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Part One
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Part Two
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Volume Sixty-Five Manga Summary
Naruto: VOLUME 65
Title: Hashirama to Madara ~ Hashirama and Madara




Chapter 618: "The Ones Who Know Everything" - Standing before the ruins of an Uzumaki Clan building, Suigetsu jokes about the poor state of the abandoned shrine. Sasuke questions which it is and Orochimaru looks to the wall decked with many hanging reaper masks. He removes the mask he is looking for and Suigetsu encourages them to hurry up and head out, as the place gives him chills. Orochimaru agrees, as it's time to head to where all the secrets slumber. The quartet head through the village and Sasuke jumps to the top of a water tower to survey it. He remarks that it's changed a lot and Suigetsu questions what's up with the man. Orochimaru offers that it's like when he planned to crush the Leaf, even though he's on a divergent path from the village, one still carries fond memories of it. To that end, he's coming to terms with his plans and affirming his resolve. Suigetsu asks if he's done the same? If so, he's got his top men right now and the village is all but empty, the perfect time to finally strike? Orochimaru mulls the thought but explains that Suigetsu made one mistake, they're not Snake anymore. Finally reaching their destination, Sasuke stands before a large stone slab marked with a Sharingan. As a jutsu activates, the slab slides across the ground pushing aside debris to reveal a descending staircase. Orochimaru offers that there's nothing left of the Nakano Shrine. Sasuke admits that on the surface at least, what's important is below. With flames lit, the hidden stone marker of the Uchiha stands before them. They remove their robes and Orochimaru places the reaper mask to his face. He lets out a yell as chakra bursts forth and the Shinigami comes into being around him. As Sasuke looks on we flashback to a conversation about the scroll Suigetsu found and their upcoming plans. Orochimaru explains that they need the Shinigami's mask first, which can be found in the Uzumaki temple on the outskirts of Konoha. Then one must allow the Shinigami of the Shiki Fuujin to possess their body. Next if one cut its' stomach and sacrifice your body, the seal with break... As the Shinigami withdraws its dagger and slices its belly, Orochimaru explains that it will allow him to regain his arms from the Shinigami's stomach. As the cut finishes, several living specters fly from the wound. Suddenly Orochimaru's own belly splits in mimicry of the cut. One specter flies to connect with Orochimaru, his formerly excised arms. With full jutsu power regained, he goes on to the next step... Edo Tensei. To summon *those four*, they'll need something more. The flashback plan continues as Suigetsu accuses the man of keeping he and Juugo around for sacrifices. Orochimaru says that could work, but there are better options, even if they can't see them. In the present, Orochimaru tells them to get ready as he removes the reaper mask. Entering into his Sennin Mode, Juugo places his arm on Sasuke. Suddenly tendrils emerge from the man's body, growing out to form six White Zetsu in response to the chakra; clones put in place by Tobi to watch over Sasuke. The Zetsu questions how they knew and Orochimaru offers that he knew all about them from his own experiments with Hashirama's cells and their sensory skills. To place six meant Tobi was being careful. Clutching his wounded stomach, Orochimaru explains that he learned of them when he removed his chakra from Kabuto. In turn, he gained the man's intel, as Kabuto had learned of their attachment to Sasuke. A short time passes and four Zetsu lay bound on the floor over the seal marks for Edo Tensei. Orochimaru leaves the remaining two for Juugo and Suigetsu and the final part of the plan is revealed. Orochimaru explains that he already had the genetic material for those four, being a collector and all. As Suigetsu pries open the mouth of one of the two remaining Zetsu, he announces he's ready. Juugo states the same and Orochimaru places his hand to the ground to activate Edo Tensei. Ash rises over the four bound sacrifices as they take on their new forms. Orochimaru announces their coming and bolts from the mouth of his body in his White Snake form using Fushi Tensei. He heads to the mouth of the Zetsu held by Suigetsu and slithers inside. As Suigetsu releases the bound man, he's already changed form, as Orochimaru gazes on from his new host body. Now finished, the man announces the arrival of their new guests, finally freed from the Shinigami, the ones who know it all... Standing before them are four resurrected men... the previous Hokage!...




Chapter 619: "A Clan Possessed By Evil" - Suigetsu is surprised that the man before them is the First Hokage, touted as a god of shinobi. Tobirama identifies Orochimaru's handiwork again and his brother asks what's going on. Hiruzen surmises that the Shiki Fuujin was released, then they were revived with Edo Tensei. Minato offers surprise that a way was found to release the seal and Orochimaru admonishes Minato for underestimating him. Orochimaru explains that the Shiki Fuujin was originally an Uzumaki Clan sealing jutsu. After losing his jutsu usage ability, he simply researched through the scattered documents of the ruined clan to learn its secrets. Turning his attention to the First, Minato offers that they've been resurrected. Tobirama and Hashirama look to the man and the First questions just who he is. Pointing at the title on his back, Minato explains that he's the Fourth Hokage. Hashirama is excited at the news, since it means the village lasted and was stable. Minato counters that he's not so sure of that, as he actually died and was sealed away much earlier than the Third. Hashirama asks if he means earlier than the incident that sealed away his brother and the Third? An embarrassed Minato answers yes. Hashirama then questions who is the Fifth then? Orochimaru reveals it's the man's own granddaughter Tsunade. Hashirama is instantly depressed and asks if the village is really okay in Tsuna's hands. Minato ponders the worry and Hashirama brightens, explaining that she was his first grandchild and he spoiled her rotten. In fact she even picked up his bad gambling habits as a toddler. As the First bursts into laughter, Suigetsu contemplates how the man isn't quite the god he expected. Tobirama offers disapproval at Edo Tensei being used so casually. Orochimaru offers that it's not complex, and the man shouldn't have developed it anyway. In fact, many of the policies and jutsu the Second developed caused many problems. Tobirama questions if the man plans to attack Konoha again? A frustrated Hiruzen chimes in, offering that he took away Orochimaru's ability to use jutsu, but he was still revived to be pitted against their village. Hashirama rubs his forehead and ruminates that conflict happens no matter what the era. Moreover Edo Tensei... he warned Tobirama... Tobirama tells his elder brother to hush as he's speaking to the youngster. Hashirama attempts to counter but his younger brother tells him to be silent. Hashirama pouts, leaving Suigetsu to consider the god of shinobi undignified. Opening his arms in an unarmed posture, Orochimaru asks to not be misunderstood, he has no inclination to conquer Konoha. It's why they still retain their personalities, there are certain circumstances in play, so he wanted to set the stage for discourse. Sasuke identifies himself by his name, which surprised Hiruzen. Tobirama expresses no surprise at an Uchiha helping the scoundrel who revived them. Hashirama yells for his brother to stop saying such things, leaving his brother to call him soft in turn. Sasuke tells them to not focus on him.

     Looking to Hiruzen, Sasuke asks why he made Itachi do what he did. Hiruzen voices understanding that Sasuke finally learned the truth and Sasuke reveals he killed Itachi to avenge their clan. Hiruzen is silent and Sasuke explains that he learned the truth later from Danzou and Tobi. It made him lean towards vengeance against Konoha. However, he wants to hear the truth about Itachi from his own mouth. Hiruzen acknowledges that he did indeed have Itachi kill their brethren, bear the charges of traitor and join Akatsuki. From the time he was child, Itachi paid heed to the teachings and signs of their predecessors when others wouldn't. He was a sensitive child who understood the village history and shinobi. Perhaps for that reason he was never bound to the trappings of a clan, he was able to think ahead about the future of shinobi and the village. He worried about that future and at the young age of seven, thought quite like a Hokage. Everything was left in Itachi's hands and he carried out his mission perfectly. He slaughtered his clan to stop a revolt and prevent a war all by himself. He even spied on Akatsuki, all on the condition Hiruzen himself would protect Sasuke. Sasuke looks dejected and proffers that it's all true then. Tobirama suggests that it's the clan's cursed fate, but to learn they’re almost extinct now after planning a coup... He thought it might come to something like that, as rebellious elements bearing Madara's will had been smoldering. Orochimaru counters that it was Tobirama himself who helped drive them to it, as he sowed the seeds of it in the creation of the Uchiha police force. Tobirama is confused and Orochimaru explains that those who crack down on crime are disliked, plus the more authority they have the more conceited they'll get. By building on the police station next to the prison on the pretext of monitoring criminals, he consciously placed them on the outskirts of the village. This helped foster those who believed in Madara. Hashirama chides his brother, stating that didn't he warn him not to slight the Uchiha? Tobirama submits that he gave them a job they were suited for and believed that even if another Madara emerged, they could deal with it. After all, as he well knows, the Uchiha are clan possessed by evil. Sasuke glares at the man and Orochimaru questions that it's like Madara left a scar upon them to fear the Uchiha so. Tobirama tells the youngster that he does not know Madara. Sasuke gathers himself and asks the Second just what is it he knows about the Uchiha? Tobirama explains that the Uchiha and Senju have a long history of battling each other, as they were originally enemies. Sasuke says he knows that part, what does he mean by evil? Hashirama closes his eyes and purses his lips as his brother explains that it was once thought that while the Senju based their strength on love and the Uchiha on jutsu power, that wasn't the truth. The sound quartet are confused and Tobirama continues. He offers that in fact no one feels love deeper than the Uchiha, that's why they suppressed it and sealed it away. Once an Uchiha knows love all their emotions are released, which awakens a power that exceeds that of the Senju. Suigetsu inquires how that is a problem, shouldn't that mean they would get along with the Senju? Tobirama tenders that the power hides within it that possibility of losing control. For when an Uchiha who knows such a deep love loses it, it's replaced with a stronger hate that changes them. He's seen it happen many times, it's when a certain special condition emerges. When an Uchiha writhes in agony over such a huge loss of love or disappointment in themself, a unique chakra gets released inside their brain that causes the optic nerve to react and change the appearance of their eye. A phenomena known as Sharingan, the “eyes that reflect ones heart”. The Sharingans taps into the power in their heart and increases their strength, along with the power of their hate. There were many sensitive individuals within the Uchiha and nearly all those exposed to those strong emotions were overtaken by evil. The deeper the darkness gets, the greater the ocular power that develops until that person can no longer be stopped, just like Madara. Hashirama expounds that Madara cared for his own younger brother greatly, probably more so than Itachi did for Sasuke. Tobirama poses that he thought he arranged things to guide the Uchiha so they could help the village, but if they self-destructed, so be it. Either way they were of use to the village. Hashirama chastises his brother for such cold words, as their audience is an innocent Uchiha child. Tobirama coolly proposes that only the village matters, Hashirama should know that well. Forming his Mangekyou, Sasuke offers that he isn't bothered, he's neither innocent nor a child. Tobirama recognizes the Mangekyou development and Sasuke turns his attention back to Hashirama and asks a direct question. What does it mean to be a village and what does it mean to be a shinobi?...




Chapter 620: "Senju Hashirama" - Hashirama ponders the question and Sasuke comments further, offering that Itachi was used by the village but defended it with his life, dying a proud Konoha shinobi. So what does it mean when one protects their village by killing their whole family at the cost of their own life? In addition, what of the shinobi who created such circumstances? He concludes by declaring that he'll hear the man's words and then make his final decision whether to seek vengeance against Konoha or... We flashback as Sasuke and Orochimaru journey to Konoha. Sasuke questions that Orochimaru once tried to destroy it. At first he believed it was as Orochimaru said, just a whim, but now he knows that wasn't the case. So what was the real reason? Back in the present Tobirama is unimpressed by the bravado, concluding the brat is possessed by the Uchiha's evil. If that's how it should be... with his arms crossed, his chakra wells. The others are shaken by the man's surge but Hashirama quells things by coldly eyeing his brother and calling him by name. The sudden burst of chakra to quiet the man rattles the shrine, sending cracks throughout. As Tobirama looks to his brother, Juugo moves to shield Sasuke and Suigetsu wilts from the man's strong presence. Orochimaru forms a hand sign and Hashirama directs the finger to be lowered. Tobirama understands the directive is aimed at him, and lowers his index finger in his crossed arms. Tobirama tells his brother to not get riled up but the other simply bursts into laughter and apologizes. Seeing the cracks formed by Hashirama’s glare, the two other Hokage marvel at Hashirama's power. Tobirama turns his head in pout and Hashirama compliments Sasuke on having an excellent older brother, a shinobi even greater than himself. He doesn't mind explaining everything, but it will take some time. Orochimaru asks that it be quick, as they're in the middle of a war. He then reveals that Uchiha Madara was resurrected and plots to end the shinobi world. All four Hokage are stunned and Hashirama rubs his forehead, cursing how conflict happens no matter what the era. Minato is rattled as well, and Tobirama points out a powerful chakra. Minato recognizes Naruto and the Kyuubi's chakra and grasps that his son and the Kyuubi are now fighting together. Tobirama surmises that Orochimaru tells the truth, as he can sense Madara's chakra. Hiruzen affirms that they must head out quickly then but Orochimaru explains they're still under his control. They can head out after they're through talking. Hiruzen yells that they can talk later, as Madara's revival is a grave matter. Orochimaru calmly explains that he plans to stay at Sasuke side, and will help him destroy Konoha with the Hokage themselves should Sasuke choose so. Hiruzen is infuriated by his former student's gall and Tobirama points out that Orochimaru is forgetting something. The fact Edo Tensei was further honed from last time means they were brought back closer to their original power; and he's not one to be bound by a man like Orochimaru, as he was the one who invented the jutsu. As Tobirama places his palm onto a wall to crack it to cause an exit, he affirms to his brother that they have to no choice, he has to act. Tobirama suddenly jolts to a stop and Hashirama congratulates Hiruzen on training such a good shinobi. Tobirama attempts to move but finds he cannot, as Orochimaru maintains a hand seal to hold him in place. Orochimaru offers thanks that a god of shinobi would praise him so. Hashirama concludes that the man acquired his cells to enhance his binding power. He then cautions his brother that his instincts appear to have dulled. Tobirama looks to Orochimaru and deduces that upon looking closer, the man's body does appear to mostly be composed of his brother's cells. As Hashirama smiles and attempts to put the commotion behind them, Orochimaru narrows his eyes at the man, ascertaining that Hashirama is different. The man could undo the binding at any time, so he best not let does his guard. Hashirama tells Orochimaru to not fret, as he plans to prioritize as needed and undo the ill feelings binding the child. Opening his arms in supplication, Hashirama affirms that he does not know which way the Uchiha child will decide, but he does know that if he ignores Sasuke now, he'll just become the next Madara. In which case even if the war ends with their side winning, it will still be pointless. Tobirama sighs and offers to his brother that he can do as he pleases then. Finally ready to talk, Hashirama sits down and closes his eyes. Pondering the past, he concludes that in order to explain about "village" and "shinobi" he has to go back to the beginning... We then flashback as Madara and Hashirama locks weapons and spring apart. As Madara controls the Kyuubi's rampage, Hashirama counters with a giant Mokuton dragon. Madara glares back with his Eternal Mangekyou and the Dragon snakes around the Kyuubi. The Kyuubi fires off a Bijuu Dama but the unfazed Hashirama counters, catching the sphere with a Mokuton Golem. The Golem's arm stretches back out with the sphere in its palm as Madara's Susanoo takes shape. As the giant titans rampage the words of Hashirama's tale echo... to begin, he must speak of the Uchiha and the Senju...




Chapter 621: "Hashirama and Madara" - As the Bijuu Dama slams back into the Kyuubi it detonates in a flash. As the dust clears, Susanoo armor has taken shape around the Kyuubi. Madara identifies Hashirama's jutsu, regarding it as perfect for difficult beasts. Hashirama himself also compliments his foe on his use of Susanoo. As a Susanoo sword comes swiping down, the hands of the Golem immediately catches the blade between its palms. Hashirama announces he can read the sword swings and casts a Mokuton Buddha jutsu, causing multiple wooden hands to sprout from the ground to attack. The Susanoo Kyuubi immediately whirls its blades to slice off the limbs, cutting through the nearby hills as well. Hashirama jumps to safety and concludes he'll need to move to the sea to avoid destroying more of the land. Madara goes in pursuit, declaring he won't let the man get away. He then questions if all Hashirama can do is run away? The Kyuubi generates a Bijuu Dama and then stabs it with a Susanoo blade. The speared sphere is then hurled at the retreating Hashirama and Madara challenges his opponent to try catching it. Hashirama stops in his tracks, bites him thumb and then slams his palm to the ground. Suddenly five Rashoumon Gates spring from the earth to meet the oncoming blade. The sword slams into the doors, sending them crashing backwards, enough to change the trajectory of the attack. The sword spins onwards redirected across the sea channel and detonates on the land far beyond. Hashirama marvels at the power and Madara cautions the man that it's been awhile since they've fought and he's changed since then. Hashirama slams his palms together in answer and warns that the man will destroy all that they've built so far. Their battle will gain nothing; the only ones hurt will be the village and shinobi. Madara glares and states the man knows nothing, but Hashirama attempts to cool matters, stating he does not want to kill him. Madara questions if the man thinks he really could kill him at any time? Hashirama answers no, just that they are friends. Madara declares that he's already reached the edge and the Kyuubi roars. Hashirama stares the man down and relents in understanding, affirmed finally to end it. As he closes his eyes, the colored stripes of Sennin Mode take shape. As his eyes pop open he casts Senpou: Mokuton Shinsuusenju, the Veritable Thousand Hands. Abruptly a gigantic wooden statue of a meditating enlightenment being springs forth from the ground. Multitudes of forearms dot its back and the figure dwarfs the Kyuubi. As Hashirama declares his intentions to attack, Madara urges him on. The two titans move to clash and the world goes white. As it regains comprehension, we see a stone skip across a river, then lose momentum and fall into the water. A young boy sighs and picks up another rock, determined to reach the edge of the other side next time. A rock then darts across the surface, skipping to the other bank. The boy turns to glare at his visitor and the new arrival explains that the trick is to aim higher than one would think. The young Madara purses his lips and narrows his eyes at the unknown boy. He explains that he knows that, he could reach the other side, he just has to put more into it. He then questions just who the boy is. The boy surmises that as of now, he's his stone skipping rival, though he's already reached the edge of the other side. Hashirama's narration echoes, revealing the encounter was the first time he met Uchiha Madara...




Chapter 622: "It Reached" - Madara asks for his name again and the other answers “Hashirama,” but then explains he can't reveal his family name. Madara picks up another rock, affirms he'll make it across and then hurls it. Hashirama notices the boy is throwing using a shuriken style and the rock continues skipping, only to once again fall into the water. A frazzled Madara turns and accuses the boy of standing behind him to distract him and Hashirama recoils in shock. He apologizes and Madara regains composure, offering that there's no need to get depressed, he's just making excuses. He also can’t pee when others stand behind him. Hashirama offers surprise at the other's neurosis, leaving Madara to question whether the boy is actually nice or nasty. Hashirama stands and brushes the words off, miming that at least he's better at skipping stones. Madara is infuriated, yelling that he can just as easily throw Hashirama. Hashirama becomes gloomy again and apologizes for making the boy mad, offering to let him throw him in the river to make up for it. Madara looks on, wondering if the boy is aware of his own neurosis. Hashirama offers hope that he'll reach the other shore, causing Madara to yell at the boy to just leave. As Hashirama turns to go, Madara quickly grabs him to stop. The two boys look as a body bobs in the river. Hashirama runs across the river to retrieve it, surprising Madara that the boy is a shinobi. Hashirama suggests the boy leave, as river will soon be a battlefield. He looks over the body, discovering the crest of the Hagoromo Clan and deduces he needs to leave as well. He jumps to the other bank and the rock skipper offers his name as Madara, declining to not mention his family name as shinobi law states. Hashirama offers understanding at their shared status as shinobi and takes his leave. Hashirama's narration continues, explaining that though their personalities differed, he felt a kinship. He knew why he came down to the river too. Sometime later at the Senju Clan base, bodies are lowered into graves. A sullen Hashirama mourns Kawarama, a fallen shinobi. Standing beside the boy are his brother Tobirama and Itama. Tears fall from Itama's eyes and their father cautions them to not grieve, as it is a shinobi’s place to born into the world and fight and die in battle. He coldly states they should be glad they got a piece of him back, as their enemies are now both the merciless Uchiha and Hagoromo. Hashirama yells that Kawarama was only seven, and questions just how long the conflict will last. His father explains not until the last foe is dead; the path to such peace is not easily paved. Hashirama grimly questions that means children must be sacrificed then? His father glares and then slugs the boy, roaring that he won't allow Kawarama to be disrespected. He died a capable shinobi, he was not a child. Hashirama stares down the man as he turns to leave. Itama asks his brother if he's okay and Tobirama reminds his sibling that he knows what happens when they try to defy father. The boy looks to his brothers, and affirms that he wants neither to die in vain. He then cries out in anger, mocking that they're a clan of "love" alright, then questions their status as capable shinobi. All it is adults shepherding kids to their deaths. The very same thing the Uchiha are doing. Their father stops in response and answers their clan honors their opponent by doing so, regardless of age, anyone wielding a weapon is deemed an enemy. Raising one's child to be a capable child shows a parent's love. Hashirama questions if one has to die to be capable? They kill and are killed so much one can't even keep track of all the grudges, they can't even mentioned their family name! The result is a shinobi world that is totally twisted and messed up. His father raises his fist to strike him again and bellows that kids like him are nothing but brats. Tobirama places himself between the two and pleads for his father to take pity on Hashirama, as he's just feeling down. Their father halts and directs the boy to go cool off, leaving Hashirama to continue staring him down.

     Time passes and the three brothers decompress elsewhere. Tobirama calls adults dumb, stating if they really want to stop fighting, they should just sign pacts and do so. Itama asks what then of their dead parents and siblings? What of the feelings towards their fallen comrades? Tobirama cautions that such talk will just lead to the boy's own death, as both he and the adults are too hot headed. Shinobi needs to suppress their emotions and create rules to follow to avoid unneeded conflicts. Hashirama mulls the words and then ponders if a pact and true alliance can actually be achieved. His brothers look at him, and question just what a true alliance is. The revived Hashirama continues his story as we advance in time. He explains that during the time of the warring states, the average life expectancy of both shinobi and citizens was 30 years and what was keeping that number so low... We then see several fallen ninja on a battlefield. With his back to a rock, Itama stares down the Uchiha ninja surrounding him. As they look on with their Sharingan eyes, Itama begins to cry. Hashirama and two other Senju arrive, having coming too late. As Itama lays dead, one among the many children who died senselessly in those days. Time passes and Hashirama sits on the river bank once again. Madara arrives and offers greeting, stating it had been awhile... Hashirama gives his name again and Madara offers surprise that the boy is already depressed. Hashirama says he's fine, but Madara says he's willing to listen to what he has to say. After prodding, Hashirama turns with tears in his eyes and says it's not really much. Madara yells for him to just spill it and Hashirama explains that his brother died. So he comes to the river because he feels like it helps carry and wash away the pain in his heart. Wiping away his tears, he identifies Madara by name and asks if it's the same for him. Madara is quiet and Hashirama asks if he has any siblings. Madara kneels to pick up a rock and offers that he's one of five kids, well five at one time. They're shinobi, so they don't know when they'll die. If there was a way for neither side to lose anymore, it'd be when both sides hid nothing from each other and each treated the other like brothers. However that's impossible, everyone is too proud to be so vulnerable. As Madara hurls the rock, Hashirama asks if it really isn't possible to be honest with each other. As the rock begins to skip, Madara answers that he doesn't know, but he's always hoping to find a way. As the rock finally reaches the other bank, Madara remarks that maybe there will be a way this time, as Hashirama is not the only one to have finally reached the other side.




Chapter 623: "View" - Hashirama continues his story, offering that he thought it was a gift to find another who thought as he did. Madara suggests he can size up the other easily... in so far as his hairdo and outfit are really lame. As the young Hashirama wilts in gloom, the elder Hashirama quips that they weren't totally alike. Over time they would continue to meet up, never revealing their backgrounds as they sparred and revealed their dreams of the future. We then see the two boys in mock combat, both striking the other on the chin. As they fly apart, Madara lands on the ground as Hashirama manages to stay upright. Madara complements Hashirama's Taijutsu and success at managing a draw. Hashirama says not quite, he's still standing. Madara looks on with knowing eyes as a rock comes falling down to strike Hashirama on the head and knock him onto his back. Time passes as the two boys relax and discuss the future. Hashirama questions how they can change things. Madara explains they have to get stronger and not give up their ideals, that way the adults can't ignore them. Hashirama affirms and Madara offers that they have to master lots of jutsu and fix their weak spots. He then boasts that he already is stronger than many adults and stands to relieve himself into the nearby river. His stream falters and he turns to yell at Hashirama for standing behind him when he urinates. Hashirama jokes that he found a weakness and Madara yells that how about he just throws the other into where he just peed? Time passes and the two continue to get closer. An excited Hashirama asks if Madara wants to see his crazy, ultimate, Taijutsu-Katon-Genjutsu-shuriken attack. Madara expresses trouble at visualizing the insane sounding technique and Hashirama says he can break it down. Madara immediately cuts him down, declaring they're doing cliff climbing. Hashirama wilts and Madara points out that Hashirama's weakness is getting depressed so easily. Hashirama immediately bursts up the cliff face, gloating he'll make it first, leaving Madara behind to curse the other's fake sorrow. Soon the boys sit atop the cliff mountain and look out over the forest beyond. Hashirama marvels at the view and Madara boasts that his eyesight is probably better though, since he's got Sha... He immediately halts himself, realizing he almost gave up too much information. Hashirama asks him what's up and the other tells him to never mind it, it isn't that big a deal. Hashirama ponders that he's being candid for once and Madara continues, saying it doesn't matter since it couldn't save his siblings anyway. He couldn't protect them either, so it's not his place... He squints his eyes and Hashirama looks on, recalling the loss of his own brother. He asks if Madara has any siblings left and Madara reveals he has one younger brother still, and he'll protect him, no matter what. Throwing his hands in the air, Hashirama proclaims that they should build their settlement in the forest beyond and make it so kids don't have to kill each other any longer. They'll make a school to teach them and assign missions fit for their skill level. It'll be a place where they won't be sent to harsh battlefronts. Madara smiles, submitting that he doesn't know if Hashirama is a visionary or off his rocker. Hashirama asks what Madara thinks then and the other says if such a settlement was made, it would allow him to watch over his brother. The two boys smile and the elder Hashirama explains that the forest below them would one day become Konoha and he made a resolution that day to live so his vision could become a reality. Back at the river, the two boys stand on opposite banks and skip a rock to the other. Hashirama poses that they both can reach the other side with ease and Madara submits the stones they threw are good for skipping, so they'll hold onto them until next time.

     As Hashirama returns to the village, Tobirama stands to confront him. He declares they need to talk and soon the duo are before their father. The Senju leader cuts to the point, asking about the boy his son has been meeting. Hashirama is surprised and Tobirama explains that he's been following Hashirama on their father's orders, due to his better sensory nature. He wondered where he had been going and looked into it. The father expounds that he looked into the other boy, he's of the Uchiha and he's killed many capable Senju adults, a natural born genius. Hashirama looks on with strained eyes and silently affirms understanding that he thought as much. Their father asks if the lack of surprise means he knew. Hashirama offers that he didn't, and he doubts the other knew he was of the Senju. Their stern father pointedly asks if his son knows what this means then? He kept it from the other clan members, but if they knew... So to not be considered a spy, shadow the boy after they next meet to gather intel on the Uchiha and if the boy notices him... kill him. Hashirama looks on with wide eyes and asks if he's sure the boy is an Uchiha? The patriarch affirms, suggesting that if the other knows he's a Senju, he'll pretend to let down his guard to gather intel of his own, so do not trust him. Hashirama counters that the boy isn't like that but his father quickly quiets him, stating that he cannot know what's really going on in the other boy's head. Should he trick him, Hashirama will put every Senju as risk. And to be sure, Tobirama and he himself will also shadow Hashirama. Later, standing outside alone, Hashirama looks at the rock he had exchanged with Madara and contemplates what to do. Time passes and the two boys stand on opposite river banks looking at each other. Madara offers the he knows it's soon, but how about they skip rocks in greeting first? Hashirama affirms and the two boys skip their rocks to the other. The boys easily snatch the others’ rocks out of the air and react in surprise as they each look at the rocks they hold in their hands. Madara composes himself and apologizes for needing to leave, as he forgot he had things to do. Hashirama waves back and says he's should head back as well. From the rocks in their palms, we see each boy had written a "flee!" warning to the other. As they each bolt to run away, Hashirama's father watches from nearby. He deduces his son warned the other and directs Tobirama that they have to move. Tobirama affirms and the two Senju jump to the river surface... They're met in turn by the Uchiha Clan leader and his other younger son. The Uchiha grimly submits that they appear to be on the same page and greets Senju Butsuma. The young Uchiha at his side affirms the other must be Tobirama. Butsuma asserts being of like mind to the other clan, establishing the other as Uchiha Tajima with Tobirama identifying the boy across from him as Izuna...




Chapter 624: "Even" - As the two sides move to attack, Hashirama's story continues, explaining that both sides shared the same ideas and possessed nearly equal strength. Showing any flash of emotion on the battlefield could prove one's end. Suddenly Madara and Hashirama both cry out for their families to stop. The two sides begin fighting with unwavering emotions, as the two fathers knew that even if their sons fell, it would not unbalance their heart. So whomever made the first strike, would determine the victor. As Izuna and Tobirama lock swords, their fathers leap overheads, unleashing knives towards the opposite enemy boy. As both blades plummet, they're suddenly knocked away by the throwing stones hurled by Madara and Hashirama. As the blades and rocks sink into the river, Tajima and Butsuma retreat backwards. As Tobirama and Izuna look at each other in confusion, their brothers jump before them to place themselves before the enemy clan members. Madara declares that he won't let any harm befall his brother no matter who they are. Hashirama and Madara intently stare each other down and a resigned Madara offers that maybe their dream just isn't possible. Hashirama begins to question but Madara interrupts, stating that their time together was brief but fun. Tajima questions his son if they can take the other trio, but Madara states no, as Hashirama is stronger than he himself. Izuna and Tajima both remark in surprise at the boy's strength and Madara turns to leave. Tajima suggests they move out. Hashirama looks on and asks if he is really giving up, as he thought they were on the same page. With his back to Hashirama, Madara explains that his brothers were killed by Senju and that makes it different. Hashirama thinks of the two brothers he lost and Madara offers that for that reason, there’s no need for them to show each other their guts. Calling Hashirama by name he explains that one day soon, their next meeting will be on the battlefield, for he is Uchiha Madara. As Madara turns to glare with Sharingan, Izuna remarks in surprise at his brother's advancement. Tajima smiles, gloating that though he didn't gain any intel, Madara at least gained something worthy out of it. Butsuma also ponders the sudden awakening. Hashirama looks on, voicing in the present how it was in that moment that he felt like he understood what awakening the Sharingan signified.

     As we begin to advance in time, we see battles between Madara, Hashirama and their clans. Hashirama explains that the awakening meant Madara decided to completely erase him from his life. As they battled each day, they each eventually became leaders of their own clans and took themselves the farthest possible distance away from the longed for peace. As the two clans meet on the battlefield again, many dead litter the ground. Tobirama cuts Izuna as Madara rushes to his side. Hashirama stands nearby, declaring to Madara that he does not stand a chance against him, so why don't they just end the fighting? Having never abandoned his dream, Hashirama pleads that if they were to join forces, no other nation could find shinobi clans to stand against them and the wars would die down. As Madara supports his injured brother he stares his former friend down. Izuna begs his brother not to believe their lies and Madara looks to him. Withdrawing a smoke bomb, he hurls it at the ground and the Uchiha disappear. The resurrected Hashirama reveals that the Uchiha knew they were in an unfavorable position and soon defectors began to arrive. That's when Madara changed as well, having obtained the Eternal Mangekyou. As the two clans stare each other down again, Madara looks on with his new eyes and explains that though his brother died from the wounds he received, he left powers to help protect the Uchiha. Hashirama counters that he sent a cease fire agreement, if Madara really wants to protect the Uchiha, he should sign it. As Susanoo takes shape around Madara, he questions Hashirama on how he can still believe in such childish notions? It's just not possible for them to show their guts and hide nothing. Hashirama glares back and his narration continues, explaining that their battle lasted a whole day and it ended with Madara’s back to ground for the first time. As Madara lays splayed out on the ground, Hashirama kneels over him. Tobirama stands above, with his sword positioned to swing down and end the man. He declares Madara finished but his brother stays his hand. Tobirama questions why he should stop, as this is their chance. A burst of charged anger answers in turn as Hashirama declares that no one will touch him. Tobirama is shaken and Madara tells Hashirama to just end it, as it would be an honor to die by his hand. Hashirama chides the man for posturing, explaining that if he killed the clan chief, the younger Uchiha would just try to follow his example and run wild. Madara observes that there's no one left with such drive among them but Hashirama contends there's always someone. Can't they just skip stones like the old days? Together? Madara answers that such a thing is not possible, as they are no longer the same. He doesn't have a single brother left and he can't trust him. Hashirama questions if there really is no way to regain his trust? Madara looks on and concludes there is a way for them to show their guts and not hide anything... either kill Tobirama or kill yourself right now... then they'll be even and he'd be willing to trust the Senju...




Chapter 625: "My True Dream" - The Senju question such an insane idea but Hashirama raises a hand for their silence. Tobirama also questions if his brother plans to kill him and begs Hashirama not to listen to Madara. Hashirama smiles and thanks Madara for his kindness. Unbuckling his plate armor, present day Hashirama relates how he was given a choice, and knowing how an older brother feels towards a younger one, he knew what to do. Back in the past, Hashirama prepares to impale himself with a kunai and makes a final request to his brother and clan that after his death, they are not to kill Madara or further fight the Uchiha. He directs them to swear it on their ancestors and descendants and then bids his farewell. As his arm descends towards his chest a tear begins to fall. Before the kunai can strike home, Hashirama's hand is stopped by Madara’s. Hashirama looks on in confusion and Madara explains his actions. Stating that the man has shown his guts, the two men finally come to terms. Time passes and the two men shake hands in peace as the heads of their respective clans. Present day Hashirama explains that it was like a dream as the two clans joined forces, finally ending the unneeded deaths on both sides. Below the bluff they sat upon years before, they formed a ninja village under a joint agreement with the Fire Country. As the two men stand upon the bluff looking over the new village, Hashirama asks Madara if he remembers their time there as kids. Holding a leaf with a single hole through it, Madara recalls how he thought it was just a dream beyond grasp. Hashirama declares the dream a reality and reveals the leader of shinobi who will protect the Fire Country from the shadows will be the Hokage... Looking to Madara, the other questions what he means. Hashirama explains that he was asked to select someone to represent the village and he wants to name him as Hokage. Though he doesn't have any blood siblings left to protect, the village shinobi can be his new brothers and sisters. Madara contemplates the offer and questions why him, since he couldn't even brother his own brothers? Hashirama cautions him to not be weak, since it will be more than their two clans, as the Sarutobi and Shimura are also interested in joining. Examining the leaf in his hands, Madara holds it to his eye to spy on the village through the hole. He asks how Konohagakure sounds and Hashirama immediately wilts, calling the name so simple and without ingenuity. Madara yells in annoyance that it's as clever as "Hokage" and chastises the man for still getting down so easily. Madara then asks for more information on the position, as it's just staying in the village to protect everyone? Hashirama states it's not just that, as the village grows, so too will the Hokage's duties. That's why their likeness will be carved into the cliff face, as a symbol of the village protector. Madara grits his teeth in embarrassed understanding and Hashirama suggests they'll probably need to tone down Madara' grim visage though. Tobirama arrives and reminds his brother that the Daimyou will arrive soon. Madara and Tobirama stare each other down and we advance in time to Tobirama and Hashirama speaking alone.

     Tobirama argues that selecting the Hokage is not Hashirama’s choice alone, the final decision needs to lay with the Fire Country and the village. Hashirama attempts to interject but Tobirama continues, stating Madara would never be approved anyway. Hashirama himself was the driving force for the creation of the village and even the Uchiha would acknowledge that. Besides, hasn't he heard the rumors that the stronger an Uchiha's hate, the stronger their ocular power? That's the Sharingan's secret and you can't foretell what they would do. So for the village's sake... Hashirama cuts in, ordering his brother to not speak in such a way. Outside the nearby window, wood creaks and Hashirama is immediately startled. Opening it, he voices that he thought someone was there and asks his brother if he sensed anyone. Tobirama says he doesn't sense anyone, and cautions his brother to not change the subject. Hashirama's eyes go wide as he sees the gouged leaf. Raising it to his face the leaf break in two. Tobirama eyes his brother and vows that it'll be democratic, so does he have any problems? Still holding the broken leaf, Hashirama relents and affirms. Time passes as the visage of Hashirama marks the Hokage mountain as Shodai Hokage. Standing in the Naka Shrine before the hidden Uchiha tablet, Madara explains to Hashirama that the stone has been passed down and never shown to outsiders. It bears a special text requiring an ocular power to read. In so far as he can read now, it states that "One god, seeking stability split into light and shadow" and that "these two polar opposites operate together to give rise to all things in the universe." It's a universal truth which means that true happiness can be found when two contrary powers come together. However it can also have a different meaning. He then asks Hashirama if he really thought he was clueless. Hashirama insists that he leave Tobirama to him and begs the man to stay at his side as his right hand and brother. If he does so, the villagers will eventually recognize him and allow him to be named Nidaime Hokage. Madara surmises that Tobirama will be next and if he is, the Uchiha will be slowly expunged. To that end he spoke with the other Uchiha in the village about leaving but none want to. He couldn't protect his brothers and it doesn't look like he'll be able to protect his clan either, the ones who should trust him most. Hashirama challenges that it's not like that but Madara cuts him off, reckoning that he should have only given him one option, to kill his younger brother. Hashirama calls him brother, but who would he sacrifice for the village, himself or Tobirama? Hashirama remains silent and Madara offers that he believes he knows the man well. He's had enough and he's going to leave the village. He can only see it now because they've shown each other their guts, cooperation is merely a less violent form of conflict. Hashirama tells the man to not be like that but Madara turns to leave, explaining that it's all how one construes reality. But they shouldn't quibble over technicalities, it's much sounder to see the world as entertainment. Hashirama questions if the man is even listening but Madara doesn't answer, instead responding that Hashirama alone is the only one who's his equal. Turning to stare him down with his Sharingan in mad glee, Madara smiles and announces that he looks forward to the battles they'll wage... until the day when his own true dream becomes a reality...




Chapter 626: "Hashirama and Madara, Part 2" - Hashirama questions Madara on what his true dream is, since he thought it was the village. Madara grimly states the man can't see it, what's coming, the dreams of the far future. Hashirama begs the man to tell him his dreams then, if it's linked to that of the village then he can use his strength as a leader, as a senior member and as a friend. Madara laughs and states there is no link and Hashirama shall never reach it. It's useless to chase after him, he of all people should know that no one is capable of catching him from behind. Time passes and Hashirama sits alone atop his visage on Hokage Mountain. Present day Hashirama continues, explaining that Madara left and no longer existed within the village they created. In the world though, other clans and countries adopted their system to form their own villages, helping their dream become a reality. Shinobi children could learn and play instead of battle, living long enough to become adults. But seemingly determined to destroy his old dream, Madara returned and attacked the village. Returning to the scene of the battle they were fighting before, we see Madara stop Kyuubi and Hashirama astride his Golem. As the Bijuu Dama infused swords meet the multitude of fists, the limbs and Susanoo in turn shatter from the exchanged onslaught. The two men take a moment to gather themselves and Hashirama moves first, with the Golem reaching out to grab the Kyuubi. Kurama winces and Hashirama acts again, sending out a wood arm to smash Madara. He jumps to safety but the wooden palm stops on the Bijuu's forehead, willing it to go to sleep. As Hashirama jumps to attack, Madara stares him down with his Eternal Mangekyou. Time passes and rain falls as the two men stand battered and bloody in the ruins of a newly created valley. Madara proclaims that this time Hashirama won't reach the other side and the two men charge. They each exchange a killing blow with their blades and Hashirama falls to his stomach. Standing triumphant, Madara points out that unlike last time, he alone still stands. Hashirama winces and confides that he just wanted to protect his dream, they've fought enough. Eyeing the other man's state, Madara asks if he can't perk back up this time? Hashirama eyes the man and recalls their time together as boys, questioning if it's really possible to see each other's guts, to not give up on their ideals, to build their village and see their dream come to fruition. As Hashirama closes his eyes, a blade suddenly pierces through Madara's back. He turns his head in stunned horror as a second Hashirama wields the lethal blade. As the wounded Mokuton Hashirama reverts to wood, Madara realizes his mistake. He voices surprise that his back was taken. Hashirama declares that he'll protect their... no HIS village no matter what. Furthermore he still believes that protecting the village will lead to the protection of the people, shinobi and children. And he won't tolerate anyone who seeks to harm the village, be they friend, brother or even his own child. As the blade is withdrawn, Madara slumps to his knees and avows that Hashirama has changed. Present day Hashirama explains that he made a resolution that day to endure to watch over the present. Mortally wounded, Madara proclaims that Hashirama is mistaking the cause for the end, as it will one day lead the village to darkness. Madara collapses, finally defeated. As the rain continues to fall, Hashirama looks to the heavens, their battle finally at an end. Back in the present, Hashirama states that he doesn't know how Madara returned to life, but he did kill him for the sake of the village. So in conclusion, the village is the way it was envisioned by the two men in the beginning, something which joined the clans together. An invaluable pillar turning chaos into order which protected the children and averted pointless conflict, making peace a reality. However it also gave rise to darkness as Madara said, a burden later borne alone by Itachi. So perhaps Madara was correct, maybe he did foresee the future. Contemplating his part in it, Hashirama surmises that he himself created the circumstances, and he himself was the one who thought them acceptable. To that end he believes that shinobi are those who endure for a purpose, but depending on what that purpose is, a shinobi can change... just as he and Madara did.




Chapter 627: "Sasuke's Answer" - Sasuke repeats Hashirama’s words and the other explains that his goal was to build the village but Madara’s goal is apparently different as Orochimaru stated. Sasuke explains that Madara seeks to cast an Infinite Tsukuyomi to make the concept of village and self irrelevant; so everyone can be manipulated as he seeks fit. Essentially nullifying everything Itachi, Izuna and the rest of them fought to protect. The Hokage are taken aback and Orochimaru looks to the stoic Sasuke. Sasuke continues, contemplating that Itachi inherited Hashirama's will, even if they never met. He endured longer and harder than Hashirama did and died as a proud Konoha shinobi. An amused Sasuke then points out to Hashirama that it's ironic that the shinobi who understood him most was an Uchiha. Hashirama is quiet and Tobirama reveals that Itachi wasn't the only one who thought that way, one of his subordinates named Uchiha Kagami was like him. Sasuke then questions Nidaime that he thought he hated the Uchiha. Tobirama answers not really, he simply saw them as a potential danger and treated them as such. There were several Uchiha who felt as Itachi and Kagami did; those who could transcend the framework of a clan and devote themselves to the village. Hashirama thought a "village" could do that, but it wasn't that easy. Between his elder brother's naiveté and Madara's dangerousness, he had to mediate between the two to strengthen the village. Hiruzen speaks up, explaining that Kagami's son Shisui was Itachi's friend. They, like many, inherited Shodai's will of fire. However in the end, perhaps he himself was the most naive, as he burdened Danzou with the village's dark side. Sasuke tenses and then reveals that he killed Danzou out of vengeance. To the end the man professed that he would protect the village, no matter what was required. Hiruzen concludes that he failed as Hokage, contributing to the current predicament. Minato counters that it's not Hiruzen’s fault, he's the one who fell in battle during the Kyuubi attack. Much was expected of him and he didn’t live up to it. Orochimaru chimes in, prodding that he himself was skipped over in favor of Minato for Yondaime, which was a disappointment. Suigetsu questions if the man is actually being snarky, Orochimaru laughs, stating yes he is, since Sandaime is here. Minato ponders that if he didn't die, perhaps he could have stopped the Uchiha coup. Sasuke looks on and Orochimaru asks him what he's decided? Crush Konoha or?... Sasuke closes his eyes and Itachi's words echo through his head, everything spoken to him about wiping out the clan and his regrets. That even if Sasuke never forgave him, no matter what, he always loved him. Opening his eyes with fierce purpose, Sasuke declares that he's going to head to the battlefield. He won't let the village and Itachi become nothing!

     Some of the gathered men seem startled, but Hashirama confidently affirms. He then directs his brother to make preparations to fly but Tobirama states that he's restricted from using the Hiraishin. Hashirama looks to Orochimaru and asks the man just what his plan is? Hiruzen asks if it's as he said earlier, will he stick with Sasuke? Orochimaru smiles and says yes, they'll accompany him. Suigetsu is freaked and asks Juugo what he plans to do. Juugo says he'll go too, as it's his duty to protect Sasuke. Suigetsu contemplates his misfortune, being with four mighty zombies and three monsters. He concludes he'll follow for now, and bolt when given a chance. The group takes their leave and soon stand atop Hokage Mountain. Hashirama marvels at the view, and Suigetsu takes the moment of peace to flee. He's suddenly kicked onto his back by a new arrival, who quickly jumps on top and begins to pummel him. Karin affirms that it was Sasuke that she sensed after all. Suigetsu proclaims his innocence and Orochimaru expresses happiness that so many of his excellent subjects have gathered in one place. Karin stands in defiance and yells that she'll never forgive Sasuke for what he did to her. Sasuke apologizes immediately and Karin wilts in embarrassed affection, saying such words won't work on her. Orochimaru recognizes Karin's weak spot for Sasuke and she rushes to her master's side, explaining that Sasuke stabbed her. Orochimaru says the same thing happened to him, but right now they're working together and she's welcome to join. Hashirama asks who the woman is and Tobirama surmises an Uzumaki based on her chakra. Karin grabs Sasuke tenderly and concludes that she seems not to have a choice. Suigetsu begins to gather himself and repeats his previous refrain, four mighty zombies, three monsters and now one idiot; enough to shock even Madara. Hiruzen walks to Orochimaru's side and asks his pupil why he's working with Sasuke to save the village when he attempted to destroy it for so long? Orochimaru explains that while he was in Kabuto, he learned even though the man imitated everything he did, he failed. So he's now interested in how Sasuke's different path, since unlike Kabuto, he didn't try to copy him. Seeking to bolster his comrades, Hashirama calls his fellow Hokage's attention to the village before them. They should burn that image in their eyes from atop their faces that have watched over it. Tobirama places his hand on his brother's shoulder and lets out a sigh. Soon all four Hokage disperse and each affirms their purpose. Minato revels in being able to see his son again, and proclaims that he'll make up for not being there as a father by bringing him a huge present. Hiruzen reasons that it's been awhile since he saw war, so he must properly prepare himself. Tobirama asserts that Madara will be taken down for good and his brother discloses that he knows it sounds foolish, but he's somewhat looking forward to seeing his old friend again. As each man lands on their respective stone face, Hashirama pronounces that there's conflict no matter what the age, but no longer! This shall be the last war, so let's move out!...