Small Hours

Feb. 18th - "Infinite riches in a little room"

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

Kushina moved through the room slowly, running her fingers over everything. She was memorizing it, trying to etch every single detail of this tiny bedroom into her memory. She wanted to remember it just as it was now, while it still held some semblance of meaning for her, while it still looked as it did when this place belonged to her and Minato.

Every time she touched something, a new memory arose. Looking back on it, it seemed as though her entire life with Minato had been lived out here, in this sparse, little bedroom. Honestly, it wasn't the things that she was trying to remember but the life that she had lived here, the one that had been buried along with her husband.

She stopped moving and closed her eyes to steady herself. The wound was still fresh - it was still too soon for her to think about him as he had been - not the Hokage that the village knew but her Minato, her gentle, strong Minato.

Kushina opened her eyes and turned to look at her greatest treasure, greater than all of those memories combined. She moved over to his crib in two smooth strides and reached in to pick up her son. The baby cooed and smiled blearily as her face came into view.

The pain in her heart intensified as she caught sight of his face, so much like his father's already, despite the fact that he was only a week old. But he was tainted, she thought as she caught sight of his whiskers, her beautiful baby boy, the child that would be their legacy had already been tainted by the very same beast that had taken his father away.

And this was exactly why she was leaving him behind. The guilt returned as she thought of her decision but she ignored it because she knew that this was what she had to do. The wound was too fresh - she could not trust herself with Naruto, not yet, not when she could still see that thing inside of him.

"Hey, fish cake," she murmured, looking down at him, "I'm sorry but I have to go, all right? But...I promise that one day when you're all grown up, I'll come back and explain all of this to you, okay?"

He had been watching her attentively all while she'd been speaking but then, as soon as she stopped, he opened his mouth and started to wail, almost as though he'd understood her words. The pain intensified once more but she tried to push it out of her mind - she couldn't dwell, she couldn't wallow.

She sighed as she bounced him up and down, murmuring softly and soothing him until his wails had stopped. He was Minato's son and he was hers - 'He will be strong,' she told herself, 'and there are good people here who will watch out for him in my absence.'

She nodded decisively - she had to make herself believe it or she would never leave. Sighing again, Kushina picked up her bag and slung it over her shoulder, careful not to jostle Naruto, then opened the door and walked out, leaving that little room with all of its' treasures far, far behind.

A/N: My first Kushina fic - whoo! Written for the LJ community, 31 days. Tell me what you think.