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This was the most relaxed she’d ever felt since joining Konoha, Mito thought, as she lounged beneath the covers on her- their, now- mattress. A pleasant bit of light, relaxed and a subdued warm color, filtered in through the window from the street lamp that stood in front of the trees in her yard, casting a warm glow over them. There was nothing better than being able to go to sleep with Toka’s arm wrapped over her waist and the other woman’s breath warm on her neck.

Her eyes snapped open as a sort of sixth sense went off in her head. She sat up ramrod straight, jerking Toka from the light daze she’d been slumbering in.

“Mito?” she asked with a yawn, raising an eyebrow. “What is it?”

Mito let out a long, slow breath. “They’re naked together,” she breathed, the look in her eyes matching the frazzled quality of her hair. “I just know it.”

Toka rolled her eyes. “Do you want to know something amazing, princess?” she whispered, as if it was a secret, and reached out until she felt Mito’s hand. She pulled it to her lips and pressed a kiss to the knuckles. “So are we.”

Mito broke out of her staring and glanced down at her. She instantly burst into a giggle fit as Toka pulled her back under the covers, now fully awake and up for starting a round three for that night.


 

“Good morning, everyone!” Izuna shouted at the top of his lungs, dimly aware of the fact that was probably too loud but more aware of the fact that he had so much pent-up energy he was bouncing on the balls of his feet. He’d had something new the tea house owner called ‘coffee’ and he didn’t know why she’d given him a strange look when he had three of them, but he felt like he could hear colors. “Today we’re going to introduce ourselves! You, the one who looks grumpy, why don’t you start?”

He glanced down at the three ten-year-olds before him- well, two ten-year-olds and the nine-year-old Kagami- as they sat in an empty row of desks and stared at him.

The boy in the middle’s expression twisted into something like a glare. He couldn’t glare very well yet, being only ten, but Izuna could appreciate the effort. “I’m not-”

“Not you,” Izuna interrupted him, pointing at the heavier-set child to his right so quickly it made all of them jump. “You! You’ve got a stern face. You go!”

“Uh…” The boy glanced at his two classmates as if for help. Of course, they could offer him none, and just stared at him with equally helpless looks on their faces. “I’m Akimichi Torifu.”

He paused and didn’t go on. “And?” Izuna prompted.

“What else do you want to know, sensei?”

“Tell me about yourself! What are your dreams?”

“My dreams? Well…” Torifu frowned and glanced down at his desk, then looked up with a cute scowl and folded both hands into fists. “I want to become the strongest member of my clan and make sure none of my friends ever die!”

Great! What about you?” Izuna yelled, turning to the Shimura boy with such an intensity he leaned back and gulped before steeling himself.

“I’m Shimura Danzo. I want to become a strong shinobi worthy of the Shimura name,” he said, with such cute (in Izuna’s opinion) determination it made him want to grab the boy by the cheeks and coo.

Kagami elbowed the boy and looked at him with a pointed expression. The Shimura wavered for a moment before continuing on in a quieter voice.

“And, uh…I want to…to defeat Hiruzen,” he said.

Izuna perked up. “Hiruzen? Who is this?”

“He’s our classmate,” Kagami piped up, smiling when Izuna looked at him. Cutely. “He and Danzo spar sometimes.”

“And he always wins,” Danzo said with a scowl, sounding bitter. “And he’s always so smug about it!”

“So he’s a jerk then,” Izuna said, again with the intimidating intensity, placing his hands on the desk and leaning closer with widened eyes. Danzo glanced at Torifu, at Kagami, then at him, looking hesitant.

“Um…s-sometimes…”

Izuna slammed his hands down, making them all jump in surprise again. “So he’s your rival!” he yelled, gesturing wildly. “Your shinobi rival!”

“Uh, y-yes sir!”

“I have a rival,” Izuna began to ramble, leaning closer and holding up his index finger to gather the boy’s attention. “He thinks he’s hot shit too. Just because he can instantly teleport and he’s stronger in taijutsu than me. Hah! You should’ve seen the look on his face when I threw him into the lake again the other day! I’m stronger, you know- don’t let him lead you astray. He’s more untrustworthy than he looks. Even if he looks, ooh, well, very wel- never mind. Anyway…this Hiruzen kid is your rival, we’ll make you strong enough so you can beat the crap out of him!” He rocked back and clenched his hands into fists as a gleam entered his eyes. He paused to glance down at Danzo again. “Uh, nicely. In spars. Don’t just go beat him up all the time, okay?”

Danzo stared up at him with wide eyes. “Uh…y-yes, sensei!” he exclaimed after realizing he was being silent, snapping off a salute and looking much too stern for someone his age.

Izuna wheeled around to Kagami and smiled sweetly. “Your turn, Kagami.”

Even knowing everyone there already knew him, Kagami grinned, showing off the gap in his teeth. “I’m Uchiha Kagami! I wanna become the best genjutsu type ever!”

There was a loud bang as Izuna dropped to his knees in front of the desk and wrapped his arms around the boy, sniffling loudly. “You’re so adorable,” he said, looking near tears.

Danzo and the Akimichi stared. “Uh…”

Our first exercise!” The two startled when Izuna leapt up, Kagami nestled under one arm, and whirled around. “You know what we’re doing?”

They glanced at each other. “A…a test?” Torifu suggested, thinking it would make sense for a higher-ranked shinobi to test them to see if he really wanted to take them on.

“What? No! I’m never giving you guys up!” Izuna gushed, reaching over as fast as lightning and tossing Danzo over his shoulder, eliciting a small shriek of surprise from the boy. He grabbed the Akimichi under his other arm. “We’re gonna go have ramen!”

Danzo flailed his arms as he looked for something to hold onto. “Sensei, th-that doesn’t seem like a useful use of ti-”

“It’s time for team bonding, Danzo! Team bonding!

He burst into a fast sprint and left a trail of dust and the door flapping in his wake, leaving Kagami giggling and the other two screeching, and streaked past those coming out of one of the classrooms.

Madara stumbled back after nearly getting run over and stared down the hall as his brother disappeared to the sound of shrieking genin. A crease developed in his brow as he turned to look at where Izuna had come from.

“Are you sure that was a good idea?” Tobirama teased, sounding amused.

“He’s enthusiastic! That’s good,” Hashirama replied, though his smile was vaguely sheepish.

They stepped out of the way of the doorway as a teacher exited. Madara glanced up when he spotted Naori walking down the hall, looking pleased, followed by her own team. The Nara was just behind her, hands in her pockets and walking with a slight slouch, wearing a raggedy old jacket with stains over the Nara clan emblem and gnawing on a piece of wheat. The Uchiha came after her, having added some sort of painted-on markings on the shaved side of her head that looked like a demonic three-headed dog lashing out at something. Similar to the Nara girl, she looked like she’d rolled out of bed and put on whatever was within reach, including a mantle she had apparently cut open to make a coat out of and trousers with holes in the knees. The Kurama girl followed in the back, looking the most put-together out of any of them, with smartly tailored clothes that looked so new they were stiff and a tense smile.

“We’re going to train,” Naori said to Madara as she passed him, still smiling in that self-satisfied way.

He raised an eyebrow. “Not going to test them?”

Not pausing, Naori looked at him over her shoulder with a sudden smirk, her Sharingan glowing in her eyes. “I already did.”

Well, that was…unsettling. Madara stood there and stared at her as she walked away.

After a moment, Hashirama turned back to his brother and grinned. “See? Enthusiastic!”


 

He could hear the drums all the way from inside Naori’s house. The Uchiha had rolled out their instruments, which had been gathering dust since they hadn’t had the chance to use them in such a long time, and went and found everything from tambourines to wooden rattles to sticks they were banging against stones. The center of the compound, a large and open space, had been lined with carefully controlled fires to combat the cold of winter.

Madara carefully lined his eyes with the face paint Naori had used to paint feathers on the sides of his face, stems connected to the corners of his eyes. It was green, just like the ridiculous amount of feathers in his hair, which she and Izuna had tied up as high as they could manage to show off the neck covering he wore. They all wore them; thin leather died different colors with metal sewn into the back to protect their necks as they danced and keep it rigid.

Izuna leaned down beside him to look into the mirror on Naori’s vanity and carefully added another accent line to the leaves on his face. He wore similar attire as his brother, but with significantly more blue feathers where Madara had chosen black. “Ready to cut loose and have some fun?” he asked in a teasing voice, elbowing Madara’s bare shoulder.

Madara rolled his eyes and elbowed him back as he stood. “Are you able to ask that without sounding conniving?”

“Why, dear brother, what on earth would I be conniving about?”

Madara gave him a pointed stare as he wound a long scrap of fabric around his waist. He pulled on a loosely made haori that functioned more like a vest before a plain black yukata, tying the sash around his waist as he stood in front of the door. “You can try all you want to sound innocent. It’s never going to work.”

Izuna poked his tongue out at him as he exited the house. He was immediately assaulted by a sea of Uchiha in various states of undress outside, all wearing costumes they’d put their own flair to. He’d expected to see mostly the black, blood red, and navy-blue feathers their events were famous for, but, to his mild shock, everywhere he looked he could see grass green and lavender. They were intermingled with those wearing feathers they’d painted the color of berry wine and indigo, like Hikaku had.

“Black and white means they’re letting everyone else have the show for the evening,” Izuna said in his ear, a smile in his voice. “Where’s Hikaku?”

Madara’s eyes roved over the Uchiha running back and forth until he found the other man, standing with Kotori as a teenager with scruffy shoulder-length hair spoke to him. All three of them wore navy feathers they’d painted with white and gold. He watched Hikaku ruffle the young one’s hair and nodded in their direction. “Over there.”

Izuna shot him a smile as he started through the throng. “Be ready for your dance later!”

Madara imagined a pair of devil horns hovering over the other Uchiha’s head as he left. That smile was evil, and he should know.

He looked over at the two fires on the opposite side of the yard where the Uchiha were burning their…special cultivation and made sure to stay a good distance away. It had always affected him a little too greatly to ingest too much of. Instead, he accepted a glass of champagne from the serving platter of an Uchiha as he passed him by and headed towards the porch on Hikaku’s house where a few Uchiha had gathered as they waited for the festivities to start.

A heavy cloud of smoke rose into the air from the compound as others from the village approached. The gates had been set all the way open, and many Uchiha had, as instructed, invited their friends and acquaintances from other clans. Plenty of each were mingling with each other in the groups making their way there- including many Senju.

“I’m not really sure what to expect,” Hitomi admitted in a murmur, watching the Uchiha watching the gate let out loud cries as they welcomed a group of Inuzuka. They had obviously started to dip into the sake already. “I was just told there would be…”

Tobirama smirked. “Naked flesh?”

A blush took ahold of her face. “Be quiet, Tobirama.”

Hashirama laughed between them. “I’m sure they won’t be showing off that much skin. It is winter, after all.”

“Hey, look!” a voice near the gate whispered, as loudly as one could possibly whisper, as they were stepping through. “It’s that guy!”

A man beside her looked up from fiddling with a crate that stored alcohol. “What guy?”

“THAT guy!” the same woman, adorned with lavender-colored feathers, said, this time in a shout. “Hey, that guy!”

Tobirama jerked to a stop when he realized the duo was talking about him, looking confused when they converged on him with wide eyes. “You’re that guy!” the woman shrilled happily. “You know, that guy!”

“Oh!” her companion gasped. “The guy who brought Izuna back!”

“Yeah! Hey, I’ve been wanting to ask for…” The woman stumbled over her words and stopped with a frown. “Uh…how long have I…whatever, it doesn’t matter. I wanted to ask, were you born with those?” She pointed at his eyes, about an inch from his face, and he jerked back. “Are they from an experiment? They’re so-”

“Handsome,” the man interrupted her smugly, poking Tobirama’s left face marking as his face started to redden. “You’re a pretty handsome guy, Senju.”

“Cool!” the woman giggled, swaying dangerously, because the civilian word sounded silly on her own tongue.

“See? I told you, Daisuke, I fucking told you,” another man whined as he swayed over, grabbing Tobirama’s sleeve and giving it a weak shake. “He’s pretty!”

“Not pretty- I mean, pretty, but- striking!” a second woman insisted, popping up from behind the first. She, too, had lavender feathers in her hair, like several other women Hashirama had seen, and he wondered what the connection was. A third woman with blue and magenta feathers nudged herself between them to reach out and poke at Tobirama’s hair.

“I’ve never seen white hair before. You’re like a- a- what’s it called?”

“Izuna-sama’s falcon?”

“No, no, that dog that runs around in the woods a lot.”

“A wolf!”

“Yeah, that!”

Hashirama and Hitomi bit down on their mouths to keep from laughing. Tobirama, having gone beet red, stood there rigidly and glared at them, and their failure to do anything to extricate him.

“Come on, Senju!” the first man boomed, grabbing hold of one of Tobirama’s arms. The women with purple feathers grabbed his other one. “We’ll make sure you have a fun time tonight!”

“I don’t-”

“Inter-clan unity!” the first woman shouted as they pulled him away.

Hitomi started to giggle as Tobirama disappeared into the crowd. “Do you think we’re going to see him again?”

“Perhaps if his admirers let him loose long enough,” Hashirama replied, grinning.

They stopped at the edge of a circle the Uchiha seemed to have formed, leaving a large open area in the center of the compound. Hashirama took a glance around, letting his eyes slowly rove over the sea of feathered hair, looking for Madara; he felt a small bead of disappointment when he couldn’t seem to find him anywhere.

A hand tapped his elbow out of nowhere. He turned and found Hikaku standing beside him, smiling pleasantly in an array of multi-colored feathers. “The Uchiha appreciate the Hokage coming,” he said, an odd sparkle in his eye that Hashirama really couldn’t decipher.

“Of course!” he exclaimed, smiling a bit sheepishly as he glanced around again. “Although I confess to being a little, ah, lost.”

“Don’t worry. The opening ceremony is about to start.” Hikaku nodded to the open space, where two Uchiha in elaborate bird masks were taking up positions in the center of their makeshift dancefloor.

“Ceremony?”

“Watch.”

Hashirama followed his gaze. Everyone around them began to fall silent as the Uchiha manning the drums started a slow beat.

He watched, in a bit of fascination, as the two women in the center of the compound moved from their standing positions. They looked less as if they were taking steps and more as if they were flowing like water. Each of them made the same movements, long and winding, each with two small fans in their grasp, but in differing directions as they moved away from each other.

The drum beat became faster, but no less upbeat, as they reached the end of their space and turned to face each other again. They continued with jauntier movements, giving off the impression they were rather enjoying themselves and rather familiar with each other.

The music took a sudden, intense turn, losing its pleasant quality and taking on something stressful. Their movements lost the amicability, but not the familiarity, and the duo looked to be more involved with a fight with each other than a dance. Every movement was parried as if it was a blow about to connect or avoided, leaving them reaching out for the other but just out of reach. They almost looked to be legitimately fighting as the music became faster and it made some small amount of tension build in Hashirama’s gut, even though he knew it was only a performance.

The dancers reached opposite ends again and ran through a familiar set of hand signs. They aimed at each other, slanted towards the sky, and unleashed an impressive display of fire that made the outsiders in the crowd lean back. They cut off before it became too large and let it dissipate in the air as they met in the center again.

The drummers slammed their palms and sticks against their drums in unison as one of the dancers made a fatal strike against the other with her closed fan. The other fell to her knees, the fan flush against her side to simulate a striking stab, and curled back to make a perfect c against the ground with her body in an impressive show of flexibility.

The victorious dancer fell to her knees as well, posture slumping, somehow looking so despondent despite her face being covered it made Hashirama stare in pitying confusion. She leaned forward and draped herself over her partner, dragging her hands over the woman’s bare sides and wetting them with fresh red paint. She leaned back as the ‘killed’ woman leaned back forward, clearly mourning as she held the other, and dragged her paint-covered hands over the eyeholes of her mask, streaking it with crimson.

“This is about how forms of the Sharingan are acquired,” Hikaku whispered to him, sounding solemn. “The power is great. We have more than one story of Uchiha betraying each other for it. However, this represents all forms of loss…and how deeply they’re felt.”

Hashirama got the sense he was watching something private and not for his eyes as he watched the two dancers rise and finish their performance. It made him wonder how it felt, to be in a clan that had such an experience they all related to so profoundly, to have that experience be something so sorrowful.

He raised his hands to clap when the duo had stilled, as everyone around him did. He felt the mood was rather melancholy after that, but almost at the drop of a hat the music picked back up again and he heard the Uchiha start to let out whoops and hollers. He supposed it must not have been strange at all to them.

A group of Uchiha in masks, some carved and painted to look like animals, some demons, some strange things Hashirama couldn’t recognize, ran into the arena and formed a group. They each held a larger pair of fans, clearly able to be used in battle, and just small enough to be used in one hand. They leapt forward as one and began to dance to a rapid beat with quick, snapping movements that somehow looked as if each one was thinking on the fly as they moved in perfect sync with each other.

They jumped high, lunged far, and threw themselves and their entire bodies into their performance, exuding such an energy Hashirama was slightly stunned that this was apparently commonplace in the Uchiha. He saw not a single stoic expression around him; they were all smiling and laughing and cheering their fellows on.

The first group was replaced by a second, a group of women- all with the lavender feathers- that danced a different routine but had no less energy. Every time the dancers switched out they finished their performance by blowing fire into the sky, making the Uchiha onlookers scream in their favor. It was all raucous and infused with such vigor and zeal that Hashirama found himself losing himself in the excitement of it, grinning and cheering with the rest of the audience as the Uchiha put on their show.

The compound, by now, was incredibly warm, both due to how many people had packed into it and the constant jets of fire being released in addition to the bonfires. More and more clothes were flung into the air and onto houses and fences without care, proving his earlier notion of whether the Uchiha would show much skin or not wrong, and it brought his attention to an odd fact: every single Uchiha there was wearing an odd neck covering he hadn’t seen before.

“What are you all wearing on your necks?” he asked in Hikaku’s ear, a note of curiosity in his voice.

The other man smirked up at him. “You should ask Madara,” he said, and that confused Hashirama more because he hadn’t seen hide nor hair of his friend since he’d gotten there. “Just be sure not to touch them. Speaking of…”

He moved forward and let out a concentrated burst of fire that quieted his clansmen’s shouting. “Everyone!” he yelled, gesturing with one hand towards the largest house in the compound. “It’s time for a special performance by an esteemed member of the clan. Madara, if you would.”

Hashirama’s ears perked up. The Uchiha began clapping- a bit more subdued, though most of them still whistled and cheered in encouragement. Everyone around him was smiling with a warm look in their eyes; it was clear that Madara was the Uchiha’s darling, even if he didn’t know it.

A few people in the crowd parted as Madara emerged from the back, letting him through to the dance area. Hashirama already knew his friend liked men, but it made him feel a rush of excitement when he saw the green in Madara’s hair and on his face; he had guessed easily enough what the colors meant when he saw Izuna wearing green and Naori wearing purple.

And if there was one thing he knew, it was that Madara knew how to put on a show; he found himself smiling in excited anticipation as the man reached the center of the arena.

The fans Madara carried were as long as his arms, made of canvas dipped in black ink with the Uchiha fan on each side. He flicked them open, wearing a smirk so nonchalant it was as if he knew everyone there was already captivated, and Hashirama’s eyes caught on the light that glinted off the blades sewn into the ends.

He flowed into his first movement as if he had never been still at all. It at first seemed more like a kata, controlled and precise, yet it still felt as if it would have been a crime to be performed without music; he quickened his speed as he moved around the area available to him and struck a pose when the drums paused, exiting it into a twirl of movement that was suddenly partially obscured by a flash of black fabric. He stopped spinning and went still, each fan pointing in a different direction, and he had somehow thrown off his outer yukata without Hashirama ever seeing him move a hand to do it.

His throat closed when he realized what Madara was wearing from the waist up; that was, nothing, under the loose scrap of fabric that looked like a haori he had on. There were strips of leather and rope and small silver chains with tassels and ornaments on them bound around his arms, and he, too, wore a covering of some sort over his neck; it encased it in full, as well as part of his collarbone, with a deep red tassel that hung down just above his navel.

The audience started to let out hollers of appreciation as he moved again, his smile wide with self-satisfaction Hashirama well knew he had a right to. He himself felt bewitched as he watched Madara’s body move, oozing confidence and ease and a little bit of danger as he wielded his blades.

As if upon hearing an invisible signal, Madara’s performance took a notable…shift in tone. His movements became no slower, but longer, more fluid, as if he was taking the time to enjoy each one. He whirled with a spin and slammed both fans into the ground, taking to one knee to do so, and stood with a flourish as he tore one of the wraps around his waist off and tossed it aside to the cheers of the Uchiha in the crowd. A few others from the other clans not the most familiar with him gawked from their places in the crowd, while others didn’t know whether to join in or stay quiet in silent regard.

Madara turned to look at the crowd with such a devilish smirk it made Hashirama feel warm in his clothes. He set a hand on the handle of one of his fans and walked around it with winding, loose steps. Upon reaching the other side, he began slowly bending his knees, descending towards the cobblestone underfoot, rolling his head back and arching his back in a way that made the haori look like it was about to fall off. Those in the crowd let out a series of low-pitched whistles, and Hashirama couldn’t dare to join them as he had been before because he was too busy staring, frozen and wide-eyed.

Madara placed his hands on the ground next to him, lifted himself, and spun in one smooth motion that left him at least a yard from his fan and on his knees facing the complete opposite direction, much to the audience’s delight. He fisted a hand in his hair and dragged the other down his chest, closing his eyes and rolling his body in a way that was absolutely filthy. Hashirama could hear blood pounding in his ears.

Madara opened his eyes, then leaned forward and placed his hands on the ground, crawling forward until his chest met the stone and his hips remained in the air. There was a lump in Hashirama’s throat as the Uchiha ran his hands up the backs of his thighs, over the curve of his ass, taunting and teasing; the Hokage couldn’t help but imagine the times he’d had Madara in that exact position in his dreams.

Madara pushed himself up, still wearing that lascivious smirk, and performed the same spinning motion that this time left him getting to his feet. He returned to the space between his fans, moving with a grace that outmatched even his most skilled moments in their spars, and leaned down behind the one on the other side, treating the other half of the audience this time. He leaned over it and ran his hands slowly up the side facing them, as if it were a lover, looking amused by the tittering it provoked.

He stood and whirled around, placing part of his weight on the handle of the fan- which must have been sturdy, Hashirama distantly noted in the back of his mind, to support him- and sweeping his legs over it. He danced, then, like the dancers in the groups had, wild and full of energy, but instead keeping their focus on his body as he ran his hands over it. it must have been witchcraft he was using because Hashirama could not tear his eyes away for a single second.

A spin left the last wrap around his waist gone, leaving him in nothing but long strips covered in black feathers sewn together and attached to a band around his hips. There was one long extension that ran between his legs but the flesh of them was bare, leaving Hashirama’s mouth watering as he ran his eyes up them; a dark pair of shorts so tight and small they were more similar to underclothing was the only thing keeping Madara from being indecent.

Madara collapsed to the ground, a dramatic motion with his head thrown back and his body tense as if he was too overwhelmed by pleasure to stand anymore. He rolled onto his back and placed his hands on his abdomen, planting his heels on the ground and lifting and rolling his hips upward as if in time with a lover’s ministrations. The hollering got louder around him and Hashirama felt like he was overheating. He couldn’t stop staring at Madara’s bare chest, his uncovered thighs, at the tantalizingly small scraps of fabric over his body as he rocked his hips up over and over to the rhythm. He lost complete awareness of anything else around him and could only watch, mesmerized, as Madara raised himself from the ground and left his haori behind.

Someone jostled into him in the crowd, murmured an apology, and moved on; Hashirama didn’t notice for a moment, too busy watching Madara slither his way back to his fans. The blades seemed all the more apparent now that he had so little on. He leapt and spun on his heel and danced across the stone with them, sweat shining on his skin, grinning all the while and never doubting a single step.

He ended his performance with one fan pointing towards the sky, the other planted in the stone at his feet, unleashing a larger fireball than any one person had previously. It lit up the darkening sky and left the Uchiha screaming their appreciation as loud as their lungs could allow. Hashirama worked on swallowing the lump in his throat as his friend finished, looking to the crowd with a smirk as he panted from the exertion.

He stood and closed the fans, handing them to a woman dressed in oranges and yellows as he strode back towards the porch. Hashirama could see Izuna waiting there, Cheshire grin and all, having, at some point, lost most of his clothes as well.

“Hashirama? Are you listening?”

“W-what?” Hashirama stammered, looking away and finding Hikaku and Hitomi staring at him with raised eyebrows. “I’m sorry, what?”

“I said your name three times,” Hikaku said with a smile, looking amused. He waved a hand when Hashirama opened his mouth to apologize. “I think you’ll like this next event,” he said mischievously, and turned on his heel to step away before Hashirama could say anything. “You as well, Hitomi.”

Confused, the two Senju watched him walk away. “Right,” Hashirama muttered, shuffling his haori off. It was much too hot and he was sure his face was flushed by now. “Right.”


 

Madara hadn’t danced like that since he was younger and surrounded by the others in his age group as they danced under the night sky, around a bonfire built large enough to light the field they’d taken over, away from the prying eyes of their elders. It was an exhilarating feeling; one he’d almost forgotten after so long away from it- away from the Uchiha. He’d forgotten so many things about being with the clan.

“Good job, aniki,” Izuna greeted him when he stepped under the awning, smiling. He offered another glass of champagne that Madara took; he’d had more than one already. The younger took a drag of the cigar in his hand. “Have fun?”

Madara took a long gulp of his drink as he sank into a rocking chair near the railing covered in scraps of fabric people had taken off. “The most I’ve had in a while.”

He did like to put on a show. Usually it was in battle, but this was a medium even Hashirama could never counter him in.

Speaking of Hashirama…his mind focused on the man through the haze of euphoria that had come over him and he took in a deep breath. He wondered what it would be like to dance for that man. To ensure that his eyes never left Madara’s flesh; that his eyes were only for Madara’s body. Madara knew he could do it, if given the chance; that he could tantalize and hypnotize someone like he’d just done to that crowd.

There was a pleasant tingle in his nose as smoke from Izuna’s cigar floated over to him. Fortunately for the Uchiha, their shipments from Sora-ku had never had any marked interaction with alcohol. If anything, it just seemed to get them drunker.

“You look like you’re about to pounce on something,” Izuna commented, leaning against the wall of Hikaku’s house as he sat on the railing.

Madara hummed in reply and started to toy with the end of some fabric hanging off the railing with his bare foot. It was caught in his head, now; all he could envision was Hashirama’s eyes, wide and windblown, glued to his body as he flushed and stared. There were so many things Madara could do to him without ever touching him at all.

They sat in comfortable silence for several minutes as Uchiha hustled back and forth across the open space outside, fixing the cracks Madara had made with a few quick jutsu so no one would trip on them.

The sense of ecstasy and verve in Madara’s mind only continued to stir. He felt, then, that things were as close to perfect as they could be, without Hashirama to himself; he had his clan and his brother and his family, friends and a student, hope for a future he hadn’t seen the first time. There was a pleasant heat around him and a current on the air that felt electrified.

Things were good.

But still, his mind whispered to him that they could be better.

He was on his third glass when Hikaku shouted to be heard again. “All right, everyone! It’s time for some inter-clan unity,” he hollered, voice ringing with a knowing grin.

A cheer spread through the Uchiha as the rest of the guests looked around in confusion. Madara lifted himself to the railing and watched through half-lidded eyelids, a flush to his cheeks from the smoke and the drink and the heat, as the crowd split into groups, guided by the Uchiha, and chairs were dragged out into the public.

“Ohohoho,” Izuna laughed, throwing his head back. “I am so getting in on this.”

The zealous blanket wrapped around his mind made heat shoot through him when his eyes landed on Hashirama. He wore those silly striped hakama over a green kimono, as usual, sweat glistening on his skin as he smiled and spoke to someone in the crowd, no doubt one of several drinks he’d been given that night in his hand.

Things could be so much better, his mind hissed.

Madara inadvertently found himself slipping back into his fantasy. He imagined shoving Hashirama into one of those chairs and watching him sweat as he circled it, taunting him the entire time, and how red he would turn when Madara seated himself in his lap. He wanted that.

A smirk curled his lips, and before his brain knew what his feet were doing he’d pushed off the railing and started to walk across the yard, winding through the guests like a serpent converging on its target. The compound was hot and sizzling and much too full and he wanted that, and he was going to go get what he wanted.

“All right, pick someone out!” Hikaku yelled again, beaming at the startled confusion on their guests’ faces.

The first person to emerge was Naori. She walked across the dance area tugging Inoue by the wrist. The Yamanaka looked befuddled, but realization spread across her face when Naori lightly pushed her into one of the chairs. She began to turn crimson yet didn’t move.

The audience began whispering as the Uchiha’s intent became clear. Heads swiveled as they wondered who was going to get pulled out next, unsure of if they hoped for it to be themselves or hoped it wouldn’t be.

Kotori stepped out, leading Hitomi by the hand. The woman was as red as a tomato and looked frazzled, glasses askew, and she couldn’t stop staring at Kotori’s hips as she was led to a chair and sat down. several Senju let out tittering giggles.

There were other areas besides the main arena, now, that Uchiha were finding their unsuspecting partners in; a lucky member from each clan there was pulled into a chair and left to wait in flushed anticipation. Hikaku’s eyes fell on a Hyuuga man standing among a few of his clansmen, clothed in a plain yukata with lavender eyes and pale, pale skin, and he instantly knew who he wanted. He darted into the crowd with a smirk and caught the Hyuuga by the wrist, startling him, and raised an eyebrow. “Up for a dance?”

“Uh,” the man replied, an excellent example of the famous Hyuuga composure, as Hikaku tugged him to a chair and sat him down.

Hikaku took a few steps back and made a show of unbuttoning his mantle. “Ready?”

The man stared at him, slowly reddening. “…y…yes.”

Izuna descended on the few Shimura there- they’d probably been attracted by the noise level, if anything else- and extracted his prey before the man knew what happened. “Nice scar,” he purred, referring to the one across the man’s face. “Makes you look distinguished.”

“W-what?” he stammered, not out of embarrassment but due to the same reason he had on a purely flabbergasted expression on his face. His clan members were gaping at them as if stunned Izuna had dared.

“Don’t worry,” Izuna whispered as he circled to the back of the chair, setting his hands on the other man’s shoulders. “It’s not like it’ll hurt. We don’t do that for newcomers.”

“There’s one person here,” Hikaku yelled, making everyone go quiet, “that needs to be shown a good time. Hokage-sama?”

The yard was painfully silent as they waited for Hashirama to emerge. Startled, he looked around as if to be sure he’d really been singled out and waited there, a bit frozen. The others there started to edge away from him. “Uh?”

“There he is,” Hikaku continued, a snicker in his voice. Everyone, from the guests to those sitting in the chairs, was staring at him now, looking vastly amused. “And I think I know who can handle the job. Madara, where are you?”

“Right here,” a voice purred in Hashirama’s ear, making him yelp and jump as he whirled around. To his shock, he found Madara right behind him, having come out of nowhere, smirking at him from behind his bangs.

“Madara-?”

“Come on, Hashirama,” the Uchiha whispered, snagging his wrist as he turned them around and started to walk backwards, dragging him towards the only chair left empty in the center of the arena. His smirk became wider as Hashirama’s eyes did.

“Madara?” he breathed, five different sorts of questions in his tone.

Madara whirled when they were close enough and shoved him into the chair. Hashirama collapsed onto the wood and swallowed when he saw Madara staring at him as if he were his prey, mind racing a mile a minute as it struggled to come to terms with what he was about to experience. No doubt Madara had loosened up quite a bit if he was being so bold.

A slow tune began to play. Those with actual instruments put more effort into becoming synchronized as their dancers began to move. Hashirama gulped again when Madara walked towards him, dragging a hand across his shoulder as he moved around behind him. “We have to give everyone a show, don’t we?” he whispered into Hashirama’s ear. “Hokage-sama?”

Hashirama’s palms were sweating as he clung to the chair seat. “I…I suppose,” he uttered back, barely able to get it out. This was nothing like their usual dynamic. Their usual dynamic involved Madara having the awareness of a rock and the same ability to process intimate emotions.

Madara swung around to his front again and leaned down, one hand on the back of the chair. His eyes bored into Hashirama with a languid intensity that left him sitting there as tense as a board. He reached up and grabbed ahold of Hashirama’s chin, pulling his mouth open and setting his fingertips inside. “Bite down.”

Oh god. Hashirama didn’t know if he could handle this. He obeyed and bit down, tasting thin leather between his teeth as Madara pulled his hand away, leaving his glove in Hashirama’s mouth.

He dropped the other in Hashirama’s lap and turned away from him, fisting both hands in his hair as he rolled his body and hips. The Uchiha were all moving in perfect sync, adding their own flair to a routine that looked polished, circling around their chosen recipients like cats circling their meals. The Shimura had gone ramrod straight, slowly starting to blush, while Inoue sported a healthy one of her own but looked more than willing to be there. If anything, Hitomi was even more frazzled than before, mouth hanging open and strands of hair poking in random directions.

Hashirama tried to keep his gaze on Madara’s face but couldn’t help but look as the man danced for him. This was a wet dream he didn’t even know he wanted. He gazed at Madara’s abdominals as they flexed and his thighs as he dropped into a crouch, spreading them in a split that would have made Hashirama’s scream in protest.

With a secretive smile, Madara placed his hands on Hashirama’s knees and spread them as he moved in. Gulping, he leaned back against the chair as Madara came near, arching his back before they touched and dropping to his knees. He let himself fall back until he was on the ground, then got his feet under him and ran his hands down his body until they rested on his inner thighs. He rocked his hips up just like he had in his own dance, so close Hashirama could drop forward and be straddling him, looking at him with a smug smile that just screamed that he knew exactly what effect he was having on him. It all made Hashirama’s hands tremble with the urge to touch. He was right there and all he had to do was lean down-

Madara rolled back up and disappeared behind him again. Hashirama shuddered when he felt the man’s hands on his shoulders and his breath in his ear. It turned into a full-body shiver that wouldn’t stop when the hands ran down, across his chest, caressing his body. This was all too much to handle.

The hands disappeared. Hashirama barely got a hint of warning before Madara had swung a leg over his lap and sunk down, his back against Hashirama’s chest, letting his head rest against the Senju’s shoulder as he continued to lazily roll his hips.

Madara was grinning; he knew he was in control, and it was only making him get heavier. He reached back and snagged Hashirama’s hands. He planted them on his thighs, running them up and down the length of them, and his grin widened when he heard Hashirama’s breath hitch. He let go of them, pleased to find that they kept moving without his direction, and reached back until he could tangle his hands in the Shodaime’s hair.

Hashirama’s brain felt hot and fuzzy and as if it were about to leak out of his nose. He ran a trembling hand down Madara’s leg, feeling the curve of his calf, and let the other roam up to his bare stomach to run across. He felt his way up Madara’s chest and back up across his knee and up to his thigh again, feeling the inside of it with his palm, all too aware of just how close he was to what he wanted and only some vague notion of public decency reminding him of where they were. He ran the hand up Madara’s side instead and listened to him chuckle under his breath; Hashirama was doing exactly what he wanted and some part of him wondered at how easily Madara had been able to get him to do it.

Madara’s skin was flush against his mouth and he was three seconds from tasting it when the Uchiha stood up. A bit helplessly, he almost went to follow when he placed a hand against his chest and nailed him to the seat again. The disappointment coursing through him was quickly crushed when Madara slipped into his lap again, this time facing him.

His brain promptly stopped functioning. He sat there for a moment, stunned and immobile, as Madara smirked down at him and continued curling his body in a way that made everything feel too warm and constricting. Oh god. Madara. Madara. Madara. Madara.

Beautiful and intoxicating and everything Hashirama wanted, right here in his lap.

His hands were running up under the feathers, taking ahold of Madara’s ass, but the man was still keeping his lips tauntingly out of reach, one hand still in Hashirama’s hair as the other stroked his chest. He wanted to beg Madara to just slide it beneath his kimono already and let him feel his skin against his. He wanted to work his way up Madara’s pectorals with his mouth until he could bite into that enticing neck-

That neck that was still covered. Hashirama eyed the covering, wanting to strip it off with his teeth, wondering at why all the Uchiha hadn’t taken them off when everything else was free game.

Maybe it was the alcohol he’d ingested that made him numb to the outside world as he lifted one hand from Madara’s flesh and reached up, curious, so curious, as he placed his fingers against that leather collar. Later, he would remember hearing many other Uchiha’s rapid intakes of breath and a few gasps of surprise, as Madara looked down at him with half-lidded eyes and let him touch. Even later, he would feel no small amount of satisfaction in the fact he was the only one who ever had and the only one who ever would.

Madara lifted himself from his lap, leaving him bereft. He licked his lips, slowly, and stared down at him as if considering. Hashirama couldn’t make himself look away and watched his tongue as it ran over his bottom lip.

Madara reached up with both hands to the side of his neck. He unclasped the collar, to the sounds of Uchiha gasping and murmuring around him, and placed it into Hashirama’s hands. His brow furrowed in confusion, as he couldn’t help but feel he was missing the significance, and then Madara gave him a relaxed smirk and walked away.

Hashirama was left staring after him, wondering why Uchiha were glancing at him and giggling and wishing he wasn’t so confused.


 

Somehow, Madara’s brain didn’t register the fact that Hashirama would have no idea what him giving him his neck covering meant.

He wandered around the outskirts of the compound, inhaling champagne when it was given to him and unbearably pleased with himself, and ended up back at his house somewhere around midnight. It was only when sunlight was beating down on him through his window that he slowly came to, still in nothing but his dancewear and Hashirama’s haori that he’d managed to remember to pull over himself before going to sleep, groaning as his head started to pound.

“Fucking dammit,” he murmured as he pushed himself to his elbows, wincing at the sunlight assaulting his poor eyelids. Getting drunk was so fun in the moment, but so horrible the next day.

He shuffled out of bed and stumbled into the living room and into his bathroom. He had to pause and hold onto the counter for support as his stomach churned and his eyes burned. Grimacing, he looked up and glanced around for a washcloth, not feeling up to a bath but wanting to clean up.

He froze when he saw himself in the mirror. There wasn’t anything overtly strange…other than the fact that his collar was missing.

Panicking, he felt his neck as if his eyes were deceiving him and looked around frantically. Waking up not knowing where he’d left it- or who he’d given it to- it was worse than waking up after having sex with an unknown person. He had never let anyone touch that collar, not his mother, his Izuna, not anyone-

He froze.

Oh, god.

He’d…he’d given it to Hashirama.

He’d given it to Hashirama after dancing. In his lap. In front of the entire clan.

Oh, god.

He sank back against the wall of his bathroom and down to the floor. “Shit,” he breathed, eyes wide as he stared at his bathtub. A hint of his reflection stared back at him as if mocking his stupidity. “Shit.”

How could he have been so reckless and loose? He would have sooner had himself strip out of all his dancewear and underclothes and give those instead. Anything but his covering. He had basically declared-

“Shit,” he moaned to himself, pushing himself up and stumbling out the door. He traipsed downstairs in a hurried panic, sprinting out his door and down the path to the road and ignoring his headache as he ran towards Mito’s house. The sun was high- surely she would be awake by now.

He skidded to a stop at her door and started to bang on it. “Mito!” he hollered. “Mito, open up!”

Barely a moment passed by before Toka opened the door, looking ruffled and confused. “Madara?”

Madara let out a wordless cry of distress and wandered past her, noting the half-eaten breakfast on the table and mess of blankets on the couch in the back of his mind. “I screwed up,” he insisted when he saw Mito, sitting at her kitchen table with a furrow in her brow. “I screwed up.”

Mito pressed her lips together and let out a small sigh before she stood. She looked at Toka over his shoulder. Her wife raised an eyebrow and shrugged at her.

“Madara, it’s the middle of winter,” she said as she stood. “You’re wearing nothing.” She did not consider a pair of shorts that belonged in a lingerie shop and a bunch of feathers to be clothing.

“I screwed up,” he emphasized, curling his hands in his hair as she pulled him towards the couch. She gave him an unimpressed look when he refused to sit down. Unable to think of anything but the absolutely monumental way in which he’d screwed up, he looked at her with a helpless look in his eyes and a desperate expression. “Please help.”

Mito softened and sighed again. She pushed him onto the couch and wrapped one of the blankets around him. He hardly even noticed his own shivering as she did. “Is this about the lap dance you gave Hashirama?”

His head whipped around to stare at her, flabbergasted. “How did you-”

“We were watching,” Toka commented helpfully from where she was pouring herself a glass of orange juice. “With a crystal ball.”

Mito nodded, and all Madara could do was stare because he couldn’t even manage to be surprised that she had a crystal ball.

“I gave him my collar,” he said, his voice edging on desperate as he grabbed ahold of her sleeves. “Mito, I gave him my collar.”

She raised an eyebrow at him. “I’m guessing it has some significance in the Uchiha?”

“It- it means-” Madara resisted the urge to let his lip wobble like it used to when he was upset as a child. “Doing that is…it means I declared my love for him in front of everyone. I said that I trusted him enough to have my neck. To protect it and not to harm it when we’re…intimate and together. It means I love him more than anyone else and want to be with him forever.” His expression fell. “And that I want to fuck him.”

Toka stared at him from the kitchen counter as her orange juice overflowed.

“Do you want to fuck him?” Mito asked, just to be rhetorical, biting her lip as she smiled.

Madara bowed his head. “…desperately,” he mumbled.

Toka noticed her orange juice making a mess and tipped the carton back up. She stood there for a moment and stared at them, holding the half-empty container, as her eyes darted back and forth between Mito as she smiled and patted his hair and Madara as he sat there depressed.

After a minute of silence, she set the carton down and cleared her throat. “So…do you want some eggs?”