"Full Circle."

A Naruto one shot

He wasn't panting. He wasn't even breathing hard, his muscles weren't sore and his body felt fine.

Minato never felt worse or more exhausted in his life.

The cerulean orbs narrowed as he rested, looking at the sky.

'There must be a way around this... I'm missing something. But what?'

Despite many claiming otherwise, Namikaze Minato wasn't a spectacularily talented shinobi. Not in the way of the famed 'geniuses' that Konoha loved so much, anyway.

His grades at the academy were passable. Not bad, not good - just average. He wasn't particularly strong or fast. He didn't have a bloodlimit or even a bloodline. He wasn't a genius strategist. His ninjutsu was good, but nothing to write home about, taijutsu was just as average and genjutsu was no better.

That's not to say he was a bad ninja. Far from it. He was competent, brave and performed as well as any chuunin his age could. Even better, in some cases.

Minato, despite not being brilliantly skilled in any one area, was a perfect all rounder. An ideal jack of all trades. You needed somebody assassinated? Send Minato. There won't be much flash or cool jutsu involved, but the job would be done. A bodyguard mission? He might need to run along with the client - something many prouder shinobi like Hyuuga and the Uchiha would find distasteful, but at least the client would live. Intelligence gathering? No problem. He didn't have the Yamanaka mind techniques or the Hyuuga all-seeing eyes, but he was smart, streetwise and a good scout.

The missions might not be done in a glamorous way, but they got done. Once Namikaze Minato decided he would do something, it got done. It wasn't a question of pride, honor or duty. It was just the way Minato was.

Once when he was thirteen, he saw a particularly advanced Doton jutsu. He decided he would learn it right there and then.

His jounin sensei was flabergasted. The jutsu, while quite powerful was rather slow and useless in any place save the Earth Country, since it needeed a lot of sturdy rock to work with. Minato was a genin, lacked the chakra reserves, skill and anything even resembling the instruction, save the time he had seen it in action. And his affinity for Doton was just plain terrible, being a Fuuton type. Minato didn't care.

It took him two years, cost him his first possibility of the promotion and cut into his missison time.

Namikaze Minato learned the jutsu. Then he had mastered it. After that, he had never used it again. That was just the way he was.

Nearly two years later, Minato decided he wanted to be faster.

He could have just strapped some weights to do some good old fashioned training. Sure. He even did, and quickly realized that while it have give some effect, it was not for him. Oh sure, he got faster. A little. Somewhat. He didn't want a little faster. He wanted FASTER. As in very.

His body, as healthy and sturdy as it was, wasn't built for speed. He wasn't fat or, as they called it 'big boned' like an Akimichi, but he didn't have the wiry build of an Uchiha or the lithe form of the Hyuuga. He just wasn't 'wired' that way. His body was like him - a good all rounder.

While the weights and intense speed training would pay off, it wouldn't pay of nearly enough for the effort and time he'd have dedicated to it.

Besides, Jiraya-sensei already bitched he sacrificed his latest possibility of the promotion.

Minato briefly thought of using the Celstial Gates, but he rejected the idea almost as fast as it came. The strain on the body was bad enough for the hardened taijutsu masters. He was stubborn, not suicidical.

So he needed a way around his 'handicap'. The purely physical speed wasn't the only way - there were some high speed ninjutsu, like the shunshin. But shunshin was clumsy and had several glaring limitations. Moving only in a straight line, an inability to link the shunshins quickly, an inability to stop in the middle... The list went on.

That and it was 'loud' as hell when it came to chakra leakage. Any nin with half brains and sensory skill above an academy student could tell where one was going if somebody used the shunshin next to them.

No, shunshin was out, and that was the best high speed ninjutsu in existence. Well, to his and Jiraya-sensei's knowledge anyway.In other words, Minato was out of viable options. So he decided to create himself one.

His affinity was Fuuton. Wind equaled speed, right? Fast like the wind and all that.


So he experimented, researched and did his best.

While he discovered some nice speed enhancement techniques and even improved on them, they weren't what he was looking for. Though he got some ideas about a new technique he tentatively named Rasengan, so it wasn't a total bust. Still far from his goal, though.

It was obvious that the 'speed' just didn't cut it. So what was there?

He had an epiphany right then.

Summoning. The Kuchiyose no Jutsu. After all, it brought the summons from a different plane of reality almost at once! But how was he to summon himself? In a desired location, no less?

Minato dug into his memory, remembering and dissecting anything he knew about the kuchiyose. Then he grilled Jiraya, one of the greatest masters of the art in a long time. When that didn't prove to be enough, he went for Konoha's archives.

Sometime along the way he got promoted to a Jounin somehow - not that he really cared about the rank - and experiemented with his Rasengan on the side. He also became a very efficient nin. After all, the missions seriously cut into his research and it irked him. All those little snags, failiures and blind alleys that he came upon during his development of his dream technique proved to be quite beneficial in that. Though Minato was honestly surprised that he suddenly jumped to the 'upper A-class' threat level in most bingo books.

So he was a freshly minted jounin, already an A-class badass in every Bingo book out there... And he didn't give a fuck.

He was still missing something.

'Okay, let's see...' He frowned. 'Summoning myself, yeah. Possible. Needs a medium...' The young shinobi glared at the complicated seal array he was resting on. '...but possible.'

Minato gritted his teeth

'Only it hurts like FUCKING HELL!'

He sighed.

'I just don't get it... You can summon people if you create the necccessary seal array on the scroll and have a willing target. I know that it's possible, and there is no pain involved. So WHY the hell does summoning myself via medium at barely a five meter distance feels like getting mauled by the entire Hyuuga Clan? It doesn't make any sense!'

A shadow coming over his face shook his train of throught off.

He looked up and blinked.

There was a face hoovering above his.

It was nice and angular, though the cheekbones were a little bit sharp. But the face was feminime and undeniably beautiful. He wouldn't call it 'nice' - it wasn't that type of beauty. Her features were that of fully mature woman, her skin very pale, though not deathly so. Her hair was the richest shade of crimson that he had ever seen, and it hung around her face in a slightly wild and untamed manner, though he could see the four elaborate hair pins holding the long pony tail.

The redhead was frowning as she looked at him, her eyes a shade of lighter, more vibrant crimson than her hair.

"What are you doing?"

He blinked at that.

Her voice was strange. Not the sweet, high pitched tone of the village girls, but not the harsh one some kunoichi seemed to use either.

It was low and rich, but it wasn't melodious. It was the type of the tone that brooked no argument, one that didn't ask, but ordered.

"I'm laying here for my health."

Well, he had never been very good with orders.

The woman's frown deepened, but she didn't get annoyed. Her tone remained the same, smooth and rich.

"I am asking about this." She indicated the array.

Overcoming his slowly abating pain, Minato sat up. While Tsunade managed to beat some manners into him, he was hurting too damn much to do anything else.

He quirked an eyebrow.

Now that he wasn't upside down, he could look at her properly.

And there was a lot to look at.

She was tall. Taller than most of the women he had seen in his life - a little bit taller than him, even. She was also built like a kunoichi - a rather voloptous one, but a kunoichi. The simple black pants, shirt and a loose burgundy jacket weren't exactly tight, but they showed enough. There was something vaquelly sharp about her, though - he couldn't decide if it was because her figure was tauter and more toned than one would suspect, given the generous bust, or because of her almond-shaped eyes coupled with that wild, crimson mane.

'She looks a little bit like Tsunade.' Minato decided finally. 'Smaller breasts... Well, not a shock here, but otherwise they look quite a bit similar. Save for face... Yeah, very smilar.'

Oh there were differences - Tsunade's features were softer, her hair blonde, shorter and neater... And she sure as hell didn't emanate such a harsh, commanding presence, but there were similarities.

"I'm creating a summoning array." He finally answered, almost slapping himself right after. 'Oh great going, you moron. That she looks like a kunoichi doesn't mean she is one.'

"I mean, it's like the summoning creatures that shinobi sometimes do. We use a bit of chakra, mold it and-"

The redhead cocked an eyebrow.

"I know what calling on the help of a contracted tribe is, shinobi." She said curtly. " But what what purpose would that," she indticated the array "serve? This array... It is empty. It calls forth nothing."

'So okay, she knows what summoning is. Probably not a civilian, then.' He frowned. 'Not a low level kunoichi either. Spotting something like that... It takes some serious skill, upper chuunin at the least.'

"Well it doesn't summon 'nothing'." The blond corrected the woman. "It summons me. Or it should anyway." He scratched his neck in embarassment.

The woman blinked, before looking at the array without a word for a long while.

"Why?" She said finally, looking at him curiously..

"Well, if I can summon myself wherever I want, that'd be a pretty good technique, right?" Minato shrugged. "The ultimate kind of speed... Though it wouldn't be speed, per se." He muttered thoughtfully, before perking up. "But it would be-"

"No." Her crimson eyes were calm, but very focused. "Why do you do this?"

Minato blinked.

"I'm not sure I understand." He asked, puzzled.

"As a shinobi you require an efficient technique. To move but five meters you need a complicated seal array that takes hours to put up and still fails most of the time, while the energy backlash leaves you in too much pain to even stand up." She cocked her head. "Why?"

"Well the backlash thing is pretty annoying, but once I find a way ar-" He started.

"No." She cut in again. "Why are you attempting to do it?"

Minato stopped, frowning thoughtfully, before smiling.

"I don't know." He admitted cheerfuly. "But I won't know until I try."

Her eyebrows rose slowly.

"You focus on an impossible goal without knowing why?" The redhead asked curiously.

"It isn't impossible. So far I just found what doesn't work." Minato said, grinning.

The redhead looked at him for a while, her face expresionless, before nodding slowly.

"Shinobi, your name?" She said finally, her tone commanding.

"Minato. Namikaze Minato. Jounin of Konohagakure."

The woman pulled one of her long pins from her hair and looked at it contemplatively for a while. It was a little odd, Minato noted. It wasn't a straight shape he had seen other women using, but rather a three pronged, an almost blade-like one.

"Namikaze Minato..." She nodded thoughtfully, as if to herself.

Her hand blurred.

Minato's eyes widened before he touched his cheek, now dripping blood. The bloodied hairpin embeded in the center of the array, still vibrating slightly with the force of the throw.

'My gods... I didn't even see it move!'

She looked at him, her eyes strangely amused.

"That was a good answer, Minato. An interesting answer. I'm going now, but we will meet again. And I will remember your name." The crimson lips twitched slightly, in obvious amusement. "Indeed, I will remember your name, for good or ill." She bared her teeth in a disturbingly savage grin. "Next time, you better be faster than my little hairpin, Namikaze Minato."

She chuckled before walking away and quickly vanishing in the forest despite the distinctive color of her hair and jacket.

The blond, still too much in pain after the failed technique just blinked.

"Okay..." Minato said finally. "Can anybody please tell me what the hell just happened?"

He winced, touching his cheek.

The wound wasn't deep, paper cut at most, but those were always the most annoying. He wiped the blood, only for more to appear.

'Well damn... That was one hellishly sharp hairpin.' The jounin thought with a scowl, reaching for the item in question and freezing.

Slowly, ever so slowly he looked at the pin, before wiping more blood and puling out a fresh scroll. Pulling out a senbon, he started scribbling furiously, using the life giving liquid in place ink. He cut away the clean scraps, leaving a long, thin slip of paper that he tied over the pin.

The young shinobi looked at it thoughtfully before smearing more of his blood over the hilt. He stood up and slowly walked to the second, identical array five meters away.

Slowly, Minato made the precise seals for his modified kuchiyose.

There was a slightly queasy sensation starting in his gut and a brief, if strong, stab of pain as he landed inside the second seal.

Namikaze Minato grinned, a mad glint in his eye.

The situation wasn't hopeless.

Well, not really.

They were just... a little out numbered.


Like, ten to one.

And in the Iwa teritory. Deep into Iwa teritory. No reinforcements. No supplies. The Iwa bastards didn't even have to attack - the hunger would to the job for them.

Minato frowned, tapping his pouch.

'Damned if I do, damned if I don't... Well, isn't this just great!'

He scowled.

He wasn't ready. Not yet. The technique worked. Well, mostly. But he still needed the 'markers' to know exactly where he was going. And the technique itself had flaws but...

The jounin sighed.

Not like he had a choice here.

"Hiashi." He turned to one of his comrades, a young Hyuuga, taking out several three pronged quasi-kunai "How accurate are you with thrown weapons?"

The Hyuuga Main House heir just cocked an eyebrow.

The technique had flaws. Holes.

It ate chakra like crazy, it wasn't exactly stealthly either. He had tried, but after he eliminated the smoke and the loud sound, there came the flash. The leaking chakra had to got somwhere and he didn't fancy it slamming back into his coils like it did before he worked out the bugs. Before it was 'just' painful - with this much it could fry his chakra coils better than a rabid Hyuuga.

Despite the ovewhelming numbers, superior tactics and knowledge of the terrain, any Iwa ninja who fought, died. Those who escaped, carried forth a horror story of a golden haired demon appearing out of nowhere in a flash of yellow light, decimating his opponents before they knew what was happening.

While the Iwa nin fled, terrified of the crushing defeat at the hands of, for all intents and purposes, a single man, Konoha nins rejoiced, their sipirits rising, morale skyrocketing, rekindling the famous fires of Konoha's spirit once again.

The Yellow Flash was born.

Not that the newly nicknamed Namikaze Minato knew or cared, seeing as he fainted from the chakra exhaustion right after.

When he awoke, his cheek was bleeding, the crimson line directly symmetrical to the cut he recieved few years before. A bloodied, three pronged hairpin rested in his hand.

Namikaze Minato slept with a smile that night, one that had nothing to do with his glorious victory.

The Yondaime Tsuchikage glared at the blond jounin.

"A little gimmick... A little, fucking TOY..." The Tsuchikage sneered, breaking the three-pronged kunai. "Not so mighty without it now, Yellow Flash, huh? Not when there is no gimmicked crap to use!" He spat.

Minato's smirk dawned despite the cut lips, the blood not managing to take away the 'I can piss of a saint' quality so infamous among the Iwa ninja.

"Well, that 'gimmicked crap' cost you quite a few soldiers... And your personal ANBU bodyguards as well. I guess it is useful for something, eh?"

The Tsuchikage gritted his teeth.

"You will pay for every life you have taken, murderer." He hissed. "Each of those men was worth a hundred of you. They didn't need to cheat to be excellent shinobi. Not like you!"

Minato looked the Tsuchikage for a few moments, before stating to... snicker.

The Tsuchikage's rage reached new levels.

'He...DARES?!' The Iwa shinobi thought, seeing red.

"First off... We are ninja. Cheating, subterfuge, stealth... You know, kind of required. In the job description, as it were." The blond said, finally restraining his chuckle. "Second..." The konoha jounin vanished.

The Tsuchikage's eyes widened as he heard the tell tale sounds of the fully charged Rasengan behind his back.

"... I don't need the kunai for the Hiraishin."

When the dawn came over the battle field, he laid there, sorrounded by the wreckage and corpses. His body tired, the armor ruined and covered with the blood of the dead enemies as well as one from hsi own wounds, Minato found the third three pronged hairpin.

His cheeks were not marked, but the pin was wrapped in a slip of silky cloth where the blood had been on the last two.

The last three-pronged hair pin didn't cut him. Nor had it been given to him during or after a battle, like a victory token. There was no sash, nor blood.

Minato had found it on his desk one morning. It just laid there, silent and gleaming in the afternoon sun.

An hour later he recieved first report of the giant fox heading for Konoha.

Minato panted, drawing the air in greedily.

He tried to stop the beast before it reached Konoha, along with his ANBU, but it proved futile. Nothing, not even the Boss Summons, could stop the raw engine of destruction that was the nine tailed fox.

All of his best ANBU, including Kakashi, his prized pupil. All that skill, power and experience that could rip a small army asunder...

They didn't even manage to slow the bijuu down.

Even when the rest of Konoha forces went to fight the demon, it didn't change anything. Where once of those crimson tails hit, mountains crumbled. Where one of the tails swung, rock and earth alike were torn asunder. Fire, hotter than any Katon jutsu he had ever seen, rained down from the heavens with each swipe of the red tails.

They couldn't wound it. They couldn't even scratch it. The most powerful jutsu in Konoha's history didn't leave a mark on the crimson fur.

He knew, deep in his heart, how it would end. Still, he had to try.

'Well, only the one way left now...'

"Kakashi! Take the ANBU and order the rest to evacuate!"

The grey haired youth blinked, before looking at his teacher in outrage and desperation.

"Sensei! You can't...!"

"This is the only way, we both know it!" Minato said harshly.

The glint of determination lit in the young Copy nin's eyes.

"Then I will do it. You are the Hokage, sensei, this village needs you!" He focused his single sharingan eye on his teacher. "I can copy it, just show me the seals!" The young jounin demanded urgently.

Minato smiled sadly.

"If only it was so simple..." He muttered, before using the Hiraishin to appear at his student's back, knocking him out with a blow to the neck.


Minato gave Kakashi's unconscious body to the nearest ANBU.

"Take him and go." He ordered.

"Hokage-sama..." The masked figure hesitated

"GO GODDAMIT!" The blond roared. "THIS IS AN ORDER!"

The ANBU nodded, before standing at attention, as did the rest of the ANBU, even the wounded. They gave their leader a quick, somber salute before vanishing in the swirls of shunshin.

The Yondaime sighed, before jumping on Gamabunta's head.

"Just you and me now." He said with a grin. "Come on, furball! One last dance before the show ends!"

'For the both of us.'

It was futile. He knew that. It didn't stop him from trying. The fox, it seemed, was more than happy to accomodate him.

They battled, if you might call it that. The tails swept, the fire rained, Rasengan whined, dragons rose. The fight raged on.

"Minato... I can't keep this up for long, the bijuu is far too strong. If you continue like this, we will lose." Cautioned the Toad Boss.

The Hokage nodded wearily.

"Yeah. I know. It's time to finish this."

Incredibly, the nine tailed fox halted. It looked at the blond human, its deadly tails swiping from side to side but not ripping, burning or crushing for once.

Then it did something Minato would never suspect it to do.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING, HUMAN?" The voice was deep, harsh and growling, but not as unpleasant as he might have imagined.

Astonished, The blond shinobi blinked, before answering

"I'm fighting."

The tails swept side to side impatiently.


Minato shrugged.

"You don't know until you try right?" He chuckled. "Besides, nothing is impossible. So far I just learned what doesn't work."

The fox looked at the young Hokage, before chuckling as well, its maw showing the rows of gleaming teeth.


"I can say the same to you." The Yondaime Hokage said calmly, Rasengan blooming to life on his palm, before vanishing in the yellow flash and appearing over Kyuubi's head.

"This is something special I've been cooking up for a while, just for you...!" He grinned as the small sphere roared, suddenly growing in size several times over. "Oodama Rasengan!"

The Kyuubi roared as the sphere tore into its body, managing to do what the whole Konoha ninja force couldn't - to actually wound the bijuu.

The tails raked the earth savagely, as the beast writhed in momentary pain.

Gamabunta, his resolve renewed, attacked the bijuu in its moment of weakness. Weakness that, sadly, proved only temporary. With an impossible speed, the crimson fur mended as one of the tails swiped at the blond figure holding the Rasengan, the paws tearing into the giant toad's side.

But Gamabunta was unheeding of his own pain as his eyes widened.

"MINATO...!" The Toad Boss roared, watching helplessly as the tail crushed his friend, only to blink as the body exploded in... smoke?

'The Kage Bunshin?!' The huge toad thought incredously. 'But when...No, more importantly... WHERE is Minato now...?!'

The Kyuubi froze suddenly.

"NO!" It roared, its chakra flaring, raging desperately.

Down on the ground, Minato smirked, his fingers finishing the last seal before plunging into the crimson fur.

Gamabunta, no longer having any chakra to spare, his injuries severe, vanished in the cloud of smoke.

The veiled figure of the shinigami appeared overhead and Kyuubi's eyes widened.

"I told you before, demon!" The Hokage shouted trimpanthly. "One last dance... For the both of us!"

Still grinning, the blond coughed up blood as he felt the lethal pull, first on his felsh, then on his very soul.

The bijuu, instead of trashing and screaming, looked down at the human with its crimson eyes.


Namikaze Minato, The Yondaime Hokage, fell back, closing his eyes, a grin still on his face, the four ornate three pronged hair pins falling from his belt where he had always kept them.

Naruto came to his senses slowly, which was rather odd. Usually he just woke up, crisp and ready. Something to do with his regenerative powers, according to the obaa-chan. She explained it in detail but it flew over his head. Pity her punch didn't.

He chuckled weakly at that, before coughing and wincing.

'Shit! What happened?!'

He felt worse than after the whole Valley of the End fiasco, worse than after the Four Tailed transformation, even!

His eyes widened.

Memories returned slowly.


He scowled.

'That stupid, idiotic, halfwit BASTARD!'

The idiot 'avenger' somehow got into his head that the best way to get to Itachi would be through Naruto. How and why, Naruto had no idea. But Sasuke had lured him in, pretending to be willing to return, only to beat him black and blue after his back was turned.

'And then he practically gift wrapped me for the Akatsuki.' Naruto thought darkly.'The only thing missing was the fucking ribbon!'

The blond hung his head, clenching his fists.

Sasuke betrayed him once, escaping the village. That had hurt. But doing something like this...

'Not that he got anything out of it, the stupid bastard.' Naruto smirked.

Instead of fulfilling his purpose and avenging his clan by killing Itachi, Sasuke ran into a wall called Hoshigaki Kisame. Who promptly smacked Sasuke around with Samehada like a redheaded stepchild. Even the freakish Cursed Seal on the second level didn't help the younger Uchiha - if anything it made fighting him easier for Kisame, since it used so much chakra.

Not that the former Mist nin had any problems handling Sasuke before. The younger Uchiha was incredibly ninjutsu oriented, and even his famous speed came mostly from channneling chakra. Chakra which the Samehada ate. Kisame was almost bored fighting the Uchiha scion. He went so far to say that fighting Naruto was far more fun that fighting Sasuke. Far more challenging as well, according to his words.

It was a bad, downright terrible day to be Uchiha Sasuke.

If not for Itachi's intervention the 'Great Uchiha Heir' would end his sad existence there and then.

'Oh I bet the bastard is just eating his own kunai in frustration!' Naruto snickered. 'Not only being called inferior to ME, but being saved by his psycho brother! Bwahahahaha!'

"And what are you so happy about runt, yeah?"

Naruto froze.

"Maybe he anticipates the moment of release from the bijuu as joyful?" Itachi's psycho-monotone was a s creepy as always.

"Hell, Itachi-san, you never know with that brat. It just might be possible."

Naruto slowly looked around the dark cave, finally noticing the faint silhouettes in black cloaks with red clouds.

His eyes went very wide as he winced.

'So maybe laughing wasn't the best idea...'

"Enough. We are ready. We need to start the procedure now, before some meddlers interrupt it." Came the calm, authorative voce form the shadowed projection of Pein.

The seal around Naruto lit up.

The blond jinchuuriki screamed.

He panted, sweat running down his brow as he strained with the foreign chakra.

'Sweat? Why should I sweat in my own mind?'

Just like that, the sweat was gone. But the strain remained.

Another bar of Kyuubi's prison was rent asunder, despite the Suiton jutsu holding it in place.

"DAMN IT!" Naruto roared. "HOLD, YOU FUCKER!"

The fox rose its head, shaking it slightly in a disturbingly human manner.

Naruto had no idea how long he had been doing this, but he was already at the end of his rope. The moment the extraction started, he landed straight in here, this familiar, hated sewer, watching as the first of the countless bars to the Kyuubi's prison was slowly ripped, deformed and finally crushed.

It was a long time ago. Only a third of the bars remained, despite his best efforts.


Naruto gritted his teeth.


Naruto still chose to ignore the demon, focusing the last dregs of chakra in the 'sticky' jutsu he had learned from the Ero-sennin that seemed to work best on the bars.

The Kyubi growled, finally losing patience. One of the tails sneaked through the holes ripped by the Akatsuki. The apendage gabbed him, slamming him face first into the remaining bars, leaving him staring in the Kyuubi's crimson, slitted robs.


"The FUCK do you think you're doing, you stupid furball?! I'm busy here!" The blond growled, trying to get free of the tail, a futile effort. Not that it stopped him from trying.


"Screw you!" Naruto grunted through his gritted teeth. "Possible, impossible... I don't give a fuck! It's beter than sitting and waiting to die." He smirked. "Besides, it ain't impossible. I just didn't find a way that works, yet."

The fox froze. It's eyes closed for a moment before opening, glowing brighter than Naruto could remember seeing in his life.


The fox grinned toothily and Naruto's eyes opened wide as the wave of crimson consumed him.

The two orbs of purest crimson looked down. There was no malice, no hate. Not even the bloodlust. Just anticipation and... something else. Something that scared and unsettled Minato greatly.


The Hokage's eyes widened.

He had planned to seal the demon in himself as he died from the sacrifice to the shinigami, taking it with him. He could feel his life force slipping, but... Why so slowly...?

The nine tailed demon fox looked at the shinigami.

"WELL BARGAINED AND DONE, LORD OF THE UNDERWORLD." The bijuu growled. Said being nodded gravely, before vanishing.

Minato's eyes widened.



Yondaime's eyes widened in horror. He had failed. Completely and utterly. The beast would be free regardless of his sacrifice and wipe Konoha out after all.


Minato stiffened before crying out in pain, smoke rising from his stomach, then from his hands and, soon, from his whole body.


Even as the seal started to draw the mighty being in, the Kyuubi laughed.

Naruto fell down, the tail no longer keeping him aloft.

The blond coughed, his cerulean eyes unfocused and dazed. He shook his head, touching it to the cool material of the bars.

'What...what is... What the hell...?!'

His head was as if covered in cotton inside out. The thoughts were sluggish and jumbled, slow, like a river of tar.

And they hurt. GODS how they hurt!


Naruto closed his eyes, trying to chase off the pain.


The pulse in the back of his neck grew. His stomach hurt.

And then it was gone. Something cool and soothing touched his brow.

Thee blond leaned onto it with gratitude.

'Soft and cool... Kami... This is...so...soothing...' He trailed off.


Naruto froze before slowly, ever so slowly looking up.

The crimson eyes looked into his cerulean ones with unabashed amusement.

"Hello, shinobi." The crimson lips stretched into a smirk. "I told you we would meet again."

The Akatsuki leader's hands twitched.

His fingers were, despite using his projection jutsu, smoldering slightly, as was the seal they put around the extraction altar.

He noticed that all of his subordinates had shown similar symptoms, some more so than the others.

Pein frowned.

'What in the world?'

"The Yondaime was truly a master shinobi." Itachi's monotone finally broke the silence."The seal he created is strong."

The leader regained his composure.

"He was but one man. And what man created, man can break."

"Ain't that the truth." Drawled an amused voice.

Itachi's eyes widened, looking at the blond jinchuuriki.

'Impossible! The extraction process is so strenous that even if it was interrupted he should have stayed unconscious...!'

"You know, I must congratulate you on the whole set up." The jinchuuriki said, his tone conversational as if he was taking a relaxing stroll in the park. "A cave with only one entrance... Manacles, ropes, traps... I can't move at all, even if I broke the chains. You thought of everything." Naruto grinned and vanished.

Itachi's eyes widened slightly.

There was a distinctive sound of twisting air and chakra, a low, almost inaudible growl of power.

The renegade Uchiha turned quickly, the tomoe in his sharingan morphing.

Naruto's cerulean eyes caught the Mangekyo without a slightest hesitation.

Itachi looked at the black and white landscape of his Tsukuyomi.

Or what should have been black and white and was now in varying shades of red.

The Kyuubi no Kitsune smirked savagely, looking down at the wide eyed Uchiha, lowering her giant maw so that it was directly in front of Itachi's face.


The Akatskuki watched in frozen disbelief as the Uchiha genius stared at the jinchuuriki with wide eyes, before screaming shrilly in pain, clawing at his sharingan.

Kisame, the closest standing to Itachi backed away a step when he realized that Itachi's eyes started to, for the lack of better word, melt. First, the sharingan blurred out of existence, leaving just the pitch black, only to be flooded with crimson again.

Itachi howled in agony as his eyes boiled in their sockets, first wisps of smoke coming out of them.

The Uchiha stiffened, going silent, before his eyes just... popped, bubbling down his face and evaporating on the way.

Naruto stared at the Uchiha corpse, before shaking his head.

"Wimp." He muttered contemptously. cracking his neck and knuckles before looking at the rest of the Akatsuki.

The quiet yet menacing song of the twisting Rasengan filed the chamber. Naruto smirked as the yellow bolt flashed through him, from head to toe.

"I guess we haven't been formally introduced yet, you bastards." Naruto's smile was wide, toothy and almost disturbingly vulpine. "My name is Namikaze Minato. You tried to kill me. Prepare to die."

Naruto (it was still odd to think of himself any other way, really) laid down on his back, the cave utterly wrecked, bright sky visible through the blown holes.

The floor was covered with gore, as were his hands, severeal cloaked figures strewn around him. Most was rather... dismembered.

He opened his eyes lazily to look at the crimson haired, pale skinned face right above him.

"Heh..." The blond smiled weakly. "Now this feels rather familiar for some reason, don't you think?"

The young ninja blinked, looking at the familiar, ornate, three pronged hair pins on his chest and cocked an eyebrow, before smirking.

"Not gonna cut me?" He joked. "Cause it'd be kinda nostalgic and all."

"I don't need to mark you now." She chuckled throatily, her long nails gently tracing his whisker marks with obvious satisfaction. "See? It's all here. Right how it needs to be. Right how it should be."

Lazily, Naruto picked up the hair pins, tracing the ornate hilt to the top.

"Why do I have the feeling that when put the ends just right I'll get a perfectly round, white sphere?" He asked with a wry smile.

She just chuckled, sitting next to him.

The blond took the first of the hair pins and used it to comb the crimson hair. He had never done it before, but when he grabbed a handful of it, the smiple, slightly wild yet attractive pony tail came out without a hitch. Naruto had seen it in his dreams too many times not to.

'I wonder if it was because of that I had my crush on Sakura? After all, in Konoha she was the closest thing to a redheaded girl... Though that does sound kind of silly now that I think about it.' The shinobi thought absently, placing the first and the second pins.

With swift move, ha placed another two, the same way he remembered from their first meeting, so long ago and just sated his eyes with the sight of rich crimson for a while before closing his eyes and lying down.

He was so damn tired...

A moment later he could feel a warm body, unheeding of the blood on his hands and torso, laying next to him and embracing him tightly.

"You now... I should be pissed." The blond murmured. But now I can only think of one thing... Why me?" He opened his eyes, looking at her curiously. "Why? Why not some demon lord or even another bijuu ro something?"

The redhead chuckled.

"It was you. From that very frist moment, I knew it was you. There was nobody else." She said, amusement in her voice. "Bijuu are... well, boring I guess. Static. Humans might be weak as a rule, but they are interesting. Well, they are interesting as individuals. As a whole..."

He looked at her curiously.

"You said 'they'?"

"Oh please." She snorted with amusement. "Fifteen years of co-existng with me and you think yourself human? Give me some credit."

Naruto's eyes widened.

"So the regeneration, the senses the chakra capacity..."

She smirked.

"Yours. Let's just say that I just gave way to what was already there."

The not-really-so-young shinobi blinked.

"Oh." He said finally. "Cool."

"Well I spent over fifteen years on the whole thing. It better be." She grumbled.

"Yeah... I wanted to ask you about that." He said slowly. "Why all that..." Naruto waved his hand. "You know, the set up. Why the hair pins I can guess, but the war with Iwa... The whole attack on Konoha..." He frowned. "Which reminds me, I'm still rather pissed about that. "

"Minato... Or Naruto, however you want to be called. "She looked at him.

"Naruto's fine." The blond shrugged. "So is Minato, but I doubt going under my old name would be good. I did have mu share of enemies. I don't need them crawling outta the woodwork now."

"Naruto it is." She nodded. "How long does a human live?"

His eyes widened in understanding.

"Ah, so you see." She smiled. "I didn't plan on such a... direct thing, but the Shiki Fuuin both complicated and simplified some things." The woman shrugged."Besides..." Her eyes narrowed. "I had a bone to pick with Konoha. I still do, as a matter of fact."

"Hey, hey hey!" Naruto said in alarm "Easy there! No invading Konoha again! I might not like it terribly much because of the last fifteen years of my life but I still have friends there!" He frowned. "And what do you mean 'a bone to pick'?"

"Bones. As in plural." She siad flatly. "Mokuton is the first. Pity that your Shodai is dead. I'd enjoy roasting him over a slow fire, the miserable thief!" The redhead snarled, her eyes glowing crimson, before frowning. "I wonder if I can learn that Edo Tensei... Not that I have much use for some petty human arts but... Hmm..." She muttered thoughtfully.

Naruto rolled his eyes.

"And the second?" He asked.

"Uchiha Madara... That human, to put it quite simply, annoyed me one time to many. Miserable maggot overreaching his grasp." The Kyuubi snorted with disgust, before perking up. "Melting Itachi's eyes has been quite cathartic, however"

"I don't get it..." Naruto said finally. "You're pissed at two men, and Konoha as a whole suffers?" He scowled. "Kinda overkill, if you ask me."

"Do not judge me by some petty human morality, my beloved." The Kyuubi cautioned the blond. "Besides, Konoha is mine by right." She said with a smirk.

Naruto looked at her sceptically.

"You know, I do happen know that you're the big bad demon lord and all but, that's kinda pushing it, don't ya think?" He said finally.

"Oh not at all." She said lazily. "What did your Shodai use to create Konoha, hmm?"

"Moku-" Naruto's eyes widened. "Oh you GOTTA be kidding me!" He said finally. " You mean to tell me, that since Mokuton is yours, then by default..." He looked at her with wide eyes.

Kyuubi looked at him smugly.

"I might not be able to destroy it now, as long as you don't want it, beloved." She said with an evil smirk. "But I think I'll start charging them rent."


AN: This story is rather old, and I posted it on TFF years ago, before posting it on my Ficwad account, way before Yondaime's name or history was known. Still, treat it as an AU, even if I did change the name from Arashi to Minato.