Title: the ashes of your rotten heart

Rating: T
Spoilers: General

Characters: Izuna, Madara

Summary: And so he's lost. Madara, Izuna, and the clan who spoke lies.

Disclaimer: disclaimed

Author: Lady Avaritia

Exercises in futility. That's all there's ever been, isn't it? All his shortcomings lined up to look him in the eyes (which are not his eyes, thief, murderer), and accuse him.

Izuna is sitting by the window, leaning his back on the wooden pane, his handsome sharp face averted towards the soft sunlight.

'Madara?' he questions softly.

The other man walks in slowly, heavily, dragging himself in like a wounded animal. His lips are pressed together in a line, his teeth a clenching, and he's trying not to howl. in his stomach an ugly spiked monster is coiling and uncoiling, scrapping at his insides, and he feels like he's rotting from the inside out, feels like maggots are crawling in his eyeballs, and rats eating at his heart. He makes the final effort of reaching Izuna.

Izuna, his lifeline, his last safe heaven, his brother, father, son, friend, supporter, teammate, his everything… He practically collapses in the younger man's hands, and he feels his arms (skinny, too skinny) wrap around his muscular shoulders, and he buries his head in his brother's neck.

'I lost,' he whispers in the locks of silky raven black hair, 'I lost.'

Izuna rubs circles on his shoulders with one hand while running the other through his brother's hair. He doesn't speak (his lips are glued shut by his incapability of offering comfort, and Madara does not want or need pity) just offers up his silent acceptance and understanding, and it's all Madara's ever wanted from him.

Madara is shivering, his strong body racking up with gut-wrenching sobs, and his hot tears soak up in Izuna's shirt, and the bare skin of his neck.

(the sore tears of a crippled anger, of the incapability to do anything at all ever to save himself, he needs Izuna for that, he needs his brother to pull him over the edge, always and forever, those sightless eyes see him as he is)

He has fallen defeated, and the whole world has its eyes on him. He knows what will come, has always known, has always expected it.

'They will hurt the Uchiha now,' he says.

'I know,' Izuna says, because he knows. He has seen it all, the Senju are greedy, bloodthirsty and backstabbing, rotten to the bone marrow, all of them. 'I know.'

'The clan wants me removed from my position,' he speaks finally, after eons of sun-lit silence in his brother's arms.

The embrace tightens, Izuna's sharp jaw clenches, his fingers tighten in Madara's hair.

'They what?' he whispers in a hiss.

'They want you to be clan head,' Madara says softly, and feels those gentle arms, callused and scarred as they are soothe the invisible bruises left on his pride.

'I won't let them,' Izuna says sharply, decisively.

'You can't stop it. They did it already.'

'What? When? Madara, the Hokage elections were today!'

'So was the meeting of the elders. Right after I lost. It's the reason I'm late.'

'They can't do that, Madara! They can't!'

Madara sighs wearily.

'They're the elders! They can do whatever they damn please!'

'You're clan-head. So can you.'

'I'm not clan-head anymore, Izuna.'

Madara wrenches himself out of the warm grasp and stands up, back turned on his brother, facing the dying sun.

Izuna presses his palms on the wooden floor, sets out soft threads of chakra to get a "view" of the room, and moves up to follow his brother. His skinny arms wrap around the other's slender waist.

Madara is shaking, this time with rage.

'I want to hurt them, now,' he says quietly, softly.

'Madara!' Izuna's gasp is quiet, and his grip is tight and imploring.

'We just went out of one war… do not drag us into another… Not against the clan. Not against our family. Please.'

'I thought family was supposed to support you,' Madara spits out bitterly, shaking his head.

'I support you,' Izuna murmurs against his neck.

'I know,' Madara sighs. 'I wish you were not the only one.' He turns around to take his little brother in his arms, to return the embrace. He wants to keep the other in his arms like that forever. To protect him.

'They want me as clan head because they think they can control me. A weak blind puppet,' the younger laughs emptily and it echoes out.

'Never,' Madara mutters against his charcoal hair.

'Never,' Izuna agrees softly, murmuring the words against his brother's muscular chest.