Beta'd by Feruuk
I don't own Naruto
In the world of shinobi, darkness could either be a man's best friend or the most feared of adversaries. It was a time where assassins thrived and, as such, meant that it was usually when a shinobi's guard was at their highest.
It would be surprising to most onlookers, then, to see a man walking outside of a small town near the border of Hi no Kuni with his mind seemingly on anything but his surroundings. However, if one were to have any significant knowledge of the world's most powerful men, it would be easy to see why he paid little attention to any possible threats.
The man stood at roughly 180 centimetres with midnight black hair cascading down his back until it reached his waist. He was garbed in maroon armour that was comprised of numerous metal plates along his chest, waist, shoulders, and thighs – the same type of protective garb that samurai within the Land of Iron were often seen in.
Under the protective armour was a long-sleeved shirt with a knee-length mantle, a pair of loose-fitting pants that were wrapped at the shins, open toed boots, and a pair of gloves that were all as black as the darkness surrounding the figure as he continued walking forward. Upon the back of his shirt, though hidden underneath his mane of hair, rested a symbol that would stay with him for life regardless of betrayal that others had inflicted upon him.
It was a symbol of a white and red fan – the symbol of the Uchiha clan.
Putting this all together led to the conclusion that this man was none other than the legendary Uchiha Madara himself – one of the most powerful shinobi that had ever lived. The man who had been known to destroy what many considered armies in mere seconds, make weaker individuals fall unconscious from his presence alone, and the only other living shinobi to have ever matched Senju Hashirama in single combat.
Despite the fact that there was very little that could bother a shinobi of his caliber, however, his eyes were currently displaying an array of various emotions. Various emotions that seemed to flash within his eyes sporadically before changing just a few short moments later. Frustration, sadness, and anger seemed to be the primary focuses, though there was the look of sorrow and resolve mixed in from time to time as well.
As he continued to walk leisurely through the forest, knowing all too well that no one in the immediate area could possibly harm him, he couldn't help but let his thoughts roam back to the one man he respected above all others. Kami seemed to have a bit of a sense of irony in that regard seeing as the same man was also his best friend…and his most bitter rival. The man was none other than Senju Hashirama, the recently-dubbed Shinobi no Kami.
The fact that Madara and Hashirama were close friends was something that very few people knew about. Even fewer knew the fact that they had secretly trained together when they were children and had even shared ideas and dreams for the future. This friendship between an Uchiha and a Senju was forbidden of course, but that taboo within their respective clans hadn't stopped them. Their friendship had only been forced to cease when their clans learned of its occurrence and subsequently made them stop for fear of spilling unnecessary blood.
However, despite Madara's acceptance of this in order to protect his family, Hashirama had never truly given up hope for the two of them to truly be friends and live out the dreams and ideas they had shared.
This was proven during a heated battle between the Senju and Uchiha where Madara had been struck down and open to kill. Despite Tobirama's insistence on killing him, Hashirama had pleaded for the opportunity for the Senju and Uchiha to come together to create a world where the fear of battle wasn't the only constant in the world.
Yet, despite his childhood dreams, Madara had been jaded heavily by that point due to the deaths of so many of his clansmen. He had told Hashirama he would agree to bring the clans together under the condition that the man either killed his brother or himself. A fitting payment, he thought, since his own brother had been a casualty of war.
However, much to his surprise, Hashirama had readily agreed to the unreasonable terms he had set. Surprising him further, he had begun to disrobe with the obvious intent of killing himself in order to create peace for others. Seeing the man's resolve and courage, Madara had told him to stop before he went through with the act.
'Hn, I shouldn't have given him a choice in the matter. If I had made him sacrifice Tobirama, this wouldn't have had to happen…' Madara thought as obvious signs of regret crossed his admittedly handsome features. However, this quickly changed as his brow furrowed and his fists clenched – obviously having become quite angry at the thought of Konoha's beloved Nidaime.
Things after that battle had set the course of history for the shinobi world and inspired a change that many clans thought would be impossible – an alliance between the Uchiha and the Senju. With a part of the agreement having been to live near one another to promote familiarity with one another, the initial founding of what would later be named Konohagakure came to pass.
Due to the wide-spread power and fame these two clans had come to accumulate, several smaller clans also jumped at the opportunity to become a part of their alliance. Though there were a handful of individuals who thought it would be wise to leave these smaller clans to fend for themselves, Hashirama and Madara both thought it would be beneficial to allow them to become a part of it. With the two clan heads mutually agreeing on the idea, clans such as the Sarutobi, Hyuga, Nara, and others all joined alongside the Uchiha and Senju.
After the acceptance of the new clans, however, a valid point was raised amongst the clan leaders. Though everyone agreed that clan heads should operate independently of one another, their alliance and their new village needed a leader. This was only highlighted by the fact that their spies reported construction of hidden villages in other nations, and the threat of war loomed over their heads once more. A chain of command, to some degree at least, needed to be established to ensure that there were no conflicting orders.
When the day came to elect the leader, a position they decided to refer to as the Hokage, Hashirama had been the first to cast his vote…and he had chosen Madara. It was a gesture that caused even the stoic Madara to crack a smile, and an action that the Uchiha would certainly never forget. However, the meaning of said gesture quickly became a moot point as every single clan head then proceeded to vote for Hashirama save himself. It became abundantly clear that, though the Uchiha were allied with the others, nearly no one trusted them.
Despite being disappointed at the matter, Madara hadn't gotten too upset over it. Hashirama was powerful, influential, and incredibly charismatic. Though he still thought himself a better choice to lead in the long-term, he wouldn't grudge his friend on obtaining leadership of the village. The Uchiha clan had done some nasty things in their quest for dominance, and he would do his best to lead them in their atonement for it in service of Konoha.
Years passed after that with Hashirama leading Konoha into prosperity – even going so far as to give certain Bijū to other villages to try to ensure peace. The Uchiha clan head did as he had promised and valiantly did his best to bring the Uchiha into the light, though he did so while keeping their pride as well. They would not belittle themselves by asking for forgiveness, but the Uchiha would prove their loyalty by feats on the battlefield.
During this time, Madara had even done something he never thought would genuinely happen – he had fallen in love with a beautiful woman. Uchiha Hitomi, a woman whose beauty far outshone Mito's and everyone else's in his opinion, had won his heart after several years of chasing after him. He had only been happier, then, when Hashirama announced that he was making him advisor to the Hokage shortly before they had wed.
6 years after marrying, despite having been told by doctors that it was impossible, Madara had been elated once again to hear that his wife was pregnant with his child. There were those who had sworn they had seen a ghost that day, for the stoic Madara had worn a grin so large that Hashirama himself would've had trouble matching it.
He had obtained nearly everything he could hope for at that point. His childhood dream was mostly achieved, the only part that wasn't being the fact that he wasn't leading the village, and had a beautiful wife who was pregnant with his first child. Things couldn't have been better for the leader of the Uchiha clan.
Yet, human nature only allows us such extreme happiness due to experiencing great sorrow. 9 months later, a short 7 years after he was married to his beloved Hitomi, she had passed away shortly after successfully delivering their son. She had already lost so much blood due to the birth that she never even got the chance to see him.
Madara had only known despair close to what he felt that day when he had lost his brother. However, before he lost himself to it completely, he had forced himself to remain above it for his son if for no other reason. He had intended to let Hitomi choose the boy's name, but as she hadn't gotten the chance, he elected to name him after his beloved brother.
Thus, Uchiha Izuna then entered the world. The following years were spent assisting Konoha from his role as an advisor, but he focused his primary efforts on raising his son to be a proper Uchiha shinobi. It was obvious that the boy came from his blood. Izuna was nearly a carbon copy of his father, though his hair seemed to find a balance between the smooth hair of his mother had and the spiky hair of Madara.
Training for the young Uchiha was intense even by Madara's normal standards. Having wanted nothing more than to make his father proud, Izuna successfully passed the Uchiha trial of adulthood at an astounding 4 years old – only 3 months after he had first tapped into his chakra network. Thanks to constant sparring with his father, and constantly having the speed of the spar increased despite his young age, he awakened his Sharingan at a mere 6 years of age and had progressed to 3 tomoe in each eye just before he turned 8.
However, it was around this time where things began to get dark again. Though they had prevented anything too major from occurring years ago, the threat of war loomed on the horizon once more. Madara grew more worried, then, when he finally deciphered the tablet the Uchiha had held in high-regard after so long and he read that mankind was doomed to repeat history. With the threat, however, came talks of electing a new Hokage. With high hopes that he would be elected to the position and hopefully lead Konoha through the dark times ahead, he attended the meeting where it would be decided who would be proposed as the Hokage to the Jonin Council of the village.
Hashirama, once again, tried to push for Madara to become elected. However, much to his displeasure and Madara's fury, they chose to pass him over and elect Tobirama in his stead. Tobirama, upon receiving the nomination and accepting, then made a speech to the others about not trusting those who hadn't deserved it. The man who would likely become the Nidaime then had the gall to glance at Madara as if sending a silent message. It was something no one else seemingly caught, but to the Uchiha clan head, the message was clear.
The Uchiha, after all their years of dedication to the village, still were not trusted.
Deciding that enough was enough, the powerful Uchiha clan head decided to attempt to leave the alliance that he had formed so long ago and take his brethren with him. After trying to propose that the Uchiha leave the village, however, he found out that he was alone in his opinion
No one viewed the new policies Tobirama was passing as him attempting to isolate the Uchiha clan, no one viewed the other clan heads as being against them, and no one believed that he was merely trying to convince them of doing something he thought was right. What's more is that many thought he was trying to return to his war-loving ways, causing him to lose a great deal of the trust they had placed within him.
The Uchiha, his brothers and sisters in arms, collectively turned their back on him – most whispering about possibly electing a new clan head shortly while well within his hearing range.
Angry with the village as a whole, full of sorrow over his clan's betrayal, and full of resolve to remedy the situation, he came up with an idea of how to solve the problem. An idea that was ludicrous, crazy, and perhaps brilliant in the eyes of anyone who was as distraught as he was.
After one last conversation with Hashirama at the Naka Shrine to talk with his best friend civilly for the last time, Madara left the village after stating his obvious intent to destroy it and start anew. He left the village peacefully in the dead of night, his sole follower being his son Izuna. It would be the last time anyone would see the two for nearly 7 years.
When he was finally seen again, it was at the Valley of the End as it would eventually come to be called...and he hadn't come alone. After securing himself and Izuna a place to live at the border of Hi no Kuni, he had spent the remaining years in search of one of Hashirama's 'pets.' In particular he sought the most powerful of them all – the Kyubi no Yoko.
After hypnotising the beast using his powerful Sharingan, he had ridden it towards Konohagakure with the intent of razing the village to the ground. However, he was stopped before he had gotten there by the only man who could hope to withstand his wrath. While a small part of him didn't like the idea of battling his best friend once again, he was far too eager to face him in open combat once more. With the benefit of Konoha's destruction as a goal to boot, he happily jumped into the fight.
The fight between the two men would be one that would go down in history. It was devastating to the landscape, horrifying to those close enough to witness some of what was happening, and absolutely exhausting to both men involved. When all was said and done, however, Hashirama had proven to be the better fighter once again. He successfully freed the Kyubi from Madara's control and had even landed a rather substantial blow on him. However, he hadn't noticed the last moment Genjutsu Madara had used in order to successful fake his death.
It had now been 2 days after the battle, the first of which the legendary Uchiha had used mostly to rest and recover from his wounds. Now, as he walked up the stairs to a small log cabin that was located a fair distance outside of the small village they used for supplies, he couldn't help but feel fantastic. Despite the fact that he had lost the fight, a part of him felt invigorated to an extent that he had never genuinely felt before.
Though he was unaware of it at the time, he had unintentionally taken another step to changing history by accidentally having gotten a good deal of Hashirama's power mixed with his own through his various wounds.
Thoughts on his battle with Hashirama were limited though as the man promptly opened the door to the cabin without bothering to knock first. A small, nearly unseen smile crept across his face as his eyes fell upon the form of his son eating dinner as any normal civilian child might.
Izuna had remained very much the same over 7 years, all things considered. He still kept Madara's looks with slightly smoother hair, and he had even inherited most of his personality as well.
"Tou-san," the 14 year old said curtly as he finished a particularly large mouthful of fish and rice he had been chewing on. "How did it go?"
The legendary Uchiha merely stepped forward and took a seat opposite his son, allowing an elbow to rest on the table and rest his chin in his open palm. He was thankful, in hindsight, that he hadn't hidden anything from the boy. Having to explain a betrayal to the village he had once been loyal to would be difficult at this point in time.
"Not well," Madara admitted as he let his eyes stay closed for a few moments. "Hashirama can still dance quite well. The Kyubi is now out of my control, and I believe he intends to seal it in some way to ensure that I can't do it again. With Mito at his side, I have little doubt that he can do so if he desires."
Silence permeated the room for a few moments as Izuna processed the information, though it was a testament to his mental fortitude that he still continued to consume small pieces of food as he thought things over.
"I'm now going to be the most wanted person in Hi no Kuni," the elder Uchiha stated as he lifted his chin out of his palm and used the now-free appendage to rub the bridge of his nose instead. A few more moments of silence followed before he spoke again. "We cannot stay here. Though I believe I have fooled Hashirama, Hi no Kuni could easily send an army after us if word reached them that we still lived within their borders."
"…I know," Izuna stated after a few moments as he elegantly placed his chop sticks to the side. "Truthfully, I had been giving some thought as to where we should go in case something like this came to pass."
Madara's eyes widened marginally at hearing that, but he quickly turned his expression back into a neutral one again.
"Really?" The elder Uchiha prompted with a quirked eyebrow. "The very boy who convinced me to settle down near here is now telling me he wants to leave? What of that girl from the ramen stand?"
Izuna's expression remained mostly neutral at the mention of the girl, but Madara hadn't missed the pain that flickered across his eyes for the briefest of moments.
"Her name is Akane, tou-san," the younger Uchiha chided slightly despite knowing that his father would likely never remember it. "There…is nothing between us, we're just friends."
It was obvious to the armor-clad man that his son was telling the truth, but there also seemed to be a pain behind his words that suggested he wished it were more. The mild blush on his cheeks that he seemed to be making a valiant effort to hide also helped with that presumption.
"I see," Madara stated as he thought about how to shift the conversation away from that particular topic. "You mentioned you were thinking about places we could go, did you have any in mind?"
Izuna's slightly downcast eyes shot upward at this as he gave a curt nod.
"Yes, actually," he stated as his mood took a mild upturn at the chance of topic. "There have been rumours going around that Tobirama had called a stop to peace talks with other villages. According to some traveling shinobi at the bar, Konoha is preparing for war. That being the case, Uzushiogakure seems like it would be a safe place to be considering your friendship to Kenshin."
Silence permeated the room once again as Madara digested the information. Uzushiogakure seemed like it would be the worst place to be at first due to his missing-nin status in Konoha and Uzu's strong ties to the Senju. However, if Konoha was indeed prompting war by calling a halt to peace talks, then the leader of the village renowned for its sealing would be quite displeased. Fortune seemed to stack slightly in their favour due to the fact that the man was a close friend to Madara as well.
"…Very well," the elder Uchiha stated with a small nod of his head as he pushed himself up from his position at the table – his armour rattling slightly as a result. "We're fortunate that Kenshin was so close to Hashirama and myself…as well as the fact that he always hated that baka Tobirama. Uzu really made a good choice in electing him as their leader. I'm going to go and make sure that he receives a letter detailing our plans."
Moving to the door, Madara paused as he took a deep breath of the fresh air that hit him.
"We'll leave in four days," he stated to Izuna without turning his gaze to face him. "I would suggest that you make the most of the time we have remaining in this town…it's quite possible we may never be able to return." After finishing, the armour-clad man leisurely walked out of the doorway and pulled it shut with a soft click, leaving Izuna alone in the room with a thoughtful and surprised expression upon his face.
4 days later
The two Uchiha men stood clad with sizeable packs upon their shoulders at the edge of the small town Izuna had come to love over the 7 years he had spent there.
The young Uchiha had elected to use his previous 4 days wisely – having spent nearly every second of the day with Akane when she was available. He had chosen to tell her he would be leaving, and also admitted that he wanted to spend what free time he could with her before he left. However, despite that admission, he hadn't dared confess his true feelings to the girl. Knowing that he would be confessing only to likely never see her again would've left far too deep of an emotional scar on the both of them.
The two had spent the days happily with one another, seemingly just content to be in the other's company. The two were close, far closer than the usual love-struck teenagers would be, but they held strong in not admitting their mutual feelings for one another. After all, it would only make parting that much more painful.
It was in the dead of night that the two men now stood to get their last look of the place. Though Madara had no strong attachment to the area, he knew that his son was another story. Despite his stern appearance and personality most of the time, even he would not rob his flesh and blood of the opportunity to engrain the scene into his memory if he so desired.
"…Let's go, Tou-san," Izuna said with a voice that seemed to be struggling a bit to remain steady as he quickly turned his back to the village and began walking down the path that would lead out of Fire Country.
"Very well," Madara stated as he turned and began to walk a steady pace behind his son who had taken the lead presumably to hide any emotions that he found himself unable to hide. Knowing this, he was content to let Izuna lead until he could bring them under control. "Lead the way."
3 days later
As the two Uchiha walked upon the first piece of solid land that they had seen in hours, both found themselves at the welcoming party that had awaited them. Madara's letter, it seemed, had reached them successfully. Waiting for them perhaps 50 yards forward and getting closer every second was Kenshin himself along with a guard of 5 shinobi and 3 kunoichi.
Though both men had immediately tensed for the possibility of combat, a simple hand gesture from Kenshin had left the guards where they were while he and Madara walked forward to speak to one another. A few minutes into the conversation that even Izuna was not privy to hearing, Madara had waved him forward as Kenshin lead them back to his group of guards.
"We're being given a place to stay for as long as we desire to remain here," the elder Uchiha stated as his son came into hearing range. "Well, so long as I'm willing to grace Kenshin with talks about the good old days," Madara finished with a small smile as he placed a hand on Izuna's shoulder and gave it a soft squeeze.
Izuna, in response, merely gazed slightly upwards into his father's eyes and gave him a small smile in return.
'Well,' the younger of the two thought as he gazed at the buildings that started to peek out from the trees that seemingly surrounded the village, 'looks like it's home sweet home.'
Once Izuna was within the walls of the village, he elected to leave his father to talk to his old friend while he decided to take a self-lead tour of the village. Kenshin had kindly offered to have one of the shinobi guarding him escort him around, but he had politely declined saying that he would rather learn the layout of the village by himself.
As he toured the place, however, he quickly came to one solid conclusion about the village. Despite his love of the previous village on the outskirts of Hi no Kuni, this place absolutely blew it away in terms of beauty. The buildings seemed to be crafted in a way that made nearly each and every one of them uniquely shaped while the beauty of the trees surrounding its walls gave it the feeling of almost being at one with nature. It certainly helped matters that the island itself was surrounded by whirlpools that naturally protected its borders unless you knew the proper way to get through them.
The walls, meanwhile, were engraved with intricate seals that were only visible from the inside – seals so intricate that Izuna had to shake his head as he tried to follow the lines to keep himself from getting lose in the seemingly random and intricate lines. Said walls were constantly monitored by fierce red-headed shinobi and samurai who all kept constant guard of the water around their island to spot any irregularities or hostiles.
Even with its high level of security, however, the island seemed like a miniature piece of paradise. Though he was still slightly saddened at leaving the place he viewed as his home for 7 years, he had to admit that this place just seemed…livelier – almost as if the village had a natural energy that many other places did not possess.
It was while processing this information as he walked along, however, that he accidentally bumped into someone while he wasn't paying attention. Before he had the chance to apologize, it seemed that the individual he had bumped decided to get their two cents in.
"Hey, watch where you're going asshole!" A feminine voice shouted at a level of indignant anger that caught him off-guard for a moment. "Maybe use what little of a brain you probably have to actually pay attention instead of daydreaming, huh?! …Answer me you dickhead!"
The woman who seemed to be so offended at his presence stood at roughly 169 cm, had spikey, crimson red hair, violet eyes and a slightly round face. She was wearing a blue kimono with a red Uzumaki swirl embroidered on the back. In Izuna's eyes, she was the epitome of beauty, but his heart still ached too much over the loss of Akane to admit such a thing openly.
Reigning in his emotions, the young Uchiha quickly schooled his face into a neutral expression before he spoke to her.
"Hn," he grunted in a way that only a true Uchiha could likely ever pull off. "I just moved to the village with my father and was looking around when you bumped into me and started throwing a temper tantrum. To think that this day had been going so well before now…" he trailed off as the typical Uchiha smirk spread across his lips.
However, the smirk quickly left his lips as he saw the girl's entire face begin to turn red from anger and a tick mark made its presence known above her left eye. Having heard of similar scenes occurring from his father about Hashirama's wife, Izuna quickly began backing away from the woman before he turned tail and started to flee as his survival instinct took over.
"Get back here you asshole!" Izuna heard shouted behind him but a mere moment later as he continued to run away. "I'm going to make you pay for saying that!"
Meanwhile, with Madara
For the past 30 minutes or so, ever since they had left Izuna to tour the village on his own, Kenshin and Madara had been discussing Konoha and the possibility of war in general. Madara, for the most part, was simply requesting information on what was happening to the Uchiha clan since he had left. Despite his thoughts on what might've happened, the situation seemed to be worse than he had even expected.
The Uchiha clan as a whole was given a district outside of the village to live in away from the other clans as well as ordered to create a Konoha Military Police Force to deal with internal shinobi crimes and minor bandits. His clan, the one he viewed as the most powerful in the world, was reduced to a mere Police Force. His clansmen had apparently been in a small uproar about that decision, but it was too little, too late.
Apparently, however, his clan was not the only one that disagreed with the Nidaime's decisions on certain matters. When Tobirama had approached Uzu with the intent of asking them for help in the war, Kenshin had refused. He had told the man that Uzu will not take part in a war that their ally had helped to instigate.
At hearing this, Madara merely let out an exhausted sigh. Knowing that war was just around the corner, he knew he would need to push his son's training again since he had been somewhat lax with it in the past 7 years. He wouldn't let his flesh and blood experience the horror of war without knowing he was ready…and had hopefully surpassed even him.
"My friend, what troubles you?" Kenshin asked even though the Uchiha's face had remained stoic while he processed his thoughts.
'…I swear that he has learned how to read minds somehow,' Madara thought as he let out a sharp breath from his nose to show his mild amusement at his friend picking up on his emotions.
"I just worry for Izuna, Kenshin," Madara stated as his shoulders sagged slightly in a show of just how exhausted the legendary man had to feel at that moment since he never allowed himself to do such a thing in public. "My son…he's the only family I have left. I just want him, and Uzu now that I think about it, to remain safe through the bloodshed that's to come.
"Well I don't think you'll have to worry about such a thing," Kenshin said with a small chuckle and a smile towards his friend. "I don't mean to boast, but Uzushigakure's walls have never been broken through, I think the village will be fine. Your son…he is the spitting image of you, Madara. If his abilities measure up to your own, then I have a feeling that there are few people in this world that could truly prove to be a threat to him."
Madara let a small smile grace his lips at hearing this, and a bit of pride seeped into him again at the thought of his son before his friend continued.
"All parents will worry about their children, my friend," the aged man stated with a knowing smile.
"Just have faith in your upbringing in your son as a warrior. From the way he carried himself when I saw him, we both know that he isn't a child anym…!"
The conversation came to an abrupt halt when a loud crash resounded at the door before it buckled inwards, prompting both men to rise from where they had been sitting in battle-ready stances. After appraising the situation in a matter of seconds, however, the stances dropped into more relaxed ones as Kenshin decided to speak to their intruders.
"Megumi," he stated rather forcefully in an all-too-polite voice, causing the woman who was currently thrashing a man around her own age to freeze with her fist cocked back and ready for another blow. "Would you care to explain why you're beating young Izuna there?"
The woman's eyes merely widened in surprise as she looked around the room and realised where she was – knowing only now that she had inadvertently interrupted the meeting her father was having.
"Eh…hehe," Megumi chuckled nervously as she raised a slightly bloodied hand to her cheek and scratched it as she rose off of the victim of her beating. "Gomen, Tou-san," she said with a small bow. "I didn't mean to interrupt your meeting."
Glancing to Madara who seemed to merely have a nearly unseen smile crossing his lips at the scene, Kenshin elected to let out a long, drawn-out sigh before he chose to speak again.
"I suppose it's not a big deal," he stated as he brought up a hand and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I was just speaking with Madara here about his son."
At the mention of the legendary Uchiha's name, the woman's head snapped to the other individual in the room. Once she caught his iconic red armour, she seemingly warped through space itself and appeared in front of the man faster than even Tobirama could likely pull off.
"Madara-sama! Kya! I'm your biggest fan!" She shouted at an intensity that nearly made the Uchiha flinch back a bit. "How old are you? Where is your son? Is he as handsome as you are? How old is he?"
Finally spotting a small period of time where the woman had to intake oxygen to continue her barrage of questions, the Uchiha took the opportunity to get a word in edge-wise.
"It seems you and my son have already been acquainted," he stated as the girl's eyes widened substantially and followed his arm as he gestured towards the prone form in the room that had blood running down his face from his likely-broken nose. "He is my son, Uchiha Izuna."
Glancing from a man she had idolised due to his exploits on the field of battle to his son repeatedly, the woman's face slowly turned red again from either anger or embarrassment at the situation.
"WHAT THE HELL –TTEBANE?!"
Many years later; Day of the Uzushiogakure Massacre
Izuna woke up to a scene that he would secretly never get tired of – staring into the peaceful face of his beloved Megumi fast asleep next to him. After their questionable first 'meeting,' their interactions had gotten only slightly more courteous due to the stubbornness that most Uzumaki seemed to possess.
It wasn't a normal conversation between the two of them for quite some time, in fact, if she didn't insult his intelligence to some degree with one of her nicknames. It wasn't uncommon to hear her constantly referring to him as an idiot, a brainless prick, or even mentally challenged in various ways. However, despite the harsh names, the way in which she said them seemed to be more in a teasing fashion than a serious one – something he suspected she did due to secretly having feelings for him.
Despite his assumptions on the matter though, Megumi had never made any obvious attempt in displaying her affections towards him. Her opinion of him only become obvious after he had rescued her from Kumo's attempt at kidnapping her. It was a simple kidnapping operation that they would have gotten away with…if Izuna hadn't sensed her chakra moving out of the gates in the dead of night. Having gotten suspicious, he had gone to check if everything was okay only to fall into a blind rage and kill the 4 Kumo Jonin that they had sent to try to ensure the mission's success when he saw what they were attempting.
After that event and having carried her back to the village bridal-style, the nicknames he had grown accustomed to suddenly stopped. When Megumi called to him now, it was usually simply as his name or with the –kun suffix on occasion – something he had smirked a bit about as it proved his earlier presumptions were likely correct.
Shortly after the two started talking calmly to one another, they became close friends. Eventually, he broke down and gave the woman a brief summary of his life during one of their days together. He told her everything from his training, to he and his father's leaving Konoha, and even about having to leave his first love to ensure she wouldn't be hurt because of his family.
Though Megumi hadn't cried for his trials, as they weren't that connected at the time, it had certainly caused her to see him in a bit of a new light. After all, knowing that a man had given nearly everything for his family and to protect those he loved would cause most people to view them with more admiration.
After that day, they had grown even closer to one another. They quickly became best friends and it eventually blossomed into a love that nearly everyone in the village but the two of them had fully expected to happen. Over the years, they became lovers before it grew further and they became a loving married couple.
Eventually, the two of them had elected to try to conceive a child together. However, it seemed that Megumi simply couldn't get pregnant. Their worry had grown to the point of getting her a check-up with a medic-nin, but she seemed to have a clean bill of health. The medic had simply suggested that they were unlucky, but the young couple still worried that they would never have a child of their own for a reason they did not understand.
Despite their misfortune in the pregnancy department, however, Megumi's mother seemed to have gained what luck they didn't possess. Over the years, the woman had been lucky enough to give birth to another beautiful baby girl of her own – a girl she had lovingly named Kushina. It was still a fond memory for all residents in Uzushiogakure to see a thrilled Megumi running through the village shouting "I'M GOING TO HAVE A LITTLE SISTER –TTEBANE!"
Kushina had grown into a fine young woman in her own right, nearly looking as if she were a miniature version of her sister albeit with smooth red hair instead of the natural spikiness Megumi's possessed.
Unfortunately, Kushina would never know what it was like to come into adulthood in the village of her birth. Mito, Uzu's representative in Konoha, requested for the girl to be sent there in order to take her place as the new container for the Kyubi in order to keep it from escaping when she inevitably passed on.
News of Mito's impending demise had struck Madara somewhat harshly, particularly due to the fact that he still felt rather powerful despite his old age, but he had ultimately fought off the urge to see her one last time before she passed on. Despite his past connection to the woman through her husband, Konoha had ultimately betrayed him, and he knew he wouldn't be welcomed there even if it was just to see her.
It had been 2 years since Kushina's departure, and despite the village being a bit less lively than before, life had gone on.
Expecting another normal day by Uzu's standards, Izuna reluctantly dragged himself out of the warmth of his bed after brushing a few locks of hair out of his wife's face and causing her to stir slightly. His father was out of the village, having been purposely vague and only referring to having to do 'research' of some sort in a series of hot springs, so he leisurely strolled through the hallways to get to the kitchen while thinking on what to prepare he and his wife for breakfast. It was only when he had woken up enough to alleviate his peaceful morning stupor that he noticed something seemed off.
Concentrating on spreading his chakra to the surrounding area as the sensors in Uzu had taught him to do to mimic sensor abilities, he registered a great number of chakra signatures within the walls that he wasn't familiar with. Activating his Sharingan and running outside, he had to avoid stumbling back at what he saw.
Uzushigakure, the village he had come to know and love far greater than the one he had stayed in within Hi no Kuni's borders for 7 years, was under heavy assault. Even as shinobi and samurai of Uzu ran back and forth in front of his estate, he silently cursed the sound suppressing seals that riddled his walls for rendering him unable to hear of the attack sooner.
Jumping up to a wall to get a better view of what was going on, a lump quickly formed in his throat at the absolute devastation he bore witness to. A solid seventy-five percent of the village was already in ruins as allied forces of Iwa, Kumo, and Kiri marched forward at a steady rate with the intent on destroying the rest of it. Quickly assessing his options, he deemed defence as nearly impossible now that so many enemies were within the walls. Not only that, however, but Uzu had likely already lost a good portion of its battle-ready forces.
Already of the opinion that there was nearly nothing he could do, Izuna rushed back and straight into the master bedroom.
"MEGUMI, WAKE UP!" He shouted with enough intensity to make his wife bolt up immediately from bed with a kunai at the ready – something the both of them always hid under their pillow for safety purposes. "Uzu is under siege," Izuna continued as he quickly reached under the bed and pulled out a simple but large duffle back as he rushed to the closet and began tossing in clothes.
"W-what?" Megumi asked with widened eyes as her brain began processing the chilling shouts and explosions that were now able to be heard in the house since the door was open. "Who…who is attacking our village?"
Glancing to his wife for a brief moment, the Uchiha noted that she seemed to be absolutely furious if the whitening knuckles on her fist holding the kunai were any indication. However, he quickly tore his gaze away from her as he started throwing in scrolls that he kept in a locked check under the bed into the duffle bag as well.
"Iwa, Kiri, and Kumo from the look of things," he answered sparingly as he tried to bring his breathing under control while continuing to pack away a small supply of weapons they kept at the bottom of their closet. "We don't have time for this now, get ready to leave immediately!"
"Why?!" Megumi shouted as she sprung out of bed with the kunai still gripped tightly in their hand. She turned her gaze away from him only for a moment in reaction to a particularly close-sounding explosion. "We should be defending the village, not running away from these cowards!"
"BECAUSE THE VILLAGE IS ALREADY LOST!" Izuna shot back with anger towards as his Sharingan flared. His intense expression softened immediately at seeing Megumi flinch away from him, but he quickly threw some more items into the duffle bag as he zipped it shut and brought out two pre-prepared backpacks from their closet he had prepared for just such an emergency.
"I love this village too," he stated after a pregnant pause between the two of them. "I would do anything to protect it if I was able to, but we won't be able to do anything but kill off a good number of attacking shinobi. Please Megumi," he stated as he reached out and grabbed her hand after noticing that her body was shaking. "Trust me on this…"
The Uzumaki woman seemed to hesitate for a few moments as her body shook and a few tears gathered in her eyes, but she gave a slight nod of her head towards the man before quickly walking to their closet with a sniffle and changing into some clothes suitable for traveling even as the sounds of battle grew closer and closer.
Two short minutes later, the two of them rushed out of their estate together towards one of the secret exits that Uzu had built into its original design in case something like this occurred. Izuna had heard Megumi nearly let out a wail of despair at seeing her village so devastated, but she seemed to keep herself calm enough in order to function for the time being.
The male Uchiha, likewise, felt his heart nearly shatter as he saw some of the wounded and dead lingering in the streets – seemingly making their comrades and/or family drop them to go ahead or having died on the way. Many lovers sat crying over their significant others, sons crying over mothers and fathers, or worse…mothers and fathers crying over sons or daughters.
He hated this sensation…being powerless to protect those he cared for. However, for the time being, he wouldn't allow himself to succumb to that despair. He was an Uchiha, and he would be damned if he would let his wife be hurt by anyone who dared to try to harm her.
What he hadn't noticed in that time, due to his deep despair in seeing his wife and village in such a state, is that his normal Sharingan had changed shape into a three pointed shuriken. It was only when they had gotten safely outside of the village and onto a hilltop overlooking it that he allowed he and his wife a moment to recover themselves. Their emotions only ran more rampant, however, as they overlooked the final stand of the remaining shinobi of Uzu as well as the village's inevitable downfall.
The Uchiha forced his own feelings to the side, however, as Megumi dropped to her knees at his side and silently wailed – knowing she couldn't do so aloud in fear of drawing enemies to their location. However, despite her self-control being at a level to stop herself from crying out, she couldn't stop the tears that rolled down her cheeks in waves.
Seeing all of this, Izuna dropped down to a knee and simply held her shaking form in his arms, trying to encourage her to let out all the emotions she could while she still had the chance. From that day forward, he knew that their live would never be as peaceful as it was again.
2 hours later
A single, tall form stood on the wall overlooking Uzushiogakure – the man having jumped up there just moments ago. The red, samurai-like armour that covered his form would give away his identity to anyone well informed about him, but it was doubtful anyone did since he was supposed to have died long ago.
He simply stood with his gaze cast over the village – specifically to the large pile of bodies in the center where smoke rose and carried the stench of burnt corpses on the wind. His eyes closed for a moment as he unashamedly allowed two trails of tears to run down his cheeks as he watched the celebrating armies of 3 of the 5 great villages in the streets of what he had viewed as his home.
Despite his experiences with Konoha and the hatred he had for them, he had never felt hatred as strong as he did in that moment. The closest thing he could relate to it was when he had lost his brother. However, despite the emotional pain the loss of his brother had given him, today he had lost both his son and the woman he had come to slowly view as a daughter and proper wife for his boy.
The only people he still lived for were now dead at the hands of enemy shinobi, killed by the cruelty that their world promoted so blatantly. It was in that moment that Madara decided that he would do whatever was necessary in order to make sure people would never again lose their parents, siblings, or children. He would create a world where there was no such thing as war…a world where everyone was able to live their lives peacefully. Even if he had to burn the world to nothing but ash to make it happen, he would do so.
After opening his eyes once again, saw the world in a way that hadn't been seen in almost a millennia – through the eyes of the legendary Rinnegan.
The activation of the eyes of the man many claimed was Kami himself was a sign…a sign that he would change the world to put an end to war and create ever-lasting peace. If for no other reason, Madara would do so for his son; he would make Izuna proud of his father one last time.
In that moment, overlooking the decimated ruins of Uzushiogakure, the fundamental ideas of the Tsuki no Me plan were born.
8 years later
The 8 years following Uzu's destruction were difficult for Izuna and Megumi. After the village's destruction, nearly all survivors of the initial assault had been systematically hunted down and violently killed by members of what had become known as the I.K.K. Alliance. Neither of them knew what Konoha was trying to do to help the survivors, but it clearly wasn't enough.
The systematic destruction of Uzu and the Uzumaki clan in nearly its entirety had served as a catalyst for peace of sorts to bring about the end of the second shinobi world war. However, within the 8 years of its destruction, Kumo had instigated the third shinobi world war through its refusal to slowly disarm its military forces.
The political fiasco between the great villages made it a difficult time for Megumi and Izuna. With shinobi from various villages traveling through minor villages for various purposes, it made it nearly impossible to travel through any populated area without the risk of being discovered. If Iwa, Kumo, or Kiri found out there was another Uzumaki alive, Izuna doubted that they wouldn't hesitate to send a full squad of Jonin to assassinate them.
Despite this bad news, however, it also came with some portion of good news. Tobirama had been killed in action against enemy Kumo shinobi which allowed for the election of Konoha's Sandaime. In a vote that was described as unanimous, Sarutobi Hiruzen had been chosen for the position.
Hiruzen was a man that Izuna remembered from his childhood, as they had been friends when they were both young. He was hyperactive, loud, and over-talkative, but he was certainly a good person when he had been acquainted with him. The only thing that Izuna remembered disliking was that he had been taught to try to win everyone over with understanding and love. It was a pretty philosophical idea, but the destruction of Uzu alone showed that it had no place in the Shinobi world.
Those with power ruled the world, and those with power made the decisions in who would be obliterated and who would be permitted to live on. A man's greatest love can later become his greatest source of hatred; hatred was born from love, and if there was to be a winner in the world…then there had to be a loser as well.
It was a philosophy that his father had tried to beat into his head, but he had stubbornly refused to believe it until Uzu's destruction. Speaking of the man, however, Izuna had not confirmed whether he was alive or dead. He had looked as best as he could given the situation with shinobi on the look for his wife, but he found no rumor of the man existing even from the contacts he usually communicated with.
The fact that his father was dead had caused him great emotional pain, but Megumi had been at his side to help him through the same grief he had helped her through after the village had fallen. In his opinion however, his father was better off dead. At least while he was hopefully at peace, the man wouldn't have to see how far the shinobi world had fallen.
However, today of all days was not a day for Izuna to wallow in his grief over what had occurred in the past. Today was the day that his child was born. Ironically enough, his son was born on December 24th – the same date as his father's birthday.
As the aging Uchiha looked upon the resting form of his wife and child on the bed they shared, he couldn't help but give a small smile at how peaceful they both looked. Naruto, as they had decided to call him, had a full head of the same black hair as he did but with streaks of his mother's red hair mixed in occasionally. He also possessed unnatural red marks under his eyes that would likely give him a dangerous and exotic look when he was older – though Izuna wasn't sure what to make of those. He would likely have to get a medic-nin sometime in the near future to make sure that it was nothing that could harm him.
His son possessed a rather narrow face for a newborn, though that wasn't completely unheard of in the history of Uchiha. He also possessed a pair of black eyes – eyes that held a high potential of unlocking the Sharingan in the future just like his father and grandfather had. He would be the heir to the royal line of the Uchiha clan, and Izuna could already tell that his boy would be a real lady's man in the future if he wanted to be.
He had decided to perform the same training method his father had done with him. Naruto would begin his training at 4, and by the time he was a teenager, he would be one of the most powerful warriors in the shinobi nations. He would make his son powerful enough to protect anything he held dear so that he wouldn't have to go through the same emotional pain he had…and he would make damned sure that he would have the opportunity to do whatever he desired.
He was positive that there was absolutely nothing his son would not be able to achieve in the future.
13 years later
"Naru…to," came the weak-sounding female voice of Megumi laying upon a comfortable bed in a small cabin just outside of the Land of Iron's borders.
"Hai, Kaa-san?" Came the strong voice of a young man sitting next to her bedside. Though sitting, one could guess that he was roughly 165 cm tall – quite the feat for someone only 13 years of age. He was currently clad in a high-collared black shirt with the Uchiha clan symbol embroidered on the back, loose-fitting black pants that were wrapped around the ankles, black shinobi sandals, and had the sheath of a katana tied on his left hip. He also had a plain shinobi tool pouch just behind where the sheath was tied, and a kunai holster tied around his right thigh.
He had long, waist-length black hair with red streaks mingled in occasional. He let the long bangs of hair-style fall down his face, the right one blocking his right eye from view entirely most of the time. His eyes, when visible, were narrow with red markings under them that many would likely mistake for tattoos even though they were birth marks more than anything else.
The teen was Uchiha Naruto, the only son of Uzumaki Megumi and Uchiha Izuna. The teen who had unlocked his Sharingan at 7 years of age and mastered it to 3 tomoe by the age of 8. He was a prodigy in almost every sense of the word, but despite normally being able to maintain the usual stoic Uchiha expression, he felt tears welling up in his eyes at the words he knew his mother was likely to speak next.
"I…I won't…last…much longer," the red-headed woman stated between labored breaths as her eyes darted to her son's figure and she gave him a soft smile.
"…I know," the teenage boy shot back with a shaky voice as the tears fell from his eyes and began their descent down his cheeks.
His mother was the only family Naruto had left in the world. His father, Kami rest his soul, had died nearly 3 years ago when he was 10 years old. They had been training in a field when they were jumped by a group of nearly 15 Iwa shinobi – most of whom were Jonin or ANBU-level. In his prime, his father could've likely defeated them with ease. However, at 50 years old, he had been unable to fight to his fullest.
He had told Naruto to run when they had shown up, and being informed as he was, Naruto had done just that. He had gotten his mother and rushed back to where his father was…only to discover that he had taken far too many severe wounds to be saved. It was in his dying moments that his father had described just how proud he was of him…and it was seeing his father die before his own eyes that had caused him to awaken the Mangekyo Sharingan.
His mother, having seen the change in his Sharingan and having some knowledge about them thanks to her husband's experimentation since he had unlocked them in Uzu, knew that they would cause him blindness unless he received a transfer from a blood relative.
Using medical jutsu she had learned over the years, she had eventually transferred Izuna's eyes into Naruto, unknowingly unlocking the highest level of the Sharingan – the Eien no Mangekyo.
"Don't…weep for me…too much…Naru-chan," Megumi stated as she pulled him from his thoughts while placing a pale and trembling hand on his cheek. "It's…simply…my time to pass on," she stated before letting out a harsh cough for a few moments. Despite the bloody spittle that was on her hand as a result, she reclined her head into her soft pillow with a small smile on her face as her body suddenly seemed to gain an unnatural peace.
"Thank you…for letting me be your mother," she stated even as tears started dropping from her son's eyes faster than ever. "Your father…and I…couldn't have asked…for a better son."
Naruto tried to find the right words to say in response to his mother's words, but anytime he opened his mouth to speak, he had to struggle to suppress the urge to let out a sob. If one could've seen his face through the hair shadowing his face, they wouldn't have been a stoic Uchiha. They would've seen a 13 year old boy's face contorting in a struggle to keep from sobbing at the inevitable loss of his mother and the last member of his family.
Instead of saying anything, he merely grabbed her hand and held it tightly in his own, squeezing it reassuringly. He remained like that even as he felt the warmth slowly disappear from the hand over time and quickly become cold and clammy.
Glancing upwards, he saw his mother's face turned towards his own with the warm, loving, and reassuring smile she had always given him even on the days that he was afraid he had disappointed his father. During his worst days, she was always there trying to make him feel better and reassuring him that things would be better tomorrow.
Yet, as he gazed into her now-lifeless expression, he felt a pain even greater than what he had felt when he lost his father start to rise. His face contorted as it had before, but this time he was unable to suppress a sob as it broke through. Despite the training from his father telling him that a shinobi should always control his emotions, more sobs began breaking through as he shut his eyes tightly from the burning sensation he felt and reared his head back before letting out a shout – a shout filled with the grief, agony, and loneliness that were threatening to consume him at that moment. After finishing after nearly a full 15 seconds, his eyes snapped open and revealed the rippled purple pattern that could not be mistaken as anything other than the legendary Rinnegan itself.
3 days later
Naruto stood before a simple yet elegant pair of graves with simple wooden crosses marking their location. 'Izuna' was written across one while 'Megumi' was written across the other – surnames going unlisted to hopefully deter anyone who would try to extract their bodies to uncover clan secrets.
He was clad in the same clothing as before, though now he also wore a high-quality gunbai strapped to his back and a small backpack filled with scrolls holding his clothes, weapons, and money within them.
He had taken some time to think of what to do, and finally ended up assuming that his parents would want him to travel to Konoha to live with his Aunt Kushina that the two had often spoke of. They had told him once to go there if he didn't see them for more than 3 days, so he presumed that it was his safest bet. His mother had often asked if he would consider going back to Konoha as well, so she might have told him to go there if she had thought of it in her final days.
"Kaa-san, Tou-san," Naruto said emotionlessly towards the grave markers as he bowed toward them slightly. "Thank you both for everything you've given me. I hope to make you both proud of me in the future. I'll come and visit again in the future if I can. I hope you two find each other in the afterlife."
After walking forward and touching the cross marking each grave for a few moments, he turned around and took a deep breath as he stared down the path that would lead to Konoha. After a few more moments of silence, he took his first step in that direction and to the very village his Grandfather had despised so heavily.