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Science, Snark, and Sweetness

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Madara opened his brother’s door then immediately scrambled backwards and closed it again . . . mostly. He stopped and peeked through the narrow space he’d left open and told himself if Indra hadn’t glared at him and yelled for him to get out then it wasn’t a problem - Indra always noticed.

Although he quietly wondered if maybe, this time . . . his brother was just too distracted.

Tobirama sat in Indra’s chair behind his desk, head bowed and striking eyes closed, his shoulders slumped. Indra was leaning over him, expression soft and fond, fingers ruffling through his hair and massaging his head. He was speaking but Madara only caught a few words here and there, and . . . that wasn’t the part that snagged him, either.

He’d known his brother had gone from thinking Tobirama was a fascinating curiosity to delighting in working with him to, recently, enjoying physical intimacy with him, but. . .

Madara licked his lips, then pressed them together, closing the door on the sight of Tobirama straightening, very slowly, and leaning back into Indra. Indra who was looking down at Tobirama with an overwhelmingly warm, soft look in his eyes.

. . .it was more than Indra enjoying the way he thought and working with him - having someone who could challenge or outmatch him in jutsu and theory for the first time, Madara thought, with a regretful pang - and finding him attractive in addition. That was. . .

That was Indra’s heart in his eyes, Madara thought as he made his way back to his own office, the lunch invitation he had been going to issue forgotten as he tried to frame this in his head. How could he feel about it? Could he accept. . .

Could he do anything else? Indra had never been seriously taken with anyone, had barely had brief flashes of interest, and this was clearly far more. Could he do anything other than be happy for his so-often isolated older brother?

Madara smiled ruefully.

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Indra slid to his knees, hands smoothing over Tobirama’s chest and down to his sash, plucking at it and sliding the knot free. Tobirama leaned back on his hands and watched.

Indra pulled the sash away, letting it fall to the floor beside him and kneeling up to reach as he slid his hands all the way back up his lover’s chest. Tobirama sighed, his heart beating a slow, steady rhythm beneath Indra’s palm. He finished his caress at the base of Tobirama’s neck, his pulse just as strong there, then dipped his fingers inside Tobirama’s shirt, pulling it open and pressing a kiss at the hollow of his throat.

Tobirama purred softly, tipping his head back. Indra smiled, nuzzling one corded tendon, then moved down, pushing Tobirama’s shirt open all the way down with a nuzzling trail of kisses over the mesh armour. Indra ran his hands back up Tobirama’s sides and gently pushed the fabric back over his shoulders to slide down his arms.

Tobirama sat forwards a little, taking his weight off his hands, and Indra caught one of them, kissing each of his fingertips and then nuzzling a kiss into his palm. He repeated the gesture with the other hand, dropping the shirt to the floor atop the sash, and tugged at the mesh armour, peeling it up from Tobirama’s hips.

He shivered, and Indra blew along the crest of his hip bone to see him do it again. Tobirama made a soft sound that wasn’t quite his name, and Indra stroked his palm over his lover’s hip instead. He tugged the armour up higher and leaned in to kiss Tobirama’s belly near his navel, humming with amusement when his muscles tensed. He was tempted to bite at the defined curve presented, but moved on with more soft kisses and trailing caresses as he worked the tight mesh up further and further.

Tobirama laughed softly as Indra pulled him forwards, but bent obligingly, allowing the mesh to be pulled off. Indra rewarded him with a trail of kisses down his throat, hands tracing the neckline and down his arms to where the hems of his sleeves had rested.

A sigh when he rose, but Tobirama came with him at a light tug. Indra dodged a kiss, brushing his lips along his lover’s cheekbone. Tobirama pouted at him as he drew back, but Indra only went back to his knees, nuzzling his lover’s right hip bone as his fingers teased over his clothed thighs and up to the fastenings.

There he didn’t tease, plucking them open quickly and pressing a kiss to the soft skin beneath as he pushed the fabric away. Tobirama’s breath caught as Indra continued dragging it down his legs, pausing to nuzzle the hard line of his cock, casting his eyes upwards to meet his lover’s gaze, then smiling as he stroked the inside of Tobirama’s leg and moved lower, pressing scattered kisses to his lover’s skin.

Tobirama sighed and returned to his seat on the bed, reaching out to Indra. He smiled and rose, climbing up over his lover willingly as Tobirama sank backwards, eyes warm and body pliant.

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Why won’t the two of you just lay off?” Izuna snapped, hunching his shoulders and sinking down in his chair. “I agreed to this stupid peace, didn’t I? I live in the village, don’t I?” he asked, waving his hands. “Why do you care if I keep hating Senju’s guts?”

“Because his clan are our allies now, because it’s hardly a village the way we must be if we still hate one another!” Madara returned immediately, frustrated. “Because your behaviour is an example to our clan, and the one you’re offering is untenable!” Tobirama was not his favourite person either, particularly not with all the times he had seen Tobirama’s blades so narrowly miss his baby brother, but Izuna was simply being-

“Because I love him, and if you keep spitting insults in his face I am going to be the one to beat you.” Indra said from the doorway, his voice a low and dangerous purr.

Madara’s jaw dropped as he met his brother’s eyes and- Indra was serious.

“Fuck, what?” Izuna scrambled higher in his chair. “Wait- Senju?

Indra raised an eyebrow. “Is that funny?” he questioned, and Madara, shaking his head, made a vague noise in his confusion. He looked around again only to see that Izuna was grinning, perhaps a little meanly.

“Okay, you got me,” Izuna said, shaking his head and lounging deeply in his chair, “I may need to play nice, but there’s no way I’ll be that nice. Not with Senju.” he said with a huff.

“I was serious.” Indra said evenly. “Tobira may not care,” Izuna made a sound like a teakettle, Madara would have laughed if he’d been less shocked, “but every time you try and goad him into snapping at you in return, try to force him to make your point along with you, I am deeply struck by the urge to punch you.”

Madara frowned. “Izuna, have you been trying to pick fights?” he asked, feeling stupid that he hadn’t noticed as he watched Izuna’s guilty shift, his eyes sliding away.

“You’re- You know there’s no way the icy bastard will ever return. . . Indra-nii, surely there someone better-” Izuna broke off, eyes widening and face suddenly ashy.

Madara looked back at their brother and choked. Indra held his collar with one finger, pulling the fabric away and revealing a livid lovebite on his throat. “I am well aware how deep the ice goes in Tobira, otouto, thank you.” he said with a sharp smirk.

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“Come here.” Indra coaxed. Tobirama hesitated, a shiver running down his spine.

“Indra. . . It’s cold outside.” he protested. He’d been more than glad to return home and indoors, shedding his everyday gear for a winter weight yukata and a soft fur that covered him from shoulders to hips. He was warm again by now, but he wished to remain that way, and it had been snowing all day.

Indra clasped his hand and tugged him gently closer, meeting him with a kiss. “I promise to keep you warm, love.” he murmured, and Tobirama sighed, nuzzling his cheek.

“You could keep me warm inside.” Tobirama countered, nipping the curve of Indra’s jaw.

Mm.” Indra shivered, but shook his head. “I could, and I will,” he swept a look over Tobirama from head to foot, “but right now. . .”

Tobirama sighed and gave in, wrapping his fur more tightly around himself and letting his lover draw him out onto the covered engawa. “I don’t have my boots.”

“You won’t need them.” Indra said from across the engawa, and Tobirama startled, looking around to see a second Indra crouching in a heap of furs between two large braziers filled with powerful flames, just beyond the roof’s edge. “Come here?”

Indra ushered Tobirama towards his clone, waiting to welcome Tobirama into the centre of the furs.

“You realise,” Tobirama said even as he let himself be tugged down, “we could, in fact, curl up by a fire inside as well. With rather less effort, even.”

“I know.” Indra kissed him behind one ear. “Sometimes extra effort is worth it, you know.”

“I don’t see how that could possibly apply here.” Tobirama said, though he shivered as Indra’s arms came around him from behind and Indra’s hands gently nudged him into the embrace. Indra followed him, and they both resettled the furs, bringing one up over Tobirama as he leaned back into Indra’s arms, lying against his lover’s chest. Indra cuddled up against his side as soon as he was settled there.

Both of them were very warm, and Tobirama purred with pleasure as he snuggled into the space between, hearing their twin laughter and smiling faintly.

“Open your eyes, love.” Indra coaxed, and Tobirama sighed, but obliged. “This is what was worth the extra effort.” the other Indra added, and Tobirama followed his gesture to look up at the snow spiralling out of the jet black sky.

“I have been watching the snow all day.” Tobirama pointed out as gently as he could.

“No, you were suffering through the snow all day.” Indra argued, cuddling him closer with an arm around his waist. “This is warm, and cosy, and look,” the other Indra picked up, stroking his chest, “the snow is dancing with the rising heat.”

Tobirama huffed softly, but cuddled into the cosy, warm space they had made for him and watched. It . . . did look like the snowflakes were dancing in the night sky, with the flickering warm glow of the fires beneath. And now that Tobirama wasn’t running through it and being pelted in the face with it, he could admit that the snow shrouding the world was rather pretty in itself.

“Are you cold?” Indra asked, his chest thrumming with his voice beneath Tobirama, and he shook his head, humming and tucking his head closer against his lover’s neck.

“Worth it?” Indra asked from either side of him, and Tobirama laughed softly.

“I suppose so.” Tobirama said lightly, cuddling even closer into them. “As long as you continue to keep me warm.”

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“How are your hands colder than mine?” Tobirama asked, almost chiding, fingertips brushing over the back of one of Indra’s hands. He was so cold he could barely feel the light caress, and he swallowed a whine, though he couldn’t quite help the pout.

Indra sighed. “I just am.” he said, a shiver running through him. “I can’t help it.”

He had spent the day supervising the handful of little ones that had been dumped on his brother only moments before Madara had been called away for important village business - he and Izuna had been forced to muddle through, though neither of them was particularly suited to the task, where Madara doted on the opportunity to work with the children - but he didn’t mention that. He had been out in the snow, true - and he hadn’t been using katon, not much, unlike Izuna, showing off - but it was possible he’d have grown just as cold if he’d stayed indoors all day.

Indra had always been rather more easily chilled than any of his brothers, or indeed than most Uchiha. Much to his-

Indra’s breath caught, and his eyes snapped up to Tobirama’s face to see a slight smirk and a raised eyebrow. Tobirama’s hands were wrapped around his own, and he was tugging their clasped hands close against his stomach, past the edge of the fur-trimmed coat he wore.

“Oh.” Indra said, shivering a little harder. Tobirama smoothed one hand over the back of Indra’s, then up his wrist and forearm, stepping closer.

“My poor frozen Uchiha.” Tobirama said lightly, smirk evening into a fond smile, and showed no sign of knowing just how the possessive, even so gently claimed, made Indra’s stomach tighten with pleasure. Tobirama kissed his cheek, pressing close - his nose, at least, was chilled - and shifting so his broad shoulders blocked the wind from Indra.

“Very.” Indra said, pouting a little more, this time intentionally. “You should take me home and warm me up.” he added, tipping his head down and looking up at Tobirama through his fringe.

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“Do you like melon?”

“You know I do,” Tobirama replied absently, raising his eyes from his plate, “why would you ask thaaa- Indra.

“Yes?” Indra said easily, holding one hand out across the table, one of the brightly-coloured sweets from his plate held in his chopsticks and across the table well into Tobirama’s space. “Try it.” he coaxed.

Tobirama felt himself flushing. “Indra. . .”

Indra hummed, offering the delicately-sugared green morsel a little closer. Tobirama shook his head faintly, and Indra raised his eyebrows slightly, turning his hand upwards, encouraging. “I think you might like it.”

Tobirama flushed a little more deeply, but Indra was clearly not going to pull his hand back. He opened his mouth and leaned forwards, and Indra smiled as he gently gave over the sweet. Tobirama could hardly focus on the taste of it, rather more distracted by Indra and his own flustered state, but it was light and not too sweet and he did like it.

Indra smiled at him, looking pleased, and Tobirama ducked his head, taking up his tea and hiding behind the small cup as best he could. “It’s good.” he said after a moment, and took another sip of tea.

“Would you like another?” Indra asked solicitously, already moving to select one from his plate.

“No thank you.” Tobirama said hurriedly, coughing a little, wishing his flush would fade and all too aware of its lingering heat in his cheeks. “Would you like to try this?” he asked, nudging his plate a little closer to Indra across the table.

Indra smiled. “I would love to.” he said, and leaned forwards on the table, raising his eyebrows expectantly. Tobirama looked at him for a moment, then ducked his head. “Please?” Indra asked, and when Tobirama looked up at him he was pouting slightly, eyes hopeful.

Tobirama sighed and consigned himself to the display, trying not to acknowledge the rest of the teashop around them as he picked up one of the layered wafers himself and offered it to Indra.

Indra’s delighted smile was enough to make Tobirama not regret it, embarrassment aside, and he smiled back as Indra delicately bit into the dessert, watching Tobirama through his lashes.

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Tobirama flopped backwards in the grass, laughing, spreading his arms wide. Indra tripped over his own tongue, forgetting what he had been saying, just . . . caught.

Tobirama’s eyes glittered in the sunlight, there was a single drip of sweat sliding down his temple, and his wild hair was tousled with a few new spring leaves caught among the silvery strands. He cocked his head, still grinning, and raised a hand, beckoning to Indra, then pulling him down when he came close enough to reach.

Indra wobbled as he went to one knee, putting out one hand to steady himself. Tobirama raised his eyebrows, and Indra shook his head, smiling faintly and rolling to sprawl out in the surprisingly soft grass at Tobirama’s side.

He hummed with satisfaction, and Indra looked over at him, resisting the urge to prop himself up and get a better look for only a few moments. He braced one arm beneath himself and looked down at Tobirama, his heart fluttering at the lazy smile he was offered in return.

“I love you.” Indra said softly, bringing up his free hand and caressing Tobirama’s face as his lashes fluttered and his eyes widened. It wasn’t that he never said it, but the words were somehow . . . less than what he felt, most of the time; showing was better. Sometimes, however, it simply-

“And I love you.” Tobirama said softly, covering Indra’s hand on his face with one of his own, thumb rubbing over his knuckles. “So much.”

Indra bent to kiss him, and Tobirama hummed with pleasure, closing his eyes as he let his hand drift from Indra’s hand to his face, a light caress that toyed with one of his forelocks before cupping his cheek.

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“Are you all right?”

Tobirama jumped, looking around and absently shaking his head as his wet fringe fell over his happuri. “Fine. It’s just a storm.” he said easily as he met Indra’s eyes. He frowned slightly. “Are you?” he asked, now concerned, and made his way deeper into the cave towards Indra.

“I’m fine.” Indra said immediately, but he still looked tense and slightly wan. “I know you’re hardly going to be swept away by flooding, but you still shouldn’t be running about in weather like this.” he added, running his fingers through his own hair absently.

Tobirama’s brows rose and he moved closer to his lover. “It’s a wild storm, but it’s only a storm.” he said gently as he settled on the rocky floor beside Indra. “If I could dodge your lightning for years, I think the real stuff, which isn’t even aiming for me, is unlikely to take me out, love.”

Indra shuddered and Tobirama leaned over to kiss his cheek, sliding his hand into Indra’s lap to cover his own. Indra tangled their fingers. “You were very pretty dodging away from my raiton,” he said, and Tobirama snorted softly, “but I don’t like to think about it, darling.”

Tobirama smiled a little ruefully at the pointed look he was being given, inclining his head in understanding. “The storm bringing back unhappy memories?” he asked gently, shifting a little closer and resting his chin on Indra’s shoulder, clasping his hand a little more tightly. For him it was only a storm - exhilarating, a little dangerous, more than a bit inconvenient, given their mission - but Indra seemed to have had somewhat of another reaction.

“Lightning cracking the sky and the earth, wild water threatening to sweep away everything in its path. . .” Indra said quietly, squeezing Tobirama’s hand. “It reminded me of too many battles . . . with you, darling.”

Tobirama nodded, and Indra looked away, lips pressed together.

Tobirama leaned a fraction closer and nuzzled a kiss behind Indra’s ear. “I love you. We are together and we are - both - safe.” he soothed, wrapping himself around Indra comfortingly.

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Tobirama closed his eyes for a moment, drawing in a deep breath as he flicked a wing and sent himself into a tumble spinning through the air, then spread both wide once more with a snap. He cut directly into a thermal that carried him lazily upwards and smiled, riding it before he twisted and began a soaring circuit over what was becoming . . . Konohagakure.

Madara’s suggestion for their new village’s name, Tobirama had to admit, was fitting. And . . . almost poetic.

Tobirama hummed and beat his wings to climb higher, then spotted another flier over the village. At first, catching barely a glimpse of the broad wings, he had assumed it was his brother, but when he actually looked. . . There were brilliant golden-red highlights gleaming in the brown feathers that were several shades lighter than any of Hashirama’s plumage.

His eyes widened as he was clearly spotted in return and the other flier made for him; it was Uchiha Indra. Tobirama slowed and let himself drop a little lower, making it easier for Indra to catch up to him. He’d seen Indra’s wings many times of course, but they had never shone like this when he wasn’t flying in the bright sunlight.

They were . . . rather stunning. Tobirama cleared his throat and adjusted the angle of his wings to match speed when Indra came close. He called a greeting and Indra returned it with an almost wicked smile. Tobirama raised an eyebrow.

“Fancy a challenge?” Indra called to him, rolling in midair and catching himself swiftly with a snap of his wings.

Tobirama blinked, then narrowed his eyes. “What sort of challenge?” he asked suspiciously.

Indra’s smile widened into a grin. “Follow me and find out!”

Tobirama cursed his curiosity and competitive nature as he folded his wings and dropped after Indra in a steep dive. The curses rang rather hollow as he matched Indra’s fancy flying in a broad circuit around the village and threading the canopy of the new forest around it - Tobirama’s advantage there, and he flipped his wings teasingly as he lost almost no speed among the branches - and couldn’t help but laugh with delight.

The smile still refused to leave his face as he landed on the cliff overlooking the village a bare wingbeat behind Indra, stretching his wings and then folding them neatly. Indra moved close and held out a hand to clasp, and Tobirama hesitated, but accepted it.

“Thank you.” Indra said, to his surprise. “Most people won’t fly with me . . . any more, and you,” he paused, smirking, “you were actually a challenge to keep up with.”

Tobirama grinned. “My brother hates flying with me.” he admitted. “He’s,” he paused, “not as manoeuvrable.” Hashirama’s wings were as large as his own, but Tobirama’s were more sharply angled for speed and rapid changes while Hashirama’s were broad and strong for soaring.

Indra tugged gently and Tobirama realised their hands were still clasped. “Will you fly with me again?” Indra asked, tilting his head, his wings fluttering almost nervously.

Tobirama eyed him for a moment and his wings pressed against his back, feathers slicking down. “I would . . . enjoy that.” Tobirama said, rolling one shoulder. “It’s not often I get a challenge either. It was . . . a delight.”

Indra smiled, eyes bright.

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“If you’re going to keep working on this all night,” Tobirama said, resting a hand on Indra’s shoulder and leaning past him, “at least do it with some proper light, and let me make you a pot of tea.”

Indra blinked, straightening, as Tobirama put a lamp on the table just beyond his papers, spilling a golden glow across them and making him realise just how dim the room had become. “It. . . It grew dark while I was working. I didn’t realise.” he said vaguely.

“Mmhm.” Tobirama squeezed his shoulder and bent to kiss his cheek. “That’s what happens when you work all day and don’t take breaks. So I’m reliably told. At length. Often.” he said dryly.

Indra laughed, sitting back in his chair and reaching to catch his lover by the arm even as he began to move away. Tobirama stepped back to his side with a soft hum, and Indra lifted their hands, nuzzling a kiss into Tobirama’s palm and keeping his lover close.

Tobirama’s free hand slid over his shoulders, kneading his neck and rubbing against the dull ache of his long ago broken and healed collarbone before wrapping his arm around Indra’s shoulders and tugging him gently in until he was leaning against his lover’s warm body.

Indra sighed and closed his eyes, and Tobirama stroked his face. “Would you like me to make you tea, or would you prefer to be taken to bed?” he asked, fingers combing idly through Indra’s hair as he sighed. Bed did sound rather enticing, particularly from where he now sat basking under his lover’s caresses.

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Tobirama stretched languidly and curled into Indra a little more as he relaxed, sliding one hand over Indra’s ribs. He shifted to tuck his arms around Tobirama’s waist, nudging him onto his back and sprawling over him, apparently careless of the mess of his own release sticky-slick between them.

Tobirama laughed softly, rubbing Indra’s back instead, toying with his hair and pressing kisses along his jaw. Indra moaned, low and throaty, and shifted above Tobirama, his still half-hard cock snug against Tobirama’s thigh.

He sighed contentedly, stealing a proper kiss and kneading Indra’s shoulder with one hand, the other sweeping down the length of his spine and over his hip. Indra moaned again, nibbling Tobirama’s lower lip and freeing one hand to stroke his cheek.

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“You’re an idiot.” Tobirama muttered, hands glowing with iryou chakra as he ran them over Indra’s chest again, carefully piecing together the ragged bits of his punctured lung. “I’m faster than you, why would you-” he broke off.

“Faster only helps,” Indra wheezed, “when you notice,” his face twisted and he coughed weakly, bringing up a few more drops of blood, “in time to use it.”

“I would have!” Tobirama protested, though he was honestly not entirely sure. That he always had caught such attacks in time before was no guarantee that he would have this time. “You’re bleeding internally and one of your lungs is trying to collapse, stop being smug!” he snapped.

Indra wheezed again, laughing this time, lips bright with blood, and Tobirama bared his teeth, hissing in frustration, and pushed his chakra a little deeper. Indra keened as he pulled, but Tobirama ignored both the sound and the tense discomfort it sparked in himself, focusing on knitting the damaged flesh back together.

“I’m glad you’re all right.” Indra said weakly, and Tobirama nearly lost hold of the iryou jutsu for a moment, eyes darting up to meet Indra’s.

“Well, you don’t know any iryou jutsu, do you?” Tobirama asked, a little more sharply than he’d intended. He turned his attention back on the task under his hands, biting his lip. The lung tissue was coming back together, and a gentle push inside encouraged it to stop collapsing - again; Tobirama didn’t expect it to hold this time either.

“No.” Indra agreed, and whined softly. Tobirama put a hand soothingly on his chest, above the injuries, without thinking. “That’s not why, though.” His eyes slipped closed as he winced. “Glad you’re all right.” he repeated.

Tobirama desperately wanted to know why he even cared, they’d barely even spoken outside of the stiff, wary peace talks and a few meetings for the new village before Hashirama had sent them on this mission together - and Hashirama wouldn’t blame Indra for Tobirama’s injury or death, even if it had happened in his company. The peace was too precarious and Hashirama too dedicated to it . . . too aware of the realities of their lives.

Tobirama would have to find out later; Indra’s wounds were nearly as well tended as he could manage, but Indra had finally fallen unconscious, his breathing shallow but mercifully steady.

Tobirama sighed and straightened, resting one hand over the remaining wound in Indra’s chest as he slowly let the iryou chakra fade away.

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Thunder rumbling, far off but steady.

Tobirama opened the window and leaned out, breathing in the heavy air. He smiled.

Two hours later he stood on the doorstep of the Uchiha head family home, matching gazes with a very confused Madara.

“I’m taking Indra.” Tobirama said patiently, and Madara looked up at the rain pouring from the sky - Tobirama would be sodden clear through if he hadn’t been using a jutsu to keep it off himself.

“You’re going for something romantic . . . in this?” Madara questioned, and Tobirama sighed impatiently. “You know what, fine. Indra-nii!” he called, then walked away, leaving the door open even as Indra approached quickly, muttering under his breath.

“Tobi!” Indra greeted with surprise. “Come in!” he urged, stepping back and beckoning. “Otouto. . .” he muttered, shaking his head and throwing a disapproving look off towards where Madara had disappeared.

Tobirama took hold of his wrist and drew him out the door. Indra tensed, pulling against the clasp. “Come with me.” Tobirama coaxed, stepping further out into the rain, releasing his jutsu and quickly both chilled and soaked through. “Come now, it’s simply inexcusable for a raiton master to be frightened of storms. . .”

Tobirama,” Indra said, raising his voice a little to be heard as thunder rolled overhead, “you know that is not the problem-”

“All I’m hearing is ‘you’re absolutely right, Tobi, please help me’. . .” Tobirama teased gently, squeezing Indra’s wrist.

“I’m not afraid.” Indra said, pouting more and leaning close despite his expressed displeasure as lightning flashed through the sky. “And I hate you.”

“You love me.” Tobirama said softly, nuzzling Indra’s cheek and then kissing him there.

Indra sighed, tilting his head and taking a gentle kiss. “I do.” he murmured against Tobirama’s mouth.

“So much that even the memory of attacks that never struck me has you feeling sick.” Tobirama said softly, stroking his side. Indra stilled, stiff. “Come with me, love.”

Indra followed him without further protest, though he stuck close to Tobirama, and the pout wouldn’t leave his face.

Tobirama suppressed his amused, if fond, smile and took Indra in his arms, hugging him close and kissing him soft and sweet; thanks for allowing himself to be moved, reward for being out in the storm with no more protest than a pout.

Indra purred against his mouth and Tobirama smiled, half breaking the kiss. He turned and swayed slowly in the pouring ran, bringing Indra along as he moved, lightning flashing through the sky above them.

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Madara crouched, glaring at the huge pawprint barely visible in the soft, mossy turf. He rose and followed it. “Indra, what the fuck are you doing out this way, this isn’t-”

White. So much white.

Not Indra.

“I- Oh.” Madara said awkwardly as the great cat shifted and turned towards him, gleaming red eyes giving him a flat, unimpressed look. He flushed. “I thought- Ugh.

Tobirama - it could surely be no one else; not with that colouring - leapt upwards, claws sinking into the bark of the tree, carving out sizable chunks of it as he hauled himself smoothly higher. Madara shuddered and backed away, glaring at the pawprints littered around the clearing before he hurried back through the trees towards Hashirama’s home, where he had been heading originally.

“Madara! You’re late, are you all right?” Hashirama asked, bringing him inside with a warm hug.

Madara shoved at Hashirama, but only gently, huffing. “Fine, fine. . . I got distracted following . . . Indra.” he said, coughing awkwardly. “You know. Wondered what he was doing out in this direction.”

“Oh, right. Is everything all right with your brother, then?” Hashirama asked, and Madara contemplated admitting his mistake, then thought of the disdain in ruby eyes.

“Fine.” he said before he’d quite consciously made a decision.

“Good!” Hashirama said cheerfully, drawing Madara through into the main room. “I’ve- Tobi!” he shouted as something creaked heavily. Madara flinched reflexively. “Oh, don’t worry, the house is sturdy enough for it,” he assured Madara, patting his arm, “I just hate it when Tobi does- Tobi!

Hashirama’s eyes widened and Madara turned, startled to see a tawny-gold tiger leap down past the window as the creaking subsided. “What.”

“I’m right here,” Tobirama said from the door, arching an eyebrow, “what did you need, Anija?”

“That- You- Um.” Hashirama said, blinking rapidly. Indra prowled up behind Tobirama with a very amused look on his feline face, and Madara glared at his brother.

Tobirama dropped a hand to rest on Indra’s head, and Madara choked. Tobirama smirked and Indra’s tail lashed even as he shoved his head up into the touch, pushing possessively against Tobirama’s side. “I just came for some of my marker kunai,” Tobirama said, stepping into the house, “we’ll be out in a moment.”

Hashirama sank down onto a cushion as Tobirama made his way through the room, Indra taking a few steps after him before hanging back to wait, stretching lazily in a way Madara knew was calculated to show off his claws.

Chapter Text

Indra tugged the wrapping from his second forelock and combed it out with his fingers, pulling his hair together with a slight shake of his head.

Tobirama tucked the light onsen yukata around himself and crossed to his lover. “Let me?” he asked, running his hands up Indra’s ribs to his shoulders and squeezing lightly.

Indra hummed and lowered his hands, tilting his head slightly. Tobirama combed his fingers through his lover’s hair, dipping his head to brush a kiss to Indra’s shoulder, then twisted it and wrapped it into a neat spiral, pinning it up with the pair of sticks Indra had set out on the bench beside himself.

Indra leaned back against him, head tilting back. “Thank you.”

Tobirama hugged him lightly, hand sweeping down over his chest. “Of course, love.” he returned, then stepped back to let Indra rise. He caught Indra around the waist as he moved out from the other side of the bench, hugging him close and kissing his shoulder, just above the yukata.

Indra leaned into him, nuzzling affectionately as Tobirama raised his head, smiling.

Then he stepped away, tugging Tobirama with him out towards the waiting pools, fingers lacing as they walked.

Chapter Text

Indra moaned, settling comfortably into the smooth cradle of a seat carved into the stone of the pool as the water burbled around him, its heat already beginning to sink through to his bones. He watched with a lazy smile as Tobirama slipped into the water as well, stretching languidly and sinking until it lapped at his collarbones before he rose with a sigh.

“Come here.” Indra beckoned, and Tobirama tilted his head, smiling as their eyes met. He obliged, pacing slowly across the pool, water clinging to his skin in glistening droplets. Indra stretched out a hand in welcome.

Tobirama slid his own into it, and Indra tightened his clasp gently, bringing their hands up to press a kiss just above Tobirama’s thumb, then tugged him closer still. He turned with Indra’s nudging, letting himself be pulled back, and Indra hummed contentedly, pressing a kiss just beside his spine before drawing him down into an embrace.

Tobirama laughed softly and settled onto his lap, leaning back in his arms with a low hum of pleasure. Indra wound his arms more snugly around his lover, nuzzling his ear, and Tobirama hummed again, then sank down in the water and let his head come to rest on Indra’s shoulder, his eyes heavy-lidded and a smile curving his thin lips.

Chapter Text

“Will you please not get yourself riddled with holes again this time?” Madara asked, absently smoothing a barely-there wrinkle in Indra’s kimono.

He smiled wryly. “I always do my best, you know, otouto.” he said gently, covering Madara’s hand with his own. “I’ll be all right.”

“No, you don’t.” Madara grouched, not quite pouting, dark eyes concerned.

“If you get yourself stabbed or jutsu-riddled again, there will be no kisses from me for you.” Tobirama said, resettling his armour and walking away. “Are you ready?”

Indra made a tiny sound, staring after him. “. . .wait, wait, kisses are an option? From you?” he asked, heart leaping, hurrying after Tobirama. “You’re serious?”

He tilted his head and looked over his shoulder at Indra, his cheeks lightly flushed. “If you don’t get yourself hurt, then . . . yes, they are. And dinner. Before kisses.” His lips curved slightly and he looked away again.

Indra grinned giddily. “I promise.” he said happily.

“Be careful, damn it!” Madara shouted as Indra trotted after Tobirama. “Look after my brother, will you?”

“Apparently someone needs to.” Tobirama called back, and then dropped into a run as Indra reached his side. His glance sideways to catch Indra’s eye was almost playful.

Indra couldn’t quash his grin, and he nearly stumbled as he hurried to match Tobirama’s pace.

Chapter Text

“Tobira-sensei?”

The soft voice stirred Indra’s attention from his book, and he lifted his head curiously. Kagami stood before Tobirama, looking faintly miserable, one hand resting tentatively on his knee.

Tobirama put aside the scroll he was reviewing and held out his hands, half lifting the boy to the couch beside him when he stepped forwards. “What is it, Kagami?” Tobirama asked, stroking messy hair off the boy’s brow.

“Don’t feel well.” Kagami admitted, tucking himself snugly against Tobirama’s side and curling up tight. “Sorry.”

“Hush.” Tobirama soothed, wrapping an arm around Kagami.

“Should have listened to Mada-shishou.” Kagami said in a tiny voice, and Indra’s brows rose.

“Indeed.” Tobirama said neutrally. “Did you stay for your entire lesson, or leave once you began to feel unwell?”

“Left early.” Kagami said, still so quiet it was almost difficult to hear him.

“Good.” Tobirama told him, brushing a hand over his hair again. “Madara won’t be angry with you, he knows you were only eager to get back to training.” he added, and Kagami relaxed a little, sighing.

With mild confusion, Indra watched his lover fuss over the boy, letting him cuddle close, ignoring the work he’d been absorbed in before. Indra was vaguely aware the child had been sick, because Madara had commented on it at breakfast a few days ago.

Tobirama looked up, meeting his eyes with a curious expression. Indra glanced down at Kagami and back up, and Tobirama quirked a brow, rubbing the boy’s back.

Indra . . . shook his head and went back to his book.

Chapter Text

Indra sank back on his left elbow, eyes wide, wishing he could spark chakra to his Sharingan to imprint this indelibly in his memory but not yet sure if it would upset his lover or not. They hadn’t discussed it yet.

Another time.

Indra couldn’t be too disappointed - about that or about anything - lying back across his futon with Tobirama above him, gorgeous and utterly abandoned. There was a faint rosy flush across his cheeks and down his throat, creeping over his chest; his pale skin glistened from sweat and smears of massage oil; his lean body arched beautifully as he moved, up on his knees, riding Indra’s fingers needily.

Indra moaned, the pit of his stomach aching with want, but he couldn’t bring himself to stop only to try for something more than this. He twisted his hand and curled his fingers, gliding easily deeper into his lover’s body. He drank in the gasping, breathy cries Tobirama spilled as he moved, muscles rippling and reddened lips parted, lovely eyes dark and heavy-lidded.

Indra. . .” Tobirama panted, leaning heavily forwards, meeting Indra’s eyes even as he pushed into the gentle curl of Indra’s fingers inside him, petting slick, soft muscle. “Indra. Too much. . .”

“Do you want me to stop?” Indra asked, a little surprised he’d managed to string together so many words. He stilled his hand, but Tobirama rocked and fucked himself down on Indra’s fingers, and he groaned, toes curling.

“No. I want more.” Tobirama moaned, his head falling back, stretching out his throat. “Indra please. Need you. . .”

Indra shuddered and groaned again, his left hand sliding up over Tobirama’s thigh, clutching hard. He could have watched his lover like this for much longer . . . but he felt like he would explode, too. He tugged at Tobirama’s thigh, curling his fingers in one more languid stroke, then began to withdraw them.

His own cock throbbed with neglected arousal, and Tobirama keened, shuddering and twisting, his muscles tightening around Indra’s fingers as though he didn’t want to let go of them.

“You’ll get more,” Indra said, barely realising he was speaking the words, “you’ll get me, just . . . let me . . . work with me. . .”

Tobirama all but purred, even as Indra’s fingers slipped completely free of his body, his eyes hot with wanting as they locked with Indra’s once more.

Chapter Text

Tobirama eyed the blade spanning his desk. “What is this?” he asked cautiously, looking up at the flustered Uchiha in his office.

“It’s . . . it’s a sword.” Indra said, shifting a little before him and meeting his gaze squarely.

Tobirama wondered if Indra had taken any injuries on the mission he had just returned from. A poison, or a blow to the head, perhaps a genjutsu, if someone could have managed that feat. . .

“. . .yes.” Tobirama agreed. “I can see that. Perhaps I should have asked-”

“It’s for you. Will you take it?” Indra asked rapidly, interrupting him.

Tobirama blinked. “For me?” he asked, and Indra blushed. “Indra. . .”

“I know we haven’t. . . That is,” Indra paused, “it’s . . . presumptuous of me, I know, but you prefer swords, and we have become . . . friendly, have we not? And you,” he paused again, taking a breath, “fascinate me, and-”

“You . . . want me to take this.” Tobirama said slowly, resting a hand carefully over the blade. Indra’s blush deepened and he tensed, leaning slightly forwards.

“Please.” Indra all but begged, and Tobirama looked between the sword and Indra, lost. “It needn’t be any kind of agreement, truly, only . . . a promise to . . . try? To give me a chance?” he asked hopefully.

No longer a suspicion, Tobirama was suddenly very sure he was missing something; something more than a simple matter of Indra being confused.

You’re giving him a sword?

Tobirama startled, staring at Izuna in the doorway. He, in turn, was gaping at his brother, alarmingly pale even for an Uchiha.

“I didn’t even know you were courting! How could you-”

“We haven’t been.” Indra said, blush deepening further, his face thoroughly pink. Izuna howled something Tobirama couldn’t quite understand in his alarm; Tobirama was rather distracted by the implication Izuna had made. . . “Tobirama prefers swords, however, and I preferred to gift him a weapon that he would like.” Indra snapped. “Even to begin.”

“Would you explain?” Tobirama said loudly, and under other circumstances might have laughed at Indra’s startlement, not having noticed him rise and move around his desk. “I gather this is for me,” he brushed his fingers over the sword, “but . . . what does that mean for you?” he asked Indra, meeting his eyes.

“That should be a-”

“Izuna get out!” Indra snapped, eyes blazing as he glared at his brother. Izuna yelped, then huffed a protest, but a growl from Indra had him scuttling out, closing the door with a snap. Indra turned back to Tobirama with a tentative smile. “He . . . isn’t wrong; as I said, it is . . . quite presumptuous, but I wouldn’t take even an acceptance to mean. . .”

“Indra,” Tobirama said as gently as he could, “I have no idea what giving me a sword might mean to you. Or, indeed, giving me anything, apparently.”

Indra looked away. “A sword should more properly be a proposal gift than a courting invitation,” he said, and Tobirama put his hand down on the desk to steady himself, “I wanted to give you a weapon you would like, however. Please keep it, either way . . . you needn’t accept me.”

He looked . . . remarkably downcast. Tobirama eyed the blade - it was a beautiful sword - and then reached out, brushing Indra’s arm. “Courting?” he asked softly, and Indra nodded slowly.

“I’m,” Tobirama hesitated, “open to that. Thank you.” he tilted his head towards the sword as Indra’s eyes brightened.

Chapter Text

“Indra-sama. . .” Kagami wheedled, and Indra lifted his head from his book again, arching an eyebrow at the boy. It quelled him, but only a little. “Indra-sama?”

“What is it?” he asked, shifting in his chair.

“Indra-sama. . . Can we go see sensei?” Kagami pleaded, taking hold of Indra’s wrist. “He promised today if he had time he would teach me something new and I saw him and Mada-shishou would take me but Mada-shishou had to-”

He fell silent as Indra held up a hand, fidgeting and turning his toes in together. “Sorry, Indra-sama.” he said quietly, and Indra felt like a bully.

“Are you certain your . . . sensei has time for you today?” Indra asked, eyeing the boy suspiciously but keeping his tone soft.

“Yes! I know he does!” Kagami said, nodding rapidly.

Indra sighed, rising. “Very well, then. Where are we going?” he asked, marking his place and closing his book.

“We should bring sensei lunch! He always forgets!” Kagami said, clasping Indra’s wrist again. “Please?”

Indra eyed him, then smiled slightly, shaking his head. “Very well. Come inside and help me?” he asked. “Then we’ll go.”

Kagami was rather less than helpful, really, but Indra had anticipated that, and it was easy to keep him occupied and content by ‘helping’. He learned a new skill and happily hummed to himself as he worked on measuring out filling, folding thin dough into shape around it with little pinches, then lining them up on a tray beside Indra, all under his watchful eye. It was much more relaxing - and more help - than when Izuna tried to help, either on his own or because Madara was determined their brother learn how to feed himself at least.

It wasn’t long before they were heading across the Uchiha compound and . . . out of it, across the village? Indra frowned. He considered asking who Kagami’s sensei was, but remained quiet - he’d already let it go, and the boy was an excitable mischief, but not ill-behaved; he wouldn’t have lied about Madara’s approval of his sensei. Indra would see him when they arrived.

Kagami led him confidently off a fair distance, away from most populated areas of the new village, between thickening trees, and bounded up onto the engawa of a modestly-sized house with no others nearby and no clan insignia. Indra frowned, puzzled, as he followed. Kagami knocked on the door and only a few moments later-

Indra paused, steps hitching.

“Tobira-sensei!” Kagami cried happily, flinging himself at Senju Tobirama, who-

Who crouched and caught him with a smile and a laugh, hugging Kagami close for a moment, then ruffling his curls. “Welcome! I wasn’t sure if you would be here today, since Madara was called in, and you are not to wander off on your own.”

“Indra-sama brought me!” Kagami said, pointing, and Indra cleared his throat, bowing his head slightly as he met Tobirama’s eyes. They were . . . surprisingly warm, and the smile lingered on his lips.

“Thank you, then, Indra-san.” Tobirama said softly as he rose, his usually sharp voice low and as warm as his eyes. Indra had seen the man countless times - since he had been scrawny and almost shorter than his own sword - and had never noticed. . . He swallowed, eyes trailing over Tobirama.

“We brought you lunch, too!” Kagami cried, tugging at Tobirama’s shirt. “Because you always forget and Mada-shishou says you might starve if we didn’t feed you and Indra-sama taught me how to make gyoza and-”

“Breathe.” Tobirama said, with a fond curve of his lips, resting a hand on Kagami’s head and looking back up to meet Indra’s eyes; his smile was stunningly . . . sweet.

Oh fuck, Indra thought vaguely, as he crossed towards Kagami and his waiting sensei.

Chapter Text

Indra fidgeted with the necklace in his hand. “Tobirama. . . I. . . That is, I would like. . .” He struggled with the words he hadn’t truly planned, head bowing, and his stomach knotted at the unsteady, incomprehensible mess he was coming up with.

Indra looked up as Tobirama’s fingers threaded through his own, tangling with the chain of the small uchiwa pendant. Tobirama smiled slightly, squeezing Indra’s hand.

“Would you share evening tea with me . . . every day?” Tobirama asked softly, and Indra’s heart turned over.

Yes. Please. Oh, Tobi. . .” Indra said, and bit his lip, twining their fingers more tightly together. He closed his eyes for a moment, catching his breath, and when he opened them Tobirama was even closer.

Indra kissed him, free hand cradling his jaw, then rested their brows together for a moment. He looked down and opened their tangled hands, turning his own palm up to display the small uchiwa, letting it tip over to show his mangekyou pattern etched into its back.

“This is for you, if . . . you would wear it.” Indra asked softly, meeting his lover’s - his intended’s - eyes once more.

Tobirama smiled at him, eyes warm, cheeks faintly pink. “Yes, Indra.” he accepted, squeezing Indra’s hand and then releasing it, bowing his head in invitation.

Indra settled the pendant around his intended’s neck, his breath catching at the sight, and then pulled him into an embrace. Tobirama caressed the little uchiwa with one hand, but returned Indra’s embrace and needy, adoring caresses just as eagerly, nuzzling his cheek.

Chapter Text

Ngh, it’s early. . .”

Your brother is the one clattering around out there.” Tobirama groaned into his shoulder, and Indra made another disgusted sound, squirming a little and wrapping an arm around his lover.

“It’s not my fault.” Indra protested, hugging Tobirama closer.

Tobirama grumbled wordlessly and buried his face against Indra’s neck, nestling close. It was indeed early - far too early, and he wondered why the hell one of his brothers was in their kitchen - but . . . his ill mood at being so woken was easing at the pliant warmth of his lover curling into him.

Another bang and Tobirama growled, making him shiver, but- That was the kitchen. Banging. Indra really wondered why one of his brothers - please let it be Madara; he didn’t want to deal with another kitchen set on fire, or chip kami only knew what out of their pots; he’d half resolved last time to start over with new ones the next time - was here so early.

. . .but was he curious or concerned enough to get up and out of bed, out of Tobirama’s arms, to investigate?

Indra hummed and buried his face against Tobirama’s hair.

“Which one?” he asked, having visions of their house on fire. “My brother.” he clarified.

“Madara.” Tobirama said shortly, and Indra could hear his pout. He stroked Tobirama’s hair and down his back, humming as he relaxed further himself, and Tobirama sighed, draping an arm across his chest and going heavily lax half sprawled over him.

Whatever Madara was here for, it could wait. Indra didn’t really care if he was fucking around in their kitchen; it wasn’t important enough, evidently, to come and roust them from bed directly.

He shifted a little, enough to feel Tobirama’s arm tighten around him, and smiled sleepily.

Chapter Text

“Tobi! Tobi, are you out here?” Hashirama called, strolling down the looping path and smiling at the little pond as he passed it. There was no answer from his brother, but Tobirama often grew distractedly absorbed in his reading when left to himself - and if Hashirama wasn’t upset when calling for him he might not answer intentionally.

Besides, it was a lovely day and Hashirama was enjoying the quiet walk in his own garden. He paused, closing his eyes and drawing a deep breath, basking in the sunlight that made the power wound through his veins stretch lazily for sun and earth.

Hashirama shook it off quickly, resuming his walk before the feeling that he should take root could grow any stronger.

“Tobi!” he called from time to time, a little absent. “To-” he broke off with a yelp as he came around a small stand of still-maturing peach trees to suddenly find his brother . . . and another man tangled up in his arms . . . both of them looking quite mussed where they lay in the grass.

“Anija!” Tobirama yelped, startling halfway up from his position on his back.

The movement pushed the man with him back a bit and Hashirama realised it was Madara’s older brother an instant before he identified the reddish scrapes and bruises on both their necks, bared easily by their clothes rumpled and partially undone.

“Hashirama-san.” Indra said, his kiss-bruised lips twitching towards a faint smile as he shifted a little closer to Tobirama. “Pardon, you surprised us.”

“. . .me too.” Hashirama said faintly as his eyes trailed down their bodies without his conscious direction; lingering on the damp marks sinking into their clothes that- “I didn’t expect. . . Rather, I didn’t know. . . Tobi?”

Tobirama pinked, smoothing a hand over his lover’s side. “A few months, Anija.”

Hashirama pouted, his eyes widening. “And you never told me?”

Chapter Text

Indra winced as he let his yukata fall and began peeling off the tougher shirt he wore beneath it, pulling at drying blood soaked through fabric to his skin and the open wound across his ribs. He took it slow and managed to strip off entirely, though his body was throbbing and painfully hot and his head pounding dizzyingly by the time he did.

He got in the water anyway, one hand braced on a solid jut of rock into the spring, and closed his eyes when the world spun.

Hands met his back and Indra leaned into them with relief.

“Come here, you idiot.” Tobirama said softly, his tone gentle. “If this is how you handle yourself when you’re hurt you’re lucky you didn’t drown or bleed out before we met.” he added, settling Indra across his lap and curling an arm around him, avoiding the gash over his ribs but cradling him steadyingly close.

Indra leaned against his chest, letting his head rest on Tobirama’s shoulder despite the deeper twinges of pain bending that far gave him. “I knew you were here to catch me if I needed it.” he admitted, rather than think of all the times he’d risked something similar alone.

Tobirama hummed, scooping cool water over Indra’s shoulders and stroking lightly on the way down, pressing a kiss to his brow.

Chapter Text

Tobirama jolted awake, already reaching for his sword. He darted through the house, throwing his senses outwards in search of the source of the shrieking, threw the door open-

He nearly stumbled over the- Peacock. There was a peacock on his doorstep.

It shrieked again and Tobirama lowered his sword and relaxed slightly. The long tail feathers fluffed up and it shimmied and stretched its neck up, dancing. Tobirama eyed it. “I would have thought peacocks were diurnal.” he said absently.

The peacock shimmied closer in slow, deliberate steps, pecking at his sleeping yukata and tugging it gently.

Tobirama lifted his head and looked up, tracing the feeling of- He cocked his head. Madara was just off his front walk, sprawled in the grass, laughing. “Madara, are you drunk? What are you doing here?” Tobirama asked.

“It- He got away from me!” Madara said through his now howls of laughter. “Sorry!”

Tobirama eyed the peacock again. “This is yours?”

Madara cackled some more and Tobirama rolled his eyes. “Your problem.” he told the peacock, after a quick flicker of chakra assured him Madara was unhurt, at least. He went back inside and closed the door, ignoring the - mournful? - cries of the peacock behind him and going back to bed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Indra woke up and immediately wished he hadn’t, curling up around his throbbing, aching head despite the raging nausea that surged up even worse when he moved. “Fuck.” he breathed.

“There’s tea when you can sit up again.” Madara’s voice, blessedly soft.

“Thanks.” Indra rasped, and tentatively worked his way up, just enough to drink without choking. “Oh kami I feel like hell. What the fuck did I do last night?”

Madara twitched, and Indra’s gaze jumped to his brother. “Nothing.” Madara said. And covered his mouth with one hand, twitching again. Indra squinted at him.

“Madara. . .”

Madara suddenly burst into cackles, which made Indra’s head feel like it was going to explode and also sank something leaden in his stomach. Oh hell what had he done?

“Madara!” Indra yelled, despite the stab of pain it caused.

“You shifted forms. . .” Madara said slowly, and Indra waited. “After you got away from me, when I was trying to bring you home. . .”

“All right. . .” Indra prompted when he didn’t continue.

“You apparently had something very important to, er, say to Tobirama.” Madara said, grinning as he began to laugh again and Indra suddenly remembered-

Dancing. Spreading his tail and fluttering it to impress. Tobirama looking down at him. Tobirama-

Indra keened and dragged his pillow over his head, ignoring both the throb of pain and the increased nausea he caused himself.

Chapter Text

Tobirama debated his choice to come here, but he felt a little badly for ignoring Madara so thoroughly last night. Even if the man had been laughing like a fool and unhurt. He knocked anyway.

Madara opened the door a few moments later, looking a bit surprised to see him. “Tobirama! Hello, what can I do for you?” he asked. He was smirking a bit, and Tobirama raised an eyebrow, then glanced past Madara into the shadowy house at the soft, indecipherable sound from within.

“I wanted to be sure you were all right, considering you seemed to be flirting with hysteria on my front walk last night.” Tobirama said dryly, arms folded before himself.

“Ah, thanks.” Madara said, smirk fading a little into a smile. “No harm done, I’m . . . sorry you were disturbed.” There was a pained sound from inside. “Indra.” he explained softly, gesturing, and Tobirama nodded again.

Tobirama rolled one shoulder dismissively. It was hardly . . . quite Madara’s fault that his peacock had determined to shriek at Tobirama’s door. “How is your peacock, by the way?” he asked curiously. “Did you get him home all right?”

Madara snickered and Tobirama’s brows rose. “He’s fine, yes. I think he might, ah, be quite taken with you, however.” His gaze dropped to Tobirama’s sash and he raised his eyebrows before meeting Tobirama’s eyes again.

“Ah,” Tobirama shifted, “for your peacock. If you don’t mind me giving him a treat. After I got over the panic he caused me, he was cute.”

Madara’s hand tightened on the doorframe for a moment. “Nope. Nope that’s- fine with me.” he managed, his face reddening as he- stifled laughter? Tobirama tensed a little, feeling defensive. Madara stepped aside to let him pass, but . . . inside?

Indra keened, and Tobirama looked at Madara. “What’s wrong with your brother?”

Madara gathered himself and cleared his throat. “He. . . Got very drunk last night, and tried to confess his feelings to someone. It didn’t go well. He’s hungover and miserable.”

Madara!” Indra yelled, his voice weak and rough.

“Anyone would be lucky to have a partner like your brother.” Tobirama said, frowning, and Madara looked at him, eyes suddenly sharp. Tobirama cleared his throat. “Indra-san, if you would like I can help with the hangover.” he added quickly, making his way to the couch where Indra lay, a pillow over his face.

“He shouldn’t try to confess when he’s drunk as hell,” Madara said, sauntering across the room and leaning against the wall beside a vase of peacock feathers, “his . . . hopeful partner would never believe him. You know?”

Tobirama hummed absently, tugging the pillow away and smiling at Indra before reaching out, iryou chakra flooding his fingertips. “May I help?” he asked, and Indra looked miserable, but he nodded.

“Thank you.”

“Mm. . .” Tobirama replied absently, fingertips brushing Indra’s temples as he soothed the nerves and encouraged fluids to circulate, easing the dehydration shrinkage.

Indra moaned, sagging into the couch, and Tobirama shifted uncomfortably.

“That’s a neat trick.” Madara observed, and Tobirama turned gratefully to smile at him. “Even if I’m not sure Indra-nii deserves it after his silliness last night.” He cocked his head, his hair nearly catching on the feathers beside him.

Tobirama’s eyes lingered on the vase of feathers. It wasn’t only peacock feathers. There were also several long grey-blue heron feathers, and several golden eagle feathers.

Izuna. Madara. He followed the lines of a peacock feather. Indra.

Oh.” Tobirama said, eyes widening, darting to Madara. Indra whimpered, trying to sink back into the couch and looking anywhere but at Tobirama. Madara’s snickering faded as his face twisted with concern. “These, ah. These are for you, then.” Tobirama said, pinking, and drew the small bundle of bright pink roses from his sash, holding it out. “Although I suppose you may not want to eat them.”

Indra’s eyes widened and he sat up, fidgeting.

“You- You have feelings for me?” Tobirama asked quietly, eyes ticking to the peacock feathers again. Indra cringed, but nodded. “It’s not. . . I would. . .” He closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them and met Indra’s gaze, pleading.

Indra took the roses, then took Tobirama’s hand, grinning at him.

Chapter Text

Izuna cocked his head, watching his eldest brother and shaking his head. He slipped out of the room unnoticed and took a detour to the kitchen before heading to his other brother’s study.

He hesitated, but the pinched look around Madara’s eyes said he could use an interruption, one way or another. He carried the tea tray inside and made room for it on the desk, trying not to disturb anything. When he looked up Madara had laid down his brushes and opened his arms.

Izuna tried to stifle a grin and rounded the desk to his brother, leaning down to hug him and almost winding up in his lap, laughing. “Welcome home, Izu.” Madara said, rubbing his back and then letting him go; the tension in his brother’s face had eased and he was smiling.

“Miss me?” Izuna asked cheekily, perching on Madara’s desk and pouring tea.

Madara only huffed, but his eyes were warm.

“Hey,” Izuna lightly bumped his toes against the leg of Madara’s chair, “what’s with Indra-nii? He’s been all but cooing over some cut roses at least since I got home this morning.”

His brows rose as Madara nearly choked on his tea, snickering, and put it down.

“Madara. . .” Izuna questioned, and Madara waved a hand at him, taking a few moments to catch his breath.

“Oh someone, ah, gave them to him.” Madara said, and Izuna eyed him. That wasn’t funny. “As a treat. For his shifted form. After. . .” he trailed into laughter again, and Izuna pouted.

Aniki. . . What did I miss?” Izuna whined, and Madara pinched his thigh just above the knee, making him yelp and flail, nearly knocking over the teapot. Madara pinched him again and Izuna kicked at him, only to be dragged off the desk and into a brief wrestling match.

When it ended they were both on the floor, Izuna half pinned under Madara’s knee, Madara slouched against the wall under the window. They sorted themselves out, Madara retrieved the tea cups, and Izuna tucked himself under his brother’s arm comfortably.

Then . . . Madara told him what had led to the gift of those roses Indra was so devotedly mooning over, though he had to pause frequently to snicker again, and Izuna fell into his brother’s side, weak and breathless with his own laughter.

Chapter Text

“Fuck, fuck, fuck!”

“Indra-nii’s home.” Izuna said unnecessarily, squirming a little deeper into the blankets he had made a nest of. Tobirama looked at him, arching a brow, and he snickered.

“Okaeri darling.” Tobirama said evenly, looking up as Indra almost stomped into the room, shedding snow with quick, irritated movements. He looked up and paused as he met Tobirama’s eyes. “Bad day?”

“There’s snow everywhere and I’m frozen,” Indra pouted, “I went over every bit of three building sites today, plus the boundary lines for several clans, and I had to spend the day with Hashirama, and with Souta.”

“A fate worse than death.” Tobirama said seriously, somewhat amused, as ever, by how much all three of the Uchiha brothers seemed to loathe the Hyuuga head and his entire family. Not that Tobirama was terribly fond of the man himself, honestly.

“Which I suffered alone.” Indra huffed, tugging at one of his own forelocks and scowling.

“Hashirama was there?” Izuna pointed out. Indra kicked the cushion his legs were draped over. “Hey!”

“Go see if Madara’s got tea on.” Indra said, kicking at the pillow again.

“But I’m warm and comfy!” Izuna said, burrowing deeper and smiling smugly at his brother.

Tobirama rolled his eyes. “That could change.” he said dryly, and raised his eyebrows.

Izuna huffed pointedly, and shoved the pillows and blankets about in a sulk as he got up, but get up he did, and stomp out of the room towards the kitchen, from which emanated the occasional sounds of Madara working. Tobirama ignored him, holding out an arm to his lover invitingly.

Indra sank easily into his embrace, with a soft sulky sound of his own. It faded into murmurs of contentment as Tobirama wrapped a blanket around him and nudged him closer to the irori, then curled into him affectionately, stroking his back.

Indra nestled against his shoulder, all but purring as he went pliant in Tobirama’s embrace.

Chapter Text

Tobirama hesitated one last time, eyeing the old scroll - so old it had been forgotten, he thought, by all of his clan. He shouldn’t want it, he thought. . .

He shouldn’t, but the thought of what it offered made his very soul ache.

Tobirama sent up a small prayer, then let his hands form the seals, focusing on that throbbing ache in his chest.

There was a flash and Tobirama reeled a little at the pull on his chakra - it wasn’t a drain too heavy for him to bear, far from it, but it felt . . . strange.

He opened his eyes and stilled uncertainly. The sweep of white-capped water before him wavered and moved, turning. Tobirama found himself looking at a . . . peacock. A peacock shaped out of water, with spots like tiny whirlpools and edged in seafoam.

“So you’re my soul’s match.” Tobirama said softly, dropping to his knees. The peacock strutted towards him, long tail folding down. “Well you are a beauty. . .” A peacock. Who the hell. . .

The peacock nudged its head into his hand, and Tobirama stroked its watery feathers, rather befuddled still. His heart ached in fluttery little pulses that matched the swirl of the waves forming the peacock before him.

Chapter Text

Tobirama stumbled and nearly dropped from the tree he had just touched down in as a spray of water flared before him. It was thick with his own chakra and he felt the renewed pulse in his heart, which suddenly beat faster. “Oh.” he breathed. “It’s time?”

The peacock ruffled its watery feathers and fanned its tail. Tobirama extended his senses - there was nothing within their borders to be concerned over, nothing anywhere nearby even, and he wasn’t running an official patrol, and. . .

And his soul guide was before him, ready to take him to his soulmate.

The peacock spread its wings and Tobirama ran.

Chapter Text

Tobirama dropped from the branches keeping right after the peacock, barely missing landing on his trailing feathers, but he only waved them a little and led Tobirama onwards.

“Moukaki, where-!”

The voice barely registered as Tobirama took in the flaming wolf that bounded into the clearing and dove straight for his peacock, ears forwards and tail waving, shedding little curls of flame with every movement, only for them to fall smoothly back into the fur. He swallowed, watching the two creatures as he cautiously approached them.

He knelt, examining the wolf with fascination. It bore darker streaks of flame reminiscent of his own chakra marks on its muzzle and body.

He raised his head as a man rushed into the clearing, following the wolf’s path. Tobirama’s heart lurched and he swallowed, lifting a hand in greeting.

“Oh. You’re gorgeous.”

Tobirama startled, then ducked his head. He looked up as the man approached, his chakra shivery with excitement. He was . . . quite attractive, himself.

“You’re . . . my soulmate.” the man said, running a hand over the wolf’s back, through the flames that weren’t nearly so hot as they should have been. “I’m Indra.” He offered his hand.

Tobirama removed his own from the peacock’s back and clasped it, rising. “Tobirama.”

“Soulmate. . .” Indra looked enchanted, leaning closer to him slowly only to jerk upright. “I’m sorry. It’s- No one has used the jutsu in. . .” He looked away. “My clan do. But. . .”

Tobirama smiled slightly, charmed. “My clan forgot it, I think.” he admitted, with a flicker of sorrow for that. “I- I wanted to know, to meet . . . you.”

Indra twined their fingers tightly. “I’m so glad. I want to know you. I want what we could be.”

“What could we be?” Tobirama asked, lips curling.

Indra shook his head. “Anything. I don’t know. I want to find out.”

Tobirama’s smile grew. “I do too.”

Chapter Text

“Come on.” Indra said, his voice soft and almost playful, and dragged Madara straight out of his focus on his paperwork - which, in all fairness, hadn’t been that strong anyway. He wondered who his brother was speaking to. Presumably Izuna.

Extending his senses, Madara frowned. Though most everyone who worked up this way was present, Izuna was nowhere nearby, he must- He must be out on his scheduled inspection of the training grounds they’d sent a few teams of new genin to repair to standard. Then who could Indra possibly. . .

A low voice Madara didn’t quite catch and Indra laughed. “Come on, love. . .” he all but crooned, and Madara choked. “Put it aside and come have lunch with me. It’s not that urgent, is it?”

Another reply Madara couldn’t make out, and he pushed his chair back and rose silently, making his way to the door.

“Then take a break for lunch and come back to it after.” Indra said just as Madara reached the door and opened it quietly, peeking out.

Indra was standing in Tobirama’s office doorway.

“Very well, but if you try to distract me this afternoon. . .” Tobirama said as Indra led him out of his office by their clasped hands.

“Would I do such a thing?” Indra asked innocently, smiling.

Tobirama’s lips twitched and his eyes glittered in an expression Madara thought he had never seen on the sharp face. “Every chance you get.” he said dryly, tugging Indra’s hand but not free of it, instead pulling him back. “You are a nuisance, darling.” he said lightly, tilting his head for a quick kiss.

“You would have me any other way?” Indra asked, smile broader, as Tobirama pulled away again.

Tobirama snorted, thumb sweeping over Indra’s hand as they began walking again. “Perhaps not. Nuisance.” he repeated, turning onto the stairs half a step ahead of Indra.

Chapter Text

“Sorry to disturb you.” Tobirama said, looking a bit awkward, as he crossed the threshold. “I . . . had hoped to see Indra?”

“Of course,” Madara agreed, lips twitching, “he’s . . . out in the garden.” As he had been most of the past two days. Very specifically not hiding. “Have you brought him roses again?” he asked as he led Tobirama through the house.

No.” Tobirama said, pinking, and Madara laughed.

“Go on out. He’s. . .” Madara shrugged. “He’s being moody. He’s been out there all day.” Tobirama frowned, and Madara hesitated, then reached out to him. “He’s not upset . . . with you. He might be less than pleased with me.” he admitted honestly, squeezing Tobirama’s arm and then releasing it.

Tobirama raised his eyebrows, but didn’t ask, slipping out into the garden. Madara let him go without watching . . . for a time. He was curious if Tobirama had found Indra out there - he could be remarkably good at hiding, for as flashy as he was - and if he’d had any better luck than Madara had in getting Indra to-

Evidently not, Madara thought wryly as he looked out the window, but then again perhaps it was simply that neither of them cared.

Indra was still in his soul form, true, but he was no longer hiding - he was nestled into Tobirama’s lap, long tail trailing away and head leaning against Tobirama’s chest.

Tobirama stroked his sleek feathers, fingertips digging down into them from time to time, and appeared to be speaking to Indra, though he could hardly speak back at the moment. His other arm was wrapped around Indra, cradling his body.

Madara shook his head and was about to move away from the window when Tobirama reached into a pocket. He paused, curious, and then wound up clinging to the wall for support, laughing, as Tobirama came up with a handful of what looked very like rose petals.

He offered one to Indra, and Madara was caught between his laughter and a fond warmth in his chest as Indra delicately took it in several quick bites, then nuzzled his head against Tobirama’s hand affectionately.

Chapter Text

Tobirama offered up another candied rose petal, stroking Indra’s back as he took it, tracing the deceptively delicate lines of the feathers along the edges of his neatly folded wings. Indra shifted a little in his lap, nestling into him, warm and solid.

Indra gave a muted call and tilted his head, eyeing Tobirama before tucking his head back down out of direct view. Tobirama hummed, fingertips nudging carefully through feathers to rub at the warm skin beneath.

Indra slowly relaxed again, and Tobirama smiled fondly.

Then. . .

“Your soul form has been the centre of rather a lot of focus.” Tobirama said softly, thinking with some yet lingering surprise of the peacock - of Indra - at his door, preening and displaying . . . for him. He felt his cheeks warming. “I feel I should share mine with you.”

Indra tensed, then shook himself, rising and sauntering immediately out of Tobirama’s lap, turning to look at him expectantly.

Tobirama laughed softly, folding his legs and rolling forwards onto his knees, then taking a breath and . . . shifting. He stretched as he settled onto his paws, back arching and toes flexing, thick claws driving into the earth beneath him. His tail lashed as he shook himself and then lowered his body to the earth, looking at his boyfriend.

Indra picked his way back towards Tobirama in careful steps, eyeing him, and Tobirama chuffed softly, whiskers twitching forwards.

Chapter Text

Indra slipped back into his human shape and promptly down to his knees on the grass, eyes wide, staring at the beauty lying neatly before him. “You are . . . lovely.” he said softly, moving closer, hands already reaching.

Tobirama lifted his head, whiskers yearning forwards again and ears twitching, even before he opened his mouth on a soft breathy huff. Indra extended his hands a bit further as he approached and Tobirama tipped his great head down, nose brushing the heel of one hand.

Indra stroked thoughtlessly, the short silvery-white fur like velvet under his palm.

Tobirama growled- purred? and Indra shivered. The sound was . . . loud. And throbbed though the single light point of contact. Indra moved nearer cautiously - hesitant not with fear, but . . . uncertainty. Tobirama shifted a little onto one side and rubbed his head against Indra’s forearm, one huge paw sliding over his thigh and the deadly claws unsheathing for just a moment.

Indra shivered again, but relaxed as he leaned in, fingers sliding along Tobirama’s striped cheek and into the plush fur behind his jaw, fluffed up in a thick ruff. Tobirama purred again as Indra’s fingers dug deeper, and he found himself tugged heavily down to rest against his boyfriend.

Indra went willingly, giving a soft little purring moan himself at the feel of the thick fur he was practically sinking into as he lay in the supportive curl of Tobirama’s body. He purred throatily and it thrummed through Indra, making him close his eyes and cuddle closer into Tobirama’s heat, despite the warmth of the day.

He shifted, sliding one elbow across Tobirama’s shoulders, and stroked over his head and neck, rubbing at thickly-furred ears and gently caressing his nose when he turned his head and nuzzled Indra affectionately. Indra leaned down and pressed a kiss almost between Tobirama’s eyes, nuzzling his brow.

A gentle, barely-there brush of a big, raspy tongue along his cheek made Indra laugh softly, curling his arm around Tobirama’s neck and resting his head against Tobirama’s.

Chapter Text

Hashirama eyed his brother slipping off into the trees that spread out from the edge of the compound, fidgeting.

Okay, so he was walking out into the trees, but. . . But he’d been just slipping away so much lately, and it seemed like Hashirama hardly knew what was going on with his brother, and he’d asked, and Tobirama seemed happy, which was wonderful, but Hashirama wanted to know!

Hashirama dithered for a while longer, and then he trotted outside and straight into the forest after his brother. Tobirama was long gone, of course, but Hashirama hummed and trailed his fingers over the tree trunks as he passed, his chakra whispering with the brush of their steady, peaceful life.

They remembered the passage of the great hunting cat this way, and Hashirama smiled and followed the same path as they guided him.

Perhaps Tobirama was merely spending more time in his soul form, and that was why he had been quiet and more absent lately?

Even if it was, Hashirama wondered why. Tobirama seemed happy, so it was surely not anything bad, but-

Hashirama startled, eyes widening, as he finally came upon his brother. Tobirama still wore his soul form, lounging in a shaded hollow among the trees, which was barely worthy of notice, but there was-

“Who is that?” Hashirama shouted, darting closer and nearly stumbling over long, trailing feathers he had barely registered across the mossy forest floor.

Tobirama raised his head from where he had been nuzzling the peacock’s delicately curved neck and back and snarled, ratcheting close enough to a roar to make Hashirama’s ears ring. The peacock, who had been nuzzling his head against Tobirama’s chest, tilted its head back and shrieked, glaring at him as its head came down again.

“Tobi! Who- Is this why you’ve been away so much? Why haven’t you told me anything?” Hashirama cried, wondering who the peacock could possibly be - who did they know who might. . . “Tobi!”

The peacock out of its place nestled between his forelegs, Tobirama climbed to his paws, turning away from Hashirama with an angry lash of his long tail. The peacock shrieked again and swaggered away as Tobirama stalked beside him.

Hashirama made to follow, still pleading with his brother, and Tobirama glanced back and let out another low, warning roar.

Chapter Text

Indra tilted his head, concern beginning to creep up in his chest. “. . .Tobi? Love?” he said softly, brushing his knuckles up Tobirama’s bicep.

Tobirama jumped at the contact, and Indra’s concern grew. He turned towards Indra, eyes almost dreamy. “It’s . . . beautiful.” he said softly, lips curved in a distracted smile, barely seeming to focus on Indra before his eyes slid back towards the ocean.

“Yes. . .” Indra agreed, glancing at the ocean himself but mostly stuck on watching his lover. “Are- Are you all right?” he asked, though it wasn’t quite how he wanted to put it.

Tobirama nodded vaguely, taking a step closer to the ocean. Indra resisted the urge to grab him. He was a grown and fully trained shinobi, one Indra had seen summon up and control enough water to all but form an ocean of his own creation, Indra was not going to give in to worry about Tobirama simply being near the ocean.

“Is it always like this for you when you see the ocean?” Indra asked, trying to keep his voice light.

“I’ve never seen the sea before.” Tobirama said, still watching it raptly as it surged up over the shore and fell away again, and Indra stiffened.

“What?” Indra asked reflexively. “How? You’re. . .” He was Tobirama, it was . . . almost unthinkable. “But your clan’s alliance with the Uzumaki alone. . .”

Tobirama rolled one shoulder, eyes still fixed on the water. “I was never allowed - sent - on trips to Mito’s family. I wasn’t there when Hashirama married her, at her home, either.” he said it easily, dismissing the words.

Indra’s eyes narrowed. He shoved down shock and indignation on Tobirama’s behalf - they would hardly do any good now - and moved closer to his lover, sliding a hand over his back. “Would you like to settle closer to it?” he asked. “We can swim out there later.”

They could probably swim now - the pull of the tide was less of an issue from a ninja standpoint - but Indra was a little concerned about Tobirama going out into the water while he was still so distracted. Tobirama looked at him, eyes wide, then grinned and nodded. Indra smiled. He startled when Tobirama tugged him in and kissed him.

“Thank you,” Tobirama said, leaning their brows together, “for this trip. I’ve always. . .”

Indra ruthlessly strangled his first reaction again and stroked Tobirama’s side. “Of course, love.” he said softly.

Chapter Text

“Indra?”

Indra opened his eyes and sat up a little in the water, smiling. “Hello love. Join me?” he invited, meeting Tobirama’s eyes.

Tobirama groaned. “Happily.” In a few moments he had shed his clothes, leaving them in a messy heap - uncharacteristic; Indra wondered if he were troubled this evening - and was sliding into the onsen. Indra held out his arms, and Tobirama smiled faintly and came willingly into them, letting himself be tugged in close.

Indra kissed a trailing line down his neck and across one shoulder, smoothing his palm over his lover’s belly as Tobirama settled near and leaned into him. Indra nuzzled his cheek, eyes closed.

“What did you want to talk about?” Tobirama asked after a time, not moving from his slowly loosening posture draped against Indra, safe in the curve of his arm. “You said you wanted to talk?”

“Hm?” Indra stirred a little, blinking, then shook his head. He kissed Tobirama’s shoulder again, then rested his chin on it as Tobirama straightened a bit to look at him. “It’s not important for now.” Indra said, smiling slightly. “Just relax, love.”

Tobirama made an almost suspicious sound, but eased into Indra’s embrace again and didn’t press, sighing lazily. Indra petted him under the water and he purred, shifting under the caresses even as he relaxed so much he was all but melting against the edge of the pool.

Chapter Text

Tobirama rose up out of the water, slicking his hair back with both hands and laughing as he met Indra’s eyes. “Come on, didn’t you say you wanted to come and,” he paused, raising his eyebrows, “play with me?”

“In your own element.” Indra confirmed distractedly, eyeing the water and then the figure Tobirama cut lovingly accentuated by it, droplets chasing along the curves of well-defined muscles.

“Well?” Tobirama prompted, and Indra shook himself.

“All right. . .” Indra agreed, stripping out of his yukata and sandals as Tobirama grinned, then twisted and dove beneath the surface again. He was beautifully graceful in the water, even more than he was already, and Indra watched breathlessly while putting aside his own clothes.

A moment later Indra was hissing softly as he stepped into the cool river, the current tugging at his legs. Tobirama came up again as he was adjusting, swimming out towards the deepest part of the river, and caught his arm.

Indra looked at him, surprised, and Tobirama grinned, tugging and falling backwards into the water, drawing Indra along with him. Indra took a deep breath and let himself be drawn under the surface, watching as Tobirama, still grinning, angled his body to slide smoothly against the current trying to pull them apart again.

Indra caught hold of Tobirama’s shoulder with his free hand, and Tobirama gave him an arch look, then twisted, dragging Indra closer and pushing him down further. A spark of worry lit in Indra’s chest, but he quashed it; Tobirama wouldn’t cause him any hurt-

Indra only narrowly kept himself from gasping and inhaling river water as Tobirama let their bodies drift into one another, then kissed him. It felt strange - cool and not-quite-human - with the rushing water all around them and between them, but Indra clung to him and returned the quick, firm kiss with a slightly more lingering one.

Tobirama stroked his side and hip, keeping him in close contact, lean body all but twining against Indra’s. He barely realised he was running out of breath until his chest started to burn, and an instant later they were breaking the surface once more, Tobirama supporting Indra easily as he gasped.

Chapter Text

Tobirama paused in his office doorway, cocking his head. “Ohayou. What are you up to?” he asked, and Indra jumped. Really? He’d had his back to the door, but-

Indra spun. “Tobirama! Ohayou.” he smiled brightly, his eyes soft.

Tobirama stepped inside, setting the satchel of work he’d finished at home down on the table near the door. “. . .what are you doing?” he repeated when Indra didn’t continue. He didn’t particularly mind that Indra was in his office, but he was curious.

“Ah. That is. . . I brought you something.” Indra said, ducking his head.

“Oh?” Tobirama tilted his head, trying to peer around Indra.

“Yes. . .” Indra hesitated, then stepped aside, looking away, and gestured to Tobirama’s desk, where there was a deep blue glass vase with a fluted swirl, holding. . . Tobirama bit his lip. There were almost a dozen short peacock feathers arranged in the vase amongst almost as many pale blue calla lilies with deep blue centres.

Tobirama crossed the room to the desk, brushing his fingers over velvety petals, then the tickling fronds of one curving feather, up to the eye. Then he turned to Indra, who was watching him sidelong. He smiled slightly, leaning in and kissing Indra’s cheek. “They’re beautiful, thank you.” he said softly.

Indra smiled slightly, turning towards Tobirama and tipping his head up, then pausing.

Tobirama stepped closer, sliding a hand over Indra’s hip, and kissed him gently, eyes closing as Indra returned the kiss with a quiet sound of pleasure, bringing one hand up to catch Tobirama’s free one and tangle their fingers.

Chapter Text

Though he’d finally found his friend’s hiding place, the realisation of his hours long search, now Indra hesitated to approach any further.

He and Tobirama had met in all manner of moods and conditions, but. . . But he’d never seen Tobirama crying before. He wasn’t sure Tobirama would want him to see this.

Indra’s heart ached, though, and- and he had little brothers, and he couldn’t imagine leaving one of them to cry alone. Tobirama wasn’t his brother, but he was Indra’s friend, and he couldn’t leave him to this.

“Tobira?” Indra said gently as he approached, bounding lightly into the lower branches of the tree Tobirama was perched in and climbing the rest of the way in a steady, careful walk.

Tobirama sniffed, raising those pretty red eyes to meet Indra’s gaze. His face was flushed and his eyes were swollen and tears kept coursing down his face even as he clearly tried to pull himself together. “In- Indra.” Tobirama said thickly, and hiccupped as he tried to take in a deep breath. “Hello. I was- I just-”

Indra nodded encouragingly, and Tobirama keened thinly, curling up tighter, wobbling on his chosen branch, though Indra didn’t think he would actually fall. That wasn’t why he reached out. Tobirama might be safe in his perch, but. . .

Tobirama jerked at the touch of Indra’s hand on his arm, then bent forwards as though in pain, leaning towards him. Indra slid across to join him on his branch, tugging him closer almost in the same movement, arms open. Tobirama crumpled into them, burying his face against Indra’s shoulder with a muffled wail that nearly brought tears to Indra’s own eyes.

“Tobira. . . What happened?” Indra asked, though he felt a little sick already thinking of the possibilities. He stroked Tobirama’s back, holding him gently.

“My- My brother. . .” Tobirama sobbed, and Indra stiffened, throat tight. “The child-killer squads. . . Kawa. . .”

Indra felt sicker. “Oh.” he said weakly, and curled his arms tighter around his friend. “Oh, Tobira. I-” he broke off and only held Tobirama tightly as he sobbed, rubbing his back and curling around him.

Chapter Text

“Why are your birds fussing?” Tobirama asked without opening his eyes, shifting lazily where he lay mostly atop Indra. “They don’t even like the fireplace. Or fire. Poor things, stuck with only Uchiha for so long.” he added, smirking.

Indra paused in his languid caresses up and down Tobirama’s ribs and side, then pinched his lover. “They like attention.” Indra pointed out wryly, glancing up at where Tsuyu was sulkily warbling, waggling his dangling tail.

Umeka had become tired of her mate’s moodiness some time ago and was perched on a higher level of the rafters alone, nestled in comfortably, but Nashii was near him and joining in his protests. “They don’t like fire only because they dislike having to be so careful of their tails.” he added, voice dry, splaying his hand out once more and resuming the trailing strokes up and down Tobirama’s side.

Tobirama laughed, shifting and nestling closer to Indra, head settling on his shoulder. “Is that why Umeka-chan is more tolerant of it?” he asked, and Indra tried to smother his own laughter against his lover’s hair. Judging by Nashii’s sudden shriek from above them, it had not been terribly successful.

Umeka snickered, lifting her head and peering down. Indra cooed at her affectionately, and she cocked her head curiously, then, after a long pause, got up and shook out her wings. She dropped down near them, wings flapping just enough to slow her descent, and then picked her way up and over Tobirama’s legs.

Indra smiled when his lover freed a hand to extend it to his summon - one of his oldest and dearest - petting and gently ruffling her feathers as she approached. Umeka made a slight production of stretching and circling, choosing a place near the fire, and then settled against Tobirama’s hip, his hand resting on her back.

Chapter Text

Indra hummed and wrapped his arms around Tobirama’s waist from behind, stepping in close. Tobirama made a curious sound but didn’t stiffen or resist the gentle tug of his embrace, and Indra tucked his smile against his lover’s neck, dipping his head and leaning a little against Tobirama.

He shifted his weight and supported Indra easily, fingers brushing lightly over Indra’s hand before he went back to the notes he was making on a short stack of papers balanced on a thin board. Indra nuzzled his neck and kissed it lightly. Tobirama made a soft sound in his throat and tilted his head, just the corner of his smile coming into Indra’s view as he moved. Indra hugged his lover tighter.

“Rough morning?” Tobirama asked, not sounding distracted despite his focus on what he was writing.

“Mm. . . Not particularly.” Indra said, shaking his head and tucking his cheek against Tobirama’s shoulder. “The elders are never fun but right now they’re too terrified of otouto to make themselves very much of a nuisance when he issues decrees. Izuna did very badly at stifling his snickering.”

“They should have known better than to order Madara to do anything.” Tobirama said dryly, ruffling through his papers. “Your brother would pick a fight with a volcanic eruption if it struck him the wrong way, and I wouldn’t necessarily back it to win against him either. And Izuna has no self control, I don’t know why that would be a surprise.”

Indra giggled, then bit at Tobirama’s shoulder, more playful than anything. “I thought you might be persuaded to take a break once you finish up here, and join me for lunch?” he asked as he lifted his head, nosing Tobirama’s ear.

“Mm, I could be persuaded.” Tobirama agreed, nudging backwards against him. “It should be less than another half an hour I think.” Indra made an agreeable noise. “I will need to walk around again for part of it; I haven’t finished surveying the plans for the foundation yet.” He gestured at the clear lines marked out in the earth before them, and Indra sighed, squeezing his lover more tightly around the waist. Well, he’d let go when he had to, then, and not before.

“Just letting you know.” Tobirama said, tone wry and warm with amusement.

Chapter Text

Indra drew a deep breath, shivers running through him, as his lover’s hands parted his yukata and slid it aside, smoothing over his skin beneath. “Tobirama. . .” he breathed, reaching out and trailing his fingertips over Tobirama’s cheek, along and below the red slash marked there.

Tobirama smiled, his eyes bright, and kept Indra’s gaze as he turned his head and nipped gently at Indra’s wrist. He shivered again, tensing, and let his head fall back on the pillow as he closed his eyes.

Tobirama hummed, hands sliding over Indra’s sides, passing his hips with a light squeeze. He arched his back a little and spread his legs wider.

“Mm, so sweet, Indra. . .” Tobirama murmured, his breath ghosting in a warm, feathery caress over Indra’s lower belly. The muscles there tightened as his stomach fluttered and his hardening cock twitched. Tobirama laughed and pressed a kiss to his hip, fingers sliding down the top of his opposite thigh.

Indra bent his knee, taking a breath to speak as Tobirama’s hand slid up it again, then almost choking on a soft cry instead as Tobirama bit at the inside of his thigh. “Tobirama!” he groaned, muscles tensing under his lover’s teeth.

Tobirama purred, sucking almost playfully, teeth digging in just enough to sting, with the soothing warmth of his tongue alongside. Tobirama’s left hand continued its path to Indra’s groin, fingers curling to rub gently just beneath his sac.

Chapter Text

Indra only donned his pants before settling to brush out and bind his hair for the day, pausing to run his fingers along his collarbone. Returning the brush to its place and taking up his kimono, he paused before the mirror, lips curving.

His eyes lingered on the faint purpled marks of teeth along his collarbone, and he reached up to stroke the bruises once more. He slid on his kimono, sighing a little as he wrapped it around himself and just barely hid away the marks his lover had left.

Indra would have worn them proudly, wished he could, truly, but it wouldn’t . . . quite be wise. He hummed and splayed his fingers over them through the fabric of his kimono, then made his way out of his bedroom and towards the dining hall, knowing his father had some manner of announcement to make today and he’d best be there before time.

He smiled slightly as he made out faint footsteps behind him, sidestepping and reaching out with one arm to snag Izuna - still not quite capable of complete silence on indoor flooring, but getting better - and draw him in close. Izuna elbowed him and wriggled, protesting, then leaned heavily against him as they walked, pressing up against the marks Tobirama had left the day before.

Chapter Text

Indra groaned, shifting a little and tucking his head lower in the bed. “What is it?”

“There’s a bird at the window.” Tobirama said, voice soft and dry.

Indra tilted his head and cracked an eye open, glancing at his lover. “Hrm?” Tobirama snorted, lips twitching, and nudged his shoulder, then gestured to the window, where-

“Umeka!” Indra shot upright. “The nest! I mean the eggs! Is something-” He had been going to ask if something was wrong, but Umeka was trilling happily, wings beating against the window. Then she pecked at it - again, that must have been what woke him - and dropped down.

Indra scrambled to get out of bed, getting himself somehow even more tangled in the bedclothes in the process, until Tobirama leaned over and offered assistance. Indra snatched up a light house yukata and didn’t stop to bind his hair and-

“Are you coming with me?” Indra asked his lover, hesitating at the door. Tobirama was still sitting in bed.

Tobirama smiled slightly. “I’ll wait until I’m invited specifically. I think she wants you, you’d best go.” he encouraged gently.

“I’m sure it would be fine.” Indra said distractedly - he was; Umeka was quite fond of Tobirama, not least because he spoilt her terribly with treats and compliments - but he slipped out the door and darted for the back garden without arguing further.

Umeka was already back at the nest when he made it there, of course. Indra dropped immediately to his knees, peering under her sheltering wings to see three tiny, damp peachicks. Tsuyu was preening on the far side of the nest, sneaking peeks under his mate at their newly-hatched clutch.

“Oh, they’re precious.” Indra said softly, reaching out to run his fingers over Umeka’s neck. “Well done, princess.”

Chapter Text

Indra groaned, head tipping back as he held on to his lover almost more to steady himself than to offer the same to Tobirama. He didn’t seem to need the help to stay balanced, body arching as he rode Indra’s cock, one arm wrapped around Indra’s back and the other hand resting on his own thigh.

Indra shuddered and rocked under him, and Tobirama let out a low moan, eyes liquid and dark as he met Indra’s gaze, The intensity in them made Indra shudder, heat flaring in his belly and spreading outwards.

His cock twitched and he rocked up into Tobirama a little harder, gasping as his lover’s body moved to take him deeper still. Indra’s muscles tightened almost painfully, shivers wracking his frame as his eyes fell closed and he kissed Tobirama’s jaw and cheek clumsily.

Tobirama purred, hands roaming his body, rocking in his lap and pressing close until their chests fit snugly together. Indra stroked him, head spinning, one hand questing down to fit into the narrow space left between them, lower, and sliding over Tobirama’s belly.

He hissed as Indra’s hand wrapped around his cock, muscles fluttering around Indra’s own deep inside him. Indra groaned his name, shuddering and nearly tipping backwards as his back arched and his hips pushed up more firmly against his lover instinctively.

Tobirama leaned into him heavily, breath hot and damp against his neck. Indra wrapped his free arm tighter around Tobirama’s waist to steady them both as he stroked his lover’s cock, breathless with pleasure. Tobirama kissed his neck and down to his shoulder, a little clumsy, teeth scraping, and Indra grinned sloppily as he roughened his strokes just a touch, making Tobirama keen with pleasure.

He nestled his cheek against Tobirama’s hair, squeezing him tighter around the waist. His shoulder stung under Tobirama’s kisses, but Indra could hardly spare any mind to that as he rocked up into Tobirama’s shallow movements in his lap.

Tobirama raised his head, the look of him taking Indra’s breath away - his brilliant ruby eyes glossy and unfocused, the crimson streaks on his cheeks surrounded by rosy flush, his sharp, expressive mouth smeared with deep red. . .

Indra licked his lips, a flicker of confusion distracting him only for a moment from the pleasure keeping him at dizzying heights. He realised it was blood on his lover’s mouth - his, his stinging shoulder, Tobirama’s teeth - a moment before he dragged Tobirama into a sloppy kiss, fingers tightening gently on his lover’s cock.

Chapter Text

Tobirama rolled his shoulders and stretched as Madara, grumbling under his breath, skimmed over the newly-rewritten scroll one more time.

“That should do it.” Madara agreed, pushing it back across the desk towards Tobirama and slouching back in his chair.

“Thank you.” Tobirama said, rolling the scroll up and tucking it in his belt pouch. “I hope I needn’t ask you - that we don’t have to do it again - though-”

“As long as your brother continues to be an idiot,” Madara said dryly, “I imagine you will.”

“Get away from there!”

Tobirama frowned, tilting his head. “What is going on out there, or do I want to ask?” he asked wryly, because while it was never distressed exactly, Indra and Izuna had been yelling periodically almost the entire time he had been in Madara’s study.

Madara snorted. “Go investigate if you like.” he suggested, smirking.

Tobirama narrowed his eyes, not sure he trusted the suggestion no matter how well he and Madara got on these days.

“Don’t touch that! Izuna, control the-”

“It’s not their fault! You shouldn’t work in-”

Madara rubbed his face as his brothers’ voices all but drowned each other out in a steadily-more-angry jumble. “Izuna! Control your damned noodle cats!” he bellowed, then pushed up from his desk. “Indra! Lock up your experiments when you don’t want them disturbed!”

Curious, Tobirama followed him all the way into Indra’s workroom - familiar ground - only to pause as he saw Indra glaring and Izuna glaring back with . . . his arms full of three martens, another at his feet clinging to his pants, and a fifth looking . . . rather singed, perched on a nearby table beside a scorched pile of paper.

“I was working on them!” Indra snapped at Madara.

“They only wanted you to come to dinner with us!” Izuna protested, coddling the martens, ducking his head and crooning.

“You were working on all of this at once?” Madara asked dryly, flicking an open scroll, one of a scattered array of jumbled-looking items spread across three tables, and Indra opened his mouth, then closed it, huffing. Tobirama peered at the nearest sheet of the scorched papers curiously. “In any case, your boyfriend is having dinner with us, so perhaps you can manage to unearth yourself for an hour or so?”

Tobirama almost asked when he had agreed to that, but he was hungry, and he would like to spend a little time with Indra if he could.

Indra looked mulish, but he glanced at Tobirama and his expression softened. “Yes, of course. Tobirama, perhaps you would help me tidy this up before dinner?” he asked softly.

Tobirama smiled and agreed, crossing to his lover’s side, smothering a laugh as Izuna protested and Madara collared him to drag him out to ‘help’ with dinner. Indra dropped the vial he’d been holding to a table and drew Tobirama in closer, leaning up for a kiss as Tobirama’s hands slid over his hips.

Chapter Text

“Go carefully.” Tobirama cautioned, as he idly hopped from a boulder at the shore to a moss-covered, half submerged rock near the centre of the river, then lightly onto its rippling surface.

Kagami screwed up his face, folding one hand into the taritso no in, then stepped carefully out onto the water. Indra cocked his head, watching as rings began to wash outwards from beneath Kagami’s feet and he wobbled, eyes widening.

Tobirama circled closer, but neither spoke nor interfered as Kagami made a quiet sound of surprise and hurriedly shifted his stance. His feet sank into the river and he wobbled a bit more, but he managed to stabilise himself and climb back to the surface. He grinned brightly as he raised his head.

Tobirama smiled back, eyes warm with pride, and Indra stifled a sigh, a smile of his own tugging at his lips. Tobirama was so happy when he was teaching. It was truly a pleasure to watch him with any of his students . . . but perhaps particularly this one, taken under his wing so young and doted upon.

It was entirely worth both the extra work it piled on Tobirama - and the time it took - and the slight unease that stemmed from, even if none of them would put such a name to it, Tobirama and Madara having become something of pseudo parental figures to Kagami.

Not that Indra himself particularly wanted children, adopted students or otherwise - and he frankly delighted in picturing his father’s horror at the idea he would so refuse - but it was less than pleasant to see his beloved sharing parenting duties with his brother.

“Watch your step.” Indra recommended, just a beat too late to prevent Kagami from stepping onto a mostly-submerged, mossy rock. Prepared to balance on the water’s surface, chakra gathered at his feet, carefully controlling each movement, he promptly slipped as soon as he stood on the slimy plant.

Darting near, Tobirama caught him before he could smack his head on the rock, though they both got rather wet in the process. Indra let his eyes wander, appreciating the way Tobirama’s now-soaked shirt clung to his muscular figure as Tobirama scolded Kagami mildly for his inattention.

Chapter Text

“What in the name of-” Indra broke off as he stepped out of the kitchen, almost running into Tobirama walking around the corner from his workroom. They paused to exchange a look, then hurried through the house to the source of the disturbance together.

Indra pulled up short, eyes widening.

“Is everything- Oh!” Tobirama said quietly, hand curling over Indra’s shoulder. “Oh.”

Indra’s first impulse had been concern - fright - but . . . well, Tobirama’s strange splotchy felines had saved his life before, had covered for him in battle as their master did. He’d held back the impulse and now it was clear. . .

They were playing, Tsuyu making little amused trills as he darted around the room and hopped from table to floor and up again, two of Tobirama’s cats chasing him and batting at his tail. A third lay on his back with Umeka perched on his ribs as his paws flopped in the air, squawking and pulling - lightly - at beakfuls of his fur, wings flapping.

Tobirama made a soft sound and Indra glanced at him reflexively to see a soft, warm look in his eyes. Indra grinned, looking back at their summons chasing about the room. He almost didn’t even care about the pile of scrolls scattered across the floor or the new gouge marks in the floor and walls, they were so cute.

Indra took half a step back and looped an arm around his lover’s waist, humming quietly.

Chapter Text

Tobirama gasped, a sharp, broken breath, and arched his back, reaching for the low-slung branch above to steady himself with both hands. Indra’s hands smoothed over his hips, offering a little help and support as he moved but not guiding him.

Tobirama’s fingers tightened and he vaguely heard bark cracking away under his grip, but the branch stayed solid in his hold and he ignored the faint sound. Indra moaned as he rolled his hips, and Tobirama smiled, dropping down firmly over his cock, toes curling at the hot slide deep inside himself.

Indra purred, pulling away from Tobirama’s neck to nuzzle his shoulder, breath warm and quick. Tobirama swallowed and gasped for breath as he moved a little faster, pushing himself up with a tight little rocking motion and dropping back down, head falling back as Indra’s hips bucked and pleasure lit through him.

He let out a sharp, low cry and jerked, startled, as Indra licked up the back of his arm and then bit just as his triceps tightened with the pull to help himself lift up again.

Indra-” Tobirama groaned, shuddering, and Indra nuzzled his arm, then bit again, more gently, murmuring his name in a rough little sound.

Tobirama shifted his grip on the branch and shifted his knees on either side of Indra’s hips, steadying himself to get back into his lost rhythm. Indra’s fingers tightened on his hips, clutching at him hard enough he’d probably raise bruises, but still not restraining his motion. Tobirama smiled, crooked and sloppy, and rocked down a little harder on the next stroke, dipping his head and nipping the curve of Indra’s ear before moaning into it.

Chapter Text

Tobirama let himself be drawn onto the floor, a little wary, but unable to refuse. It was the Uchiha Clan Head’s wedding, it would be incredibly rude to-

But Tobirama wasn’t sure he would have said no, even could he have.

He dipped his head and looked at Madara’s older brother from behind his fringe as their clasped hands tightened and Indra took the first step of the dance. Tobirama followed smoothly, and within a few paces they had each others’ rhythm, moving together with . . . surprising ease.

Tobirama glanced at where Madara was dancing with his cousin, looking . . . appropriately besotted, at least. His lips curled towards a smile even as he turned his attention back to his own partner, and Indra squeezed his hand gently. He nudged, and Tobirama moved, startled into a soft laugh as Indra raised their clasped hands and turned below his arm before stepping in close again.

Indra smiled, his eyes warm, and Tobirama almost missed a beat . . . save for Indra’s hands guiding him and their bodies moving naturally together. Indra stroked Tobirama’s hand with his thumb, and a shiver ran down Tobirama’s spine as he tightened his own grip almost involuntarily.

Indra drew him a little closer. “Not now, otouto.” he said firmly, giving a half-shake of his head.

Tobirama startled, then glanced aside to see Izuna scowling at them, one hand outstretched and just shy of his brother’s shoulder. He was still and looked out of place on the dance floor.

Indra hummed and squeezed Tobirama’s hand in his clasp lightly, drawing Tobirama’s attention back to himself and making Tobirama smile reflexively. Indra returned the smile, thumb rubbing almost lazily along the outside of Tobirama’s as he guided them into a turn together.

Chapter Text

“He’s my rival!”

Touka eyed Madara, arching a brow. Madara opened his mouth, but before he could offer an explanation-

“Well you failed to specify you wished your rivalry to develop in that manner.” Indra said, his oddly lilting voice - the accent Madara had explained was picked up from his mother - carrying a note Touka couldn’t decipher. “And neither does he seem to reciprocate your desire, otouto, so take a step back and admit you were too late.”

“Indra-nii!” Izuna yelped, and Madara rubbed his face, groaning. Touka eyed him, then stepped through the door to where her new brothers-in-law were arguing. “Only because you got to him and asked him to dance before I could! Blatantly ignoring that he is my-”

“Will you two knock it off?” Madara’s tone was flat, his hand sliding over the small of Touka’s back as he moved up beside her.

“What are they arguing about, anyway?” Touka asked.

“Don’t tell her!” Izuna shouted immediately, glaring at Madara, who just raised his eyebrows. Touka crossed her arms, scowling.

Indra turned towards them, his lips curling into a slanted little smirk. “Izuna is angry that I wish to court Tobirama . . . and didn’t wait to allow him the chance to be horrifically rejected, no doubt, before I began.”

Touka’s eyes widened, and Izuna screeched like plate armour torn by a blunt blade. She’d noticed Indra dancing with her favourite cousin at her wedding, of course, and been glad that there were some further signs of peace between their families . . . and that Tobirama wasn’t sitting quietly and alone, but. . .

“Oh please,” Indra continued, sneering just a little, eyes narrowing, “do you really think he would have accepted even your courting, much less your suit? The rivalry you had,” Izuna’s screeching dropped into a furious almost-growl, though his was not nearly so rough and low as Madara’s, “was never of that kind and you know it! Tobirama never would have matched you in that! And he accepted my first, so back the hell off, otouto!” he snapped, taking a step forwards and drawing himself up.

“Calm down.” Madara bellowed. “Indra, stop provoking Izuna; Izuna, if Tobirama accepted Indra’s overture to allow courtship it is not your concern. You never stated intentions before this and now it is too late to claim you had the first right.”

Uchiha, Touka thought, cocking a brow, were very complicated . . . and very simple.

Chapter Text

Tobirama muttered darkly as he headed towards the door, spreading out his senses, wondering who could possibly-

Oh!

Tobirama grinned as he opened the door. “Touka!”

Touka grinned back and hopped over his threshold, quickly sliding off her sandals and then flinging herself at him for a hug. Tobirama wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off the ground - knowing he was one of perhaps three people now who could get away with doing it - hugging her tight.

“It’s good to see you.” Tobirama murmured into her hair. “How are you?”

Touka drew back, still grinning. “Amazing, as always.” she said, and clicked her tongue. “I find that whatever the elders muttered behind my back,” she arched a brow, “being married quite agrees with me.” Her smile softened, her eyes faraway for a moment.

She looked happy.

“Good.” Tobirama said warmly. “Tell me about it over tea?” he invited, and Touka bounced on the balls of her feet and accepted, following him through into the kitchen. She perched on his counter while he made tea, kicking at his hip lightly when he smacked her thigh for getting in his way, and began to tell him about the changes in her life, and her husband, and her new brothers-in-law.

It wasn’t until they were halfway through both the tea and the little pastries Tobirama had grown fond of from a bakery just outside the Uchiha compound - run by a very old, very stern lady who was an Uchiha herself - that Touka truly startled him, however.

“I know he can be charming - actually it’s one of the few things I do know about him, even now,” Touka huffed, “he spent so long away - but if you don’t want Indra to be trying to court you, well . . . you - or I, and Mada would help - should . . . talk with him. Soon.”

“. . .wait, what?” Tobirama asked, blinking.

Touka frowned slightly, leaning towards him. “Look, if he didn’t make it clear- Uchiha can be- He means to court you, though, and to them that’s serious . . . even if he may not have expressed in a way that was actually sensible to you what he wanted with you-”

Tobirama swallowed, remembering the warm slide of Indra’s hand around his wrist after they ended their final dance together, stepping out to the semi-quiet of the otherwise-deserted engawa. Indra clasping so gently - light enough to be anything but a threat - and bringing his hand up, nestling a gentle, lingering kiss in the cup of his palm and looking up to meet Tobirama’s startled gaze with soft, heavy-lidded eyes.

“No.” Tobirama said, and Touka made a soft sound of distress, bringing both her hands up to clasp his, a comforting hold. “No, no, I mean- No, he made himself clear.” he said, shaking his head. “I just didn’t know. . . Courtship?” He tilted his head.

Touka relaxed a little, then gave a half-laugh and grinned. “It’s how they approach romance . . . when it’s something they want to be forever, Tobi.”

Tobirama stilled, toes curling against the tatami beneath the table. Touka squeezed his hand again, and stroked over his knuckles lightly. “It’s how Madara approached things with me.” she added more softly, the soft little light that had grown more and more common to her face as she and Madara drew closer overtaking it again.

“Oh.” Tobirama said, dropping his gaze to the table.

“Tobirama, if you don’t want-”

No.” Tobirama said immediately, cutting her off. He squeezed her fingers. “No, that’s. . . That’s exactly what I . . . would want.”

“You really would accept his courting, then? Allow him to court you, that is?” Touka asked gently, and Tobirama raised his eyes to meet hers again.

He hesitated, then nodded, and Touka smiled, squeezing his hand.

Chapter Text

Touka stepped up and took her sandals off as she crossed the engawa, smiling at the pair of fluffy birds perched near the door. One of them cocked its head at her and trilled softly, more welcome than alarm.

Home.

Touka barely had the door open before Madara nearly knocked her off her feet, startling her. And not pouncing for a kiss this time. Touka eyed him, not entirely pleased with this change - she had no objections to her husband ambushing her for a welcome home kiss - and then glanced sideways at the tiny falcons. He must have set them to watch for her. She shook her head and turned her attention back to her husband.

“How is your cousin? How did- Is-” Madara looked distressed and flustered as he drew her inside. It was kind of cute.

“Tobi’s fine.” Touka said patiently, and hid her snicker when Madara growled softly, hands tightening on her arms. “I spoke with him about . . . about Indra’s first, and the courtship, a little.”

“And?” Madara prompted, looking fretful, and Touka kissed him softly, stroking his cheek.

“Tobi has no idea what you Uchiha mean when you do this, but,” Touka smiled reassuringly, “it’s . . . what he wants. If he wants.” she added warningly. “He doesn’t know Indra; hell, I don’t know Indra really and I live with him now.” The reminder of their marriage made Madara smile. “If Indra . . . approaches him right, if they suit. . . Tobi could be happy.”

Madara sighed, relaxing slightly. “And. . . Indra’s first?” he asked softly.

And,” Touka continued, lips tilting towards a smirk, “he may not have realised he was accepting a courtship, but he knew Indra was indicating interest.” she teased.

“Clever of him.” Madara said dryly, arching his brows at her, and Touka punched his bicep lightly, trying to scowl through her half-smothered laughter. Madara kissed her, sliding a hand up to her nape, holding her close even as their lips parted. “Good. That’s . . . good.” he almost sighed against her hair.

Touka hugged him tight, nestling her cheek against his. “Yeah.” she agreed.

Chapter Text

Indra tensed when he heard his brother’s birds trilling their peculiar little warning-but-calm call and a reflexive sweep of his senses revealed his sister-in-law returning. Why would Madara have set his summons-

Tobirama.

Indra swung his feet to the floor and rose, hurriedly abandoning his room and crossing the house with silent steps. Touka was Tobirama’s cousin, and it seemed as though they were close, and Touka had gone to visit her family today, and. . .

Indra listened, throat tight and heart fluttering, as Touka mentioned she’d spoken with Tobirama about the courtship, and his stomach knotted - he felt foolish - as she pointed out that Tobirama had no idea what it was or what it meant.

His heart soared again as she told Madara it was what Tobirama would want. To be courted, to work for and towards forever. . . Indra folded a hand over his chest, shivers running through him and a smile tugging at his lips.

Even sensing his baby brother’s spike of temper from not far beyond Madara and Touka, still lingering near the front door, couldn’t dampen Indra’s mood.

If Indra approaches him right, if they suit. . . Tobi could be happy.

Indra bit his lip to stifle a small giddy sound as he made his way out to the garden, already biting his thumb sharply, drawing blood to summon Tsuyu and Umeka.

Tobi could be happy, Touka said? Then Indra would just have to do this right.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Touka slid a hand over Madara’s chest, scratching lightly through the hair there. “I didn’t know your older brother could look like that.” she said softly as she tucked a leg over his, thinking of Indra’s half-dreamy look which had lingered most of the evening. He hadn’t quite seemed to be paying attention over dinner, and had almost drifted off afterwards without anything more than dropping his dishes in the kitchen.

Until Izuna sniped at him for it and he’d whirled with a glare and a sharp retort that had devolved into a squabble Touka was sure had nothing to do with the dishes.

“I knew he could be soft, and sweet,” Madara said, stroking her arm, then catching her hand in his, holding it against his chest over the steady throb of his heart, “but. . .” He laughed lightly. “It’s news to me, too.”

Touka hummed, shifting and kissing Madara’s shoulder. That . . . that was good, she thought as she closed her eyes.

Chapter Text

Tobirama drew a breath, shifted his pose, then began let it out slowly, turning and-

He twitched as he heard someone at the door, letting out a sigh and straightening. He headed across the garden courtyard back to the front quarter of the house. He released the control he’d locked his chakra down with for his relaxing kata, then extended his senses as he went, and his steps hitched.

Indra. Indra was at his door. That was. . .

Tobirama’s steps quickened a little as he made his way to the door.

“Tobirama-san,” Indra bowed shallowly, gleaming dark eyes rising to meet his own, “I apologise if I have disturbed you,” his gaze dropped down from Tobirama’s face briefly and he tensed as he realised he was only wearing his snug sleeveless wrap shirt and leggings, and barefoot, “I wished. . .” he trailed off, meeting Tobirama’s eyes.

“Indra-san?” Tobirama took half a step closer, not quite out the door.

Indra smiled and raised his hands, something wrapped in rich blue fabric lying flat across them both. Tobirama glanced at it, then at his face, confused. “A gift . . . for you. If you would accept. . ?”

“Oh!” Tobirama blinked, surprised, and shifted his weight. He nodded, and Indra offered it hopefully nearer to him. Tobirama raised a hand tentatively, sliding the fabric away without taking the object from Indra’s palms. Something shimmery and white lay inside, and he let his fingertips slide over it, then withdrew it from the wrappings.

It was a white silk fan, heavier than he would have expected - the bones were dully-shining metal - and he let it slide open with a flick, displaying that it was patterned like a peacock’s tail, embossed with details picked out in the faintest of icy blues and white on white thread.

He looked back up to meet Indra’s eyes. “It’s lovely.” he said honestly, though he was a bit baffled. Indra’s smile widened, a faint pink tinge warming his cheeks.

“I’m pleased you think so.” Indra said quietly. “Ah. . . Tobirama-san. . . Would you join me for a tour of the forest, to . . . admire it as the leaves begin to turn?” he asked, eyes hopeful.

Tobirama closed the fan and held it closer. “I- Of course.” he said, licking his lips. Though he likely knew Konoha’s forests better than any other resident with the possible exception of his brother. “I would . . . be happy to.”

Indra smiled brilliantly. “Thank you!”

Tobirama twitched, realising- “Ah, would you like to come in? For tea or something, perhaps?” he invited, flushing at his rudeness.

Indra pinked a little more and shook his head. “No, that would be- Thank you, but . . . I should go.” he said, biting his lip and passing the fabric wrap he held to Tobirama. “Will you allow me to escort you from here . . . in two days, perhaps? In the morning?”

“Of course.” Tobirama said, and swallowed nervously as Indra gave another shallow bow, then took his leave.

Chapter Text

“Touka, could I ask you something?”

Touka paused, tilting her head. “Of course.” she said pleasantly. While they were both overdramatic messes in different ways - not, she supposed, that she could say much on that score, because so was the one she’d married - she was actually fond of both of her new brothers. “What is it, Izuna?”

Izuna hummed, tugging at the tail in his hair with one hand, then dropping his arm and giving her a somewhat sheepish look. “I want to do something nice for Tobirama, and I was hoping you might give me some advice on things he likes?”

Touka blinked, then glared. “Excuse me?”

“I don’t expect you to help me convince him or anything!” Izuna said hurriedly. “I just don’t know him very well - yet - and I was hoping-”

Izuna cut off with a choked burble, reaching up for the forearm wrapping across his throat. Touka’s eyes widened as she looked at Indra over Izuna’s shoulder.

He flashed her a smile and laughed shortly. “Excuse me, please, imouto,” Indra said, yanking Izuna backwards, eliciting a strangled yelp, “I need to have a small chat with Izuna.”

“Of course.” Touka said, a little amused, and then Indra was gone, dragging Izuna inside with him. She hummed, frowning.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Mada?” Touka called, unpinning her hair.

“Yes, dearest?” Madara replied from the small alcove they used as a closet.

“Does Indra think I can’t stand up to Izuna?” she asked, frowning, flicking her hair to unwind it from its knot. “Or won’t?”

Madara stuck his head out around the corner. “What?”

Touka sighed and recounted the little exchange, only to startle as Madara all but snarled. He was tense and though his steps ghosted across the floor silently, the room nearly shivered with the weight of his chakra.

Touka suppressed her reaction and promised herself later, then knocked him backwards onto the bed, climbing up to kneel astride his waist. “What has you so angry?” she demanded, leaning over him, her hair falling forwards around her shoulders.

Madara growled again, but not at her. His hands curled around her wrists, thumbs brushing almost lazily. “Izuna. . .” His mouth twisted and the rumble lingering in his throat flavoured his words. “He’s being- That was incredibly bad form and he knows it. Indra didn’t drag him off because of you,” he assured her, with a crooked smile, “probably he was horrified our brother would be so mannerless . . . and angered he would do so after Tobirama has already accepted someone else’s - Indra’s - first.”

Touka hummed thoughtfully, sitting back a little.

Madara twitched beneath her and she glanced down. “I promise I’m not going to stomp off to strangle him myself,” Madara said, “any more,” he added in a mutter, “will you, ah, either let me up or. . .”

Touka arched her eyebrows, then grinned and dropped down over him with a wriggle of her hips, framing his face with her hands and kissing him hard.

Chapter Text

Tobirama told himself he was being ridiculous wondering if he had prepared adequately - he’d had breakfast, he was wearing what he would normally wear for a day off when he planned to be out in the forest, there was nothing else he need do just because he was meeting Indra today.

He tugged at the purple fabric of his sash idly, then glanced down at it to be sure he hadn’t pulled it loose. Most of his sashes were yellow or blue. This one was. . .

It was the shade of Indra’s chakra markings. Tobirama bit his lip and rose, thinking of trading it for one of his more usual ones, when he felt Indra approaching. Too late.

Tobirama met him at the door before he had a chance to knock, and he smiled, giving a shallow bow and stepping back. “Ohayou, Tobirama-san . . . thank you for allowing me to take you out today.”

Tobirama’s brows rose, but he dipped his head politely in response. “Ohayou, Indra-san . . . I’m pleased to do so.” he returned.

Indra went faintly pink, reaching out, then stopping. Tobirama stepped outside, brushing his fingertips over Indra’s hand, then bending to tug his shoes on. “Shall we?” he asked as he straightened, tilting his head, and Indra smiled.

They covered the ground quickly until they were further out from Konoha’s centre - though Tobirama didn’t live too near the busy central hub of the village as it was - then slowed. Tobirama smiled a little. They’d kept easy pace with one another without needing to discuss it even at the faster pace, and walked comfortably side-by-side now.

The forest was lovely - it always was - and calm, and at a far enough remove from the busier parts of the village and the outer patrols that it felt . . . nicely quiet, even to Tobirama’s heightened senses. All there was to focus on was the ebb and flow of the forest around them, and . . . and Indra by his side.

Tobirama glanced sideways as he spoke, watching Indra rather than the leaves around and above them, pretty as the rich flame tones creeping across them were, and noted him sliding a fraction closer, then hesitating and letting the distance between them grow again, though never too far.

Tobirama hummed, then brushed Indra’s arm lightly and murmured a suggestion. He wasn’t surprised when Indra agreed immediately, and he forced down the flutter in his stomach when they reached the winding path that forced them closer together - unless they wanted to cut down the undergrowth or force through it.

They wound through much of the forest at an almost lazy, comfortable pace as they spoke, only occasionally so much as seeing sign of anyone else. It was . . . delightfully pleasant.

Indra clasped his hand, and Tobirama paused, startled. He squeezed it lightly, then released it again, and Tobirama frowned slightly.

“I hope you did not think I had neglected to bring you a gift.” Indra said softly, and Tobirama blinked, but didn’t speak to point out he hadn’t expected one. “And I hope you will . . . approve of this, as a . . . reminder of today.”

Tobirama accepted the small fabric-bound scroll Indra offered, unrolling it to reveal-

Tobirama’s breath caught. There was a slanted poem in beautiful calligraphy at the centre, a contemplation on the season, and surrounding it around the edges of the silk were painted trees that all but glowed with life, their leaves reflecting the same change that lit in the trees around them.

“It’s lovely. Indra-san. . . Thank you.” Tobirama said softly, a little breathless, unable to tear his gaze from little piece of art. Indra’s hands brushed over his own.

“Good.” Indra said warmly. “I . . . am so pleased.”

Chapter Text

Indra reached for a fresh brush, pausing as his fingers made contact with the varnished shaft, highly aware of the dull warmth so close at his left hand. He glanced sideways at his lover, but Tobirama’s head was bowed and his face showed nothing but tight focus as he read the long - very long - treaty draft spread out before him.

Indra smothered a sigh, even as his lips curled towards a smile, and his fingers twitched, brushing gently against Tobirama’s hand so close. Tobirama took a slightly deeper breath, but he didn’t respond, and Indra hummed, turning his attention back to his work.

Tobirama’s hand remained where it rested just barely against his own, and Indra couldn’t help but focus on the light, incidental touch. Occasionally he shifted his fingers, feeling the light slide of skin on skin. It never interrupted his lover, and it wasn’t terribly distracting to his own focus as he outlined the conditions that had drawn out the odd chakra response he’d noted in the first sheet.

Indra was startled from his work when slender fingers wrapped around his wrist, and raised his head. He met a smile and soft red eyes, Tobirama’s hand clasping a little tighter, and his heart fluttered. Tobirama’s hand slid down over his own and linked their fingers, and Indra smiled, sighing, squeezing their twined fingers.

Tobirama hummed, head cocking, then bent back to his reading, thumb stroking over Indra’s hand in a slow, idle pattern. Indra sighed, smile lingering, and returned to his notes.

Chapter Text

“Tobira. . .”

Madara startled to hear the pitiful, playful whine from his collected and aloof elder brother more than to know that Tobirama was in their house.

“No.” Tobirama returned, the word flat. “Don’t look at me like that, no.” he said, not quite so flat but still in his habitual cool tones. There was the sound of a faint smack, hardly enough to have stung, even if it had been flesh on flesh and not one of them hitting the furniture.

Izuna glared, punching Madara’s upper arm, face twisted up.

“Izuna.” Madara began, but he shoved free of Madara’s grip and twisted away.

“No. See? He’s-” Izuna made an anguished little huff. “How can Indra-nii not see? Whatever he thinks he feels. . . Senju will never be able to love him the way he needs.”

Izuna!” Madara said sharply, keeping his voice hushed, taking a step after Izuna, but he was already running away.

Madara sighed, slouching against the wall.

“You should take care of yourself, pet.” Tobirama’s voice was still cool and soft, but the words. . .

“Or what?” Indra said teasingly, and Madara cocked his head, pushing himself away from the wall and creeping two steps along to peer into Indra’s study.

“Mm. . .” Tobirama smiled, his pretty eyes gleaming. “I suppose,” he said, leaning over the corner of Indra’s desk towards him, catching one of Indra’s forelocks in his fingers, “I will just have to do it myself.”

“How dreadful.” Indra said lightly, grinning.

Tobirama cast his gaze upwards. “Horrible. But I suppose someone must.” he said, lips curving. “Come on, pet. This can wait, and I’ve missed you.”

The stubborn set that had come to Indra’s mouth wavered immediately at that, and he glanced at his desk, then up to Tobirama again as he lightly tugged Indra’s forelock. “Tobira. . .”

“Pet?” Tobirama returned evenly, arching an eyebrow.

Indra sighed and rose, leaving his papers strewn over his desk and sliding his hands over Tobirama’s hips. Tobirama stepped in close, stroking his hair back and kissing him lightly, rubbing their noses together. “Happy?” Indra asked, his voice warm, his arms winding around Tobirama clingily.

“Ecstatic.” Tobirama said, and his voice was dry, but his arms curled around Indra in return. “Good pet.”

“Do I get a treat?” Indra teased, and Madara winced, gagging, and backed away hurriedly even as Tobirama began to reply.

Chapter Text

Mmm. . .” Indra purred, stretching languidly as Tobirama peppered kisses over his back, one hand splayed against his hip. His body was pleasantly warm and lax from orgasm . . . although the slickness between his thighs was beginning to bother him.

Tobirama kissed his shoulder blade, then slipped away, and Indra whined disapprovingly.

“Patience.” Tobirama scolded, laughing, and though Indra scoffed at that, a moment later he was back. He washed away the slick mess of his own release from Indra’s skin, then nudged him to turn over, and he did with a lazy arch.

“Why don’t I listen to you more often?” Indra asked, watching Tobirama’s face - ridiculously focused for the task he was performing - as he washed away the rather more smeared mess on Indra’s belly.

“You’re stubborn?” Tobirama suggested dryly, making a single seal and calling up a tiny suiton jutsu before throwing the cloth aside along with the sheet Indra had been lying on. Indra snorted at that accusation - if anyone was stubborn. . .

Indra held out one arm, humming encouragement, and Tobirama eyed him, then smiled, sinking down into his arms. Indra wound him in a close embrace, purring happily as he sighed, warm and relaxed, settling his head on Indra’s shoulder.

“I do love you so.” Indra said softly, toying with Tobirama’s hair.

Tobirama’s hand slid up over Indra’s belly and ribs, big and warm and gentle. “I love you, pet.” he said simply, and Indra shivered, tugging him closer.

He sighed, rubbing his cheek against Indra’s shoulder, and Indra brought the blanket up with his foot, wriggling free just enough to reach for it with his free hand and tug it over them both. Tobirama sighed contentedly again, fingers curling against Indra’s chest.

Chapter Text

“I should go.”

Madara wasn’t quite so surprised to hear the softness in Tobirama’s voice this time - nor was he surprised to hear it in his house this morning. He’d expected Tobirama to remain last night . . . and tried not to think about it. Or listen.

“You should stay for breakfast.” Indra wheedled, their voices coming nearer. “You don’t have to be in the office yet. . .”

“And you’d love it if I was delayed enough I had to borrow something of yours to wear rather than go home to change.” Tobirama said, and Indra, drawing him into the dining room, stopped, breath catching.

Madara eyed them - holding hands, Tobirama continuing forwards to press snug against Indra’s side, kissing his cheek fleetingly - then cleared his throat and turned away, collecting the teapot. “Breakfast?” he offered, his voice mostly steady.

“Thank you, otouto.” Indra said, his voice not quite steady either. “I told Tobira you wouldn’t mind. . .”

“Of course not.” Madara smiled politely, and was a little surprised when Tobirama returned it with an actual warm look in his eyes. Pretty they might be, glittering scarlet, but Madara had never seen them look particularly welcoming.

“Thank you.” Tobirama said, dipping his head, and let Indra bring him to the table.

Madara quickly found his best bet was to train his eyes on his own plate. Even more so as Indra took to picking out bits of fruit and offering them to Tobirama from his fingers.

Indra.” Tobirama muttered, leaning away a little - though one of his hands was still beneath the table, and Madara was almost certain that it was twined with Indra’s own hidden hand. Tobirama was pouting, eyes fixed on Indra’s face.

Tobira.” Indra returned playfully, nudging the bit of apple closer.

As Tobirama continued trying to dodge Indra’s attempts to feed him, Madara wished faintly that he had skipped breakfast and gone straight to work himself, though, like Tobirama, he didn’t need to be in yet.

Chapter Text

“That should do it.” Tobirama said, sighing and dropping the last few sheets Hashirama had passed him onto the large stack he’d be taking with him. Hashirama smiled in relief. “Thank you, Anija.”

“Of course!” Hashirama said quickly, pushing away from his desk and moving around it towards his brother. He might find the work of being Hokage rather tiresome - he’d already known he didn’t care for it from being Clan Head, not even the sense of personal satisfaction that Madara seemed to get out of it - but it was his job . . . and he’d do anything he could to help Tobirama, his perhaps too-responsible baby brother, always and forever taking on too much.

Tobirama smiled as he rose, leaning into Hashirama’s embrace and tucking his head against Hashirama’s shoulder. He was tired and stressed, Hashirama knew, and he leaned into the hug more than he usually would during the day at work. Hashirama hugged him tight, rubbing his back, and Tobirama sighed again, nestling a little closer for just a moment.

Hashirama heard a little scoff even as Tobirama straightened to pull away, and turned to see-

Oh.” Hashirama blinked, staring at Izuna. “What happened to you?” he asked, but Izuna was already hurrying away, his plush - and currently rather bruised - mouth twisted into a scowl. His face and the visible parts of his arms were marked with bruises, though he was moving fine and didn’t seem to be seriously injured. But he hadn’t been on a mission - at least Hashirama didn’t think so - what could have happened to him?

“Tobi, do you know. . ?” Hashirama asked, turning to his brother.

Tobirama shrugged, frowning as he looked after Izuna, probably extending his senses as well. “I’m not sure. . . He seems all right, though, at least.”

Hashirama hummed, still concerned, but nodded.

“I’d better get back and deal with these.” Tobirama said reluctantly, stepping further away and picking up his papers.

Hashirama sighed and nodded, pouting. “Will you be home for dinner tonight?” he asked, brushing his hand over Tobirama’s back. He turned with a smile and nodded. “Does curry sound good?” he asked.

“Sure.” Tobirama said, the corner of his mouth twitching. “See you later, Anija.” he added, and slipped out.

Not curry, then. Maybe Hashirama would have time to stop by the market on the way home and get some fresh fish. . . That always made Tobirama happy.

Chapter Text

“I didn’t think he’d really do it!” Izuna whined, prodding gingerly at a splotch of purple colouring his cheekbone.

Madara blinked and stared at him. He opened his mouth, then closed it, watching Izuna continue exploring his bruised face with his fingers, pouting.

“Izuna.” Madara said, licking his lips. “You . . . have known our brother your entire life.”

Izuna looked at him, still pouting.

How did you think he didn’t mean it?” Madara asked helplessly. Indra had tried, several times, in fact, and the first time he had warned Izuna that even if his lover had no care for Izuna’s picking and fighting, it was trying Indra’s own patience. Madara had seen Indra warn him. Repeatedly. And ask him, please even if only for Indra’s sake, to be calmer.

Madara rubbed his face as Izuna protested. Even before he had known of his relationship with their brother, Madara had asked Izuna to tone down his aggressiveness in regards Tobirama, several times, and each time had been met with sulkiness and refusal. Perhaps this had been inevitable.

“Izu,” Madara tried, leaning towards his brother, “hell, what would you do, were you in love, and someone kept picking at and trying to bully your beloved?” he asked, gentle but pointed.

Izuna made a face, and Madara sighed. “But- But- It’s Senju, Aniki!” Izuna protested, clearly not comprehending.

Madara squeezed his eyes closed for a moment. “Yes. Senju. Who Indra is desperately in love with.” he said pointedly.

“But it’s Senju!” Izuna protested again, and Madara wondered faintly where they went wrong with him that he was this thick. How. “He’ll never be-”

“Indra adores him and you will have to accept that, otouto.” Madara snapped. “And if you’d open your fucking eyes you’d see that Senju loves him back. Whatever the hell you think is missing it appears to be in your own thick head.”

Izuna’s mouth had dropped open as Madara spoke, and it snapped shut now. He glared.

Madara shook his head. “Just. . . Try and pay attention, if you’re honestly worried about Indra-nii’s heart.” he said tiredly, rising from his seat and resting a hand on Izuna’s shoulder. “If you’re just determined to hate him . . . remember that he is Indra-nii’s choice, and you have no say in who he can gift his heart . . . nor who he brings into the clan, and it comes to that.”

Izuna gaped, eyes wide. “Madara! You would-”

“If Indra-nii asks, if Tobirama wishes. . . Then yes.” Madara said firmly, and turned to walk away. Maybe that would knock something through his head, finally. Something had to give; Indra was already deeply upset and their baby brother’s refusal to accept his beloved was clearly troubling him. And Izuna’s knotted up mind was. . .

He needed to accept the Senju, both the one their brother adored and the rest of them, to some degree, or he would never be happy here in Konoha, Madara thought fretfully.

Chapter Text

“It’s just a shame we have to stay in so late . . . and get our brothers here too. . .” Hashirama lamented, and Madara rolled his eyes as he returned from the window.

“We’ll get the work done and get it over with.” Madara said, although he wasn’t entirely optimistic about it. There would definitely be no chance for proper sleep, even if they got it handled as quickly as he thought likely. Maybe a nap before breakfast and time to be back at work. Madara sighed.

He went back to sorting papers, waiting - preparing - for their brothers to arrive.

He turned when he heard Akiasu’s soft little cry, and found Tobirama sliding in the window on the bird’s tail. Akiasu darted towards him, circling, and Madara put out a hand, since he didn’t seem inclined to perch in Madara’s hair.

“Indra-sama is on his way too.” Akiasu said once he had landed on Madara’s hand, puffing up his feathers. “Tobirama-sama is very fast.” he added, cocking his head.

“Tobi!” Hashirama greeted, sparing Madara from having to come up with a response or greeting himself by pouncing on his brother.

Madara stared, because he knew that shirt and it was not Tobirama’s. It belonged to Indra, and there was even-

In the process of freeing himself from Hashirama’s clutching arms, Tobirama turned enough to show his back to Madara - showing off the uchiwa sewn between his shoulder blades.

Indra leapt through the window a few moments later, dressed properly but his hair messy and loose. “Hello. What have we to deal with?” he asked, glancing at Tobirama and smiling softly, reaching out a hand to brush his knuckles over Tobirama’s arm and given a soft smile in return.

“Hello; thank you for coming in.” Madara said, rubbing his thumb up along Akiasu’s neck, ruffling his short, fluffy feathers. He moved over to the desk and started to go over the emergency, but paused when he looked up and-

Indra had noticed the shirt properly as Tobirama moved towards the desk, his Sharingan active and whirling slowly as he watched Tobirama walk. Madara sighed, eyeing him, then began speaking again. As long as Indra caught up and focused, so they could all go home.

And he’d remind his brother that he needed to focus if he wanted to take his lover home . . . or anywhere private . . . if he had to. Madara winced.

Chapter Text

“You wore it. . .”

Tobirama smiled as he slanted a look over his shoulder at Indra, back square to him. It showed off the bright, clearly-stitched uchiwa - Indra’s uchiwa - across his shoulders.

Indra swallowed, drifting nearer. “My clothes, my symbol. . .”

“Your uchiwa.” Tobirama agreed, with an almost playful smile and a flutter of lashes as he looked away again. Indra’s belly tightened, a pulse flaring through his stirring cock. “I wore,” Tobirama continued, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand and then rolling it slowly, “for my Uchiha, and no other.”

Indra’s throat locked. “Tobira. . .” he managed after a moment, and Tobirama turned towards him with a softer look, leaning back against a chest.

“What do you want, Indra?” he asked, voice low, extending his hands.

Indra drifted towards him as though caught in a genjutsu, sliding his hands into his lover’s. “I. . .” he paused, licking his lips.

“You may have whatever you desire. What would you like?” Tobirama said quietly, hands warm as he squeezed and stroked Indra’s.

Indra swallowed, a little dizzy. “I-” he paused again, mind full of a vivid imagining, rewriting it from that he had entertained while they were trying to work, with both their brothers, to here, now. . . “May I- I want-”

“Mm?” Tobirama asked, nuzzling his cheek and kissing him just at the corner of his mouth.

“I want you on your knees, wearing nothing but my shirt and my uchiwa, under me, so,” Indra paused to catch his breath and swallow, “so I can see it while I take you, feel you, under me and around me and . . . mine.”

Tobirama watched him for a moment, and Indra bit his lip.

Tobirama smiled slowly and pushed off the bureau, straightening until he was once more taller than Indra. “As you wish, pet.” he said, voice low and hot. He slipped past Indra and headed for the bed, dropping pieces of his clothing - but not the shirt - as he went.

Chapter Text

“Tobira. . .” Indra groaned, sliding his hands over his lover’s hips as he sank into Tobirama’s body. Tobirama moaned and arched beneath him, hips rolling to take in the full length of his cock that little bit quicker.

Indra jerked. He gripped Tobirama’s hips hard, eyes drifting up from the sight of himself sliding into Tobirama’s ass over the stretch of fabric to the stark uchiwa across Tobirama’s shoulders, and he couldn’t quite stifle a needy, desperate sound.

Tobirama pushed back into him as he rocked and thrust, thighs spreading a little wider when he wavered. Indra’s grip tightened a little to steady him. Tobirama moaned and his back bowed, his weight sliding from forearms to elbows as he folded his arms up, one hand driving into his own hair and curling into a fist.

Indra moaned and continued to rock into him, struggling a little to keep to the rhythm they had begun together, dizzy with arousal and slightly disbelieving delight. Tobirama cried out and his back arched as his shoulders tensed and his fingers tightened in his own hair, his free hand clutching at the bed. Breathless himself, Indra’s eyes flitted back to the uchiwa.

“Indra. . .” Tobirama all but mewled, interrupting himself, as Indra rolled his hips and angled himself deeper, eyes fixed on the uchiwa as it rippled across Tobirama’s shoulders with their movements together. “You-” He groaned. “You can.”

It took Indra a few tries to get an intelligible sound out in response, though his rhythm didn’t falter, steady thrusts that jarred his hip bones slightly every time they met Tobirama’s ass. Each one drew a soft breathy sound of pleasure from his lover.

“Sharingan,” Tobirama managed, on a rough cry, back arching to press into Indra’s thrusts, “you can-” he broke off with a moan. “If you-”

Pushing himself up a little more, so he could see the length of Tobirama’s body from his own desperate grip on his hair to Indra’s cock fucking into him, Indra already had his Sharingan whirling to life the moment the permission sank in. Tobirama twisted just a little, his scarlet eyes blood-bright and glazed with pleasure as he met Indra’s gaze.

His cock twitched and he thrust a little harder, moaning loudly, freeing one hand and sliding it up Tobirama’s back, splaying briefly over the uchiwa in a needy caress.

“You . . . really love this.” Tobirama said, a shiver running through him as he squeezed around Indra’s cock. His shoulders flexed and he moaned again, and Indra pressed lightly on his lower back and fucked into him just a little bit harder.

“It’s. . . Yes.” Indra groaned, the heat and pull of his lover’s body dizzying, his eyes straying repeatedly back to the uchiwa. “It’s like. . . You wearing that, my uchiwa, my. . . Like you’re mine.” he admitted, letting Sharingan go and falling into the pleasure of Tobirama beneath him, against him, around him.

“I am yours.” Tobirama said, voice thick and throaty with pleasure, hips bucking, inner muscles tightening with a flutter around Indra’s cock.

Indra let out a rough cry and lost himself in his lover’s body, all but falling down to cover his back, pressing close and clinging.

Chapter Text

Indra slid his hand over Tobirama’s hip, tugging him in closer. Tobirama rolled in towards him with a low purr, stretching as Indra’s hand smoothed up his bare back.

Indra pressed against him with a contented sigh, warm and lazy with pleasure. Tobirama lifted his head and kissed Indra softly, lingering and feathery. He stroked Tobirama’s cheek, toying with his hair, still wet and currently even wilder than usual, and smiled.

Tobirama purred softly and nudged their noses together. His eyes were a soft crimson, his mouth curved into a lazy smile, his fingers trailing up Indra’s side.

Indra’s heart ached with how much he just . . . loved.

Tobirama kissed him again, hand coming up over his ribs to caress his jaw, then back to stroke his hair. Indra sighed, eyelids heavy, and nuzzled into his lover’s embrace.

Indra’s shirt - the one Tobirama had been wearing; he wasn’t actually sure where the one he’d taken off had gone - was discarded over the nightstand, the uchiwa caught over the corner nearest them. Indra glanced at it, then bowed his head, hand roaming back down Tobirama’s back, nudging him in closer.

Tobirama stretched a little and cuddled into the embrace, making a soft pleased sound when Indra kissed him again.

“Really am, you know.” Tobirama said, and Indra hummed softly. “Yours.” he added.

Indra’s breath caught as his heart squeezed, and he wound his arms around Tobirama, unable to speak. Tobirama smiled and stroked his cheek by one eye and clearly didn’t need the words, so Indra stopped trying to find them and just kissed him, holding him tight.

Chapter Text

“Good morning!” Hashirama greeted, beaming, trying to keep his voice down a little despite his happiness.

Tobirama smiled at him fondly, and Hashirama’s smile softened. “Good morning, Anija.”

“Morning.” Indra said thickly, rubbing his face. “Oh. Breakfast.”

“Anija isn’t a bad cook and he actually likes mornings.” Tobirama said with dry amusement, kissing his lover’s cheek. Hashirama stifled a coo.

“Help yourself!” Hashirama encouraged, settling down himself once he’d fetched the pot of tea. Tobirama actually served them both, and Indra sighed, nudging closer to Tobirama’s shoulder, even though he was clearly waking up a little more, eyes more focused and expression clearer.

Tobirama stroked his thigh under the table, then nudged his plate towards him, and Indra turned a soft smile on him. Tobirama made a quietly contended humming sound and sipped his tea as Indra started to eat.

He startled when Indra leaned closer again, holding up a bite of fish. Hashirama stuffed a large bite of rice and miso in his own mouth to keep quiet as Tobirama allowed Indra to feed it to him, then actually chose a piece of fruit to offer in return. Indra’s eyes were bright as he took it, dropping his right hand to rest in Tobirama’s lap.

Tobirama watched Indra’s face with an adoring look on his own, and Hashirama remembered. . .

Tobirama tucked his feet up beside him and settled against Hashirama’s shoulder at the edge of the engawa, looking out towards the pond in the back garden. Hashirama hummed, nudging him gently, and he nudged back with a laugh.

“Indra, hm?” Hashirama said softly, when Tobirama had not spoken again for some time.

Tobirama made a soft sound low in his throat. “Anija, he just-” Tobirama tilted his head to meet Hashirama’s eyes. “He makes me . . . so happy.” he said quietly, eyes wide and lips faintly curled.

Hashirama crooned, wrapping an arm around his brother and hugging him tight. “Anija!” Tobirama protested, wriggling in his embrace - though not very hard.

“I’m so happy you’re happyyy!” Hashirama cried, nudging his head against Tobirama’s and hugging him tighter.

Tobirama hummed, patting his thigh and leaning against him. “I love you, too, Anija.” he said, lilting with amusement but warm.

Hashirama had noticed Tobirama being more relaxed and content, and he was . . . so pleased. He rested their heads together as he relaxed his hold on his brother a little. “I’m glad he treats you well, otouto.”

As he definitely was now, cuddled close against Tobirama’s side and feeding him bites of breakfast when he would take them, sneaking caresses between.

Hashirama keened happily and stifled himself in his tea.

Chapter Text

“Ohayou, dearling.” Indra said, eyes soft as he looked at Tobirama.

“Ohayou.” Tobirama replied sleepily, and waved his fingers as he slipped out into the garden.

“. . .otouto, what’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Indra said, cocking an eyebrow.

Madara dragged his attention fully back to his brother. “Only the one you’re sleeping with, Indra-nii.” he said dryly.

Indra scowled, the look in his eyes sharpening. “My Tobira is not a ghost, otouto.” he said in icy tones.

Madara’s brows rose. “He does, however, look like one . . . at least when he’s wandering the house in the depths of the night, wearing only one of your nagajuban.” he pointed out, suppressing a shudder. He’d just been coming in from meeting with a returning Uchiha team, and it had been . . . not a settling sight.

“Wait, he- You saw him in my clothes?” Indra asked, lashes fluttering and eyes looking a little dreamy.

“Only the nagajuban.” Madara said, wincing, knowing it wasn’t going to help. He glanced at the kitchen doorway, knowing there was a new gouge taken out of the wall on the other side from where he’d instinctively thrown a kunai and Tobirama, though hazy with sleep, had dodged it effortlessly. He explained tentatively.

His brother was apparently entirely too focused on the thought of his lover in his clothes to pay much mind, which did at least mean he wasn’t angry at Madara for accidentally almost attacking the man.

Tobirama opened the door again and Indra turned towards him immediately. “You- you were wearing my clothes?” Indra asked, almost plaintive, and Tobirama froze halfway over the threshold. He glanced at Madara, and he took a step back. Not getting involved.

“Do you want tea?” Madara offered, moving towards the pot.

“Yes please.” Tobirama accepted, nodding. “I’m . . . sorry? I just needed something to wear to go to the kitchen, and your kimono and nagajuban were right there, and easier than dressing in my own clothes again. . .”

Madara stifled a snort, ducking his head. Tobirama very definitely did not understand the problem. Yet.

“If you’re to wear my clothes I would give you something much nicer than just a nagajuban. . .” Indra said softly, longing. Madara controlled his reaction and slid a cup of tea to Tobirama, who was blinking at Indra and his wide, pleading eyes.

“I- All right, if you were to dress me in your clothes what would you have me in?” Tobirama asked, tilting his head.

Indra’s breath caught, his eyes darkening.

Madara coughed. “I’m going to grab breakfast somewhere on the way to the office. You, ah, have fun.” he said, and snatched up his tea before darting for the front door, incredibly grateful that he’d dressed for the day already.

Izuna, still abed when Madara had last checked, before putting the tea on . . . he was going to have to fend for himself.

Chapter Text

“Are you sure you’re all right with this, love?” Tobirama asked, fingers trailing over Indra’s shoulder and back lovingly.

Indra shifted, shivering beneath the touch, and looked around at him with a smile. “I promise. Yes. Please.” he added softly, warmth pooling low in his belly as his heart fluttered. “I want this.”

Tobirama bent, hips shifting where he sat astride Indra’s waist, and kissed the back of his shoulder. “I just needed to be sure,” he said gently, hands warm on Indra’s skin, “since there is no taking it off, ever.”

“I know.” Indra said, his voice going rough at the thought. “And I am not just all right with it, Tobira, I- I really want it, please.”

“Of course, love.” Tobirama said, nuzzling Indra’s skin, then kissing a spot just above his shoulder blade.

“The only thing I might possibly regret is that I won’t be able to see your mark on me there.” Indra admitted very quietly, hiding his face in his pillow.

Tobirama stilled above him, and Indra squirmed.

“It,” Tobirama paused, “can go somewhere else. If you would. . . If you want it where you can see it yourself. If you want it to be visible.”

Indra tensed, eyes snapping open wide. “Truly?” he asked, twisting to look up. Tobirama was very faintly pink across his cheekbones. He nodded. Indra shimmied a bit sideways and rolled over beneath Tobirama, reaching up and trailing both hands up his thighs. “I- I would like that. Both. I want to be able to see it all the time, and I would love to be able to see it, touch it myself.”

Tobirama ducked his head, but nodded.

Indra bit his lip and brought his hand up across his own body, catching Tobirama’s wrist and pulling his hand down a little from where it had rested just beneath his collarbone - exactly the place where it had been resting on his back before he rolled over - to over his heart. “Please?” he asked softly.

Tobirama swallowed visibly, then nodded again. He shifted his knees, thighs brushing Indra’s sides, then bent and kissed him, soft and sweet. Indra purred against his mouth, relaxing a little, then arched with a gasping, breathless cry as chakra flared beneath Tobirama’s hand, suddenly pressed flat on his chest.

Ooh.” Indra breathed as he settled down again, a bit dizzy. He looked down, and Tobirama stroked down his chest, hand moving away to reveal the pronged disk of his hiraishin seal in stark black on Indra’s skin. “Oh.” Indra’s cock throbbed and he fidgeted beneath his lover, toes curling. “Oh yes. That’s- Tobira. . .”

“Thank you.” Tobirama said softly, trailing his fingers over the seal.

Indra blinked, then laughed, reaching up to drag Tobirama down for a kiss. “Thank you? Oh. . . You have no idea.” he said against Tobirama’s mouth. “I . . . am so happy to wear it, Tobira. Thank you. I love you.”

Chapter Text

Indra jumped, raising his head, but there was nothing in his office. Still. He rubbed the nape of his neck, taking a deep breath, and shook his head, returning his focus to the proposal before him. He frowned, tapping his fingers thoughtfully on his desk.

A feathery brush that was not his hair danced across his collarbone and he twitched, reaching for it much faster this time. He was getting irritated with the sensations that kept teasing at his senses and-

And he missed it and there was nothing there. It. . . It could have been his hair, Indra allowed, sighing and rubbing his face. He’d been stuck working solely in the Tower for a few weeks, and he got . . . twitchy when he was shut up in here without any missions to break up the office work. Or at least spars or extensive time training . . . which there had been little time for, and none for even light spars with his brothers, cousin, lover. . .

Indra sighed again and made himself focus on the work before him.

The ticklish flutter of something touching him came several more times, as it had been all day, and he could never quite keep himself from reacting to it. But no matter what he did, he never found anything, not by sight or sense or touch.

The door opened, and Indra raised his head. He frowned as no one appeared in it, and then the door closed again . . . without any sign of a person then, either. Indra tensed, eyes narrowing, and pushed out his senses, muttering to himself.

“I have a new suppression jutsu.” Tobirama appeared from nothing, his chakra suddenly washing over Indra in a well-loved cool wave.

Tobirama!

“I needed to test it, didn’t I?” Tobirama said, with one of the best innocent faces Indra had ever seen. Indra was, in fact, never quite sure Tobirama was actually acting as opposed to sincerely meaning whatever he said when he wore that look.

Indra just stared at him.

Tobirama drifted closer. “I am sorry, if I upset you.” he said, the innocent face falling for the disappointed, guilty one. Indra was maybe a little upset - he’d briefly thought he might be going mad, this morning - but. . .

“It’s all right.” Indra said, holding out his hands. Tobirama came closer and put his own in them. “You did need to test it, and,” he paused, taking a breath, “it’s possible I need the break, too.” he admitted. It wouldn’t have troubled him so much if he wasn’t already on edge and snappish and he knew it. “. . .don’t use it too often, though? Not- Not here?”

Tobirama tilted his head, making a soft sound of confusion, and Indra tugged him nearer, then wrapped both arms around his waist, leaning against his chest. “I- I don’t like not being to feel you.” he said quietly, and kissed Tobirama’s chest, nestling close.

Tobirama’s expression warmed and he returned Indra’s embrace. “I won’t. Not with you.” he promised, and then stroked Indra’s cheek before bending to kiss him.

Chapter Text

“Indra. . . Indra. . .” Tobirama whined, arching beneath his lover, hands tightening in Indra’s grip. He shuddered, barely able to keep his eyes open and focused on Indra’s face as he gasped, muscles taut and trembling with pleasure.

Indra smiled at him, slow and slightly sloppy. “Mm, Tobi.” he purred, dipping his head and kissing along Tobirama’s jaw, rolling his hips deep and steady.

Tobirama threw his head back, choking on a breathless cry at the pressure and shift deep inside. Indra’s hips hitched, but only briefly, and he rocked slowly back. Tobirama squirmed, pushing up to meet him, but Indra’s rhythm remained slow, almost languid, as he twined their fingers more securely and kissed his way up Tobirama’s throat.

“Indra, please.” Tobirama wriggled his hips and arched up into his lover. “Please, more.”

Indra nuzzled his neck and jaw as he slid his legs a little higher and gripped Indra tightly around the waist, pulling at him. “Easy. . .” he soothed, tongue and teeth sliding over Tobirama’s ear, gently nipping and tugging. “I’ve got you, beloved. Let me take care of you.” he murmured, rolling his hips again and shifting his weight to press Tobirama down more firmly into the bed.

He gasped, hands splaying out. Indra’s fingers flexed where they were folded between his own, and Tobirama clutched at him again quickly. “Indra, please, faster, I need- I need you.”

“You’ve got me.” Indra said, his voice thick and a little rough.

Tobirama cried out, soft and broken, closing his eyes and falling into slower, shaky movements beneath Indra’s steady rhythm. He didn’t let Tobirama coax him to move faster, he didn’t lose himself to his own pleasure, he didn’t release Tobirama’s hands.

“And I’ve got you.” Indra breathed against his ear, softer this time, body solid and hot as he caged Tobirama against the bed.

Chapter Text

Tobirama sighed softly, barely moving even as he let out the deep breath. Indra smiled, looking up but only vaguely focused on the ceiling above him, running the fingers of his free hand through Tobirama’s tousled hair.

He was almost boneless where he draped over Indra’s side and chest, head tucked on his shoulder, one leg lying across Indra’s own. And he hadn’t spoken since his pleading had dropped into nothing more than repeating Indra’s name in low, trembling moans, and then ceased entirely.

Indra dropped his hand to slide down Tobirama’s back, eliciting a rumbling moan as he kneaded into muscles that were utterly lax. Indra’s lips curved a little more. He had never felt Tobirama so relaxed, and while he was mostly quiet he let out the occasional content, warm sound.

Indra squeezed their twined hands, and Tobirama purred, nudging his face a little closer against Indra’s collarbone, fingers lazily tightening in his clasp for a moment.

“’ve got you, beloved.” Indra murmured, his own voice still thick with pleasure and a little rough. Tobirama made a vague sound and didn’t move, even as Indra swept his caressing hand back up the length of Tobirama’s lean back, returning to stroke his hair.

Chapter Text

Indra moaned as Tobirama’s hands pushed through his hair, a gentle touch that skimmed his scalp and encouraged him to look up. He tilted his head back and met soft red eyes with a low hum, feeling a muted wash of pleasure as Tobirama’s thin mouth curved into a smile.

Indra shifted slightly, taking a breath, nuzzling his cheek into the heel of Tobirama’s hand. Tobirama cupped his face, then stroked his brow with the pad of one thumb.

“May I kiss you?” Indra asked, after a few moments to find his voice again. It was soft and slow, a little dreamy. The sound made him smile, and Tobirama made a soft pleased sound that sparked a dull tingle of warmth under his skin.

“Always, love.” Tobirama murmured by way of permission, hand sliding down to cup the nape of Indra’s neck as he rose up on his knees.

Tobirama met Indra with a slow, careful kiss. He let Indra push it a little further, hands coming up to cling to his shoulders, then took control again, cradling Indra’s jaw and stroking his hair as he deepened the kiss.

Indra leaned against his legs, and wavered when Tobirama moved to let him slide between them, resting against Tobirama’s body even as he raised his head again. He ran his fingers through Indra’s hair, tugging gently, and dropped his other hand to stroke over the woven silk-and-moonstone band wound about Indra’s throat.

Indra shivered and closed his eyes as he leaned into Tobirama’s touch, head on his lover’s chest, safe and serene under Tobirama’s care, content to let himself drop into the comfort of Tobirama’s control.

Chapter Text

“Oh. . . Oh, no, I couldn’t do that.” Indra smiled crookedly, stroking Tsuyu’s cheek and down his neck. He sighed. “No. . . Don’t worry about me, though.” he said in a sweet tone, bending to brush a kiss to each beak, then rising and walking away.

Tsuyu huffed, stretching his neck up and fluffing his wings, tail trembling with indignation. “Foolish chick!” he snipped.

Umeka sighed, ruffling her feathers and picking her way closer to her mate. He shook himself and huffed again, and she brushed one wing against his side.

Tsuyu turned to look at her, his crest trembling. “As though he cannot see the pretty one watching him, waiting? Inviting? Hoping?” he said, shaking his neck.

Umeka warbled agreeably, nudging her mate and folding her legs. He settled beside her on the grass, warm against her.

“He’s usually so good about following our advice, too. . .” Tsuyu looked off the way Indra had gone out of sight.

Umeka leaned over and preened his neck soothingly. “Now, now, don’t be so harsh, dear.” she said gently, catching one of his feathers in her beak and tugging. “Our silly human chick is fond of the pretty one, and he isn’t sure he’ll be welcomed. There is no one with brighter, more striking plumage in this new village, you know.”

“Our Indra is a good mate! Would be a good mate!” Tsuyu said staunchly, and Umeka clucked and leaned their necks together. “He only has to try and woo the one he wants and I am sure he would win his mate!” He turned towards Umeka, nuzzling her and curling his neck around her own. “I only want him to be happy, you know that.”

“Of course.” Umeka said softly, spreading one wing over his back. “Our silly one is very sweet and doting, he will make an excellent mate, be as outstanding for his own nest as he has been excellent to us, and to our chicks.” Tsuyu’s head raised a little higher at that, prideful, and Umeka warbled with fond amusement. “Indra is only a tad slow at times, when it comes to courting and displays. You remember what he was like as a juvenile.”

Tsuyu sighed, ruffling his wings and casting a look at the heavens. It was understandable. Umeka certainly remembered herself, both the silliness and the heartache - if not break, for he had never loved quite so fiercely, but oh, he had wanted, and been hurt, and taken comfort under their wings as though he were still a chick.

“He’ll get there,” Umeka soothed, preening carefully around her mate’s beak, “we shall just have to keep helping him along.”

“Of course we will. Always.” Tsuyu said warmly, returning the preening and trilling softly. “You are always right about such things, my lovely.”

Umeka tilted her head with a happy trill, eyeing him coyly sideways.

Chapter Text

“Hello, gorgeous lady.” Tobirama greeted, smiling at Umeka.

She trilled back happily, hopping down from the fence-top to the lower stone wall he was using as a table. She moved towards him, ruffling her feathers and slicking them down again contentedly as he moved his stack of scrolls and pen case out of her path.

Umeka came right up to him, then, and Tobirama reached out, pausing with his hand not quite to her. She bobbed her head, and he smiled, stroking her neck and down to her body, light fingers finding just the right spots to avoid tickling.

“What are you doing out here?” Umeka asked, cutting off the almost reflexive endearment before it could slip her beak. “Enjoying the sunshine?”

Tobirama laughed, stretching and arching his back, then rummaging in a pocket. Umeka perked up as he came out with a handful of candied rose petals, holding one up for her. She took it delicately, savouring the sweet, light taste.

“Enjoying the sunshine, and the quiet, the lack of idiots. . .” Tobirama said dryly, smirking.

Umeka clucked, but didn’t chide him. Tobirama offered another petal.

“. . .Umeka-chan?” Tobirama asked softly as she accepted it. Umeka cocked her head, nibbling and watching him at once. “Does- Indra-san-” He stopped, and Umeka eyed him carefully. “I only. . .” Tobirama sighed, and Umeka fought not to fidget.

It was very unlike him to be so nervous, or stumble so over his own words.

“Do you think Indra-san even likes me?” Tobirama asked in a voice far too small for a man his size. Umeka tensed. “Only. . . Sometimes I’m not sure.” he explained, biting his lip. “At first I thought- But then we shared some,” he expression eased, a soft smile warming it, “research and work, and talks about our personal interests, and it was. . .” He sighed again, but light and warm this time.

Umeka trilled approvingly.

“Then. . . He’ll get jumpy or he won’t even talk to me, he’ll ignore that I’m around or- or he’ll leave as soon as I am,” Tobirama said, the smile fading and his voice lowering once more, “and I can’t help but wonder. . . Perhaps he doesn’t even like me and having me around is. . .”

Umeka resisted the urge to hide her head in her wings as Tobirama trailed off and looked at her with a needy little spark of hope in his eyes. Oh, chick, what are you about? she thought, and clucked softly.

“Oh yes, Tobirama, dear silly chick,” Umeka said gently, nipping his fingers, “my summoner likes you.” She shook herself before she could continue - she wouldn’t speak for Indra, nor betray his trust and what he had spoken to her. Even for his own good.

Tobirama rubbed her cheek. “Thank you. I- I don’t want to make him uncomfortable,” he said earnestly, “only sometimes I wish. . .”

Umeka chirped encouragingly, but he only smiled a little sadly and shook his head as he offered up another petal.

Chapter Text

“Indra!”

Tsuyu lifted his head at the sound of his mate’s displeased shriek, uncertain, for once, what might have caused it. Not that he expected to be wondering for long; Umeka was never withdrawn when she felt something was wrong, and he expected he’d be hearing what she expected to be done about it very soon.

Umeka flew up onto the table as Indra stared, already looking abashed, though Tsuyu guessed from his expression he also had no idea why he was in trouble.

“The pretty one now thinks you don’t even like him!” Umeka scolded, and Tsuyu clucked, startled. Indra’s eyes widened, then his face crumpled. Umeka buffeted him around the head with one wing. “Avoiding him! Not speaking to him! Running away!”

Indra made a low, miserable sound, and Tsuyu hauled himself up and approached them at floor level with slow, careful steps.

“I know you’re scared, chick,” Umeka said, her tone gentling slightly, “but you cannot woo the mate you wish so dearly to win this way!” She smacked the back of Indra’s head with her wing again.

“You know better than that. . .” Tsuyu chided, shaking his head and his tail in disappointment.

“But- I want him so much, I do,” Indra said, looking lost, “but he’s- I don’t know. . .”

Umeka gave a sharp cry, stalking right in front of him. “Listen to me.” she ordered, and Indra looked right at her. “Now, you are going to find a nice present - he likes tea, does he not? start there; it’s always best to start with food,” she instructed, “and then you will dress very nicely, to display yourself properly,” she leaned forwards and gently tugged one of Indra’s forelocks in her beak, “and then you will go and find him. . .”

Indra made a tiny squeaking sound and Tsuyu eyed him with some concern.

“And you will give him the present.” Umeka finished pointedly, then clucked. “Chick, Tsuyu is right, you do know better. You wish to have the pretty one for your own?” she said, not really a question, but Indra nodded hurriedly anyway, making a small longing sound. “He will not come to you without being courted.”

“You can court a desirable mate the proper way,” Tsuyu said, pecking Indra’s thigh sharply, “we know you can. You know how, you’re just nervous. It’s only natural,” he added, glancing warmly at his mate, her temper beginning to settle, “I was nervous when I first began to court Umeka. But court you must, despite such things.”

“Tsuyu has been a good teacher,” Umeka said, ruffling her feathers, “you will do well.”

“I won my most wonderful mate, so shall you.” Tsuyu said firmly, nudging Indra’s thigh.

Chapter Text

Tobirama sighed, his eyes sad. Hikomi licked his cheek, light enough for the rasp not to be painful, then nuzzled his jaw, and purred when his summoner’s arms wrapped more tightly around him.

“I don’t think Umeka-chan would lie to me,” Tobirama said softly, fingers digging deeply into Hikomi’s fur, “but . . . what if she’s wrong?”

Hikomi shifted carefully, his paws sliding over Tobirama’s thighs, and butted him gently alongside the head, tail flicking where it curled around near his hip. “I’m sure she’s not.” he said staunchly, and licked Tobirama’s cheek again. “How could he not want you? You are a clever, skilled hunter and a gentle friend. You would be an excellent mate.”

Tobirama squirmed, but he smiled slightly and he rubbed his face affectionately against Hikomi’s. He purred throatily, paws flexing and claws digging into Tobirama’s shirt.

“Besides, does anyone know him better than Umeka-chan?” Hikomi asked, nuzzling Tobirama’s face in return.

Tobirama relaxed a little, though his arms were still wrapped around Hikomi, and he purred a little deeper, pleased with himself.

Hikomi considered the eldest Uchiha brother, who he knew largely by observation and his summoner’s words and hardly at all personally, and made a grumbling noise as he thought. Tobirama stroked down his back and along his tail, then hugged him close again.

Chapter Text

“Go on, go on!” Umeka encouraged pointedly, clucking at Indra when he hesitated. “I showed you where once; I won’t help you find him again if you let yourself get too frightened to approach him this time.” she warned.

Indra turned a betrayed look on her and Umeka clucked again, ruffling her feathers.

Indra whined quietly and turned the small parcel he held between his hands. Then he - finally - began moving again, heading for Tobirama. Umeka made a quiet approving sound and shadowed him, though she stayed back and out of sight. It wouldn’t do for Tobirama to spot her, and perhaps have it alter his response to Indra’s first step into courting him.

“Ah . . . Tobirama-san.” Indra said, looking uncertain and faintly ill. Umeka shook her head a little, though at least, she thought, it was not obvious if you did not know him well. Watching Indra nervously approach his desired mate, Umeka recalled Tsuyu’s careful, tiny strutting steps as he approached her that first day, long ago now.

“I am sorry to disturb you,” Indra bowed gracefully, “may I trouble you for a moment?”

Tobirama looked startled and shy, and Umeka ruffled her feathers, her heart going out to him with her own remembered surprise and anticipation as she hoped quietly that he would allow. . . Tobirama nodded and responded politely, and Umeka’s sharp eyes picked out his fingers curling tight around his pen.

“I. . .” Indra began, kneeling before Tobirama, who was still sitting on the ground. “I know you may have. . . My behaviour,” he bowed his head, “may not have left you aware of my,” his voice hitched, “my feelings.”

“. . .your feelings?” Tobirama repeated, tensing and sitting up a little straighter.

“This is a gift . . . for you.” Indra said rather than directly answer, holding out the small parcel wrapped in brilliant blue fabric. It coordinated nicely with the trim of Indra’s fine shirt and pants; he had dressed outside his usual colours, playing well to his colouring and his markings, and highlighting with Tobirama’s favourite colour. His hair, brushed until it shone and left unbound, spilled over his shoulder as Tobirama accepted the parcel and he dropped his hands, shoulders slanted.

Tobirama watched him for a beat too long, then bent his head to carefully unwrap the parcel, which Umeka knew hid away a fine porcelain jar of white tea with plum, painted with young tea plants and plum blossoms in a washed-out watercolour rain.

Tobirama’s lips parted as he took in the present, then he smiled as he held it closer and looked up at Indra again shyly. “Thank you. . .” He cradled the jar against his chest. “I must ask, though,” he paused, “why?”

Indra wavered and Umeka tensed, willing her chick to gather his courage.

“I would . . . like to court you, Tobirama-san,” Indra said, his voice steady, “if you would allow.” He tilted his head and looked at Tobirama sidelong, his hair falling to frame his face prettily, and Umeka relaxed. Good chick.

Chapter Text

Tobirama shifted, drawing in a deep, slow breath and rolling his shoulders. Indra slid a hand over the flexing muscles in his bare back appreciatively, nudging the blanket lower and lower, tracing the slanting red lines emblazoned on his pale skin. “You . . . should wake, lover.” he said softly, leaning a little closer still.

It wasn't really a surprise when Tobirama didn't wake, settling again quickly and turning his face the other direction. Indra turned his hand over and followed the stark red back up Tobirama's ribs and back. He sighed and bent, tucking his hair behind his shoulder.

“Tobirama. . .” Indra called softly before he pressed a kiss to his lover’s skin, just where the red swirled around and into a mark that Indra swore shimmered faintly. He smiled, brushing his lips over it again, then nosed the curve of Tobirama’s ear. “Time to wake, lover.” he crooned in Tobirama's ear coaxingly.

Tobirama shook his head, burying his face deeper into the blankets with a muffled whine. Indra smiled, amused and fond. He bent further and kissed the base of Tobirama's neck lightly, just beneath the soulmark he bore. “I'll make it worth your while if you do, gorgeous. . .” Indra crooned the promise, and he watched a shiver slide down Tobirama’s spine. He kissed the mark itself once again, and a soft sound caught in his lover’s throat.

Mmm. . . Not playing fair.” Tobirama murmured, turning over as he blinked sleepily.

Indra grinned at him. “I’m a big bad Uchiha,” he teased, “I never play fair.”

Tobirama laughed, sliding a hand up Indra’s side and over his chest to curl around his shoulder at the base of his neck, just shy of the pronged design of his soulmark. “Big bad Uchiha,” Tobirama murmured as he drew Indra down to himself, “sure you are. . .”

Indra made a mock affronted noise, but didn’t resist the feathery, nuzzling kiss Tobirama was pulling him into.

“You do need to get up.” Indra said reluctantly after several more lingering, soft kisses.

Tobirama sighed, fingers tightening on Indra’s shoulder, but nodded. Indra kissed his cheek and sat up with a languid stretch, and Tobirama hummed, fingertips dancing over his belly and making him twitch. He turned to look and saw his lover grin as he sat up.

Tobirama dropped a kiss on Indra’s shoulder, then one to his soulmark before sliding out of bed around him with a caress across his back.

Chapter Text

“Indra.” A thump at the doorframe made Indra scowl, and he raised his head with narrowed eyes. “Come on, time to get out of this . . . cave for a while. Fresh air will be good for you, and you’ve got a spar lined up-”

“Madara!” Indra snapped, scowling at his brother. “I am busy, as I told you a dozen times! I am not sparring, I’m fine, I don’t need to go outside, and I don’t need you to try and badger me! I’m not Izuna.” he sniped.

Madara scowled right back, leaning in the doorway, arms crossed. “Are you done?”

“Are you leaving?” Indra countered, already looking away.

“If you get your shit together and get out there, you have a spar with Tobirama to get to.” Madara said, and Indra froze. “Of course, I can understand if you’re too fucking busy to pull your head out of your-”

“Tobirama?” Indra repeated breathlessly, shocked, as he looked up at his brother.

Madara was still frowning, but met his gaze with an arched brow. “He was bemoaning the lack of sparring partners that could match him.”

Indra whimpered, realising absently he’d risen from his desk.

“I happened to mention that you are a match for me,” Madara said, both brows rising, “he said something about how you might even pose something of a challenge, then. I didn’t even punch him for it, so I think I deserve a thank-”

Thank you!” Indra said, grabbing his brother by the shoulders and hugging him tight, Madara’s crossed arms digging into his chest. “I- That’s- Where?” he asked in a muddle.

Madara’s lips quirked at one corner. “Go change and then I’ll tell you. He’ll still be there, and you shouldn’t spar in that.”

Indra made a little strangled sound and ran down the hall to his bedroom.

“You’re welcome, Indra-nii.” Madara said, his warm laugh carrying after Indra as he darted away.

Chapter Text

“Oh, come here.” Tobirama said, pushing away from his desk and pausing to roll his neck - it popped quietly - before he extended his hands to Indra.

Indra went still, looking at him. Tobirama raised an eyebrow and beckoned. “What is it?” Indra asked slowly.

Tobirama sighed, lips quirking. “Come here.” he coaxed. “You’ve been just watching me, and-” . . .and he’d been smiling and sighing alternately, taking little breaths as though he was about to speak only to stop, and his fingers twitching around his calligraphy brush, pausing as he stopped to move between pieces of work. “Please?”

Indra wavered, then quickly and neatly cleaned his brush, set it aside, and rose, moving towards Tobirama. He tilted his head back and smiled, reaching up. Indra clasped his hands, thumbs rubbing over Tobirama’s fingers. “Yes, love?” he said, raising his eyebrows.

Tobirama shook his head slightly and tugged until Indra bent and kissed him, sweet and shallow. “Maybe it’s time for a break, mm?” he asked, squeezing Indra’s hands, then releasing one to slide up his arm and over his shoulder to the nape of his neck, drawing him in closer.

Indra’s breath caught, and then he let it out in a soft sigh, sinking down to sit across Tobirama’s lap, his eyes going heavy-lidded. “Breaks . . . are good.” he said, a slight smile playing about his lips.

“Breaks are important.” Tobirama said seriously, lips twitching. Indra laughed softly and leaned in, his chest warm against Tobirama’s, and kissed him again, free arm winding around his shoulders.

Tobirama purred and returned the kiss, lingering and slowly - playfully - deepening it this time. He suspected Indra had missed him while he was on his three week mission . . . and if truth be told, he had very much missed his needy Uchiha himself. He had been less than pleased to be drawn immediately back to work by his brother’s distressed pleading, with no time to rest after his mission . . . or to spend with his lover.

Indra nipped gently at his mouth and then purred, wriggling in his lap. Tobirama wrapped an arm snugly around his waist, holding him tightly and drawing him into another soft kiss.

Chapter Text

“Just ask.”

Indra looked at his brother, horrified. “Madara! I can’t- What if he’s not ready? What if he doesn’t want-” His heart twinged sharply and he gasped for breath.

It took him a moment to gather himself from the stinging shock. When he had, he realised that his brother was giving him a pitying, amused look. “Calm down. You can’t possibly think that man is not smitten with you.” Madara said, shaking his head.

Indra squirmed, taking a breath, then letting it out without speaking.

“If he isn’t ready, let him know you’re not pushing,” Madara said gently, resting a hand on Indra’s shoulder, “if he doesn’t want to get married at all . . . well,” he said as Indra’s heart throbbed painfully, “ascertain why, and . . . decide if that’s all right for you, if he’ll stay by you regardless. I can’t imagine he won’t.” Madara added.

Indra sank into a heap, fretting, and Madara sighed and hugged him, petting his back comfortingly even while nudging him again to go find Tobirama, to speak to him, to-

Indra shivered. He wanted, he wanted so much, but if Tobirama were to tell him no. . .

“You’ll have to someday, Indra-nii,” Madara pointed out quietly, “and you already want to now. Do you really think you’ll be able to let it go?”

Indra groaned and sank more heavily against his brother, but nodded acknowledgement.