AN – Dedicated to Renaerys, FireEagleSpirit, Noldien and Mikeilo. Revised 6/2018.
Verb – Yearn to possess or have (something)
Synonyms - crave – desire – hanker – lust
'Is the love of money, or of women, or of glory, or of any one of the other efficient causes of pleasure, the origin of slight and ordinary evils? Is it not owing to this passion that relationships are broken asunder, and change the good will, which originates in nature into an irreconcilable enmity? And are not great countries and populous kingdoms made desolate by domestic seditions, through such causes?'
The house is small but warm and bright. It sits at the heart of Konoha like some damned symbol, Uchiha Madara thinks, as he stalks up the path leading to his former enemy and unacknowledged friend's home.
He wonders, despite his apathy about such things, why Hashirama doesn't make it more extravagant, given his standing in the village. This is after all, the man that can raise palaces in an instant. But assumed humility would be just like the sentimental fool.
"We're all equal in this, Madara." The man himself had laughed. " You can't expect me to waste my chakra on myself when others need it, can you?"
"You are a leader, Hashirama. At least attempt to look like one." Was Madara's terse reply.
Of course the Uchiha enclave was far more imposing. At first, Madara had insisted on using their customary tents to avoid contact with the abominable Mokuton. But when he had seen the grand buildings erected for other lesser clans he'd had to weigh in on behalf of the Uchiha. Pride had to be maintained after all and besides he was sick of the almost longing looks his men cast at the newly raised houses.
We are here mere months and they degenerate into giddy housewives! He thinks acidly.
He, of course, is having his proper house build of stone. The masons are taking far too long to accomplish it but he doesn't care. He's not going to be surrounded by the Senju's blasted wood for longer than absolutely necessary.
So he might ask himself, if he dislikes the Mokuton so much, why he spends so much time in Hashirama's own home? But Uchiha Madara isn't given too much to self-reflection. It makes one weak, and prone to second-guessing. Besides if he stares too long into the mirror he sees things he'd rather forget.
No, he reasons to himself, he is here to keep the Senju leader in line. To make sure the man is holding to his promise. It has absolutely nothing to do with the slender, red-haired woman who is even now ushering him into the house. In fact, he wishes she wasn't here because it is difficult to focus on any form of business when she is in the room. It is especially hard to control his features into their usual detachment when she speaks or hide the way his eyes follow her movements.
Hashirama is strangely oblivious to this, despite his usually sharp instincts. Sometimes Madara wonders whether the dolt would notice if he ravished Mito in the other room. But his younger brother is not so foolish. Madara has caught Tobirama watching him like a hawk on more than one occasion.
Fortunately the white-haired idiot isn't here this time and Madara relaxes as he allows Hashirama's words of greeting to wash over him.
They are here to discuss sanitation and further town planning as well as the rumours of a possible attack from the Land of Stone.
"You know my will." Madara says in dismissal. "Just crush them first before they can strike at us."
"We could discuss an alliance, though. They seem like they are willing to talk." Hashirama's brown eyes are intent but Madara is too busy listening to Mito humming next door.
"You are always too soft, Hashirama." He says idly after a moment.
"So Tobi keeps telling me." The Senju replies with a smile. "Do you know he advocated the same action as you? Not that he would ever admit it of course."
Hashirama's grin turns wicked. If there was anyone with a greater enmity than Madara towards himself, it would be his brother's for Madara.
"Still, you know we have to give diplomacy a chance." He continues gravely.
"I agree." A sonorous voice says as the object of both men's affections enters the room.
Madara glares at the table, avoiding eye contact with her. She kneels gracefully between them and arranges the dainty cups in preparation for pouring. It is not as formal as a tea ceremony of course, otherwise they would be here for hours, but every delicate motion that he watches out of the corner of his eye, reminds Madara that this women was trained to be a princess.
A fitting wife for a ruler of men. He thinks before he forces himself to concentrate on the task at hand.
Hours later, Mito excuses herself, pleading tiredness. Madara thinks this is strange as she has almost as much vitality as Hashirama and has certainly demonstrated as much on the battlefield. Perhaps it is their incessant wrangling that has drained her.
She inclines her head to Madara and bides him a soft goodnight. The Uchiha would have been silently contented with this if he weren't forced to witness the lingering kiss she gives Hashirama.
"Don't be up too late." She says at the door and then she is gone in a rustle of silk.
Madara doesn't think of himself as a spiteful man because that would be beneath him. But he does manage to keep Hashirama arguing over petty details until well pass three in the morning.
"Fine, fine, Madara! We will do it all your way! Capture a bijuu and destroy them with that if you wish but please, please let me go to sleep!" The Senju leader cries, holding the bridge of his nose in exhaustion.
Gradual attrition is one way to break the enemy.
"Very well, Hashirama. Although I'm glad you've finally seen reason." The Uchiha intones smugly. He stubbornly refuses to acknowledge his own weariness, despite the fact he almost staggers as he rises.
"Where are you going, Madara? The front door is that way." Hashirama calls quietly after him.
"I'm going to the bathroom, Senju, not that it's any concern of yours." Madara replies in an equally low tone.
Neither man wants to wake Mito. The former Uzumaki is not a pleasant woman when she is disturbed.
Madara pads silently through the house as its owner blows out the lamps. He reaches the junction leading to both the bathroom and the bedrooms. The rooms off to his right are dark but he can make out a small candle burning through the screen to his left.
Was she awake?
The screen, he notices, is slightly pulled across, almost as if she has checked up on them earlier. Or perhaps it has been left that way so Hashirama does not wake her when he enters. The sound of light, repetitive breathing comes from within and Madara feels his pulse skyrocket. She is asleep.
He cannot resist the temptation. There would be a few moments before Hashirama finishes in the sitting room.
He slides the screen half back gently and sees her lying in a snowy bed, softly lit by candlelight. She has her back to him but her long, red hair is loose, just as he loves it. The locks fall across the covers in swirling patterns not unlike her own whirlpool designs. Sometimes he wonders whether this fascination too is the product of a seal that she has used to entrap him.
He lingers at the doorway, desire rising in him. But the space between him and her is like an eternity. The room seems hallowed in its white light and despite his ardour he cannot yet break its sanctity. The Uchiha warlord is a demon, cursed forever to remain on the outside looking in.
The smallest sound wakes him from his trance and in a flash the screen is back across and he is half way down the hall before he meets Hashirama's intense stare.
There is nothing friendly or tired in the Senju leader's eyes now and in spite of his confidence, Madara remembers why they all secretly fear this man.
"Did you get lost?" The other man asks coldly. Madara does not know how his rival knows but he does or at least feels threatened.
Enjoy the feeling, Senju. You will have to get used to it.
Madara moves pass him, intending to ignore the question but Hashirama's sudden, powerful aura stops him.
A moment of silence ensues before Madara relents.
"Your house is like a maze, Senju." He replies irritably. "I'm surprised you can find your way around, even if you did build it. Now can I go before the sun rises? I thought that was what you wanted."
"It is." Is the emphatic reply and Madara wonders if he will be asked back again. The thought of entering this house is like bile to him but if it means he can spend a few treasured moments with her, he will brave it and far worse.
Point made, Hashirama leaves him without so much as a farewell. Madara exits the building in a carefully concealed rage but not before his sensitive hearing picks up the open and close of the bedroom's screen.
Hashirama can cross the boundary because he made it. This is his house and his wife and Madara hates him for it.
As the Uchiha passes like a shadow down the path, he sees the single candle light at the far end of the house go out and he knows Hashirama has his hands around a prize far greater than any tailed beast. What secrets they whisper to each other in the night will never be as beautiful to Madara as the sounds of her moans, moans of pleasure that he will never get to hear, at least not in reality.
Back at his house, Madara strips himself of his clothes and lies naked on the bed. He ignores the loneliness that stretches out like a void in this barren place and the anger at Hashirama's dismissal that still tears at him. Activating his chakra, Madara leans back on the pillows, his wild hair spiking around him and allows an illusion to take hold of his senses. He despises himself for these actions but sometimes there is nothing sweeter than self-deception.
There he is again in the doorway, watching her slumbering form. She turns to face him and snuggles slightly against the covers, a small, contented smile playing on her beautiful face. Her eyes are still shut, perhaps captivated by some pleasant dream. But now the room is his and the futon she lies in is black and red, emblazoned with the Uchiha crest. He walks towards her slowly and his hand ghosts over her lovely features.
Mito leans into his touch and her sapphire eyes flutter open. They soften with love and her lips part slightly as he leans in to kiss her. The heat is building in him like a furnace but he restrains it as his hands run through her crimson hair. Savouring every minute of this is what makes the waking hours bearable. He is lost in the kiss as their tongues entwine and she pulls him into the bed on top of her.
Madara smiles even in his solitude as the genjutsu works its magic. For now it might just be an illusion but why would he settle for other women when he could have this?