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All Nighter

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Madara twitched, widening his eyes pointedly - and then wincing as he released his suddenly too tight grip on the papers he held. He stifled a yawn and looked sidelong at Tobirama, but he didn’t seem to have noticed. Anything.

Or, indeed, to have moved, more than necessary to turn a page or write a note, in the past several hours at least. Madara felt stiff and uncomfortable just looking at him. He flexed his own shoulders idly, and tucked his legs up beside him as he pulled his focus back to the schedule he was reviewing.

He remembered none of the numbers it detailed, and had to start at the top of the page again, checking a few of the references against the assignment roster on the table he’d taken over beside the arm of the couch. He rubbed his eyes and focused carefully, marking each line where there was a conflict or a team required for something else at that time. It was a mechanic, dull routine, for all he had to consider every assignment as he worked.

Madara swallowed a yelp as he nearly stabbed himself in the thigh with his pencil, sliding sideways as his mind drifted. He shook it off, not quite certain how long he had been out of it before he poked himself by accident.

He finished the page and stifled the urge to groan as he put it aside in favour of the next beneath it - continuing in the same dull task. He glanced over at Tobirama, but his lover was not only focused tightly on his work, he didn’t look even a little tired.

Madara sighed and shook his head, absently biting his lip as he began to read.

By the seventh - and final, blessedly - page of schedules that needed reviewing Madara was no longer stifling a groan but a shout when he turned to it, and the numbers were beginning to blur together, requiring he put even more effort into focusing on the task.

He had also blanked out briefly and had to start over on almost every page. He knew he wasn’t making any mistakes, was going over everything thoroughly, but it was frustrating.

Madara neatened the stack and lowered his hands, sitting back and staring blankly ahead for a few long moments, until he realised he was beginning to nod, vision fading out. He shook it off and put the stack of paperwork aside properly. He wished, idly, that it represented the sum total of his work to be accomplished for the night. Of course, most of the work awaiting his attention wasn’t quite so urgent that he needed to do it tonight, but. . .

Madara glanced over at Tobirama once more, propping his chin against his fist, elbow on the arm of the couch. Tobirama had shifted rather a lot of the paper surrounding him around, and still looked sharply focused even as he reached out blindly for his cup of tea, took a sip, and put it back down.

If Tobirama could stay up getting work done, so could Madara.

He scowled and turned to grab the next stack of paperwork, bending his attention to it with determination. He stilled for a moment, eyes nearly crossing, before he could make the characters on the page settle into sense and stay in the proper order.

Right, Madara thought; next mess to tackle.

He leaned a little more heavily forwards as he kept reading, the text not so much making sense as blurring through his head as he slowly-

Madara jerked himself upright, stifling a sound of startlement, and winced. He looked around, but Tobirama still hadn’t moved. There might be a few more papers on the stack on one bent thigh, and a few less in his hand or the stack on the arm of the couch on his other side, but Madara honestly couldn’t tell. He just assumed that Tobirama was continuing to power through his work, as he generally did.

Madara yawned and rubbed his face, leaning back a little more. He turned his attention back to the report he had been reading, tried to find his place, and nearly faded out again skimming through the characters. He shook it off with a sigh and went back to the beginning, focusing on the words carefully this time.


Tobirama sighed, marking out another passage in the frankly ludicrous proposal submitted to the experimental department he oversaw. He needed to find someone else in his team who could be trusted to review these, he thought, not for the first time - it was time consuming and irritating going over them himself.

Though there had been some excellent ideas to be gleaned from the mess, if read with a thoughtful eye and an open mind. Which was why Tobirama still handled the task himself.

He eyed the point of his pencil and reached for the table, putting it aside in favour of a new one. A quiet clatter made him sigh, pulling his gaze from the paper and looking at the table. There were three dull pencils there, waiting to be sharpened again, but only one with a sharp point, near the far edge of the table. And - he leaned to one side - another, halfway under the table.

Tobirama blinked. The floor was a warm amber shade, boards almost glowing in the . . . light. He looked up. The sun shone through the window, newly risen but very definitely risen. He had been working far longer than he had intended, having been actually planning to go to bed the night before.

He frowned, glancing at the top paper in the stack he held once more. A thought occurred to him and he looked down the couch-

Tobirama’s lips twitched. He leaned forwards, putting the stack of papers on the table to be dealt with later. Madara was sagging against the opposite arm of the couch, his tousled head bowed and his legs curled up, a spill of papers lying across his lap.

Madara had been working late as well, Tobirama remembered his stubborn expression as he stalked out and claimed a second table and the other half of the couch the night before. He had watched with some amusement, and made tea for two when next he rose.

Evidently Madara had not quite made it to bed either, although Tobirama had no idea when he might have fallen asleep.

“Madara? Love?” Tobirama called quietly, but Madara didn’t stir. Tobirama hummed, rising from the couch and groaning softly as he stretched, arching his back and rolling his neck absently. He collected the pencil from the floor and glanced at the sunlight spilling across the room again. There was time yet before he would have to prepare to go in to the office - before either of them would.

Tobirama moved around to his lover’s side, brushing a hand over Madara’s shoulder. He still didn’t wake, his face lax and his lips slightly parted. Tobirama shook his head, a fond smile tugging at his lips.

He wrapped one arm around Madara’s shoulders, shifting him away from the back of the couch, and bent to tuck the other beneath his thighs, scooping him off the couch. Madara groaned as he was lifted but as his head slid to rest heavily on Tobirama’s shoulder - and there was no further comment - Tobirama gathered he had remained asleep.

“Foolish love.” Tobirama murmured absently, and carried him through into the bedroom, easing him down to rest on the bed properly. He didn’t move, even to roll off his back, though he hated sleeping that way, and Tobirama hummed, wondering why Madara had even tried to stay up and work if he had been so very tired.

Tobirama yawned, sliding off his short yukata and the mesh beneath, then crawled into bed himself, curling on his side and nudging his head deeper into the pillow. They had at least a few hours before they had to be awake; Madara could rest until then, and so could he.

Tobirama vaguely registered the sleep-clumsy shift of his lover’s warm body behind him, coming near, as he fell asleep.