Chapter 1: For Every Action there's a Reaction
(A Couple of Hours Later: In a Secure Location)
"YOU STUPID GIRL! YOU UTTERLY STUPID GIRL! DO YOU REALIZE THE DAMAGE YOU'VE CAUSED!?" An utterly furious Biwako bellowed at the wincing redhead before her. The older woman being restrained by her husband and Minato, "DO YOU!?"
"BIWAKO, THAT'S ENOUGH!" Hiruzen thundered and moved his furious wife away from the Uzumaki. Kushina was grateful but didn't miss the look of deep disappointment in his eyes. The seal master felt like a child being scolded by her mother for having her hand on the cookie jar. Only what she felt was easily a hundred times worse. The hangover she was feeling wasn't helping either. One of the wonders of medical ninjutsu was easing such ailments, though not fully.
"But she's right," Hiruzen spoke and looked at her, "We've tried keeping this secret well under wraps for a long time now. And because of your irresponsible behaviour that secret is now out!"
Damage control was being done, discreetly as possible as to not arouse suspicion, and many would simply be left thinking what had been said was nothing more than a drunken stupor. Others wouldn't be so easily convinced and some would be left wondering if such claims had any validity to them. Rumours in the ninja world had a bad habit of being twisted and prone to exaggerations as it passed from word of mouth. Even then experience taught others there was still some form of truth to them, and an origin for such things.
"I'm sorry," Kushina apologized sincerely.
"You're sorry? That's all you have to say after all this? You're sorry?" Biwako looked ready to shout again but luckily it didn't come to that, "I have half a mind to bend you over my knee and spank your ass until in bleeds, Kushina!"
"… Tempting as that sounds, Biwako," Minato ignored her scoff, though he honestly had no way of knowing how to respond to such a thing, "I for one am more interesting in knowing how Kushina found out about this in the first place."
"As I'm I," Hiruzen concurred with his successor. The man knew about the seals and the safety measures put in place around the Mask Temple, and he was curious as to how Kushina managed to get through them. "Kushina?"
Knowing what they wanted, and not wanting to make the situation worse for her, Kushina began to tell the tale, "It all happened a few months ago…"
(Over Three Months Earlier)
"I'm sorry, but Hokage-sama isn't in, Kushina-san. You'll have to try later, sorry," Kushina frowned at the secretary, eliciting a worried look from the woman given her reputation as the Red-Hot Blood Habanero, but otherwise remained silent and left the Hokage Tower. Once more she had failed to see Minato. Nearly four months had passed since she and Minato had gone on their break, and in that time, Kushina not only tried to resolve her personal matters but realized she barely saw or spoken with him. It wasn't uncommon given the length of missions ninja have to go on sometimes but even then she believed he would have spoken to her. He rarely did and even then such moments were brief and didn't involve any real form of conversation.
Kushina wasn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed but the redhead did notice things another could easily miss. Minato had always been focused; barely did he leave his guard down even when off duty. Now though she thought that he was perhaps too focused, antsy even, subtle as it was. It was as if he wished for minimal interaction with others and wanted to keep things short and sweet as possible before getting back to work and then leave as soon as it was done. When she finally confronted him afterhours at his home the man had been evasive and actually told her it was none of her business.
At first, Kushina thought nothing of it, believing he was merely stressed and adjusting to his new role as Konoha's leader. The same thing had occurred when he was promoted to Jonin. But as the months passed did Minato's attitude become more and more alien in her mind. He was hardly in his office and when he was rumor had it that the man looked tired and ragged, as if he was pulling all-nighters every single day.
Contrast to how others thought, Kushina had in fact performed her own research on what it meant to be Hokage. If she was going to be the first female Kage she wasn't going to do it half-assed. A lot of what she found was boring as hell, and more or less put her to sleep, but she had read enough and knew that being Hokage could be a tiring job. However, it shouldn't be this bad for Minato unless they were at war.
From this Kushina formed her own conclusion that it was something else entirely. Another part of her was frightened and angry and thought it might be due to him being in the arms of another woman. But Kushina squashed that thought as quickly as it formed, she knew Minato well enough that he wasn't that sort of person. Or, at least, she hoped not. Kushina would honestly say she missed being with her former lover, that perhaps his proposed compromise wasn't that bad an idea. Their break had gone on long enough and Kushina was determined to get him back.
"But first, I need to know where he is," the frustrated woman frowned. Kushina had left him letters asking to see him but either Minato wasn't answering them or ignoring them all together. Kushina sincerely hoped it was the former and not the latter.
With that in mind, the woman set off to formulate a plan on how to locate Minato. Kushina was no sensor; her reserves were too large and unruly to be able to focus her chakra for such a refine and precise skill. Her control was good but some skills would be out of her reach because they weren't good enough. But there was one skill she excelled at that others rarely did.
Being an Uzumaki, and trained at a young age, Kushina had a deep understanding of seals that others twice her age and experience did not. When asked how it was possible she'd merely say, "I'm just that awesome!" It sounded arrogant but it was the truth. Kushina was awesome in the art of fuinjutsu and easily Konoha's resident seal master despite her young age. And it was through seals, and no small amount of luck, that she'd find Minato. Trailing him would have been an option, but Minato left at odd times and probably through the use of the Hiraishin as well.
Kushina sometimes cursed the Hiraishin's creation and her clan's help in its creation. Tobirama had come up with the idea, and his skill in Space-Time Techniques was still one of the best in documented history, but the Uzumaki Clan had helped him refine the seals used during the early stages. Now it was coming back to bite her in the ass. The clan was highly impressed by the man's skill and ingenuity in fuinjutsu and taught him a few secrets about seals others could only dream of learning. With the skills he learned it resulted in the Hiraishin and its various not leaving a chakra signature when it was used.
The user could be sensed once they reappeared, but it was brief and because Minato and Tobirama's speed were frighteningly quick it was made redundant. What good was sensing someone only to be dead one microsecond later? But Kushina knew this would help her out. Kushina didn't need to know when and where he would appear, just the latter half. "If I can map a pattern on his disappearing act I might be able to know where he goes off to."
It sounded easier than actually was. Such an act would require time and patience. The time she had, the patience not so much. But Kushina didn't see any alternative. Minato wasn't exactly available to talk to and whenever he was it was either very brief or Kushina was busy with something else. The woman groaned as she realized a third factor would be tantamount to the success of her endeavor.
And much like Tsunade, Kushina's luck wasn't all that great at times. The woman letting off a series of curses as it dawned on her before she calmed down and went to work.
(Over a Month Later; Night Time)
Much like she predicted it had taken quite some time before she finally completed her project. For the next month and a half, Kushina's continued attempts to speak with Minato failed. She later learned that it wasn't only her either, and that even some of those at the top in Konoha's hierarchy barely saw him most of the time. None had thought to ask as they respected their leader's privacy. "Pansies," Kushina personally thought they were just too afraid to ask. Then again they weren't as close to Minato as she was.
Now all that was about to change. The seals were put into place at key strategic locations in Konoha. To make it so no one would be the wiser Kushina had explained to the Konoha Barrier Team that it would allow for better protection as well as allowing them to be more accurate when trying to locate specific individuals. The Team had thought nothing of it and when Kushina said it was more or less a prototype project she'd been fiddling around with they were open to the idea of a test run. If it allowed them to protect Konoha better than they were all for it. With that, she was able to run the project in peace when not on missions.
Activating the seals in front of her, the miniature-sealing matrix glowed and then took on the form of Konoha. It wasn't pretty but it would do the job for now. Focusing on her intended target, Kushina spotted Minato's signature and it was located in the Hokage Tower as usual. Now all she needed to do was wait. The woman didn't need to wait more than twelve minutes before his signature disappeared and then reappeared on the outskirts of the village.
"Finally!" she declared, her project a success, and marked down his location. The woman left her apartment complex and made for the location he appeared in with all the speed she could muster. Before arriving, though, Kushina activated what was known as the Mujin no Fuin (Non-Person Seal) she placed on herself. The complex seals would eliminate her chakra signature. Meaning she couldn't be sensed via conventional sensory ninjutsu, even some barriers wouldn't be able to detect her so long as it remained active. But a downside was that not all barriers would be fooled, and it resulted in her inability to use anything that involved chakra as a side effect. Additionally, upon activation it took a while before one could properly use their chakra even for the simplest of techniques. A major downside she was nowhere close to eliminating.
Walking the rest of the way, Kushina made sure not to be spotted and hoped Minato's wariness continued so he wasn't focused on his surroundings. Upon arriving, Kushina saw Minato enter the Uzumaki Mask Temple. Though a part of her clan heritage, Kushina didn't come here all that often. But it begged the question, "Why's Minato coming here?"
Kushina was about to find out but was stopped when another form appeared. One she recognized.
"Taji? What's she doing here?" she muttered lowly and watched as the woman held up a hand seal and briefly flare her chakra. A dome of chakra flared briefly and Kushina only had a small window of opportunity to cross the hidden barrier and remain hidden in the shadows of a nearby tree. Her heart pumping, Kushina watched as Taji knocked on the door and was greeted by a smiling if tired Minato.
Kushina felt her heart tighten in her chest as she watched the scene. Was Minato really cheating on her? And with Taji of all people! Sure, it wasn't uncommon for teammates to hook up but Kushina never noticed any attraction between the two of them. Personally, Kushina had the impression Taji swung for the other team. Could she be bi? The last thought did little to unclench the grip on her heart but Kushina needed to know more.
Looking in a nearby window, Kushina spotted another woman, a teenager if her looks were anything to go by, speaking and bowing to Minato. Kushina's mind was working a hundred miles a minute as she tried to figure out why they were meeting but was distracted as she watched Taji kneeling down while Minato remained upright, "Oh, kami, is she gonna give a blo-" her thought stopped as Taji was actually kneeling away from Minato. The red head woman released a sigh of relief when nothing sexual occurred, and guessed what was happening was merely a very covert mission that required Minato's presence.
Whoever Taji was dealing with was obviously injured and as an Anbu and Minato's teammate she could be trusted to be within the loop. Kushina felt incredibly stupid and cursed herself for thinking Minato would be with another woman. But what happened next tore her heart in half.
Rising up from the chair was none other than her cousin, Senju Tsunade, but that wasn't what bothered her the most. What did bother her was the large and noticeable bump on the woman's stomach and the way that Minato was looking at it affectionately.
She watched as Minato placed his hand fondly on Tsunade's swollen stomach and watched as his smile brightened up even more. It was crystal clear he was the father.
Unable to look any longer, her mind a rushing turmoil of emotions, Kushina bolted from the area, uncaring that she tripped one of the barriers in place. But with her seals active and the lack of chakra signature that was noticeable the safety feature failed to go off and the group brushed it off as merely an animal getting too close.
"And that's all of it," Kushina finished.
Everyone in the room remained silent as they processed everything they heard. All of them were stunned by how easily Kushina managed to get in and out of the barrier and how she modified the one surrounding Konoha to allow her to find Minato. The feat aside, Minato would be having a few choice words with the Barrier Team for allowing Kushina easy access and free reign over such an important defense. It posed a huge security risk in his mind. All in all, they were as impressed just as they were disappointed and frustrated. Kushina truly was a gifted kunoichi in the art of seals for her to have done all she did.
"You would make a fine Hokage one day, Kushina," Hiruzen praised despite the situation they were in, "But what you've done is exactly why you weren't nominated as a potential Hokage candidate. You're too emotional, and you allow it to cloud your judgment," here he paused as the irony of it all wasn't lost on him as he thought of his old friend, Danzo, and his views on emotions, popped in his head. While Hiruzen agreed that shinobi should keep their emotions in check and not let it rule them, the man was against eliminating emotions all together. It was what made them human, ninja or not.
"What you've done is essentially high treason, Kushina. Not only did you place several shinobi and civilians in the hospital, two of them most likely going to be traumatized by their current condition-" here Minato and Hiruzen shuddered as the head stuck the Akimichi's sphincter had yet to released, "but you also gave away information that was classified as S-Rank, if not above!"
Once more Kushina winced and Hiruzen sighed, "Normally, I'd strip you of your rank and place you on probation."
Here Kushina froze. The thought of no longer being a ninja, of achieving her goals and dreams, was a terrifying idea to fathom.
"However, as I'm not acting Hokage anymore that decision is no longer up to me, but Minato's. He will decide your punishment," Hiruzen announced and Kushina shifted her gaze from the man she saw as grandfather figure to her former lover.
"Don't speak unless permitted, Kushina-san," Minato's cold reply left her speechless. "You'll refer to me as Hokage-sama or Yondaime-sama. Is that clear?" when Kushina didn't respond Minato was more vocal, "I said is that clear!"
Kushina still couldn't say anything but wisely nodded. Tears flowed from her eyes and Minato was tempted to scoop up her up in his arms and console her. It pained him to see her like this, his feelings for her still lingered despite how fragile it was at the moment. But Minato knew he needed to be firm, people needed to know that he could put personal feelings aside and do what was right. No matter how much he wanted to do otherwise. Kushina had not only both unwittingly and willingly committed high treason, but because of her actions, despite not starting the brawl in the first place, others had been hurt.
But what stuck out the most was the fact that Kushina's drunken stupor now potentially placed his child in danger. Others would be convinced that it was nothing more than a drunken outburst but others would think others. Others would see this as a way to gain leverage over him and try and see if there was any validity to the rumours that he surely knew was now spreading. Konoha wasn't perfect as many saw it to be, no village was, and spies would be informing their leaders of the news.
"Looks like I'm going to have to bring in Jiraiya-sensei earlier than expected,"Minato wasn't looking forward for the meeting. The young Hokage didn't want to tell the man he saw as a second father figure that the woman Jiraiya directed his unrequited love for was now bearing his student's child. Jiraiya had come to terms that it was never going to happen between him and Tsunade, the woman's heart still belonging to Dan even a decade after his death, but still had lingering feelings for her still. There was still no telling how the man would react to the news. But Jiraiya's spy network would greatly help them ease the damage that was about to be unleashed and deter those who sought to harm Tsunade and the child she was carrying.
His child was in danger, all because Kushina could let things well enough alone. She had greatly improved since they were children when controlling her temper and emotions. But apparently she still had some issues, and she would need to work on that if she was ever to become Hokage in his mind. Minato couldn't exactly forbid Kushina from becoming Hokage, a law was in place to prevent such a thing, despite what she did being considered treason in the eyes of many. Had she sold or informed the enemy of what she had done to the barrier that surrounded Konoha or damaged it in any way it would be much different. She'd be lucky she wasn't executed had she done such a thing if it wasn't a several decades earlier during the Nidaime's rule.
"As of now your crimes warrant your rank as a ninja being stripped, but that would be considered a disservice due to your prowess as a kunoichi. Instead, you're to be demoted to the rank of Chunin and placed on a one-year probation period where all you'll be doing is supervised D-Rank missions, with minimum pay, with no chance of promotion unless otherwise stated. Furthermore, you'll be undergoing mandatory anger management counselling and will not be deemed fit for promotion until a satisfactory review is given stating otherwise. During your spare time you'll also be assisting in Konoha's R&D Division and Barrier Team due to your knowledge on seals. Understand?" she nodded once more, not trusting her words and looking more and more subdued. "Good, just stay there until you're dismissed. We might have use for your skill soon," he ordered and the man would be lying if he said he wasn't impressed by what she accomplished during the last little while.
When she put her mind to it Kushina was virtually unstoppable when it came to new functions and ideas involving the use of seals. It would be a great waste to prevent her from helping Konoha with the knowledge and skill she knew. Even with all his prodigious talent, Minato didn't hold a candle to her in the art. Most of what he knew came from Jiraiya and Kushina and while he knew things none of them did, Kushina would know ways to make them much better in some way or another.
By all rights the punishment was light compared to what it normally would have been. During Tobirama's time as Hokage the man made public executions to some of the more serious traitors and those who performed terribly heinous acts. Kushina was lucky the man wasn't around anymore or he'd enforce the rule or strip her of her rank, imprison her and take whatever chance of becoming a ninja ever again at the very least. But Minato knew that if Kushina was stripped of her rank merely for her behavior and for being in a brawl many would begin asking questions. Others would start to think there was probably some validity in the drunken woman's words and that Minato had in fact, as she so eloquently put it, "Knocked up Tsunade."
The last thing they needed was more people snooping around for answers. Minato had to deal with this situation diplomatically to avoid anything else from happening. Jiraiya's spies were highly selected, the man trusting them with vital information, but Minato was hesitant for them to try and prevent such rumours from taking root in the minds of others. With that thought in mind, Minato began formulating a plan.
"I think you'll all agree when I say we now need Jiraiya-sensei's help to keep this under wraps," or as much as possible at least.
"You and sensei were closer so you'll have a better chance reaching him. In the meantime I'll try and get some of my pals in the Anbu to clean up this mess," Taji informed him and Minato was grateful. "Personally, I think you're going too soft on her."
Kushina flinched when Taji referred to the woman as "her" and not by her name. It went without saying that she most likely lost a friend in Minato's teammate, perhaps in everyone present, actually. Well, perhaps not everyone, but the friendship was easily on the breaking point if she did something stupid.
"If Tobirama-sama were in office she'd either be executed at best, her rank stripped along with her chakra and memories sealed and banished from Konoha at worst," Biwako stated and making Kushina pale. Tobirama was a believer in the Will of Fire, but the man had a terrible vengeful side of him and was much more pragmatic than his older brother, Hashirama. Biwako was letting Kushina know just how lucky she was that things were now different.
"That's enough!" Minato ordered. "What's done is done. Kushina will pay for her mistakes, and while I understand Tobirama's reasoning I believe she didn't do it out of ill intent. Still doesn't excuse her thought and if things were different talks of possible banishment would be considered if things were so simple."
Tears once more flowed from Kushina's eyes as she heard the cold callous words, but was otherwise thankful that she would not be banished from the only other place she called home. Due to her special chakra Kushina had been the prime candidate for becoming the next jinchuriki of the Kyubi. Senju Mito, nee Uzumaki, had been the first, and her time was running short. The woman was in her early hundreds after all.
Unfortunately, things rarely went as smoothly as planned. Upon seeing Mito the next day for the transfer to commence it had been discovered that she had passed away peacefully in her sleep. With her death, the Kyubi no Yoko had been taken with her. In a way, Kushina had been relieved. The young girl did not want the burden of holding a tailed beast inside her and she was more or less a stranger in Konoha.
Seeing as how her role was now redundant, despite having distant family among the Senju as relatives, Kushina was initially set to return home to Uzu, but returning home had not been all that simple either. War had broken out and it was too dangerous to travel the borders to bring her back. By the end of it all, it didn't matter anyway when Uzu was ultimately destroyed by the combined might of the enemy and the Uzumaki Clan on the verge of extinction and scattered to the winds. Like it or not, Kushina had no choice but to stay in Konoha.
Even then word of her special chakra caught the enemy's ear, and capture attempts had been made by Kumo to use or at the very least replicate said power for their own. The fact that she was an Uzumaki, a member of a clan known for their surreal vitality, had been like the icing on top of a cake. It had only been the timely intervention of Minato and Kushina's quick thinking that ended with her being spared an assuredly unpleasant fate.
Ironic as it was, Kushina had never thought she'd develop feelings for Minato, finding him too flaky and girly as a child. Yet all that changed upon her rescue. And because of her stupid choices she was now on the verge of losing it. Part of her wanted to lash out saying he had just as much a role in all this, but it was superficial at best. Minato hadn't really done anything wrong other than not speak to her or answer her mail. His role was minor at best. This was all Kushina's fault for taking it too far and obsessing over it. It would take time, and patience, but Kushina was determined that she would regain their trust by proving it to them. She knew it wasn't as easy or as simple as it sounded, but she'd put in the effort regardless.
"Minato's right," Hiruzen had no doubt the redhead had no intention of it going this far or had any ill intent either. She was punished enough as it was despite how light it was. "Right now, we need to get all this under control. The longer it talks the worse it can become."
"How can I help?" the voice came from Kushina and through the tear stained and bloodshot eyes they saw determination and hope.
Though she was told to have stayed silent, Minato merely sighed rather than give a stern discipline, "To start, you will not only not speak a word of this to anyone but you also get to tell Tsunade what you did," by the way she stiffened it was clear that Kushina wasn't not looking forward to the meeting. Minato didn't doubt that Tsunade would have to be restrained and another relationship with the redhead
"Next, you are going to be placing new seals and improving the ones around the Mask Temple," if Kushina could bypass them Minato knew others potentially could as well. The Uzumaki were famed for their mastery of seals, but they weren't the only masters in the art either. Much like the Uchiha were famous for their eyes and skill in Katon ninjutsu, others could still match them in the art of pyromancy. "The rest you already know."
From there the conversation became focused on what they planned to do to try and keep the pregnancy from being too far spread, and at the very least seen as nothing more than the ravings of a inebriated individual. Stories and ideas were thrown around and while the plan wouldn't be perfect, no plan ever was, Minato had every intention of making sure it was damn near close.
As predicted, the moment Tsunade found out people believed she was pregnant did the gates of hell break open. Family or not, the woman was sorely tempted to beat her Uzumaki cousin to a pulp. But such stress levels weren't good for her or the baby. In the end, Tsunade had given Kushina a slap to the face. Said slap had been so hard that she'd both never forget it and caused her to drift in and out of consciousness for the rest of the day.
Though Tsunade could forgive the fact that Kushina had done something stupid while drunk, she'd be a hypocrite if she said otherwise given her reputation, the life of her child was now at risk. That was something Tsunade wouldn't forgive so easily, if ever, at the moment. She'd accept her help in owning up to her mistakes and making sure where she stayed was more secure, but it would take sometime before she'd actively engage in conversation with the woman.
With him being a summoner of the Toads much like his master, Jiraiya, Minato didn't have that much difficulty in reaching the man. It had been a simple, give a toad a message, pop up at Jiraiya's location, wherever he was, and then pass on the message. Though he'd prefer using the Hiraishin, Jiraiya's location played a factor on how much chakra he'd be forced to exert there and then back. The reverse summoning was more practical, if a little slower, and pretty straightforward. The conversation that was about to ensue, maybe not as much.
As the two elderly toads puffed away, Jiraiya's silhouette was seen in smoke, "Hey, kid, what's up? Heard you needed your brilliant master's help," Jiraiya stated, before a thought occurred, "this wouldn't involve me dealing with a lot of paperwork does it? I like you and all but I'll drag my ass out of here before that happens."
"I wish," Minato and Jiraiya both sighed. "It's a little more complicated than that actually."
"Oh?" Jiraiya's curious was now peaked, "What's so complicated?"
"You remember when we were in Arashiyama no Sato?" the blond asked.
"Arashiyama? Yeah, sure, but what's that got to—Oh!" the man believed he understood, "This wouldn't have anything to do with that girl you sleep with is it?"
The look of his student's face's turning bashful and red was all Jiraiya needed to confirm his suspicious, "How far along is she? Five, six months?" he guessed and the man nodded.
"A little over five," the man's student confirmed. "But that's not all," he hesitated.
Jiraiya knew something was really off if Minato was hesitating, "What is it, kid?"
Rather than answer himself, the answer literally waked in and was followed by his former teacher and four women. The women being Biwako, Shizune, his former student, Taji, and a pregnant Tsunade.
Jiraiya blinked once, twice, and then thrice as to make sure his eyes weren't deceiving him. Nope! Tsunade was still pregnant. Next the man used the Genjutsu Kai with a good amount his power and still she was pregnant. It was legit it seemed. The Toad Sage could only gap and looking back and forth between his student, and gambling compulsive teammate before he could find the words.
"I'm so proud of you! High five!" Jiraiya boomed exuberantly. Taji, Shizune, and Hiruzen sighed at the man's antics while Tsunade and Biwako looked ready to kill the man. Minato merely looked embarrassed at the praise. It wasn't exactly something to gloat about… at least, with those who wouldn't see it the way he did. "Kid, do you have no idea how much I envy you right now! You've done what many could only dream of doing! And you were a virgin, too!
"What!" that tidbit of information was news to all but Tsunade and Minato. The Yondaime Hokage, the famous Yellow Flash of Konoha, was a virgin during the first time he slept with Tsunade. And he knocked her up on the first try!
"Damn!" Hiruzen, and Taji, both privately thought. Though Taji wasn't all that surprised. She knew that Minato was a bit old fashioned and flaky and believed in the whole wait until marriage spiel. Few people did now a days when the life expectancy of ninja weren't all that high. Higher than it was in the Warring States era, but not by all that much. Even then she thought Kushina would have gotten rid of the prudish thought.
"Pffahahahaha! I just realized, you got knocked up by a virgin!" by now Tsunade had hellfire in her eyes because of the man's laughter.
"As if this day couldn't get any worse. Just kill me now, please!" Minato begged for whatever mercies from high above.
"That aside, how was it? You gotta give me details here!" his book deal hadn't gone as well as he had hoped and the man was trying a different venue in a niche market. His editor said many thought the plot predicable, and not all that imaginative and that he needed something a little more adult themed and Jiraiya was looking for inspiration wherever he could.
"Jiraiya, this is serious!" Biwako growled and really suppressed the urge to throttle the man. Tsunade wasn't far behind the older woman.
"You're right… this is no time for high fives," he nodded and Biwako was pleased he was taking the matter more earnestly. "It's hugging time! Bring it in, Minato," the taller man pulled his student into a tight embrace. One that lasted no more than a second, as he felt his ear nearly being pulled out of his head courtesy of Tsunade, "Ow, ow, ow, ow!" he whined at the pain.
"Jiraiya, people know about the pregnancy," Hiruzen stated and the man seized his complaining.
"I'm guessing they're not supposed to?" his assumption was correct as he saw the man nod. Knowing he was going to take the matter much more seriously, Tsunade released her teammate and watched as Jiraiya's entire demeanor went from goofy and fancy free to serious and professional instantaneously. His gaze became hard and his stance more rigid, "Who blabbed?" his tone having an edge to it.
"Kushina," Jiraiya didn't miss the sad tone in his student's voice. Minato informed Jiraiya of Kushina's tale and much like them the man was both impressed and disappointed with the woman's actions. Despite not being a fan for how she left him heartbroken, Jiraiya had hoped that Minato and Kushina would end up working it out in the end. But with the current debacle Jiraiya had doubts it would be that simple to fix everything that. Minato was Hokage, and a soon to be father, his hands would be pretty full for the next little while. Starting a relationship was the last thing he should be doing at the moment.
"Damn! Sorry, Minato. You know I hoped things would work out right?"
"I know, sensei. I know," Minato had no doubts that the man still routed for him. Maybe in the future once things were sorted out there was still a chance of them being together. It would be tough as Minato would have a son or daughter that wasn't Kushina's but if the woman could deal and accept it. Minato wasn't going to force her to stay.
"So what can I do to help? Just say the word and it's done," Minato smiled at the man's confidence and lack of hesitance to help him.
"We need your spy network to do what they do best, Jiraiya. Whatever you were dealing with bother is now a secondary priority. Making sure that no one believes the pregnancy rumours is a top priority. At the very best we want people to have doubts," Tsunade explained.
"Done," the man didn't hesitate once. "Anything else?"
"Yeah, we need you to spread rumours about who Kushina thought she saw with me, but be discreet about it," Minato said.
"Also done," Jiraiya didn't say it but he did know a few women that resembled Tsunade somewhat. It wasn't an exact likeness but in the eyes of a drunk it could be easily mistaken. "You know there's a chance others won't buy it, right?"
"In that case, we need you to deal with them in whatever way possible," Minato ordered. The man didn't care all that much for assassination missions but knew they were a necessary evil nonetheless. It was better to offer someone a hand while keeping the other on the kunai just in case. "I want you to focus your attention mostly on Kumo, Iwa and Taki."
"Taki? Minato-sama?" Shizune didn't understand.
Tsunade was the one that chose to elaborate, "Taki's basically run by old farts who were alive during the twilight years of the Warring States Era. Times have changed but they still hold on to the past and hold grudges. They don't exactly have an amicable relationship with my clan. More specifically my grandfather, Hashirama-ojisan."
Hiruzen and Biwako knew the story. Taki feared and envied the powerful ninja that was known as Senju Hashirama and had sent an assassin known as Kakuzu to deal with him. The fight had been incredibly one sided despite the fact Taki ninja being no pushover. But even then it hadn't been enough. To this day and age, the only man that ever came close to being on par with him was his old rival, Madara. People called Hiruzen the God of Ninja and the strongest Hokage, the latter out of ignorance or disbelief when hearing about the feats Hashirama could pull off, but even in his prime and with the knowledge he had now Hiruzen knew he'd still lose. Had he taken the time to learn the Sage Mode of the Monkey Clan like his father before him, chances were the fight could potentially end in a stalemate, at best.
Hashirama had died in the first war, yes, but he hadn't been killed. The man had sacrificed his life to bring back those from Konoha who had been killed needlessly during the conflict. Well over a thousand shinobi had been brought back because of the man. Hashirama's thoughtful nature of putting the need and welfare of others ahead of himself had always been his greatest strength and weakness.
After that the meeting came to an end and things went more smoothly.
(Months Later; Due Date)
Months had passed since the day that everyone was informed. The lie that had managed to be spread had luckily been more or less accepted, along with the punishment she received. Others believed she deserved worse but as Kushina had not started the fight in the first place, merely getting out of hand during the even, Minato had justified his reasons.
From there everyone did their duties. Kushina had assisted the divisions she was assigned to as her punishments, which resulted in a twenty-nine percent increase in the defense of Konoha. Jiraiya had installed false rumours and along with Taji's help had made others disappear when they were suspected to have looked too deep into it. False evidence being left behind to make others looking into their deaths go looking into the wrong direction. While Biwako, Shizune, and Minato tended to Tsunade.
Then the long awaited day arrived.
"OOOOOHHHHHH, KAAAAAMMMIIIIIIIII!" Tsunade howled in agony. The woman had fought in many conflicts, survived incredible odds, even went face to face against one the most powerful men of his time and live, hell, she even survived having her body pierced and stabbed by enemy weapons. Yet all that paled in comparison to the sensation she was feeling right now. "MINATO, YOU BASTARD!"
Minato paled and whimpered as he felt another bone in his hand on the cusp breaking. Though she wasn't his wife, Tsunade was the mother of his child and the man had offered her his hand to help her through the pain. The man instantly regretted the chivalrous act when he remembered that Tsunade was known for her raw strength. Had he not reinforced his limb with a dense and large coat of chakra it had no doubt his hand would be useless for the next few days. Even then it wasn't a walk in the park. He was also glad that Tsunade didn't subconsciously use her chakra either.
Many often made the wrong assumption that Tsunade's strength derived from noting more than fine chakra control. Even without her chakra the woman had raw physical strength few could match, enhanced with her chakra and it becoming even more monstrous and frightening. The thought only served to fuel the fear Minato felt. The pregnancy labour had been going on for over two hours now and despite the pain they both felt, Tsunade wasn't fully dilated yet to deliver the baby safely. The man was in for a lot more pain.
Luckily for Minato the pain seized, if only temporarily, as the painful contraction ended. The man had a healthier respect for women at the moment for what they went through. Just looking was painful, and Minato didn't want to imagine the pain they felt. Then again, Tsunade did have his hand in a vice like grip of epic proportions.
"Oh, oh, kami. Please tell me it's almost over," a sweat soaked Tsunade gasped.
"Young lady we haven't even started yet," Biwako's answer caused Tsunade to cry with Minato following suit afterwards. "This is why men would make lousy mothers. They're so weak willed. At least women are strong enough to endure the actual pain!"
Minato could only gawk at the Sandaime's wife, "Easy for you to say!" the woman wasn't the one that was about to lose a limb here!
"We're close though," Taji reassured Minato and Tsunade. "If all goes well we should-"
Everyone in the room, in all of Konoha really, froze as the sound of the earth-shattering roar echoed through the night. Being closest to the window, Shizune drew the curtains and felt her body go ghost white with fear. With the curtains no longer impeding their ability to look outside, everyone else saw the origin of the roar and felt fear fester within themselves.
Standing tall and proud over the skies of Konoha, its titanic body greater than that of summons such as Gamabunta and Katsuyu, fur the color of orange and red flames, and nine large tails famed for creating natural disaster swishing to and fro behind it, was the greatest of nine.
"The Kyubi no Yoko (Nine-Tailed Demon Fox)," Minato managed to say as he saw the Tailed Beast. Minato had seen a few Biju before in his life, his signature technique being based off their infamous Tailed Beast Balls or Menacing Balls, as some would call it, but he could honestly say that none of them held a candle to the Demon Fox. The power he felt was terrifying, immense, and above all dark.
Minato cursed at the timing. As Hokage he had learned of things in regard to the Tailed Beasts. One of them being that killing them wasn't as simple or straightforward as it sounded. A Biju would 'die' for a certain amount of time but it reformed years later. Sometimes the resurrection was in random location, other times it was in the very spot its jinchuriki or itself died. Documented findings also explained two common occurrences. One was that the more tails a Biju had, the longer it took for it to return to physical form. It made sense as they had more chakra to regain.
The other common factor was that upon its return, the Biju was always mad as hell and needed to vent their rage upon the land. At times the devastation they wrought was seen by some as the wrath of the heavens and deities themselves or a bunch of calamities occurring all in one. There were many theories as to why this occurred, most merely saying the Biju were simply wild and primitive beasts with not real regard for the lives others. Others, however, theorized that the process was not a painless one and the Biju were temporarily insane and stricken with a lust for rage upon their return.
And now said beast was wreaking havoc right in front of Konoha. Luckily the Mask Temple was on the opposite side so they were out of harms way, for now at least. Loathed, as he wanted to leave and miss the birth of his firstborn, Minato had a duty to his village as its leader. "Keep them safe!" Minato ordered the group of medics before he left to face the beast, the man vowing the return to see his son grow.
But life was not so simple as many wanted it to be. Even with the combined might of many Konoha shinobi the battle had not been an easy one. A large amount of shinobi perished in the conflict, their bodies crushed and left broken, sliced or completely vaporised by the might of the Kyubi and its foul but potent chakra.
In the end, they had won and the Kyubi was defeated. But it came at great cost. For Konoha had not only lost many of its populace, but their leader as well. In an act of gallant sacrifice, Namikaze Minato had vanquished the Kyubi at the cost of his own life. Unknown to the ignorant masses was the fact that the Kyubi was sealed inside the man's newborn infant. A baby boy, whose umbilical cord had yet to be cut, had become the second human to hold the Kyubi inside it.
And the world would forever change due to it.
Just so everyone knows, I am not bashing Kushina despite how it looks. I like her, but actions have consequences. She is not solely to blame as even Minato is at fault. However, with his time divided between his job and wanted to make certain his first born was alright, and to make sure that no one knew about it, Minato barely had free time on his hands. He was also not interested in pursuing a relationship with Kushina as he believed she should not be involved in the mess he made. He also didn't know how she would handle it and now that she reacted the way she did he believes his actions were justified. He still loves her, never doubt that, but the man knew he had to be a leader in the eyes of others. Otherwise others would see him as a pushover and think he was more of a figure head than an actual leader, doubting the value of his authority and judgment.
I will acknowledge the fact that Hiruzen is a powerful ninja, but much of everything in future chapters contradicts early chapter info. In his prime, I don't doubt Hiruzen was the most powerful Kage, of his time generation, even now he is still very powerful and the only people who have a chance at beating him are A and Minato. In ten years it most likely won't be the case anymore. Even then it won't be an easy fight due to Hiruzen's knowledge on a vast repertoire of ninjutsu, genjutsu and taijutsu, even bukijutsu to an extent. What good is something if you know their weakness and how to counter them? That being said, the power scale between Hiruzen and Hashirama is too great and we all know that Hashirama and Tobirama weren't at their full might when they were first brought back. Orochimaru hadn't mastered the technique and basically brainwashed the past Hokage, meaning they couldn't use their full skills even further.
It was even said that certain skills and the full might of a resurrected person didn't quite return to them either as well. Fully resurrected, not Edo, and both in their prime, the power level would be too much and Hiruzen would have his ass handed. Hashirama has his titanic statue and Senjutsu that could be used virtually instantaneously. He is also the only person I know other than Naruto who found a way to move around when gathering nature chakra. Hiruzen knows about senjutsu but has never really trained in it.
Now as for why I killed off Minato, I couldn't find a way around it without it biting me in the ass. I contemplated keeping him alive so I didn't go the traditional way Minato is powerful, a gifted prodigy, and he's only in his twenties. The man has nowhere to go but up from them. Granted being in his office most of the time will probably dull his skills for a bit but I don't doubt he'd find a way around it sooner or later. Had I let Minato live I would have had to change a lot of things that would impede the growth of the characters and the plot in general.
An example is the invasion wouldn't have happened because we know Orochimaru isn't stupid, arrogant yes, but not stupid. He knew it wouldn't have worked or convinced the Kazekage to betray Konoha so long as the Yellow Flash was around. You don't exactly get called a once in a lifetime prodigy for being stupid. The only reason why Orochimaru attacked Itachi was because of his arrogance and belief that he could handle the young, less experienced ninja.
Orochimaru was ignorant of the teenager's abilities in the Mangekyo Sharingan and it backfired on him big time. If they were to face off again the man wouldn't make the same mistake twice and would go in prepared. Orochimaru from what I see is the person who doesn't take a fight seriously and will toy with his foes unless he knows their power and experience level is greater than his own. Even then he wont take it seriously if he has a trump card he believes will be more than a match for them or at least greatly turn the tide of battle on his side.