Kuroshin experienced another agony of the extraction and he'd fallen into the white world of the beyond, where life and death's borders became blurred. He started walking in a direction on a whim, drawing on the Force again. In this state, there was no actual sensation, but pure instinct.
The world slowly darkened, gained tactile dimensions and he found himself in a familiar place of old. The space formed by the seal on his body, the separate dimension within his being. It's what made the biju hosts so special, their inner realms where their souls and minds met with their biju. A shared dreamscape of a kind, but also an actual metaphysical realm where thoughts and feelings had actual physical consequences. It was a pity that these people didn't understand such a gift.
The ground under him became water and somehow light existed, or was just how he perceived the realm within his being. And a figure appeared. An old man with wrinkled face, red sharp hair and goatee. He had the Rinnegan. He also had horns growing from his brow. His skin had grayish tan and he was floating in the air. There were nine black orbs beneath him, forming a circle and there was an odd staff behind him. One end was finished by a ring with more rings inside and the other was a half-circle shaped blade.
The man smiled. "Greetings my son. It's been a while since I interacted with one of my children. Centuries at least. And now you come to me on your own."
Kuroshin frowned. "Why do you call me a son? While I sense no lies here, it still cannot be true. My father was Namikaze Minato, the fool. My mother was Uzumaki Kushina. And I know you are a dead man. Or a shade of one."
"Indeed. My name is Otsutsuki Hagoromo, the one who brought peace and order. I was once called Rikudo Sennin." Six Paths Sage said solemnly.
"Okay." Kuroshin nodded. "So why do you say I'm your son. A descendant, yes. But not a son."
"It's a bit complicated." Hagoromo replied. "When my sons were born, they inherited many of my traits. As a result, their chakra was so powerful and dense it survived their bodies. And migrated into their descendants, thus my sons were reborn. You have Asura's chakra."
"And Sasuke has the other one." Naruto said automatically. "Huh. I just knew that."
"Of course, he is your older brother's incarnation. Indra was always more talented, at least on the surface. While I gave humanity chakra, it was Indra who realized that handsigns can be used to guide it. And how." Hagoromo said. "Now, we've come to this. You have changed a great deal since your last life. You've become cold and uncaring, while Indra became more caring of others. Quite the turnabout. And you are fated to fight again."
Kuroshin shrugged. "It's how it is. Yet, I feel you haven't come to preach peace and forgiveness. The dead rarely do anything."
"Death is a relative state to one like myself." Hagoromo smiled a bit. "With these eyes of mine, I grew curious about the future of my progeny and world I helped establish. So I cast my spirit across centuries, following my own chakra."
"The biju." Kuroshin understood at once. "You made them. They anchor you in this realm."
"So do you. Remember, my sons inherited each half of my powers."
"Naturally? I don't think so." Kuroshin smiled.
"They did, mostly. I helped a little later on, except for Indra who didn't need any. I suppose you'd have to hear the whole story to understand. Are you willing?"
"I suppose." Kuroshin replied.
Hagoromo nodded. "It all began before I was born actually. Around some time, a great princess from another place, nobody knows where, came to these lands that were torn by war among tribes of men. The people bled each other constantly, warring for various reasons. She ended the wars by assuming god-like powers she gained by consuming the forbidden fruit of a divine tree, the Shinju. She was the first to wield chakra and her powers over elements and nature were god-like."
"So the tree produced chakra? How?"
"I'll get there." The Sage replied. "My brother and I were born some time into our mother's reign. She was worshipped as goddess and we were her sons, beloved and all. Hamura inherited her blessed all seeing eyes, while I seemed to inherit natural control over various elements. As we grew up, we started to travel around and learn of the world, and we helped mother rule. Then one day a traveller cursed our mother and called her a demon. We were confused, because she made lands fertile and people prospered under her rule."
"There was a price." Kuroshin guessed.
"There was, more terrible than we ever suspected. We were forbidden from going away too far by Mother. And we learned later why. Her god-tree. She was sending people there to die, to feed the tree and as it grew, it also fed on the nature's energy. And Mother fed on it."
"Sounds logical. She probably seeded it in the first place." Kuroshin said.
"She had. I met a wise toad that spoke and could use chakra too and it explained how the tree never existed before. And how it ate nature and slowly killed everyone, everything it touched. It was a parasite." Hagoromo grimaced. "Our mother was indeed a demon that would consume all life eventually. Someone I cared for was killed by the tree in a rite and that was when I gained my Sharingan. I learned how to use it in secret and concocted a plan to confront Mother with Hamura's help."
"You won, obviously."
"Barely. Hamura and I developed Sage powers quickly and battled Mother. We ravaged the planet in the process. Mother's powers were immense and our power was barely at her level. But we had a sealing trap. She was surprised and we sealed her away for all time on the Moon, inside the Gedo Mazo statue. That is actually the dried husk of her true body. Hamura took it to the Moon and his descendants became it's guardians. I stayed on this world and took into myself Mother's immense chakra. I split most of it into nine separate parts, each with it's own shape and mind."
Kuroshin saw it obviously. "The nine biju...they are actually your Mother's chakra?"
"And some of mine too," Hagoromo said. "My eyes allow me to combine my energy and imagination to bring forth new creations. The biju were like my children. I nurtured them within my being, inside the seal for Mother's chakra. And when they were ready, I sent them around the world. My plan was designed to prevent Mother's chakra and body from ever being reunited. Which failed."
"Oops." Kuroshin said. "I might have had something with that."
"Yes, you did. Although I suspect you had different motives."
"I was going to blackmail the biju into sharing their chakra with me freely in order to became more like them. You know, immortality and all that." Kuroshin admitted freely. He knew he was not in the power here. His 'father' was.
"Interesting." Hagoromo said, considering it. "It is also possible. I could help you."
"I have realized that you and your goals differ from mine greatly, but you don't want to destroy everything. Unfortunately, Mother may be revived soon. And the first thing she will do is take back her chakra. All of it."
"Oh. By that, you mean chakra we all have."
"Yes. She tried to do so with Hamura and I before. In her mind, chakra, all chakra belongs to her. She is mad." Hagoromo sighed. "And she means to use a terrible genjutsu. The Infinite Tsukiyomi."
"The Moon's Eye Plan?" Naruto raised his eyebrows. "I killed the guy who was going to make it true."
"He was just a pawn." Hagoromo said softly. "All Uchiha were, and their cousins the Senju. There is someone out there who wishes to bring back Mother. Some agency she left behind. It corrupted Indra and led him to attack Asura. It did so again and again throughout the ages in order to recreate the means to bring back Mother. These eyes of mine. You may believe them to be the ultimate power, but they are a gate through which another eye is born, the true source of the Sharingan. Here." He tapped the symbol on his forehead, right between his eyes. "Mother had the Byakugan and a third eye, usually hidden inside her forehead. It was the Rinne-Sharingan. My Rinnegan is an offshot, so is the Sharingan. With that eye, she could cast Infinite Tsukiyomi on her victims in order to give them to Shinju where they are converted into obedient soldiers, all plant like beings with chakra and strange empty eyes."
"Zetsu..." Kuroshi realized. "Then that Zetsu in the organization is one of her puppets?"
"Most likely. All Zetsu are sealed inside Gedo Mazo. I suppose one of them somehow got out by Mother's last will. And it came to my sons and fostered conflict."
"Do you? Right now you are at his mercy." Hagoromo said. "Zetsu would recognize my son anywhere and act to prevent him from ruining his plans. Madara was his pawn, because he was somehow able to activate Rinnegan before he died. That's why I am here. My chakra was merged within Madara's, who was previous incarnation of Indra, as Hashirama was Asura. When my sons' chakra merged, my eyes were reborn. And with them, a new chance for Mother's revival."
"All ingredients at hand. Your eyes, Gedo Mazo, biju...pretty nasty." Kuroshin agreed.
"Yes." Hagoromo nodded. "I was going to use both you and Indra, but your plans derailed mine. I must rely on you now."
"Our interests coincide then." Kuroshin smiled. "I suppose Zetsu is going to dispose of me now. Unless you can prevent that."
"I can give you half of my chakra and abilities. Since you mastered the Sage Mode, you can use what is termed as Rikudo Senjutsu. I would prefer to use you and your brother together to seal Mother away again, but we cannot. You must do all you can in order to make sure she never returns. If she does, you and everything else will die for certain. Her abilities are so vast I cannot describe them properly. For example, she can shift dimensions as easy as breathing."
"So I free the biju, destroy the Rinnegan and Zetsu guy." Kuroshin deadpanned. "Just need some juice to jumpstart my body again. I'm sure Zetsu or whoever it is will simply kill me now."
"Indeed. Do I have your word that you'll not harm anyone else?"
"I don't care for the others much, so yes. My own survival always comes first." Kuroshin was honest and he enjoyed it. "Does that help?"
"It makes me sad, more than anything else, but we are in such a bind. Take care my son." Hagoromo said and his shakujo came forth. Naruto grabbed it.
"I'll take over from now." Black Zetsu said to Pain, slithering off of his white half, moving like living shadow on the ground towards the still body of Uzumaki Namikaze Naruto with hungry grin.
Pain frowned as the extraction was over. "What do you mean?"
"It's part of my powers, I can sustain a dying person and strengthen their energy. He will be comatose for a while, so I will nurture him back to full power." Zetsu grinned, stretching over the blond quickly. "That's what I've been doing for Madara-sama."
"I see." Pein said. "What of Madara? He died."
"True, but he died years ago. You met only his disciple, a fellow believer in peace. Madara imbued him with much of his power and knowledge before he died of old age. As you know by now, Madara gave you those eyes in hopes you would complete his plans." Zetsu stretched Naruto's body. "This one is strong. Like you were."
"What are you planning?" Pein narrowed his path's eyes.
"To bring forth peace and order." Zetsu said. "I know you begun to distrust me, but all I ever wanted was to fulfill our master's dying wish. We have come so close. It's time for you to find out what can really be accomplished with some chakra and knowledge. Madara intended to become another incarnation of Rikudo Sennin in order to truly understand chakra and the world. The eyes were only one part of it all, as the Sage taught the Uchiha. What is needed is another part of the Sage. His chakra."
Pein eyed the statue he was on. "This?"
"Yeees." Zetsu smirked. "You see it now, don't you?"
"The body and chakra. And spirit." Pein answered. "What happens to Madara then?"
"He becomes subsumed as the Sage is reborn." Zetsu shrugged. "But it must be Madara. The Sage fathered the first Uchiha. Madara realized it. There has to be a body of the same bloodline. And since I'm using this guy's body and chakra, I can revive Madara. All I need from you is one of those eyes."
"Just one?" Pein asked.
"Just the one. And I can bring back your friend Yahiko too." Zetsu promised. He knew Pein's weaknesses. "Since you kept it in pristine condition and all."
"How can I trust you?" Pein asked after a minute of silence.
"I will bring back your friend first. When the Sage is reborn, he will fix you up too. You'll walk again. You will be happy again." Zetsu said in seductive tone. "Only one eye, Nagato. Even if I try to trick you, you still have the other one. For the plan to work, we need both eyes intact."
"Wait." Pein said. He made a summoning gesture and all Pain bodies appeared, surrounding Zetsu on Naruto's form. Yahiko's body fell and another took it's spot. He was an emaciated figure on a moving chair with numerous spikes and chakra transceiver rods. It was the real one this time, Uzumaki Nagato. "I came here in person. I will lend you one of my eyes, but if I see something suspicious, I'll destroy you completely."
"Fair enough." Zetsu smirked.
Kuroshin came to his senses just in time to see something summoned from somewhere, his hands and chakra acting on their own. And when the lid of the coffin fell, he knew he had to act soon or he'd die for sure.
As his hands blurred into motion for a familiar jutsu, he drew on the Force, as much as he could. All his frustrations, anger and ambitions rose like a tidal wave and the world slowed down to a crawl. His hand, the uncovered one, stretched forward and pointed at the corpse like figure of Uchiha Madara, clearly an Edo Tensei waiting to be activated. The Force Lightning jumped from his palm and smashed into the coffin, destroying it whole, the blue thunder echoing around the cavern. He didn't rejoice, his attack merely postponed the battle to come.
The presence controlling his right side chuckled. "Nice try Uzumaki, but it's too late. Why do you persist in this defiance? Madara will be reborn, stronger than ever."
As Zetsu's words faded, a figure emerged from the dust, slowly coming into the light. A tall, wide shouldered man with long, wild mane of black hair and two Rinnegan eyes. He eyed Nagato and Kuroshin, crossing his arms across red plates covering his chest. "So, I am back and things are not under control. Zetsu, explain yourself!"
"It's not my fault master, the Uzumaki boy is incredibly resilient to my control. Pein here has agreed to aid us at least, in exchange for the revival of his friend." Zetsu said. "I was going to use my current puppet to revive you both at once. He is resisting me however."
Madara eyed Kuroshin directly. "I sense his strength. He reminds me of myself. He has those eyes. He is seeking something more than just power."
"Ha," Kuroshin smirked. "I would be honored by your compliments Uchiha, but a pawn's praise is empty air. This one has manipulated you so well I'm actually impressed. You are a servant who doesn't even know it. Just like you did with Obito-san. You manipulated him expertly to serve you. The girl's death, a seal on his heart...I wish there was a way to survive without killing him. He'd realized your lies Madara and planned to betray you."
"Master, he is trying to buy time. I am losing control." Zetsu said, twisting on Naruto's skin.
Madara raised his hand. "Obviously. Bansho Tenin!"
Kuroshin flew towards the zombie Uchiha, but he had regained enough control to use Hiraishin before Madara grabbed him and sucked out his energy. He appeared several miles away from the Akatsuki hideout, landing softly on his feet as Zetsu tried to weaken him, which hurt, a lot.
Kuroshin grunted and drew on the Dark Side and turned it on the strange creature, driving psychic nails in it's mind, eliciting a surprised yell of pain. Then, he summoned the Force Lightning and stabbed it into his right side, where Zetsu clung to his skin. Zetsu screamed in agony as the technique coursed through him, through Kuroshin who used his own pain to amplify the power of the lightning. And then, he ripped Zetsu off his skin in one swift move, holding him in his fist like a wet rag.
"Impossible..." Zetsu moaned, still hurt by the Dark Side technique. "I blocked your chakra."
"I didn't use chakra, moron." Kuroshin said and attacked again, this time ripping into the creature's essence mentally. He was just hurt enough by recent events to use the Force wound technique again. A risk, true, but he was somewhat an expert on using his own pain to achieve some ends.
Zetsu may have been immortal of some kind, but he had never been attacked with pure mental power. He groaned in agony as Darth Kuroshin sifted through the centuries of his existence, ripping his life force away bit by bit, transferring it into himself to heal.
When he was done, Zetsu was pale white thing, quickly drying. "Nooo..."
"Fuck off." Kuroshin threw him in the air and watched him fall apart into flakes of white, which further turned to brittle leaves and dust. The Sith lord rolled his shoulders, feeling Zetsu's energy merge with his own, strengthening him considerable. And he had all of Zetsu's memories, all perfect recordings of the shinobi history, managed by his truly. From the moment Sage's sons were born to the moment of his real death. Kuroshin was probably the only person who could've killed Kaguya's tool.
He blinked, sensing the power of Rinnegan in his eye. He already knew all about it's abilities, since Zetsu knew them too. He knew how Madara fought, what were his favorite jutsu and the like. And then he sensed a massive shift in natural energy in the distance, frowning as he entered the Sage mode.
He felt the massive tremor as something exploded and waited. A mushroom cloud rose in the spot where the base was. He teleported and found only a huge hole in the ground, surrounded by the destruction on an epic scale. And he saw a figure floating above himself radiating immense power.
It was Uchiha Madara. He was now dressed in a white coat, carrying a shakujo and his body was dressed in black pants and suit and his hands were completely black. He sported one horn, one Rinnegan and his hair was white. He had the Truth Seeking Balls too.
"Now the rest..." Madara said in ominous voice. "Give me that eye back boy."
"What happened?" Kuroshin asked in turn.
"What do you think?" Madara sneered. "I made that boy bring me back to life and I took my eye back and sealed Gedo Mazo into myself. You may be powerful, but I have the power equal to the Sage now. I will complete the Moon's Eye Plan!"
"I just told you that you were being manipulated by Zetsu. He wanted you to awaken Rinne-Sharingan in order to bring back his true master, the mother of the Rikudo Sennin. She was the creator of chakra. The biju are made from her chakra and Gedo Mazo was her corpse." Kuroshin explained. "The Uchiha's entire violent history was part of Zetsu's attempts to recreate Rinnegan to bring her back. From the first, Otsutsuki Indra, to you. You were all pawns. I know that because I killed Zetsu and ripped his memories away. I know your whole life story Uchiha Madara. Zetsu was watching you since the day you were born. It's all here." Kuroshin tapped his temple.
Madara's nostrils flared. "Lies! I will not listen to a liar like you. I know your type boy. I used them too. Last chance, give me back my eye and walk away, or die."
"How? I have markers all over the world." Kuroshin smirked. "You know about the Hiriaishin no jutsu. My father improved it from Nidaime's version and I improved his. No matter what power you have, you can't beat what you can't catch."
"There are no markers here." Madara said cooly.
Kuroshin threw a shuriken at Madara, so fast that the Uchiha barely blocked it with his gravity jutsu. And Kuroshin teleported in front of him, Rasengan blazing. Madara smirked and swung his shakujo, meaning to smash Kuroshin in the side, but to his shock the staff phased through his body and Kuroshin struck Madara, sending him flying like a missile.
Madara landed on the ground, tumbling and rolling, but he recovered swiftly and stood again, his massive injury regenerating in seconds. His flesh was strangely fluid, inhuman. He stared at Kuroshin. "That was Obito's technique."
"Kamui. I ripped it from him." Kuroshin tapped the underside of his normal eye. "The most versatile space-time jutsu ever. I've got Hiraishin and Kamui. Feeling pretty confident still?"
"You are still just an ant." Madara said cooly.
Kuroshin ducked an invisible Madara's attack, teleporting a ways off. "Seen it too. Nice trick, but I know all your jutsu. Zetsu saw it all, remember?"
"I'll start destroying the hidden villages then." Madara threatened, flying up. "Then we will talk."
"Feel free to do it, because I don't care." Kuroshin laughed. "Wipe them all out. The ninja are idiots anyway. All that power and they spend time making pathetic jutsu instead of developing tools to grow as advanced society. In a thousand years, they should've developed tools to free men from needing to work. Instead they make combat training dolls. They could've created cures for so many diseases, but the likes of Orochimaru only sought to live forever. Hiraishin itself holds the key to interstellar travel. And people fear it because a guy can teleport around and slice people with kunai. Pathetic!"
While Kuroshin didn't act like altruist, he found it frustrating that people limited themselves to the obvious applications of power and knowledge. He already could design a form of chakra powered flight engine which would use powerful EM fields for it. It was a work in progress, but in a few years he could fashion a carpet or plate with seal for flight by pushing off EM field of the planet.
Seals that could fuse atoms and produce energy. Seals that could absorb sunlight perfectly and convert light into heat or electricity. A healing seal array that could take life force of some people and amplify it. All of those he had in mind, to replace dead technology and create an array of tools for his own use. Edo Tensei itself could be means to record dead personalities for later and he had made some starting steps there, to combine them with Force Holocrons. A man like Sandaime Hokage preserved for eternity to teach forever. So many possibilities and the shinobi acted like monkeys holding wrenches. They smashed stuff.
He grabbed the Rinnegan in his socket and threw it up. Madara flew like lightning to it. His hand stretched out and he landed a dozen meters away, stuffing it into his other eye socket. He healed the eye instantly. And then saw a sharp short blade sticking out of his chest, which suddenly grew into array of blades that erupted from his chest and stabbed his organs, making him look like pincushion.
Kuroshin teleported to his front and placed his hand on his stomach, golden flames surrounding him and his Shadow Clone. A quick twist of hand and tug and the biju erupted from Madara, exploding into full size rapidly. Chains came out of Kuroshin's hand and wrapped around Madara tightly, sealing him and his power. And then Madara's power flowed into Kuroshin, what remained of Gedo Mazo. Madara shriveled rapidly before his eyes, until he was an old, gray haired man on his death bed.
Kuroshin let him go and watched him fall. "Told you not to underestimate me asshole."
"The eye...you marked it...clever boy." Madara smiled weakly. "That chakra shroud."
"Rikudo Senjutsu." Kuroshin nodded. "He gave me that power in order to save the world from your foolishness. Had you managed to awaken Rinne-Sharingan, then you'd be consumed by that power and Sage's mother would be back to kill us all. You were a puppet for your whole life. Zetsu was not your will given form, but hers."
"I only wished to erase the divide between losers and winners." Madara said and died.
Kuroshin ripped the eye out before it died too and returned it into his right socket. It healed and he turned around to face Kurama and others. "Looks like you guys are free now. What's going to happen to you is not my concern."
Kurama approached, eyes narrowed. "That power is Father's. You talked to him, didn't you brat?"
"Yeah, Kurama, I did. Shukaku, Matatabi, Isobu, Son Goku, Kokuo, Saiken, Chomei, Gyuki. Your father said that you should move on and forgive humans for being stupid. It's in their nature."
"How do we avoid being sealed again?" Gyuki asked, his tentacles writhing. "The shinobi will come for us. I wouldn't mind being joined with Bee, he was all right."
Kuroshin considered it. Then shrugged. "I'm sorry, but I don't know. They will always seek more power to do things. You could stick together and protect each other."
"We're not designed to be together often. You know why." Saiken said in his high tone. "We would prefer solitude. Our experiences with humans were not the best."
"Easy put." Shukaku growled. "I liked my first host, after a while. They killed him when he refused to use my power as ordered."
Kuroshin smiled at that. "You just gave me a splendid idea. What if you could choose your hosts and hide that way? Newborn children don't have minds of their own. You could pretend to be people and change bodies constantly. You could hide in plain sight."
"Hmmm, that could work." Son Goku said. "But we are hardly inconspicuous now. And the shinobi are coming our way, rapidly."
Kuroshin nodded. "Then you can enter my seal for a bit. I will pick newborns around the world and seal you inside them. Your chakra inside the seal, your minds inside their bodies. You'd be like jinchuriiki, only of your own power."
"There would be a price attached to your good deed, brat. I know you too well." Kurama said smugly, but he was interested. "Our chakra, right?"
"A tail's worth from you all." Kuroshin smirked. "You'll regenerate that anyway."
"Very well. I agree." Isobu said.
"Me too." Matatabi nodded.
"Oh, well...why not?" Kokuo sniffed.
That got everyone on board. The biju quickly shifted into masses of chakra and poured inside Naruto who destroyed Madara's body completely and vanished without trace. The members of the Akatsuki who might have survived would be hunted by the shinobi authorities. Not his problem anymore.
After so long, I finally updated this. It's been a while, I know. I apologize for that, but such is life. I lost interest and yet I knew I would return to this fiction one day. That's why I never posted a write-off note.
Finishing it became a difficult chore, because of the canon manga and anime and how the show went in the end. It was not so different from my own ideas, or some others, so I decided to go along with Kishi's backstory and yet, I didn't like his instant happy end story. No, the biju had to go into their version of witness protection and Kuroshin was willing to help, for a price. Just like with the old man Hagoromo.
The fight with Madara was short, probably disappointing. But I couldn't resist. They all keep underestimating Kuroshin due to his age and hidden powers. He'd used Six Paths Senjutsu form only when he had to kill Madara and he had to do it fast, too fast for the man to retaliate and heal. Madara had the slight advantage in raw power, except he could not teleport. That is why he lost. Like I said, my own version of the story had Naruto/Kuroshin learn fuinjutsu and Hiraishin. Kishi didn't give that to Naruto because Naruto had to stay stupid and strong. Sasuke had to have his spotlight and all. In general Kishi OP-ed the Uchiha clan stupid. Why shouldn't Naruto have Hiraishin? Why did he have to rely only on raw power and friendship? Kishi could've given him Rinnegan at least, the last gift from Nagato and Konan. But no, that would make the story too short and all that jazz. Everything had to lead to Sasuke's redemption and Team 7 reunion, sort of. Sakura was the worst character there, she was just sideshow in the end and Kakashi too. That Obito posession was just plain ridiculous. There were so many moments that made me slap my face in exasperation. I won't bother you with details, I'm sure you all had your moments of WTF...
Until next chapter. I promise to update more often, the story is almost finished anyway.