I still have quite a bit of inspiration, so it’s totally possible that my writing tag is going to be updated again tomorrow with something about Itachi and Shisui. If I still have energy left over from that, then maybe there will even be something about Mikoto and Itachi.
Artist Thierry Cohen photographs the world’s major cities, seeking out views that resonate for him and noting the precise time, angle, and latitude and longitude of his exposure.
Not too long, this is a creepy one.
Izuna is at the point where he’s too old to play with the younger children, but anyone older than him does not have time for him. The only exception to the case is Madara, and his brother is his only friend. They do almost everything together, and Izuna doesn’t find anything wrong with that. Why should he want more friends when he already has someone who appreciates him and doesn’t push him away? This is his first mistake in a long series of events that will make up his short life.
At one point, Madara begins to act strange. He suddenly always has something to do and is gone for hours at a time. Izuna isn’t sure what to think about that, but he says nothing and plays with what little toys he has by himself. It’s lonely without his only brother by his side, but he doesn’t want to interfere with whatever is so important that Madara must be away for so long. Eventually his curiosity will get the best of him.
It isn’t nice to follow someone without telling them what you’re doing, but Izuna fears he will be told to turn around if his brother finds out. All he can do is keep his distance and make sure his chakra doesn’t flare up due to any intense emotions. He eventually sees a clearing in the forest Madara walks into, and he sits down at a spot behind a bush. Peering through the leaves, he silently watches as his brother talks to another child. He’s too far away to hear what they’re saying, but the smile on both of their faces show that they must be enjoying the moment.
They eventually begin to skip rocks across the river, and Izuna isn’t sure what to think about it at first. What was so special about that activity anyway? Why did Madara have to do it with some random child? Did he think his younger brother would be terrible at it? Why couldn’t all three of them play together? As much as he wants his questions to be answered, Izuna knows he can never bring this up, because it will become obvious that he has been following Madara despite the fact that he never asked for that to happen.
He waits until his brother and the stranger leave their spot at the river before he stands up from his hiding spot and walks to where they were standing. Picking up one of the smooth rocks, Izuna tries to mimic the same throwing technique but the rock plops into the water, not even making it a quarter of the way across the river. He frowns in frustration and repeats the same action, only to receive the same end result. This is much harder than he expects it to be, but Izuna is determined to become the best at this so that one day he too could join the duo.
This ends up becoming his daily ritual. Izuna will follow Madara whenever he says he has something else to do, and he waits patiently in the distance as he and his new friend hang out by the river. When they eventually go their separate ways, Izuna comes out of his hiding spot and practices skipping rocks. His goal is to get the rock to go across the entire river, because if he can do that, then that’ll show Madara that he is in fact great at this.
The same thing happens for a few weeks, but something changes one day. While hiding behind the same bush as usual, Izuna spots a flash of white in the distance. It isn’t winter yet, so there shouldn’t be anything white during the summer. Curious to know what he saw, the young Uchiha quietly moves from his spot. Instead of an animal he instead sees another young boy crouching by a tree and looking past it. The other tenses up when he eventually notices he’s been spotted, but Izuna puts a finger to his lips and motions for him to remain quiet. He doesn’t move any closer to the stranger and settles on sitting by another tree instead.
They both watch the two in front of them, and Izuna assumes the brown haired boy with the weird haircut must be related to the white hair boy somehow. Were they brothers as well? Was the white hair boy having to deal with not having his brother be by his side anymore? The Uchiha keeps his thoughts to himself and doesn’t dare speak in fear that his voice will give him away.
When Madara and the stranger leave again, the white hair boy looks briefly at Izuna. He’s still obviously tense about being spotted but he too eventually leaves, most likely after believing that there was no threat at the moment. Perhaps Izuna should follow him as well, but that might not be such a good idea. After all, his goal was to become better at rock skipping.
Izuna doesn’t expect to see the stranger after that, but it’s not the case. Both end up being in the same area week after week looking out towards the river. He’s starting to get a bit braver, so he decides it is time to finally approach the white hair boy. Izuna attempts to catch his attention by snapping the twigs by his hands, and it works. He crawls over towards him and leaves enough space in between them so that the situation won’t be any more awkward than it already is.
“Is that your brother?” Izuna whispers.
“Yes,” Tobirama responds after a few seconds of hesitation.
“Did you follow him because you were worried?”
“Does anyone else know where you are?”
That is all they saw for a while. Thinking it’s safe enough to stay where he is, Izuna sits down near Tobirama and continues watching the scene in front of them.
“It’s really strange,” Tobirama finally says after an hour of complete silence.
“What is?” Izuna asks.
“What’s so special about skipping rocks anyway?”
“I dunno. Maybe it’s a thing older children do?”
“I’ve never seen any one else do that. They’re weird.”
Izuna walks over to the river when it’s safe enough to do so, but this time Tobirama follows him instead of following his own brother. He doesn’t say anything when the young Uchiha picks up a few rocks and starts to skip them across the water, yet he eventually caves in and grabs some for himself. Neither of them are horrible at it, but both can’t make the rocks reach the other side, although Izuna is getting extremely close. It will only take a few more weeks before he’s finally ready to show off his skill to Madara.
His ritual changes slightly after that day, but he and Tobirama never talk much. They’re content with just focusing on the rocks once their brothers leave, and it’s clear that there is no desire to form some bond. The reason they are there in the first place is because of their brothers, and that would not change. That doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy the strange peace that seems to fall upon them, though.
Peace never lasts for long. Tajima finally begins to wonder where Madara disappears to so often, and he approaches Izuna one day with the task of following him and to report back whatever he saw. Being an obedient son, he doesn’t disobey and follows through with what is expected of him. When he approaches his father with the news, Izuna receives a small pat on the head along with being told that an obedient son will lead a clan to victory. He isn’t too sure what to think about it at the moment, but Tajima is implying he wants to mold him into the perfect leader rather than giving the role to his oldest son who finds nothing wrong with befriending the enemy.
Later that night Tajima approaches Izuna once more with the news that the young Senju will die and he needs to be the one who strikes with the fatal blow. He nods his head at the statement and prepares for the next morning. He can’t stop his hands from shaking as he cleans his weapons one more time, but he tries his best to remain strong. As much as he wants to curl up in a ball and disappear, he knows he has no other choice but to go through with this, even if it means having Madara hate him forever.
That is all he can think about when the next day finally arrives. He doesn’t dare look back at his brother as he and their father come out of the forest, but he is slightly distracted when he notices the boy in front of him was not Hashirama but Tobirama instead. Izuna has no problems with him, yet he knows he has to get rid of him as well if he wants to continue the role of the obedient son. Fighting the white hair boy is enough to keep his mind from thinking about Madara, but that finally comes to an end when the small skirmish is disrupted.
He can’t stop looking at Madara’s eyes, and he is in slight awe at the fact that the first tomoe is now present. However, that feeling disappears when he realizes it has only awakened because of his actions. This is not a good sign, and from that moment forward, he should most likely keep his distance from his brother. Although Izuna knows that, it still doesn’t stop him from wanting to be close him.
After the incident at the river, Madara doesn’t go there for a month. He continues to train with Izuna and follow Tajima’s orders, but something is off about him. Izuna wants to ask what is wrong, but the answer is already clear. His brother can’t stop thinking about Hashirama, and he disappears again one day without warning anyone. Luckily Izuna sees him run off and quickly follows, not even bothering to hide the fact that he was going after him.
Madara is standing at the riverbank when Izuna finally catches up to him. They stand there in silence while watching the river flow past them, yet, like usual, Izuna makes the wrong decision. He decides to pick up a rock, which catches his brother’s attention. Skipping it across the river, it actually makes it to the other side for once. He isn’t expecting that to happen, but Izuna smiles at the accomplishment only to receive a fist to the side of the face.
The strike is enough to catch him off balance, and he falls to the ground in shock. Looking up at Madara, Izuna moves back slightly in fear when he sees that the first tomoe is active again in his brother’s eyes. He waits to be hit again, but his brother settles on clenching his fists in order to restrain himself. Madara doesn’t bother apologizing and settles on leaving.
Izuna did deserve the punch for making it obvious that he had been following him the entire time, but that didn’t stop the tears from forming. He knows that Madara will never trust him again, and the thought of his brother not even loving him anymore is too much to take in all at one time. Those thoughts alone are enough to awaken the first tomoe in his eyes.