Author's Note: This is a story I have been thinking about for some time. I decided to post because of a message sent to me from, 'Mistress Ayako' who was upset at the coming death of Minato in my other story AML: Life of Kushina and asked me if I had considered a story where Minato lives and Kushina dies. Those of you familiar with my story, 'A Mother's Love' and its other versions will recognize certain characters and events. This story can be considered to be in the same 'universe' as my AML stories, and Life of Kushina can be seen as a prequel to this one. Though this will be very different for obvious reasons, but especially there will be no influence from the Uzumaki clan in Naruto's life. Those of you who have never read any of my other stories don't need to worry; this can be read and enjoyed on its own.
Minato stood in the operating room with his tiny newborn son in his hands.
"Her pulse is dropping! She's losing too much blood!" The doctor shouted and cast a medical jutsu. Two other doctors were casting medical jutsus as well, but even so from their panicked shouts it seemed she was fading away. He suddenly wished he'd gone and gotten Tsunade even if it had been against her will. Kushina had asked her friend to come deliver their child. The Sannin had sent back a message apologizing but saying she never wanted to see Konoha again.
They had been disappointed but not worried. Kushina was in the best of health and Konoha had some of the finest medical facilities in the world. They'd assumed everything would be fine.
Then they'd gotten word about the Kyuubi. Reports began to arrive about villages and towns laid to fiery ruin. Scouts were sent out and those not slaughtered by the beast sent back reports confirming the demon fox was heading straight for the village and would arrive in mere hours. He'd quickly realized that no ninjutsu could possibly defeat some a powerful being. He'd decided the only hope was a sealing jutsu. But there was no seal known that could possibly overwhelm such a creature. Luckily Jiraiya happened to be in the village, together they had come up with a solution that might work; the Shiki Fuujin. They would call upon the power of a death god, a shinigami to imprison the Kyuubi. But to work this ultimate sealing jutsu two things were required; a newborn child to act as the container and a human sacrifice.
As Hokage he felt it fell upon him to make that sacrifice, and that it fell upon his son and heir to be the container. Kushina had railed against his decision, tearfully arguing against losing him and having her child used to imprison a demon. She had argued against his decision, but in the end she had admitted there was no choice. So as he and Jiraiya worked feverishly to complete the jutsu formula she was induced into labor.
Only then had they realized her body was not as strong as they'd all thought. The stress of knowing he would die, of knowing what her baby would have to endure, the overwhelming fear of the coming apocalypse, and the pressure of her body being forced into labor. All of them had been too much.
As he stood there powerless he could do no more than watch as Kushina's heartbeat continued to slow, until it… stopped. The doctors had done all they could, but they hadn't been able to save her. She hadn't even been conscious so there had been no chance for a final goodbye. She had simply gone.
"Kushina, my love," he whispered.
At that moment his son, Naruto began to cry. Minato looked down at the little baby. He wondered if somehow he knew on some instinctual level that he had lost his mother. Or if perhaps he was able to feel his father's pain. "It'll be all right my son," he gently cradled him in his arms and held him close. "It'll be all right."
Atop the Tower Minato arrived without warning. Jiraiya and Sarutobi turned to him. "How is Kushina?" Sarutobi asked. They were well aware of difficulties she'd been having during her labor.
Minato looked at the former Hokage and gave a single sad shake of his head. Sarutobi lowered his eyes.
"I'm so sorry kid; she was a really good woman." Jiraiya said.
"Yes, she was, and I loved her." He looked out into the distance. "But I have no time to mourn."
It was night, but to the west it was as bright as morning. The giant fox was only a few miles away now. Each of his tails could be seen clearly. Out there in the fiery light the ninja of Konoha were sacrificing themselves to buy him the time he needed. They had no chance of defeating or even injuring the Kyuubi. They were a momentary distraction to the nine tail, nothing more.
On the rooftop a small table with lit candles had been set. Minato carefully put his son down and dipped a brush into an ink jar. He carefully but swiftly wrote out the seal on his son's belly.
"Are you sure about locking away only half of the chakra?" Jiraiya asked.
Minato nodded his head even as he continued to write the symbols. "Naruto will need that strength some day. He'll be the greatest ninja this village has ever seen; he'll use the Kyuubi's might to protect Konoha. He'll be a hero."
"You know what kid?" Jiraiya said softly. "I bet he will, I mean how could he not be with who his parents are?"
"He's not going to have any family," Minato said sadly. "He'll be an orphan." He looked up at the two of them. "I want the village to see him as a hero, but no matter what please watch out for him." Sarutobi nodded.
Jiraiya smiled sadly. "Don't worry, I promise you he won't grow up alone."
Minato gave Jiraiya a look of relief. "Thank you sensei, if you say that then I can be sure."
At last it was ready. Minato made a single hand sign. "Seal." The ink glowed for an instant and melded permanently into the baby's skin even as he continued to weep. Minato looked down at the little crying face. "I'm so sorry my son."
Jiraiya stepped up behind him. "I'm sorry too kid, please forgive me."
Minato felt a sudden vicious chop to the back of his head. Caught totally unaware it knocked him clean out. Sensei…
Jiraiya caught him before he could hit the floor and carefully set him down. "Heh, I wonder if this counts as assaulting the Hokage?" He looked at Sarutobi with an amused grin. "Well it's not like I need to worry about being executed for it." He carefully took the squalling babe in his arms.
"Jiraiya, I beg you to let me do this!" Sarutobi said. "Of the three of us the village can most easily do without an old retired Hokage rather than a Sannin or the ruling Hokage!"
"Sorry old man, but of the three of us you're the only one who doesn't know the jutsu and I don't have time to teach it you. Thanks for everything though, you were the best sensei a guy could ask for. If you could though, tell Tsunade something for me."
"That you love her?"
Jiraiya opened his mouth, but hesitated. Then he grinned. "Nah, tell her I really wish I could have sucked those magnificent jugs even just once." He gave Sarutobi a bawdy wink as though sharing a final naughty joke with him. Then he looked down at the baby. "Don't worry Naruto, no matter what happens you're a very lucky little boy. You're going to grow up with the finest ninja and man I have ever known as your dad. Now let's go."
Together they vanished in a swirl of wind and leaves.
Minato came to about half an hour later. He rubbed the back of his head and noted he was still on the roof. "Jiraiya, you idiot…"
He looked around. There was Sarutobi; in his arms was a sleeping baby. As Minato got to his feet he immediately noted how dark it was. Looking out beyond the wall he saw noting but empty forest.
He ran up to Sarutobi. "What happened? Jiraiya! He didn't take my place did he?"
Sarutobi nodded sadly. "He did Minato, he sacrificed himself and save the entire village. The sealing was a success."
Jiraiya sensei! In one night he had lost two of the most important people in the world to him. "Why? Why did he do that? I was ready to make the sacrifice!"
"He decided that you were needed Minato, by both the village and by your son. He did not want to deprive either of them of you. Please don't blame him or feel guilty, he only did what you were prepared to do. He sacrificed himself for the ones he loved. Here," Sarutobi handed over Naruto. "There is still much to do, both tonight and in the days ahead. But at least Konoha and Naruto will have you there to guide and protect them."
Minato looked down at his son's face. He was very surprised to see three tiny scars on each cheek. They looked like whiskers. Physical evidence of the possession? Minato wondered. Looking at his son he knew there would be some tough times in his future, but he would do everything he possibly could to help to help him through them.
Leaning over he placed a warm kiss on his son's cheek. "I love you Naruto."