Nov. 16th, 2013

chiishio: (uzumaki→ family)
Paperwork must have been a hard habit to break, even after Minato's short reign being Hokage. He sat hunched over the desk in the makeshift office made in his home, reading over reports and research he had gathered over the course of seven months he had been here. Some things just didn't add up the way he expected them to.

"Minato?" Kushina's voice broke his intent focus, causing him to look up in surprise. His posture didn't change but his expression seemed to shift into something that urged Kushina to join him. She had in her hands a plate of food, probably from the dinner that he didn't join them at. In a rare moment, Kushina hadn't railed into him for it and let him sit at his office and do his work. In fact, her coming to give him his meal was a surprise.

But no more than her next words.

"Can we talk?" she asked just as Minato had shoveled a forkful of Kushina's delicious cooking into his mouth. He's only sorry he didn't get it fresh or enjoy it with his family at the table. When he looked up, Kushina's expression was earnest, if not a little pleading. He couldn't say no to that face.

So he swallowed his mouthful, smiled gently and leaned back to show he was open to anything she had to offer. "Sure."

Her shoulders relaxed, looking relieved (as if he would say no), and she moved to brace herself against a nearby desk. Her slender hands gripped the edge of the wood and she stared at the floor, as if trying to find the words. "Why did you go on that mission?" she finally blurts, red hair falling over her shoulders when she adjusts her grip.

His hand paused in scooping up another heaping mouthful of food. Why did he? He had told himself it was to gather more information, he had told Kushina this too, but she seemed to think it was more than that. "I told you, I--"

"I don't mean that," she interrupts quickly before he can explain anything. Minato wisely shuts his mouth and waits, knowing there's more. There was always more, although this time it's a lot more vital than Kushina's usual talkativeness. "I mean, why this one? To be honest, I'm surprised you didn't take one sooner. You always liked being in the center of it all or you kind of had to be, right? The Yellow Flash, the Fourth Hokage. And after Iron Eye, I thought you would look more into it... especially with the way I reacted and the things I said to you."

Ah, so that's it. He had thought about earlier missions but he felt like his presence here in the village was of higher priority. Kushina wouldn't say it but she needed him and he knew it. Suddenly he understands why she looks so lost. Back in Konoha, Minato took his orders from the Hokage without question and he wasn't in the village for terribly long at times. Kushina had obviously gotten used to that more than his time as the Fourth Hokage where he was usually spending it in the Hokage Tower and in the village. Here, he didn't' hold that title. At least, not officially and not of any consequence. To most people, he was just Namikaze Minato.

"We're not in Konoha, Kushina," he tells her.

She looks up in surprise and then begins narrowing her eyes. "I know that. This is--"

"Luceti. I'm not Hokage here and I'm not the Yellow Flash, am I? I don't have to go to war for my village unless it's necessary. I have other responsibilities to you and to Naruto. I won't mess up again, I swear it." For a moment, she goes silent and then her second wind comes. That fire she always had. The passion he loved her for.

"You didn't mess up the first time, Minato." The stubbornness as well. "Stop saying that. I'm tired of you saying that."

He was always struck by the rigidity of her spirit, of her opinion, of her thoughts, of her will. "Sorry," is all he could think of to say but this didn't make her happy either. She just sighed in that tiresome way that meant she had been keeping from asking him this for a while. Ever since Minato learned about her fate as a jinchuriki, there were hardly any secrets. They could trust each other.

"Did you learn anything?" she finally asked and walked around his desk, peering down at all the papers and the notes he had made. She had never been a fan of it; studying, researching, anything to do with studious habits. But she was reading over his shoulder.

Unable to help himself, he teased her with a lopsided smile. "It's rude to read over people's shoulders."

Her answer to that was to steal the paper off his desk and read it that way, turning away from him. Minato sighed and turned back to his food. The more she read, he could see her body stiffening from the corner of his eye and he has to pause mid-chew when the paper is suddenly set back in his place. "Did you learn anything?" she repeats.

"Nothing that we don't already know," he answers around his mouthful before swallowing. "They hide their secrets well. It's already taken everyone years to figure out as much as they had now. I doubt I would be able to figure out anything that would change our situation just in one mission."

Kushina seemed to have other ideas. "If anyone can do it, it's you." Then suddenly her concentrated curl of her brows shifted into something softer and there was fondness in her eyes. He realizes what could have changed her look so suddenly when she reaches forward and brushes food off his cheek. Minato colors, embarrassed at her belief in him and the gesture but Kushina just smiles. But as soon as it's there, it's replaced by the look he was actually expecting for missing dinner.

"Make sure you wash your dish or I'll let your food get cold, next time. Got it?"

The sound following her as she leaves is his nervous laughter and a broken, "Right." Then he's back to reading and taking bites of the best food on Earth at every opportunity.

"... Thanks, Kushina."

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