So! I've decided that whenever inspiration strikes me, I'll be adding to my oneshot/twoshot/maybethreeshot series about the future generation of Naruto. Original, right? Yeah. I know. Anyway, I Wish was the first in the series. They'll be loosely related, but they're also stand alone stories, so they can be read apart from each other. So yeah.
And I apologize about the maid's accent … I just finished reading a book set in Britain, and I'm afraid I couldn't resist.
Out of all of Naruto's children, the circumstances of Uzumaki Minato's birth and early childhood are the oddest. NaruHina, slight SasuSaku, ShikaIno, KibathePlaya.
"...I can only wait for the final amnesia, the one that can erase an entire life..."
"Push!" The midwife screamed, and with one final cry, the woman gave a colossal shove and was spent. But it was alright; the baby was born.
The babe's squeals and cries broke the exhausted silence and the midwife smiled. Handing the baby to the attendant, she quietly ordered the girl to clean the baby off and come back straight away. She made her way to the bed, where the brunette woman was shaking and sweating profusely. The midwife clapped her on the shoulder bracingly.
"It's all done now, eh? Hitsuga-sama will be very pleased. I'll send for him –"
"Could I have… just a few minutes alone with the baby?" the woman asked quite meekly, but the midwife agreed. She looked upon the young woman with sympathy, knowing her true story. That she was in her late thirties, though she looked very good for age, and that this was definitely not her first pregnancy – in fact, it looked as if she'd had quite a few before… arriving… here.
"Here he is mum, I've got'm all cleaned up and all," murmured her assistant as she came back into the room. "Cute li'l thing! Barely a blond 'air on 'is 'ead, but he's got these li'l birthmarks on his cheeks!"
"Thank you," said the still-sweaty woman in the bed, graciously accepting the bundle in the blue blanket with a true mother's instinct. Her touch immediately quieted his cries, and the midwife knew what she did not want to believe about the woman's so-called husband – that he had spirited her away from her home out of desire for her body, tearing her away from all that she had. She'd served at this estate for decades, and always turned a blind eye toward his antics. But this – separating a mother from her family – was tortuous to watch.
The woman's pale, slim fingers traced the details of the newborn's face with loving care. "Hello, little one," she said quietly but sweetly, stroking his cheek.
"Have you decided on a name yet, mum?" asked the assistant excitedly. The midwife shushed her, but with a regal wave the woman assuaged their fears. "It's fine," she said with a smile. "I've got a name all picked out."
"Minato. His name is Minato."
"It's lovely," said the assistant in appreciation, swooning over the newborn.
"Where did you hear that name, if I may be so bold?" The midwife's smile was nervous. She'd heard the name before. She had several things to report to Hitsuga-sama, all thanks to one little woman.
The woman smiled. "I heard it in a dream."
The Rokudaime turned to his wife of over fifteen years with a large grin, lifting her up and twirling her before setting her down gently on the ground as she laughed with abandon. Hinata looked into his gaze with eyes so full of love that he always felt humbled by it. He had never known how much people could care for each other until her. Hinata. The name always rolled off his tongue so pleasantly. He never got tired of it.
While the vegetable patch was neat and orderly, the garden behind their house was lush with wildflowers and a bit overgrown – it was on purpose, of course. Hinata had hated the manicured lawns of the Hyuuga clan, and had endeavored to make their own garden its near opposite. Suddenly they were sitting the grass together, side by side. She twined her hand with his and leaned on his shoulder.
"It's a lovely day," she murmured quietly, turning her nose to inhale the scent of him.
"I could stay here forever, I think."
Something tugged on Naruto's mind as she said that, but he shook it away and agreed with her.
"I will… but you can't."
"You've got to let go," she said gently, touching his forearm. "It's for the greater good."
"What are you talking about? Hinata, you're really scaring m –"
"Let go, Naruto. Wake up!"
A pair of pearly blue eyes looked up at him warily, framed by fiery red hair. His second-youngest daughter, Kushina, had snuck into his room and attempted to wake him up. She was still wearing her bright orange pajamas and she tugged on his black tank impetuously.
"Everyone else is already awake, tou-chan. Hotaru-nee even started breakfast for you!"
"I'm a-coming," he grumbled, rolling out of bed. "Away with you!" he called, tickling her and then allowing her to escape his evil clutches. Giggling madly, she dashed out of the room, unknowingly leaving him to his melancholy. He grabbed his Hokage robes and ironed them quickly, not really being precise. He threw them on without bothering to shower or chance his clothes from yesterday, which he had worn to bed. He put on his ninja sandals and went into the kitchen.
All his children were in there – all eight of them. Iruka, Tsunade, Hotaru, Naoki, Toshi, Kushina, Kyo, and Tsukiko. One chair had been left empty for him; another one across the table was achingly empty.
"Good morning all," he said, putting on a mask of cheerfulness. They responded back in kind; except that each passing day, their response grew more dull and less genuine. This had been their morning routine for almost eight months now. Ever since Hinata had gone on a rare mission out of the village, never to return.
Iruka, at fourteen years old, was already a successful chuunin. He was well-liked, talented, down-to-earth, and handsome; 'the best combination of you and Hinata', Sakura had called him once. Tsunade, two years younger, had just graduated from the Academy at the top of her class, tied with her rival, Uchiha Hitomi – and she had already skipped a grade with her smarts. He remembered with a slight smile when she had told her jounin sensei her greatest ambition: to find her mother. Hotaru was a slightly bossy mother-hen who had an amazing talent for her bloodline limit – a more powerful, Kyuubi-enhanced version of the Byakugan that all of the Uzumaki children possessed. Naoki was the quiet middle child with a sweet disposition who was good at everything but specialized in nothing.
And then the twins. Toshi and Kushina were like miniature, redheaded versions of Naruto – hyperactive and ready for anything, it seemed. They'd been entered in the Academy early just to attempt to tame all of their energy. Kyo was going to be quietly powerful, and at four years old Naruto suspected that he held an abundance of Kyuubi's chakra within him, attributing his scarlet-color hair and soft red Byakugan to the beast; but Kyo was also very protective of those he deemed precious to him. Tsukiko, the youngest at two years old, was the spit of Hinata so far, except a slight color change in her eyes. Her status as the little princess only increased when Hinata had – gone.
He was proud of them all – so proud! – so why couldn't he shake this? Why couldn't he live for them? He had seen other friends and comrades die, and he had grieved, yes, but then it had been over, and though he would never forget a single one, he felt as if he could go on. But he could not go on much longer without her. During his life, he'd been through a lot. A lot of painful things had happened to him. But her absence left such a gaping hole in his life – in him – that he didn't see how he could possibly continue living life as he did. He didn't want to continue his life of questions, his life of wondering.
Was she dead? If she was, where was her body? Had it been given a proper burial? Could she see him wherever she was – could she see how he was suffering without her? What if she wasn't dead? What if she had decided that she was sick of life in Konoha with her husband and children? Had she started somewhere new, started over, gotten a different family? Did her husband know that she bit her knuckles when she was worried, that her eyes shimmered wonderfully in moonlight, that one spot on her neck that made her go boneless in his arms? Did he understand how damn good he had it?
The last few questions he hated the most. He hated that very hint of any idea that she had abandoned him of her own free will. Til death do us part, the wedding vows had said, but they'd made their own secret vows – even in death, they'd find each other. It was a promise.
And the only thing that stopped him from fulfilling that promise was his children and the people of the village. Otherwise he would've taken to wandering long ago, and then perhaps to an even darker path if that had proven unfruitful.
Breakfast was a mostly silent affair, as it always was. Or rather, how it had been since her disappearance.
"C'mon, Kyo. Put my plate in the sink while I grab your sister, okay?"
He'd been forced to hire a nanny for the two youngest, Kyo and Tsukiko. They usually had to stay at her house until Hotaru and the others came home from the Academy and were able to pick them up. He did try to walk them there every morning – though as Hokage, that was sometimes impossible. Today was already a trying one – Tsukiko hadn't wanted him to go, and, instead of having a screaming fit like a normal child, had proceeded to cry quietly into her brother's comforting shoulder which made Naruto feel like a total heel. It reminded him so much of her mother that he had left as quickly as possible and headed straight for the office.
His paperwork, which he had been so keen on lately, had somehow compounded into large piles again. He was glad of the distraction and dug into it with masochistic gusto. He had several boring meetings with the Elders which actually went quite smoothly because he focused all of his attention on them. A wandering mind often led to heartache, he'd found. His political life was going quite smoothly. It was just everything else that needed work.
After a long and tedious day in which he'd felt like he'd gotten nothing at all done, he went home, exhausted, to make dinner. Hotaru had beaten him to the punch, though, and he wondered why nobody was surprised about this. She'd really stepped up to the plate for the younger kids, he thought with admiration. She'd probably been a much bigger help than he had been in the past eight months.
Feeling moody, he wasted no time devouring his dinner, thanking his daughter for the meal kindly before wishing them all a good night's rest. As he always did, he retired to the garden for the rest of the night, until he either fell asleep in the grass or managed to drag himself to his room. And then he would dream. He would always dream of her, either back with him again, or with another man; living happily or dying brutally; reaching out for his hand, or pulling away from his embrace. Always. He would dream of her.
The illusion was broken by either his alarm clock or a child. He woke up, and his day began again, and went much the same as the previous day, and the day before that, and the day before that day, and so on and so forth.
There was a certain comfort in monotony, Naruto thought grimly. And that was a good thing, because it looked like nothing was going to change anytime soon.
"I'm home, darling," called the man happily as he walked through the door of his large mansion. There was no response. Frowning, he made his way to the library, one of her usual haunts. She was nowhere to be found. She wasn't resting in their bedroom or getting something to eat in the kitchen, either. The gardens, then.
He found her staring into the sky as she lay on the grass, mesmerized by the utterly pure blueness of it. Her child rested next to her, breathing nasally and evenly. With a sigh, she sat up and smiled at him.
"Welcome home," she said, looking softly up at him through her lashes. He melted. While she was captivated by the sky, he was captivated by her.
"Thank you, my love. Why don't you come inside? You've been spending a lot of time outdoors lately, your skin will burn for sure!"
They headed to the dining room together, waiting to be served by his faithful staff. It was a lavish affair, much too much for only two adults and a baby, in her opinion, but he looked so earnest when he asked if she was pleased that she nodded and smiled at him.
"How was work today?"
"It went well," he said patronizingly, and didn't see her frown. "I won't go into details, I don't want to upset your constitution my dear."
"And how was your day here?"
"Ah. Good to hear, good to hear."
He dug into his food jovially, not seeing her jaw clench in irritation.
"Shigure, love, do you think I could do something while you're away for work?" she asked him, conjuring all the sweetness possible to her voice to charm him. "I feel quite useless, laying about the house like I do –"
"My dear, I wouldn't want to strain you. Your body may still be recovering from your accident and childbirth, and we wouldn't want to –"
"The accident was almost a year ago, and Minato is already three months old! I can't stay cooped up here all the time, Shigure," she hissed, losing patience with him. Something inside her was saying that there was no way this weak, fleshy little man could control her, that she was well in control of physicality and that should he attempt to keep her there by force, there would be hell to pay. Her muscles tensed and her eyes were burning into him. What was this fire in her? Why was she this way? What was her drive – what pushed her to escape from Shigure's well-padded cage? Why couldn't she remember anything before her accident? Why didn't her son look anything like his father?
These were questions she had been pondering more and more lately, as the strange haze that had settled over his consciousness had cleared. Shigure was keeping something from her. He wasn't telling her the truth about her life. And more and more she was beginning to suspect that her son was not her husband's son. At least, he claimed to be her husband. Happily married nearly fifteen years now, and they had recently been blessed with child. Rather convenient, in her opinion.
"You will stay safely in my house and that is absolutely final!" he yelled at her, slamming his utensils down and storming from the room. Feeling the anger bubbling up from her stomach, she decided that she wasn't going to eat anything anymore. She thanked the servants tersely for the meal and went up to the nursery.
Minato was playing with a young servant girl happily, but his smile brightened and his attention shifted as soon as she walked into the room. Before kindly dismissing the girl, she asked her to inform Michi-san, their head servant and incidentally the woman who had helped her birth Minato, that she would be sleeping in the east wing tonight. She flinched, but did as she was told. Obviously, there were troubles going on with the master and the mistress, because their shared bedroom was in the west wing; she would be sure to dish to the other workers as soon as she got a chance.
Hinata rocked the giggling Minato in her arms as she made her way to the bedroom she shared with the baby when she was upset with her husband – which was increasingly often. He was not so much his wife if they were even married legally so much as his grand prize to be kept locked away from all other human life. Well, she was done with being imprisoned here. The next chance she got she would sneak out into town for once. Something in her relished the challenge of getting past all of her captors and breathing in free air. That same something told her she had been under the thumb of another man – her father perhaps? – and that it was going to stop now. She wasn't sure what part of her it was, this fiery determination, but she was beginning to embrace it more and more.
As the rebellion in her faded, Hinata turned her thoughts to the one way she could escape every night – her dreams. It would be silly to say that she had the same dream every night, but they always had reoccurring elements. There were two of them – eyes and a voice.
Those eyes were what compelled her to stare into the sky for long periods of time for no reason at all. Those eyes were so blue, so vibrant, so full of life and love that it caused a physical pain in her heart. And all of that love was directed at her. Sometimes, she felt it like the slow warmth of coffee in winter that went from the pit of her stomach to the tips of her fingers in toes; other times it a delicious burn that drew her to this man like she never could be to Shigure. But all the time it was all-encompassing, surrounding her completely in it. His love. Whoever the he happened to be. It wasn't her husband – his murky hazel eyes could never compare.
And then there was the voice. A cheerful call, a heated whisper, a sacred vow, a possessive growl – there were many ways he said it. But he always said the same thing. Her name. Laying down in what was a probably a ridiculously expensive feather bed, she laid the tiny Minato next to her and went to sleep eagerly waiting for her dreams, when she would hear him say it again.
Hinata, Hinata, Hinata, Hinata, Hinata…
Tomorrow, she thought drowsily, already in the twilight between sleep and wake. Tomorrow would be the day she tasted freedom again.
Uchiha Sakura was bored.
Her mission had proven much easier than expected, and as such she was about to head back to the village and report to the Hokage.
It had been nearly a year since Hinata's disappearance, and those months had not been kind to him. Not even a hint, a scrap, had been found – she was missing in action and presumed dead. Of course, nobody had told him of her changed status from missing nin, a much more changeable label, to MIA. Nobody wanted to see that look on his face. Nobody wanted to hurt him. Naruto had been through so much in his life already, this seemed like the cruelest thing Fate could've bestowed upon him – taking away the one person who had always cared about him, the first person to tell him 'I love you', the mother of his children. It was all too much. Seeing her best friend so depressed was awful.
So to take her mind off of everything, she decided a little shopping was in order. It was a fairly large city and rumored to have a good shopping district.
She hummed quietly as she flitted in and out of the shops, hiding her forehead protector and playing the part of harmless tourist. Ninja weren't very well-accepted in these parts, and she intended to keep a low profile. Just as she exited a store dedicated to fine china – they did excellent custom work, and she thought she could drag Sasuke or at least his checkbook back here to check it out – she caught a flash of indigo hair, almost hidden beneath a white rag serving as a head scarf.
No, it couldn't be, Sakura reminded herself firmly. Even though no trace of Hinata's body had ever been found. Even though indigo hair was almost as rare her cotton-candy pink. Even though there was no harm in trying –
She followed her.
It was difficult to both follow the woman and keep up the pretense of the hapless tourist, because this woman was being very sneaky indeed. She took an unnecessary shortcut through an alley to get to a store that was easily reachable just walking down the main road, and at intervals she would double back and take a look around her, as if to make sure that nobody was following her. That only made Sakura more suspicious. She inched her way closer to her target, abandoning her guise altogether and merely sticking to the shadows. Almost there – the woman was just a few feet in front of her now.
"Damn," she heard the woman mutter, eyes locked on some person behind her. She ducked into the alley closest to her and did not reappear. Sakura followed.
She took a twisting path of alleyways farther and farther until she reached a nice residential neighborhood, which in turn morphed into what appeared to be the richest neighborhood in the city. Then she started to cut through yards, using lawn ornaments and large landscaping fixtures as cover. She was very good, Sakura admitted to herself, if a little rookie-ish. So far nobody had spotted either of them.
Finally, she reached what appeared to be the biggest, most lavish estate of all. Sakura recognized it as what the locals called "the Governor's Palace". Though mansion was a better term for its size as opposed to palace, Sakura had to agree that it was quite expensive-looking.
Her mysterious woman reached the back wall – for there was a thick wall surrounding the complex, much like the Hyuuga compound – and somehow found a door through all the poison ivy. She turned around one last time and Sakura's heart stopped.
This woman was without a doubt Uzumaki Hinata. After nearly thirty years of knowing her and working with her, she recognized that face even from her far-away hiding place.
Sakura had to get home immediately.