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Rewind: Reversing History

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Prologue

  

Blue eyes surrounded by black, displaying his status as reanimated, looked on in worry and trepidation as the blonde across from him continued to work on the seal. The other man working on the seal with him and the blonde paused at seeing his fellow Reanimation hesitation. 

Red eyes surrounded by black looked into reanimated blues. 

“Minato?” Tobirama asked in a hushed voice, not to disturb the other blonde across the way from them. 

Minato did not pay the Niidaime a second as he walked over to see what his youngest was painting in her blood ink onto the seal around them. The section of the matrix she was in had already been completed. So why was she working on it now?  

If Minato had blood in his body, he would have paled. 

“Minashi!” he cried out and jerked her away from the seal. Bloodshot cerulean blue eyes met his with calmness he did not expect. 

“Papa.” Minashi whispered. Her voice soft, but tired. “Why did you stop? We are almost done.” 

Minato pointed down at where she had been reworking the time destination. “I thought we discussed this! You are going back to your birth-“ 

“No!” she said firmly, ice dripping from her voice. It always surprised Minato to learn just how much like him she turned out to be. She looked exactly like him. That and she shared the same birthmarks as her twin brother had. The only thing he could say she got from Kushina was her temper when she was pushed too far, and her tendency to prank. But even those had lessen over the years. 

“You discussed this with Tobirama. I cannot go back to the day I was born. I will be a useless infant. I have made the decision to go further back. While I won’t have an adult body, it will give me time to build up whatever size I’m in to what I’ll need it to be. That and if I end up in a younger age, I will have time to grow and make a name for myself. That way I can protect everyone better.” 

“But you’ll be erasing your own existence!” Minato hissed gripping her arms and preventing himself from shaking her to try to shake some sense into her. 

Minashi’s gaze softened. “Hai. I’ll take that risk. I am not the Child of Prophecy. Naruto is. With him gone, we are doomed. So, I’ll go back and make sure that he is born and his precious people, my precious people, are protected from the evil that drove us underground. Papa, this was Naruto’s last wish. For me to go back. To save everyone I could. I can’t do that if I’m not in a position to be strong enough to do that.” 

Minashi stepped closer to her father and hugged him tight. “Just because I’m erasing myself from my original time, doesn’t mean I won't still be there for my brother.” She chuckled softly. “This time I can be the big sister and protect him.” 

Minato knew that if he was truly alive, he would be crying. Instead he held his daughter closer and ran his ink stained fingers through her silky long hair. She’d grown it out in remembrance of her mother’s long locks. 

“Do whatever it takes Musume to plant yourself as part of my family. You know my story. War Orphan, almost desperate for family. Sensei was a pseudo father, but I will be honored to have my blood beside me. You will not be my daughter, but a sister will be just as loved.” 

“I know papa. It might take time, but I’ll make sure to keep our family together and protected. Let’s finish the seal.” 

Minato nodded and kissed her temple. Minashi left his arms and went back down to finish inking in her new existence into the seal. 

Walking back to his section, he quickly finished it off, not making a single mistake. He would not send his only child remaining, back in time, without making sure everything was perfect. 

It was a short time later when the last seal masters finally stepped back from the large, delicate, and detailed seal. Tobirama crossed his arms with an arrogant smirk. Minato looked on in resignation. Minashi felt the fire in her, which had been dimmed for too many years, roar to life. 

Finally. 

Finally after all these years, she would be going back to make good on her final promise to her Nii-san. 

A warm hand settled on Minashi’s shoulder and she didn’t have to look to know who it was. His scent filled her nose and soothed her tired brain. 

“It’s done?” he asked in his soft timber. 

“Hai.” She whispered. 

“Let’s get you to bed then. You will need all the energy you can possibly store to use it.” Tired cerulean blues turned to look back and up at a single deep coal eye. His sharingan eye covered. 

Minashi let out a long sigh before letting herself collapse against her once sensei. Easily he scooped her up into his arms and prepared to shunshin to their flat. 

Minato gave his last student a flat look. Kakashi eye smiled in return. “Sensei~” 

“I’m still not happy that you are dating my daughter, that is fourteen years your junior, Kakashi~” Minato smiled in that scary smile of his that threatened death. 

Kakashi chuckled nervously and didn’t delay his escape any longer. With a swirl of leaves, he was gone with his precious cargo. 

Letting out a long sigh, Kakashi activated the privacy seals in their small flat and laid his girlfriend in their bed. Bloodshot cerulean blue eyes blinked open to watch her lover and boyfriend shed his clothes before he did the same with her own. He pulled her warm body against his and kissed her forehead. Minashi reached up and kissed the beauty mark just below the corner of his mouth. Lips lifted into a small smile as his strong arms wrapped around her. 

“I wish I could go back with you.” Kakashi whispered into her golden strands. His fingers playing with it at the base of her spine. Minashi hummed as she snuggled into his scar-ridded chest. “I had such a stick up my ass as a preteen. I was just plain old stubborn as a kid. Always trying to live up to my father’s reputation.” But Kakashi knew, just like everyone else that was still alive, only Minashi could go back. The last half of the Kyuubi would protect her and guide her to stay in their dimension. 

“Don’t worry Kashi.” Minashi hummed as she kissed his skin. “I’ll set you straight.” 

Kakashi hummed as he hugged her closer. “That’s all I ask. I need you in my life. You were always the sun in my eyes.” 

Minashi felt her eyes sting, but no tears fell. Instead, she willed herself to enjoy one last night in her lover’s arms before she would be sent back in time. 

  

Minashi slept through the night and most of the next day. When she woke just before sunset, she was greeted by the sight of her father. Both him and Kakashi were in the living room of her and Kakashi's small flat. The last of the blood ink was in a small jar in his hand and a brush in the other. He gave her a sad smile. 

“You rested enough to have the last of the seal’s placed?” 

“Hai papa.” She said and moved to them. She stripped bare, not caring for modesty as it was just her father and lover. Minato worked on the seals over her bare body while Kakashi's nimble fingers brushed through her hair and started braiding it back and out of the way for when Minato would do the seal’s there. It wasn’t long before the two switched places and Kakashi was now in front of her. His sharingan was revealed and she knew he was taking it all in. every detail of her face. His long fingers came up and traced the skin across her face that wasn’t covered in sealing ink. Carefully he leaned forward and left a kiss on her lips. 

Oi.” A menacing voice growled from behind Minashi. Kakashi chuckled and Minashi smirked. 

His Coal eye darkened and Minashi’s humor left. “You can be as reckless and knuckleheaded as your brother.” Kakashi whispered inches from her. “Please, promise me that you will try not to get yourself killed with those traits.” 

Minashi smiled lovingly at him. “I’ll do my best. I can’t promise it because you know what I’ll do to protect my precious people. Naruto and I are exactly the same in that regard.” 

Kakashi sighed and pressed another kiss to her soft lips. “I know.” He mumbled before sidestepping a kunai Minato threw at him. 

Low growling was heard as the air shifted behind her. “Done.” Minato grunted and called up a gentle wind jutsu. “Once the ink is dry you can put on your cloak and we will head to the seal. The other Hokages have been protecting it since you left.” 

 

Before Minashi knew it their party of three was teleported back to the location of the time-travel seal. 

She wasn’t surprised to see the remaining shinobi from the last of the elemental nations there. While at one time they had returned back to their own lands, it later became easier to just keep everyone together. They were no longer the shinobi of their own nations. They were just Shinobi. The Shinobi Alliance was as strong as it was but hope had long since left them. Now they had just fought to survive and stay hidden as long as possible. 

The robe around her dropped and what was left of her modesty was covered by her long hair and strong genjutsu by her lover and father. 

Sand tickled her wrist and she looked over to one of the remaining Kages. The elder Kages of the other nations have already fallen to aid their people in escaping their demolished lands. Gaara stepped to her and eyed her seal covered skin before looking into her burning eyes. 

“You and Naruto saved me from a life of madness. I’ve never been able to repay you two for your friendship.” He held out his fist. “The only way I hope to make your time easier is to give you Shukaku’s memories and hope you gain an ally from him.” 

Minashi smiled gently as she bumped his fist with her own. When her headache dimmed from the information transfer, she looked into glassy teal eyes. Reaching up she cupped his jaw and his eyes shut as he enjoyed her touch. He knew he’d never get her heart, but it didn’t mean he didn’t still love her in a way. She’d been one of his first friends. Her and Naruto. 

“I won’t send you off with any requests. Only a wish for you to find happiness. Do not put your future on hold just to save us all. Make new friends. Find those that will have your back like we did.” 

“I will.” She whispered and leaned in to kiss his cheek. “I can’t promise it, but I am going to try to save your mother Gaara. You deserve happiness just like everyone else.” 

Tears slipped down the prior Kage’s cheeks. “Safe travels.” 

Minashi smiled and nodded before walking towards the seal once more. Slowly she took in a calming breath and let herself fall into her mindscape. She wasn’t surprised to find her lifelong companion in a lotus position. He’d been silent the past month. Focusing on gathering chakra for their trip. 

‘You ready Kurama?’ 

One blood red eye opened to gaze down at his host. I am as ready as I can make us. Have you said your goodbyes? 

Blue eyes shut with her smile that was almost too forced. 

‘It’s not goodbye. It’s just see you later.’ 

But they will not be the same people. You will prevent a lot of pain so they will not learn the same lessons or share the same bonds. 

Minashi chuckled as she regarded her foxy tenant. ‘No, we won’t. Just means that I’ll have to create new bonds with them.’ 

Kurama rolled his eyes as he looked down at his insufferable host. You are just like your brother in that way. 

Blue eyes dimmed at the reminder. 

He’d be proud you know. Kurama said softer. 

Minashi looked up into ancient red eyes and gave her first real smile in a long time. ‘Un.’ 

Now, let’s get this show started. 

  

Blue eyes snapped open. Minashi snapped around to look back at the last of her family. Both blood and not. Minato walked up to his daughter and gave her one last hug before teleporting to his designated spot around the seal. Tobirama patted her head and followed Minato’s action to his own point on the seal. 

Hashirama gave her a strong hug and wished her good luck. He too would power a point on the seal. The reanimation of her Jiji stepped to her next. 

“While you and your brother always drove me nuts, I wouldn’t have given that up for the world. I wish I could have done better for you two, but I think you both turned out to be amazing people.” He patted her shoulder. “Now remember what we discussed.” 

“You’re a crafty old man that will not be fooled easily. Even if you won’t say it aloud, you will still put the pieces together that will be my puzzle. Only when I slip up will you make me admit it all. But that must not happen. Your council cannot be trusted in any point in time.” 

Hiruzen Sarutobi nodded sadly and patted her shoulder. “Good luck my child.” He shunshin to his own position. Minashi was suddenly having to duck her head as two pale arms put something on her. Blinking down at her chest, she forced herself not to tremble as her eyes gazed down at the jewel around her neck. 

“Your brother broke the curse that was on this. Take it with you so that you will always remember why you fight. You might not have wanted the seat, but you have the heart of a Kage. Just like Naruto.” Warm lips pressed to the center of her forehead and Minashi felt her eyes sting. She couldn’t cry though. It would make the ink smear. Watery blue eyes looked up into warm honey brown ones on an aged elderly face. 

“Baa-chan.” Minashi whispered through her tight throat. 

“Make us proud Mina-chan.” Tsunade whispered. 

“I will. Believe it.” Minashi whispered, but all present heard. 

“We already do.” Tsunade grinned and went to take her own position. She may not be as young as she used to, but it didn’t mean she wasn’t still as strong as the other Kages present. 

Her favorite scent filled her nose and Minashi looked up into heterochromic eyes of coal and sharingan red. Long fingers threaded through her loose hair as he brought their foreheads together. 

“I love you.” Kakashi whispered just low enough for her own ears. 

“I love you too. And I’ll remind your younger self why you love me.” 

Kakashi chuckled softly before pulling his mask down for all to see and kissing her solidly on the lips. After a few beats, he let her go and walked her to the center of the seal before taking his own position around it. The remaining Kage level shinobi following suit. Gaara, Chojuro, Darui, Kurotsuchi, Mei, and even Orochimaru. 

While the snake was still creepy and not to be fully trusted, he was not stupid. He knew he’d die on the surface. Nothing prepared the old snake for the end of the world. Living forever meant nothing if there was nothing to live for. Plus, he’d been sealed back into his own body. It was the condition given to him if he wanted to seek shelter with the other shinobi. It was either that or die at Madara’s hands. 

Minashi took one last look around the seal to see the pillars of the villages, and those standing as support behind them. All with hope shining in their eyes. 

“Minashi-chan.” A gravelly voice called across the seal. Minashi glanced over to the snake sannin. Blue eyes met reptilian gold. “I cannot undo the mistakes I have made. But they can be prevented.” 

Minashi raised a brow at the snake. She wasn’t expecting this from him of all people. She watched as his golden eyes moved to his right to look at Tsunade. 

“I believe if anyone could fix the Sannin it can be you.” He looked back at Minashi with surprisingly a pleading gaze. “If you end up far enough back, can you attempt to save me from myself? If you end up intriguing enough, it will prevent me from looking at Sensei’s chair. I find that over the past few years, that I miss being with my teammates.” 

“I’ll do what I can.” Minashi nodded and a slightly creepy smile came upon the snake’s face, but that was probably the best he could do. 

“If Danzo is taken out of the picture that will most likely keep me from taking the path of darkness. However, I’m still a scientist and logical man. Use those against me.” 

Minashi smirked at him. “Took you long enough Oro-chan.” 

Orochimaru grimaced. “Just go brat.” 

Minashi snickered before sitting down in her own lotus position. Molding her chakra, she felt the powerful chakra around her begin to rise to match her own. 

The long stream of hand signs suddenly flew like a blur in her hands. All two hundred of them. When the last one was complete, there was a deathly silence that reigned before her and all the Shinobi surrounding the seal slammed their hands down to power and activated the seal. 

Fuuin: Rewind 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 1

Falling. 

Falling. 

Wind. 

Whistling wind in her ears. 

Minashi’s eyes snapped open and her eyes widened at the sight before her. She was literally falling from the sky. 

“KURAMA!” she screamed. 

I’m working on it brat! He snarled back. Minashi’s body flickered as Kurama molded enough chakra to envelope her in his cloak. Brace brat. There is no preventing a hard landing. 

Minashi moaned in displeasure at the impending pain she was about to go through. But that was nothing when her body suddenly broke out into convulsions midair. 

Kurama!’ she shouted in her mind since her body was no longer responding. She looked to her tenant and was shocked to see he was GROWING! 

Your seal is stronger. He growled before howling in pain. I thought I would just get Kushina’s Yin half, but both are coming! 

‘Will it kill mom?’ 

Kurama growled deeply. I am trying to slow it down as much as possible to prevent that, but if you don’t expend chakra soon, your new small body will explode from chakra overload. Plus, Kushina is a full blooded Uzumaki. It might knock her down for a bit, but they are known for their vitality. 

Minashi looked up at Kurama then closed her eyes. ‘Well shit.’ 

My sentiments exactly. He growled before swatting her away with a tail. Now expend some chakra! 

  

Minashi didn’t have to be told twice. Snapping her eyes open, she spun around in the air, Golden Chakra cloak coming back twice as fast. Gathering chakra in her chakra tails she made a giant Rasengan and added wind element to it as well. Sending it soaring into the sky above her. Sending four more, she was then able to have enough control to send three giant Bijuudamas into the sky as well. Explosions rocketed the air, forcing her decent faster, but her cloak protected her. 

Enough. The last of our chakra will be needed to heal you, and cushion your landing. 

Minashi panted as the wind dried her sweat. “Wake me when you figure out when we are.” She whispered into the air before she felt immense pain and the sound of snapping bones filled her ears. Blackness thankfully pulled her under and her pain vanished with it. Kurama protecting her from it all was probably the real reason. Warmth enveloped her from his chakra as he healed her rapidly. But she ignored it to finally get some sleep. 

 

 

 

Everything across the clearing froze at the massive chakra signature. Shivers of fear went down each shinobi's spine. It was heading right for them. Unbeknown to both parties neither knew which nation the chakra signature belonged to as it was an unfamiliar signature.  

Sakumo kicked his opponent away long enough to search for the shinobi to see whose side they were on. If it was Suna's they were in trouble. If it was Konoha's, the Hokage had some explaining to do. Sakumo didn't recognize the signature. The Hokage had been hiding a weapon. 

"ABOVE" someone finally shouted. All eyes went to the sky to see a golden ball heading right for them. 

"GET BACK!" Sakumo ordered his team just as the Suna shinobi captain did the same. 

The golden streak landed in the clearing. The crater it created sending a shockwave of dust and remnants of chakra over the area. 

As the shinobi neared the massive crater from their respective sides, claws of chakra lashed out towards the Suna shinobi. The Konoha shinobi jumped back alarmed but the chakra arms never touched them. 

Instead the Suna shinobi were all knocked unconscious. 

Sakumo ordered them tied up as he carefully made his way back to the crater to further investigate. 

His eyes widened at the sight of a small girl covered only by her long golden hair and lots of blood. 

"Kami." He whispered before carefully making his was down to her, pulling a spare blanket from a scroll on the way. 

As he neared the small child once again another Chakra arm appeared and hovered dangerously between Sakumo and the girl. Sakumo raised his arms in surrender to the chakra, not sure what it exactly was. It seemed to pulse before receding back into the child. 

Sakumo took that as acceptance and took the last few steps to the child. Gently he searched for a pulse to make sure she was still alive. A steady beat met his fingers. Carefully he looked her over and found that while she was injured, she was also healing herself. Wrapping the blanket carefully around her, he picked up the small child and brought her to his chest. Climbing back out of the crater he came face to face with his speechless team. 

“It’s a child.” Kane whispered stunned. 

“She can’t be more than five.” Renjiro hummed as he looked at the small face. 

“Where did she come from?” Sadao frowned. 

Sakumo shrugged. “I haven’t a clue.” He gazed down at the small body in his arms and made a decision. 

"She protected us. We'll take her back to Konoha and get our answers there." He jerked a chin at the Suna shinobi. "Get them ready for travel." 

"Hai taicho." The group chorused.  

 

Sakumo and his team raced back to Konoha with the bound, sealed, and unconscious Suna nins on their shoulders while Sakumo carried the still unconscious form of the blonde child. His finger solely traced the strange whisker like scars on her face. He wondered why they hadn't healed yet. 

The group stopped once during the night to rest. Sakumo still hadn't let go of the blonde child as she rested against his chest. Kane approached the duo with a brush in hand. Sakumo gave her a grateful look and helped sit the child up enough to brush out the long locks. When detangled, Kane swiftly braided it back and tied it off. Her smaller hands ran through the bangs that rested against the child's jaw. 

"She looks familiar." Kane frowned as she spun some of the golden strands between her fingers. 

"Namikaze Minato." Renjiro hummed from his place near the fire. Keeping it low from detection, but hot enough to keep the chill from the night at bay.  

Sadako raised a brow at his teammate. "He's not the only blonde in Konoha you know?"  

"Hm, no. There are the Yamanaka Clan, but they are a pale blonde." He pointed the kunai he'd been sharpening to the blonde child in question. "That is not Yamanaka Blonde. That is Namikaze Blonde. Remember that brat graduated with my class. I'd know that shade anywhere." 

The remaining teammates shared meaningful looks before Sakumo cleared his throat. 

"Whether the girl is a long lost relative of Namikaze-San or not, she will be taken to Konoha, questioned, and hopefully will join our ranks. She is already so powerful at this age." 

"Who says she isn't a spy?" Sadao grunted. 

Sakumo sighed at his paranoid teammate. 

“I’m not saying she isn’t. I’d be more suspicious if she hadn’t just fallen out of the sky. If she had just walked up to us conscious with a half assed story I’d hand her right over to T&I. But she did come from the sky. Explain that to me. Then I’ll be less suspicious of her not being a spy.” 

Sadao grunted. Kane hid a smile in her hand. Renjiro rolled his eyes at their captain. 

“If you two are done, we need to set up for night watch.” Renjiro huffed and walked off with Kane. 

Sakumo got out his own bedroll as gently as he could to not disturb the child resting against his chest before lying down and holding her close to keep the chill off. 

Morning camp quickly as the team continued back to Konoha with their cargo. Sakumo kept his glance mostly ahead and his senses on high alert. Due to this, he was able to feel the twitch of the fingers resting against his arm. His eyes shot down and daze cerulean blue eyes looked up at him. He smiled down at her gently. 

“Good afternoon sweetie. Do not worry, you’re safe.” 

Cerulean blues looked up at him confused before glancing up to his hitai-ate. Recognition flashed briefly, before she let out a sigh and those bright orbs closed once again. 

 

 

 

Mina could feel the wind against her skin. It was soothing when her skin still felt so sensitive. As her senses continued to return to her, she realized that the melody that has been keeping her calm was the beat of a heart. A strong one. Her sense of smell returned next, and Mina almost swore it was Kakashi holding her. But no, it was similar but different. Kakashi always smelled like ozone, paper and like his ninken. What she smelled now was still ozone, but lacked the paper smell. Instead it was more a wild smell of nature. She smelled canine, but it wasn’t normal, more wild. 

The slight up and down feeling in her stomach told her that they were tree hopping. The man carrying her was followed by three stronger signatures, and six weaker signatures. 

 Slowly she opened her eyes and was glad for the canopy above them. The sun was high. She resisted letting out a groan at the stabbing pain from the light in her eyes. But when it faded she looked up when she heard a deep voice. 

“Good Afternoon sweetie. Do not worry, you’re safe.” 

Mina looked up at the face above her as it slowly came into view. She frowned at it. Was she really in the past? Why was Kakashi carrying her? 

Her vision cleared a bit more and as she saw the covered face, she noticed the lack of scar and sharingan. That and as her eyes drifted further up, silver locks were spikey, but long and pulled back into a low tail. She relaxed at the sight of the Konoha Hitai-ate. The clues slowly came together in her muddled mind. 

Ah. It’s Kakashi’s dad. Hatake Sakumo. 

Letting out a relieved sigh, Mina let sleep pull her back under. Her body was still sore from shrinking to a helpless child. That and the impact with the earth. 

The next time Minashi woke it was to the feeling of chakra signatures. Not just one, but many. Oh, so many. Don’t cry. She reminded herself. But they still came. Tears slid past her closed lids and a calloused finger gently wiped them away. There are so many of them. 

Welcome home kit. A low voice whispered in her mind. Tired and chakra exhausted. She felt the fuzzball stop his fight with unconsciousness, needing to watch over her when she couldn’t do it herself. 

‘Sleep friend. I’m aware enough to watch my back.’ A hum was all she got back in return. 

Opening her eyes she looked up into Sakumo’s deep coal eyes that shone with kindness. 

“Hello Sweetie.” He greeted with a small smile. 

Mina chose not to speak. A plan already been discussed before her travel back. She had to play quite genius with amnesia. So instead of replying she glanced to her right where the trees were thinning and the gates were coming into view. She let her eyes widen at the sight of the massive red doors. Sakumo and his team landed and walked up to the gate guards. 

“Hatake-san!” a Chuunin she didn’t recognize greeted with a grin. “Good to see you all back!” 

“Ah. Hiroki-san, Isao-san. It’s good to be home.” 

Sakumo glanced at his team and they disappeared by shunshin to deliver their cargo to T&I. 

“Who do you got there Hatake-san?” Isao asked as he came around his partner to look at the almost doll like girl in the older man’s arm. She was so tiny! 

Sakumo glanced down to the finally awake child in his arms. She couldn’t be any more than four years old. Another reason for his belief that she wasn’t a spy. Kami his son was four and a half and just entered the academy. But only because he’s always been a prodigy. 

“This for now is Chise-chan. She’s just recently woken up. I’d love to help enable your gossiping ways, but I must go to the hokage to see if we can find out her actual name.” 

The two Chuunin shared glances before smirking at Sakumo. Sakumo grunted and shunshin away before they could inquire more. 

Minashi held back the roll of her eyes at the guards. Were gate guards all the same? Gossiping little brats? Well actually, she was the brat now wasn’t she? 

Minashi closed her eyes again and rested against Sakumo’s chest as she let the feelings of all the Chakra signatures wash over her. Many she didn’t recognize at all. But three stood out the most. One she had only had a brief moment to feel and recognize. The other more familiar after spending a few years fighting side by side with him. Her parents. Their signatures weren’t as strong as she remembers, but still powerful all the same. Kushina’s she realized was distorted a bit though. She must already be working to live without the kyuubi. 

The other she recognized was the old man himself. Bright, clear, and powerful as a pillar. She smiled to herself at the feel of it. 

She let her eyes open as the wind brushed against her cheeks. Her eyes took in what of Konoha she could as Sakumo jumped from roof to roof. With an easy stride he landed before the Hokage tower and made his way in. She felt the stares of curious eyes but dismissed them. 

A brief flash of yellow caught her gaze and her eyes moved to look at it. There just as Sakumo passed him, a young Yellow Flash stood with wide Cerulean eyes. He looked barely 15 or 16. Minashi let her eyes shut to fake exhaustion and to hide her emotions. She’d already seen the many flash through young Minato’s. Surprise, shock, curiosity, and –kami- Hope. There had been such a large look of hope on his face before it had been blocked by her own shut eyes. 

Soon. Soon papa. No, It’s nii-san now. Soon nii-san. Give me time to get stronger and I’ll find a way to your side. 

So lost in her thoughts, she suddenly found herself much closer to the Sandaime’s signature. Her eyes snapped open as her eyes shot to him. Her eyes widened at him surprised. He looked so young. No massive wrinkles-only little ones, no liver spots. But he still had that pipe of his. She held back her fond feelings as the scent of his filled her nose. Smoke, paper, ink, and-she wrinkled her nose. Monkey. It was much stronger now. It had always been faint. Must be because he must still find time to train with his loyal summons. 

Letting out a sneeze, Minashi wiped at her nose with the blanket and frowned at the pipe. 

Sarutobi chuckled but didn’t put it away. “Sensitive nose there little one?” he called. 

Minashi kept quiet but let her displeasure at the scent show on her face even if it was a little okay to her. But she had a role to play and being melancholy was not a good way to get a start. 

When she didn’t speak, Sarutobi raised a brow and slid his gaze up to Sakumo. “Sakumo.” He greeted. 

“Hokage-sama.” He bowed his head respectfully. “I am here to report in for my team, but I’d also like to report our finding of this little girl. She hasn’t spoken once since waking earlier this afternoon.” 

“Oh?” Sarutobi hummed as his eyes moved back to familiar Cerulean eyes that looked at him curiously. “What is your name child?” 

Minashi blinked and tilted her head confused. 

“Do you remember your name?” Sakumo asked instead and Sarutobi looked sharply at his best Jounin. 

“Remember?” Sarutobi asked for more with just the one question. 

“Hai.” He opened his mouth but hesitated. “Her arrival was very unorthodox. We feared she was actually dead, or whatever was in the crater was a weapon sent from Suna. Instead, we found her unconscious and covered in her own blood as her wounds healed before our eyes.” He paused and felt his face warm. “Actually, she hasn’t left the blanket because we had nothing that would have fit her. She arrived stark naked.” 

Sarutobi blinked surprised before flicking his wrist. An ANBU dropped down. 

“Fetch some temporary clothes for the girl. Make it quick.” 

“Hai. Hokage-sama.” The ANBU disappeared. 

Sarutobi put his pipe back between his lips as he looked at the blue eyed child before him. 

“How did she arrive?” 

Sakumo twitched. “A golden ball of light crashed into the clearing. The Chakra signature was massive. I thought it was back up from Suna, but they fell back as well and looked just as shocked. I then thought you had someone powerful hidden and sent them. But then after she landed massive chakra constructs appeared and knocked out all the Suna-nin. At my approach another one appeared. It looked like an arm of some sort before it disappeared. I took that as approval and then wrapped her up from there. She woke briefly this afternoon before waking again this evening as we arrived at the gates.” 

Sarutobi just blinked at him. “She arrived in a ball of light?” 

Sakumo sighed and shrugged. “More like a meteor.” 

Sarutobi looked at the innocent eyes before him. “And she lived?” 

“Some sort of Kekkei Genkai?” Sakumo guessed before a small flare of chakra was the warning before the ANBU arrive back with a small scroll. They handed it to the Hokage who opened it to reveal a simple white dress, black leggings, and black sandals. 

Once handed over the girl eagerly took them and shimmied into them beneath the blanket. As she straightened back up, a flash of color caught Sarutobi’s eyes and he stiffened as he saw what it was. That was impossible. His Chakra flared and the girl’s eyes shot to his. He saw it then. A flash of knowing. 

“Sakumo, leave her here. I will send for you when everything is straightened out.” 

Sakumo stiffened. “Hokage-“ 

“Leave.” Sarutobi ordered sternly. Sakumo looked to the girl and cerulean blues just blinked at him innocently. 

“Hai.” He grit his teeth. 

As soon as the door shut behind him, a flare of chakra was the only warning Minashi had as the privacy seals went up and two ANBU dropped down at her sides at the Hokage’s silent order. 

“Who are you and how did you get that necklace?” he growled as Killer Intent filled the room. 

Minashi just blinked and tilted her head at him, easily brushing off his KI. She’d felt the KI of the Jyuubi. The Sandaime’s had nothing on that beast. 

Slowly Minashi raised her hand and pointed to her head. Sarutobi narrowed his eyes at her. 

“Get me Yamanaka Inojiro. NOW.” He ordered. 

A third ANBU signature disappeared from the room and Minashi just held the Hokage’s gaze for the ten minutes it took for the ANBU to find and return with the Yamanaka clan head. The Confused but curious clan head looked around the office until his pale green eyes landed on bright Cerulean blues. He frowned and looked to his leader. 

“Hokage-sama?” 

“Mind scan her. Now.” He ordered sharply as he stood to join in the jutsu. 

Inojiro blanked his face to not show his displeasure. “Hokage-sama, children are harder to read and it put them at great risk-“ 

“She is the one that requested it.” He said firmly even as his sharp eyes hadn’t left the girl. 

Inojiro blinked startled and looked back at the child to see her bow her head at him and take a seat. He sighed and pulled a chair before her own. With a quick mold of his chakra, and a flash of signs he placed a hand on her head and one on the Hokage. Gently he guided himself and the Hokage into her mind. 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

The duo appeared in a white room. Inojiro frowned. Had he already destroyed her mind with just performing the jutsu? 

A quick flash of color and before him and the Hokage stood the girl’s conscious. Instead of the four of five year old they were expecting, a grown mid twenty year old woman stood before them instead. Long blonde hair brushed the back of her calves. Six whiskers adorned her cheeks. Hard Cerulean blues eyes gazed at them sharply as her arms crossed. Her right arm was bandaged all the way up to her shoulder. A black sleeveless Kimono top hugged her frame to stop at the top of her knees. It split on either side of her thighs to reveal Orange Leggings that disappeared into Black shinobi sandals. A Konoha hitai-ate was belted to her white thin obi around her waist. But a Hitai-ate that adorned her head was marked with ‘Shinobi’ What was more surprising to the two guests was the white cloak around her shoulders and the Hokage hat belted to her other hip. 

Sarutobi felt his stomach drop. This was not good. Not good at all. He silently mourned for the paperwork he could feel that would follow this encounter. 

“Hello Gentlemen.” A slightly husky voice said. “I am Minashi Namikaze-Uzumaki. Twenty-five years old. Former Rokudaime Hokage of Konoha and later the Kage of the Shinobi Alliance. I am here to save not only Konoha but the Elemental Nations as a whole. I’m aware that the Third Shinobi war is soon to begin and I cannot stop the loss of life that will come with it. I’m not here to interfere with this war completely, but to prevent the next.” 

Sarutobi shot his eyes to Inojiro and Inojiro sighed at the silent question from his Hokage. “One cannot lie in their own mind.” He frowned and looked around. “Yet it seems though that she is able to manipulate her own mind at will. So, I cannot confirm if this is truth or half-truths.” 

Minashi snorted and both men looked back to her. “I do not lie. Currently we are just in a part of my mind to keep you two from snooping where I don’t want you to. It is for your safety, not mine.” 

“Why?” Inojiro asked curiously but the Hokage stiffened as something clicked in his mind. Uzumaki-possession marks. 

“You have it.” Sarutobi glared. He almost had a heart attack when he got word from Minato that Kushina’s seal was empty. 

“Him.” She corrected. “and yes. My arrival with the stronger seal over wrote the other container’s seal. But she is an Uzumaki. She can handle it especially since her seal was designed to only hold him. Not merge his chakra with her own.” 

The Hokage’s eyes narrowed on the blonde. “How did you get that necklace?” 

Hard Cerulean eyes softened and with a flick of her wrist a scroll appeared in her hand. Opening it, the world shifted and bled into color.  

There they watched two blondes glare at a much older one with a rhombus on her forehead. They watched the twin blondes work together to make a bet with the legendary sucker. The images then changed to their fight to protect the older blonde from a grey hair young man while Jiraiya fought his teammate in the background. Minashi was struggling to get back up even as her brother fought the grey haired man. When she did, they combined their Rasengans and blasted the young man away. Naruto though collapsed and Minashi cried out in pain and shock at feeling the telepathic connection with her twin weaken. Finally he rose enough after some healing to grab the necklace around the elder blonde’s neck. It was soon put on him by said woman as Minashi stayed at her elder twin’s side. 

The scene changed once more and they frowned at how blurry it was around the edges. Two arms draped something around her neck and Minashi had to struggle to not tremble as the weight rested against her skin. 

“Your brother broke the curse that was on this. Take it with you so that you will always remember why you fight. You might not have wanted the seat, but you have the heart of a Kage. Just like Naruto.” The familiar but aged voice whispered as warm lips pressed against Minashi’s forehead. 

The color faded away until only white surrounded them once again. The scroll disappeared in a puff of smoke. 

“Those are the memories I have surrounding the necklace.” The blonde woman’s voice spoke softly. 

She suddenly smirked and another scroll appeared. “Oi, Jiji, Here’s one you’ll like.” 

The room blurred before they found themselves in a sparsely decorated living room. The woman sat on a cushion at the low table sipping tea. What caused Inojiro and Sarutobi to stiffen, was the man sitting across from her. 

A much older version of Sarutobi sat before her in his battle gear. But that’s not what had the two men alert. It was the man’s eyes and cracked skin. 

“You are a Reanimation here.” Minashi voice whispered, but they heard it as she walked around the memory. “Orochimaru was in control of it but let you and the others he’d summoned keep their will.” 

“What?” Sarutobi demanded shocked. His student would never- 

“Edo Tensai. Now, questions later. Let’s watch.” She clarified before letting the memory play out for them to view. 

  

Sarutobi sighed in envy as he watched Minashi sip at her tea. She smirked at him knowingly. 

“Brat.” He grumbled and she chuckled low. 

“You know I don’t get entertainment from much anymore.” She said into her cup. 

Sarutobi hummed in understanding as he looked around her flat. “Where is Kakashi?” 

“Helping Papa, Tobirama, and Hashirama work on the seal.” She paused before sighing. “Actually more like seeing how long before Papa throws another Kunai at him.” 

“Well if there was one thing that I remember about Minato was that even before you two were born he’d threatened anyone who suggested pairing their son- born or unborn- up for a marriage to you. Same went for the offers to marry off your brother to any daughters.” Sarutobi smirked. “Ah, that was always fun to tease him with. Protective little brat.” 

“Protective father, possessive lover.” Minashi hummed. “Never had the love of a normal childhood, but now as an adult I almost want to deck them both for their obsessive love.” 

Sarutobi snorted before sobering. “You know I’d do anything to fix that mistake-“ 

“Jiji, I’m a grown woman. Naruto and I had each other. That was enough for us. Plus that type of childhood just made us appreciate what little we did have.” 

Sarutobi hummed and they sat in silence for a little bit longer before he let out a sigh. 

“You’re going to ignore your father’s request, aren’t you?” He asked already knowing the answer. 

Minashi looked up with cold eyes. “I am not traveling back just to be a helpless baby. By going past that, I know I’m erasing my future existence, but I will be working into the seal a new existence for me. I’ll still have a smaller body to work into shape, but it will also give me time to get stronger and protect them.” 

Sarutobi held her gaze. “Does that also mean that the strategy you and Tobirama-sensei worked out will be different?” 

“Hai. I’m not going to sit around and wait for you to get a kick out of figuring me out. I need allies.” 

Sarutobi nodded. “Good.” He smirked then. “I’m a craft old man now.” 

“With a sadistic streak.” Minashi muttered into her cup. 

Sarutobi ignored her with a cough. “In my younger years, I was a smartly paranoid crafty young man. I was never fooled. Like the Nara’s, I enjoy putting together a good puzzle. No matter how long you would try to hide, I’d figure you out.” 

“I can allow you to know who I am then.” 

“Hai.” He frowned though. “but do not allow me to know the complete future. Not only will your arrival create ripples in the timeline, but Knowledge is power. That and you already know that my Advisors cannot be trusted.” 

Minashi snorted. “I’m glad the old bats are dead.” 

Sarutobi sighed. “Homura and Koharu were misguided-“ 

“They were in Danzo’s pocket Jiji. Stop making excuses for them. They were out of date and no longer knew the village. They did what they thought would benefit them the most. Keeping my brother and I on a leash. Allowing Danzo to rot the roots of the tree. Teaming up against you to manipulate you to their desires and prejudice beliefs. I love you Jiji, but I will not stand for them a second time around. They ruined mine and Naruto’s life enough. Danzo destroyed an entire clan just to get ahold of their eyes for his own desires to have your hat.” She snarled at the end. “he played you. He played EVERYONE. He’s a blight on this world.” 

Sarutobi looked at her cold eyes. “Are you going to kill him?” 

Minashi hummed thoughtfully as she sipped her tea. “Only if he attacks my precious people. Until then, I’d either like to manipulate him onto a leash or strip him of all power together.” 

“What of ROOT?” 

“If he’s stripped of power, that would entail bringing the ROOT members back into the ANBU and Hunter-nin folds. They’d never be able to live like normal citizens. The barely brainwashed children are another story though. Caught soon enough and they can be put in the academy to relearn to feel emotion.” 

“What of manipulating him then?” Sarutobi asked curiously. She was just as unpredictable as her brother sometimes. 

Minashi grinned. It wasn’t a kind grin. It was a grin that showed that she was the summoner of the foxes and the last Jinchuriki of the Kyuubi no Kitsune. 

“If he wants to keep his little ROOT agents to do the dirty work that you are too kindhearted to send your ANBU to do, then he can keep them. Within my rules of course.” 

Sarutobi sat up and looked at her. “What would those be Mina-chan?” 

Her foxy grin grew into a sadistic smile. “No control seals bound to him. They will be transferred to the Hokage. That way they still can’t be made to talk by enemies, but he also can’t hide anything from you again. No more brainwashing. No more Kidnapping. No more Child soldiers. It will become a separate branch of the ANBU. Everyone knows of the ANBU. Some know of the Hunter-nin. The ROOT will be further buried in the shadows of the Elites. That will stay the same. Danzo can still manage them as he’s a cruel bastard. But, he must play by our rules. ALL missions must be authorized by you, without question. If and when it’s found he’s not followed that rule, he will be executed on the spot.” 

Sarutobi startled. “A little harsh?” 

Minashi’s eyes narrowed. “I love you Jiji, but you seem to have forgotten his MANY treasonous actions. He ordered a boy of just 13 to kill his entire clan and take the fall for it. You blamed the boy and gave Danzo a slap on the wrist. He then stole the clan’s eyes and continued to kidnap children, even clan children to be part of his own personal army. He instigated treasonous actions in other nations as well. Ame would have been a peaceful land much sooner if he hadn’t aided Hanzo against the still then peaceful Akatsuki. I even found that his ROOT were the ones to stop the messengers from Uzushio from reaching Konoha to provide aide. Hell, he orchestrated the slow killing of the Senju clan. He must be Leashed. If not, he will die. Child body or not, I will make it look like an accident the second he steps out of line.” 

Sarutobi sighed. “Did he really do all that?” 

Minashi grunted and narrowed her eyes at him. “Yes. My clones were able to find his office before his Agents destroyed all the documents. If I could do it, I’d go back to before Uzushio’s fall. I’d save my clan. But, I don’t know how young that would force my body to become. Not to mention the ripples in time that would create.” She grunted. “Hell, Kushina and Minato wouldn’t even get together then if she was stuck on the island.” 

Sarutobi sighed. “Alright. I can’t say what my younger self will do, but if you reveal that you are from the future to me as soon as you arrive, that would be best. I’ll grumble about the paperwork, but I’ll move on.” He grunted. “Eventually. Though I’d be prepared for payback for the paperwork it will cause.” 

Minashi tilted her head at him confused. 

Sarutobi snickered. “I already feel bad for him.” 

“Why?” 

Sarutobi gave her a deadpanned look. “You and Naruto didn’t earn your monikers as the Twin Devils just because of the Fox you two hosted. Your pranks caused me many late nights and headaches when dealing with the people your targeted and the paperwork that followed. Not to mention the trouble Tsunade-chan told me about when you two got older. How many of her desks went through the Tower windows?” 

Minashi blushed sheepish. “Lost count after ten.” 

Sarutobi hummed while giving her a knowing look. 

Kakashi suddenly Shunshin into the room and looked at the duo at the low table. 

“Ah, Sandaime-sama. Is she tormenting you with tea again?” 

“Hai~” Sarutobi whined and looked at Kakashi. “Your mate is being mean.” 

Kakashi hummed and looked to his innocently looking lover. “Why didn’t you just remind her that Ichiraku’s might not be open when she goes back?” 

Minashi whimpered as she curled up into the fetal position. “Impossible.” She whined from the floor. “That’s a sin against the Ramen Gods.” 

Sarutobi chuckled with Kakashi, as Minashi was livelier than she had been in years. 

“Well then love, let’s get you to the seal to fix when you will be going back. Have to make sure that your favorite ramen stand is still in existence.” He crouched down to pick her up but she sprung out of the way first before latching onto him in return. With a foxy grin, a whimper from Kakashi, and a flash of yellow, the couple was gone. 

  

Colors faded away again as Minashi chuckled fondly. “He did always hate when I used Hiraishin. Papa got a kick out of it too.” 

Cerulean blues looked to stunned pale green and forlorn brown of Sarutobi. 

“Do you need further proof?” she asked gently. 

“N-no.” Sarutobi whispered and cleared his throat. “No.” he said clearer and looked back to meet her gaze. “Will you not tell us more? I do not like being in the dark.” 

Minashi sighed. “I will tell you of things when they near if my spy-network of clones find traces of my past history coming into play. That way you will not be blindsided and will be able to prepare. I cannot prepare you for any ripples though. Only give you my advice.” 

Sarutobi nodded as a thoughtful expression filled his face. “Rokudaime Hokage?” 

Minashi twitched. “Hai. I did not want the hat. Naruto was supposed to be the Hokage and I was going to be his ANBU Commander. Shikamaru was going to be his strategist. Sakura was going to be the Head Medic of the Hospital and Commander of the Medic Corps. Sasuke was supposed to take over Jiraiya’s Spy-network for us since he preferred to stay outside the village than inside it. When I lost the last pieces of my links to Naruto, I returned the hat to Baa-chan and focused on the Seal.” 

“You still consider yourself a Hokage.” Inojiro said curiously. Minashi flinched and Sarutobi glanced at him curiously. He looked at his audience and pointed to her outfit. “One cannot hide their true form in their mind. You still see yourself as Hokage.” 

Minashi looked down at the hat at her hip. “I never wanted the silly hat. But, I took it to fulfill Naruto’s desire to protect our precious people. They were mine too. I kept my promise to him so far. And whether I wanted the hat or not, whether I returned the duties to Baa-chan or not so I could focus on the seal, I am still me.” She straightened before them with a confident pose. “I am Minashi Namikaze-Uzumaki. Rokudaime Hokage of Konoha. Third Generation Jinchuriki of the Yin Kyuubi no Kitsune-“ 

You have all of me brat. A booming voice rang through the air. Inojiro and Sarutobi shivered. 

Minashi sighed. “Third Generation Jinchuriki of the Kyuubi no Kitsune. Loyal Shinobi of Konohagakure no sato.” 

Inojiro looked at the Sandaime who stared at the girl with a curious look. Inojiro already felt bad for her. 

Minashi refused to flinch at the twinkle that began to spark in the not so old man’s gaze. 

“Alright Minashi. What is your backstory now for your four year old self?” 

Minashi hummed. “Well, I came here kind of flashy. My impact and actions have proven to show amnesia. But I’ll need a story for when I remember. I came back ten years too far.” 

She frowned and glanced around before sighing. “Do you mind if we move this party? I need to speak with my partner.” 

“Partner?” Sarutobi and Inojiro said together. 

Minashi smirked and snapped. Suddenly they were in a forest clearing. Wildflowers covered the area but while the clearing was surrounded by trees a massive cave took up one side. 

“Oi, Kurama. What do I do about this? I didn’t plan to overshoot this much.” 

A growl filled the air before Sarutobi and Inojiro flinched when a massive red fox came from the cave with irritated red eyes. 

Brat. I’m still tired. Figure it out on your own. 

Minashi just raised a brow at him. “I’ll prank the Uchiha with Pink hair the first chance I get.” 

The fox stopped cleaning his teeth with a claw. His red eyes flicked to her as his lips twitched. 

Promise? 

“Of course.” 

Fine. You look too much like the Yondaime brat to not be related. Use that. He was young when his father died, but his mother was the blonde and blue one. Not his father. She was originally from Kumo if I’m not mistaken and left Minato’s father during the war. Reports came back that she died soon after. Rework those. Say her death was faked or something. She was saved by an Uzumaki man. Kushina had mostly Aunts but a few Uncles. Say one of their children survive the fall of Uzushio and during his hiding save and conceived you later with the Namikaze brat’s mother. She died in childbirth. Your father died protecting you from those still hunting Uzumaki’s. He didn’t know about your ‘half-brother’. He only knew about his niece Kushina and told you to go to Konoha to her. 

Minashi nodded. “That actually would work once we can put names to it.” She scratched her whiskered cheeks with a finger. “Also to explain you-“ she hummed as she thought. “My Uzumaki father did die protecting me, but he also did so by sealing a part of your chakra into me as a baby.” 

Hmm. A half-truth. That will work since that’s what the Yondaime brat did. 

Minashi shrugged. “So my Uzumaki father had part of the chakra that he found from the Gold and Silver brothers?” 

Kurama blinked down at her. That would work. No one knows what happened to them with the Niidaime. 

Minashi rolled her eyes “He killed them and sealed them away before he too died. Nevertheless, let’s just say that my Uzumaki grandparent was there after words and found it as his obligation as one of the last Uzumaki’s to extract the Bijuu Chakra and safeguard it within himself. He then passed it to his son, who passed it to me but was rushed and used the Shiki Fujin. From there, I was raised in an orphanage that saw me as only a demon. That would line up with my empathy for other containers. Because of the seal design and my father's and grandfather’s kindness toward you, you and I became friends and you protect me. When I was being attacked by Uzumaki haters, you used your chakra to send me as close to Konoha as possible. Knowing that they protected your other chakra. That and you’re a selfish bastard and wanted the rest of your chakra.” Minashi finished with a shrug. 

Kurama hummed but didn’t deny it. Instead, a tail swiped at her in mild irritation. She just jumped to avoid it before grinning at him. 

“Love you too Fuzzball.” 

Che- he grumbled and looked to their audience. 

Minashi’s gaze followed his. “You can work with all that right Jiji?” 

Sarutobi just stared at her as his eyes twitched. “My counterpart was correct. Be prepared for payback brat. This will be a lot of paperwork.” 

Inojiro smirked, but dare not laugh at his grumpy Hokage. 

“Oi, at least I’m here as a child. I could have been here as an adult-“ Minashi paused, frowned and sighed. “Strike that, the cost to travel back wouldn’t have allowed it for how far we came.” 

“Why did you come so far back?” Inojiro asked curiously. 

Minashi looked at his with sorrow-filled eyes. “My precious people aren’t born yet. Not all of them. This way I can slowly prepare to face them again. They won’t share the same bonds with me as before, but it doesn’t mean I can’t still be there for them. They will always be my precious people.” She took a breath and continued. “Also I can prevent a lot of things now or in a few years as a Genin or Chuunin than I could as a helpless infant. I would have merged with my past self if I’d gone to a timeline with my current self there. By going further back, I’ve erased any chance of my existence in the future, but will be creating a new one now. With that I’ll be able to build up strength to protect my precious people.” 

Inojiro smiled and nodded his thanks to her willing to answer his question. 

“Is there anything I should be aware of that you will be changing soon?” Sarutobi asked. 

Minashi went to deny it before thinking of the man that brought her to Konoha. She closed her mouth and thought it over silently. Kurama shifted and bumped her with his nose after hearing her thoughts. 

Tell them. He said firmly. 

Minashi rolled her eyes at the fox. “Sakumo abandons a mission of S-rank importance within the next year or so. With that, his peers turn on him. Even when choosing to save the lives of his comrades over his mission for the first time, the same comrades he saved also turn on him. He’s thrown into a depressive spiral that leads to his suicide. Making his six year old son finds him and stares at his cold corpse for hours before someone discovered them. I want to prevent that trauma on Kakashi. I want to stop Sakumo from dying. He’s a good man. A Loyal and strong shinobi. I hadn’t made up a plan yet, but will work one out soon. You will know it when you see it.” She smirked. “This isn’t so important that it would really affect you. But if it does, I’ll let you know.” She said even as a plan formed. 

Sarutobi could see her mind already at work and stifled the groan that wanted to escape him. 

“Is there anything else you need to see Jiji?” Minashi asked. 

Sarutobi ran a hand over his face as he regarded the Rokudaime Hokage before him. “No Minashi-san. It’s time we should return to the outside and get this paperwork started for your citizenship. Where would you like to stay? I am sure Minato would love to know he has a family.” 

Minashi’s smile was dimmed and tight. “Minato and I will come together eventually. Same with Kushina. They are family by blood and both that and my story will prove it once documentation can be forged. But I’d like to stay with the Hatake for now. Kakashi and Sakumo need me more. I’ll slowly get Minato and Kushina adapted to me eventually but I’d like it to be on my terms.” 

Sarutobi nodded. “Very well. Inojiro, if you would.” 

Inojiro nodded and with a displacement of chakra all three were back out of Minashi’s mind. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

The now child groaned and held her head. 

“Kami. That never hurt when Ino did it.” she muttered. 

“Ino?” Inojiro asked softly. 

“You’re granddaughter.” Minashi smiled softly. Inojiro beamed. Minashi rolled her eyes before they followed the now middle aged Hokage to his desk. He pulled out forms before getting to work. 

“For now we will leave your family name blank. We’ll say that our meeting came to the conclusion that you did have amnesia. Which from Inojiro’s report of your blank mind minus a few stray memories to give us your name, would be suitable for half-truths.” 

“Hai.” the two blondes agreed. 

Sarutobi grunted as his annoyed eyed looked to Minashi. “You will be able to play this part?” 

“Hai. I had an Uchiha for a teammate. I know how to keep a straight face and keep quiet or answer with one word answers. Eventually I’ll allow my personality to show as I adapt to my situation.” she shrugged. “Which isn’t far off of the truth really. I never met Sakumo. I like him though. I’ve yet to meet Kakashi.” she paused and grinned. “I might mess with him a bit though to show my ability to open up.” 

Inojiro snorted and Sarutobi’s lips twitched. He had a feeling that even without her twin brother around she’d be a handful on her own. 

“Alright. I’ll order blood tests to have them cross references against our shinobi database to search for relatives. It will allow you a few days for the results to turn up. I’ll be sure to keep them hidden for a while. Once enough time has passed for the suspicion of you being a spy has passed, I’ll let Minato and Kushina know of your relation to them.” 

“Thank you.” 

“Also, with your request to be under the Hatake Guardianship, you will also have to be submitted to therapy session with Inojiro.” 

Minashi narrowed her eyes at him. 

Sarutobi didn’t flinch. Really because she just looked like a ruffled kitten now. It took all his training not to laugh at the adorable sight. Inojiro wasn’t as trained. He coughed and covered his mouth to hide his smirk and laughter. 

“Minashi, I am Ordering this for your own health. I know you didn’t show me what became the future, but I can see the pain and sorrow in your eyes child. You need to talk about it to help you heal.” 

Minashi’s shoulders sagged. “Hai Hokage-sama.” she muttered. 

Sarutobi nodded pleased. “Good. Now on another note, I would like to consult with you in the future. But meeting with a child all the time will be suspicious.” 

Minashi snorted and without even a sign or poof of smoke a second Minashi stood there, but instead it was her adult form. She sliced a sharpened nail over her palm before latching it over the Clone’s wrist. It flared a bit of chakra before settling and relaxing back into a lazy slouch. 

“Blood Clone.” the four year old state. 

“I am just as durable as Boss. We also have a telepathic link just in case I need further instructions for decisions. Us clones tend to be more impulsive than Boss. But with serious matters we know to contact her to come to a better decision. As a Blood Clone, I also bleed and have a copy of her signature that I can use and control.” She suddenly shimmered and shifted to shrink down into a small one tailed golden fox. 

“Due to my contract with the Foxes, I’ve learned how to in some ways shape shift to a degree. It more like a special Henge Jutsu from the Fox realm.” Minashi hummed. “I was actually planning to do that later. I thought it would be a good way to follow and save Sakumo when the time came. It would also give me a reason to attach myself to you if needed.” 

The hokage raised a brow. “How so?” 

“Sakumo is a kind man that respects all creatures. If I showed my curiosity and intelligence to him, I’m sure he’d allow me to come back with him from the mission. Especially if I saved his team and mission from failing. Foxes are curious creatures. I’ll use that to get to you and offer protection. A Secondary Blood Clone can be at your disposal for ANBU if needed. Or I’ll leave one with the Hatake and henge into my adult form to take the mission if I find it needed.” 

Sarutobi and Inojiro just shared a glance and looked at the fox that had moved onto her lap and the child that was now petting it with a raised brow at it. 

“I’m not your groomer.” she grunted at her own clone. 

“Nope. But you know you enjoy it.” it snickered. 

With a grunt and a small pop, the clone disappeared and a muttering four year old remained. Minashi looked up to find the Hokage and Inojiro staring at her in amazement. 

“What?” she muttered. 

“Did you create that?” Sarutobi asked curiously. 

Minashi shrugged. “I spent years with the reanimation of the first four Hokages. Tobirama was especially helpful in perfecting it. But Him and Pa-Minato, were the ones to drill Fuuinjutsu into my head. Granted I already had a basic start from Ero-Sennin, but I am a Fuuinjutsu Mistress.” Minashi blinked when she realize she had rambled again. “Yes. I created it, but not on my own.” 

Sarutobi nodded then continued to fill out her papers. A few minutes later he handed them over to her and she scanned them over. Everything but the medical parts and a picture were filled out. That and her family tree.  

“I’ll look into the Uzumaki branches and see if we can find a line that isn’t too far from Kushina so that she can be seen as a close relative for you. So you will have to hold off on ‘remembering’ that for the time being. Also, since you are in the body of a child, to be able to get a standing in the village and a rank, you will have to attend the academy.” 

Minashi  groaned but was ignored. 

“Please do not graduate any sooner than a year.” Sarutobi almost begged. 

“Hai Hai.” Minashi hummed absently as she picked at her nails. Sarutobi let out a weary sigh. He could feel it in his bones that she’d only do that because of his future self that she held respect for. 

“Alright, I’ll send for Sakumo soon. Is there anything else we need to discuss before you go back to playing a child?” 

Minashi glanced up at Sarutobi. “One more thing.” 

Sarutobi hid his own groan, but was startled when instead he had a blond bundle almost snaked around his neck. Her smaller form shook as she buried her head into his neck. 

“Thanks Jiji.” she whispered through her tight throat. 

Sarutobi smiled softly as he returned her sudden hug. “No thanks needed. Just live the childhood you didn’t get to for now. You have allies. Let us help where we can.” 

Minashi hummed in agreeance and sat back in his lap. “Speaking of, I'd eventually like to get Ero-sennin and Baa-chan in on the secret.” 

“Who?” Sarutobi blinked confused. 

It took Minashi a moment to remember that Sarutobi didn’t know who she was talking about. 

“Ah, Sorry. Jiraiya and Tsunade.” He raised a skeptical brow at her. 

“They let you call them that?” 

Minashi snorted. Sarutobi sighed and made the decision that it was something he could inquire on later. Instead he nodded to her original statement.  

“That can be done. But I’ll have to let you convince my wayward student to come home.” 

Minashi snorted as she snuggled into his robes. “No problem there.” she mumbled. “Ah, I promised Oro-chan to save him from himself.” she mumbled as exhausted pulled at her. “Need to be intriguing to keep him away from Danzo and Human experimentation.” she yawned before giving up the fight. 

“Thank you.” Sarutobi whispered into her hair but she was already succumbing to the darkness of sleep. 

 

Sarutobi gently rearranged the child on his lap to be covered by the white Haori of his robes. He smiled down at her. He couldn’t believe that a twenty five year old was really trapped inside this tiny body. Not until he had seen her eyes when they returned from her mindscape. They were not the eyes of a child. 

Sarutobi looked to Inojiro. 

“I do not need to tell you that this doesn’t leave my office.” 

“S or SS-Rank Secret?” Inojiro asked instead. 

“SS.” Sarutobi hummed. “At least her true origins. The status of her tenant and her soon to be background will just be S-Rank. When blood tests come back the latter will drop off that list.” 

“Hai Hokage-sama.” 

“Now, to inform Sakumo of his new ward. I believe the Hatake household will get very lively here soon.” Sarutobi smirked before returning to his Hokage face. Releasing the Privacy seal, his ANBU returned. 

“Send Hatake-san in.” he ordered. 

A moment later, said silver haired man was standing before him once again, minus one little blonde child. Sarutobi puffed on his pipe as he regarded the man that hadn’t taken his eyes off the blonde child since he reentered Sarutobi’s office. 

“Inojiro here has confirmed that at the moment Minashi-chan is without her core memories. While investigating her mind carefully, we were able to identify her first name and that she was being sent to Konoha for protection.” 

Sakumo’s shoulders dropped in relief. “From who?” he asked curiously. 

Sarutobi hummed as he set his pipe down without disturbing the still sleeping child. “She doesn’t know. Her memories are blurry. We were only able to get her name before we were kicked out by-“ Sarutobi paused for dramatics. What? He had to get his entertainment somewhere. “Hatake-san. What I’m about to reveal is an S-Rank Secret.” Sarutobi didn’t need to remind his ANBU that this applied to them as well. 

“Hai Hokage-sama.” Sakumo said formally with a shallow bow. 

“Minashi-chan somehow has come into the possession of the Kyuubi.” 

The room froze. 

Sarutobi felt his lip twitch, but resisted the urge to smirk. Instead he bit the end of his pipe. 

“That would explain the massive chakra signature.” Sakumo said softly with eyes wide. “It protected her from the enemy, but must have recognized our Hitai-ate.” 

Sarutobi hummed. “That is our guess as well. We don’t know how she got it, but Inojiro reported that her mind showed signs of trauma. With this she has probably only temporarily lost her memories. Your Mission will be to watch her. When her memories look to have returned, bring her back for another Mind scan.” 

Sakumo sagged in resignation. “Hai Hokage-sama.” 

“With that, she will be in your care.” Sakumo nodded at his Hokage and looked back down at the now named child. Minashi. “Your first part for the mission is to take her to the hospital and get her blood drawn.” He tossed Sakumo a scroll. “These are orders to have her cross referenced with all of our shinobi and citizen. See if she was sent here because someone knows something we don’t.” 

Sakumo’s eyes widened. “You think she has a relative here?” 

Sarutobi hummed as he looked Sakumo over. “We caught a flash of red in some of the blurry images. It seems that the reserves she has are possibly paternal.” He answered evasively. 

Sakumo understood immediately. Uzumaki survivor. Went unspoken between them. 

“I will take her there immediately.” 

The Hokage nodded and with some skill they handed off the sleeping child who now clung to Sakumo’s flak vest. 

“Hospital first. Supplies next.” The Hokage ordered. He then smiled. “I do not suspect her as a spy. It doesn’t mean I don’t want her watched. It’s more for her protection if my assumptions are correct.” 

“Thank you.” Sakumo felt a weight off his chest. 

“She is your ward now Sakumo. I’m already having the information processed. Once her medical checkup is done the paperwork will be complete. Now, dismissed.” 

Sakumo nodded and with a shunshin, he was gone. Sarutobi glared at the leaves on his floor. 

“Really? Every time. What is it with my shinobi leaving a mess behind?” He grumbled as he went to start the paperwork for his newest Citizen and Academy student and soon his undercover ANBU operative Fox. 

Inojiro smartly ignore the hokage’s grumbling and dismissed himself through the door. No need to make the Hokage any angrier. 

 

Sakumo carried his sleeping bundle through the Hospital following the nurse that would complete the Hokage’s order. His eyes drifted down to the small child clinging to his chest even in her sleep. 

Minashi. He had a name for her now. 

Sakumo’s thoughts wandered even as the nurse took the blood sample from the sleeping child. He watched the nurse react to the child’s rapid healing before leaving. He took that as his own dismissal. He knew the results would be sent to the Hokage. He hoped though that she’d get to stay with him no matter the results. He could already feel himself getting attached to the quiet child. 

As he made his way through the village, he felt her stir. Bright Cerulean blues looked up at him innocently. 

“Hello Minashi-chan. You slept through your blood test. Did the Hokage say that we are going to test to see if you have any relatives in Konoha?” 

Minashi nodded quietly and Sakumo gave her a soft smile. “Until then you will stay with me. With that, you will need items. So how about we do some shopping?” 

Minashi stared at him for a moment before she gave a small smile and a hesitant nod. Sakumo smiled in return and carried her into a store run by a Civilian couple. It had everything from civilian clothes to Shinobi wears in the back. It was a store he would often shop in, for Kakashi. Setting Minashi down, Sakumo watched as her big blue eyes scanned the child section they’d stopped in. 

Minashi wandered around the girls section until she spotted orange. She rushed to it and beamed. It was an orange yukata dress trimmed in black. Smiling she grabbed it. Snagging a black sleeveless shirt for underneath, along with black leggings, she continued her search. She paused a bit later when she spotted a white jacket with orange stripes up the sleeves. Snagging it, she paired it with an orange tank top and black shorts. 

Sakumo hovered a little behind her. Taking in her selections and sizes, he followed behind her grabbing a few extra pairs of clothes for daily wear. After grabbing her sandals to wear they checked out and headed to the Hatake Compound finally. 

Minashi was back in Sakumo’s arms with all her new clothes seal into the scroll wrapped in her arms. 

“Minashi-chan, I have a son about your age. His name is Kakashi.” 

Minashi tilted her head like a curious child. “Kashi?” 

Sakumo chuckled. “Kakashi.” 

“Kashi.” She repeated faking her innocence of getting it wrong. 

Sakumo snorted. “Sure. Kashi. Now I’m sure you heard my name from the Hokage. But I’ll re-introduce myself. I’m Hatake Sakumo.” 

Minashi was quiet for a few beats as they walked through the markets. 

“Saki.” <old> Minashi said suddenly and Sakumo almost tripped even as his face flushed. 

“No Minashi-chan, it’s Sa-Ku-Mo.” 

Minashi giggled and clapped her hands. “Saki-chan!” 

Sakumo wilted as he heard giggling from a pair of passing women. “Minashi-chan~” he whined to her softly. She just giggled and Sakumo relented. If it made the quiet child giggle, then it was worth it. “Fine.” He sighed. 

Picking up the pace, Sakumo hurried back home. He knew Kakashi would be worried by now. He was supposed to be home by dinner. It was getting late into the evening. 

He slipped past his barriers and into the house. 

“Tadaima!” he called out. A quick patter of feet later as he set Minashi down, and Kakashi was before them. 

“Tou-san, Okaeri.” Kakashi said as he came around the corner. 

Sakumo felt Minashi suddenly hide behind his legs as his son popped around and froze at the sight of the little golden doll. 

Kakashi tilted his masked face to the side. “Tou-san, why do you have a doll?” 

Sakumo hid his snort and instead placed a hand on Minashi’s head and pulled her to the front. She still buried her face into his thigh, but an eye was peeking out to look at Kakashi. 

“Kakashi, this is Minashi. I found her while on my last mission. She was sent to Konoha for protection. Hokage-sama has awarded me guardianship until relatives can be found. Minashi, this is Kakashi. Remember we talked about him?” 

Kakashi crossed his arms as he looked the girl up and down. She looked to be just shy of his five years of age. He sniffed the air to catch her scent, but she was still too far away. 

“Kashi?” a soft voice mumbled and Kakashi twitched. 

“Yes Minashi-chan. Kakashi, my son.” 

Slowly the Golden child stepped forward and looked at Kakashi with a hesitant but curious look. Kakashi felt himself freeze though. Those eyes. They were so pretty. He felt himself blush when she gave him a small smile. 

He didn’t realize how close she was until her scent invaded his nose through his mask. Sunshine. How though? How can someone smell like sunshine? 

He saw her own nose twitch as her head tilted at him curiously. 

“Inu?” she asked before smiling. “Inu-chan!” she grinned and even as he blushed he bristled. 

“I do not smell like a dog!” he growled, but Minashi just giggled. Kakashi saw something spark in her eyes as a shiver went down his spine. He took a step back and he watched her grin turn foxy like the whiskers on her cheeks. Following his instincts, he bolted. 

“Inu-Chan!” Minashi giggled as she chased after Kakashi. He snarled and dodged her first lunge, but he suddenly felt his legs swept out from under him. He yelped and was suddenly trapped on the ground with legs locked around his arms and chest while Minashi nuzzled his head of silver hair. 

“Inu!” she giggled and pet his head. 

“TOU-SAN!” Kakashi cried out. “Get this weirdo off of me!” 

Sakumo blinked as he watched the once quiet child attach herself to Kakashi. He didn’t miss the taijutsu she’d just displayed. Or the speed. Sakumo leaned in the doorway as he watched emotions flash over the child’s face. He wondered if the girl had a pet that had a similar scent and feel as Kakashi. Sakumo blinked at that thought and held back his laughter as his son continued to struggle to get out of the girl’s hold. 

Meanwhile, Minashi was just basking in Kakashi’s scent. It was missing the scent of paper and blood, but it was still his. 

“Alright, I think that’s enough Minashi-chan.” Sakumo chuckled as he grabbed her collar and extracted her from Kakashi. Kakashi scrambled to his feet and glared at her. Minashi just gave him a foxy grin. His two coal eyes glared at her over his mask. 

“Kakashi, it’s late and it’s been a long day. We’ll talk more in the morning. Minashi-chan, let’s get you settled into a room.” He placed the small girl on his hip and walked Kakashi to his room before moving to the next room down and setting Minashi in it. He showed her around it and parts of the compound they used most before letting her settle into the futon to sleep. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

  

“Demon!” 

“Monster!” 

“You should just die!” 

Laughter followed the horrible names as they flowed into the ears of the poor girl of only seven years of age. Her eyes stung as she fought back her tears. It was the same ever since she was little. The Adults were the worst. Now the academy kids were doing it too. Minashi felt a traitorous tear slip down her cheek. One of the older boys took a step closer, but Minashi couldn’t go anywhere. She was pressed up against a wall. Fear started to spiral in her chest. 

The fear was suddenly pushed away when she felt it. Warmth. That same warmth that had always been there since she was born. She rubbed away her tears to see that she was now staring at a back. Her lips lifted into a smile. She knew that back of sunshine yellow hair. It was the same as hers. 

“Naruto.” She whispered. 

Bright Cerulean eyes looked over his shoulder and gave her the biggest grin before they went hard. Minashi didn’t need to be in front of him to see that no more warmth was in her elder brother’s eyes. 

“Leave her alone. No one is allowed to pick on my imouto but me.” 

“Che- what are you going to do?” one of the eldest boys sneered. 

Minashi watched at Naruto started brawling with the boys. Her own mouth lifted into a sneer as they teamed up against him. Naruto’s warmth was still in her chest and his determination to protect her was clear in her mind. Cocking back her fist, she joined in to help her Nii-san. She was not weak. 

  

  

“Naruto!” Minashi cried out in joy. Naruto looked over to Minashi as she entered the clearing they agreed to meet up at. Naruto’s grin was as bright as the sun. 

“You got it!” He cheered as they both opened the Forbidden Scroll Mizuki-sensei told them about. 

“Only because you distracted Jiji.” Minashi smiled in return. 

“Now we just have to find a clone one to learn so that Iruka-sensei has to pass us.” He said even while looking over the scroll. His face scrunched up and Minashi looked at the clone one he’d found to see what was the problem. Minashi frowned at it. She knew Naruto had a hard time understanding big words. So did she, but she also enjoyed learning new things through reading. 

Reaching over she grabbed his hand and his troubled blue eyes met her confident ones. His tense body relaxed as he felt through their connection that she was confident that she could learn it and teach it to him. They would always be there for each other. 

Minashi gave him a grin and he returned it. Together, they learned the Kage Bushin. 

  

Minashi sat up from the ground and looked to Iruka-sensei that was hovering over them dangerously. 

“It’s all over.” Iruka laughs, but Minashi and Naruto can hear the anger in it. 

Naruto just rubs the back of his head sheepish while Minashi holds the scroll over her back. 

“Got us already? Not Bad. You’re quick sensei. We only had time to learn one technique.” 

Iruka’s face blanked as he looked between them both. Slowly his eyebrows rose as he took in their battered clothes and exhausted faces. Minashi prayed that he wouldn’t be mad. He was the only teacher to really pay any attention to them. 

“Iruka-Sensei, Can we show you the Jutsu we learn?” Minashi asked hesitantly. “We worked really hard. It’s a clone Jutsu. If we can do it, will you let us pass? Please?” 

“Yeah Sensei, you’ll have to let us pass. That’s the rule right? Anyone who learns a jutsu from the scroll passes.” Naruto join in with his twin. 

Iruka frowned at them. “Huh? Where did you get that idea?” 

Minashi felt her stomach drop. Naruto was right there with her, but he kept his smile. 

“Mizuki-Sensei told us about it. He told us where we could find it and this place-“ Minashi stopped her brother at the look of dawning horror on Iruka’s face. Naruto stops and glances between them as he gets the message from Minashi that they were tricked. Minashi feels the anger and self-loathing in her brother bloom, but she just holds his hand tighter. They were never alone. 

“Mizuki?” Iruka whispers as it comes together in his head. 

Naruto’s gut tells him to move and he does. He goes to push Minashi out of the way, but Iruka is there first, pushing them both out of the way of a hail of Kunai. 

“So you’ve found our little hide away.” Mizuki grins. 

Iruka glares up at him. “So that’s the way it is. I should’ve known.” 

“Minashi, Naruto, Give me the scroll, now!” 

“Wait a minute.” Naruto mumbles. “What’s really going on here?” he asks already knowing but needing to hear it. 

Iruka pulled out the kunai from his body and stood before the twins. “Minashi, Don’t let Mizuki get the scroll! Naruto get her out of here. Return the scroll to the Hokage. That is the Forbidden Scroll. It has powerful Jutsu in it that could put the village in grave danger. Mizuki used you two to get the scroll for himself. For his own power.” 

Naruto’s face darkens in anger. Minashi tightens the strap holding the scroll and glares angrily up at the white hair ex-sensei. 

“Now, now, Iruka is just trying to scare you two. He doesn’t want you two to have the scroll.” 

Naruto looks confused between the two older men but glances to Minashi. ‘What?’ she vaguely hears in her head. ‘Another lie’. Minashi sends back. Naruto nods. 

“Stop lying Mizuki! Minashi, Naruto, don’t let him trick you.” 

“Oh? I’ll tell you who’s really lying.” Mizuki grinned manically. 

“No!” Iruka shouts. 

“They’ve been lying to you your whole lives. 12 full years since the decree.” Mizuki’s voice is taunting. 

“What decree?” Naruto asks even as Minashi feels her body go cold. 

“Everyone knows it except you two. Iruka’s trying to hide it from you now. He’d do anything to shut me up.” 

“Iruka-sensei?” Minashi whispers as her body begins to tremble. 

“What decree? What does everyone else know about it?” Naruto demands getting angry even as fear pools in his stomach. 

“It’s forbidden! Don’t tell him!” Iruka shouts and throws Kunai at Mizuki. The white hair man just dodges or deflects the kunai. 

Mizuki laughs. “The decree is that no one can tell you two that you share two halves of the Kyuubi no kitsune. It’s inside you both!” He points at them without care. “The same fox that killed Iruka’s parents and destroyed our village has taken over both your bodies. You’re two halves of the Kyuubi!” 

“Stop it!” Iruka shouts throwing more kunai. 

Mizuki dodges as he jumps to another tree. “They’ve all been sneaking around, hiding things from you your whole life. Didn’t you two think it was strange how everyone treated you? Like dirt. Like trash. They hated you for just being alive.” 

Minashi looks down at the ground. It all made sense now. Her eyes stung. She was part of the fox that killed so many people. 

“No.” Naruto whispered. 

“Naruto. Minashi.” Iruka trailed off. 

“You’ll never be accepted into this village. Even your beloved sensei hates your guts!” Mizuki taunted. 

Minashi’s tears fell as she gripped Naruto’s shaking hand tighter. 

“no.” he mumbled again as his body began to shake. She couldn’t focus enough to feel how he was doing. Spiraling down into her own head of darkened understanding. 

“Now Die!” Mizuki shouts as he throws a large Shuriken. 

“Get down!” Iruka shouts and Naruto turns to cover Minashi. Minashi’s eyes widen when she looks over Naruto’s shoulder to see Iruka protecting them both. The large Shuriken lodged into his back. Naruto turns to look at their sensei with wide eyes. 

“W-why?” Naruto stutters. 

“Iruka-sensei?” Minashi whispers shocked. 

“We’re the same.” He whispers and coughs in pain. “When I lost my parents, no one seemed to care. They didn’t have time for me. They just forgot I was there. My grades dropped. I became the class clown. I just wanted them to see me and know my name. My schooling wasn’t good enough to get the attention, so I did crazy things and then I had to pay for it. It was hard. I know that’s how you two feel. Naruto, Minashi. I could’ve been there for you more. I let you two down. I’m sorry. No one should have to suffer that much. No one should be alone like that.” 

Minashi’s lips tremble and she feels her feelings reflected through Naruto. 

“Don’t make me laugh! Iruka always hated you two. He was orphaned because of the nine-tailed fox that killed his parents. That beast is now inside you both! He’d say anything to get the scroll from you.” 

Naruto gets up and drags Minashi away. 

“Naruto! Minashi!” He tries to reach out to them, but the shuriken is still lodged in his back. 

Minashi runs behind Naruto as they dodge trees, logs, and roots. 

“N-Naruto?” she stutters choking back her sobs. Her brother was quiet. He was never quiet. Suddenly he pulled her down and covered her mouth. His blue eyes almost glowing in the night. 

  

“Naruto!” Iruka calls out. The twins look out from their hiding spot to see another set of themselves stop and look back to Iruka. “Everything Mizuki said was a lie. Give me the scroll. Hurry!” Iruka nears the twins. “He’s coming after you two to take it away.” 

The hidden twins watch as the copy Naruto launches back at Mizuki and sends him flying into a tree. 

“It can’t be. How did you know Naruto?” Iruka asks as the copy Naruto slid to the ground, back against a tree as he panted hard. Iruka puffed into smoke to reveal Mizuki and watched as Naruto did the same. 

“Because I’m Iruka.” 

Mizuki snarls as he stands up. “You’re a fool! Why are you protecting those freak brats? They’re the ones who wiped out your family!” 

“I don’t care what you say. You’re not getting your hands on that scroll.” 

Mizuki laughs tauntingly. “As if you could stop me. Don’t you get it? Naruto as his sister are just like me.” 

“How’s that?” Iruka snaps. 

“He wants the scroll for his own power, his own vengeance. That’s how beasts are. He’ll even make sure that beast of his sister joins him. They are connected at the hip. He’ll encourage her to rage with him and destroy everything.” 

“You’re right.” Iruka said. 

Minashi felt her eyes sting. Naruto shook beside her as he held her tighter. She could feel the sadness between them both. 

“That’s how beasts are.” Iruka continues. “Both that’s not who those two are.” 

Naruto freezes, Minashi’s eyes snap open. 

“Naruto and Minashi are nothing like that. Naruto is one of a kind. He’s a bit of a prankster and Minashi only encourages it, but he will always work hard and put all his heart into everything he does. Sure, he messes up, but Minashi is there. She is always at his side. She is one of a kind in her own right. She is dedicated to always learn new things and always be kind to those around her. They may be twins, but they complete each other. He is loud, she is quiet. He is brash, she’s patient. Sure, they mess up sometimes when they’re pranking, but their suffering only makes them stronger. That’s what separates them from being a beast. Therefore, you’re wrong. They are nothing like the Kyuubi no Kitsune. They are Uzumaki Naruto and Uzumaki Minashi of Konohagakure no Sato.” 

Minashi buries her face into Naruto’s shoulder as his face is buried into her hair. For the first time. Someone could see them. Acknowledge them. Not as the Demon twins, but as Minashi and Naruto. 

“You really believe that dribble?” Mizuki sneers. “I was going to save you for later, but I changed my mind.” Mizuki pulled out another shuriken and ran at Iruka. “You’re finished.” 

Naruto jumps out, Minashi right with him. Naruto head-butts Mizuki and Minashi puts all her strength into kicking him in the groin. 

Mizuki goes flying back as he lets out a sound like a dying animal. Iruka looks up to see both the twins standing before him. 

“Naruto? Minashi?” 

“Y-You Brats!” Mizuki pants as he’s still trying to get off his knees as he cups his groin. 

“If you ever lay a hand on our sensei-“Minashi growls as she moves the scroll to Iruka to hold. 

“We’ll kill you.” Naruto finishes. 

Mizuki got to his feet. “Such big words. I can completely destroy you both with a single move!” 

Naruto and Minashi moved in sync. Their hearts and mind working almost as one. Protect their sensei. Knowledge that they knew each other was not the fox. Only their loving Nii-san/Imouto. 

Both moved into stance for the new jutsu. Fingers in a cross form. “Take your best shot fool.” Minashi snarled. 

“We’ll give it back to you two thousand fold!” Naruto shouted. 

“Let’s see you try Fox Brats!” 

“Kage Bushin no Jutsu!” The twins shouts in unison. A massive poof sound and sight of clouds surrounded the forest. Hundreds and hundreds of Naruto and Minashi clones filled the ground, trees, and every open space available. 

Mizuki’s eyes bugged out at the sight of hundreds of solid clones surrounding him. 

“If you’re not coming…” One Naruto clone said. 

“Then we’re coming after you!” a Minashi clone finished. 

  

Naruto and Minashi finished tying up a thoroughly beaten and unconscious Mizuki. Together they walked to Iruka who was smiling at them. Naruto grinned sheepish. 

“We kinda got carried away dattebayo.” 

“Just a bit dattebane. Are you okay Iruka-sensei?” Minashi asked as she kneeled beside him. Naruto on Iruka’s other side. 

Iruka let out a slow breath. “Yeah. I’ll be fine.” His smile suddenly got softer. “Both of you close your eyes.” 

Naruto and Minashi shared a glance before doing as their first precious person said. When they opened their eyes, they saw that they each wore a new hitai-ate and Iruka was missing his. 

“Naruto, Minashi, You have earned your graduation together. I couldn’t be prouder. Naruto, you have my hitai-ate. Take good care of it. You’re now a shinobi of Konoha.” Naruto sniffled as he covered his eyes with his arm to wipe away the tears. 

“un.” He agreed muffled. Iruka turned to Minashi with a kind smile. 

“Take care of that hitai-ate for me Minashi. That was my mother’s. She was an amazing Kunoichi. She always protected what she loved with the fiercest of fires burning in her heart.” 

Minashi’s tears finally fell and she nodded as she wiped them away. “Un.” She agreed. 

  

  

Sarutobi looked at the two blonde children before him. The incident from a few days ago was finally calming down. Now, he had to tell them that he would be separating them. He already knew they wouldn’t like it. 

“About your upcoming team assignments.” Sarutobi began. “Konoha Genin teams work with three genin and a Jounin sensei. While we have an odd number of girls this year and one team will have two girls, it will just have to work. So, Naruto, Minashi, we have no choice but to separate-“ 

“NO.” They both said in unison. 

Sarutobi sighed. “Naruto, Minashi-“ 

“No.” They said again. 

“Just give the girl on my team to someone else.” Naruto argued. 

Sarutobi sighed as he set his pipe down. “Naruto, teams don’t work that way. We have you set up with the top Kunoichi and Top Shinobi of your class to balance it out. Minashi is on the team with the next two top boys. We do this to balance out-“ 

“No.” Naruto stubbornly said as Minashi wondered how she could get Jiji to keep them together. 

“Jiji,” Minashi called for his attention. Old brown eyes moved from Naruto to her. “We work best together. You know we share a connection.” 

“One that’s never been proven.” Sarutobi said, but they both knew he didn’t mean it. He was the only one that believed they shared a connection. 

Minashi bit her lip before something dinged in her mind. “Wouldn’t it be best to keep us on the same team? I keep Naruto under control and he keeps me under control.” 

Sarutobi looked to Minashi. She was so much like her father it was scary sometimes. The same for Naruto and his mother. It didn’t help that Minashi had her father’s face and Naruto his mother’s. 

“What are you implying Minashi?” Sarutobi asked gently. 

Minashi’s eyes dimmed and hardened. “The fox. We can keep each other in control. If we can’t, I’m pretty sure you’ll put us with a sensei that could.” 

Sarutobi sighed even as Naruto flinched, but Minashi’s hand squeezed his in comfort. He returned it and the reassuring feelings she sent him. 

Sarutobi puffed on his pipe for a few minutes as he looked between the two new genin before him. There would have been a five-person genin squad anyways. However, he wanted them to be separated to learn to rely on others besides their sibling. But Minashi had a point. He’d been having a problem finding another sensei that would have been able to handle her if she lost control. 

“Alright. Do not let me regret this.” Sarutobi warned but both twins were too busy grinning at each other to care. 

  

  

Minashi woke up feeling the tears on her cheeks. Her heart ached. She missed Naruto so much. He was her other half. He knew everything about her and she knew everything about him. She tried to muffle her sobs, but her chest ached. She curled up under her covers, but the tears still came as her mind replayed the memory dreams. 

“Nii-san.” She sobbed. “Nii-san!” she cried out as she curled into a ball. She wanted her Nii-san. She couldn’t do this all by herself. It was all finally starting to set in. She was alone in the past. A huge burden of a task to complete. Alone. She’s always hated being alone. Yes, she had Naruto, but they were all they had. No family, no friends. They were alone. 

So Alone. 

The blanket was pulled away from her and warm hands moved to wrap her against a small frame. But the scent filled her nose, stopping any of her protests. It was familiar but slightly different than she was used to. 

“Shh.” Kakashi whispered in her ear. Minashi choked softly on another sob as she buried her face into his neck. 

“Kashi. I miss Nii-san.” She mumbled into his neck. 

Kakashi stayed silent but held her still. When she had calmed down a little he was laying with her on his side. 

“What happened to him?” he asked softly. 

Minashi stayed silent but nuzzled a much smaller chest than she was used to. 

“Mina-chan?” 

“H-he died.” She whispered. 

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have-“ 

“He saved me.” She continued. “Baka Nii-san.” 

Small but still long fingers threaded through her hair in a soothing motion. 

“I’m sorry you lost your brother.” 

“Twin.” She whispered into his chest. 

Kakashi sighed as his face scrunched up in sympathy. He held her tighter. 

“I’m no Nii-san, but I can be your friend. I can protect you for your Nii-san.” 

Minashi was quiet for a moment before a sniff broke the silence. 

“Promise?” She mumbled. 

“Hai. Promise.” He said into her soft hair. He felt her lips pull into a smile against his chest. He felt his own lips twitch into one as he continued to brush through her hair with his fingers until she fell back asleep, him following right behind her. 

  

Sakumo rested his head against the wall outside of Minashi’s room. He’d heard her sobs and felt Kakashi’s signature move to her room. To hear the child calling out for her nii-san, he didn’t ever want to hear such heartbreak from her again. To learn that her brother had given up his own young life to save her, it broke his heart. Keeping his steps quiet, he slid open the door to Minashi’s new room to see Kakashi and Minashi curled up together fast asleep. 

Leaving them be, Sakumo returned to his own room and sent a message to the Hokage about Minashi’s nightmare. He’d have to ask the girl in the morning about it. If her memories were coming back, they would need to know what had happened. That and who had sent her to Konoha. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

Kakashi had been woken by the not so muffled sobs coming from the room next to his. He debated with himself for a few moments about just letting the weirdo cry herself to sleep. Then she cried out for her nii-san. Something in him clenched tight. Tou-san had brought her here without anyone else. Was she brought here alone? Did she lose her family? Letting out a quiet sigh, he moved to her room and attempted to comfort her. Once again the blonde doll had latched onto him and burrowed into his neck. He went to grumbled, but then he got a whiff of her scent. It wasn’t just sunshine. She smelled of a fresh breeze sweeping through a meadow of wildflowers. It surprisingly calmed him. 

When she admitted that she missed her Nii-san, Kakashi didn’t know what to say. He never had a brother or sister. He didn’t know what to say or do. But he’d seen others just hold another until tears stopped. So he decided to try it. But his curiosity got the better of him. 

“What happened to him?” He asked and wanted to kick himself when her scent filled with sadness and the scent of her tears once again filled the air. He encouraged her gently, a nickname rolling off his tongue against his better judgement. “Mina-chan?” 

To hear her admit that her brother was dead was like a punch to the gut. She was alone. 

“I’m Sorry, I shouldn’t have-“ Kakashi tried to back track. He didn’t want to make her cry more. Nevertheless, she continued to talk. How her brother saved her. How he wasn’t just an older brother. He was her twin. 

“I’m no Nii-san, but I can be your friend. I can protect you for your Nii-san.” Kakashi found himself saying to the sad doll in his arms. His hands had a mind of their own as they threaded through her soft locks. They were like silk and every brush sent her scent into a whirlwind. Every stroke brought out a different scent, like those that blew on the breeze through the meadow. His eyes got heavy as he made it a promise to her. 

The sun woke him in the morning. Carefully Kakashi slipped away from the doll to get ready for the day. He needed to get back to training so that he’d be ready for the academy. Also, just because the Golden doll was living with them now didn’t mean that he’d alter his schedule for her. So he returned to his room, changed, and headed down to see if his tou-san was making breakfast. He had to force himself to move away from her. It was strange and worrisome. He pushed the weird thoughts away and focused on his routine. 

  

  

Minashi felt when Kakashi left her. He took the warmth with him. Minashi let him be. She wanted to recompose herself. She had absently felt Sakumo outside her room after she woke up from her nightmare, but now she needed to think on how she was going to cover up her slip. 

I guess I can just tell the truth. That way I would be able to talk about Naruto to a certain extent.’ She thought as she watched the sun rise through her window. Mind made up, she got up and grabbed a pair of clothes. She picked the orange yukata style dress and leggings paired with shinobi sandals. Slipping out of her room, she found the bathroom and made quick work of taking a shower, dressing, and brushing out her long hair. Twirling the brush in her hand, she absently wished that Naruto was there to do her hair like he did when they were kids. It then changed to Sakura, Tsunade, Minato, and lastly was Kakashi. 

Shyly she held the brush to her chest as she walked to the scent of Sakumo and Kakashi. She really wanted someone to do her hair. Not only was it routine, but it was soothing. 

Poking her head into the kitchen, she saw Kakashi up on a chair helping Sakumo chopping vegetables while the older silver worked with a frying pan. She could smell the eggs from her spot at the door. 

“You can come in Minashi-chan.” Sakumo called softly, kind smile on his lips as he glanced over to her. 

Minashi stepped in and toed at the floor. 

“Do you need something?” Sakumo asked as he squatted down to her level. Minashi looked up at him and showed him the brush. “Do you need help with your hair?” 

Minashi shrugged. Sakumo hummed and looked at the long locks to see them sans-tangles. 

“Do you want me to braid it?” 

Minashi looked up at Sakumo with hopeful eyes. “Please?” 

Sakumo smiled. “Give me just a moment to finish breakfast so you and Kakashi can eat while I do your hair.” 

“Hai.” Minashi mumbled as she went to the chair Sakumo guided her to. 

A few moments later, Kakashi was sitting across from her, a plate was in front of her, and another set was set between them on the end for Sakumo. 

Minashi almost purred when Sakumo’s long fingers brushed through her hair and began braiding it back. 

“Saki-chan going to eat?” Minashi mumbled absently. 

Sakumo chuckled. “It will hold. Your hair will not. You have very silky hair. It needs to be done while it’s still wet or it will never stay.” 

Kakashi raised an eyebrow at Sakumo over Minashi’s head. “How do you know that tou-san?” 

Sakumo’s fingers paused in Minashi’s hair, but only for a fraction of a second. 

“Your Kaa-chan’s hair was similar in texture. She always asked me to braid it for her.” He said softly. 

Kakashi’s eyes widened. 

“Your hair is similar in texture to hers, but it has my thickness.” He reached over and ruffled the gravity defying tufts. “Thus why it’s so hard to do much with.” 

“You don’t talk about Kaa-chan.” Kakashi said softly. 

Minashi peeked open an eye to see Kakashi sans-mask, but ignored it for the hopeful spark in his eyes. Her Kakashi never really knew much about his mother. Said that his father would always change the subject. All she had done was ask for him to do her hair, and Sakumo was already changing his relationship with Kakashi. 

“When you lose someone you love with all your heart, it’s hard to talk about them.” Sakumo said softly as he continued to work through Minashi’s hair. 

Kakashi nodded and went back to his breakfast. Minashi let her’s be. She would eat with Sakumo since he was doing her hair. 

When he was finished, she had two braids along her skull and down her back brushing her calves. 

“Done.” Sakumo smiled and patted her head. “Now eat, before it gets colder.” 

“Hai Saki-chan.” Minashi sighed and got to eating. 

Sakumo grunted at the nickname but ate his own food. 

  

After cleaning up the dishes together, all three headed to the back of the compound where an indoor Dojo opened up into a decent sized Training field. Kakashi didn’t wait for the other two to go out and begin practicing his Katas in the low grass. 

Minashi sat on the engawa of the Dojo as Kakashi slowly went through the Hatake Clan style. She felt Sakumo join her to watch him go through them with a keen eye. 

“The Hokage says that you can join the academy in a few days. The paperwork and blood tests just need to be finished.” 

“Hai.” Minashi mumbled as her mind and heart fought to not sink into melancholy. She could see Her Kakashi in the way Kashi-chan was moving slowly. Three decades of hard work, skills, experiences, and training were missing. However, she could see it. This was his foundation. 

“Have you had any training Mina-chan?” Sakumo asked softly in the morning air. 

“Some.” She answered as his voice brought her back from her memories. She remembered her story and scrunched up her nose in fake thought. “Tou-san taught Nii-san and I.” she answered. 

Sakumo nodded and gestured to the training field. “If you are up to it, feel free to practice.” 

Minashi glanced at Sakumo, giving him a soft smile before moving to a space near Kakashi but leaving plenty of room for each of their own katas to flow. 

Some training. Sakumo thought sarcastically as he watched the little golden star swiftly move through her own katas. The ease and efficiency with how she went through them was not just some training. But he couldn’t be sure about it until he saw her in action. 

“One more run through. Then I want you two to spar.” 

“Hai Tou-san.” Kakashi called and went through them. Sakumo nodded and looked to the silent girl to see blue eyes on him. 

“Minashi?” he asked when she didn’t move. 

“Hai.” She mumbled and went through her own katas once more. 

A few minutes later, the two children were facing one another in their own stances. Sakumo frowned at Minashi. Now that he really focused, something seemed familiar about her stance. 

“Begin.” He called out and Kakashi leapt after Minashi. Sakumo sighed, he needed to work on Kakashi’s patience- His thoughts were abruptly halted when Minashi moved. She moved with experience, but like water flowing in a river. Smooth, precise, deadly. 

Kakashi was on the ground on his stomach with Minashi’s knee on his back and one of Kakashi’s arm locked against her smaller frame. 

Kakashi blinked. Sakumo blinked. Minashi cursed in her head. She tried to hold back. Even in a smaller form, her mind was still trained beyond the years of her body. If it was anyone else she would have lost due to her miscalculations in her smaller frame, but as it was, she was facing another child. Mistakes were made. But still she knew she took Kakashi down too easily. 

“Some training Minashi-chan?” Sakumo called out. The skepticism and sarcasm was thick in his tone of voice. Minashi looked to him to see him with an unimpressed look, but twitching lips. 

Minashi gave a sheepish look and released Kakashi. He glared at her from the ground, but she just smiled at him softly and offered a hand up. To her surprise, he took it. 

“Again.” Kakashi demanded. Warmth lit up in Minashi. 

“Hai.” She smiled back. And again they did go at it. Punches, kicks, sweeps, dodges. Taijutsu in their clan styles were almost similar. Both were still missing elements. Kakashi didn’t know it yet and had developed his own off of the Hatake. He hadn’t wanted to use his father’s tanto any longer and had to adjust without it. Minashi’s was the Uzumaki style that was aided with seals and kenjutsu. Although, her taijutsu wasn’t in its final form. She had changed it later in her life to accommodate the Whirlpool Fist, Fox Kata, the Namikaze speed practices and her original brawler style mixed in to keep everything unpredictable. 

Sakumo already knew what Kakashi’s was missing, but the longer he looked at Minashi, the more he began to realize who it reminded him of. The piece of the puzzle slowly began to piece together. One that Sakumo was sure the Hokage probably already had all the pieces to. 

“Alright, that’s enough for this morning.” Sakumo called out half an hour before the academy would begin. “Kakashi go get cleaned up. You too Minashi.” 

“Hai.” They both called out and jogged back inside. Once out of hearing range, Sakumo summoned one of his messenger wolves. Kyo, a beautiful white wolf appeared in a small cloud. She was considered the runt of her litter when she was a pup, but they soon learned that she was not as weak as she appeared. Her smaller and leaner form gave her speed and flexibility. Add that to her intelligent mind, and she could always outsmart her opponents. 

“Kyo, I need you to pass a message to the Hokage.” 

“Hai, Sakumo-sama.” 

“Tell him that Minashi had a memory dream. She spoke of a twin brother. Also she remembers her father. Lastly, I have confirmation that one parent was an Uzumaki. She knows the Uzumaki Whirlpool Fist Taijutsu.” 

“Hai, I’ll be quick. Should I wait for a response?” 

“Yes. I would like to know how he would like to handle this new information. Also check to see if her blood work is back. That is all.” 

Kyo bowed her head in a nod, turned and in a blur of white, disappeared into the brush headed for the Hokage Tower. 

Sakumo headed back inside and waited for Kakashi and Minashi near the door. He didn’t have to wait long. They returned a few moments ready to head out. Kakashi by his side and Minashi looking up at him shyly. 

“Saki-chan?” 

“Yes Minashi-chan?” 

“Can I have a ride?” 

Sakumo smiled kindly and lifted her up into his arm. His free hand resting on Kakashi’s head. Together, the group made their way through the village. Sakumo remembered when Kakashi declared himself too big to be carried. He’d never admit it out loud, but he missed those times. So indulging this sweet little star in a few rides while she was still a kid, would sooth some of the yearning of his father instincts. 

 

Fully awake this time, Minashi took in the village with wide eyes. While most of it was the same, it was missing all the scars she remembered it having. But then she remembered that Kurama had not yet been forced to attack. 

It was also strange to Minashi. People were smiling and waving good morning. While there was still an underlying tension about the upcoming war, there was no hate directed at her. 

They don’t know you hold me. Kurama grumbled in Minashi’s head. Minashi’s eyes widened at the obvious answer. 

Thank you for that reminder. Sleep well?’ she asked in return as her small group walked through the village. 

Hn. He grunted and Minashi slipped into her mindscape. There she found her fox readjusting in his cave. Her smile turned honestly happy to see him looking much better. She glanced around at her scape and saw that he’d also been at work. The forest had grown again. 

Doing some housekeeping?’ she inquired. 

Yes. I can multitask even when sleeping. Now that you have all of my chakra plus an extra half, I’ve been working on balancing out the Yang chakra to the level of the Yin. 

Ah. How’s it looking?’ 

Kurama opened one red eye to regard her mindscape form. 

Slowly but surely. It will take a few years to fully balance it all out. We cannot do the Bijuu cloak again until it has finished. Also, do not even attempt Sage mode until after you hit puberty. 

Minashi pouted up at the fox. ‘seriously?’ 

Do you want to turn to stone? He raised a brow at her as a tail flicked out lazily towards her. She easily ducked it with a sigh. 

No.’ 

Then no Sage Mode. Patience Minashi. 

Minashi snorted. ‘That is something that will never change. I have patience during a fight, but with everything else? Fuck that shit.’ 

Kurama rolled his eyes and lifted a paw to her. Patience brat. Now, get out. You’re at the academy. With a flick of his claw, she was rudely shoved out of her mind. 

Blinking, Minashi realized they had arrived and Kakashi was glaring at the screaming children all running around the yard waiting for classes to begin. 

“Tou-san” Kakashi began on a sigh that was bordering a whine. 

“Deal with it Kakashi. You need friends your age. These will also become your comrades one day.” 

Kakashi groaned, but stopped when Minashi grabbed his hand. He glanced over to her to see a smile on her face. 

“Soon Kashi. I’ll be here soon to keep you company.” Minashi grinned. 

Kakashi huffed and pulled away. “I don’t need a girl to keep me company.” 

Minashi only raised a brow. “Only one to kick your ass?” 

“Minashi.” Sakumo barked firmly. “language.” 

Minashi startled and looked at him innocently. “But it’s true.” 

Sakumo sighed and rubbed his temple. Why did he have a feeling that once this child was comfortable, the Uzumaki in her would shine. He winced at the memories of his own Genin Uzumaki. Another long sigh left him in defeat.  

Minashi smirked and looked back to Kakashi. Before he could escape her again, she launched at him and held him in a death hug. 

Kakashi yelped as they toppled to the ground. “Get, OFF!” Kakashi snarled and Minashi giggled as they moved into a wrestling match. Minashi was yanked off like Velcro as Kakashi huffed and glared at her. 

“Bye bye Inu!” Minashi giggled and Kakashi’s face flamed as a few of the mothers near giggled. 

With another snarled Kakashi turned and stomped off. She watched as a few boys went up to him and showed their sympathy for his ‘little sister’ embarrassing him. Them knowing a similar feeling. Minashi just grinned triumphant when Kakashi continued walking with them inside. 

Sakumo turned and they headed away. 

“You did that on purpose.” He accused softly. 

“Hm.” She replied, not agreeing or disagreeing. 

“Sakumo-sama.” A voice called from a nearby tree. Sakumo turned and Minashi looked at the beautiful white wolf lounging on the lower branch. Was she a wolf or cat? Minashi idly thought at the cat like perch the wolf had chosen. 

“Ah, Kyo-chan. Hokage-sama gave his response then?” 

“Hai. Blood test results are back. He also wishes for you to bring Mina-chan back for another scan. They would like to put a face to her parents and brother.” 

“Understood. Thank you Kyo.” The wolf nodded and Sakumo looked to the golden star in his arm. “Looks like we get to go see the Hokage again Minashi-chan. 

“Hai.” She mumbled as she turned her face back to bury against his vest. Sakumo sighed but decided a shunshin was better this time than walking. They arrived outside the Hokage’s office and were promptly let inside. 

Sarutobi smiled at the two as they took a seat before his desk. Minashi calmly staying on Sakumo’s lap. 

“Hello Mina-chan. I heard you had a hard night.” Sarutobi smiled gently. 

Minashi nodded shyly. “I remembered some things.” She muttered as real emotions filled her eyes and voice. “Nii-san.” She whimpered. “Nii-san gave his life so I could get away.” 

Sarutobi felt his heart soften at the honest feelings that she was displaying. This wasn’t part of her act. She was really hurting. 

“Do you want to talk about it?” Sarutobi asked “While we talk about it, Sakumo can find the family members we found that you are related to here.” 

Minashi looked up into warm brown eyes before she nodded. Sarutobi opened his arms and with a few quick steps, she was down from Sakumo’s lap, around the desk, and back into Sarutobi’s lap. 

Sarutobi looked at Sakumo and tossed him a scroll. “Their names are on the scroll with their summons orders to my office. Take your time. Inojiro was already called for another scan so they will have to wait anyways.” 

“Hai.” Sakumo said through his tight throat. 

Sarutobi saw his tense form and gave the younger man a calming smile. “Relax Sakumo, you will still be her guardian. Her relatives are not old enough to take custody of her.” 

Sakumo’s shoulders sagged. “Thank you Hokage-sama.” 

“Hai, Hai, now head out. Mina-chan and I have a talk to have.” 

Sakumo was gone in a swirl of leaves. 

“Out.” Sarutobi ordered to his hidden ANBU. When Sarutobi felt their signature leave his office he activated the privacy seals and then looked to the child curled up in his lap, half hidden under his haori. 

“Mina-chan?” 

“I dreamed of the past. Of our childhood. We didn’t have a good one. Us being Kurama’s containers wasn’t a secret, no matter how much you had had it ordered as such. We were still bullied by children. Scorned and hated by adults, and treated worse than the dirt Konoha rested on. Nevertheless, I always had Naruto. Naruto always had me. As we grew older, we gained precious people. Our academy sensei, Iruka Umino, was the only person to treat us with kindness. When another sensei tricked us into stealing the forbidden scroll, Iruka-sensei believed us. He then acknowledged that we were us, not the fox we contained. But that was the first night I’d ever seen Naruto get angry for something not related to me. But I was right there with him. Iruka saw my silly brother as his own person and he saw me for me. Not just as Naruto’s sister. Then there was team assignments.” Minashi smile turned a bit victorious.  

“It was the first battle of logic I won against you. You wanted to separate us, but Naruto and I didn’t want to be separated. How could we protect each other if we were separated? I used the fox as an excuse. Said that I could control Naruto and Naruto could control me. Also who else other than Kakashi could control us? Later Sasuke could be right there as the last two Sharingan users. It felt so good to win against you. I think you had already had it planned that way, but needed an excuse.” She shrugged at the end. 

Sarutobi just sat and listened as she spoke of all the trouble her and Naruto used to get into as children. The love and lightness in her gaze was shadowed by grief, but he knew she needed this. Needed someone to talk to about her brother. 

There was a knock at the door sometime later. Sarutobi recognized the signature as Inojiro and let him in before resealing the room. 

“Minashi-san.” Inojiro nodded in a slight bow. 

“Inojiro-san.” Minashi greeted back and looked at the Hokage. “Are we really doing another mind scan?” 

Sarutobi chuckled. “No. We are here to discuss your family tree and finish getting your story together for when you meet your new Nii-san and Nee-san.” 

“Ah.” Minashi mumbled. 

“Now, according to the records that were recovered from Uzushio and the body count, there were still many that were unaccounted for and presumed dead.” 

Minashi nodded as she remembered Karin and Nagato. She’d have to look for them in the future once she got Sage Mode back. She knew their signatures, but also knew that one was just a toddler and another was dealing with re-starting Akatsuki as a criminal organization. 

“Uzumaki Michi was the youngest son of the Uzumaki Clan head, youngest brother to Uzumaki Mito. He married Uzumaki Namika. They had three Sons. Both elder sons bodies were confirmed dead during the fall of Uzushio. Uzumaki Kenta, the youngest son, was assumed dead as well. This will be your Uzumaki father.” 

“Okay. But wont that put my blood too far from Kushina’s?” 

Sarutobi smiled. “No, Namika had a younger brother. Uzumaki Shouta. He was Married to Uzumaki Miyuki, Kushina’s mother.” 

Minashi frowned as she looked at Sarutobi. “So~ my Great uncle is also my First cousin?” 

“Hai.” Sarutobi smirked. 

Minashi scrunched up her nose at him. “Clans are weird.” Sarutobi and Inojiro chuckled. 

“Some yes.” Inojiro said smiling. “Those with Bloodlines are more interwoven than others, but they still have to keep some distance between relatives or else birth defects out way the bloodline. The Yamanaka, Nara, and Akimichi aren’t are strict on marrying within the clan. I believe the Aburame clan is the same, but it also takes a special someone to want to have their children introduce bugs into their body right after birth.” 

“Inuzuka Clan don’t care who marries into the clan.” Sarutobi added and cleared his throat. 

“Back on topic. With Shouta-san being Kushina’s father, it puts you two closer as blood relatives. Now for Kenta-san, we will say that Michi-san died during the fall of Uzushio after transferring the Kyuubi chakra to Kenta-san and ordering him to leave. Kenta-san leaves and disappears from the radar. When he’s older, he finds a dying Namikaze Seina and takes her in. They make you. Seina-san dies during childbirth, leaving your elder twin brother Naruto and you as the first Blonde Uzumaki’s born. Kenta-san finds it easier to hide you both that way. A simple henge when travelling and the rest is whatever you shall choose to reveal.” Sarutobi finished and handed the family tree scroll to Minashi. Within the scroll also laid forged birth certificates. 

“Birth certificates?” She questioned softly. 

“Yes. We will say that we found a scroll with you. Only Sakumo and his team are aware that you arrived without a stitch of clothing. All else fails, Kenta-san taught you some seals to hide on your body.” 

Minashi pursed her lips in thought. “It will work. Did Kushina know Kenta-san?” 

“Not that we are aware of. She was sent to Konoha with the Kyuubi-“ 

“Kurama.” 

“Kurama” Sarutobi corrected. “-when she was still a child. Kenta-san would have been only a few years older than her.” 

Minashi sighed and nodded as she closed the scroll and held it close. “So this will biologically say that I’m the youngest sister to Namikaze Minato and First cousin to Uzumaki Kushina.” 

“Or niece.” Inojiro said smiling. Minashi frowned at him. 

“I don’t think it works like that.” She said confused. 

Sarutobi chuckled. “No, but Uzumaki’s are strange that way. Kushina will put together that her father was your great uncle and start calling you niece.” 

Minashi raised a doubtful brow at the two men. “How do you figure that?” 

Sarutobi smiled. “We know our resident Uzumaki very well.” 

Minashi blinked and just nodded blankly. “So how long are you going to make them wait? Sakumo returned with them ten minutes ago.” 

Sarutobi hummed and lit his pipe. Minashi rolled her eyes and covered her face with part of his Haori to filter the smell. 

“Let them stew a bit longer. Also, I wanted to give you your papers for the academy. You start in two days.” 

“Wonderful.” Minashi said sarcastically. 

“Also, Inojiro is here to also set up appointments with you for therapy.” 

Minashi winced and looked at the sheepish blonde. 

“Where would you prefer them to take place Minashi-san?” 

“A sealed room, or a room I could seal.” 

Inojiro nodded and tilted his head in thought. “My office is already sealed with privacy barriers for such visits. Will that work?” 

“Hai.” 

“Since you will be attending the academy, I can see you Saturday mornings instead.” 

Minashi frowned but nodded. “Okay. No longer than two hours a week though.” 

Inojiro smiled kindly. “I will not force you to talk. It will be for however long or short you wish the session to be.” 

MInashi relaxed at this. “Alright.” 

Inojiro bowed slightly. “Then I will dismiss myself. Hokage-sama. Minashi-san, I will see you in five days for your first appointment.” 

“Send Namikaze-san and Uzumaki-san in with Sakumo when you leave.” Sarutobi ordered even as Minashi covered herself more with his Haori. She wasn’t sure if she was really ready to see her parents yet or not. Or older siblings now. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

A displacement of Chakra told her that the Privacy seal was down. Closing her eyes Minashi buried herself more into Sarutobi’s chest. He just patted her covered head. 

“It will be alright.” He whispered just for her. 

Minashi didn’t answer, just listened as the door opened and shut and three signatures now stood before the Hokage’s desk. The ANBU had returned once again, and were silent watchers. 

“Hokage-Sama.” Three voices said. One she knew as Sakumo. The two were much younger, but oh so familiar. One she knew from years of working together. The other from the very short visit she had in her seal, but would never forget. 

“Thank you Sakumo for bringing them quickly.” With another flare of chakra the privacy seals were back up. 

“Hai.” His response was short as his gaze moved to the completely covered child. His worry increased at her hidden form. He could detect the slightest scent of fear coming from her. 

Meanwhile during Sakumo’s inner turmoil, the two younger forms at his side were bubbling with curiosity. Kushina just plain curious. She’d been knocked out for two days, learned her fox was gone, and has been on desk duty until her chakra system finished healing. To be summoned by the Hokage unexpectedly, was itching at her. Had they found the fox? Is that why Minato was there? She’d been teaching her boyfriend how to do sealing and he’d already surpassed her. His sensei Jiraiya helping where she couldn’t. Nevertheless, it didn’t explain Sakumo-senpai’s presence. 

Minato though had a faint clue and wondered if his hopes had been right. He hadn’t been able to get another glimpse of the child due to a short mission, but now back, he could see that the Hokage was hiding something or someone on his lap. He could also feel the signature he’d just barely been able to read before Sakumo-senpai had disappeared with the blonde child. 

  

Sarutobi saw their hope and curiosity and let them stew for a moment before a harsh pinch at his side reminded him that he was making another party stew as well. 

“I have summoned you two here because a few days ago, Hatake-san found a child near the Fire boarders with a skirmish with a few Suna-nin. After extensive reviews of her mind and documentation found on her person via hidden seal, she has been vetted as not a spy. Instead, she was sent to Konoha to seek shelter with the last of her known family. Once she was close enough to Konoha though, a Seal activated.” 

All three tensed. Sakumo not hearing this before. Did the Hokage and Inojiro discover it in her memories? Why hadn’t he noticed a seal on her before? 

“This seal was so strong and unique that once the child got within a certain range of Konoha, it took the chakra that was similar to its own and called it to the seal.” 

Kushina paled understanding. “Kyuubi.” She whispered as her hand travelled to her stomach. 

“Hai.” Sarutobi hummed. “This is S-Rank secret you two are now aware of.” 

“Why us?” Kushina asked. Minato was already putting the pieces together though. 

“Because you two are her last known relatives.” Sarutobi reached in and Minashi gave up the scroll he’d given to her to show her blood relatives. Both leaned over the scroll and matching blood test results. 

“Minato, Kushina, You are not the last of your clans.” Sarutobi said and pulled back his Haori. “This is Uzumaki-Namikaze Minashi. She is four almost five in October. You are the last of her family.” 

Minato just stared at the blonde and blue eyes that reflected his own. She looked almost exactly like him. Take away the marks on her cheeks, and she would have been his twin. Though, he could feel in her chakra, that she was indeed Uzumaki.  

Kushina blinked wide eyed at the blonde child. She recognized the whisker marks as possession marks of the Kyuubi. To be exposed to so much violent chakra at such a young age? Although, Kushina could feel it in the girl’s chakra. It was so large. It was Uzumaki reserves. She smiled kindly at the shy child. She pushed back the jealously that Minato’s Namikaze Genes had apparent won out over the strong Uzumaki. 

“Hello Minashi. I’m Kushina Uzumaki, your cousin or aunt.” Kushina waited for a response but the girl just blinked and looked between her and Minato. 

Minato gave her a kind smile as well. “Hello Mina-chan, I’m Namikaze Minato, I’m your Nii-san.” 

Blue eyes went glassy as tears built up. “Nii-san’s dead.” She whispered. 

Minato and Kushina jolted and Sarutobi sighed. “No Mina-chan. This is a different Nii-san.” he said playing to her semi act. 

Minato quickly looked back at the family tree that had come with the girl and gasped when he finished reading it. It had the updated information of just who Minashi was talking about. 

“Oh imouto.” He sighed and moved to kneel near her. Blue glassy eyes looked at him. “I’m sorry about your Nii-san. I’m not here to replace him. I’m your other Nii-san. I wish I could have been there to help you both.” 

Minashi couldn’t hold up the semi act anymore. Leaping at Minato she latched onto him and buried her face into his neck. Warm hands rubbed her back as he stood back up and moved to Kushina. Another smaller warm hand brushed against her hair as Kushina leaned in to smile at her softly. 

“You have another Nii-san and Nee-san to protect you now. We aren’t here to replace your lost nii-san, but to continue to protect you for him. Okay?” 

“Un.” Minashi said through Minato’s vest. 

Sarutobi cleared his voice and everyone’s eyes were back on him minus Minashi’s. She was too busy enjoying Kushina’s hand on her head and Minato’s warm hand on her back. 

“While I’m happy to see you three get a part of your family back, there are things that must be discussed.” Sarutobi looked between the two teenagers. “You two are too young to take care of a child at the moment. In addition, you both are two of our best Jounin and will be needed for missions. Therefore, custody shall remain with Hatake-san. This will also allow Minashi-chan to be near a child her own age since Hatake-san has Kakashi-kun. While Kakashi is about a year older, Minashi will still be able to get along with him. Both have already shown signs of such. Now, this does not mean you two aren’t welcome to take her for long weekends when you don’t have missions, or schedule with Hatake-san for other arrangements. Also, Minashi will be starting the academy in two days. She has shown signs that she has been trained already.” 

Sarutobi smirked at Kushina. “Uzumaki Kenta seemed to have already started training her in the Whirlpool fist.” 

Kushina beamed. Sarutobi looked at Minato. “That includes an aptitude for sealing.” 

Minato’s grin was almost giddy. 

“Now when you two have reach eighteen, we can come back to the question of custody, but until then, she shall remain at the Hatake compound with Sakumo in charge of when and who is allowed to have her. Please work it out between yourselves.” Sarutobi cleared his throat once more and when the last set of eyes settled on him, he softened his gaze on the old eyes of the child. 

“Minashi-chan.” 

“Hai?” her small voice came muffled. 

Sarutobi smiled at her. “Welcome home.” 

Minashi couldn’t speak. Her throat was too tight. Therefore, she opted for nodding and burying her face back into Minato’s neck. 

“Minato, Kushina, one last thing. Due to the trauma she suffered, Minashi has standing sessions with Inojiro every Saturday morning. Please be attentive that she doesn’t miss any.” 

“Hai Hokage-sama.” They replied. 

“Dismissed.” 

All three adults and one exhausted child left and there was an awkward silence outside the Hokage’s office. 

Sakumo sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. “I have reports to fill out today. We can meet at the academy at three for when I need to pick up Kakashi.” 

Minato and Kushina smiled at him. “That would be nice. Thank you for allowing us the time with Minashi-chan.” Minato answered even as Kushina began to vibrate with excitement. 

Sakumo nodded but looked to the younger blue eyes that were watching him. 

“Will you be okay Mina-chan?” 

“Saki-chan has to work?” she asked softly. 

Sakumo internally groaned when he saw the others present near the Hokage’s office snicker at his nickname. 

“Hai Mina-chan.” He responded defeated. “Minato and Kushina will take care of you until we meet at the academy to get Kashi.” 

“Okay.” Minashi mumbled. 

Sakumo sighed and disappeared in a swirl of leaves, disappointed that his little star didn’t put up more of a fight. 

  

Minato blinked at the empty spot. Minato suddenly found himself the bundle in his arms dragged out of the Hokage tower, by an excited Uzumaki. 

“Come on Minato! We have a little sister to shop for!” She grinned back at him. 

“K-kushina! I’m sure Sakumo-Senpai has already-“ Minato stuttered surprised and trying to hide his own excitement. 

“Yes, but he’s a guy. He’s also not Uzumaki. I’m totally getting her everything she will ever need to finish the Uzumaki clan style.” 

Minato pouted at his girlfriend. “What about the Namikaze?” 

Kushina raised a brow. “Doesn’t your clan rely on speed and work around that?” 

Minato flushed. “H-hai.” 

Kushina’s grin was fox like. “Then you’ll just have to push her to make the Uzumaki style the fastest ever.” 

Minato relaxed and was about to agree before looking down at the blonde in his arms. “How does that sound Mina-chan?” 

Minashi blinked at them silently. Minato and Kushina shared a glance. They knew the child could speak. Did she not understand them? 

“Speed?” a soft voice finally asked. 

Minato smiled down at his imouto. “Hai. I’m not the fastest Shinobi yet, but I’m working on it. I’ve recreated the Niidaime’s teleportation seal. Although, I have a theory on making it faster.” 

Kushina snorted. “Thankfully fighting is the only place he’s fast at. Otherwise I’d be a more unhappy girlfriend.” 

Minato blushed bright red. “K-K-Kushina!” he exclaimed. Kushina just grinned at him and snagged Minashi out of his distracted and flustered arms. Minashi blinked in surprise at her tou-san, no Nii-san’s red face. She never knew Minato had been flustered so easily. Then again, he was still a teenager. 

Kushina snickered when she caught Minashi’s pointed looks at the flushed blonde. 

“He’s so easy to tease.” She whispered into her imouto’s ear. 

Minashi raised a brow internally but kept her face blank. “He’s as red as Nee-san’s hair.” Minashi said innocently. 

Kushina froze, Minato blanched. 

Minashi smiled innocently at them. “It’s pretty.” 

Minato relaxed and smiled at Minashi even as his cheeks flushed again. Kushina’s were a reflection of it as she brushed a hand subconscious through her long locks. 

“Thank you Mina-chan.” Kushina mumbled. “Not many have said nice things about it.” 

“I told you it was beautiful.” Minato said taking her hand and kissing it before letting it swing between them as they continued through the village. 

Minato and Kushina continued to chat idly, but Minashi was listening to the whispers around them. Some were wondering why the blonde child that had been seen with Hatake-san was now with Minato and Kushina. Some were saying that it was their secret love child. 

Minashi blocked them out and let her head rest on Kushina’s shoulder. With a deep breath, she took in her mother turned Nee-san’s scent. She smelled of the sea, but also of cleaning oils for a sword. There was also the lingering scent of Minato on her. He smelled like a thunderstorm. Rain, ozone, and the fresh breeze over the Hokage Mountain. 

Home. They both smelled like Home. 

  

 

 Hours later Minashi was shooting Kushina death glares as she sat on Minato’s lap. They had been shopping for HOURS. Her feet ached, she was hungry, and she had so many clothes, weapons and miscellaneous items, it was ridiculous. Not to mention, she was HUNGRY. 

“Kushina-chan, don’t you think we’ve gotten her enough?” Minato sighed above her. 

Narrowed violet eyes looked back to tired cerulean blues of her boyfriend. “An Uzumaki can never have enough weapons.” she looked down at the battle dress in her hands. “Or shinobi clothes.” 

Minato sighed again and Minashi’s eyes twitched. A low rumbling growl filled the store and all eyes snapped to Minashi. Her own eyes widened as her face blushed red as a tomato. 

Kushina smiled sheepish. “I guess we can do more shopping later. How about we grab something to eat.” she said even as she came and took Minashi from Minato’s lap. Said blonde pouted at the loss of his Imouto before taking Kushina’s hand and escorting the two most important women in his life to food. 

It didn’t surprise Minato that they ended up at Kushina’s favorite Ramen stand. Minashi secretly could only send prayers up to the Ramen Gods that Teuchi’s stand was already up and running. 

“Oi! Teuchi-san!” 

“Ah! Kushina-chan!” The man called from the stove. “What can I get you and Minato-” he paused when he finally looked at the couple and saw another blonde between the couple. He tilted his head confused. “Now, did you two run off and have a kid without telling me?” he teased. 

Both flushed at his teasing. Kushina was too flustered to answer, so Minato tried to. 

“S-She is a relative.” He started and tried again at Teuchi’s raised brow. “She is my Imouto, and Kushina’s first cousin through her Tou-san’s Nephew and her Great Uncle’s Son.” Minato frowned confusing himself. “Right?” he asked looking to his seated Girlfriend and joined her at the counter. 

Kushina rolled her eyes at her adorable boyfriend. “She’s blood. That’s all that matters. I’m her Nee-san now.” she smiled down at the blonde in her lap. Minashi looked back up to Kushina and gave a small smile in return. 

“Alrighty then.” Teuchi chuckled. “What can I get you three?” 

“Pork Ramen please.” Minato asked. 

“Miso for me and keep them coming!” Kushina cheered. 

Minashi looked at the menu Minato had handed her and frowned at it. 

“Did your tou-san teach you to read Minashi?” Minato asked softly. 

Minashi nodded. “Hai.” she mumbled and pointed to the Miso Ramen. 

“Miso Ramen for little Minashi-chan too.” Kushina called out for her imouto. Minato ruffled Minashi’s hair as they waited for their food. 

  

Minato sat back when he was finished to watch his two girls eat. His eyes only grew wider as time passed. Minashi was keeping up easily with Kushina’s bowl count. He held back the whimper in his throat as his wallet cried out in pain. He was really hoping she didn’t hold that much of Uzumaki in her. Letting out a sigh of defeat he just sat there smiling at his girls. His mind wandered as the two Uzumaki’s ate bowl after bowl. He wondered what his Otouto had been like. Was he calm and quiet like Minashi? Or was he like his Uzumaki? Loud and excitable. Did he too look like Minato? Or did he take after the Uzumaki looks more? 

A poke to his side caught his attention and he met Kushina’s face to see her not looking at him, but at the child still in her lap. Kushina seemed to finally have gotten full, but now Minashi was still eating. Minato sweat dropped. He was, at the moment, glad he didn’t have to house his little sister. She might eat him out of house and home. 

Kushina’s thoughts were on a similar path, but she knew why. With their larger reserves, it meant they needed more food for energy. Now Minashi had the fox in her as well. Kushina hid a wince for Hatake-senpai’s wallet. 

Minashi was too busy enjoying the taste of Ichiruka’s once again to notice how much she was eating. Plus, she didn’t want to bother Sakumo with how much she ate, so from not having a filling breakfast, missing lunch, and now finally having a late lunch, she was not wasting the opportunity to eat. 

When her belly was finally full, she set down the last bowl with a content sigh and leaned back into her new Nee-san’s soft body. Her eyes became heavy as warm arms surrounded her. 

She knew why she was tired and didn’t fight it. Her smaller body was getting used to all of Kurama’s chakra right after traveling through time. Therefore, she didn’t fight the pull and fell asleep against Kushina. 

Kushina blinked down at the child in her arms before looking up at a softly smiling Minato. Her cheeks flushed at the look in his eyes. 

“What dattebane?” she mumbled. 

“You’d make a great mother one day.” he said softly. Kushina’s face got as red as her hair. Minato just smiled lovingly at her and stood. “Come Kushina, it’s almost time for the academy to let out.” 

Kushina and Minato laid down money for the large bill and headed for the academy. Minashi tucked carefully against Kushina’s chest and Minato’s arm around her waist. 

They arrived a bit early, but it gave them time to enjoy the presence of Minashi’s bright chakra as it flowed against their senses. Or at least Minato’s. Kushina’s chakra was still too out of everything to be focused on her Imouto’s chakra. Minato basked in it though. It was like warm sunshine. It didn’t help him that she smelled like it too. That and after being in Kushina’s arms all afternoon, Minashi was beginning to smell like Kushina as well. 

Rubbing a hand over his little sister’s back, Minato slowly tried to wake her up. Slowly a set of deep cerulean blue eyes opened to look at a pair that was similar to her own. 

“Naruto?” she mumbled. 

Minato gave her a sad smile. “No imouto, It’s Minato.” 

Minashi blinked and the last of her sleep-muddled brain finally started firing up. “Ah.” she mumbled and reached out for him. Minato took her from Kushina easily. Kushina pouted at the loss but smiled at Minato’s happy expression. 

“The academy is about to let out.” Kushina told her Imouto. 

Minashi perked up a bit and looked around. They were at the academy. 

“Kashi?” Minashi questioned childishly. 

“Soon.” A deeper voice said joining their small group a bit away from the other parents. 

“Senpai.” Minato and Kushina greeted. Sakumo smiled in return. 

“Saki-chan!” Minashi cheered. Sakumo gave a defeated smile to the little star as he ruffled her hair and ignored the giggling of the other moms and snickers from the dads. 

“How was she?” he asked. 

Minato gave a sheepish smile. “Very good. Kushina might have gone a bit overboard on shopping though.” 

“She’s an Uzumaki!” Kushina defended. “Do you not realize how many clothes I go through? Between spars, missions, and just everyday use? Trust me; she’ll need more in a few months dattebane!” 

Minato blinked surprised even as Sakumo chuckled. “Thank you Kushina-san. That was very thoughtful of you.” 

“Senpai, did she eat much breakfast this morning?” Minato tried to ask carefully. 

Sakumo looked at him knowing that Minato didn’t mean any insult. He’d known about Minato for a while since his friend Jiraiya had taken him on as an apprentice.  

“She ate a normal breakfast with Kakashi and I. Why?” he asked in return. 

Kushina snickered. “She’s an Uzumaki with massive reserves,” she hinted before continuing. “Without my extra reserves I still ate sixteen bowls of ramen. Mina-chan here ate twenty-five. The larger the reserves of an Uzumaki the more we eat to refill that reserve.” 

Minato winced at Sakumo-senpai’s wide eyes. “Well, we were late getting her lunch.” The elder blonde tried to reason. 

“My stomach said Roar.” Minashi grinned. 

Sakumo snorted and looked to the small blonde. “Minashi you don’t need to hold back if you are hungry. Let me know if you need seconds and I'll happily get you them.” 

“Okay Saki-chan!” Minashi smiled. 

A chime in the background caught everyone’s attention. Before long the doors opened and children came barreling out. Minashi wiggled out of Minato’s arms before reaching up for Sakumo. 

“Up please!” she smiled. Sakumo smiled and lifted her up to his higher advantage. Minashi surprised him thought when she climbed up onto his shoulder to get an even higher advantage. 

Sharp blue eyes scanned all the kids until a tuft of gravity defying silver caught her gaze. When deep coal eyes caught hers, Kakashi froze and began to edge away. 

“Kashi-chan” she grinned and stood on Sakumo’s shoulder. Kakashi took another step away. 

“No.” he said firmly but knew it was useless. Turning he went to run away, but Minashi launched off of Sakumo’s shoulder and tackled Kakashi to the ground giggling all the way. 

“Ack!” Kakashi grunted and growled as they tumbled in the dirt. Kakashi trying desperately to get the upper hand against the vixen. 

Meanwhile Minato just stared dumbfounded, Kushina was bent over belly laughing, and Sakumo sighed at the image he knew would become his normal now. 

“Minashi-chan” Sakumo called as he began walking to them. “Come on, leave Kakashi be.” 

Minashi giggled as she avoided another elbow from Kakashi and instead twisted to grip him in another lock hold. Her grin almost feral as she caught his eyes. 

“My Inu~” She teased and Kakashi snarled as he bucked hard enough to dislodge her. Sakumo took that moment to snag her from midair and place her on his hip. Kakashi huffed as he stood and brushed off the dirt from his clothes. 

“Tou-san.” Kakashi greeted like nothing happened. 

Sakumo smirked. “Hello Kakashi, come with me for a minute. I’d like to introduce you to some people.” he led Kakashi over to the still stunned Minato and snickering Kushina. 

“Minato-san, Kushina-san, This is my son Kakashi. Kakashi this is Minashi’s nii-san Namikaze Minato, and her cousin-” 

“Nee-san.” Kushina corrected smiling. 

Sakumo smiled. “Nee-san, Uzumaki Kushina. They might be over at the compound more when they aren’t on missions to spend time getting to know Minashi-chan.” 

Kakashi’s eyes though were wide on the two Jounin. Both were already famous in their own right. Kakashi couldn’t believe the little doll was related to Namikaze-san and Uzumaki-san. Minato was already known for being one of the fastest Shinobi of Konoha. Kushina was known as one of the deadliest as the Red Hot Habanero swordswoman. 

“She’s related to them?” he asked in wonder. 

Sakumo chuckled at the stars in his son’s eyes. “Hai.” 

“They’ll be training her?” 

“Hai.” Kushina answered brightly. 

Kakashi frowned as he thought of the already troublesome doll getting more training.  

“Can you train me too?” 

Sakumo snapped his eyes to his son shocked. 

Minato looked at the small child curiously. “Why?” 

Kakashi frowned up at the girl resting on his father’s hip. “She’s already strong. I want to be able to keep matching her and one day beat her.” 

Kushina’s grin turned fox like. “Ah, so you see her as a rival.” 

Kakashi frowned. “Not exactly.” 

Minato hummed. “Then what do you see her as?” 

Kakashi’s face flushed with embarrassment. “I promised I'd protect her for her Nii-san that she lost.” 

Minato and Kushina smiled at each other before turning it to Kakashi. “Alright.” Minato finally answered. “When we do training with Minashi, you can join in to get some extra training.” 

“Thank you.” Kakashi said and bowed to the older teens. 

“Thank you Minato-san, Kushina-san. I try my best to train him, but missions tend to keep me away. He’s bright, but extra guidance would be welcomed.” 

Kushina grinned at him. “How about this then? We can watch them both when you are out on missions as long as we aren’t already on missions ourselves.” 

Sakumo relaxed. “That would be welcomed. Thank you. With Jiraiya out of the village again I wasn’t sure who would be able to watch him while I was away.” 

“I can take care of myself!” Kakashi argued. 

Minashi leaned down at patted Kakashi hair. “Cute Inu. Saki-chan loves you. He just wants you safe.” 

Kakashi frowned at her. “What?” 

“You’re strong but Saki-chan is a mother-hen.” 

Minato and Kushina snickered when Sakumo’s face flushed and he spluttered. “Mina-chan!” he scolded but the blonde child was holding Kakashi’s gaze. 

Kakashi frowned as he tried to understand her logic. “So he wants someone older to ‘watch me’ because he worries too much?” he asked. 

Minashi beamed. “Hai. Saki-chan is a Mother-hen.” 

Kakashi relaxed and nodded at the Doll’s logic. “Alright.” he turned to Minato and Kushina. “When Tou-san is out on missions, I look forward to spending time learning and training from you both. Thank you.” 

Minato held back his chuckled and nodded to the boy. Kushina was too busy snickering into his shoulder to respond. 

Sakumo with still pink cheeks sighed and placed a hand on Kakashi’s head. 

“Would you two like to join us for dinner? It would be a great way to get to know each other better. It’s been a while since I've sat with you anyways Minato. I also haven’t been able to speak with Kushina after her team split leaving her poor sensei to wallow in memories of his cute genin.” 

Kushina flushed. Minato smiled. “Thank you Senpai. We’d love to.” 

“We can also help Minashi sort out her clothes.” Kushina said clearing her throat. “We’d be able to take some with us so she’d have some at both of our apartments.” 

Sakumo nodded and the group of five headed back to the Hatake Compound. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 7

Minashi marveled at the stories she was hearing over the dinner table. Kushina and Sakumo had cooked up a feast, but her and Kushina were easily eating what the boys couldn’t. Minashi had slowed down though when Sakumo and Minato began talking about Jiraiya. She never knew how close Sakumo and Jiraiya had been. Even more so intriguing was to learn that Sakumo had been Kushina, Mikoto, and Hizashi’s Jounin sensei.  

Minashi’s eyes slid to Kakashi. Had their lives been truly that interwoven together? How will things turn out now with all the changes Minashi planned on making from her own timeline? 

“Oh! We should have dinner together more often senpai!” Kushina grinned. “I can even make sure Mikoto and Hizashi get away from their stuffy compounds!” 

“Kushina.” Minato sighed exasperated. 

“What? They are. Especially Mikoto. She’s losing the fire that was the best part of her ever since she was forced as Clan Heir to marry that stick in the mud Fugaku.” 

“Fugaku’s not that bad.” Minato defended his sort of friend. “Just very clan oriented.” 

“Hizashi is clan oriented but the stick up his ass isn’t as far up as Fugaku’s.” Kushina deadpanned. 

Minato sighed while Sakumo coughed to cover his laugh. Kushina had a point, but he wasn’t going to encourage the Uzumaki woman more than necessary. Kakashi was too busy watching the conversation to care about asking questions about the people they were talking about. It wasn’t hard to figure out though. His father had taught him about the clans and the different heirs. 

When the food was gone, Kushina and Minashi disappeared out to her room to sort through her clothes. Kushina was smiling as they put some away in her dressers, and put the rest into two different piles to be sealed for Minato and Kushina to take home. 

When the clothes were sealed away, Kushina’s violet eyes looked up to Minashi’s tired blues. 

“How are you really doing Mina-chan?” she asked softly pulling Minashi into her lap. 

“Fine.” She mumbled. Kushina hummed as she worked the braid out of her hair and ran her fingers through the long locks. Minashi’s eyes closed at the soothing feeling. 

“Please don’t lie.” Kushina said a few beats later. Minashi didn’t tense, but let out a breath of air. “How much do you really remember sweetie?” She’d been having this feeling ever since they met her. Her eyes were too knowing. Too Pained. Too grief filled to not remember everything. Kushina was proven right a moment later. 

“Everything.” she whispered. Minashi knew it was deviating from her plan of laying low, but she didn’t realize how much she wanted a bond with Kushina and Minato until they were in front of her. “Tou-san said that Kaa-san died giving birth to Naruto and I. Tou-san stayed under a henge to look more like us, but the hunters were still after him.” Minashi rubbed her stomach. “Tou-san made Naruto promise to protect me. He then used a special seal to put Kurama in my stomach.” she mumbled eyes closed. 

Minashi felt Kushina’s fingers pause for a fraction of a second before she continued weaving her hair through braids. 

“Kurama?” Kushina asked carefully. 

Minashi smiled at his name. “He wanted me to call him Kyuubi-sama to start with. But Naruto said I was always more stubborn than him. I promise Kurama that I'd make friends with him eventually.” Her face fell at the image of her brother dying in her arms. “Naruto kept his promise too. A mean creature was trying to take Kurama from me. Naruto distracted them so I could get away. I didn’t want to leave.” Her eyes stung. “Naruto told me to listen to what Tou-san said though. I needed to go to Konoha. I-i left him. Kurama made me go when Naruto begged him to get me away.” 

Kushina tied off the braid and pulled her Imouto tighter against her. Her heart broke for the trauma that her little sister went through at such a young age. Having the Kyuubi sealed into her by her own father, then her own twin sending her away while he stayed to die. 

“Naruto was a very brave Nii-san.” She whispered. “He would have made an amazing Shinobi.” 

“He-he wanted to be Hokage. We were planning on coming here together.” Minashi whispered in half-truth half lie. “Tou-san told us all about Kages being the strongest. Protecting everyone. Naruto wanted to be like that. He said he’d become the Hokage of Konoha so he could protect me and everyone precious to us.” 

“Oh Imouto.” Kushina cooed softly as she hugged her sister tighter and brushed away her tears. 

“I felt it.” Minashi whispered. “I felt it when he died.” Kushina stiffened. “Tou-san never believed us, but we had a connection. A special connection. Feelings could be passed between it. Thoughts if we focused enough. He blocked me from feeling his pain, but I felt it when he died. I feel so empty.” she whispered as she clutched at her chest. 

Kushina’s eyes blinked away tears as she began rocking her little sister. She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t know how to help. Kissing the blonde locks in her lap, she looked up to see if there was anything around to help, instead she found a pair of familiar cerulean eyes looked at them sadly. Minato’s own eyes were glassy. Quietly he moved to them and moved to hold Minashi with Kushina. 

When Minashi had finished crying herself into exhaustion, Kushina and Minato worked together to tuck her into her futon. Once settled they headed back to the main room of the compound. Kushina was hugging herself as Minato guided her with a solemn expression. 

Sakumo stood up from the couch worried at their looks. “What’s wrong? Is Minashi okay?” 

Kushina held herself tighter while Minato sighed. “She’s asleep. Kushina was worried about Minashi and wanted to make sure she was really okay.” 

“She’s not.” Kushina said as tears fell. “Her father and brother sacrificed themselves to save her. She felt her brother die.” 

Minato sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “Apparently as twins, they had some sort of telepathic and empathic connection. She said she feels empty.” 

Sakumo let out his own sigh as he scrubbed his face. “I knew she wasn’t completely alright. Inojiro mentioned trauma, but I didn't know it was this bad.” 

“Tou-san?” Kakashi asked curiously and worried for the doll. 

Sakumo looked at Kakashi and gave a sad smile. “Minashi told you she lost her twin?” 

“Hai” he nodded. 

Sakumo rubbed his neck wondering how best to explain it. 

“Kakashi-kun.” Kushina got the boy’s attention. “How would you feel if your tou-san was suddenly taken away from you and killed, leaving you all alone?” 

Kakashi blanched at the pain that lanced through him. 

Kushina gave a small understanding smile. “Hurts just thinking about it?” 

“H-hai.” he stuttered. 

“Minashi doesn’t have to think about it. She lived it. We-” she said pointing to all four of them “Are all she has right now after losing her father and brother. A brother that she had a special connection with. She’s missing that connection. It will never be filled, but it will heal as new bonds grow around it to help heal the wound it left behind.” 

Kakashi nodded understanding Uzumaki-san’s blunt explanation. “Is that why she latches onto me?” 

Kushina blinked taken aback. Minato answered for her. “Yes and no. You probably remind her of something familiar though. I’ve noticed that she takes in both Kushina scent and my own whenever we hold her near our necks. I think she has a strong sense of smell. You can relate to that, yes?” 

Kakashi nodded. “So I smell familiar?” 

“Hai.” Sakumo said understanding more now. He’d wondered, but Minato had always had a mind that worked almost like a Nara’s. “That’s probably why she didn’t panic when she woke when I brought her to Konoha. We have similar base scents. She must have smelled it and knew she was safe before she fully woke.” 

Minato nodded but held Kushina closer. “She’s just going to need to be reminded that she’s loved and not alone. Probably pretty often.” He smiled kindly down at the boy. “Will you help us with that?” 

Kakashi’s gaze grew determined. “Hai. I promised to protect her for her Nii-san anyways.” 

Minato chuckled and ruffled his hair. “You will make a fine protector. Kushina and I will help you train to become even better.” 

Kakashi almost had stars in his eyes as he looked at the popular Couple before him. 

Sakumo rolled his eyes behind Kakashi’s back. His son was so starstruck with these two.  

“Thank you again. Will you want to walk with us to the academy tomorrow?” 

Minato sighed and pouted. Kushina smiled kindly. “Thank you, but I know Minato has reports to fill out and I have a shift at the mission desk tomorrow.” 

“Ah.” Sakumo nodded. “The day after then? It will be Minashi’s first day.” 

Both teens beamed. “We’ll be here.” Minato promised. Sakumo walked them out. Somehow he knew that those two would probably bully their comrades into taking on any tasks they had that morning so they could be there for Minashi. 

Sakumo shook his head and spent the last bit of the evening helping Kakashi to train before he too was passed out. 

 

 

The following morning Minashi woke with the faint scents of Kushina and Minato surrounding her. Basking in them for a bit longer, she eventually got up and dressed in one of the new training outfits Kushina had gotten her. With a three quarter sleeve mesh under shirt, a sleeveless shinobi orange top, black shinobi pants, and black shinobi sandals, she was ready to train. 

Practically running down the hall, she slid into the kitchen at the smell of breakfast. She felt drool run down her chin at the feast laid out. 

Sakumo chuckled at her. “Here.” he said picking her up and setting her down into her new spot. She did notice when he took the brush from her hand and worked through the knots that formed after her restless night. The braid Kushina had put in had long since fallen out. With damp hair, Sakumo rebraided it into a single tail. 

Finally, after cleaning up she was warming up beside Kakashi with their Katas. When Sakumo let them begin their mock spar, she was happy to let out some of the tension from all the emotions she went through yesterday. It had been embarrassing to cry so much, but she felt lighter after falling asleep in Minato and Kushina’s arms. It reminded her that this was her second chance. She would make a better world for when Naruto came. 

Minashi and Kakashi sparred until it was time for Kakashi to head to the academy. When Sakumo and her returned to the compound they went back to the training ground and sat down. 

“Did your tou-san teach you about chakra yet?” 

Minashi nodded slowly. “Some.” she said vaguely. 

Sakumo raised a brow at her. “Care to show what you know? I’ve already been working on control exercises with Kakashi on my days off, but I would like to see how far behind or ahead you are. That will help myself, Minato-san and Kushina-san know how to train you both.” 

“Okay.” She mumbled and moved to a tree. She frowned as she reached for her chakra. She knew she would have less control as a child, but add on the extra Bijuu chakra she got from Kushina, and her control was probably shot. 

Placing her foot on the trunk of a tree, she focused on her chakra to the bottom of her foot. 

A loud Bang filled the clearing before she was yanked away from her spot. Sakumo’s heartbeat was fast against her back as they both watch the tree she’d accidentally exploded at the base, topple where she had once been standing. 

Minashi blinked owlishly. 

Sakumo’s jaw dropped. 

 

Far off in the Hokage’s office, where a certain Monkey summoner sat staring into his crystal ball curious on the Rokudaime’s progress, Cracked up laughing at the sight. His pour ANBU just shook their head at their leader. They all knew he had to get his entertainment somewhere. The Crystal Ball was the main source. And Sarutobi knew that Minashi would be his new source nowadays. 

 

 

“Well shit.” Minashi muttered. 

Sakumo wanted to scold her for her language, but couldn’t find it in himself to do so as he was thinking the same thing. 

“My sentiments exactly.” he murmured and set her down. “Okay. So, you receiving the rest of the fox’s chakra has taken whatever control you had away.” 

Minashi looked at him deadpan. He sweat dropped at her look. 

“Let’s trying back to the basics then.” He looked away from her and snagged a leaf from the down tree. Minashi pouted at it. 

Sakumo smiled. Minashi took the leaf and sat down to balance the leaf on her forehead. First thing she did though was meditate to calm her mind. Once focused, she gathered the tiniest amount of her chakra and placed the leaf on her skin. It trembled as her chakra control was shaky even on the small amount. Letting out a breath, she worked on her focus and staying calm. 

She didn’t notice the time passing only feeling when another leaf would be stuck to her head by Sakumo and instinct taking over. She moved her chakra to hold the new leaves. She felt them on her arms, legs, and toes, but held her focus. If there was something that she had always had better than Naruto, was that. He was never able to sit still until he had his sage training. Minashi was better at forcing herself to be still. Plus, she could calmly think better when she was still. 

Completely still, relaxed and almost in a doze, she didn’t feel the change until new chakra flowed through her body. 

Brat! You’re gathering Natural Energy! Kurama snarled and Minashi came back from the zone she was in to realize she was. 

‘How much?’ 

Kurama grumbled but reluctantly told her the truth. Surprisingly not a lot. Only enough to be noticeable. You haven’t taken enough to mix with your Chakra. 

Minashi turned to her mindscape and looked up to the begrudgingly impressed fox. ‘Are you saying that I could possibly get my body used to Sage Chakra at a much younger age?’ 

What? No. Kurama growled but his eyes were looking around the mindscape to see that even her small intake of natural energy has already healed her body some. The forest had more saplings growing at alarming rates. Kurama sighed. Okay, Maybe. 

Minashi’s eyes widened as her mind worked a mile a minute to work it out. She tilted her head in thought as she took in her mindscape. 

Could a seal help filter it and keep it coming in at this same rate I had going on? Small enough to get my coils used to it without turning me into stone?’ 

Kurama sighed and looked at his host and only friend. I don’t need to answer that. 

Minashi smirked up at him and let herself return to the outside. The same smirk lit her face before she blinked rapidly to see Sakumo in front of her. 

He had a raised brow at her. Minashi glanced at herself to see that not only had she still kept all the leaves he’d put on her in place, but she’d also accidently made them sprout vines connecting them all over. 

“Uh.” she blinked dumbly on how to explain that. “Oops?” she muttered. 

Sakumo just kept his skeptical gaze. “Minashi.” he started and Minashi knew she was in for it. He’d dropped the -chan. “What did you just do?” 

Minashi looked up at him with the most innocent look she could think of. “While I was focusing on my chakra, I felt strange energy around me. I was curious about it. I tried pulling at it like my chakra and a little bit came.” She lifted her arm to look at the vines. “Did it do this?” 

Sakumo felt himself pale a little. He’d been friends with Jiraiya long enough to know what she was talking about. Natural Energy. It was dangerous if not trained with proper guidance. “Minashi, that is the Natural energy around us. You must never play with that on your own again.” 

Minashi pouted. “But it was so pretty.” she play whined. 

Sakumo’s eyes hardened. “No. I have a friend that is a Sage and works with natural energy to turn it into Sage Chakra. I will let him know when he returns that you have an aptitude for it, but you will never touch it on your own again. Are we clear?” 

Minashi wilted. “Hai.” 

Sakumo let out a long sigh and nodded. “You are a quick learner. Do you feel that you have a better handle on your chakra?” 

Minashi turned inward again to assess her chakra. Her personal reserves had been boosted by the one half of Kurama, but with two additional halves, her personal reserves had been doubled. She did have a better feeling for them now, but she knew her control was still shot. Leaves were one thing.  

She let out a sigh and stood up. “I’ll only get better with practice.” With that she went to turn to a tree, but Sakumo snagged her off the ground and onto his hip. 

“How about away from the Compound?” he smiled tense. 

Minashi winced but soon after a few Shunshin, they were at one of the Jounin training grounds. 

Minashi went right to work. Just like when she and Naruto were teens, she ran right for the tree. She got three steps before her chakra went haywire and was blasted off. Sakumo caught her easily and she was back off running again. 

 

Sakumo watched the blonde star continuously get up and try again for hours. Leaving a clone to watch her, he went and grabbed Kakashi before returning to the training ground. Kakashi had paled at the damage before he too went and worked on his own control exercises.  

Sakumo let him focus as he listened to little Minashi growl and curse under her breath. But, he noticed that she was getting higher and higher. A proud smile lifted his lips as he watched her. 

He learned something that day about his new ward. She was stubborn. She was determined. She never gave up. Even after take-out lunch and dinner, she continued to work until she was covered in dirt, leaves, and twigs. Sakumo called it just after sunset. Minashi complained that she could continue, but Sakumo saw the exhaustion in her body. Throwing her over his shoulder, he grabbed Kakashi and headed home. He wasn’t surprised to find that Minashi was already passed out by the time they arrived home a few moments later. He cleaned her up the best he could before tucking her in for the night. 

Once Kakashi was down for the night as well, Sakumo was greeted by an ANBU in his living room. 

“Yes?” he asked curious. 

“Hokage-sama requests for a short meeting with you.” 

Sakumo nodded and they left after Sakumo sealed the compound. 

They arrived a few minutes later at the Hokage tower. The privacy seals went up, but the ANBU stayed. 

“Sakumo.” Sarutobi greeted. “Sorry to pull you out so late.” 

“No problem. Kakashi and Minashi were down for the night anyways.” 

Sarutobi smiled softly. “How is she doing?” 

Sakumo groaned. “That is complicated.” 

“Do tell.” Sarutobi asked as he lit his pipe. 

“Her trauma is still fresh, so she’s emotional at times. She also tired a lot. I have a feeling it’s from taking in all the fox’s chakra. That also didn’t help when we went to train on her control.” 

Sarutobi snorted then coughed to cover up his slip. “Hai. I saw. Most entertaining part of my day.” 

Sakumo rolled his eyes. “Things seems to be going okay on the family front as well. Minato and Kushina are going to walk with us to her first day of the academy. We’ve already worked out to where they would watch both Minashi and Kakashi when I had missions and vice versa.” 

Sarutobi nodded and wrote a note to himself of the arrangement. “I will try my best to work around that. But please be sure to find other accommodations for when all three of you are out.” 

Sakumo nodded. “I will do as such soon.” 

“Good. Anything else?” 

Sakumo nodded as a frown took his face. “When will Jiraiya return?” 

Sarutobi raised a brow curiously. “I sent a request for him to make his way home. It could be a few weeks to a month or two.” 

Sakumo frowned. “Minashi is either a sort of sensor, or has a natural aptitude for Sage Chakra. She started to pull at the natural energy around her today. I’ve felt Jiraiya do the same but on a much larger scale, so I was barely able to recognize it. But I've told her not to touch it without proper guidance.” 

Sarutobi though was thinking more logically about this new aspect. Was she doing it subconsciously? Was it accidental? Or was she testing what she could or couldn’t do? It would benefit not only her but the leaf to have another Sage. Minashi would be special with her fox contract. He’s never heard of a Fox Sage before. 

“I will send Jiraiya another message with an update of a possible sage candidate. As for the reason I called you here. It was not only for an update on Minashi. I have an A-Rank mission for you and your team. You will leave tomorrow midday. I’m sorry it’s last minute, but it seems like you’ll be fine with accommodations for Minashi and Kakashi.” 

Sakumo sighed. “I was hoping we’d have a few more days.” 

Sarutobi gave him an understanding look. “I would if I could. Your team is the only one trained for this.” he handed over the scroll.  

“I understand Hokage-sama.” He bowed and dismissed himself. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 8

Minashi pouted into spikey blonde locks as she sat atop Minato’s shoulders. He’d insisted on giving her a ride, and she’d loved every minute of it. That was until they arrived at their destination.  

The Academy. 

Minashi REALLY didn’t want to have to sit through boring lectures all over again. It wasn’t fun the first time when she didn’t know how to read well. It was going to be even less fun now that she’d be able to know and understand everything. Tsunade and Sakura and beat the academy lessons, Genin, and Chuunin information into hers and Naruto’s head. Mostly Naruto’s. But it didn’t mean that when she got bored that they didn’t hit her too. What was worse was all the practical exams they made them take. Then the Jounin ones. It was just too bad they could never take those exams. The war had broken out and everything went to hell. 

Minashi groaned into Minato’s hair and he chuckled beneath her. “What’s wrong imouto?” 

“Kashi says that Academy is boring.” she muttered into his hair. 

Kushina chuckled with Minato. “A bit, but there is a lot to be learned. You’ll be able to get some training in as well.” 

Minashi slid her gaze to Kushina. Kushina sweat dropped at the bored look. 

Minato hopped and Minashi bounced against him. “Cheer up Imouto. You’ll be able to make some friends here.” 

“Hm.” Minashi hummed unimpressed. She missed Minato and Kushina sharing worried glances before glancing over to Sakumo, who reflected the same worry. 

“Think of this Minashi-chan.” Sakumo called to her attention. Blue eyes met kind deep coal. “You and Kakashi will be spending the next few days and the weekend at Kushina-san’s home while I'm away. You’ll be able to get some more training in for your clan style.” 

Minashi smiled at him. “Hai.” She suddenly jumped over to Sakumo and hugged him tight. “Be safe Saki-chan?” 

Sakumo hugged her close. “Of course. I have to come back for Kakashi and you.” 

Sakumo set her down and knelt to Kakashi. “We already talked this morning about this new arrangement. Be on your best behavior.” he glanced over at Minashi before looking back at Kakashi. “Keep an eye on her for me? She might need a hug when she gets sad.” 

Kakashi nodded. “I’ll protect her.” 

Sakumo stood and ruffled his hair. “That’s my boy. Now, I’m heading back to finish packing. I’ll see you in a week.” 

“Hai Tou-san.” Kakashi said and watched his father walk away before a small soft hand gripped his. Kakashi looked to the golden doll at his side. 

“Saki-chan will be fine. He’s strong.” 

“I know.” He said and headed towards the academy, not noticing Minashi pause at the gates once again. She looked back to Kushina and Minato to see their encouraging smiles. 

“We’ll be here when classes are over.” Kushina smiled. 

“Have fun.” Minato Smiled. 

Nodding Minashi headed in and found her class. Something in her relaxed when she didn’t recognize anyone. Smiling to herself, she pulled on her ‘Uchiha’ mask of no emotions. Although she wanted to smile when she was introduced. She loved her last name. 

“Everyone, this is the new student. Uzumaki-Namikaze Minashi. Please welcome her later. Now let’s get to today’s lesson.” 

Minashi blinked at the instructor. The chuunin looked bored and annoyed. Shrugging it off, she grabbed a seat near the back at the windows. Yawning, she laid her head down and listened as the instructor droned on most of the morning on history and theory. 

Instead of listening to things she already knew, she fell into her mindscape and focused on her own sealing theories. She had ideas when talking theory with Tobirama and Reanimated Minato, but they’d never had the spare time to really think about them. So she spent the morning with the only other Sealing Master she knew. Kurama. He’d learned from Mito and Kushina and her own lifetime. While he was more blunt and crass when calling her out on her stupidity, he was always honest with her. 

And just because he knew sealing didn’t mean he had the power to break through his old seal. Minato had made sure of that with the Reaper Death Seal. Though Kurama would always deny Minato one upping him. 

The morning flew by with this. Finally when it was lunch, she grabbed the bento Kushina had made for her and ate it high in a tree. It had taken a lot of focus, but she’d climbed it with only leaving a few indents in the bark. Watching the other five to seven year olds run around the grounds and talking she sighed bored. She knew she’d have trouble in this area. She was a mid twenty year old in a five year old body. They were too childish for her. 

Kakashi was the exception because he was already thinking and talking like an adult most of the time. Plus it was Kakashi. But she couldn’t see him in the yard. 

“Hey!” a voice called up at her. Minashi blinked and looked down. There at the base of the tree was a black haired boy. His deep black eyes and pale skin gave him away as Uchiha. “How’d you get up there?” he called curious. 

Minashi blinked and looked at the boy closer. He seemed familiar. Minashi sighed and packed up her lunch to go higher. Letting the chakra go to her feet, she showed rather than tell the boy how. 

“Cool!” he called up. “Hey teach me that!” 

Minashi frowned down at the rude Uchiha boy. He just smiled up at her excited. Minashi blinked surprised for a moment. A smiling Uchiha? 

Curious now she jumped back down a few branches and sat staring at him. The boy seemed to become uncomfortable. 

“Do you talk?” 

Minashi nodded. 

“Can you teach me that?” 

Minashi shrugged. 

He frowned up at her. “You’re weird.” 

Minashi snorted. She’d forgotten that kids could be brutally honest. 

“Is he bothering you?” A voice said beside her. Minashi didn’t flinch. She’d felt the new chakra signature near long before he approached. Instead her blue eyes moved to the older boy now standing beside her on the lower branch. 

Her eyes widened to see that he was someone she recognized. Instead of a senbon in his mouth though, he had a dango stick. Genma. She thought. A pinch of pain ran through her as his death flash before her mind’s eye. 

Minashi smiled up at him in thanks, pushing aside her memories, but shook her head. 

“Hey Genma-san! Do you know how she did it too?” The Uchiha boy called up. 

Genma looked down at him. “No. I just jumped from another tree.” 

The boy wilted. “Aw man.” 

“Obito-san you shouldn’t bother someone when they want to be alone.” 

Minashi froze. THAT was Obito? 

Obito pouted at Genma. “But she’s the new girl. I wanted to see if she wanted to be friends. Then she went and walked up a tree without hands.” 

Genma sighed and rolled his eyes. “Whatever.” He looked back to Minashi. “Are you okay with him being annoying?” 

“Oi!” Obito snapped but Minashi just looked at Genma. He was missing his leaf bandana, but his face structure was still the same, minus the scars from war. She smiled up at him kindly. Standing up she reached up and patted the older boy’s head before jumping down and doing the same to Obito. Obito flushed bright red. Minashi just giggled and walked away. 

 

Genma jumped down and looked to the slightly younger boy before watching the strange blonde girl walk away. 

“New girl you said?” Genma inquired. 

“H-hai.” Obito muttered and toed at the ground. “She’s in my class, but slept the entire time. The teacher didn’t even seem to notice.” 

Genma raised a brow at that. Curious. With a shrug he pushed away his curiosity and headed off towards his other friends. 

Obito though was back to looking for the blonde girl. She had been so pretty. His face heated when her smiling face flashed in his mind again. She was prettier than Rin-chan. 

 

 

Minashi couldn’t say how relieved she was when the afternoon classes were outside. It only took her a few moments after the lines up to throw the practice Kunai, that she had missed that she did share class with people she should have known. Obito was in one of the lines. And if her memory of Kakashi’s old team picture was right in her mind, the brown haired girl with purple markers on her cheeks was Rin. Minashi mentally sighed and channeled her inner Nara. 

Troublesome.  

She did not want to be in a class with them. That was just asking for bad karma. She didn’t know Rin, and she knew this Obito even less. Kakashi’s stories reminded her of Naruto, but they were two different people still. 

She also didn’t want to think on the decisions that swirled around his current fate. She wasn’t strong enough yet. She didn’t have enough allies. She didn’t have the upper hand on Zetsu and Madara yet. 

Minashi absently threw the Kunai and Shuriken as she thought. Not noticing the looks she was getting. 

While yes, she had all of the Kyuubi and Kushina had a less chance of dying during Naruto’s birth, it didn’t mean that someone wouldn’t find out she’s his container now and would try to take him from her. Minato would still do anything to protect the village if made Hokage. 

She rubbed her throbbing head and promised to think on this later as those dates neared. 

Blinking she tried to focus back on her current situation only to find herself surrounded by silence. Looking around she saw that everyone had wide eyes on her. Looking to her targets she muttered a curse under her breath and looked to her Chuunin senseis. Their eyes were wide on her. She smiled sheepish and tried to pull off her innocent look. 

One sensei suddenly grabbed her arm and ushered her inside while the other went back to teaching the rest of her class. 

When they reach the class again, the Chuunin sat her down with a curious look.  

“Uzumaki-san, I've noticed that you aren’t paying attention to class. I’ve let it slide because the Hokage informed us you went through a trauma. But I'm thinking that that is not all. Do you find my classes boring?” 

Minashi sighed and nodded. 

“Is it because you don’t understand what I'm teaching?”  

She shook her head ‘no.’ 

The chuunin hummed and looked at her curiously. “Hatake-san said you were trained. He didn’t mention anything other than physical and chakra training.” Minashi just raised a brow at the young man. “Do you find my class boring because you already know what I'm teaching?” 

Minashi’s eyes widened. How’d he figure that out? 

Her sensei chuckled and patted her head. “You aren’t the first genius I’ve had to teach. Hatake’s son is the exception. He tested before coming to the academy and was placed into a higher level before even starting. But you are acting like my Nara Students. Bored because they already know and understand what I'm teaching. How about you take some tests for me so I can see which class you should actually be in?” 

Minashi smiled up at him and nodded. So she spent the rest of her afternoon sitting at a desk taking exam after exam to see where her knowledge leveled out. She paused on the last test remembering that Sandaime had asked for her to please not take less than a year. Minashi rolled her eyes and allowed herself to be on the level of the this year’s graduating class. She did need the time to work up her body to her mind’s skill anyways. 

Her sensei just looked dumbfounded before he chuckled and smiled at her. 

Minashi hid her own foxy smirk. She’d abide by the Sandaime’s request. But just barely. 

“Alright Uzumaki-san, you’ll start tomorrow in Sumiko’s Class. I’ll submit your advancement exams to confirm this.” 

“Thank you.” Minashi said and the Chuunin jumped. She smirked at him before taking her seat. A few minutes later the rest of the class joined and settled in for the last lecture for the day. She watched as her Chuunin instructors talked in hushed voices for a few moments shooting her glances. They shared nods before the one that had tested her, left with her test results. Smiling to herself she laid her down to catch a real cat nap. 

 

 

Minashi sat on the swing as she waited for Minato and Kushina arrive. To her surprise, Kakashi had walked up to join her. But being the ‘adult’-child that he was, he leaned against the tree to act twice his age. Minashi just ignored him. It was also a way to make him squirm. Her lips twitched as she watched him fidget. She hadn’t attacked him with a hug when he walked up to her, and she knew it was getting to him. She could almost see his genius mind wondering what she was really up to. Minashi let him stew. 

“Mina-chan! Kakashi-kun!” A bright voice called. Both heads snapped up to the gate to see bright redhead waving at them eagerly. 

“Nee-san!” Minashi said and ran for the redhead, all while dragging a stumbling Kakashi with her. He quickly gain his balance back, to join in her jog. Minashi let him go once they were closer, to tackled Kushina with a hug. Of course the Jounin easily caught her with a beaming smile. 

“Imouto!” she greeted back happily. “Have a good first day at school?” 

Minashi hummed into Kushina’s neck even as her Nee-san squatted down to ruffled Kakashi’s hair. 

“How about you Kakashi-kun? Good day?” 

Kakashi sighed. “To be expected.” Kushina sweat dropped at the serious boy. 

“Alright.” Kushina grinned standing back up. “We’ll since Minato is still on shift, we agreed to meet back at my apartment for dinner. We have to pick up a few fresh items at the market on the way.” Keeping a hand on Kakashi’s shoulder, she guided the silver boy down the road as Minashi relaxed at the scent of her Nee-san. 

“Uzumaki-san!” a voice called out a few minutes later into their walk. Kushina paused and looked back to see the Chuunin teacher from the academy. He was a bit older than her, but most academy teachers were when chuunin. That and Kushina was a young Jounin. 

“Shiranui-san, is something wrong?” She asked confused. 

Shiranui? As in Genma’s dad? Minashi blinked at him curiously. 

Shiranui Kiyoshi sighed as he pulled out a scroll and handed it to her. “You picked up Uzumaki-chan before I could talk with you. She wasn’t tested before she joined the academy so she was placed in her age group. After training this afternoon, I noticed that her sleeping in class might not be laziness or exhaustion. I had her take the advancement exams. She passed with flying colors for the first three exams.” 

Kushina’s eyes widened even as she unconsciously tightened her hold on Minashi. “What of the fourth exam?” 

Kiyoshi sighed. “She was just below passing.” 

Kushina relaxed. “So she didn’t completely test out of the Academy.” A sigh left her at the news. 

Kiyoshi smiled. “No. But she’ll be moved to the graduating class and spend the rest of the year with them.” He looked down to wide coal eyes of Kakashi. “Looks like you won’t be the only five year old to possibly graduate Kakashi-kun.” He looked back to Kushina. “She’ll be in Kakashi-kun’s class under Yamanaka Sumiko.” 

Kushina smiled and nodded. “Thank you Shiranui-san. I’ll let Minato and Sakumo-senpai know of the change.” 

They parted ways and the trio resumed their shopping. A short time later they arrived back to the Jounin housing district near the Hokage tower. 

Minashi was carrying a bag of groceries with Kakashi, as Kushina carried the last bag into the modest apartment. It was two bedroom, and had a beautiful kitchen. The kitchen was open to the dining and living room area. Being on the top floor of the apartment complex, her balcony in the living room, opened up to a beautiful view of Konoha. Minashi’s eyes kept slipping to the balcony. She wanted to go sit out there and enjoy the view. 

“Do you two have any assignments?” Kushina asked even as she began prepping dinner. 

“No, Kushina-san.” 

“None of that Kakashi-kun. You can call me Nee-san too.” Kushina beamed. 

Kakashi thought it over for a moment before replying. “Kushina nee-san.” 

Kushina beamed and went back to work. 

Minashi took the opportunity to slip out and sit on one of the chairs already out on the balcony. She closed her eyes and just breathed. She felt it when Kurama pulled her into their mindscape. 

How are you doing brat? 

Better than I expected.’ She said softly as she moved to his massive body and climbed up onto it. It seemed like he was finally done growing. 

You’re letting a lot more information slip than we had planned. He pointed out even while his nose helped her up his shoulder and onto his back. 

Minashi shrugged at his statement and instead wormed her way into his fur. It was warm, fluffy, and so soft. She hummed in contentment. She didn’t notice that her subconscious form had taken that of her current body. Kurama did though. He knew it would probably switch between the two depending on her mindset. Now she was a child that needed comfort. 

When are you going to start showing your sealing knowledge? 

Soon.’ She mumbled. 

Brat. He growled but sighed when he felt her mind quiet. She was already asleep. Pulling up one of his tails, he let it rest over her body. He knew she needed to talk to someone that actually knew of her past. The Yamanaka couldn’t come soon enough. He’d seen her dreams. He knew they were only the beginning. Now that their chakra had settled somewhat with her control returning, he knew the human mind could be cruel to itself. He prayed that she wouldn’t let that beat her down. He had to make sure she remembered she wasn’t alone. 

Letting out a sigh, he rested with his kit and slowly let his own chakra merge with hers. If she was going to be working for the hokage in secret like they had planned, she needed to be stronger. Needed to be able to handle his chakra. Closing his own red eyes, he focused on moving his chakra through her coils. Not to mention balancing his own chakra to even levels of Yin and Yang. 

  

  

Kushina looked up from her cooking to check on her Imouto and Kakashi-kun. 

She wasn’t surprised to find Kakashi looking over one of the chakra theory scrolls Minato had left out. The boy was a genius like his father and her Minato. She just hoped that it wouldn’t destroy him. When her search didn’t find her Imouto, she sensed for her chakra with her healing reserves and realized she was on the balcony. Smiling she let dinner cook and went to check on the small child. 

Sliding the door open, she was surprised to find Minashi sitting in a meditative pose. Looking closer, she realized that Minashi had once again fallen asleep. Kushina worried for her Imouto, but knew that if something was really wrong, she’d hopefully be able to tell. Instead, she picked her up into her arms and took her sleeping Imouto back inside. Gently she laid her to rest on the once guest bedroom. It had been changed yesterday to a room for Minashi. Dressers full of clothes. Weapons stored away safely. A soft Orange painted on one of the walls. A task Kushina and Minato had made for both of their apartments after noticing the girl’s love for the color. 

Smiling pleased, Kushina went back to the main room to see Minato arriving and greeting Kakashi. He ruffled the boy’s hair and finally looked up to her. His smile softened and her heart fluttered. Kami, she loved this man.  

He greeted her with a chastise kiss on the lips, conscious of the child present. 

“Good day on patrol?” She asked as the moved to the kitchen. Minato groaned and leaned against the counter. 

“Shikaku needs to get out of the hospital. I’m tired of waiting for his lazy ass to get out of bed. Our team can’t go on any missions because he’s down.” 

Kushina rolled her eyes. “He’s a Nara. What do you expect?” 

Minato pouted. “But he’s a shinobi. It’s like an unspoken rule that we don’t laze around in hospitals. We’re supposed to hate them.” 

Kushina snickered and stirred dinner while she continued idle chatter with Minato. 

Turning back to check on her fish, she startled when Minato yelped. 

Alert and ready she whipped out a kunai and held it ready. She froze at the sight on Minashi blinking up at Minato innocently as the elder blonde gripped his chest. 

“Kami Mina-chan, you startled me.” Minato breathed. 

Kushina just blinked at her boyfriend. He was one of Konoha’s best sensors besides her. Kushina looked at her Imouto and saw a twinkle in the girl’s eyes as she yawned and looked up at Minato. Focusing closer, she realized that her little Imouto was a trickster and a very skilled one. 

The jealous she once held of the Namikaze overruling the Uzumaki was washed away in that one instant. She may look nothing like an Uzumaki, but she was still half. There would just be no warning to it like Kushina’s own features were. She smirked at the ingeniousness of it all. 

Her grin grew as she squatted down to Minashi’s level. Tired cerulean blues looked to her innocently. They couldn’t fool Kushina though. The twinkle of Uzumaki prankster Mirth was still flitting around. 

“Ne, Mina-chan, how much training did your Tou-san give you in stealth?” 

Mina smiled at her innocently once more. The twitch of her lips was the only change. Kushina had her answer. She snickered and stood back up to see the contemplative look on Minato’s face. 

“She got you good.” She teased. Minato pouted. Kushina rolled her eyes and pointed to the rice cooker. “Help me serve dinner.” She glanced down at the smaller blonde. “Mina-chan, can you help set the table?” 

Minashi nodded and took the plates and bowls Kushina handed her and walked off. 

Kushina lost her smile and Minato paused to look at her. “She completely suppressed her chakra signature.” Minato said softly. “Even with her companion.” 

Kushina hummed sadly. “I don’t like imagining why she had to learn to do that.” 

Minato kissed her cheek. “We’ll protect her so she can relax.” he promised. 

Kushina smiled and nodded. Grabbing the rest of the food, they headed out for their first family dinner. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 9

Minashi glared down at the ball of chakra in her hands. She almost had it. Just a little more. The clone before her shared a determined look. Together they focused wind into the ball and- 

“OI OI OI! One of the Narutos are going Kyuubi!” Her twin’s voice rang through her head and ears. Concentration lost as she felt the malevolent chakra fill the air, her own ball of chakra dispersed. She turned to find that it wasn’t just one of Narutos. 

“Fuck!” She shouted. “One of mine too!” 

Wood sprouted from Yamato-taicho’s resting spot into two different directions. The Kyuubi Minashi and Naruto were already working through clones of both twins trying to pin them down. 

Once the Kyuubi chakra was finally gone, Mina felt her vision dim with the memories. Her and Naruto collapsed together in the massive clearing. 

“Ma, it might be time for a break.” The lazy voice of their sensei said as he stood over them. 

Kakashi eye smiled at the matching glares he got from the twin blondes. 

“That- would—be nice.” A voice huffed a short distance away. Minashi and Naruto turned to Yamato. He was bent over panting, chakra exhausted. Guilt filled their connection from both parties. 

“Alright.” Naruto sighed and fell down and around to lay on Mina’s thighs. She did the same and enjoyed the feeling of her twin against her once again. They were delaying their separation to their respective summoning worlds. This last minute training was their only bonding time. Any other time was taken up by Baa-chan and Sakura beating lessons into their heads. Especially since Ero-sennin hadn’t done any of that while they were gone the past year and a half with him. 

Training with the Kyuubi chakra had been an experience with Ero-sennin, but nothing that they knew was coming up. They wouldn’t have each other to fall back on. 

A warm hand took Mina’s. Skin rough with callouses. Mina squeezed his hand in return. 

‘We’ll be fine.’ Mina heard softly spoken from Naruto. 

‘Miss you already.’ She sighed back. 

‘We’ll come back stronger’ Minashi smiled outwardly at his determination. 

“Un.” She agreed allowed. 

Kakashi smiled wistfully at the two blondes smiling half asleep on the destroyed grass. He’d been told that they had some sort of twin connection. He’d been skeptical at first, but actions proved the blondes right. Now he could only be happy that while he hadn’t been there for them, they always had each other. 

  

  

  

  

Pain ripped through Minashi. Her own heart stuttered when she realized what just happened. Her head snaps to look across the battlefield to where Naruto was falling out of Kurama’s cloak. 

“NII-SAN!” Minashi screamed and raced over to him. She’s grateful for their friends as Gaara caught her brother with his sand. Bounding over to them, Gaara wrapped her and the nearby Sakura in his sand and they flew away, Sakura working hard to keep Naruto’s heart beating. 

They needed to get away from Madara and the Jyuubi. 

Minashi took Naruto’s hand in her own. Pain filled blue eyes met her own. She tried to take some of his pain away, but he blocked her. 

“Naru-“ she called softly. 

“Mina.” He smiled at her sadly. “Gomen. I lost my Kurama.” 

Minashi shook her head. “We’ll get him back. You’ll get him back.” She said and went to place her hand on his seal, ready to give up her Kurama to save her brother. He was the true driving force behind the alliance anyways. He was the one that inspired everyone. He was the one that could talk enemies into friends. 

A cool hand gripped her own and her eyes snapped to Naruto. “No.” He says firmly. “You need him.” 

Tears blurred her vision. “Not more than I need you.” 

Naruto smiled at her sadly, and reached over to stop Sakura. Jade green eyes snapped to Cerulean blue even as the sand set them down. 

“Naruto!” a new, but now familiar voice shouted and joined their small group. 

“Tou-san.” Naruto smiled. Their reanimation father stared down at his son in horror and sorrow. 

“Madara took his Kurama.” Minashi choked out. “He keeps stopping me from giving him my Kurama.” 

Minato looked into his son’s eyes. “Naruto?” 

Naruto just smiled tired up at his Tou-san. “Take care of her?” 

“Of course. But you need to live too.” 

Naruto smiled brighter. “I have an idea. Only Minashi can pull it off.” 

Minashi gripped his hand tighter even as she felt another presence land near them. 

“What plan dobe?” Sasuke’s voice is harsh behind her. 

He grinned at him. “Fuuinjutsu. Tou-san and Niidaime-sama can teach her.” He looks back to Minashi. “Hide.” He says softly. “Take who remains and hide. Survive. Learn.” His eyes blinks slowly. “We’re the Unpredictable twins of Konoha. We can do anything. Find a way to go back.” He whispers as she feels his control over the connection loosen. 

Tears pull down Minashi’s cheeks. 

“Go back.” He murmurs. 

“Nii-san.” Minashi whimpers as their connection is strained. 

‘I love you Minashi.’ His voice is just a weak whisper in her mind. 

‘I love you too Naruto’ She sobs back. 

He smiles softly at her and she sees it and feels it. The connection snaps as the lights leaves his eyes. 

Minashi sucks in a breath and screams. She feels the cold presence of her Tou-san wrapping around her. She hears the soft sobs of Sakura. She hears someone collapse beside her, she crackle of his signature tells her it’s Sasuke. The sand beneath her trembles and doesn’t need to look up to see Gaara crying as he too falls to his knees. 

Minashi just screams. It’s empty. Her chest, her mind. He’s gone. She’s alone. She hates it. She hates being alone. She’s always had Naruto before the loneliness could settle in. Now he was gone. 

Kurama pities his container. Pulling her into her mindscape he lets her mind mourn as he took control of her body. 

Minato stiffened when Minashi’s cries suddenly cut off. He looked to see red eyes on him. 

“Release my container.” Minato jumps off and watches as his daughter stood up and dusted herself off. Sad red eyes looked at the deceased form of Naruto. ”Shukaku’s host, Gaara.” Said man looked up to red eyes. “Please cover him and seal his form in your sand. My other host will not be desecrated by that horrible reanimation jutsu.” The sand moved and covered Naruto and slowly rose into the air to hover at waist height. ”Take him back to Konoha. We will follow shortly with everyone else.” Gaara nods and flies off. 

Kurama turned to the Yondaime. Grief filled eyes met carefully blank red. 

“I will not let my host’s last wish not be met again. We move out. We abandon this front. We live to see another day. We save who we can. I’ll lend you our Chakra Yondaime. Use it wisely to get everyone to safety. When Minashi awakens she’ll be focused on her brother’s last wish.” 

“Hai.” Once taking some of Kurama and Minashi’s Chakra, the Yondaime was gone in a flash of red and yellow. 

Red eyes turned to a still softly crying Sakura. Sasuke had finally risen to his knees and looked with Mangekyou eyes into Kurama’s own. 

“Don’t die.” He ordered them both. “The brat won't be able to live if she lost her pseudo brother and sister as well.” Sakura can only nod. Sasuke’s eyes narrow. 

“You’re a damn Bijuu, why didn’t you give him some of your chakra?” 

Kurama raised a sleek brow. “The brat and I had one last conversation before I was ripped from him. He’s an idiot, but he’s learned to know when he’s out matched. Especially with only Shukaku and myself left, we don’t have enough power to face the Jyuubi. Tactical retreat is all that the Alliance can do now. Retreat and regroup. Now, let’s go. We need to spread the word and get the fuck out of here.” 

The two other Members of team 7 could only nod as they followed the Kyuubi control Minashi. 

Minashi gripped Kurama’s fur inside her mind. While she was mourning, she still paid attention to her last companion’s actions. She knew she should be the one doing what he was, but she just felt so empty. 

Darkness was swallowing her. She felt empty but like she was drowning in the darkness. 

‘Naruto’ She whimpered into the fox’s fur. 

A part of her mind already understood what he wanted her to try to attempt. It was crazy. It was stupid. It was impossible. But wasn’t that something they always proved wrong? 

Together. Her mind reminded her. They defied the impossible together. But now it was just her. Her lungs seized and she buried her face deeper, dampening the fur with her tears. 

Kurama wiped away the tears that leaked out from his containers eyes. They were a mix of hers and his own. He ignored the looks from Sakura and Sasuke running at his side. He was a Bijuu. He didn’t have to explain that his container’s grief was strong and his own flowed through with his other lost blonde. He would not lose his remaining container. His remaining friend. 

  

  

  

  

  

Minashi woke surrounded by warmth. Tears were dried on her cheeks. Her dreams had been cruel. Reliving Naruto’s death. Feeling the connection snap. Her arms wrapped tighter around the warmth. Ozone and dog, wrapped around her senses. 

Kakashi

She either must have screamed in her sleep or woken him up with her sobs. She didn’t know. Nevertheless, she appreciated waking up surrounded by his scent. Burying her nose further into his neck, she let the last pulls of sleep keep her in a half awake/ half-asleep state. 

Small fingers ran through her hair slowly. 

“Nightmare?” A groggy voice mumbled. 

“Memory.” Minashi mumbled back. Arms tightened around her. 

“Sorry.” He said back. 

Minashi smiled sadly into his skin. “Thank you.” 

“Hm.” He drowsily replied before his breathing eased once again. Minashi waited a few beats before looking over to the end of the bed to see Minato sitting there with a half asleep Kushina leaning on him. 

“You okay here Minashi?” Minato asked. “Do you want us to stay too?” 

“Un.” She nodded once. “Until I fall back asleep.” She mumbled. Minato gave her a soft smile and moved. 

Minato sat at the head of the bed and ran his fingers through her hair. Groggily Kushina squirmed up into the small bed and rested her head on Minato’s lap while the rest of her was pressed into Minashi’s back. Kushina pulled Minashi and Kakashi closer to cuddle into her warmth with her free arm, keeping it there and them close. 

Home. A voice whispered in her mind. 

She was surrounded by her home. 

Her eyes got heavy. 

Everything would be alright. She was safe at home. No more painful memories plagued her. Instead, she dreamed of painting the Hokage Mountain with her twin. Bright smiles on both their faces. 

   

 

When Minashi woke again, she wasn’t alone. She was eternally grateful for that. Though, she only found one problem. She was trapped in a vice grip and breathing hair. She blew the beautiful red strands from her face and tried to wiggle to see if she could get out. 

After some struggling, she huffed annoyed as more red covered her face from all her movements. 

She tried poking and pinching the older teen to wake her up, but Kushina just grunted and tightened her grip. Minashi whimpered when breathing became difficult. 

Snickering whispered through the room. “Need help?” Minato’s light voice filled the air of her new bedroom. 

Minashi’s eyes looked between red strands to find mirth filled blue ones hovering over the two girls. 

“Help Nii-san.” She pouted playfully. 

Minato smiled. “Here’s a lesson about your Nee-san. She’s a cuddle trap. I didn’t develop my teleportation jutsu just to be the fastest on the battlefield. It’s also so I can escape my Kushina’s arms in the morning.” 

Minashi blinked up at him. Huh…Who knew the Flying Thunder God was recreated to escape viper arms. Kurama’s snort filled her head and Minashi ignored it. 

“Help me please Nii-san.” Minashi said again making her eyes as wide as possible and adding a pout to her lips. 

Minato Melted. 

“Aw, of course Imouto. Hold still.” He reached between the hair and arms to touch her without touching Kushina. Suddenly her world spun. Minashi gripped her stomach as it rolled in protest. This was not only her first time using the Hiraishin in this body, but it always felt weird to travel through someone else’s space-time jutsu. 

Groaning she buried her face into Minato’s neck as he held her now in the living room. His chuckles vibrated against her. 

“Sorry Imouto. You’ll get used to it.” He watched her carefully. “Although, you are doing better than most. Almost everyone has puked on the first ride. Even I did the first time I tried it.” 

Minashi swallowed thickly. “Don’t count me out yet.” She murmured. Minato grimaced but brought her to the kitchen where Kakashi was already working on toast and fruit. 

“Kushina is not a morning person. I’m sorry there isn’t much more available for breakfast. Plus after-“ he paused and looked at Minashi before rewording the loss of Kurama. “She lost a lot of Chakra. She is still recovering from it still so she needs a lot of rest.” 

“Thank you for your hospitality Minato-san.” Kakashi said with a slight bow. 

Minashi yawned and sat down in the chair Minato placed her in. She wearily eyed the toast and fruit, but slowly began to eat as her stomach settled. 

“So Sakumo tells me that you do training in the mornings?” 

“Hai. For an hour before the Academy. We leave time to change and grab a real breakfast before leaving.” 

Minato nodded and dug into his own food. “Alright. I can take you two to a training ground close. It’s one I usually train at anyways. Kushina should hopefully be awake by the time we come back but I’ll probably be the one to take you two.” He paused as his eyes glazed over. “Yeah, we’ll only come back for a quick clean up, food, and then leave. She has Mission desk duty again while I have patrol. So, she’ll pick you two up at the academy this afternoon again.” 

Minashi raised a brow at her Nii-san. What was that about? Unfortunately, she had a feeling she didn’t want to know. A shared look with Kakashi told her that he felt the same. 

 

Sitting against a tree, scroll forgotten in his lap, Minato watched his little sister and Kakashi-kun smoothly go through their Katas. His lips were up in a smile. Minashi was just as much of a genius as himself. 

She’d been taught the Uzumaki style and worked it into her body. He could tell it was instinct to her already. He knew Kushina would be so happy to see this. 

His mood darkened when he remembered why she was already so good. She’d been on the run since she was born. Tasked with a burden, only to take on the rest of the burden from Kushina unknowingly. 

Minato let out a tired sigh. It was all still so unreal to him. He’d been told his mother was dead. But to learn she hadn’t and left him alone? He didn’t know what to think. But he also knew he was almost grateful. She may have left him, but she left one last gift for him. 

He smiled at Minashi who grinned at him just before her and Kakashi went through their sparring next. Minato’s keen eyes focused on their positioning, style, and attacks. 

Minashi was a gift. Minato knew that. He just wished she wasn’t as burdened with the death of their brother. His heart ached for the brother he never got to know. He really wanted to ask her what he was like. But he knew the wound was too fresh still. 

“Alright you two, cool down and stretch. You’ll have enough time for chakra control exercises before we head back for showers and food.” 

“Hai!” they chorused and did as told. Minato beamed. He was starting to realize why Jounin became senseis. It was refreshing to teach the younger generation. Maybe he’d apply this year when Kakashi and Minashi graduated. Maybe he could get them as a team. 

Minato was snapped from his daydreaming when he felt a pull from the energy around him. Energy that he’d trained in during his younger teens to turn into Sage Chakra. Training that he was waiting to finish with Jiraiya-sensei. His eyes snapped to Minashi to see that it was around her. 

“Minashi!” Minato snapped and rushed to her. 

Minashi jolted and looked at Minato with wide blue eyes and he kneeled before her. He was frantically looking over her. 

“Where did you learn to do that? How did you do that? Why-What? Are you okay?” he asked frantically looking all over her for traces of stone transmutation. Finding none, he relaxed a little to find sheepish blue eyes looking up at him innocently. 

“Oops?” she said wincing. “I didn’t mean to. I was just focused and it called to me.” 

Minato blinked at her. “You know what it was?” 

Minashi sighed. “Saki-chan said it was natural energy. I didn’t know it. He told me not to pull on it, but it is so pretty and feels so good.” She whimpered. 

Minato sighed and pulled her close. 

“Please. Please Minashi. Do not Touch the natural energy around you without the guidance of a Sage. I’ve taken part of that training. It’s very risky. I still don’t practice it until my sensei is near.” 

Minato felt panic swell when Minashi’s eyes watered and her chin began to quiver. 

“H-Hai, n-n-nii-san.” Minashi stuttered as a tear slipped down her cheek. 

Minato Squawked. “AH! Minashi, it’s okay, it’s okay.” He tried to comfort the girl as he pulled her into his arms. Her whole body trembled and guilt filled Minato. 

  

  

Kakashi blinked as he watched Minato flail and flounder over the crying doll. That was until he pulled her into his arms. Kakashi got a full view of the doll’s face then. There were no tears. Only a foxy grin. He covered his masked mouth to hold back his snort of laughter. The Golden doll had totally just played one of Konoha’s Genius Jounin. His own body shook with laughter as his eyes met the twinkling blues of Mina’s. He almost lost it when she winked at him. Heh, maybe she wasn’t so bad. As long as she wasn’t annoying him. 

  

 

 

Minato carefully opened the door to the apartment. Silently he ushered the children back to Minashi’s room to clean up and change. He left them with strict instructions to stay quiet and to take turns. Quietly he snuck through Kushina’s apartment. He found her bedroom empty of his girlfriend. Slipping into the kitchen, he froze at the sight of Kushina asleep at the table. His gaze went over every detail of the room even as he suppressed his signature as much as possible and kept his breathing to a minimum. 

Carefully Minato moved further into the room. Counting every step, every breath, and keeping his eyes fixed on Kushina’s every movement. 

He made it to his destination. His eyes finally left Kushina to look at the coffee pot. He paled at the sight of an almost full pot. Grimacing to himself, he silently made his way to Kushina and glanced to see her cup empty. Stealthy as his ANBU training made him, he reached out and snagged her cup and took it back to the pot to fix up a second cup to how he knew she liked it. 

Just as he set it back down, a voice filled the air. 

“Nii-san. We’re done. I’m hungry.” 

Minato panicked when Kushina twitched and a throaty growl filled the air. 

“Minato-san?” Kakashi called from the doorway in confusion. 

Mi~Na~To~”  a gravelly voice snarled. 

Minato yelped, jumped away, snagged the two children, and Hirashined like his life was in danger. To him, it was. Kami he loved her, but he healthily feared a freshly woken Kushina. 

Panting, Minato collapsed onto the stool behind him. Laughter boomed behind him. Kakashi was groaning and gagging from the ground. Minashi was patting his back soothingly, only a little dizzy herself. 

“Did you wake her up before her third cup again Minato?” Teuchi called from the stove. “I thought you learned that lesson years ago?” 

Minato whimpered. “Mina-chan and Kakashi-kun finished sooner than I thought.” He explained and helped the two kids up onto the stools and looked to the smirking Teuchi. “Pork please.” 

Teuchi nodded and looked to the kids. “Three Miso please.” Minashi asked. Teuchi raised a brow. 

“Just three?” He’d seen how much that child could put away already. 

Minashi blinked at him. “I’ll order more at Lunch. Nii-san forgot to pack us some, so we’ll be back.” 

“We can’t have Ramen for breakfast and lunch.” Kakashi stated. “Miso too but with eggplant please.” 

“Hai hai.” Teuchi nodded and went to work. 

“Ramen is food of the Gods.” Minashi deadpanned. “It is to be eaten for every meal. Sadly, to be a good Shinobi, I must also turn towards other healthy options to achieve that goal.” 

“It is not the food of the Gods.” Kakashi snapped. 

“Is too.” 

“Is not.” 

“Is too.” 

“Is not.” 

“Is too.” 

“Is not.” 

“Is too. Say otherwise again and I’ll stab you.” Minashi growled and Kakashi gulped passed his dry throat when he found a Kunai at his throat. Where had she gotten that? 

“OI!” Minato spluttered around his tea he’d ordered while they were fighting. His hand quickly took it back from Minashi with a reprimanding look. It was better than trying to figure out how he didn’t notice she’d pinched one from him. 

“No threatening comrades with weapons.” Minato scolded. 

Minashi just narrowed her eyes at Kakashi. He took his escape by a well timed Teuchi with his breakfast. 

Minashi hummed and turned to her own food. Three bowls were quickly devoured by the time Minato and Kakashi were done. Much happier with a full stomach, she waited for Minato to be done before hopping up onto his left shoulder. 

“Onward!” she shouted happily. 

“You have feet.” Kakashi snipped up at Minashi right as the trio headed for the academy. 

Minashi stuck her tongue at him. “I’m four. I’m allowed to get rides. You’re too much of a baby to get one.” 

Kakashi looked at her confused. “That doesn’t make sense.” 

“Now Mina-chan-“ Minato tried to stop the argument going on between them with him literally between them. At the same time he was happy to see his Imouto expressing herself more. Especially after last night’s screams that came from her room. Kami he never wanted to hear that sound from her again. 

“Yes it does.” Minashi said and crossed her arms. Trusting Minato’s arm on her ankles to keep her in place. That and her own chakra sticking to his flak jacket.  

“Adults act like big babies over not doing childish things to other adults. You are a child. You’re supposed to get rides. No rides means you’re a big baby like boring adults.” 

“Am not!” Kakashi glared. 

“Are too.” Minashi smirked. 

Kakashi growled. “Am Not!” 

“Prove it.” Minashi gave a sharp tooth grin. He was just so easy to goad. 

Kakashi paused and Minato, with Minashi still on his shoulder, stopped to glance at the boy. Minato wisely kept his opinion to himself. He wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but he felt slightly insulted. 

“Minato-san,” Kakashi started softly. “Can I please have a ride too?” 

Minato softened and lowered. “Hai~” he called happily. Kakashi gently hopped on and once a hand was firmly latched onto his locks, he stood back up and continued walking. Two Five years olds on each shoulder. 

The sappy grin on his face showed just how pleased he was to be carrying to kids on his shoulders. It also called out to some of his lingering fan girls. Though they were smart enough not to approach. Kushina was not a Kunoichi to mess with. So instead they gossiped at how adorable the kids were. How much of a good father Minato would make one day. He was already a good Nii-san. 

When Minato finally dropped them off, he left for his Patrol duty with the best mood, and a smile that no bad attitude of his grumpy teammates could wipe off. 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 10

Minashi stared at the retreating form of her Nii-san. Tilting her head contemplating his sappy smile, she wondered if he’d still be wearing it by this evening. 

“How much would you bet that he’ll still be grinning like an idiot when we get home?” Minashi asked Kakashi quietly at the gate of the Academy. 

Kakashi glanced between Minashi and Minato. “Hm, Tou-san told me to never make a fool's bet.” 

Minashi shrugged but didn’t turn to head in. Kakashi did, but stopped when he noticed she hadn’t followed. 

“You coming?” 

Minashi took a breath and let it out slowly. “Yeah.” She mumbled and moved to snag a part of his shirt. “I’m scared Inu.” She mumbled. 

Kakashi grimanced at the nickname but pushed it aside because the longer he looked at her the more he saw Minashi wasn’t doing good. 

Minashi felt her breathing pick up. Felt her mind telling her what she didn’t want to acknowledge. Faces. People. Comrades. Senseis. People that had become precious to her because they were precious to her friends. She’d be seeing them in this class. She just had that feeling. She’d been avoiding thinking of it. But it was Kakashi’s graduating class. 

She’d be facing people that had died. Facing the living that she’d lost was one thing. Same went for the dead she’d barely met before. But these were people she’d fought with, joked with, smiled with, pranked with Naruto. She didn’t want to see them. See their innocence. 

“-shi“ 

She couldn’t breathe. She didn’t want to be here anymore. 

“Minashi!” Minashi jolted when she was roughly shaken and moved. 

Warmth surrounded her from behind even as her body was forced into a ball by a cool hand on her head. 

“Breathe slowly.” A voice said. “In. Out. In. Out.” 

Minashi listened and tried to push the images of her fallen comrades to the side. 

“There you go.” The voice said pleased. 

“Is she okay?” Kakashi’s voice came from behind her. The other voice she realized was the one with the hand on her head, forcing her head between her knees. 

“She’ll be fine. I think she had a panic attack.” 

Kakashi’s sigh was long. “Oh.” He mumbled. 

“Do you know why?” 

“She lost her father and brother. Tou-san said it’s a trauma. She has nightmares. She’s never had a panic attack though. But she said she was scared before the attack started. It’s her first day of the Academy in the upper classes.” 

“Hm.” The voice hummed as the hand on her head almost pet her head soothingly. “She seems to be calming down. Minashi-san, how are you feeling?” 

“I don’t want to go.” She mumbled. 

“Why?” Kakashi asked confused. 

Minashi knew she couldn’t tell the truth. That she’ll see two faces over the familiar ones. That she’d been ignoring their signatures before this. Now, she knew she’d come to face them. Genma had been a good warning. She’d been able to push it to the side while avoiding him. But now, she had no choice.  

Swallowing thickly, she pushed the half-truth out to answer Kakashi instead of the truth. 

“I-I was supposed to go with nii-san. I’m scared without him.” She choked out. “What if I mess up now? I don’t want to disappoint my new nii-san and nee-san or Saki-chan. They are the only family I have left.” 

A heavy sigh came from in front of her before she suddenly found herself lifted into cool arms. 

“Let’s head inside. I think we can solve this by the time I drop you two off. Who is your teacher?” 

“Sumiko-sensei.” Kakashi said even as Minashi felt the breeze against her arms. 

A scent filled her nose that was now, coming from the Jounin uniform. Confused on why it seemed familiar but not, she lifted her head up and found her blue eyes meeting gold. 

“Feeling better?” The pale man asked as they walked. 

Mina just stared. 

He raised a sleep black brow. “I think your fears are pointless.” 

Minashi glared. He smirked. 

“I don’t know who your father and brother were, but I’m sure they’d want you happy. I don’t know much about family, but my teammates and sensei ensured that I learned that as long as I tried my hardest, they would always be proud of me. I’m sure your new family members feel the same.” 

Mina’s brain short circuited. She turned inward and found a just as befuddled fox. 

‘Did I just get comforted by Orochimaru?’ 

Hai? Kurama mumbled. 

‘We didn’t jump dimensions instead of time did we?’ 

No. This is our timeline and our dimension. 

‘Huh. Well shit. I thought I would have to hunt him down and pull a Naruto on him. Why is he at the academy?’ 

Why don’t you ask brat. Kurama growled and swatted her out. 

“Who are you?” Mina asked in her most curious child voice. 

“I am Orochimaru.” 

“He’s one of the Legendary Sannin. One of the Students of the Sandaime Hokage.” Kakashi inputted. 

Mina looked from Kakashi to Orochimaru. “Who are the Sannin?” 

Orochimaru sighed and rolled his eyes. “We were given the Title Sannin because myself and my teammates, Jiraiya and Tsunade, were able to face off against Ame’s leader Hanzo and come out alive.” 

Mina’s brain pushed aside her anxiety as a rapid-fire plan formed for the sannin. “Where are they?” 

Orochimaru’s face darkened. “We separated shortly after the second war ended.” 

“Why?” Mina asked with as much innocence in her voice as possible. Gold eyes were on her though. She knew Orochimaru was an actual genius so she’d never outsmart him, but maybe manipulating him was possible? 

Orochimaru sighed as they moved through the halls. “We fought all the time. We couldn’t get along anymore outside of battles. Plus other things pulled us apart.” 

“Teams are families though.” Mina stated. “Families stick together.” 

Orochimaru paused and blinked down at her. “Families still get torn apart. That’s what happened to yours.” 

Mina’s chest ached and she narrowed hard eyes on him. “Tou-san and Nii-san gave their lives to protect me. I’ll do the same for my new Family. I’ll do the same to protect my own teammates. Yours are still alive. Your family, whether or not by blood, is still alive. Don’t push them away because of a stupid fight.” She said even as tears welled in her eyes. “I fought with Nii-san before we were attacked. I never got to apologize before he was gone. Don’t make my mistakes.” 

  

  

Orochimaru stared down at the blonde child in his arms. He still didn’t understand why he’d picked her up to start with. 

He’d been put on medical leave after an enemy’s jutsu messed with his coils. So his sensei had the audacity to put him on a month of Academy duty. He wondered just how much that old man had planned this though. Sumiko Yamanaka needed an assistant teacher while her’s was out on maternity leave. So he was put in to help. He’d been dreading it. 

Now though… 

He’d come across the Hatake brat fluttering around a blonde brat near the gates. He knew the signs for a panic attack from Tsunade’s lessons. He didn’t know why he didn’t leave them alone. It might have been the lingering fear of Tsunade’s fists for ignoring a child, that moved his feet. Everything else? He felt like he’d been possessed by something when he caught sight of tortured blue eyes explaining to the ground about her family. He’d never be able to explain why he comforted the blonde girl. Which led him to his current stare off with said child. 

Bright blue eyes held his stubbornly. Was this why his sensei was smiling? Because he knew this child would be in his new class? Now she was lecturing him on his own teammates scattered across the Elemental Nations? 

Interesting. 

He’d have to pay attention to her actions during his assignment. It might even prove a distraction from the fact that he was banned from his labs. He needed ‘rest and relaxation’. How teaching brats was relaxing was lost on him. 

“I’ll think on it.” Orochimaru told the child in his arms. 

A soft smile lifted her lips. Orochimaru felt something slither through him. Curious. 

He set the child down at the door to the classroom. She looked up at him with that soft expression again. 

“Thank you Orochimaru-san.” 

Orochimaru hummed in response when that feeling slithered through him again. 

“Control your feelings better child. Good shinobi don’t have panic attacks.” 

  

Minashi stared at Orochimaru deadpanned. Apparently he’d run out of his humanity for the day. 

“Good shinobi don’t let their teammates run away from their problems. They face them together.” She snipped back and disappeared into the class, dragging a stunned Kakashi with her. She’d just sassed one of the Sannin.  

  

Orochimaru blinked stunned at the empty spot where the child had been. It clicked a moment later. That brat Had known who he was. How she knew his teammates were running from their problems, would be something to look into. He felt his lips twitch. Maybe this assignment wouldn’t be too horrible. 

  

  

Minashi stood beside Sumiko as the other kids settled and Orochimaru took a seat at the desk. Minashi was almost rudely staring at Sumiko. 

Sumiko raised a brow at the staring child. 

“What?” she asked. 

“Yamanaka?” she asked plainly. 

“Ah.” Sumiko answered understanding. “My husband is a Yamanaka. Married into the clan.” She looked the child over once. “My brother-in -law, Inojiro, has told me a bit about you.” 

Minashi hummed as she rocked back on her heels. “What?” 

Sumiko smirked. “If I tell you, I’ll lose my advantage.” 

Minashi stared for another moment before shrugging. 

“Alright you brats. Sit down and shut up!” Sumiko called out to the class. Noise settled down and all eyes were on the front. Minashi kept her eyes glued to the back wall. Ignoring looking at the chakra she could feel before her. The painfully familiar signatures. 

“We have a new student joining us. She should have been with us a few days ago, but someone forgot to test her before enrollment. This is Uzumaki-Namikaze Minashi. Do you have anything to add Minashi-san?” 

Minashi shook her head silently. 

“Take a seat then.” 

Minashi nodded and forced herself not to run to Kakashi’s side. She silently took her seat and without even asking, she snagged his hand under the desk and gripped it tightly. Kakashi only spared her a glance before facing forward. No doubt he could feel her trembling. She had been distracted by Orochimaru, but now she was surrounded by their signatures. 

Minashi tried to focus on Sumiko-sensei introducing Orochimaru as well. He was there because their other sensei was pregnant or something. He was also on medical leave? She wasn’t quite sure. She felt the memories fighting to the forefront. 

Laying her head down, she fell into her mindscape. She ran up onto Kurama’s napping head and sat in her meditative pose. Taking a deep breath, she focused on clearing her mind. On reminding herself that while she’d seen them die, she’d turned back time. She can prevent their deaths a second time. 

I’m not the Child of Prophecy. Naruto is. Her own voice echoed in her mind. 

She’d told her Tou-san that firmly. She’d told many people that over the last years they had. Because they all could feel it. He was their Shining hope. 

Who are you then? Kurama asked beneath her. 

Memories flashed before her. Naruto always standing before her, protecting her. Later, them standing together, fighting together. Her always having his back in all their fights. Leaving for their own separate trainings. Naruto to the Toads like, later learned, their father. Her reverse summoned to the foxes. Later learned her mother’s own summons. The last contract from Uzushio. One her mother didn’t use much in fear of connecting to her own tenant. 

If not the child of prophecy, who are you Minashi? 

Mina opened her eyes and smirked. ‘I’m no child of prophecy. I’m here to protect that child and his precious people.’ 

Kurama hummed pleased and laid down to rest once more. 

Minashi slipped back out of her mindscape. Squeezing Kakashi’s hand once more, she released it and looked up to her sensei. Still not really paying attention to the lesson, but let herself take in the people around her. First their signatures. Then slowly she looked at their faces. 

Two still over lapped them, but the longer she forced her mind to separate her past and this new present, the images were easier to handle. She knew it would take time for her to put her past comrades to rest and make new bonds with these chibi versions. Time though, was something she had now. That thought brought a small smile to her lips. 

‘I really did it, didn’t I? I travelled through time.’ 

Kurama huffed. You’re just now realizing that? You’re supposed to be the smarter twin. Minashi wasn’t offended by the Fox’s comment. It was a well-deserved and earned joke passed between them and Naruto. Naruto was smart in his own way. He had just been a bit dense. 

Sumiko-sensei continued to lecture on, but Minashi felt herself zone out from boredom. She was happy when they finally moved from trapping and survival tactics to Fuuinjutsu theory for storage scrolls and exploding tags. 

Minashi took the excuse of note-taking to work out her own theories. None of her bigger ones of course. She couldn’t get caught with that. But she had been twiddling with a seal tag to store elemental Chakra. Modifying the Storage seal to hold the chakra wasn’t hard, but getting the tag to take the molded elemental Chakra from a person, instead of being filled willingly by the sealer, were two different things. Not to mention she wanted to have the tag turn that chakra against whoever it was placed on. 

The problem would be the enemy chakra would fight to be sealed away to begin with. It needed to be subtle enough that once placed, the victim wouldn’t notice. But the tag needed that second matrix to filter the chakra and save it until activated to be turned against the victim. 

Mina tilted her head down at the two matrixes in her notebook. Pencil tapping in thought. 

“The chakra will be imbalanced. You have a three trigram over a two trigram matrix. There isn’t a balancer for the extra chakra-“ Minashi interrupted the voice absently as her pencil pointed to a symbol in the three trigram matrix. Odd matrixes were normally imbalanced but she’d added an element to the three trigram matrix to counter it. Plus, it was part of her solution to send the chakra back into the victim in an attack. 

“Huh.” The voice muttered. “It’s keeping the seal balanced, but sending the chakra back purposely imbalanced. What is this for?” 

“Absorbs enemy’s elemental chakra when molded for attacks. Stores it. Imbalances it. Send it back as a foreign attack when activated.” 

“Oh? If you know all this then why did you barely pass the Advancement exam section for Fuuinjutsu?” 

Minashi paused as the question filtered into her brain. 

“Baka.” Kakashi muttered beside her. 

Minashi looked up and found brown eyes of Sumiko stared at her with an unimpressed look. 

“Uh…” Minashi found herself trapped for a moment before she shrugged. “because I need the physical training the Academy provides?” 

Sumiko hummed again and crossed her arms. “Answer me this Uzumaki-san. Could you have tested out of the academy and taken an apprenticeship until teams selections came around?” 

Mina blinked up at Sumiko debating on the truth or lie. Instead she smiled when another thought popped in her mind. She was a child now. She can blame the adults around her. 

“Jiji told me to not graduation in at least a minimum of a year.” She said happily. 

Sumiko stared at her confused. “Who’s Jiji?” 

“Hokage-sama.” She answered innocently. 

Sumiko stared at her, looked to Orochimaru who was now glaring at Minashi, then back to Minashi. 

“The Hokage” she stated slowly. “Told you to not take less than a year to graduate?” 

Mina smiled innocently. “Hai~” she smiled happy to put the blame elsewhere. 

Sumiko sighed and rubbed her eyes with her fingers. Minashi didn’t get any further questions as Sumiko turned and walked to stand near Orochimaru. 

“Are you responsible for this as well? I have two genius students, and one just said she’s purposely here on the Hokage’s orders.” 

Orochimaru stared at her with narrowed eyes. “No. I was actually contemplating my sensei sticking me in here to be tormented by the same child.” 

They both looked back to the blonde child looking at them both with Innocent blue eyes. 

Sumiko grunted. “Whatever. I’ll make her regret it.” She smiled in return. 

Minashi paused at hearing their whispered conversation. Huh, maybe the Academy would actually get interesting now. 

  

  

Interesting was not the right word she realize shortly. Minashi was forced to aid in the Fuuinjutsu theory lesson for the next two hours, totally skipping the history lesson. 

She was then forced to sit with Orochimaru to talk over other theories, while Sumiko taught the tactics lesson. 

She never realized until the end how human Orochimaru could be until the end of the war. Now, she was seeing it has always been there, but it had been twisted. She could feel through his chakra that he hadn’t been twisted yet. He had asked to save him. Mina guessed this was a good place to start. 

When the lunch bell rang, Minashi proved herself as a Namikaze. She had Kakashi by the hand and out of the academy in record speed. They slowed down near the main streets of Konoha. To apologize she let Kakashi get whatever take out he wanted before they took it to Ichiruka’s for Mina’s lunch. 

“So what was that all about?” Kakashi asked. 

“huh?” Mina asked around a mouthful of Ramen. 

“Why did we run from the academy like it was on fire?” 

“Hm.” Mina thought on that. How would she explain she didn’t want to face her comrades quite yet. Looking was one thing. Talking and not breaking down was another. 

“Well?” Kakashi asked again, done with his own meal already. 

“I don’t know if I’m ready for new friends yet.” Mina answered truthfully. “Naru and I made friends while traveling. We lost them during the war.” 

Kakashi sighed and took her hand. “Don’t worry about that. You don’t have to make friends if you don’t want to. But they will want to talk. They don’t know when others don’t want their company anyways.” He huffed. 

Mina giggled and leaned forward. Swiftly she placed a kiss on his cheek above his mask. Kakashi spluttered and looked at her as his whole face, above the mask, turned red. 

“M-mina?” 

“Thank you Kashi.” Minashi smiled. “For this morning too. For all the times you’ve helped me when I'm sad. It makes me happy.” 

Kakashi’s face turned redder as he looked away. “Y-y-yeah well, someone had to.” He stuttered. 

Mina giggled and turned back to her lunch. 

  

Minashi and Kakashi walked back to the academy with a lighter air surrounding them. Mostly Minashi. That and Kakashi’s words and her own rang in her head. She didn’t have to make friends with them now. She had time. 

They returned back to the academy with some time to spare in the lunch hour. Her and Kakashi moved to sit under a tree a bit away from the main groups. Kakashi sat and pulled out a scroll he was still borrowing from Minato. 

Minashi took his lap as a place to nap. Kakashi only stared at her before huffing and going back to his reading. Mina smiled pleased and let herself doze in and out. 

She felt a signature near, but Kakashi didn’t tense, so she knew they weren’t hostile. That and they were familiar. 

“Is she asleep?” a boy asked. 

Kakashi sighed. “Yes. Don’t wake her.” 

She heard the boy sit near Kakashi. “How do you know her?” 

Kakashi groaned annoyed. “What do you really want Asuma?” 

“She called my dad Jiji. I’ve never seen her before.” 

“How should I know her relationship with the Hokage?” 

“She’s living with you right?” 

Kakashi tensed under her. “Hai. Tou-san said we have guardianship of her since Minato-san and Kushina-san aren’t old enough yet.” 

“But you’ve been coming here with them.” Asuma asked. 

Kakashi groaned. “Tou-san has a mission. I’m staying with them since they don’t have duties outside the village right now.” 

“Ah.” Asuma muttered and Minashi felt the eyes on her. “How does she know my Tou-san though?” 

Minashi could almost feel Kakashi glaring at Asuma. “I don’t know.” He grit out. 

“AH! There she is!” a loud voice shouted and Minashi whimpered. Kakashi’s hand brushed over her head. 

“Shut up.” He snapped. 

“oh! I’m so sorry. That was unyouthful of me!” the loud voice was only a little softer. “I just wanted to introduce myself to the youthful Minashi-san.” 

“Go away Gai before you wake her.” Kakashi growled. 

Mina sighed and sat up. She scooted closer and snuggled into Kakashi’s side, not only because he was comfortable, but to fake sleepiness. She tossed her legs over his and buried her nose into his neck. One eyes looked lazily through her bangs to see the small group around them growing. 

“Look, now you woke her.” Kakashi growled even as the arm she was on, held her closer. She held back on her pleased smile. He probably didn’t even realize what he was doing. 

Gai bowed low at his waist. “Apologizes Minashi-san. I didn’t mean to wake you. I just wanted to introduce myself. I am Maito Gai. Kakashi’s Rival.” 

“Self-proclaimed.” Kakashi muttered under his breath. 

Mina giggled. Gai looked up and his cheeks heated at the smiling girl. 

“Hello.” She murmured in return. 

“How do you know my father?” Asuma demanded and crossed his arms. 

Mina looked at him with her puppy eyes but chose not to respond. He narrowed his eyes at her and opened his mouth to ask again, but was interrupted. 

“Hey! Minashi-chan!” Obito ran up smiling. He paused when he found the two other boys sitting near and Mina practically in Kakashi’s lap. “Hey, what are you doing to Minashi-chan?” he glared. 

Mina blinked. What? 

“Letting her rest.” Kakashi deadpanned. “Which none of you are letting her do. Who are you?” 

Obito crossed his arms and kept his glare. “Uchiha Obito.” He looked back to Minashi. “Hey Minashi-chan, why weren’t you in class?” 

“Baka.” Genma said coming to stand behind Obito with three other boys with him. She knew those signatures. Izumo, Raido, Kotetsu. 

Minashi was trying hard not to panic. Instead, she focused on something different that she was coming to realize. 

They’re adorable. She mused as she looked at them closer and past the dead faces she also saw. All cute and still full of baby fat. I want to pinch and squish their faces. 

She held back those urges. While it kept her mind on the brighter side of things, acting on her thoughts would not be good. Not yet. She had to wonder though- Would she be able to do that to her friends when they were born? Would they be as cute and squishy? 

“My uncle said that she was in the wrong class. She took advancement exams and moved up to the graduation class. If you were paying attention instead of sleeping, that my uncle complains about constantly, you would have known that.” 

Obito pouted and looked back at Minashi. “Really? Why would you want to move up? You’ll be with the older kids.” 

Mina chose not to answer. Obito groaned. “Still not talking.” 

“Not to you apparently.” Kakashi snickered. 

Obito. “Oh? And who are you to know that?” 

“I live with her.” Kakashi smirked. 

Obito flushed. “W-what? Why?” 

“None of your business.” 

“Baka! That’s not fair! Tell me. And who are you?” 

“Hatake Kakashi.” A new voice said. Minashi recognize his signature as Kotetsu. “He’s in our class as well. They’re prodigies, so they get to graduate early.” 

“This baka is a prodigy?” Obito scoffed. Mina saw passed his anger though. He was embarrassed that a kid his age was better than him. She let out a quiet sigh. 

As she was about to tell them to back off, a ball of energy and anger barreled through the boys. Her arm was snagged and she was dragged off away from the crowd of boys.  

What? 

 

 

When Minashi’s bearings returned, she was sitting in a new group of children of slightly varying ages. This one of all Kunoichi. Shit. 

A girl with curly black hair and red eyes was patting the head of one mini purple haired snake mistress that was actually covered in proper clothes. And totally adorable. 

“Thank you Anko. I don’t think we would have gotten her away otherwise.” 

“Yeah, those boys were crowding her and were fighting over stupid things.” Anko preened under the praise. 

Minashi tilted her head at the two girls and glanced around to see that there were a few others. A Yamanaka girl from her class she didn’t recognize, a Nara girl, a girl that was obviously an Aburame by her cloak and the buzzing she could faintly hear from bugs, and a girl that look almost like Kiba but longer hair up in spike pigtails. 

“Sorry for Anko dragging you. But we figured that it probably wasn’t fun listening to the boys bicker.” Kurenai said smiling. 

Minashi shrugged. 

“I’m Yuhi Kurenai.” 

“Mitarashi Anko!” The purple girl interrupted. 

Mina looked to the other girls. 

“Inuzuka Koto.” 

“Yamanaka Inomi.” 

“Aburame Suzume.” 

“Nara Shikari.” 

“Do you want to be friends?” Kurenai asked kindly. 

“Yeah! Us Kunoichi have to stick together.” Anko cheered. 

Minashi felt a pang in her chest. They weren’t her Clan friends. But, maybe she should start somewhere. She saw the faces of her old friends hovering behind them. Old precious people that need protection in the new future. She focused back on the Kunoichi before her. New precious people that she can protect now. She let the smile lift her lips. 

“Hai.” She said softly. “I’m Uzumaki-Namikaze Minashi.” 

Chapter Text

Chapter 11

Minashi was happy to nap the rest of the afternoon away. Pointedly ignoring Orochimaru’s staring and Sumiko’s annoyed chakra flares. Her new Kunoichi friends had been Ruthless. Questions after questions. She answered a few with short answers before returning to her chosen silence. Thankfully, lunch break hadn’t had much time left anyways. They’d returned to their own classroom. 

She was relieved to collapse back at Kakashi’s side. She gave him a pout and he gave her an understanding look. In return for her suffering, he let her use his arm as a pillow. The brat was already ambidextrous so she didn’t hinder him. 

Minashi could say that she was very happy to sleep the rest of the afternoon away. She got to reflect that she’d made a good decision. Already she could feel her broken heart slowly repairing. The burned husks of trees in her mindscape, hidden in the shadows of the few lively trees remaining, slowly began to show signs of new life. They would always have the scars for the person she had lost, but the new people she made memories with would heal the pain of loss of her others. 

  

She was extremely happy when the academy finally let out. Dragging Kakashi, she bolted for the gates. 

“Nee-san!” she shouted at the sight of her redheaded sister standing out easily in the crowd of family. Kushina smiling and waving excited as she caught her leaping imouto into her arms and swung her around. 

“Mina-chan!” she happily says as her arms hug her close. “How is my little Imouto doing?” 

“Okay.” Minas said truthfully. 

“Orochimaru-sama said she had a panic attack.” Kakashi ratted her out as he finally caught up. Mina snapped around and glared at him. 

“Hey!” 

“It’s true.” 

Mina pouted even as she felt concerned eyes on her. 

“Imouto?” Kushina asked softly. 

Mina turned and buried her face into Kushina’s neck. “Was Scared.” She mumbled into soft skin. 

Kushina sighed and rubbed her back. “It’s okay to be scared, but I have a feeling it was more than just scared.” 

Mina choose not to speak. Kushina sighed as they begin their trek back to her apartment. Halfway home, Mina remembered that morning and sat up in her Nee-san’s arms to frown at Kushina. 

Kushina tilted her head questioningly. 

“Nee-san, why did you growl at Nii-san this morning? I smelled fear on him.” 

Kushina turned red as her hair. “Uh-um..” she stumbled over words. “I’m not a morning person. I tend to wake up before really waking up.” 

Two sets of eyes stared at her confused. Kushina groaned and looked away. “I didn’t mean to.” She pouted. “So what do you two want for dinner?” she deflected at their continued staring. 

Mina perks up. “RAMEN!” she shouts. 

“NO!” Kakashi snaps right back. “You had that for breakfast AND lunch.” 

“What?” Kushina asks, but is ignored and Minashi turns and glared down at Kakashi. 

“Ramen is the food of the gods. Did my threat not stick this morning?” 

Kakashi snorted. “Hard to see you as threatening when you cry like a baby.” 

Kushina suddenly found her arms empty and two four-almost five- and a five year old rolling around on the ground. Yelping, cursing, threats, and thumps of fists meeting skin fill the air before Kushina found herself activating her chakra in exasperation. This was only after a few attempts with her hands to tear the kids apart had obviously failed. 

Walking with hands clasped behind her back, she smiled and continued the walk home. Kushina happily ignored the two still bickering children restricted by chains and held upside down behind her. She instead walked with a smile on her face, pointedly ignoring the incredulous looks she was getting from the civilians and shinobi alike. 

  

  

Minashi figured that her and Kakashi’s constant fighting might have gotten on Kushina’s last nerve at some point during the afternoon. She was just trying to keep the stubborn brat acting like his age. So fighting over the small things seemed like the best route. 

Well… 

That was until Kushina put them through training that evening after dinner until they were both too exhausted to even whimper. 

Minato had just taken one look at Kushina’s pleasant smile including her eye smiles, and turned around like he hadn’t seen anything. 

Coward. Kurama had snorted. Minashi had silently agreed but couldn’t think more as her Nee-san punished them via training. 

She slept so heavily that her memories and nightmares hadn’t had energy to plague her. 

Minato -thank Kami- had let them sleep in and then taken them out for a filling breakfast at an Akimichi restaurant before dropping them off at the academy. 

  

Sumiko-sensei had a quiz planned for that day and Minashi mentally groaned. Minashi pushed through the test quickly, handed it in, and then pulled out her newest notebook she’d asked Minato to purchase for her that morning. 

She only knew one way to distract an Uzumaki when they were angry with you. 

Make them laugh at someone else. 

The fact that she was also keeping a promise to a certain fox when she first got to the village, was just a bonus. 

So she spent the rest of the test hour plotting. 

“What are you doing?” Kakashi whispered, returning from handing in his own test. 

“Plotting.” She muttered. 

“Plotting what?” 

“A prank.” She smirked but didn’t look up as she continued to write up the seal she would use. An invention of her own years ago but put aside after a successful used on one snake sannin. It had been hilarious to watch Tsunade laugh until she cried at the sight of a pink haired Orochimaru. He was accepted back into the fold much quicker after that. 

“N-not on Kushina-nee-san r-right?” Kakashi stuttered in fear. Kakashi had learned much earlier on this time around why Minato had a healthy respectful fear for his girlfriend. 

Minashi snorted. “Never. Best way to get nee-san’s attention off of us is to slap it onto someone else.” 

Kakashi paused and watched her continue to write out her plan. He choked when he saw the clan she was targeting. 

“The Uchiha?” he hissed. “Are you crazy?” 

Mina looked up and smirked. “I’m Uzumaki.” 

Kakashi met her gaze but wisely kept silent. He wasn’t sure if that was an admittance to insanity, or a reasoning. But he wasn’t foolish enough to ask. 

“Why them?” he asked instead. 

Mina paused and looked at Kakashi. “They look like they need some fun.” 

“Do you know how to even get around the compound?” a new voice whispered from in front. Both looked to see an Uchiha boy looking at them. Minashi held back her frown. He looked familiar. His chakra seemed familiar, but different. 

“I’ll figure it out.” Mina answered as she continued to look at him. 

He raised a brow. “Wouldn’t knowing the ins and outs help?” 

Kakashi and Minashi shared a glance before she looked back and raised a brow at him. “That an offer Uchiha?” she asked emphasizing his name. Not maliciously, but pointedly. 

To her surprise, the boy smiled. Smile. First Obito, now this brat. Was she just cursed to deal with the broody ones in her first life? 

“Tou-san always says that the clan needs to have the stick pulled out of their butts. A harmless prank should help.” 

“How do you know it’s harmless?” Kakashi asked. 

“I see Pink in the seal. I’m not a seal master but I know at least my colors.” He deadpanned pointing to the color symbol in her matrix. 

Minashi smirked. “You’re not bad Uchiha. What’s your first name?” 

“Kenji. I can help you get into the clan head House too. Tou-san is aunt Mikoto’s brother. He takes me to the Clan Head House all the time to visit Oji-chan.” 

Minashi froze as something clicked. Shisui Uchiha? 

  

  

 

Minashi rubbed her throbbing temple as the Edo Tensai went to work devouring the three white zetsu Sasuke had sacrificed his left arm to get for them. The price was too large to pay. It would take forever for him to relearn how to fight. Time we didn’t have. 

“Who did Sasuke tell you to resurrect again?” Minashi asked as she closed her eyes. She didn’t want to watch. Their plan had been five, but the Jyuubi creatures had found the party before they could escape with more. Sasuke had paid the price of his arm to get his team back alive. 

Orochimaru grunted as he stood up. His joints popping with his age. Long since stuffed and sealed back into his own original body. 

“Some powerful Uchiha.” 

“We already have Sasuke and Itachi.” 

“It’s not enough.” Orochimaru deadpanned. 

“It’s NEVER enough!” She snapped back, glaring at him with red eyes. Orochimaru sighed and lifted his hands in defeat. Everyone knew Minashi was hurting. They’d been underground for two years now. The hidden villages had merged into one when Madara and the Jyuubi had tried to dig the others out. Konoha though, they had powerful shinobi still left. That and they had Minashi who had created a protective seal hiding them from the Jyuubi’s senses. 

It didn’t help that she’d just lost Hinata and her one year old nephew. No one had known Naruto and Hinata had gotten together before the war. It had given Hope to Minashi. But that was gone now. She had very few precious people left of their original Konoha 12. She wasn’t going to lose anymore. 

“It’s never enough but if we send anyone out there that bleeds, then they will never return.” 

“Mina.” A rough voice called from the door. Minashi snapped around to stare at Sasuke. 

“Baka!” she snapped and rushed to him. “What are you doing out of the hospital? Where are Tsunade and Sakura? You should still be in bed!” 

“I need to be here. As the only blood Uchiha, and as clan head, they’ll need my word that what you speak is truth.” 

“My little brother is right.” Itachi sighed as he followed his paler than Uchiha normal brother into the room. “Even as eldest, as a Reanimation, I have no right to the clan seat. Not to mention, one I personally cut down, the other knew why, and the last will be clueless as he died in the Kyuubi attack.” 

Minashi frowned at the Uchiha brothers. “Just who are you calling back?” 

“Itachi?!” a voice shouted surprised. “What the hell?” 

Mina turned to find the three new reanimations finally complete and aware. One set Red eyes with a Fuma Shuriken spinning slowly, glanced between Itachi, Sasuke and Minashi. Orochimaru had already left. His part done. That and he didn’t want to anger the last Uzumaki any further. 

“Shisui.” Itachi nodded with a small relieved smile. “It’s good to see you again friend.” 

The spiky haired Uchiha just blinked before grinning. “Hah! You bastard, see? Feelings aren’t that hard.” 

Minashi tilted her head at the Uchiha and slid her gaze to a grimacing Sasuke. 

“Am I actually dead?” she asked him softly even as Itachi moved to talk with Shisui. 

“What? Why?” he asked frowning as she took his only remaining arm over to one of the cushions to make him rest. 

“There is a smiling Uchiha before us.” She deadpanned. 

Sasuke snorted and smirked up at her. “It’s something about that family honestly.” 

“Be nice Sasuke-chan.” A voice said behind them. Both looked to the right to see a long hair woman smiling at them as she sat beside Sasuke. “Shisui and his family are just more emotionally inclined.” 

“Mother.” Sasuke rasped. 

She smiled at him softly. “They are your first cousins and my nephews after all. Kagami and I believe they got it from us. We’re positive they stole all those genes and left none for you two.” She smiled at her youngest. 

“Hn.” Sasuke returned but sighed and leaned against her. A content look on his face. Minashi looked into red eyes with a six point thick black flower of her Mangekyou flickering up to Minashi. 

Mikoto’s Sharingan eyes flickered all over her face before they widened. 

“M-minashi?” 

Minashi blinked. “Hai?” 

Mikoto’s eyes widened further. “You look just like your father, but have your mother’s chakra.” She suddenly looked around. “Where’s little Naruto-chan?” 

Minashi’s eyes darkened and Sasuke stiffened. 

“Dead.” Minashi said firmly, snapping Mikoto’s eyes back to hers. “Because he’s dead, we need help. Orochimaru used Edo Tensai, with the clones Sasuke retrieved, to bring you three back to life temporarily. Itachi and Sasuke informed us that your Sharingans are unique and should help turn the tide in battles. Especially since Sasuke got his arm chopped off.” 

“It was that or my head.” The bastard deadpanned. 

Mina just turned her own red eyes to him. “I’m on thin ice bastard. You and Sakura are some of my last links to Naruto. Don’t. Push. Me.” 

Sasuke smartly stayed quiet. 

“K-kenji-nii?” a voice filled the silence. 

Mina stood up and turned to watch Shisui launch at the other reanimation. His own spiky black hair matching Shisui’s. 

“Shisui!” the other older teen said as he held the younger teen close. Minashi watched as the two Uchiha Smiled easily with each other. It Ached to see the sibling bond they held. 

She eventually called them to order and filled them in on all the years they missed. Why they needed their help. Where they would be helping. 

They had left to help Sasuke back to the hospital after giving her a respectful bow when Shisui had pointed out her Hokage hat and half cloak. 

  

  

 

Minashi shook herself mentally from the memory.  

“I don’t need help getting into the compounds. I just need a rough sketch, patrol schedules, and patrol routes. I can work with that.” Minashi replied, hoping that she hadn’t zoned out too long. 

“Really?” Kenji asked skeptical. 

Minashi nodded and pushed away the lingering memories of her past away. She got all she needed from them. Kenji was Shisui’s elder brother. The brothers had helped them for a year before they were sent back. She understood why he was familiar now. 

“Okay.” He smirked and then softly began telling her everything that any other enemy would kill for. But this child gave it away to see his family be pranked. It would drive their elders nuts. 

Kurama and Minashi snorted together in her mind. They loved causing havoc for elders. 

Class returning to lessons paused her plotting with Kenji and minor input from Kakashi. But not for long. Lunch came around and she dragged the boys up to the roof to continue to plot. 

It was decided that her seal would stay pink and it would be the Uchiha hair that would be turned a Sakura pink shade. In memory of her lost teammate. To double the annoyance of the prank, she was putting a timer on the seal. It would last for a month. Minashi grinned wickedly. 

It was either grin, or think on the fact that tomorrow was Saturday. Her first appointment with Inojiro. 

She was dreading it. But planning to put her marvelous plan into action that same evening would be worth it. It would be her reward for digging into her past. For having to deal with those emotions. If Minashi’s smile was tighter, neither boy said or noticed a thing. 

“So how are you not going to get caught?” Kenji finally asks as they walk back in together. 

Minashi snorted at the insult. 

Kakashi and Kenji share a confused glance. 

“What?” Kenji asks pouting. 

“I’m just sneakier than you give me credit for.” She gave a foxy grin. 

Kenji narrows his eyes. “Want to make a bet out of it?” 

Kakashi sighed out a warning. “Don’t.” 

“No Kashi, let the Uchiha bet with me.” She smiled innocently. “He is the Uchiha.” 

Kenji preens. “I bet you’ll be caught in a week.” 

“I bet Never.” Kakashi deadpanned. He’d witnessed the uncanniness of Minashi’s luck already. She’d bent down to pick up a coin and missed a stray Kunai from one of the younger academy students practicing. He’d about had a heart attack. But it was mostly the confidence in her eyes that warned him to never bet against her. So Kakashi would follow his instincts. 

Minashi smiles happily at Kakashi and smirks at Kenji. “What are you wagering?” 

Kenji frowned in thought. “I’ll buy you lunch for two weeks?” 

“A month.” Mina barters seriously. 

Kenji shrugs. “Fine. One month. If I win,” He looks her up and down before glancing at Kakashi then back to her. “you have to be my girlfriend.” He smiles. 

Kakashi growls and stiffens. 

Minashi smirks. “Deal.” They shake and Kakashi pouted and sulked the rest of the way to class. 

Minashi found herself sitting at Sumiko’s desk once again with Orochimaru while she went over Fuuinjutsu theory for storage scrolls. 

Instead she was working on her own tag with Orochimaru’s input. 

“How will you be able to adjust for the different affinities your victim has?” He asked 

Minashi grunted. “That’s where I’m stuck now.” He’d already helped her to figure out how to take and store the victim’s chakra. But each person had their own Elemental affinity. This didn’t account for those with Elemental Releases. 

“Hm. Can you not have all five Elemental Natures on the seal and add an additional matrix layer that reacts to your victim’s chakra nature? You could then have that as the first matrix instead that will activate the correct elemental sign on the second matrix. From there, your third matrix layer could continue with the process of pulling in the chakra, unbalancing it, and returning it back.” 

Minashi blinked at Orochimaru. She really forgot how much of a genius he could be. She tilted her head at him. 

“Orochimaru-san, why don’t you study Fuuinjutsu more?” 

His golden eyes looked up from her notes. “It’s not my specialty. I want to learn as much Ninjutsu as I possibly can.” 

“Why?” 

“To be the strongest.” 

“Why?” 

Orochimaru opened his mouth, but nothing came out. He closed it. 

“Why do you want to be strong Orochimaru?” Minashi asked. 

Orochimaru just blinked at her. “Why do you?” He deflected. 

Minashi smiled at him sadly. “To protect my precious people.” 

He held her gaze. “Friends can be weaknesses.” 

Minashi kept her smile. “Hai, they can. But they also make you stronger. Standing alone, you are weak and have nothing to fight for. But when you and your friends stand together, nothing can break that bond. Even if a precious friend is lost, the others will grow stronger to protect who is left.” 

Orochimaru just held her gaze. Minashi didn’t look away. 

“How did you know my teammates were running away?” 

Minashi didn’t blink. “Why else wouldn’t they be here protecting their home with their brother?” 

Orochimaru just stared at her longer, but she could barely see it. There in his eyes, his mind was turning. 

“You are a strange child.” He muttered. 

“Hai!” she grinned. 

“That wasn’t a compliment.” He deadpanned. 

“You’re a strange man.” She smirked. 

He stared at her again. “I’m aware.” He spoke after a moment. 

“So when are you going to go bring your family home?” She asked as she looked back down to write down Orochimaru’s suggestions. She would have to sneak out some of Kushina and Minato’s notes to see if what the Snake Sannin suggested would work. 

“Why would I?” 

“Because they need you as much as you need them.” She replied absently and paused when another though filled her mind. “It’s not fun being alone. Loneliness is a darkness that will eat you from the inside out.” She said softly then returned to her notes. 

“I’ll think on it.” He replied once again. 

Minashi let him be. They worked in silence the rest of the lesson time. When they switched, she returned to her seat and zoned out for the tactics lesson. They would never compare to the war tactics she learned and experienced in person. 

Lunch was with her new group of friends. Surprisingly it had branched out from the Kunoichi. Kakashi had gotten tired of the other boys asking questions, and had gone to her. They soon followed. Before her and Kakashi knew it, kids from their age up to those in their graduating class were around them. Most of them, the Jounin or Chuunin she once knew them as. Others were new faces that she absently wondered what happened to them. But that answer was obvious. The Third War. If that didn’t kill them, then the Kyuubi Attack. 

 

  

After lunch, Sumiko corralled them to the training yard. Minashi found herself branching out past the Shuriken and Kunai. She practiced throwing Senbon. Something neither her or Naruto had ever had to use. But Minashi planned to be in ANBU, so she needed lighter weapons. Assassination weapons. She needed more tools in her arsenal. So senbon it was. 

It was irritating to see them fly off target. 

“They’re lighter than Kunai and are evenly balanced.” Sumiko said as she checked in on Minashi. Orochimaru was commenting dryly to the other kids about their subpar skills. Well, except when Kakashi or Anko were up. Anko was already showing her own skills in Senbon and seemed to be pestering the Snake Sannin about poisons. 

“Hai.” Minashi muttered and let her focus move to her hand. There she played with the senbon in it. Twirling it between fingers. Rolling it in her palm. Trying to get a feel for the smaller weapon. 

Slowly over the next hour her accuracy was improving. Class moved to strength and stamina training. Minashi enjoyed the burn of her muscles, the constriction of her lungs. It meant that her body was getting stronger. She was pleased when she barely heard any of the Kunoichi complain like she knew her old friends would have at this age. 

Taijutsu was actually a challenge in this class. The kids had more height and weight on her. She used her speed against them, but it was still a challenge. Especially the clan kids. They were just out of war times. Parents were still teaching them katas as soon as they could walk. 

Minashi love the challenge it brought. Especially when she got to spar Kakashi in front of everyone in their class. 

He didn’t want to be beaten by a girl in front of everyone. It was the most focus she’d seen him this time around. But Minashi was getting used to her smaller body through all their spars and trainings. She wasn’t over reaching anymore. 

They ended at a stalemate at Minashi’s choosing. But no one probably realized that. 

Well, she thinks Orochimaru might have a clue from his raised eyebrow he shot her. She ignored him and went to watching the remaining spars. 

  

That evening, she sat under a tree with Kushina’s fingers going through her hair while Minato worked with Kakashi on his chakra control. Water walking. Kushina and Minashi had already been through her session. It’s why her poor hair was soaked through again. Minashi closed her eyes and enjoyed the feeling of Kushina’s soothing fingers working out the knots. Slowly the fingers began weaving. 

“Sorry that I haven’t been able to braid your hair in the mornings Imouto.” Kushina said softly. 

Mina shrugged. She did miss Sakumo doing her hair, but she was twenty-five mentally. She understood that Minato was hopeless at it and Kushina wasn’t a morning person. 

“How are you adjusting to academy?” Kushina asked remembering her own first week. She had been an outsider, a foreigner. 

“Okay. Made friends.” Mina mumbled. 

“No one is picking on you right?” 

Minashi sighed. “Please.” She whispered. “Not tonight. I have an appointment with Inojiro tomorrow. He’ll pry enough for everyone.” 

Kushina tilted Minashi’s head back and kissed her forehead. “I’m not trying to pry Imouto. I’m just worried. I didn’t have the best academy experience to start with. I don’t want you to experience that too.” 

Minashi understood right away. “No one’s picking on me. I promise I’m making friends. Orochimaru-san I think is one of them too.” 

Kushina startled. “One of the Sannin?” 

Minashi smiled. “Hai. He’s very smart.” 

Kushina chuckled. “That he is. He’s the Sandaime’s genius student.” 

“Alright, I think we should call it a night.” Minato said as he came with an exhausted Kakashi half asleep on his back. Drenching the elder blonde’s back with the river water Kakashi was soaked in. “These two need baths, food, then a good night's rest.” He finished with his own yawn. 

Kushina snickered but stood and held Minashi on her hip. “I think we all are due for it.” 

“Hai.” Minato agreed and they all four were back at Minato’s apartment. It was agreed they would be at his place for the weekend.  

Kushina cooked while Minato made sure Kakashi and Minashi were bathed and dressed for bed. With her belly overly full a short time later, it didn’t take long for Minashi to pass out in bed. Kakashi asleep on the futon beside her bed. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 12

  

“Are you sure you’re going to be okay?” 

“Hai.” 

“Are you sure you don’t want one of us to sit in with you? I’m sure Inojiro will let you.” 

“Hai. I’ll be fine.” 

“Are you sure-“ 

“Nii-san!” Minashi groaned loudly. Minato gave her a sheepish smile. 

“Gomen, Imouto.” 

“Come on pretty boy, We already discussed this earlier.” Kushina said pulling Minato up from his crouch in front of an exasperated Minashi. “You’re taking Kakashi to finish working on water walking while I wait here for Minashi’s appointment to be done. We are then going to meet at Ichiruka’s for comfort food and spending the rest of the afternoon lazing around.” 

Minato sighed and bent down to Minashi once more. Minashi smiled into his hair before gently pushing back and nudging him in Kakashi’s direction. 

“I’ll be fine Nii-san. Inojiro promised we’d talk only if I wanted to.” Minato pouted but then nodded. With a flash, him and Kakashi were gone. 

“He’s such a mother hen.” Kushina smiled lovingly. She looked back to her Imouto and smiled softly. 

“You won’t push yourself?” she asked softly. 

Minashi held Kushina’s violet eyes. “I won’t. I promise.” 

Kushina nodded and kissed her forehead. 

Minashi turned and slipped into Inojiro’s office. The elder blonde was already sitting cushions on the floor. A tray with tea and snacks sat to the side. 

Inojiro noted her entrance and placed his hand on the seal on the floor. 

“My office is sealed and secured. Would you like refreshments?” 

Minashi smiled kindly and sat on the cushion across from him. “Thank you. Tea, two sugars.” 

Inojiro hummed and served them their tea. 

“Since you are a unique case, I’ll let you decide how you would like this session to go.” 

Minashi hummed as she finished her tea and set it aside. 

“I know the Hokage trusts you, and I trust the loyalty of the Yamanaka clan to the Hokage and Konoha.” 

“What don’t you trust then?” he asked. 

“Sneaky third parties.” She grunted. “If you are able, I request that my session be done through a mind scan. That way I know nothing will be leaked and I can show you that I’m making progress.” 

Inojiro nodded and made the hand signs without further questioning. 

  

  

Inojiro stood back in the forest clearing of Minashi’s mind. This time he took it all in. There weren’t any flowers this time, but when he looked at the trees, he realized they were all different types, or even cross breeds. 

Inojiro heard the muted breathing of the Kyuubi coming from the cave to his right, but ignored it to move to the image of Minashi looking out into the denser forest. She was once again as her adult form. 

“Do your forms change?” he asked curiously. 

Minashi glanced at him. “Hai. When I’m surrounded by peers of my physical age or when I’m teasing Kakashi, I find that my mental form is that of a five year old. When speaking with adults or those that know of my true origins, or I’m alone, I am in my adult form.” 

Inojiro nodded, taking mental notes. “Was there something you wanted to show me here?” 

Minashi nodded and looked back to the forest. “When you and Jiji first entered, what did you notice of this forest?” 

Inojiro frowned and thought back to the encounter. “I didn’t get much time to focus on it. But it was just trees and flowers.” He looked around again. “Now though, I’m thinking that you blocked me from seeing the truth.” 

“Hai.” She confirmed. “Just like the room we first met in, I was able to work with Kurama and the teachings from Ino to block parts of my mind from your family’s jutsu. You weren’t able to see what exactly the forest was other than regular trees. The meadow flowers were the diversion. These trees though are memories. Each tree that is hybrid is filled with memories from that specific precious person I had with them. Most you will find are from just Naruto and I. There are very few memories where I was alone. At least until I was older. The rest are filled with memories of my friends and our times together.” 

“Was that how you were able to pull up the specific memory of the Shodaime’s necklace?” 

Mina smiled small. “Hai. My mind is more organized than my brother’s was. His was filled with scroll after scroll, there wasn’t much order to it.” Her smile turned sad. “It was organized chaos.” 

There was a pregnant pause before she spoke again. “Come.” She said softly and they walked into the forest. She escorted him to a Copaiba Tree. Or what he thought was one. 

“Is this a Copaiba Tree?” 

“Hai.” She confirmed and looked up at the burned trunk and ash colored leaves. Some leaves he noticed though weren’t the typical green of health or ash of death. Instead they were a mix of Copaiba leaves and violet blooms. He moved closer as he realized he knew those blooms. 

“Lespedeza.” He murmured. 

“Violet Lespedeza.” Minashi stated. 

“The Yamanaka clan.” He looked back to see her eyes staring at the blooms. 

Slowly her eyes moved over them. “The only memories still blooming are the good ones.” She confirmed. “Would you like to see how strong your granddaughter turned out to be?” 

Inojiro looked back at the tree. He really wanted to. Smiling sadly he looked back at Minashi. 

“Maybe another time.” She nodded and he glanced back at the tree. “Is it healing?” he asked curiously. 

“Slowly.” She confirmed and moved to look at one of the new lower branches. “While my academy Sensei is not blood Yamanaka, she still holds the name. But there is a Yamanaka girl I’ve met. Inomi.” 

“Ah, yes, she is a cousin.” 

Minashi smiled. “She looks nothing like Ino. Hair is the wrong shade. Eyes more green than pale blue.” She placed her hand on the trunk of the tree. “but she will have her own memories added to the Yamanaka tree in my memories.” 

Inojiro nodded. “How was your first week?” 

Minashi grimaced. “I had a panic attack before we even left the gates. Thankfully Minato had already left. Only Kakashi and one other witnessed it.” 

“What drove you to that?” he asked even as Minashi began to walk around and poured chakra into the tree. Inojiro watched as the burnt areas look slightly healthier at her manipulations. 

“I was scared. Rightfully so too.” She said. “I’m a sensor. Kurama, and being in tune with Nature Energy, allows me to feel chakra around me. not counting my own Uzumaki genes. It’s not as large of an area as I once could, but once I get Sage Mode down, I’ll have that back.” She waved a hand in the air dismissively. “I digress. I could feel everyone’s chakra signature in the classrooms. I could feel the ones I knew. It was okay being in a younger class. But it didn’t hit me until then that I’d be facing ones long since dead to me. Jounin and Chuunin that had died to protect us, to protect the remains of civilians. It all kind of hit at once.” 

“But you were able to face that. That is a very big step. I wouldn’t have suggested going head first like you did-“ 

“I didn’t. I didn’t even look at them. Acknowledge them. Not until after lunch. I had to meditate during class to remember that they weren’t dead. That I actually did the impossible and traveled through time.” She finally looked back at him. “They’re dead, but they’re not.” She blinked at him and brushed her fingers over a violet bloom. “Will my new experience overwrite my old memories?” She asked softly. 

Inojiro realized her fear then. “No. While only you will remember the first versions of them, the new memories will not overwrite one another. Not if you don’t let them.” He joined her and looked at the tree. “Have you thought about separating the tree? Planting a new one for the new memories you’ll make while here?” 

Minashi smiled softly. “No. I hadn’t. That’s a good idea.” 

Inojiro nodded and he watched silently as she moved around in her own mind doing just that. He watched her separate multiple trees and their new blooms to smaller saplings only inches away from the original tree. 

“Why not spread them further apart?” he asked curious. 

“They may be new memories, new people, but their origins are the same.” She then gave him a sheepish smile. “I also am very particular about my gardening. I want everything organized.” 

Inojiro shared a chuckle with her as they continued to move around her mind. 

When they were in the deepest part of the forest, he stared in shock at the massive twisting tree before them.  A massive redwood tree stood twisted around and bound by the branches of an ancient oak tree. However, the branches coming from both trees softened the gruesome sight.  Flowing from them like a waterfall, were violet wisteria blooms. 

“I didn’t get to grow up with my parents.” She said. “They died protecting me during the Kyuubi attack. My own father sealed the fox in Naruto and I to protect his village. He was a Seal Master. He also wanted to meet us again. So, he sealed the remains of his chakra, and that of our mother’s into our seals. He connected them to each other as well. It allowed us to where we could be there for each other. With that masterful sealing, he created this.” She waved to the twisted, but beautiful tree before them. 

“When Naruto and I were able to meet their Chakra impressions, it stopped looking like a thing of nightmares, and it bloomed so bright. We may not have had memories of our parents, but what we had was so strong. Tou-san only enhanced that when we fought later at each other’s side. It is the healthiest tree in my mind. They will always be my parents. I may call them Nii-san and Nee-san now, but in my heart they will be so much more.” 

“It’s beautiful.” He whispered. 

“Tou-san is the oak wrapped around the redwood. Ka-san is the Wisteria blooming from it all. Kurama is the redwood.” 

“He is?” 

Minashi smiled and nodded at him. “He’s always been there for us. His chakra is what gave Naruto and I our birth marks.” She tapped her cheeks. “He’s as much of my family as my parents are. Especially once we got over our differences.” 

A distant snort was heard and Minashi rolled her eyes. 

“Come, there is something else I need help with. Your advice on my memory trees has helped, but I need help with the double vision I’m having.” 

They walked back to the clearing and Inojiro learned that she was seeing the living faces and dead faces overlap. He commended her for her resolve on trying to separate them by the categories on protection. Together they worked on a temporary solution until the true meaning of her seeing the overlapping faces could be uncovered. Inojiro knew that it was something psychological that she would have to overcome, but even he didn’t know how long it would last. It would be up to her. Whether to forgive herself, or to wait out their new births.  

His curiosity had to be pushed back at that thought. It was intriguing and enlightening to speak with this time traveler and the struggles she was facing. He still grieved for her lost people, their lost village, but he could see the determination in her. If not, all he had to do was look at all the hard work she’d put into healing her own mind. 

  

  

“An outlet huh?” Minashi muttered as they returned to his office. He warmed the tea with a quick jutsu and re-served it. 

“Yes. As an academy student, your thoughts are too easily drawn into your own mind and past memories during the lull of the day. While chosen times to work on fixing your mindscape is a good practice, surrounded by children is not a good time. I recommend meditation in the mornings instead of your regular training. Also, to find an outlet to keep your mind busy if you find yourself thinking of your past in a negative way.” 

Minashi nodded and sipped her tea. She used the cup to hide her foxy smirk. She knew just the type of outlet she would be taking advantage of. 

 

Inojiro’s gaze snapped up when a shiver went down his spine. There was a twinkle in Minashi’s eyes. He had a gut instinct that his words would come to bite him in the ass, very soon. He let out a sigh and pushed those feelings to the side. It shouldn’t be too horrible. She was stuck in a child’s body. What’s the worst she could do? Inojiro thought. 

He would come to regret that thought. 

  

  

Minashi let out a long sigh as she left Inojiro’s office. Kushina was sitting on the couch right outside, reading through a fuuinjutsu theory book with a spiral on it. Mina knew then it was one from Uzushio. Kushina looked up and gave her a tense smile. Her smile relaxed though once she saw Minashi giving her a grin in return. Kushina’s shoulders relaxed and held out her arms. Mina ran into them and the two Uzumaki hugged tightly. 

“All good?” she asked her Imouto. 

“Hai.” Minashi mumbled. “I think I’ll keep going. We didn’t talk about Nii-san, but it was still a good one. I think I’ll be able to talk more about him next time.” 

Kushina stood with Mina still wrapped around her. “Progress is progress. Don’t push yourself past what you are ready for Imouto.” 

“Hai~” Mina mumbled around the scent of Kushina in her nose. 

Returning back to Kushina’s apartment, Minato and Kakashi were already there. 

“How’d it go?” Minato asked as he came and placed a hand on Minashi’s back. 

“Okay.” Mina yawned. 

Minato smiled softly. “Kushina had the right idea. You were gone for three hours. We can spend the day off relaxing.” 

“Hm.” Minashi hummed as she snuggled into Kushina more. 

She felt herself move, but didn’t bother to open her eyes again as everyone settled down on the couch. She heard Minato, Kakashi, and Kushina discussing movie options, but opted to take a well-deserved nap. All the mental work she had put in to clean up her mind had been exhausting. 

  

Minashi didn’t wake until the scent of food filled her nose. She also realized that she was no longer snuggled with Kushina. Instead Minato was reclined on the couch with her. His focus was on the scroll in his hand though. Keeping still she looked for Kakashi and found him curled up in the armchair with a book in hand. She smiled at the sight. 

“hungry?” Minato asked softly. 

Minashi nodded but didn’t move from her spot. Minato chuckled and carried her to the kitchen where Kushina was already setting lunch out for everyone. She smiled lovingly at Minashi. 

“Have a good rest?” 

“Naps are almost as good as Ramen.” She yawned. 

Kushina and Minato snorted. 

“Are we really not going to train anymore today?” Kakashi asked as he joined them at the table. 

Minato ruffled his hair. “It’s good to train to be stronger, but a good shinobi must know when to rest his body. You’ve both worked very hard this week. Enjoy the day off. Let your bodies rest. Be a kid for a day.” 

“Hm.” Kakashi hummed and dug into the food. Minashi just rolled her eyes and ate her own meal. 

While Minato and Kakashi cleaned up, Minashi slipped out to her bedroom claiming she wanted to get a scroll. Which she did. But first she called up a clone. 

The clone took the scroll and awaited orders even as the blood seeped into her skin. The now Blood clone sighed happy to have more chakra. 

“It’s a lazy day.” Minashi said seriously even as she let her body henge and transform into her adult self. “No training. Bond with Kushina and Minato. Tease Kakashi. I don’t expect you to take a mortal wound, but try not to kill yourself.” 

The Clone watched as Minashi’s hair turned black and whisker marks faded. 

“What are you gonna do boss?” 

Minashi smirked. “I have a promise to keep to a certain fox. Then I have an old man to visit. Possibly two. We’ll see how I do on time.” 

The blood clone nodded and headed for the door. “Stay safe boss.” 

“Always.” She nodded and left in a shunshin. Arriving in the training ground Minato always took them to, Minashi took the time to get reacquainted with her adult form. Slapping a seal over her wrist, her henged transformation would stick until the seal was removed. This way if she would get injured for any reason, she wouldn’t turn back into her child form. It didn’t mean that she had access to all of her adult abilities. Sage Mode and Kurama’s cloak were still out of the picture. 

Is it that time already? Kurama mused as he came to the forefront of her mind to watch his host’s actions. 

‘Hai~. I have a promise to keep to you don’t I?’ She smirked outwardly. Kurama just settled down into a lotus position, gathered and molded his chakra, and waited for the show to begin. He would provide his host chakra if she would need it. 

  

Minashi finished her stretching and Katas. She quickly checked the scroll with her special sealing ink and then made sure all her weapons were in place. 

Nodding, she walked over to one of the trees and left her own teleportation seal down near the base. She would have to send clones out to mark the village. She didn’t learn her father’s jutsu for nothing. 

Slipping into the shadows, Minashi suppressed her chakra and raced for the Uchiha compound. Slipping over their walls and past their security was laughable. But now it was time for patience. 

She stayed crouched in the shadows and hidden with seals until long past sunset. Her sharp eyes followed the patrols that passed her. Her senses tracked the chakra signatures of those she couldn’t see. Their routines and paths filled her head and the map Kenji had so helpfully sketched out. 

When the next guard passed his route, she disappeared into the shadows. The branch members she hit first. Their lack of training a weakness. It was easy to slip into the first house. Minashi applied the first seal of the night onto the shampoo and conditioners in the house. She then placed a Seal on the front and back doors. The seals would keep the color changing seals active for a month, even if the original seals were discovered. Minashi compared it to a stasis seal but localized to hair. All seals were very small and easily placed with just a touch of her finger tips. They fit perfectly on the lip of the upper part of the door frame. 

The rest of the branch and civilian homes were just as easy to slip into. She dodged and slips passed guards with ease. Especially with her experience and knowledge of the sharingan. 

The challenging part came to the Main branch house. It was much larger and had veteran shinobi living in it and patrolling it. 

Minashi had never been known for stealth as a child. Her and Naruto loved their jumpsuits. They made people ‘see’ them. As they grew older, they turned more towards darker oranges and blacks, but still hadn’t been known for stealth. Baa-chan had never sent them on those types of missions. After Madara and the Jyuubi, it was necessary. 

She utilized those skills once more as she slipped into the Main house. Stuck to walls, the ceiling, the shadows, and kept a tight hold on her suppressed chakra. Willing it to nothing to keep from being detected by active Sharingans on patrol. 

What seemed like forever, but only a few short minutes, Minashi slipped back out once placing the last stasis seal on the doors. 

Then, just to prove that she could, she slipped back over the walls and waited until safely away before using hiraishin to get back to the clearing. 

  

Minashi snorted in the empty clearing. “That was almost too easy.” She muttered aloud even as she stretched out once more. Humming to herself, she checked the moon for how late it was. Realizing that Jiji should still be in office, she first made a few hundred clones. 

“Henge.” She ordered. They each chose different civilian forms or average chuunin shinobi looks. 

“You know what to do. Tag everywhere you can. Some of you locate Danzo’s hideout and slip some in there.” 

“Hai!” they saluted before scattering. 

Minashi smirked. She couldn’t do much as a child, but as an adult, she could do much more. Especially with Kurama’s chakra keeping her reserves amped up. She could start throwing rocks and see what ripples they’d make in time. 

First, seeing Jiji and getting clearance to work as ANBU. 

Minashi waited for her clones to pop first before she started moving via hiraishin to the Hokage’s office.  

She squatted across from the Hokage’s office on a roof. Minashi eyed the window as she contemplated how she was going to do this. Was it worth pissing off the ANBU and go through the window? Or should she really freak them out and just shunshin in? 

“Decisions, decisions.” she whispered in the wind. The logical part of her mind reminded her that she didn’t want to have to deal with twitchy ANBU all the time. She might have to work with them soon. 

Letting out an annoyed grunt she placed a henge over her face as a Fox Mask. She pulled Baa-chan’s necklace out from under her shirt so Sarutobi would know who she was. 

Pulling at her chakra, she let the shunshin take her right before the Hokage’s desk. She lowered to a knee and ignored the flares of the ANBU chakra surrounding her. A kunai nicked her throat but she didn’t move from her kneeling position. 

Sarutobi looked up at his ANBU’s movements. He found a black haired woman kneeling before him. He opened his mouth to demand her name before he saw the jewel hanging from her neck. He sighed and relaxed. 

“Ah, Kitsune. Finally reporting in?” he said and felt the confused flickers of his ANBU guards. 

“Hai.” Minashi’s familiar adult voice filled the air. “Apologies for my tardiness. I was lost on the road of life, Hokage-sama.” 

Sarutobi hummed and waved away his ANBU. “Leave us.” Once the shadows left, and signatures retreated, Minashi stood and the henge mask fell. 

Sarutobi looked her up and down. “Do you require an actual uniform?” 

Mina nodded and looked down at herself. “This is just a very strong blood henge transformation. It will be easier to hold if I'm not having to focus on clothing as well.” 

Sarutobi nodded and tossed her a scroll. “That has the standard uniforms, equipment and your new mask.” She nodded and tucked it away. “While we are here, you’ll need the ANBU brand.” 

Mina nodded again and moved to kneel behind his desk. She bared her left shoulder to the Hokage and with a flare of chakra, a burning sensation on her arm, and she was branded with the ANBU seal. 

“Will you be able to hide that from your elder siblings?” 

Minashi snorted. “Of course. A simple concealment seal over it whenever I'm not active will hide it from others.” 

Sarutobi nodded as Minashi moved to sit across from him again. “You are settled in then?” 

Minashi shrugged. “It will take a while to get used to the smaller body, but I'm getting there. I have a feeling I won't be comfortable in my body until I'm at least a teenager. I won't be overreaching as much.” 

Sarutobi nodded. “As to be expected. How was your session with Inojiro?” 

Minashi shrugged. “A good start. There is still a lot to cover, but we’ll get there.” She paused and corrected herself. “I’ll get there.” 

Sarutobi nodded pleased. “So, you have graced me with a visit this evening. Does that mean I should expect trouble?” 

Minashi hid her smirk on the ‘trouble’ that would be found out in the morning. “Nothing regarding the timeline. What I came here to begin discussing about, other than my ANBU status, is Danzo.” 

Sarutobi sighed and set down his pipe. “Let’s finish with getting your ANBU alias settled in then-” 

“No. We talk about it now.” 

Hard blue eyes held aged brown. 

“Minashi.” 

“Hiruzen.” 

The silence was heavy as the two continue to hold their gazes. Sarutobi was first to back down. Minashi didn’t celebrate her win. She knew that this hurt him but it needed to be done. 

“What do you require my assistance for?” He asked instead, no longer meeting her gaze. 

“A scroll giving me permission as your personal ANBU to speak for you in regards to Danzo. I’m going to be doing recon over the next week on him. I’ll be gathering the evidence against him. When you receive my confirmation that I've gotten the evidence proving his crimes, you will allow me to make a deal with him. He either goes to jail and then will be put to death, or he will submit to giving up control and any power he thinks he has.” 

Sarutobi looked back up into hard blue eyes. Eyes that showed that she wasn’t backing down. He was not looking at a lost child, at one of his ANBU. No, the Rokudaime Hokage sat before him. 

“As you wish Rokudaime-sama.” Sarutobi said and lowered his head in a small bow. 

Minashi grimaced. “No. You are not to bow to me.” 

“You technically-” 

“Are a four almost five year old that loves you dearly. I do not want the hat. All I want is to protect my village and my precious people in it.” 

Sarutobi glanced back up at her with a smirk. “Sounds like a Kage to me.” 

She flinched and glared. “Enough you old monkey.” 

Sarutobi chuckled softly before he let out a long sigh. “I do hope my old teammate is wise enough to see that fighting you will not end well.” 

“I actually expect a fight.” Minashi smirked. “It’s why I want to recon first. I need to get a hand on one of his ROOT agents and the seal he has on them. If I can link the counter seal I have for them to one, it will link all of them. Danzo won’t be able to use them again me if they don’t wish to.” 

“He has them sealed?” Sarutobi sat up sharply. 

Minashi sighed and spent the next hour explaining the true inner workings of ROOT to the Hokage. Like she had feared, Danzo hadn’t let Sarutobi know of everything. Only the basics. It didn’t help that Sarutobi hadn’t wanted to know, so he didn’t push for further information. 

Once done, Sarutobi then provided her with the papers and key to her ANBU alias’ new apartment and some cash to make it seem lived in. 

She dropped off her gear at the one bedroom apartment before heading back for her actual home. There she slipped into her bedroom and dismissed the sleeping clone. 

Releasing her own henge she felt the memories of her blood clone and the other shadow clones fill her head. She happily collapsed into her bed and let the exhaustion pull her into sweet oblivion. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 13

Minashi jerked up in bed and looked around with blurry eyes. What had woken her? 

“You heard it to?” Kakashi yawned from the floor. Minashi shrugged as she sat up and looked around. 

The noise sounded again. Minashi’s eyes snapped to the door as she realized what she was hearing. Thumping, cursing, and Minato chattering a mile a minute. Kushina’s grumpy voice responding muffled. 

Minashi slipped out of bed and hopped over Kakashi. Doing that last night without waking him had been easy. He wasn’t the Elite shinobi she’d known yet. 

He followed behind her as they opened the door and slipped down the hall. There, they found Minato hopping around as he pulled on his sandals. He snagged his weapons pouch and Mask from Kushina and then bolted out the window. 

Mina and Kakashi blinked at the empty spot before looking to a yawning Kushina. 

Kushina glanced at them. “Morning Imouto, Kashi.” 

“What was wrong with Nii-san?” Minashi asked curiously but having a slight clue of what it could possibly be. 

Kushina sighed as she ushered them to the kitchen. “Minato got called to the Hokage’s office. Something urgent regarding the Uchiha clan or something.” she sleepily reported.  

Minashi raised a brow. Was Kushina even allowed to report about ANBU workings? Also, when had Minato been ANBU? 

“Is Minato-san ANBU?” Kakashi asked with awe in his voice. 

Kushina paused in making her coffee before a curse slipped past her lips. 

“Pretend you didn’t see him. No one is supposed to know their identities. Not even family.” 

“Hai.” The two children chorused. 

Silence befell the group as Kushina began cooking breakfast while still half asleep. Minashi watched her a bit amazed that she could cook with her eyes closed. 

She felt Kakashi’s stare though. She glanced at him. 

“Uchiha?” he asked softly. 

Minashi smirked. He stared at her before his eyes widened. 

“How?” he whisper-hissed. They’d spent all evening together. She hadn’t left his sight. 

Hi-Mi-Tsu.” Minashi grinned. 

Kakashi just stared at her all through breakfast. Minashi just smirked as she imagined the chaos brewing outside the apartment. She didn’t rush to see her work done. She’d have a whole month to just BASK in the glory that was her sealing and pranking prowess. 

  

Inojiro stood to the side of the Hokage as the man worked on reports already on his desk. Inojiro didn’t mind the man multitasking. The Privacy seal was also already in place, so he didn’t worry about speaking of Mina’s mindscape. 

“Mina gave me a short report on her session. I know you can’t tell me everything, but how did it go?” 

Inojiro smiled at his Hokage. “She is so strong. She’s probably going to be one of the easiest patients I have. She knows she’s hurting, and she wants to get better. She has a strong mind that she’s already been working on healing.” 

Sarutobi’s mouth lifted into a smile as he paused in his work. “She is a unique character alright. My successors had chosen well.” 

“That they did. Hokage-sama, her mind is beautiful. That clearing wasn’t it. Those plain trees we saw weren’t the truth of her mind. She’d blocked us from snooping. What was really there was amazing. She had people, and Clans sorted out by Trees types. And her base tree? It looks twisted and ugly at first, but it’s not. It’s so beautiful. I wish I could regrow such a thing.” 

Sarutobi chuckled at Inojiro's report and awe. 

“She’s already healing her own mind?” 

Inojiro nodded and pondered on how to explain it. “She is very aware of her situation. I think if she would have done this more suddenly and not planned out, her mind wouldn’t have been easily healed. But she knows that she came back. It’s starting to set in that the people she lost are only gone temporarily. She knows that her bonds will be different with them now, but she also fears forgetting their original selves. We worked out a solution temporarily for that in her mind. We haven’t discussed much of her darker and painful memories, but until then I recommended her finding an outlet to distract herself with. Also, to replace her morning trainings with Meditation instead to combat some other things she is struggling with.” 

“Am I allowed to know?” Sarutobi asked. 

Inojiro hummed. “She’s seeing faces overlap.” he spoke carefully. 

Sarutobi’s eyes widened slightly. “Ah, that would explain it then. There is always grief in her eyes when she looks at me.” 

Inojiro nodded and leaned against the wall. “This is a new situation. I’m not quite sure how to help her with that. I have a theory that it’s something psychological in her mind that’s reminding her of her mission to protect the future. Or a reminder of what will happen if she fails.” 

Sarutobi frowned at the latter. “Whatever it is, we can only hope that she can battle through it.” 

Inojiro smiled again. “She can.” 

Sarutobi raised a brow at his confidence before smirking. He felt the same for the Blonde Uzumaki. 

There was a sudden disturbance in the privacy seal. 

Inojiro nodded his completion of his report but couldn’t leave before the doors burst open as soon as the seal was dropped. 

Even as the angry Jounin stomped up to the Hokage’s desk, Inojiro’s stomach filled with dread and laughter in tandem. He held the latter back. Instead, he watched the interactions of the angry Jounin. 

  

Sarutobi couldn’t help the widening of his eyes as Fugaku stormed into his office, Mikoto and the Uchiha clan head Kazou Uchiha shortly behind him. 

“Hokage-Sama! Someone broke into the compound!” Fugaku declared. “As head of police this is unacceptable. I request full permission to investigate!” 

“Fugaku-kun. Calm down.” Kazou said as he took the seat across from Sarutobi. “Hiruzen.” he bowed his head to the Hokage. “A lovely morning isn’t it?” 

Sarutobi cleared his throat and pointedly held the black eyes of Kazou. 

“Yes, it is Kazou-dono. Now, about this intruder, would the Uchiha Police require any assistance from the ANBU?” 

Kazou glanced at the fuming Fugaku. “The main investigation, we request to be left to the Uchiha Police. Fugaku is the Head of the Police and will organize the investigation. We come here to alert the Hokage of the breach so that the ANBU and other Clans can be on alert for the intruder.” 

“Kazou-sama-” Fugaku started on an almost whine.  

“Fugaku, nothing harmful was done to the clan. Without further proof of anything missing or damaged, we cannot demand war against a harmless prankster.” 

“Fine.” he snapped. “I’ll go begin the investigation.” He bowed to the Hokage and stormed out. 

“Mikoto-chan, please go help cool your fiancé down.” 

“Hai Tou-san.” Mikoto said monotone and left to follow the irate Uchiha. 

Kazou looked back at the Hokage. “Fugaku will push to press charges. As clan head, I will not allow it. I can see a prank, no matter how skilled, as nothing but harmless fun. I do ask that Kushina-chan to please choose a more pleasing color next time. This one clashes horribly with our eyes.” 

Sarutobi cleared his throat. “Kushina-chan hasn’t had time to plan and pull off a prank. Her and Minato-kun have recently taken in their younger sister while her temporary guardian is out on mission. They have also been taking care of Sakumo’s son as well since he’s the girl’s guardian and Kakashi-kun’s friend.” 

Kazou blink before humming. “So, there is another Uzumaki prankster? How old is the child?” 

“Minashi-chan is only four. I’m positive that she is not skilled enough to get past all of the Sharingan to play a prank on the clan and Clan head’s family.” Sarutobi said with a straight face. That was a blatant lie and Inojiro knew it as much as Sarutobi did. 

Kazou sighed and rubbed his temples. “Then please make haste on those ANBU. If not Kushina or her sister, then we do have an intruder to find and question.” 

“I’ll have the ANBU assembled to be at yours and the Police’s disposal.” he waved a hand to his ANBU to pass the word and summon up his Captains. 

“Thank you Hiruzen.” 

“Kazou.” Sarutobi dismissed him.  

 

Inojiro watched the Uchiha clan head leave. A thump sounded to his right and he watched as his esteemed Hokage fumbled half hanging onto his desk from his kneeling position, for the privacy seal. As soon as the chakra flared out, Inojiro watched as his benevolent Hokage collapsed to the floor and ROARED his laughter. 

“Oh KAMI!” he laughed. “Did you see that brat’s face? It matched his hair!” He laughed as he rolled on the floor. “PINK! PINK HAIR. OH KAMI!” Sarutobi cackled maniacally. 

Inojiro sighed but softly let his own chuckles free. Inojiro watched as his Hokage slowly regained his composure. When the older man finally wiped away the last of his joyful tears, he smirked and looked at Inojiro. 

“I think we just found out how Mina-chan will distract herself.” Sarutobi mused. 

Inojiro froze and met his Hokage’s mirth filled eyes. 

“I’m...Not going to be blamed for this right?” he asked cautiously. 

Sarutobi snorted. “I should. But I won’t. Whenever it comes out, we can blame her genetic makeup.” He released the privacy seal and straightened up his desk. 

“How long do you think it will take them to figure out the culprit?” Inojiro asked curiously. 

Sarutobi snorted. “Never.” 

Inojiro hummed. “You and I know that. But do you think that we could get a bet going? It could be put towards the academy or orphanages.” 

“Bet going for what?” Nara Shikaro asked as he entered the office hiding a yawn. 

Inojiro snorted. “Did you miss the Pink Uchiha?” 

Shikaro blinked. “Pink, Uchiha?” he questioned. Two words the Nara would never put in the same sentence let alone describe an Uchiha by. 

“The ANBU and Uchiha Police force will be working together to hunt down and investigate the infiltration of the Uchiha Compound last night.” 

Shikaro blinked lazily and let out a long sigh. “Mendokusai. And it wasn’t that Uzumaki Girl?” 

“No.” Sarutobi chuckled. “Kushina would have left a calling card.” 

Shikaro nodded remembering her last prank. “True. So, what were you thinking of betting on and why?” 

Inojiro smirked. “Who it is, How long it will take for them to be discovered, -” 

“Who will be pranked next” Sarutobi added. 

“And when discovered, how long until they can actually catch them.” Inojiro finished. 

Shikaro looked between the two smirking men. Men, he felt he knew well. Well enough to know that they already had one answer to their betting question pools. 

“You two already know who it is.” he deadpanned. 

“Of course.” Sarutobi snorted. “I’m Hokage.” 

Shikaro looked at Inojiro for his reasoning. Inojiro shrugged. “Head of T&I. I know their brain.” 

“Hm.” Shikaro hummed as he let his mind try to work out the puzzle before him. “Have I met them before?” 

“No. Not yet.” Sarutobi answered. 

“Alright.” Shikaro nodded. “I’ll pass it on and let the betting pool begin. Will there be a time limit on it?” 

Inojiro and Sarutobi shared a glance. “Five years?” Inojiro suggested. 

Sarutobi hummed and thought about it even as Shikaro raised a brow intrigued. 

“Let’s give the shinobi ranks a chance. Ten years. Of course, that will vary for the bet on the next target. There can be bets on how long until the next clan is hit and a separate one for which one. That should be able to bring in enough to fund the orphanage for a few years.” Sarutobi nodded. 

“Eh?” Shikaro mumbled gathering both their attentions. “You both seem to have faith that this Shinobi will not get caught.” 

Inojiro smiled. Sarutobi snorted. 

“If they are caught, I’ll eat my hat.” 

Shikaro nodded once more. “Alright. Now, about this month’s Jounin exams.” 

Sarutobi sighed, and Inojiro made his escape. 

  

 

 

“You two ready?” Kushina called from the entrance. 

“Hai!” Minashi called back as she jogged to her and then went to work slipping on her Sandals. 

“Hai, Kushina-san.” 

“Kashi-Chan. I told you it’s Kushina-nee-san!” Kushina chided. 

Kakashi nodded but focused on putting on his own sandals. 

Kushina rolled her eyes then clapped. “Alright, we need to do some shopping, so we have food for your bentos this week. That and once Sakumo-senpai returns, I’ll be back on active duty. I also have an evaluation coming up, so we need to stop at the weapons shop to pick up my Katana. You two have any where we need to add?” 

Minashi shrugged and lifted her arms. “Nope.” She smiled. Kushina nodded and picked her up without protest. Minashi sighed at the feeling of being in Kushina’s arms. Her scent wrapping around her like a soothing balm. 

“Thank you, Kushina-nee-san but I am fine.” Kakashi nodded and then took Kushina’s offered hand. 

Minashi hid her smirk. Slowly she’d been getting Kakashi to act his age. She couldn’t fix his old man taste buds, but at least he wasn’t trying to act like an adult all the time. 

“Alrighty then. Off we go!” Kushina cheered as they headed out of her apartment building. They had only made it a few feet before Kushina stopped. Minashi turned her head and had to hide her smile at the sight that was storming up to them. 

“KU~SHI~NA~” Mikoto Uchiha snarled as she stormed right up to the redhead. Red eyes spinning. “What have I told you about pranking the clan without letting me know first!” She shouted. 

Kushina’s eyes were wide and shocked. Her jaw dropped wide. Minashi felt her Nee-san’s body trembling though. 

“Oh, Oh Kami Mikoto!” She grinned. “It’s so Pink!” She Cackled. 

KUSHINA” Mikoto half growled half shouted. 

Kushina set Minashi down and held up her hands to try to placate her best friend. “Mi-Mikoto, I s-swear, I didn’t prank the C-Clan.” She stuttered through her repressed laughter. 

Mikoto glared at her, sharingan spinning before they turned back to black. “You’re not lying.” she said calmly. “Damn.” she muttered “Fugaku’s going to be even more pissed.” 

Kushina snorted. “Where is the stick in the mud?” 

Mikoto sighed. “Kushina, please don’t upset my fiancé any further. He’s already a handful.” 

Kushina rolled her eyes. “I still don’t know what you see in that man.” 

Mikoto shrugged. “He’s strong, He’s sweet when others aren’t around, and he wants what’s best for me and the clan. Father likes him.” She paused. “Most of the time and more than the other suitors.” 

Kushina just snorted and shook her head at her friend. “I’ll stick to my pretty boy thank you.” 

“Uh-Huh.” Mikoto muttered and suddenly looked down. She blinked at Minashi. Minashi blinked owlishly back at her. Mikoto looked back up at Kushina. “You would have told me if you were pregnant. So, who is the brat?” 

Kushina Beamed. “My cousin once removed or something. My father’s great niece or something. I just call her Imouto. She’s also Minato’s half Sister. Apparently, His mother didn’t die right away. She got pregnant by an Uzumaki cousin of mine and had Minashi and her twin brother.” Her eyes saddened. “Unfortunately, they didn’t make it to Konoha. They sent Minashi here for protection.” Kushina brightened up again. “Sakumo-senpai found her. He has custody until Minato and I are old enough. But we get to have her while he’s on missions and vice versa.” She then patted Kakashi’s head. “Thus, why we have Senpai’s brat with us too. They are good friends already.” 

Mikoto sighed and shook her head at her long-winded friend. “Only you Kushina.” 

Kushina just beamed. “So, you said the Clan was pranked?” 

Mikoto snorted as she joined them in their walk. Minashi climbing back up onto Kushina. 

“Totally pranked. Expert Level. It’s why I thought it was you. That and It’s not coming out. It’s not like someone bleached our hair while we slept. Fugaku has the Police going over every inch of the house at the moment.” 

“Your hair is too dark to dye.” Kushina hummed from experience. Mikoto rolled her eyes. She had been a guinea pig for Kushina’s pranks that included hair. 

“Maybe someone is testing their seals?” Kushina offered. “While Jiraiya, Minato and I are the well-known Seal Masters, it doesn’t mean that someone couldn’t get to that level without good trial and error.” She shrugged. 

Mikoto shot her a skeptical look. “One still skilled enough to evade all the sharingan eyes in the compound?” 

Kushina shrugged again. “It’s a thought.” 

Mikoto sighed. “Well, it’s not my problem. As long as I keep my eyes off, I don’t mind it. The pink clashes horribly otherwise.” 

Kushina beamed and reached over with her free hand to twirl a few pieces. “I like it! It’s like Sakura Blossoms.” 

Mikoto smirked. “Of course you’d like it.” 

“Well, Pink is a light shade of Red. You could have almost gotten away as an Uzumaki with that color.” Mikoto chuckled softly at her best friend’s antics. 

“So, tell me about your Imouto there.” 

“Ah! Mikoto, this is Minashi. Minashi this is my best friend Mikoto Uchiha.” 

“Hello.” Mikoto smiled at the girl. She was amazed at how much she looked like Minato. Though she could feel the Chakra that felt similar to Kushina’s. A hidden Uzumaki. What a combination. Mikoto mused.  

A tiny hand came up and waved at her before burying back between her and Kushina. 

“Is she shy?” Mikoto asked Kushina. 

Kushina gave a sheepish smile. “With new people yes. She didn’t even like Minato and I at first. She was all curled up on Ji-san’s lap hiding in his hokage robes.” 

“Aw.” Mikoto cooed. 

“Pretty.” Minashi said and pointed to Mikoto’s hair. 

Mikoto twitched. “T-Thank you.” she smiled tightly. Kushina snorted. 

“She’ll open up more once she gets to know you. Oh! Why don’t you have dinner with us this evening? I’m pretty sure this stuff with your clan will keep the boys busy. The kiddos are pretty self-sufficient so we can have some girl time.” 

“We’re not going to train?” Kakashi asked, refusing to admit he was beginning to pout. 

Kushina and Mikoto looked at him before sharing a glance. “I don’t mind a training session.” Mikoto grinned. “It’s been a while since we had a good spar.” 

Kushina glanced to Minashi before looking at Mikoto with a meaningful eye. “Well, we can, but I’ve been recovering from a big loss of chakra recently. So, I guess it would be good to train with someone else before my re-evaluations.” 

Mikoto’s eyes were sharp on her best friend. “What?” 

Kushina’s smile tightened. “Not here. I’ll tell you later behind safe seals.” 

Mikoto hummed and nodded. “Fugaku will be busy with the clan business anyways. Father and I aren’t worried as nothing has been reported stolen yet.” 

Kushina nodded as they headed into the grocery store. Minashi zoned out before squirming to get down and walk with Kakashi. 

It seemed to take forever to finish all the shopping and errands, as Kushina and Mikoto walked and talked in front of Minashi and Kakashi. Minashi had almost forgotten how chatty Mikoto actually was. When Her and Minato had re-met, the lecture she had given her poor Tou-san had been what seemed like hours long. Let’s just say, she had not been a happy camper to hear and see how Naruto and Minashi had been treated. She had waited many years to rant on him at her feeling useless on not being able to help her best friends’ kids. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 14

“WHAT?!” Mikoto exclaimed. Kushina lunged to shush her best friend as she shot a glance to the children working on chakra control on the water. Kushina had already activated the privacy seals of the training ground, but the children were still within the protective range of that. 

Blue eyes met Violet from across the distance. Kushina was shocked to see understanding in them before Minashi nodded and went back to working on her katas on the water. 

Mikoto yanked Kushina’s hands away from her mouth. “How are you alive? Isn’t that supposed to kill you?” She hissed. 

Kushina shrugged as she looked back at her best friend. “Normally? Yes.” She deadpans. Mikoto paled. 

“Then how?” she implored. 

Kushina looked to Minashi. “She has a stronger seal. It pulled the fox from me and into her. But I think being near her, has helped. At first it was horrible just trying to get through the day. I was so exhausted. I have a theory-” 

“Minato has a theory.” Mikoto snerked. 

Kushina ignored her. “Because the fox just moved from one seal to the other instead of being forcibly removed, I was spared. All I've really had to suffer was chakra exhaustion. Being near Minashi allows me to recover easier as the fox’s chakra still leaks from her when she sleeps.” 

“Are you even allowed to tell me this?” Mikoto suddenly tensed. 

Kushina gave her a sheepish smile. “Nope. But I need someone I trust with the Sharingan to know. Minashi says that her and the fox are friends, but I can't trust that the fox isn’t just manipulating her. Minato and I can work with the seal, but if we are out of the village, I need you to keep an eye on her for me.” 

“The Hokage?” 

“Will understand my worry.” Kushina deflected. 

“Hn.” Mikoto gave the normal Uchiha non-answer. Kushina could detect the hints of disbelief in her tone. 

“So you’ll protect her when we aren’t here? I know Sakumo-senpai is strong, but your Sharingan is stronger.” 

Mikoto sighed. “I should have never told you about my Mangekyou.” She muttered. 

Kushina shrugged with a beaming smile. That was about as much of a yes as she would get from her Uchiha friend. 

  

 

Minashi sighed as she listened in to Kushina and Mikoto’s conversation. She didn’t realize that Mikoto had known that her mother was the previous Jinchuriki. Her reanimation had never hinted that she’d known. Only that she had guessed they were her friends’ kids. 

Shaking away her thoughts she focused back on her spar with Kakashi. He was getting better. But so was she.  

Her and Kakashi were pulled off the ground to sit back and watch the Elder Teens spar. Minashi’s jaw dropped in surprise at the fierce spar before them. Even just Taijutsu was so fast she knew Kakashi couldn’t see just how fast. They seamlessly switched into Ninjutsu, and Minashi felt her body tremble with restrained excitement at seeing Kushina’s chains manifest. 

“Sugoi!” [Amazing/cool] Minashi grinned. 

“Hai.” Kakashi agreed with a stunned sigh. 

Kushina whipped her chains around herself as she attacked Mikoto. Mikoto’s Sharingan eyes flew around watching everything, dodging each chain, and every frontal attack Kushina made. They both suddenly stopped. Both pulled out small scrolls and with two puffs of summoning clouds, they each held Katanas. The Kenjutsu battle was blinding fast. Kushina’s chains were still out and Mikoto deflected each while still going strong against her best friend. 

‘Has she always been this amazing?’ Minashi asked Kurama 

Kurama opened one tired eye and gazed through his host to see what she was talking about. Seeing the two females battling it out he snorted. They are at it again?  

Kurama’ 

Yes. These two are the strongest Kunoichi of their times. They had Hatake as their sensei remember? He’s a Kenjutsu specialist. Minato fears them for a reason. 

Minashi snorted but let her focus resume on the amazing spar before her. 

“Ne, Kashi?” 

“Hm?” He called back without looking from the spar. 

“What’s your dream when you grow up?” 

“To be a Shinobi as strong as my Tou-san. You?” He answered easily. 

Minashi’s smile turned from soft to fierce. “To become an amazing Kunoichi. One that surpasses those before me. I don’t want to be as strong as them. I want to be stronger.” 

Kakashi paused and looked at her. After a beat, he spoke again. “I want to surpass Tou-san.” 

Minashi met his determined gaze with one of her own. “Together?” She asked. 

“Hai. Together.” He nodded. Minashi beamed and took his hand as they continued to sit and watch the two women spar. Minashi ignored the red faced Kakashi beside her, and held his hand more secure in her own. 

  

  

  

Minashi smirked as she stared at Kenji. He just glared at her. 

“I thought you would leave me out of it.” he grumbled during lunch the following day. 

“Never.” Minashi grinned larger. Kakashi snorted but continued back on his own lunch while the two were occupied. 

“Just because you haven’t been caught yet, doesn’t mean you won’t yet.” he pouted. 

Minashi just smirked. Kenji held back his whimper of defeat. Clan pride making him hold fast against the Kunoichi. 

“Oi!” Obito ran up to their small group with a large grin. Spiky pink hair clashing horribly with his orange goggles. “Did you guys here? Someone pranked-” he paused and looked at Kenji. 

“Ah, Kenji-nii.” 

“Hello Obito.” Kenji smiled at his cousin. “Yes, they’ve heard and seen about the Clan prank done on us.” 

Obito slumped but sat between Minashi and Kenji. He crossed his arms and glared into nothing. “I can’t believe that the prankster was even able to get Kazou-oji-sama.” 

“I can.” Kakashi snerked. 

Obito just glared at him. “Oh? Do you know who it is? Everyone is looking for him.” 

“I heard even the ANBU is looking.” Genma added as he hopped down from the tree. 

“Shishou said it was a waste of time to look. That some redhead Uzumaki was probably the prankster.” Anko added as she squished between Obito and Minashi. 

“Shishou?” [master] Obito asked the purple haired girl. 

“Orochimaru-sama took her as an apprentice.” Kurenai said as she came and leaned over Minashi. “Ne, Minashi, would you like to join my friends and I at the park this afternoon?” 

Minashi went to answer but paused when she felt a signature enter her range. She smiled at Kurenai. “Thank you. Tomorrow instead?” she asked. 

Kurenai smiled. “That will be fine.” 

“Eh? Can we come too?” Kenji asked. 

“No boys.” Anko glared. “You take all the fun away.” 

Kenji jerked back hurt. 

Minashi reached over and pinched Anko’s leg. The purplette yelped. 

“Be nice.” Minashi scolded. 

Anko pouted and harrumphed as she turned her face away. Kurenai sighed but looked to the boys. 

“It will be fine. The more to play Ninja, the more fun we’ll have.” 

Minashi watched and listened as her circle of friends grew and chatted about their ninja playdate for after academy tomorrow. She zoned out though as she reached out her senses to follow the Chakra signature she had felt. She felt the happy smile lift her lips even as her hand reached for Kakashi. 

Kakashi glanced at her, but saw the distracted look in her eyes. He wondered briefly what was up with her, but was pulled back into the conversation by Gai. Kakashi didn’t learn until after the academy on why Minashi was acting funny. 

As soon as they were dismissed for the day, Minashi snatched Kakashi and bolted for the gates. 

“Mina!” Kakashi yelped startled. “What’s wrong this time?” 

Mina just grinned at him over her shoulder. He frowned. 

“Where are you taking me?” he asked as he tried to keep up with her. 

Minashi just giggled as they raced out. Kakashi finally realized when they got out and a scent filled his nose on the breeze. Soon Kakashi was almost dragging Minashi. They rounded the corner and there standing with Kushina and Minato was Sakumo. 

“Tou-san!” Kakashi shouted excited and released Minashi to sprint at him. 

Minashi was right beside him though. Together they launched at the White Fang who was smiling right back at them. 

  

Sakumo grunted when he was tackled. He caught the two children, just barely, having to take a step back when his wound flared with pain. But the scents of his two pups soothed any hurt he was feeling. Chuckling he hugged them back and happily held them against his chest. Their tiny arms wrapping around his neck. 

“Saki-chan.” Minashi sighed as she nuzzled him. 

“Hello Kakashi, Minashi. Tadaima.” 

“Okaerinasai!” they chorused into his skin. Sakumo chuckled happily. 

  

Minashi was first to smell it though. She froze in Sakumo’s arms. While she smelled the blood of others faintly on him, she could smell Sakumo’s own blood. She jerked back and really looked at her Caretaker. He had bags under his eyes, exhaustion in his eyes, and pain creasing his smile. 

“Saki!” she cried out in alarm. “Hospital!” she ordered. 

Sakumo looked at her startled. “I’m fine Mina-chan.” 

Mina just narrowed her eyes at him. “I smell your blood.” 

Sakumo sighed. “I just came from the hospital. I have my orders to rest.” 

Mina grunted before jumping away and yanking Kakashi with her. He landed in a heap while Sakumo just stared at them perplexed. 

“Mina-chan?” 

“No.” Mina stared at him. “Saki-chan is hurt.” 

Sakumo sighed. “Hai, but I still can carry you both. I’ve missed you two.” 

Mina glared before walking to Kushina. “Up please Nee-san.” 

Kushina gave her Senpai a weak smile before picking her imouto up. Mina looked at the pouting Kakashi with sharp eyes. 

“Minato-Nii can carry you Kakashi. Not Saki-chan. It will make his wound worse.” 

“But-“ both Sakumo and Kakashi said. 

“No!” Minashi shouted as her eyes burned with real tears. She would always hate hearing that her precious people were hurt. 

Kakashi jerked surprised and Sakumo just stared at her. “Mina-chan. I’m okay. I can promise to show you when we get home.” 

Minashi sniffled and leaned into Kushina. “Fine. But no carrying Kakashi.” 

Sakumo pouted but gave an understanding smile after a while. “Alright.” He looked to Kakashi. “Since I can’t carry you, would you still like to go with Minato-san, or hold my hand?” 

“Your hand please. I’ve missed you Tou-san.” Kakashi said with ease and latched onto his father’s hand and shinobi pants. Sakumo brushed his large hand through Kakashi’s silver locks. 

“Missed you too Son.” 

Together the group walked back to the Hatake Compound. Minashi kept her sharp eyes on Sakumo to see if she could identify his injury. All she could tell was that he would wince when he twisted his torso. So a back injury? 

Minashi idly listened to Minato and Sakumo talk about the details of his mission that he could, as they walked back. Once back, Minashi was set down and retook Kakashi’s hand as the adults moved to the main room. 

“I can cook Senpai.” Kushina offered and headed into the kitchen. 

“Thank you Kushina.” 

Sakumo sat down slowly. Kakashi taking the cushion beside him and Minato sitting across from him. Minashi just walked up to his free side and stared at him. 

Sakumo glanced at her to see her determined frown. 

“I’m fine Minashi-chan.” 

“You promised to show me.” she replied firmly. 

Sakumo sighed, but relented and pulled his shirt off. Minashi stiffened to see his entire torso covered in bandages. 

Kakashi let out a whimper. 

“Senpai?” Kushina called as she brought in a tray of tea. 

Sakumo sighed and rubbed his neck. “It’s not as bad as it looks.” 

“What happened?” Minato asked, brow furrowed. 

Sakumo grunted and pulled his shirt back on. “Lucky shot for the Nuke-nin. I was helping to cover the Chuunin that had joined my team for numbers. He caught me when I was helping defend the chuunin from another Jounin. A few Shuriken got embedded into my back. Wouldn’t have been that bad if they weren’t attached to Ninja wire. The healers have healed most of the burns, but I'll need another session.” 

“At least you are home safe now. That’s all that matters.” Minato supplied when neither child spoke. Kushina agreed with a nod and left to check on the food. 

Minashi wrung her hands and stepped closer to Sakumo. 

“Sakumo is okay, right?” she asked quietly. Sakumo jolted at the use of his full name from her lips. 

Sakumo looked at her downcast face and gave her a kind smile in return, hoping to cheer her up. 

“I’m okay Minashi. I’m home and will heal.” 

Minashi nodded and then moved to sit in his lap. “Don’t want to lose you too.” she said as she nuzzled his chest gently. 

Sakumo felt his heart clench. “I’m not going anywhere if I can help it Minashi. I need to be here for you and Kakashi.” 

Minashi just hummed as she looked up to see Kakashi leaning against his father. Sakumo pulled him closer and brushed his hand through his hair again.  

 

 

Sakumo stared down at the pile of pups asleep. They had eaten their fill, trained to show him what they had worked on while he was gone, then passed out on his lap. He brushed his fingers through their hair. Marveling in the two different yet similar textures. 

“How have they really been?” Sakumo asked as Minato and Kushina sat together across from him. Minato with his arm around Kushina. 

“Really good.” Minato beamed. 

Kushina rolled her eyes. “They argued like children every so often. But some idle threats to take away their training time, and they stopped.” 

Sakumo chuckled. “Thank you again for taking in Kakashi as well.” 

“It’s no problem Senpai.” Kushina smiled as she looked at both. “I think Minashi would have been lonelier without him.” 

“They act like siblings.” Minato smirked. 

Kushina gave her boyfriend a look. “Really?” 

Minato looked at her confused. “What? They do.” 

Kushina rolled her eyes. “Good thing you’re pretty.” 

“Oi.” Minato pouted. 

Kushina smirked. Sakumo chuckled into his cup. “What if not siblings?” he asked Kushina. 

Kushina’s smirk grew to a grin. “Kashi’s smitten.” She stated. 

Minato’s eyes widened while Sakumo just tilted his head. “He’s been smitten since I brought her home. He called her a Golden Doll.” 

Kushina’s smiled widened. “I knew it!” she cheered softly. 

“I don’t get it.” Minato frowned. Kushina patted his leg. 

“Don’t worry about Minato. I’ll explain it to you later.” 

He frowned at her. “I understand being smitten Kushina. I know I was with you. But they’re five.” 

“Yes, but they don’t always act it.” Kushina stated. 

“Kushina is right Minato.” Sakumo stepped in. “They may be five in body and sometimes in mind, but they have brilliant minds. It makes them think like older children.” He took a sip of his tea while watching understanding light up in Minato’s eyes. 

“Oh! Speaking of which. Minashi will be graduating with Kakashi.” Kushina smiled. Sakumo choked on his tea. 

“W-what?” he spluttered. 

Kushina grinned. “You heard me senpai. Her sensei had her tested when she showed skills and knowledge beyond her age. She’ll graduate with Kakashi and the other fourth year students.” 

“B-but she’s barely five now.” He spluttered some more. 

Minato just gave a sad smile. “We are still dealing with the fallouts of the second war. So the academy is still set for wartimes. But at least with the Major warring done, they won't be sent to the front. Hopefully the Sandaime will be able to keep them in village for a few years.” 

Sakumo sighed and rubbed his brow. “I knew she was smart but this is just-” he sighed and looked down at said blonde in his lap. “Will there ever be a time where children aren’t bathed in the blood of the wars their elders started?” 

Minato sat up straighter. “I believe peace is not as far reached as people make it seem to be. It’s why I want to be Hokage. I want to strive for that peace.” 

Sakumo looked at the young man across from him. There was determination in his gaze. He smiled at it. 

“Jiraiya would be proud.” he said easily as it was truth. “I’ll have to remember to toast him for raising and training such a good apprentice.” 

Minato beamed. “Thank you Senpai.” 

Sakumo waved him off. “We’re all friends here Minato. Sakumo will be fine. Plus you’re a student of one of my best friends.” 

Kushina giggled while Minato blushed, Sakumo joining in the easy laughter. Sakumo absently wondered just how long this moment of peace after the war would last. It had been a long and hard war. Losing Uzushio so early on had devastated Kushina and weakened Konoha of his longest ally. That didn’t count all the damage done to the villages caught in the crossfire. Sakumo listened to Minato and Kushina fill him in on the two pup’s antics while he was gone, but his mind also worked on the consequences of this war. What will our actions of this war mean? How long until the results create another war? 

Sakumo wasn’t one of the Hokage’s strongest Jounin for no reason. He may have unique chakra, but he was also known for his own brilliance. This war, he knew, would spark a third. 

His fingers trembled against the heads resting on his lap. 

A third war that his pups would have to fight in. There was no stopping that. He knew then that all he could do was prepare them. 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 15

“Keep Sakumo from moving around too much.” 

“Hai.” 

“Make sure he gets to the Hospital for a follow up tonight.” 

“Hai.” 

“Make sure he gets plenty of red meats and dark greens to make up for the Iron he lost.” 

“Hai.” They responded more annoyed this time. 

“Make sure-“ 

“Boss!” The Blood Clone snapped. Minashi looked at her clone. “I’ll take care of him.” She responded gently. “Now, go.” 

Minashi groaned and ran a hand through her long black hair of her henge. With one last look down at her younger clone self she nodded and found one of her Hiraishin markers in her Alias apartment. With a thought she was gone and in her new apartment. Moving to the bedroom, she redressed into her actual ANBU uniform and braided back her hair in one long tail. Filling her weapons pouches, she donned her mask, sealed the apartment from intruders, and bounded across the roofs towards the Hokage’s office. 

It had been a trying day after Sakumo’s return. Minashi had demanded to stay home and look after Sakumo, but he’d sent her away to school with Kushina and Kakashi. Minato had already been sent out for an ANBU mission. Kushina would soon be back on the active roster as well. That meant that Sakumo had been left home to not follow hospital rules. As much as Minashi didn’t like the hospital, Sakura had beaten it into her and Naruto’s head how much seeing a skilled medic would do in the end. She didn’t have Sakura to scare her friends into submission. It reminded her that she needed to get Orochimaru to hunt his comrades down and drag them back. Or just do it herself. 

‘Now that was an Idea’ She thought to herself. 

The clone she had left to spy on Sakumo had reported just how much rest he did not get while they were in the academy. He’d been flabbergasted when she got home to scold him. It had been interesting to scold him without revealing that she’d spied. 

Now that the man was finally resting, she needed to get working on her Danzo Mission. Thus, her exasperated Blood clone that was staying behind. 

  

Leaping onto the windowsill of the Hokage’s office, Minashi paused when she found a team of ANBU waiting. Slowly she stepped into the room and looked at the Hokage. There was a twinkle in his gaze. Her eyes narrowed. 

Minashi knew she’d sent him a henge clone, with her message that she would come to visit as Kitsune to begin the hunt on Danzo, but he knew she worked alone. What made her cautious, and suppress her own chakra to nothing, was the feel of Minato’s Chakra behind the Cheetah mask. 

“Hokage-sama?” She inquired with a firm voice. 

“Kitsune-san. I’m aware that this mission was supposed to be a solo one to begin with, but I would feel a great deal better if you had a team. Captain Cheetah has volunteered his team to be at your command. He’s a young Captain, but one of our best.” 

Minashi hummed before looking at the Hokage again. “May I request the privacy seal Hokage-sama? This is a sensitive mission.” 

Sarutobi didn’t hesitate. Neither did Minashi as soon as the barrier was up. She could feel the seal on the fifth teammate of Cheetah’s team. 

She launched at him before anyone could move and had him pinned against the wall by his throat. Her other hand ripped away his weapons and slapped a seal on his stomach. Just as she finished she felt the rest of Cheetah’s team surround her with weapons drawn. 

“Stand down!” The Hokage said firmly. “Kitsune-“ 

“What did we discuss old man?” She answered easily as she reached up and displaced enough chakra to pull off the Boar Mask. The now unmasked Nin glared at her. “Plus, I must thank you. I thought I would have to hunt one of his spies down. Now I can begin to unravel it all sooner.” 

“They are that deep in?” Sarutobi sighed and sat back down. He paused when Cheetah’s team hadn’t moved. “I ordered you to stand down!” He snapped. 

The team took a step back. “Hokage-sama, this ANBU has one of my teammates-“ 

“Held hostage because he’s a spy.” Sarutobi finished with an exhausted sigh. 

“What?” The team hissed. “Impossible.” 

Minashi tilted her head at the blank ANBU in front of her. She could see the worry in his eyes though. “How long has Danzo had you undercover?” 

The ROOT agent just stayed blanked face. Yet realization was in his dark eyes before it turned to fear. It annoyed Minashi that this was one of Danzo’s unwilling soldiers. Growling, she ripped him from the wall and forced him to the floor. With Boar still paralyzed from her seal, she sat on his chest and yanked his mouth open. Her gloved hand then yanked his tongue into view. 

She heard the ANBU team gasp at the sight of it. 

“Well, well, look at what we have here.” She hummed as she looked at it closer. 

“Kitsune-san.” 

“My friend Sai showed me briefly-“ she paused at the memories of the ex-ROOT member. She hated how she would have to lie about him. She would tell the Hokage the truth later. “He desired to tell me more, but the seal prevented it.” 

“A control seal?” Cheetah hissed. 

“Hai.” Minashi confirmed shooting him a glance through the mask before looking back at it. “A simple one, but complex in its own right.” Minashi hummed again as she thought allowed. “A dear friend of mine was a ROOT agent. Sent to spy on me and my team. They are trained from children to be emotionless killing machines. The only reason I wasn’t in a real fight when I attacked him was because I caught him by surprise. That and I’m an unknown to him. They are ordered to observe only for any unknowns.” She tilted her head at the man under her and let his tongue go. “How long have you been training?” she asked knowing mostly how to get around the seal now. 

“Since I was six.” He answered easily. His throat then worked as he tried to continue to speak. “H-Help.” He finally got out. 

Minashi felt her body relax slightly. “Why?” 

“Taichou is good man.” He said as pain flared in his eyes. “He’s saved me countless times even when I’m supposed to-“ His throat tightened up. 

Minashi stiffened. Did my father have Danzo’s eyes on him even before he was Hokage? 

It is possible. Remember, Danzo killed those who would have interfered with him getting the Hokage hat himself. Kurama growled in her head. 

Minashi growled herself at the implications. “You’re here to spy on Cheetah.” She snapped. 

She saw the named ANBU stiffen as the Hokage jumped to his feet alarmed. 

“What?” he demanded. Minashi looked up between the Hokage and Cheetah. 

“With all due respect Hokage-sama, I can answer that question later. For now, we need to get this mission moving. Now that I have one of the control seals, I can work on connecting to it with my own version.” 

Sarutobi held her gaze for a few more beats before sighing and sitting back down. “Alright. Kitsune please continue.” 

Minashi nodded and looked down at the unmasked Boar. “Will you cooperate now?” 

“Hai.” He answered. Minashi nodded and sat up, removing the Paralysis seal in the process. Gripping his hand, she helped him up and moved him to the couch. 

“Sit.” She ordered. “Open.” Boar opened his mouth and held out his tongue. Minashi pulled out a scroll and began her work. 

“You all might as well take a seat.” Minashi called out even as she worked on transferring a copy of the seal onto the scroll. “This will take a while.” She muttered. 

“Hokage-sama?” Cheetah asked. 

“Do as your New Team leader demands for now. She’s one of my best ANBU.” 

The team shuffled around quietly, but Minashi felt Cheetah’s chakra hover close. 

“You can watch.” She smirked behind her mask. 

Cheetah grunted. 

“Fuuinjutsu is a dying art.” She said even as she worked and felt him hover closer. “I’m glad to hear more are interested in it.” 

“What, exactly are you doing?” He asked with less suspicion in his voice and more curiosity. 

“I’m using this seal to tap into the Control Seal network. They are all linked to the Key that Danzo holds on his own body. Once I can tap into that chakra network, I can make a separate Key that allows me to control the original through counter commands. While his will send the signals to do as his commands, mine will-“ 

“Order them to follow yours instead.” Cheetah finished as he read the new seal on the scroll beside the copied control seal. 

Minashi hummed and glanced up at Cheetah over her shoulder. “You are good. Compliments to your teachers.” 

  

  

Minato blushed at the praise and as shadowed dark blue eyes gazed at him through the mask. He’d never heard of this Kitsune ANBU, never seen her before, but he could tell from her voice that she was older. That and her experienced moves. She was a veteran ANBU. 

“Thank you Kitsune-san.” 

Kitsune hummed as she turned back to her work. Minato looked to his unmasked teammate Boar to see his face relaxed and his shoulders no longer tight with stress. He felt his lips pull into a smile. He had always known that his teammate had a lot on his shoulders, but to think it was resisting the order to kill him? It eased his earlier betrayal at learning he was a spy. 

“You okay Boar?” 

Dark eyes looked to him. “Hai Taichou.” Boar then looked to Kitsune. “Will you also be able to remove the seal Kitsune-san?” 

  

  

Kitsune snorted. “Oh yes.” 

“Why don’t you do that now then?” Usagi asked as she walked up to stand near Cheetah. 

Kitsune chuckled. “Soon, I just have to kill-“ 

“Kitsune!” The Hokage snapped again. 

Kitsune looked over her shoulder at the Hokage. Her long black braid slipping over her other shoulder. 

“Yes Hokage-sama?” 

“We have a deal.” He reminded her. 

“Danzo is a stubborn old war hawk. I will give him the options, like I discussed with you. Do I believe he will take the one that allows him to live under my foot? No, Never. He’s too prideful and power hungry.” 

“You said-“ 

“I gave you my plan. I told you I would give him options. I didn’t tell you what I know he will do no matter what.” 

“Kitsune!” He stood and stormed to her. She got up and looked into those pain filled brown eyes. “He’s still my old teammate-“ 

“He’ll kill you!” She shouted as her eyes burned with unshed tears. “He’ll kill you for your Hat Hiruzen.” She said softer. 

“I’m not killed that easily.” He said firmly. 

Minashi felt the growl fill her throat before making a rapid cross sign. Suddenly Four additional Kitsune ANBU surrounded them and slammed their hands down. A Purple barrier flared and surrounded just her and the Hokage. no one could see in and the couldn’t see out of the solid walls. 

His eyes widened at it before looking at her. “What is that?” 

“A modification on Orochimaru’s Barrier.” She said and pulled her mask off. 

“Kitsune-“ he reached for her, but she waved it away. 

“The Barrier is solid and soundproof. It is my most secure one. They cannot see or hear us.” 

Sarutobi relaxed a little at that as he watched the henge drop from her hair and cheeks. 

“I’m not speaking to you as Kitsune here. I’m the Rokudaime now.” She said as her clothes Henged to the outfit Sarutobi remembered from her mindscape. “So listen here Hiruzen.” 

Sarutobi snapped to attention at the commanding voice. 

“My priority is to protect my village and all its citizen.” She said as her blue eyes narrowed. “While the King is the most important, those that protect the King are no less important. Do you know who the King is and who protects them?” 

Sarutobi sighed. “Minashi-“ 

“The Children are the King Hiruzen. I will always protect the next generation. However, you protect them. Therefore, it is my duty as Rokudaime, whether or not I still hold the official title or not, to protect you who protects all. I will eliminate all threats to you. Danzo sent multiple assassins after you. I did not learn that until after we went underground and we had weekly teatime. I know you can survive them. That does not mean I am willing to risk them happening again. He has already done so much harm. I cannot allow him to do any more. I keep my word that I will give him the option to live, but my gut says that he will fight. My experience says he’ll fight.” 

Sarutobi looked into her tired blue eyes and felt his shoulders drop in realization. He was going to lose one of his old friends. Pushing his feelings to the side, he really looked at Minashi and let out a long sigh. 

“As you wish Rokudaime-sama.” 

“I don’t like forcing your hand Jiji.” She whispered as her Henge returned to her ANBU Alias. “But I cannot allow your kind heart to save a man that doesn’t deserve your kindness. I don’t like hurting you Jiji, but I’ve seen the outcome of his version of what’s best for Konoha. It’s not a good place. His version only has his own interests at the heart. Not those of the people. Of the next generation.” 

Sarutobi gave her a tired smile. “I understand Minashi. I’m sorry to cause such a scene.” 

Minashi gave him a sad smile in return. “If it makes you feel better, when the mission is over, I can tell you more about my friend Sai. I’m positive he will not turn out the same without Danzo’s interference, but I’ll be glad to see him have a normal childhood. I would like to share his story.” 

Sarutobi nodded and looked around the barrier. “I would enjoy that. Now, I’m pretty sure your new team and my own ANBU are in a panic.” 

Minashi dispelled one of her clones and received the memories. “Nope. My clones calmed them before they attacked.” 

Sarutobi looked at her closer. “Doesn’t the barrier need all four of your clones to hold it in place?” 

Minashi smiled. “Nope.” She moved to the wall and laid her hand on it. “They are there as extra eyes once the Barrier is up.” The wall flashed and she put her mask back on just before the purple barrier disappeared. “Only I can break the barrier from inside.” She finished finding Cheetah’s team and the ANBU guards surrounding them. 

“Stand down.” Sarutobi sighed and rubbed his head. “I need a vacation.” He sighed tiredly and moved to his desk. 

“Pick a successor.” Minashi deadpanned. Sarutobi turned his head at her slowly and a Cheshire grin took his lips. 

“Is that an offer?” 

Minashi stiffened. “Don’t joke about that old man. I don’t want that hat! I know how little training time you get. I know how much paperwork you deal with!” 

Sarutobi just grinned bigger. 

“NO!” Minashi snarled. 

Sarutobi chuckled and waved a hand at her dismissing her worry. “Worry not Kitsune-san, you don’t have a public image. I can’t pick you.” 

Minashi relaxed a fraction. “Good.” She muttered. 

“Um-“ Sparrow started and Minashi glanced at him. “What just happened?” 

“A disagreement.” Sarutobi sighed “It’s been dealt with. I’m sorry for disturbing your progress Kitsune-san.” 

Minashi shrugged and dragged Boar back to the couch. “No worries you old Monkey.” She muttered as the air relaxed slightly around the office, though confusion was still prominent. 

The Hokage’s Guard disappeared back to their posts while Cheetah’s team moved closer. 

“What did you just do?” a firm voice demanded even as she looked over the Seal on Boar’s tongue again. Minashi paused at the voice. It seemed familiar, but not. 

She glanced over to see the last member standing behind Boar’s shoulder. 

“Worry not Bear.” She said seeing the animal mask clearer now. “Only the Hokage is allowed to see my face.” 

“That’s standard.” Cheetah muttered. 

Minashi hummed and went back to the seal, talking and working was normal for her by now. Years as Hokage builds that skill easily. 

“Hai, but my identity is also under henge even under the mask.” 

“Kitsune-san is one of my most versatile Shinobi, so her henge changes often. Only I am able to see her original face.” Sarutobi inputted as he lit his pipe. 

Minashi grunted but continued focusing on her work. Thirty Minutes later, she released boar and tucked the scroll into a pocket. 

“I can finish at home. For now I have what I need to alter the seal.” Minashi stood and helped Boar up. “For now-“she looked him over and struck his throat suddenly. 

He choked as ink flared around his throat. He then dropped gasping for air. KI flash through the air as his team reacted but Minashi held up a hand to hold them back. 

“Patience.” She ordered firmly. 

Boar retched suddenly and a splat of Ink dropped from his mouth onto the floor. He gasped for air and looked up at her with wide eyes. 

“What-what the hell?” 

Minashi sighed and held her hand out to him. “Sorry. I promised to remove it. I cannot completely remove it without alerting Danzo, but what I have removed is the constricting control aspect. You should now be able to talk about him and his plans. You should also be able to resist his orders. You will still be slightly compelled to complete them, but your Will is returned.” 

Dark eyes looked at her in shock before he took her hand and suddenly embraced her once he was on his feet. 

“Thank you. Thank you Kitsune-san.” 

Minashi chuckled as she patted his back awkwardly. 

“Taichou is a good man. I did not want to kill him. Danzo sees his potential as Hokage candidate. Knows he dreams of having the Hat. He wanted him out of the picture.” 

Minashi Hummed to hide her snarl of anger at the confirmation. “It’s good to know you are on our side now.” She said instead and looked to the remaining teammates. “Now that everything is straightened out, let me inform you of what will be going down this evening.” 

“Kitsune-san, I’ve finished with the scroll you’ll possibly need eventually.” Sarutobi added in and held up the scroll. 

Minashi moved and took it even as she raised a hidden brow at him. The skepticism was inflected in her voice though. 

“Not going to wait for me to get the evidence this mission is about?” 

Sarutobi just stared at her with resigned eyes. “You are the only person I trust the most right now Kitsune-san.” He said softly. “I see the Kage potential in you. I know you will not take the hat, but I can still see and I listen closely. You will always protect the Will of fire of the King. I trust in your judgement in the matters of what is best for Konoha. Your actions are not for your own self-interests, but for the King. I respect that so I honor our earlier discussions with the proof you need to execute the mission.” 

Minashi smiled softly behind her mask. “Thank you Hokage-sama.” She said kindly and bowed at her waist to him. “I will not disappoint you.” 

“You never have.” He said. “Now Team Lead Kitsune, brief your team on the mission.” 

She nodded and spun to look at the four men and one masked woman ANBU. 

“Originally I was going to complete this mission alone. The Hokage wants me to have back up. Therefore, you five are here as that back up. Our Mission is to infiltrate Danzo’s ROOT headquarters and collect his mission reports. We will be collecting all of them from the creation of the organization and leaving copies. This will not be a one-night mission. Even with my Clones assisting and you five as well, there will be many mission reports to copy and replace. There will also be the task of meeting up to sort through them.” She glanced back at the Hokage. 

“Again. I was going to do this as a solo mission to gather the evidence I needed, but the Hokage deems me in need of a team.” Minashi ignored his smiled and looked back to her new team. “I will not refute the help. Less mental strain on me.” She muttered the end. 

“Now, I’ve already done a basic scope of the headquarters and left tags in certain areas that will allow us access to the Headquarters.” Minashi paused and looked at Cheetah. “I believe Cheetah will recognize the Jutsu we will be using. And no, It’s not yours. It’s similar though. You were not the only one interested in the Niidaime’s jutsu.” 

Cheetah jerked. “You figured it out too?” 

Minashi chuckled and crossed her arms. “Hai. However, mine uses much more chakra and has more layers than yours. Yours and the Niidaime’s requires just the bare minimum needed for the jutsu to keep the speed it is designed for. Mine can be used in a similar way, but that’s not its main purpose.” 

“What is it for then?” Cheetah asked excited. 

Minashi rolled her eyes and waved him off. “Classified.” 

Minashi could almost feel the pout through his mask. 

“Back on task. We will arrive by a space-time jutsu. From there we will make our way to his office. I will only say this once.” She held up a finger and pointed to the team. “Do not kill the ROOT agents. Incapacitate only. If you cannot incapacitate them, then hold them still long enough for me to slap a seal on them. For the most part, we should be able to avoid them. I can sense the seals they hold, and will do my best to bypass all that are in our path. Once in his office-“ she pulled a scroll from her back pouch and unraveled it. “We will use these.” The scroll summoned more, smaller scrolls. She opened one to show it off. 

“Whoa.” Cheetah whispered as he took it when offered. “This is complex seal work. Is this a modified Storage scroll?” 

“Hai.” Minashi Chuckled. “I have plenty available for this mission, but we will not be able to get to all the documents. So, the rest of these scrolls are at my home. Now these scrolls are special as Cheetah noticed. They have been designed to not only store the original item on the first seal-“ She pointed to it and then to the other seal beside it that was connected by a few Fuuinjutsu symbols. “but it will copy everything from the first storage seal and put it into the second seal. There you will summon the copies and replace them where they were found. There is a capacity limit. That is why this will take a while. These specific scrolls will not copy more than five pounds at a time.” 

“Why?” Cheetah asked. 

“The larger the item that needs to be copied, the more difficult the seal becomes.” Minashi answered patiently. “That is even more intricate work and is twice as hard to place on such a small scroll. That and if it isn’t done correctly, the scroll and seal work will collapse and we’ll be cleaning up confetti instead. So while it’s more time intensive, I’ll stick to the small scrolls, smaller information gathered over a few days, and risk of getting caught later- than right then for a faulty seal.” 

“Ah.” Cheetah nodded. 

“As I was saying, we’ll copy over the files, replace the originals with the copies and then make our way back out. Then if you all will return with me to a secure location to go through the documents to find incriminating evidence against Danzo.” 

“The ANBU HQ?” Bear asked. “Or T&I?” 

“Neither.” Sarutobi said and looked to Minashi. “Your apartment is secured I take it?” 

Minashi grunted annoyed. With a quick one-handed seal just for show, a clone popped up. “It will be.” She nodded to the Shadow clone who nodded back and disappeared with a Hiraishin jump. While she had sealed her new apartment from intruders, guests were a different issue. It would do some quick shopping for food, refreshments, and items to make it more lived in without giving anything away. 

Sarutobi snickered and Minashi sighed, wishing she could rub her face exasperated at his antics. 

“Shut it you old Monkey.” She mumbled. He just snorted. 

“No. You need friends Kitsune.” Friends closer to your own age- Went unspoken. While Minato was the youngest of the group, Minashi knew what Sarutobi was doing. 

“I’m a shadow Hiruzen. Don’t bring me into the light.” She almost pleaded. 

“Kitsune.” He sighed. “You will report with your team to your apartment to go over the information found after each infiltration. I already told you I trust you. I trust you to be able to secure what you find in your home.” 

Minashi grunted and glared at him. “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” She muttered and looked back to the Masks of her team. She could feel the curiosity coming off them in waves, no doubt from her friendliness with their Hokage. “We’ll meet at the Arrival point and then used the same Space-time jutsu to return to my apartment. There we will spend a few hours going through the paperwork. We will call it with enough time for everyone to get enough rest for the next day. Tomorrow night we will meet back at my apartment to finish up. Meet at Five there. We will finish up anything we hadn’t gone through over dinner. From there we’ll leave at dark for the ROOT HQ Again. This will continue to repeat until we’ve gotten all of their files.” 

Minashi turned back to the Hokage. “Once all evidence has been gathered I will write up a report of all the evidence and get your final ‘okay’ to continue on the final confrontation.” She looked to the team. “At this moment, you will not be needed for that.” She jerked a thumb to Sarutobi. “I don’t know if he will require for you five to join me on that or not.” Minashi looked back to Sarutobi. 

He sighed. “We’ll discuss it later.” Minashi nodded. 

“Alright. Let’s move.” 

Sarutobi removed the privacy seal and the six ANBU leap out the window. 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 16

 

Minashi stood atop the Sandaime’s head on the Hokage Mountain as she waited for the five other ANBU catch up. Cheetah obviously had an easier time keeping up. The other four were only a moment behind. 

Minashi tipped her head to them. “Good. Now as a quick test. What are you all Not to do when we get in there?” 

“Kill the ROOT agents.” Sparrow answered. 

Minashi nodded. “Good. Now before we go in there, are any of you clan? Some of your techniques might be useful in there.” 

Sparrow and Usagi rose their hands. “Uchiha.” Sparrow answered. “Yamanaka.” Usagi answered. 

Minashi nodded. “Uchiha activate your eyes. I’ll need your help in the darkened corridors. Yamanaka, if we come across a few numbers of them, we’ll possibly need your technique to take them down.” 

Usagi tilted her head. “Take control of one and use them to hold off another?” she confirmed. 

Minashi nodded. “Correct. Like I said, we should be able to avoid most of them, but I want to make sure we all get in there and out without alerting Danzo to our infiltration.” 

“We’ll stick to your plan.” Cheetah nodded. 

“Good.” Minashi turned and looked at them over her shoulder. “Grab my shoulder or the shoulder of a teammate touching mine. I’m going to try to make this as smooth as possible.” 

Two hands gripped her shoulders and Minashi glanced back to see two others holding theirs with Cheetah completing the circle. Minashi smirked behind her mask. “Hold tight.” 

In a blink, they were gone. 

 

 

Minato felt his stomach flip as they landed on concrete. He moaned as quietly as possible. That was nothing like his technique. His had originally felt like tearing in two before he learned to coat himself in chakra. This was like being sucked into a whirlpool, spinning for days and then spat out. 

Something pressed against his forehead and the dizziness and nausea passed. Minato looked up into the Fox mask to see two humor filled blue eyes looking at him. He could almost feel the smirk leaking off her. 

“See? Nothing like yours.” She muttered. 

“Kami no.” he muttered and watched as she checked on the rest of their team. Each had a seal tag on their forehead. 

“Once you all feel better the tags can come off.” Minashi spoke soft so her voice would not echo. 

Minato stood first and even though his stomach flipped again, he held back on seeing his dinner. Kitsune looked at him and nodded. 

“As expected.” She muttered and helped the others stand. She watched them each carefully before one by one, they each took off the seals and handed them back to her. She then handed them different seal tags. 

“Suppressors.” She whispered. “I can suppress mine to nothing. You all are good, but not that good.” 

Minato wanted to grumble, as he was sure his team did as well. They were one of the Hokage’s best Stealth teams. Instead, they took the tags and stuck them on. Flickers of chakra flared before all six were gone from Minato’s sensor. 

Let’s move. Kitsune signed. Five nods and they were gone in the shadows. 

Minato watched their temporary team leader slip past guards, halt the team from passing patrols, and lead the team to crawl on the roof to avoid very small ROOT agents. Minato felt something in him boil. There were children down here? 

Minato was pleased when they finally reached the main office. They had only had to slap a seal on one guard. 

Instead of passing out like he thought the guard would, he stood frozen for a moment before walking away. 

Kitsune shut the door behind them and then Minato watched as more seal work spread out from her hand and covered the walls. 

She let out a long sigh. “That should keep any noise from being over heard. We are on a time limit though. Let’s get to it.” 

Kitsune pointed to the first filing cabinet. “Start there.” 

Four of his teammates nodded and grabbed the scrolls she held in her other hand and went to work pulling and coping the files over. 

Minato went over to her last and took his grouping of scrolls. “What was the seal you put on the ROOT agent?” he asked. 

Kitsune looked at him, Blue eyes meeting blue. Something twinged in him. He felt like he’d seen those eyes before. 

“It was a diversion seal. He went to his next patrol section thinking he’d already done this hall. The seal will disappear in a minute, but the idea will be planted. I’ve seen control seals before and based it off of one. This doesn’t take away their will, but just diverts their attention from the area I don’t want them to be in. It will seem like a memory lapse to them. Nothing harmful.” She jerked her head to the cabinet. “Seal talk later. Copy files.” 

Minato nodded and took his first stack of files. He felt a breeze from behind and glanced back to see five additional Kitsune standing and taking their own stacks. His eyebrow rose impressed. They were shadow clones. Kitsune had to have a lot of chakra to complete five. 

He shook off the inquisitive thoughts he had on her, and focused back on the task at hand.  

Stack after stack they copied and replaced.  

“Finish up.” Minashi ordered as she laid out a large scroll. Minato watch her begin storing the smaller scrolls within. “We’re running out of time.” She said as her head tilted. “Danzo is returning to base.” 

Minato’s eyes widened. She was a sensor as well? He wasn’t sure how she could ‘sense’ the seals, but to know that someone was returning from this distance was an amazing range. 

Minato and his team finished up and handed her the completed scrolls. The copies were returned the way the originals were found. Minato’s eyes then bugged out as the scroll as thick as his thigh, disappeared into the woman’s forearm. He watched the ink darken before disappearing. 

The seal on the office was removed before Kitsune signaled them to grab a hold of her. They did and Minato tried to brace for the teleportation. 

It didn’t help.  

As soon as he felt floor beneath his feet he fell to his knees. He was a little happy to see that he was a little better than his teammates. 

Kitsune handed the seals back to them. Minato happily slapped it back onto his forehead and felt the soothing chakra eat away at his nausea.  

“Where did you find such a seal?” he asked as he sat back with a sigh. 

“I made it.” Kitsune answered carefully. “I had a friend that was a good Medic Nin. She challenged me to make a seal that could use healing chakra. This was the result after she experienced my space time jutsu.” 

Minato hummed as he felt his stomach ease. 

“Question.” Boar asked as he stood up. “Why didn’t you just put one of your markers in Danzo’s office?” 

Minato opened his eyes and looked at Kitsune. 

“Danzo is a crafty bastard. Nevertheless, he is also a good Ninja. He would have found it and scrambled the ROOT to move the base and hunt down the infiltrator.” 

Boar nodded and looked around. Minato followed his observations and chided himself for not doing so earlier. 

A whistle filled the air. “Nice place Kitsune.” Usagi said as she stood and handed back the tag. 

“You sure you’re a regular ANBU?” Bear grumbled. “This is nicer than my normal apartment.” 

Minato snorted and jumped to his feet. Sparrow already on his and looking around. “That’s because you bought the most basic you could.” 

“Oi. We don’t need much. Plus the boys don’t care.” Bear grumbled. 

Kitsune chuckled and moved to a large table and deposited the main scroll. The smaller scrolls were summoned out and she waved to the pile.  

“Let’s begin.” She paused and looked at them again. “We will be working together for some time. It is possible that our devious Hokage will also have us working together more in the future. So please feel free to be comfortable in my home.” She tapped her mask. “If you all wish to remove your masks, you are welcome to.” 

“Are you going to?” Sparrow raised a challenging brow. 

Kitsune hummed and nodded. “Yes, but remember that my face is under henge. When with you five, I will kept this henge. Outside of our missions, you will not be able to know who I am. That defeats the purpose of my work in the shadows.” 

Boar was first to remove his mask. “You’ve already seen my face.” He grunted. 

Kitsune chuckled softly. “Sorry about that. I couldn’t let one of Danzo’s ROOTs give up the mission.” 

Usagi and Sparrow removed their Masks followed by Bear and Minato. 

“Shall we do introductions?” Kitsune asked even as she reached up and pulled off her mask. Bright blue eyes gazed at them as black strands fell to caress her cheeks. Cheeks that had Black markings from her eyes down to her jaw. It reminded him of his Sensei’s own facial markings. 

“I am Kitsune. Unfortunately, you are not the Hokage, so I cannot give you my actual name. If you wish to call me anything else.” Her lips pulled into a smirk. “Vixen will do.” 

Minato nodded and began for his team. “I am Namikaze Minato; though I have a feeling you already knew that.” 

Kitsune nodded. “Hai. I keep track of other Seal Masters in the making.” She looked to the others. “Next?” 

“Uchiha Koichi.” Sparrow nodded a greeting. 

“Yamanaka Fumiko.” Usagi smirked. 

“Morino Itsuki.” Bear grunted. 

“Saito Toru.” Boar gave a respectful nod of his head. 

Kitsune smiled at them all. “Wonderful to make your acquaintance. Now, let us get started. We have a lot of files to sort through.” She jerked her thumb behind her and they all saw the kitchen and island loaded with food and drinks. “My clone has been hard at work while we were sneaking around. So if you are hungry or thirsty grab a bite. As for the files, if you find anything that looks the slightest bit sketchy, bring it to my attention.” 

The team nodded and went to sit at the table to begin digging into the stacks of files. 

 

 

Minashi had to hold back her snort when in less than half an hour the entire team was cursing Danzo. The others had found the first files where Danzo had single handedly began eradicating the Senju clan. 

“He’s such Scum!” Fumiko hissed. 

“He’s rotten alright.” Koichi snarled as he shook a file. “He had one of my clansmen fake his death just to get him into ROOT.” 

“Remind me to tell Inojiro to let me join him in his T&I session when Danzo is brought in.” Itsuki snarled. 

Minashi snorted. Like father like son. Yes, she’d learned that she sat with Ibiki’s father. It wasn’t surprising really. They acted so similar. 

“Danzo is a cruel man.” Toru said firmly. “I was an orphan and when I aged out but didn’t pass the academy, he took me in with promises of being a good ninja. However, it was killed or be killed. That was our final test. We had to kill our emotions. I can’t tell you how thankful I was when I was put on taichou’s team. Your kindness saved me Taichou.” Toru said looking at the quiet Minato.  

Minato nodded absently but his head was down and tapping the edge of the file before him. 

Minashi stared at him. 

“You knew.” He said softly. Silence filled the room. 

“What?” Usagi asked for the group. 

Minato looked up at Kitsune. His eyes were darkened with hidden emotions. His face was blank. 

“Somehow, you knew. It’s the only thing that makes sense. Your skills with seals. Your hidden identity. Your need to remain in the shadows. Your animosity towards Danzo.” 

Minashi kept her composure to keep from jumping to conclusions. “Knew what?”  

“That Danzo was the reason Konoha didn’t get notification that Uzushio was in trouble.” He said firmly as his grip tightened on the file, wrinkling the papers. 

Minashi rested her chin on her hand and looked at him from a tilted gaze. Her eyes lowered to half-lidded. 

“You’re an Uzumaki, or one of the other Clan members from Uzushio.” 

Minashi raised a brow. She just opened her hand for the file. She looked it over once again. One she had found when going through Danzo’s office after his death. As one of the last Uzumaki Baa-chan had let her see who was responsible for such an act. They hadn’t told Naruto because he wouldn’t have been as level headed as Minashi was. 

Minato had come to a good guess though. With her ‘older’ age, she could pass as an Uzushio survivor. Nevertheless, she didn’t want to have to lie to this team any more than she wanted to. 

“I’m not going to lie to you.” Minashi said evenly. “I am not a survivor of Uzushio. I am a survivor, but not of that. My story is SS-rank. I will not and cannot tell you. Only the Hokage and one other knows my story. It will stay that way.” She said evenly. “But with my story comes the knowledge of Danzo’s corruptness. He is rotten. I will not let his vileness corrupt the roots of the tree any longer.” 

Minato blinked and then frowned at her. “Then where are you from? It doesn’t make sense otherwise.” 

Minashi gave him a sad smile. “My home was destroyed. I will not let Konoha be destroyed like my home. That is all you need to know.” 

Minato meet her blue eyes and nodded once. “Alright, let’s find what else this bastard has done.” He growled as put the Uzushio folder in the growing pile of incriminating evidence. 

One of her clones came a bit later and took the evidence away to seal into a special scroll that had five layers of security. The rest got put into labeled storage boxes. 

 

As they began to wrap up Fumiko suddenly shot to her feet. “Taichou!” she exclaimed. 

“What?” Minato stood and rounded to look at the file. Color drained from his face. “Senju Nawaki.” 

Minashi glanced up from her file to see Minato begin to shake. 

“He ordered it.” Minato whispered. 

Minashi hummed. “Is this the same Nawaki that was the younger brother to one Senju Tsunade?” 

“H-Hai.” Usagi stuttered. “I had been on the team that went to search for him when he didn’t report in.” 

“Tsunade-sama was in a Triad Partnership with my sensei.” Minato sighed and pinched his brow. “Sensei had been right. The mission had been sketchy, but was wrote off as just a bad mission.” 

“Ah.” Minashi muttered. “So that’s why the Slug Princess is not in village.” 

“Hai.” Minato muttered and took the file to be put in the next grouping of secured files. “Damn. Sensei will flip his shit when this all comes out.” 

“Always, always, look underneath the underneath.” Minashi sighed and stood. “Let’s call it a night.” Five sets of eyes looked at her and blinked. Minashi rolled her eyes. “It’s after midnight. Sorry if I want to get some sleep.” 

The others began to help straighten up and clean up the trash in the kitchen. 

“Report back here at Five p.m. We’ll finish going through what remains of this group and then head out at dark.” 

“Hai.” The group responded and grabbed their masks. 

“One last thing.” They all paused at the door. She gave them a kind smile. “Thank you for trusting me. I know I’m full of mystery and thought I’d be alone to bring down this rot. It’s good to see that Konoha has more than one person protecting her from the inside instead of just the outside.” 

Shoulders relaxed, eyes turned kinder, and respect was given in shallow bows. “Thank you for trusting us with the Knowledge of yourself as you have.” Minato answered for his team. 

Minashi nodded and shut the door behind them a moment later. 

Letting out a sigh she moved to finish securing all the files and her new apartment before she too left. Landing on the Hatake Compound roof, she felt for Sakumo and Kakashi. Finding them fast asleep she slipped into her room and found her blood clone sitting up. 

“Progress?” it asked softly. Minashi nodded and dropped the blood henge transformation. With a nod the clone popped and the few memories from the evening filled her head. She groaned and quickly changed into her pajamas and flopped into bed. 

She was sluggish as she rose to train with Kakashi in the late morning. Kushina picked them both off and dropped them off at the academy. 

Minashi took the initiative to happily sleep in class. She ignored or dodged when chalk pieces were thrown at her. Her friends gave her concerned glances. Kakashi especially. 

Minashi brushed their concern off and focused on catching up on her sleep. By afternoon, she was rested enough to focus on her physical training. Sakumo picked them up again and led them home by their hands instead of carrying them at Minashi’s worried order. 

When Four thirty rolled around, she did a switch with a blood clone and Hiraishin to her ANBU apartment. 

Dressed in a clean uniform, her mask rested on the side of her head as she began going through the documents once again. 

Minato was the first to appear on the balcony. She released the security seals and he slipped in. 

“You’re early.” Minashi retorted. 

Minato shrugged. “Wanted to get a head start on whatever was left. Didn’t know if you were the type to work all day or not.” 

Minashi snorted. “I hate paperwork. Thus why I’m only just recently starting.” 

Minato’s lips twitched but joined her and went back to the stack he’d been working on. 

“You’re a very interesting person.” Minato stated. 

Minashi grunted but continued browsing the report before putting it in the evidence pile and grabbing another. 

“I’ve actually been called annoying more often than not.” Minashi muttered then paused. “Well, at least in my youth. I’d like to think I’ve outgrown that.” 

Minato snerked and shook his head. “Everyone is allowed to act childish every once in a while. Otherwise life would be boring.” 

“Life as a shinobi boring?” Minashi glanced up and raised a brow at the blonde. 

Minato rolled his eyes. “You know what I mean.” 

Minashi smirked and nodded. “So why ANBU?” She asked him. 

Minato was quiet before sighing. “To get more experience of the inner workings of the village. To get leadership experience. To protect Konoha and her people.” 

“Will this be a career position for you then?” 

Minato shook his head vehemently. “No. Kami no. I want to be the Hokage.” 

Minashi put down the folder and Minato looked up to meet her stare. “That is why you are on Danzo’s radar.” 

Minato grunted but kept quiet otherwise. 

“Do you know who the King of Konoha is Namikaze?” 

Minato blinked at her blankly. “Huh?” 

Minashi nodded and went back to her folder. “Think on that.” 

“Is this why the Hokage was talking about you being a successor?” 

Minashi groaned and let her head slam on the table. “Kami no. I don’t want the hat. I don’t want to watch my precious people go off to a possible death on my order.” 

“That’s not how I see it. I see it as protecting all my precious people.” 

Minashi grunted and looked up at him. “I see as that as well, but I’ve watched enough of my precious people walk off to die enough to fill a life time. So no thank you.” 

Minato just stared at her. She saw the pity in his gaze and looked away. She was grateful when the other four soon showed up and they went to work. She let the buzz of the team hissing and bickering about Danzo’s crimes, fill the air instead. 

When the sun finally set, they set off once again to infiltrate Danzo’s office. Minashi leading them through the maze of ROOT’s HQ. Minashi had already made sure Danzo was out of office. They would be present in his office during the time that he was observing the recruits training on a different level. The man didn’t have a lot of habits, but this was one that was scheduled due to ROOT’s training times. 

The rest of the week passed in a similar manner. Infiltrate, sort and secure evidence, sleep, academy, training, dinner with her new ANBU team, repeat. 

 

Minashi Hiraishin into the Hokage’s office with the main scroll strapped to her back. Her ANBU team only stumbled when they landed. She raised a brow at them. 

“Ah, you’re getting used to it.” She smiled at them behind her mask. 

“Sadist.” Usagi mumbled. The guys just grunted. 

Minashi smirked and looked back to the Hokage. She removed her mask and put it to the side of her face. Sarutobi raised a brow at her facial markings, but let it be. 

“Hokage-sama, Team Cheetah is here to report our findings.” Minashi laid the scroll on his desk and the Hokage just stared at it. Trepidation in his gaze. 

“Kitsune-san.” He said softly. “Do I want to really open that?” 

Minashi sighed and walked over to lay a hand on his shoulder. “You know you must. I already told you Hiruzen. I don’t like hurting you, but you must see what your blind eye has caused. It is your duty as Hokage to take responsibility.” 

He grunted but nodded and opened the scroll. The first seal was for the summary report. He summoned it and the other files sealed within the main scroll. 

Minashi stepped back to lean against the window. Cheetah’s team stood at ease as they waited their orders. Each were already decked out with all their weapons, ready for a fight to come. 

The air around The Hokage darkened with every passing minute that he read the report listing every death or incident Danzo was responsible for. 

Minashi saw his shaking hands lay down the report and lower his head. 

“K-Kitsune-san. May I borrow that Barrier of yours?” he whispered brokenly. 

Minashi didn’t hesitate to create the four clones and stand by the Hokage as she activated it. As soon as it stabilized, soft sobs came from the Hokage. 

“I’m a fool.” He sobbed. Minashi let him release his emotions and shed his tears for the lives lost. 

“Kami, Uzushio, Tsunade’s brother, he was even planning to have Orochimaru work for him in experimentation. He was even having Minato assassinated. The boy I was hoping to be my successor when he was old enough. He’s stolen clan children, orphaned children, stolen clan eyes, all for what? An Army of emotionless killers? That is not Konoha.” He ended on a shout and stood up. Eyes broken, but angry. “Minashi, I’m changing your order. I do not want him getting away with anything else like this ever again. This is not my friend. This is not my old teammate. This is a murderer and Cancer to Konoha.” 

Minashi straightened. 

“Release the barrier.” 

Minashi nodded and the barrier dropped with a single touch. The ANBU straighten at the sight of a furious Hokage and his leaking KI. 

“Kitsune, you and Team Cheetah have a new order. Danzo will no longer have the option to live under constant watch. Instead, you are to capture and detain both Danzo and every ROOT agent. Your team will then be on personal guard duty until a trial can be held to convict Danzo for his crimes.” He looked back at her with firm eyes. “Once Danzo is secured, Kitsune, Cheetah, you two will be tasked with retrieving Senju Tsunade and Jiraiya. My students will be there to hear the crimes Danzo has committed against them. They will also be there incase Danzo plans anything.” 

“Hai!” The Six ANBU snapped to attention. 

“Dismissed.” Sarutobi growled. 

The six ANBU disappeared in a swirl of leaves to reappear on the Hokage Mountain. Minashi looked back to the office where she felt the Hokage’s Chakra flaring with his anger. She let out along sigh. 

“Gomen.” She whispered into the wind. “Gomen Hiruzen.” The others didn’t question her as she tapped her shoulders. They were gone in a blink and back in one of their arrival points in ROOT HQ. 

“Orders are a little different on the Agents.” She said calmly as she removed her gloves and replaced her arm guards. Minato and the rest saw the seals on both her hands and up to her forearms. “I’m tapping into the ROOT Seals.” The seals lit up on both arms. “The ROOT will not be an issue now. Ignore them. They are paralyzed. Let’s move. We have a Traitor to capture.” 

“Hai.” The five ANBU snapped and soon the six Masked Nin were on their way easily through the tunnels. None of the ROOTs moved to intercept them. Only watch. 

When they reached Danzo’s office, Minashi kicked in the door. Danzo stood behind his desk with a calm face. 

“You are trespassing.” He narrowed a beady eye at them. 

“You are a traitor.” Minashi snarled. 

“I am a councilman, how dare you call me a traitor!” He snarled. 

Minashi held up the scroll with her previous orders. “See this here? It used to have the orders to bargain with you. Give control of the ROOT agents over to a trusted person loyal to the Hokage or pay for your crimes in jail.” 

The scroll exploded into tatters with a sharp wind jutsu. “The Hokage has changed his orders after receiving all the evidence my team has provided him since you began this silly organization.” 

“Lies.” Danzo Snarled. 

“Sparrow.” Minashi ordered. 

Mission Report C12965: Spy 9U has confirmed information leaked to Kiri on defensive and offensive blueprints of Uzushiogakure. Mission Report C12967: Team Kai reported successful elimination of Uzushio team with blame set on Suna as ordered. Mission Report S208: Mission successful. Target Senju Nawaki eliminated. Cause: planted faulty exploding seals.” 

Danzo was good. He didn’t pale. He didn’t flinch. He just glowered. 

“Shimura Danzo, under orders of the Hokage, you are under arrest for treasonous actions against an Allied nation, the massacre of the Senju clan, the Stealing of clan children, the stealing of clan Dojutsu, the attempted assassinations against Shinobi of Konoha, premeditated Assassinations against the Hokage, and much more.” Minashi snarled. 

“You have no proof.” He snapped. 

Minashi just chuckled. “Oh, we have all the proof you so happily kept in theses lovely little files.” 

Danzo paused and looked at the secured filing cabinets. 

“You are good with seals Danzo, but no one will be better than me.”  

“Who are you?” Danzo glowered as he stiffened. 

“I am the Protector of Konoha. Her true protector. And I will make sure that your reign of rot no longer infects the tree.” 

Danzo snarled and pointed at her. “Kill them!” he shouted. Silence filled the air. “I said kill them!” 

Minashi cackled and lifted her arms to show the seals on her arms. “They are no longer under your control Danzo.” 

Danzo burst into action. Minato and his team pursued with Minashi cutting off the elder’s exit. Punches flew, kunai were thrown and dodged. Waiting for an opening between all the punches and kicks, Minashi moved and the seal slapped to the elder’s back. He shouted in pain as he lit up with electricity. When it died down she slapped another on his person. The ink spread out to cover his limbs and throat. 

Minashi grinned down like a pleased fox at the elder. 

“Not so powerful now are you Danzo? With your little minions incapacitated huh?” 

He snarled but Sparrow dug his knee into the elder’s back while he tied his wrists and hands. 

“Flip him over.” Minashi demanded. 

They did as ordered and Minashi cut through his shirt to see the control seal along with the Reverse Four symbol Seal. She whistled. 

‘Wow, didn’t know he had that on him this early’. She muttered to Kurama. He grunted and growled in her head. 

Get rid of it. 

‘Hai~ Hai~’ 

“Well, well, well, you are a paranoid bastard aren’t you Danzo-Sama.” She taunted even as she unsealed her special ink and brush. 

Minato gasped at her blood red ink that swirled with violet chakra. Minashi knew he could no doubt feel the chakra radiating off it. 

“What is that?” Minato whispered and took a step back. 

Minashi hummed and looked at the Ink. “Special ink I’ve spent years to create. Now it will work to stop nasty little seals like this.” 

Minashi then began drawing a seal on the elder’s chest to counteract the Reverse Four. She then created another to destroy his control on the ROOT agents and relieve it to her. Twenty Minutes later she was done with both. She began a third. 

“Now let’s seal away your precious chakra permanently councilman. Can’t be having you plan to escape your execution now can we?” She said with the most cheery voice possible. 

Minato’s team felt a shiver go down their spines. 

“You are a sadist.” Usagi deadpanned. 

Minashi snorted. “I’m vindictive. There’s a difference.” 

“I’ve never seen you before in my life.” Danzo Snarled. 

Minashi snerked. “Nope. I didn’t even know who you were until I was a teen. And that was because you killed my friend’s clan.” 

“I have done no such thing.” He snarled. 

Minashi hummed to hold her tongue. She so wanted to say ‘not yet’ but that would give up her hand. Instead she finished binding his chakra then sealed away her ink and brush. She stood up and waved to him. 

“He’s ready for transportation. Cheetah, if you and Bear would do the honors of taking him to T&I, we will remain to secure the ROOT Agents.” 

“Hai.” They left in a shunshin with the Elder. 

Minashi sent chakra through the new control seal and the ROOTs in the office appeared and shakily dropped to a knee. Fighting the commands of the powerful seal she now weilded. 

“Speak your true loyalty. Danzo or the Village.” 

“Danzo-sama.” 

“Danzo-sama.” 

“Danzo-sama.” 

“Konoha.” 

Minashi looked to the last ROOT. With a small flare of chakra sent to their personal seal, they relaxed.  

“Stand please.” 

They stood and looked at Minashi. “You are a good shinobi. Will you aid us in sorting the rest of the ROOT?” 

“Hai.” He answered easily. 

“Kitsune-san.” Sparrow asked with his frown easily heard in his voice. “How can you trust-“ 

“I modified my Control on them. They are only able to speak the truth. Stand to the side please.” 

The Loyal ROOT did. Minashi summoned three clones and stood behind the ROOTs, Kunai at their necks. 

She let her eyes blaze behind her mask and met their eyes through their masks. “One last chance.” 

“We serve Danzo-sama.” The middle one said firmly. 

Minashi nodded. “Then may Kami forgive your souls.” Blood sprayed as Minashi’s clones slit their throats. Minashi just watched with deadened eyes. 

“I hate killing.” She muttered. 

“Then why kill them?” The Loyal Root asked not even flinching at her comrades’ deaths. 

“They are Rotten like Danzo. Danzo spoke of what was best for Konoha, but he lied. He only wanted what he thought was best for him to keep his power and control. He never once thought of protecting the people and the next generation that would grow up in Konoha.” 

“Are you going to kill the Children?” The Agent asked. Minashi glanced at him. 

“You are talkative.” She mused. 

“Danzo ordered me silent. I do not feel that order any more. You are in control, but have not forced me silent.” 

“I don’t kill children. They will be taken to be reconditioned and merged back into society. I hope that they can learn what it is like to be normal children once again. Enough talk. We have many more ROOT to sort through.” 

Chapter Text

Chapter 17

In the end, Minashi had to kill off thirty percent of the adult ROOTs. They had been fully loyal to Danzo. Any with Dojutsu had their eyes slashed. The teens and children were the ones to survive completely. Once collected, they returned to ANBU HQ where they would wait in their holding cells until the Yamanaka clan could recondition them. 

Tired, Minashi returned to the Hokage’s office. She’d already sent Sparrow, Usagi, and Boar to meet with Bear and send Cheetah to the office. They would take shifts to watch Danzo. 

“What was the final count?” Sarutobi whispered as he smoked heavily on his pipe. 

“Thirty percent of the Adults were eliminated. Their loyalties were tied solely to Danzo. The children were secured along with the teens and remaining adults. They are resting in ANBU holding cells. The Yamanaka clan will have their hands full.” 

“You were able to work out the control seal to confirm this then?” 

Minashi showed him her arms. “Hai. It’s still active to keep them placated and Honest. That is the only thing it’s enforcing at the moment.” 

Sarutobi nodded. “Good. Will you be able to keep the control seal hidden when you revert?” 

Minashi sighed. “No. I left my Blood clone with extra Chakra just in case I was needed personally.” 

Sarutobi let out a long sigh. Minashi let the quiet settle around them. 

Chakra flared a warning before Sarutobi lowered the privacy seal long enough for Minato to Shunshin in. The seal went back up. 

“Rise.” Sarutobi muttered to the Kneeling ANBU. “Please remove your mask.” 

Minato did and shot a glance to Minashi who was lounging on the couch with her arms covering her face. 

“Hokage-sama.” Minato greeted slowly. 

“Minato. I’m aware you’ve all met behind closed doors. Kitsune-san.” He called. 

Minashi sat up and crossed her legs, resting her chin on a fist as she stared at the two men. 

“Do you need rest before you two head out?” Sarutobi asked. 

“I’m mentally tired Hiruzen.” She told him honestly. “I knew-“ She paused and swallowed the sorrow that ate at her. “I knew he was rotten. But all those reports.” She sighed and rubbed her eyes. “I’d just forgotten how rotten.” 

Sarutobi nodded silently. He could somewhat understand what she was trying to say. It was possible that some of the reports had been destroyed before the ANBU could get to them and for Minashi to read in her own time. 

“How about you use this as a small distraction then?” Sarutobi said. 

Minashi stood and went to Minato’s side. Sarutobi tossed them both scrolls. 

“Minato, you have Jiraiya’s urgent summons. If he asks about my prior one, tell him this one negates it.” He shot a glance to Minashi. “Since you are going, will you do it there or when you return?” 

Minashi felt Minato stiffen in confusion. “Preferably once all this has settled down and I’ve had at least a full nights rest.” She muttered back. 

Sarutobi nodded and pointed to the scroll in her hand. “Tsunade’s Summons in your hand.” He paused and looked Minashi up and down. “She will resist. Will you be able to convince her?” 

Minashi snorted. “If it comes to it, I’ll knock her down with a seal to get her to listen.” 

Sarutobi raised a brow. “Too bad you won’t be in village. I would like to see that battle.” 

Minashi just grinned. “Oh, I still want to spar the legendary Slug Princess.” 

Sarutobi gave her a kind smile before nodding. “Alright. Leave as soon as possible. They need to be here for the trial. The less time Danzo has to formulate an escape plan the better.” 

“Do you want me to leave a clone to set him up in a barrier?” Minashi asked. 

“No.” Sarutobi answered glancing to Minato. “Team Cheetah is one of my best. They’ll be able to handle anything he plans.” 

Minashi nodded and glanced to Minato. She smirked and placed a hand on his shoulder. He paled. They were gone in a blink. 

“Poor boy.” Sarutobi muttered for the Blonde’s predicament at being at Minashi’s mercy for her jutsu. His reaction was enough of an answer of what it must feel like. He only prayed to Kami that he never would have to experience it himself. 

 

 

Minato stumbled when they landed just outside of the gates. 

“Please~ stop that.” He grunted as he held his head. 

“You weren’t fast enough to use your own.” She smirked. 

Minato just grunted and looked at the unmasked woman. “We can’t leave yet. Sensei doesn’t know I’m ANBU. I need to change. Won’t you?” 

Minashi glanced at him before looking down at herself. “Nah, I’m good. Go change.” 

Minato was gone in a yellow flash. Minashi felt her shoulders slump in relief. Two clones popped up beside her.  

“One of you go help the ANBU keep an eye on Danzo. The other go grab my supply scroll.” 

With twin nods, they disappeared. One returned a few moments later. Minato Reappeared just as it dispelled. 

He looked at the empty spot and then her and raised a brow. 

Minashi shrugged. “Clones and space-time jutsu makes me lazy.” 

Minato just rolled his eyes before going through his summoning jutsu. A small yellow and green toad appeared from the summoning smoke. 

“Yo Minato!” He greeted. “What can I do for you-“ he paused when he caught sight of Minashi. 

“Gamatoro, I need you to reverse summon yourself to sensei, find his location and reverse summon yourself back to me please. I have an urgent Message for him from the Hokage. It must be delivered in person.” 

Gamatoro nodded but looked between Minato and Minashi. “Yo, Minato, who’s she?” 

“This is Kitsune. A fellow Konoha Shinobi.” 

Gamatoro nodded. “Uh huh.” He muttered as he narrowed his eyes at her. 

“Gamatoro. Sensei. Location.” Minato said firmer. 

“Hai, Hai.” He muttered and disappeared in a cloud of smoke. 

Minato glanced up at Minashi to see her face devoid of a reaction. Minashi though was wondering what that was about. It wasn’t possible that the toads traveled with her. She only held the Fox contract. They should have been the only ones to travel with her. That was something she had already confirmed with her own foxes. 

Ten minutes later Gamatoro returned in a cloud of smoke. “He’s at the border town before Ame.” 

“Thank you.” Gamatoro nodded and was gone in another cloud. 

Minato stood and looked at Minashi. “That will take us about two days including a break in between to reach.” 

“Then let’s move Namikaze.” Minashi nodded. They both leapt off and raced through the trees towards Ame’s boarder. 

The silence hung in the air for a few minutes before Minato spoke again. 

“Minato.” He said. Minashi glanced at him. “You can call me Minato. You are right that the Hokage will have us working together more. This mission is just the beginning.” 

Minashi felt her lips lift into a smile. “okay. Minato-san.” 

“Just Minato.” 

Minashi just chuckled. 

“Is there anything other than Kitsune or Vixen that I can call you?” 

Minashi went quiet as she thought about it. There wasn’t anything he could call her that wouldn’t give anything away. “Just Kitsune.” She sighed. “As much as the Hokage wants me to make friends with others, I still have to stay in the shadows as much as I can.” 

“Why work alone in the shadows?” 

“Less chance of losing someone dear to me. If I do have someone dear, less chance they are linked to me if I’m working from the shadows and keep my identity secret.” 

Minato hummed as they continued from branch to branch. “That just seems lonely.” He stated quietly. 

Minashi snorted. “Oh don’t worry. I have a life. One in the light surrounded by people that love me and that I love in return. They will just never know about this side.”  I hope. She thought separately. She couldn’t bear to think what Minato would feel when he realized his sweet little ‘imouto’ was actually an adult stuck in a child’s body. She pushed that thought away. They had a mission to complete. 

 

The day turned to night and Minashi pulled her and Minato to a stop. 

“We’ll stop here for a few hours to get some rest.” She sighed and made four clones. “They’ll keep watch. I don’t know about you, but I’m still tired from the raid.” 

Minato yawned and sat down at the fire one of her clones made. “Normally I’d probably try to scold you for being lazy as I would any of my teammates, but I could do for some sleep.” 

Minashi pulled out her supply scroll and summoned up her bedroll. She glanced to Minato to see him already half asleep sitting up. “Do you have one?” 

Minato glanced at her roll and shrugged. “I was going to bring one, but I wouldn’t be the first time I slept on the ground.” 

Minashi rolled her eyes, summoned a second one, and tossed it at him. It hit his head and he fell back. 

“Use that. I always keep a spare.” 

“Thanks Kitsune.” He smiled and happily slipped into it. Minashi closed her eyes and fell into her mind. 

You are going to see the Toad Sage. Kurama murmured. 

Hai’ 

Are you really ready to see him again after all this time? 

Probably not.’ She answered honestly. Jiraiya had been one of the people she did not have the heart to have reanimated. That and it was something her and Tsunade had agreed that he’d never wanted done on him anyways. He would trust in Naruto and Minashi to handle everything. She mostly didn’t summon him back for Tsunade’s sake. She couldn’t watch her surrogate grandmother only have a piece of her almost lover just to have him vanish again. She’d lost too much in her life time. She didn’t need another precious person held out of arm's length. 

How are you Kurama? You’ve kept mostly silent.’ 

Kurama hummed and pulled her completely into the mindscape. Her eyes took in everything from the burned husks to the new saplings. 

I’m making sure your mental health continues to improve. Killing all those ROOTs did not help it. 

It had to be done.’ She tried to reason. 

Do not let yourself think that for every human you come across. He snarled low. You are better than that. Don’t let that darkness coat you in blood. 

But-‘ 

NO! He shouted and stood up. Minashi you are a pure soul like your brother. You both hated killing. Hated death. Don’t drag your thoughts of the last war into this new present. 

Minashi took in a deep breath through her nose and slowly let it out through her mouth. 

You’re right.’ She whispered. ‘They didn’t have to die but I was left with no other options. If I let them live, they would have escaped and then banded together to get Danzo out of jail.’ 

Not with you holding their will in your hands. 

Minashi looked to her slightly glowing arms. ‘I couldn’t think of letting them live though. I wouldn’t have kept control of their will completely. I don’t like slavery. I didn’t want to make them as such.’ 

So killing them was your only option? 

Minashi felt her lip tremble. ‘No.’ 

Kurama sighed and wrapped a tail around her. As long as you know what you did could have been handled another way. 

I was just trying to protect my precious people from the rotten roots.’ 

I know that brat. Kurama grumbled. 

I don’t want to become like him.’ She whispered. Kurama knew who ‘him’ was. The one that started this blasted war. A madman bent on world destruction. 

You’re nothing like him. You were just beginning to look the wrong way. Knowing what you did wrong, you’ll be able to prevent from looking into the darkness once again. 

Minashi nodded against his fur and stepped back to clean her face. Kurama sighed as he gazed down on his last container. He looked at the still glowing seal. 

You won’t be able to hide the power leaking off that seal from the toad. He’ll have questions. Especially since your seal work was based off his before the Yondaime and Niidaime taught you more. 

I’m not going to get away with waiting until we’re back at Konoha, am I?’ 

Kurama just raised a brow. If you do, I’ll eat Ramen. 

Minashi paused and looked up at Kurama. A sly foxy smirk took her lips. ‘Is that a bet?’ 

Kurama regarded her with narrowed eyes. You hold the toad off until Konoha, I’ll eat Ramen. 

DEAL!’ Minashi shouted and jumped around in triumph. 

You haven’t won anything yet brat! He snarled but Minashi just burst into loud cackling. Kurama sighed, but let the brat have her moment of happiness. It was better than the depression that was hanging around her a few moments ago. 

When the brat was calmed down enough, he dragged her back to his body and ordered her to get some rest. She didn’t resist and soon was fast asleep against him. 

 

 

Minashi woke refreshed. Her little talk with Kurama took a weight off of her shoulders. While she knew she was looking at the situation wrong, it’s good to know that one friend would always have her back to get her back on track. 

With a nod to Minato they were off. 

They arrived to the Border Town a few hours later. Minato sighed beside her and rubbed his face. 

“I should have known.” He muttered the looked to Minashi. “I’m a good sensor. I’m pretty sure you’re better, but I know sensei’s signature. I shouldn’t have even searched. He’s at the bathhouse.” 

Minashi played into her clueless yet offended woman roll as best as possible. “You make that sound like he’s not cleaning up.” 

Minato grunted as he curled into himself and his crossed arms. A cute pout and frown scrunching up his face. 

“He’s a self-proclaimed super pervert.” 

Minashi couldn’t help her snort. Minato’s lips twitched.  

“Let’s go get your Pervert Sensei then.” 

Minato nodded and jumped to a roof, leading them to the bathhouse. They stopped on the roof of the building across the street from the bathhouse. Minato just groaned and covered his face when he spotted his sensei barely hidden in a bush, notebook in hand. 

Minashi felt her heart clench at the sound of giggling though. She kept her face as neutral as possible as all the feelings washed through her. While Naruto had been the closest to him, having more time with him at the toads, he’d still made it an effort to visit her at the Fox realm and watch her training there. When they travelled he always made sure he didn’t peek while she was bathing. He treated both her and Naruto with the love, care, and affections of a good Godfather. He taught her sealing while teaching Naruto the Rasengan. He had then switched. Minashi learned the Rasengan while Naruto attempted seals. However, his aptitude wasn’t for it like hers was. It was the only thing that had made them different in fourteen years. Neither Jiraiya nor Naruto made her feel left out because of it. 

Jiraiya would teach her how to make seals, and Naruto would ask her if she could make certain seals. Him and his clones loved helping her test out their ideas. Alright, so maybe it was more Minashi and Naruto loved watching his clones give Naruto the stink eye when testing the new seals. They always asked why Minashi never used her own clones. Her response had always been that hers actually listened to her unlike Naruto’s.  

 

“Well, best be getting this summons to him.” Minato groaned and leapt down. Minashi joined him but put her mask back on before leaving the roof. Minato gave her a glance but she just waved him off. 

Minato stood behind his sensei and sighed. 

“Sensei, you’re going to get beat up again.” He deadpanned. 

Jiraiya paused in his giggling and writing to glance over his shoulder. He looked his student over before snorting. “Only if I get caught.” He then saw his student wasn’t alone. He felt his eyes widen at the curved figure standing beside his student. 

“Well Hello.” He grinned and stood up. “I don’t recognize those curves. Has sensei been hiding another female ANBU from me? He’d normally not send one with such luscious curves as yourself.” He gave a saucy wink as the Fox Mask tilted as dark blue eyes gazed up at him from the mask. 

“Jiraiya-sama, while I thank you for the compliment, we have urgent news regarding Konoha. You are being summoned back to stand witness at a trial.” 

It took Jiraiya half a second to process the unknown woman’s voice before his eyes snapped to his student. 

“Minato?” Minato promptly handed him the sealed scroll. 

“It’s serious Sensei. Hokage-sama needs your support.” He paused and took a deep breath. “So will Tsunade-sama.” He said softer. 

“Hime returned?” he looked up sharply. 

“Negative.” The ANBU Kitsune answered. “We are going after her next. We would appreciate your assistance in locating her and convincing her to return home.” 

Jiraiya sighed and rubbed his face. “What in Kami named happened?” 

“Hokage-sama can answer that when we have returned.” Kitsune answered monotone. Minato shot her a look. The Kunoichi was acting strange. Er, well stranger than normal. He still hadn’t managed to peg the Kunoichi’s personality. 

Jiraiya nodded and stored the scroll away. “Then let’s move. I was working my way back anyways. Sensei said something about a special little girl.” 

Minato suddenly beamed as they began to head out. “My Imouto Sensei.” 

Jiraiya stumbled and looked at Minato with wide eyes. “I-Imouto?!” he exclaimed surprised. 

Minato beamed. “Hai~. She’s also closely related to Kushina. She’s a Second Cousin through Kushina’s mother’s Uncle and Great Niece to Kushina’s Dad. So She just calls her Imouto too.” 

Jiraiya just stared at Minato. “What?” He deadpanned. 

Minato waved his sensei’s confusion away. “I’ll show you the family tree later. Kushina wasn’t the only one to escape the Massacre of Uzushio.” 

“O~kay.” Jiraiya muttered before shaking his head and focusing back on the road. “So did sensei tell either of you where my teammate was?” 

Minato winced. Minashi snorted. Jiraiya sighed.  

“Go figure.” He muttered. 

“I can find her.” Minashi sighed and knew this would be pushing her luck, but she could explain everything to Jiraiya later. Minato would be another obstacle later. 

“How?” Jiraiya asked intrigued. 

Minashi took a step away and went through her Summoning Jutsu. Slamming her hand down, a cloud appeared and when it cleared a white fox sat there. Her coat was only disturbed by the coal tips, paws, and ear tips. Her bright green eyes looked up to Minashi. 

“Kitsune-sama.” The feminine voice said as she bowed her head. “you’ve summoned me?” 

“Hai Yuki. I need you to hunt down the Slug Princess.” 

“Of course Kitsune-Sama.” She bowed her head against before disappearing into the brush. 

Minashi stood back up and looked to the two stunned men behind her. 

“Fox Contract.” Jiraiya’s eyes bugged. “Where did you get that? I thought it was with-“ He paused and looked at her closer. “Who are you?” 

“Kitsune.” She said evenly and looked to a still wide-eyed Minato. “Apologies Minato. I think their scent lingered on me. That is why your Toad was distracted. I didn’t even think about it until I summoned Yuki.” She lied smoothly. She was not actually sure why the toad had been giving her funny looks. 

“No worries.” Minato said absently and looked to where the fox disappeared. “Is that a tracking fox?” 

Minashi nodded. “Hai. Yuki will search for Tsunade-sama’s scent. Once she has it she will return for us and lead us to her.” 

“How long will it take her?” Jiraiya asked as he crossed his arms. 

Minashi glanced at him. “Depends on how far away she is.” 

Jiraiya nodded and started walking. “Then let’s find a place to make camp. I want to be filled in on what happened.” 

“Sensei-“ Minato started before Yuki reappeared from the brush. 

“Got it.” Yuki panted. “This way Kitsune-sama.” Minashi nodded and looked back to both Toad Summoners.  

“Follow us please.” 

Their group raced after the small white fox as it hopped through trees, raced across streams, and bounded through meadows. Minashi hot on her tail with both men not too far behind. Minashi may be a bit ahead of them, but she could still hear their whispered conversation. 

“Who is she really Minato?” Jiraiya asked softly. 

“Someone close to the Hokage.” He answered just as soft. “Only he knows her face. She’s apparently under constant henge. Sensei, she’s also a Seal Master. Her work is amazing. She had seals I’ve never even heard of.” 

“What happened in Konoha?” 

“Kitsune-san found out that Danzo was behind a lot of shinobi and Kunoichi deaths. She must have taken it to the Hokage and they brought it to ANBU’s attention and infiltrated Danzo’s ROOT headquarters to get further evidence against him. Danzo is in jail awaiting trial.” 

Jiraiya hissed. “I knew that old man wasn’t good news. How bad brat?” 

Minato was silent and Minashi didn’t need to turn back to see his frown. 

“I can’t even describe it Sensei.” 

“Try. All that ANBU training had to be for something.” Minashi rolled her eyes at the teasing even as Minato spluttered. 

“S-sensei?!” 

“Really Minato? You think I wouldn’t find out that you’re in the ANBU? I’m a spymaster brat.” 

Minato groaned, Jiraiya chuckled before sighing. “So you were on the team that brought it down?” 

“Hai.” Jiraiya grunted but Minato continued. “Kitsune-san said that only she was supposed to do it, but the Hokage assigned my team to assist her. Said something about her needing friends.” 

Jiraiya hummed. “She must be even deeper undercover than most ANBU go. That doesn’t explain her fox contract though. That was an Uzushio contract. One that Kushina is supposed to have.” 

“Maybe she reverse summoned like you sensei and they made a separate contract with her?” 

Jiraiya grunted again. “We’ll see. The Hokage said that he had something else to share with me other than your Imouto. Speaking of which, why does he want me to see your Imouto?” 

“She has an aptitude for Nature Energy.” 

Jiraiya stumbled on another branch. “What?!” He exclaimed. Minashi glanced back at them but they quieted down. 

Minashi rolled her eyes. “You know, with having the fox contract, it allows me to train my senses better. I can hear everything you’re talking about.” She deadpanned them. 

Minato gave a sheepish smile. Jiraiya just stared at her. 

“Come on. We need to find Tsunade-sama.” She deflected his piercing gaze. “There is much we learned about that she needs to know so she can have closure.” 

Jiraiya jolted at that and stepped into a quicker speed. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 18

Minashi dismissed Yuki as they arrived at the small town. It reminded Minashi of Tanzaku Gai. 

‘You know, I should have really searched the nearby gambling towns first.’ She mused. Kurama just snorted in return. Baka. He mumbled and went back to watching. This would be his next form of entertainment. The Slug Princess verses his Brat always was. 

“Sensei?” Minato asked. 

“Yeah, She’s here. I can feel her.” Jiraiya sighed and looked over to the black hair woman. She’s yet to remove her ANBU mask. Nevertheless, something was off about her. He’d felt it since they met, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. 

“I’ll go get us a place to rest-“ 

“No.” Minashi interrupted and started walking forward. “I have her scent. We need to find her and get back.” 

“I’m sure Sensei would allow us another night.” Jiraiya grunted. 

Minashi paused and glared over her shoulder at Jiraiya. “Do you not understand how important this is?” 

“I do but there is such a thing call a break. If my student is right, then you two are fresh off an infiltration, capture, and detain mission. You need rest.” 

“I’ll rest when Danzo is dead.” She muttered and turned back to scent Tsunade down again. 

Minashi felt Tsunade’s signature dampen to barely there. Minashi snarled and used one hand to call up two clones. She henged them into non-descript ANBU. 

“Box her in.” She ordered. “She felt the Toad’s Signature. She’s going to run.” 

“Yes Boss.” The saluted before disappearing. Minashi glowered at Jiraiya over her shoulder. “You didn’t suppress your chakra. She’s going to run.” 

Jiraiya raised a brow at the mysterious ANBU. “How do you know that? She could just be-“ He was cut off by the loud boom that suddenly filled the air as one of Minashi’s clones flew through a building and stopped before the group. 

“Found her boss.” It muttered before standing back up. She’d purposefully filled them with extra chakra to resist popping. She always did so when sparing Tsunade. She couldn’t make as many this way, but they lasted much longer than her regular clones, but not as long as a blood clone. 

“Shit.” Minashi hissed and dashed forward with her clone. Another Clone popped into existence without a seal as they raced to where more thundering sounds of Tsunade’s fighting style shook the earth. She felt Jiraiya and Minato follow behind, but she was faster. 

She landed with her clones and surrounded the furious princess. 

“Who are you?” Tsunade ordered. 

“Tsunade-sama, I am Kitsune. The Hokage has ordered your return to Konoha for an impor-“ 

“I will not return to that Village!” She shouted and slammed her foot into the ground. “That place kills everyone precious!” 

Minashi felt her own temper rising even as she dodged the angry fists of Tsunade. 

“It’s Urgent.” Minashi growled as she slipped into a mix of the fox katas and frog kata’s Naruto had taught her. They always shared as much as they could. 

“No!” Tsunade Growled again. 

Minashi hissed in return when Tsunade got a lucky swipe to her face. Minashi’s mask went flying off. Her black markings were visible along with her bright eyes. 

Tsunade paused and stared at her. “I’ve never seen you before.” She glared. 

Minashi chuckled darkly. “Good. I’d be worried if you had Hime. Now, you are going to listen to me. This is very important and regards Nawaki’s-“ She didn’t get another word as Tsunade kicked her in the stomach. Minashi went flying away. 

“HIME!” Jiraiya shouted alarmed. 

“You are NEVER to speak of Him!” She screamed. “You don’t know him!” she snarled as she stormed up to Minashi. Minashi pulled her healing body out of the rubble and felt Kurama snarl in her head. That was pushing it too far. Tsunade could have killed her if she hadn’t had her fox. 

“That.” Minashi said before her voice dropped to a snarl. “Is enough.” She shunshin to behind Tsunade and kicked her away. Tsunade had barely caught herself before she blocked with her arms as another kick aimed for her face. She flew through the air. A hand gripped her shirt and threw her to the ground. A knee slammed into her back as her struggled to push off the female ANBU. 

Tsunade froze when something slapped onto her back. Her body would no longer listen to her orders.  

“Now listen Tsunade.” The strange ANBU snapped. “We found out who murdered Nawaki.” 

Tsunade’s mind slid to a halt. “M-murdered?” She whispered. “But he was killed on a mission.” Her brown eyes slid up into angry blues. 

“A mission that was a trap. Someone didn’t want to risk Nawaki reaching for the Hokage hat. They also didn’t want to risk him being able to awake the Shodaime’s Wood Release. That someone is currently in jail awaiting his sentence. You are ordered to return to witness it and get the closure you need. Whether you decide to stay in Konoha afterwards, is your decision. The Hokage will not hold you prisoner in Konoha’s walls.” 

Tsunade stared up into blue eyes filled with anger, frustration, sadness, but understanding. It befuddled Tsunade. 

“I’ve lost everyone I loved Hime. I know how you feel but I’m not acting like a coward and running away. Instead, I’m moving forward to make sure that what happened to me, never happens to anyone else. So will you stay here and be a coward? Or will you return to Konoha and face the man that has caused pain for more people than just yourself?” 

Tsunade stared up into those fierce blue eyes and felt something in her shift for the first time in years. Hope. 

“Alright.” She whispered defeated. “Now let me up.” 

Tsunade felt the seal release her. The ANBU woman held out a hand and Tsunade took it and was helped to her feet. 

She saw Jiraiya and his student standing off to the side. Her young niece stood there with TonTon clutched to her chest. 

“Hello Jiraiya.” She grunted. 

“Hime.” He greeted back carefully and glanced at the ANBU. “Kitsune, you alright?” 

The ANBU Kitsune grunted as she walked over to her mask to see it in pieces. “I’ve had worse.” She sighed and tossed away the mask. “Why the mask? I liked that one.” She pouted before hopping over the rubble to the group as Tsunade joined them. 

“So, everyone ready to head back?” She smiled. 

“Hai.” Minato nodded before paling. “Wait, you can travel that far?” 

Minashi just grinned. “Hai~” 

Minato groaned and grabbed Shizune’s shoulder and Jiraiya’s arm. 

“Everyone grab hold of someone.” They did and made a small circle. Minashi gripped Jiraiya’s arm and Tsunade’s who held Shizune’s other shoulder. 

“What are you doing woman?” Jiraiya asked. 

“She has a space-time jutsu.” Minato whimpered. 

“What?” Jiraiya started but choked as they were suddenly being pulled into a dizzying whirlpool. 

 

 

Minashi smirked as she stared down at the pile of people on the floor. She felt a little bad for Shizune and Tonton, but was happy to see the famous medic puking her guts out in the nearest trashcan. Jiraiya was just curled up in a fetal position trying to not do the same. Minato had already recovered from his stumble and resorted to sitting on the couch. 

Sarutobi bit his lip to keep from laughing. He looked at Minashi and found her covered in dirt. He raised a brow at her. 

“What?” she grunted. 

“Rough trip?” 

Minashi sighed. “You have students that punch first, ask questions later Hiruzen.” 

Sarutobi snorted but nodded. “That I do. Now, Minato can you go retrieve Orochimaru for us please? He needs to be here for this meeting.” 

Minato nodded and opted to jump out the window instead of use his own Hiraishin or shunshin for now. 

“Kitsune-san, where is your mask?” Sarutobi noted that is wasn’t on her person. 

Minashi grunted and jerked a thumb at the recovering Tsunade. “She broke it.” 

Sarutobi snorted and reached into his desk for a new one. “I figured something like that might happen.” He tossed her another. “Had a spare ready.” 

Minashi rolled her eyes but put the mask on as she went and leaned against the windows off the side of his desk. 

Jiraiya and Tsunade had finally recovered by the time Orochimaru arrive through the office door. His golden eyes widened in shock at the sight of them. 

“Jiraiya? Tsunade?” he asked shocked. 

“Come in Orochimaru.” Sarutobi sighed. Minato followed and went to stand off to the side. Sarutobi glanced at Him. “Thank you Minato. You’re dismissed. Please get some rest. I’ll expect your team’s reports in the next few days. Shizune-chan, please wait outside.” 

Minato glanced to Minashi before looking back at the Hokage. “Hai. Hokage-sama.” He left through the door, Shizune right behind him. 

The privacy seal went up immediately. 

“I’m sure you got a brief version from Minato, Jiraiya. Tsunade I’m pretty sure you didn’t allow Kitsune-san to give you the scroll with the information.” 

Tsunade glanced away guilty. 

“Orochimaru, I’m sure you are the only one out of the loop.” 

“Sensei?” The Snake Sannin asked as his eyes bounced from him to the Masked Minashi. “Who is that?” 

“This is Kitsune-san. She had been deep undercover for me. She is one of my most trusted Shinobi. Her investigations have led to a uncovering cancer that was far deadlier than I had suspected. I’ve turned a blind eye to a lot, believing that what was being done was for the best. In doing this, much has been slipped past me as well. No longer though. I will not let a murderer sit on my council plotting the assassinations of my shinobi, assassination of myself, the eradications of clans of Konoha and her allies.” 

All three stiffened. 

“Councilman Shimura Danzo has been arrested for countless assassinations and plotting to harm my students using his ROOT organization.” 

The Sannin opened their mouths but Sarutobi held a hand to silence them for now. 

“I am giving you three the option to review the Mission Reports, Mission orders, and other various documents Kitsune-san and Team Cheetah had recovered from Danzo’s ROOT office before the trial. You may do so, or you may choose to wait until the trail. I give you this option because you are my students and I do not want you blindsided before the Council and witnesses.” 

Tsunade stepped forward and looked from Sarutobi to Minashi. Minashi held Tsunade’s pain filled Honey Brown eyes. 

“Is-Is what you said true?” she whispered. 

“Hai.” Minashi said firmly. Tsunade nodded and cleared her throat and looked to Sarutobi. 

“I want to read them before the trail. I know myself well enough to know that I can be brash. I don’t want to be too emotional at his trail.” 

Sarutobi nodded. “Jiraiya? Orochimaru?” 

“What do I have to do with this?” Orochimaru asked. “The councilman has been nothing but generous in his donations to my research.” 

Minashi grunted annoyed. “Read the files Orochimaru-sama. The answers you seek are within them.” 

Orochimaru hummed as he looked at the Masked ANBU woman. He didn’t recognize her voice, frame, and he couldn’t sense her signature. She was good. Very good. He was also not blind. He could sense chakra flickering off of her that was strange. It reminded him of the Chakra that he’d felt from the Councilman. 

“You feel like the Councilman.” He stated bluntly. “He had a leaking chakra like you. What is it?” 

Sarutobi and Minashi stiffened. The other two Sannin took note. 

“Hokage-sama?” Minashi whispered. 

“I trust my students.” 

Minashi nodded and removed her arm guards and ANBU gloves. Jiraiya sucked in a shocked breath. 

“A Control seal? It’s active!” he glared shocked. “Are you controlling-“ 

“Shut up Jiraiya.” Orochimaru deadpanned.  

“But she’s-“ 

“Not controlling the Hokage.” Tsunade grunted. 

“Correct Tsunade.” Orochimaru hummed and looked Kitsune up and down. “You were able to rewrite the control seal Danzo held over his ROOT Agents I take it?” 

“You knew?” Sarutobi asked frowning. 

“I held my suspicions. He funded my research so I saw no reason to question his actions further.” He shrugged. 

“I am currently in control of the remaining ROOT agents. They are young Children, Teens, and a few young adults that are loyal to Konoha. They are only to remain calm and answer honestly while in their holding cells. Once the trial is complete, I will remove the control seal from all of the ROOTs and free them to the hospital staff and Yamanaka clan for reconditioning.” 

“You’re a Seal Master?” Jiraiya clarified. 

“Hai.” 

“I’ve never heard of you before.” He narrowed his eyes at her, all the more suspicious. 

Kitsune sighed and rubbed her temple beside her mask. 

Sarutobi looked between her and his Sannin. He wondered how it would affect them to know the truth of Minashi. He personally believed that if all three knew then maybe it could help heal their connection. It could possibly lift some more weight of the Rokudaime’s shoulder to have more allies. He lit his piped and thought on it briefly even as he stared at Minashi. He saw her stiffen. Her head snapped to him. It would always amaze him that she had such sharp instincts. Must be the years of being a Kage herself. 

“Oi.” She narrowed her eyes at him behind that mask. “You’re plotting again you old Monkey. This isn’t the time for that.” 

“No, but how you know Danzo had all these files would be easier to explain, if they were all included, instead of just one of them. Wouldn’t it?” he asked knowing she would understand. 

Minashi just stared at him before sighing and removing her mask. Orochimaru only tilted his head intrigued. Something tickling his mind about her. 

“Seriously?” she asked. 

Sarutobi shrugged. “It’s up to you. I trust them. The traitor is behind bars. I trust your judgement as well.” Minashi sighed and rubbed her tired eyes. “Didn’t you also say you had a promise to try to keep?” 

Minashi grunted and glared at him. “That’s playing dirty Hiruzen.” 

Sarutobi just smirked at his smoked his pipe. “Well?” 

Minashi grunted and nodded. “Fine. When?” 

“Why not now?” 

“Because they have files to read.” 

Sarutobi held up three scrolls. “They can be good students and read the summarized report and then look at the files that involve them.” 

Minashi frowned at him. “You plotted this.” 

Sarutobi blinked. “I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.” 

Minashi raised a brow and crossed her arms at him. “I know you Hiruzen. Remember that.” 

Sarutobi shrugged and tossed the scrolls to his stunned students. They’d never seen their sensei so relaxed with anyone except them. 

“Read those. If you want to see the specific report let myself or Kitsune-san know and we will provide it for you.” 

Tsunade was the first to rip into the scroll. 

Orochimaru glanced at them curiously before beginning to read as well. 

“Sensei?” Jiraiya asked confused. 

“She is a trusted Advisor to me. Read the report. Her story will come next-” He was cut off by Tsunade’s voice. 

BASTARD!” Tsunade’s choked cry cut everyone’s thoughts off as she fell to her knees and sobbed. “H-he did have him-. I want to see the full report!” she snapped as angry tears fell from her eyes. 

Sarutobi looked at Minashi. She nodded and hovered her hand on her upper forearm. A new seal lit and the main scroll with all the files appeared. Minashi and Sarutobi unrolled it to pull out Nawaki’s Report. Tsunade almost ripped it from them as she moved away to read it on the floor. 

“Mission K23 please.” Orochimaru said in a soft voice. Minashi looked up to see his golden eyes troubled as he read the summary report scroll. 

Sarutobi searched for the right one and then handed it over. Orochimaru walked off to sit and read. 

Jiraiya had yet to open his scroll. 

“Jiraiya?” Sarutobi asked evenly. 

“Who?” he said softly. 

“Read it Jiraiya.” Sarutobi ordered gently. 

Jiraiya moved to take a seat before he unrolled the scroll and began reading. With every passing second, his face darkened. When it was towards the end, he sighed and closed it. 

“Report N03.” Sarutobi handed the report over and waited for his students to process everything. 

“File O1086 Please.” Orochimaru requested from his seat. His face void of emotion. 

Minashi nodded and took the report from Sarutobi and walked it to the Snake Sannin. His golden eyes looked up into Minashi steady blue ones. 

He held her gaze for a few beats before taking the file and letting out a long sigh. Minashi turned and returned to the Hokage’s side. Her heart ached to see Tsunade silently crying on the floor. Jiraiya looking stricken, and Orochimaru looking like he ate a lemon. 

“He had Minato Targeted for Assassination just because he was looking at your seat, sensei?” Jiraiya asked on a whisper. 

“Also because he can see the skill and potential that Minato possesses. He can see that he would not allow Danzo to get away with his already sketchy plans.” Minashi informed the Toad Sage. 

“He had my parents killed by making them look like they Betrayed Kiri. He was also planning to use me to work on the Shodaime’s cells he stole. He had plans for a new arm.” Orochimaru spoke in a monotone. “All that funding.” He muttered. 

“He had Nawaki killed.” Tsunade hissed. “All because he might get Grandfather’s Wood Release and dreamed of being Hokage? What bullshit!” 

Minashi sighed and pulled out a few more reports and handed them to Tsunade. “It wasn’t just Nawaki, Hime-sama.” She spoke softly. Tsunade took the pile and looked down at it before looked at Minashi with trepidation. “Those who didn’t die honorably in the war, Danzo had killed on missions that were supposed to be safe. He worked to slowly kill off the Senju clan.” 

Tsunade’s eyes spilled over with tears. 

“Kami.” Jiraiya whispered as he lowered his head into his hands. 

To Minashi’s surprise, it was Orochimaru that walked over to sit on the floor with Tsunade. Jiraiya saw and a moment later followed. They sat on the floor with their teammate just as she let out a wail. Jiraiya hugged her tight and Orochimaru placed a hand on her head. 

Minashi’s chest ached as Tsunade’s cries and sobs filled the air. The scent of her tears reached her sensitive nose and Minashi made herself watch. This was a new beginning for them. Reunited together. While brought back by pain, hopefully, she could help them see that together they could heal. Minashi watched as Sarutobi got up and kneeled before his three students. Like a loving parent, he pulled them all in closer. Whispering promises that he’d try to make it better. That the one responsible was going to pay for his crimes. He apologized for his blindness. For his foolishness. But no more. 

Minashi smiled very small at the sight. It was the first major change. The road would be hard to predict from here. However, seeing them together- in pain but soon to heal- meant that Konoha would be stronger for their healing bond. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 19

“So, who’s the Kunoichi Sensei?” Jiraiya asked. 

Minashi jolted from her spot by the window. She’d let the group of four talk in hushed tones to console each other for a while. It seemed that they’d regained enough composure to remember she was there. She glanced back to see each taking a seat before the Hokage’s desk as he took his own. 

“You said she is a trusted Advisor.” Orochimaru cleared his throat. 

Tsunade really looked at her and frowned. “Why aren’t you bleeding or even looking the slightest in pain? I used a full power kick on you.” 

Jiraiya frown joined hers. “You sent shadow clones after Tsunade-hime, but they didn’t pop after going through a wall.” 

“Really?” Orochimaru asked surprised at his teammates. 

“Once she actually got serious, she overpower Tsunade-hime.” Jiraiya gossiped. 

Minashi deadpanned them. Sarutobi sighed. Tsunade just stared at her. 

“How are you hiding your chakra from us completely? Well, minus that control seal.” Tsunade asked. 

“How do you have the Fox Contract?” Jiraiya asked. 

“How are you able to hold a powerful henge even during a fight?” Orochimaru inquired, as his eyes looked her up and down. 

Minashi rolled her eyes and looked at Sarutobi. “Are they going to let me speak? Or will they continue to talk?” 

Sarutobi shrugged. “You’ve peeked all of their interests in different ways. Where do you want to begin?” 

Minashi hummed before four clones appeared and spread out to lay a stronger barrier seal within the privacy seal. 

Sarutobi raised a brow at her. “Danzo is in jail.” He deadpanned. 

“The walls have ears.” She replied before sighing when the purple barrier flared around their group. Minashi rolled her shoulders. “That should keep the pesky plant from hearing.” 

“What?” 

“Someone’s minion from the war.” 

Sarutobi frowned confusion on her description of the enemy, but understanding enough. “It’s in Konoha?” 

Minashi grunted. “I don’t know. All I know is that it is a crafty bastard and I’d rather not risk my origins being found out by it. I know after fighting it plenty of times that it had plans different from Madara’s.” 

“MADARA?!” The Sannin exclaimed. “Sensei!” they spoke once again in unison. 

Sarutobi held up a hand to silence them. They did and settled back into their seats. “Minashi stop procrastinating.” He ordered sharply. Even if he too wanted to know how a dead man was involved with her future. Orochimaru jolted in his seat and looked at her sharply. He only knew one person named that. 

Minashi grunted and dropped the henge. She let her mindscape adult one take over her ANBU clothes for the moment, hat on her hip and all. Black hair turned to blonde. Whiskers appeared on her cheeks. 

“I am Namikaze-Uzumaki Minashi, Third Generation host to the Kyuubi no Kitsune, Rokudaime Hokage. With the help of the Reanimated Shodaime, Reanimated Niidaime, Reanimated Sandaime, Reanimated Yondaime, The Godaime, and the chakra from all the remaining Kage level Shinobi of the Allied Shinobi Forces; I have returned to the past to create a future where the Jyuubi is not created by Uchiha Madara.” 

Silence. 

Minashi heard Kurama burst out cackling in her mind at the shocked looks on all three Sannin. Even Orochimaru’s jaw had dropped. 

“So you aren’t Minato’s sister?” Jiraiya asked slowly. 

Minashi sighed. “No, I’m his and Kushina’s daughter. I was born a twin with my elder brother Naruto. Naruto died before I could fully get my Seal Master Title and make the jump back.” 

“Who is in the academy then?” Orochimaru asked with wide eyes. 

“My Blood Clone. It’s my strongest clone.” 

“So what are you? A child or an Adult?” 

“The price to travel back in time was age degeneration. If I could have gone further back I would have.” Minashi glanced back to Tsunade. “One would be to save Uzushiogakure and the Senju clan. However, I would have ceased to exist or been a helpless infant. I wouldn’t have been able to make a difference that way.” 

“So you knew, because-“ Tsunade whispered. 

“You and I found the documents an Ex-ROOT friend of mine was able to locate before the other ROOT destroyed them. You leveled one of the training fields when you found out.” Minashi winced and rubbed her left arm. “I tried to calm you down with Naruto. You broke my arm and gave him internal bleeding before we could calm you down.” 

“Was-was Minato killed?” Jiraiya asked. 

Minashi tilted her head at him. “Yes, but not by Danzo’s ROOT. Sandaime-sama chose him over Orochimaru to be the Yondaime.” 

Orochimaru raised a brow at her inquisitively. She met his gaze. “You were corrupted by Danzo then. You did human experimentations with the Shodaime’s cells. The Hokage didn’t know, but he felt that you had changed and didn’t feel as if you were the correct choice. You felt even more slighted and it sent you on a spiral surrounded by darkness that you only recovered from towards the end.”  

Minashi looked back to Jiraiya after seeing understanding in Orochimaru’s eyes. “Minato was chosen as Yondaime because he was brilliant as Orochimaru, but also was the Hero of the Third war.” 

“Third war?” Sarutobi hissed. “We just finished the second. A third will come to pass?” 

“Hai.” She glanced at him. “No one thought to save the minor nations from the effects of War on their soil. They sparked the Third. Actions in the Third sparked the Fourth.” 

Sarutobi sighed and covered his face. “No more talk of war please.” He whispered. Minashi nodded and met the eyes of the Sannin. 

“Minato was killed protecting myself and Naruto from the Kyuubi. Kushina was attacked right after giving birth to us. While my father got my brother and I to safety, she was kidnapped and the fox ripped from her. The attacker then set it on Konoha. My father died protecting us from its claw. He then sealed one-half into each of us. Upon my return, my seal was stronger. The Kyuubi transferred to me.” 

Tsunade jerked. “Is Kushina okay?” 

Minashi smiled and nodded. “Yes, because he wasn’t forcibly taken from her, all she’s had to do is readjust to her chakra levels. My chakra coils rely on Kurama’s Chakra. Her’s do not.” 

“Kurama?” Jiraiya inquired. 

“The Fox. He’s my partner.” 

“You control it?” Orochimaru’s eyes widened curious. 

“No. We are friends. Naruto and I befriended Kurama as the Fourth War started. He has been my last remaining piece of Naruto.” 

“You meant it then.” Tsunade whispered. Minashi glanced at her. “When you said you lost everyone.” 

Minashi let out a long sigh. “Yes. With the precision work the remaining seal masters did and with Kurama’s guidance, we have landed in our own dimension and time. We have effectively erased our future. Everyone I knew, everyone I lost, and everyone I loved have been erased.” 

Silence befell the group once again and Minashi took that moment to pull her mind from the dark spiral that bringing up the past brought. 

“Can you prove all this?” Orochimaru asked. Minashi narrowed her eyes on him. 

“Why?” 

He raised a brow. “I’m not interested in the seal. I’m only interested in you proving that you are who you say you are.” 

Minashi nodded and released her control on her chakra. It lashed out with the power of her own levels and that of Kurama’s full and an extra half added in. 

The Sannin and Hokage paled at the size of her chakra. 

“Whoa.” Jiraiya muttered. 

“It’s Uzumaki Chakra alright.” Tsunade whispered. “You feel even stronger than Grandmother Mito.” 

Minashi nodded and pulled it all back in slowly. “That is correct. I still had my half of Kurama from the war. It merged with Kushina’s full kurama. So I have and extra half of Kurama. He’s also currently working on balancing out the Yin and Yang. I wouldn’t be surprised if the full level stayed at this power once the Yin and Yang are balanced again.” 

“How are you hiding all that chakra?” Orochimaru asked tilting his head. 

Minashi snorted. “Years of practice.” Minashi jerked when she felt the mental tail swipe to the back of her head. She absently rubbed her head in response. “Fine. I also cheat with a seal.” She muttered and pointed to her stomach. “I altered Kurama’s seal to allow us to hide our signatures. No need giving away that I’m the Kyuubi jinchuriki.” 

Sarutobi gave her an odd look. “Was that Kurama correcting you?” he asked even as his lip twitched. 

“Hai.” She admitted begrudgingly. Her eyes suddenly lit up when she remembered something. “OH! I also have other proof.” She reached under her shirt and pulled the Shodaime’s necklace out. 

Tsunade hissed at the sight of it and clutched her own. “What-How?!” 

Minashi gave her a sad smile. “Naruto and I went with Ero-sennin to get you to be Godaime. You insulted the Hokage position. We challenged you and made a bet. After a deadlock battle of the Sannin, you rewarded it to Naruto. He never took it off. You gave it to me before I left, saying that he’d broken the curse of it. Even if he’d never made Hokage due to his death in the war, he’d worn it for years. You knew then it wasn’t cursed. Instead it was filled with hope.” Minashi looked down at it and slowly removed it. She walked to Tsunade and kneeled so she could meet the Slug Sannin’s eyes. She held out her hand for Tsunade’s necklace. 

Tsunade gripped her’s tighter. 

“Please. Trust me.” Minashi whispered. 

Honey brown eyes held Cerulean blue. Tsunade saw determination and that blasted hope again in those bright depths. Slowly she removed the cursed necklace and placed it in the younger blonde’s hand. Minashi placed it around her own neck and then held the one she’d brought with her to Tsunade. 

“This one is no longer cursed.” Tsunade took it with trembling hands. “Instead, let the Hope Naruto and I filled it with, heal your wounds. Let it remind you that there is still good left to fight for.” Tsunade felt her eyes burn as she slipped it over her neck. The tears fell as it touched her skin. The stone had always been a cold reminder around her neck. This one was warm. Tsunade looked up to watch Minashi reverently tuck her new one away. “Plus this one can’t kill me. I’ve already been Hokage.” She smirked. 

Tsunade felt a bubble of laughter slip out before she pulled the blonde into her arms and hugged her. 

“Thank you.” She whispered. Minashi just held on and waited for Tsunade to be ready to release her. No matter how much she wanted to stay in the other blonde’s arms. 

When she was released she stood back up and stepped back. 

“So that’s why you spoke and knew about my teammates.” Orochimaru muttered, Minashi heard him though. 

“Hai. I made my Orochimaru a promise. To save you if I could.” She gave him a soft smile. “I believe if anyone could fix the Sannin it can be you. I find that over the past few years, that I’ve missed being with my teammates.” She repeated his words. “You also told me to use logic against you. And to be intriguing. It would distract you from Jiji’s Chair.” 

Orochimaru just blinked at her. “I’m only interested in being the Hokage to keep other Hokage’s from reducing my funding.” 

Minashi rolled her eyes. “There is more to the world than research Orochimaru.” She waved to the two Sannin on either side of him. “Your teammates for one thing. While I’ve brought you three back together, you three will need to work together to heal each other’s hurt.” She pointed to Tsunade. “She needs the most. She needs loved ones to remind her that the world doesn’t need to burn.” She pointed to Jiraiya. “He needs to be reminded that he can lean on others and not just himself and his few spies.” She pointed to Orochimaru. “You need to be healed by the same people that abandoned you. They forgot you and you’re bitter about it. You need them just as much as they need you.” 

She leaned back against Sarutobi’s desk. The three Sannin shared glances for a few minutes before Tsunade gave a small smile. 

“It has been kinda boring not keeping you two in line.” Tsunade commented. 

“Us in line?!” Jiraiya scoffed offended. “I am the perfect example of a Good Shinobi.” 

Orochimaru hissed. “Try the opposite. You do everything a Shinobi is not supposed to do.” 

“Teme.” Jiraiya grunted and glared at his teammate. “Just because you know more Ninjutsu doesn’t mean-“ 

“Boys!” Tsunade snapped even as her lips twitched. 

Minashi smiled. Sarutobi sighed but caught Minashi’s smile. He felt his own lips lift into one. He tapped her side and her eyes cut to him. 

“Thank you.” He whispered as the Sannin continued to bicker. 

Minashi’s eyes just brightened as her smile grew. 

 

“So what do you really look like brat?” Tsunade grumbled after yelling at both her teammates while holding their ears and dragging them back to their seats. They were grumbling and rubbing their ears as they stared at her. 

“A mini-Minato.” Orochimaru grumbled. “With the Uzumaki girl’s grin.” 

Jiraiya perked up. “Really?” 

“Hai.” Minashi nodded but frowned. “I haven’t released the transformation because I know it’s hard to take me serious when I look like a child.” 

“Can you release it now?” Jiraiya asked. 

Minashi sighed and shook her head. “No.” She dropped enough of the henge to show that she was still in her ANBU uniform. “The uniform is not a henge. If I release the transformation, I’ll be stuck with clothes that are too large.” 

“Ah.” Jiraiya muttered and looked away. “Gomen.” 

Minashi shrugged. “Minato will want to introduce me to his Sensei anyways. We’ll see one another again. Plus, I’m under Sakumo’s Guardianship since Minato and Kushina aren’t of age yet.” 

“You’re with Sakumo?” Tsunade asked surprised as Jiraiya sat up straighter with her. 

“The Hatake Brat is smitten with her.” Orochimaru stared at Minashi oddly. 

Minashi flushed and looked away. Silence filled the air. 

Sarutobi chuckled. “You going to explain Minashi?” 

Minashi just turned redder and stayed silent. 

“Kakashi and Minashi were lovers in her future. Inojiro and I were able to witness some of that when confirming her story through her memories.” 

“How old are you?” Tsunade asked. 

Minashi grunted. “Twenty five before the jump back. I’m currently in the body of a four almost five year old.” 

“Huh.”  

“Anyways.” Minashi really wanted to change the topic of discussion. “Will you all be able to help me if needed?” 

The Sannin gave her looks but let her change the subject. They then shared glances again. All began to smile. Even Orochimaru had a small smile lifting the corners of his lips. 

“Hai.” Jiraiya answered. 

“You brought to light someone that has hurt us all.” Tsunade continued. 

“Or planned to hurt us again.” Orochimaru said with narrowed eyes. 

“We will help you protect the future.” Jiraiya grinned. 

Minashi felt a weight lifted off her shoulders as she bowed her head to them. 

“Thank you.” She whispered passed her tight throat. 

“I think it is us that owes you our thanks.” Orochimaru stated as he frowned at the scroll in his hand. “I knew that Councilman Danzo worked in grey areas, but my own desires clouded my judgement. It almost cost me.” 

Minashi hummed as she looked at Orochimaru. “You turned out to be a very dark and creepy scientist in my time.” He looked up at her. “You set your eyes upon my preteen Teammate so you could have his body.” 

Minashi held back her smirk at the awkward silence that filled the air. Orochimaru began flushing when his teammates sent him wary looks. 

“You wanted him because he was a perfect candidate to allow you to learn more jutsu. He had a powerful Sharingan. I don’t know what jutsu you used, but you learned to transfer your body into a younger one. It was the only way you found immortality.” 

Orochimaru jerked. “While-“ he cleared his throat. “While I do not like the fact that life has an end, I wouldn’t think that I would go so far.” He tried to reason. “And I do not fancy prepubescent boys.” 

Minashi chuckled. “Relax. I’m aware of that. You were still very brilliant and a very hard man to kill. Many got very close, but your skill in jutsu and science saved your ass every time. Yet even with all your flaws, you inspired loyalty through your people. The outcast bloodlines. Even if you were a creepy mad scientist.” 

Orochimaru’s eyes were lit with curiosity. Minashi rolled his eyes. “As long as you stay away from human experimentation, stealing clan eyes, and killing innocent people, I have and will continue to have no qualms with you Orochimaru.” She pointed to her stomach. “I grew up in a village that couldn’t tell the difference between a scroll and the Kunai it stores.” 

Sarutobi’s eyes widened. “What?” 

Minashi waved him off. “Nothing that matters anymore. Let’s just say that I’ll be abusing the fact that no one but you four and Inojiro know that I’m an adult. I missed out on a normal childhood. I’ll be cashing that in. That and when my brother is born, I’ll be spoiling him with love and attention.” 

“What about your counterpart?” Jiraiya looked at her curiously. 

Minashi smiled calmly, already knowing and coming to terms with her counterpart’s fate. As she remained silent, realization appeared on the Sannins’ faces. 

Orochimaru was the first to realize. “You’ve erased your own existence too, haven’t you?” 

Tsunade paled. Jiraiya stared at her dumbfounded. Sarutobi looked on with sadness. 

“Haven’t you already paid enough to save us?” The Hokage asked softly. Already hearing her state this when she arrived, but finally being able to find the words to express how he felt on the matter. 

Minashi just smiled at him. “A cost I was willing to pay. We listed all the things that I would possibly face when coming back here. I accepted each and every cost if it would save not only my immediate friends, but my friends and allies across the elemental nations.” 

The Sannin just stared at her for a few beats. Minashi kept her smile. 

Jiraiya ran a hand over his face and shook his head at her. “Alright, so what do we do now?” 

“Now, you three stay together and help each other overcome this pain.” Sarutobi stated firmly. “I don’t care how you deal with it, just keep it out of the village. Get your anger and grief out now. Come back stronger and ready to face what’s to come. You need each other at your strongest. Konoha will need you at your strongest.” 

“Danzo is just a small stepping stone.” Minashi stated as her eyes darkened. “We got lucky in my time. We were able to destroy all available Rinnegan eyes to keep Madara from coming back to a living body. Not just a reanimation.” Minashi saw Jiraiya jerk. She pointed a finger at him. “I’ll come back to you on that.” She muttered and his eyes widened. 

“Like I said, we destroyed the Rinnegan eyes. Madara instead went after the Last sharingan eyes. That made Kakashi and Sasuke his targets.” 

“Kakashi?!” the group exclaimed. 

Minashi sighed and rubbed her head. “Kami, This is why I don’t like talking about the future. So much was different and too interlinked to change. Yes, Kakashi had a sharingan after being saved by a friend. Said friend was used by Madara. Said friend killed my parents. Said friend eventually aided us in escaping Madara and gave his last Sharingan when Madara stole Kakashi’s. Back on track. Sasuke and Kakashi were our last Sharingan users, but didn’t stand a chance. Sasuke and Naruto together were our best bet and stood no chance. If we can prevent the events that led up to the fourth war, then my future will be obsolete. That is my goal. That is where I need help. I planned to do as much as I could on my own.” She looked to Sarutobi and gave a tired smile. “But I’ve learned that it will not hurt to have allies.” She looked back at the Sannin. 

Jiraiya gave her a thumbs up. “You got them.” He grinned. 

Tsunade crossed her arms and gave a firm nod. “Of course she does.” 

“It would look most unbecoming for the Sannin to not aid in protecting the future.” Orochimaru scoffed. 

Minashi smirked. 

“You all still make me proud.” Sarutobi chuckled. “The future is already looking brighter.” 

Minashi sighed but kept her thoughts internal. It already is. You just don’t know how much Jiji. 

A smirk took Minashi’s lips after a few moments of comfortable silence. She then suddenly summoned another clone. Everyone’s eyes turned to her as she lifted the shirt to show the belly. With a few Fuuin symbols, she then performed a special summoning jutsu and slammed her hand on the Clone’s belly. 

“Mind-Soul Summoning Jutsu.” She whispered. A flash of chakra and the clone flinched before its features transformed. Blue eyes turned red with slits. Blonde hair turned a mix of burnt orange and strawberry blonde. Six whiskers darkened and teeth sharpened. The female body filled out and compacted to a male form. 

The red eyes snapped to Minashi. “You finished it?” The deep voice asked. It was strange coming from Minashi’s male turned body. 

Minashi nodded even as she kept her smirk. “Hai~” 

Red eyes narrowed. “When? And Why have you brought me out?” 

Minashi chuckled as her grin turn triumphant. “You bet I would be asked about the Control seal before Konoha by the Ero-sennin. He didn’t even ask before. Orochimaru did and only after I returned to Konoha.” 

The redheaded clone stiffened and groaned as Minashi began to bounce in place. 

“You get to eat Ramen with me!” She cheered and jumped up and down laughing. 

Kurama facepalmed. “Brat!” Kurama growled. Minashi just continued to laugh.  

“Minashi?” Sarutobi asked curiously. 

Minashi paused long enough to wave at the Kurama possessed clone. “Everyone, Kurama. Kurama, you know them.” 

Eyes widened in shock at her words. The Kyuubi no Kitsune stood before them glaring at his host. He then slid his red eyes across the group. 

“Yo.” He smirked. Minashi held back her cackle at the deadpanned or shocked looks he received. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 20

Minashi finished off the Miso of her Ramen and set the bowl on the stack that was beside her. She glanced to her companion to see him looked down contemplatively into his empty bowl. Kurama sitting beside her in a male form was strange. It also hurt a bit to look at him. He still held her facial structure so in reality he looked a little like Naruto now. Minashi had resumed her ANBU henge after they had made their escape from the Hokage’s office.  

As much as she had missed Ero-sennin and Baa-chan, they weren’t the same people she knew. Tsunade was more jaded, and Ero-sennin was more serious. She’d had time to get used to a non-psychopathic Orochimaru. It was weird not seeing Tsunade behind the desk being scolded by Shizune-san. It was weird to not hear Jiraiya making a sexual comment out of everything. Her Jiraiya must have been the mellowed out version. Her Tsunade had decades to deal with her pain.  

She let out a sigh. 

“You knew they’d be different.” Kurama growled as his finger inscribed a privacy seal on the counter with his chakra to keep their conversation private. 

“I did. But knowing and seeing are two different things Kurama.” She sighed. 

“Didn’t the old bat warn you as well that she had been very bitter around this time?” 

“Hai.” Minashi muttered. 

“Then why are you acting so depressed? You knew they would be like this.” 

“I miss my Baa-chan. I miss my Jiraiya. I’m okay with this Orochimaru. He’s actually not that bad a person.” 

Kurama hummed as his red eyes looked her over. “You knew that this change would be the first ripple in the time stream. Everything will be harder to predict from now on-“ 

“Yet fate still has a tricky way of keeping things the same.” She finished. It was a conversation they’d had many times before. “I know.” She sighed and looked at him again. Her chest constricted and she looked away. 

“I look like the brat, don’t I?” Kurama muttered. 

“You’re in my body. Your Henge didn’t change any of the base traits. So yes. You look like what Naruto should have turned out like.” 

Kurama reached over and patted her head. To her surprise he then pulled her head to his shoulder. 

“I miss him too Minashi.” He whispered. 

Minashi’s eyes stung. “He would have given anything to be here with me. I know it. He would love to grow up with Minato and Kushina. Even if they didn’t know we were their kids.” 

Kurama sighed. “Then neither of you would have been born.” 

“Maybe.” Minashi chuckled. “Or maybe they would have the other children they never had the chance to have.” 

Kurama held her tighter and opened his mouth to apologize. 

“Don’t.” Minashi sighed as she grabbed his hand that was resting on her shoulder. “You aren’t responsible for their death. You were in a rage caused by Tobi. I don’t blame you for wanting your freedom. Anyone would fight not to be chained.” 

“I still took them away from you. I shouldn’t have been so arrogant to think that I could fight Madara better outside of Kushina. It didn’t work the first time.” 

Minashi gripped his hand tighter but let a comfortable silence ring between them. Kurama broke it again after a few beats. 

“How mad will your Hokage be that you ran out on him?” 

Minashi snorted. “As he’s insinuated a few times, I outrank him.” 

Kurama snorted and released her. “Yes, but you are also under his command with that ANBU tattoo you are sporting.” 

Minashi raised a brow at him. “You and I both know that I can easily negate it’s effects.” 

Kurama grunted and rang a finger along the empty bowl. “It wasn’t horrible. Not as good as a fresh kill, but not bad either.” He said changing the subjects. 

“You are allowed to get away with not calling it the foods of the gods because I love you and know you.” Minashi stated evenly. “That was a compliment of high praises in your terms.” 

Kurama chuckled and rolled his eyes. 

“And it’s not really the Hokage I’m worried about.” Minashi sighed back on topic. Kurama grunted. “It’s Tsunade.” 

Kurama raised a brow at her. “Why?” 

Minashi gave a sheepish grin. “When I left clones of us there, I had mine tell Tsunade and Jiji that she should go back to being in charge of the hospital. The quicker I got the ROOT off my hands the quicker I could go back to being a kid. Plus it was Baa-chan that should deal with all their medical care.”  

Kurama sweat dropped. “Did you call her baa-chan to her face?” 

“Hai.” 

“I’m not going to heal you when she catches up to you.” He snorted. 

Minashi chuckled. “She threw my clone into the wall. It popped since it was a normal one. My clone of you just burst out laughing and gave a Kakashi excuse before dispersing. I love them, but all that talk of my past, the once future, was just depressing. I needed out.” 

Kurama paused and looked at her curiously. “Don’t you have an appointment with Inojiro soon?” 

Minashi grunted and frowned at nothing. “My clone went while we were on the mission. It should have explained to him what was going on, but I’m not sure what they spoke about.” 

Kurama looked at her. “You know the backlash is going to knock you out right?” 

Minashi nodded. “That’s why I’m postponing the switch. I’ll be down from the exhaustion and mental taxation from the blood clone and it’s memories.” 

“The humans will panic.” Kurama smirked. 

Minashi groaned. “I know.” She paused then paled. “They’ll take me to the hospital. I just know it. Then Baa-chan will get me.” She whimpered and fell into her arms on the table. “Kill me now.” 

Kurama burst out laughing. “Nah, you reap what you sow Brat.” He grinned. Minashi just groaned. He paused in his laughter and Minashi paused in her sulking. 

“The Blonde brat found you.” He murmured. 

“Do you want to walk around or go back to the seal?” she asked just as quiet. 

“Seal. I’ll walk away first and then dispel the Jutsu.” He rubbed a hand over her head. “Stay strong brat.” 

She grunted and the privacy seal was dispersed before he got up and left. Minashi pulled out enough money to cover them both and laid the money on the counter. When she turned around she found Minato standing there staring at her. 

“Do you have a minute?” he asked. 

Minashi nodded. She followed him to a training field where the rest of team Cheetah resided. Minashi’s eyes widened on them. 

“Why are you all not watching over the ROOT?” she asked surprised. 

“Hokage-sama relieved us.” Boar stated. 

“Sensei and his team are looking after the ROOT.” Minato said and looked at her carefully. “He said that if you hadn’t run off during the meeting you would have known too. He’s having them work together so that you can get the control seal off of you.” 

Minashi looked down at her covered arms. “Oh. Nice.” She muttered and looked back at the team. “Now why am I here?” 

“Team training.” Minato smiled. “We got lucky last time. We were also following your orders since you had point on the mission. It will not always be the same. Hokage-sama said that we will be leading this team together.” 

“With you as leading Captain?” Minashi confirmed. 

Minato looked at her carefully. “Hai-“ he said slowly. “Does that bother you? Having to take orders from someone younger than you?” 

Minashi snorted. “As long as you are a competent Captain, I will follow you. I can’t promise you that I’ll get this teamwork thing down. I’ve been alone for a while. Habits like that are hard to break. Call me on them, and I’ll try to improve.” 

Minato’s shoulders relaxed. “You will be my second in command since you are the most experience of us all. That and you are a trusted council of the Hokage. We are not prideful enough to not take in any advice you have for us.” 

Minashi smirked. “Does that mean I get to help with team training?” 

Minato paused and looked her up and down. “What do you have in mind?” 

Minashi just let the foxy grin slid up her face until it was almost evil looking.  

Minato realize then, he’d made a mistake. 

 

 

 

“Sadist.” 

Minashi beamed at the praise that was echoed by the other four members of Team Cheetah. Minashi sent a silent thanks to her Tsunade and Kakashi. They had put her through the paces once the Shinobi Alliance had settled. 

She glanced once more at the group of ANBU that were in similar states of exhaustion in the middle of the training field. 

‘Did I push them too far?’ She asked her companion. 

They aren’t about to fight Monsters of the Jyuubi or Zetsu Clones. But they are soon going to be facing the Third War. Kurama paused and Minashi got the mental impression of him shrugging. They’ll get used to it. Minashi held back her snort and just gave the ANBU a grimace. 

“Sorry. I forgot to ease you all into my routine. I warned you that I haven’t been on a team in a while.” She tried to shrug it off. 

Minato grunted and stood up. He paused to make sure his legs would hold him before moving towards the woman. 

“That was your routine?” he asked a bit baffled. 

Minashi gave him a crooked grin. “Actually that is just the warm up.” Whimpers and whines came from the other four. “but I think we’ll hold off on the rest until you all can keep up with the warmup.” 

Minato just stared at her. “Why?” 

“Why What?” she asked obviously ignoring the fact that she knew what he was talking about. 

“I understand the Second war ending only a couple years ago, but this is beyond excessive training.” 

Minashi held his cerulean blues with her own. “You never know when you’ll come across an opponent stronger than yourself. I’d rather be overly strong compared to the average shinobi, than be weak when faced with an ungodly strong enemy.” 

Minato stared at her and let out a long sigh. “Understandable.” He muttered and began stretching. “So what’s the main part?” He asked. Their team groaned but slowly got up to stand behind their captain. 

She looked at the male blonde and felt herself falter. There, in his eyes, was Naruto. She felt her own eyes sting. 

“Kitsune-san?” he called confused. 

Minashi turned and put on her mask. “Gomen.” She said carefully as she turned back to the group. “You just reminded me of someone dear to me that I lost. But enough of that. Alright next part.” 

Minashi went into autopilot as she began explaining the rest of her routine. She called up five additional clones to help her new ANBU team with the tasks ahead of them. In autopilot, she was able to turn her mental focus inward and make sure thoughts of Naruto wouldn’t distract her again. She’d been doing good this past week. The mission had been a good distraction. Now it was coming to an end. She’d have to go back to her actual body age and have free time to think. Minashi was also dreading the long sleep she’d have as a result of the weeklong Blood clone. Or at least the dreams she was bound to have. 

As day turned to Dusk then night, she relieved the ANBU team. They sluggishly left the training field as Minashi moved to sit at the base of a tree. 

“You alright?” She looked up to find Minato standing before her awkwardly. 

“I’ve been better.” She muttered. “That’s for sure.” She released a sigh. “Don’t mind me. I’ll get over it.” 

Minato shuffled a bit before taking a seat beside her. “Do you want to talk about him?” He asked. 

Minashi glanced at him curiously. "Trying to learn more about me Taichou?” she lightly teased. 

Minato just stared at her. “I’ve been lucky enough to not lose any of my teammates. Other people I know, have. I’ve seen how it tears them up inside. I dread the day that I make a mistake and it costs me someone dear.” 

Minashi sighed and removed her mask. Minato stared at her black markings and blue eyes filled with sadness. 

“He’s been gone for seven years.” She looked out to the training field. It wasn’t team seven’s, but one of the ANBU private ones. “I miss him every day. Then I lost his girlfriend and her child. It got worse when I lost two of our best friends and teammates.” Her face pinched. “It was only me and our old sensei left.” She swallowed. “I protected him and he protected me. It brought us closer than we ever were before.” She reached up and clenched her shirt above her chest. “I miss him the most now. But they are all gone.” She sighed and rubbed her face. “I didn’t think I could work with another team. I’m still against it, but I will not abandon good Shinobi to die just because I didn’t want a team.” 

“I’m sorry for your loss.” Minato said softly. 

Minashi glanced over at him with conflicted eyes. “Thanks. I know it’s all confusing. I know I’m confusing but that’s just the way it needs to be. If you still hold any suspicion against me Minato, know this. I’m here to protect Konoha and her citizens. I will never abandon her to those who seek her harm.” 

His sharp blue eyes held hers. “You won’t answer any question I ask about your personal life or past without it being vague, will you?” 

Minashi just gave him a smile. 

Minato looked away. “I don’t like it. I don’t trust it.” He paused and looked back at Minashi. “but I can’t help but to still trust you. You brought to light a rotten root of Konoha’s tree. You still talked about your past even if there weren’t names or descriptions of what happened to them.” 

“You’re a trusted Kunoichi of the Sandaime, yet there are no records of your existence before recently. Yet-” 

He held out a hand to her. “I can trust you for now Kitsune-san. I hope though that we can become friends and that I can earn your trust to hear your story. My dream is to become Hokage. That is protecting Konoha and all her people. You are one of those people.” 

Minashi looked at his hand and gripped it. “You already have my trust Minato.” She looked up into his eyes with a hard gaze. “But if I can help it, you and a select few others will Never know my origins. Not because I don’t trust you to understand them. But because it’s for your own safety.” 

Minato held her gaze. Felt the strength in her palm. Felt the traces of her chakra through skin contact. Knew that she was telling the truth from her Pulse. She held her secrets to protect others. Not to cause harm. 

“I understand.” He said calmly and they released hands. He gave her a smile and she smirked in return. 

“BRAT!” a Booming voice shook the training ground. 

Minashi’s eyes snapped to where all three Sannin were headed for them. 

“Shit.” Minashi hissed. 

“Give me back my Notes!” Jiraiya Shouted. 

“You aren’t saddling me with all those ROOTs without help!” Tsunade hollered right with him. 

“I want a Spar!” Orochimaru hissed. 

“Wow.” Minato deadpanned. “Wouldn’t want to be you.” He said but looking to Minashi he only found her smiling. 

“Yeah.” She agreed but stood up and suddenly three clones were standing before her. He watched her perform extra hand signs and gripped their wrists. 

“You all know what to do.” She chuckled and then vanished. 

“Coward.” The clone lined up with Tsunade muttered. 

“Nah, Boss is just Smarter than most.” The one in line with Jiraiya chuckled. 

The third just glared at both. “I have to spar Orochimaru. Fuck you both.” It snapped. “He’s a fucking Sannin.” 

The other two deadpanned the third. “We’re Us.” They chorused. 

The third blinked before smiling. “Oh, yeah.” It then turned to Orochimaru. “BRING IT ORO-CHAN!” it shouted. 

Orochimaru hissed as his chakra lashed out. He sprinted for the third clone and they were gone in a blur of taijutsu and ninjutsu. 

Tsunade and Jiraiya paused to watch the spar for a moment. They then each looked to their respective clones. 

Tsunade raised a brow at her. “Boss gave me orders to help. She’ll return when it’s time to release the ROOT agents. She wants the Seal off just as much as they do.” Tsunade hummed and then glanced at the dueling Orochimaru and Clone three. 

“How about a spar instead? She did something to you. I can sense that you are different than the over powered Shadow clones I faced before.” 

Clone two nodded. “I’m her most powerful clone.” Understanding lit up in Tsunade’s eyes. 

“Ah. Good. Let’s spar.” She turned to the Kunai locked Orochimaru and Kitsune clone. “OI! Let us join! We need to work on teamwork anyways Orochimaru!” she shouted as she dragged the second clone to the others. 

Jiraiya sent a raised brow to the last clone. “Are we going to join as well?” It asked. 

“Where are my notes?” he asked instead. 

Kitsune clone sighed while shrugging. “Boss hid them. Said it was payback for making her have to chase Tsunade around instead of a nice chat.” 

Jiraiya grunted before cracking his neck. “I beat you, you tell me where she hid them?” 

Kitsune snorted. “You can try Ero-sennin.” 

He glared. “Stop calling me that. She said the same thing in the meeting.” 

Kitsune clone raised a brow. “Are you saying you aren’t a pervert?” 

Minato facepalmed when his sensei spoke again. “NO! I’m a SUPER pervert. Get it right!” 

Kitsune tilted her head at him. “You’re weird.” 

Minato snorted and stood. “It’s almost a requirement for Elite Shinobi of Konoha to have quirks.” He chuckled as he remembered some of his senpais. “It makes us unique.” 

“It’s also a coping mechanism.” The clone muttered while Jiraiya began shouting at his teammates that him and his Clone were joining. 

Minato watched the three clones face off to the Sannin before he left. There wasn’t room for spectators to watch undamaged anymore. So he returned home to clean up and get a good night sleep. He’d hopefully get some time in with his Imouto now that the mission was done. 

 

Tsunade stretched pleased as she made her way to the lower levels of the hospital. That spar was exactly what she needed. It had been too long since she’d last worked that hard. The brat was proving to be a good sparring partner. Tsunade had already guessed that she must have trained with the brat from how she was able to dodge most of Tsunade’s hits. 

She stepped into the main walkway of the holding cells and found Minashi leaning against the wall. Her eyes shut, but Tsunade knew that she was not asleep. Just focused. 

“If you were going to meet me here anyways, why did I have to chase you down?” She demanded storming up to the brat who was only a couple inches shorter than her. 

Minashi opened her tired blue eyes to meet Tsunade’s brown ones. 

“You needed to release the emotional tension from the meeting with Jiji.” She explained softly. 

Tsunade jerked and took a step back. Minashi moved into step with her and led her down the hall. 

“Sparring is how you do that. It’s how I do it. But the team spar against me wasn’t planned.” She gave Tsunade a soft smile. “but it felt good to fight side by side again. Didn’t it?”  

Tsunade looked at her knowing smile and rolled her eyes. “Yes brat it did. Happy?” 

Minashi lost her smile and looked forward. “I’m not going to force you three to stay together. I just hope this interference has begun to heal your bond. Konoha is stronger with you all together. But I’m not going to force you to stay here Tsunade.” They paused and Blue held Brown. “I understand your pain. I just hope you will stay long enough to realize that you won’t heal out there alone with only your young niece and her pig as company.” 

Tsunade sighed and gave the brat a small smile. “I’m here for now. That’s all I can promise. I owe it to Jiraiya and Orochimaru to stick around for a while. You were right about Orochimaru. Jiraiya and I abandoned him. We almost totally lost him because of it. We don’t want to make that mistake again.” 

Minashi felt her eyes burn. “That’s all I ask.” She whispered. 

“Good.” Tsunade grunted and looked to the next door leading to the ROOT cells. “Now, let’s talk to these Ex-ROOT agents.” 

Minashi nodded. “The Yamanaka have been working with them since we got them out. Hopefully with you directing everything, the transition should be smoother.” 

“Of course it will.” Tsunade huffed and pushed into the room. Minashi rolled her eyes and followed her once Godaime. She was pretty sure that was out of the options now of possibilities. 

Minashi held Kurama, so Minato wouldn’t die saving Konoha. She paused even while Tsunade listened to the reports from the Yamanaka. 

Would Minato even be Yondaime? With the Sannin back, and Minashi was determined to keep Sakumo alive, that left many possible candidates for Yondaime. Sakumo was possible. Tsunade proved to be a good Godaime and Minashi was sure she could convince Sandaime of such. Orochimaru was plausible now, but he might not take it if she could work out where he had proper funding and support. Jiraiya…. 

Minashi grunted at the image of him in the Hokage robes. 

Never. She thought. The Women of Konoha would revolt in a week if not a day. 

Do you not consider your ANBU alias as a possible candidate? Kurama asked and she could FEEL his knowing smirk. Minashi turned inward and flipped him the bird. He just cackled. You know that old Monkey was thinking the same thing. Don’t you deny it brat! 

Don’t remind me.’ She muttered. She shook away the scary thoughts of taking the hat back and watched Tsunade and the Yamanaka work into the night. 

By Midnight Minashi was finally able to release the control seal, freeing all the ex-Root to their own will. They would be watched, but also put with proper teams or housed in foster homes. A program Minashi had suggested to Tsunade when she refused to put the kids back in the orphanage or in ANBU. 

To Minashi’s surprise Tsunade said they could stay with her in the Senju compound until homes could be found. The Yamanaka agreed to send a few Civilians and off duty shinobi to help take care of them and maintain the homes. 

Tsunade spoke about going to her Sensei to see if anyone else would be willing to volunteer time to assist until homes could be found. 

Minashi’s gaze switched from watching Tsunade amazed, to seeing befuddlement on the young children and even some of the preteens. 

Minashi felt something in her shift. It took her a moment to realize what she was feeling. Content. 

She was pleased with Tsunade’s actions. They were a good stepping stone and different than what the Medic-nin had done as Hokage. But then the answer was right there. She wasn’t acting as Hokage. She was acting as a compassionate Medic-nin that saw them as children in need of that emotion. 

Released from the Control seal duties, Minashi slipped away and began making her way back to the Hatake Compound. 

Slipping unseen into her room, after a stop to her ANBU apartment to strip and Henge clothes on, she watched her Blood clone sit up. 

“I need an excuse for why I’m about to crash.” She whispered to her clone. 

“Going overboard with training.” The clone yawned. “Kakashi has been sparring like crazy after setting the goal to be stronger than his Tou-san.” She mumbled. 

Minashi nodded and released her henge form. The clone stripped and Minashi pulled the clones on. 

“Good luck Boss.” It smiled before popping. 

Minashi’s head immediately exploded in pain as she curled up into her futon and buried under the covers. She had just enough time, as the exhaustion slammed into her. She was practically dead to the world. 

Sleep brat. I’ll protect you. She heard Kurama hum before she knew nothing more. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 21

 

Kakashi knocked on Minashi’s door. She’d hadn’t come down for breakfast. Tou-san would be starting their morning training soon. They had been progressing really good since he came back an heard their dreams. He wanted to keep training to be the best. Minashi was already so good. He wanted to stay by her side and show everyone they were the best. 

“Minashi.” He called getting annoyed that she was still sleeping. “Come on, Tou-san is going to start training soon. We need to get it in before academy.” 

When he got no response, he grunted annoyed and threw the slider open. He stomped into her room and was about to yell at her to wake up, instead he froze. Her cheeks were red, she was panting for breath. Icy dread fell down his spine. 

“TOU-SAN!” he shouted as he fell to his knees to check her forehead like Tou-san would. He hissed and yanked his hand away when he was literally burned. He heard movement behind him and turned to find his father pause to take everything in. He leapt into action and tried to touch Minashi as well. He grunted as he too yanked his hand away. 

“That’s not good.” He frowned and began to carefully wrap Minashi up in her blankets. “Come on Kakashi. Up on my back.” 

Kakashi did as told and looked over his father’s shoulder at his flushed blonde doll. His stomach twisted with worry before the world blurred. 

 

Sakumo kept Minashi tight in one arm and kept another on Kakashi as he began to Shunshin from the compound to the hospital. 

He rushed to the desk with Kakashi lowering to his feet at Sakumo’s side. 

The Medic-nin looked up and her eyes widened. “Oh dear.” She hissed and leapt around to check her temperature. “What’s wron-“ She yelped when she touched the girl’s head. 

“Yeah. Wouldn’t recommend that.” Sakumo said worried. “Do you know what’s wrong with her?” 

“No, but we need to get that down. Follow me. We’ll get her set up on a bed and try to find a way to get some fluids in her.” They rushed down a hall. 

When they turned a corner, the medic-nin yelped as she ran into someone. 

“Oh! Tsunade-sama, sorry, I was trying to get a patient to a new room.” Sakumo turned and found that it was indeed Tsunade helping the younger woman up, before her eyes lifted and widened. 

“Tsunade.” He nodded his head. However, he noticed her eyes were on the child in his arms. 

“Tsunade-sama, can you actually help? I can’t even touch her to get a diagnosis.” the medic-nin asked. 

“What?” Tsunade frowned and stepped forward.  

“She’s burning up.” Sakumo supplied. 

“But she’s-“ Tsunade started before stopping and looking at Sakumo. “She shouldn’t be able to get sick.” She said cryptically. 

“You know?” he whispered. 

Tsunade nodded. “When I returned the other day, Sensei informed me. Said I had another distant relative that might need looking after.” She gave a half lie, even if it was mostly true.  

While Sensei said that Minashi would need help, he also said that with her being a child, there would be times where Sakumo and her other Guardians might be out on missions at the same time. Told her that she should take the initiative to ‘take her in’ while they were gone, so that the brat could be herself. Tsunade understood. Even if she was still hurting about what Danzo did, and still not comfortable back in the village. But there had been plenty of work to keep her busy in the hospital. She also could admit the Shizune was thriving already being surround by the village. 

To find one of her old acquaintances, and someone she used to call friend, holding the child that had brought her back; her panic sky rocketed. The brat promised the necklace should not have been able to kill her. 

Remembering the Kyuubi within her, Tsunade led them to the nearest room and looked at the panting child looking so much weaker than the Rokudaime and ANBU Henge she had first met the other blonde as. 

Tsunade coated her hands in with her Mystic Palm technique and got as close to the child’s skin as the heat would allow her. 

 

Sakumo stared at his once friend, wondering when she had gotten back. It had been clear that their group had been broken up during the second war. Tsunade’s breaking point had been losing Dan not long after Nawaki. He didn’t understand why she was back.  

He wondered if it really was for the child laid out between them. But Kushina was a distant relative and Tsunade didn’t stay for her. 

“Tsunade?” he asked softly. 

She grunted as she frowned down worriedly. 

“When did you get back?” 

“Yesterday.” She answered absently. 

“Why? You swore you’d never return after-“ he sighed and ran a hand down his face. 

“After Dan died.” She said softly. She looked up at him with something he thought long lost in her gaze. “I did. But someone showed me that there is still hope. I’m putting my faith in that Hope. We all are.” 

Sakumo jerked. “All?” 

Tsunade gave a small smile. “Jiraiya came back with me. Him, Orochimaru, and I are working everything out. There is a lot of grief between us, but I have hope that it can be healed.” She looked back down to the girl between them and then backed off. “She’ll be fine. She’s just exhausted. Her companion is already working.” 

Sakumo relaxed. “So her fever?” 

Tsunade took the IV line from the medic-nin and coating her hands once again she quickly found a vein and slipped the needle in. “Is just a result of her exhaustion. So all we need to do is keep her hydrated. He’s doing the rest.” 

Sakumo stared at her. “Thank you. When Kakashi yelled for me and I saw-“ he sighed and rubbed his face. “I thought the worst.” 

Tsunade sighed and gave him a small smile. “No worries. I’ll take care of her. Can you do me a favor and inform her brother and cousin? I need to get her settled and then inform the Hokage.” 

Sakumo nodded and looked down to see Kakashi staring up at him worried. 

“She’ll be okay?” he asked softly. 

Sakumo smiled at his son. “Hai. She’s just exhausted. I think we’ve been working her too hard. We’ll take a few days break to allow her to heal and then back off the training. You two still have a while to reach those dreams of yours.” 

“You already have a dream brat?” Tsunade asked. 

“Hai. I want to be stronger than Tou-san.” He said firmly to the older blonde woman. 

Tsunade raised a brow at Sakumo. “Eh? Really. Sakumo here is one of the best though. He’s one of the few that can actually keep up in a fight with me and my partners.” 

Sakumo grunted. “I’m sure that’s changed now.” 

Tsunade raised a brow. “The Boys and I have set up times to get back into shape and working as a team. You want to join the sparring session?” 

Sakumo opened his mouth to decline, before glancing down at Minashi. He remembered that she would need to meet Jiraiya anyways. What harm could it be to introduce them, and spend some times with friends once thought lost? 

He let out a sigh and nodded. “Sure. I also need to speak with Jiraiya about Minashi.” 

Tsunade grunted as she checked Minashi’s fluid bag and vitals again. “Don’t worry about it. Sensei filled us in on what we’ve missed. Now isn’t that brat supposed to be in the academy?” She pointed to Kakashi who hadn’t stopped looking at Minashi. 

Sakumo sighed and looked at his son. “Will you be able to focus in class?” he asked his son. Coal eyes that were his, minus all the decades of bloodshed, looked up. 

“I don’t want to leave Minashi’s side. Can I stay Tou-san? I’ll be good.” 

Sakumo gave his son a small smile. “You’re going to protect her for me while I inform Minato and Kushina?” 

“Hai.” The boy responded seriously. Sakumo ruffled his hair.  

“Thank you Kakashi.” He looked up at Tsunade. “That alright?” 

Tsunade grunted. “If the brat is as stubborn as you, I don’t really have a choice now do I?” 

Sakumo gave a sheepish grin. Tsunade rolled her eyes and looked at the smaller Hatake. “Stay out of the way of the staff brat and you can stay.” 

Kakashi nodded firmly and pulled a chair to Minashi’s bed and sat. 

Tsunade and Sakumo walked out leaving them be. 

“She’s really okay?” he asked in hushed tones. 

Tsunade nodded. “Exhausted. Seems everything has caught up to her. Has she been pushing herself?” Tsunade asked already knowing the answer, but still wondering how it was possible. Was this backlash from holding the transformation? 

Sakumo grunted. “Those two have dreams to surpass the Shinobi that came before them. Not just be able to match up. They want to be stronger. I’ve allowed them some extra training time and some more advanced conditioning regimens. I’m backing off on them though. They can’t be all about training.” 

Tsunade hummed. “Well, they are just kids. Let them be kids.” She stated and jerked a thumb to the lobby. “Go tell her brother and cousin. I need to inform the Hokage. The brat has him wrapped around her finger.” 

Sakumo chuckled and started to walk away. He paused and glanced back at her. “Tsunade.” He called. She looked up from her clipboard to him. “How about we round up the old gang for a night of drinks? Take some time to catch up?” 

Tsunade held his gaze before sighing and nodding. “Why not. I’ll show you all that I can still drink your asses under the table.” 

Sakumo smirked and left in a shunshin to find Minato and Kushina. 

 

Once Sakumo was gone, Tsunade left the Hospital with a few instructions while she stepped out. She then hurried to Sensei’s office. She didn’t knock, but barged in. She glared at the two Chuunins. 

“Leave.” She snapped. 

“Tsunade-” Sarutobi sighed. 

“It’s about the brat.” She cut him off. She watched him stiffen. 

“Please wait outside. You can continue your reports once I’m done this.” The Chuunins stepped out and before Sarutobi could open his mouth, Tsunade pointed to the seal. He obliged and once it was up and the ANBU dismissed, Tsunade spoke. 

“Sakumo walked into the Hospital this morning with Minashi running a hundred and ten degree fever.” 

Sarutobi paled. “What? But she has the fox. Kushina’s never been sick.” 

Tsunade nodded and took a seat. “I don’t know if it’s backlash from holding the Henge transformation for so long or not.” 

Sarutobi paused and let out a sigh. “Or her Blood Clone. They are an advanced version of the shadow clone.” 

Tsunade’s eyes widened in realization. “The Memory transference. It’s backlash from that? That would actually make sense. She’s not physically ill. She is just having to sort through all of the memories and it’s taking a toll on her body.” She mused allow. “Does the fox help her?” 

Sarutobi hummed. “I believe so. They are partners.” He reminded her. 

Tsunade grunted. “I wonder why her temperature is so high though.” 

Sarutobi hummed as theories flew through his mind. “We know she isn’t chakra exhausted. With her reserves and the fox’s, that probably unlikely. What if her temperature is higher because the Kyuubi is at the surface of her body? This all while Minashi sorts through all the memories. The Kyuubi is said to have a fire Affinity. If they are partners like she says, then while she is busy he’s on alert.” 

Tsunade jerked her head to look at her Sensei. “That-“ she tilted her head surprised. “makes a lot of sense.” 

Sarutobi chuckled. “Should I have Inojiro go in and check with her to confirm?” 

Tsunade grunted. “He won’t be able to touch her without burning his hand.” 

Sarutobi frowned. “Anyway to cool her down long enough? 

Tsunade thought about it for a moment and gave a slow nod. “Hai. But only for a short scan.” 

Sarutobi nodded. “I’ll send for him to meet you there.” He paused and looked at her carefully. “How are you handling the Hospital Tsunade?” 

Tsunade grunted. “I’m not doing any surgeries, but I’m setting up classes and getting the head medics back into shape. Their charting is horrendous.” 

Sarutobi chuckled and released the seal. “I’ll leave it to you then.” 

 

 

Inojiro stared at Tsunade as they prepared for his mind scan on Minashi. “She actually brought you and Jiraiya back?” he asked surprised as they worked. 

Tsunade grunted. “Hai. The brat is special. Now get in there and make sure she’s okay.” They spoke easily, already kicking Kakashi out for the scan. He hadn’t been pleased, but listened to the adults. 

Tsunade carefully held the small child’s face just above the water level. The Ice froze Inojiro’s hand, but he completed the Jutsu while Minashi was floating in the ice bath. 

Inojiro arrive back to the forest clearing. He frowned when he couldn’t find Minashi’s conscious. Carefully he walked to the cave the Kyuubi should be in, but it too was empty. Ice slid down his spine. This was not a good sign. 

“Minashi!” he called. “Kurama!” He called again remembering to use the fox’s name. 

“The Furrball is busy.” Inojiro whipped around and froze at the sight before him. The person gave a small smirk before it disappeared. “Mina is having nightmares of the past. She’s strong though. She’ll make it out and get back to sorting the Blood clone’s memory. Kurama is protecting her from them overwhelming her while she sleeps though.” 

Inojiro stared at the person and took a step closer. “How is this possible?” He whispered. 

The person gave a hearty laugh and grinned. “That’s a secret!” 

“Does Minashi know you’re here?” 

The grin vanished. “No.” They answered in a small voice. “Please don’t tell her.” 

“Why not?” 

“It will hurt her more. She’s healing. She needs to focus on healing and making a better future.” 

Inojiro really looked at them before giving and understanding nod. “I won’t tell her, only if you tell me when you plan to.” 

The person frowned and scrunched up their face as they thought. “Well, a lot still needs to be done. Minashi has taken out the worst two players of our future. There isn’t much she can do about Madara until Zetsu shows up in the Third War. He’ll lead her to the old man.” They paused and crossed their arms and looked up to the non-existent sky. His head snapped down as he grinned. “I’ll let her know after the Third War ends. Unless she needs serious help before then.” 

Inojiro nodded and looked them up and down. “She misses you. Has a hard time talking about you.” 

The person’s grin faded to a tight smile. “She always thinks I’ve been stronger. When she is the stronger one. It’s why-“ He paused as his head snapped to the side. Inojiro looked to see a distant red blur racing for them. “Crap. Furrball caught on. Ja Ne!” He grinned and disappeared. 

The ground shook before the Kyuubi slid into the clearing huffing and looking around frantically. His red eyes snapped to look way down at Inojiro. Inojiro was feeling very small at the moment compared to the height of the massive fox before him. 

Where did it go?” Kurama snarled. 

Sucking up his courage, Inojiro looked up at the fox curiously. “Where did what go?” 

Kurama snarled and bared his teeth at the Mind-ninja. “Don’t play mind games with me human.” 

“What did it feel like?” Inojiro asked carefully. 

Kurama’s snarl choked off as he looked around again. “Something that should have been impossible.” He mumbled, but Inojiro heard. He held back his smile. 

“If it’s so impossible, then let’s focus on what’s more important. How is Minashi?” 

The Fox grunted and sat down. “Having dreams of the past.” He grumbled. “Nothing I can do about it. Her subconscious is busy sorting through all the memories from her clone. I’m split between balancing my chakra, sorting the memories she misses, and protecting her body. That impossibility is a distraction and a worrying one.” 

“Why?” Inojiro asked curiously. “Why worry about it?” 

Red eyes bore into Inojiro. “Because if it’s a soul that travelled back with us, then they’ll never be the person they were. Like Minashi, two souls cannot live in the same time-period. It will erase their future.” 

Inojiro hummed but kept his opinion to himself. He’d gotten the impression that the person knew what they were doing, or at least had some semblance of a plan. Inojiro sighed and gave the fox a respectful bow of his head. 

“I must head out. Minashi is in an Ice bath so that I could set in to check up on her.” 

The brat’s fine. Just exhausted and mentally strained. She’s gone through worse.” The fox grunted and turned back to the forest. He paused and looked back at Inojiro. “Did it speak to you?” 

Inojiro raised a brow but didn’t answer. The fox grunted and continued to walk away, the human’s silence had been answer enough. 

Inojiro felt his lips lift into a smile as a faint outline of the person reappeared near him again. They gave a cheeky smile and wave before disappearing once again. Inojiro released the jutsu with a lighter heart, even as he worried for Minashi’s mental state after her dreams. 

He came back to his own mind and then helped Tsunade dry the child off and get her back in bed. Once she was settled, Kakashi was let back in and Inojiro dismissed himself to give a report to the Hokage. He passed a running Minato and Kushina in the lobby and rolled his eyes when he met Sakumo a minute behind them. 

“She’s okay?” He asked. 

Inojiro gave a calm smile. “Just resting. She might also be having some nightmares. The fever is stirring up memories to be nightmares. But she’ll be fine after some rest.” 

Sakumo nodded, patted his shoulder and headed for the child’s room. Inojiro continued on his way. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 22

Minashi could feel the fear deeply seated in her chest. Her mind whirled with what to do. But her body was shaking and trembling. The amount of Killer intent leaking off the Grass-nin was not normal. This wasn’t a Genin hopeful. This wasn’t even a Chuunin. Her mind screamed that this wasn’t even a regular Jounin. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. Especially how the Grass-nin kept looking at Sasuke. Eyes filled with Hunger. No. She wouldn’t allow him to be hurt. She wouldn’t allow her friends to be hurt. They needed to escape. 

  

They couldn’t escape. Sakura was the only one that wasn’t badly injured. Sasuke’s screams of pain filled her mind even as she barely stayed conscious herself. Naruto’s arm thrown over her shoulder as Sakura led them to shelter. Minashi could barely think straight. Something was wrong. Her chakra felt wrong. Her loss of Naruto’s connection hitting her hard. 

  

There were people talking, people screaming, she could smell blood. She could smell enemies. She felt warmth in her own hand. Naruto was there, but why couldn’t she feel his presence? Finally she could smell allies. 

  

It didn’t end there. 

Gaara. Poor Gaara. “He’s like us.” Naruto told her as they raced through the trees after the retreating Sand siblings. “Then we need to help him.” I confirmed. A shared grin. A shared mission. 

But they were still getting hurt. Their precious people. Sakura was unconscious. Sasuke was almost killed. 

The Ichibi was massive. Naruto called up the Toad boss since Minashi’s own summons wouldn’t be liked in Konoha. 

They still had to use a transformation. Minashi and Naruto held hands as they imaged the one creature they knew could take on the Ichibi. The Toad turned into the Nine-tailed fox. 

She helped Naruto launch towards Gaara. They had to wake him up. 

They fell to the ground exhausted. Minashi crawled towards Naruto and helped him move to Gaara that was screaming at them to get away. 

Tears leaked out of her eyes. Their fellow jinchuriki was so scared. 

Naruto talked to him. Minashi swore that Gaara wasn’t as alone and unloved as he believed. Gaara just stared at them before tears leaked out. They promised to be friends. They had to stick together in this world that didn’t understand them. 

Everything was okay. 

Everything wasn’t okay. They had forgotten about the snake. The bastard snake. 

He killed Jiji. 

Minashi watched Naruto cry for the first time in their life. 

She held onto him as they both sobbed into the darkness of their tiny apartment. 

It hurt even worse when their best friend left them too. 

No more Jiji. Sasuke was gone. Konoha was hurt. 

They brought back the Godaime. But it wouldn’t be enough. They both knew it. They weren’t strong enough yet. They needed to be stronger. She needed to be stronger. 

  

  

Minashi held onto Naruto for dear life. They were separating. They were going to be separate for years. They’d never been apart. 

Naruto was going to the Toad Home to train. Minashi was returning to the Fox Home to train. They needed to get stronger. 

“Promise me you’ll be careful.” Naruto whispered in her ear. 

“Promise me you’ll be careful nii-san.” Minashi returned. She felt his smile in her neck. She smiled in return. 

“You know me.” He chuckled. Minashi returned the chuckle and smile into his neck. “But I’ll have Ero-sennin to keep me in line. You’re more responsible than me Minashi. I know you’ll be careful, but it’s the Nii-san’s job to protect and care for their imouto dattebayo.” 

Minashi hummed into his neck taking in his scent once more before slowly they pulled away at the same time. They backed away to their respective Summons. A toad waited to take Naruto away. A small two tailed fox awaited Minashi. 

“Four years.” Naruto said with finality.  

“Four Years Dattebane.” Minashi confirmed. 

“Sages.” Naruto smirked. 

“The Best Sages.” Minashi grinned. 

Simultaneous pops of smoke sounded in the clearing as the twins were separated for the first times in their lives. 

It hurt. She was alone. She could barely feel her brother through their connection. Every failure hurt worse without him. She felt worthless. Like her strength had only ever been because of Naruto. 

NO! She would scream in her own mind. She was going to be strong. They were going to be strong. She would be able to stay by his side! They would protect their precious people TOGETHER! She was not weak! 

  

The Foxes were ruthless. They trained her day and night. They trained her until she collapsed from exhaustion, physical and mental. She was to be as swift and cunning as a fox. Silent and in control. She couldn’t let her emotions rule her hunts. She had to blend in with the Nature Energy around her. She couldn’t let it control her. She already held a fox. Now she just had to hold the Nature energy that came to her naturally. 

She was patient. 

She was cunning. 

She was….alone. It hurt. She missed Naruto. 

Jiraiya would visit. It would hurt more. The letters he brought would only deepen the hole in her chest, make her hands cold where his hand wasn’t. 

Slowly the pain lessened, but the hole was still there. It hurt to be away from him for so long. But she was determined to stand on her own. Have the strength to be strong enough to fight beside Naruto like she always has. 

Two years passed before she finally was able to take a break. She held onto Naruto with dear life. He held onto her too. The hole was gone. Warmth replaced it. 

But they needed to see how strong they had gotten. Jiraiya had brought Kakashi and Yamato. Since their seals were linked, they needed help when training. They only had a month together before they separated again. 

The hole was there again. But Minashi knew it would disappear once she was back home with Naruto again. 

Training went by better, Naruto’s letters encouraging her this time. She would be strong. She would be there at his side to protect their precious people. 

…. 

Something was wrong. She could feel it faintly. Naruto was in pain. Not normal training pain. But agony. 

A Toad finally arrived to the Fox Home. 

Jiraiya was dead. Konoha was in trouble. 

Minashi clutched at her chest as her heart broke. Their last familial connection to their parents.  

Minashi awaited the reverse summons. She heard of Naruto’s plans through the Toad messenger. She agreed with them. But she was already late. She knew it by the pain still in her brother’s heart. 

She arrived on the head of the Fox Boss to find Konoha a crater. Her brother was being thrown around like a rag doll. Minashi reigned in her anger. She powered up the jutsu her and Naruto had worked hard to perfect together and separately. Her Rasenshuriken slammed down into the next Pain body. Her Violet eyes and Black facial Sage markings glared up at the Rinnegan eyes narrowed on her. 

Pein is happy to have both fox jinchuriki there. Says that they can finally know true pain. Minashi just jumps back to aid her brother. Her Fox sage mode is actively seeking her precious people. Her heart stutters when she doesn’t feel one. 

Her trembling hand takes Naruto’s rough one without looking away from the enemy. 

“Nii-san?” she whispered under her breath. 

“He’s gone.” Naruto whispers. “I already asked Ba-chan. He protected Choji and his dad.” 

Minashi swallowed. Her Sensei. Her first love. Gone. It hurt. 

Naruto’s hand tightened on hers. “Focus Mina.” Naruto said calmly. 

Minashi took in a long breath. She was controlled. She was back at Naruto’s side. Violet slitted eyes sharpened as the black marks around her eyes and temples enhanced her sage mode look. Her violet eyes met Golden. 

“Together.” He whispered. 

“Hai.” 

Katsuya split once more and slipped onto Minashi. While Naruto ran in first, Minashi watched the Peins that remained. The Toad messenger had explained some, but not as much as Katsuya was now. Not as much as she was learning from watching them fight Naruto. 

Naruto landed beside her again and they formed a plan through their connection. Together they attacked. Frog kata and Fox Katas working together to use the Natural Energy around them against Pein. 

  

But then all there was, was Pain. 

No. She needed to help Naruto. 

No, Run Hinata. Her best friend. The girl she knew loved Naruto. Naruto would break if she was hurt- 

Tossed aside. Limp. Not moving. Was she alive? Minashi couldn’t tell. Another Rod was jammed down into her brother after Hinata was thrown away. 

Control. 

Control the anger. 

No. Naruto’s in pain. She can see him breaking.  

Another Rod, the Kyuubi transformation is paused before Pein is kicked away. 

Anger. 

No, Control. Stay in control. Help Naruto. 

No, Anger. He killed Kakashi. He killed Hinata and countless others. 

The Kyuubi Naruto came closer. Minashi didn’t resist when he touched her. It hurt, but it didn’t hurt as bad as her heart. 

She gave in. She wanted to see that bastard pay. 

Darkness. Anger. Hatred. All-consuming anger. 

She wasn’t strong enough. 

  

  

Light. So bright. She was warm. 

“Mina.” Naruto’s soft voice was in her ear. Dripping echoed in the air. Their mindscape? 

“No Mina. We can’t. I’m sorry. This is my fault.” Naruto whispered into her ear. “I wasn’t strong enough.” 

“Don’t listen to the fox Mina.” Naruto trembled as he held her in a tight hug. She blinked as she looked around. The mindscape was in shambles. It was boiling. Blistering. The fox was glowing with hatred. Ink was leaking from her seal and Naruto’s. Connecting before reaching the gate. 

You’ll never be strong enough. You’re weak. Useless. Powerless. Continue to remove the seal and you’ll be powerful!  

The fox goaded them. Naruto’s arms tightened around her. Minashi was limp in his hold. Had she been about to remove the seal? 

“I think that is enough.” A new voice said firmly. Naruto jolted and Minashi’s eyes whipped to the light. There standing between them and the fox stood a figure they’d only seen in pictures and on the Monument. 

The figure turned and smiled at them kindly. 

“Hello Naruto, Minashi.” The Yondaime was so bright.  

“Y-you know our names?” Naruto swallowed around his tight throat. Minashi only trembled as she looked at the Yondaime closer. She looked between him and Naruto. Compared him to her own reflection. 

“Of course I do.” He smiled. “I helped name you of course.” He looked between them before suddenly Minashi had punched him across his jaw. He yelped and looked at her shocked. Two teary blue eyes glared at Minato with anger and betrayal. 

“Mina!” Naruto yelped and pulled her back. But Minashi was tired of holding back her emotions. 

“YOU BASTARD!” She screamed. “YOU DID THIS! YOU LEFT US ALONE! THEY HATED US! THEY HURT US!” 

“MINA!” Naruto tried to calm her down but she was in tears. She was hysterical. 

“HOW COULD YOU? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO YOUR OWN CHILDREN!” she cried out in anguish. Finally her body relented as sobs rocked her instead. Naruto froze as her words hit him. He too began to tremble as he looked at the broken Yondaime. 

“What?” he whispered to the elder blonde. But Naruto was slowly piecing it together. Minashi was always a bit quicker on the uptake than him. 

“Naruto.” Minato said softly. “Minashi-“ 

“I always wondered.” Minashi choked. “When we were kids. When we first saw your picture, I realized we looked like you. I wondered if that was why you picked us. Because the Yondaime, the yellow flash was fearsome. Was it because we looked like him that people feared us? When we learned of the fox, I didn’t understand it any more than before. Were we distantly related in a way? Is that why you picked us? But then I forgot. We needed to be stronger and I forgot. Then I see Naruto and you together. I can see my own face in yours. I can SEE it now.” Furious eyes snapped back up to glare at the downtrodden Yondaime. “He’s your replica just as much as I am. Take away the whisker marks and sharpen his jaw and he’d be your twin. Yet I am.” 

Minato sighed as he stepped forward. “I can do nothing but say I’m sorry.” He reached for both of them. When they didn’t flinch away, he cupped their cheeks. 

“Why?” Naruto finally whispered. 

Menacing growling came from behind. Minato glance behind him to glare at the fox. 

Yondaime! The fox snarled. 

“I’m not happy to see you again either Kyuubi.” He looked back at his children. “Though while I know they are angry with me, I’m happy to see my children again.” He gave them a kind smile. “How about we take this elsewhere so that we can talking without that fox around?” he snapped and suddenly they were in a white and yellow room.  

Naruto changed his grip on Minashi as she nuzzled into his chest, still keeping one eye glaring at their father. 

Minato just gave them kind smiles. 

Then he told his story. The night they were born. Of the Masked man. Of their mother. The mother that loved them. That couldn’t wait to meet them. Of the Fox’s attack. Of their father’s decision. 

“As Hokage, I couldn’t ask anyone else to do what I wouldn’t be willing to do to my own children.” He looked away then. “I hadn’t planned on dying.” He said looking away before looking at them with such a loving look, Minashi felt her heart break seeing the sadness in his eyes. “I wanted to see you both grow up. Even if I was losing Kushina. I would protect you both for her. But then the Fox got free between the sealing of his Yin and Yang half. Your mother and I wouldn’t change a thing. We protected you. We couldn’t let him harm you.” He pulled them both into a hug. 

“We love you both so much. We knew we could leave everything to you both. You both have grown to be so strong. Separately and together. Though you will always be stronger together.” He smiled at them. 

“Tou-san.” Naruto whispered. 

“Papa.” Minashi whimpered. 

“I’m sorry we left you alone.” He looked at them before Pulling Minashi in to kiss her forehead. He repeated the same with Naruto. “but I know you two will surpass those before you.” He grinned at them. “now, I’m running out of chakra. This will be the last time I can fix the seal.” He paused with a hand on both of them and glanced between them. “Speaking of which, any side effects of the seal?” 

Naruto and Minashi shared a look before smiling. “We can feel each other.” They spoke in unison. 

Minato’s eyes widened. “More than just a twin instinct?” 

“Hai.” They replied in unison again. 

“Emotions.” Naruto smiled tightly. 

“Location.” Minashi hummed. 

“Communication.” Naruto smirked. Minashi smirked back. 

“Pain.” Minashi sighed. 

Minato just glanced between them before smiling. “I am glad to know that you will both always have each other. Especially with this connection. It makes you all the stronger.” He twisted his hands and they both winced at the burning feel of the seal closing. “I’m so very proud of you both.” He cupped their jaws again. “Never forget that. Never forget that Your mother and I love you both with everything we are.” 

He began to disappear but that calm smile warmed their hearts. “Never forget who you two are. You are my Son, Naruto. You are my Daughter, Minashi. You are the children of Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzumaki. The Children of the Yellow Flash and the Red Hot Habanero.” 

“Hai, Tou-san.” They chorused. 

  

They came to standing on a massive ball of rocks floating mid-air holding hands. Hurting, but back in control. 

Together they take down the last bodies of Pein. Naruto uses one of the rods to track it back to the original. Minashi uses his directions and her remaining sage mode to track him down. Her training in the Fox home coming back as her mind has calmed back down. Naruto is following her. The elder Ino and Shika try to stop them, but then Shikaku lets them go at the look in their eyes. 

Nagato is annoying, Minashi doesn’t want to forgive him. But she listens to her brother. She feels that he doesn’t want to either. But the Cycle of hatred can’t end until someone makes the first move. 

Minashi steps forward and resumes her place beside her brother’s side. Nagato asks her how she is going to stop the cycle of hatred. The same question Naruto said he’d find the answer to. 

“I don’t know.” She answers Honestly looking at her brother before looking at him. “But what I do know is that someone needs to make the first step. My Nii-san is trying to do that. I don’t want to forgive you. Neither does he.” Naruto’s hand tightens on hers as they come to an agreement. 

“but we do.” They answered together. Nagato and Konan look at them in shock. “We forgive you.” They speak in unison again. 

“The cycle of hatred is continued with more hatred.” Naruto continues. “So, we are taking the first step away from it in our own attempt to break it.” 

“By forgiving you even after all you have done to our precious people.” Minashi says even as tears build in her eyes. 

Nagato is silent before chuckling low and bringing his hands together. “Then I’ll believe in you.” He whispered. 

  

  

Together they limped back to Konoha. Blackness from Chakra exhaustion swept through Minashi. When she was suddenly engulfed in warmth and no longer touching the ground, she opened her tired eyes. 

She was met with one happy coal eye staring down at her. Over his shoulder she could see a mop of blonde resting against another silver haired man. 

Her eyes moved back to the one holding her. “Well done.” He whispered. The clone moved to his side with Naruto on his back. “both of you.” The clone said even as Naruto hummed and relaxed into Kakashi’s back. 

Minashi choked back a sob as she looked up into Kakashi’s sole visible eye. Tiredly as he walked them back, she reached up to cup his covered jaw. 

“I thought I lost you.” She whispered. 

Kakashi was a few paces back from his clone holding Naruto. 

Kakashi gave her an eye-smile, something in her chest and stomach fluttered. 

“You saved me.” He then cleared his throat and looked away. “Both of you did. Anyone that had died were brought back to life. The injured are the only ones that need help before they can be cleared as okay.” 

Minashi chuckled as she buried her nose into his covered neck. She could still smell his scent through the mask. She would ignore the blush on his cheeks and ears…For now. 

  

  

Minashi and Naruto stood together outside the waterfall. She could feel it. She knew he could feel it. The Kyuubi’s chakra was powering their senses as they were in their Sage mode as well. 

Friends. Comrades. Fighting. Dying. Hurting. Without them. Because of them. Protecting them. They were supposed to protect them. Not the other way around. 

They didn’t even need to speak through their connection. They were more in sync than normal. Clones by the thousands appeared. Their glow bright, their groups splitting up to help their friends. Minashi, Naruto, and Killer B left together to head for the main front. 

  

It didn’t stop. The killing. The blood. The signatures disappearing off their range. The happiness of meeting their mother was overshadowed by the pain of losing allies, comrades, and so many precious people.  

Sasuke returning gave a relief. 

But it was the sight of their Father that soothed the ache of Loss. 

He gave a blinding smile to them. He ruffled Kakashi’s hair before putting him in a strangle hold after seeing how close the Jounin had been to a resting Minashi. 

Minashi could only blink as she watched the Yellow Flash give his student a chilling smile. 

“Kakkoii.” [Cool] Naruto whispered beside her where Sakura was still working on healing them both. 

  

They were winning. They had been winning. Then Octopops was gone. Madara was not quite alive, but couldn’t be killed. Zetsu was a bastard. Naruto convinced Obito to switch sides. 

Then Naruto was gone. Pain lanced through Minashi as she felt it again. Naruto.  

“NO!” She screamed and raced to her brother’s side. Her twin’s side. Her other half. But he was falling. Lifeless. “NO!” She screamed again. 

Arms held her. Pinned her. Voices. Familiar. Scent familiar but not. More arms, more scents, more voices. Yet…Different. Special. 

 

 

Familiar yet unfamiliar voices. Voices that she’d only spent moments with. Yet that was a lie. She’d spent more time with them. Special scents. Special Voices. 

“-shi!” 

“nashi!” 

Two voices. Two signatures. Special. 

“Shhhh. It’s okay.” A warm voice. A soothing hand. Familiar 

“You’re safe Imouto. It’s okay.” It wasn’t okay. 

“It’s not okay.” Minashi manages to get out passed her parched throat even with her instincts screaming that she was safe. Something was still missing. “nii-san.” She whimpered as that brilliant smiling face flashed in her mind. It was distorted by the blood he had coughed up. The life leaving his eyes. “NII-SAN!” She screamed, as she couldn’t feel the connection. She clutched at her chest. The Hole it was so large. So empty. She screamed for him. “NARUTO-NII!” she sobbed as two sets of warm arms wrapped around her tighter. 

Arms that rocked her helplessly. Trying to calm her down. Special, familiar. 

A Large hand ran through her hair as she sobbed. Her cries softened as she focused on the hand. It felt familiar. Special scents. 

“Shhh.” The familiar tenor voice whispered in her ear. “We’re here Mina-chan. We’re here.” 

“Oh, Imouto.” A kind soft voice breathed against her temple as smaller softer hands wiped at her tears. 

The smaller hands joined the larger in her hair. Her cries softened as her memories returned slowly. 

“We’re here Minashi.” Minato whispered. 

“We won’t leave you.” Kushina whispered from her other side. 

Her sobbing turned into hiccups. Sensations slowly returned to her. Her breathing eased as she felt the familiar signatures holding her. Familiar scents filled her nose. So special. So precious. So important. 

Slowly she opened her eyes. Red filled her vision. But not the Red of Blood. No, she could see the different shades in this red. Slowly she reached out and pulled a clump closer. She rested her face against it as she took in the scent. Ocean, oils. Faint thunderstorm and Konoha breeze. 

“Home.” Minashi murmured into Kushina hair, letting her eyes fall shut. Scents of Home. Safe. Protected. 

“Yes Imouto.” Minato whispered near. “You’re home. You’re safe.” 

Minashi opened her eyes again long enough to turn her head and look at Minato. His normally bright eyes were dimmed with worry, but they still shown with all the love he had for her. 

She absently realized that she wasn’t in one of their apartments or the Hatake Compound, but the hospital. She was also curled up in Kushina’s lap. She was then in Minato’s lap sideways so that he was holding both of them in his arms on her hospital bed. She could feel the tug of an IV drip, but ignored it as she leaned forward more to rest with Kushina’s hair on Minato’s Chest. Kushina happily following to rest her head on his shoulder. 

Minato’s arms tightened around them as he kissed both their temples. Minashi couldn’t help the pleased hum that escaped her. She was surrounded by the scents of Home. She reached for more of Kushina’s hair and was rewarded without question. Wrapping herself in the red cocoon, she then reached for Minato’s hand. Pulling at it, he let her guide it from her back to her head. He resumed brushing through her hair with his hand, his calloused fingers wiping away the stray tear or two as her breathing finally settled down. 

Minashi couldn’t fall deep asleep though. She didn’t want to face those nightmares again. Those painful memories again. The good and bad memories. They hurt too much. She absently felt Kushina kiss her forehead again. 

“I think she’s out.” She whispered to her boyfriend. 

Minato’s chest rumbled against her cheek. “hmm.” He sighed even as his hand didn’t stop petting her head. 

“Do you two need me to get anything?” a deeper voice spoke softly. Minashi almost jumped. She hadn’t noticed they weren’t alone. 

“She’ll probably be hungry.” Kushina sighed. “I know I was after healing. She’s also been out cold for two days.” 

Sakumo grunted as Minashi heard shuffling. “Kami. I didn’t know what to do when she starting screaming. If you two hadn’t come for a visit when you did-“ he trailed off with a sigh. 

“Where’s Kakashi?” Minato’s voice rumbled against her ear. 

“With Jiraiya.” Sakumo murmured. “He didn’t want to leave her side, but then she started screaming after the thrashing and I saw the fear in his eyes. He didn’t know what to do any more than I did.” 

“I’m just glad we could do something.” Kushina sniffled. “oh Minato, how can she just go on like she has?” 

“She’s strong.” A much more familiar voice said from further away as the click of a door echoed through the room. “I’m glad to see she’s finally calmed.” Tsunade sighed as her voiced neared. Minashi felt the familiar tickle of Iryojutsu against her head and body. It soon backed off, but Tsunade’s signature didn’t go far. 

“She’s not in deep sleep, but she’s resting.” She sighed and Minashi could almost picture her rubbing her temples. “I can’t thank you both enough for helping.” 

“It doesn’t feel like we helped.” Minato grunted as she felt him move a stray lock of hair from Minashi’s forehead. 

“Minashi is very scent dependent.” Sakumo said from his spot. 

“Really?” Tsunade asked. 

“Hai.” He confirmed as he neared the bed. “When we first found her, she must have recognized my scent in some way or the fox did. When she began waking, she had taken in my scent before her eyes had even opened. Even after she got here, she latched to Kakashi because his scent was familiar in some way. Then I noticed her always taking in Kushina’s or Minato’s scents. I think that is the reason why she enjoys being held as well. She’s closer to our necks where scents are strong.” She heard a faint scratching and realized that he must have been there a while if he hadn’t shaved. “My clan and the Inuzuka are like that. It’s why Kakashi is wearing a mask. It’s why I wear a mask out on missions. I’m used to the Konoha scents after years of living in it. I can block them out. Same with the Inuzuka as they are raised that way, but are more equipped to handle the scents. But Kakashi is still too young. That and his is twice as strong.” 

“Kaede was Inuzuka.” Tsunade whispered. 

“Hai.” Sakumo swallowed thickly before clearing his throat. “I don’t know if he’ll ever be able to take off his mask without being overwhelmed by the scents around him. Minashi doesn’t have his strong of senses, but I think they are between Kakashi and an Inuzuka’s level.” There was a moment of silence, as she felt more shuffling. “Just look what she’s done. She’s surrounded herself in familiar scents.” She felt Kushina and Minato jarred slightly. “She called you two Home. Not Konoha. She was talking about your scents. She calmed because she knew she was safe. You two did what she needed.” 

She smelled Sakumo’s own scent near her and she took in it. Ozone, Wildness, Blood. Not Kakashi, but similar. She let out a long sigh as she felt that familiar scent brush against her temple. Just slightly she leaned into it when it began to retract, but the Scents of Home called her back to Minato’s chest. 

“She’ll rest better with you two.” Sakumo chuckled. “Kakashi and I will run out to get dinner for us all.” 

Minashi wanted to focus more on their conversation, but between Minato’s soothing strokes, and Kushina’s warmth, she soon drifted back into nothingness. Or would have if a certain Fox hadn’t pulled her into her mindscape instead. 

 

Minashi woke, not alone in the clearing of her memory trees like she normally did. Instead she was engulfed in a meadow of Red grass. Blinking her mind slowly started to turn and she realized it wasn’t grass in her vision but fur. She was on Kurama. 

“Kurama.” She mumbled. 

Minashi. Kurama spoke as soft as he could for being a massive fox. His voice vibrated against her cheek and body. Slowly she sat up and looked around. All she could see was Kurama. Looking up at movement Kurama lifted his head and looked down at her. Concern clear in his eyes. 

“Where are we?” Minashi asked still a little dazed. 

We’re deep within your subconscious. 

“Why?” Minashi yawned. 

You were already here when you passed out from information overload and Chakra Exhaustion. I found you trapped in your memories. I pulled you out the best I could even while helping you to sort out the Blood Clone’s memories. 

Page Break 

Minashi hummed as she looked around again. She was resting against Kurama’s side. He’d curled around her and protected her with his body and tails. 

“Thank you Kurama.” She smiled at him tiredly. He only hummed before laying his head back down and closing his eyes. 

You can thank me by finishing reviewing the memories and getting back to business. You’ve been unconscious for two days. After your little episode in the hospital your family will be more over barring than before. Slipping past them to make a blood clone for the trial will be troublesome. 

Minashi snickered even as she moved and nuzzled into his neck. He grunted but didn’t push her away. 

“You are starting to sound like a Nara.” She smiled into his fur. He only grumbled under his breath before a tail moved and laid over her. 

Shut up brat. Finish resting and sorting. The next time you wake, you need to get back to yourself. The stink of worry and fear from the humans is burning our nose. Same with the hospital smell. 

“Hai, Hai~” Minashi yawned and slowly let the memories from her Child Blood Clone enter her conscious. She sighed at the amount of training Kakashi had been pushing for. Even her own blood clone had been tired. No wonder she crashed so hard. Her small body could only take so much. That added with her own blood transformation and mission against Danzo, then the Sannin didn’t help when the exhaustion caught up. 

Sorting her memories, she knew that after this she would hopefully be able to catch a break. Sakumo was a mother-hen under all that shinobi. 

When her memories were finally sorted, she basked in the feel of Kurama against her. He was just so Soft. She’d never admit it aloud though. That would get her eaten at minimum. 

Smiling, she let herself drift slowly back to consciousness. As soon as the smell of Ramen wafted her nose, she threw caution to the wind and bolted upright in bed. 

Eyes wide and hunting for her prey, she found it on the bed tray before her. She attacked with gusto. Minashi happily ignored the snickering and chuckles around her. Instead she almost inhaled the Ramen before her. Bowl after bowl. When they stopped coming after four, she looked up with a pout and shinning eyes to see Sakumo’s eyes widened on her. 

“No more?” she whimpered confused. 

Sakumo twitched and Minashi pushed for watery eyes. He jerked before sighing and pulling up the other bag from under the bed. She hid her triumph at knowing he’d hidden the rest from the scent of the room. 

The next six bowls were gone almost as quick as the first four. She only slowed when fingers moved through her hair. A glanced showed that she wasn’t alone in bed. Kushina still sat with her. Leaning forward Kushina smiled and kissed her temple. 

“Take your time. You haven’t eaten for two days. You don’t want to get sick.” 

“Impossible.” Minashi denied automatically. 

Kushina just gave an understanding smile. “I know, but you had us worried. We’re allowed to be a little over protective.” 

Minashi hummed but settled back into her bowl. Her eyes roamed around the room and found that Minato and Kakashi were also there. Minato was watching her like a hawk, but a fond smile was on his face. Kakashi’s eyes were almost a replica, but she couldn’t see a smile beneath his mask. 

“Inu?” she called between bowls. Kakashi twitched before letting out a sigh and moving forwards. 

“Ba~Ka~” he drew out before flicking her forehead. Minashi yelped surprised and looked at him wide eyed. 

“What was that for?” Minashi whined. 

“You scared Tou-san. You worried Minato-san and Kushina-nee.” 

Minashi hummed as she tapped her chopsticks on the edge of her empty bowl. “Kashi wasn’t worried?” she asked curiously. 

Kakashi stared at her for a moment before he broke and looked away, the flush of his cheeks just visible over his mask. 

“A bit.” he murmured. “Only when you had your nightmare. I didn’t know how to make this one better.” 

Minashi’s face softened before she reached out and poked his cheeks with her chopsticks. He jerked back and grimaced at them before looking at her and saw her soft look. 

“Thank you Kashi.” She beamed and his flush moved to his ears. He spluttered and stuttered out excuses but Minashi couldn’t help but smile and watch him. The Adults were smiling and Minashi knew that things were better. She knew she scared them, and she needed to right it as soon as possible. Poking fun at Kakashi accomplished that and let her have some enjoyment out of it too. 

 

It wasn’t long after Minashi woke up that Tsunade returned and began her discharge. Minashi was very happy to get away from the smell of bleach and other antiseptics. Curled up in Kushina’s arms, they walked out as a family. Kakashi up in Sakumo’s arms, yet his eyes firmly latched onto Minashi’s form. 

Looking over Kushina’s shoulder she met Tsunade’s eyes and mouthed a ‘thank you’ to the slug princess. Tsunade's face softened as she clutched her necklace and bowed her head just slightly as Minashi was carried away. 

Minashi was only a little surprised when they went to Minato’s apartment instead of the Hatake Compound. Minashi looked to Sakumo for an answer. 

He smiled at her from the table where he sat with Minato. 

“We’ve agreed that you should stay with Minato and Kushina for the following week. It will give you and Kakashi time to rest. When you two are together you push each other too much. You two will no longer do morning training over the following week. Instead you will focus on the academy and only train in the evenings. Nothing excessive, but enough to keep you from getting behind.” 

“Sakumo also told us of a theory.” Minato added in and looked at Minashi still in Kushina’s hold in the recliner. “Minashi, how reliant are you on scents?”  

Minashi blinked at him before looking between him and the other two adults. She knew they had their own thoughts on it, but how should she explain it to them? 

“Huh?” She tilted her head confused to buy some more time. 

Sakumo moved and crouched before her and tapped her nose. “how much do you let your nose tell you things?” He then tapped the side of his own. “I rely on mine only when out on missions and cooking. Hatake are a clan similar to the Inuzuka. Are noses are sharp and we are excellent trackers.” He reached over and pulled Kakashi to him. He tapped Kakashi’s nose. He wrinkled it displeased but stayed put. “Kakashi’s nose is stronger than mine or an Inuzuka’s. It’s why he wears a mask. His mother was an Inuzuka. So both our strong noses means that Kakashi can’t process all of the scents around him without a filter. The mask does that.” He reached forward once again and tapped her nose. “How well can you smell Mina-chan?” 

Minashi smiled at him brightly. “Really good.” She then wrinkled her nose. “The Hospital sink is still on us all.” She then tilted her head at him and considered. “Saki-chan smells like Ozone, Wildness, and Blood.” She looked up to Kushina. “Ocean, Oil, and Minato-nii.” She looked up at Minato who had walked over to join them. He sat on the couch beside them. “Thunderstorms and Kushina-nee.” She then looked back to Kakashi. His eyes were watching her curiously. “Kashi smells like Kashi.” She smiled. 

Kakashi pouted, but Minashi saw the slight glances the adults were passing in silence. Yeah, she was not about to say that Kakashi’s scent wasn’t complete. For now he still smelled like the base of her Kakashi. It was missing the blood and smell of book components. That and he was missing the scent of his pack. 

“If they are strong, Kakashi can smell certain emotions.” Sakumo insinuated carefully. It had been something he noticed early on about Kakashi when he asked why a little boy had been so sad. Or why Sakumo had been crying. He'd smelled it. Sakumo had gotten his son a mask shortly after to filter the scents so they weren’t overwhelming. 

Minashi tilted her head at him. “Is it not normal?” she asked feigning worry. 

“It’s just rare.” Kushina butted in and pet her hair. 

Minashi nodded before scratching at her cheek. “I can smell as well as a fox.” She shrugged and looked away. She didn’t need to look at Sakumo and Minato to know they stiffened just like Kushina behind her. 

“Ah!” Kushina gasped. “that explains it.” She beamed and hugged Minashi closer. “Well then, do you need a filter like Kakashi?” 

Minashi shook her head. “I’m used to it. He helps me.” She tried to explain. Kushina went stiff in her arms again even as she felt her and Minato share worried glances. 

“Minashi, you shouldn’t-” Kushina started before Minato stopped her. 

“Kakashi doesn’t know.” He reminded her. 

“Know what?” the boy in question asked. 

Minashi felt the adults sharing glances again. Minashi sighed and really wanted to roll her eyes and pinch her nose. This, this is why she hated this body. She was over twenty and could make decisions on her own, yet she was being treated like a child. 

Because to them you are. Said fox reminded her. 

You’re not helping.’ Kurama’s chuckle was his only response. 

Minashi reached for Kakashi and pulled him closer to where she was still in Kushina’s lap. He looked at her curiously. She felt the adults freeze. 

“Kashi, can you keep a secret?” She asked tilting her head at him. 

“I’m a shinobi.” He said pouting and crossing his arms. “of course.” 

Minashi beamed at him before it faltered. “What if I hold something that some people see as dangerous?” 

“Like a kunai?” he frowned. 

“Like a hundred exploding tags.” She corrected. Kakashi stared at her with his five year old piercing stare. Ah, so this is where it started. He already started to learn to read people this young. 

Minashi also ignored Kurama’s indigent grumbling reply that he was much worse than measly old exploding tags. 

Are you in danger?” 

Minashi shook her head and smiled at him calmly. “No. Tou-san told me that I am a Scroll that holds a dangerous Kunai. Some people think that the Kunai I hold is a demon though. They can be mean and hurtful because they don’t understand.” 

“Understand what?”  

“Human’s crafted the deadly edge to the Kunai.” Minashi said firmly, her 4 year old veneer leaving for just a moment. “The Kunai was just a harmless metal before human hatred, fear, and violence, sharpened the kunai.” 

Kakashi’s piercing eyes were sharp on her. “What Kunai do you hold Minashi?” he asked calmly. 

“The Nine-tailed fox.” she said as she held his gaze. 

He was quiet for a moment and she saw the gears turning in his head. 

 

A bijuu. He remembered reading about them. They were Chakra constructs that destroyed and killed. But Minashi was saying that Humans made them that way. He didn’t understand that part. But yet, the longer he worked his brain around it he could. Fear of the unknown. Fear of those with power. He remembered the stories of Uzushio Kushina-nee told of her home. How the fear of their skill in Fuuinjutsu led to the other nations attacking them. 

No one was scared of Minashi though. Did that mean that no one knew that she held the Bijuu minus those in the room? But they didn’t fear her. They feared for her. She said she was a scroll to a kunai. So she wasn’t the fox, but held the fox. 

He helps me.” 

He remembered her saying that when talking about her sense of smell. So can the fox really be that bad if he’s helping a child? But he was still feared for a reason. Yet, Minashi was always so happy. Could he really be that bad? Kakashi needed to know what the fox was to Minashi. Maybe that would help him find the answers he sought. 

“What is the Kyuubi to you?” Kakashi asked. 

 

The adults in the room jerked at the question. Minashi’s eyes softened as a hand went to her stomach. 

“He’s my best friend. My constant companion. My last link to Naruto-nii-san. My protector. My comrade.” 

Kakashi nodded at her like he had all the answers he needed. “Good. Then I don’t care that you hold him. You are still Minashi, my friend.” 

Minashi beamed and launched at him giggling. He yelped as they landed on the floor. She rubbed her face into his cheek. He was blushing up a storm, but still yelling for her to get off. Minashi just laughed and giggled louder. 

 

 

Minato felt a weight leave his chest at the sound of his imouto’s laughter. He smiled as she leaned against Kushina’s chair. Her head leaned against his side and he reached down to run his hand through her hair. 

Sakumo’s sigh filled the air as he watched the pups roll around the floor. “That went not how I thought it would.” 

Kushina chuckled and grinned at him. “When does it ever with an Uzumaki?” she asked even when looking up to Minato. He smiled back in return. 

“Never.” Minato answered honestly. “I’m happy that Minashi will have a true friend at her side.” 

“I’m just surprised Kakashi was able to understand what she was talking about. I know he’s smart, but he might be even smarter than I thought.” Sakumo sighed and rubbed a hand down his face tiredly. 

“They both are prodigies.” Kushina sighed and leaned into Minato more. 

“They have a tough road ahead of them then.” Minato frowned. “Prodigy is a title that sticks to you, it sets a bar so high that everyone is always waiting for you to meet and exceed. That’s a lot of pressure for children.” A hand landed on his shoulder and he looked up to Sakumo. 

“Then we will have to be there to remind them of their age and to take a break. They don’t need to conform to any title put on them. They only need to reach for their own goals.” 

Minato beamed at his senpai before snapping back around when Kakashi let out another yelp and Minashi’s cackle followed. 

Kushina let out her own laugh at the sight of Kakashi in a locking hold even as Minashi began braiding the gravity defying locks. 

Sakumo could only sweat-drop and sigh at the sight. 

 

 

Minashi found herself curled up against Minato later that even after Sakumo and Kakashi had returned to the Hatake Compound. Kushina was buzzing around the kitchen, while Minato read from a scroll. Minashi was happily spread out on his torso taking in the feel of his warm signature and stormy scent. 

You know, I lost everything I've ever known. Lost everyone I've ever loved. Yet, I don’t think- no I know I wouldn’t change it for the world. It brought me to this point. I have never felt more content. I think the only thing that is missing is Naruto enjoying this with me.’ 

Soon. Give it a decade. The Brat will be born and you can spoil him rotten. 

Minashi just hummed and nuzzled further into Minato. He paused before chuckling and moving his free arm to run it through her hair. It soothed her into a half awake, half asleep state. 

Kushina called them for dinner and they spent the evening telling stories of their youth, Uzushio, and surprisingly Jiraiya. Minato mentioned that his Sensei was back in village and would be meeting with Minashi after a few important meetings. Minashi of course already knew what those were. It was the days set aside for the trail for Danzo. A trial that was set to start in two days. 

Minashi sighed as she fell into bed. She couldn’t wait for it to be done. She’d actually be able to take a break for a little bit once that menace was taken care of. 

 

The following morning she found herself clinging to Kushina, as the barely awake Jounin walked with her and Minato to the Academy. Sakumo and Kakashi met them there before they returned back to their own duties for the day. 

Kakashi, to her surprise, stuck close by her. She smiled at him and let him be. Orochimaru gave her a respectful nod in greeting and life went on as normal as possible for the day. 

Kenji and Obito were the only thing that would always throw her off when they sat and smiled with the other kids at lunch. But hey, they were Smiling Uchiha. How was Minashi supposed to cope after dealing with broody Uchiha all her life? 

 

As Minashi was settling in for bed, she heard a small tap on her window before it was opened. She was mildly surprise to find Jiraiya leaning in. He slapped a privacy seal on her wall before looking at her curiously. 

“Sensei sent me.” he spoke low. 

“Okay?” She yawned. 

“He is needing to know if you are able to be at his side as Kitsune. Will your body be able to handle having a clone take your place as a child while your original self is ANBU?” 

Minashi yawned and waved him away. “Hai~ Hai~” 

“He doesn’t want you to collapse again so soon.” Jiraiya raised a brow at the sleepy four year old. He still couldn’t believe this was the twenty some year old Rokudaime. 

“I collapsed from information overload and Kakashi pushing my Clone to exhaustion.” She rolled her eyes at him. “Sakumo ordered us to ease off. So after another good night’s sleep I'll be fine.” 

Jiraiya nodded before handing over a message scroll. “Orders to report to him before sunrise as Kitsune.” He jerked his chin towards her door. “Minato has already gotten his orders via a messenger bird. His team will be the ones helping you escort Danzo to the Trial. You will be keeping a close eye on both him and the Hokage.” 

“Figured as much.” she nodded and took the scroll. Reading it over between yawns, she then handed it back to watch it burn with one of Jiraiya’s fire Jutsus. 

“See you there then brat.” Jiraiya sighed and moved to leave. He paused when there was a tiny hand on his wrist. He looked back at the small girl, but then realized, it was her eyes that changed. They were the eyes of a veteran. 

“Stay strong Jiraiya.” She spoke soft but firm. “Your partners need you, and you’ll need them.” 

His dark eyes held hers before he gave her one of his signature smirks. “I just got them back. I’m not letting them slip away again.” 

Minashi nodded and released him. He left, pulling the privacy seal with him. Minashi slipped into sleep keeping thoughts of the following day off her mind. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 23

Minashi crouched as Kitsune in the window of the Hokage’s office bright and early the following morning. The first touches of the sun were breaking over the horizon. Hiruzen was already at his desk smoking his pipe. Minashi didn’t move from her perch, only let her sharp eyes wash over the room and her Hokage. She was already dressed in full ANBU gear, Kitsune mask in place. She focused on the chakra signature that was second most important today. She felt it when Minato’s team arrived at his cell deep in ANBU HQ. He would be moved to the Trial room holding cell until the trial began. 

“Kitsune-san.” Hiruzen called out softly. Minashi broke from her concentration and tilted her head to her Hokage to let him know she was listening. Yet, she didn’t stop tracking her secondary target and the ANBU escort team.  

The Hokage’s Guard were already present in their respective hiding spots, and knew she wasn’t a threat. Didn’t mean they liked her any more with the confusing relationship she had with their Hokage. But it also meant she was still in full Kitsune mode. There was no room for Minashi’s relaxed personality. The events were too important. Too Formal.  

“I need a successor.” He sighed into the quiet room. 

Minashi felt a growl of displeasure rise up. He chuckled in response. 

“I know you aren’t a candidate.” 

Minashi relaxed the fraction that she had stiffened up. 

“Any recommendations? The current Shinobi I had originally thought of is still a bit too young. I will put him forward as the Godaime Candidate, but until then, we need a good Yondaime.” 

Minashi’s fingers tapped on the sill she was gripping. “Hatake.” She said after a moment. 

Hiruzen paused in his next inhale puff of his pipe. His brown wise eyes slid to her and a brow raised. 

“Why Him? Why not one of my students?” 

“Orochimaru doesn’t have the drive, he’d quit in a month when he realized he couldn’t research as much as he wants. Tsunade is just beginning to heal. No need to run her off, no matter the fact that if she did, she would make a good Hokage. Keeping her in charge of the Hospital will have to do. She’s the best at it anyways. Jiraiya would have the female population revolting in a week.” She deadpanned. 

Hiruzen sweat-dropped. “Ah. Those are good points. What of Sakumo though? What makes you point him out, out of every other strong shinobi I have under my command?” 

“Hatake-san is already feared among the other nations. He’s also from a strong but dying clan. Bringing the strength of the clan to the front will be a political play. While few, they are still strong.” 

“True.” Hiruzen hummed. 

“Hatake-san is also very skilled. He is also strong minded. A good leader. He has the heart of a Kage. I would bet my life that he would rather save his comrades than take them to their death if a mission goes astray. Missions can be completed later. Lives cannot be replaced. He also thinks this. He will not send teams out with insurance that as many will return as possible. He is a Logical, but passionate leader.” She paused and brought a hand up to her hidden necklace. “He knows who the true King is.” 

Hiruzen hummed as he stared at Minashi before letting out a cloud of smoke. “I will take your suggestion into consideration. I would also like to speak with you after all this mess on other possible candidates if you have the time.” 

She bowed her head slightly at him. “As you wish Hokage-sama.” she answered formally. 

Hiruzen looked at her closely and sighed. “You are being more formal with me than normal Kitsune-san.” 

“My priorities are different today.” She remarked. Hiruzen hummed understandingly. 

She was on guard. There was no time to be messing around or familiarity. The matters going down today would be too serious. 

A knock sounded at the door. 

“Sannin.” Minashi said absently. 

Hiruzen nodded and the door was opened after a flare of his chakra. The Legendary Sannin walked in. Tsunade leading with Orochimaru on her right and Jiraiya on her left. Minashi felt her eyes widen behind her mask. They weren’t in their normal attires. They looked ready for war. 

“Whoa.” she whispered under her breath. No wonder they were feared and marked as Legendary. In full black Jounin uniforms, hitai-ates, weapon pouches, and battle faces; they were a sight to be seen. Even Orochimaru had pulled his hair back into a high tail. Bangs framing his pale face around his Konoha Hitai-ate. Even more surprising was the lack of Sake smell on Tsunade and Jiraiya. They were completely sober. They were a team. 

A soft smile lifted Minashi’s lips behind her mask. Hiruzen was even smiling as he looked at them. Though his held a grimness to it than hers didn’t. 

“I never thought I'd see this sight again while wearing this hat.” Hiruzen said into the silent room. He stood up and rounded his desk to look at his students. Minashi absently noticed that he had to look up at his students.  

He gave him a proud look. “You three have grown past my expectations. Now here you are again after years apart, ready to take on the man that separated you. Together you are stronger. Always remember that.” 

“Hai Sensei.” They replied in Unison. 

The smile dropped from Hiruzen’s face. “Now, shall we?” He glanced to Minashi. “Kitsune?” 

She disappeared from the window and was at his right side. “You will not leave my side. Your students have your back. I will watch everything else.” She ordered, ignoring the flares of indignant chakra from the Hokage’s ANBU guard. 

Hiruzen nodded and the group was off. The Hokage ANBU guard dropping down from the shadows as they neared the courtroom. The doors were opened and the voices from the room silenced. Their group made their way through up the aisle. 

The courtroom was packed. Summons had been sent out to Clan heads with the lists of families affected by Danzo. Civilian families with Shinobi members had been notified as well. So their audience was nearing a thousand. It was a good thing that the courtroom was large enough to accommodate. Balconies were filled with clans. Civilians and other council members were seated on the lower floors. Civilian Council Members sitting towards the front with their higher positions in society. Koharu and Homura had been removed from their advisor seats and were waiting in their own cells for a lesser punishment for their involvement. So now all that was left at the main Council seats were those for the Clan heads, Major and Minor clans. 

She wasn’t surprised to Find Kushina and Sakumo in their own seats. The only seat not taken was Tsunade’s Senju seat beside the Hokage’s seat. The Shimura Clan chair already removed. 

Aburame, Akimichi, Hatake, Hyuuga, Inuzuka, Kurama, Nara, Sarutobi, Senju, Uchiha, Uzumaki, Yamanaka. 

Clans brought together in the face of one that wronged so many. It reminded Minashi of when the Shinobi Nations came together because of one man that was bent on putting them in an eternal Genjutsu or killed off everyone while trying. 

Their procession moved down the aisle until they reached the Hokage’s seat. Minashi pulled it out for him and he took it. Once seated, everyone else sat as well. Tsunade taking her seat beside her Hokage. Jiraiya standing behind her. Orochimaru standing behind the Hokage. Minashi stood to the Hokage’s left with sharp blue eyes roaming the crowd. She absently noted that her Blood Clone was sitting with Kakashi and Mikoto in one of the Clan Balconies. 

The javelin knocked against the table and the room once again went silent. All eyes moved to the Hokage who stood to address the room. 

“Good Morning Citizens and Shinobi of Konoha.” He greeted solemnly. “Today you have been gathered to witness a trial for one of the Citizens of Konoha.” 

Murmurs broke out before silenced with a flare of chakra. “As Hokage it is my duty to inform those affected by this citizen’s actions, what has been done to them and theirs.” he took a deep breath before releasing it. “It has come to my attention that in the Shadows of Konoha where the ANBU work, someone has taken advantage of my kindness and turned the shadows into a cancer instead. I cannot allow this to continue any further. So it is my duty to inform all present that ex-councilman Danzo Shimura has been arrested and will stand trial today.” 

The whispers broke out before Minashi saw Team Cheetah bring in the slightly struggling form of Danzo. His face was in a deadly glare as it latched onto Minashi. They got the man into the sealed prisoner box but the glower didn’t leave his face. 

“Danzo Shimura, you stand trial today against the many charges against you. Please read the Charges.” 

A jounin stepped forward from just in front of the Clan head dais. 

“Charges are summarized as follows: Aiding in the destruction of an Allied village. Planning, Ordering, and Murder of Allied shinobis sent for Konoha Aide. Planning, ordering and execution of Massacring of a Konoha Founding Clan. Kidnapping, torture, and brainwashing of civilian children, clan children. Planning, ordering, and execution of Assassination of Konoha Citizens. Planning, ordering, and execution of Assassinations of Konoha Shinobi. Planning and attempt at the assassination of the Hokage. Planning Clan theft.” 

The silence was deafening before roars of outrage and confusion boomed the hall. 

“SILENCE!” The Hokage ordered with a flare of Chakra. Ordered was returned and Hiruzen looked down at his once friend. 

“How do you plead?” He asked the bound Danzo. 

“Not Guilty!” He snapped. “Those are false charges! Anything I have ever done was to protect Konoha!” 

Minashi saw the Hokage’s fists clench on the table. 

“Hokage-sama?” She called softly for his ears only. She felt Kazou’s eyes flick to her curiously. All of the Clans head had been eyeing her curiously. Well, minus Tsunade and Inojiro. 

The Hokage’s eye twitched and she continued. “Would you like me to continue since I led the team that infiltrated ROOT?” 

His eyes finally slid off Danzo and met her blue eyes behind her mask. “You will be able to handle anything you face?” 

Minashi just hummed. “Do you trust me?” 

“With my life.” He said clearly and neither noticed the other Clan heads sharing shocked looks. 

She rested a hand on his shoulder. “Then allow me to share some of your burden.” 

The tenseness left his shoulders and they both turned back to address the room. 

“You believe you protect Konoha with your actions?” Hiruzen asked. 

“HAI!” Danzo shouted furious. 

“Let’s see then. I believe you met her when she arrested you. Let me formally introduce her then since she will continue the questioning and details concerning the charges.” 

Minashi Shunshin to stand front and center before the Clan Head dais back on the floor before Danzo. 

“This is my personal ANBU, My most trusted ANBU. Kept secret for many years. This is Kitsune. She led the team that arrested and found evidence that proves your guilt Danzo. The proceedings will continue with her led.” 

Minashi turned her back to Danzo and gave the Hokage a deep bow and fist over her chest. 

“You Honor me Hokage-sama.” 

“Please begin Kitsune-san.” 

Minashi nodded before lifting her hand up to her mask. “With your permission Hokage-sama?” 

“You may remove your mask.” he nodded. 

Minashi removed it and let a new henge take over her previous black hair and facial markings. Black bled Red, and Blue Bled Red. Skin turned a similar shade to Kushina’s. Her sharp red eyes landed on Danzo. She had the pleasure to watch him pale. 

She felt the spike from Kushina’s chakra, but ignored it. 

“I am Kitsune. I no longer go by my original name as there are none left to remember it. But what I do remember is the stink of traitor. What I remember is escaping from blank Masked ANBU that reeked of Konoha and the blood of my comrades.” She hooked her mask to her hip as her eyes narrowed on the shocked Danzo. “What I remember is that as soon as I was able to heal in secret, I was too late. My Home was gone, Konoha never learned until days later that we needed help. By then it was too late. The traitor had already won. So I disappeared into the shadows. And I Hunted. Do you want to know how much control I have over my own emotions? I'm controlled enough that when I learned that it was you who had one of your ROOT soldiers leak out Uzushio secrets to our enemies; instead of killing you outright, I plotted.” 

She waved a hand around to the silenced audience. “I get to watch you burn by your own actions. But I had to be patient. Especially since you are a crafty old bastard. You were able to get away with much. And I could only act out against you if I was careful. This led to many deaths that I couldn’t prevent. Kami I wish I could, but that is not on me. That is on you and your greed for power.” 

“I seek no power! I see the safety of Konoha!” Danzo snarled. 

“Why attack Uzushio?” Minashi narrowed red eyes on him. “Why kill an allied clan?” 

“I did no such-” 

Minashi held a hand out and the massive scroll holding the evidence appeared. She remained silent as Danzo watched on with trepidation sliding down his spine. 

Minashi reached for the correct seal and a file popped out. Danzo’s shade went pale. She smirked at him. 

“I see you recognize your own files.” 

“That’s not possible-” 

Never” Minashi began as she looked at him through her bangs. She saw him shiver in fear as her Killer intent skyrocketed. “Piss off a Seal Mistress.” She handed the file over to the Jounin that had read the Charges. He swallowed at the thick air before reading the report aloud. 

The Report was incriminating. It didn’t get better as it was signed and ordered by Danzo. Clan heads confirmed his signature. The report stopped at Kushina who was holding back tears. 

“Why?” Kushina asked. 

“Well Danzo?” Minashi asked still facing the doomed man. “Why kill off an entire village whether indirectly or not?” 

Danzo just narrowed his eyes. “The Uzumaki were too strong. Who knows how long they would have stayed our allies. It didn’t help when that Blasted Mito Uzumaki gave that Child the power of the Kyuubi. A powerful weapon that needed to be trained and used against-” He choked off when Minashi was suddenly in front of him and lifting him off the ground by his throat. He scratched at her gloved hands, but Minashi only met his fear filled eyes with cold red ones. 

“You will not speak of one of Konoha Clan Heads in such a manner you piece of trash.” She said evenly, but the threat was there in the coldness of her voice, and the ice in her eyes. 

She dropped the man and he choked as he tried to get back to his feet. 

“This is not the place to discuss my views on Jinchuriki.” she spoke evenly. 

Danzo just chuckled. “But you don’t disagree that they are Weap-” he gagged when Minashi’s fist met his stomach. He fell to his knees while Minashi hummed and rotated her wrists. 

“Do not put words in my mouth. You know nothing of jinchuriki you power hungry old fool. Now, back onto your charges. Obviously, other than my eye witness to your little soldiers killing my comrades, not to mention your own admittance towards your actions, there isn’t much else you can say against the fact that you gave away Allied Village secrets to enemies. The Clan heads have seen the multiple reports of your spies getting the information you desired. Of your orders to kill my squad. Of your spies passing off the information to Kiri, Kumo, and Iwa.” 

She gave him a Cheshire grin. “Shall we continue with the next charge? Massacring a Founding Clan.” 

“Not Guilty!” he growled out as he stood. “I’ve done no such thing!” he shouted. Murmurs whispered around as everyone tried to figure out which clan Minashi spoke of. 

Minashi didn’t even twitch. Instead she walked back to the scroll and pulled up all the Senju clan files. 

“Pass these for review of the Clan Head Council please.” She requested of the Jounin. He nodded and the files were handed out. 

Tsunade ignored them as her steely gaze settled onto Danzo. She would enjoy his slow death. 

 

Minashi glanced at Tsunade’s steely glance before looking back at the twitching Danzo. 

“You claim not guilty, yet you stand here guilty for already killing one of the Founding Clans. Uzumaki was just as much of a founding clan as the Senju and Uchiha. You are now here to stand trial for the slow massacre of the Senju Clan.” 

Gasps of shock and whispers filled the room. Danzo’s skin was still sickly pale as he finally looked up and met the cold gaze of Tsunade Senju. 

“Be glad that I stand between you and the last Senju Danzo.” Minashi said clearly. “Or you would already be dead.” 

Danzo twitched but remained silent. Minashi then began listening as the poor Jounin read out report after report involving ROOT and Senju. Falsely labeled Missions, False information, Planned ambushes, trapped meeting points, and so much more. Finishing with the report of Senju Nawaki. 

The Killer intent leaking off of Tsunade at the report of her brother was suffocating. Jiraiya and Orochimaru moved and placed a hand each on her shoulders. The Killer Intent eased off, but simmered in the air. 

Minashi was about to turn back to Danzo to antagonize him some more when she saw Tsunade stand. She glared down at Danzo. 

“Grand Uncle was your Sensei. How dare you step on his name by killing off his family! I am a healer, but I will enjoy your death.” She growled. 

 

Danzo just glowered back. He subconsciously knew there was no way to get out of this. His loyal ROOT had been killed, his control taken away from the ROOT seals. His Allies imprisoned. His orders on display. His mind scrambled to find something to turn the crowd against the blasted Uzumaki ANBU before him. 

 

Tsunade and Minashi locked gazes. Both gave each other respectful nods before Tsunade sat back down. 

“Next Charges are similar in Nature to each other. So let's cover them together.” Minashi grinned at Danzo, but there was no warmth there. Only cold hunger of a predator toying with its prey. 

“I was authorized to run ROOT as the darker shadows of the ANBU. I have done nothing Wrong. What the ANBU were not skilled enough to do, my ROOT were able to do without fail.” Danzo protested firmly. 

Minashi shrugged. “I will honestly say that ROOT is a very strong bunch of soldiers. But that is all they are. You have conditioned the Humanity out of them. If I'm not mistaking with my discussions with the Hokage, they were only supposed to be the elite of the elite. The ones already too far gone from ANBU to return back to normal society.” The air darkened with the return of Minashi’s Killer Intent. “Not Children.” 

Danzo stayed silent but she could see his fists clenching. Minashi motioned to the scroll again and more files and separate files were pulled out. 

“These here are the reports of your ROOTs returning from outside Konoha with the children of orphanages. Children of war. Bastard children of enemy nations.” She held up the other file. “This here are the reports of your ROOT sent to kidnap civilian children from Konoha orphanages, bastard children of clans, kidnap wounded and thought dead clan Genin from the field.” 

The files slapped onto the Clan heads’ dais for their reviews. Minashi turned back to Danzo. 

“You reorganized ROOT to where you took these children in, slapped on a control seal to take away their ability to expose you, and then trained and conditioned their emotions away. Their graduation test? Killing the child they had been paired with since their arrival. People they saw as best friends or siblings.” She tilted her head at him. “The survival of the fittest at its finest. Yet some were still able to regain their emotions when working outside on your missions. If put with the right person, they would realize that you were wrong.” 

Minashi gestured to Boar and he stepped forward to tell his story. Minashi only held Danzo’s furious glare with her own calm gaze. He would and could not phase her. 

More and more rehabilitated ex-ROOTs walked in and told their stories. They explained their missions, their orders, and what they heard from Danzo himself on future plans. 

Minashi saw the clans stiffen when the first Clan ROOT removed his Mask. It was a teen Aburame. She saw him glance at the clan head before looking up to the rest of the clan head's family. 

Torune told his story. 

Fu from the Yamanaka came next. He told his story. 

The Hyuuga cried out when a non-branded branch member was revealed next. 

When the ex-ROOTs were finally gone Minashi turn to the Clan heads and addressed Kazou. 

“I will congratulate you Uchiha-dono. While your clan can be prideful and arrogant, your keen eyes have kept your people safe.” Kazou could only give a shallow nod. The events of the day keeping even the Clan heads in a numb state. 

  

Minashi looked away from Kazou Uchiha and gazed between the rest of the Clan heads making up the Shinobi Council. 

“During the infiltration of ROOT headquarters and after Danzo had been arrested, the ROOT agents were apprehended. With my skills in Fuuinjutsu I was able to hack into the network of the control seal Danzo had and modify it. Using it temporarily, I removed all Will that would be used against me and my team. The only actions the Control Seal ordered was to obey my orders without fight and to speak the truth when spoken to.” A few nodded their understanding and she continued. “With this, I was able to gather the ROOT agents and get the truth of their loyalty from them. None could lie, the seal would not allow it. This led to the deaths of thirty percent of the ROOT agents. All Adults.” she said solemnly. “I know my actions were hasty, but their loyalty was to Danzo, not to Konoha. No reconditioning would have changed that.” 

“While rash, your actions are within your mission parameters.” Hiruzen sighed. “The families will still be notified as well.” 

Minashi nodded before looking back to the two most powerful Clan heads. Kazou Uchiha and Hitoshi Hyuuga. 

“I would like to address both you Uchiha-dono, Hyuuga-dono. While Danzo was able to secure a half-blooded Hyuuga from the branch family, that was the only Hyuuga. Yet there were no Uchiha. I commend you both for protecting you clansmen. It shows the strength of your clan. I do not say this to gain favor, it is only truth. Yet that strength was also a threat to Danzo. I fear what his prejudice thoughts would have led to. Especially if he wasn’t fearful of clan theft.” She said leaving it for them to make their own assumptions. Kazou was first to lose a little color before his eyes spun to their full Mature sharingan and glared at Danzo. 

Minashi turned back to Danzo and the crowd. There was nothing Danzo could do. He'd been caught. His precious ROOT agents turned against him. 

Minashi continued with the trial. The individual assassinations came up next. Whether be parents of the orphaned ROOT agents, or those of great importance now. When Orochimaru’s parents were brought up, she spotted the Sannin grabbing a hold of the Snake sannin as he shook when their names were read out. 

More whispers went around the younger generation when Minato’s name was brought up. Minashi spoke of how Danzo feared Minato’s leadership potential. How he had the dream to be Hokage. How he had the potential to be a great hokage when he was older. Danzo feared a great man like him taking the seat that he so desired. Danzo only snarled and glared at her with pure hatred. His hatred was nothing compared to that which she has faced before. 

Name after name, shouts of outrage from the crowds when families realized what had happened to their loved ones. 

Tsume Inuzuka even had to be restrained by her clan members, when it was learned her elder brother and clan heir had also been assassinated and not just killed on a mission. Her Mother Kambi Inuzuka, had to be retrained by the Hitoshi Hyuuga and Shirou Aburame. 

Order was barely held as the names went on. More ANBU flooded the room to keep Civilians and Shinobi alike in their seats. 

Finally Minashi neared the end. The assassination against their own Hokage. The multiple attempts. Danzo only stayed silent and glowered up at Minashi and Hiruzen. 

The last Charge had Jiraiya and Orochimaru holding Tsunade back. The reports on Danzo’s funding Orochimaru’s research. Wanting to get him into researching the shodaime’s cells. But it was two parts. His ROOT were already spying on the Uchiha. They had been planted within Konoha to begin turning the Village against the last Founding Clan. The physical and verbal reports from ex-ROOT that he desired to have the Sharingan. 

Kazou Uchiha’s eyes never left their red state as he glared at Danzo. 

 

Minashi knew that now it was time to bring it to an end. She knew Danzo’s death so early on would change so much, but she was prepared to roll with the punches. 

 

Hiruzen flashed his chakra and the Hall silenced once more. The Uchiha settled down. The Clan Council quieted. 

“With evidence provided, witness reports given, and your own admittance to your crimes, it is time for your final Judgement. I, Sarutobi Hiruzen, Sandaime Hokage, find you Danzo Shimura Guilty of all charges. The council will take a short intermission to discuss how your last days shall be spent. ANBU team Cheetah, please escort Danzo back to his Cell. Captain, please return once complete.” Minato nodded behind his mask and his team walked the once Elder out. The Citizens and Clan members began filing out for their own break. 

Minashi flashed back to Hiruzen’s side after all the evidence had been stored back away into a seal on her person. She stayed at the Hokage’s side as they disappeared into a room behind the Council dais. She followed the Hokage until he collapsed down into the head chair. No one blamed their Hokage when he rested his head into his arms. The other Clan heads weren’t fairing any better. Heads were buried in hands or shadowed by hair. 

Minashi stepped back and leaned against the nearest window. The Sannin leaned against the wall huddled together. Soaking in their own support. 

Minashi released her Uzumaki henge and put her mask on the side of her head. Her Uzumaki refugee mask was needed no more. 

The Council room was bathed in silence. No one wanted to break it. They all had their own emotions to work through before they even decided how they would punish the man responsible. 

Minashi felt when Minato returned. He shot her a glance before removing his mask and walking to Kushina. She was curled into a ball in her chair. At his touch she uncurled and then looked to Minashi. Violet eyes looked at her but Minashi looked away first. 

She knew the moment that Kushina approached her. She let her mind slip back into her Kitsune mask and looked at Kushina with a blank face. 

“Yes Uzumaki-hime?” Kitsune asked when Kushina just stood before her. She felt curious eyes on her from the rest of the council. Minato stood only a few paces away from Kushina. Ready if she needed him. 

“A-are you really a survivor from Uzushio?” she whispered. 

Kitsune turned to her fully. “I am a survivor, but not of Uzushio. I apologize for using the Uzumaki Clan in such ways, but it was the best way I knew to get under Danzo’s skin.” She gave Kushina a bow. “Please accept my apologies for using your Clan name without permission.” 

Kushina touched her shoulder and paused to look into her sharp blue eyes. They held gazes for a few moments before Kushina gave a sad smile. 

“Apology accepted. You used our name to get justice for our people.” 

“I am not Uzumaki.” Kitsune said.  

Kushina just smiled. “I am aware. You said you gave up your name. That was truth right?” 

“Hai.” She turned and bowed to the rest of the clan heads. “I apologize to you all as well. I have just recently been working on leaving the darkest parts of the shadows. I have been unable to properly introduce myself. I am Kitsune. I am the Personal ANBU to the Hokage. I am also a protector of Konoha. I look forward to getting to know everyone now that my presence is known.” 

After meeting each of their gazes and giving shallow bows to each she looked back to her Hokage and found him trying to light his pipe. Yet his hands were trembling just enough for her eyes to catch it. Letting go of her formal air, she moved to Hiruzen and took the pipe from his trembling hands. She looked Biwako, Hiruzen’s wife that sat in the Sarutobi Clan seat until her eldest son was ready. She took the pipe from Minashi while Minashi took her Hokage’s chilled hands into her own. He looked up at her with tired brown eyes. 

“Share your burdens.” She whispered but the room was quiet enough her voice echoed. “You are our Hokage, but we are your people, your support. We follow you, but you must also be able to lean on us.” 

Hiruzen swallowed and nodded. “I am tired Kitsune. I don’t know how you could live through everything you have and still be here and handle all this.” 

Minashi just gave him an understanding smile. “The Will of Fire burns with the passion to protect. The people of the Land of Fire will always be able to Endure as long as one flame burns bright.” 

Hiruzen hummed before pulling a hand away and patting hers. “Thank you Kitsune-chan.” 

Minashi grunted annoyed at the –chan- and walked back to her wall to lean against. Kushina had returned to her seat and Minato had taken a position with the other ANBU around the room. Tsunade too, took her seat, her teammates standing behind her in silent support. 

Hiruzen straightened, took his pipe back from his wife with a kind smile, and slipped back into his Hokage Mode. 

“We will now begin discussing the fate of Danzo Shimura.” He spoke firm and clear. There was no doubt that the moment of compassion of their Hokage was gone. The God of shinobi was back. 

Minashi only closed her eyes and listened as the Clans most affected demanded Danzo tortured to death. The level headed ones just asked for a swift death to get it over with. They argued over slow or quick. Painful or silent. 

Minashi let it go on for an hour before she stepped forward. They had spoken their minds. They had let the darkness of hatred consume them long enough. 

The room paused when she moved back to stand near Hiruzen. 

He glanced at her with tired eyes. “You have a suggestion?” 

“Revenge has clouded their judgement.” She spoke evenly. 

“You seek revenge as well.” he pointed out. 

Minashi hummed not denying it. 

“What do you suggest?” 

“While I sought revenge, I have gotten it through justice. Blind revenge will do nothing but darken a person’s heart and cloud their mind. Extending Danzo’s sentence will do nothing but give the darkness of hatred more power over your council. I suggest a private execution. All of Danzo’s assets will then be given out to the families most in need and to the Orphanages of Konoha.”  

Hiruzen nodded and the room broke out in murmurs of reluctant agreeance. 

“You also forget Hokage-sama, there are your other two ex-advisors and councilmen. They have already been stripped of their titles and will spend time in jail. You can also split their assets amongst the affected families and put funds into a trust for Orphans that need help getting on their feet between living at the orphanage and making a place in society.” 

“What do you mean?” Hitoshi Hyuuga frowned. 

Minashi glanced at him. “When an Orphan is made a genin after graduation they are told to move out. Now this is just a brand new genin. They may not even have a team yet. How are they supposed to pay rent? Even if they have a team, what if their sensei focuses more on training and not doing D-ranks? How is that orphan supposed to support themselves? Not to mention Civilian Orphans. They struggle to find work after completing their schooling. There isn’t any sort of funding to assist them on getting on their feet.” She shrugged her shoulders when she got skeptical looks. “I’m not saying we hold their hands all the way, but having funding set aside to aide them for a certain amount of time would ensure that less children and young teens will be living on the streets or working in the red-light district.” 

Hiruzen nodded and approving eyes went around the room. “That is a good point. We will have to discuss your idea more at length at the next formal council meeting. For now we will go with your suggestion. I will not let the Cancer spread in Konoha any further. Danzo will be put to death tomorrow at noon. Only essential people will stand witness. All in Favor?” 

The air was silent before the first clan heads starting raising their hands in agreeance with the Hokage. He nodded his head. 

“Then it is decided. We shall stay here for another thirty minutes to allow the audience to resume their seats.” He waved Minato off to spread the orders. He bowed and was gone in a flash. 

 

Minashi felt herself zone out a bit as the time passed and the Courtroom was back in session. She listened as Danzo was sentence to death the following afternoon. How notices would go out to a small party to stand witness. Minashi came back into awareness when Danzo finally snapped and began shouted and snapping at Hiruzen. He screamed about being the one that should have been Sandaime. Konoha was the strongest. He was going to make it so. 

His furious black eyes then landed on her. 

“YOU! This is ALL your FAULT! If it wasn’t for you, Konoha would have been mine!” 

Minashi just raises a brow behind her mask that was firmly back in place. She is suddenly standing before Danzo’s prisoner box as she removed the Mask to show off her Kitsune henge. 

“You are correct.” She replies evenly. Danzo freezes and his ANBU detail tense in preparation. “If it wasn’t for me, you would have been able to continue to fly under the radar. Maybe even turn Orochimaru towards your dark plans and against Konoha. Turned Konoha against is last founding clan. Gotten your wish to have the Mokuton for yourself. Gotten your wish to have the power of the Sharingan. Maybe even attempted to get your hands on the Kyuubi no Kitsune. The thing you see as the greatest weapon of Konoha. But I am here. I am here to protect Konoha.” 

Danzo chuckled low. “The Kyuubi?” Minashi narrowed her eyes as his chuckle turned dark. “What do you know about the Kyuubi?” 

Cold blue met cold black. 

“Nothing.” He snarled. “You know nothing! The Kyuubi no kitsune is a war weapon for Konoha. If that damned Mito hadn’t just handed it over to that sniveling little bitch Uzumaki brat, then I could have used it to make Konoha the greatest nation of the Elemental countries!” He laughed. He then smirked at Minashi. “But it’s gone. Did you know that? It’s been missing. I saw the health reports. Kushina no longer holds the Kyuubi. Our enemies hold the Kyuubi. It will be used against Konoha and you will not be able to protect it.” he laughed loud and long. 

Minashi just stared at him with a blank face. When his gaze finally landed back on her, Minashi let a terrifyingly arrogant smirk lift the corner of her lip and triumph spun in her eyes. Danzo’s laughter cut off abruptly at her look. 

Minashi’s smirk just turned into a grin as she tilted her head at him. 

“Do you honestly think I didn’t know that?” Danzo only swallowed as her eyes sharpened on him. Pinning him in place. “I know exactly how and why the Kyuubi was moved. I know who holds him safe from people who wish to use him for evil like you.” 

Danzo began to tremble before her with rage. 

“Best part is? You will never know who holds him. Konoha’s enemies will never know who holds him. My enemies will never know who holds him. Him and his container are safe.” 

“Only for as long as you are alive.” Danzo snarled. 

Minashi just smirked. “I’m pretty hard to kill.” 

“You bitch.” he snarled before it turned into shouting with more expletives shouting at her, cursing her to hell. The ANBU finally dragged the struggling man away to be detained until his execution. 

The screams and shouts continued until his detail slammed the door behind the struggling man. Silence filled the tense air before Hiruzen dismissed the Trial.  

Minashi stayed near the Hokage as he shook hands with the Clan heads. She too shook their hands for a proper greeting. When there was finally a moment to breathe, a worn hand gripped her forearm. She met her Hokage’s tired gaze with a calm one of her own. 

“Please take me somewhere quiet.” he whispered to her. 

“Place this on first Hokage-sama.” She said offering him one of her Healing seals. Tsunade perked up at it but they were gone before she could say anything. Hiruzen stumbled when they arrived at their destination but the seal did its job and soothed the side-effects of the jump. 

Minashi lowered the Hokage to the ground before taking the seat beside him. Together they breathed in the clean air blowing up the mountain face. 

Hiruzen shut his eyes and took in the quiet even as he pulled his legs in to sit more comfortably. 

Minashi just kept her legs out stretched and arms behind her. Her finger absently drew a barrier seal around them. It was more a ‘don’t look here, there’s nothing here’ seal than a protective one. So knowing they wouldn’t be disturbed, she dropped her ANBU henge and allowed her golden locks to blow into the wind. Calling up more of her chakra, one last henge slipped over her ANBU clothes. Her Hokage robe and hat appeared over her skin so she sat matching the Sandaime. Only the title of their seats scrawled on the back and Minashi’s flames separate their looks. 

Hiruzen glanced at her when he felt the chakra surround her. He then gave her a sad smile. 

“Rokudaime.” he greeted. 

“Sandaime.” she mumbled back as she tilted her head into the Konoha breeze. 

“You still won’t take this hat back?” he asked into the wind. 

“Nope.” Minashi hummed. Not yet. Maybe not ever. 

“So Sakumo?” 

Minashi smiled into the slowly descending sun light casting an array of colors blanketing Konoha. 

“He is one of your best Shinobi next to the Sannin. I already told you why they wouldn’t work. Even if Tsunade made a good Godaime, she is still too fresh off her pain of Nawaki and Dan. Being back with her team will help her heal this time around, but she is also needed more in the hospital. Especially with the upcoming war. That, is also why Sakumo would make a great hokage. The Upcoming war. He is a skilled strategist. Rivals the Nara’s in that aspect. He will also not be afraid to push back. Yet he will not sacrifice the young to fight in the war made by the adults. Hatake’s have pack mentality. Put him in charge and all of Konoha becomes part of his Pack. He will strive to protect, provide, and make sure his pack is happy.” 

Hiruzen chuckled into the wind. “You make a good argument. I am having a hard time finding anyone else that would be able to do what you say he could.” 

“I actually don’t know of anyone else. Most of the powerful Shinobi like him were either lost in the Second or Third war.” She paused before sighing and pulling her hat off. “Actually, Kakashi had almost ended up being Rokudaime.” she said softly. Hiruzen looked at her surprised. She smiled down at the Hokage hat in her lap as she traced the Fire symbol. 

“He had the skills, the experience, the knowledge, he only lacked some of the people skills. But he had been improving. Both him and Naruto were Hokage Candidates. Naruto, Kakashi and I promised each other that it didn’t matter who the people chose. I knew both would make good Hokages.” Minashi’s face darkened. “Then the war broke out. There was no time for that. Then-Naruto.” She swallowed thickly. “Kakashi couldn’t bear to take it then. It was supposed to be his student’s seat. Not his. So him and Tsunade offered it to me. I took it and promised to fulfil my brother’s dreams and protect Konoha for him.” 

A war torn hand gripped hers that were tight on her hat. She looked up to find understanding brown eyes gazing at her softly. 

“He would be proud.” Hiruzen whispered. “I am proud. Your guidance has already saved so many lives.” 

“I’ve taken almost just as many.” she whispered. 

He patted her hand. “It’s all part of the duty of Hokage. There are some that must be sacrificed for the greater good. There is no getting around that all the time, as much as I hate to say it. Danzo twisted that to his own means. You have done nothing like that. You have only sacrificed those that wished Konoha harm. There is nothing wrong in that. It is part of being a Hokage.” 

Minashi nodded and leaned her head on his shoulder. “He’ll be gone soon.” she said after a few beats of silence. 

“He will.” Hiruzen replied sadly. 

“I’m sorry Jiji.” She whispered. 

He patted her knee. “Do not apologize. He was no longer my friend. I will only mourn the man that once was. Not the monster that he became.” 

Minashi hummed as she closed her eyes. “The future will change now. The Uchiha aren’t in as much danger anymore. At least not internal threats.” She swallowed thickly. “A few precious people will never be who they used to be.” 

“Who?” Hiruzen asked softly. 

“Yamato-sensei. He was an experimentation of Orochimaru’s. He was the only one to survive the Shodaime cell integration. He could use a variation of the Mokuton. Then there is Sai. He was a ROOT with his pseudo brother.” She swallowed thickly as the tears built in her eyes. “They’ll be able to live normal lives. But so many of Orochimaru’s experiments will also be left alone. While he had horrible motives, he still took them in.” 

“Then bring them to Konoha.” Hiruzen smiled at her. She whipped her head up to him. 

“What?” 

“When you are able to as Minashi, bring them here.” 

Minashi face softened as she relaxed back on his shoulder. She felt the gentle pressure of him rested his own head against hers. 

“I will. One of them was my Cousin. Karin Uzumaki.” She paused and thought about it. “Actually if I can work it out, I might be able to actually save her whole family.” 

“Uzumaki will always be welcomed in Konoha.” Hiruzen hummed as he pulled out his pipe and lit it. 

Minashi hummed happily into the silence that descended them once again. Closing her eyes, she enjoyed the feel of the breeze, the scent of tobacco and monkey, and the warm Konoha sun on her skin. Her senses hummed softly with the feeling of all the Chakra signatures in Konoha. Each one soothing the ache in her chest. 

She didn’t have Naruto yet, but she had Konoha. She would protect it until it was his turn. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 24

  

Minashi stood in the middle of Hiruzen’s office as he dismissed his regular guard for the evening. Once she felt the privacy barrier activate, she placed down her own secondary one to block out all visual access. With that, she shed her Kitsune henge once again. A long sigh escaped her as she moved to collapse on his couch. She heard Hiruzen shifting around his office until he set a tea cup next to her on the low table. He grabbed a seat and sipped on his own tea.   

They enjoyed the peaceful moment as the sun disappeared behind the Konoha tree line outside the windows.  

“I’m losing my advantage.” Minashi whispered into the silence. Hiruzen only hummed in acknowledgement. “I won’t be able to predict as much anymore. Danzo and Orochimaru were such large players of my past.”  

“You said there was still another.”  

Minashi sighed. “Yes. Zetsu. Tou-san and I had a theory about it.”  

“ ‘it’?” Hiruzen questioned.  

“Yes. It’s not human. That’s why we began making theories about it. Especially after listening to one of its victim’s story. It’s able to attach itself to a person if they are weak enough and manipulate their body. Otherwise, it keeps itself attached to a white Zetsu. A clone of some sort.” Minashi covered her eyes with her arms and hid her frown. “The clones are made from a statue. Nevertheless, I can’t find the statue since it’s made of Nature Energy even in its weakened form. It’s the same statue that is currently keeping Madara alive. That bastard will start making his own moves in the third war. But I do not know how they will change with my own actions taking out Danzo and Orochimaru from being manipulated.”  

“You do not need to focus on all this alone Minashi.” Hiruzen said evenly. She lifted her arm enough to peek a look at him. “You have allies remember?”  

Minashi’s pinched face eased as she dropped her arms and sat up to lean against the armrest.  

“Hai.” She sighed.  

“Talk with my students. I’m sure there is much that you can accomplish with their aid.” Hiruzen smirked.  

Minashi glanced at him then looked away as she thought about it. She had only originally planned on having just Hiruzen and Jiraiya in the know. But now she had Tsunade and Orochimaru. She narrowed her eyes at nothing as she thought about it. Tsunade is one of the best Medic-nins in all the elemental nations. If she could work with her, they might be able to save lives when the war came. Not to mention if she could get Tsunade on board with Orochimaru’s genius, they might be able to get started on the replacement limbs that Tsunade didn’t discover until the Fourth war. That would keep their shinobi number up, no matter if they did lose limbs in the war.   

Then there was Orochimaru and Jiraiya. A brilliant Scientist and Manipulator. A Master Spy and infiltrator. Could she get them to expand the spy work even greater? Use that network to keep an eye out for Zetsu and Madara? Use that network to have a greater advantage in the war without too much loss on either side?  

Minashi’s mind whirled with all the possibilities. Her mind suddenly paused when she remembered Nagato. She needed to get a hold of his Rinnegan eyes. She remembered that they should be already in charge of Akatsuki by now. Was Yahiko already dead by Hanzo? If she could also take those cursed eyes out of the picture as well, Madara will lose another piece to his plans.  

“I need to speak with the Sannin soon. Before the Third war is confirmed.” Minashi spoke softly but firm as the plans came together in her mind. She needed to change Nagato’s mind. 

“That can be arranged but I have a condition Minashi.” She snapped her sharp gaze to see steely brown. “You will take a break. You have been pushing yourself. Take time to just breathe.”  

Minashi gave him a sardonic smile. “I’ll try Jiji. There are just a few ideas I want to talk to you about first before the day ends.”  

“What would those be?”  

“We were talking about Sakumo being your successor. What would happen if you passed away before he could take it? What if he passed away before he could take it? What happened if he passed away shortly after taking the Hat? Who would replace him?”  

“I’m listening.” Hiruzen sat up straighter.  

So Minashi told him about how Hiruzen had to take back his own seat when her Yondaime had passed away a year into his duty. How there was no one else able to take it. It took thirteen years before Tsunade had been brought back to take the seat. Minashi's solution was to have the Hokage and Hokage successor marked. The mark would only be visible when chakra was added to it. It would hold the chakra of their predecessor. They could then pass on their own chakra and that of their predecessor to identify the next successor.  

Hiruzen and Minashi worked, discussed, and drew out the first temporary seal. Minashi rewrote it twice more before Hiruzen was sporting a new seal on his left inner wrist. The seal activated with a glow and condensed into two words. Fire Three.   

Looking at the time to see that it was closing in on midnight, Hiruzen and Minashi called it a night.  

Minashi disappears back to her ANBU apartment to strip and henge clothes before trading spots with her Child Clone once again.  

Morning came too quick for her liking. She found it odd how she goes through the motions the following morning with Minato. The only new thing had been Kushina being awake enough to do her hair before they both walked her to the Academy.  

Sakumo and Kakashi met them there and with some small chat they were left there. She knew their tight smiles and not as bright gazes were because Danzo’s execution later today. She too would have to make a blood clone to slip out and attend.   

Giving herself a mental shake she attempted to focus back on the academy. She could only groan as Sumiko-sensei started the morning off with a history lesson.  

Minashi perked up a little bit when they headed outside for taijutsu. Switching back and forth from Child to Adult forms had made her to adapt easier as her body and mind got used to muscle memory for the two different forms.  

It had also allowed her, during their Chakra control training, to gain an amount of control she didn’t have until she had spent time with her fox summons as a teen. While she would never have perfect control, the massive amounts she had were also starting to balance out more. She always gave Kurama mental thanks for his own endless effort to balance their chakra out.  

This was why she had opted for the academy. While she didn’t really need the academic parts, it was the physical she needed. The actual physical training they did built her small body up. Her physical strength was increasing, yet she would always have great stamina. The amount of energy her chakra provided her was the cause for that.  

She ignored it when she made a Blood clone and sent it off to aide Hiruzen. It had orders to avoid any physical altercations as she was still healing. She didn’t need to be in the Hospital for Chakra exhaustion and over exertion within a week. She wouldn’t be able to excuse it again. Especially with Sakumo toning down their training.  

An hour after lunch started, Minashi stumbled into her chair at her desk when the Blood clone dispelled. Sitting down she laid her head down ignoring Kakashi’s worried look.  

“Just got dizzy for a moment.” Minashi smiled at him. He gave her a skeptical look before letting her be. Grabbing his free arm, she used it as a pillow as she slept through the tactics lesson. Instead, she focused on the memories.  

She shoved aside the actual beheading of Danzo. It was the fact that her clone had approached the Sannin afterwards. She’d hugged Tsunade when the woman finally broke down once again. When she had calmed down, her Clone had asked if they could have a private meeting in a few days' time. She needed their help with some of her personal missions. Tsunade had only nodded. Orochimaru had given her a penetrating gaze before bowing his head respectfully. Says it’s the least they owe her. Jiraiya had just given her a tight smile. ‘That’s what comrades are for.’ He reminded her. She’d given them respectful bows before moving to her Hokage and pulling him into a hug. He’d stiffened and people stared. Hiruzen then relaxed and hugged her back.  

I can feel that you aren’t her.’ He’d whispered. ‘Thank you for still being here in some way.’  

You’re family’ Her blood clone had whispered in his ear. He’d hugged her tighter before he’d dismissed her. Saying that she’d done enough. His Guard could take care of him for the rest of the day. Her clone had just nodded before flashing away and popping in her apartment.  

   

Minashi let out a sigh when the final bell rang, ending the Academy day. She clung to Kakashi as they slowly walked towards the gate.  

“You okay Mina?” he asked softly. She looked up to see two worried coal eyes.  

“I just had a bad dream last night.” She felt him twitch beside her.  

“I’m sorry I wasn’t there.”  

Minashi shook her head and leaned against his shoulder. She couldn’t see it as his ears turned red.  

“It didn’t wake me up, so it wasn’t bad, but I just feel extra sleepy.” She sighed.  

“I can ask Tou-san to stay with you and Minato-san and Kushina-nee-san.” He offered.  

Minashi paused and looked back up to him. Her lips lifted into a smile at him. “I would like that. You keep all the bad dreams and nightmares away Kashi.”  

His flush spread to just over his mask as he gave a firm nod. “Then I’ll ask.”  

A few moments later, they reached the gate and found both their families waiting for them with even more tired looks around their eyes. Minashi felt guilt assault her before remembering that it was needed. They would heal soon enough.  

“Tou-san!” Kakashi called out as they walked quicker to their small group.  

“Kakashi.” Sakumo finally gave a real smile.  

“Nii-san. Nee-san. Saki-Chan!” Minashi smiled, but it wasn’t as bright as normal. She saw Minato and Kushina share glances.  

“Tou-san, can I stay with Mina tonight?”  

Sakumo blinked before frowning. “We separated you two this week to keep you from pushing each other in training.”  

“It’s not for training.” Kakashi pouted.  

“Kashi keeps the bad dreams away.” Minashi said softly as she looked up at all three adults with puppy eyes. She saw all three waiver.  

“I don’t see a problem with it.” Minato caved first.  

Sakumo shook his head. “No, they need to learn when it’s time for rest. Minashi ended up in the hospital. We’re lucky they both didn’t end up in the hospital.”  

Minashi pulled on her emotions and made her puppy eyes turn glassy with unshed tears.  

“P-please Saki-chan?” Minashi whimpered even as she clung to Kakashi.  

“Oh, Senpai!” Kushina exclaimed with a bright face. “Why don’t we all just stay together? That way we can keep an eye on the kids from training too much and they get to stay together. Plus-” her smile dimmed a bit. “I think being around more people would be best. I think Minato and I would enjoy the extra company.”  

Sakumo looked at Kushina and saw what Mina could see. The events of the past couple days were wearing on them. He let out a long sigh of defeat. “Alright.” His head tilted as he hummed. “If you two wouldn’t mind, I think I might send a message to some friends of mine. They shouldn’t be alone either.”  

Minato perked up. “Sensei?”  

“Hai. Him and his partners.” Sakumo. “It will also allow Jiraiya to finally meet Minashi.”  

“Nii-san’s Sensei?” Minashi questioned.  

“Hai, do you remember seeing the tall white haired man near the Hokage when we were all gathered the other day?” Minato asked as he crouched before her.  

“When that crazy man was getting in trouble for hurting people?” She tilted her head cutely.  

“Hai.” Minato nodded. Mina let her gaze go unfocused as she acted as if she tried to remember Jiraiya.  

Her eyes lit up. “Oh! The one that smelled like toads?”  

Minato chuckled. “Hai.”  

“Orochi-chan talked about him. They are teammates right? Orochi-chan seemed happy they are back! He talked about them during our Fuuin lessons.” Minashi beamed. “is Orochi-chan coming too?”  

“Him and the Doctor that treated you in the hospital.” Kushina confirmed as she picked Minashi up and they began walking together back to Sakumo’s place. Minato disappeared first to pack overnight backs for him and Kushina.  

“Ah, the nice Ba-chan.” Minashi smiled.  

Kushina smiled tightly. “Yep. They are all teammates.”  

“That bad man hurt her.” Mina pouted. Kushina nodded and she saw Sakumo hold Kakashi tighter beside them.  

“Yes. That is why I think it would be good for them to visit.” Sakumo said as he met her eyes.  

“She needs a hug?” Mina questioned. Sakumo tilted his head as he looked at her.  

“Hai, I think she would enjoy a hug.”  

Mina only smiled brighter. “It will be a big hug!” she exclaimed. “Especially since we are family!”  

Kushina almost tripped, but Minato arriving back, stopped her from falling.  

“Who’s family?” he asked.  

“The nice Ba-chan from the Hospital!” Mina giggled.  

“What? How’s that?” He asked confused.  

Mina looked between the three adults looked confused. “Isn’t she? We learned that she’s the Shodaime’s granddaughter. Didn’t the Shodaime marry an Uzumaki? It makes her Uzumaki.”  

Kushina’s smile turned loving. “She is. We’ll make sure to give her plenty of hugs then.” She said even as she dove in tickled Mina’s side. Mina let out a loud squeal as she squirmed in Kushina’s arms.  

“Nii-san!” Mina laughed as she launched for Minato for help. He chuckled as he caught her and saved her from Kushina’s wiggling fingers.  

   

Back at the Hatake Compound Minashi got to witness Sakumo summoning the white wolf Kyo once again. He gave her the scroll invites for the Sannin and then she was gone.  

Kushina then moved to the kitchen to whip up snacks and get started on dinner.  

Mina happily sat on the couch snuggled into Kakashi’s lap as he read another Ninjutsu theory scroll Minato gave him.   

“Senpai?” Kushina called from the entry to the kitchen. Sakumo looked to her with a kind smile.  

“Yes Kushina?”  

Kushina fiddled with the Cooking Chopsticks in her hand, as she didn’t look up. “Can I invite the team over as well?” She finally looked up to meet Sakumo’s gaze. “I know Hizashi is probably acting fine, and Mikoto has her father and Clan, but they both won’t let anyone see underneath.”  

Sakumo’s gaze softened on her. “That is fine. The more the merrier. I will be good to see my once Cute Genin back together.”  

Kushina smiled before she was gone and the back a few moments later with two scrolls. Sakumo Summoned up another wolf. This one was slightly bigger than Kyo. Its fur was also a mix of black, grey, and white. Golden eyes looked to Sakumo for instructions.  

“Haru. Please pass these onto my students. Let them know it’s from both Kushina and I.”  

“Hai Sakumo-sama.” The wolf said with a growly bass voice. He carefully took the scrolls and left out the open door.  

Mina let her eyes slide back shut as Kushina went back to the kitchen and Sakumo and Minato talked Ninjutsu theory.  

She was woken from her doze when she felt a tiny hand shifting through her hair. She smiled and turned to snuggled her face into Kakashi’s still soft stomach. She knew with time, it would change, so she would enjoy it for now. He paused when she shifted before continuing to pet her hair when she settled down again. She forced her mind to shut off on all her worries for now. She was currently Minashi, the almost five year old that was about to meet a bunch of new people. A child that had just witness a bad man stand trial. A girl that had just recovered from exhaustion. A child that was shy around strangers. A child that had no responsibilities.  

   

Mina didn’t notice when she actually feel asleep. She did notice when she slowly became more aware. Kakashi wasn’t just letting her use him as a pillow. His even breathing and changed position gave away that he must have succumbed to his own nap. Mina wanted to smirk in triumph. She would say it again. Naps were almost as good as Ramen.  

Kakashi had fallen to the side to where he was now holding her close even as Minashi was still buried in his stomach. Her arms had moved in her sleep though to wrap around him. His own nose was buried in her hair as she felt his warm puffs of breath on her head.  

The second thing she noticed was that there were a few more signatures in the living room than before. She recognized all but one. Yet the one new one was still similar enough to ones she once knew, that she wasn’t worried. She knew that she must have been really tired though if her instincts hadn’t made her wake up, when everyone had begun to arrive.  

‘However, I’ve always felt safe in Kakashi’s arms. Always knew that he’d wake up and protect me if we were in danger.’ She thought to herself absently.  

The brat isn’t the paranoid ANBU he once was. Kurama reminded her.  

‘Then I’ll have to be the one on guard until he is.’ Minashi sleepily mused.  

No, you rest when you need it. It’s your smaller body reminding you that you are in a child’s body. We’re partners are we not?  

‘We are.’ 

Then don’t give yourself up by being paranoid when you are supposed to be an semi-innocent kid. I’ll always have your back Minashi. Kurama grumbled annoyed.  

‘Softy.’ Minashi sent him a mental smirk. He snarled back embarrassed. ‘Thank you.’ His snarl cut off and he huffed instead. Minashi felt her lips lift into a smiled and nuzzled further into Kakashi’s stomach.  

“They’re adorable.” She heard a soft voice whisper. She recognized it as Mikoto’s.  

“She’s good for Kakashi.” Sakumo replied in the same whisper.  

“Speaking of the brat.” She heard Jiraiya’s horrible attempt at a whisper speak up. “Has she made any other attempts at collecting Nature energy?”  

“Not with me.” Minato confirmed.  

“Same.” Sakumo hummed.  

Jiraiya hummed and she could smell him, as he got closer.   

“Nature Energy?” The semi familiar signature asked surprised. “She has enough chakra for that? I thought one had to have extreme levels of Chakra-“he suddenly gasped and she could practically Feel his eyes on her.  

“Hizashi.” Kushina’s firm voice called to her third teammate. “S-rank. It isn’t known to others not in this room, The Hokage, and ANBU Kitsune for a reason.”  

“But isn’t extraction supposed to kill you? How are you still alive Kushina?” he hissed.  

“Her seal is stronger.” Kushina sighed.  

“My theory is that because the fox just moved from one seal to another, the previous host wasn’t as affected.” Minato muttered.  

“Didn’t that ANBU Kitsune say that she knew Exactly how the Kyuubi was moved?” Hizashi said a bit louder.  

The room froze.  

“She’s a seal Mistress.” Minato confirmed with dread in his voice.  

“Minashi was sent to Konoha for protection.” Sakumo spoke up for the room. “Her Father was an Uzumaki, her Mother the same as Minato’s. It is very possible that Kitsune was somehow connected to them.”  

“Kitsune said she lost everyone she’s ever loved.” Tsunade added trying to keep to the truth yet not giving them more ammunition.  

“She accused Danzo of killing her friend’s clan when we first arrested him.” Minato added in. “That could be either a Senju or Uzumaki. Maybe she was friends with Minashi’s father. Her emotions about the Uzumaki were real.”  

“When I touched her, I felt my chakra resonate with her.” Kushina added softly. “I think she is at least part Uzumaki.”  

“She said she wasn’t though.” Minato added.  

Kushina was silent, but Minashi heard her hair shift as she shook her head. “She is. She’s hidden it well, but it’s faintly there.” Her voice went tight.  

The room went silent before Minato spoke again. “She had a team. I think that they escaped together from where ever they are from. However, she lost all her connections to them. She lost all of them. I think they died in the war. She must have ran into my mother and Minashi’s father shortly after.” He was quiet for a moment before sighing. “I know I shouldn’t trust her. She has so many unknowns. So many mysteries. Yet, the Hokage trusts her fully. Yet, I also trust her fully. She told me that her secrets are for the safety of Konoha.”  

“Kitsune is as she says. A protector.” Everyone tuned in and shifted to look at Orochimaru. His golden gaze held everyone’s. “She will not twist that title like Danzo did. Her motives will always be for the right reasons. If she has secrets it to protect the loved ones she has left.”  

“She’s the reason I’m back. Why the Sannin are back together.” Tsunade spoke up next.   

“What?” Sakumo whispered shocked.  

Jiraiya chuckled. “Kitsune is stronger than us and will continue to get stronger.”  

“That’s an understatement.” Minato deadpanned. “I saw you three battling her Clones. I had to evacuate before I was destroyed with the training field.”  

“Seriously?” Kushina snickered.  

“Do you think she would be willing to train with some of the Jounins?” Hizashi asked with a slight eager inflection in his tone.  

Minato groaned before it was muffled. “Don’t.” he warned.  

Kushina snerked. “Apparently Minato’s team got put through her training regimen.”  

“She’s a sadist.” He bemoaned into Kushina’s hair.  

Mikoto chuckled and Hizashi hummed. The Sannin just chuckled.  

“What is it like to work with her on a mission?” Sakumo asked Minato and the Sannin.  

Minato grunted as he sat back up and regarded Sakumo. “Why?”  

“Curiosity. That and I have a feeling that she’ll become more public since her introduction at the trial. She also introduced herself to the Clan heads formally. So, she is stepping out of the Shadows to let her enemies know she is there. She is protecting Konoha. That she can and will expose those that are a threat to her home.”  

The room was silenced at the Hatake’s words.  

The younger jounins missed the Sannin sharing glances, but Sakumo didn’t miss it.  

“She’s not something I can really describe fully.” Minato said eventually. “Passionate is a definite though. She cares for the Hokage to almost a familial level.”  

“Stubborn.” Tsunade grunted.  

“Calm and Collected.” Jiraiya huffed. “I complimented and flirted with her when we first met and she wasn’t even phased.”  

“Conniving.” Orochimaru hummed. “She’s no genius, but she is still a skilled tactician and strategist through experience alone.”  

“Unpredictable.” Minato hummed. “I could never guess what she would do next. Even on the mission against Danzo. I’ve never been able to read what she would do next. It showed even more when we were training. Her taijutsu was practiced, yet left room for her to be unpredictable.”  

“She’s a Master of Deception.” Jiraiya tacked on.  

“She said that she is constantly under Henge.” Minato sighed. “I believe the ‘Uzumaki’ Persona we saw was just that. A mask she made. The one she has been using around my team I think is also a mask. She said only the Hokage knows who she really is.”  

There was a tense silence.  

“What?” Jiraiya grunted and shifted around.  

“You three know.” Sakumo stated evenly. He must have been staring at them. Mina slowly opened her eyes against Kakashi’s stomach and wished she could turn around without giving herself away.  

“What makes you think that?” Tsunade grunted.  

“I don’t know. It’s a hunch.”  

“Kitsune will build her allies as she needs them.” Orochimaru stated. Saying without saying that Sakumo was correct, yet not correct. The room remained silent at Orochimaru’s statement. She could almost feel the stares being traded.  

   

Minashi felt Kakashi shift against her and quickly shut her eyes once again. She was happy that he was waking up to change the subject going on near them.  

“Tou-san?” Kakashi yawned as he slowly saw up dragging Minashi with him. Minashi let out a disgruntled noise and used the movement to move more onto Kakashi’s lap.  

“Kakashi.” Sakumo’s voice was kind. “Have a good nap?”  

“Un.” He mumbled and she felt him yawn even as one of his hands absently held Minashi and pet her head.  

Sakumo chuckled even as Kushina and Mikoto ‘awed’ at his Adorable actions.  

“Are you getting hungry? Kushina made some snacks. I’d then like to introduce you to the Jounins that used to be my Genin students.”  

Kakashi nodded before she felt his eyes on her. “Tou-san. I’m stuck.” He whimpered.  

Snickering echoed softly around the room even as Mina heard people shuffling around.  

“I’ll grab her.” Minato’s smile was in his voice. “Kushina is the same way.”  

“Oi.” Said Uzumaki huffed, but didn’t deny it.  

Minashi felt Minato’s familiar hands slowly work to untangle her before she was soon wrapped around his torso instead. He moved them back around the low table. A third hand joined and she almost purred at the feeling of Kushina’s hand brushing through her hair.  

“Maybe we should have found someone to watch her instead of letting her attend the trial.” Minato mumbled. “She hasn’t been out of the hospital that long.”  

“Bad dreams.” Kakashi yawned from his spot at the table. “She didn’t tell me what they were though.”  

“She’ll hopefully talk to Inojiro-san about them.” Kushina sighed.   

Mina was tired of being excluded from the conversation. Plus, she wasn’t as tired anymore. Naps were awesome.  

She wiggled in Minato’s arms until she could properly stretch and let out her own yawn that had been held back when she had first woken.  

When she found ‘new’ faces, she played the shy child she was supposed to be. She looked from Jiraiya and Hizashi and crawled to Kushina to hide her face behind curtains of red hair.  

Kushina laughed at her shy Imouto and pulled her around to start introductions.  

“Now, no being shy Mina-chan. You’ve met most of the people here. You remember Mikoto when she watched you while Minato and I had to work. You remember Tsunade-sama from the hospital. And Orochimaru-sama is the temporary assistant teacher at the academy for you.” She then gestured to Hizashi Hyuuga. “This is my final teammate from my Genin and Chuunin days. Hyuuga Hizashi. His brother is the Clan Heir to the Hyuuga Clan.”  

“Like Miko-nee?” She mumbled into Kushina’s hair.  

“Hai~” Kushina beamed.  

She then turned Mina to Jiraiya. “This is Jiraiya-san. He’s Minato’s Sensei and the Last member of the Sannin.”  

Minashi held her blue eyes with Jiraiya’s deep coal. She saw the twinkle of mirth in his own. She wrinkled her nose at him.  

“He smells like toads.” She grumbled and buried her nose back in Kushina’s hair.  

Kushina snickered. Even Tsunade and Orochimaru were fighting off laughing. Mikoto hid her smile behind a hand. Sakumo and Hizashi only sighed.  

“At least that’s all he smells like.” Minato sighed beside them.  

“What else would he smell like?” Kakashi asked curiously from between Sakumo and Minato.  

“Alcohol, women, poor choices.” Minato deadpanned at his sensei.  

Jiraiya just rolled his eyes as there were chuckles filling the room.  

   

Slowly the room broke out into easy conversation as the young Jounins got stories from the legendary Sannin and their exploits with Sakumo. Minashi just snacked and listened content as stories flowed, the tense air from the afternoon’s events eased, and everyone was able to let go. Even Hizashi was smiling with Mikoto by the end of dinner. It was soon after the desserts Mikoto had brought over were devoured, that Jiraiya stole her away from her hovering Nii-san and Nee-san. He took her out to the training ground of the Hatake Compound. She knew the others had also moved to observe from the engawa, but they were far enough away where their voices wouldn’t carry.  

Jiraiya sat and Minashi mimicked him.  

“So, you are already able to tap into Nature energy?” he asked eyeing her.  

“Hai. Kurama and I have theorized that if I created a seal, I could get my body used to it earlier. Especially since my reserves are already larger than they were at this age the first time. That and Kurama’s reserves have doubled with the full version of himself from Kushina.”  

Jiraiya hummed as he rubbed his chin and looked at her. “So you can’t actually tap into Senjutsu yet?”  

“No.” She shook her head. “My body isn’t ready for it. I’d turn to stone. My control is getting better with practice, but I’m not ready to balance my Chakra, Kurama’s, and sage Chakra.”  

“And we can’t just send you off to your summon home.”  

“Nope.”  

“How are you going to explain that?” he asked curiously. “Isn’t your name on the Fox contract?”  

“Yes, but I was actually telling the truth about that. I reverse summoned myself there when I didn’t want to sign the Toad contract. Ka-san’s contract was lost when I asked you about it. Even Jiji didn’t know where she had hidden it. She never used it, just like how Kushina doesn’t use it now.”  

“You didn’t want to be with the toads?” he pouted.  

Minashi gave him a sad smile. “Gomen, but they just didn’t feel right. You told me that my mother had a contract but she never used it. When you told me it was the Fox contract, I went to Jiji about it, but that ended. So being me, while Naruto was busy training his own Summoning, I attempted and was reverse summoned. They made a new separate contract with me. They said they had been waiting for me. Their Fox Boss had gotten word from the Gama Sannin to expect a child of the Uzumaki Princess.”  

Jiraiya was silent for a while before glancing to their audience in the distance. “How long were you actually awake?” he whispered.  

“Just as you guys started talking about Kitsune.”  

“Good.” He grunted. “Kushina will never let you sign the Fox Contract. You’ll have to finagle your way into having ‘Kitsune’ allow you to sign it when you get older. You heard our theories. You can work with those, or make your own.”  

“I’ll work on it.” She nodded.  

“Good. Now about that seal.” He pulled out a notebook and her own eyes widened as she saw all the sealing notes in it. “I have an idea on how it could be done. Let me know what you think.” He said before they fell into Fuuin theory. The time passed as they argued back and forth before they finally had one to test. Jiraiya called up a shadow clone and slapped the seal on it. It immediately turned to stone.  

Exclamations came from their observing party before Jiraiya waved them off.  

“I can’t heal you if you turn to stone BAKA!” Tsunade shouted even as Orochimaru held her back.  

Mina snerked even as she pointed out where Jiraiya had gone wrong and then rewrote the seal with her own ideas. He hummed before pulling out sealing paper and another clone. The seal slapped on its skin and nothing happened. They frowned at it before Jiraiya dismissed it.  

Mina watched his face turn to contemplative as he reviewed the memories. His eyes then snapped to her.  

“That, was successful. It was enough for me to notice that it was there, but not enough to physically affect me.” He held out a hand. “Ankle.” He ordered.  

Mina kicked out her foot and he easily caught it before getting instructions from her on what part of her skin would work with the seal. Her inner right Ankle got the new seal.  

“How many other seals do you have hidden on you?” Jiraiya muttered even as he drew on her.  

“Currently they are only on my arms. Once I’m healed from this bout of exhaustion, I want to draw on more. I need some gravity seals, some more storage seals, and I want to have a mobile Privacy seal I can activate for private bubbles even in crowded areas.” She sighed and glanced down at her stomach and he understood. “Kurama’s seal is where a few of my seals have been intertwined. I have a suppressing seal there. It keeps him hidden from prying eyes. I also have a seal around my ANBU tattoo to hide it from Kushina, Minato and Sakumo. There is also my own Hiraishin marker on the seal. That way I can get back to my Clones if needed.” She paused and sighed. “Minato hasn’t done it yet to my skin, but I think he has tags with his marker on all my clothes.” She grumbled. Jiraiya chuckled.  

“That doesn’t surprise me. He has one on Kushina. I just carry around one of his Kunai. His is restricted by distance though. Your version is not.” He pulled the brush away. “Done. Go ahead and pull at some Nature Energy. That should activate the filter.”  

Minashi nodded before sitting back into a meditative pose. A few minutes later she felt the energy enter her coils it slowly backed off until it was just a trickle moving up her leg. She opened her eyes and took in a deep breath.  

Jiraiya was watching her. “So?” he mumbled.  

She tilted her head as she internalized her review of her body then focused on her senses.  

“I am more aware of the Nature Energy around me with the seal active. I can feel it in me, but with time, I will no longer notice the small levels.” She hummed as she continued her self-observations. “My Sensory range increased and is more detailed.” She said slowly. “It was good before even missing Sage Mode because of my own heritage and Kurama influence, but it’s like a beginning stage to what I used to have with Sage Mode.” She relaxed and smiled up at Jiraiya. “Thank you. I feel like I’ve got a piece of myself back with Nature Energy running in my coils.”  

Jiraiya nodded. “When your body gets older we will look at loosening the filter to allow more into your system.”  

“Alright.” She stood when he did and they walked back to the waiting group. It was a bit smaller than before, Hizashi and Mikoto slipping out to head back to their clans.  

“How’d it go?” Minato asked worried.  

Jiraiya grinned and ruffled her hair. Minashi yelped and swatted at his hand.  

“She’s fine. I’ve put a seal on her to help her adapt to Nature Energy. With her reserves, it will be best to start getting them used to cooperating early on. This will allow her to take on Sage training when she enters her teen years. It will also help her to stop instinctively reaching for it when training. She essentially has a filter on her now. It will only allow so much Nature energy into her coils.”  

Mina watched Minato and Sakumo relax. “No turning to stone?”  

“No.” Jiraiya chuckled. “Sorry about that. Was just showing her the consequences of Nature energy untrained.”  

“Baka.” Tsunade grunted. “Don’t scare us like that.”  

“Gomen Hime.” He smiled at her. He looked back to Minashi’s family and guardian. “With the seal, I will be checking on it every so often and her as well. As she gets older, I can loosen the filter to help her adapt to an increase. I also want to observe how it reacts and if she is able to handle it and the Fox’s chakra.”  

Kushina’s face pinched. “Were you also able to check in on the Fox?”  

Jiraiya looked down at Minashi. “Is he bothering you?”  

“Kurama is my friend.” She replied simply.  

Jiraiya hummed before letting out a sigh. “I’ll check in on her seal at a later date. I’ll even try to get Kitsune involved since she is the only other Seal mistress if what your stories are saying Minato. Maybe I can even check on your theory on if she had anything to do with Minashi’s seal.”  

“Who?” Minashi asked playing dumb and fighting not to kick Jiraiya in the shin for dragging her ANBU alias into this.  

“No one.” Minato smiled. “Don’t worry. It’s about time for you to get ready for bed anyways.”  

“Come on Imouto, let’s go take a bath.” Kushina smiled and pulled her up into her arms and left the Sannin, Sakumo, and Minato outside. Minashi grumbled a bit but dropped the issue as she soon enjoyed Kushina scrubbing her hair with soap.  

   

  

It felt so weird to Minashi. While she had a slightly different routine that following morning, it was still normal. She had woken up in Kashi’s arms. Watched Minato edge away from the barely awake Kushina. Sakumo just laughed at their antics while he cooked up their breakfast. Kashi had been the only strange part of that morning. Since no one was able to, he had taken her hairbrush and brushed it out while Sakumo cooked, Minato got Kushina coffee, and Kushina woke up.  

They all ate together before Sakumo did her hair. Kushina then led her away to get dressed while the boys cleaned up themselves and the kitchen.  

Before long, she was sitting on top Minato’s shoulders, Kushina’s bright red hair blowing in the wind beside him. On her other side Kashi sat higher up on one of Sakumo’s shoulders. Both their faces relaxed as they walked together.  

It was just so strange. It was as if nothing had changed, yet everything had. How did they not understand it? There would be no Orochimaru killing Sandaime. There would be no internal threats to the Uchiha Clan. Moreover, if she had her way, Sakumo would live, Minato would live, Kushina would live. They would live and have happy lives. She could almost see it. Kushina and Minato happily married. Naruto running around smiling up at her. Possibly more little brothers and sisters for her to spoil. And there at her side would be Kakashi. He wouldn’t be the same man she knew, but she knew that she would get to see him grow up into a strong man.  

Coal eyes smiled down at her from Sakumo’s shoulder.  

Wetness slid down her cheeks. The Coal eyes widened in surprise.  

“Mina?!” he cried out and went to reach for her. Sakumo kept him balanced as their party stopped. “Why are you crying?” he panicked. Minashi felt herself moved to Minato’s hip as they all crowded her. Kushina’s soft fingers wiped away her tears. She gazed up at Minato to find panicked blue eyes stared at her before flicking to Kushina and Sakumo as he asked what happened.  

They all worried and panicked, but Mina finished wiping away the last few stray tears and wiggled to get down. Once she was, she yanked Kakashi down and latched onto him. He stiffened before patting her head and holding her close.  

“I love my new family.” She said softly. The smiling lifting her cheeks even as she hugged Kakashi. “I’m so happy to be here.”  

The worried air relaxed as she released Kakashi to smile up at the worried adults. They relaxed at her smile before she was swooped up into Kushina’s arms.  

“We’re happy you’re here too Imouto!” Kushina cheered and tickled her. Minashi let out loud giggles as their party continued to the academy.  

They reached the academy shortly after and Minashi kept her smile all morning. She saw Orochimaru eyeing her curiously, but she pushed it aside. She was in a good mood. She would enjoy it and the chance to be a kid again.  

  

 

 

 

  

“Ne! Ne! Ne! Did you see?!” a bright voice interrupted Mina and Kakashi’s lunch. Obito bounced up to them with a bright grin. Genma, Raido, Izumo, Kotetsu, Gai, and Aoba trailed behind the exuberant Uchiha.  

“See what?” Kashi sighed, annoyance already in his tone.  

“The Sannin!” a voice called from behind them. They looked to see Mina’s friends coming up to them. Anko was grinning just as big as Obito. However, hers looked smugger. “Shishou had one of the Chuunin make sure that I was able to get to see the big Trial.” she boasted.  

“They were so amazing!” Obito grinned with her. ”They looked so cool! I wanna be strong like them! Did you see how amazing they were walking in with the Hokage?!”  

“I personally liked the Hokage’s Personal ANBU Kitsune.” Nara Shikari hummed as she leaned against the tree.  

“Who?” Obito asked.  

Genma sighed and flicked his forehead. “Baka. The redhead.”  

“Uzumaki-hime?”  

“No.” Kotetsu chuckled. “The ANBU that was verbally fighting with the ex-councilman.”  

Obito blinked before looking up with a thoughtful expression. “I thought she had black hair?”  

“She does.” Kakashi grunted. “Tou-san and the Sannin said that she is a Master of deception. Tou-San said she was under henge to get the criminal to confess.”  

All eyes looked to Kakashi who squirmed under all the eyes. ”What?” he mumbled.  

“Do you know the Sannin personally?”  

Kashi squirmed some more and looked away. “Tou-san is friends with them.”  

“EH!?” was the collective gasp.  

“What is Lady Tsunade like?” Kurenai asked with eyes shining. “She looked so strong defending her clan.”  

“I would like to know too.” Inomi Yamanaka beamed. “She’s she only Female medic that is allowed on the front lines according to Cousin Inoichi!”  

“What is Lord Jiraiya like?” Izumo and Raido asked together.  

“Did they tell youthful stories about their past battles?” Gai jumped up and flashed a smile and thumb. “I bet they are the epitome of YOUTH!” he cried out.  

“Did you get to see any of their summons? They are supposed to hold some of Konoha’s strongest contracts.” Koto Inuzuka smirked.  

“Are they also friends with ANBU Kitsune-sama? I think she was the most amazing of them all.” Aburame Suzume spoke softly.  

Mina’s eyes were wide on the children that were getting closer and closer to Kakashi, and in return, her as well. Mina let out a whimper in her discomfort. They were getting on her nerves.  

“OI! One at a time!” Kakashi growled low. “And back off! You’re making Mina uncomfortable.”  

“Ah, Gomen.” a few voices said and slowly retreated. Soon enough they settled down and went back to eating their own respective lunches.  

“Well?” Anko huffed.  

“Tou-san wasn’t one of their teammates, but he did work with them and a few others a lot in their youth. Most of the others are gone though. They were from Uzushio.”  

“What’s that?” Obito asked around a mouthful of rice.  

“Baka! Don’t talk with your mouth full!” Anko scolded. Obito paled and swallowed.  

“It was one of Konoha’s longest standing Allies. Our first Hokage was married to the Uzumaki Princess of Uzushio.” Shikari yawned.  

“Were you listening at all during the trial?” Kurenai sighed at the boy.  

Obito huffed and looked away as he crossed his arms. ”There was a lot of talk that I didn’t understand. So I stopped listening at some point.”  

All eyes moved to the Uchiha.  

“Did you not hear what that man was planning to do to the Uchiha?” A new voice said sadly. Mina looked to find a brown hair girl with purple markings on her cheeks.  

“Rin-chan!” Obito smiled and patted the ground beside him. “You can sit here.”  

She smiled at him and the others before looking at Obito concerned. “Obito, did you?”  

“Did I what?”  

“Your clan was the next target to be wiped out.” Kashi deadpanned.  

Obito frowned. “What? No, Kazou-sama wouldn’t have allowed that.” He denied.  

Mina sighed and shook her head at the clueless boy.  

“Tsunade-sama is one of the strongest Kunoichi of our time.” Rin tried to explain to him. “That man was very bad. Even she wasn’t able to see what he was doing.”  

Obito looked at her before looking at Mina. “You were there Mina-chan. Do you think the same? You and Kakashi were sitting with Mikoto-hime.”  

Kashi looked down at her with concern. “You are part Uzumaki. Is that what your bad dreams have been about?”  

Mina looked at him before looking at the other innocent eyes watching her. She looked back to Kashi and shrugged.  

“I let Nii-san and Nee-san deal with bad guys. Jiji also made him go away for good. Jiji protects us. Nii-san and Nee-san protects Me and Kashi. Saki-chan protects Kashi and I. So my dreams were not about that bad guy.”  

There was silence for a minute before Obito grinned wide. “HA! I knew you could talk! That’s the most you’ve ever spoken!”  

A few sighs went around and Mina just stuck her tongue out at Obito. He retaliated.  

“Minashi is right though.” Shikari yawned and moved to lay her head on Minashi’s legs. “Let the adults deal with it. It’s not like we can do anything yet anyways. We’ll get in the way.”  

“Hai.” Mina agreed softly before she turned and leaned into Kashi.  

“Fine.” Obito pouted then looked around. “Hey speaking of the Hokage, where is Asuma-san?”  

Genma shrugged and the Dango stick in his mouth switched from one side to another. “I think he said something about his dad taking a day off or something.”  

“The Hokage isn’t that old, but he looked so much older after the Trial.” Kurenai hummed soberly. “At least that’s what mamma said.”  

“Uncle Inojiro said that ANBU Kitsune is good for the Hokage.” Inomi gossiped.  

“Kambi-sama said that she single handily brought the Sannin back together.” Koto Inuzuka countered.  

“Minato-san said that she is so strong the Sannin can’t even beat her clones.” Kakashi added.  

Eyes widened on Kakashi.  

“Sugoi!” Anko bounced up and down. “Ne, do you think I can convince my Shishou into getting her to teach at the academy? Shishou has to teach. Cant she so it too?”  

“Orochi-chan is still hurt. He’s not teaching forever.” Mina reminded Anko.  

She waved her off. ”Eh, still.”  

“He’s not even teaching our class.” Raido reminded her.  

“He’s teaching the fourth years.” Kotetsu chuckled looked at Kakashi and Mina. “And those that are ahead of the grade.”  

“So even if you did convince Orochimaru-sama to ask her-” Izumo continued.  

“She wont even be teaching us. Only Kakashi and Minashi.” Genma finished.  

Mina eyed them curiously. They had always seemed like pillars for Jiji when she was growing up. They had been some of the strongest of the Hokage’s ANBU guards. She just didn’t realize how close they had been. It was kind of amazing to see that they were already in sync to a degree.  

This didn’t include the fact that the gossiping of shinobi started young. She knew ANBU could be horrible gossips, but it seemed like it was a trait learned in youthful times.   

“Maybe if she does come, we can see if she would teach us too?” Rin added. “She is a powerful kunoichi.”  

“Teaching us is punishment to jounins.” Shikari yawned. “At least that’s what Ka-san and Oji-san say. I doubt she’d do it just because a bunch of kids asked.”  

“But it would be so youthful!” Gai exclaimed. “To be taught by the Hokage’s Personal ANBU!”   

A few of their little group joined him. “It would be kinda cool.” Inomi smiled.  

There was silence for a few beats as everyone starting packing up, but movement caught Mina’s gaze. It was Shikari glancing around with a smirk.  

“Ka-san and Uncle Shikaku think that Kitsune-san is the Prankster that hit the Uchiha. Shikaro-Oji thinks she’ll hit again soon.”  

The kids froze, all eyes snapped to the Nara girl.  

Mina felt Kakashi’s eyes on her as she just watched Shikari.  

“What makes you think that?” Genma asked.  

“Oji-san said that she is a Fuuinjutsu Seals Mistress. That means she’s an expert at seals. Maybe she was testing the Uchiha’s security to make a point?”  

Mina watched them all share glances before the Lunch bell rang and they were forced back inside. Kakashi and Minashi parting ways to return to their classroom.  

“You’re safe for now.” Kashi hummed as they grabbed their seats.  

Mina just giggled and pulled out a notebook from her desk. “Good. Who should I hit next then?” she asked him.  

Kenji turned around in his seat as Sumiko –sensei wasn’t back yet.  

“You plotting again?” he whispered.  

“Hai~” she grinned. He grinned back.  

“Hyuuga.” he smiled then looked over a few desks. “I might even be able to convince Ryouta to aid you.”  

Mina and Kashi watched as Kenji got up and moved over to the Hyuuga. They exchanged whispered words, the Hyuuga frowning the entire time before his face blanked. Kenji leaned forward and whispered something in the Branch Hyuuga’s ear. Ryouta looked back at Kenji before nodding and following him back to their group.  

“Ryouta this is Minashi and Kakashi.”  

“Hello.” He bowed his head politely. “Kenji said that you would be able to help me get back at the Main branch?”  

Mina regarded him before looking at Kenji. He shrugged sheepish. “It’s the best I could think of.”  

Mina sighed and looked at Ryouta. “I’m the prankster. I’m planning on hitting the Hyuuga next. I could scout and plan with time, but it is easier if I know my way around the compound.”  

Ryouta just stood there and stared at her with unblinking eyes. “What are you going to do?”  

Mina pointed to her notebook. “I have a seal that will turn a person’s skin a bright color of my choosing. I’m planning on making it a proximity seal. They will have to leave the Compound or else it will just get brighter.”  

“Hey! You didn’t warn me this much about the Pink hair.” Kenji pouted.  

Mina waved him off. “What else would I have turned pink?” he grunted and sat down knowing she was semi-right. “Well?” she looked back to the still standing Hyuuga. He looked her up and down before tilting his head.  

“Will I be excluded?”  

“No. That will give it away of my age.” She smirked. He frowned. “But the longer you stay away from the compound the more it will disappear. So you could always as a friend to crash at their place until the Seals timers wear off.”  

Ryouta blinked at her. “Timer?”  

“Did you forget how long my hair was Pink?” Kenji pouted.  

“A week.” Ryouta pointed out.  

Minashi paused and turned narrowed eyes on Kenji. He froze when he felt the dangerous aura radiating from the tiny blonde.  

“Speaking of which, why aren’t you still PINK Uchiha?” Her tone was dangerous.  

Kenji just gave her a sheepish smile. “Kazou-sama and a few of the Elders placed a Genjutsu on any Uchiha that left the Compound regularly. At least until they can find where the Seals are and remove them.”  

Mina hummed as her pencil tapped in notebook and her eyes narrowed on the Uchiha.   

“So your hair is still pink?”  

Kenji deflated. “Hai.” he mumbled.  

“That’s why you’ve been avoiding the Chakra control exercises!” Ryouta glared.  

Kenji’s cheeks flushed embarrassed. “I practice them at home!” he exclaims.  

“Alright! Sit down and shut up!” Sumiko announced as she came in.  

“You in?” Kenji whispered to Ryouta before he left.  

Ryouta glanced back at Minashi before giving a curt nod. Minashi beamed and he hurried back to his seat.  

Chapter Text

Chapter 25

Minashi watched the Hyuuga draw out the compound with ease. Ryouta wrote notes all over the drawing in an organized fashion. He pointed out the patrols, who resided where, and the timeline for it all. 

Minashi could only let her foxy smirk lift her lips as she memorized it all. Kakashi and Kenji could only listen as her and Ryouta went back and forth with a route she could take from house to house. 

“You positive that you can evade our eyes?” Ryouta questioned for the sixth time. They were going over another part where she risked being seen by the Hyuuga eyes. 

“Hai~ Hai~” She beamed. He just stared at her with his piercing lavender eyes. 

“How?” He asked again. 

“Hi~mi~tsu!” She answered again. He huffed and they were back at it working out a quick and efficient route for her to take. Mina had to hand it to the Hyuuga, he wasn’t that bad of a tactician for a nine year old. 

“Mina, don’t forget Kushina-nee-san and Tou-san are waiting.” Kakashi sighed. She turned to beam up at Kashi. 

“Thank you Kashi!” she smiled. His cheeks tinted and with a nod he walked back over to Kenji. They had escaped to the roof after the academy to plan. They couldn’t take much longer or else Kushina would hunt them down. Kashi and Kenji were acting as look outs. 

“When will you hit?” Ryouta asked a few minutes later after Mina had folded up the plans and stored them in a scroll and slipped it into her hip pouch. 

“Can’t tell you.” She smiled. “It will take the fun out of the surprise.” Ryouta sighed before holding out a hand. Mina took it and Ryouta’s hand held hers tight. 

“Thank you. I am looking forward to their reactions.” 

Mina just gave another foxy grin. “Will it be worth turning orange yourself?” 

Ryouta’s lips twitched. “Hai.” 

With a nod, they all split off to find their own waiting parents.  Mina happily launched into Kushina’s arms with a squeal. 

Kushina matched her enthusiasm as she squeezed Mina in a hug. Sakumo only chuckled beside them before they split for their respective homes. 

When Kushina and Mina got home, Mina frowned when she didn’t feel Minato’s chakra in Kushina’s apartment. 

“Nii-san?” she questioned Kushina after she was put down. 

“Oh, Minato got called in for a mission by the Hokage. He and his team should be back by morning. It’s a short mission, but an important one.” 

Minashi nodded and following Kushina into the kitchen. 

“So what do you want for dinner this evening? We can get it started and simmering so that we can get an hour of light training in.” 

“Curry?” Minashi offered. Kushina nodded and they were soon pealing, chopping, and stirring the curry. 

“Alright. Let’s let that simmer.” Kushina and Minashi then moved to the living room. 

“I thought we were training?” Minashi pouted when Kushina sat her at the low table in the living room. 

“We are.” She beamed. “Stay right there, I need to grab something and then we can begin.” 

Minashi pouted as she kneeled on a cushion. Kushina came back a moment later with a scroll. A scroll Minashi recognized by the swirl on the ends. 

“Ah, you recognize this?” she smiled. 

“We’re working on Fuuinjutsu?” 

“Hai~” Kushina beamed and summoned up her sealing supplies from the scroll. “Show me what you can do, and we’ll go from there.”  

Minashi looked at Kushina’s sharp violet eyes even as the sealing paper and ink rested between them on the table. When Minashi still hadn’t touched it, Kushina’s head tilted to the side as her eyes narrowed just the slightest. 

“Mina-chan, you won’t get in trouble if you show me that you know a lot of sealing.” She spoke softly. “It’s part of what makes us Uzumaki. It just comes to us naturally.” 

Minashi frowned at that. “It didn’t for Naruto-nii.” 

Kushina’s eyes snapped wide. “Really?” 

Minashi looked down at the paper as she played with the edges. “Tou-san tried to teach him, but Naru never understood it.” She mumbled. 

Kushina chuckled and grabbed a brush and handed it to Minashi. “Well there was bound to be something that made you two different right?” 

Mina looked up at Kushina sharply. “What?” 

Kushina rolled her eyes and wiggled the brush. Minashi took it and held it while Kushina spoke again. 

“You were twins. I can image identical as well if not for your different genders. There used to be a few twin siblings on Uzushio. When I was little, I remember one of the sets I was friends with would always complain about being confused for their twin. They had always matched each other in everything they did. Even their parents struggled with telling them apart. Finally one had enough and broke away to study something new. His twin tried to follow because they always did their best together. But the other twin couldn’t do what his brother could. It angered him, until he too found a skill he was better at than his twin.” Her eyes went sad. “I think that if they would have lived, they would have been incredible.” She shook away her memories and smiled at Minashi. “So it’s okay that you were better than Naruto at sealing. I’m sure there was something he was stronger at.” 

Mina’s eyes were tearing up as she remember what he was always stronger at than her. “He’d always stand back up. He’d never give up. I could only get back up because he was holding a hand out for me to stand with him.” She choked and wiped away her tears with trembling hands. 

Larger warm hands helped her until they had slowed then stopped. Her watery blue eyes met violet eyes filled with love. 

“Because he knew you were just as strong as him. Just in different ways.” She smiled. Minashi could only nod. “Alright, let’s see what you’ve got then. Start with the basic symbols to check your handwriting and we’ll keep going until we find something you don’t understand.” 

Minashi nodded and dipped the brush in the ink. From there time flew by. Kushina had to dip into Minato’s stash of sealing paper and ink at one point during the night. The curry had almost been forgotten, but rumbling stomachs paused the sealing session for only a short while. 

  

  

 

 

  

Minato sighed as he slipped off his sandals. Exhausted, he absently reset the  security seals of Kushina’s apartment while he stripped of the rest of his ANBU gear and Mask. Striding in, Minato wore just his ANBU sleeveless top and Shinobi pants, he didn’t bother to turn on the lights. Kushina and Minashi should still be out cold. He was just happy to be home before the sun rose. He might even be able to walk Mina to the academy before finding a bed to pass out in. 

With eyes half closed, he didn’t even realize the living room lights were on low. Nor did he realize what was sprawled out in Kushina’s living room. 

Minato tripped and yelped as he fell face first onto the floor. Groaning he tried to sit up and find what he tripped on. He blinked when his tired brain tried to process what he was seeing. 

Kushina and Minashi were sprawled out in the middle of the living room. Sealing paper, empty ink bottles, and open scrolls were scattered all over the floor. He felt very lucky that he hadn’t tripped on one of the strolls instead.  

He noticed though that it was Minashi that he had tripped over. Scrambling over to her, he carefully checked her over for any injury but found none. Sighing he reached up and brushed her hair from her drooling face. He couldn’t help the smile when he looked to Kushina and found the same image, just with red instead of blonde. 

Chuckling softly, he pushed his tired body to carefully pick up his Imouto and carry her to bed. Leaving her tucked in with a kiss, he headed over for his girlfriend. His eyes softened even more at the beauty laid out before her. Even if she was covered with ink splotches and drool leaked from her mouth. He just lovingly picked her up into his arms and carried her to her bed. Tucking her in and leaving her with a kiss to her lips, he left to go clean up. 

Minato slowly began to gather up all the empty ink bottles, tossing them away. The brushes were set aside to soak away the dried ink. He then began collect the scattered sealing paper and scrolls with sealing matrixes, notes, affects, and purposes scrawled over their surfaces. He was just about done collecting up the scrolls, paper and stray notes when his tired brain started firing up. He held one of the note filled scrolls and tilted his head at it as his tired brain worked to try to understand what he was reading. 

His face scrunched into a frown when it connected. Was this a barrier seal? But there are elements of the seal that are draining chakra and supplying chakra as well. 

Confused with the notes alone, he took his collection of papers to the kitchen table and tried to find a semblance of order. Minato didn’t even realize the time passing. He only absent-mindedly made a cup of coffee to get his brain working faster. The more he ‘woke up’, the more his mind was blown. The ideas and test seals written down were things he’s never seen before. So many of them could enhance Konoha’s protective seals.  

It was soon after the sun had risen that he also realized he recognized this handwriting. And he wasn’t talking about Kushina’s that was mixed in.  

Minato carefully sat his coffee cup down and put his head into his hands. Conversations of the past month flowing through his brain. Theories and connections being made, questions popping up in missing connections. 

  

“Because you two are her last known relatives” Sarutobi spoke even as a blonde child was revealed to them. 

“I feel so empty” Mina’s broken voice seared me to my soul. 

“Somehow, you knew. It’s the only thing that makes sense. Your skills with seals. Your hidden identity. Your need to remain in the shadows. Your animosity towards Danzo.”  His own word, his own thoughts towards the mysterious Kitsune. “You’re an Uzumaki, or one of the other Clan members from Uzushio.”  

“I am not a survivor of Uzushio. I am a survivor, but not of that.” Kitsune’s own rebuttal.  “I will not let Konoha be destroyed like my home.” 

“Do you know who the King of Konoha is Namikaze?” Her strange question. 

“I’ve watched enough of my precious people walk off to die enough to fill a life time.” 

“I am the Protector of Konoha. Her true protector.” 

“I didn’t even know who you were until I was a teen. And that was because you killed my friend’s clan.” Kitsune’s vindictive words to Danzo. 

The strange reaction Gamatoro had to seeing the Fox ANBU.  

 “Oh don’t worry. I have a life. One in the light surrounded by people that love me and that I love in return. They will just never know about this side.”  

Her strange reaction to seeing Jiraiya-sensei. 

The Fact that she held a Fox Summoning Contract. 

“She has an aptitude for Nature Energy.” Minashi’s aptitude for nature energy and ease of feeling it around her has never been recorded before. 

“I’ve lost everyone I loved Hime. I know how you feel but I’m not acting like a coward and running away. Instead, I’m moving forward to make sure that what happened to me, never happens to anyone else.” 

The strange Strawberry blonde man he’d seen Kitsune eating with at the Ramen stand with. A few minutes later and he’d disappeared off of Minato’s sensory radar. He still didn’t have an answer for that. 

Kitsune’s sadistic training regimen.  “You never know when you’ll come across an opponent stronger than yourself. I’d rather be overly strong compared to the average shinobi, than be weak when faced with an ungodly strong enemy.”  

The look in her eyes when Kitsune stared at him. It had been like she’d seen a ghost. 

“If you still hold any suspicion against me Minato, know this. I’m here to protect Konoha and her citizens. I will never abandon her to those who seek her harm.”  

“But if I can help it, you and a select few others will Never know my origins. Not because I don’t trust you to understand them. But because it’s for your own safety.” 

“Her fever was just a result of her exhaustion. All Tsunade said we needed to do is keep her hydrated. Her tenant is doing the rest.” Sakumo’s relieving news after learning Minashi had been rushed to the Hospital with a dangerous fever. But how did Genin training wear her out? She had the Kyuubi, it shouldn’t be possible. How did she get extra training past Sakumo-san? 

Minashi’s fever dreams. Her crying out for Naruto. Her pained filled screams of denial.  

Minashi’s nose recognizing his and Kushina’s scents. Her recognizing Sakumo and Kakashi’s scents. 

Minashi’s close connection with Sandaime. 

Kitsune’s close connection with Sandaime. 

Minashi ease with working with the Kyuubi, her partnership with him. “He’s my best friend. My constant companion. My last link to Naruto-nii-san. My protector. My comrade.”  

“The Will of Fire burns with the passion to protect. The people of the Land of Fire will always be able to Endure as long as one flame burns bright.” Her wise words to their Hokage when he was struggling. 

 “If it wasn’t for me, you would have been able to continue to fly under the radar. Maybe even turn Orochimaru towards your dark plans and against Konoha. Turned Konoha against is last founding clan. Gotten your wish to have the Mokuton for yourself. Gotten your wish to have the power of the Sharingan. Maybe even attempted to get your hands on the Kyuubi no Kitsune. The thing you see as the greatest weapon of Konoha. But I am here. I am here to protect Konoha.”  She confirmed Danzo’s accusations. 

“I know exactly how and why the Kyuubi was moved. I know who holds him safe from people who wish to use him for evil like you.”  

“Kashi keeps bad dreams away.” His imouto’s softly spoken words. 

“Her Father was an Uzumaki, her Mother the same as Minato’s. It is very possible that Kitsune was somehow connected to them.”  Sakumo’s observations. 

“When I touched her, I felt my chakra resonate with her.” Kushina added softly. “I think she is at least part Uzumaki.”  Kushina’s own confirmation. “She’s hidden it well, but it’s faintly there.” 

“She said that she is constantly under Henge.” 

“You three know.” Sakumo’s accusations against his friends on Kitsune-san. 

“Kitsune will build her allies as she needs them.” Orochimaru’s reply. Not a denial, yet not confirmation. 

Minashi’s ease with Jiraiya in fitting a filter seal to herself. 

Minashi’s sudden tears of joy. Exclamations of loving her new family. “I’m so happy to be here.”  

  

“They are connected.” Minato whispered into the early morning light. How connect are you two? He thought as he looked up to the pictures Kushina had been collecting of them and Minashi. 

Minato’s years as ANBU and then the past years as Captain, sent flags up in his mind. His gaze looked back down at the familiar handwriting. 

If you still hold any suspicion against me Minato, know this. I’m here to protect Konoha and her citizens. I will never abandon her to those who seek her harm. But if I can help it, you and a select few others will Never know my origins. Not because I don’t trust you to understand them. But because it’s for your own safety. 

 

That stood out to him the most. He couldn’t get her sincere blue eyes staring into him as she spoke those words, out of his mind. 

 

His mind suddenly screeched to a halt.   

Blue eyes. Him not allowed to know. Protecting Konoha, vendetta against Danzo, hints of Uzumaki, Sealing, connected to Minashi. Minashi having learned to write the same way. 

“Oh Kami.” He whispered as he started trembling. “Ka-san?” he wondered aloud. 

Was she actually still alive but fighting for those she’s lost? For the Uzumaki that saved her? For her own children’s future safety? 

Trembling fingers moved into his hair to try to wrap his mind around it all. Before his Dad had passed away, he remembered a few stories about him and his mother being so similar. But to this extent? He doesn’t remember much of her since she had been presumed dead when he was still a child. Then he’d lost his own dad a few years later. 

If she had an Uzumaki child the traces of Minashi’s chakra would be there. Or maybe Her new husband had to lend her chakra? 

Theory after theory flooded his mind as it spun in circles of confusion, panic, and hurt. 

“Minato?” Kushina’s voice came from behind him. He flinched.  

Kushina was stunned by his reaction. 

“Minato-kun?” she asked worried as she moved and sat beside him. “What’s wrong?” 

Minato just shook his head then turned and buried his face into her neck. If he was right, then it just made the truth all the more painful. 

Kushina worriedly held her boyfriend close. She didn’t understand what was wrong. Did he lose a teammate? She knew though that this was one of the times she would just have to wait for him to talk to her. It wasn’t often he closed her out, but he always opened back up soon enough. 

Minato’s mind continued to spin. It couldn’t be his mother. He tried to reason. Many of the dots still don’t connect with that theory. Was she possibly one of Kushina’s aunts then that escaped with Minashi’s father? 

“She’s amazing isn’t she?” Kushina’s soft voice penetrated his mind. He startled and looked to see she had joined him at the table with her own cup of coffee. When had he let her go? 

“What?” he whispered hoarsely. 

Kushina gestured to the sealing works before them. 

“Mina-chan was hesitant before to show me what she could do. She’s very bright for one so young. I think she was taught sealing before she could properly read or write. Either that or she really is a genius.” 

“Kushina-” he whispered. 

“You know, I've never seen this technique before. It’s Uzumaki based, but otherwise, I don’t recognize it.” She hummed. “Her handwriting is perfect. Her knowledge on placement and balance: Mastery.” 

Minato ran another hand through his hair even as Kushina looked at the sealing papers before them with a calm look. 

“We don’t need to teach her anything. We could easily begin working out whatever theories she has and help her complete them or study them further. She might even be able to help us out with our own working theories.” Minato heard it as her voice began to tremble. Closing his eyes, he pushed aside his own worrying thoughts and pulled his girlfriend into his arms. 

“Min-Minato, this scares me. How does she know all this? She’s not even five yet. You were hailed a genius as well, can still be one when you’re serious. B-b-but this is strange. This is like she was born with the knowledge already there. She just needed the dexterity to do it.” 

“Kushina.” He said firmly and held her away to look in her beautiful gaze. It would be something he would never tire of. “Know that she is our precious Imouto. Gifts and all. All we need to worry about is that she is happy.” He said and blinked when he realize that all his own prior anxiety and stress disappeared. Yes, he was still curious about how Kitsune and Minashi were connected, but he trusted them. He would also only worry about making sure Minashi was safe and happy, and that Kitsune would have his help if needed. Her goals were for the true protection of Konoha. 

Kushina sniffed and wiped away at a stray tear. She was giving him a sly smirk though ruining her cute look. 

“Answered your own question as well?” she snickered. 

Minato sighed and reached down to tickle her sides. Kushina yelped and burst into a giggling fit as he pulled her onto his lap as punishment as the tickling continued. 

When he was done and Kushina was wiping away tears of laugher, he couldn’t help the happy smile on his face. Kushina was his everything. 

“Nii-san?” Minashi yawned. “nee-san? Why are you so loud?” a yawning voice whined from the doorway. 

Almost everything. Kushina and Minashi together were everything he would ever need. 

“Gomen ne imouto.” Kushina smiled over to their sleep tousled blonde. Mina just gave them a tiredly confused look before she spotted the sealing paper behind them. Minato watched her tan face lose all color. 

Minato saved the reaction for later, but focused on keeping his imouto happy now. 

“Ne, Mina-chan" he pouted at her. “You didn’t tell us that you had a gift for Fuuinjutsu!” he playfully whined. ”We could have had so much fun bonding over theories.” 

Kushina rolled her eyes from her place still on his lap. “He just wants another opinion on his theories. I shoot down so many of them that he still thinks are possible.” 

Minato was pleased to see the color return to his Imouto’s face as she neared and hopped into Kushina’s abandoned chair. 

He listened as Kushina boasted about the theories Minashi had worked out on her own on a few new types of barriers, training seals, and miscellaneous seals to improve shinobi life. Both of his girls were smiling again. So he just rested his chin on Kushina’s shoulder and took in their excitement. 

He memorized this feeling of happiness. He knew he’d need it one day when he did learn how his Imouto and the mysterious Kitsune were related. Though for now, he’d leave it rest. 

 

 

Kushina knew something had happened. She could see it in the way Minato’s shoulders relaxed. He probably hadn’t solved the problem or worked out the theory that was stressing him, but he’d come to a decision for now. Her smile softened as she watched Minato moved in closer to Mina after Kushina had gotten up to make them breakfast. 

Her own mind went back to wandering though. 

Minashi was special. Though Kushina was more skeptic. 

He’s my friend, my companion, my partner. Her little Imouto’s words about that Fox Kushina herself had once housed. 

Her violet orbs slid back to gaze at her imouto’s belly. Minashi had had the fox since she could remember. Did he influence her more than any of them realized? But Mina-chan was such a happy child. So pure. Sure she’d seen something bad, but how much is she really holding back because it was really worse than what we’ve assumed it to be? She barely even flinched when she attended the trial. Sure she’d been a bit more clingy, but if she is as smart as the teachers and her sealings say she is, then she understood more than she let on. 

Kushina gnawed at her lip as she cooked the eggs.  

She was worried for her Imouto. She was already seen as a prodigy. If she was seen as a full blown genius then things would get so much worse. 

Minato was a genius and genius of hard work. She paused as she smiled softly at her next thought. 

Genius he may be, but so naive at times. It’s endearing....And frustrating. She sighed and shook her head at the years they wasted. Minato just hadn’t gotten the hint that she had a crush on him. Had been asking him out for years. It took that Pervert pointing it out for Minato to finally see her past being best friends. 

Minashi didn’t seem that dense though. She had little Kakashi wrapped around her fingers. 

“Maybe she’ll be alright.” Kushina whispered aloud to herself. 

“Of course she will. She has us and all her friends and ours.” Minato’s soft voice whispered in her ear. Kushina had to hold back her surprised yelp. When had he- “You were so caught up in your head love, that you didn’t feel my approach.” He snickered and grabbed the platted food. “Come. Let’s eat.” He left her with a kiss on the cheek. 

Kushina couldn’t help her cheek as the flushed in embarrassment. “I was getting there dattebane!” She huffed and grabbed the last plates. Minato’s low chuckle was his only response. 

“Don’t tease Nee-san, Minato-nii.” Mina chided. Kushina beamed at her imouto. 

“Eh?! But she teases me all the time!” Her Jounin boyfriend pouted. 

“That’s because you’re my pretty boy. Only I’m allowed to tease you.” Kushina beamed at Minato’s deepening pout. Mina-Chan's snickering followed behind. 

Minato began pleading to little Mina about teasing girlfriends before telling her to not be so mean to her own boyfriend. Poor Mina then started her Nii-san on an overprotective spiel when she said she already teases him though. 

“NO! You’re too young!” Minato Cried out. Kushina just stared at her Imouto with a raised brow as Minato went further and started muttering about the seals he’d plant on her boyfriend if he did anything he shouldn’t to his precious imouto. 

Mina was just staring at him fascinated before catching Kushina’s raised brow. Mina-chan just gave her a blank look. Kushina held the stare. Minashi tried for innocent look next. Kushina rested on an elbow, not buying it. Her brow arched even further on her imouto. Minashi then just smirked and shrugged. 

Kushina just snorted and dug back into her breakfast. Her imouto would never be able to deny her Uzumaki heritage, no matter how much she looked like Minato. She had Kushina’s smile. The Uzumaki Prankster smile. That innate gene to prank people was strong. She’d have to warn people to not let the blonde fool them. She was Uzumaki through and through. 

Kushina then really looked at her imouto as she laughed at Minato openly. Minashi was VERY skilled with Seals. She tilted her head at her imouto as her mind raced.  

Was it possible? 

She was small, she was quick, she had enough training in chakra to know how to suppress it, and she was skilled in seals. Was her innocent little imouto already breaking into her Uzumaki heritage? 

Minashi looked back at Kushina with a questioning look about Kushina’s focused starring. Kushina glanced at the seals and then Minashi before narrowing her eyes and fingering her own hair. 

Kushina memorized the next moment as it was one of the best moments of her life. 

Minashi’s eyes twinkled as a satisfied and victorious smirk slowly slid up her lips as she ended it in a Cheshire smile.  

Kushina’s own eyes widened on her. HOW? Her mind screamed before she suddenly just couldn’t hold it anymore. They got outwitted by a CHILD.  

Kushina burst out laughing interrupting Minato from his muttering of planned non-existent boyfriend murders.  

“Oh, K-ka-kami.” Kushina howled. “I-I- CAN'T!” she continued until she was on the ground holding her stomach. 

“Kushina! This isn’t funny! She’s too young to have a boyfriend!” Minato whined loudly. 

Minato’s outburst just set Kushina off more. Curled up on her side, she laughed as tears run down her cheeks. Her own boyfriend couldn’t even see it. 

“Sh-she’s-” Kushina couldn’t even finish it when she caught Minashi rolling her eyes at her Nee-san.  

Poor Minato looked so lost. 

Kushina was so proud!

Chapter Text

Chapter 26

 

“How are you doing?” 

“Hm.” 

Pale blue eyes watched her move around, slender fingers grazing along the branches as she passed them. 

“We’ve missed two appointments. Your Blood clone wasn’t as forthcoming as you normally are.” He stated and glanced over to the mountain of red lightly snoring in the cave. “Because it wasn’t your actual self, I wasn’t able to have a full mind scan appointment per our normal.” 

He looked back over to his patient to see her moving towards a large Elm tree. Curious he followed to see that this was one of her healthy trees in her mental scape. He watched her stroke it gently before reaching up for a smaller, lower branch. It came to her willingly. She smiled gently at it before releasing it and reaching for another thicker branch. It lowered and she fingered one of its medium length leaves. 

“Do you know the meaning behind this tree?” She finally spoke for the first time since she entered his office. Yet she still didn’t make eye contact. 

“Intuition and Inner Strength.” He responded easily. 

“Hai.” she smiled softly. “He has always had both in spades. I never knew how he could do it.” 

“Who?” He asked gently. 

“Kakashi.” Minashi said and finally looked at him. Inojiro and Minashi held gazes as he tried to figure out what was wrong. Kushina and Minato had said that she had acted strange when they picked her up from Academy the day before. 

“What happened yesterday?” Inojiro got right to the point. 

Minashi gave him a fake smile. “He beat me in a spar.” 

Inojiro raised a brow. ”Really? I find that hard to believe that he really ‘beat’ you.” 

Minashi snorted. “I am strong when I am working as Kitsune. There is nothing to overreach, nothing to miscalculate. It is a full transformation to a body that I once possessed. Though temporary. Like my blood clones, it will take a deadly wound to dissolve it.” 

Inojiro blinked. “That’s good to know.” 

Minashi nodded and reached for another leaf, her eyes going glazed over. A moment later her shoulders relaxed and a soft smile took her lips. 

“What are you watching?” he asked softly. Minashi’s eyes glanced at him before releasing the leaf. 

“I had a dream during class.” She whispered. “I couldn’t figure out if it was just a dream or a memory.” 

“From your relief, it was a memory then?” 

“Hai.” she sighed running a hand through her loose hair. 

“Care to share?” he asked taking the spot beside her as they walked around some more.  

He’d never get enough of her mindscape. While still showing it’s scars, it was one of the most beautiful mind’s he’s ever been in. He wished he could show Inoichi. His boy would probably never find another mind like this. Inojiro wanted to let him know that not all minds were dark or needed to be torn apart. Some they could just stroll around in with the owner’s permission. 

A glance of shared blue eyes and then the darker pair glanced back to the Elm tree. He watched fascinated as a scroll appeared from within the leaf and flew into the air to them. Minashi easily caught it before looking at him. 

“When you’re ready.” he said gently. Minashi nodded and the scroll opened. The forest disappeared and instead he found himself and Minashi standing in a tent. 

 

Minashi laid unconscious on the cot. Kakashi sitting beside her. On her other side, resting on another cot was Naruto. Both were covered in bandages, though some would soon be pointless with their Kyuubi healing speed. 

Kakashi glanced around looking and scenting for another nearby. Letting out a relieved breath, he leaned forward and did what he’d been wanting too since he realized she was no longer conscious in his arms. He pulled down his mask and pressed his lips to her inner wrist.  

There, he felt the pulse of her life, reminding himself that she lived. That he lived. That they all lived. His eyes glanced up to the other blonde teen. Because of Him, them. He looked back at long blonde locks, still dirty from their fight with Pein. 

Slowly he inhaled her scent. He’d never get enough of it. But he couldn’t have her. He knew she cared for him more than a sensei, but he couldn’t let her. 

“You love her.” a weak voice filled the air. Kakashi snapped back away from Minashi with mask back in place, in less than a blink. His one coal eye glanced over to barely open Blues. 

“Ma, What was that Naruto? Are the pain medication-” 

“Shut up sensei.” Naruto breathed out. Kakashi went silent and looked away. 

“How long have you known?” Kakashi asked as he looked back up to dazed blue eyes that were slowly sharpening. 

Naruto gave Kakashi a slow smile. “I know my sister. I know when she realized when you started hiding it. I have also realized a lot of things. It makes sense now why you have keep us at a distance.” 

Kakashi’s eye widened on him. “What? Naruto-” 

“We met Tou-san.” He smiled even if his eyes held pain in the corners. “You’re the last living student of the Fourth Hokage. You were our silent protector. But Minashi has already seen past when you stopped seeing us as kids. Yet something still held you back. She didn’t understand. I didn’t understand.” 

“I’m not right for her Naruto. Despite our age difference and my position as her sensei-” 

“You think it’s wrong to love and be close to the children of your sensei. You think we’ll die like them because of you.”  

Kakashi glared at Naruto. “You’re smarter than you let people realize. I’ve know you’re a genius of hard work and just plain old stubborn and determined, but this observation-” 

“Kakashi-sensei.” Naruto sighed as he grimaced and turned onto his side. “I’m not stupid. But I'm no genius. I know I can be dense, but never when concerning Minashi.” He pinned Kakashi with hard sharp eyes. “You did not feel how close Mina was to just walking up to Nagato and letting him kill her when she found out you were dead. You did not feel how relieved and happy she was that it was you who escorted us back to Konoha. How your presence, your scent calmed her.” 

Kakashi jolted and snapped his eyes back to the peaceful girl before him. 

“Stop running away Kakashi.” Naruto’s firm voice echoed with another in his head. 

 

“Stop running away Kakashi” Another pleading and pained voice choked as his small body was shook until he looked at watery cerulean eyes of his sensei. 

 

“You remind me of your father.” Kakashi spoke softly. Naruto startled surprised. “I was a stubborn brat. Especially right after my father died. I didn’t want to admit that I was hurting. That I was in pain. Your father finally trapped me into confessing and grieving for him.” 

Naruto just watched Kakashi as he looked back down at Minashi. 

“Will he really be okay with me loving her when I couldn’t protect everyone else I've loved before?” Kakashi asked on a whisper. 

Naruto chuckled and laid down. “Tou-san seemed pretty cool. I think he’d be okay with it as long as you never hurt her intentionally. Because that is how I also feel. Yet, I hold the knowledge that you would never intentionally hurt her anyways. You never have.” Naruto went silent and Kakashi chanced looking up. He found blue eyes shut and Naruto’s breathing even once again. 

Kakashi reached up and removed his mask once again. Leaning down he made Minashi’s wrist meet him halfway. Carefully he rested her palm against his cheek so he could feel her pulse and scent her at her wrist once again. Kakashi froze when the palm moved and cupped his jaw. A thumb, slightly roughened with callouses from kunai, rubbed his cheek bone. His eye slowly looked up and found a familiar pair of blue eyes gazing at him with so much emotion in them. He swallowed thickly when he saw in them what it was. 

“Hi Kashi.” her sleep rough voice whispered. 

Kakashi swallowed to try to find his voice as he reached up and held her hand against his bare face. 

“Hi Mina.” he choked out. He watched her eyes softened. 

“Pretty.” She murmured. 

Kakashi couldn’t help the choked laugh that escaped him even as he smiled for her. 

“Never as much as you are.”  Kakashi got to watch her eyes soften, a blush stain her cheeks, and her lips lift into a smile. He wanted to lift his headband and burn it into his memory with the Sharingan. There were so few good memories there. She had her mother’s smile. Kami she was beautiful. 

Kakashi watched a twinkle spark in her eyes. One he was semi familiar with but never in this situation. “So you going to put that pretty mouth to use or just sit there and continue to let me take you in?” She whispered smirking. 

Kakashi stared at her before giving her his own smirk. Instead of verbally answering, he pulled her hand away so he could lean down. He pressed his own lips against her slightly dry lips, but it was still perfect. His free hand reached up and ran up her jaw, cheek and slipped into her hair. Deepening the kiss as fear from earlier, reminded him how important it was that he couldn’t lose her. She’d be the person that would break him finally, if he ever lost her. 

Slowly he pulled back and found cerulean blue eyes opening and shining bright in them was an emotion he knew now reflected in his own. 

“I never stood a chance, did I?” Kakashi whispered as he rested his forehead against hers after removing his headband. He wanted to remember that look in her eyes. 

“Nope.” she smirked. He closed his left eye when he felt her freehand moved up his face to trace the scar over his eye and then thread through his hair. He couldn’t help it when his other eye joined it. It felt so right to feel her fingers threading through his hair. 

“Kakashi.” Minashi whispered. Heterochromic eyes snapped open at her tone of voice. He was enraptured by her. “I never want to go through that again.” She whispered eyes shining. “I really thought I'd lost you. L-lost y-you b-before I could say it.” Her voice quivered as a tear escaped to run into Kakashi's hand. His thumb wiped it away as he leaned down and kissed her again. 

“I can’t promise that I’ll live forever. I’m an old man in Shinobi years.” he tried to joke. 

“Then be with me for as many years as possible.” She whispered gripping his hair tighter to enhance her point. 

“I promise.” he whispered back. 

“I love you Kashi.” 

Kakashi swallowed thickly as he felt his own eyes burning. “You two brats have always been the only light in my world. You two only grew brighter. So much that it hurt to look. You’re both so much like them.” He choked out. Minashi only smiled as she ran her fingers soothingly over his scalp. 

“You though, you broke through my walls. The ones to protect you from my darkness.” He choked out. 

“I’m a shinobi of Konoha. One day I will be in the shadows like you. It’s part of our job.” 

Kakashi opened his mouth to dispute it, but was silenced by another kiss. 

“Stop procrastinating Kashi.” She chuckled. 

“I love you Mina.” He whispered. “No matter how much I shouldn’t. I do. You are what gets me up in the morning. What makes me come home, even if I'm half dead. You are my guiding light.” 

Minashi chuckled as she brought their joined hands up and kissed his wrist in return. 

“You’re late Kashi.” She smirked.  

Kakashi choked out another laugh as he gently pulled her up into a hug. Minashi buried her nose into his uncovered neck. 

“Finally! Ne, ne, I call dibs on walking you down the aisle! That’s my duty as Mina’s Nii-san!” 

“BAKA!” Mina yelped and threw her pillow at the cackling blonde. Naruto just dodged even as Kakashi surprised her by slipping onto the cot behind her and holding her close. She looked at him surprised and embarrassed. 

“K-kashi?” she stuttered. 

He just hummed and buried his face into her hair. “Mine.” his low growl vibrated against her skin, sending shivers down her spine. 

Hai, but you’re telling Ba-chan dattebane.” Minashi said firmly trying to hide her embarrassment. 

“And Sakura.” Naruto teased from his cot. 

The Uzumaki twins were pleased when Thee Hatake Kakashi actually paled and froze in fear. Naruto went back to cackling in his cot while Minashi just sighed and shook her head at her Kashi. Gently she tiled his head down and tried to coax him back with a kiss.  

“Ma, I know they have some killer fists, but that was a little much, ne?” Minashi snickered. 

Kakashi looked down at her and raised a brow. “Don’t let the blonde fool you. Tsunade is an Uzumaki.” 

“Sakura?” She questioned. 

“Honorary Uzumaki. The Pink is a warning. Have you forgotten she studied under Tsunade, the part Uzumaki woman?” 

Naruto’s cackling had turned into howling laughter before he yelped in pain. Kakashi and Minashi’s gaze went to said pinkette who’d just walloped Naruto. 

“BAKA! You’re supposed to be resting!“ She shouted before looking over to Minashi. She froze mid scolding when her brain short circuited at the sight of Kakashi almost wrapped around Minashi from behind, as he acted as a backrest for her. 

Sakura snapped her jaw shut and just blinked at them. 

“Mina-chan? Kakashi-sensei?" 

“Run.” Naruto snickered. Kakashi sighed and pulled Minashi tighter. 

“This is a two way deal. I‘ll protect you, you protect me.” he grumbled into her neck. 

Minashi snickered before bursting out laughing. Happiness filling her even as Sakura’s eyes narrowed when Kakashi didn’t removed himself from one of her best friends. 

“Ka~Ka~Shi~” Sakura growled storming to them. 

“Mina” Kakashi whispered as panic began to lace his voice. 

“What are you doing to MINASHI!” She shouted even as named blonde joined her brother in their cackling glee. 

“MINA!” Kakashi yelped as he dodged Sakura’s fist and jumped out of the cot. 

“Get back here so I can beat the answers out of you Kakashi-sensei!" Sakura growled. 

Kakashi whimpers were covered by Naruto and Minashi’s continued cackling. 

 

 

“Oh that poor man.” Inojiro sighed as the tent disappeared and the forest reappeared. His twitching lips gave him away though. Minashi felt herself chuckle even as the scroll disappeared back into the Elm tree leaf.  

“To think he’s lived through Tsunade-sama and her successor.” He chuckled finally. ”I can see why he’s an Elm tree.” 

“Yeah...” Minashi drawled out. “When Tsunade-baa-san woke up, everyone in the village knew exactly when that was.” Inojiro looked at her curiously. Minashi raised a brow. “Between the village shaking every few minutes and Kakashi’s own yelps of fear mixed with his screams of terror? Yeah, it didn’t take long for the Shinobi gossip vines to figure out exactly WHY The Godaime was chasing around one of her best shinobi.” 

There was silence as they began their way back to the clearing. 

“Did she ever catch him?” Inojiro finally asked. 

Minashi just smirked. “Yes, but I kept my promise. Plus, the scent of his terror was stinking up the village.” She shrugged. 

Inojiro paused as he watched Minashi continue walking. She paused as well to glance back at him questionably. 

“You sat back with your brother and watched Hatake get chased around, didn’t you?” He guessed, having studied his patient as both adult and child to get a better handle on her. That and reviewing the memories she’s shown him helped, since they held the Minashi before the jump. She was a complex individual because of it all. 

Minashi’s answering smirk was answer enough though her words just confirmed it. “I’ve never had Ramen so delicious.” 

Inojiro chuckled as he joined her back in their walk. 

“So what of that memory rattled you?” he asked as they sat down. Minashi rested against Kurama’s back. Inojiro was happy to not get on the Bijuu’s nerve and chose to rest against the cave wall. 

The mood sobered a bit as Minashi looked down at her hands and played with the ends of her hair. 

“This Kakashi thought I was having a bad dream. I woke up in class with my hand in his, and his other running through my hair whispering that everything was going to be okay. That he’d protect me.” 

“But he's said that to you before; when you first got here if I recall.” 

“Hai. But it’s what he said after. He promised that he’d always be there for me.” She whispered as her face scrunched up and her fist balled up. ”He can’t make that promise. Even as a child, he knows the dangers of being a shinobi. His father has come home injured enough. Sakumo is not shielding him from the fact that he may never come home one day.” 

Minashi’s fingers dug into her skin as she tried to work through her feelings. Inojiro knew to be patient with her. 

“He’s still a child. Knowing and experiencing are two different things.” He kindly reminded her. 

“I know!” She shouted snapping her hard gaze up to him. It relaxed at his patient look. ”I know. I wish I could tell him that he can’t promise that. But he’s still too young to understand. I’m too ‘young’ to supposed to know that.” She grunted and ran a hand through her hair. “Shit, I hate this. I can’t stand this waiting. I wish there hadn’t been a price to travel back. I could have just been Kitsune. Kept myself from connections that were distracting. Kept myself from so much pain.” She choked as she wipe away a tear. ”I miss him. I miss my Kashi.” she finally sobbed. ”Kami, I miss him. I miss his calloused hands, his perverted habits, his stupid excuses for everything besides our dates. I miss him holding me tight when nightmares of Naruto wake me with screams of agony. I miss the little things he did to make my day. Notes using his pack summons. Flowers delivered by my summons he bribed with dango. The massive Killing Intent on any man brave enough to flirt with me and then playing dumb like he didn’t just scare half the bar.” 

Inojiro sighed as he watched Minashi wipe away her tears. 

“Being near him is hurting you.” He whispered. 

Minashi nodded. “It’s him, but it’s not.” She mumbled. ”I’m excited to watch him grow into the man I knew, but I also know he will never be the same man if what I want goes through.” 

Inojiro realized then what was plaguing her. “You fear he’s not going to see you as his guiding light.” 

Minashi looked up at him with red rimmed eyes. A short nod was her answer. 

Inojiro sighed. ”I can’t tell you if that will or won’t happen. All I can tell you is to enjoy the time you’ve had with your version. He will always be a piece of you. Next, enjoy the time that you have with the new Kakashi. Only time will tell if you two will still be connected at the hip when you’re older.” He looked at her curiously. “As stubborn as you are, I know enough about you to know that you will let him go if you see that he loves another. Am I wrong?” 

“No.” Minashi whimpered. 

Inojiro nodded. ”Then when or If that even happens, you pick up the pieces and move on. Just as you’ve done the past month. You landed in a past you didn’t originally belong in. You picked up the pieces, made a place, and found a home. That’s more than some have been able to do for much simpler changes in their lives.” Inojiro waved out to the clearing and forest. “Do you not see the beauty that I do? Do you not see just how impressive having such a strong mind is?” 

Minashi looked back to her mindscape and saw the blackened trunks. Saw the new life. Saw the older trees. 

“You are so much stronger than you realize Minashi. There will be very little that will knock you down for long.” 

“But I don’t have Naruto to help me up anymore.” She whispered looking at him with eyes that were lost. “He was always the one to always stand back up with a smile then hold a hand out to me.” 

“He helped you stand because he knew you were already going to stand up anyways.” Inojiro said firmly. “You two shared a connection. A connection I still can’t fathom at how amazing it must have been. He knew that he didn’t need to lend you strength. You were strong all on your own. You will stand back up. You will change the future for the better, and no matter what, you will find happiness with the man you are destined to be with.” 

Minashi just stared at Inojiro as he sighed and stood up. She saw him hold out a hand to her with a kind smile. 

“I know I'm right when I say this; Those that hold out their hand to those looking broken, know that they are not broken. They have just taken a hard hit. They still have the strength to stand back up on their own feet. They just need someone to believe in them.” Minashi took his hand. “I believe in you Minashi Uzumaki-Namikaze.” he yanked her up to her feet. “I believe in you, Hokage-sama believes in you, Orochimaru-san believes in you, Tsunade-sama believes in you, Jiraiya-san believes in you.” He pointed to the mass of fur behind her. ”Kurama-sama believes in you or else he’d never help you get here in the first place.” 

Minashi choked back a sob but the tears feel. Inojiro pulled her in for a friendly hug. “You just need to believe in yourself.” He said gently into her hair. 

He waited until he felt her calm down before released her. Minashi wipe away her tears and looked up at him. 

“I'll try. I might need help remembering.” 

Inojiro chuckled. “That’s what friends are for Minashi. That’s why Hokage-sama wants you to make them. They may not be able to help all the time, but you never know.” 

Minashi chuckled even as she nodded at him. “I’ll try.” 

“That’s all you can do for now. Try and try again.” 

They walked back to the center of the clearing. ”So I should probably try to talk more about Naruto next week?” She smiled tightly. 

Inojiro sighed. ”I will not push you on him. Yes, I think the sooner you truly grieve over him instead of pushing it to the side for this or that, the sooner you can move on.” 

“I'm not-” she frowned. 

Inojiro held up a hand. ”I’m not sure if you have, but it’s just a hunch.” He glanced back to the trees and changed the subject. ”It was nice seeing him in action though.” He smiled back at her. 

Minashi couldn’t help her own smile. “He was such a knucklehead.” she chuckled. 

“I can image that you two were so much worse together.” He agreed. Minashi smiled and held out her hand. 

“Thank you Inojiro.” He clasped it easily. 

“It was an honor to get to see your memories that held both Naruto and Kakashi. Thank you for sharing.” 

“Next week, I'll see if there is another I can show you.” she offered. 

“I won’t hold you to it. You never know what you’ll need to talk about instead, but I look forward to the day we can.” 

With a hand sign the jutsu was released. 

 

Minashi groaned as she slumped over and rested on the pillow. “Why does that still hurt?” she grunted. 

Inojiro sighed as he stretched out his back and prepared them some tea to ease the ache. 

“While your Chakra coils are developing rapidly from your massive reserves and Kurama moving his own chakra through them with the Nature Energy turned Sage Chakra, they are still not fully grown. It’s why you still are at risk for Chakra exhaustion.” He replied looking at her with a scolding look. She ignored it and sipped her tea. 

“It is also why long periods of time in your mindscape under my jutsu is a strain on those coils.” 

Minashi grunted. 

“Ah, while I'm thinking about it, were you awake for that memory?” Inojiro asked curiously. 

Minashi blinked and tried to understand what he meant. “Huh?” 

“It looked like it was from Kakashi’s point of view.” 

Minashi blinked before it clicked. “Ah, there are two reasons for that.” She held up a finger. ”One, Naruto and I’s connection. I was able to remember what he could.” She held up the second finger. ”Two; During the fourth war, Naruto and I shared our chakra that was mixed with Kurama’s with the entire shinobi alliance. So a piece of Kurama was in all of them. All of their memories came back with them.” She shrugged like it was nothing, and went back to drinking her tea. 

Inojiro just stared at her dumbfounded. 

“W-What?!” he whispered. “but how is your mind not a mess-” 

“Kurama and a good organization system.” She smirked. ”Naruto though just shoved them all into a separate part of his mind. He didn’t bother to organize them past their Nation. He knew I had them sorted.” 

Inojiro’s eyes went out of focus. ”That's why the forest is so large. You have memories from Every shinobi that faught in the Fourth War and lived up to that point.” 

“Hai.” 

Inojiro just stared at her incredulously. Minashi couldn’t help smirking at his look. Her inner Uzumaki enjoying it. 

“C-Can I tell the Hokage?” He whispered. “Just that specific part. It’s.... astonishing.” he whispered still dazed. 

Minashi just rolled her eyes. ”Fine.” 

Inojiro absently nodded. 

“Are we done?” 

He nodded once more. 

“You going to be okay?” She chuckled. 

Inojiro was still before he just shrugged. Minashi rolled her eyes at him again before leaving to find Kushina waiting for her patiently in the hall. 

“All done?” She smiled. 

Minashi smiled back. “All done and doing better.” 

Kushina’s smile softened with her happiness. “I'm glad. So Ramen?” 

“Hai.” Minashi beamed and leaped up into Kushina’s arms. 

 

 

 

Minashi sat still as the memories bombarded her. The Shadow clones she had sent to the Hyuuga Compound had completed their tasks. Henged as simple foxes, they’d placed the seal tags on the inner walls of the compound. Once they had activated, they dispelled outside of the compound in groups of two. The last bunch had just come in from the fox henged Shadow clones, tasked with tagged underneath the homes. The Hyuuga’s should really look at getting those holes filled in. She mused even as she put the cup to her lips and sipped at the Sake. 

Her Blood Clone was sleeping away in Kushina’s apartment. She’d spent the rest of the afternoon just relaxing with Kushina. Learning how to cook, learning more of the Uzumaki style of sealing, and just cuddling with Kushina on the couch. Minato apparently was set on getting his other Jounin team members back on their feet. So he’d left to train with them. 

Minashi had asked if Kushina trained that much as well.  

“Of course. What do you think I'm doing while you’re in the academy?” she had smiled. Minashi thought she had been at the mission desk, but apparently not. 

 

“So this is where we can find you on a Saturday night Kitsune?” a familiar voice chuckled as he sat beside her at the bar. Minashi raised a sleek black brow at Minato. 

“It is an ANBU bar. I am ANBU.” 

“True, but you’ve also been hard to track down. I’ve wanted to get you into another team training.” Minato said even as he sent a signal to the bartender for his own drink. 

“You drink?” Minashi asked a little surprised. 

“Not often.” He replied Honestly. “I prefer to be ready at any time for a mission. Especially being on one of the Hokage’s most trusted teams.” 

“Then what is the special occasion to where I get the honor of drinking with the Hokage’s number one ANBU captain?” 

Minato sipped at his drink before those sharp blue eyes slid to her, even as his head didn’t change position. They were so cold. 

Minashi felt something slither down her spine. She realized then, just why her father had been feared as the Yellow Flash, if he gave all his enemies this look. 

“I have a little sister as you know.” he stated calmly, his tone of voice never changing. “I came home the other night to find her and my girlfriend sprawled out surrounded by sealing paper and notes.” He took another sip, never dropping his gaze from her. “I was too tired at first to see it. But the longer I looked, the more my brain told me to look harder. Do you know what I saw?” 

Minashi just raised a brow, even as her stomach turned in nervousness. “No. I’m not a Yamanaka.” 

“I saw a familiar sealing style in my imouto’s. One I'd seen firsthand.” He finally turned to her. “I don’t want your full past story. I don’t care who you actually are. All I want to know is how you are connected to Minashi. Are your intentions good or have you abandoned her to Konoha so you could-” 

Minashi chuckled as she looked away. Calmly she took a sip. Her father was a genius, but he didn’t have enough of the puzzle pieces to put it together. If he was a Nara, he might have been with the pieces she’s let slip. 

“Mina is safe, she is happy. That is all that matters.” Minashi said without looking at Minato. 

“Kitsune I'm sure she’d be happy to know you are still alive. She doesn’t realize who you are does she?” 

Minashi frowned and looked at him confused. “And who am I to her?” 

Minato bit his tongue as his own hopes had overridden his logic that it couldn’t be her. 

“You’re her mother.” He whispered. “It explains how you still feel Uzumaki, but only traces, it’s how you have sealing knowledge based on Uzumaki before you created your own style. Why you have her eyes.” 

Minashi stared at Minato with a raised brow. “Wouldn’t that make me your mother?” 

Minato just stayed silent. But Minashi saw it. The pain in his eyes. Something in her softened. He was an orphan just like she had been. To have even a slim hope that a parent was still alive, was every orphan’s dream. 

“Namikaze-san, I swear on my life and the safety of Konoha that I am not your mother or Mina’s.” 

She saw his eyes dim with disappointment when he saw the truth in her gaze. 

“But you are connected to Mina.” he whispered. 

“Yes.” Minashi admitted. 

“How?” he sighed and turned back to the bar. “I thought I could drop it, for the happiness of Mina, but it’s just bugging me too much. I feel like I'm missing something.” 

Minashi chuckled and patted his shoulder. “Maybe one day I will be able to tell you. Do I still have your trust until then?” 

Minato looked back at her and nodded. “I already told you. I trust you. I shouldn’t but I do. You’re Honest when it counts. You mean it when you say you’re here to protect Konoha.” 

“OI! I found them!” a voice shouted from the doorway. Minato and Minashi turned to find Itsuki taking up half the doorway. He soon made way for Fumiko, Toru, and Koichi. 

“Come on!” Fumiko smiled as she dragged Minashi to a table Toru snagged for them. 

“What’s going on?” Minashi grunted when she was shoved into a chair. Minato sighed when he was forced into a chair beside her. 

“Team bonding.” Toru smirked. 

“Is training not good enough?” Minashi asked confused. She got glares from all but Minato for that remark. “I guess not.” she muttered and sipped at her cup. 

“Nope! No more of that!” Itsuki chuckled taking away her sake and soon shot glasses were handed out from the tray Koichi brought over. 

“Guys, come on, you know I can’t-” Minato pouted. 

“Shove it Taichou.” Koichi grunted. “Do you think I'm enjoying this? My wife is going to kill me if I go home smelling of alcohol again.” 

Toru just snickered and lifted a shot glass. “To being single!” He laughed. Fumiko raised her own glass and the Minashi felt all the other eyes on her. 

“What?” She frowned. 

“Single or taken?” Toru asked. 

“Single.” She muttered. 

“Then drink up buttercup!” Fumiko snickered. 

Minashi sighed and grabbed a glass. Together the three down them. Minashi frowned at the taste even as Fumiko and Toru shuttered at the burn. 

“That is not as pleasant to the taste buds as Sake.” Minashi muttered. 

“So, do you have your eye on anyone?” Fumiko smiled at Minashi. Minashi tilted her head confused. 

“In what way?” she asked even as she signaled the bartender for another bottle of sake. 

“Like I have my eyes set on Inoichi.” She smirked. Minato choked on his water. 

“He’s my age.” The Young ANBU captain protested. 

“Are you calling me old Taichou?” Fumiko smiled warningly. 

Minato knew better. He looked away and grumbled into his glass. 

Minashi rolled her eyes at the Yamanaka’s games. “Leave the boy alone Fumiko.” she chuckled even as she poured her own cup of sake. Minato glared at her. 

“Eh?” Itsuki grinned at Minashi. “Do you have your eyes on Taichou? His fan girls will be pretty upset.” 

Minato flushed beat red. “I-it’s not like that.” 

“But I came in here and found you two getting all cozy.” Itsuki grinned sharper even as his eyes never left Minashi who held his gaze over her sake cup rim. 

“We were just talking! I was trying to see if she’d join more of our team training-” 

“Aw, denying our little private conversation Minato-kun?” Minashi pouted playfully at Minato. He continued to turn red. “You were being so adorable asking about personal training. Even being so bold as to learn more about me.” she twirled a finger in her hair and let her voice drop into a husky tone. “So mean Minato-kun, denying your actions and whispered words of endearment.” 

“I-i-i. B-but-but. N-no- that's- that-” Minato broke out into a long whine as he buried his face into the table and covered his bright locks with his arms. “I have a girlfriend!” He shouted into the table. 

Minashi moved closer. “But you seemed so interested in me, an older woman. Older woman, more experience.” 

Minato jumped up and pointed an accusatory finger at him. “Stop that! She’ll kill me!” He got a crazy look in his eyes. “Have you ever seen a vengeful Uzumaki in action?! I’ll never be able to sleep peacefully!” he ended with a screech.  

Minashi just chuckled with the rest of the table. “You are very fun to tease Minato.” She smirked. 

“Well done.” Itsuki chuckled and lifted a shot to her. She took one of her own and they tossed them back together. 

“Why are you so mean to me?” Minato whined, but was ignored. 

“Thank you. Was that some sort of initiation?” She asked flipping the empty shot over and grabbing her sake again. 

Koichi chuckled low. “Sort of. Taichou is ease to tease, but getting him that flustered is new.” He lifted his own shot in a salute before downing it. 

“So, if not Minato or any of us, do you have your eyes on anyone Kitsune?” Fumiko giggled from her seat. Minashi tilted her head at the Yamanaka. 

“Is she drunk already?” She whispered to Itsuki. 

He sighed and nodded. “She has the second lowest tolerance on the team. Minato has the lowest tolerance.” He pointed to the many empty shot glasses before the pale blonde woman. “She was tossing them back while you teased Minato.” 

They looked at Minato to find him now being the one to toss them back. She could almost see the terror in his eyes from the thought of a vengeful Kushina, slip from his mind with every shot. 

“So what is tonight really about?” She asked Itsuki quietly while Toru got up for more shots. 

Itsuki’s eyes dimmed. “Hokage-sama warned us that we’ll be getting an S-Rank mission in two days. He warned us to make sure our affairs were in order. That’s how dangerous the mission was. It was Taichou’s job to track you down to pass it along. Though I guess you’d get a message soon anyways.” 

“He said I'd be joining you?” She asked confused. 

Itsuki looked at her. “No, he said he needed to check to see if you would. I guess we found you before he could summon you.” 

Minashi hummed as she grabbed another shot when Toru returned. 

“It’s why I wanted us to train.” Minato sighed from beside her. She glanced at him and found his eyes glassy. “We still need to work on teamwork.” he smiled at her completely ruining his serious words. 

Minashi deadpanned Itsuki. “He’s a happy drunk isn’t he?” 

Itsuki chuckled. “As long as he’s thinking happy thoughts. He’ll switch to a depressed one or whiney one in a little bit. Fumiko turns into a flirt.” he said pointing at said blonde that was leaning over to one of the other tables, hitting on a younger ANBU agent. The poor teen was flushed in surprise. 

“And you three?” She asked Toru, Koichi, and Itsuki. 

Toru scoffed. “We can never tell when Itsuki gets drunk. There is a reason he’s the second in command at T&I. He’s got a damn good poker face.” he pointed to Koichi with a finger. “That bastard doesn’t care. He’ll flip his eyes on at one point so he can remember anything embarrassing to use against us later.” 

Koichi just smirked confirming Toru’s theory. 

“And you?” Minashi chuckled throwing back another shot. 

Toru shrugged. “I’ve got a pretty good tolerance. I’ve always been second to Itsuki.” 

“Not for long.” Minashi snickered into another shot. 

Toru paused and the three looked at her before the tray of empty shots. 

“Once you get past the initial taste, the after taste is actually pretty nice.” She shrugged and grabbed the empty tray. “Minato-kun?” she called sweetly. The happy smiling blonde turned to her.  

“Hai~” he beamed. 

“Can you fill us back up?” She held the tray out to him and he took it with a smile and staggered back to the bar. 

She felt eyes on her and found the remains of team cheetah staring at her. Fumiko already abandoning them to sit on the young ANBU’s lap at the other table. 

“What?” She gave them an innocent smile. 

“Oh yeah, you’ll fit right in.” Toru tisked as he saw Itsuki eyeing her with newfound interest. 

“Do you have any experience in Interrogation?” Itsuki asked as a sly grin took his lips. “You have a wide range of skills, but you seem to be good at manipulation.” 

“Minato is tipsy and weak to pretty women when tipsy. If he’d been sober or if his Uzumaki girlfriend was around, I wouldn’t have been able to do a quarter of that.” 

“You Manipulated Danzo.” 

“He was already cornered with all the evidence we collected.” 

“Still, I'd love to see you in action with a prisoner.” 

Minashi stared at him innocently. “But aren’t you married Itsuki-kun?” 

He stared at her confused. “yes. What does that have to do with trading techniques?” 

“Ba-Ka.” Koichi drawled out. ”You sounded like you were hitting on her.” 

Itsuki frowned. “What? No I didn’t. She is a skilled Kunoichi. I just-” he stopped when he found Minashi and Koichi’s smirks. “Oi you bastards!” he grunted and downed three shots. 

Toru burst out laughing and pounded the table. “She got him!” He laughed. “That’s hilarious! I’m so telling Inojiro-san! He fell right into it!” He continued to laugh. 

“Shut up!” Itsuki grunted and went to swat the brunette, but Toru just ducked with a snicker. 

Koichi just rolled his eyes and raised his glass to her. “Welcome to Team Cheetah.” She returned it and they downed their drinks. 

 

 

 

 

Minashi held the cup of coffee to her lips as she leaned against the island counter of her ANBU apartment. She was dressed in full ANBU gear ready to go hunt down Hiruzen to ask why she hadn’t gotten a summons yet for the mission. 

But first, Minashi wanted to take in the sight before her. She’d slept in her own bed after getting shadow clones to lay out futons for her unexpected guests. They were slowly beginning to wake. 

Minato whimpered. Koichi snarled and threw a pillow over the blonde’s head before gasping and covering his own. 

“Shut up.” Fumiko growled. “Whoever is breathing so loud, I'm going to strangle you.” 

Itsuki grunted as he sat up and held his own head. “Kami, my head.” he groaned. 

SHUT UP.” Koichi hissed as red eyes peaked out from his futon. “You’re all too LOUD.” he hissed before burying his head back into the darkness of between the sheets. 

“ow.” Minato whimpered as he rolled to a seated position and rubbed his temples. “Where are we?” he mumbled. 

“Kitsune’s place.” Itsuki mumbled as a hand ran down his face and looked around. He then looked down and froze. 

Minato was too busy yawning to realize what was wrong. Koichi was the next to realize. He popped out of his futon before clutching his eyes when the light hit them.  

“Too bright.” he mumbled. 

“SHUT UP!” Toru snarled as he snapped up from his own futon. All eyes went to him. Even Fumiko sat up long enough to retort, but paused when what she was seeing registered in her hungover mind. 

“Toru, why are you wearing a dress?” She tilted her head confused. 

Toru frowned and looked down before looking back up and pointing at the other men. ”I should be asking them that. Plus, “ he tilted his head at her. ”What in Kami’s name are You wearing?” 

Fumiko looked down before shrieking. ”Why am I dressed like a monk?!” She shouted before falling back down and clutching her head. ”Owie.” she mumbled. 

Minashi continued to smirk as she sipped her coffee. She felt eyes on her and found Itsuki eyeing her. 

“You look fine.” he grumbled. 

“Of course I do because I am.” she chuckled triumphantly. 

“Okay. Can I have my clothes back?” 

Minashi’s smirk only grew. 

“Kitsune? I need to get home, I promised Kushina I'd make breakfast today.” Minato whined even as he wrapped himself in the blankets. 

“Minato, are you actually pulling that off?” Fumiko mused aloud. 

Minato flushed and soon had Toru and Fumiko wrestling the blanket away from him. He yelped and dodged, but was too wrapped up to escape. When Itsuki joined, it was a lost cause. Koichi just smirked with red eyes. He’d never let his Captain live this down. 

“Guys! Really!” Minato pouted as he stood there in a blue dress that matched his eyes. Only his flushed face ruining the cute image. 

“Kushina was right. You are a pretty boy.” Fumiko snickered. “Man, where’s my camera when I need it.” 

“Oh don’t worry.” Minashi called from the kitchen as she put her cup in the sink. “I have plenty of pictures from last night.” 

They all watched the Mysterious woman as she grabbed her mask and put it on the side of her head. She then grabbed a katana from the counter and strapped it on. 

“Guys.” Koichi hissed and they all looked to see the Uchiha pale and panicking. ”I can’t remember last night.” He revealed. 

Shivers went down their spines as they looked to Fumiko, she would be the next to remember with her mind techniques protecting her own memories. 

Fumiko paled as well and shook her head at them. ”Nothing.” She whispered. 

“Oh, by the way?” Minashi called from the door. They all looked at her panicked when they found her grinning like the cat that ate the canary. “I already sent your clothes home. You’ll have to go home like that. Only then will the seals on you release.” She smiled then waved. ”Ja ne!” 

The door clicked shut behind her and five ANBU just blinked into the empty apartment. 

Minato suddenly yelped and they looked to him as he paled. “I can’t Hiraishin home.” he looked at his team with mild Panic. “She meant it. We’ll have to go outside.” 

“Damn it.” Itsuki growled. 

It started off soft before it got louder. Everyone looked at Koichi to watch him curl into himself before he burst out laughing. 

“Oh Kami, she got us!” he laughed. “She got us good.” He laughed and looked at them with a smile. ”I like her. I think while she’s odd, she’ll work good for us.” 

The others relaxed a fraction before jumping when Minashi appeared right between them. 

“Oh, I almost forgot.” She smiled and slapped something on each of their foreheads. “I’m not that cruel.” she chuckled before disappearing again. 

“Oh~~That’s ni~ce~” Fumiko purred. Mumbles of agreement went around as their hangovers were relieved by the Iryojutsu sealing tags. 

“We can’t let another team work with her. They’ll never give her back.” Toru hummed. 

“Do you really think this dress incident will be the only attack?” Itsuki sighed as he finally got up and found that Kitsune had made plenty of Coffee to go around. 

Silence followed his statement. 

“Worth it for her healing Seals.” Toru shrugged and began rolling up his futon. 

“It’ll be nice to have another girl on the team.” Fumiko chuckled. 

“We can learn from her.” Koichi agreed. 

“We can help her protect Konoha and our precious people in it.” Minato smiled.

Chapter Text

Chapter 27

  

“You’re not joking.” Hiruzen whispered as Inojiro looked back down at his own notes and theories on Minashi’s mental scape.  

“No. Her mind is incredible.” Inojiro chuckled excitedly. “I’ve never seen one so complex Sarutobi. That why when her physical body gets older, I want to request to show Inoichi. I want to be able to let him in. One, I'll not always be head of T&I or Clan Head. She’ll need someone she can trust. If I can get them to start working together sooner rather than later, then we’ll be able to also try to figure out how she is even able to do this. This is Thousands upon tens of thousands of memories residing within her own mind. This is physically impossible. And to be able to bring them with her?”  

Hiruzen lifted a hand and Inojiro settled down. “I cannot authorize anything. All we can do is put a request through and Minashi will have the option to accept or deny the request. You are correct in the fact that she will need others, that will be closer to her physical age, to be in the know of her situation. Until then, you will just have to enjoy the time that you do get in her mind.” He said chuckling at the end.  

Inojiro gave the Hokage a sheepish look. “I wish I could end all my days walking her mind. It’s beautiful, even with its scars.”  

Chakra flared and the Privacy seal went down. Hiruzen and Inojiro jumped up ready to fight, but Minashi just appeared on the windowsill. Her blue eyes were narrowed on Hiruzen. He sighed and relaxed back.  

The Privacy seal went back up when Minashi as Kitsune stepped in.  

“I take it team Cheetah found you.” he sighed.  

“Why didn’t I get a summons? What would have happened if they hadn’t found me?”  

“I was waiting on more intel to decide on if you were to attend or not.”  

“When are you expecting it?” She narrowed sharp blue eyes on him.  

Hiruzen lifted his pipe to regard her. “Orochimaru and Jiraiya went to go meet with one of Jiraiya’s contacts. Them and Tsunade will also be going with you and Team Cheetah to act as back up and/ or act as an extraction team. Tsunade’s Medic-nin program is just starting. She doesn’t have anyone else trained to go in her place.”  

“Just what is this mission?” She asked narrowing her eyes.  

Hiruzen held her gaze for a few beats.  

“Infiltration and extraction.” Minashi blinked confused.  

“okay....and?”  

“Execution if extraction is not possible.” he finished.  

Minashi looked at Hiruzen. ”Explain further.” She said firmly.  

Hiruzen sighed and put his pipe down. “A few days ago, our spies reported that two valuable informants in Iwa were caught. When bodies were not sent back, we believed that they are still being held for torture and interrogation.”  

“You’re not telling me something Hiruzen.” She pointed out. “Who is it?”  

“The Sand Siblings.”  

Minashi frowned and tried to internally look for Information that fit that. She knew of only one set of Sand Siblings. They were Temari, Kankuro, and Gaara. But they were ten years too soon to be born.  

“Who?” She asked.  

“Yashamaru and Karura of the Sand. They are mistake for twins, but-”  

“Karura is older. Yashamaru is her little brother.” Minashi finished as she realized what was going on. “Gaara’s mom. I don’t understand. Even If I didn’t go on this mission, they would live. Wait- why are we ever tasked with this mission?” She asked frowning.  

“Because I've sent the Kazekage an alliance. I got word just before Danzo’s trial that he’d accepted. Yashamaru and Karura are two of his best ANBU agents for their age. They had been undercover for a year in Iwa. Part of the alliance was sharing details and providing support if another war was to come to either’s soil.”  

 Minashi started at Hiruzen before she felt her hackles raise. “Who ordered their execution if we are unable to extract them?” She snarled.  

“The Kazekage.” Hiruzen said watching Minashi closely.  

Minashi took a threatening step closer to Hiruzen. “You send a message to The Kazekage. That as soon as I have finished retrieving his people, I’m going to be paying him a special visit for his disrespect of his own Shinobi.”  

“You cannot.” Hiruzen ordered firmly. “This is a new alliance. An alliance we will need before this Third war starts. Skirmishes have already begun breaking out along all our boarders. The last place we need to be defending is against boarders that stretch the furthest against ours. I’m also already looking to Build alliances with the Kawa no Kuni that rests between us. The last war devastated the smaller nations. The least we can do is start building alliances and preparing to protect them this time.”  

Minashi looked at him in disbelief. “Are you KIDDING ME?! THIS!” She shouted. “THIS is why I DIDN’T and Haven’t told you about the future! You are changing things! We never had an alliance with Suna this early. We didn’t even have and alliance with Kawa no Kuni.”  

“Is it that bad?” Inojiro asked. “This could save lives.”  

Minashi snapped her mouth shut and ground her teeth together. “You don’t know that.” she grit out.  

“And you don’t know if it will take lives.” Hiruzen countered. “With the information I have from all my sources, I am doing my damnest to protect my village.” Hiruzen bit out. “I was lenient when it came to our internal threats because I had been letting things slip. That was me fixing my mistakes. Now I am protecting my people. I am trying to take a step forward towards a future that didn’t end like yours. We already know that you have lost a major advantage when Danzo was killed, when my students got back together-”  

“Jiji-” Minashi started.  

“NO!” He stood and gave her a firm eye. “This is my decision. I am trying to help you.” he said gentler. “You are not the Hokage. You are my advisor for when situations are presented that are similar to your own past. This is one of the ripples to your presences. We both know this. Now, what will you do ANBU Kitsune?”  

Minashi lowered her gaze to the floor. She knew he was right. Not to mention, this rippling change may actually cost Gaara’s mom’s life. She couldn’t risk that.  

“Is Minato team lead?” she asked.  

“His mission. His lead. You will be second in command due to your own experience and skill level.” he replied evenly.  

“How long is the mission tasked for?”  

“Day and a half trip there. Same time back. Two-day time limit to get the targets out or assassinate them before they can be broken.”  

Minashi held firm brown eyes.  

“I’m sorry Minashi.” he whispered.  

“No you aren’t. Not completely at least.” she sighed and rubbed her face. “I’d forgotten for a moment what it felt like to be a Hokage. I’m sorry for my bad reaction, it’s just hitting a bit too close to home.”  

“This Gaara fellow?” Inojiro asked.  

Minashi nodded and moved to lean against the window. “Gaara was the youngest of his Siblings. Temari and Kankuro. They were known as the Sand siblings.” she then smiled at the irony. “Ironic really. Their Mother and Uncle were the originals. I wonder if they ever knew that their Family was famous before-” She paused and sighed. “Gaara was the Ichibi container. Born prematurely, killing his mother. She saved him by embedding her chakra into his sand so it would always protect him. Her strong love and Will protected Gaara so many times.” She sighed and rubbed her tired eyes.  

“Team Cheetah is leaving at first light Monday morning. Have your blood clone prepared to not expend a lot of chakra while you are away. You will need as much energy as possible for this mission.” Hiruzen ordered.  

“Of course.” She sighed. “When are you expecting Orochimaru and Jiraiya back?”  

“The latest, by sunset.”  

She frowned at him. “Why isn’t he using a toad to send the report back?”  

“Word from him is that the toads have been unresponsive. Only when he’s persistent and marks that’s it’s life or death will they answer the summons.”  

Minashi frowned. “That’s dangerous and strange Jiji.”  

Hiruzen raised a brow. “Jiraiya said they’d been that way ever since Minato summoned a toad with you present.”  

“Ah.” she muttered and looked thoughtful. “Only my summons should have been the ones to follow me. I thought it was because they could smell the foxes on me. It’s known that only Kushina has a contract.”  

“Or the GamaSennin had a vision about you.” Hiruzen supplied.  

“Plausible.” Minashi grunted with a frown. “Looks like I'll be making a trip to the Toads to chat.”  

“Later. You have a team to get briefed by. You’ll be able to feel when Jiraiya and Orochimaru return?”  

“As soon as they enter my range.” She confirmed.  

“Meet with them as soon as they return. Team Cheetah will be briefed then and leave at first light. That will give the Sannin time to re-prepare themselves.” He nodded.  

“Alright.” she sighed and stood. “Anything else Jiji?”  

“Good luck.” he said firmly.  

Minashi nodded. “I’ll make sure everyone comes home.” She promised.  

“You can’t promise-” Hiruzen started but she was gone in a flash of black. “That.” he finished on a sigh. “She knows better.” he grumbled.  

“She does.” Inojiro said. “Kakashi just recent told her that he’d always protect her and always be there for her. She was upset that he didn’t understand that he couldn’t say that. The chances of death are always high for a shinobi. She knows this.”  

“Yet, she makes the same promise to bring everyone home because she sees it as her responsibility that they do come home. They are precious to her now. She can’t afford to lose anyone else.” Hiruzen finished.  

“Correct.” Inojiro said looking at his Hokage with respect. Hiruzen rolled his eyes.  

“We are friends Inojiro, I've heard many of your reports, done my own research on the subject of shinobi mental health, and have done enough profiling of my shinobis to understand how they think. It wasn’t too hard a deduction.”  

Inojiro chuckled. “Apologies Hokage-sama, I meant no-” Hiruzen waved him off.  

“Calm Inojiro. All you can do is prepare for her return. We don’t know how this will affect her.”  

“Hai.” he sighed and took the dismissal for what it was. “Good day Hokage-sama.”  

 

 

 

 

Minashi stood as she watched Jiraiya finish briefing Team Cheetah, their masks already in place. Hers rested on the side of her head as she stood beside Tsunade and Orochimaru while they finished checking their supply scrolls. Jiraiya finished up and walked back to their smaller group. 

“They’re ready?” She confirmed. 

Jiraiya shrugged. “They’re seasoned shinobi. This isn’t their first S-ranked mission.” 

“But it’s the first in a while that will end up being a joint mission. This is a politically tense mission. We fail and the balance of the Konoha-Suna alliance will never be as strong.” Tsunade stated as she tightened her weapons pouch. 

“Then let’s make sure that we get the Sand Siblings back home, along with all our own people.” Minashi stated firmly as Team Cheetah joined them. She faced them. “Cheetah, you will lead this mission. The Sannin will follow us until the set meeting point. There we will trade summons for when it’s time for extraction or the mission starts going downhill. Cheetah, your orders.” She said pulling her mask down. 

“Move out.” Minato said firmly. They disappeared into the trees. Their pace fast but steady. Silence reigned over the group as they traveled. Only stopping just before the boarders of Kusa and Konoha for the night. 

Suppression tags were passed out in the morning by Minashi to make sure they stayed off all radars. They traveled quickly through Kusa and slipped past Iwa border patrols. 

The group finally stopped in a cavern system that Orochimaru and Jiraiya had already staked out for the best exit strategy. They resided between Iwa’s hidden village and Aisu Bay. 

“We’ll make camp here and head out tonight into the village between shift change.” Minato instructed as they looked at the latest map Jiraiya’s information provided of the village. “Jiraiya’s informant said that the siblings are deep within ANBU holding cells. They are scheduled to be moved tomorrow night. We need to get into position to find out their routes. If we can find out that information then, we’ll be able to make a plan and grab them.” 

Minato looked up at Kitsune with a firm look. “Kitsune, I trust your Deception skills will be able to get further into the village and get what we need?” 

“Of course.” She snorted. It wasn’t the first time she’s done such thing, but this time is wasn’t against a madman. Just a middle-aged man with a complex about his height but one wicked of a kekkei genkai. 

“Good. You, Usagi, and Sparrow will slip into the village.” He handed each minus Kitsune a kunai. “Use these if you’re made.” 

Kitsune handed out another Fuuin tag. “Place this over your ANBU marks.” She ordered. 

“What?” Minato frowned but took it. 

“Do you want to start a third war early?” she asked. He frowned but put the tag over his mark like the others. “We cannot allow Iwa to learn that Konoha and Suna have teamed up.” 

Team Cheetah watched as their Konoha swirl like ANBU marks shimmered before changing to the horizontal marks similar to blowing wind. 

Orochimaru then summoned wraps from another scroll. “These as well. Cover your heads. Use the lower wraps to cover everything else but your eyes. Masks will go on last as a secondary cover.” 

“We really are impersonating Suna ANBU.” Bear grunted but did as the others and followed instructions. 

Minashi didn’t bother, she just closed her eyes and let her Henge blood transformation change over her head. 

“Oi brat.” Jiraiya frowned at her. “Won’t they detect your henge?” he asked. 

Minashi snorted at that absurdity. He rolled his eyes. 

“Ah, that’s right, will we need to keep a look out if you change faces?” Boar asked. 

“I will not show you.” Minashi said and checked her weapons one last time. “If I tell you, if you are caught, the other shinobi will see it the moment you recognize me.” 

“Alright, the sun is starting to go down. We need to trade summons then split up. Boar, Bear, and I will keep our distance, but we’ll try to keep your exits clear until you three can find out when the Siblings will be moved.” 

“Hai.” They chorused. Kitsune called up a small two tailed black fox named Shino. 

“Kitsune-sama.” 

“You were briefed before we left. Jiraiya-sama will be our contact.” 

“Hai.” He nodded and moved to sit on the taller man’s shoulders. Jiraiya held a small burgundy toad in a hand. 

“This is Gamasora. He’s one of my smaller but still talented Toads. He can camouflage himself if needed.” 

“Hello Kitsune-san, Minato-sama.” He bowed yet, Minashi saw his eyes still looking her over. “I’m glad to help.” 

“Thank you Gamasora.” Minato smiled as the toad hopped onto his shoulder. The toad shimmered and then was gone from view. 

“Let’s move.” Minato nodded and the group disappeared into the evening light. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She was beautiful. 

He swallowed nervously as he straightened out his flak jacket and moved to see if he could get a date. 

“H-“ he cleared his throat when it came out rough. “Hello Miss.”  

Bright jade eyes looked up from their review of the flowers before her. Plump pink lips pulled into a soft smile. 

“Hello Shinobi-san.” A musical voice filled his ears. “Anything I can help you with?” she asked tilting her head cutely. 

He swallowed thickly when his throat went dry at the beauty that was before him. 

“I was actually wondering if there was anything I could help you with? I haven’t seen you around the village before. I-I’m very sure I’d remember such a beauty as yourself.” He said looked up to see a pink flush dust her cheeks. Green eyes sparkled as her hand came up and covered her mouth. 

“Why aren’t you the gentleman? I am looking for something, but I am having a hard time deciding. You see, I’m just here visiting my sister. She is soon going to be married. She moved away from home to marry a shinobi that saved her life.” She said as her eyes saddened. “Mother was very sad to watch her leave, but that is just expected as children grow older, no?” 

“I-I wouldn’t know.” He said as she began walking down more stalls of the village market, perusing the wares. “I am not married, nor have any children.” 

Her eyes swung to him as her pink hair shimmered in the midmorning sun. It was so unique, so beautiful. He wondered if this was what cherry blossoms looked like in spring. Iwa was too stone covered and too hot to keep such delicate trees alive and in bloom. 

“A handsome shinobi like yourself? I couldn’t image it.” She shook her head, letting her hair shimmer more in the light. He was entranced by it. He couldn’t help it when he reached up and tucked a lock behind her ear. He jerked back when he realized what he’d done. 

“Apologies.” He winced and took a step back. “Your hair is just so beautiful, I’ve never seen that shade before.” 

That beautiful blush was back on her cheeks as she fingered her hair. “You think it’s pretty?” She asked shyly. 

“Beautiful.” He murmured as he took a step back to her. She didn’t shy away so he reached for the other side to tuck another lock away. “Stop me if I’m too forward, but would you allow me to escort you today? Maybe I could be of help finding what you need for your sister?” 

Emerald orbs brightened in happiness. “Really? Oh, that would be so helpful.” She smiled and he swallowed when she boldly grabbed his arm and practically hung off it as she steered him further into the market. “Thank you! There is just so much to look for.” 

“I am so sorry; I haven’t even gotten your name Shinobi-san!” The Pinkette at his side suddenly exclaimed looking so embarrassed. “I haven’t even offered you my own. Oh my, what kind of person am I.” she worried nervously at those plump lips of hers. 

He took her nervously twisting hands into his own and kissed one, before the other. 

“We were just too busy in a good conversation. Personally, I was distracted by your exotic beauty. I am Takeshi Kuramochi.” 

She smiled kindly and held out a hand to him, her Kimono riding up to show off perfectly pale and slim wrists. So small, so delicate. 

“Well hello Kuramochi-San, I am Sakura Miyoshi.” 

Takeshi smiled at her. “Your parents had a beautiful name for a beautiful woman. It fits you.” 

She blushed and covered her face with a sleeve again as the blush brightened. 

“Please call me Takeshi.” He continued, pulling her hand back into the crook of his arm. 

“Takeshi-kun. Then please call me Sakura.” She smiled up at him. Takeshi felt his stomach flip. 

“Have you been able to see much of the sights while visiting Sakura-chan?” he smiled as he walked her towards the restaurant district. 

“Sadly no, this is my first time visiting. Mother and I have been preparing for fall. We work cotton, herbs, and lotions. We have to begin winter prep soon, so it’s been all about getting things together before winter set in.” She sighed and looked down at her own hand. “I’ve always been a little jealous of Nee-san, she got to work with all the lotions and soaps as we grew up. Then Mother took it back over. So, I’m left with pulling cotton, weaving the scarves, cloaks, and gloves we sell. That doesn’t include handling the herbs. Nee-san has the soft hands of the family.” 

“I think they are just fine.” Takeshi smiled as he placed her hand into his and rubbed her callouses with his own. “I’ve never known soft hands in my life. I think if I did it would be too strange. But this is proof of your hard work.” He frowned at them as he looked them over more. “Though you seem to do more than just needle work.” He muttered rubbing the center of her palm. 

Sakura clenched her hand. “Tou-san was a shinobi.” She whispered. “We lost him when we were just children. Nee-san and I learned when we were little how to hold a Kunai in self-defense. She didn’t practice as much as me. But we were attacked by bandits when I was a teen. I was barely able to protect myself, mother, and nee-san before a patrol heard the commotion and stepped in. I didn’t want to feel that helpless again. So, I’ve been trying to practice. Asking passing shinobi for few pointers and practicing when I have time.” 

Takeshi kissed her palm and put it back in his arm. “While you are here, I’m sure we can find time to get you a few expert lessons. Passing shinobi are normally missing-nin or those that have abandoned their nations. They are out of practice and sometimes even lose their moral compass. You are lucky you haven’t been hurt by them before.” 

Sakura’s face paled. “L-like c-criminals? That’s what Tou-san said Missing-nin were.” 

“Some, not all, but most.” He confirmed. “So please be more careful.” 

Sakura’s eyes watered but she nodded and leaned her head on his shoulder. “I will try to be more vigilant.” She spoke softly. She then looked around. “Where are we?” 

“It was close to midday. I thought you might like to enjoy lunch with me?” He said smiling, but it was tight. He hoped he wasn’t moving too fast for the civilian woman. 

She blushed again as she smiled up at him. “That would be lovely. I didn’t even realize how hungry I was getting.” Takeshi smiled as he led her into one of his favorite places. 

 

 

Takeshi looked up into the afternoon sky. He couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. Sakura was amazing. She was kind, beautiful, had such a caring heart. He didn’t know if he deserved such a woman, but he couldn’t help it. He hoped he could convince her to have another date with him. He wanted to court her while she was here the next few days. Hope they could start writing letters when she left. 

He frowned when he realized she was taking longer than expected. She was just going back for her purse that she’d left in the restaurant booth. Nerves bubbled into his stomach as he headed back for the restaurant. He knows she said she’d be fine, but his instincts were tingling. 

He picked his pace up to a jog, but as he was passing the alley a block from the restaurant, he heard it. 

“-Shi!” a muffled voice cut off and rustling. He followed his instincts and headed for the noise. Sprinting down the alley, he made another sharp turn and stopped dead when he found what he’d known others to experience, but never himself. Someone he was coming to care about was in the grips of a hooded and cloaked man. A Kunai was at Sakura’s throat. A hand over her mouth. Another Man stood beside them with another Kunai pointed at her side while his other had her arms pinned at her side. 

Teary emerald eyes looked at him in panic. The assailant before her yelped and yanked his hand away. 

“Takeshi!” she cried out before it was cut off when the kunai pressed deeper into her throat. 

“Oi!” Takeshi called out raising his hands cautiously. “Let the woman go. She’s done nothing wrong.” He called as he tried to walk close. 

“No further!” the one that had her pinned snarled. 

“I’ll slit her throat.” The second said even as the kunai broke skin. Sakura whimpered as she eyed Takeshi in fear. 

“It’s okay.” He told her holding her gaze. “They won’t hurt you. They want something.” 

“Well, well, he’s a smart one.” Assailant one taunted. 

“Not smart enough to just let the woman die and save his own life.” The other said emotionlessly as he pressed the Kunai more into Sakura’s throat. She whimpered. 

“Ok! Okay! Just back off the girl. Tell me what you want-“ he began to reach towards his vest. 

“What are you doing?” Assailant two snarled. 

“Just getting my identification.” He pulled out a card and flashed it to them. “Look, I’m the Commander of the Jounin Shinobi of this village. I’m sure we can work something out without having to bring all my men and women into this.” 

“Takeshi-“ Sakura whimpered. 

“It’s okay Sakura-chan. Just close your eyes. Everything will be okay. I promise.” 

“You can’t promise that.” Assailant one chuckled. 

“Then tell me what you want.” Takeshi narrowed his eyes on the duo. “Just let the girl go.” He lowered to a knee before the second one joined. “You want me, right?” he put his hands behind his head. “You’ve got me. Just let, the girl, go.” He said even as he gripped the two kunai’s hidden in the back of his upper vest. 

The two shared a looked before Sakura was tossed to the side. Takeshi smirked and threw the kunai. He grunted when they were deflected but didn’t hesitate to attack the assailants. The hooded cloaks were pissing him off. He couldn’t get a read on their signatures either. How was he supposed to further assess the situation if he couldn’t read his enemy? 

“Run Sakura!” He ordered after throwing the smaller of the two assailants away. The larger one pulled a tanto. Takeshi pulled out his own Katana. “You wanna Dance? You picked the wrong skill. I’m the best Kenjutsu specialist.” 

“We know.” His opponent grunted as the other joined at Takeshi’s right. He eyed between them before defending against the smaller one’s kunai’s then spinning to block a down swing from the larger. 

He continued to block their attacks. He couldn’t risk any of his high level jutsus with being so close to the main district. But what really worried him was that no one had heard the commotion yet. Why didn’t someone report the battle sounds yet? He kicked his two attackers again and took a deep breath. 

“You’ve done something.” He snarled. “I’ve been flaring my chakra since I saw Sakura in your grasps. We aren’t being quiet with our battle sounds.” 

“You’re good. But not good enough.” A voice whispered in his ear. He barely turned around before darkness took away his vision. Only the memory of pink and emerald, staring at him emotionlessly, flashed before the nothing took over. 

 

 

 

 

“That, was scarily good.” Fumiko said as she finished tying Takeshi up. Koichi hummed as he finished stripping the Jounin commander of his clothes and weapons, leaving him in plain pants. 

“What’s scary is the fact that we didn’t even know it was her until she signaled us in the alley, After he’d thrown her aside.” He muttered.  

“The seals she provided us beforehand did their job.” Minato nodded as he checked Takeshi’s pulse. They were all in their Suna ANBU gear prepared for when their guest would wake up. 

“But wasn’t she the one that told us that he’d taken an interest in a civilian?” Toru commented from the wall he was leaning against near the door. 

They all paused then looked at Itsuki, he was the experience interrogator and profiler of shinobi. 

Itsuki just shrugged. “She said that it needed to be real as possible. It wouldn’t have been if we knew it was her, we’d threatened with a kunai.” 

“True.” Minato nodded. 

“Is he ready?” Said woman asked as she walked into the room. They had made a base of a smaller Inn on the outer rim of the main village. “I’ve put the seals in place so it can get as loud as needed, or we can use as much chakra as needed, and we’ll remain off radar.”  

All eyes moved to Minato as their team Captain. “I’d prefer to keep this as bloodless as possible.” He frowned. “Killing only breeds more killing.” 

Itsuki sighed. “Then I’m out. My training only involved getting information through physical torture. Boss man is the mental manipulator of the department.” 

Minato’s eyes looked to the woman still dressed as the target’s companion. 

“What about you?” he asked. Jade met blue. 

“I can do it.” She said and she turned back for the door. 

“Then you are in lead from now on. When the information is collected, I’ll take command back.” 

Minashi nodded. “Clear the room except one. Sparrow, stay and alert us when he wakes. Boar, I need you on perimeter to make sure there isn’t someone that can see past my barriers.” 

“Hai.” He disappeared in a shunshin. 

Fumiko, Itsuki, and Minato followed Minashi out to the main room of their suite. 

“I want all but Toru in there. He will stay on patrol until eight hours have passed. Then switch with Koichi. We’ll rotated from there. Hopefully it wont take that long.” She muttered even as she stripped before them from her Kimono. Down to just her wrapped chest and thigh length workout shorts, she pulled on standard shinobi pants and a tight sleeveless shinobi top. Her weapons were strapped to both thighs, and two katanas at her lower back. Shinobi sandals were put on last before fingerless gloves slipped onto her hands. 

A few black seals dotted her bared skin. Minato frowned at it. 

“You aren’t going in as a Suna shinobi?” he asked curiously. 

Minashi glanced at him with jade eyes. He didn’t like them. 

“No. I want him to think that part of my background is true. That my family was attacked by bandits. But the ‘truth’ will be that the patrol that had ‘saved us’ hadn’t been in time. That I’d actually lost my mother and sister. That I’m a freelance Kunoichi looking for revenge on the Iwa shinobi that were too late. Suna has paid for my services in aiding in getting back two of the shinobi Iwa is holding.” 

“You’ll be able to trick and manipulate him to get the right information this way?” Itsuki asked doubtfully. 

“No.” She snorted. “I’m searching for empathy. I want him to try to empathize with me. The more comfortable I get him to be with me besides the ‘Sakura’ persona he’s met, the more he will bend to tell me what I desire.” She stretched before them before popping her neck. “We aren’t here to kill anyone boys and girls. I don’t give a rat’s ass on the Kazekage’s orders. We get the Sand Siblings out. We all get out of here alive. We do all that without taking life unnecessarily. If we have to run, then we aim to cripple, not kill.” 

Minato frowned at her. “That’s not what you did for the ROOT agents.” 

“ROOT were conditioned to always follow Danzo’s orders. Even if that meant taking the life of a child. They were no longer human or at least thirty percent of them were unredeemable. That blood is on my hands though. But that was an internal mission. This is a mission that is trying to not start a war in the meantime. Iwa will be expecting Suna shinobi’s to be attempting a rescue mission. They are not aware that Suna has called in help to their new allies, Us. We will keep it that way.” 

Blue eyes held sharp green ones before nodding. “Alright. Thank you for explaining.” 

Minashi nodded and went to plaiting her hair down the side of her head to rest over her shoulder. She’s made it her own original length. 

A knock came from the ‘bedroom’. 

“He’s awake.” Minashi murmured. She looked back to the ANBU that were currently under her command. “Do not call me Kitsune. I am Mio.” 

They nodded before heading into the room. Minashi moved in last and shut the door behind herself with a soft click. She signaled to Koichi as she took a step forward the same order. She was Mio. 

“Mio-san, the Prisoner is awake.” Koichi said confirming to their faking unconsciousness prisoner that she was in the lead. 

“Thank you, Sparrow.” She nodded and grabbed the second chair of the room and moving it to sit in front of Takeshi. She spun the back around and straddled it as she crossed her arms over the back and just stared at Takeshi. 

“I’m a sensor Takeshi-kun. I can feel your chakra spiking as you’re testing the boundaries of the Chakra suppressing seals. Do not bother, I am a Seal Mistress. You will not be able to break through.” 

Hard grey eyes looked up between his tousled brown hair. Anger burned in his gaze. Minashi just set her chin on her forearm and held those angry eyes. 

“Sorry for doing this to you Takeshi. You seem like one of the few descent men that the shinobi system produces, instead of barely sane killers.” 

His eyes narrowed just the slightest at her. 

She raised a pink brow at him. “You going to talk or are we just going to have a staring contest?” 

His eyes flashed briefly to the four others of the room before looking back to her and looking her up and down. 

“You are not from Suna.” He stated. 

Minashi just smirked. “Never said I was.” 

“What do you want?” he growled. 

Minashi hummed as she sat up and looked him over carefully. “You already know.” 

He didn’t answer, just stared at her. 

“What you don’t know is my involvement.” She smirked as his right eye twitched. “Why would a beautiful woman like me get mixed up in the Shinobi lifestyle?” She mused aloud and leaned onto one hand. “That’s really not a mystery.” She smiled but it didn’t reach her eyes. “you see, I have this little thing against Iwa.” 

Takeshi stiffened. “So, I’ve had the best time training and preparing for when a time came when I could finally get back at some of the Iwa shinobi. Sure, you aren’t the one of the ones I’m hunting, but I’m patient. For now, I’ll have my fun with you.” 

“The patrol didn’t get there in time.” He muttered. 

“Ah, you’re as smart as you’re acclaimed to be.” She smiled cruelly. “Yes, one of your lovely border patrols were not on time.” She yanked up her shirt and Takeshi’s eyes dropped to see the thick lines running over her stomach and sides. He swallowed thickly as he looked back up to meet her gaze. 

Hard green eyes held sorrow filled grey. 

“They weren’t in time.” She said hollowly. “I watched the Bandits slit my mother’s throat. I watched them rape and cut up my sister. By the time they got to me, I’d already been raped as well. They had just started cutting me up as well and going through our things for all our coin when your Shinobi showed up and killed them. Do you know what they did though?” 

Takeshi swallowed but didn’t look away from her angry eyes. 

“They” She said gripping the chair tight “Walked. Away.” She bit out. “Their medic said that they couldn’t do anything for me, and it would be better if I died anyways and didn’t live with the memories. They didn’t even have any humanity in them to bury us. Or end my suffering. They just walked away.” 

“H-how did you-“ he asked after swallowing. 

“One of those Missing- Nin you so easily dismissed as dangerous. They had more compassion than a shinobi that is supposed to have some sort of Honor code. But I’ve learned that they don’t. At least the missing-nins do in their own weird twisted way.” She snarled and stood up. “you think on that. How your men destroyed my life. You know why I’m here. You know why I have these lovely Suna ANBU helping me keep you in place. I may have been paid for this job, but I will not watch another family be killed.” 

“Mio-san.” Cheetah called softly. 

Minashi stood up and shoved her chair away. “Your blood wouldn’t be the first I’ve spilled Takeshi-kun.” She snarled. 

“Mio.” Cheetah said firmer and gripped her bicep. 

“Get off me.” She snapped and stormed to the door. “Your mission is the information. I’m here for the money and saving a family. You’re not my boss.” She growled and slammed the door behind her. 

Cheetah, Bear, and Usagi followed a moment later, leaving Koichi to watch the prisoner. 

 

Minashi walked over to the side table and began making tea. She added the amount of sugar she wanted and sipped it slowly. 

“Kitsune?” Fumiko asked coming up beside her with a worried look and her Suna face mask pulled off to the side. 

“Hm?” she responded enjoying the warmth of the tea. 

“Are you okay?” she whispered. 

Minashi paused and looked at Fumiko’s worried gaze again. 

“yes” she said easily. “Why?” she continued and then looked back to see Minato and Itsuki mirrored Fumiko’s worried look. Her brows shot up. “What?” she frowned. 

“That anger was real. The emotions were real.” Itsuki said. 

“Even your scent was strong with pain and anger.” Minato confirmed. “Even your Chakra spiked at the end before I got you out.” 

“Kitsune-chan, were you actually raped?” Fumiko asked with the kindest look she’d ever seen on the Yamanaka. 

Minashi’s eyes widened. “What? No!” she frowned and looked at them. “You believed all that?” 

“You were acting?” Itsuki looked at her incredulously, 

“Well duh. It needed to be as real as possible if I’m going to get him to sympathize with me and give me the information I want.” 

Itsuki and Minato shared a glance. 

“I guess you are a master of deception.” Minato said carefully. “But still the emotions, the scents, the chakra spike. Kuramochi would have felt it being so close to you, even with the suppressor seals blocking his own chakra use.” 

Minashi rolled her eyes at her teammates. “Look, I have plenty of memories with pain, anger, and hate. It wasn’t that hard to call up an image in my mind that had all three and use those emotions to fuel that act.” 

“If you’re sure.” Fumiko conceded. “You were just so convincing.” 

“That’s the point.” Minashi chuckled and sat down. They joined her at the table still recovering from her too real act. “This is why I didn’t tell you everything about how I was going to pull the information from Takeshi-san. This enables your own reactions to stay the same as they would in a real-life situation.” She pointed to Minato. “You were a shinobi that Mio got to know on the journey here. He sympathized with her and was close to her. So, he started with trying to comfort Mio, but then he revealed that besides Mio leading he was next in command. He took over when necessary.” 

“You used me?” Minato frowned. 

“I used your natural reaction to spin a story for Takeshi. He knows that I don’t dislike all shinobi. Only Iwa. But I still hold Missing-nin in a better light. Yet, the Sand Siblings mean something to me. I haven’t said much, but he’s putting it together in there that I know them personally. That this is more than the money for me.” 

“You’re good at this.” Itsuki nodded. 

Minashi sat back and rubbed her neck. “My Summons are the foxes. I did a lot of training in their home. I had to learn to think quick. I had to learn how to trick every type of person. I had to learn how to act and be like every type of person. They then would send me into a village with a task. I’d have a month to complete it. It shortened to a few weeks, two weeks, then only a few days to complete the same or similar task. As my skills grew, I then took actual missions that needed that type of skill and put my own to the test.” She shrugged it off. “That’s where I learned to be a Master of deception. I’ve used it off and on since then. The war made my skills even more important. Then I needed to hide. So, I erased my past and Hokage-sama made it possible to start anew.” 

If that wasn’t the actual truth. Minashi snorted into her own mind. 

“How long will you allow him to stew?” Itsuki asked. 

Minashi shrugged. “Let’s give it a few hours.” 

“That’s taking away time we’ll need to plan.” Minato frowned. 

“Fine. An Hour.” Minashi shrugged. 

Fumiko rolled her eyes and chuckled at Minashi. “You are an odd one Kitsune-san.” 

“But you find me entertaining, no?” she smirked. Fumiko returned it. 

“Fumiko, go update Toru please.” Minato ordered. 

“Itsuki, go back up Koichi. Let him know loud enough that our other two teammates have left Cheetah and I alone. It will unsettle Takashi more to know that he doesn’t know ‘Sakura’ but Cheetah knows ‘Mio’.” 

Itsuki stood and pulled the cloth back over his mouth. “You ever have a free moment; please come to T&I we could use your skills sometimes. Or you could at least hold a training.” 

Minashi shook her head. “Sorry, training was left for Fox summoners only.” 

He grunted disappointed but left. Minashi glanced over to find Minato staring at her. 

“What?” She muttered. 

“The moment I think I have you figured out or am close to something that will explain more about who you are, you pull something like this.” 

“Is that a compliment or an insult?” she asked tilting her head confused. 

“Neither. It’s an observation. I know I’m missing one piece that would make this all make sense.” He muttered as he looked between her jade eyes. He then frowned. “Is your eye color actually blue?” 

Minashi chuckled as she stood up and cleaned up everyone’s teacups. “In Konoha I will always use the eye color I was born with.” She confirmed. 

Minato grunted and took over drying. “That isn’t helpful.” 

Minashi smirked. “It wasn’t supposed to be.” 

They were silent for a while before Minashi sighed. “Minato, I want to tell you-“ 

“but you can’t for my safety and the safety of Konoha and the precious people you have in it.” He finished smiling sadly. 

“Hai.” She whispered. 

“I don’t like it. I don’t like missing variables that could make or break a theory-” 

“But you can’t help it.” She answered for him.  

“We are getting into a routine.” He shook his head smiling. 

“At least we know where each other stand.” She said. “Some teammates can never get past that first step. Honestly?” she asked. He looked at her waiting for her to continue. “I hope that I can be a true member of this team. Maybe even get a team outside of ANBU. Hokage-sama is right. I need friends. Being alone is painful. Yet I’m terrified to take that step forward and accept new friends.” 

“Taking that step forward in making new friends doesn’t mean you forget the old ones.” Minato chuckled gently. “It just means that you get to remember the good memories instead of reliving the bad. That and your heart is ready to heal and love again.” 

Minashi reached up and snagged his nose. He squawked surprised and tried to pull her hand off without losing his nose. Minashi just snickered before letting him go. He pouted at her cutely. 

“You’re adorable.” She snickered. His pout deepened. “How is it that you can say something so wise with such a young face pretty boy?” 

Minato wilted. “not you too.” He whined and slumped to the floor. “I can’t get my own girlfriend to stop calling me that.” 

“Well you are one. It’s not fair how your lashes are longer than most women’s.” Minashi grunted. “That and you have like the smoothest skin I’ve ever seen. That is Not fair.” 

Minato looked up to find Kitsune sporting her own pout. He chuckled and ran a hand through his hair. “I guess I’m stuck with the nickname pretty boy then.” He sighed. 

“Would you rather Mina-chan or Natto-kun?” she smirked. Minato spluttered and followed her back to the sitting area. 

“Please don’t say those again!” he hissed. “if the others hear them, they won’t let me live it down. Plus, my Imouto is already the first. That would be too weird. The latter is just mean.” 

Minashi chuckled and waved him off. “I’m teasing Minato. Relax.” 

Minato frowned at her. “You have been teasing me more, and even messed with the other team members.” 

“I like you guys and gal.” 

“So, you tease us more?” he asked. 

“Well yes.” Minashi smiled. 

Minato deadpanned her. 

“Enough, let’s go over the map of the city again. I want to start making plans while we let Takeshi-san stew.” 

“You call him by his first name.” Minato frowned. “Why?” 

Minashi didn’t look up from the map she was already laying out. “It reminds me that he’s human.” She answered quietly. Minato left it at that and went to work. 

They spent the next hour pointing out possible ambush areas, possible buildings that their prior scouting had hinted to Prisoner holdings, and escape routes. Minashi also said that she could go around and lay out sealing traps that their teammates could lure their pursuers in if needed. They could be on a slight delay so that, while their teammate’s passing them were trigger activation, the delayed timer would set off when the pursuers were passing them. All non-lethal again. No need to start a war. 

Itsuki and Fumiko joined a few minutes into the planning and input their own ideas.  At the hour mark, Minashi moved to the door with the other three once again. 

Koichi gave her a worried glance behind his mask, but she ignored him.  

Her target were the grey eyes watching her carefully. Minashi purposely grabbed the chair again and sat in it correctly. She crossed a knee over and placed her relaxed hands on her knee and just stared at Takeshi. 

“I’m sorry my men abandoned you.” He whispered after a few minutes of staring. “Give me a description of them and I can have them punished. Civilian or not, they should have at least tried-“ 

“They are not why I’m here. I’ll deal with them on my own terms. I’m here for my target.” She waved to the Suna shinobi around her. “Their targets.” 

Takeshi frowned at her. “You only are targeting one of them?” he frowned. 

Minashi shrugged and brushed off a non-existent piece of lint. “They are a package deal. Only one means more to me than the other, but they’d kill me if I didn’t make sure they both got out.” 

“I just can’t let you take valuable prisoners. They were found as Spies-“ 

“And I’m sure Iwa has their own spies in Suna. I don’t care.” She narrowed her eyes. “You will tell me when they will be moved, where they will be moving from and where they are being moved to. Tell me this and you can walk away from this alive.” Minashi stated coldly. 

Takeshi looked at Mio before glancing over to the cat masked one. He’d done something to get her back under control. He didn’t like it. He wished that Sakura had been real. That her smiles had been real. Instead, they had hidden the pain caused by his men. 

“Takeshi.” Mio said. He looked back into her emerald eyes and watched as they softened. “Please. I don’t want to hurt you. You are a good man. I know that. I’m not blinded that much by my anger to not see that you are not to blame for my pain. All I am trying to do is prevent someone dear to me from experiencing the same sense of loss and helplessness that I did.” 

“I can’t Sakur- Mio.” He corrected. 

Minashi let her eyes close as a sad smile took her lips. “I took the Name Mio because it was my sister’s. I did give you my actual name. It was your honesty and how earnest you were that made me do that.” 

“Sakura-chan, I can’t. I would be betraying my Nation, my Tsuchikage, my shinobi.” 

Minashi held his sincere gaze as she tried to read him deeper. “Otherwise you would to try to make it right, wouldn’t you?” she whispered. 

Takeshi looked away. Minashi nodded and stood up. “Thank you Kuramochi-san, you are a fine shinobi. I hope one day my children are as kind, loyal, and hold the same honor that you possess.” 

Minashi pulled back and let her fist fly forward. Takeshi closed his eyes, and didn’t see when instead of a fist, Minashi instead slapped a seal on his forehead. Takeshi slumped into his seat and Minashi let out a long sigh. 

“Fumiko.” She called. 

“Hai?”  

“Take me with you when you go into his mind. I’ll be able to supply you with extra juice and instruct you with a different jutsu, so we can keep our presence in his mind a secret. Suna doesn’t have any Mind Specialized Shinobi.” 

“Hai.” She straightedge before taking Minashi’s seat. Minashi stood and let Fumiko pull her into Takeshi’s mind. 

 

 

 

Twenty minutes later Fumiko gasped as she ended the jutsu. Minato and Itsuki were there to help her and catch Minashi who grunted and staggered while holding her own head. 

“Kami damn it.” She hissed. “I still hate that.” She hissed. “Even with Inojiro’s sessions it never gets old.” 

Fumiko groaned. “Sorry, Inojiro-sama is more experience than me. He probably made it smoother. I still have more to learn in our clan jutsus.” 

Minashi waved her off. “Don’t worry about it.” 

“Is it done?” Minato asked. 

“Hai. We have the information.” She sighed and cracked her neck. “Under my instruction Fumiko kept our presence in his mind to non-existent. He’ll remember that he was taken by Suna shinobi and the Rouge Sakura. He’ll know what we came for, but my seal will burn up when we are safely out of Iwa walls. Any later and his absence will be noticed. It was his day off anyways. It’s why I targeted him.” 

“Alright, let’s get to revising the plans with the new information.” Minato ordered. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Takeshi groaned. His head was killing him. Rolling his head up he frowned when he found Sakura sitting before him. Why was she still here? He glanced around and noticed that her Suna escorts were gone. 

“Why?” he whispered. 

“Why what?” Sakura asked. 

“Why are you still here?” He asked and then realized that he could feel his chakra again. That he could feel chakra on his sensory radar. He wasn’t the best sensor, but he could feel that there wasn’t a block anymore. 

“The Suna Shinobi do not know I stayed back.” She said evenly. Takeshi frowned at her. 

“Why are you still here?” he asked again. “If they left, then they improvised when I didn’t provide you the information you desired on the Sand Siblings.” He glanced past the open door behind her to see it was dark out. “They have already been moved by now. There will also be a search for me soon. You should go.” 

“Do you know what the cycle of hatred is?” Sakura asked tilting her head at him. 

Takeshi frowned at the Pinkette. Even as an enemy he still found her beautiful. “No.” he grunted and lifted his arms to see he’d also been released of his ties. He frowned at himself before looking at her. “Why are you here if I’m free?” 

“Vengeance is the product of hate and so death follows. But in death there is only more death. This will give rise to more pains. In this cursed world we live in, it is a cycle of hatred that will not cease.” 

Takeshi stared at the woman before him. For some reason he felt that this wasn’t the same one he’d dealt with before. 

“What are you getting at?” He asked. 

“There was no Sakura. There was no Mio.” She said. “There was no border patrol that left them and their mother to die.” 

Takeshi glared. “You played me.” He snarled. 

“I only gave you a taste of what could happen. Maybe not me, but it is still possible that the hateful actions of others will spill blood. Those victims will then seek out vengeance and spill more blood. Then family or friends of those victims will seek revenge. On and on it continues. Blood, vengeance, blood, revenge.” 

Takeshi lost the snarl and stared at serious emerald eyes. 

“That is the Cycle of hatred.” She said softly. “My mission was to collect the Sand Siblings. I have done that. My orders to my team? We will not kill. If attacked, aim to disable, but not kill. Blood spilled will only shed more blood later on. This is why you are still alive. One cannot stop the cycle of hatred until someone first start taking the steps away from it.” 

“How does this concern me?” he frowned. 

“Hatred from the Second shinobi war is going to spark a Third. Nothing can stop that. But actions in the Third could stop a fourth from brewing.” 

“War is war. Blood will always be shed.” He frowned. 

“Yes, but that does not mean that someone has to die from their wound.” She raised a brow at him. “I could have killed you here, today. Weakened Iwa of one of their best Jounin commanders. Left them scrambling for a replacement. Left your men and women riddled with grief.” 

Takeshi stared into eyes that he knew. Eyes that had seen loss, eyes of a veteran shinobi. 

“I lost the man I love to another Man that destroyed our village. All because he wanted us to know true pain. If I didn’t have my twin brother, I would have fell into that cycle of hatred. He helped me remember what our father taught us. That the cycle of hatred can be ended. One just has to be willing to take that first step. Together we forgave the man that destroyed our village. Our loved ones. Our willingness to forgive a man that had caused us so much pain created a miracle. A one-time miracle. We got our loved ones back. I got my lover back. Our village still lost lives that were too injured, but it wasn’t as devastating of a loss. Yet they took after us. They forgave the man that had hurt them. Understanding after we told his story, why he acted against us. We had hurt him first.” 

Takeshi looked on shocked before frowning. “How do I know you aren’t playing me again with another sob story?” he snarled. 

Minashi raised a brow before lifting a hand to him with palm up. “I can show you.” 

“What?” he frowned. 

“Take my hand Takeshi.” Takeshi eyed her hand before looking into her emerald eyes. He watched as they slowly bled a cerulean blue. “Take my hand Takeshi.” She whispered again. 

Takeshi took her hand and his world changed. 

 

 

Takeshi held the cup of tea the mysterious shinobi had made for him. 

“Those were your memories?” he whispered. 

“Yes and no. I had to make sure you wouldn’t see certain things, but yes. That was the event that destroyed my village. And trust me, blinding you to certain things, ended up being a lot. Manipulating one’s own memories is not easy without permanently distorting them.” 

“Then why risk it?” he asked. 

“Because a small pebble makes ripples.” She smiled kindly. 

He frowned at her. “So, you are tossing pebbles to encourage change?” 

She smirked at him. “Hai. You are smart. That I was being honest about as Sakura.” 

Takeshi paused when he remembered. “There was a pink haired girl in your memories.” He whispered. 

Minashi nodded. “Her name was Sakura. She was my best friend. One of the best medics of our village. She is dead now, but she was like a sister to me.” 

“She was very beautiful.” He mumbled. “You are very beautiful.” He said eyeing her blue eyes, black hair, and black facial markings. “It’s a shame you are still mourning your lover.” 

Minashi chuckled sadly. “Well, it’s about time I let you go.”  

Takeshi sighed and stood with her. “You won’t tell me which village you actually work for?” 

“How do you know it’s not Suna?” She raised a brow. 

Takeshi raised a brow before smirking. “Suna is not known for their sealing skills.” 

Minashi blinked at him even as he chuckled louder. She rolled his eyes at him. 

“I’m also pretty sure that wasn’t how Uzushio went down.” He said softly. 

“I’m not Uzumaki.” She grunted. “Why does everyone keep assuming that?” she huffed. 

Takeshi shook his head at her. “You are strange.” He held out his hand in the future. “I hope one day we can meet again on even grounds. If you are correct and a Third war is on the horizon, I will try to not add to the Cycle of Hatred.” 

“That is all I ask.” She whispered and took his hand. Takeshi brought it to his lips and kissed it again. Minashi rolled her eyes and Takeshi sighed disappointed.  

“Too bad.” He muttered but let her hand go. 

Minashi turned to go before pausing at the door. She glanced back to see Takeshi checking the weapons she’d returned to him. 

“Takeshi?” she called as she walked back pulling something from her hip pouch. He glanced up and looked at the Fuuin paper between them. “If you are ever in a life or death situation and have no way out, push chakra into this. This is my apology for my actions though we both know it’s just part of the job.” 

Takeshi frowned down at it. “What is it?” 

Minashi smiled softly. “It will summon me.” 

“Like animal summons?” 

“Not quite.” She chuckled. He raised a brow at her. “It’s a space-Time jutsu tag. I’ve made it specifically for you. I cannot feel it until it’s been activated, unlike my other tags that I place and activate at the same time. Those I can feel. Even from here. This I cannot. Not until it’s been activated. It is designed so that only you can activate it.” 

“What if I used it to capture you?” he challenged. 

Minashi just raised a brow back. “You won’t.” 

“You can’t know that.” He frowned. 

Minashi just smirked. “Can’t I?” 

He stared at her. 

“Ja ne Takeshi-kun.” She saluted before suddenly popping into smoke. Takeshi blinked before it clicked. He’d been talking to her clone. A clone she had left behind unknowingly to her team. He looked down at that tag once more before muttering a curse and storing it away in his inner vest pocket. He didn’t understand why he believed that he could trust her to be there if he did call her. How did she know that he really wouldn’t use it against her? 

“Strange Kunoichi.” He muttered and left to see what chaos her team had caused in his village. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 28

 

Minashi crept along the base of the buildings, her sleek form blending into the evening shadows. She could feel her suppression tags on her team as they surrounded the Jounin escorts as they neared the ambush location. 

They were in communication silence for the past ten minutes. Ever since the Iwa ANBU patrol passed by the route to clear it. 

Minashi felt when they entered her barrier. She stepped out of the shadows and slowly walked towards the Jounin towering over her. The look alike Sand Siblings were between the group of six. 

“Whoa, it’s a fox.” One of the front ones on the right whispered and smiled before lowering down. “Hey there pretty thing.” 

“Fujimaro, get back into position.” The lead Shinobi snapped. 

“Eh, what are they going to do Seiji?” he said even as he reached into his pouch and pulled out some jerky wiggling it at Minashi in her Fox henge. “We have their Chakra cut off. The Patrol already cleared the route. There have been no sightings of Suna ANBU coming for them. Their Kazekage probably thinks them dead anyways.” He smiled even as Minashi neared and snagged the jerky. “That’s a good girl.” He preened and went to pet her. 

“Fujimaro!” Another hissed. 

“What?” he grunted and turned back. There he froze when he found his companion being held by their leader by a Kunai. The other three were unconscious already. His companion’s eyes widened to Minashi as she shifted from Fox, to Suna ANBU. 

Fujimaro turned and met a seal to the face, rendering him unconscious. She then looked up and slapped another on the two prisoners. Usagi releasing her jutsu before the tag hit. 

Fumiko dropped out of her hiding place a few moments later even as Minato checked on the Sand Siblings. 

“Thank you!” Yashamaru whispered. 

“I don’t recognize them.” Karura hissed even as Fumiko worked on basic first aid. 

Minashi stepped forward and summoned a scroll from a seal on her arm. Both siblings eyes popped open at the sight. 

“I have a message from Hokage-sama.” She said and handed the scroll over. The rest of the team was already working on binding and hiding the bodies of the Iwa Jounin escorts. 

“The Hokage? Not KazeKage?” The siblings frowned but Karura opened the scroll and read the message. Her eyes lit with understanding. 

“The alliance went through. There is a second original correspondence on here from the Kazekage Yashamaru. They are our escorts home.” She smiled and looked around at them. “Thank you.” 

“Don’t thank us yet.” Minato said from behind his Suna mask. “We still need to escape undetected. We are on limited time.” 

Minashi stepped forward. “I have two Fuuin tags here. These will suppress your signatures from other prying sensors. Not your chakra. Those I will be removing momentarily.” 

Yashamaru nodded and held out his wrists. “Please, I feel weak without my chakra.” 

Minashi nodded and went to work. Yashamaru was freed, then hidden. Karura right behind him. 

“Let’s move. Diamond formation.” Minato ordered and took point. Minashi jumped to the back to cover the rear. 

They were then off leading the siblings towards their exit route. 

Twenty minutes later, they were waiting in a cave for another hour. 

“Why are we waiting?” Karura asked. 

“Patrols.” Minato explained. “This is the middle point between two, but it will be the furthest away from where shift change will be. We have another two hours to wait. Kitsune, can you get them any more healed?” 

“No. I’m not that good a healer. My tags don’t work on those types of wounds. Tsunade Ba-chan is on standby for this reason.” 

The ANBU jolted and stared at Minashi. 

“what?” she frowned. 

“Seriously?” Minato whispered his blue eyes wide. “She lets you call her that? She can’t be that much older than you though.” 

“Until she can be me in a spar, she is an old bat. That is our bet.” 

Fumiko snickered behind her mask. “I’d pay to see how red she must turn at that. She has a legendary temper, almost as legendary as her gambling habit.” 

“Tsunade Senju is on this mission too?” Karura asked with wide eyes. 

“Hai.” Minashi confirmed. “I think it’s more because this is the first joint mission. While you are first our targets to rescue, we will be arriving to Suna first for our reports. Then we will arrive back to Konoha. This will show that Konoha means business. The Sannin are no ordinary shinobi.” 

“Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?” Koichi hissed to Toru. Yashamaru looked at them curiously. 

“Kitsune doesn’t flaunt her importance to the Hokage unless it’s needed.” Toru whispered back. 

“Just how important is she?” Yashamaru whispered leaning towards them while Karura begged for more information on Tsunade. 

They shared a look before shaking their heads. “We can’t say, not until she introduces herself to the Kazekage.” 

The next two hours went slow as whispered conversations continued and rations were fed to the Siblings and their own team. 

Minato’s eyes were sharp on the patrol route yet glanced at Minashi who’s gaze was out of focus. She was focused on tracking the patrols. 

“Ready.” Minashi warned. The group prepared back into formation. “NOW!” She hissed and they sprinted for the border and over the wall. She watched each Shinobi launch over and landing last, she double checked the number of heads before giving Minato a nod. They were off again to race for the trees and their meet point afterwards. She saw a small plume of smoke on Minato’s shoulder as he sent word to the Sannin. 

“Faster.” Minato hissed back. 

Silent nods followed and the siblings were pushed through their exhaustion as the sun started breaking the horizon. 

Just as they arrived at the cavern, Minashi stumbled and leaned against the stone her head flaring with a mild headache. 

“Kitsune?” Toru asked. The group looked back to her. Tsunade raised her head from where she was healing Karura. 

“You need healing brat?” She called out. 

“No. I left a clone with Takeshi, it popped.” 

What?” Koichi snarled. 

“Kitsune, what did you do that for? You said the seal would burn off on its own.” Minato narrowed sharp eyes on her. 

“He was the Iwa Jounin Commander.” She growled back. 

“Which makes him all the more dangerous, no matter how good his moral compass is!” He argued. 

“He’s someone in a position of power! When the actions from the Second war spark the Third war, he is in a position to keep the blood shed at a minimum. Just like I’m trying to do from my position!” she snapped back. “Hatred only breeds more Hatred!” 

Minato’s eyes widened in realization. “The Cycle of hatred.” 

“Yes.” 

“You’re trying to break it?” 

“Yes.” She signed. 

She saw Minato look back to Jiraiya to see him just raise a brow. 

“Don’t look at me like that brat. I don’t know how to break it.” 

“But you do?” Minato spoke with awe in his voice looking back at Minashi. 

“No, I don’t know the true answer, but all I know is that someone has to make the first step towards some sort of solution.” 

“By stopping the bloodshed before it happens.” Minato whispered as he ran a hand down his face. “That’s why you ordered us to not kill anyone. Not just because you didn’t want to spark another war. Because you are making the first steps to breaking the cycle.” 

“Shedding less blood and learning to forgive those that have harmed you.” She said evenly even as Tsunade helped Karura back to her feet. “Those are the two steps that I have learned. I passed them onto Takeshi. He promised to try. That is all I could ask him after what we just did.” 

“One step at a time. Just like when learning a new jutsu.” Orochimaru nodded. 

“Hai.” Minashi smirked. “Now, I’ve placed a tag at the Konoha/ Kusa borders. Ame is not a nation to pass through, so we will be taking the safe route through Konoha. That is the closest Tag I have to our destination. We’ll run from there with Cheetah’s lead.” 

Minato groaned and rubbed his stomach. “Do we have to?” he whimpered. 

Minashi raised a brow at him. “Iwa Shinobi are already patrolling around the village looking for their missing prisoners and making the search grid further. I’d rather lead them up to our point here and completely disappear then go through Taki, Kusa, Ame, and Kawa. That’s just asking for trouble. 

“Hai, hai.” He grumbled and gripped her shoulder. His other gripped Yashamaru. “You all know the drill, make sure our guests are secured.” 

“What?” Orochimaru frowned, but Jiraiya and Tsunade just gave him downright Evil smiles. 

“The brat has a Space-time Jutsu.” Tsunade chuckled as her grip tightened on her pale partner. 

“It’s worse than my student’s.” Jiraiya snickered. Orochimaru went green. 

“Hold tight.” Minashi chuckled and they were gone in a gut-wrenching swirl. 

 

 

Minashi smirked as only her and Minato were the only ones left standing. Tsunade was already healing herself. One hand on her stomach, the other on her head. Jiraiya was in a fetal position. Orochimaru had slithered towards a bush. His retching was echoing around with the two Suna Shinobis’. Team Cheetah was groaning from the ground in a small heap. 

“Sadist.” Usagi hissed as she staggered to her hands and knees. 

Minashi eyed Minato who was only swaying a bit. “You’ve gotten used to it.” She pointed out. 

“I think I’m the only one that has experienced it the most.” He muttered. 

Minashi hummed as she went through and passed out the Fuuin tags that were specifically for her Hiraishin side effects. 

“You’re a goddess.” Toru hummed. 

“Only because I make your head stop spinning.” She smirked. 

“Touché” he muttered back. 

“Alright, when you all stop feeling your stomachs protesting, switch back into uniform.” Minato looked to Minashi. “How far into Konoha are we?” 

“Only a few miles.” 

Minato nodded slowly. “Change, then we move out.” 

“Hai Taichou!” Team Cheetah chorused in mumbled voices. 

Minashi rolled her eyes and went behind a tree to change. Once done, she switched with Minato so he could do the same. The Sand Siblings were finally starting to recover when she neared to check on them. Karura seemed to be fairing better than her brother. He was still a bit green. 

“Wh-what, was that?” Yashamaru mumbled between swallows. 

“Fuuinjutsu. Hiraishin. Teleportation. The Niidaime created the first form. Cheetah-taichou over there and myself have both created out own versions.” 

“That wasn’t a very pleasant Jutsu.” Karura whimpered. 

Minashi shrugged. “You get used to it. Cheetah-taichou apparently has and he’s only taken it a handful of times. But he also has his own version.” 

Karura just whimpered and rubbed her stomach. “I’d rather not travel by either any time soon.” 

Minashi chuckled and went to check on the Sannin. Tsunade and Jiraiya were up on their feet. Orochimaru had his back to the group with his partners on either side watching his back. 

“You okay Oro-chan?” Minashi teased. 

A hiss was his only answer. Minashi snickered. “Come on, Cheetah is already used to it after a few rides. Just think, the more you travel by it, the less affected you are.” 

“I agree with the Yamanaka, you are a sadist.” He hissed as one angry gold eye glared at her from over his shoulder and through bangs that escaped his hightail. 

Minashi just rolled her eyes at him a smirk underneath her mask. “Do you need another Tag? Or is Tsunade well enough to heal you now?” 

“The others didn’t need another.” Jiraiya frowned. 

Minashi shrugged. “Less chakra.” 

“Minato?” 

“Has his own, semi-used to it.” 

“Ah.” He grunted. “lucky brat.” 

Minashi just snickered as she watched Tsunade heal Orochimaru. He sighed loudly. 

“You are amazing as always Tsunade.” Orochimaru hummed. 

Minashi watched something curiously. Tsunade’s eyes softened as just the faintest pink filled her cheeks. 

“Well you and Jiraiya are a pain in the ass, but you my pains in the ass.” 

“I knew you loved us Hime, even when we annoy you.” Jiraiya leered. Tsunade deadpanned him, but her eyes were still soft. 

“I will punch you back to Iwa Jiraiya, don’t temp me.”  

Jiraiya raised his hands in defense and leaned back against the tree. He met Minashi’s gaze through the mask before jerking his chin behind her. “I think the brat’s ready to go.” 

Minashi turned and found that Team cheetah was loosening back up for another run. 

“Let’s head out!” Minato called out and they were gone once again into the trees. 

Conversation was minimum as they travelled down the Konoha borders. It wasn’t until well after dark that Minato called the group to a halt. Minashi was relieved to see that they were actually at one of the border patrol bunkers. 

“Thank Kami.” Koichi muttered for the group. Minato quickly led us in and spoke softly to the two on duty Shinobi. They left down another hall while Minato turned back to us. 

“We’ll rest with border patrol tonight and take off again for Suna first light. Get a full night’s rest. Get a full meal or two in you. Dismissed. Yashamura-san, Karura-san, if you would follow me, I can escort you to your bunk room. They aren’t the best, but they will work.” 

“It’s better than stone floor.” Yashamaru’s voice answered as they disappeared down the hall. 

“This brings back memories.” Jiraiya chuckled as him, Orochimaru and Tsunade were next to follow. 

“Bad memories.” Orochimaru grumbled. 

“Only because you two didn’t make it out of the rubble.” Tsunade smirked. They glared at her. 

Minashi raised a brow as she watched all three disappear into the same bunk room. 

Koichi and Itsuki took and room. Toru and Fumiko took another. Fumiko paused at the door and looked back at Minashi. 

“Ah, sorry Kitsune, would you rather switch with Toru? I’m not used to having another girl on the team yet. Sleeping arrangements haven’t been talked about.” 

“You don’t mind sleeping in the same room as a guy?” Minashi questioned curiously. 

Fumiko shrugged. “Toru doesn’t like women.” 

“Ah.” Minashi’s brows shot up behind her mask. “He seemed-“ 

“Not many know.” 

“To each their own.” Minashi shrugged and pointed to the last empty bunk room. “So, I’m rooming with Taichou?” 

Fumiko snorted. “If he even sleeps. He just normally rests his eyes without actually falling asleep.” 

Minashi rolled her eyes. “I’ll watch over taichou.” 

“Thanks.” Fumiko whispered and shut the door. Minashi slipped into her new bunk for the night and ended up taking the bottom bunk. She let her mask rest beside her as she turned on the side and focused on attempting to get some rest. 

She was woken from her doze an hour later when the door opened. Minato didn’t turn the lights on, but he muttered under his breath. 

of course. I hate top bunk.” 

“Should have gone to bed sooner than Pretty Boy.” Minashi hummed. 

“You’re awake.” He said surprised. 

“Was just resting until you returned.” She yawned and sat up to look at him. There were bags forming under his eyes. “She was right. You haven’t slept at all during this mission.” 

Minato grunted as he tossed his mask to the top bunk. “never do on S-ranks. Too much paranoia builds up. Too much is riding on the lives of my team.” 

“But you need to trust your other teammates to have your back.” 

“I do.” 

“Then sleep.” Minashi chuckled laying back. 

Minato groaned before climbing up and flopping down. 

“Why do you hate the top bunk?” Minashi asked after Minato had thrown the butt of a Kunai at the light switch and immersed them into darkness. 

“I always end up forgetting the ceiling is there and hitting my head.” He grumbled as she heard him shift around above her. 

“And there isn’t that risk on the bottom bunk?” She questioned. 

“No, Since I’m normally there, instinct is to roll then sit up on the floor. I go to do the same up here but remember at the last minute and end up smacking the ceiling before kissing the floor when I rebound.” 

Minashi sucked her lips in and bit them to keep from laughing aloud. Minato sighed from above. 

“let it out.” He grunted. 

Minashi snickered before bursting out laughing. “Oh, Kami that is so sad. Do you want to switch?” 

“No.” he grumbled. “I should have gotten here first if I wanted to claim the bottom bunk.” 

“Aw, don’t worry Pretty boy I’ll make sure you at least don’t kiss the floor.” She snickered. 

“Thanks.” He replied dryly. 

Their conversation slowly bled away as exhaustion settled in. Minashi was on the brink of sleep when she glared into the blackness. Her eyes turned red using suppressed Chakra from Kurama so she could see into the darkness. She enhanced her hearing even further to see what noise was keeping her up. It took a few more moments before it clicked. Minato was mouthing theory and writing Fuuin into the air. Noises barely there for human ears, but her enhanced hearing felt the whispers of it.  

Pulling up the leg she wasn’t laying on, she coiled it to her chest before sending it swiftly up into what had to be Minato’s ass. He yelped in surprise. 

“Turn off that big brain of yours Minato before I shut it up with a seal.” She growled. 

He was quiet for a moment before he shifted, and she had to remove Kurama’s chakra from her eyes when she saw hair start to appear over the side of the top bunk. 

“I might actually take that. You are right about the fact that I need sleep and I do trust my team. We are in the safe zone of the mission as well.” 

Minashi groaned and threw another Kunai at the light. She hissed when they blinded her for a moment. Minato just rolled over the railing and smiled at her in thanks. She snarled at him. 

“Get back up there. I’m not lifting your ass up there.” 

His eyes widened before diving up and under his covers. Minashi got into her pouch and snagged the spare sleeping tag. She then slapped it on Minato before he could say another word. He dropped like a rock onto his pillow. Minashi let out a relieved sigh and collapsed onto her own bunk. Exhaustion wrapped her in its arms and pulled her willingly under. 

 

 

 

 

“It’s sooo hooooot!” Fumiko whined for the tenth time in the last two hours. “Taiiii-chooouuu!” She called. “How much farther?” 

From beside Minato, since the Sannin had the rear, Minashi snapped around with a snarl on her lips as she stormed up to Fumiko. Fumiko took a few steps back when she realized she might have pushed too far. 

“I am hot, I am hungry, I am thirsty, I am not made for the dry heat of a desert, and I am getting to the last of my patience. So please shut your trap Usagi before I find a way to seal a living being in a scroll and Leave you in it for a month!” 

Fumiko looked at her with eyes like saucers through her mask. “W-wouldn’t t-th-that kill me?” 

Minashi just grinned foxily behind her mask. Fumiko whimpered when shivers went down her spine, feeling the smile without even seeing it. 

“If you have nothing helpful to say, then kindly, Shut. Up.” Minashi said firmly for all to hear. Even the Sannin took a step away as Minashi’s killer Intent leaked out. 

Fumiko could only nod and bury her face into the collar of her desert cloak. 

Minashi chuffed and stormed back for the front. Their group resumed their medium pace through the desert. Silence reigned for another three hours when the Suna Walls finally appeared on the horizon. 

“Finally.” Minashi growled and led the pace faster. 

 

“Halt!” the Gate Guards called once they were within yards of Shade. Minashi reigned in her temper as Minato took control. 

“We are from Konoha. We are part of the team sent to escort two Shinobi of Suna back after capture was reported in Iwa. We are here to give our reports on the joint return mission.” 

The guards shared a glance before scanning the hooded figures. “Papers of the Suna Shinobi?” 

“You really think they have anything on them after being captured? If not destroyed, then Iwa still has it.” Minato frowned. 

“We have no knowledge of a mission sent to recover two Shinobi back.” 

Minashi felt a growl bubble up as she pulled Minato back and Yanked off her mask. 

“I am Kitsune, Personal Advisor to the Hokage, Ambassador and Voice of the Hokage when he is not present.” She thrust a scroll into the Senior guard’s chest. “These are MY papers. In them are the orders from the Hokage and the KAZEkage about how important the success of the first joint mission was to the alliance of Suna and Konoha.” She hissed as she let her Killer intent shoot out. “You will escort us to the Kazekage so that we can continue to finalize the Alliance that will save lives of both our people in the future. Or did you not notice that we are also being accompanied by the legendary Sannin? The Students of the Sandaime Hokage.” 

The two guards were not only trembling at realizing their mistakes, but from her killing Intent. 

“I-I’ll escort your group to the Kazekage.” The Senior Guard whispered. 

“Good.” Minashi grinned predatorily. He gulped and turned to walk them into the village. 

“Remind me to never get her that mad again.” Toru whispered to Fumiko. “What she pinned on you was nothing compared to what those poor chuunin just experienced.” 

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they had nightmares.” Itsuki mumbled. 

“You kidding? I’m going to have nightmares just from what I handled.” Fumiko whimpered. 

“I believe that the heat brought this out.” Koichi whispered. 

“You are from a cooler climate.” Karura said gently. 

The group went silent when sharp blue eyes peeked through black hair. There was only one word in those eyes. Silence. The order was heard and understood. 

 

Jiraiya, Orochimaru, and Tsunade raised a brow at the group’s reaction at Minashi’s look. 

“And Sensei hasn’t manipulated her into his position yet how?” Jiraiya asked Orochimaru and Tsunade. 

“She’s refused it multiple times is the rumor of the ANBU.” Orochimaru hummed. 

“She’s smarter than him in the art of manipulation.” Tsunade chuckled. 

“True.” Jiraiya chuckled and shook his head. “Want to bet on the upcoming meeting with the Kazekage?” he smirked. Gold and Honey brown shared a glance before looking back at twinkling coal. 

“Alright.” Orochimaru smirked. 

“Prepare to lose boys. What are we betting on?” she grinned. 

 

 

 

Minashi ignored the whispers of the Sannin, but raised a brow when Jiraiya got creative. 

“What?” Minato asked when he saw Minashi’s twitching lips. He didn’t know what put her in a good mood, but he almost needed to know for the next time they had to travel in the desert. 

“The Sannin think that I have their temperament. That and they think they know me well enough to guess my behavior.” 

“Are they close?” he asked truly curious. 

Minashi snickered as they neared the Tower. “No, but I’ve half tempted to do most of them just because they seem fun.” She smirked. 

Minato sighed. “No Kitsune. We are in foreign land with a shaky treaty.” 

The group resumed silence as they entered the building and were led directly to the Kazekage’s office. Minashi blanked her face when she felt familiar chakra. It took her a few moments to realize it. Minato chatted with the Guard while they waited to be let in. 

Rasa? Minashi wondered. But then- She froze when she realized it. Sasori has probably already killed the Sandaime Kazekage. Rasa was a young Hokage. He’d been older than Gaara’s mother. But were they together yet? If they were, had he given the order for his wife to be executed? Kurama growled within her mind, agreeing with her. He would have had Gaara’s mother killed. Her best friend. Shukaku’s last host. Shukaku’s only human friend. 

Let me bite him. Kurama snarled. 

Calm friend.’ 

 He snarled from his cave. Deal with him Minashi before I do. 

Hai.’ She said simply. 

“Kitsune-san.” Minato called. Her sharp gaze snapped to him and Minato’s back straightened at the serious look in her gaze. “The Kazekage is ready for us.” He stated carefully. 

Kitsune nodded and walked behind him as they led the Sand Siblings into the office, the remains of their team taking positions outside the office. The Sannin walked in behind them and waited a few steps back until their time to talk. 

Minashi’s sharp blue eyes locked on the black eyes of Rasa of the Sand. Their gazes stayed locked before they moved to the Sand Siblings.  

“Yashamaru, Karura, Welcome home. I will get your verbal mission report after this meeting.” 

“Yondaime-sama.” They replied in unison with a curt bow. 

Rasa looked back to the Masked Minato and unmasked Kitsune. 

“To have the Legendary Sannin, The famed Cheetah ANBU captain, and now the Hokage’s newest revealed Personal Advisor all in my office. One would normally feel threatened. I however feel honored to have such skilled Shinobi go into the depts of enemy territory to retrieve two Shinobis not of their own nation. You are also half a day early arriving than scheduled. Is this due to the Sannin leading, or did the Captain do his job that well?” 

“I was the lead of this Mission.” Minato stated. “The Sannin never went over Iwa Walls. They were there for safety precautions due to the severity of the Mission.” 

“Yes, I must thank you and your team Captain for returning my fiancé and her brother. They are two of our best. It would have been a shame to lose them.” 

Just a little bite. An arm. Just let me have an arm. He doesn’t need two to make three babies. 

Stop tempting me.’ She mentally swatted him away. 

“Well, begin. You already have your written permission from the Hokage to give me Konoha’s side of the report.” 

Minato went into the report, leaving out specific skills unless absolutely unavoidable. One of those being Kitsune’s skills in seals. 

“A Seal’s Mistress? I’ve heard the Rumors, but to know that I have two Seal Masters and a Seal Mistress in my presence.” He smiled, but it didn’t reach his dark cold eyes. “I really should feel threatened. Is the Hokage trying to send me a message?” he mused allowed. 

“Hai.” Minashi butted in. Rasa’s eyes snapped to her. 

“Oh, and what would that be?” 

“That we know you will be needing a human container for the Ichibi within the next ten years. The teapot the Bijuu is currently stored in has a seal that is weakening. He will not be able to be resealed into it. He will also not be able to be sealed into another object. A human container will be needed.” 

Rasa’s fists clenched beneath his chin. “How would the esteemed Hokage have found that out? Only my most trusted know about that. You are also insinuating that I have a leak.” 

Minashi just rolled her eyes and re-met his own. “Oh, please. Shut up and stop interrupting me with your sorry excuse of intimidation tactics.” She deadpanned. The room froze. Rasa stared at her before blinking slowly. 

“Kitsune.” Minato hissed. 

Jiraiya snickered behind them even as Tsunade groaned and handed over ryo to both Orochimaru and Jiraiya. 

“I am here as the voice of the Hokage to offer our last piece of the Alliance.” Minashi said firmly. 

“I’m listening.” Rasa growled. 

“When you are ready to have the Ichibi sealed into a container, they will be brought to Konoha. We will do the sealing there where we will have a secured sealing room prepared. Myself, Cheetah, and Jiraiya will be the ones to personally seal the Ichibi away in your chosen container. This will ensure that the sealing is done correctly, and the container will not be affected in any way by the Bijuu. The key will return with the container back to Suna.” 

“What’s the catch?” Rasa glared. 

“The jinchuriki will live in Suna until academy age. He or She will then move to Konoha for a year then return to Suna. This exchange over the academy years will continue until they reach Genin. From there they will then stay in their home village where they will then be tutored in politics between missions, making sure that Joint missions between Konoha and Suna are part of their mission roster.” 

Rasa frowned as he listened. “Between Konoha pulling back from accepting Mission from the Wind daimyo and the imports we are getting, and now this? Suna is benefiting more from this alliance than Konoha is.” His dark eyes studied Minashi to figure out what he was missing. 

“What does Konoha get in return?” 

“Your Jinchuriki will be living with our Jinchuriki during his or her stay. This will enable proper growth and ensure that both will have a companion that will understand their burden.” She ignored Minato’s twitch at that news. 

“That doesn’t answer my question. How does Konoha profit from this alliance? Other than a few exports from us, there is not much else minus militia support.” Rasa repeated firmly. “What do you want?” he snarled. 

Minashi turned to Minato. “Please return to the team.” She turned to the Sand Siblings. “Please leave the room. My next words are for the Kazekage ears only.” 

“You haven’t asked the Sannin to leave.” Rasa pointed out annoyed that his own shinobi were being dismissed. 

Minashi looked back at him sharply. “Please dismiss ALL Present Suna Shinobi.” 

Rasa narrowed his eyes at her before flicking a wrist. She felt the Hidden ANBU leave. Minato escorted the Sand Siblings out. 

Minashi called up four clones and they went through a fast set of seals and slammed their hands on the floor. The Purple barrier shot to life around the five of them. 

Jiraiya whistled. “Whoa, Sensei wasn’t kidding.” 

“He said you based this off a barrier I created?” Orochimaru hummed. 

“Huh. Impressive brat.” Tsunade said even after flicking the barrier. Minashi winced and rubbed her temple. 

“Don’t do that Ba-chan.” She muttered and Tsunade shrugged. 

“What have you done?” Rasa said with wide eyes. 

Minashi let her Kitsune henge drop and Rasa blinked at her. 

“Currently you are Sixth person to see my true face Rasa.” 

He slowly sat back down when the Sannin took a seat as well. 

“What for?” he tilted his head intrigued before it turned to a frown. “Wait, Minato Namikaze was just in my office. You look like family. Why did you have him dismissed?” 

“He doesn’t know.” Minashi shrugged. “To him I am a five-year-old girl that is his last remaining family.” 

Rasa blinked once. “What?” he deadpanned. 

“Let me properly introduce myself.” She smirked as the clothes on her shimmered as the Henge took over. She stood once again in her Hokage robes. “Hello Yondaime Kazekage Rasa of the Sand. I am Rokudaime Minashi Uzumaki-Namikaze. I am here to tell you the fate of your village if you continue to see Shukaku and his container, your third son Gaara of the Sand, as a weapon of war.” 

Rasa didn’t blink. Barely breathed. Five minutes passed. 

“Prove it.” He challenged. 

“Spar me.” Minashi challenged back. 

“You will be at a disadvantage.” He narrowed dark eyes. 

Minashi just smirked as she let Kurama rise in her eyes. They bled red and her pupils narrowed to slits. “Will I?” she chuckled as she let Kurama’s chakra leak past the suppressors as well. 

Rasa’s eyes widened in realization. 

Minashi ignored the sound of muttered cursing from the Sannin and the sound of Ryo passing hands. 

“Recall that Chakra now! You will cause a mass panic-“ 

“My barrier keeps all chakra in and all exterior sensors blind to the contents. Same with sounds and sight. Nothing leaves this barrier until I say so.” 

Rasa held burning red eyes. 

“I accept your challenge to spar.” 

Minashi grinned. “Good. Gaara got to fight you in the Fourth war. He wouldn’t tell me or my brother much as we still had a war to fight. I was lucky enough to fight alongside my father. But then again that’s what happens when two different people summon the dead to fight a war.” 

Rasa lifted a confused brow. “Excuse me?” 

“Forbidden Jutsu, reanimates the dead, puts them under the caster’s control.” She waved it off. “Nothing for you to worry about, only me.” 

“I beg to differ.” He grunted. 

Minashi shrugged and walked to the solid barrier. “So that Spar?” 

“I’ll lead you to a training ground.” 

“Good. Can we also have a hotel for my Companions to get some rest in? I have a feeling we’ll be here for a while afterwards discussing the treaty.” 

“I’ll have it done.” 

Minashi resumed her henge before touching the barrier and releasing it. The ANBU were on her in a flash with killing intent flashing and Kunai ready at vitals. 

“Stand down.” Rasa grunted. 

“Kazekage-sama” The Lead protested. 

“She was instructed to make sure that the area was extra secure. The information was for Kage ears only.” 

He grumbled but disappeared back into the shadows. Rasa moved to walk beside Minashi with a curious look in his gaze. 

“You didn’t even flinch.” He murmured. 

Minashi chuckled. “Same thing happened with Hiruzen. I make ANBU jumpy.” Rasa noted that she seemed entirely too pleased with that. 

Rasa snorted. “I can’t image why.” He retorted dryly. As they left the office, he signaled two ANBU down. “Please escort Konoha Team Cheetah to one of our finer Hotels. They are escorts for the Ambassadors of Konoha. They have also just returned from Rescuing my Fiancé and her brother.” 

“Hai.” They bowed and took Minashi’s team away. Minato stopped and sent her a few signals. He rolled his eyes and shook his head at her response. 

Minashi snickered. 

“Stop teasing the brat.” Jiraiya chuckled. 

“But it’s so easy. No wonder Kushina get’s a kick out of it.” Minashi threw back. 

“He’s going to get a complex.” Jiraiya challenged. 

Minashi shrugged indifferent. 

“Shall we?” Rasa interrupted firmly. 

Minashi just raised a brow at him. “You know, you’d actually be pretty good looking if you’d smile.” Rasa just stared at her while the Jounin and Chuunin in the halls froze. 

“Are you this casual with the Hokage?” Rasa challenged. 

“Kages only get entertainment in teasing their shinobi or making them squirm. Otherwise it’s just paperwork and more paperwork. Everyone forgets that you are people too. You hurt, you tire, you feel every loss, yet you feel every joy when promising shinobi continue to rise through the ranks. You see Children playing in the streets and parks with happy smiles. That’s what keeps a Kage going through all the strife that comes with the Hat. But they still need someone to treat them as another human being and not the man or woman with a village resting on their shoulders.” 

Rasa just stared at her like the rest of the other Suna shinobi eavesdropping on their conversation. There was something different in Rasa’s gaze though. A small flicker, but they were no longer cold. 

“So Rasa, you ready to have your ass handed to you?” She smirked. 

Rasa shook out of his mind and bristled. “You do not understand what you are getting into Kitsune.” 

Minashi just laughed as she followed the fast walking Kazekage through the Kage Tower. Wide shocked eyes following them, but Minashi just smiled as she caught up to the Kage and began poking his cheek. She was surprised to see a twitch begin under his left eye. Gaara had a similar one. It made her smirk. Her old friend had the same quirks as his father, but the heart of his mother. 

 

 

 

 

“You will not back down?” Rasa called from the center of the clearing. Minashi was walking around placing tags down for a larger barrier. It wouldn’t be fully solid like her one she did in the office, but it would hide any Bijuu chakra she used. She could already feel the curious stares of the shinobi hiding behind the sand dunes around the training field. 

“You asked me to prove myself. This is how I will do that.” She placed the last tag before making one sign. “Fuuin.” She whispered and a bright red barrier shot up into the sky as it sealed the clearing. 

“This isn’t just a trap is it?” Rasa smirked. 

“The Sannin are not within the barrier.” She reminded him. 

“So, shall we get started then?” Rasa narrowed his eyes. 

Minashi closed her eyes. ‘You ready Kurama?’ 

Hai. He said sitting up and getting into a lotus position. 

‘What about Nature Energy? Think I will be able to use any during this fight? 

You haven’t been wearing the filter for long. Your body isn’t used to it. It is used to my chakra. So your own reserves and mine will all you will be able to use in this fight. 

‘So a battle of stamina?’ Minashi smirked. ‘I can do that.’ 

Her eyes snapped open and she shunshin away from the tidal wave of Gold dust that had been about to drop on her. 

“That all you got Dust boy?” She taunted. Rasa’s eyes developed a dark ring around them before the earth beneath her shifted. 

Minashi smirked and kicked off into the air. Water bullets flew from her mouth as she spun up to take aim at the other waves of Gold Dust aiming for her. Throwing Kunai between jutsu, she aimed for Rasa, but he just deflected them. 

A Gold wave crashed where Minashi had just been. Instead Rasa deflected the Kunai she had aimed for his throat with his own. Their eyes held, as their Kunai crossed. Swiping up with a foot, she lashed out at Rasa with a Wind jutsu, but he just blocked with a hardened wall of Gold Dust. 

Pressure registered on her ankles. She was yanked into the sand. 

Rasa narrowed his eyes at where he’d yanked her under. The hairs rose up on the back of his neck and he dropped to a wide crouch to avoid the Katana swinging for his neck. Another Minashi smirked and Rasa was on the defensive as he blocked her Katana with his kunai. Her swings were heavy, her intermixed kicks left his bones feeling the strain when she got past the Gold barriers. She was fast. Sometimes faster than his dust. 

Her wind was sharp on her blade, extending its length. She made it stronger by mixing with water and fire on two separate combinations. 

He could see that she was serious. Her blue eyes were slitted, showing that while she was using some of the Bijuu chakra, she was not using a lot. 

He drew on his water blade even as his Gold dust pushed her back with spikes shooting from the ground. Minashi backflipped to the edge of the barrier. Rasa charged her. She smirked and then disappeared in an explosion of blood when Rasa’s water blade cut her. 

Whistling screeching filled the air. Rasa turned back to find the original Minashi back where he’d forgotten he’d buried her. She smirked and the weapon in her hand flew through the air at him. Rasa pulled at the Gold Dust and prepared for impact, but he was also stuck at the edge of the barrier. He cursed before slipping into the dust and moving through it to escape. 

The resounding explosion shook even as deep as he had traveled. He closed an eye and used the Gold Dust to find Minashi.  She was crouched on the handle of her Katana that only had the tip buried in the sand. Her Violet eyes slowly bled back to just slitted blue and the black markings around her face faded to grey before disappearing. Her eye twitched. 

“Oh shut it furrball. I’m not stone and it was only long enough to throw it.” She muttered under hear breath, but his jutsu still caught it. “Plus, he’s almost as good as Gaara, even after he lost Shukaku to Madara’s creepy statue.” She muttered as those sharp eyes scanned the field. She suddenly smirked. “not good enough though.” She chuckled and Rasa cursed when his eye saw her launch towards him with another ball of chakra, this one missing the wind blades. It dug into the sand until Rasa was forced to exit it. He sent Gold and water at the Kunoichi, but she either met his jutsu with the same, or dodged the dust. 

He didn’t realize it until it was too late. Thirty minutes later, Rasa stumbled after dodging one of her Fire jutsu. She had pushed him into using more and more chakra heavy attacks to defend against her own, or in frustration to capture her. 

He felt her at his back again and dodged, he twisted to throw a kick back up at her, but instead watched the clone pop just before he felt something land on the back of his neck. He dropped to the ground, eyes wide and chakra cut off. His eyes snapped over when he felt the sand shift beside him. Minashi spluttered as she rose from the sand with a grimace. 

“Kami, I hate the desert. How did Gaara stand it?” She muttered and shook like a dog. “I’m going to have sand in the most uncomfortable places for weeks.” She continued to grouse as she stripped of her uniform armor and sandals, shaking out the sand. When she was finally done, she glanced over to the glaring Rasa. 

“Oh relax, it’s just a paralysis seal. Remind me to never do the Headhunter jutsu in the desert again.” She frowned as she rolled him over and removed the tag. 

“Doesn’t the headhunter jutsu grab at the legs?” he asked once free. 

“yes. But I needed to get access to your skin. So, I needed to get your neck as close to the ground as possible since that’s all you had exposed.” 

“So, you had me dodge your clone and waited for my counter which you hoped would bring my head close enough for you to put the tag on.” He said brushing off the sand from himself as well. 

“Yep.” She beamed then held out a hand. “You almost lasted half the time Gaara normally did even without Shukaku.” 

Rasa looked at her hand before looking back into her normal blue eyes again. “He meant a lot to you.” He concluded. 

“My best friend.” She whispered. “our best friend. And we were his first best friends at Twelve.” 

He took her hand and shook it. “I will listen to your warning.” 

“That is all I ask.” She nodded and she released the barrier. “Shall we return to your office?” She smirked. 

Rasa nodded and went to walk there when Minashi gripped his wrist. He glared at her but knew he’d have nightmares at that Foxy smile of hers. 

The world suddenly shifted and swirled around him. 

 

 

 

Minashi smirked at the Kazekage that was curled around his office trashcan, retching up his lunch. 

“Ah, that never gets old.” She hummed pleased. 

“Is this your version of Politics?” Rasa growled incredulously. 

Minashi rolled her eyes and slapped the relief seal on his forehead. He sighed and relaxed.  

“No, this is my version of treating you as a human. No matter how much I am tempted to allow my Bijuu to take a bite out of you.” She deadpanned. 

“On what grounds?” He grunted as he stood and returned to his desk. Minashi took the seat before him and slapped her privacy seal down. 

“You ordered that if their extraction couldn’t be completed, then to executed them instead.” She said coolly as she fingered at the flap to her kunai pouch. Rasa sighed and pointed to the seal on his head. Minashi nodded and he removed it and looked at it while she waited his answer. 

“You assume that that decision didn’t cost me?” he asked softly. 

“No. I’m sure it did. But I do not know you. I do not know how you view life. The only thing I know about you is from over ten years into the future. You were a completely different man. Older, more jaded. You had your own toddler son assassinated in attempts to destroy a weapon that you couldn’t control. I do not know if you are already that man or not.” 

Rasa glanced at her before handing the seal back. She stored it away without looking away from him. 

“I love Karura.” He said in a voice completely different than anything she’s heard from him yet. “I did not want to put her and her brother on this mission. They were the only two qualified. We aren’t sure how they were found out, but her report will provide that.” 

Minashi held his dark eyes, but she couldn’t feel anything from him that leaned towards lies. Kurama grumbled and pulled back the last of the Chakra that wasn’t used to hold the Kitsune Henge. Rasa was telling the truth. He did love Karura. Her death must have hardened his heart the rest of the way. 

“Alright.” She conceded and relaxed back into her chair. “You want to know what Konoha gets from this alliance right?” 

“Yes.” 

“Loyalty.” She said simply. 

“That’s it?” he frowned. 

“In the future I am from, Orochimaru had been turned into an evil mad scientist of sorts with a grudge against Konoha. He persuaded you as Otokage to join him in attacking Konoha during the Chuunin exams of the year myself and my brother were twelve. In the end you were assassinated, the Ichibi was released, My twin and I defeated and befriended Gaara, and soon after Gaara took over as Godaime Kazekage and led his people with the kind heart and love his mother had always given him. She’d embodied his sand with her love and will to always protect him while she could not. Gaara then was one of the Generals that led the Shinobi Alliance during the Great Fourth Shinobi War against the Jyuubi and Madara Uchiha. That was done though after Naruto and I helped Chiyo bring him back from the dead after Shukaku was extracted. Your two eldest children will be great on their own. Temari, eldest, will be an ambassador between Suna and Konoha. Kankuro had taken over the Puppet Brigade and was renown for his skills in poisons.” 

Minashi looked down at her hands. “But that was my past. A future that currently is on a fine line of coming true or changing completely. Anything is better than what I left behind. The Elemental nations had been decimated. We had to join with Iwa’s remaining Shinobi to dig so deep into the earth just to get away from the craters that the Jyuubi’s Beast bombs created. Not to mention the beast attempting to dig us out. We really had just become Shinobi. There were no villages left to fight against. No land to squabble over. It was only about survival, protecting the precious people we had left. My twin brother was the Child of Prophecy. The one that brought Hope to the Elemental Nations. When he died from Our Bijuu being extracted from him, that hope was taken away. It led to the caves we just survived in. I am trying to prevent that future.” She paused and frowned. “well most of it. I still dream to see the Elemental Nations joined together as just shinobi.” She looked back up at Rasa. “And that is why I’m starting with you.” 

Rasa stared at her for a few moments. He took in a deep breath and ran a hand down his face as he stared at her. 

“Why me?” he asked softly. 

“You are a good man. A good leader. I believe that if you actually put the work into being a good father, you will raise even greater children. What you need to do is let go of the fact that the Ichibi is a weapon. He can be just as Human as you or I.” 

“They are weapons-“ He choked off when Minashi snarled. 

“They are the product of Human hate. They were brought into this world to keep the peace. Human fear and Hate created the ‘beasts’ that they are seen to be. When treated like anyone else instead of that, they can be the best of friends, the most loyal of companions, and family when no one else is left.” 

Rasa stared at her again. She could briefly see his mind whirling behind those eyes. 

“Loyalty huh?” he muttered. 

“Kaze no Kuni land is larger than Hi no Kuni. But between us are smaller nations. Nations that were caught between the Second shinobi war. If Konoha and Suna can promise to protect the nations that are between our borders, then we can prevent unnecessary blood shed when the Third war comes to pass. We can also evacuate civilians into the deeper parts of our countries. Keep them away from the Shinobi war.” 

“We will also be able to move easier between the borders if we have their alliances.” Rasa nodded. “And all you want is our loyalty?” 

“Absolute Loyalty.” Minashi confirmed. “This can be confirmed by political marriages and shared knowledge.” 

“Konoha still doesn’t get much from this Alliance.” 

“We get a strong ally, more borders to work with, and a large but ‘weak’ nation to work with.” 

Rasa tilted his head at her. “You do not agree that we are weak.” 

“No.” She smirked. “In your element, your shinobi are strong. You just live in an environment that makes agriculture difficult. Yet you are still many in number. Did you know that most of the A and S-rank Missing-nin in the bingo books are from Suna and Konoha?” Minashi tiled her head with a foxy grin. 

“This alliance though would be putting my shinobi out of their element.” 

“Not when they are on joint missions with Konoha shinobi. We know our trees. Leave it up to us to make openings for your shinobi when on Fire soil. The same can be said for the reverse. Hell, I about shoved one of my own teammates into a scroll to shut her up when she wouldn’t stop complaining about the heat. Karura and Yashamaru just brushed it off.” Minashi shrugged. “We train together. We learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We become true comrades and never leave another behind. We come out of this next war together.” 

“Shinobi.” Rasa mused. 

“Yes. Not Konoha, not Suna. Shinobi. Other nations will be added as soon as I can beat some sense into their Kages.” Minashi smirked. 

Rasa snorted and shook his head at her. “Brute force only gets you so far.” He sat forward and rested his chin on his laced fingers. “You revealed all this too me. How can you be sure that I will not just sell this information?” 

“Because you need this alliance more than Konoha.” She said with ice blocks for eyes. “We do not Need Suna. We want Suna for the extra militia support and imports. This alliance is not just for that though, it is for the People, for the children. For future generations.” 

“How long are you staying Minashi?” he asked. 

“We will rest tonight and leave tomorrow at sunset.” 

Rasa nodded and stood, Minashi stood with him. “I would like to request another meeting with you and the Sannin at Lunch. We will complete the treaty and add in the final pieces.” 

Minashi took his hand and they shook on it. “I look forward to it Rasa. Also, please call me Kitsune.” 

He nodded and watched her remove the seal before going to sit back down. Minashi paused at the door and looked back to the Kazekage. His shoulders were already tense as he stared down at his desk. 

“Rasa?” she called. He looked up at her questioningly. 

“Do you know any place good to eat around here?” She smirked. 

Rasa nodded. “Yes, there are a few.” 

“Would you like to join myself and a friend of mine for dinner? Your Fiancé is welcome. I’m sure you’d enjoy some time with her.” 

Rasa stared at her before standing abruptly and joining her at the door. “That would be most pleasant.” He said and offered his arm. “Shall we?” 

Minashi smirked and let him lead her to his home. There they found Yashamaru passed out and Karura in a summer dress. She smiled lovingly at Rasa before he yanked her into his arms in a crushing hug. Minashi politely turned her gaze away and sent a fox to send for Minato. 

Minato met them at the restaurant and Minashi slipped away to change after seeing that Minato had done as instructed and changed into nice clothes. Even Rasa was dressed Semi-formally. Minashi returned to their group outside the restaurant in a sleek black off the shoulder dress and took the arm Minato offered her. 

“Thank you Pretty Boy.” She teased. Minato sighed.  

“In front of the Kazekage? Really Kitsune?” 

Karura giggled into her hand. “You are on the pretty side for a man.” 

“You have a stunning husband to be yourself Karura.” Minashi smirked as they were led to a private room. “I can already see your children. With his auburn hair and your teal eyes. They will be handsome as well. He’ll have the people swooning.” She took a sip of wine as she settled into her seat and snapped like just thinking about something else. “Or a little girl with your blonde and teal, but Rasa’s sharp features.” She sighed. “Suna citizens have such exotic features.” 

“You seem to have good genes as well.” Karura smiled around her blush even as her hand tightened in embarrassment in Rasa’s. Minashi saw his lips twitching around his sake cup. 

Minashi smirked. “Very true.” 

“She isn’t Lying with that either.” Rasa smirked at Minashi. “Kitsune is quite the beauty beneath her mask. The man that lands her will be lucky.” He looked at Minato. “Isn’t that right Minato-san?” 

Minato choked on his sake. “I’m sorry?” 

“Well, you do seem awfully close to Kitsune-chan.” Karura smiled not understanding Rasa’s jab at Minashi. 

Minashi just rolled her eyes at the Kage and started eating when the food was delivered. 

“I’m s-sorry, Kitsune-san is just a friend. I also have a lovely girlfriend that would kill me if I looked at another.” 

Minashi snickered and patted Minato’s shoulder. “Oh Minato, Kushina wouldn’t kill you. She’d torture you first. She’s an Uzumaki remember?” 

Minato paled and reached for the sake. “Please don’t joke about that Kitsune. She’s scary enough as it is. Reminding me that she is Uzumaki is reminding me that my Imouto is half Uzumaki.” He shuttered. “She’s already so good at Fuuinjutsu. I hope she doesn’t pick up Kushina’s habits.” He muttered into his cup. 

“You have a little sister?” Karura beamed. 

Minato smiled back. “Hai. She’ll be Five soon. Her and another one of the kids in her class are hailed as Prodigies. It’s a handful to remind the two that they are just kids. We’re trying to get them to enjoy life.” 

“Oh?” Rasa glanced at Minashi before looking back at Minato. “And who is the other lucky child?” 

Minato paused and looked between the couple and Kitsune. 

“The alliance is steady.” Minashi supplied. Minato nodded. 

“Kakashi Hatake.”  

Rasa’s eyes widened with Karura’s. “The White Fang’s son?” She whispered amazed. 

“Yes. They’ll both be Genin by the spring.” Minato offered. 

Rasa though was looking at Minashi with a calculating look. 

“You make it seem like they are friends.” Rasa mused. 

Minato snorted. “Connected at the hip is more like it.” He provided now noticing that Rasa wasn’t looking at him but Kitsune who just held his gaze. “Kakashi-kun is smitten with her.” He said slowly. 

“That’s sweet!” Karura smiled. “That reminds me of us Rasa.” 

“Really?” Minashi smirked. “I loved to hear how you two got together.”  

Rasa sighed. “It’s not-“ 

“There you are brat!” Tsunade snarled as she stormed into their room. 

The four of them looked at the angry blonde. 

“Hello Ba-chan!” Minashi waved. 

“Hello Tsunade-sama.” Minato greeted. 

“Do you know what you’ve done?” Tsunade snarled ignoring Minato to pull Minashi up by the front of her dress. Minashi looked down to make sure nothing tore. 

“No. What?” 

“You disappeared from the training ground with the Kazekage! The ANBU and Jounin have been going crazy looking for him! Then we get word that you were spotted strolling around with him and his fiancé enjoying dinner?” 

“Politics.” She deadpanned before smirking. “That and a bit of payback. I took him for a ride.” 

Tsunade’s opened mouth prepared to shout, paused before snapping shut and raised a brow at her. 

“You used it on him?” 

“Hai~” Minashi smirked. 

“And?” 

“Same as Orochimaru.” 

Tsunade’s lips twitched as she released Minashi. “You just made Jiraiya lose another bet. I was smart to not bet on that one or else it wouldn’t have happened. Did you at least get any pictures?” 

Rasa choked on his drink behind her. “No,” she sighed “I’m Sadistic, not cruel.” 

Tsunade nodded. “Alright, sorry for intruding then.” 

“Oh, tell the guys that we’ll be meeting with Rasa at noon to finalize and sign the treaty.” 

“Good. Then we can get out of this sandbox. Thank god Suna doesn’t have Hot springs or Jiraiya would cause even more incidents than your little actions did.” 

Minashi snickered as Tsunade left. 

“I’m so sorry about her.” Minato tried to placate. 

Rasa waved him off. “The Sannin are legendary. Not only in their skills but personalities. It was bound to happen once I saw them.” 

“True.” Minashi chuckled and filled her cup and the other’s. “I’d actually like to make a toast.” 

She lifted her cup and they followed. Minato looking at her curiously. 

Her gaze though was on Rasa. 

“To new friends, New allies, and to the Next Generations. May we live happy lives and keep our precious people safe as united Nations. May we set the pieces in play together, so that our children will not have to experience what we ourselves have.” 

“Cheers.” Rasa agreed and the two of them downed their drinks before Karura and Minato followed slowly. Karura looking at her fiancé with a worried glint. Minato looking at Kitsune with a curious gaze. 

 

 

 

Minashi pulled up the hood of her cloak even as she gave the desert beyond the stink eye. 

“It’s only a handful of hours.” Minato reminded her gently. 

“We were supposed to leave after the sun had set.” She growled. 

“You wanted to leave after the Sunset.” Minato corrected. Minashi just grumbled. 

“Kitsune. Namikaze.” They turned to find Rasa walking away from his guards dressed in his Hokage robes. 

“Rasa.” Minashi took his offered hand. 

“It was interesting meeting you Kitsune. I look forward to another spar in the future.” 

“You got it Dust Boy.” She smirked. 

Rasa’s eye twitched. Minashi’s smirk grew. He looked to Minato and ignored her. 

“Thank you for the engaging conversation last night Namikaze. I hope the next time you are in Suna we can have another chat. You are young, but you have promise. I can see why you made Captain. You have the mind and heart of a leader in the making. Maybe one day we will be standing across from each other in similar attire.” 

Minato’s cheeks flushed at the praise. “It is my dream to be Hokage. I will continue to work hard. Thank you.” He bowed respectfully to the Kazekage. 

Rasa nodded before finally looking back at Minashi. “Learn from this fine Kunoichi Namikaze. She is already Kage material.” 

Minashi deadpanned him. “I don’t want the hat.” 

Rasa raised a brow. 

“Too much paperwork not enough time to train. Even Hiruzen only just recently got back into training after I told him the secret to paperwork.” 

“And what is that?” Rasa asked trying not to sound too eager. 

Minashi smirked. “Beat me in a spar and I’ll tell you.” 

Rasa grunted but held out a hand. Minashi took it and had a flash of déjà vu when Rasa suddenly smiled softly at her. 

“Thank you.” He said earnestly. 

Minashi swallowed thickly and nodded silently. Rasa eyed her. “I reminded you of him?” He asked gently. 

“Hai.” She responded softly. ”Very much so. Similar ticks, but he was much kinder like his mother.” 

“All I can promise is to try.” He reminded her. 

“That’s all I ask.” She smiled back. 

“Take care.” 

“Till next time.” Minashi turned and headed for their waiting group with Minato at her side. 

“Another lost friend?” He asked gently. 

“Hai.” She whispered. 

Minato nodded before looking between the group and the desert. He then eyed Minashi. 

“I’m taking a vote.” He called out to their party. “Who wants to trek through the desert?” no one raised their hands. “Who would rather face the desert than Kitsune’s faster mode of travel back to Konoha gates?” 

Team cheetah and the Sannin shared glances as Minashi raised a brow at Minato. He shrugged. 

“I’m hot, I’m tired, and I want a bath to get all the sand out of my pants.” 

Minashi rolled her eyes at him. With a few grumbles the group made sure they each had both hands on someone that was touching Minashi. 

“Hold tight!” She grinned. With a whirl and twist, they were gone from the torturous desert heat. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 29

 

Minashi flopped back onto Hiruzen’s couch as she watched the door shut behind Team Cheetah. They’d finally finished up their verbal reports. She was already jealous of them. They could go home and get rid of the sand. 

“How was it really Minashi?” Hiruzen asked after throwing the privacy barrier back up. 

“They are a smooth team. They were able to adapt easily with the additional Shinobi yet kept them as priority as mission dictated. It would have been nice to know that she was the Fiancé of the Kazekage.” She eyed him tiredly. 

“You seemed already upset. I didn’t think confirming that they were already intended would do you any favors.” He sighed. “How did negotiations go?” he said opening the treaty scroll to review. 

“Minashi is blunt.” Orochimaru deadpanned. “But she got the job done without completely causing an international incident.” 

“Aw, Oro-chan, you do like me!” she smiled at him coyly. “That is one of the nicest things you’ve said about me.” 

Orochimaru just gave her a blank face. Minashi held his gaze with one of her own. Their staring contest continued even as Jiraiya and Tsunade gave their reports. 

“We were not really needed.” Jiraiya chuckled as he eyed the staring duo. “Minashi has plenty of Political experience to make it all go smooth. Especially once she got Rasa to see at her level.” 

“Her level?” Hiruzen asked, also eyeing his genius student and Minashi’s staring contest. 

“She humanized him.” Tsunade said. “She treated him like she treats everyone. Especially you. Reminded him that she understands his burdens. That he can share them. I think they still have some work to do to build whatever friendship she was aiming for, but there is promise.” 

“You should just give her your hat Sensei.” Orochimaru smirked. Minashi snarled but didn’t blink. 

“You three know I’ve tried. She won’t take it.” 

Minashi sighed. “Not yet at least. My physical body is only 5 remember?” 

“Eh, technicalities.” Jiraiya chuckled. “So brat, I have a favor to ask you when you’ve stopped teasing Orochimaru.” 

“What?” Orochimaru hissed. 

Tsunade walked over to Minashi and eyed her before poking her. Minashi shimmered before disappearing and showing that the actual Minashi had never moved from her original position. 

A cerulean eye popped open from Minashi’s resting position to see Orochimaru blinking at her confused and in a bit of approval. Tsunade looked curious as well. 

“When did you lay the genjutsu?” Tsunade asked. 

“I can’t do Genjutsu.” Minashi yawned. 

“What was that then?” Orochimaru asked. 

“Fuuinjutsu.” Minashi yawned and held up the tag she’d activated when they thought ‘she’ had sat up to stare at Orochimaru. “Can’t do Genjutsu, but it doesn’t mean I can’t make Fuuinjutsu do it for me. Troublesome bugger to work out too.” 

Orochimaru snatched it from her and started mumbling to himself as he worked out the theory behind her Fuuin tag. 

Tsunade just rolled her eyes before eyeing the exhaustion in Minashi’s gaze. 

“Will you be alright brat, or will I be seeing you in the hospital soon?” 

“I only wore out my physical body. As long as my clone isn’t too exhausted, I should be fine. Otherwise…” She hummed as she thought about it. “I make no promises.” 

Tsunade chuckled and pushed Minashi to move over. “Let me see if Kurama and I can work to ease it first before you release the Blood Clone.” 

Minashi hummed as Tsunade pulled her head onto the elder’s lap. The familiar feel of iryojutsu flooded her system and she sighed when she felt the minor aches ease. 

“What as the favor Ero-sennin?” she hummed. 

“I’m writing another book-“ 

“Different from your first one. You need an editor.” She concluded already knowing where this was going. Her and Naruto had taken turns editing his works between training with Kurama’s chakra. 

Jiraiya nodded. “I had it published then?” 

“Yes. Your work was loved across the elemental nations.” She confirmed smirking. His own smirk was stopped by her next sentence. “But I’m also going to help make it better. In my editing, I’m going to be fixing your romance sections.” 

“Even-“ 

Minashi rolled her eyes and rolled to face Tsunade’s stomach. Her hands moved to follow and work on her other side. 

“No Baka. You write those parts, I’ll just make sure the women will also enjoy the book.” 

“Deal!” he exclaimed. “I’ll drop it off at your Apartment.” He was gone in a shunshin. 

Minashi grinned foxily into Tsunade’s stomach. 

“You’re up to something brat.” She whispered. 

“As an author of the series as well, he’ll have to split the profits.” Minashi looked up to Honey brown to watch them widen before she burst out laughing. 

“Alright you two.” Hiruzen called with his own smile in place. “Finish healing up and dismissed. I’ll review the treaty and call you if I need anything cleared up.” He looked to Orochimaru. “Are you good for another mission or do you need rest as well?” 

“I can take one, just please not near heat.” He grumbled. 

Hiruzen nodded and tossed him a scroll. “It’s only B-rank, but it’s a high-profile client. I need someone I trust to complete it.” 

“Consider it done.” Orochimaru was then gone in his own shunshin. Tsunade and Minashi were gone only a few minutes later. 

 

 

 

 

 

Minashi groaned into her pillow the following morning. Tsunade’s healing had done wonders, but She’d also went back to living at the Hatake compound since Kushina had border patrol near Cha Country (Tea). Minato had been on the mission with Kitsune, so ‘Minashi’ had been with the Hatake’s. Sakumo had kept their training light for the most part, but the Kakashi had still been brutal when they did train. Her tiny body was experiencing the strain from her own mission and the muscle pains from training hard. 

She was glad it was Sunday. She could rest. She had also ended up missing another appointment with Inojiro. Instead he’d asked her clone to make sure to come see him if She needed time to talk after the mission. She’d have to let him know it was just S-rank because it was politically intense. 

“Mina!” Kashi scolded from her door. “It’s after sunrise! Come on, let’s get to training. Tou-san said we could work on a few jutsus today.” 

Minashi turned her head to view excited coal eyes through her messy blonde hair. 

“Kashi?” she called as sweetly as possible without moving. 

“Hai?” he asked tilting his head cutely. 

“Hug first please?” She pouted. 

Kashi groaned. “Mina, please! I really want to learn a new jutsu! Tou-san promised.” He whined. 

“Please Kashi.” Minashi let her voice tremble. “I had a sad dream.” 

Kashi looked away sheepish before sighing and crawling into her futon. Minashi grinned triumphantly into his chest. 

“Better?” He asked. 

“Hm.” Minashi hummed as she slipped the seal onto his lower back beneath his shirt. 

Fuuin.” She mouthed. Kakashi stiffened when he felt his body betray him and sleep take over his mind. 

Minashi purred into his chest as she fell back to sleep herself. I love Fuuinjutsu. Was her last conscious thought. 

 

 

 

 

 

Sakumo looked up from the game of Shogi he was playing with himself. Looking around he realized that the house had gone awfully quiet. 

Sakumo stood and went hunting for his pups’ signatures and scents. He found them both in Minashi’s room. He sighed and shook his head. 

“Come on you two, if you want to learn new jutsu, you’ll need to get up. Kakashi, I sent you up here to wake her, not join her.” He rubbed a hand through his hair. When neither child flinched, he frowned and stepped closer. 

He shook Kakashi but his boy was out cold. Frowning, he looked Minashi over to see that she too was dead to the world clinging to Kakashi. Really concerned now, he moved Kakashi to check him over. It was during that when he found it. There was a seal on his back. He didn’t’ dare pull it off until he’d figured out what it was. 

After a few minutes, he still couldn’t make sense of it. Sakumo called up one of his wolves and sent for Jiraiya. In the meantime, he checked Minashi over for a tag. He found none and relaxed a bit. He watched though as once he’d done checking her over, Minashi frowned and grunted in her sleep before sniffing the air. She growled before patting for Kakashi. She found him and then yanked them back together. 

The little girl let out a pleased hum before slipping back into a deep sleep, drool and everything. 

 

“What’s up?” Jiraiya called from the doorway less than five minutes later. 

Sakumo looked over his shoulder to his friend. “That was quick.” 

“I was in the neighborhood. Just got back from a mission and wanted to check on the brat. Was hoping to check the other seal as well.” 

Sakumo waved to her and the bared back of Kakashi. “Have at it. I can’t make sense of the seal. I don’t have enough training in it to fully understand it.” 

Jiraiya chuckled and lifted Kakashi’s shirt up more. “Minashi is an Uzumaki. One skilled in Fuuinjutsu. Minato is proud. Kushina is ecstatic.” He paused and snickered. “I think she takes after Kushina. She’s not a morning person when she just wants to have a day to relax. The seal is nothing more than a sleep one. Kakashi will sleep until his body gets the sleep it needs. He’ll then wake up.” He put the shirt back and moved to sit on Minashi’s side. He carefully turned her hips so he could bare her stomach. 

Sakumo whistled when Jiraiya called the seal up to her skin. 

“That’s some fancy seal work.” 

Jiraiya snorted. “You don’t even know what you’re looking at.” 

“Nope, but it looks more complicated than Kushina’s was.” 

Jiraiya nodded absently as he found all the differences Minashi has added into it. He ignored the fact that it was indeed open. He tilted his head though when he found something interesting. 

“What?” Sakumo asked seeing his impressed look. 

“They’ll never get the fox without killing them both in the end.” Jiraiya whispered. 

“Who? What? Why?” Sakumo frowned confused. 

“He’s attached to her soul. They might be able to live a few minutes after extraction, but she’s friends with the fox. He’ll seek revenge on whoever killed his host before he joins her.” He frowned deeper when he found something he couldn’t understand. “This other part…” he trailed off. 

Pulling out his Fuuin supplies he started copying her seal down and the secondary component that didn’t make sense to him. 

“Is it dangerous?” Sakumo frowned. 

“No, not that I’m aware of, but it’s just a very subtle change in the tail of a character. It doesn’t look like a Master’s handwriting style. Nor their signature. I’m not really sure, I’d have to have the key to her seal to be able to see the seal uncompressed. But that is impossible. No one knows where her seal might even be.” 

“Wouldn’t she know?” Sakumo asked as Jiraiya packed up his notes. 

White hair shook with his no. “The key is always kept separate from the jinchuriki until they are ready to start handling the Bijuu’s chakra. Inojiro reported that he hasn’t seen anything on where the key is or who would have it.” Jiraiya said truthfully. Especially when he’d asked his question about it to his sensei. Hiruzen had said that he wouldn’t know if she had it or if it was stored with her summons. But it was the weirdness of Jiraiya’s summons that had a theory running through his head. 

“But she can access Bijuu chakra.” Sakumo said confused. 

“Hm?” Jiraiya asked absently. 

“She was covered in a cloak of pure Bijuu chakra when she arrived.” Sakumo frowned. 

Jiraiya mentally cursed Sakumo and his brilliant mind. Dark eyes looked up to meet sharp dark eyes. 

“She is also in contact with her Bijuu. She’s good about it, but I’ve seen her eyes glaze over and go silent. I realized it was them having a conversation. Kushina never had good words about him. Minashi calls him friend, but I don’t know if I can trust the word of a child that might be under manipulation.” Sakumo narrowed his eyes on his old friend. 

Jiraiya swallowed. 

“Jiraiya.” He called firmly. Jiraiya returned Minashi to her normal position and covered the two kids back up. He then waved to Sakumo to followed him out. They ended back up in the main room where Jiraiya turned to him abruptly with the face that was supposed to be reserved for the battlefield only. 

“I can’t tell you Sakumo. I can’t tell you anything else. Only the Hokage and his Advisor are allowed to tell anyone.” 

“This Kitsune person?” Sakumo narrowed his eyes. 

“Hai. You will have to take it up with them.” Jiraiya internally winced. Minashi would fillet him for this later. 

“I think I will.” 

Jiraiya sighed and jerked a thumb back to the kids’ room. “They’ll sleep it off. They are just kids. If they don’t get a proper amount of sleep, it catches up to them. Minashi’s body is telling her this. She is just forcing Kakashi to listen to his own.” 

Sakumo stared at his friend with a hard gaze before his body slowly relaxed one muscle at a time. He rolled his neck before cracking it. 

“I’m trusting you about this because I know you would only withhold information if it was for the best, or safety of another. Never to be hurtful.” He looked back at Jiraiya. “I’ll take my inquires to the Hokage and his Advisor.” 

With a few more pleasantries, Jiraiya dismissed himself to warn his sensei about Sakumo. 

 

 

 

“Yo, Sensei, We need to chat about the brat.” He started as he landed on the windowsill ten minutes later. 

Hiruzen looked up from his paperwork to find Jiraiya with stress worrying his eyes. 

“Jiraiya?” 

“Sakumo is getting it in his mind that Minashi is being manipulated.” 

Hiruzen waved him in and dismissed his ANBU. The privacy seal went up and Jiraiya grabbed a seat. 

“How so?” 

“Thinks the fox is manipulating her. Wants to know how she is able to access his chakra already after I said something about the key being needed. He also has expressed his distrust in Kitsune as well. I think Kitsune and Sakumo need to meet face to face to clear things up.” 

Hiruzen nodded. “I was hoping we wouldn‘t have to until Minashi finished academy. That was our plan at least.” 

“What plan?” Jiraiya frowned. 

Hiruzen just stared even as his eyes sparkled with mirth. Jiraiya felt a shudder go down his spine. 

“That is for Kitsune and I to worry about. Do not worry about Sakumo, we’ll handle him. How is Minashi-chan?” he asked changing the subject. 

“Exhausted. She’s sleeping it off and forcing Kakashi to join her.” 

Hiruzen nodded pleased. “Good. If Sakumo comes to the office today, I’ll divert him to tomorrow when Kitsune will be available again.” 

“Don’t you think she’s pushing herself Sensei?” 

“Of course I do. But that is the price for now. It will get easier as her body grows accustom to it. She will still get her second childhood. Team Cheetah has been grounded for the upcoming week as a reward for doing well in Suna. This will allow Kitsune to have free time to mingle as well. Minashi will also be able to spend time with family. Kushina is still on patrol duty, but Minato will be home for bonding. Minashi also missed another session with Inojiro due to the mission running over. So, she will not get another mission at least until after Saturday.” Hiruzen then smirked at him. “You like her.” 

Jiraiya smirked. “She’s an amazing Kunoichi. She’s offered to train with us, and after seeing her spar with the Kazekage, I’m excited. She completed Minato’s Rasengan.” 

Hiruzen choked on his pipe and stared at Jiraiya. “She did what?” 

Jiraiya blinked. “Didn’t we report that?” 

NO.” He growled. 

“Oh. Whoops.” He shrugged. “He didn’t believe her about her past, so he believed that if she had really fought his son that she said was stronger at magnet release than him, that she would be able to beat him. And she did. Beautifully done too.” 

“Jiraiya” Hiruzen sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. 

“Ne, Sensei, have you thought of having Kushina spar with her? Minashi is a skilled swordswoman. What’s the other Kunoichi’s name…. AH Mikoto Uchiha right? They should spar two on one. I think it would be a good lesson all around-“ 

“Jiraiya.” Hiruzen’s voice was hard as annoyed brown eyes locked on this student. 

Jiraiya snapped his mouth shut. 

“Please report all activities of Kitsune when she is on diplomatic missions. She had the power of my voice. She could have declared war.” 

“But she didn’t. She just gained an ally that will be powerful once the exchange programs she convinced Rasa into begin.” 

“Yes. I saw those.” Hiruzen mumbled. “Why doesn’t she just take the damn hat already?” He mumbled to himself, yet Jiraiya asked himself the same in his head. 

“Do you need anything else Jiraiya?” 

Jiraiya opened his mouth and paused. “I would like to take either Minashi or Kitsune to the Toad mountain. Pa popped in before we hit Suna. He requested we brought the foxy girl in sooner rather than later.” 

Hiruzen sighed and rubbed a temple. “When Kitsune reports in, I’ll inform her. You’ll work around her schedule.” 

“Hai.” 

“Dismissed.” Jiraiya was gone in a swirl of leaves. 

 

 

 

 

 

Minashi yawned as she sat on the front porch of the Hatake Compound. The sun still hadn’t risen yet. Which meant she had a couple hours to herself. She sipped at the cup of water she’d gotten when she woke up. 

Her and Kakashi had slept Sunday away. Sakumo had woken them for dinner. Kakashi then just crawled back in bed. Minashi wasn’t far behind. It seemed that Minashi had been right about Kakashi. He hadn’t been sleeping right. Sneaking out to train, waking early to get back into their morning training routine. He’d coaxed Minashi’s clone out a few nights. They were both in desperate need of sleep. 

Now She was deciding on if she wanted to go to the academy and get in some training. ‘Kitsune’ had received a summons through a small monkey ten minutes ago about Sakumo. But she had also been informed that team Cheetah had a week off, Kitsune included. It was a reward apparently. Minashi didn’t question it. 

She could only let a predatory grin slip past her lips. A clone popped up beside her and took the cup of water. 

“You are skipping academy again boss?” The clone whined even as Minashi turned it into a Blood Clone. “Why? Kakashi said it was going to be more lectures.” 

“Right. Just sleep through them.” She snorted. “I have something more interesting to do.” 

Understanding lit up in the clone’s eyes as it smirked at her. “Have fun.” It called as Minashi disappeared in a swirl. 

She reappeared on the outskirts of the Hyuuga Compound. Her child form melting away into a small fox. She then bounded over the Hyuuga walks to check her Fuuin tags left there before she left. None had been discovered or disturbed. Please she left and headed for an alleyway closer to the Hokage Tower. There the transformation shifted, and she added in the Blood Henge. Kitsune left the alley with a pleased smirk as she made her way to the Jounin lounge. There she could sit and wait. 

Fuuin” She whispered as she stepped into the Lounge. She felt the seals activate. She wasn’t surprised to find the lounge empty. So, she went to the coffee bar and made a drink to finish waking herself up. She then settled on a couch and pulled Jiraiya’s Manuscript from a seal on her arm. She’s sent a clone out for it before she left the Hatake compound. 

This would kill the time until her seals produced results. Minashi kicked her feet up across the coffee table, propped the script on her thighs, pencil in one hand, coffee in the other, and went to work. 

 

 

 

 

Hitoshi Hyuuga rubbed his eyes. Opening them, the scene before him didn’t change. He stared at his own reflection and everything about himself was orange. Clothes, skin, hair, even his eyes. Kami. 

“Hitoshi-sama!” An urgent cry came at his door. 

“I know.” He called back and opened his door. “I’ll head to the Hokage. Start the search.” 

 

Hitoshi kept his chin high as he walked through Konoha towards the Hokage Tower. He saw the looks he was getting. Shock, surprise, and even hidden smiles of laughter. He kept his face calm and kept a steady pace. Rushing would do nothing but admit that it bothered him that his entire being was stained an obnoxious color. 

What worried him a bit were the few jounins he passed that were either grinning in victory or groaning in defeat. 

 

Hitoshi waited patiently outside the Hokage’s office a bit later. Ayumi, the Hokage’s secretary was almost rudely staring at him. Eyes wide, mouth pinched tightly closed. 

A Chuunin left the office and startled at seeing Hitoshi waiting outside.  

“H-he’ll see you now.” Ayumi stuttered. Hitoshi rose and walked past the gawking Chuunin. 

He calmly shut the door behind himself and looked up to see Hiruzen reviewing a scroll. 

“Hitoshi-dono, I normally don’t get to be graced with your presence-“ Hiruzen said before lifting his head finally at the end and he just froze and his face went blank. 

“You may laugh Hiruzen.” Hitoshi said grabbing a seat. 

Hiruzen didn’t though instead his head slammed onto the desk. 

Hitoshi raised a brow at his Hokage. “Hokage-sama?” 

“Damn. I just lost.” 

Hitoshi’s eyes widened in realization. “You set up a bet on the prankster that hit the Uchiha?” he gasped in realization. “You know who it is!” he accused. 

Hiruzen snorted and lifted his face. Hitoshi glared at the smirking Hokage. 

“Of course, I’m Hokage. But I still lost the bet on who would be hit next.” 

“Why on earth is there a bet going around about this prankster? They are breaking into compounds-“ 

“Very easily.” Hiruzen interrupted. Hitoshi snapped his mouth shut. He had a point. 

“Where in the world is the profits going then?” 

“The orphanages.” Hiruzen sighed getting himself back under control. Hitoshi relented. 

“Then I request for someone from the Sealing division to pay us a visit along with one of Konoha’s sealing Masters. We would like advice on how to avoid this sort of thing again.” 

“You might also want to check with the Uchiha. I hear their Police Task force has been researching new protocols that are even being considered for the gates and night patrols.” 

“I will consider that. Would your prankster have informed you on how long this will last?” 

Hiruzen shook his head. “Sadly no. I’m not that informed about them. But if I’m not mistaking the Uchiha should still be under the influence of their prank. The seals weren’t found and broken. Only a strong genjutsu is protecting them.” 

Hitoshi sighed and closed his tired eyes. 

Hiruzen observed the Clan head before him and tilted his head curiously. “Though Hitoshi, I think you might be in a little more luck.” 

“How so?” Hitoshi asked. 

Hiruzen eyed him longer. “I know I’m getting old, but are you getting darker in some places and lighter in others?” 

Hitoshi glanced down to see that his clothes were darkening and his skin was losing its orange tint. 

“Yes.” He said amazed. 

“You can rule out timed then.” Hiruzen smiled happily. “It looks like some sort of proximity seal.” 

Hitoshi’s eyes widened. “That’s why the shinobi weren’t affected until they were in the compound.” He whispered. 

Hiruzen Nodded. “The longer you’re away from the compound, the more it wears off.” 

“But how long will this last?” 

Hiruzen shrugged smirking. Hitoshi groaned. 

“Anything else I can help with Hitoshi?” 

“No. Thank you with figuring out with what we could.” Hitoshi stood and bowed, dismissing himself. 

 

 

Hiruzen waited for Hitoshi to shut the door before he threw up the Privacy seal and tossed his head back in laughter. 

“OH KAMI!” he roared holding his stomach as he continued to let his laughter echo through the room. 

His ANBU guard let out their own snickers from their shadows. Absently they enjoyed seeing their Hokage happy. Even if some of them had also lost the bet on time frame, but won on the clan hit. 

 

 

Minashi felt the couch dip beside her. She didn’t have to look up to know who it was. She just kept reading Jiraiya’s next chapter. She’d already rewritten the romance to be less raunchy and more appealing to the female audience. She was now editing the smut. Jiraiya was good at describing the woman, but to please his female authors, she was adding in descriptions of the men. 

“I’ve never seen you in here before.” Minato asked as he blew on a cup of coffee. 

“Never really had free time.” She muttered back frowning at a section before fixing Jiraiya’s horrible grammar again. “Plus, Hiruzen said I needed friends. So, I’m attempting to be more social.” She shrugged and turned to the next page. She looked up to find Minato in his Jounin gear. He almost looked the same from Kakashi’s old team photo. Though some baby fat still lingered in his cheeks and there weren’t as many crows’ feet forming or wrinkles from his smiles. 

“Well, this is a good place. It’s also gossip central.” He warned. Minashi chuckled. 

“I can handle a few gossips.” 

“Uh huh.” He muttered into his own cup of coffee, but his eyes were not on her any longer. 

Minashi followed his gaze to see that the numbers of Jounin really had increased over the past few hours that she’d been hanging there. Granted it was also late morning. She was surprised no one else had approached her. 

Although that might have been her choice of wear as well. She’d chosen something more original than her ANBU uniform or the Jounin uniform Hiruzen had given her. 

She had one arm through her black trimmed Cerulean blue Kimono top. A black belt kept it closed at her waist. Her other arm was free, baring her chest that was only wrapped in chest bindings. Her legs were covered with midthigh black shorts with weapons pouches on both thighs. Wrapped up her calves were more bindings that tucked into her sandals. Her upper calves were bear with her storage seals for weapons. Her lower thighs the same. Her right arm bared her ANBU tattoo. Down the rest of her arm were the other seals she’d been adding on. She had a few empty spaces on both arms for the others she had planned to add. There were even ones on her palms now. Those she’d added this morning when she realized her new outfit didn’t look good with her Katana. So, they were stored in her palm seals. 

Her hitai-ate rested around her neck since she’d allowed her hair down instead of bound in a braid. She also hoped that if she wasn’t dressed in gear, people wouldn’t approach her about shinobi business. Ahem, Sakumo. 

“How long have you been here?” Minato asked. 

Minashi shrugged. “Since before the sun rose. I got some really good sleep on Sunday and realized I was being a hermit. So I’m here to socialize.” She smiled at him. He nodded and thrummed his fingers on his thigh. She went back to reading and waited to see how long it would take him to ask. 

Apparently two minutes was his limit. 

“Can you help me with something?” Minato asked. Minashi looked at him inquiringly. “I’m having issues with increasing my distance with the Hiraishin. Every time I do, it eats up my chakra.” 

Minashi smiled and nodded. “Let me see your notes.” She set the manuscript between her and the arm of the couch. 

Minato sighed and pulled out a notebook from his vest. “See here, I added in this element to extend my range-“ 

 

 

 

“NO!” A voice roared. “I will NOT!” a familiar voice shouted. 

“But we’re already here.” A painfully fake sweet voice called back. Another familiar voice. 

Minashi and Minato looked up from the Fuuin notes they were working on to see the commotion at the door. 

“LET ME GO!” a third voice shouted. 

“NO! I SUFFERED HER FOR EIGHT YEARS! YOU WILL NOW SUFFER WITH ME YOU COWARD!” 

“Oh stop being such babies!” 

Chakra flared on Minashi’s senses before two orange blurs flew through the Jounin lounge doors by gold chains. Kushina walked in with a Cheshire grin. 

“Good Morning everyone! Isn’t it a lovely day?” 

“Kushina!” Hizashi shouted from the pile him and another orange lump were made up of. 

“What?” She smiled innocently at him. He just glowered at her even as his twin sat up and gave her the same glare. 

“Remove it.” Hiashi glared. 

“I didn’t do it. I can’t remove it.” She smirked bigger. They groaned and stood up. 

“Are you Orange?” an older Jounin approached them. 

“Yes.” Hiashi grit through his teeth. “It seems the Hyuuga have been hit by the Konoha Prankster.” 

The Lounge broke out in laughter and snickering. Even poor Minato was trying to cover them up. Minashi just smirked at them. She loved basking in her work. They hadn’t been out of the compound long. They were still a neon orange. 

Violet eyes caught hers and they brightened.  

“Kitsune-san!” she smiled and walked over to her. “Wow I’ve never seen you here before.” 

“I just returned from a mission and was given some vacation time. Hokage insisted I take it to get to know my peers and let them get to know me.” 

Kushina beamed and moved to sit beside Minato. 

“Wonderful! Minato here has nothing but praises for you. He’d been itching to get your advice on his Hiraishin.” 

“We were actually talking about it.” Minato smiled at Kushina and kissed her cheek. “Hello love, when did you get in?” 

“This morning. I heard you were back and pushed my team back home so I could see you.” She beamed. “Plus, I’ve missed our Imouto.” Kushina pouted. “She was already at the academy when I got back.” Her eyes then twinkled. “Then when walking home, I found an Orange Hyuuga shopping in the Market. So, I hunted my friend Hizashi down to see if it was the same as the Uchiha’s prank.” 

Movement caught Minashi’s gaze and she watched as two orange eyesores sat across from them on the other couch. 

“You two are also seal masters?” Hizashi asked to Minato and Kitsune. 

“Hai.” Minato said evenly. “Hai~” Minashi smirked. 

Hiashi eyed her suspiciously. “Did either of you do this?” 

“We’ve been gone on a mission. Just got back. We wouldn’t have had time to play such a prank.” Minashi said relaxing back and crossing one leg over the other. She leaned against the armrest and eyed the young twin Hyuuga heirs. 

“Can you undo it at least?” Hizashi asked. 

“Not without seeing the seal that was activated.” Minato provided. “We couldn’t even begin a counter seal without seeing the original. If we did it without one, we risked making it worse, or blowing the compound up.” He shrugged. 

“Fuuinjutsu is a delicate art.” Minashi smirked. “Your prankster has my respect. This is art at its finest.” 

Kushina snickered on Minato’s lap. 

“This is not Art!” a sharp voice snapped joining their group. Minashi looked up and found Fugaku standing with an exasperated Mikoto. 

“MIKO!” Kushina cheered and launched at her best friend. “Look at Hizashi!” she giggled.  

Mikoto chuckled as she caught and hugged her excitable friend. She looked at her other teammate over Kushina’s shoulder. 

“Looking good Hizashi.” She smirked. He groaned. 

“I know you did this!” Fugaku hissed as his eyes bled red. 

“Did what?” Minashi raised a black brow at him before tilting her head at him. “Uchiha, are you wearing a genjutsu?” She smirked. 

Fugaku blanked his face. 

“You are.” She smirked. “Your prank hasn’t worn off yet either.” 

Fugaku just growled at her. 

“So, you admit to being the prankster?” Hiashi asked glaring. 

“What makes you two think I’m the prankster?” she questioned back. 

“They didn’t start until you suddenly appeared.” Fugaku spat. 

“Coincidence.” Minashi snorted. 

“You’re lying.” Fugaku smiled arrogantly. Minashi stared into his red eyes and he blinked surprised as her face blanked of all emotion. She felt Kurama growl in her head and soothed him back. 

“I respect your clan for their skills Uchiha.” She said void of emotion. “Let this be a warning though. I will beat your ass all the way to the moon and back if you even turn those eyes on a comrade again. Those are tools. NOTHING more. Your clan is arrogant thinking their eyes make their more superior. All they make you is a target.” She slid her eyes to the Hyuuga twins. “As are your eyes. They make you arrogant. Make you think you’re better than everyone else. But you aren’t. Your dependency on your eyes makes you Predictable.” She glared and looked back at the glowering Uchiha who still had his red eyes on her. 

She slowly stood up and stepped into Fugaku’s bubble until their faces were only inches apart. 

“I, Kitsune, Have nothing to do with these pranks.” 

Fugaku cursed. 

“Now turn off your eyes Uchiha, before I make you.” She snarled letting her killer intent lash out. 

Fugaku paled at the potency and backed up two steps very quickly. His eyes were off before he’d even moved though. The scent of fear filled her nostrils making her nose itch. 

“We are all here for the same reason. To protect the people precious to us. We are never to turn our tools and weapons upon each other with malicious intent. Next time, I’ll seal them away in punishment.” She threatened. 

Fugaku paled. “That would spark-“ 

“Nothing.” Minashi snapped sharply. “You had no right to turn those eyes against me. I have done nothing wrong. You were not authorized to use those eyes of yours to check for lies. I am not a suspected enemy of Konoha. You broke a law Fugaku Uchiha.” 

Fugaku swallowed thickly. 

“Remember your place.” She warned with narrowed eyes. “You are the head of the Konoha Police task force. You are not on duty. You are not allowed to have your eyes turned on a citizen of Konoha unless ordered to when the citizen is suspected as an enemy. Get your shit together Uchiha.” She pointed at him. “Your Task force is there to protect the shinobi and civilians alike. Not to abuse your power.” 

“I don’t-“ 

“I’m sure you don’t, but you just did.” She took in a deep breath and looked at him as she reeled in her anger. “You let your emotions get the better of you. There are very few situations where that is helpful. I’m not saying to be emotionless assholes but learn when to stow your shit. There was another way to get the truth from me.” 

“How?” he said a bit calmer. 

“Asked to prove my innocence by activating your eyes with my permission.” 

Fugaku blinked before looking down ashamed. 

“You are a good man, but you need to work on your bad qualities.” Minashi said before taking her seat. “That goes for you two as well.” She said shooting a glance to the Hyuuga brothers. They shared glances before sighing and giving her a nod of their heads, saying they understood her message. 

The lounge was quieter than before but slowly went back to normal. Kushina and Mikoto had moved away for some girl talk. Minato had dismissed himself to work on the changes Minashi had suggested. The Hyuuga and Uchiha heirs were gone as well. She was a little miffed they never apologized. 

 

Minashi felt her ANBU tattoo burn slightly around lunch time. She ignored it. She knew Hiruzen was summoning her to talk with Sakumo. 

No, thank you. She mused and continued editing. 

Thirty minutes later it burned stronger and she glared at it. 

“Che.” She tisked and pulled out a brush and her special ink. 

“Whoa.” Kushina whispered across the room. She rushed over to sit beside Minashi and eyed the ink bottle on Minashi’s thigh. “That’s some potent sealing ink.”  

“Yep.” Minashi mumbled as she used her thin brush to begin the second seal around her ANBU tattoo. The first was to hide it from Kushina and Minato, it was deactivated of course when she was in Kitsune mode. This next seal would nullify the summons call when activated. 

Kushina’s eyes widened as she saw the Fuuin. “You’re Blocking the Summons!” she exclaimed as she paled. “WHY would you do that! That’s Hokage-Ji-san!” 

Minashi smirked. “I’m aware. I’m also aware of why he is attempting to summon me when I didn’t go to his office first thing this morning to his paper summons.” 

“You’re ignoring the call of the Hokage?” A new voice asked. Minashi waited until she finished activating the second seal to look up. She blinked when she had a flash of déjà vu. It took her a minute to separate the faces. 

“Yes.” She finally answered and put her supplies back in a wrist seal. 

“That is bold.” Shikaku Nara said as he eyed her up and down. 

“Kitsune-sama, Pardon my teammate’s bluntness.” Inoichi smiled. 

“He’s a Nara. It’s assumed.” She shrugged. 

“You already know who we are.” Shikaku stated. 

Minashi shrugged. “Well I’ve been around a while; plus isn’t it prominent that ANBU know who Clan Heirs are?” 

Shikaku hummed. 

“That and your fathers are famous. Well the Ino-Shika-Cho trio is famous. Your clans have been together since you joined Konoha. You three have always worked best together and have always gotten along better than any clan of Konoha.” 

Chouza chuckled and grabbed a seat. “So, you don’t think we’re predictable?” 

Minashi raised a brow. 

“Shinobi gossip.” He supplied. 

“That and a few irate Clan heirs asking in passing if their clans were predictable.” Inoichi smirked and took a seat. Shikaku sat across from Minashi not taking his eyes off her. 

“Oh boy.” Kushina sighed. 

“Yes.” Shikaku said sharp eyes looking all over Minashi. “It seems that someone must have gotten into Fugaku’s head. He wasn’t nearly as troublesome to talk to as normal.” 

“Well, there was a little chat here earlier between Fugaku, and the Hyuuga brothers against Kitsune-san.” Kushina smiled tightly. “Fugaku apparently broke a law and Kitsune called him out on it. Yet didn’t turn him in.” 

“He’s a brat that forgot his place.” Minashi grunted. “He’s been reminded and will reflect on his actions.” She stated simply. Shikaku raised a brow at her. His right hand raised to finger the scars on his face. They looked recent. Flesh still pink, but skin no longer red with irritation. 

Kushina squirmed beside Minashi when the silence stretched out as Minashi and Shikaku continued to stare at each other. 

“W-well, I’m going to go find Hizashi and tease him some more. Hopefully get some pictures.” She rambled before escaping the Jounin lounge. 

“Do you play Shogi?” Shikaku finally asked. 

Minashi hummed without changing expressions. “Maybe.” 

Shikaku reached back to his pouch and pulled out a medium portable set. 

“Care for a round?” 

Minashi nodded. He set up the board. “You sure you want to do this Nara?” she asked as they leaned over the board. Dark eyes glanced up when all the pieces were in position. 

“Hai. You are an Unknown still. Even with all the good you have been doing and have done for the village, my father and I do not have a good hold on just who you are. Not to mention what you are capable of. Everyone knows you are skilled since you are ANBU. This doesn’t even include your relationship with the Hokage. Father reported that you have the Hokage’s complete trust. What Father and I both want to know is how you tick. How do you think? How do you plan strategy? Tactics? Where are you from? Who in Konoha are you really protecting? Why move the Kyuubi when it was perfectly safe?”  

With every sentence they took their turns, having the game move quickly. Minashi only sparing a glance when it was her turn. Otherwise she stared at the Nara that hadn’t looked up from the board, observing her moves. 

“My story if for the Hokage only. He knows my mission.” She said evenly. Shikaku paused as he placed down his next piece. Minashi took her turn and eyed the board. She felt his eyes on her. 

“So, you do have an alternative motive for coming out of the shadows.” He frowned and looked back at the board. Minashi looked back up smirking. 

“Hai.” 

Some time passed as they continued to make their own moves. 

“What?” Click

“To protect Konoha.” Click

“That’s it?” Shikaku asked snapping his gaze back to her. Click. Minashi looked back up from the board smiling kindly. 

“That’s it.” He stared at her looking for a lie. Seeing none, their play continued.  

Minashi’s gaze went out of focus a while later, when she felt the hair on the back of her neck raise like she was being watched. Jiji was spying again. She then realized that the person she was avoiding was rushing towards her. “Well, seems like our time is up.” 

She stood and gave respectful bows to the clan heirs. “I hope to chat again soon.” 

“We aren’t finished.” Shikaku groused. 

“Aren’t we?” she smirked and disappeared in a swirl. 

 

Shikaku snapped his gaze back down at the board. His jaw dropped. Inoichi and Chouza leaned forward and choked.  

“She won!” Inoichi gasped. 

Shikaku frowned at the board as his hand came up and covered his mouth. His mind replayed the game over and couldn’t find a solid strategy in her moves. 

“Hatake-san!” Chouza yelped started. Inoichi jumped up as well to see the older man glaring into the room. 

“Where did she go?” He frowned. 

“Rumors are she’s a sensor.” Shikaku said absently. “She felt you coming. She also was putting a seal over her ANBU tattoo when we arrived. Apparently to ignore the summons.” He sighed and leaned back. “Well shit. She went right for the kill. I thought I had blocked that route.” 

Sakumo walked over and looked the board over. “Highly aggressive attack.” He tilted his head at it. “Although, it looks like there were a lot of decoys made of the higher pieces. You fell into her trap.” 

“I’ve never seen this type of trap before.” Shikaku muttered. 

“Any idea where she went?” he asked again. 

“She disappeared in a black swirl like flash.” Chouza provided. 

Sakumo grunted and summoned up a medium brown and black wolf. “Where was she sitting?” 

Shikaku pointed across from him. The wolf moved to take a sniff. 

“Anything Niwa?” 

The wolf sniffed again, but instead sneezed. “No, but someone needs to wash that. There are faint scents of blood. No female scents on it from recently besides Kushina-chan.” 

Sakumo stared at Niwa. “She doesn’t have a scent.” 

“Sorry Sakumo-sama.” 

Sakumo rubbed at his eyes in annoyance. “Thank you Niwa.” He bowed his head and disappeared in a puff of smoke. “I’m sure you can hunt her down Sakumo. It’s just one ANBU woman. I’m sure you’ll earn her respect if you can catch her. Maybe even respect her in return if she evades capture. You Are one of my best trackers Sakumo.” Sakumo mimicked his esteemed Hokage. “Crazy old man is toying with me. That Female is in on his games. I Know it.” He muttered on a growl leaving a silent Jounin lounge. 

Silence reigned for a few heart beats.  

“Well that was interesting.” Inoichi smirked. “Someone is getting under the White Fang’s skin.” 

“More like testing his legendary patience.” Shikaku countered. 

“Why do I feel like Konoha is going to continue to get interesting?” Chouza mused while munching on his snack. 

Shikaku sighed. “Because we have an unknown prankster running around targeting clans and an Unknown Kunoichi popping out of the shadows and flipping Konoha upside down at the same time.” 

Chouza just hummed and took another bite. 

“I wonder if my dad knows anything about her.” Inoichi mused. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 30

 

Sakumo ran his fingers over the patch of moss. His keen eyes noted the recent disturbance. Standing he headed in the direction his target used the branch to kick off from.

His senses were sharpened, his focus high. He would catch his prey. His movements were silent as he leapt through the trees tracking his target down.

He slowed when he came to the edge of the tree line. Putting a hand on his Tanto, he prepared for a possible battle. Quietly, he crept from the tree line and into the open area. Closer he moved to the edge of the cliff. His sharpened eyes looked over the edge and glared when he realized that his target had let herself be caught.

Black hair blew in the wind across the Hokage Mountain. A lithe figure stood with hands clasped behind her back.

“Are we done with this game?” Sakumo growled as he landed on the Shodaime’s head behind her.

“I hear a lot.” The woman spoke. “I’ve seen a lot.” She didn’t even twitch. “Yet, very few have been able to track me down when I don’t want them to.” Finally, she turned her head until one Sharp blue eye landed on him. Sakumo stiffened at the look in them. That was a look of a predator. “Your reputation is earned Hatake-san.”

Sakumo didn’t move to near her. He felt like if he did, she’d either bolt again, or he’d meet the tip of her own blade.

“You ignored both summons of the Hokage.”

Kitsune’s eyes rolled as her stance relaxed. “Hiruzen just wants to push something that I think should wait a bit longer.”

Sakumo relaxed a fraction when she did. He even chanced moving closer until he was standing beside her, only a few feet separating them.

He glanced at her features. The lines running down her cheeks reminded him of Jiraiya, but hers were slimmer, more elegant. She wasn’t dressed as ANBU or on duty Jounin. Her Blue Kimono enhanced her Blue eyes as they scanned over Konoha.

“You have this village in an uproar.” Sakumo said when the silence had stretched out for too long.

Kitsune chuckled. “But a good uproar.” She stated. Sakumo grunted his reluctant agreeance.

“Why have you sought me out Hatake-san?” She questioned turning to face him. Sakumo looked down at her. She was barely to his shoulders. His eyes skimmed the Fuuin work down her right arm. He wouldn’t be surprised to find more down her left.

“What is your connection to my ward Minashi Uzumaki-Namikaze?” He asked bluntly.

Kitsune raised a sleek brow at him.

“You came ‘out of the shadows’ as soon as Minashi arrived in Konoha. You know how and why the Kyuubi was moved to her. Which means you know where the key is.”

Kitsune didn’t blink. “What do you want with the key?”

“To close her seal.” He answered frankly. Kitsune’s eyes widened.

“What?” she hissed softly.

“I cannot trust that a five-year-old girl knows when she is or isn’t being manipulated. I finally got a look at her seal. It is open. I know enough about jinchuriki seals to know that. I also know that too much Bijuu chakra will poison her. I believe it already is. She has been having episodes of weakness. I believe she is hiding her exhaustion of fighting it until she crashes.”

“You haven’t discussed this with Hiruzen.”

“Because he would lie to me. Again.

“Did you stop to think that it was because he knew what he was doing?” Kitsune countered.

“Hiruzen knows just about the same as I do where Fuuinjutsu is concerned. More so in Jinchuriki seals when Kushina arrived to be able to protect her. Now it’s my turn. I am trying to protect a little girl I see as one of my pups. You will tell me where the key is so I can close her seal and save her life before that Bijuu takes it away.”

Kitsune’s eyes were sharp on Sakumo.

They stared in silence for a while as the afternoon turned to evening, the sun slowly creeping to the horizon.

“Hatake-san, who is the King of Konoha?” Kitsune asked.

He frowned. “How does this-“

“Answer it.” She said firmly.

Sakumo reigned in his annoyance as he took her in again before looking over Konoha. He’d spent all afternoon running over Konoha hunting her down. Only stopping to pick Kakashi up and drop him and Minashi off with Kushina who had been happy to do evening training with them.

“The Children.” He said easily and looked back at her. Her face was soft with a smile.

“Correct.” She whispered and turned towards the Hokage Tower. “I’ll meet you in the office to continue this conversation.”

“What?” he glared, but she was in a flash of black swirls. “Shit.” He cursed and leapt off the mountain for the Hokage Tower.

The Office doors opened for him by the ANBU before they left, and he was left to see Hiruzen and Kitsune behind the Hokage desk. Chakra flared and Sakumo knew that a privacy seal had been activated. He put on his poker face and approached the Hokage’s desk. Hiruzen was smiling at him calmly.

“Sakumo. It seems that you had an interesting afternoon.”

Sakumo deadpanned him. Kitsune flicked Hiruzen’s ear. He grunted and rubbed it before shooting her a glare.

“Ba~ka~” she drawled out. Hiruzen pouted up at her. She just raised a brow. “Stop teasing the wolf.”

“But it’s fun. He makes it easy.” Hiruzen muttered and looked away from her.

Kitsune rolled her blue eyes even as her lips twitched with a smile.

“I know, but this is supposed to be serious.”

“Hai, hai, I saw it. You were right again.” Hiruzen muttered even as he packed and lit his pipe.

Sakumo could only stare as he got to witness what had only been hinted at. Kitsune and Hiruzen were close. He wondered how that happened. How was it different from any other relationship he’s seen?

“So, Sakumo, you raised concerns about Minashi-chan?”

“Yes. I’ve already given Kitsune-san my request.”

“I don’t have it.” She said with a shrug before her eyes went out of focus. “I have a theory though on where it might be. I’ll be doing some research into that during my vacation.”

“Kitsune.” Hiruzen said sharply. “You are to rest. Not go off hunting theories.”

Kitsune cleared out an ear before looking at Hiruzen. “Did you say something Old monkey?” She smiled. Hiruzen’s eye twitched as he bit down hard on his pipe.

“Insufferable brat.” He mumbled and looked back at Sakumo. “Sakumo, I swear that Minashi is fine. I was already aware her seal was open. Inojiro and I were even able to talk to the Bijuu. He is not hurting her or manipulating her.”

Sakumo just stared into Hiruzen’s brown eyes. All he saw was truth. Something in his chest unwound ever since he saw Minashi’s seal.

“She’s alright?” he whispered.

Hiruzen smiled kindly. “She has her Bijuu wrapped around her finger.” Sakumo saw Kitsune flinch slightly. Hiruzen’s lips twitched. Sakumo flagged the scene in his mind.

“Alright. Now can someone explain to me Kitsune and Minashi’s relationship?”

“That is above your clearance.” Hiruzen said firmly before smirking. “For now.”

Kitsune’s eye twitched as she narrowed them at Hiruzen. “Oi, are you making plans behind my back again you old Monkey?”

Hiruzen didn’t even flinch as he kept his eyes and smirk towards Sakumo.

Sakumo returned the stare. Suddenly his mind clicked when he realized what Hiruzen’s words meant. He paled.

Hiruzen smirked. Kitsune looked up and found Sakumo paled as a ghost.

“Huh. He figured it out.” She mused.

“He was hailed a genius in his youth, but his demeanor eventually shifted their gossip off of his brain and onto his other characteristics.”

“W-wh-what?” Sakumo finally choked out.

Hiruzen raised a hand before pointing to the Chair before his desk. Sakumo stumbled and collapsed into it.

“Kitsune-chan. If you would?” he asked.

Minashi nodded and four more Shadow Clones appeared before her solid barrier appeared. The clones popped and she nodded at Hiruzen.

“Sakumo, I’ve already sent correspondence to the Daimyo and received his approval. As of today, you will be marked as my Successor.”

“What? Why? I’ve never thought about being Hokage.” He stumbled over his words as he looked at Hiruzen and Kitsune with wide eyes.

“I have lived in the Shadows Hatake-san.” Kitsune said softly. “Because of that I was able to learn about the real people behind their shinobi masks. You are the best possible candidate for Yondaime at this time. Hiruzen is getting old. I’m not saying he couldn’t hold his seat easily for another twenty years, but with a new Hokage comes new ideas.”

“You know who we truly protect.” Hiruzen nodded. “Kitsune assured me you did, but I needed confirmation.”

“We were going to wait until your son and ward were out of the academy to confront you.” Kitsune glared down at Hiruzen. He just shrugged her glare off.

“Sakumo, when out on your last mission, did you feel it?” He asked.

Sakumo frowned and nodded. “It’s beginning. I can feel an unrest.”

Hiruzen nodded. “War is coming.”

“The cycle of hatred is coming around once again.” Kitsune hummed and Sakumo looked at her sharply.

“What?”

“The cycle of hatred.” She said with a brow raised.

“Actions in the Second war are sparking a Third.” Hiruzen sighed and rubbed his face. “I was born at the end of one war, Lead another, and now a third is beginning to rise. I am tired Sakumo.”

Kitsune placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed. “You have done well Hiruzen.” She said softly. “You have protected your people to the best of your ability. You are doing so again by preparing your successor before you’ve even set a resignation date.”

“This isn’t immediate?” Sakumo question shocked.

Kitsune glanced up at him. “Of course not. You need training in politics.”

“Oi.” He grunted offended. Kitsune just smirked.

She grunted when Hiruzen slapped at her stomach. “You have no right to talk about political training. You Fought a Kage when you were supposed to be working out a treaty.”

Kitsune just stared at Hiruzen. “He needed to be knocked down a peg before we would actually be able to talk. Rasa lost, it’s not my fault that all that desk time rusted his skills.”

Hiruzen sighed and rubbed his head. “Kitsune, please don’t antagonize the leader of our new ally.”

“Nope. Him and you both need the training.” She sniffed crossing her arms petulantly.

Sakumo listened as Hiruzen and Kitsune continued to bicker for a few more minutes including the facts of how Kitsune spoke with the Kazekage. He realized it then. How their relationship was different than any he’d seen before with the Hokage.

“You treat him like a human.” He whispered. Hiruzen and Kitsune went silent.

“Someone has to.” Kitsune shrugged. “Everyone forgets that the Kages are more than just leaders and protectors of the Villages. They are Human too.”

Sakumo looked to Hiruzen. “It makes sense now. Why you trust her so much. She doesn’t hold back the truth from you when you don’t want to hear it, doesn’t she?”

Hiruzen grunted and glared at she sheepish Kitsune.

“She doesn’t hold her punches.”

“She will be my advisor as well?” Sakumo asked.

“Duh.” Kitsune stated. “There is also a plan to form a younger group of Advisors just below my station as personal advisor. They will be hand chosen by you. The next Hokage can then choose to keep them or replace them with people he or she trusts. This is part of the new system we are working on getting approved by the Daimyo. We already have permission to mark you as the successor, just in case anything happens to Hiruzen before your induction. The mark has already been approved by the Daimyo.”

Hiruzen rolled back his robe and on the inner part of his wrist, black ink flare and Fire Three was bold on his skin. “Seal Masters or Previous Hokage will be able to confirm the mark if there is ever a question.” He said before rolling it back down. “If you accept, you will get your mark today as well, as only the current Hokage can mark their successor.”

Kitsune cleared her throat and Sakumo looked at her. “While we are on the subject, it will be recommended that within the first six months of your reign, pick a successor of your own.”

Sakumo raised a brow. “Why? That seems awfully short.”

Kitsune crossed her arms in challenge. “Shodaime barely was able to make it known that his brother was his pick as Niidaime. Niidaime died out in battle after choosing a successor from his team of students. Hiruzen has been damned lucky, but he’s also been called the God of Shinobi and Professor for a reason.”

“Your point?” he asked again.

“Konoha has a history of losing Good Hokages with succession being shaky. What happened if you died within a year of your reign due to war? Who would take your seat? Sandaime? He’s already done his time.”

“So, you want me to mark someone with no experience, no training?”

“Of course not!” she snapped. “Hiruzen would be there to train them. If you pick one six months into your reign, even if you did die after a year, they would have at least six months of training and Hiruzen to get them through it. Plus, we’re not asking you to pick a random shinobi. You are an Elite Jounin. Look at the generation behind you. Who would you think Hiruzen would have choose to from to replace him if you were not available? That is the list you start from.”

Sakumo stared at her sharp blue eyes before sighing. “Alright.”

“You accept then?” Hiruzen asked sitting up straighter.

“Hai.” He looked at Kitsune. “I look forward to getting to know you more Kitsune-san.”

Kitsune chuckled and nodded. “Same.” She glanced at Hiruzen. “Does this mean I’ll be splitting my missions between Team Cheetah and Sakumo’s team?”

Hiruzen hummed and puffed his pipe. “Yes, but I’d also like to partner you two up and then send you with others that will compliment your skills easily on missions.”

Sakumo and Kitsune shared a glance before Kitsune narrowed hers and snapped them to the smirking Hokage.

“Oi!” she growled. “Are you thinking of pairing us up with them? That is Over Kill!”

“But a damn fine team.” Hiruzen smirked.

Kitsune deadpanned him. “Yeah, if you want to destroy a small nation.”

“Are you saying you can’t keep them under control as my advisor?” Hiruzen smirked.

Kitsune just gave him a sharp grin. “Who said anything about controlling them? I’d probably be egging them on. You’d be leaving poor Sakumo there to control all four of us.”

Hiruzen’s face blanked of all emotion as brown met twinkling blue.

“Fine, you’ll partner up only where I need you five the most.”

“Then cycle Hatake and myself around the other Jounin teams to show our own teamwork.”

“Hai, Hai.” Hiruzen muttered and started writing notes for himself for future missions.

Sakumo just stared deadpanned at them. Hiruzen was going crazy if he though putting his Mysterious Advisor, himself, and the Sannin together. Rumors were that Kitsune was as strong if not stronger than the Sannin. Sakumo himself was almost as powerful. That was a lot of chakra out on the battlefield. Overkill. Kitsune had described it perfectly.

 

 

 

 

Sakumo looked down at his wrist. Calling chakra to the area, a bold Fire Four appeared on his skin. It tingled with traces of Hiruzen’s own chakra, showing that it was the Sandaime that had marked him. He also felt the trace amounts of a secondary chakra. Sakumo realized that it had to be Kitsune’s. But it was so flighty, that he couldn’t get a full read on it if he ever had to track it down.

 

A long sigh filled the air. Sakumo looked up to see that while Kitsune had released her barrier, she’d then collapsed down face first onto the couch.

Hiruzen chuckled. “You alright there Kitsune?” He called as he started shuffling through his paperwork.

“Getting better Hiruzen.” She mumbled back.

Hiruzen only shook his head and then met Sakumo’s gaze that had been bouncing between the two.

Hiruzen glanced at Kitsune and nodded when he realized her breathing had evened out. She probably wasn’t out cold, but she was giving them some sort of privacy.

“She is a unique individual.” He said softly, pulling Sakumo from rubbing the new seal. Sakumo’s dark eyes held wise brown.

“So it seems.” Sakumo muttered glancing back at her. “Can I really trust her with my life like you do Hiruzen?”

“Hai. Kitsune’s first mission is to protect the King of Konoha. Her secondary Mission is to protect Konoha as a whole. Within both of those, she will also make sure that her additional mission is completed.”

“And that is?”

“To protect the happiness and welfare of the one who protects them all.” He smiled. “I can’t tell you how much her compassion has been a Kami send.”

“The Trial.” Sakumo whispered.

Hiruzen nodded. “I was at a breaking point. A man I thought I knew all my life; had hurt the people I was to protect. I felt like a failure. She reminded me that I still had good people to lean on. Then when I needed a place to just breathe, she took me away so I could. I will never regret letting her into my life.”

“You two are very close.” Sakumo mused.

“We know each other’s burdens, all our secrets. I can’t tell you how happy I was that she was finally here to be at my side. Finally, someone that would understand me.”

“You love her.” Sakumo realized seeing it in the Hokage’s eyes and hearing it in the tone of his voice. Hiruzen just smiled.

“Ah, I do.” Hiruzen chuckled. “Don’t misunderstand me though. I love her like an annoying bratty little sister that has the luck to always be right. There are still places I put my foot down, but most of the time, she is right, and I can’t seem to find an argument against her. I have no doubt that you too will fall in love with her. It’s just part of who she is. Just like me, it will not be something romantic, but a love of understanding.” Hiruzen then frowned. “Well, eventually. There are somethings that even you will not get to know until she is ready.”

“Like what?” Sakumo asked.

“Her origins.” Hiruzen said simply and puffed on his pipe, his sharp eyes never leaving Sakumo.

Sakumo narrowed his. “You will not tell me after I take the hat?”

“It is her story to tell. She will build her allies as she needs them.”

Sakumo crossed his arms. “Orochimaru said something similar.”

“Because they are her Allies. They know her origins.” He then tilted his head. “I believe she also built the last wall of trust with Rasa by telling him as well.”

“Anyone else?” Sakumo asked dryly.

“Inojiro.” Hiruzen supplied. Sakumo stared. Hiruzen sighed. “Look, that woman has seen so much Sakumo. She knows she needs help. So, she gets it. He is her ally. He keeps her stable by confronting her past pain. I wish more of my shinobi were as proactive in their mental health as she is.”

“Just who is she Hiruzen? She doesn’t look like she’s even thirty.” He sighed rubbing his temple.

“She isn’t.” He answered simply. “That makes it all the more troublesome. The things she has seen and lived through. I’m in awe of her inner strength. You are known for your patience Sakumo. On and off the battlefield. You will need it with her. Be patient. Earn her full trust and she will reward you with the truth. One you may not be so shocked by in the end.”

“Stop rambling you old Monkey.” Minashi sighed from the couch without turning towards them. “I’ll tell him. Just not until after it.

Hiruzen sighed. “As you wish Kitsune.”

“Good. I’m going to go watch the Hyuuga roam Konoha. Then figure out how to dispel the Genjutsu the Uchiha are using to hide their Pink Hair. I can’t let the Prankster’s good work go to waste.” She smirked sitting up before breaking the privacy seal and leaping out the window.

Hiruzen pointed and glared at the open window. “Get used to that as well. The annoying ones always do it.”

Sakumo just raised a brow before chuckling. “I think I am starting to understand you a bit more Hiruzen.”

Hiruzen just smirked. “So, about that training.” He tossed a scroll at Sakumo. “Review that and tell me what you think about it.”

Sakumo’s eyes bugged at the title when he opened the scroll. It was the Suna Konoha treaty scroll. Hiruzen waved a hand at him.

“It’s just a copy. The original is in a secure place.”

Sakumo relaxed and moved to the couch Kitsune had once held.

“After that, you’ll need to arrange with Shikaro to borrow some of his Jounin for mock battles. You and Kitsune need to learn to fight together. Learn each other’s skills before I go tossing you out onto the field.”

“Hai.” Sakumo sighed already regretting his decision to accept the position.

 

 

 

 

Minashi sighed as she took a seat once again in the Jounin lounge the following morning. Her clone had reported that they were having a quiz. So Minashi sent another clone in her place. She has taken enough written exams for one lifetime. So, no thank you.

She couldn’t help the smile on her face as she remembered last night though. Just spending time goofing off with Kushina as they teased Minato. Kashi had been dragged into it since Sakumo stayed late at the Hokage’s office. It ended up being a sleepover at Minato’s apartment. Minashi would never tire of waking up in Kakashi’s arms. Slowly she was adjusting to their different but similar scents. She was adjusting that she lost the Kakashi she knew, but she was still already in love with the Honest and Caring person he already was. Even if he was a bit training crazy at times.

 

Propping her feet up on the couch, she curled them up so she could write against them. Minashi wanted to work on the next chapters of Jiraiya’s book. She knew she only had this week to do so, especially with the new development with Sakumo.

“You’re back.” Minashi had just barely put pen to paper when the voice spoke. She glanced up to see Shikaku sitting beside her feet staring at her again.

“Hai. My apartment is surprisingly too quiet. That and I did tell Hiruzen I would socialize. I was also hoping to get some work done on a hobby.”

Shikaku glanced down at the manuscript before looking back up at her. “Can you multitask?”

“Yes.” She said before smirking. “You want to go again?” She chuckled smirking. Shikaku nodded and they readjusted.

Shikaku and Minashi sat across from each other at the coffee table with cushions beneath them. Minashi kept the draft to the right of the board, so her left hand was free to play against the Nara.

Silence filled the air as the first game began. Minashi only glancing away from the draft to move a piece. The sounds of the tiles filled the empty lounge as it was still early morning.

Minashi barely noticed the sun’s accent outside the windows. Instead, she was mostly focused on rewriting plot and filling in holes. She added in smut for the women readers’ enjoyment, and fixed Jiraiya’s god awful grammar and punctuation.

Minashi paused as she ended another chapter. She really looked at the board and smirked before laying her last piece.

“Checkmate.” She called.

Shikaku cursed and glared at her. “You were barely focusing on the game. How did you beat me?”

‘I can’t really tell him I played hour after hour and month after month, against Shikamaru after Hinata and Boruto died.’

That and you studied all the Nara brat’s Memories of him playing against his father.

‘Ah. He’d actually told me thank you for that. Even though I’d made him cry.’ Minashi pushed the memory away. Shikamaru had at first been angry seeing strategies his father played against him, before Minashi explained that she missed Naruto. It was okay for him to miss his dad. He’d called her Troublesome blonde before telling her that his dad had been struggling to beat him before he passed away. ‘It won’t be long, and you’ll surpass me Shika.’ Shikamaru had choked out repeating his own father’s words to her. She’d held one of her best friends close as he grieved the rest of the night away.

“Well?” Shikaku grumbled as he reset the board.

Minashi swallowed thickly past her tight throat. “I wasn’t born smart.” She whispered. “I had to earn everything. All my skills, my strength, is because I’m a hard worker and just plain stubborn. My sensei once called me a genius of hard work. I don’t deserve a title of genius. I knew geniuses. I learned from them. But I can never be them.” She finished and looked up into dark eyes that were so familiar, yet so different.

Shikaku held her gaze before nodding and making the first move. Minashi was glad he didn’t prod further. Instead, she switched between playing game after game against him, and finishing up the last few chapters.

She could feel the curious eyes watching them as she continued to beat every strategy Shikaku threw at her. She could only smile fondly as she ended up just watching him instead of finishing the editing.

“Checkmate.” She called again at midday.

“Shit.” Shikaku growled and let his head drop heavily onto the table. He turned it enough to look up at her with determined eyes. “Again.” He demanded.

Minashi just chuckled at him fondly. “Sure.” She acquiesced. Shikaku stared at her for a moment before nodding and resetting.

“Have you even beat her once?” A new voice asked with humor clear in the tone, from behind her. She’d felt his approach but didn’t recognize his signature right away.

“Fine. You try Tou-san.” Shikaku huffed and scooted over. Minashi didn’t move, but her eyes tracked the Elder Nara. She remembered it now from the trial. Calculating eyes watched her in returned as he took his son’s seat.

“Hello Nara-sama.” Minashi greeted.

“Kitsune-sama.” Shikaro greeted in return.

“Sama?” She hummed tilting her head as he waved for her to make the first move. Click.

“You are the Personal Advisor to the Hokage.” Click.

“Hm.” Click.

“How long have you and my son been playing?” Click.

“Since eight.” Shikaku provided absently as his eyes moved from the board, his father, and Minashi. Click.

“Shikaku-kun has been very kind in keeping me entertained.” Minashi smiled. Click.

“He is one of the brightest of our Clan.” Click. “Rarely challenged by others in Shogi.”

“It is an honor to challenge him then.” Click.

“Challenged but never lost to others beside myself and his mother.” Click. Shikaro said clearly.

Minashi paused and met his sharp eyes. “That is because you taught him.” Click.

“Correct. We know his moves. We know how he thinks. So, we can predict his line of thinking.” Click.

Minashi raised a brow. “Isn’t that how it works though? Well, at least until he surpasses you both.” Click.

Shikaro held her gaze. “You think he’ll be able to outsmart me?” Click.

Minashi rolled her eyes. “Do not twist my words Nara-sama.” Click. “I’m merely saying that it’s the duty for children to surpass their parents.”

Click. Shikaro hummed as he looked down at the board. “That is very true.”

Click. “Check.” Shikaro said looking up to meet her eyes. Minashi didn’t even blink. She only reached for the board, grabbed her piece, and moved it. Click.

“Checkmate.” She said in return. Shikaro startled and snapped his gaze down. His eyes widened the longer he looked down at the board. He then smirked and looked up at her.

Something bubbled in her stomach that unnerved her.

“You had a great teacher Kitsune-sama.” He smiled at her. “Funny, I felt like I was playing family.” He whispered for just their small group.

Minashi didn’t let her body react. She kept her face blank, breathing even, and eyes steady.

“Did you realize Kitsune-san,” She noticed the drop of Honorific “That if one pays enough attention, they can connect all the coincidences around you. Though they are very far-fetched. Yet nothing else fits. Shimura’s Trial filled in a few pieces of the puzzle for me. I’m sure no one else noticed. Then I was informed of the treaty with Suna. There were aspects of it that seemed different than any other treaty before.” He picked up his ‘king’ piece. “Then add in the conversation I had with Hokage-sama and Hatake-san.” He twirled the piece between his fingers. “You work fast Kitsune-san. I’ll give you that. Everyone has bought your story that you were deep undercover or just stayed so far into the shadows, there wasn’t a hint of your existence.” The piece stopped flipping and he set the ‘king’ piece down again. “At least until a special little girl showed up in Konoha.” Shikaro’s eyes were narrowed and sharp on her. “You should have arrived before her. Or waited a few months before coming out of the shadows Kitsune-san. It doesn’t look good for you. But you couldn’t. You needed to make a place for yourself. A stor-“ Shikaro froze when Minashi suddenly lashed out at him and Shikaku. They were gone in a whirling twist.

 

Minashi glared down at Shikaro and Shikaku. They were groaning and vomiting on her kitchen floor. She huffed and went to her apartment’s front door. There she reactivated the seals and added on a second and third layer for safety. When she was done ten minutes later, Shikaku and Shikaro were finally starting to try to get to their feet.

“Kami Damned Naras.” She snapped. “You couldn’t leave it alone! You would have been filled in soon enough.” She huffed and rubbed her temple. “Damn it Jiji. First having to tell Sakumo within a year and now these two? Who next? Inoichi? Minato? Kushina?”

“What the hell was that?” Shikaro groaned as he used the counter to stand.

Minashi glared at him. “That was my version of the Hiraishin. I don’t have perfect Chakra control so the best I can do is use more chakra. That is the side effect for any passengers. My chakra doesn’t play nice with others until they get used to it. I think it was once described as like getting sucked into a whirlpool.”

“Accurate.” Shikaku grumbled as he just rolled to his butt and leaned against the wall. “Why was I dragged away too?”

“Because you’re as bull headed as your father!” Minashi snapped and ran a hand through her hair. “Kami I knew I couldn’t avoid you both forever, but I was hoping to get a few months more before you started putting effort into hunting me down.” She stomped away so she could pace and think. Kurama wasn’t helping with his snickering echoing in her head.

“You knew we’d see the holes in your story? The coincidences around you?” Shikaro said as he helped Shikaku up and followed Minashi into the living room. They sat and she tossed them two water bottles.

“You’re Naras.” She deadpanned.

They drank to clear the taste and to watch as Kitsune paced back and forth before them.

“A Nara taught you to play Shogi.” Shikaro said neutrally.

Minashi stopped and glanced at him. “That’s the final clue that gave it away?”

Shikaro shrugged. “I have a few theories running around in my head. Some are getting more outlandish than the last.”

Minashi raised a brow. “Oh? What’s the most outlandish one?”

“You really are a survivor of Uzushio and are either the mother or aunt to Minashi Uzumaki.”

“Nope.” Minashi rolled her eyes and sat down in the chair across from the Nara’s.

“That isn’t the most outlandish one Tou-san.” Shikaku frowned.

“It isn’t.” He nodded and Minashi raised a challenging brow. “The theory that Kitsune and Minashi Uzumaki are the same person is the most outlandish.”

Minashi stared at Shikaro as he studied her reactions. “What makes you think that theory?”

“You’ve never crossed paths with her. Yet you have inserted yourself with two of the adults in her life. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were seen with Kushina more often in the coming months. She felt that you had Uzumaki Chakra. I saw her look at the Trial. You are a Seal’s mistress, I’m sure it’s not hard to make a seal to hold a henge of a child and turn red hair blonde.”

Shikaku looked between her and his father with wide sharp eyes, learning from his father, yet whirling with his own theories.

“There is only one thing I can’t figure out.” Shikaro said leaning forward. “Why?”

“Why What?” Minashi asked.

“Why go this far? Why pretend to be a child? Why risk your life for a village not your own?”

‘A village not her own? How Dare He!’

Minashi’s eyes darkened as both her and Kurama rose up in anger. Her eyes bled red and slitted as her K-9’s sharpened.

Konoha is my Home. Never accuse me of that again Nara. I gave up EVERTHING to Protect Konoha.” Minashi snarled, her voice deepened into a growl.

Shikaro swallowed at the thick Killer Intent flooding the room. But he also felt it. The Bijuu chakra. She was the Jinchuriki.

“Tou-san!” Shikaku hissed and yanked at his sleeve. “I think you’re onto something but also way off!” Shikaku eyed Minashi as she reigned in her temper. Her Blue eyes remained slitted with her residual anger.

“How so?” Shikaro said keeping his eyes off the angry ones of the Kunoichi he’d just angered.

Shikaku instead looked to Minashi. “I remember something from the trial. It was something you said that stuck out to me the most. How if you weren’t there Danzo could have gotten away with everything. Gotten away with killing another clan. Taking eyes, using the Shodaime’s DNA, attempting to use the Kyuubi.”

Shikaro stared at his son as he tried to recall her wording. He sucked in a gasp as the most impossible piece made it all fit.

“It did happen. Didn’t it?” Shikaku said calmly.

Minashi just stared at them. Her eyes glazed over as she remembered Sasuke’s pain of betrayal when he left to hunt his clan killer. Learning his brother was just trying to protect Him and Konoha. Learning the truth about Danzo. Helping Tsunade to grieve.

A shaking hand reached up for the necklace beneath her shirt. Pulling it out to be able to touch some anchor. She clutched it tight as her memories turned darker. All their friends dying to protect them. Watching her own brother died to protect her. Erasing them all to give them a second chance.

“That’s the Shodaime’s necklace.” Shikaro whispered to Shikaku. “I just saw Tsunade-sama wearing it this morning.”

“But I’ve been with her all morning. They couldn’t have-“

“There are two.” Shikaro hissed as his eyes brightened. “She really is. I didn’t think your theory could connect them, but they do. It connects all the pieces.”

“So, she is from the future?”

“Hai.” Shikaro mumbled as he realized Kitsune was lost in painful memories if the tightness in her eyes was any clue. “And it looks like a dark one.”

Shikaku saw Kitsune’s tense frame. “Kitsune-san?” he called, but she didn’t react.

“Uzumaki.” Shikaro called instead, louder.

She twitched.

“Minashi.” Shikaro tried again. She blinked and blinked again before taking a deep breath and closing her eyes. She stayed that way taking deep breaths.

It wont happen. Kurama reassured her. You are gaining allies to keep it from happening.

‘They won’t have to live the life we did.’ She confirmed before opening her eyes. Two sets of Sharp black eyes watched her wearily. She took another deep breath before releasing the Kitsune Mask. Black turned Blonde. Facial markings disappeared to instead turn to whiskers. A henge went over her outfit to include just her robe and hat over her casual clothes.

“Hello Nara-sama, Shikaku-kun, I am Minashi Uzumaki-Namikaze, Rokudaime Hokage. Shikamaru warned me of his father but said nothing of the brilliance of his grandfather. It’s very troublesome.” Minashi grunted at the end of her introduction.

Both just sat there blinking at her.

“No questions?” She mused.

“H-How?” Shikaro choked, shocked that their most impossible theory was sitting right before them.

“Studying Fuuinjutsu under the Reanimated Shodaime, Niidaime, and Yondaime. Preparing Tactics and strategy with the Reanimated Sandaime and Nara Clan head. Training with the Kage Council of the Shinobi Alliance. Laying out the completed seal and combining Bijuu chakra with the last Kage level Chakra holders of the Shinobi Alliance. Then praying to Kami that I landed back far enough to make a difference.” She deadpanned.

“I was right?” Shikaku whispered. “But that was an Impossible theory!” He exclaimed.

Shikaro sighed and placed a hand on his shoulder to settle his teenage son down. “No need to repeat the obvious son. As Impossible as it seems, it happened, and it looks like we are now in the loop.”

“Yes.” Minashi drawled annoyed. “Much earlier than I wanted as well. Things are moving much faster than I wanted. First Sakumo’s successor mark, and now the Nara heads.”

“You were going to include us?” Shikaro confirmed.

“After I’d made Genin. Same for Sakumo. Before we made Chuunin in the Fall exams being hosted by Konoha. And it was only going to be you Shikaro-san to start with. When Shikaku-kun had taken over, so would he take over the right to know if he too was Jounin Commander.”

Shikaku winced. “This is my fault then. I told Tou-san you beat me in Shogi. But that your playing style felt familiar. So, I was going to challenge you some more. I didn’t realize what it was until Tou-san said it.”

“I invited myself to watch.” Shikaro sighed. “I noticed it as I watched your last game. The fact that you were playing with a Nara style of strategy with a few unpredictable moves thrown in.” He then smiled. “Children are to surpass their parents huh?”

Minashi felt a small smile on her face as good memories of Shikamaru popped up. His bored looks, his triumphant smirk when he beat her again, his soft look when talking about Temari.

“He was such a pain in the ass.” She whispered. “So damn lazy.”

“That’s pretty normal.” Shikaro nodded as he crossed his arms.

Minashi shook her head. “No, Jiji said that he was the laziest Nara he’d ever met.” She then chuckled. “Choji and Naruto agreed when they theorized about him though. He’s so lazy because when he needs too, Shikamaru’s brain would work faster and harder than any other. His laziness meant that all his energy went into those moments of brilliance.”

Shikaro eyed Shikaku. “Your kid is going to be troublesome.”

Shikaku groaned and threw his head back. “Mendokusai.” He grumbled.

Minashi twitched.

Kami it is hereditary. Kurama groaned and covered his ears, echoing her own thoughts.

Minashi’s lips began twitching before she couldn’t hold it back. She threw her head back and laughed. She laughed and laughed until she had tears streaming down her face. Tears of joy and longing for the same words from a different mouth.

Slowly Minashi regained her composure and dismissed the Kage henge. She sat back in her clothes and met the gazes of the Naras before her.

“Hai, he will be. But he’ll make you proud.” She smiled at them.

Shikaro smirked. Shikaku had a soft smile.

Minashi calmed and looked at them with a serious gaze. “You do not know me. But I hope you will trust me. With that, I ask for your help in protecting the future of Konoha. Will you lend me your aid?”

“You speak of my grandson with fondness. You looked at my own son with that same fondness. You are not lying. As Head of the Nara clan, you have mine, and my Clan’s help.” He bowed at the waist. Shikaku following a moment later.

“I, Shikaku Nara, also swear to aid you in any way possible to protect the King of Konoha.”

Minashi felt her eyes burn. “Thank you.”

“So, can we have another match?” Shikaku smirked. Shikaro sighed. Minashi snickered.

“Sure. I’d love to. Can we return to the Lounge? I do need to socialize more with the Jounin.”

“Sure.” He nodded before paling. “Can we walk or roof hop?” he whispered.

Minashi snickered but nodded.

“Before you two run off. I have a couple more questions. Who else is in the know and are you really an adult or adult in a child’s body?”

“Hokage, Sannin, Rasa of Suna, and Inojiro. And the cost of jumping back was my age. I’m physically in the body of a five-year-old.”

Shikaro eyed her. “That isn’t a henge.”

“Blood Henge Transformation.” She smirked. His eyes lit with interest.

“Really?”

“Hai, now, shall we Shikaku-kun?”

 

 

 

 

Shikaro leaned on the doorway to the Hokage’s office. Two of the people he was seeking out were once again talking in hushed whispers at the Hokage’s desk.

“Do you have a moment Hokage-sama? We need to talk.” He called shutting the door behind him.

Inojiro straighten to greet him but saw the seriousness in his friend’s eye. “I’ll leave you-“

“All of us.” Shikaro reiterated. Inojiro froze and shot a look to the Hokage.

Hiruzen’s eyes were narrowed on Shikaro. “Leave us.” He ordered the ANBU. Once gone, Shikaro felt the privacy seal slip into place. “Speak Shikaro.”

“Shikaku and I have sworn allegiance with the Roku. With this will come the support from the clan should she ever need our assistance.”

Hiruzen stared before his head thumped to the desk with a whimper. “Damn you Shikaro, she’s going to kill me. I was pushing my luck getting Sakumo marked early. Now you figure it out before we can bring you in on it?”

Inojiro gave his Hokage an understanding look. Inojiro glanced back up to his friend that was staring at him. Inojiro gave him a tight smile.

“Gomen ne. It was SS-rank. I wanted to tell you, hell I needed your advice, but I couldn’t. You know what would happen if her origins got out?”

“I do. What I want to know is why a Kage from another Nation knows.”

Hiruzen sat up. “Minashi was best friends with the Godaime Kazekage. The youngest son of the Yondaime Kazekage. Also, the one destined to have the Ichibi sealed within him. It finalized the treaty as well.”

Shikaro nodded and grabbed a seat. Inojiro joined him. “So, tell me what her plans are and if you know what she’s changed so far, or is planning to change soon.”

“Something upcoming is Hatake’s death. She’ll prevent it.” Inojiro admitted.

“She admitted that it will be changing the Yondaime.” Hiruzen sighed.

“Who was it before?” Shikaro asked.

Hiruzen smirked. “Minato Namikaze.”

Shikaro raised a brow. “That’s a bold move. He’s still young.”

“Sakumo wasn’t available and I apparently didn’t want to choose from my students then. So, I had to wait for Minato.”

“What was wrong with your students now? Any of them would make good candidates.”

Hiruzen snorted. “I’ve been told on multiple accounts that they actually don’t. But they are back and together because Minashi brought them back.”

“Just as she exposed Shimura.” Shikaro finished.

“Hai.” Hiruzen nodded. “And even she keeps denying to taking the hat. Even with her getting a position in the public eye, she still refuses.” Hiruzen replaced his pipe into his mouth, but the smirk was still at his lips. “For now.” He whispered, but both still heard.

Shikaro raised a brow at his scheming Hokage. He chose to ignore that for now.

“So, does she have anything planned for the upcoming war?” He asked.

Hiruzen grunted. “Of course, you figured that out too.” He muttered and pulled out a scroll. “She hasn’t talked much about it. But from the spy reports, and skirmishes, we are starting to get an outline of what we will be walking into.”

“Good. Let’s get started then.” He moved closer and grabbed the scroll of notes even as Hiruzen began retelling the verbal reports.

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 31

 

“I thought we were going back to the lounge?” Shikaku yawned.

Minashi hummed as she walked with the younger man. “We will. But I’m hungry and you’re buying.”

“What? Why?” he groaned.

“You haven’t beaten me in Shogi yet.” She smirked.

He groaned. “Mendokusai.”

Minashi smil