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the weight of history upon us

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“What do you mean, you’re related to the Nidaime?!” Izumo demands, hands flapping faintly like he can’t decide whether to strangle Kotetsu or flail.

Kotetsu blinks at him, honestly a little bewildered. “You didn’t know?” he asks, baffled. “It’s not like it’s a secret. Everyone tells me I look like him.”

Genma, sprawled out on the other end of the Standby Station couch with his head in Aoba’s lap, chuckles a little and tips his head enough to grin at them. “Technically, it is a secret,” he corrects. “Just one of those ones everybody knows, so long as you had family here a generation back.”

Oh, Kotetsu thinks with a sudden air of enlightenment. Izumo is from a civilian family living about a day’s travel east; that’s likely why he’s never heard it before. “My grandmother had a fling with Tobirama,” he explains, and can’t fight a grin at Izumo’s expression. “But, you know, Hagane Clan don’t tend to get married unless they’re black sheep, because of the seduction mission thing—”

“There’s a reason people say ‘make a Hagane proud’ when they’re talking about sex,” Aoba interjects cheerfully. “They’re the best at sex, on average, so they’re the ones who are picked first for those missions.” He catches the raised brow Genma directs at him and raises his hands, backpedaling hastily. “Not that I know from experience, okay, I never touched Kotetsu, I swear.”

The brow goes back down, and Genma’s grin takes on a wicked edge. “Of course you didn’t. Kotetsu’s too smart to go for an ass like you.”

Anyway,” Kotetsu says over Aoba’s offended cries and the dramatic way he’s clutching at his heart. “They didn’t get married, and Grandfather died before my mom was a year old, but she was definitely his.”

Izumo opens his mouth, shuts it, opens it again, and entirely fails to say anything.

Raidō leaves off rubbing Genma’s feet to pat Izumo’s shoulder soothingly. “He’s smarter than he looks,” he consoles. “It surprised me at first too, but there is a brain under all that hair.”

Hey,” Kotetsu protests, deeply offended. “I was top of my class, thank you!”

“You were,” Izumo says, looking like he’s reevaluating every interaction they’ve ever had. “And I never saw you study, either.”

“Study is boring,” Kotetsu complains, pulling a face. “Playing with sharp stuff is a lot more fun.”

The expression Izumo levels at him is entirely incredulous. Then he stops, face pulling into a pained grimace, and groans, tipping forward to bury his face in Kotetsu’s shoulder. “It doesn’t make sense,” he laments, almost a wail.

Kotetsu rolls his eyes and pats Izumo’s head. “You’re a jerk. I’m smart and good with weapons and I can totally cast perfect genjutsus only Hyuuga and Uchiha can see through, thanks. My grandfather would be proud.”

“Your grandfather, who is Tobirama,” Izumo says, like he’s still coming to terms with it. There’s a pause, and he tips his head to the side, staring up at Kotetsu through one narrowed eye. “Wait a minute. When I said we should take the jounin exam, and you told me to go ahead but refused because it was a pain—that wasn’t you being nervous, was it?”

A trickle of cold sweat slides down Kotetsu’s spine. “Uh. I mean, it would totally be a pain and I’m sure you can pass but I—”

“Don’t want to end up with all the paperwork jounin have to do,” Aoba finishes cheerfully, because he’s a jerk.

Kotetsu takes one look at Izumo’s face, and doesn’t need his genetics to tell him to bolt for the door.