Hashirama's eyes opened to his brother's voice the next morning.
"Hmm…?" The older Senju sat up slowly. "What's wrong, Tobi…?"
"'n-niki… Gone…" Tobirama's eyes widened and filled with tears. "…All night…!"
Hashirama frowned. He reached out to hug his brother. "I'm sorry, Tobi… I'm so sorry…"
"'niki…" Tobirama fell into his brother's embrace, not wanting the elder to let go in case he disappeared forever this time.
"I didn't go far, and I didn't get hurt…" Hashirama tried to soothe the younger.
Tobirama cuddled in closer to the long-haired Senju. "Love 'niki…"
"I love you, too."
With that, the two Senju quickly fell asleep once more in the other's arms, comforted by their respective brother's presence.
A few years had passed. Hashirama was now eight while his brother was six. They were still in the care of Yuki. The man was a wonderful caretaker for the boys.
Yuki treated the boys like his own sons. He gave them everything that they wanted and always did his best to make sure that they were happy and safe.
But things weren't going to be so good for the Senju any longer.
The three of them were going home after having eaten out as a celebration for Hashirama being the first in his academy class – as he always was.
Things had gone fine as they walked back home – until four shadowy figures approached them from the alley.
Tobirama watched the figures curiously from behind his brother, unaware of the danger that the newcomers were radiating.
"Who are you and what do you want?" Yuki asked, leaning down and grabbing Hashirama's hand.
One man laughed. He had long dark hair and the right side of his face was tattooed. "We want all of your money and anything valuable that you own."
The two men that were behind the tattooed one stepped forward. They cracked their knuckles menacingly.
Yuki grabbed at Hashirama and pushed him away. "Run…"
Hashirama didn't have to be told twice – he pulled on his brother's hand, running away from the scene. He was just in time to miss seeing whatever caused Yuki to scream in pain.
"A-aniki…!" Tobirama whimpered, trying to look behind them at Yuki.
"Don't look back!" Hashirama cried. "Just keep running!"
Both Senju had fled back to the house, but Hashirama knew, deep down, that Yuki would not be returning.
Ten years had gone by. Those years had been nothing but pain for the two Senju. They had no home and nowhere safe to sleep at night because the town had exiled them, blaming the two brothers for Yuki's death.
Hashirama had been left to care for his brother solely by himself. It was so hard with no supplies and no home, but he did the best that he could and hoped that things would work out in the end.
Tobirama wasn't doing well with the situation – he was very fragile and got sick easily. Hashirama hated everything that had to do with this position – he blamed himself for everything. If only he hadn't have asked to go out for dinner…
"Your fever has gone down." Hashirama kissed the younger Senju's forehead. "Do you still feel sick?"
Tobirama nodded. "Yes, aniki. Thanks for looking after me. I love you."
"I love you, too. Stay here while I try and find us some food, okay? I'll be back soon."
Tobirama nodded and pulled his rag of a blanket over his body, hating that his brother had to leave him alone again so soon.
Hashirama left the run-down cabin that they had found days ago, heading in the direction of the nearest town so that he could try and steal more food. He hated such acts of dishonesty, but they had no choice – it was all they could do in an attempt to survive.
Hashirama travelled the path he had always travelled, but something was about to happen today that would change his life forever.
Hashirama stopped and came face-to-face with a boy who looked to be around his age. The boy had long back, spiky hair and strange red eyes.
"What are you doing here?" The boy snarled. He brandished a kunai. "This is Uchiha territory!"
Hashirama gulped before raising his hands in a sign of submission. "I'm sorry – I didn't know!"
"Liar!" The boy snarled.
Hashirama was completely unaware of the footsteps behind him. He was caught off-guard when a syringe was stabbed into his neck from behind. He tried his best to fight it off, but he soon dropped to the ground, fast asleep.
When Hashirama awoke, he looked around in a panic. He was trapped in a cold prison cell. From the looks of things, he was the only one still around.
"Tobi…" Hashirama whimpered. "Where's my brother…?"
Hashirama couldn't leave his brother. He had to get away and bring the boy food!
"Someone, help!" Hashirama cried, trying to force the door to his cell open. "Please! I have a brother and he's sick! Help! Please!"
Something banged loudly out of sight before footsteps begun to approach him.
Hashirama flinched and moved to the back of his cell. Calling out for help suddenly didn't seem like a great idea.
"Look at the Senju scum…" Hashirama glanced up, seeing the same boy he had seen before he had passed out. "…Why show your face around these parts?"
Hashirama bit his lip, avoiding eye contact. "My brother is sick…"
The boy scoffed. He unlocked the cell before stepping inside. "I care about that why?"
Hashirama's eyes watered – how could this boy not care? Tobirama could die, and…
"Please…" Hashirama whispered as tears dripped down his cheeks. "…He's all I have…"
"He's all I have," the boy mocked. "I honestly couldn't care."
"Don't you have a brother?" Hashirama was desperate by now. "Or even a sister?"
The boy's shoulders tensed at this question. "…I have a younger brother… But so what?"
"How would you feel if our positions were reversed?"
The black-haired boy scoffed. "Honestly? I hate the little shit. He can go die for all I care."
"How could you say that?!" Hashirama cried out. "About your own brother?!"
"Well, it's clear that we are definitely not the same when it comes to our values…" A smirk crossed the smaller boy's face. "You value your sibling's life while I wish mine dead. You're different – too different."
With those words spoken, the door behind them opened and a small, long-haired boy tumbled in. He couldn't have been much younger than Hashirama's own brother.
The child stumbled and fell as he made his way over to the other black-haired male.
"Nii-san…" The child whimpered as he reached out and grabbed the elder's sleeve. "…Nii-san, I'm tired…"
The boy shoved his brother roughly, smirking at the cry that escaped the younger's lips.
"Fuck off, Izuna," the older brother spat. "I hate you. Go die."
Tears welled up in who was apparently Izuna's eyes as he nodded. Without another word, the boy left.
Hashirama was horrified by the interaction that had taken place before him. Didn't that boy realise just how blessed he was to have a brother? Especially one that clearly cared. All Hashirama knew was that he had to help that boy – but first, he had to get out of his cell.