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Bittersweet Forgiveness

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He still wasn’t sure how it’d turned out like this. After all that lay between them, blood and suffering and years of pain, he’d never thought to find himself here, in the belly of the Uchiha compound, in Madara’s house, Madara’s bed, coming down from the high of release.

And yet, there he was, for the third time that week, body humming pleasantly, mind muddled with confusion and hesitant hope, and heart heavy with the fear of rejection.

This couldn’t go on forever. Whatever this was between them, if it was anything at all. Too much stood in the way for anything good to come of this, no matter how he wished otherwise.

Even knowing that, he couldn’t find it in him to get up.

Madara had rolled out of the futon almost as soon as they had finished, though that was certainly nothing new. He always left for the washroom after, whether to clean himself off from discomfort or disgust he did not know. Usually this was when he would slip out, not willing to risk overstaying his welcome. But the covers were warm, pillows heavy with the smell of their owner, ash and pine and the autumn wind after a long rain.

His remaining presence would hardly go unnoticed. When Madara finally came back, his footfalls paused halfway through the room.

“Did you really fall asleep?”

If there had been even a hint of anger in his words, Tobirama would have left. But there was none. He couldn’t quite place what tinted his tone low, what softened the edges. Didn’t have time to ponder it before the futon dipped next to him, Madara slipping under the covers and brushing the back of his knuckles against his shoulder blades.

He tried not to hold his breath. Madara had never been quite rough with him, but gentle moments were not common between them still. Something like this was unheard of, laying quiet next to each other, seemingly no physical motives beyond what he was doing.

The hand stilled, resting against his back, pooling warmth under his skin at the point of connection. He could hear Madara’s breaths evening out, matching the rhythm himself, willing his nerves to calm and let him have this. Let him have this night between them, this moment, no bodies or battlefields or past wrongs to push them apart, to leave blood on their tongues.

“I forgive you.”

The night was silent but for their breaths. Even the wind seemed to have died down, rustling leaves that had scraped the window now unmoving. His heart must have not agreed with the quiet, beating fast in his chest, loud enough he was sure the other could hear it as well.

But it wasn’t loud enough to drown out the stutter in Madara’s breath, nor the pain in his next words.

“Will he forgive me?”

His shaking did not stop until near dawn, and it was all Tobirama could do to not follow his example.