Title: Stormy Days: Tales of Wind and Thunder
Pairings: Namikaze Minato (the Yondaime Hokage) x Uzumaki Kushina
Ratings: PG-13 for now
Summary: Spoilers for Naruto 367. Collection of drabbles/one-shots centering on the Yondaime Hokage and his red-headed, tomboyish lady—their past, loves, friends and ultimately, the choices they made and the legacy they left behind.
“I was only—”
“No. Gods, how could you even consider—”
“It’s a possibility, a suggestion, an option. You can’t deny that, not anymore. We need to talk—”
“Dammit, I said no, and that’s the end of it!”
Kushina stared hard at Minato, not flinching from the white-hot glare the Yondaime Hokage was directing at her. “No, it’s not. The Kyuubi is still out there, destroying Konoha. People are still dying. I’m trying to present a possible option in defeating it. Why can’t you just listen?”
She could see Minato clench his fists, the skin over his knuckles turning as white as his robes, his ears as red as the flames on its hem. His next words came out slowly, as if they were forced from some hollow part of his body. “You’re talking about sealing the Kyuubi within our child—sacrificing your own life in the process. How the hell do you think I would react?”
“Far more reasonably than you are now,” she snapped back. She leaned back against the chair, catching her breath. Crap, if she weren’t as big as a whale she’d stand up and kick Minato’s ass for being such an obstinate bastard. Not that she was that good in kicking his ass when she wasn’t pregnant, but at least she could kick him.
“Look, Minato. You are the Hokage. The villagers are your first and foremost responsibility, and—”
“I know what and who my responsibilities are, thank you, and I know they include protecting you and our unborn child.” He knelt on one knee in front of her, placing his hands on her swollen belly. She winced as the child within her gave a sudden hard kick at the contact, as if the child knew it was his father just by touch. The baby was squirming more often than kicking nowadays, but it could still hurt a lot when the baby jabbed her. Tsunade said her time was coming soon, possibly sooner than they had initially expected.
Which was why it was imperative that Minato listen to her now. “It’s also part of your responsibility to listen to advice and suggestions, which is what I’m try—”
“That isn’t the point. Are you completely out of your mind, Kushina? How can you possibly perform a jutsu in your condition. You could barely do genjutsu at this point, much less a complicated summoning ninjutsu! What more after you’ve given birth?” Leaning over, he demanded, “Why couldn’t you just teach me the technique? Why couldn’t it be me who’ll execute it?”
“No! There isn’t enough time to teach it to you.” That was a blatant lie, a flimsy excuse—Minato could learn the technique in a snap. He wasn’t a genius for nothing—and they both knew it. The Yondaime Hokage frowned, and opened his mouth as if to say something, but then she burst out, “Besides, I’m expendable. You’re not.”
For a brief moment, the flash of fury in Minato’s eyes made her feel cold and afraid, and she almost recoiled from his touch. But then he grabbed her by the shoulders and gently shook her, his eyes wide and intense. “You are not expendable. No one is.” He stood up abruptly, dragging his fingers through his spiky hair. “Do you really think I could go on with you dead? Do you think the world means that much to me without you?”
She stared at him in surprise, suddenly at a loss for words. Of course she knew she and Minato cared deeply for each other; they wouldn’t be risking so much in continuing to have a politically unsuitable relationship if they didn’t, but such an impassioned declaration from Minato was hardly what she expected from him. He had always been the more level-headed one in their tumultuous relationship; Kushina was supposed to be the more reckless, impulsive one.
It had been Minato’s lifelong goal to be a Hokage, and he worked for it with a fierce determination that ended with him being the youngest to ever hold the rank at the age of 23. When they were younger, she’d joked that he pursued being Hokage far more ardently than he did any girl he fancied. But now…that he would put her first before his duties as a Hokage was just…unsettling, and made her desperately uncomfortable and pleased at the same time.
He cares for me more than—oh gods, we’re so screwed. No wonder the council thought she was too dangerous a person to be around Minato.
She took a deep breath, pushed the troubling thought at the back of her mind and tried to be reasonable and logical in her answer. She pinched the bridge of her nose, trying to block the headache she was starting to feel. “What about the village? Isn’t the reason why you became a Hokage is because you want to protect them and their dreams? Besides,” she went on calmly, “you wouldn’t be alone. You’ll have our child to remember me by.”
“Our child isn’t you; it can’t replace you.”
The chair fell with a sudden bang as it hit the floor. Kushina stumbled as she stood up, but quickly regained her footing and slapped Minato’s proffered hand away. “Dammit!” she hissed, “Why don’t you just listen? Don’t you understand? I can’t stand this!” She made a sudden, abrupt sweeping gesture with one arm. “I can’t stand watching the Kyuubi destroy the village. I won’t let what happened to my country happen to Konoha.”
It hadn’t been the Kyuubi that ruined her home—greed and betrayal had done that—but the aftermath would be the same—the people of Konoha would be scattered and damaged in every way possible, their hopes and dreams shattered, as her own were.
To her mortification, she could feel hot tears stinging her eyes; she tried blinking them back, but it was no use. She wiped them away with the back of her hand. Through her blurred vision, she could see reaching out of her, but she wrenched away from his range. “Don’t you dare touch me!”
“You don’t understand the horror of watching the place you’ve spent most of you life be torn apart and ripped into shreds. You don’t—” she stopped in mid-sentence, feeling like a bucket of ice-cold water had been poured on her when she realized what she’d said. The anger left her as suddenly at it came, leaving her weak-kneed and shaking. “I didn’t—”
And then his arms were around her trembling body, holding her against him. She struggled in his grasp, and hit him with half-hearted punches, but Minato wouldn’t let go. Realizing the futility of her efforts, she stopped and buried her face on his chest, her fingers digging into his robes as he ran his fingers through her hair. With his other hand, he stroked her aching back, his touch warm and soothing. He was saying something, but she couldn’t make out what it was. She was too busy sobbing her eyes out.
Finally, after a while, her sobs subsided. Minato then said in an amused voice, “Well, that was one hell of a mood swing.” His lips brushed against the top of her head. “At least you didn’t throw anything sharp at me, like the last time yesterday.”
She gave a small, quick laugh, feeling the tension slowly dissipate from her body. She managed to give him a playful glare. “I threw that at you because you deprived me of my ramen. Honestly, ramen is very healthy food, much better than those stupid salads and tasteless health snacks Tsunade keeps feeding me with.”
A comfortable silence followed her reply. They continued to stand together in each other’s arms, basking in a moment of peace that Kushina knew too well would not last long. Outside this room, chaos waited them, and choices that could be too painful to bear.
But Minato was the Yondaime Hokage, and she was a kunoichi, both of them bound to Konoha and its people. It was their duty and honor to protect them, even at the price of their own needs and wants, and their lives.
“I didn’t mean what I said, about you not understanding,” she finally said, leaning her cheek against his chest. “It’s just I don’t think I could live with myself if I let it all happen again. Konoha was supposed to be the second chance for, well, pretty much a lot of things. And I don’t think I could live with myself if I gave birth to our child in the world of chaos and destruction the Kyuubi has brought on us.”
Kushina looked up at him, backing away a little, though remaining in the circle of his arms. “I’m still serious about it, though,” she said in a quiet voice, inwardly hating herself for bringing it up again. “I’m not changing my mind.”
“I know,” he said, smiling in that sad, wistful way of his that always tugged her heart. “And I understand why you feel this way.” He leaned down and kissed her on the lips, the touch as soft and as fleeting as butterfly wings. “But also, please understand there’s no way I’m going to let you sacrifice yourself and our child.” His face hardened with grim determination. “I won’t let it happen. There must some other way to defeat the Kyuubi. We’ll look for it and find it. I’m not going to lose hope.”
“But what if this is the only way?” She tried to not let fear creep into her voice. Kushina was an optimist to the core, and she hadn’t lost hope they will defeat the Kyuubi, but she didn’t think it would be fair to discard reality. Konoha had lost too many of its people and defenders from the demon. They had barely repelled its last assault, and it would only be a brief time before the Kyuubi recovered and attacked again.
The hands around her waist tightened. The Yondaime Hokage didn’t answer for a moment, then he said in a cool, somber voice, “Then I’ll make sure everything has been properly arranged.”
Author’s notes: How was it? Bad? Awful? Good? I just had to get this plot bunny out of my head.
I had an idea that it would be Kushina who would bring up the idea (of using their child as the Kyuubi vessel) first rather than Minato/Yondaime. Yondaime seems like the sort who would have thought about it, but rather not bring it up and keep it in the back burner (as a last resort). If Kushina was anything like Naruto, she would have faced the facts, and do her absolute best in making sure things would get done and that there would be less people that would get hurt in the process. Both of them have the capability to sacrifice themselves, but I think it would be Kuchina would be the one more…‘vocal’ about it.
Thank you for reading. :D