Chapter 47: The Eyes Have It
"So, how is Naruto, anyway?" Jiraiya asked.
"Well, from what I got out of Mizuki at my last therapy session, tired with a dash of 'yay, we did it, awesome,'" Orochimaru replied. "I did mention the damn sea of shadow clones that night, right?"
"Noted," Jiraiya said. "So…know how sensei's going to swing this?"
"Well, he got Tsunade to promise that if anything happens to him, she'll take the hat until Uzumaki is ready, oh, and we are to find some way to blame the massacre on Akatsuki. If you have a lie planned, that'd be wonderful," Orochimaru said. "Hmm…looks like mostly everything was taken…"
"Look, that is the exact state I found the place in, can you say if you know what Kabuto has planned or not?" Jiraiya asked as Orochimaru skimmed the paper.
"Probably not. As you will recall from our genin days, I'm not that organized a person," Orochimaru said. "Though this does look odd, you see-"
Cappy appeared on the table with a note in his mouth. The note was readable from there, bearing only two words.
"That can't be good," Jiraiya said.
The two Sannin met up with their third member on the way up the tower stairs and were greeted by their sensei, Naruto, Kakashi, Homura, Koharu, and Ibiki.
"Cloud's been attacked," Sarutobi said. "The host of the Two-Tails is gone."
"But not the Eight-Tails host?" Jiraiya checked.
"He was elsewhere at the time and now not allowed out of the Raikage's sight," Ibiki said. "Just like Naruto will be stuck with two jonin minimum from now on."
"Thank god I live with more than that many. We have enough houseguests," Naruto said. Kakashi smacked him on the back of the head. "Hey! Sensei won't like you hitting me!"
"Itachi got one of the teams whose jonin didn't come back from Sound. Seven's with me now," Kakashi replied. "Makes guarding you easier, though."
"I'm stuck with you?" Naruto yelled in horror.
"Yes, you are," Sarutobi said simply. "Orochimaru, Jiraiya, the reason you are here is that one of the attackers was Kabuto. What have you found out?"
"Weren't you about to say something about that before we were called?" Jiraiya asked.
"Yes. The areas you said looked used were where I was working on perfecting Edo Tensei," Orochimaru said, not reacting as everyone shot him angry and horrified looks. "Oh please, you asked, people."
"Define…perfecting…" Ibiki asked warily.
"Figuring out how to summon say, an army of extremely powerful but now-dead…oh," Orochimaru said. His eye twitched. "That….little…bastard…"
"Okay, if you can tell us how to do it, maybe we can neutralize it?" Koharu theorized.
"…I don't know how to use the perfect version. It was hypothetical," Orochimaru said. "The best I can do are only about a step up from a few human puppets."
"Slow down there, snakey," Tsunade snarled. "You're telling me you all-but handed this guy a massively powerful forbidden jutsu…and you don't know how to use the version of it he'll be using?"
"Exactly," Orochimaru agreed, accepting his fate and getting punched through the wall.
"Homura, go question Danzou extensively on Kabuto. Any possible methods that were left out, any motives he may have-" Sarutobi began.
"Not necessary," Orochimaru drawled. "Kabuto's motivations are disgustingly simple. He wants an identity."
"What?" Naruto asked.
"An identity. You are Naruto Uzumaki and likely can tell me what being that means. I am Orochimaru and while our opinions on what that means may differ, I still know who I am," Orochimaru continued, still not getting up from his crater of plaster. "He does not know what being Kabuto Yakushi means and is looking for the answer."
"What, you never got the kid a self-help book?" Jiraiya asked.
"I thought I was 'teaching the man to fish' as it were," Orochimaru admitted. "It seems he is seeking an identity via…rather disturbing acts."
"Coming from you, that really doesn't say much," Tsuande huffed.
"Disssssturbing on your terms, then," Orochimaru hissed.
"You said one of the attackers was Kabuto. Who was the other?" Ibiki asked.
"Our masked friend," the Hokage said darkly. "The man who calls himself Madara."
"What do you mean you don't know where they went?" A demanded, smashing a fist against his desk.
"Remember to breathe, bro, can't have the kage asphyxiate you know," Killerbee cautioned.
"And you! Be quiet!" A shouted. "I'm trying to work here!"
"Then maybe you should let me be free instead of trapped in here with A and C," Bee huffed.
"You are staying put and that is final!" the Raikage told his little brother. "We have Madara Uchiha and who knows who else on the loose and you think I'll let you wander around on your own? Not a chance!"
"Back to square one again…" Tsunade sighed. "We have to be missing something…"
"We won't know unless we know what Kabuto is capable of," Sarutobi said. "Jiraiya, help Orochimaru try to figure out how Kabuto could have completed Edo Tensei so quickly if Orochimaru hadn't yet. Orochimaru, no human experimentation when you're doing that. Cooperate fully and you may be allowed some more privileges. Kakashi, I'm assigning Team Seven to go through every scrap of historical evidence they can find on Madara. I expect a full report in a few days."
"First mission with a team and it's a history report…" Kakashi sighed. "Can I at least get Iruka to help? I don't really mesh well with administrative ninjas, in case you forgot."
"Fine," Sarutobi said. "Tsunade, continue hospital preparations."
"Why do we have to do this at my house?" Sasuke sighed.
"Because you live in the Uchiha compound," Sakura pointed out. "Wow, Madara was a sexist jerk…"
"Whoa. Tsubaki-neechan would smack him for that one," Naruto said, reading the document over her shoulder.
"Okay, so we have Sasuke's deduction that Madara is, and I quote, an 'egoist blood knight with no concept of compromise' and him being a sexist jerk," Iruka noted. "Kakashi, please tell me you're doing better..?"
"He definitely has no descendants," Kakashi replied. "Name was stricken from use within the clan…he disliked pork…"
"Well, we now know Chouji really won't like him," Sasuke said dryly. "Hmm…hey! Looks like he and Izuna had…other brothers?!"
"What?" Sakura asked.
"How could no one know that?" Naruto added.
"Well we did demolish the family archives to find this stuff, could have been tucked in the back for years and no one noticed," Sasuke pointed out. "Um…they were killed before Konoha was founded…both by Senju during the warring clans period…looks like the Shodaime and Nidaime had a younger brother too, the Uchiha killed him…how the hell were he and Hashirama ever friends with that?"
"Tsunade-sama tends to recall her grandfather as overly kind and trusting," Kakashi offered.
"That'll do it," Iruka said. "Okay, so there was clearly very, very bad blood not just between Uchiha and Senju but Madara and Hashirama…"
"Hey…didn't Izuna die…before the First World War?" Sasuke asked. "I know he went into battle blind…"
"First Hokage died then too," Sakura said. "There were a lot of wars before the first World War. There was a lot of chaos due to the villages all trying to form and snuff out competition and protect themselves and other crazy stuff."
"So…what did Izuna do about his brother?" Sasuke asked.
"…Nothing," Naruto said, peering at a scroll. "Looks like he never commented one way or the other, even though Madara outright took his eyes…just went into battle like that was that and died out there."
"Maybe a form of penance?" Iruka suggested. "For not seeing it coming?…No pun intended."
"I don't know," Sasuke said. "If Itachi went evil my first instinct would be to beat some sense into him."
"But…Madara and Hashirama were in a league of their own, and Madara had Izuna's eyes," Kakashi said. "What would you do if that scenario happened and you knew you couldn't beat Itachi?"
"…Either assemble a team to handle what I cannot in fighting him or wait until I could take him…oh…" Sasuke said. "Izuna never would have had that chance. Without his eyes, no way, no how…"
"Why did Madara want the eyes again?" Naruto yawned.
"Because…I don't know," Sasuke admitted. "This doesn't say…they both had the Mangekyo, right? We could ask Shisui…"
"Or ask someone who'd shown a very vested interest in two other Uchiha siblings," Kakashi said. "I think Orochimaru might know something about this…"
"No more homework?" Naruto asked hopefully.
"No more homework," Kakashi sighed.
"I'm really getting to know Konoha wall composition today," Orochimaru sighed as Jiraiya pulled him out of the plaster Kakashi had planted him in. "Really, Hatake, why fight someone who's not going to fight back?"
"You know why Madara Uchiha took Izuna's eyes," Kakashi said calmly.
"And I'm supposed to tell you just because you hit me as soon as you see me?" Orochimaru asked.
"…Yes," Kakashi decided.
"Wow, new-sensei is hardcore," Naruto joked. Iruka smacked his brother over the head with a sigh.
"Look, you clearly were invested in me gaining the Sharingan," Sasuke said. "And in keeping an eye on Itachi. Why?"
"…No more punching me through walls," Orochimaru bargained.
"We'll see," Jiraiya said.
"No, no more punching me through walls," Orochimaru said. "It's aggravating and rattles my head."
"You will not be punched through a wall for the remainder of this conversation," Iruka offered.
"Deal," Orochimaru said. "Now, I will preface my statement by saying it only would have mattered if both Sasuke and Itachi gained the Mangekyo, likely in the manner Izuna and Madara did and not by the whole killing-your-closest-friend-or-lover thing."
"Wait, then how did Izuna and Madara do it?" Sakura asked, interested.
"I'd assume some form of training that has been lost, though I have some theories as to it relating to a combination of failing at protecting others and a willingness to do anything to do so in the future. The warring clans period was a bit more likely to evoke such emotions," Orochimaru said. "However, as I'm sure Hatake or Shisui Uchiha could tell you, the Mangekyo has another price."
"The more you use it, the more the eye goes blind," Kakashi said when everyone looked at him. "Hence only using mine in extreme emergencies. Same with Shisui."
"But that's only if it's your eye, or in the case of Kakashi and Danzou, an eye implanted in a non-Uchiha," Orochimaru said. "Siblings can swap eyes once they both have the Mangekyo and be stronger for it."
"Swap…eyes?" Naruto asked, looking creeped out.
"Yes. My research into the matter suggest that the eyes' full power is only retained in a sibling swap," Orochimaru continued.
"So back in your body-snatching period you assumed that you would get Itachi and Sasuke to both get the Mangekyo, then you'd swap their eyes, kill one, and keep the other with an un-fading set," Jiraiya guessed.
"Close," Orochimaru said. "Some research indicates that the Mangekyo holds the key to immortality-"
"Aka your goal," Sasuke said.
"-however I have another theory," Orochimaru said. "I think the Mangekyo would actually lead to the Rinnegan."
Jiraiya looked stunned, "What?"
"You know, the eyes that one kid you taught had," Orochimaru said. "The third and most powerful of the great doujutsus. I think it holds the key to unlocking the origins of ninjutsu itself."
"…And?" Iruka asked.
"I'm a researcher. The origin of ninjutsu fascinates me," Orochimaru said flippantly. "And since from the looks of things that kid grew up to be strong enough to run Akatsuki, I think my methods made more sense than simply trying to hunt him down and cut out his eyes."
"You considered that?" Jiraiya yelled.
"A little. But I assumed he'd died and the eyes would have been long decomposed," Orochimaru said. "Until we got the new intelligence, anyway."
"So, wait, then Madara made sure not to trade eyes," Sasuke mused. "Because then Izuna might have stopped him?"
"It's impossible to know," Orochimaru admitted. "Well, until Kabuto starts resurrecting people, then I'll assume we'll get to ask Izuna himself. While he tries to kill us."
Iruka kicked the snake Sannin under the table.
"Clever. Not punching me," Orochimaru said.
'But none of this explains why Madara is with Akatsuki," Naruto complained.
"No, it doesn't," Orochimaru said. "Or if it's really Madara at all."
"What do you mean?" Jiraiya asked.
"I agree with Itachi, none of what he did sounds quite like what I've researched as Madara's typical tactics, besides the boasting, anyway," Orochimaru said. "He's too…slippery. Madara would let attacks hit him to show they wouldn't work. This one often made sure to dodge, by the reports."
"Well, he's be really old by now," Sakura noted. "If he was Madara. Maybe he got weaker."
"A decent point," Orochimaru admitted. "But really, that's all I've got. So unless you're going to start going over scientific chakra theorems with me, get lost."
Yugito struggled against the energy pinning her. She could feel the Nibi being pulled from her seal so, so painfully, but she was still hanging on.
Until one of the statue's eyes opened and the cat's chakra was yanked from her. Then she knew no more.
"So we've got a crazy person claiming to be a dead crazy person?" Chiyo asked.
"Right," Kankuro confirmed. "The Tsuchikage and Uchiha Itachi were sure it wasn't really Madara, but whoever it was, they were tough."
"So he wants to put everyone under one big genjutsu? Why?" Matsuri asked.
Gaara, under guard but refusing to shirk his duties as a sensei, shrugged. "The current bet is that it is how Akatsuki plans to take over the world."
"But…why?" Matsuri asked. "I mean, wouldn't that technique just kill everyone if all it does is make them sleep and dream?"
"Maybe," Temari said, correcting both Matsuri and Gaara's taijutsu stances. "Which kind of defeats the purpose of taking over if everyone's dead."
"But what if they're not sleeping?" Kankuro wondered. "What if it's more like a…trance of something? Like being a puppet?"
"No one knows," Baki said. "But that's a good guess."
"So, we just all get ready for war?" Gaara asked, his sand blocking a kick from Matsuri.
The village's alarms sounded.
"It sounds like we need to already be ready," Temari said grimly.
A/N: Really, really trying not to be dead! As you'll notice, this has a different title than originally planned. We were going to spend more time in Cloud, but Orochimaru's speech ran long.
Yes, I am messing with the Uchiha Clan's backstory a bit. Anything not specifically messed with is the same as canon, but things like Izuna are different. Also my guessing into how Madara and Izuna got he Mangekyo without killing each other is non-canon, but it's my best idea.
Next time: Why are alarms sounding in Suna? Is Gaara next? Who is Itachi in charge of now and will they survive being his students? Let;'s find out!
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