I do not own anything pertaining to the Naruto franchise.
The silence between the two was not comfortable to say the least, at least not for the blond Jinchuuriki. His host seemed perfectly content with sitting lazily across from him as she nibbled on her rice, her eyes almost never leaving him for longer than a second as she did so. He had yet to touch his food, instead staring down at it in slight frustration before deciding he wouldn't sully his already broken pride by asking for help eating, which is exactly what his host seemed to have wanted. While he was mostly ambidextrous, he had never quite mastered the art of eating with chopsticks using his left hand.
Using quite a bit of his still taxed chakra reserves, the blond would-be-savior formed an arm of pure chakra where his right arm used to be. It was a rough design and didn't perfectly match the size and shape he was going for at first, but soon he made the oversized limb shrink down to more or less match his left arms length and proportions.
He didn't see Madara pause her idle grazing to stare at him almost slack-jawed, her expression going from one of amusement to wonder in seconds. Instead, he grabbed up the chopsticks with his false hand gingerly, using all of the same carefulness he did when handling his comrades with Kurama's chakra. The task of creating and controlling the limb was far, far too easy for Naruto, however, and caused him to pause to glance at the limb idly.
"It's probably thanks to Father's Yang Seal, you imbecile. Did you already forget?" Kurama snorted in amazement at how quickly his host seemed to forget the generous gift bestowed upon him by the Sage of Six Paths, "His Seals are more than flesh deep, remember that."
"How are you doing that?"
Any retort he could have made towards Kurama was cut off when Madara spoke up across from him, causing him to snap his gaze up from his food perhaps a bit too quickly, the room spinning slightly as he did so.
"It's... hard to explain without a bit of intimate knowledge of Yang chakra." Naruto eventually hedged out while refusing to make direct eye contact, instead keeping his gaze somewhere between her eyes and ears at all points, "You aren't going to just use your Sharingan to figure it out?"
"Is that permission to observe you, then?" Madara was quick to read between the lines, though she did feel the need to defend herself from the hidden accusation, "I don't use my Sharingan on my guests without permission, of course. That would be rude."
Naruto only looked confused by this admission, but shrugged his shoulders none the less after a few more moments of silence. "As long as you swear to not use your Mangekyou on me at any point in the future, go for it."
Madara stiffened slightly at the casual mention of the supposedly secret second stage of the Sharingan, having been unaware that others outside of her clan even knew the name, let alone the implications of such things. "How do you know of the Mangekyou, exactly?"
"Er, you aren't the first Uchiha I've met, ya know." Naruto furrowed his brow slightly at the question, "He... well, the other one that I knew, he was skilled with his eyes, awfully proud of 'em."
"As he should be, if he had awakened the Mangekyou. What is his name?" Madara seemed far too eager to know his name, actually leaning forward slightly upon hearing Naruto's admission, "Perhaps I'm familiar with him, being Clan Head and all."
"I... doubt it. His name was Sasuke." Naruto looked far more uncomfortable than before, looking down at his food with an almost haunted expression on his face before snapping out of it just as quickly. "He's gone now."
'Thank the Sage for small miracles.' Kurama snorted in a way that was both disgusted and amused at once, a sort of in between that Kurama usually toed in regards to his emotional state.
The certainty in which he spoke made Madara hesitate on questioning him on the subject further. It was obviously one very personal to him, and he was correct when she found herself unfamiliar with the name. His reaction was genuine and she could almost taste his sadness in the air, so she decided to change the subject to one a bit more pleasant instead of pushing him for information on a dead man sharing her last name.
Particularly, the subject of his chakra arm, one that interested her greatly.
"So as long as I promise not to try and use my Mangekyou, you won't mind if I observe you with my base Sharingan?" Madara felt the need to confirm his agreement one more time before she took any action, especially when provided the chance to study something as complex as pure Yang Chakra manipulation.
That was an art almost exclusive to the Uzumaki, as the only two Senju in recent generations to have any meaningful amount of skill in the illusive arts were Hashirama and Tobirama respectively. As a result of the reclusive nature of the Uzumaki, it had been some few years since an Uchiha last came into contact with someone who had actual experience in Yang Chakra manipulation, Madara most likely being the first. There was little doubt in her mind that the arm Naruto was displaying was far and above the average expectancy of someone around their age, thus making the opportunity that much more compelling.
Madara pushed more chakra into her eyes than the first stage of the Sharingan called for, yet not enough to push them into their second stages quite yet. She almost regretted it as soon as her coal colored eyes bled red, as the blond figure before her, already shrouded in Chakra visible to the naked eye, became so bright that she was almost convinced he'd spontaneously combusted and become a second sun.
There were not enough words within the language of the Elemental Nations to properly describe what she was seeing. The Yang Chakra present within her guests body was twisting, turning and writhing in a way that was basically forming musculature and bone made of condensed Chakra so thick she doubted she could cut it with a kunai. The shades of green, orange, blue, red and yellow that made up each individual fibre of Chakra-made musculature seemed to mimic the Chakra Network that was present within every human being, as well as the capillaries and vessels meant for the delivery of blood.
These threads of Chakra connected to the Chakra pathways within the stump of his right arm perfectly, blending together so well that under the preview of her Sharingan, Madara could not tell where his natural arm ended and the Chakra construct began.
It was both humbling and enlightening at once, as Madara could tell without a doubt that if she were to emulate the blond before her by enhancing her own musculature in such a way, she could increase her physical strength and endurance by orders of magnitude.
"How did you go about learning such abilities, if you do not mind my asking?" Madara eventually questions idly, her eyes still drinking in the sights of her guest manipulating his Chakra in ways she had never thought possible, "Is this some sort of Uzumaki technique like the fabled Chakra Chains?"
Naruto shook his head in the negative almost immediately before answering her question to the best of his ability. "Nope, this is all me. Well, mostly. I'm a Sage, so this sort of stuff just comes with the territory. I didn't even know about the Chakra Chains until like, a month ago maybe?"
"A… Sage? Truly?" Madara leaned forward almost excitedly upon hearing such an admittance, "So you wield a Summoning Contract as well, then?"
There was a brief pause before the improved expression of her guest once more fell and became dejected.
"I… did, but I'm not sure if I can still successfully summon them anymore." Naruto eventually reasoned, his voice faltering slightly as he seemed to come to some sort of harrowing realization as he spoke, "I don't think they're going to answer my call if I try, and I don't think it'd be a good idea to risk pissing off the folks of Mount Myouboku."
"Mount Myouboku… you were a Toad Summoner?" Madara was fascinated to learn that the Toads had allowed such a thing, having learned from her own summons, the Crow Clan, that Mount Myouboku was a no-go unless you desired a swift and painful death. "I didn't know the Toads forged a Contract."
"Yeah, there's only been a few of us. They're super awesome, but being forced to eat bugs for a month… bleh!" The blond made a face and pretended to shiver before digging into his rice with gusto. "I'd take eating vegetables over bugs, and vegetables are gross!"
"... You must have hit your head a bit too hard last week. Vegetables are awesome." Madara droned in an amused tone before returning to the subject at hand quickly, "So if you are truly a Sage, then you must have a great grasp on the usage of Nature Chakra, yes?"
"I mean, yes? I'm not one to brag too much, but I doubt there's anyone else around here who can handle as much as I can at any one time outside of say, the Biju. Chakra Manipulation is sort of my thing, ya know?" Naruto reached up to scratch his chin with his left hand idly while playing with his chopsticks with his Chakra constructed hand, "I didn't start studying Fuinjutsu until two years ago, so I had to learn to rely on my raw Chakra reserves to get the job done until then."
"You know, that's pretty strange for an Uzumaki," Madara noted calmly, "were you raised beyond Uzushio?"
"Yep, born and raised here in the Land of Fire," Naruto admits smoothly and with very little hesitation, "I didn't meet another Uzumaki until my cousin Karin, who also wasn't much of an Uzumaki either now that I think about it."
Based on his accent, strange verbal tics and vernacular aside, the current head of the Uchiha clan was inclined to believe him.
Madara slowly nods in acceptance and finishes the last of her rice as she digests the information freely offered, the implication of said information troubling her slightly.
If her guest hadn't learned from the Uzumaki of Uzushio and had very little to do with his family, going by his admission, then how did he end up associated with the Senju?
Was he even associated with the Senju?
With how easily he had answered the rest of her questions, Madara didn't see a reason not to go ahead and address the Biju in the room.
"Your whole life, huh? Were you raised by the Senju then, perhaps?" The Matriarch of the Uchiha questioned with a raised brow before taking a calm sip of tea, as if she hadn't just outright asked where his allegiances lay. "They are your cousin clan, after all."
"Nah, the only Senju I know is… well, she's gone too, now, I guess. Damn… damn." Naruto once more trails off, his cerulean colored eyes going a bit vacant as he stares somewhere over Madara's shoulder for a moment before his gaze sharpens once more, "I'm an orphan, so… yeah, I basically raised myself. What about you?"
"What about me?" Madara parrots, slightly confused by the rather simple question.
"Well, I mean, were you raised here in the Land of Fire?" Naruto questions unsurely, as if feeling dumb for even asking, "I mean, I don't really know too much about the Uchiha, so…"
Madara snorts slightly in disbelief, having never met a man as skilled as Naruto who yet seemed to be lacking slightly in the common sense department.
"Yes, Naruto, the Uchiha are native to the Land of Fire." Madara admits with a small laugh of amusement, her eyes crinkling slightly as she covers her mouth with a closed palm, "Have you been living under a rock, or do you just not pay attention to what goes on around you?"
"Yeah, yeah, laugh it up." Naruto rolls his eyes in good nature, knowing in his gut that Madara wasn't trying to be malicious, "Anyway, thank you for helping me out instead of… well... it really means a lot to me. I would have been a goner if it wasn't for you. If there's anything I can do to pay you back, just let me know."
The sincerity of his words gives Madara pause. Not only did his expression and body language paint a vivid picture for her to decipher with her Sharingan, but so did the genuine emotion shining in his eyes and echoing in his words.
Madara couldn't recall the last time someone had been so… real with her.
There were no lies to see through, no half truths or near falsities or double meanings.
Naruto obviously wasn't like the other Shinobi, didn't seem nearly as cold and twice removed from the world through a facade and a mask like even herself.
Someone so pure was not suited for the life of a hardened killer, not like her.
Obviously, it was now up to her to protect said innocence, especially considering all that had been said and what hadn't.
Just as she is about to respond, both she and her guest, based on the way he suddenly jerks upright with alertness, feel a monstrous Chakra signature suddenly appear somewhere in the periphery of their sensorial range. Madara instantly recognizes the signature, of course, but based on the troubled look that appears on his face, Naruto does not.
"I was wondering when that fool would finally show up." Madara sighs before standing from her seated position before stretching languidly, "Let me-"
And then Natuto was gone like the wind, the sealed doorway of the room leading further into the compound left open in his wake.
Hashirama couldn't help but frown in confusion as he touched down outside of the crater that had been formed by some sort of impact somewhere near the boundaries between Uchiha and Senju territory.
The lingering Chakra suffused into the ground and air around the site was unlike anything he had ever felt before.
The sheer amount of Yang and Nature Chakra still lingering in the area was absolutely staggering, enough that he could almost taste it. Forget going to the Summons Realm to practice his Senjutsu technique, this crater was about to become his newest favorite training spot.
Now, if only he could get Tobirama to quit acting so paranoid.
"Sorry, Tobi-chan, I just don't see it. There is no way the Uchiha are responsible for this unless Mada-chan has been holding back against me lately." Hashirama sighs as he crosses his arms and stares down at the massive crater in consternation, "This is the work of a Sage. You said that this impact site is already a week old?"
"A Sage? How would… ah, Nature Chakra, of course." Tobirama curses under his breath at himself for the possibility having never crossed his mind, "You really need to teach me that little trick you do, I'm supposed to be the better sensor. Yes, this happened a little over a week ago now."
"And have you finally beat me during our sparring? I think not!" Hashirama exclaims while pointing at his little brother dramatically, "You're already a damn cheater, what makes you think I'm willingly going to teach you my super secret technique?!"
"It's obviously not all that exclusive anymore if there's another Sage out there, let alone so close to our home." Tobirama says with a bit of heat coloring his tone, once more letting himself get worked up at the thought, "This is serious, Hashirama!"
"Reee-lax, Tobi-chan. Tell you what, I'll go over to Mada-chan's compound and annoy the guards until she inevitably tries to chase me away," Hashirama grins goofily at the thought of what he's going to do to the Uchiha compounds guards, "then I'll ask her if she knows anything while we 'dance'. Does that sound good?"
"You know what? You're going to do it anyway, so does my opinion really matter?" Tobirama questions almost childishly, his lips drawing up into a sneer while his sharp crimson eyes honed in on the chocolate brown of Hashirama's, "Just go, I'll keep watch until you get back from flirting with your secret lover."
"She's not my secret lover!" Hashirama shouts in annoyance at his hastily retreating brother's back, "I love Mito, dang it! Come back here so I can teach you the ways of friend-fu!"
When it became obvious that Tobirama wasn't going to come back and willingly let Hashirama beat some friendship into him with his fists, the eldest of the Senju brothers huffs indignantly before turning his attention towards the east, where he knew the Uchiha compound still remained despite Madara threatening to move her clan to the Land of Water if he didn't quit screwing with the guards.
With his latest plan on keeping Madara's guards on their toes firmly in mind, the brown haired Shinobi clad in crimson armor absorbs some of the ambient Nature Chakra lingering in the ground below his feet before taking off towards the Uchiha compound, a wide grin plastered on his face all the while.
That grin only grew more pronounced as he started picking up strong signals of the very same Chakra signature that was left in the crater that Hashirama was quick to claim as his own.
That grin threatened to split his face in two when he felt the warm Chakra signature suddenly spike with an absolutely monstrous amount of Nature Chakra before breaking away from beside Madara, whose Chakra signature was unmistakable to him after years of fighting with and against her.
Just as Hashirama touched down outside of the Uchiha compound, which caused the many guards present to groan in annoyance at the mere sight of him, so too did the source of the incredibly powerful Chakra.
Regarding the blond haired figure with strange whisker marks on his cheeks carefully, the eldest of the Senju brothers couldn't help but let out an impressed whistle.
"You are one weird looking Uchiha, my friend."
And then he was surrounded by a sea of blonds, each carrying a portion of the Nature Chakra that the first had been building up internally and each looking positively murderous.
"Say that again and I'm going to break your stupid looking face! I'm an Uzumaki-ttebayo, and don't you forget it!"
Hashirama begins to sweat a little at the amount of Chakra being casually thrown around by the blond, enough so that his hair was practically standing on end due to the sheer volume in the air now. If a fight were to break out now, he might just have to break out the big guns. Perhaps it was best to diffuse the situation before it becomes volatile. Yeah, that sounded like a good idea.
"Uh, my bad? Is this the wrong time to say I come in peace?" Hashirama holds both hands up to show he is disarmed, blinking owlishly all the while.
"That's what I thought, you dumb looking asshole." One of the clones murmured just loud enough for Hashirama to hear, still obviously displeased at being called a weird looking Uchiha.
Yeah, he definitely sounded like an Uzumaki alright. Most were fluently vulgar by nature, including his soon to be wife Mito.