Guardians of the Seal

Chapter 1

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto

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History is decided by those who sit down and record it. They in turn are bound by the information they receive, and their own honesty.

It is said that when the First Hokage fought Madara Uchiha in the Valley of the End, he managed to gain a narrow victory, but succumbed to his injuries shortly before he reached the village. His brother, the later Nidaime, who had accompanied his brother and was badly wounded himself, had reported that Madara had been completely obliterated by the Shodai. However, should one open the Shodai's tomb...

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Thirteen years prior to the Kyuubi-attack

A pale man with slitted eyes entered the secret catacombs of the Hokages. He, Orochimaru, greatest of the Sannin, was standing before two coffins of solid stone. There was room for more coffins, but they had yet to be placed. And why should they be? The old fossil had yet to surrender his seat or drop dead, so there was no need to bury him yet. And afterwords, when he was Hokage, there would be no need to bury him, as he would be the immortal Hokage. After all, his only real competition for the seat of Hokage was the Yellow Flash Minato Namikaze, and that the goofy ramen-freak would become Hokage was more than doubtful.

But Orochimaru hadn't come here to ponder, nor out of some sentimental reason. He carefully inspected the coffins, checking for seals or other means that would show it had been opened. Finding nothing, he carefully opened the coffin closest to him. He smiled as he recognized the corpse of the Nidaime, bedded in dried flowers and with a few personal belongings that were useless to Orochimaru. He could have used the sword, but such powerful objects were sadly not placed inside of coffins in case situations like these occurred. But the body itself was in an amazingly good condition, considering how long the man was dead already. Orochimaru suspected that the low temperatures, it was freezing in here, had preserved the remains. Scavengers were kept out by the coffin and it was simply too cold for most bacteria that decomposed remains to function.

Orochimaru grinned as he collected DNA-samples. Hair was good, better than skin but not as good as blood, but the DNA in it lasted the longest, and Orochimaru took all three before carefully resealing the coffin. After all, he didn't want the old fossil or anyone else to find out about about this. Then he turned his attention to coffin number 2.

He had to suppress a grin. Christmas had come early this year. While the Nidaime's abilities would be useful, it was the other carcass that truly captivated his attention. The Shodai, who could control wood and even subjugate the bijuu, second only to Madara Uchiha. Orochimaru could hardly wait to experiment with that power. He opened the coffin... And nearly howled in rage.

It was empty! Only a few dried-up flowers and useless personal items. Where was the Shodai's corpse? Had someone learned of his plan? No, if that were the case, both corpses would have been removed and he would have faced the old fossil and a squad of ANBU by now. Which left only two conclusions. Either someone else had also thought of Orochimaru's idea and took it first, unlikely seeing as he wouldn't have left the second corpse... or the coffin had been empty from the start. That had to be it! But how? Why? He rummaged through the items, in desperate hope of finding something, anything of use.

Then he found it. A short lock of hair, apparently some sort of good-luck charm. It had the right color, black, but that didn't have to mean much. But with the sentimental fools living here, it was likely they wanted to bury at least something of their leader. Orochimaru looked at the hair. It wasn't much, but it would have to do. The hair should have enough DNA for his purposes. And the material he gained from the Nidaime would also give him a few interesting experiments. But he couldn't help but wonder where the Shodai's corpse was.

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Valley of the End, Great Battle

Madara breathed heavily as he allowed himself a short look around. Not far from him, maybe thirty feet to his left, the Kyuubi, greatest of the nine beasts lay helpless, bound by countless roots, unable to move. In front of him stood his rival and greatest foe, Hashirama Senju, equally exhausted. Most of his weapons were broken and scattered over the battlefield. Another forty feet behind him was his brother, laying on the ground with multiple deep cuts from Madara's scythe. He was bleeding badly, but he would live if left alone.

Madara wondered what had possessed his rival and in a way, his friend, to bring the boy along. While the mastery he displayed over water was impressive, the boy simply lacked both experience and skill to compete with either of them.

Madara's gaze returned to Hashirama, then he closed his eyes. When he opened them again, the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan had faded from his eyes, revealing the normal Sharingan with it's three tomoe. Then he laughed.

Hashirama looked at him. "What is so amusing Madara?"

Said person calmed down. "Simple, even you have to admit that we are fighting a battle like there never was one before. Look around, our struggle has formed a valley."

Hashirama nodded, a small smile gracing his features. "While I take no joy out of war and combat, even I must admit what happens here will become legend. But tell me, what now?"

Madara tilted his head. "We are both almost completely out of chakra, there is no point in either of us denying that. In skill and strength, we are equals. I would even say that under normal circumstances, you may have very well defeated me here. However Hashirama, you have made a fool's error. You have someone you need to shield, for I can kill him even without my chakra."

Hashirama's eyes widened as he realized that Madara was right. In a fight man against man, he would have likely won, as his most powerful blade was still intact. However, if Madara redirected his attacks to Tobirama, he would take the hits. And then he'd be too weakened to withstand Madara's assault.

Tobirama was cursing himself.

He had insisted on joining his brother, claiming that against the fire-jutsus the Uchiha were famous for, his abilities with water might be useful. Not that his brother wasn't skilled with water, but it was unlikely Madara would fight them close to the river, knowing the weakness of his skills just as well as they did, and his ability to draw the moisture out of the air and multiply it would be a help. And it had, until Madara had tired of his interventions and took him out of the fight in an instant. Tobirama had only figured out what had hit him when he noticed his blood dripping down Madara's scythe.

And now his brother would die because he had to shield him, and when his brother fell, the only barrier between Madara and Konoha would fall with him. Nobody else in the Leaf was as skilled as Madara, and without Hashirama, the fox would wreck havoc in the village.

The sound of bursting wood and a deafening roar pulled all three out of their thoughts. They saw that the fox had broken it's restraints and it's head was shooting towards Hashirama and Madara, tilted sideways to give the bite the widest range possible.

For an instant, Madara seemed confused, then he understood. Both he and Hashirama had made a fatal mistake. They had both used too much chakra and were now unable to tame the beast. Hashirama was too weakened to restrain it and he himself couldn't keep his Eternal Mangekyo active anymore. Normally, the continued activation wouldn't be necessary, but Madara had noticed that unlike any other creature, including the other bijuu as far as he had researched, the Kyuubi would break it's mental restraints almost instantly if he deactivated the Mangekyo. And he had just done that. They had been fools to simply forget the beast and use so much chakra, and now they would pay for it.

He sighed, knowing he couldn't even delay the inevitable. He had always wondered if it was true that ones entire life flashed before ones eyes if they met certain death. When one was in a situation where he was facing death and said force told him: "I'm here. In five seconds, you're dead. Spend them however you want, I'll give you that much time.",you'd see a best-of of your entire life of sorts.

He had doubted it, after all, once you were dead, nobody would know. Dead men tell no tales, as they say. But to his own surprise, he indeed remembered the single best thing in his life, which had been the most painful to loose: his brother.

"Izuna, I'm sorry." He whispered. Hashirama heard him and gave him a sympathetic smile. He was the last to deny the love Madara held for his brother, even though many others did. He remembered like it had been yesterday.

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Flashback

Hashirama had expected much, but not this. He had taken over the Senju-clan two weeks ago, and now his rival, Madara Uchiha, also freshly baked clan-leader of the Uchihas, was standing before him. He had already rubbed his eyes and pinched himself to make sure he wasn't seeing things. He straitened himself.

"What do you want here, Madara Uchiha?" He asked. The man bit his lip, it was obvious he was swallowing his pride.

"I wish to request your aid." He said, his voice betraying no emotion.

Hashirama raised a brow. He had expected anything, from clan talk to an assassination-attempt, but not this. "How exactly are we supposed to help you?" He asked.

Madara stared at the ground. "My brother has infected himself with a unknown disease. We have tried everything, and nothing has worked. We... I need your help." His voice had begun to shake.

Hashirama nodded, he had heard that Izuna was bedridden. The Senju-clan had thrown a small party when they heard the news that one of the feared Mangekyo-wielders was down for the count. "But why turn to us? Of course we have a few medical prodigies, but there are other good medics outside of our clan."

Now Madara looked up, with sorrow and desperation in his eyes and voice. "Don't you think I've already tried? I've went everywhere, but no one can help him!"

"Watch your tongue!" One of the Senju-members shouted, clearly enjoying watching Madara squirm. Then Madara did something no one would have ever expected.

He bowed. He dropped to his knees and bowed until his forehead touched the ground. "I beg of you, help my brother."

Everyone knew the Uchihas were proud before anything else. For Madara to throw his pride so far out the window, he had to be truly desperate. Hashirama looked at his own brother. If Tobirama were to fall sick and nobody but the Uchiha had the means to cure him, would he bow before Madara as said was now bowing before him? The answer was obvious. Yes, he would. He'd be on his knees, he'd be kissing Madara's feet if there was a chance it would help. He rose from his seat.

"Stand up." He said.

Madara slowly rose, fear and a sliver of hope in his eyes. Hashirama rose his voice. "As leader of the Senju-clan, I hereby accept your request. We will send a group of our best medics with you and they will do all in their power to help your brother. This is not up for discussion." He added when pandemonium broke out in the compound.

And the medics had helped, albeit reluctantly. They had managed to cure Izuna Uchiha of his disease, but said man would likely never regain his full abilities as a ninja. The disease had simply done too much damage to muscles and nerves they couldn't cure. He could still be ninja, but never be as strong or fast as he was before, upper middle-class at best.

Shortly after, Izuna had begged Madara to take his eyes, saying that in his condition he was not as important to the Uchiha as Madara and that blindness was nothing Madara could afford. Madara had argued for hours before reluctantly giving in. the operation was a success and Izuna even found a way to remain a ninja despite his blindness. He had developed a jutsu that replaced his eyes and was even able to return to the battlefield.

Where he eventually fell by the hand of a small, relatively unknown clan. Madara would have accepted his brother's death, as fatalities occur in war, but that clan had desecrated his brothers corpse. The same day that Izuna's corpse was found, the compound of the clan that had desecrated him burned to the ground in black fire. There were no survivors.

Flashback end

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Hashirama nodded at Madara, before using his last chakra to summon a root that shoved Tobirama out of harm's way and the fox's jaws. He looked at Madara. "It was an honor." he said.

"Likewise." Madara replied.

A moment later, the jaws snapped shut, and Hashirama Senju and Madara Uchiha were no more.

The Kyuubi growled in satisfaction, then in surprise as the vegetation started to attack it while black fire spread over it's back. Apparently, the two great warriors wouldn't go down without a fight.

The fox jumped back, then it quickly vanished, leaving Tobirama for dead. But he wasn't. He dragged himself back to the village and told them a lie about what happened. It wasn't evil intention, he just had yet to fully comprehend what had happened himself. Later he put a lock of Hashirama's hair into his coffin, so that something of him would lay there once the henged bunshin dismissed itself.

Sequence end

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History may be distorted, both out of evil and good intentions. It is said that the Forth Hokage Minato Namikaze sacrificed his life to slay the great Kyuubi when it attacked the leaf. Some know better, but choose to remain silent. Others wish they had remained silent and now tried to force a silence. Why?

The Kyuubi is a demon, and demons are immortal and nothing short of the end of the world can kill them. With one exception. Any demon may be sealed inside of a person, and should that person die without releasing his prisoner, he'll drag the demon with him to death. But that is a knowledge long forgotten.

But the Yondaime, without knowing that he walked the only path leading to a demon's true demise, sealed the Kyuubi in the navel his his only hours-old son, Naruto. For the seal he summoned the Shinigami, who demands souls in return for his service, seeing it was the only being powerful enough to rip the Kyuubi's soul from it's body. But when the Shinigami is summoned by mortals, only devours souls in pairs...

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Sarutobi sighed. He had made the mistake of informing the accursed council of Naruto's status as a jinchuuriki. What had he been thinking?

The council was a invention of the Nidaime. He had correctly presumed that the Hokage would not be able to handle everything, and chose to call for aid. For military matters, the clan heads and other qualified ninja would advise the Hokage. In civilian matters, merchants and other qualified people would be helping the Hokage to lessen his load. It sounded perfect and on paper, it had looked even better.

The Nidaime had later told Sarutobi that he was absolutely certain he had been drunk at the time he created the council. While the idea was good, the reality was different. The council had gotten used to the power and started to abuse it on a regular basis. Nothing major, except a major annoyance that instead of helping the Hokage cope with his work, they were adding more of it.

And now this. Not even five seconds after Sarutobi revealed that the Kyuubi was not slain, but sealed inside of Naruto, the council had demanded his death. Mostly the civilians. Sarutobi had to fight the urge to kill some of the civilians that had the nerve to speak of losses when they had arrived only after the Kyuubi had been sealed. He was glad that most of the shinobi were keeping silent, Danzo being one of the unfortunate exceptions.

The man seemed dead set on turning the boy into a weapon, something Sarutobi would never allow. He sighed again. Life for young Naruto Uzumaki would not be easy.

He had no idea how right he was.

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AND CUT! And the first chapter is done. This story was basically one of those ideas that won't leave you alone until they're written down. Tell me what you think, is it any good? Should I continue or just toss it overboard?

Kyuubi will be goodish in this fic. It'll fight for the right side, but maybe not quite for the right reasons.

As you noticed, I'm assuming in this fic that what Madara said about his brother, which even I think is bullshit, was true. I described the battle the way I did because I remembered a fan-made manga I read a while ago where Madara was facing both the Shodaime and the Nidaime. Don't ask me where that manga was, I forgot.

And someone (I forgot who) pointed out a few things on his homepage, namely there being no council and that Naruto never suffered physical abuse. While I wholeheartedly agree, this is fanfiction, so we can change that. A council makes it easier to make bad guys, and physical abuse gives so much more reasons not to like the village. The masses like tearjerkers, and it opens paths for new possibilities. While I won't use it, eye-transplantations with bloodlines are a good example.

As for pairings, I have a few ideas, but nothing solid- so, I'm open for suggestions.

I don't know if the idea has ever been used before, I hope not, but if it has, that is a coincident. I'm not stealing anyone's ideas, any fanfic-writer's ideas anyway.

And now please do me a favor:

Please Review