And for the part of me that has been turned into a Minato lover -- more so than the usual -- by her.
It all began when eleven-year-old Namikaze Minato, a more-than-the-usual promising Konoha-nin, effortlessly won against thirteen-year-old Uzumaki Kushina, probably the fiercest fighter the Hidden Village of... Whirlpool had to offer that was under twenty-five.
Little Minato, after being under the charge of the Revered Toad Hermit (or Legendary Pervert, either name was alright) for more than half of his life, had now suddenly decided that today was a fine day to finally be accepted into the jounin ranks or to at least try and get accepted into it. His thought process was as follows, "I have divined the skies. I have acquired enough good karma to last me more than fifteen lifetimes. There seems to be no evil conspiracy against me – not that that has ever happened. Hopefully, Jiraiya-sensei will not ruin this day as he usually does."
Today also happened to be the day that the brash and somewhat proud Kushina decided to go and test her mad ninja skills.
As everyone had expected, the two of them managed to meet each other in the jounin exams. It was the last round of the third exam.
Minato had gambled his win on his unfinished technique. It wasn't ever so often that he did things without the help of his logic, but it was his only chance of winning. Or so he hoped.
Judging from the slaps on the back that Jiraiya was giving him, the celebratory party – with lots of sake and love to go around – that Tsunade was planning, and the congratulatory remarks that his teammates were blabbering, Minato's gamble had been a good one.
When Minato turned around to shake hands with Kushina, obviously remembering his manners, she was already gone. He merely shrugged and thought that maybe she was off to train some more for the next jounin exam – or exams. He secretly wished her for good luck before he allowed himself to be whisked off to numerous of restaurants.
Three months later and Minato found himself standing in front of Kushina.
He could never forget a person that fought as passionately as she did. He could never forget a person that talked and swore so much in a fight.
"Good morning, Uzumaki-san," Minato said.
"G'mornin'," Kushina said.
"Let us get going then."
He had been given the mission to escort Uzumaki Kushina around town. Show her the highlights and all.
He certainly didn't know that she was the daughter of the most prominent figure in the Hidden Whirlpool Village. Oh, well, it wasn't as if that changed anything. He still had to show her around and she still had to be shown around.
... Obviously, class and status did not matter at all to Minato.
"Have you been preparing for the upcoming Jounin Exams?" he asked after he pointed out where the Ninja Academy was.
"Yeah," Kushina said, "and 'm pretty excited 'bout it." And then she started to babble. Minato was surprised that she could talk more than a drunken Tsunade could.
"– 'spec'ly since they said that Konoha had the best ramen 'round!" she finished.
Around an hour and a half had passed – Minato had been keeping track of the time. He was more than just amazed. He didn't know that anyone could talk for that long without trying.
"We... do?" he asked.
Kushina looked scandalized.
Minato looked confused.
"You didn't know that Konoha had ramen?!" she exclaimed.
"Well, I do know that," he said, "but I didn't know that we had the best ramen around."
He wasn't really that picky when it came to food. Being a ninja often required one to eat rations that tasted like pure bleh. Though he would be more than happy if anyone gave him something spicy.
Her eyes widened. She then gripped his arm and pointed her index finger at the street ahead of them.
"TO THE RAMEN PLACE!" she said.
She began to stomp in the same direction that she pointed to. She received a pull behind her. She looked at Minato who was holding his ground. She threw him an impatient glare.
"Ichiraku is this way," he said, pointing to the opposite direction.
"You could've told me from the beginning," she muttered.
They then made their journey to the ramen stand – Minato told Kushina that it was called Ichiraku Ramen Stand – with Kushina walking with a little bounce in her steps and a grin on her face that was so wide that it threatened to break her face into two and that it scared little children.
It truly was a happy day for her. She would be tasting the best ramen that the Fire Country had to offer. Or so that was what many said. She, Uzumaki Kushina, would be the judge of that! There was no ramen connoisseur that was better than her.
Then again, it wasn't as if there were many ramen connoisseurs.
"Here we are," Minato said after a while.
Kushina blinked and looked around her surroundings. And then she spotted the ramen stand. Never mind that it was right in front of her.
That manic-looking grin of hers was back on her face. She had to suppress cackling like a witch.
Never mind that last remark. She had never been known to be one that suppressed her urges.
She practically jumped to a place on one of the stools on the ramen stand and gleefully shouted her order to the cook whom she later found out was called Teuchi.
Minato merely shrugged, thinking that perhaps it was an odd custom of her country's, before he joined her and said his own order in a much calmer way.
He had inevitably tied himself to her that very day. And he didn't even know.
The day after that, Minato had also bore it upon himself to show more of Konoha to Kushina. There was more to Konoha than Ichiraku Ramen and his teacher's perverted books... which she unabashedly said that she liked.
That also led him to wonder how she bought those books seeing as she was a minor and his teacher's books were for adult audiences.
It was also on that day that Uzumaki Kushina met Uchiha Mikoto, probably the prettiest girl and one of the most powerful kunoichi in Konoha.
"Hello, Uchiha-chan," Minato greeted.
"Ah, Namikaze-kun. Good morning," Mikoto said with a small smile.
Mikoto was a friend of his. When they were in the Academy, she would always cook him lunch since she knew that if he was left to fix himself food, it wouldn't be at all something tasty.
It wasn't as if he was a bad cook. He could cook pretty well, he just didn't care.
"This is Uzumaki-san," he said, gesturing to Kushina.
Mikoto bowed to her.
"Good morning to you, too, Uzumaki-san," Mikoto said.
"Morning," Kushina muttered.
Minato and Mikoto blinked. She sure sounded sour.
"Is something the matter, Uzumaki-san?" Mikoto asked, sounding worried.
"No, no 's all fine," Kushina said. "Let's just go, Minato."
Minato and Mikoto blinked yet again. Then a smile blossomed on Mikoto's face.
"You and Namikaze-kun are close then?" she asked. "That's nice to hear."
"Hey, kid, wanna spar or something?" Kushina asked loudly.
"Me?" Minato asked.
"Yeah, you. Who else would I ask?!"
She grabbed his arm and dragged him away. He waved at Mikoto who waved back at him.
"What is up with you?" Kushina asked him once they got settled in one of the many training grounds Konoha had to offer.
"What's wrong with me?" Minato asked, obviously bewildered.
She let out a displeased groan and then attacked him.
He was able to dodge.
"Let's spar, Minato!" "Let's go to Ichiraku, Minato!" "You're so slow, kid!"
Those were usually what one would hear from Kushina nowadays. Minato found nothing particularly odd about it. But almost everyone else did.
Sure, Kushina was friendly and energetic and loved everyone, but she seemed to pour most of her attention on Minato. The poor boy didn't even notice. It seemed as if he was far too immersed in being a ninja and just plain living.
Ah, well, it was as they said. Boys would always be boys.
"Let's spar again!" Kushina exclaimed after their daily ramen excursion for the morning.
She patted her slightly bloated stomach. A complacent grin was on her face.
"I almost beat you yesterday," she said.
"So you're thinking that you'll be able to win against me today?" Minato asked.
He looked at her and then nodded his consent. He was always up for a good battle.
Time went by as fast as most women changed moods whenever they were on their period.
After three months, Kushina became a jounin.
After a year, she got an apartment in Konoha. Around a month after that, the people of Konoha truly saw her as one of their own. They obviously needed to get used to her since it seemed as if she wouldn't go away. Like some annoying pestilence. Though her utter happiness was something everyone welcomed with open arms.
After a year and a half, the two of them, meaning Kushina and Minato, started to be assigned together for missions. Six weeks after that happened, they were damn near inseparable. Most of this, however, was due to her persistence and his obliviousness.
Approximately three years after that, making it a total of six years since the two of the met, they attended Mikoto's wedding. She was to be wed to her second cousin who was next in line to be the head of the Uchiha Clan, Fugaku.
Nobody had ever seen Kushina happier than before. She even treated half of the ninja in Konoha to ramen. Which they, of course, didn't dare to not accept. She could be very fierce when it came to dissing ramen. Or something close to it.
Minato, as usual, had gotten miso ramen. He'd always wondered why Kushina always gave him that particular flavor whenever she treated him to ramen.
He had a gist of why she gave him miso ramen. He just preferred to ignore it in favor of stocking more jutsu in his mind. He truly was such a good and dedicated ninja. If there were more people like him, then Konoha's population would've probably dwindled to a mere one hundred, or perhaps even half of that, a long time ago.
It was nighttime and the two of them were having dinner at Ichiraku. They had just come back from a mission. Minato really would've liked to go to bed as it had been a rather hard one, but Kushina had insisted on the two of them having ramen.
He never really could say no to her – with certain exceptions, of course. Or almost anyone else for that matter.
Holding her chopstick in midair and letting soup droplets from the noodles the chopsticks were holding fall, Kushina said, "Let's get hitched so that I won't have to share you with anyone else."
Minato blinked and looked at her.
"... We're in a relationship?" he asked.