No, I do not own Naruto.


Sitting at the desk of the Hokage, Sarutobi sighed, rubbing his weary eyes as the people outside slowly came to a terrible realization. The realization that while he had defeated the Kyuubi no Kitsune and saved them all, Namikaze Minato had to die to protect them all. Noone knew how he had managed to do so, since the man had forced all shinobi back to the village while he and Gamabunta took on the great beast.

Not even the Council knew the truth, and Sarutobi was going to make sure it stayed that way. If he valued his continued existance, doing so was a necessity.

The elderly man shuddered as he remembered the conversation he had with Minato's wife, Kushina, just hours earlier.

(Flashback no Jutsu)

"Hello Minato-kun, Kushina-chan." Sarutobi said to the blonde-haired, blue-eyed man standing next to the delivery table holding a red-haired woman. Turning to the third occupant of the room, he felt a small swell of happiness in his chest.

"I'm glad to see you made it, Tsunade-chan." the elderly Hokage said, to the blonde woman sighed as she rubbed Kushina's shoulder and said "Well, when Minato-oi requested me to help with the birth of his first child, I just couldn't say no..." Turning a hard gaze on her sensei, she continued "But make no mistake, I'm leaving as soon as I'm certain both mother and child are perfectly healthy."

"Well, I'm just happy your here, if only for a few days." Sarutobi said with a soft smile, before turning to Minato, his face hardening as he said "Minato-kun, as you already know, the Kyuubi is coming towards Konoha..."

"And I have already formulated a plan to defeat it." Minato finished, and then sighed sadly as he continued "Unfortunately, doing so will cost me my life, and I'll have to use a newborn child."

"Minato..." Kushina began, but the man turned to her and cut her off by saying "Kushina, how can I go to another parent and ask them for their child when I have a newborn son of my own?"

"Bu-but you can't! It's not fair!" Kushina cried, tears streaming down her face as Minato nodded and said "That's why I asked Tsunade-bo to come oversee the birth of our son. So that they will have at least one parent to care and love him. I'm sorry, but there's no other way."

"Yes there is! There's always another way!" Kushina yelled, but Minato sighed and replied "Don't you think I didn't already try to find another option? Jiraiya-sensei and me went over every book, every scroll, every scrap of paper that might possibly be considered useful looking for another way! It's either this or Konoha is destroyed, and I can't allow it to perish while I can still protect it!"

Kushina broke into a fit of sobbing, Tsunade gently rubbing her shoulder as Minato smiled and said "Sarutobi-sama, I need you to make sure people understand the sacrifice I and my son are making for Konoha. I want him to be seen as the hero he is."

"I don't." Kushina hiccuped, and both men turned to her and Minato asked "What?"

"I want the fact our child is going to be a jinchuuriki to remain a secret." Kushina stated, and Minato said "But the people of Konoha..."

"You may have blind faith in the people of Konoha, Minato-kun, but I have seen firsthand the horrors that people of this village are capable of. They are no different than any other village, and in every other village jinchuuriki are feared and hated by the people that created them. I refuse to have my child, the only piece of you I'll have left suffer from the same fate." Kushina said, narrowing her eyes at her husband.

"Kushina..." Minato began, but this time Kushina cut him off as she said "No, my mind is made up. Jinchuuriki or not, I want my son to have a happy, NORMAL childhood. I refuse to allow anything that might be even remotely harmful to that!" Turning her eyes on Sarutobi, the former Hokage felt the first chill run down his spine in years from the look he recieved from the expecting mother as she said "And if you go against my wishes and tell them anyway Sarutobi... I. Will. Kill. You."

Sarutobi had no doubt in his mind the woman before him could do so. He'd seen a civilian woman kill a tiger that had escaped from the Forest of Death with a kitchen knife to protect her children. And if an untrained woman could do that, then he shuddered at what Kushina could do with the same incentive. Because before becoming pregnant, she was one of only a few people capable of matching Minato in a fight, and now that she had a child to protect...

"Very well, Kushina. The secret will remain only with you, Tsunade, Jiraiya, and myself." Sarutobi conceded, and Kushina smiled, relaxing against the bed, eyes closed as she said "Thank you, Sarutobi-sama. I appreciate that."

"Be careful with her, Tsunade-bo." Minato said, rubbing the back of his wife's hand with a calloused thumb, and Tsunade smiled as she said "Of course, Minato-oi."

(Flashback no Jutsu: KAI!)

Sarutobi looked up as a large form appeared in the middle of the room, a small bundle swaddled in a blue blanket decorated with cartoon toads in his arms. He smiled at the sight of Jiraiya, who returned a weary smile of his own, tear tracks staining his tattooed cheeks.

"Did you get him?" Sarutobi asked, and Jiraiya nodded as he said "Yeah. I hid inside of Gamabunta's mouth until the battle was over, and then he let me out before returning to Myoubokuzan. I gathered the child from Mi-Minato and left the scene as fast as I possibly could."

"Were you seen?" Sarutobi questioned, and Jiraiya said "No. I was gone before even the first ANBU operative showed up. And with all the confusion and mayhem, it was child's play for a master spy to get here unseen by anyone." Turning dark eyes to the blonde newborn in his arms, Jiraiya smiled sadly, rubbing Naruto's chubby little belly with his finger.

"H-he looks so much like Mi-Minato-kun..." Jiraiya murmured, watching the small arms wiggle as a wide smile crossed the whisker-scarred face, revealing toothless gums. Chubby little legs kicked in the blankets, and Jiraiya laughed sadly as he cooed "Whose an adorable little ball of sunshine? Whose an adorable little ball of sunshine? Yes you are! Yes you are!"

Sarutobi gave a smile as he said "I know it must have been hard for you, but understand that it was Minato's choice to sacrifice himself for the sake of his village."

Jiraiya nodded, not taking his eyes off the baby in his arms, whose eyes finally opened. Looking into them, Jiraiya gasped as he studied them carefully, causing Sarutobi to ask "Wh-what's wrong, Jiraiya?"

"Sen-sensei... his eyes..." Jiraiya muttered, and Sarutobi felt fear creep into his chest as he asked "What about them?"

"They're cloudy. I-I think i-it's cataracts." Jiraiya replied, and the Sandaime moved beside Jiraiya and stared into the baby's eyes. He felt his heart drop into his stomach as he looked into the pale blue eyes of the only son of Minato.

"How? When? Why?" Sarutobi asked, but the white-haired Sannin said "I-I need to get him to Tsunade. Ma-maybe she can fix it." Sarutobi nodded as his student exited the room, heading for the hospital where Tsunade was sure to be.


Sighing, Tsunade removed her bloodied surgical gloves as she looked over the room filled with wounded shinobi, their wounds varying in severity. Wiping the sweat from her brow, she exited the room and walked down the hallway to another, private room. Taking a seat next to the bed, she looked to the sleeping form of her late nephew's widow. Kushina had required immediate care after Naruto's birth, but the female Sannin had succeeded and the woman would live, along with many others who might not have made it without her aid.

Yawning, she said "Your timing's still for shit, Kushina. You picked the worst time to be having this baby, and force me to come home to make sure you didn't die." Smiling wearily, she patted a slender hand as she said "But I don't regret coming for a moment to help you and Minato-oi. Nor, unfortunately, do I regret helping all the men and women now lying in this hospital alongside you."

She gave the woman as best a glare as possible as she said "Just know this, you pull this kind of stunt again, Kushina, and you're on your own. Got me?"

Leaning back in her chair, her eyes slid closed as she murmured "Now if you don't mind, I'm going to get a few very well-deserved winks. And if you wake me up by flatlining or something, and I'll make sure you make a full recovery so I can kill you myself."

But as she was just beginning to doze off, Sarutobi and Jiraiya appeared in the room, eyes on her. Turning a glare on the pair, it disappeared as she saw the small bundle of moving blankets in Jiraiya's arms, the bundle whimpering and mewling.

"Is that Naruto-kun?" Tsunade asked, and Jiraiya nodded as he said "Yeah... But I need you to check him over."

"Why? What's wrong?" the medic asked, her brow furrowing in concern, which grew as Jiraiya replied "It's his eyes... I think its cataracts." Tsunade was out of her chair and over to Jiraiya and Sarutobi with a speed that belied her exhausted state, taking the small blonde newborn into her arms. Holding him in the crook of an arm, she carefully lifted each eyelid in turn, her concerned look turning to sorrow as she passed a glowing hand over them to do a closer inspection. She proceeded to pass the hand over the rest of the small blonde's body, who kicked out with his tiny legs.

"Tsunade, is it?" Jiraiya asked, and the blonde woman nodded, tears filling her own eyes as she said "Ye-yeah... It seems that during the sealing, th-the nerves and lense in his eyes were overloaded with youki, completely destroying them. He-he's completely blind."

She felt her heart tear in two at the look of crushing sadness upon her longtime friend's face at her diagnosis, and deciding to try and cheer him up, she said "But the good news is that otherwise, he's a completely healthy baby boy."

Jiraiya smiled sadly as he said "We-well, at least he's got his health, if n-not his sight." Tsunade nodded, taking the toad blanket from Jiraiya and wrapping the child in it before walking over to the hospital bed holding Kushina. Looking at her nephew's wife sadly, she carefully placed the wiggling, fussing infant against the woman's side and .pushed the slender arm closer to cradle the child.

She watched as her godson quickly quieted down once in the presense of his mother, his body stilling save for the gentle rising and falling of his chest as he joined his mother in sleep.

Sighing wearily, she fell into her chair, elbows propped on her knees and face pressed in her hands as she groaned "How are we going to tell Kushina her only child's blind because of her husband's desire to protect Konoha?"

Feeling Jiraiya's large hand on her shoulder, she looked up into his broad face as he gave her a soft smile and said "Don't worry Tsunade, it'll work out for the best. I can feel it. "

"I hope you're right, Jiraiya." Tsunade replied softly, to which he chuckled lightly and answered "Of course I am. Remember Tsu-hime, my luck's a lot better than yours."

Tsunade turned a half-hearted glare onto her old teammate before leaning back in her chair, murmuring "I certainly pray it is." before drifting off to sleep, emotional and physcial exhaustion finally overtaking her.

Little did she know just how right her old friend was.