Beta: Blaizekit was unfortunately busy and could not Beta for me, but Ekusukallyba, Duesal Bladesinger, and Igornerd did look it over for errors at some point during it's writing. If there are mistakes, I probably wrote/modified it after they looked at it. XD Super thanks to them for helping. :3
Chapter 19: The Mother of All Problems Summoning Technique
Naruto's eye widened as he saw the stream rise up in a wave of spikes. He frantically started the handsigns for a Kawarimi no jutsu, knowing he wasn't going to make it in time as the wall of razor sharp ice descended upon them.
Something yellow slammed into him, knocking the wind out of his lungs and sending him sprawling to the ground. He was expecting to hit soft grass, but instead impacted something hard and unforgiving. Stone? There was no eerie chill from unnaturally formed ice either, and the weight that had bowled him over was no longer on top of him.
He sat up quickly and looked around in confusion to see himself on Tazuna's bridge. How did he get here?
"Naruto!" a cheerful voice greeted him, soon followed by the warmth of arms wrapping around him. "Wait, you are the real one, right? Where's Minato? Are you Minato? Man, this whole kage bunshin thing is confusing."
The blond's eyes widened in realization and he shrugged out of the redhead's embrace to stand up. His father sent him here, he had to have had, but... why'd he send him alone?
"Naruto?" his mother asked, raising an eyebrow at his odd behavior.
"We need to go help him!" he blurted out suddenly. "We were attacked! The river turned into these huge sharp ice knives and Dad sent me here but he's not here and he might be hurt and-"
He'd been about to race off back towards the clearing, when he was grabbed by the back of his jacket and held back. "Hold on there, kiddo. Don't worry about Minato, he'll be fine."
Kushina made him sit. Part of her wanted to rush off and check on her husband as well, but she did have a kage bunshin out there. That, and Minato was more than likely perfectly capable of handling himself. "Now spill. Who attacked you? How? What do you remember?"
The blond scowled, and looked like he wanted to argue, but thought better of it and began talking.
At the same moment he activated Hiraishin to send Naruto to safety, Minato sent himself back into danger. He latched onto the seal he'd placed on the boy right before subduing him and teleported to it. He'd planned on another quick restraint and just knocking the boy out, but he hit a wall instead. A cold unyielding wall that he realized, with no small amount of curiosity, was made out of ice.
A hyouton user... that was something he hadn't seen before in his extensive fighting career. Even better, they were ice slabs that looked into another dimension of sorts. Space-time jutsu? Minato had to take a moment to step back and analyze it, and not just because he was fascinated by the new and shiny jutsu he'd never seen before.
The ice user's image stared back at him from each mirror forming a dome like enclosement around him. So the boy could come attack from any one of them? Interesting... he wondered if this was anything like what others felt when they fought him?
Senbon flew at him as Haku jumped from one mirror to the next. Minato dodged them easily, moving at almost shunshin speeds to intercept the ice user before he could reach the sanctuary of his pocket dimension. He aimed a lightning fast strike to the back of his opponents neck to disable him.
His hand went through the water clone, dispersing it with a splash that soaked him thoroughly. Not exactly a good thing when one was surrounded by ice. It was cold. He landed and frowned in irritation, waiting for his opponent's next move. If that was all the Hyouton could do, he was going to be severely disappointed.
More clones jumped out to try and attack him, trying multiple at once, but Minato dispatched them as easily as the first. Right afterward came a much more interesting attack, however. With a quick handseal, the puddles of clone-water lifted up into the air and formed a mass of water needles. Almost lazily Minato went through the hand seals of a fuuton technique and sent out a whirl of wind chakra that knocked them away.
Slipping a kunai from his weapon pouch, Minato hurled it at a mirror to test its resilience. He wasn't surprised when it bounced off harmlessly. He followed it almost immediately with a Rasengan, wondering if it could be broken with more power.
The answer was yes. Very much so. His Rasengan shattered it like it was cheap crystal. With a satisfied smile, the Yondaime went on to try and find out what happened if you broke all of the mirrors.
"I didn't want to kill you, but it appears I have no choice," he heard Haku say, his voice laced with regret.
Minato didn't stop breaking mirrors, but he did give his opponent most of his attention, curious to see an attack that would supposedly kill him. When his wet clothing began to rapidly drop in temperature, the blond decided that he really didn't need to see it after all and activate his Hiraishin. To get out of his clothing. That was trying to kill him by turning into spears of ice.
He selected the marker he'd placed on the boy from the beginning, all indicators telling him it would work inspite of being in some other dimension. Reappearing successfully behind Haku, Minato had time to note the darkness surrounding them and the penetrating cold that tried to grip him before using a chakra enhanced punch to send the ice user flying back into the real world and clear across the clearing before following after instantly with another Hiraishin. He wasn't sure if the gateway between the two dimensions would stay open if the boy wasn't maintaining it, and he didn't want to risk getting stuck.
He appeared next to his opponent and was about to knock him unconscious when another hand whipped out and did it for him, slapping a paper seal on Haku's chest. The blond blinked in surprise at the grinning redhead standing over them. Oh, that's where Kushina had gotten to. He'd lost track of her when the stream had turned to ice and attacked them, but he'd known she could take care of herself.
His wife looked him up and down, "Should I be jealous that she managed to get you out of your clothes faster than I ever have?"
Minato sighed, remembering his current state of undress. "He's a boy."
"Right. Because that makes it so much better."
Palm met face, and the blond shook his head in disbelief. "Anyway. We should get a more permanent seal in place before you dispel and that one fails."
"And you should get clothes on. Not that I mind the view, but it's a bit distracting," she commented, then frowned down at the unconscious shinobi. "What are our plans with the kid?"
With a quick handseal and a mutter of 'Henge', Minato was decently covered. "Get any information out of him we can. Then take him back to Konoha and see what the Sandaime wants with a Hyouton user."
With a kekkei genkai, it was no wonder the kid was a missing nin from Kiri. They weren't very friendly toward bloodline limit users over there. It had even gotten violent in some cases. Or a lot of cases, if Minato's intel had been at all accurate in their reports. It was entirely possible this boy hadn't done anything more wrong than be born. Well, and impersonate a hunter-nin, but that could be dismissed given his circumstances.
It was encouraging that he'd shown a reluctance to kill. Even if that was going to have to be conditioned out of him, it meant he had moral core to work with. That he wasn't just some rampaging psychopath with no loyalties. Either way, it would be up to Sarutobi to decide his fate, since Minato was no longer village leader.
Kushina nodded, not really caring. "How'd you know he was an enemy?"
He paused in the act of throwing their prisoner over one shoulder and thought quickly. Was it worth it to possibly set his wife off by informing her that this was the fake hunter nin that had deprived her of her vengeance against the man that had hurt their son?
"I thought some of his mannerisms were familiar, so I did a quick sensory scan. He had the same chakra as one of the enemies we'd come across before," he explained vaguely, hoping she wouldn't press for details. "Come on, let's get the prisoner to the bridge and set a more permanent seal on him." Throwing a topic change in there wouldn't hurt either.
It was a good thing his wife was so easily distracted, she nodded and came over to take his hand. He was going to get yelled at later, probably, if she found out, but it was better than whatever she might do to their prisoner. He lifted the boy over one shoulder before teleporting to the bridge.
When he arrived, he was surprised to find Kushina overlooking some Naruto clones, with Kakashi reading his book while facing out over the water, yet no sign of the kids. Unless one of those clones were actually Naruto, but he didn't think so.
He braced for impact as the real clone Kushina tackled him in a hug before turning her face to look up at him with a frown. "It is you, right? The real you? Who's that? And you better drop my husband's hand, clone, before I take you out."
The blond hastily freed his hand from the clone before it could tighten its grip and say something about making it and getting a chakra chain through the head. He needed that clone alive to keep the seal on the Hyouton user intact and not exploded.
"It's me, the real me," he assured her. "This is the enemy I captured. He's got a bloodline limit that allows him to use ice-element attacks. Kakashi, can you secure and watch over him for the time being?"
The jounin looked over with his one eye and nodded, putting his book away. "Hai, sensei. Do we want him conscious or unconscious?"
"Conscious," the Yondaime replied, "Remake the chakra seals on him as well, the ones on him aren't permanent. Where are the kids?"
Kakashi made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a stifled laugh as he pulled out ninja wire and began to carefully bind the boy. Minato didn't see that as a good sign. Nor was the big gleeful smile his wife was giving him.
"They're training," was all she said.
"... Training how?" He was missing something here, he just knew it.
"Come see!" Apparently that was all the prompting Kushina needed before she enthusiastically dragged him over to the edge of the bridge. "Look how good they've gotten! I'm an amazing teacher!"
She pointed down toward the water and his gaze followed. Below, Sakura was standing shakily on top of the water helping their son up out of the water and onto a pillar, while across from them Sasuke was running up a different support. He faltered and backflipped off before falling to land properly on a bit of ninja wire he'd suspended between the pillars with a pair of kunai.
"That's cheatin'," Kushina muttered, fishing a shuriken out of her pouch. The blond watched in amusement as she let it fly and sliced the wire the Uchiha was standing on, dunking him into the water. "Anyway, they've got about fifteen more minutes before I turn on the 'incentive' seals. I think we'll have them climbing all the way up the bridge by the end of the day! Then we can make 'em spar and climb. Or waterwalk, whichever they prefer. Pinky's gonna have the upperhand in that, I think. She's a natural at chakra control. She's almost as good as you were as a genin, I think."
"Really? I only fell in the water once. Twice, if you count that time a few days back," Minato commented as he watched the girl walk across the water to help her other teammate back up.
He failed to see his wife's eye twitch. "Twice?"
"Yeah, I didn't tell you? It was either that or hear another crude remark from Jiraiya-sensei."
He went back to analyzing the pink-haired girl's chakra control and revisiting his earlier ideas of possibly introducing her to medical ninjutsu. Or genjutsu, but he was only barely decent at that and wouldn't be much help.
The irritated mutterings of 'stupid perfect Namikaze' were all the warning he received before he found himself shoved forward with chakra enhanced strength. In retrospect, he probably should have predicted that, he told himself as he fell toward the sea. He didn't even try to slow his descent or use Hiraishin, that would just set him up for something worse from his wife, and let himself crash into the water.
Great. He was wet again. After that worked out so well the last time.
Minato climbed up onto the surface of the water and was startled by a shout.
"Hey! Wha-," Naruto started to say something but the act of speaking caused him to lose his concentration and fall off the surface he'd been clinging to.
"Naruto-baka! I was just over there!" Sakura shouted as her teammate surfaced sputtering indignantly. She gave an angry huff as she scrunched her face up in concentration and made her way over to him with shaky steps. "Hold on, I'll be right there."
Minato could see the signs of chakra exhaustion beginning on the girl and he hastily stepped forward to help his son instead. "I'll get him, don't worry. How long have you guys been down here?"
He subtly sent chakra into the water, much like with his All-Seeing-Eye technique but slightly different. He helped solidify the water underneath the girl so she wouldn't have to work so hard to stay on the water. Kushina forgot others didn't have chakra reserves like Uzumaki, and she probably didn't even realize how drained Sakura was.
Pushing them to exhaustion would have been fine if they were safe in the village, but they were on a mission. They all needed to be ready to act at a moments notice, and she was close to collapse. She would barely have enough to make a strategic retreat in her condition.
She obviously noticed when her water walking became significantly easier, turning a questioning look on him. He didn't have a chance to reply as the sopping wet, orange-clad blond he was helping to lift up grabbed the front of Minato's shirt.
"What's the big idea, sending me away like that?! I could have stayed and fought! I'm not weak!"
The Yondaime did not point out how hard it was to take him seriously when he said that while clinging to him like a life preserver. No, that wouldn't help matters at all. Instead, he took a moment to consider while helping his son find purchase again on the stone column.
"I didn't send you away because I thought you were weak," he said carefully, "I know that you're not; and if this were a regular mission, I wouldn't have done it. However, this is not a normal mission, and the enemies we are facing are far stronger than what you would normally encounter. I probably won't be able to keep you from all the fighting, but if I see your life in danger, what kind of father would I be if I didn't try to stop it?"
Naruto still didn't look convinced, but at least he was slightly less scowly than before. Minato decided to throw in for good measure, "If it's any consolation, that kid, Haku? He almost seriously injured me."
"Really?" his son asked. "Are you sure you were Hokage? You don't seem that strong to me."
"... You and your mother are the only two people who say that to me anymore," the elder blond replied with a slightly exasperated tone. He looked up sharply at the sense of someone else's chakra in the water. "Sakura, stop!"
The pink-haired girl jumped in surprise at his sudden reprimand, and would have fallen into the water if the Yondaime hadn't been reinforcing her. He felt guilty for the kicked-puppy look she was giving him. "Sorry, that technique requires a lot of chakra, and your reserves are already low. It's really impressive that you've managed to pick up on it that fast, but I can't have you out of commision from chakra exhaustion when an enemy could attack at any moment."
'Really impressive' was an understatement. Seriously, how had no one realized this girl's natural grasp of chakra manipulation sooner?
"I'm sorry, I was just trying to help Sasuke-kun like you were helping me. Then maybe he would have an easier time learning to climb the wall?" she explained nervously.
"That's very admirable, and tomorrow it will be excellent chakra control practice. Just not today," he said patiently.
Up on the pillar, Sasuke frowned and narrowed his eyes, not quite understanding what they were talking about. Helping him? He didn't need help. "What was she doing?"
"Why don't you come down here and find out?" Minato challenged. "We'll play a game. Naruto, you come too. All you have to do to win is completely submerge yourself in the water. I'll be stopping you. Consider it a break for you guys, and training for me."
"All we have to do is get dunked? That's easy! We've been doing that lots already!" Naruto scoffed. He then proceeded to demonstrate by jumping from his perch and diving head first toward the water.
"Ah, Naruto-!" he father tried to warn him even though it was already too late. Minato really did try to soften his hold on the water surface, but there wasn't much he could do without allowing Naruto through and win the challenge. He winced as his son yelped when he struck the surface of the water and it didn't yield.
Sasuke's descent was much more cautious, first tossing down a kunai that sank as normal, before jumping down himself. He was braced for impact and landed gracefully on his feet, making his blond teammate glare at him. Which was ignored in favor of regarding Minato carefully. "You're doing this?"
The ex-Hokage nodded, not volunteering any more information than that. They had all the information they needed, or, more precisely, one of them had all the information they needed to succeed. Now to see what they would do.
As he predicted, Sasuke attacked him. Not a bad plan, and it would work against a normal opponent, this level of chakra control was difficult and required focus. Unfortunately, the Yellow Flash was not normal; and evading attacks from a genin came easily to him. That wasn't going to be enough to break his concentration.
Shortly after Sasuke started, Naruto came as well. That suited Minato just fine, they were almost making it less work for him since it was easier to predict where they were going to land on the water if they were in melee with him. It also took less chakra if he didn't have to 'reach' as far to get to them.
It was Sakura who made things difficult. She turned and ran in the opposite direction.
Snatching Sasuke's wrist, and Naruto's ankle, Minato threw them both back before rushing after her. It didn't take long, and he felt bad for what he was about to do. "Sorry, Sakura, can't let you win that easily."
She barely had time to widen her eyes in reaction before his leg contacted her stomach and sent her skipping across the water back toward her teammates.
"What the hell was that?!" Naruto demanded. "You just... you disappeared and then suddenly Sakura-chan went flying and you're all the way over there! How did you do that?! Did you teleport? I thought you had to have one of those seal things..."
"He didn't teleport, dobe. That was just speed," the Uchiha corrected. He stared intently at the Yondaime, and the blond could almost see the gears turning in his head.
"Wow, you must be really fast!"
Minato smiled. "I have been told that on occasion, yes."
By this time, the pink-haired girl had climbed to her feet. Minato had come back toward them, picking a spot a few yards away to let them come to him. He was curious to see what they'd do now.
"Sakura," the brunette spoke up reluctantly. "Why did he go after you?"
"Ah, I was- he-," she sputtered for a moment in surprise at being asked before she calmed herself and answered. "He's using his chakra in the water to push us up, I just thought it would be harder for him if I were farther away. But then he stopped me, so I don't know if I was right."
"If he stopped you, then it was working. If we all go at once-"
"I've got it!" Naruto interrupted, forming his favorite seal. "Kage bunshin no jutsu!"
Two dozen clones popped into existence before promptly falling into the water.
"Clones don't count," the Yondaime cheerfully informed them. He had his chakra attached to the real one, it's not like he could get them mixed up. That, and the real Naruto was the only one with a Hiraishin seal on him.
"They count as a distraction! Get 'im!"
Minato had to at least give him credit for trying. As the water-logged clones attempted to hinder him, the genin scattered in different directions. It took the Yondaime twice as long as normal to dispatch all of Naruto's bunshin before coming after them because of his split concentration. Which meant it took him two seconds instead of one. Well, almost two seconds.
The teens were rounded up back together again by the time the third second had passed. Naruto glared daggers at his father who was still smiling calmly at them.
"Guys, this isn't working!"
Naruto's outburst was ignored as Sasuke thought harder. "Sakura, what made you fall most often while water walking?"
"Uhm... usually when the water moved unpredictably and I didn't adjust the chakra on my feet well enough to compensate. Oh, should we figure out how to move the water?"
The Uchiha thought that over before discarding it. "No. His chakra is in the water, he controls it. We need to find a way to disrupt that."
"Can we just hit it?" Naruto asked, only half following their conversation.
The other two stared at him incredulously. "What? It's a legitimate suggestion!"
"Hit chakra?" Sasuke deadpanned. Sometimes he doubted the blond could even hear himself speak.
"Actually that might work," Sakura spoke up. "If we expel our own chakra it might disrupt his?"
Sasuke blinked in surprise, before nodding in understanding. "We'd need a distraction to further break his concentration."
"Yeah, but what could we do that a Hokage wouldn't already be expecting?" Sakura muttered, frowning in thought.
"I've got this!" Naruto exclaimed excitedly for the second time.
"You said that last time, dobe," the brunette snapped at him in irritation.
"Yeah, but I really got it this time! OIROKE NO JUTSU!"
His father sweatdropped when his son turned into a completely naked and... uh... curvy blonde. "Naruto, that's not going to work on me."
"It's not for you," Naruto repeated with a wide grin that reminded Minato all too much of Kushina. "Just wait for it. I call this the 'Mother of All Problems Summoning Technique'!"
For some reason, that name sent a shiver down the Yondaime's spine. A moment later, when a wordless shriek of rage coupled with thick killing intent filled the air, he figured out why.
Naruto blanched when his mother landed on the water next to them, sending a small wave from her point of impact. He quickly dropped his disguise and pointed at his dad.
"He made me do it!"
That was when Minato came to the conclusion that the villagers may have had a point. His son was an evil little monster.
There was a large splash as the three genin found themselves simultaneously dumped in the water while the Yondaime made good on his monicker and bolted from the area, a raging red hot habanero not far behind him.
Naruto laughed loudly. "Oh man, that worked better than I thought it would! He is so whipped."
"Naruto!" Sakura chastised. "You shouldn't refer to the Yondaime as 'whipped'!"
"Why not? He totally is!"
Sasuke ignored their growing argument in favor of returning to his previous task of attempting to climb the bridge support columns.
Up on the bridge itself, Kakashi hummed thoughtfully as he flipped a page in his book. Perhaps Naruto would be his new favorite student.
"Maa, looks like you're in luck, kid," he said without turning his head. "I've been relegated to genin-sitting duty. Your interrogation will just have to wait."
"H-hai, shinobi-san," Haku stuttered back, not quite sure how he was supposed to handle his situation. He'd never been captured before.
Kakashi actually did slide an eye over to look at the boy at that oddly polite response. Meh, not the strangest thing he'd ever encountered. Maybe the kid was a masochist, he wasn't one to judge.
He went back to reading his book.
A/N: Is it bad that whenever I write Kushina's wordless shriek of rage, I'm imagining a banshee cry from ME3? X3
There you go, one of my most favoritest chapters yet. Also probably my longest. X3
If you haven't yet, you all should come check out our Awesome Author's Coalition forum. We have chatting! Story recs! RP! Lots of Kushina-muse! And even a place where people go to post terrible fanfics and compete to see who can find the worst one! Link in my profile, guys, it's lots of fun.
We even have this new RP where we're playing little six year old clones of whatever character we want. Is good times. XD
Also, because everyone else is doing it: What should be the fate of our little snow rabbit, Haku? I'm curious to see what you guys think will/want to happen to him...
Anyway, here, have some stories...
Road to Konoha by WynterSky - I'm always looking for good RtN stories to read... this is one of them.
"After the events of Road to Ninja, Naruto gets a visitor from that world asking for his help." (Last updated: Apr, 2014)
Dancing Leaves by skyisthelimit - My officially second favorite MinaxKushi story after 'A Girl from Whirlpool'. X3
"No matter the era, the leaves will flutter as they fall, marking the trials of a village, the blooming of a woman, and the growth of a boy in to a man, a man who will eventually earn the title Fire Shadow. Pre-Naruto. MinaKush." (Last Updated: Aug, 2013)
The Girl Who Spun Through Time by Ser Serendipity - A Hinata time travel fic. In which Hinata gets hit so hard she flies through time. More serious than I make it sound. XD
"The Byakugan is one of the world's most legendary bloodlines. And just like the rest, it has a dangerous secret of its own. Now, thanks to the unforeseeable, Hinata Hyuuga finds herself given a unique chance to change everything. It's too bad such things never go as planned. Hinata-centric, Time Travel" (Last updated: Jun, 2014)