Senju Butsuma nearly jumped out of his own skin when his eldest son all but broke the door down upon his entry in his excitement, dragging a vaguely familiar boy of an age with him behind him. A five year old, overly excited Senju Hashirama was a force not to be reckoned with if one wants to spare oneself a splitting headache.
"Tou-san! Tou-san! I made a new friend!"
"Oi! This is inappropriate! Let go of me, Hashirama!" Said new friend protested, seeming embarrassed to have barged in like this with his sandals still on his hands. He must have just managed to take them off at the door before the other boy had dragged him into the living room of the home of the Senju Head family. Whoever he was, Butsuma already approved. At least he had some manners.
"His name is Madara and we're the bestest best friends in the whole world!" Hashirama, not to be deterred, came to a stop only when he was a few feet away from where his father and Clan Head was sitting reading the day's newspapers, beaming like he had been given something more precious than anything else in the world. Since Butsuma knew his eldest was often bullied for his hairstyle and his fashion choices by the other kids on the playground no matter how nice and friendly he was, the father figured the new boy might be just that in Hashirama's eyes.
"O-oi! Don't just go and decide that by yourself, baka!" The other boy, black of hair and with pale skin, snapped scoldingly and Butsuma sweatdropped when his son immediately drooped into a sulk. It was testament that these two were platonic soulmates or something despite just meeting each other that the boy, Madara, seemed completely used and even less bothered by the antics of the little brunet with the bowl-cut.
"Madara? Hm, you are Tajima's eldest son, yes? How is my old friend?"
The boy snapped to attention and gave a hasty but well mannered bow to the man of the house. "Tou-san is healthy and doing well, Senju-sama. Thank you for asking."
'This is how a proper Clan Heir should act, Hashirama, I hope you are watching attentively. Maybe you might learn something from your new friend.' Butsuma smiled in amusement at his own thoughts. "And how is that fearsome mother of yours? Is she well? I haven't seen her in a while. Kira's been pouting." Only a fool would not ask about the Dragoness of the Uchiha Clan. Now that he had placed the boy's parentage, he could easily see that he was a male spitting image of his mother even if the exact shade of his hair resembled more his father's side of the family.
"I do not pout, husband," said wife, a Hatake by birth and with the coloring to prove it, protested playfully as she entered the room, a warm smile in place for her best friend's eldest. "Hello, Madara-chan. I trust you and your family are all well?"
"Izuna has a fever but everyone else is fine. Kaa-chan's fighting tou-san about whether she should be allowed to look after him in her fifth month."
His wife laughed delightedly while Butsuma couldn't help the swell of pity for his old friend and school rival. The Uchiha had it coming, marrying to fiercest woman he could find, an Uchiha herself but with the temperament of a dragon. Butsuma swore Kira's own more fiery temperament as opposed to the usual cool Hatake one came from being best friends with Uchiha Ryukyu. "Sounds like Ryukyu-chan, alright! Be sure to send my best regards. I'll visit her once Izuna-kun gets better. Would you like some tea?"
"That would be lovely, thank you." Butsuma took note the ease in which Madara interacted with his wife and the different forms of address between the Heir and his younger sibling on Kira's own part. Then again, she was this boy's godmother and had been the first outsider to hold him. Butsuma would know. He had been there, congratulating Tajima on his first son.
Hashirama broke the peaceful, almost normal atmosphere by whining at his new friend. "Come on, Madara~! Let's go climb the cliff of the Hokage Mountain! The last one there is a rotten egg!" The parents watched in amusement as their son started dragging the Uchiha Clan Heir behind him with Madara trying to dig in his feet halfheartedly and yelling something about proper conduct. Butsuma expected nothing else. Tajima was a loving but strict father and given where the other half of Ryukyu's genes came from in the Daimyo's own court, he was not at all surprised that she was raising Madara to be a second coming of herself, a terror in the battlefield as well as in a meeting room. Butsuma pitied Tajima. One Ryukyu was scary enough and now their son was taking after her ...
Hashirama's momentum was stopped, however, before they could reach the long hallway that would lead them through the big house and straight to the bottom of the mountain, for there stood Butsuma's other son. Like Madara, Senju Tobirama took completely after his mother in all things and so he held his breath, as this is sure to be an epic, groundbreaking meeting. Kira and Ryukyu had taken a single look at each other and had decided they were to be friends for life. Lighting and fire was a deadly combination.
"Eh? Tobi? Do you wanna come play, too?" Hashirama, the always adoring - sometimes suffocatingly so - elder brother crouched in front of his three year old baby brother and smiled invitingly, looking ready to pinch his chubby cheeks like the little Hatake-look-alike hated. But the toddler's red eyes were unerringly, unnervingly focused on their guest, not even looking up to greet the father whose approval he always sought or the mother in whom's affection he liked to soak in. He even downright ignored Hashirama's existence and side stepped his beloved older sibling - a shocker, given his first spoken word had been Anija - so he could come to stare up at the wild-haired Uchiha.
Madara arched an eyebrow while Hashirama fell into his trademark sulk, tilting his head to better regard the little boy studying him. "So you're like me, huh? That's impressive, given your age. Your name is Tobi?"
"Tobirama," the littler Senju replied before boldly wrapping his arms around the older boy, seemingly snuggling into his lower chest that he could reach of the five year old. "So warm."
The purr from his youngest son finally had Butsuma snapping out of his surprise at Tobirama's uncharacteristic behavior. "How did you mean, when you said he was like you?"
Madara looked at him funny even as he ran his fingers through Tobirama's shaggy white hair. "He's a sensor, and a powerful one, at that. Didn't you know?" All three Senjus shook their heads no and Madara snorted and didn't even try to apologize. "That explains it, I guess. The clinginess," he explains at their Kira's arched eyebrow. "And the attraction, I guess. His chakra is suiton oriented, so he's naturally attracted to my katon. I'm surprised he hasn't wandered over to the Uchiha Compound."
"Why would he go to your Compound?" Hashirama asked, sounding confused and Butsuma had to agree that he, was, too.
"Because fire users usually run hotter while water shinobi usually run colder than other people. Especially if they're particularly strong shinobi. A sensor would appreciate their exact opposite in the developing stages of their abilities."
"Hence why he's so infatuated with you." Butsuma was of the opinion that his wife was far too amused by this turn of events. At least Madara didn't seem to mind.
"You don't seem as affected," he felt the need to point out, a bit questioningly, to the boy and the Uchiha Heir just shrugged.
"I've already started developing my chakra coils and I train regularly. My own chakra blankets me. Though you might want to find a way to make sure he doesn't get overwhelmed with all the different chakra signatures in the village. If he can sense chakra like this at this age, it will only get stronger as he gets older." He then turned to his new shadow, a gentle but teasing grin on his face. "You want to sit by the koi pond and watch the clouds while your brother makes a fool of himself?"
"So mean~!" Hashirama complained but followed after the two when Tobirama nodded and started leading the way, little hand never leaving Madara's. "Wait for me!"
When they were out of sight and Butsuma looked to his wife, he felt it was his right and not shameful at all to be intimidated by the grin on her face.
He wondered if he should give Tajima, a fellow exasperated father and soon to be terrified husband, a heads up.
Tobirama was too much like his mother, after all.
'I wish I had never left home,' Uzumaki Mito thought, close to tears, as she sat on the small, lone - lonely - swing in front of the Academy on her very first day since moving into Konoha. She had arrived from Uzushio just that morning and since they had yet to officially set up any arrangements for her, they had figured it to be a good idea to dump her off at the Academy to start with class one day earlier. The teacher, an old man named Shino-sensei - an Aburame, her oversensitive senses informed her - had been surprised she would be joining them today but had made an effort not to show it. His chakra gave him away.
The other kids, though, had been downright nasty.
Stupid step-mother. Stupid chichiue for giving in. Yes, her auntie Kushina lived in Konoha and yes, she was her closest blood relative from her okaa-chan's side, but she had wanted to stay with chichiue! He needed her with that new harpy he had taken for a wife under the pressure of the elders! That woman was trouble and terrible. How dare she suggest Mito was not her chichiue's daughter!? Mito had never wanted to leave home. The woman had just been eager to send her away.
Though chichiue might have been trying to spare Mito the woman's stupidity. Anyone who thought sensory abilities were inherent like a Kekkei Genkai was an idiot. The woman would have been laughed right out of Konoha if she ever said something so stupid here.
Though that didn't mean Mito liked her new 'home' any better.
Auntie Kushina was out on a mission and won't be back for another week or so, which left Mito truly at the mercy of the Academy for the day. Usually that wouldn't have been a problem. Even though she was only seven years old, Mito loved studying. It was the right mind set and necessary characteristic of anyone who wishes to one day become a seal master to rival her parents' status and that had always been Mito's goal. She wanted her parents to be proud of her and she had started working hard as soon as she had learned how to read and write. The stuff they taught at the Academy wasn't hard. That wasn't the problem.
The kids were.
They teased her about her hair, about her accent or downright bullied her when they caught her 'doodling' in a particularly boring chakra theory class that any decent seal master had to know even before they enrolled in Uzushio's Academy. Konoha was slacking. As the day went on, the bullying got worse. So what if her hair was red? It was a thing of pride in Uzushio! The redder the hair, the better and the Uzumaki had always had red hair! With the exception of the Shodaime Hokage, who was from their bloodline but had somehow ended up a blond. So what if her interest in seals was 'boring' to the kids here? Back home, they would have been the boring ones! And where did they come off of insinuating that just because she was called 'hime' that she was a weakling airhead!? Just because she had decorum didn't mean her head was filled only with flowers and shiny hair clips!
'I want to go home.' She was at least respected there. She might not have had any friends, but she had had her cousins and other Uzumaki to keep her company and teach her new things. At least there Mito had a place and a way to block out all of those different chakra signatures! Konoha was going to drive her mad! The apartment they'll no doubt give her won't have enough free space for the big seal she'll need to write in it just so she could block out all of the chakra signatures around her! She won't have a safe haven to return to after a long, tiring day and she knew that will just frazzle her senses even more. She won't be able to sleep.
Konoha will become her glided, glittering cage and no one will even notice.
Her head snapped up when her senses zeroed in on a fiery, overwhelming chakra signature heading straight towards her, surprising her into stillness. She was familiar with it, of course. The Uchiha boy from her class, the Clan Heir and a prodigy from what all the other kids always gossiped about. He wasn't all that social, though nice, other than with that other boy with equally overwhelming reserves but he only felt like trees and wood and that didn't help Mito block out the rest of the world in the least. He only made it worse. The Uchiha boy ...
"Come," he told her, not a command but an invitation, extending a hand for her to take if she so chose. "You're a sensor. I can tell by the way you flinch away from certain people. You must be exhausted. Take my hand to take the edge off." The redhead hesitated but the Uchiha stayed perfectly still and patient. He was a loud boy when he was playing with his friend but he had an incredibly calming presence around him at all other times. His chakra was like a flaming beacon and Mito wondered if this is how moths felt when they flew closer to the flames despite knowing they will be burned. Only the Uchiha didn't burn her. He only took her hand gently and drew her to her feet, leading her away from the swing and from the Academy, away from the whispers. His chakra blanketed her from the rest of the world better than any seal made of her own chakra ever could. "You're Mito-hime, right? My name is Madara. I'm sorry about all of the idiots and I'm especially sorry about Hashirama. He means well but he's an idiot."
Mito kind of envied the bowl-cut boy for the fondness she heard in Madara's voice when he spoke of him. "Thank you for offering your help, Madara-san. I truly was overwhelmed. I feel so ashamed."
"Madara's fine," the boy assured her, waving her shame off. "There's nothing to be ashamed about. You're in a new environment and your senses are going haywire in an attempt to not only find the signatures you're used to but to get used to all the new sensations around. The forest itself will take you a long time to adjust to. You just need time."
"You're a sensor too, aren't you." It wasn't a question. Only a sensor will understand how another sensor feels. His nod was utterly unnecessary but she appreciated it. "How do you never get overwhelmed?" She could only guess it was his chakra. Fire chakra was always unpredictable. Fire seals always had to be made with extra care.
"My own chakra blankets me. Even beyond my reach, there is residual heat that acts like a buffer between me and everyone else. I feel everyone just fine but I never get overwhelmed. Tobirama kind of envies me for it." At her curious look, he smiled at her and ducked into a side street. "I'll introduce you two tomorrow. He's a sensor, too, though I can only guess that he'll overshadow us both. He's only five and his reach is already over half of Fire Country." That is very impressive. Mito needed to concentrate extra hard to extend her senses that far. She'd like to meet a sensor like that. "He'll probably get angry at me for not coming to see him today but he can wait a day for once."
"Why not go to him now?" She could only guess - and she had a feeling it would be a right guess - as to why Madara needed to visit this Tobirama-kun every day. The boy no doubt found as much comfort in Madara's chakra as she did.
"Because you need me right now and we can go see him together tomorrow when we pick up Hashirama for school. They're brothers and I want to see the new baby."
"T-there's no need for you to cancel your plans for my sake!" She immediately protested but the raven haired boy only snorted.
"You were nearing a breakdown. Of course you need me now more than Tobirama. He probably won't even notice I didn't come until Kira-sama asks him where I am as I usually come by. He'll pout and he'll try following me to class but he'll get over it once he meets you. He's a curious little thing and seals are his recent interest. I'm sure you'll get along like a house on fire."
"He's interested in seals?" She asked, chewing her lower lip. Mito still felt guilty for interrupting Madara's plans but she also felt extremely hesitant to let him out of her immediate sensory range. Focusing on him was easy and it drowned out the rest of the world in the roar of his flaming inferno. She hasn't felt this calm since she left Uzushio.
"He's a bit of a genius, from what we can tell so far, and his interests are all over the place I think he'll enroll into the Academy next year but that remains to be seen. And don't worry, he's not at all like his brother. You'll like him."
"And where are we going now?" She asked as she noticed more and more fire chakra signatures around them the further along Madara led her. None as strong as him though not that far away, there were four that must be in some way related to him. Two adults, one truly similar to Madara in the fire of her chakra, and two children, the elder of which rivaled Madara in reserves. His family.
"You'll stay with me tonight so you can settle a little and we'll see about a more permanent arrangement once they decide where you'll be staying in the village. Though, if you want, I'm sure my parents won't mind you moving in permanently. Kaa-chan always wanted a daughter to pass on all of her favorite kimonos on to and I've been dreading for a year now that it might fall on to me."
"Y-you want me to move in!?" She all but shrieked, very unladylike and most likely to cause her poor chichiue a heart attack if he were to hear such an uncharacteristic sound from her, surprised, incredulous and awed most of all at the generous and thoughtful offer.
"Sure. I already have two younger brothers. I wouldn't mind having a sister, too."
And Mito flushed and just let herself be led, thankful Madara didn't seem to be expecting an answer from her right away.
(The next morning, their respected Hokage seemed to be dealing with a headache in the shape of two stubborn kids and an all too eager Uchiha mother demanding that the new little redhead be allowed to stay in the Uchiha Compound, all but adopting her into their clan folds.)
(A month later, Uzumaki Ashina, Clan Head of the Uzumaki and the leader of Uzushiogakure and father of Uzumaki Mito, was left to ungracefully gawk at a miniature Hatake-Senju and a small boy copy of the Uchiha Dragoness that shielded his daughter from view and threatened to drown/burn him.)
(Tajima just signed whatever papers Ryukyu gave him without question or protest.)
And that was how Team Disaster met.