I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You

I could hear you long before I could see you. I knew you when you were just a whisper.

" . . . then the dashing prince saved the princess from the evil wizard and they lived happily ever after."

Kushina smiled softly as she watched her husband gently kiss her belly before closing the children's book. "I think he likes it when you read to him."

"Do you really think so?"

Kushina nodded. "He doesn't move around or kick me as much whenever you talk. Your voice is a comfort to him."

"Maybe if I start telling him about different concepts of how to be a ninja, he'll come out ready to take on the world," Minato said as he fondly stroked his wife's stomach.

"Don't do that! He kicks hard enough as it is," Kushina playfully smacked him. "Besides, if anyone is going to teach Naruto how to be a great ninja, it should be me. Right Naruto-sweetie? Mommy's going to teach you all sorts of great techniques."

"Oh? And who is it who got the title of Hokage?" Minato asked smugly.

Kushina pouted. "You know damn well that the cool coat you get to wear all of the time should be my coat."

"You didn't seem to complain much when we broke it in all those months ago," Minato said with a smoldering look before capturing Kushina's lips.

Kushina gasped out of breath as they broke the kiss. "You win this time. But only because I let you."

"I wouldn't have it any other way."

It was your love for each other that made me grow big and strong. It taught me the best way to bond with you and showed me how much you cared.

"Do you think I'll be a good mother?"

"Of course you will. Why do you ask?"

Kushina frowned. "I'm brash, I like to hit things and I can't bake."

"But you love me don't you? You love the life that we've both created?" Minato asked with a knowing smiled.

"You're horrible."

"What do you mean I'm horrible?"

"You always know the right things to say," Kushina blushed.

"That's why you married me."

"I only married you because someone had to keep you in line."

Minato smiled as he smoothed his hand over Kushina's stomach. "And that's the reason why you'll be a good mother. Because knowing us, any child of ours will be nothing but trouble and you'll have to be the one to rein him in."

"Really? You think I can do that?"

"You tamed me, didn't you?"

Kushina laughed. "Shouldn't it be the other way around? That the Yellow Flash tamed the Bloody Habenero?"

"Maybe. I guess it doesn't matter since I've got the girl," Minato smirked as he pulled her in for a hug.

Kushina sighed in bliss as she closed her eyes and let her husband's warmth envelop her. "You know, you're right?"

"About what?"

"Our kid is going to be a little hellion."

You fed me things that were meant to make me grow and you fed me things that made me feel good. There were sweet things and bitter things; salty things and sour things. I will grow up learning to love these flavors because it was you who fed them to me first.

Kushina whined. "You're feeding me that rabbit food again?"

"It's good for you and healthy for the baby."

"Yeah, but it's so . . . green. What I could really go for right now is a hot bowl of ramen or a chocolate cake."

"Kushina, you know you can't gorge yourself on unhealthy foods anymore," Minato chided as he served dinner. "Besides, I thought you liked it when I cooked."

"I love it when you cook. It's just that I've been dreaming about this chocolate cake for a while now, it's really bugging me."

"How about this, after dinner if you're still craving some cake, I'll go out to that one dessert shop and get one for you. Sound fair?"

Kushina's face brightened. "Really? And you'll get that one special cake with the cream cheese icing?"

"If that's the one you want, then that's the one I'll get," Minato smiled.

"Thanks honey! Oh, do you think you could also pick-up a jar of pickles on the way back too? Whenever I dream of that cake, I always picture it lathered with pickles."

Minato sighed as he shook his head. The things he did for Kushina always amazed him.

Everything you did was for me. Every step that you took was one step closer to meeting me. Because you cared about who I am, my heart and body will be stronger.

"Here Kushina, don't forget to keep yourself hydrated," Minato said as he handed her a water bottle.

Kushina drank the water greedily without stopping her pace. "Thanks Minato, I really needed that. So what number are we on?"

"Lap ten. Your heart-rate is still in the safe range so I think we can go at this pace for another few minutes and then we should start on that cool-down."

"I'm glad that you've been able to go on these walks with me. It's annoying not being able to run around like I could."

"You know I do whatever I can to make you happy," Minato teased.

Kushina smirked darkly. "Maybe if you could volunteer to carry baby Naruto for me?"

"Kushina, we've talked about this time and time again. I'm not a seahorse and no one, not even Tsunade, has ever developed a jutsu that can make men pregnant."

"Fine, if you have to put it that way," Kushina pouted. "Besides, I think I want to carry Naruto to term anyway. If our son is going to be a little hellion, then I'm the only one who can reel him in."

"And I'll be there to back you up no matter what happens," Minato smiled. "Though I have to admit, I am a little bit jealous that you and Naruto will have a special bond already."

"Don't worry Minato. Even though I'm the one who gets to keep him safe and warm in my belly for all these months, you're the one who's been keeping us safe from harm."

"I'd take on the world for you both."

"I know Minato. I know," Kushina said as she kissed him.

I am your world and you are mine. I trust you with my life because you are what is most dear to me. I am showered with the love that only you can provide and will always know the sacrifices you've made.

"I can't help but worry Minato. Are you sure that there isn't anything we're missing?"

"The nursery is all set-up, we have all of Naruto's baby clothes washed and we have a box of diapers. Everything's ready."

Kushina touched her belly with worry. "Do you think I did everything I could to prepare? I mean, what if he's born with a sixth finger or third eye because of all of those weird cravings I had? What if he comes out a mutant or something like that?"

Minato held Kushina's hands in his. "Don't worry. You did everything you needed to do during pregnancy. With a few exceptions, you ate well. You exercised lightly and kept a healthy weight. Naruto isn't going to be a mutant. He'll be beautiful just like his mother."

"Boys aren't supposed to be beautiful, they're supposed to be handsome like their father," Kushina smiled wistfully. "You're right. I'm just getting nervous, that's all. I'm a little scared of the entire birthing process. It's not going to be like they say in the books for me."

"Sandaime is taking care of all of the details for when you go into labor. He assures me that they know what they're doing and how to handle the labor of a jinchuuriki."

Kushina nodded. "Minato, will you promise me something?"


"If something goes wrong and I have to be . . . compromised. Please do whatever you can to save Naruto."

"Kushina, you know I'd save you both."

"I know you would. But if you can't: if there has to be a choice. Then please pick Naruto."

Minato sighed. "I will. But that doesn't mean I can't try to save you too. Let's just hope that nothing goes wrong and soon, very soon, we'll be holding little Naruto in our arms together."

"I like that image. Did you hear that Naruto? Mommy and Daddy can't wait to meet you," Kushina cooed to her belly.

Minato squatted down and kissed the bulge in his wife's stomach. "We'll see you soon Naruto. Remember that Mommy and Daddy love you and will protect you no matter what. That's a promise."

One day I will finally be able to meet you and on that day you will see how all of the love you poured into me has made me grow. Because you are my parents and I am your son.