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A Stroke of Peace

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"Give it to me." A hand waved annoying close to his face. Madara swatted the hand away.

"No. I can do this myself," he said turning away from Hashirama, who looked way too amused for Madara's liking.

Suddenly, the Uchiha felt firm fingers bury themselves into his hair, close to his nape and despite all his shinobi training, he couldn't help but to flinch away violently, dropping the object he was holding and turning to face Hashirama again.

"I've told you before, you can't catch me from behind!" He seethed, watching as the Senju laughed heartedly before picking the discarded comb up from the ground.

"I know, but it's too funny to watch you freak out like that! Now sit down quietly for just one moment."
Madara eyed his friend warily, and sighed. He sat back down on the chair with all the grace he had lost just a moment before. Hashirama muffled another snigger, starting to gently comb the raven's locks.

A few awkward moments passed.

"Madara, relax will you? I'm not going to kill you." The Uchiha snorted but complied, loosening his tense shoulders and breathing out a deep sigh.

"I can do this myself you know," he repeated, but didn't make a move to steal back the comb.

"I know, but I wanted to do this for you," he replied, taking his time to comb out a stubborn knot. "No wonder your hair's such a tangled mess; you never spend the time to comb it properly."

"I, unlike you, actually spend my time on important things, like helping you run the village," he said, bristling slightly. Hashirama chuckled.

"Just because I've been blessed with silky smooth hair doesn't mean I spend all day combing it," he argued, carding his fingers through every now and then in search for more tangles.

If he was being truthful to himself, Hashirama rather liked Madara's hair. It fitted his personality well; unruly and untameable in most circumstances. It was dark and thick, cascading down the Uchiha's back like an curtain of ebony. His hair was coarse, so unlike Hashirama's own fine hair, but not any less pleasant to touch. At first, it seemed like combing the wild mane would be an impossible task, but after a little bit tenderness on Hashirama's part, (and some patience from Madara) the job got significantly easier, until all the knots seemed to fall out.

Hashirama stole a glance at Madara, who had been unusually quiet. Those eyes, in which the Senju had seen a whole array of emotions throughout the many years of knowing him, were half lidded, almost like he was on the verge of falling asleep. He had seen those eyes filled with excitement at the prospect of their dream village, and filled with the grief of loosing his last remaining brother. He had seen those eyes with Sharingan blazing crimson on the battlefield, and he had seen those eyes glittering with cockiness before one of their many childhood spars. But he had never seen this expression before. It took him a while to recognise it.

Peace.

This was the closest thing to peace he had ever seen on the Uchiha's face. His whole body was slack in a way no shinobi would ever allow themselves to be in the presence of another. His hands, usually so deadly when wielding weapons or weaving hand signs, were on his lap, limp and harmless. It was such a surreal moment, almost like a dream. How many people, Hashirama wondered, had seen Madara Uchiha like this? Maybe Izuna had, a long time ago. But he has been dead for a long time now, and Madara hadn't been the same since. Those moments of laughs and smiles were few and far between now, but it had just made Hashirama cherish those moments even more.

However, now Hashirama had seen this new side to Madara, he wanted to see it more often, to have more moments like this where Madara wasn't being weighed down by his life. He wanted to see Madara fully trust him, enough that he let down his guard for a short time. He was suddenly struck by the overwhelming urge to stay in this room forever, where he could watch the Uchiha at ease to his heart's content and neither their duties nor pasts could reach them.

He sighed. An impossible dream.

With one final check to see whether there was any last tangles, he pulled the comb from his hair, stepping back, and just like that, the peaceful spell that had enveloped the room broke. Madara's eyes snapped open, and he immediately sat up straight.

"Oh, you've finished?" He sounded disinterested, and maybe Hashirama was imagining it, but there was a hint of disappointment in his tone.

"Yep, all done!" He said putting the comb down on a nearby table. "Please take better care of your hair next time, or you're going to have to let me comb it for you again!" He tried to sound light hearted, but even he could hear the slight hopefulness in his voice.

The Uchiha uttered a small contemplative noise, running his fingers through his hair, almost absent-mindedly.

A pause.

"I'll consider it."