A/N: Warnings! This is basically an excuse to make Hashirama and Madara completely, utterly, unreservedly, and nonsensically fluffy. Accordingly, this apparently takes place in a strange alternate universe where Madara is cool with the fact that Hashirama is Hokage. No sex, no angst, and very little of what could be called "plot." (I don't even explain how they got together. If you ask me, I will give you silly answers.) Enjoy the fluffy fluff.
To readers of Man of Dreams: yes, this is one of the fics I promised y'all to make up for the unremitting angst. It's also going up instead of chapter 19 this week, since chapter 18 was so very uncheerful and chapter 19 is going to be... well, you can probably guess. (Also because apparently my reviewers vanished and I'm going "... Huh? Did the angst finally scare them away?" So yeah, figured this was a good time to get this up.) The other cancel-out-the-angst fic will be at some undetermined point in the future, and the omake chapter will be chapter 24, at the end of Man of Dreams.
To non-readers of Man of Dreams: the above message did not apply to you. Cheers!
Hope you enjoy, and please remember to review!
The Taming of the Land of Big Comfy Beds
If you were to ask Hashirama how he felt, he'd say he was... happy.
At least, that would be his short answer. It would also be an outrageous understatement. He'd give you this short answer so he could get back to enjoying being happy. Either that, or he'd shoo you from the room. Quickly. Trees might be involved.
A more descriptive answer: it was like he was still inhabiting his mortal body, but he was functioning on a higher plane of existence. Like he'd merged with the Will of Fire. Like it had filled his heart with pure... pure... "joy" wasn't enough, "euphoria" wasn't enough, "peace" wasn't enough. It was love. It was the hot, white, pure essence of love itself. That was how he felt right now.
If you were to ask Madara how he felt, he'd say his feet were cold and Hashirama's head was cutting off circulation to his right arm; but on the other hand, it was a pretty nice bed.
Either way, Madara wasn't going to complain. For one thing, he knew he was taking up almost all the bed. While he felt no shame in that, it unfortunately meant he couldn't complain about anything else. He suspected he was one ill-timed gripe away from "What do you mean, move my head? Why don't you move your leg to your half of the bed?" It hadn't happened yet (and probably wouldn't happen for a while; Hashirama was accomodating to a fault and Madara loved it), but he wasn't about to push his luck.
For another thing, technically, Madara wasn't supposed to be in this bed. It was the official Hokage bed in the official Hokage guest room in the Land of Iron. Madara was not the Hokage. At least, in title he wasn't Hokage. In function, he was. Well. Co-Hokage, at least. Even Hashirama agreed that Madara was pretty much co-Hokage; it was just the rest of Konoha that hadn't figured this out. But, regardless of these little technicalities, the fact remained that this was Hashirama's bed and not Madara's. So if there were a power struggle over who sleeps where and how, Madara knew who would win. It wouldn't be the guest trying to monopolize control over bedspace.
But worse than losing his monopoly would be if Hashirama did give him explicit permission to hog the bed. That would reduce Madara to the status of, say, an immigrant. Fleeing from the hard, desperate conditions of the Land of Small Unpleasant Beds, begging the Land of Big Comfy Beds for asylum, which their benevolent leader granted him.
He didn't want to be an immigrant relying on a foreign leader's kindness. He was Uchiha Madara-sama. He wanted to be a conqueror, turning the Land of Big Comfy Beds into his colony and subjugating its people. As long as he didn't get explicit permission to hog the bed, he could pretend to be the conqueror.
And he might risk an uprising if he were too demanding a conqueror, mightn't he? So he generously allowed the native population of the Land of Big Comfy Beds to cut off circulation to his right arm. Just to show that he was a fair and just tyrant.
If Hashirama were being subjugated, he certainly wasn't aware of it. As far as he was concerned, he was still in heaven. (He was also more than half asleep, that drifting doze where you can float for several hours between surface dreams and the remembrance that you really should be sleeping now. Any bed-space-as-subjugated-nation metaphors would likely be lost on him.) He was curled up on his left side, his head on Madara's shoulder, one arm draped across Madara's abdomen, his right leg hooked over Madara's, and his other two limbs doing their best to stay out of Madara's way.
Hashirama had long since discovered that, if one wanted to sleep with Madara, one had to be very flexible. No double entendre intended. Sharing a bed with Madara for eight hours occasionally required contortions which would impress a yoga master. And even that didn't guarantee success. Every night they spent together came with a fifty percent chance of Hashirama waking up with his face in the carpet and Madara's foot on his back.
They were improving, though. Either Madara was getting better at sharing the bed, or Hashirama was getting better at adjusting to Madara's tossing and turning without waking up. At the start, Hashirama would typically wake up half off the bed at least twice a night. (He'd had a futon then, so at least he hadn't had far to fall.)
Was it worth it?
Put it this way: was Hashirama half asleep with his head on Madara's shoulder?
It was very worth it.
Besides, if any of Madara's antics had actually bothered Hashirama, he would have simply stopped letting him in his bed. (Because it did seem that whenever they spent the night together, it was always in Hashirama's bed and/or futon rather than Madara's. Admittedly, there were good reasons for this. The decision to spend the night together usually came at some point after midnight, after a long day of work, when neither of them had the energy to go much farther than the distance from the Hokage's office to Hashirama's bedroom. That, and it was far less suspicious for Madara to be seen entering the Hokage Residence around nightfall than it was for Hashirama to be seen entering Madara's home in the Uchiha compound.) So there was no reason why Hashirama had to put up with Madara, if he didn't want to.
But he did. And honestly, he rarely noticed that there were any downsides. So sometimes he woke up in an awkward position; who cared? It meant that he could spend the night with Madara. It meant he didn't wake up alone; although it hadn't used to bother him, by now, he found that he couldn't sleep as well without Madara. It meant that on the nights when he woke up and needed somebody to talk to, there was someone to listen. It meant he could know that the one person more important to him than anyone else felt the same about him. (Even if Madara never admitted it. Never came close to admitting it. It was still there. Hashirama could see it in his eyes.) And, along with everything else—after everything else—really, it seemed so insignificant compared to the rest, and yet in its own way it was important as well—it meant that Hashirama was regularly getting laid.
Although that wasn't an option tonight. Unless they wanted to traumatize their neighbor.
They were currently taking quite a risk in sleeping together. Sure, there was always some risk: the danger that some messenger would think his message was important enough that he could barge into the Hokage's personal quarters in the middle of the night, or that some Uchiha would discover Madara wasn't in at home and wonder where he was, or that Tobirama would decide three a.m. was the perfect time to disturb his brother...
All of that, however, was the minimum level of risk.
Tonight was not a night of minimum risk.
Again: official Hokage guest room in the Land of Iron.
Hashirama and his most trusted advisors/bodyguards (which, naturally, included Madara) were participating in a week-long meeting between the Hidden Villages of the five largest nations. Hashirama thought it was a wonderfully diplomatic idea. Madara thought it was a perfect opportunity for the Land of Iron to decapitate their five largest rivals. But Hashirama got final say, because he was Hokage. (When it came to diplomacy, oddly enough, Hashirama always seemed to forget that Madara was basically his co-Hokage. Sometimes Madara suspected Hashirama didn't like his diplomatic suggestions.)
Being in a foreign nation like this (surrounded, Madara was sure, both by samurai just waiting to decapitate ninja and by four Kage who'd shown up with "Enemies To Kill" checklists) meant there was the potential for quite a few things to go wrong in the middle of the night. Which would necessitate somebody waking the Hokage. Which would be bad news for him and Madara.
It also meant that, as per the accommodations for all the Kage, Hashirama's two top bodyguards were sleeping in the rooms on each side of his own. Not a problem considering that one of those rooms was (supposedly) Madara's. More of a problem considering that the other was Tobirama's.
Really, it would have been a better idea for Madara and Hashirama to just stay in their own rooms. Yes, for the whole week. And perhaps they would have, if Madara hadn't found out about the big, comfy beds.
And so, Madara had argued, much earlier in the evening, wouldn't it actually be strategically advantageous for one of Hashirama's bodyguards to be in his room? If there were some sort of midnight disturbance, wouldn't it be useful for this bodyguard to be ready to defend his Hokage in moments, without having to wake up and go next door? And wouldn't it be extra useful if that bodyguard were, say, in the bed that the Hokage was supposed to use, so as to act as a decoy if an assassin came in?
These were all, Hashirama had agreed, very good reasons for them to share a room. He mainly agreed because he would have taken just about any excuse to share a room. Hashirama had a tendency, right before big fancy political event things, to wake up in the middle of the night with the frantic realization that he hadn't figured out what he'd do if a certain issue came up. On such occasions, he'd usually wake Madara, explain the problem, explain it a second time once they were both awake enough to figure out what he was saying, and then they'd debate solutions until either they found one or they realized the issue was stupid and went back to sleep. Hashirama had a feeling this whole week would be like that, and somebody would get suspicious if he kept going next door in the middle of the night.
Whatever the reason was, Madara was pleased that Hashirama had accepted his quite rational and persuasive arguments. Of course, if anyone did barge into Hashirama's room, these wonderful excuses wouldn't do a thing to convince them that there was really a perfectly innocent reason for Hashirama to be clinging to Madara like a concubine draped over the emperor of the world. (Obviously, that one was Madara's mental image. It wasn't a very difficult one to conjure, given Hashirama's ridiculously girly hair. And that necklace of his, the crystal one. Madara had never seen him take it off, even when he was otherwise completely naked. Someday, Madara was going to take it while Hashirama slept and put it on and see how long it took him to notice in the morning.)
So, all they could really hope was that nobody barged in during the night. Failing that, Plan B was "Hit intruder with genjutsu; hope he forgets what he saw."
And all this was to say that they were in the Land of Iron. Taking quite a risk, in the Land of Iron.
The Land of Iron was cold.
Madara's feet were still cold.
He craned his neck as much as he could, trying not to jostle Hashirama, looking toward his feet to see what he could do about this. (He was briefly amused to notice that, somehow, Hashirama's nemaki had gotten hiked up to just over his knees. Madara might have enjoyed the view more if his feet weren't so cold. And his arm weren't so numb.)
There was a blanket. Madara could juuust see the corner of it, poking up over the bed's bottom left edge, from where it was crumpled on the floor. Madara wondered which of them had kicked it off. He certainly didn't remember kicking it off. Then again, he'd been solidly asleep for quite a while before waking to this sorry state of affairs, so who knew?
He stretched his one free leg toward the blanket corner, hoping maybe he could grab it with his toes and pull it back on the bed. He was grateful that there was nobody conscious to watch this absurd monkey impression.
No good, it was just out of reach. If Madara could scoot a little bit to the left... But, he couldn't. Madara was pinned down at his right shoulder, abdomen, and right knee. There was no way he was moving, at least not if he wanted to avoid disturbing Hashirama.
And the last thing Hashirama needed was to be woken. Especially when tomorrow he was going to be proposing that idea of his to the other Kage, that international alliance treaty thingy. Madara was surprised he hadn't woken up yet to ask what they'd do if Rock refused to talk to Sand or something stupid like that. They both suspected it was going to be a very, very tough sell. All the more reason for Hashirama to get as much sleep as possible.
Especially after the day he'd just had, Madara wasn't sure what the history was between the Raikage and Hashirama but the moment they'd seen each other, the Raikage had practically lunged at him; and maybe Madara hadn't heard the backstory but all he could say was that tomorrow if anybody even looked at Hashirama funny, they'd be explaining themselves to Susanoo.
(When Madara was tired or distracted, sometimes he forgot himself and the act he had to keep up, and out would slip a bit of protectiveness toward Hashirama. But then he would remember that he was Uchiha Madara-sama, leader of the Uchiha clan, and he could not divide his attention between his clan and anybody else—especially not a Senju. Even if he happened to be sleeping with the Senju in question. So any genuine concern would once again be sealed up tight. But it were always there, just beneath the surface, just barely held back, just waiting for Madara's defenses to momentarily crack so it could spill forth.)
So. Madara couldn't move. And he couldn't stretch far enough to reach the blanket. Madara craned his neck once last time, gave the blanket a longing look, and then he flopped back on his pillow with a silent sigh. He'd just be cold. He told himself that this was part of being emperor of the world and recent conqueror of the Land of Big Comfy Beds: sometimes a ruler must make sacrifices for the good of his people. Be that as it may, he still thought it terribly unfair that he had to go with cold feet when there was a perfectly good blanket on the floor.
All the neck-craning and leg-stretching and resigned-sighing served to tip Hashirama back to the conscious side of half-sleep. He slid out of the fuzzy world of fusing-with-the-Will-of-Fire sleeping-with-Madara-enduced bliss and cracked open an eyelid. From somewhere around the vicinity of Madara's collarbone, he mumbled, "Mmwhat'sit?"
"'S nothing," Madara said. Well, fantastic. Not only did he have cold feet, he'd also woken Hashirama. He was properly distracted by his annoyance that he didn't catch himself until after he'd affectionately brushed a few loose strands of hair from Hashirama's face. (It was very girly hair, he quickly reminded himself; and Madara would be in a position to know, he'd seen all the effort Hashirama wasted in the shower getting it all smooth and shiny and straight. He sometimes wondered why Hashirama bothered.) "Go back to sleep."
"Mm..." (In some distant way, Hashirama felt Madara brushing back his hair, and got a little rush of mushy joy. He liked it when Madara noticed his hair—it made the effort worth it.) He became conscious of a chill on his legs, and briefly let go of Madara in order to tug his nemaki back down. "Kinda cold," he murmured to no one, twitching just slightly closer to Madara.
"Oh, is it?" Madara said, propping himself up on an elbow (and nudging Hashirama off his shoulder). "Hmm. I suppose it is. I hadn't even noticed. I'll get the blanket."
Half-awake though he was, Hashirama knew full well when Madara was BSing. As usual, he didn't care. He just obligingly scooted off of him, and, when Madara had sat up, took over the warm patch of mattress he'd left behind. "Mm."
Madara massaged his upper arm, trying to get the feeling back, and then finally pulled that accursed blanket on the bed. Oh, that was better. He took a moment to enjoy the wonder that was warm feet, before remembering that Hashirama probably wanted the blanket, too.
He haphazardly spread the blanket over the bed, and lay down with his back to Hashirama (who promptly wrapped an arm around him again). Oh yes, this was much better. Both of his arms were free, and his feet weren't cold, and the blanket was warm—very warm—very very warm...
Madara suddenly remembered why he'd kicked the blanket off to begin with.
No blanket had a right to be that thick. And Hashirama's body heat wasn't helping.
Luckily, Hashirama let go first. (Which was good. Much longer, and Madara would've had to kick him off and go dig a fan out of his supply bag.) "Now it's kinda..."
"Yeah," Madara agreed. With as much innocence as he could muster, he said, "You could always get rid of a layer."
The only layers either of them had on were their nemaki and the blanket. Considering the cold, shedding the blanket wasn't an option. Which left only one alternative.
Hashirama let out a weak laugh. "And if someone comes in?"
"We lodge a complaint with management about the excessive thickness of their blankets." It wasn't like a straight answer was needed here. Anybody who came in and saw them together would make the same assumptions regardless of their layers of covering or lack thereof.
"Yeah..." Well, Hashirama wasn't about to complain. He managed to stay under the blanket while removing his nemaki (but keeping his necklace). He waited for Madara to finish, curled up beside him again, and tried to rediscover his happy sleepy dream-zone.
The peace lasted nearly a minute.
Madara grumbled, "It's still too hot."
It took six attempts, but they eventually managed to position the blanket in just the right way to let enough cold air underneath so that the blanket was cozy rather than sweltering. (As it happened, this involved leaving Madara's feet exposed. He felt there was a message in this, but he was too tired to look for it.)
By the time they had everything figured out, they were pressed against each other, Hashirama with his arms loosely wrapped around Madara's back, Madara with his around Hashirama's neck. Madara wasn't quite sure how they'd ended up that way, and if he'd been a bit more awake he would have protested mightily. He didn't like this position. It made him feel shorter than Hashirama. (The fact that he was shorter made no difference.) However, by now, he just wanted sleep. Tomorrow was gonna be busy. He was positive somebody would try to assassinate Hashirama, and Madara had to be alert and ready to tear the would-be assassin into teeny tiny bloody shreds...
"'S good?" Hashirama murmured.
"Muh." Half-asleep, almost able to visualize those assassins closing in, Madara tightened his embrace protectively. "Nigh'."
"Night," Hashirama said. "Love you."
Madara's last conscious thought was that he could feel the crystal of Hashirama's necklace against his chest.
If you were to ask Madara how he felt, you would not receive an answer. You would receive a violent ejection from the room. Fireballs would be involved.
But if you managed to persuade him to speak, he might say he was... happy.