Description: What if, during the Fourth Shinobi War and Naruto's subsequent battles with Sasuke and Madara, something restarted his life and they all went back to the beginning, only, they never remembered what happened to them? Naruto lives a different life with the family he never had and a mother and father he doesn't even remember growing up without.
Another one of those "what if Naruto had a family?" stories that not enough people seem to love as much as me.
Pairings?: No real pairings besides MinaKushi and I suppose barely hinted at NaruSaku, but it's not really obvious. This is a family oriented story and will mostly focus on Naruto's relationship with his father and mother (but mostly father), as if he did grow up with them.
Disclaimer: I do NOT own Naruto. Otherwise, I would not be writing fanfiction.
And yet the clock still turns…
Half Life; Full Life
"If you could change it all and not know of the changes you could make, would you do it? If you could go back in time and see the faces you wished you could see and spend the time you wished you could spend with the people you love, would you seize that chance, or destroy it altogether?"
His eyes were a dazzling blue, like the azure of the sky on a sunny, cloudless day. The other's eyes were black and dark with no light and no brilliance, bottomless and hopeless; the deepest depths of night. That they were complete opposites from each other was no secret. In fact, it was so obvious that it almost hurt.
"Sasuke!" One shouted at the top of his lungs as he lunged at his once-friend and comrade with a sharpened kunai knife.
A clash of lightning and swirls of tremendous chakra circulated in turbulent airs. A blue, a mauve, a black, a yellow, gold, sparked with force and intense heat, searing pains and slashes bit against skin and flesh and tears in clothes…
If swords and metal could sing, this would be their perfect song. With droplets of hopeless blood spilled almost meaninglessly upon the earth, an Uchiha and an Uzumaki (or would it be Namikaze?) became one upon the battlefield. A teen whose family was annihilated before his very eyes at a tender, single digit age by his own older brother, and another whose family was killed by some cruel twist of fate on the very date of his birth. They fought with such vigor, any spectator would never be able to keep up, and frankly it was impossible to.
"Did you think you could change the world?" the dark-haired Uchiha spat in his opponent's face. "Did you think a dead-last like you could make this world of hatred into something else, something peaceful? How naïve. How idealistic. Your reasoning is shrewd only to fools!"
Naruto, the blond young man, twisted in midair and flipped onto his left leg, effectively avoiding a hard punch from Sasuke. In turn, his eyes suddenly flickered into a yellow hue, his slits transforming sideways, like that of a toad and a red pain-like substance appeared on his eyelids. Sage Mode was activated only because he had a clone hidden somewhere beyond reach that was already in it. His chakra was too exhausted to revert back into Tailed-Beast Form.
With an uppercut to the chin, Naruto caught his enemy off guard and the dark teen pummeled to the ground, a grunt escaping his lips along with the impact.
The Uchiha growled under his breath. Damn it, he thought, my chakra's too exhausted to bring out another Mangekyou Sharingan attack. His thoughts wandered until he came up with a plan and took a deep breath, steadying himself as he stood back up.
"Sharingan!" And Sasuke's eyes turned blood red.
The tomoe swirled around his pupils. They looked like black commas going round and round in a constant circle-dance. With the blonde's movements faster as a Sage, his eyes caught them with their natural bloodline limit. And they danced in a bloodthirsty tirade, avoiding and blocking each other's pointblank attacks, superb skill showing through their emotionless shinobi masks.
An elbow crashed into Naruto's side, and his counterattack consisted of an attempted heel to the head, which ended up being a futile attempt. He let fly a few dozen shuriken, enhancing them his nature energy, and Sasuke flew to the right, avoiding the projectiles with a whip and twirl of his short sword.
The two eventually leapt backwards, tired and worn, heaving, and their hearts pounding painfully against their chests while salty streams of sweat mixed with the various crimson cuts and wounds upon them. Without warning, they both decided to finish it all and formed their ultimate attacks in the palm of one hand, chakra boiling out of their skin like water from an underground well, and the forms pulsed forth, bubbling to the surface.
They bellowed in unison and only a bright flash of white echoed in the late afternoon sunlight, obscuring the two from view. The irony of the beautiful day's surroundings shrouded their charge and their fists bumped as if one could read each other's heart as good shinobi do. An anguished cry of "Naruto!" in the distance from a female, pink-haired girl was heard as she stood unbearably still next to their teacher, Kakashi Hatake, whose eyes were closed and whose head was turned to the side as if he anticipated what came next, and what came next was not at all pleasant.
Bested from the collision, the men were blasted to the sides of their shared battlefield arena, the Uchiha pounded onto the side of a harsh and shallow ravine while the other skidded without grace onto the soaked edge of a riverbed. Rocks and dust puffed up in response and a splash wet the surface of Naruto's back as blood pooled into the clear, liquid element. He was bleeding profusely, like the red from a palette of watercolor paints had spilled into the rivulet. In fact, they both bled, but one Sakura Haruno had the difficult choice of who to save first.
Who would she save?
Was it Sasuke, her childhood crush and eventual friend?
Was it Naruto, her childhood friend and eventual best friend as they grew older?
And then the answer became clear. Sasuke had betrayed them. She herself had tried to eliminate him so that Naruto would not have to bear that unbearable burden. Who was she to lie when she said in her mind that she didn't care for Sasuke? Of course she cared about him, that is to say, the old him.
"Kakashi-sensei," the girl murmured to her former instructor and he immediately understood, gravity-defying silver hair gleaming with the afternoon sun.
"Go Sakura," the man replied and she was off the edge of the ravine and swiftly next to her blond teammate.
When she reached the Uzumaki, who, she might reluctantly add, was barely breathing, she noticed a particularly deep wound close to his heart that bled in trickles of scarlet. She couldn't bear to look at it, at him, but the kunoichi continued on and her hand glowed that promising warm green color that meant medical attention had arrived. A hum could be heard, just quietly and progressively, as the injuries attempted to heal. The Kyuubi's ruby chakra tried to help, but there was too much damage to fix him on its own.
Numb, Naruto almost thought he was imagining the tiny ticks of feeling he felt on his face as something wet fell there. What were they?
Oh. They're tears, he deliberated within the recesses of his mind.
The blonde's eyes slowly opened, revealing the deep azure they were, and he blinked a few times. "Sakura…you were always quick to cry," the teen said weakly. "Why…why aren't you saving Sasuke?"
The young woman shook her head. "You're more important, Naruto," she muttered shakily as her sobs became more prominent even though she tried to hide them. "You're more important. I care about you both but…I care about you more right now. Just shut up idiot and let me heal you. You have to become the Hokage, remember? Lady Tsunade said she chose you as her successor…"
Instead of saying anything back, he didn't bother to reply and sighed with the gentle contact. His guilt gathered within him. He couldn't save his friend. How could he realize his dream of ascending to the position of Hokage? There was no way. No, he couldn't possibly…
Suddenly, a coarse rumbling reverberated through the veins of the earth and in an instant another new enemy appeared wearing a light purple mask, with holes only for his eyes: a red as blood Sharingan of the Uchiha Clan and the rippled iris of the Rinnegan.
The intruder's free arm came crashing down on Sakura's back, but not before Naruto reacted quickly to his reflexes and switched positions with her, even in his weakened state. Madara Uchiha's hand collided and the boy yelled out in agony. He collapsed in a heap on top of Team Seven's only female member, hyperventilating and trembling.
"Naruto Uzumaki," an ominous voice belonging to Madara said, "You have given me more trouble than I had originally anticipated. I will kill you in due time if you don't perish from the injuries you have already accumulated from your fated battle with Sasuke. But for now, I suppose, I'll see you when the moon has finally arisen and the Nine-Tails will be mine."
The legendary founder of Konoha narrowed his gaze and turned toward the fallen Sasuke, who did not stir. The man snatched the fabric of the teenager's tattered clothing and hauled him onto his shoulder, carrying him like the sack of deadweight that he was. Invisible air began to swirl continuously around the spot where Madara's Sharingan eye was located, spinning faster and faster, slowly sucking the two males into a sort of wormhole, but Naruto again acted on reflex and latched his fingers onto one of his most prized possessions that he had received as a gift from Kakashi, and threw it with true aim into the forming space-time whirl.
"Damn," the blond growled, "I've never tried this before but…"
The three-pronged kunai soared through the wind currents and sliced into the opening, Madara's eyes widening in surprise and its seal around its handle activated instantly when the one who threw it said the words that no one in the Land of Fire had thought they would ever hear again.
Sakura tried to stop her wounded friend, but he was too fast. Kakashi did not even have to blink to know what happened. All they saw that followed the statement was a yellow flash and abruptly all three of the fighters were gone, vanished through the now disappearing wormhole.
"Damn him! The Hirasishin! How could he…?"
After drowning out the enemy's holler, images of people and places that were once important to Naruto popped up and faded and dissolved, coming together in a figurative reel. They all emerged in various forms, some as fast as light, like a light bulb, other slow and flowing. Jiraya, Kakashi, Sasuke, Sakura, and his father, his mother, both whom he met through mere chance; they all flashed before his eyes. His life, his dreams, his wishes, his hopes, his emotions coupled the feelings within his heart.
"Wherever someone thinks of you, that's where home is."
"In the ninja world, those who break the rules are trash, that's true, but those who abandon their comrades are worse than trash."
"Naruto… it's too late, nothing you can say will change me! I'm going to kill you and every last person in your beloved village! It's time to make your choice! Kill me and become a hero, or die at my hand and become another one of my victims!"
"I… kinda envy your strength, Naruto…"
"Naruto… This is your dad. Listen…to your motor-mouth mother."
"There are some important words I want to tell, only to the men who compliment my hair… Naruto…will you hear them? I love you."
And then he was back, but he couldn't quite remember. It was as if his life had never happened at all. The images had stopped and he was floating in midair, completely blind and in the dark. His name was Naruto, yes, he knew that, and he had people that he loved and cared about. Then an odd sensation engulfed his chest and for a moment he felt as if he could not quite breathe, but an unknown something released and clicked, a strange drone rippled in his eardrums and exploded in a silent wavelength, subtle turquoise radiance illuminated him like a cloak in the darkness.
His last coherent thought before he forgot it all was that this whole thing was weird. Madara's space-time techniques must have reacted powerfully with the Hiraishin's space-time seal…
His eyes opened and they stared at a crescent moon and an outlandish orange mask, not that he knew exactly what they were; Naruto was a newborn. It was as if his life had never happened, as if it were all just some giant dream or nightmare, a scheme to confuse him and repulse him until everything was gone, like a second's flicker in the night.
Minato Namikaze glared in disbelief and pure anger at the masked and hooded man before them. The evening outside was suffocating and the sliver of the moon that did show seemed like part of an eye staring back at the world.
"Fourth Hokage…Minato. Back away from the Jinchuuriki, or your son dies at the ripe old age of one minute."
The fair-haired Hokage tried to calm himself. Only seconds ago he cradled his precious baby boy in his arms after resealing the Kyuubi back within his wife. Kushina was resting, but the harsh disturbance had awoken her completely. Her long red hair cascaded to the floor as she realized that Biwako, the Third Hokage's wife was dead on the floor as well as the other midwife. Her husband was up against an opponent who held their literally newborn son as a hostage.
The baby was crying and defenseless. He did not know any better and both parents wanted nothing more than to bring their son to safety, to love him, to comfort him, to relieve him of the stress of danger.
The mysterious masked man threw little Naruto up into the air and a worried father rushed to his rescue, capturing his son, and just when he thought the threat was removed, the cold-hearted villain smirked behind his masquerade, and the father's horror was fulfilled as his breath caught. Paper bombs. Paper bombs were pasted all over his son's swaddling clothes.
In a frantic and desperate need to tear the blankets away from Naruto, Minato slid them off just in the nick of time as the seals exploded behind the two, pushing them farther away from the makeshift delivery room while he collided, gripping his now naked infant son in his arms in an instinctive desire to protect, and protect at all costs.
The Fourth heard a deafening scream that made his eardrums ring in horrid terror. He knew that yelling.
"Damn it! He separated me from Kushina!" the Namikaze roared as something even more terrifying occurred within the makeshift nursery's walls. A blackish-violet light seeped through its wooden cracks; send jagged lines of violent shades cascading on the grounds and across the ragged surfaces of turned stones. Tiny explosion after tiny explosion reverberated and created puffs of dust upon the earth while the Kyuubi was forcibly released from his wife's childbirth-ridden body.
Minato did not see what happened inside, but all he knew was that he couldn't protect her. Damn, he couldn't protect her! Some enemy ninja that was powerful enough to utilize Kushina's vulnerable state to release the Nine-Tails was definitely not good news, and what was he doing here but being helpless as he tried to shield his baby boy from the harmful blasts happening all around them?
The tiny, soft infant began to sob hysterically, obviously and understandably highly distressed.
The father gritted his teeth, shaking in the mere milliseconds it took for the extraction to transpire. He wanted to berate himself. Out of all the shinobi out there, he should be one of the ones that knew this rule the best: A ninja never shows his emotions. It could be considered his downfall, but yet…
He had to pull himself together. His village was in danger now, his family was in danger. Minato Namikaze held tight to the position of a kage. He was considered the most powerful in the village. He needed to be strong for Kushina, for Naruto. Time was of the essence, and if he was to defeat this new adversary, he had to do it quickly or not at all.
A wave of heat hit Konoha's trees like a shockwave and a red pillar of light burst forth into the sky, shedding an intense pressure on every living thing nearby. In an instant, the building was nonexistent. A rippling growl pierced through the dark, showering the stars in flames and zigzagging tongues of fire until they were completely obscured and they too disappeared as if all hope was lost, and in the distance, the gong of Konoha's clock signaled that the time was well past midnight on the day of October tenth.
A great cloud of smoke popped out of nowhere and suddenly there was a beast lashing its nine tails near the village gates, alarm bells ringing frantically and disparaging cries of agony and gurgles of rapid deaths filled the thick air.
Azure eyes set with determination, the Fourth Hokage stood and rushed into the rubble, relief flooding him as he realized that his wife was still alive, albeit incredibly sore and in pain. He thanked his luck stars that the Uzumaki clan contained members born with a strong enough body to withstand a tailed-beast extraction.
With that thought in mind, Minato spread out a tattered blanket carefully on a rubble-free patch of the ground and gently laid the baby he was holding on it, trying as much as he could to add some cushioning. He lifted Kushina in his arms, squeezed her close to his chest and placed her next to their son while tears streamed down her cheeks in relief of her husband's and offspring's safety, her breathing haggard.
"Kushina," the Fourth breathed out, "I have to go. I have to try to beat the Kyuubi, no matter what. I'll see if I can stop it, even just for a while."
He heard a sob in the background. "M—Minato. Please, please be careful. The Kyuubi is dangerous. It can kill you! And the village—"
"—you know what I have to do if I can't hold it back. There's really only one way to defeat a tailed-beast after all. The village is important, but so are you. If I am to keep both my family and my village safe, I have to do everything I can," he cut her off with resolve set in his tone. "The Shiki Fuujin. I'll have to seal it into Naruto, just the Yin half, and the Yang half along with me. Your body can't handle another sealing, I can't seal it into myself, and Naruto has the Uzumaki blood. You'll be alive—"
"—MINATO! You can't! You can't! You know what that seal can do to you! You'll die for sure! The payment is your soul! What about Konoha, your friends, your family, what about Naruto? You can't leave your son without his father!"
Kushina was frantic now, breaths coming in desperate heaves and dry sobs. The tears still trickled and burned at her eyelids, Naruto whimpering at her side as she clutched him protectively.
She practically yelled as she went on, "…and Naruto! To seal the Kyuubi within him? His life will be miserable without you to tell him why you did it! I understand, I know there's no other way, but—please—Minato, what are you thinking?" The emotions broke her down and eventually her words became incoherent.
The blond smiled bitterly. "What am I thinking? I'm thinking that I need to protect my family and my village." His eyes set fixedly upon the carnage before them. "I am the Hokage and this is my duty to my home and to my precious people."
His arms slipped into a white cloak, dancing red flames sewn onto its bottom edges and the words for "the fourth fire shadow" also sewn delicately into its back. His spiky hair flittered in the heated breeze, and his forehead protector gleamed ominously with the surrounding fires. At that very moment, Minato Namikaze was not just a father and a husband, but the most powerful ninja in the Fire Country.
"Have a little faith," the man murmured so that if anyone else was around, only his wife could hope to hear him. "He is our son after all."
He carefully placed a three-pronged kunai near the red-head's folded arm, stood up, hair covering his expression, and vanished without a trace into the inferno.
The woman that hailed from the now-nonexistent Whirlpool Country trembled in disbelief. This day, the day that was supposed to be one of the happiest days in both her and her husband's lives, had become a living hell, a damned nightmare. How could events turn on them like this? How could the prospect of losing her entire family just after she had gained it loom so ominously like a boulder teetering on the edge of a cliff?
"Naruto," she whispered unfalteringly, her violet orbs glistening, "Can you hear me? I love you."
The Fourth Hokage leapt through the foliage at a swift and desperate pace. His breaths came in short huffs; adrenaline pumping through his veins like someone had injected an excitable drug into his system. He could hear the battle cries of his jounin and chuunin, the decisive blows that his ANBU Black Ops teams threw at the fox's whipping nine tails.
His eyes widened when he spotted the orange-masked man.
Madara Uchiha. I know it's him, he thought darkly.
The enemy was controlling the fox. It was obvious only to the Hokage's eyes. The red glare of a swirling Sharingan eye flashed like a light beam of warning through the single hole carved in the mask. The raven-haired man lifted his arms, his back towards the blond, and moved them as if conducted a painfully poetic orchestra, the Kyuubi dancing in their movements and growling and snarling as the "music" that played dreadfully.
Without saying a word, Minato flashed near his opponent, firmly intent on killing him, and forcefully formed a tornado-swirling chakra ball in his right hand with destructive precision and power. His shoved the Rasengan into Madara's exposed shoulder, only for it to phase right through and the Uchiha has disappeared, only to reappear once again somewhere higher up in the trees.
Thinking fast, Minato threw several three-pronged kunai in the direction of the nine-tailed fox and activated his Hirashin technique, watching as the vicious animal flickered and flickered again, quickly moving from its spot near the village to somewhere miles away, but still in sight. After all, with a monster that huge, it was difficult not to see it.
"Good," the Fourth scowled in triumph to the remaining threat, "now that he's out of the way for now, I can deal with you next."
"War is a battle with deception, Fourth Hokage," Madara spat. "Surely you too are a master of deceiving, that is, if you want to adequately defeat me." The blond could clearly hear the smirk in his voice as Madara went on, "I still control the Nine-Tails, even from this distance."
It was now the Hokage's turn to smile. "Then I'm afraid I'll have to reaffirm your statement, Madara Uchiha—" His gaze narrowed. "—and yes I know exactly who you are. Only a member of the esteemed Uchiha Clan can control a tailed-beast, and the only one that was even known to be able to do it was you—I'll reaffirm my knowledge then. I am a master of deception. I took the Kyuubi out of your control as soon as my Rasengan touched you. Why, you believe it didn't? It grazed you."
On a second glance, the black-haired man realized that he was right. A slight scrape itched at his shoulder and a tiny trickle of blood streamed down, stained his already dark clothes even darker. His thoughts wandered to his loss of the Kyuubi's control. If he lost control now, his plans were effectively ruined. He could not hope to get a beast of such magnitude and caliber under his iron fist once it was vigorously shoved out from underneath him. The time was right for a retreat. He could grudgingly admit to the Fourth's overall power. He would be more than a handful, even for a skilled ninja such as he, who had fought against the First Hokage.
But, nevertheless, the tailed-beast was on the loose. Even if he probably could not carry out his entire plan, he could still assist the thing in haphazardly destroying part of his former home, the very Leaf Village Madara had helped to build.
"Fourth," the man sneered, "I can acknowledge your prowess. You should take that as a compliment, but not for long. I'll kill everyone that I can, anyone that you hold dear," and he dissolved into nothingness, screams splicing in gurgles and chokes in the backdrop.
One scream in particular, though, froze the leader of the Hidden Leaf in his tracks.
And the man zipped away in a yellow flash, holding true to his battlefield nickname. As he arrived, just in time, he might add, his eyes were set on his wife, clutching their baby gently underneath her, her back bleeding in a (thankfully), not so deep gash. The newborn had awoken from his brief slumber and wailed a heartbreaking wail.
Minato's instincts took over, glimpsing the three-pronged kunai near his family, and flashed right next to them. He swiped multiple shuriken from his sleeves. Each one almost hitting their target and embedding themselves into the dust covered earth as they passed through the Uchiha.
He crossed his hands into a familiar hand-seal and shouted, "Multi-Shadow Clone technique!" while about five other copies of himself "poofed" into existence, each wielding two Rasengan in each hand while they flashed quickly around the clearing, each trying to catch Madara while the real Minato Namikaze gathered up his wife and child in his strong arms, and flickered away.
The small family appeared half a mile away from the thrashing Kyuubi, hidden behind the leaves of the meadows around their home. The father's façade was set. He had to do this. There was no other way to defeat the demon. While the real enemy was kept at bay, he needed to perform the sealing technique before they garnered his interference…and fast.
He leaned his wife, who was still gripping onto their child and who had passed out from extreme exhaustion and stress, on the bark of a charred tree trunk. Bust just as he did so, an ANBU had shimmered into subsistence directly behind him.
"Dog," the blond said softly, stare not tearing away from his whimpering child. "State your report then."
The masked ANBU dubbed as "dog", that wore a while canine-shaped mask with red stripes painted on to symbolize whiskers, nodded.
"Lord Hokage," he said unfazed, "our forces were cut in half. Many of our jounin teams are down and the ANBU have kept the younger ones on the sidelines…" He hesitated, "…including me. Many have died or are severely injured. I was sent to report, and only to report," and then the boy's voice broke.
"…Minato-sensei! Please! Let me fight! So many are dying, getting killed! I—I can't just sit there and do nothing! I can help you! Please, I—"
The Hokage sighed, suddenly feeling very old. "Kakashi…it's good they held all of you back. We can't afford to lose any of you." He paused, partially trying to ignore his breaking resolve, "You're one of the few that know about my son, about Naruto. You also know what it takes to defeat any tailed beast…there is no true way, but there is a way to subdue them nonetheless."
Take care of yourself. Take care of my son, of my wife, of my family. I'm sorry, I truly am, but there's nothing else I can do. I wish Naruto to be seen as a hero, and, even if that seems impossible in light of what's going on right now and what I am about to do, I want him to know that I love him. And you, Kakashi…Dog…live well and know that I would always welcome you into my home. Fight hard and remember what you have learned. 'A shinobi that does not follow the rules is trash, but a shinobi that does not care for his comrades is even lower than trash…'"
The silence that followed was unbearable. The silver-haired Hatake bowed his head in defeat, mask sliding slightly as his did so.
"So," the teenage boy murmured, but he was well aware that his teacher could hear him, "It's come down to that, huh? I'll lose you to? After Obito and Rin and my father? I don't want to lose my teacher…not you too…"
The boy felt a hand land reassuringly on his shoulder as Minato finally tore his eyes away from his son. A sad smile graced his lips and a strange and unreadable emotion encompassed his features. Kakashi had never seen anyone look so mixed and hurt before. At the moment, there were no words that needed to be spoken between teacher and student, it was only a quiet few seconds, but meaningful for the both of them.
And then, Minato vanished without the Hatake even noticing it. The baby was gone and Kushina was alone, sleeping near the only leafless tree in the clearing, the fox growling somewhere in the distance, and the young boy became a young man.
He squared his shoulders and contacted the Third Hokage via his mask's embedded communication device, and leapt after his teacher.
The radio buzzed outside the village's crumbling walls and the shinobi were in an uproar upon the news that they had just recently received.
"Damn it! Damn it all! The Fourth is going to sacrifice himself!"
"That bastard Nine-Tails! We can't let that thing take our Hokage's life! What do we do? Third! We need your help! We can't let the Fourth do this!"
An aged man and a fighter who was clearly beyond his years, nodded. "Yes. We cannot allow Minato to sacrifice himself like this, not without our consent. Let's head out to the coordinates Dog has informed us about."
The Namikaze held onto his son tightly, eyes almost completely devoid of emotion—a shinobi never shows his tears—and bellowed, carefully and rapidly forming hand-seals while still holding onto Naruto, "Summoning Technique!"
A tumble of clouds and smoke billowed around his flame-tipped cloak and the wind had somehow become colder, despite the fact that the flames of hatred were licking the soil around the giant red fox. A colossal crimson-orange toad appeared beneath him, smoking a long, wooden pipe, and a dark cloak of its own flying with the winds.
It gasped, taking in the sight before him. "Minato, what have you gotten yourself into this time? That's the Nine-Tailed Fox!"
The Fourth ignored the comment. "Boss Toad, I need your help…and this will be the last time…" The Boss's head perked up at that comment and narrowed his slimy yellow eyeballs.
We need to seal the Kyuubi into my son. In order to do that, I need your help in weakening the fox. Your size and the demon's are more-or-less the same, while mine is not. I'm going to seal half of the demon's chakra into Naruto and the other half will be sealed along with me, into the Shinigami's stomach. You understand what this means, don't you? Tell Jiraya-sensei that I'm sorry."
The toad grunted in comprehension, a grim tone taking the place of a once surprised one. "Well then, if there's no other way…it has been an honor to fight alongside you, Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze…"
A fierce battle had begun, one that even the previous leaders of Konoha had never experienced before. Clash after clash, technique after technique, hit each other with such force that the surrounding forest had all but dissipated and burned into a black mesh of ashes.
A barrier had suddenly been erected around the battle scene, blocking the Fourth Hokage from the outside world, minus the fox, and a frustrated silver-haired ANBU yelled in agony when he resigned to the fact that he could not assist his teacher at all. People gathered around the barrier and stood, transfixed, awed, and utterly devastated when they had come too late. Their leader, their friend, was battling to the death, and they all knew it. The thought pierced each and every one of them in the heart like an unbeatable poison, burning at their throats like an unquenchable thirst.
They could do nothing, not even their previous kage, Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Third.
But, they could hear the battle cries within.
"Dead Demon Consuming Se—" Minato was cut off as, somehow, the orange-masked adversary had managed to enter the clearing, and just as he was about to complete his technique. The blond jumped out of the way just as the Uchiha tried to land a knee on him.
"I won't allow you to ruin my plans further, Lord Hokage!" the man roared. "I still need this beast later! I won't let you seal it into your precious baby boy."
Minato flashed out of range, nearer to the fox, and placed Naruto onto the ceremonial alter, which he had at least managed to create before being rudely interrupted. He shoved a fist onto the ground, exploding the chakra around his fingertips and releasing it in a powerful gale of dust and rock, obscuring his enemy and allotting him a few seconds in time, but it was enough.
"Alright then," the Fourth muttered to himself, observing how Boss Toad sliced his sword in the direction of the fox, keeping it distracted, "It's time."
He gazed lovingly at his one and only son, his battle hardened face masked with a bittersweet expression and performed the hand-seals yet again.
Snake. Boar. Ram. Rabbit. Dog. Rat. Bird. Horse. Snake. He was about to clap his hands once, the last and final piece of the seal, when something strange occurred. He halted, yet again, about to yell out the name of his sealing technique, when he heard a bizarre and agonizing strangling noise. It was a human near him and it was a grown man.
The dust cloud oddly twirled and suddenly the masked man was there in the midst of it all, his eye sucking in the debris, but it looked like he was struggling himself.
"No! No! Damn you Naruto Uzumaki! I've remembered what happened! This is an alternate timeline created because of my space-time and your space-time…! It's all your fault! If you hadn't thrown that Hiraishin, it wouldn't be sending me to another dimension…! You've ruined my Moon's Eye Plan! I'll get you! I'll get you for this…! Naruto…Uzumaki…!" Madara was shakily howling now, his words incomprehensible to the father. All he heard was a dying man, and a dying enemy was indeed a good thing. And the orange mask twisted in and on itself, the rest of the Uchiha's body crookedly following after it, tumbling and whirling and he evaporated in a circular pop.
Another blinding light, one that crackled across the sky in the form of lightning strikes, sizzled in a circle around the father and son, the Boss Toad having dissolved in a puff of gray smoke and shouting a protest, the beast lashing one last tail out that made an attempt to bleed a hole through its perspective new host, and the father dashing with his second wind to body-shield the baby…
Just as the tail touched Minato's back, he thought it was all over. His life flashed before his eyes: Kushina, Naruto, Konoha…He did not even get to finish sealing the fox inside his own son. He would die a shameful death to the eyes of some of the citizens. He would die protecting his son and not the village. He would die and the fox would not be subdued. He would die and Konoha would be destroyed and the ultimatum would be that the very son he had tried to save would die as well, all because of the fox…
Stark white lightning struck around them in a perfect circle, the air howling and fires going out in collective wisps. The Kyuubi's tail halted in its decent, and the monster itself released a pained howl of its own. It shrunk in size and condensed into a liquid-looking tendril of a blur, which unwillingly dove straight into a crying Naruto Namikaze's stomach, the Dead Demon Consuming Seal somehow painted there in black ink even though not fully performed, and directly into the center. The baby glowed in an ethereal light and the lightning hissed and whipped its way back up into the sky, not even leaving a charred circle to verify its existence.
The ceremonial pedestal which cradled the infant Naruto sunk into the earth and Minato caught his son just in time and his arms pillowed the soft baby's fall while the elder man stared in awe at the complicated seal that he was supposed to create. How it got there without completion, Minato would never know.
He gasped out in pain as a strange pressure sat over his chest. He did not know what it was, but it hurt and it oddly felt as if he had felt this pressure before, as if his soul had been taken out but then again, he was still alive, so why…? Then, as his hazy eyes stared at his wailing son, his eyelids shut and his world turned black.
The invisible barrier around the makeshift battlefield dissipated.
"C'mon! We have to get him to the infirmary! Quickly! His pulse is barely there! And the baby! He was protecting him! Put the baby in the nursery! He's under major stress!"
"NARUTO! MINATO! Damn it! Please be okay, both of you! If you're not…please…!"
Minato awoke to a dull ceiling. Heart monitors beeped nearby and he moaned, sitting up in his hospital bed. His back and chest felt like hell. His throat was parched and he felt small ticks of needles stuck into his wrist. He sighed. What had happened? Where was he? Where was Kushina? Where was…
His eyes widened. "…Naruto!" he gasped out, filching when he upset an aching shoulder blade.
"Ah! He's awake!" He heard a nurse call out. Footsteps resounded on the tiled hospital floor. But, faster than that, another frantic set of feet had reached him first, and so did a hard punch in the gut.
"Minato! You idiot! I thought that you…I thought that…" It was the voice of his wife. She was angry. Furious, was probably a better term, and did he know it. Trembling sniffles wracked his bedside, and he looked into her watery violet eyes, observing her gorgeous red hair as it cascaded near his face.
"Don't do that ever again," she mumbled. "I don't want to lose you."
The Fourth Hokage's eyes softened, not even noticing the nurse that stayed respectfully behind the married couple in their heartfelt moment. "Ah…Kushina…"
She smiled at her husband. "…It's okay. I can forgive you for now. I think a punch is alright for the time being. You've been out for two days after all. The village and everyone were in a wreck…" She steadied herself and he abruptly took notice of the whining bundle in her arms. "You asked about Naruto? He's here…"
Minato looked at their son, then at his wife, a silent question hanging in the air.
The mother chuckled gently, answering the question with a gesture that he was grateful for. She handed him the child and watched warmly as the father took his son into his arms, cushioning the baby's head while the infant whimpered and sniffled.
He was beautiful. He was absolutely and breathtakingly beautiful. Naruto's skin was soft to the touch; strikingly smooth, strikingly flawless save for the three whisker-like markings on each cheek. Sapphire irises (though still slightly glazed from childbirth), just like his father's, brimmed with tears and the baby cried and cried and cried. Innocence shone through the tiny new life. Hope and joy sparkled like the sunlight, a shimmer represented through his golden tufts of sprouting hair.
"Shh," Minato hushed the boy, holding a gentle finger over his nose as he cradled the infant in his arms. "It's okay, Naruto. Daddy's here. Daddy will keep you safe from harm. I promise I won't let anything happen to you."
Naruto's frenzied cries had halted when his tiny ears picked up his daddy's gratifying voice. Gurgling began and a smile formed on the baby's lips, little fists clutching at nothing but curled in close to his miniature chest as his father continued to coo at him. The door to the hospital room opened unexpectedly, but the man did not notice.
"Lord Ho…ka…ge…I hear you're awake…?" An ANBU Black Ops agent with a cat mask on came in, her dark indigo hair swishing behind her as she stopped moving at the entranceway. The sight had startled her and her speech slowed tremendously. "Uh…Hoka…ge…"
The Fourth smiled gently to his son, unaware and utterly oblivious of the agent that had walked into his hospital room. "Daddy's here. It's okay. It's okay. Daddy loves you, Naruto."
The masked woman sighed, the motherly aspect of her surfacing too fast. "Ah, I'll just return later Lord Hokage…" And she left, gently shutting the door behind her. It would be only moments later that the whole of the ANBU team, not to mention most of Konoha, heard about the state their beloved leader was found in. The most powerful ninja in the Hidden Leaf Village, the Yellow Flash, hero of the Third Great Shinobi World War, and a cold-blooded killer, reduced to a cooing father in the clutches of his own infant son.
AN: The end of chapter one. I feel very inspired to write this story, so expect at least weekly updates. It won't be very long, most likely less than ten chapters, but definitely more than three.
For those of you reading Dog of the Military, my Fullmetal Alchemist fanfiction, don't fret. I have not given up on it, mostly because I simply cannot abandon a story that I have entirely planned out. I've just been on a Naruto ruse lately and no one seems all that interested in DotM, even though I am.