Reincarnation @wingedladycolette
Izuna Uchiha

Author's Note: Oh my gosh! Over 700 comments? Thank you all so much! But really, I'm sorry it's been so long since I updated! I have no excuse! Anyway, I need to get to bed, I'm not sure why I always end up finishing these chapters so late at night, but I'm dying. x.x Thank you all so much for your support! Let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I own nothing!

Warnings: Nothing much, maybe language and OOCness.

Word Count: 5,731

Sakura stares at him blankly, wondering if she had ever heard that name before, although unfortunately, it doesn't ring a bell. But what was interesting was that Madara had a brother, that was something that she didn't know.

"I..." Sakura says slowly, "I was unaware Madara-sama had a little brother. My apologies, my lord."

Izuna shakes his head, waving her concern away. He closes his eyes and snorts loudly. "Don't worry about it. Ever since I was hurt..." his eyes narrow, eyebrows pulling together tightly. There was a sudden darkness to his face. Compared to the serene calmness that he had when Sakura first walked into the room, this was a complete 360 from then.

It was suddenly like all of the heat in the room was sucked out. Sakura shivered unintentionally. Sakura stares at Izuna for a moment, happy that he isn't able to see the surprise and confusion on her face.

Quietly, tentatively, Sakura asks, "How were you hurt, my lord?"

Izuna's stare, though unseeing, hardens like dull black diamonds. "Tobirama," he snarls. "It was Tobirama that did this to me. He took away my life, my chakra. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be in this situation at all. He did this to me." There was so much anger, so much rage, that it took Sakura completely by shock. There is one thing to hate someone for hurting you, but this was so much more than that. There was pure hatred for him and his entire existence. That isn't natural anger. That's irrational anger.

"Lord Tobirama hurt you..?" Sakura asks delicately. She didn't like the way Izuna spoke of the future Second Hokage. It's understandable that he hurt Izuna and they probably won't be buddy-buddy, but Sakura just couldn't believe his rage.

Izuna closes his eyes and a eerie calmness settles over him. Sakura eyes him wearily. When Izuna opens his practically useless eyes again, they are sad and defeated. "Yes," he says. "I lost to him of all people. The wound he gave me put me in a coma for a week. Our healers managed to keep me alive as the infection became worse, but somehow I'm here. This isn't life," he mutters. "This is a slow, punishing death."

Sakura doesn't respond right away. After a long silence, a lot longer than what should be comfortable, Sakura reaches out and puts her hand on his shoulder, waiting until he turns his unseeing eyes toward her before saying, softly, "That's why I'm here. Maybe I can help you out, somehow."

Izuna's entire demeanor turns tired, like he's no longer angry. Just sad and defeated. "Yes. I hope that you can."

Sakura's hand glows green and moves from his shoulder and begins to scan his body. Running slowly over all his limbs, his core, his head. She's being careful not to overlook anything. Izuna looked to be in bad shape when she first saw him and now being able to see what's going on beneath the skin just further strengthened that stance. Izuna's been in poor health for a good few months now.

"My brother has been telling me about you," Izuna says after a prolonged silence. Sakura has been so focused on her thoughts that she didn't realize just how quiet the room was. The house even. Either Madara is being really quiet or has stepped out somewhere in the middle of their conversation.

Not knowing how to respond to him, Sakura just mutters, "Oh?" and hopes that'll be enough to prompt him to continue.

It is. "Yes," Izuna sighs. "He didn't much like you in the beginning."

For some reason, that surprises her. "Oh? Why is that?"

Izuna smiles boyishly, staring at the wall in front of him, unseeingly. "He's a drama queen, more than anything." Izuna chuckles at his own words. "But really, he's like a mama bear. You were a stranger invading here and he was more than ready to destroy you without asking any questions."

That sends a shiver of fear through Sakura and a silent thanks to Kami for letting Hashirama be the one in charge. Sakura tried to think back to when she first showed up and if she got any dangerous vibes from Madara. Obviously she did, because she just got done helping stop him in the future, but the him in the present was mistrustful, not dangerous appearing - even though she knew he was. He must have been ready to jump in to kill her at a moment's notice and hid it really well. So well, Sakura's survival instincts couldn't even differentiate the danger of the future to the one sitting right in front of her.

Realizing that Izuna was waiting for her to absorb that information, Sakura slowly says, "Well... lucky me he didn't do anything."

Izuna snorts. "Certainly. Especially because that guy made sure to stick around you. He wouldn't have tried anything with you being watched so closely."

Sakura raised an eyebrow, still unnerved. "Who are you referring to?"

Izuna blinks slowly. "Hashirama."

A strange feeling settles in Sakura's gut. "Hashirama," she echoes. So, Hashirama was protecting her?

"His loyalty to Hashirama is astounding," Izuna says coolly, yet Sakura sensed a hint of anger, just below the surface. But it wasn't nearly as intense as his anger toward Tobirama. Which still didn't sit well with Sakura, but perhaps she was biased.

"What do you mean by that?" Sakura asks, happy that the conversation has turned away from her possible demise.

Izuna shakes his head. "Exactly as I said it. They were 'friends' I guess as kids and he still tries to cling to those moments now as an adult. Forgetting everything that happened between them. Between us." For a moment, Izuna sounded hurt. Almost betrayed. Not like he couldn't forgive, but almost like he felt like at the end of the day his brother would choose Hashirama over him. He was like a little brother that felt like his brother was being taken away from him.

Sakura immediately wondered if Izuna hated the Senju. Like, still hated them. But not nearly with the intensity that he hated Tobirama with. Even though he's been through just as much as everyone else has been on the Uchiha side as any other Uchiha, he's the only one Sakura's met that hasn't let this go. Not really. Well, Kana didn't like the Senju, but that's what it was. General dislike, not hate. Not like Izuna.

His facial expression didn't change, but his voice was flat when he blurted out, surprising Sakura with a monotoned, "I don't hate the Senju."

Sakura's eyes widen for a moment, wondering if when Izuna lost his eyesight, he gained the ability to read minds. She leans away from him a bit, worried that he may be reading her mind right now. She didn't know what to say. It wasn't like she could deny it, she wasn't sure she would be able to be convincing about it. To be honest, with everything that she's heard thus far, she's not sure there is anything that Izuna could say that could convince her that he didn't hate the Senju. Even when he was saying the Senju name he said it sharply, with obvious dislike.

"Okay..." she says wearily. Not really sure why he's saying all of this.

Sakura had to wonder if she was the first person other than Madara that Izuna has spoken to since he got hurt. If that's the case... could Izuna just be lonely? If he spent all of his days cooped up in this room, eyes failing, chakra system a mess to go along with the rest of his body, with Madara as his only company - and even those times have got to be getting strained now that the village is finally starting to get on it's feet - and he's just talking about anything and everything just so Sakura won't leave yet.

Sakura couldn't stop the swell of pity that bloomed in her chest. She didn't know Izuna, not really, but she knew Uchiha and if he knew she pitied him, he would probably hate her. That wasn't a way to win his confidence as his doctor.

"I don't," Izuna says, slightly defensively. "I just don't like them. I don't like what they stand for. I don't like what they did to my brother."

Sakura relaxes a bit, shaking away her crazy thoughts about him reading minds. "Forgive me, Izuna-sama, but what did they do to Madara-sama?"

"He used to have such pride in the Uchiha, now all he can seem to focus on is the Senju. More specifically, Hashirama." Izuna shakes his head, a bitter look crossing his face before he sighs tiredly. "But back to the original reason I brought this up. My brother didn't like you at first. Or perhaps, weary, is the better word. He didn't know what to do with you, but now he has you here, in my room with me. He trusts you, now."

Sakura's eyebrows raise to her hairline. She wanted to keep talking about how Madara had changed since his youth, fascinated by the dynamics of that time that only exists now in memory. But Izuna didn't appear to want to continue that coarse of conversation, so she respected his wishes. She had to lover her hand, it was aching at this point. She wasn't healing him or anything at this point, too engrossed in the conversation.

"How do you figure?" Sakura asks.

Izuna turns his unseeing eyes toward Sakura and somehow she felt like he wasn't able to see her, but that he was looking through her. His expression was relaxed but there was an intensity there that she had seen in Madara's own eyes.

"You're here," Izuna says evenly. "Alone, with me. Madara wouldn't have let you within a hundred yards alone with me if he didn't." That made sense. Madara did strike Sakura as very protective of his family. Especially Izuna, which she can understand.

"I can get that," Sakura says, she runs a hand through her pink hair which was nearing the bottom of her shoulder blades. "You are very important to him. You're his little brother."

Sakura meant it to make Izuna feel better about his relationship with his brother - so that he wouldn't feel like Madara was somehow being taken away from him by Hashirama and Tobirama - but he just sighs again, tired. "I know," he says. "But it seems like now that is the only thing that I am. I can't do anything by myself anymore. It's no way to live. I hate living like this."

His unspoken words hang in the air between them. Izuna didn't have a lot of faith in Sakura being able to do anything for him. He was lonely, yes, but he wasn't delusional. He had been like this for long enough and probably had enough healers in here to tell him the same thing. They can't do anything for him. What Sakura found wrong with him would take time and an experienced healer to help him. Not many of those in this day and age. It's not impossible for Sakura to heal him and she's already coming up a plan, but not many in this time would be able to.

But Hashirama would probably be able to. Even though he probably didn't know what exactly what to do, his chakra may have been able to heal it without much problem. But thankfully he didn't. Now that Sakura knows that he doesn't really know what he's doing - which is still a really scary thought - she's glad that he didn't do anything. She's still worried that he'll mess up something without intending to. He's such a nice person that she doesn't want his good intentions to turn out bad just because he's not a hundred percent sure he knows what he's doing.

Anyway, Sakura feels so bad, looking at Izuna now. This is a man that has lost everything. He can't do anything on his own. Uchiha pride can be crippling. But it's not just Uchiha, Sakura's not sure she would be able to be as calm about this as him. She doesn't blame Izuna for hating to have to live like this. To not really seeing any reason to keep living.

Except for Madara. Madara is Izuna's reason for living, Sakura realizes. But that's probably where is loneliness also stems from too. He doesn't have much else to be here for and his brother is so busy all the time now, it must be so sad.

"I can't even begin to imagine what it's like," Sakura says slowly. "But thank you for telling me about it. It was nice to meet you. I'll be back to see you in a bit." Sakura climbs to her feet, knees cracking from her siting in the same position for so long. Izuna turns his gaze back to the wall across from him, not responding.

She walks over to the door, putting her hand onto the handle, when Izuna finally called out to her.

"Sakura-san?" He calls softly.

Sakura pauses and looks over at him. "Yes?"

"Do you think you can help me? No false pleasantries. Not what I want to hear. The truth," Izuna says softly. "Can you help me?"

Izuna doesn't turn to look at her, and his voice is soft, but his lips press tightly together. He's worried. No, bracing himself, is a better way to look at it. He's been given bad news since the beginning. He's not trying to hope, but it's his life. He wants to live, just not like this. Not anymore.

"I can," Sakura says, but doesn't want to stick around to elaborate how. But she did see a small, hopeful smile cross Izuna's lips, scared to be too hopeful. Scared to have it ripped away.

Sakura closes the door softly behind herself and makes her back to the front of house, where Madara was waiting right outside, staring up at the clouds in the early noon sky. They were small wisps of white cotton balls up there. He looks calm and relaxed to the untrained eye, but looking down at his feet, Sakura can see his toes curling and uncurling in ten second intervals.

"I'm done with my primary analysis," Sakura says, grabbing the older man's attention. Madara turns around sharply.

"And?" He asks, hands curling into fists. "How is he? Do you think you can help him?"

Sakura nods. "Yes, I can help him but there is a lot of things that need to be done. The first of which," Sakura says quickly before Madara can even ask, "you aren't going to like, I think." Madara's jaws snap shut. "We need to talk to Tobirama-sama and Hashirama-sama about this. They need to know what's happening."

"Why?" Madara says defensively. "This doesn't concern them."

Sakura lowers her eyes, knowing that she shouldn't tempt the alpha male in Madara by challenging him with her eyes, especially when it has something to do with his little brother's health.

"True," she says slowly. "I could heal him without them knowing, but there is a bit of a moral dilemma that I need them, as well as you, to help me sort out."

Madara frowns mistrustfully, jaw working under his skin before sighing, eyes narrow. "Okay, fine, let's go find them."

After Sakura explains to the two Senju brothers what she had been doing, she gets right down to explaining what's happened with Izuna. neither of them spoke as she talked, willing to let her get it all out before letting their opinions be known. All three founders were listening to her with rapt attention, especially Madara. She told him she could fix him, the only one who's said such. But she was also having a moral dilemma about it, which didn't sit well with him.

"Well, lets start with the obvious," Sakura says, eyes flickering between all three men. "I don't know how much the two of you know, but Izuna-sama is almost completely blind in both eyes. This is due from natural strain on the eyes prolonged use of the Sharingan does without adequate upkeep and rest, just like any muscle. But the infection that Izuna-sama sustained with his chest injury was not properly tended too, or it took too long to be tended too and it cause irrapairable damage to the eyes, along with his chakra system.

"The infection compromised both his immune system and chakra network, making it impossible to mold chakra without extreme exhaustion, and since he's lost his appetite, he's also been unable to take care of his health. He's malnourished and isn't severely underweight, but enough to be worried. He's loosing all his muscle density without eating and proper exorcise. His depression doesn't help in the slightest," Sakura says off handedly.

All three men stare at her, no one knowing what to say, or perhaps waiting for her to explain what they all needed to hear.

"I can heal all of this," Sakura says and eyebrows raise. "I can fix the chakra network, boost his immune system, and all the little stuff. That all can be fixed."

Tobirama tilts his head slightly, considering this, Madara looks physically relieved and Hashirama looks happy. Happy for Madara, or Izuna, Sakura didn't know. Maybe for both of them. She wouldn't be surprised if that was the case.

"But?" Tobirama the realists says. "There's got to be a but here."

"What about his eyes?" Madara asks, suddenly worried again. "Is that the problem?"

Sakura nods. "Slightly. I can repair his eyes, return full sight to them."

Madara looks like the planet could explode right now and he wouldn't bat an eyelash. "So what? What's the problem?"

"A few things," Sakura says slowly, looking down at the grain in the wood, wondering why it was suddenly so hard to look at all of them. "Izuna-sama... he... he hates the Senju."

Silence.

More silence.

The soft sound of Sakura's nail scratching at the wood table between them all.

Finally, "What?" Madara says incredulously.

Sakura looks up at him. "Listen, just spending a few minutes in there with him as I have, despite what he says it's obvious that he holds an extreme dislike for the Senju."

"Well sure," Madara says, eyes narrow, "we just got out of war with them. I would be more suspicious if he suddenly liked them. He was never like that."

"Madara-sama, I mean no disrespect in any regards," Sakura says slowly, which only seemed to anger him more so she quickly continues, hoping that he would be able to understand, "but Izuna-sama's wound was caused by Tobirama-sama, and while he dislikes the Senju, he hates Tobirama-sama. Now, normally, I wouldn't let squabbles between two people get in the way of my work-"

"So why are you?" Madara asks bitterly, cutting her off.

Sakura dips her head down a bit, feeling bad. "Izuna-sama will never really be happy until he can see again and in order to allow him that..." she hesitates, worried on how they'll take her next words. "I... I need to make the Sharingan in his eyes stronger. Override the blindness. In order to do that, I need another pair of Uchiha eyes. That would give him the-"

"Eternal Mangekyo," Madara says, cutting her off again. At Hashirama's curious look, he explains, "It's the next stage in the Sharingan, there had been theories on how to activate it, but no one knew for certain..." Suddenly he looks suspicious, turning his black eyes back to Sakura. "How do you know about this?"

"Sasuke," Sakura says, and hopes he leaves it at that.

Thankfully for now, he does, but Sakura doesn't miss the sharpness in Tobirama's eyes.

"I have to be honest with you all," Sakura says, folding her hands on her lap and looking around the table in the meeting room. She waits until they are all looking at her before she says anything. "I have no problem with helping out Izuna-sama, so never think for a moment that that is the case, because it's not. If I wasn't worried about what would happen following the healing, then I would in a heart beat."

"Izuna-sama is cursed," Sakura says. "I'm not completely sure of the specifics, but all I know is that it's something that all Uchiha have. They all get cursed when they activate their Sharingan. It's the reason why some of them can and others can't. Some become strong enough to overcome the curse, and others cannot. The curse makes them act irrational. A good portion of what is keeping Izuna-sama sane and placated, is that he's unable to do anything but..." she trails off, not sure she wants to put her fears into words and hopes no one asks.

"But," Tobirama says, red eyes narrowed, "if he was all fixed...?"

Sakura's shoulders slump. She closes her eyes. "It may not happen right away, or within the next few months, or even years, but if I fixed Izuna-sama without anything happening to his rage, especially when dealing with Tobirama-sama..." she sighs, looking up at the three men through her eyelashes. "I'm sorry, Madara-sama, but he will go after Tobirama-sama. I want to help him, really I do, but Izuna-sama will be elevated to a higher level than where he is now and his curse won't let him stop fighting until he's destroyed everything. That's the irrationalness that the curse forces upon Uchiha. I'm sorry."

No one speaks right away, everyone lost to their own thoughts. Tobirama's got a deep frown on his lips while Hashirama's turned away from them and is staring out the window that was originally to his back and Madara looks like the planet has exploded around him and the heavens have come crashing down around him. He closes his eyes and rubs his hand over his face.

"If I fix Izuna-sama and do nothing about the curse, he will never stop hating Tobirama-sama and it's not a matter of if it'll come to blows, but when. And nothing conventional will stop him. There is no way to keep them separated. Can any of you honestly say that if Tobirama-sama kills Izuna-sama or Izuna-sama kills Tobirama-sama that this alliance will somehow survive?" Sakura asks, eyebrows pulled tightly together, having a horrible feeling in her gut. She doesn't remember Izuna Uchiha in her history and she's starting to understand why.

As she feared, their eyes said it all. Well, Madara's and Tobirama's did. Hashirama was still looking out the window and neither of the other two could bring themselves to look at one another. The painful truth hangs over them like a dark cloud.

"Thank you, Sakura-chan," Hashirama says, finally speaking since this meeting started. He's been listening the entire time and been looking around but had yet to really say anything until now. Sakura, Madara and Tobirama all look over at him. "I'd like to hear all of your takes on what we should do," he says calmly.

"He's my brother, Hashirama," Madara speaks up immediately. "He's suffering! This is all based on assumptions. I know it looks bad and it could turn out to be a big mistake, but he's my baby brother. I can't just condemn him to spending the rest of his life being swallowed up by darkness and wilting away to nothing! That isn't the way for a human being to live! Besides," Madara says defensively, "he shouldn't be punished for something he hasn't done yet, and may never do. It's not right."

"True," Tobirama says sternly, arms crossing over his chest, "but we can't ignore the fact that it could very well become an issue. Is the alliance you and Hashirama been striving for over a decade to have worth being thrown away by your own little brother? All because he can't control his hatred?"

Madara looks like Tobirama just punched him in the gut. "That's not fair... if I acknowledge that this curse exists, I am acknowledging that my entire clan is sick, but if I don't... I'm condemning Izuna to live out he rest of his days like this..." His expression hardens and his eyes flash red. "Damn you, Tobirama. I won't fall for your logic, hear me out, if there is something wrong with my clansmen - and that isn't a confirmation that there is - then I will deal with it, but as far as we know there may not be an issue."

Tobirama suddenly looks dangerous. "Tell me, Madara, should Izuna and I come to blows, what will you do? Will you fight him or me? If you fight him, you lose your brother, you fight me, you lose the alliance."

"Tobirama-sama!" Sakura gasps. "Is there really no way to resolve this without it coming to that?"

Tobirama turns intense red eyes toward her. "You tell me."

Sakura frowns. "I... I don't know..."

"What do you think, Sakura-chan?" Hashirama asks, turning around to face them. His face is smooth and calculating. A strange look to see on the normally jubilant and kind hearted man.

"I think both sides make a good point," Sakura says, slowly. "I don't mean to play devil's advacate, but I know that Izuna-sama will be a problem to this alliance if nothing is done about his rage toward Tobirama-sama, but the answer to calming it could already be in place."

"Explain that for me," Hashirama says simply.

Sakura scratches at the back of her eye. "Madara-sama. Izuna-sama obviously loves him very much. His love for Madara-sama may be enough to outweigh his hatred for Tobirama-sama. I can't say for certain, and even if it's not, it may be enough to buy us some time before he can't control it any more." A pause, then, "But on the other hand, if he suspects that Tobirama-sama, or even you, Hashirama-sama, are somehow appearing to be one-upping Madara-sama, it may be enough to drive him over the edge. Even if it wasn't intentional on anyone's part, it doesn't have to make sense to anyone but Izuna-sama."

Madara closes his eyes, resigned to loss. Sakura's playing the middle ground, Tobirama and Madara are on opposite sides and Hashirama, as per usual was the deciding factor. Madara isn't a fool, Hashirama is kind hearted, but he wouldn't put Tobirama in danger, not with something he may not be able to handle. If Sakura was right and by healing Izuna and giving him the Eternal Mangekyo, he would become more powerful than ever before, then Hashirama wouldn't want to risk his little brother's life like that.

Madara knows he wouldn't. But at the same time, Hashirama didn't think like regular people. But in all of things that Hashirama would let slip passed, Sakura didn't have to say what was already clear to everyone, if Izuna did kill Tobirama, his rage would turn to the rest of the Senju. No one would be safe.

But Madara refused to believe that Izuna would piss all over his dream like Tobirama seems to think he would. Izuna isn't a bad kid, never was, but war changed him and because he hasn't had the chance to change his way of thinking, everyone is convinced that he's some sort of demon spawn. Madara hated that Izuna was seen this way. His brother has it so hard.

Madara didn't want to think about it, but bitterly he had to wonder if everything would have been seen differently if Tobirama was in this position and not Izuna. Then again, if it was Tobirama, Hashirama would have probably been able to heal him. Madara tried to get Hashirama to do that, and while his bleeding heart of a childhood friend was all for it, Izuna had to be a little asshole and refuse. He would not accept help from a Senju. He would rather die a slow, painful death than get saved by a Senju.

His pride was going to get him killed. It was also going to take him away from Madara. That made the Uchiha patriarch even more upset. Life was just so unfair. Izuna didn't deserve this, especially if he wasn't able to control it. If the Uchiha really was cursed - which Madara's not sure he knows what to think about that - then at least there is something else to blame.

Maybe... just maybe something could be done. But alas, the fates are cruel.

"What do you think, brother?" Tobirama asks. "What is your decision?"

Hashirama doesn't respond right away. He takes a moment to think about what all of them said. Looking over at Sakura, who wished that she didn't have to put them in this position. Then Tobirama, who wasn't going to let Izuna get all his power back - and more - without a fight, and then Madara, who was so sure that his little brother was never going to have a normal life, and would die young. But he also wanted to be hopeful, that unpredictable Hashirama would somehow, once again, prove his loyalty and ever lasting love to all living things and save Izuna.

He already offered to help Izuna once, hopefully that offer will still be on the table.

Finally, after a long, baited silence, Hashirama reaches out and puts a hand on Madara's shoulder. Sakura watches as Madara's heart plummets into his feet, eyes closing in defeat.

"I'm sorry, brother," Hashirama says, with genuine sorrow, "but I have to think clearly on what is best for everyone, I know that." Madara looks utterly destroyed. All he wanted was for someone - anyone! - to save his brother. To stop Izuna's pain. Now his little brother is going to die young.

"Dammit," Madara says harshly under his breath, voice thick with sadness and grief.

"Sakura-chan," Hashirama says. Sakura looks up at him with large green eyes. "Do what you can to save Izuna, alright?"

Madara and Tobirama's heads snap up toward him, eyes wide as saucers, like Sakura's.

"What?" All three of them say at once.

"I'm sorry, Tobi," Hashirama says to his little brother, smiling sympathetically. "I would never want to put your life in danger but I have faith that you'll be alright. I can honestly say I would be heart broken if I were in the same position as Madara. I would want my best friend to have my back so I must have his. He is right. While this curse does concern me, we have no proof yet of it's existence. While I'm not saying Sakura is a liar," his eyes flicker over to her to show he means that, "I also can't condemn someone for something they haven't even done."

Tobirama sighs, running a hand through his short white hair. "Fine, brother," he says, annoyed. "I will obey your wishes. I just hope this doesn't come back to bite you."

"Me too," Hashirama says softly, then turns his gaze to shocked Madara. "Friend, we will do all we can to help your brother but you must take great care. I would never do anything to harm Izuna without cause. Please understand. I will help you in any way I can, but I cannot allow him to kill my little brother, or any of my clansmen, can you understand that? I simply cannot. Not even for you."

Madara is nodding quickly before Hashirama even finishes. "I understand completely. Thank you, Hashirama. I will watch over him and keep him under control. Thank you." He looks down to the table, a small, bashfully happy smile on his lips.

Sakura blinks a few times, looking between the two childhood friends. Surely it's not intentional, but Sakura is also beginning to understand why Hashirama is able to sate the rage inside of Madara. Their bond is complex in the fact that they grew up in opposing clans and have spent their entire lives killing the opposite boy's family and yet still came across each other, learned of the other's identity and yet still couldn't break the invisible connection between them. Something always drew them back to one another.

They just couldn't kill one another. At least, not yet.

But their relationship is also very simple. They truly are brother souls intertwined in destiny. The reincarnations of Asura and Indra.

Sakura jolts, feeling a strange tightness to her chest as she stared at the two of them, seeing shadows unlike their own against the wall. The regal forms of the Ostustuki brothers stand behind their reincarnations. Always there, always present. Sakura can't believe she didn't notice it before.

"My sons..." a voice in the back of her head whispers. "I found them... I found them..."

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