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"I'm afraid you have me confused with one of my very distant relatives Senju boy."
He said without emotion as he stepped out of the cage and looked at the giant doors with mild interest.
"If you're not Madara then you could have fooled me! Who are you then and how the hell are you in my mind!" He yelled skeptically at him, never lowering his readied attack.
The man traced the tops of the caged doors with his eyes and said. "So this is where you come when you need power. A cage huh? What and odd place to store your power…"
Naruto's anger rose as he yelled at him again. "I said who are you! Why do you keep calling me Senju boy?"
The man finally turned his eyes to Naruto and said.
"You already know who I am. You, who have been searching tirelessly for ancient tomb and scroll about me and my family…"
Naruto gave him a curious look for a long moment and suddenly the Rasengan in his hand faded as he stood up.
He carefully and timidly said. "You couldn't be…"
"Takimo Rikudo, at your service." He said with a slight bow as the spread his hands out to his sides before standing and putting his hands into the sleeves of his robes.
Naruto looked at him soullessly. "The eldest brother…"
Chapter Thirty-Eight: A Tale of Two Brothers, Part Two
"But-But how?" Naruto asked in utter confusion.
"How you ask? It is simple and you already know the stories, both of them." Takimo looked up in thought for a moment.
"How to put this…Ah I know. In heritage what is the difference between Senju and Uchiha Clans?" He said.
Naruto gave him an odd look and said. "There's the Sharingan and the Rinnegan, but other than that I don't know. I didn't really find any texts stating any difference."
"Exactly, because there isn't one. They both are distantly related to my father Sacki Rikudo, the one you know of as the Moon Sage.
You are related to us as well." He said wisely.
"But how does that explain how or why you are here? Didn't you die thousands of years ago?" Naruto questioned him.
"That depends greatly on your meaning of death. If your meaning of life and death is whether or not I have a physical body, then yes I died long ago.
As for how I am here, you should be able to piece that together." He said.
Naruto looked down and thought for a look moment before returning his gaze to Takimo.
"You sealed your powers into your bloodline just like your brother didn't you?" He said slowly.
"Correct, otherwise there never would have been an Uchiha Clan.
The power of the Time Still eyes lay dormant in my successor's bloodline until their will and reasons summoned me forth to unlock it." He stated.
"Wait then you didn't just seal your power in to your children…You sealed yourself?" Naruto asked intently.
"Very good, descendent of my brother. Yes, as the story goes my brother was granted wisdom to understand all things.
I was granted power to affect all things…even to imprint myself in to my heirs bloodlines.
He has moved on from this world, but I, who was granted power, remained.
So as you might have guessed I'm here because you possess the eyes of one of my heirs.
You and I now share some of the same blood, metaphorically speaking as I don't have blood anymore." He said.
Naruto looked at him in shock and asked. "Do-does that make me one of your heirs?"
Takimo tilted his head at Naruto in thought and then said.
"That is both true and untrue. You are not born of my flesh, but from the descendents of my brother.
Then again the Chosen One from my heirs saw fit to leave you his eyes."
"What's all this about a Chosen One? And no one left me their eyes. Sasuke gave me his brother's eyes!" Naruto loudly stated.
Takimo chuckled slightly before saying. "You're asking about our Chosen Ones…I see, I guess you couldn't have figured out that one on your own.
Well, where should I begin? Yes…I'll begin with the powers of the eyes. The powers of mine and my brother's eyes have been diluted over the generations.
My eyes were much more powerful than my children. Simply put each of my sons only received half of my powers and had to work to unseal the others.
Vastly powerful were my eyes during my time. So powerful in fact that I could see into the future.
My brother's eyes were different in power, but he could perceive into the future.
We both knew that no matter how powerful we were or became that we couldn't vanquish an eternal, just as you came to the same conclusion.
We knew that one day the beast would be set free on the earth. It was only a matter of time and was inevitable that they would break free.
I saw that it would happen and left certain things for my descendants to find.
Pieces of my wisdom and keys to unlocking the power of the Sharingan is what I left to my Chosen One.
My brother left his ideals, teachings and wisdom in hopes that his Chosen One could face the beasts when the time came.
We both knew only one of our chosen champions would faces the beasts at the most dire of times.
But time is not so simple. Nothing is truly fixed. I saw many possibilities for our future. Many ended with the world being torn asunder.
A few however lent me some hope."
"But what does that have to do with these eyes?" Naruto asked.
"It has everything to do with those eyes and how to awaken the Rinnegan.
You see when my brother sealed his power into his sons bloodlines he also sealed its power.
His descendants where not given free rein over his powers like mine did with my powers.
It seemed rather foolish to me, but the powerful should not question the truly wise. His descendants never did unlock the Rinnegan again.
It was a few of my own that figured out what the key was to unlocking it. It was power…our power, the Sharingan in its most powerful form was the key.
Only then did we understand the way he sealed his powers. His descendants weren't even aware of the power locked within them.
My descendants stole the eyes of his and reawakened the Rinnegan a few times throughout history.
I always thought that he had chosen one of my descendants as his champion and that is why the Sharingan was needed to unlock his power.
My champion was vastly powerful and unlocked the Sharingan's final powers. He often looked into the future and its many possibilities.
I do not know exactly what he saw or didn't see, but he sat on his powers. He had the power to affect change.
There was no one that beat him unless he chose to lose.
Instead of enacting change he chose to prevent it."
Naruto gave him a curious look and asked. "What change did he prevent?"
"You have already seen some of the changes he chose to prevent. Mainly the annihilation of your people by the Akatsuki.
I believe he didn't trust himself to use such a great power. He was truly wise in understanding his limits." Takimo said in reverence.
"Itachi? Itachi was your champion? Wait if he had such a great power to affect all things like you did, why didn't he use it to bring peace to the lands?" Naruto asked.
"Power corrupts young Senju. Power can only be used for good when a person knows the limit of his willpower.
If you have more power than willpower and keep using it to its full extent, then your eyes will become clouded with power and only hunger for more power.
You have already seen this many times during your life time. Itachi refused to use his power beyond what he could handle because he feared becoming corrupted."
"He still could have done something instead of joining the Akatsuki though. He could have used the power he could handle to effect the right changes." Naruto said.
"Even if Itachi had both limitless power and wisdom there is no guarantee that he could have affected the right changes. Power and wisdom are still just power and wisdom."
Takimo said wisely.
"But what does that mean? How could you not make the right changes with limitless power and wisdom?" Naruto said in confusion.
"That is a tricky one to explain…" He said as he looked up in thought for a moment. "Well, let us say there is a small fishing village at the bank of a lake.
Its people feed themselves from the fish they catch from that lake. One day the village grows too large and fishes the lake dry of fish.
The people of that village are proud and stubborn. They keep fishing in the empty lake while they slowly starve to death.
A farmer with a bag of seeds comes to the village and sees the state it is in. He tries to share his wisdom of farming with the people of the village, but they refuse to heed his words.
So the farmer finally leaves and goes to the ruler of the lands. He tells him of their stubborn strife and the leader sends out his army.
The army forces the stubborn fisherman off of their boats and out into the fields to grow their food instead of catching it.
The people of the village survive, but hold scorn for the ruler for using his power to change their way of life.
One day their scorn grows so great that they rise up against him and take him to war.
You see, sometimes power and wisdom isn't enough young Senju if the people you want to affect do not wish to change.
Power and wisdom alone cannot anyways change a person's heart no matter how much we wish it to change.
Hence the old saying. 'You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink.'"
Naruto thought about his words for a long moment before asking him.
"Then how and why did Itachi leave me his eyes? Sasuke gave them to me, not Itachi."
"It is a question without a true known answer, but I've already told you. Itachi could see into the future.
You already know time is not fixed. At each moment it branches off into countless possibilities and different outcomes.
If the vast majority of those possible futures ended at a single point in time where the world was destroyed what would you look for?" He asked Naruto.
"I-I guess I'd be looking for a way to make sure that didn't happen." He replied unsure of himself.
"Exactly, that is why Itachi sat on his power.
He was waiting for the right moment in time to present itself and when it did he acted accordingly.
He did what he had already seen to give us the best hope for a bright future.
I believe he found that moment he was waiting for just before disease was going to take him.
He waited for you in the forest in the hopes that that possibility in time would present itself and you would say the right words to him.
It seems you did and he gave you the power of his heritage and wisdom to wield the Sharingan like we do." He stated.
"If he wanted me to have his eyes why didn't he just come to me and give them to me? I mean then the whole war could have likely been avoided." Naruto asked.
"It is hard to comprehend the actions of those that can see into the future. If Itachi gave you his eyes then you never would have saved his brother from himself."
Naruto thought for a long moment before asking. "What exactly do you mean that Itachi gave me the power to wield the Sharingan like you can?
Do you mean the ability to see into the future and stop time?"
Takimo shook his head and then said.
"No, when I say he gave you his heritage and wisdom to use the Sharingan like a member of my bloodline I mean the ability to turn it off.
Our eyes can be transplanted into an person with even a inkling of my father's blood in their veins, but they cannot turn it off.
They have to sacrifice the sight of that eye. They cannot turn off the power of those eyes and if they leave them uncovered they will sap the person's strength until he dies.
You have the power to shun the Sharingan by returning its power to your blood where it will rest dormant. That is what Itachi wanted you to have, a choice."
Naruto took a moment to process everything before turning his attention back to Takimo.
"Why are you here now telling me all this?"
"The question isn't why I am here, it is why you are here." He stated as he turned and faced the darkness lingering inside the cage.
"You are here for power are you not? Then come, I will show you where you stored our power." He said and waited for him.
Naruto slowly walked up beside him and asked. "What do you mean by the place I stored it?"
Takimo looked over at him and smiled slightly. "Everything here is bound by your will.
That torn piece of paper that you thought was holding back the Kyuubi was only that because you thought it to be that.
It wasn't that seal that held her there. It was your will that held her in this cage. The seal on the outside of you held her in, but it was you that trapped her here."
He said and looked up at the massive cage doors again and then sighed.
"You truly are like my brother and my champion to cage up your power and only use it when you have to." He said and then turned to Naruto.
"Are you ready Senju Champion?"
Naruto stayed still in deep thought for a long moment before saying. "Hey…" He lifted his head up and looked at him.
"Takimo…Can I ask you a personal question?"
Takimo gave him a curious look and said. "I can't hold back time forever, but what would that question be?"
Naruto struggled with his thoughts before timidly and carefully he asked. "Do…you regret it?"
He smiled at him and then looked forward into the darkness. "Of all of my descendants not one of them ever asked me that.
Would I have liked to have replied wisdom instead of power when my father asked me?
Yes, I would have. I was very envious of my brother's wisdom. He could away see things so clearly and understand the right path to take almost without fail.
Do I regret my decision and for taking power…No young Senju."
Naruto gave him a intensely curious look and said. "Really, not even for a moment?"
He shook his head and said. "No, not even for a moment. My brother and I already knew there were only two answers to his question.
I was given the first chance to answer the question, so I spared my brother from the burden of power and its corruption.
I wanted to say wisdom at the time, but I loved my little brother too much to force the answer of power on him.
In the end both wisdom and power were both heavy burdens to us. Whenever I used my power I mostly did more harm than good.
My brother with his vast wisdom tried to teach it to the masses, but it mostly fell on deaf ears.
His great wisdom let him see things coming and even when he tried to convince others to take the right path they mostly didn't.
In my great time living in the bloodline of my kinsman I've come to the conclusion that in the end we both felt that we were burdened and the other was blessed."
He started moving into the darkness. Naruto quickly followed him and couldn't see a thing.
The only way he knew he was going the right way was to keep Takimo's voice right beside him.
"If there is one thing I regret it is that me and my brother needlessly killed each other when we had already passed on our powers."
His voice rang out from beside Naruto in-between the sound of their footsteps.
"Then why didn't the two of you work together?" Naruto asked while walking in the darkness.
"A very excellent question. The answer is that at first we did.
But just because you can give someone both knowledge and power doesn't mean they are ready for it.
Giving someone a sword and showing them how to use it doesn't mean they will use it for good.
There are many that would use their skills for their own selfish ends.
My brother and I had to learn that the hard way many times and it drove a wedge between us.
Each of us blamed the other for our failures until we both went our separate ways." As he spoke his voice seemed to grow brighter.
Naruto continued to walk and asked.
"If the power was such a burden then why did you pass it on?"
"Hmm while I lived I wouldn't have relinquished my power willingly, but the answer is that we had to pass it on.
The power was the eyes of an eternal demon, it could not die, only be kept or set free." He said.
"If it caused you so much trouble and you had so much power then why didn't you just seal its power away forever?" Naruto asked.
"You of all people should know that no seal lasts forever, but in essence we did seal away the power.
My brother used a special seal that his own descendants couldn't seem to break, but mine could.
He always was smarter than me. I sealed myself into my descendants so I could chose who was worthy for me to awaken the power and who wasn't.
Even through time I still made my share of mistakes, for one I awoke that power I couldn't take it away." He said and then stopped.
"Why did you stop? Hey are you still there?" Naruto said loudly.
"I am right beside you. I stopped because we are here." Takimo said.
"Where are we? I can't see a thing." Naruto said while feeling at the open air in front of him.
"This is your place young Senju. Everything is bound by your will. If you cannot see, simply turn on the lights."
Naruto looked around at the pitch darkness and then shrugged his shoulder in confusion.
"But how?" He asked.
"I do not know for sure…You worry me slightly if you don't even know how to banish the darkness in your own mind.
I would guess you would need to think of something that fills your life with brightness." He said in an unsure tone.
"Alright, I'll give it a shot…" Naruto said and closed his eyes while he concentrated.
After a long moment he timidly cracked open one of his eyes. All was still covered in darkness.
He opened his eyes and sighed. "Nope, that didn't work."
"What did you think of?" Takimo asked him curiously.
Naruto's eyes glanced back and forth before he said. "Well I thought of the sun of course…Hey…Hey you still there?"
Takimo cleared his throat loudly before awkwardly saying.
"That isn't the kind of brightness I was talking about…Has there ever been someone that has brightened your day?
You know, like if they weren't there it wouldn't have been near as memorable? Can you think of a time like that?"
"Hmm." Naruto closed his eyes again and thought.
Naruto wrapped his arms around Hanabi and drew a kunai and then they were gone.
Hanabi was in awe, she was looking down at the whole village just as the lights lit up the streets.
"This is one of my other favorite places to be. It's on top of a depiction of my father's head." Naruto said.
Hanabi took a moment to make sure her feet were stable on the spiky haired head of the monument.
Hanabi smiled never looking down to see which of the Hokage's heads they were standing on.
"I had a feeling you were the fourth Hokage's son Naruto...It all makes sense...Your looks, your jutsu and even your attitude."
She said holding his hands around her so he didn't remove them.
"Those hand aren't going any were you know." He stated while pulling her closer to him.
Hanabi smile brightened. "I was just making sure...It is a long way down." She said looking over the edge.
End of Flashback.
Naruto opened his eyes and was blushing slightly.
What was once dark was now filled with a warm white light.
They were standing at a gray stone wall at the back of the cage that towered up to a high ceiling.
The wall was flat save for a stone relief that had a stone Sharingan eye carved into it.
"You see, you can banish the darkness in your mind." Takimo said.
"Umm yeah." Naruto looked away shyly before returning his gaze to the stone door.
"Okay so how does this work? What's behind the door?" Naruto asked him.
"Power." He replied and it echoed sharply in the vast chambers of the cage.
"I cannot tell you how this works young Senju. This is your mind, not my own."
Naruto thought for a long moment before turning to him before asking.
"Should I take this power?"
"That is the question indeed. Itachi was my champion and he wanted to make sure that you have a choice.
All I can do is have faith in his decision and in yours.
Remember my words and stories about power and what it can do to you as well as what it can do for you."
He said and then the floor quaked nearly knocking Naruto off his feet.
"Your time grows short young Senju. I can't hold back the tides of time much longer." He said in a sad wispy voice.
Naruto stepped up in front of the stone door.
"I can't do nothing. At this rate Kyuubi will kill me and ravage the world.
Then again this power might turn me into something worst than her.
I'll just have to go take a look at this power and then decide whether or not to use it."
He said and then took in a deep unsteady breath.
He reached his hand out and pushed the three coma marks around the stone eye.
The door shook slightly and then slid upwards with the sounds of stone grinding on stone.
A soft red light poured out from the end of a dark hallway.
Naruto turned back and said. "Thanks Takimo."
He only replied with a smile.
Naruto went into the dark hallway and headed towards the light as the door closed behind him.
Takimo gazed up at the ceiling and said.
"Oh my dear brother, your sense of irony knows no bounds…
The cage to hold back power, your champion that looks just like our father and that he even has your name.
Naruto did you think I was so stupid that couldn't have figured it out on my own? Must you always baby step things for me like I am blind?
You always did enjoy making me play the part of the fool. I can just see you laughing your head off in the afterlife while watching me now.
And even in the end I still played your childish game of us 'never saying the name of each other's champion', because to do so would be to admit the other was right."
He said with a nostalgic smile as he sighed at the ground and then looked back to the ceiling.
"Well, I will end that childish game we started so long ago now. I admit it, even though you need both, but wisdom is the more valuable!
But then again, I always knew that…That is why I left that answer to you my brother." He said and then threw his head back and laughed a joyous laugh.
"Your champion is just as strange as you brother.
He didn't even ask about father's Jutsu…And the strangest thing about him is that he would hide such beautiful feelings and memories in here of all places…
Why lock them up in a cage?"
He said while looking up at the memory of Naruto smiling while holding Hanabi on top of the Hokage monument with the dazzling night sky spread out above them and the streetlights below.
Takimo started to glow blue and his form became fuzzy.
"Naruto, I will see you soon, but before that I think I will go check in on father.
I'm sure he must be lonely there and he probably hasn't had a visitor in over two-thousand years…"
His form vanished into glowing blue balls that faded away.
Hope you all enjoyed and thank you for any review.