Minato looked at Kushina, his eyes shining with conflicting emotions. He could tell her, the Hokage never said he couldn't, but should he? Especially after having just found out that Naruto is his son? That Naruto is their son? Their son, who was orphaned the day he was born? It would break Kushina's heart. They could change things without meaning to, but then again, he had a seal which would erase the memory of this incident entirely. But would he be able to bring himself to use it? He could before, but Naruto was sixteen then, now he's, by Minato's estimation, still a pre-teen. A pre-teen who has never felt the love of his parents. A pre-teen who is lonely, who wants to be loved, who craves attention whether it's good or bad. Minato didn't think he'd be able to do it this time. Not when he can see that Naruto is more vulnerable now. How long has he been this vulnerable? How long will he stay this vulnerable? How long until Naruto can finally, finally, feel cared for enough to become the strong man Minato saw and could see him growing into?
"Naruto and the rest will be staying with us, Kushina. We'll discuss it then. You were on your way to Mikoto's, weren't you?" Minato changed the topic, begging Kushina with his eyes to please, please wait till they were home.
After watching Minato carefully for a few moments, Kushina gave in and issued a firm, tight-lipped nod. "Okay. We will discuss it later. For now," Kushina smiled blindingly at the two blonde males. "It's lunch time at Mikoto-chan's! Whoop whoop!" She cheered as she pulled the pair up and began to pull them into the Uchiha compound and towards the main house.
"You'll love Mikoto, Naruto!" She exclaimed, holding onto Naruto's hand tightly. "She's the cutest, kindest most adorable friend you'll ever have! I don't know how she ended up with the moody bastard Fugaku, but, oh well! That's the past. We're going to have so much fun, ya know! Just you wait!" She smiled brightly towards Naruto. It was a smile Naruto wore when old man Hokage or Iruka-sensei would take him out for ramen. It was a true and bright smile. But there was something different about Kushina's smile. There was something so loving about the smile Kushina was directing at him, that he felt his chest tighten and his eyes sting. He had never wanted a hug so bad before.
Almost as if Kushina knew what he wanted, she wrapped one of her arms around his shoulders and pulled him into her side as they walked, her other hand held Minato's. Naruto felt like he was home. Walking tucked into Kushina's side, Minato holding Kushina's hand… it was like he was with his parents. Parents he had never met, but hoped and prayed made him feel as good as Kushina and Minato. The feeling of belonging that Naruto was feeling made him even more certain that Kushina was his mother, and he began to suspect that Minato was his father.
As Kushina was talking about how she was the godmother of adorable little Itachi-chan, or as Naruto knows him, Itachi Uchiha, the clan murderer, the door to the house they were walking up to opened and an adult version of a female Sasuke stepped out with a gentle smile. The entire scene made Naruto try very hard not to laugh as he substituted the woman, who was obviously Sasuke's mother, with Sasuke himself in his mind.
"I thought I heard you, Kushina-chan. Hello Minato. And you must Naruto, it's a pleasure to meet you." She smiled gently at the blonde boy who blushed as he realised that, damn, that's why girls are so crazy over Sasuke. His mum was beautiful, and he was her spitting image.
"Hi, Mrs. Uchiha." Naruto smiled nervously, a light blush still coating his cheeks.
"Mikoto-chan~!" Kushina squealed as she ran up to her best friend and pulled her into a tight embrace. "How are you? How's Itachi-chan? How's the moody bastard? Did the kids come in already? Naruto's adorable, isn't he? Is there food left? Can we eat now?" Kushina exclaimed excitedly.
Mikoto just laughed gently as she pushed Kushina back gently and held her still by her shoulders. "I'm fine, Kushina-chan. Itachi-chan is an angel and Fugaku is not a bastard, just under a lot of pressure, but he's also doing fine. Yes, the kids came not too long ago. You're right, Naruto is an adorable boy. There is food left, and you can eat when you calm down." She replied to each of Kushina's hurriedly spoken questions flawlessly, the gentle and slightly amused smile never leaving her face.
"Yay! Mikoto-chan is the best!" Kushina hugged Mikoto one last time before hurriedly hustling inside the house to hunt down the food, leaving Naruto and Minato standing before Mikoto, politely awaiting permission to enter.
"Kushina never changes, does she?" Mikoto asked amusedly.
"You got that right." Minato chuckled.
Mikoto held the door open. "Please come in, Minato, Naruto."
"Excuse the intrusion." They both echoed softly as they entered the house.
"Everyone is eating lunch in the kitchen. Come on." Mikoto smiled as she began to lead them to the kitchen for lunch.
How is Sasuke such a bastard when his mum was so smiley? Naruto thought to himself. Then again, mum did call Sasuke's father a bastard. Maybe he got it from him? Naruto momentarily froze as he realised he had just referred to Kushina as his mum in his mind. He release a small, soft and slightly sad smile before he moved on, oblivious to Minato's worried scrutinising gaze.
Everyone ate their food and socialised contently. The only uncomfortable one being Sasuke, who was trying not to think about his mother's crumpled dead body on the floor in the other room, nor about the fact that the toddler was Itachi, he's crazy, clan murdering older brother.
The conversation was beginning to lull when Kushina suddenly piped up. "Hey! I never did ask! Where'd you guys come from anyway? Were you all undercover somewhere? I've never seen you before, I'd definitely remember cute, adorable little Naru-chan!" She then dived sideways so that she could hug Naruto tightly, taking everyone, except the future Kakashi by surprise. Kushina rubbed her cheek over Naruto's hair. "Such a cutie! Yes, you are! Yes, you are!"
"Kushina…" Minato trailed off as everyone watched in various stages of amusement as Kushina baby-talked to Naruto while he closed his eyes in mortification. "You do realise, Naruto is not a baby, right?" He was really begging to question the love of his life's sanity. She became attached to Naruto very easily. He wasn't sure if it was her subconscious maternal instincts or if she just really wanted blonde children, that badly.
"Of course I know that, Minato!" Kushina stated, sounding insulted. "But Naru-chan is just so cute! I can't help it." Kushina said it so seriously, Minato decided it was an act, she was never that serious outside of a mission, and that it was her subconscious maternal instincts shining through. "Hey!" Kushina suddenly shouted, pointing an accusing finger at Minato. "Don't distract me from my question! Answer me!"
"Kushina-chan." Mikoto called out gently. "Give them a chance, you're speaking too much, they haven't been able to get anything out." Mikoto chastised her friend gently.
"Oops!" Kushina rubbed the back of her head sheepishly, not relinquishing her hold on Naruto at all. "My bad."
Grown Kakashi cleared his throat as he sat forward, gaining everyone's attention. "Perhaps proper introductions are in order. I'm Kakashi Hatake, and these three are my adorable little, violent, genin." Kakashi gestured at the trio to introduce themselves.
Sakura went first. "I'm Sakura Haruno! It's a pleasure to meet you Lady Mikoto, Kushina." She smiled at them cheerfully. There was a brief pause as the boys hesitated.
As Mikoto and Kushina began to get over the shock, Sasuke took the initiative to introduce himself before chaos ensued over the fact that there were two Kakashi Hatake's. "I'm Sasuke Uchiha. Second son of Mikoto and Fugaku Uchiha."
The two women once again fell into stunned silence. The introduced members of Team Seven turned their expectant gazes towards Naruto. He gulped before dredging up the courage to talk. "I'm Naruto…" He hesitated, looking towards Kushina before finishing with his introduction. "I'm Naruto Uzumaki. I've been an orphan since the day I was born, and don't know who either of my parents are."