Author's Note: This is a fic to replace the ones I've deleted, which I have discontinued. It's also to test a plot device I'm working on at the moment, so I'll hang around with this one and work on the others at the same time. Hope you guys enjoy it.
It's a father's job to protect his son.
But if the father can do this job, the mother should be even better.
Kushina gritted her teeth as she desperately held onto the ground on which she stood, with her hands tightly wrapped around the Nine-Tails's enormous, elongated nail sticking through her stomach. The entire power of the colossal beast was being put behind the kunoichi in a futile attempt to run her through completely and impale its intended target. But even with its great size, its incomprehensible strength, and malicious, raw power that was enough to level landscapes, topple mountains and bring about great ocean calamities, despite all of this; the Kyuubi couldn't even budge a young mother protecting her newborn son.
The redhead coughed out blood as her heels kicked into the dirt, using every last bit of strength she could fathom to prevent the Kyuubi from spearing her baby, who was lying asleep on the Ceremonial Throne that would be used to perform the Eight-Trigrams Seal.
"DAMN YOU!" the Kyuubi bellowed, attempting to withdraw its paw. However, it was unable to thanks to the chakra chains binding it tightening around his limbs, preventing the demon from moving. "You mongrel humans… I WILL KILL YOU!"
Kushina chuckled and glanced over her shoulder, where she saw Minato standing directly behind her.
Not only did she take the lethal blow meant for her son, but the Fourth Hokage, her husband and their son's father, had also taken the hit. Now they were both impaled on the same talon, Kushina's back to her husband's chest, and both of them gripping the nail and the ground with all their might, preventing the Kyuubi from bringing anymore harm to their son.
"You win…" the woman exclaimed, her voice hoarse from the effort of both holding back the pain and the nail gouging them. "First… (pant) argument you've ever won, Minato. (Pant) Guess you're really serious…"
Minato grinned. "Thank you, Kushina…"
Relinquishing a hand from the talon the Fourth Hokage held it out to the side, out of reach of the demon's paw. "Summoning Jutsu!" A puff of white smoke formed a cloud beside the withering pair of shinobi, and once the fumes cleared it revealed an impatient-looking toad with a rolled up scroll encompassing its mid-section.
The lofty amphibian was at first cross at being summoned, but then when it looked up its look of discontent turned into shock at the sight of a very familiar beast. "GAAAAH! The Nine-Tails? And Fourth? What the hell happened to you?"
"Gamatora… I'm entrusting you with the key to the seal. Hurry to Jiraiya-sensei and store it with him," Minato stated, using whatever ounces of breath and energy he had left in his body to speak. In doing so, he unfurled the scroll around the toad's stomach and with his blood, painted in the necessary seals required for the transition from host to host to occur.
Now that the ownership of the key was being changed, Minato knew immediately what needed to be done.
He finished his scribbling with an affirmative nod, and with a relieved sigh his blood soaked fingers fell away.
The toad the Fourth was addressing nodded in understanding and clapped its hands together. "Got it… good…goodbye, Minato…" Gamatora disappeared the same way he arrived, a white cloud of smoke engulfing him and fading away seconds later.
"That does it," Minato murmured, smiling in relief.
He felt a sudden tug on his chakra, which was still being held captive by the Dead-Demon Consuming Seal hanging onto both him and the Nine-Tails' chakra he had managed to store within him. The Death God was growing impatient due to Minato's plummeting chakra levels still keeping him bound to this plain of reality, and with a low growl, yanked on Minato's imprisoned soul to let him know that his time was running out.
The blonde village leader nodded in understanding and placed his hand on his wife's shoulder.
"It's time for me to go, Kushina," Minato stated, his voice becoming even hoarser. "I'm going to perform the Eight Trigrams Seal… and leave a bit of my chakra behind with Naruto, too."
Kushina nodded and closed her eyes, tears welling up at the prospect of leaving her son alone. It pained her even more then the wound both herself and her husband were sharing to protect him. "There isn't much time left… if you have anything to say to Naruto… say it now…"
Kushina sighed and opened her eyes, revealing them to be heavily clouded with tears. When she looked down upon her sleeping son, safely out of harms reach of the Kyuubi and the death it was wishing upon him, she smiled.
"Naruto, don't be a fussy eater; eat a lot and grow up to be a big boy. Take your bath every day, go to bed early and sleep well. Make friends, it doesn't matter how many… just make sure they're real friends… people you can trust… even if it is a few. And if you want to be a ninja some day… then… study your ninjutsu well," Kushina grinned at this vision, imagining how her son would probably be when he's older. "I never really was good at it, but maybe you will be. Everyone has things they're good at and things they're not… so don't feel bad if you can't do it all. Make sure you listen to your teachers at the academy." At this point, both Minato and Kushina were smiling happily.
"And remember… avoid the three vices of shinobi: don't borrow money if you can't help it, so save what you earn from missions, no drinking alcohol until you're 20, and don't overdo it or you'll ruin your body. And as for women…" Kushina chuckled. "Well… I'm a woman so I don't really know what to say… but there are only men and women in this world… and you'll want to have a girlfriend some day. Just… try not to pick a weird one… try to find someone like your mother…" the redhead then sighed and shook her head, an ever present, unflinching grin on her face. "And the fourth warning; watch out for Jiraiya-sensei."
Minato couldn't help but share a light laugh at that, knowing full-well what his master was like. They both did.
Kushina smiled and cried at the same time.
This was something she thought would never happen, something she didn't want to see or experience. But it happened.
There was so much more she wanted to do, so many years in a life she wanted to spend with her husband and her son. She wanted to watch her son grow up, teach him, hold him, and hug and kiss him, to love him, just like a mother would. She wanted to spend time with Minato and Naruto as a family; to laugh together, to play together and have breakfast, lunch and dinner whenever they could together.
To her, and probably to Minato as well, there was just so much more that they could have done; so much that she just couldn't comprehend what their lives would have been like if the events that had transpired just a few hours ago had been different.
They could have spent a life time together.
But life was cruel.
The man that had maliciously taken away their chance to be a family together was still alive and out there somewhere, witnessing all of this happening. The thought that she couldn't do anything about it made her sick to her stomach, and she couldn't even think about the idea of her son facing that man and the world out there all alone.
Even if it meant sacrificing more then herself, Kushina was not going to let Naruto suffer the same fate she and Minato were.
"I think… it's time…"
The Fourth glanced at his wife with a puzzled look, wondering what she could mean by that.
Relinquishing her left hand from the Nine-Tails's talon, she reached out and took Naruto's right hand in hers. With the blood she had on her finger, she began tracing markings all along his fingers, his palm, and then his arm. All the while, she felt his little hand twitch under her gentle touch. When she was done, she took his hand in hers and gently held it. Tears streamed down her face as she held onto her sleeping child.
"That's…" Minato blinked in surprise.
"The first… and possibly the last thing I will ever teach him, Minato," Kushina smiled. "It's my village's legacy… my clan's most powerful jutsu… and my gift to him. It will protect him…"
The Fourth Hokage watched as the seals Kushina drew on Naruto's arm suddenly glowed a brilliant, bright blue, signifying that chakra was flooding into his arm. It then vanished seconds later, along with the markings and the blood. The sight made the village leader smile and with an affirmative nod of his head, leaned in and pressed his cheek up against his wife's, who was still smiling.
"Naruto… you're going to experience a lot of pain and suffering," Kushina said, trying to hold back all the tears she could, but was unable to. "Remember who you are… find a goal… find a dream… and don't ever stop trying till it comes true. There's… There's… (sniff)… There's so much more I want to say… so much more I want to teach you…I want to stay with you… I love you…"
Minato blinked, also on the verge of tears himself. But he had to remain firm and rigid. It was what a father should be.
"(Cough)… I'm sorry Minato… I took up all our time," Kushina cried.
"It's okay," Minato murmured, and looked down at his son. "Naruto… this is your dad."
A grin spread across his face.
"Listen… to your motor-mouth mother."
The little Naruto seemed to smile and murmur, rolling a bit in his cradle as if he had heard and understood everything his parents had said to him. This was all the sign Minato and Kushina needed to know that their son had been listening.
Even if he didn't understand it now…
He would later on in life.
Their words and their sacrifice would not be in vain.
"Eight Trigrams Seal!"
TO BE CONTINUED…