thought about it? But how could he know that and not be screaming to the havens for the loss).

The Uchiha shook his head again and turned away, time to go home, leaving Hashirama bowed over a fur that wasn’t even his brother’s in the rain, brought down by his own foolish blindness (Madara turned his face into the rain and ran).

Notes:

arg, this one doesn't feel right either but I can't tell if I'm just in a weird mood or what

Chapter 22: thirty six amaranth red roses

Summary:

Remembering romantic moments; long standing Desire

Chapter Text

Madara blinked in shock as he entered the compound and looked around at the guards watching the gate; everyone was tense and watchful, on edge in a way that made no sense unless something had happened, “Madara-sama!” he turned to look at the relived looking shinobi watching the gate “What happened?” Madara asked sharply and the man slumped a little “I don’t know Madara-sama, something upset Tobirama-sama, we worried that something had happened to you” the Uchiha head frowned deeply “I’m fine, we all are, what-?” “Ah, it – he –“ the man stumbled around his words for a moment before his partner interrupted “The rain started but it didn’t fall, it hung in the air like Tobirama-sama was holding it up before it all fell abruptly” Madara’s eyes blew wide that was – what? f*ck, that was very worrying. He nodded absently and took off for the house at a fast trot – the clan needed to see him hale and whole, but he needed to get to his beloved husband now, Hikaku could explain what had happen, he would understand. Kikiyo met him at the door with a tight expression and jerked her head towards the garden before slipping past him into the rain to help take care of the returning shinobi; Madara didn’t bother with taking off his sandals as he rushed through the house only to find Touka at the door standing sentinel over the husband Madara couldn’t see from here, she looked back at him and nodded brusquely “Take off your armor” she said sharply moving to him and reaching for the ties on it and forcing him to a stop as he strained to look out and see if he could see his beloved husband and scrambled to help her “What happened?” he snapped “It –“ her voice caught and he really looked at her for the first time; she was pale and tense, upset and stressed with fingers that were somewhat unsteady.

“Touka?” he asked more gently, grateful when Izuna came up behind the Senju and rested a hand on her shoulder and Touka’s muscles relaxed a little “He was keeping any eye on the two of you” she said roughly, pulling the last ties to help Madara lift the shoulder piece over his head as the Uchiha dropped the chest plate; Madara went stiff, already able to see where this was going “and whatever you said to Hashirama sent him into a spiral, he must have felt Hashi-“ but Madara wasn’t listening anymore, leaving his armor in a pile on the floor and darting out the door, gut clenching at the sight of his lover curled on the ground in front on the koi pond. Oh darling, he was across the ground in a flash, stomach lurching when he heard the faint whimpering slipping out of the pale soaking figure; Madara dropped to his knees behind to the albino and folded over his back, curling as close as he could and wrapping Tobirama in his arms and chakra, “Oh darling, pretty eyes come back to me” he whispered roughly, all but able to feel how far away inside his head Tobirama was. He shifted until he could pull the slender man into his lap, uncaring about the wet soaking though him as he surrounded his beloved husband as completely as he could, trying to draw the albino out of wherever his head had gone; “Tobirama, darling, I’m back, it’s alright, I’m here, come back to me pretty eyes”.

Tobirama didn’t know how long it was (failure, failure, failure, dead because of you, Ita- failure, try harder, failure, failure, failure, be better, fail-) but eventually something else began to sink through; (failure, failure-) “-love you-“ warmth, warmth all around him, “-easy-“ a hand pressed against his sternum and another on his hip where arms were wrapped around him (failure, do better), “-I’m here-“ something soft brushing against his arms, soft like feathers or ash or – Mada-(failure, do better, useless, fool, fail-) and then heat washing over him in a suffocating wave as chakra deep and powerful dragged his senses back into himself and snuffed anything but the floating bliss (warm…). “There darling, easy, breath pretty eyes” Tobirama stirred a little, mind still far away even as he felt Madara’s lips brush his temple from far away “’dara?” he breathed muzzily; “Oh thank the fire” the Uchiha rumbled and pressed a kiss like a bright star to Tobirama’s neck, shifting until he could pick up the albino and get both of them off the wet earth. Distantly Tobirama heard Madara say something to Izuna and Touka murmur something but he shut it out, curling into Madara as tightly as he could; Madara was back, he had come back just as he said he would and if he was here then everything would be all right (it had to be). Tobirama burrowed his fingers into the long dark hair, forcing himself to breath slowly and evenly as he could, it would be alight, Madara was here, it would be alight, it would be alright; Madara shifted and set Tobirama down on the bed, kneeling in front of the pale shape as the albino forced himself to blink to focus on his dark haired husband, “’dara” he rasped, reaching out with shaking fingers and pushing back the soaked fringe out of Madara’s face, the quiet sound of rain pattering outside a soothing accompaniment.

Madara smiled weakly “There you are To’ra” he breathed, pressing a kiss to Tobirama’s fingers, “Are you alright ‘dara?” Tobirama asked through numb lips, remembering abruptly that Madara had come back from what might have been a fight “our clan?” “Fine, everyone is fine darling. Not a scratch on me” Tobirama sagged in relief, he hadn’t thought anyone had gotten hurt, but it was hard to think straight long enough to check. Hashir- “To’ra, darling come back,” Madara called softly and Tobirama forced himself beck to the present and Madara still kneeling in front of him “You’re soaked” Tobirama mumbled and reached out with a touch of power and a flicker of fingers to pull most of the water out of the long dark hair he loved so much leaving it damp but no longer dripping. “Thank you darling” Madara murmured softly “let me get you into something dry? Please?” Tobirama nodded, moving easily enough with the Uchiha as he helped the albino out of his water logged clothing and into something soft and dry (everything Madara had made for him was soft but house clothing in particular was just lush, Tobirama had no idea if he was ever going to get used to it) and then turning his attention to helping the Uchiha into something dry as well before pulling him down to sit in front of Tobirama so he could brush the long dark hair. This was better, he could do this, he could focus on this and let that be enough for right now, that would be alright, just brush Madara’s hair; he was good at this, he could do that, this was something he was good at.

Madara rumbled under his hands, pleased and warm- he was always warm and it was everything Tobirama had ever wanted- as Tobirama brushed the tangles out of his dark hair, face going tight as his fingers brushed over a chunk- small and unnoticed unless you knew Madara’s hair as well as Tobirama did- that was shorn short and roughly; the albino could only think of one thing that could have caused that and Tobirama shifted close, wrapping his arms around his husband (dearest) tightly and pressing his face into the ash fine hair. “To’ra?” the Uchiha asked startled but Tobirama couldn’t find the words fighting with the sudden wash of fury; if Hashirama had killed Madara from behind Tobirama didn’t know what he would do (yes he did, he would done his best to kill his brother and then himself) and even the thought of that made all the pain that had haunted him at the pain he was causing Hashirama pale in comparison. It was a sudden flash of clarity, bright and terrible though the last remnants of his creeping (fail-) numbness; there was nothing in the world that Tobirama could contemplate worse than Madara’s death and this, this was different from the way things were before – how could he possibly be what his father wanted now? And how could he ever regret that he was no longer what his father had wanted him to be – not when he had Madara and all his dreams in his arms. Things were different now and how could he ever go back to being his father’s weapon now that he was here in the bosom of what should have been his enemies and happier here than he had ever been before in his life, things were different now and Madara had come back for him (Itama had not, Kawa had not, mother had not, father had not, Hashi had not – not after the river), Madara had come back.

“To’ra? Are you alright?” Madara asked again, concern creeping into his voice “I – Hashirama attacked you; you can’t let him ever touch you again ‘dara, I don’t want to have to kill my brother” and Madara sucked in a shocked breath “To’ra…” but Tobirama just tightened his arms, twisting his head until he could bite sharply at the Uchiha’s neck “No ‘dara, you can’t leave me; I’m a selfish man and you’re not allowed to leave me” he hissed, lips pressed against creamy skin. The Uchiha shuddered, tipping his head to the side and giving Tobirama more access to his neck that the albino took immediate advantage of and laced their fingers together pressed over his heart; “As if I could ever deny you anything pretty eyes” Madara rasped, heat in his voice and the immediate capitulation to Tobirama’s request made the albino snarl and bite a rough mark high under the Uchiha’s jaw where everyone would see it, biting and sucking until he was sure it would be livid in the morning and take a long time to fade. Reluctantly Tobirama released his hold after a long moment and licked gently at it before shifting to tuck his head into the crook of his husband’s (dearest, his) and just breathing through the light floating edges of too much emotion in to short a time.

Madara let him be for a while before shifting and speaking softly “Let me move darling, we can lay down together” and Tobirama reluctantly released his hold to let Madara turn and kiss him slowly, lingeringly; “mmm, back darling, let’s lie down” Tobirama grumbled a little but shifted back until Madara could lounge against the pillows before immediately shifting and burrowing into the Uchiha’s arms, clinging and pressing close as he could get as Madara crooned deeply to him. “All is well darling, all is well”

Madara started a little as the door to his room was opened and Izuna pocked his head into the room, grimacing a bit when he saw his older brother curled up with Tobirama as close as they could get and Madara rolled his eyes, smoothing his hand down the albino’s back when Tobirama grumbled and tried to wriggle closer- not something that could really be achieved at this point- raising an eyebrow at Izuna. The younger Uchiha wrinkled his nose at his brother but kept his voice low anyway “Are you hungry?” Madara sighed a little, “Not really but we should probably eat” he said reluctantly and Izuna nodded “You should be seen out and about as well, both of you; the clan is worried” Madara dropped his head with a soft oath and nodded at his brother “We’ll be down in a few minutes” Izuna nodded back and slipped out as Madara tried to wake his beloved husband – Tobirama was not easy to wake and Madara loved it given what it said about his level of trust in Madara. “Come on sleepy, time to get up, we need to eat and say hi to the clan; they’re a little worried after your rain stunt earlier” Madara said, Tobirama groaned deeply and shoved his face farther into Madara’s neck “sh*t, I haven’t done something like that on accident in a long time, this is so embarrassing” Madara laughed deeply and rubbed at the back of Tobirama’s neck, cupping the back of it and squeezing, smirking when Tobirama relaxed father into him with a faint moan “…that is not helping me get up ‘dara” the albino said breathily.

Madara groaned “f*ck, To’ra” the albino laughed throatily before pressing a kiss to the Uchiha’s neck “Payback dear heart” he purred even as he pulled back sitting up and dragging his hands though moon pale hair and making Madara’s…problem worse. The Uchiha covered his face with his hands “f*ck”, “What-?” “do you have any idea how impossibly breathtaking you are” Madara groaned, dragging his hands down to look at a wide eyed Tobirama “I – uh” Madara gapped “You don’t have any idea do you” he breathed, shocked (thought maybe not so much on second thought, it…fit with what Madara had seen before, he would just have to make sure that Tobirama heard his as often as possible – and yes that delicate blush was definitely part of it). Madara shook his head and leaned up to press a kiss to the sharp collarbone before swinging his legs off the bed and stretching as he stood, sighing as his back crack loudly; it was another moment before he heard Tobirama start moving again, adjusting his clothing and dropping a kiss on the corner of Madara’s mouth as they stepped out of their room.

Touka’s clear relief at seeing Tobirama made Madara’s gut clench sharply- had it been that bad or was Touka reacting to older episodes? It had clearly not been a surprise to the Senju that Tobirama had been so bad off- and her fan flicked through several movements that would have looked completely absentminded had Madara not been told that there was a language there he couldn’t read, whatever she said it made the corner of Tobirama’s lip twitch up and he touched her hand before settling at the table flicking a glance and fan tip at Izuna. Touka smirked and fluttered it in front of her face, dropping her eyes coyly and making Tobirama roll his as he dropped the fan next to his plate and turned his eyes to Izuna “Are you well Izuna? No injury?” the younger Uchiha blinked in surprise but shook his head as they set to eating, Madara reminded abruptly that he had had two long runs today and nothing to eat since breakfast as his appetite roared into existence and he set to his food with a will, keeping an eye on Tobirama and slipping him bits of food when it looked like his beloved husband was going to stop eating (he was starting to see the changes already even though it had only been two weeks, Tobirama was going from too thin and sharp boned to sleekly lithe and it was making something in Madara glow with smug pleasure).

It wasn’t until after the food was gone that Tobirama took a deep breath and turned to Madara “What is the story that Hashirama has been told?” the albino asked in a level voice and Madara grimaced, exchanging a look with Izuna. “I…insinuated that you had showed up at the Uchiha compound and died because we didn’t know why you were here and not a threat. I never told him a lie” Madara added with a humorless laugh “didn’t need to, but Kikiyo prepared a fur for me that was enough like yours for Hashirama to mistake it and a little blood was…convincing” Touka was giving him an approving look but Tobirama was staring at his plate with a complicated look on his face. He sighed and rubbed at his face “That makes sense” the albino agreed quietly “it will keep him off your back and give the clan” (and you Madara added mentally) “space. He will need to focus on putting our- his clan in order without either Touka or I. I just –“ he struggled for words and then shook his head, leaning into Madara’s side tiredly “I don’t want to think about this” he muttered and the Uchiha wrapped his arm around narrow shoulders and pressed a kiss to thick hair “Then don’t, focus on the feast tomorrow and the children and the clan matters Kikiyo is going to start passing over to you. Focus on now and here and me” the Uchiha said firmly, Izuna nodded and Touka smiled; Tobirama sighed softly “Very well” he murmured twisting into Madara and breathing words into his ear “I will happily focus on you, dear heart” that had the Uchiha groaning (which set off Izuna’s wailing and Touka laughing “Whhhyyyyy!? Why must you be like this all the time???”).

Chapter 23: one rose of sharon

Summary:

Devotion; consumed by Love

Notes:

largely smut - emotional as usual but not needed if you like to skip that

Chapter Text

Tobirama smiled when Madara moved up behind him, pressing close and kissing his neck hotly “I have another gift for you if you would accept it” the Uchiha purred and Tobirama blinked “Another one?” he gasped “’dara-“ but the Uchiha just laughed and kissed him into silence, “If you think I am going to stop giving you gifts simply because we are wedded now you clearly are mistaken, I intend to spoil you for the rest of our natural lives” he promised darkly and Tobirama shivered. He couldn’t pretend he didn’t like the gifts; so far they were all wonderful and perfect for him and Tobirama had never really had that before- father hadn’t given many gifts and even then he gave what was needed not what was wanted and Hashi…well same old story- so it was a sharp warmth every time Madara placed something new in his hands; another clear proof of how well his husband (dearest) knew him and how much effort he put into giving him what he wanted and every time he looked at the gifts he knew- had physical proof- how much Madara cared for him, how could he not love that? (And it was guiltily nice to be spoiled and doted on though Tobirama knew he shouldn’t enjoy it so.)

“Close your eyes darling” Madara rumbled behind him in a dark voice and Tobirama laughed but did as he was asked feeling the Uchiha move around him, the rustling of his clothing cluing Tobirama into Madara kneeling, “Can I touch your leg?” Madara asked and Tobirama shivered as Madara’s touch lingered around his bare ankle (he hadn’t worn anything under his robe to dinner, there hadn’t seemed to be much point) “Yes” he breathed and Madara lifted his foot, pressing a kiss to the knob or his ankle. Tobirama’s breath hissed out but he remained still and let Madara have his way; there was a rustling and something cool and wide settled around his ankle, Madara pressing kisses around the top of what must have been an anklet “You know the Nara wear rings when they wed? The Uchiha have never done that, to much risk with weapons, but ankles…it’s not as obvious as we might like as much as we like to show off our partners, but it is a private reminder.” The Uchiha rasped, Tobirama licked his lips, mouth dry “And is there one for me to put on you?” he asked; Madara hummed as he kissed his way up Tobirama’s leg, lingering at the bend of his knee and making Tobirama sway with swelling heat. “Of course darling” Madara breathed against Tobirama’s skin before setting it down and lifting the other fastening what felt like a slim chain around his other ankle with hot open mouthed kisses; Tobirama’s head tipped back and he breathed out around a faint moan “And that?” he asked, “Means nothing other than I thought it would look good on you. I was right” and the rasp in the Uchiha’s voice made Tobirama shudder almost as much as his mouth on the albino’s skin.

Madara stood slowly, skimming his hands over Tobirama’s sides as he did before stepping back slowly, moving away for a long moment, soft clinking cluing in Tobirama even as his husband (dearest) returned “May I touch your neck?” he asked and the albino laughed throatily “You don’t need to ask ‘dara” Tobirama said tipping his head into the lingering caress as Madara fastened an impossibly soft length of fabric around his neck, a heavy pendant cool against the notch of his collarbone “The pattern of my Mangekyō” he rasped and Tobirama shook with delight, fingers raising to brush over the smooth glass “Oh” he breathed and Madara moaned into his ear, head dropping onto the albino’s neck for a moment before his hands shifted and another chain interspersed with large medallions dropped around Tobirama’s neck “I want to see you with my clan crest on you” followed a moment later by what felt like a several chains and dangling ends “I’ll show you want this one it last” Madara gasped into his ear and Tobirama hummed. Madara moved away again and took Tobirama’s hand when he returned, picking it up carefully to keep from surprising the former Senju; the Uchiha lifted Tobirama’s hand to his lips and brushing kisses across it before licking at his fingers “Gods of flame I love your hands To’ra, they’re so very strong” he sucked gently at the first two and Tobirama whimpered “so skilled” turned and pressed an open mouthed kiss to the palm “so careful” a bite on the inside of his wrist before reluctantly pulling back and wrapping cool metal around his wrist and slipping something up his arm to curl around his bicep. Madara switched to the other arm, curling metal and gems around Tobirama’s skin and spending even more time lingering and licking, sucking, humming around the fingers before drawing back slowly and smoothing his hands inside the robe.

“May I take this off you?” he rasped and Tobirama whimpered, so hot he almost couldn’t breathe, before forcing his voice to work “yes” Madara groaned and pushed the fabric off the albino’s shoulders cool air and metal settling against his burning skin making Tobirama gasp even as Madara whined “Of sweet gods if you could see what you look like...” he trailed off and smoothed his hands up the albino’s sides before tugging on one of the chains draped around Tobirama’s neck. “Tell me if you don’t like this” he said firmly as he could in such a breathy voice and Tobirama nodded immediately, shivering in anticipation; Madara’s fingers circled around his nipple, coaxing it into firmness and making Tobirama whine only to jerk and spasmed when something cool and tight clamped around the nub, swaying when he realized that Madara had fastened some kind of nipple clamp on him that was connected to the necklace. “Good?” Madara asked on a moan and Tobirama nodded franticly, shuddering when the other closed and sent a flash of heat through him “Madara” he whimpered and the Uchiha fell into a hot kiss as though it would be painful not to.

Madara was so hard his head was spinning; Tobirama was so stunning like this (trusting Madara with his eyes closed and draped in things Madara had given him) Madara felt like he couldn’t breathe. He coaxed his lover to the bed with careful touches and positioned them carefully facing the window looking out over their garden, reflective with the dark; he wanted Tobirama to see how stunning he was, wanted his beloved husband to see himself the way that Madara did, stunning, breathtaking, mesmerizing. It was easy with so much of Tobirama’s trust to coax the albino in front of him, kneeling on Madara’s lap with his back to the Uchiha’s chest even as Madara reached for the ointment they used for this and slicked his fingers, pressing his other hand just above the jut of Tobirama’s hard, delicious co*ck. “Open your pretty eyes darling” Madara rasped even as he pressed a finger in- a little difficult from this angle but Madara couldn’t bring himself to care. Tobirama’s stunning eyes flew open on a sharp gasp and blew wide when he saw them in the window; Madara watching him over his shoulder, the albino's pale shape slim and lithe in the broader Uchiha's embrace as Madara curled close around his lover, glittering metal and jewels drawing the eye over china-pale skin and accentuating the red markings.

“If only I had a chain to wrap around your pretty co*ck darling” Madara’s voice was deep and throaty as he watched Tobirama twist on his fingers every breath pulling at the chains clipping his nipples together making the albino whine; “I’ll wrap pearls around it, or thin silver chains so tight you can’t come until I let you” he purred and Tobirama whimpered. “Ma-ah-da-ra, in please, more” and there was no way in hell that Madara could resist his beloved husband pleading with him, not today. He pressed in, panting as tight heat wrapped around his co*ck; it was good, so, so very good (it always was) “Do you see what we look like? Look – ha – at yourself – To’ra – do you see how stunning you are?” he gasped and panted into the albino’s ear even as Tobirama lifted up a little and pressed down with a long moan. “Look at how you look in my symbols, in my gifts” Tobirama whimpered “look at what we look like together pretty eyes, see what you look like to me” the albino whined and twisted, one hand knotted in Madara’s hair behind the Uchiha’s head, the stretch forcing him down on Madara’s co*ck harder and tugging at the metal around hard pink nubs; transfixed Madara dragged on hand up to rub at the hard peaks, Tobirama’s shivering around Madara’s co*ck making the Uchiha swear deeply. “Madara!!” the former Senju whined as Madara dropped his other hand to curl tight around the pale co*ck, framing it with his broad hand and holding it to watch it slide though his hand every time Tobirama shoved down onto Madara. “Look at you – gods – so beautiful, wish I had a clone just to suck you off just like this” Madara panted, completely lost on the sight of them together Sharingan having spun into existence long ago.

It was slow like this, slow and molten like nothing Madara had ever felt before as both of them pushed farther and farther up, Tobirama twisting under Madara’s hands on his body and words purred in his ear and Madara dizzy with the heat of his beloved husband's body and the magnificent sight they made together; Tobirama was his, his, his, and like this there was absolutely no way that that could be denied. Tobirama was his and he was taking such good care of him, it was Madara’s care that had the albino writhing and moaning and beautiful; Madara’s and Madara was taking care of him, Madara was the one that was taking care of him now and Tobirama was flourishing under it and it was that that sent Madara over the edge, his sudden tight grip and the wash of heat dragging the albino after him.

Chapter 24: comes before the fall

Summary:

Pride

Notes:

Hashirama's thinking is very muddled here and it's short which all Hashirama POV will be (there will also not be much of his POV)

Chapter Text

Hashirama stared at his fingers for a long time, mind far away and fuzzily empty before he dropped his head into his hands and rubbed at his eyes. There was so much work to do, he had never realized how much of it Tobi and Touka did and with both of them…absent (gone, Tobi was-) he was struggling to fight his way through the work that was piling up and trying to figure out who to turn to for help now; there was a few main line cousins and Kaito was one that Tobi had…trusted (?) or at least worked with, which was honestly as best Hashirama could find in terms of recommendations. Kaito’s wife was a smart woman as well and one that was also distantly related to the main line but Ayme was a healer so he couldn’t turn to her for help and – Hashirama swore softly and slammed his hand down on the desk, how dare Tobi just leave and abandon all this to- but no. The Senju snarled at himself, Tobi – Tobi hadn’t abandoned Hashirama not, not really he had just – that was – Hashirama had – Ayme was out but Kaito would help and Hashirama still needed to look into a spouse before long though he didn’t know how he was going to treat with the Uzumaki without Tobi- no. just, no. Maybe he couldn’t talk to the Uzumaki but it wouldn’t be bad to reaffirm the Senju alliance with the Hatake and it would take him a long time to figure out how to treat with Uzu now and he had to marry, the clan needed the certainty that came from a line of succession and – wait what about the Mizuchi? Tobi had told him about an offered contract with them a while ago and if Hashirama wasn’t wrong that clan was very good with bloodline traits, the malleability making them a good fit for passing traits down, that – that would work. It wasn’t perfect and he had to figure out how to deal with the Uzumaki but the snake clan would be easier to treat with, a lot easier (he remembered that from what Tobi had told him, though he wished that he had listened more now that Tobi was – was -).

Hashirama shoved away from his desk and walked over to the window; Kaito would help, and there were a few others that he had worked with, he hadn’t been that divorced from the running of his clan- at least not the people side of it- even if Tobi had done the most work (how had Hashirama not known about all that work? How had – how – he – Tobi had done so much, and the healers said – but they must be wrong, Hashirama would have known, he would have known, wouldn’t he?). He needed to go through his brother’s things – and just – why had Tobi gone to Madara (surely it wasn’t what Hashirama had said? There was no way it could be that no matter what Madara – and how – but – it wasn’t his fault) and why had Madara…done that; Madara was his friend, was his gift from the divine, his dream sharer and closer than even a brother and his! how dare Madara walk away from that?! How dare Madara get married (unless, surely it was for an heir and not love, just like Hashirama was going to, but Izuna was the heir wasn’t he?) without telling Hashirama?! They were best friends! but – Tobi – how could Madara have – Tobi, Tobi. Wetness dripping onto his hands started Hashirama out of his thoughts and he stared down at his hands, confused by the spreading damp; why-? (Tobi)

He drew in a breath and swiped his hands over his cheeks, there was thigs to do and he had to talk to elder Emi about the diplomacy, it had been years since she had taken lead on such things (when had Tobi taken over for her and why hadn’t Hashi – no, it wasn’t – Tobi should have told him. Tobi should have told him if things were that hard for him right?) but she could take them over again and he had a…goodish relationship with the elders (he did now, after Tobi had made things right after Hashi had, had insisted on making some changes on the way that the clan was run but – what was Tobi not involved in?...had not been involved in). The paper in his fingers made a flapping sound and Hashirama stared at his fingers (was his hand shaking?) brain a hazy mess (had he tried to stab Madara? his Madara?) (but Tobi, Tobi, why?) (why would Tobi Madara do that?), no, he had work to do. his clan, his peace, there was work to do. (so much work, why-? You should have told me!)

Chapter 25: sampaguita

Summary:

fidelity, strength and dedication

Notes:

follows right after after ch. 24

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Touka was laughing at him and Izuna didn’t even care (it was good to hear her laugh after…after earlier – the way that she had looked when they got back still made Izuna’s chest hurt, seeing her in that pain was something he would really like to avoid), why brother?! Why?!? Izuna didn’t want to see that; sure he loved that Madara was so (sickeningly) happy and content and he…didn’t hate that Tobirama looked so happy too but still, Izuna didn’t want to see that!! (maybe Tobi would make him a jutsu to bleach his eyes, worth a try. It seemed more likely than them stopping) “Izuna” Touka said, laughter edging her voice like gold gilding and every bit as mesmerizing to Izuna as he dragged his face out of his hands to stare at her (so pretty…); Touka shook her head and a smile curved her dark red lips “you realize they’re not going to stop?” she asked and Izuna whimpered again, burying his head in his hands again “Whyyyy?!?”

It took Touka a long time to stop laughing and start clearing plates off the table; Izuna scrambled up to help, all but tripping over his feet in the rush to gather things off the table and follow his – his – intended (!!He was wearing Touka’s knife!!) into the kitchen. “You don’t-“ he said as he placed things on the counter. She shot him an unimpressed look “The lowest ranking members take care of the washing up in your clan don’t they? At least at dinner, I know Madara has cleaned up after other meals” Izuna squirmed a little, she wasn’t wrong, they had always had the lowest ranking family member clean up after dinner; back when there had been more people in the house that had been…different, now it was only Madara and Izuna and Kikiyo- though Hikaku and Yuuko had dinner with them often and were in and out of the house- except that was different now wasn’t it? There was Tobirama now, and Touka and Haru and Kagami darting in and out and eating lunch with them most of the time, things were different now. (it frightened Izuna a little to think about what his reaction to this would have been before he started talking to Chura, to think about how easily he would have thrown this all away before he even knew what he was losing.)

“Izuna?” Touka’s hand on his cheek pulled him out of his thoughts and he looked in her dark eyes, the faint furrow between her perfect brows and the words just slipped out “Can I kiss you?” he blurted and Touka’s eyes went wide for a moment before a sly smile curved her hearts-blood red lips “No” Izuna’s heart plummeted “but I'll kiss you” he was getting dizzy with emotion whiplash, or, wait, was that the feeling of her lips on his and her hand on his hip? Yup, that was definitely what was making him feel faint (wow), the warmth of her and the faint taste of her lip-paint and – ooohhh – what had he been thinking? That thing with her lips was…. Touka drew back slowly, a light flush on her cheeks almost immediately overtaken with a bright smug smile as Izuna stared dazedly at her “You – I – wow” was he stuttering? He was stuttering wasn’t he. On the other hand he challenged anyone to be kissed by Touka and then see her smile like that and not lose track of their thoughts – wait! NO, he didn’t challenge anyone with that, nobody was allowed to do that but Izuna (unless Touka changed her mind, please don’t change her mind…). The Senju laughed and tugged at his hair gently “Come on pet, we should get these dishes clean” Izuna nodded along dumbly with her words and followed obediently to help dry dishes as she washed them. (He almost dropped and broke on of the bowls when Touka shot him a look out of the corner of her eyes and smirked “you don’t need permission for a kiss Izu”.)

(As they cleaned Izuna quietly asked her about the afternoon and listened softly as she explained about Tobi’s reaction to feeling Hashirama upset, explained in a tight voice about watching Tobirama fall apart under the grief of his little brothers and his too cold father, as she explained how hard it was to know that Hashirama- who was a good kid before he was a spoiled man, who she had did loved even after everything- was in pain and fear at the same time that the man wouldn’t actually learn from that pain, explained in a shaking voice as she scrubbed too hard at a long since clean dish that it felt – felt like she was failing her clan, failing her other cousin; surely she should have stayed and made sure that Hashirama learned and—Izuna took the rag from her hand and tugged her into his arms and hummed softly until the shuddering stopped.)

Morning came too early in Izuna’s opinion, creeping in with Izuna’s gratitude that he was so far away from his brother’s room (he did not need to know anything about what Madara and Tobi did in bed) and the excited knowledge that Tobirama’s official introduction into the clan was tonight and therefore a damn big party; it was the first chance they had to introduce their new members to how the Uchiha partied and Izuna was looking forward to it. The only thing that Izuna wished was that – wait. He shot up, shoving his loose hair over his shoulder and all but falling out of bed as his feet tangled in the sheets and he ran to knock on Touka’s door, too excited by his idea to be worried at the growl in the woman’s voice when she called for him to come in “Touka!” he gasped breathlessly “Touka, I have just had the most amazing idea” (Touka didn’t like mornings, she and Tobirama both hated them and being woken- even by her cute Uchiha- was not something that made her happy. On the other hand…he was adorable in the morning with his loose hair and yukata, she licked her lips, yup, she would be ok with waking up to this in her bed) “Touka you said that Tobi knows how to dance right? and that he’s good at it? so, so, what if he danced tonight?!” Touka frowned a little and Izuna leaned closer “think about the look on Madara’s face” and a smile of pure, delightful evil spread over the Senju’s beautiful face (…..wow…..) “Yeeessss” she hissed “yes that would be…wonderful” then she turned to Izuna with a glint in her eye “my clever little love, thinking of wonderful things” (oh sh*t, Izuna liked begin called that) “how ever shall I reward you?” (they were a little late to breakfast and Izuna was in enough of a well kissed haze to not wail about the glow-y look to his brother and Tobirama).

It was Touka who pulled Tobi aside after the meal while Madara talked to Kikiyo about the clan and how they were faring after yesterday (the story would have to be passed around so that no one was to talk about Tobirama and give up the game, the clan would have no problem going along with it- they were possessive of their winter fox- but still need to know what the game was) and Tobirama looked at his cousin with clear wariness “…what Touka?” the female Senju grinned the grin of the diabolical “We have an idea for you little cousin, how would you like to give your husband a treat?” and Izuna took one look at the flush slipping over pale cheeks and the thick vermillion collar with its glass pendant (oh for-! Madara, possessive much?) and the way Tobirama’s fingers brushed over the pendant and Izuna took a deep breath to fight down the whimper (really Mada?!) “I know he would like it, like, I know he would” Izuna forced out around the whimper in his throat. Tobirama looked between them uncertainly for a moment “…What do you have in mind?” he asked, still wary; “Nothing much, just that you dance for him” Touka said “he saw a little bit of your dance on the Hagoromo mission” (Tobirama cringed) “apparently he liked it so much he almost didn’t get out on time and told Izuna all about the dancer he saw” Tobirama shot Izuna a glance and the Uchiha nodded vigorously “I just thought it would be nice to give him a chance to see the whole thing”.

Tobirama looked between them for a long moment, his fingers brushed over the Mangekyō pendent and Touka smirked “…fine “ the albino sighed and Touka cackled. Izuna punched the air and yanked Tobi into a hug, freezing for a second until the former Senju hugged him back, the stiffness fading out of his body the longer that Izuna squeezed him. Touka snickered and tugged on Izuna’s hair, pulling the Uchiha back and pressing a hard kiss to his lips before ushering him out to make preparations for the right music in the festivities. (As Izuna darted out the door he heard Tobirama speak behind him “I’m going to regret this aren’t I?” and Touka cackling like something demonic – Izuna had never been more attracted to anyone before in his life.)

Night came on with the entire clan was bubbling over with excitement, they had seen Madara and Tobirama together but never for long (just long enough to get hit with The Cute) and were very much looking forward to seeing their clan leaders interact in front of them (also, the Uchiha loved a good party) and Izuna was reveling in the vibrant atmosphere, it had been so long since the clan had had something to celebrate like this; for far too long it had been funerals or season festivals- always a little bitter with the empty places where loved ones had been before- and the chance to really celebrate something as good as the clan head getting married- and married to someone he was crazy about (the clan was so grateful that Tobirama had taken Madara’s hand in marriage, at least the fretting over gifts had stopped…right?)- and the joy they had seen return to their leader wasn’t something that any one of them wanted to lose. Standing in the middle of the square watching his clan swirl around him lighting the fires and setting up tables around the edges, the heady scent of food (fish, fish and blueberries and Madara’s favorite sweet buns) filling the air and his clan vibrating with excitement, Izuna breathed deep and felt something prickle at the back of his eyes, something like joy and heartbreak (was this what Madara’s peace was? Was this what Madara wanted so desperately, a chance to celebrate without sorrow?) catching in his throat and it was – it was just so – so hard and Izuna didn’t – didn’t – didn’t – his breath caught and he couldn’t breath and then – and then arms wrapped around him, strong and firm as a chin settled on his shoulder and Touka hummed in his ear “Your clan does know how to get ready for a party” she said, the words slipping across Izuna’s cheek and making the sting in his eyes turn wet (this was what his brother meant wasn’t it. The chance to celebrate with loved ones that they never would have been able to find before).

“Izuna?” Touka said, concern in her voice as she turned the Uchiha to face her “what’s wrong pet? Oh, don’t cry, it’s alright, everything is ok for now” she murmured wiping at his cheeks and her dark brows furrowed in concern; Izuna hiccupped a little “I – I know, that’s, that’s the th-thing, I can’t remember that last time everything was this good and I just…” he trailed off, not sure was he was trying to say but Touka’s eyes went soft and dark and she drew him close, wrapping her arms around him and tipping their heads together “Oh Izu” she sighed but said nothing else and let them just stand quietly together until Izuna felt a little less like he was going to fly apart at the seams. In time Izuna’s emotion eased and he pulled back enough to kiss her gratefully, pleased when he pulled back to see the smug smile back on her face even as her dark eyes searched his; after a moment she nodded, dragged him in for a heady kiss (Izuna was so impressed by her lipstick game, he already knew that when she pulled back his lips might be red but it wouldn’t be smeared all over either of them, it was impressive) and then let him go, a little dazed and tired, to show her what was being prepared and the nature of the Uchiha when their passion was turned to joy and not war. (Touka wanted out of the house, she would have to go back in later to help Tobi dress but until then she was getting out of the sappy, she wasn’t even in the same room as the happy couple and she could still feel spun-sugar scented air wafting through the house.)

Notes:

Tobirama's dancing will be sort of based on Dunhuang Dance

Chapter 26: nine hundred and ninety nine dog roses

Summary:

Eternal and infinite love; Pleasure, Pain

Notes:

Notes about dance below, though it might be good to listen to some music while reading

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Tobirama grimaced a bit at the glint in Touka’s eye as she stepped up next to him on Izuna’s arm, Kikiyo on the other side of Madara in a lovely kimono of sunset colors; they were all well dressed really and must have been quite the sight, Madara in Uchiha indigo and gold and Tobirama in silver and vermillion with Touka wrapped in rich greens and Izuna in another shade of red. Yes, thought Tobirama as Madara nodded at Hikaku and Yuuka at the doors- Tobirama was completely unsurprised that the Uchiha preferred (required) dramatic entrances, Madara had always indulged in them after all- they must have made quite the sight when the light from the fires in the square slipped in and over their finery (he had no idea, the Uchiha were struck momentarily breathless by all the sight of them- so much deadly pretty!- and he had no idea that he and Madara looked like light and shadow made human, glowing together in a flickering flame and whispering smoke).

Stepping out into the onto the engawa was stepping out into a wave of sound and scent as the Uchiha cheered and a burst of celebratory flame exploded from the gathered people; yes, Tobirama thought as Madara led him to the tree at the center of the square, these are a people I will take as my own, these are people I will fight and die for. This passion and joy and the way they so easily included Tobirama was more than enough for him to fight for. Fingers brushed against his shoulder and arms affectionately, sly smiles aimed at where his fingers rested on Madara’s arm, bright eyes glittering with respect, warm chakra swirling in his senses like fragrant incense, and all of it, all of it from people that had every reason to hate Tobirama (he had never known such acceptance). “To’ra?” Madara asked under his breath as the reached the center and the albino pulled in a sharp breath, curling a little closer at his husband and brushing a fleeting kiss over his cheekbone “Nothing ‘dara” (there was a faint sound almost like a coo, what-?); the Uchiha examined him but nodded and turned back to the clan, a brilliant smile blooming on his face “Uchiha, clan, family, may I introduce you to my beloved husband, Tobirama Uchiha!” and the clan burst into cheers and blossoming flame jutsu.

The rest of Madara’s remarks- short and uncomplicated for now, they could talk of the future later- passed in a blur for Tobirama, completely overwhelmed as he was by the firefly chakra of his new clan – gods of deeps but they burned bright. It was intoxicating to be around so much unfettered chakra- they must not teach their children to control it the same way the Senju did (and always had), which made sense given that they were all so close to having the same chakra nature- and Tobirama was swept up in it for a long moment before he could reach for Touka next to him (spearmint-burningrosemary-lipstick) and Izuna, so focused on her that it tamed his sharpsoral-lightningfire-petriyedwood into a tight bundle; and of course Madara, brilliant and warm and all consuming when Tobirama turned his senses on the other man (his husband). Grounding as always (as only he had ever been) Tobirama’s senses twined around him and when the Uchiha clan head turned to him to see if he had anything to add (they had talked about it before, he didn’t but Madara wanted him to say something) the albino couldn’t drag enough attention away to remember propriety- not that he cared about that much- and instead curled his hand around Madara’s jaw to draw him into a lingering kiss.

Madara’s breath hitched in surprise but he melted into Tobirama anyway, sliding his arm around the albino’s waist to the sound of cheering (was that…was that cooing?) and dipping Tobirama back into a dramatic kiss; in another life it might have surprised the albino but here? Here he was slowly starting to understand that such gestures were part of his life now and bent easily, gratefully, in his husband’s hands (he had always bent to the whims of those he loved but none had ever held him so close or supported him so much before) kissing deeper and warmer for a sustained moment before Madara reluctantly righted them, petting along the red on Tobirama’s cheek with an adoring look in his eyes (that was definitely cooing) before pulling away completely, apparently willing to let that be Tobirama’s contribution as the albino leaned into his side a little too heavily for normal.

The clan dispersed, turning to food laden tables as Madara lead their little party to the head table under the great tree but pulling Tobirama closer under the shade before sitting “Are you alright, you look a little…” he trailed off at Tobirama sent him a dazed smile and hummed a little tipsily “Perfect, I’m with you” and then, and then, Madara blushed; his eyes went wide and red suffused his cheeks as his mouth opened and closed dumbly and that was worth saying any ridiculous things. Huh. Maybe he should take advantage of his loose mouth while it was easier with him chakra drunk. “You know that don’t you? Everything is better when I’m with you, you make me so…so…so” drat, words were flitting out of his head like sparks off fire “steady, and safe. And happy. And cared for. And horny” (a whimper, Izu? But Madara was fully red now) “I want you ‘dara, always have always will. Can' even imagine loving anyone else, jus' ask Touka. Your chakra-soul- 's just...” he trailed off, running out of ideas of how to explain what Madara was to him and how his chakra felt and why Tobirama had fallen head over heels for him.

Madara was going to faint with the rush of emotion (and blood) to his head. If there was one thing every Uchiha was raised with it was the fear of marrying out clan (or worse of finding a Center out clan) when so few ever felt as intensely as the Uchiha did; too often it fell to tragedy when the Uchiha loved too hard and obsessively (Madara was wise enough to understand that being the object of an Uchiha’s love was no easy thing, not when everything they were was tied to you, it was suffocating sometimes) and the other person simply couldn’t take the pressure, the weight of being a person’s everything. It was a fate he had feared ever since he was a child, waking from dreams of finding a person to love above all others (finding a Center if he was lucky) and destroying them with his love or chasing them away, of killing what he loved and what love they had for him because he couldn’t change his nature (and in the end he knew he would only love like this once, how could he ever sleep with another when when he closed his eyes all he could see was Tobirama in his arms, tucked close and trusting in sleep/arching and flushed with desire adorned with his gifts/curled in the rain over his brother/turning to Madara with a tiny smile just for him? Like all of his blood he would never forget, not ever, and he had feared that all his life (the nightmare haunting him almost as much as dreams of his brother’s blood soaking dirt into mud) and even knowing Tobirama wasn’t a fickle man, even knowing that the albino, his husband, was constant as the tide he had feared that it would be too much. And to find that it hadn’t, that Tobirama flourished under his attention, that his husband turned warm and trusting under focused care, had been a revelation.

But this…to have the words that so often eluded Tobirama no matter how hard he tried to find them for Madara - who hadn’t needed them when he was so often shown had much he was Tobirama’s North and the star he steered by, but it wasnice, was a gift he hadn’t known would touch him so deeply. Tobirama stepped forward a little, closer to Madara and reached for his head with glowing fingers, a dark light Madara had never seen before- and it didn’t even occur to him to move when they settled over his eyes and Tobirama whispered “This is what you mean to me” warmth when the world was cruel/laughter when flashing bright with passion over Hashirama’s idiocy in battle/comfort when nothing seemed worth fighting for/honesty when the world so often lied/despair over never being closer/heartbreak when unwanted/bitter envy that Hashirama would always be first/fool to dream/hopeless secret unkillable glint of want/want when ash soft hair brushed his cheek/pain when eyes slid past/joy when warmth was banked and calm and showed that that could happen/impossible kindness/blissful closeness/burning desire/searing clean-old touch/feeling enough (maybe)/loving/wanting/choosing/needing/adoring/trusting/loving“do you see ‘dara? Do you see how there could never be another?”

Tobirama’s cool fingers drew back, but only far enough to wipe Madara’s tears and smooth over his skin as the Uchiha shook. Overwhelmed he dragged his husband into his arms and buried his face in Tobirama’s neck, unable to speak as gentle hand smoothed down his hair (want when ash soft hair brushed his cheek) and shaking with old fear come undone. Distantly he heard Izuna speak up “what just-?” and Touka answer “I don’t – that was yin release, I’ve seen Tobi use it once before, but I don’t-?” but it hardy mattered (except for the tiny shock of awe, yin release? HOW?!) in Tobirama’s arms with the taste of need in his mouth. “Are you alright?” Tobirama whispered, sounding more awake than he had “I’m sorry to do that without asking, I should have thought better than to do it when I was chakra drunk- you’re clan is so free with their chakra, I’ve never felt anything like it so large scale- and maybe I-“ the anxiety was sparking in his husband again and that wouldn’t do so Madara pulled back and framed that dear face in his hands, kissing the sweet mouth gently as he could. “Don’t apologize for that darling, never for that.” (Tobirama’s smile was like star light.)

Tobirama wasn’t ready for this, he needed more sake to be ready for this. But Touka was ushering him aside and Izuna was speaking to the musicians and the other dancers were being ushered off the cleared space (it was interesting to see how different Uchiha dances were from the pairs oriented Senju dace, much more everyone joining and stopping their feet and swaying hips and wild spinning), so when his cousin shot him a sharp look he sighed and shucked off the top layer of his semi-ornate clothing, layer of rich (soft) cloth in her hands as he stripped down to something he could dance in. It was frustrating to not have proper clothing but there was little to be done with the time they had so this would suffice; hakama- the sharp triangle of hip it bared cooling in the night- and nothing else but a few of Madara’s gifts on his ankles and arms (and the Mangekyō pendant at his neck). Even with the fires it was a little chilly when he stepped back into the fire light at the center of the square but Tobirama knew he would warm quickly as a slow rhythm was started, gong and sweeping strings setting it apart from the Uchiha music as Touka’s light voice took up the wordless melody and the flute followed after her. Well, thought Tobirama, at least he wasn’t alone in this endeavor.

Stepping farther into the center he was surprised by the sudden movement at Izuna tossed a long narrow bolt of brilliant fluttering white cloth over his shoulders, so Touka had found a ribbon for him after all, that would make this easier. It settled over his shoulders and trailed on the ground around him for several feet and Tobirama breathed; lean back, arch, slow and precise as he had been taught. The pull of balance as the music glided him from one movement to another; control, the true show of mastery, smooth, back, lean, hold the bend, let muscles pull against each other and hold him up against the call of gravity and sense, leg out (slow) up, bend, extend, breath, (these pant weren’t ideal, the loose fabric fell back as his knee- slightly bent- brushed his nose, not to bad with a touch of chakra it was nothing more than a flash of thigh, still, ugh, he hated not having the right things) twist, fabric catching a small hand signs worth of wind and flashing out in an eye-catching twist of white (it would get so dirty…), a fast shift, spin fast, faster, faster, leap legs up and even, breath, parallel to the ground as he had been taught. Touka’s voice rose sharply, twisting in wordless hawk call of song, (ah, a gong, the musicians were getting it then) and down, a little pressure of duton and the earth spasmed as if to a great weight landing on it (this was fun with chakra, he hadn’t realized it would be) dust and fluttering white hiding him, wind, use the fabric and a touch of power to spin the dust out and away. Now. Slow, breath, bend (huh, this was so much better with chakra, his hair was brushing the dirt and nothing to hold him up but muscle of one leg as the other extended up, with a little chakra he could bend so much farther back), twist, breath, careful, mind the hands, long, energy out the fingers, hold, stretch (he would need to do this more often, the stretch was lovely on his muscles, he had forgotten he enjoyed this, a mix of dance and kata and purely useless).

Touka’s voice swooped up and down like many voices in an echoing chamber, and the flute fluttered high and bright, then, drop, the twist that came just before the end, stretch, hold, breath, out, flick, white like wings around him, down and twist, breath, reach up, and then out. Touka’s voice drifting and settling like feathers into silence; Tobirama hardly noticed, his hand extended to his slack jawed lover and red eyes locked with violet tinged-red.

Madara had been a little confused when Touka pulled his husband away but Tobirama had looked only a little resigned so he hadn’t said anything about whatever scheme she and his little brother had come up with and sweet flame he was glad he hadn’t when Tobirama stood in front of the fire, his pale skin too white for the fire, glowing like the moon even as Touka started to sing and music rose in a slow drum-less style he had never heard before. Then there was more white fluttering and Izuna darted back to his side with an excited smile. All thought of that left his head the moment Tobirama moved though; Madara had never seen anything like it, perfect economy of motion and grace melded with a shifting display of strength and balance like nothing he had ever seen before (or had he?), a stretch and more white skin, music twisting with long muscles and flaring fingers and – Madara had seen something like this, years ago, perfectly timed to distract as he fled a botched mission, had that, no there was no way but – that bend was to perfect a match “He –“ Madara breathed, transfixed even when Izuna spoke, shock in his voice “Yeah, distracted so you could get out, but, wow, I can see what you were talking about now.” Madara nodded dumbly, Tobirama was…beauty and strength made flesh, control honed to perfection and tiny twists of chakra he wasn’t natured to (Izuna sucked in a shocked breath), and Madara had never seen anything like this (so, so glad he had called up the Sharingan the second he saw Tobirama without a shirt) it was more that he had ever conceived of.

The Music swooped and twisted and Tobirama followed it into stillness, white skin like snow in the sun, glittering with sweat and chest moving in fast but not labored breathing as he held out his hand to Madara. A moment in time and then the Uchiha lunged, over the table in an easy smooth movement to take his husband’s hand and pull him close, nosing at his jaw and kissing light and fast at his lips (he need to catch his breath Madara knew), skimming his hands over sweat slick skin and a rumbling indistinct sound rolling out of his chest “You like it then?” Tobirama asked breathlessly and Madara fell into helpless laughter “You are perfection beloved husband, Tobirama, my To’ra”.

Notes:

it's HARD to write sap when my head hurts...I want to make Tobi hurt with me (I am a horrible person).

Also, I'm not a choreographer so for the dance I wrote it like it feels to perform- though I have never danced this style (dunhuang)- including the little incidental thoughts about costume and such, those are normal things to think about when you know what you are doing well.

Chapter 27: one white rose

Summary:

Devotion; reverence, new beginnings.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Tobirama smiled against Madara’s lips, laughing when the Uchiha tightened his hold on the albino’s waist spun them, lifting Tobirama off the ground and making the former Senju smooth appreciative hands over strong shoulders- gods he loved Madara’s muscles- before wrapping his arms around them. Madara let him down slowly broad hands warm and caressing against the bare skin of Tobirama’s back, eyes warm “You have no idea what you look like do you?” The Uchiha asked; the albino huffed a soft laugh and stroked the side of Madara’s face, brushing the heavy fringe out of dark eyes “As long as you’re looking I don’t really care” he promised. Madara’s eyes went big and red spread out over his cheeks, hair fluffing up and muscles twitching where they were pressed together as he tried not to flail; Tobirama smirked and tipped his head to look at Madara through his lashes “You are looking aren’t you?” his voice was calculatedly demure with the faintest hint of purr and he brushed his fingers over the skin of Madara’s nape under the heavy fall of his hair. It was too much for the Uchiha and he reeled back hands fluttering as he dropped into a Flail with a high pitched sound, spluttering and wide eyed with his hair visibly gaining volume; “I- you- so pretty- and then- but no- you doing this on purpose!- but your- and I!- !-“ Tobirama covered his mouth and ducked his head to hide a smile (he loved Madara’s flailing, it was so honest and genuine and Tobirama adored it).

“Did you do this on purpose?” Touka asked under her breath as she came up next to him and he shot her a tiny smug smile that widened when he saw Izuna come up to his brother; it was clear that he was going to make fun of the older Uchiha right up until Madara flailed at Touka and spluttered something about singing that made Izuna whine a high pitched sound and to the Senju’s shock drop into something that looked like a temper tantrum. “Why do we like them?!” Touka hissed and Tobirama smothered a shocked laugh “I have no idea” he whispered back “think if we slip away now they won’t notice? I’m getting cold” Touka pouted at him and sent a sad glance at Izuna and Madara’s disaster – if they were successfully communicating Tobirama was going to be convinced that Uchiha weren’t fully human. “We can provoke them again” he pointed out and her eyes went wide, a gleeful glint appearing in them “Set them of into Uchiha meltdown in the middle of missions” she whispered; Tobirama set her a chastising glance “No Touka, not on missions were they might get hurt or have to impress someone” he paused and sent a glance at the two Uchiha and the almost visible chakra swirling around them as they thrashed “…on second thought that might work after all.”

Touka grinned and took Tobirama’s arm to steer him towards the house snatching some of the left over food off a table and smirking at the awestruck looks following her baby brother from the Uchiha “Somehow it’s just so much less annoying than Hashirama” she mused handing Tobirama a stick of grilled fish. The albino snorted a little “Yes well, it’s not as constant as him and it’s…honest from them. Hashi never did know when was the right time for his hysterics except that constant was best, he – Madara had never let it lead to him ignoring me, if I was upset he would get over it. He just gets flustered, not hysterical. And Izuna…is just delicate” Touka coughed a laugh into her arm, “Delicate?” Tobirama shot her a resigned look “Kikiyo’s words” he said dryly and Touka threw back her head and laughed brightly, stepping through the door behind him. Her gaze was fond as she touched his cheek “I’m glad we’re here” she murmured, turning away before Tobirama had to respond; the albino ducked his head and thought with only a little bitterness that he rather was too. (Hashi – how was his silly over emotional brother getting along? He couldn’t just turn off worrying about his brother and just…Madara had said that this was the only way Hashirama was going to learn anything even if it was a rough adjustment, that Tobirama had to let Hashi learn or everyone would pay. Still, it was…hard.)

A bright sound and running feet startled him out of his thoughts and he dropped down just in time for Haru to throw himself into the albino’s arms and wrap around the man tightly, “All right little one?” he asked quietly as he stood slowly, Haru tucked close. The little boy nodded into his neck and Tobirama hummed thoughtfully as he settled on the couch “Too loud for you? They are rather different from what we are used to” Haru nodded and curled closer until Tobirama reached for a blanket to wrap around them, grimacing a little at the feel of the sweat drying on his skin but unwilling to disturb his small bundle, it would work until Madara de-fluffed and came looking for him.

It took Madara longer than he really wanted to admit to calm down again and go find his husband, a sulky Izuna trailing after him. He had noticed when Tobirama left- he always payed attention to where his husband was- but given that the albino had left with Touka and a smile he wasn’t too worried (honestly, winding Madara up and then leaving was unfair! Though he hadn’t left until after Izuna showed up and had probably been getting cold without a shirt. Mmmm, without a shirt…so pretty…). The house was comfortingly warm when the stepped in as were the pleased and proud words of his clansman that followed them home (“You did well the bring him into the clan Madara-sama” “He’s a good catch, well worthy of you” “and his cousin is quite the woman! I’m impressed Izuna”); yes, Madara was lucky that Tobirama had even looked at him, much less deigned to come to him, and to sleep in his bed and eat his food and marry him. Madara sucked in a breath as he saw Tobirama, stretched out on the couch with a sleeping Haru on his chest; gods of fire and flame, this was probably the best night of his life and even the ache in his eyes from over use of the Sharingan couldn’t dampen the happy warmth in his chest. Izuna snorted a little- Madara knew his face must be a sight- and slipped past as Madara tried to get his heart under control.

Tobirama shifted and murmured in his sleep and Madara went to his side as if pulled on a string around his heart (like one of the red threads of fate he had heard about in his aunt’s stories), dropping to kneel by his heart and press a gentle kiss to thin lips, shivering in delight when Tobirama hummed into his lips and kissed back a little, brilliant red eyes opening with a sleepy smile up at the Uchiha, “mmm, ‘dara, you done then?” he murmured sleepily. Madara smiled helplessly and smoothed his hand over Haru’s back, he couldn’t even feel anything other than fond exasperation “You knew what you were doing to me didn’t you?” Tobirama’s smile gained a distinctly sly edge “I have no idea what you mean” he purred, knotting his fingers in the ends of Madara’s long hair to tug the Uchiha down for a more lingering kiss. Madara chuckled into the kiss and pulled back “Come on, get the child to bed and then you can sleep” “And bathe” Tobirama added with a grimace at the feel of the dry sweat and dust on his skin.

Madara rolled his eyes and adjusted Haru in his arms as he walked out of the room, amused as always by Tobirama’s distaste for messes; the only time Madara had seen him content with not washing as often as he could was after sex when he was so high on pleasure and endorphins- and relaxed all the way for once- that all he wanted was to curl up with Madara as soon as the older man wiped them off. Tobirama was deeply cuddly and it was definitely worse after sex – not that Madara was complaining, far from it; he loved it, loved that as Tobirama got more comfortable and confidant the younger man took to draping himself over Madara at all times. Haru blinked tiredly as Madara settled him into bed and Madara stroked his head with calming words until his eyes slid shut again and he snuggled down into the bedding; he was a good kid and Kagami had taken to him like a fire to gunpowder, dragging the quiet Senju around after him terrorizing the compound into teaching them random things or feeding them when Tobirama wasn’t spending several hours early in the morning to teach them (Madara didn’t love that, he would much rather his industrious lover stay in bed with him longer to cuddle but was unwilling to put pressure on Tobirama, he did that to himself enough without Madara encouraging it, and anyway he got to spar and train with his husband every evening so it was alright).

Tobirama was exactly where Madara expected him, tucked up in a steaming bath with a blissful look on his face that only go happier when Madara sat at the end of the large tub, curling his fingers around one bony ankle “Did you have a good evening love?” he asked softly; this was one of his favorite times of their days, when Tobirama would soak in the water with or without Madara in the water with him as they talked about their days. It was quiet and intimate in a way sex wasn’t, the sort of lasting closeness Madara had always hopped for with a spouse and never been sure he would get; he hadn’t thought that he would find someone so willing to- and insistent on- brushing his hair every night and taking the time to talk about their days or at least spend some quiet time together. Tobirama peeked his eyes open “It was…wonderful ‘dara, I’ve never been to a festival like that. The Senju celebrations are more formal, its not less fun necessarily- more music and people taking turns to sing or dance, and less spicy food of course- but it’s different and I like how free you are with your chakra. It’s intoxicating” Madara laughed as he pressed a soft kiss to the knob of the albino’s ankle “I noticed” he snickered. Tobirama flicked water in his face with a chastising look (but Madara could see the smile hiding in his garnet eyes) “I’m just glad no one was too put off by my dancing, Touka insisted that you would like it” Madara had to duck his head to hide his laughter in his arm though it was still clear in his voice when he spoke “I think ‘put off’ is about as far from what they felt as you can get. They are rather thrilled that I managed to snag such an impressive spouse honestly, having the leaders of the clan both be powerful makes a powerful statement, and even if it didn’t they think you are brilliant.”

Tobirama shook his head and nudged his leg into Madara’s hands “I will never understand our clan” he murmured sleepily, Madara was caught between laughter at Tobirama’s bewilderment and the sharp thrill that always flashed through him when Tobirama referenced his belonging to the Uchiha (Madara couldn’t wait to see Tobirama sign something as ‘Tobirama Uchiha’ thought they had yet to figure out what they were going to call him with the other clans he would be writing to and that they didn’t want letting out the news of his still being alive). Madara picked up a soft cloth and dipped it in the water, his husband humming in pleasure as Madara slowly smoothed the cloth up the long leg. He had never known he had a thing for legs until he had seen Tobirama’s on the battlefield, strong and fast and long; of course seeing his knives strapped to Tobirama’s thighs had definitely made his fascination stronger, as had the anklet that he had yet to see the albino without when dry (Tobirama also wore the Sharingan pendant much more than Madara had ever realized which sent a possessive thrill through him even as the weight of his own anklet, made of a twist of gold the he had melted together so it couldn’t be taken off him no matter what- which had made Tobirama’s eyes go misty).

Madara’s fingers stuttered a little over a raised scar on one thigh just above the knee, a bit confused by freshness of it; it looked like something that had happened recently, as in in the last few week “Tobirama, what made this?” the albino hummed and cracked his eyes open, “Oh, that, you threw a knife and I ended up getting in front of it to keep Touka out of trouble” he said hazily, clearly calm and unconcerned. Madara though, Madara was not calm; this – this was his fault, his mistake and misunderstanding and his gift that had hurt his husband, had hurt his husband back when Tobirama had no idea Madara thought of him as anything other than an enemy. “I’m sorry, I should – I never should have let you get hurt” he whispered into moon pale skin; Tobirama sighed a little and bent to tug Madara up and kiss him (his flexibly always made Madara’s blood hum) lingering and gentle until the Uchiha’s muscles untied themselves, “Those days are past ‘dara, gone with the last of the summer roses.”

Notes:

been feeling a little low so this one was a bitch to coax out but next few should be easier now that we're past part one and into something I can format a little differently (and use time skips...). Not over yet though, so don't worry about that, I just need to think of some other chapter naming scheme for Tobi/Mada chapters (I am out of rose types).

Chapter 28: correspondence I

Summary:

letters carrying the news (good or bad is up to you)

Notes:

Part two

Chapter Text

Ichirou Yamanaka frowned down at the papers in his hands, the report from the Nara sentinels on the boundary with the Uchiha was worrying; sure the trinity clans may have been allied for longer than they really remembered (not that a refusal to work actively against each other didn’t mean that they didn’t quietly sabotage each other sometimes depending on the shifting personal relationships) and had had an uncertain nonaggression agreement with the Uchiha for almost as long, but that meant very little in terms of the future, especially if Madara Uchiha’s Winter Fox was someone with a grudge against another clan. In the past that hadn’t been something that the clans had had to worry about much, not when the Uchiha so rarely married out clan unless it was clan-less shinobi- it was never a good idea for them to marry someone that couldn’t be absorbed into the clan with ease given their kekkei genkai- and the clan head almost never (as in not in living memory, Madara had a Yamanaka grandmother but there had been something special about her relationship to her Uchiha husband- Yaketsuku hadn't been clan head anyway-, rumors she was a fabled Uchiha Center but Ichirou had never put too much stock in that) married out clan; but now…now it was a tossup. All they knew was the Madara had married a shinobi that was rumored to be extremely powerful and was out clan- though who and which clan they were from was unknown by any one as far as Ichirou could tell- and, most worryingly, who Madara was insanely in love with.

All the reports said the same thing; the Uchiha clan head, who had always taken patrol or missions when he could and was well known for restlessness, hadn’t left the compound for more than three battles (most, unsurprisingly, with the Senju) in two weeks, something that hadn’t happened since he had taken the mantel up in the first place. Add to that the constant stream of luxuries into the compound- every clan had heard by now to keep a close eye on books they cared about around the Uchiha- and the smug looks on Uchiha sighted so far and Ichirou was getting very worried about who this mysterious Winter Fox was – and of course it was made worse by the fact that the Uchiha were being very close mouthed about any identifying information, whoever they were the Uchiha didn’t want anyone else to know and the Yamanaka didn’t know if it was a secret they wanted to keep or Madara getting bored and asking his clan to troll all of them.

(An unfortunate possibility, he had done it before and it was annoying; Ichirou had never forgotten when the Uchiha had worn flowers in their hair for three months just to keep the Yamanaka running in circles trying to figure out what the flowers were saying. Ichirou had never forgotten the Red Crane’s siren smile under a wreath of anemones, candytuft, and white camellia- anticipation and luck, indifference, you’re adorable- it had made no sense and was terrifying because Ichirou had no idea what she was saying- and not knowing what the Red Crane was doing what a bad thing- and if he was supposed to do anything about it. Izuna had given up the game when they ran into each other at a clan meet and Ichirou had been introduced to Madara’s pout, something he could have lived without seeing; it had been a trip to see the impossibly powerful and vicious Uchiha Lord pouting like a child at his gleeful little brother. It had taught Ichirou an important lesson about remembering the humanity of the powerful and remembering it as both a weakness and a power; especially with the Uchiha.)

Either way not knowing more about Madara’s new husband was bad thing and Ichirou had no idea what to do about it. He sighed and dropped his head onto the desk with a hard thump, if only the Nara and Akimichi hadn’t left it up to him to deal with this (“But Ichirou your clan is well known for being good with people, and anyway the Yamanaka have a good relationship with the Uchiha, your aunt married into them after all” f*cking Shiori had even sounded like she had a good idea at the time, damn Nara). “Still having trouble with the Uchiha problem” Ichirou groaned at the sound of Kiku’s voice; the elder might be one of the wisest people he had ever met but she was also one of the most gleeful when it came to seeing him struggle with anything. “I’ll take that as a yes than. The Hyuuga think he’s a Nara and rumor has it that he is everything from Uzumaki to Yuki” (Ichirou groaned louder at the idea that it might be an Yuki- though being part of the ice release clan might explain the name) “of course we can be fairly sure it’s no Uzumaki as they are allied with the Senju and have been for as long as the Trinity clans have been.” Ichirou grimaced and looked up at her “I’m not sure about that, rumor was that Hashirama was to marry an Uzumaki hime but there has been no movement toward that, and word is he has been talking to the Mizuchi” he said tiredly.

Kiku sighed and settled across from him, the loops of her long steel gray braid glittering with tiny metal clasps (Ichirou knew better than to think them innocent by now, there was probably poison in them or something) “I don’t know what to tell you Ichirou, except walk careful around the Winter Fox. Madara-sama is the most Uchiha Uchiha I have seen in a long time and he will not take well to the loss or insult of a loved one, you think he is powerful now? I fear what he could be if someone he loved was taken from him. And from what I hear the entire clan adores their new member, I won’t have them after our blood if we make the wrong move” the younger man sighed and rubbed at his face (remembering that Izanami- Madara's grandmother- had been her sister so she would know better than most), his untraditionally short hair- barely long enough to brush his shoulders, gasp!- swinging forward into his face. “That’s what I am afraid of Kiku, and most of Fire Country as well. I’ll write him a letter, nothing can be done until we know more and until then he holds most of the clans hostage” no one wanted Madara to turn away from Hashirama and pay attention to one of them, they wouldn’t be able to fight back the way the Senju could and knew it.

Ástríðr Hatake ginned at her wolf, if the word she heard from the summons was true- and it had better be, if Tobirama was actually dead she would be furious- then the Uchiha would contact her soon and she couldn’t wait; it had been so long since she had seen her little kin and she was more than ready to see Tobirama. He had always been her favorite- all the Hatake’s favorite, after all his summons loved him and they were every bit as wild as Hatake wolves- and she was more than ready to see him strike out on his own rather than following Hashirama (she bared her teeth, such a strange tame child, so divorced from the wild he was little more than a garden tree – strong but boring); no the Uchiha would be a much better fit for her wild little leopard, and if the word about Madara’s devotion to his new spouse was true than he had found a mate well worth his loyalty. Yes, she thought, shoving her wild braids over her shoulder; this could turn out very well indeed and she was more than ready to see what the little leopard could do without the binds his brother had always placed on him (so tame…) and when you added in Madara’s power on top of that…they could reshape the County if they wished. She couldn’t wait.

Haruka Hyuuga was not so proud that he couldn’t admit to worry about this new development; Madara Uchiha marrying had been something he had worried about for a long time- had honestly rather wished there was some way to offer his daughter, would have had the long standing enmity not stood between them, they could have arranged to have any children born with the Byakugan raised with the Hyuuga and any with the Sharingan stay with the Uchiha and then the power of the Giver of Ash would have had a chance of appearing in the Hyuuga. But now…now not only had Madara not married in clan- as he should have- he had married a man, one who could never give him children and therefor pass down the power of his blood; and worst of all, worst of all he had had the bad taste to go and fall in love with the man if what Haruka had heard was true. What a waste.

Akira was starting to feel a little snubbed honestly, her summoner should have called her to meet his new mate some time ago. Oh sure she understood that the cub had probably needed time to get used to his new mate and sudden change in position and world (Akira was just glad to get him away from the tree, that child had never deserved her Tobi-cub and his loyalty) but really, by now it was more than time for her to meet the new mate. She chuffed in mild annoyance as the seal contract flared hesitantly; good, he should be apologetic, he was late, and she was not happy. The seal started to fade and the snow leopard stiffened; sh*t, she hadn’t meant for that to happen, how could she had forgotten how delicate her Tobi-cub was? damn, damn, damn. The leopard darted forward and stepped letting the seal pull her to her Tobi-cub and opening her eyes to a very nice soft garden and her summoner looking at her with uncertainty on his pale face (damn, he had taken her delayed response as a rejection then, how had she forgotten how fragile his heart was?).

He looked good though, other than the worry, the lines she was used to had eased around his mouth and his clothing was different (he wasn’t wearing the fur she gave him, that was good; that meant that he felt safe enough not to need the comfort here) and smelled like…Vicuña wool? Nice and soft that (good) and expensive, good. “Akira?” he asked quietly and she huffed softly “Summoner, Tobi-cub, it’s about time” but her harsh words were bellied by the way she butt her large head into his chest “I am more than ready to meet your new mate” Tobi-cub smiled a little uncertainly and rubbed a hand over her head. “I didn’t..-“ he started but trailed off and she rolled her eyes, already looking for the new mate “Where is he then?” she asked and Tobirama bit his lip for another long moment before turning to the door into the large home they were next to (a good home, it looked warm and soft and smelled like food) “Madara?” she blinked at him after his soft call “You caught the mate you wanted then?” she asked and chuffed a laugh as blood suffused his cheeks and ducked his head, looking sideways at the door at his mate as he step out and walked towards them.

Akira examined him with sharp eyes, nodding approvingly when his focused was on Tobi-cub rather than her, that was as it should be. He was a good looking human she thought, his hair was very nice and there was something about his face that rather reminded her of her own kin and more importantly his chakra was perfect (exactly as her Tobi-cub had described to her when he was young); even better than that he smelled right, like home and hearth and Tobirama (hmm, Tobi-cub smelled like his mate as well, that was good and as it should be). “Madara, this is Akira” her Tobi-cub said quietly looking up at his mate with large trusting eyes (she wanted to purr), Madara-mate took the time to smile at Tobi-cub for a long second before dragging his eyes away and meting Akira’s solemnly “Thank you Akira-hime, for helping him and keeping him safe until I could discover what I was missing” he said. As she looked in his dark eyes she saw in him what he meant, not so much helping Tobi-cub on missions or in battle but comforting his soft heart when others would have been careless with it; yes, Madara-mate understood that Tobi-cub was more than strong enough to destroy those that would fight him, he understood that it was Tobi-cub’s heart that needed protection. He was thanking her for keeping her summoner’s heart from destruction by those that were so careless with it.

She chuffed softly and nodded “I am glad that you came to your senses, it was annoying to guard Tobirama from your clan when he curled up on your boundary to get closer to your chakra” she said calculatedly. Madara-mate’s eyes went huge and he dropped next to his mate, eyes darting over Tobi-cub as if looking for old wounds “You – you what?! To’ra you could have been killed” her Tobi-cub looked torn between shame and hurt even as his fingers curled into Madara-mate’s hair “I just – it was only sometimes ‘dara, after tough missions. When I just wanted to sleep and – the compound, I –“ Madara-mate made a stressed noise and shifted close enough that Tobi-cub could curl into him fully (look at how physical he was!). “Gods I’m lucky you lived long enough for me to see you” Madara-mate murmured into white hair and Akira huffed, “You have no idea” she said and the look he sent her was tortured, as if the thought of never finding his mate was enough to shake his whole world. Yes. He would do for Tobi-cub. “Come Tobirama, introduce me to your new family, I smell Haru and Touka as well and would like to see them” she glanced as the way they were pressed together “and you can cuddle on something soft instead of the ground”.

Chapter 29: no honor

Summary:

amongst thieves

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Kenshin forced himself not to giggle, aware that his shoulders were shaking a little with mirth and jolting his little passenger as he snuck out of the tree lined street. Shouting rose behind them and a little snort slipped out as his glee at his successful snatching rose; a small soft hand slipped over his mouth before he could make any more noise and he sent a thankful thought back to his clever little passenger, he had just know she would be perfect for Tobirama-sama and the Winter Fox really needed some female energy so the second he had heard whispers about her he had redirected and set about- what was it Madara-sama called it? acquire?- acquire her. “You should hurry” she whispered in his ear on the faintest breath of air “they change the guard soon” Kenshin nodded sharply and risked picking up the pace; he wasn’t actually to worried about it, he had gotten out of worse places with things people counted as more valuable than a sold off bloodline child (it disgusted Kenshin that anyone would ever do anything like this, would ever sell off a child to be raised into a secret weapon for some foolish lord), they would be fine. “Hurry Uchiha-sama, I –“ her voice hiccupped “I don’t want to go back” Kenshin grit his teeth and put on a burst of speed and threw himself at the wall and over it in a fast rush, the quiet crying from Kasumi on his back urging him on, all amusem*nt gone.

His good humor returned quickly when they stopped high in the branches of a tall tree far enough away from pursuers that he was sure they could take a quick break and Kasumi could eat; grinning like a loon he kicked his feet as watched the tiny girl nibble delicately on the strip of dried meat he had given her (Kikiyo was going to love her too, damn he had done good!). “Where are you stealing me too?” she asked quietly, her warm brown eyes and delicate features making her deadly and adorable- Kenshin would bet that she could, and would, eviscerate a man at ten paces after a few months in Tobirama-sama’s teaching- “Well” he said, leaning forward conspiratorially “I have been helping my clan head…acquire gifts for his new husband and he’s collecting an entire group of you now! Your going to love Tobirama-sama, I mean, you’ll love Madara-sama too and – do you have a sweet tooth? You need one around them, so cute…” he drifted off for a second at the thought (so cute! So deadly pretty! So perfect together!) and then shook his head sharply “and they’re perfect together, I think they are the only people that could deserve each other- Madara-sama is the best clan head, like really that best, he helped me pull pranks on the Akimichi for six months and still says he doesn’t know how all their food shipments ended up upside down. And Tobirama-sama is amazing, he saved my life you know, even though we were at war (he’s so cool) with each other.”

She was looking a little confused so Kenshin leaned forward and ruffled her dark mahogany hair, looking at the eight-year-old with something sad twisting in his chest, poor kid… “You’ll love it, promise” he said seriously, and Kasumi looked at him for a long moment before nodding and turning back to her food while Kenshin went back to swinging his feet and humming cheerly; he had a Yuki child, how cool was that! And he was rescuing her for Tobirama-sama as well, that had to be better than a Senju child Tobirama-sama already knew right? If it wasn’t he would just go find another one, he had heard that Tobirama-sama was interested in talking to a Nara, maybe he could find one that had been captured by someone and strategically rescue them to the Uchiha compound? Though – drat. Maybe not. Or at least not yet. He had a feeling Tobirama-sama wouldn’t think it was worth the fuss to keep someone that didn’t want to be there in the compound (even if Madara-sama would totally be down for it as long as it made his Winter Fox happy) and they couldn’t let Tobirama-sama’s identity get out yet. Hmmm. Maybe a blind Nara? There had to be one somewhere, maybe if one got caught and was being tortured it might work? He would have to keep his ears open for that as well as other kids - he had heard a few whispers about other from Water he was already listening for so it would work.

“Ready to go kid?” he asked, levering himself up to his feet and bouncing a little until she nodded solemnly, and he scooped her up throwing himself way into the branches, time to go home!! He was just sad he had missed the fuss after Tobirama-sama’s dance- he was glad he had been able to put of his mission until after the banquet even if he had needed to leave right after instead of watching his clan members try to function with Tobirama-sama out and around the compound as he took on the clan heads spouses’ work (it was good he was taking the work, most of it was things that Madara-sama hadn’t been good at and Kikiyo had done fine but it wasn’t her best work and a waste to keep her from missions anyway, Kenshin was so excited to see what happened when people realized that the Red Crane was flying again!).

“Uchiha-sama-“ “Just Kenshin Kasumi” “…Kenshin, how long until we get there?” he hummed a little a paused for a second and a tree branch, they were well in Uchiha lands now and he had spent the last day and a half of running he had told her stories of Tobirama when they stopped to rest for an hour every few hours so he was hoping that she would be less nervous about coming to the compound- he didn’t want to freak her out! He wasn’t a bad guy…- “Um. a few hours” he told her a little uncomfortably, nodding at the patrol (freaking Yuuka) passing by in a flicker of shadows, he just knew they were laughing. Wait until they saw how pleased Tobirama-sama was! Then they would know better. (They had laughed when he had brought back the alchemists’ book that was two-foot square but he knew Tobirama-sama found it fascinating, Kikiyo had said so) Kasumi yanked sharply on his hair to get his attention (she would be such a good Uchiha!) “How long is a few hours?” her voice was soft and sweet still (as she had been taught, poor kid, trained like a tiny doll filled with gunpowder. Supposed to be perfect and sweet and demure and a lord’s daughters’ companion but also ready to turn sh*t to ice on demand, it was messed up) but her hand in his hair was tight and insistent “Ow! sh*t, let go kid!” grumbling his rubbed at his head as she loosed his hair “Like two hours, we’ll get there soon and find Tobirama-sama and then you can take a nap – then I can take a nap” she sniffed elegantly but let his hair go all the way, tucking up close and waiting as Kenshin loped home.

He was grinning again when he reached the gates and stopped long enough to ask where Tobirama-sama was (yup, the Uchiha were suffering the deadly!pretty - and loving it). By the time he found Tobirama-sama talking quietly to Mikoto (look at that! He looked like him again, dressed like an Uchiha in thick winter robes but in pale colors and with his fur ruff instead of the Uchiha collar, he looked like a winter spirt and fierce, Kenshin wanted to see him with Madara-sama, he bet they looked great next to each other) he was bounce with excitement and poor Kasumi was stiff and worried on his back. “Tobirama-sama!!” the albino Uchiha turned to him with his stern face softened by a faint smile “Kenshin, how was your mission?” the young Uchiha grinned brightly, “Fine, fine, I brought something for you!” and the red eyes went large “You didn’t need-“ “Nope!! All the gifts for you, here” and with that he (gently, he wasn’t a dick) plucked Kasumi off his back and deposited her in front of Tobirama-sama.

The albino’s eyes went wide as he looked at the little girl in her fancy kimono but all he did was nodded seriously at her “Hello, I am Tobirama Uchiha, who are you?” she took a deep breath and tipped her head up “I am Kasumi Yuki, Kenshin tells me you are to be my…teacher” she trailed off, clearly uncertain that that was the right word. Sharp red eyes flicked between them before Tobirama-sama knelt to her level “Yuki hmm? Why do you want me to teach you?” she took a deep breath that shook a bit (red eyes went even gentler) and said “I don’t want to go back to Lord Hitachi” something dark and hard flashed though bloody eyes and they flicked to Kenshin’s face; he nodded minutely and Tobirama drew in a silent breath to calm himself, “You are more than welcome here of course, little cousin- my mother was half Yuki half Hatake, unusual I know but we are related distantly- come, let me introduce you to my husband. Kenshin, Madara will want to speak with you about your mission” Kenshin preened when Tobirama-sama’s eyes landed on him, warm with approval and gratitude; yup, every bit worth it!

Notes:

Do you recognize the Yuki clan?

Chapter 30: not as heavy as guilt

Summary:

but it takes more away from you

Notes:

shout out to Sleepymangahead

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Hashirama looked at the closed door as he had at least once a day ever since Madara had – Tobirama’s door was closed, he always left it closed and Hashirama was always coming up with new songs to knock out on the wood or adding little flowers to the edges and – Hashirama reached out but his hand froze over the wood, he couldn’t come up with any tunes. What was the last one he had used? Surely he could use that again? What was it? when was it? His head was spinning, when was the last time he had knocked on his little brother’s door instead of sending someone to get Tobirama? When was the last time he had added anything to the door (the door Tobirama had never replaced though he had threatened doing so many times)? There was a small camellia on the bottom left corner (Tobirama had been tired that day, he always was, but when Hashirama had come to him he had followed his big brother and healed the wounded fox cub anyway, teaching Hashirama as he did so) and some stocks curling over the frame (Hashirama had been cold standing in the garden under the chilly stars when Tobirama had found him and sat next to him, “What if I marry someone I don’t love?” Tobirama had sighed, his breath a puff of white “Then you take it one day at a time and so your best to build something that lasts”), but Hashirama couldn’t remember when he last added to the door, couldn’t remember when he had stopped writing their story down in wood (things had never been the same after the river but Hashirama had tried.…hadn’t he?)

The door opened at a light touch, hinges well-oiled and silent- of course they were, it was Tobi- and the room beyond was neat and still but for the dust mote spinning in the beam of sunlight falling in the window. Hashirama looked around with a strange jolt of curiosity (even when things had been – even back then he had never come in here), it was pretty empty Tobirama having taken everything he needed to stay at Uzushio for a prolonged stay and – oh. no. that. had Tobi taken his things meaning to run to Uzu or had he…had he packed up for a run to the Uchiha compound? Had he. had he intended- Hashirama shook his head, forcing himself to focus. There was still papers on the shelves and sketches of Itama and Kawa (Tobi had made a copy for Hashirama too, where was his now?) pinned prominently to the wall over the neat desk; the bed was stripped, sheet and bedding gone now to a closet or another bed and the dust was making Hashirama’s nose itch. He crossed to the window- it opened as silently as the door, Tobi liked entering through windows didn’t he?- and breathed in the crisp winter air, gods this was – he frowned at the floor, tucked between the bed and the wall was a strange empty space in the corner of the room, and there was a dark stain – what-? A breath of the scent and closer look sent him reeling back, that was blood, old blood and a not insignificant amount of it pooled in the wood like (Tobirama tiny and pale and sensitive curled in a small dark space covering his head with his hands and shaking) like Tobirama had curled up there with a poorly treated wound. But – no, that, no, when had Tobi been hurt bad enough that this could have happened? Surely Hashirama would have known? (right?)

The desk. The desk was safe. There couldn’t be anything there that would – would feel like this. And maybe there would be some of the notes he needed on the winter trade routs (how did- how….how had- Tobi kept track of it all?). The desk. Swallowing back the sick lump in his throat Hashirama staggered back to the desk, trying to ignore the tiny wooden wolf sitting pride of place at the top (there should have been a second one, Hashirama had made him two, one of each of them, where was the Hashi-wolf?) and digging through the large drawers; there was little in the top ones, most supplies having been returned to the main storage probably, but the last two… the top one looked like it was empty but Hashirama remembered helping Tobirama make the false bottom (“I don’t mind Tobi! This way we can hide things for you, Itama and Kawa and me”) and underneath the perfect wood there was an old worn looking leather journal. Clearly well used over a long time it was stuffed with loose papers shoved between pages inside the worn binding (Hashirama had had no idea Tobi would ever be ok with something so messy, but then again he- he had- put up with Hashirama) and the tie holding it closed fell open at the lightest touch, pages spilling out over Hashirama’s hands.

Hashi created the most amazing tree today, Father thought it was for training but Hashi says it was because we’re out of my sun oil.

Itama says that Aunt Shoto is being mean again so I’m going to add dye to her linens, nothing permanent- unless she does it again- but I think pink will look good, Hashi will grow the flowers I’m sure

Kawa…kaawaw Kawarama didn’t, didn’t make it home. nOt. not. not really. he – Father says he died like a shinobi I wonder, what, what is it to die like a shinobi? Is it dying drowning in your own blood as it fills your lungs? Is it fighting people three times your size and twice your age and just --- is it killing anybody and everybody until you’re all alone on your pile of bones. Kawa – kawa didn’t die alone, but I don’t think he knew that, I don’t know If he could feel me with him. I – I hope….i hope he did.

This was old writing, back when they were children, how long- and Tobi had felt it when Kawa died? Tobi hadn’t cried at the funeral, but these pages were spotted with water. (Tobi had stood between Hashirama and their father that day, Hashirama and…forgotten that, forgotten his brother calling adults stupid for not keeping treaties)

I felt the most amazing thing today! Well, person, I felt a person today, I mean – I feel lots of people, but today I felt the most amazing person! They’re Uchiha I think (I…hope not) but it’s amazing, like, the warmest thing ever. Hashirama was making my head hurt – he gets so loud with his chakra and forgets it hurt and I don’t want to tell him cuse it makes him sad – and so I reached out to see if I could find something to get my attention off and there was this amazing person, like, like, a Loadstar and everything and–

-rama thinks that I don’t know who he’s meeting with. I don’t get it, he knows how far I can sense, he must know that I can feel him meet with the Uchiha, right? he must know. He does. And that’s why he’s not telling me, it’s not that he doesn’t trust me he just knows he doesn’t have to tell me so he’s not wasting breath (….right?)

Father is unhappy again, I don’t know how long the explanation about mediating to get closer to the natural energies will work and – I wish they would change meeting places and times sometimes, I should tell Hashi – I – no, he’ll tell me when he’s ready. he will

The paper under his fingers was brittle with split blisters and dirty fingers and it was – had – Tobi had written out an entire schedule plan that would have let him meet with Madara at different times and places and included Uchiha patrol rotations in it as well (he had never told Father he could feel the patrols), all that it waited for was Hashirama to say something and he – he – he hadn’t. the Senju slumped backwards, back hitting the edge of the bed as he picked up a different paper

i ….Hashi gave me – Hashi told me, he said. Said I even if I couldn’t find the words to say he said he would, would listen however I wanted to – but I. i wanted to tell him I tried but he. and Madara. Hashi wouldn’t listen, wouldn’t even look at the words and I. is there something wrong with me? How did I – he said he would if I tried he would I tried and he. i didn’t want him to die ad Izuna was going for their father and i i must have done something wrong again. (Madara is never going to be my friend is he? I just wanted to know if…if his chakra was as nice- and- stupid)

Hashi doesn’t talk to me now

I I don’t

…..

Akira says that I need to work on my form and speed, she says I should train for what I’m good at not what Hashi is good at and that Father is an idiot and that Hashi is being ‘a brat’ I…but Hashi.

I can still feel – their hands and I – I

I worked on the plumbing planning today- I found the print from lighting in the trash, I don’t know why Father though it wasn’t useful- and it’s much better now! Not like this first one, Akria says that one would have flooded in months and it was too close to the electrical grid anyway (we're going to have electricity if I have anything to say about it! Hashi wants to change the future then we should really change it and then maybe I can be near Madara sometimes, not be friends, I know I’m….he wouldn’t want to be friends, but it would just be nice to be near his chakra sometimes

-and if subsection B talks about childcare then I have to go back and fix A.VII or it won’t make sense and…..my head hurts. I wish… I wish I think I can make progress with the old tax code if I go back to it and start over, child welfare needs to be written into the exempt-

Hashi is angry. He’s fighting with Father. Gods it hurts my head (why can’t he remember how it hurts?)

Can’t get clean can’t get clean can’t get clean can’t get clean

It turns out that when you cut down to the femur and try to heal the scratches on the bone first it’s not a good choice. T h is is going to be a problem in training tomorrow, I will have to plan jut s u development timing differently

Why was there so much blood on some of these – why – how, there was no way, no way, no way (how many lives had been payed for with his little brother’s blood?)

-I think Hashi forgot. My skin – it hurts , maybe…maybe he’s waiting (idiot). I miss Itama, he was always good at being Hashirama’s brother, he would be doing this better, Kawarama would do it better Madara would do it better (that’s the brother Hashi really wants, I’m just a useless mess and it’s all - I should just – Itama would know how to talk to Hashi, how to get him to slow down and listen I can’t talk loud enough for him to hear and my head hurts and Madara has been out of my range for week and I can’t feel him and I don’t know how to make Hashi hear me we can’t do this like this it would fall apart and he has to take care of us first, we were here first and he has to remember us before he saves the whole world and - ……………it feels like my skin is on fire (if he can't remember me how is he going to lead a village?)

-and Father always said that Hashirama was the heir and the spare didn’t need-

-fan-

Touka is laughing at me. I mean. I did fall out of a tree but. still. I don’t know what was happening to make Madara’s chakra do that but I think there’s a party happening at the Uchiha and um, it’s. Sex is. Um. his chakra was. drat

Mission was success. Objective achieved and terminated.

(I still smell like the perfume)

-and then, because of course, Madara has the brilliant idea to call the man a monkey headed bulbous-eyed balless excuse of a wind bag. Impressive but not smart really, so then I released all the cows and the two pigs into the court and one of the cows had the idea to trample over the secretary’s hem and hit that idiot Uchiha with his ink pot and-

Hashirama seems sad today, I don’t know why (no anniversaries that I know of) but I’ll just have to keep an eye on him, maybe one of his plants died? I did get those seeds from Hot Water to give to him so maybe…

Idiot. It – it was my fault. I – I was just trying to keep Madara – (I can’t feel this way about him, traitor, fool idiot betrayer demonmonsteridiot---------

There was just so much paper. So much of his little brother’s heart (how-? He had though that- but no) shoved in between pages about how to cut himself into pieces just to figure out how to bleed better.

I don’t know what I did, I don’t know what I did, I don’t know what I did, I don’t know what I did, I don’t know what I did, I don’t know what I did, I don’t know what I did, I don’t know what I did, I don’t know what I did, I don’t know what I did,

All I ever wanted was Madara’s attention and brother’s care and now – this is like having both turned to rot. Madara knows who I am but only enough to want to kill me and Hashi – Hashirama is sure that I must have done something to ask for this attention and I…I don’t understand.

-if I die I want Madara to be the one to kill me, I want to just go to sleep with his chakra close and focused on me and I think – I think that’s the only way

There was blood stains on the wood under him and his shoulders were to big for this space (a space just big enough for his slender brother) and Hashirama – wept.

Notes:

Hashirama the hard to read...

Chapter 31: star cut garnet

Summary:

pomegranate seeds; safe returns, closeness in separation, illumination

Chapter Text

Tobirama flexed his fingers absent-mindedly staring at the thin silver chain wound around them; he should probably be focusing on his papers but honestly he had never had this little to do before- turns out Madara was serious about there being less work with more people doing it (and, and with the clan head actually doing his work, it was…surprising how much that helped)- and without that pressure he had more time for other things than he ever had. He had time to teach his students, time to sit and read, time to work on his projects (though he hadn’t done any of that yet, still working on catching up on the state of affairs for his new clan, Kikiyo was invaluable for that), time to curl up with Madara after diner and just be. And now, well, there had been things floating through his head for sometime now; he wanted to give Madara something, wanted to give his doting husband something (but he had so little to give, so little to bring to the Uchiha that had worth and his hair was too short- besides who said Madara would want that?), and this – he remembered seeing garnets glinting out of mother's braids when they winked from the chain, tiny and bright with the star cut, Rhiannon had looked so lovely in this and he could see the same glint in Madara’s hair in his mind and he wanted to give this to him. Tobirama smiled a little at the thought, imagining it and hoping that Madara would understand why it mattered, would find it lovely; would see what Tobirama was trying to say and not what – chakra snapped into him, the fast lick of broken seals passing their death onto him, someone had opened the drawer.

Tobirama sat bolt upright, eyes wide as he snapped his senses out, focusing on the Senju compound as he tried so hard not to (like poking a healing wound, no point and painful) and feeling…Hashirama. Hashirama had opened the hidden drawer. Tobirama should have known but he had – he had known, had hoped, had thought that there was no way – something strange and strangling twisted in his chest and he felt sick. The door opened but he hardly noticed, head buried in his arms “Tobirama?” he should have, how had he been “Tobirama?” but then again this was what he had “TOBIRAMA” startled his head snapped up and he looked at Kikiyo leaning over his desk, her eyes warm and worried “Tobi, what’s wrong?” he stared at her for a long moment, words failing him (as they often did, that was why Hashirama had given him-) for a moment. “I – Hashi – he found, I” she touched his hand, laying hers over his cold fingers “Something happened to Hashirama?” she asked and blinked at her “I, I left behind something I shouldn’t and he found it and – I didn’t actually think he would look, I hoped– thought– I don’t know” Kikiyo smiled a sad smile and circled around the desk, leaning against it and gently pulling him to lean on her. It took him a long moment to relax and slump into her warmth, the exquisite brocade of her kimono scratching against his face as grounding as her arm around his shoulders “It’s alright, it’s alright, breathe” she whispered; something hot and sharp lanced through him (when was the last time he had leaned against fabric like this? Touka was too much a Senju to hold like this, close and easy, no matter how she loved him) “Hashirama needs me and I’m here” he whispered into the white fabric. She sighed softly “Hashirama made his bed, now he is finding it difficult to sleep in, that’s not on you” he shivered, breath hitching and eyes aching; wasn’t that on him too though? He was the one that had protected Hashirama from consequences, had taken over so much, but it had been his duty and he – he hadn’t wanted to break his brother’s smile.

Kikiyo sighed again and brushed her fingers though his hair, “I know what can help, I’ll be right back” she murmured and pulled away; Tobirama heard her go to the door, heard her walk away and just. Hashirama was a twister of tight confused emotion and Tobirama couldn’t even think what he was feeling; he should have burned that damn book, should have never left it behind, what shinobi would do that? Kikiyo curled her arms around him again (he hadn’t even heard her come back) and he shivered, this was his fault. He knew it was. (All he had ever done was what he had been made to do, all he had done was what he thought would save his brother from becoming what he was, had wanted to see Hashirama never loose his smile, had wanted his brother “I know it’s hard for you to talk sometimes Tobi, so this is for you” had wanted his brother to always be his brother, and had ruined it all. Ruined it all even when he tried to keep it together, had failed in action as much as inaction.) “Kikiyo? What-?” “I don’t know Madara, something happened with Hashirama, he felt it. He found something Tobirama left with the Senju and I think it upset him” swearing and then a hand on his knee. Warmth rushed though him (valcanovent-cloves-saunaheat, softfeatherconcern-flickeringsnaketonguewanttoknow) “To’ra, come back to me pretty eyes” slowly Tobirama dug his way out of the twisting blood and words filling his mind (“failure” ”always hurting, good for nothing else son”) and opened his eyes, tilting his head till he could see Madara kneeling next to his chair, dark eyes warm and worried.

Tobirama blinked at him for a moment and then slid in a fast fall out of his chair and into his husband’s lap, pressing close and curling his arms around Madara (he failed everything and they idea of failing Madara -) “Thank you Kikiyo” “I’ll close the door on my way out” murmuring voices and the click of wood on wood. Madara shifted to lean back against the sturdy desk and tuck Tobirama closer in his lap “What happened?” he asked softly, his deep voice rumbling against Tobirama’s chest; for a long moment Tobirama couldn’t find the words (“I know it’s hard for you to talk sometimes Tobi, so this-“), they caught and stuck in his throat and his lungs went tight, he had to find them, had to find away to make Madara hear him (he never could talk loud enough for Hashirama to listen) “it’s alright, take your time, I’m not going anywhere” a soft whisper as Madara settled a little more, quiet and patient (he…was just going to wait?).

Slowly Tobirama’s heart eased and his mind slowed, words softening until they no longer sliced at his throat and could drift to his tongue “When I was young - you know words are…hard for me sometimes and back then it was even worse and I, it was hard to make people-. Hashirama gave me a journal, nothing special, just leather and paper and told me 'I know it’s hard for you to talk sometimes Tobi, so this is for you' he told me that if I couldn’t speak I could just write out what I wanted to say, said he would read it and that he was loud enough to make what I wanted said heard, said he would be my voice, said he would always read what I had to say. He made a false bottom on in my desk and I put seals on it, and we put my Words in there so Father wouldn’t find it. So I wrote down all the things I didn’t know how to say, all the things that no one wanted to hear; no one listened to me when I wasn’t speaking of war, even Hashirama stopped looking at my Words, he didn’t want to know what I had to say, but I just – I wrote down the words that were mine. When I…left I should have taken it with me, should have burned it but. I. I couldn’t bring myself to do that, it was my Words and I wanted them to still be out there wanted them to matter. And I couldn’t bring them, what if you found it and read it and found out how foolish I was?” Madara tensed but didn’t make any noise and interrupt “So I left it in my drawer and I thought – I. I think” his voice was so small “I think I wanted Hashirama to want to hear me, hoped that someday he would want my Words and that, that he might find it and hear all the things I tried to say. But I didn’t really think he would.

Madara tipped his head back against the solid desk, forcing himself to keep his breathing even and slow, forcing himself not to interrupt; it was hard for Tobirama to say these things, he had to give his beloved room to speak (quiet to whisper into and be heard), he couldn’t interrupt him, couldn’t do that. But it was hard, he wanted to scream, wanted to snatch his miracle lover close and say all the things in his heart, wanted to let the promises filling every bit of him turn the air Sharingan-red; still, this was important and he wouldn’t make Tobirama feel silenced (not when he had so often felt that way, Madara had had an inkling but hadn’t known it could be this bad, hadn’t known-) he would give all the room the albino needed to let his words out. Tobirama’s voice trailed off and Madara squeezed him but said nothing, letting Tobirama sort out if he was done speaking for now before he said anything “I love you. I love your words. That was the first part of you I knew and loved, the things you had written and never known others would see, I love everything you have to say- even when you’re teasing me or setting me off, yes I know you do that- and I love every silence we share” Tobirama shivered and twisted impossibly closer “I know I won’t always do it right, but please, never feel like you have to hide what you want to say” he thought for a moment “I want to give you something, a necklaces or bracelet or something, you can choose it, and when you feel like I’m too loud I want you to wear it so I know. I know I’m loud, I don’t want to hurt you, let me find a way to make sure that I never do” Tobirama pulled back and looked in his eyes for a long moment, searching for something, Madara didn’t know what, but he nodded eventually and brushed Madara’s fringe out of his eyes “Alright, but Madara I don't think you're loud and I adore your passion”.

Relived the dark-haired man smiled at his husband and leaned in for a chaste kiss “What do you want then? Bracelet? Necklace? Crown?” Tobirama smiled a tiny smile and shook his head, "Something that you can see easily, otherwise…you choose, you have better taste with this than I do” Madara nodded, mind already racing ahead even as Tobirama nuzzled closer and picked up a lock of his hair, playing absently with it as the albino was wont to. Something soft so if he was feeling vulnerable it would be gentle with him, something light so it didn’t feel like a collar or shackles, something he could wear while working or fighting, something not too complicated so he could wear it while feeling bad about himself, not anything on his ears, that would be to easy to miss. A jewel for his brow? Maybe if it could work with his happuri. Another choker? He liked the one with Madara’s Mangekyō.

A sharp tug on the hair Tobirama was playing with drew him out of his thoughts to look at his husband as the faint smile there (almost a smirk, good, Madara was doing a good job then), he raised an eyebrow and Tobirama lifted the complicated braid he had made, Madara blinked at the glinting silver and winking garnet there, “what-?” Tobirama’s smile grew “It was my mother’s I want you to wear it” Carefully (his mother’s, Tobirma had only talked about her a few times, she had died when they were young) Madara looked at it, sucking in a shocked breath, “To’ra, these are star cut” he whispered and the albino co*cked his white head (f*ck he was so damn cute), Madara rolled his eyes “they look like eyes darling, like Mangekyō, the Uchiha love things that look like our eyes” Tobirama blinked his pretty red eyes at Madara for a moment and then laughed softly and shook his head “Of course you do” he said and Madara squawked at him, lunging forward and baring down on the younger man in playful offense. Tobirama made a sharp surprised noise as Madara tackled him and fought it playfully for a moment before relaxing under the dark-haired man and tangling his fingers in Madara’s locks to draw him into a soft kiss.

They stayed there kissing softly on the floor until Kikiyo knocked to summon them for dinner; Madara pulled back and looked at his beautiful husband, disheveled white hair and kissed-red lips, eyes soft and though there was sorrow in the depths it was no longer strangling him “I am sorry about Hashirama” he murmured and Tobirama's lips flicked in a sad smile “So am I” he whispered. (Madara kissed him again and stood, drew him from the room and into the warmth of the family rooms, into Hikaku and Yuuka leaving for patrol and Izuna and Touka smirking on their way out to do some mischief ((Madara didn’t ask)), into Kikiyo watching as Haru and a slightly hesitant Kasumi followed an exuberant Kagami out of the house, into a family that was willing to give him space and time and quiet.)

Chapter 32: topaz

Summary:

Light; lessening sadness, preventing disease, calming anger

Notes:

I'll answer comments soon! my infusion took forever yesterday but my energy should be get good again soon (it was awesome to have them to read while I was infusing!)

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Madara stirred a little as cool fingers traced a slow pattern on his back, coaxing him out of sleep with gentle touches “Do you like your mark that much?” he asked sleepily, humming in pleasure when he heard Tobirama huff a laugh and lean down, pressing a kiss to Madara’s shoulder before spreading himself over the older man’s back. “As if you don’t feel the same when you see me in yours” the albino purred “and anyway, it’s not the mark itself its…” fingers on the darkened skin next to Tobirama’s cheek where it rested on Madara’s back “it’s that I can never lose you, that no matter when you go I will always be able to come to you, to find you. It’s that you wanted me to give it to you, wanted me to always be able to find you” Madara swallowed hard and tucked his head into his arms for a moment to catch his breath. “You know I never, ever want to be taken from you To’ra. There is little I can think of that would be worse” his voice was a sharp rasp and Tobirama hummed softly, petting a hand over his ribs until Madara’s heart steadied; he was still so proud of Tobirama for asking for that, he knew that asking Madara is he could tattoo the special hiraishin seal on his back so soon after their first night together had been very hard for his lover. Tobirama had done it anyway but Madara knew that it was one of the hardest things, Tobirama never did find it easy to ask for anything, much less something as big as this but for Madara it had been an easy yes – even knowing that though the end seal was done Tobirama was still working on refining the activation seals it was an easy yes, and the look on Tobirama’s face had made it so, so, worth it.

Madara sighed softly turning over and laughing softly as Tobirama grumbled at having his rest disturbed; he knew his smile must have been foolish indeed when he looked at his husband above him, messy white hair and flushed cheeks and soft eyes. “Gods be damned I do love you” he whispered, glad that his hair was falling out of his face for once so that he could see with both eyes and astonished as he always was that the spin of the Sharingan prompted nothing but a flicker of heat is Tobirama’s eyes. The albino hummed softly and brushed a few fingers under Madara’s eye, something cool and green flickering out and soothing the faint ache from the chakra use; huh, Madara hadn’t realized Tobirama knew something that could be used for this, when had he – but before Madara could ask there was a knock on their door and Tobirama dropped his head with a tired sigh. “Madara? Tobi? The patrol says they saw someone headed this way, one shinobi traveling light” Tobirama sighed and Madara felt his chakra flex- hard not to they were pressed so close together- “It’s nothing to worry about, just Guðrún” he called and Touka sighed, “I’ll pass that on, Ástríðr knows then?” “I assume so, I’m sure her wolves told her, you know Ylwa talks to Akira regularly” Touka sighed again and Madara heard her pad away muttering about gossiping summons.

“Guðrún?” he inquired, Tobirama sighed and tucked his head into Madara’s neck “Guðrún Hatake, the clan head’s third daughter and my…cousin? As they count these things anyway, not sure what exactly we are to each other though my mother was half Hatake. She’s probably here to check on what’s happening, I’m sure she knows about our, our marriage” a word that still sent shivers through Madara “summons are gossips and she- all Hatake really- has a close relationship with hers” Tobirama shifted a little and pulled back to look at Madara “do you have summons?” Madara blinked at the sudden question and frowned a little “Of course, don’t all clan heads? Many Uchiha are contracted with ninneko and Hikaku has one with the hawks- though my birds aren’t summons- and I have one with the Komodo dragons like my father, but I…admit to not being fond of them, not that they are all that fond of me either” Tobirama blinked at him on shock, “Komodo dragons? Why…” Madara shook his head and tugged his lover down closer, unhappy about having to part on one of the few mornings Tobirama was willing (and able, Madara had yet to convince him he didn’t need to be useful all the damn time) to linger in bed. “I know, I guess father wanted the most impressive thing he could think of, I don’t intend to pass the contract on unless someone asks specifically, they’re assholes” Tobirama snorted and wiggled closer “Still, you do have a contract, that’s good, the Hatake have trouble respecting people in power without a contract; every one of them is either contracted with wolves or ninken- there are a few other contracts but only one or two who aren’t suited to canines- and they…it’s not that they are elitist about it but they never really respected Hashirama as much because he doesn’t have a contract” Madara hummed thoughtfully and stared at the ceiling, thinking through what Tobirama had said.

“You think they are going to be willing to ally with us” it wasn’t really a question but Tobirama answered anyway “I think it’s very likely. They are like their wolves, loyal to pack above all else and gods only know why they decided I am pack, therefore so are you if I’m happy here” Madara twisted to snap gently at the pale neck in reprimand “It is not surprising that they call you pack To’ra” The albino shivered and pressed closer still nudging into Madara’s teeth until the Uchiha sucked a gentle mark there. “I – I hardly know them ‘dara, it’s a bit strange to me that they should choose so quickly; different cultures again I suppose” Madara hummed softly where he was still working a mark onto the albino’s neck, urged on by the breathiness in his voice. He drew back reluctantly and looked at the red mark, grinning when Tobirama ghosted his fingers over it with a soft sound of approval and twisted to kiss Madara for a long moment before drawing back and pressing their brows together. “Gods I wish we didn’t have to get up” Madara muttered and Tobirama hummed in agreement, pressing a quick kiss to Madara’s lips before twisting off the bed “I had hoped we could take the morning to ourselves, after all you did promise to bend me over and make me scream…” he trailed off suggestively as he rose and Madara’s brain went blank as he watched muscles move under china pale skin (oooohhh, he remembered that, the Sharingan remembered that, remembered Tobirama writhing and flushed and so stunning under him, remembered whispering words of praise and want, remembered promising himself he would take him time someday soon and see how often he could make his husband scream and then slid in soft and easy. Oh. Oh, sweet fire).

Madara whimpered deeply and lunged out of the bed, tripping a little as he did and pinning Tobirama to the dresser “That was cruel darling” he rasped, blood throbbing hotly; Tobirama laughed throatily and twisted in Madara’s arms to kiss the dark-haired man lingeringly “Just holding you to your word” he murmured before sliding out like water through Madara’s fingers. The Uchiha groaned deeply and leaned forward onto his hands, trying to bring his blood under control, “Minx” he muttered and Tobirama’s soft laugh drifted back into the room as the albino drifted out of the room to wash. “Minx,” Madara muttered again to himself “but fire take me you’re my minx.”

Tobirama smiled as Madara’s hands settled on his waist and the Uchiha hooked his chin over the albino’s shoulder rumbling softly in the way he knew Tobirama loved, “Mmm, ready to meet the in laws?” Touka asked with a wicked smile edged slightly with worry (she had never really met any of the Hatake before either and was well aware that they might associate her with Hashirama too much to be overly fond of her), Madara huffed a laugh into Tobirama’s ear and nuzzled closer “It’ll be fine, anyone that can see how amazing To’ra is must be a smart person” he said in a startlingly calm voice. Tobirama was sure he was blushing as he tipped his head into Madara’s gently, humming quietly in pleasure as he tracked Guðrún through the compound, her chakra a sharp-bright-cold mix of curiosity and the Hatake signature; Tobirama had never spent too long with the Hatake- Butsuma had never wanted Tobirama around them much- and though he knew and liked them the wildness that lived in them set him on edge, an ever present reminder that he would never be what they were, that whatever of that wild wolf chill lived in them had been beat almost out of him. Turned to brittle ice and steel, so unlike his cousins no matter that they called him pack.

“To’ra” Madara murmured gently and Tobirama hulled himself out of his thoughts and memories, back to the present where he had a mate to introduce and a clan to seduce into an alliance. Guðrún paced around the corner with the slightly odd rolling gait those of the alpha line tended to have- raised almost as part of wolf litters as they were- her eyes bright and interested and head tilting his way and that as she scented the air, never mind that the clan had no specific animal traits (not like the Inuzuka, the Hatake were close the their summons but they had never given up that piece of themselves, indeed they tended to look down on the Inuzuka for needing to blend blood to get an advantage; the Hatake believed only in the skills you earned for yourself, even their white chakra was mostly about pack bonds). Her bright gray eyes landed on him, dressed in Uchiha robes of fine make with his fur and happuri, and went bright and pleased as she darted to him and he stepped forward out of Madara’s arms (though not all the way, he let his husband’s hands linger at his waist) to greet his cousin as Hatake pack did - hands clasped low, step close and nudged shoulders with heads tipped enough to scent hair (or whisper secrets).

That done she yanked him into a firm but brief hug before surrendering him to Madara’s arm at his hip as the Uchiha leader stepped to stand next to his spouse “Little cousin!” Guðrún cheered in her raspy thin voice (the leftover of an encounter with an Akimichi that tried to slit her throat), grinning at Tobirama like a maniac; smiling a little Tobirama shifted his hips and shoulders to tilt a little more into Madara (see pack sister, he is mine, my alpha, I trust him with my throat) and introduced the older man. “Guðrún, this is my mate” (hear pack sister, mate not husband, his is mine past all deaths) “Madara Uchiha” he said nothing of Madara’s status, Guðrún already knew who he was and Tobirama wasn’t introducing the Uchiha clan head, he was introducing his mate, his lover, his pack, a status that would matter much more to the rabidly loyal Hatake. Guðrún grinned and nodded her head a little, tipping it slightly to the side and baring the side of her neck in a display Tobirama had never expected, this was going much better than he had thought already “Madara this is my pack sister Guðrún Hatake” Madara looked her over for a long moment, head high and eyes thoughtful before he nodded and smiled a little at her “You are welcome to our lands” f*ck Madara was good at this, proving he was alpha by not immediately accepting her and welcoming her to his territory, very Hatake “and you are welcome to my home as any that value Tobirama are” the Uchiha continued and Tobirama felt his face soften with pleasure as he turned to touch Madara’s cheek.

Dragging his attention away from Madara was a little difficult but Tobirama turned back to introduce the rest anyways “Guðrún you already know my cousin-sister Touka and this is her intended and my brother Izuna Uchiha, next to them is Kikiyo-” Guðrún smirked “The Red Crane?” Tobirama narrowed his eyes a little in leu of rolling them and continued “Hikaku met you at the gates of course and the little ones are all inside but there are a few living with us” Guðrún blinked a little and sent him a warm glance, stepping closer and brushing the back of her wrist against the line of his jaw (she wouldn’t scent him, not with a mate and family of his own, but the intent was the same, affection and family and claiming) “It is good to see you so well little cousin.” Tobirama smiled at her faintly, honestly a little surprised at how easy it was, had he really changed so much that it no longer hurt to see what he could have been? Perhaps, he thought as Madara squeezed his hip gently, it was just that Madara didn’t want a Hatake, he just wanted Tobirama, as he was and not as he could have been if Father had been different. “It is good to see you too” he murmured, not yet ready to reach out the same way, maybe never, maybe that was one of the things he would never really feel ok with- his summons were cats after all- but, but maybe that was alright; after all Guðrún didn’t seem to mind. “Shall we?” Kikiyo asked as she gestured at the door to the house, and as the Hatake turned to the graceful woman her smile widened “Indeed.”

As attention turned away to return to the house and exchange gossip- the Uchiha gossiped about everything- Madara caught his eye and raised a dark eyebrow; Tobirama shook his head slightly and brushed a kiss over the corner of his mouth, they could talk about it late, for now there was hosting to be done and then talking. Though, Tobirama decided, not until after food, he was sure Guðrún would agree.

Notes:

Courtship notes:
Uchiha: the Uchiha courtship in an agglomeration of things but is centered around there obsessive need to take care of their partners, the idea is "I will treat you like a treasure" which is why showing off is a bit part of it, followed by knives as the first step and then the giving of meaning laden gifts (it is clear to Uchiha- who are used to thinking about it like this what it means).
Senju: based on bits of Victorian England traditions, mainly the language of fans (you can look it up but basically it is that certain gestures with the fan mean specific things- like drawing across the cheek means I love you- though in this world that has been expanded because ninja) (fans are given by older family members when they are old enough to start being interested in relationships - i can't remember when but Touka brings the age up at one point) but also includes negotiations to an extent, the idea is "We would be a good match" in part this attitude comes from having so many different abilities - there is little clear common ground between partners the way there is in other clans so it has to be done a little different. (Tokens are jewelry or such made out of the hair of loved ones, not just lovers but those you are very close to - it means you want to be together and also that you wish to die and be buried together, offering/being offered a Token is a huge demonstration of love - hence the long hair, those that have lost all family will cut their hair in mourning)
Hatake: bits of Norse traditions and wolf behavior, centered around "We share everything" so the first thing you do is make your hopeful lover a shirt or other clothing (not weapon, the pack already fights together, this is about sharing the little things in life) after that it's offering to share food and drink and other things.
Trinity clans: they are closely allied with the Uchiha and have been for long enough to effect other clans traditions (some of those clans do things the Uchiha way if it suits them better), Nara - start with chess piece, showing off and gifts are centered around showing off how smart you are (puzzles and such). Amatchi - starts with a piece of their trade mark armor and goes with food related thing mostly form there. Yamanaka - start with a weapon normally but after that it is more personalized and a little closer to the Senju. I don't have those three fleshed out much

Ages:
Madara and Hashirama are 24
Tobirama is 22 (his birthday is right around now in the fic - the first chapter happens just before it but it has already happened at this point in the fic, he just completely ignored it which Madara will not be thrilled with when he figures out)
Izuna is 22 (birthday shortly before the fic)
Touka is 24 (almost 25)
Kikiyo is 25
Kagami is 6
Haru is 5
Kasumi is 8

Not necessarily used in this story but if you're curious https://keanblade.tumblr.com/post/190321741077/theory-about-madara-and-izunas-names

Chapter 33: labradorite

Summary:

Communication with the supernatural; reduce stress, protection

Chapter Text

Tobirama smiled a little as he watched Guðrún smile at Akira- called just so that the Hatake could speak to her- and then looked at a shifty looking Izuna, “Can you go get the cubs?” he asked, thoughts only slightly on his words as he watched the woman and leopard talk; he missed Izuna’s surprised glance but that was fine when the Uchiha nodded and left. Madara returned and spoke softly as he moved close and picked up Tobirama’s hand “Lunch is ready, thank heavens for Yuuka” Tobirama snorted softly and kept half an eye on his pack-sister’s intent wolf-bright eyes as he nuzzled into Madara and tipped his head to the side for his husband to kiss (see how I trust him? see how I submit? See how he has all of me?); Madara laughed very softly against the skin of his neck and moved up to whisper in Tobirama’s ear “mmm, is that how it is with her pretty eyes?” the albino purred and curled closer “have I ever minded being close to you ‘dara? But, yes, there is a language of this to them, you’ll pick it up fast I’m sure after you did so well earlier” he murmured to the Uchiha and Madara preened. Tobirama rolled his eyes fondly and kissed his jaw lightly (see he is alpha) before stepping away and looking at their visitor; “What brings you here anyway Guðrún? Not that I’m not pleased to see you, but it is a bit unusual” she grimaced a little and straightened as Akira moved to to settle at the door to the engawa and the two-legged pack moved to sit at the table.

“Honestly Tobirama your marriage changes many things – or, to be more accurate, Madara’s marriage changes things. News of your ‘death’ has so far been relatively contained but the Uchiha have done nothing to hide the fact that their alpha has taken a mate or their own pleasure about having said mate in their clan; every clan in Fire county and many outside of it is scrambling to find out who you are so as not to insult you and bring Madara’s wrath down on them, they all know that should he take the field in truth there is none that can match him anywhere but the Senju.” She sighed and looked at them with serious dark eyes “not to mention the question of how powerful you are and how many alliances you might bring with you. It’s driving the clans insane; this is the most peace Fire country has seen in decades simply because no one knows which way the wind is blowing and after your ‘death’ becomes widely known it’s just going to get worse, after all you and Hashirama balanced out the Uchiha but without you and with the addition of a new powerful player in Madara’s spouse? Yeah, this changes things and the Uchiha are about to become the most powerful clan in the Country.”

Tobirama sighed softly “I know, I have payed less attention to it than I should perhaps” Guðrún’s shoulders dropped and her head slipped forward a little (aggression/are you well) Tobirama rolled his shoulders and let it slide down his back as he yawned slightly (settling/trust/see I am well now) Madara shifted closer, brushing his fingers over Tobirama’s arm (he was very good at this for having never seen it before) “But now…to make it worse I don’t see anyway that Hashirama can continue to treat with the Uzumaki for closer ties then we have now, not when there is so much he has to sort out at home. And he certainly can’t wait for an Uzumaki bride, not when he need an heir as soon as he can have one to give the clan any stability, an Uzumaki-hime would never be willing to have children as fast as he needs them. My guess? He will take the Mizuchi up on their offer and marry the oldest daughter, Satomi. There are advantages to that, they might be a small clan but their poisons are second to none and they have that bloodline malleability; a child with a Mizuchi is far more likely to carry the mokuton than and Uzumaki which will help the clan stability but make Hashirama even less inclined to war then he already was – my brother will never agree to risk a child of his in fighting”

Madara grimaced “So the Senju are going to turn inwards as far as they can for at least the next five years, they trinity clans have close relationships with the Uchiha and will not go against us- especially now that the power balance has shifted so far in our favor-“ he tilted his head thoughtfully “the Hatake are willing to work with us or you wouldn’t be here and so close with Tobirama Guðrún, as for the rest…the Hyuuga will be a problem but their own pride will keep them from going into open combat against us, the Inuzuka could be a problem, but again, we are just to powerful for them to want to try us. That leaves the Aburame- who are sister clans with the Senju and will go where they go- and the Sarutobi as the only major clan to contend with - well and the Shimura, all of which the Uchiha could flatten if working with another clan.” His eyes went wide as what he was saying hit him “we can strong arm peace.”

Tobirama sucked in a sharp breath, they could, they really could now; they could force it to happen “We might need to” Guðrún said tiredly “word is coming from the sea lions summons in Whirlpool that the mainland powers are starting to band together” Madara and Tobirama both grimaced, that happened every few years; someone would come to power by way of saying they all needed to band together and destroy someone else, it was part of why peace in Fire country was regarded with such suspicion – if it never worked in Lightning or Water or Iron why would it work here? And when it fell apart in those places entire clans had a tendency to be whipped off the map, no one wanted to be that clan. Madara frowned thoughtfully at Guðrún “Why is this different than all the times before?” he asked and her lips twisted in displeasure at the new she brought “Several reasons really but the fact is that if the Senju and Uchiha aren’t there to balance each other out the Uchiha simply have too much power, far too much power to be safe.” Tobirama tapped his fingers to the wood thoughtful “That could work to our advantage- it will bring us allies wanting to hide under our wing” he missed Guðrún’s sharp look at ‘our’ but Madara didn’t and preened “but it will also bring down those wanting to get rid of a threat” he paused and his eyes went a little wide “which is also going to be a problem for the Uzumaki” he whispered.

Guðrún nodded “That’s what the seal lions say, the Uzumaki were banking on the power of the Senju to back up their safety with the Water and Lightning, now…” Madara sighed and leaned back, pressing thoughtful fingers to his lips for a moment “We need your identity to stay secret more than ever now – I know we already were because of Hashirama but now, damn it, you being unknown is part of what is holding all the clans on the edge of war and until we sort out which way is best for us and those allied with us we need to stay on that edge.” Tobirama grimaced “You’re just going to use this as an excuse to let your Uchiha run wild over the other clans with confusion – don’t think I don’t know about that time with the Nara and the pointless unsolvable puzzles” Madara grinned, unrepentant “How come their your Uchiha when they’re being clever and skilled and my Uchiha when they are only practicing a little harmless sowing of confusion?” he asked. Tobirama raised an unimpressed eyebrow “They’re also your Uchiha when setting anything and everything on fire and being pointlessly Dramatic” he said firmly.

(Guðrún didn’t know what she had expected when she came here, she knew that the summons had said that Tobirama was happy and well and where he wanted to be but she hadn’t been at all sure that that didn’t just mean that he wasn’t just suffering in silence the way he so often did; sure she might not know him as well as she could have, had only spent a few days at a time around him on diplomatic maters or when Hashirama could get him out of the compound and away from their father for a while- though that had happened less and less as time went on- but she, like all her clan, knew pack when they saw them and it only took one look at the tiny fierce face and the tall leopard next to him for her to know a pack-brother. So, yes, she knew Tobirama, knew he was a cat to his bones as much as she was canis-lupus, knew that and didn’t expect more from him – and sometimes she wished he had been raised with them, sometimes she wished that she had played with him and see him grow wild and vicious, sometimes she looked at him and didn’t understand, but mostly she just wanted him to be happy and here…

She had thought he would be lighter maybe, closer to content away from the clan and brother that no longer loved him as they should and instead, instead she had this; had a pack-brother so closely mated that it was almost impossible to tell them apart, so close she had yet to see them out of touching distance- and it was so clearly something they were used to-, mated so tightly that there was no really difference in their scent and she had never seen that before. She might not have an Inuzuka nose but she had her ways and her jutsu to give her what advantages she needed when she needed them; and Tobirama and Madara, they smelled like cloves and smoke and ink and the faint woody-rose smell of the oil Tobirama used to protect his skin from the sun, both of them. It was just that Madara so clearly worshiped Tobirama, was smart enough to understand but different enough to balance, doted on him to an extent it would never have occurred to her he needed and yet…her pack-brother so clearly flourished under it, Madara it seemed was exactly what he needed- now she just had to pray that neither of the ever died, for if they did Guðrún wasn’t sure anyone would out live the madness the survivor would unleash.)

Discussion of geopolitics was set aside when there was the sound of small feet and Tobirama smiled as Kagami bounced into the room, followed at a much more sedate pace by Haru and Kasumi and trailing Touka and Izuna “Pack-sister these are my students, Kasumi Yuki, Kagami Uchiha and Haru Senju, Kasumi and Haru live here in the main house with us. Students, this is Guðrún Hatake, my cousin and pack-sister” Kagami grinned brilliantly and opened his mouth to give one of this normal enthusiastic greetings when Kasumi nailed him in the side with her elbow as she moved past the younger boy to greet Guðrún correctly if not a bit formally. Guðrún blinked at the formal and composed little girl and then at the ebullient Kagami and quiet thoughtful Haru and nodded slightly, looking overwhelmed (she was, it was one thing to know her pack-brother had cubs, it was another thing all together to see them and they way they eddied around him and his mate, the way that three very different children all acted like he was the grounding force in their lives and Madara the easy lift; this was what pack should be). Touka raised and eyebrow and flicker her fan absently (all is well?) Tobirama smiled and twisted his through his fingers and around his hand, smirking when Madara followed it with curiosity (difficulty/changing allegiances/watch the water) and Guðrún shifted her shoulder blades back at the same time as she watched the children (your pack/cubs/claim?), Tobirama dipped his head and let his lips pull back from his teeth as he watched Touka (see MINE, hurt them I will hurt you) and her fan (and are they with us?) before responding to her (they will not pull swords on us) even as he opened his mouth to talk to Izuna.

Madara shook his head as he helped an exhausted Tobirama out of his clothing after dinner; he wasn’t surprised that his husband was tired, after all Madara had watched him hold three in depth conversations at once for hours this afternoon as they talked with the Hatake and even though Madara was getting the patterns down (with the Hatake mostly, the body language based communication made sense to him in a way arbitrary fan movements didn’t, by the end of dinner he was able to follow most of that conversation as well as the main vocal one) he still wouldn’t have been able to track all three and use the information from each to inform the others – as well as responding to them, frequently simultaneously. “Head hurt darling?” he asked softly as Tobirama sagged into him, digging his fingers in the thick white hair; the albino moaned softly and nuzzled closer from where he sat on the edge of the bed “Brain buzzing, now that I’m thinking about it it won’t shut up. That’s part of why it was easier to just not sleep before but” there was an embarrassed paused before he continued “I don’t want to miss time with you” Madara felt soft warmth rush through him at the pleasure of those word and used his fingers in that lovely hair to tip Tobirama’s head back and kiss him.

“Shall I distract you then To’ra?” he asked warmly, biting back a grin at the cut off whine it got him and then licking his lips when he got a look at Tobirama’s suddenly dilated eyes “what do you want darling?” Tobirama licked his lips and blinked at Madara a little stupidly “I – your voice” he stuttered and Madara could have purred; moving close and warm over his husband as he coaxed Tobirama up onto the bed. It was warm and gentle between them as they moved together, Madara murmuring softly in the albino’s ear “Doing so well – love you so much – doing do well for me darling – perfection – so beautiful” and listening to the undone gasps his words got him; gods but he loved this man so much it was hard to breath some days “beautiful, precious, beloved – gods but you are stunning, love seeing you beneath me, above me, twisting under my hands – so pretty, so lovely, you were made for this and I was made to love you” Tobirama’s garnet eyes blurred with tears and he slid over the edge whimpering. Madara watched- as he did every time- transfixed by his lover in pleasure, transfixed with the way Tobirama looked as he came down from the high with that lax, languorous look sending Madara straight over the edge.

In the aftermath they curled together, breathing slowing as Madara shifted as close as they could get (he loved Tobirama like this, horded it and craved it and needed it like he never had before) watching his husband’s face with greedy lazily-spinning eyes; Tobirama smiled at him in drifting pleasure, pressing a lazy slightly sloppy kiss to Madara’s lips before tucking in close and leaving Madara to stare at the ceiling for a long moment as his husband fell asleep and try to breath past the weight on his chest – there was a world out there where he never had this, where he never looked twice at Tobirama and never even knew what he was missing. There was a world where he went through his entire life with a hole in his heart and never even knew why – never knew how much he had to lose, never even knew that he had lost anything at all except that what he had just…wasn’t enough, eternal flame but he pitied that man.

Chapter 34: correspondence II

Summary:

dark birds bring dark news

Notes:

I am reading all of your lovely comments and they make my days immeasurably brighter, and I'm definitely going to get back to responding to stuff soon! It's just been a really weird little while now and I've been needing to get my head on straight.

Chapter Text

Ichirou Yamanaka stared at the paper in his hands, brain full of nothing but white noise (he -…- what…?...) how had…what the f*ck? He had two reports in his hands, both from informants he trusted and they said, they said completely opposite things. Well not completely, there was a little overlap but given that that overlap was mostly just that Madara was completely besotted and that the Winter Whatever was very powerful; other than that, well, there was very little in common. One said that Madara’s new husband was a man named Tōko, the Winter Fox, the Ghost, who could get into any room and steal the very breath from your lungs and always dressed in white; the other said he was Tora, the Winter Tiger, the Storm and the Tempest that decimated the battlefields and protected what was his like a mother with his cubs and had stripes. It was just so frustrating, if the report about Tōko was true then he needed to be aware that there was a man out there that could sneak in anywhere and was ranging out in the world, if it was Tora then he knew to avoid the heart of Uchiha power like the plague; there was so little they knew (was it Tōko who would come out of the compound or Tora who would stay put and defend?!?!) and even what little information they had didn’t have even a scrap about his origins, the best they had was that Tōko was from one of the clans what were decimated when the Land of Water clans collapsed most recently, but Tora didn’t seem to have come from there and – with a heart broken moan Ichirou dropped his head to the desk.

“Ichirou-sama?” he groaned in response to the messenger and felt the other shinobi hesitate before dropping a scroll next to his head without comment on his state- the entire clan knew how badly the search for information on the Winter spouse was going- Ichirou heard the teen walk away and just stayed there for a while, unwilling to look at the scroll and the no doubt ominous words it carried. With a deep sigh he levered himself upright and unrolled it, frowning at the signs that it was from the scouts keeping an eye on the Senju, he read the words and the world dropped out from under his feet: “Tobirama Senju is dead”.

Ástríðr grinned wickedly, more than willing to go along with the plan her daughter and the Uchiha had come up with; spreading two different rumors about who Tobirama was was exactly the sort of thing she would enjoy doing, the entire clan would enjoy doing- just as she was sure that the Uchiha would relish it, trolling little asses- and it was a good plan, a good way to keep the clans enough off balance so that the Uchiha maintained power. Yes, she thought, she liked who the little leopard was becoming with a doting mate; which Madara must be, after all Tobirama had given his mate his some of his mother’s jewelry, what little she had had, it was from her own Yuki mother but Ástríðr remembered the look on Baldr’s face when he had first seen his daughter wearing that chain and knowing that Madara, that Tobirama’s mate, was wearing it was… Ástríðr remembered Baldr, remembered how he looked at his Yuki wife wearing it before that and was glad that Tobirama had given it to someone he looked at like Baldr had looked at her (gods Ástríðr didn’t even remember her name now, the Hatake had never accepted her as they should have, in retrospect Ástríðr was…ashamed of that, they needed to be better and she had tried to make up for what she had seen as a child by making sure that Tobirama never faced what his maternal grandmother had).

Kei Inuzuka stared at the scroll and slowly sat, he…this…the Inuzuka had never been fond of Tobirama- cats v dog maybe- and weren’t allied with the Senju though they didn’t actively fight but this…without the White Demon the entire balance of power was changing and that meant that the Hatake would be doing things that Kei couldn’t predict, especially now that the White Demon was dead and they had been fond of him Kei knew, so who knew what war path they would be on now. Gods who had even killed the White Demon? Who even could? This made so little sense and there was still so little information, what was his clan supposed to do now?

Mito Uzumaki looked at the letter in her hands and blew out a long breath, this was…not good news. The death of Tobirama Senju had all but derailed any marriage alliance with the Senju given that Hashirama Senju would need to marry and produce an heir as fast as possible, something that Mito couldn’t- and wouldn’t- do; he might decide to do something less formal than a traditional marriage and thus leave the door open to the Uzumaki, but that would take time, time they didn’t have. The Uzumaki needed the promise of a strong alliance now, not in two or three years; they needed the strength of a powerful mainland clan behind them to get their enemies to back off. Uzushio might be powerful but that could be their death if they couldn’t get a good balance going (so many that were afraid of their power and sealing, so many that would see them spread to the winds where they couldn’t be a threat). The Senju had been an obvious solution given that they were blood, however distant; it would have been perfect if Tobirama Senju was alive but now….

She tapped the paper to her lips thoughtfully, there was almost nothing she could do without more information, information which was frustratingly thin on the ground, especially since Madara Uchiha’s marriage had sent the entirety of Fire Country into disarray. She needed information and needed it fast (already the Water Country was speaking with the Hagoromo and Shimura clans) if she was going to keep her people safe; fine, she was a kunoichi, a powerful one, if she couldn’t have information brought to her she would go get it.

Satomi Mizuchi looked at her family and smiled faintly, well and truly pleased with how things had happened; Hashirama was a handsome man and carrying his children would be no great burden, nor would rearing them with a husband so devoted to peace and family as Hashirama was supposed to be (though she would have to watch for whatever thing it was that had allowed his brother to die, given what she knew that could only a mistake from Hashirama that would have allowed that). No her marriage would be born easily enough and what it brought the clan was very well worth it, all she had to do was manage a man most agreed was unmanageable; ha, they hadn’t met a Mizuchi woman before, there was nothing they did better than manage people. Some called it manipulation, the Mizuchi and the snakes the clan head was contracted with said it was good sense; after all she wasn’t planning to use it to hurt Hashirama or the Senju, not when Hashirama would be the father of her children (there was nothing they would fight for like their blood, the Hatake had pack, the Uchiha had partners, the Mizuchi had blood, nothing would touch her children).

Her mother smiled back, the same small, sleek smile Satomi smiled, straightening her daughter's mahogany hair and nodding, “Hashirama has finally stopped keeping news of his brother’s death within the clan, he is turning his eyes out to the world again, it is almost time” Satomi’s gold eyes thinned in pleasure and anticipation, this would keep her family and clan safe for generations (the Senju took care of their own, just look at the Uzumaki). Yes, she was pleased with how things had gone.

Chapter 35: Agate

Summary:

Divert storms; fidelity in marriage and love

Notes:

third section is smut if you wish to skip

So I actually wrote this chapter a while ago but wanted to poke at it before I posted it. Unfortunately my hands have decided to act up so I haven't been able to type recently and decided to post it anyway because I can always add what I wanted in the next chapter when my hands start cooperating again and I can write more than short Kindling chapters sporadically. My hands should be back up to snuff soon (fingers crossed, or, well, not. but you know what I mean).
(I will try to respond to comments soon, I can use dictation on my phone for that!)

Chapter Text

Madara snarled and slammed his hand down on the solid wood of his desk, fury ripping through him as he looked at the missive from the traders in Iron country; f*cking idiots had bowed to the pressure from the Hagoromo and were cutting ties with the Uchiha, god, fools, didn’t they know that the Uchiha could protect them from those useless pieces of sh*t?! Gods of burning things Madara hated the Hagoromo, even more than the Hyuuga honestly – the Hyuuga at least had some semblance of honor the Hagoromo? None. Absolutely none. Not even the honor amongst thieves that normally served the smaller clans that wanted to avoid any ties with the larger clans (it was the way of things that each country had a few major clans- power gained through not so much size as skill and wealth- and a dozen smaller clans that had to make allies with the larger ones to have not only their protecting but more importantly the connections that the major clans could share and pass on jobs with. Most clans dabbled in trades of some sort to supplement the mission income; though the civilians always seemed to think there was a lot more shinobi out there than there really was, many of the smaller clans should really just be called families- the Yuki and Mizuchi for instance didn’t have more than thirty members and only about half of those were able to take working missions, more if you were willing to kill children maybe- there couldn’t be as many as the civilians thought there was or missions would never be enough, supplemented or not, to support a clan).

Madara’s hands flexed and the wood cracked under his hands, how dare they, how dare they?!? Gods burn them, if it were just the materials maybe – but no, they had to insult the Uchiha at the same time and – with another snarl Madara shoved away form the desk and stormed from the room, anger rolling in front of him in a nearly palpable wave. When he stepped into the main room Izuna- who had been reading quietly on the sofa- looked up and braced, he was well aware of how long it could take for it to ease (and that it almost never without lots out shouting). The younger Uchiha took a deep breath and set down his book and Madara opened his mouth; before he could say anything the was a soft sound and Izuna winced when Tobirama slipped into the room (Izuna hadn’t missed that Tobirama tensed when confronted with anger). Madara whirled, loud words on his tongue and anger fizzing and sparking in him, “You-“ and then he froze as his eyes landed on Tobirama’s neck, fixing on the soft indigo collar edged with mink fur (the softest Madara could find) and he choked back the words with an act of will. Shutting his eyes and breathing slowly though his mouth even as he held out a hand to his husband.

A moment later long fingers curled around his and Madara focused on them as closely as he could, helped a moment later when Tobirama moved close enough to tuck against his chest. (Izuna gaped he had never seen Madara refrain from shouting and snarling when this angry) “How can I help?” Tobirama asked very softly and Madara held him tighter waiting until the acid taste of his temper receded (he had promised his husband he would listen and be quiet when he was wearing this collar, Madara wouldn’t break a promise to Tobirama, not for anything) “I need to go set things on fire” he grit out and Tobirama hummed, pulling away and brushing a kiss over his cheek before speaking softly “Go set things on fire, I’ll look at what’s on your desk” Madara huffed a laugh, of course Tobirama knew where he was when he got angry and could guess why and knowing that Tobirama, with all his brilliance was going to be looking over it settled his worry and the twisting bits of concern down into just basic anger. “Thank you, pretty eyes” he murmured, keeping his voice low and slow as best he could; Tobirama bushed a kiss over his jaw and slipped out of the room leaving Madara to grab Izuna and drag his little brother out to set things on fire. (He would have preferred to spar with Tobirama, that was a thrill that he couldn’t get enough of since the first time, if watching Tobirama fight was addicting and drugging, fighting him was…transcendent.)

By the time they got back to the house Madara’s temper was mostly spent and he was feeling much more reasonable, though Izuna looked a bit worse for the wear – it had taken him so long to get over his shock at Madara not yelling that the older Uchiha had got some good hits on before his brain came back. Madara ruffled Izuna’s hair affectionately as the younger Uchiha slipped away to wash with a grimace; Madara snorted and followed Tobirama’s chakra up into his office and leaned against the door frame watching Tobirama sit at Madara’s desk, gods but his husband was stunning. Patiently quiet he slipped inside and settled at Tobirama’s side, pressing a kiss to his neck above the collar- soft fur tickling his lips- and leaning close with a soft hum and enjoying the quiet; after a time Tobirama spoke in a soft disjointed voice, though it eased as he spoke without Madara interrupting “I, this isn’t as bad, as, it looks ‘dara. We can get ore from other traders and weaving is bringing in more money at this point; also, this will push the Uzumaki closer to us - with a shared enemy they are more likely to trust us” Madara tucked his smile into Tobirama’s neck, chest warm and thrumming “Thank you To’ra” he murmured and Tobirama twisted to lean against the low desk at his back and kiss Madara softly.

They exchanged soft kisses for a while until Tobirama pulled back and sighed softly, eyes tired and hurt; Madara frowned and pushed white hair out of lovely red eyes “What has you so sad pretty eyes?” Tobirama hesitated for a moment and then pulled a letter out of his pocket and handed it to Madara. He frowned, it looked like it was from the Hatake and he couldn’t think of anything that would need to be addressed so soon which meant it was personal; he looked at Tobirama again to check if it was ok before opening it. The lines in his jaw went tight and hard, Tobirama spoke softly “Hashirama has gotten married. And I – I wasn’t there to see my brother get married ‘dara” Madara swallowed and shoved down his anger again, cupping the lovely face “I’m sorry” he whispered and Tobirama smiled faintly and shrugged “It was always going to happen. He married the Mizuchi daughter as we thought he would and I - I knew it would happen ‘dara but I just never realized I would never see him in wedding clothes” Madara’s gut twisted painfully, the idea of missing Izuna’s wedding day filling his head painfully. “Oh beloved” he whispered and gathered Tobirama close, utterly out of words to say and make this better; he knew nothing ever would make this ok, nothing.

“I will never see his children being born, I won’t be there to hold them, never be there to see him fight with his wife when she gets tired of his sh*t, never be there to help him make dinner when she’s sick, never be there to babysit the children, never-“ his voice was shaking and cracking and Madara whimpered a little, hating what this was doing to his lover. Words failed Tobirama and he huddled closer, clutching at Madara and whining almost too quietly to hear- probably not even aware that he was doing it- desperate for anything to sooth him Madara cleared his throat and began to hum softly, relived when Tobirama stilled a little and transitioning to singing when the albino softened and the tension slipped away.

Now come you close my love,

Now step you near

Now come to me my love

Now you are here”

It was an old lullaby, one his mother had sung to him as a child and Tobirama went easy and calm against him as Madara sang, soothing in turn the raging thing that filled his chest and so often drove him to anger; it was so much better here, so much better with Tobirama showing him better ways, peace seemed so much closer than it ever had before now that it had found a place in Madara’s heart.

Tobirama smiled at his husband softly, glad for the way that Madara had kept him close and helped him respond at dinner; it was so wonderful to have someone on his side like this and listening. Swinging his leg over Madara's lap and setting there with a sly smile; Madara blinked at him, hands landing on Tobirama's sharp hips (Madara couldn't get over the smugness that came from his husband growing lithe and strong, the thinness of deprivation and neglect fading away under Madara's care) and rubbing soft circles there "What trouble are you cooking up pretty eyes?" Madara asked on a deep rumble. Tobirama's smile widened and he slid his hands under Madara's thick hair and scratched lightly at the back of his neck, soft satisfaction bubbling in him as Madara's eyes fell closed and his mouth dropped open with a faint smile "Do you like this dear heart? Tell me if it feels good" (the words slipped out with the ease Tobirama so rarely had) Madara gasped and his hands clenched on Tobirama's hips making the albino purr and lean closer; "it does then? What do you want Madara? Would you like me to ride you husband? Want me to f*ck myself on your co*ck?" Madara groaned deep from his chest, hips hitching against Tobirama and making the albino moan. It took him a long moment to gather his mind again and his voice when he spoke was breathy "or do you want to press me on my back and watch my eyes? How about on my hands and knees, want to mount me like a beast 'dara?" Madara's eyes snapped open, already red and spinning and burning as one of his hands snapped up and curled around Tobirama's jaw, catching his lips in a starving kiss; "Yes, like that, please pretty" he rasped and Tobirama laughed throatily yanking at Madara's hair "As you wish" he purred and moved off Madara's lap in a showy twist, shucking off his soft Uchiha style clothing and preening under Madara's hot gaze.

The Uchiha scrambled to his knees and smoothed his hands over Tobirama's rib cage, "By the gods I swear you’re more beautiful every time I see you" he breathed and the albino blushed faintly, breath catching when Madara rolled his nipples between his fingers "Is there a chance I could convince you to pierce one of these?" he whispered, tongue and mouth dropping to suck and bite as Tobirama shuddered and braced on his shoulder "Would- aha!- you like that?" He gasped out and Madara moaned against the sweetly aching flesh "Gods yes" he breathed sounding dazed; Tobirama shivered "Then yes, you could convince me" he murmured. Madara snarled, one hand skimming down to palm roughly against Tobirama's aching co*ck and making the albino writhe, only barely keeping his feet. "Ma-da! Oh- hng- you said you would f*ck me" he whined, a little sulky even as Madara's hand worked over him; the Uchiha shuddered and kissed Tobirama again, twisting off the bed and shucking his clothing while trying to keep his hands on Tobirama.

The albino danced out of reach, flushed and heavy lidded with Madara's touch and he dragged the drawer open and plucked the slick out of it (now was not the time to try his new jutsu unfortunately) licking his lips at the sight of his husband stripped of clothing; gods of tides but Madara had the most wonderful muscles, Tobirama wanted to lick every sharply defined line and splay himself out over that musculature. Madara smirked and snatched Tobirama too him with hot eyes for a slow kiss, the albino tangling his hand in long dark hair and stroking the gunbai strengthened muscles with a shudder. "On the bed pretty one" Madara rumbled Tobirama shivered and bit sharply at Madara's lower lip before crawling into the bed, arching his back just to hear Madara groan, the Uchiha licking his lips and panting when Tobirama sent him a hot look over his shoulder. "Gods you're perfect like this" he growled as he set his knees on the bed and smoothed a hand over Tobirama's flank, "patient and waiting for me to please you, to bring you pleasure" Tobirama whined as slick fingers rubbed at his entrance without pressing in "may I try something darling? Let me work you open" a fingertip breached him and Tobirama shivered "let me lick you open darling, until you're gagging for it" Tobirama nodded frantically, glad for the care he had taken with his ablutions earlier as Madara's breath puffed hotly against his tailbone before the Uchiha bit sharply on his coccyx. Tobirama shivered hard, shuddering at the feeling and not given a moment to get used to it before Madara's tongue swept over his hole; the albino went still, shivering in anticipation before Madara's tongue swept over him again and then set to work mixing firm swipes with kittenish lapping as his fingers flexed on Tobirama's ass as he held the albino's cheeks apart.

A thrust of Madara's tongue breached the ring of muscle and Tobirama spasmed and collapsed to his elbows with a high sound; Madara snarled and set to f*cking Tobirama with his tongue, each push making the albino twist, he had never felt anything like this and it was - oh sweet gods, why had it never occurred to him that Madara would be good at collecting chakra in his mouth with all the fire jitsu? The sound he made as chakra and Madara's tongue speared him was animal, writhing and twisting closer to the peak; at the last moment one of Madara's hands slipped around Tobirama's hips and wrapped tight around the base of his leaking co*ck, the albino whined high and desperate "Please 'dara, please!" Madara laughed hotly, "Not without my co*ck in you darling" he rumbled, fingers taking over for his tongue (Madara loved fingering Tobirama open, loved the trust and the exclusivity of, he was the first and the last and had brought Tobirama to completion with just his fingers more than once), working Tobirama open quickly.

Tobirama was shuddering under him, twisting in and away from Madara's tight fingers around his co*ck holding him on the edge with no relief; Madara pulled his fingers free from the clinging heat slowly and replaced it with his co*ck in a slow thrust as he bent forward over the smooth arch of Tobirama's back, grinding deep "You feel- hah- so good pretty one" he shifted his weight and Tobirama seized "there it is, do you like this? Do you like me mounting you like a beast?" Tobirama's voice was high and thin as he begged Madara for relief. The Uchiha pressed in deep as he could and sharply jerked his hand down the pretty weeping co*ck; Tobirama keened and arched under Madara, shoving back hard on to the Uchiha's co*ck as he came, breath punching out as Madara f*cked into him. He loved this almost as much as Madara did, loved it when his husband f*cked him though org*sm and into him after (it was nothing he would have ever done with a mark and the trust of it made Tobirama's head go hazy and drifting).

The Uchiha's hips snapped forward and heat filled Tobirama, the albino slurred out a moan at the feeling and shivered when Madara held him close and didn't disengage yet, panting into the pale elegant neck as he nuzzled into it; "You're unbelievable To'ra, gods it's always so good with you" the albino hummed happily at the praise and then whimpered when the Uchiha pulled out, unhappy with the empty feeling. Madara groaned and rubbed at his ass, looking at his leaking entrance with hot eyes- he loved to do that, always wanted to drink in the sight of his seed in Tobirama- before reluctantly moving away to get a cloth to clean them (Tobirama pouted into his arms, he would rather Madara stay with him and not worry about clean up than leave him even for a moment) the warm cloth on Tobirama's skin making him relax and then whining when Madara left until his husband returned and pulled the albino into his arms. "Good 'dara?" He slurred and the Uchiha laughed helplessly "So, so good, gods you have no idea" he gasped, Tobirama hummed and patted at his chest "Sl'p lov'" he murmured as he drifted off to sleep in Madara's tight embrace.

Chapter 36: onyx

Summary:

protects from harmful spirits; absorbs negative energy, potent against black magic

Notes:

Alright! I am back with this and hoping I don't f*ck it up while finishing it! Either way after over a year I am sure there might be a change in tone or writing style so I hope you don't mind ignoring that, I did go back over the fic so far and did end up tweaking a few things so you might want to start over at the beginning, if not I don't think there will be much that is too out of place though.

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Tobirama jolted awake in the middle of the night, his chakra sense humming as the albino sent out his senses in a wave searching for – there, it was the work of a moment to pulse his chakra at Madara and throw himself out of bed in a lightning-fast rush, shunshin interspersed with racing over rooftops and reaching (there, in the dark near – Chura? The therapist?) curling his chakra into the pounding blood but (don’t use that, don’t use that unless no choice, never use that) and then into his feet, kicking in the door in an explosion of power and leaping across the room; the knife he had grabbed on his way out the window flashing out and sending blood fountaining out in a dark spray over the room (yugh, he hadn’t intended to hit that angle) as Tobirama ducked past for the second threat in the hall closer to Chura’s room (the half Yamanaka was a smart woman but she was also frail and not a front line fighter, against a skilled shinobi she never had a chance) dispatching this nin with ease and not stopping to watch them hit the floor or acknowledge the burning cut on his ribs as he lunged at the door, throwing the knife into the gut of a third assailant and going for the fourth barehanded. Tackling the man off the mind healer into a messy grapple, relived when a moment later the nin under him suddenly superheated and let out a choking gurgle as Madara’s presence filled the room, not stopping at Chura and going straight to Tobirama instead, his hands a bit frantic on the slimmer shinobi as he brushed Tobirama down and called out to Chura; relived when the older woman’s voice came back strong and even.

Focus broken Tobirama sagged into Madara, letting his worried husband (oooo, half dressed!) cradle him and move him away from the fourth attacker, frowning a bit when he realized that though someone had lit the room his own vision was still shadowy and unsteady; f*ck. Instantly Tobirama closed the world out and sent his chakra racing through his body, isolating the wound on his ribs in a moment and swearing under his breath as he redirected chakra at speed and threw healing-searing chakra up in blocks trying to isolate the wound and the “Poison, they had poison” he gasped out; only halfway hearing the mutters and swearing around him under the sudden fear in Madara’s chakra “easy, easy dear heart, I can handle it, I’m going to be ok” he soothed absently, pulling the ungloved hand to his cheek and leaning into it “just stay with me and help me back, my lodestone” the Uchiha made an agreeing noise and moved closer and with his chakra blazing in Tobirama’s mind the albino turned all the way in.

Carefully the former Senju reached into himself, remined of the one and only time he tried to learn Sage mode on his own and it nearly killed him- he still learned enough to teach Hashirama though- and turning away from the call of the outside world he focused inward, checking the progress of the poison and then heading straight for the First Gate throwing it open fast and following with the second almost as fast; the Gate of Healing unlocking with a visceral click (gods Tobirama was glad he didn’t need anything past the Second Gate, the Third Gate had never gone well with him and trying to open it as a child had marked his skin forever- to Butsuma’s great fury, though at that point it had most been under his clothes and hidable and Father….grit his teeth and ignored it, when Tobirama got old enough to find a way to utilize the Gates anyway and forced the chaotic red smearing his skin into making the harmonious scarlet marks he now wore and Butsuma saw them on his face and that they couldn’t be covered easily, well, he was livid- and left that Gate cracked a whisper open ever after, he could open it if he had too but he was always glad to avoid needing too).

Madara said something and when Tobirama tried to listen the Uchiha just moved closer and hushed him, whispering in his ear “Focus on you darling” and so the albino let himself slide under again, gathering the rush of chakra from the Gate and readying himself; checking everything over and taking a few fast breaths to ready himself for the flash heal – flash heal with a bit extra from the Gates to burn out the poison, it was going to hurt. With that in mind Tobirama shifted his hand on the wound and leaned forward into his husband, biting down on the shoulder of Madara’s messy robes to muffle the agonized noise as he dropped the walls around the wound and chakra rushed in in a tsunami of agonizing light and power (that was going to scar painfully, what if Madara-). Pain exploded behind his closed eyelids and it was only the cloth in his mouth that kept the agonized noise from turning into a scream as the blinding agony from the wound whited out his world, only the familiar comfort of Madara’s steady chakra holding him to consciousness until the chakra receded and exhausted Tobirama closed the Gates and let the mental locks click into place.

With a whine Tobirama released his bite and panted into Madara’s shoulder as the Uchiha crooned to him, Madara’s chakra an anxious swirl until Tobirama got enough strength and pulled the older man’s hand to the closed over wound; the only way he could currently communicate to his husband that he was ok now. “Oh thank the gods” Madara rasped into Tobirama’s hair “thank all that is holy, you’re ok” weakly Tobirama nodded into his shoulder, tipping his head to kiss the Uchiha’s neck gently, slurring “’k, ‘m ‘k, you?” tiredly. Madara laughed a bit wildly and Tobirama realized suddenly that he could feel Madara’s chakra shifting with the distinctive spin of the Sharingan (how worried had he been? Oh ‘dara…) “I’m alright darling, I – f*ck I’m fine. I just, you’re ok? The poison is gone?” at his husband’s terrified words Tobirama nodded again and pressed another kiss, his energy returning as Madara eased chakra into him – seemingly unconsciously.

“Yes, the poison is gone, did anyone else get nicked? It’s a bad one but I can show the healer how to isolate it," he panted for breath before adding "not flash heal like I did with the Gates helping me but something a bit less dramatic, I don’t think I could flash heal someone else like that though maybe Madara, I know his chakra and body well enough that I might be able to flash heal and could share chakra if I opened my Gates, I like sharing chakra with Madara but probably wouldn’t flash heal him it hurts and he’s my husband, did you know he’s my husband Chura?” …was he babbling? Chura was nodding with wide eyes so she didn’t quite seem to believe him “He is! He married me! I know, I can’t believe it too, I think he got drugged maybe? Not sure. Father always said I was never going to have a partner so it didn’t matter that I didn’t have a fan or couldn’t make a Token or went on the honeypot missions – I hate honeypot missions, but I love Madara isn’t that odd? No! it’s not, it makes total sense, Madara is the best and SO gorgeous and amazing and hot and wow his muscles! And he married me?! Do you know how to check for drugs? That would explain the change in his Sharingan too, I can’t figure that out, is it part of the normal damage from the Sharingan or did something else happen? I’m working on the ocular damage you see and I was going to use acid but I don’t think Madara would like that so I have to find another way to test whether it heals rather than on me, Madara might not like that, and he might actually notice unlike brother and his chakra feels so good.

Chura, who had been kneeling in front of him her, long white half-shaved (Oooo! There were patterns in the shaved half! Tobirama hadn’t noticed that before) head co*cked, had gone very pale and looked a bit horrified and the warmth seeping into Tobirama had gotten hotter, hot enough it was like sinking into a hot spring and made him feel rather sleepy. All but purring he cuddled back into the warmth and realized “Oh! Madara! There you are! You feel warm, are your eyes ok?” for some reason that was enough for the Uchiha to gather him even closer with a strangled noise, nosing at Tobirama’s hair to the albino’s delight. “Yes, yes my Sharingan is fine, it’s part of you being my Center” ok that meant something maybe given Chura’s shocked intake of breath “it happens sometimes, my grandfather’s Sharingan gained the electric purple lighting it’s not surprising that mine are slowly changing as well with a Center. I’ll – I’ll explain what a Center is later when you’re a bit more focused, but, To’ra what did you mean about a ‘Token’ and honeypot missions and acid?”

Tobirama hummed thoughtfully, mind already turning over the idea of something else that changed the Uchiha’s eyes but slower and shades of purple and whether it would make the damage worse so it took him a second to respond to Madara’s question, not helped by getting distracted by the movement of Kikiyo’s chakra as she must be cleaning the other room of the dead and Madara’s wonderful feathery hair brushing against his cheek “…a Token is a Token of course, wait, Uchiha don’t have Tokens? Weird! Your hair is so soft Madara, I love your hair” with a pleased hum the albino nuzzled closer into said hair mumbling “I love your hair, I love when it brushes over me as you f*ck me or tangling my hands in it or brushing it or –“ with a strangled noise Madara covered his mouth and squished them together as Tobirama started giggling into his hand and Touka entered the room, looking around at the mess Tobirama had made and him wrapped around Madara like an octopus giggling while the Uchiha therapist looked ashen and Madara looked close to tortured.

“What the-?” she blurted, going to Chura first (she was well aware of how deeply important the woman was to her boyfriend's well being and deeply concerned about an attack on her given that Madara clearly had Tobirama under control) relived to find the woman alright if a bit shaken and clearly distracted. “Madara did you swamp him in chakra? Because he looked like he’s halfway between chakra exhaustion and drunk and I know he’s got chakra drunk off your chakra before when he was a teenager” at that Chura shot the two men an interested glance, inquiring “How old is he?” and Touka blinked at her. “Tobirama? He’s twenty two, turned the day after he left the Senju I think. I don’t remember for sure, we never celebrated, Butsuma didn’t encourage it” behind her Madara growled deeply, looking nothing short of murderous as he cuddled a sleepy looking Tobirama. “I think you and I need to have a conversation sister in law,” he bit out, red Sharingan eyes strafed with brilliant violet “apparently there are some things I need to know and don’t.”

Notes:

The idea of Centering changing the Sharingan came from a reader but I can't remember who....and I loved it enough that I had to thread it into the Center lore where I could as I was still working on things. This is one of the things retroactively tweaked.

Chapter 37: rose cut tanzanite

Summary:

speak the truth of your heart; wholeness and integration, connecting the third eye and heart

Chapter Text

Madara pet his fingers through the thick white hair, Tobirama curled around his lap dozing and playing with the ends of Madara’s hair like a giant cat while the Uchiha head sat on the couch in the living room and listened to Kikiyo’s rundown on what they could glean from the dead bodies of the assassins that Tobirama had killed. They had gotten lucky having a sensor of such skill to alert them to the attack and respond to it, if they hadn’t the last therapist/mind healer they had would have been extremely dead; just as every other one in the clan had been picked off over time (a pattern that had been going on a long time, Madara was fairly sure his father had never noticed the way that the Uchiha couldn't keep support for their mental health alive even though their other healers and medics didn’t seem targeted). That was concerning enough but when you added in the way that Chura had made such a big difference to Izuna and how that made Madara aware of how bad things had been getting mentally in the clan (sending Hikaku had been…hard but needed even he could see it after) and how much Sharingan scaring had been accruing on the mentality of the Uchiha, it no wonder the feud with the Senju kept going like it did when the entire clan was so deeply traumatized and Madara was getting very wary of a threat out there he didn't know about, a lingering malignance in the shadows.

Once again it was Tobirama that have saved them and though it was very important to hear what Kikiyo had to say about the attack it was hard to focus on her and not his Center (her eyes flicking to his still spinning and apparently Center shaded Sharingan). Still, he forced himself and it was….bad. It seemed to be a team from Lightning, and a skilled one, probably hired by someone with a lot of power and money; that fit Madara’s suspicions- a long lived, wealthy, powerful, foe that wanted the Uchiha unstable was his best guess for the scope and possible length of the attacks- but he couldn’t say he was glad to have them verified in all honesty, he didn’t want to know this (he wanted to talk to Touka). “Ok, sh*t” exhausted he rubbed at his eyes, sighing as Tobirama’s long fingers slid under his and cool healing chakra snuck in, letting the other do as he would for a moment before gently pulling his hands down before his love could tire himself out again “we need to protect Chura and send out a call to our ally clans for more mind healers. I wanted to put it off with Tobirama here but…” Kikiyo nodded, her face grim.

“We’ll make them swear oaths or something, we’ll figure it out Madara and it will be a while before anyone comes. As for protection-“ but she hesitated, looking a bit unsure; she knew like him that they had been doing all they could to keep Chura safe and – “Oh!” Tobirama’s bright voice was a sharp interruption and he wiggled on Madara’s lap until he was draped over him on his stomach and doing something and then slamming his hand to the ground in a move Madara recognized. Barely having a chance to jump before Akira-hime appeared nose to nose with her summoner, her whiskers making Tobirama giggle again and melting Madara’s heart (he didn’t miss the matching looks on Izuna, Kikiyo, and Hikaku's faces as the Uchiha also in the room watched Tobirama nuzzled his summons and whisper in her furry ear until she nodded and nudged him farther onto Madara’s lap gently, “As you say, I will ask Junpei to come keep an eye on the mind healer and I will ask Ylwa if any of the Hatake wolves would like to come help keep watch. Perhaps Ulrich, since her summoner died she has been listless, do not fear Tobi-cub, Mada-mate, your pack will be kept safe”.

And with that the large snow leopard vanished, leaving Tobirama grinning at Madara dopily “There, I have seals too. Our clan is going to be ok” and f*ck, how was Madara supposed to do anything other then fold over and kiss the silly look off his husband’s face? Tobirama’s happy purring making the last bits of Madara’s fear fade away. Gently he released Tobirama’s lips and rested their foreheads together ignoring the muttered “Are – are they nuzzling noses!?” from Izuna (and maybe Madara then did so just to spite the little sh*t….and maybe it made Tobirama giggled again and then Madara had to do it, not his choice just the rules) just breathing in the presence of his amazing Center. Until there was another pop and Tobirama wiggled to look upside-down at the suddenly appearing summons; there was one fluffy mid-sized snow leopard and a large black leopard peering around curiously and between them there was a gigantic ragged looking wolf-dog that Madara very much wanted to see an assassin try to take on.

“Junpei!” the large black leopard turned to Tobirama and nodded at him “Akira didn’t say that you were bringing Shinju! And you must be Ulrich?” the snow leopard- who must be Shinju, Tobirama wasn’t normally this bad at introductions- chuffed and the wolf-dog woofed softly, her eyes tired and hard “Where is the one we need to focus on? The one that is being targeted?” she asked quietly, not quite meeting Madara’s eyes as he sent her and the leopards with Kikiyo and Hikaku to get a feel for the compound and Chura (Madara was refusing to let Tobirama add any seals until he had some rest and was looking less loopy). Confused Madara glanced at Tobirama as they left, meeting sad red eyes questioningly “Ulrich was Sigrún Hatake’s summon, Ástríðr’s oldest daughter” and Madara winced, he had heard about her death, it had been…a bloody betrayal and rumor had it that her summons had been captured forced to watch. Revenge from the Hatake had been complete and uncompromising, in that context it made sense for her summons to be a bit off and he hoped that helping out here with the Uchiha would help.

Sighing Madara smiled down at Tobirama, “Are you tired pretty eyes?” he asked quietly, trying to spare Izuna the apparent horror of his older brother being cute with his husband and Center. Tobirama blinked sleepily at him and to Madara’s shocked adoration his bottom lip slowly pushed out in a pout, somehow increasing the resemblance to a sleepy cub even more, “Wanna stay with you” he mumbled tiredly and Madara was pretty sure his heart was exploding as he let out a sound like a hot tea kettle and buried his face in Tobirama’s hair, heart aching as Tobirama purred and tangled his fingers higher in Madara’s hair happily even if the clumsy hold pulled a bit harder than Madara thought he intended to. “Ok,” he murmured “you can stay but go to sleep, ok? You need to rest darling, for me To’ra?” and Tobirama sighed a long suffering sigh but snuggled closer, snuffling a bit as he nosed into Madara’s hair and turned the Uchiha into a melted pile of feels.

It took him a minuet to gather himself again and refocus on the rest of the room, sighing his own exhaustion and glancing out the window to see the sun starting to rise; he hadn’t used much chakra but he had fed a lot into Tobirama (after Touka pointed out he was doing it he didn’t bother to stop, hoping to soften the fall for Tobirama and maybe ease up the aches of the painful ‘flash’ healing that Tobirama had used on himself) and he would do it again in a heart beat but it did mean he was feeling the drag of the too early hour. A click on the table pulled Madara’s attention to the steaming tea and – Tobirama’s obsidian knife, Madara hadn’t realized that was the knife his husband grabbed on the way out the door but though Touka had wiped off the blood and gore it was a bit worse for the wear where it must have impacted something hard- a bone maybe?- as the edge was chipped and Madara felt his throat go tight for a moment. His husband had used the knife Madara gave him as a courting gift to defend their clan, could there be anything more fitting?

“Touka, what is a Token?” he asked quietly, eyes fixed on the blade. Touka sighed and sat down across from him, handing him the tea as she did, “Did Tobirama mention it tonight? I can’t see him bringing it up otherwise, he wouldn’t talk about it normally. Tokens are a…Senju thing I guess, it’s an object- normally jewelry- that is made out of a lock of hair that you give to loved ones and carry with you so that no matter what happens you have your family and loved ones with you and if you die you are buried with Tokens. It brings a bit of comfort to know that even if a loved one dies far away, and we can’t retrieve the corpse at least they aren’t alone and we have a piece of them with us too. That’s why most Senju have long hair, so that they can give a proper Token to the ones they love; we cut our hair in mourning, the shorter the more you lose and only keep it short if you have no loved ones left. It is a proclamation of no attachments and though both Hashirama and Tobirama cut their hair after their brother’s deaths Tobirama-“ her jaw went tight in anger and she looked out the window “Butsuma said that a weapon had no need of attachments, that a sword couldn’t love, and it was Tobirama’s job to be a sword so he – he was to keep his hair short and remember what failing meant.”

Madara was so angry he felt cold, it was unlike anything he had ever felt before and he heard his voice coming at a distance when he asked, “Does he have any Tokens?” Touka grimaced and shrugged “When Senju children are young we make Child Tokens for our family and I would be shocked if he didn’t still have his from his brothers and mother, not sure about Butsuma. I gave him one, a while after he gave me my fan, that was when he told me why he couldn’t give me one back; I told him that was ok but you know Tobi, he took it hard and saw it as a failure somehow I’m sure. Otherwise no, he wouldn’t have any I don’t think.” “And what about Acid and honeypot missions?” Madara asked mechanically, trying to keep calm enough to not disturb his husband sleeping in his lap.

Touka winced, “Well I don’t know about acid but….aw sh*t” wearily she scrubbed at he face and stood to pace to the window and back, Izuna’s eyes tracking her worriedly “Tobirama has always been particular about touch, he craved it from those he trusted and who’s chakra didn’t hurt him- Hashirama- but hated it from those he doesn’t trust. Butsuma…I don’t know how old Tobirama was when he got sent on his first honeypot but it was on the young side I know, before the marks on his cheeks formed for sure though I don’t know how far it went at the time – Butsuma wasn’t that awful I don’t think, I don’t think that there was, well, any intercourse needed until his later teens, which was bad enough. But just having someone paw at him for Tobirama- who can feel intention by the way- he. sh*t. He scrubbed himself raw and I think some of the times he was leaning on your chakra the most were after those kinds of missions. It wasn’t well known that he got sent on them, the Senju aren’t the Hyuuga, we- they- don’t care about purity like that but I know it made Tobirama feel dirty and that as Tobirama got older and more willful his father punished him with over training or missions Butsuma knew he hated. Useful things, Butsuma was big on usefulness.”

Tobirama was pulled out of his comfortable sleep by the sudden fountain of Madara’s rage, reacting without a thought as he twisted to perch in the older man’s lap and cup the handsome face, stroking the sweeping cheekbones and tracing the scars under his eyes while sending his senses out in rush looking for the source of Madara’s deep rage – the rage he was fighting to get under control and not overwhelm Tobirama with. Oh ‘dara, sweet, sweet dear heart, Tobirama didn’t deserve his care and attention but now that he had it he fully intended to make the most of it. Purring Tobirama curled himself tighter around his husband, regretting that he didn’t have the energy to take Madara somewhere and help him get the angry energy out but going for the best thing he could instead and gathering a bundle of yin-chakra together and sliding it into Madara passively. A quiet whisper of Tobirama’s love and affection and devotion much better than comforting words could be waiting passively until Madara was ready to pay attention while Tobirama murmured quietly as Touka and Izuna quit the room, “’dara? What’s the matter?” because that mattered, Madara’s anger wasn’t something to be shut down and out and ignored like a dirty secret or failure. No his anger was real and powerful and Tobirama wanted to know what had triggered it so he could make better choices, he trusted Madara and so he trusted Madara’s everything, especially his passions.

This time though whatever was angering Madara seemed deeper, and he struggled for words for a moment before forcing out guttural, raging words “You – your father – he, I – the way he treated you” and something twisted painfully in Tobirama’s gut (he was the cause of – no, no, Madara wouldn’t want him to think like that) as he crooned gently, “Oh love, I’m sorry, he’s dead love. I am here with you now, remember? He can’t – can’t do anything with me with you, I’m not even a Senju anymore” he was mostly babbling and wished his head was a little clearer. While the chakra high had been pushed down with concern, it was still there and he was still extremely tired, so it was hard to focus on making sure that he was saying the right kind of things and just had to hope that his instincts weren’t too far off.

It must not have been too bad, as Madara shuddered and cuddled him closer- not really possible at this point but Tobirama had no problem with Madara trying- gasping “You’re here, with me, mine, an Uchiha. No one can make you get hurt you like anymore, I won’t let anyone make you – you here, an Uchiha” and Tobirama’s heart broke at the desperation in Madara’s voice. It was painful and at the same time…something warm and wonderful unfolded in Tobirama’s ribs as the sheer force in Madara’s voice sank in; he was right, Tobirama was an Uchiha now and Madara would never let anything happen to him like that. Tobirama would never again be forced to just submit to pain and – well, if anyone tried to do this again Tobirama could fight back. Madara would want him to fight back, Madara would want him to not be in pain, Madara would want him to let himself be hurt, Madara would want him to fight. Tobirama couldn’t have stopped himself from giggling again as that thought ballooned out inside him, and he pulled back enough to catch Madara’s face in his hands and yanked the older man, his husband, into a hungry, happy kiss; doing his best to kiss the living daylights out of his husband around his happy smile; “I’m an Uchiha Madara, I’m yours and here and yours!”

Madara made a grating sound when Tobirama pulled back beaming, chakra high and the sudden sensation of freedom making him feel like he was flying. The anger in Madara’s chakra had smoothed away and he was staring at Tobirama like he was something amazing and wonderful and honestly right now (free and high and loved and wanted and having defended his clan and with a faint ache in his tailbone) Tobirama…rather felt like he was. Pleased Tobirama ducked down and kissed Madara again, wiggling happily when Madara surged into the kiss, clutching him close and humming happily as he licked into the older man’s mouth and settled in; happy to kiss until the exhaustion started dragging him down again and then snuggling around Madara comfortably for a nap (mostly unaware that he was murmuring sleepily under his breath into Madara’s ear, the Uchiha’s red-purple eyes wet as he listened to his chakra drunk husband mumble words of affection into his hair, sleepy “-so good to me, so the best, love you so much, hair so fluffy – love y’r hair, so pass’nat, love that so much, always care n’v’r have to worr’y y’ll stop l’v’n me, so honest, and smart, and f’n, h’v f’n with you, love you Madara,-“ filling the aching holes in Madara’s heart).

Chapter 38: ivy

Summary:

Friendship; fidelity, marriage

Chapter Text

Touka folded her arms tighter under her breast and hunched over a bit, leaning over the Uchiha compound wall as Tobirama’s big cats slunk around and said hello to the sentries and Ulrich vanished in Chura’s home with the thoughtful looking therapist. Behind her Izuna stepped onto the wood, making sure his steps were loud enough for her to hear (he was sweet) as he meandered next to her, leaning close enough she could feel him without crowding her (gods he was so sweet). “You ok?” he asked quietly and Touka snarled, anger flashing through her like lit black-powder; “I am fine. I wasn’t the one f*cking abused and groomed to not even understand that that was what was happening to me” she growled, hands going tight in the cloth of the Uchiha tunic she was wearing.

Izuna sighed and responded even softer “No, maybe not, though I am guessing things weren’t easy either growing up-“ “I had good parents even if they died young! I always had Tobirama on my side and that meant a lot in the Senju and as long as I could fight well I was respected! I was never sent on a honeypot that needed intercourse or – I was treated as a shinobi at war and that’s hard but never once was I treated like that! I –“ but Izuna cut into her rant in a firm, even voice that stopped Touka in her tracks “You grew up every day watching someone you loved dearly being abused and mistreated and misunderstood, you had to stand there and keep on loving him as he was suffocating under all that bull sh*t and he couldn’t even see that what was happening was wrong so you couldn’t talk to anyone about it or do anything, and you still didn’t look away or abandon him. Not even though that’s the easier thing to do when people you love are in pain and you can’t help. You didn’t turn your face away from evil, or your heart, even when it was killing him; don’t you dare tell me that was easy or without pain” and Touka….just…broke. Her heart cracking as she slapped a hand over her mouth to stifle a pained gasp and doubled over, sinking to crouch as she struggled to smother it, until – warmth settled around her as Izuna wrapped her in his arms and tucked her close, not trying to pull her out of her huddle or make her cry freely or change how she hurt just being there with her as years and years of bitter aching helpless anger welled up and spilled over in a suffocating wave.

(Tobirama had been so small when she first met him, all wild dandelion tuft hair and huge pale red eyes watching her from behind things, his hands had been small but skilled when he showed her how to throw a kunai, smiling like the sun coming out when she thanked him rather than getting mad a kid younger than her was better than her. A smile she hadn’t seen in a long time until Madara stole her quite, broken little cousin away and brought back that wide eyed dandelion child.)

“I – I couldn’t do anything Izu, I would train with him as much as I could, but I would get tired and have to stop and he’d just keep going. I had – I had to wait, just stand there and wait while he beat his hands bloody and he – he – he would fall down and get up and fall down and get up and fall down and get up and-“ she choked, lashing out and punching the wall hard enough that her knuckles ground painfully as Izuna tightened his hold on her and said nothing else for a long time as Touka choked off wails behind gritted teeth; just holding on until the storm eased a bit and then speaking quietly, “We often forget I think how agonizing it is to see people you love in pain and be helpless, how being an observer to a tragedy is a bitter and cruel fate and how much strength it takes to hold on anyway. I – I had a goddaughter once, her name was Reia, she was…she was a good kid, one of the best, never manifested her Sharingan but fast and stealthy and smart. I had to kill her mother, a mercy kill, mainline Uchiha are responsible for those if around or whoever else highest ranking is available if one of us isn’t; its for the Mangekyō, there’s a sort of dark logic to it.”

A deep breath and he continued as she leaned into him “And when Etsuko – well I was the one to do and got the Mangekyō for it too, after that Reia was mine to keep an eye on even though I didn’t have a clue what I was doing or how to raise a kid, sh*t I was just a kid myself! – anyway, she died and I ran into Tobirama after he killed the bloodline thieves that killed her. He had her Sharingan in his hands and I know now he was taking them from the thieves but then – well all I could think was she hadn’t had them when she left and no need to say I didn’t trust Tobirama before that, but it was a lot worse after. Chura helped me see where my thinking was wrong and that I was letting my guilt over not keeping her away from pain poison me, that I was allowed to have been hurt by what happened and have that hurt me. That is was ok to be hurt when you were getting cut by knives thrown at someone else, I didn't have to find someone to blame for something to be allowed to hurt” gently he nudged her “you’re allowed to have been hurt too, you don’t have to compare wounds off of knives like this, even if they were thrown at Tobirama first you still got hurt” wetly Touka laughed, relaxing into his hold until they were cuddling together in the early light rather than him just holding her. “I’m sorry about Reia” she said eventually, keeping her voice soft and easy and feeling – not better but, less pent up and angry maybe; finally acknowledging how much it had hurt to see all that happen to Tobirama and be able to do nothing- not even convince him it was wrong- somehow making it a bit easier to breath. “and thank you Izu”.

After a while Izuna’s stomach growled and laughing Touka helped him up, kissing him long and firm and touching his cheek with grateful eyes that made her sweet Uchiha blush a bit and scuff his foot bashfully which required another kiss and then another and – well it was a bit before they came down from the walls. By the time they did they were swarmed by slightly worried Uchiha asking about their winter fox and clan head and by the time reassurance had been made and the summons explained (Touka didn’t miss the way the clan closed ranks around Chura at the threat to her and wondered if based on the woman’s confused look she hadn’t been a bit…pushed away before as only half-Uchiha and without the Sharingan to boot) and a paper wrapped package shoved into Izuna’s hand that made him grin like a loon, it was fully lunch time and they decided to go back to the Great House for the meal to see how the lovebirds were doing – though Izuna swore he was leaving if there was more nose nuzzling and even Touka- who was just thrilled to see her cousin so open and happy- could admit it had gotten a bit much.

Still, over careful peering into the house showed that Madara was in the back garden with the children listening to Haru as Tobirama lazed with tea on the engawa (Tobirama! LAZING!). “Pet?” Touka asked Izuna’s eyes going a bit wistful as they lingered on his older brother and murmured just loud enough Tobirama could hear as they approached “Haru reminds me of the stories Mada tells about Kurohime, I guess you would have known her as Koro back then she died young but she and Madara were close. It’s good Haru has him to talk to if he ever feels misgendered, Mada was great with Kurohime about that” Touka glanced at the children and especially Haru and nodded, looking at Tobirama to see if he was surprised and pleased when he wasn’t, he must have already known about Madara’s bro-sister then. Lords of wind if you had told her a few weeks ago that Madara, leader of the Uchiha, Bringer of Ash and rage, would be good with mostly mute Haru she would have laughed in your face. On the other hand she would have laughed in your face if you told her that Tobirama would laze on the engawa and drink tea in the middle of the day and look happy about it to so clearly her imagination had needed work.

Grinning she dropped next to Tobirama, leaning into him as Izuna wandered back into the house (possibly for food? Touka was a bit unclear on how that worked here because Yuuka seemed to be involved in making sure there was food in the house but not officially? And Kikiyo was busy so she couldn’t be doing it and really the entire thing here was confusing to her. Izuna said they had had someone taking care of the house for years but she had died in an unspecified way recently and so the rest were just sort of piecing it together as they went; Touka thought they ought to just find a new helper in the house but whatever, it seemed to work for them and she had never minded chipping in – though…she might mention to the chaos-child- what was his name, Kenshin maybe?- that Tobirama could use a teenage helper around the house with his imps and the house itself). “You ok cuz?” she asked softly, shocked when he leaned back into her had gave her a soft smile (gods of waves how long had it been -?) “Better than ever” he agreed softly “if a bit abashed to have chipped my knife”.

At that Izuna- who had just returned with a heavy tray- cut in as he flopped on Touka’s other side and dropped his burden on the low table that Tobirama had been sitting next to “Don’t worry about that, that’s like the biggest compliment an Uchiha could get that you would use their gift in defense is like, a big deal. That thing is going to be an heirloom now, like it or not.” at that Touka had to laugh given the shocked look on Tobirama’s face (oh cuz, always so surprised when you have positive effect on the world) and that it seemed was enough to call the kids in from the yard – Madara very much included. The kids crowded around in an excited murmur (Touka once again basked in the phenomenon of Tobirama’s effect on children) all beaming in reflected joy as Madara pressed a lingering but chaste kiss to his husband’s lips before sitting next to him and making sure the kids all had enough to eat. It was the sort of family meal that Touka had often had since coming to the Uchiha compound, but she was quite sure it was the sort of thing that she was never going to get used too. Especially when after the food was gone and the children had raced away to find other people to pester and Tobirama was lazing against Madara, Izuna pulled out the paper wrapped package and- uncharacteristically uncertain- pushed it over to Tobirama, the other man sending him a curious look as he slowly folded the packaging back (ever careful with gifts her Tobi, he had had so few) and then just froze, his fingers freezing as he stared down at the package. “Izuna” he breathed, “Izuna” and slowly he drew out a long hand fan, a marriage fan one made out of long slats of mother of pearl carved with ivy and phoenixes; it was stunning, one of the most lovely fans Touka had ever seen (far be it for her to forget how much the Uchiha loved fine things) and it fit Tobirama to a ‘T’.

Izuna” Tobirama breathed a third time, his eyes looking rather damp as he flicked the fan open with a neat snap. Next to him Madara’s was wide eyed and shocked at he looked at the very obvious symbol of his little brother’s acceptance, the Uchiha blowing out a shaking breath and then lunging around the table to tackle Izuna into a hug; carefully Touka reached out and touched her little almost-brother’s hand, squeezing it gently until he looked at her and smiled tremulously. Sharing an unsteady smile all Touka could think was that she had never felt farther away from those long childhood days watching later in the night as tiny Tobirama fell down from exhaustion and clawed his way up the walls to force himself to stand and keep going.

Chapter 39: moonstone

Summary:

scatters light; adularescence, blessing of the moon and healing strength

Notes:

Gets explicate after "Yes" if you wish to skip

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Tobirama wrapped himself in one of his favorite of the gifted robes from Madara (purple with dark rich brown fur trim), belting it around his hips as he stepped out and made his way back to his and Madara’s rooms; smiling when he found the Uchiha dressed only in loose pants, the thick gold marriage band around his ankle a match for the lighter but wider one around Tobirama ankle – though his was white gold and designed so that it could be taken off, not that Tobirama did anymore, he preferred to wear it all the time now that his skin was settling and less irritated. Silently Madara held up the brush and still smiling Tobirama took it and ushered the older man to the bed so the albino could sit behind him and start in on the ends of Madara’s hair, well aware something was bothering Madara but willing to let him come around to whatever it was (he was willing to bet that it had to do with the things he vaguely remembered mentioning to his husband while chakra drunk). Eventually Madara said quietly “You know the scars under my eyes?” and Tobirama hummed softly “You got them in Hot Water, captured by blood thieves after a long mission” he said quietly, focusing on the thick dark hair and not yanking it painfully when Madara jolted and tried to turn to look at the albino.

“Wha-? You-?” Tobirama sigh and gently pushed until Madara looked forward again and he could go back to his brushing, “I kept an eye on you when you were within range of my senses so yes, when those people caught you in Hot Water I felt it. It was a while before I could get to you and by the time I did you had already killed the bloodline thieves and burnt the house down, but I found you slumped a few yards away and hauled you out and back to Fire. I think you thought you had been drugged at the time when I left you for the Kohaku to find, I knew if anyone found out I’d helped you there would be hell to pay. I – I’m sorry I didn’t get to you sooner” there was a slightly disbelieving silence and then Madara laugh, reaching back and taking one of Tobirama’s hands, pulling to around where he could place a soft kiss on the calloused knuckles. “Another thing to thank you for darling, my own guardian spirt” he murmured, Tobirama blushing faintly and ducking this head forward into Madara’s hair, finally asking “What’s bothering you Madara? I don’t think it’s your eyes” there was another uncertain silence and Tobirama bit his lip, kissing the side of his husband’s neck and slithering out of bed to go to the small chest he had brought from the Senju compound.

Not everything he would have if he had intended to get married but, well, it was the most important things to him (the image of an overstuffed journal he had stashed under that false – but no, don’t think about that right now, focus) and on a tray in the second layer there were several small silk pouches, five in total; the sixth he still wore on his person even though his father had forbid it, and he picked it up off the dressing table as he walked back to the bed, holding out the pouches to an uncertain looking Madara, waiting until the Uchiha took them to lower his hand and sit next to the older man. With a bit back sigh as Madara just stared at them Tobirama gently took the white silk pouch embroidered with gray dragons and wolves, opening the drawstrings and pulling out a long gray braid wound together with silver wire “My mother, Rhiannon Senju nee Hatake, the Wild Queen” with a wistful smile he tucked the braid back into the pouch and, ignoring the black pouch embordered with gold dragons picked up the plain worn leather one with a dark loop of unadorned braid “Touka” and the dark green with bamboo that he brushed his fingers over but didn’t open. “Hashirama?” Madara asked and Tobirama nodded, opening the yellow one with red carp and a strange two-tone braid that had the ends wrapped in coper wire with two dangling moonstones “Itama, my little brother. He was…” aching the words trailed off and Madara covered his hand gently, his eyes kind and sad; Madara had already heard stories about Ita and Kawa, just like Tobirama had heard about Madara’s lost siblings in the late nights as they curled up together.

With a tremulous smile Tobirama tucked the braids back and made sure the pouches were firmly shut, smiling at Kawa’s rich brown silk with it’s maple leaves in orange and setting them on the table near the door, “I’m glad Touka told you, I don’t think I would know how to” he admitted softly, and that was what Madara needed it seemed as he relaxed and smiled at Tobirama, opening the closed fist his had had since Tobirama came in and revealing a long black braid that Tobirama hadn’t noticed missing as he hadn’t gotten to all of Madara’s hair with the brush. Shaking Tobirama reached out and brushed light fingers over the braid “’dara…” he whispered, heart aching and touching his own short hair with and old stab of pain. Carefully Madara reached out and cupped his cheek, asking “Trust me?” “Always” Tobirama answered without thought, closing his eyes and winding Madara’s Token around his wrist as warm thick yang chakra sank into the side of his head and with a gasp Tobirama’s fingers flew to the side of his head and the single long lock of hair, eyes flying open to fasten on Madara who was smiling uncertainly – at least until Tobirama lunged forward and yanked him into a through kiss. He wasn’t ready to grow all his hair out and might never be, but this he could use to make Madara a Token – and….maybe keep for the future. Maybe, he had gotten rather used to having short hair honestly.

Delighted Tobirama wound his fingers into his hair and quickly made a neat but simple braid and tied it off, cutting it with the jasper knife- the closest at hand that wasn’t a battle blade, tradition said Token’s shouldn’t be cut with blooded blades- and dropping it on the table for latter for Touka and then starting on sectioned off a much more complicated five strand braid while leaning on a fascinated Madara, fingers moving quickly until her went back to the chest and his mothers jewels as he sliced off the braid and wound long white gold braid beads decorated with moonstone over and through the braid, spinning to Madara and holding it out only to be slammed with sudden uncertainty. Luckily Madara must have seen that as he stepped forward and took the white braid, coiling it around his own bicep and stroking Tobirama’s cheek as the albino gently fastened the last braid beads to hold it snug but comfortably around Madara’s arm, “I love you, you know” he whispered; Madara smiled gently, nudging their noses together as he responded “I – I do, and I love you darling, so much”.

Tobirama let himself just bask in it for a while, Madara’s Token on his wrist, his marriage band on Tobirama’s ankle, his Mangekyō or quiet collar at Tobirama’s throat normally, marks of Madara’s claim that Tobirama relished. With a sigh he opened his eyes and look at Madara, “There’s something else, Touka explained about the – missions though, didn’t she” a silent nod and Madara took a deep breath, “Acid?” and – oh.

Oh. (Madara was not going to like this)

“oh” Madara frowned stepping a bit closer a little hesitantly as Tobirama chewed on his lip “you’re – you’re not going to like this” “To’ra-“ Madara started and Tobirama twitched, fiddling with the Token on his wrist “You’re really not going to like this” “To’ra, I – sh*t, even if I don’t I won’t be angry with you” and oh but Tobirama wanted to believe him, wanted to believe him so much. But…he had promised honest so, shaking a bit Tobirama gathered himself and focused his gaze out the window, a dozen thoughts bouncing around his head “I know – I trust you Madara, I just know you won’t like this and I – I’m trying to understand why, but its – look did you ever wonder how Hashirama got so good at healing? I taught him, I helped him refine what his powers could do and that meant healing and – Ita was a very good healer, and Hashirama has a healer’s heart but I am a scientist and it was my jutsu work that gave them to the tools they use so well and – I made tools, the thing about tools is they have to be sharpened and – the clan needed it, someone had to do it, healing jutsu take time to develop and have to be – I tried to heal someone once and it just…if it hadn’t been a experiment, they were already dead but –“ his increasingly stressed pacing was interrupted when Madara stepped in front of him and opened his arms so Tobirama stepped right into them, shuddering and sagging into his husband as Madara’s arms curled tightly around him.

“Did” a slow breath “did you test you jutsu on yourself darling?” Madara’s voice was very stead and careful but Tobirama could hear the strain in it and after a long moment he forced himself to speak “I know the Sharingan is causing ocular damage and I have been planning to work on it, but it’s hard to replicate that sort of damage over the years and I was never going to test on the Sharingan; I’m not that sort of person! I-“ “I know, I know darling, I don’t think you ever would. Were you – acid?” and gods the pain in Madara’s voice was brutal and Tobirama hated that he was the cause. “a relatively safe way to induce measurable damage that I could practice reversing. I – my eyes aren't that great, I can function without them if I need to, I did once, Madara I have tested medical jutsu on myself for years I know how to do it with at some safety” that didn’t seem to make Madara feel much better if his fluctuating chakra and regulated breathing was anything to go off.

“I’m taking you to the healer tomorrow, just to get checked out, please To’ra, I need you to be ok, you’re my Center and that – it’s part of the Sharingan, that’s why my eyes have changed. You are the Center of my world To’ra, the focus of my Sharingan and that means I am stronger and stabler than I have ever been – darling the dreams I used to have before you were just – but now all I dream of is times with you. You are my grounding and hope and peace and if something happens to you I will go mad. Uchiha that lose their Centers and become Center-broke are the most dangerous of all Uchiha, f*ck even if you don’t die I can become Center-feral and that’s almost as bad, I can’t lose you or have you come to harm and while I would never dream of keeping you from battle or the world, but things like this….I – please, please To’ra” Tobirama felt cold and shaken, the idea that his strength was so tied to Madara was terrifying, “I’m terrible at taking care of myself, ‘dara I don’t know how–“ “Then just let me take care of you! Please, that’s all I want to do. Just let me take care of you” and right then Tobirama knew he never wanted to hear Madara beg like that again, he would do almost anything to make sure he never had to hear that again; letting Madara take care of him wasn’t exactly trouble anyway, Tobirama loved it when Madara took care of him if that was all that Madara needed then, well.

“Yes”

Carefully Tobirama pulled back and cupped Madara’s slightly wild face “yes dear heart, anything. Anything” and Madara just crumbled against him in a wave, kissing Tobirama like he was afraid that the albino was going to vanish at any moment, his hands slightly frantic as he skimmed them over the albino like he was checking for belated injury and Tobirama shoved his robe off, trying to make it easier for Madara to feel that he was fine and ok and there and alive as the Uchiha tumbled them into bed, braced over Tobirama with his hair a dark curtain hiding the rest of the world, the safest place Tobirama had ever known. Suddenly aching himself the albino twined one arm around his husband’s neck and closed his eyes, surrendering and petting down the heaving ribs with the other, feeling strong muscles move under creamy, lightly scarred skin and shuddering at the sudden overload of desire. Slightly desperately Tobirama scraped words out of his brain, well aware that in a moment other things Touka had told Madara were going to catch his awareness and he was going to freak out if Tobirama didn’t head it off at the pass, “I love you,” he gaped, jerking as Madara licked at a sensitive point “I love your hands on my, the way you touch my skin, the way you make me feel, the way it feels when you’re inside me” the last words were a barely voiced moan as the older man shifted his weight to one arm and dragged Tobirama’s legs around his waist.

Whining he arched dramatically at the feel of his husband’s co*ck grinding into his as Madara swore into his neck, panting into the older man’s hair as his skin shivered with pleasure “love the way you – ah! – make me feel, make me feel – ‘dara – like my body is more than just a tool, I like desiring you” and oh goodness the noise that drew out of Madara was magical. Restlessly the dark haired man’s fingers moved down Tobirama’s chest, pinching and tweaking a nipple as his mouth dropped to the other one and reduced Tobirama to incoherence for a searing moment, prickling heat dancing over his nerves bursting into flame at Madara’s chakra flared and coiled around him; the beautiful whisper of silk-liquid-fire making Tobirama’s skin feel soft and warm as he gasped for air, the world a blank swimming thing as his Husband’s (!) hand slid farther down and then away – Tobirama losing track of it and the movement of time for a moment as Madara’s chakra collected in his mouth at the same time a he bit down gently and Tobirama was fairly sure the sound he made was closer to a wail than a moan, the fingers pressing in between his legs a grounding counter pressure.

Desperately Tobirama knotted his fingers in Madara’s hair and dragged the older man off his nipple up for a hungry chakra-flavored kiss- and goodness that was magical-, shivering and shifting his legs to give his husband more room to work only to lose all focus as the fingers slipped away and Madara lined himself up, pushing in slow and deep until Tobirama was clawing at his back and gasping for breath, overwhelmed with the sense of fullness and completion. “ok?” Madara rasped, muscles tight with strain of holding still until Tobirama nodded weakly, jolting and whimpering with the force of the ensuing thrust and shuddering at the care in the hand that touched his face until he made eye contact with his husband and could gasp some garbled assurance (always so careful, his love), eyes rolling back a bit as Madara’s hips snapped in a punishing pace; the force and impeccable aim knocking anything but the sense of them together out of his head blissfully.

Madara’s hand dropped down and pressed on Tobirama’s co*ck, all but pinning it to his stomach as burning eyes stared at him with consuming focus that made the albino want to preen and put on a show with what little faculty he had; arching and gathering a hand of feathery dark hair to rub over his chest. Promptly forgetting to be smug as Madara’s hips snapped faster when the sensation over tender well used skin was electric; his husband ducked his head and pressed chakra kisses over Tobirama’s neck and shifted his hand, hair on thin skin and rising chakra and perfect aim lifting Tobirama over the peek in a brilliant crest, mouth falling open in a silent scream as he came. Madara gasped and moaned and bit down hard, f*cking him though it and out the other side until Tobirama gathered himself enough to shift and whisper in his ear “’love you” and the Uchiha fell over the edge, the heat of his climax making Tobirama shudder deliciously; feeling well loved and wanted as for once Madara collapse on him and ignored the need to clean or disengage as they curled together as tight as possible, as though their edges could bleed together and bind them into one force that couldn’t be separated as Tobirama whispered into the heady warmth of their private world- thrilled with how easy the words came- “One life will never be enough, not if it’s spent with you.”

Notes:

Can't remember who left this comment but it was part of writing this chap so. "I'm wondering how Tobirama got started on testing his healing justus on himself? Was is because of his brothers? Did he have a friend and wasn't able to heal them? Maybe he was healing the injured after a battle and there was someone he tried to save? But he didn't know how to heal it so he came up with a new healing jutsu on the fly to save them but it backfired horribly. So now he test all of them on himself first to make sure that they work. Maybe it backfired in a really overwhelming bloody way so the Senju blamed him for it even though he was just a child and all he wanted was to save them."

Chapter 40: the thing with feathers

Summary:

hope

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Kenshin was willing to acknowledge that he was maybe eavesdropping but in his defense they could have been having this conversation in a more private place and, well, he had a strange feeling that the healer sort of wanted him to hear and he could understand their dilemma; privacy was owed to any of their number but……THEIR WINTER FOX WAS HURT?! and hurting himself!? Even if it was in the name of making healing jutsu- which, yes, Kenshin could see how that would be a problem given that they had to be tested on somebody (he could also see how testing on prisoners was maybe not great ethically, but still wasn’t sure that wasn’t the best way) but it shouldn’t be Tobirama-sama! He was way to valuable!- Kenshin hadn’t heard much of the conversation between Jiro (head of the healers) and Nishi (not the head of the healers but possibly the best, she was how Kenshin knew it was serious) just barely enough to put it together with things others or Tobirama-sama himslef had said and figure it out but not enough that Tobirama-sama’s privacy had been screwed up. Their new clan leader had been hurt badly and, look Kenshin already knew that ok? He was good with people and that was very clear when Tobirama-sama saved him months and months ago, but…sh*t, this was on a different level!

So, Tobirama-sama had been hurting himself because he had no other choice and needed to save people and now that Kenshin knew that he had to figure out what to do with it – i.e. how to tell the clan they needed to take care of their winter fox because he wouldn’t take care of himself and if anything happened to him Madara-sama’s smiles might go away! And that….the teen swallowed hard, that couldn’t be born; even if Kenshin didn’t like Tobirama-sama and think he was the only person good enough for Madara-sama- which he did- the way that Madara-sama had changed since his husband came weren’t something the clan could live without. Before Tobirama-sama Madara-sama had always looked grim and tense, his hands always ready to make signs and grab weapons and Kenshin hadn’t missed that there was reason for that with how often Madara-sama had had to argue with people (especially Izuna-sama).

Madara-sama had been so strong for so long and trying so hard to led them into a better way against Elder Yashiro’s constant undermining him and his ideas – even when they were making the clan better! And the clan had had a few hard patches financially that Madara-sama taking missions no one should have run alone had saved them from, and every day his excellence was pointed out while he was busy keeping the clan alive other people were muttering about him behind his back and asking questions that undermined him (“if he’s so good why aren’t we safer? Why are we dyeing still?” “he’s not normal” "he’s not doing enough” “he’s so angry!” as if caring was a bad thing for an Uchiha! And he had the Mangekyō! Of course he cared more than anybody else!”) and after a while the clan just…started thinking of him as being separate somehow, different, too much.

And then – and THEN there was Tobirama-sama’s scrolls and the clan suddenly met excited!Madara-sama, one who was hopeful and bright and smiling and, WOW, the entire clan woke up and realized that all that passion can be good and happy but they hadn’t been giving Madara-sama much to be happy about. It was the clan listening to idiots (ones Tobirama-sama killed because they killed his little brother, as if that wasn’t something the clan should have already shunned them for!) and being lazy and easily led and – well, they all should have been listening to Chura-sama is all, if they had maybe it wouldn’t have taken Tobirama-sama showing up for them to wake up and stop being fools. On the other hand Kenshin didn’t like to think of a world where Madara-sama and Tobirama-sama didn’t meet each other, they were so cute together! And sooooo in love, Kenshin didn’t want a world where he didn’t see Madara-sama walking with little Kasumi on his shoulders and smiling at Tobirama-sama like there was no one else in the world, he didn’t want a world where he didn’t ever see how in love they were and what Madara-sama was like without the smile that Tobirama-sama gave him, or without how relaxed Madara-sama was when he knew he had Tobirama-sama at his back (and Kenshin had seen Tobirama-sama put the fear of – well, him, in people that looked at Madara-sama funny. The clan had never thought about how devastating an assassin he could be but don’t drink anything in eyesight if you were going to insult Madara-sama or you might be choking on your tea before you had a chance to think twice).

Sighing the teen kicked at the dirt and frowned up at the trees above him on his way to the Capital, his problem remained but after thinking about all that – well, Kenshin might let something slip. It was more important that Tobirama-sama be safe than anything else, after all he was Madara-sama’s Center (and that was another thing! Madara-sama had a CENTER, how amazing was that!! What farther proof could there be that Madara-sama was the best of them?), and it wasn’t anything but a rumor confirming something Kenshin thought he could have figured out on his own if he had a chance and – well if he timed it right he could do it at the same time as he brought back his delivery for Tobirama-sama and the clan leader would be distracted. After all Masahiko would probably be pretty distracting given that Kenshin had decided agreement wasn’t mandatory – after all Kenshin was willing to bet no one had asked Masahiko whether he wanted to be pressed into serving the Daimyo, or whoever the other teen was supposed to be listening to, Kenshin really didn’t care who it was, Masahiko didn’t want to be there and he would be much more helpful in the Uchiha compound! No blind Nara but what can you do?

Footsteps coming closer sent Kenshin diving behind a pillar, scrambling to shove his ear length hair back out of his face, swearing silently as his wavy bangs kept falling forward into his eyes; sh*t sh*t sh*t, he hadn’t realized the new general was from water! Thank heavens he had the surprise seal from Tobirama-sama and the man hadn’t expected him, otherwise this could have been very bad (though Kenshin did feel a touch bad about the way the man was going to die, death by that kind of dehydration wasn’t going to be fun). Thoughtfully the seventeen year old patted the golden head next to him, biting back a snicker when Masahiko sent him a filthy look and then went back to listening before hauling Kenshin deeper in to the place, the Uchiha following peaceably as he turned over what he had heard in his head; he really, really didn’t like where this was going, if his suspicions after he had picked up Masahiko were anything close to correct-!

A hand on his arm yanked him hard to the side into a dim room where a slender woman with rich mahogany hair in an intricate knot held together with kanzashi was watching them with brows raised over amber eyes, “Masahiko and-?” she murmured, moving swiftly to the door and making sure it was shut all the way and pressing an ear to it for a moment “what’s going on?” “I am abducting him!” Kenshin chirped brightly, linking his hands behind his back and eyeing the woman curiously, there was something about her…..”are you Mizuchi?” he blurted, wincing at his own bluntness (her amber eyes glittered evaluating, hmmm). “I am Rikona Mizuchi yes, who are you? And why are you abducting Masahiko?” she murmured, moving back to the table and finding a few more tea cups to pour tea for them in a well mannered gliding sweep Kikiyo-sama would have been impressed by. “Well” he said, moving to the table and ignoring her first question, well aware his soft features weren’t a complete dead give away to his clan though the cat shaped eyes were “Masahiko’s very smart and my clan head just married, he needs a bit of help so I figured I would liberate a helper for him!” the woman eyed him closely and Kenshin blinked brightly at her, Masahiko himself keeping very quiet, his mismatched blue and gray eyes flicking between them as he tucked his sharp chin.

See the thing was she was a Mizuchi, and they had long been Senju allies so…Kenshin had no idea if he should ask her about his suspicions or not? Was she more or less likely to get him killed as Uchiha or help him out? There was just no good way to know he thought as he slurped noisily at his tea “Soooo –“ but to his surprise she cut him off, eyes hard and dark “You’re Uchiha,” sh*t “tell me, your clan killed Tobirama Senju didn’t they?” sh*t “Ah-“ “see Tobirama was a teacher of mine” oh kami her eyes looked damp – and all the more dangerous for it “and a dear friend who helped me quite a lot. I owe him more than I can express and the Uchiha-“ impulsively Kenshin reached out and covered her hand with his, meeting her eyes and feeling a bit sick as he said “I am sorry for your loss” and she froze “I didn’t see him die but I promise what ill will the Uchiha held for him is gone and even when he was a foe we wouldn’t have dishonored him.”

The noise she made was liked pottery cracking under heat and she covered her face with one long sleeve for a long moment, her other hand fisting under his as Kenshin wondered how much she owed Tobirama-sama and how much she had been looking to him for instruction, it was with that thought that Kenshin slowly started telling her about the time Tobirama-sama had saved him life and helped him home and by the end of the story her sleeve was lowered and she was smiling a bit into her tea. After a time she spoke “He did always think highly of Uchiha-sama,” a deep sigh “I suppose I had better act as I think best then, and hope he was right to speak well of the passion of your clan Uchiha.” Finally she met his eyes “I think there is child trafficking in Fire country, I can set to work on the elements at court-“ “Oh, uh, I don’t think one of the generals will be an issue anymore” Kenshin interjected, getting a raised brow in response and shrugging “-very well, I will handle it here but Uchiha-sama may wish to work on retrieving the children. If the clans are aware and with a little work at a few points- I will write what I know down for Uchiha-sama- the entire system should fall, it’s not a sturdy one, but it needs to be addressed.” Yes, thought Kenshin as he nodded and she rose to go find writing materials, it most certainly did need to be addressed, the clan leaders would not be happy to hear about this at all.

Nearly two hours later Kenshin- Masahiko in tow which was a bit confusing but good- set out of the place and Capital at a fast pace, clutching a packet of papers in one hand and distinctly more focused than he had been heading out, with an odd almost pleased ache in his heart; glad in a way to know that Tobirama-sama was mourned by people, he deserved to have people miss him though he probably didn’t know it, the question was did Kenshin tell him? He pretty much had to when he gave his report but it was going to make Tobirama-sama sad and Kenshin didn't like that.

Sighing Kenshin crouched in a tree to catch his breath, glancing down at his little golden haired shadow and wondering “Why are you coming with me? Like I know I was trying to abduct you, but you sure have taken too it with a will” the thin (too-thin, Kenshin didn’t like it) blonde blinked tiredly at him and shrugged a bit. “Not much point in staying if I have a chance to get out and Rikona seems to think your clan head is trustworthy – or at least that her friend thought so” ah yes, Tobirama-sama ‘seemed’ to think that Madara-sama was a good person, not that Tobirama-sama was clearly head over heels for his husband and apparently had been for quite a while. “besides, with a shinobi clan I’m much more likely to actually get taught something than if I just linger in the capital. I guess I just….it can’t be worse than there” which, ouch!

Slightly offended, Kenshin shot him an unimpressed look “I think it will be a hell of a lot better than that!” he snarked and then winced and looked away, “Sorry” he mumbled, scrubbing his face tiredly “look, it’s been a long night, why don’t you get some sleep and I’ll keep watch. We have to get moving before too long but you look like you’re going to fall out of the trees” to the Uchiha’s pleased surprise Masahiko didn’t try to argue and just grimaced but nodded, willing to listen to someone that knew better and be realistic about his own condition rather than trying to prove something and getting them hurt in the meantime. Smart. With that in mind Kenshin kept an ear turned to the forest and the Capital specifically as he dropped into a light energy saving meditative trance that Tobirama-sama had taught him (Tobirama-sama knew so much it was MIND BLOWING) for a bit while Masahiko got the twenty-ish minutes of sleep so he didn’t get hurt when they got going again. If Kenshin timed it just right they should be able to run into a patrol on the way back in case there was any pursuit – not that he thought there would be too much, that one general was the only that noticed Kenshin, the worm-general didn’t get a good look at him and was going to be dead in a very strange,organic way very soon so that should take care of that (and he thought the Mizuchi would cover up for them, which – wake up call! Kenshin needed to be more careful in the future, he wouldn’t always have random allies to help him out so he needed to do better) but better safe than sorry.

Notes:

Happy Birthday Kooriicolada!

also, this comment for reference: "Cue the entire Uchiha clan deciding that Tobirama needs to be protected from himself. People checking in on him at all times, making sure he's not mutilating himself for science. Children trying their adorable best to mother-hen him. Madara driving himself up the wall, because his new husband is brilliant and perfect, but also has an insanely low sense of self-worth." Don't remember who made it ages ago but it was in my notes.

Chapter 41: tiger eye

Summary:

ward off harmful intrusions; courage and stealth.

Notes:

a group of leopards is called a leap (a group of tigers is called an ambush!)

Chapter Text

Tobirama frowned a bit down at the paper in front of him, turning it over in his head as he looked at the trade agreement, Akane warm against his leg as the summons dozed in the quiet of Tobirama’s office. The reddish snow leopard was an old friend and Tobirama was thrilled to have her join the other two leopards and Ulrich in the compound; after all it was Akira’s explanation about Akane’s erythrism that had finally opened Tobirama’s eyes to the idea that his own albinism was maybe not quite so freakish after all, after that Akira had found Junpei and the melanistic leopard had joined Tobirama’s normal leap farther easing the old hurt, but Akane had always had a special place in Tobirama’s heart. Absently the Uchiha stretched out his senses, feeling Madara nudge him back from near the market and the little lanterns of the children playing together near their current minder, all seemed happy and calm and – no, Kenshin was just back and stressed, what-? Oh he was headed Tobirama’s way, good that meant urgent but not enough to go to Madara if he wasn’t in the Great House (the gate guards would have told him Madara was in the market, you couldn’t do anything without everyone knowing in the Uchiha compound Tobirama was learning).

With a sigh Tobirama straightened his yukata a bit, marveling at the lack of the background ache he had long grown accustomed to from years- mostly the early years- of medical experimentation; the Uchiha healers had been aghast and though Tobirama was fighting fit they were not ok with the amount of pain he reported or the way he leaned on his constantly circulating chakra to dull it. It had been…a wakeup call for Tobirama, so used to the idea if he was useful nothing else mattered that the idea that there was other measures of ‘ok’ that might apply to him was – well honestly confusing, Tobirama was quite happy to leave that in Madara’s hands and trust his husband (still a delight to think) to sort out what was appropriate. After so many years Tobirama just…didn’t know anymore, and when first confronted with it and the idea he had failed to do what he should – Madara had noticed the incipient panic attack and gathered him close, promising to take care of it to Tobirama’s great relief, all the albino had to do was answer questions and lean on his husband and Madara took care of the rest. The old damage couldn't be reversed (Tobirama had already known that) but it could be alleviated with some treatment and Tobirama's favorite part of that was the work Madara did on Tobirama with his blazing chakra.

“Thinking about your mate?” the soft question made Tobirama smile as he looked down at his summons peering at him with one pale eye, “That obvious?” he murmured and she snorted, closing her eyes again, adding “Very.” As she seemed to slip back into a doze and reminding Tobirama that he hadn’t seen Madara in hours for all they kept nearly constant chakra contact and Tobirama rather missed his husband though it was good for Madara to be among his clan, maybe this way Tobirama could stop choking people on their tea in warning for treating Madara wrong (if they were going to flinch, Tobirama was going to give them a reason). Chura was paying attention to the patterns of the clan Tobirama knew though she hadn’t come to him about it yet and Izuna- now that his head was out of his ass- was helping as well and really the….taint was clearing away quickly with Tobirama’s attention and threats (and showing off how amazing Madara was, the clan seemed to have lost track of that over the years) along with the others but Tobirama agreed with Madara – there was something intentional about all of this. The deaths of the mind healers couldn’t be overlooked and other things were just odd, like this Tablet that Madara had mentioned once though Tobirama hadn’t seen it- why write in three different ciphers? And one that couldn’t even be read by any but the founder of their line? It didn’t make sense- there was just something strange about the Uchiha, something groomed (in too-knowing Touka’s words) and planned, and it made Tobirama uneasy even as he worked on writing out a letter to the Uzumaki in a purposefully alien hand – they could get better fishing trade if the Uzumaki were willing to treat and now that Hashirama (Hashi, big brother-) was married to another they might be willing to enter talks with the Uchiha so Tobirama needed to make sure his handwriting wouldn't be recognized. It was worth a try anyway, and better than bothering with the Shimura and their control over access to the western routes (Tobirama would talk to Madara about sabotaging those a bit, the Shimura could use a shake up honestly if they weren’t going to play nice).

An unusually uncertain knock on his door signaled that Kenshin had arrived with someone Tobirama didn’t now in tow and as he called them in he scanned the unknown (summerbreeze-honeysuckle-bloodysand,tired and young), rising an eyebrow at the teen when he skulked in and waved a hand at the uneasy boy with him who looked at Tobirama with no recognition. “Uh, hi Tora-sama, this is Masahiko Namikaze from the Capital” interested Tobirama scanned the teen; with short messy true-gold blond hair he was very thin and tired looking, fourteen at most with a sharp chin and mismatched round eyes- one of them an electric blue and the other a dark gray- peering warily at Akane “he was serving – uh, somebody in the palace, but didn’t want to be so I figured if you needed a helper I might as well liberate him.” and looking at the clearly mistreated and uncertain teen Tobirama knew exactly why Kenshin’s soft heart had told him that – not that Tobirama disagreed, he most certainly didn’t have a problem with liberating anyone and looking at the blonde (would Kawa-) he knew he wasn’t going to turn him away whether he helped Tobirama or someone else. Still, “You must speak with my husband” Tobirama pointed out and Kenshin nodded easily though Masahiko looked surprised that Tobirama wasn’t the clan head – interesting, very sheltered it seemed. “what is actually bothering you Kenshin?” and the kid slumped a bit.

(Masahiko watched in awe as the exotic, graceful man in the fine yukata- and sh*t, he could totally see why a lord would want to marry someone like this, gender didn’t even matter, the Lords in court would fall over each other for the attention of this person- read Kenshin like a book, seeing through him to worry Masahiko hadn’t even had the faintest glimmer of, those crazy red crystal eyes seeing way more than they should be able too. And he hadn’t kicked Masahiko out either! With a sigh Kenshin handed over the sheaf of papers Rikona had given him, giving a short but thorough report- which, wow, Masahiko hadn’t realized Kenshin could be serous like this, he clearly cared what this person though of him!- the man’s face doing something tiny when Kenshin mentioned the death of Rikona’s friend before he stood- grace like whoa,- and drifted over to the window with the papers, the huge, huge cat lifting it’s giant head to watch him read. A moment later something in the room changed and the cat stood, claws flexing in and out as Kenshin’s eyes got big and the fine white brows drew down just the tiniest bit; fast as anything Kenshin grabbed Masahiko’s arm and dragged him back to the wall just before the door slammed in and a man like no one Masahiko had ever seen flowed in like smoke over flames- was this Uchiha-sama? It had to be-, headed straight to the pale man who looked up and – oh. sh*t. that. Masahiko hadn’t known people’s faces could do that, hadn’t known people’s hearts could do that, wow.)

Tobirama latched onto Madara like a life saver, leaning into his husband (still not getting old) and just breathing in the smell of the forges for a moment until his temper was under control again, the older man crooning very softly and sliding an arm around his waist as he murmured “What’s wrong?” and it just – hit Tobirama all over again how f*cking lucky he was to be standing where he was. Careful he took a shaking breath and leaned their heads together in the sunbeam until his heart untied itself and then answered softly “Kenshin brought back a helper from me from the capital, but this” and he flipped over the papers to show Madara “is what I am concerned about. I can’t leave this be Madara” the Uchiha frowned and took the papers as Tobirama looked over at the two wide eyed teens and said “Kenshin, take your friend to Touka and get him settled, I want a cleaner report tonight so join us for dinner. Until then, rest” and the Uchiha nodded, grabbing the stunned looking blonde and leaving as fast as he could.

Madara flipped the papers, his hand on Tobirama’s hip tightening sharply as the albino leaned into him; glad to be back together even when there was bad news “I know Rikona Mizuchi, I trained her with her sensing when we were younger and – well she was a friend I guess, Kenshin says she mourns me and you can see it says she’s asking you for help on my word- clever woman to go for guilt and duty- and when I add all this to what Kasumi has said it’s too clear to ignore. I have long had concerns about the Daimyo and set Rikona up to do something about that- she is the royal heir’s lady love- and now with me gone it sounds like she will make her move and kill the Daimyo to make Satoshi take his place with her at his side, which won’t be hard – I know Satoshi and he is….rather more aware of the truths of power in Fire country than his father. This will make things better for the shinobi relations in general and with the rumors and my marrying you the Uchiha are strong enough to oppose him- or just ignore him- if we need, which he will well know, so that danger is at least dealt with, but-“ “The children” Madara finished in a growl and Tobirama nodded into his shoulder “I can’t let that go Madara, I have to act, personally” he whisper, fury tightening his voice a touch.

Madara hummed, looking at another paper his own temper sizzling pleasantly over Tobirama’s skin “A coordinated attack on all these points at once,” he said faintly “that way no one kills the children when they hear danger coming. You and Izuna take the main two compounds and we will ask our allies for help with the others, the children can come here to the Uchiha until their families come looking for them. I will stay at the compound, I don’t think all of our heavy hitters can be gone at once” and Tobirama – Tobirama couldn’t heave kept from yanking his husband into a devouring kiss is his life had depended on it (maybe if it was Madara’s life-), his joy that his husband (still a delightful thought) trusted him overwhelming.

Madara was a little dazed and a lot happy when Tobirama- his precious marvel, to have maneuvered things even in court to benefit the clans was the sort of thing that Madara couldn’t believe was true but trusted anyway- pulled back and smiled at him, eyes wistful “Someday I’ll find us a foe to fight together, I want to fight back to back with you someday love” the albino murmured and oh, wow, sh*t now Madara really wanted that too! With a whine he dropped his head to Tobirama’s shoulder and pouted into the soft cloth there as Tobirama stroked his hair and hummed an old folk song. Before long Madara shifted his hold on Tobirama’s narrow waist and let them sway to his lover’s notes before pulling Tobirama into a full dance and adding a lower harmony to his husband’s rich melody, the smile pulling at the albino’s lips disrupting the song a bit until they slowed and swayed in the middle of his office.

“I think we can have three Uchiha parties, we can’t act until the Daimyo is dead though I think Rikona will act fast if she’s smart- and she is- and act like the food has gone off or something; by then I can call more summons and Hikaku can lead a smaller raid. The only good thing about all of this is that its not that big a ring yet and we can still break it up if we’re strategic.” Madara nodded, spinning them to silent music as he responded “The children matter the most but diplomatically the Uchiha taking an interest in outsiders out of morals and taking some in will look very good and shift public opinion. I am sick of my clan being seen like the Hyuuga as only caring about our own” Tobirama hummed in agreement and twisted closer into a flashy step from the sea-towns that curled his leg over Madara’s hip, “Your clan has had good reason to focus on your own, and outside help staying that way ‘dara, we can make this right”.

Madara laughed and palmed the small of Tobirama’s back, delighted that his lover was so in step with him as he bent the other’s willowy form back over his supporting arm; Tobirama going easy and trusting, plaint for Madara as he was for no other. “Only because of you pretty eyes, only because of you” the Uchiha rumbled, righting them and spinning through a few fast steps, careful of the sleeping (or ‘sleeping’ he wasn’t sure which) Akane. Smiling now Tobirama twisted out with a hummed bar of rising notes and fell right back in at Madara’s tug and answering hummed riff, dancing through the room in a playful back and forth interspersed with tactics notes and fragments of plans; weaving together the strands of their lives the same way they danced, together and listening, always.

Chapter 42: correspondence III

Summary:

shifting tides

Chapter Text

Ichirou Yamanaka turned the letter over in his hands, child trafficking in Fire; not from Fire in but in Fire none the less and the Uchiha that were getting involved not the Senju, yet another sign to add to the growing pile of proof that the power of the Senju may have come from Hashirama but the aim, the intention, had come from Tobirama, something Ichirou could honestly say he hadn’t anticipated. Add the that the fact that though newly married Hashirama was by all accounts haunted by grief for his lost brother and the way the winds were blowing was different indeed.

It was jarring to realize that on some level he had expected the Senju to win no matter what, the Uchiha were so different and insular and Madara always to…clan focused, it had been hard to imagine them prevailing over the Senju with their court connections (Tobirama’s court connections turned out, though Hashirama’s wife was older cousin to the heir’s new fiancé) and trade routes and Uzumaki blood. But now…the Uzumaki didn’t have the shored up relationship they used to, the connections to court were inherited from Tobirama and the wealth- while intact- was distinctly clan focused; turns out without Tobirama there to make sure that the clan could look outward to the rest of the country they….didn’t. A reminder that the Senju weren’t actually a big clan, much smaller than the Uchiha or Hyuuga or other main clans, it was just their wealth, innovation, exploration and focus that had made them one of the great clans of fire country.

And on the other hand you had the Uchiha, still insular and tightly knit- as evidenced by the fact Ichirou still didn’t know the name of Madara’s spouse, though rumors were getting out (i.e. the Uchiha were bragging) that he (Ichirou thought it was a he anyway) was Madara’s Center, which was terrifying after a bit of digging and conversations with Kiku about her sister and her sister’s husband- but even tight as they were, they were taking in the orphans from the trade unless a child wanted to be elsewhere. And Madara, rumor had it, had suddenly turn around and lost the edge of terrifying unpredictability that so chilled enemies and friends (Ichirou wasn’t sure he believed that) and was if nothing else head over heels for his spouse which was the sort of turn around Ichirou had never anticipated. (This was not the world Ichirou expected to lead his clan in.)

Ástríðr smiled a bloody smile, well pleased to be called upon to help with the raids and help liberate more cubs for her nephew, especially since Tobirama was helping the packs out by taking Ulrich in and helping her find something to do through her grief; something Ástríðr hadn’t anticipated but maybe should, after all who knew deep grief better than the Ever-remembers? (Perhaps she ought to send Eyolf to the Uchiha with his sister as well, he hadn’t been there when her Sigrún died, but the secondhand grief was bad enough even so.) Truth was though the Hatake would work with even the Hyuuga or Aburame if it meant saving cubs, much less already close allies; no child deserved to be bought and sold like so much baggage and the Hatake wouldn’t stand for it, not in their lands.

Vashti Kohaku nodded her thanks to the messenger and even after the boy had left her office she didn’t open the letter from the Uchiha. It had been a long time since the Uchiha called on their vassal family as more than just a noncombative neighbor and that they would do so now – well, Vashti worried about the safety of her people. The Kohaku were not a big family and though they had come to Fire a long time ago and thought of it as their home not all were so welcoming; as the years passed and the Senju and Uchiha fought each other into nothingness Vashti had wondered if she might someday see the Shimura or Sarutobi or another clan that looked on her family with distaste take the reins in Fire and see her and her's dwindle even farther. But now, a sudden ascension by Madara -, tsk, the world called him Giver of Ash, but the Kohaku had long called him Bringer of Light, they knew his potential and though she was sure he had no idea, Vashti remembered who it was that had brought her the exhausted and wounded Madara many years ago. Winter fox/tiger indeed, truly a storm made flesh, and to have thunder standing with lightning? The Uchiha would not fall as long as they were led so, not unless Madara or his husband did and if that happened – Vashti didn’t have to see them together to guess that Madara had found his Axis, and if she was correct then should one of them fall she would find out whether the world could end in fire or ice and that was a fate she had no wish for.

So, what could the Kohaku do to keep both leaders of the Uchiha alive? (And thank all the kami they were powerful each in their own right.) She already had a letter asking about mind healers and giving a warning there, now to receive one about something else – and a formal request given the impressed seal on the scroll….perhaps it was time…. With a sigh she snapped the seal and unfolded the paper, scanning it and feeling something go to steel in her gut, yes, it was time. The Kohaku would answer the call and see what light was bought with loyalty.

Chinatsu Akimichi grinned down at the scroll on her desk, fingering her summons scroll with hungry intention; it had been far to long since she got to let loose with her clan mates and boar summons and according to the scroll as long as children and innocents were left out of it the bigger the mess the better. Smirking the red head shoved her spiky hair back and traced a smooth right slanting letter, the pretty writing not much covering the viciousness in the letter or the fact that the new spouse- clearly the letter writer for all that it was cute Madara’s signature- was going to take the field, though probably not anywhere near them, not when that would ruin Madara’s game and the young clan head enjoyed it far too much to lose his fun if he could avoid it. Still, they could see what kind of damage the near mythical man could do and even set the Nara on the aftermath (Chinatsu was willing to bet the lazy clan would spend the entire raid hanging at the back of the attacks until the worst was over – though with kids involved who knew really). Either way it promised to be fun! (or at least destructive, which was good enough for her.)

Mito Uzumaki tapped the seal on the last scroll and tucked it in her short plain shinobi robe, checking that her hair was still tucked neatly under her headscarf in a plain bun; all her attire was plain and though neat and well made it was nothing like the clothes Mito preferred to wear, exactly what she needed to get across Fire without being noticed (one advantage of a signature look, change it and no one would ever guess who you were without it). As much as she would like to travel as herself the news of the Daimyo’s sickness had rushed her plans considerably and she needed a feel on the ground now, something her father grudgingly agreed with; she was the best with the politics of Fire (after all she had been planned to marry there, if not Hashirama than Tobirama) and the only one strong enough to travel alone without too high a risk. Not to say she wasn’t at risk but, it was a bit better with all her power behind her as long as she didn’t get crosswise of Madara or Hashirama (or possibly Izuna) she should be ok; and she was by no means intending to get on the bad side of anyone anyway. (She had considered seducing Madara but mostly dismissed it, if he was married to a man he might not like her gender and as an Uchiha his temper could be volatile from what she had heard, the risk was probably not worth it.)

With some reluctance Mito turned to the window and slipped out, scaling to her father's study higher in the cliff-cut palace and slipping in, finding a smile for Enkai Uzumaki when the old man looked at her; the lines around her father’s pale eyes deeper than Mito had ever seen them. “It’s time then?” he asked softly, and she nodded, walking over to his desk “I have to head out or by the time I get there it might be too late. Tobirama Senju might have been able to do the run in a week but it will take me at least half again as long, from the sounds of it by that time the Daimyo may be dead” the king nodded and scrubbed his face. “Dying of food poisoning of all things” he muttered, distaste heavy in his voice “ah well, his son is a smarter by by all reports, perhaps Fire will be better in the end for the son to take over sooner rather than later.” “Yes, but Father we may not be. Water and the clans it can call to its side will be more inclined to act if Fire is even less likely to stand with us!” at her impatient words her father raised a red-white brow and held up a letter in a swooping hand she didn’t recognize “And the Uchiha have already reached out about trade. No, I am not taking this as a reason you shouldn’t go daughter, don’t looked like that” hastily Mito schooled her face as he continued “I am aware we need more than letters and you must still go, but they do not seem to hold past alliance with the Senju against as – or ask anything that would endanger the Senju”.

And that was a relief, she might not be marrying them, but she didn’t want anything bad to happen to the Senju; especially since it sounded as though Hashirama had sunk deep in grief and the clan was folding in on itself for it, they didn’t need any more trouble brought to their door. Honestly it made Mito think rather better of Madara and the new mysterious spouse if they were not pursuing any sort of revenge or insisting that the Uzumaki had to stop trading with the Senju to treat with them – something they full well could have done and it spoke well that they hadn’t. In fact a lot of things spoke well of the Uchiha, enough so that she had started discounting the endless rumors about the Uchiha and their tempers and hatred and instability etc. etc. clearly it was more complicated than that and only eyes on the ground could clear it up (in the meantime though Mito had insisted that those sorts of stories cease, it was bad form to insult prospective allies without reason).

With a few last words and a very tight hug from the father that she feared she might not see again and a silent goodbye to the siblings she couldn’t say it too leaving in secret as she was, Mito slipped back out the window and headed up the cliff; from there she would go over the bluff and come down to the far dock to catch a ride out on the first tide in the dim morning, away from home and into one of the most deadly countries to be unaffiliated shinobi in, on a mission that was ill defined and slightly hopeless on the off chance she could save her people. Lords of the waters give her strength.

Chapter 43: if wishes

Summary:

even beggars would ride

Chapter Text

Hashirama brushed his fingers over his brother’s book, well read from cover to cover by now; Hashirama finally making good on his promise to listen to anything that Tobirama wrote in his book. Just – too late to do anything about any of it, too late to use any of it to improve his relationship with his brother, and bitterly Hashirama wondered if he had read this while his brother was alive he would have paid attention? Would he have let the scales fall from his eyes with Tobirama still alive? He almost hadn’t even with him dead, wouldn’t have maybe without Satomi, certainly not as fast without his wife’s harsh words cutting away his pride and hubris. It had been the worst fight Hashirama had ever been in, only days after the wedding he had found Satomi staring at Tobirama’s book, untouched where Hashirama had left it open on his table and even though it was Hashirama that had left the book that way and Satomi had clearly not touched it she had also clearly read the open pages, her heavy raw-silk blue-black hair falling into her austerely beautiful face not quite hiding the over-wide gold eyes over the rich purple clan markings as she said “Your brother” gesturing at the book, it wasn’t a question.

Anger had seared though Hashirama flash-fire fast and full of the slightly unhinged madness that had slipped into him since Tobirama’s death (“tell me why-“) and thoughtlessly he had snarled something to her about not intruding into his privacy (as if it wasn’t him that had left the book out) he didn’t remember what, only that she had been angered (fair, in retrospect) and snapped back and then they were yelling at each other – well, Hashirama was yelling, Satomi didn’t yell, she hissed. And….”If you had loved your living brother maybe you wouldn’t have a dead one!” the words had hit like a bullet and when followed with “I may not have known Tobirama all that well, but I do know how people work and I know desperation when I read it, your brother was desperate and reaching out in the only way that he knew how, and you ignored him. You treated him like a tool, like something without the feelings you knew he had – and you did know Husband, if you gave him this book you knew. If you had cared and tried or at least loved him he wouldn’t be dead."It had been the first time anyone had told him to his face it was his fault Tobirama was dead – that his brother had been so hurt to begin with (Madara had implied it but…not just said it, but Satomi didn’t believe in babying people). When she had followed that with a derisive snort and sneer while Hashirama was still gaping at her “I thought I would have to make sure that our children wouldn’t be touched by Butsuma’s parenting, that I might have to help you learn how to do better than you were given, I see now that I will have to protect them from your own miserable self-centered ideas of love, so I tell you right now Husband, if you don’t learn how to love someone for who they are not who they can be for you or how they make you feel- because when you really love someone it doesn’t stop when they hurt you, your brother knew that- if you don’t learn I promise you, you will never touch your children. You will see them and talk to them- within bounds- but you will not touch them. I won’t have any child of mine become the shattered suicidal thing you made your brother into. You have nine months to sort out how to be a person and care for others, I would get on it”.

It had been like a fist to the stomach as his lady wife spun on her heel, dark hip length hair fanning out around her as she glided to the door, stopping just in front of him when she added “And if I ever hear you say that poison is without honor to a Mizuchi child- or any child- and they can’t use it to defend themselves, if I ever learn that a child has died because they listened to your ideas of honor over living” she had moved fast as a striking snake as she bit a Mizuchi seal just under his collar bone “I’ll put that on you and not take it off and then she had vanished as Hashirama collapsed while his chakra systems had realigned. It was only later that he found out what the seal did when he cut himself and the pain was like flashing lights going off under his eyelids and he hadn’t healed, somehow it subverted the Mukoton in his system and forced his body to function without it; that had been….a horrifying revelation, the notes about Tobirama’s development of healing jutsu suddenly meaning so much more after Hashirama understood wheat it was like to not heal automatically and, hey turns out Mukoton deadens pain! (Too bad he couldn’t tell Tobirama, it ached more than any cut when he half rose to go find his brother and tell him about the development and - realize he was dead, there was no one to tell and the words withered on his tongue, unborn.)

In the time since that fight he and Satomi had slowly started finding their feet around each other as Hashirama struggled to bring the clan to full strength alone; oh Satomi helped, but the Mizuchi were a small family and directing the kind of resources that the Senju had was completely different, and she was focused on the twin small lives growing in her- a realization that had reduced Hashirama to tears, twins! he was going to have twins and neither would know any Senju blood but him, and oh gods, she was going to give birth without Tobirama there to help- so there was only so much she could do. It was only now, with the seal he had worn for days and the distance from his Mukoton (how had he never realized it was effecting his thinking? The shadows cleared now and the world looked a different place without the whispers) that even with the seal gone Hashirama felt like he was starting to really see what had happened with his brother clearly and stopped trying to make it someone else’s fault rather than looking what had happened in the face and seeing it for what it was and how he had to be better for his children. He wanted better for the children, his and the rest of the clan, but he…wasn’t sure he knew what that was anymore and without Touka, or a wife that was raised to lead a large clan, or Tobirama, Hashirama wasn’t sure he knew how to lead anyone to that future anymore. It was like reality was a wash of cold water putting out the fire in him and leaving him shivering and unsure, what good was fire when all it did was burn those it was supposed to protect? (Madara might have been able to make it better but Hashirama couldn’t think about Madara without thinking about rain and mud and “tell me why-“ and his brother writing about Madara’s chakra and how Hashirama could have met him in the forest in a child’s hand and – and anyway the Uchiha almost never engaged the Senju anymore.)

Hashirama laid a hand over Tobirama’s small book and thought about the last time he had seen Madara, the two patrols had run into each other in the woods but rather than engage the Uchiha had just pulled back and watched the Senju with odd disgust on their faces, and when Hashirama had arrived it was to Madara standing on the other side of the clearing, his dark hair blowing in the wind and his face a cold mask. Hashirama had moved through his clan and stepped out to face Madara as he always had and - the other man had looked him up and down and his lip had pulled up in something that wasn’t quite a sneer as he looked at Hashirama like he was nothing and turned away, just…walking away. Like Hashirama was nothing, like he wasn’t worth the time. Hashirama had watched him walk away and the Senju hadn’t tried to take the opportunity to push for more land (they had all they could manage without Tobirama and his mind and sensing as it was), what else could they do? Somehow, just like that it was like the feud was over, the Uchiha were clearly disgusted by the Senju- why?- and the Senju had no way to make the refusal to engage into something to the advantage of their clan when their hands were so full; the irony wasn’t lost on Hashirama (oh Tobi, you bought us peace anyway, but you never should have paid that price, it was too high).

“Husband” Satomi’s voice pulled his attention from the book and he looked out the window, glad that there was warmth in her tone again but feeling so…cold. “Yes” he said finally, half ignoring her shocked breath “yes, we will do as you asked, Lady Wife” after all, what was there for them here but old graves and burial words.

Chapter 44: star sapphire

Summary:

inspires hope; communication, truth and clarity, wisdom

Notes:

gets a bit heated after - well after Tobirama takes his robe off, if you wish to skip you can I think jump from there to the last two paragraphs without missing anything to much?

Chapter Text

Madara scanned the trees one last time, checking the edges of Uchiha land carefully one last time before turning back to the compound already yearning to see his husband again and spend as much of his time as he could curled around the slimmer man before Tobirama and the war parties set off tomorrow, he knew Tobirama needed to do this and it just made more sense to send him out with the summons while Izuna and Hikaku led the clan in concert with the parties from the trinity clans, the Hatake and the Kohaku family. Striking out at every known point in the chain shattering all of them, at which point Izuna, Touka and a handful of Uchiha would hook up with the Hatake and go hunting for any stragglers or things they missed while Tobirama gathered the children in the Uchiha compound and made sure they were all ok and healthy. Izuna would hunt with deep fervor and Tobirama was needed for healing – which would be a bit awkward, Madara was sure the Trinity that delivered the children to the Uchiha would try and get a glimpse of his new spouse but they would deal and Tobirama might be late anyway having to coordinate with the other Uchiha and Kohaku. Either way the fact that Madara had to remain in the compound to take care of the clan was incontrovertible, no matter how badly he wanted to be there to watch Tobirama wreak havoc and destruction.

With a sigh Madara shook his head, doing his best to refocus on what was in front of him – which would soon be Tobirama! And that meant that Madara could give Tobirama another gift, something he had been looking forward to for a while and only wanted to more and more after Tobirama had given him his Token, the snowy hair still comfortingly snug around his bicep; a comforting reminder of his husband along with the marriage band around his ankle and the twinkling garnets braided into his hair. Cheered by that thought Madara sped up a bit, nodding to the guard on the wall as he vaulted over and took the back way to the Great House, darting through the thick garden and smiling to see Tobirama waiting for him on the engawa wearing one of Madara’s first gifted yukata and smiling a bit out at the other man.

Seized by a sudden surge of joy Madara caught his husband by the waist and lifted him straight off the deck into a joyous spin, nuzzling close before letting Tobirama back to his feet and ignoring the wide eyed watchers in the shadows of Tobirama’s office, (Madara was still getting used to Masahiko’s wide-eyed looks, the poor kid had clearly never seen anything like them or high powered shinobi before and he was a very good helper to Tobirama so Madara was giving him the benefit of assuming that he would get over it in time – like he would hopeful get over flinching any time he thought he did something wrong). “Hello pretty eyes” Madara murmured, eyes going half lidded with pleasure as Tobirama kissed the corner of his mouth lingeringly “did you have a good day?” Tobirama laughed softly, nudging closer and humming as Madara gently enfolded him in his arms “You were gone. Other than that it was a good enough day though I suppose”. At that Madara snickered into his husband’s temple, not bothering to hide the blooming warmth in his chest from seeping into his chakra and through him to Tobirama who purred and melted into the Uchiha farther with a muttered “playing dirty ‘dara” though he seemed unbothered by it, quite the opposite really.

Smiling Madara held his husband close and blew out a slow breath, slowly relaxing into his Center and the easy comfort of Tobirama’s embrace, letting the anxiety and stress fade away in the safest place he had ever known. “Come love, lets get you cleaned up so we can eat” Tobirama’s soft words were accompanied by a gentle tug into the house, stopping on the deck so that Tobirama could take Madara’s armor off and put it on the armor stand in the entrance room; later Madara would take it off and clean it, going over it carefully for any wear or faults. Technically he could let someone (Masahiko probably) do that for him but Madara had always believed in personally tending to the things that might save you in battle – like armor or weapons. With gentle hands Tobirama ran his fingers through Madara’s hair until the few tangles were gone, cupping Madara’s face for a soft kiss before leading the older man out of the room and back to their washroom where Tobirama set about washing his hair as Madara sank bonelessly into the hot water, relishing his husband’s sure touch and languorously wishing Tobirama would get in the water with him as he listened to Tobirama fill him in on the work he had done that day as well as the goings on in the compound.

It would never cease to amaze Madara that his lovely Center could work on paperwork and correspondence and still track the comings and goings of the Uchiha and their emotional signatures – like telling Madara there had been an argument in the market near the glass blowers, one bad enough Madara suggested ordering Tobirama a set of beakers with metal bands at their necks to make the two craftsman work together and both take equal commission (and give Madara another gift to give his husband, that was something Madara was always looking for). In response he got an enthusiastic kiss and brilliant smile, one he was more than delighted to receive even upside down, blinking dazedly up at his pretty husband “What was that for?” he blurted, befuddled as Tobirama traced his features. “Nothing – or, just you. I love you, and its…nice to be listened to, besides” he leaned down to whisper in the dark haired man’s ear “you are breathtakingly attractive when you’re clever”.

One long foot snuck around and pressed firmly on Madara’s groin, heat bolting through the older man as Tobirama pulled firmly on Madara’s thick hair and planted a kiss on his neck, and then another and another and – well by the time Madara got out of the water he was feeling more than a little sleepy and a lot loose-limbed. Relaxed and calm as he dressed for dinner he captured Tobirama’s face in his hands, covering him in light kisses until the albino’s laughter bounced off the walls and he twisted out of Madara’s hands (hiding a pained wince as he did so – one Madara missed only in his post-cloital lassitude), catching Madara’s fingers and pulling the older man after him out and to the waiting dinner (another thing they couldn’t convince Masahiko he didn’t have to do, the boy jumped at any chance to do something around the Great House and they couldn’t seem to make him hear that ‘helper’ was not the same as ‘servant’. Ah, well, perhaps it would just take time).

Dinner blissfully was a full house, Izuna and Touka lounging together (well, Touka lounging and Izuna serving her hand and foot, as usual), Kikiyo watching the well behaved cubs as Masahiko and a bewildered looking Kenshin served food, Hikaku and Yuuka (finally engaged) hiding smiles as they watched their confused kinsman helping at the table (Kenshin had been at the table a lot since he brought Masahiko to them, the blonde unwilling to give up his friend and Madara aware an eye on the kid would be good for a little longer even if Chura said he was clean). It was the first time since his sister’s death that Madara had felt like he wasn’t living with ghosts, all the echoing memories that had filled the house finally driven out by the living; his father’s destructive grief and the sight of his mother dead with little Togakushi (he had only been four when they cut off his head) after the house was infiltrated so long ago finally driven away by living voices. With a slow sigh Madara sought out Tobirama’s hand under the table, struggling to contain his emotions about how much his life had changed since he ran down Tobirama in the forest only a couple of months ago (and now they were going to leave him and- no! no, no, Tobirama would come back, Izuna and Touka and Hikaku and all the rest would come back, Madara just had to keep the children safe).

Tobirama’s long fingers wound through his, squeezing gently and smiling softly with a question in his eyes when he met Madara’s glance, head co*cked ever so slightly and Madara took a deep breath, willing the emotion away to smile at his husband as he shook his head only the tiniest amount, brushing away the concern. Tobirama raised one slender white brow but let it go – though the firm grip of his fingers told Madara his pretty husband had no intention of letting it go all the way, heart aching Madara raised the elegant hand and brushed a kiss over the back of Tobirama’s hand, lingering and breathing in the scent of Tobirama’s sun oiled skin until his heart calmed and he could enjoy the rest of evening.

Eventually Tobirama called to retire, intending on an early night given that the raids were to be set out on tomorrow at midday with the plan to hit in the dimming evening light while most would be distracted with the evening meal (Izuna was already excited for the despair that having Tobirama attack his point with only he summons and Touka as backup, he was already rhapsodizing about the rumors it was going to create and Tobirama had promised to make it splashy – though that was mostly to see the smug little smirk Madara was trying to hide grow; Tobirama didn’t know how his husband- still a delight- was planning to use it to his advantage but he was looking forward to the chaos of troll!Madara anyway). Still smiling a tiny bit Tobirama wished a careful goodnight to the children (making sure that to be gentle and biting back a hiss, even with his healing skill he was still quite a bit tender – well, tender and ‘tender’), ruffling Kagami’s hair and hugging little silent Haru, before bidding a formal goodnight to proud Kasumi and touching Masahiko on the shoulder gently before joining Madara at the door and following his husband out of the room and to the stairs.

“I never asked you ‘dara, anything you want in particular with the trading post I am hitting?” he asked softly, eyeing Madara as the older man opened the door to their rooms “I plan to lean on ice rather than water and my other lesser known skills – hopefully that will throw the Nara off a bit the nosy buggers, but is there anything you want?” Madara laughed softly and reached for the albino, touching the medallion at his throat with fond fingers before stripping off his gloves. “It’s better if you just wreck the whole place pretty eyes, that way less to go off of, but…not promising not to imply that you aren’t completely human. Have you heard that you are a celestial warrior and I have your robe?” at that Tobirama couldn’t help but chuckle, rolling his eyes as a sly looking Madara slid his fingers under the edges of his robe “And here I thought you were the one that gave them all to me ‘dara” he purred, smirk growing and spreading as Madara smoothed his hands under the robe over Tobirama’s shoulders to slide it off, only for the man’s hands to falter and his jaw to drop “problem love?”

“You – this – you – I – you – you –“ he spluttered, “I ‘dara?” good lords of rivers Tobirama hadn’t thought it would throw him quite this bad “You – pierce – you” and- now all out laughing- Tobirama gently shut his husband’s mouth with one finger under his jaw. “Yes bright hawk, you did ask me to pierce them after all. However you’ll have to be gentle for now, I healed it all the way but there is still some tenderness as the nerves adjust” Tobirama told him, preening a bit under Madara’s awestruck gaze, “Gentle” Madara breathed “I can be gentle, I can be so gentle holy flame I can be gentle but can I touch please, beautiful?”

Tobirama laughed and stepped back, letting the robe slip all the way off and drifting back to the bed with his eyes fixed on Madara who was – well nearly drooling with his eyes fixed on Tobirama’s chest and his bright pink slightly puffy newly pierced nipples. “I think you’re wearing too much clothing ‘dara” he teased, laying back on the bed and stretching slowly, well aware the star sapphires on the new piercings were catching the light and Madara’s newly spinning Sharingan – though he didn’t mind having the stunned whine as confirmation. With visibly shaking hands Madara rushed to strip, all but falling into bed and easily going with it when Tobirama pressed him onto his back and swung a leg over, shuddering as he settled his weight over his husband’s strong body, the harsh lines of dearly bought muscle standing in clear relief as Madara fought not to move and disturb Tobirama.

Pleased with his sweet husband Tobirama smirked and traced a teasing finger over the lines of Madara’s straining abs and biting back a pleased purr at the tight muscles under his fingers “So, bright hawk, you can be gentle right? Because it occurs to me I’ve not had a chance to really trace the lines” a brush of his nail over Madara’s iliac furrow drawn teasingly down toward his groin and rapidly filling co*ck “and I was wondering if my doting husband might not permit me a night to take my fill as it were” Madara blinked, red-violet eyes rapidly going hazy and hot as Tobirama’s fingers moved up his shaft in a feather light caress “and then, if my husband has been quite good, I thought maybe he would take a moment to admire my new….accessories” a firm tug had Madara moaning and Tobirama decided that was good enough in terms of agreement and got to work.

What he had said was true after all, while Tobirama had had the chance before to taste his husband he hadn’t had the chance to follow the lines of hard muscle from years of gunbai training and fighting over Madara’s shoulders with his lips, or stroke the lines of his heaving ribs while mapping the few but deep scars on the creamy skin, whispering praise and appreciation – not for his looks though he certainly could have, Madara was divine, but for how good he was for Tobirama and what good care he took of the albino, how much Tobirama appreciated that Madara was so good for him and how well and safe Tobirama felt with him; all things that he had noticed made Madara twitch and shudder. (It made Tobirama ache sometimes to think that his wonderful husband- still not over that- had gone so underappreciated that Tobirama thanking and valuing what Madara did by instinct, things the Uchiha couldn’t not do without betraying himself, made him shake and groan; sending his chakra into eddying hunger every time.)

His own skin was buzzing with arousal by the time Tobirama was placing little kitten licks around the base of Madara’s co*ck and he could feel the fraying restraint in Madara’s chakra where pleasure was beginning to topple over into stress so- only slightly reluctantly- he pulled away and shifted up, placing the jar of slick in his husband’s hand with a nod, Madara nearly sobbing with relief to be acting as he slicked up his fingers and set to work opening Tobirama for him – something he all but refused to let the younger man do for himself anymore. Not that Tobirama minded, Madara’s hands were softer than his from the gloves though still strong and broad and wonderful – sweet wave, yes, especially when he hit the spot just like that. Gasping Tobirama lifted, coaxing Madara’s knees up and then capturing his co*ck in one hand, purring as Madara’s hands landed on his hips to help him ease his way down the thick length, the subtle burn adding a sweet counter point to the pleasure of the Uchiha’s rising chakra.

It was only when he was seated all the way that he smiled down at his wide-eyed loved and purred “You can touch, gently though love” and in a flash wondering fingers found his tender nipples, light touches an intoxicating counter to the sharp thrusts and- as Tobirama had half expected- together the two sending him higher and higher at a shocking rate until three perfectly aimed thrusts and the barest hint of a twist had him coming with something like a wail, Madara following hard after and looking like all his bones had been removed in the aftermath.

Eventually Tobirama pushed up enough to find a rag in the table next to their bed and call in enough water with jutsu to wet it to clean them the barest amount before easing back down into Madara’s clingy embrace. On second though he called more water from the jug on the side table and made his dazed husband drink it before bundling them both up in blankets and wrapping himself around the Uchiha as much as he could, dozing softly until Madara himself fell asleep with a mumble that might have been a slurred, exhausted “love you” but was hard to tell through his daze. Tobirama hadn’t quite anticipated how strongly something like that would affect Madara but he was willing to bet next time it would be easier for the Uchiha – and there was going to be a next time, Tobirama was sure of that; he knew Madara was worried about tomorrow. Not that he didn’t trust that Izuna and Tobirama could do what they needed to and win, but…it was hard to send them off when every fiber of Madara’s being was made to serve and do for others; Tobirama had already put together that Izuna had never let his brother help him or take care of him and though Izuna probably didn’t mean it too there was no way that Madara- who showed his love through service- could take that as anything other than a rejection of affection. Add to that the other small traces of problems in Madara and Izuna’s relationship that- while they seemed to be on the mend thanks to Chura- were not entirely gone and Tobirama was slowly finding the aches and hurt and chinks in Madara’s armor for him to repair and tend to.

He couldn’t make any of it go away, but he didn’t want to, he didn’t want to change Madara, not for anything, but he wanted to ease the pain and soften the past and do for Madara a version of what Madara had done for him; give him a safe place to rest and breathe. For Madara it might not be rest Tobirama thought, he thought that maybe what Madara needed more was a place to be himself entirely with someone that didn’t fear him or want anything from him or find him too much and push him away; and how impossibly wonderful that was for Tobirama- who adored Madara as he was at his most ‘Madara, Uchiha’- that what he thought Madara needed was also the one thing Tobirama wanted more than anything. Half lidded red-eyes drifted to the white braid on Madara’s arm and the buzzing warmth stilling easing out of his limbs went a bit softer and sleepier, Madara had Tobirama’s Token and Tobirama wore Madara’s; no matter what happened tomorrow they would be together as long as they chose to (and Tobirama would do any and every thing in his power to insure that he came back in person as well).

Chapter 45: hematite

Summary:

blood stone; protection against the evil eye, ill luck

Chapter Text

Madara woke slowly, still draped in warmth and deeply comfortable in a way he rarely was – or rarely had been, now any morning he woke with Tobirama curled into him was a good one; how could it not be with his whole world tucked up in his arms? When Madara considered what it was like to be without a Center (the Sharingan dreams alone were enough to drive many Uchiha to unstable tempers and paranoid watchfulness) and compared it to having a Center and the calm that came from knowing for sure where the axis of his world was, the terror of returning to life without Tobirama was enough to make Madara’s skin crawl and his mind howl and Madara just…tried not to think about it.

“I’m not leaving you the way you think” Tobirama’s sudden voice jolted Madara out of his thoughts and he looked down at his sleepy eyed husband “you have my Token, and what is more we are both sensors though I have larger range. If you think that I am going to let you go just because I have to go to battle you are much mistaken, and should anything happen to me you have my Hiraishin seal on your shoulder and I can come to you with a thought” Madara sighed deeply and closed his eyes, taking a moment to just feel the sunlight and the weight of his Center on top of him before nodding slowly. “I know, and I – I do trust you To’ra” he whispered, opening his eyes when Tobirama wiggled around to push up and meet his eyes “I know, I do understand how hard this is Madara, and its ok that it is. Don’t beat yourself up ok love?” at the soft fond words Madara huffed a laugh and nodded, sighing deeply as Tobirama leaned their foreheads together and for a long moment they just breathed in the morning light, until a call from downstairs told them they were wanted up. It was time to eat and go over plans one last time before Tobirama called the leap to him (Ulrich and her newly come brother Eyolf would be staying with the Uchiha but all the leopards would leave with Tobirama, another reason Madara had to stay – they couldn’t forget the outstanding threat) and began the run to the trading outpost that the albino was slated to lay waste too.

Grumbling all the way Tobirama struggled and rolled and almost fell out of bed, Madara’s arm the only thing that saved him from face planting to the floor in his awkwardness (an awkwardness he only showed Madara, and only after the nights when he had slept truly well and deeply) though it left one of Madara’s hands firmly over one nipple and the feel of cold metal and stone made remembered heat flash through the Uchiha at a blazing rate at the reminder that Tobirama had pierced his nipples because Madara asked and for Madara alone, which was clear with the stones he had chosen on the jewelry that he must have had made special (gods that was hot). And that also remined Madara that he had a gift for Tobirama this morning and if he wanted to give it to his husband (f*ck yes!) properly he had better get out of bed and get ready to face the day.

Swearing softly Madara dragged himself out after his husband to Tobirama’s soft sleepy laughter, catching Tobirama so they could wash and dress together, Tobirama dressed for the first time since he had arrived in the Uchiha compound in war gear; the under tunic and shinobi pants wrapped down just below the joints, though for now without the rest of his equipment as he would add that later (though the fur ruff and happuri would have to be set aside for now as they were dead giveaways – literally, one way or another). Madara watched this with barely restrained sigh, a steady ache of mixed pride and worry taking residence in his chest; something Tobirama sensed- of course- if the way that he looked at Madara and came to the Uchiha’s side to kiss him slow and soft until the pain eased a bit and they were called again to eat.

At breakfast the departing shinobi eat well but lightly and as soon as the food was cleared away a map was rolled out over the table, the children- who had been allowed to stay if they stayed quiet and out of the way- watching with wide eyes as Madara once more went over the targets and raiding parties. At the most basic they had identified all the hubs and stations of the human trafficking ring- like the trading post Tobirama was taking out or the poorly hidden ‘Wearhouse’ that Izuna was watching grim faced- where children or high level operators could be found- like the compound of a mid-level lord that was making a lot of money he shouldn’t be that the Yamanaka were storming among others- the idea was to take out as many links in chain as they could in a single go and recover all the victims at once to prevent retaliatory killings or attempted cover ups. After the children had all be recovered and all the targets annihilated (Fire was sending a message, they did not tolerate this is their lands; while they knew that some trafficking of civilians couldn’t be fixed by the clans- though they tried-, taking shinobi children was a step too far and well within their rights to act against) the children would be brought to the Uchiha- barring them wanting something else- and while that happened a party of the Hatake and Izuna, Touka and a few handpicked Uchiha would gather to take care of running down any dregs of the ring. As such though Tobirama would return tomorrow in all likelihood it would be quite a while before Madara saw his brother again, though Izuna was taking one of Hikaku’s red-tailed hawks with him for faster communication.

It was with a tight chest that Madara watched the final preparations, and as Tobirama said goodbye to the children and sent them after their minder for the day (Yuuka, helped by Eyolf, the male wolf-dog might be smaller- not that that said much, Ulrich was huge- than his sister but he did love cubs – of any species) Madara gathered himself, catching his Center by the hand and leading him to the room next to their bedroom where their armor and weapons were stored. “Close your eyes” he murmured, wrapping an arm around Tobirama’s waist and leading the compliant slimmer man in to face the new armor stand in the middle of the room; against the wall behind it were Madara’s red armor on a stand and the plain gray that Tobirama had brought on another, but in the middle of the room was a new stand covered in new armor “Open them To’ra”. Smiling Tobirama did as he was told and then sucked in a shocked breath as he stared at the rich blue armor in the middle of the room; it wasn’t as light in color as his old set, but it wasn’t Uchiha indigo either, no this was a rich deep cobalt and embellished with Uchiha indigo and fur that was white at the base but tipped in black. Done in a lighter style closer to the Hatake style then the stuff Madara wore or what Tobirama had worn before it was intended to suit a style of attack that was based off speed and agility and clearly designed to be maneuverable; in other words it was based off how Tobirama fought after sparing with him many, many (wonderful) times to get a good sense.

Madara” Tobirama breathed, stepping forward and brushing a finger over the fur trim, “what-?” uncertainly the Uchiha moved forward to stand with his Center, “I won’t have you go into battle under-prepared and in armor that you dislike – though I am sorry it wasn’t ready soon enough for you to spar in it and a bit ad get a feel for it. I – I always thought it a bit odd that you had armor so ill suited to your style of fighting, though it never seemed to slow you down” he murmured, eyeing his lover with some concern. “The Senju aren’t metal workers, and that style is versatile so it’s just what we stock, then later Hashirama was always trying to make sure we didn’t make people at court to uncomfortable you know. Madara, this…it must have been so…” Tobirama trailed off, scraping at one panel with a fingernail and swallowing hard to the quality of the finish as Madara’s stance eased. He liked it then, was just overwhelmed; with a faint smile Madara drew he dear Center closer and curled them together to murmur in Tobirama’s ear “I will not have you fail to return to me, there is nothing too valuable or expensive for me to fail to do it if it increases the chances that I will not lose you.” With a choked noise Tobirama buried his face in Madara’s hair, breathing out a shaking breath and clutching the Uchiha close; “I am coming back to you Madara, I’m not going to leave you” he swore, an oath the Uchiha felt in his bones and suddenly prickling eyes.

They stood together there for a long moment until Madara had to shift back and gently nudge his Center to stand near the stand as Madara carefully helped him into his armor, tightening every strap carefully down and making sure everything lay flat with over attentive fingers. All too soon Tobirama was ready; with a loose fur cowl in hand that would fasten to the armor to cover his white hair and shadow his face to help hide his identity, he looked like – well not unlike a celestial warrior honestly and it was all Madara could do not to just drag him in and never let go (he was going to be ok; he was going to come back to Madara, Madara had a mark on his shoulder to be sure of it). “Ready?” he asked gruffly, gratefully taking the extended hand and tangling their fingers together when Tobirama nodded, holding tightly as they headed downstairs and out into the midday sun so Tobirama could call the leap, the cobalt of Tobirama’s armor catching the light like a glowing gem.

Reluctantly Madara released him to call the summons and went to his brother, the ache in his chest doubling as he watched Izuna toss his head back and laugh; while sending his brother out was different from sending his Center- for one he had been doing it for years- it never stopped being bitter and painful. Izuna caught his eye and the humor faded, the brothers looking seriously across the dusty square at each other until Touka elbowed Izuna hard and the younger Uchiha stumbled toward his brother; taking a deep visible breath and continuing to a stock still Madara, the older Uchiha brother’s face set in regal, wary lines. Izuna stopped in front of his brother and for a moment neither of them moved, the past seeming to big to reach over until (a flick of cool chakra over his senses and-) Madara reached out and dragged his brother into a tight embrace, pressing their foreheads together and just breathing, “Be safe little brother, go with Amaterasu-kami” he murmured, hearing Izuna’s breath hitch at the old words and the younger Uchiha’s hands tightened harshly on Madara’s robes for a moment before gentling. “With her blessing I shall return to you, brother” Izuna returned, the second half of the old farewell and then – Madara let go, let his brother return to his fiancé (he wondered if Tobirama had realized the change yet, had seen the new gift – on the other hand he had probably felt it in their chakra last night too) and his future.

For a moment he gazed at his brother, happier and standing taller than Madara had ever seen and then – his musings were roughly interrupted when Tobirama approached surrounded by swirl of leopards- many but not all snow leopards- and dumped a squirming bundle of orang fur in Madara’s arms. The Uchiha so surprised that he struggled to keep his hold on the – what was this any – “Tobirama” goodness Madara hadn’t known his voice could still get that high “is this a tiger cub?!” smirking Tobirama nodded, folding his arms over his new breastplate. “Yup” he purred, popping the ‘p’ “his family is dead, and the leap has been watching over him but with most of them going with me he needs a minder. As far as they can tell he’s not a summons, but he has been at the teat of one so best think of him as a nin-tiger” Madara gapped as the small cub (he must have been the runt of the litter, poor little guy) yawned and blinked sleepy at him “I – you, baby tiger!” he spluttered eloquently and Tobirama smirked, moving closer to tickle the cub’s tummy. “They said you can name him, love” the albino murmured, Madara could feel his red gaze on the side of the Uchiha’s face as he gazed at the tiny bundle of terror and – sh*t the little menace bat with one small paw at a lock of Madara’s trailing hair “Playing dirty pretty eyes” he growled but cuddled the baby-growling bundle closer anyway as Tobirama snickered and kissed his cheek, whispering “always” before pulling back, humor falling away.

“It’s time” Tobirama murmured, the leap of leopards swirling behind him “I know” Madara agreed, glancing at his brother and cousin where Hikaku was talking with Yuuka (at least Kikiyo was staying here with him to help ready things for the children, they were lucky Tobirama’s trading and contacts had already increased the wealth of the clan and availability of food or taking in the children might be quite difficult). “Hey” Tobirama murmured, touching Madara’s cheek “we’ll all be back soon, no one is going to put themselves at unneeded risk” grimly the older man nodded, absently draping the tiger cub over his shoulder as he stepped closer and gathered his husband and Center close, breathing him in for a long moment and stealing a light kiss before forcing himself to step back and flare his chakra (the tiger cub made a sort of confused snort at the sensation) to get the attention of the clan. “It’s time to go” he said bluntly “you go to save children and show the world we do not allow this kind of transgression, not anymore. The Uchiha have too long sat back and allowed the world to act without our input, too long have we forsaken the duties of our blood and allowed ourselves to be shut out and up within our homes; but we know better now, and we have had enough, this time we will not stand by, the Hatake call us Ever-remembers and it is about time we proved that means more than just anger and fear.”

Loud shouts and gouts of flame blossomed out of the crowd and Madara could feel the changing temperature or the clan as they stood taller “The Uchiha are as old as chakra in these lands and it’s about time we remembered that and our place in the world our ancestors wanted us to take, a place where children do not get sold into slavery to civilians, be they our blood or no. Are you ready Uchiha?” in unison the voices of the attacking parties rose up and with a smile Madara didn’t quite understand Tobirama stepped forward cupping the clan head’s face in his hands and kissing him long and slow and deep until the cheers were cat-calls and laughter and reluctantly Tobirama released him “See you soon” Tobirama whispered and, eyes fixed on Tobirama, Madara called out “If you are ready then run Uchiha! And hunt this night for shadows in the dark!” and in a swift rush all turned and raced, Izuna and Hikaku leading after nods to Madara while Tobirama stood in the crowd as they raced out around him until the very last few shinobi trailed past and with a visibly shaking breath Tobirama bowed shallowly and turned, leaving the compound at such speed it was all Madara could do to track his progress until he was gone, a shooting star in the night.

(Not to far from the Uchiha compound a strange creature was frozen, it’s super-good hearing having caught the words of the Uchiha as the raiding parties left, it was frozen with uncertainty ‘hunt this night for shadows in the dark!’? For shadows? Had he – had he noticed-? But no, there was no way, right? But then again the wolf-dogs with their mad eyes and over-sized bodies and big white teeth-! Perhaps it would be best to stick with picking off any support that could be sent to the Uchiha, after all there was so little support in the compound surely just one mind healer couldn’t be doing that much? One spouse couldn’t be that important either, this would wait and the shadows were darker elsewhere- elsewhere where there wasn’t big f*cking wolf-dogs.)

Chapter 46: amber

Summary:

the soul of the tiger transformed after death; congealed sunlight, Freyja cried tears of amber when her husband was away

Notes:

I'm...not sure how the flow of this goes at all - sleep and I are estranged again! So tell me it I managed to have any plot holes ect as I definitely can't tell right now...

Chapter Text

Tobirama met Touka’s eyes as his cousin fell in with him just outside the Uchiha compound (the first time Tobirama had left since he had come here with Madara’s marriage rope wrapped around his wrist) the leap surging around them as the former Senju settled into a rolling lope they could keep up for miles and miles, Touka’s impressive stamina helping her keep up with her faster cousin for the long miles of the run to the major trading post closer to Water where the slavers and their ‘wears’ typically rested. They ran in silence for hours and at a quiet stop high in the trees while sipping from water flasks and scarfing high energy protein and dried fruit Tobirama slanted a look at his cousin crouching on a wide branch next to him and said quietly “So you planning to tell me?” in response to the sudden question the other former Senju jumped a bit and swore as she spilled water down her armor and sighed. “Why, you already know” at his unimpressed look she rolled her eyes and looked away for a moment “yes he asked and yes I said yes, he gave me the bracers” (Tobirama had noticed the new armor, they were very fine and well-made indeed with thick beautifully tooled dark red leather embossed with lion-dogs in gold and the heavy studs looked like they might have something extra tucked away inside).

Frowning Tobirama watched his kin curiously, “What’s the problem then?” he murmured, crouching next to her and examining her face carefully. “I – are we moving to fast?” she blurted after a moment “It’s just, you’re like the only person I know that has married for love and - well you and Madara are rather a special case and I love you dearly, but I have no intention of having a relationship like yours and gods know I adore Izuna but –“ “Touka.” She stopped and looked at him with slightly wild eyes “Do you love him? Do you respect him? Do you trust him?” at each question she nodded, looking a little calmer “If you met him tomorrow would you fall in love with him again? Do you respect him enough to work at it? Do you trust him to treat you with respect?” another set of nods with dawning understanding on her face “Do you love him enough to want to spend all your time with him? Do you respect him enough to give him your future? Do you trust him enough to show him your past?”

Yes” she whisper, a bright light in her eyes and something settling in her chakra as Tobirama quirked a smile at her, “Then I think you have your answer, everything else will come. I had to learn not to look to my parent’s relationship when I first came, it was Madara that told me love was a journey and each of us walks a different path; its pointless to worry about where yours looks in reference to other people as long as you are still committed to walking together” at that the woman slapped a hand over her mouth to stifle what looked like gales of laughter, shaking her head and grinning at Tobirama brilliantly. “That man of yours is a total sap” she told him, Tobirama just smiling – he couldn’t exactly argue with her, Madara was a sap and Tobirama adored it.

Still smiling Tobirama nudged her shoulder gently and murmured “Alright enough of that, I'm missing good time watching Madara with a tiger cub for this, let’s get moving” with a sloppy salute Touka rolled backward off the branch onto a lower one, setting off through the trees at a steady pace as the leap started moving around her, Tobirama taking one more moment to feel out Madara’s chakra before lunching out after the leap and his cousin, privately wondering how it was going to go when Touka met up with Izuna and the Hatake. While the Hatake did- sort of- know about Touka and Tobirama- maybe?- there was a not insignificant chance that they would run into another clan at some point and Tobirama…had no idea how Izuna’s plan if they was going to go given then he- apparently- planned to just deny that it was Touka at all. Quite possibly to other clan’s faces. The thing was though that as long as they didn’t run into the Senju or Nara it might even work, while Touka was still wearing her lipstick she had changed into Uchiha clothing in a skimpy cut with the Uchiha high collar and was wearing her hair down – all combining to make a look that Touka Senju would never have worn and quite possibly with Izuna just denying anything and everything it – well it might just work.

(Far across fire a group of Kohaku gathered around the edges of the homestead of a lord in a small village, Vashti looking out at the moving figures around the house with her jaw going tight as a small one dropped a too large bucket and a moment later was floored with a sharp kick. It tried her patience to have to watch and wait but the orders had been clear, unless a life was in danger wait until the sun was on the horizon and though the Kohaku matriarch was itching to act she would abide by orders. Slowly the bronze skinned woman blew out a steady breath, tightening her high tail of long dark-green hair as her already severe face got sharper and she settled into a crouch she could hold till it was time, her family taking lead from her attitude and settling in for a wait with dark looks.

In another section of Fire Ichirou was trying not to twitch as the Nara that had joined his group yawned and with a vindictive light in his eyes the Yamanaka clan head nodded grimly to his old friend, Kirika smirking delightedly and quickly hiding it as she turned to tell another clan member about how Madara-sama’s spouse was actually a lost prince from Ice! He was banished after his evil uncle took the throne that should have been his and it was Madara-sama that found the prince and saved him from his attackers and healed him and the price said he had to pay Madara-sama back so he had to stay with Madara-sama until he did but the longer they were together the more they fell in love and then they go married and – and holy sh*t he had told her to gossip as much as she wanted in front of the Nara- an advantage of being thought of as pretty but dumb- but he hadn’t realized she had such a well thought out theory! Luckily the Nara was looking quite taken in by it as well, Ha! Serves your right f*cker, now you get to be as confused as the rest of us!)

Tobirama glanced over his leap, Akira slinking up on one side with the giant Noriaki on the other, the Persian leopard blocking the wind as Tobirama fastened the cowl to his armor and checked that it was fitting neatly over his head to hide his hair and face in the evening light. All across Fire the attacks would have started by now and Tobirama was just waiting for the changing the guard, Touka already ready at the back of the house with Kiyoshi (the fluffiest and least dangerous looking of all Tobirama’s leap) to gather the kids and get them out while Tobirama was laying waste; Tobirama just needed – ah, yes, this. The scruffy looking possibly a mercenary on watch turned to talk to his relief and at a silent signal two leopards dove out of the trees, taking down both men with jaws to spines before they even had a chance to see the shadows move.

As the men went down Tobirama was already moving, Akira pacing steadily at his side as they bounded over the dead sentries, the leap swarming the outside of the outpost; finding any entrance or guard they could and killing the men before there was a chance to scream. The door to the main building went down easily and Tobirama dove though into a roll, throwing kunai and senbon and already reaching for the water in the building and beginning the prosses of turning it to ice with one handed signs as he cut a shocked throat with the other, the last of the four men that had been waiting in the first room slumping to the floor with a messy gurgle as Akira waited at the next door. Tobirama hesitated for a moment and wove water into every door before freezing it at such speed they all exploded outward and the leap poured in; smiling grimly Tobirama kicked in the last of the door and stalked in, moving like oil over wet steel as he dove for the two men that were armed and waiting for him, killing them by hand with karambits rather than going for any of his more recognizable techniques and maybe relishing it just a little bit.

Entering into a hallway Tobirama pushed through the wreckage and peered in, his heart seizing at the sight of two small identical boys with badly cut short dark amber-orang hair staring at him with wide gray eyes ringed with dark brown. f*ck. Slowly Tobirama tucked the knives away, feeling Akira pace up behind him and peer over his shoulder as he lowered himself closer to the height with the small twins (sh*t, they looked like they were about five) leveling them with an even gaze “Hello” he murmured, trying to ignore their frightened twitch, “I’m here to get you out, will you go with the big cat outside for me?” on cue Noriaki ducked in, steeping carefully over Tobirama and lowering himself enough the two wide eyed children could slowly uncertainly climb on board as Tobirama curled his chakra around them in case they were sensors and the feel of other chakra users would be calming. On cue one relaxed a bit and hurried up, clambering on the Persian leopard’s back quickly – over much if Noriaki’s wince was anything to go by.

Standing Tobirama looked at the leopard and nodded, murmuring “Get them outside with Touka, I have more hunting to do” silently the giant cat nodded and trotted out, one of the small heads turning to watch Tobirama until Noriaki was out of sight and the albino blew out a shuddering breath, the cold, cold fury growing in him seeping out into the air in curls of bitter chakra like a looming thunderhead. After that what restraint Tobirama had worked with was torn away and he shredded the buildings behind him after he cleared all the rooms and the leap gathered any other foundlings outside. Leaving behind ruined, collapsing rooms filled with melting ice and smeared with blood (whatever else Tobirama Senju had been he had always been a very clean killer, despising mess he had always worked for clean kills even though he was called a Demon; letting go of that entirely would divert suspicion and – honestly he was angry enough to not give a f*ck) Tobirama paced through the trading post, Akira next to him with red smeared muzzle and paws; each terrified gathering of waiting slavers barely having a chance to scream before Tobirama ripped the blood out of their veins until –

A tiny flickering woken chakra, a Hyuuga chakra (branch family, but still Hyuuga) and so small – the world around him flickered and blurred and with a deep resonating growl Tobirama tore through the halls until he burst into the heart of the building with a cold night breeze behind him and the grim faced lead slaver opened his mouth with a knife held to a terrified two year old’s throat. It was a stupid thing to do and Tobirama ripped the blood out of the back of the man’s body in a nasty splash against the wall, stepping forward to take the tiny Hyuuga out of the dead man’s hands before he had a chance to drop her, cooing to the babe as he tucked her against his breastplate and scanned the room. Fool had actually believed that Tobirama would let him monologed and threaten a child in front of him! As if Tobirama wasn’t going to just take him out the second he could; clearly he had either never faced any high level shinobi with something on the line – f*ck even Hashirama and Madara would set aside listening to a monologue if there was a kid involved! (They might monolog back, but only after the threat was dead but not before he was sure, at least Madara – and oh but Tobirama loved knowing Madara well enough to be able to say that!)

With a slow calming breath Tobirama closed his eyes and focused on his sensing, sending out an active burst of chakra to hunt down civilians (it was possible to find civilians or animals or anything living but they didn’t show up as brightly as woken chakra so took active attention rather than the passive input that carried info about shinobi’s movements, heritage and surface emotions) combing through the building for any signs of life other than the bundle of small flames around a quietly angry Touka or the leap nosing through the wreckage. Nothing, nothing but melting ice mixing with dripping blood as the wood creaked and collapsed- within hours Tobirama expected that the entire place would be leveled. Goodness he felt so bad about that.- and with a sigh Tobirama opened his eyes again, stroking the little girl’s hair as she gazed fixedly up at him with horrifyingly active Byakugan. “Hello” he murmured “what’s your name then? Don’t want to say? Well how about I call you Kaida then hmm? You do strike me as a little dragon” as he spoke he picked his way back through the wreckage to where Touka and half the leap were watching over a handful of children on the edge of the outpost. “Cousin” Tobirama called quietly, smirking as the building behind him collapsed in on itself behind him “alright?” grim faced Touka nodded, scanning him as he approached and looking a bit better when she saw he was without injury though his new armor was looking a bit worse for the wear until her eyes landed on little Kaida and any softness in her face evaporated. “All clear?” she asked quietly, eyes flicking from him to Akira who nodded with Tobirama, saying “The leap will double check the ruins but all are dead” with that bumping Tobirama’s hip and turning back to the ruined buildings with the others in the leap gathering around her – all but Kiyoshi, Shinju, and Akane who had been claimed by children and were clearly helping keep the small ones calm; though the older few that had been rescued were doing a good job helping with that from what Tobirama could see.

“How many?” he asked, low voiced as Kaida fidgeted with her little arms tucked close to her chest (a learned behavior, she should be reaching out to grab things and play with them even as a Shinobi child – most shinobi children were a good bit more advanced and aware at young ages than civilian children, Tobirama thought that it had to do with woken chakra and his own theories about the mythical god fruit that first woke chakra but there was no way to know for sure), Touka sighed deeply and glanced over her shoulder at the small group, “No more than a dozen, yours is the youngest, the oldest is fifteen but I think she’ll split for home as soon as she knows the younger kids are actually safe with us. None of them seem too hurt or anything but they also just arrived here so the slavers hadn’t had a chance to do anything yet” Tobirama nodded, that fit his expectation. This was a collection point where slaving parties would bring their ‘wears’ to have them introduced to the market so it made sense that the kids wouldn’t have been to introduced to the apparently brutal trade master that held this position – hence Tobirama coming here.

“Alright, Akira is it too many for the leap to carry?” Tobirama asked the lead summons, the big cat chuffing softly, “Not if the older couple can move on their own, but honestly they have a cart and we could pull that rather than hope the cubs can hold on for a long run” the snow leopard rumbled, nodding at a mid-sized cart that looked like it could be fashioned into something the summons could pull without too much trouble rather than being hand pulled to the meeting point with Izuna and the Hatake. Tobirama winced, uncomfortable with the idea of the summons acting like nothing more than common cart horses (not that horses were cheep at all in their own right) and sighed, heading to the cart and asking, “Did the leap pull out much in the way of loot?” as he went, leaning to examine the pull straps as Akira answered and smirking at the recitation; he and Touka and the leap had all shamelessly looted the place of anything of worth (to tuck away in scrolls for the run) – after all the slavers couldn’t use it anymore.

(Chinatsu grinned darkly at Ganbaatar as the boar summons rooted around in the intestines of a corpse, her temper simmering in the back of her perception as the other giant boars and her dark eyed clansmen dug through the remains of the ‘training facility’. There wasn’t much here to save and only three living people had been pulled out and frankly Chinatsu was just glad that the Uchiha hadn’t taken on this place; it had been a lot closer to the Akimichi and therefore the timing was just better if her clan took it and though she was well aware that the Uchiha had seen a lot of bad things Chinatsu…was still glad there weren’t going to be any more Uchiha running around with this place burned into their memories. They didn’t f*cking need that in their heads.

“Chinatsu-sama, we’re done here. Should we head to the Uchiha now? Word came in from the other three Akimichi groups and they’re good to go as well and meet up at the Uchiha compound” sharply Chinatsu nodded to her dark eyed clansman, her grin going a bit more natural at the thought of bringing her clan down on the Uchiha compound with the Yamanaka and the Nara hangers on (Shiori hadn’t come along but Chinatsu was willing to bet her sly f*cker of a brother was in here somehow), served the tricky Uchiha right for hiding his new spouse to have them all descend on his clan! Snickering the tall Akimichi stomped over to her summons and thumped his shoulder to get the great boar to look up at her and help her gather the forces for the run to the Uchiha, time to go see if they could get a look at this mythical spouse!)

Chapter 47: emerald

Summary:

power over all creation; revel the truth and faithfulness of a lover's oath

Chapter Text

Madara watched fixedly as the growling tiger cub pounced on the tail of a rag as Kagami dragged it over the floor, little Mūn falling over his too big paws in the early morning light as a yawning Haru sagged into Madara’s side and the head of the Uchiha did his best to keep his breathing and chakra calm while he waited (there hadn’t been any sleeping last night, Madara terrified to miss any of the occasional faint check ins from Tobirama, the last hours away now when it had been cut off by a sudden elevation in the low chill of Tobirama’s temper). Mūn chirped aggrievedly and tumbled right off the engawa, Madara just barely catching the wide eyed cub before he tumbled onto the ground and lifting the fuzzy bundle to his face and leveling it with a firm look and “Careful” that made the cub chirp again and –

(coolfrostsharpfadingrosehipsdarkvinilaareyouok?lovelovelove brushed over his senses as) Tobirama reached out, clearly still distracted but not in pain and his temper was clearly fading which probably meant – the fight was over and Tobirama was gathering his things and any people that needed saving before rendezvousing with Izuna and the Hatake to take any children from them and gather the Uchiha that weren’t going on the hunt while Touka joined Izuna. And just in time too, if the red-tailed hawk that Hikaku had sent to the Akimichi was anything to go by; with a tired sigh Madara set down Mūn and held up his arm for the stooping Asuga as she swooped under the roof, her talons closing tightly over his arm. “News?” Madara asked, hoping that she would forgive his briskness after a long night and several messaging flights already, “Incoming, Chinatsu and Ichirou and presumably Vashti are all planning to come here, probably hoping to see Tobirama” (Madara snorted, good luck with that, that was part of why Izuna and Tobirama were meeting up elsewhere after all) “you have probably five hours before they start trickling in. Not too many wounded and I think they are being sent back to the clan compounds, so the healers should be alright but-“ “They’ll be hungry” Madara finished, resigned.

He and Tobirama had thought this might happen and so Kikiyo and Tobirama had put together a menu and stock aside to feed several hundred more people (Madara was still in slight awe that they had managed that honestly, even if it was mostly going to be starch heavy foods that were easier to make – nothing fancy or expensive to make, even so all the Uchiha in the compound would have to chip in to make sure things were ready in time) but Madara still wasn’t looking forward to it. With a sigh Madara waved Kagami over and handed Asuga to him, the tired hawk chirping in thanks as the wide eyed Uchiha carried her away to a perch in the main room Hikaku kept for his summons in the Great House. “f*ck” the tired Uchiha muttered rubbing his eyes until a light weight leaned against his leg and Haru carefully hugged Madara, “’be ok” a very, very quiet voice said and Madara just melted; the frustration and stress from the long wait fading under the sudden joy at hearing the small voice for hte first time as the Uchiha settled a hand on Haru's shoulder and taking a shuddering breath. Haru was right, Tobirama was ok, last word said Izuna was alright and Hikaku was ok if slightly wounded by his last hawk; the visitors could be hosted as they had planned on it and no Uchiha would slip up and say anything incriminating about Tobirama, this was Madara’s chance to torment the other clans (Ichirou was just so fun to torment) and show off the prosperity of his clan in a way they almost never did. “You’re right Haru” Madara agreed warmly “of course you’re right” it was going to be fun.

Four hours, a very short nap and running all over the compound to insure that the clan (and food) was ready and an aid station had been set up in the main square along with a place for the rescued children Madara stood in his room looking over the clothing Tobirama had put together for him to wear (Madara could have chosen his own clothing perfectly well of course- and not his armor Izuna, he knew that was the wrong look- but the pleased little smirk Tobirama had worn when he chose it had been enough to convince Madara to let him), smiling at the thought of Tobirama’s expression when his pretty Center saw him dressed like this. It wasn’t anything overly special (Madara wasn’t supposed to be expecting other clan leaders after all) but the rich indigo and coal gray of the layers of robes gave it away as a fine cloth and the haori was fancy; a matching indigo and with a high, wide Uchiha collar but covered in intricate complicated embroidery in white and silver and gold with flashes of red on the eyes of the few wolves and leopard peeping around the dragons and phoenixes twisting together. The haori was to be worn draped over his shoulders casually rather than with his arms in the sleeves properly and the only other ornamentation was the sliver chain from Tobirama in his hair (and the his Token and marriage band, but they didn’t count), all intended to give off an image of confidence and ease; Madara was supposed to look as though he had no doubt that his forces would be fine and as though when told his allies were coming went to no particular effort to impress them, a less marital image then they were used to seeing on him (he might use a bit of kohl around his eyes though, and wear his robe a bit loose over the chest – just to see Tobirama’s eyes when he saw Madarar, he hadn’t missed his husband’s love of his chest).

Still smiling Madara disrobed and pulled on the new clothing, monitoring the movements around the compound; he wasn’t half as good a sensor as Tobirama, particularly when it came to constant passive monitoring which Tobirama did on a terrifyingly large scale, while Madara’s passive range was about the size of the inner compound and semi-passively he could cover the entire compound and some of the surrounding area, that was what he was doing when he felt the first of the Akimichi pass into his range. His timing was perfect and he was just finishing the kohl when Masahiko darted up the stairs and knocked on the door, carefully he finished what he was doing before calling in Masahiko in and setting down the kohl, checking over his appearance before turning to the wide eyed teen (what was it with all the children being wide eyed recently? Madara wasn’t doing anything that interesting!) “Our guests here?” he asked calmly, picking up the haori and slinging it over his shoulders. (His hands itched with the need for him gunbai, or a sword or kunai or – but no, he had his chakra, he didn’t need another weapon and the point was to look like he didn’t, both because they were allies and because they couldn’t hurt him.)

“Yes m’lord” Madara sighed a bit, pressing a hand to the teen’s shoulder to urge him out in front of the Uchiha head “I told you you don’t need to call me that Masahiko” he reminded the teen as they headed for the stairs, meeting Kikiyo’s dark eyes with a raised brow when they hit the ground floor; the Red Crane was dressed in a fancier, but still relatively normal version of her white kimono patterned with red cranes to work towards the same visual as Madara (though her brows did rise in surprise when she saw him) “We ready cousin?” he asked lowly, making grabby hands at the cup of hot, bitter tea she was holding, well aware it must be for him as she never drank tea that kind of lethally bitter and caffeinated. Rolling her eyes she handed over the tea and nodded towards the door with a raised brow, sighing at Madara’s nod and speaking slightly over loud said “We have visitors Madara-sama” as she headed toward the doors to the great house, throwing them open and stepping out into the late morning sun.

(Chinatsu had been looking forward to seeing the Uchiha scramble a bit and was willing to bet that Ichirou had been as well, so it was a bit of a disappointment that when they arrived at the compound the Uchiha clearly weren’t that surprised by her presence at the head of a large group of her clan rather than just a party big enough to bring the kids – it was impressive that they were so calm about this big a group of other clan at their door though, she had to acknowledge that. She had been worried about that a bit and was more than a little relived that the Uchiha didn’t seem to care much less see them as a threat-how powerful was this spouse of Madara’s to have given the clan so much confidence?-, the gate guards waving her and her group in with the ease of expected visitors but – ah, right, Madara was a sensor type wasn’t he? People tended to forget that in the face of Tobirama Senju’s rumored reputation – past reputation, and yes that was still a mind f*ck; not helped by the fact that they still didn’t know how White Demon had died.

Shaking away that thought as they entered into the main square Chinatsu’s eyebrows went up at the well set up maze of tables and a large tent with several Uchiha wearing healers markers moving around near is; in all honesty this looked more like the set up for a large festival, than a clan set up in response to sponsoring several large raiding parties, talk about confidence. Which – her scanning eyes slid over the Great House and snapped back, just barely keeping from reacting too badly in her shock as her clan burst out in whispers; was this – was – Madara? Holy crap Madara was out of armor! Chinatsu had never seen him without his armor before, never mind in such casual and nice clothing with a freaking strip of chest- and a nice chest too- visible and a cup of tea in hand! What the hell!?!

Smirking, the head of the Uchiha caught Chinatsu’s eyes and gently dismissed the child(?!) he had been talking to with a fond ruffle of his hair, sauntering down to meet her in the yard with an extended gloved hand, “Akimichi, how are your wounded? We have healers for anyone that needs them” he waved elegantly at the tent with the healers as he scanned them, and Chinatsu’s heart fell when she realized what he must be looking for. “Our group didn’t find anyone alive” she said quietly, stiffening when his face darkened with a deep raw anger and the rising weight of his chakra grew dense and thick around them; then he looked away and bent to pick something up from the ground with a sigh, aggressively cuddling a squirming tiger cub (d’f*ck? Also, cute!!) as his temper reseeded. “Kami willing the others will have better luck” she murmured, shaking her head and blinking when Madara smirked suddenly, “They will, or my husband at least will” he said confidently, looking obnoxiously sure of himself. Which, speaking of, “And where is the new Uchiha then? I have been looking forward to meeting the person that could catch Madara Uchiha’s eye” she asked, leaping on the opportunity to get some of the most sought out information in Fire. Madara just smirked wider though and shrugged, playing with a batting paw from the cub even as his face softened greatly, “He’s meeting up with Izuna and the Hatake to collect everyone before he returns, it could be a while” Madara responded, his voice shockingly fond as Chinatsu’s eyes narrowed, sneaky f*cker! He knew! He knew that they were going to come and ask and set things up so they couldn’t without being overwhelmingly rude! That sneaky f*cking, f*cker!)

Madara hid his smirk in Mūn’s soft fur, amusem*nt sparking through him as Chinatsu’s hazel eyes narrowed “So you don’t know when he’ll be back?” the Akimichi’s eyes narrowed farther into angry slits when Madara innocently responded “Not really no, he’ll return when he is done; he has my full faith and trust”. Startled her red brows winged up her face and for a moment she examined him thoughtfully “You…really mean that. You truly do trust him, even though he’s out-clan” Madara bit back a growl at the implication and took a careful breath, a warning then. “He is an Uchiha, the clan claims him as much as I do, and his people relinquished him to us when I gave him back his possession. Fair warning Akimichi, insult my husband and you insult me and I will respond as such – if not more, pass it on to your people” at that he held her eyes, letting the full weight of his chakra fill the air around him and back the weight of the threat; should anyone insult Tobirama around him they would be in a LOT of pain, Madara wouldn’t hold back if his Center was on the line and it was well past time Tobirama had people around him that wanted to defend his reputation and felt like it mattered.

Slowly Chinatsu nodded, looking pale and a bit strained around the eyes until Madara eased up on his chakra and pulled it back inside himself, letting them out from under the weight of it as he respooled it under his iron control; tucking away the full force of his soul out of all sight and sense – all but his Tobirama anyway. Pleased Madara nodded and looked out over the gathered group as he waved Kikiyo forward and introduced her and Jiro with her, directing the lead healer out to help with few mildly wounded in the group and waving the rest to the tables, slowly filling with festival type foods that would hold well and satisfy quickly. Relived, the hungry Akimichi set upon the food and water with a will, slightly confused looking and hesitant with the Uchiha; but as Tobirama had promised the food was enough to start bridging the gap with the Akimichi, slow awkward conversations about the food slowly easing into something a little more natural as spices and cooking methods were argued. Tobirama had told him food would help (“food is a universal language Madara, everyone has some kind of dumpling and some kind of noodles and some kind of bread, it doesn’t matter how different they are at base the same elements are used and everyone has something to say about how much better their mother’s way of doing it is – something most people won’t even argue with as everyone’s mother is the best cook. Its universal”) but Madara was still honestly surprised at how much it did, he shouldn’t be though, after all Tobirama’s suspicions and ideas had yet to fail him.

Before Chinatsu could try and engage him again there was a ripple in Madara’s still active chakra sense and he turned to welcome another group of Akimichi into the compound, clocking the clinging Nara with mild annoyance as he waved them to join the others and the leader came to meet her clan head. This time Madara was greatly relived to see the small group of bedraggled young people tucked in the center of the group and watched carefully as they were approached by Jiro and a smiling Yuuka; several proved unwilling to leave their saviors and Madara had no intention of forcing things – hell if it was what they wanted they were more than welcome to go home with the Akimichi (Madara did reluctantly trust the other clans t take care of the traumatized children) as far as Madara was concerned! It would just take time and those that wanted to go with the other clans would have to speak to Chinatsu about it first.

With that in mind Madara waved for the Akimichi head to join him on the engawa at a low table for tea while watching over their clans, Mūn gamboling about them but smart enough to stay with Madara (definitely a nin-tiger more than a common one). Smirking at the happy cub Chinatsu poured herself a cup of tea as Mūn dove after a swaying lock of Madara’s fair, batting at the long strands and snapping at the air, “How did you end up with the baby then?” she asked, amused when Madara leveled her with a sharp look. “My husband entrusted him to my care while he was away” Madara replied, changing the subject before she could follow up on that by asking about how the raid had gone; something he rather regretted after asking to be honest given how her face sobered and darkened. With a sigh Chinatsu looked down into the murky liquid in her cup for a moment before slowly lunching into the report of the facility, the Uchiha quickly understanding why she looked so grim and his temper- and chakra- quickly rising in response; to think that a bunch of civilians had – (questionloverosehipsdarkvanilialipsonhistempletired) Tobirama’s chakra coiled around him as his Center reached out and brushed over his chakra, quickly growing questioning as he felt Madara’s temper. Immediately his temper subsided as Madara scrambled to reach back before Tobirama grew too tired to hold the contact, clinging to his husband’s chakra until it regretfully subsided and retreated like a tide and f*ck, all Madara wanted was to leap up and run to his Center and feel Tobirama’s fingers in his hair again and his soft laugh as Madara grumbled (no he wasn’t pouting!).

Reluctantly Madara opened his closed eyes and grabbed the lost line of conversation, greatly calmed from before – and ignoring Chinatsu’s wide confused eyes as she cautiously reengaged in conversation, luckily made wary enough not to push to know what had changed. Chirping and growling Mūn crawled into Madara’s lap and sprawled out just as another few groups arrived and Madara nodded as the raiding party’s various leaders came up and gave reports through the afternoon and easily ducking around the carefully placed ambushes about his spouse and sipping endless cups of tea; enough that by the time the last group with the Yamanaka head showed up and he had to stand and welcome the man he was rather wishing it was something a bit stronger.

Chapter 48: quartz crystal

Summary:

bonding with the spirit realm; communication with other realms and clarity of thought

Chapter Text

Ichirou himself looked rather worse for the wear and was visibly sick of his Nara ‘helpers’ as he stormed over and took the cup of tea Madara handed to him, tossing it back like he thought it was rice wine and giving it a regretful look when he realized it wasn’t. Snickering Madara waved Masahiko over and sent the boy for something stronger, an amused twist to his lips as he did. “Alright there Yamanaka?” he asked calmly, pleased to see his clan already moving through the newcomers and disbursing them to the various tables and tents depending on what they needed, the group of children with them vanishing into the quiet tent Chura was running with little fanfare.

Scowling darkly the Yamanaka switched his glare from the tea cup to the smirking Madara, “Fine” he snarled bitchly “just wishing I could muzzle the damn Nara, they won’t stop asking leading questions the f*cking lazy-“ which, yeah this was less funny now than it had been, Ichirou was more frustrated than Madara would like with an ally. “Questions?” he asked lowly as the Yamanaka slumped and slurped noisily at his tea; “About your oh so mysterious spouse, as if I would know something they don't!” he grumbled, knocking the last of it back and refilling his cup as Madara’s temper slowly rose. It was one thing to keep the clan safe with secrecy and play with the clans a bit (and Madara planned to stop neither) it was another thing all together for the Nara to play mind games so much as to alienate the Yamanaka, and that willingness gave rise to another question; why would they go so far to find Tobirama’s identity? And what else would they do to find it? This – this wouldn’t stand, this kind of in fighting and internal provocation (and arrogant overreach from an entire clan, this willingness to not play along if it meant letting go of your superiority was not something Madara had any intention of putting up with, much less the dogged pursuit of Tobirama’s identity) wouldn’t stand, the Nara didn’t knew when to stop, well Madara was drawing a line.

Temper a distant roil in his mind Madara spun his tea cup in his hand and asked absently “And who was the worst about this?” setting down his tea cup with a gentle click as Ichirou pointed into the gathered shinobi at a tall lazy looking Nara; Madara stood, stepping down onto the square and pacing across the dusty stone square, his chakra rising about him in a supper heated wave as he walked. Shigeru Nara was a classic example of a Nara, a relative of the main line and gifted with the Nara’s shadow control he had always been their specific breed of ‘lazy’ (yeah, ‘lazy’ right, Madara was aware that the clan had a sleep disorder that was connected to their over-active brains and shadow control but calling it laziness and making it a key part of your clan’s identity was just cheap) and a bit too willing to believe his clan’s myth of being the most clever people in the room; one of those that think he’s a cat to everyone else’s mouse. Barely holding back a snarl Madara flared his chakra like a cloak around him, the scent of smoke and cloves billowing around him as the granite of the square heated under him and the dust and tree detritus seared into instant ash as the Uchiha slammed Shigeru Nara with the full force of his killing intent and near-physical chakra, forcing the older man to his knees without moving a finger or touching his eyes with chakra (Shigeru might be a cat, but there were still tigers in Fire and Madara was getting sick of pretending for kittens).

You” Madara purred, crossing his arms and flexing his killing intent “I hear that you have been rather rude in the name of my husband, pushing far, far past good taste with an ally. And you see, the Nara haven’t pushed like this in the past so I find myself wondering; why do the Nara feel the need to know this so badly?” as the last word fell like a stone into the compound he felt the gathered Uchiha stiffen a bit at the possible threat to their new leader sunk in and the pale Nara kneeling in front of him whimpered until Kikiyo called demurely from behind him, “I don’t think he can answer you Madara-sama”. Madara pursed his lips an tsked slightly, pulling his chakra back under control a bit, wishing vaguely not for the first time that his chakra was like Hashirama’s and needed less control (the Senju never bothered to control his all that much as far as Madara could tell, his never seemed to have the same weight that Madara’s did, if he was sunshine Madara was smoke and only one of those choked people – except, not Tobirama; Touka said Hashirama gave Tobirama headaches and Madara knew that his Center loved his chakra).

“Well?” he asked briskly and the Nara gulped for air for a moment and whined, collapsing forward as Madara stepped back with a faint sneer of disgust and looked around at the other pale Nara “Anyone?” slowly another Nara- petite with short Nara dark hair; Seki Nara, a smart and focused Nara Izuna rather liked- stepped forward and bowed shallowly. “Uchiha-sama, we meant no insult – to you or the Yamanaka. Though I see we have perhaps not been over polite in our curiosity” (Madara raised a brow at her- ‘curiosity’? weren’t Nara to lazy for that?- but let her get away with it anyway) “but we intended no rudeness, either to you or your lord husband” Madara looked at her for a long moment, weighing. Then sighed and looked away, “Fine, but it would behoove you to play nicer with your allies and not give them reason to doubt your allegiances – or wonder who else is gaining from the information that you gather. Shiori should know better” at his crisp reprimand Seki winced and bowed again as Madara called his chakra back under his control all the way, smiling a bit as a light weight leaned into his leg and leaning down to pick up Haru and set the child on his hip and breathing in the scent of gray-blond hair.

“That was awesome” a very, very quiet whisper came from the small shape on his hip and Madara felt himself grin, laughing gently after a moment out of a combination of amusem*nt and delight to hear the child speak for a second time (Tobirama would be so pleased! He didn’t care if Haru spoke if he didn’t want to, but it was hard to figure out what the child wanted when he didn’t have any good way to communicate and that did bother Tobirama). Smiling with defused tension Madara turned back to the engawa and sauntered his way over, setting down Haru before he reached them and ruffling the soft hair as the child bent to play with Mūn who seemed delighted by the playmate. Madara met Chinatsu’s wary eyes and quirked a brow at Ichirou’s shocked face as he settled, gathering himself for the awkwardness that would come from the little confrontation.

(Neither clan head was as bothered as they could be, clearly Madara adored his husband and it made sense he would defend him, it certainly made sense that he would do so without endangering his right to troll them all; and honestly…he wasn’t wrong and the Nara could use a bit of a take down in their opinion. Mostly they were just surprised that he had bothered to do something about it and more than anything they were shocked by the sheer power he displayed – not to mention the way that he shook it off to be gentle and adorable with a kid!)

Shortly after the Kohaku arrived and Madara stood to great the vassal house with honest affection, Vashti smiling tiredly at him and bowing before clasping forearms with him; “M’lord” she hesitated and then- to Madara’s shock- dropped to her knees “I have a boon to ask of you; allow the Kohaku to seek safety here with the Uchiha. We have been plagued by attacks in the night and misfortune from the shadows and since you sent out the request for mind healers it has only grown worse, so I beg you, allow us to stay here with the Uchiha and under your protection and we will serve you faithfully and well. You have our Oath and my Word” Madara stiffened and flicked through several thoughts (there wasn’t that many Kohaku, with Tobirama’s ideas they could support them, the Uchiha couldn’t let allies be pushed away from them or lost completely, safety was in numbers and the Oath of the Kohaku was nothing to sneeze at nor was the Word of Vashti), looking up with a raised brow to catch Kikiyo’s eyes, seeing his shock well hidden in her until she nodded slowly. Thoughtful Madara looked back at his vassal “I cannot give you my final word until I have a chance to speak to my husband but – the Uchiha will not abandon the Kohaku and you are welcome to stay for a time at the very least” and then more quietly as he held out a hand and helped her to her feet “I can’t commit till I talk to my beloved, but you can count on our support and provisionally you may stay.”

At that her shoulders dropped and fear Madara hadn’t realized was clinging to her eased up and off as she nodded tiredly, “I understand you can’t act without him of course; the Kohaku can bring our own lodging and help with anything you need; if we stay we wish to fully be part of supporting our living here”. Oh thank the kami, Kikiyo’s nod meant that she agreed that they could support the Kohaku at least a bit and Tobirama would have more to say on that, but this would help a great deal. Distracted with his thoughts Madara sent Vashti to Kikiyo to work on setting things up and moved through the crowd checking on his people and trying to gather whether it was late enough he could just send the other clans home before Tobirama arrived, at this rate they would have to stay the night! If that meant Tobirama didn’t come home tonight -!

Swearing very quietly Madara slid through the crowds and stared out over the forest from the wall, catching his breath for a moment and scrubbing at his face, f*ck, he was not in a good enough mood for this! And…he hadn’t realized how much easier it was when his Center was near by and he didn’t have to try to walk back years’ worth of character impression to give the trinity clans a better impression of Madara’s power and confidence – just not wearing his armor and having it’s sturdy protection was stressful enough, not having his Center with him as well-! Well, it was…a lot for Madara’s admittedly unstable nature (unstable, unstable like the movement in the shadows wanted the Uchiha to be and it seemed entirely possible was attacking the Kohaku and possibly the other clans now that Madara though about it. That was…bad) and he just…Tobirama was spoiling him, all Madara wanted was to curl up in their bed with his Center and let the world slip by in dollops and spoonful’s like golden honey. Soon, soon, just a little longer; Madara just had to hold out a little longer and Tobirama would come home to him. Soon.

Chapter 49: begonia

Summary:

Beware; dark thoughts

Chapter Text

Izuna scrubbed a hand down his face, taking a deep breath and nodding when Tobirama sent him a worried look “Look, just – get out of here, Madara’s waiting for you and by the time you get back the sun will be down, just slide in through the back door if the clans end up staying the night. Seriously, I pity them if they keep my brother away from you for long” at that the albino snorted and nodded, his shoulders easing a bit as the tension eased out of them and he glanced back at the small group of carts and children, the leap and those Uchiha that weren’t heading out with Izuna, Touka, and Guðrún were clustered around. “You’ll be alright?” the former Senju asked quietly, his pale red eyes clear and faintly concerned (was Izuna ever going to get used to that?) on Izuna’s tired face; “Yeah, we’ll be ok. We’ll catch some sleep and get started tomorrow, Tobi there’s twelve of us and the Hatake’s summons and we’re all high skilled nin, we’ll be fine. If we need back up we’ll send for it, I’m not going to get myself and my fiancé killed” (yeah, that felt good to say) “– if nothing else because you and Madara would bring me back to kill me again for it” except now that Izuna said that he suddenly remembered that according to Touka Tobirama really could do that. f*ck.

Tobirama snorted quietly and nodded, standing and stretching before dropping a hand on Izuna’s shoulder “Stay safe, yeah?” he murmured and, touched in a way he couldn’t explain Izuna nodded awkwardly and swatted the hand away, “Get out of here asshole, go f*ck my brother or something” he grouched ignoring the muttered “brat” as Tobirama moved away and called out to Hikaku as he gathered the Uchiha and children. Good, Izuna…didn’t really want to think about his brother without Tobirama for too long and knew that the albino was wanting to return to his husband as well; that was ok, Izuna needed to focus on doing the job he had been given and, well, that was hard because (Reia) f*ck, he needed to focus!

“Izu?” Izuna just about jumped out of his skin at Touka’s soft voice and then relaxed as her hand settled between his shoulders as she kneeled next to him “hey, you here with me pet?” the soon-to-be former Senju’s voice was a mix of firm and gentle and Izuna blew out a slow breath and leaned into the touch. “Yeah” he said finally “yeah I’m here” “Good” she said in his ear, rubbing gently at his back “head in the game Izu, emotions later” he nodded and she pushed firmly on his back until he stood “com’on, lets go find Guðrún and Accalia, we have work to do.” Tiredly Izuna nodded, wincing a bit at the thought of Guðrún’s summons, Accalia was smart and fast but there was something about the way she looked at him that just…well, he would take the leap any day.

Chapter 50: coral

Summary:

protection from demonic powers; identifies changelings and curses

Chapter Text

Tobirama hesitated at the tree line, feeling out the emotions of the occupants of the compound and cursing a bit that the other clans were still here as he waved Hikaku forward and whispered to the other man “Go ahead and take everyone in, you’ll have to get the children settled while I go around and slip in the back way with the trinity clans still here. Madara is still awake but try to keep all noise down as much as you can please, best if we don’t disturb anyone and wake them to ask questions” silently Hikaku grimaced and nodded, waving the other Uchiha up as Tobirama cast his eyes over the children, keeping watch until the last of them and his new clan vanished silently through the gate. Tiredly the slim man slipped around the compound until he was closest to the Great House and clambered over the wall, nodding to the relived looking sentries as he went and dropping down into the garden, feeling out for any changes in the occupants of the house before scaling the wall to the second floor, a rush of warmth filling him when he was meet by an open window and Madara’s ungloved hand to help him though.

The second that his feet hit the floor Madara was pulling hastily at Tobirama’s armor and the albino was surprised enough that it took him a moment to realize what his husband wanted and help, wheezing slightly as the second the last plate thudded to the ground Madara swept him up in a tight embrace. “’dara?” Tobirama whispered into Madara’s ear as his own arms came up and clamped tightly around his husband, “The Daimyo is finally dead,” the Uchiha muttered “the trinity clans are still here and I had to tell off a Nara, there was only a handful of deaths on our side, the children miss you and the tiger cub is cute and you being gone sucked” smiling helplessly at the audible pout in Madara’s voice Tobirama curled closer to his husband and breathed in a deep pleased breath. “I’m sorry I was gone so long love” he mumbled into the feathery hair “I didn’t intend too” at that Madara sighed deeply and turned to head to press his mouth to Tobirama’s neck, “’s ok To’ra, you did what was needed I’m sure, I just – I’m glad to see you is all”. Oh, f*ck¸ “I missed you too bright hawk” the former Senju breathed, nuzzling closer and leaning trustingly on his husband, letting the bone deep exhaustion from over twenty four hours straight awake finally rise up and swamp him.

Madara hummed softly as he adjusted his hold to carry Tobirama a bit better, kissing his neck before the Uchiha spoke again “Let’s get you to bed yeah? Just stay awake for a little longer and let me wash you up darling”. Tiredly Tobirama mumbled something incoherent into Madara’s shoulder, fatigue hitting him hard now that his guard was down there was a blur and when he blinked back to focus he was sitting on the bed as Madara let himself back in the room with washcloths and a steaming basin of water; setting it down at Tobirama’s feet as he knelt and started undressing the albino, “You have to stay awake a bit longer, ok pretty eyes? Why don’t you tell me how the raids went?” on autopilot from years of exhausted mission reports Tobirama gave his clan head the run down in a monotone voice, barely tracking it until a hot, wet cloth curled around his ankle and he realized with some surprise he was naked and Madara was carefully washing him down. “’dara?” the faintly confused albino mumbled as Madara’s gentle hands curled around his leg and a soft kiss was pressed to his knee, “Just a bit longer, you’ll feel better if you clean before you sleep but I’m not taking you through the house with our guests” the Uchiha’s voice was audibly annoyed but his hands were so, so gentle.

“M’k” Tobirama slurred sleepily, patting at Madara’s soft hair and playing with it as the strong hands brushed over his skin, washing away the exertion and work of the raids; the sensual feeling comforting in the deep care of that filled every stroke. “pre’y sure th’ Lord’s s’ps is sp’osd to d’ th’s” oh dear, his words hardly made any sense, good thing he had already reported; father would be furious if Tobirama talked to him like that “But I’m not your father darling” no, no, Madara wasn’t like father, Madara was wonderful and sweet and handsome and kind and clever and – “To’ra, To’ra, darling, focus a bit yeah?” oh, right, anything for Madara, his husband. Madara laughed softly, his Sharingan glowing slightly as he cupped Tobirama’s face, gazing that the exhausted man and then standing – gently helping the younger man up as well to wrap Tobirama in a sleep yukata (muttering something about sleeping clothed when they had guests they didn’t completely trust) and then urging him under the covers, climbing in after and gathering Tobirama so close the albino’s whole world arrowed down to his husband; but that was ok, that was the axis of Tobirama’s world already.

Madara woke that morning when a soft knock at his door stirred him out of his sleep and gathering his slumbering husband closer the Uchiha cast out with his senses, Kikiyo, it was his cousin at the door what-? “Madara-sama? It’s time to get up for breakfast with our guests. Hikaku is still asleep but Yuuka came over and said they got in, I’ll check on the new arrivals once you are up” her soft voice roused him and Madara cursed under him breath before calling out quiet agreement, wondering if any of the leap had stuck around and would be willing to watch Tobirama’s door for him while Madara was gone? Not that the Uchiha wanted to leave his sleeping husband but he had guests he couldn’t ignore and if he played this right he could send them off before Tobirama emerged from bed and that would be very convenient indeed. Sighing and deeply reluctant Madara freed himself from Tobirama’s clinging hold, swapping out himself for the sleepy Mūn at the end of the bed (Madara wasn’t sure that Tobirama had even noticed the tiger cub when he got in that night he had been so tired and focused on Madara – which yes, was rather gratifying).

By the time Madara was dressed in another version of yesterday’s robes (in layers of coal gray and vermillion to match Tobirama’s stripes this time, with another hoari in heavy black brocade draped over his shoulders – a look he was honestly becoming rather fond of) and a sleepy Tobirama had stirred long enough to loosely braid Madara’s dark hair over one shoulder- eyes still closed as he did so, poor dear was exhausted- and release the now very awake Mūn into Madara’s care (without releasing Madara until he had a few soft lingering kisses), and Akane had taken up watching over the sleeping albino, Madara was well aware the clan heads must be awake and waiting for him at the table. Still with a great deal of reluctance that the Uchiha left his Center and headed down to eat, relived to see that Yuuka had set the food out on the table for the clan heads to serve themselves while an excited Kagami and dignified Kasumi entertained the wide eyed Ichirou and Chinatsu, Madara walking in on the tail end of a story about “Madara-sama’s husband” (though Madara thought maybe the little boy was also referring to Tobirama by about six other names and only Kasumi interjecting ‘Madara-sama’s husband’ in a monotone made it clear who he was talking about when Kagami spouted another name or title for Tobirama) that somehow managed to be both very impressive and wildly confusing and f*ck, Madara had never been prouder of the kid.

“Kagami” Madara called out, pushing off the threshold where he had paused to listen, “what are you telling our visitors?” Kagami pouted, though his eyes brightened rather a lot when he saw the braid in Madara’s hair (not that the clever little brat said anything, good brat), “They asked about our instruction Madara-shishou, I was just telling them about the Wolf Prince-” “Madara-sama’s husband” “-teaching me about the heavenly bodies” (ah right, Tobirama was teaching him about the constellations, not that that was what that sounded like) “and how to call on them. And they started asking questions and the Winter Warrior-“ “Madara-sama’s husband” “-said you should always consider questions because if you know where they come form you know where to hit.” (oh, dear, that….sounded rather ominous put like that) “But that’s ok!” Kagami hurried to add, patting a rather horrified looking Ichirou’s hand “You have to ask the question anyway, otherwise you never learn how to cover the weak spot! Shishou-no-ghost-“ “Madara-sama’s husband” “-says that you have to always use your weak spots and can’t protect them always but if you don’t you at least know where the enemy is going to strike and then you have control of what they do, he says that its best to ask and know your faults and foolishness and know what is coming than it is to have a perfect defense and never have the enemy get close enough to strike with your enemy in the face and then you don’t know where they are in shadows and the shadows aren’t a bad thing but they aren’t in your control you can’t catch shadows and questions are like shadows, Lord of Frosts-“ “Madara-sama’s husband” “-says, you have to just ask them to get light on them so that you can see them move so it’s ok if you’re confused! Just ask and then I can tickle you like Madara-shishou does me when I give him an opening in spars!”

There was a long horrified pause as a smirking Madara patted both children on their shoulders and sat, reaching to serve himself when he did while a faintly shocked and confused looking Chinatsu and Ichirou stared at him, possibly trying to deal with the idea that Madara tickled children during spars or perhaps hoping that he would argue with the child and make sure neither of them got tickled – not that Madara had any intention of doing that, if Kagami got them trapped long enough to tickle them more power to him as far as Madara was concerned. With a long sip of tea the Uchiha sat back and leveled his guests with a look “Did you sleep well?” he asked innocently, fairly sure that the ever proper Kasumi would have already asked but as the host he really ought to do the same.

Chinatsu’s eye narrowed and she examined him with a searching expression, “Quite well yes, and you?” and Madara couldn’t help but smirk, “Oh quite well I assure you.” “I thought that maybe I heard new people come into the compound last night” the Akimichi pressed and Madara carefully held his smirk as he took another sip “Yes, most of the Uchiha returned last night with my husband. They came in quietly in deference to the sleeping” he responded, keeping an eye on Ichirou’s brightening face. “Your husband is home?” the Yamanaka asked, clearly cheered at that thought of finally seeing the man and it was all Madara could do to hold back his snarl “My husband is asleep upstairs after being awake for over twenty four hours and fighting to take down a well defended trade post almost single handedly and then meeting up with Izuna and gathering the rest of the victims we pulled out of the trade to bring them back here. I intend to allow him to sleep as much as he pleases after such an exhausting day” the unspoken ‘he’s going to sleep long after you leave’ was clear and the Yamanaka’s face fell and he looked away, pouting a bit.

Chinatsu sighed and slumped back in her chair, “We’ll I can’t say that I’m not disappointed not to meet him after hearing so much about him but…well it seems like he deserves his rest if he was out that long and working” she said resignedly “I certainly can’t put off going back to my clan long enough to wait on his waking. You have been a wonderful host Madara and I thank you for your welcome, but I really do need to get back to my clan and plan to leave once everyone has eaten, there are a few of those we pulled out that my clan have told me that they wish to bring with us – and the children whish to come, Ichirou and I gave the names of those that want to stay with us to Yuuka and she said she would go check with them. I understand the need to protect them, but…well Kangiten’s little daughter died just a few months ago and I think the little girl that latched on is already very dear to his heart, I would be much loath to separate them”.

Madara nodded immediately, “I’m not trying to keep them all here, just make sure they are safe and happy and free to go where they choose, including with you or anyone else that they wish that I am assured will treat them well. I do – you heard what Vashti said about her family seeking safety here, I have no problem with that but I will tell you the Uchiha have often been under attack from the shadows – especially on those that would help keep us stable like mind healers. You would do well to protect yours and make sure that your clan his healthy in mind and heart as well as body, I know this generation of the Ino-chika-shika trio have been less close in spirt because you three are less close in age then some of the trinity heads have been over the ages, but it would be smart to spend more time together if you can, I find that outside eyes can see what insiders cannot and find the cracks that grew so slow that the Uchiha didn’t see them form. Kagami is right about that, we have all grown too insular and forgotten to ask questions that to others seemed obvious and its about time that we remembered how to look to our own and that surviving and living are different things, something my husband has helped me remember and strive for.”

Slightly surprised the two clan heads exchanged a look and nodded slowly, Ichirou frowning a bit in a worried way “As you say, I saw the note about mind healers for the Uchiha of course- we're working on it- but…this puts it in a different light I admit, if there is an outside force interfering badly enough the Kohaku would be pushed into coming here to live…lords of the fire, yes we will look to our clan and each other. I dare say your conversation with Shigeru will help as well” pleased, Madara nodded and let the conversation shift slightly, filling them in on what Tobirama had reported from both his raid and also passed on from Hikaku and Izuna; the final shape one of a satisfyingly shattered chain. Only time and Izuna would tell for sure, but Madara was willing to bet human trafficking was broken in Fire- at least of shinobi children- for a good long time, especially with the Daimyo finally dying instead of lingering on the edge of death, and according to Tobirama Satoshi would never allow or turn a blind eye to something like this again; it was a gratifyingly smooth and complete operation of four clans acting together – quite possibly the first of its kind. All in all Madara was more than a little satisfied with the outcome even if the execution had been rather grim at times and when he saw the visiting clans away and checked on how the Kohaku were settling in in their great tents he did so with quiet satisfaction, speaking briefly with Vashti before returning to check on the children and Hikaku to make sure his cousin was alright before he let himself return to his resting husband.

Leaning in the doorway watching Tobirama doze Madara considered what he had told the others about outside eyes seeing what those that were accustomed to a thing might miss and – reluctantly Madara turned away and headed back downstairs, sending Masahiko out to fetch Yamatohime Uchiha, the elder that Madara most trusted and one of the very few with the Mangekyō that hadn’t gone blind or unstable from the use of it. Indeed Yamatohime was probably the calmest most removed of all Uchiha, having distanced herself and turned to Amaterasu-kami to help find a way around the weight of her Sharingan without a Center to ease the burden; and as such she was one of the very, very few that Madara would willingly show the Stone Tablet. Honestly he wasn’t sure that doing so was a good idea at all, but…outside eyes, fresh perspectives, and for once he couldn’t ask Tobirama as Tobirama couldn’t read it without the Sharingan, so the elder was really the only alternative. Madara was not going to be lead into foolishness by his own blindness about secrets or let a piece of stone that Tobirama seemed confused by lead him into fallacy simply because it was traditional, better to go against all the ages of his clan and kin than to fall into ruination for blindness – and drag his beloved Center down with him.

Chapter 51: angels fear to tread

Summary:

where demons lay their heads

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Satomi leaned against the door jamb, a hand on her slowly growing stomach as she watched her husband, his dark head bent over the familiar old book; gods of wind that book…after the first disastrous time she had seen it Hashirama had eventually started showing her a few choice passages until Satomi felt like she knew her cousin’s teacher better than she had ever imagined. It was a painful discovery though she didn’t regret it or her brutal words to her husband- or the seal, the seal Hashirama had eventually asked her to keep around and maybe write down for later generations- the old pain clung to this place like bleeding wounds on every door and room and Satomi…didn’t want to raise her children here. Luckily for her her husband agreed with her but she understood how hard this must be for him, leaving the graves of his other brothers and the old memories of Tobirama clinging to this place – well, even if the memories were dark she could understand why it hurt him to leave.

“Husband” she called softly into the bare room, Hashirama’s head tilting a bit at her call but not looking up “everything is ready to go." he nodded slowly and gently shut the book, tracing the worn cover with calloused fingers. “Am I doing the right thing?” he asked lowly and Satomi straightened a bit, shocked at the vulnerability from the big man; she and Hashirama were working on their relationship and getting closer slowly, but this was the first time he had expressed something like this. “Am I doing the right thing Lady Wife? Or am I just running away from my failures? Again” the Mizuchi blew out a slow breath and walked farther into the room, stripped of all furnishing it was a grim space with the blood stain under the window and the worn dents on the wall from small fists. “I think” she started slowly, gliding to kneel at his side “I think that even if that is what you are doing you can’t do anything else. I don’t know that you can come back from the past here, I don’t know that you can make this right and there – there’s nothing to be ashamed of in recognizing a loss and moving on. Husband, the Senju are so few and your clan become so reliant on your brother to watch your borders and keep the trade running; you and I simply can’t keep the Senju safe here. Maybe if you had married the Uzumaki-“

“But I didn’t”

“-…no, you didn’t. If you stay here your clan will wane and fade and disappear and I don’t want to see that; this place….this place is toxic, it has sunk into the earth and the water and slumbers in every room and if there was bad enough threat to chase the Kohaku into the Uchiha’s compound – maybe that threat would never come for us but I can’t plan on that, on it always focusing on the Uchiha and their allies, not when there were children being traded in Fire. When things are settled and steady again you’ll be in apposition to do something about that rather than just hearing about it later as well, be able to make sure the clans are represented in the court. You’ll be able to make things better and I fear for any of the smaller families and clans in these darkening days, we are safer if we are not isolated and sabotaged by the court on top of that” at the end of her small speech Hashirama sighed and scrubbed his face but nodded slowly. “A few of the clan have chosen to leave and join our allied clans rather than come to the Capital” he divulged finally, voice chocked and resigned as Satomi winced.

She had known that was a possibility- had planned on it even- when Rikona contacted her and begged that the Senju come to court and take up and active presence there to help push back against the old Daimyo’s supporters and those that were entrenched in a culture of sabotaging the shinobi clans (she had wondered- though never asked Hashirama- if Tobirama had known or suspected that the Daimyo was working against them and that was why he had done what he had in the court, not that there was anyway to know anymore and it hardly mattered now anyway). It had fast become clear that going to the Capital and taking the compound that the new Daimyo promised and the title of a Lord of the court was the best way to keep the Senju strong and prominent, but Satomi had always known that some of the clan wouldn’t want that and might leave to live with Senju ally clans instead, but she knew – she knew that that didn’t make the pain of loss and failure any kinder on her husband.

“I am sorry Husband” she murmured, reaching out and gently coaxing his head to her shoulder until he sagged into her, placing a hesitant hand on her stomach and seeming to gain a little strength from the reminder; he wasn’t doing this for himself or the grown men and women, this was for the children, living and yet unborn. Slowly, methodically, Hashirama breathed out; seeming to count the air as it pushed past his lips, too living in this old place of hurt and hunger.

Notes:

Which names do you guys like for the twins? There is one girl and one boy (guess who they are being named for).
- Akari meaning vermillion, white jasmine (maybe paired with Fuyuhiro meaning winter, ocean)
- Rina meaning white jasmine (paired with Namir Israeli meaning leopard)
- Mifuyu meaning deep winter (paired with Fuyuhiro meaning winter, ocean)
- Yukina meaning snow, beautiful (paired with Yukiya meaning winter, arrow)
- Yukine meaning snow, calm (Paired with Yukiya meaning winter, arrow)
- Fuyumi meaning winter, beauty (paired with Fuyuhiro meaning winter, ocean)
- Tsukiko meaning moon child ( paired with Tsukikage meaning moonlight)
And the boy could be:
- Namir Israeli name meaning leopard
- Fuyuhiro meaning winter, ocean
- Yukiya meaning winter, arrow
- Tsukikage meaning moonlight

Chapter 52: pearl

Summary:

Born in water under clear moonlight; foresight, purity, and truth

Chapter Text

Tobirama smiled was he watched Madara abandon his kata to play with Mūn, the cub having become so fond of the man he refused to be parted from him and since there was already four of the leap staying in the compound (and the wolf-dogs that had taken such a liking to the Uchiha) Akira had rolled her eyes but let the cub stay – much to Haku’s quiet joy and Madara’s well hidden pleasure. A sharp pull on his frosty hair pulled Tobirama’s attention down to the child in his arms and he smiled at the little Kaida, touching her brow with glowing fingers and carefully turning off the Byakugan she seemed to always be activating any time she was startled or surprised or wanted anything or was emotional or – well Tobirama had been turning her eyes off a lot, he was getting good at it and to his mild surprise he was also learning rather a lot about the dōjutsu and it was helping his on going work into understanding and healing the Uchiha’s eyes in a more permanent way than just re-healing Madara after every time he had to activate the Mangekyō, he felt like he was finally getting somewhere and was looking forward to speaking to Yamatohime about the Sharingan when the elder was ready to talk about what she was finding on the Tablet (and yes, Tobirama was overwhelmingly proud of Madara for choosing to ask for help with that).

A shift next to him and he didn’t look over but moved to pour another cup of tea as Vashti Kohaku settled herself next to him at his favorite table on the engawa looking out over the garden, her whipcord lean body folding in next to him and the swish of her high tail of dark green hair making Tobirama smile a bit. “Vashti” he greeted quietly, feeling the tension slowly drain out of the Kohaku matriarch; she had been very reluctant to reveal that she knew who Madara’s spouse must be when Madara first brought her in to talk about the terms of the Kohaku’s integration into the Uchiha compound and was only slowly relaxing with their agreement (and ok, Tobirama had been more than a little chagrined to find out that he hadn’t gone unnoticed when he took Madara to the Kohaku after that mission that gave the older man the scars under his eyes. He had thought that he had slipped in and out carefully enough not to be marked as he left the Uchiha on his allies’ doorstep but it…wasn’t that surprising that he had missed them noticing him as he a teen, he had been very distracted by Madara at the time). Tobirama wouldn’t pretend that the Kohaku staying wasn’t something that had needed to be considered but when it came down to it they could support the new numbers financially and food wise, especially with assurance that they were going to contribute (and the Kohaku’s fragrance’s and spice mixing skills were nothing to sneeze at, it would increase the trade here nicely, especially if he finally got better word from the Uzumaki about being willing to help with opening more trade routes) and the loot that had come from the raids a fortnight ago.

“Tobirama-sama,” she said, eyeing the child in Tobirama’s lap warily (Vashti was not a kid person) “I was wondering, have you and your Lord Husband considered the infrastructure with us here? I know we discussed expanding trade and that Zhaleh is working with you on that, but we can do more. We would be happy to go on missions and help with the children and around the compound if Uchiha-sama isn’t ready to pass off patrol for one” interested Tobirama slanted a looked at her out of the corner of his eyes. “You would let your children learn with the Uchiha cubs?” he asked mildly, hiding every trace of his blossoming excitement when she shrugged uncomfortably and nodded “Why would I protest the children of my clan learning as well as the Uchiha children do? It seems to me that all the shinobi that aren’t combat ready take turns with them in the morning and then the older children are allowed to go find others to learn from in the afternoon as long as they don’t leave the compound, all the Uchiha that are here will take care of the children, why wouldn’t I want that for my clan? I have a great deal to gain if the children mix and make friends”.

At that Tobirama snorted a bit and pressed his fingers to Kaida’s eyes again as her Byakugan activated at the noise; Vashti was right about that, the Kohaku had been happy to stay in their yurts as they always did but Tobirama was already thinking about how he was going to get water out to them and make a bit more room in the wall for them as well given that they had every appearance of wanting to stay. It….was making Tobirama think, consider, what if-? “I will have to speak with some people but I see no reason the children can’t learn together, though you will have to have some of your family join the minder’s rotation. Honestly they could use the help anyway with the rescued children adding to their numbers” Tobirama said eventually, turning what he knew over in his head thoughtfully “thank you by the way for making the two yurt for them and the summons, I know it helps some of them to know that they have space that is theirs and no one will come in; having a safe space is big for them and the summons keep a good enough eye on them that adults don’t have to go in” (Tobirama was very glad that an amused Ástríðr had sent over the last two of the wolf-dogs, all of Sigrún’s former summons had been from the same whelping and the last two pups- both females- from that litter had agreed to come help out the Uchiha to Tobirama’s relief, though his leap was wonderful Akane and Shinju had no interest in children- not that Ulrich did either, she had taken a shine to Chura and rarely left the woman’s side to Madara’s clear relief-. As it was now the wolf-dogs Eyolf, Ulva, and Adolpha- the last two being the new additions- and the fluffy Kiyoshi and patient Junpei from the leap were the minders for the new children, the traumatized kids having an easier time trusting the summons than adults – something Tobirama felt no need to try and force, that was how civilians did it, shinobi children had always been more self-sufficient).

Vashti nodded, watching him with the tiny Hyuuga though she said nothing about the child’s clear heritage (Tobirama was ignoring it and expecting that everyone else would do the same, the Hyuuga had clearly lost her before they could seal her and frankly he was going with finders’ keepers; the Hyuuga hadn’t come after her so she was Tobirama’s) “We were glad to be able to help, what happened to them….well, we were glad to have something we could do. I – the world is dark out there; I have seen my family start to relax since coming here and I am deeply grateful for it; I don’t know if you realize it but you and your Lord Husband have made a place that feels safe and – well it’s like though the shadows lurk around the walls they don’t dare come any closer. It makes me think….I don’t think the Kohaku will be the last to come to you for safety, especially with a new unknown Daimyo – they don’t know he is a…friend of yours and the power shift on top of everything else and it proved that they can come here – well I don’t think we’ll be the last.” She paused and glanced at him “Something to consider” Tobirama pursed his lips a bit and nodded, (what if-?) his identity would be a problem eventually if she was right, though it would probably mostly be the smaller families and clans at first (what if it didn’t stop there? What if-?) and then there was the limit of the existing compound wall if a larger group joined them. “Much to consider” he murmured, watching Madara pause and turn out to the skies, holding up an arm for Hikaku’s hawk that was posted with Izuna (Asuga maybe?) a bit disappointed he couldn’t see the sleek movement of muscle as the older man took the hawks weight (Madara without a shirt was definitely a favorite of Tobirama’s) and untied the message as he wandered back over, Mūn gamboling happily at his feet.

Madara unrolled the note, pausing before reading it to hand over the small slip of paper addressed to Tobirama in Touka’s hand and then pausing longer when his dear Center turned his face up for a kiss; lingering together as Vashti shifted uncomfortably (f*ck, Madara wanted things to slow down again for a bit please; it had been far too long since he had a chance to just linger and enjoy his lovely husband). Reluctantly Madara pulled back, stroking a vermillion slashed cheek and aching with affection, tearing his eyes away with great difficulty and nodding to the Kohaku matriarch before looking down at his note, reading it fast and well pleased. Izuna was nearly done and satisfied that he had rooted out the last bits of the trafficking ring the note was mostly about other things he had noticed moving the breadth and width of Fire; all that was left was poking their noses into Water and trying to figure out how the children had ended up in the slaver’s hands anyway and th –

A sudden choked noise from Tobirama had Madara’s head snapping up and staring at his frozen Center, worry stabbing through him, “To’ra?” he murmured, crowding closer as the little dragon squirmed in his lap, trying to look at Tobirama and pat his cheek his with a small clumsy hand, “Vashti-“ “I’ll take the child to the minders Uchiha-sama” the woman interrupted, gently lifting the toddler out of Tobirama’s lap, Kaida wiggling around to watch her favorite adult as they vanished through the house, leaving Madara and Tobirama alone in the garden as the Uchiha knelt in front of his beloved. “To’ra? Pretty eyes? What’s wrong?” carefully he stroked snowy hair out of the other man’s face as Asuga took off silently, cupping the vulpine face and suffusing a little chakra through his palms and reminded vividly of how Tobirama had reacted when Hashirama found the book of his Words (if Hashirama had done something -!).

Hand shaking a bit Tobirama silently handed over the slip of paper and slumped forward into Madara kneeling in front of him, burying his face in Madara’s collarbone and shivering minutely. Deeply concerned Madara wrapped an arm around his husband and looked at the paper and what Touka had wrote, Cousin, I would much rather tell you in person but there is too much chance you will hear from others or at the wrong time and – well, this changes things for all of us. Tobi there is word in the Capital about the Senju, Satomi is pregnant and – I Hashi Satoshi there’s no better way to say this. The Senju have left the compound and headed to the Capital, I know you must have felt this yesterday already but it’s not a small pilgrimage or something which I am guessing is what you thought if you had time to consider it at all; Tobi, Hashirama has moved the Senju to the Capital and taken the title of Lord in Satoshi’s new court. Rumor has it that the new Daimyo’s soon-to-be-wife asked that they do so to try and tip the court away from sabotaging the Shinobi and have the clans have a presence in the court but I am guessing that Hashirama found it hard to take care of the clan without you or Uzumaki help and that that was part of it. I’m sorry you have to hear like this Tobi, but you needed to know before you went looking for them actively with your chakra sensing, love Touka.

Shocked Madara sucked in a sharp breath and stared at the slip of paper as he absently rubbed his Center’s back; the Senju moved, and to the Capital to take a place at court? Gods of flames this….and he hadn’t realized how reliant on Tobirama the Senju were (he was willing to bet they hadn’t realized that either), that – though now that Madara thought about it the Uchiha had grown so much with Tobirama in their midst perhaps he shouldn’t be surprised. Still, Hashirama was going to have kids and had up and moved the entire clan to support the soon to be Daimyo’s wife and left the Senju lands empty and unoccupied; kami even though the Senju had been quieter in recent time (and the Uchiha had ignored them) a choice like this still destabilized the power in the clans even more (though it did mean that Tobirama as a former Senju had even more weight than it used too). Not that any of that was the top of his list, he could consider all of that later, more importantly; “To’ra” he murmured “To’ra it’s not your fault”.

The albino choked a bitter laugh, “He lost everything, my brother lost everything, and he would never have gone to court if he hadn’t given up on the idea of a village. His dreams and hopes and plans and home and –“ “And he will have children raised to fight but not at war, Satomi is pregnant To’ra, he won’t have wanted to allow his children to come to harm and now they won’t” Madara cut in firmly, shifting until he could gather Tobirama into his lap “and even if he did, you can’t keep him from the consequences of his actions. He banished you in all but name, he was willing to ask you to make a Formal Apology” (Madara hated to bring that up but – he couldn’t forget what Hashirama would have allowed to happen to get what he wanted) “all his life you have taken the consequences that should have been his – which I am not blaming you for, but darling between the Mukoton and you he never really had to face the ramifications of his actions and he would have sent you away or allowed you to get hurt. Trust me when I say that this is a far kinder than it could have been.” Then it would have been, what if Tobirama had been hurt by someone else? Or by Madara if he never read the scrolls, or Izuna? Not only would Hashirama have lost his brother- because Madara wasn’t at all sure Tobirama could have done a Formal Apology without breaking- if Madara had Centered after something like that (and he might very well have if he met a tired, shattered Tobirama’s unguarded eyes) he might have very well have gone Center-feral and burned down a large portion of Fire Country. That would have been quite a lot worse than simply having to move his clan.

Still, it was a bitter thought and Madara gathered his love closer, nuzzling into the soft white hair and shoving back the buzzing anxiety that even thinking about something like that stirred in him, Tobirama was here, with him, safe. Safe. Gently the albino nuzzled closer, twining himself around Madara like a climbing vine (or costal octopus though Madara wasn’t going to say that, Tobirama hated those things for some reason) and whispering in his ear, “Can we – can we retire? Please? I know there is still work to do but I just –“ and joy suffused Madara in a rush, Tobirama was willing to ask for a break! Willing to set aside for tomorrow what he could do today! Delighted and nearly vibrating with joy Madara and nodded and gathered up his Center as he carefully stood, carrying the complacent Tobirama up to their room with a word to Akane, the reddish snow leopard trotting off to find Kikiyo and let her know that they were retiring early as Madara vanished into their room; shutting the door firmly behind them. An entire afternoon just the two of them! And at Tobirama’s request! Madara’s day couldn’t get better after that, there was nothing better he could imagine than spending the rest of the day helping Tobirama though the grief and giving his love the quiet and calm support that the albino needed to prosses the changes in his clan, nothing better than being with his Tobirama; in sickness or in health.

Chapter 53: correspondence IV

Summary:

the world turns on a bird's wing

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Ichirou Yamanaka gaped down at the note from his mole in the court, mind blank with shock; the Senju gone and their land up for grabs while they took a place at court backing up Rikona Mizuchi (soon to be Oda once she married the new Daimyo) and officially becoming the first titled shinobi (Warlord didn’t count, that was a claimed title and there were so few of them they were almost a myth). This on top of Madara’s rabid defense of his spouse and easy defense of Ichirou himself and his warning about the shadows in the corners and – with a whine the Yamanaka dropped his head into his hands, wishing very, very badly that people would stop being confusing and act like he expected! (Or at least that Chinatsu and Shiori would take over information gathering instead of leaving it to him! Clearly he wasn’t any good at it if he had had no inkling that the Senju planned to up and leave!)

A soft sigh at the door preceded his wife’s no-nonsense voice “What now Ichirou?” she asked dryly, pushing off the door and approaching to stand in front of his desk. Carefully Ichirou tilted his head until he could look up at his wife; Kazane Yamanaka was standing with her hands on her hips, her loosely curly white-blonde hair (a match to her sister’s though pulled back in a business like low tail as opposed to Kirika’s more finicky style) glowing in the setting sunlight. Slowly Ichirou let his lip push out, escalating the pout until Kazane cracked and smiled, rolling her blue eyes and sitting on the desk and running her fingers through his hair; well pleased the Yamanaka let the expression go and closed his eyes, pushing the note to where Kazane could read it and trying not to think about the way Madara Uchiha had looked the morning after his husband returned (so. sappy. Shudder, no one that powerful should be allowed to be that sappy!).

Kazane sucked in sharp breath and her hand in his hair froze “Ichirou….this….” she breathed, and he nodded into the desk “Yeah” he agreed “and rumor has it the Kurama might go to the Uchiha for refuge before too long and we have had to double to watch on the walls since Madara gave us his warning. Kaz, the power dynamics in Fire will never recover from this” there was a long pause and a sigh, “Is that such a bad thing husband mine? I – well I’m not complaining at the reduction in clan fighting since summer” confused the man lifted his head to look at her with a co*cked eyebrow and she smirked awkwardly at him “I’m pregnant Ichirou, a little less fighting seems good to me”. The noise Ichirou made at that was more than a little undignified and he leapt to his feet, gapping at her and his hands fluttering like mad as she rolled her eyes and her smile grew a little more natural as she laughed at his flustered flailing and staring at her still flat midsection “My eyes are up here husband” she said dryly, softening when his eyes snapped to hers and he spit out some garbled combination of noises “you see why I’m ready for a bit of safety?” slowly he nodded, mind already going to the watch on the walls and wondering if he could double it (he couldn’t but he didn’t bother to not think about it); safety, safety was good, very good, and healers! Good healers too, Kazane’s family had trouble with births sometimes, so good healers and safety had to be a top priority.

Anat Kurama knelt next to the dead man, her lips pulled in a grim line as she used a kunai to poke his eviscerated intestines, entrails spread around him like the petals of a gruesome flower and smeared with a thick black tar like substance in and around the organs. f*ck, this was the third one of her clan to die with month after Akiiki died on her way to the Uchiha in answer to the request for mind healers and Anat was getting very worried (after the mess with her cousin Anat had put a lot into making sure her clan had mind healers, they had to with their bloodline potential. Even if people like Arakan were once in a generation at most they did occur and she couldn’t let another get out and hurt someone the way he had, not after she was there when they hunted him down and found him using the Kurama bloodline illusions on – no, no that couldn’t be allowed to happen again). There was nothing to tell what had killed Akins any more than there had been with Akiiki, it was like they walked into shadow and just – split open; worse still Akins hadn’t had anything to do with healing unlike Akiiki and Adio who at least were connected by being mind healers. So why had the attacker widened their reach? (and how much farther would they?)

A crinkle as she sat back on her heels pulled the Kurama head’s attention to the crimpled letter stuffed in her sleeve and she grimaced; this on top of the Senju moving? Anat may have closer ties to the Uchiha (close enough Madara would send her a letter though it was…awkward) but she definitely didn’t feel safer in the woods without Hashirama there to placate them and hear the tree’s speak. Maybe it was just the curse of all the Kurama- bloodline or no- to see flickers of illusions past in the corners of their eyes finally getting to her but she had always felt safer thinking that Hashirama would know if something was wrong – on the other hand his brother had died so maybe, maybe she needed to stop making assumptions just because they eased the fear; after all how many people had already been hurt by that? (Arakan….)

Haruka Hyuuga frowned deeply at his letter, the Senju in court? Why? Would the Daimyo stop sending work to the rest of the clans now? Only, there wasn’t that many Senju were there? Especially not after over a dozen had left and joined various of the Senju allies rather than go to court. The new Daimyo would have to give missions to the rest of the clans if they wanted to get everything done and even trying to favor only Senju ally clans wouldn’t last (anyway the Mizuchi were smarter than that he thought, hoped), not with the Uchiha gathering power like they were. Stars and sky’s Haruka wouldn’t be surprised if the Uchiha were ready to challenge the Shimura and Sarutobi for trade soon, especial if the Uzumaki gave in to the fact that the Uchiha were closer to the coast and water than the other big clans and between the coast and the Capital and thus the only logical option for alliance now with the Senju gone. Wait, the Shimura had had tight ties to the previous Daimyo hadn’t they? Would they make it if they weren’t in favor anymore? Could they hold on without Takashi as Daimyo favoring them? They weren’t really properly part of Fire after all and had been samurai for generations before the chakra woke in one of them and that spread (hence Takashi favoring them, the weak ass) and Haruka was very familiar with their grasping avarice for a bloodline and had had to keep his clan far away from them less one of the Hyuuga be seduced into line theft by one of the Shimura.

The Hyuuga grimaced and shook his head, if only he could marry some of his clan out without risking the Byakugan! Again he lamented not marrying one of his out to Madara (his daughter could have done it and she was attractive, she would have been a good match if only-! ah well, what can you do) but at least Hashirama was smart enough to get a wife that could give him lots of children and maybe even a few with the Mukoton given the Mizuchi adaptability. Madara word had it was mad for his husband, but he would regret it in a few years when he had no children to carry on his line; maybe then he would take another wife to get a child or two with? That would be the clever thing to do, it was what Haruka would do certainly.

Mito sipped her ale and leaned back in the dim corner of the inn on the edge of Fire, watching the group of shinobi sitting close to the fireplace in the reflection of a large polished pot hanging on the wall. She had been following Izuna Uchiha and his mixed shinobi team for days now and felt little closer to knowing what was going on with the Uchiha than she had when she started (though she had managed to collect some rather shocking information about the Senju to send back to her father, the Senju leaving their lands and taking to the court and Satomi already with child- yeah, it was just as well Hashirama hadn’t kept working towards her if he wanted heirs that badly, or needed them that badly- it was more clear now than ever that she needed the Uchiha for allies if her people were going to survive). The Uchiha so far had been close mouthed about their own clan even if they gossiped like all nin did about the other Fire and Water clans, it was deeply annoying if something Mito had to grudgingly respect and she was rapidly coming to the conclusion that she would have to go to the heart of the matter if she wanted to know what was going on, though how she was going to sneak into Uchiha territory she had no idea.

Sighing the red-head tossed back the last of her ale and stood with a faint faux-drunken sway, making her way past the dark haired woman at Izuna’s right that Mito had a vague feeling she should know but couldn’t place and heading up the stairs to her tiny, rented room. Tomorrow she would start out for the Uchiha compound and try there, maybe she would have a brain wave on the way? She could hope. After all if nothing else following Izuna had driven any thoughts of making a play for Madara from her mind, not if he was half as besotted as the shinobi implied (though surely they must be exaggerating!...right? they had to be exaggerating….right?).

Notes:

I hope things ease up for you soon SapphiraBlue!

Chapter 54: amazonite

Summary:

harmonizes apparently different motivations and interests by bringing the truth to light without emotionality; allowing one to see another point of view

Chapter Text

Tobirama leaned farther over the slim plain-bound book in his hand, lips moving with the words as he read,

Breath mortal flesh;

Watching time spin by in fractal light

Twisting hands ‘round hours and days

Falling back in spacious dark universe, blurring

Seas of stars

Liquid ages pouring past

Torrential histories’ bloody times, armor

Glinting in eclipses' light, cold steel burning

absently the former Senju smiled, turning the short poem over in his mind; only one of the many short verses tucked away in the nondescript book, many of them musing on time and memory and grief and though the book was unattributed there was no mistaking the careful turn of phrase and strong hand it was written in. Smiling softly the albino turned the page to a new verse,

dreaming ways of eon-things, so

like frost on the panes of glass, days

melting to a warm touch, mercury

once lived and died alone, swans

having mated are ever lost, dive

from the sky and choose t' die, rather

“To’ra?” smiling wider the albino looked up at his husband in the door, holding out a hand and pouting until Madara snorted, a fond smile pulling at his lovely mouth as he wandered over till Tobirama could lean on him and took the outstretched hand, lifting it to his mouth to kiss as Tobirama melted into him.

“Yes?” he mumbled into the Uchiha head’s thick robes, purring when Madara threaded gloved fingers through his hair and pet it back from Tobirama’s face gently, “What are you reading?” the older man asked quietly and Tobirama’s soft smile turned into a full grin as he slipped an arm around Madara’s waist. “Your poetry, you are a good poet dear heart” he said smirking as Madara stiffened and leaned over to look at the book on Tobirama’s desk and swore softly under his breath, “f*ck, I didn’t realize that there was any of those still floating around, there was only ever a scant few of them to begin with but of course you had to find one” he groused, stiff and twitchy in Tobirama’s hold. Smiling the younger man pulled back and stood, twining his arms around Madara’s neck and threading his fingers through the feathery dark hair he loved so much; “I like it, you’re a good poet ‘dara, I meant that. I like reading what you wrote” and then, cutting to the heart of the matter “you are allowed to do things and be good at things that aren’t war or the clan.” For a moment Madara stayed stiff and unyielding and then slowly he relaxed into Tobirama, tucking the slimmer albino into his arms and cuddling him like one would a stuffed toy, “I – that hasn’t always seemed true” he said eventually and Tobirama’s heart ached for the old weight in his voice, endless expectations too heavy for the small child Madara had been.

“After – after Kou died when he was six- I was four- it was…difficult to suddenly become the heir when it had been Kou for so long. I was stronger than him- he was my half-brother, his mother Ruri died in childbirth and father remarried but Ruri was a better bloodline, pure Uchiha and all; Ruri was Kikiyo’s Aunt, I don’t actually have any shared blood with her- but he was still the first born and the heir and I was going to be the…battle commander I suppose, and then he died and suddenly the entire clan was looking to me at four and the whole ‘Madara is a terror on the battlefield’ became something else entirely. It was ok if I was a bit scary, a bit…too much if Kou was going to lead to clan because he wasn’t, but then I was supposed to lead the clan and they – well they were so wary of me and knowing that now they had to trust and like me as their leader to be just put so much stress on everyone. It wasn’t easy trying to prove to the clan that they could trust me and I – I still don’t know if it worked or if they still just fear me.” Madara’s voice was scrapped raw and tired on the last words and Tobirama drew him tighter in, burrowing his fingers through the thick hair and cupping the back of the man’s skull; trying to give the older man some of his love and trust and faith by osmosis – or at least through the press of his chakra into the other man.

“I love you” he pressed the words into the fragile shell of the older man’s ear, all too aware that there was nothing he could say to ease this hurt, not truly; this was something nothing could make better or take away, not even the vastly improved relationship with the clan Madara now had (and all he truly needed was someone on his side that he could trust, someone that he didn’t have to watch his back with, someone that he could trust to speak the truth with little bias and care about him enough to put what mattered to him first – yes, it did make Tobirama want to flex his more frightening skills on the clan in retribution). “I love you, I trust you, I love your care and I love your playfulness and – well you already know how I feel about your power bright hawk” Madara laughed damply and tightening the arm around Tobirama’s waist, a broad hand tightening on his hip possessively as he swayed them humming deeply as Tobirama went liquid and yielding in his arms.

“Thank you” Madara whispered eventually, kissing the curve of Tobirama’s cheek gently until the albino tensed abruptly, his head co*cking as he leaned farther into Madara while his mind turned inward and then out, searching….searching for – “What-?” he muttered, sagging farther into his husband as he scanned for emotions “what in the world is Mito Uzumaki doing in Uchiha lands? And trying to sneak?” Madara stiffened and Tobirama with his senses open and active felt the older man’s sudden wariness, responding by sending out active chakra to scour the edges of Fire carefully searching for “it’s just her, she’s traveling alone, I can’t feel any other shinobi from Uzu in Fire- wonder what Izuna is so smug about?- the Kurama feel upset and there is something….but Mito seems to be traveling alone and incognito” at that Madara relaxed a bit, clearly relived they weren’t looking at a full on invasion at least. “She’s in Uchiha lands though?” the older man asked as Tobirama slowly called his focus back, leaning on the older man’s chakra as a loadstone to guide him back, “Yes” he said eventually “I didn’t notice her much in Fire under all the noise but anything odd passing over Uchiha boundaries is different, she’s definitely headed here. Which, I guess that makes sense, now that I think about it it’s not too surprising that she would look for answers personally after everything, it just didn’t occur to me that she would rather than leaning on the letters” oh, oh dear “’dara, ‘dara things must be far more tenuous for the Uzumaki than we thought”.

Madara sucked in a sharp breath and, keeping Tobirama tucked to his side, moved to the door, throwing it open and heading out toward the main section of the house and calling out when his eyes landed no Masahiko; the poor boy looking a bit like a startled deer “Masahiko, go fetch Hikaku and Kikiyo, Vashti if you see her as well, quickly, it’s urgent” he snapped, Masahiko’s face going grim and worried as he high-tailed it out the door. “To’ra is she coming with a trade caravan? How do you think she is planning to get into the compound?” Tobirama pursed his lips and reached out, looking for the fainter flames of civilian traders (they needed to just start sending a nin with each one honestly, they could afford the manpower now). “I – yes…I think so, it’s just a small group of traders, two carts possibly and ones that haven’t come here before so they must be here for the Kohaku industry” Madara nodded and gently eased Tobirama down into a chair in the main room, the albino still distracted with the much dimmer marks of a civilian’s un-woken chakra, looking for the faint honing around the edges that spoke of a fighter.

Madara frowned slightly down at his distracted husband, shifting till he could run his fingers through Tobirama’s fluffy hair while he waited for a full report and leaders of his clan. A moment of waiting and the front door was thrown open Hikaku bursting in with Kikiyo a half-step behind him, both of them white faced and concerned as they looked from Madara to the distracted Tobirama “Madara-sama?” his cousin breathed Hikaku’s short ponytail in mild disarray as Masahiko slipped in behind them and shook his head - n o Vashti them right now, “Mito Uzumaki is headed here, she seems to be planning to slip in with a small group of traders coming for the Kohaku. She’s alone and there doesn’t seem to be more Uzumaki coming with her, Tobirama thinks that she is trying to infiltrate and gather information for an alliance with the Uchiha” Madara said, eyes on his husband. Kikiyo hissed softly “The Uzumaki must be in trouble for her to go so far” the Red Crane said softly, Madara nodding in agreement but focused on Tobirama as the albino opened his eyes. “Two horse drawn carts, ten civilians though at least three have combat training, no children below ten and the oldest it still strong one way or another but they are wary, they’re uncertain about coming here – I am guessing having Mito is helping them feel stronger even if they probably don’t know she’s much of a nin” the albino reported, meeting Madara’s gaze “if we stop her and separate her from them they might get frightened and we need traders feeling confidant in coming here” he said quietly.

Madara pursed his lips, a flash of temper lighting in him at the though of having to pander – but no, that wasn’t what was going on here and they had to instill confidence in the civilians to make this work. Sighing the older man rubbed at his eyes and frowned thoughtfully, “Hikaku, warn the guards on the gate to let the traders in, be friendly but watchful and the clan needs to watch their words even more than normal. Kikiyo, tell the Kohaku they have a caravan here and try to get thing set up near the rest of the market so the civilians can browse while they wait and make sure that we have what we need for the horses, after that….set up a nice meal here- the children can eat elsewhere until I feel better about her, though they can come by after dinner- we will have to just invite Mito Uzumaki for dinner, I think we will have to let her know about you pretty eyes; we could keep keeping you secret but that won’t answer the questions she has about the Senju. When it comes down to it we need the Uzumaki to work with us and if she knows she is getting a Senju in addition to the Uchiha she’s more likely to work with us faster, the relationship it too fragile and too important to not play our whole hand here.” Tobirama nodded and Madara grimaced and looked to his kin “Otherwise ignore her coming, just let her do what she wants for now” unhappy but not argumentative, both his cousins nodded and turned to leave at speed while Madara sat down and dragged Tobirama into his lap, aggressively cuddling his calm husband “don’t wike this” he sulked into his husband’s robe, putting up a playful fight when Tobirama gently pulled his chin up to face the albino.

“Think about it like this love, it’s a chance to dress up for each other a bit; don’t you enjoy those?” Tobirama purred, tracing the scars under Madara’s eyes with light fingers and shifting in his place on Madara’s lap sending heat bolting through the older man. Licking his lips Madara smiled, slow and languorous “How long do you think we have till she arrives?” the older man asked, voice deep and rough. Tobirama pouted and eased closer “Not long enough, we have to get changed still” he ducked close and nosed softly at Madara’s ear “I want to take a little longer than that with you than that ‘dara, but…later, after, well I am looking forward to peeling your nice clothing off you since I didn’t get a chance when the other clan heads were here. You’ll wear something nice for me, won’t you?” groaning Madara shivered as his hands tightened bruisingly on his minx of a husband, swearing softly as tried to wrangle his libido under control. “f*ck. To’ra….” The albino laughed gently and tipped Madara’s head back for a long hot kiss, licking in and close and making Madara’s problem much worse before easing off his lap and pulling Madara up after him by his hand, leading the man up the stairs and into their room to change in preparation for putting on a show for their…guest.

Chapter 55: the better part of valor

Summary:

discretion

Chapter Text

Mito forced herself not to pull her hood a little farther over her head as she approached the gate in the middle of the little caravan of traders coming for the Kohaku fragrancy, at this point she was surrounded by watching nin and any sign of discomfort would be noted and tracked – how could it not be with the Uchiha being so close knit? Though apparently the Kohaku and victims of child trafficking were being integrated into the clan rather well and Madara had proved to be a welcoming leader as well as a firm one, so perhaps that was changing? Carefully the Uzumaki kept her head down as she entered the compound watching the movement around her through her lashes with faux-shyness, a little surprised that though she was nodded to courteously she was completely ignored, almost more than the traders who were slowly relaxing as they watched children tumbled through the street to fond laughter and gentle admonishment while a soft faced teen chased a slender young woman with long bronze hair and deep ebony skin, holding out flowers as the woman tried to pretend she was angry through the laughter that kept almost escaping. More than that the children weren’t all dark haired and phoenix-eyed like the Uchiha, there was a good scattering with dark red hair or amber-orang hair or one child that looked a bit like a shark in the distinct way of the Hoshigaki; the visual could not have better communicated the Uchiha’s new openness to others or the fact that shinobi or no, they were just normal people; living and laughing and raising children and –

sh*t, this was…not what Mito had expected on a gut level. Not that she had thought the Uchiha devils or soulless or unloving of their children, but – well the Uzumaki had been allied with the Senju for generations, it wasn’t that surprising that some prejudice had slopped over into the islands; clearly Mito needed to get her head out of the past and clear away her preconceptions or she was going to be in well over her head!...if she wasn’t already.

With that in mind for the next few hours Mito hung back and watched as the traders spoke with the Kohaku but also the Uchiha that were manning some stalls nearby (clever, very clever of Madara to have the caravan come here where they had all they needed for their horses and were with those they knew and sort of trusted with Uchiha and things for sale just close enough to be temping and nonthreatening. Very clever, Mito hadn’t been giving Madara enough credit clearly; something that was bluntly reinforced when just as dinner drew on there was a soft throat clearing behind her and when she turned a slender youth with golden hair and mismatched eyes was smiling faintly at her. “’scuse me m’lady, but Madara-sama sent me to bring you for dinner at the Great House, if you’re done here?” and though his voice was quiet and polite Mito felt her heart drop and smile grow fixed. Of course, of course her presence was known here, how foolish to not have realized before! f*ck, sh*t, co*ck, there was nothing to do now but do as she was asked and go to see Madara for dinner or she risked truly angering him – if he wasn’t already angry she had tried to sneak in. (And all for nothing, the Uchiha were tight lipped about details in the extreme, though they spared no praise of their new lord and how happy he made their Lord Madara- which was ecstatic apparently- details of who the man was were nonexistent so far and no help to Mito.)

Swallowing hard Mito nodded and wished she was in something a little more befitting a state dinner as she followed the slim youth through the dimming light to the stately spread of the Uchiha Great House rising into the sun-dyed sky. At the door Mito shoved the hood back and let the youth take her dusty mantle, exchanging slightly stilted greetings with the Red Crane as the woman stepped forward to great her “And I apologize, my cousins are finishing up something but will be in just a moment” the other woman promised as she led the way to the dining room, gesturing gracefully to the rice wine on the side table and pouring a cup when Mito nodded, taking the cup with relief – she was going to need something to get through tonight.

For a moment Kikiyo Uchiha let the silence stretch awkwardly and just before Mito thought she might have to fold and say something to the alluring woman another door opened and Madara Uchiha stepped through. His famously long hair was caught back somewhat by a web of glittering fine chains, one in garnets and the rest with what looked like scattered amethyst. As if to match that theme the man was dressed in neatly fitting robes in shades of gray embroidered in purples, his thin black gloves tugged neatly on his hands as he met her eyes head on (oh lords, the stories had not exaggerated his looks in the slightest, sweet kami!) his own dark and faintly amused even as red glinted in their depths. “Mito-hime” he purred “I-“ the faintest knowing hesitation “-apologize at taking you from your – friends, but my husband” oh lord of deeps the way he said that “wouldn’t hear of you passing by without a greeting”. Carefully the woman firmed her chin and shoved down her discomfort at her own dress to return the address, relived that at least they didn’t seem to fussed about full formalities “Lord Madara, I apologize for arriving with no notice” she allowed but made no attempt to make excuses, there was no way this man with his dense dark chakra hadn’t already guessed what Mito intended (it was strange to look at this man and compare him to Mito’s unstable memory of her one brief meeting with Hashirama, she had seen Tobirama twice and gotten to know him somewhat but Hashirama only briefly before negotiations fell apart, all the rumors compared the two like they were a matched set but – well Mito didn’t see it. Not that she liked Madara better at all but…they were so different! Madara reminded her more of Tobirama honestly, that same intensity and – but he was dead, wasn’t he.)

Casually the Uchiha waved her words away, walking to pour himself a cup of rice wine and speaking absently as he did “I am sure you had good reason to do so” (that was an impressively vailed threat right there) “some day you will have to tell me, I am of course assuming that should anything be amiss that might hurt my clan you would let me know” it wasn’t a question but Mito murmured agreement anyway, wondering if they were waiting for others to sit? Or was this a way of keeping her off balance? Just then movement from the door Madara had entered by pulled their attention and Mito was arrested by the way Madara’s entire demeanor lifted as he walked to the door and reached out…to….

ta…ke…

....Tobirama?!?

Taking Madara’s hand the albino allowed himself to be pulled into the older man’s side, yielding and easy like Mito hadn’t known he could be but…there was so much about him that Mito didn’t recognize that without the distinctive marks on his face and watchful cleverness in his eyes she wouldn’t have recognized him at all. He was dressed in layers of deep Uchiha indigo with high Uchiha collar curling around the sides of his neck where a blown-glass medallion of a Mangekyō hung, in fact most of his skin was covered including tight looking undersleeve that came to a point on the backs of his hands, tucked in his obi was a mother of pearl marriage fan and a decorative looking obsidian knife, and was that a TOKEN on his wrist? What – what was going on? Tobirama looked slender (goodness his armor had bulked him up!) but not unhealthily so and the color of his skin was clear and well, not to mention the way he curved into Madara like it was natural (and he was basically unarmored! Not even his face guard!) and it was just – this was confusing the f*ck out of Mito. (Honestly given the rumors she would have thought if Madara was going to take a Senju to bed it would be Hashirama.)

“Mito-hime” Tobirama said evenly, playing absently with a strand of Madara’s dark hair as he watched her carefully. Wait, Winter, how often had she heard about Madara’s spouse in conjunction with winter? Oh, oh now it was all coming together only – how? and….had Tobirama agreed? Carefully Mito reached for her chakra and the adamantine chains, not missing Tobirama stiffening immediately and shifting to give himself more range of motion while not leaving Madara’s side as the older man’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t even think about it” Tobirama said grimly, holding her eyes – like Madara was holding his waist and – a slender hand landed on Mito’s wrist though she didn’t look at the Red Crane “Mito-hime I think you are misunderstanding, Tobirama-sama wishes to be here, he was not forced or coerced, I promise you” at that Madara’s dark eyes lit with understanding and he relaxed, soothing a hand over Tobirama’s hip in a possessive, familiar way. “At ease darling, she’s just worried about you” at his husband's words the still tense Tobirama flicked a glare at Madara, “She threatened you in your own home” the albino the albino hissed quietly and a shockingly helpless smile turned up the Uchiha’s lips as he turned fully to Tobirama, completely ignoring Mito now, enough to all but turn his back on her to face his angered husband (and kami of the sea that anger was cold and bitter, cutting and cold like sea-rime slicing her hands in winter), cupping Tobirama’s face in his hands and whispering something a shocked and off balance Mito couldn’t hear.

“I – what?” Mito muttered, feeling confused and unsteady as she tore here eyes from a still tense Tobirama to look at Kikiyo the other woman wide eyed at Madara’s back before tearing her dark eyes away and looking at Mito “It – it’s complicated, but I promise you he wants to be here –“ a soft noise drew both women’s eyes again and Mito winced a bit when she saw that at some point the two men had started kissing. With intention (it was very romantic the way they curled into each other but – f*cking hell couldn’t it wait until Mito had an explanation? Though…she didn’t really mind watching….). “-Madara-sama, Tobirama-sama, must you now? Please focus, we have guests” Kikiyo only barely kept the whine out of her tone and Mito got the sudden feeling that maybe this wasn’t an uncommon plea (Izuna hadn’t been exaggerating?) as the two men slowly drew apart, smiling softly at each other before Madara glanced over his shoulder at the women with a mischievous light in his dark eyes (well sh*t, Mito had though him attractive before, but happiness and playfulness made him something else altogether). “I apologize cousin” he said, without a trace of apology “though it does seem to have stayed our visitor’s hand” a bit embarrassed with her over reaction Mito flushed faintly starting to apologize when he waved it away “-don’t worry about it, I am glad there are those out there that would protect my husband” (…..he still said ‘husband’ the way some people said ‘gold’ or their favorite food or the name of a beloved childhood stuffed toy) “our aims are aligned in that at least”.

Tobirama laughed quietly and slipped around Madara to shake hands with Mito, leaning back into the older man as Madara followed him like they were tethered together with some invisible cord, “Sorry” he muttered, and them more strongly “it is good to see you Mito-hime, but please don’t threaten my husband” still a bit hesitant Mito shook her head at the apology, focusing on more important things “You’ll tell me how this happened then?” she asked. “How about after we have sat down for dinner?” Kikiyo interrupted gracefully, waving to where the blonde teen was peering at them from a doorway where fragrant scents floated out and suddenly extremely hungry Mito demurred, relieved at the break in the linger tenseness as they all sat and the teen and a young women with fluffy hair and bright eyes brought out several dishes to set on the table the next few minuets absorbed with serving plates and the first few bites until smirking slightly Madara set about explaining exactly how he had ended up with a Senju husband, Tobirama pitching in from time to time and Madara always making room for him to speak as if he could sense that the albino wanted to before Tobirama even opened his mouth.

It was actually a bit eerie how they seemed to communicate without words, as if intrinsically connected on some level (wait, they were both sensor types right- which oh of course she was detected with Tobirama here-? Maybe that somehow?) and they moved together as if dancing to a music only they could hear. Madara keeping Tobirama’s plate full and Tobirama with a hand on the back of the older man’s chair any time he lent forward as if prepared to take a blow from behind or brushing hair out of Madara’s way as he reached for something and all of it thoughtless and easy as anything. Mito…well she wasn’t going to lie and say that she didn’t feel a stab of envy for the clear partnership between them.

Eventually she lent back and set down her chopsticks, looking between them with a mix of admiration and exasperation (she…did not envy Kikiyo having to deal with these two f*ckers) “So you two basically tripped and fell in love with each other and then nearly caused a disaster because no one ever talked about your clans having different customs?” she asked briskly, shaking her head at the unabashed nods “and how did that turn into Fire thinking Tobirama is dead and the growing belief that Tobirama is a celestial being that had his robe stolen by shinobi only for \Madara to return it to him at which point Tobirama swore to marry him and help defend his people?” (she ignored Madara’s impressed whistle and muttered “Kenshin’s versionof the rumor is going farthest then, I’ll have to give the brat the bounty looks like” because right now she couldn’t deal with Madara putting bounties out for the best rumor in his clan) Tobirama sighed and leaned into his husband, looking tired abruptly and clearly trying to sort out how to answer her question. “I – wasn’t necessarily in great shape when I joined the Uchiha and Madara took exception to my – well he let Hashirama come to his own conclusions and when they were my death he ran with it. After that it became clear that my being an unknown was holding peace in between the clans as no one wanted to attack my family, whoever they were, and draw Madara’s anger, because I was an uncertain quantity we have the most peace in Fire we’ve had in generations and that has been vital as we get the Uchiha on sturdier ground – and now of course we have the Kohaku so that helps increase our power but – I – I don’t really want to answer questions honestly” he revealed and looking in his eyes Mito could well believe that.

“I see” she agreed lowly, leaning back as Madara’s arm snaked around Tobirama’s waist and the older man dew his slim husband closer, nuzzling into his white hair and whispered something Mito couldn’t hear into his ear, Tobirama slowly relaxing into his husband and looking far happier than he had either of the other times Mito had seen him before. She wasn’t sure how she felt about this, but she was quite sure that she wasn’t making a play for Madara, she did not want to get in the middle of that. “Mito-hime” started from her thoughts the red head looked at Kikiyo questioningly “It is getting rather late and the children will be in soon, would you take a room here in the Great House? We have guest quarters and would gladly host you for how ever long you wish to stay. I know Tobirama will wish to speak to you about trade and an alliance, but maybe not tonight” the Uzumaki glanced at the men and grimaced, hastily taking the Red Crane up on her offer and standing, biting back a laugh as Kikiyo’s rolled eyes when the men gave only a cursory good night. Yeah, so glad she hadn’t tried to make a play for him, if anything Izuna had been understating his brother’s adoration and Mito was well glad to not be mixed up in that (she was betting Madara would have no patience for anyone trying something like that and she looked far nicer un-burned thank you very much!).

(wait, children?!?)

Chapter 56: amethyst

Summary:

Awakens higher consciousness; assists in wise decision-making, eases the hold of emotions on rationality amethyst

Notes:

Ill-health has been flaring, sorry to vanish

Chapter Text

Tobirama couldn’t help but smile at his wonderful husband, well pleased dinner hadn’t been too long and that the children had gone to bed without argument so he could make good on his promise to take Madara’s lovely clothing off him (and how lovely was it! Tobirama’s mouth had dried up completely when he saw Madara in all his finery and he had taken his few moments on his own until Madara signaled him to come down taming the rising heat in his blood as much as he could). Madara raised a fine dark brow smirking like he couldn’t help himself at the hungry expression on Tobirama’s face, “Something on your mind darling?” he teased gently, smirk growing when Tobirama leveled an exasperated look at him and stepped closer. “Oh yes, you see there is this devastatingly attractive man standing in the room with me and I’ve been thinking about getting his clothes off for hours, but if you would rather I put that from my mind and go to bed…?” he trailed off leadingly and shifted as if about to turn away, giggling a bit when Madara darted forward and wrapped his arms around Tobirama tightly, nuzzling into Tobirama’s neck with a growled “How about you tell me more about this person and wanting to take his clothes off?”

“Weeelll” Tobirama drawled playfully “I don’t know if you’ve met him but he’s about my height – maybe a tiny smig shorter” (“I am not!”) “and he’s devastatingly handsome don’t you know? Has the mostly lovely hair and his chakra” Tobirama shivered speakingly, ignoring the shaking of Madara’s laughter “he’s very protective of his people and even though he was raised with all the pressure all he ever tired to do wa-“ at that moment Madara shifted and covered Tobirama’s mouth with his in a hot kiss, apparently unwilling to listen to the albino sing his praises. Easily Tobirama went with it, tightening his hold on the older man’s amethyst strewn hair as Madara dominated the kiss; scrambling for some of his focus- hard with Madara kissing him like he didn’t need air to live- Tobirama reached for the small braids that were used to anchor the silver chains and their glittering stones webbed over Madara’s dark hair. Eventually, Tobirama knotted his hand in Madara’s hair and dragged himself away, panting and focusing on not diving right back in and kissing that hot dark look even darker-! But no, clothes and hair first or Tobirama might manage to pull in a way that didn’t feel good, “Let – let me take down your hair love, you won’t like it if one of these chains gets caught” he shuddered, hard and Madara growled but winced a second later (there was no way Madara wanted one of the delicate chains to break under shinobi strength, not when they were a gift from Tobirama commissioned from the Uchiha metal workers).

Pouting Madara let Tobirama unhook his broad leather belt and heaviest over robe (mmmhhh, that belt and robe did things to the Uchiha’s waist and broad shoulders that Tobirama was very much a fan of), draping them over the robe stand and pressing his husband to sit at the vanity where Tobirama could get behind him and brush out his hair, carefully undoing the chains from the braids and piling the fine silver chains on the vanity as Madara watched him though half-lidded eyes as he worked. Eventually with a pleased hum Tobirama ran the brush smoothly through the dark hair, leaving the single garnet studded braid alone as he brushed Madara’s dark, inky hair until it shone; light catching on the gleaming strands as they passed through Tobirama’s fingers (he loved this, loved tending to Madara’s hair in their quiet evenings, it was deeply grounding and Tobirama found he dreamt far less now with his husband curled around him after the grounding ritual quieted the noise in his head and lulled away the screaming ideas). “Up” the albino murmured, easing his loose limbed husband to stand so that Tobirama could strip off his last layers, lingering over each one and petting down Madara’s strong muscles as he did; struck anew by all the effort and time that went into the strength Madara used to defend his people.

Madara smiled lazily as Tobirama drew the last layer of robes off him, kicking off his thin pants and undergarments while the other man’s back was turned and pouncing on his tall, lovely husband with some glee. Cupping the elegant long neck in his hand to feel the surprised, pleased little noise his husband made vibrate against his palm as he nuzzled close, glad Tobirama had already stripped down and put on only a loose, thin sleeping robe while he did Madara’s hair. “Love you” he crooned in his Center’s ear, wanting to purr as Tobirama went loose and easy against him, shivering a bit as the words – and the hand that Madara was smoothing down his sharp hip, sliding through the loose robes and stroking his husband lazily; grin growing at Tobirama’s choked noise of pleasure. “Love you, thank you for defending me” Tobirama whimpered and tipped his head in Madara’s hold until they could kiss messily, his long, lovely legs shaking as Madara moved his hand and chuckling darkly the older man shifted them back until he could tip his gorgeous Center into their bed, smiling smugly.

Madara followed his husband down, blanketing the slimmer form under his broader frame and groaning in delight at them feel of his lean husband arching up under him and tangling a familiar hand in his hair (Tobirama seemed to have a bit of a thing for having a hand in Madara’s hair and he loved it). Tobirama growled a little and hitched a leg around Madara’s waist, teeth setting deliciously into the tendon on Madara’s neck as he ground filthily up into the Uchiha; swearing the dark haired man dropped his head, shuddering all over as a questing long fingered hand stroked the lines of Madara’s defined abdominals and lower, curling a proprietary hand around his co*ck and stroking with feathery light touches that had much of Madara’s sanity fleeing at speed. Gods, shaking Madara groaned deeply as Tobirama shifted to grip both of them in his hand; his red eyes bright and hot as he held Madara’s spinning Sharingan gaze, the Center connection all but singing in Madara’s mind as it broadened and deepened with rising pleasure. The openness of all consuming pleasure wiping everything else away; Tobirama was his, and willing to fight to stay so and – well, there wasn’t anything in the world that he could think of better than that.

Pleasantly exhausted Madara should have slept the sleep of the well pleased but instead he dreamt; unsettling dreams of shadows and flickering movement, of a cold man(? horns-) (Father?) speaking words Madara couldn’t hear as shadows flickered around him and the moon became a perfectly smiling woman whispering about dreams (was he getting meta now?) and the only perfect world was a sleeping one but she wasn’t talking to him and there was another person behind him but he couldn’t – “Madara” Tobirama’s voice and soft touch called him awake, stirring just long enough to make sleepy promises that he was ok and drifted off again into a quiet sleep, the dream already fading into nothing.

Morning came too quickly and Tobirama was a bit watchful but Madara wasn’t too concerned, telling the other man honestly that he couldn’t remember anything but flickering shadows; nothing to be unduly concerned about, just shinobi dreams. Reluctantly Tobirama let it go and focused on breakfast with Mito and the children (introducing them had been hilarious) though he kept one eye on Madara (and a hand when he could spare one) until the slightly distracted older man had to head away to his office and clan matters, leaving Tobirama engaged in intense trade negotiations with the Uzumaki. That was probably for the best as it hadn’t even been a full hour when Yamatohime knocked lightly on his study and entered at his call, seating herself opposite him at his desk and fixing him with a clear dark gaze, her long white hair half pulled up with a few plain bone kanzashi that no one asked the origin of. “Elder?” He asked after a moment of sitting in silence as she watched him placidly, taping the arm of her chair with one finger she sighed and finally looked away “I thank you Madara-sama for having the wisdom to call in help, it is not what your father would have done.” (…what? She never called him ‘-sama’ and the comparison with his father….)

“I cannot of course read the final section of the Tablet- not without the Rinnegan- but in reading, recording, and analyzing the main two sections I do have some information for you. For one, it was written by more than one person at more than one time. I know that must sound strange after all you have been told about the Tablet but I cannot be mistaken, if you examine the Tablet itself and not just the text it’s not all that well hidden that it was done by two hands and the later hands even altered sections of the earlier text. In examining the stone it is clear that the older writing was done in a shallower more flowing hand and had some wear to it before the second hand came in and not only added a great deal but carved over some of the older text with different- deeper- instruments, some of the resulting confusion and tone switches were then hidden in the way that you had to have two different ways of reading it – if you are changing your eyes you are less likely to notice that the subject had had a jarring changes in between codes; honestly I could show you a dozen different mistakes, inconsistencies, and internal contradictions, and that’s not even mentioning the misspellings.” Any other time the clear disgust in her voice for such things would have amused Madara but…he had just discovered that the words his family had guarded and looked to for generations were false prophets, “What – what would you recommend then Elder?” he forced out eventually, rubbing at his eyes.

Yamatohime sighed and neatly folded her hands “Let me make a transcript and note it with all things I have noticed, I will write it all in the same language and no code but we’ll ask your husband to make a warded box to keep my notes in though – if I am brutally honest I truly don’t know what in the writing on the tablet could be called worth this much of a secret really.” Madara grit his teeth and forced down his rising temper, his head aching as he nodded jerkily to the Elder, sending her away with his agreement before standing and heading out into the garden, hoping a little fresh air would clear the screaming in his head.

(lies all lies lasthopegone and all is lost fool trusting but never good enough sostrongshouldhavehadRinneganweakheartedtonot weakminded let himself get tricked ((again)) did he ever know the truth would he ever get it right there was always someone behind him he would fail his clan his people ((again)) not his fault it had all gone wrong and yet it was and even the dreaming moon was a lie and there was someone behind him-)

(at the door a road weary Izuna grabbed Tobirama and shook his head “Leave him be he won’t know its you like this, just let his temper cool a bit and-“ and disgusted the albino raised a brow, sending a bolt of chakra over his skin to shock the other man with a hissed, “f*ck you, he’s my husband”. Storming out into the garden and the Uchiha’s lashing chakra fearlessly and with a hand on the knife at his thigh, ready to face anything that might threaten his raging husband or incur such wrath.)

(coolpromisesteadystrengthyildingadorationsweetwaterrosehipsdarkvanilla a hand on his back safesafesafe lies immaterial, red eyes always saw true lookingforwardtogether, together, beside him even before Madara knew there was someone there, someone watching his back) “Madara, what is needed?” (faith, so much faith even though Madara knew he hardly looked like someone who’s mind could be trusted with his temper and stress ran away with him.) Slowly the Uchiha released a breath and sagged, closing his eyes as the steady hand on his back remained, Tobirama alert and ready to act on Madara’s call, ready to destroy anything else that tried to come up behind him and take advantage of his blind spot (like-). It was that and the heavy strength of Madara’s active Sharingan humming lightly with his Center’s closeness that calmed the Uchiha head; Tobirama, Tobirama wasn’t a lie and Tobirama he could trust no matter what, Tobirama was the words he listened and the prophet he consulted now, how long had it even been since he went to the Tablet in person? Center over Stone any day.

“Just, stay with me To’ra.”

“For forever and a day”

“And after?”

“As long as there are tomorrows, until time is forgot and all the stars fall in fire or ice and beyond I will be yours should you call for me ‘dara.”

Chapter 57: lock the door

Summary:

the horse has bolted

Chapter Text

Anat Kurama stared at her clanswoman, the teen’s face pale and her hands shaking even though Auset was normally a calm young woman; then again she wasn’t normally reporting her brother’s disappearance into shadows to her clan head either (Anat didn’t have to ask much about how bad it was in detail, she could see it in Auset’s face and her halting description of the black ooze dripping over her brother’s lips). “And you can’t find his body?” the Kurama head asked slowly, thinking of the other dead marked with black tar (they had burned those); silently Auset shook her head, shaking worse as Anat gently sent her away and stared down at her hands for a long time, thinking. Eventually the woman covered her face and breathed out slowly before reaching for her blank paper and seal, dashing off a letter and calling for a raven to send the message with before leaning back in her chair and staring down at her fingers, speaking just before her assistant left the room “Double the watch”.

For a moment she sat in silence and quiet before the door opened and mirror of her own face looked back at her from the door, her twin raising one dark brow as she slipped in and moved to sit on Anat’s desk watching her sister carefully. “I saw the raven headed east, you’ve given in then?” Bitterly the seconds older Kurama sent her sister a dark look, ignoring the way the loose hime-cut that Astarte wore their matching ash-brown hair in left the strands piling over her paperwork and shoving one of her short wavy tresses behind her own ear tiredly; “Don’t start, the bodies are vanishing now and I can’t figure out what is even going on much less stop it, unless your little birds heard anything about how to stop the shadows eating our clan I don’t have a choice” the spymaster winced and sat up instead of leaning over Anat, looking chagrined though the expression sat odd on her gaunt face (too long with too little food, not that any of them really had enough these days).

“Sorry, I –“ Astarte paused and grimaced, “I didn’t mean it like that. I know there’s nothing else to do and we’ll just have to hope that we’ll be welcomed, I just….my daughter, what of Aziza? Madara-sama would be well within his rights to refuse her but I – I can’t, I wont leave her to die, she’s not even four yet Anat” at that the other twin swallowed hard and looked away from the matching amber eyes, her heart aching for her sister and niece, if only Asim hadn’t died last year! Not that having her father would do anything about Aziza but…too much tragedy was never healthy for children with the bloodline – though too much doting clearly wasn’t either, just look at Arakan- no, Aziza was not going to be like him! She wasn’t, Anat refused (otherwise, otherwise Anat might have to be the one to kill the girl before the over powerful bloodline of the Kurama clan eat out all the good from in her, be the one to kill her the way her father refused to kill Arakan until it was too late and Anat had to be the one to kill her cousin).

“I don’t know” Anat said finally, her eyes fixed on her hands “I don’t know Astar, I will do everything I can for Aziza – you know I love her. But…I am clan head and I have a responsibility to the clan and this is the only option I see available to us” for a long moment Astarte said nothing, just breathing in time with her sister until she reached out and brushed a finger over Anat’s cheek and silently slipped away to spend time with her daughter (while Aziza was still young enough to know reality for what it was, while her daughter was still weak enough to not be able to override her mother – after all, all the training in the world didn’t help, it hadn’t helped Arakan at least). Alone again Anat leaned forward over her arms and focused on counting her breaths, waiting for word to return and with it her last hope of saving her people from the consuming dark.

Chapter 58: aragonite star cluster

Summary:

balance the chakras; heal old wounds, bolsters emotional strength

Notes:

I'll get to comments as soon as I can, spoons still low, but thank you for the well wishes!

Chapter Text

Tobirama watched his husband with fond eyes, ignoring the newly returned Izuna’s wide eyes (it was too bad that Izuna had returned just after Madara got the bad news and had a momentary loss of composure, something that seemed to happen once in a while and was always terrifying to Izuna if the younger Uchiha’s reaction was anything to go by, nevermind that Madara had removed himself from them already - which he must have learned before) as he stared at them and stumbled through his report on the human trafficking ring. Madara sighed and set down the note from the Hatake and leveled his eyes on his little brother as Izuna spoke, the hand on Tobirama’s bare ankle playing with the marriage band where the albino’s legs were thrown over his lap (Tobirama was a fan of the loveseats in Madara’s study, they were just big enough for two to sit next to each other – or half on top of each other) as he listened, ignoring his half eaten dinner on the side table. Knowing that Izuna would write a report Tobirama only partially paid attention to the younger Uchiha, most of his focus on his husband and curling his own chakra around and through the older man; monitoring the flow of Madara’s chakra as it slowly eased and settled again after the lashing eldritch rage of before.

Tobirama had never seen anything like that before and it hurt that Madara had been so badly betrayed, had a certainty that had backed his life ripped away as a lie; there was nothing Tobirama could do about it but help Yamatohime with her analysis and try to separate out the- hopefully reliable- primary source from the later alterations and maybe find what truth there was in it. Tobirama wouldn’t have his husband mislead by lies, Madara deserved better than that, the Uchiha deserved better than that. As if sensing his thoughts the Uchiha looked over at Tobirama and quirked a tired smile, tightening his hand on Tobirama’s ankle in a gentle squeeze, his chakra flickering back against Tobirama in a reassuring press.

Izuna trailed off, looking tired and worn down from the long mission (Tobirama had seen Touka earlier briefly as she came in after settling the Uchiha and the couple more children they had picked up, she had been exhausted and headed straight to sleep after having the late watch; pausing just long enough to hug Tobirama and then face planting into her bed) and Kikiyo rose, gently gathering her cousin to bundle him into bed (after pushing him close enough to Madara for the older Uchiha to grab him into a tight leaning hug) and passing Mito in the doorway as she did. The Uzumaki looked more like herself in pale clothes with her hair in two neat buns topped with seals and had spent the day with a starstruck Kagami toeing her around the Uchiha compound; now late in the evening she held up a sealed letter, a large raven perched on her shoulder. Grimacing Madara held out a hand with murmured thanks as the red-head set the letter in his hand and the raven hopped to the back of a highbacked heavy chair, glancing between them with muted curiosity; blessedly she slipped out without questions, leaving them alone as Madara flipped the letter through gloved fingers.

“’dara?” Tobirama inquired softly, watching as the older man gazed as the messy wax seal (Kurama maybe?). With a fortifying breath Madara tapped a chakra charged finger to the wax and when the seal shattered flipped it open, mouth pulling tight as his eyes flicked to the signature at the bottom and then back up to the top to read it. Eventually he sighed and held out the paper, Tobirama taking it with some trepidation and scanning the contents quickly, unsurprised to find the request for refuge though the details were…alarming. Deeply (split open with black tar? Bodies going missing and the dead spiting up back ooze before death?). But it was the last line that concerned Tobirama right at the moment ‘I know we of the Kurama had no right to ask you of all people for anything, but I find that I have no other options at this juncture but to ask anyway. And therefor I feel I must tell you that my niece Aziza – she – takes after my cousin, she has his skills though she is very young and has yet to manifest them; still, I felt you have to know and better from me than through others later’.

“Madara what does this mean about them asking you for help?” Tobirama asked, watching his clearly discomfited husband duck his head, the long feathery hair falling into his face and hiding his expression as the Uchiha took a careful breath “Do you know the Kurama well? They have a gift for genjutsu- there are some that think that they used to be related to the Uchiha- and the bloodline –“ he stumbled, fingers going tight on Tobirama’s ankle as the albino eased closer and took over. “Once in a while a child is born that has the bloodline and inherits extraordinary ability for genjutsu, the ability in that field is so strong that their genjutsu is overpowering, to the extent that it causes the mind to believe everything that happens within the genjutsu effects the physical world and the power of that belief can kill. It has drawbacks though; it’s very difficult to control all that power and the subliminal will may take over directing it, sometimes forming a second personality that is completely out of touch with reality- after all they control it as far as they know- and can slowly take over as the user grows less and less able to distinguish reality from their hyper-real illusions.” Tobirama watched Madara’s face closely as he spoke, adding softly “Kurama with the bloodline frequently suffer a dissolution of self and are impossibly dangerous”.

Madara nodded slowly, his face still shadowed as he played with the anklet on Tobirama “Yes, that’s – that’s accurate. I – I was ten I think, my memories are a bit scattered around then, I didn’t have the Sharingan and my siblings were all dead already, but I was on a mission near Kurama lands and I ran into – Arakan was the cousin of the current clan head and the nephew of the clan head at the time and he – he had the bloodline. I guess the clan head wasn’t willing to do what he had to, to control Arakan and instead just let him wander as he would as long as the Kurama didn’t get hurt directly. Either way I ran into him and, he wanted to prove that the Kurama was as strong as the Uchiha with the genjutsu, I think he had a thing for proving his power and he didn’t much care that I didn’t have the Sharingan at that age and –“ his breath stuttered and Tobirama twisted until he could slide into his husband’s lap, combing his fingers through the older man’s hair and humming softly. “I – he was…insane, and clever, very clever in his madness. I was trapped in the genjutsu for….days, I think, though it felt longer. It seemed normal at first, even seeing Kurohime didn’t seem that odd given that she had only died a few months before so I thought – I thought that, her dying, must have been the dream and she was really alive so I – I didn’t notice right away that some things didn’t add up, I didn’t want to notice I guess because; sh*t, everyone was alive and we had peace and the only thing that was wrong was that the entire time there was someone behind me, watching me, always; even putting a wall at my back didn’t help; it just became malleable and he was still behind me.”

A shuddering breath “I should have noticed sooner, there was something…off about it, something wrong about everything and eventually I asked for help and – at first they asked why I couldn’t fix it myself as I was so powerful and then it was just ignored and then I noticed that I – I couldn’t move at ‘night’; it was like I was tied down and still being watched. Then I stopped sleeping – how could I with him watching just out of sight and – well I think he wanted to activate my Sharingan because I – my father, died. I killed him. But he was alive the next day and my Sharingan didn’t activate and then everyone was dying and my hands were soaked in blood and no one listen when I spoke and – it was all wrong To’ra, everything was just…wrong. I thought I was going insane. Then, well the Kurama found out I guess and came after me, Anat was there and killed her cousin to free me from the genjutsu; the clan owes me a blood debt and now they ask for this and the child-“ his voice cut off in a choked noise and Tobirama cuddled him closer, cradling the dark head to his chest and shoving away the riot of his emotion; locking away the cold, cold rage for later.

“I will see to the child Madara, I can do something about this I am sure. Don’t worry about her,” he paused shoving down his own anger to focus on the knot of Madara’s emotions “as for the clan….” “I’m going to say yes” Madara ground out painfully as Tobirama pet his hair “but I don’t want to say yes yet”. Aching, Tobirama crooned gently to the older man “Ok, that’s ok, you don’t have to say yes yet, you can just be emotional right now, I know you are going to be responsible and a leader in your response later. Right now you can just be a person and react dear heart.” At that Madara whined thinly and his hands fisted on the back of Tobirama’s clothing, twitching with the force of old emotion as he grit out indistinguishable words into Tobirama’s shoulder; bitten off anger and bitterness and the old betrayal he had held in for so long with nowhere it was safe to vent it (and Tobirama had to wonder if Madara had ever trusted the people around him again after that, if he had ever looked at his father the same after seeing his father ignore his fears and just ask why he couldn't fix it himself rather than help or ignore him rather than listen. Madara might know in his head that it hadn't been his father or clan or siblings really but...knowing that in his head wouldn't heal to broken trust in his heart).

Humming Tobirama rocked them gently side to side until the force of the storm eased and Madara became heavy and tired against him, “…will you write them back?” he mumbled finally. Tobirama nodded, combing his fingers through Madara’s long dark hair for another few minuets and composing a response in his head; ignoring the artic chill hiding in the corners of his soul, there would be time for his….education later, for now he needed to focus on getting Madara to bed and sending the raven off again. If things were that bad the Kurama would need a response as soon as possible and Tobirama wouldn’t keep them waiting out of pettiness (no, he would do other things out of pettiness).

Madara stirred sleepily as Tobirama slipped in next to him after sending the raven out again, tucking cold toes against the older man’s heat as he snuggled in close, Madara’s heart settling as his Center returned to his arms; gods but he was grateful to have this. Once he would have laughed at the idea of finding his peace in Tobirama Senju’s pretty eyes, that the White Demon would be the architect of his soul’s safety, that he would find a Center at all, much less in a Senju, in the Senju. Now though he couldn’t imagine a world were Tobirama didn’t return to him every night, where he didn’t have calloused hands in his hair and a steady shoulder to rest on, someone else to write the message so he was allowed to be weak and refuse and – he didn’t have to be perfect all the time, not with Tobirama. It was the true rest he hadn’t known he lacked; hadn’t imagined that there would be world where it was possible to ask another to take up the slack so he could rest and react. As if cued Tobirama spoke in a low intimate voice “’dara, rest, sleep, I am here” and Madara did, for once unplagued by fears of waking trapped and watched; Tobirama would never allow that.

Chapter 59: red jasper

Summary:

controlling passions; root chakra and responsibility, justice

Chapter Text

Tobirama’s eye were watchful on the gate to the Uchiha compound as he leaned in the shadows of the front door to the Great House, Madara standing below him on the granite of the square; it had been decided that there was no point in trying to keep a secret of his identity from the Kurama, it wasn’t as though they would be letting the clan go anywhere without an Uchiha for a good long while anyway. He….hated this, hated that Madara had to open his door to those who were kin to the one who hurt him and who’s inaction had allowed him to come to such harm – and then there was the child and her fated horror, Tobirama had a few thoughts about that and how to…handle the out of control bloodline, but he wasn’t sure it would work and this was a child, a little girl who hadn’t done anything half as terrible as her confused madness would someday create (and it would, no Kurama with the bloodline had ever escaped the madness and collapse of their psyche as their unchecked ego took over. Not even the softest kindest of them escaped the curse – not unless they took their own life when they realized their minds were crumbling). Yes, Tobirama would make this right, he wouldn’t let a child be doomed and it fit in with his other active projects in a sideways way; but he still hated that Madara was forced to face this, even as he was humbled by the dignity with which his husband did his duty (humbled that such a man would chose him).

Movement at the gate heralded the arrival of the Kurama and Tobirama tracked their progress through the compound, his mouth smoothing into a grim line as they came into view and he saw that their appearance matched their thin, hunted chakra. So few….he had known both from the letter and from his check on the clan to count them, but it was still a cold jolt to see how far they had been whittled down, not much more than four dozen of them left now, and all tired, hungry and afraid.

And in front of these fearful and beaten down people stood Madara like a beacon of strength and unyielding power, a light in the dark with his burning and slightly flared chakra, his feet shoulder width apart as he looked them over; looking every bit the martial lord of unbending power that had never yet bowed to any force in this world (well, any but Tobirama, and wasn’t that a heady rush). The Kurama seemed to agree as the longer that they looked at Madara the straighter they stood and the fear hissing in their chakra eased, smoothing out slowly as they began to believe. It was then that Tobirama stepped forward out of the shadows, angling himself to catch the light so his pale clothing would all but glow and catch attention even before his face was visible – after all with his coloring and stature he was recognizable as soon as he was seen in profile (hence never just trying a disguise or vail).

He could see it when the Kurama noticed him and started to recognize him, Madara taking the chance to start speaking while they were off balance and distracted, “Anat has told me you have been hunted in the shadows and while I cannot promise that the threats you have faced will not find their way here, I can remind you that the Uchiha have long burned away the nights and we will do all we can to keep the dark from our thresholds. In that name I am sure that you understand why you must be checked for any lingering clinging intruders you may have missed, my husband” at that Tobirama came down into the sunshine to stand at Madara’s shoulder, taking his husband’s hand and lacing their fingers together as he looked over the thin, wide eyed Kurama “will be checking you. This is not optional” a murmur went through them but Tobirama felt no spikes of anxiety or refusal more than a low lying trepidation, indeed many of them seemed somewhat relived at the stipulation.

A bare second later a thin, short woman with a loosely curled bob stepped forward, Anat Kurama’s amber eyes intent on Tobirama as she walked to stand in front of him and held out her hands, palms up and open in a show of compliance. With a chilly grace Tobirama stepped forward and raised a hand, making a few hand signs to help sharpen his chakra sensing and activate a medic-nin toxin technique; Madara’s hand and the chakra curling though it an anchor to the sensor’s overtaxed senses as the Uchiha set it at his back. Slowly his drew his hands over her, lingering at Tenketsu points and seeking for any trace of anything out of place, luckily there didn’t seem to be anything and he released the chakra nodding to her “You’re clean” and then, as Madara shifted back a bit Tobirama lashed out fast as a snake; catching the back or her neck in an implacable hold with a hand shining with yin chakra, brutally ripping into her mind with the spear of chakra leaden with the residual ache that still lingered in Madara’s chakra even now.

Cold and bitter as norther crag-winds Tobirama leaned forward and whispered in her ear in a voice like cracking ice “This is the ache he still feels, only a fraction of the old pain your inaction and indolence allowed him to feel. Know this, you feel this pain as a warning and because I believe you would rather carry this than each and every one of your clan that were old enough to act then but if I feel I must believe me I will show them too. And remember Kurama, we do not turn our face from evils here, no matter the cost.” He released the chakra and pulled back, meeting pain glazed amber eyes and then stepping back, Anat slumping to her knees at his feet as her twin raced to her side, chalky white. Tobirama looked out over the pale clan as said quietly, “As Madara is mine it is my right to call in a blood price for his pain. For now this is all I require, do not give me reason to ask for more”. Slowly the adults that were old enough to have lived back then all dropped their yes and looked away, each knowing he could have called in a much higher price had he wished. (Behind him Madara whispered “To’ra, Center” in an awed voice.)

The twin stood and showed Tobirama her hands, her eyes worried and pleading and Tobirama didn’t hesitate to scan her quickly and then- more gently- directed the woman to the waiting and wide eyed Jiro to take her to the medical wing. It was where all the clan would go next after Tobirama was done and then to the buildings the Uchiha and Kohaku had set up for them crammed over-close to the boundary wall. She hesitated and caught Tobirama’s eyes, her own flickering to the crowd and quietly he promised “She is safe, children do not die here and I am working on a way to….boundary her bloodline, we will do all we can for her” and the relief was tear bright in her eyes as the twins were lead away and Tobirama turned back to the rest of the more relaxed looking Kurama, Madara’s hand finally returning to his back and his chakra humming with something expansive and brilliant as Tobirama went back to scanning all their new charges.

Madara couldn’t believe that had happened, he wasn’t sure that it was good honestly and he would never have asked it, but to see Tobirama’s sea-rime wrath and hear him claim Madara as his….he had never in his life felt quite so claimed and wanted and safe. Two hours and change later the feeling of liquid sun had yet to fade even though Tobirama himself was clearly flagging after hours with his senses turned to the max and channeling even low amounts of chakra so precisely; as the last Kurama was scanned and headed after the others Madara didn’t wait, stepping around his husband and gathering Tobirama to him as he had yearned to even since he saw the truth of Tobirama’s feelings on his past and saw someone who should have stopped it called to task for it (though Anat was far less at fault than others had been, but most of them were dead now anyway).

Crooning Madara tucked himself around his lovely, tired Center, swaying them on their feet and relishing the way Tobirama wrapped around him in return, tight and all encompassing as he hummed for a moment before speaking slightly fretfully, “I know you wouldn’t-“ “Hush, hush pretty eyes, I’m not angry and you know it. I – I won’t lie and say I don’t like being defended” the ‘for once’ went unsaid but Madara knew his husband heard it anyway “besides, I – something had to be said and I…I am glad not to have to say it myself”. At that Tobirama shifted until he could turn and kiss Madara’s neck chastely “You have been my words when I couldn’t find any, let me be your promise keeper” and there was just…so much in that. Recognition that Madara didn’t want to think about what had happened much less bring it up, recognition that he couldn’t be seen as benevolent and also demand blood for a wrong done to him long ago, recognition that Madara couldn’t have done that without them fearing him – they would be wary of Tobirama, had it been Madara they would have been terrified (after all, they already feared him and he had never forgot that and how easily they might turn their back to him with that fear).

“Dinner” at Kikiyo’s quiet call Madara pouted but shifted to tuck Tobirama into his side and headed into the Great House, arching a brow at the woman to see her without Mito (the two women had become close ’friends’ very quickly and Madara was glad of it, too often his cousin had been alone of all the Uchiha. The Red Crane standing with Madara and Izuna no matter what and therefore standing apart from the rest to an extent but not their true blood sibling and very aware of it as well). Kikiyo rolled her eyes at his raised brow, but a hint of a smile pulled at the corner of her mouth as she led them in to the dinning room where Izuna and Touka (both now with Tokens Tobirama was pleased to see, they would have to have the wedding soon before too much else went wrong), Hikaku and Yuuka, Mito, and the children were all waiting for them. Smiling somewhat foolishly Madara pulled out Tobirama’s chair and then sat himself, still feeling as though he had been filled up with certainty made into molten gold; Izuna smirked at his brother’s ebullient look, his eyes going surprisingly sympathetic on the weary Tobirama as the doting Uchiha filled his plate. (Mito watched the byplay with some surprise, heavens knows she would never have guessed Tobirama would let much less want to be fussed over! Though maybe that was just Madara.)

Dinner was about the best Madara had had since his mother died and by the time a bright eyed Masahiko cleared the last dishes (which he still insisted on doing even though Tobirama promised that the abrasive sandblood was gone from his chakra) Tobirama had listed sleepily into Madara and was playing with the long ends of his hair as Mito and Kikiyo bantered about how easily men could be misled. The Uzumaki hadn’t even been with them a full week and already she was fitting into the moving patterns of the Great House admirably well, she had already covered the desk in her rooms with papers and letters from the Uzumaki and was constantly working with Tobirama on establishing new trade routs and hammering out an alliance for Madara to look over as well as gathering information about Water from the Uchiha and the older Water children that wanted to talk about it (there wasn’t many of them admittedly). Madara was sure she would stay until the alliance was signed at least, possibly longer to get the trade running smoothly and then…well Madara had been turning the problem of Water over in his head (it wasn’t good to have so unstable a neighbor, clearly) and getting to know her was starting a new possibility in his mind. (How do you make a neighboring country stabilize if you refused to just take over and rule it? Religion? But no, the shinobi all worshiped to differently – like cats. Trade would fall apart and any regime you put on the ‘throne’ could fall easily without native support, so if you didn’t want to have an empire what do you do? How did you make it stable? Well if you had a princess…)

But the problem of Water and the Consuming Shadows and the growth of the Uchiha compound (they needed a bigger wall) and how long the secret of Tobirama would hold with more and more people coming here (not that they needed it to be a secret anymore, not except for Hashirama but Madara knew Tobirama was trying very hard not to think about or reach out for his brother too often) could all wait; tonight Madara had all the people he loved best near and safe and happy and even the thought of his strange and ephemeral dreams couldn’t bother him right now.

Chapter 60: lavender

Summary:

distrust

Chapter Text

Izuna watched his bother sideways a day later, biting his lip as Madara crouched in front of the small Kurama child, the little girl giggling as Madara draped his long hair over her smooth head like some bizarre wig, Tobirama nearby speaking with the clan head’s twin sister as her little girl peered wide eyed from the woman’s arms, all tight dark curls and gigantic amber eyes. Anxiously Izuna swallowed and only kept from wringing his hands with great difficulty; Izuna had never forgotten what Madara was like when he came back from the Kurama capturing him, never got over the way his brother had watched all of them like they were strangers and he was just waiting for something for months, had never forgot the way he couldn’t stop feeling like his big brother was waiting for him to do something and holding something he didn’t know about against him. Izuna would never admit that that had been on his mind when he followed his brother to the Nara river all those years ago and saw Madara looking free and without the wariness, that had haunted him for months; it had been bitter and awful to see his brother ok and laughing and lively with someone else, someone that wasn’t Izuna, it was in part that hurt that had motivated Izuna going to their father rather than talking to Madara (after all his brother didn’t want him anymore why should he talk to him!? It wasn’t Izuna’s fault that Madara had believed a false version of him! In retrospect Izuna could see that Madara hadn’t had a choice but…he had been a child and selfish the way children so often were, all he wanted was his brother back and not blaming him for something he didn't do).

After Madara had chosen them, chosen his family even after all the caution and the shying away Izuna had felt so vindicated, felt like his brother would chose him and he therefor somehow always had the right to Madara and – well look, Izuna knew now that was messed up, but he had been a child and he hadn’t had anyone talking to him about any of this and – sh*t, now he wondered if still being Hashirama’s friend would have helped Madara (or at least led him to Tobirama sooner). After the river Madara had seemed to come back to life with them more but, well it was like he was masking his flinching in fake anger (which looked stronger) and flailing; with time the fear had faded and Madara seemed to let what he saw in the Kurama’s clutches go, but the wariness, the refusal to let people stand behind him, the…broken trust, that had never faded and the defensive anger grew more frightening with the power of his uncontrolled chakra (Izuna still thought the most badass thing he had ever seen was Tobirama walking fearlessly into Madara’s lashing, raging chakra as if it was nothing – and approaching Madara from behind!). Izuna got his brother back after the river but…Madara was never whole after, not until Tobirama and the certainty of trust, the stability that having his Center gave him healing the wounds from the Kurama.

The Kurama that were now in his home.

(And yes, he knew that the Kurama that had hurt Madara was dead, but still; they were Kurama and the little girl with all those curls had the potential to be the same kind of monster that had hurt his brother and the only things that would stop her was Tobirama and Izuna….didn’t trust his brother in law quiet enough for that yet; how could he with memories of Madara quiet and broken fresh in his mind?) “Pet?” Izuna just about jumped out of his skin at Touka’s voice and he whirled to see his fiancée watching him with increasingly worried eyes, “Izuna?” she asked more gently, taking his hand and drawing him into the shadow of her strength. Sighing the Uchiha sagged into her, dropping his head on her collarbone and leaning his weight into her until she tsked quietly and wrapped her arms around him “what’s going on pet?” she asked lowly “you and Tobi have both been…watchful since the Kurama showed up, Madara seems ok but the two of you have been watching the clan like hawks”. Izuna huffed a laugh and leaned silently for a second before speaking slowly, not really sure what to say without going into something he really didn’t want to think about right now “Do you know about the Kurama bloodline?” she hummed in agreement and Izuna took a shuddering breath “Yeah, Mada – he – the last bloodline caught him when he was a kid, shortly before the whole river thing” in response Touka hissed sharply, her arms going to steel and Izuna could feel the predator sharpness tighten her delightfully strong frame.

“I see” she murmured and Izuna just knew that she was watching the clan with new intensity and – f*ck, he might not trust Tobirama that much yet but Touka? Yeah. With Touka on his side Izuna felt like he could do anything! “I’m glad you don’t mind waiting until marriage but f*ck there are times when I wish we weren’t and I could show my appreciation” the Uchiha muttered bluntly into her shoulder, some of Touka’s focus easing as she snorted a laugh and gave him a gentle nooggie, “That was your call pet” she pointed out as Izuna wiggled fruitlessly (not that he was really trying to get away); the Uchiha once again remined of how unbothered she had been when he said he wanted to wait, just shrugging and backing off a bit as if it was nothing (honestly telling him that it mattered far more to her that they did everything together than that she get some, now they just sparred to get the energy out – though…that backfired sometimes).

Bright laughter pulled Izuna’s attention back to his brother with the little girl, the child currently covering her face as she was filled with helpless giggles and Madara grinned at her, Tobirama no doubt watching with a look on his face Izuna refused to look at – he didn’t have that big a sweet tooth! At the door to the Great House the Uzumaki watched it all with a…complicated look on her face – and man had she explained things (like Touka’s quiet insistence that they had a tail for a while, not that Izuna hadn’t believed her- he had- but it was a little amusing to know it had been Mito Uzumaki). As she frequently did Touka followed his gaze and snorted again, “At least having Mito-hime here is making it a lot easier for Tobi to plot his trading routs” she groused without any conviction (Izuna wasn’t buying it, he knew that Touka, Mito, and Kikiyo had started having tea and plotting taking over the world together – or at least depose the Shimura who apparently had a tendency towards…handsy-ness) and Izuna wiggled around till he could lean on her and still look out at the world, “I think he’s taking to her about the Hyuuga slave seal to, she is a sealing master so she’s better suited to help him with finding a different way” “One that isn’t a sword of Damocles’?” Touka asked rhetorically, already aware of Tobirama’s dislike of the Hyuuga solution to their bloodline problem and honestly really glad not to be subjected to the rants anymore – apparently as he planned the village his brother wanted he frequently ranted about Hashirama’s lack of thought about the Hyuuga seal, Izuna had heard about it at length.

Eventually Madara stood, tapping the little girl he had been talking to on the nose and looking at Tobirama, communicating in that silent way they had that always confused Izuna as a second later the albino looked over and finished his conversation quickly; Izuna noticing that Madara was avoiding approaching the child in the Kurama spy master’s arms only because he was looking for it at Tobirama went to Madara rather than the other way around (ugh, did they always have to just tangle together as soon as they were close! ((yes Izuna was ignoring that he was doing the same with Touka and that most Uchiha were pretty physical, this was his older brother!)) It was too cute! Izuna had seen a Kurama faint when Madara and Tobirama were being all…all…fluffy! Fainted. Fainted.)

Grumbling Izuna pecked Touka’s cheek and stomped over to his brother, yanking on his brother’s sleeve until a bright eyed Madara slanted a glance at him and raised a brow without detangling from Tobirama wrapped around him, the white head tucked into his shoulder like Tobirama was hiding from the world (something that was over likely, Izuna didn’t like the Senju clan much these days – in a completely different way from before). “You gonna help me plan a wedding before the whole compound is chaos moving the wall to make more space?” he grumbled, ignoring Touka’s snorted laughter – she had allowed him to arrange things (except her kimono, he wasn’t allowed to do that at all and couldn’t see it before the wedding) and Izuna was going to make his big brother go all in with him! It had been a while since the Uchiha had a reason like this to celebrate and Izuna was going to make it a big thing, damn it!!! Bigger than Tobirama’s introduction for sure.

A slow grin spread over Madara’s face and his eyes brightened happily, “Oh hell yes!” he purred, something demonic in his eyes that Izuna knew was matching in his when Touka released his hand and grabbed her cousin, unpeeling him from Madara while muttering “nope, nope, nope, this is me nopeing out of this and you are coming with me” under her breath as Izuna started giggling evilly. (This, this was what he had wanted and lost when Madara was taken by the Kurama; but regret wouldn’t change the past and Izuna…Izuna was learning to let go. Slowly, but he was learning.)

Chapter 61: tourmaline

Summary:

Locate trouble; provide insight and direct towards good

Notes:

fighting new meds, sorry, hopping to respond to some stuff soon though

Chapter Text

Tobirama frowned down at his dusty chakra diagrams, his head already aching and wanting nothing more than to leave the library and go pout at Madara until his husband (thrill still wasn’t gone from that) rubbed his head with chakra charged fingers but knowing that the other man was absorbed with wedding planning with Izuna. Both Uchiha had taken to that with frightening glee and Tobirama knew how much it meant to Madara to have something to do with Izuna like this, both of which gave Tobirama good reason to stay away from the living room Izuna had taken over and covered in wedding things (it was….frightening. The Senju liked a good wedding but they had nothing on the way the Uchiha seemed rabid about it. Tobirama was really grateful for his battle wedding honestly). So instead he was here trying to ignore (he hadn’t been there at his brother’s wedding, had anyone given him a wedding fan? and -) things and focus on Aziza’s problem, (he had had to set aside the Sharingan for now, Aziza was more of an imminent threat) something he was only making minimal progress on. He had an idea about it, knew how he wanted treat it but he hadn’t the faintest idea how to go about it!

The thing was that as a bloodline he had to change her chakra in order to control it; had to alter the very fabric of her makeup in order to make sure it not only didn’t hurt others but didn’t hurt her; Tobirama wouldn’t count it a success to just lock her power inside where it could still torment her and drive her mad with the hallucinations (that had been tried by others in the past) even if that would keep her from hurting others. No he had to find another way and thought that he might have an idea, but how to implement it? The body already had natural inhibitors of chakra that restricted how much power you could use for safeties sake and the best thing to do would be to work with the existing natural structures rather than adding anything else, but Tobirama wasn’t sure how he was going to twist the Eight Gates to do what he wanted yet. Forcing something new like a seal into the body could lead to potential rejection or overload or backfire or a host of other problems, but if he could use the Gates…they already regulated chakra and if he could use that for the bloodline and then crack it the tiniest amount it might just work and hold. Aziza would have markings a bit like Tobirama, but she should have her sanity and a grip on reality (her own was already starting to show cracks, even as young as she was), or she would if Tobirama figured this out!

Sighing the albino leaned back and rubbed at his eyes until stars flashed behind his lids, breathing on a careful count; there was time to figure this out, he didn’t have to make it work today. Madara didn’t expect that of him and there wasn’t much threat of Tobirama just dying at any moment anymore with the tentative peace between the clans mostly holding (well, not the Shimura, but the Uchiha didn’t have any shared borders with them so it wasn’t a huge impact on them. Let the Shimura and Hyuuga wail away on each other while the Uchiha consolidated power and gathered their allies close and safe), so for once in his life it didn’t feel like there was a timer ticking away on his life and he had to race to get it all done before time ran out. The thought sent a stab of remembered anxiety and stress slicing through him and Tobirama tensed, wishing he could go bother Madara but unwilling to interrupt the brother’s time together; Madara and Izuna needed time together just the two of them to reconnect and rebuild their relationship outside of battle and leading the clan, this was important and Tobirama…would be fine. He would, he was pretty sure that Madara would welcome him and want to be interrupted but…all Tobirama could think about was what he would give to have a chance like this with Hashirama; he would want Madara with him sure, but he was a little different given that he wasn't sure he could face Hashirama without Madara with him, still for a chance to reconnect with Hashirama – well, Tobirama knew it was important and Izuna and Madara could fix things, something Tobirama wasn’t sure he and Hashirama could do even when the Senju inevitably heard about Tobirama being alive, not after being threatened with a Formal Apology.

Shivering Tobirama shoved way from the table and wandered to the window, looking out over sun soaked grounds and letting his senses crawl over Fire Country, tracking the movements of the clans as patrols were run and shinobi scattered on missions; lingering on the agitated Hōki (there was a Hōki messenger with the Hatake as well, logical given that the family had allied with them a long time ago and they seemed in need of aid, there had been more of them last time Tobirama checked) and stressed Nara, feeling the sticking clinging in the fabric of the world collecting around them (a mark of the Consuming Shadows maybe? If the Nara were in danger….) as the Yamanaka clan’s wife shoved down a deep well of anxiety while a healer looked her over (worry about the pregnancy?). The Capital was a whirring whispering mess as always, though Rikona seemed relatively calm and was sitting with Satomi, the twin lights in the Senju Lady already bright with powerful chakra (if only Tobirama was there to tell his brother about the lightning gathering in the boy and the growing-green in the girl, though it was gentler in her than it had been in Hashirama; more the movement of trees readying for the autumn than the over-egger spring hunger that lived in the Senju clan head, a blessing though some might not see it as so. If only Tobirama was there to make sure the birth went smoothly and safely, not that he was sure his brother would even want him -), the Senju in the Capital were bright with purpose and intent; most seemed to be acclimatizing to the change rather well, though the lack of pitched battles was no doubt part of that.

Hashirama was…odd, dimmed like a weeping willow and lingering with rosemary and rue; what was he mourning? What was he regretting? What sorrow had Tobirama stood by and allowed to – but, no, that wasn’t fair. Hashirama had a right to his own hurts and consequences, Madara had been right about that; Tobirama should never have worked so hard to shield him, it had done his brother no favors in the end. Tobirama was trying not to blame himself for things as much now, but he also had to acknowledge that he had…encouraged his brother’s childishness for a long time by always taking over or fixing things or – all he had wanted was to keep his last beloved brother smiling (and maybe, maybe, convince Hashi to smile at him – to love him again) but with some distance he could see how that had only enabled his brother never learning and was part of why Hashirama couldn’t cope without Tobirama. He never should have sheltered his brother so much and that – that was why Hashirama was aching so deeply now after leaving all his dreams behind for stable supplies and commerce in lands he didn’t have to send patrols out on.

In the new Senju compound in the Capital tucked up close to the Walled Palace, Hashirama’s chakra flickered and ached, full of doubt and (“What did you do? No really Tobi, what did you do that Madara– my friend– would think this was needed? Did you experiment on one of his clan? Steal their eyes? Because the last time a retribution hunt was declared it was after a rape!” Tobirama recoiled, eyes snapping to his brother “I would never-!” “Then what is it!?!” “I don’t know! I truly don’t know; I can’t think of anything that would…” Hashirama snorted and turned away; “You need to offer a formal apology” he said sternly “What?!” Tobirama yelped, “You can’t require that of me, not yet anyway” he said through cold lips, that his brother would ask this of him…gods, what had he even done? Was it some intrinsic character flaw like Izuna was always saying? Was there something ((more)) wrong with him to finally have Madara’s attention like this? What was happening?) Tobirama abruptly wanted nothing more that to just stop. Not vanish, he wouldn’t do that to Madara, but he missed his brother and he couldn’t even manage to finish the jutsu to fix the Uchiha eyes without going against Madara's rules about testing things on himself, much less save Aziza from her terrible fate and what use did he –

A small hand curled gently over his hand and blearily Tobirama turned a fraction of his attention to the room he was in, trying to gather his senses back to himself without the help of Madara’s touch as the little calloused hand squeezed gently and the child (flickeringflamepinkpepperpolishedwood Kagami, Kagami was in the room, Kasumi waiting at the library door with Akane) wiggled closer, leaning heavily on Tobirama’s leg while the tired albino pulled himself together. Finally Tobirama opened his eyes and looked down at a wide eyed Kagami who was chewing his lip and watching the former Senju with clear concern, “You back?” the little boy asked quietly “Kasumi said you went wandering but Shishou wasn’t with you to call you back, are you back?” and the cold in Tobirama’s heart eased as he dropped a hand on Kagami’s head and smiled, “I’m back,” he promised “thank you for helping me” and the Uchiha beamed brilliantly, vibrating slightly with pleasure and bouncing on his toes as if Tobirama’s praise was the best thing he could imagine. “Yup! Yup!” he chirped, looking around with curiosity “What you workin’ on?” Tobirama snorted softly, waving Kasumi and Akane into the room as he walked back to the table and started organizing his notes for the night, he needed to go find Madara if he wanted to escape a nasty headache so it was time to stop for the day and try again tomorrow.

“I am working on something to help out Aziza Kurama, her bloodline is….hmmm, difficult-“ “Like going blind?” Kagami interjected quietly, clearly thinking of the Mangekyō “Yes” Tobirama nodded “but worse really. I am working on a way to help her manage her bloodline with the Eight Gates, do you know what those are?” Kasumi came around the table and pushed on her toes to look at the papers on the table, “Yes Sensei” she said demurely “we learned about those, the gates that regulate the chakra in the body. Can you use them?” Tobirama smiled fondly at her around the pain in his head and moved a diagram of the gates to where the children could look at it. “Exactly, the Eight Gates are eight specific tenketsu points along the chakra pathways/coils that limit the body to using about twenty percent of your full chakra potential. When opened you can use more and more of your full chakra and while that has many advantages it is also deeply dangerous and opening all Eight Gates can kill you, opening even a few of the gates can cripple you physically and your chakra.” Tobirama told them as they peered at the diagram, Kagami co*cking his head cutely, “So you want to add another Gate to limit bloodlines?” he asked brightly and Tobirama –

Add another Gate, not find a way to alter existing Gates which was all but impossible, no add another Gate. A ninth Gate to limit bloodlines, that….that could work! It was improbable that he could do it but not impossible. “Oh” Tobirama whispered, his eyes focusing on a middle distance before he scrambled for a book; focus already completely zeroed in on the new idea as the children watched avidly and whispered, their murmurings to each other occasionally sparking a new thought in Tobirama’s head (he needed Byakugan but could possibly get around it with Kikiyo’s help – she knew chakra coils and tenketsu points well) as he scratched down hurried notes (still didn’t want it to be a seal but that was ok, this was more medic-nin work than seal master work), shoving the pounding in his head out of his mind with old skill he hadn’t used since coming to the Uchiha with Madara.

Madara would be upset with him for doing it but…Tobirama couldn’t bring himself to keep watch his strong husband flinch every time little Aziza got too close; it tormented the older man to avoid her like that and treat a sweet child (and with her round face and round amber eyes and profusion of dark tight curls the girl looked far too sweet to be the kind of person that could cause so much harm) like she was a monster, but trying to push too hard past the fear had only left him in a nasty flashback from being too close to the distinctive feeling of the Kurama bloodline (Tobirama agreed the feel of the bloodline was….a lot, all dreemrootcongealingbloodcocainestickyfructosesyuruppitcherplantsweet, honestly in Madara’s place Tobirama would be keeping much farther away from her; as always his love was a marvel of strength and Tobirama was astonished by him). Tobirama just couldn’t let this go on for very long, not with the toll it was taking on Madara, that was worth a little pain and a telling off from his husband.

Madara co*cked his head from the door of the dim library, looking at the sleeping children and his hunched over husband who was clearly absorbed in his workand was also clearly ignoring a terrific headache if the pinch at the corners of his eyes was anything to go by. f*ck, Madara was glad to have to time with his brother but there had come a point when he was more than ready to have his Center beside him and that point had been a little while ago now, clearly he shouldn't have waited. With a sigh Madara walked up to his distracted husband, frowning when Tobirama didn’t even twitch and scanning his slender frame for any more signs of pain or stress – sh*t, more migraine than headache it looked, crap, carefully Madara raised his hands and tugged off his gloves, settling his fingers on Tobirama’s temples and channeling chakra through them. Instantly Tobirama whimpered and slumped forward, braced heavily on his hands as his legs went out from under him; swearing Madara moved forward to brace the albino between him and the table, leaving his fingers pressed to Tobirama’s right temple and wrapping his left arm around the other man with a worried sound.

f*ck, To’ra, what did you do to yourself?” Madara asked in Tobirama’s ear, nosing close as his husband sagged against him; “M’ok, just I finally started making some progress and I….” Tobirama trailed off tiredly and Madara sighed, able to fill in the rest of it himself. “I'm ok darling, I need you well and beside me more than I need a way to solve the problem of the bloodline; you’re my Center, that means you have to take care of yourself better – not that you’re allowed to feel bad about this either!” He added in a rush “I know you just forgot, and the habit of a lifetime won’t be unmade in a few months so don’t feel guilty, just – next time remember,” he placed a hand on Tobirama’s chest over the albino’s heart “you’re my heart, losing you is as good as loosing myself”. Tobirama made a small cut off sound and wriggled around until he could wrap his arms around Madara in return “M’sorry,” he whispered “I – just felt – I, I’m sorry” “I know, I know darling, you can tell me about it later, when your head doesn’t hurt as much, ok?” Madara soothed, stroking the thick white hair and aching for his pale love; next time he was missing his Center he would just go looking for him rather than waiting!

Chapter 62: diamond

Summary:

Amulet against demons; protection against nightmares and madness

Chapter Text

Tobirama jerked awake suddenly, leaning over Madara and biting back a curse at the dark frown on his clear brow, nightmares again? With carful fingers Tobirama brushed the hair out of his husband’s face tucking it behind one ear, the upper arch glittering with the diamond studs Tobirama had given him; a fair trade for the piercings in Tobirama’s nipples Madara said (after he gave the albino a new set he made with his own two hands – a set that could have a fine chain connecting them if Madara attached it, that had been an…experience, in the best way possible). “Madara” he called quietly “’dara, wake up bright hawk” a sharp gasp and dark eyes snapped open, Madara stiffening sharply as he came awake and then relaxing as he registered Tobirama leaning over him; “To’ra?” he asked sleepily. Tobirama traced the line of one fine brow with a finger, watching Madara nuzzle into his hand “You were dreaming again ‘dara, the same as last time?” he murmured, shifting down to lie half on top of his husband. Madara sighed deeply and curled an arm around him “Yes, at least I think so, shifting shadows and a smiling moon and…” he trailed off and Tobirama’s gut clenched painfully, all to aware of the way Madara’s chakra shifted and flexed in these ‘dreams’ of his “…a man with horns, he was so…disappointed in me, said I was a failure and-“ “You are not a failure!” Tobirama hissed, Madara wincing as the hand in his hair tightened, thrown out of his musings by the furious gaze of his Center “You are not a failure Madara, hush, I don’t care about your dreams or what you remember in them. You told me once that having a Center is rare and one of the most important things to an Uchiha, would a failure have a Center?”

Madara blinked and the shadows cleared from his eyes, his chakra settling as Tobirama wrapped around him holding his gaze tightly; the albino was learning how to help his husband when things like this happened and direct eye contact seemed to be the best way to make the connection. “You’re mine Madara, and I would never want a failure” he promised, Madara’s face easing and focusing as he fully left the remnants of his dreams, pushing up against Tobirama’s weakening grip to kiss the younger man slowly; a grateful lingering press that the albino let himself sink into happily. “You hear me?” he asked when he finally drew back, holding Madara close until the older man huffed a laugh and nodded “I’m not a failure” he agreed, breathing it into the space between them like it was a secret that had to spoken carefully and quietly. “Damn straight you’re not” Tobirama said firmly, kissing him again hard and deep until the warm hum of Madara’s chakra once again had the steady thrum of his confidence and ego, “now, let me be the first one to wish you a happy birthday dear heart. I know you didn’t want anything big because the Solstice is tonight and the wedding is tomorrow” (thank the gods, Tobirama could not deal with more wedding fuss. He and Touka were well over it though Mito had joined in with frightening glee) “but you are not going to get in my way of celebrating your existence at least a little.” The Uchiha started to protest and Tobirama laid a finger over his lips “Madara, when I think about my life without you it terrifies me, if I want to celebrate you I will! Think about where I would be without you, can’t you want to celebrate that at least?”

And that seemed to catch the Uchiha off guard, freezing him as he considered where Tobirama might be (dead, probably dead or still with the Senju) and finding it bad enough he shivered and clutched Tobirama closer, clearing his throat before he could speak “Yes – I – yes, I can celebrate you being here with me, I can always celebrate that” he rasped; nosing at Tobirama’s temple. Pleased to get his way Tobirama twisted to kiss his Madara again, fully planning to spend the hours of the dawn tangled together with his husband under the blankets keeping them from the chill air (maybe it had even snowed?). Too often their time together was interrupted by the many occupants of the Great House needing something or another and though Tobirama understood it (it was a tumultuous time after all) he rather resented how little time they had just to be together and clutched at any opportunity to take some time for them together.

Madara twisted them, rolling until Tobirama was under him and the albino smiled into the kiss, eyes warm and adoring on the Uchiha when he drew back and raised an eyebrow “Is this for my birthday then?” he asked leadingly and Tobirama’s smile grew a bit “No, this is just for being you. Now this is for your birthday” and with that Tobirama raised his hands glowing with green as he laid his finger on Madara’s temples and sought out the man’s tenketsu points behind his eyes (silently thanking again the elderly Uchiha that had come to him with Mangekyō blind eyes and offered himself up as a test. Tobirama couldn’t fix his blindness and the elder had known it but he hadn’t been willing for Madara to go blind and had heard about Tobirama’s project and been willing to offer up himself for the tests Madara wouldn’t let Tobirama do on himself; tests that had been successful and let Tobirama do this now – especially with the help of the Center-stabilization in the tenketsu). Carefully Tobirama threaded his power though Madara’s and nudged at the lines of his chakra coils while strengthening the organic material of his eyes until the strain wouldn’t so quickly damage them. Probably there would be more adjustments to make to the jutsu as time went on to make it stronger and more streamlined- and make sure that it could stand up to the volume of power channeled through it- but it was enough to heal them now and sooth his husband’s pain in a more solid way.

Madara gasped and slumped over Tobirama slowly blinking his eyes open and staring at the albino with blank shock, “You figured it out” he breathed, eyes wide and clear “you figured it out without hurting yourself”. Tobirama laughed and stroked a thumb under Madara’s brilliant eyes, “Yes, without hurting myself- though that would have been quite a bit faster love- I had some help, Kuragari let me work on his eyes and I was able to fill in the blanks. There might be more work to do later but the first version was done two days ago and I decided to save it for today since it was so close”. There was a long pause as Madara gazed at him with a baffling look on his face and then whimpered and ducked close, smothering Tobirama with kisses until the younger man was flushed and happily dazed (a look Madara was more than a little fond of, one of his top five even – along with post-org*sm and sleepy relaxation or the intent look he got when sparing with Madara). “You” the Uchiha said, punctuating it with a kiss “are a marvel” and at that Tobirama giggled, twisting to hide in Madara’s hair and clutching the older man close with greedy hands until his breathing slowed.

Madara smiled down at his dozing lover, more than happy to spend the first hours of his twenty fifth year just watching his Center relaxed and pleased in his presence as they curled together in the rising sunlight (after all they said to start the year as you meant to go on and not only was this his birthday but it was the Uchiha New Years eve and their biggest festival- this and the summer solstice, though this year would be a bit quieter given the wedding tomorrow- as they filled the sky with fire to help coax the sun back into the sky on the longest night of the year, so what better way to start the year? Also the reason Izuna was getting married tomorrow on the first day of the reborn sun). It was amazing to see his Center like this, perfectly clear and sharp without the Sharingan as his newly healed eyes took in his lover; unsurprised that his lover was somehow only more beautiful like this, all shinning china-pale skin and moonlight hair and vermillion stripes seeming to glow in the early sunlight. Happily Madara traced a bright marking over Tobirama’s sharp hipbone, scanning the Uchiha compound and biting back a snicker at the feel of Izuna’s stressed chakra (his little brother was very stressed about what tasks Tobirama might set him as Touka’s family to earn her hand – a Senju thing apparently, less fire than the Uchiha traditions at least) before flickering out to feel out the new arrivals and how they were settling in.

So far the Kurama were settling in well as were the Kohaku and the preparations for expanding the wall were going apace- which was good given that the Izumo had wrote to him and asked for succor already and Tobirama had felt the Hōki under attack and gathering themselves, possibly to come to the Uchiha for safety as the Consuming Shadows whittled down their already small numbers- as was the work into Tobirama’s increased infrastructure plans, all of which would be implemented once the wedding was over. Not that that would ease Tobirama’s quiet worries about Madara’s dreams; the Uchiha wished he knew how to tell his lover that though they were distressing and unsettling they didn’t leave Madara feeling invaded or under attack, just…like he was trying to remember something he had forgotten. Something old and painful and – something that might have it’s own madness (Madara couldn’t argue that he didn’t feel…strained and threatened after the dreams but his Center always called him back from those foggy past-wounds) but that wasn’t truly a directed attack on him; this felt more like the side effects of some other movement. Not that that was all that reassuring, it did leave the ever present question of what it was that the Shadows were doing and why the ripples of that would be affecting Madara, and that was something none of them knew the answer to.

Tobirama snuffled a bit and snuggled closer with a shiver, his fingers tightening in Madara’s dark hair pleasantly and jarring the Uchiha out of his thoughts to nuzzle closer in the chill air; he whistled a low note and snorted a laugh when there was a scrambling sound of paws padding closer on wood and then a heavy warm weight settling on Tobirama’s other side as the growing Mūn sprawled out next to the albino to keep him from the chill as the banked power of the heating started for the winter day. Lazily the growing tiger rested his furry chin on Tobirama’s hip, yawning at Madara as if he was a cute house cat and not an increasingly large tiger that rarely left Madara’s side (and when it was it was for Haru who was very fond of the tiger) and terrified annoying people on the regular. Smirking Madara tucked his Center closer and ruffled Mūn’s cub-large ears before settling down to drowse the morning away – at least until one of the children came to wake them.

Chapter 63: opal

Summary:

fell from the heavens in flashes of lightning; recall past lives, luck, and hope

Notes:

smut starts after Izuna's wolf-whistle and is basically the rest of the chapter if you want to skip

Chapter Text

Tobirama sipped at his tea, watching with amusem*nt as Izuna fretted and gently deactivating Kaida’s Byakugan as the toddler started in surprise when Izuna wailed loudly about….something. Wedding crackers maybe? The Uchiha were…strange about weddings and even though this time Madara and Izuna (and Kikiyo more usefully) had explained wedding traditions to the Senju- thus allowing them to add a few of their own, like Touka’s dress including something old (an under-obi Tobirama had found for her a long time ago), something new (the kimono), something barrowed (a hair pin from Kikiyo), and something true (a well loved knife her mother had left for her), and the marriage fan Tobirama would give her after the ceremony- Tobirama could admit he didn’t quite understand the fuss. Well, whatever, Izuna had to get his head out of the wedding prep today anyway; this was Madara’s birthday and Tobirama wasn’t going to let that get overlooked even if they didn’t do anything clan wide, starting now.

With one last gulp of tea Tobirama sat up taller and lashed out with a very specific kick, grinning with all his teeth when Izuna yelped; “Come on little brother” the albino purred, “you are going to help me make a cake for your brother’s birthday” Izuna- who had been about to squawk about the ‘little’ thing (he was older! By only a couple months but still)- paled and grimaced, seeing the threat in Tobirama’s eyes (if he tried to ignore Madara’s birthday for the wedding he was willing to bet his Senju Tasks to get Touka tomorrow would be a LOT worse – not that he wanted to ignore Madara’s birthday! Just…incentive). Swallowing Izuna nodded, shoving the papers he had been despairing over back in their folder and standing with the albino to follow the other man into the kitchen; Kaida watching with curiosity and brightening when she was handed over to Izuna (Tobirama was her favorite but she had a fondness for Izuna that made the albino snicker, if only her clan could see her…), pulling firmly on the Uchiha’s hair as Tobirama washed up and pulled a piece of paper out of a pocket before digging in cupboards for ingredients. “What are we making?” Izuna asked distractedly, trying to free his hair from Kaida’s mighty grip, “Senju recipe – well more a me and Hash-Hashirama recipe but I think Madara will like flourless chocolate cake so we’re doing that, I at least know I make it well” Tobirama told him absently, frowning at the box in his hand and then depositing it on the table and fixing Izuna with a sharp look “no grousing about Senju things!” he added and the Uchiha held up his freehand, Kaida throwing hers up in excitement as well “Hey, nothing from me, Madara will love anything that you make but especially if it is something that means something to you, he would want to share it and what he likes is what matters”.

At that Tobirama smiled a bit- it was what he was hoping – also just the cake he was best at- and went back to sorting things before directing Izuna to set Kaida on the counter with a little chakra to stick her in place before bullying the uncomplaining Izuna into coming and helping him, pleased that even with such a big day tomorrow Izuna was willing and ready to set it all aside and focus on Madara.

(Madara, who had been looking for his little brother, leaned against the wall beside the door to the kitchen and blew out a slow breath, swiping at his damp eyes and stifling a wet laugh. A year ago Izuna didn’t seem to even care that today was Madara’s birthday as well as the Solstice and this year….this year he was taking orders from the man who had been his greatest rival the day before his wedding as if it wasn’t a big deal, at least not as long as Madara’s happiness was what was in being worked on. And Tobirama, his amazing Center was dragging Izuna into helping so that he could spend time just the two of them because he knew Madara rather wished Izuna and Tobirama knew each other better and wanted Madara’s birthday to be something they worked on together instead of just doing it all himself; gods of fire and flame but Madara had no idea what he had done to ever receive such attention and care from such an amazing person but if he ever needed something to push back against the nighttime whispers Tobirama was right, no one who had Tobirama as their Center could ever be a failure. Not ever.)

Madara snickered as the mother of pearl fan flickered at Touka over the remains of their late dinner and the delicious cake (Tobirama had been right, Madara did like it quite a lot; even more for seeing the playful jostling between Tobirama and Izuna at dinner after working together to make it) basking in the best birthday he could remember in years, also the first in years where it was celebrated separately at all with a late dinner after the lighting of the Solstice fires, the Great House retiring early for dinner though the children were still out in the festivities for a while longer with their minders. Tobirama tsked and rolled his eyes, leaning into Madara’s side and stretching to kiss the other man’s jaw lightly and it was only because they were pressed so tight together that Madara felt his spine stiffen and his attention shift outward from the House, flickering over the celebrating Uchiha in the compound; eating a laughing and dancing near the fires or spiting flashy katon into the air, and then out over the surrounding countryside. “To’ra?” he asked quietly into the albino’s ear and relaxed slowly, nosing closer and murmuring “The Hōki, they are coming closer at speed, I think they’ll get here tomorrow morning” Madara groaned very softly and dropped his head to lean on the thick white hair. “That bad?” he asked and Tobirama nodded “Yes, not surprising as they are mostly spies and healers but they’ve lost a lot of the family, not much more than two dozen of them left now” at that Madara hissed sharply, that was nearly half their number dead! “f*ck, we need to move the wall” he whispered and Tobirama set a hand on his leg, squeezing gently “After the wedding. I’ll scan them at the gate tomorrow and then they can just help out with setting things up and after your brother’s wedding- the one you have wanted to plan since you were a child and weren’t sure you would ever have the chance to, you know that one?- we will focus on dealing with the refuges and the Shadows, alright? Don’t let this take the light away from you dear heart, then they are closer to winning, you taught me that”.

Madara blew out a slow breath and forced himself to relax, pressing a kiss to the wild white hair and refocusing on the now; Tobirama was right, he had to focus on the good things, especially as an Uchiha he had to focus on the bright spots in his life and let them bolster him when the night was dark and the dreams dripping in blood. With that in mind Madara focused on dinner and when it started winding down and Tobirama’s hand started creeping higher and higher up his leg he excused himself and his minx of a husband; ignoring Kikiyo’s smirking and sending a speaking look at exactly how close Mito was sitting to her before dragging his little brother into a tight hug, crushing the brat close and so f*cking glad that he still could. Izuna stiffened in surprise and then folded into the hug and wrapped his thin arms around Madara tightly, “Happy birthday big brother” the younger Uchiha mumbled into Madara’s shoulder “I’m really, really glad that I get to celebrate with you” words that included so much weight behind them; glad that they were both there to celebrate, glad that they were together, glad that the strain and cracks in their relationship had been addressed before they could ruin everything, glad that they were celebrating and glad that Madara was there to celebrate and – it was too much and for a second Madara felt like he was in freefall until –

Tobirama met his eyes from the door, a soft smile on his lips as his chakra curled around Madara in a cool caress, soothing and grounding in all the best ways. With a sigh Madara squeezed his brother tightly, holding Tobirama’s gaze as he murmured “Me too, me too Izu” in agreement. After a moment he let Izuna go back to Touka and made a beeline to his waiting Center, catching one elegant hand and pressing a light kiss to the underside of Tobirama’s wrist as the albino cupped his cheek softly, “Alright dear heart?” Tobirama asked and Madara nodded, saying honestly “Yes, with you yes. Just….been a long time since I was looking forward to another year”. Something sad and knowing passed over Tobirama’s face but he didn’t say anything, probably very familiar with the feeling and hopefully becoming familiar with the wanting to stay (he hadn’t f*cked up his eyes!), “Come husband,” Tobirama said softly “let us to bed”.

At that Madara grinned, heat blossoming in his gut at the look in his love’s red eyes and in a spurt of mischief he ducked and swept Tobirama up into his arms, ignoring the startled squeak and Izuna’s wolf whistle as he winked at those still in the room and slipped away with his quietly amused beloved burden.

In their room Madara laid down his husband and hushed Tobirama’s almost spoken protests with a murmured “Hush darling, let me do as I wish, let me take care of you - this is what I want” and the albino subsided, shivering under Madara’s hands as the Uchiha carefully stripped his clothing away, stroking exposed skin with wondering fingers that lingered on the Token at his wrist, dark hair vivid against pale skin in the reflected fire light of the Solstice celebrations. “Gods do I love you” Madara whispered in a rough voice, stepping back to disrobe himself and ignoring Tobirama’s pout at not being the one to take Madara’s clothing off, just pleased that the albino was letting him do as he pleased as there was nothing he liked better than making Tobirama feel good and seeing him in the throws of pleasure. Tobirama flushed a faintly over his cheeks and collarbones, stretching showily for Madara’s viewing pleasure; his spine making an elegant line Madara wanted to bite his way down, pale skin littered with a scattering of love bites in various stages of fading that Madara was looking forward to adding too.

Hot and hungry Madara knelt over his beloved, smoothing his hands up the lines of Tobirama’s ribs – comfortingly sleek after so long with the Uchiha eating regularly and not having to run back-to-back missions. “Good?” he checked, thumbing a nipple and fingering the metal there just to watch his lover shiver and feel the pull of one of Tobirama’s hand in his hair before reaching under the bed for the box with the things that they kept for use in the bedroom (scented oils, the necklace that had prompted the piercing, a string of hematite beads he hadn’t asked about yet and – ah, the chain that connected the piercing and under that a heavy white jade phallus). Setting a vial of oil and the jade next to him on the bed Madara set about kissing his lovely Center as close to incoherence as he could with chakra filled kisses, petting the line of his heaving ribs for a long moment before pulling back and waiting until crystal-red eyes cleared somewhat, the vision of his love loose and relaxed and wanting for him setting his blood aflame. After a moment he held up the jade where Tobirama could see it, transfixed with the deepening of the flush on Tobirama’s cheeks as he nodded, the vestiges of shyness clinging a touch – a shyness that made Madara’s heart ache, so glad that there was still some left after everything Tobirama had seen and done; though that might mostly be because he knew what Madara wanted was to watch him and he hadn’t seemed to quite wrap his head around the depth of Madara’s desire for him.

Slowly Tobirama nodded, eyes catching Madara’s and holding, the light of his adoration clear to the Uchiha and making him want to sing; his Center loved him, his beloved wanted him, his husband liked him and didn’t fear him – not even when Madara’s newly healed Sharingan fixed on him, indeed that just made him stretch beautifully again like he wanted nothing more than for Madara to record every second of him. Transfixed Madara stroked his ribs again, playing with the bar in his piercing just to see Tobirama arch and gasp while he tucked the jade closer to his body to warm it and thumbed open the oil, spilling it messily over his fingers as he slicked them. “Mad – ah!- ara” Tobirama panted, eyes hot on the Uchiha as he slid oil coated fingers over delicate skin, petting lightly at Tobirama’s hole and making the slimmer man shudder “so god too me, so good for me” Madara swallowed, the praise in Tobirama’s desire heavy voice making his head swim with heat – redoubling when the hand not tangled in Madara’s hair stroked up the Uchiha’s thigh and curled around his co*ck lightly even as Tobirama’s mouth dropped open on a breathy sound when Madara slid a finger inside.

The albino melted into the bed as Madara eased a second finger in, all the Uchiha’s concentration fixed on his lover and on not bucking into the caressing hand on his shaft even as more drugging words of praise slid out of that thin lovely mouth, filling Madara with a heady, honeyed heat. Three fingers and his Center reduced to a string of endless moans and Madara drew back, waiting for Tobirama’s eyes to clear a little again- and his own blood to calm- before holding up the jade in silent question; yes before didn’t mean yes always and there had been times in the past when either one of them would agree to something and then end up wanting something gentler when emotions got too raw (it wasn’t like that was ever a burden, even when things very rarely ground to a complete halt it didn’t matter as long as they could curl up together and talk it through later; closeness was closeness as far as Madara was concerned). Tonight however Tobirama just nodded, shuddering when Madara brought it to his lips and breathed a spark of heated chakra into the pale stone; licking playfully at it just to see Tobirama shiver (there was a reason he had chosen white jade) before bringing it down to circle the relaxed furl of muscle.

Tobirama shook, twitching under Madara’s hands as he slowly slid the chakra charged stone home; his eyes wide and mouth gapping and – f*ck, Madara hadn’t realized it would feel this good for Tobirama, he looked….like a dream, all long limbs and rosy nipples and heaving ribs and the shine of spit on slack lips and – f*ck, f*ck, f*ck, Madara was going to lose his mind. Panting himself Madara eased the jade back and drizzled a little oil over it before slowly sliding it home, watching with violet-tinged, red-hazed vision as Tobirama writhed; f*cking back into Madara’s hand until the Uchiha shifted the angle and Tobirama jolted like he had been electrocuted, all but choking on a keening scream as Madara’s hand snapped down and closed tightly on the base of his lover’s co*ck, unwilling to let this be over so soon. Dizzy with desire and tunnel vision fixed on the shine of drool on Tobirama’s cheek, the aching red of his pretty co*ck, the way the opals he was wearing in his piercings caught the light and how his body looked as the jade was pushed in Madara couldn’t hear anything but the thready whimper Tobirama was making and his own moan laden heaving breaths; the entire world narrowed down to his beloved and the pleasure Madara could bring him, even his own aching neglected co*ck ignored with the need to focus on his Center and the searing pleasure of bringing him higher.

(Madara had always had a bit of a thing about making his partners feel good and could rarely get off without knowing he had made them feel good first, something that had been an issue once or twice and led to him being called an arrogant control freak once or twice. His partners growing upset with feeling like it was unbalanced or something, Madara had never gotten a clear answer on why it was a bad thing but known it was if you wanted a long relationship instead of just a series of one night stands- not helped by the fact that even making his partner feel good first was sometimes not enough and he didn’t know why, and no, it wasn’t a control thing thank you very much-. But Tobirama…Tobirama had no problem with Madara’s need to make him feel good and was more than willing to control their sex and just take what he wanted if they were in the mood; he also had no problem with being a pillow prince if that was what Madara wanted, indeed he loved it when Madara doted on him ((even if it kind of confused him still)) and was fully willing to indulge Madara’s need to see that he was making Tobirama feel good. And he looked so sublime doing it, like a fantasy Madara was sure he hadn’t the imagination to dream up on his own but – f*ck, Madara could and had gotten off just on seeing Tobirama feel good, seeing his lover trust him so deeply was like nothing he had ever experienced. On the other hand everything with Tobirama, with his breathtaking Center, was like nothing he had ever experienced.)

Another thrust of the jade and Tobirama’s eyes rolled back in his head and Madara took that as his cue, releasing his lover’s co*ck and twisting the chakra charged stone, his own vision graying at the edges as Tobirama convulsed and came hard, spilling over Madara’s skin as the Uchiha forced his shaking hand still – too much more might hurt and – Tobirama’s hands scrambled weakly and only half paying attention Madara slid the stone out and followed the clinging hands until – sh*t, wait, no, “Darling, aha, too much I don’t-“ but the rest of his sentence was cut off when Tobirama’s hands pulled on his hair painfully hard and the dazed eyes gained a wrathful glint as he hissed “In me Madara”. And oh sweet kami it would have taken a better man than Madara- or a stupider one- to refuse after that, sliding home and convulsing himself at the feel of his lover’s relaxed heat, f*cking rabbit-quick into Tobirama’s lax body as the albino stretched and let out a little pleased hum; clearly well into it as he twined shakily around his husband, sending Madara snarling over the edge with a pleased little purring “So good f’r me ‘dara” just slurring at the edges with the come down.

Madara snarled and swore, coming hard and hot and clutching his Center, his everything, as close as humanly possible through the aftershocks, Tobirama more than happy to cling and curl together and ignore the mess. Eventually Madara would make sure his love was asleep and ease away to grab a wet cloth and clean the worst of the mess up to make sure the morning was less… sticky, but for now it was good to just drift here together and bask in the present; enjoying the novel feeling of contentment as dreaming flickered past unnoted. (Once upon a time there was a man, a flawed and powerful man that loved his brother and his family and his world and tried his best to do better and help more and understand why the world was the way it was and why being a prodigy meant more work and expectation but then they turned around and said it was too easy for you as if it never hurt to be alone and stand without anyone else and have all that expectation- if you didn’t live up to it you were a disappointment if you did it was just expected, prodigy after all right?-. Once upon a time there was a man who dreamed once a too real dream of a pale haired mirage that called him good and said he was enough and – and that dream was hope and torment for the man who never met the dream, at least he didn’t for a very, very long time).

Chapter 64: lapis lazuli

Summary:

A cure to demonic possession; worn on burial masks as protection in the afterlife, a fragment of the heavens on earth

Chapter Text

Tobirama woke that morning feeling well used and well-loved with Madara octopus-ed around him, even his hair tangled around Tobirama in a black net that looked rather wonderful against Tobirama’s pale skin. Well pleased and feeling rather proud of himself (and very pleased with Madara) Tobirama lazed in bed for a while longer before Izuna’s frantic chakra and the approaching Hōki finally drove the albino to wriggle around in Madara’s arms as carefully as possible and kiss the older man awake, loving watching all that brilliance and overwhelming focus wake up and best of all watching Madara register who was in front of him and smile slow and sweet as molasses. “Good morning dear heart” Tobirama murmured into the warm space between them, stroking the straight line of Madara’s nose and high line of a sweeping cheekbone “sleep well?” he was hoping Madara had, Tobirama hadn’t been woken by Madara’s twisting chakra overnight so with any luck the other man hadn’t had any of the dreams last night and they could at least start the New Year without the Shadows looming over them, wasn’t that what the point of the endless firecrackers, katon, and bonfires the Uchiha had set off over the night? (Thank heavens for silencing seals.) Maybe it was all the fire keeping the shadows away that had let Madara sleep without interruption (or maybe they really had just warn each other out that well).

“Yes, no dreams that I remember” Madara said quietly, broad palm stroking down Tobirama’s spine in a firm caress “I suppose we need to get up and help Izuna?” he asked reluctantly and Tobirama huffed a laugh; “You’re just going to enable him” he pointed out wryly and Madara laughed. “but yes, we aught to get up so I can give him his tasks and go meet the Hōki before I am needed to help Touka dress” slowly as Tobirama watched Madara’s bottom lip pushed out in a pronounced pout, the Uchiha’s dark eyes getting larger and more liquid in a truly devastating look that Tobirama had very few defenses against and without thinking he ducked down and pressed a string of feather-light kisses over that dear face until he could feel the winkles at the corners of Madara’s eyes that gave away the smile that the Uchiha was trying to hide under his pout. “That makes it seem like we won’t see each other all day” Madara mumbled, almost but not quite whining as Tobirama bit back the temptation to coo at him, smoothing his hands over the older man’s temples and petting him lovingly; “I know dear heart, but I have to check the Hōki and you have to drive your clan nuts about details of the wedding. I’ll come find you before I go to Touka, and you can come to me whenever you’re not otherwise busy”.

Madara sighed, letting the- mostly, but not completely, playful- pout go in favor of cuddling Tobirama aggressively for several minutes before sighing deeply and letting go so they could get up; though Tobirama lingered a few moments longer, honestly as reluctant as Madara to separate and get dressed for the day. Eventually duties would no longer wait and Tobirama dragged himself out of bed, Madara crawling after him slightly pouting; though he let it be soothed away as Tobirama brushed his hair until it shone and wove a few rubies into the long strands, admiring hungrily the thin lines of kohl Madara smudged around his eyes, gods he was going to be lethal when he changed for the sunset wedding (Tobirama still couldn’t believe that Madara had chosen him out of all the people he could have had). Tobirama himself dressed in an Uchiha style dark indigo robe with the uchiwa on the back and a thick black fur ruff, covering it with a heavy hanten in his own cobalt (also with the uchiwa because Madara liked seeing his mark on his husband ok) and the collar with the Mangekyō pendant, something he rarely went without. A ruffle of his hair and slightly wistful thought of his happuri and he turned back to Madara only to freeze when he found the dark eyes red and fixed sharply on him; after that the substantial length of the goodbye kiss wasn’t a surprise and Tobirama slipped away to the gate without bothering to eat, waving Hikaku to join him and telling Masahiko to run word of the new comers to the healers and Kurama and Kohaku leaders as well as the quartermaster to give them a warning about their new guests.

With a few quiet words to the guards Tobirama settled in in the shadows of the closest building and waited, tracking the Hōki as they tentatively approached the Uchiha gates, their Parriarch walking in the front with wavering chakra as they came to the gate, hesitating only a little when it immediately swung open (good, the fear wasn’t for the Uchiha then, that was good). With his hands tucked neatly into his sleeves Hikaku smiled peacefully at the Hōki, Bowing shallowly to the Parriarch, Liosliath Hōki smiling thinly at him; a sharp curve of their nearly black painted lips as they bowed slightly in return with a murmured “Hikaku Uchiha” in their smooth, mellow voice. Carefully Tobirama scanned the small grouping of people, all the women with dramatically made up faces as was their way with any that weren’t their spouse and the men with them watching carefully; the Hōki were a family of specialists, almost all of them specializing in healing and information gathering without identification, sometimes called 'the family that works behind the scenes' they were more influential than most realized and they liked it that way.

Hikaku smiled thinly back and murmured about Madara’s absence and how they were welcome with one condition as Tobirama scanned the family, eyes lingering on the lack of any elderly or children with them; were the shadows going after the weak first? The elderly made the most sense as those would be the healers with the most experience and skill- like Laoidheach Hōki, an extremely gifted medic-nin that Tobirama realized with a sinking heart wasn’t with them, he had hoped to ask her for help with diagnosing the shadows but if she was already dead…- but the children as well? Maybe there just hadn’t been many children in the family at the moment? Gods Tobirama hoped it was that and not that they were all dead.

At the head of the group the Parriarch’s brow furrowed slightly and they nodded to Hikaku, asking in a slightly louder voice “And who will be scanning us for the presence of shadows?” Hikaku’s smile gained a mischievous edge as he responded “Why Madara-sama’s spouse of course, we wouldn’t trust such a thing to any less skilled shinobi” behind the family the gates whispered closed and a young woman with extremely long hair twitched as though trying not to jump while the entire family shifted where they stood. Slightly tensing Liosliath narrowed their eyes at Hikaku “And who exactly is Madara-sama’s spouse?” and Tobirama could see the troll that lived in all Uchiha shinobi that spent much time with Madara rising to the surface in Hikaku. Sighing Tobirama stepped forward out of the shadows before Hikaku could escalate the situation farther, catching attention in a rush as he said “That would be me” and the Hōki twitched and snapped around to stare at him, wide eyed and shocked until Liosliath murmured “Ah, well, that explains why Ástríðr-sama had so much confidence in us coming here”.

Tobirama nodded, quirking a humorless smile at the Parriarch “My Aunt has always been kind in her faith in me.” he agreed “Now, I must scan you for any contamination before you go farther I am afraid, as soon as I have done so Hikaku will take you and your guards to my husband Parriarch and then rest will be taken to the healers to be checked over – for safeties sake, I am sure you understand.” Slowly Liosliath nodded and behind them their slightly younger sister and second in the clan grimaced with clear unhappiness but said nothing, identically painted face smoothing over again quickly. “Would you mind if I started with you then Parriarch?” Tobirama asked “Or would you rather I begin with another?” Liosliath opened their mouth only for their sister to set an elbow in their side as she stepped forward and bowed to Tobirama, “If it is all the same, would you start with this lowly servant?” she said demurely, ignoring Tobirama’s raised brow by dint of keeping her eyes fixed on the ground until he nodded and beckoned her closer. “Liusaidh correct? This may feel somewhat…intense” he warned her and then sent out his chakra, throwing his small amount of Hatake white chakra behind the scan as well to make up for Madara’s absence at his side.

After a moment Tobirama nodded and lowered his hand, “Clean” he pronounced, watching as the pale slightly wide eyed woman stepped back and waved her sibling forward, the Parriarch’s guard a half step behind them. Liosliath was clean as was the heavily muscled guard with them, the man’s sharp face giving a hint to what the women might look like under the nearly matching face paint every woman wore. With a last bow the Parriarch and their guard followed Hikaku away to find Madara as their sister stepped to the side to watch the scanning of her family, clearly recognizing Jiro as the Uchiha healer approached and relaxing a bit at the sight of him (ah, so Tobirama was making them nervous, he should have anticipated that. Right now he was a deeply unknown factor, especially as they couldn’t tell from seeing Tobirama here without Madara what his place in the clan really was and how much power he held in his husband’s eyes, it must be unnerving for them to not know what the White Demon was doing here in the first place or how they should treat them. Ah, well, it wasn’t like there was anything he could do about that and they would see where Tobirama stood in Madara’s eyes soon enough, he wasn’t going to regret setting things up so Madara could focus on his brother and the wedding Madara was so excited about).

Shaking the thoughts away Tobirama’s focused on his work, flagging one pale, thin woman with a small chakra tag for Jiro to make to keep a close eye on; he wasn’t sure that the woman had the shadows in her, but Jiro would keep an eye on her and make sure she was in secure areas incase something went wrong. Other than that the family was clean and were led away to the healers by Jiro, the healer’s eyes lingering on the marked woman before he caught Tobirama’s eyes and nodded slightly in recognition before bowing in all deference and taking his leave only after he was dismissed; apparently he hadn’t missed the confusion about Tobirama’s power in the clan either and wanted to make a point.

As the Hōki turned the corner and vanished into the compound Tobirama stared blankly at the gate until a quiet prod from a worried looking guard jarred him from his thoughts, and he turned away with a distracted look; there was something about the shadows that Tobirama had felt in that one woman that was reminding Tobirama of something that he couldn’t quite place… Sighing Tobirama scrubbed a hand over his face and wandered back to the Great House, pouting when it became clear Madara was busy with the Parriarch and Tobirama couldn’t just wander in and sit in his lap no matter how much he wanted too. Ah, well, later then; there was still a lot to be done even before Tobirama could go to help Touka.

Madara was more than ready for Tobirama to come find him when he received word that the Hōki were all scanned and there was only one that needed farther watching after Liosliath left. His own conversation with the Parriarch had been as expected; the Hōki had asked for succor with the Uchiha, something that Madara had granted though insisted that they talk about it farther later, when Madara wasn’t focused on his little brother’s wedding - the Hōki had been a little shocked to be pulled into wedding preparation without any thought but went along with it anyway when it became clear the entire clan was focused on the event (more of a festival than anything else now really, Solstice and wedding running together in a mess of still roaring bonfires and cooking food). Unhappily the Uchiha shifted, relaxing only when hands landed on his shoulders and a lean weight draped over his back, it was like being able to breath again when they were together, “To’ra” Madara breathed, relived as Tobirama nuzzled at the side of his neck “you said you would come find me before you helped Touka” and yeah, ok, he was definitely pouting and unashamed of it.

Tobirama curled more tightly around him, going easily when Madara dragged his love into his lap and tangled them together as Tobirama muttered “You were talking to the Parriarch when I got done and I didn’t want to have to get involved and think about what things looked like or anything. I just went and gave Izuna his first task before I came for you”. Madara pouted for another moment and then let it go in favor of a kiss, “Well, I guess that makes sense, what are you making Izuna do?” he asked, heart warming as Tobirama stifled snickers into Madara’s shoulder, “I told him to bring me a silver carp alive unharmed as a symbol of his willingness to swim though any waters and be gentle enough to keep such a thing alive though it goes against his nature”. Madara paused, a delighted grin growing on his face at the thought of his brother, unable to use either of his chakra natures- fish and lightning or fire never went together well- or harm the fish as he flailed in the water, “You” Madara said “are a treasure and the light of my life.”

Tobirama snorted and wiggled closer, “For making your brother flail around in the water?” he asked inquisitively; Madara shook his head and stroked the length of his Center’s graceful back, “Among other things” he countered, nuzzling at the thick white hair “among many other things. What are you going to make him do next? It’s three tasks normally right?” Tobirama snickered and nodded into Madara’s neck, “Three yes, I already set him one though. I’m a little surprised he didn’t say anything to you about it, but I told him the day after the day of the wedding was set that he had to make an item of clothing for her with his own hands. It’s a Hatake take on the Senju tradition that indicates his willingness to make sure she is dressed well and warmly even if he has to do it himself without help- like the Uchiha rule that they have to light the hearth fire tonight after the wedding- his third task is simple, he has to guess what is most important to Touka in a relationship. If he knows her half as well as I think he does that won’t be too hard to figure out”. Madara whistled under his breath and bit back a comment about being glad he hadn’t been set any tasks like that, not wanting to make Tobirama think about Hashirama right now or what sort of tasks the treeman would have set; there was simply too much chance that Hashirama would have set terribly easy and pointless tasks that had nothing to do with Tobirama or made it clear that Hashirama didn’t care about Madara proving he was good enough. No, he didn’t want Tobirama to think about Hashirama today, today was a good day, a happy day not a day to think about estranged family. “It will be good for him” Madara dismissed, tracing a vermillion stripe around Tobirama’s forearm; fingers lingering on the delicate, petal soft skin on the inside of Tobirama’s wrist where his veins were almost lapis lazuli blue, rumbling as Tobirama shivered under his fingers and curled closer.

Chapter 65: ruby

Summary:

Worn by royalty; prophecy, power of life and success in love

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Tobirama smirked as a pondweed dripping Izuna held out a large wriggling silver fish to him, the soaked Uchiha’s face a petulant moue as he followed that up with a neatly folded bundle of fabric and shook a small crustacean out of his sleeve. With a sigh, Tobirama shifted as he sat on Madara’s lap and called up a pocket of water for the fish as he held out a hand for the cloth, unfolding it with a neat flick and – his eyebrows winged up as he looked at the hoari, it was done in a deep ruby red in a soft cotton (smart, that was a good cloth for beginners) and the hems were all covered in neat tiny stitching (Sharingan tiny). So that was why he had wanted to know some seals! Like much Uchiha clothing the seals against fire damage were there but added to it were seals against cold and dirt as well, intermixed with embroidered symbols of luck and good fortune and this must have taken an age to make, “Well” Tobirama said slowly “only one other thing, then; what does Touka want the most in a marriage?” Izuna’s pout deepened and he took a deep breath, looking nervous, “She values loyalty and steadfastness and faith but…fidelity, fidelity is what she wants most”. Tobirama raised a brow and just looked at the other for a moment and then nodded slowly, Izuna was right of course; Touka valued most of all the things she had seen missing in the relationships around her, and of those the one that mattered the most was the idea of a support that wouldn’t leave her, one that she could rely on and trust no matter what (there were few things Touka had more issues with than fickleness).

“Correct” Izuna slumped, looking relived “you have the blessing of her kin and blood. And Izuna, this” Tobirama held up the hoari “is really well done, good job” at the praise Izuna brightened and stood a little taller, puffing up and looking adorably pleased to have Tobirama’s approval (so cute Tobirama could feel Madara’s chakra swishing in response as the older man tucked his face between the albino’s shoulders blades to keep from interrupting and cooing) “you can give it to her after the wedding, I can keep it with her fan for now if you like?” Izuna nodded, looking relived not to have to keep track of it and Tobirama smiled a little. “Well then you should go get dressed, I need to go do Touka’s hair and you and Madara should go get all prettied up” at that Madara sighed and his arms tightened around Tobirama’s waist, before reluctantly letting go and letting the albino stand and help him up, kissing Tobirama lingering and loving before turning to his brother with an evil glint in his eyes “Come on brat, let’s get you all pretty looking so Touka doesn’t leave you at the alter!” he chirped and Izuna paled, taking one look at the look in Madara’s eyes and turning tail to run; Madara hot on his heels as he was herded in the direction of the koi pond. Tobirama sighed and shook his head, turning for the stairs and leaving the brothers to torment each other, he had a sister to tend to; Izuna and Madara could sort themselves out.

In her room Touka was smiling at something Kikiyo said to her as she was wrapped in layers of unmarred, pure white silk, all except the blood colored obi stitched with cranes embellished with diamonds and rubies, and at the back on the left of the obi knot was an embroidered kyuubi in rubies and topaz, “-their mother wore this obi on her wedding day” Kikiyo was saying as she wrapped it around Touka’s waist while Mito put the finishing touches on her makeup. Over the women and the brushes and all the rest Touka’s eyes met Tobirama’s in the mirror of her room, afternoon sunlight lighting her face in soft shades that highlighting the missing lines that had been there for years now, the toll of a difficult life of conflict and pain. “All done” Mito said softly, setting down her brush and catching Kikiyo’s elbow as the Red Crane finished the obi knot “we’ll leave you two alone while you do her hair and come back to help with the outer robe ok?” Touka nodded, holding Tobirama’s eyes as the women left and he came close enough to rest his hands on her white clad shoulders. “Hey” he murmured, heart aching sweetly to see his almost-sister in the garb of a joyous bride “Bet you thought we’d never end up here” Touka whispered thickly and Tobirama’s answering smile was just as tired and aching “Not really no – I – I thought that I would only see you in white when I lowered you six feet if I'm being honest” he admitted quietly.

Touka closed her eyes and covered his hand with hers, bowing her head a bit as her dark hair swung forward and cast grieving shadows over her face “Yeah, that makes sense” she agreed, “me too really, all this” she waved her hand at her lovely clothes and the silver fish swimming around the room behind Tobirama in it's bubble of water, “all this is what I thought I would never have; never thought I would even want truly”. Tobirama winced and nodded, unsurprised that Touka had expected to die in defense of the clan and never considered living so long, much less loving so dearly, “I am glad for once to have been proven wrong” he said, pulling out a small vial of hair oil that smelled of faintly of honeysuckle and setting it on the table before picking up the brush and going to work on her hair. “Just like old times” Touka said, watching his hands as they worked “when you first started helping me with my hair.” “You used to leave it such a mess” Tobirama groused, hands gentle in her dark hair as Touka rolled her eyes “And you decided that even all the tricks your mother had taught you weren’t enough and made some Gisha teach you their tricks” she snarked right back, pulling a smile to Tobirama’s lips at the memory “You didn’t want Hatake braids though, so none of mother’s styles would have worked on you. I had to find new things to try to find something you liked” a wry smile pulled at Touka’s heart’s-blood colored lips “True. I didn’t want to claim a heritage that wasn’t mine. But admit it, you just wanted to be through in you studies if you were going to learn about hair you wanted to know everything”.

Tobirama rolled his eyes but didn’t argue, after all she wasn’t wrong though…”Mostly I just liked having a way to send time with you that had nothing to do with war or fighting or jutsu, I have never been good at showing affection and it was a way to at least try for you” his voice was quiet and a little strained as he spoke a truth that a few months ago he never would have imagined verbalizing (or Madara would have had to explain for him), his eyes fixed on her hair as the brush moved over it until she covered one of his hands and he reluctantly met her gaze in the mirror. Her eyes were a bit damp but her smile was steady as she squeezed his hand an let go, letting him return to his task as he set the brush down and started working his fingers through the heavy layers of her hair; notably less than Madara’s but still thick as he worked the oil in and started weaving it up into a intricate bun held in place with Touka’s rarely used kanzashi collection and the barrowed piece from Kikiyo as well as one that was a gift from Tobirama that he snuck in when she wasn’t looking, the string of black pearls catching the light where they hung from the ruby adorned long pin (the poison compartment was empty for today). It was quiet and calm between them as he worked, the nostalgia strong for the days spent sitting in the dust of the training yard as Tobirama tried to fix her hair when his father wasn’t looking to tell him to get back to work; it was easier now of course without dust and blood on his hands or broken fingers and twigs snarled in her hair, and it had been years since Touka had needed any help with her hair but Tobirama had never forgotten how close doing this made him feel to her and that feeling hadn’t faded at all, somethings it seemed truly didn’t change if you held them dear enough.

Madara cackled as Izuna crawled out of the koi pond looking like a half drowned rat- well, more like a drowned rat-, smirking at his baby brother as Izuna wrung out his hair cursing, “Oh come on Izu, you need to take a bath anyway, I just gave you a head start is all” Madara purred, smirking as Izuna glared balefully at him. It was comfortingly like old times when they were brat kids and Madara felt his face softening as he looked at his pouting younger brother; his about to be married younger brother! One that might want to take the house behind the Great House that had been used by Kikiyo’s mother when she was alive and get some space though Madara hadn’t broached it with his brother yet. Looking at him the petulance had faded from Izuna’s face and he followed the older man’s eyes to the smaller house set to the side of the garden, the Great House made up two sides of the courtyard around the large garden with the empty guest house and the also empty branch house making up the other two sides of the square, all having all been built at the same time and in the same style they gave off the look of being one building to keep the look harmonious while allowing a little distance if needed rather than having it all in one giant house the way the Senju apparently did.

“Do you and Touka want to move in there?” Madara asked quietly, “I already had it cleaned and readied if you do”, Izuna’s eyes snapped back to him and the younger Uchiha swallowed hard “I wasn’t sure you would be ok with it” he admitted and Madara grimaced, looking away as he responded “I…things change Izu, I get that you and Touka might want space that is just yours and you could be in charge of and escape the clan leader BS. I can’t say that I like it but…you’re an adult and you’re getting married, you deserve to have your own space if you want that.” there was a long pause and then Madara was wrapped up in a dripping hug, flailing a little without making any effort to actually escape, “Thank you Mada, we’ll be over all the time anyway, not like we’re going to make every meal when we can just come join you! but…a little space would be nice I’m not going to lie.” A pause and then quieter “I wasn’t sure you’d ever be ok with me growing up” Madara’s eyes ached and he tilted his head back as he closed his arms around his brother tightly, “Things change. Tobirama taught me that, things change and if you don’t change with them you get left behind and if you try to force them not to you just make things so much worse” he thought of Hashirama clinging to a child’s idea and a childish version of who the people around him were because facing that they had changed, and he might have to change with them or change his opinion of them was too hard. “I’m not going to lie, I don’t like it but you have your own life to live and, well, you have a right to do that your own way. You have someone else to watch your back now Izu” at that Izuna smirked wetly and elbowed him with a muttered “So do you” that made Madara smile – as he always did at the thought of his beloved Center.

“True” he agreed “I guess we are both growing up” Izuna wriggled, flailing when Madara’s embrace shifted to a headlock and escaping only when the older man let him go abruptly to flail in the dirt “well,” Madara amended “not growing up that much if you still want to play in the dirt” and oh kami of fire and flame the look Izuna sent him was nasty, though some of the fire was taken away by his dirt smeared face and tangled hair. “Com’on then” Madara said, hauling the younger to his feet “let’s get you cleaned up for your wedding you messy child, wouldn’t do to have Touka see you like this” he said cheerfully, patting his red faced younger brother – who couldn’t do anything back, not with the clear care Madara’s hair had been done with this morning; he wouldn’t risk angering Tobirama right before the wedding! (or…well…Izuna didn’t really want to anger Tobirama at all now that he knew the man better.)

Madara smiled at his husband, shocked all over again that this vision in white and cobalt would choose him as Tobirama handed over a radiant Touka to a stunned looking Izuna (poor brat had looked about to jump out of his skin a moment ago but now with his almost-wife on his arm he looked like he could take on anything, it was cute!) and took Madara’s hand, letting the Uchiha slide an arm around his waist as Touka and Izuna bowed to the shrine and lit Amaterasu-ōmikami’s fire with a combined chakra and listened to Yamatohime (the Elder Izuna had chosen to officiate) murmur the prayers for blessing and good fortune to the goddess, the white of both their outfits almost glowing in the light of the newly lit shrine fire, Touka’s red obi and Izuna’s red under layer a bright splash of color in their outfits. As Yamatohime raised her hands with the last words of the prayer there was a moment of suspended silence where the smoke rising from the shrine fire froze in the air and the setting sun slanted though the air turning it bright brilliant white as the empty plain clay cup set before the alter filled with fragrant sake, the mark of the goddesses' blessing on the union.

With a giddy smile Izuna picked up the cup and held it out with both hands and a bowed head to Tobirama, who took it with a faint smile, sipping and handing it to Touka who sipped and handed it to Madara with the same ceremony, the Uchiha sipping the warm sake before handing it to his brother for the final sip; a recognition of shared resources and promise of trust that the liquid would not be poisoned, after all family all drink from the same cup. That done Tobirama unsheathed the red jasper knife at his waist (one Madara had given him!) and cut a thin line on his palm, holding out his hand and the knife to Izuna who did the same and clasped his hand as the Senju said, voice clear and crisp “And so my blood is your blood, your kin are my kin and all are bound in blood”. Izuna went pink and ducked his head as Tobirama’s chakra flickered out and when they drew their hands back both had thin white scars on their hands; smiling brilliantly Madara took the knife and did the same with Touka, completing the Senju tradition of blood sharing and readying them for the most important part of the ceremony, the one thing that was universal in all the clans, the Marriage Rope.

It was then that Izuna turned to Touka and pulled the Rope out of his sleeve, the three braided strands (red for fate, Uchiha indigo for Izuna, and a deep red the color of Touka’s lip paint for her) wound together tight and the twenty five bells (five by five for the five elements) tickling brightly in the chill winter air as Touka took the other end with an irrepressible smile and both turned to Madara and Tobirama, holding out the Rope to their living kin. With a shared smile the two men took it and Izuna’s right hand and Touka’s left, folding them over each other as together Madara and Tobirama started tying the complicated knot that bound their hands together, each infusing it with chakra as they did, Izuna and Touka adding their own chakra to the bindings, infusing it with as many different kinds of chakra as they could. Just as the last knot was tied Izuna looked at Touka and offered his oath, plain an unadorned as they had chosen, “I will stand with you, no matter the weather or wear, I swear my fidelity to you” Touka’s eyes got shinny and her smile was shaky as she responded “As you weep so do I, as you laugh so shall I, as you fight so will I bleed; as you die so shall you live always in me, that is my oath to you”. Izuna sniffled and a tear dripped down his cheek even as he grinned dumbly and Tobirama tightened the last knot, tying the Rope that was the only important part of the wedding as far as the clans were concerned.

The newly wedded couple would wear it for the rest of the day until they entered their own home and were allowed to take it off and hang it on the wall (to take it off earlier was bad luck to the union), where it would hang as a sign of their union and shared devotion (devotion and not love, they could fall out of love and the Rope would not fail; it was only when they no longer cared abut the same things and worked for the same purpose, when their devotion to the oaths they made to each other and the gods when the Rope was tied failed so did the Rope). Smiling Tobirama stepped back and Madara moved forward to look at the watching clan gathered in front of the open doors to the shrine in the heat and light of the Solstice fires, holding out a hand to the new couple Madara looked out over his happy people waiting with bated breath as the last light of the sun vanished in the trees, “I present to you my brother and his wife, Izuna and Touka Uchiha!” he called, grinning at his baby brother as the clan screamed their joy and fire filled the air, celebratory katon so thick the darkening sky wasn’t visible and joined a moment later by the loud bangs of underground doton and whirling wind carried the fire higher as the Kohaku, Kurama and Hōki joined in with the celebration.

Pleased Madara stepped back, letting his brother take point and bask in the attention of the clan while Madara went back to his love and nuzzled at Tobirama’s neck, thrilled to have lived long enough to see this happy day. Tobirama smiled and cupped Madara’s face, kissing the other man slow and long as they Uchiha started dancing and laughing, music and food and celebration already loud in the evening gloom as Izuna and Touka were taken to the head of the table in the main square to be celebrated above all others for this one night. Later there would be speeches and Madara knew that there was two marriage fans tucked in Tobirama’s sleeve with the haori that Izuna had made and those would have to be given but for right now Madara wanted to bask in this, in this moment he hadn’t ever thought he would see; “I kept him alive long enough” Madara whispered into Tobirama’s mouth “I did it”.

“Yes” the albino agreed lovingly “you did.”

(Later there would be gifts but before that there would be a child pulling them to the new couple and Touka- with a worrying grin- and Izuna would look at their kin- both new and old- and hold out a shockingly lovely painting of the Madara and Tobirama together, leaning into each other and smiling softly in fire light that must have been at Tobirama’s introduction dinner. “Thank you, Madara” Touka would say, her voice heavy with meaning and emotion as Izuna met Tobirama’s eyes and said “Thank you, brother” with the same weight and Madara was quite sure that this was going to be one of the best days in his life and regret only that he hadn’t had the Sharingan activated the entire time.)

Notes:

Yes I know the Rope has changed a bit from my first notes but someone pointed out to me that Naruto works on FIVE elements not four, oops.... so I had to change a few things to work for five.

Chapter 66: better to have loved

Summary:

and lost

Chapter Text

Hashirama stared out at the softly falling snow and wondered if he should go back to the old Senju lands and brush off his brother’s graves – but, no, he had promised himself and his clan that they were looking forward now and not back and while he certainly hadn’t said people couldn’t go back to the old graves, it was part of being a good example. Besides, Tobirama wasn’t even buried there with them, Tobirama wasn’t buried anywhere because the Uchiha burned their dead and – gods, Hashirama still didn’t understand why Tobirama had done that (lie, he had had a lot of time to think about it and he was better about not lying to himself anymore – though clearly not that good). But no, no he was trying to be better about this! Satomi was working with him at this, he wasn’t lying to himself anymore, he had to be honest about this and face it and – but it was hard. It was hard to think about his brother and yet he couldn’t stop thinking about Tobirama at the same time and as Satomi’s pregnancy progressed it seemed more and more like Tobirama was just behind every other thought; every thought about politics made him wonder what Tobirama would do, every interaction with the Daimyo made him wonder if Tobirama had still kept in contact with Satoshi after he saved the man back when he was only the heir and set him up with a shinobi tutor and a shinobi lover and – sometimes it seemed like he was haunted by his brother’s memory and all the things he hadn’t understood about what Tobirama was doing that now made a lot more sense to him.

Politics and philosophy and war and it turned out that Tobirama had been right with his warnings about the Daimyo and the court and his questioning Hashirama’s attempts to appease the old Daimyo, that had become clear talking with Rikona. The old Daimyo and his most powerful lords had been weakening and undermining the clans for decades, making sure the clans stayed weak and divided and fighting each other so that they were never strong enough or had the attention to turn on the Daimyo and his unfair policies about the shinobi, so that they could never be a threat. Another thing that Tobirama had been right about; not that Hashirama hadn’t believed him really, but he had thought that he could smooth things over by making the Daimyo think that the Senju were closer to samurai than shinobi (like the Shimura), Hashirama had always hoped to appease the Daimyo and his court and build a coalition in the village (the village Tobirama had laid out the blueprints for) of shinobi to use to push back against the court safely without running the risk of coming into conflict but – now he wondered if that even would have worked. Rikona had made it clear that even with the Daimyo dead the Senju had been needed at court to push back against the power of the lords former Daimyo Takashi had liked and upend their hold on the court and government; if the Senju hadn’t come to court and become – not the Daimyo’s pet nin (there wasn’t enough of them for that) but an ally family and one that was frightening (and being powerful and frightening, intimidating, was part of the point of them being here, the opposite of his old intentions ironically) to the rest of the court, it was likely that nothing would have changed and even a village would have been pit against clans in other countries in the end. Anything to keep them weak and bleeding.

Hashirama wanted to pretend that he was wrong, that his way would have worked but – Satomi wouldn’t let him, his lady wife had made sure Hashirama’s childish illusions couldn’t survive, made sure that he had to understand that many, many people weren’t inherently good and no matter how much it hurt, Hashirama’s faith in them had to take the beating. People were afraid of the shinobi and fear, Hashirama had to admit, made people do terrible things; he still didn’t think things were as bad as Tobirama always seemed to think but – as Tobirama had always seemed to think. Had. Past tense. Right.

Right

But see Hashirama couldn’t bring himself to let all of his hope go, not when he could see now how far his little brother had gone to make sure that Hashirama didn’t lose it; and yes, Hashirama wanted to resent that a bit but…he could have pushed back if he had wanted too, but it had been easier to let things stay as they were. Or it had right up until it hadn’t, right up until believing the best in everything meant ignoring that Madara was an enemy and could and would kill Tobirama when the Senju showed up at his compound (of course he had, how much must he have feared for his brother? Enough to kill someone he had acknowledged a debt too, then again knowing Tobirama he probably hadn’t given Madara time to think before he was attacking, Tobirama was nothing if not steadfast and determined even – even -). Hashirama wished he had the energy to be angry; at Madara, at the Uchiha, at Tobirama for going but – it was Hashirama’s words that had pushed him there. Hashirama’s threat of a Formal Apology (a memory that had sent him reeling and sick in the bathroom when he put it together) that had pushed Tobirama into what he had done; Tobirama’s heart unable to hold up under the threat; not of pain Satomi had explained- more gently than normal- but the idea of being blamed for something he didn’t do or understand, the lack of trust had broken Tobirama not the threat of pain and- worst of all- after reading the Book Hashirama now had to wonder if the idea of a Formal Apology, of that shame and reduction had been made just that bit too much when it came at Madara’s hands.

Madara who Tobirama wrote about with so much….longing, Madara who Hashirama was fairly sure had killed Tobirama (it was far too easy to imagine; Tobirama approaching the Uchiha in a rush, too fast for them to think beyond ‘attack’ and Madara coming at him full force- he had known Tobirama was skilled- and Tobirama just…not defending, not fighting back and a deadly blow struck before Madara even knew what was going on), Madara who Tobirama would rather be killed by than debased in front of. Something much easier to understand with the mukoton suppressed and Satomi walking him though putting himself in his brother’s shoes (“-you’re in pain and confused and know that you have no where to turn- like you felt when you married me Husband- you’re terrified and out of options and no one will listen, like how you felt when you talked about peace and were ignored, then they tell you – hmm, imagine having to make a Formal Apology to Tobirama and not knowing why, and knowing no one cared that you didn’t-”) and then it had finally hit him what he had actually threatened Tobirama with and –

There was a blank spot in his head after that and Satomi had said nothing about it later, but his throat had been raw from throwing up bile and his eyes aching with too many tears when he touched them with fingers that hadn’t healed from nearly breaking them punching the walls and floor. Hashirama understood now a bit better what he had done and how it would have felt to Tobirama, who is so different from him and so alone and – was, was so different. Was. Past tense. Remember? It just didn’t feel like Tobirama was dead. Somehow it didn’t feel like that at all even after he and Satomi had chosen names for the children (Fuyumi meaning winter beauty for the girl and Fuyuhiro meaning winter ocean for the boy, Satomi had suggested it) and Hashirama was trying to find closure but it was like without a body in the ground Hashirama couldn’t quite bring himself to believe his brother was dead – wait, a thought struck and Hashirama sat up very abruptly, scrambling to his feet and stumbling through the traditional fine manor that was now the Senju residence (and had the seals and traps to prove it, Hashirama’s children would grow up safe) to dig into a closet he hadn’t looked at much (hadn’t be able to even think about it but now, he didn’t even have a picture of his little brother but he did have-) and in it was –

There, in a mukoton box without any seams, the same box he had entombed it in that first terrible day (gods he hadn’t even cleaned it! Tobirama would – would have been furious) (“no, there must be some mistake” “He didn’t fight back” Madara said “we didn’t know why he was there, there was no reason for him to come” Hashirama’s head full of a distant buzzing noise “I had no quarrel with him” a uncomprehending sob catching in his chest “tell me why your brother wanted me to kill him” and Hashirama shook. Fell forward over his knees, curled around the fur as a thin tight noise slid between his teeth “no” this wasn’t possible, it wasn’t). Slowly Hashirama sank to his knees, shaking fingers playing over the box and phantom rain cold on his skin, feeling like he was being swallowed by the remembered mud; breathing shakily in the slightly chill air of the cool hallway Hashirama brushed his fingers over the box and closing his eyes as the Mukoton pealed the wood back, exposing the fur Tobirama had loved so much to shaking fingers buried in the softness he had touched on his brothers shoulders so many times. It took a hundred heart beats and Hashirama (“adults are stupid”) remembered the last time he really saw Tobirama (“I would never-!” “Then what is it!?!” “I don’t know! I truly don’t know; I can’t think of anything that would…” Hashirama looked away and shoved down his frustration, “You need to offer a formal apology” he said sternly “What?!” Tobirama yelped, “You can’t require that of me, not yet anyway” he had been so pale and-) wait, wait, Tobirama hadn’t been wearing his fur then.

Eye slamming open Hashirama stared down at the bloodstained fur under his fingers, the fur, the white fur, but – Tobi’s fur had been gift from his summons, hadn’t it? Hadn’t it? and they had spots right? Had he been wearing it when he left? Hashirama didn’t know, he hadn’t said goodbye, Tobirama had just left for Uzu without a word, he didn’t know. But….Madara had said “Why did your brother want me to kill him?” “We burn our dead” “He was an honorable foe” “Mourn your dead” Madara had never said Tobirama was dead. Hashirama had assumed, had been meant to assume, had assumed – but Tobirama was gone, could he have been taken hostage? But no, why do that and not tell his clan and Madara was a good person, Hashirama was sure that Tobirama wouldn’t have been hurt, it would have been death or nothing so – the image in Hashirama’s head shifting (his brother attacking the Uchiha, but no, “he didn’t fight back” “No one cared” “Why did your brother want me to kill him?” and there had been something broken in Tobirama after their last conversation, so; his brother, confronting Madara, shattered and still amazing and rather dead if it was Madara, Madara who Tobirama trusted or he would never have longed for him, Madara seeing Tobirama and taking a chance, hearing the whole story about all that happened and how his thanks had been taken and being angry, livid, wanting Hashirama to wake up and not saying a word of a lie to do it).

And Tobirama choosing to let Madara do as he wanted rather than face his brother, the brother that would ask – well, (Hashirama shied away from the memory of it) Tobirama’s heart finally broken and letting Madara mislead Hashirama rather than see him. Madara who Tobirama trusted and maybe, just maybe loved, Madara who was married to a man called winter! Hashirama stared down at the pale fur that wasn’t Tobirama’s and wondered, what now? Knowing this…it didn’t undo what he had done, and it didn’t change the pain in the Book and – and hiding had been Tobirama’s choice, maybe Madara’s idea but Tobirama’s choice to let him, Tobirama had wanted to die and he had, to Hashirama he had. This…didn’t undo that and – Hashirama had to respect that didn’t he? after everything he had to. The Daimyo’s wedding was in a few months and Madara would have to bring his spouse then and Hashirama could see his brother then (right? Tobirama was alive right?), that would be the respectful thing to do wouldn’t it? Let Tobirama dictate their interactions? Let Tobirama choose? (Father had never done that, not ever.) Hashirama wanted to do better and then meant respecting his brother even when the need to go find him was like a lighting strike smoldering in his chest, he had to do better; this wasn’t his brother’s fur but….it could have been. It would have been, Hashirama was sure of that.

Slowly Hashirama blew out a shaking breath and clutched the death omen to his chest, his brother had died to him and if by some chance he was still alive Hashirama was going to have to do a hell of a lot better to have a chance at a relationship with Tobirama, but he could and he would. He might need help, but he could and he would start here, with respecting Tobirama’s choices and listening to what his brother said even without words – like he had once promised he would.

Chapter 67: correspondence V

Notes:

out of town for hospital things so updates may be sporadic

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Ichirou Yamanaka stared at this fingers, so tired his vision was graying around the edges as he waited for word from the healers (the Yamanaka healers were just not as good as some and he knew it) about how Kazane was doing after his wife had gotten sick again; the pregnancy wasn’t going well and – Ichirou should have agued with her when she said she wanted to carry a child herself, yes an heir was important but he should have pushed for a surrogate, only…he hadn’t wanted to argue with her right to do as she wished with her body. He had thought it her choice and he hadn’t realized exactly how dangerous it could be for her to try and carry, and he couldn’t even call on the Hōki for help as his letters to them went unanswered and he didn’t know where the family had even gone.

“Ichirou?” sluggishly the Yamanaka raised his head and looked down the hall at a drawn looking Shiori Nara as the other clan head approached him “I got your letter asking about Hōki and came as soon as I could; Kirika said her sister has been having a hard pregnancy, is she in with the healers right now?” Dully Ichirou nodded, quietly relived to see the other clan head except….”Your clan, I thought you were having trouble with the Shadows Madara warned us about, were you ok to leave them?” he asked slowly and Shiori pressed her lips together tightly, “Yes” she said finally “that’s part of why I am here in person, but I think you might be too tired-“ “I’m fine, do you know where the Hōki went? What’s wrong with the Nara?” he interrupted and Shiori rubbed at her brow tiredly. “Those are connected. The Hōki….they went to the Uchiha” Ichirou straightened, eyes going wide (why hadn’t he considered that?) “and I think….I think the Nara might have to do the same. I need to talk to Madara of course and we can’t go in the same way as the Izumo or Kurama but....f*ck that seems to be the only place left the shadows aren’t growing long and I don’t see what choice my clan has. I don’t want to wait until half my clan is dead like the Hōki did but I don’t want to do it against our existing alliance either so, here to talk to you. I asked Chinatsu to come here as well to talk this over, I hope you don’t mind” reeling Ichirou shook his head, go to the Uchiha? (Go where the healers were? To the place that was quickly becoming the safest place in Fire country? Safety and healers….his eyes drifted to the closed door, Kaz…) Perhaps...

Rikona Mizuchi (soon to be Oda) hesitated, her brush hovering over the paper as she thought about her odd conversation with Hashirama a few days ago and how it had only encouraged her own wonderings (look, Rikona had studied with Tobirama, she hadn’t missed hearing a few comments about Madara-sama’s chakra, so when rumors about the Uchiha head’s new husband finally reached the court and called him ‘winter’ and ‘tiger’ and ‘storm’ and she thought again about the slightly odd phrasing of the Uchiha teen all those months ago she started wondering, at least until it became clear Hashirama was in mourning but now…); not that he had said much and when she found him sitting on the floor in a hallway holding a bloodstained white fur and seeming like he was in something of a trance, his stuttered “Not his fur” wouldn’t have meant a thing to anyone else Rikona was sure but now….. sh*t, Rikona had to wonder and worry. It would be ok to add a coded note to the wedding invitation though right? that was just polite and Tobirama- if it was him- would know what she meant, and it was ok to send the Uchiha invite a little early as long as she sent the others right after; after all the Uchiha had a lot of power these days! (And thank heavens for that, the Uchiha were undermining the Shimura- and to an extent the Sarutobi- and it was really helping get power out of the hands of the old guard. In fact it might not be long before the Shimura imploded completely from the chaos that was being masterminded out of the Uchiha compound! It was glorious.)

With a sigh Rikona wet the brush again and slowly set it to paper, trying to formulate something that would make sense to Tobirama if he needed help and also not be obvious to anyone else – heavens forbid Madara-sama would figure out what she meant and take offence! But…she wouldn’t risk not doing anything if Tobirama was in trouble, she didn’t know enough about Madara-sama or Tobirama to just trust that Tobirama was ok because he had said some nice things about Madara-sama in the past; the fact was that Tobirama had been an enemy of the Uchiha and if he was in their hands there was just no certainty that he was ok (if only she had met Madara-sama before now!) and Rikona had to do something about that, she just had to.

Hiroki Hyuuga dropped the weedy looking man he was holding in disgust, taking a deep breath and pushing down his frustration as thoroughly as he could; f*ck, he had to find Hisa; he had never wanted a child and had no idea what he would do when he had one, but f*cking hell he wasn’t going to leave his blood in some random person’s hands who might hurt them! f*ck, f*ck, f*ck, he kept coming up on dead ends and that in and of itself was worrying because – well it wasn’t like he hadn’t heard about the man hunt that the Uchiha kicked off against a human trafficking ring (something Hiroki wished he had been allowed to help with, f*cking Haruka) and the rampant death that that had wreaked, leaving dead strewn in their wake and meaning the Hiroki’s literal dead ends could only point to one thing; somehow his little daughter- the one he had never met- had ended up in a human trafficking ring and gone unnoticed! The only good thing about all of this was that as a body had never been returned to the clan she was probably alive and all the rumors about Madara’s husband seemed to lean towards the celestial warrior being very protective of children (and yes, Hiroki was ignoring the clan head’s insistence on believing that Tora was a Prince from Ice; honestly his uncle was being delusional because he was convinced that Madara-sama had made a bad marriage- i.e. not to his daughter- and couldn’t keep believing that if he acknowledged that it was a celestial warrior called Tora that Madara had saved. Honestly Hiroki had met Madara-sama and that was completely possible as a thing the man would do), rumors mostly agreeing on him being more Tora than Tōko as he apparently never left the compound – except when he was avenging children.

So, it was possible that Hisa was ok with Tora and honestly if she was and was being treated well Hiroki….would have to think long and hard about whether he would take her away from a safe place she was in in favor of a clan that would seal her and shunt her aside for not only being branch (it didn’t matter that she was related to the clan head through Hiroki, she wasn’t in his direct line and therefor as branch) but for being born out of wedlock (and without Hiroki even knowing, yeah, he had thoughts about that). Yeah no, if she was happy and well-tended to Hiroki had no intention of saying anything, far better she grow up loved and seen than go back to the Hyuuga! Still, he couldn’t be sure of any of those things so he had to find Hisa first.

Hikaku Uchiha watched his aunt quietly fuss to another of the clan over whether Tobirama-sama was taking care of himself as though the man wasn’t a more than competent adult with some amusem*nt. Though…..his eyes, the plans he had for his eyes had been more than a little worrying, enough worrying that Hikaku had to admit he kept a bit of an eye on the other man as well (no wonder Kuragari had intervened, not only did none of them want Madara-sama to get hurt or go blind but the idea of the albino that had all become more than a little fond of doing something like that….well, the only argument had been over who should act and Kuragari had chosen to trust Tobirama-sama with his eyes so the rest had stepped aside), after all none of them wanted Madara-sama to deteriorate back into the sad, stressed person he was before he found Tobirama-sama or- kami forbid- go Center-broke, especially now that Tobirama-sama had healed Madara-sama’s Mangekyō so that he could use it without fear (it wasn’t the same as the Eternal Mangekyō yet of course but…Hikaku wondered if his clan head had thought about what it meant to be a Uchiha that could use the Mangekyō and had a Center-shaded Sharingan, something Hikaku didn’t think had ever happened before, other Uchiha with Center-shaded Sharingan hadn’t had the Mangekyō- it was very rare to have the Mangekyō after all- and the one other Uchiha Hikaku could find had gone blind from their Mangekyō just months after finding his Center. When it came down to it they didn’t know what having a Center would do to the Mangekyō and Hikaku….wasn’t sure he should bring it up, it might be better to let it develop naturally and simply make sure it was recorded correctly as it happened – unless Tobirama-sama asked him about it of course).

Hikaku sighed, flopping back to lie on the engawa and stare up at the wood of the overhang, wishing that things hadn’t changed quite so quickly and trying to figure out how to phrase the recent arrival of the Trinity clans in the records; it wasn’t that he wanted to obfuscate about how things had happened or anything but…it was just a complicated situation and Hikaku was having trouble figuring out how to strip it of emotion and write an unbiased account of Madara-sama’s choice to create the council that allowed the clans that had joined them to preserve some power and independence in the Uchiha. On the surface it seemed like a gigantic allowance for them when it was they that had come to the Uchiha for help but…Hikaku had heard about the dream of a shinobi village, they all had; they were all more than familiar with the village after Madara-sama reading them all Tobirama-sama’s scrolls this summer (Hikaku shivered, oh sweet kami the raptures Madara had gone into about municipal law-!), whether or not they wanted to hear about it (or already had…several times). So all of them were familiar with the village and no one had missed the way the infrastructure of the compound had started changing- improving- to match the scrolls, at this point there was no doubting in Hikaku’s mind that by the time Madara-sama was celebrating his one year with his Center they would be living in the village Madara-sama had so often dreamed about, but how to explain that in the records?

How to make clear that the clan- most of them at least, some of the Elders disagreed but were too intimidated by Madara-sama to do anything- welcomed the change and improvements Tobirama-sama brought as well as their growing prosperity and the time they had without fighting the Senju all the time. How to explain without going into how it felt to see his dour, stressed, struggling cousin laughing and pleased with his husband or spinning a tolerant Tobirama-sama around by the waist as he smiled like he was looking at his whole world? How to write in a clear, clean way what it felt like to see the impossible made real as Madara-sama was happy when Hikaku had thought that was beyond any hope (how to avoid saying anything about how it hurt like waking a sleeping limb to realize that he had given up on his cousin ever being happy – given up because it was easier than facing the pain Madara was experiencing).

With a sigh the Uchiha records keeper rubbed at his eyes and looked down at the letter Madara-sama had given him for the records detailing the request from the Nara for help from their allies, neatly refolding it and tucking it in his shirt as Yuuka walked up to him, her large dark gray eyes lively and bright as she held out a hand to help him to his feet. “Time for dinner Hikaku, Madara-sama cooked apparently” she said with clear excitement, Madara-sama’s cooking (especially his grilling) was something of a legend in the clan; rarely done and deeply cherished by those that got to benefit from it (another thing that had gotten less and less common as time went on and Madara-sama got more stressed). Hikaku smiled slowly and took her hand, letting himself be pulled to stand and pressing a kiss to her temple as they set off for the Great House and family, the records would wait; Hikaku had life to live that those pages would never truly know.

Notes:

with inspo from this comment: "Rikona might possibly look back on this conversation and realize, while utterly misleading, Kenshin didn't outright lie to her, quite the opposite he literally told her he hadn't seen him die. Or maybe something will be niggling at her and in a day or two she'll realize he said the Uchiha hold Tobirama no ill will, present tense, combined with the haven't seen him die line she might just conclude maybe he's not dead after all and write a coded letter that seems innocuous on the surface but is really more of an "SENSEI IS THAT YOU? DO YOU NEED AN EXTRACTION?!" And just be psyching herself up to go infiltrate the Uchiha clan for a princess rescue mission and then Tobi replies with an equally innocuous yet coded letter that's really a "Calm down, yes it's me, no I don't need an extraction, this is the happiest I've been since before I lost my mother if not ever, but we're keeping it from Hashi because reasons."" I grabbed the comment but didn't mark who had said it, so if it was you please let me know so I can add that to the note!

Chapter 68: fear

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Taithleach Hōki watched the world through a veil of shadow, her vison gray and her tongue felt cold and dead in her mouth and god forbid she try to tell someone that something was wrong but at least here she was sure that the White-one (don’t think his name don’t think his name don’t think his name) knew that there was something wrong with her and was keeping an eye on her or had others keeping an eye on her and the shadows in her and maybe maybe they were trying to help her too and free her from the gray and pull back the vail and cut out her tongue and

The eyes, look at the eyes, tell me about the eyes

She could be free again but she didn’t think that it was going to come on time and all she needed was for the the the to see the eyes and see

Are they purple? See them! Find them!

What the color was but what was going to make Him use the Sharingan in his own home what could force him when Uchiha never recorded good moments to save chakra in case of an attack and no there was no way to attack the White-one that would be a fools errand and get her killed so maybe she should but she didn’t want to break the trust and the peace and maybe if she had enough time they would find a way to save her but the White-one was already working over hard on the Kurama child and that was important it was just a child Taithleach didn’t want to take attention from treating a child but she was so clammy and cold and her vison was going gray

The eyes! I got a glimpse before but I must know, how did this happen? Then again the white-cur is of the blood so maybe it was through that? They are married I suppose he might have touched the white-cur…

Oh gods he was not a f*cking cur you sick motherf*cker they love each other you’ve never seen them together

Then show me!

No no no nononononononono NO (HIS EYES)

Notes:

hospital stuff done-ish, or, well, I am back home at least! I'll try to respond to comments soon

Chapter 69: aluminum

Summary:

Invisibility, protection, travel, and visualization

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Tobirama frowned down at the paper in his hands and sighed, setting aside Rikona’s coded message and his own response (the jist of which came down too ‘Calm down, yes it's me, no I’m not dead, no I don't need an extraction, yes this is the happiest I've been possibly ever and my plans are fine and I don’t need a rescue mission, I’m quite happy with my new husband, we're keeping it from Hashirama because reasons’) with a mixture of exasperation and fondness, quietly touched that she would be willing to go against the Uchiha to help him despite the risk. At least this way it was just a flattering early invitation to the wedding (Madara and he had agreed that it would be best if Tobirama went to it with Madara, both to get off on a good foot with Satoshi and also a chance to announce who Tobirama was on their terms, already the secret was stretched to the limit and when the trinity clans arrived any hope of keeping it would be all but lost long term) rather than an insinuation that Tobirama was unhappy with his ravishing husband that he might have to take offence to (and he would, Tobirama definitely took offence when people said anything untoward about his wonderful husband; offence he was more than willing to act on).

Under that was the notes on the Shimura that Tobirama set aside for Touka, Mito, and Kikiyo, the woman having taken to dismantling the clan with frankly frightening glee as Mito’s influence sent more and more trade routes through Uchiha territory; the clan putting the manpower that used to go into thwarting the Senju into protecting the caravans and seeing them safely to the shore the Uchiha controlled and the Uzumaki escorted trade vessels waiting there. Under that there was his notes about the continuing changes to the eye healing jutsu- using it on Izuna had produced slightly different results from his work on Madara so clearly the Center-shading was more than just an aesthetic thing (though Tobirama could admit he was more than a little fond of the bright violet strafing in Madara’s eyes, it was always a pleasant thing to see his mark so clear on the older man even though he had little right to it)- and the beginning of the translation of the Uchiha Stone Tablet, still not what he was looking for – “Looking for this?” Madara’s voice from the door had Tobirama’s eye snapping up as a fond smile curled his lips automatically.

Madara shook the paper in his hand and meandered farther into Tobirama’s office, bending to give the albino a lingering kiss before handing over the paper; it was indeed the one Tobirama had been planning to look for (Rikona’s code had made him think -) but he ignored it in favor of pulling Madara down to kiss him longer and deeper, nuzzling at the older man and pouting when Madara eventually drew away. The Uchiha rolled his eyes but it was fond and his hand stayed curled around Tobirama’s neck comfortingly, “What did you need it for?” he asked softly, fingers rubbing soothing circles on pale skin as Tobirama tipped his head into the touch, humming softly before he spoke. “I think I thought of a way to slip a ninth Gate into the chakra coils by hiding it in a chakra packet disguised with medic-nin jutsu and then anchor it at vertebrae T12 with a small seal Mito helped me with but I have been fighting with the best way to hide it small enough that it will move through the body until I want it to….flower I suppose, unfold and write itself into the chakra pathways, and Rikona’s code made me think that I am going at it from too complex an angle, I need to simplify.”

Madara raised an eyebrow and nodded, apparently think thing that over as he absently asked, “And you still need someone to help you track the progress of the power on the chakra system?” and Tobirama snorted slightly, eyeing his love as he answered “You mean do I still need a Hyuuga? Yes, I think I do unfortunately, I just can’t see anyway around it” Tobirama groused, nudging back into his husband’s touch and all but purring at the soothing touches. “I’ll speak to Kikiyo, she got to know one of them rather well and might have a feel on how to get one – and ask Kenshin maybe, that imp seems to have a gift for finding and abducting people” Madara said, moving closer and tightening his hold slightly as Tobirama went limp with pleasure sagging into Madara with happy hum. “How are your eyes feeling?” Tobirama slurred, pleased when Madara gave up and lifted a feline-limp Tobirama up to slide under his relaxed husband “My eyes are fine To’ra, and so are Izuna’s, we’re ok; focus on the Shadows and this Ninth Gate.” Madara soothed, tsking when the albino wriggled and opened his mouth with a mulish expression “No, pretty eyes, the Center-shading is safe, I promise you that. I can feel my eyes changing but if anything it’s just making them more stable with your jutsu, honestly it might give me the Eternal Mangekyō if it does anything and that is not something to be upset by, I promise you”.

Tobirama sighed deeply and leaned harder into his husband, trying to let go of the fears that long years of war and constant anxiety had made so normal; after all he had to think about his introduction to the Trinity clans before anything else as that was happening tonight. Sighing Tobirama scrubbed a hand over his face, curling his legs up on Madara’s lap and tucking his face in the cloud of dark hair in stubborn refusal to acknowledge the coming mess, “Hey,” the Uchiha whispered “you figured out the Sharingan, you’ll figure Aziza out as well, I’ll help – and find a Hyuuga to help as well. For now why don’t you come with me and we can have some quiet before the Trinity clans arrive and you are introduced as my spouse, don’t think I have missed that you are wearing the quiet collar darling”. At that Tobirama snorted softly and tucked himself up closer, trying to make himself small enough to stay with Madara and wishing tonight wasn’t going to be so important; after all this would be Tobirama’s first exposure to the big clans as an Uchiha and though they had done ok keeping his identity secret it was about to get a lot harder and on top of that introduction he also had to scan all three clans for any lingering shadows (so far Taithleach was the only tainted person they had taken in and Tobirama was trying to figure out how to free her from the sickness but without knowing anything about it or what it was or how it acted or – well, it was just hard to make and progress with so much on his plate and so little information though he had asked that some Hatake come and see if the White Chakra could make more progress).

“Hey, stop thinking so much” Madara’s voice cut through his thoughts and Tobirama blinked, a bit surprised to find himself picked up in Madara’s arms as the Uchiha carried him to their room, “focus on me for right now, everything else will wait.” and with a sigh Tobirama did as he was told and let it go, focusing on his husband until the world stopped feeling like it was pressing in on him so badly.

Madara tapped his fingers against his arm, feeling the Trinity clans at the gates of the newly expanded wall and shoving down his impatience when he felt Tobirama’s chakra flicker against his in a quiet caress, glancing at where he knew the albino stood in the shadows of the Great House dressed as an Uchiha with a black fur collar over a white robe. The intention was to make it very clear where Tobirama’s alliance was now while also acknowledging that he was the White Demon and also not looking like they were at war anymore – hence Madara not being in armor either; this was a peace meeting and the first major step in having a larger shinobi village and he wanted for them to get this off on the right foot damn it!

The right foot in this case meaning sending Kagami and Kasumi to lead them from the gates to the square through the new building that Tobirama had been directing, slowly building up the foundation of a village (and also because the way they talked up Tobirama made Madara laugh and he wanted to inflict them on the Trinity leaders – one last bit of fun before he had to give up the game to them and lose a big portion of it) and it was their pipping voices that Madara heard first (well, Kagami’s pipping voice, Kasumi was typically decorous and deadpan as she added footnotes to Kagami’s continued chirping praise of his ‘Tempest-Shishou’) as the clans approached, wary and uncertain but disarmed by the children and lack of armed reception.

They came around the side of the building and stepped into the square, all eyes immediately latching onto Madara where he stood in front of the Great House; arms folded but without his Gunbai and armor to soften the image. Chinatsu was leading them- she was the oldest of the three and, well, the only one not coming cap in hand needing something from the Uchiha so it made sense- and she eyed not only Madara but the leaders of the clans and families that had already joined them who stood behind him, all the leaders but Tobirama. “So Madara, your husband not joining us again this time?” the Akimichi asked wryly, rolling her eyes when Madara smirked and moved forward, holding out a hand to the other clan head; “Oh he will be here soon, I thought we could get the basics out of the way before he joins us though”. At that Chinatsu grimaced and glanced at the other two clearly more stressed clan heads “You saw what we asked in our letters” she said quietly “we-“

“Is it true you can hold back the Shadows? I don’t think you have the power to fight-“ the querulous voice of the old woman cut through the air like a newly sharpened shrunken, ratcheting the tension up from the comfortable low simmer to a bright new alertness and in response Madara let his eyes drift over the gathered shinobi as they spun from dark almost-black into brilliant violate washed red with his Mangekyō twisting in the color, looking almost as though there were two of the Mangekyō pattern in the glowing depths as his eyes landed on an old stubborn looking woman who paled greatly as Madara’s devastating eyes landed on her. Slowly he opened his mouth to respond when several things happened at once.

Behind him Madara could feel Tobirama’s chakra go sharp and watching and at the same time a flurry of movement caught his eyes and Madara turned, releasing Chinatsu’s hand and calling up his chakra as a woman (Taithleach, her name was Taithleach Tobirama said) lunged out of the crowd on too fast feet. There was something wrong with her Madara noticed, something disjointed and…shuffling, as if she was puppeted by something that only knew how a skeleton worked and had never figured out ligaments and flesh; she was also thick within clinging black goo and it dripped from the split down her chest and over her lips and her eyes, terrified and pleading and wild with horror as she dove for Madara, one hand reaching for his eyes as she garbled out something in a slush of syllables Madara couldn’t follow. For a moment the sheer horror of it held him in place and Madara was frozen as the black seemed to whisper to him – to some part of him that was old and conditioned, like a beaten dog that just wanted to do as it was told to avoid pain and Madara –

Light

Brilliant and icily white light spilled out from behind Taithleach where someone in white had laid hands on her shoulders and was pouring it into her with one hand as the other fisted in something and started ripping it out of her back – like he was pulling a fetid black skeleton out of her body with nothing but his icy rage and the cold diamond light (Hatake, Madara thought distantly, Hatake White Chakra and Yuki snow and all of Tobirama’s indomitable will, truly something to be feared). There was a suspended moment while his face was hidden in the blazing light and then the black exploded and the light slowly dimmed, leaving Tobirama haloed in the fading remnants as he knelt with Taithleach in his arms and set her on the ground with infinitely gentle hands, murmuring to her as Madara shook off Chinatsu’s now vicelike grip and went to his husband, kneeling next to him and closing the woman’s frightened dead eyes as he scanned his love for hurt; “Are you alright” he murmured, brushing back a lock of white hair with fond fingers and waving Jiro over to take Taithleach's corpse away as Tobirama nodded. “Not the introduction we had planned” he murmured back and Madara’s lips quirked a bit as he drew his husband to his feet and kissed him lingeringly, tucking Tobirama’s hand in his arm as he turned back to the Trinity clans.

“My Husband, Tobirama Uchiha” Madara proclaimed to the shocked looking shinobi, smiling full of knives as they stared at the albino like he was something celestial, even Chinatsu looking shaken as Tobirama met her eyes dead on. “We thought…we thought you were dead” whispered someone in the crowd and a wry smile quirked Tobirama’s lips as he leaned into his husband, responding in a carrying deep voice, “Rumors of my demise were greatly exaggerated”.

Notes:

was feeling a bit burned out on this but I am back now! (I think) Just took a break to write something else but focusing on this again

Chapter 70: copper

Summary:

Health and healing; energy, warmth, protection, and safeguarding

Chapter Text

Chinatsu stared at them for a long moment, her face set in sharp lines with fear lingering in the corners (how strange to see someone afraid of him, he had gotten so used to the Uchiha and theirs and the way they looked at him he had almost forgotten what it was to be the demon and not a person) of her eyes; ah well, best to nip this in the bud. “I believe you were questioning my husband’s ability to handle the Shadows should they come here?” he said, making sure to pitch his voice to be heard over the whole crowd; there was an awkward silence and the old woman that that said something visibly shrunk until she was hidden by her clan members until Madara laughed, the sound rolling like thunder over the square as he gently gripped Tobirama and turned the albino to face him, cupping the vulpine face with a smile (both ignoring the flabbergasted looks on the watching new nin and eye rolls from the Uchiha, the White Demon seemed almost…docile, certainly affectionate if the way he was turning into the Uchiha’s touch was anything to go by).

“Now then To’ra, they haven’t seen it pulled out of hiding yet, they are afraid and it is fair to be thus, they mean no slight on my ability” Madara purred, rubbing a thumb over one red marking on his cheek before nuzzling at his husband until Tobirama tilted his face for a kiss Madara was thrilled to give him (the watching Trinity clans were going into something like shock as they watched two of the strongest living shinobi curl around each other like living Yin and Yang and somehow only look scarier for it! Maybe…maybe those rumors about Tobirama’s nature before they knew who he was shouldn’t be fully discarded after all…after all Butsuma would have done anything for power and that was well known). It took Kikiyo coughing loudly to pull them out of their absorption with each other (Tobirama was sure Madara could feel how shaken he was by what had just happened and how badly someone under his protection had died, but they would have to wait to speak about it until later when everything had been settled) and they drew apart reluctantly, as Madara turned back to the new shinobi and smiled at them as though he hadn’t just spent several minuets absorbed in Tobirama , “All things considered I am sure you will understand why Tobirama has to check you for shadow taint, Taithleach was marked as tainted and though we didn’t know she could do this now that we do….well it is even more important”.

Shiori Nara stepped forward at this point, nodding to Tobirama with only a little wariness “And what happens if we are tainted?” she asked quietly. Tobirama sighed slightly and leaned into the gentle hold of Madara’s chakra “I was working on a way to clear Taithleach’s chakra but – ran out of time. I do have a better feel for this and will be able to fast track cleaning you; however I think it might be a moot point” at that she raised a brow and Tobirama nodded to the ground, unsurprised when swearing and shrieks filled the air as the nin saw the clinging shadows streaming over the ground away from them and out of the compound/village into the forest to the south. The ground around Tobirama and Madara was clear as the former Senju radiated what little White Chakra he had left (they needed the Hatake, hopefully his kin would arrive soon) to push it away whenever it tried to inch closer to the Uchiha leader (it wanted Madara and that terrified Tobirama because on some level it was like Madara wanted it back – and what would happen to his lovely chakra if it clogged with all that black-rot?).

“It’s running away?” Kagami asked, moving closer with Kasumi, his small hand closing around a handful of Tobirama’s robes until the albino’s hand landed on his head comfortingly (the Trinity clans gaped, the Demon was good with kids?); “I doubt that” Tobirama murmured, reaching out with his senses as Madara finished for him “it’s gathering it’s strength.” They exchanged a look and Tobirama saw the same concern in Madara’s lovely dark eyes, wishing they could focus on following the tracks of the shadows, though “Adolpha” Tobirama called lowly, unsurprised when the gray backed wolf-dog wound out of the crowd and trotted over, following Tobirama’s eyes to the last of the shadow streams and getting it right away as she trotted out of the compound after it “still I would feel better if I checked each of you for it anyway”. At that the Trinity clan leaders exchanged a look and Shiori stepped forward, smiling uncertainly at Tobirama when the albino nodded at her (he had run into her or her brother a few times before she became clan leader and they had always gotten on ok, played a few fun rounds of shogi too; he was glad she wasn’t too afraid of him), he raised his hands and waited until she relaxed before focusing intently on the scanning, harder now with his White Chakra gone but he could lean on Madara’s chakra where the older man had a hand on his back even as he spoke with the other two clan leaders.

Shiori was clean, as was her brother; Shoma Nara winking at him as he stepped aside and waved a firm jawed Chinatsu forward to take his place and be scanned, the Akimichi making eye contact before going back to her conversation with Madara. Which was good enough, especially since Ichirou seemed mostly concerned about whether or not it would hurt his wife to be scanned and it took an exasperated Tobirama meeting the man’s eyes and threatening to tell him the gender of his child if he didn’t shut up to get the man to be quiet. Though….Tobirama would have preferred the chatter over the fixed, fascinated, gaze of the Yamanaka and they way he- and the whole clan- were staring at Tobirama like he was some sort of mythical creature, eyes intent on any place Tobirama and Madara were touching. (Ichirou- when he set aside his worry for his wife- just wanted to bang his head against the nearest wall, please and thank you. Kami, this was not what he had expected at all! Madara’s spouse that Ichirou had tried so hard to find out anything about and somehow he completely missed TOBIRAMA FUCING SENJU?! Yeah no. Ichirou was just…done. For tonight he was done. So done.)

By the time Tobirama was done with the clan heads and their entourages Tobirama was leaning into the hand on his back and glad that Madara had flat out refused to leave this to Tobirama on his own even if it meant keeping the clan leaders out in the sun of the square for hours as they went over everything and introductions were made with the already in residence Kohaku, Kurama and Hōki; and as Tobirama finished checking the children (his priority after the leaders and their families) Kagami grabbed them and pulled them to play with him, Haku, the amber-orange haired twins Tatsuo and Ryuji, and a group of mixed children from the Uchiha and the clans living with them, plus the rescued children; bright eyed, ebony skinned Runa and the summons keeping an eye on them. That was good, if the children were mixing it was a great first step towards lasting peace and it was a very good thing that they were clean; in fact most of the Trinity clan shinobi were clean though some of them showed…traces, empty spaces where it felt like something had recently drained away and Tobirama marked out those shinobi anyway – something once possessed could more easily be retaken and Tobirama would not be allowing this to happen a second time.

He hated that Taithleach had died (he hadn’t missed the hope in her eyes when she looked at him) and he hated how she died but…Tobirama wasn’t that good a person, mostly he just hated the look it had put in Madara’s eyes, the way his husband’s chakra had shivered and shifted and reached back was terrifying and Tobirama never wanted to see that again. He would do a lot to make sure that Madara never was faced with that again, a lot to make sure that he never saw hands reaching for his husband’s eyes like that and Madara just stand there – but no, he would just have to ask when they were alone, Tobirama just had to wait till then.

Biting back a sigh the albino let himself sink into a half meditating state, focused on the work in front of him and Madara’s hand on his back radiating warm chakra and the flow of chakra as things went longer and longer and he worked his way through the gathered nin; by the end he was leaning entirely on Madara’s chakra and arm, his own a bare wisp in coils so strained that they ached as he blinked his eyes open in the dim evening light, smiling a bit as Madara gathered him close. “All good?” Madara asked softly as Tobirama draped himself over the older man like a sleepy cat and nosed closer until a wash of starbright chakra soothed away some of the ache and he went limp with a pleased, relived noise. “All good” Tobirama mumbled back snorting a laugh as a chuff at his feet told him Haru had sent Mūn over to them; the big tiger curled around their legs radiating heat and threat to keep them unbothered. “’n you?” he tacked on after a moment, purring as Madara stroked down his back with a chakra covered hand; “I am all good as well, the clans are settling into their areas and we will have a meeting of all the clan leaders tomorrow afternoon before the welcome feast; everything looks good and I think the clans are pleased with things so far. You did a lot of preparation darling I’m not surprised it worked out.” Uncomfortable with the praise Tobirama tried to press closer and was thwarted by the fact that they were both wearing a lot of robes and pouted with sadness as his head swam with chakra exhaustion and slight chakra-drunkenness from the infusion of Madara’s heady chakra.

Quietly Madara huffed a laugh and gathered Tobirama to himself as he turned them away from the square and back to the Great House, the Uchiha doing most of the work as Tobirama just leaned lazily on him and Mūn got under their feet until Madara sorted and gave up; scooping Tobirama into his arms and just carrying the albino when it became clear that Tobirama wasn’t going to make his life easier. It was a good thing that Madara thought that Tobirama was beyond cute like this (though….Madara tended to think Tobirama was cute no matter what) and loved taking care of his pretty husband (!) when he was tired or chakra drunk or – well anything really. Tobirama mumbled something inaudible into Madara’s hair and wiggled closer as Madara channeled a little more chakra into his hands and the noise took on a happy tinge as the albino melted into him as Madara nudged open the door and closed it behind him with his foot, glad they had planned on Tobirama being tired after checking everyone – not quite this tired admittedly but still, they had planned on him just wanting to sleep after. On the other hand Tobirama didn’t seem to so much want to sleep as he wanted to curl around Madara and be pet and after attempting to talk to him a few times and only getting long fingered hands kneading at his back Madara gave up and just took Tobirama up stairs after asking a wide eyed Masahiko to bring up a tray as well – and maybe send up Izuna and Touka when they got back from helping the clans settle in.

By the time they returned Madara had stripped himself and Tobirama of their outer robes and Tobirama was splayed over him like a dozing cat with one hand tangled in Madara’s hair and the other kneading at his arm, letting out sleepy little ‘murp’s every time Madara jostled him awake enough to be fed a morsel of food (bless Masahiko’s bright mind for bringing food that could be eaten with one hand and wouldn’t get cold). At the door Touka halted, watching Madara hand feed her sleepy cousin with some shock while behind her Izuna covered his eyes and whined softly “Oh gods what are they doing? Its horrifying! I know it must be horrifying! The shock! The Horror! The cooties! My eyes! My delicateeyes!.....Touka? what’s going on?” at that point Izuna peeked through his fingers and his jaw dropped a bit as Touka finally sighed and gave up, entering the room and sitting on the end of the bed after shrugging off her over robe and limb wrappings; scratching her fingers through Tobirama’s hair and ignoring Izuna’s spluttering and wheezing.

“Chakra drunk again?” she asked dryly, snagging a bit of fruit and then shooting Izuna an imperious look until he slunk closer and perched awkwardly on the edge of the bed. Madara nodded with a smirk and Tobirama slurred something grumpy into his hair that went ignored by everyone but Madara who pet down his spine soothingly, “Yeah, after checking all the nin and dealing with the shadows in Taithleach he’s chakra exhausted and I don’t want him in pain” the Uchiha said calmly, pleased when Touka nodded approvingly at him as Izuna wormed a little farther onto the bed; attempting to be sneaky about it and only getting away with it because Touka and Madara let him. “So what did you want to see us about?” She asked, handing Izuna a piece of bread and cheese from the tray (Madara needed to do more to tell Masahiko he was doing well with taking the initiative and bringing up enough food for four after Madara said to send them up); Madara sighed and pressed Tobirama closer for something like comfort “I went through the Sharingan memory of what happened with Taithleach earlier trying to figure out what it was that the thing possessing her said before she attacked and it took some work but I think I have it figured out” against him Tobirama tensed slightly to Madara’s sorrow.

“And?” Izuna asked, having eeled out of his over-robe and wraps when Madara wasn’t paying attention and now seated happily on the end of the bed watching them with worry “She was going for your eyes,” he added, Touka cutting in with “She didn’t attack until you activated them” her face grim as she spoke. Madara nodded slowly, cuddling his husband more aggressively; “Exactly, seeing my Sharingan triggered the thing in her somehow; before she died Taithleach told To’ra-“ “’Zetsu…Rinnegan, purple’” Tobirama’s- mostly clear- interruption made Izuna shiver and Touka’s face hardened. “Mada…” the younger Uchiha whispered and Madara nodded, well aware of what that meant, “What I gathered from it was ‘your eyes! HOW…After all this time…after all my work…Indra at last is mine – HOW HOW’” Tobirama snarled a little and tightened his hold on Madara at the same time as Izuna reached out and grabbed his brother’s ankle and squeezed tightly, his face pale and worried.

“Madara,” Touka’s voice was grave and he met her eyes with some trepidation, already aware that she was helping Yamatohime with the Tablet translation and that ‘Rinnegan’ was prominent on there “you know this is bad right?” he nodded silently, looking over at his brother as Izuna wiggled and muttered “I think I have heard that word before ‘Zetsu’, where have I heard that?!?” but it was Tobirama’s quiet only slightly dazed murmur that caught Madara’s attention “So it’s the Center-shading that is making it pay attention to you?” there was a pitiful note in his voice that made Madara’s chest ache but it was Touka that spoke up first, “No, I don’t think so, it said ‘after all my work’ and asked about the Rinnegan; my guess? It’s been watching them for a long time and the purple color from the Center-shading looks enough like the Rinnegan that it is angry about it for some reason but I need to check some things” she and Izuna exchanged a look and the younger Uchiha nodded in agreement before adding “for now the two of you focus on the village and keeping the clans working together with Mito and Kikiyo, Izuna and I will look into this matter.”

At that Tobirama relaxed and muttered “Dreams” into Madara, lifting his head slightly at Madara’s inquiring noise to say more loudly “Dreams, ‘dara been having bad dreams – your chakra goes…funny, like when it almost reacted to thing t‘night, like it knows the shadows. Don’ like it” at that Madara winced under his brother’s horrified eyes, resigned to explaining about the dreams now and feeling bad for not having realized how badly Tobirama was worried about this. With a sigh he explained about the dreams, Tobirama adding things from time to time and Madara realized with some chagrin that he had never fully sat down with his brother and shared all that was going on and Tobirama- so used to being on his own- hadn’t realized that they were supposed to share information like this, but it was…nice.

Madara hadn’t realized that he had stopped doing this, stopped gathering with his brother and talking things over like this late into the night, Touka listening intently and adding things in a startlingly seamless way and it was, just, really f*cking nice ok? Though one of the best parts was hands down was when Madara heard a sleepy Tobirama whisper to Touka ‘sleepover’ in a tiny, thrilled voice that made the older former Senju just melt (even Izuna looked a bit melt-y on the edges about that, either way he didn’t argue when Touka just curled up at the end of the bed and went to find a blanket for them without a word or even his normal fussing). Honestly it was a sentiment Madara rather shared, and even though the topic was most quite concerning Madara couldn’t help but feel safe and taken care of and late after their spouses had fallen asleep he met Izuna’s eyes with a murmured “Not what I imagined for my future” and Izuna snorted a quiet laugh, “No, me neither, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything”. (Though he might have changed his mind when Kaida- brought by Kiyoshi who flopped down almost on top of Touka- and Mūn and joined them in the early morning, little cold toes and long fur making Izuna wiggle and whine for a bit before he fell back asleep.)

Chapter 71: the opposite of love

Summary:

was never hate

Chapter Text

Hiroki Hyuuga ducked under a drooping dead tree branch, wiping his hand on his pants to get rid of the thick black goo clinging to his fingers and stinging faintly as it did. With a grimace the Hyuuga ducked farther through the dying, rotting trees; trying to make himself focus on what he was doing and not the bubbling irritation at being forbid from visiting the Uchiha to check and see if his f*cking kid was there (Haruka really didn’t care about his great niece and it infuriated Hiroki). This wasn’t the time to be distracted, Hiroki had no idea what was in the woods here making this much of a mess- though the Hyuuga lands only touched the edge of it, most of it was on -

“Stop, Hyuuga” he froze, not turning around and slowly holding his hands out at his side, resigned (well, ‘resigned’) to the fact that he hadn’t noticed when he passed over from Hyuuga land through into Nara lands – which meant into Uchiha at this point with the Trinity clans as vanishing into the growing settlement of the Uchiha. Still, Hiroki hadn’t anticipated this (hadn’t even been able to hope that it would go this well) “Kikiyo, it’s been a while” the Hyuuga said quietly, amused when there was no sound to tell him she came closer until an intentional rustle of her silks came from directly behind him; “Tell me Hyuuga, what are you doing in these blighted lands?” she asked quietly and the man became aware all at once that there was another person nearby and that she was deadly serious. Too serious for Hiroki to play at meeting an old friend, if he wanted out he would have to be honest- anything else and the Red Crane would know- though…..’out’ might not be what he really needed right now.

“Haruka sent me looking for one of our clan that vanished in this area-“ he hesitated, wavered, thought of the marking on his head and that his kid was out there and – made his choice “-I am looking for my daughter, she’s just a baby and I think you might know where she is”. At that there was a surprised pause “A child? I- I thought you didn’t want kids?” Kikiyo said slowly, wary as Hiroki shrugged a bit “I don’t, but I have a kid anyway and I won’t see her done wrong by! Signs indicated she was taken by the Ring and then would have gone to the Uchiha, but I have been forbidden from going to the Uchiha to find her” another pause and then a teen popped out of the brush in front of him.

The teen looked to be about seventeen and had earlobe long hair parted just off center pulled back in a short silly tail with wavy bangs, he was soft featured with cat eyes and straight brows and a bright glint in his eyes that made Hiroki a little nervous as he looked at the kid. “Hi! I am Kenshin Uchiha! You want to find your kid right? But can’t just come ask?” slowly the Hyuuga nodded, feeling the heavy weight of the Red Crane’s eyes on his long hair as he did “Ok!” the boy chirped “Then you’re our captive now!” and with that he darted close to bind Hiroki’s hands “This way you can see if we have your kid and help us out and it all works out for the best!” and with that the teen ducked closer, setting his shoulder into Hiroki’s stomach and heaving the bigger Hyuuga over his shoulder in a messy and bewildering fireman’s carry and – well. sh*t.

(This wasn’t quite what Hiroki had in mind but he couldn’t argue that it didn’t work and solve his problem.) (Also, Kikiyo looked like she was trying not to laugh at him, witch.) (Though…it might be fair given how often how often Hiroki had laughed at her when they were both at the Capital in their youth before she was the Red Crane and never did anything undignified enough to laugh at.)

The trip back to the Uchiha, uh, settlement? Village? What did they even call it now? whatever, the trip back was uncomfortable in the extreme and after a while Kikiyo gave up on looking like she wasn’t laughing at him and just snickered quietly as Kenshin bubbled about the Uchiha and their new allies without actually telling Hiroki anything he could use if his clan head asked (just enough to know their new village-mates were settling in quite well and the big feast to welcome the Trinity clans had been a blast and everyone loved Madara-sama’s spouse and thought he was the best while also being a bit in awe of him) (which, duh, Celestial Warrior). All in all by the time they reached the new and notably bigger gates Hiroki was hoping to be let down- his stomach f*cking ached ok?- and walk in on his own two feet but – nope, it was just a stop so Kikiyo could blindfold him, smirking the entire time (why did he consider her a friend again?).

With mild difficulty Hiroki bit back his frustration and let himself go even limper and heavier on the teenager- if he was going to be undignified he was going to be a pain about it damn it!- letting himself be hauled back to the center of the- Village, it was too big to be anything else in his opinion- and through a set of doors going by the shading, over some wood and into what seemed to be a shaded garden if the cool on Hiroki’s skin and the sound of clinking water features was anything to go by. It was then an even, cultured voice called out a welcome lowly from the right and Kenshin twitched with excitement as he carried Hiroki closer and – look there was no other way to say it, Hiroki was dumped on smooth gravel like his was a mouse brought back by a bouncy kitten (big f*cking kitten – and Kikiyo was laughing at him again damn it!). Something he would have been a lot more angry about than he was if it hadn’t been for the pressure of the presence of person he had been set in front of leaning down on him like the man was scanning him head to toe with cool, penetrating, all seeing eyes; like all his secrets were known and seen and beheld under that even watchful entity, weighed like the gods of fate for a long moment, the feeling so overpowering that he almost missed Kikiyo whispering into the man’s ear; low enough Hiroki couldn’t understand it but enough he knew she was speaking.

Eventually the senses of presence lifted, and it was all Hiroki could do not to slump with relief as the man in front of him (it had to be Tora, who else had a presence like that?) spoke, “Hiroki Hyuuga. Kikiyo tells me you two were close for a time in your youth and that you are looking for you child, tell me about them” it wasn’t a question and the Hyuuga tipped his chin up with as much clan pride as he could find. “Hisa, her name is Hisa Tora-sama and I have never met her. It – it was never my intention to have children and I didn’t even know – but I would never leave her – my blood, I – I don’t know how to be a father and I don’t know that I would be a good one but when I found out and found out she had vanished I had to act. All the trails led to here and I just – I just want her to be happy” he finished weakly, trailing off in the penetrating silence until soft footsteps on boards came and something exchanged hands and then a moment later there was a change in the lightings and a cool presence in front of him and Hiroki felt his heart stop as he was handed a toddler with long silky hair and curious hands and he shook, shocked at the affection he felt as his chakra resonated with hers.

“This is my daughter” Tora said evenly “Kaida, she is about the age yours would be and she has an eye condition; it would be understandable if there was some confusion on your part and we would be willing to let you be her godfather in your child’s name if you wish” in that moment Hiroki’s heart broke and was mended all at once. His Hisa was gone but she had the thing he had wanted for her more than anything; a family and one that would never cage her or let her be caged (you don’t cage a dragon after all) and they were still willing to let him have a place in her life but…one he could do right and do well, rather than trying and failing at being the sort of father he would want to be. “I – I would like that, thank you, thank you” he rasped out, tracing the lines of his – goddaughter’s round, well fed cheeks where they crinkled up with activated Byakugan until a long fingered hand landed on her head and Hiroki felt Tora do something and a moment later Hi-Kaida’s Byakugan deactivated (that kind of power…).

“I am afraid for now Hyuuga-“ “Hiroki, call me Hiroki” “…Hiroki, we can not let you leave just yet. I happen to have need of a user of the Byakugan to help me with a healing I am working on and if you would be willing to help – nothing dramatic, just observing and telling me about the progress of the jutsu, certainly nothing that will require breaking your oaths to your clan or revealing the secrets of the Byakugan. If you are willing to help you will need to stay another day or two here, perhaps spend some time with your goddaughter, while I finish and prepare” there was hardly any need for thought “Of course I will stay and help, after everything how could I not? Will I – the blindfold I mean” at that Tora actually chuckled once and the sound of fabric moving over itself told the Hyuuga the other man was sitting again.

“Of course not, you will have to wear it in the Great House but outside there is no need. Kenshin and Runa Amanozako will be your minders as I would ask that you not go anywhere without them; otherwise you are free to go most places with them and see the village, you will be sent for when I am in need of your help” the cool instructions were oddly comforting and Hiroki nodded, setting Hi-Kaida on the ground and taking her hand as Kenshin stepped up next to hime close enough to be felt. Both bowed but just before he left Tora called out “Hiroki? In the trees where you were found did you find anything?” silently he shook his head and Tora must have gestured in a way Hiroki couldn’t see as Kenshin tapped his elbow and led him out, little Kaida trotting happily next to them on her short legs and giggling when Hiroki nearly gasped as Kenshin took the blindfold off. So many clans and families all moving around each other peacefully! There was wariness and some uncertainty but…no one was fighting and the children, so mixed together that you couldn’t tell which belonged to which at first glance; all playing and bright eyed and free. There were no cages here, not within clans and not – not within a world that would cage them into bloody young deaths; for the first time Hiroki was looking at a world without clipped wings next to a Hyuuga child who would never know what it was to fear a blade waiting in the sky.

Chapter 72: mercury

Summary:

communication, progress, clarity; persuasion

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Tobirama watched Kaida- Hisa once apparently- toddle off with her biological father with mixed feelings, tilting his shoulders slightly toward Kikiyo as the Red Crane came to stand at his side. “You are certain you trust him?” he asked quietly, the tension in his back starting to make his head ache; Hiroki was clean from the shadows though his hand was a bit darkened (a good thing given that more and more of their patrols came back with clinging shadow-lets and it was difficult to get them off without more Hatake, though he could feel his kin should be here today if they kept up their pace at the moment) and truly seemed thrilled to find his daughter in the Uchiha compound with Tobirama, but still, he worried. “Yes Tobirama, I knew him well and though he is proud, he is branch and not that attached to his clan. We can’t keep him her too long or Haruka will activate the seal though” at that Tobirama swore and rubbed at the bridge of his nose, she was right and it wouldn’t be safe to keep him long; a week no more and Tobirama – wasn’t quite ready to do the Ninth Gate operation on Aziza yet. sh*t. Hehated that damned seal.

“Go greet my pack-kin at the gates when they arrive and bring Guðrún to me in my study after, make sure that they look at the watchers we have placed around the blight first – the taint is worst on them and they need to most help. Madara is with the council, at the end please fill in the council about our new guest and – thank you for fetching him out of the blight cousin” Tobirama directed, glad the Kikiyo knew him well enough to squeeze his arm before she slipped away to check over her clothing for any trace of sap or goo from the blight where the Shadows had gone to ground. Kenshin would make sure that Hiroki was cleaned and his dirty clothing was washed on in blessed boiling water; Tobirama had scanned the man and done what he could to cleans him with the technique he and Madara had created after Taithleach’s death, it wouldn’t have been enough to save her but it helped the others – it just relied on bright chakra, like White Chakra or Madara’s oddly multi-faceted primal chakra (though Tobirama still liked to keep his husband away from the shadows when he could, he didn’t much like the way Madara reacted, it was too…conditioned).

With a sigh Tobirama set that aside and headed back into the house to his study; time was short and he was going to have a few long nights on his hands as he worked his way through finishing this in time (Madara wasn’t going to like it, Tobirama hoped he wasn’t too upset, but – no, that wasn’t fair, Tobirama knew him better than that, he did and he trusted Madara, it was going to be fine).

Madara was more than ready for the council meeting to be over by the time it started drawing to a close, he wanted to know who the Hyuuga in the village was and greet the handful of Hatake so he could go to his husband, who felt stressed and strung out to Madara’s senses. Still he wasn’t quite at the point of walking out on the meeting given how important the council meeting were to the workings of the new village and letting the other clans have a say in it – which they needed to have (and hells Madara had heard about that choice from the Elders, still did. He may be in charge but somehow letting the other clans and families have any say was a terrible thing, never mind that Madara fully intended for the next leader of the village to be chosen by the village and not a hereditary thing – he hadn’t told the Elders that part yet, it could wait for a while yet). That was why as they wound to a close with almost nothing being agreed on Madara was drumming his fingers on the table, reminding himself over and over not to just walk out of the room to go find his husband; so Kikiyo knocking was a relief and Madara rushed to call her in, smiling a bit manically as his cousin walked into the room.

Kikiyo blinked at him and then bowed shallowly to the council- well mostly to the Trinity clan leaders but that was fair- greeting them and introducing the Hatake with her before informing them they had a confused Hyuuga for a guest who was being kept from the truth of Tobirama’s identity but would be helping Tobirama with one of his projects and oh by the way the man was being named as godfather to Tobirama’s daughter Kaida as there was a resemblance to his own vanished child, though clearly the man was just projecting because of Kaida’s eye condition (Madara was more than a little amused to see so many understanding nods around the room, no one willing to go against Tobirama and say that Kaida was Hyuuga when he insisted she wasn’t – also they might just be enjoying the chance to be in on the secret for once). Guðrún smirked at him and came around the table to greet him as he stood, shacking his hand strongly and giving Madara the perfect reason to turn to the rest of the council and dismiss them, Chinatsu rolling her eyes and Shiori looking relieved as she was woken from her slump over the table.

“Pack brother, where is my kin?” Guðrún asked, her eyes sharpening when Madara grimaced, “In his study, working on the Gate, we can only keep the Hyuuga so long before his clan head acts” Kikiyo interrupted and Madara – closed his eyes and bit back swear words, of course, of course, Tobirama would be driving himself to the bonne to finish in time. “Cousin-“ he started and Kikiyo smiled, shaking her head “I will take care of it, go to Tobirama” gratitude rushed through him for his kind cousin. Kikiyo had her own tasks and her own loved one (Madara hadn’t missed that Mito had moved into her room recently and he knew how little time they had together already) and she was still giving up her time to help Madara find time with his husband; then again all the Uchiha were protective of the albino and Madara’s relationship with him and would go out of their way to make sure they had time together -something that reminded Madara of how much he loved his passionate, willful people. “Thank you Kikiyo” he murmured “Guðrún-“ but the Hatake shook her head and tsked sharply, “Go to your husband Starborn, we will do our part” she said briskly and he clapped her shoulder in thanks before heading for the door.

Tobirama unsurprisingly was bent over his desk and the complicated diagrams there when Madara arrived with a tray of food, Masahiko next to the albino looking a bit lost but game with his bright head bent next to Tobirama’s white one as the albino muttered to him. A moment later Masahiko handed over a different width brush and leaned farther over to watch as the albino carefully drew a seal (the blond had sort of turned into Mito and Tobirama’s apprentice as time went by and was soaking in sealing like a sponge) and murmured again, Masahiko nodding along.

Shaking his head Madara wandered over, pleased when Tobirama’s only reaction to his presence was to lean into his hold as Madara slid an arm around him; gone were the days when Tobirama dropped everything when Madara entered the room like a soldier waiting for a task – or dressing down. Now Madara was trusted to the extent that Tobirama was more than willing to let the older man into his space without even stopping his flow of writing – not so Masahiko, who jumped just about out of his skin- backwards, because he was smart enough not to bump Tobirama- when he noticed that Madara had ghosted up next to his husband and- because Madara was fundamentally a bit of a dick- the Uchiha just offered the teen the tray with its rice balls until a shaking hand took one. Carefully biting back his smirk Madara set down the tray and watched Tobirama scribble, trying to pick up what he was working on without any help; he was already somewhat familiar with the project from Tobirama’s mutterings and had helped with portions of it, though it really wasn’t his area of expertise.

“He’s trying to finish the last bits of the coding in the chakra, I think that’s the only thing that’s left but it’s a lot of information to pack into a tiny space and it has to unfold just right or it could – um – go badl-“ “Explode, it could explode” Tobirama interrupted Masahiko’s uncertain explanation “other than that you have it right” and the boy just beamed like that was the greatest praise in the world. “Alright” Madara said “I know you have to work on this and finish it quickly darling but please eat something first? You will focus better if you do” reluctantly Tobirama dragged his eyes away from his work and when he made eye contact Madara waited until he saw that the other man’s eyes were having trouble focusing before pressing his chakra into the slimmer man until Tobirama’s gaze focused on him and then kissed him lightly until Tobirama feathered his chakra back; the system they had started using when Madara had to interrupt intense focus Tobirama had trouble pulling himself out of to ease him back to the real world long enough to eat and take care of himself. (That was one of the best things as far as Madara was concerned, the fact that Tobirama was never unwilling to meet him halfway if Madara himself put in a certain amount of work – though it still hurt how much even the most basic reaching back shocked and touched Tobirama after so long doing all the work.)

Slowly the albino drew back and smiled a tiny smile at Madara though there was still stress in the corners of his eyes; a kiss on his brow seemed to ease it a touch and Madara glanced at Masahiko- carefully looking in the other direction- “Go get something better to eat and then you can come back and keep helping, but bed before the second watch alright?” eagerly the boy nodded at Madara’s words and darted away, clearly pleased to be allowed to keep helping (and Madara was even fairly sure that unless there was a very good reason he would be listened to on the curfew too). Now, “What’s bothering you pretty eyes?” Madara asked his lover gently, pressing Tobirama back to sit on the table and putting another rice ball into his hand; relived when Tobirama started nibbling on it even if it was a way to gain time before answering.

“To’ra” he prompted after an entire rice ball had been consumed and the albino sagged, “I don’t – I don’t want you to be angry with me” he muttered finally, looking away “I know you don’t like it when I get to focused and forget…things, but I just don’t see any other way of getting this finished on time” carefully Madara breathed in and out slowly to cool his cresting emotions, he and Izuna could go set some of the blight on fire tomorrow, right now he needed to be there for his husband (it just hurt to see the old wounds in Tobirama even now). Gently he reached out at cupped Tobirama’s face “Tobirama, look at me beautiful,” the pretty red eyes met his and Madara smiled faintly “I don’t like it when your health suffers for your research no, but I understand that you don’t have any choice right now and I will just do my best to make sure you don’t burn out while you do it ok? I know that there are different rules for different situations darling, and I’m not mad and though I am going to miss you; if you think I am not going to be moving some of my work in here until you are done you don’t know me at all.”

That little speech got a hiccup and Tobirama tossing himself into Madara’s arms with a vice tight grip on the Uchiha as the albino whispered “I love you” fervently into Madara’s ear, sending a rush of heat through the older man as he gathered his clever, impossible husband closer for a long moment; basking in some of the last time together they would have like this for a bit. (Though he had to admit he would be glad to see Aziza solved and be able to stop staying away from the girl so much; already he had had to explain to the children about why he avoided her so much and he didn’t want more people noticing if he could avoid it. Talking to the kids had been bad enough – but he couldn’t let her be ostracized for his PTSD ((thank you for that term Chura)), not when she was just a kid and hadn’t yet done anything wrong.)

Notes:

with inspo from HikaruWinter's comment:
"Tobirama, coolly unamused (and already terribly intimidating): I'd appreciate it if you stopped pointing out my daughter's eye condition.
Random Hyuuga: But that's the Byakugan!
Tobirama: Yes. Indeed. Her eyes are white.
Random Hyuuga: But- Doujutsu-!
Tobirama: Not everyone with white eyes is a Hyuuga, for f*ck's sake.
Random Hyuuga: She just activated them!
Tobirama: A likely story."

Chapter 73: myrtle and edelweiss

Summary:

good luck and love in marriage; courage and devotion

Chapter Text

Izuna leaned back in his chair and rubbed tiredly at his eyes, head aching from squinting over old scrolls for several days now trying to hunt down the reference to ‘zetsu’ that he was sure he had seen before. A soft sound from the other side of the room pulled the Uchiha’s eyes to the other side of the room where his lovely wife (and yes now he understood why Madara always looked like an idiot when he called Tobirama his husband) was sitting in the weak early spring sunlight pouring through the big windows, slowly beating her horn and gilt marriage fan to get a breath of air in the stuffy sitting room (neither of them actually knew what kind of horn it was, Tobirama refused to share just said it was from a summons and ‘unusually strong’ when he handed it and Izuna’s pure silver-strong-enough-to-channel-Raiton to them after their wedding and Izuna just got dust in his eyes ok?!?).

At that moment Touka looked up and arched a dark fine brow at him, making Izuna grin like a f*cking idiot again as he shook his head and forced his eyes back down to the scroll even though his mind was miles away on his lovely wife curled up in the big high backed armchair. Touka was the best thing that had ever happened to him and being married to her and living with her and plotting with her and just – look, anything with her or anything knowing he was going to go home after and tell her about it was better. His life was just….better with her in it and, nine hells Izuna was positive he was better for having her around! She made him want to be better and honestly believe he could be, that there was a better Izuna somewhere in him that he could be if he just tried and put the work in; she made him think he could have a better relationship with his clan and his brother-s, she made him think that he could actually make peace a thing, she made him think that the Uchiha could be better as a whole and that Izuna could help with tha