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The thin line of love and hate

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The Senju are more like samurai than shinobi people say, their own clan culture was so more civil, more sophisticated and more honourable than most other shinobi clans. Especially considered so by the high lords in their castles speaking in high praise about the talent that flows freely in the Senju bloodline. The samurai guarding the lords sometimes discuss the Senju clan, whisper amongst themselves how the Senju control their wildfire disciples, how they tame the minds of the powerful soldiers and most of all what binds their loyalty in the clan so deeply that they all rather die before betraying their clan. No shinobi is as honourable as samurai they say, but the Senju come close.

 

Butsuma took great pride in the rumours. After all samurai practiced wakashudo, and it was only normal that he would adapt to the rumours, only expected really that he would lead as an example. No one in the clan blinked an eye when Butsuma began training Tobirama, his responsibility after all they said amongst themselves, because he created the abomination in the end, it was for the best if he took care of it too.

 

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Tobirama was six when he learned just what being a shinobi inspired samurai meant. His father’s hands were like iron in his hair, pulling so hard his eyes started to water, but not enough to not being able to read the words on the scroll. ‘Wakashudo: Samurai often had younger male lovers who were apprenticed to them in order to learn how to become Samurai.’

He had been so confused looking at his father who had always looked at him as if he was dirt underneath his shoes, seeing his father’s eyes gleam in a way he didn't understand. He asked when the silence went on for too long what this meant, for they were shinobi and the samurai laws hardly applied to them. Butsuma had merely grinned and replied

“It just means that we don't have to be so nice. Take of your yukata boy.”

 

Tobirama was six when he vowed to protect his family from the monster living in Butsuma’s eyes. No matter the cost. (No matter that he would lose his own self, he was not important, Butsuma told him so, but his brothers his innocent brothers, he had to protect…

 

Protectprotectprotectprotectprotectprotect serve the clan head.)

 

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Hashirama loved his brothers. Everyone and their neighbour knew that Hashirama loved all of them, mourned the ones he lost and deeply loved his last brother. Everyone knew Hashirama loved the white demon but no one knew that despite loving him Hashirama sometimes wondered if he liked his younger brother. He had no doubt that he loved his brother fiercely but liking him, liking his dead red eyes and the lack of emotion, Hashirama wasn’t sure if he could ever truly liked someone so cold.

 

‘Butsuma’s perfect soldier’ he’d hissed at Tobirama whenever the boy blindly followed his fathers’ orders making him lose a friend so dear it felt like losing a brother. Hashirama asked him once if he ever mourned his brothers or if traded his emotions with a demon for strength, he knew it was cruel yet he couldn't help but wonder what went wrong with his younger brother for him to be so distant, to be so eager to please a man like Butsuma. Hashirama never understood what motivated his brother to be so loyal to a man so poisonous as Butsuma.

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Months before Butsuma falls and Hashirama rises to take his place, his father had summoned him to his private chambers, claiming that despite their differences he wanted to celebrate like father and son, like warrior to warrior, that his son had become a seasoned adult. Hashirama had, despite his dislike for Butsuma, been rejoiced that his father reached out to him on equal footing. He hadn’t even deemed it odd that his father had made a meek Tobirama pour them sake after sake.

The sake too heavy for Hashirama caused him to fall into a slumber pretty soon but he had strange dreams of this occurrence for months. In every dream he could hear Tobirama’s distressed voice begging their father “Please Sir not when he’s here” and the hard slap that rings out after that. The dream never continues and Hashirama doesn’t pay it any mind until it fades from his memory completely.

 

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Tobirama is seventeen when his brother became clan head. Butsuma had been buried but ten hours prior and Tobirama was at loss. He knew his brother was betrothed to the Uzumaki princess and had probably never given it any thought that Tobirama was now his to command.

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The memory is painful, but nearly all his memories of Butsuma hurt, “the White Demon has to be leashed” his father had mumbled and carved the seals in his face, twelve and too young to understand, “it’s not that I don't trust you to protect the clan” Butsuma had said as if it was a normal conversation and he wasn’t torturing his youngest son with forbidden seals, “it’s just that I think sometimes you need a reminder of your place.” Tobirama knew his place was kneeling next to his clan head; there was no other place for him in the clan other than the lowest place. He can still feel the seals burning, feels the searing pain in every trembling muscle after Butsuma tested it for the first time, turned him into a weak body, unable to defend himself for whatever his master deemed fit.

Tobirama learned quickly but Butsuma still believed it was a necessary evil to test the seals every now and then.

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Good for nothing abomination, only good to serve the clan, good thing Butsuma controlled that freak – the elders never really knew how to whisper and rumours do spread so fast on own land.

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If Hashirama ever knew what had occurred between Tobirama and Butsuma he gave no sign of it. Tobirama knew Butsuma had left Hashirama a scroll, it was mandatory from clan head to clan heir to leave instructions, but Hashirama never acted as if he wanted from Tobirama what his father had claimed so long ago as his right.

At loss of what to do with himself, no purpose or task given to him by his clan head, his brother his owner, no other purpose but serve had given him nothing but a pat on the shoulder and “make yourself useful for the future.” And Tobirama knew what his brother’s future looked like so he started reading up on cities. His brother’s peace, he would aid it and he would be content. (Where would his place be in this city, a tainted foul demon like him surely had no place in the peace?)

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Tobirama doesn’t trust samurai, Hashirama hardly questions his brother’s lack of trust in the world but to see his spine turn rigid is still a surprise when Mito mentions her descendant from samurai and the Senju culture being so similar to that of her ancestors, that this was what convinced her father to agree to the marriage between her and Hashirama. Tobirama never says what he’s thinking but Hashirama is curious what causes his brother to look afraid of Mito, but it only lasts a split second before the ice-cold has returned to Tobirama’s face and in the end Hashirama lets it go.

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Everyone is surprised that it is Tobirama is the catalyst that causes the Uchiha to agree to peace. Surprised but also very suspicious. After all a blood lusting demon like him, who never hid his distrust of the Uchiha, it seems out of character to spare Izuna on the battlefield and force the Uchiha clan by their own honour to accept Hashirama’s proposal of peace. Their suspicion only increases when it becomes clear who is the mastermind between the treaties, the drafts of infrastructure and the city plans. The Uchiha’s worry, they worry that Hashirama is blind to the demon’s nature, or that he’s perhaps bewitched by the demon pretending to be a faithful brother.

 

The Uchiha are not the only one doubtful of Tobirama’s intent, its what Hashirama confides in Madara, “but” he says, “my brother was trained to be a loyal soldier to his clan head, he knows nothing but this. He will not go against my orders.”

So the Uchiha’s let it go, but they will never let it rest, not completely.

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So of course it all goes to shit when Madara tries to calm down a seething Izuna going for Tobirama’s throat.

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“What is your ulterior motive in this Senju?” Izuna is nearly breathing fire, he seems so aggravated and Tobirama can’t honestly say what had set off the Uchiha heir. He felt his brother’s eyes burn into his back and the flare of Madara’s chakra set him on the edge. He was trying so hard to be good, but it was never enough. Taking a deep breath and turning around to leave, he saw Izuna reach out.

 

It felt as if the world was moving slower than usual, he saw the kunai in Izuna’s hand and felt himself slide in a defensive position, the world narrowing down when his brother’s voice pierced through it

 

“Cradle the Oni” the seals activated, the world turned dark, vaguely he can hear himself scream, and then all Tobirama knows was pain.

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He wakes briefly to angry whispers, but the pain is rendering his body useless. He’s expecting the hands tracing the marks on his body to untie his clothing any minute. Tobirama wants to cry because the idea that this wouldn’t happen anymore because Hashirama wasn’t Butsuma had lulled him in false safety.

He’s not even aware he’s begging the hands to “please not now please I promise I’ll be good please”

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Mito glares at her husband whose sitting pale faced next to the crumpled body of his brother. “I swear to you Mito, I had no idea about this, the scroll father left me said only to say this when it seemed Tobirama would be uncontrollable.” Her husband looks sick saying these words, Madara and Izuna standing pale but vigil in the distance. Shocked in silence by the echoing of Tobirama’s screams.

“These seals,” Mito mutters icily, “were forbidden by the Daimyo himself, not even permitted for the torture of prisoners. And you’re telling me that your father knew the activation of the seals, Hashirama did your father apply these seals to Tobirama?” he looks stricken and her normally joyful husband seems completely overtaken by an immense grief. “Tobirama had these markings after he turned twelve. I don't remember how or when, Mito please believe me.” She does believe him, but they all know that there’s hardly any avoiding to the fact that Butsuma had most likely applied torture seals so gruesome that not even the Daimyo would permit them, on his son.

 

It left Mito wondering what else Butsuma had done to his loyal soldier.

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When Tobirama opened his eyes, he knew that no matter what would happen nothing would ever be the same again, and he truly didn’t know what he feared more.