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To defeat

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Izuna’s muscles burned from the intense training, but he didn’t complain. 

The sweat and pain were proof of his hard work and progress that would permit him to finally join Aniki and his father on some missions. 

Before, he was mainly giving the messages inside the clan compound and certain parts of their territory where the patrol was highly present. 

It was how the children of the clan, and from the other clans, started their informal missions while still learning the basics of being a shinobi. 

But, it has changed for Izuna now. He finally mastered the clan technique last week, Gōkakyū no Jutsu, the Great Fireball Technique.

He had practiced it since his father showed him the seals. His throat had been so dry during the time he learned to turn his chakra into fire in this mouth, though it had only been smoke and tiny sparks then.The heat was still present.

Madara had accompanied him in his training by bringing him water—a lot, and some demonstration of the fully mastered fireball. They slept outside for a few days as he wanted to train late and away from the houses, and Madara stayed with him. 

They were the most exhilarating nights Izuna ever had, even if he suffered from training during the daytime. He had occasion, at night, to speak with his brother without their parents to spy on them or about anything war related. 

There was that night Madara had been pointing at the constellations he had seen in a book, that Izuna really felt like there was no war.

Only peace and meditation, in the forest with the sky full of bright stars, and the sound of nature with a fluttering breeze touching them. 

He learned how to be one with the environment but enjoying it was different. 

It was very relaxing until he received a bucket of water in the face after he mocked Madara for being a nerd. 

Finally, the very next day, he achieved the fireball that he and the rest of the clan were waiting for.

Izuna remembered the sensation he had felt when moulding his chakra that day; he had known this one would be successful. He didn’t know why but he was confident when Madara asked him if he was ready.

The fireball had been wholly shaped, a bright orb mixing every tone of orange and red in its strong flames.The heat had been at its highest while creating a decent crater and vaporising immediate surroundings. 

Madara had been speechless for a few seconds and eventually grabbbed Izuna to embrace him and smiled broadly as he came close to crushing him. Madara rushed them to their house to announce the great news to their parents.

It took Izuna two weeks to master it, double the time that Madara had taken but still shorter than the rest of the other children. It was excellent for his and Madara's father, Tajima Uchiha, who was the clan leader. It proved he had two skillful sons for the future. 

The celebration had taken place as he had performed the jutsu in front of the clan. The tastiest food was served, congratulations were offered, a pinch to the cheeks from the aunts received, and they danced in the evening. Izuna even saw his father’s tension lessened and pride and contentment take place.

This accomplishment gave Izuna the status of grown-up in the shinobi world. Meaning he could go to battle, and he was proud to be at Madara and his father’s side now. After all, war wasn’t only for adults. Of course, it would be far more dangerous, and the risk of death would be higher, but he wasn’t scared. He had confidence in his abilities.

And even if he had learned the clan’s traditional jutsu, like the rest of the members, he knew it wasn’t enough; he had to be stronger to stay alive in this war against the enemy, especially the Senju Clan.

This was the reason Izuna was now on the ground, regaining his breath after hours of training with his father and Aniki. Madara was still standing, but Izuna could see he was out of breath too. This was a hard session, even for Madara who still had better endurance than him.

For now.

“Okay, boys, we are done for today. You could rest; just don’t forget what I told each of you to improve.”

“Yes, Father!” Izuna and Madara answered as Tajima walked off. 

Izuna saw Madara offering his hand. He ignored his brother’s hand as he got up. “I’m good, Aniki.”

Madara laughed. “You mastered the Great Fireball Technique only last week. You don’t have to play tough now because you improved. It was intense today. You should rest.”

Izuna felt his throat getting hot as he summoned the fireball jutsu. It was bigger than the last time. He looked at his brother, who had a disapproving glare, and it gave him more determination.

“Right, like you aren't going to practice that new jutsu when I’m gone. We both know you will go to practice too.” 

Madara looked at him. “This is different. I’m the heir.”

“And I’m your brother, Aniki,” Izuna retorted. “I am the one who will have your back on the battlefield when we get older. I can’t stay behind you and I can’t be the one you will defend in the field! I want us to be equal as I improve and catch up to your skill.” 

Madara was silent for a while, and a competitive gleam appeared in his eyes. “Well, Izuna, if you want to catch up to me or even beat me one day, your fireball jutsu needs more power.”

Izuna smiled and summoned the jutsu one more time. The heat was hotter than before, like being next to a volcano. It was the biggest fireball he had ever created which left the poor plants on its incendiary path in a pile of ashes. The vibrant sphere of flames reached a great distance too — without burning the house, of course. 

“Don’t worry about it. You better be careful so you don’t get burned, Aniki.”

Madara just smirked at his antics as he joined Izuna with another fire jutsu to practice. 

After all, they both need to be the strongest to protect their clan and each other from their enemies.