Prompt: Illusions
Warnings: None
A/N: This was originally part of a much larger fic, but the flow was off and in the end this was all I could manage.
Word Count: 237


Madara was a man of illusions. He swallowed them with each breath and spoke with each word; he gave shape and form; he tasted in washed of blood. He molded these concepts into the pungent, black grain of the Mokuton—the curve of a cheek, the sharpness of a jaw, the taut perk of those muscles, and the dip of those hips; but he could not bear to construct anything further and hid the rest in his shadows.

In his cowardice was the echo of truth: Hashirama was not here, not in his spirit or body or mind, and certainly not in his Mokuton. Hashirama's wood had always carried the scent of pine, no matter the type, and a gold sheen clung to the bark and the grain. It had been light. It had tickled his skin with leaves and drew blood with its thorns, but it had always been a pleasant burn, and Madara's body had always welcomed it regardless.

Death called forth one last illusion: He spent his solitude crafting a false life for himself, and in the end he finished the tale—two old men, side by side, drawing their last breaths on the cliff of their childhood.

But for all the vivid colors, the caress of a breeze, the stains of grass and perfume of camellia, Madara could not trick himself into this falsehood, and he died as he knew life to be—miserable and eager.