The Fourth Hokage's Son

Chapter Eight

Minato placed the last paper he had to review today on top of the neat pile on his desk. He dispelled his Shadow Clone and stretched his numb arms. A gust of wind silently swept in from the window, scattering mission reports around his office.

He sighed in exasperation and stood up to gather the papers. As soon as he bent down to pick a paper on the ground though, Danzo Shimura entered his office with a well-practiced look of indifference on his face.

Minato wasn't surprised. He knew that the Old War Hawk would make his move sooner or later. Apparently, he had decided today. Preparing himself for the worst, Minato greeted the elder with a calm demeanor.

He inclined his head pleasantly, "What can I do for you, Councilman Danzo?" he asked, letting a shadow clone clean up the mess as he sat down on his chair and laced his fingers in front of him, propping his elbows on his desk.

Danzo inclined his head back in greeting, "I have an important matter to discuss with you, Minato-dono."

Minato's left eyebrow shot up to his hairline at the disrespectful way he was addressed, but he let it slide. "Take a seat, Danzo-san," he offered, gesturing to the seat beside his desk.

Danzo remained standing though. "Iwa and Kumo haven't been crippled the way we anticipated in the aftermath of the Third Shinobi War. They're gathering manpower, and neither are particularly happy about our role in settling their conflict."

The elder was being unusually forthcoming, and Minato felt his every action under scrutiny. "So, the Fourth War's coming soon, you think?" he inquired.

"It's not implausible. The information we acquired suggested as much," Danzo answered.

Minato nodded; he couldn't deny his point. The probability of a Fourth War was high. The tension from the past two wars hadn't died down, and he was also aware of Iwa's… displeasure with what he did.

Kumo on the other hand wasn't a problem. Minato believed that they could actually have a strong alliance this time around. After all, Killer A was the newly enacted Raikage, and the two of them had formed some sort of understanding the first and last time they faced each other in the battlefield. If Kumo became an issue, Minato could take care of them; however, Iwa was a different matter entirely.

"Do you have any ideas in mind?" Minato asked, wanting to know the real reason behind the elder's visit.

"One of the main sources of Iwa and Kumo's firepower are the two Tailed Beasts under their jurisdiction. Hiruzen... refused to acknowledge the importance of this subject."

Minato suppressed the urge to frown. 'I think… I know what this bastard is trying to say.' He still remained silent though, respectfully waiting for the councilman to finish his reasoning.

"If we properly utilize the Kyuubi's power, we can stand on even ground with the other Hidden Villages and quite possibly make them hesitate enough to crossfire with us once again," Danzo finished, his face as indifferent as ever.

"Kushina is actively participating in the war to protect our village. What do you mean to 'properly' utilize the Kyuubi's power?" Minato prodded.

"Uzumaki-san was rarely assigned to the frontline. Hiruzen only sent her twice, and the last time she was out there; she lost control of her power. We can't have a repeat of that in the middle of the war. It's due time for her to learn how to control the Tailed Beast inside her. It's her duty as Konoha's only Jinchūriki," Danzo stated firmly.

"Controlling the Tailed Beast's power is not easy. Kumo is the only village that can manage such a feat at the moment, and they're keeping quiet on their method of taming them. Kushina is not trying to neglect any duty. As Konoha shinobi, her main purpose is to protect the village – and she's doing a fantastic job so far," Minato countered.

"Giving off seals is effective and helpful. However, is she just going to rely on her sealing abilities and forever disregard the Kyuubi? We're wasting something that we should be cultivating from the start," Danzo argued.

"Are you suggesting we experiment on the Kyuubi's power while endangering Kushina's life?" Minato said, voice hard as steel.

"As shinobi, our lives are always in danger. If she's afraid to risk her life for the sake of the village, she shouldn't have chosen to be one," Danzo said, narrowing his eyes at Minato.

"Better to serve the village in a thousand small ways, then to serve it grandly once. I have a feeling you have a similar philosophy," Minato countered back.

"I agree, but we are in a different circumstance. We provide the greatest value to the village as Hokage and councilman. In the case of Uzumaki, she serves best as a shinobi. It is far better to serve the village grandly once, than not at all," Danzo stated.

"Just because Kushina can't control the Kyuubi, doesn't mean she's unable to serve the village," Minato argued sharply, "Tampering with the seal and the tail beast's power is not only a danger to the Jinchūriki, but also to the people of the village. If the Kyuubi is accidentally unleashed, many lives will perish, and the village will be in ruins."

"That's why the Elder council arranged a safe place to experiment with it. It's time we do something to control the Kyuubi rather than let it rot inside Uzumaki," Danzo said, his earlier rigid posture suddenly relaxing.

Minato's laced fingers tightened as he tried to rein in his anger. "Are you telling me that this is already arranged by the Elder Council without informing me?" he carefully asked. His expression was probably as flat as his voice.

"As the Hokage's personal advisers and the Elder Council, we have the responsibility to advocate what's best for the village. We have the power to command as long as the votes are from the majority. Afterall, we are the will of the Hidden Leaf Village," Danzo said firmly, his impassive eyes never wavering from Minato's.

Minato leaned back on his chair, trying to lessen the tension on his shoulder. "Whether or not the majority of the Elder Council agreed about something concerning our village's well-being, you, as a shinobi of Konoha, still have to discuss your agendas with me, together with the rest of the council," he said in a surprisingly diplomatic voice.

There was a subtle shift in Danzo's expression, indicating his surprise with Minato's blunt reply. There was a pregnant pause as the heavy atmosphere in the room intensified. Until finally, Danzo spoke.

"Konoha needs a strong leader, one who can do what's necessary for the village to prosper at the expense of his own wellbeing. I trust that you can fill that role." He gestured his hand towards Minato as if declaring a challenge.

Minato entangled his fingers and rested them on the handle of his chair. "True, a strong leader should be willing to sacrifice for his people, but he should only do what is necessary for the sake of the village's benefit. A leader does no good making a martyr of himself, and even less good by choosing another person to be a martyr for him." He emphasized the last part by staring at Danzo, almost accusingly.

Danzo's hold on his cane tightened. Minato bit the inside of his cheek to stop himself from smiling.

"Very well. I'll take my leave, Minato-dono," the one-eyed man said as he turned his back from him and trudged his way out of the office.

Minato gazed at the councilman's back as he walked out with a contemplative look. After a moment of silence, he stood up and flashed out of his office only to appear outside of the Nara clan compound entrance.

"Hokage-sama!" one of the Nara guards exclaimed, startled by Minato's sudden appearance.

"Hokage-sama is here! Call Shikaku-sama!" the other guard frantically ordered, and the third guard scrambled inside the compound to call out Shikaku.

Minato sweatdropped. "There's no need to panic. I'm just here to talk to Shikaku." He tried to placate the panicking Nara.

"Understood, let me escort you to Shikaku-sama's residence!"

Minato opened his mouth to say that he could manage on his own, since he visited Shikaku to play shogi from time to time but decided to just indulge the guard instead.

"Lead the way, then." Minato gestured his hand to the road.

"With pleasure, Hokage-sama! Please follow me." The Nara happily led Minato inside the compound and Shikaku met him halfway.

"You could've called me in your office instead of coming here in person," his friend stared at him exasperatedly, "You're so troublesome, Minato. You caused panic among my clansmen," he complained.

Minato rubbed the back of his head. "Right, sorry. I just need to talk about something with you."

Shikaku's eyebrows shot up at the change in Minato's tone. "Oh, let's discuss this over a cup of tea then," he said as he led Minato to his home.

"So, what's this about?" Shikaku asked as soon as they were left alone in the living room.

Minato calmy sipped his tea before he answered. "Danzo came to my office a few minutes ago."

Shikaku looked at him sharply. "Already? What does he want?" he asked, taking a sip of his own tea.

"He wanted us to learn how to control the Kyuubi to stand on even ground with Kumo and Iwa in the next war. In short, he wants to take a hold on the Kyuubi's power and manipulate Kushina," Minato answered nonchalantly.

Shikaku choked on his tea. "He what!?"

Minato hummed, "Apparently, the Elder council already decided for a safe place to conduct the experimentation on taming the Kyuubi."

Shikaku put down his tea to seriously gaze at Minato. "What are you planning to do?"

Minato smiled. As expected of his Nara friend. Shikaku immediately sees right through him. "I have this crazy idea, and I think this will finally fix the chain of command in the council."

"And you want me to help you with this 'crazy idea'?" Shikaku confirmed.

"Hm, you don't need to do much. Just make sure that Inoichi and Choza vote in my favor," Minato said, smiling pleasantly at Shikaku.

His friend sighed. "You don't need me for that. You know they'll support you anyway."

"I know. I just really need someone to talk to after nearly losing my marbles with Danzo," Minato replied.

"The only person that can flip your lid is your wife, Minato," Shikaku deadpanned.

Minato laughed. "You're right." His friend really knows him. Well, not as much as Kushina.

"So, are you telling me this plan of yours?" Shikaku inquired with a raised brow.

He chuckled. "Just prepare yourself when I call for a council meeting."

His friend sighed. "What a drag. Why did you even come here?"

Minato only smirked at him. "I figured I'd cause you a few headaches. Misery loves company, you know."

Shikaku rolled his eyes. "Tell me what you really want me to do."

"Well, it's really simple, just..." He beckoned Shikaku to move closer before he started whispering the gist of his plan.

Little by little, Shikaku's eyes grew wider and wider.

"What the heck, Minato! Are you insane?"

Minato only laughed in reply.

"Seriously, you're so troublesome. I actually have a headache now," the Nara whined.

He let out a contented smile. "What are friends for?"

Shikaku groaned.

For the first time since Minato was elected as the Fourth Hokage, a council meeting was called upon.

The clan heads of every respected clan in Konoha gathered around the long rectangular table, waiting for the blond Kage to arrive.

"Do you have any idea what this is all about? You just told us to support Minato no matter what. So you probably know something," Inoichi Yamanaka whispered to Shikaku, who was in mid-yawn.

Shikaku Nara lazily glanced at his long time friend before he shrugged. 'I do, but it'll be much more amusing to see your reactions.'

"Who knows what's going on inside that man's head. He just asked for a bit of my help; and as a good friend, I readily accepted," Shikaku grumbled as he rubbed the back of his head. "However, Choza, Inoichi. I trust that you know who we're going to support here, right?"

"Of course. If it's Minato, then it's for the good of Konoha," Inoichi replied.

Choza nodded. "Our clan is always ready to back him."

Shikaku smiled. "That's good then."

"I'm curious about something though," Choza suddenly said, making Shikaku and Inoichi give him a curious look.

"What is it, Choza?" Inoichi asked.

"Princess Tsunade is currently occupying the Senju seat," the chubby man pointed out and Shikaku immediately flickered his eyes towards the Senju Princess.

Said woman was currently bickering with Jiraiya on the opposite side of the long table. Oblivious to the displeased gazes they were garnering from the other council members.

"I thought she had retired from her shinobi career and decided to travel outside of Konoha?" Inoichi asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Well, apparently – a certain Uzumaki and Uchiha persuaded her to come out of retirement," Shikaku said.

His two friends simultaneously winced.

"Ah. Somehow, I feel sorry for Tsunade-sama," Choza muttered.

"I still can't believe our village is still standing after those three became friends," Inoichi whispered to them, shuddering.

Shikaku couldn't agree more as he watched the spectacle in front of them.

The two Sannin were now nose to nose as their heated argument escalated. Orochimaru was just quietly reading a book as he glanced from time to time towards his noisy teammates with the third Hokage amusedly watching the interaction between his students in the sideline while inhaling on his pipe.

"I swear I'm going to castrate you one of these days, Jiraiya!" Tsunade growled at the rapidly paling Jiraiya.

"I told you, I was conducting some very important research!" Jiraiya, the Toad Sannin, defended himself. "Where the heck is that blond brat!? He should be here by now and save me from this!" The Toad sannin whined.

Tsunade acted as if she hadn't heard her teammate's last comment. "By peeping at the bath-house? How can you call that 'research'?" she hissed, punching the Toad Sannin clean out of a window.

"AAAHHH!" Jiraiya's scream echoed all around the village.

Shikaku exchanged exasperated looks with his friends and sighed.

"Typical," Inoichi commented dryly before he flipped his hand in a dismissing manner and shifted his attention back to Shikaku and Choza, "How did you know Kushina-san and Mikoto-san were the one to convince her back to the village?"

Shikaku shrugged before answering, "Minato only told me she lost a bet."

Choza nodded thoughtfully at the information as Inoichi sighed.

"There's still the question about this meeting. It's a bit sudden," Inoichi frowned.

Shikaku absentmindedly hummed.

'I still can't believe Minato will pull something like this so early in his term. With this though, we can narrow down our opponents in the council.'

Choza opened his mouth to say something but was cut off by a flash of yellow light, startling the four members of the civilian council.

Minato Namikaze finally arrived with a twitching Sannin in his hand, and a beaming Kushina draped on his back.

"Okay ladies and gentlemen, let's get to the issue at hand," Minato said in a nonchalant manner and promptly dropped his former mentor beside the Snake Sannin. He dusted off his hands and sat down on the head corner of the table. Kushina settled beside Tsunade, flashing a peace sign and a wide grin to her friend that earned her a raised eyebrow.

Minato laced his fingers in front of him. "You might be wondering why I called for this meeting all of a sudden," he said with a small smile on his lips.

"If I may be blunt, Hokage-sama. What's this meeting for? Is there a problem in the village that needs the council's urgent attention?" Ryuu Ayuzawa, one of the three civilian councilmen asked.

Minato smiled at the man. He flicked his hand once and Ibiki Morino appeared beside him, holding a stack of papers in hand. Ibiki then proceeded to distribute the papers to every council member on the table.

Once everyone started reading, Minato spoke. "I want to change a few things in the council."

A few eyebrows shot up at this declaration.

"Starting from Lord Third's succession as a Hokage, the Elder Council has acted as the Hokage's personal advisors. We can all agree that in the past years, their opinions and decisions helped the village to prosper and maintain our dominant position from the other four Hidden Villages. However," Minato paused, gauging everyone's reactions.

The councilmen looked to be having some sort of realization on their faces, as if finally having an idea on what he was trying to say.

"The Third had no problem giving his full trust in his advisors because of their past acquaintanceship. I want the same relationship with my own advisors. It's not that I don't trust the current advisors," Minato gestured his hand to the fuming elders, "however, I feel that I'll be much more inclined to open up my thoughts if my advisors are people I personally have worked with in the past."

Protests nearly erupted but Shikaku quickly interrupted them. "It's a logical thought. If I'm assigned on a mission with people who know me as I know them, our teamwork will be much more efficient," he said nonchalantly, stroking his beard.

Most of the council nodded their approval.

"I still put into consideration the fact that most of us are used to referring to the Elder Council as the Hokage's advisors, so I figured voting is a must," Minato added.

"So, what's this paper for?" Tsume Inuzuka asked, flicking the paper in her hand.

Minato gazed at the Inuzuka clan head. "That one is connected to this subject."

Tsume raised an eyebrow, returning her eyes to the paper.

"This is a new law," Hiashi Hyuuga said matter-of-factly.

Minato nodded, "Exactly. A lot of the council's power centered on the advisors. However, this new law will grant an equal chance for all the council members to rise in power."

The prominent clans and the noble clans blinked in surprise as each of them read the information on the paper. That got their interest.

"It stated here that after six years, the previous advisers will be replaced via council voting and will not be allowed to run as candidates for the next six years," Shibi Aburame said with a neutral voice.

"So the enacted Hokage will choose his own advisors and the members of the council will decide whether they approve of these new advisors by majority votes?" Tsume clarified, eyes twinkling in glee as her lips curled in a feral grin.

"Yes. This way, the choosing of advisors are more thought out and acknowledged by everyone in the council," Minato affirmed.

"What if the council doesn't approve of any candidate?" the Kurama clan head asked, looking a tad unsure.

"Then the members of the council can recommend three candidates for all to vote on again," Minato answered.

The Third Hokage hummed. "It is definitely a great idea. This way, the power of the council will fairly circulate around the members every six years. And also allow them to monitor the Hokage's moves," Hiruzen voiced out while calmly stroking his beard.

"Exactly," Minato said with a small smile.

The murmurings started again. Finally, a lot of them were nodding in approval.

"So if any decision regarding the village's well-being is going to be made, individual members of the council cannot execute it unless everyone here is aware and the Hokage approves of it. No matter how many votes it garners, the absolute and final decision will only come from the sitting Hokage. This excludes shinobi related subjects which were obviously under the jurisdiction of the Hokage," Inoichi read.

"That's preposterous! This meant that the actual decision only falls on the Hokage! What's the point of voting?" Koharu strongly protested.

"On the contrary, advisory has always been the role of the council," Uchiha Fugaku retorted, silencing Koharu.

"The Uchiha is right. The council is there to provide the Hokage with paths to handle important village matters, but the final decision falls into his hands. That's why he's the appointed leader of the village," Choza added.

"Voting represents the will of the people the Hokage is beholden to," Shikaku said, nodding his head.

The leader of the Kurama clan frowned. "Then how are we going to keep the Hokage in check? It seems as if the Hokage can do anything he wants and no one can stop him."

"Yes, what if a Hokage abuses his power?" one of the civilian councils complained.

The other lower clans nodded their heads in agreement and a conflicting expression settled on their faces.

"If the Hokage is proven to take advantage of his position, the council can file a petition to the Fire Daimyo and remove the Hokage in his position of power." Minato paused to side eye Danzo as the man's sour expression suddenly slackened and a contemplative look appeared on his face.

Minato suppressed the urge to smirk. He could practically read the elder's thoughts. 'Sorry to burst your bubble, but I'm not letting you have the same freedom the Third had given you for the past years.'

"Of course, the council can't just demand the Fire Daimyo to remove a ruling Hokage. In order for the petition to be approved, the council needs to pass a valid reason for demoting the Hokage – evidence necessary of course," Minato informed them, enjoying the council's varying reactions. From those who were incredulous, anxious, worried, and angry, to those who were amazed, satisfied, and happy with the new law.

"Hm, that's definitely satisfactory. Considering there's already a new Fire Daimyo, fixing the village's system now is ideal. Especially since Hiruko-sama seems to be a much more reasonable Daimyo," Inoichi said, and the majority of the council nodded their heads in agreement.

'Kukuku, it's a good thing I went on that secret mission with Kushina to dethrone the crazy Fire Daimyo. That corrupt man is much harder to convince than Hiruko-sama. Since the newly enacted Fire Daimyo is indebted to me, he easily went along with my demands. Hm, I definitely love my wife's brain. Although she comes up with such crazy ideas all the time.'

"This is a well thought out law. Corruption will surely result in punishment," Hiashi commented as he read through his own paper.

"Indeed, it benefits all the clans in the council. Whether it's a noble clan or a lower clan," Sarutobi agreed, his brows creasing to a worried frown as he glanced at Minato.

"Hm, and everyone can keep each other in check. No one can overuse their powers and the chain of command is properly established," Choza retorted, a look of contemplation on his face.

"I admit that it's a smart move. However we can't just decide to enact this law off the bat without the Daimyo's approval, and–"

"Danzo-sama, if you just flip your paper to the next page, you can see the Fire Daimyo's seal," Minato casually said.

Danzo's face turned as cold as stone as he flicked his paper and gazed at the Fire Daimyo's seal stoically. The man was probably too enraged to continue reading what was written in the paper because the decision of the major clans was already quite obvious.

The old War Hawk narrowed his eyes at Minato, and he mockingly smirked in retaliation. Danzo's eye twitched.

"Hm, I guess there's no problem then. Let's conduct a vote," Shikaku interrupted the sudden silence.

Minato smiled. "All in approval, please raise your hands."

There was a brief pause before Shikaku raised his hand, smiling at Minato. Choza and Inoichi followed his example and soon, many hands were raised.

The remaining people who hadn't raised their hands were those of the lower clans, three from the civilian, and all the members of the elder council. A total of ten negative votes vs. Thirteen positive votes.

Minato won.

For a second, time seemed to stop as Minato and Danzo's gazes clashed in a powerful staring match before Minato nonchalantly broke it off to stare at the rest of the council. The smirk on his lips turning into a very pleased smile.

"Well then, starting today, I am appointing Tsunade Senju; Jiraiya of the Toad Sannin, Shikaku Nara, and the former Hokage: Hiruzen Sarutobi as my personal advisors," Minato declared with all the authority in his voice.

That day, Minato gained half of the council's favor and admiration. Thus, a new law was passed.

"We can't let him do this to us!" Koharu raged as she paced in front of Danzo and Homura.

"No, we can't," Homura solemnly agreed beside Danzo.

They were currently in the Mitokado manor, sitting in the living room discussing their current predicament.

"I underestimated him. I thought he would be an easy Hokage to handle," Danzo said, voice flat.

"We need to do something! He can't just kick us out of our positions!" Koharu hissed, brow creasing with agitation.

"You don't have to worry, I already have a plan,"

Koharu and Homura perked up and stared expectantly at Danzo.

"What do you have in mind, Danzo?" Homura curiously asked as Koharu raised an eyebrow.

"Something simple. We need to destroy his reputation," Danzo said.

Koharu and Homura briefly exchanged glances.

"And how are we going to do that?" Koharu inquired.

"Nothing a little rumor can't handle," Danzo flippantly replied.

"Hmm, a few well-chosen words can kill a person. Just like what you did to Sakumo Hatake. The question is, what rumor are you going to spread? Minato is known as the Hero of Konoha, it'll be hard to tarnish his name," Homura countered.

"Just leave it to me. If this fails, then we need to take a few drastic measures," Danzo stated, a ghost of a smirk fleetingly gracing his lips as he walked out of the Mitokado mansion.

After the council meeting, Minato's four advisors went inside his office and, to put it charitably, discussed the events in the council room.

"You're audacious as always, Minato," Hiruzen said to him with a heavy sigh. "I felt like I just aged ten more years just by listening to you earlier."

"It's your fault for being lenient with your teammates and not exercising your full rights and power in the council. You just let them run amok, sensei," Tsunade said with a blank expression.

Hiruzen looked down, a tired look on his face as he closed his eyes in resignation. "I know. I did everything I can, but sometimes I can't help but question why Tobirama-sensei had chosen me to be his successor?"

"Well, I guess it's hard when you're dealing with the people you see as family," Shikaku said awkwardly, trying to console the old man. He was sitting in the coach beside the Third, holding the file of the new enacted law.

"That's not an excuse for my weakness. My age probably caught up to me and my comrades lost their respect for me." Hiruzen sighed.

"You just trusted your former teammates too much, sensei," Jiraiya offhandedly said.

Hiruzen chuckled mirthlessly. "It's because I'm still stuck in the illusion of the past. Deep down, I'm aware that they're no longer the teammates I knew, but I was in denial."

"That's why you have to leave everything to Minato now, Lord Third. You just need to provide your knowledge and opinion." Shikaku said.

"You should also make up with your family now, sensei," Tsunade interjected. "It's about damn time you pay attention to your wife and children." She rolled her eyes as she sipped on her coffee.

Hiruzen let out a small smile. "You're right. I'll do everything I can to atone for my sins and regrets," he directed his gaze towards Minato, "I'll give you my full consent to deal with my former comrades, Minato. I know you can do better than me."

Minato smiled. "I'll do everything in my power to make Konoha a better village to live in."

Hiruzen nodded, looking reassured. "You have to be prepared though, Danzo will not stand idly with the move you made. It's as if you'd just blatantly declared an all-out war with him."

Minato nodded solemnly. "I know. I'll be on the lookout."

"Gahahaha! That's Minato for you! I taught him well after all," Jiraiya boasted, puffing out his chest with his nose high up in the air.

"As if!" Tsunade immediately rebuked, her legs crossed as she sat beside Minato's table. "It's a good thing the brat hadn't inherit your pervertness or the females in this village would've migrated already." She huffed, glaring at Jiraiya.

"That's actually the sad truth. No matter how I try to pass on my legacy to him, Minato wouldn't budge." Jiraiya said solemnly.

Minato and Hiruzen sighed.

"Sensei, I hope you're aware that I appointed you as advisor because of your vast spy network outside of the village. Your input with regards to the village's well-being is relevant and I won't tolerate your unsightly habits coming in between that."

Jiraiya visibly pouted. "What a killjoy. I was even planning to give Konoha the honor of having my very first Icha-Icha billboard."

Minato massaged his forehead. 'Knew it.'

"So troublesome," Shikaku complained.

"Tsk, why are you guys so serious all the time? I know what I have to do. You don't have to remind me," Jiraiya dismissively waved his hand, "Anyways, Minato. How's your students doin?"

Minato frowned. "It's much more complicated than what we expected."

"What do you mean?" Shikaku inquired curiously.

"Apparently, we just managed to avoid the end of the world by a hair's breadth," Minato answered.

Hiruzen furrowed his brow. "What?"

Minato laced his fingers in front of him. "My students are all fine and recovering well. Kakashi's adjusting from the trauma of almost killing Rin and Obito's reemergence. Rin may have to start her chakra control training from scratch, but we'll guide her through and through."

"So Konoha has two Jinchūrikis now. This will definitely tip the balance of power between the Hidden Villages. Kiri will definitely have a bone to pick with us." Jiraiya sighed.

"These headaches just have to pile up in your reign, Minato. I don't know how you're going to handle the political backlash of this incident," Shikaku grumbled.

Minato gave them a wry smile. "I have a few ideas, but I don't want to add more to your plate when you already have so much to chew on. I'll inform you when Kiri starts demanding for their Bijuu."

Jiraiya raised an eyebrow. "There's no way you're going to return the Sanbi to them, since it's either you give Rin or extract it from her, which would kill her. So the only option is something audacious once again."

Shikaku heavily leaned on his seat. "He's going to do a Minato on us, I know it."

Minato gazed at his friend in amusement. "That's a way to say how I handle things. Anyways, Obito is still under rehabilitation since his other half is being analyzed and reconstructed. All three of them are currently staying at our place and were ordered to lay low for a month."

"I'm glad everything is going well with your students, Minato. So, what did you discover?" Hiruzen inquired.

"Hn. Madara Uchiha survived the confrontation with Hashirama-sama all those years ago and was behind Obito's rescue and Rin's kidnapping," Minato stated solemnly.

"WHAT!?" exclaimed Jiraiya, Hiruzen and Shikaku.

"How is that even possible!?" Jiraiya yelped.

"Black Zetsu, the creature that Minato sealed who was attached to Obito's right side saved him," Tsunade interjected.

"You know about this, Tsunade?" Hiruzen asked sharply.

"Of course, I'm the medic assigned to Minato's brats," she replied.

Palefaced, Shikaku asked another question. "What's Black Zetsu's and Madara's agenda?"

"Madara desires world peace. However, Black Zetsu has a different plan," Minato answered solemy.

"World peace?" Jiraiya said, looking incredulous.

"It's a twisted belief resulting from Black Zetsu's manipulation. This creature wants to remove all the chakra in the world to revive a divine being and enslave humanity. And it wants to use Madara and Obito as pawns," Minato said with a grim expression.

"That's…" Jiraiya trailed off, unable to comprehend the absurdity he was hearing.

"Do I even want to know how that thing's going to do that?" Shikaku said, face blank.

"Hm, if you want to at least have a decent sleep tonight, then you don't want to know it," Minato cheekily replied. Shikaku massaged his forehead.

Hiruzen sighed. "It's a good thing I'm no longer the Hokage. I think I'd just die from high blood pressure if I'd been the one dealing with these problems."

"I'll help you with this matter, Minato. Tell me what to do later," Jiraiya offered with a serious look on his face.

Minato nodded at his sensei. "I already assigned a team of ANBU to come with me to investigate the cave that Obito described. I'll brief you about this later," he said.

"This is alarming, Minato," Hiruzen stated, gazing at him in worry.

"It is, but we already captured the mastermind and we had successfully extracted all of its memories. So all we need to do is to destroy that cave and examine Madara's body whether he's dead or alive," Minato said.

"I'll personally help with the investigation too, since Madara and Black Zetsu disrespectfully used my grandfather's remains to satisfy their greed," Tsunade stated, with a clenched jaw.

Shikaku's forehead creased. "Hashirama-sama's cells?"

Minato nodded. "With them, they could mass produce an army of White Zetsu, millions strong."

A choking sound came out from Jiraiya's throat as Shikaku groaned.

"I need sake for this," Hiruzen muttered, nursing a headache.

"Don't worry, I'll do my best to get this matter settled so we can ensure humanity's survival. I'll inform you about this again once we've discovered something new."

Minato tried to console them with a small smile but the three men only groaned. He was aware though, that this matter was only one of the difficulties he would encounter in his reign as Hokage. He had already braced himself for the rest.

The Kotatsu bar was buzzing with activity. It was early afternoon but Shikaku, together with Inoichi and Choza, were already huddled together at a table in the corner of the bar. One bottle of sake already empty and another one to be emptied.

Two weeks had passed since Minato amended the law and Shikaku and his teammates just returned last night from a very exhausting two-day mission. A treat was in order.

"Aah, we finally have time to relax. Yoshino is being troublesome again," Shikaku drawled as he sipped on his glass, leaning heavily on his seat like an old man.

Inoichi snorted, "Everything's troublesome to you, Shikaku," he grumbled.

Shikaku only raised a brow.

"You don't have to be at the shop today, Inoichi?" Choza asked after he downed his own glass of sake.

"Naah, I'm on a break 'til tomorrow," Inoichi replied as he chewed on his bread.

Just then, Shikaku overheard something that made him frown in displeasure. As Choza opened his mouth to say something, Shikaku cut him off.

"Shut up for a moment and listen," he whispered.

Inoichi and Choza immediately became alert and listened in on the conversation near them.

"I heard that the elders got kicked out," a voice said.

In the right corner of their table, a group of four civilian men were seated; having their fair share of drinks and bread.

"I heard that too," agreed a man in his mid-30's as he bent closer to the person in front of him.

"People are talking in the streets, they said the Elders were kicked out by the Fourth Hokage for no reason," a black-haired man added.

"What I heard is that the Fourth is seeking more power."

"I heard that he's ruthless and manipulative."

"Some said that he conspired with Iwa to gain the Hokage's seat."

"I heard from Roku yesterday that that's also the reason why the Elders got kicked out."

The group of four men huddled together at what the last man said.

"What do you mean, Sato?" The first man who started the conversation asked.

"Roku said that the elders found out about a conspiracy during the war, and that the Fourth wanted to hide his involvement so he replaced the Elders with people he knew would cover for him," the one who was called Sato said.

Shikaku's eyes narrowed at what he just heard.

"What nonsense–"

Shikaku hushed Inoichi's outburst, signaling to wait.

"It's obvious, those four are his allies. Maybe they were conspiring together."

"Are they planning to further militarize the village?"

"The Fourth Hokage's goal is to control the council so that they would follow through all his whims."

"If the council becomes his puppet, then this village is over."

Unable to continue hearing the nonsense conversation. Shikaku and his teammates went to approach the gossiping men.

"The people in the council should move to kick out that bastar–"


The conversation ceased as Inoichi slammed his hands flat on their table. The men flinched and stared with wide fearful eyes towards Inoichi, then to Shikaku and Choza as they stood in front of the civilians wearing dark expressions on their faces.

"I'm sorry, it seems like my ears are deceiving me. Are you nutjobs about to call the Fourth Hokage a 'bastard'?" Choza asked with a frown.

The men shook on their seats upon seeing the Konoha headband tied on their foreheads.

"W-We...n-no!" Sato guy denied, sweating bullets.

"You dare to tarnish the Fourth Hokage's name without evidence?" Inoichi said through gritted teeth, looking pissed.

"Minato Namikaze is an honorable man. Have you forgotten that he conquered Iwa single handedly and brought victory to our village? You ungrateful bastards," Shikaku dryly said, one hand in his pocket while the other was lazily rubbing the back of his head.

"W-We're sorry!"

"We d-didn't mean any harm!"

"We just heard it from others!"

The spectacle was already garnering an audience. Other activities ceased as all attention turned to them, the people on the street even peeked inside the bar.

"The elders are the Third Hokage's personal advisors. The Fourth is not the Third, of course he has the right to pick his own advisors. And the Fourth is not controlling, the new law he implemented gave opportunity for all the members of the council to sit in power," Inoichi said as he narrowed his eyes at the men.

"It's a much more just system compared to the old one. It assures the decisions made in the council are fair and justified, agreed by the majority and the Hokage. Don't go yapping about things you don't know," Choza said through gritted teeth.

"You said that the Hokage is trying to control the council, we are members of the council but I've never heard of this 'manipulation,' much less experienced it ourselves." Inoichi said.

The four shook in their seats, stuttering through their apologies. They knew that what they did was considered treason, and Inoichi contemplated dragging their asses to the T and I just to teach them some lesson.

"Now, why don't you tell us where this rumour started?" Shikaku asked darkly.

"As it turns out, the rumour started from a group of Chunin talking about the sudden change of power in the council which was coincidentally overheard by an old woman who told her family. The family members then started talking about it in the market, and it went out of control from there," Shikaku reported as he and his two comrades stood in front of a thoughtful looking Minato.

"Thank you for your report and your quick action. The ANBU will take care of the rest now," Minato said, smiling warmly at his three close friends.

"Do you have any idea who's behind this? I don't believe that this is a mere coincidence," Inoichi questioned, brow creasing in distaste.

Minato hummed and nodded with a secretive smile on his lips. "I have my suspicions, but we still need concrete evidence."

The Ino-Shika-Cho exchanged glances before Shikaku sighed. "Obviously, Danzo would retaliate because of the new law."

Minato smiled knowingly. "We can only speculate. I want concrete evidence to punish him. The Elder Council's influence is widely spread. I'm planning on cutting off every single root of their power," he said, lacing his fingers in front of him.

"You need to be careful Minato, the Elders are not easy opponents," Shikaku warned.

"Don't worry, I don't have to confront the Elders right away. They need to be dealt with with patience, and I'm a very patient man."

The trio nodded in understanding, completely trusting Minato to handle the situation accordingly.

"Good luck Minato," Choza said with a beam.

"Always remember that you have our clans backing you," Inoichi retorted with a smile.

"Of course, thank you for your support; Inoichi, Shikaku, and Choza." Minato's eyes crinkled as he grinned at his friends. The four laughed together, as only best friends can.

Iwagakure no Sato

"The war reparation is too much for our village to handle right now," Takutchi Ishikawa, one of Onoki's councilmen said.

"The damage we received from the Third War is extensive too, and a lot of the smaller provinces in the Fire country are asking us to pay for all their destroyed landscapes. Plus, the winner's side is also demanding us to take responsibility for their casualties," Mizu added.

"Not just that, we won't be able to easily recover our village's budget since our trade routes are cut off," Gura, the village's minister of financial trades retorted.

"A lot of our lands are under construction, and we're still suffering and mourning the hundreds of lives we had lost to the merciless hands of the Yellow Flash," Mizuno stated.

Takagi slammed his fist on the table. "Damn it! I can't just let that bastard go. We have to exact revenge, Tsuchikage-sama. Two of my four sons died by the Yellow Flash's hands!"

"I agree. The people of our village wouldn't sit idly. Everyone wants to avenge their loved ones," Ishikawa supported Takagi.

Various agreements echoed around the council room.

Onoki clapped his hand on the table thrice to cease the talking. "We all feel the same. However, now that Minato Namikaze has become the Fourth Hokage of Konoha, it won't be easy for us to attack him."

"We can't just let the Yellow Flash's actions slide! Thousands of our shinobi were slaughtered!" Takagi protested.

The council was in uproar.

"Our citizens wouldn't be able to move on until our revenge is exacted!" Gura exclaimed.

"I myself wanted to avenge the KIA Shinobi, but there's not much I can do. Our village is still recuperating from the damage the Yellow Flash did to our forces," Onoki reasoned, looking a hundred years older than his actual age.

The council members considered this and murmured among themselves.

"The people won't be happy with this," Takuma said in displeasure.

Onoki closed his eyes in resignation. "Very well, that's all for today. I'll inform you all at the next meeting. For now, dismissed."

The council members stood up and chattered among themselves with the heavy atmosphere still lingering in the room.

Onoki tiredly sighed and hopped down his chair to return to his office with his personal guards in tow. He gritted his teeth as he thought of their devastating loss in the Third War, feeling his displeasure towards the Yellow Flash increased tenfold.

Konohagakure no Sato

Following the rumors, both ANBU and Jounin were immediately ordered to distribute flyers. It was the official release of the new law implemented by the Fourth Hokage, clarifying and thoroughly explaining the sudden change of power in the council to the citizens of the village.

Through this, the bad rumours surrounding the Hokage vanished little by little, leaving a bitter taste in Danzo's mouth.

'This isn't over.' He narrowed his eyes on the flier in his hand and scrunched the paper in irritation, burning it to ashes with a small fire jutsu.

Just as he was about to leave and meet with Homura and Koharu, two Root agents appeared in front of him.

"Danzo-sama," said the masked shinobi, kneeling on one knee, "we just received a report from our spy in Iwa."

Danzo's impassive eyes gazed at the scroll in one of his Root operative's hands and stretched out a hand to receive the scroll. He unrolled it, deactivating the seal with a swipe of his thumb and waited for the contents to become visible. There was a poof of smoke and the message appeared on the previously empty white sheet. As Danzo read through the report, his lips curled into a pleased smirk. Slowly, a plan started to form in his head.

"Tatsuma," he called out.

A root operative suddenly flickered into existence in front of him, kneeling with one knee propped up.

The agent was wearing the typical sunglasses of the Aburame clan. A blue marking on his right cheek was his only distinguishing feature among the other Aburame.

"Danzo-sama, you called?" was the muffled reply of Tatsuma Aburame. One of the elite agents among Danzo's Root operatives.

"I have an important mission for you." Danzo's dark eyes gleamed as he stared at the kneeling figure.

"Certainly Danzo-sama, may I know the mission objectives?"

"To gain Iwa's cooperation on the Fourth Hokage's eradication."

Tatsuma's expression remained blank, eyes hidden behind his dark glasses as he seemed to process the command.

"What do you want me to do, Danzo-sama?" Tatsuma asked.

"Simple, you just need to send an invitation to the Tsuchikage using your insects," Danzo replied, proceeding to brief the Aburame of what to do in his mission.

Tatsuma bowed at Danzo. "Understood. I won't fail you, Danzo-sama."

"Hn. I expect nothing less. Give me the best result," Danzo retorted before he dismissed Tatsuma and proceeded to the Mitokado minor.

"What are we going to do next? Spreading rumors won't work anymore," Koharu quickly asked as soon as she sat down on the sofa in front of Danzo.

"Koharu's right. The villagers finally realized that someone's trying to tarnish the Hokage's name," Homura interjected before he calmly sipped his tea.

"Hn. I'll take the biggest risk. It may take a while for the plan to bear fruit, but patience is a virtue. However, we need to lay low at the moment. We can't let the Namikaze brat be more suspicious of us."

Homura and Koharu exchanged curious glances but seeing the smirk on Danzo's lips, the two nodded their agreement.

Iwagakure no Sato

Onoki was, once again, swarmed with paperwork. He stamped paper after paper of important documents, barely skimming over words before moving on.

The restlessness in the village had increased along with the calls for revenge against the Yellow Flash. It was getting harder and harder to pacify the people with each passing day.

'Oh, what I would trade for a moment of victory over you, Namikaze.'

As if his prayer had been answered, swirls of bugs suddenly started gathering on top of his desk, forming kanji on one of the blank papers scattered across his desk.

Onoki jolted back from his desk. His ANBU guards quickly emerged from their hiding spots to gather around him, weapons drawn as the insects scuttled across the page.

'Kill Minato Namikaze. Join forces, same goal. Vengeance is yours, the Hokage seat is mine.

Danzo Shimura.'

Onoki's eyes grew wide as he reread the message countless times.

"Tsuchikage-sama, this could be a trap," the head of his ANBU guard warned.

Onoki put up his hand as another message appeared below Danzo's name.

'A week to decide. Meet on the red rock near Ame's border.'

For the next following days, Onoki contemplated whether he should meet with the infamous War Hawk of Konoha. In his mind, wariness and the strong desire to exact revenge clashed, and on the final day of Danzo's ultimatum; Onoki made up his mind.

He didn't consult his council advisors and secretly readied his bodyguards to meet Danzo at the red rock. Finally, the day of the meet up arrived.

The silence was palpable between the two powerful shinobi. They were standing opposite each other at a sizable distance.

Onoki was flanked by two of his guards while the man in front of him, Danzo Shimura was with his own operatives.

Onoki knew that this wasn't a wise decision at all. However, every time he remembered the crying faces of his people, his hesitation would disappear and only determination would remain. That man would be the bridge to gain their well-deserved vengeance.

Danzo flicked his finger once and one of the masked shinobi beside him moved. Onoki's guards immediately tensed as they watched the masked person move slowly towards the center, holding a single scroll in his hand.

The operative put down the scroll on the hard ground and walked backwards to his previous position.

"Get the scroll," Onoki ordered.

His shinobi didn't need to be told twice. Akatsuchi, one of his trusted guards, immediately walked towards the scroll. He grabbed it and put a scroll of their own terms on the ground.

Akatsuchi straightened and moved back beside Onoki, placing the scroll in his waiting hand. He looked straight at Danzo Shimura's lone eye while the man's operative retrieved their scroll.

Seeing that they both had the intended terms in their hands, they proceeded to open the scrolls and simultaneously started reading.

Onoki's eyes skimmed through the message with impassive eyes, before they widened near the end. Slowly, a vicious smirk appeared on his lips as his mind worked through the information he just received.

'So, you finally settled down, eh Namikaze?'

He already grasped what Danzo was planning just by the mention of the Yellow Flash's wife.

'Exploit his greatest weakness. You're a cunning, dangerous man, Danzo Shimura.'

As the two of them exchanged nods of agreement, Onoki couldn't help the feeling of exhilaration at the thought of finally exalting their most awaited revenge on the Yellow Flash of Konoha.

'I'll make sure you'll regret killing my Shinobi, Minato Namikaze. Your wife in exchange for thousands of my own.'

Onoki and Danzo nodded at each other before the latter disappeared. Onoki headed back to Iwa, immediately starting his preparation for their part of the plan.

"Tsuchikage-sama, you called?"

Onoki laid his back on his chair comfortably before he eyed his secretary.

"Start finding a suitable Jinchūriki to hold the Nine Tails. I want it as soon as possible," he ordered.

Onoki started arranging the papers on his table before he realized that his secretary wasn't moving. The man was gawking at him, looking as if he just said the lamest joke he had ever heard.

Onoki wasn't amused. "What are you waiting for?" His eyebrow twitched in irritation the longer the man stared at him. Finally, the poor secretary snapped back to attention.

"R-Right away, Tsuchikage-sama!"

Onoki snorted in disdain as he watched his secretary scurry out of his office in a frantic haste, before he got back to his work.

"Stupid paperwork."

Konohagakure no Sato

Koharu and Homura gaped at Danzo. They couldn't believe what the man had just done.

"B-but, Uzumaki is our Jinchūriki! Losing her will cripple the village's defence!" Koharu protested.

Danzo eyed her with disinterest. "Don't take me for a fool Koharu. Of course I won't give the Kyuubi to Iwa. I know Onoki will try to transfer the Kyuubi on another vessel while they torture the Namikaze's wife. Choosing an infant as a new Jinchūriki will be the best course of action to do, but if he can't find an infant, then he will surely use a young child."

"Which you could easily kidnap and groom to be the most powerful weapon of the village," Homura concluded, nodding in understanding and approval.

"I see where you're going now. Letting the Kyuubi rest inside Uzumaki is a waste of war potential, and she's impossible to control. We can never train our Jinchūriki if Uzumaki is the holder of the Bijuu," Koharu realized.

"The Hokage will be too busy running the village and searching for his wife to investigate us. The stress alone should nearly kill him." Homura added, salivating at the potential of this plan.

"The Namikaze will surely declare war on Iwa once he finds out that they have his wife. He will personally retrieve her and battle with Onoki. We have to make sure that Minato Namikaze is killed so you can capture the Hokage seat, Danzo. We will always have your back." Homura looked at the Old War Hawk as the man sipped on his tea.

"The Namikaze won't come out of that battle alive. I'll make sure of it. For the meantime, we need to wait patiently for all the pieces of the puzzle to finally align."

Koharu and Homura nodded and murmured their agreements.

"I'll arrange a mission near the border, we just have to guarantee that Uzumaki will take it," Homura said.

Koharu smirked. "I can take care of Uzumaki. I assure you she'll take the mission alone."

Danzo gazed at her. "And how are you going to do that?"

Koharu waved her hand dismissively. "Nothing a little manipulation can't do. I just need to exchange a few words with her that'll make her question her value as Konoha shinobi."

"Then all I need to do is to make her grab the correct mission. A simple B rank mission near the border of the Land of Fire and Earth involving a few weak bandits," Homura said.

Danzo nodded. "Hn. Cover your tracks. We don't want this plan to fail."

"Of course." Koharu and Homura affirmed.

Kushina closed the door to her and Minato's apartment with a smile on her lips. She happily strolled towards the Hokage tower to visit her husband and give him his lunch. Minato was too busy to eat at home lately, so she decided to be a kind wife and deliver his lunch in his office instead.

Too deep in her thoughts, she almost collided with the council elder, Koharu Utatane.

"Whoops, sorry Koharu-sama! I almost didn't see you there!" Kushina apologized.

The old woman gave her a critical look and inspite of all her ninja training, Kushina couldn't help but squirm uncomfortably.


"You must be feeling lucky."

Kushina tilted her head to the side in confusion.

"Huh?" she uttered.

Koharu smirked at her. "You only need to shower the Fourth Hokage with affection, fulfill his desires, produce an heir for him, and make him happy to finally feel like you have fulfilled your duty as one of the most powerful kunoichi of the Leaf." Koharu's mocking voice echoed through her ears and into her heart.

Kushina was frozen, cold rage slowly creeping up her spine.

"My, you could have commanded honor. But you couldn't even serve the village with the most powerful ninja tool in existence."

The woman stepped closer to her, tapping Kushina's cheek twice. She lowered her voice.

"The other Jinchūriki fought for their villages." Koharu's gaze seemed to pierce Kushina's soul, and she couldn't say a single word. "But you, the supposed holder of the most powerful Bijuu, enjoyed comfort and security as the Hokage's wife. Is that how you demonstrate your worth, S Class Kunoichi Kushina Uzumaki? Hiding behind your Kage?"

Silence reigned over them.

Kushina's hands were shaking but her body refused to move. She just stood there, dumbfounded.

The old woman gave out a noise of disdain before she walked away with one final judgemental glance. That was when Kushina realized that her fists were clenched so tight she had drawn blood from her skin, and that she was gritting her teeth so hard her jaw actually hurt.

"T-That witch! D-Did she just imply that I'm nothing but my husband's bitch!?" Kushina seethed, body shaking in absolute rage.

She stalked towards Minato's office, obviously in a dark mood. When she entered inside, Minato immediately looked up to greet her, but she abruptly slammed her hand on his desk.

"Send me on a solo mission!" she demanded, placing the bento box she brought on his desk.

"W-What?" Minato managed to utter.

"What do you mean, what? I wanna go on a mission alone, dattebane!" Kushina fumed. "Am I not allowed to?"

"Wait, Kushina. Calm down." Immediately, Minato stood up and guided her to sit on his lap, embracing her.

He rubbed her back to calm her riled temper. "You're upset. What's wrong?"

Kushina clenched her hands.

'I'll show her, before I file my temporary retirement and get pregnant – I'll go on as much B Rank, A Rank, and a few S Rank missions on my own to show her that I don't need to hide behind any Kage's back, ttebane! I'll prove to her that I'm a formidable Kunoichi of Konoha! I'm Kushina Uzumaki-Namikaze, Damn it!'

"Kushina?" She was snapped out of her thoughts by her husband's concerned voice.

"Hm?" she absentmindedly hummed, her thoughts was busy torturing Koharu Utatane in her mind.

Minato tightened his arms around her waist, and buried his face on her chest. That snapped her out of her rage.

Kushina's cheeks flushed. "M-Minato!" she squeaked.

"You're too deep in your thoughts. Is something wrong?" Minato mumbled.

"Hmm...Minato," She shifted on his lap, angling her body to properly face him. She fiddled with her fingers nervously. "I'll be filling my temporary retirement soon."

Minato's eyebrow shot up in surprise. "What? Why?" he asked, frown deepening.

"You know, I always wanted to have a big family, because I'm the only Uzumaki left, ttebane. And y-you're also an orphan like me, a-and–"

Minato put a hand on her rapidly fidgeting fingers. Gripping her hands affectionately. His hold against her tightened and she was once again, mesmerized by his powerful cerulean eyes.

"I understand, you don't have to feel nervous. I, too, wanted to have a big family with you, Kushina." He smiled softly at her. He always knew how to calm her down when she was in a bad mood.

Kushina's lips wobbled, tears prickling at the corner of her eyes. She bit the inside of her cheeks to stop the waterworks and licked her surprisingly dry lips. Lately, she was getting emotional, and she didn't know why.

"Y-yeah. Thank you, Minato," she whispered with a grateful smile.

Minato answered by lightly bumping his forehead with hers and smiling at her. "Of course. Now tell me, what's the connection of your retirement to your sudden request for a solo mission?"

She almost stuttered at his question.

'Geez, we're having a moment here, ttebane! And you go and ruin it, you sissy!' Kushina huffed, crossing her arms over her chest like a petulant child causing Minato's eyebrow to arch higher.

"Well, I wanna go on a few solo missions before, you know, b-before I get… p-pregnant."


Kushina felt her cheeks burning hot, and Minato's blush creeped up from his neck, upto his ears.

'Cute… ' she absentmindedly thought, gazing at his handsome face.

And in that exact moment, the door to Minato's office was abruptly kicked open.


"AH!" Kushina pushed Minato on his chin, almost falling off of his lap in the process if not for his quick reflexes that managed to grab her waist before she toppled over.

She and Minato then gazed at the three intruders only to see Obito covering his eyes as Kakashi and Rin turned their backs on them.

'I love your students, Minato, but sometimes, I just want to throttle them, ttebane!' She pouted.

'The moment is ruined again!'

Iwagakure no Sato

Onoki couldn't help the smirk that twitched on his lips as he reread the message he got from Danzo Shimura.

'Tomorrow, the plan to kidnap Kushina Uzumaki will commence. We will finally have our revenge on the Yellow Flash of Konoha.'

Onoki called out for his secretary, issuing an order to gather a team consisting of their elite Jounin. They wouldn't be the only ones who were going to engage the Uzumaki though. They have to consider the fact that the woman was a seal master and a known S Rank Kunoichi, so Root agents were also scattered around the premises.

They had to make sure that everything went according to plan, and the Uzumaki woman would land behind the bars of their village. Onoki had readied the deepest cell, and the most powerful seal that they had managed to steal from Uzushio before it was completely destroyed, to render Kyuubi's chakra in case the Jinchūriki went berserk.

'Now the only problem is to find a new host for the Kyuubi.'

They were having a hard time looking for a new Jinchūriki because they needed to consider the Kyuubi's vast chakra. If the child's chakra coal wasn't compatible with the ones of the Kyuubi's, then the child would die, and the Tailed Beast would be free to run havoc in his village.

Onoki couldn't let that happen, so he needed to make sure that he would have the right child in his hand before the transfer of Jinchūriki commenced.

'If only we had a spare Uzumaki brat here.'

Konohagakure no Sato

Inside Root's headquarters, Danzo ordered his shinobi to escort Koharu and Homura to make sure they did their parts of the plan and to commence the next step.

Koharu and Homura sat down on a sofa when they entered Danzo's office.

"Everything's already prepared," Homura said.

Koharu nodded. "I did my part. Kushina is determined to take a solo mission."

"Hn. Excellent." Danzo gestured his hand and quickly, five shinobi flickered in existence in front of them.

"Attack the Uzumaki once her mission is done. It's less suspicious that way," Danzo ordered his operatives, eyes lingering on each of the five figures kneeling in front of him.

"Leave ahead of Uzumaki, we can't let her sense you following her. It's better if you arrive first and position yourselves and wait for the right time," he said, before his eyes hardened, "Make sure this mission is a success."

"Yes, Danzo-sama," the masked operatives chorused before they vanished from sight.

"Send me off to the gate, Mina-chan!" Kushina cooed, arms wounding around his neck.

Minato chuckled at his wife's antics, "Alright," he conceded, arranging the papers on his desk. He stood up from his seat and wrapped an arm around his wife's waist.

"You got everything you needed?" he asked his wife, kissing her forehead affectionately.

"Hm-mm, I got everything I need on a scroll," she answered looking up at him with a grin.

Minato hummed, nodding once before he Hiraishin'ed them on the village's gate, startling the guards on duty.

"Stay safe out there, Kushina," he said, arms encasing her in a tight embrace which she returned.

"Of course," Kushina confidently replied.

Minato tightened his arms around her. He couldn't figure out why, but somehow, he felt like this was a bad idea. That he should start tying his wife down and caging her inside their room instead.

But, seeing the look in her eyes, the look of unyielding determination twinkling in her violet eyes, he knew he couldn't say it. Kushina needed to prove something to herself, or it was going to eat her.

And so, Minato swallowed his opinion and tried his best to support his wife. Although it was a simple mission, fending off a few weak bandits trying to terrorize a small village there, and even though Minato knew that it would be a piece of cake for someone of Kushina's caliber, still–

Kushina pecked his lips once and it pulled him out of his negative thoughts. She was about to disentangle from him, but he felt this sudden urge – this strong urge to scream, "Not yet!"

Weaving a powerful Genjutsu around them, he grabbed Kushina's waist, "Wha–" and smashed his lips on hers.

He felt her gasp against his mouth, and Minato took it as an opportunity to deepen the kiss. He steadily held the back of her head and embraced her tighter, molding her body with his to feel more of her softness. Kushina let out a surprised moan.

'Damn it!' He slowly let go of her lips and stared at her face. Kushina's eyes snapped open in surprise.


Face red as a tomato, Kushina screamed at him, slapping his chest once and making him wince. Minato pouted. He wasn't normally this clingy but, he just couldn't shake the feeling that — he pushed the negative thoughts away.

'She's only going to be gone for three days, Minato, don't be a baby!' he scolded himself. He really didn't know what just got into him this morning, maybe something that he ate earlier?

"I just want to. Besides, I encased us with Genjutsu, no one had seen us," he reasoned out, rubbing his stinging chest.

'Damn, she hit hard.'

"I'm only going to be gone for three days, ttebane!" she exclaimed, glaring at him, though her still burning cheeks were telling him otherwise.

Minato repressed the urge to smirk, instead he kissed Kushina's forehead and hugged her one last time.

"Nonsense, I'll still miss you," he said. Kushina hugged him back before they let go of each other.

A twinkle of mischief suddenly appeared in her eyes and she smirked at him.

"And Minato."

"Hm?" He blinked curiously at her. 'Now what is she thinking?'

"When I get back..." she leaned on his ears, voice lowering seductively as she whispered, "You have to prepare yourself. We're going to work really hard til you knock me up." She naughtily bit his ear before she moved back.

Now it was his turn for his face to go red. "Kushina!"

She only laughed and muttered something under her breath that he didn't catch.

"What?" he asked again.

"I SAID I'LL MISS YOU TOO, DATTEBANE! I'm going now!" Kushina abruptly kissed his cheek and hurried away from him.

Minato dispelled the Genjutsu around him. He heard a few choking noises from the Chunin guards at his reappearance, sans his wife.

He watched her disappear completely before he headed back to his office, not bothering to use Hiraishin. He absently strolled through the village, trying his hardest to convince himself that everything was going to be fine and that his wife would be back in no time.

If only he knew… that that would be the last time he would be able to touch his wife for the next four years…


A/N: Aaaand done! Chapter 9 will be back to Itachi, Naruto, and Kushina. We're nearing the climax, people! I'm so sorry this chapter took almost a month to finish. Editing is always a pain to me. Anyways, I want to know your thoughts and opinions. Whenever I'm procrastinating, feeling unmotivated or uninspired, your reviews always help to push myself to update. Sometimes, when I like a certain review, it immediately gives me motivation to start writing. So don't be shy to share your thoughts.

Btw, I rewrote the prologue upto chapter 2 a bit coz ah, that really showed how amature I was when I started this fic. This is technically my first fanfic story and I grew a lot as a writer while writing this. If you notice, the writing becomes better in each chapter. I hope you noticed XD. I'll try fixing the old chapters too but I wont change any crucial detail so don't worry guys.


CW: I apologize for being mean *sweatdrop* It's the author's job to toy with their reader's feelings lol. Anyways, we'll get to that! Thank you for reading, stay tune!

Ryan: Thank you for reviewing! Haha, I do my best to satisfy my readers' sadistic side when it comes to Danzo. I already planned everything and execution is the only thing to do. Please be patient with me. ^_^v

Reisbig2009: Hi! Thanks for the review. I'm sorry for the long wait, I hope this chapter is not that late. Lol. There are still questions left unanswered so...stay tuned! ^_^v

Flame Kitsune 15: Ah, hi dear reader. I have to say that I'd never been so amused reading a review until I came across yours. Your imagination exceeded mine! Hahaha. I still don't know how I'll end this fic. I only have a few half baked ideas but if ever this fic will get to Naruto's era and the fifth war, it'll probably be on the second season and I'm still piecing everything together so I'll apologize in advance if I would disappoint you in the future. All I can guarantee you though is that Danzo and Onoki will be dealt with. And unlike in canon, I'll make sure the Old War Hawk's death is justified. I don't plan to prolong Danzo's 'villainess' til Naruto grows up, that's not the kind of Hokage Minato is. So you bet everything will be done in Uzumaki-Namikaze style. And lastly, I love your review. Thank you thank you so much. This review is actually my inspiration in posting this chapter a lot earlier than my normal late updates. I hope you'll at least like it!

SarevokDothrakiDovahkiin: I DEFINITELY AGREED!

Scarease: Hi! Thank you for reviewing. I apologize if I fail to understand a few things, but I think I grasp that the civilian council has no say with ninja affairs. You're right, the civilian council is there for the civilian populace of the village. They took care of all things civilian related and informed the Hokage of the reports and civilian needs and demands. They're supposed to only be focused with civilian affairs, but since they're still part of the council, they have the right to voice their opinions. Although the final say still falls on Minato's so you don't have to worry.

Mr. Haziq: XD since when is he not? Thanks for reviewing!

NaruCrazy: Hello! Thank you so much for giving my fic a chance! And I'm so happy you like this fic. Though the main idea of this fic came from 'The Lost Namikaze' You should try that too, although I have to warn you that it hadn't been updated or ages.) aside from the fact that Kushina was kidnapped by Iwa, Itachi accidentally met Naruto, and was determined to get to Konoha even if he was branded a traitor, the rest are my ideas so I am at least proud of my accomplishment so far, since this is technically my first full english fanfic. It never fails to inspire me whenever I know people like what I write. I hope you at least like this chapter! ^_^v

Fiore: Hi, thank you for reviewing! I had to translate your review first using DeepL so I hope I got this one correctly. I'm glad you love this fic! And I'm so sorry for stressing you, this fic also stressed me so much too hahaha. Yeah, everyone will agree that Danzo is stupid and he's a cockroach that needs to be squashed XD Dear lovable Danzo will have his moment, don't worry! And I'm happy to know you liked the changes I made so far. Also, Black Zetsu having two Rasengans in the face gave my sadistic side a sense of satisfaction too lol XD.

AlyssJocelyn: Thanks for the review! I'm happy you like it! ^_^

Sakatoura: (Note: Dear, I reply following what you say in your last review. So I answered everything and replied to everything you said! ^_^) Ah, one of my favorite readers. Hi! I always love reading your reviews. It never failed to make me smile. It flatters me that seeing an update from me makes you so happy. Haha, we'll be coming to the reunion soon enough so I hope you can wait for a little longer ^_^ I apologize for disappointing you with our lovable Danzo flashback. The 'old genocide nimwit had me laughing my ass out XD. And thank you for still giving chapter 7 a chance. Hahaha yeah, that's part of the plan. It gives me a sense of satisfaction to convey feelings to my readers no matter if it was negative or positive (let us hate on Danzo everyone! Lol XD). I love your enthusiasm as always! I'm happy you like it. Ahh yeah, our teddy bear Obito-chan. I always want to give team Minato a chance and Obito is so precious to be a villain anyway. Canon fucked our lovable Obito-chan so let's just avoid that here XD. Yeah, that's a canon thing right there. Hiruzen knows he's weak when it comes to his precious people and he knows for himself that he can't deal with Danzo. That's why he gave the Hokage seat to Minato. It's just sad that canon stole my dear Minato the limelight. He could've been the best Hokage Konoha had ever had. Ah yeah, Minato is trying to hide that he's on good terms with the Uchiha because of *stuffs* you'll know in the future. And Danzo hates powerful clans. The Uchiha, Senju, and Uzumaki's – that's why he wants to get rid of them. He's a selfish old bat. Yeah, my thoughts exactly about the Uzu's fall. It really smells of Danzo's machination so I put it here. And yeah, just between you and me, Danzo is a die hard Tobirama fanboy. I call on it! That's definitely a headcanon! There's no way it's not. He's so close to making Tobirama his god that he puts his teachings out of context. Tobirama wherever he was is probably pulling his hair out screaming, "No Danzo that's not–Danzo no! You bad bad student!– Grrr that's not what I meant you idiot I–Noooo I didn't say the Uchihas are villains! You gotta look underneath the underneath–DANZO NOOO!" Lmao XD. My thoughts exactly about Danzo's mindset! He sees shinobi as tools. He forgot that he's a shinobi too -_- so why don't he sacrifice himself so everybody can be happy stupid old goat. HAHAHA YOU GOTTA CALL ON TEENAGE NEJI TO SAY IN DANZO'S FACE, "BEING HOKAGE IS NOT YOUR DESTINY!" LMAO. Aaaand we're done. Hahaha I really really love your review. I enjoyed reading them. I wanna read from you in this chapter too. Love yah!

BlackandWhiteGirl: Hi again! I'm glad you like chapter 7 so far. And you're welcome. I'll reply to everyone's review ^_^ I agree with you as a writer with cliffhangers but as a reader...hahaha I always ended up throwing my phone when I'm slapped with cliffhangers whenever the story is getting intense XD See you in the future chapters! I'll try my best to finish chapter 9 immediately but editing chapters is always a pain in the ass. So I can't promise when I'll be posting chapter 9.

AvatarUzumaki: Hi, thank you for reviewing! And don't worry, you're not the only one. Hahaha. I'm happy you like the story so far, I'll do my best in the future. Stay tuned! ^_^

Thank you so much to my awesome beta readers!

Ladybirdwrites, to2llyuntraceable, Regalithy, and ProngsIsABadger.