Any similarity to the opening chapter is purely intentional
Naruto: The Lost Ninja: Epilogue
The ringing sound of a hammer hitting metal rang twice then a softened thump was heard. The ringing sounded twice again with another soft thump following. The daily sounds of the smithy were a timeless comfort to the old man wielding the heavy hammer. More blows followed before the man took a needed break. He set the half made sword into the coals to remain warm while he stepped out into the cool evening.
'Another day and I can have that sword finished. The daimyo will get his order on time. The wife will be pleased.'
The smith looked out at the mountain valley that was his home. His badly wrinkled face relaxed as the evening breeze seemed to promise rain. He looked at the sleeping form of his ten-year-old great-grandson and decided he would not need to wake the boy to stoke the forge again tonight. The coals would keep the metal fine until morning. He lifted the boy and walked into the house. The old man placed the boy into his bed and lay down to get a few hours of needed sleep
The following morning, the old man took note of the date. They would be here soon. It was Remembrance Day. The day all the Uzumaki would gather at the home of the oldest living member. With the passing of his older sister, the duty fell to him.
He looked down the long winding way toward the head of the valley and saw them coming from a long way off. There were many new members since the last gathering five years ago. Some had married. More children bring carried along as the Clan came together.
A sense of sadness welled up in Uzumaki Minato that he would likely never see this again. He could feel the long years creeping up on him and knew he was not long for the world. Even so he had to smile at the gathering about to happen. His father, Naruto, had lived alone for his childhood. He would be pleased to see so many of his family coming together to Remember.
Some writers of history were not kind to Naruto. They only saw the surface, 'The Butcher of the Sound'. But the truth was that while he had killed nearly the entire ninja force of Sound, he had not committed any atrocities. All the people who died had been wearing the headband of the Sound as ninja. After killing more ninja in an hour than even his father, Naruto knew he would never be named Hokage. He walked away from that life and came back to this valley in the mountains to mold steel and be away from things. His wife Hinata had come with him and his children. Minato had been born here seven months after that and had never known another home.
Only Hinata knew her husband's pain. His few sleeping hours each night were tormented by the deed he committed. But she stood with the man she loved and ruthlessly cut down any bounty hunter who came looking to collect the emperor's ransom on his head. It was strange that if Hinata had not protected Naruto, the bounty hunters would have had an easy kill. Naruto would not have protected himself. Eventually the bounty hunters stopped coming to collect. The 'scarecrow' tree in front of the forge might have had something to do with that. After each mercenary that came, Hinata added something from that mercenary to it. As a teen, Minato counted the individual items hung on the tree. His mother shooed him away from it after he had counted two hundred items and he had not finished.
In spite of his desire to remove himself from his life as a ninja, Naruto would not deny his children. Uzumaki Kushina and Uzumaki Hizashi had returned to Konoha at age ten to train for their own futures. In time, Kushina had become a greater medic and healer than her mentors, the legends Senju Tsunade and Haruno Sakura. The reputation of the Uzumaki would recover due to her life spent in service. The Blonde Angel of Mercy would never turn away any injured party. Ironically enough, the daughter had healed many injuries inflicted on bounty hunters by her mother; the bounty hunters that had left the valley alive at any rate.
Hizashi did not need to take over the Hyuuga as Hanabi had children after the war. In his own time, he grew in power and ability and eventually took the title of Eighth Hokage of Konoha, succeeding Sarutobi Konohamaru. Seeing his son attain what he had wanted for his entire youth was the only time Naruto had left the valley from the time of the war until his death.
Minato remained in the valley, learning the trade of his father. His sharp eyes from his Byakugan could detect any flaw in a weapon at a glance and people from the far corners of the Elemental Countries came to him for weapons. The old man looked at the wall of the forge. On it hung the sashes of his predecessors; his father, grandfather, Namikaze Minato, and great-grandfather. Beside those hung the five generations of sashes of the line of Naruto's adoptive father, Kama. It spite of its seeming humble status, there were always Uzumaki who would return to take up the trade. The man smiled at the sashes of his own daughter and grandson displayed on the wall.
Konoha had survived and grown once the threat of the Uchiha had been lifted. Ninja found a golden age of peace uncomfortable. But even without the open warfare of a full Ninja War, there was never a lack of business.
Tsunade had lived to be ninety before she finally got too tired of keeping up her youth genjutsu. The idea that her Creation Rebirth jutsu would shorten her life turned out false. All of her use of healing jutsu had made her own body rejuvenate some each time. She ended up dying half drunk on her 100th birthday.
Kakashi never really took to the job of Hokage even after Naruto left. He waited until Konohamaru was old enough and stepped down to take up the trade of writer. Icha Icha: The Next Generation was a huge success for him but there were forever comparisons between the writers in the captain's chair.
Lee and Sakura eventually married. Sakura had wanted to use the name of Peach for her first daughter but Lee convinced her to use the more traditional Momo. Once grown, their children became well known for both the massive strength and taijutsu along with the pink hair that bred true in the passing generations.
Neji and Tenten married and raised a small family within the Hyuuga clan. The only son was deadly with thrown kunai and his Spinning Porcupine Technique was feared in close combat.
Minato looked up to his wife as she interrupted his thoughts. The woman's brown hair had long faded to gray but he always only saw the brown. The Uzumaki would never be a clan content to conform. He looked at the riot of hair and eye colors of his children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and their descendants. Byakugan in various tints, every eye color, hair in brown, black, blonde, red and even a pink haired grand nephew in law graced the crowd of his family. Some of Naruto's twelve grandchildren were grandparents already. He would be glad to see all of his descendants in one place like this. The Uzumaki tended toward large families.
"I welcome all of you here to our home. We are all here to Remember," Minato spoke in a loud voice.
The clan grew quiet.
"We Remember Uzumaki Naruto, the Second Yellow Flash, The Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi no Yoko. The Protector of Konoha. The one who defeated the Uchiha. He dreamed that he could be Hokage. He gave up his dream so that Konoha would stand after his first and most Precious Person fell."
"We Remember Umino Iruka. The first man to acknowledge Naruto. His passing brought about the destruction of the Sound at Naruto's hand."
"We Remember Uzumaki Hinata, my mother and Matriarch of the Clan. She stood alone in her faith in Naruto before anyone else and long after most had given up. She was seen as a failure for being too caring but that very kindness gave her vast courage to defend the ones she cared for."
"We Remember the scourge of the Uchiha. The clan that set the Kyuubi no Yoko on Konoha in the first place thereby sealing their own demise. Word from the monasteries is that the final Uchiha child born in the Sound has passed on without issue. The Uchiha are finally dead."
Minato paused for a moment to remember silently at that point. Naruto had not killed any of the children or civilians in Sound. When the Alliance took the control of the surrendered village, all the Uchiha plots were freely revealed to the world. The breeding program that Sasuke had begun revealed no less than fifty seven living children born from him by almost as many mothers. More than a dozen more including Sakura's had been killed at birth for various reasons than no one else found worthwhile. Every effort was made that the entire Uchiha legacy was found and dealt with.
People would not simply kill the Uchiha's children out of hand but something needed to be done. Several religious orders stepped up at this point with an idea. All Uchiha children were separated and taken to different monasteries and temples. They were treated well but never once allowed out. The youngest were never told of their heritage and they lived lives in peaceful isolation. None were allowed children. Minato had been told the last child had died the previous winter. The world sighed with relief at that news.
Nine tailed beasts could be dealt with as individuals but a single one consisting of the Nine as a single being would have doomed them all. With no Uchiha, the key element needed in freeing the Juubi would never again exist, the now feared Sharingan eye.
Minato looked back up. He smiled to his clan, his family. "We have Remembered. Now, it's time to catch up with everyone." The Uzumaki all cheered and dug into the vats of ramen that were waiting.
Elsewhere, a much smaller gathering was taking place.
A gray haired man looked at the half dozen people before him. "We are few in number but we are strong in purpose. In time, we shall have our revenge on the hated Uzumaki, the murderers of the Uchiha. The last captive has died. We are diminished but not destroyed. We wait only for the proper time."
The old man and his descendants before him focused their chakra and as one activated their Sharingan eyes.
I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read this story. It has not been an easy story to write. At times I had trashed large amounts of writing due to things that did not work out. But putting complete on this story is something I am glad has come. Other ideas pull at me and in time they could find an outlet here. Until then, my other stories need attention.