Author's Note: I was bitten again, by this horrid plot bunny of doom. This is so AU it's not even funny, but yeah, I basically love this plotline to pieces and hopefully you will too. Oh and Memoirs of a Prodigy will be returning soon, if you guys will have me back.
Alternate Universe: Alive!Minato & Kushina. Kagome and Gaara are twins living in Konoha. Non-Massacre Uchiha Clan.
Weep for yourself, my man,
You'll never be what is in your heart
Weep Little Lion Man,
You're not as brave as you were at the start
Rate yourself and rape yourself,
Take all the courage you have left
Wasted on fixing all the problems
That you made in your own head
—Little Lion Man
Namikaze Minato, the Yellow Flash, nemesis of bureaucracy, natural blond, fearless leader of Konohagakure no Sato and all out good guy suffered from an acute case of paedophobia.
In other words, he was utterly, inexplicably afraid of babies.
Children in general but that was hardly the point. The point was that Namikaze Minato regarded a baby the same way a soldier with post traumatic stress syndrome regarded a bloodied sword.
A slight over exaggeration maybe, as Minato always thought he reacted appropriately when faced with his fear.
He typically froze, smiled awkwardly and tried his best not to touch it. That is before he bolted in the other direction or disappeared completely.
It became a rather strained topic of discussion during those long council meetings, especially when he fled the scene of a dozen new mothers prostrating their crying creatures of death for him to kiss.
Oh, the woes of being a political figure, Minato thought morosely as he stamped his three hundred and sixteenth document of the hour.
"You're going to be a father within a matter of hours, kid," Jiraiya was pacing in front of a long pane of glass. City lights unfurled before them, and the night was calm and starless. "You better get over your issues before Kushina's bun in the oven is done cookin'."
Minato thumped his head on his chair, cast a forlorn look at a freshly printed stack of paperwork and then rolled his skull on the headrest. "I am fine."
"That's what you said yesterday when you jumped through the window to escape Mikoto's little boy."
Minato glared petulantly at his bandaged forearm. Kushina had plucked all the glass out, but not without her usual grumblings or occasional whack to the head. "He had a knife."
"A rattle, you mean." Jiraiya crossed his arms, a mane of shaggy white hair coursed down his spine and a veil of moonlight slipped across his face. "It's his brother you should be worried about."
"Itachi-kun is very nice," Minato said. The elder of Mikoto's boys was anything but childlike and Kushina was easing him into this whole fatherhood thing one very stoic, mature little six year old boy at a time. "Do you think Naruto will be that way?"
Last he checked, neither Fugaku nor Mikoto held that outstanding of an intellect. Surely, Minato's own unborn son was much more likely to procure that magic gene that enabled prodigies to be born.
Unbeknownst to Minato, he was a tad conceited, amongst other things.
"I hope not," Jiraiya huffed, eyes still riveted to the village below. "Though with you being a genius and Kushina being a hothead, I think you two might get lucky and cancel out. You know, get a kid that's normal and not dangling on only one end of the spectrum."
"That would be…um, nice?" Minato struggled. "Though, Kakashi would be disappointed. He's looking forward for another boy genius to be born to take some of the attention away from him."
"What about Itachi? He's pretty smart."
Minato shrugged fiddling with his fountain pen. "I believe Kakashi is looking for a nobler sort. Itachi-kun is destined for ANBU. Kakashi believes Itachi-kun is bound to cause trouble when the boy gets bored with that and has nowhere to go in ranks but down. It is a straight and narrow path, really." But that was a problem for another day.
"A short one too," Jiraiya shook his head. "How old is Kakashi now? Twenty?"
"Sixteen," Minato corrected and leaned precariously back in his chair. "Youngest ANBU Captain on record."
"So far," Jiraiya said ominously. "You never joined ANBU."
"Nope." Minato pushed off his chair in a silent, fluid motion, with his flame-marked coattails billowing. "You know me, I cannot do the whole nocturnal thing. I need my beauty sleep."—what with sneaking in castles and assassinating daimyo's in the dark and whatnot. "Kakashi is trying to get out of it. I have been filling out the paperwork for his honorable discharge…" He cast another remorseful look at the growing heap under an impressive collection of paperweights.
"Well, you can't be Hokage if you're in ANBU," Jiraiya jeered. "Kakashi is after your job, Minato."
Minato shrugged. "For all you know I could bequeath my title to you in my will."
"Your successor can't be older than you, kid," Jiraiya reminded. "Sarutobi-sensei picked well. My time has come and gone. Now let us be off, before our darling, beautiful Kushina goes into labor before we arrive."
"It is induced," Minato reminded genially as he opened the door of his office with a click and headed out, his sensei on his heels.
"Right, well I can't chance it. There's a village-wide bet going down and I am the proctor of results."
"There is a bet?" Minato asked, waving goodnight to his Chuunin staff, who were perfectly ignorant of the fact that Kushina was planned to give birth tonight rather than next week. Otherwise he would have been near trampled by their well-wishes and lauding of his impending fatherhood. "On what?"
"Hair color and I am personally charged with the overseeing the results."
"And how much did you bet?" Minato sent a sharp look over to his sensei.
Jiraiya was baffled. "Why only for the sake of inspiring revelry amongst the dear citizens of Konoha did I participate in such an act—"
"Sensei…" Minato felt the first pinpricks of anxiety swell under his skull.
Jiraiya sobered and became serious at Minato's distress. "A sizeable amount," he confessed seriously. "Enough to make me a vagabond for the next decade or so if I lose."
Minato jogged down a stairwell, shaking his head and did not pause for Jiraiya to catch up during his tirade. He walked briskly across the lobby, out the front and into a cool, autumn night.
"Minato, do not distress on your sensei's behalf for I am the great Sannin Jiraiya and have a marvelous plan to ensure success," Jiraiya called, his footfalls crunching on gravel.
"And that is…?" Minato kept on his strong gait, never wavering.
"Naturally, everyone is pulling for orange but I am in fact voting for the 'underdog' in a sense to wipe them all clean."
"Orange?" Minato wrinkled his nose. How little did people know of genetics nowadays?
"Yes, I know, hence why I chose fuchsia."
Minato stopped cold in his tracks. "Fuchsia?" he reiterated dryly.
"Which reminds me, Minato we must stop on the way to purchase hairdye in the case that our dear, little unborn Naruto should—"
"You're not dying my son's hair pink, sensei." Babies were already hideous enough.
And in the most civilized and polite tone he could muster, Minato said, "Do you want to give me an aneurysm?"
"A wig, then?"
Minato then promptly turned on his heel and in the gritty backstreets of his village, disappeared.
"But—but Minato I'll be ruined!"
"Sh, easy now."
"I still feel something."
"Pain medication dulls your senses; we cannot go beyond herbal methods."
"Just give me the epidural, damn it!"
"Kushina," Biwako smacked the girl's wrist. "Tsunade-hime is doing the best she can!"
The heavily pregnant redhead groaned and threw her head back against the stone slab. "Ow."
Tsunade's face bloomed red and her hovering palms dimmed in their chakra. "She'll be stable through the labor."
"Just bear through it Kushina, I've given birth to six sons and never once did I want these unnatural remedies that you women beg for." Biwako crossed her arms, with silk sleeves folding in on themselves. "This is what your predecessor, Uzumaki Mito went through when she gave birth and now, so shall you."
"Did Obaa-san have to give birth in a cave as well?" Tsunade asked bitterly.
Kushina's head popped up and peered over her belly. "Yeah, this place sucks." She looked around the cavern, seeing flame-lit shadows dance across stone from ceremonial hearths.
"No, your grandmother did not, Tsunade-hime." The wrinkles in Biwako's face deepened. "This is the most secure area for Kushina. She does not have near the amount of control Mito-sama possessed over the Kyuubi no Yoko."
Kushina frowned. "Mikoto was allowed to get an epidural… Fugaku gave her own private room and she got flowers, lots and lots of flow—"
"Will you stop your grumbling," Biwako clapped a hand over the girl's mouth and removed it before she could bite it. "And where is Minato? He was due here an hour ago."
"Did you give clearance to the ANBU?" Tsunade asked as she prodded Kushina's swollen belly and the black swirls that inked across. "This ritual is top secret."
"The Hokage doesn't need clearance," Kushina snapped. "And I don't want him here. He is terrified of children. I would rather have my husband and son meet in a more… typical scene, not some cave." Minato's nerves were already frayed with the pregnancy, nowadays with the impending birth he was near nonexistent, always disappearing when she had to go crib shopping and near hyperventilating at the word 'baby'. He nearly broke his arm when he dove out the window to escape Mikoto's darling little boy and every bassinette she had purchased had mysteriously disappeared.
Hence, Uzumaki Kushina was trying to ease Minato into the whole fatherhood thing slowly.
And meeting his son in a claustrophobic cave smelling of afterbirth and a demon trying to claws its way out of her screaming body and Biwako prodding him to cut the umbilical cord might actually cause the great Yellow Flash to snap.
"Why? He is the father of your child." Biwako ran a very tired hand over her face. "Who would rather keep the Kyuubi sealed? Jiraiya or Minato?"
"The real question is who would you rather see your vagina," Tsunade said dryly.
Kushina rolled her eyes. "I taught them both. I can keep an eye on the seal better than any of them."
Tsunade bit her lip. "I am about to fully induce you, he needs to be here."
Biwako started pacing, her robes dragging on the stone floors. "Do not until Minato is here. We cannot take any chances—"
There was movement outside the cave, the ANBU guard skittered in shadows and the translucent barrier surrounding the area trembled.
"Someone is here," Tsunade stood, fist clenched alongside her thigh.
Biwako ceased her pacing and sidled alongside the altar Kushina lay prone on. "The ANBU will take care of any passersby… Kushina did not make a very discreet leave of the village, after all," she said pointedly.
"It slipped!" Kushina defended. "I took Minato to see little Sasuke-chan and Mikoto pried it out of me, my due date."
"Which resulted in an information leak and a broken window," Biwako stated and began to aggressively grind herbs with a stone. "This mission is most likely compromised due to the fact Uchiha Mikoto wants to send flowers."
"I would like flowers for my… cave," Kushina said glibly imagining daises stashed in one of Biwako's ancient vases.
"A top secret cave," Biwako corrected.
"Not anymore," Tsunade took a steady step forward and watched as the barrier wafting in front of the cave's entrance dissipated entirely.
Biwako and Kushina stilled.
"It has to be Minato," Kushina whispered into the silence.
An ANBU staggered in, hand clutching his side. "There has been a breach—"
His was promptly decapitated and his masked cranium rolled across the cavern floor like a white marble.
"Kushina get up," Tsunade ordered as she fell into a stance, eyes darting around for the intruder.
Kushina felt a deep pressure shoot down. She gasped, "I can't…"
"Tsunade-hime, her contractions have just increased tenfold." Biwako scuttled over to the girl and looked down at Kushina's grimacing face. "We cannot have her give birth without someone monitoring the seal!"
"That's the least of our problems," Tsunade bit out and watched as a shudder of movement was caught within her peripheral. "Just keep her breathing!" And the Sannin rushed into the darkness.
"Tsunade-hime!" Biwako called and Kushina let out a groan of pain.
A shadow fell over the dimly lit cavern, candles guttered out and the ceremonial hearth dimmed into ash. Darkness fell and moonlight spilled in to reveal a looming silhouette.
Biwako felt a chill run through her old bones. "Who are you?" she demanded placed herself between the intruder and Kushina.
The shadow's cowl slipped to reveal a twisted mask and baleful chuckle. "Irrelevant." The word rolled off of his tongue. "For you only need to my purpose."
"And what is your purpose?" Biwako watched as the man stepped forward, one echoing step at a time.
"To liberate the Kyuubi no Yoko."
It was then, Kushina started screaming.
Minato fiddled while Konoha (unbeknownst to him) was about to burn.
The secured area, or as Kushina had dubbed it the Cave of Misery, was just a scant kilometer away and here he was walking in circles around a tree while his son was about to be brought into this world.
He had been tracing and retracing his steps around a very nondescript tree in order to purge himself of his ridiculous phobia.
Babies are cute. Babies are cuddly. Babies are soft—
Good, good, Minato mentally appraised himself.
And squishy and ugly and oozy and poop! Babies poop! And oh, the feces and the spitup and gah—!
Bad Minato, bad, Minato mentally reprimanded and flung his skull against the tree bark.
Minato lifted his blond-fluff-filled skull off of the tree. "Ah, Kakashi," he greeted and straightened himself to look respectable. He was sort of a role model to the boy after all.
Kakashi pulled back his wolf porcelain mask and stared at his sensei with a blank expression. "Shouldn't you be somewhere?"
Minato crossed his arms in a very Hokage-like way. "And how would you know?"
Nonplussed, Kakashi responded, "Kushina told me."
Minato blanched. "It was supposed to be a secret," Minato's voice cracked and he cleared his throat to cover it up. "—a secret and what are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be on some sort of top secret mission." Didn't he assign those, anymore?
Kakashi shook his head. "I was shafted with patrol duty and you are in the middle of my patrol."
"I was taking a walk," Minato defended.
"Maybe it is best that you are not there for the birth," Kakashi suggested.
Minato laughed nervously. "And why would I ever do that?"
"Because you are… hopeless, sensei," Kakashi said and shifted his sheathed tanto onto his back. "Let Kushina handle it."
"I sort of need to be there," Minato admitted. "More than just moral support, Kakashi, I am somewhat vital…"—to Kushina's and Naruto's survival.
"Then why are you still talking to me?" Kakashi shook his head.
They would not dare induce Kushina before he got there, would they? Minato felt his pitiful anxiety be chased away with cold hard resolve. "Kakashi, watch out for Jiraiya and keep him occupied."
"Hai, sensei," Kakashi bowed his head. "And Rin wishes me to tell you congratulations."
"How many people know?" Minato's voice cracked again.
"Roughly twenty three or so, half the village by now."
Minato felt his heart leap at the same pang of anxiety creep across his senses. "I should g—" His voice crumpled into his throat when a large tremor shook the earth beneath their feet and a resounding boom made birds scatter into the night air.
"What was that?" Kakashi breathed.
Minato shrugged. "—I dunno." He was the Hokage, not some omniscient presence.
A rustle of shrubbery was heard and in less than a second, Kakashi had his white tanto unsheathed and Minato had a foreigner by the ear. "A spy?" Minato flicked the teenage boy's Suna hitai-ate. "Hello, spy-san."
"N-No," stammered the youth and clutched to his Chuunin vest were two squirming bundles.
"What—what is that?" Minato's voice lost all intimidation and he was just as terrified as the Suna Chuunin. Minato promptly let go of the teenager and the boy stumbled to the ground, earning a pitched wail to elicit from one of the bundles.
Minato clambered up a tree and watched warily from a branch.
Kakashi rolled his eyes and sheathed his inheritance. "Who are you?"
"Yasha—Yashamaru of Suna, I have…." He swallowed hard. "I have come to seek refuge within Konoha." He set the two bundles down on the damp grass reverently and prostrated himself before Kakashi. "Please take them as payment."
Kakashi toed one of the bundles. "Babies?"
Minato 'eeped' from within the tree.
"Twins," Yashamaru exclaimed.
"Okay…" Kakashi looked up to his sensei, the Hokage stuck in a tree and the random Suna nin offering a pair of babies like they were new shoes. "Sorry, but Fire country doesn't use babies as currency."
"No, you don't understand," Yashamaru lifted his head up, eyes near frantic. "These are the Kazekage's children! One of them is the Ichibi no Jinchuuriki."
"What?" Kakashi snapped and his tongue hit his teeth hard. "Do you want to start a war?"
Someone kill me, Kakashi thought as Minato hailed him 'discreetly'. "What, sensei?"
Minato cupped his mouth with his palms and whispered, "Kakashi, ask him if he is a kidnapper?"
"Are you a kidnapper?" Kakashi asked the Suna-nin dryly.
"I saved them! I'm their uncle," Yashamaru defended. "Please you must take them in! I promised my sister I would protect them."
"No," Kakashi said. "Take them back. This is enough to warrant a war."
"Sensei, get down," Kakashi nearly begged.
Minato reluctantly plopped down onto the damp grass, but kept his distance from the squirming bundles of doom. "I can arrange an ANBU escort to take you and your…"
"Niece and nephew," Yashamaru supplemented.
"Right, back to Sunagakure and you be sure to tell the Kazekage that Konoha did not kidnap his…" Minato took a deep breath. "Babies."
"You don't understand, my brother-in-law wanted to have my niece killed and my nephew made into a Jinchuuriki."
Kakashi rose a brow at the gleam of red hair of the male twin. "Well it seems he accomplished half of it."
"My sister gave her own life so that my niece would survive the ritual, please, our Kazekage is unlike you Hokage-sama, he is a cruel man and sees his children more as weapons for his use."
Minato paused and mulled over this. This guy was really pulling on his heartstrings. "Did someone give you a script? You're really good at this."
Yashamaru looked horrified at the Yondaime's flippancy.
Minato leaned against the tree and regarded the whimpering bundles. "Listen, I understand your plight but I cannot start a war—put my village in danger for the sake of two of children." It was clean cut reality and it was harsh. "I have my own to worry about."
Yashamaru was scrambling. "It is because of your son, Hokage-sama, that I am here."
Minato stilled. How many people knew of Naruto's birth? Was it international news by now? "Explain," he ordered and his voice lost all boyish tenor.
"Your wife, she is the Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi, yes?"
Minato cast a glance over to Kakashi, his student had been informed of Kushina's 'condition' the moment he entered into ANBU and even still, Minato felt as if he had to gauge everyone's reaction of his wife. She was first and foremost and any prejudice could evolve into much more dangerous ambitions. "Yes," Minato said. He trusted Kakashi, enough.
"Then you must know that childbirth is the weakest time for the seal," Yashamaru said desperately.
How does he know that? Minato dismayed. He's just some guy I found in the bushes, so of course he would know, of all people!
"There is a madman willing to exploit that, one that wishes to free the Kyuubi and harness it as a weapon against Konoha," Yashamaru informed them and cast a fretful look to his niece. "This man knows how to break the seal of the Kyuubi and unleash the Bijuu."
"That would kill Kushina," Minato said and his voice was flat, dead. "And my son."
"Yes, however I offer you the key to saving them both, if you harbor both of the twins."
"A life for a life," Kakashi mused and cupped his masked chin. "This seems far too coincidental, sensei. He is forcing your hand in this—this may not even be true, but a lie to incriminate you."
"How?" Minato asked immediately. Even if this was a ruse… he could not afford to let it slip.
"My niece…Kagome," Yashamaru gestured to the squirming, whimpering bundle. He pulled down the veil of cloth and revealed a dark eyed babe with a tuft of jet for hair. "She is able to negate demonic energies, she controls her brother—Gaara— and his sand protects her." Yashamaru revealed the other twin with a trembling hand and staring back at them was a wide-eyed, silent infant who had small eddies of sand dancing along his tummy. "The Kyuubi's seal is irreparable, you must reseal it another host and then you may save Kushina's life in the process by having Kagome heal her."
"Sealing still requires a life source," Minato said gravely. "And who would be the next host?"
"Your son," Yashamaru confessed solemnly. "However, I can guarantee that Kagome can control both your son and her brother as Jinchuuriki. As for the life source, I offer myself."
Minato narrowed his eyes. "Why? I could have supplemented myself or even Kushina as the sacrifice. Why offer yourself?"
Yashamaru stared numbly at the twins. "Because I have sworn an oath I cannot keep… I seek refuge only for my sister's children, they would assimilate into your village easily, I on the other hand would draw too much attention both from your own people and mine."
"An oath you cannot keep?" Kakashi echoed.
Yashamaru nodded. "Every time I look unto my nephew… I see a demon. I was sworn by sister to protect both of her children. I cannot do so. I only ever see the demon that holds my niece hostage and took my sister's life… Please," he looked up with hysterical eyes. "I cannot go on like this, my life… the grief is eating me from the inside out!"
"The Kazekage will discover I have his children, the world will label me as a kidnapper and my village will see me as instigating war," Minato said.
"If you do not take them, Hokage-sama," Yashamaru began and looked into the starless, moon-laden sky. "Then your village, your wife and your son will all perish under the Kyuubi."
It was at that moment, a roar pierced the air and the earth shook once again.
In the distance, a demon was freed and a little boy was born.
Minato was left with no choice.
He just wished the choice did not involve diapers.
"I don't actually have to touch them, do I?"
Author's Note: Am I the only one who adores Minato? Well, delete or keep?
45+ Reviews= Continued.
45 or less = Deleted.