Bonding Chapter 7: Letting Go
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or its characters and anything written here is for personal entertainment and not to be taken as factual.
Jiraiya watched as Anko began teaching Naruto the basics motions and seals for the Daitoppa ninjutsu technique. Growling in frustration as he saw Naruto trying to learn the C ranked technique, he also watched Naruto's temporary partner running through a long series of seals as fast as possible. When she messed up the seals, and she messed up quite a few times she would start over. He eventually figured out that she was running through the seals for Karyuu Endan, a high-level fire technique.
He could feel the deep sense of jealously as he watched Anko training what was his student and his heir. "No, not my student… and my heir died to stop the Kyuubi." thought Jiraiya, the loss of the Yondaime still holding tightly to Jiraiya's memories and emotions.
Watching the girl a little longer, she eventually stopped running through the seals and said her goodbyes to Anko and Naruto, being to far away to hear, Jiraiya could pretty much figure out what she said, "See you two later."
Not able to take watching Naruto and Anko anymore, Jiraiya got up from his lounging position on the tree branch he had been resting on and tree hopped back to the village proper. Feeling hungry he began to walk towards the Ichiraku Ramen Stand.
Once it was in site, he smiled remembering how the Yondaime flirt with Ayame and help Teuchi with the shop when he was younger. "I wonder if he will be in there getting something to eat." He thought to himself, as he was just about to enter the stand.
Stopping dead in his tracks, Jiraiya remembered that the Yondaime had died before the stands establishment and that it was Naruto who frequented the stand. He felt the cold hands of fear grip his heart, not the fear for his life, but the fear of what had just transpired in his thoughts.
"Could Tsunade have been right, is it possible that I've begun to think of Naruto as the Yondaime, treating him as if he was my former pupil and friend?" Shocked to even think such a thought, Jiraiya began the long walk to the top of the Hokage Monument.
Once seated atop the carved face of the Yondaime, Jiraiya looked out and upon the village that he called his home. He could see all the way across the village, even seeing the Yondaime's house. Shaking his head as if to shake the memory away, "No, he died… he isn't here anymore." Jiraiya reminded himself.
"This is why I only come back every once in awhile." He told himself, his mind and eyes drifting to places that he remembered good times with the Yondaime. Eventually his gaze drifted over to training ground where he trained the Yondaime and his teammates… who had been lost due to the complications on missions. "Then again… the Kyuubi was a complication that claimed his life."
Lost in thought he almost didn't hear the person coming up behind him. But he did hear the faint but familiar rustle of cloth that signified only one person. "Sens-" he started as he turned, but it died on his lips as he say Tsunade in the traditional garb of the Hokage.
Letting out a ragged sigh, he turned back to look out at the village. He felt he sit down next to him and place an arm around his neck. "It's hard remembering that they are gone isn't it." She stated, giving his neck a quick but firm squeeze with her arm.
"Yes, I don't like coming back to village. It just reminds me of what is gone and I'll never see again." Jiraiya quietly stated.
"Well, at least you came back, besides, you're the father that Naruto has never known. Isn't that good enough for you? Do you really need him to become a second Yondaime?" Tsunade asked, punctuating her question by pulling him back so that they lay back looking at the sky. "Just like we did with Sarutobi-sensei…" sadly mused Jiraiya.
"Thanks for being… well here. I try to forget sometimes that Sensei and my stupid heir are gone… and then it hits me again, that I'll never see them again."
"You need to learn to look forward… you have become stuck in the past. Don't take this the wrong way, but I think that you've been purposely wandering the country and writing those horrid novels to keep yourself from dealing with what has happened."
"No offense taken, but they are not horrid! They are the masterpieces of the labors of a virile mans passion!"
"The only passion that ever came out of you was lust for naked women." Laughed Tsunade.
"True, but then again, I always had you to keep me from doing something truly stupid."
"And you always will Jiraiya," pausing to give his neck a squeeze before continuing. "Sensei always like us best when we got along you know. I just wish that Orochimaru learned what sensei was always trying to teach."
"That your teammates are you family and that you need to protect and cherish them?"
"Yeah…" Whispered Tsunade, he voice choked with emotion.
"Tsunade… thanks, you've always been the best friend anyone could ask for." Jiraiya's only response was Tsunade giving a harder squeeze around his neck.
Relaxing next to Tsunade Jiraiya felt a comfort of peace that had eluded him for many years, since Orochimaru was found to be a traitor to Konoha.
It felt like a lifetime while relaxing under the stars like Genin with Tsunade. But they eventually parted ways, her to her home with Shizune and him to wander the streets aimlessly. Deciding that a drink sounded like the best thing, Jiraiya went into the closest bar.
Ordering a midsized bottle of sake and paying for it, with money liberated from gama-chan, he looked for a seat. "I spy with my froggy eye, something that begins with scarecrow." He thought to himself and made his way over to sit with Kakashi.
"This seat taken?" he inquired to Kakashi.
"No, its free."
"What has you so glum?"
"Just remember Sensei and my teammates."
That sobered Jiraiya right up, hearing the dark undertones of sadness in Kakashi's voice. "Maybe he should get some help." he though to himself, looking at his glass of sake.
"Well Kakashi, the best thing to do is move past the loss and look the future."
Kakashi only looked at him as if he was mad, stark raving mad. "You of all people shouldn't be trying to give advice on loss, if anything I should be trying to give you advice."
"What's that supposed to mean Kakashi?"
"I've accepted the deaths of my comrades and that Sensei is gone. Something that you seem unable to comprehend."
"For someone who accepts the deaths of his comrades, you sure spend a lot of time staring at Obito's name."
Silence ensued after that last statement, Kakashi's eyes darkening with unbridled rage at Jiraiya's statement. After a moment, Kakashi composed himself enough to growl out, "I may look at Obito and Sensei's name at the monument, but I don't try to turn a child into a copy of a departed friend." And with that statement he stood up and walked away, leaving Jiraiya to wrestle with Kakashi's words.
Jiraiya found himself once again atop the Yondaime's head. Looking once again at the stars, the village and the village gates. He let out a massive sigh, "I've been running away from this for so long that I forgot I was running." Jiraiya said to the monument head he was sitting upon.
"I didn't want to deal with the pain of your passing my friend, so I just left the village and began to do anything to keep me from dwelling on your death."
Giving the stone head a pat of affection, he looked towards the Hokage tower that Tsunade lived in. "You know, if it wasn't for that flat chested woman, I think I would probably have shut down after the Old man died."
Looking down to the face of the Yondaime, he continued. "Once I found Naruto, everything became so hard for me. He is a lot like you, just so you know. He tries his hardest to keep his friends safe and always overworks himself to the point of exhaustion. Just like another blonde that I had the displeasure of training." Laughing at the last statement, Jiraiya paused, collecting his thoughts before continuing.
" I ashamed to say that I tried to make him just like you. I treated Naruto like I treated you old friend. To me, it was like you had come back from the dead and I could make the distinction between the two of you." Tears running lightly down Jiraiya's face as he continued, his hand making a swirling motion on the stone beneath him.
"I never gave Naruto the chance to be Naruto, he was you in my mind. I can see that now and can only hope to do better in the future. You may be gone, you loon… but I think I can finally say that I can let you go. You're with the Old Man, despite what they say about that technique, so things can't be that bad. Sensei will look out for you, just make sure that he save some peeping for me when I get there ok?" he quietly asked the stone face, his voice thick with emotion and tears running freely down his face.
"Goodbye kid." And with that, Jiraiya stood up and began to walk back into down into the village.