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Countdown to the Inevitable

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Kaguya Ōtsutsuki floated before them, her voluminous hair and intricate robes undulating ominously in the harsh wind.  Her deceivingly serene Byakugan and bloodlust-filled Rinne-Sharingan seemed to radiate smugness, reinforcing the message her appearance had given them: you have lost, all your efforts for naught.  My inevitable return has come. This would demoralize nearly anyone to the point that they would simply give up and submit to Kaguya’s indomitable will.  But not the two shinobi who were practically gods of their age. Madara Uchiha and Hashirama Senju alone stood tall against Kaguya, as even Tobirama and Touka wavered just slightly under her eerie gaze.

 

In her sleeve, Black Zetsu was nestled like a baby bird.  When she’d returned, he’d immediately rushed there, as if an unborn child that needed to stay in a womb to survive.  “Mother, I have finally orchestrated your return! Everything went according to plan, from the constant wars to the events needed to get them to do exactly what I wanted.”

 

As he said this, he looked at Madara, smirking evilly.  Madara knew what this meant. Shocked, his eyes and body burned with the “fever” of love unique to the Uchiha.  His chest ached, and he found himself with his resentment for Tobirama abating just slightly, knowing Black Zetsu‘s machinations were behind Tobirama’s attempts on Izuna’s life, although it would be a slow process, if he were to survive the coming battle.  Whispering, Madara swayed on his feet. “You...you’re the one...who planned Izuna’s death? And you pitted me and Tobirama against one another?”

 

Black Zetsu calmly replied, “Yes, that was me.  Though it would have been preferable had he died...earlier.  But what can your childish fury do against Mother? Surely you know there’s no hope.  Simply submit to the Infinite Tsukuyomi and allow yourself to become one of her subjects.”

 

Even Hashirama couldn’t possibly believe there was any reasoning with Kaguya or Black Zetsu.  “Did you really plan this entire war? Are you the reason our families were murdered for a reason we didn’t even know?”

 

“Good, good.  You’re finally figuring it out.  Yes, that was all to prepare for Mother’s return.”

 

Kaguya, meanwhile seemed to be studying them.  Madara and Tobirama, the most sensory-oriented shinobi present, were very sure to mask their chakra to hide as much as possible from her.  Touka’s fury was extremely visible. Fists clenched, eyes shining with anger, and posture rigid, aggressive, she yelled, “So you’re the reason all of us, and the generations before us, went through almost endless suffering!  You’re the reason we, who now call ourselves comrades after so many struggles and the idealistic dream of two battle-scarred children, once killed one another, calling it honour and righteousness! And you’re the reason...that Mito is dead!”

 

Despite her rage, Touka knew better than to rush forward mindlessly alone.  They needed to attack in a coordinated manner, with a plan. Kaguya finally spoke, voice raspy and whispery from nearly a millennium of utter silence,  “You have my chakra. I must...take it back.”

 

Casting the full intensity of her three-eyed gaze upon Madara and Hashirama, something about her body language seemed to add, especially from you.  Madara, Hashirama, Mito, Touka, Izuna, and Tobirama had discovered the reason for this before Mito and Izuna died.  They knew that Madara had the chakra of Indra, ancestor of the Uchiha, and Hashirama, the chakra of Ashura, the ancestor of the Senju and Uzumaki.  Despite knowing about Kaguya, Hagoromo, Hamura, the Ōtsutsuki, the Uchiha, the Senju, the Uzumaki, the Hyuuga, Indra, Ashura, the Curse of Hatred, and the Will of Fire, they had still failed.  They now had only one chance to save the new world they had created through all their struggles.

 

Catching Hashirama’s eye, Madara wove their hands together, no longer afraid of people’s reaction to their relationship.  They’d already been through so much, it should have been nothing compared to the constant war they’d lived in. But, if they were to survive this, it would be even less of a significant concern.  Only, it could have easily been too late to stop caring, for Kaguya’s power was immense. Once their gazes were interlocked, Madara activated his Rinnegan, and Hashirama prepared his Mokuton. They were completely in sync, acting as one, the message communicated between them reading to both of them: together .

 

Then, in answer to a question only the two of them knew was asked or understood, Hashirama responded in an almost inappropriately confident tone, “After we defeat Kaguya.”

 

Nodding, Madara grasped Hashirama’s hand more tightly.  Then the wood of Hashirama’s Mokuton Wood Golem began to intertwine with Madara’s radiant blue Perfect Susano’o, a perfect union emanating from the joined hands of two fated lovers, finally together, despite all the forces that conspired to keep them apart.  As they became the immediate center of attention and the battlefield, other Uchiha scattered around the area began to activate their Mangekyou, Susano’o forming around them. Senju prepared to harness their large stores of chakra and utilize their vast physical power to do what they could.  Uzumaki readied their fūinjutsu, hoping to find an opening to seal Kaguya and Black Zetsu away. Hyuuga activated their Byakugan, superficially identical to Kaguya’s, yet many, many times inferior, hoping to find a weakness in the monster called their ancestor. Every shinobi on the battlefield was ready for a fight, Madara and Hashirama most of all, within their radiant, armoured Wood Golem, holding hands, combining their power.

 

Activating her Byakugan and throwing her hands out in front of her in preparation for a fight, Kaguya’s voice sounded inhuman in many ways as she shouted, frenzied, “ Give it back to me!