Okay. Was listening to E.S. Posthumus's song, Nara, and I was struck by it. I just couldn't stop thinking of Yondaime making his final choice, and I had to write this. Very, very short, but I think it gets to the point. Hope y'all enjoy!


Elysium
The birthing room is dark, lit only by a single candle that gutters and sputters and tries vainly to die but can't.

He looks at her though he doesn't see her; it's more like he looks through her. At the night they were together in a hayloft. At the inexperienced tongues, the questing fingers, the whispered words. At a beginning and at an end.

She's given him a child. A son. A golden boy. Big blue eyes, blonde hair. Rambunctious.

A moth bashes itself against the closed window; try again, keep going. Must get out, must get out...outoutout.

In.

We made a baby, Minato.

He watches the moth, turns, watches the flame.

Life is a road to death. Every breath brings you closer.

I think we should get married eventually.

He stands.

"Have to leave now, kiddo."

What should we call him?

"I'll see you soon. Wait for me."

Her hands crossed over her bloated belly are white, and they seem to glow.

You're going to be a wonderful father, I can tell.

Before he goes, Minato blows out the candle.

Naruto. His name is Naruto.

---

He knows what he has to do, and he knows what will come of it. He knows the village will mourn him and celebrate him in turns. He knows he'll be immortalized. He knows his son will grow up without his parents.

"I failed you today, Naruto," he says. The baby gazes at him with wide, innocent, trusting eyes, the eyes he used to have. "All you'll remember of me are the stories they'll tell you." And stories lie. Stories forget the truth.

He knows what he has to do, and he knows that he's scared. He knows that he'd rather run. He knows pain, and he knows there will be much of it where his spirit is destined.

"Sarutobi promised he would explain everything to them, little guy. He said he'd make sure you were considered a hero."

He knows this child is condemned.

Leaning close, he places a kiss

a mark, a brand

on the tiny forehead.

"Goodbye, Naruto."

He breathes.

---

The moth careens to the ground.

---