Disclaimer: Naruto and its characters do not belong to me, nor do I claim that this work of fanfiction represents the reality of the Naruto universe, nor am I making any money for doing this.

Warnings: Shoujo-ai, excessive WAFF (Warm And Fuzzy Feelings).

The Princess and the Pig

The woman studied each shell carefully, but the hard, sleek shells gave her no hint, no indication of which of them she should choose. Behind her, Shizune hovered like a worried hummingbird, occasionally digging the money purse out of her kimono and counting the contents.

"Tsunade-sama? Do you really think we should be blowing our money like this?" she asked. "We're down to our last hundred yen..."

"Well, then, I'll just borrow some more later," Tsunade answered, continuing to contemplate her choices. "It's a festival, Shizune. So be festive." She pointed to the shell on the right, her choice made.

"Sorry, lady," the vendor said as he turned the shell over to reveal nothing underneath. "Better luck next time."

Tsunade rose from the table, grumbling. "Let's try a different game, Shizune," she said. "This guy doesn't have the festive spirit either." She set off down the crowded street at a brisk pace, leaving Shizune to scramble after her.

"Ah, Tsunade-sama, maybe if you'd kept your eyes on his hands while he was switching the shells around you would've had a better chance at finding the ball," she said as she caught up.

Tsunade looked at Shizune. "Why would I want to look at his ugly hands?" she asked. "There are much more beautiful things around." Tsunade brushed her hand lightly against Shizune's. Shizune's cheeks flamed. She hoped no one had noticed. If they had, things might get ugly, and though Tsunade was more than powerful enough to protect them both, Shizune didn't want to see her good mood ruined. Even if it did cost them the last of their money.

"Would you like some tea?" Tsunade asked. "Mochi? How about sake?"

"No thank you, Tsunade-sama," Shizune said. "I'm not hungry or thirsty, and it's only early afternoon."

"Ah, you're right," Tsunade answered. "Too early to be drinking alcohol. Well, then." Fixed stopped walking and fixed Shizune with a penetrating stare. "What would you like?"

Shizune could have said any number of things at that moment. She could have said, "I'd like it if you'd stop gambling and spending money on frivolous things," or, "I'd like it if you thought of me as often as you think of Dan." Instead, she listened to the majority of her thoughts and squashed the dissenters flat.

"I don't want anything, Tsunade-sama," she said almost-truthfully. "It's enough, being here with you and seeing you happy."

Tsunade smiled at her, and her eyes were so warm, so soft, that Shizune wanted to kiss her right there and damn the crowd. As she started to move forward, though, Tsunade caught her face in her hand. She looked into Shizune's eyes for a moment before tilting her head down and kissing her forehead.

"Don't worry, dear," Tsunade whispered as she drew away. "Perfectly platonic. No one will look twice." Shizune sighed. Better than expected, less than desired. Life with Tsunade tended to go that way.

The rest of the afternoon dragged on, Tsunade trying out every game of luck there was twice and oftentimes more. Shizune watched her lose time and again, felt the money purse grow lighter and lighter in her pocket. But Tsunade was happy, the first time she'd been genuinely happy in some time, and so Shizune was happy too. Somewhat.

Late in the afternoon, just as the busier vendors had run out of supplies and were starting to close up, Shizune had just about had it. They had seven yen left--no, five--and thank the gods they'd paid for their room and meal in advance or they'd be out on the street that night. So when Tsunade held out her hand for the money purse yet again, Shizune simply glared.

"Shizune, dear, please give it to me," Tsunade wheedled. "I've found a game I know I can win."

"That's what you've said every time, Tsunade-sama," Shizune answered, clutching the purse protectively.

"But this time is different," Tsunade insisted. "I can't lose!"

They stared at each other for a moment longer, and then Shizune sighed and deposited the purse in Tsunade's hand. It really wasn't that big of a deal, she reasoned. Things always seemed to turn out for the best when she was with Tsunade. She tried to follow Tsunade through the crowd, but lost her in a particularly large group. People shoved her every which way, like she was a stick floating on a river. Finally, though, she managed to shove through to where she guessed Tsunade had gone. She looked up and grinned.

"Can't lose, indeed," she said to herself. It was a strength contest.

Twelve or so burly men lined the small cleared area which served for a stage, flexing their muscles with obvious pride. Some snickered at the young woman standing calmly in the center. Shizune in turn snickered at them. They had no idea what they were up against.

Soon enough, Tsunade was over at the prize table, after having stacked up all the weights (and the men who held them) and tossing them lightly off to the side. She walked up and down the table, eyeing each item carefully. After a short time, she reached out and stuffed one into her kimono, but Shizune was too far away to see what it was.

"Let's go back to the inn," Tsunade said when Shizune finally managed to get to her through the crowd of admirers. "I'm tired." She handed the money purse back to Shizune, who checked it out of force of habit. Two yen. Better than she'd thought, worse than she'd hoped. She wondered what Tsunade had picked for her prize, but Tsunade was in a thoughtful mood, so she didn't ask.

Tsunade didn't say another word until they were in their room, preparing for dinner. Just as Shizune was about to slip off her day kimono in favor of the robes the inn provided for use on the premises, Tsunade slipped her arms around Shizune's waist and held her close.

"Tsunade-sama?" Tsunade released her and sat her down on the bed, then kneeled. "Tsunade-sama," Shizune repeated, "we have dinner in a few minutes..."

Tsunade laughed. "Nothing like that. I just wanted to give you something." She drew a reddish anklet made out of beads from her kimono and fastened it around Shizune's ankle. "I thought it might suit you."

Shizune stared at the anklet for a time, then looked at Tsunade. "This is what you won at the contest, isn't it?"

"Of course, silly," Tsunade said, smiling. "What do you think I've been trying to do all day? When I saw something I thought you might like, I stopped and tried to win it for you." Her smile faded. "...do you like it?"

Without a word Shizune leapt up and bolted out of the room.

It took her some time, but eventually Shizune found the shell game vendor, and just in time: he was literally taking down his table.

"Wait!" she shouted, running up to him. The man stopped his work and eyed her curiously. "Do you..." she asked, catching her breath. "Do you have any prizes left?"

The man ambled over to the box he'd stored his prizes in. He took a look, then ambled back over to Shizune. "Just the one," he said. "Wanna play for it?"

"Let me take a look first."


Shizune took a peek into the box, then looked back at the man with a grin on her face. "OK," she said. "I'll play."

Tsunade stood up when Shizune entered the room again and enveloped her in a hug before she could protest.

"Tsunade-sama, be careful," she said, trying to squirm out of her grip. Tsunade loosened her hold somewhat, but didn't let go.

"Where were you?" she demanded, burying her face in Shizune's hair.

"I can explain--"

"Nevermind the explanation, just don't do that again. Please."

"Tsunade-sama..." Shizune finally managed to pull away from Tsunade. "I just wanted to--" She was interrupted by a small grunt. Tsunade blinked.

"Shizune? What was that?" Whatever it was grunted again and wriggled around in the front of Shizune's kimono. Smiling gently, Shizune drew it out and handed it to Tsunade, who cradled it to her chest almost automatically.

"I wanted to get you something too, Tsunade-sama," Shizune said. "So I found the shell game vendor--the one you kept on losing to before, remember?--and that little guy was the only prize left."

It was a small pink piglet, clearly the runt of the litter. It snuffled a little at Tsunade's cleavage before settling down and falling asleep. Tsunade stroked its forehead, then looked at Shizune again with those eyes that made her forget everything. When Shizune leaned forward to kiss her this time, Tsunade didn't stop her.

"Thank you," Tsunade said as they parted. "I think I'll call her Ton-Ton."

The End

Comments and especially criticism are always welcome. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.