A/N: Tsunade-centric one-shot. Timeline and info might be slightly off, since I haven't seen the Tsunade arc. I liked this when I just finished it, but now that I've gone over it, it seems… weird.
It's been 26 years since he died, and she's still haunted by his ghost. Not literally, of course, because Tsunade doesn't believe in ghosts, but he haunts her anyways. She's not in love with him anymore - sometimes she thinks, knows, that they never would have lasted, that they weren't meant to be, because she knew, and he knew, that she loved someone else as well, but he still haunts her.
It's been even longer since Nawaki died, and she still has nightmares about it.
It hasn't been that long since Orochimaru killed their former sensei, but she can't quite grasp the fact that Orochimaru isn't Orochimaru anymore, but someone else entirely, and the boy they knew is gone and nothing can bring him back.
There's alive and there's living, and she's alive, but not living.
Her sensei said, once, that living in the past could cost you the future.
She knows he's right, but she can't help but live in the past, because it's a break from cold, harsh reality.
She's doesn't have hemophobia anymore, but the sight of blood still sends her mind reeling back into the past - she can't help it, it's just something that comes to her.
She pities Sakura, because she knows what Sakura feels like, since history's repeating itself.
She hates that too. She hates a lot of things - most of them things that she likes at the same time, but hates so much that she wonders why she even hates them.
She hates Kakashi, because with the whole history-repeats-itself thing, Team Yellow Flash managed to escape - mainly because of Obito's death, and Rin and Kakashi getting together, but they still escaped and that's just not fair, even though two people on his team had to die for it. She hates Kakashi, because she knows that with the way things are going, someday Sasuke will kill him, and she'll be reminded of everything she doesn't want to reminded of again.
She hates Orochimaru, because of what he's done to her. She hates him, because he was so immersed in his dreams that he killed because they never came true. She hates him because he couldn't just stay Orochimaru, and he had to become someone they didn't know.
She hates Sasuke, because he had to go and make history repeat itself, and that infuriates her. She hates Sasuke, because Sasuke went and bloody broke Sakura's heart without a second thought. She hates Sasuke because he's like Orochimaru, and she hates Orochimaru.
She hates Jiraiya, because he's still sane, and enjoying life, and being the perverted idiot he is. She hates him for it, because he can still be happy, while she's withering away. She hates him because he makes her feel guilty that she liked him when she was with Dan. She hates him because she still likes him. She hates him, because he's still living.
She hates Shizune, because everytime she sees Shizune, she's reminded of Dan.
She hates Sakura, because Sakura is so much like what she was when she was younger, and it hurts to know that Sakura will probably never get a happy ending.
Most of all, though, she hates herself.
But right now, shouting at Jiraiya because he's being perverted again, she can't quite remember who she hates, or why, because this reminds her so much of her childhood that she can't help but imagine that she's 13 again, and Orochimaru never left, and Sarutobi-sensei is still alive, and that she never started her whole convoluted relationship with Dan.
Maybe that's why she isn't dead yet, why she still manages to get up in the morning and face the day.
Maybe that's why she still likes Jiraiya
And maybe, she thinks, she can start living, instead of just being alive.