Disclaimer: No one wants me to own this, Insanity would ensue. The song lyrics are from Arms Wide Open by Creed.
Author's Note: Happy Father's Day everyone! It's almost been a full year since I got on FF. It feels weird. This fic is dedicated to my karate instructors, both of whom are going to have a new baby in the house soon. I don't think one of them has a name yet, so I'm simply going to dedicate it to Julianna, the instructor's wife and good luck with her delivery next month and to Amaya Skye, born in a few months.
Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone
Well I just heard the news today
It was February the third, not a special date by any means. On this date, Minato looked straight at his wife standing in the doorway of their kitchen. Her murmured words had barely been audible to his ears. "Could…you repeat that?"
Kushina looked up at him through a curtain of dusky red hair. "I'm pregnant, Minato. You're going to be a father."
This time, his jaw dropped and he felt the urge to laugh and cry at the same time. Instead, he ran the short distance to her, wrapped his arms around her waist and swung her around, laughing. He stopped spinning her, kissing her, long and deep before pulling back, blue eyes sparkling in delight.
I close my eyes, begin to pray
Then tears of joy stream down my face
Later that night, he lay beside his wife, and gently rested his forehead on her shoulder. Please don't let me fail either of them, he prayed. Not his wife, nor the little person growing inside her abdomen. Especially not the little person.
Kushina wasn't asleep, not quite. Even in her dozing state, she felt the gentle bump of his forehead and, a few minutes later, felt the wet tears soaking into her nightshirt. But even if she couldn't see or feel it, she knew the gentle upturning of her husband's lips was there.
Well, I don't know if I'm ready
To be the man I have to be
I take a breath, I take her by my side
Minato watched as month by month, Kushina's stomach grew. Her features softened, but didn't quite turn doe-like. He might have laughed if they had because even he would fear any doe that had Kushina's temper. Kushina moved more carefully now, her hands cradling her stomach or resting on top of it. Minato wondered if that was an inherit thing to women. Kushina had been reading a novel that morning on July the sixteenth, when Minato had hesitantly let his head rest on her abdomen. Kushina had smiled down at him, squirming slightly.
Minato grinned up at her, but the grin froze on his face when he felt a forceful nudge from the little person.
Kushina seemed in shock, but a smile lit her face. "He moved!" She was so convinced it was going to be a boy. And while they had their name for him, they couldn't quite bring themselves to call the baby anything. It had been little person or baby for five months. It couldn't change. Not yet.
Even as Kushina rubbed her stomach, still glowing, Minato wondered if he deserved this, if he could really do this. As if reading his thoughts, she turned to him, taking his hand and resting it on her stomach. Another nudge and this time it drew a chuckle out of them both.
"He's a feisty one. There's no doubt he's your son now." She said and Minato pulled her close suddenly, wanting to smell the tree oil and sea salt smell of her, a smell that was uniquely hers.
"That he is." Minato said into her collarbone. He turned his head to look up at her from an awkward angle. "And was there ever any doubt at all?"
Kushina's laugh, the one that sounded like wind chimes, rang through the air. "Well…maybe a few." Never a single doubt in my mind.
If I had just one wish, only one demand
I hope he's not like me
I hope he understands
That he can take this life and hold it by the hand
And he can greet the world with arms wide open
Minato had his forearms on his knees, his fingers entwining with each other absentmindedly. Kakashi sat beside him in a similar position and they knew that they were both waiting and gods, but how they both hated waiting.
Finally, finally, the door opened and both heads shot up. The doctor came out, tired, but a pleased expression on her too tired face. "Hokage-sama…want to go in and meet your son?"
She never felt him run by. She only knew he'd passed when she turned back into the delivery room and saw him standing in quiet shock at the little bundle that was in the hospital crib. Already, the doctors had removed Kushina's body, taking it down to the morgue. But all of Minato's attention was on him, little baby Naruto. Minato scooped him up, holding him awkwardly, but soon became comfortably with the position.
He held up Naruto to get a good look at the boy's face. He knew, somehow, that it would be the last really good look at his son's face that wasn't marred by the fighting going on in the outside world. The face was almost a twin to Minato's own, but it held a roundness, a gentleness that was all Kushina. Naruto's eyes opened, and Minato felt Kakashi's breath hitch slightly at the sapphire eyes. They were a few shades darker than Minatos eyes, but dear gods…that face…
Minato knew his eyes were shiny with tears right about now, especially as Naruto reached a hand out. Minato let him hold on to his little finger. "Kakashi." Minato said quietly and he knew his student was listening. "Take care of him for me, won't you?"
Just in his peripheral vision, Minato saw Kakashi fighting with himself about whether to argue or not. And just as he knew Kakashi would be opening his mouth to object, Minato cut him off. "Please, Kakashi. He can't grow up like all of us did. This new generation needs a brighter future."
It was the 'please' that got Kakashi. He nodded reluctantly, not meeting the lighter shade of blue eyes, instead choosing to meet Naruto's, the eyes who held nothing but curiosity.
With arms wide open under the sunlight
Welcome to this place, I'll show you everything
With arms wide open,
Now everything has changed
I'll show you love, I'll show you everything
Minato's last glimpse of his son's face was through ash, flames and a dark sky. There wasn't any fear on Naruto's face, because he was in his father's arms. A father's arms meant safety. He wouldn't be hurt.
But his father's arms went limp and the next thing Naruto knew, he was falling. A new pair of arms caught him, smaller, less sure, but still moderately safe. Naruto looked up, saw mismatched eyes and an explosion of silver hair.
Kakashi hugged Naruto close to him, needing to know that everything Minato and Kushina had given their lives for was okay, that this helpless creature in his arms was safe. But Kakashi pulled back enough to look at Naruto and he saw his parents in his chubby, whiskered face. He saw the parents that would never be able to see him take his first step, have the first day of school, explode the kitchen with cooking experiments; they'd never be there when he first fell in love, when he first got his heart broken. They'd never be able to laugh with him, teach him and support him. But, Kakashi thought (hoped, prayed) maybe he'd be able to do all that. Just maybe.