Walt Disney and Gothic Dancer proudly present:
Kushina as Giselle or Kishimoto's Enchanted
Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Amegakure, there lived an evil man named Madara, who ruled over the country. Madara had a stepson named Pein, who was next in line to take the throne. However, Pein could not become King unless he married. Madara feared that his stepson would one day find the girl of his dreams, so he tried to keep the boy busy with games and sports. He was willing to do anything to keep Pein from falling in love through True Love's Kiss.
"Kushina! Kushina!" a few birds called as they flew into a small cottage in the middle of a forest. They dropped two crystals into a red-haired girl's hands. "What about these for your statue?"
"Blue? Oh, how did you know his eyes were blue?" the girl named Kushina laughed. "And they sparkle, just like his. Thank you!" She stuck the two crystals onto a statue she was making and smiled happily. "Yes, yes, it looks just like him!" She turned to a group of adorable, furry animals. "Everyone, here is my dream prince!" She turned the statue towards them, and they gasped in amazed awe.
A little frog jumped up. "Looks great, sweetheart!" he approved.
Kushina smiled again but suddenly gasped and frowned. "Oh, no! Gamakichi, look!"
The frog looked up. "Huh? What?"
"I didn't give him any lips..."
"Does he have to have lips?"
"Of course!" Kushina bent down to the little animals. "You know, when you meet the one who is meant for you, you must do one thing before you can live happily ever after." She sighed dreamily and fixed her long hair in her mirror. "I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss, and I hope a prince comes with it. That's what leads to happily ever after after!" She got back up and observed the statue again. "If we're going to finish this statue, we'll have to do it right." Skipping to the window, she sang out for the rest of her cute animal friends to help. They tried a series of objects to represent lips for the statue, but none of them seemed to work.
Meanwhile, deep in the forest, Prince Pein was tackling a giant ogre to the ground. "Ah ha!" he cried out confidently. "You have met your match, ogre!" The ogre landed with a hard smack.
Another man ran up towards Pein once the match was over. "Great!" he cheered. "You got another one, Your Majesty. There's nothing like an afternoon of ogre hunting, right?"
Pein sighed. "Catching ogres is fun and all, Itachi, but I long to find my life-long love!" He took Itachi by the hands and began swinging him around. "I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss!" Suddenly, he heard a beautiful singing voice coming from another area of the forest. "Oh my...what a beautiful sound. I must find the maiden to whom that voice belongs!" Pein dropped Itachi and mounted his horse, speeding off to find the girl.
Itachi twitched. "Oh man, King Madara is going to kill me!" He looked at the ogre and grinned. He had an idea.
Kushina gazed longingly out the window of her little cottage. "I know my prince is out there somewhere," she sighed, smiling. "I know he'll come for me someday." She looked away for a moment and then back out the window, only to see the ogre staring at her. Kushina screamed and fell backwards, trying to escape the monster. It tore through her cottage, destroying everything, but Kushina was able to climb out onto a tree. The ogre roared in frustration and tried to catch her.
Suddenly, Kushina slipped on a tree branch, and she hung on by one hand. She cried out for Gamakichi to help her, but when the little frog tried to pull her up, she lost her grip on the branch, and she fell. The tree slammed backwards and sent the ogre flying.
Just when Kushina thought she would hit the ground, Pein appeared on his horse, and she instead landed in his lap. "Oh," she gasped, staring into the prince's eyes, "it's you."
Pein nodded. "Yes, it's me! Prince Pein! And you?"
"Oh, Kushina, we shall be married in the morning!"
From the darkest basement in his castle, Madara stood, watching Pein and Kushina celebrate through a crystal ball. The dark-haired man narrowed his red eyes and growled. "So that little girl thinks she can take away my throne, huh? Well, I'll show her." The image in the crystal switched. "Itachi! I'll need your help again for this one..."
The next morning, Itachi waited anxiously outside the palace gates. Madara had asked him to do the unthinkable, and he was hesitant to go along with the plan. Itachi had always been loyal to King Madara, but he didn't like complying with the man's wishes when violence was involved.
Suddenly, a big, beautiful coach pulled up towards the gate, and Kushina stepped out in a large, frilly, white wedding dress. "It's so nice to see you, Itachi-kun!" she greeted. "Am I late?"
Itachi shook his head, trying to play along. "No, no, my dear! In fact you're right on time!" He led Kushina towards the gates of the palace but blocked the animals from coming in with them. Frustrated, Gamakichi jumped up the walls of the palace in an attempt to get in to see the wedding.
"I'm so happy!" Kushina cried as she ran towards the courtyard. "I've been dreaming of this moment for years, and now I'm finally getting married to my one true love! Oh, it's too good to be true! It's...!"
A hideous old man suddenly appeared in front of Kushina. "Oh, what a beautiful bride..." he cackled.
Kushina laughed nervously. "That's very kind of you, Sir, but I must be on my way."
"But you have to make a wish!" the man insisted. He grabbed Kushina's arm and led her towards a large well. "It's a wishing well! A wish on your wedding day is the most magical of all!" He grinned as Kushina looked into the well. "Are you wishing for something?"
Kushina smiled. "Yes, I am." She closed her eyes and brought her hands together. "And they lived happily ever..."
The man suddenly pushed Kushina into the well, and the young girl screamed as she fell into darkness. Once she was no longer visible, the old man laughed maniacally and transformed. It was King Madara in disguise!
Gamakichi saw the whole thing. He gasped and jumped towards the courtyard. "PEIN, WE NEED HELP!!" he cried out.
Itachi ran up behind King Madara. His eyes were panicked and wide. "Your Majesty," he whispered, "where did you send her?"
Madara laughed, satisfied with himself. "To a place where there are no happily ever afters..."
When Kushina opened her eyes, she noticed there was something strange about her. She looked at herself and saw that she was still the same Kushina, but her surroundings certainly told her otherwise. Carefully and cautiously, she opened up a nearby entrance and soon found that it was not an entrance at all. Instead, it was a covering for an opening in a busy street! Kushina emerged from the hole and stood in the street, staring at this strange, new world. People walked in all directions, and lights flashed from every angle. Kushina could hear metal boxes on wheels charging through the streets, and music was playing from several large buildings. "Oh my..." the girl gasped.
But she had no time to think. One of the metal boxes came rushing towards her. Kushina screamed out and tried to run across the street, effectively causing several of the boxes to crash into each other. When Kushina finally made it to the sidewalk, she bumped into several people, including a grumpy teenager.
"Watch where you're going, stupid!" the kid shouted. He then proceeded to curse Kushina off.
Kushina's eyes were wide, but her face suddenly became happy. "Sasuke!"
The teenager gave Kushina a confused look and ran off, not wanting to deal with the crazy girl. Kushina cried out for the boy to wait, but nothing could save her from the waves of people moving along the sidewalk. She struggled to escape and to find some help with getting back to Prince Pein's castle, but she couldn't break free from the rush hour traffic, and she fell into the subway.
When Kushina emerged, she was on a completely different side of the city, and it did not appear to be the friendliest. She sniffed miserably and looked up to see a homeless man lying in a pile of trash. Her face brightened. "Old man!" she cried, running towards him. "May I sit with you?" She set herself down on the ground next to the garbage. "Oh, I'm afraid that I'm lost. I have been wandering for a very long time, and people haven't been very nice to me. If only I could be shown some kindness...or maybe even just a simple smile..."
The old man suddenly grinned wickedly.
Kushina twitched. "Oh...you have a very nice smile..."
That was when the man grabbed her tiara from the top of her elegantly-styled haired. He got up and ran down the street, waving the jeweled accessory about. Kushina gasped and ran after him, but he got away. "You...are NOT a very nice old man!" she screamed.
As if by an evil magic, it began to rain.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the city, a blonde man sat at a conference table, listening to a couple argue over their possessions. He had been listening to them all day and was desperate to leave and go home.
His prayers were answered. "Minato!" a young woman wearing glasses said as she entered the room. "Time is up for today. We need to shut down the office."
"Okay then!" Minato agreed, standing. "Fugaku, Mikoto, we'll talk about finalizing your divorce tomorrow, okay? Have a good evening." He gathered his papers together and tried to ignore the couple as he left the room.
"You still want to get engaged after listening to the two of them bicker all day?" the woman in glasses asked.
Minato nodded. "Konan and I aren't like those two. They got married on a whim. We've taken the time to get to know each other."
"Have you told your son yet?"
"Well, no...but I got him a present to help ease it onto him!"
"Yeah? I hope you got him a pony for THIS news."
A little blonde boy opened his gift in the back of a taxi. He looked at his father skeptically. "A book?" he asked, obviously disappointed.
Minato sighed. "Oh, Naruto, I know it's not the fairy tale book you wanted, but this is just as good! It's got all sorts of history in it!"
Naruto rolled his bright blue eyes and looked out the window of the taxi. Minato decided it was now or never. "Naruto," he began, "I'm going to ask Konan to marry me."
Naruto looked up at his father. "What?" he asked. "Where is she going to live?"
"Do I have to give up my room?"
"No, no, you don't. You like her, right? Well, tomorrow, she's going to take you to school."
He saw Kushina, who was running towards a billboard with a castle painted on it. "Daddy!" he cried. "There's a princess up there!"
"It's just an advertisement, Naruto."
"No! She's really there!"
When the taxi stopped, Naruto unbuckled himself and ran out of the cab. Minato gasped and followed his son across the street. He went to scold him but looked up and found that the boy has not been lying.
"Hey!" Minato called, catching Kushina's attention. "Do you need help or something?"
Kushina looked down at the two of them. "I was just trying to get into the castle, and...!" Suddenly, Kushina slipped and fell from the high billboard. Naruto screamed out for his father to catch her, and he did. Minato shook his head and looked at the redhead. "Are you alright?"
"Oh..." Kushina began shakily, "I'm fine. It's just...I've been wandering this strange place all day. I'm very lost and no one has been very nice to me."
Minato snorted as he helped her up. "Yeah, well, welcome to New York."
Kushina immediately smiled. "Thank you!"
The blonde man eyed Kushina suspiciously. "Right...uh, let's get you back to my apartment. There, I'll help you get situated, okay?"
"So then I fell through what the old man told me was a wishing well, and I came out the other side, and I got very lost. But then I found the castle and now I'm here with you! No doubt though that Prince Pein will come rescue me. He'll take me home, and we'll be able to share in True Love's Kiss!"
"True Love's Kiss?" Minato repeated, raising an eyebrow.
Kushina nodded. "It's the most powerful thing in the world."
The blonde man nodded. "Yeah, sure." He pretended to be busy looking for the keys to unlock his apartment door.
"Now if only I could find a place to rest my head for the night..." Kushina sighed.
"Yeah? Like where?"
"Oh...I don't know. Maybe a nearby meadow...or a hollow tree...or a house full of little ninjas in training! I hear they're very hospitable!"
Minato finally unlocked the door. "Right...Anyway, let's get you inside. You can dry off and use the phone."
Kushina smiled. "Thank you very much. That's very kind of you." But when she tried to fit through the doorway, her dress caught (plus, it was huge), and she could barely take a step into the apartment.
"What's up with this dress of yours?" Minato demanded as he tried to push the redhead through the doorway.
"Oh, do you like it? The mice and birds helped me sew it together with the silk from my silkworm friends!"
Naruto's eyes were huge. "They're really good!"
Somehow, the boy's father managed to push the woman through the door, leaving a good chunk out in the hallway. Kushina just giggled and made her way to the couch. Naruto approached her.
"Are you a real princess?" he asked.
"Not yet," Kushina replied, yawning, "but I will be soon..." With that, she rested her head against the couch cushions and fell asleep. Naruto grinned and ran back to his father.
"Wow, Daddy, she's really sleepy."
Minato looked up. "Oh, no, this is not good." He grabbed his cell phone and dialed a number.
"Oh, please, Daddy, can't she stay here?" Naruto begged.
"No, Naru-chan," Minato replied, ruffling his son's blonde hair. "She's not a princess. She is a seriously confused woman. Now put on your pajamas and go to bed, okay?" Naruto nodded and walked off to his room. Minato nodded and brought his cell phone to his ear.
But when he went to ask for a cab, he stopped and looked upon Kushina. She looked so peaceful and happy sleeping there on the couch. He couldn't send her away. Instead, he walked into his son's room.
"Hey, Naruto, come sleep in my bed tonight."
"FEAR NOT, KUSHINA, FOR I SHALL RESCUE YOU~!!"
"Yeah? BUT WHO'S GONNA RESCUE ME~?!"
The next morning, a few construction men were working in Times Square, where Kushina had appeared the night before. They were just about to cover the whole in the street when Pein burst forth, landing perfectly on the surrounding wires.
"Ah-ha!" He pulled out his sword. "Your name, peasant!"
One of the construction workers motioned for the others to back off. "Uh...(cough)...Hayate?"
Pein was about to go on when Gamakichi burst forth and landed in the palm of the man's free hand. "Tell me, frog, is this man in league with the wicked old man who kidnapped my beautiful Kushina?"
Gamakichi went to speak, but he found that he could only make a few "ribbit" sounds. The frog, shocked, covered his mouth with one of his webbed hands.
"Ah, the poor little froggie," Pein sighed. "He's speechless in my presence!" He suddenly looked back towards Hayate, jumped down from the wires, and brought the sword to the man's throat. "I seek a beautiful girl, my other half, the answer to my love's duet!"
"I'd (cough) like to find one of them, too, (cough) you know?"
Pein grinned and put his sword away. "Then keep a lookout, Hayate. Try that purple-haired beauty over there, hmm?" He pointed towards a woman in the crowd. "Now then...off to find Kushina!"
Kushina awoke that morning, happy to have gotten a good night's sleep. But when she looked around Minato's apartment, her happy mood disappeared. The place was a mess.
"Oh my..." she sighed, "this just won't do." Then she got an idea. She ran to the window, opened it, and sang out to the New York City streets, hoping to find some help. After waiting for a few minutes, Minato's apartment exploded with rats, pigeons, and flies all over the place. Even Kushina herself was a little disturbed.
"Hello," she managed she studied the strange animals. "Well, it's always nice to make new friends. Alright, let's tidy things up! Come on! Let's all sing a happy working song!"
All the hustle woke Naruto. Curious, he jumped out of his father's bed and walked into the hallway, where he saw some of the city animals at work. He then ran to the living room, where Kushina was dancing, singing, and cleaning up the apartment.
Excited, Naruto ran back into his father's room. "Wake up!" he demanded, shaking Minato. "Wake up! You have to see this, Daddy!" Once his father was awake, Naruto dragged the man out to the rooms, where the animals were still cleaning, yet Kushina was nowhere to be seen.
"Oh. My. God," Minato whispered. And then he burst into action. "GET OUT!! GET OUT!!" he shouted, shoving the animals away from the furniture. He and Naruto ran all throughout the apartment, eventually getting the pigeons, flies, and rats to leave. Once the place was quiet, Minato could hear the water running from the bathroom. He knocked on the door.
And when Minato opened the door, there stood a naked Kushina. Luckily, some of the pigeons brought a towel just in time. "Oh, thank you!" Kushina giggled. She turned back to Minato. "Good morning! Did you have nice dreams?"
"I think I'm still in one..."
"This is a magical room! Where does the water come from?"
"And where do the pipes come from?"
"...I don't know."
"Oh...well, it's still magical."
At that moment, the doorbell rang. Naruto opened it up cautiously, only to find a beautiful, blue-haired woman standing there.
"Hey, Naru-kun!" she cheered.
Naruto froze. "Hi, Konan..."
"Ready to go? Wait, why are you still in your pajamas?" She stepped into the room. "Wow, it's really clean in here. Did you and your daddy get a maid?"
Suddenly, the door to the bathroom flew open, and Kushina landed on top of Minato. Konan gasped.
"Oh, my goodness!" Kushina jumped up, still wearing nothing but the towel. "Hello there. I'm Kushina!"
Minato ran after the redhead. "Konan, this isn't what it looks like!"
"I was just on my way to be married--!"
The blue-haired woman stomped out of the apartment, slamming the door behind her. Minato let out a groan of frustration and glared at Kushina, who just smiled. "She's beautiful!"
"Yes, she is." Minato then ran outside his apartment building and tried to stop Konan, but she was already in a taxi. Frustrated, he ran back inside and called out for Kushina. "You need to get out of here! I'll get you wherever you need to be, but...!"
Suddenly, the door opened, and Kushina stepped out in a flowing blue dress. "Do you like it?" she asked sweetly.
"Where did you get that dress?" He then looked up and saw his curtains cut up. "You made a dress...OUT OF MY CURTAINS?! Now you've gone and ruined everything!" The blonde man faced Kushina. "I was just about to make a very big step in the next chapter of my life. I was going to propose, and now my plans are ruined!"
"Oh, you're unhappy..."
"I'm not unhappy! I'm angry!"
"Yes!! It's a very unpleasant emotion! You heard of it?"
Kushina shook her head but then smiled. "You should sing to Konan! Ah yes, you should run to her side and pour your heart out in a beautiful song!" She danced around the living room for a few minutes and then looked back at Minato, who was gazing at her.
"It's like you jumped out of a Hallmark card or something..."
From his lair, Madara growled. "So that bubble-headed girl thinks she can just waltz back here and take my crown, hmm?" He glanced upwards at Itachi, who was doing some yard work on a ladder. The man grinned. "Oh, I WISH there was SOMEONE around who cared enough for me to help!"
Itachi perked up and ran down the ladder to stand by his King. Madara glanced at him slyly. "I'd do anything for such a man...
"Don't worry, Your Highness!" Itachi replied. "I'll go after them!" With that, the black-haired man jumped down the wishing well...
...and ran into the cover the construction workers had used on the hole.
"What? Another one?" they asked each other as they worked to pull Itachi to the street. Once the man was on his feet, Hayate shook his head. "Let me (cough) guess. You're looking for a beautiful girl, (cough) too?"
"No, actually," Itachi began, "I'm looking for a prince."
Hayate raised an eyebrow. "Oh."
"YOU'VE MET YOUR MATCH, FOUL BEAST!!" Itachi heard Pein shout. The prince stabbed his sword into the bus upon which he was standing and laughed aloud in happiness. The sword hit a poor, old woman's sack of pigeon feed. Pein ran to the side of the bus and looked through a window. "Kushina? No...oh well. It's alright, peasants! I've set you all free!"
The female bus driver stopped the vehicle and stomped down to the street. "ARE YOU CRAZY?!" she shouted. "NOBODY STABS MY BUS!!"
Itachi suddenly appeared next to her and looked up. "Prince Pein?"
"Oh, Itachi, my good friend!
"YOU'RE HIS FRIEND?!"
"Uh..." Itachi quickly looked back at Pein. "May I suggest we search somewhere else, Your Majesty?"
"Karin! Karin!" Minato shouted as he made his way to his office. "Please tell me Fugaku and Mikoto aren't here yet!"
Minato's assistant in glasses sighed. "They're both here. You don't want to know for how long."
"Oh great," the man grumbled. "Listen to me, Karin. I need to handle something for me. This is Kushina." He shoved the woman in front of his secretary. "She's lost and needs to find her way home. Help her out, okay? Find out where she's from and send her there. Make it cheap. And if Konan calls, I need to talk to her!" He scampered into his office to greet the bickering couple.
Karin just stared at Kushina, especially because she had managed to get a fish into her mouth along with the aquarium water she had somehow gotten her hands on.
Itachi, meanwhile, had found his way into a local deli's kitchen. When he came upon a bubbling soup, he took the top off, only to see Madara's image. "Your Highness!"
"Oh, Itachi, thank goodness. Have you found the girl yet?"
Madara groaned. "We can't waste any time. Here!" Suddenly, three apples appeared on the surface of the soup.
Itachi gasped. "Poison apples...?"
"It only takes one bite," Madara explained, his lips curving into a devilish smile. "When she takes a bite, she'll fall into a deep and troubled sleep. Then when the clock strikes midnight, she'll die!"
Itachi had more questions for the King, but a cook scooped up the soup into a serving bowl. Itachi looked back into the soup and, while it wasn't what he was looking for, saw Gamakichi above him. The little frog was jumping throughout the kitchen until he made it outside to the dining area, where Pein was sitting with a meal before him. Itachi went to grab the frog, but Pein stopped him. "It looks like the creature is trying to say something. Speak, frog!"
Gamakichi made a few motions to simulate the conversation Itachi had had with Madara, but Pein was a little too thick-headed to understand. "Itachi is glad I'm here? You think you'd die without me! Yeah, that's it!"
Minato walked out of his office, wiping the sweat off his brow. "Okay, I think that went well!" He guided Fugaku and Mikoto out and into the lobby. "I think we'll be able to finalize all this very soon." He saw Karin motioning for him to come over to her. Kushina twirled about in the middle of the room.
"She has no forms of identification," the girl in glasses whispered. "I have no idea where 'Amegakure' place is. I'm starting to think that she's mentally insane..."
Kushina stopped dancing for a moment and skipped up to Mikoto. "Oh, you're so beautiful!" she giggled.
"The man who holds your heart is so lucky."
"Try telling him that."
Kushina glanced at Fugaku. "Are you her true love?" she squealed. "Aw, you look so great together. It's no wonder you're in love!"
"Kushina!!" Minato shouted. He grabbed the girl by the arm and dragged her away from the two. "Look, they aren't in love anymore. They're being separated. They're having a divorce."
"...What?" Kushina gasped. "They're going away from each other forever and ever?"
"Yes, that's what I said." Minato brought the redhead into an elevator and set it to descend.
"That's horrible!" Kushina cried, tears escaping her eyes. "This is a terrible place! What is it?!"
"I'd prefer to be in Amegakure!"
Somehow, Itachi had led Pein towards chasing a girl who looked similar to Kushina while he held onto Gamakichi and tried to keep the little frog quiet. He watched as Kushina and Minato made their way into Central Park.
"Kushina, listen to me," Minato sighed. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. "I want you to take some money and go, okay? I can't put up with you anymore. Call your prince and have him take you home. I just..." He dropped his arms and had a pathetic expression on his face. "I just can't deal anymore."
Kushina looked up at the man sadly. "Minato, I'm so sorry," she whispered. "You were so kind to me when I had no one. If you'd really like me to go, I'll go." Her face brightened a bit. "I wish you happiness." She turned and skipped into the park. Minato watched as she approached an old woman and handed her the bills. He groaned.
"So you saw Pein today?" Kushina asked giddily.
"Yes, I saw him," the old woman replied.
"Minato! This is Chiyo. She saw Pein!"
"He was on the bus this morning," Chiyo explained. "He tried to kill me!"
"Yay!" Kushina cheered, skipping down the path that led deeper into the park. Minato followed after her. He knew, deep down, he couldn't leave her alone.
"Tell me about this prince of yours," he insisted. "How long have you two been together?"
Kushina sighed dreamily. "One day..."
"You mean it feels like a day because you're so in love?"
"No, it's been a day."
"You're kidding. You're going to marry someone after a single day because you fell in love with him?!"
Kushina giggled. "Yes!!" She skipped along another path, Minato following closely behind. "So how long have you known Konan?" the redhead suddenly asked.
Minato scratched his head. "About five years..."
Kushina gasped. "And you haven't proposed? No wonder she's angry..."
"Something for the nice lady!"
Minato and Kushina stopped to see a vendor with a caramel apple. What they didn't know was that it was Itachi in disguise. "No charge for the beautiful young woman!" he insisted, handing the poisoned apple to Kushina. "Today is Free Caramel Apple Day!" He smiled to the two of them and then pulled Gamakichi from his pocket, shoving the poor frog into the popcorn maker. Once that was done, the dark-haired man left the food stand to follow Minato and Kushina.
"You know," the blonde man began, "most people go on dates to get to know each other before they get married."
Kushina looked at him with a confused expression. "A date?"
"Yeah. You go somewhere nice like a restaurant, the movies, or the museum, and you talk to each other about yourselves."
Kushina rolled her eyes. "What strange ideas about love."
"Oh, and I suppose you've got your own idea?"
"Yes, I do!" Kushina accidentally thrust her arms out, flinging the poisoned apple out of her hand and hitting a biker's helmet. "She needs to know how you feel about her, how much you really love her!"
"Oh, she knows."
"How does she know you love her?" Kushina suddenly sang. "How does she know she's yours?"
Minato shook his head. "It's okay. You don't have to sing. Let's just walk."
But some nearby reggae musicians had heard Kushina sing, and they picked up the beat, singing and dancing together. Somehow, the rest of the park got involved in the musical-style number. Kushina ran about the park, happy as ever, continuing her song. "That's how you know he's your love! It's not enough to take the one you love for granted!"
When it was all over, Minato stood there dumbfounded. "How did everybody know that song?"
Kushina gasped when she saw a nearby sign. "Oh, a ball is coming! How wonderful!" She skipped out to the fields of the park and picked some flowers, arranging them into a beautiful bouquet. She sang out and two doves came to pick them up. "Take these flowers to Konan please!" With that, they flew off towards the city.
Pein had heard Kushina singing. He ran over to a bridge to get a better look of the park. When he was sure it was her, he jumped down and sang his own part. "I've been dreaming--!"
And the bicyclers crashed right into him. One of them was the man with the poison apple on his helmet. When he took it off, the apple had managed to burn right through.
Itachi dragged Pein half-way across the city and eventually found a small, cheap hotel where the prince could rest. Pein's ankle was twisted, so his friend propped the leg up on a pillow and bandaged it. At one point, Itachi picked up the television's remote control and pressed a button. The set immediately switched on, and Pein was in awe.
"This device controls the magic mirror!" he exclaimed. Itachi sat down on the bed next to the prince and watched as the channels changed. One of the stations was showing a soap opera, where the woman was complaining she could not love a man if he didn't love himself first. At this, Itachi squirmed, and he looked back at Pein.
"Do you...like yourself?"
"...What's not to like?"
Pein grinned at his answer and looked up at the window. There was Gamakichi!
Itachi gasped and grabbed the little frog, keeping him away from the prince. "Allow me to handle this," he insisted. He threw the little frog into the closet and locked the door, though not conspicuously enough to bother Pein.
Once he was done, the dark-haired man grabbed his coat. "I'm going out," he mumbled. Pein was too busy changing the TV channels to care.
Inside the closet, Gamakichi eventually hopped his way up to a nearby window and was able to jump out. He hopped down the street as fast as he could. He knew where Itachi was headed.
Minato and Kushina were enjoying a pizza dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant. Minato shocked Kushina when he performed a magic trick, pulling a quarter out of the woman's ear. Kushina squealed. "You're a wizard!" The two of them laughed, but Kushina suddenly became quiet. "This is a nice place," she began.
Minato nodded. "Yes, it is."
"And we're having dinner...This is a date!"
"Yes! UH, NO." Minato coughed loudly. "It's, uh, it's nothing really. I mean, it would be except most people don't take their children on dates." He pointed to the table across from them, where Naruto was helping a waitress fold napkins.
Kushina giggled but her happiness suddenly disappeared. She looked at Minato seriously. "Does he miss her?" she whispered.
Minato raised an eyebrow. "Who?"
"Oh...We usually don't talk about it."
Kushina gasped. "I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to--!"
"No, it's okay," Minato insisted. He sighed. "One day, she just got up and left. She never said anything to me. I didn't even know anything was wrong. That's why I don't like to encourage fairy tales and make-believe. I want Naruto to grow up knowing that some things in life aren't perfect. I want him to be strong so he grows up to be a respectable, smart man."
"Something for the beautiful lady!"
A waiter came by holding a glass filled with colorful, fruity liquid. He had a smile on his face as he set the glass before Kushina. She didn't recognize him. He was really Itachi, who had donned another disguise. "It's from a secret admirer! It's an apple martini."
Kushina smiled. "Oh! An apple martini! It looks yummy!"
"Why do people keep giving you free stuff?" Minato asked, completely perplexed.
The redhead took the glass. "I'll just have a sip."
Itachi nodded. "One sip is all it takes..."
Just as Kushina was about to drink from the glass, Gamakichi hopped into the restaurant and kicked it away from her lips, sending it crashing to the floor. The customers in the restaurant gasped and stood, trying to get away.
"There's a disgusting animal on the table!" Minato shouted. "Can we get some help here?!"
"A froggie!" Naruto squealed.
"Please don't hurt him!" Kushina begged. "Gamakichi would never try to hurt me! He's trying to tell me something!" Somehow, she heard what the frog was saying through the hustle and bustle of the shocked diners. "Pein is here!" Kushina sang out.
Suddenly, Itachi came through with a broom, trying to swipe Gamakichi off the table. Gamakichi jumped onto the pizza, which Itachi picked up. He saw the brick oven in the corner of the restaurant and tossed the pizza into it. Luckily, Gamakichi hopped off in time, landing in an empty wine bottle, but Kushina thought he had been caught in the fire. She gasped as the restaurant-goers clapped for Itachi. Minato grabbed onto Kushina and tried to comfort her as the flames died down.
"Ugh, Magic Mirror, tell me what this horrible place is," Pein groaned as he flipped the channel. "Why is everything so...difficult? Will I ever find my love?" He landed on a news program that was interviewing people from the Italian restaurant. Soon enough, a certain redhead appeared with the reporter. "KUSHINA!!" Pein gasped.
"Tell me, how is it knowing this dangerous creature may still be alive?" the reporter asked.
"Wonderful!" Kushina cheered. "Gamakichi is my best friend!"
Minato grabbed Kushina and dragged her away from the camera. "Please ignore her," he told the viewers.
Pein shot up. "Magic Mirror, I beg you, tell me where she is!"
"Reporting from 116th and Broadway..."
"116TH AND BROADWAY!!" Pein cried happily. "Thank you, Mirror!" He got up and ran out of the hotel, across town, and to the designated location. Once there, he made his way up the stairs of the apartment building and tried knocking on several doors. None of them held Kushina. He actually ended up searching all night, but there was still no sign of his beloved.
Minato wrapped a bathrobe around himself and walked into the living room, where Kushina sat reading Naruto's book. He sighed. "You know, Kushina," he began, "if you decide you'd like to stay in New York, I'd like to help you."
Kushina looked up and smiled. "That's very nice of you, Minato, but Pein is coming for me."
"Because your frog friend told you?"
"But what if he doesn't?"
Kushina put the book down. "Minato, Pein is coming."
"No, I don't think so."
"Yes, he is."
"I have to disagree. No."
"NO?! Is that the only word you know?!" Kushina exploded, jumping off the couch and stomping towards Minato. "Tell me, is that the only word you know?!"
"...No!" Minato stammered.
Kushina laughed mockingly. "HA! It is, isn't it?! Every word out of your mouth is the same! You keep saying 'no' over AND OVER again!! It makes me so...Oh, you make me so...so...so...ANGRY!!" She stared Minato down but suddenly smiled and giggled. "I'm angry! Yay!" She laughed to herself but then remembered the situation. "I'm angry." And she punched him in the arm, still sort of giggling.
Minato winced and held onto his arm as he watched Kushina celebrate with herself. "Are you...okay?" he asked cautiously.
Kushina stopped her little party and turned towards Minato, accidentally landing her fingers right on a spot of Minato's chest that the bathrobe had failed to cover. She gasped and let her fingertips trail over the spot.
Minato gazed at Kushina, not really sure what to do. She stared back up at him with wide eyes. The blonde couldn't take it. He yanked himself away from the woman and walked towards his room, mumbling, "Good night."
The next morning, as Minato walked into the kitchen in his pajamas, he noticed that the door to his son's room was open. Upon looking inside, he saw Naruto's curtains cut up into a dress pattern. Laughing to himself, the blonde man continued until he saw Naruto and Kushina sitting at the table, a pot of hot coffee and a bowl of cereal waiting for him.
"Good morning," he began, sitting at the table. "I hope everyone slept well."
"Good morning, Daddy!" Naruto squealed, biting into some toast.
Kushina grinned sheepishly from the other end of the table. "Good morning."
Minato brought the cup of coffee to his lips and smiled. "Nice dress."
"Hee, thank you."
"IT IS I, PRINCE PEIN, HERE TO RESCUE MY BEAUTIFUL LOVE!!"
Breakfast came to a screeching halt as Pein burst through the apartment door and paraded into the room. Kushina gasped happily and jumped up.
"He's here!" she cried.
"He's here?" Minato repeated, standing.
Naruto ran into the living room to get a better look at the prince, and Kushina's face suddenly fell. She turned towards Minato. "How do I look?" she asked.
"No, I mean how do I look?"
Kushina smiled and turned towards the living room. Pein suddenly turned and gasped. "Oh, Kushina!" The redhead ran to him and spun around, laughing cheerfully and loving her prince.
Minato appeared behind them to congratulate them, but when Pein saw the blonde man, he suddenly went defensive. "YOU!!" he shouted, thrusting his sword out. "You're the one who's been holding my beautiful Kushina hostage, haven't you? Any last words before I destroy you?"
Minato twitched. "You have GOT to be kidding me."
"...Strange word." Pein went to stab the blonde, but Kushina stopped him.
"Pein, these are my friends. They've been taking care of me!"
"Oh...why didn't they just say so?"
"This is Minato and his son Naruto. They've been very kind to me."
Pein completely disregarded Kushina's explanation and began to sing. "I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss and a miss I have begun to miss."
Minato twitched again. "He sings, too?"
But when it came time for Kushina to sing, the woman was oddly silent. Pein tried to coax her into singing, and even Minato was confused. When Kushina questioned what the problem was, she suddenly realized that she wasn't exactly herself. Instead, she made a proposition. "I'd like to go on a date with you, Pein," she explained. "We'll go somewhere special and talk about ourselves in order to get to know each other."
Pein agreed to this idea, and once Minato and Naruto were dressed, the group went outside to go their separate ways. Kushina was upset and she could tell that her friends were, too, but she decided to press onward.
"You can visit Amegakure whenever you want," she told them. "We'll can all play together."
Minato nodded. "And if you ever come back to New York, we should all meet up and have dinner sometime."
"Oh, that would be lovely." Kushina knelt down next to little Naruto. "It was so much fun spending time with you, Naru-chan. I'll miss you very much."
"I'll miss you, too, Kushina," the boy whimpered. He gave Kushina one last hug before she got up, turned, and left with Pein. He then clung to his father. "I'm going to miss her a lot, Daddy."
"I'll miss her, too, Naru-kun. I'll miss her very much."
Itachi loomed over his vodka shot in the Italian restaurant, talking to Madara within the liquid. It was obvious the dark-haired man was drunk. "Your Majesty," he began, "I'm so very sorry about all this. Kushina and Pein have met up."
"I sent you there to kill her, not save her!" Madara shouted. "You're out of chances, Itachi. There's only one poison apple left! I'M COMING THERE MYSELF!!"
With that, all the glass bottles in the restaurant exploded, including the one that held Gamakichi. The little frog celebrated for a moment but then saw Itachi. The dark-haired man grinned.
Minato sat at his desk at the divorce office in awe of what he was seeing.
"I was just thinking about what that girl said the other day," Fugaku sighed. "She said that Mikoto was so beautiful. It's true, you know! That was the first thing I noticed about her when we met."
"Oh, Fugaku, stop that," Mikoto whispered playfully.
Minato sighed. "You can't throw all of this away because of a chance encounter," he insisted.
"What if it wasn't a chance?" Mikoto asked. "What if it was something more?"
"You two have so many problems!"
"Everyone has problems. Do we sacrifice all the good times because of them?"
Kushina and Pein walked along a nearby path into another tourist section of the city. Pein was thoroughly enjoying himself, but he could tell that Kushina was feeling a little awkward. "How long do dates usually last?" he asked. "I mean, this has been wonderful and all, but I think we should be getting home to Amegakure."
Kushina swallowed roughly. "Um, dates can last as long as you want as long as you can keep coming up with activities to do. We could go to the museum, the theatre, or this ball..."
"A ball?" Pein asked, quite interested.
"Yes! There's music and dancing...You like that, right?"
"Yes, I do."
"Then let's go!"
"Wait a second, Kushina." Pein grabbed the redhead's arm. "And then home to Amegakure?"
"Ah, yes, the moment it's over..."
Kushina ran back to the apartment and made her way into Naruto's room. The little boy was dressing up like a prince, and his face lit up when he saw Kushina in the mirror's reflection. "Kushina!!" he cheered, running into the woman's arms. "You came back!"
"Oh, I missed you, Naruto," she replied, giggling. "Listen, Naruto, I need your help. I'm going to the ball tonight, and I have nothing to wear. I don't know where to get a fairy godmother at this late hour!"
Naruto grinned. "I've got something better than a fairy godmother." He broke away from Kushina and led her into living room. He opened up a desk drawer and dug through it until he found a sock. "Daddy says this is only for emergencies." He pulled out Minato's platinum credit card. "This is definitely an emergency."
So the two of them ran out of the apartment and into the shopping district of the city, buying many bags' worth of outfits and accessories. They could barely carry them all by the time they got to the salon to get Kushina's hair and make-up done.
At one point, Naruto looked at the redhead sadly. "Is this what it's like?"
"To spend the day with your mother?"
Kushina bit her lip. "Oh, I wouldn't know. I never met my mother. Pein lost both his parents a very long time ago, so he doesn't have a mother either. He does have a stepfather though! I've never met King Madara, but I'm sure he's a very nice man. Not all stepparents are like in the stories."
Naruto shrugged. "I guess it's just because I'll get a new stepmother soon..."
"Oh, cheer up, Naruto. Madara is a perfect example of how everything can turn out great!"
In the center of Times Square, the lid to the sewer hole shot upward, busting several lights and advertisements. An ominous, green smoke rose up, carrying Madara to the surface. Once he was out on the dark streets (scaring the crud out of everyone in the area), he saw Itachi sitting in a taxi cab. Gamakichi was trapped inside a hamster ball in the wheel. He yanked Itachi out of the car and dragged him across to a fountain, where he saw Kushina and Pein at the ball within the water. Now he knew exactly where to go...
Minato and Konan danced among the other couples in the center of the large, elaborate ballroom. They appeared to be having the time of their lives, enjoying each other's company and the romantic music the band was playing. Once the song ended though, Minato looked up at the staircase and gasped. There was Kushina in a beautiful purple gown, looking more gorgeous than ever before. Minato swore that his heart had skipped a beat.
Konan looked up and eyed Kushina. "What is she doing here?" she asked.
Minato watched as Kushina and Pein made their way down the stairs and stopped before them. "Minato, Konan," Kushina began, "this is Pein, my prince."
"And this is Konan," the blonde man replied. "She's my..."
"We're together!" Konan explained, wrapping her arms around her love.
"And this beautiful woman," Pein began, motioning towards Kushina, "is my princess Kushina, the love of my life."
"Wow," Konan whispered, "that was so romantic."
Suddenly, the lights in the ballroom dimmed, and the lead singer of the band took the microphone. "Alirght, it's that special time of the night," he explained. "I would like it if every man would ask a lady he did not accompany to dance the King and Queen's Waltz."
Pein looked and Konan and smiled. "May I?"
Konan took the orange-haired man's hand and walked out onto the dance floor. Minato watched them and then looked back at Kushina. Wordlessly, he took her hand and led her out to the floor, where they danced to a beautiful song. Kushina was so happy. She had never felt so euphoric in her entire life, dancing with a man she adored. At one point during the song, she heard Minato singing along. "We're so close," he whispered. It brought tears to Kushina's eyes.
But the song was over all too soon. Konan cut in between the two of them and took Minato's hands, desperate to keep Kushina away from him. At the same time, Pein came back and led Kushina up the stairs so they could go home. He left to get her coat, leaving her to watch Minato and Konan dance the remainder of the waltz.
Suddenly, a hideous old man appeared before Kushina. "You!" she gasped. "You're the one who sent me here!"
"It was a terrible accident!" the man explained, trying to calm the redhead. "I never meant for it to happen." He turned towards the dance floor and grinned. "I bet it hurts, doesn't it? Not being able to be with the one you love...doomed to spend your life with another...But it doesn't have to be that way!"
Kushina looked at the old man with wide eyes. "It doesn't?"
The man held up the last of the poisonous apples. "It's a magical wishing apple," he explained, grinning. "You just have to take one bite. Then all this sadness will disappear! You'll only know sweet dreams and happiness."
Kushina took the apple from the old man and looked out at Minato. Oh, how she wanted so badly to be with him.
"But you have to hurry!" the old man insisted. "The magic only works until midnight! Quick! Take a bite!"
Without thinking, Kushina took a huge bite of the apple.
The next moment, she was on the ground, and the old man was transforming back into Madara.
Minato looked up when he heard something hit the ground. He saw Madara trying to shove Kushina into the elevator. "HEY, STOP!!" he shouted, racing up the stairs to catch up with the evil man. But before he could do anything, Pein stopped the elevator door from closing. He gasped.
"Stepfather?" he asked stupidly.
"What are you doing with my Kushina?!"
Madara looked down at the collapsed girl and shifted his eyes. "She seems to have fainted or something. I was just taking her out for some air."
Pein picked the redhead up and brought her to a nearby couch. "SOMEBODY HELP ME!!" he shouted.
Madara scoffed. "My Boy, she's fine! She just fainted!"
"NO, SHE DID NOT."
Madara turned and growled menacingly. "Itachi," he hissed, "go back to the car."
"I will not!" the man shouted back. "Prince Pein, I mean every word I say! He's the old man! He sent Kushina here, and now he's poisoned her! And I regret to say that I helped..."
Pein gasped and turned to his stepfather. "You did this?"
"Itachi's a liar! Why would I team up with him? He's nothing but a low-life, worthless--!"
"SILENCE!!" Pein shouted. "You murderer! When we return home, all of Amegakure shall know what you have done. Your days as King will be over!"
"Take my crown, will you? That's a little melodramatic, don't you think?"
"...I don't know what 'melodramatic' means, but I will see to it that you are removed from the throne! I'll do it myself!"
Madara's eyes flashed bright red, and a spell began on his lips. But before he could do anything, Itachi grabbed Pein's sword and brought it to the King's neck. "You evil, twisted, rotten soul...I finally know what you're really like..."
Pein got down on his knees next to Kushina and stared at Minato. "What do we do?!" he asked, desperate. "We have to help her!"
"There's no way of saving her," Itachi sighed sadly. "She's done for."
Minato was quiet for a long time. When he finally looked up, his eyes with wide with an epiphany. "True Love's Kiss," he whispered. "It's the most powerful thing in the world." Even he couldn't believe what he was saying.
Pein grinned. "Yes, of course!" Without wasting any time, he leaned over the beautiful Kushina and kissed her, hoping she would awake. When she didn't stir, he tried again, but nothing happened. "It's not working!" he cried.
Suddenly, the clock began to chime. Madara laughed. "You only have until midnight. It looks like I've won."
Pein looked up at the King and then looked at Minato. "I'm not the one," he realized. "Minato, it's you! You have to kiss her!"
"WHAT?!" the blonde exploded. "There's no way I can kiss her! I barely know her!"
"KISS HER, MINATO."
The blonde turned to Konan, who had a sad expression on her face. "It's okay."
Minato looked back at Kushina as the clock continued to strike. It was getting close to twelve, so he leaned over and, without thinking, kissed the redhead. Just as he did, the clock chimed for the twelfth time.
At first, it appeared as though Kushina was not going to wake up, but after a few minutes, the redhead began to shuffle about. Her eyes fluttered open, and she smiled at the sight of Minato before her. "I knew it was you," she whispered. And she embraced him happily.
"NO!!" Madara shouted, pushing Itachi off to the side. He grabbed the sword from him and pointed it at the group. "You have no idea who you're dealing with! You think True Love's Kiss is the most powerful thing in the world, huh? HA! I'll show you power!" Madara ran down the flight of steps and chanted a spell. Suddenly, he exploded into a fury of light and smoke, and when it all died away, he stood in the center of the ballroom as a giant nine-tailed fox. "You know," he began, "if I'm to remain King, I'll need a story when I return home. How about if a vicious beast appeared and killed everyone? And then poor, defenseless King Madara couldn't save anyone? Yeah, that'll work. Let's start with the girl who started it all, shall we?"
Minato shielded Kushina behind him. "Over my dead body!" he growled.
Madara thought about this for a moment. "Okay! I'm flexible!" With that, he grabbed Minato and broke through the wall of the ballroom, climbing to the very top of the tower. Kushina gasped and grabbed the sword from the center of the dance floor. She stopped only to take off her shoes, but she quickly climbed out of the room and started up the outside of the building in the pouring rain. Once she had one of the fox's tails in sight, she slashed at it.
Madara howled in pain and looked down. He suddenly grinned. "My, my, this is twist on our story!" he laughed. "It's the brave little princess coming to the rescue!" He turned back towards Minato and continued up the tower. "I guess that makes you the damsel in distress, huh?" He watched below as Pein, Konan, and Itachi freed Gamakichi from the hamster ball, and the little frog hopped his way up the tower.
"MADARA!!" Kushina screamed above the storm. "I WON'T LET YOU TAKE HIM!!"
"HA!!" Madara laughed back. "Are you on the edge of your seat, Kushina, just dying to know how the story ends? How about this? AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER!! Well, at least I did."
Gamakichi suddenly hopped up to the tower and pushed on one of the fox's tails with all his might. Madara had been hanging onto the tower's top pole, so the extra weight sent the fox downwards. Madara cried out and let go of Minato, who would have fallen if Kushina hadn't caught his jacket sleeve with her sword against the building. Madara tried to chant a spell, but it was too late. He fell to the streets of New York City, disappearing into a cloud of dust.
Minato's jacket sleeve began to rip, and Kushina screamed, "HOLD ON!" She made her way over to where the blonde man was, but before she could get up there, he fell. Kushina grabbed him and the two starting sliding down the slanted roof of the tower. Both cried out in fear, but they stopped at the very edge before they could fall the entire way. Both panted heavily and Kushina grinned at Minato. "Is this a habit of yours? Falling off stuff?"
Minato laughed shortly. "Only when you're there to catch me," he whispered. "I love you, Kushina."
The rain began to lighten, and the two kissed on top of the tower.
Inside, Konan walked out to the center of the dance floor. She picked up Kushina's shoe and sat down, terribly sad and disappointed.
Pein knelt down beside her. "Why so sad, beautiful lady?"
Konan shrugged. "She forgot her shoe."
Pein took the shoe from her and stared deep into her blue eyes. "May I?" he asked. He gentle took Konan's bare foot and slipped the shoe on. He gasped. "It's a perfect fit."
Konan looked at her foot and then at Pein. Both of them had the same idea. They got up and ran out to Times Square together, where they jumped into the hole.
Within mere hours, Pein and Konan were married. They were just about to kiss when Konan's cell phone rang. "Oops!" she whispered, reaching for the device her dress pocket. She opened it up and smiled. "Wow, really great reception out here!" But she threw the phone away in exchange for something better. She grabbed Pein and kissed him deeply.
Not too long later, life was back to normal, but it was still a little twisted. Kushina opened up her own fashion shop, where she made beautiful dresses for little girls and classy tuxedos for young boys. Business was booming so well that Minato quit his job at the divorce office, but not before hearing that Fugaku and Mikoto were living happily together, as if nothing had ever happened between them.
Both Gamakichi and Itachi wrote books about their experiences. Gamakichi sighed copies for his friends back in Amegakure, and Itachi gave out autographs for his fans in New York.
Minato and Kushina married soon afterwards, and Naruto got his new stepmother, whom he loved with all his heart. Every day was a pleasure for the new family of three. The whole world seemed a lot brighter for everybody.
And they all lived happily ever, ever after.
Next: Kurenai as Megara