A/N: Here is the third chapter of Eulogy. And this chapter is most likely the final one. Possibly I will continue it in the future, but for now it will stop here. This chapter concerns Yondaime Namikaze Minato, and is perhaps a fitting one to end with.
Disclaimer: Never owned, but it is a pleasure to write about.
"This brings tears to my eyes, my sacrifice." – Creed, "My Sacrifice"
Do we really know the true definition of this word?
Many definitions exist for sacrifice: Offering, what is offered, surrender, what is surrendered, getting rid of something, making such an offer. So many meanings surround just one word. But what exactly is its true significance?
Namikaze Minato likely understood the concept of sacrifice in a variety of ways. He lost his parents at a young age. An orphan with no family, he had to grow up quickly. For an orphan in any shinobi village, unless they had relatives, there was little opportunity in his village for any type of future and most kinless orphans were usually encouraged to enroll in the Shinobi Academy. Minato was enrolled, but as he loved the village, he did not find it a hardship, little knowing what lay ahead. At the age of ten, he graduated from the Shinobi Academy, becoming an adult in the eyes of the world, yet still in the physical body of a child. A few months later, he made his first kill. By the time he was twelve, both of his teammates were dead, killed in a skirmish with Iwa shinobi. For love of Konohagakure, he had given up his childhood and the innocence that went with it, becoming an adult far too soon.
To further aid his village, he sacrificed his time, working hard to increase his skills. His sensei, Jiraiya, was impressed by his stubbornness in doing so, and taught him to summon toads, along with everything he knew about Fuuinjutsu techniques. Over the years, this knowledge, along with typical stubbornness and labor, he would assist him in creating two powerful jutsus: the Rasengan, and the Hiraishin. Both jutsus took months to create, and he needed to create a special kunai in order to activate the Hiraishin, a three-pronged one. This kunai was marked with a special seal to assist him in transporting from one spot to another quickly. This garnered him the nickname, "Konoha no Kiroi Senko", and the technique was of great assistance in defeating Iwagakure during the war between the shinobi villages.
He had to keep a façade over his true emotions, grieving for two members of his genin team in private when both fell in separate missions. As a leader of a shinobi team, it would do no good for the villagers or even other shinobi to see any signs of weakness. Public grief could harm the morale of the village in a time of war. For the good of the village, he concealed his grief and pain.
There was some joy for him near the end of his life. Not only was he named Yondaime Hokage, he met a young refugee kunoichi from Uzu no Kuni named Uzumaki Kushina. He lived with her for a brief time, and it actually seemed that at last he would have some semblance of a normal life. After years of giving up so much, he had achieved each of his lifelong dreams: he had become Hokage of the village he loved; he had found someone to love and who loved him; and finally, the dream of becoming a father. He had everything he had ever wished for, in spite of the price. But sometimes it seems that when we reach the culmination of our hopes and dreams, no matter the cost we paid earlier, when we reach that point, it means we have so much more to lose, and Namikaze Minato still had a price to pay for the sake of his village.
On the night of October 10th 16 years ago, just under a year after Minato was named Yondaime, Kyuubi attacked Konohagakure. Villagers and shinobi were being slaughtered indiscriminately by this force of nature. While most villagers escaped, many others were wiped out by the rampage of the beast, with homes and livelihoods utterly destroyed. That night, the final one of Minato's life, saw him faced with the decision of a lifetime. He faced the utter destruction of his village, and he realized that he needed to prevent it at all costs. While he had never seen the Kyuubi and only had heard of it in the legends told of Shodaime's battle with Uchiha Madara. As he grew older, he grew concerned that an enemy might one day summon a bijuu to attack the village. He further became aware of such beings known as jinchuuriki. With these concerns, along with this knowledge, he created two powerful Fuuinjutsu: Shiki Fuujin and its counterpart, the Hakke no Fuuin Shiki. The Shiki Fuujin would be used to seal the Kyuubi within a newborn child, in exchange for Minato's own soul, and the seal he painted on this child's stomach, the Hakke no Fuuin Shiki, would keep the Kyubbi trapped within the child, and its chakra would gradually be absorbed by the infant's own as he grew up. With this in mind, Minato took his newborn son and went out to face the Kyuubi. Kushina had died in childbirth, so he was spared the pain of informing her of his imminent death, and their son's fate. That night, Yondaime died for his village, giving his very life and future. He left behind three items: his son, a single hope, and a single regret.
We use the word "sacrifice" so carelessly sometimes, complaining about how we had to give up something we wanted or as a waste of valuable time. But for Namikaze Minato, the word was so much more. After losing his parents so young, he sacrificed his childhood, his innocence, his time, his emotions, his dreams, his future, his life. All for the sake of the village he loved, Konohagakure.
So tell me, do you know the true definition of sacrifice?
Namikaze Minato knows.
AN2: Again, it has been a pleasure to write for, and I hope you all enjoyed Eulogy of a Shinobi.