Hope you enjoy this one. It's been in my head for a while. As always, special thanks to Dreaming of the Phoenix for being an awesome beta.


An illusion. A trick. A lie.

She was fake, and never before had she ever regretted her special transformation technique that made her look like a young woman in her prime.

She had noticed it two years ago, right before the start of the war. She had come out of her coma with him on her mind, left over from the many dreams she had of him during her time unconscious. She had made so many excuses at the time that they almost made her laugh.

Her dreams while comatose? A simple byproduct of him showing up right at the moment she needed him the most, ready and able to save the village from a monster.

Her thoughts of him the moment she awoke? Simply leftover from her dreams.

And… the way he looked at her, the way he got so close when he saw her up and okay? The way his eyes seemed to light up more than the others? A trick her brain played on her, still fuzzy from the chakra exhaustion she had suffered.

Yes. A simple trick. None of it was real, and none of it meant what she had thought.

| Finally |

The next time she noticed it was during the war.

Naruto and Killer B had escaped from the island they were confined on. They had agreed – reluctantly, on her half – that the only two Jinchuuriki would stay out of the war, hidden away so that their enemies couldn't complete their goal.

Tsunade wasn't even surprised when they received reports of Naruto and the Kumo Jinchuuriki breaking through the wards. They didn't know Naruto like she did, not even the Kazekage. She knew that he wouldn't sit by while so many put their lives at risk on his behalf.

That wasn't the kind of man Uzumaki Naruto was.


When had she begun to think of him as a man?

Regardless of what she tried to tell herself, tried to make herself believe, that look was in those azure orbs once again when they found her form. She had only seen that look from two people in her entire life.

The first was from Dan, the man she loved and lost what seems like a lifetime ago.

The second was her teammate and friend, Jiraiya.

The latter had only looked at her like that after several years, after she returned to the village as the Godaime Hokage. He had only looked at her with perverted eyes before that.

But now… now a man she was four times older than looked at her that way, with eyes filled of a gentle fondness and caring that made her heart flutter, and she had no idea why. They had always been close. He had reminded her of Nawaki and Dan so greatly that she unconsciously attached herself to him nearly instantly. But the relation had always been strictly platonic. He had been a child when they first met, a loudmouthed brat, really. Platonic was all there could have been between them then.

But then he left for nearly three years, and returned a more mature, strong young man. He could still get on her nerves, of course, but that's what the dynamic of their relationship was based on.

So when? When had that changed? When had he started looking at her like a woman and not some old lady to shout at and be silly with?

The moment she had appeared in front of him, the Raikage at her side, she had seen his eyes, still blue even though he was encased in orange-gold fire, looking at her with something more than familial love. His whole face lit up, like just seeing her was enough to give him courage.

It had made her stomach float.

With that look, how could she not have sided with him? How could the Raikage expect her to sit aside and watch him try to hurt him? How could the large, dark-skinned man not expect her to put her faith in Naruto's words of confidence?

She had realized then, later when she returned to HQ with her fellow Kage, that the blond had a grip on her. He could make her believe in him with only a look or a few meaningful words. She took him at his word, something she hardly did with any one.

The thought made her feel oddly comfortable.

Uzumaki Naruto never went back on his word, and if you had it, it was as good as done.

She trusted him…

| Finally |

The third time she noticed it, it nearly made her fault in his presence.

The way he looked at her, with pleading eyes, when the five of them ordered him to focus on the other battles, and leave it up them to fight Uchiha Madara, nearly made her go against the others' words and let him join in.

He was… worried… for her. Not like a loyal shinobi was worried for their Kage, or a little brother was worried for their big sister, but like a man was worried for the woman he…

She couldn't say the word.

It was a lie. She was a lie. If he saw the real her, saw what she really looked like, underneath the transformation… surely he would be thoroughly disillusioned with her.

The thought of him looking at her in disgust made her heart ache. It hurt her more than she realized.

It also made her entirely aware of just how much Naruto's opinion mattered to her.

When in the hell had he become so important to her?

| Finally |

When he stood beside Sasuke and Sakura, the three of them against the terrifying form of the, at the moment, trapped Juubi, and looked at her over his shoulder, happiness and confidence and open affection, she actually had to remember to breathe.

Shrouded in a new orange-gold fire, this one resembling an actual cloak, his eyes golden crosses, Uzumaki Naruto took the Godaime's breath away with a single glance.

She kept trying to tell herself that it was all a lie; that he didn't look at her the way she thought he did, but each and every time she tried, he'd break her resolve to pieces with a single look and smile.

But… it wasn't real. She was fifty five and everything about her was fake. He was seventeen and had only seen her like this, in her prime and beautiful. But she wasn't in her prime, or beautiful, not really.

In reality, she was an old woman, old enough to be his damn grandmother.

He didn't know the truth. Hadn't seen it.

And the thought of him seeing it scared her more than it should have.

| Finally |

When the war ended, and Naruto, staying true to his word, made everything right again, she had tried to forget all the brief yet intense glances they had exchanged with each other.

He was still young, too young to truly understand what he was going through. It was just hormones, it had to be. Her prime was beautiful and her chest made almost every man drool over her. That's all it was.

Another excuse.

He wasn't the sharpest kunai in the weapons pouch, either. He didn't know how extreme the age gap was, probably hadn't even thought about it at all. That had made her laugh and caused her chest to warm. It didn't mean anything… it wasn't real…

Excuses, excuses.

| Finally |

The gaki lost an arm, which meant that she had to do something about it.

With Kakashi taking the mantle from her, she did have the time, but…

Tsunade had tried to stay as far away from the blue-eyed blond war hero, but it seemed the world hated her and enjoyed her pain, because Naruto was always somehow near her.

At the grocery store, at the places she ate out, at the hospital visiting Sakura and Ino… He was everywhere, somehow always feeling her when she was in his presence. She always turned and fled before their eyes could meet, though, not daring to look him in those blue orbs, afraid of losing herself in them.

When she had finished his arm, she had Sakura perform the minor surgery to connect it to his nervous system. She didn't trust herself to be alone with him. She would never forgive herself if she took advantage of his obviously misplaced feelings.

She just had to wait it out, wait for him to get over this little… whatever it was… and go back to normal, back to when she was comfortable being all alone…


Yeah… that was better for her. Anyone she loved dies, after all.

| Finally |

She had managed to stay busy enough to keep away from Naruto for two whole years.

Naruto was now a superstar. Girls from all over came to Konoha to throw themselves at the Hero of the Fourth, the savior of humanity. The title, no matter how true it was, made Tsunade snicker.

He had changed quite a bit during the years. He was taller and had more muscle definition. Not to mention his new hair style; short and tamed, a rather stark contrast to his past styles. His face had lost the rest of the baby fat it had, becoming more angular and defined.

Truly, Uzumaki Naruto was a handsome nineteen year old man. And the women around him noticed it.

Hordes of females clung to him during the day, asking him for dates and giving him little gifts. She felt… happy… for him. He deserved happiness after everything he had done for the Elemental Nations.

Though she couldn't completely suppress the painful sting in her gut whenever a girl stole a kiss on the cheek or managed to loop their arms through his. He never returned these affections, but they still, no matter how hard she tried not to let them, made her heart ache.

Soon, though, the feeling would be gone, or, she hoped it would be. He would find and settle down with a pretty girl and they'd have a long and fruitful relationship, built on truth and passion.

Something she couldn't give him.

She could never give him the truth…

| Finally |

Tsunade sighed.

"August 2nd…" she whispered under her breath as she rolled her shoulder. One of the things about having such large breasts was the obligatory back pains. Even after all this time, she still couldn't completely ignore it.

Exiting the hospital, her shift ending early, the slug Sannin headed for her favorite bar, intent to drink herself into oblivion again this year. She hated today, her birthday. It was another reminder that she wasn't getting any younger, and would be in the grave before she knew it.

She had a morbid sense of humor sometimes…

After a short walk, she was already entering the bar, ready for the usual round of sake and countless civilians trying to hit on her. No shinobi would, after all, risk pissing off the previous Hokage. That's what she told herself, anyway. She tried her hardest not to think that it was her age that kept the shinobi away. That was like adding insult to injury…

What she found – or who, more specifically – inside would forever change the Senju princess.

"N-Naruto?" the blonde kunoichi blurted. And sure enough, her fellow blond was seated on the stool next to the one she frequented, a shit-eating grin on his face.

"Baa-chan!" Naruto shouted with his bastardy smile. "Happy birthday!" His hands waved in the air above his head as he all but screamed something she would be happier with forgetting. In all honesty, he looked like an idiot.

… And for some reason… it made Tsunade happier than she had been in years.

Of course, she didn't let that happiness show.

"What are you doing here, Naruto?" She asked, trying with all her might to sound irritated with his presence. "This isn't exactly your scene." And that was the truth. Naruto didn't drink at all, not even when he became old enough.

Instead of going into a tirade of what would most likely be only slightly intelligible, the Uzumaki menace merely smiled at her. Not the thousand-watt smile he gave out like hellos, but one that was gentle and kind and goddamnithemadeherstomachflutteragainthebastard.

"Because it's your birthday." Naruto stated, as if it was the simplest thing in the world. And it probably was in his mind… maybe. But to her, it made her want to tear her hair out.

How could she forget what her mind obviously fabricated against her will? On its own accord? Without her permission?! If he kept popping up in her life like this, she never would!

Unable to determine how she could ask him to leave without hurting his feelings, Tsunade just sat at her bar stool, giving up entirely in favor of drowning her headache in copious amounts of alcohol.

Naruto smiled again and hummed like an idiot, obviously happy that she finally took her seat.

The bartender, a retired ninja from back in the days she still wore a flak, sat two cups of her usual in front of her and Naruto. She was a regular here, and he figured that the Hero of the Fourth would probably enjoy what the previous Godaime always ordered.

Grabbing the cup, ready to gulp the warm sake down in one gulp, Tsunade was a tad bit annoyed when she was stopped by the man who wouldn't leave her thoughts alone.

"Happy birthday, Tsunade." He toasted with his cup.

The Sannin cursed her existence even as the blush her blond companion caused with that one sentence deepened. It wasn't exactly the words themselves that made her heart skip. It was the way he said it; soft and low, a whisper, something that was only meant for her.

Tsunade gave something between an awkward nod and a full body spasm before downing her entire cup in one go.

This was the first time that the warm feeling sake gave her worked against her.

Damn blue-eyed, blond-haired men that made her feel both horrible and amazing at the same time…

| Finally |

In retrospect, the sake was probably a bad idea…

Instead of forgetting everything she didn't want to think about right now, the alcohol in her system made all the embarrassing thoughts that had passed through her mind come back to the forefront. She was hyper aware of her seemingly permanent blush, and the reason for the damn thing.

I.e. Uzumaki Naruto.

The asshole was even more charming as a drunk than he was sober – which made absolutely zero sense.

Naruto, in a general sense, was, for lack of a better word Tsunade's tipsy mind could come up with, stupid. That stupidity, however, was a part of the Naruto Charm. He wasn't, technically, smart enough to be deceptive. His choice in the color he wore like a badge of honor was the perfect example of this.

With the blue-eyed Uzumaki, what you see is what you get. He had no ulterior motivations and he meant what he said and said what he meant. That being said, he did, while sober, have some kind of filter.

Whilst drunk, however…

Tsunade swore that if he called her beautiful one more time, she just might kill herself, because the other option was definitely something she shouldn't be doing with Uzumaki Naruto, or anyone at this age for that matter.

"How old are you, anyway?" Naruto asked, slurring his words only slightly.

Tsunade gave him a sidelong glance, trying to mask her interest in his reaction to her next words. "Fifty seven…" Even with the amount of alcohol in her, she still spoke with a tone too vulnerable for her tastes. She was a Sannin, god damn it! A retired Hokage had no business sounding like a little girl again. Even still, she continued to observe the blond's reaction.

Naruto had what Tsunade thought to be a very complex expression of thought on his face. Most likely, he was trying to come to terms with the difference in her age and physical appearance. He also kinda looked constipated.

But Uzumaki Naruto wasn't Uzumaki Naruto without being totally unpredictable. It was against his very nature not to be so.

"People care too much about age. Whether you're twenty seven or fifty seven, what matters the most is what's in here." Without preamble, and most likely thought, Naruto poked Tsunade's left breast with his pointer finger, indicating her heart.

As he poked her heart, his eyes, once blurry with alcohol, were suddenly as sharp as the day he decided to put his life on the line for the whole shinobi world. In that moment, the resistance inside Tsunade tore down like wet tissue paper. Later, Tsunade would try to blame it all on the sake.

She'd also be lying.

Before she could stop herself, before she could convince herself that what she was thinking about was completely inappropriate and ridiculous, Tsunade leaned in so close that she could feel Naruto's breath on her lips, warm and heavy.

And then, she closed her eyes and allowed herself this one birthday gift, this one selfish desire.

And the entire time her lips pressed against his, Tsunade couldn't think of a reason to pull away.

| Finally |

When she awoke the next day and felt strong arms wrapped around her from behind, Tsunade instantly froze.

Memories of the previous night flashed through her mind in a dazed rush, making her heart beat faster than normal in fear.

Little by little she remembered it. She remembered it all…

The tender and sometimes rough meeting of lips, tongues intertwining to wrestle for dominance. The feeling of victory experience awarded in this specific endeavor.

Tsunade shivered like someone suddenly ran an ice cube down her back.

The inexperienced fondling of a man hungry for flesh, and the undeniable pleasure of being desired so absolutely.

Tsunade was reduced to shallow breaths, her body now shaking.

Azure eyes staring up at her as the inexperienced experienced a whole new world. And then azure eyes staring down at her as she did the same.

Tsunade swallowed painfully. Her mouth was completely dry and her throat suspiciously sore.

Soft and shallow thrusts sang out through her entire body, turning into hard and deep ones, making her release the hold she had on her voice. Moaning and grunting intertwining to become a symphony of shouted ecstasy.

She didn't have to turn around to know whose arms she was in. After all, she had been in this room before, for completely different reasons.

Rivaled endurance allowed this to continue until the first rays of light broke through the window, the breeze of dawn dancing on exposed flesh.

Her lips were dry.

The absolution of release, came and came again, an endless cycle of awe and bliss attained in a single night. Inexperience was turned into experience, and the release became greater, too.

The man behind her, who held her like he thought she would disappear if he let her go, tightened his hold on her, pressing her into him even further. The motion made Tsunade shiver again.

"Good morning." His voice made her freeze.

She didn't know what to do, how to react. Pretending that she had no idea what she was doing in his bedroom, naked, with him still… sheathed within her… would only hurt him.

Acting as if she was furious or regretted the situation she found herself in would only hurt the both of them, but she truly had no idea how to react, how to respond to this impossible situation…

So, she simply replied.

"Good morning…" her voice was annoyingly gentle, but if it was only him hearing that tone…

He pressed his lips into the nape of her neck, and she could feel him smile into it.

"You know... I think I'm in love with you." Naruto's statement caused a flood of fear and anxiety to wash over her.

He loved her? He was in love with her? But... how?

What about their age gap? What about what she truly looked like? What about what his friends would think? Or her friends?

... Did she even have any friends?

Swallowing, Tsunade tried to summon every bit of bravery she had left in her old bones, trying to rid her mind of all the uncertainties.

"I..." she tried. Again, Naruto's hold on her tightened, and she could nearly feel the happiness that rolled off his body in waves. It was enough to make her say the words she knew she wanted to say. "I think... I think I love you, too, Naruto..."

Uzumaki Naruto went perfectly still, and then spoke a single word that made all of Tsunade's fears and anxiety – for the moment, at least – melt away into nothingness.


| Fin |

I've always loved Tsunade. She's one of my favorite characters in Naruto. I also love the idea of her being a pairing choice, though I've never really seen it done in a way that I enjoy.

Usually, she's only involved with the main character of the story in a strictly sexual manner. And these stories are usually smut (any mostly crappy smut at that). So far, I've only seen Tsunade become sexually interested in Naruto right away, without much thought to the age gap. I, however, see the age gap being something extremely important and integral for such a pairing. And in my opinion, overcoming that super important problem makes the pairing all the more appealing.

When I think about it, the only pairing that makes sense with Tsunade is Naruto x Tsunade, simply because she's so emotionally invested in our favorite knucklehead. That, and he reminds her of a former lover.

Now, this is a simple one-shot. As of this moment, I have no real plans to make it something else. However, if enough of you want me to write more of this, let me know. I'm sure I can come up with something.

Dreaming of the Moon