AN: Rated PG-13 for two swear words. Spoilers are here, though if you know the spoilers, you'll catch them, and if you don't know them, then you won't get the small implication, and it won't bother the flow of the story. I think. If you spot any errors, please tell me so I can fix them! Happy reading!

Writers Are Liars

The first time Jiraiya touches a pencil, he is three years old and he has just decided that he's going to be an artist for the rest of his life. His father pats him on the head and comments that his random scribbles of what is suppose to be life's meaning was going to go in Konoha's art gallery and make them all rich. Jiraiya beams up at his father and proceeds to draw the difference between life and death.

He is five and his father has just been killed on a mission. He is in an orphanage, stuck with a really girly looking boy with long, black hair and earrings. Jiraiya decides to write down his first story. He decides to write a story in which a child's father comes home from a long, hard day and is honored by all, even by the White Fang of Konoha. He writes another story in which a mother, a father, and a child spend the night playing games. He holds the two stories side by side, and though the raven haired child scoffs at both of them, he decides that he likes the second one better.

He has just passed his exam and he is now a gennin. He is eight, and though nobody compliments him, he says good morning to the memorial stone and that is enough. He feels happy, light as air, until he sees his team. That black haired boy, named Orochimaru, returns his scowl. There is a girl, named Tsunade, and though she doesn't glare at him, she doesn't smile either. He would have felt honored that the third Hokage himself was teaching them if it isn't for the fact that like everyone else, he ignores him. Jiraiya goes home, sore from being tied at the post and hungry from the lack of food, and cries.

Jiraiya is thirteen and he has fallen in love with women. The third Hokage scolds him, but he doesn't care because he knows that they're both perverts at heart. He comments occasionally that Tsunade really needs to grow some and he doesn't mean just in her skills, and receives a sharp thwack upside the head that smarts for days. When Orochimaru bests him in something or the other one time too many, Jiraiya hollers at him that it's more insulting to be beaten by him because it feels like he's been beaten by a girl. Orochimaru's eyes narrow in anger and Jiraiya notices that he's starting to look more and more like the snakes that he summons. Then Orochimaru walks up to him, earrings jangling softly in the air, looks him in the eye and says "What if I am?" Jiraiya has no reply for this and Orochimaru kiss him on the lips, then laughs and saunters away, swaying his hips in the air exactly like a woman would.

He kills his first man when he is fifteen, and he feels disgusted at himself. Orochimaru laughs and Jiraiya knows that Orochimaru has killed more men than Tsunade has saved. As this thought enters his mind, he feels sick, sick to the soul, and he wonders why. He is feverish, and despite Tsunade's threats that either he rest or she'll break the bones in his body and make him rest, his hand closes on a pencil and he writes. He writes a story in which a perfect world is shattered by murder, and though the world is no longer perfect, people still love each other, so it's okay. Jiraiya takes his story, along with his first two stories, and burns them. The fire makes him feel slightly better.

Jiraiya no longer knows how old he is, and he no longer cares. All that's circling his head right now is the fact that Orochimaru is Gone. Jiraiya remembers years ago that he laughed when Orochimaru took a kunai to his side, and promised himself that he would never cry for the bastard even if he died. If Orochimaru died, Jiraiya would laugh because it proved that even the Hokage's favorite could make a mistake. Jiraiya remembers the past and a small voice inside his head is telling him that it hurts. He is crying now, and there is no Orochimaru to bicker with until he feels better; no Tsunade to tell him that though she may not be the goddess of beauty, she's not the one brawling her eyes out like a sissy; no sensei to tell him that he should be stronger, and look at Orochimaru, he's not crying. No one, because Orochimaru is Gone, slithered away as stealthy as he came, Tsunade's still broken over the fact that her teammate (the word 'friend' hurts too much, so Jiraiya will not use it, not matter what) used her lover's body as a bloody, fucking experiment, and that their sensei is still in denial. No one's crying, so Jiraiya cries for them and he fumbles to try and find a pen.

He has been looking for Orochimaru for years now, and he is thirty something, or maybe forty. He doesn't know. He has never managed to find him, though he has come across information involving a strange group of people looking for power. The thought of more people like Orochimaru scares him. He has no idea where Tsunade went, and frankly, he doesn't even care. The thought of 'teamwork' and 'friendship' long since escaped him, and he didn't even cry when his former student died protecting the village from the demon fox. He pops back into the village occasionally, when the mood strikes him. Every time he goes back, he spies on women taking baths and talks to a villager. Usually a shinobi because shinobi lives are hard and dangerous and are the perfect inspiration for his books. He writes now, when he stares up at the sky and wonders if it's possible to talk to Orochimaru again and maybe drink with him and laugh, just like old times. He doesn't cry anymore, because he has no reason to, and he thinks that he'd rather not be wise.

He is old now, though he'd never admit it, especially not to Naruto who calls him the perverted hermit already. He is back from training the kid, and finds it hard not to notice the similarities between Naruto and his father. They arrive at the village two and a half years later, and the kid has never lost his innocence. Jiraiya watches him while he sleeps and wonders if Orochimaru had never left, if things would still be the same. Naruto's old sensei greet them, and Jiraiya thinks it's a honor to meet the son of the White Fang and tells Naruto to give him his newest book as a present. The infamous Copy Ninja Kakashi fawns over the book, his only visible eye curving up. No one knows how Kakashi received his sharingan, though Jiraiya could hazard a guess at a memorial stone and an Uchiha. Naruto's now out exploring and Jiraiya talks with Kakashi.

"I love your books," Kakashi says, after he's done reading the newest volume.

Jiraiya could have guessed that someone like Kakashi would like them. His books always have sex and a happy ending. It was a rule. "Thank you. It's too bad Naruto hasn't learned to appreciate them yet."

Jiraiya knows from personal experience that all writers are liars. Not for the first time, he wishes that it doesn't have to be so.