The burning chakra on his left flared like a warning torch, muffled and barely there before subsiding immediately back into the well-faked nothingness that had tricked Tobirama out of noticing it before he was well within striking range. He froze on the branch he’d been landing on to continue his run towards home, gaze snapping to the figure stepping out of the shadows of the forest floor. Uchiha Madara was not wearing armour, but his gunbai hung heavy at his back as he walked forward and into a small space between the trees. His shadowed black eyes never left Tobirama.
He considered making a break for it for all of a second, but knew even as the thought crossed his mind that there was no way he'd make it out. The mission had dragged on seemingly forever as he'd been chased by relentless patrols all the way through the desert, relying on his hiraishin to pull himself ahead again and again until he felt chakra exhaustion encroaching. They'd only stopped giving chase once he neared the edge of forest near the Senju lands, where he had managed to force a water dragon out of what had felt like the last remains of his chakra and taken some half of them out at once, before launching himself into a final hiraishin and disappearing in the edge of the familiar woods. After another few hours of keeping a steady pace, and calculating four hours of sleep as sufficient to bring him home in two days, this sudden interruption shocked his exhausted mind into blankness.
He could scarcely afford that kind of delay though, so Tobirama pulled all his wits around him and forced himself to focus on trying to sense out any other Uchiha that may be hiding in the trees. None could be felt, and Madara was uniquely able to sense others’ chakra and conceal his own, so it seemed the Uchiha patriarch was alone today. Tobirama jumped down from his tree to face the silent figure, there was no point in running and the height gave him no advantage - not that any advantage would have helped him stand a chance against Madara, and especially not in his current state. He braced himself and considered the other man while waiting for him to make his opening. This was quite obviously the intent here, as the Uchiha could have taken him out without ever making his presence known if this were a chance encounter.
Madara contemplated him for long seconds after Tobirama came down to face him, the silence stretching tense between the two men as they took each other in. Tobirama tried to read the shape of his expressive mouth, turned in an ever-present scowl, and the clench of his fists at his side. Madara´s mouth twisted into a rictus of annoyance before he finally opened it to say, “I presume you were off scouting your southern borders, prodding into whatever the desert dwellers are up to down there” in a tone of distaste. It made no sense, the Uchiha had little stakes in the Senju´s borders with the desert folk and the information Tobirama had collected could serve for little more than the modest benefit of having some awareness of the Senju´s border troubles. Not nearly valuable enough to have Madara intercept him in person - barely valuable enough to risk even a scout team.
The strange opening threw him, and he froze again trying to analyse what Madara could possibly be after. It irked him to realize he seemed to have subconsciously decided that this was not a plain assassination, that Hashirama's much-cried-over childhood friend would not simply decide to scope out an opportunity to take out one of the Senju’s most valuable assets and give himself a clear advantage in the next clan faceoff. It must have been his brother’s influence getting to him without him noticing, the constant talk of Madara’s fairness and heart and the fact that not once, in the field of battle, had Madara aimed for Tobirama. Their blades had never clashed, as Madara always went straight for Hashirama and left Tobirama to face his own younger brother - a balance struck on every battlefield they met on. If this balance were to be thrown out, if he were to die here right now, then he was painfully aware that Touka would have to face Izuna in his stead, and unbalance their battlefront, and the Senju would be down a field commander…
He carefully pulled back from thoughts of how his brother and cousin would fare after his death, how Hashirama had always watched over him during battles and awaited his return from missions with anxiety wavering in the usually so steady flow of his chakra, how Touka grasped him by the shoulders when she saw him safely home, as though to make sure he was really there and not just a vision. Thinking of their pain would just distract him now, and there might still be choices to make. There had to be a reason he was still alive to have this talk at all. If Madara thought he could be tortured for information, or taken prisoner to sell against some ridiculous concession from the Senju, then he may need to use the dregs of his chakra and ensure a clean death for himself at the least.
“I hadn't realized you were interested in our southern dealings. Is this a social call then? Were you waiting long for me, Uchiha?” Tobirama decided to ask instead of responding, hoping to stir the other´s famous temper and get him to give himself away, or at least gain some time to scout a potential loophole. He was not so optimistic as to hope he might escape from Uchiha Madara, not in the state he was in now, which the other had to have known. He could not posture past his exhaustion, and hadn't had time to clean out the diverse wounds and scratches he’d accumulated along the last three days. It must be obvious his chakra reserves were depleted and he could not rely on his usual speed. He didn't even try to run or pull a kunai yet, and for the shinobi across from him that must be evidence enough he knew it was over.
Madara seemed to brace himself with the question, taking a breath and looking to the ground before his eyes returned to Tobirama with their unerring focus. “Not long enough to talk myself out of this, obviously” he spat out, his voice still harsh but not accusatory. It was odd to see him hesitate, the Uchiha clan head was always a decisive figure cutting a straight line through the battlefield. Now he seemed to have to force himself to speak, and it brought Tobirama no comfort to know Madara was not pleased with what he was about to do. The other continued, “I came to bring you into the Uchiha clan”, and tipped his chin up as if awaiting Tobirama´s reply. He tensed, there it was, a forward declaration, but the wording seemed odd and Madara was not the kind of man who would go for imprecision. “You want a prisoner of war, or just a body to offer my clan in return for concessions?” he decided to ask, trying again to incense that famous temper and see if he could goad Madara into revealing his plan before he could get close enough to Tobirama to set it into motion regardless.
With a deep breath, Madara answered “Neither one of those. I´m here to call a Hunt, after which I intend to bring you back into my clan as my lawful husband”. His voice was almost soft, deep and slow, as though he didn't mean the words to freeze Tobirama to the spot like a struck winter rabbit. He must have flinched badly, must have acted out somehow but he had no idea what he did because it took him a moment to process that one. A hunt had not been called by any of the Senju this or the previous generation, and while he knew other clans did it, the Uchiha were among the rarest to engage. They had their bloodline to preserve. His brain would not stop running through the word, hunt hunt hunt . A Hunt, and he had no strength to run, nowhere to run to. Madara was talking again all of a sudden, “You know as well as I do that the Yamanaka have decided to cut us off from the Small East Sea and what that will mean for our supplies this winter. Your clan must have been speculating on what that might bring you in future fights, and though it won't kill the Uchiha, it will cost us more lives than I am willing to spend. This is my answer.”
He spoke as though that might make sense of the ridiculous notion, but somehow the politics of it brought Tobirama back into the moment, into something he could actually think about clearly. “You plan to use this to force the Senju to back away for the winter,” he brought out through numb lips. “Your brother will never raise his forces against a clan with you in its ranks,” Madara countered, still in the odd, restrained and low tone of voice. “Nor will he allow for an assassin to take you out once you’re in the Uchiha. I plan to use the Hunt as a basis for a peace agreement,” he continued, as though he was not proposing the most outrageous measure to top Hashirama’s many plans for peace.
“Do you think I'm a fool!” Tobirama spat out, finally finding his voice behind the shock, “your clan will never enter into peace talks from a weak position, not with a hostage on their hands to survive this winter.” This, somehow, was what managed to rile Madara up and he yelled back, “You clearly are a fool if you believe my husband, won on a Hunt called under the moon and trees, would be named a hostage in my own clan’s walls!” and his voice was not calm at all anymore, loud and bellowing like the forge in his lungs. The woods grew quiet about them and the air seemed heavy as the word husband hung between them like a noose. It was ridiculous, it was a trap and it should have been easy to spit in Madara's face, but… It was Hashirama's face that flashed before his eyes then, and the word peace rang in his mind in Madara's voice overlapping with that of his brother. Hashirama’s endless hope, his saddened eyes when he faced another battle, buried another clansman and reached out again and again towards Madara’s fiery presence only to be rebuffed by the Uchiha, never losing his dream of peace.
Tobirama took a breath, trying to shake off the tension, clear his head. He was not going anywhere, this much he knew, nothing had changed to make him better able to face Madara in the field. Husband, he thought again, a cold feeling crawling up his spine and tensing the tired muscles in his back even further. But he did not think Madara was lying,the man had no reason to pretend when he could have easily overpowered his target by now, taken whatever he wanted to have. And if there was really a possibility, here and now, to reach out a hand for his brother’s dream, who was Tobirama to pull away from it? He took another breath and forced his rational planning brain into the forefront. He could work with this, somehow, and he would turn it in his brother’s favour. This was what his duty told him and it was what he would do, regardless of his own feelings, as he had always done. Before all else, Tobirama was a weapon molded to fit in the hands of his clan head.
The most rushed marriage talks in history.
Thank you all for the kind feedback and kudos on the first chapter! This is such a nice and welcoming community, I am humbled.
I tried to work a little half-assed mythology in there, please don't look too closely as it's more or less a premise to justify future smut. Hope you enjoy!
“Peace will be offered immediately. No preludes, and as you surmised, threats will not be necessary. Enforce the ceasefire as soon as the Senju acknowledge the marriage, and be ready to send a proposal for clauses from your side directly once it’s drafted.” The demands lined up like shuriken on wire, he barely had to think about the terms as old clan documents on arranged marriage alliances flew through his mind. These he had studied closely, looking into Hashirama’s own union with Uzumaki Mito, and now he adjusted them to this very different situation, careful to remain neutral as he measured his value to the Senju against peace with Uchiha and any contest to the arrangement against his brother´s power in the clan.
Heir presumptive, pending the birth of Hashirama’s children, married off to a clan head was a union that would bind the clans nigh unbreakably, even as a Hunt dedicated to the Gods would make Hashirama and Madara kin. This would be enough to decide his clansmen. Any voices of dissent the elders raised could then be squashed under Hashirama’s determination. It would be easiest to do this fast. “Delays at the start of negotiations will stretch out forever, block us into mere ceasefire with no progress to peace. Let the momentum carry the agreements and ensure peace is made inevitable in the long term, even if all conditions are not yet agreed.” It came out in a flat, unwavering tone that surprised him, heart hammering in his chest and cold sweat on his back forgotten in the wave of planning.
Madara stood frozen with his mouth open and eyes wide (what Tobirama could see of them without fully making eye contact with the terrifying dojutsu, of course) and barely regained himself enough to ask, seemingly bewildered, “Are you… agreeing to this?” It had never crossed his mind, Tobirama realized, that he might not be summarily rejected. Why had Madara bothered to signal his presence at all, if he'd intended to hunt Tobirama down and take him back by force from the start? Some attempt at mercy, perhaps, in giving him warning. He would think this through more closely later, but now he had to get what he could for concessions out of the Uchiha before this happened. Nothing would bind Madara to following conditions he laid out now, but putting them forward was worth the chance that the Uchiha would think back to them when the time came. It was a small balm, he realized, to imagine he may still hold some sway in the politics of the arrangement even as he was being used as a lever to open the way for Madara’s talks.
“Do you leave me a choice, Uchiha-sama?” he could not help but bitterly ask, frustrated at his own helplessness, before rushing into his next point to keep the other from deciding in anger to just end the discussion at this stage. “As your hus…” he choked horrifyingly on the word, but forced himself to continue “there is no reason to keep a Hunted spouse as a prisoner warding against their clan of birth. The Senju are well-versed in marriage contracts set up for political reasons, and will regard this similarly if you present it in the correct light. Introduce it into the peace agreements, declare yourself my brother’s kinsman in front of the gods, and you will gain the Senju’s faith that you do not plan their destruction in the clauses you put forth”. Madara was regarding him with the same wary surprise, his eyes heavy and his tone now again reticent and low, but quick to enter into the offered negotiations. “Uchiha do not arrange marriages outside of the clan, and we have no precedent for this type of treatise. This will take some making, and may well bring the delays you wished to avoid.”
He was not saying no, and Tobirama focused on that fact with all his not inconsiderable willpower. “I will draft the treatise for you, it will not be a difficult task, considering the union will have already been in place by then, and its annulment will not be an option.” At Madara’s raising eyebrows and opening mouth he pushed on, “And no, I will not betray Uchiha for the clan of my birth by drafting them unfavourable conditions. I would give you my word on this, if you were likely to believe it. But I will swear on my brother who's been dreaming of this peace with you for years, that if you take me into your clan and sue for peace in good faith, I will give all that I am for it the same way I have done for the Senju.” This was not an easy oath to give, but he had never been one to shirk his duty and he would not start in this. His father´s stern face flashed before his eyes for just a second, quickly replaced by Hashirama’s soft warm eyes. For his honour, as he would be bound before the Gods just the same after his hunt, he would obey, but for his brother’s dream he would go beyond that, put all he was in service of this unimaginable peace. “I´ll be your soldier the same way I am now my brother’s, and fight for the Uchiha as I have for the Senju. Upon my honour and my life as a shinobi, I will never betray you, I will give you my faith, my counsel and my katana, all that I am and will ever become will belong to you. What I ask in return is you swear to me that you will not turn me against the clan of my birth.”
Madara stood frozen in front of him, wide terrible eyes fascinated as though he beheld some impossible thing, almost horrified by it in his surprise. He finally did answer, “I will swear never to ask you to turn your blade against the Senju,” with his voice now made soft by surprise. Tobirama was struck by an awareness of how politically-minded the Uchiha clan head was compared to his own elder brother, how he'd never seen the interference of some behind-the-scenes power in Madara´s decision-making, how very sly the man must be and specified, “Nor my mind, nor make use of me without my knowledge to do so. I will be your weapon and your council, but give me this assurance that you will not turn me against my kin.” Madara regarded him with a thoughtful frown “Do you truly expect me to give you power in my clan, heed your council and send you among my shinobi, when you have been bred and raised to kill as many of us as you can?” with a curious tone.
Tobirama bristled “You intend to take me into your clan, according to your own declaration. Do you think to drag home a spouse you hunted and show him off in your compound like some war prize, all the while claiming the gods blessed the union to your clan and mine?” he spat out, eyes narrowing as he takes the other man in. “I am not asking for your trust or for power in your holdings, but a hunt will bind me into the Uchiha beyond what any man can take apart. It will put me in service of your clan, make your kin into mine, and now you balk at having me work beside them? It leaves me to wonder how you planned for this hunt, and the peace you wish to build upon it, Uchiha-sama.” It all burst out of him, more anger and desperation than rationally planned negotiations, and with more demands that he should have dared to put forward at this stage. Madara glared at him furiously but then seemed to take a moment and reconsider whatever outburst had been building, looking him in the face to say, “Our clan does not have any tradition of marrying outsiders. There will be many weary of having the demon Senju in the compound, never mind in the council. But you are right to say I cannot call on the law of the gods and treat my own husband like an untrusted guest in my home.” His shoulders lowered and he took another breath to say “Very well, Senju Tobirama. I agree to your requests, and take your oath to do my clan no harm.”
Tobirama felt frozen in time for a second. Had they truly agreed, here and now, to arrange the peace his brother had been talking about since their childhood? Had he truly agreed, inasmuch as he had the freedom to do so, to a marriage hunt with Uchiha Madara, and to go back to the Uchiha clan and take them as his own? It seemed impossible, for the world to have shifted this much out of axis over such a short span of time, and yet here he was, and there Madara stood. Having accepted Tobirama’s terms, no less, and without ever trying to put him in his place despite having such obvious advantage on his side.
The fact that Madara seemed to be open to discussing the terms of their … their joint future was a surprise only surpassed by how quickly the Uchiha seemed to be ready to lend him an ear. It was disconcerting, but more so he hated how the only leverage he had to ensure the concessions he’d just been granted were actually delivered was calling on Madara’s honour later. The powerlessness he would face in a new clan, out from under the protection of his brother’s leadership, where Tobirama’s voice was heard as a matter of fact, was an intimidating thought to contemplate.
This was not the time to let his focus slip towards worries for the future, not with Madara right there in front of him now, much less likely to go for his throat but still a palpable danger, all banked chakra and roiling intent. Suddenly, as it became clear the political talk was settled as much as it would be tonight, it was a struggle to keep his mind from slipping into the panicked cycle of hunt hunt hunt again. But he had been raised to serve his clan head and do his duty with no hesitation, and he would do the same thing here. He turned his head to look Madara nearly in the eyes and got straight to the point, not willing to prolong this any more and aware that the full moon was nearing the horizon as the night reached its end, “Do you know the words? I have never taken the time to learn them” meaning of course the tradition had been used so little of late that it had seemed fully obsolete, and so he had not bothered to break into the forbidden scrolls and gain this particular knowledge.
Madara looked at him consideringly “You don't need to know the words, it's enough if I speak them at the start.” he explained, and went on to shock Tobirama out of his own thoughts. “Do you have a specific scenario in mind, for how this night should go?” Tobirama blinked once and blurted out, sarcastic in his surprise, “Well I was thinking I'd run through the woods.” Madara glared at him, dropping his odd quiet voice again to ask with an exasperated tone, “What do you specifically not want to have happen during sex, Senju?” and took a step to the side, pacing a bit and breaking the unnatural stillness they had kept all through their previous exchange.
“I’m not expecting you to give me all your weaknesses, but tell me what I should not do once the hunt is accomplished, so you don’t come into my house with more resentment built up than your sour face already carries,” he went on, pacing away, and Tobirama was ridiculously grateful he stayed on his side of the small space between the trees they had staked out and did not walk in his own direction. The distance was a minor comfort, but as his brain worked over the odd question he was glad not to have to deal with physical encroachment on top.
What he did not want? Surely Madara realized there was nothing about the ritual he had planned or wished for, since he had to be cornered exhausted in the woods with no hope of escape to be coerced into it, so the question was not about that. It was another show of mercy, he realised, like the warning and the previous honesty had been. Madara was planning to be upfront about this and it was oddly comforting, the uncertainty would have been hard to bear otherwise. It was also promising to hear the other man might be invested in Tobirama’s comfort to a point where he would be willing to give more, unasked for concessions in a field where Tobirama himself would never had thought to request them.
What he might not want during sex was a topic that he’d never contemplated before now, but here they were, and so he thought it through. He´d be vulnerable, that much he knew, even more exhausted after being chased down through the woods, and Madara would push him into the ground with hands that spelled death and look at him with eyes that spelled death… But the real terror of it lay in the thought that he’d have to accept it, and perform to his demands, and that it would be his due to lay down for this man whenever he wanted for as long as they lived. His throat knotted and he couldn’t swallow, and for the second time that night Butsuma´s face flashed before his eyes, berating him from many years ago, telling him that he was worthless if he failed, a useless tool was worthless and he was nothing more than a blade in the hands of his clan head. One did not care for the comfort of a blade, only for its edge, and if it broke than it was to be thrown down and replaced.
The words had been cruel, this much he knew from the way Hashirama had bristled against their father and carefully never raised his voice to Tobirama even when they fought. They had also been unnecessary - Tobirama knew his place in this world, as a shinobi and a second son, and would never put his own temporary comfort above success. It was with these memories in mind that he took a shallow breath, and “I don't want to be spoken to disparagingly, or struck in the face when I am laying down,” came out of his mouth without permission. He flinched when he heard himself. What a foolish thing to request from a man like Uchiha Madara, who had raged and breathed fire over the Senju all his life.
His eyes were fixed on the ground and for a second he feared Madara would laugh, or perhaps mock him for a soft, pampered coward. This was not a worry he would normally have when too outspoken, not since his father had passed, not since he’d gained the power to rebuke anyone who would speak such words to him with word or action. And now he’d agreed to renounce this hard-gained standing again, and hand it over to Madara of all people. But he would not falter in his decision and he would not back down, some humiliation was a small price for the peace that would follow if the clan heads of Uchiha and Senju became kinsmen in front of the gods and the shinobi world.
Madara did not rebuke him for the foolish request though, was only quiet for a long second, pace halted, and finally answered, “Understood,” in a strange tone, before going on to say, “I meant which acts you dislike in bed, from a partner”. And Tobirama had to appreciate the quick and easy agreement, the lack of comment, so he responded sincerely, “I have never shared my bed, so I cannot answer that.” He suddenly tried to imagine adding `lord husband` to the end of that sentence and had to cut the thought short. Madara’s voice was high and loud again when he said “What?" and, when Tobirama refused to answer or look at him again, toned down and spoke in a tightly controlled voice, "You've never… alright, fine. You never found anyone to your liking. I see." he muttered, grouchy as a child before speaking up once more. "Do you dislike the idea of sex? Or sex with men?"
Tobirama answered that one honestly again, as he was not skilled enough to use any such information to manipulate a partner, and also in the knowledge that soon, attempting such would make him a traitor and faithless before the gods. "No such reason. I simply never wished to build a bond I would be unable to follow through on, as my brother's heir." It was true, he had always known Hashirama's politics would bring him into an arranged marriage to solidify some peace treaty or another. Tobirama had been unwilling to go into any relationship with half a heart, or to risk someone else's by committing them to himself. Now it seemed he had been right to make the choice, though in the least expected of ways. Madara was silent for a second, then nodded in acknowledgement and said, "Well, this might mean you will have to speak up in the middle of things if you are not doing well", before shooting Tobirama a suspicious look from under his brows and hair.
"Are you fine to start it now?" he asked, and the warning was appreciated though Tobirama had nothing to do to prepare himself for this. He would not balk at his duty as he never had, could not imagine ever stopping the claiming after a hunt to inform the victorious hunter that he was experiencing some discomfort. He was a shinobi first and foremost, his body was a weapon and so, in this case, was his heart. He looked the other shinobi in the face again and said his "Yes". Madara turned towards the full moon in the West with no further delay and started on an invocation of the spirits and the divine, asking them to witness the hunt he would lead to gain a new member for his clan, a consort for himself. The forest rustled about them as the wind picked up and the gods descended.
The Hunt: run, get caught
I broke the smut up into two parts, so this and the next chapter are gonna be almost all explicit sex - fair warning.
Madara turned to him when it was done, spoken and received, and Tobirama took one look at his darkened face, his savage eyes, before turning around and breaking into a run. There was no burst of speed, he had only one hiraishin kunai left and he was holding onto it for now, no point giving himself a boost forward when Madara was well-rested and a sensor more than capable of tracking the flash on chakra hiraishin demanded he flare. There was no chance of him escaping of course, but he would still put up a decent challenge despite the bone-deep exhaustion he felt. He had to make this hunt indisputable and true to the spirits. He chose to lay low, suppressing what was left of his energy and listening carefully for any footsteps behind him, any rustle of leaves incongruent with the rhythm of the wind.
He heard it to the right and took a quick, silent jump aside as hands went to grab for his arm, throwing his last kunai with unerring precision at the farthest spot he could aim for in a straight line. Flinching out of the trees in a hiraishin, he made his escape from the new vantage point by weaving between trunks as quietly as his feet could take him until he should have been out of sight before slipping back up. The feel of the woods under his hands and the soles of his sandals guided him more than his eyes did in the weak light of the moon, the smell of bark and dirt and leaves, squirrels and birds and bigger prey filling his senses. The whole forest seemed to hold its breath as he ran, and he lost track of time with the thrum of his heart and the soft impact of his feet on wood and dirt. He ran with no target in mind, aiming to keep away and stay hidden above all else.
It must have been less than an hour later when he felt the spark of chakra nearby and hands reached for him again, grabbing for his shoulder and again he evaded, but this time the other man stepped with him and lounged into another attack immediately, as though following the smooth steps of a kata they had never exercised. The move let fingertips skim his sleeve as hands grabbed for his upper arm and he ducked, rolled, slipped out of the way. Kunai flew at him and he caught sight of ninja wire glinting in the dull light of encroaching dawn, jumped over it deftly and landed on another tree, making a grab for his katana.
He was intercepted, and had to engage in hand to hand to avoid capture. Knuckles, wrists and forearms slammed together in rapid-fire hits as one attempted to grab and the other to evade, and they fell out of the tree to seamlessly continue on the soft leafy ground. His arm was grabbed by a strong hand he knew immediately he´d be unable to dislodge, and so he tripped himself to pull the other down and, as they neared the ground, twisted his wrist until he was free and launched into a shunshin that carried him to his hunter´s other side and let him jump up to another tree. He'd started climbing and readied for another chase when a gunbai uchiwa the size of his torso embedded itself into a tree to his left, then the kama flew over his head and twisted to bring the connecting chain backwards, wrapping around his abdomen and blocking his escape.
It was quickly replaced by an arm like steel around him and a body slamming into his back, pushing him forward, forcing him to his knees while pressing him down with a hand grabbing the back of his neck to hold his head immobile, a straightforward threat. The arm around his waist seemed to tighten, the palm spread out over his front, holding him immobilized to the point he felt it through his armour. The initial panic response any shinobi had at being captured rushed through him like a wave, and he tamped it down to focus on his current situation. Hair trailed over his shoulder. A hot breath fell on his ear before he heard and felt words spoken into it, “You´re mine. I caught you.” It froze him to the spot like nothing ever had so far, and his impulse to free himself from the hold and escape dissipated as he sat there in shock, lowering his arms. The voice again, rough and low and breathing moist on the side of his face, “Say it, say you're mine,” and he had to, there was no choice here but to obey, he knew that well. “I´m yours,” his voice came out in a gasp before he even realized he was speaking, and the groan that sounded in his ears at that traveled down his spine and pooled like molten metal in his belly. He had been caught, and it was over.
Tobirama´s breath hitched when he felt hands sliding under his armour and around the seams, finding the strings and latches that held it together and starting to work them open with not a sign of hesitation. Madara was moving quickly and decisively, no trace of the earlier reticence left to him now. It was as though the chase had taken it all out of him, all the words and silences gone now as he was staking his claim. Tobirama had to pull himself forcefully into the moment, tempted to drift away now that he had been caught and the whole situation was out of his hands. But this was not torture under an enemy’s hand, this was his duty now and he was determined to meet it and do his part. Tobirama took a steadying breath as he felt Madara’s hot exhales on his neck, brushing through the ruff of white fur he wore there. He reached up to help undo and remove his armour.
Despite his resolution,Tobirama felt nerves flood him as pieces of his blue armour came off one by one, and the hands grasping at him started pressing into his flesh through his thin clothing. As his back piece fell to the ground the body behind him shifted and he felt, for a long moment, horribly exposed with a hand now fanned over his abdomen and his defenseless back to Uchiha Madara. His eyes were trained on the forest floor as all his senses focused on the other man’s movements, like a rabbit with a fox that had hunted it down. He must have flinched or pulled away subconsciously because Madara stopped moving altogether, then seemed to decide to turn him around and push him down on his back on the moss and leaves.
Kneeling above him, with his hands on either side of Tobirama’s head and hair falling around them, he looked like a great black oni, inescapable and terrifying. Tobirama braced himself and focused on keeping calm but it sent ice down his spine to be this vulnerable, this exposed before anyone, nevermind someone who could so easily overpower him. Madara seemed to sense this, or guess at what it must be like for a shinobi to be put in such a position, because he started telegraphing his motions as he raised a hand to brush through Tobirama’s hair, touch his cheek. The glove was smooth and warm and dry against his skin, and he focused on the tells of his body, tried to relax, hands fisting into the foliage around him and breaths coming in smooth pulls. This close, Madara's chakra felt like a banked fire that surrounded them both, not burning but threatening and filling his mind with flames. It would be impossible to truly relax, he knew, but he could accept this and not make a spectacle of himself.
The dark head above him came down, and then Madara was leaning over to brush his mouth to Tobirama’s cheek , open lips brushing soft on his skin and hot breaths engulfing his face. Hair and face filled his vision briefly and the hand on his cheek moved to his throat, feeling his racing pulse, then to his hair again. It was happening, the claim after a hunt, and all mentions made of it in casual conversation between shinobi had done nothing to prepare him for being in this impossible position. All he could do was lay there and control his breathing.
Madara was patient though, and did not seem to expect much response, pressing kisses along the side of his jaw, tilting his head to kiss his lips hotly, and it took his breath away in a wholly unfamiliar way. Tobirama had kissed some people before, when he was young and questioning, when he was older and dissimulating himself on some mission, but all of that had been nothing like this. Here he was pushed into the forest floor with a body on top of him, a mouth moving on his own, feeling every move Madara made and it seemed to flow into him, this intimacy. He tried to accept it, this was his due now and it did not feel bad, it felt a lot but not bad, and then a tongue pushed past his lips and his lax jaw and slid along his own tongue.
He knew this, had known this but never with such heat behind it. He felt as though Madara's chakra had engulfed him in a dark red, painless fire that pushed into him, into his mouth, exploring him as though he were an offer made to temple, and he felt like it, too. He supposed it might even be true, when he finally managed to gather himself enough to form thoughts. He was the offering at the end of a Hunt, and he’d been well and hunted tonight, and now that daylight was encroaching on the quiet woods, Madara was going to lay claim on him. He refused to think prey, but his body had thought it before him, when he’d allowed himself to be pressed down onto his back, explored and tested because he’d already been conquered.
The thoughts served as distraction until Madara pulled back and looked down on him, down straight into his eyes with nightmare-black eyes so hot they were velvet in the shadows, and then leant down and bit Tobirama´s lower lip and rolled his entire body against his new husband’s. The motion struck true and both pulled in gasps, but Tobirama tried to reach out on reflex to the other man's shoulders to get a hold of him and gain some control over the movements. And Madara, just as reflexively, grabbed his wrists and pushed them into the ground above his head and leant his whole weight there, before bending to take another bite of the man beneath him.
Tobirama stopped breathing as he found himself immobilised in an even more exposed position, his mouth that had been open and softened from kisses snapping shut and his body tensing like a bow. Reflexively he pulled on his wrists, caught in a helpless panic so unlike his usual calm and collected demeanour that it made Madara stop in turn. He couldn't even think to feel shame at this loss of self-control, could do nothing but stare like a trapped animal at the man above him who had laid him out as though to devour him whole.
There was a moment where they just lay there, pressed against each other and hyperconscious of every move and every shallow breath. It only lasted two breaths before Madara pulled back as though burned by his own actions of seconds before. Letting go of Tobirama’s wrists he put his hands down near the prone man’s sides instead, using them to lift his chest higher off the ground and remove his weight from the other man's body. His legs remained entangled with Tobirama’s where they’d first tumbled together as Madara had pushed him onto his back, one knee between his, but the thigh was no longer pressing high up between splayed legs and Madara had pulled his own hips back and to the side.
In the silence of the forest, Madara’s rough and agitated voice felt louder than it was as he pulled himself together enough to say, “Sorry, sorry! Goddamnit” and turn his face as if to look away from Tobirama. Who was lying there on the ground beneath him, mouth reddened and arms slowly drawing downwards from above his head. He focused on his breathing, bringing his heartbeat down with the short relief he was being granted. Such an odd thing to hear from the usually so eloquent Uchiha patriarch, who seemed to speak in either elaborate metaphor and passion or screams and wroth whenever Tobirama had a chance to listen to him. Now he was all downcast eyes with what must have been guilt, impossible to hide in such close range.
They were still so close together it felt unreal, warmth radiating through their clothing where they pressed together even now. Madara continued as though Tobirama were not spiralling into an odd sense of the surreal, “Shouldn't have held you down like that - I apologize, I won't do it again.” They were both breathing harshly but Madara’s gaze was back on his face, never taking his eyes off as Tobirama talked himself out of his odd disconnect. It must have been the hunt, the adrenaline and exhaustion getting to him, and the intensity of everything. He had faced worse things than this before, he told himself, and from crueler foes. Madara had been keeping his word and seemed intent to keep it going forward, no disparaging remarks had crossed his lips, and he was oddly careful, considerate for the situation, though he had nothing to gain from this behaviour.
Tobirama did not mean to be grateful, had hoped, in asfar as he’d considered the claiming at all, that it would pass quickly and not injure him too badly. Now the relief he felt at not being held down, immobilised with hands above his head and torso open, and fucked into the forest floor like that was blinding. “Thank you,” he forced himself to say, unwilling to dismiss this show of kindness when it came unasked for and brought him so much peace of mind. He brought his arms all the way down again, careful to move in a non threatening way, never getting too close to the other shinobi as he stretched them out alongside himself. The relief of having his ribs covered was irrational but undeniable, and the position was inviting enough to appease the claim. Tobirama could not bring himself to speak out, but he could show his readiness as he held his unguarded wrists up and out, relaxing his shoulders and letting his eyes fall halfway closed.
Madara took the cue, but kept his movements slow and deliberate, telegraphing his intention once more as he leaned to Tobirama’s face for more kisses, spread out like sparks from a bonfire across his cheeks and lips. A hand went into his hair again, caressing, pushing his head to the side. Madara put his face into the side of his neck and sucked, then licked and kissed and sucked again. It still felt maddening, his body going haywire, unused to experiencing so many new sensations at once, Madara’s endless black hair tickling his skin from all sides, but it was soft and warm with their body heat. He felt Madara’s hand, the hand that had held him down before, run up his side and it took a bit of effort not to flinch. This would be such an easy killing move but he allowed it, didn't fight, tensed just a little bit.
The hand did a few passes up and down his ribs, then slipped under the hem of his shirt and slid on up, pushing it along. It felt like a brand on his skin, Madara’s bare palm. He must have removed the glove at some point because Tobirama could feel calluses and rough skin and the broad, warm hand with thick long fingers felt like it burned his skin off him with every stroke, leaving hot trails behind. He felt like he was being rubbed raw, the hand gliding up underneath his clothes and across all the open parts of him, and when a thumb passed over his nipple he jumped and nearly screamed at the feeling, overwhelmed by it all. Madara shushed him and kissed him very carefully, tongue slipping in deep to explore his mouth, already confident in his ownership.
Tobirama had barely managed to force his shoulders down again and remind himself not to try for reflexive self-defence, clenching his fists in the grass under him, when the hand slid down again and went over his hip bone, the flexing muscles in his belly, to push into his pants and between his legs so fast his knees came up on reflex. Madara simply moved to accommodate them and let his hand knead a few times at Tobirama’s cock over his fundoshi. Then his fingers went lower and it was maddening, being touched so intimately. He had to force his own knees not to slam together and just accept this. More than anything Tobirama wanted to squeeze his eyes shut when Madara leant back to look him in the face again even as he was undoing the fundoshi with deft movements, but it was impossible. A lifetime of carefully honed awareness and paranoia would not let him make himself so vulnerable to an enemy such as the Uchiha.
His eyes moved over Madara's body instead, skipping from his face to his coiled chest, to his right shoulder working to move his thick arm between Tobirama´s thighs before pulling out his underwear to drop it on the ground beside their hips. He couldn't look at it, went back to Madara´s hand as it reached for a pouch suspended on the man´s belt, pulled out a container and dipped his fingers in the thick grey ointment inside it. The hand went back down and slid in his pants again and Madara leant down over him, left arm bent to take the other shinobi´s weight as he pressed his nose to Tobirama´s neck and his palm, then his inner wrist brushed shamelessly against Tobirama´s cock and his fingers -
His fingers, coated in ointment and warm as Madara seemed to be all over, brushed up against his balls, cradling them and lifting them before sliding behind to push into the crease of his ass. Madara leant towards his ear and growled “Raise your legs” right into it before taking the lobe between his teeth, sucking it, then pushing his thick wet tongue inside like a prelude of things to come. Tobirama struggled to control his breathing and do as he was told, though his knees were shaking as he pulled his feet in closer, bending his legs and keeping them apart even as his instinct was to press them together, push the other man off and get to safety.
It might have been easier to focus on keeping still, if not for the constant distraction of the hot body pressed against his and all the things Madara did , ceaselessly, with hands and mouth and words. Finally letting go of his ear (who would have known it was so sensitive), Madara slid down and pressed his hot mouth to Tobirama’s collarbone and his slick fingers onto his entrance, pushing almost but not quite inside, pressing the delicate flesh with the pads before rubbing slowly against it. Tobirama lost his struggle to control his breath and made a humiliating noise, almost like a sob, but couldn't even bring himself to care. This entire affair was humiliating in its nature and Madara was doing to him what he had won the right to do, what was expected of a husband, and would do as he pleased as often as he pleased from then on. There was only Madara himself to witness this utter vulnerability, and Madara had caught him, that gave him the right.
His eyes locked onto the brightening grey sky and his fingers raked the ground uselessly as he gasped for air, taking shallow breaths while his throat was kissed and bitten, lightning travelling up his spine from the fingers that now rubbed circles against his hole. His back arched as though truly electrified and Madara let go of his neck to move down below his bunched up shirt and press his face to Tobirama’s chest. “Relax,” he whispered in the same growly voice, pausing to mouth at the pale skin under his lips, “relax and let me have you.” As though he were not already caught and held and had at his husband’s pleasure. His cock throbbed when the soft skin of Madara’s inner wrist rubbed against it with the movements of his hand. He focused on relaxing his muscles, those in his thighs and backside and under the gentle press of Madara’s exploring fingers. It was not easy, they wanted to clench up from the constant attention, and Tobirama let his mouth fall open and gave up on controlling the noises he might make in favour of focusing and obeying the instruction.
“Good,” Madara praised him, “that's very good, let me in, you’re doing so well.” And it should have been humiliating and it was, but mostly because he was was so relieved to be able to meet the requirements of his husband, fulfill his part in this. One of the fingers teasing against him finally pulled back and then pushed, sliding inside and past another reflexive clench of muscles beyond his control. The feeling of the intrusion took his by surprise, shot up his body like an encompassing wave, and his ears were ringing too loudly to realize if he’d even made a sound. Madara let go of a mouthful of skin to press his face against Tobirama’s chest, hair tickling relentlessly, and groan as though he were the one getting breached and opened.
It was an odd, terribly intimate sensation, amplified by his constant focus on keeping the muscles relaxed around the finger, and Madara allowed him only a second to adjust before he began moving it back and forth, pulling at his rim with every move. Tobirama was sure he did make noise this time, and again once Madara responded by bringing his mouth to a nipple and licking and kissing it before pulling it inside to suck and bite. His back arched again and he might have lifted the other shinobi off the ground with the movement, and Madara took the hand from his hair to wrap around his waist, keeping him bent like that, chest taut and exposed.
He reached down on reflex to grab onto the other man’s shoulder and was not rebuked this time, so he continued holding on as the finger inside him moved side to side, his cock was pressed down onto his belly and his nipple worked thoroughly before being left, wet and swollen, in the cold air as Madara moved to bite sucking kisses into his skin all the way to the other side of his chest. It was so much, and then the finger pulled back and two were pushed back in and he’d expected this to hurt but the ointment was thick and Madara was very slow and careful in his touches, and it never did. He kept focusing on relaxing his body, allowing the intrusion and taking the kisses as his muscles spasmed with the stimulation.
Madara was relentless, never seemed to lose his pace as he moved his hand and curled his fingers, and it felt like Tobirama’s insides were being filled by the same painless fire that surrounded him with the Uchiha’s chakra. His rim felt stretched and pulled with every move, he certainly felt filled and fucked, and slowly the warmth inside him coagulated into a focused pleasure where Madara was pressing his fingertips on his inner walls. It was overwhelming, he felt as though he were falling all of a sudden and his body must have reacted in some noticeable way as Madara released his other nipple to lift his head and look at him again, burning holes into him with intense dark eyes.
“That’s it, lovely, you´re taking it so well,” he said, in a more controlled voice than before, and any other day Tobirama would have bristled at the name, taken it as an insult, but he found the particular position he was in made him more accepting. The other shinobi kept staring at him in that way only his clan had to their stares, which felt a lot like a large cat observing either a meal or a warm place to sleep. He went on to ask, “Do you feel good, Tobirama?” in a more intense tone, and bit on his nipple before kissing it gently, casually possessive. It was his right to be, though, and Tobirama made himself answer sincerely, “Yes, it does.. I do.” and let his head fall to the side as his husband took the cue to push a third finger inside him.
The Hunt 2: lay down, be consumed
Thank you so much for the lovely comments and many kudos! I hope you continue to enjoy this fic.
That felt too much, too full and he had to focus on breathing through it. Madara stilled his hand, kept sucking on his chest and scraping teeth along his skin, giving him a moment to adjust to the new sensation before carefully rolling his balls in the top of his palm, rocking the fingers inside him with the motion. It felt so full, but the intense stretching sensation receded as his body adapted and the muscles gave in. Madara started working his hand again, more carefully now and less like the back-and-forth motion he had used, more pulling and pushing the flesh, getting the muscles there to stretch and loosen and accept the intrusion. He leaned up to Tobirama’s face again and kissed him on the mouth, their breaths mingling, tongues sliding together with no further prompting.
When Madara pulled back he bit at Tobirama´s mouth again, as though unable to help himself, pushed to claim and own him in any way he could think of. Then he aligned their faces to better stare at Tobirama and say, “You’re ready now, and the easiest way to do this is if you’re on your knees. Will you be fine having your back to me?” And Tobirama could have laughed, because an hour ago he would have never willingly turned his back on this man but now, with Madara’s fingers inside him and having allowed him to map all the easiest places on his body to land a killing blow, that much seemed relatively harmless to permit. “It will not be a problem,” he assured the other in the steadiest voice he could muster. Tobirama even thought about turning to prove it, but it was impossible, he was well and trapped under Madara´s weight, with arms surrounding him and body arched as it was, no way to get leverage. He also could not imagine moving with Madara’s fingers still inside him like this, and as though reading it on him, the other man slowly pulled them out. It was an odd sensation and he clenched down several times unwillingly, but Madara said nothing.
Once the fingers were out, Madara used the hand he’d had under Tobirama´s back to pull him upright and Tobirama got his own hands underneath himself to move where he was bid. His muscles trembled and his insides felt molten, yet empty somehow. He didn't go far, Madara just lifted him onto his knees before immediately pushing him forward onto his palms again, as though his patience had run out once he'd lost access to Tobirama’s splayed out body. He barely caught sight of the other shinobi, streaked by what cold dawn light got through the trees, shifting around him and reaching out as though his hands felt empty without Tobirama´s flesh to fill them, and then Madara was behind him and pressing his legs apart as far as the pants pooled around his knees would allow.
A gloved hand smoothed up his bare back, pushing his shirt up to expose the length of his spine, then slid down to grab him by the hip. He barely had a chance to think of what an embarrassing sight he must make, kneeling with his bare ass in the air, as Madara worked his own clothes open behind him and groaned while he prepared himself in some way. It was disconcerting to not be able to keep an eye on his movements, but after everything that had gone on before he was distracted enough to convince his body that the killing blow that hadn't fallen so far would not drop now.
He felt Madara reach down again to press fingers to his entrance and tried to brace for it, but was immediately told, “Take a deep breath now” as pads stroked, as if testing the ointment and looseness of him, and retreated. “Keep breathing, and try to stay relaxed,” Madara continued to instruct, leaning forward until the robe he wore brushed against the backs of Tobirama’s naked thighs, and a blunt smooth warmth pushed against his hole. It stayed there just a second, not giving him much time to adjust at all before it started pushing slowly but implacably inside. He focused on relaxing, tried to force his muscles to accept the intrusion as a spike of pain went through his insides, and Madara slowed down after what felt like forever. Then he rocked back a bit, making Tobirama feel the full drag of that cock across his rim, before pushing back inside, slow and steady and unstoppable until his hips met the curve of Tobirama’s ass.
He rested there a moment, framing Tobirama’s hips with his hands as they just breathed together, and then pulled out and pushed back in again. In between gasping for desperate breaths and controlling the noises that seemed to have been slipping out of him near constantly since the penetration had started, Tobirama felt a flush of embarrassment as he realized the man behind him was watching this, tracking the sight of his cock disappearing into Tobirama’s body. Madara groaned again, a throaty sound full of the threat of more to come, and didn't say anything more as he started to fuck into him in earnest, long even strokes that made him shiver and want to pull off, or push back, anything to escape the constant pressure. His insides were hot and shivery, that spot that had felt so oddly hot with fingers pressed against it now seemed to send heat and pleasure all through his body, making his balls pull in tight and his wet nipples harden in the morning air.
His mouth filled with saliva and he had to swallow to avoid drooling like a dog when Madara began pulling him back by the hips in the same rhythm, impaling him on that cock. He was afraid he would not be able to take it, would fall on his face as the heat built up inside him. Again it felt like he was engulfed by fire, subsumed by it, it was all he could see and hear and feel as Madara's immense chakra slipped out of its leash and filled his senses. His heart felt like it was beating to the thrusts filling him and the hands forcing him into motion.
Then Madara leaned down over his back, took his slick ungloved hand off Tobirama’s hip and reached underneath him to grab at his cock and stroke it, long and firm and sudden, and Tobirama did scream. He lost his balance and gave in to the urge to curl up somewhat, dropping to his elbows in the dirt and moaning helplessly as he was worked over. Madara didn't slow down at all this time, instead bowing over his back to cover him and press kisses along his shoulder blades and spine. His thrusts grew shorter and faster from this new position. His hand matched his hips and Tobirama sobbed, keened a bit as the new angle seemed to make more of a difference than it rightfully should. His whole body was buzzing and he couldn’t even be ashamed when Madara started talking again.
“You sound good, lovely, taking it so well for me too,” he gasped out, never relenting in the movement of his hips, hand stroking mercilessly until Tobirama felt his balls tighten in a familiar tell. “Are you getting close, getting ready to come?” Madara asked, but didn’t wait for an answer, kept moving as he scraped his teeth over Tobirama’s left shoulder blade, lifting his other hand to tug at the kneeling man’s nipples and stroke along his side. The leather of his glove was soft and unfamiliar and only served to add to the barrage of sensation overwhelming Tobirama until he felt on the verge of madness. He let out a long groan and did come. Right there on the forest floor, Madara fucking into him with short, hard thrusts and leaning over his back to bite and suck at what skin he could get his mouth on, hand stroking Tobirama through the orgasm until he whimpered from overstimulation.
“Good, that was amazing love, you did so very good for me,” Madara gasped and let go of his cock to brace himself on the ground and take hold of his hip, and Tobirama hung his head and braced his knees. The thrusts gained in force and speed again. The world was still an overwhelming blur and his body was burning with the intensity of his orgasm, but his mind cleared slowly of the fog and he could focus on just taking the fuck. It was hard now, almost violent but still not painful, and Madara’s mouth was hot and wet and possessive, kissing along his spine. Finally, as the light of day fully illuminated their crouched forms, Madara groaned and gave a final, deep thrust, then held Tobirama in place by the hips, resting his forehead on the pale back and spilling himself inside.
They stayed like that a bit, both breathing hard and unmoving, before Tobirama felt Madara shift back slowly, pulling his cock free with an unflattering wet sound that made him blush, even after all they did. There must have been many sounds, he suddenly realized, that he had either managed to ignore or, more embarrassingly still, could not hear over the noise of his own panting breaths. There was no point in overthinking now, though, and he had to stay focused in the moment. Madara had him by the hips still, looking - and he immediately turned his mind from that one, unable to cope with considering what sight Madara would be seeing back there. He braced himself again and rose back to his palms, and Madara unexpectedly reached down to pull up his pants and moved to fasten them for him as Tobirama stood up fully.
This proved to be a bigger favour than he would have anticipated, as he found, with the endorphins leaving him, that his hands were shaking and his whole body was almost numb with fatigue. Madara shuffled behind him, straightening his own clothes before standing up to pick up the pieces of Tobirama’s armour discarded on the forest floor, bringing them over to start tying them back on to him. It was short work and they did it in silence, Madara not speaking and Tobirama unable to make himself start as he tenderly shifted to sit. He was so very tired, but he could not afford weakness, not now. Who knew what Madara planned to do next, and though he didn't think there was much he himself could do to stop the other shinobi’s plans, whatever they were, he felt he had to at least be aware enough to try. So he made himself focus, made himself snap out of the daze and the tiredness and focus on his.. on the man he was with.
Madara was looking around them for other dropped miscelanea and slipping something white into a pocket. Something Tobirama recognized with a horrified blush as his fundoshi. He looked to the floor immediately in embarrassment, and could not make himself lift his eyes as Madara seemed to flail a bit in turn, before finally saying, “I booked a room at the inn near here.” Tobirama felt as though he should have made a quip, said something about the assuredness with which Madara had entered into this situation, but. But he had been right to, and this had been perfectly planned from the start, and now he had what he had come here to claim.
Moreover, Tobirama was unsure of the new relation between them, and did not wish to test just now what Madara would be willing to accept from him in his changed circumstance. The man had never been obligated to accept anything from him except through the unspoken threat of Hashirama’s anger should someone lay hand to his younger brother. But now, when he had taken Tobirama into the Uchiha, Madara may well have quite different ideas of what kinds of behaviour he was willing to accept from him. And this was not the time nor place to test them. Tobirama stood up as gracefully as he could manage, which was not much under the current circumstances, and made a nod to show he was ready to follow. Mercifully, Madara seemed willing to walk towards the inn, and at a sedate pace no less. They did not speak.
Washing off the blood and dirt
I've tried to get into the mindset of shinobi living in a very hyerarchic military society, where basically one man holds power of life and death over everyone else in a clan and that's not really contested as a bad thing. This is my attempt to explore how they would manage to share intimacy despite that (and work around the aftereffects of the hunt).
Thank you very much for the kind comments and all of the kudos!
By the time they left the woods and the inn was finally in sight, the smell of its small hot springs had already reached them, and its promise of heat and relief almost made Tobirama’s knees buckle. Madara had made to reach for him, then retracted his hand as though reconsidering the touch. Only minutes later though, when he saw Tobirama stumble as a cramp went through his overtaxed muscles, he did reach out and put an arm around him, pulling one of Tobirama’s own arms over his shoulders and taking most of his weight.
Tobirama did not protest, did not know if he could or should, and in truth he was grateful not to be made to fall to the floor like some overworked child while he struggled to maintain even the civilian-level pace his… his husband had set. It would be humiliating, and might weaken his stance if he showed too much weakness at this stage. He couldn’t ignore the fact that they had set out only the basics of this arrangement before entering into the hunt proper. While the inn held promises of cleanliness and perhaps some rest and food, mostly it would be a neutral ground. He knew he had to explore the dynamics of this relationship and establish some sort of understanding with the man who would be his clan head, his life partner, before facing the Uchiha in his new role.
“I see you’re getting ready to start the talks again,” Madara informed him huffily, with a frown twisting his wide mouth almost comically downwards. “How about right now we have a bath and some breakfast, and you get some sleep?” he continued in an aggravated tone, “Then we can sit and talk without you looking ready to keel over any minute, and we can take the trip back to Uchiha tomorrow morning.” It was eminently reasonable, and insisting being introduced to his new clan while mentally and physically exhausted as he was at the moment would be far from wise. He wanted to be at his best, to face this challenge and negotiate his way to some sort of reasonable agreement. He couldn’t bear to stay back and let this union be used as leverage between Senju and Uchiha without being allowed any sort of input, so that was one thing to start working towards.
He ignored how little power now remained him, freshly claimed into the clan that was the enemy of his brother’s and with nothing brought with him for dowry. Madara wanted the peace, had arranged all of this to ensure he could get a foot in the door to the peace, and Hashirama’s dream still shone like a golden beacon in Tobirama’s mind, inconceivably within reach now. He would use what he could, be it obedience or shows of humility in front of Uchiha allies, or even, if he were lucky, his skills in the service of his new clan to show his value to his new husband and gain favour with which to trade for better relations. He would do whatever it took, as was becoming more and more clear to him the more options he discovered.
Tobirama made himself look his husband in those demon eyes (how many times had he done that unthinkingly, as they lay together on the forest floor?) and answer him. “Agreed,” he said “and I appreciate the thought you have put into this.” That stopped Madara short, he even faltered minimally in his step before continuing the walk. His eyes which had been fixed on Tobirama’s face with the familiar intense stare snapped to the front so violently his hair whipped around, a few black strands splaying over the white fur at Tobirama´s shoulders. He was blushing, Tobirama realised suddenly, and refusing to meet his eyes again.
“I knew the shape you'd be in the moment our scouts reported on your mission,” Madara said, glaring at the inn as they approached it. “It stood to reason you'd need a bath, and a chance to sleep it off before I drag you home to face the clan elders. I´ll have to fend Izuna off you, too, nevermind explaining to the rest of the clan,” he continued, and Tobirama fixed him with a disbelieving stare. “Did you hatch this plan alone?” he asked in what must have been a rudely direct tone; one his father would never had stood for, the thought crossed his mind momentarily.
“No,” Madara answered, in the same tone and seemingly uncaring about Tobirama’s rudeness, “I told Izuna, and he hated it and assured me that you would find a way to kill me for it somehow.” His tone was oddly amused as he said it, though. “But my elders are about as enchanted with peace as I assume the Senju council must be. The creaky old warthogs can’t even imagine ceasefires as a possibility, and would have argued me into the ground and made an annoying fuss at it. This way they can face the same done deal as the Senju will once they have the news: you can’t undo a union made in front of the gods.”
His back had seemed to straighten as he talked, and the Uchiha clan head walked beside him with determined steps. Tobirama took him in, and after all this, knowing he didn't truly have a choice in the matter of entrusting his life, still decided then and there to put his faith in this man. The way Hashirama had done all those years ago, and the way a wife would in the husband that took her into his clan, and the way any shinobi would put their life in the hands of their clan head. There was no other way he could see to gain this peace, no way to work towards it if he held any of himself back, and he had never been one to shirk his duty. He was prepared to offer up his heart.
They reached the inn when it was still early morning and the owner greeted them politely, apparently unsurprised to have battered ninja in her hot springs and seeming to know Madara well enough. The room they were led to was large and comfortable, soft tatami mats and thick futons set up already, and Tobirama was relieved beyond words to see the yukata and bathing supplies laid out in two bundles just inside the door. Madara hovered and fixed him without talking, so he decided to take the implied invitation and pick up a set of bathing supplies before turning to face his husband.
“The baths are down the hall to the left,” Madara specified, unnecessarily as they could hear the faint trickling sound of water coming from the pool. Tobirama took it as the implicit permission it was and walked himself gingerly to the baths, where hot water awaited. He removed his armour for the second time that morning, moving slowly and deliberately to avoid dropping anything noisy to the ground, and Madara was suddenly beside him again. “You can leave everything here, Yuki will take care of laundry and clean your armour,” he instructed, shedding his own heavy robes. Tobirama focused on finishing undressing, loosening the bandages around his calves and taking off his pants, oddly uncomfortable with being watched.
He was not body shy in the least, having grown up with common bathing facilities and surrounded by brothers, but his chest and shoulders were covered in red marks Madara had left behind, his nipples sore and swollen, and he felt impossibly exposed. The knowledge that Madara could just reach out and touch burned in the back of his head like a threat, leaving him unable to relax as he settled carefully on a stool near a hot water barrel. Madara had finished with his clothes by now and was brushing his hair out with a large bone brush he’d produced from somewhere. He looked back as Tobirama filled a pitcher with water and readied his washcloth and soap.
“Can you reach your own back right now?” Madara asked in the silence, and Tobirama flinched a bit. He was immediately ashamed of himself, after all his internal monologues about doing his duty and obeying his husband. He would need to do better, and fast, before he convinced Madara inadvertently that he was not willing to put in the work after all. “I can manage,” he responded and tried to keep his tone neutral and not too cold. “Do you want me to help with your hair?” he went on, reaching for a counter-offer to show he was not rejecting his husband’s ouverture.
It may have been too late though, because Madara frowned and did not deign to answer him, saying instead, “Don’t force yourself.” That seemed to close the conversation between them and Tobirama had to strategise, had to find a way to smooth things out again but right then he was too tired, felt drained and all he could do was hope Madara would allow him to start over once he had himself under better control. He poured hot water over his aching shoulders and scrubbed mud and sweat off of himself in deliberate motions, as the sounds of brushing slowed down beside him. Madara seemed to have braided his long dark hair and pinned it to keep it above his shoulders, before getting on with his own washing.
“If you need a break from touching, or your own space, you can just say so,” he suddenly spoke out in the tense silence between them, and Tobirama barely contains a snort at the outrageous statement. Deny his husband, who had won him by hunt in front of the gods, who was his clan head and who planned to use this union to attain peace? It was so far beyond what he could conceive, it sounded nearly treasonous. He gave Madara a skeptical look, couldn't help himself. The other man glared right back, his entire face twisted up in a scowl.
“Don't look at me like that!” Madara ordered, and before Tobirama could look away went on to say, “I’ve no interest in forcing myself on you when you are nearly dead on your feet. Keep that in mind and don’t lie to me about it, I can tell.” And there was no doubt that he could, his sharingan eyes would be able to read any lie that passed Tobirama’s lips. It was a good thing, then, that he did not intend to lie. “I apologise,” is what he did say, in his most polite tone of voice, “I did not mean to be disrespectful, or to deceive you, lord husband.” There, he thought, that should be good enough. Hopefully he was not expected to bow, as he was honestly unsure if his body would support him at this stage.
He kept his eyes on the floor in front of him just in case, so all he could see were Madara’s bare feet, and all he could hear was the washcloth sliding down his leg to fall beside it with a sad little flopping noise. The other man took a few moments, then he picked up his washcloth and rinsed it out as he seemed to gather his words. “I will assume you are not being facetious here, so let’s get one thing clear,” he started, in a tightly wound angry tone, and Tobirama braced as he realised he must have misstepped rather badly. “You don’t need to be so formal, and you certainly don’t need to call me lord.”
Madara stopped, and stared at him so intently that Tobirama felt he had no choice but to look up, not quite meeting his eyes. “The Uchiha do not practice arranged marriage with outsiders,” he repeated slowly, deliberately, “and our records of hunts are old and mostly fictionalised. But while I may not know how this kind of thing works for other clans, I don’t expect my family to bow and scrape before me.” He finished washing and was rinsing himself almost violently, but continued talking over the splashing water, “So there’s no need to apologise so formally, and you’re fine, so don’t worry. We’re both fine.” He repeated that as though to convince himself, and Tobirama let his shoulders drop out of their tension.
This was good. He could perform perfect obedience, but it was taxing and he sometimes slipped up, even for his father. He’d been out of practice and wary of going back, but if Madara would allow this more relaxed speech, even in front of the main family, he would be able to keep form in public. He nodded to his husband to show his understanding, and was glad to see it was accepted. There was no way Tobirama would be able to force himself to admit that he did not feel he could take more intimacy at the moment. Luckily, it looked like Madara was willing to drop the subject altogether.
He braced carefully on the side of the tub and rose, having finished cleaning himself. The hot spring called to him but he would not be able to climb back out if he got in there. He knew, instinctively almost, that Madara would carry him out and bring him to bed if needed, but still he could not bring himself to accept the touch to his naked skin. That was the issue, he’d been unused to being touched. No one but Anja and Touka ever laid their hands on him outside of violence, and now suddenly Madara had touched him so much, so intimately and inescapably, over the course of just a few hours that he felt his skin blistered with the attention. It was impossible to consider taking more, and he was deeply grateful that his husband did not seem to intend to force the matter.
Things would be different after he got some rest, he promised himself. They could talk, and Tobirama would figure out how to introduce himself to the Uchiha, how to find a place for himself in the peace talks, how to convince Madara of his usefulness and readiness to dedicate himself fully to the clan he was in. His skin would fit him again, and he would accept his husband’s touch and reach back and do what was required of a newly-wed. But now he wanted nothing more than to lay down, and he reached for his towel, carefully picking his words.
“I am quite tired, and would like to retire to bed without a bath, if you don’t mind.” He kept the title back, and hoped the tone had not come across too formal once again. Madara seemed almost relieved and nodded, letting him go with only, “There will be some food in the room, try to eat. I’ll take a bath and come in later.” He stood, gathering his bathing things, and added, “This inn is on the Uchiha border and no one will attack here. I’ll keep watch later, so don’t bother with it.” It was the perfect set-up, and as Madara turned to head to the pool Tobirama walked slowly back to the room, wrapped only in his yukata. It was with overwhelming relief that he found the room empty and quiet, two trays of food laid out where the bathing supplies had been set up previously.
He did eat, knowing it would help after the days of rations and chakra depletion, but the carefully prepared dishes were bland and tasteless to him. He made sure to finish his portion though, before finally giving in to exhaustion and going to lay down on one of the futons, curling up on the comfortable floor. The inn smelled clean and only slightly sulphurous from the water, and the bedding was soft beneath his aching body. He focused on relaxing his muscles one by one in a familiar pattern, ignoring the way bruises and pulled muscles hurt, the way his back throbbed with unfamiliar pain and his nipples still burned, oversensitive, under his thin yukata. He fell asleep soon enough, mind tracking Madara’s burning chakra as he soaked in the hot springs outside.
They talk, and write, and talk some more
Thank you all again for the kind comments!
I've finally managed to get a complete outline for the plot of this fic, and hope to be able to keep updating regularly till the end.
The sleep was restful and interrupted only by Madara’s return, some time later. Tobirama stirred as he felt the chakra move closer and turned to face the door as the other shinobi opened it, but Madara’s quiet, “Go back to sleep!” was enough to make him lay down his head and clear his mind again. Like any shinobi, he was used to sleeping when he could, regardless of fear or danger or being surrounded by foes. Madara must have kept silent watch beside him, or maybe he got some rest himself, because the next time Tobirama woke it was naturally, with early afternoon sunlight illuminating the paper walls on one side of the room. He felt Madara’s stare on him as he stood up, so he wasted no time and folded himself into a sitting position before putting his futon back in order. The other shinobi said nothing, and Tobirama was painfully unsure of his moods, and frustrated with the uncertainty it brought.
Most of the aches he’d been carrying were gone and he felt significantly less tired, his body used to recovering fast after missions. Madara regarded him from where he’d leant back against the opposite wall, also wearing a yukata and with a scroll rolled up beside his leg. He looked oddly unfamiliar like this, in casual clothing, hair in a braid. His face was handsome, Tobirama suddenly realised, and these clothes showed more skin than Tobirama was used to seeing, which were embarrassing details to notice, even as he told himself this was his husband and thus he had the right to look, to familiarise himself with the man he would share his life with. Madara had been looking, after all, and it did not seem he was displeased with being observed in return.
“You don’t have any major wounds on you. Is the chakra depletion dangerous?” Madara asked, breaking the tense silence that always seemed to return between them. Tobirama flicked his chakra out in answer, and said “Nothing that won’t heal within days, and I am not out of commission in the meantime.” Less tired now, he would be able to defend himself if necessary. Not against Madara himself of course, and Tobirama was still carefully working on re-assigning his husband from foe to friend in his instinctual mind. It would not be easy to change the habits he had been trained into all his life, but Tobirama was not interested in easy. He would do this and do it well.
Seemingly pleased to hear that, Madara said, “I’ll call for more food, it’s past lunchtime already,” and walked out, heading down the corridor and into the inn. Tobirama could feel his chakra, steady and banked, as he likely talked to the owner, and quickly went through a mental list of what he needed to gain data on before they headed back to the Uchiha compound. It was of vital importance to prioritise, considering he didn’t know how much patience Madara would have for his questions. His entire life he’d struggled to have his ideas recognized as valuable by the Senju, and he would use that experience to work his way into some status in the Uchiha now. His obedience would serve his new clan (and his brother’s dream) less than his competence would, even at the risk of irritating his husband.
Madara walked back, his pace quick and sure, followed by the owner who must be carrying their food. As they walked in, Tobirama greeted the woman, Yuki, and she bowed to him, settling the trays on the floor, and called him “Tobirama-sama, it is an honour to meet you.” He realised Madara must have been in too much of a hurry in the morning to introduce him, and had just informed this woman of the marriage. It was an odd realisation, that this inn owner was the first person outside of the two of them to be informed of their marriage. He struggled for politeness and thanked her for the food, and was again relieved when she backed out and pulled the door closed from the outside.
Madara motioned him to the trays and they sat facing each other and their food, and it was Tobirama who broke the heavy silence, since Madara seemed intent on glaring his every bite into submission. “If you do not mind explaining, I would like to know more about Uchiha marriage traditions and how I might fit into the clan,” he went with, prioritising the upcoming introduction over the peace talks with Senju, where his contribution would in any case depend on his leverage with the Uchiha.
Startled, Madara looked at him with raised eyebrows, and lowered the chopsticks he’d been bringing to his mouth, resting them against the rice bowl as he apparently took a moment to contemplate the question. “We occasionally admit love matches in the main house,” he started with finally, “as long as they are respectable individuals and heirs are ensured somehow. More often, though, marriages are arranged to improve the odds for a sharingan.” This made sense, the Uchiha were famously closed off yet had managed to avoid reckless inbreeding somehow, they must have devised a strategy to keep the blood reasonably diverse, and must have been marrying outsiders into the lower clan houses if he was understanding Madara’s unspoken meaning correctly.
“You’ll be quite an exception, of course,” the other man continued, going back to his food but seeming ready to keep talking on this subject. “The clan won’t like that I’m not passing on my bloodline, but Izuna is ideal as an heir, and his wife will be chosen more carefully for it. In any case, the peace is more than worth this price.” Madara finishes decisively, but Tobirama is stuck on another detail. It hadn’t crossed his mind, but of course a marriage before the gods meant neither of them would ever lay with someone other than the other. It meant they would never be able to bring children into the world, and while he had not quite been enough of an optimist to make plans for the future, somehow he’d always hoped. He loved children.
Madara must have noticed his lack of response, but did not prod, only glowered at him and kept eating. Tobirama pulled himself together, unwilling to let the conversation drop and miss out on this opportunity to ask more questions. He spoke up, “Should I understand that your clan might view me as an interloper?” he asked and froze as he realized what had just left his mouth. He quickly corrected himself, “Our clan, I meant to say, my apologies,” and it felt clumsy but Madara did not seem angry at the slip, only contemplating him as he felt a humiliated blush fill his cheeks. He had been trying so hard to adjust his thoughts and actions to his new situation, only to make such a mistake before they even reached the compound. Madara’s lack of surprise was even more of a slap in the face, as though the other had not even expected more of him. This was not unusual, he told himself forcefully, as his husband hardly knew him and could not assess Tobirama’s abilities yet.
“That’s fine, it’s not been a day. Of course it takes time to adjust,” the other shinobi replied, back to observing him. He wondered if this was an Uchiha trait off the battlefield as well, or if Madara was simply observing him as he would a foe. Senju, off the battlefield, tended to avoid eye contact to show deference, and staring so would have been considered rude among many clans he knew of. Not any with an eye dojutsu, though, and it may well be that this was simply how Uchiha interacted. He would grow used to the eyes boring into him soon enough.
“I will not make such a mistake in front of the clan,” he still assured, unwilling to let this drop. He forced himself to meet Madara’s eyes, black and sly through his messy hair, as a show of honesty and trust. It seemed to work, the man straightened his back and said, “I wasn’t expecting you to accept this as easily as you have, to be honest. Some minor stumbles are to be expected.” There it was, the low expectations, and he remembered Madara being surprised when he’d agreed to the hunt the night before.
He was unsure how to make clear that, despite all uncertainty and the ever-present tension between them, his heart had been given the moment he’d said yes. He was not a man to go back on his word, not when it meant sacrificing his honour and his brother’s dream of peace. But every way he thought of to say it felt like deceit and manipulation in his mind, like something an enemy might say to gain unwarranted trust. So he said the only thing he could, “I will not make such a misstep in public. I don’t expect to gain their trust upon arrival, and the elders will hear we are united before the gods and they will know I cannot go against you without bringing the ire of the gods down on myself and any who would aid me. But I don’t wish the clan to be made to believe I don’t consider myself one of them.”
It was a formal speech, but he felt it was necessary to spell this out, confirm that he knew what he had been tied into. “They will know that I will stand by you for all of our lives, and all my actions aim to further yours, and the clan’s as a whole. The rest can come with time.” Madara was looking at his own hands and finally nodded in agreement.
Tobirama took a silent breath and went on eating. Other questions swerved through his mind, about Izuna and about Uchiha habits and, buried deepest of all, about whether or not he would be permitted to see his brother and cousin again. He hoped, and quickly turned his mind away. It would not do to linger on hope when he knew he was doing what was best, doing his duty, but he could almost see Hashirama’s face before his eyes as the Senju clan head was informed his brother would not be coming home again. Not dead, of course, but out of reach and lost to him all the same. He hoped Hashirama would be able to use the peace to talk Madara into allowing them to meet again, once the Uchiha could be persuaded he was not a flight risk or a potential traitor.
Madara was done eating and set his shoulders again. “I’m going to draft a letter to Hashirama, to let him know of the marriage,” he said, “and you will want to draft your own letter to accompany it.” He’d said it so casually that Tobirama had to take a second to make sure he had heard correctly, then gather himself and answer, “Yes, of course.” This was an unexpected opportunity, and he reminded himself that Hashirama had often talked about how dedicated Madara was to the concept of family. Perhaps this was a show of respect to Hashirama’s family, or even a move to underline that Tobirama himself was family and could therefore be granted favours.
Even this complicated and looming question of relationships and familial balance paled when compared to the perspective of getting to write his brother, assure him all was well, have his own words reach Hashirama together with the news. Touka, too, would trust in his written word more than she ever would in a formal letter from the Uchiha clan head stating he had taken her youngest cousin for a spouse and intended to use him to make the peace. In fact, this might be the precise reasoning behind Madara’s unhoped for offer.
Madara got up and walked to the only writing desk in the room, where he picked up two small scrolls for letters and some brushes. Tobirama cleared his own lunch tray and moved it to the side of the room with more light, settling it next to the writing desk. He was handed a scroll and brush, and there was only one ink pot that had been pushed to the very edge of the desk, so they would be sharing it. Madara looked over at him from under loose strands of hair and said, “The letters will be sent once we reach the compound. I will not have the Senju receive this news before the Uchiha do.” Tobirama replied without thinking, “Obviously,” then berated himself for once again failing to be polite. Madara, true to his word of the morning, did not seem to mind and only raised his eyebrows at him before turning to his letter.
Tobirama struggled with the letter for a long time with it. He was used to being direct, and as brief as was manageable, in his correspondence, but here he had to tell his brother not only the shocking news, but also announce his departure, say his goodbyes and express his hopes for the future. Those he could not lay out in too much detail without risking offense to the Uchiha who would surely check this correspondence. He settled on some simple sentences, emphasizing the peace this could bring and the fact that the gods had blessed the union. He ended with, “Anja, you know well that is pains me to leave you and the clan, but I hold the hope that the peace you have dreamed of will be a reality soon. I will dedicate myself to supporting that peace. Please give my affection to Touka-chan.”
It was painfully clumsy and sounded unlike him, but would serve to reassure his brother and cousin. They were the ones he was truly close to in the clan, all other connections were to the medics and all the administrators who knew and respected him well. Mito, also, but he had barely had the chance to know his brother’s wife and now never would. She was intelligent, that much he knew, and sharp in all the ways Hashirama was often not. She would be invaluable to the clan now that he was gone.
Madara lifted his head after a few long moments and broke Tobirama out of his contemplation of his former clan’s adjustments to his absence. He had finished his letter as well, signing it with a smooth brush stroke, and nearly threw his brush down in apparent frustration. Tobirama considered leaving him more time to overcome his anger. The short-tempered Uchiha head had held it back so carefully until now that it became almost tempting to push him, see how Madara would treat his new husband in true anger. That was an idiotic idea, he acknowledged, and likely born out of his own frustration with the many uncertainties of his new situation.
Instead, he picked up his own letter and placed it on the edge of Madara’s desk without comment. The other shinobi gave him a look, but said nothing in turn. They both knew his correspondence would be read and there was no point to dissimulating it. Madara pulled the letter closer and read it in a few quick sweeps of his dark eyes, before turning to him to say, “You’re not being particularly open with the details. `Unexpected` is a peculiar choice of words for last night.”
Tobirama abstained from rolling his eyes, though he did narrow them sharply instead. “Did you want me to lay out for my brother exactly how this came about? He will infer more than I would have wished him to know in the first place.” He took a breath and stemmed his impulse to slam a hand on the tray in front of him, or make some other display of his irritation. “He knows well I never could bring myself to believe in the peace he so wanted, but he also knows I will put myself in the service of his goals,” he continued, then shot Madara a sideways glare, “But of course no one could have anticipated your ridiculous scheme!”
And there it was anyway, his anger and frustration coming out in response to what he belatedly realized had been Madara’s own prodding. The other shinobi gave him a look and said, “Yes, no one would have come up with this particular idea, and we would have been stuck in this war forever as Hashirama tries to work for peace and I try to push deescalation and pull children out of the battlefield until we’re both dead and the usual war patterns can resume. I realize this, husband . That’s what made me choose to break the pattern and make sure it cannot be fixed .” He finished in a loud tone, but firm and determined, and gave the letter another look.
Tobirama contemplated his profile for a second, strangely relieved by the show of anger. He’d been wary, knowing his new husband was famously temperamental, of the restraint he’d shown so far and subconsciously expected a much worse explosion. This though, this he could deal with. He was surprised to realise it felt not at all like the times Butsuma had yelled at him, or even the times when he could tell Hashirama wanted to, but would never raise his voice, for fear of resembling their father too closely. This was something he could manage.
“Hashirama will not take kindly or quickly to your action,” he said with some resignation to worrying over how his brother might react. “You’ve essentially taken me from his clan by force, and he will of course be angry at losing me and worried for my safety.” It was not easy to imagine his elder brother’s face when he would find out, and judging by Madara’s downturned face and tense shoulders he felt similarly unhappy with the perspective.
“But he will come to the negotiating table and will treat this as an arranged marriage, as soon as he can verify my safety for himself.” Madara grunted and Tobirama realised that this man had a younger brother of his own, one who by all accounts he was dedicated to. That must be occupying his mind right now, the pain of losing Izuna in such a way. This common feeling must have also been what made him so sure that Hashirama would not choose to exact revenge on the Uchiha by rejecting alliance and pushing them further into the deprivation that threatened them this winter, as the option of all-out war was denied him.
He decided to offer something in return for the honesty. “I only call my brother that name in private, and would never actually address my cousin with `-chan` on pain of death,” he said with some wariness, but willing to share these minor codes in light of their alliance, “those are signals to show them I am doing well, and am not being coerced into writing.” Madara turned to him in surprise at that, and Tobirama felt the need to elaborate.
“You knew, when you called the hunt, that Hashirama holds me dear and would honour the union not just in deference to the gods, but to try and protect me, even at a distance.” He tracked Madara’s surprised face, imitating the other’s tendency to stare as he continued, “It’s as true as you might think. I love my brother dearly, and he returns it. He will fight for this peace because it has always been his dream and because it will protect me. I will fight for it because it is my brother’s dream and yours, and it will bring him happiness all while it spares our clansmen’s lives.”
Madara was turned around to stare at him now, mouth slightly open. He didn’t seem to know what to say, as he closed his mouth and abruptly turned around again, taking up his own letter and slamming it down on Tobirama’s tray. “Read this and let me know if there is anything in there to set the Senju council off!” he ordered, before getting up in a huff to open the paper door hiding a veranda which overlooked a lovely little garden.
He was, Tobirama realized with some shock, flailing and blushing. Undeniably, despite the locks of hair that had escaped his braid to hide his face, Madara’s cheeks and ears were tinted pink and he paced the veranda a few times in agitation. He seemed strangely unconcerned with hiding his emotions, for a shinobi. Tobirama himself clamped down firmly on the pleased surprise he felt, being handed the letter meant to announce his marriage to his birth clan. This was an unexpected show of trust, in the one field Madara would have been justified to trust him the least with, namely political relations with the Senju.
He read the letter, noting the formality and restraint common in external clan dealings with non-allies. It also highlighted the divine aspect of the union, and went on to emphasize that the Uchiha fully intended to honour such a blessing. Moreover, it specified that Tobirama would be taken into the clan as an honoured spouse of the clan head, which while inherent in the arrangement served to point out to the Senju that their former heir was being treated in accordance to his station, and not like a mere prisoner of war. It might even, Tobirama thought, be done up to reflect his requests of last night, given Madara had repeatedly talked of his unfamiliarity with marriage agreements.
Finally, the letter requested a ceasefire and declared Senju Hashirama to be Uchiha Madara’s kinsman by the law. Overall it was a good ouverture, there would be little the Senju elders could find to fault in it. This would serve well as a basis for further exchanges, and accompanied by his own letter it would reassure Hashirama that he was in no immediate danger. Hopefully even Touka could be dissuaded from trying to infiltrate the Uchiha compound in some anger-fueled rescue attempt.
He followed his husband onto the veranda, to find him significantly calmer and sitting on the edge with his feet in the garden, and decided to test an earlier theory. “I believe your letter will be well-received by my brother and his clan,” he started, “but I have an additional request.” Madara turned to him with a curious look, a bit closed off but open to listening, and he went on, “The scrolls I collected from the desert shinobi are of no use to the Uchiha, and the information they contain is of some importance to the Senju.” He was aware the scrolls had left his possession before he and Madara had walked out of the woods that morning, so his husband must have had the opportunity to check the contents by now.
“They might be useful as a show of good faith to the Senju, marking my last mission in their service and proving the Uchiha do not aim to weaken their defences.” He put the idea out, and waited for Madara’s reaction. The man stared at him, as he was wont to do, and once again seemed surprised by what Tobirama was saying. It was more quickly that he acquiesced this time, simply saying, “You’re right, that is a good idea. We’re doing that.” The quick acceptance and approval startled him into silence, but it was a pleasant and satisfying feeling this time. This bode well, and while he would not raise his own hopes recklessly, he allowed himself to enjoy the first small victory in earning his new clan head’s ear.
His husband pulled a pipe out of some inner pocket of his yukata, unseen previously, and it must have been already loaded because he lit it with a quick flare of chakra and leaned back on a hand to start smoking. Tobirama said nothing more as they sat side by side and looked over the garden together.
More testing the grounds, and more sleep
Ok, this long stay at the inn seemed super necessary as I was writing it, after the emotional bomb the hunt left behind, but now it seems kind of stretched out. Anyway, they're back on the road in the next chapter and will be reaching the Uchiha compound to face the music.
Thank you for all the comments and kudos!
When the breeze started rustling the decorative little trees in earnest, Madara put out his pipe, contemplated the last of the smoke and suggested they get back in the hot spring. It was evening by now and there were new bath supplies set up in the room for them, along with fresh yukata. They picked them up and Tobirama found himself looking forward to actually getting in the pool, he loved bathing and rarely got the chance at a hot spring. They were the only visitors at the inn currently, he could only sense the owner and some civilians, likely suppliers, dropping by throughout the day. This meant they would have the entire pool to themselves.
Back in the bath, he was quick to discard his yukata and scrub down. Madara was watching him again, eyes lingering on the marks still just as stark as this morning against his white skin, and a reminder of the consummation of this morning. As though anyone would have managed to let such a memory slip their mind so soon. Tobirama, now rested and much recovered, watched him back. The Uchiha patriarch was shorter than him with a much heavier build, body thick with muscle, shoulders hard and rounded where he would have had to build up the strength to swing his giant gunbai. He was pale as all Uchiha were, but not nearly as white as Tobirama himself, and the scars he had tended to be large, splatters and gashes stretched across his body to mark all the battles he had walked away from.
The Uchiha clan head seemed to turn to the side and hide his face in his hair, almost shy, as he washed himself under Tobirama’s gaze before looking back and meeting his eyes with a challenging stare. He reached up to undo his hair and started, washing it with practiced efficiency, only breaking eye contact as the heavy wet locks completely obscured his face. It was then that he chose to ask, “Do Senju often bathe together?”, which was such an odd question that Tobirama had to stop his own ablutions to contemplate it for a moment.
“Yes,” he said, “baths in the Senju compound are set up to accommodate twenty or more, and we bathe socially. The main house does have a small private bath though.”
And Madara nodded as if he had solved some mystery, clarifying, “The Uchiha tend to have individual baths to a house, or joint baths for several houses which are shared on a schedule.” This made sense, Tobirama realized, given that he knew even the smallest of Uchiha children seen outside the compound could use fire ninjutsu. They would not have need of any ovens to heat their water, making small baths much less cumbersome than common ones.
Then he thought over what must have led Madara to ask this particular question. “Are you… not used to bathing with other people?” he asked finally, hesitant but curious. Madara glanced away and rinsed himself with a big splash, then reached for more water to do it properly.
“I used to bathe with Izuna, years ago, but not since I became clan head. I could share my baths with you now, I suppose.” He said it dubiously, but Tobirama understood that this was simply a matter of different customs amongst different clans.
“If you prefer to bathe alone, we can work out a schedule later on,” he answered, and had to bite down on “lord husband” as his mind went immediately to marital rights again. Shared baths he was more familiar with, but shared living quarters and a shared life were not easy to imagine, not even as the claiming was still vivid in him mind and body. Madara got up without responding, glaring ahead in apparent thought, and Tobirama went to join him, having finished his own cleansing. They made no further comment, as though by unspoken agreement, on their future bathing arrangements as they picked up their fresh clothing and towels and moved towards the hot spring.
They were sinking into the blissfully hot water slowly and Tobirama felt his muscles lose some of the previous days’ tension, looked forward to the bone-deep relaxation a long soak in the pool would bring him. He let his head lean back against the stone at his back, sensing Madara do the same a little ways away. It was the second time today the other shinobi was soaking, but the heat didn't seem to affect him in any way. Perhaps this was normal for an Uchiha. They sat in enjoyable silence, and this was a kind of togetherness he had not expected, but found he was pleased to experience.
They soaked for what felt like hours and Tobirama nearly went to sleep again, so deep was he in meditation. His body was floating weightless, the stress of the mission and the previous night all but gone. Then suddenly Madara stood up with a splash, nearly shouting, “You look like a cooked lobster, you idiot. Get the fuck out of the water if it’s too hot for you!” and waded over to Tobirama with great sloshing steps.
Shaken out of his relaxed state, and with that ridiculous display, all he could do was glare down the other shinobi and snippishy return, “Well you look like a ruffled hedgehog, do you have to shout like that,” before thinking of decorum and tense silences. Madara steamrolled over him with a huff and not a care for being treated with any form of decorum, grabbing him by the arm and lifting him out of the water like some tantrum-prone child.
Tobirama would confess his pout must have been childish at that stage but in all fairness, Madara was being more than a little silly with his behaviour. Still he let himself be pulled from the water, only grumbling mildly as he went to his towel and dried off thoroughly. He wrapped it around his hips and watched Madara dry himself off before putting on his yukata. “Let’s go back to the room,” the other ordered, “dinner should be set out and you can cool off a bit on the veranda.”
He didn’t protest the renewed assertion that he couldn’t handle some hot water, instead undoing his towel and leaving it behind with Madara’s as he put on his simple cotton yukata and followed his husband to their shared room. Indeed dinner had been set out, and they sat down face to face to eat again, Madara eyeing him as though to check if he were planning to faint from heat exhaustion.
Tobirama frowned and said, “My skin is just whiter than most,” and his tone was snappish but he really wanted the other man to give him some peace. “It’s a birth defect, albinism. That just means the heat shows more, not that I’m planning to swoon after a little bath.”
Madara’s eyebrows rose and he chewed and swallowed before asking, “Albinism? Doesn’t that mean you burn with the sun?” It was a fair question, his new clan head should know about these potential weaknesses, and Tobirama found he was not reluctant to talk about issues he had found ways to resolve. This was not something he would openly share with outsiders, but Madara was far from an outsider, now.
“I have an ointment for that, and use it daily to keep from burning. The seals on my face improve my eyesight and I more than make up for it as a sensor.” There it was, and he was not ashamed of these flaws, he had more than proved himself as a shinobi despite them.
Madara did look impressed, and paid more attention to his face markings. “I thought those were war paint,” he clarified, frowning at his own preconception. “How bad is your sight without them? Do they lose potency when your chakra runs low?” and these were all eminently sensible questions to ask of a new shinobi one was taking into their clan. Tobirama should not have been surprised, Madara must be a competent clan head given the fact that the Uchiha continued to thrive despite several of their neighbouring clans turning against them recently.
“I could see very poorly in the distance, without the marks,” he answered, “and they store my chakra in order to ensure it is not affected by my own tiredness. An Uzumaki master tattooed them on me as part of the pre-negotiations for my brother’s wedding.” That one had been Hashirama’s own condition, and Tobirama had accepted that his dangerous weakness be revealed to the clan of his brother’s future wife both for love of him and for hope that this inconvenience could be resolved.
It occurred to him suddenly that Madara may have worried about him being near-blind during the claiming, and he went on to confirm, “But at this stage they never falter anymore, there is enough chakra collected in the seals to last me through weeks of chakra exhaustion. And in any case, I can sense well enough to compensate for lack of vision”. Madara seemed to accept this and finished his food, and Tobirama did the same. It was odd to sit here, eat and talk and struggle to accept this new normal when just a day before it would have been unimaginable to sit down for a meal with this man.
Madara gestured him imperiously to the veranda again once they finished, but at least he did not make further comments about Tobirama’s skin. They sat down side by side, though the pipe did not come out again, and Madara turned to look at the quickly darkening sky. Tobirama sat there and thought about how they had spent just one day together, just one and the world as they had known it would never be the same.
Madara breathed out, long and slow, possibly also contemplating all the changes he had set into motion, and looked to him to say, “Last night you told me the reason you never lay with anyone was that you didn’t wish to form a bond you would not be able to keep.” The sudden statement had Tobirama turning to stare at him in surprise, and he went on, “Does that mean you could be lead to form a bond, through physical affection?” It was an odd question, almost as though Madara were looking for an excuse to touch him, which certainly he did not need.
They were wed, and Tobirama had made it more than clear that he intended to do his duty by his husband. He felt a stirring of unease at the thought of repeating the act of the morning, and for a moment his focus unwillingly moved to the ache still present in his back. The muscles there were not used to recovering as quickly as the rest of him. His mouth felt cold, his skin remembering Madara’s touch and for a long moment he was almost transported back on to the forest floor, pressed down, unable to escape as he submitted to his husband. Tobirama took a breath and readied himself to lay down again and do his duty.
“What I mean to ask,” the other shinobi clarified, apparently in reaction to whatever he saw on Tobirama’s face, “is if you were willing to sit in my arms and be kissed, and if that would be likely to make you relax by my side with time and strengthen our union.” Madara looked to the side, frowning at himself apparently, as Tobirama was left trying to comprehend. “I am not interested in having a cold and formal spouse who submits to sex upon request,” he said this with an air of repulsion which felt like a reproach, but Tobirama made himself keep listening. “If there is any chance at all that you can find it in you to build some affection for me, I would like to try for it, if you were willing. It’s frankly not easy to imagine married life completely devoid of it,” Madara finally finished, red in the face again and seeming to have hated every word as it left his mouth. It was becoming clear that he was not a man who spoke easily of his true feelings, despite being so open with demonstrative emotions otherwise.
Tobirama sat there, struck by the unexpected honesty. Was this what had made Hashirama have so much faith in this man? He could imagine his straight-forward, open and honest brother being charmed by such a speech. He let himself be impressed, and appreciated the directness, aware of his own occasional lack in social sensibility. This allowed him to be honest in turn, which he much prefered over having to read the mood of the room and look underneath all words for hidden meanings. He tried to respond as frankly, “I cannot give you an answer, since this is not a situation I have found myself in before,” he put forth, while his husband glared down the stone arrangement leant against the garden wall, “but having a companionable life partner is … something desirable and worth waiting for. I, too, am willing to try.” It was the truth, and Madara seemed to believe him, after only a second’s startlement.
He turned to face Tobirama again, all frown and darkened face, then stood up to light a felinar hanging from the roof above their veranda before settling back down, much closer to him this time. The softly moving orange light highlighted his strong features and cast even more shadows on his terrible eyes. His hair hung heavy, still wet and shining, across one shoulder with a towel draped on it, and it left his face more bared than Tobirama usually saw it. He was becoming accustomed to the staring already, and did the same in turn, he realised but could not bring himself to care.
Madara’s hand was warm when it touched his wrist, circling it and running down to slip fingers between his and inside his own palm. He kept moving gently, stroking the arch of Tobirama’s palm with his middle finger, running his thumb up and down the back of Tobirama’s own slimmer hand. Feeling bold in the low light, Tobirama ran his own calloused fingertips over Madara’s knuckles where he could reach, responding to the caress. It was an odd suspended moment in time, and his mind could wander to politics and brothers and all that tomorrow might bring without circling endlessly on impossible to predict futures. The peace and quiet between them stretched long into the night.
Walk home, greet your family
Thank you all so much for the feedback and support! It's super motivating to see people are interested in this fic and enjoying all the emotional development I tend to focus on :))
They woke up with the dawn the next morning, well-rested on the comfortable futons, and Tobirama was surprised to realise that they had both managed to sleep so soundly in the other’s company. It was an odd balance shinobi struck, between life-saving paranoia and the need to take their rest whenever and wherever it was made available. But they woke up together, as though in tune, their subconscious not allowing them to sleep with another presence awake in the room - at least, in Tobirama’s case, not now that he was well enough to function at full capacity.
They didn’t speak much, no formalities exchanged as they dressed and prepared for the road. Yuki brought them breakfast shortly, not having to be called upon, likely because she knew the schedule Madara preferred to keep. They sat down to eat and Madara told him, without any prompting, about what the day might bring. They were about four hours off from the Uchiha compound at a reasonable run, and Izuna knew to expect them today or tomorrow. “He will greet us at the wall,” Madara explains, “and have whatever tantrum he must before we take you inside to meet the elders. It’ll be short, don’t worry, we can’t afford the news of your arrival to reach them too long before we do.”
Tobirama did not comment on the idea that his lifelong rival and enemy warrior might `throw a tantrum`, as Madara put it, at the sight of him. He’d only ever known Izuna on the battlefield, where the Uchiha heir was poised and coldly angry, but now he would know him as a brother by law, and be taken inside his holdings. Tobirama didn’t even try to anticipate how that shift might come, it was too far outside of his knowledge and he didn't care to work himself up. He would deal with what welcome the Uchiha heir saw fit to give him, and find a way to live with it once he got there. Instead he focused on practical matters. “No one outside of Izuna knows to expect me, then? How shall we react if the guards become defensive at the sight of me?”
“They won’t question me, “Madara said with a wave of his hand, oddly dismissive after having warned him of the Uchiha’s likely reaction to the Senju demon the other day. “It’s been two years now that I am clan head, and my Mangekyou manifested earlier than that. So did Izuna’s, and he will be there to reassure the guards they are not under some very creative genjutsu.” He seemed to feel no doubt in his assumptions, and Tobirama had no reason to mistrust his assessment. Madara had indeed been clan head for two years now, and proven himself in the role. None could know his clan better than he himself did.
“Do you have a plan to sway the clan elders?” he continued, trying to gain as much information about this as possible before Madara once again set things in motion and shook the world under their feet into a new shape. He was gratified to be answered once more, with little more than a suspicious glance and no efforts made into conveying that he had better hold his tongue. Instead his husband was free and easy in sharing his short-term plans and the reactions he expected from his elder council to the marriage. They ate their breakfast while they talked, and once it was done, they got up to get ready for their trip.
It was then that Tobirama realized his clothes and armour had not been returned since he’d shed them yesterday morning. The service had been so seamless, and he so caught up in his own changed circumstance and the man responsible for it, that so far he’d not given it any thought at all. Only his container of lotion to block out the sun was laid out near the room’s inner wall. He looked to Madara, but before he could even ask about going to see Yuki, the other gave him a long look and said, “Your armour is clean and ready, but the Uchiha have some strong associations with that outfit you so like to wear.” His eyebrows were down and mouth curled into a frown, and Tobirama was beginning to be familiar with that hesitant, grouchy expression. Madara continued, “It would be easier in the long run if you don’t show us dressed as the white demon, when I’m trying to introduce you as the Uchiha clan head’s bride.”
It made sense, he had to admit so much even as he felt a shiver run down his back at that title. It was frustrating how difficult it seemed to be to adjust to this. It was eminently logical that his new clan would fear him, he thought to himself as he watched Madara pack up their letters and scrolls. Just as he feared them, a small voice whispered in the back of his mind, but Tobirama had never been one to back away from facing his fears - no shinobi reached his age without that skill. He would face this with all the dignity he was afforded.
He turned to his husband and asked, “And what would you prefer me to wear, then, instead of armour?” He’d given up on formality but clung to politeness, particularly in the light of their late night exchange on the veranda. He would be as subservient as needed in public, but was comforted to know that it would not be expected of him, when it was just the two of them to witness their interactions.
Madara looked surprised and appeased by his quick agreement, getting up to go to a wall and shift a paper door, revealing a closet. He could be easily pleased at times, his lord husband, and Tobirama was glad to have this knowledge. He moved closer, and was promptly handed underclothing to put on. These were under-kimono clothes, so he could expect formal wear, but still he was not bothered. While he personally disliked dressing up, shinobi tended to have lighter, less cumbersome kimono than civilians favoured, and he did not doubt the Uchiha had designed practicable clothing even with formal occasions in mind.
Tobirama changed efficiently, again catching a glimpse of his own chest as he deftly worked some sun protection into the white skin. They were now the deep purpling markings he could see there felt suddenly like a brand to the skin, a way to show he did belong to the Uchiha, as one of their own had claimed him. Some of them would show above the collar of his clothing, he knew, remembering with another shiver the feeling of Madara’s mouth and teeth on his neck the previous night, making his claim for the world to see. He didn’t know what to do with the thought, it made him clumsy and stiff with the unfamiliarity of the idea that his body was not just a tool for war in his clan head’s hands anymore. Uncharacteristically for him, Tobirama felt relief at the fact that Madara did not turn around to look at his bared flesh, instead choosing to change into his own formal underthings.
His theory about Uchiha clothing was soon validated when Madara pulled out a light silk kimono in dark blue and handed it to him. It did not take nearly as long to put the ensemble on as it would have taken him to dress up in civilian clothes, and both he and Madara had no trouble tying their obis on by themselves. Not having quite the shape of sleeves the Senju might wear, and markedly missing a hakama, this was recognizably an Uchiha style.
Madara turned to look at him, holding out a grey haori with the Uchiwa stitched onto its back, rich and bright. It was a beautiful garment, obviously made for the main house of the clan, and Madara did not hand it to him this time. Instead, he moved deliberately to turn it in his hands and, telegraphing his movements, swung it around Tobirama’s shoulders like a cape. It settled, heavy and warm, onto his shoulders and Madara’s fingers brushed it carefully against his upper arms as he smoothed it down before retreating. Even through all the layers he had on, he imagined he could feel the warmth of this touch like another brand on his skin. Madara said nothing, just finished dressing himself and pulled on his gloves.
Once ready to leave, they said their goodbyes to Yuki, who bowed even lower to them now that they were formally dressed as Uchiha clan leadership. She would send their clothes and armour after them. Tobirama would have liked to retrieve his fur ruff to add to his clothing, a sentimental idea he was slightly irritated to catch himself musing on. It was much safer to leave it behind with his armour, as a show of willingness to fit in with his new clan and kin. The fur would join him later and he could wear it as he pleased, if he’d judged Madara correctly so far.
As they took off on the journey to the clan, unencumbered by their light clothing, Tobirama again took the opportunity to question his new husband some more on the common practices of the Uchiha clan. He learned that the elders had an ever-weakening role in politics, and were resisting change with all their remaining influence in response to the shift. He learned that Madara was honestly irritated by his own council, felt they held their own power above the well-being of the clan. He learned how desperately Madara did want peace, not because he was tired of the war (though they all were) but because he loved his clansmen and wished to stop the bloodshed as soon as he could.
Held closer to his chest but no less valued, he also learned that Madara was willing to answer his carefully worded questions, never once rebuking him for his curiosity. Likely this was a show of the Uchiha clan head’s willingness to spend some time on insuring his new husband would not make embarrassing blunders in front of his new clan. Tobirama was more than grateful to have that much, and it was gratifying to see Madara did not intend to make a habit of putting him in his place for inquiring about inner clan politics.
Even better, Madara proved willing to share this information with him without any more protest than the occasional glare or huff. And to Tobirama it was clear that his husband did, after all, still hold in his heart the same dream of peace Hashirama had held on to since their childhood afternoons spent skipping stones by the Nakano river. There was no greater proof of it than that he had been willing to lock himself into life-long commitment to a shinobi he knew only as a foe in order to ensure peace talks were opened.
They made good time, Tobirama well-rested and Madara eager to reach home. Tobirama tried not to let tension overtake him as he started to feel out the chakra of the Uchiha in their compound when they got within range. They both grew quiet, and Tobirama readied himself mentally for what would be his introduction to his new clan. He focused on staying calm, drew on his dreams and determination to tamp down nervousness that might make him snippish and defensive. He was not blessed with easy charm or Hashirama’s natural sociability, but he would endeavour to be civil and keep his temper in check for this.
The more they approached the clearer his perception became, and it was not long before he could locate Izuna’s hot coal presence as well as some of the more striking Uchiha warriors he’d noticed on the field. He would need to learn their names and stories, now. He couldn’t simply think of them as a set of skills to plan for, they were his people now and he would learn of their lives and the best ways to keep them safe.
The thought occupied his mind until they were near enough to the Uchiha compound that two patrols had noticed them, waved down by Madara and told to keep their quiet even as they communally stared at Tobirama with shock and anger and fear. From the second one, one woman was picked out and sent to fetch Izuna and bring him to the gates. All the while Tobirama did his best to appear calm and collected by Madara’s side, giving no explanation for his presence even as he felt all the guards’ eyes boring into his back at once.
As the walls of the compound stretched before them and they finally slowed to a sedate walk, he pulled on his best cool and composed appearance, previously reserved for facing the disapproving Senju elders at his brother’s side. He could feel the haori swaying softly around his waist in the breeze, and the many black eyes taking in the uchiwa embroidered large and flashy on his back, the vivid markings at his neck. This was not the time to show any hesitation. Madara’s chakra was a steady heat by his side, the Uchiha clan head keeping his chin up and offering no explanation, shiny black hair swaying softly behind him like a cape as he walked towards his holdings.
Izuna stormed out of the large iron gates like some demon was chasing him, which may well have been true in his mind, and turned towards them before faltering. He took a long look at Tobirama, eyes travelling up and down his form and pausing on his bare neck, his usually cold and serene face now showing only disbelief, before turning to Madara with his mouth opening and closing like a carp. Madara simply walked up to his brother and reached a gloved hand to tip his chin up, gently closing his mouth, before saying, “Teach you to doubt me again, Otouto.”
Izuna flailed ridiculously, grabbing onto the front of Madara’s own haori and looking at his brother with wide eyes in his openly bewildered face. “How in the world, Aniki?” he moaned, then turned to look at Tobirama and looked back and forth between the two of them so fast his neck must have hurt. “How the hell did you actually catch him? And how is your throat not slit?” he asked, glaring suspiciously at his brother, but seemed to rein himself in some as he turned to Tobirama again, fully taking him in.
Tobirama did the same in turn, quick to get over his surprise at seeing his rival act so seemingly out of character. Of course Izuna would be more unrestrained here, in front of his elder brother, standing besides his clan walls, than he ever was on the battlefield. It was surprising to see this side of him, but then again there were clans out there who only knew Hashirama as the stern-faced Senju clan head. Tobirama would just need to observe and learn the man anew, from this changed perspective.
He bowed, carefully not too deep, testing for a reaction as Madara glanced at him from the corner of his eyes and from under his hair, then said the traditional phrase of introduction, “Izuna, this is my new husband Tobirama, born of the Senju, whom I have hunted and brought into our clan.” It was the sort of unnecessary form that could not be dispensed with, particularly with so many guards around to hear. Izuna bowed in return, to exactly the same depth, and his eyes were calculating when Tobirama made himself meet them.
“This is going to make for an interesting clan elder’s meeting, “ he said, calm again but not sneering as he tended to do on the field. “Welcome into the Uchiha, Tobirama,” he continued, “can I safely assume you’re not here to murder my kin and clansmen?” Madara bristled beside him, but Tobirama did not wait for him to intervene. The question was a fair one given the circumstances, so he answered it honestly, “I am bound by a hunt before the gods to hold the Uchiha as my own people.” Judging by the frozen stillness all around, guards holding their breath with disbelief at his words, this question had been for their benefit at well as Izuna’s.
“I intend to do my duty, honoured brother,” he continued, intoning the title pointedly “by my husband and my new clansmen both.” His voice might have been sharper than was ideal, but Izuna didn’t seem to take offence, just continued staring at him for a long beat before answering, “I see a hunt didn’t curb your tongue at all. Honoured brother.” His tone was dismissive, particularly on the title, but his black eyes never left Tobirama’s face. Tobirama in turn made sure not to let any emotion slip out at the reference to the hunt, and kept himself from snapping back. This was not the time nor the place, and Izuna was clearly testing him.
“Enough introductions,” Madara snapped, apparently having lost patience with their silent struggle, and started towards the Uchiha compound gates at a decisive pace. Tobirama moved to follow, and Izuna surprisingly stepped onto Tobirama’s other side as they walked, matching his brother’s gait.
It became clear, as they passed the guards, that the formation was meant as a reassurance to the Uchiha rather than as a threat to himself - Tobirama saw at least four shinobi flinch in shock at the sight of him, even framed by their chan head and his heir as he was. Unsurprising, given the history he had with these people, and while it would take less than an hour for news of his introduction to the clan to spread in a shinobi compound, as information tended to, it would take longer than that for people to ascertain the truth of it, and be reassured of his alliance.
They passed through the gate and Izuna, never slowing, instructed a young man to run to the elders’ council rooms and announce that Madara had urgent news to share. Then they were on what must have been a main street, and Madara started talking so he split his focus between his husband’s words, carefully modulated to not be heard at a distance, and the intriguing setup of the compound.
“The old crows won’t have time to gather more than fleeting news before we reach them,” Madara started as they passed what must have been the guard houses, and possibly a small stall built against the side of a wall. “I’ll make sure to shut them up before they start in on the hemming and hawing, then we’ll send out a letter declaring kinship to the Senju,” Madara went on, and there were dozens of little houses surrounding the street. Did the Uchiha all live in single-family homes? Izuna was nodding, adding on, “They’ve been plotting for weeks now and it only got more heated in your absence,” then glanced warily at Tobirama and continued, “this should shut them down quick enough though.” He seemed unusually quick to accept Tobirama as his brother’s spouse, but then again there was no denying the hunt, not Madara’s straight-backed determination to see this through.
The street was winding and the construction uneven, made to confuse potential intruders, and they did not seem to be heading towards the centre of the compound, judging by the spread of chakra signatures over the territory. They must have passed at least four food stalls and several cafes in their quick pace, and he could feel uncounted pairs of eyes tracking their progress. Children were peeking out from behind legs and windowsills, a few cats roaming the streets unbothered. No one approached them though, either because of the tension around them or his companions’ glares or else some Uchiha signal Tobirama had not picked up on.
They reached what must have been the council house, judging by the large uchiwa decorating the entryway and by the fact that all chakra signatures inside were agitated, but sat formally aligned in a large chamber. The boy from the gate was waiting in front, and informed Izuna that all elders were gathered, with an air that said he’d had to chase some out of their own homes to get them here in time. It was an amusing thought, and Tobirama focused on it, bracing himself for this introduction.
Madara gave him a look as though to ascertain he was ready, and Tobirama nodded back. It was a surprisingly good feeling, being looked to for confirmation, and he found himself hoping to be able to maintain this common front with his husband. They walked inside, Madara first and Tobirama and Izuna right behind him, to face the Uchiha elders’ council and have Tobirama formally introduced to the clan.
Meeting the in-laws
Well, the elders get their little show-down and Tobirama gets carried over the threshold into his new home.
(Um yeah I invented an Uchiha cousin just to add a female character to the mix, however brief her appearance, because the lack of women in the warring clans era is WEIRD to me. Uchiha Izumi is a Naruto character from Itachi's generation and I choose to believe the name is common in the clan.)
Thank you all for the support for this fic, I am honestly in awe.
The introduction to the elders was expectedly tedious and involved more screaming than Tobirama was used to from such affairs. Madara, who had been careful to modulate his tone around him so far, lost all compunctions after half an hour in which the council became less and less politic in listing their doubts. They were casting aspersions not just on Tobirama’s honour and word, or even on the Senju’s faith in a kinship-alliance, but on Madara himself and his ability to lead the clan through the peace negotiations and keep his foreign husband in check.
Izuna had intervened a few times at the start, easing the tempers with some carefully placed jokes, but seemed to grow more irritated himself as the elders argued over details and proved unwilling to accept the inevitable when it was presented to them. By the end the Uchiha heir did nothing more than glare heatedly and provide support to his brother with sharp, cruel remarks aimed to throw the elders off their course.
Tobirama himself, having been referred to as `wife`no less than four times and been indirectly called faithless traitor six times, concentrated on reigning in his temper and turning it ice-cold as Madara screamed and threatened beside him. When he was called upon to speak, all he gave them was the same assurances he’d offered Izuna at the gates, this accompanied by a cutting glare and some pointed remarks at their own faithlessness to the gods. It was slowly becoming clear to him from the mood of the room, the desperate way in which the elders seemed to cling to imaginary loopholes, that the Uchiha council recognized they had precious little over their clan head.
This made sense, as Madara was equal to Hashirama in the field, and Tobirama had had ample opportunity to witness how that near-godly power worked in strengthening his brother’s influence in his clan. The council of elders was valued for their political advice, but as they constantly opposed Hashirama’s efforts for peace, they were slowly pushed back and had little recourse against a clan head able to safeguard the entirety of the clan with the strength of his arms alone. The same dynamics seemed to be playing out in the Uchiha, and much more openly as Madara didn’t have anything of Hashirama’s charm and friendly demeanour to soften his power stance.
Finally, it was Izuna who placed his teacup on the table (it had been served by what seemed to be a low-ranking shinobi with a severe limp instead of a maid, and Tobirama filed that information away for later) and said,”This argument has been going around in circles for the last half an hour, and my brother will want to take his new husband home.” The latter wasn’t even loaded with the sort of leering contempt Tobirama had expected to hear from his rival, and Izuna continued, “I think we’re gotten as far as we’re going to get today, don’t you agree, honoured elders?”
His tone was light but decisive, and he pushed the cup away from himself just as Madara did the same. Tobirama, sat by Madara’s side, followed in the gesture, ignoring the way every elder flinched to look at him as he raised his hands. It was annoying to see them make such a display of their distrust, particularly as he was sat next to Madara, who had Izuna on his other side to back him. It seemed almost a deliberate insult, a show that the elders did not trust their clan head to protect them. Izuna went on, taking Madara’s silence as instruction to finish the meeting, “The letter to the Senju will have reached them soon, and we can expect their reply by tomorrow. We’ll reconvene once it is received.”
That appeared to be that, as Madara stood and Izuna and Tobirama followed. They left the house without bowing, and once on the street the brothers sighed and Tobirama allowed his shoulders to drop out of the formal stance he had been struggling to maintain. At the very least, this meeting had made it clear that the Uchiha elders would not dare disparage him to his face, at least not in Madara’s presence - meaning he could start working his way into the council from a position of relative respect. That, and the insight into the power dynamics of the clan, would have to be good enough for now.
They walked through more streets lined with little houses and stalls, and it looked more and more like the Uchiha didn’t have organised markets, instead peppering their compound with individual merchants. “We’ll have to get ready for some more of that, once the Senju’s answer comes in,” Madara grumbled under his breath, “and if the old crows take it upon themselves to find fault in every single condition of the peace, I’ll have to find a way to push them out of the talks altogether.”
Izuna nodded and looked to Tobirama to ask, “Will Hashirama be willing to have the talks without his own elders council?” and that was a good question, actually. “Hashirama’s council includes his wife, our cousin Touka and some select elders who back him. The remaining elders of the clan can be pushed out of face-to-face meetings quite easily, as he can claim to replace them with active warriours.” The brothers took in this information and gave each other considering looks, a silent exchange, as they continued along the side street.
Keeping his gaze carefully neutral and matching his pace to Madara’s even stride, Tobirama started to feel a bit like he was taking part in a kabuki play. Eyes followed them everywhere. While no adult on the street outright gaped at them, they were not shy about stealing glances as they only vaguely pretended to keep going about their business, their chakra and even their breathing seeming to enter a watchful responsive state in tandem. Meanwhile several older children froze in place when they appeared around corners, and some of the younger ones even followed them down the street for a bit before being silently intercepted by older Uchiha and herded away and to cover.
Izuna called greetings and threw joking remarks at people as they passed, announcing their coming and alleviating some of the tension, which was jarring in and of itself. The Uchiha heir that Tobirama knew from the field, with his ever-present sneer and cutting words, seemed to take on the role of social buffer between his clan and older brother once inside their compound walls. It was an odd, mismatched mirror held up to the relationship Tobirama had with his own sibling.
The houses grew somewhat more dispersed, separated by private gardens, and they passed two small training grounds, where several other Uchiha engaged in a coordinated dance of observing them and then politely pretending not to stare as they walked past. News of the marriage must have spread already, or at least news of his presence, because while he felt eyes on his back there was no rush to gather information after their passing.
They were approaching a house slightly aside from the others and he took in the small uchiwa painted tastefully on the doors, the privacy walls around the garden, and surmised this to be Madara’s house. It looked small, as though intended for a nuclear family like the others, nowhere near large enough to host banquets or house all of the clan head’s close kin.
He’d known the Uchiha to be less wealthy than the Senju, but was surprised by how minor the differences in the housing arrangements of their clan leadership and the lower ranking members were. Madara’s house was not in any way more opulent than those of some others around it. This must have worked to bring them all closer together, a basis for the famed Uchiha clan loyalty that served them so well in the wars.
There were two shinobi standing outside of Madara’s house as though on guard, eyes locked onto them more openly than the rest of the clan had dared to look so far. He recognized them as commanders active in previous battles, a man skilled in senbon and a woman wielding a large kama. Madara spotted them and muttered, “And there’s the other welcoming committee, here we go,” but didn’t seem all that angry as he headed towards them.
Izuna was grinning, so Tobirama wasn’t too worried about the two shinobi’s intentions or having to face some sort of public denouncement. Izuna had invested too much publl in supporting the marriage alliance to the elders just to now risk it all for the sake of public displays aimed to humiliate Tobirama. Once they were close enough, it was the clan heir who made introductions.
“Hikaku, Izumi, may I introduce you to Madara’s new husband, Tobirama, formerly of the Senju clan, whom he hunted down and brought into the Uchiha for us,” he said the formal words with humour and a sort of flourish, and the man, Hikaku, looked skyward in apparent despair before cringing and bowing to him. The woman bowed with him, and introduced herself and her brother as Madara and Izuna’s cousins, so Tobirama returned their bow evenly.
“We have a meal set up inside for you,” Izumi continued, seemingly ignoring Hikaku’s worried fussing and the way Izuna slid comfortably into teasing him for one thing or another, “and there’s enough to feed all of us, unless you would prefer to have your peace for today.” She kept her voice neutral as she said it, addressing Madara but keeping an eye on Tobirama all the while.
Madara only snorted and turned to head towards the house, looking back over his shoulder to say, “Sure, invite yourselves into my house, why don’t you, meddling idiots.” But he did not seem angry with them and they were not discouraged by the words, so this must be their normal interactions. It made him think of Touka’s cheerful violence and rough handling, though it was still surprising to see this come from a clan head and be met with not a hint of wariness.
It was odd to him in general to see the Uchiha behaving so casually, so very differently from the way they did on the battlefield, and even in front of the guards and clan elders. This was Madara’s close family, and so all of these people were now Tobirama’s kin by the law of the gods. Tobirama would make efforts to treat them with respect, both as his kin and as political agents in the Uchiha, and so far they seemed open to doing the same.
As they all approached he again took in his husband’s house, which was now his new home. Nothing like the spacious, many-chambered Senju main house, this one was small and neat, obviously made to hold people who would be willing to share space, but more than large enough for two. What he could see of the garden was very nice, and he was glad for the fact that it was built slightly away from the bustling centre of the compound. He would be able to enjoy the garden without quite so many sharp black eyes to follow his every move.
Their small group was at the front step and taking off their shoes when Hikaku seemed to flail a bit, trying to make some subtle sign before correcting himself as his eyes were fixed on Tobirama. Izumi sighed and Izuna said on a laugh, “Welp, there’s some ritual to this bit. Hey Tobirama, how do you feel about being carried into your new house?” The other two Uchiha seemed to cringe more or less subtly as they waited for his response, while Madara eyed him through his bangs before looking to his brother with grumpy resentment.
“What Izuna means is that we have a tradition about a bride not taking the first step onto the veranda on their own,” Madara clarified with a huff, and Tobirama was suddenly painfully aware of the potential to make jokes about consummation there. Not even Izuna had pushed that topic so far and he was grateful for it, but of course everyone was aware of how the hunt was finished, and Tobirama wore some highly visible markings above his collar to bring the point home to any who may doubt it. Perhaps they expected him to balk at the public display?
“I don’t suppose you plan to supplex me in there,” he told Madara in his most casual, demonstratively relaxed tone, and the man huffed again as Izuna choked on a laugh and Izumi snorted, but seemed to relax nonetheless. Madara turned to face Tobirama, reached out and took him by the waist with both hands and unceremoniously lifted him off the ground. The touch was familiar and he was surprised himself at how unbothered it left him to be suspended above the ground, strong warm hands over the softest parts of him, as Madara allowed him a moment to drop his sandals before placing him smoothly on socked feet on top of the wooden veranda.
“There, the ritual has been carried out,” Madara informed him in an almost playful tone, before meeting his eyes to add, “Welcome home, husband.” Tobirama inclined his head, accepting the greeting as he stood at the door of his new home. Izuna clapped once before Hikaku smacked his hands apart hurriedly. Their distant, watchful audience seemed to collectively slump in relief, and they left the stage of the veranda to enter the house.
After that, the tension between the four of them lowered significantly and they discussed the potential peace as they ate, with only mild questioning of Tobirama over his brother’s potential reaction to the call for peace. No one brought up how Hashirama might react to hearing the news of the hunt, which Tobirama was immensely grateful for, and Izuna made only inoffensive jokes about his lack of dowry before being shut down by his cousins.
Madara joined the flailing a few times, pulled his brother’s long tail of hair at one stage, and seemed to relax into the family atmosphere as his chakra grew progressively calmeder with the evening. Tobirama felt the smooth pull of the chakra calming him in turn, as though with relief to see his husband and his husband’s family so human, so unexpectedly willing to share this with him when he hadn’t even had the chance to prove himself to them yet. He could live here, he suddenly thought during a lull in the conversation, listening to Izumi’s gleeful sniggers over some joke at Hikaku’s expense.
Marital bliss at the end of the day
This chapter is explicit smut again, because it's how their relationship started and it's the best way I can find to show where it's heading, while moving the characters away from the forced interactions of the hunt.
I've gone back and forth on this a lot, and have a whole alternate chapter in my drafts from the first draft of the fic, where the MadaTobi relationship was significantly less soft and would never grow into the trust and love that I'm building towards here. So this chapter got a lot of thought put into it and I hope it shows the emotional nuance and potential for growing affection I am projecting on it :)))
Thank you all again for your wonderful feedback and kudos, it's incredibly encouraging. I hope you enjoy the read!
Once they were alone again, in this house so very different from the room at the inn, Madara stretched out his shoulders and took off his haori, carrying it into the bedroom and hanging it up in the closet along with his outer kimono. Tobirama followed, as he had done all day, and started shedding his own clothes, happy to be rid of the formal wear. Madara settled down with a groan and waited for him to finish, and when Tobirama turned around, he found his husband in his underclothes, watching him thoughtfully from where he was sat on the floor.
When Madara motioned him closer he felt the nervous twitch in his stomach he had been managing to ignore since their private conversation at the inn. He’d been expecting this, knew it was coming but still worried it over and over in his mind, memories of the hunt flashing before his eyes. Tobirama made sure to keep his face clear of his thoughts as he approached and knelt down by Madara’s carelessly splayed out legs. His husband reached out and touched his cheek, caressing the side of his jaw with a warm, dry hand before turning his face up so their eyes would meet. “Are you ready to be touched again?” he asked in the careful tone he’d used on Tobirama a few times before.
An angry reply almost crossed his lips, but he held it back, thinking to the previous day and how offended Madara had been at the thought of Tobirama pretending, of a husband who would agree to sex but only reluctantly. He had been honest when he said that was not what he wished from the marriage, either. It would take some time for Tobirama to work through his own reluctance in the face of vulnerability, but he could get used to this and learn to be easy with it. For now, it would be beneficial to practice the nearness, the feeling of skin on skin. He reminded himself that Madara was unlikely to be cruel this time, careful as he seemed to be about their intimacy do far. There was no reason to postpone, waiting would only make him more anxious.
“Yes,” he answered, voice calm and assured as he met his husband’s eyes, determined to perform adequately this time. He had no idea what to say in such a situation and was unwilling to force out some statement that was just as likely to spark Madara’s ire, so he chose to turn his face into the hand touching him and open up his body instead, in a way a shinobi as skilled as Madara was unlikely to miss. Indeed his husband’s eyes slid to his neck and shoulders, over his relaxed hands, and he did not seem displeased at Tobirama’s lack of conversation.
“Come closer,” Madara ordered, and when Tobirama rose to obey, unsure how to get any closer as their knees were nearly touching, took him by the arm and guided him until he was sitting with his hip pressed to Madara’s thigh, knee resting against the wall, their faces close together. Their breaths mingled and it was like the first again, someone else’s breathing across his cheeks.
Or maybe this was just what sex was generally like, Tobirama told himself, and this was his husband who he would be having sex with for the rest of their lives. This was the time to let things happen, he reminded himself again, pushing back against all instinct to grasp for control over the situation. Trust had never come easy to him, not even in obedience to his clan head, but Madara had made it clear that he was willing to wait him out. Tobirama was not ungrateful for this kindness, among the others his husband had shown.
“Today went better than expected,” Madara said, and apparently they were going to talk about it while sitting like this, touching and barely dressed. He took a breath and replied, “I suppose this means the elders did not take unusually high offense at their treatment?” to which Madara chuckled meanly, still stroking at his cheek. “Let them stew for a bit, that just softens them up for the actual negotiations. And they got to get a good look at your ice-cold fox face, a handy reminder of just who I married to force this peace.”
Tobirama curled up his nose at the description, but had to agree that his presence, the former second in command of the Senju army with a reputation he was more than aware of, had had visible effect on the elders. “Will you be using me as a scarecrow then, until this peace comes through?” he asked, keeping as neutral a tone as he could. It was a sound plan, and he was being unreasonable in his distaste for it. Madara leant back his head to get a better look at Tobirama’s face, and said “Not any more than what we did today,” with a weary sigh.
“Having you seen standing by my side as we negotiate is more than enough to push the point, and you did so good talking to the elders, you won’t need to be scaring them off your back anymore,” he continued, and Tobirama was ashamed to feel himself pleased with the praise. Madara kept talking, though, “And if you can manage to keep up with Izuna, Izumi and Hikaku the way you have been, that’ll work to strengthen your position and reassure the clan you do mean to be one of us in the long term.” That was a relief to hear, and he had hoped for so much after the unexpectedly peaceful dinner with Madara’s family.
Finally, Madara leaned back in to press his forehead to Tobirama’s temple and added, “I didn’t expect this to be so easy,” in a tone of confession. “I never expected you to stand by my side in support and give your word to my kin like this.” He brushed his lips to Tobirama’s ear softly, barely there, and continued, “I am grateful to you, Tobirama.” The words sank into his bones one after the other, unexpected and unasked for and touching parts of him he hadn’t known were there. His father’s face flashed through his mind and he forced it away as he shut his eyes firmly, and focused on the feeling of his husband’s breath against his cheek.
“I hope to stand by your side in the future as well,” he forced himself to answer, feeling his face twist in an embarrassed scowl at the stupidly open statement. But it was becoming more and more apparent that his husband liked to have these types of talks, in private, and Tobirama realized how useful they would be in building up some trust between them. How much that mattered just now, as they were getting ready to broker the peace.
“When I told you I am offering up my entire self, I meant it and hope, with time, to gain the trust of the clan and be one of them in truth.” His throat clenched up at the unfamiliar words, and his husband’s hand ran down his shoulder and back soothingly. “This peace that you speak of so easily is not something that I can fathom, but I will put myself in its service and hope it will bring stability and happiness for the Uchiha, and for the clan of my birth as well.”
Madara sat with him in silence for a while, still touching him with broad warm hands, as they both took the time to settle into the truths shared between them. Then Madara reached up to the back of his head to stroke his hair again, and seemed to be admiring the white strands as he ran his fingers through them. He leant forward and brushed his nose against Tobirama’s face, making eye contact and moving to kiss his cheek very softly. The air between them changed slowly with the touches, and Madara dropped a line of kisses along what Tobirama realized was his red marking, leading to his ear, and whispered right in it, “You’re so lovely, I never saw this about you before but now it’s all I can think about,” in a breathy tone very different from their previous exchange.
Then he pulled back to look Tobirama over again, reaching up to pull his thin white robe open wider at the neck and running his eyes over the purpled marks with proprietary satisfaction. None of the Uchiha that had so carefully observed them today would have had a doubt in mind on just why Tobirama was inside their clan walls, or how he had gotten introduced to the clan. It was not a bad thing, it gave the Uchiha a firm reassurance that he was one of their ranks now, bound to their clan head, and not an outsider to be feared. A first step to gaining their trust and working among them.
“You seem to drift away from me sometimes,” Madara said, running his thumb across Tobirama’s neck, and the rough sword callus scratched at his thin skin, pulling him out of his thoughts with a gasp. “I am right here beside you,” Tobirama countered and placed a hand cautiously on the other man’s chest, half on his skin where his own underobe gaped open to the waist. Madara seemed to enjoy the touch, and leant forward to kiss him on the lips.
Surrounded by wispy hair and fiery chakra, with hands touching him and a hot mouth on his, Tobirama was indeed completely unable to give his thoughts to anything but what was happening in the moment. He sighed through his nose and, when Madara tipped his chin to the side encouragingly, did his best to respond to the kiss. It was so warm and wet, a tongue running ticklishly across his lips before slipping inside, sliding across his own tongue and making him shiver at the sensation. Madara pulled back after long moments,and he found he had to catch his breath.
“Are you alright?” he asked, and Tobirama resisted the urge to bristle. This was not an attempt to imply his unfitness to the role of husband, but rather it was Madara checking in to see if the touch was still welcome, rather than just accepted. There was a fine difference there, in Tobirama’s mind, but obviously his husband thought differently about it.
“I am more than alright,” he replied, moving his hand from Madara’s chest to his shoulder where he could stroke a thick lock of hair, and leaning forward in turn to gently kiss the corner of his husband’s mouth. The touch was well received, to his satisfaction, and Madara reached an arm around his waist and pulled him up and closer in one smooth movement. Tobirama’s bottom ended up on his lap and he was looking down, startled, into moonless night eyes.
“Tell me if that changes, won’t you?” Madara said, before leaning to kiss at his neck again, his hand stroking over Tobirama’s thigh and lower back. It was warm and close again, his hand on Madara’s shoulder sank deep into his thick long hair, the other coming up as well on reflex. Madara had moved to kissing his shoulder, and was nosing around the edge of the white robe until finally he reached up and pushed it off. Hot breath on his skin, a warm hand stroking circles into his lower back and another tugging at his clothes to get more skin exposed, and Tobirama could feel the warmth sink low in his belly.
Madara seemed caught up in exploring his body with a focused dedication that matched the intensity of his eyes, and he was working his way to Tobirama’s collarbone, slipping a hand inside his robe to stroke his stomach and side. Tobirama trembled under the caress just like he had the first time, it was so warm and close and dangerous, and as the shivers of pleasure mixed with instinctive fear ran through his body he could feel his nipples tighten with the sensation. Madara must have noticed also, because he leant down and put his mouth to one without hesitation, running his tongue wetly across it and sucking it until Tobirama let out a moan.
The world closed in on just the two of them, his senses caught in Madara’s blazing chakra and hands and mouth, his chest as it expanded next to Tobirama’s own, the entire warm presence of him. Madara was running warm hands over him with more urgency now, and he let go of the nipple he’d been kissing with a rather obscene pop to turn his face up and kiss Tobirama on the mouth, quick and hot pecks one after the other.
“Do you want to come, lovely?” he asked when he finally took a break, and Tobirama had to catch his own breath and struggle to get an answer out, dazed from the heat. An odd question to ask, but then again Madara seemed determined to have his verbal agreement now so he would give it, and see what his husband intended. The touching had made him quite ready, so he could even be honest about this. “Yes,” he gasped, turning his face into Madara’s temple and feeling the hand on his abdomen slip down to his crotch to test the hardness there. Madara moaned and seemed to growl a bit, scraping his teeth over Tobirama’s jaw before moving his hands down and lifting him from under the thighs.
He was bodily turned around again, back to Madara’s chest and legs arranged on either side of his husband’s. He could feel the hard pulse of Madara’s cock pushing against his bottom through both their robes and shamefully it made him tense up with nerves. Tobirama berated himself internally, he had no reason for the overreaction, particularly not after this had already passed between them painlessly in the woods. He could take being fucked, had taken it, so he had no reason to react like this again.
Tobirama took a few steadying breaths, Madara having curled around his back and started kissing behind his ear as his hands roamed freely. This was his husband, who had the right to do as he pleased with Tobirama’s body, and who had proven himself gentle and willing to indulge him when he needed to take it slow. This would feel good, he knew, and though he would never ask his husband to stop in the middle of things, he was surprised to find himself certain that Madara would stop if he did request it. More than that, this certainty gave him comfort and helped him relax into the sensations.
Madara started stroking over his chest, hands cupping and massaging his pectoral muscles, palms rubbing over his nipples before fingers went to tug them and roll them and do other things that left Tobirama gasping for breath. He hadn’t known his chest was sensitive, hadn’t imagined sex was something that would happen all over the body, instead of just between the legs. Once again, his husband’s touch was ceaseless, seeming to gain in intensity as he worked.
It felt like he was catching fire, his chest burning us, his neck blooming in new bruises and Madara breathed into his ear, “Feels good, love?” the same as he had after the hunt, and Tobirama focused on the overwhelming pleasure that came with his touch. It shot up and down his chest, his spine, collected heavy between his legs, and he could be honest when he turned his face to answer, “It does,” right near Madara’s own mouth.
That earned him another groan muffled in the back of his neck before the hot mouth fastened onto the knobs of his spine, and Madara reached down between his legs to cup him through the thin layers of his underclothes. As that broad palm pressed down onto his cock, Madara’s hips pushed up under him, and again, until there was a rhythm to the movements. He couldn’t move without breaking it, couldn’t even reach to brace himself on the floor with his hands properly, so he could just let this happen.
Madara was groaning and kissing him, hands all over him and seeming to mime sex without ever taking off the last of their clothes. He was breathing hard and kissing at Tobirama’s neck, moving his hand and hips to guide their lower bodies together, hair flying over Tobirama’s own shoulder and chest, sticking to both of their sweaty skin. Tobirama breathed hard, moaning and gasping as the pressure in his belly grew and grew. It was unrelenting, and Madara wasn’t letting go of his nipples, moving from one to the other so they had just enough time to grow sensitive again before the fingers were back, rubbing and pulling and twisting just enough to sting.
It was maddening, intense, his body on the edge of a panic response from the stimulation and the lack of mobility, and he felt his toes clench as his orgasm hit him with the force of a wind element jutsu. Madara felt it happening, gentled his touch and worked him through it until Tobirama let out an embarassing, overstimulated whimper. In response, he was carefully tipped over to lay onto his side, and Madara shushed him, lay behind him and pulled up the bottom edge of his robe.
“I’m not going to fuck you,” he whispered raggedly, struggling to catch his breath. “Just let me… just a bit,” he continued, apparently unable to put the words together, and Tobirama nodded as much as he could through his exhausted daze. Of course Madara could do what he wanted, but what his husband wished for was agreement, so he gave it.
Madara pressed his entire body against Tobirama’s, chest to back and hips to ass, but then his hips moved a bit lower and he worked his hands between them, knuckles brushing against the very bottom of Tobirama’s buttocks. His fundoshi were still in the way, but Madara didn’t bother taking them off, but pushed his cock between Tobirama’s thighs instead. An arm came around him to hold on, and Madara bit into his shoulder and fucked him like that.
It was an odd sensation, and he braced himself on the tatami floor, legs pressing together and body rocking slightly with the thrusts. Still sex, just without penetration this time, and the feeling of teeth and lips working against his spine was almost familiar. Madara’s arm was around his waist but he didn’t feel the panic of being restrained. The chakra surrounding them both was intense with the owner’s need for release, the house quiet around them, and Tobirama felt strangely as though he could relax like this.
With a loud groan and another bite on Tobirama’s shoulder, Madara came, once again freezing in place when it was over and holding Tobirama still to match. They were breathing in sink, and slowed down together, relaxing into the comfortable floors. Madara stroked his shoulder and side before pulling back, then reached down to use Tobirama’s own robe to wipe at his legs. It was a practical solution, but Tobirama couldn’t help but wrinkle his nose, face turned away from the mess.
Madara noticed and snorted at him, but when he looked, Tobirama could see the man was amused rather than annoyed. “Let’s have a bath, prissy winter fox,” Madara said, “you can have a look and see if it’s big enough to share of if you’d rather take turns.”
Enjoy the night, face the day
And here we finally get a second-hand look at Hashirama's reaction, mainly through Madara's own sense of guilt. There will be more to it in the final chapter.
I hope you enjoy the fic as it draws towards its end!
The invitation was more than welcome, even with the additional remarks that Madara seemed to amuse himself by making. Tobirama found he did not mind his husband’s name calling during sex and outside of it, as it never seemed to be an attempt to insult him. He could feel his face heating up at the thought of the things Madara sometimes said during sex and looked away to compose himself. It was shameful how little he minded, how the distracted compliments pleased him in the moment he heard them. It was indeed all about the heat of the moment, he told himself firmly. No need to think more on it.
Tobirama stood up, abandoning his soiled robe and underwear in a basket Madara had indicated to him before with no little relief, and followed his husband through their house to the bathing chamber. It was indeed small, merely a room for washing with a tub in the corner, but it was built right next to the house with a connecting corridor. One could step into it as though it were just another room, rather than a separate outhouse. The tub was made of wood and large enough to sit two men who did not mind touching one another.
“I wouldn’t mind sharing your bath, if you are not against it,” he turned to say to Madara, who was eyeing him speculatively. After their previous activity, body still buzzing from the touch and the orgasm, he was surprised to find himself not unopposed to further company. In the cool evening air, his skin felt shivery and exposed, and he could see Madara looking the same way he had at the inn, as though learning his naked body and how to be bare around him in turn.
Madara showed him the yukata and towels in a cupboard right outside the chamber, and they took a towel each before stepping inside. The water piping looked familiar enough, but some of it led into what looked like a large metal kettle immobilised on another metal pot with a large hole in the side. It must have been a system for heating the water, because Madara leant over to pot and, with minimal chakra application and hand signing, blew narrow hot flames directly into it. The heat could be felt from a distance, and Tobirama moved to look inside the pot. There was a metal rod in there, one that quickly grew red-hot under Madara’s flame, and it seemed to travel into the kettle above.
“Impressively simple design,” Tobirama said, taking in the way it was perfectly adapted to Uchiha use. Obviously it had been made by a smith well familiar with its purpose, and was pleasingly shaped though undecorated. “Do you heat the water inside to boiling, then mix it with cold?”
Madara pointed out two pipes coming out of the kettle, one low to the ground, one leading to the tub, and said “It all depends on how you want it, for the tub I boil the water and add some cold on top, but for washing I just heat it up enough to use. The boiler’s full, so it takes a while for the water to reach boiling point”.
Then he picked up a large wooden bucket and brought it under the downwards pointing pipe, and showed Tobirama how to work the wooden handle to run the water inside. “Then you open the cold waterway and fill it up again,” he finished, pointing out the metal handle of a pipe coming in from the outside and splitting to run into both the boiler and the tub. Madara let cold water run into the tub and stopped the one running into the boiler, and the piping worked without a creak. It really was a well-thought out system, Tobirama was impressed.
His husband sat down on a wooden bench and motioned him to join, and they took turns tipping pitchers of the hot water from the bucket over themselves and washing with the supplies held in a suspended caddie on the wall of the room. He noted the way there was one pitcher, one bar of soap, all signs that Madara had been living alone before, as he had no particular reason to have carefully removed all indications of a previous inhabitant.
For all of Tobirama’s need to be alone, he couldn’t imagine having a house all to himself as a matter of fact, but this seemed the Uchiha norm. His husband did not seem to take offence at his presence, and the house was large enough for just the two of them that they could be in separate rooms if the need arose, but it was an odd situation to him nonetheless. Still, he had to admit that he would have had much more difficulties relaxing into his husband’s touch while feeling others nearby, and having to consider potential interruptions. The lack of need for propriety and clothing as they walked to the bathing chamber was also a plus..
Once they were done, Madara stopped the cold water and started the hot water from the boiler into the tub, and this had evidently had time to grow quite hot over the last few minutes, as it whistled slightly and came out steaming. “It has a vent on top so the steam can escape,” Madara explained, seeing his interested look, “and we haven’t had one of these explode in years.”
Tobirama gave the boiler a look, but continued to be impressed despite himself. “Do you let children use these?” he asked, curious and calculating the odds of accidents, and Madara grimaced.
“Of course we don’t let children at them, seriously? We discourage children from using any fire jutsu inside to begin with, otherwise we’d be rebuilding the damn compound every other month.” He spoke with the familiar despair of a man who had had to argue this self-evident point many times over, and knew he would have to get back to its defense soon enough. Tobirama, to his own surprise, had to suppress a smile at the familiar tone.
They soaked inside the tub for a long time, and at one point Madara let some more hot water run in. When they were both well and relaxed, Madara reached over and stroked his hand through Tobirama’s wet hair at the nape, rubbing the skin at the back of his neck gently and saying, “I suppose I’ll get used to your cooked lobster look given time,” in such a soft voice it took Tobirama a moment to let the words sink in. He shot his husband an angry scowl at that, moving to shift away from the hand. “Don’t make that sour face at me when you look like a wet, overripe tomato,” Madara advised, moving closer to him.
Tobirama shot back before thinking, “You seemed to have no problem with my appearance this evening, dear husband,” before thinking twice about it. Madara didn’t appear to mind the sarcasm, instead leaning in to kiss his temple and then his cheek and, when Tobirama didn’t pull away again, his mouth as well. The heat and steam had made his lips swollen, sensitive and very soft, and the kiss sent shivers all through him.
“I still don’t have a problem with your looks,” he whispered right against Tobirama’s mouth, the rush of air against his lips arresting. “You’re beautiful and I can’t seem to keep my hands off of you,” he continued, making Tobirama blush but he knew it would not be visible in the heat. They sat like that, with Madara’s arm now wrapped around his shoulders, for a while more, and Tobirama rested his head against the side of the tub and considered that he was already getting used to his husband’s touch, after all.
Hashirama’s answer came the next morning, the courier having been sent out long before dawn, and it pained Tobirama to imagine his beloved brother staying up all night trying to accept the news, compose an answer and send it out as soon as he possibly could. He hoped that Hashirama’s regard for Madara would have reassured him that Tobirama was not being treated poorly as the Uchiha awaited the Senju reply. Mito may have helped to keep his brother calm, but Touka must have been raging, he thought guiltily, she must be going mad with worry for him.
They read the letter in the council house, Izuna and the elders gathered in another room. The official letter was formal and stilted, and made polite inquiries on their health and the passing of the hunt that spoke of Mito’s practiced diplomacy. The signature was slightly wobbly, and it sent a painful twinge through Tobirama’s chest to imagine his older brother’s broad, brown hands shaking as he held the brush. Tobirama’s own letter must have worked well enough to stop Hashirama and Touka from trying to raise an army and come to his rescue, but obviously not so well as to set his brother’s worries at ease.
“I half expected him to come in person, if only to spit in my face for what I’ve done,” Madara whispered, almost like an unwilling confession, voice low and strained. It must have been awareness of the elders nearby, but the strain around his mouth and his stiff hands spoke of other worries as well. This was Hashirama’s friend, Tobirama suddenly realized. It was easy to imagine that Hashirama’s dreams of peace and friendship were one-sided but, as the first had proven to be obviously untrue, the second assumption was now also put under question.
“He has always spoken of you with fondness,” Tobirama decided to try, “and with hope for some form of reconciliation.”
Madara shut his eyes with a huff and set the letter down. “Do you think any of that might still hold true, when I took his last remaining brother from him? And in such a way as well?”
Tobirama halted, trying to read the other man and still not quite able to. “Anja knows I was not forced to write him and ask that he accept the union, and so he must know I am not held a prisoner in your home.” He tried to guess at Madara’s meaning, “If you believe he would have kept me beside him for our entire lives when it might have benefitted the Senju to have me married into another clan, you are mistaken. Hashirama loves me dearly, of this I have no doubt, but I expect him to do duty as I will do mine. He knows this well about me.”
Instead of seeing the eminently reasonable point he was making, Madara simply turned to him with an unimpressed look. “Are you really so careless of your own well-being and happiness?” he asked, tone dubious, “How can you equate an arranged marriage to not only a spontaneous hunt, but one called by an Uchiha on a Senju? Of course Hashirama will not forgive me for running his brother down and taking him into my clan, and how could he trust that I won’t hurt you when there is practically no scenario here that would have allowed you to remain unharmed?”
His voice had raised quite a bit by the end, and Tobirama felt the chakras in the building sharpen in attention as everyone must have been straining to hear the clan head’s reaction to the letter. He would have to tamp down his own irritation with Madara’s unreasonable attitude in favour of settling the elders. With a deep, silent breath, he laid a hand on Madara’s forearm and said, “I am unharmed, honoured husband,” in a voice just loud enough to carry through the building in the silence that had settled after Madara’s anger. He got a baleful look for that one, but made himself meet it and stared his husband down.
“This is not me lying or pretending to happily accept my recent… change in status,” he went on in a softer, private voice, “I will not pretend to have chosen this marriage, but as I said before, I fully intend to stand by it.” Madara looked more surprised that angry now, so he continued, “Don’t act like you are holding me against my will or that I am in danger at all times inside the Uchiha walls. This is not enemy grounds for me, this is my home now and I will learn to fit in it.” He finished with a determined tone, whispering and almost angry with the assumptions Madara was making of his ability to survive and adapt, even after having given his word to do so.
Madara was still staring at him, mouth slightly open, before turning to look at the letter again. “That’s already more than I had any right to expect, despite how I brought you into this clan without giving you a choice in the matter.” He set his shoulders before continuing, “And I will still ask more, because that’s who I am, and because I begin to see the kind of man you are. I will make a place for you here, so you don’t have to push your way in, and in return I want you to try to be happy.”
Tobirama gave him a look this time. Happy, what was that even? Laughing and joking with Touka came to mind, or playing at training with some of the Senju children, but those were more like sparks of joy that reinforced the sustained happiness of knowing his people to be safe and fed, now and for the foreseeable future. He would be happy when the ceasefire was called, and when he got to see his brother’s face and lay to rest his fears, and ensure his new clan trusted him to care for them as he had for the clan of his birth.
That did not seem an easy goal to reach, but Tobirama had never been a man to aim for easy targets. “I cannot offer you my happiness, but I will offer the work that it takes to find my role here, by your side and in the clan.” he told Madara, in a bare whisper now, “And my trust, as I gave my word that I would.” This was between the two of them, this naked honesty they’d sworn to in the inn after the hunt. Madara nodded, and touched the back of the hand Tobirama had left on his arm with his own gloved fingers.
They stood to go face the elders. This would be a stone to build upon, he told himself, and Hashirama (or, more likely, Mito) had carefully hinted at further steps in the proceedings as they ended the letter, laying the ground for further correspondence. The elders could make a fuss all they wanted, the peace talks had already been put forward and both clan heads would push them with all their not inconsiderable might.
This time, Tobirama spoke up in the council, still carefully avoiding any offense, after Madara had spoken to inform the elders that Senju Hashirama had confirmed their kinship. When the elders went to protest some of the suggestions in the Senju’s first letter, and the trust these implied had already been established between the warring clans, he stepped in to say “My brother has longed for this peace for many years. He strives to lay the foundation for long-term relations between the clans, and wishes to see trade prosper. He will not strive to weaken the Uchiha when he has kinsmen among them to think of, and he does not break his word once given.”
His intervention was met with brief silence, either from the surprise of having him speak up or from the sudden realisation that bringing Hashirama’s word into question would now mean insulting the honour of Madara’s kinsman. Izuna shot him a pleased, narrow-eyed grin without turning his head with the motion. Madara sat beside him at the low table, unmoving, but his chakra hummed in smug contentment. The letter carrying the peace agreement was laid out between them like a victory flag in the first scuffle Tobirama faced as spouse to the Uchiha clan head.
live happily ever after
So this is the final chapter of the fic, and I agonized a bit over it but I feel it wraps things up relatively neatly.
Finally, after some requests in the comments, it's a Madara POV chapter, so I hope this comes across well. This version of Madara is super happy and soft because he had a lot of good things happening to him lately after a lifetime of hardship, and he's still adjusting to what his new life is like. Also, he's in full "New relationship high" mode.
I cannot thank you enough for the support that this fic has received. It's unbelievable how much this kind of thing helps, and how some kind words in a comment make my day and help me convince myself that my little writings are worth the effort, and worth posting for other people to read. This space (fandom? pairing? AO3 community?) is incredibly kind and supportive, and I feel honoured to have contributed my little bit to it.
- 6 months later -
Madara stood up from the writing desk with a curse, rolling the letter he’d just received up and stuffing it in his sleeve before he slammed out of the council building. The fucking Nara had some guts, sending peace terms as soon as those between Uchiha and Senju were signed. They’d obviously been waiting for this, and it rankled that he wouldn’t even be able to throw the scroll at Shikako’s fucking head in disdain because they both knew the Uchiha needed the medicine.
The terms were good, too, he thought as he marched angrily through the compound, with trade benefits and protection for his people among the Nara lands. Shikako obviously knew something about the Uchiha-Senju agreements if she’d gone that far in her offer, or else she simply used her uncanny brain to extrapolate on what Madara’s marriage must have brought between the former enemy clans. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to re-check all delegations for spies, or in fact for any Yamanaka interference. Those mind-meddling bastards had come around right fast on the Small Sea access route, once it had become known that the most powerful clans in the area would be forming an alliance, but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t have taken the chance to gather some information as soon as it presented itself.
“Wow, Aniki, you look like someone’s poisoned all your cups of tea today,” came a voice from beside him as Izuna fell into step with him, “I’ve seen three small children burst into tears when they saw you pass by with that face.” Madara shot his annoyingly chipper little brother a look.
“I wish the bratlings were that easy to get out of my hair.” It was only a half-truth. Madara had always been well-loved by his clan but, ever since his Mangekyo awakened and he took over leadership, his people had become a bit more hesitant to approach him freely. That had eased up some with Izuna’s concerted efforts, and Madara would never talk about how grateful he was to his brother for the unflinching support. Izuna didn’t need to hear it said out loud anyway, he knew his place in Madara’s heart well enough.
The brat in question smirked knowingly at him and said, “Ah ah, Tobirama wouldn’t be happy to hear you talk like that, Aniki. You know how much he dotes on Kagami and all the other kidlings he can corrall into training sessions.” And Madara did know, it had been quite the surprise to watch his moon-skinned spouse take to caring for children like he’d been raised to do it. Madara could only grunt his assent, mind drifting to images of Tobirama’s pretty red eyes softening on some random bratlings, his easy smiles around the clan children once they had built up the bravery to approach him.
In fact, Madara was pretty sure Kagami’d been dared to walk up to the White Demon and request his assistance in a minor jutsu, but the look on the kid’s face when Tobirama had taken him up on the offer was an amusing memory even now. The look on Tobirama’s face, when Madara had agreed to allow him to teach basic jutsu to a team of 4 kids headed by Kagami, only four months into their marriage, was something Madara regretted not having had the sharingan active for. He cherished the memory nonetheless.
He reached out to scruff Izuna’s hair in passing, even as he nodded to Izumi who was negotiating some candy at a stall while seeming to flirt shamelessly with the merchant. She gave him a wink back before returning to her task, and Madara let go of his pouting otouto to pass a satisfied look over the street. His previous bad mood dispersed as he took in his clan, fed and safe in their walls, more shops than ever opened in the streets as trade flourished with the many peace agreements landing on his desk. This, this was worth the hassle of dealing with self-assured, lazy Nara clan heads.
“I’m not seeing the elders about this today,” he told Izuna, “but we’ve got good terms for a peace with the Nara.” His brother turned sparkling eyes on him, already plotting out some betterment for the clan on this development, and Madara was proud of his heir.
“The old crows are used to waiting by now, I’d guess,” Izuna answered with a smug grin. “This’ll sway the Akimichi, as the Nara always do. We could secure some trade with them even before we finalise the Nara deal, as we never had that much strife with their clan to begin with.” Izuna’s grin turned into a pleased smile as he took off, rambling to himself, towards his own house to no doubt calculate how many extra portable iron ovens the clan could produce for trade, and what kinds of supplies that might bring them.
“Say hi to Tobi for me!” was the last thing his adorable baby brother called over his shoulder, before trotting off to work out some schemes. Tobirama absolutely hated that nickname, so of course Izuna had latched onto it with the type of sixth sense only little brothers and tiny yappy dogs seemed to grow. He’d found a way to tease his new brother-in-law and would ride it into the sunset, happily. Madara couldn’t say he wasn’t glad to see the odd companionship building up between Tobirama and Izuna though - it had worried him, at first, and he didn’t want to lean too heavily on his little brother’s social skills in this case. But Izuna was smart and adaptable, and had quickly seen through to the potential Tobirama presented to the clan. More than that, he’d been glad to gain a sparring partner and someone smart enough to keep up with his schemes, unafraid and bold like Tobirama had slowly shown himself to be.
Madara himself headed home, as Tobirama was waiting for him and lunch would have been delivered not too long ago. The thought of his husband waiting made him speed up a bit, somewhat annoyed by his own ridiculous excitement. Their wedding had been not that long ago, they were still learning each other and he had gained a lot of insight into the man in these past months. And the more he learned of Tobirama the more he found he wanted to learn.
He could feel his husband’s calm chakra from here, working on something or other inside the house, and let the smooth feeling of it pass through him as he took off his shoes and stepped inside. Tobirama was sitting at a writing desk surrounded by letters, and did not stand to greet him at the door. It had taken them a while to reach a level of comfort where they could so easily walk around each other, share space easily like this, and Tobirama in particular had seemed convinced that he needed to offer formal greetings whenever Madara came or left. Madara had known better than to ask where that came from, and time had taught him that the Senju had been a more traditional clan than he could have expected, based on Hashirama’s almost demonstrative casualness.
Now he was pleased to note his husband’s relaxed posture as he kept up the work even when Madara stepped into the room and walked towards him. It made him feel warm inside, seeing Tobirama so comfortable in their home, thinking on how they had gotten there. The man’s chakra did not seem agitated enough to imply what he was working on would not bare interruption, and Madara did intend to get his greeting.“I’m home,” he said, coming up behind Tobirama and sliding a hand over his shoulder and around his neck, letting it slip down and into the front of his light top.
Tobirama stopped writing to lean back against his legs and answered, “Welcome home,” with a sigh. “Anja sends his greetings.” So that was the letter he was working on, and Madara was pleased to have Hashirama mention him. It had taken a lot of shouting and some sparring by the Nakano, interspersed with Hashirama’s pleas to be reassured that his brother was indeed safe and not too unhappy which absolutely broke Madara’s heart, before they’d even managed to reach a stage where they could discuss peace without accusations and reproach overtaking all reason.
Madara would do anything for his family, for his clan, and Hashirama had known this but he had imagined, somehow, that Madara had some sort of moral code higher than that. They were shinobi, though, and Madara had done many a horrid thing in his life. All he could offer in comfort was that Tobirama was his own family now, and would be cared for as such.
Hashirama had relented eventually, and in fact he had done so much quicker than Madara would have expected. He was a forgiving man, with peace still foremost in his mind, and getting to see Tobirama and talk to him privately at the first peace talks had helped sway him quickly. Tobirama had, as promised on the night on the hunt and other nights since, stood by Madara and reassured his brother that the Uchiha were treating him well.
Madara himself had sent Izuna out with the first invitation to neutral grounds, and he hadn’t slept until his brother returned despite all reassurances and knowledge that a hunted spouse would not be expected to be traded for a prisoner without greatly offending the gods. But Izuna had returned without delay and, with time and constant reassurances and letters, Hashirama had warmed again. It even looked oddly like Madara would get his best friend back despite all of this. The letter resting open on Tobirama’s desk, covered in broad excited lettering, served to remind him of the soft heart of the man he now called brother by law.
“I see you are thoughtful today. Did something happen?” Tobirama asked and rolled his head back into Madara’s hip to look up at him with questioning red eyes. Madara stroked his thumb along the smooth pale skin of his upper chest, and told him, “We have an offer for peace from the Nara. I can show it to you after dinner if you want to discuss it before we take it to the elders tomorrow.” Tobirama smiled and closed his eyes, and nodded as he said, “Dinner is set up.”
They walked to the other room of their home, where indeed dinner had been laid out on trays and the light of the sun was streaking through the paper doors facing the garden. He sat across from his husband and they ate and Madara complained about the politics he had to do, and listened to Tobirama complain about having to manage inter-clan communication and improving the administrative system that guided the management of battle-worn shinobi that were doing service work inside the compound - a feature unique to the Uchiha, apparently, and which his husband had been particularly curious about. .
After dinner was done, they got up and walked to the veranda so Madara could pull out his pipe, and Tobirama came to sit right beside him, their thighs pressed together as their feet dangled over the well-kept garden. Tobirama leaned into him with no hesitation, resting his head on Madara’s shoulder despite being taller, and despite the fact that Madara’s hair got everywhere like that. It was a pleasant, calm weight, and again he thought back to the start of their married life, to the reticent man that had first entered this house six months ago.
Tobirama had slowly seemed to grow accustomed to physical affection, which was very fortunate as Madara felt compelled to touch his lovely, fay husband at all times of the day and night. At first he’d made sure to pull his hands back more often that not, but with time and patience Tobirama learned to welcome touch and initiate it himself, and Madara found himself with the sensation of a man who had coaxed a particularly person-adverse cat to nap on his lap. He was ridiculously proud of the achievement, and in fact remembered several instances where he’d refused to move in order to avoid losing the privilege of his husband’s weight on his thighs.
Tobirama had also lost the weariness he carried at first, stopped seeming to wait for the other shoe to drop and trusted in Madara more and more, which he took as a personal victory gained through measured efforts in providing all he could for his husband’s comfort. Weedling any requests and preferences out of him in order to give himself some goalposts, in a sort of post-factum courting ritual, had worked well in the first months, and now Tobirama trusted him enough to simply share what he wanted.
It was through that trust, and the honesty they’d promised each other at the start of all this, that Madara built enough of a rapport to try to feel his way around what had shaped Tobirama into the man he was. Self-confident to match his shinobi skills and impressive intelligence, no doubt, but in private he’d been so very … wary of Madara at first, in a way Madara felt could not be fully explained away by their power dynamics, or even their unusual marriage. It had taken several bottles of sake and confessions on Madara’s own side on a warm night out on the veranda for Tobirama to finally whisper, “My father was - he was not the kind of clan head that Hashirama is. That you are.” before leaving it at that. He hadn’t pressed.
Madara had known, from the moment he’d decided in desperation and fear for his clan to take a drastic step to ensure they would not starve that winter, that he would love his husband as any Uchiha did their family. However he’d expected it to be a painful sort of love, held for someone he did not particularly like, and wholly unreturned. Without knowing Tobirama more than from what he saw in the field, he had at most imagined his husband would grow to tolerate the union and not hate him for it, or perhaps would choose to isolate himself from the clan.
Madara had been willing to sacrifice his own marital happiness and the peace of his home for the clan, and instead he’d found himself captivated from the first night he pushed his beautiful husband down into the forest floor. He’d grown more and more entranced with the man, dutiful and sharp as a blade, holding his family and clan as dear and precious to him as Madara himself did.
Tobirama was quick to anger and loyal and passionate, always ready with a sharp remark, willing to put all of himself in service to the Uchiha as he had given his word that first night - and every day Madara felt he was further entranced by the man, as if bewitched by Tobirama’s lovely eyes. His attraction and sex drive had always been bound to admiration, and he lacked none of them in his marriage. Meanwhile he could see how his husband got more and more attracted to him in turn.
It was as though his pale willowy body, never having been touched before Madara laid hands to him, was learning to love the touch and crave it now. And Tobirama gave all signs of enjoying Madara’s presence, of growing to love him so long after they had had their union and sworn to stand by the other’s side. Madara breathed out a puff of smoke, arm coming to wrap around his husband’s familiar form and pull him even closer as Tobirama nuzzled into his hair with a hum. The gods had been kind to him. This, he could see, would only grow more beautiful as they gave it time.
- The End -