God of Illusion, Wielder of the Devil's Arm
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto
Minato Namikaze sat in his office, practically pulling out his hair. The greatest of the nine bijuu was getting closer to Konoha with every second, shinobi dying to stall it and he sat here without a solution how to stop it.
The only thing he found out was that it was impossible to kill a bijuu. There had been millions of tries, but not a single success. Sealing was possible, and ironically, it was his own specialty, but sealing a bijuu got exponentially harder the higher up the hierarchy it was, and the Kyuubi stood at the very top.
There had been a few notes about jinchuuriki and bijuu, but the only thing he got on the Kyuubi was that it had never been sealed before and that it was female. Thank you very much asshole, knowing the gender really helps in getting rid of it. What was he supposed to do, offer free sweets, shoes and clothing if it left?
Then he found something in the forbidden section. It was a ritual that summoned the Shinigami himself, who then ripped the soul out of your enemy, marking you and devouring both your and the enemy's souls. A last-ditch effort. But what was the point in marking the user if he died along with his victim? Unless... it was a sealing!
Minato delved into his research with new vigor, and after confirming that it was indeed a sealing-ceremony, he started to make adjustments. Since it was a sealing, it should be possible to control where exactly the target was to be sealed. He knew that if he sealed the Kyuubi into an object, it wouldn't take a week and the beast was free once more, being far too strong to be locked in a teapot like the Shukaku. If an animal was used, the Kyuubi would take control before you could say "Oh shit", since no animal had the willpower or mentality required to keep it at bay. The only possibility was a human. Ideally, he would seal it in himself, then drag them both to hell, but he wasn't sure if the Kyuubi had a trick that would allow it to escape the Shinigami's clutches. Any other adult was out too, seeing that an adult's, even a child's chakra-network was already too solidified to handle the sudden influx of chakra. The only thing that could adapt... was an infant.
Minato felt a new hight of despair. He would not have hesitated for a second to sacrifice his own life, but to drag an innocent life into this? Especially since he knew that only two babies would be born in time for the sealing; his own.
Kushina was pregnant with twins and her water had broke a few minutes ago. He was going to have a son and a daughter. And he would have to seal the Kyuubi in one of them. Even if another mother gave birth early, Minato knew that he couldn't ask anyone to give up their child if he was not willing to give up his.
So the only bitter question was which one to seal it in. he weighed his options and eventually came to the conclusion that sealing it in his daughter would be the best option.
Sealing a being of one sex into a being of the other sex was always risky, as it kept host and prisoner from properly bonding, something Kumo had learned when they sealed the Nibi into a man, who during his life not only had little contact with his bijuu and never got beyond using a bit of raw chakra that was useless for any kind of jutsu, but had miserable chakra-control all together, as the different chakras violently disrupted each other. On the fortieth anniversary of the sealing, the man had spontaneously combusted, the explosion taking out almost a tenth of Kumo, the suddenly free Nibi smashing another fifth before it was caught and resealed, this time into a girl.
No, it was better to seal a female into another female. The Nibi had destroyed a tenth of Kumo, Minato had no interest in finding out how big of a boom the Kyuubi would make.
He spent the next three hours designing the seal that would hold the Kyuubi, before heading to Kushina, his heart heavy.
Kushina held her babies in her arms, smiling at both of them. Naruto looked just like his father, while Natsuki was her spitting image. They were crying, and honestly she couldn't blame them, as she could feel the Kyuubi's chakra, the beast most likely approaching the gates at this moment. "Sh, it's okay. Don't worry, daddy will find a way to save the day, that's what your daddy does best. Naruto, Natsuki, it'll be fine."
Tsunade, who had returned to Konoha to help her friend Kushina through what has been called the most painful time in a woman's life, was not so sure, and she could see that Kushina's confidence in her husband was not absolute either.
Speak of the devil, there he came, with an expression appropriate for a funeral. This did not look good.
Minato looked at his wife, knowing this would be the last time he'd ever see her. He forced himself to smile. "Hello Kushina, how are you doing? Are the children alright?"
Kushina gave him a weak smile. "Natsuki and Naruto are just fine, and according to Tsunade, I'm out of the woods. What about you? Did you find something?"
Minato nodded. "I researched, and found out that while it's impossible to destroy the Kyuubi, I can seal it away. I know the jutsu and I've already designed the array."
Kushina smiled, relieved. "That's wonderful darling. Why do you look so down?"
Minato wished he could keep quiet, but he knew that would not only betraying Kushina, but that it simply wouldn't work. Still, how do you tell your wife that you will die sealing a monster into her child? "Well..."
Tsunade looked at him. "There's a catch, isn't there?"
She had always been sharp, and as a medic, reading people was child's play. "Yes. There are two."
Kushina looked at him. "What are they?"
Minato gulped. "For the sealing to work, I... I need to sacrifice my life."
Kushina's eyes widened. "No." She whispered. "Tell me it's not true."
Minato glanced at her. "I can't. To seal the Kyuubi, I need to summon the Shinigami."
Kushina sobbed. "It's not fair! After all we've been through, after all we've lost, after the war, now that we finally came this far, it just ends like this? Now that we finally have children, they will never know their father? It's just not fair!"
Tsunade looked at him, her eyes sympathizing, yet sharp. "Was that the other catch?"
Minato couldn't look her or Kushina in the eyes. "No." He finally whispered, his voice sounding as if he had fought down a sob.
Kushina was not really paying attention. After this news, what could be worse? Tsunade asked. "What is?"
Minato stared at the floor, his voice trembling. "The only thing that can hold, that could hope to keep the Kyuubi at bay, is..." He paused, having to gather all his strength not to break down in tears "...is an infant."
Kushina stared at him, wide-eyed. Then she pulled her children closer to her chest. "No." she stated, her panicked voice steadily increasing in volume. "No, you can't. Not them. NO! I WON'T LET YOU! NOT OUR CHILDREN! NO!!!"
Minato slammed his fist into the wall, tears now running down his face as well. "DO YOU THINK I WANT TO DO THIS?!" He shouted, before taking a deep breath. "Kushina, I've looked through every possible source. I've searched everywhere. If I seal the fox in an object, the object will break! If I seal it in an animal, the fox will take over! If I try to take it down with me, it may escape me, as it and I would have no time for our souls to connect, so I'd have no hold! And nobody with set chakra-coils could possibly survive the sealing! There is nobody else Kushina!" He grew quiet, small sobs escaping his lips. "There is nobody else."
Tsunade hesitantly patted his back. This once again showed her that the title of Hokage was more of a burden and a curse than anything else. Here stood a man, a loving husband and fresh father, who had to not only sacrifice his life in his best years, but damn his own child to house a demon. The job sucked, and that was it.
After nearly an hour, Minato left the room with Natsuki and a broken heart. He knew that he had to do it, but that didn't make him feel any better about it. If anything, it made him feel worse.
Minato stood on Gamabunta's head, staring at the fox who destroyed his happiness. He sighed. "You ready Gamabunta?"
The large toad snorted humorlessly. "Nobody is ever ready to face that one, but I'll buy you as much time as I can."
"Thanks. Tell Jiraya to get you a large bottle of sake, my treat." Minato stated.
The toad nodded. "Well then, LET'S GO!"
With that, the toad charged the possibly most dangerous beast on the planet, using his sword to deflect a tail. His entire tactic was based on 'hop around, slash it when you see an opening, don't get hit'. So far, it was working. Minato had already drawn the seals on his daughter's stomach, and was flashing trough the last handsigns as Gamabunta took a hit, not enough to dispel him, but it would leave a scar over his eye. "Hurry! I can't keep her busy much longer!" The toad called.
But Minato had already finished, the Shinigami was floating behind him. He looked at the fox and calmly spoke the words that would end his life. "Shiki Fuin!"
He felt like his chest was encased in ice as the Shinigami's arm shot out of his stomach, grabbing the Kyuubi desperately struggling while Gamabunta kept it from escaping before disappearing with a poof, and somehow transforming it into red mist that it placed in Natsuki's stomach. The seal Minato had inscribed glowed, before fading away. It was over.
Minato slowly turned around and looked at the Shinigami, who was also looking down to him "Are you prepared?" the deity asked.
Minato opened his mouth. "I..." Images began to flash before his eyes. His village. His wife. His son. His daughter.
"I..." The images changed. He saw his hopes for the future. First he saw his village, glistering proudly in the sunlight. He saw Kushina smiling at him in front of their compound. He saw his children growing up, first as children, then young teens. He saw himself and Kushina giving them advice on the shinobi-life. He saw them, now older, at their weddings. He saw himself hand the Hokage-hat to his children. He saw his grandchildren sit on his lap while he told stories of long-past wars. He finally saw himself, now as old as Sarutobi, laying in a bed, surrounded by his precious people, peacefully closing his eyes.
"I..." Unlike many shinobi, Minato's ideal death had never been to die in a brilliant display, fighting a equal if not superior foe like the Shodaime, or facing unbeatable odds to buy his comrades time like the Nidaime. He wouldn't mind going that way, mind you, but his dream had always been to die peacefully of old age with a smile, surrounded by his loved ones.
It wasn't fair. To have everything stolen from him, just when life had finally started to look up. He could stay tough, but facing a god, Minato, knowing it would make no difference, chose honesty.
"I... I'm not ready." This statement, while seemingly so easy to make, was the hardest thing Minato had ever done, including choosing to use his children. He gave up his ego, his pride, his image as the fearless, confident leader and revealed his true self. A man who was afraid to die with so much left undone.
Where was his courage? His resolve to offer his life as the Hokage? The iron will and passionate love for his village that made him running into more than one hopeless situation with guaranteed death? Where was that passion that had driven him in the library to search for a solution, no matter the cost to himself? Gone. Vanished under the cold gaze of a god that stripped all falseness, that could not be deceived.
The Shinigami looked at him, his inhuman face betraying no emotion. Then... "Very well."
Minato blinked. It couldn't really be that easy, could it? "What?"
The deity looked at him. "I am death. Everything dies. It makes no difference if I take you now or in a hundred years. Eventually, you will die, and as our pact, your soul will be mine. I am patient. I can wait." With that, he vanished, leaving a baffled, slack-jawed Minato behind.
Minato then looked at his daughter, and smiled. The Shinigami would eventually get his soul. And? He didn't care. He was given a chance to watch his children grow up, that was all he needed. He picked up Natsuki and headed towards the hospital. He would take care of the villagers in a minute, right now, he headed for his family.
The reunion had been shocking and heartwarming, lasting nearly an hour before Minato decided he couldn't leave his villagers in the dark any longer. He took his daughter in his arms and smiled. She looked exactly like her mother, with the exception of the six whisker-marks on her cheeks. Naruto on the other hand was clearly his clone, or rather his reflection in the fountain of youth.
He stood on the tower, looking down on the masses gathering below, cheering for his victory. He smiled. "People of Konoha, we have won! Thanks to our many brave shinobi, I have managed to find a way to defeat the Kyuubi! It will no longer be a scourge on these lands!"
The roars were deafening. Minato raised his voice. "But not I alone am the true hero. The heroes are all those who bravely faced the Kyuubi!" Roaring approval. Then Minato spoke again. "Nor am I the savior of Konoha. The true savior is right here!"
He lifted Natsuki up, so that everyone could see her. "The Kyuubi was so powerful because it is immortal, and nothing can kill it. However, this girl is keeping it locked away where it can never cause harm again! She is the jailer for the most powerful bijuu, and she will make sure that we can live without fear! I present you the Savior of Konoha, my daughter Natsuki Uzumaki-Namikaze!"
There was a moment of silence, then the applause and cheering rose to new highs. Their beloved leader, the Yondaime had stated that the girl, his daughter no less, was a hero who kept Kyuubi imprisoned forever, so it had to be true. The few yelling something about killing were swiftly pulled into dark corners, where the truth was beaten into their heads.
Minato felt wonderful. His family was complete, he was alive and his daughter was seen as the hero that she was. And for a moment he had been worried that they would be unable to tell the difference between the jailer and the prisoner. He should never have doubted his people. And even though revealing both his marriage and status as a parent may be slightly risky, Minato was not worried.
He had stared both Kyuubi and the Shinigami himself in the face and had somehow managed to make it out. What human did he have to fear? Iwa and Kumo would be too worried that if they attacked the children, their parents would retaliate and bring repeats of the humiliating defeats the war had brought them and their countries. In fact, it was more likely that new alliances would sprout like mushrooms. He would have to deflect the proposals to his children, but somehow, that didn't really seem all that threatening compared to what he had been through. No, the future of his family was very bright.
It's fascinating how a man can at the same time be so right and yet so wrong.
Chapter 1 is complete. The idea just came to me, and I had to write it down. This is just the prologue, it will probably take a few chapters until the story really kicks off, please bear with me.
In the fics I read so far, it either happens that Minato somehow alters the seal or uses a different one so that he can live, or he is just left alive without any real explanation. I decided that I needed a better excuse. Then I thought 'The Shinigami is essentially death, and death doesn't mind if you escape it once or twice. Death has all the time in the world, and eventually you will die. So no reason to hurry.' You may not deny the Shinigami his reward, but asking for more time is no problem. The only reason nobody found that out earlier was because they either went silently, or screamed stuff like 'No, don't take me!' He marks his victims, and those that would die anyways he takes immediately. The others he may spare, but they can never call upon him for anything again. If they do, the Shinigami assumes that they are now ready and takes their souls, without doing what he was summoned for. The offer is good one time only, why should he do something if he the payment is something he already owns from a previous job.
The first few chapters are kind of a slow buildup, so patience please. And the pairings, if there will be any, are undecided.
Another warning. Naruto will be darker, more cunning, more cruel to some, and extremely strong, occasionally stepping past the border of god-like. Don't like it, don't read.
I should be focusing on existing stories, but the urge to write this was stronger than me. School starts again next week, so my writing will be cut short. Updates for any of my stories will be whenever I find time to write one, I can't promise anything.
Well, that's all so far,