Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of the characters therein.
A/N: Whilst watching a (terrible quality, but at least it got the job done) YT video of Shippuden episode 141, I noticed something when Madara talked about his brother. He acted human whenever Izuna was mentioned. Thus…this. Enjoy. ^^
But Not Forgotten
The news of his brother's death was no shock.
After all, a shinobi without eyesight is like a toddler wandering a minefield: a disaster waiting to happen. In all honesty it was a miracle-as well as a testament to the young man's skills-that Izuna had lasted this long on the battlefield after giving away his eyes.
That sort of logic repeated itself in Madara's head, over and over, like a mantra that would keep his mind off of nonsense thoughts like 'He should not have been killed. I should have done something.'
Like what? he immediately challenged himself. Refused his selfless offer to donate his sight for the protection of the clan? Humiliated him and given up your own sight in the bargain? I think not.
Clearly, telling Izuna to keep his eyes had not been an option. Very well, then what about doing something afterwards? Something to prevent his death?
Like what? he repeated silently, choosing to ignore the fact that he was arguing with himself. Assigned him a seeing-eye nin dog? Refused to let him go on missions? Cut his legs off so that he couldn't disobey you?
The last one, Madara considered. Had he the foresight to predict that current events would unfold, had he known for a fact that Izuna would die so quickly, would he have gone to such measures to protect him?
…No, he decided. A shinobi's duty is his life, his honor. No one exemplified that more than Izuna. I would rather have killed him myself than kept him locked up.
All speculation is pointless anyway. His younger brother is dead and already beginning to rot, and no amount of 'if's will do anything to change it. He's almost ashamed of himself for considering those possibilities in the first place.
He goes to his room the picture of calm, bypassing his stone-faced mother without a hint of emotion. He lies in bed and stares up at the ceiling as though there is something particularly fascinating about it; at least, that is how it would appear to a clueless outsider. Anyone who looked a bit closer would notice the glassy vagueness of his eyes-the eyes he took from his little brother-indicating that his brilliant mind is off elsewhere.
Indeed; ignoring his best efforts to the contrary, a strip of film is playing an old movie in his head. A rerun in which a strong, solemn boy offers his elder brother the opportunity to avoid going blind and protect the clan. A rerun in which, despite any possible regrets, the elder brother agrees.
The coffin is black and simple, like the clothing of those surrounding it.
Madara, glancing into the casket not for the first time, makes the observation that his brother is beautiful. In life, Izuna was always pale, dark-haired and fine-featured; good looks were almost his birthright. But in death his face carries with it an air of calm that he never fully accomplished while he still breathed.
When the young man's face is abruptly covered by a sheet and a heavy lid, Madara's head snaps up in irritation. Then he remembers where he is and why, and says nothing.
His brother is buried.
Dumped into a hole and left to rot away. This is how we honor our kinsmen's sacrifice?
Eulogies are said. Madara ignores them. He has already made up his mind to come back in the night and burn both the box and the body.
The battle is off? The truce has been accepted? Uchiha has given in?
What, Madara rages, did Izuna die for? What did my brother give his sight and then his life for?
It was not for this. It was not so that we could show throat to them. How could my clan dare accept compromise?
You make a mockery of Uchiha, he silently fumes at his fellow clansmen. You make a mockery of the sacrifices we've made throughout the years in order to uphold our pride and our dignity. You have failed our ideals.
I will not stand for it.
He will not stand for the pride of his clan, and the death of his brother, being allowed to fade into time as mere mistakes, as sentences in history books left in solely to highlight the foolishness of Uchiha before they succumbed to the fairytale known as peace.
Even if it takes one hundred years, he will ensure that Uchiha gets its rightful place in the world. No matter the cost.
Izuna's life and death fade into the history of the clan, but his memory in Madara's mind remains consistent. The man doesn't spend his nights sobbing into a pillow, of course-even when his brother's end was fresh he never so much as imagined indulging in that sort of foolishness-but his thoughts do turn to Izuna once in a while; even lingering there, in some cases.
His plan has changed by this point. Clan prestige the way he used to think of it is out of reach. It is clear that his people have grown weak thanks to years of peace and lack of hatred. Lack of cunning. They're excellent ninja by normal standards, naturally, but Madara isn't interested in impressing normal people. He has no faith that they will be able to overtake Konoha in its entirety.
Still, he sits back and watches. Maybe they'll surprise him. If they don't-and he knows they won't-it doesn't matter. He has a backup plan in place.
For a short time, he takes on the role of observer.
The coup is going to fail. Madara notes this months before it is even set to take place and knows it as truth. This weakened husk of what Uchiha used to be will never have the strength.
The backup plan is put into effect. The Uchiha clan will leave behind a legacy etched in blood, not one of failure. They will fall dramatically, all at once, which is something the books will never be able to gloss over or ignore.
The Uchiha Massacre takes place as planned. Sometime in the midst of it a strange query appears in his mind, out of nowhere.
Had Izuna survived, had he lived to this point…Would he be fighting alongside myself and our descendent?
Or would he be another one of the bodies left behind tonight?
It's a valid question. Too valid.
Madara doesn't consider it again.
A/N: Strange, yeah? Be that as it may, I'm happy with how it came out.