Date: August 16th
Summary: After meeting each other on the journal entries, Madara decides that a more face-to-face approach is needed. Explanations are given, information is exchanged and a partnership is forged.
Madara: Through the trees came a darkness lingering, slipping through the wooden cracks and leaves in the ancient forest. Madara’s chakra was suppressed completely, surging through his veins but undetectable by any other form short of the best professional sensors.
He skidded to a stop in a rush of wind right before the border into Rice Country, the fringes of his Akatsuki cloak dirtied by the dust and debris leading up to the giant statues. Several hops and he was atop the one done in his own likeness, staring out over the stretch of land. One red eye narrowed from its hole in the orange mask, and Madara glanced around for the boy he was to meet.
Sasuke: Sasuke stood up from his spot on the same statue, the sleeves of his cloak falling and hiding his hands. Ebony eyes glanced back over at Madara and he stood there for a moment, just watching, before turning to make his way over.
“I had no intentions of returning here either. Have you just arrived, or are you familiar with this...alternate world, Madara?” Unlike with his questioning and meeting with Itachi and Sasuke, he had to be both wary and cautious. As advanced as his eyes were, he knew it wouldn’t be enough against Madara in a fight.
Madara: “Yes,” Under the mask, his lips quirked up at the deliberately enigmatic answer. Ah, sometimes he even amused himself. But contrary to his calm and amiable demeanour, a deep-seated anger had come into the innermost parts of this ancient shinobi at the sight of spiked ebony hair and that pale, aristocratic face. But he could not give himself away. After speaking with this Sasuke on the journals, Madara had decided to lay aside his hatred of the other for now and continue with his assumed guise as the ‘native’ Madara.
“Alternate for you... Sasuke.”
Sasuke: Sasuke ignored the slight twitch at being corrected and closed his eyes for a moment, taking in a deep breath to calm himself. It definitely wouldn’t do to allow his temper to take advantage of him so easily right now.
“Whatever. Do you care to tell me or are you going to be difficult with me as well?”
Madara: There was a moment that he simply stared at Sasuke, taking all of him in, then with a flash of power, he was gone. A short distance away he reappeared, reclining against one of the spikes of his statue’s hair and beckoning to Sasuke to join him.
“Come. What do you wish to know?”
Sasuke: Sasuke said nothing as Madara disappeared before his eyes. When he was called to, the Uchiha took a step back to glance at his ancestor. He gave a snort before walking over.
“Everything. It’s a stupid question to ask, Madara.”
Madara: “Now, now...” Madara sighed. “How am I supposed to know what sort of world you came from? Tell me about it, and then I shall inform you of what you need to know with how this one is different.”
Sasuke: This time, Sasuke’s hand did twitch, but it was concealed by the long sleeves of his cloak. How he hated to explain things from the very beginning...
“I killed Itachi. You told me everything. I agreed to help you. My team followed. We were fighting Hachibi. I arrived here. Does any of this sound familiar to you.” Yeah, he definitely outgrown the age of long, concise explanations.
Madara: Leaning back against the stone, Madara allowed his visible eye to roam over Sasuke, taking in his powerful muscles, impatient nature and quick temper. And he thought back to when he first arrived at the other world, when everything seemed like an opportunity. This, here, was an opportunity. A diamond in the rough. A jewel that needed its impurities chiseled away. A conniving smirk drew across his face, concealed by the swirly mask.
“Yes, all of it. I knew of a man once... from a world like that.” He looked up. “Really Sasuke, sit down. You will be more comfortable.” A sigh. He sincerely doubted the invitation would be obeyed. “That man told me of the events in his world, and it is safe to say that it is farther along than this one. For example, the Sasuke of this realm has not killed Itachi yet. The nine-tailed jinchuuriki just returned from his training with the Sannin Jiraiya. Only now am I seeing more of this man’s kind... those that are from an alternate world... arrive here. It is a strange occurrence, to be sure, but could hold many possibilities. As that man told me, with alternates came change...”
Sasuke: And for once, Sasuke listened, He sat adjacent Madara, pulling a leg up for an arm to rest on. He observed Madara as he listened, easily recalling events that had taken place nearly a year ago, for him. To him, this world was the past, and to this world, he was the future. A small part of him wondered if that was the case for this Naruto, too.
Immediately, the thought was banished from his mind, and he scowled at himself for even thinking it.
“If Itachi is alive, here, then Orochimaru would be as well. Wonderful, this world is my past.” When Sasuke told Naruto three, almost four years ago, in this very place, that his dream was in the past... he didn’t mean it literally. Not a funny move, ninja gods.
Madara: A chuckle emitted from Madara’s mouth, low and long. Sasuke listened? How novel. “Apparently so. It does share your past’s truths. And also it’s needs. There are more free jinchuuriki and bijuu here than I expect will be around in the future, and Konoha still stands. What do you say.” He looked over at Sasuke. “Partners?”
Sasuke: Sasuke didn’t have much of a choice in the matter, anyway. Madara was here now, and he wouldn’t verbally admit it, but he did need the elder, especially when it came to his goals. He knew Naruto would get in his way eventually.
Madara: A nod, and Madara allowed silence to wash between the two of them. It was clear by his body language that he had more to say, but stayed silent for another minute, testing the limits of Sasuke’s patience. After that time had passed, he quirked his head to the side.
“Where have you gained the information that you mentioned on the journals? And what is it. It could be useful.”
Sasuke: Sasuke simply gave a casual shrug as he glanced out at the open sky in front of him. He watched as a hawk flew by, crimson eyes following its every move.
“My team isn’t here. Itachi and Kisame seem to be the only ones from Akatsuki here. Naruto is as well, but I don’t believe he knows that there’s two of me here.”
Madara: His gaze redirected to the hawk Sasuke gazed at, and he gave a soft smirk at the irony. Then Sasuke finished speaking, and something within him bubbled up again, gut-clenching in its severity. “There are two of you? What about this... other?”
Sasuke: Sasuke didn’t bother to glance at the other. He just continued gazing out, shifting his attention only to glance down at the statue of Hashirama before them.
“He has what he wanted. He’s got his own family.”
Madara: Emotions hit him like a jackhammer, but Madara held back the storm, merely twitching his fingers slightly and uttering a quiet “hn”. That boiling rage, hatred of betrayal had stirred within him once more, directed at that thief of a boy and his treacherous former vassal. That could only be that particular Sasuke... both intuition and decades of experience screamed at him to not ignore coincidence or excuse it.
“Ah, the one wandering around with Itachi?” he questioned, fishing for information to confirm the not-quite-hunch he had.
Sasuke: “Yes.” The answer he gave was only the single syllable, not wanting to say more than necessary. It was a trait he had always carried.
“I can only assume he’s married as well.”
Madara: That statement made him wonder. He knew it was true with this one, but... he had to clarify, to ease the pain and sickness he suddenly felt.
“To each other, do you think?”
Sasuke: Sasuke finally glanced over at Madara and just...raised a questioning eyebrow at him. He really, really didn’t want to know if it was the case. The only thing Sasuke had to say?
“Ew. Go find that out yourself.”
Madara: Okay, even he had to chuckle at that. “Perhaps I will sometime. It is not particularly important right now, though.”
Shifting on the rock, he stretched out like a lazy cat on one of the spikes of hair, appearing absolutely and completely off guard in his enjoyment of the sunshine. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of his muscles were stiff under the cloak, coiled up like a spring at the thought of what had been his joining with Sasuke. He had to force himself to continue.
“What a reaction... You said you know the truth. Do you not love your brother, then?”
Sasuke: Sasuke looked away then, returning to his task of nature-viewing. He rarely got the chance to just relax and do so, and he couldn’t even remember the last time he was able to.
“Not in that way, no.”
Madara: “So you do.”
Sasuke: “... Hn.”