Characters: Hashirama, Mito
: He swears it was fate.
: HashiMito
Author's Note
: Hope you all like it. I don't usually do fluff but that's obviously what this is.
: I don't own Naruto.

The last time Madara ever lays eyes on Mito he turns his eyes back to his former friend only long enough to tell Hashirama how lucky he is, before disappearing from sight. Hashirama is still recovering from the wounds he sustained at the battle of the Valley of the End, and can't get up to face Madara. He never sees him again.

Hashirama has to agree.

Mito, who was standing at the other end of the room when Madara suddenly appeared before them, abruptly grabbed a wakizashi in her hands, never saying a word but obviously tense and ready to do battle—despite her heavily weakened state from having just sealed the Kyuubi no Kitsune inside herself. In reality, Mito can barely stand herself, but her brilliant turquoise eyes are straightforward and calm. Mito is a reticent woman, a creature of silence, and her silences say far more than words ever could.

She says not a word the whole time Madara is there, and when he vanishes, she finally allows her worry and fatigue to show, letting the wakizashi fall to the ground with a clatter and dropping to her knees herself, putting her hands on Hashirama's shoulders.

Still silent, she stares down at him, gnawing her lip worriedly. Hashirama just pats her hand gently and smiles that weary, tired, helpless smile that she has seen on his face all too often since Madara decided not to stand with him after all.

But he will be alright. The sight of Mito's bright blue eyes, so full of life in a world of death, is all the comfort Hashirama has ever needed, all the comfort he will ever need.

The first time they meet, Hashirama would swear it was fate to their son until Mito rolled her eyes and told Hironobu that the only reason they ever met at all was because Hashirama looked frustrated and she was curious about the foreigner who had come to negotiate with her grandfather. Hashirama, of course, concedes publicly that Mito is right and their first meeting was completely contrived on her part, just because Hironobu is convinced that his mother is always right, and because, for all of the allure of her, Mito is about as romantic as a dead fish.

But the private belief that he still cherishes is that it was fate.

Looking at Mito every morning—when they get up from sleep, when she's dressing her hair and humming absently, a song of the sea from Uzu no Kuni—and every night—when the process is in reverse and she is taking the pins and the tags from her vivid scarlet hair and letting it rest loose around her shoulders—just confirms it. She is almost impossibly beautiful, and if their daughters had lived to see adulthood, Hashirama is sure that they would have been just as beautiful.

Uzumaki Mito, a small nation's princess, quiet, enigmatic, with an intoxicating smile and a ready laugh when the occasion was right, has always held her husband in complete, rapt absorption. Even at their first meeting, even before they knew each other all that well, Mito had Hashirama's complete attention every time she came within his line of vision. He was fascinated with the rustle of her ivory silk furisode, at the smell of her hair (maybe some sort of perfume), at the way the color of her eyes seemed to make the clearest summer sky seem dull.

And when she showed the first signs of interest in him, it was like a nebula exploding into a life-bed of infant stars.

They find themselves sitting next to each other when dining with Mito's grandfather often. Mito reaches for the basket of bread and accidentally brushes his hand with the tips of her fingers. It's a fleeting touch, but the feel of her skin against his is like the eruption of a forest fire. Hashirama jerks his hand back, and her eyes flicker to his face for just a moment, before Mito returns to eating, as though nothing as happened.

They both felt the spark.

What happens next is a slow ascent from suggestion into reality.

Glances are passed from across the room, eyes locking as though they were drawn to each other by gravity. Mito smiles slightly, not an alluring, Sphinx-like smile but the shy twist of the lips Hashirama would expect from a young girl, and somehow that makes his heart pound even more than when she is smiling to charm.

Hashirama is not normally what anyone could call a shy man but he is made horribly so around Uzumaki Mito. Eventually, he is able to work up the nerve to talk to her, to speak a few awkward, stumbling, insufficient words that can not begin to express the depth or the breadth of what he tries to tell her.

A few weeks pass and, one evening, feeling clumsy and like a teenage boy again (and really, he's hardly any older than a teenager himself), Hashirama tells Mito he loves her, kisses her, and hopes that will be enough.

There are no words that can truly illustrate what the feelings he cherishes for her are, but he hopes the three he supplies will be enough for her.

They are.

Mito's smiles go back from shy to inscrutable again, as though she's holding something back, but really she's just hiding her teeth and how happy she is. No one has ever approached her like this, or held her with the sort of passion that she feels from the Senju. No one has ever been able to rival her love for the sea, but he does. She's still a kunoichi though, and kunoichi are never supposed to divulge all her emotions in open, guileless displays. What she does divulge though, she makes sure Hashirama can see.

She makes sure he knows she loves him too.

Midsummer is the time for weddings in Uzu no Kuni. The heat is sweltering around them as Mito swishes forward, walking slowly as if measuring each step to ward off impropriety, in pure white silk scattered with gold sparks, the gold on her kimono catching the lantern light and the dying sunlight as the sun sets over the sea.

As the vows are done, and their hands bound one over the other, Mito smiles up at him, brilliant turquoise eyes dancing and scarlet hair capturing all the light of the sun, and Hashirama, much to the priest's disapproval, leans down and kisses her on impulse. However, where the priest is disapproving, Hashirama hears several claps and rather irreverent but harmless comments from Mito's relatives and her grandfather is quite visibly laughing.

Uzumaki Takumi's laughter is joined by his granddaughter's surprised, excited laughs as they break apart.

And Hashirama can only see how beautiful she is.