The Fallen Naruto Shippuden: Lore

— an educational class regarding the flaws and forts of Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, brought to you by the founders of Konohagakūre who'd been there from the beginning, and also Izuna Uchiha (who didn't deserve to die without any character development, only having roughly ten lines, just to advance Madara's backstory). Cheers!

Main and Exceedingly Relevant Characters: The People's Favorite!

Hashirama Senju adjusted his suit and tie charmingly because tweed was comfortable, because he was a charmer by heart, and because he was just awesome by nature—and also really wished he had clothes like this during his time because, honestly, he'd have stunted on them all. Truly. He grinned and it looked incredible.

It was his time to shine. Again. At first, he was kind of upset at having to wait until the custodians finished cleaning the mess (eggs and toilet paper) that someone had let happen in the classroom, but now he had a bottle of booze in one hand and fat blunt in the other—and was totally over it.

He was gonna have a great time.

The custodians finished fairly quickly because custodians was actually just a very irate Tobirama who was good at water tricks.

"Don't let it happen again," he groused, passing by Hashirama on his way out. He mumbled as he opened the door: "Useless Uchihas always causing problems. That's why they all smell like moldy dango and rotten eggs." (Which was a lie, but Tobirama was ingeniously innovative with his insults. And honesty wasn't necessarily essential when it came to slander.) "It's no wonder that dumbass let this happen, it's what he's used to." The mumbles faded when Hashirama gave him a look, but then he snatched the bottle of sake Hashirama had taken into the classroom, but the bottle didn't even matter anymore because it was already half-empty and Hashirama was already cheerily buzzed. "Tch." Tobirama shook his head and swiped away the blunt too. Then he headed out.

Hashirama clapped him on the back as a bid goodbye, laughing in good nature.

The students were silent in esteem and wonder for and of the First Hokage, God of Shinobi, Baddest of all Bitches, Hashirama Senju.

He was just fabulous in general. Ever since he grew his hair out, life had started working wonders for him. But that's for another time.

He fixed up his suit and tie one more time, before picking up a teacher's pointer from the desk and extending it to its full length. Hashirama tapped the board where his name was still displayed on the overhead: Main and Exceedingly Relevant Characters — Hashirama Senju.

"My name is Hashirama Senju, and I'll be teaching you about the main and exceedingly relevant characters!" he introduced. God, it was so good to be alive!

One girl swooned and fainted. The rest of the class clapped enthusiastically.

"There are three main characters in the original Naruto," started the First Hokage, God of Shinobi, Baddest of the Bads. "Post-timeskip, otherwise known as Naruto Shippuden, has like a gazillion. Therefore, for the sake of time, we'll only be covering the initial three main characters—Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and Sakura Haruno—as well as a few others," he explained, waving around his pointer. "Now, what does it mean to be exceedingly relevant as a character?"

A boy who looked sickly raised his hand, sniffing. He vaguely smelled like pee.

Hashirama blinked. Did Izuna scare the crap out the them or something? "Yes?"

"To be exceedingly relevant is…" He sniffed, wiping his nose. "To be a part of th…the endgame ships?"

"Not necessarily," hummed Hashirama, scratching his chin. "In this context, it means to have changed the tides of the series on multiple occasions, but especially with regard to the main characters—excluding everything that happened the Uchiha Clan in general, because that subject has a class of their own. We've made an exception for Itachi Uchiha, though, because not only does he specifically affect Sasuke Uchiha, but he uniquely affects Naruto Uzumaki as well. His reasons and goals can be considered unrelated to the rest of his clan, so he's another story completely; he'll be included in this class's lesson."

The sniffing boy sunk into his seat with a breath of relief. Izuna definitely scared the piss out of them.

"The second exceedingly relevant character to be addressed today is Hinata Hyūga; she didn't start out as a h…" Hashirama trailed off confusedly when there were a lot of mixed reactions at Hinata's name.

Most of the shippers of the Naruto Fanclub were still strewn across the room unconscious, but a few were stirring, so all who were now awake enough to scream made sure to bellow out the loudest series of jeers that Hashirama had ever heard. Half of the third portion who had been terrified by the violence shown by the NaruSakus and NaruSasus—well, they must've been NaruHinas. They cheered loudly for their queen.

Hashirama cleared his throat irately. (And fabulously.) He'd been warned against just knocking them all the hell out with the pressure of his chakra. Dammit.

The jeering and cheering continued.

He cleared his throat again. Give me attention, I'm Hashirama Senju! In the flesh! Back and at 'em! Jeez!

Some girl was reaching for a hidden roll of toilet paper. The rest started wielding their writing utensils as if they were battle weapons.

Hashirama's eyelid twitched. (Fabulously.) He didn't clear his throat a third time.

Mokuton was a gift. It had many uses, ranging from murdering other human beings for pay, to effortlessly building the infrastructures of the strongest village of all time, all the way to loud kids in class accidentally getting their hands stabbed by no less than a thousand tiny splinters, probably from holding their pencils too hard.

He definitely wasn't a closet sadist. He smiled widely. The better half of class was now moaning and groaning in pain, but that's just how it is on this bitch of an Earth sometimes! So he didn't care too much. Not that he was the cause of it or anything. Hehe.

Hands on hips, Hashirama looked down at the seated class. "As I was saying! Hinata Hyūga doesn't start out a heroine, no, but was belatedly made into one by our lord and creator, Masashi Kishimoto. Even if you find it disagreeable, it's still a canon fact so I still have a responsibility to address it. She is an exceedingly relevant character," he explained, walking forward. The smell of weed wafted off of him like a perfume and the kids up front wrinkled their noses, so then he hurriedly backed up, laughing nervously. "Ahaha… So, that makes Team 7 and a few others: Our main and exceedingly relevant characters! But first off, I'm going to be addressing the people's favorite. Do you know who that is?" he asked cheerily.

The class roared. "NARUTO UZUMAKI!"

Hashirama burst into delighted laughter. An enthusiastic class was always good fun! "Oh, hell no," he chirped. "It most definitely is Itachi Uchiha."

The Itachi Fanclub wore their cloaks proudly, brushing off nonexistent dust and straightening out the wrinkles that weren't there. (There were tight regulations on the Club's dress code.)

"He's popular to the point that a lot of people consider him overrated!" said Hashirama, picking up the clipboard from the desk. "But before we go into that, let's first go into his story in general. He's loved because he's well-rounded. Flawed. And also because you all have a knack for characters who fight from their heart's desires, whether they win or lose." He flashed a proud smile. He always knew the Uchiha Clan had it in them to be good! He always knew the 'Curse of Hatred' or whatever was all a load of shit!

And here Itachi was, proving him right! Nice!

The class was listening attentively, taking notes. One boy had a tape recorder on his desk, and was just like sitting there staring dreamily at him. When Hashirama noticed and waved back, the boy passed out. Luckily, the tape recorder was still running.

If Hashirama was anyone else (and wasn't able to listen to his own wonderfully chocolaty mocha voice every time he spoke) he too would probably have to use a tape recorder. This was just the way it had to be.

But anyway, back on topic: "The People like determined characters," he said. "Just look at Lee! Didn't win even one fight, but he won all our hearts. All of the characters have flaws. For characters that fail or die as a result of this, those flaws are fatal flaws. Itachi h—"

"Even Madara?" asked a girl from the back. "He was really strong! It took an alien woman with no backstory to beat him! It was almost as if Kishimoto had no clue how to take him down, even though I'm the m—…even though there already was a main character! Did Madara have a flaw?" Her rambling was off subject, but because the subject was (Madara Uchiha) something Hashirama always took particular interest in, she wasn't chastised for interrupting.

"Hm," Hashirama slowly hummed, squinting at the blond with pigtails and whiskers on her cheeks. Something was weird about her…

The girl started sweating bullets.

Hashirama grinned. "Your hair is pretty."

She beamed. "Ehehe… Thanks!"

"And yes! Even Madara! He's perfect—to me, but to others, the way he's stubborn and arrogant can be considered a major flaw. There's also the fact that he's sexist and egoistic, which is probably why he lived to be like a hundred but still died a virgin, so—"

"Wait, what?"

"He died a virgin?"

"What about Itachi, is he flawed?" This new question was asked by someone with a dark voice. Hashirama saw what looked like a small-lipped version of Izuna Uchiha under a pathetically thin Transformation Technique, but because he didn't discriminate, he ignored it and let—was it Sasuke? sit among the high school girls of the Itachi Fanclub and learn the goods too.

"Yes, and very much so," Hashirama chirped, lifting a finger. "Itachi Uchiha is flawed, but that's not to say that he's underdeveloped. Rather, it's what makes him human. Like I said. Humans—and well rounded-characters—are complex beings with both good and bad qualities."

The class nodded sagely. They were so cute! If he wasn't raised to be a professional murderer/clan leader/village leader, Hashirama would totally become an academy teacher!

"So I emailed you all to write reports on Itachi Uchiha before today's lesson but, as it seems, only a few of you bother checking your emails. It's a shame because I attached a link to the best plugs from Konohagakūre, but suit yourselves. Don't ask me for trees if you need any, I won't grow it for you. I'll be reading a submission of one of our very own students! Lang Noi!"

'Lang Noi' was a lone figure hiding in a large trench coat at the back if the class. She lifted a hand dramatically, like Dracula slowly rising from the graveyard, in greeting. The class roared.

Hashirama sweat-dropped in that iconic anime way that he was wont to do, and read off the clipboard: "Itachi is a pacifist and hates violence and killing because his deadbeat father once took him out to see a war when he was only four years old. But because he's been groomed/raised (by that piece of shit Danzo)"—He stuttered here, obviously uncomfortable with calling Danzo a piece of shit despite the way the class was nodding booing in affirmation—"to believe that pushing aside your emotions for the sake of your mission is most important, he often finds himself being forced to ignore these values."

Hashirama Senju glanced up from the paper and was met with cheers. Someone had brought a bottle of booze and they were having a toast to Lang Noi's paper. He was getting a headache. He'd be sure to snatch that later.

Wasn't it all a matter of opinion? He liked his cute little student Danzo…

The report continued, "This fills him with guilt and self-hatred that I infer is what eventually deteriorated his heath; he's negligent with his own eyes and inadvertently considers himself a dead man." Hashirama nodded and flipped the page over to read the other side. There were sniffling girls in the front of the class. Sasuke was also sniffling. "He can be temperamental and dislikes being disrespected, but he hides this behind a cover of patience as well because he is, in fact, a model shinobi. He's very critical of himself and is very accepting of others. (Probably is a virgin though, halfway because he's so critical of himself, and one-fourth because his forehead is fucking gargantuan without his headband, and the other forth because he'd cough up a blood river and drop dead during sex anyway.) He's very attractive—if you ignore the forehead—and he's well aware of this but doesn't act on it. He's sexy. Furthermore, although he's accepting of others with all their flaws, he's very aware of their flaws and thereby underestimates their capacities. Unfortunately, this makes him very stubborn and self-reliant. He doesn't trust what others can do and tries to oversee/shoulder everything. His good points are that he's loyal and does have morals (even if he ends up not following them enough), and the fact that he's attractive. Tall, dark, and handsome. He also can make swell but mildly snarky jokes and puns. Basically, he's a nice guy.

Lang Noi."

Hashirama beamed.

The class cheered very loudly. So much that the windows shook. The Itachi Fanclub were passing out fliers in the back, quickly recruiting members. A few girls had diagonal stress lines painted on their faces in black ink. A couple were passing around Akatsuki cloaks. All in all, it was pretty rad.

Hashirama took the papers off the clipboard to pull up on the overhead, showing the class as he circled the sentence fragment: Although he's accepting of others with all their flaws, he's very aware of their flaws and thereby underestimates their capacities. Beside it, in bright green ink, he wrote the words NICE JOB! in all caps with no less than twenty exclamation points, and then adorned them with pretty green hearts and stars.

Hashirama stepped back to admire his flowery handwriting for a second, before booming, "This is Itachi's flaw, his fatal flaw! If this fallacy was amended early on, he'd definitely still be alive."

"Why is it a fatal flaw to not be blind?" Sasuke in Transformation Technique snapped from the crowd.

Hashirama glanced at his name tag. "Because, dear Sasuko-chan, it's made him hard-headed to the point where it isn't determination, it's just plain old stubbornness." He reached down to circle another sentence fragment: "this makes him very stubborn and self-reliant. He doesn't trust what others can do and tries to oversee/shoulder everything."

A girl raised her hand from the back.

Hashirama glanced at her name tag. Peccolia. "Yes?" he asked.

She adjusted her 99 cent fur coat and slid down her Versace shades so he could look her in the piercing eye. "A ninja is rightfully cautious of others. Because he wasn't loyal to the Akatsuki and didn't support their goals, he had no one he could trust after he fled the village, correct?"

Hashirama blinked but didn't answer, waiting for her to continue. He traced circles into his clipboard with the back of his pen.

"Couldn't his fatal flaw also be the fact that Itachi's guilt and stress was to the point that he was essentially half-dead?" she asked. The corner of a scholarship in the field of Naruto peeked out of her pocket. "That's purely physical. Coughing up blood, slowly blinding, and all the rest. He couldn't use his own eyes to their full potential without direly risking his entire life—which he eventually did, and died of."

"I, uh…"

"You, um?" she prompted.

Silence. No one filled in the gap, waiting for him to continue, pinning him with their judgmental high-schooler eyes. High school students can by terrifyingly judge-y…

Peccolia crossed her legs on the desk, and the sunlight filtering in through the windows shined on her golden Gucci Dionysus Jodhpur Boots. She used one hand to neatly fold the scholarship in her pocket and gently shove it deeper in her pocket, feigning innocence.

A deadpan look swept across Hashirama's face, and then he hid himself behind the desk in a fetal position. "Why do people who know the series better than me even come here?" he moaned.

"Did you even read the manga?" asked a girl.

"Of course!" He leaped up from the floor to defend himself. "But it was boring, so I skimmed through it and watched the anime instead!"

"You fuckin' anime nut…" muttered some rude kid in the back.

Hashirama laughed. "Ahahaha! Well…" He didn't continue (he couldn't deny it) and smiled thoughtfully. "Anyway, Peccolia… I think it's implied in the text that Itachi is sick because of his guilty conscious. The heart is a powerful thing! But even then, he wouldn't be caught up in such guilt of everything he may have helped destroy if he didn't try to shoulder it all alone in the first place." Hashirama scrawled on his clipboard to make himself seem smart, but really he was just drawing a picture of Itachi's mangekyo. Except he didn't know what Itachi's looked like, so it slowly turned into Madara's, which led him to straight up drawing Madara's face on the wooden clipboard. "Conclusively, like all the Uchihas—well, more or less—Itachi died because of his fatal flaw. But then he was revived and allowed to apologize and change his ways from beyond the grave, which was cool." Hashirama flashed a bright grin and a thumbs up.

The class cheered loudly, except for Sasuke, who looked to have started silently fuming over something. Hashirama ignored it for the most part because (1) he had a class to teach and (2) there was nothing too spectacular about a lesson about Itachi when he could've led a lesson on Madara. (Nothing spectacular aside from the fact that he, Hashirama Senju, was the one teaching it, of course. Heh.)

"A lot of characters were able to do that, actually! That's why people like Hiruzen, who made a lot of bad mistakes, can find themselves forgiven by the fans of this series even if for the simple fact that he acknowledged his faults and apologized. Acknowledging one's mistakes makes for a great man!" Hashirama proclaimed. "It's also the difference between characters that find forgiveness from the fans and Tobirama. My sweet little brother's kind of hard-headed too, ahahaha!"

Sasuke squinted. "Who exactly forgave Hiruzen?"

"Me." Hashirama squinted back.

The whiskered blond with pigtails from before had also been raising her hand, but when Sasuke turned his narrowed gaze to her, both hands flew back to her lap and she whistled innocently. Me!—she probably silently said in her mind. Hashirama was good at reading people.

He tapped the overhead screen with his pointer again, circling the name Itachi a few times to get the class back on subject. (Everyone had already been paying attention to him, it was only Sasuke who was a rebel child. If not for Hashirama's quixotic favor for the Uchiha Clan, he would've already have kicked him out three interruptions ago. (At the first one.)) "Itachi's flaws came back to bite him in the ass multiple times," said Hashirama, "but we have to address the fact that he was groomed into the mindset that created those flaws. As a prodigy ninja, everyone's expectations of him were especially lofty. Only his best friend, Shisui Uchiha, was there to share his hardships… until he wasn't, thanks to Death—which is shorthand for Danzo."

The class booed.

Hashirama hung his head, resigned to the fact that Danzo was ruined. "Itachi was unable to confide in anyone pertinent to the coup d'état except for Danzo and the Hokage—and he had no one he could confide to about anything relevant in his life, because no one could relate to him. Only Shisui was there, and after Shisui died, then he was alone. People unrelated to his clan—his genin team, his teachers, Kakashi and his other comrades in ANBU, and the others—they couldn't be trusted with Uchiha Clan matters, you see. Not only would they not have been able to change very much where even Hiruzen couldn't, but the Uchiha Clan were discriminated against within the village. The village's solution would've been to annihilate 'the traitors' altogether, instead of giving them justice. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that they… they wanted them gone." Hashirama furrowed his brows, eyes falling to the tile floor.

From within the crowd, a whiskered blond with pigtails grit her teeth.

"Only the leaders of the village would've been able to act from outside the clan… which they failed to do." Hashirama clenched his fists with a dismayed look on his face.

Silence. The temperature dropped to arctic degrees.

The clipboard in his hand cracked and broke, hitting the floor with a loud clank! that echoed across room.

He had created a village where the Senjus and Uchihas could live together, in harmony. But instead of living together as one, the Uchiha Clan was wiped out by a system set against them—one created almost promptly after his death. Had Madara been right about it? About the warning he'd given his clan before he left? Hashirama didn't know anymore…

A boy sniffled from the back of the classroom. Then a girl near the front started sniveling too. The Itachi Fanclub began passing around a box of tissues around among the members. Even members of the Naruto Fanclub, with their leftover toilet paper, started wiping their tears. One girl broke down sobbing.

The moment of silence was over when Hashirama spoke again, voice heavy. "Itachi had a mighty dilemma. To him, it was unavoidable that he would shoulder the burdens on his own, but as one thing snowballed into another, he inadvertently lost everyone he could trust. More frankly, they all died—and the ones who didn't die? Well, he was dead to them. They thought he was a traitor. He couldn't confide in anyone about his sickness and couldn't seek out help for his eyes. As a pacifist, killing his clan, this also tore him apart—so much that he decided he didn't even deserve to live, which I guess he didn't but…" Hashirama scratched his chin. "Hm. Setting aside whether he deserved to die for being a murderer or not when all ninjas are murderers, the point is that he wouldn't be dead if he hadn't tried to shoulder everything alone. Contrary to what one might think, he did still have people who'd care for him or help him, even before knowing that he'd only killed his clan to protect his village and only left his village to protect his brother—not that knowing that wouldn't be icing on the cake. Kisame Hoshigaki, for example, was loyal to Itachi for being the only one to tell him, albeit a bit indirectly, that he wasn't actually a monster. But that's for another time."

Sasuke stood up so quickly that his Transformation Technique almost dissipated. "HE DESERVED TO LIVE! DANZO AND THE ELDERS—THEY DESERVED TO DIE FOR TELLING HIM TO DO IT, FOR TELLING A CHILD TO—" The wood of his seat literally stretched out, wrapped around his waist, and slammed him down into a sitting position.

"Calm down, Sasuko!" Hashirama tsked. And the somber mood was broken. "You're missing the point entirely. I'm addressing his fatal flaw here! He was a child, sure, but he was a shinobi. And apparently it's our culture to think of ninjas as adults, it's been that way since before I was born! In fact, Madara and I were the first ones to think something was wrong with it! The fact of the matter is this: If Itachi hadn't tried to shoulder everything alone, trying to be the only shinobi protecting Konoha from the shadows, he wouldn't have died. The fate of the entire Uchiha Clan and all of the peace of Konohagakūre didn't have to be in one man's hands… He accepted it, though, because he had his own goals."

"Goals?" asked a student.

"Yes. You see, Itachi had his own dreams too; he had dreams for peace. Although the village was flawed at the time, and even though it still kind of is, he still saw the vision behind it," said Hashirama in a proud tone of voice. "The 'big picture', so to speak. So it was his intention to surpass the difficulties and expand anyhow, to become Hokage and fix everything not only for his clan and village, but als—"

Sasuke snapped, "Where the fuck are you getting this information?"

"Oh? So you didn't read Itachi Shinden, Sasuko!" Hashirama admonished.


"The novels! They delve into all the details of what was going around through Itachi's mind. He was a child and a pacifist, and although he did think of what was best for the village, it all boiled down to him as 'endure how they're treating you so that everything stays peaceful while I work things out'. Despite myself, the First Hokage, I'll still ask you this: To ignore the systematic injustices held against you, silently suffering to prove your innocence but still being subjugated—is that true peace? Would you settle for suffering in your own village forever?"

The class was silent.

Hashirama scored the room for moment, licking his lips. (They were getting kinda dry, maybe he should end the lesson soon.) He reached in his pocket for lip balm but couldn't find any. Dammit.

"Alright," he said. "You wouldn't. Itachi Uchiha was a prodigy. He was hand-picked by Danzo and lifted above the restrictions placed upon the rest of the clan; he was advocated for by Danzo and allowed to take the chūnin exams alone; he was the first Uchiha to become an ANBU." Hashirama paced the floors. His voice was the only sound in the room. Even Sasuke was silent, listening and steaming. "It would make no type of sense at all if he was able to relate to his clan. The fact is—he wasn't. Although he did care about them, there was no way for him to really understand the brunt of what they were going though—especially at such a young age where he hadn't witnessed the discrimination like they did—not when he didn't have to go through it too. So to want them to wait it out while he got the job done, getting stronger and becoming Hokage to try and bring conflict to a full-stop, placing everything on his shoulders, wasn't the right approach. It was a childish approach, really. No one can go through everything alone." He stopped his pacing and faced the class.

"But what about that whole a nameless shinobi who protects peace within its shadows thing?" a girl asked.

"No one said the nameless shinobi had to be alone." Hashirama tsked. "And protecting peace from within the shadows doesn't necessarily mean killing your clan. I'm of the opinion that Itachi misinterpreted that quote. Although he had good intentions and was able to fix some things when he was revived, he did mess up big time too. However, he was an innovative genius, learning better as he got older and taking precautions to make sure whatever those that were important to him were well-protected even after he died. His love for his brother and village is what made him take on such a heavy task. He didn't want them to suffer and, as you know, it's the heart that counts the most in this series. He did well enough. He ended up being the one to save his brother, his village, and the world at large!" Hashirama grinned down at the class as he spoke. As irrationally emotional as the Uchihas were considered, they certainly had the passion to back it. Itachi Uchiha was a true shinobi and a real man, and Hashirama was proud of him. "Ahahaha! All's well that end's well, right? The village turned out fine in the end and—"

"It was shoved into his hands!" yelled a man. He had a full beard, what the hell was he doing in a high school class? "He didn't want that fate! He didn't choose it himself!"

Peccolia frowned from her seat. "It was offered to him, and he took it," she retorted. "He was soft on his brother and it led him to betraying his clan for the sake of a village that had oppressed them and had plans to oppress them forever. Itachi was at fault for that, but the village is even more at fault for pushing this on both him and his clan. The end wasn't even good enough to justify the means, because the Ninja World still descended into war in the end anyway—like Itachi had been afraid of, because he thought it'd scar 'innocent' Sasuke." She slid her Versace shades up her forehead. "If you ask me, it'd have been more beneficial to everyone if the Uchiha Clan had just usurped and regained justice by force—because it was their village, along with the Senju Clan's, in the first place. What right did a Shimura and a Sarutobi have to order for their deaths?"

"Wait a minute… SHE'S RIGHT!"




The class descended into pandemonium, the vast majority of the Itachi Fanclub agreeing with that rhetoric, the Naruto Fanclub set against them, and the undecided people beginning to cry in panic because they didn't want to be hit with awry eggs again if this escalated—which it was doing rather quickly.

Hashirama tried to calm the class with little success. "Hey, hey! No, going against the village would not have been the way to go! None of you are thinking about what Obito would've done if that happened! The village would've been in civil war and he'd jump the chance to lead the world into a Fourth Ninja War where Naruto wasn't super-powered and able to defend himself, where Orochimaru hadn't become relatively good again, and where none of the Five Great Villages would've allied themselves against a common enemy! The entire world would've been broken to shambles! And this isn't a class on the Uchiha Clan or the world, this is about Itachi! Just Itachi!"

A girl in the Itachi Fanclub threw an egg at Hashirama—which he dodged, immediately clapping his hands into the serpent hand-seal to grow a wooden dragon from her seat—screaming, "WE WOULDN'T NEED OROCHIMARU, WE'D STILL HAVE JIRAIYA AT THAT POINT!" And then she was silenced when her chair-turned-dragon swallowed her whole and threw her across the room. How dare she almost get egg on his fabulous suit!

"If you don't have Orochimaru, then you don't have the four dead past Hokages!" Hashirama clenched his jaw in frustration as he reasoned. "No matter how you look at it, things would've gone to shit if Itachi let a war happen. And he didn't! And that was right of him, even if he went about it wrongly, because a Ninja War of that caliber at that time would've crushed all five villages in no time at all, especially once Madara was revived!"

The class wasn't listening. They were too busy looking for more eggs, but the carton of eggs that the Itachi Fanclub member had used to attack him was the only one left in the room. There were only eleven eggs left in there. Those were fucking battle weapons.

"I'm not saying Itachi should've stood by and did nothing." Hashirama used Mokuton to pin the rest of the class to their seats. There were moans and groans of pains again, which he dutifully ignored. Maybe they shouldn't have been trying to start warfare in his freshly cleaned classroom! "What I'm saying is that he shouldn't have shouldered everything alone. That was his fatal flaw as a character, and that's also why he's a Main and Exceedingly Relevant Character—because it changed the tides of this series by a landslide. As well as he made things turn out in the end, saving the world and whatnot, he still could've prevented a vast majority of the problems if he'd amended this flaw early on." Hashirama side-stepped a flying roll of toilet paper, waving his hands in panic. Tobirama was gonna kill him. "His tag-team with Sasuke is the only reason he won in the end! He acknowledged his flaw and changed himself."

Sasuke squirmed against the wood around his waist, shouts almost unheard as the bark climbed up and fought to muzzle him. "He was a child! He was forced to kill his own parents! Stop defending it!"

Hashirama laughed nervously. "Listen… life was unfortunate for everyone in this series, you know. He was thirteen, yes, but you're thinking of this on a completely different wavelength than everyone else was. Listen and understand that everyone else in this series considers a ninja as an adult. Literally every single person, like, all of them. Only Ashura's and Indra's souls—that's you and I, and Madara, and Naruto—ever thought anything was wrong with it. To Itachi, to Danzo, to Hiruzen, and to everyone else involved at the time, including your parents, he wasn't a child, it was just a regular schmegular ninja filling out his mission, so—"

"Wait, wait!" someone cried out. "Who're Sasuko-chan's parents, what're you talking about? And what do you mean by you and I? Why's Sasuko-chan included in the having-Ashura's-or-Indra's-soul thing?"

Sasuke stilled in his bonds and nailed him with a glare. "Shut up!" — his eyes said.

Hashirama couldn't read eyes. "Because he does?" he replied, confused.

"He? Who's he?"

"This kid tied up?"

"But that's Sasuko-chan, right?"

"What the hell are you talking abou—ohh…" said Hashirama, just now remembering that this Small-Lipped Izuna was still under disguise. "Uh. Anyway lesson's over."







Muffled yelling answered them, before Sasuke seemingly realized how uncool he looked at that moment and settled for silently glaring at everyone in the room. (Particularly at the whiskered blond with pigtails, who kept snickering and taking pictures with her iPhone 8 Plus.) His mouth had successfully been covered by the bark but his right arm was still free to give autographs if he wanted to—but honestly it was kind of looking like he wasn't very in the mood. But his Transformation Technique was still up, and that was a wonderful testament to how good of a shinobi he was.

The situation was averted. There was only one cracked egg on the overhead screen, a few rolls of toilet paper unfurled all over the seats, and a class of lovely and enthusiastic children lionizing an Uchiha. For the most part, this lesson was a success. Nice!

"AHAHAHAHA!" Hashirama laughed in good nature, as he made his way out slowly, charmingly, and fabulously in his black tweed suit with the green boutonnière.

Preview: Chapter 3 — Flaws pertinent to the endgame: Themes!

"Romance? Get over yourselves." For someone so noncommittal, a scoff and an eye-roll was enough to wow everybody. Tobirama leaned back onto the desk, rolling his eyes a second time for good measure, just to show how silly of a question that was.

(The class gasped again in awe.)

"Understand that Naruto and Naruto Shippuden had a number of commendable themes: Friendship, loyalty, and found family; never being alone; never giving up; embracing your true self; empathy."

The class had only begun to cheer when his chakra spiked and imploded the overhead screen into shreds of paper like confetti, drifting to the floorboards and all over their stock-still faces.

He glared at the trembling teens. "The epilogue made sure to grind all those burdens into dust."

"When I find out who keeps bringing eggs in here, you're getting expelled."

Naruto hid a carton behind his back. Uh, not because it had eggs in there or anything. He was just, like, scratching his back with it or something… Anyway he pressed the carton too hard and suddenly yolk was dripping down his spine. He looked up and saw Tobirama's red eyes pinned on him. "Shit."

A/N: ok so I love Itachi, he's my favorite character. it's pretty mainstream, sure—and I'll admit it, maybe he's kinda sorta overrated but just that's how it be when you're just the baddest binch alive! (or dead, whatever.) so he can't help it! (anime characters are caught in the recesses of space and time. he's alive as long as I'm not reading the chapters where he's dead yet. Itachi Uchiha, he's THAT binch! (I'm sorry.))

because Koharu and Hamura and canonically weak geezers who survived that long off of pure luck (and off of being Danzo's yes-men) it's logical to assume that Hashirama is terrible at teaching groups of children and also it's canon that he literally only focused on Hiruzen anyway. he's kind of got a one-track mind, yes? but he's a child himself—on the inside!—so understandable.

tell me what you think of the meta! like, the info presented—do you agree or nah?

Itachi Shinden: Book of Bright Light and Itachi Shinden: Book of Dark Night was a huge ref! ahaha but I wouldn't really recommend basing the Facts(TM) off the anime adaptation of it if you're looking to confirm what BS you may or may not think I put in here, but there are lots of resources where you can find out more about it—like the wikia, or on forums, or ranting people who post screenshots on social media. or just buying the book. if you're that pressed. (I, too, am that pressed.)

(Danzo canonically has stinky breath sjkldakldasklas)

Lang Noi is the amazing author of Catch Your Breath! It's a great story and I recommend it! Peccolia is the wonderful writer of Laterality, a personal favorite, and The Legend of Three Leaves! Go read them, please! they're GREAT!