Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or anything else this story borrows from. If I unintentionally copy something from another writer's fan fic, let me know and I'll give credit where it's due.
Author's Note: Yes, I know I have other stories I should update and that I don't update very often at if at all. But I'm a lot like Shikamaru. I'm a lazy bastard. Besides that I procrastinate plenty and have frequent bouts of writer's block. I start all my fics because I get ideas and really want to express them. I write up entire plot lines down to fine details, but somewhere along the line can't be arsed writing the next chapter. I would love a beta; someone to help me improve my dialogue scenes (which I'm never satisfied with) and discuss plotlines with, etc. It would really keep me motivated to write. So anyone who wants to help me, send me a message. I'm still serious about continuing all my Naruto fics, but not so sure about the Harry Potter ones. I simply lack enthusiasm for them, especially since the HP fan fiction scene is slowly burning out along with the novelty of the series. So if you want to contribute to any of my Naruto fics as a beta and someone who helps keep me on track toward regularly updating, drop me a line.
Now a word about the use of Japanese in my fics. I really can't decide if I like using Romaji or English translations of jutsu. This fic will use Romaji names with English translations in a footnote. There could be some small exceptions to this rule where basic understanding is at stake. If you don't like it, or do like it, let me know so I can work out what's the most popular convention.
This story is my reaction to a few mysteries in Naruto and Shippuden. What the hell happened to the Senju clan, anyway? Where'd they go? Why does the Nidaime's face resemble Minato's? Or his skill set for that matter? He even has similar facial markings to Naruto. Who were the Namikazes? A clan or just some random family? In this fic I'm putting them in the same category as the Hatakes. A minor clan of skilled ninja, but facing the prospect of their line ending due to not reproducing enough male heirs. Same thing for the Senju, but on a bigger scale. And who were the Uzumakis really? Was the Rikudou Sennin an Uzumaki? Anyway, you'll see if you read on.
Sorry for the large author's note.
And now, without further ado…
Chapter I – Edo Tensei
Sarutobi Hiruzen watched in grim disbelief as the bodies of his predecessors were enwreathed in thick steam. As he looked on he saw that their greyish, cracked skin began to smooth out and fill with lively colour. Evidently whatever seal Orochimaru had just applied to the backs of their heads had caused this foreboding change.
At first the Sandaime had doubted his treacherous student could succeed in making Edo Tensei work effectively. The bodies of the Shodai and Nidaime were initially mindless and unmoving. But now Sarutobi was certain that Orochimaru had somehow improved on the Nidaime's most disturbing forbidden technique. If so, then soon he would have a fight on his hands that he doubted he could win. The Shodai's unique Wood Release combined with the Nidaime's unrivalled mastery of Water Release techniques was a combination that had proven itself to be very formidable in hundreds of battles during the troubled era that predated the founding of Konoha, back when warring shinobi clans fought constantly to gain supremacy over one another. It wasn't for no reason that the Senju had been considered the strongest clan in the Land of Fire.
"Ku ku ku… it pleases me to see your expression of panic, sensei. I have arranged this scenario just for you. Now you are betrayed by your student and your masters," Orochimaru said before licking a blood-stained kunai with his unnaturally long tongue.
The aged Hokage growled and assumed a fighting stance while worriedly eyeing the resurrected Senju brothers. Even if it killed him, he resolved, he would finally eliminate Orochimaru and save the Leaf. But before that he would have to overcome the two men who had taught him how to be a ninja.
The first to step forward was Hashirama. Tobirama, meanwhile, turned a neutral gaze upon Orochimaru and then glanced at the pair of coffins behind him. As the Shodai began darting forward to attack Sarutobi, Tobirama quickly leapt in-between the two coffins and placed his palms upon them both. A glow appeared beneath his outstretched palms and a few seconds later he removed them from the coffins, leaving two matching, bright blue seals where he'd touched the wooden surfaces.
Orochimaru scowled at this unexpected action by the Nidaime. "What are you doing? I command you to attack Sarutobi now!" he hissed.
"No," Tobirama replied coldly before launching himself at Orochimaru.
"How dare you defy me? How is this possible?" the Otokage screeched as he backpedalled away from the white-haired Senju.
Meanwhile Sarutobi prepared to meet Hashirama's attack, but at the last moment was spared the effort as the Shodai's body began to rapidly dissipate into the air in thick, dark flakes of earthen dust. Surprised but relieved, the Sandaime turned his attention to Orochimaru, only to see his once-student being pressed hard by a vicious Senju Tobirama.
After barely evading an opening salvo of jabs, a sudden and explosive kick to his head sent the Otokage rolling painfully across the rooftop. Tobirama cracked his knuckles and then began forming hand seals at a stunning speed.
"Suiton: Mizu Kamikiri!" he called before placing his palms on the ground.
A fast-moving, thin wave of water erupted out of the ground, slicing cleanly through the thick tiles as it sped toward the downed Orochimaru. Still recovering from the jarring blow to his head, he was unable to dodge the swift Suiton jutsu, which effortlessly cut through his abdomen and split him in two. Screaming in agony as blood spat out of him in litres and his intestines came unwound, the Otokage desperately focused his chakra and performed Hebi no Atsumari. Both halves of his body were soon rejoined as two masses of serpents sprouted from both parts of the open torso and connected, before drawing the severed body back together. Though he had survived the Nidaime's assault, Hebi no Atsumari regeneration took a lot of chakra to perform. The snake-eyed shinobi was left feeling winded and burnt throughout his overtaxed chakra pathways.
"Curse you! How did you free yourself from my control?" Orochimaru choked out while slithering up to stand on two feet. Blood was leaking steadily out of his twisted lips.
The Nidaime turned a pair of imperious red eyes at the traitor. "Do you really think that I, the creator of the Edo Tensei, did not take precautions so that it could not be turned against me? When I created it I also devised a secret seal, which I branded upon my very soul to ensure that no one could ever control me upon my resurrection in this world. Though I must thank you for completing the jutsu by rendering the corpses animate and self-aware."
Orochimaru scowled at this revelation and then realised that the Shodai Hokage had disappeared. "And what of your brother? What did you do to him?"
"Regrettably my brother died before I could put the same seal on him that I myself bear. After I put a Contract Seal on each of those two coffins, I effectively removed your authority over us. Because Hashirama lacked the seal to make his soul independent, he has returned to the Pure World."
Orochimaru's frown deepened. "Then how are you still here if he is gone?"
"The seal I devised means that I no longer require a conduit to be here. My soul is bound to this body for as long as I wish to remain here. Your plan has failed. You have been ensnared in the ambush you set for my student. Now I will destroy you," the Nidaime declared while flashing through a new series of hand seals.
Eyes widening in alarm, Orochimaru quickly cried out to his subordinates from Otogakure to drop the barrier and retreat. As a gigantic wave of water rose into the air and began to descend with crushing force, the Otokage transformed the lower half of his body into that of a snake's and slithered away at great speed. He barely escaped the thunderous deluge of chakra-infused water. Orochimaru decided that there was no way he was hanging around to fight two Kage-level enemies. The destruction of Konoha would have to wait for another day. At least now he could focus on possessing the body of Uchiha Sasuke and gaining the mighty Sharingan.
As Tobirama watched Orochimaru flee from him with his Oto subordinates in tow, he felt a sense of shame come over him. That the village he had helped to establish had given birth to such a vile creature as Orochimaru was not something to be proud of. Mulling on this, he didn't even react as a group of ANBU sped after the Otokage in dogged pursuit.
The sound of Sarutobi speaking finally brought the Nidaime out of his thoughts. "Tobirama-sensei… is it really you?"
"Yes, Hiruzen, it is I."
"I—please forgive me, sensei. The one who summoned you here was once my prize student. A true genius, but, as you have seen, he is quite insane."
The Nidaime frowned briefly at the thought that Sarutobi's teachings should have created such a hideous man. Orochimaru's chakra had the feel of death about it. It whispered of unspeakable crimes. But to a small extent it also carried the potency of the Senju within it, meaning that, however distantly, Orochimaru was related to the founder clan of Konoha. That apple had fallen quite far from the tree.
"Well… you are forgiven, my student. Though I do hope you will deal with that menace."
"Of course, sensei! This was an act of war. The Leaf will be mobilised and he will be brought to justice," Sarutobi replied, blushing in embarrassment at being chided by his long-dead master.
"Good. And I shall help you. That cretin knows the secrets of one of my most terrible forbidden techniques. Therefore he and anyone connected to him must die. Until that day I will remain among the living," the Nidaime said before turning his gaze out upon the village he had helped to create.
"Konoha has grown impressively," he commented. "And you are old now. Many years have passed since my death, then?"
"Uh, yes, sensei. I am, as you willed it, the Sandaime Hokage. But as you see on the mountain, there was a Yondaime. Unfortunately he sacrificed himself when the village was attacked by the Kyuubi no Kitsune. His untimely death saved Konoha from certain destruction."
At this news the Nidaime looked truly shocked. "The Kyuubi escaped its jinchuuriki? Who was she? Was it Mito?" he asked.
"No, I'm afraid your brother's honourable wife was already long dead when the Kyuubi struck. The jinchuuriki's name was Uzumaki Kushina, wife of the Yondaime, Namikaze Minato," Sarutobi explained sombrely. His memories of that terrible night still left him feeling bitter. The loss of Konoha's Yellow Flash and his fearsome wife in one night, along with the colossal devastation wrought by the Kyuubi, had been a truly damning catastrophe. Not to mention the cruel burden it had left on one of the village's finest sons.
"Namikaze, hm? The toad summoners. Yes, they were loyal and brave allies of the Senju when we fought against the Uchiha. But I recall there were few of them left in my time, much like the Hatake clan."
Sarutobi nodded. "Yes, although he is not the last Namikaze by blood, Minato was the last to carry the clan's name. In fact, sensei, he was your grandson."
The Nidaime jumped as if he'd been slapped in the face. "What!" he cried. Sarutobi grinned teasingly.
"Yes, after your death your daughter grew up and became a kunoichi. She went on to marry her teammate and give him a son, who was the genius known as Konoha's Yellow Flash, Namikaze Minato."
"Wh—" the Nidaime stammered, unable to form a coherent thought. Finally he managed to ask, "My daughter, is she alive?"
Sarutobi shook his head slowly. "I'm sorry, sensei. She and her husband died in combat years ago when Minato was still a young boy."
The Nidaime's head fell as he took in this dark news. It really shouldn't have surprised him. His daughter would have been not much younger than Sarutobi, who was of a seasoned age that was rare among ninja.
"Then I have no family—no descendants," he uttered with a forlorn sigh.
In his work as Hokage Sarutobi had told many lies to many people without so much as blinking. But he had never avoided the truth when addressing either of his esteemed teachers. And he wasn't about to start now, either.
"Tobirama-sensei, I—there is one," he muttered.
"A single descendant of yours who still lives."
"Okay. Enough with the suspense already, who is it?" Tobirama demanded.
Sarutobi hesitated for a moment longer before finally caving in. Naruto deserved to know his heritage. And once word spread of the Nidaime's return there would be few foolish enough to come after Naruto to settle old grudges held against Minato.
"Your great grandson, the son of Minato and Kushina, is a genin of this village. However, he is also the reason that his parents are dead," the Sandaime intoned mournfully.
"You mean… he is the Kyuubi's new jinchuuriki?"
A nod from his student was all Tobirama needed as confirmation. "Do the villagers know? How is he treated? Who raised him if not my grandson and the boy's mother?"
Sarutobi sighed. "Yes, the villagers know and for most of his life he has been hated and shunned. But the boy is resilient and I have done what I can for him without endangering him. He grew up an orphan and lives alone."
The Nidaime clenched his fist and held back the tide of anger and sadness that was surging within him. "Hashirama was right to keep Mito's special status a secret from the villagers, then. But explain to me, Hiruzen, why does the boy live alone? Why didn't the Senju clan adopt him after his father's death? He is my descendant after all!"
"Uh, sensei, the boy doesn't know who his parents were or anything else about his heritage for that matter. Nor do the villagers. Only a handful of people know who he really is."
The look of growing anger and disappointment on his sensei's face made Sarutobi feel terrible.
"Why, pray tell, did you keep my descendant's identity a secret from him and deny him his birthright as a Senju?"
"Well, about that… your grandson Minato earned quite a name for himself during the last war. He slaughtered a huge number of Iwa-nin using an S-ranked space-time jutsu called Hiraishin. In doing so he earned the moniker 'Konoha's Yellow Flash', but also many sworn enemies yearning to avenge their fallen loved ones and comrades. To protect the boy from his father's bloody legacy we have kept him in the dark," Sarutobi explained, hoping to calm his sensei down.
The Nidaime considered this before nodding hesitantly. "Well, I accept your decision. But things have changed and now that I'm back I will protect the boy. His identity should be revealed at least to him."
Sarutobi nodded in acceptance. He wasn't about to refuse the wishes of someone directly related to Naruto when it concerned the boy's family life, especially not someone possessed of the Nidaime's towering authority. Just standing in the man's commanding aura was making the Sandaime feel like a clumsy youth all over again.
"Um, sensei. There' something else you should know. The Senju clan…"
"Yes, what of it?" Tobirama asked, quirking an eyebrow.
"It—It's almost gone." There. He said it. The Sandaime cringed slightly while awaiting his sensei's response.
"Uh, come again." Penetrating crimson eyes pierced Sarutobi's composure, demanding an answer.
"Well, after your death, your clansmen tended to produce female offspring, who in turn tended to marry outside the clan. The Senju males, by gross misfortune, suffered heavily in the various wars that Konoha has been involved in, while tending not to reproduce. To make a long story short, there is only one person alive, aside from yourself, carrying the surname 'Senju' and she is your grandniece, Tsunade." Oh dear, he's going to kill me, Sarutobi thought, eyes barely open as he waited for the expected punch to the face for bearing such loathsome news.
"My clan is all but dead? The strongest clan to ever exist? It's inconceivable!" Tobirama exclaimed, truly stunned by his student's retelling of history.
"I'm sorry, sensei. The Senju bloodline isn't lost, at least. It has been mixed into the various allied clans that supported the Senju before Konoha's founding. And, well, you could always claim Naruto as your heir and name him a Senju. I have in my office the official papers showing his family tree, which would substantiate your claim."
The Nidaime nodded with conviction. "Yes, I shall do just that. Naruto, did you say? Hm, a good name. If I have but one descendant in this world, then I shall be damned before I let him live in solitude, hated by the village that I created together with my brother!"
Sarutobi nodded, thinking to himself that at last Naruto would catch a break in life.
"Anyway, my student, it seems the battle is not yet over. More fighting is taking place over there," Tobirama said while gesturing away from the stadium, toward a distant column of smoke rising into the sky.
Together master and student used Shunshin to move toward the combat. The blue armour-clad Senju arrived a couple of heartbeats earlier than the elderly Sarutobi. The first thing he saw was a gigantic snake summon and a group of ninja bearing the hitai-ate of Suna fighting against a scattered group of Konoha chuunin. With deadly precision, Tobirama began to slice through the ranks of the enemy using armour-penetrating water projectiles.
Meanwhile Sarutobi brought the giant snake crashing down with a Doton jutsu, which transformed the earth beneath it into a bog, before finishing it off with an intense fire blast.
All around the two Hokage, Konoha ninja began to cheer as the tide of battle abruptly turned in their favour. The sight of not one, but two Hokage (one of whom had miraculously risen from the grave) fighting against the foes of the village was heartening for all those who witnessed it.
It would be an arduous and gruesome day that greeted the resurrected Nidaime. But at the end of it he would find the last of his descendants peacefully asleep in a hospital bed recovering from his own epic battle, which all reports said he had won heroically.
To think he summoned Gamabunta at his age… and defeated Shukaku! In his blood the power of the Senju, Uzumaki, and Namikaze are combined. What amazing potential…
As he gazed upon the sun-coloured hair and whiskered face of his great grandson, Senju Tobirama swore an oath to do everything in his power to help the boy accomplish his dreams, whatever they might be.
So, how was it? Please leave a review. I'm pretty keen to continue this fic so expect an update soon.
Kuchiyose: Edo Tensei – Summoning: Impure World Resurrection
Suiton: Mizu Kamikiri – Water Release: Rising Water Slicer
Hebi no Atsumari – Gathering of the Snakes
Shunshin no Jutsu – Body Flicker Technique