He was behind enemy lines when all hell literally broke loose. The Senju were resorting to desperate measures now. When only desperation remained, that’s all one could do. That’s why he found himself neck deep in the invaded forests surrounding Konohagakure. A Kamikaze mission. Hashirama knew it when he gave the order. Itama knew when he accepted. Assassinate the Mizukage; no one was to know. They couldn’t risk Kawarama trying to stop him.
And Tobirama? He had his own half insane, last ditch effort to try.
His eldest brother held him just a bit too tightly after that. Tears threatened to fall when he returned those final words: “I love you.” As if the affection needed to be reaffirmed. No one knew how much Hashirama loved his little brothers more than Itama did.
It was that love he carried in his chest as he slipped through Hashirama’s barrier under the cover of his artificial fog. It was that love his drew his strength upon when the pained, confused cries of his enemies warbled away into death. The forest ran red one body at a time.
And his heart ached. Oh, how it ached. Each of those men followed the Mizukage's orders and left families behind; as he has his own. His resolve faltered at a cry far too young. He watched this one die. A young boy, one far too small to be this deep into a siege. The boy fell to the forest floor, withering in agony as bits of melted brain matter seeped out his ears, eyes and nose. The ram seal Itama had form slowly closed into a fist. Knuckles turned white. Far too young.
This needed to stop.
He was half a mile from the enemy’s strategic centre when an inferno went up around him. Black fire burned everything alive: creature and plants alike. The agonizing screams that rose from the smoke rang darker in Itama’s head than any death he perpetrated.
An inhuman chakra drew his attention skyward. His face paled for he knew, and he feared. “Tobirama.” In a flurry, he shot from the trees, keeping as close to the forest floor as he dared. A greater demon.
Tobirama’s plan worked too well.
A few quick hand seals had his mist gathering against his skin; a temporary deterrent against the otherworldly flames. Itama dove between retreating shinobi, panic and death biting at his heels when no enemy seemed to care. They ran for their lives. Itama ran for his family.
Hashirama’s barrier seemed to bleed away beneath his fingers. This wasn’t good. Something had him distracted. Itama slipped through, reinforcing his point of reentry with a carefully controlled burst of chakra. His suiton wove fluidly through the water of Hashirama’s mokuton.
With some semblance of safety around him, Itama’s eyes returned to the sky. The demon was closer now. Black wings beating against a sky greying with smoke. A hauntingly beautiful image. “What have you done, Tobira?”
He spiked his chakra a bit, searching for his brothers in the flurry of panicked auras. Hashirama was like a beacon, bright and clear atop the Hokage tower. Kawarama was found amongst the civilians and what felt to be Academy students. Just as he knew he would be; always caring for the weaker, the helpless. And Tobirama- wasn’t. Just wasn't.
He was half way to the Hokage tower when he saw Tobirama land next to Hashirama. And that’s when he realized. His big brother’s aura. His chakra.
It was different. Almost unnatural.
He stopped on a rooftop of the Nara Compound, momentarily at a loss. The demon was there now, black arms encircling Tobirama in such an intimate manner. His heart ache in his chest.
A dense fog slowly slid over the rooftops, spreading out amongst the compounds and administrative buildings. Though he may not agree with their methods, he trusted his brothers. He trusted their decisions. He loved them; utterly and completely. That was why he staved his hand at the ready, but waited.