A/N: Story Synposis: Orochimaru succeeds in summoning the Fourth Hokage during the Sound Invasion, but Minato has too much to live for to be subjugated so easily. Fighting his way back to life, he reunites with his family for the first time in twelve years.
This is an idea that's been circulating in my head for a couple days, so I wanted to give it a shot.
I will NOT be abandoning The Seeds We Sow or put it on indefinite hiatus like I did with They Were Legends; I've just hit some writer's block in that story and hopefully this will help with that.
From The Darkness Came The Light Chapter 1: Ashes to Life, Dust to Hope
From the light came darkness, and from the darkness came the light once more. A heavy wooden door fell to the ground in front of him, slowly revealing the world he had once witnessed as a member of the living. Uwillingly stepping out of the upright coffin, the Fourth Hokage's eyes fell upon a man he had once bade farewell to: Hiruzen Sarutobi, his predecessor and the Third Hokage. Recognizing his surroundings as that of Konoha almost immediately, Minato Namikaze longed to move, to figure out what was going on, but his body would not obey him.
And suddenly whatever joy that the moment held was gone, for Minato felt more dead than he had ever been.
A voice spoke up from behind him. "It's been a long time, eh, Monkey?"
Another voice, this one of a lighter and less amused tone, spoke next.. "Oh, it's you…you've grown old, haven't you, Sarutobi…"
The Fourth watched as his predecessor spoke. "I would not have thought I would meet with you three again in a situation like this…it is regrettable. Please make your preparations to be defeated."
Minato wanted to scream with all of the effort he was exerting into merely moving his own body. It was as if he were a mere puppet, held in place by strings. After managing to turn around through willpower alone, he came face to face with the First and Second Hokage, who seemed more interested in the one behind them. "Impure World Resurrection, huh? This youngster is the one who summoned us with this taboo art…he's quite something."
The First realized the implications immediately. "If that's so, then I guess that would mean that we would have to fight against you, Sarutobi…"
Minato's mind raced as he tried to figure a way out of the situation. He recognized the man behind the summoning immediately: Konoha's White Snake, Orochimaru. While his facial expression remained stoic, his mind reeled in horror as the missing-nin forced two kunai, each attached to a seal, into the heads of his predecessors. Orochimaru then moved to do the same to him…
Like hell! Mustering every bit of determination, his thoughts drifted to the things he held dear: his village, his friends, and most of all, his son. With that last thought overpowering his emotions, he managed to finally regain control over his body…and not a moment too soon. Orochimaru scowled at him as he landed somewhere between his only ally and enemies in the current fight.
Hiruzen immediately joined him, hitting him with a special contract seal, removing the traitor's ability to dispel his summon. "Minato," he whispered, "I don't believe our predecessors can be defeated through conventional means…I'll hold them off while you take care of Orochimaru, if you can do that."
The blond was about to tell him that he damn well couldn't do that; he could barely move as it was. Minato felt more like a slightly animate undead than his old self.
The missing-nin in question simply chuckled. "You think that consolation prize of a Hokage can compare to any of us? You have become most foolish over the years, old man." Forming a seal with his hands, the White Snake continued boasting. "I'll need my summons to be in their original forms, after all. How interesting it will be to see all of the Hokage fight to the death!" With the final seal, the weariness and discoloring of the summons disappeared, revealing each of the summoned Hokage to be in their prime.
Finally, Minato thought, this is more like it. Feeling alive once again, Minato drew one of his special space-time kunai. "The plan, then?" Hiruzen nodded. The old man ran forward, weaving a series of seals faster than most shinobi could track, and spat out an intense stream of flame at his student.
Not wasting any time on contemplating the bizarreness of the situation, Minato sprang into action. Leaping upward, he saw that the Second had defended with a circular wall of water. Chucking his kunai behind the missing-nin as the Second followed up with a violent water dragon, the Yellow Flash of Konoha used his signature technique for the first time in twelve years.
Orochimaru seemed prepared for this, however, and lashed out with a snake as he spun around to counter. Snakes? Why did it have to be SNAKES? Minato dodged by shifting his head as the snake bit the newly vacated air. He instantly formed a Rasengan in his palm, swinging it at the snake summoner with no warning. The chakra ball impacted the missing-nin's chest, scattering the organs of his lower torso. Before he could follow up, the First caught him off guard with a sudden backhand, sending him several feet away. As he looked up at his handiwork, his expression turned to one of shock as a new Orochimaru spewed out from the now-enlarged mouth of the mangled body. I should have known it wouldn't be that easy.
A giant black staff swung and knocked the Second to the side, causing the First to turn his attention to Hiruzen, who now retracted the Monkey King Enma's staff form.
Minato collected himself and analyzed the situation. As a Hokage and seal master, he had studied the Impure World Summoning Resurrection technique in detail. Even if he managed to kill that snake of a man, the summons would remain and follow their implanted instructions. The only way to take them out would be to remove their souls from the sacrificial vessels through sealing. Unfortunately, that could not be done until their summoner was removed from the equation. Orochimaru was obviously something less than human, and could withstand injuries that almost no one else could. Only a quick, decisively lethal blow would do.
Orochimaru, however, was not about to make the same mistake twice. A snake emerged from his mouth, spitting out a shining sword into the missing-nin's hand. "The blade of Kusanagi," he said amusedly, "is more than you deserve. Consider yourself honored."
Throwing his kunai straight at his opponent, Minato's eyes picked out every detail. As the snake moved to block the kunai with his sword, Minato teleported behind his opponent via the sealed kunai, and stabbed the missing-nin in the back of the head. Only his extremely keen instincts saved him from being impaled through the back of the skull as his apparent victim began to turn into mud. Teleporting to the sealed kunai he had thrown a moment ago, Minato dodged the blade of Kusanagi by a hair's breadth.
"Enough!" shouted the snake nin. Biting his thumb, he slammed his palm into the ground, and out of the smoke rose five man-sized snakes, all staring at the blond as if he was their first meal in days.
Which, he deduced, was probably true. Time to take it up a notch. Forming a few hand seals, Minato swung his palms in a horizontal semicircle in front of him, creating a slicing blade of wind. Orochimaru jumped clear, but his snakes were not so mobile or intelligent. With them cut down, Minato turned his attention back towards his original opponent. Three hand seals later, a jet of water shot out at the snake summoner, who dodged in midair with his inhumanly flexible form. The water technique was a ruse, however, as Minato teleported to the sealed kunai hidden within it, Rasengan raging in his palm.
Orochimaru's face showed true fear in that moment, but was able to avoid the type of blow that would be the end of him. As his devastated body shot to the ground, Minato didn't let up for a second. Weaving a few hand seals faster than an average blink, the blond inhaled a small gush of air before exhaling several bullet-like spheres of air at the snake summoner. Orochimaru once again escaped demise by the skin of his teeth, and quickly spewed a new body from the previous one. Almost before he could react, the Yellow Flash was upon him, swinging his kunai straight at the traitor's face. Orochimaru managed to dodge, but Minato chucked the kunai at the end of his quick swing, allowing him to teleport behind the snake Sannin. As the Fourth grabbed Orochimaru's shoulder and forced him down, the blond aimed another Rasengan at the White Snake's head.
A last second replacement technique saved the snake, but now Orochimaru's face could not hide his fear at facing an opponent he had so drastically underestimated. In straight up combat, he could not defeat, let alone survive long against, the Yellow Flash. But he was not known as a snake for nothing; his underhanded tactics were a part of why he was legendary. If one cannot defeat a superior opponent in a fair battle, then all one needed to do was attack them where mere strength and power would not matter. Orochimaru had done extensive research of the Hokage he planned to use as his tools, and knew many of their secrets. He had prided himself in his extensive spy network, after all. There was one major weakness the Yellow Flash had that few people knew about: Uzumaki Kushina. The menacing blond had a lover who died on the same night as he had.
Surely such a man could not bring himself to fight the woman he loved? It was the perfect weakness, the kind that amused Orochimaru to no end. And now…the perfect opportunity had arisen. Summoning one more coffin from the ground, the snake nearly giggled with glee at what was about to befall his enemy.
Minato's eyes widened in shock and fear as the coffin lid fell to the ground, revealing the decrepit form of his late wife, Kushina. Not wasting any time with preamble, Orochimaru immediately restored Kushina to her original form, hoping that he could turn his opponent's emotions towards fear and horror instead of anger, for the latter really could have backfired on him.
Drawing another sealed kunai, Orochimaru moved to embed it into his latest summon. Minato, however, had other plans. For Orochimaru had failed to discover one other, crucial secret.
Kushina had the Hiraishin seal—the basis of his signature teleportation technique—placed on her skin along with the eight trigrams seal that once marked her as a jinchuuriki, a host of a great tailed beast. The Yellow Flash was renowned not just for his teleportation, but for his raw speed and reaction time as well. Teleporting to her side instantly, Minato forced her down to the ground, out of Orochimaru's immediate reach. Before the Snake Sannin could counter, the pair had already teleported a short distance away.
Kushina, her expression fearful, confused, and groggy, looked at her husband. "Minato…what…?"
The blond knew better than to take his eyes off his opponent. He placed a contract seal on his wife just as Sarutobi had done for him a mere minute ago, allowing her to be completely free of the White Snake's control. "We've been summoned by that traitor over there, and we need to take him down. There's no time to explain further."
Nodding in understanding, Kushina stood up, sparing only a quick look at her surroundings. "The usual, Minato-kun?" she asked with a smirk.
Her husband returned it. "The usual."
Chakra chains erupted from Kushina's body, encircling the surprised Sannin. Minato rushed in, teleporting to his thrown kunai in an instant. Now behind the distracted snake summoner, Minato formed a Rasengan. Orochimaru, unable to body flicker through the 'cage' of chakra chains, performed a replacement to escape the lethal ball of spinning chakra. But with almost no room to maneuver, the replacement could only buy him a few seconds at best.
Weaving hand seals for a technique in those few seconds he had, Orochimaru didn't see the true threat of the Namikaze duo's tactics. A chakra chain, each of which was tipped with a sharp, potent chakra blade, impaled the Sannin from behind. Shocked, Orochimaru let his guard down a split second to see what had so improbably struck him, and that split second was all Minato needed to deliver the instantly lethal blow he had been aiming for from the start.
The Rasengan had the tendency to make a mess out of its targets, and the White Snake was no exception. This time, at least, Minato knew he would not be coming back.
"OROCHIMARU-SAMA!" shouted a frantic, spider-like man holding up a corner of the barrier. Kushina and her husband paid him no mind as they continued the fight.
A few seconds of checking for a replacement later, Minato and Kushina turned their attention to the remaining threats: the First and Second Hokage. Hiruzen was managing well enough on his own, but he did not seem to be able to go on the offensive between the impressive techniques of the Senju brothers.
With only a quick nod to each other, Minato and Kushina joined the fray. With the element of surprise, Kushina was able to ensnare the Second with her chakra chains. Hiruzen understood immediately, and focused his attention on keeping the First busy while Minato incapacitated the Second with a reverse contract seal. As the seal began to take effect, the Second's body began to fade. In his last moments, Tobirama Senju smiled at his successor before vanishing into dust with the wind.
Hashirama Senju, more commonly known as the First Hokage, was a much more difficult opponent to take down. His wood element techniques were an effective counter against Kushina's chakra chains, forcing her to resort to fire techniques instead.
Engaging the First in his preferred fighting style, Minato teleported in and out of reach, preventing his opponent from performing more significant wood techniques. Outnumbered by the three, Hashirama was eventually forced into submission, and given the same seal as his late brother.
Now, having lost all hope entirely, the Sound Four disengaged the barrier and immediately retreated into the forest. The ANBU captain and his team gave pursuit of one of the members, but Minato and Kushina had other things to worry about.
As the blond stared at his hands in wonder, Hiruzen approached his successor. "In case you're wondering, Minato, you won't fade away like Hashirama and Tobirama. The seals Orochimaru placed on them were designed to turn them into mindless killing machines, thereby destroying the essence of their souls, at least as far as their trip to the living world is concerned. Since you two did not suffer the same fate, and because the contract between you and your summoner was broken, you are essentially free. Your bodies were returned to their original form by Orochimaru, thus making you both…living human beings once again. It was not without sacrifice, but knowing my awry student," he said, his facial expression darkening, "he would not hesitate to sacrifice the lives of a few of his subordinates for more powerful tools."
Husband and wife looked at each other, smiling in both relief and joy as tears spilled from their eyes. Hiruzen smiled at their warm, loving embrace, reflecting on how much he had missed these two over the past twelve years.
A huge puff of smoke in the distance shook him from these thoughts. "Minato, Kushina-san, I think it would be best if the reunion were to wait until after the invasion is dealt with."
Suddenly aware of their surroundings, Kushina and Minato took a look around. "Invasion?" she asked. "What is going on?"
Hiruzen could only frown as he relayed the news. "Suna and Oto have launched a surprise invasion during the Chunin Exams—" as he glanced back at that huge puff of smoke, he only now realized what was going on out there. "Oh my…"
The couple followed his stares to see a giant toad—Gamabunta—standing off against what they all recognized as the fully transformed One-Tailed Shukaku of the sands.
"What should we do, Hiruzen-sama?" asked the blond.
The man in question quickly surveyed the village, taking note of the panic in the Oto and Suna forces. "Our enemies appear to be retreating, or at least in a state of panic. Minato, you entering the battle would certainly tip the scales fully into our favor. As for the One-Tails…" He glanced back towards the giant toad, which was now fighting the Shukaku in close combat, but he could not finish the sentence.
"Hiruzen-sama, I'll go and help out our forces at once." Minato turned to his wife, his smile full of concern. "Kushina-chan, stay safe, no matter what…please."
Her smile overshadowed his own as she gave him a chaste kiss. "I will, Minato-kun."
Just like his moniker suggested, Minato was gone in a flash.
Before Kushina and Hiruzen could decide what to do on the matter of the One-Tails, the battle between the giants intensified. Huge blasts of wind and water collided, leaving both spectators in wonder. Moments later, their jaws hit the floor as the Nine-tails emerged from the giant plume of smoke that the toad occupied a moment earlier. As memories of that dreaded October 10th came flooding back to them both, Kushina suddenly gasped, now remembering all about her son, whom she had not had time to think about in the heat of the moment.
The 'Nine-tails' latched on to the Shukaku, and then another huge puff of smoke revealed that the giant toad was merely under a transformation technique. Half a minute later, the One-Tailed Shukaku began to collapse into a mound of sand.
"Who was that?" asked Kushina.
Hiruzen could only stare at the battlefield blankly. "Jiraiya, I'm sure. He's the only one who can summon toads these days, and definitely the only one with the guts to take on a tailed beast by himself."
Satisfied with the answer, Kushina fidgeted nervously as she asked a very different question. "My son…where is my son?"
The Third Hokage smiled warmly at her. "Your son was participating in the Chunin Exams when they were interrupted by the invasion. He won his first match, blowing away everyone's expectations, including mine. It was quite the fight."
Kushina lowered her head as a tear strolled down her cheek. She tried picturing her baby boy, now much older, fighting his way through the Chunin Exams…it was both heartwarming and depressing for her at the same time. A few moments later, she was able to look the Hokage back in the eye. "Is he safe right now?"
Hiruzen didn't pretend to know the answer. "I wish I could say, but I was engaged with Orochimaru since the moment the invasion started. I have no idea what happened to him, but his jonin sensei is one of the best there is; he wouldn't let anything happen to his students. And judging by the way things are going down there, there isn't much we can do now anyway. Your husband seems to be living up to his reputation quite nicely."
She lightly chuckled in response. For now, she reveled at every sight, every smell, and the knowledge that she was once again alive. But most importantly…she could always be there for her son, from now on. She could be with her family, like she could only dream of on the night she died. With those thoughts in mind, he smile was overrun with tears of joy.
Seeing the Yellow Flash enter the battle for Konoha was beyond surreal for everyone involved, but the reactions were quite different, depending on whose side one was on.
For Konoha ninja, there was the initial disbelief, which was quickly replaced by joy and relief as the legend began tearing through the enemy nin.
For the invading ninja, there was only sheer terror as Konoha's Yellow Flash began taking them out left and right. Within minutes, the invading forces began a full, panicked retreat.
Jiraiya nearly fell to his knees in disbelief when rumors of the 'return of the Yellow Flash' hit his ears. Rushing to the stadium as quickly as he could, his voice completely failed him when he saw his student and Kushina standing right there, alive and well. A small crown of Konoha ninja were gathered around them, though kept a respectful distance.
When pinching himself did not satisfy his concerns of it all being a dream, he approached them.
Minato saw him first. "Sensei!" he shouted happily, and ran up to hug the white-haired Sannin.
The toad sage managed to return the embrace, albeit slowly. "Minato…how?"
"I guess I should be thanking your snake-loving teammate for this one, sensei."
Jiraiya's face lit up in recognition. "Orochimaru? Is he—"
"Dead," Hiruzen curtly replied. For a few moments, teacher and student bowed their heads in respect to the man they still cared about, even today. "Good work, by the way, in dealing with the One-Tailed Shukaku. You never cease to impress," he said, chuckling.
While Jiraiya tried to process his confusion, a silver haired jonin ran up to the group. "Sensei?" Kakashi looked at the man he had long known as dead, his one visible eye wide in shock.
Minato ruffled his student's hair. "It's good to see you again, Kakashi. How long has it been?"
The copy ninja could only whisper in wonder. "Twelve years, sensei…how…?"
The Toad Sannin finally managed to find his voice. "Minato, Sensei, I don't know what you're talking about! I never fought the One-Tails! I didn't even know it was here in the first place!"
All eyes were on the supposedly only summoner of toads now. "How is that possible?" asked a confused Hiruzen. "Gamabunta was summoned!"
Jiraiya looked at them all blankly before suddenly erupting into a huge laughing fit. As the rest of the group looked on in bewilderment, the toad sage recomposed himself. "Well I'll be damned, that kid really has some guts."
"What are you talking about, Jiraiya?" asked the Third.
The white-haired Sannin looked up at him, grinning. "About a month ago, I had Naruto sign the summoning contract."
Everyone else could only gape as the realization hit them. Naruto…managed to summon the toad boss and defeat a tailed beast…at twelve years old! thought Kushina. The boy's parents swelled with pride while Hiruzen and Kakashi could not pick their jaws up from the floor. Minato's eyes began to water at the thought of his son, the baby he had not been able to see grow up…but now he could be there. Now…
"I…" Kakashi feebly said, "I had no idea Gaara was the One-Tails jinchuuriki…I can't believe I sent them after him…"
"YOSH!" yelled a green clad ninja from behind Kakashi. "Then we shall find them immediately! Let us make this a challenge, my eternal rival! Whoever find them first wi—" Gai looked back at his rival, finding him noticeably absent. As his gaze reached the Fourth Hokage, Minato merely pointed over his shoulder towards a hole in the stadium wall with a blank expression. "How devious of you, my eternal rival!" he shouted, racing through the hole.
Minato turned towards his predecessor. "If you don't mind, Kushina and I are going to join the search. I trust everything else can wait?"
"I'm going to have to join you on that hunt," said a cheerful Jiraiya. With a nod from the Third, the group set out.
Kakashi, with his well-trained sense of smell, was able to track down his team first. Smelling Asuma's scent near Shikamaru's, he deduced that they were not in need of immediate assistance and continued on until he reached his students.
At first glance, he was very worried…but his senses kicked in a moment later, telling him that both Naruto and Sakura were alive. "Sasuke…is everyone alright?"
Dazed, the Uchiha could only nod. Kakashi placed a hand on his shoulder while giving his characteristic 'eye-smile.' "Good work, Sasuke. You all did great."
Instead of smiling at the compliment, Sasuke looked down, brooding. Before he could question any further, Gai burst into the clearing. "It seems you have beaten me this time, my eternal rival! Tomorrow, I will run 200 laps around Kono—"
"QUIET!" Kushina yelled as she pounded the top of his head.
"Kushina…you have no idea how awesome you are for doing that," commented Kakashi, who actually gave a short laugh.
Minato and Kushina, however, could only stare at the unconscious form of their son. Tears instantly fell from their eyes as they took in his appearance. Kushina let out something between laughs and sobs as she knelt next to her son. Minato followed moments later.
Sasuke, reeling at the sight of the legendary and long dead Fourth Hokage, stared in wonder.
Kakashi performed a quick check up on Naruto after Sakura, assuring the parents that he was fine, just exhausted. "He may look just like you, sensei, but he's all Kushina in everything else."
The parents' smiles grew and their tears flowed in earnest.
Beginning to put the pieces together, Sasuke tried to sort out the impossibility that was in front of him. What they're saying…the way they're acting…it's as if he's their son…but that's impossible! There's no way the dead last could be the son of the Fourth Hokage! And I thought he was dead, anyway!
Kushina, mixed emotions overwhelming her completely, began sobbing as she took her son's limp hand. The boy was wearing a ridiculous orange jumpsuit, but he still looked just like his father. The parents melted into each other as the pulled the unconscious Naruto into their embrace. For the first time, they could truly act like a family.
Standing by the sidelines, Jiraiya smiled at the reunion before him. As tears rolled down his cheeks, he could safely say that this was one of the happiest moments in his life—and he would bet a substantial amount of money that Minato and Kushina would say the same.
A/N: Please let me know what you think!
Reviews are both my motivation and inspiration. Without them, updates will be few and far between.