Their Final Day

(Sept. 27th)

She awoke with the familiar sharp tingling in her limbs, and dull ache in her heart. She sat up awkwardly, due to her swollen stomach; and gently clutched her chest. She took slow even breaths, waiting for the pain to pass. She looked over at her husband, willing him to stay asleep.

'Husband,' she thought to herself. Though they had not been legally bonded, they had exchanged vows that were significant to them, and they felt as if they were married. As she considered this, he suddenly turned over. His bright blue eyes locked her green orbs.

"Are you alright?" his voice was full of concern. She smiled, and reached out to hold his hand.

"I'm fine," she lied, "The baby kicked, and I woke up with a little heartburn."

He touched her stomach, gently rubbing the smooth silk covering her smooth skin. Just then, her belly jumped under his hand. He settled back down, but did not look entirely convinced.

Kushina Uzumaki put her head back to her pillow, trying to put aside her worries. She laced her fingers with those of Minato Namikaze, and let the feeling of love cradle her as she fell back to sleep.

(Sept. 29th)

"Good morning, Tsume," Kushina said brightly, then bent down unsteadily, "Good morning, Hana."

The young girl smiled shyly at the red-haired woman. Her mother stopped the stroller, and grinned at Uzumaki.

"How is little Kiba?" Kushina glanced into the carriage at the baby. He looked up at her and drooled happily.

"Is he sleeping through the night yet?" the pregnant Kunoichi asked.

"Yeah, finally," the animalistic Jonin sounded relieved, and countered, "What about you? You look ready to pop any day now."

"The medics say next week," she agreed. Then she felt the pull again, and stumbled.

"Kushina, are you OK?" Tsume lunged forward, and catching her before she it the ground.

"Ya… 'm fine," she mumbled. She tried to stand, but she pitched forward again, this time losing consciousness.

"Lord Hokage," the doctor hopped to his feet when the leader of the Hidden Leaf Village burst into the room. Minato ignored the other ninja, and rushed to his lover's side. She was sitting up in bed, seemingly the picture of health.

"What happened?" he asked her gently.

"Nothing," she tried to cover it up, "I just got a little heat stroke."

But he could tell she was lying, and turned to the doctor fiercely.

"We couldn't find anything," the medical ninja told him, nervously, "It was probably just too much time in the sun, coupled with the pregnancy."

Minato's eyes narrowed, and he ordered, "Please leave."

The white robed shinobi bowed slightly, and quickly left the room, closing the door tight.

"Tell me," Minato looked back at his wife. His look told her he had seen through her lie.

"When I came here fourteen years ago," she started, "I prayed I would be forgotten. As the years passed, I believed I was safe. And when I fell in love with you, I allowed myself to forget. But someone found the contract. They have been trying to summon me. But our son has been my anchor."

"Son?" Minato put his arms around her, "We are having a boy?"

She nodded, "Because he is not part of the contract, and because he links me to you, I have been able to resist the call. But once he is born…"

"Don't worry," he squeezed her at tight as her dared, "We'll think of something."

After walking her home, he regretfully left her, claiming Hokage duties.

When he reached his office, he immediately sent two Genin pages on errands. And shortly thereafter, he was joined by the first shinobi he had summoned.

"Lord Hokage," Jiraiya greeted his former student.

"Jiraiya-sensei, thank you for coming."

"Minato," the Toad-sage frowned, sensing the younger man's mood, "What's wrong?"

"Can we wait for the Professor?" his mask of normalcy cracked, "I don't want to have to say this more than once."

The Sannin nodded. After they were joined by the Third, Minato told the two elder shinobi what was happening, and his plan.

"This is almost too much to absorb," Sarutobi sat down hard into one the chairs in his old office.

"I…" the bridge between the Third Hokage and Fourth Hokage was struck speechless.

"Please, time is very short," Minato pleaded, "Will you help me?"

Seeing his distress settled them both.

"Of course," Jiraiya agreed.

"We should get started right now," the retired Hokage stood back up. The other two nodded, and the three master ninja left for the library.

When he arrived home, she was sitting at the table, folding up a sheet of paper.

"What's that?" he was curious, and a touch concerned.

"A letter to Tsunade," she said.

(Oct. 6th)

"So everything is ready," Minato pressured his teacher.

"As ready as we can be," Jiraiya was hesitant, "Are you sure you won't let me…"

"No," his counter was quick and firm, "Neither you nor Sarutobi has enough chakra to do this. Besides, it has to be me. It is only right."

The door to his apartment slid open, and his partner entered.

"Minato, I'm…" Kushina paused when she saw the Sannin, "Master Jiraiya, I did not know you would be here."

"I was just asking Jiraiya sensei's permission to use a name from his book," Minato looked at Kushina, "With your permission, I'd like to name our son Naruto."

"Naruto," she thought out loud, " It's a beautiful name."

She smiled, and nodded her approval.

"Kushina…" Jiraiya was suddenly struck by her grace.

(Oct. 10th)

"Push, Kushina," the doctor urged, "Push."

The young woman breathed steadily, and the three medical ninja were all surprised by how easily and painless this delivery was. Only Minato, who had lost all feeling in his right hand from her grip, was not stunned.

"The head is crowning," the attending announced, "Now, Kushina, one more big push."

With a slight groan, the Kunoichi bore down, and a few seconds later, a loud scream pierced the delivery room.

"Congratulations, Lord Hokage," the doctor said as he swaddled the infant, "You have a son."

"Hello, Naruto," Kushina took the baby boy, and gazed into his tiny, crying face.

(Oct. 13th)

"He's asleep," Kushina told her partner as she slid silently into the room.

"Good," Minato yawned, "Now, maybe we can…"

His suggestion was cut off as Kushina slid her robe to the floor, standing before him naked. His breath caught in his throat. He was not surprised the she had already shed her pregnancy weight; she had been careful to stay in good shape, and had that other advantage… No, he was still awed by her beauty, and that she had chosen him. She quickly crossed the room, kissing him fiercely.

Their lovemaking was intense. Kushina was possessed by an odd urgency. She didn't give him an instant of rest. As soon as he climaxed, she would begin to stroke or lick him, subtly transferring her chakra to him, to restore his erection. As soon as he was hard, she would impale herself on him, grinding in the way she had come to know he loved. After five hours of incredible sex, his body refused to respond, and she collapsed on his chest, clutching him tightly.

"Kushina, what is it?"

"I'm so sorry, Minato. I can't stay any longer. Having you inside me was enough to help me hold on. The summons is too…"

She could not complete her sentence, because she faded from view.

Kushina appeared in the middle of the giant circle, still naked and drenched in sweat. Her summoner's eyes widened, and a smirk twisted his face.

"Human form," he considered, "That must be how you resisted. That might prove interesting later. But for now, I have a schedule to keep."

"Resume your true form," he ordered harshly. She shuddered, and his eyes narrowed.

"Now!" he growled. Tears leaking from her eyes, her shape began to shift.

Her arms changed as her back arched forward. Like most ninja, she was hairless from the neck down, permanently forgoing even arm hair for decreased weight and drag. But now, red fur, the same color as her hair, sprang up all over her body. From the based of her tailbone, tiny nubs sprouted, lengthening into nine full tails. She grew larger, until she filled the entire two hundred foot sealing circle.

The majestic nine-tailed fox spirit looked down at her enslaver, sadness and anger filling her wise, green eyes. Her lustrous scarlet coat shone brightly in the dim candlelight.

"Your true form!" he snapped. A tough of pity filled her beautiful face.

"Fine," he groused, "Take the form I have crafted for you."

The vixen's scarlet fur turned blood red, its softness giving way to more wiry hairs. Her face grew thinner, giving it a vicious, hungry look. Finally, her kind emerald eyes became angry yellow orbs.

"Now, you will go to the Konohagakure. You will kill every living thing in that village, and then level every building. Leave no trace."

Her head drooping in sadness, the fox demon vanished from circle.

"Lord Hokage," someone pounded on his door, "We are under attack! The Nine-Tailed Fox Demon has appeared!"

Already fully dressed for battle, Minato Namikaze lifted his head from his hands, wiping the tears from his face.

"I'll be out in a moment."

(no when)

Minato opened his eyes, as a gentle hand touched his face.

"Kushina?" he was amazed to see her. Then he realized they were floating alone, in a light grey void.

"Where is this?" he asked.

"Between life and death," she told him, "Perhaps our souls touched when you used the Reaper Death Seal, or maybe the gods are giving us one last blessing."

She wrapped her arms around him.

"Your plan worked," she whispered into his shirt, "I am now trapped within our son, my chakra divided so it will not overwhelm him. I cannot be summoned and controlled any more."

The she started to cry softly, "But that last part of you plan will fail, I have seen it."

"What do you mean?"

"The Konoha will not honor Naruto. Most will revile him."

She met his gaze with a sigh, "And I can do so little for him."

He waited; know her well enough to see she was building to something.

"The village will tell him I am a monster," she continued, "And so a monster I will be. When he finds out I am inside him, I will play the part of the evil fox demon."

"What? Why?"

"For him," she answered, "If he knew that his mother was the hated monster, how much worse would he feel? And beyond that, if he knew I was controlled, forced to attack the village? It would make his life even harder."

"Kushina, I'm so sorry."

"It's OK. He is worth it. You were worth it."

She lifted her face, and kissed him one last time.

(6 years later)

Naruto Uzumaki entered his apartment, holding a paper towel to his bleeding forehead. The Hyuga boy had said it was an accident. But it was always an accident. The extended legs tripping him, the baseballs beaning him, they were never on purpose. As he dabbed iodine on the cut, he started to cry. A six-year old boy shouldn't be this familiar with treating his own injuries. After affixing a bandage to the wound, he crawled into bed. He continued to sob, even after he drifted to sleep.

"It's alright, Naruto," the beautiful red-haired woman whispered in his dreams. She hugged him gently, and then kissed the injury on his forehead.

"You can't give up," she counseled gently, "It will get better. You just have to keep believing in love and kindness."

Then she bent close to his ear, and whispered, "I'm always with you, my son."

Naruto's tears stopped, and he smiled slightly.