Author's Note: Shh, no one is going to notice that this is yet another new story that I'm writing and are just going to enjoy the fact that it's got Minato - my babe - as the main character, right? No one is going to notice? Anyway, I have been thinking about this idea for a little while now and I'm excited to see if it's well received! I am open to the pairings! Also, if you like the idea of Itachi being a jedi, you should totally check out my new crossover, His Path. XD Anyway, let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I own nothing!

Warnings: Language, OOCness, Un-beta'd.

Word Count: 4,208

Minato had a dream of when he was young - or perhaps it was a memory - and it was when he was so young, everyone stood so tall and spoke so maturely that most everything of what is said. It was all mostly noise. Minato just remembers the bottom half of his mother's face. He could see her full, plump lips, stained a beautiful red color as she spoke to him. There was a single black mark at the corner of her lips, a beauty mark. Her words meant nothing to him, it was all just noise and when she turned away from him, the noise stopped.

She dragged him along through a dimly lit forest, a lantern in one of her hands to help light the way down the path in front of them. After a few moments of him struggling to keep up with her larger strides, she turned and picked him up, propping him onto her hip as she walked. Minato didn't get much sleep before she pulled him out of bed, saying something that he didn't understand and mentioning his daddy before they set out away from their home.

Minato has never been so far from home. He never left the circle of land around their home that acts as their yard. He wasn't allowed to go into the trees, his mother said that there was monsters in the forest that liked to eat little boys like him. So he stayed away, content with playing in his yard by himself. Minato passed the time mostly by reading, loving to read and learn about all sorts of different things but at that time, it was all simplistic things in the grand scheme of things.

Minato rested his head against his mother's shoulder, listening to the sounds of the forest and his mother's gentle footsteps through the dark night, trying not to disturb the nightlife.

Minato has had this dream a hundred times, and always there is a little time skip where he woke up again to his mother arguing with someone, raising her voice enough to wake him. He doesn't remember what was said, but he could feel her wrap herself around him, turning away a bit to try and block Minato from the person that she's talking to. She dropped the lantern. It hit the ground and the fire started to spread.

There is a moment where Minato was so terrified - but it had to of been longer than a moment - because when he finally mustered the courage, he turned around in his mother's grip to see a shadow of a man against the forestry. All Minato could do was stare at the shadow that seemed to be larger than life, stretching for miles against the trees as if he was thirty feet tall. The fire danced around them for a moment as Minato's eyes water with fear before the shadow lunged.

Minato jerks awake, looking around the dark room trying to find the shadow in the darkness, but it was gone. He brings his hands up to his face, feeling clammy palms press against a sweating face. His face, neck, back and chest were covered in sweat as if the inferno was in his room rather than the forest in his dreams. He's had this dream for as long as he can remember.

After that memory, the next memory he had was being cared for by an old couple that took him in when they found him half dead in the forest. He was starved, dehydrated, dirty and bitten up by bugs when they found him.

Minato was grateful to them. They were the ones who gave him his name, since he was only five years old and couldn't remember anything else. Little snippets of things he learned and the place where he lived and his mother's lips and chin, but everything else was gone. He was so young that he couldn't remember them now that he was older.

At ten years old, Minato was healthy and well cared for and his new family took such good care of him that he was loosing interest in finding out what ultimately happened. His life began to move on and while he was always curious, he also had other things that he had to focus on.

"Minato!" His father, Kazuhiro, calls for him from the small house on the hill.

Minato glances up from his book to see his father waving his hand around a bit to help draw attention to him. Minato closes the book up and stands, brushing the leaves from the tree overhead of him that fell and settled around him in the long hours he had been sitting there.

"Yes, father?" Minato calls, walking out to where his father of the past five years could see him.

"Can you go fetch water from the river?" he calls.

Minato nods, smiling broadly. "Okay!" He waves his hands around, waiting a moment to watch his father step back inside before putting the book down and darting up the hill to the side of their little quaint little home to grab the buckets by the back porch. He takes them back down the hill passed the tree line, pausing only to grab his book and walks through the forest toward the river.

He wasn't able to see his house from the river, but he could see the smoke that came from the chimney to show that his mother was cooking dinner. He lays the book down and fills the buckets with water before carrying them back slowly, up the hill, trying not to spill, before making it to the house and leaving the buckets by the door, knocking a few times before turning around and running back down the hill, using the slope to pick up speed. He could his father call out his thanks to Minato as the boy returns to the river and sits down with the book to finish reading.

It was early evening, Minato still had time to read before his mother would be done with dinner and he would have to return home.

Minato puts his bare feet into the water, letting it cool him down as he read quietly to himself for a few minutes. He swings his legs around a bit, listening to the splashing of the water.

Minato lays back, holding the book above him, continuing to read to himself until he felt something standing over him. Minato moves the book to his chest and blinks in surprise to see another boy just a few years older than him with large brown eyes staring down at him curiously.

Minato blinks a few times before saying, softly, "Hello."

The boy smiles charmingly, eyes crinkling. "Hi!"

Minato smiles. "Can I help you?"

The boy drops down to his butt, legs pulled up to his chest. He drums his fingers against his kneecaps, tilting his head to the side, brown hair falling that way. "Sorry to bother you," the older boy says. "I come back here often and see you reading all the time. What are you reading? Something interesting?"

Minato offers the book to the older boy. He does and touches the smooth leather-bound book cover for a moment careful of the item that wasn't his before opening up to the first page, reading the words. Minato just sat there, looking up at the older boy, watching him read quietly to himself, lips moving silently as he flips the page and continues.

Minato pulls his feet out of the water, waving them around a bit to dry them off before settling them in the grass next to him.

"What are you doing, Hashirama?" another voice says.

Minato looks above himself to see another boy, this one with all dark features, hair and eyes. The new boy, also older than him, steps closer to the brown haired boy, Minato now knows is Hashirama, and eyes Minato wearily.

"I'm reading, Madara," Hashirama says, wiggling the book around before dropping his legs to the ground and laying the book down on his thighs so that he can read better. "It's a book of about a samurai, I think."

Madara lowers next to Hashirama, glancing down at the page, dark eyes scanning it before he looks up at Minato to make sure he hasn't moved, before looking back to keep reading, then back up at Minato, then to the book. Again and again, until he's too enraptured in the book too that he forgets to look up and be watchful of Minato.

Minato lays there, eyes turned toward the sky, listening to the two strange boys next to him breathing, huffing under their breath, and flipping the pages of the book they are borrowing from him. He watches the clouds in the sky as they float on by leisurely as the heavens begins to change colors, going from blue to a starburst of yellow, red, orange and pink.

Once Minato registered how late it was, he sat up and turned toward the two boys, who were enraptured by the book.

"Hi, guys," Minato says, waving his hand around. It takes a moment before both boys look up at him, surprised, as if they forgot that he was there. That wouldn't surprise him though, he's been sitting there in a daze while they read for over an hour. Once both the boys look at him, Minato offers a little smile. "I have to go home now. I need my book back, though. My dad will be so mad if I left it. I'm sorry."

"Oh!" the brunette says, brown eyes widening. "I'm sorry! I was so curious, I didn't even realize that time has past! Forgive me!" He closes the book and offers it back to Minato. "Thank you for letting us borrow it. It is such a good story!"

"Yes..." the black haired boy says, scratching the back of his head, embarrassed. "Thank you."

Minato laughs. "It's okay! I'm glad that you guys like it. If you would like to keep reading it, I live close by if you ever want to visit."

Hashirama smiles kindly. "Oh! Where?"

Minato points toward the smoke over the tree line. "There. Oh, I'm Minato, by the way!"

"Hashirama!" The brown haired boy says, even though Minato already knew that.

"Madara," the black haired boy says, offering a tiny nod.

"Do you guys live close by too?" Minato asks curiously. Both nod, but don't elaborate. Minato doesn't push it, but was a bit curious. "Alright," he says, taking the book back from Hashirama and jumping to his feet. "Bye! Goodnight!"

"Night!" Both boys call after him.

Minato races off into the woods back to his home, practically glowing in excitement. There wasn't many young children around his age close by. These two were the first he's met so far. They were admittedly a bit strange, but Minato was happy to meet them regardless. Truth be told, it filled Minato with pride to hear about them liking the book, because it was something that his father wrote.

Once Minato made it home, he was bouncing into the tiny kitchen, glowing with excitement. He steps into the next room and puts the book onto the shelf before joining his father at their small table while his mother bustling around in the kitchen. She smiles at him lovingly before continuing to finish up with dinner. Her peppered hair, similar to his father's, is pulled up into a tight bun on the back of her head, is as crisp as always.

"You seem happy," Kazuhiro says, looking down at Minato through drooping dark brown eyes. "Did something good happen to you?"

Minato nods, beaming at his father. "Yes, I met some other boys over at the river. They read some of your book, and liked it!"

Kazuhiro smiles warmly, deep lines from years of smiling crinkle around his lips. "That's very nice to hear. Did you mind your manners?"

Minato nods. "Yes, father. I told them where I live, I hope I get to see them again," Minato says softly, his loneliness peaking into his words without him being able to stop them. He is content with his life as it is, grateful to his parents for looking after him when they didn't have to. They had an older son that they haven't seen in a long time, because he's off traveling the world. He used to send letters to them but stopped years ago. They feared the worst, Minato knew, but they have no solid idea as to what is going on.

Minato never met his parent's real child but they had nothing but wonderful things to say about him. They obviously missed him and wished that he would return home safely one day and their worries would finally be sated. Minato thinks that him going to them was like a beacon of hope for them and even a way of distracting them from their pain and worry over their own child. He was something for them to love and take care of and protect from the big, scary world out there. They were a kindly old couple who loved kids, probably didn't have as many as they wanted, but were thankful for the one they got and the second opportunity they got to raise another.

"Is it okay, if they decide to come over, father?" Minato asks softly.

Kazuhiro smiles even more, giving a sidelong glance toward his wife of almost fifty years to see her own pair of dark brown eyes looking over at him from over her shoulder with a smile on her face.

"What do you think, Miyayoi?" Kazuhiro asks, playfully.

Miyayoi shakes her head, carrying over the last of the food before slowly lowering herself to the table before reaching over and taking her husband's hand in her small, wrinkly one. "I think it's nice, Kazuhiro. It's about time Minato made friends."

Minato smiles at his parents, blue eyes shimmering in happiness. He is so thankful and happy that he was lucky enough to get the parents that he did. They are so good and so kind to him, he couldn't be happier with them. He hopes that they are happy with him as well. He tries to be good and stay around for when they need him and out of their way when they don't. He's helpful and studious and tries hard to be able to be useful to his family all the while being as kind as he can.

"Mother," Minato says, looking over at the older woman.

"Yes, sweetheart?" Miyayoi says, turning dark eyes toward their adoptive son.

"Thank you for dinner," he says sweetly, smiling boyishly. "It all looks really wonderful."

Miyayoi's wrinkled face softens tremendously. "Thank you, Minato, that is so sweet of you to say." She reaches over the small table and pats Minato's hand. Minato turns his hand around and holds onto hers tightly.

Minato's light blue eyes slide over to his father, and he smiles even more. The older man smiles back. He reaches across the table and puts a heavy, wrinkled hand onto the top of Minato's head, letting his fingers run through the long, thin blond tresses. Minato beams happily at his father.

"Shall we eat, then?" Kazuhiro asks, smiling back.

"Lets!" Minato and Miyayoi say in unison.


Minato turns a bit in his bed, curling up a bit more in his covers.


Minato sits up suddenly, messy blond afro even messier than usual. He looks around, alarmed, blue eyes blown wide as he looks around the tiny, otherwise plain room.

"Over here, Minato!"

Minato turns around to look at the window to see Hashirama and Madara both hanging from the window sill. Both of them stare at him with wide dark eyes, as if surprised to have awakened him at the crack of dawn. Minato reaches up for a moment and runs his fingers through his hair, blinking tiredly. He yawns as he pushes himself to his feet, kicking off the thin covers that wrap around his ankle a bit.

He walks over to the window, adjusting his sleep yukata that was all twisted out of shape until it's straightened out. "What are you guys doing here?"

"You promised to meet us over at the river in the morning," Hashirama says, scratching at the back of his head.

"It's dawn," Minato says, leaning against the other side od the window. "I was thinking more at a decent time, not dawn."

"Told you nothing was wrong," Madara says, glaring up at Hashirama.

"You don't change, do you?" Minato asks, yawning. "We've been meeting up the past two weeks and you guys still come to pick me up."

Madara tilts his dark head to the side. "Are we annoying you?"

Minato shakes his head, more awake now than before. "No, I enjoy it actually. I've never had friends before, so this is kind of fun." Minato grins down at the two older boys. "Thank you so much!"

"Well, we have to continue your training," Hashirama says, putting his hands on his hips and smiling proudly. "You still have much that you need to learn before you can reach Madara's or my level."

Madara nods in agreement. "It's true, though. We still have years on you. So get up! The day is practically half over already!"

Minato glances out over his small yard, which isn't even fully lit up yet from the sun, which is peaking over the horizon. Minato highly doubted that the day was half over since it practically hasn't even begun yet, but Madara was like that. When he showed interest in their world, in ninja training, they leapt at the chance to have something to do, something more to occupy their time.

"Alright, alright," Minato says, holding up his hands in surrender. "Give me a moment to get dressed."

"Good," Madara says, nodding once. Hashirama laughs, smiling brightly before both boys bounce away a respectful distance so that he can change in peace. Minato lets out a little laugh and quickly changed into simple blue pants and kimono top. Minato stops for a moment, mussing up his hair a bit before he heads out of his little room, separated from the rest of the small house by a curtain hung up by his father.

Minato peaks into his parents room, only a bit larger than his own with a desk off in the corner filled with his father's writings and a place for his mother to sit and knit by the window, balls of yarn in a basket next to it.

Minato sneaks over to his father's side, who was facing outwards, away from his mother and lowers to his hunches next to his father's face.

"Father?" Minato whispers, poking his father's shoulder a bit.

No response.

"Father?" Minato whispers a bit louder, poking his father in the shoulder again, a bit harder.

His father opens his eyes, looking around dazed for a moment before Minato's small face registers in his mind. "Minato?" He moves to sit up, but Minato shakes his head.

"I'm going out to the river with Hashirama and Madara again," Minato says softly, once his father relaxes back in bed. "I just didn't want you to wake up to me being gone."

His father nods, reaching out and petting the top of Minato's head. "You are a good boy, Minato. Alright. Come straight home if anything happens or you need something." Minato nods, smiling happily at his father, who retracted his hand and closed his eyes to get some more sleep. Minato tip toed to the other side of the bed and kissed his mother's cheek.

She smiles, having already been awake.

"Bring those boys back for breakfast in a few hours," his mother says.

"Yes, mother," Minato says before slipping out of the room. He went to the back door and slipped on his shoes before stepping out, seeing both Madara and Hashirama waiting for him excitedly.

"Let's go, slow poke!" Hashirama says happily, his grin brighter than the sun. Madara nods.

"Okay," Minato says, offering a little nod himself. "My mother said that the two of you have to come over and eat breakfast with us once we are done training."

"Oh!" Hashirama says, gleefully. "Yeah!"

"But first," Madara says, crossing his arms over his chest, "we have to build up that appetite. So off to training!" The oldest and the youngest boys both salute to the middle boy.

"Yes, sir!"

Minato sits between Madara and Hashirama, eyes closed, breath even and body relaxed, trying hard not to be distracted by the two boys rambling on and on about one thing or another. They laugh and joke and Minato continues to meditate. He ignores the two boys easily now after weeks of training. At first it was hard when Minato started training with Madara and Hashirama. They would go through cardio, running through the forest, and then other strength building exorcises before he was forced to sit down and meditate, ignoring distractions around him like the other boys talking and laughing.

It was hard to fight his instinct and join in on the conversation, but he's grown used to it. He actually enjoys centering himself and feeling the swell of his chakra grow in his body. It made him feel more like Madara and Hashirama.

Minato didn't think that he was going to be some sort of amazing shinobi, but he wanted to be able to be strong enough to protect his parents should he ever need to. He has little aspirations beyond that, but it was something that was important to him. His only vivid memory - or perhaps just his last one - of his mother was of her fighting with someone. He's not sure if it was some kind of battle to the death, kind of thing since he didn't know anything about his mother. He didn't even know her name, but something happened that night - early morning? - that separated him and her.

He has to assume that something terrible happened to her. And while he was just a little boy at the time, he was getting older and so was the people that has become his adoptive family. He has to make sure that he can keep them safe.

There is a loud growling noise that makes Minato peak an eye open and glances over at Hashirama.

The brown haired boy looks between Minato and Madara, blushing deeply in embarrassment. "I'm hungry," Hashirama admits, as if it wasn't completely obvious, and rubs the back of his head sheepishly.

Minato looks up at the sun, judging the time based on where it is in the sky. "I think my mother should be up and making breakfast now, if you guys want to come over."

Madara looks up as well. "Well, I should be getting home soon... but I don't think that it would be too bad to have some breakfast before going home..."

Hashirama jumps to his feet. "Yes! I am so hungry!"

Minato laughs, standing up too, he runs his hands through his hair a bit, feeling how hot and sweaty it is. "Maybe we should take a dip in the river to wash off a bit before we go back. I'm sure my parents will appreciate it."

Madara blinks a few times before nodding, same with Hashirama.

"Well," Hashirama says, stepping closer to Minato, "I suppose this is a good time to initiate a bit more training! Always be prepared for an attack!" Hashirama grabs Minato around the waist and easily tosses the smaller boy into the water. Minato hits with a loud splash, flailing around for a moment until he reaches the surface to stare at the laughing, doubled over Hashirama with Madara glaring down at him.

"You're a real jerk, you know that?" Madara mumbles. "I can see into your future Hashirama. You are going to forever be a small child trapped in a big person's body."

Hashirama says something incomprehensible through his giggles, holding his side as he laughs.

Madara rolls his eyes. "Never mind, come on!" He drags Hashirama over to the water and shoves him in, much to Hashirama's dismay and Minato's delight. The blond boy laughs sweetly as the black haired boy grins down at him proudly, before running and leaping into the water right after Hashirama emerges from the water.

"You are so mean!" Hashirama whines once Madara resurfaces. Madara grins at him, spitting water into his face like a hose. "Madara!"

All three boys laugh and splash water onto one another. Ignorant to this being one of the last times that they are together and happy before they all reach mature adulthood.