So as this is still New Year and I've also been reminded it's Might Guy's birthday today, I've decided to… yes! Post another story without finishing the rest! Note the sarcastic happiness.

Well, truthfully, the fact that it's Guy's birthday is just a welcome coincidence, seeing as he's not featured in this chapter at all, but at least it gives me the needed push to finally post this. I've been pushing it back each time I thought of doing so, mostly because I have other stories I want to focus on, but when inspiration knocks you don't close the door on its face.

So I've had this written for ages, and I've also got the first three or four chapters written down so that'll hopefully help in making me write more often. I usually write about what I feel the most inspired and lately it's been anime, but that might change.

This is the Prologue of a story that will contain slash, just to warn you all. I've put it in the summary, but still there's people who disregard all warnings and then protest…

As for the future pairing, I'm debating between two characters at the moment: one I had originally planned and the other I just love but would involve a crossover with One Piece too, so I'm not too sure about it. As a hint, both of them are redheads hahaha. Still, I may just change my mind further into the story, sometimes a pairing just writes itself without any planning on the authors part.

Anyway, sorry for the rant, I hope you enjoy this story and I'll be so happy to read what you think of it! Happy New Year and enjoy your reading!

Prologue

When Kushina had told him she was pregnant, he had been overjoyed. They were going to be parents! He was going to become a father!

He had hugged her tightly and twirled her around.

He would be lying, though, if he said he hadn't been worried. Especially as the labour dragged on for longer than expected. Even Biwako-sama had begun to look concerned by the time a baby's wail cut through the air.

Kushina and he had shared a big wide smile at the sound, eager to finally meet their child.

Biwako-sama, mean woman that she was, had insisted the mother be the first to see and hold the child. And no, contrary to what the women might say, Minato was not pouting. He did shed a tear or two, because… he was officially a father!

His father had been sure it was going to be a boy, so they only had a male name chosen. And she had also been right ―he was never going to hear the end of it.

Their little Naruto was perfect. All small rosy cheeks and blonds little tufts of hair. Bluest eyes ever that might or might not change as he grew up, the shape unmistakingly like Kushina's, and three whisker-like marks on each side of his face ―that was probably a side-effect of his mother's jinchuuriki status― made him the cutest baby he'd ever seen. And it wasn't parental pride talking, no sir.

Much to Kushina's relief, it appeared their son had inherited his colouring down to the tone of his skin, but also his mother's healthy pair of lungs ―Kami, but Naruto was already loud!

Watching Kushina cooing at their son was one of the most perfect moments of his life. Until the woman let out a pained whimper even as she brought Naruto closer to herself.

Minato paled as Biwako-sama hurried to check his wife, her face looking shocked at whatever she found out.

The ordeal was over even before he truly understood what was going on, Kushina tiredly slumping back on the mattress, little Naruto held tightly to her chest as she shushed him gently, and another little baby in the midwives arms.

Twins.

"You'll have to come up with another name, I'm afraid."

Biwako-sama's words barely registered to the doubly new father, the man struck speechless as he stared at the bundled newborn she held, a hint of red teasingly peeking through the brown fabric. Still, he restrained himself, hands twitching at his sides.

Looking at his wife he saw her smiling brightly at him and, though he had a feeling she would have been rolling her eyes at him hadn't she been just as surprised, Kushina simply gave a soft sigh, taking pity on him, and:

"What are you waiting for? Pick him up."

Minato didn't need to be told twice.

The midwife, with the new mother's approval, carefully transferred the baby onto the blonde's arms. The man stared, enraptured, drinking in every detail of his second son, engraving the memory onto his very soul.

Unlike his brother, he hadn't cried as he came into the world, but he was assured he was completely healthy.

He was tiny, certainly smaller than Naruto who had already seemed so small in his wife's arms, and he also felt so light in his own. His eyes were a bit darker than Naruto's own but still blue, the shape more like Minato's, and his skin as pale as his mother's. And there, on top of his little head, red hair the exact same shade as Kushina's.

His second son, it looked, had inherited his mother's colouring and Minato couldn't be happier.

"Alright, now bring him here. I want to meet him too!"

The blonde laughed sheepishly, unsure on how long exactly he'd been staring at his son before Kushina's soft complain, but obeyed. He sat on the edge of the uncomfortable looking birthing bed and showed their second newborn to his wife. Whilst she eagerly took in every detail of his small shape, the man's eyes strayed to the blonde baby on her chest.

"Oh, no, he's got my hair!" bemoaned his wife as he'd expected her to do.

"I'm glad for it. You know I love your hair."

"Well, it did bring us together, didn't it?" mused the woman looking much happier at the thought. "Maybe it'll be his own red thread of fate one day."

"He's perfect." Muttered Minato, voice cracking from emotion. "They both are."

"Yes, they are." After a few seconds of watching them, Kushina looked up at him. "We need to decide on another name."

Minato frowned a little, thinking hard. Names were important. Naruto was named after the main character in Jiraiya-sensei's first book, a hero who never gave up despite facing numerous hardships.

"What about Toshiro? It means 'intelligent one'."

"Are you already heaping expectations on our son's shoulders?" asked Kushina with suspicious eyes.

"N-no! Of course not!"

Minato stammered, trying to backtrack until he noticed her lips twitching. His wife was laughing at him!

"Ha ha, really funny, Kushina." His eyes softened, though.

"It is." Snorted the woman.

"What about Koji?"

"'Little one'? Do you want our son to hate us forever?" replied the redhead.

Minato looked down at their second-born, whose eyes were wide open as he stared up at him as if fascinated. He thought it was probably his hair that held his attention.

"You wouldn't hate us, would you? After all, you are our little one." Breathed out the man in a low playful voice, his finger teasingly running over a small clenched fist. His wife snickered at him and he huffed. "Alright then, what do you propose?"

Kushina lowered her eyes, her fingers playing with the edge of the blanket wrapped around Naruto.

"Kushina?"

"Remember the few we discussed before agreeing on Naruto? I liked the sound of Sakumo, but…"

The blonde shook his head in sadness.

"Yeah, I don't think Kakashi-kun would really appreciate it at the moment." He muttered, voicing her own worries.

"Maybe we could talk it over with him… see what he thinks before making a decision…" she suggested.

"Well, you've time enough; you don't have to decide it right now." Interrupted Biwako-sama gathering Naruto up in her arms. "What you all do need is some rest. Let me put Naruto away and I'll come back for this little surprise."

The new parents smiled at each other with love and joy.

"Kushina."

"Minato?"

"Thank you."

Her answer came in the form of her smile widening before her eyes strayed to the bundled child still in his arms almost as if pulled by an invisible force.

"We're parents now, Minato." She mustered the strength to say, conveying all her emotion at the fact.

"I know it's a bit hurried and you're tired from just giving birth," started Minato, worry creasing his brow. "but I think it's safer that I restore the seal right away. As soon as Biwako-sama-"

He didn't get to finish the sentence as he felt a shiver creep up his spine and a muffled sound alerted him that something was wrong.

When he turned around, a masked man stood atop the midwives bodies, holding their baby Naruto.

HPNHPNHPNHPN

His chest was pressed to Kushina's back, but his body was too numb to feel it. Blessedly so, since he didn't know if he would have the strength to do what was necessary otherwise. The pain in his stomach being cut open by the Kyuubi's claw would surely be too much even for him. He breathed in deeply, erasing such thoughts from his mind.

"Kushina, I don't have long left." Muttered Minato. "I'll seal a bit of my chakra in Naruto, too, and then I'll finish his seal. It's going to be a while before we see them again, so let's take the chance to speak to them now."

"Naruto…" then Kushina stopped and gasped and he could almost feel her tears along with the shudder that shook her full body. "Minato, we haven't…"

The blonde closed his eyes against his own tears and took another deep breath. When he opened his eyes again, they fixed where he knew hers were, on the small bundle at the edge of the seal being watched over by an unusually grim Kosuke. The young red and blue toad had been all he'd been able to summon with the little chakra he could spare.

The baby's blue eyes peered innocently up at them and he almost felt his resolve break. Only the knowledge that his sons would not survive either if the Kyuubi was left free to wreak havoc kept him from backing up.

The memory imprinted in his mind of the strange red, green and black seal on their red-headed baby's chest was glaring evidence that it was too late, anyway.

His voice broke when he spoke.

"I've been thinking… I think I've got the perfect one… Akira."

"'Bright and clear'?"

"It can be spelt with the kanji for 'autumn' and 'spiral shell'. The spiral for his Uzumaki heritage-"

"And 'autumn' because he was born in its middle?"

"Partially. Fire Country gets its name from the colour the leaves take in autumn… the colour of your hair and his…"

Kushina released a breathless laugh.

"You're so sappy… but I love it. The spiral shell is also a reference to the sea, right? So it could stand for us both: Uzumaki and Namikaze…"

Minato smiled a bit at getting caught, but said nothing, waiting for her to decide.

"Namikaze Akira." She said out loud, as if tasting the sound of the name on her lips. "Akira it is. Naruto and Akira. Our sons."

Her own voice broke at the end and Minato pressed his forehead to the back of her hair, his tears disappearing between the red strands that had brought them together.

"Right." She cleared her throat. "Naruto… Akira… There are so many things I want to tell you both… So many things a mother must teach to her children… I wish I had more time, that I could watch you both grow, but this moment is all I get. Don't be picky about your food. Eat lots so you can grow big. Bath every day and dress warmly do you don't get a cold. And don't stay up late at night, you'll need your sleep. Make friends. You don't need a lot of them, a few you can trust is good enough. I'm not one to talk, but do your best in school and ninjutsu. Remember there's always things we're worse or better at, so don't get depressed if some things don't work for you. Respect your teachers at the Academy and seniors. Ah, another thing, the three shinobi prohibitions. Be careful when you ask for or lend money and save up all you get for your missions. Don't drink any alcohol until you're twenty. If you do, don't drink too much. As for women… I'm a woman, so I don't know much about this, but… remember there's men and women in this world. You'll feel attraction to them, but don't get together with just anyone. Find a girl like me. And, lastly, keep an eye out for Jiraiya-sensei."

As her speech slowed down, her body shaking with deep breaths, Minato couldn't really stop the small smile that his lips formed even as a pain that had nothing to do with his wound grew in his chest, his heart clenching as it finally dawned on him that this was true, that they'd never get to experience so many things with their sons. Only the thought that Naruto and Akira would live made the pain bearable, if barely so.

"Naruto, you… don't forget to have fun and play pranks once in a while, it's in your blood, I know. Akira… don't let people mock you for your hair, think of it as your very own visible red thread of fate. You'll face lots of hardships from now on, my boys, but be yourselves! Find a dream and make it come true! There are so, so, so, so many things I want to tell you both…!" here her voice broke into a sob and Minato could picture it in his mind, as clear as if he were seeing it, the way her face would scrunch up in grief. "I wish I had more time! I love you… Minato, sorry for having talked so long…"

"It's okay. Listen to your chatty mother, boys. And take care of each other. Naruto… I've imagined what your life would be like so many times… this never featured in it, but I have faith that you'll find a way to be happy despite it. And Akira, your birth caught as by surprise… a nice surprise… just keep on surprising us, alright, little one? I love you."

Drawing the last of his strength, the Nidaime Hokage finished the seals that would bind the Kyuubi to little Naruto.