Hey Naruto Fan-base, Abarat Fox has returned with a rewrite of her old story, Clay Fox~! As a note, this is an AU so yes, I know that some of the things are wrong. You don't need to tell me. By the way, still don't own Naruto and this is purely fanbased. Naruto belongs to it's respective owners.
In this story, Deidara picks up Naruto while they're both little kids and they grow up together in Iwa. Not a yaoi.
Saratobi was weary but he was far too busy to allow himself to fall asleep. The Kyuubi had attacked once more and he had spent the entire night trying to kill the beast alongside his fellows. Although, in the end, it had been Kushina who ended the battle when she had resealed the demon inside herself and the two of them died as her body gave out. Saratobi was still in shock from seeing her afterwards; red hair splayed out around her had with a slight smile still on her pale features. Her tears had mixed with her blood and both were pooling around her, making the grass around her slick.
He had seen many corpses in his life, but hers was the hardest to comprehend. Simply because Kushina was not the kind of person that you could ever imagine dying and for her to have died alone in such a manner…well, it was simply impossible to wrap his mind around. For her to be dead, just after having her son and retiring from being a ninja, it wasn't fair. Kushina should have been able to live a long and happy life.
What could have gone wrong? Kushina and Minato had both been taken to a secure location the second her water broke and Minato knew full well how to keep the demon sealed. So why had the Kyuubi appeared? And where were Minato and Naruto? That was, of course, assuming that both her husband and son had survived the escape of the Kyuubi. There was a good chance that both of them had been killed. But there was still some hope for the two. A medical ninja who had examined Kushina said that she had already given birth before her death so it would be logical to assume that wherever Minato was, dead or alive, Naruto would be right there by his side.
Saratobi was running towards the cave where Kushina had been sent at top speed with Kakashi slightly behind him. He would have sent the young ninja off to help with rescuing people from rubble except for the fact that it was Minato that they both needed to find. Saratobi would not be so cruel as to force Kakashi to stay behind when the last surviving member of his original team might be dead.
The mouth of the cave came into view and, without even exchanging a glance, they both stopped at the entrance. It was a defining moment, after all. There was light in the cave, and what might have been a standing figure but neither of the two could tell who it was. But there were two chakra signals coming from within, and both were similar. Although one had a more ominous presence, almost toxic and smothering. But Saratobi didn't want to think about what that might mean. He shot a glance at Kakashi out of the corner of his eye and he noted how frightened he looked. That was understandable, after all Saratobi himself felt fear in the pit of his stomach.
"Minato?" Saratobi asked cautiously but the figure did nothing. It gave no sign of even having heard for a long time. Then, very slowly, it turned and Saratobi saw the outline of tell-tale spiky hair.
"Saratobi…Kakashi," Minato observed. His voice was strained and tight. "Is Kushina?"
"I'm sorry, Minato." Saratobi said gently. Minato hunched over again and Saratobi noticed the small bundle he held protectively in his arms. The first chakra signature was, without a doubt, Minato's. So the second signature had to be coming from his son who was presumably wrapped up in the bundle. Was it the child that had such an imposing chakra signature, then?
There was another long pause while no one seemed to know what to say before Kakashi finally took a step into the cave. "Sensei?" He asked as he walked forward. He was not sure what was going through Minato's mind right now but he had to be in turmoil. A slow approach was better; Minato wasn't exactly stable at the moment and Kakashi didn't know what he was capable of. "Is that Naruto?" Saratobi had followed Kakashi into the cave so this time when Minato looked back at them they could both see the long scratch across his forehead and the tears streaming down either cheek.
"Yes, this is Naruto." Minato said in a flat voice.
"What happened?" Saratobi asked and Minato gave him a blank stare. "Were you found out? Were you attacked?"
"No. No one found us." Minato had turned all the way around now, although he still held Naruto protectively from view. "I…I underestimated that power of the Kyuubi. He got us where it hurt most and then he escaped when I wasn't looking." Minato's shoulders shook slightly but he held his arms still so that Naruto would not be awakened. "Kushina went after him but she told me to stay and watch over our son." Saratobi frowned at that. Minato had just let her go? That was quiet out of character.
"What did it do to distract you?" Kakashi asked. Minato's blank eyes gleamed with something that resembled anger and grief before he pulled back the blanket over Naruto. It took a second for Kakashi and Saratobi to comprehend what they were seeing before both of them grabbed their weapons. "That thing is-"
"That 'thing' is my son, Kakashi." Minato said calmly. "And please don't try anything. I just lost my wife; I will not lose my son."
"Sensei, that's not your son. It's not even human!" Kakashi protested. The creature Minato held so protectively was defiantly not a human. It was a fox.
It had yellow fur, the same shade and Minato's hair and it looked more animalistic than demonic but it very clearly had nine tails, all curled up around it's body for warmth. It was clear now that the toxic chakra was coming from him, but for a newborn, human or not, to have such a potent signature... it had the potential to become a monster just as powerful as the Kyuubi.
The Kyuubi had been killed but now there appeared to be another one. Minato's wife had been killed by the original one, and yet he was claiming this one to be his child. Saratobi's eyes suddenly widened as he was struck by understanding. Was it possible for the kit to actually be Minato's son?
"Kakashi, this is Naruto." Minato's voice was almost dangerous and Saratobi made a sharp gesture. Reluctantly, Kakashi slipped out of his defensive posture but he still looked ready to attack at any moment, like a tightly coiled spring.
"How did this happen?" Saratobi asked. He had a theory but he wanted conformation. Minato covered Naruto with the blanket once more and he took a seat on a chair that had been set up next to Kushina's bed.
"The Kyuubi must have known that Kushina was pregnant, probably before she did, even." Minato explained slowly, "He sent his chakra into her bloodstream to taint him. It didn't affect her at all but all his Chakra was pumped almost directly into Naruto. It was more than enough to change his form." Minato gave them a very weak half smile. "It's almost as though the Fox and I are both his fathers."
"Minato…" Minato's gaze hardened and he looked back down at Naruto.
"He's still human. Or half human, anyway." Minato affectionately held Naruto under his chin and the kit blinked sleepily. His eyes were blood red. "I'm going to seal his demonic side. Hopefully that way he can have a normal life." Minato set his son down on Kushina's bed and tugged at the blanket so his fuzzy belly was uncovered.
"Seal it?" Saratobi repeated. "Minato, you're too weak, that would kill you! You don't have enough chakra left!"
"If it's to help my son, I would gladly die a thousand times. Naruto is just as much a victim here as anyone else. Perhaps even more so than anyone else." Minato shot Kakashi a sharp stare. "He's lost not only his family but his humanity as well." Minato made a series of hand seals and the tips of his fingers started to glow yellow. "After I seal him, I want him to be thought of as just another victim and nothing else."
"Sensei, don't!" Kakashi said quickly but Minato ignored him. Instead, he put his glowing hand against Naruto's stomach and pressed down while muttering a jutsu. Naruto's red eyes flew open and he let out an unearthly howling sound as yellow chakra spread over his body like a spider web. Kakashi and Saratobi were immediately on either side of him, wanting to help but unsure of what they should do.
They watched in amazement as Minato's chakra spread over the kit then seemed to constrict it. Naruto wriggled and whimpered in pain as his fur and tails started to evaporate to reveal the smooth skin of a human infant. Within seconds, in place of the fox there was a blond baby with a black seal on his stomach like a tattoo. Naruto opened his eyes, which were red for a moment before they faded into blue. He stared directly at Minato in confusion; then his face scrunched up and he started to cry. Kakashi stared in fascination down at the child while Saratobi caught Minato, who was looking quite ill and had almost fallen.
"That seal should hold until he's old enough to control his transformation from human to fox." Minato panted.
"You didn't seal it away permanently?"
"No, Kakashi. He's half demon and I'm not going to try to change that. It's just what he is and there isn't anything wrong with that." Minato shook his head and he slumped into the chair again. He put his hand on Naruto's cheek and the crying lessened a bit. Naruto was comforted but there was still a burning pain on his stomach that kept him from falling silent. "He will be like a human until he's older and stronger." Saratobi could see Minato growing weaker as he spoke and he could almost hear his heart beat fading. "Kakashi, Saratobi." Minato muttered. "Take care of him for me, please."
"Of course," Saratobi said without looking Naruto. Kakashi took a bit longer to reply, and he reached down and ran his thumb over the whisker marks on Naruto's face. There was an unreadable expression on his face but it was clearly not loathing or disgust.
"I will." He finally said. Minato smiled gratefully at him before he pulled Naruto to him and hugged him gently. Minato looked down at his son for the last time in his life and he smiled warmly at him.
"I love you, Naruto."