gigantomachy: (Itachi - Startled)
gigantomachy ([personal profile] gigantomachy) wrote on December 29th, 2009 at 10:14 pm
untitled gift fic [naruto; au]
For [livejournal.com profile] shadows_in_mind, who plays one fantastically creepy (and heartcrushingly human) Madara. AU, rp-verse. Five acts: some gen, some angst, some awkward porn, some death. Uh. Madara-centric PoV.





I. Black Crow King
(the whole thing's changed in unthinkable ways)

Of course it won't turn out well. Again, the clash of wills, strong, hopeless Itachi against the collective disapproval of the clan itself, nearly two hundred pairs of crimson eyes turned against the solitary figure in the center of the room.

The river might as well rage against the river-stone, for all the good it does. So it has been, since Itachi's prowess began to manifest with its own sort of frightening speed, with it his utterly misplaced sense of compassion, and Madara knows that if any of them paid half the attention to the way Itachi's motives take shape (as of course Madara has), they'd understand that their words and their anger are worthless. They might even find a way to turn him, to use that overwhelming sense of duty to their advantage.

(Itachi does not exaggerate each time he curses his family for a pack of blind fools, there in the early morning silences of his unfurnished room. Madara, ever the patient one, simply runs skinny fingers through the younger shinobi's hair and reminds the boy that this, too, shall pass.)

No surprise at all, Madara muses, that he's taking the idea of weeding out the remnants of the numerous but assuredly inferior Senju clan so poorly. Madara's not particularly keen on the idea of it himself, but knows that there is no real danger of such action going through in the first place. Even among the Uchiha there is enough gray matter between them to understand what sort of backlash such a drastic move would surely create. They may sometimes be fools, yes, but they are not yet to the point of hastening their utter destruction quite so dramatically.

Madara considers just that as he drifts out of the main hall in Itachi's wake, geta clattering softly against polished wood as he reaches inside his obi to withdraw a narrow-mouthed pipe. He slips a small packet of aromatic tobacco from the inside of a sleeve, tamps it gently into the chamber, and lights it with a practiced motion. He breathes in the smoke with a quiet hum of pleasure, eyes shifting to the courtyard, an ancient, stately garden that hasn't changed much in the last eight decades, an insulating lassitude punctuated rather than disturbed by the cry of a nearby cicada.

It's a beautiful evening. Madara makes a note to instruct a serving girl to prepare tea.

As soon as he has finished this particular bit of business, of course. Though some may think otherwise, Madara is a good hand at turning aside inevitable calamaties when he chooses to.

Moments later, he slides aside a fragile rice-paper door, slipping into a shadowed room. Itachi's narrow back faces him (ever a dangerous thing, Madara scolds silently), and it doesn't take the Sharingan to see the way the boy is shaking like a leaf. A tiny frown creases Madara's lips; this is, of course, not the way he has planned things at all.

A light snow of glowing ash drifts towards the tatami as Madara puts the pipe away.

The breath rushes from between Itachi's gritted teeth as Madara's arms circle him in a loose cage, the hard point of his chin resting against a bony shoulder, cheek against neck and the pulse beneath the boy's warm skin is racing racing racing. Itachi shudders once and stands entirely still, the wound-down figure of a lifeless doll.

"There's no need," Madara murmurs, burying a dark smile as fine hair tickles the corner of his mouth. "Calm yourself, child. All will be well."

"They'll destroy themselves, anyway," Itachi grates out, a hollow voice thick with grief and quiet despair. "The only difference is who they take with them."

A slight shake of Madara's head, and he allows himself a single, derisive snort. "Of course not. They will talk until their bones turn to dust, but they are bound."

Like this, he thinks, and squeezes gently. The ninjato clatters to Itachi's feet and the shaking begins again, great vicious tremors that wrack the small body in his grasp until it seems he is all that holds it together. It's cruel, isn't it, to be so young, and to carry such a staggering sense of responsibility? But if it were not so, he would not be Itachi, and he would not be worth even a fraction of the time and energy Madara has already invested in him.

It will do. For what Madara requires of him, it will do.


.


II. Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere?
(if you want me to boy i could lie to you)

The first time is something of a surprise. Madara and Itachi are seated around a low table in one of the many rooms that overlook the temple courtyard. They are drinking warm sake and listening to the crickets, occasionally telling stories of the past, useless but otherwise precious for their unfamiliarity. Madara speaks haltingly of encounters with Hashirama in the times long before Itachi's birth. Itachi offers a few sparse stories of classes at the university.

Madara does not know if it's the alcohol that's warmed his old blood, or the full moon that filters through the half-open door to spread pale light against the tatami. Perhaps it's those brief glimpses of Itachi's life away from home, moments Madara has not shared with the younger shinobi; he finds himself wondering if Itachi has found a lover yet among the men and women of the world they sometimes inhabit, a normal human lover that shares none of his own world of blood and death.

He feels a sharp pang of jealousy, even though he knows Itachi is far too cautious to allow another so close.

He has watched Itachi grow from a boy to a man, quiet witness to his many awakenings, always with one teasing hand outstretched, waiting only for Itachi's acceptance to draw him in yet again.

Perhaps he merely wishes to claim what is his.

Perhaps it is something else entirely.

When his hand reaches out to smooth the fabric of the yukata over one slender knee, Itachi does not shy away. Neither do his eyes seek Madara's, offering pointed questions in his own silent way. When the other hand lifts to curl around the point of Itachi's chin and pull him closer, Itachi follows without hesitation, dark eyes unfathomable, the lingering spice of sake on his breath. Madara takes all these things as his due, molding his mouth against Itachi's, holding until the tension gives and a familiar hand curls into his sleeve at the elbow, just as he knew it would. It's the first visible spark of a fire long in the making; no matter how reserved Itachi might wish himself, simple biology is an adversary as fierce as any bijuu and far more invasive.

His is an insular world.

The younger shinobi sighs as Madara's fingers slide beneath the hem of his yukata, long nails tracking gentle spider-lines along the inside of a thigh. There's no real art to it, not in any sense, but there's no need for it either; they are not always artful creatures, nor should they be.

And he remembers then, a late autumn evening just like this, Itachi on his knees before a basin of cool water and peeling a blood-smeared mask from his face, eyes dull and vacant and only barely concealing madness in a way that Madara understood all-too well. Washing blood from coal-black hair that Itachi'd only started pulling back into a thin tail; twelve years old and already a murderer skilled enough to make any shinobi of the old ways proud.

That wasn't so long ago, he thinks, and even though time seems different to a shinobi as long-lived as Madara, it's still enough to make him jerk back, disengaging with a ragged gasp. Itachi lets go; the sudden, inexplicable rejection leaves no trace of dismay to rattle his expression.

Rarely does Madara retreat, especially from a child (grown now but forever a million years distant), especially from Itachi, but his steps are harsh in the quiet as he escapes that suddenly stifling room.

Behind him, Itachi straightens the hem of his yukata and presses a curious hand to his mouth, wiping away an abandoned thread of saliva before reaching out to pour himself another drink.


.


III. Your Funeral, My Trial
(like a butterfly beaten in a summer rainfall)


It's been raining since June. The violent, darkened waters of the Nakano river are close to overflowing.

Madara pushes aside a glittering veil of wet alder leaves, ignoring the spray of water as the branch snaps back above his head. He knows Itachi's out here somewhere; he can sense the flow of familiar chakras, both faint and one growing fainter, and for the first time in years he knows something that feels suspiciously like real worry, gnawing around his edges.

There's something vicious in the chilly air, cold and treacherous as the muddy bank beneath his sandals, something that has nothing to do with the storm -- a heavy feeling that settles like a tangible weight about his wet shoulders, as if the whole world were just a breath away from ending.

Less than two meters away, the water rushes past his mud-caked feet as black as sin, carrying the twisted bodies of excavated saplings, larger pieces of less fortunate trees and other various debris away from the compound upriver.

It's a terrible day to be out in the weather -- had Madara any say, he'd have suggested tea by the hearth, a warm, dry place to teach Itachi the next sequence of techniques he'd decided upon.

It seems that Itachi had different ideas, today. Madara curses the boy silently for his absolutely shitty sense of timing.

And then that second, fainter chakra winks out in his mind like a sigh.

He moves beyond the last clump of bank-trees, and looks upon his prize, and suddenly everything makes awful, perfect sense. And it's a wonder how Itachi can stay on his feet in spite of the current pushing at his back, even more so with the weight of a body several pounds heavier than his own to drag him down. A part of Madara strains to call out to the boy, to urge him back to the relative safety of the river's edge before he, too, is swept away. Most of the rest of him is caught in a moment of morbid, somber fascination.

Itachi's bone-white hands are fisted into the soaking wet fabric of a shirt cut in the traditional Uchiha style just beneath the collar, and he is obviously struggling to maintain that hold as the current whips past his waist and tries to tug the body free. A furious blast of thunder splits the sky above, but Itachi does not even start at the sound, crimson eyes wide and unseeing, his mouth caught half-open in a silent cry, or perhaps a plea.

He wants to say it's nothing, but it's a lie even he is not cruel enough to give voice to; it's not nothing, no, not at all, because that's not how this bastard scheme works.

It's everything.

(It's too early for this. Itachi is too young, yet, too brittle, too fucking gentle.)

And yet he cannot help but reach ahead, constantly pushing his endurance to the edge.

Madara understands that drive as much as anyone could and probably more. He still remembers with haunting clarity the day he drove his own sharp blade into the heart of his best friend, still remembers the sting of useless self-pitying tears as the blood cooled on his hands. If Itachi is crying now, he cannot see it for the rain, and the blood that slides down pale cheeks and drips down his chin is only to be expected, a vulgar side-effect of the transformation. And oh, Madara can feel it even from here, the dark burgeoning of power that slips through Itachi's weakened chakra like poison, and Madara knows that now Itachi can begin to understand the true essence of his blood inheritance.

Perhaps that in itself will finally be enough to shake him free of the unnecessary compassion he clings to like a lifeline, that crippling sense of empathy that has stunted his growth far more than any deficiency in talent.

But, Madara thinks, perhaps not Itachi, whose grip is slipping on the slick fabric, inevitably losing his battle against the relentless drag of the water. He clings all the harder for it, dark strands of wet hair fanning over his shoulders as he presses his face against Shisui's still chest, wracked for a moment by a violent shudder that nearly drives him to his knees beneath the current. A quiet, sneering part of Madara points out that it wouldn't be entirely surprising if Itachi were to simply let himself go now, offer himself to the raging waters and simply be done with it.

Madara, however, knows better. Itachi has taken his first true sacrifice in the name of power, and he is far too thoughtful to let that tribute go to waste. No, the boy will survive this, and he will reach all the farther as the darkness closes in.

He will not allow himself anything less.

Itachi's arms are trembling with exertion now, but he remains steady, slowly lifting his head as if awakened from a long, long sleep. He blinks the last traces of blood away, tugging Shisui's body close just long enough to press a gentle kiss against the cold forehead, an achingly maternal gesture that will no doubt persist until the end of time.

The boy looks up then, pinwheeled crimson eyes finding Madara's place on the bank, the first sign he's shown to have been aware of Madara's presence at all. His gaze is hollow, his expression as slack as that of the corpse in his grip.

It's done.

Of course Madara cannot hear him over the storm, but he can read the words on Itachi's thin bloodless lips, can feel them acid-etched into the shadowed, secret corners of his still-beating heart.

And he lets go, and Madara watches what Itachi does not; the final moment before Uchiha Shisui's body slips beneath the water for the last time. How far it will go, how long it will be before it is recovered, Madara cannot say, and it's always unfortunate when a talented shinobi is overwhelmed by something as unforeseeable as an act of nature, is it not, dear elders?


.


IV. Stranger than Kindness.
(and this is why I'll never leave you alone)

The second time is a surprise, for entirely different reasons.

It's three and a half days later, and while their outward appearances haven't changed at all, there's something undeniably different, an undercurrent of static, the ozone crackle of electricity just before the lightning strikes that most certainly had not existed before in the spaces between them.

Madara tells himself that it is nothing to worry about and tries to believe it. Itachi's restlessness is a subtle thing that pads down the halls on near-silent feet in the early hours after midnight.

(And he knows that when the storm hits, they both will burn.)

The old ninja is not surprised to find Itachi's door open. He is, however, more than a little startled by his state of undress and the way his legs dangle off the side of the bed, fingers curled loosely around his half-erect penis, dark brows like crow's wings knitted in an approximation of thought, or perhaps deep concentration. It'd be amusing, if it weren't so painfully sincere.

Madara leans against the doorway and considers the situation. He's old enough to know an invitation when he sees one, and in fact has seen more than his share over the years; rarely, however, have they been so strangely laid out, rarely so bold. Another may have sprung some far more blatant attempt at seduction, offering themselves in ways no doubt considered subtle in what would be an undoubtedly laughable affair. But no, not proud, precious Itachi, and that is the heart of this matter; there is no pride in the black-eyed gaze that lifts now toward Madara, only a look that burns with equal parts curiosity and trepidation.

Itachi has ever been precocious.

It seems he's decided to take matters into his own hands -- quite literally, this time.

"Well, now," Madara murmurs as he lets himself inside, feeling the whole world shift and settle around him once again.

Itachi seems to expect it when Madara takes his wrists and rearranges them at his sides. Whatever else he may be expecting, Madara doubts it involves him kneeling quietly between those pale thighs, taking a moment to consider the scars that mark Itachi's belly and legs. He offers a single glance upward, a faint smile laced with irony that fades only when he leans forward to take him in his mouth completely in one smooth motion.

There's a sharp gasp from above, and Madara hears the rustle of cloth, the grind of bone on bone as skinny fingers fist into the comforter, clenching tightly. Madara senses Itachi's Sharingan activate, but there's no hostile intent behind it; the notion fills him with sudden amusement. He glances up to see those wide eyes staring back at him, and he thinks only Itachi would take an opportunity like this to study in such a way. Or perhaps not. Perhaps many Uchiha in their time have used their unique ability to absorb sexual techniques along with those meant for battle.

Well. Madara has ever prided himself on being an excellent teacher, and he has no objections to providing a thorough lesson now. Not that it lasts long, of course -- Itachi is colt-shy and young, as obviously inexperienced as he seems; it feels like only moments later that the thick, salty taste of him blankets Madara's tongue.

Satisfied with his work, the older shinobi pushes himself to his feet with a quiet grunt and turns to leave.

"Is that it, then?" There's still a thread of nervousness in Itachi's tone, a voice turned low and smoky, and Madara debates with himself in silence.

In retrospect, it won't seem all that surprising that Itachi's fingers curl around his wrist tight enough to bruise, pulling Madara back with fierce urgency. "Is that all?"

And Madara cannot help but wonder if he's considering making what might become the grandest mistake of his life. He does not look back, as tempting as the he knows the sight will be. "What else do you want, boy?"

For a moment, the tension escalates, enough that Madara half-expects Itachi to snap under the weight of it. But Itachi holds steady, measuring all those things unspoken in Madara's quiet retort, waiting a few moments before slowly releasing the older man's wrist. And just when he thinks that's the end of that, he feels Itachi press against him from behind, breath warm against the back of his neck, hands gliding along his obi, lightly grazing the top of his hips as fingers find and pluck at the simple bow. Despite the smoothness of the motion, there's something clumsy about it, naive and still somewhat endearing.

Belatedly, he recognizes that tension, the fact that Itachi is in fact waiting for that sharp stab of rejection to rear up again. And that's suprising; Madara has been the one shut out nine times out of ten for as long as he can remember. It seems strange that reactionary, timorous Itachi is the one to press forward.

(After all, is it not the older man that seduces away the innocence of the young lover-to-be in all the movies? He's played those roles with aplomb, but they seem somehow hollow, empty now.)

"Show me," Itachi breathes into Madara's hair, and it's more than enough; all the heat, all the want from that first doomed kiss in the moonlit foyer comes rushing back full-force. Madara forces his shoulders to loosen, and feels Itachi relax against him, almost instantly; Itachi's fingers tug the knot loose, and two and a half meters of dark brushed cotton begins to unravel with languid grace, slipping to the floor in a quiet rustle of cloth.

Those slender fingers wriggle inside, reaching, reaching, and when the very tips find the warm, naked curve of a scarred hip, Itachi stops.

The boy has done what he feels he can.

He is waiting now, and his patience is near-endless when he wants it to be.

But it cannot be so easy.

Madara slips the yukata off his shoulders with an easy shrug. He turns to face Itachi with eyes that are dark and cruel, and he is hot and he is hard and he is unwilling to allow Itachi to cut himself free of responsibility this time. No, Itachi will receive exactly what he asks for, and he will understand that by the time Madara is done.



Later, damp and sated, Madara will press his palms against the inward curve of Itachi's belly and bask in the quiver of muscle beneath flesh. He will smile his tiger smile at the younger man who is still arched above him trying desperately to catch his breath, the man who straddles his thighs and cannot completely hide his flushed face beneath the curtain of his jagged bangs.


.


V. Destined For Great Things
(a world that will never return again)

"A cloudy night," Itachi says softly, and blinks.

(It comes in fits and starts, creeping in like a thief, just as Madara has always known it would.)

Madara's fingers card gently through silky hair, still slightly damp from a shower two hours before. Itachi has managed something close to a dignified sprawl across the porch -- as much as one can modestly sprawl in a yukata -- his head pillowed against Madara's thigh, looking up into the night sky as Madara fans his hair out over his shoulders and chest.

The older shinobi studies Itachi in silence, noting the new hollowness to his cheeks, the dark rings beneath his eyes, the way the flesh seems to have melted from his bones in the last few months. He watches, because for the moment he is unsure of what else to do with this wayward child of twenty-one years, this living vessel of the last two decades of Madara's own existence and focused energies.

His hand slips from scalp to cheek, tracing sharp lines that have only grown deeper since April.

There's moments where things seem almost normal. Itachi has not changed as far as the world can tell, as calm and as bright as he ever was. But Madara has spent a small lifetime studying everything about this boy, leading him by the hand -- deeper and deeper into the darkness, one step at a time.

This, I have done.

The world has changed considerably in the last several decades; medical science grows in leaps and bounds by the month, these days. What was once a crippling end to a shinobi career in his youth might now only be a matter of minor corrective surgery, and if it is necessary to find himself a talented surgeon to coerce and dispose of, he will do it without hesitation. If there's anything else, anything Itachi has somehow managed to squirrel away from his own perfect eyes, he will find out and fix it.

No matter the cost.

Itachi is his, and he has so much yet to do.

Madara hums thoughtfully as he stretches his hand over Itachi's eyes. He feels the younger shinobi stir at last, his words an almost incoherent murmur as he tries to lift his head. But Madara holds him still, pressing him back down to his lap firmly, a bitter smile twisting the corner of his lips.

Because really, what does it matter, anyway? What's the point?

The night is as cold and sharp and clear as diamonds, and Itachi cannot see the stars at all.

-fin
12.28.09
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