The battle raged outside the village, you could hear the sound of explosions and the roaring of the fox demon, as all the Konoha shinobis were trying to stop the beast from approaching any further from their village. Everyone was outside, fighting to protect his or her family and friends. It was already nighttime everyone has been fighting for hours now, the sky was of a dark red color, like all the blood that has been and was still being versed made it turn this color. Standing on top of Konoha's mountain, Minato looked at the sky with sadness. He usually quite liked the color red, hence the reason why he has some red flames on his coat, but tonight this color has never looked more dreadful and unwelcome.
Back at the village, in a small house was a woman with long red hair lying on a bed with medic-nins surrounding her. She was looking in severe pain and was gripping the bed sheets so tightly that her knuckles were turning white.
"Alright Kushina, you are doing well." One of the medic-nins says in encouragement, "We are almost there. I'll need you to push as hard as you can at my signal ok?"
"Where is Minato? Where is my husband?" she asks weakly, looking desperately around the room trying to find the man she loves, wanting him to be on her side, comforting her and telling her that everything would be alright.
"He is outside trying to make sure that nothing happens to you or the baby." The medic-nin answers softly trying to sooth the woman's worries, "Don't worry he'll be fine and he'll come as soon as he's finished. Now I need you to focus on making sure that your baby comes into this world without trouble alright? Your baby needs you right now."
Kushina responds with a nod, gritting her in concentration.
"You ready? Okay now push!" the medic-nin tells her.
Pushing with all her might, Kushina slumps back down on the bed, panting heavily, beads of sweat rolling profusely down her beautiful face, looking exhausted.
"Okay now I know you must be really tired, but I need you to push one last time do you think you can do that?" medic-nin asks her in a gentle voice, mopping her forehead covered in sweat.
"Y-yes." Kushina says propping herself on her elbows wincing but having on her face a look of determination to bring her boy into this world.
Gathering the remnants of her strength, Kushina pushes one last time as hard as she can before once again collapsing on the bed, completely drained out. In a semi-haze she hears cries, the cries of her baby, breathing and screaming at the top of his lungs, full of energy. With a weak smile and tears in her eyes, she takes him from the medic-nin, cradling the infant in her arms carefully.
"Hello Naruto." Kushina whispers lovingly while letting a few tears of joy rolling, putting lightly her lips on his forehead before closing her eyes one last time.
Back on the battlefield, Minato was trying to find a way to vanquish the monster currently destroying more and more lives in front of him. He calls Kakashi to come to him, wanting to know what his former student thought. As the younger shinobi appears next to him, he greets him with a brief nod of his head.
"How are things going down there?" he asks tense, hoping that it wasn't as bad as he was seeing it to be.
"Not well Hokage-sama." Kakashi answers looking in front of him gravely, "A lot of shinobis have fallen but we are doing our best to keep the demon away."
"I feel so helpless I don't know what to do to stop this nightmare." The older shinobi says in a worn out sigh, closing his eyes for a moment, thinking about his wife that according to the last news he'd had was going into labor and he can't even be there to support her.
Suddenly, a shinobi appears in front of him.
"Hokage-sama I'm here to report a terrible news…" the shinobi says bowing his head low in sadness and fear of what the reaction of the Yondaime will be, "Your wife Kushina died while giving birth to your son."
At hearing this, Minato froze. How could have this happened? Kushina, one of the strongest women he has ever known, was dead. What cruel joke from fate was that? What would happen to his child if his mother and maybe he himself are not going to be there for him? He was prepared to die for the village, because he'd thought Kushina would still be alive to raise their child and protect him, but now… What was he to do now that if he was to sacrifice himself that would mean making his boy, that hasn't even lived for a whole day yet, an orphan. He couldn't make himself do that to that poor little being who hasn't asked for this. But then who is going to get rid of the Kyubi? Who's going to keep the village safe? Conflicted with the choice he has to make, Minato bits his lip really hard, drawing blood out of it, trying to find a way to save the village while keeping his son safe as well. Then a crazy idea goes through his mind. Making his mind, Minato looks at Kakashi and the other shinobi that are in front of him with a newfound determination, though if you looked deep into his eyes, you could sadness and sorrow there at the prospect at what he was about to do.
"Lead me to her and my son," he tells the still bowing shinobi before turning toward Kakashi, who was looking at him with compassion, "Kakashi can you come with me please?"
The young ANBU nods affirmatively and they begin to run and hop from tree to tree at full speed toward the little house where Kushina and their son is. When they arrive Minato goes first into the room where his wife lies peacefully as if she had gone without trouble, though you could see a lost tear on her cheek, proof that she had cried before passing away. Looking at the corpse of his dead wife, he can't help but let a few tears escape his eyes. He walks and kneels next to her, he then places a loving kiss on her forehead bidding her goodbye, and telling her that he'll meet her again on the other side. After that he stands up and walks determinedly in the other room where his son was. When he enters the room he sees a nurse holding a little bundle of sheets in where was a little blond newborn. As he takes the little being into his arms, he smiles sadly at seeing the peaceful face of the sleeping infant, like he had not a care in the world. For a moment, Minato hated himself for what he was about to do. After looking for a moment at the sleeping baby, he then turns toward the nurse.
"I want the head of the medic-nins and two strong shinobis to come here as soon as possible." He tells the nurse sternly, living no room for argument.
"Sensei," Kakashi calls tentatively while the nurse ran out of the room to find the men he wanted, "what are you trying to do?"
"Konoha is in danger," the Yondaime begins in a low voice, suddenly feeling really old and tired, "we need to protect it and the children that live in it, by doing that I'm going to assure a safe life to my son as well."
Confused by those words, but not wanting to push the already grief striken man further, Kakashi stays quiet just watching his former sensei holding the baby close to his heart as if he was going to lose him at any moment.
"What did you want us for Hokage-sama?" the head chef medic-nin asks as he and two other shinobis come inside the room.
"I need you for a sealing." Minato tells them in a firmer voice than he had felt capable of.
"What kind of sealing?" one of the two shinobis asks.
"I would like you to help me transfer the Kyubi into my son's body." He tells them.
"B-but Hokage-sama this is madness, how can you want us to do that?" the medic-nin asks his eyes wide.
"This is the only way to save the village!" he tells them in an authoritarian manner, his voice getting louder with anger.
"B-but this is your own child…" the medic-nin protests weakly.
"Do you think I don't know it! Do you think it makes me happy to have to do this!" Minato explodes roaring at the now scared shinobis, "Believe me, if I didn't have this feeling of duty to save Konoha, I would just take my son with me and run as far away as possible! I-I…"
Then Minato, trembling with all the pent up emotions inside him falls on his knees, still cradling carefully the infant in his arms, and begins to cry, crying for his dead wife, crying for not being stronger and not being able to protect everyone, and most of all crying for his son that he'll never get to know, and see him grow into a man. Kakashi watches the heartbreaking sight of his sensei crying, and ready to sacrifice his own son and himself to save Konoha. Though he couldn't say he was entirely happy about what his mentor was about to do by sealing the fox demon into the child, he also understood the motives behind this action. Putting a demon with such a powerful chakra into this boy was like giving him one of the best protections ever. It would give the child a great amount of powers and though it might be a bit dangerous, he would never be hurt by the fox demon, since the demon would never try to hurt his vessel. As Kakashi thinks about the pros and cons of his sensei's choice, he sees Minato slowly rise up, having apparently taken back control of himself.
"So are you going to help me or not?" he asks, a hint of desperation showing in his voice.
The medic-nin and the two shinobis look at each other as in asking silently what each of them thought, then they turned back their head toward Minato and the medic-nin spoke for the three of them.
"Yes we'll do it." The medic-nin says in a low but clear voice.
With a small relieved, but still sad, smile, Minato scoops his boy in one arm and puts a pillow down with the other, putting the baby on it and draws a circle around it.
"Put six candles around him, on the circle." He orders to the shinobis.
While the others do as he said, he kneels in front of his son, and bites his thumb hard enough to draw blood and traces a complicated sealing pattern and ancient inscriptions on the belly of the child.
"I'm sorry Naruto." Minato says in a trembling voice, biting his lip, leans in to kiss the baby on his forehead and tells him before getting up, "I love you."
At this action the baby wakes up and begins to wail. Minato leaves the room quickly, knowing that if he were to turn around now he would never have the strength to go through with his plan. Followed closely by Kakashi, he walks outside and begins to run until he is quite close to the fox demon. He then does the invocation hand signs, and Gamabunta appears in a puff of smoke.
"Hello Gamabunta." Minato greets the chief of the toads with a grave face, "I need your help."
"Hello gaki. What can I do for you?" Gamabunta asks, concerned by the face the usually easy going and nice man was having right now.
"We need to go confront the Kyubi. I need to get close to him to seal him away." Minato explains.
"Okay climb on me." The toad chief says with a stern look.
Minato jumps on top of his head, and then they advance slowly toward the demon.
"We are close enough now." Minato tells him after a moment, "You can stop here."
"Alright gaki." Gamabunta says, "Concentrate while I get the attention of this fox."
Minato gets into a stance and begins to perform really quickly series of hand signs, a bright blue light begins to surround him, expanding more and more. Suddenly the light becomes extremely bright and explodes, blinding everyone in the area for a moment, and all everyone can hear is a very loud and terrifying angry roar from the Kyubi. When the light recesses, the fox demon is nowhere to be seen. Kakashi instantly look in the direction where his former sensei is, he sees him wobbling dangerously. He runs to him and arrives in time to catch him in his arms when he collapses.
"Sensei..." Kakashi says unable to utter anything else while he watches the man he admires die.
"Kakashi," Minato begins to say, "I have a favor to ask of you."
"What is it sensei?" Kakashi asks, his voice showing emotions, revealing sadness for the first time since Obito died.
"I want you to take care of Naruto. Please look after my little boy." He says looking straight at Kakashi , with tears in his eyes.
Kakashi's body gets tense for a minute but soon relaxes back a bit, and he looks back at Minato straight in the eyes.
"I'll do it. You have my word sensei." He promises, tightening his hold on him.
At hearing this, Minato smiles weakly and closes his eyes.
"Thank you." he says in a last breath, and goes limp in Kakashi's arms, leaving this world forever.
Kakashi stays like this for a few minutes, holding his former sensei's body against his chest.
"Gamabunta-san can you take us to Konoha please." Kakashi asks in whisper but is heard nonetheless.
"Sure, that's the least I can do for him now." The chief of the toads says with grief before moving toward the village.
When they arrive, the Sandaime, and the elders along with some shinobis are waiting for them.
"Kakashi what is going on?" Sarutobi asks with wide eyes at seeing Kakashi on the toad chief's head, but then he sees that he is holding someone in his arms, and murmurs, not believing that this is happening, "Minato…"
Kakashi jumps down from Gamabunta and walks toward Sarutobi and the elders.
"Sandaime, the Yondaime…" Kakashi starts but stops himself when he sees the Sandaime raise his hand.
"Not here, come with me to the tower and explain everything to me there." Sarutobi says a stern and sad expression on his face.
"We're coming too Sarutobi." The elders intervene.
"I think it would be best if Kakashi first explained to me in private and…" Sarutobi begins but gets interrupted by one of the elders.
"This is a village matter, we're going to be there whether you like it or not."
Sarutobi sighs tiredly and makes a sign at Kakashi to follow him after he gave Minato's corpse to a shinobi. When they finally arrive at the tower, Sarutobi leads them to the Hokage's office and closes the door behind them.
"Now Kakashi, tell me everything from the beginning." He says inviting the young ANBU to sit down.
Then Kakashi tells them all about the news about Kushina's while delivering her baby, Minato's grief and his plan to save the village, by sacrificing himself, and how it had involved his own baby boy, on whom he had sealed the Kyubi, and also about his sensei's last wish.
At those news, Sarutobi looks shocked at Kakashi, slowly digesting everything he has heard in the last hour. After a moment he pulls himself together and look at the shinobi in front of him, who though he didn't let anything transpire, he knew was suffering from the loss of his former sensei, who had been like friend and a father figure to him.
"So Minato gave you the custody of his child uh?" he asks linking his hands together, putting his chin on top of them.
"He asked me to look after Naruto yes." Kakashi answers, feeling a bit uncomfortable.
He wasn't really a sociable kind of guy. At 14 years old, he didn't even have one true friend. Obito, Rin…all his true friends died years ago because of the Great Shinobi War. He was still so young, and yet already so mature for his age because of the childhood he never really had. He didn't really know how having to take care of a child was going to be, and to be honest he didn't know if he was up to this task. But this has been the final wish of Minato and he sure as hell was not going to fail his shishou on this. Screw the fact that he's not even an adult yet, he's been living on his own for years now and he knew how to take care of himself. He knew how it felt to not have family to rely on. He'll make sure to provide to the poor orphan as much protection as possible.
"Naruto?" Sarutobi asks an eyebrow rose in surprise.
"That's the name that Minato and his wife chose for their son." Kakashi explains.
"Hmm very well, I guess all we can do is help you as much as we can with raising Naruto and…" the Sandaime begins but gets interrupted brutally by the elders.
"Sarutobi you can't be serious! This young man isn't fit to take care of a child!" one of them protests.
"Oh really? And where would you put the child then?" Sarutobi asks annoyed by how those old coots were always trying to have their way, regardless of other people's feelings.
"Now that he has become the host of the fox demon, we have to put him under the surveillance of the ANBU until he is old enough to not need someone to babysit him." The other elder says.
"Under surveillance! Do you listen to yourself! He's only a baby! What he needs is care and love, not being treated like some curious animal that might be dangerous!" Sarutobi explodes not believing the way the little baby who hasn't lived an entire day yet was already treated.
"He needs protection Sarutobi…" the other elder says.
"Protection for who? Himself or the village?" the old man sneers and then looks at them with narrowed eyes making the elders take a step back, " Now you listen to me. Kakashi is more than qualified for this post. He will be the one to take care of the child and that's final. Since he is part of the ANBU, when he is in public with Naruto, he'll still have to wear the ANBU mask and outfit, but when they are in the intimacy of his house, he will wear whatever pleases him are we clear? This child has a right to live a normal life as well as to know who is raising him."
Finishing his long speech, the old hokage takes a deep intake of air, calming himself down.
"What about neighbors? People will ask questions about why he has now an infant living with him." One of the elders argue.
"As I said before we'll help and provide Kakashi with everything he'll need, and that includes a bigger house for him and the baby, away from the prying eyes." Sarutobi says and adds to prevent the elders from arguing more, "As for the neighbors and people in general are concerned, I know that by now a lot of shinobis know of what Minato has done, though I don't think they realize that it was on his own son. The news will spread very fast. So to prevent too much hatred from the village toward the child, I'll make a decree to the village that no one is to speak about the Kyubi nor to tell their children or Naruto for that matter that he is the jinchuriki of the nine tails demon. Anyone who'll fail to follow this rule will be severely punished."
With a resigned and angry look on their face, the elders leave the room very quickly. Kakashi who had watched the exchange, never felt more thankful for the old hokage. For a moment, a gripping fear had placed itself in his guts, a fear of not being allowed to respect his sensei's wish. He had had anger building up slowly in him at hearing those old fools, blabbering about what should be done like he wasn't in the room or like the last wish of the man who just sacrificed himself for this village didn't matter at all. Grateful to him, he looks at Sarutobi wanting to say thank you but not finding the strength to do so. Heaving a sigh and after closing his eyes for a moment, making him look extremely old at the moment, Sarutobi calls an ANBU member in and gives him instructions that Kakashi didn't manage to hear, and then turns to the young shinobi with a small smile on his face.
"It's now time for you to meet your new responsibility." The Sandaime tells him in what was meant a light tone, but you could hear the weariness in it.
Soon after, a nurse enters the room with sleeping form in her arms. With a positive nod from the Sandaime she approaches Kakashi to let him have a look at the peacefully sleeping baby. Looking at his sleeping angel face, the air gets caught in his throat and he feels tears threatening to spill. Hesitantly he extends his arms asking permission to hold the little being in his arms. The nurse looks at his bloodied state, unsure for a moment what to do, but then puts carefully the baby in his arms showing him how to hold him. Feeling that he is not held by the same person anymore, the little infant slightly opens his eyes, revealing a pair of beautiful baby blue eyes, and grabs with surprising strength one of Kakashi's fingers from the hand with which he was gently stroking the blond hair sticking out on the infant's head. At this moment, Kakashi feels a strong sense of protectiveness over the little boy going through him, a surge to make sure nothing will ever hurt the little being that he was already holding dear to his heart. Internally, he swore to any gods or upper forces that he would protect this child with his life. While doing this, a teardrop escaped his right eye, rolling down on his cheek, while he smiled at the little baby in his arms that was already becoming a part of his life.
Here is my first story on the Naruto universe. I hope you liked this little prologue and that it made you want to read more.