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Disclaimer: Do I look like I own Naruto? No I don't!
Of all the brave warriors that fought the embodiment of calamity that was the Juubi, History remembers only the one who would later become known as the Sage of the Six Paths.
An understandable oversight. After all, in a time of ninja, who would not be overshadowed by the very founder of Ninjutsu?
History does not care to recall that others fell while he made the preparations necessary to seal the Beast within himself.
History does not recall that a woman, a proud and strong mistress of the blade, was helpless to watch as she breathed what she had no doubt would be her last breaths.
History does not acknowledge that that day saw the birth of more than just one Legend.
Uzumaki Tomoe drew in a ragged breath. Her vision started to cloud over and dim around the edges. In front of her, she could see the last combatants milling around wearily doing their best just to stay alive.
Standing a fair distance away, atop one of the many impromptu outcrops of rock that had been kicked up across the now ravaged landscape, a tall man, wielding a long katana in one hand and a shakujo in the other, twirled his weapons in a strange pattern before thrusting them towards the Beast.
Tomoe whimpered as she felt her life slip. Breathing was hard now, it created small but intense needles of pain that dug into her chest like hot pokers. Still… she held on to her last moments with every inch of strength she had left.
If this was the end… she wanted to see it.
She winced as the broken sword in her gut shifted… her sword.
She almost chuckled. Cut down by her own sword. As if she were guilty of committing some dishonourable crime.
Tomoe's attention flickered back to the man as a cone shaped vortex spread from the top of his staff and rapidly reached out in a last ditch effort to take the foe down.
She watched in wonder as the Beast started to flail and screech. Not the terror inspiring roar that it gave during the battle, but an unearthly scream of indignation. She pushed death back, her vision clearing with her determination to see what could cause the Demon such fear.
A great swirl of black demonic energies was being sucked into the man like water draining out of a hole in a bowl. The Ten-Tailed Beast was being… absorbed, at least that's what it looked like. The tails were thrashing around in protest but one by one they were sucked into their new vessel. As the tenth appendage gave its final stand it crashed down towards her, already loosing it corporeality but still no less intimidating.
Tomoe smiled. She would not die by her own sword.
The smile turned to a frown when, rather than crushing her like it had so many others, the tail passed through her like a vile and malicious ghost that was trying to latch onto her very soul. She could feel its sickly energy running throughout her broken body and worming around inside her, but there was no physical impact. She was not crushed by the Beast's tail.
Ironically, it was that very thought that crushed her fighting spirit. The steely determination that had supported her all along her life vanished, leaving only a broken and beaten woman with her last hope at a warrior's death evaporating as the tenth tail was finally absorbed.
Defeated. She let the darkness claim her.
She never saw her sword melt into her belly, leaving only a faint clockwise swirl where the wound had been.
She never saw the black energy soak into her body, healing the many wounds that she had suffered.
It would be hundreds of years before she met the Legend to which her blood would give birth.
Ninja Guide-Book to Bloodline Limits and Clan Abilities.
Article 042: Tamashiiken, Uzumaki.
Of the many Bloodline Limits throughout the history of the Elemental Nations, the one belonging to the Uzumaki Clan became known as one of the most versatile. The Bloodline manifests itself in the form of a blade, or some other kind of weapon, created from the blood of the Uzumaki, and shaped as a reflection of their soul.
For any Kenjutsu practitioner, the Tamashiiken is by far the most envied bloodline in existence because the blades are renowned for their durability and incredible sharpness.
The conditions of awakening the Bloodline and 'forging' the blade vary from one person to another. Often times, it is through studious meditation and a deeper understanding of one's self. Other times it can be under more spontaneous circumstances, be it a traumatic experience, a desire to protect a loved one or one's home, a fit of rage or any number of emotional triggers.
The one constant is that upon activation the Uzumaki obtains a weapon forged by their very soul using their own blood.
An Uzumaki's Tamashiiken can only be wielded by its master. If another were to attempt to forcefully claim an Uzumaki's blade as their own, they would receive immense pain at best, and instant death at worst.
The shape of the weapon depends on the personality and style of the individual Uzumaki. The weapon is a part of its creator, an extension. As such, the two are connected at the most fundamental level. The weapon can be summoned in an instant, no matter the location, and can be stored in such a way that only the owner can call it back. Any damage can be repaired through blood and willpower.
Upon an Uzumaki's death his, or her, Tamashiiken simply returns to its initial form: blood.
Like all coveted Bloodline Limits many villages have tried to gain it for themselves. But the Uzumaki Clan have always maintained their independence, guarded their blood, and kept their secrets within their own walls.
Konoha Hospital, Maternity Ward. October Tenth.
An exhausted Uzumaki Kushina gazed tearfully up at her husband, clutching her newborn twin babies to her chest protectively.
"Minato-kun are you sure there's no other way?"
Namikaze Minato nodded firmly. He didn't like the idea but there was no other choice if he wanted to fulfill his duty as Hokage and save the people of his village.
He gently pried his sleeping daughter from her mother's arms. He smiled a bittersweet smile as he looked down at her, not even an hour old and he could already see that Namikaze Kasumi would be a beauty. The spitting image of her mother.
"I'm sure Kushina-chan. I don't like the idea either, but the doctors say that you're no longer in danger. They've assured me that you'll pull through, so at least the kids will have their mother to raise them and love them."
Tears spilt from Kushina's eyes. "But… what about you Minato-kun?"
He sighed mournfully. "We've been through this before Kushina. I don't have a choice! It's my duty to save the village! Sarutobi and the Shinobi from the first response force have managed to push Kyuubi out of the village, I have to do this now!"
He leaned down and pried his second sleeping child away from his mother. Namikaze Naruto already bore a startling resemblance to his father, even the short fuzz on top of his head was the exact shade of yellow as Minato's.
The tears ran even faster down Kushina's cheeks. She watched as her husband held their children for the first, and probably the last, time. She knew that it had to be done, but she really wished, just this once, that they could be selfish and choose themselves over the village. They had already been forced to keep their marriage secret, unofficial, even if it was pretty much common knowledge anyway.
Now she was about to loose the love of her life and her children, barely out of her womb, were to be saddled with one of the harshest burdens that there was.
Jinchuuriki. The Power Human Sacrifice.
Desperately trying to prolong her time with her family, she sniffled and tried to stall for time.
"So how is this going to happen Minato-kun?"
Minato sighed. He really needed to be going, but he understood what his wife was trying to do. He decided to be just a little selfish and take the opportunity to savour these last few moments.
"I've already prepared the Ceremonial Thrones for the Eight Trigrams Sealing Style, one each for both Naruto and Kasumi. Then I'll use the Dead Demon Consuming Seal to pull the Kyuubi into one of the twins to seal away its youki, before pulling its soul into the second twin. That way the Demon will be split from its power. Originally I had planned to split its Yin and Yang chakra, but I think this way should work better and be safer."
Kushina nodded distractedly, listening with one ear but paying more attention to the sight in front of her than the words being spoken.
She focused a bit more when a though crept up. "Which one will hold the soul and which one will hold the youki?"
Minato shook his head. "It doesn't matter. What matters is that I use the Dead Demon Consuming Seal properly. The first sealing will be the real difficulty, after that Kyuubi will be powerless so the second sealing won't be hard at all. Relatively speaking of course… I really need to be going now."
Kushina nodded slowly, sadly, recognising that she couldn't hold him back any longer.
"I love you Minato-kun."
"I love you Kushina-chan."
Minato appeared on top of the great wall in a flash of yellow, landing near the massive breach that had been cause as the defenders pushed the Nine-Tailed Beast back. He created two Earth Clones from some of the ample supply of rubble, and had them each take hold of one of his children.
He cast his gaze over the battle field, holding back a wince each time he saw one of his dead or severely wounded subordinates. Several hundred feet away he could see the forces lead by Sarutobi keeping the Kyuubi at bay.
Minato took a deep breath to steady his nerves.
He had to hurry before more lives were lost.
He leapt down from the wall, his hands darting through hand seals as he fell.
"Boar - Dog - Bird - Monkey - Ram. Summoning Technique!"
A giant rusty-red toad appeared, towering a little higher than the tallest building in Konoha. Minato landed on its head, closely followed by his Clones as they joined him with his children.
"Minato? Why have you summoned me? My sweet warts! Is that the Kyuubi?"
"Sorry Gamabunta, I need you to get me near Kyuubi and then you have to distract it while I seal it into my kids."
"The Nine-Tails huh? You owe me for this Minato!"
"Sorry Bunta, but I won't be able to pay you back for this one. I'm going to summon the Death God and use my soul to seal away the fox. You'll have to get it for Ero-Sennin. Give me a minute to get ready and we can put this Beast down!"
Gamabunta's face became grave at his summoner's words and he nodded in understanding.
Minato jumped to the giant toad's back and placed his palms down, summoning the two Ceremonial Thrones. He would have preferred to keep them as far from the Fox as possible, and would have done so if he were sealing it into only one child, but to separate the Kyuubi's soul from its youki he would need to be near the vessels.
'At least it'll give me time to tell them one last goodbye.'
The Earth Clones placed the kids on the thrones. Kasumi on the right and Naruto on the left, not that it mattered. The seals on the thrones glowed, showing their activation, and Minato knew that the still sleeping children would be held fast until the ceremony was over. Whether it was a success of a failure.
With a deep breath he jumped back to the toad Boss' head.
"Alright Boss lets show this Baka-Fox what we can do!"
Gamabunta leapt forwards and crashed into the flank of the Nine-Tailed Bijuu, using the weight of his several ton body to push it back.
The Fox roared in anger at the assault, but soon shifted itself to oppose the new arrival.
Gamabunta, like all Boss Level Battle Summons, was huge. Minato, standing on his head, was rather like a small fly would be standing on the head of a normal toad. Nonetheless, even the weakest of the Tailed Beasts would be noticeably larger than him.
So faced with the greatest of the Nine, he felt understandably overmatched.
He cursed as the Nine-Tailed Fox immediately started pushing him back, leaving six foot deep trenches where his webbed feet dug into the ground.
"Hurry up Minato! I won't be able to hold for long."
Minato jumped to the tip of Gamabunta's nose as he ran through hand seals, shuddering as he felt the hot breath rolling out of the Demon Fox's snout.
"Snake - Boar - Ram - Rabbit - Dog - Rat - Bird - Horse - Snake." He clapped his hands together and held them there. "Dead Demon Consuming Seal!"
A cold wind washed over the area and Minato felt the chilling presence of the avatar of Death take form behind him and it was only the presence of the Fox that prevented him from turning around to look at it. Despite having expected it, Minato almost yelped in shock when he felt the Death God's cold ethereal arm reach into his chest. He could almost hear the screams and groans of the thousands of lost souls trapped in the Deity's belly, and he shivered at the thought that he would soon be joining them.
He pushed past the disconcerting feeling and focused his mind on controlling the appendage. The arm shot out from where his palms were pressed together and shot towards the Kyuubi, grasping hold of it in an iron grip.
The Fox froze as it was touched by a power that exceeded even its own.
Minato wasted no time, putting all of his willpower into the Technique. The Demon started to struggle, scrambling to the right as it thrashed around to try and break the grip.
Gamabunta stumbled, unwittingly realigning them with the Fox.
One of the great Fire Country trees collapsed, slamming into Kyuubi's flank and pushing it to the left, distracting it just long enough for Minato to take the advantage and wrench it towards him.
Gamabunta was force to jump out of the way as the tree toppled towards him, once again landing with Kyuubi to their right.
Minato grinned viciously as he felt victory was within his reach. He doubled his efforts and felt the Fox's resistance crumble as it was pulled into his control. He directed it towards the nearest Ceremonial Throne, his daughter's, and proceeded to seal it in, closing the Eight Trigrams Sealing Style around it to lock in the youki.
He then moved on to the second part, feeling relieved that the hardest part was over but not allowing his concentration to wane. He pushed the Kyuubi's soul into his son and closed his Eight Trigrams Seal. The ethereal arm vanished and Minato sagged in relief, letting a deep breath escape his lips and wiping the sweat from his brow.
He spun around when he felt the chill that signified the presence of the Death God dwindle, but was only able to catch a glimpse of what looked like a swirl of limbs and faces before it completely vanished from view. He was confused that his soul hadn't yet been taken, and that he was still alive, but decided to take the most of the opportunity.
He grinned up at the toad boss. "Thanks Bunta! Can you head towards the Hospital? I doubt I'll make it, but I want my kids to be back with their mother as soon as possible."
"Got it kid, you just hold on."
The toad boss waddled off at a slow pace, careful not to jostle his load.
Minato lay down by his children, who were miraculously still sleeping, and cradled them both in his arms. He ignored the cheers and other sounds of celebration as people realised that the threat was gone, in favour of savouring the warmth of the two infants as he waited for Death to claim him.
"Kid? Minato, you still with us? We're at the Hospital."
Minato blinked his eyes open, unsure of when he had let them close. He blinked again when he realised that he was still alive, exhausted, but alive.
"What the hell is going on?"
Konoha, Hokage Tower. October Eleventh.
Minato stood atop the Hokage Tower, his daughter in his arms as he looked down on the assembled people of his beloved village. He didn't know how he had survived, but he wasn't going to spit on the unbelievable chance that was offered to him by questioning it.
"Citizens of Konoha! As Fourth Hokage, it is my duty to inform you all that last night many brave Shinobi lost their lives to what may have been our village's greatest threat since its creation. The Nine-Tailed Demon Fox.
"However! Their sacrifice was not in vain! The Nine-Tailed Demon has been stripped of it power and sealed away in a prison from which it will never escape! Our enemy is now completely powerless!"
He lifted his daughter into the air, chuckling lovingly when she guzzled toothlessly at the men and women below.
"Let me present to you our saviour, my daughter, Namikaze Kasumi, the container of the Kyuubi's power, stripped of any will of its own and never to harm us again."
There was silence from the crowd as they took in their leader's words, uncertain, despite his reassurances, and afraid of the awesome power that the girl contained.
Then someone cheered.
Then someone clapped.
Then, like a fast spreading disease, happiness and relief burst from every person present. They whispered and they shouted and they screamed their appreciation. They radiated thankfulness in almost palpable waves. Within minutes the word had travelled and, all over the village, the name Namikaze Kasumi was spoken with a reverent smile.
Konoha Hospital, Maternity Ward.
Namikaze Naruto slept peacefully within the silenced walls. Unaware and unacknowledged.