Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. All previous disclaimers apply.
Author's Note: I know I promised this earlier, but I've been very busy packing. I leave for college tomorrow, so it may take awhile for the next update. I had to get this one up before the new Naruto chapter released, since all my Kakashi/Obito interactions will be rendered bullshit if - well - don't want to spoil, but you guys probably get the point.
Also, a warning: this chapter has manga spoilers up to the latest manga chapter. Please take note of that before you proceed.
A special thanks to Kari-Kateora, Pecha Pichu, Imaginarivalued, dragonball256, InARealPickle, KiyumiArashi and Maelynae for your pwnsome, youthful reviews.
This one's for you guys! Now on with the story...
Saving Minato's Soul
The silver-haired Jounin crouched on the windowsill brought two fingers to his head, saluting.
"Yo. Sorry I'm late, but I was fighting a psychotic evil man who was trying to take over the world. So what's new?"
There was a stunned silence in the room, and Sakumo Hatake slowly walked towards his son.
The two men embraced roughly, and Kushina, Jiraiya and Asuma stood up as well, to greet the new arrival.
"Asuma," Kakashi patted his fellow Jounin on the back, "It's a little overdue, but congratulations on Kurenai. And your child."
"Thank you," Asuma nodded.
"Kakashi-kun," Jiraiya ruffled his head, "It's about time you came. I'm nearly done with Icha Icha Heavenly Fun, and there's nobody up here who really likes reading such depraved stuff."
Kakashi's eyes gleamed, and he radiated glee from under his mask.
"That, Jiraiya-sama, would be excellent."
He turned to Kushina, but before she could say anything, Obito came barreling through the window, looking flustered.
"Kakashi, you baka, I told you not to – oh," his mouth opened slightly, surveying all the shinobi, "Oops."
Kakashi turned to Kushina.
"Obito tells me we're on a mission to rescue dear Minato-sensei?"
Kushina nodded numbly.
"Well, I'm here to help. Just tell me what to do."
"Kakashi," she said suddenly, "I know you were fighting with Naruto – how is he?"
Kakashi's eyes crinkled.
"He's loud and unpredictable but talented as hell, Kushina. He's like you. Of course he's fine. In fact, I'm pretty sure he and Gai are finishing off that masked moron right about now."
Though Kakashi didn't say anything, Kushina had a gut feeling that he was one of the reasons Naruto was still alive, fighting down there.
"Kakashi-kun… thank you."
He understood, and nodded.
"Madara? He's almost finished?" Itachi asked, sounding tense.
"Itachi," Kakashi greeted, "My fellow Sharingan-user. Your little brother caused my team much trauma, you know."
"To be fair, I did cause him a lot too," Itachi replied.
"That's true," Kakashi's grinned under his mask, "But Naruto seems dead-set to knock some sense into him, so you don't need to worry."
"Naruto-kun does seem very – determined," Itachi agreed, "I have faith in him."
"As do I," Kakashi said, "Sometimes that boy doesn't know when to stop talking. It's very effective on enemies, though. I think he got it from his mother."
Kushina hit Kakashi on the head, none too gently, though her lips curved upwards.
"The masked man is almost finished," Kakashi confirmed, "He can't last much longer after our last attacks hit him, though unfortunately I landed up here. However, in answer to your question, Itachi – I don't think he was Madara Uchiha."
"Then who?" Itachi's eyes widened fractionally, his way of expressing shock.
"To be honest, I thought it was this idiot for awhile," Kakashi admitted, nudging Obito.
"Hey!" Obito yelled, affronted, "How could you think that?! When was I ever an evil, mass-murdering psychopath?!"
"He had your other eye and he seemed to know me personally," Kakashi shrugged, "But I figured it wasn't you, he was too powerful-"
"You asshole!" Obito growled, "How did you even land up here?!"
"Whatever do you mean?" Kakashi sounded offended.
"I mean, you're still such a douchebag! This place is for nice, pure, humble people and you're totally breaking the rules of Heaven if you come here at start saying crap like that!"
"Well I couldn't abandon you, could I?"
"Those who break the rules are trash," Kakashi recited, "But those who abandon their friends – they're worse than trash."
Obito's eyes widened, but moments later, his face broke out into a huge smile.
"That's a cool line, Kakashi. Where'd you get that from?"
"A very important friend of mine said it to me once," Kakashi said thoughtfully, "I don't remember his name, but he was an excellent shinobi."
"Alright boys, you two can catch up later," Sakumo interrupted, as Obito looked ready to hug his friend and burst into tears, "Kakashi, there's something you need to know."
"Is it about Mission: Rescue Minato-sensei?" Kakashi asked, "Obito filled me in on the jist of it, I'm ready to help, you can have my chakra too."
"We don't need your chakra," Sakumo said, "We need you to use a space-time technique. You implied you know one."
"I do actually. Kamui," Kakashi said, "With my left eye-"
"My left eye and you're welcome," Obito interrupted.
"I can use Kamui. It can transport objects and chakra from one dimension to another."
"Shit, really? My Sharingan can do that? That's sick," Obito was fascinated.
"That sounds perfect!" Kushina said, "That's exactly what we need."
."What exactly do you need it for?" Kakashi asked, "I heard you say something about transporting chakra down to earth and I-"
He trailed off, his visible dark eye softening, and there was a gasp near by the doorway.
"Kakashi-kun-" Rin stared at the new arrival in disbelief.
"Rin…" he murmured, and they locked gazes for a long moment.
And then Rin launched herself forward onto Kakashi, sobbing.
"Hey – hey – don't cry Rin," Kakashi's arms encircled the young girl, "It's not like I'm dead or anythi – oh, oops. I actually am. How ironic."
She pulled away from him and eyed him tearfully.
"I'm glad to have you back but – so soon? What did you do?!"
"Well, there was this crazy man with a mask who wanted to use the moon to take over the world and…" Kakashi broke off at Rin's confused look, slowly removing his hands from her waist, "Look, it's a long story. Why don't we discuss it over dinner? Me, you and Obito-baka."
He nodded at Obito, who scowled for a moment, before grinning again, shooting him a thumbs up.
"You're treating!" he crowed, and Kakashi rolled his eyes.
"Do they even make you pay in Heaven?"
"Just 'cause it's paradise doesn't mean it's cheap!"
"Why don't the three of you head off. You seem to have a lot of catching up to do," Sakumo said, eyeing his son and his team, "We can brief you on the mission details tomorrow."
"Oh, could we Sakumo-sensei?" Rin looked pleased, before she glanced at Kushina, who smiled.
"You guys deserve it. Go."
The three of them made to leave, Obito slinging an arm around Kakashi and jabbering away, Rin walking close on his other side.
Kakashi stopped suddenly, and turned to his father.
"I'll be home by ten?"
Sakumo's eyes crinkled.
"I'll be waiting, son."
And then the trio left, Team Minato, the students reunited.
But Kushina couldn't help but feel a pang, at the absence of their sensei. Undoubtedly the three of them would feel it too, but it would cut her more than any of them.
'Why couldn't you have died a normal death, damnit!' she thought to herself for the hundredth time, though she knew the answer, as always.
Still, seeing Team Minato's bittersweet reunion only made her long for the day when she would be reunited with her own love.
If that was even possible…
"So, what exactly are we doing here today?" Obito asked, rocking back and forth on his heels impatiently.
Kushina was wondering the same thing, as she looked around at the small group of shinobi that had congregated in the training ground.
Kakashi was perched on top of a log, reading a shockingly neon pink book and Rin was sitting on the grass below him, braiding together blades of grass.
Itachi was leaning by a tree and sharpening his kodachi, as his cousin Shisui juggled a pair of shuriken restlessly.
Sakumo sat by the lake, wearily eying his son's choice of literature, looking rather exasperated.
The man gestured at Kakashi and then looked almost pleadingly at Rin, who giggled.
"Obito and I have tried telling him, Sakumo-san, he doesn't listen," she said, referring to Kakashi's obsession.
"At least swap the covers, Kakashi, if you must read it in public," Sakumo grumbled.
"Nope," Kakashi flipped a page, "Jiraiya-sama gave me a free copy, the least I can do is advertise it for him."
"It was free because nobody reads that kind of trash up here!" Sakumo pointed out.
"Well I don't like taking favors from people if I can't repay them," his son shot back.
"How exactly did you repay me for my Sharingan?" Obito demanded.
"By mentoring your young relative Sasuke, and Naruto who was the non-Uchiha version of you," Kakashi replied shamelessly.
"Is that series any good?" Shisui suddenly asked, " I read some of his older novels, but judging fro the rumors I heard up here, this one seems a bit – risqué?"
"That's putting it delicately," Kushina snorted.
"The Icha Icha series is the best of Jiraiya-sama's works," Kakashi said reverently, "And this one tops them all."
"That's what she said," Obito sniggered quietly to himself, and Rin shot him a reprimanding look.
Kakashi just shook his head.
"Not quite the right context, but you're learning," he said, and Obito pouted.
"I am sure, Shisui-kun, that Jiraiya-sama would be more than happy to give you a signed copy of Icha Icha Heavenly Fun," Kakashi said, "I am also sure you would enjoy it."
"Would I?" Shisui looked a little unsure.
"You would," Kakashi said firmly, "The tagline is 'Fun so heavenly that a mortal would die of pleasure'."
"Oh, Kami-sama," Kushina smacked her forehead, "That sucks."
"That is why it could only be released in Heaven," Kakashi finished.
"That's what she said!" Obito cried excitedly.
"You're getting there," Kakashi gave him a thumbs up.
Shisui looked amused, Rin exasperated and Sakumo a little bit more than disturbed.
"Kakashi-san, if I may ask," Itachi spoke up, flipping his kodachi, "It was said that Sasuke was a lot like you. He inherited many of your characteristics from your teachings, such as your jutsu…"
Itachi trailed off, looking a little concerned as he arched an eyebrow.
Kakashi smiled behind his mask, understanding.
"Your brother was far too uptight to care about any of that, forget read it," Kakashi waved him off, "I did offer it to him – you know, as a stress-reliever – Kami knows the kid needed it – but he refused, most vehemently."
Itachi relaxed, looking satisfied.
"Good for Sasuke then," he nodded.
"Naruto on the other hand," Kakashi began, but trailed off at Kushina's deadly glare.
"You did not," she scowled at him, "Corrupt my son."
"Technically, it was Jiraiya-sensei," Kakashi waved his hands frantically, "Those years they went off training, that's when it all happened. I had nothing to do with it."
"Really?" Kushina asked, cracking her fists.
"I would never corrupt your son," Kakashi said solemnly.
"But you would, my brother?" Itachi narrowed his eyes.
"Sasuke always went on about how he wanted to restore his clan. I thought he should at least be educated about how the 'restoring' part was done," Kakashi said promptly, and Itachi rolled his eyes.
"I don't think that's quite what Sasuke meant."
"Then he really should have stopped proclaiming stuff like that. The fangirls were obsessed with him anyways, he was only adding fuel to the fire."
"Oh, he had fangirls, did he?" Shisui sniggered, "Just like his nii-san then."
Itachi kept his face neutral, as Shisui continued.
"Every single female in the village was crazy about him."
"That happened with Minato too, 'ttebane," Kushina said reminiscently, though she clenched her fists, "Stupid little harlots."
"I never particularly liked them either, Kushina-san," Itachi said consolingly.
'I don't like them!' Kushina sulked, crossing her arms, 'They're loud and annoying and useless and they always – ALWAYS follow you around! Why can't you just tell them to piss off, 'ttebane?!'
'But that would actually require me speaking to them," Minato pointed out, "Something I'd rather avoid.'
'But I can't concentrate on this scroll with all their shrieking and screaming, 'ttebane! Do they really think they're being discrete, stalking you from behind the bushes like that?'
'Just block them out,' Minato told her.
'How? They're so freaking loud,' Kushina made a face, before imitating them in a high-pitched voice, 'Oh, Minato-kun, he's just so handsome and so cute! I just want to marry him!'
'Don't you think it's a bit soon for marriage, Kushina-chan,' Minato teased, shooting her a heart-fluttering smile, 'Though for the record, I think you're pretty cute too.'
He was just teasing, but his words did wonderful and strange things to her insides.
Kushina walloped him with her scroll, ignoring the enraged hissing that came from the bushes at this.
'Just shut up, 'ttebane! You know that's not what I meant!' Kushina's cheeks flamed, 'They're annoying and loud and you really should be less – tolerant of them!'
'It's okay Kushina,' Minato said, laughing as he dodged her blows, 'You don't need to get jealous of my fangirls.'
Kushina gaped at him incredulously.
'Did you just – I'm not – why would you – MINATO!'
'Yes?' he cocked his head at her and smiled charmingly, seemingly unaware of the impending explosion that would be incited by this remark.
'I am –' Kushina took a deep breath, her hair whipping behind her as she glared at him, 'Not. Jealous. Of YOUR stupid fangirls. I never have been and never, ever will be!'
'Mm, of course not,' Minato indulged her, ruffling her hair, and she batted his hand away.
'Okay, spar with me, right now!' Kushina demanded, 'I need to punch something, namely your pretty little face, and your stupid fangirls would probably enjoy the show anyways!'
'Actually, I have a much better idea,' Minato smirked at her, moving close.
'What are you – oh,' Kushina gave a breathy little gasp as he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her to him, pressing his lips gently against hers.
Sobs, shrieks and sighs could be heard from the bushes, but Kushina didn't care this time, tightening her fingers in his golden hair as she kissed him back hungrily, and just a little bit possessively.
Kushina was jerked out of her happy memory by the arrival of Jiraiya, a few minutes later.
"You!" Kushina immediately rounded on her husband's sensei, glowering at him.
"What?" Jiraiya asked warily, not oblivious to the ire that was emanating from the redhead.
"You. Corrupted. My. Son," Kushina seethed, "You made him read your disgusting smut!"
"It's not smut!" Jiraiya looked affronted, "It is highly tasteful, albeit a little bit depraved erotica. You should be proud of Naruto. He even wrote his own Icha Icha spin-off-"
"He what?!" Kushina screeched, and Jiraiya blanched, realizing a bit too late that it probably wasn't the best idea to tell the boy's mother of this particular fact.
"Hey, it stopped a potential war," Kakashi defended his favorite author, though he seemed to be enjoying the scene.
"Hence my theory that sex is the only foolproof way to stop a war," Jiraiya said sagely, "Mass copulation. It's the key to world peace."
"Wh-what?!" Kushina sputtered, much too shocked at Kakashi's proclamation to scream at Jiraiya for his.
"It was accidentally sent as a peace treaty to one of the daimyos and the daimyo enjoyed it so much that it stopped a minor war between Fang and Claw," Kakashi elucidated, to the amusement of all except Kushina.
"Which shinobi in their right mind would stick their kodachi into the body of an opposing kunoichi?" Jiraiya asked hypothetically, "When they could indeed, stick their 'kodachi' into the body of said kunoichi?"
He waggled his eyebrows at Itachi promptly sheathed his own kodachi, though a smile was pulling even at the stoic Uchiha's lips.
"That's what she said?" Obito tried, but Shisui shook his head this time.
"Jiraiya already implied it, that comment was redundant," he explained.
"I don't care if it was a peace treaty!" Kushina yelled, "You were supposed to teach him jutsu, not how to write porn!"
"I did teach him jutsu!" Jiraiya defended, "Kuchiyose, the Rasengan-"
"Which I helped him modify, Kushina-san," Kakashi added, eager to remain on the good side of a woman who was rapidly escalating to Bloody Habanero levels of wrath.
"Hey, I gave him an all-round education, and Kushina-chan, you know you want grandchildren," Jiraiya said, and Kushina deflated slightly.
"I didn't know an all-round education involved you making him henge into a naked girl," Kakashi said innocently, as Jiraiya desperately made slashing motions with his hands.
"…excuse me?!" Kushina almost choked, apparently unaware of her son's infamous sexy jutsu.
"I give you free material that will keep you happy for days and this is how you repay me?" Jiraiya hissed, glaring at Kakashi, before backing away from the advancing redhead.
"Uh – Kushina-chan – let me explain –"
Sakumo and Rin managed to restrain Kushina after she had near-finished raging at the legendary Sannin, who was now cowering behind a hysterically laughing Obito.
"Sexy no Jutsu to transform into a hot girl. That's brilliant!" Obito was chuckling to himself.
Dan, Asuma and Mito walked into the clearing, noticing the obvious tension in the air.
"You wait till Minato comes back," Kushina warned Jiraiya darkly, "He's going to freak. We will have our revenge on you, Jiraiya-sensei, for corrupting our son."
Itachi smiled to himself at the last bit, and the two released their hold on Kushina who stalked off to sit on one of the logs next to Kakashi's.
"Well, I suppose now that we're all gathered here, we should begin," Jiraiya said cautiously, glancing sideways at Kushina who stared back stonily, "We're testing moving the chakra, of course, through the dimensions. I'll extract a bit of my chakra, and Kakashi can try transporting it with Kamui."
"Kushina and I will use Spirit Control, to see if the chakra is successfully transported," Dan said, nodding at Kushina.
"Are you going to simply extract some chakra?" Mito asked, "It would have to be held together somehow to make transporting it more viable."
"Oh, I have a technique that will be useful for exactly that," Jiraiya grinned.
He drew out a sufficient amount of chakra, quickly spinning it into a Rasengan.
"Of course!" Kushina cried, recognizing the jutsu immediately, "Rasengan packs chakra together pretty tightly."
"Will this work?" Jiraiya asked Kakashi, who quickly activated his Mangekyou Sharingan and nodded.
"I've actually transported Naruto's Rasengan before. I can do it."
Itachi, Obito and Shisui activated their Sharingan as well, watching Kakashi carefully, and Kushina and Dan both closed their eyes, concentrating.
"Spirit Control: Release!" they yelled together.
Kushina felt the sudden lurching feeling as her soul was whipped forwards.
"Kamui!" she heard Kakashi shout, and then she barreled into the white space.
"Come on," Kushina urged herself, before she shot through the barrier.
And then she was there again, on earth, floating high above the green canopies and rugged mountains. She could see large blasts and explosions, miles away, near the place where the ocean met the land, and almost instinctively flew in that direction.
"Kushina – no," Dan panted, materializing next to her, though he looked a lot more exhausted than she felt, "Now's not – the time."
Kushina, though she desperately wanted to fly out and check on Naruto nodded. It was not the time, and there was nothing she could currently do to help her son.
They waited a few long moments, and Dan began struggling with himself, as his chakra reserves ran low.
"Where is it?" Kushina asked, whipping her head around as she flew under the clouds, looking for Jiraiya's Rasengan, "Kakashi's Kamui should have transported it here!"
"Can't sense it – either," Dan bit out.
"Where could it have gone?!" Kushina began panicking, "Dan-san-"
"I – I don't know," Dan gasped, before he shook violently, "I'm sorry-"
And then he was gone, as his soul was pulled back to Heaven.
Kushina could feel her strength ebbing away, but she could hold on for quite a few more minutes. Pushing back the desire to go find Naruto, she flitted through the clouds, looking around frantically for the Rasengan.
"It should be here," Kushina muttered, "Damnit!"
If Kakashi couldn't transport a simple Rasengan using Kamui, there was no way an overloaded mass of chakra would make it to Earth. And the entire success of their admittedly risky plan depended on that.
"Oh, come on, come on Kakashi," Kushina swept through the air, trying to sense the familiar chakra somewhere, anywhere.
There was nothing.
She searched for at least twenty more minutes, until she began shaking violently and her head went light.
And then seconds later, she was jerked back, and landed hard on her back.
Kakashi ran towards her, his eyes radiating concern.
"It didn't – work," Kushina croaked, her head swimming and the last thing she saw was Kakashi close his eyes in resignation, or disappointment, his silver brows furrowing angrily.
And then everything went black.
His sleek body shone silver as the moonlight played nicely along his lean muscles.
'Are you sure?' he asked, his eyes full of tender love and concern as he brushed a lock of hair away from her cheek.
She met his deep gaze and nodded, wrapping her legs around him as he leaned down, his lips brushing against hers.
'I'll always love you,' he promised her, stroking her cheek before thrusting down-
Kushina's eyes flew open suddenly, and she shot up, blinking as her eyes adjusted to the dark.
She still felt unusually weak and light-headed, and she gripped her head, wondering where exactly she was.
It seemed like a hospital room of some sort, but she didn't know how she had landed up there.
Last she remembered, she had been at a clearing, with Jiraiya, Kakashi and the others, doing Spirit Control and –
Kamui had failed.
Kakashi hadn't been able to transport the chakra onto earth which meant-
"Minato-" Kushina wailed, her heart clenching painfully, "I'm so – I'm so sorry-"
And then she fell back into the bed – the empty bed – and sobbed against the pillow, the pillow which was much too soft.
She wanted Minato's chest, just then, but she wouldn't get it.
She would get any of him because he was still stuck in the stomach of the Shinigami and the one plan that they had to get him out had failed.
And he was doomed to be stuck there, in that infernal place, suffering and loving her, knowing that they could never be reconnected.
Just like she would be doomed to suffer in Heaven, longing for the touch of her husband, for the sound of his voice, for his gentle smile.
'I'll always love you, Kushina…'
Even if she couldn't be with him, what she would do to at least switch places with him, so that he could be up here with his students, with his sensei, with the ones he loved…
"Minato – I –" Kushina gasped, and clutched at the sheets as small bursts of chakra exploded from her fingertips, singing the material, "Damnit!"
Tears rolled down her eyes and she shook uncontrollably, sobbing into the pillow. She heard soft footsteps, and felt a gentle touch on her shoulder, and for a second her heart leapt.
But it wasn't him.
It would never be him.
And then she felt her vision blur again, the darkness falling over her eyes like a shroud, and Kushina welcomed it.
Because now only in dreams would she ever be happy and oblivious.
Only in dreams would she feel like she was with Minato.
A/N: A lot of you asked for a lighter chapter with more character interactions and less exposition, so here it is. I hoped you enjoyed it. I did keep it a lot lighter and tried to inject some humor, though I know it got a little angsty towards the end. Sorry about that. [I hope it wasn't confusing, but what basically happened was that Kushina fainted from overexertion since she maintained Spirit Control for over 20 minutes - she's improving! And then she was taken to the hospital to rest and recover. That's all.]
And I admit, I sort of half-copied the flashback about fangirls from my other MinaKushi fic 'orange sparks' though I changed the dialogue and made them a little older during the interaction.
I hope nobody seemed out of character. I'm leaving Shisui's character open to interpretation since we don't know anything about his personality except for the fact that he was badass and selfless.
A few questions have been asked about what shippings will happen in Team Minato. Well, I personally like both KakaRin and ObitoRin, so I'm just leaving it open to interpretation for now, though if anyone has a particular request, do let me know, and I'll see if I choose one way or the other.
Regarding Naruto, Sasuke and the rest... well, they may feature in future chapters. We shall just have to wait and see ;)
My thanks also to Kari-Kateora, KiyumiArashi, InARealPickle and Hatred bear it Fangs for pointing out a few typos/errors in the previous chapters, all of which have been fixed. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, readers, I just don't have a beta and barely have time to get these up, forget proofread them! Nonetheless, I apologize for the errors, and thanks, guys, for pointing them out =)
As usual, if you have any questions, please PM me or leave them in a review! Thank you for all your feeback so far.