A/N There will be a flashback at the end of the chapter. By the way, I was going back through the chapters to see if I had mentioned it or not, but I can't remember if I mentioned how much older than Madara Hashirama is… If anyone remembers if I did or not, that would be much appreciated.
"Thank you," Tsuki smiled, taking the cup of coffee that was handed to her. "Much appreciated."
Tsuki walked back to the table she had left Madara at, and she placed the second cup in front of the Uchiha. Madara just stared at the cup, his eyes looking pained.
"…" Madara was silent, but he looked up at Tsuki to meet her gaze.
"Madara, are you sure you're not thirsty?" Tsuki asked gently, reaching out to brush a stray bang out of his face.
Madara flinched and pulled away at Tsuki's hand, shaking his head. In all honesty, he would much rather be back in his padded room at the mental hospital than stuck out in a tea shop all day. He placed his arms on the table, resting his head on them, and he watched Tsuki lazily as she sipped at her tea and nibbled at her stick of dango.
"What kinds of shops do you like, Madara-kun?" Tsuki asked, trying to make conversation.
"…" Madara shrugged again.
Tsuki sighed. "Madara-kun, you've spoken to me a few times before… Why won't you talk now?"
Madara shook his head in silence.
"If you won't talk directly, can I ask you a few yes and no questions?" Tsuki asked. "You don't have to speak; just shake or nod your head in reply."
Madara shrugged again and Tsuki took that as a positive; yes and no questions had, at times, worked with Madara before.
"Okay, let's see…" Tsuki tried to think about what kind of shops Madara would like; she didn't want him to be bored silly. "…Clothing stores?"
"You really don't know me at all, do you…?" Madara mumbled, lifting his head, looking exhausted already. "…"
"I guess I don't," Tsuki agreed. "But then again, you don't talk enough for me to be able to get to know you."
Madara shrugged again. "…"
"Now that you're talking, would you mind telling me what kind of things you like to do? I want you to have fun."
Madara looked away, closing his eyes as his facial expression turned into one of pain. "…Book stores…"
"Book stores?" Tsuki repeated; why would Madara like book stores?
Madara nodded. "…I like reading…"
"I never took you for a book kind of guy," Tsuki smiled. "Care to explain?"
Madara made a strangled noise in the back of his throat, shaking his head while he squeezed his eyes closed tightly.
Tsuki felt her heart clench; why was talking about his interests so hard for him? While Madara's body quivered, a small glint off of Madara's neck made Tsuki curious; was he wearing jewellery?
"Madara-kun, what is that around your neck?" Tsuki asked.
Madara reached down into his shirt, pulling out a small locket hanging on a gold chain. Tsuki had never noticed it before, and she wondered how Madara had gotten away with keeping it on his person while he was in a strait jacket and a room with padded walls.
"That's very pretty." Tsuki smiled. "May I have a look at it?"
Madara nodded, pulling the chain over his head and handing the locket to Tsuki. Tsuki flicked it open, looking at the two pictures that were on either side of the locket. The picture on the left showed what seemed to be Madara as a very young boy, with three others. All of them were smiling, and Madara was hanging over another boy's shoulder, grinning happily, while holding another raven haired child's hand.
The second picture showed a Madara that didn't look much younger than he did today, the same raven haired boy from the first picture, and three other boys. Madara was holding a boy with spikey raven hair on his shoulder, holding the boy's hand so he didn't fall off of Madara's tall frame, and the other adult-looking raven was holding what appeared to be the youngest child in a tight hug, while the last boy was standing in between them, a cross between a smile and a frown on his young features.
"All of these boys in both pictures are very pretty," Tsuki commented gently.
"…" Madara didn't reply, but he reached out and took the locket back, snapping it shut and putting it back around his neck, not bothering to look at the pictures inside.
Tsuki suspected something had happened between Madara and all of the people in the pictures, but not knowing who they were made it a lot harder to guess. Madara didn't seem to be up to answering questions about anyone else so she kept silent, but her curiosity was growing by the minute.
Madara was resting his head on his arms once again, and his eyes were closed, his breathing slow and steady; Tsuki was sure that he had fallen asleep.
"Feed the dog, please, Sasuke-kun…" Tamiko said to Sasuke, preparing lunch for everyone in the household.
Sasuke nodded and got up from the kitchen table, heading to the small cupboard in the hallway and pulling the bag of dog food out, tipping it into the bowl that was sitting in the laundry.
"Kage…" Sasuke tried to call, but he was too miserable to call loudly. Instead, with a sigh, he placed the bag down and walked out, looking for the dog.
Downstairs, Itachi was sitting on the couch, crying softly. Tobirama had called the house not long ago and explained about Hashirama, and every fibre of Itachi's being knew that it was his fault Hashirama was in a coma and Izuna could hardly leave his bed.
Itachi wished that he had never been born, in general. He always made everything hard for everyone else, and he knew that what he had done was unforgiveable. Not only had Itachi broken Madara's heart and his sanity, but he had almost gotten Izuna and Hashirama killed in the process.
"I'm done…" Itachi mumbled, getting up off of the couch and walking upstairs. "I'm finished… I don't care anymore…"
Itachi walked towards Izuna's bedroom, intending to explain everything to his uncle, and if Izuna hated him, then so be it; he would see what happened. He had everything planned out; if Izuna took Itachi's explanation as crazily as Madara had, Itachi was going to kill himself. If Izuna was able to not flip out like Madara, than Itachi would try and hold on once again. His life was held in Izuna's hands, and his fate would be decided by how much Izuna decided he loved both Itachi and Tobi.
Itachi knocked on the bedroom door, pushing it open slowly. He found Izuna fast asleep in the bed, tear tracks staining his pale cheeks. Itachi frowned; he didn't want to disturb his uncle's rest, because everyone knew how much Izuna needed his sleep; he hadn't been sleeping very much at all the past couple of weeks, not only due to his nightmares that would wake him up screaming, but the fact that all he was doing was crying.
Itachi sighed and walked back out of the room, closing the door behind him quietly. He ran into Sasuke who was searching for Kage, and after pointing Sasuke downstairs to the living room, he headed into his bedroom, sitting down on his bed and crying his heart out.
Madara yawned as he followed Tsuki closely through the busy streets. Tsuki was taking Madara around to all of the shops that she thought Madara might like in an attempt to gain the Uchiha's trust, and so far, it looked like it was working; Madara had been talking to Tsuki more than usual, even if he was always falling silent every now and then halfway through a conversation.
It didn't take long before trouble began, though. Madara had requested Tsuki stop for him to use the bathroom, and when he had washed his hands and came back outside, he found Tsuki being harassed by a group of men. Madara narrowed his eyes and walked to the group, not afraid in the slightest; he had stopped caring completely about what would happen to him, but he wasn't going to stand by and let someone get hurt if he could help it.
"Leave her alone," Madara said quietly, stepping in front of Tsuki and glaring at the men.
The men laughed, and before Madara knew it, someone ran at him from the side, a glint of metal catching his eye, and the last thing he saw before everything went black with a loud crunch and extreme stab of pain, were brass knuckles rushing towards his head. The last sound that Madara heard before the darkness claimed him was Tsuki's terrified scream.
"Aniki, why is Hashi-san leaving?" Izuna asked his seventeen-year-old brother, watching as Hashirama put his bags by the front door. "Did we do something wrong…?"
Madara wiped at his tears and shook his head, kissing his brother's cheek gently. "Of course not, otouto… H-hashirama-kun… is moving in with his girlfriend because they're gonna have a baby…"
"But you're trying to have baby, too, aniki, so…" Izuna bit his lip, tearing up. "…Are you gonna move out, too, when you get your girlfriend pregnant?"
Madara knelt down next to his brother and pulled him into a hug. "Izuna, we don't know what will happen… H-hashi-kun is leaving because he is also engaged to Mito-chan…"
Izuna hugged his brother back, sobbing softly. Madara knew this would be a hard time for both Izuna and Tobirama; Tobi, too, was heartbroken about his brother moving out, but as his parents had told him, he could go and visit Hashirama whenever he wanted, and Hashi would come back to spend the weekends with his family.
Izuna couldn't bear the thought of his family being broken up, even if it were just one person moving out of the house. He wanted them to be together all the time, but as Madara had tried to explain it many times, that wasn't always possible.
"You know that we'll be moving, soon, right?" Madara whispered, kissing his brother's temple. "I'm searching for a house for the three of us." Madara was referring to himself, Izuna and his girlfriend.
"But I don't want to leave…!" Izuna sobbed. "I… I like it, here, nii-san…"
"Izuna, hush, now…" Madara hugged his brother tighter and wiped at his own tears; he was heartbroken about Hashirama moving out, too, but he wanted to be strong for his brother.
Izuna was silent for a few minutes before he spoke again. "…I don't want to move in with your girlfriend, aniki… She hates me, and I don't like her…"
"…I know she's a little rough around the edges, Izuna, but I love her," Madara said gently.
"…She hits you and yells at you, aniki!" Izuna sobbed out. "And she tells you that you're worthless and lots of other mean things! A-and… she's mean to me when you aren't around…"
Madara frowned. "Izuna, you know I'd never let anyone hurt you…" Izuna was smart enough to notice that Madara had avoided Izuna's statements about his girlfriend being abusive.
"…She's mean and I don't like her…" Izuna whispered, closing his eyes. "…I don't want to move in with her…"
"Hush, now… We have to go and say goodbye to Hashirama-kun, now… He'll be leaving, soon…"
Izuna burst out into tears once again; he felt like his family was being torn apart by this simple decision of Hashirama's.