Naruto fan fiction

Genre: character study, gen
Character: M, co-starring Izuna, Deidara, and Itachi
Rating: PG-13 (T)
Word Count: 1000 or so
Notes: A 'warm up' to an idea I hope to expand upon at some later date. Written as an attempt to begin making my peace with Madara. Also written for the Naruto Contest (on LJ) prompt, "backstory".

Little Brother Izuna is the true shinobi. He is the one with secrets, not Madara. Madara has only ambitions, and secrets they are not. Ambitions and

lips pulled taught against a bloodless face, tight and impassive

stiff fingers that refuse to clench

a body rigid

and eyes that promise someday to spill into wildfire

hatred. (It is never enough.)

"I hate shinobi." Madara spits a small bone into the small ceramic bowl he and his brother share. He hates them because shinobi and the way of shinobi are all Madara has ever known, and he has recently taken up the business of hating all that has wronged him.

The world has wronged him by stealing away his eyes.

Izuna regards him quietly, and with the nails of his thumb and index finger picks up the bone Madara has dropped, puts it in his own mouth, and grinds thoughtfully. "Why is that, Brother?" he asks finally; his tone relays no curiosity. He knows. He runs his fingertips across the tatami, warped with damp and winter. Madara hears calluses scrape against the bloated reeds, a thick muted sound like whispers when no one is listening.

"They serve their masters, they serve the daimyou who purchase them, they serve the interests of their clan. But where is the self, the self, the self? They are only slaves; they are nothing. There is no honor there. Nor glory."

"I am sorry." Izuna spits the bone back into the bowl, and it clatters against the sides like a die cast.

"You're a liar."


"You agree."


Madara thinks his brother has left, finally remembering his shinobi's stealth along with his shinobi's shame. But then he feels the rough stroke of fingers on his cheek, a cool breeze as Izuna inhales. "It is a hard thing, to be hated."

Izuna thinks Madara's contempt is self-loathing, that his accusations are directed inward. Little Izuna has never been so wrong in his life. Madara is many things, some more satisfying than others, but he is no shinobi.

"—For you?" is the tail-end of Izuna's sympathies. He presses his forehead against Madara's, a vestigial ritual from childhood. "What can I do for you?"

Madara matches his brother's motions and traces the thin white scars that lead up from Izuna's chin to his cheeks to his eyes.

"I want you to disappear."

Madara feels the muscles under Izuna's skin stretch as his eyes snap open.

Soft-silky bitter shriveled laughter escapes Madara's throat and dances, gold on black. Izuna's screams vanish into the haze of irrelevance and Madara's vision explodes in a symphony of color.

This is the sense of weakness leaving.


(The world holds no place for him anymore.)


The first rains of the season roll in like fog, weak, grasping tendrils that curl beneath his feet and between the trees. It creeps inexorably from the mountains and into the deep forest, and finally billows into the Valley with stinging fervor.

"Mmm, Tobi! Get the hell back inside; we get found out, and it's still raining, and I have to fight all of them on my own, I'll kill you before they get their chance, yeah?" Deidara threatens emptily, sullenly.

Deidara is an idiot. Madara has suffered through his 'better's' nonsensical tirades against the weather—he loved the rain, but he hated being wet; his creations certainly could withstand the rain, damn it, but he didn't feel like proving it, was all!—enough to last a thousand lifetimes.

He turns his gaze from the skies and ceases his frenetic splashing. Madara puts on a sick-sweet smile (unseen beneath his mask but necessary, necessary, because Madara can't pretend these things halfway) and chirps, "But Deidara-sempai, today is Tobi's birthday!"

Deidara makes a show of rolling his visible eye, but no move to slither back into the cave. For whatever reason, birthdays are the one thing save art that Deidara will respect. He offers his tolerance as a congratulatory gift.

A different smile, positively serpentine, rips across Madara's face. 'Tobi' splashes away, with movements so rehearsed and mechanic they are hardly a ripple across Madara's thoughts.

Deidara is going to die someday; hopefully soon. This is, after all, the Valley of the End.

But not he. (Never he.) He looks up at his own image, engraved in the valley wall. It will be worn away by storm and rainwater eventually, but Madara will still be here, for he is older and stronger than the stone.

Today, Madara turns infinity again.


Before the rains end, Madara entertains guests.

"Deidara is, bless him, not yet gone. But it's only a matter of time, and I have all the time in the world. Which is more than I can say for you." Madara crosses his arms, ever the image of smug superiority, and taps his foot pointedly against the bough that held him, bringing down fat drops of water on his guest's head.

"Enough." It is unclear as to what, exactly, this is supposed to mean, but this has always been Itachi's way. And Madara has no interest in what his honored guest means to convey; if ever he had thought to exercise caution around Itachi, those days are long gone.

"What I find most intriguing, really, is that now you've waited all this time, and you might not even make it all the way to your little showdown with Little Brother. Surely this must be worrisome for you.

"Unless you're looking for a way to die. But then, there are easier ways. Far easier.

"Little Brother will be so sad, so surprised, when he finds out you loved him so much, after he's done away with you, or stumbled across your corpse, or however you plan to orchestrate this."

A breath, slow, even, rasping. "Come to think of it… I imagine you must be surprised as well. At the extent of your love for him. Considering this is probably the first you've heard of it. But think about reality in my hands. Think about how very lost Little Brother will be—such a tragedy!—and I the only family he has left in the world." Madara is the only person who can fabricate bonds, the promise of love, for the purposes of blackmail.

Itachi, as expected, makes no verbal response. That is Itachi's great beauty. Madara wants none of Deidara's seething, tumultuous rage—not any longer.

Hatred is

lips pulled taught against a bloodless face, tight and impassive

stiff fingers that refuse to clench

a body rigid

and eyes that promise someday to spill into wildfire.

"The world could have been yours, Itachi. Now it is mine.

"It is mine."


10 October 2008

Constructive criticism is much appreciated and will be put to good use!