Sobbing was the only thing that broke the deafening silence in the destroyed Senju compound. Hidden underneath a fallen bookcase were Hashirama and Tobirama Senju. Both were only children and now, as of not even an hour ago, orphans.
Their clan had been massacred by a rivalling clan, and everyone was dead. Hashirama and Tobirama had survived by pure luck.
"N-nii-san…" whimpered two-year-old Tobirama, clutching at his brother desperately, terror in his eyes and voice.
"Shh, Tobi…" Hashirama whispered, hugging his brother, trying his best to stop his crying -he had to be strong for his little brother as he was the only one who could be there for him, now. He held Tobirama's head against his chest, rubbing the boy's back gently.
"But… kaa-san and tou-san…" Tobirama sobbed loudly and hid his face in Hashirama's chest, clutching desperately. "…S-scared!"
"I know…" Hashirama was only five and he already had to care for his baby brother by himself now. It just wasn't fair! "But we have to be strong, now, okay? Kaa-san and tou-san died to protect us, so we can't let them have died in vain. Be strong, otouto. I know you can do it." Despite his wavering voice, Hashirama was smiling strongly, holding his brother.
"But…" Tobirama whimpered, crying harder. "…Home… is ruined… 'n-niki… Scared!"
Hashirama held his brother tightly, allowing the little boy to cry his heart out into his chest, and before he knew it, Tobi was fast asleep in a fitful rest. He picked the boy up and carried him out of the destroyed house, crying at the sight all the carnage and devastation that lay before him. There were dead bodies littered across the walkway; windows of homes and shops had been smashed and several building were on fire. Even some of the village pets had been killed – pets as harmless as kittens and newborn puppies.
Hashirama would do everything in his power to make sure that his brother would never have to see such a sight in his life, especially at his young age.
Crying, Hashirama limped to the front of the compound, trying desperately to ignore the stab wound in his leg. It hurt like nothing he had ever experienced, and it took all his willpower to not make a noise because of it; he couldn't let his baby brother know that he was injured.
It took hours before Hashirama found a spot he deemed safe to stop and rest at. It was beside a stream, and the sound of the running water comforted him – he had always loved nature. Tobirama was still fast asleep, his head resting in his brother's lap as Hashirama petted the spiky hair soothingly.
Before he knew it, Hashirama was fast asleep, too.
Tobirama's eyes opened and he looked around, expecting to see his ruined home, but he was surprised to see that he was out in the forest. Did Hashirama bring him out here to get him away from the grizzly scene that was once their home?
Tobirama looked up to find Hashirama leaning against the tree, fast asleep. The younger Senju smiled and reached up, tugging at Hashirama's long hair gently as he always did when he wanted attention.
Hashirama's tired eyes opened slowly and he looked down at his brother. "Yes, Tobi?"
"…What is we do now…?" Tobirama asked quietly, fear in his voice, and for once, he didn't try and correct his grammar.
"…I'm going to take care of you by myself now," Hashirama smiled, picking Tobirama up and pulling him onto his lap. "I won't ever let anyone hurt you, Tobi. I love you."
"…Love nii-san…" Tobirama mumbled in reply, clutching Hashirama's hand tightly.
Hashirama smiled and allowed a few tears to fall down his face as he held his beloved brother. He didn't know how he was going to do this, but he was going to have to raise his brother by himself now. Going to another clan for help would be too dangerous, and Hashirama didn't trust anyone else right now; not after seeing what they had done to his clan. He couldn't trust his beloved baby brother with someone else.
Tobirama was now his one and only responsibility, and he would do anything for Tobirama; he was going to raise him, care for him, and teach him everything he would have to know while learning everything himself.
Hashirama didn't know if he would be able to do it, but he would certainly give it a try.