For The Future.
He doesn't get on time to say goodbye. The Kyuubi is still strong and has killed so many; Sarutobi-sensei and he have been forced to urge the civilians out of Konoha, try their best to push the monster away from their village.
Once the message finally gets to him and he rushes to the made up camp the med-nins have installed as to try and help the shinobi as best as they can, his wife's body is cold and lifeless, her blood soaking through her clothes and the ground where she lies.
He draws in a breath, has to bite his tongue to regain the focus of the situation; once they vanquish the Kyuubi, there'll be time to mourn and grief for the lost ones; he can't surrender to the sadness and the pain.
Just then, a loud baby cry filters through the screams and the sounds of good shinobi dying as they struggle to protect their home. He shakes his head and hurries towards the sound; finds Rin holding a bundle, his former student also injured, trying to calm the baby there.
"Sensei… oneesan, she…"
He smiles, kneeling by her side, wiping the tears from her face softly. Her face is pale, her breathing shallow. He shakes his head.
"I know, Rin-chan."
"Oneesan said… she said that, this is Naruto, sensei." And she presses the bundle in his arms, the baby's desperate cries now his focus as he sees the small face, the tiny fists shaking in rage.
He coos softly, standing up and softly trying to rock the baby, the way he had imagined he would've done before, and as the baby softly falls asleep at his voice and rocking motions, the Yondaime tries to hold unto the precious illusions he had made for his family, looks at the small face and tries to picture how Naruto will look once he grows up.
He knows that he has to do something; it's both his duty as the Fourth Hokage and as a father to protect Konohagure, to make sure his son has a future in the village he loves so much.
"You'll be a hero." Yondaime whispers, gently brushes his fingers over his son's forehead, and down his face. The baby gurgles, tiny fingers reaching for the source of warmth. Yondaime cradles the baby and kisses his forehead, having come to a decision about what he ought to do.
He secures the baby against his side, takes notice of Rin, who now that has give him the baby has lost conscience and he closes his eyes for a moment before rushing back towards the battle zone.
"And I hope you forgive me one day."
"Naruto!" Sakura frowns, hands on her hips when she finds him sitting over the Yondaime's statue, carving with his kunai a name on top of its head. "What do you think you're doing?!"
Naruto grins. "Saa, just giving my regards, Sakura-chan!"
Sakura rolls her eyes, shakes her head. "Well, come on! We're going to be later even than Kakashi-sensei!"
Naruto snorts, but stands up. "As if. Okay, okay, I'm going." Sakura shakes her head but turns around, not waiting. Once he pockets his kunai, Naruto smiles down at the stone and taps his foot against the stone softly. "See you later, old man." stone softly. "See you later, old man."