Warnings: Mentioned genderswap (temporary), bickering, brief Hashirama abuse, annoyed Naras, teasing, resolutions, etc.
Word Count: ~5600
Pairings: Madara/Tobirama, Hashirama/Mito, Tōka/Izuna
Disclaimer: Hah. I want some of whatever Kishimoto was smoking, but Naruto's not mine.
Notes: This is, indeed, the last chapter. I have no desire to write five more chapters of politics and the ramifications thereof—reverse has enough of that for me—so I'm sticking a period here and calling it a happy ending. Thank you so, so much to everyone who's waited patiently for this. You're fantastic, and I really should have had this up a long time ago.
(Also, this was written and edited in a hospital waiting room while I was very distracted, so I apologize for any massive grammar errors/idiotic typos.)
As Is the Sea Marvelous
11. of your soul upon my lips
So far from any of the shinobi clan compounds, the path through the forest is quiet and still, the only sound the quiet murmur of voices as the procession of Uchihas and guests moves through the trees. Tobirama would be thankful for the momentary peace, except that the vast majority of his peace comes from the fact that Tōka is a seething silence on his right.
Early morning and a long walk don't leave her with much good humor, unfortunately.
Since he's already attempted to give her some space and been snapped at for ignoring her, and then tried to engage her in conversation and been growled at for annoying her, Tobirama subtly quickens his pace, just enough that in a few minutes he's a good bit ahead of Tōka's position, closer to where Madara is pouring over a scroll with a distinct scowl. Izuna, walking next to him with his hands in his sleeves, gives Tobirama a bright, cheerful smile and surrenders his spot, heading back towards Tōka with a good amount of enthusiasm.
Tobirama would pity him, except that if he's truly serious about starting anything with Tōka he should be fully acquainted with her pre-noon personality. He returns the smile with a smirk, trying not to let a flicker of malice slip through, and falls into step with the Uchiha Clan Head.
"You're going to trip," he warns mildly, stretching out his senses ahead of them, and—oh. That's both interesting and faintly inconvenient. It does, at least, give him an excuse to escape Tōka for a while.
Madara startles so hard he almost drops the scroll, glances up, and promptly flushes dull red. "Oh, shut up," he snaps. "I'm a shinobi! I'm a good shinobi. I think I can manage to walk down a road, Senju."
Tobirama raises an incredulous eyebrow, because he knows Madara has met Hashirama. "My brother proves otherwise," he points out, and Madara snorts.
"I'm not your brother," he says, clearly annoyed, and rerolls the scroll with tight, sharp movements. "Though if I was, I'd be prepared to get my nose broken for being an idiot."
Tobirama had been happy to leave this subject behind them. He levels a glare at Madara, and says sharply, "If you break my brother's nose without provocation, Mito will castrate you with her kanzashi. Cheerfully."
There's a long pause as Madara digests this, the red leeching from his face to be replaced by a wash of pale green, and he grimaces. "The Uzumaki woman? I thought it was an arranged marriage."
"Call her that to her face," Tobirama orders, vastly amused by the thought. "Use that tone. You won't live long enough to say anything else, but it will at least be very entertaining to watch you die."
That gets him a sour look, but at least Madara is meeting his eyes now. Tobirama is a genius, but he hardly needs to be one to see that Madara has been avoiding him all morning. The easy assumption to make is that it's regarding the conversation yesterday. It's hard to blame him, if that's the case; Tōka is very, very good at embarrassing him, and everyone around him by proxy.
"These are peace talks," Madara protests. "If your brother's harpy of a wife—"
Raising a judgmental brow, Tobirama snorts. "Mito is the one who wrote that acceptance letter," he informs Madara. "She is smart, and cunning, and a better politician than Hashirama could ever hope to be. You may be signing a peace treaty with my brother, but a large portion of the thought behind it will come from Mito."
Madara looks startled, then thoughtful. Then something like confusion slides over his features and he grimaces. "And she married Hashirama?"
Tobirama looks away to hide a smirk. "It was her choice to go through with it," he confirms.
For a long moment, Madara turns this over in his mind before he shakes his head incredulously. "Fine," he says, a mixture of grumpy and disbelieving. "Hashirama can wait outside in the hall while the reasonable people talk." He catches sight of Tobirama's exasperated scowl and smirks, but their eyes must hold a beat too long. He blinks, flushes again, and determinedly jerks his eyes back to the front as he snaps his mouth shut.
That was very clearly an attempt not to have a reaction, and if Tobirama knows anything about this man by now, it's that reaction is, for him, generally equivalent to loud and blustering. He sighs through his nose, reaching up to rub at his temple, and says very deliberately, "I apologize for my cousin's turn of conversation yesterday. If it eases your mind, I was the target; any embarrassment you might have suffered was collateral damage, I'm certain."
If anything, Madara goes redder. "We're not talking about this," he hisses out, waving his arms in an aborted gesture. "I—you just—no!"
Tobirama rolls his eyes. "You spent the entire morning doing anything you could not to be within twenty feet of me," he retorts waspishly. "If this is about my proclivities, you may rest assured that just because I prefer men—"
The red shades towards puce, and Madara slaps a hand over his face. "STOP. TALKING."
Entirely unimpressed, Tobirama closes his mouth and waits.
Looking like speaking is physically causing him pain, Madara grits out, "It's not. That. Men are fine. But you. Just. Aargh." He breaks off, kneading his brow, and grimaces. "Can't we stop?" he asks plaintively.
Tobirama is a genius. Perhaps not always with people—perhaps rarely with people, really—but sometimes even he can make leaps in logic and come to something resembling a conclusion. Blinking, he looks at Madara, takes in the way the Uchiha is still unable to make eye contact, the red face, the way he had reacted yesterday and this morning, and asks with a touch of disbelief, "You're attracted to me?"
"What?!" Madara yelps, jerking around. He trips, flails, and only just manages to get his feet under him before he falls. "We weren't—you—how is that a logical follow-up to that conversation?"
"Just because I haven't had sex doesn't mean I'm unfamiliar with the mechanics of attraction." Tobirama studies him thoughtfully, dissecting implications, and frowns a little. "I—really?"
"It's inappropriate," Madara says stiffly, ignore the sideways glances his clan members are giving them. They are, thankfully, spread out enough that eavesdropping on the quieter parts of the conversation would take effort. "You're a prisoner."
"Only technically," Tobirama reminds him, and is startled to find himself—well. Not quite considering it, but assessing the thought, certainly. He remembers Madara's dark eyes on him, the insight that no one else has ever managed into Tobirama's thoughts and motivations, and is…startlingly all right with the idea. He carefully sets it aside for later study, and changes the subject, much to Madara's visible relief. "The Nara Clan compound is a little under an hour from here. There's a squad just leaving, and I believe Shikari is leading it."
Madara's glance is faintly wary, as if he can't believe Tobirama is actually dropping the matter, but he readily takes the opening. "As I would expect." He snorts softly, and adds, "She's probably coming to make her displeasure known in person. I don't know why she's bothering; that letter was annoyed enough that I'm surprised it wasn't smoking."
Given what Tobirama knows of Shikari, it's not a shock that she's coming to meet them. For all that she's a typical Nara in temperament, Shikari is also very forthright. She claims it's impossibly troublesome to be otherwise. He huffs a sound of quietly amused agreement, and then adds, "It appears my brother and several of my clan are already in residence."
"What?!" It's just a little below a shriek, and Tobirama winces as his eardrums protest. He gives Madara a glare, but Madara simply glares right back. "And you didn't think to tell me?"
"I just did," Tobirama points out, annoyed. "And did you expect anything else where Hashirama is concerned? This is the opportunity he's wanted since he was a child. Of course he would be eager to take it."
"He's still a child," Madara mutters, looking distinctly unhappy. "An oversized, overly enthusiastic child with no manners and not enough sense."
Given that that's one of the better descriptions of Hashirama that he's heard, Tobirama keeps his mouth shut and doesn't protest.
"The Nara are closer to the Senju than the Uchiha," he points out after a moment. "It's reasonable for them to arrive first."
The annoyance doesn't fade much, and Madara mutters something about stones and heads under his breath that Tobirama doesn't quite catch. It's probably not much of a loss. Then Madara raises his voice, and adds, "Can you tell if he has any of the clan elders with him?"
None of the Uchiha elders are in this group; Madara had managed to exclude them neatly and without much remorse. Tobirama approves, mostly because they keep giving him nasty, suspicious looks, and extended exposure to such behavior would undoubtedly make Tobirama forget good sense and pull the nearest rain cloud down on top of them. With a soft snort, he looks again, focusing on the familiar flares of chakra that mark his brother and Mito, then a handful of Senju he knows well. There's only one elder among them, and she was never close to Butsuma. Though she'll likely be wary of the Uchiha after a lifetime of waging war against them, she won't be unreasonable.
"None who will cause problems," he offers after another moment. Mito feels—different, just a little. Still a contained whirlpool of chakra, spinning in place and tightly controlled, the seal on her forehead a supernova trapped in a bottle, but just—changed. He frowns, wondering what could have happened, and then pulls his attention back to his immediate surroundings.
Madara is watching him, dark eyes narrowed with interest, and Tobirama looks back, holding his gaze. He thinks of conversations over tea, even when they devolve into arguments. Maybe especially then, because Madara is unafraid to match him in a way that few others have ever been. Only family, that Tobirama can think of, and Madara is most definitely not family.
"You are…not unattractive to me, either," he says before he can overthink things, and looks away so the words come more easily. "I've never indulged in sex because I've never cared to form an attachment like that with anyone before, and one night encounters hold no appeal."
When he flicks a glance at his companion, Madara looks like he honestly has no idea what to do with that statement. "Oh," he says blankly, and then quickly grimaces. "I thought we weren't talking about this?"
Tobirama gives him a judgmental look. "For your consideration," he says blandly, and abandons the conversation for the safer territory of drifting back to Tōka's side. Even watching her exchange sneaked glances with Izuna is better than lingering in that particular conversational quagmire.
Of course, in this case he's leapt from quicksand into a rockslide, because as soon as he's within earshot Tōka purrs, "Oh my, little cousin. Is that a crush I see forming?"
"It's not," Tobirama denies—truthfully, because he's fully aware it's not. Just…an idea, with attached possibilities. Certainly not something he ever would have considered before, but.
But he likes the Uchiha Clan as a whole, and Madara is…something to puzzle over. A man with morals like Tobirama's own, but a much closer connection to his clan. A deadly fighter, a brother, a man who wants peace for the happiness it will bring to those close to him. Tobirama still hasn't quite managed to shut out that sunshine-warm dream Madara described to him, Hashirama old and at ease with his family around him.
This isn't a love story. Tobirama has never cared for such things, with their excess of emotion and poor decisions and complete lack of logic on the parts of the characters. This—this is simply a concept, able to be explored, and there will be at least three months of ceasefire in the future in which to explore it. Ideas are something Tobirama is fond of. Ideas are something he can handle. Emotion might be messy and unpredictable, but…
There's a foundation of it laid between them already. Madara has seen him at his most vulnerable, at his weakest, has even held power over him in those moments, and…one abuse. One moment where his grief and anger got the better of him. Beyond that, he never attempted anything. And maybe that lapse of control means he's not a good man, but then, Tobirama isn't either. He's a shinobi. Perhaps the two states aren't mutually exclusive, but it's certainly difficult for them to coexist.
"Hm." Tōka sounds carefully neutral, and when he gives her a sharp look there's a touch of humor around her eyes, though he can see worry there, too. "Be careful, little cousin."
"I could say the same to you," Tobirama retorts, though it doesn't come out quite as biting as he would like. He flicks a pointed glance at Izuna, who makes a face at him.
Condescendingly, Tōka pats Tobirama on the head. "The day I need you to look out for me is—"
"—going to be very disappointing to everyone involved. And don't make that face. If the wind changes you'll get stuck like that, and then what will you do?"
"The two of you," Izuna says with great amusement, "must have been very interesting as teenagers."
Tōka chuckles, linking her hands and stretching to pop her back. For the sake of his sanity, Tobirama ignores where Izuna's eyes linger. He's walked in on Tōka in too many compromising positons to truly be horrified by it, but that doesn't mean he actively wants to know anything about it at all. "Everyone was terrified of us," she admits easily. "Like that one time, when Butsuma tried to keep me off the frontlines because I was a woman. Or when Tobirama tried to play around with henges and ended up getting stuck as a girl for three months. That was fun."
Izuna blinks, clearly running this statement through his head a few times, and then looks at Tobirama askance. "You—a girl?"
Unbothered, Tobirama raises a brow at him. "You don't remember me?" he asks mildly. "How ungentlemanly. In the village with the fountain?"
There's a moment of blank horror as Izuna pales. "You're bluffing," he accuses, but it sounds weak. "That's a dirty lie, Senju!"
"There was a woman selling blue roses," Tobirama counters, and it's all he can do to hide a smirk. Tōka is about to choke, she wants so much to laugh, but she's managing not to give in. "You bought one. What was the phrase? 'This rose is lovely, but it pales—'"
"Stop!" Izuna yelps, slapping his hands over his ears. "No, no, I refuse to believe that! She was a brunette! She had green eyes! And—and a birthmark! On her—no!"
Tōka wheezes with mirth, covering her mouth to muffle the sound just a moment too late. Izuna spins to glare at her, realization coming into his eyes, and then turns to give Tobirama the dirtiest look he's capable of. "It wasn't you!"
"No," Tobirama admits, smirking at him. "I was just on reconnaissance in the village and saw you."
Tōka's arms are wrapped around her stomach, and she's laughing so hard that it's silent, just gasps of air. She waves Tobirama off before he can ask if she's all right, and bats Izuna's hand away when he tries to swat her.
"You're both terrible," Izuna complains. "I hate you."
Tobirama arches a brow at him. "Really," he says dryly, and Izuna huffs and crosses his arms.
"I'm supposed to hate my in-laws," he informs Tobirama archly, and then yelps when Tōka sweeps his feet out from under him and dumps him on his ass in the dirt.
"The two of you," Nara Shikari complains when they finally reach the compound, where she apparently decided to wait rather than coming to find them. "I should kick you both off my lands and leave you to sort things out on your own. So troublesome."
Madara is offended, mostly because of the comparison to Hashirama. With a huff, he crosses his arms over his chest and protests, "I have nothing to do with the Senju Clan's decisions, Nara."
"And yet here you are, two days early," Shikari points out dryly, gaze flickering over him, then darting towards the rest of the group. She lingers for a moment on Tobirama and Tōka, standing close to Izuna, and something both thoughtful and calculating crosses her face. She tips her head, and says, "Huh. Would you look at that. Maybe you'll actually get something done this time after all."
Madara makes a face at her. "Well?" he demands impatiently. "The sooner we start, the sooner we finish, and the sooner you get your compound back."
"Believe me, I await the moment with bated breath." Despite her words, Shikari pushes away from the wall she's leaning against, waves her shinobi back a few steps, and heads towards a small door set into the stone.
Before she so much as reach for it, though, a blur darts past Madara, slips through the startled Naras, and ducks around Shikari. "Excuse me for a moment," Tōka says with her sweetest smile, then reaches for the door. The knob turns, it opens inward, and with all her strength Tōka rams it forward.
From the other side, there's a crack, a distinct crunch, a thump, and a muffled scream. "Oops," Tōka says, entirely unrepentant, and catches the door as it bounces back towards her. She opens it again, more normally this time, and Madara is met with the entirely unexpected sight of Hashirama on the ground, clutching what is clearly a broken nose as blood streams down his face. Tōka smiles at him, all teeth, and adds with bright, cheerful malice, "Sorry, cousin, I didn't see you there."
There's only one possible reaction. Madara looks over at his brother, who's staring wide-eyed. "I reluctantly approve," he informs him.
"Uh-huh," Izuna agrees dazedly. "Me too. Isn't she fantastic?"
"Tōka." Tobirama pushes through the crowd, looking somewhere between exasperated and longsuffering. He elbows the kunoichi out of the way, then crouches in front of his brother and touches a green-glowing hand to his face. The swelling recedes, the redness vanishes, and the flow of blood stops, and Tobirama asks, "Do you have a bandage with you, brother? I left mine behind."
There's a moment of utter silence as Hashirama stares at his brother, dark eyes wide. Then, with a muffled sound akin to a sob, he grabs Tobirama and pulls him in, drags him into a tight, desperate hug, clutching him close. Madara is close enough to hear him whisper, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I love you so much, Tobirama. I never meant it, I swear, I was just angry at myself. I treated you so harshly, and then I lost you—"
"You have never lost me," Tobirama answers, low and fierce, and presses his forehead against his brother's shoulder as his arms come up to grip Hashirama's haori in return. "Never, Hashirama. You never will."
Hashirama swallows, his eyes falling closed. He doesn't ease his grip—if anything he simply pulls Tobirama in tighter. "I could have," he murmurs. "I thought you were dead, and—don't leave me again, Tobirama. I know I'm blind and foolish and useless, but you're all the best parts of me. I'd be nothing without you."
The look on Tobirama's face is too cautious to be joy, but fierce. Grateful. Full of a careful, deeply-rooted regard that is both a younger brother's well-hidden worship of an older sibling and the instinctive, automatic love of a man towards the center of his universe. Like a compass to the north, or the sailor to the star that leads home, or the sun to its set path. It will never change, regardless of anything, and Madara has to swallow, because he recognizes it.
This is the reason Tobirama walked to his death, just in the hope that his brother could fulfill his dream. Not for the sake of the dream itself, but for Hashirama as a man. As his brother. As the star Tobirama has always orbited, quietly adoring.
It sits in his stomach like jealousy, but it's not. Envy, only not so petty as the word implies. Longing, maybe, with an edge of want.
What a thing, truly, to have the regard of a man like Senju Tobirama. Even seen from the outside, it's…captivating.
"I swear," Shikari mutters, pinching the bridge of her nose and closing her eyes. "So goddamn troublesome, all of you. Inside, before I recover my good sense and leave you out here to rot."
Carefully, Tobirama climbs to his feet, pulling Hashirama up with him. The Senju brothers stand together for another moment, just staring at each other, and then Hashirama pulls Tobirama into another hug, tight but gentle. His dark hair falls around their faces, obscuring them both slightly as he rests their foreheads together, but there's enough visible for Madara to see the small, clear smile Tobirama favors his brother with, the way Tobirama's hand curls around Hashirama's elbow in a careful hold.
"I missed you," Hashirama tells him, sad and regretful. "I've been missing you for a very long time, haven't I?"
"I would follow you regardless," Tobirama answers, so bare and honest it almost hurts to hear. Then the solemnity lightens, just slightly, and he adds, "Though I'll complain about it less if you'd stop being such a fool."
Hashirama laughs at that, warm and grateful and fond as he leans in, taking another hug. "Lies," he says dotingly. "You'll always complain about me. You enjoy it."
"I do not." But the denial is halfhearted, even as Tobirama steps back to put some space between them. "Come. Shikari has as little patience for your excess of sentiment as I do."
Shikari snorts, brushing past the two into the compound. "Very true," she agrees. "Uchiha Clan, that way. Your rooms are obvious. Senju, Uchiha, tell me when you're ready to start talking. I want you out of my hair as soon as possible."
"Be polite, Shikari," a tall blond man reproves, approaching from the main house with a slender redhead by his side. Madara eyes the latter a little warily as he leaves Izuna to oversee the rest of the clan, approaching Hashirama.
"You steal all the joy out of my life, Inoue," Shikari complains, but lets the blond guide her back towards the house without too much protest. The redhead remains where she is, smiling as Tobirama steps over to her.
"Mito," Tobirama says, and there's true pleasure in his voice. "You look well." His red eyes flicker over her, then widen slightly, and he shoots her a startled look.
With a quiet chuckle, Mito places a finger over her lips and a hand over her stomach, giving Tobirama a conspiratorial wink. "Tobirama," she says, and reaches out for him. He takes her hands, pulling her close to kiss her forehead, and she reaches up to cup his cheek. A glance to check that Hashirama is distracted speaking with an unimpressed Tōka, and Madara just hears her add softly, but with a brilliant smile, "You've picked your timing well. If this treaty goes through, our first child will be born to peace." There's a brief pause as she studies him, and then she says more seriously, "We were worried. But I see they didn't cut any chunks off, so you're all right?"
"They hardly touched me," Tobirama assures her, and Madara has to look away, a flicker of guilt curling in his stomach. He'd been angry, so angry and lost, but he'd still trapped Tobirama in a vision made of his greatest fears. That's torture, just as surely as the physical type. Maybe they were enemies at the time, but that's little balm to his conscience now.
Of course, looking away brings his attention back to Hashirama, who's watching him with a faint thread of wariness mixed with hurt. Understandable, given the way their last meeting went. And—there's still a core of anger, in Madara, at Hashirama's treatment of his brother. But they're here for peace, and in the face of that the resentment is easy enough to bury.
"Hashirama," he says with a nod, and allows himself a smile. "I see you fixed that bruise."
Hashirama blinks, startled, and one hand goes to his forehead where the rock had struck him. Then he chuckles, almost sheepishly. "Oh, right. I was going to keep it, because I thought it would amuse you, but Mito said I couldn't look stupid when I was representing the clan. She healed it for me."
Admittedly rather disappointing, Madara laments, though the thought of the small, dainty-looking Mito telling Hashirama that to his face is somewhat entertaining. "It would have," he agrees, and then looks the other man over and folds his arms across his chest. "I take it you made a decision?"
Hashirama smiles, small but warm and genuine. "I did. Thank you, my friend, for helping me see what I couldn't, wouldn't, before. I needed you to open my eyes, and I'm grateful for it."
Madara supposes that's enough of a consolation for now. He nods, mostly satisfied, and strangles the little voice that insists Tōka's punch was well and good, but he should attempt his own. Though he'll never admit it out loud, Tobirama may have had a point about throwing punches at a peace conference. "I hope you're prepared to read a lot of fine print," he says. "I have scrolls full of the ridiculousness my clan's elders came up with."
The other man winces. "So do I," he admits. "Only I think you're allowed to reject mine, since you're holding my beloved brother and cousin hostage."
"The cousin who just broke your nose," Madara says dryly, just to clarify.
Hashirama gives him a wry smile, laughing a little. "You almost sound like you're surprised, Madara. I'm certainly not."
To anyone who's met her and seen her interact with Tobirama, Tōka's actions aren't a surprise at all. It's a little aggravating that she beat him to the punch—literally—but Madara can be content with the results. Still. "You're lucky it wasn't me," he informs his friend, leveling a warning glare at him.
To his utter surprise, Hashirama beams, then lunges forward and hugs him hard, lifting him right off his feet. Madara squawks in protest, flailing as he tries to shove Hashirama away, but the gigantic idiot doesn't even do him the curtesy of pretending to move. "Thank you," he says in Madara's ear, and the confusion is enough to make Madara stop struggling for a moment. "Thank you for protecting him, even from himself."
To his horror, Madara feels his face going red again. "Put me down, Senju," he warns, and is only slightly mollified when Hashirama does as he's told. Dignity prickling, he smooths down his clothes, giving Hashirama a warning glare, and then turns on his heels, snaps, "Go get ready, idiot!" and heads for the rooms Shikari had directed the Uchiha towards.
To his surprise, Tobirama falls into step with him, leaving Mito to greet Tōka. His steps are steady, even, but Madara can't quite forget their conversation just an hour ago. Especially not when Hashirama's words felt almost like a blessing.
Three months, if everything goes right. Three months of Tobirama as a guest, rather than a prisoner or political leverage. Madara can't tell if it sounds like forever or no time at all.
As if he can tell the direction of Madara's thoughts, Tobirama pauses, and when Madara turns to look at him curiously, he asks, serious and intent, "Have you considered?"
"For all of an hour?" Madara demands, because snappish is better than embarrassed. "I'm not quite that simple-minded, thank you."
"Nothing about you is simple, Madara," Tobirama agrees, and his tone is ever so faintly amused. But his expression sobers slightly, and he turns to look back at the courtyard, where Izuna has drifted over to stand next to Tōka, and Hikaku is bowing politely to Mito. "This will lead to peace," he says, and sounds so certain that Madara can't help but believe it, too. "All of the clans are tired of war, and even a handful of voices speaking against it will be enough the turn the tides. The Senju and Uchiha will start it, but the rest will follow as well."
"And?" Madara asks pointedly, though his chest feels tight. A little over a week ago Tobirama couldn't believe in peace as anything but one of his brother's dreams, and now he supports it as if he understands.
Tobirama simply looks at him, red eyes and silver hair and the sharp red lines on his face making the angle of his cheekbones into something breathtaking. "And?" he echoes, and that's amused too. Raising one hand, he frames Madara's cheek, not quite touching. "I'm curious. Tell me, where do you see yourself in that dream of the future?"
Callused fingertips just brush his skin, five points of heat to steal Madara's voice, and then Tobirama pulls away. He turns, looking back, and—
Madara grabs his elbow, pulls him around. Pulls him in, and kisses him, because he can't think of a single other thing to do. Tobirama's mouth is soft, unexpectedly warm, and when his lips part in surprise Madara wastes no time deepening the kiss, tugging him closer and coaxing him to follow. It startles a moan from that pale throat, a soft sound of interest, and Madara feels satisfaction spike. He brings his hands up, chases the streaks of red up to the corners of Tobirama's eyes, then slides his fingers into shaggy hair and brushes it back. Their mouths part for air, just a breath before Tobirama pulls him in again, and Madara goes willingly.
Another kiss, lingering and distracting, blanking out Madara's thoughts. He scrabbles to pull together words, but all that manages to come out when they part again is, "Are you trying to manipulate me, Senju?"
Tobirama snorts softly, fingers tightening on Madara's hip, and leans closer to put his mouth right next to Madara's ear. "I would prefer to think of it as a brief example of the possible benefits."
It's manipulation, pure and simple. Luckily, Madara is very much in the mood to be manipulated. He turns them, shifting back a little further into the shadows so they won't be interrupted, and reels Tobirama in with the hand in his hair. "I'm still considering," he informs Tobirama. "How about you convince me this isn't a terrible idea."
That gets him a huff of laughter. "Of course it's a terrible idea," Tobirama says. "We're going to kill each other within a month. Either I'll drown you when you try to throw me in the pond again, or you'll set me on fire the next time you lose your temper at me."
"So it's always going to be my fault, is it?" Madara asks, and tries to make his tone sour, but doesn't quite manage it.
"Of course," Tobirama agrees without a flicker of shame, and Madara isn't about to let that stand. He curls his fingers in soft silver hair, wraps his free arm around Tobirama's waist, and kisses him again.
Tobirama huffs a laugh at him when they break apart, then takes another kiss, and Madara will never tell him, but he's already very thoroughly convinced.