Minato lay on his bed, procrastinating. He had the whole day ahead and he had no idea what to do. It took him half an hour, give or take a few minutes to finish his mission for the day. He sighed. He really had no idea what to do. He heard Kushina was sent out on a mission, so no going to visit her either.
He was distracted from his procrastinating thoughts when he heard the knock on his front door.
'Kushina!' he exclaimed to find the red head standing on the other side. 'Weren't you supposed to be on a mission.'
'Yeah,' Kushina nodded. 'I have to leave in like half an hour. I just needed a favor.'
'Yeah, sure, what is it?' Minato asked, very curious. Kushina almost never asked for help or favors.
'Could you take care of Aoi until her dad or I am back?' Kushina asked. 'I really can't leave her alone.'
Minato smiled. 'Sure,' he said. 'I can do that.'
'Thank you so much!' Kushina grinned. Then slowly her smile faded. 'Minato-.'
'Don't,' Minato cut across. Kushina looked up to see that he was still smiling. 'Don't apologize. There's nothing you need to apologize for or feel guilty about.'
'Just go on your mission,' Minato said. 'And be careful.'
Kushina nodded, her smile returning too. 'Thank you. Pick Aoi up from the academy. She doesn't exactly know that you're going to look after her.'
'Done,' Minato said. 'And Kushina?'
'I'd do it again,' he said. 'No matter what the consequences.'
'Oh, if it isn't Mr. Heroic Blondie,' was what Minato was greeted with as soon as he picked up Aoi from the Academy.
Minato sighed. 'Will you quit calling me that?'
Aoi shook her head. 'Even you have to agree the name's perfect.'
'Minato-san or Minato-kun or simply Minato is easier to say than Mr. Heroic Blondie, Aoi-chan,' Minato countered logically.
'I can go through the trouble,' Aoi said simply.
'Is there something I can do to make you stop calling me that in public?' Minato offered and started regretting it the moment he saw Aoi's eyes shine.
'Nothing out of my hands please,' Minato requested. 'Especially nothing like drawing monkeys on Sandaime sama's face or cutting Jiraiya sensei's hair.'
Aoi shook her head. 'It's okay,' she said. 'I'll stop if you show me that blue spinning thing that you do.' The four year old's eyes were shining with excitement.
'Rasengan?' Minato asked surprised. 'How do you even know about that?'
Aoi shrugged. 'I saw you doing it once in the training grounds.'
Minato smiled. That was easy enough.
'Do you promise?' Minato asked extending his hand.
Aoi nodded and shook his hand. 'I'll stop calling you that in public.'
Minato picked her up and placed her on his shoulders in one quick motion and her small hands were lost in his yellow bush of hair. 'Hold on then, Aoi-chan. We have to take this somewhere less busy.'
Minato reached the river bank within a few seconds and put Aoi down from his shoulders. 'Okay, here goes.' He extended his right hand and showed her a rasengan. The entire time, Aoi's eyes glistened.
'Awesome,' she breathed. 'So what happens if I touch it?'
Minato immediately extinguished his rasengan. 'Let's not find out.'
'Is it strong?' Aoi asked. 'Can you teach me?'
Minato laughed and then shook his head. 'You need to pass the Academy first to learn something like this.'
'So will you teach it to me after I pass?' Aoi asked.
'I'll definitely think about it,' Minato promised her. They sat by the banks and watched the sunset. Minato thought Aoi was good company when you got to know her.
'Why'd you do it?' Aoi asked him suddenly. 'You knew you were going to get into trouble for not following orders, didn't you? But you still went after her. Why?'
Minato smiled. 'Because I felt like I needed to,' he answered.
'But now you're facing punishment-.'
'Yup, D rank mission for the rest of the month,' Minato said. And could he emphasize on how infuriatingly boring that was to a jounin?
'Some things are just worth it,' Minato said. 'I'd do it again even if the punishment was worse than this.'
Aoi scoffed. 'You're full of sap,' she stated. 'I don't get what Kushina sensei sees in you.' She paused and then said, 'But thank you, I guess. For saving her. Kushina sensei is – she's the most important person in my life.'
Minato smiled and ruffled her hair, making the few blue streaks of hair amidst her brown show. 'You and me both.'
'So how was the first day at the Academy?' Minato asked her.
'It was stupid and pointless,' Aoi replied instantly. And then she started grumbling about masks and grey hair that Minato couldn't really understand anything about.
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