Sasuke speeds over rooftops, Takuma keeping pace beside him, (and it seems like his very soul is aching and he is hurting and he doesn't understand why). The window to the Hokage's office is open, as it usually is, but Takuma barks before Sasuke can enter through it.
Sighing sharply, Sasuke twists and flips through an open window a floor down. Takuma is right—he can't afford to shove his way through the window and get on the Hokage's bad side, especially when he doesn't really know the Godaime.
Hitting the floor, he rolls and comes up onto his feet, instantly running up the stairs to the next floor. The receptionist for the Hokage stands, mouth opening to shout at him, (a gleam of metal between their fingers), but Sasuke ignores them, (he feels like he is being stabbed in the chest, something jagged and painful trying to bring tears to his eyes). He shoves through the door, letting it slam shut loudly behind him.
"Send me after my brother!" Sasuke demands, cutting Tsunade off.
"The hell is this chūnin?" Tsunade snaps out and Sasuke realises his mistake as he drops down into a low bow.
"My brother's left, please send me after him, Hokage-sama," he asks, keeping his bow, (heart beating heavily because what if, what if, what if).
"Stand up," Tsunade says, but she doesn't snap at him this time round, her voice dropping in volume. "I thought your brother was in Konoha?"
"No, I mean Toru Uchiha not Itachi, not my brother by blood."
Tsunade frowns. "I think I remember signing off on his resignation form as a ninja," she says slowly. "Has he gone missing? If so, you need to report to someone other than me."
"No, but he left!" Sasuke says. "He can't just leave!"
(He can't leave me.)
Sighing, Tsunade drums her fingers against the table twice. "He's a civilian and free to leave. He can't be a missing-nin when he's retired."
Sasuke grits his teeth and chokes on the words he wants to scream and yell. Instead, he forces himself into a bow. "Sorry for wasting your time," he says lowly, before turning on his heel and leaving the office.
And so Sasuke leaves the Hokage building behind, hurting and aching, (and grieving). Even with the turbulent feelings tangled in his chest, something's settling in his mind—resolve. To himself, to Konoha, to the world, he swears that he will get Toru back.
The message reached Tomoe during an inconvenient moment. Ignoring the messenger, Tomoe carefully knots the last stitch, ensuring that Hikaru's cut stays shut—the younger boy had received it when shielding Tomoe's back when one of the older gangs had attempted to turn on them, (and had successfully been beaten down and ruined and then drawn into their ranks, because one doesn't leave potentially enemies at one's backs).
Done, Tomoe turns to the messenger, recognisable by the dark blue bottle cap hidden beneath the flaps of their collar. "Junpei-san, I thought you weren't meant to get back to Konoha until next week?"
The messenger smiles at her, but not in a patronising manner. While a few years older than Tomoe, Junpei knows that she's more powerful than him and accepts it, (which isn't normal for adults but then Junpei is one of Ryuu's people—a street kid, just like her). "Good fortunes and a few Kakumau travellin' with a merchant train givin' me an easy way in. Not that it matters that much, I've got a message from Ryuu-sama for you. Unread, of course."
"Thanks," Tomoe says, taking the handwritten letter from Junpei's outstretched hand. "Rēben's open to exchanges today if you've got something to give."
Junpei nods and left; meanwhile, Tomoe opens the letter—from Ryuu—and reads it. Then reads it again. Something flickers deep in her chest and she grins, turning to those who remain of her gang. They've been based in Konoha the entire time and there's so much outside of Konoha's walls to explore. But, more importantly, Masuyo and Raiden are outside of Konoha's walls and waiting
(They're all waiting.)
Grinning, she meets the eyes of all the others in her gang. "C'mon," she says, "we've got a new place to be."
(And perhaps Ryuu gives her an option, a choice, but Ryuu has given so much always and Tomoe will return the favour. Besides, she doesn't want to be anywhere else aside from Ryuu's side. It's no longer about debts owed or favours repaid. It's about something else entirely.)
When one thinks about it, six months isn't a very long time at all. However, when you pretty much share most of your waking hours with only a few people for a year or two, it feels like you've known them forever. Nevertheless, it turns out that a few years isn't long at all when you no longer have a reason to see a person for five days a week, minimum.
And, well, Shou can't really resent how their path has left them as a career chūnin. They can't even resent how they generally see Kiku and Toru once every two or so months. Their friendship is something distant, and although they look back on their genin and early chūnin career fondly, they can't regret the lose of close teammates now.
Shou rereads the note left to them by Toru. They can understand why Toru has left, can't quite begrudge him for it, even though they know that they would never do such a thing. Then again, they aren't Toru. Toru, whose career as a ninja began with the massacre of his clan. Toru, who survived torture and returned. Toru, who disappeared into the ranks of the shadows, even if none of them will ever admit to knowing such a thing.
Perhaps everything had started going downhill when Natsumi-sensei had died or perhaps this is just the way it was always going to turn out. Shou isn't really one for considering the infinity possibilities and the 'could have beens' and 'what ifs'. They've done that before and it just ended in their mind going in endless circles and a mental breakdown or three.
The point is that Shou knows better to consider that the world would be different than it is. The naïve belief that the world could change and would change for the better has deserted him now, years after having graduated from the Academy, (and they understand that small parts of the world can change, but they know the system won't change and that they will always be under the command of someone more powerful—but they're okay with that now). Besides, Toru isn't the kind of person to desert Konoha and from the sounds of it he just wants to retire and find peace for himself. Shou could never begrudge him for that.
Still, they hope Toru comes back soon for his family, more for themself.
Less than one percent of genins, when promoted, continue to work with their genin teammates after a year of being chūnin. The comradeship formed as a genin team doesn't really leave, but most people outgrow their teammates.
She hasn't put much thought into it since growing distant just seemed inevitable more than anything else. Looking back on it, though, she loved Toru and Shou. They hadn't been her everything but they had been a massive part of her life. She honestly hadn't thought they'd ever grow distant—but they had.
And that's okay. Kiku's accepted that, understood that it's alright for a few years now. People grow apart and people grow closer. It's how life works. People change like the seasons change the tree leaves.
What really compounds the difference between what was and what is are the changes in what happens when she starts dating. Once upon a time, she would have ensured her partner met Shou and Toru. Now though, now she brings her partner to others, people she claims as her friends who are not Shou or Toru.
It's like what happened upon her promotion to tokubetsu jōnin for her taijutsu. She didn't celebrate with Shou or Toru really, but with friends she had made after being promoted to chūnin. Toru had been out of the village at the time and Shou had disappeared into the chūnin corps. Both had congratulated her at some point, but they hadn't really celebrated together. And Kiku is okay with that because they're all different people now and she's met Toru's closest friends and those of Shou. All of them are the better for it. What was will remain in the past and not taint their present.
Naturally, she'll check with Shou about the message, see if they can figure anything out together. But she won't actively go looking for Toru. She'll miss him, but all three of them know he disappeared into the shadow ranks. He took his own heart and bloodied it for Konoha and Kiku won't steal any semblance of peace he can get.
(She's aiming to be a jōnin sensei one day because there are children out there who are growing into ninjas but are like Toru, with trauma creeping up their backs and settling on their shoulders. Kiku wants to make sure all of them know that they will be alright and give them the tools to form themselves into ninjas they can be proud of.)
(Most of all, she wants to be like Natsumi-sensei who was calm and peaceful and Kiku never doubted that she could be more. She wants all those ninjas-in-training to know that. They're more than they think.)
There is much that lies unspoken between Toru and himself, Iruka knows. Things that cannot quite be shared aloud. There are things that they keep from one another and to themselves, not for a malicious reason or any such thing but simply because, well, they don't need to know everything about each other.
Due to his status as a ninja, Iruka understands Toru—and can understand why he has left Konoha without saying goodbye in person.
(It is easy, when they are all ninjas, to manipulate someone into doing what they don't wish to. Iruka is not a good person. He will try for those he teaches, to be a good teacher for them, and he will try to be a good friend to those he loves, but he is not a good person. But he would not prevent Toru would leaving. Toru's kids though? They would ask Toru why and the other ninja would crumble before them and give in. And Iruka can see how easily Toru's emotions could turn to hatred.)
Iruka can understand Toru leaving and wanting to find something better and reading between the lines, he can find the sentiment that drives Toru—that desire to escape the bloodshed, to find how he can live with so much blood on his hands.
The worst thing is that Iruka should have seen this coming. Because Toru acts much like a war-time ninja who lives, (and dies), for his career as a ninja and enjoys the battles he participates in.
The reason Iruka did not see it coming is because, whilst Toru doesn't completely avoid bloodshed, he avoids unnecessary bloodshed and tries to be a good person even as a ninja.
(Something within Iruka is angry and rages, pacing furiously. It urges him out of Konoha and to hunt down Toru and drag him back. It is the monster that Iruka carefully grows and watches. It is the danger that Iruka refuses to show in Konoha. It is something that begs to be sated but only on missions fraught with danger. Iruka has never let it control him or dictate his decisions. And he is not about to start now, no matter how much Toru's leaving has caused his world to tremble on its axis.)
(There is something else within Iruka that is sure and steady and strong. And it has to do with how Toru leaving is not a betrayal—because it isn't. It isn't like Mizuki who left him hanging on a thread and left him distant from his family. Iruka accepts Toru leaving and finds he isn't as hurt… Probably because he thinks if he got a message to Toru and asked him to come back or was in need of Toru's help, Toru would come racing back without a second thought.)
(It's friendship of a high level and Iruka will never regret having it.)
In theory, both Sora and Souma have their own small apartments. Sora technically lives in Konoha's west of the Hokage heads where the new apartments were built after the Kyūbi's rampage. Souma, on the other hand, lives close to the Hokage heads in some of the really old apartments that, apparently, were built by the Shodaime Hokage.
The truth is that both are usually involved in ANBU missions and, even when they have a few days off from missions, train—generally with the other members of their team. Thus, it's not strange for Souma to stay over in Sora's apartment, which is bigger than his by a long shot. In fact, he usually spends four nights a week there roughly.
Sora has plans to ensure that Souma starts living with her but those plans commence when she can convince Toru to do the same, (the only issue is Toru's family, but Toru needs a house not an apartment so she's been keeping an eye out for a good one; none have come up yet).
The fact remains that Sora and Souma have their mail sent to different locations and when Sora gets a message that directs to Souma in Toru's handwriting, she searches for one directed at her.
Neither of the notes contain an address, meaning that Toru has sent his summons to deliver them and it's about something that is clearly important yet Toru hasn't come himself.
It's a mystery.
She hands Souma his note while he starts preparing breakfast for both of them. He hums his appreciation and turns the stove to low as he opens his message. Sora opens her own and starts reading it.
Her heart skips a beat and then returns to its steady baseline. Something twists, harsh and unrelenting, but this isn't a betrayal. It's something she hadn't seen coming that's for certain and she is angry and saddened, but this was no betrayal of her trust. Toru has been pushing himself and stretching himself further and further, (and sometimes she thinks that he deserves something more than the ninja life).
Happiness. Contentment. The differences between the two that Toru speaks of.
Sora understands even as she regrets understanding it, because it takes the bitterness and the anger away. She wishes he could have looked her in the eyes and said these words, but she doesn't resent him for not being able to. He is strong regardless.
(There are more than words to define their relationship and even apart, Sora doesn't think that they'll lose what they have. Although… if Toru doesn't come back soon enough, she may hunt after him to find him and maybe to join him, if he cannot come back home just yet.)
And then Souma is then, slipping arms around her back and pulling her close. They both breathe. There are no words needed because Sora understands Souma and vice versa, (they are a team, they are beyond words more often than not).
Souma swallows and closes his eyes. Toru's words incite something within him, something soft and easily injured. It hurts but it's aimed, not at Toru, but at the system that had to drive Toru to leave Konoha to find happiness and peace. To be left behind, yes, such things hurt. But he can rationalise it.
Toru will be back soon. He has to be. And if he isn't, well, Souma knows that Sora and he will go after him if it's necessary.
With a crumbled note in his pocket, Naruto rushes through Konoha to find Sasuke. And when he does, there's no time to blurt out that Toru's gone—not that there's a need to either, Naruto sees the heart-break and angry grief on Sasuke's face and understands.
"Toru's a civilian and so he isn't missing," Sasuke says and the words feel like they should be more heartbreaking than they are, but they're not, (and there aren't enough words to explain the ache that's taking up permanent residence in Naruto's chest; he's certain that Sasuke feels the same). "But I'm going to bring him back!"
"I'll help," Naruto offers straight away because Toru is family and so is Sasuke, but they're also teammates. "We're going to need to get stronger, right?"
Sasuke jerks his head in a nod. And the sun is overhead and beating down on them warmly and it feels like it should be another day. But it's not. It's not. Still, they have team training and Sasuke wants to go, (he wants to cling to those that are left behind because what if they disappear to, he can't take that). "We've got training," he remains Naruto.
Naruto hesitates but Sasuke doesn't wait, just starts heading towards where they normally meet Kakashi-sensei and Sakura in the morning. Naruto catches up to him, walking beside him and offering some kind of silent comfort, (and Sasuke loves him for it).
Sakura's already waiting for them when they get there. She smiles at them and Naruto half-heartedly grins back. Immediately, Sakura's grin drops and she crosses the few steps between them in a hurry, almost tripping over her own feet in her haste. "What's wrong?" She asks, crowding into their personal space. Then, she pauses, and takes half a step back. "You don't have to tell me."
(This is something Sakura has learnt from the Ninja Academy and interacting with her friends. Sometimes it helps to remind someone that they don't owe you anything, that you are not entitled to hear their problems if they don't wish to share them.)
"We're a team," Sasuke says, reaching out and gripping both her and Naruto's hands tightly. It's all that really needs to be said, (it's so much more than mere words).
"Toru's gone and a civilian and we can't go after him because he's not missing. An' Sasuke's gonna go after him an'-" Naruto's frantic words are cut off when Sakura squeezes his hand twice in quick succession.
"Breathe," Sakura says. "All I got from that is somehow Toru's missing with a civilian but we can't go after him because he isn't actually missing? And somehow I don't think that's what you meant at all."
Sasuke laughs, something that cracks with hurt—but it's there, (and that's more than Sakura can hope for right now). "Toru's retired," he specifies. "And he's left Konoha to like find himself or something. And because of him being a civilian, he isn't a missing-nin meaning that we can't go after him."
"But Konoha's his home, so we have to bring him back here," Naruto says. "So we're going to get stronger and then we're going to bring him back home."
(Naruto and Sasuke both say 'we' and mean themselves as a pair, which Sakura thinks is rather dumb because they're on a team of three.)
"Alright," Sakura says simply. "Guess we're going to have to step up our training." And, in the face of their flabbergasted faces, she adds, "What? Did you think you wouldn't be aided by your team?"
Sasuke swallows, (and there is nothing bitter about it, no anger at himself for leaning on his teammates), and musters up a smile. "I suppose we weren't thinking."
"Damn right," Sakura says grinning. "We're a team."
(Less than one per cent of promoted genins remain in their genin teams for over a year. But, by kami, she's going to be part of that tiny percentage. She's not going to let her team separate and grow apart and become distant, even if she has to drag her teammates by their ears. She doesn't think she'll have to do that because they probably feel the same way. But she'll do whatever it takes to keep them together.)
(Besides, teams that stick together often become legendary and they're definitely going to earn legends. The ultimate legend will be one of their team, of course.)
"A team who should've started their warmups already," Kakashi says from behind her. All three newly promoted chūnins jump, Sakura spinning around to see their jōnin sensei.
"Kakashi-sensei!" Naruto says, grinning unrepentantly.
(They may be chūnins now and not really get a jōnin sensei in theory, but that doesn't mean they won't train together anyway. Both because they want to and partially because Konoha expects it for the first few months of a chūnin's promotion.)
Yet it's not Naruto or Sakura who catches Kakashi's gaze, but Sasuke. Sasuke, who meets his eye steadily and says, "We need to get stronger, Kakashi-sensei. Will you help us?"
And, well, in the face of that Kakashi can only agree and amp up his team's training, (because they are a team and they might be pack one day and it's all Kakashi has ever wanted and never thought he'd get).
Itachi does not hear of Toru's departure through rumours, (which is someone surprising because Itachi would think that Toru would often feature in gossip—but it seems that Itachi is the feature nowadays), but through two different things. The first is the lack of Toru's items in the apartment that the younger Uchiha shares with Itachi, (and Naruto and Sasuke and sometimes Itachi gets lost inside his own head because he doesn't understand why Toru trusts him so much). It causes Itachi's shoulders to tense, sets something off in his head, because Itachi can trust Toru, if nothing else, to stop him if he breakdowns and attempts to destroy everything in sight, (something in his head tells him that he has kept himself in check for his entire life and this isn't about to change, but Itachi doesn't really want to accept the truth in his therapist's words).
The second 'thing' that tells Itachi that Toru has left Konoha, and as a civilian nonetheless, is Sasuke. It's the first time he says that has nothing but steady resolve and strength behind it. And it feels like Itachi has been denoted as a sidenote, as something that is less important.
And, honestly, Itachi can't say he hates it. In fact, there is little that Itachi currently hates, (Danzō, who is dead and has been for some time, he will hate until his own end—not for what he, himself, has done but for Shisui who surely fought and still died, still thought that dying was the only way for anything to work out). Konoha is different, but it is a good different—not that Itachi has been out too much, preferring to stick to the areas he has self-designated as within his designated areas.
The Uchiha Clan itself is different to what it once was—and Itachi, no matter how much he mourns his family and his clan, cannot regret the changes. Because the Uchiha Clan of Itachi's memory had been a cold, unsmiling place hindered with strict regulations and the dark eyes of the older Uchihas who expected nothing else aside from perfection. The Uchiha Clan Compound had been all these feelings festering in one place. It had often been quiet and tense and Itachi, looking back on it, had despised it somewhat, (and despised that his clan had been driven so far away from Konoha that they had decided to turn on Konoha).
The compound now is a place of happiness, a place of warmth, of safety. It's nothing that Itachi had expected and it's far from what the Uchiha Clan had been, but the people are distinctly not Uchihas so perhaps it fits.
Perhaps Sasuke doesn't remember how being outside the compound had meant putting on a mask and hiding your true feelings, Itachi remembers such things now. There is none of that in Konoha now. Even the Uchiha name is something that isn't whispered in shadow corners, something to be feared and wary of.
He doesn't understand how any of it happened, but he can appreciate that it happened nonetheless, (and to think that it had been lead by this relative of Shisui, this half-twisted person that acts like a ghost of Shisui more often than not).
The day starts off nicely. Naruto wakes up before his alarm and actually feels awake. He lets himself lie in bed for a moment or two, enjoying the warmth. And then, like a switch has been flicked, his mood sours—Toru's been gone for over a day now.
Nevertheless, he pushes the thought to the back of his mind and starts going through his morning routine. As always, Itachi is already up and starting breakfast, (and Naruto doesn't know how to feel about the older Uchiha because he hurt Sasuke but he's here now and surely that counts for something), which Naruto thinks he does because he's not sure what else to do with his time.
All too soon, Naruto and Sasuke are heading towards their usual training ground where they meet Sakura, who's started on warmup stretches already. Sakura halts the training, half-an-hour after Kakashi should have appeared, by saying, "I'm betting his late because of a meeting."
"Nah," Naruto immediately says. "My bet's that he'll be late just because."
The silence stretches for a moment before Sasuke offers his bet. "I reckon he's late because he had a meeting that he was late to—on purpose—causing the meeting to be extended to accommodate his tardiness."
"That's cheating!" Naruto immediately accuses, pointing at Sasuke who snarls, (although, he fails to hide his grin behind the snarl). "You can't use both Sakura's and my bet to create your own!"
"Usual odds?" Sasuke asks smugly, glancing over at Sakura who, laughing, nods.
Before they can move onto their next warmup exercise, Kakashi lands in the training ground alongside an older white-haired ninja. "Ero-sennin!" Naruto crows, before narrowing his eyes in an attempt to stare sternly at the Sannin. "What are you doing here?" At Naruto's words, Sasuke shifts, standing half in the way of Jiraiya's view of Sakura who huffs and crosses her arms, but doesn't actually do anything to get around him.
Jiraiya glances at Naruto's teammates before redirecting his gaze to Naruto, (which he is both grateful for and confused about; grateful because Jiraiya is a pervert—self-proclaimed even if Naruto only caught him trying to peek into the women's onsen twice and thus calling him out twice, before he had stopped—and he doesn't particularly want Jiraiya to stare at Sakura since she is his teammate and no one deserves to be 'peeped' at; and confused because Naruto is really nothing special in comparison to his teammates). "I want to talk to you about something," Jiraiya says. Naruto glances at Kakashi who, whilst looking unhappy, still nods.
"Alright…" Naruto says trailing off. When no one says anything, he adds, "Is this a conversation my teammates can't hear?"
Jiraiya glances between Naruto and his teammates, "Umm," he begins.
(Sasuke relaxes in this moment, in the face of some weakness and sign of genuine emotion. Sakura, on the other hand, does not because she knows of the Sannin and Jiraiya is the kind of person to act in such a fashion so that people trust him.)
"Alright, Ero-sennin," Naruto says decisively, "I'll come with. But this better be about something important and not your disgusting perving!"
Jiraiya flails and squawks loudly. "Oi! Don't defame my reputation like that! I'm the super pervert! Nothing could ever be as important as perving!"
Naruto narrows his eyes as his teammates move off with Kakashi and Jiraiya quickly straightens, sensing that his humour is failing to actually be funny. Jiraiya leads him to the outskirts of the training ground in a small secluded clearing.
"So, what's up?" Naruto asks.
"I've heard you've been wanting more training," Jiraiya begins, hands behind his back, "and I am offering you the opportunity to train with the famous Jiraiya the Toad Sage! However, due to my position, I have to leave Konoha to continue travelling and so you will have to come with me."
Naruto frowns, tilting his head to the side. "Why?"
"I'm the spymaster," Jiraiya says bluntly with a frown starting to mar his face. He had thought Naruto knew about that—it's a secret that's pretty well known, not that it makes Jiraiya's task any harder.
"Yeah, that checks out," Naruto replies, "and it makes sense why you've gotten permission to leave Konoha, especially right now. But, like, why me? I'm not special aside from the Kyūbi, but that's not me. And you said you want to train me, not just teach me how to control the Kyūbi's power or whatever."
Jiraiya scratches his head. "Well, I mean I'm also your godfather so it makes sense that I'd want to train you, you know? It'd be good to pass down my legacy to family."
(Something in the back of Naruto's head that's dim and small and very often quiet, spins and whirls and wonders whether this the reveal had been a calculated move on Jiraiya's behalf to stop him from considering something further, or maybe it had been an accident.)
Regardless of Naruto's thoughts, his mouth moves ahead of him. "The fuck? You left me! For this shit hole of a life! If you're my fucking godfather, you'd have actually been around for my childhood! Not just appearing whenever it was convenient to you. That's not what family does! You can fuck off!" During his tirade, Naruto had taken a few steps back from Jiraiya so, once he's finished talking, his on the opposite of the clearing to Jiraiya, (his back is to the trees and, beyond the trees, his teammates).
"Aww, come on kid! It couldn't have been that bad if Hiruzen-sensei has been looking out for you! Besides, if you come with me, I can even tell you who your parents are."
(There's something heavy in Naruto's stomach and it isn't a burden. It's a thirst for knowledge and the desire for knowledge of his parents but, most of all, it's the understanding that he can't take this false offering.)
"No thank you," Naruto says, voice cold and eyes colder, (and he thinks of his friends and how smart they are because of course his friends will help him find out the truth if he ever asks, because that's what friends do—they help each other when asked and, often, without asking).
It's been two days since Toru left Konoha.
Toru's departure from Konoha doesn't rock the village and shake its foundations, but there are a few whose lives change without warning. In the uncertainty that follows, Team Kakashi pull together stronger and fiercer than ever. Meanwhile, Naruto's unknown family starts to interfere with his life.
Updates will be once a month.
This chapter wasn't the easiest to write! Although, that said, I think I wrote it this week? Anyway, this is the first part of the story! It's not the best part and I'm definitely looking forward to Toru's section but that's why I'm aiming to get this part out of the way first - because I'm excited for Toru's part. I hope you guys appreciate the fact I wrote the final ~1000 words of this after coming home - late because my bus was twenty minutes late and so I'm like half-dead (probably doesn't help that I went for something like a hike yesterday with my friend and my dogs up in the mountain area because why not).
I hope I managed to show the emotions of everyone! It's difficult because I naturally struggle, especially with not stating outright the emotions. I've literally been waiting for Sasuke's oath for ages. It was always going to end like this (the parallels between Naruto chasing Sasuke and Sasuke chasing Toru amuse me somewhat).
I don't think I have too much to say for this chapter because a lot of it is reactions more than anything else.
Also, I scanned this more than anything because I just wanted to get it up and out there rather than waiting until like halfway through tomorrow (I wanted to be in bed like twenty minutes ago so please appreciate this).
Jiraiya... His characterisation is odd because being a pervert is very much looked down upon in Konoha but it's still a key aspect of his personality, even if it's just a façade for other things. A lot of his loudness and actions are an act, something that is based off his personality but amped up by like a factor of ten bceause he is a ninja and it's an easy way to hide how ninja he is and it very much helps put people at ease, which was like one of his main aims on a team with the other Sannin (because Tsunade had a temper that was easy to rouse and Orochimaru didn't really understand civilians and some people's ethics and morals).
Naruto swearing, I feel, isn't out of character. But I'm exhausted and was potentially writing just what was in my notes for that bit (which includes 'you can definitely fuck off?') so you know. Naruto is really angry though because he knows he deserved better and more and was, more than anything, owed it by the man who was labelled as his godfather. It's an easy choice to choose his team over his godfather, who has had no real input into his life until recently, (and Naruto does not want to hears reasons or excuses, not right now at the very least).
I was debating whether to end on the 'been two days' bit or have my normal kinda-summary at the end. In the end, I went with the latter because it helps remind me what went on each chapter so it probably works for you guys as well.
Anyway, enjoy this! (Also, guess who got published on an online magazine!). It'll be a while until the next chapter - I'll aim for the end of the month or something, rather than the weird date that is the 6th.