Disclaimer: All your base are belong to Kishimoto
Mature Content / AU
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Introduction: What if the 4th Hokage's seal did more than just keep the Nine-tails chakra at bay? In order to ensure that the demon would one day follow Naruto to the grave their very souls had to be intertwined, and not even the 4th Hokage knew what that could mean …

Connected

Prologue


The 4th Hokage stared in horror as vast currents of insidious red chakra swirled around above his head faster and faster, until they were drawn into a thrashing red vortex that literally screamed in anger as its tail touched down into the exact center of his containment seal, the ink on Naruto's stomach barely dry.

"No!" he screamed, and lurched forward only to catch himself. A battle of paternal instincts and logic raged in his mind as he watched his one and only child scream out in pain and terror. If he interfered now, it meant certain death for not only Naruto, but everyone else as well, everyone. Only four hours old, the tiny infant's pitiful cries tore at his heart, and tears of frustration flowed freely down his face.

He'd never truly understood until now, never known how powerful the bond of fatherhood would be, and how much it could possibly hurt to stand by and watch as his son suffered. He'd known this would happen, he'd tried to prepare himself, but that was a joke. The was no preparation for sacrificing your child.

Tiny arms and legs thrashed about wildly as the red twister drew further into the child's stomach, and he absorbed more and more of the raging demon. Trembling in fear and self loathing, Minato continued to watch, waiting for the moment it was over and he could rush in to touch his son once more. Suddenly Naruto started seizing, and his cries cut in and out as his frail body shook and clenched into unnatural positions while the seal flared a violent purple.

Minato started screaming, but he was drowned out by the angry roars of the monster. It shook him to his very core to realize that without a body or throat of any kind, he had to be hearing nothing more than the psychic emanations of anger and pain it was throwing off. Even so the volume was almost deafening, and if it was enough to bring him to his knees. And if it could so this to him than Naruto must be…

"Please stop! PLEASE STOP … NARUTO!"

Then the unthinkable happened, Naruto's intermittent cries became a full fledged scream as three points of blood appeared on each of his cheeks. Minato nearly choked as what looked like the tips of razor sharp claws poked out from Naruto's skin, and they proceeded to slide down his little face, neatly slicing open the fresh skin as they moved. Minato howled in pain at the sight of so much blood, and the crying child instinctively turned his head to the sound, giving his grieving father a perfect view of what had happened. Naruto's face was now freshly carved with what looked like … whiskers.

What was left of the spiraling chakra suddenly seemed to collapse under its own weight, and slammed down on the exhausted child. There was a crack, and what felt like an explosion that threw Minato to the ground. The last thing he remembered was another mind bending roar before the blackness consumed him.

He woke to the gentle crackling of a fire, he was confused for a moment, but then everything came slamming back in an instant. "What?! How long was I out? Naruto!"

Minato jumped up and ran over to his prone child, still laying on the table he used for the sealing ceremony. He cradled the tiny boy and reached out with what little chakra he had left, his heart nearly burst with relief as he sensed life. He hugged his son to his chest as hard as he dare, he didn't know how long he was out, it couldn't have been long, but he knew he didn't have much time left. So little time…

"Minato."

He turned slowly and tried to smile through the tears, "Sarutobi, he's … he's Ok, Sarutobi."

"It worked then?"

He nodded, "Yes, it worked … perfectly. The beast is permanently sealed now." He tried to stand up straight and walk over to his friend, but his legs failed him. The older man walked over briskly and grabbed Minato's arm to steady him. "Whoa," the blond swayed slightly, "I didn't realize how weak I am."

"Please, I can take the child for you -"

"No," Minato cut him off quickly. He pulled away instinctively but stopped, instead opting for gazing down at his helpless legacy. "Let me hold him, for just a little while longer," he whispered. His legs gave out just then, but Sarutobi was able to get an arm around him and guided the dying man down to the ground. He propped Minato up against the table he'd been standing next to and sat down next to him.

The 3rd Hokage regarded his successor with a mixture of pity, compassion, and shame. It shouldn't be him, he was young, he was strong, he was supposed to be the future. But his old body wasn't strong enough, he wouldn't have been able to control the incredible power of the beast, even with the help of the Death God.

"Sarutobi…"

He looked up at Minato with tears in his eyes, "Yes my boy?"

Minato turned his tired head and smiled that wonderful, carefree smile that only he possessed. "It's here, I can feel it. The Shinigami has come to take it's payment. I need you to take him now, I need you to take care of him. Tell them to honor him Sarutobi, tell them to honor his sacrifice," he whispered.

Shaking with grief, the old man took the offered bundle from Minato's arms, he didn't trust his own ability to speak and only nodded in response.

"Thank you Sarutobi. And please forgive me … my little … Naru … to."

Suddenly, the tiny bundle in his arms began to cry, and Sarutobi's face paled. The 4th Hokage was dead. Squeezing his eyes shut to chase away the pain, the 3rd stood up and willed his silent signal out into the night. Seconds later, he was surrounded by his shinobi.

"Is it over Hokage-sama?" one asked.

Sighing he nodded his head, "Yes, the demon has been defeated. But at the cost of the 4th Hokage's life." Gasps reverberated throughout the crowd, and several of the men began to weep openly.

Noticing the tiny bundle in his arms one of the bloodied jounin nearest to him took a step back. "Is that the child? Is that the demon child?" Sarutobi shot the man a hateful glare, but he could already see the other men reacting.

"That child is the demon?"

"It's weak!"

"We have to destroy it Hokage-sama!"

"Before it's too late!"

"SILENCE!" he bellowed. "The demon is trapped, and is no longer a threat to us, or anyone else."

"It killed the 4th!"

"We can't risk it!"

"Please Hokage-sama, I'll do it, give the child to me!"

The assembled crowd went silent and the men jumped back as an insane wave of killing intent washed over them. A few thought the demon might already be escaping and cowered in fear, but only a moment later they understood the truth, the terrible pressure was coming from the 3rd Hokage himself.

All his anguish, all his pain, coalesced into a single vein of righteous anger, and with a voice not heard in many years his words rang out for all of them to hear, "This child has made the ultimate sacrifice! It was the final wish of the 4th Hokage that he be honored for his unending burden. If any man or woman dares to deify the dying wish of our savior and harm a single hair on this innocent child's head, they will die by my hand!"


Authors Notes: And so it begins, what I hope is the beginning of a fine epic.

Mmmm, angry Sarutobi, not nearly enough fics with that in my opinion. Mine won't be too bad, but he won't be afraid of dishing it out either, I mean come on, he didn't make Hokage without being a bad ass now did he?

This story is mostly about the relationship between Naruto and the Kyuubi (and someone else…), but I'm still going to need something for them to do later on, like the wave mission or something. Thing is, I really don't want to rehash canon, so I'm letting readers know up front if they have any killer ideas for different plots or bad guys to throw them at me, and maybe I'll work with that instead of that stale old stuff!

Let me know what you think (you know, begging for reviews and all), and enjoy!