Ever since he was little, Madara would find odd bits and
bobs nudged amidst all of his things – crayons in his pocket, pacifiers in his
drawers, socks under couches, and even a tiny knitted beany in his little
brother’s house slippers once. It’s very annoying. It clutters his room and he’s
always being told off by his parents for it.
Then came the drawings. Sometimes crumpled, sometimes
not. Over the years, it grew from
illegible, grainy scrawling to clumsy shapes and bendy forms that took less,
and less stretching of his imagination to determine as hiragana characters.
My name is Senju
Tobirama, one of it reads.
Paranoia coils in him. Soulmate or not, the thought of a
stranger stumbling upon his belongings, his personal, informative, belongings is enough to make anyone holler out
stranger danger. This soulmate mumbo jumbo is weird.
Strangely enough, that’s how he meets his best friend,
through the strange mumbo jumbo.
“I’m supposed to be showing my little brother around school
today,” bawls the boy with the bowl cut while latching himself on Madara’s arm,
all big eyes brimming with tears, and snot running down his nose. “It’s his
first day and I can’t find him anywhere! He must be so scared! Will you help me
look for him?”
Considering it’s Madara’s first exposure to comforting a
fellow seven-year-old that’s crying his eyes out, Madara himself feels a little
lost. His panicking eyes flick around them for help, but all the other children
have quickly vanished into air as if they were the ninjas they routinely
pretend to be. Oddly, he feels betrayed.
Whenever Izuna cries, it’s because he either wants attention
or food. Ransacking through his lunchbox, Madara grabs one of his onigiri, and
shoves it into the crying boy’s hands. He takes a deep breath, and huffs out
his next statement with enough annoyance to drown out his panic, “Will you stop
There, food and attention. He should stop his crying any
But much to Madara’s despair, the boy threatens to swell up
with tears again. “But he’s alone,” the boy whines, “and he’s so small and
everything’s new to him and I need to find him because he could be getting
bullied right now–”
“I’ll help you look for him, okay?” Despite holding the
onigiri, the shrivelling boy still has one arm clinching Madara’s own. Madara
tries (and fails) to shake the crying limpet away. “I’ll help you look for your
baby brother. Stop crying already. He couldn’t have gone far, he’s like five.”
As if the magic words were a box of tissues, all tears dry
up, and the boy glows. “Okay then, let’s go!” He jumps up and drags Madara with
him, snacking on his onigiri in a way that makes Madara feel like he’s been
played. “Let’s go find Tobirama!”
Madara stumbles over his own foot. His lunchbox almost falls
out of his hands. “Tobirama,” Madara squeaks in a high voice.
His new friend, he finds out, is Senju Hashirama. Oldest of
four siblings, like him, and really likes to talk about everything and nothing
at once. Tobirama is the second oldest. He’s a bit of a smarty pants, according
to his brother, so the dangers of meeting someone who might bully him is
definitely a substantial one. Hashirama cheerfully informs him that he has to help
beat up the bullies, as part of the agreement of their newfound friendship.
It feels like getting carried away in a Hashirama-shaped
tidal wave. Madara ends up not minding it. There’s a tugging in his belly,
pulling him towards the library. Flutters of excitement are running up his arm at
the thought of meeting his soulmate.
When they do find him, his little body is curled up on one
of the beanbags, absorbed in book that’s got to be way too advanced for a five-year old to read. Tobirama peers up
from his book at Hashirama’s joyous exclamations. He eyes his older brother
like a particularly unpleasant fur ball he’d just hacked up, the expression as
prickly as his white hair, and dodges his older brother’s hug with an expert
shuffle off his bean bag.
Then and there, Madara knows that he’ll grow to like his
soulmate, just as he knows how Tobirama losing Hashirama on his first day of
school was definitely not an accident.
It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and I feel like vomiting.
Results are still coming in, but the Tories are returning 304 seats, and with 37 still to return, it looks like a dead cert that they’ll get at least a strong-ish minority government.
And this scares the shit out of me. I don’t understand it. I don’t understand how anyone could look at the last five years and go “yes, more of that, please.” I don’t understand how they can actually have GAINED seats from both Labour and Lib Dems. And I don’t understand what the hell we’re going to do now.
Let me be clear: I am not opposing this on a purely ideological basis. I am not scared of abstract legislation. I am scared of this regime killing the people I care about. I am a disabled, queer student who comes from a low-income area, and while I am lucky enough to be middle-class and have family I can fall back on, way too many of the people I know do not have that.
Let me be clear: The current austerity measures are a joke. They disproportionately affect the poor, the elderly, and the disabled. The Tory aim is what the Tory aim has always been: class warfare and the privatisation of enterprise. Thatcher never died, kids. Not while Thatcherism’s alive and well.
Let me be clear: Every public service attacked by the Tory manifesto is one we need. We need the NHS. Believe me, as someone who has multiple neurological, physical, and mental conditions; believe me also as someone whose ambition is to work in the NHS. We need proper state education. Believe me as someone who attended an underfunded school, one whose grades fell after it became an academy. We need full benefits and a living wage. Believe me as someone who has too many friends struggling to live. These aren’t things we want, they’re things we need. They’re what makes us a society rather than just a bunch of people stuck in the same shitty country. They’re fundamental necessities of life, and they’re being undercut at every turn by an urban, Westminster-centric view which ignores the poor and the vulnerable. (And, for the record, one of the things that makes me sickest is that I even need to say this: we need the winter fuel allowance. People die of cold from not being able to afford fuel now, jesus wept)
Let me be clear: This government is not going to get better. This isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. This kind of class warfare is the modus operandi of the Conservative Party, and we’ve just condemned ourselves to half a decade more of it. And people will suffer. Our culture will suffer. People will die. And given the circles I move in, a good number of those people will be my friends, or friends of my friends. I am one of the lucky ones. And I am struggling. As a student, as a disabled person, as a human being in this society, I am struggling.
Checking the results again. 621 returned. Tories with 310.
Paris x France: Realising that although I could post pictures of Poland forever I must eventually get to my Paris diaries, the Galerie des Glaces in the Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France | “Versailles, like anything on a grand scale, is and will always be beautiful” - Alexandre Dumas, in the mid-1800s whilst the future of Versailles was in doubt after the overthrow of the monarchy in 1789 [More Paris]
the middle of winter, it’s snowing, and Person B went out to do some
errands and by the time they come back home, they’re so cold to the
point they can hardly move. Person A makes them some warm tea, wraps
them up in a blanket and holds B in their lap until they warm up.
Cathy was feeling wonderfully snug under a veritable mountain of blankets in her living room. The heater was on, she had her favorite sweater, a fresh mug of tea, and she was mid-Back to the Future marathon. When the wind rattled the windows, she congratulated herself heartily on her foresight in gathering ample supplies to sit out this blizzard. A knock rattled her front door. Although maybe it might be better described as a thud. She stared at the wood, waiting for something else to happen, before reluctantly setting her tea aside, pausing the movie, and climbing out of her warm den. It had probably just been snow falling off the roof. There was no way someone had trekked all the way out to the countryside where she was. Unless maybe her elderly neighbor was out there and needed help. That finally galvanized Cathy into action, at least, and made her hurry to the door. There was an ice-seal that made her efforts more difficult, but with one firm tug the door swung in. Bringing a snowy body with it. She yelped as the snow soaked her socks and the bottoms of her sweatpants, but then she was on her knees, brushing clinging snow out of golden hair. “Carson! What’re you…? Jesus, you’re freezing,” she said, worriedly placing her palms against his icy face. She quickly kicked the door back closed, seeing his trek through the knee-high drifts all the way as far back as she could see. “Get those clothes off, you’re going to get frost-bite. What were you doing out there? Why didn’t you call?” “Ph-phone died,” he shuddered through chattering teeth, his fingers too clumsy to even work the zipper on his jacket. “It w-was only a f-f-f-few m-m-miles.” She battered his hands away and started peeling off layers, herself. Everything was soaked and cold and covered in ice or snow. She was getting colder just touching him. By the time they’d gotten him down to his underwear, they were both exhausted from wrestling with wet fabric. “Get under the covers,” she ordered, and then frowned mightily at the state of her own clothes. Eventually she just hauled everything off to the laundry room, stopping briefly to change and grab her most oversized sweater and sweatpants to carry back into the living room. He looked rather like a half-drowned kitten in her blanket pile, still shivering fairly heavily. She felt bad for making him climb out to put on some clothes, but she knew he’d feel better about it in fairly short order. When he finally coordinated his clumsy, slow movements enough to dress, the end product looked just a little ridiculous since the sweatpants barely reached mid-calf, but he’d hopefully be warmer, now. She joined him back under the covers and climbed into his lap, wrapping him in her arms, holding him until his shaking began to lessen. “Thank you,” he said, eventually. “And sorry. That was a little pathetic.” “Just a little,” she said to try to cover her residual anxiety. Melting ice clung to the hair she brushed behind his ear to press a kiss to his temple. “You should drink some tea,” she added, pointing to the mug she’d left when she went to answer the door. Seeing the face he made, she amended, “Or coffee. I can go make some…?” When she started to shift, his grip on her redoubled. “No, tea is fine. I love tea. You should stay right where you are and drink it with me.” “Are you sure?” she said, taking on an innocent-tone. “I’m quite sure.” “Oh it’s no trouble at all, I’d be happy to. I can go make a pot if–” “If you want to continue teasing me, yes, I know,” he said, making her grin and shrug in agreement. “Have to get my entertainment from somewhere.” “Mm. Am I very entertaining?” “Occasionally. I suppose. Yes, very,” she finally broke, giggling. “I can’t think of anyone I’d rather be snowed in with.” His eye trailed to the screen over her shoulder where she’d paused the video she’d been watching. “Except maybe Marty McFly?” “Except him. Obviously. Yeah, don’t even play. You’d be out on your ear.”