"I said it before, and I say it again." Sakumo said curtly. He adjusted the backpack he wore so that it didn't tax him much. It was placed on his chest, and not his back. "This is your entire fault."

"It is not!' Jiraiya yelled. He crossed his arms over his chest. "Since when was it my fault?"

"Since that day you managed to persuade us to go camping with you around the mountain." Orochimaru growled. "It's your entire fault, Jiraiya, that we have THESE on our backs." Orochimaru turned around and let them have a good, long look at the thing clutching on his shirt. It was small, the size of a football. Covered in brown fur, the Onbu peered up at Orochimaru with its huge blue eyes and tugged at his hair.

"Onbu…" It said cheerily, clutching a lock of black hair in its hand and pulling most profoundly. "Onbu!"

"My hair!' Orochimaru screamed.

Sakumo glared at Jiraiya again. "It's your fault. If you hadn't taken that stupid shortcut…"

"Hey, it was your choice to go camping with me!" Jiraiya replied, walking up to the Hatake and poking the backpack on his chest. "It's not as if you didn't have a choice…"

"The Hokage TOLD ME TO GO WITH YOU!" Sakumo yelled. The Onbu on his back whimpered and Sakumo sighed and lowered his voice. "Look, overall, it was your fault for camping. End of story. Because of you, I can't get some time with Kumori tonight…"

"Ohohoho! The White Fang's sowing the wild oats tonight, huh?" Jiraiya said with a smile as he whipped out a writing pad from the backpack also placed on his chest. "So tell me about it..."

"Jiji…" a vein in Sakumo's temple throbbed.

"It's research!" Jiraiya smiled and took out a pen. "So, what were your plans?'

"Jiji…"

"Seriously!"

"I'm not telling you again!" Sakumo growled, poking the Chuunin in the chest. "I mean, it's none of your business!"

"Come on! Just one…!"

"Well…. I was going to take her out to a restaurant tonight…"

There was a wail as Orochimaru's hair gave up the fight. A lock of black hair now rested in the Onbu's hand. Orochimaru held his head in his hands.

"Onbu!" It purred happily, reaching to get some more.

"Haha!" Jiraiya grinned victoriously. He pointed a finger at Orochimaru, who was hysterical. "Your precious hair's been ruined! HA! You deserve it!"

"Jiji…." Sakumo cut in. Jiraiya looked scandalized. "What? You're siding with him now?"

"No, it's just that…"

"Tell me!" Jiraiya demanded, pouncing on the jounin, grabbing a hold of his collar and shaking him. "What is it?"

"The thing… peed on you."

"YE GODS!"


The first month.

"Sakumooooo…"

Annoyed, the Hatake rolled on his side and peered over his shoulder. "What is it now? I'm not your mommy!" He growled. He needed his sleep! His Onbu had spent the day squalling until god-knew-when. He only hoped any children he had weren't that noisy.

"I think it peed on me again." Jiraiya complained, sitting up and scratching at his itchy clothing. "Gods, I think I'm going to break out in a rash…"

"There's some calamine lotion in my bag." Sakumo grunted. "Now go 'way and let me sleep."

"Why are you so noisy?" Orochimaru moaned. He too rolled over and lifted one of the wild cucumber slices on his eyes. "You're ruining my sleep."

Sakumo reached over at took one of the slices away. Oblivious to the shout of outrage coming from the Chuunin, the Hatake ate the slice.

"What was that for?" Jiraiya reached over and opened Sakumo's pack.

"Food is food." The jounin grunted. "Get back to sleep."

"I hunted for HOURS to get that!" Orochimaru cried out. "You owe me a cucumber, Hatake,"

"Shut up!" Sakumo groaned. He was going to roll on his back when there was a squeak of outrage and a release of heat. Sakumo sat up as the last vestiges of pee dripped down the Onbu's bottom.

"Crap."

Orochimaru snickered. Jiraiya finished with the lotion and offered it to Sakumo with a grin.


The second month.

"What are you doing?" Orochimaru eyed the Hatake like one would stare at a mental facility patient. Sakumo took his jounin vest off, Onbu included.

"I'm stripping. What do you think it is?" Sakumo said sarcastically. He scratched a spot on his back in an afterthought. Jiraiya looked up from his writing pad.

"Dude, you're stripping." Jiraiya made a face. "Ew."

Sakumo took his shirt off. "Hey, I want to be clean. What about you?" He replied. Orochimaru and Jiraiya looked at each other, shrugged and proceeded to strip as well.

The Onbu on his vest whimpered. Sakumo put one toe into the river and grinned. "Warm enough." He said with a smile. The Hatake waded into the river and took his jounin vest. The Onbu on it squealed and gripped the green cloth tighter. Sakumo let his vest float about like a small boat.

"I'm only wearing a kimono." Orochimaru grumbled. He shrugged it off, now clad in only shirts and a black shirt. "I feel exposed." The chuunin grumbled, wading into the river as well, dragging his urine-soaked kimono along like a silken banner.

"Um, guys?" Jiraiya looked at them, stuck in mid-strip.

"What is it now?" Sakumo called out, tipping the vest slightly so the Onbu could get a bath.

"I think…" he trailed off. "That place is familiar… Sarutobi-sensei pointed that out…"

"What?" Orochimaru called out, soaking his Onbu in the water.

"That place is infested with leeches."

"HOLY----!"


The third month.

"I can't take this anymore." Orochimaru grumbled, running a hand through his wet hair. "My hair is ruined, Sakumo keeps snoring during the night…"

"I do not." Sakumo cut in. The jounin glared at Orochimaru, who threw a bar of soap in his direction.

"… and Jiraiya keeps thinking dirty thoughts at every bathhouse we pass by." Orochimaru finished. Jiraiya looked up from a peephole in the bamboo fence separating the male and female hot springs. The chuunin stuck his tongue out. "You don't know how to appreciate the finer points of a bathhouse." He returned. Sakumo threw the bar of soap at him.

The Onbu they bore were now latched onto their clothes, which were dipped into the hot spring as well despite rules and regulations.

"This is the last hot springs town we'll pass by before going into the mountains." Sakumo began. "Now it is imperative that we get all our supplies here…"

"And research!" Jiraiya grinned widely, taking out the pad and making scribbles on it.

"… and research." Sakumo sighed. He ran a hand through his finally clean silver hair. "So, what do we need?"

"Shampoo." Orochimaru groaned out. Sakumo kicked him squarely in the groin. "You finished everything we had last week, baka!"

"Is it my fault I have sensitive hair?" Orochimaru groaned as he fell into the hot springs.

"Ohohoho, this place is full of inspiration." Jiraiya muttered. He made quick notes on the pad. "And those… melons…"

"Hooters." Sakumo quipped. "Call them hooters. Melon is too broad."

"Hooters? What, they're owls now?" Jiraiya turned around and looked at Sakumo, holding his writing pad in between his legs. "Hell no. Melons."

"Hooters." Sakumo glared. "If you say 'melons', that's an old term. They figure it out easily. You're better off with hooters."

"I like melons. Especially the melons that are shaped like so…" He made an hourglass figure.

"Jiji, eggs." Sakumo said sharply. Jiraiya swept the towel over his legs.

"As I was saying… melons are so much better."

With a splash, Orochimaru surfaced. 'What are you talking about?" He brushed his long bangs away from his face.

"On how I like melons." Jiraiya grinned. "What do you like, Orochimaru?"

"I like pumpkins myself." Orochimaru commented. Sakumo stifled a snicker as Jiraiya looked at him strangely.

"Let me rephrase that…" Sakumo began. "Do you like hooters too?" He grinned.

"Hell no!" Orochimaru recoiled, a slight blush on his face. "Why would I think like that?"

Sakumo gave Jiraiya a victorious grin.

"Hooters it is." The chuunin grumbled, making a note on his pad.


The fourth month.

"Are we lost?" Jiraiya grumbled. Sakumo hefted his load. The Onbu were huge now. They were like weights strapped to your back. Sakumo welcomed the challenge. Orochimaru was thankful the Onbu had given up on pulling his hair.

"No." Sakumo snapped. "It's just around the corner..."

The unlikely trio turned around and gaped at the city up ahead.

"What the hell.' Sakumo stated. Orochimaru smiled broadly. "THANK GOD! Civilization!"

"GIRLS!" Jiraiya spread his arms.

Sakumo stared at them in defeat. "Uh…" he trailed off.

"Whee." He stated flatly. Jiraiya and Orochimaru gaped at him.

"What? I need lines too." Sakumo cut in moodily. Jiraiya gripped at his sides. Orochimaru's form shook in silent laughter.

"What?" Sakumo asked, raising one eyebrow. Jiraiya pointed to Sakumo's back.

A familiar wetness trailed down Sakumo's jounin vest, and he groaned. "Not again!"


The fifth month.

"Jiraiya, stop being the fool."

"B-but…"

"Look, as much as I hate siding with the snake bastard…" Orochimaru nudged Sakumo's ribs sharply. "We have to leave them behind." Sakumo finished. He turned and punched Orochimaru squarely in the nuts. The chuunin fell down, face screwed up in pain.

"Yeah, but how?" Jiraiya asked. He lifted Onbu up so that the now gigantic ball of fur was resting on his back. "They won't get off."

"I think I know." Orochimaru said from the floor.

"Do tell." Sakumo cut in. "Because I want to go home as fast as possible." He shifted his weight.

"Well, we'll do the swirly dance." Orochimaru quipped.

"What in nine hells is the swirly dance?" Jiraiya asked, raising an eyebrow. Orochimaru struggled up and did a simple 360 degree turn.

"That's the swirly dance? I see the swirl, but I don't see the dance." Sakumo interjected. Orochimaru shrugged. "Do it over and over and over." He replied.

Sakumo and Jiraiya looked at each other, and then shrugged. Both began turning furiously. The Onbu on their backs grew nauseous.

Orochimaru stopped as his Onbu vomited to the side. Carefully, the chuunin slowly yanked his kimono robes away from the thing's claws and vanished in a puff of smoke.

Sakumo stopped at the same time as Orochimaru. His Onbu was dizzy, but could be tricked. Quickly, Sakumo shrugged the Onbu off him and vanished as well.

Jiraiya stopped a little later than Sakumo or Orochimaru. The chuunin spun dizzily, and finally stopped. Jiraiya moved in drunken steps as his Onbu vomited and he was able to squirm free.


40 years later in Oto...Orochimaru remembers something and suddenly laughs like there is no tomorrow, creeping the hell out of Kabuto and his other lackeys. Somewhere, Naruto wonders why Ero-sennin is grinning at thin air. Meanwhile, Kakashi is shaking his head in the middle of a Jounin meeting as he remembers something his father told him...

The Cute owns.