Hearing Kushina’s name, the expression on Minato’s face softened.
Thinking of his wife and son who he had only met once since birth, he bid farewell to Sakumo in order to return to his home after 10 years of absence.
As for Kushina, he had seen her only once, when Ryo brought her to him right after his resurrection.
After that, Kushina took a Kunai of Minato, Hanging it in the middle of her house.
Uninformed people thought that this was just a memento of her late husband. Each time the 3rd went to visit Kushina and saw the hanging Kunai, his heart would be filled with nostalgia, then guilt.
Naruto on the other hand did not get the meaning of this ornament. When he asked about it, his mother would say that she was waiting for someone important.
This lasted for many years. Now, as Minato stepped into his home again, a small lamp was still turned on in the living room from last night. Looking at how Kushina made sure to keep the room the same as when he left, Minato could only smile thoughtfully.
The only thing that changed in the room was some “graffiti” that was painted on the walls and furniture.
As he passed his fingers over these drawings, a young Naruto emerged in his mind with a colored pencil, making “art” as Kushina scolded him.
“MINATO! IT’S REALLY YOU?!” His thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice.
He slowly turned around to see the one he dreamt about for so many years…”
“Kushina!” Minato flickered immediately to his wife, holding her tightly in his arms.
This familiar strong embrace from ten years was more than what Kushina could bear, and she collapsed on his in tears of joy.
“Minato! So many… for years… I’ve waited…. Why didn’t you return? I found your Kunai! I hanger it…. I… everyday…. I was afraid…. I kept the place around the Kunai…. everyday… I was afraid you’d…. you’d trip over furniture…. but you never…. came back…. I MISS YOU SO MUCH!” Kushina cried and yelled and stuttered.
Hearing every word, Minato hated himself more and more. In order to get as strong as before as fast as he could, he really ignored Kushina’s feelings.
“I’m sorry, Kushina. I will definitely come back very frequently in the future.” In his low soothing voice, Minato promised his wife.
Kushina nodded and wiped her tears.
The two then talked to each other about the past 10 years.
Minato told her that he had restored his strength for the past few years, but beyond that, all he could tell her about was his experiences with the toads’ food. Therefore, instead, he decided to listen to Kushina.
All Kushina had to say on the other hand revolved around Naruto. Ever since Minato left, her son had become the center of her life, and in a few hours, Minato learned everything about him.
He knew that their child was not a fast learner, but a hard worker; not school-smart, but very smart in fights; not obedient and law abiding, but very kind and gentle.
Without a father, Naruto was able to turn into such a great person thanks to his mother, Kushina. Thinking of the hardship that she must have endured, Minato couldn’t help but hug her again.
After being immersed in each-other’s warmth for a while, Kushina took Minato to Naruto’s room.
Naruto was already asleep, and Minato approached him and found that he was wearing yellow pajamas patterned with little smiling frogs.
Minato smiled at his sleeping son, and then reached out trying to pat his head. However, the thought of him not acting as the father he was supposed to be held him back.
A long while later, he said to Naruto: “Son, I’m sorry! I couldn’t be by your side, and I’ve been a bad dad. Give me just a little more time, and wait for me to deal with things at hand, and then I will definitely return to you!”
After saying that, Minato left the room. Kushina followed him.
In the living room, she saw how troubled her husband’s face seemed to be, and she realized that he was about to leave.
Forcing a smile on her face, she said to him: “Minato, it’s okay!”
“I have… thing….”
“Don’t worry! I’ll take good care of Naruto and wait for you to come back! I’m the wife of the Yondaime, and I will not hold you back!”
Minato nodded and said nothing, hugging Kushina, and then leaving Konoha.
After he left, his wife wiped her tears and muttered: “Be safe!”
At the same time, in the Rain Village, 10 holograms wearing red cloud patterned black clacks appeared; led by Tendo Pain!
Pain’s Hologram glanced at the nine people present, saying in a serious tone: “Today, Kisame and Hidan have joined our ranks. From now on, you’ll be acting in pairs. Itachi, Kisame will be your new partner. He’s one of the seven swordsmen of the Mist, just like Juzo before him. As for Hidan, you’ll be working Kakuzo.”
“Huh, I hope you’re not as short-lived as the ones before you!” Kakuzo said smirking.
“I’d call you short-lived before I call him that! Worry about yourself!” Black Zetsu said.
“Too many newcomers!” Deidara muttered.
“Deidara, you’re still too fresh to say that!” Sasori said coldly.
“Sasori san! We’re a team! How could you not stand by my side?!”
“This pack is trouble!” White Zetsu couldn’t help but say!”
“Yes, you’re right! It’s a pack of troublesome guys!” Tobi said in his funny tone.
Deidara glared and said: “Especially you!”
“ENOUGH! Why do you have to quarrel every time you meet? Can’t you just take notes and keep quiet?”
Konan’s words silenced everyone instantly. Besides Obito, none of those present were opponents to Pain, and by extension, to Konan. In a sense, her words were Nagato’s.
For such a trivial matter, none of them wanted to offend their “leader”.
Seeing everyone quiet, Nagato controlled Pain to slowly say: “Like I just said, you’ll be acting in pairs starting today, and we will be beginning to accept various higher tasks to accumulate funds and prepare for our future goals.”
Everyone looked at their teammates, and in one voice they said: “Yes!”
Hearing the positive reply, the figures of Pain and Konan disappeared first, just to be followed by the other two.
After the meeting, Black Zetsu said: “Obito, what should we be doing now?”
Nothing, not before we get a way to go around Ryo. His power is too much of a hassle now, so we need to take out time.
Hearing that, Black nodded.
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