Summary: Where the Sage is a meddling old geezer and Madara is a Kurosaki.
Disclaimer: Neither Naruto nor Bleach is mine.
Warnings: Language, shinobi and Madara.
Author's Note: Dunno, a little Isshin, Kisuke and Shinji POV. Let me know what you think. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to ya all. And, of course, the most important, Happy Birthday, Madara! If you see any mistakes, please kindly point them out to me.
Word Count: 2924
Isshin may be a little obtuse and oblivious to some things but he didn't become a Shinigami Captain for his good looks and charming smile. Although it may have helped a little, who knows, who knows... But getting back on track, Isshin wasn't stupid. He knew that his son wasn't entirely normal and he acknowledged that.
Madara was anything but a normal little kid. The boy was incredibly intelligent, quick to catch on and all together he was a little prodigy. In that, he was similar to Kaien, really... On second thought, not only was his genius similar but his looks as well. He wasn't a complete replica, what with his pitch black hair and dark grey eyes in opposition to Kaien's purplish locks and emerald orbs. But he was similar and so was Ichigo, Isshin frowned. If only one of them held those looks it may have been explained as a coincidence but the both of them looking so like Shiba Kaien may prove to be troublesome.
It may cause some problems in the future. They looked so much like the dead lieutenant of the Thirteenth that some people may start asking questions. Uncomfortable ones. Like, why do they look like they come from the Shiba clan and such.
Isshin shook his head. No matter, he would figure it out as he went, with some help from Kisuke. He looked down to see the sight that hasn't changed for the last ten minutes, Madara was sitting opposite him at the kitchen table and drilling holes in the table with his glare alone. He chuckled, drawing his son's attention to him. He could practically feel the heat of those dark accusing eyes.
"It is a good lesson, my son." He exclaimed with good cheer, "It taught you that your mother's anger is a sight to behold. Especially when it originates from fear." He nodded sagely to himself and went back to drinking his coffee. The kitchen was silent, Madara's lips stayed sealed but were pressed into a flat line. Isshin didn't mind, he knew his son and he knew that patience was the key. You had to be patient with him so that he could carefully gather his thoughts and select the ones he wanted to voice out loud. Or he could just not answer. It depended. On many things. Like his mood, the weather, the temperature, whether his peers annoyed him or not and of course, perhaps the most important one, whether Madara wanted to say something or didn't want to say anything at all.
This time waiting patiently, while pretending not to (because sometimes Madara was just spiteful enough to walk away when someone, most likely Isshin, is waiting for a response, Isshin now knows that he needs to make himself look busy and not push it), worked out.
"Why was mother so angry?" Was the quiet demand, his son's voice frustrated. That was something odd about Madara, too. While he was a genius, sometimes he was confused by the most basic of things. He just didn't understand why something was the way it was.
It happened a lot more often when he was younger but that was a normal thing for children. What was unusual was Madara's near obsessive need to know. Why was the toaster working? How was it working? Electricity? What is that? How does it work? But while other children eventually stop asking, Madara was persistent. He demanded books on the inner workings of the TV stationed in their living room, having read the instructions already.
And while their son somewhat satisfied his knowledge of the world around them, he was still very much confused, Isshin knew. Confused about people. Oh, he could hide it very well but Isshin really didn't become a captain being unobservant. He saw the silent question in Madara's eyes whenever Masaki encouraged him to make friends. The narrowing of his eyes when some children invited him to play some games with them and the derisive words that followed smoothly soon after, almost like a knee-jerk reaction to something unknown. To something he didn't know how to deal with.
It was a kick to the gut to recognize those things as marks of a sociopath. Even though it didn't make sense because sociopaths were created when they had negative contact with others and their family was anything but negative.
But Madara often ignored the social norms, it was like he almost didn't realize that they existed. Or realized but decided to just not acknowledge them. And although Isshin was glad when his son showed that he was very much a fighting prodigy, the fact that he didn't feel any remorse about beating up other kids to near unconsciousness was rather disturbing.
Still, Isshin decided that he wouldn't touch that subject with a ten-foot metal pole as long as Madara didn't change. Because he intereacted with the rest of the family just fine, if a little withdrawn.
And although there was this possessive look in his eyes when he looked at them all, Isshin cautiously thought that perhaps it was good. Madara's sometimes odd behavior, his reluctance to psychical contact but at the same time yearning for it may have made no sense a few years back but Madara was his son. Isshin knew his sons. He knew that in reality Madara was an introvert but he needed some positive contact too. And he sometimes needed to vent and so Isshin made himself a perfect target because he knew that Madara's sharpness would be bad for Masaki, would damage Ichigo and the girls. So he decided to take it on himself. The negative emotions and the frustration. He could tell that Madara had absolutely no idea, thinking him just a cheerful and happy-go-lucky fool, and while he was that, while some part of it was true, the majority of it, the dramatic reactions, the tears, the loudness, were all exaggerated. Masaki caught on quite quickly, giving him exasperated glances that soon turned into thoughtful ones and then ones full if gratefulness. She knew that Madara could hurt her with his words alone and knew that Isshin had thick skin and could endure insults and turn them into a funny squabble between himself and his son.
Isshin didn't mind. He knew that behind the grumpiness and the smirks and the silences, Madara loved them with a burning passionate love that Isshin was surprised to find in someone so young. But maybe, the rare theory about some souls getting to be reborn after passing on in Soul Society (instead of becoming part of it) were true and Madara was one such soul. He certainly sounded old, what with his exasperated huffs and grumbling about 'kids and their infinite amount of energy' whenever Ichigo wanted to play with him.
"Well?" He was thrown out of his silent musings when his son's voice, sharp with irritation and impatience, sounded from across the table.
"Your mom was worried and scared for you. She thought something happened to you. She thought someone harmed you. " He explained, making eye contact to convey the seriousness of the situation. "You should always tell her where you're going so that she will know where to find you."
Madara's eyes cleared somewhat, explanation for the weird behavior of his mother acquired. He nodded and made to stand but his Isshin took that exact moment to voice something out, "I was worried too."
Madara tensed and then instantly relaxed. He looked up and his eyes met Isshin's and then quickly flickered over his face, taking in the furrowed brows and the grim line that was formed by his mouth. He slowly eased himself back into his seat and although his expression was blank, Isshin learned that to know how his son truly felt you only needed to look him in the eye.
And there was surprise and astonishment there. And then, slowly, warmth crept into those expressive, the lines around them relaxed as Madara huffed out a breath, something like a 'thank you' passing those pale lips. And Isshin smiled, accepting the quiet words.
And then started tearing up about his cold, cold son who didn't even acknowledge the fact that his daddy worried. He saw Madara's previously slightly hunched shoulders relax, and heard a snort escape him. But the snort was amused and full of long-suffering exasperation that came after knowing each other and feeling good in each other's company.
Isshin reveled in that, feeling accomplished and happy.
Isshin knew that Madara was keeping secrets from them. Knew that those secrets were big. But he didn't realize that those secrets were possibly bigger than even Aizen's.
Kisuke didn't really have anything interesting to do since he was thrown out of Soul Society. Of course, there were his side projects such as getting an illegal gate to his old world and keeping tabs on Aizen but those lost their novelty with time. And Kisuke, as the genius that he was, bored even faster so he tried to entertain himself by any means necessary.
Isshin's boy was one of such entertainments.
He was at first interested in any possible offspring a Shinigami and a Quincy may produce so his curiosity was perfectly normal. But he didn't get to meet Isshin's sons until they were both four and two years old. Were he a normal, boring and unimaginative fool that Soul Society seems to be full of (maybe he had a bit of a grudge against them, no one could blame him), he would have immediately dismissed the older boy as soon as he felt his below average levels of Reiryoku and his younger brother's near monstrous levels of it. But Kisuke was anything but unimaginative, he was nothing like those close-minded idiots from up there. So he stalled his judgement. And he wasn't disappointed. Oh, he definitely wasn't.
Maybe that first visit wouldn't have told anyone else anything import_ant besides the fact that Isshin's eldest was a little rude and ignorant of (or ignoring) social norms. He grunted as a greeting and just sort of stared at everything, while looking out of the corner of his eye or from beneath his fringe at Kisuke. He was quite good, Kisuke had to admit, but Kisuke himself was one of the best in the art of subtlety. And to be honest, Kisuke was aware that the boy knew he was caught staring but he stubbornly continued doing exactly that.
It was truly fascinating since while Kisuke knew that he wasn't the most intimidating, he could be. And he was an adult and a stranger to boot. Most people, even older ones, would have been embarrassed when caught and stopped. But he didn't detect even a shred of embarrassment or guilt from the child.
The second thing that caught his attention was the intelligence in those dark eyes. There was suspicion in there as well. And wariness as well.
Thirdly, the boy behaved like one of the Second Division fighters, his steps were silent, his movements sharp with precision.
Kisuke was just the slightest bit impressed. With that blank face one would think the kid to be trained drop a young age as an assassin or something.
He concluded that fairly quickly and decided to react accordingly. When he drew the boy into conversation, he talked to him like an equal and didn't use baby language because he knew that if he himself was in the boy's place, he wouldn't have been happy with the simpering and cooing. He figured that, as he himself was once upon a time a child prodigy, even if it was as a soul and in Soul Society, Madara would appreciate the fact that he was treating him as an equal.
And when the boy still didn't want to talk, Kisuke returned to talking with Masaki and making subtle jabs at Isshin while pretending to get along with him just fine. He could tell that Isshin knew by the exasperated glances the man was throwing his way the whole time. But Madara was biased and knew his father only as a particularly obtuse man, who liked making an idiot out of himself. He saw that and didn't question how his father was smart enough to become a legitimate doctor. He only saw what he wanted to see, as he didn't expect to be deceived by those close to him, especially his father.
So the boy only saw him poking fun at Isshin and thought it hilarious, making connection between himself and Kisuke as those with the same purpose of making Isshin look dumb.
Kisuke thought it was great. And when Isshin noticed the admiring gaze his son sent Kisuke, he groaned and Kisuke thought it was even better.
He remembered when Isshin called him and frantically informed him that his son was missing. His elder, grumpy prodigy of a son. It was a disaster. The last time the boy was seen was last day, when Masaki was tucking him into bed (although it was less tucking and more arguing with his mother that he didn't want or need so much sleep, Isshin added, a little hysterical laugh escaping him).
The first thing that came to Kisuke's mind was, of course, Aizen. Aizen kidnapped the boy, the hybrid between a Shinigami and a Quincy (-Hollow). The man took him and would use him to get the Hougyoku. He would propose an exchange... No! He would train the boy and make him obedient and eager to please his master.
All those thoughts and more ran through his mind with the speed of Yoruichi-san's Shunko. Kisuke immediately called Shinji and told him that Isshin's hybrid of a kid was maybe, possibly, a little, kidnapped. By Aizen.
Shinji had never Shunpo'd that fast in his life. The blond arrived at Kisuke's place ruffled, his, usually perfect, hair tangled from his travel, brown eyes cold.
Shinji was visibly disturbed but when looking at their surroundings, where there were no other Visored, he didn't tell the others, not sure if the information was truth.
"What is happening?" He asked, gaze sliding between Isshin and Kisuke himself. Kisuke decided to explain, as Isshin was gazing out the window with dimmed eyes and mouth a grim slash on his unusually pale face. When he finished telling Shinji about what happened, they all sat in silence for a few moments and Kisuke busied himself with preparing some more tea, seeing as the one he made for Isshin and himself has long since gone cold. The Shiba was still holding the cup though, his grip tight, almost grounding him to reality.
"You tried searching for him?" Came the question although it was more of a statement. Shinji almost winced when the cup of tea Isshin was nursing cracked and burst in the man's fist. His dark eyes were, furious, like the fires of his Zanpakuto from before he still had his Zanpakuto, and trained on Shinji's own eyes.
The kettle started whistling loudly and the staredown stopped and Kisuke mentally thanked the Soulking for getting him an out of the awkward situation. Although he immediately regretted it as after he poured the water into the cups and arranged them neatly on the tray which he set in the middle of his table, the atmosphere became even more tense.
Finally, Isshin sighed, "He is nowhere near Karakura. His Reiryoku, weak as it is, can still be tracked down if he's anywhere in town. But we can't now so he's obviously out of town."
"So what can we do?" Asked Shinji, after digesting that information. His answer was a grim "We wait." from Urahara. Well, damn.
It took another few hours before the kid just suddenly appeared on one of Kisuke's scanners. It picked his characteristic muted signature in the local park and heading home. The there of them immediately scrambled to follow and intercept the boy.
Shinji banged Isshin's head into the table of the idiot's kitchen, muttering about stupidity and irresponsibility. He thought that the Shiba matured somewhat what with the fact that he had a family to take care of. He was obviously wrong. He didn't even mention the dangers of the Human World to the boy. Even in Soul Society kids knew not to talk to strangers.
He sighed, released the spiky black hair (Isshin banged his head a few more times after he let him go, he thought with exasperation) and pinched the bridge of his nose.
He looked down at the boy's confused face and had a sudden urge to bash Isshin's face one more time. He stifled it and ruffled the boy's hair instead, silently marvelling at the fact that he looked like mini Kaien. He was that similar. It was slightly creepy. He would have taken him as Kaien or even his son if not for the eyes which were grey (all Isshin, he thought) instead of green and the attitude of an exasperated grandpa and a bristling teenager in one (that... must have been something personally him, because Isshin behaved like a five year old and Masaki like a responsible mother meshed with a bit of a squealing schoolgirl). He smiled and quietly mused to himself that the kid was great fun and the Visored would have taken a great liking to him. He knew that he already did.
He glanced down at the sour face of the boy, who was bristling beneath his touch like some offended cat and laughed. Oh, he certainly did like the boy.