Title: Sake and Sorrow

Author: Jasmine Starlight

Universe: Naruto

Rating: …M

Word Count: 1,095

Spoilers: eh…none. This takes place right after Orochimaru veers off toward the dark side. Jiraiya muses about the love he lost.

Warnings: romance. Implied smut. I think my Oro turned out a little OOC. Maudlin Jiraiya.

Time Started: 03:01 PM 9/10/05

Time Completed: 10:20 PM 9/12/05

Pairing (s): Orochimaru/Jiraiya

A/N: Jiraiya drowns his sorrow in sake after the loss of one of his most precious people. I need to start a C2 for all the vastly underwritten pairings in this universe.

Dedication: whoever reviews first

Jiraiya's vision hasn't yet blurred, and he orders more alcohol, when he can't see anything then he'll stop. That's what he needs, to drink himself into oblivion; after what happened.

He nurses his cup moodily, thinking why couldn't I stop him? Why wasn't I important enough for him to stay? WHY AM I SO WEAK?

The snake charmed the toad.

Jiraiya lets the cup fall from his nerveless fingers, this isn't working. The alcohol only reminds him of the painful loneliness that has sprung up in wake of Orochimaru's swift departure.

Alcohol isn't supposed to make thoughts more coherent.

Unless Tsunade somehow is drugging him from afar, maybe he should have had a loud outburst so Tsunade would have had to sedate him. Then maybe he could finally sleep. It'd been one week and Jiraiya hadn't slept a wink.

He pays his hefty tab and leaves the smoggy bar in favor of the cold night, Jiraiya feels the bone-searing exhaustion set in, was it all for naught?

What was the point?

Jiraiya sets off toward his bleak apartment to sleep off his binge. But he can't sleep, so he merely lies in bed and stares at the ceiling.

The next morning Tsunade kicks his door in, she finds him still in bed, with his eyes cracked open.

"Stop doing this to yourself."

"It's easy for you to say that Hime." Jiraiya's hoarse voice sounds.

Tsunade looks away and Jiraiya remains silent, "Jiraiya, stop this."

"What if I don't want to?"

Tsunade regards him incredulously, "He's gone, Orochimaru's gone. Wasting away won't bring him back."

"I know he's gone. I know I can't bring him back. I know that, don't you think I do? Goddamnit, I'm stuck here with everything and don't you think that for one minute that if there was anything I could do to bring him back I would! I can't. I'm fucking helpless and I fucking hate this Tsunade, I wish I could have stopped him. Every day I do, so why don't you take your fucking advice and leave me alone." Jiraiya hears himself shout, Tsunade's face remains neutral.

"But becoming self-destructive isn't going to help me or Sensei." Tsunade starts, "We all know that Orochimaru's gone, but we're still here, Jiraiya!" she says forcefully, kicking his nightstand for effect.

Jiraiya remains silent, "We're here for you! Why can't you just let me help!" she nearly bellows.

Jiraiya speaks, "I won't let you help, because nothing you can do will ever help. So just leave me alone."

Tsunade says nothing and stomps out the door. Jiraiya resumes lying on his back, the next morning Tsunade returns, this time with a parcel in hand, "This is for you." She says placidly placing it on the messy bed.

"What is it? More dangos?"

"Open it, stupid." Tsunade says firmly.

Jiraiya wills his fingers to pull the ties on the package, the wrapping falls apart to reveal blank scrolls and brushes with a small inkpot.

"It's for you to work out your feelings, about anything, so you don't sit in here all day and stew in your own juices. The paper is from Rock Country, and the brushes and ink are from Waterfall." Tsunade says quickly.

Jiraiya twirls one of the brushes between his fingers like a kunai, "Alright, Tsunade." He says quietly.

Tsunade turns to go, "Thank you."

"It's nothing, Stupid. After all, we are teammates."

Jiraiya waits until he hears the door slam before getting out of bed and setting up, he doesn't realize how much time has passed until the ink pot is empty and Tsunade is coming for her daily visit.

"You look like crap." She tells him, handing him some rice balls and more ink. Jiraiya feverishly ignores the food and reaches for the ink, "How long have you been writing?"

"All night."

"WHAT!" Tsunade yells, "Jiraiya stop it, you have to get some sleep. Now." She orders.

"I did sleep."

"For how long?"

"…15 minutes."

"What the hell is wrong with you! Enough writing! Go to sleep." Tsunade commands loudly, snatching the ink out of Jiraiya's twitching fingers.

Tsunade exits, taking the ink with her. Jiraiya sits there for a moment, with his eyes closed before rummaging around his bedside table for more ink.

The next day, after having slept for an hour, Jiraiya gets up early and pays a visit to his old sensei. He hands over the scrolls wordlessly and waits for him to finish reading.

"Well," Sarutobi says after finishing.

"Well what?"

"It lacks--"

"Proper sentence structure? Talent? Interesting content?"

"No, I was going to say, it lacks your usual zest for life."

"What?"

"It doesn't reflect your person."

"It's not supposed to."

"Why don't you try writing something, less--"

"Morbidly suicidal?"

"I was going to go with dark but that works too."

"What the fuck am I supposed to write then?"

"Write what you know."

"Like what? Peeping in on the bathhouses?" Jiraiya asks incredulously, Sarutobi looks thoughtful for a moment.

"It is what you excel at most." He says out loud.

"You can't be serious."

"I am, in fact very serious."

Jiraiya sighs and slumps in his chair, knowing that once his sensei has an idea it won't leave until it comes to fruition. So Jiraiya returns with more scrolls two weeks later, not knowing exactly what the hell he's doing.

If the nosebleed dripping down Sarutobi's chin is any indication Jiraiya might have a career in porn, even if it is straight porn which is odd because Jiraiya is gay.

And so he locks up his first scribbles in a chest and tries to forget that he ever wrote them, but years later he's pulled to pouring over them.

After failing in trying to dissuade Naruto in his pursuit of Sasuke, Jiraiya feels an odd sort of loneliness spring up inside him once more, and he decides that maybe it's time for the next installment to be written.

OWARI