Notes: This is because I was too bothered by the original 15 Little Reasons so I rewrote it. I hope you like. This time, I planned out all the reasons, and broke them up into Tsunade, Jiraiya, and Orochimaru sections.
Disclaimer: I do not own or in any way is affiliated with Naruto or Kishimoto-sama. This piece of work is a way to vent any creative habits. I am not making money from this.
She has always been intended for great things, accomplishments, she is after all the granddaughter of the First Hokage and grandniece of the Second and taught by Sarutobi himself…
She is one of the Sannin, exceptional talents, and remarkable strength. The best chakra control. Just look at her teammates, look at her…
She is an amazing medical ninja, a model for kunoichi to follow…
She knows all of this. She knows this more than anyone else. But she doesn't want this.
i.) Tsunade's first love isn't Dan. He isn't her last either.
It is Nawaki.
Her brother means everything to her, means more than Dan, than Jiraiya and Orochimaru and Konoha. He runs to the balcony above the Hokage Monument, and looks out over the village, his headband glistening in the sun. He turns and beams up at her, proclaiming, "I'm gonna be the next Hokage!"
And she grins back down at him, and ruffles his brown hair, and tells him, yes, he will be Hokage.
When she gives him the amulet, his smile can't have been bigger, and Tsunade's heart can't have been more at the verge of breaking.
She loves him more than she should love anyone.
And when he dies during the Shinobi Wars, a part of her soul dies with him. She can't have him with her, smiling. She lost him.
He is not smiling when she sees his body, even though Jiraiya tells her not to.
And then Dan comes around, and he has shown her that maybe Nawaki didn't die in vain. He wants to be the next Hokage, and she smiles, seeing so much determination (but not the smile) as Nawaki.
When she can't save him from death, his blood in her hands, as though she killed him, he too has taken a part of her soul to heaven.
And she lives many years in this set of mind that being Hokage is nothing, that who she loves turns into nothing, that she loses everything.
But when she sees Naruto, she doubts him. But she can see Nawaki in him; she can see the determination in his eyes (a different color but the same) and the smile, the same smile.
And he has kept his word, and perfects the Rasengan. Secretly, she feels like Nawaki is reincarnated into this boy, the Kyuubi boy. That Nawaki is the one controlling the Kyuubi inside him, that Nawaki has whispered his dream into the ear of this boy, convinces Naruto to be Hokage, thatthis is Nawaki.
So she returns the amulet to him, to the new (and old) owner of the amulet.
She falls in love with him, and a small part of her tells her she loves Nawaki, not Naruto.
She pushes it aside, because as Godaime, she has the power to make both of them Hokage.
ii.) Tsunade used to be scared of slugs – Orochimaru teaches her.
"It won't hurt you," his voice is slippery and thick, hoarse from that pale pale mouth.
"I know," she snaps back irritably, aiming a kunai and missing, "I just don't like it."
She's squatting on the ground, twirling kunai and throwing sharply. She's too close, but she doesn't want to be too far. Her aim has never been good.
Orochimaru bends down besides her, but she's too busy trying to kill it than notice his closeness. Leaning over, one ivory hand extends out to the slug. Tsunade can hear low murmurings in the boy's throat, raspy and rough against her eardrums. Her heart is pounding loudly.
He's talking to it.
"Watch," he whispered, and Tsunade's shocked look reverted back to the ground. Slowly, ever so slowly, it began moving, crawling, sliding. Its excess left a slimy mess in the dirt, and Tsunade represses a shudder.
Finally, it had one small section on the forefinger of Orochimaru's hand. He lifted it carefully to eye level and Tsunade leans back, only to fall on her behind, hands behind her. Her eyes widen as her teammate moves it closer to her eyes.
She swats at his hand, slamming her eyes shut, turning her head and shrieking.
There's a moment of silence, and she finally peeks an eye open. Orochimaru isn't looking at her, only at a distance. She lets out a sigh, relaxing from her tense state to plop on the dirt. Tsunade throws her head back, closing her eyes. She waits for her heartbeat to slow.
"Slugs are loyal creatures," he says quietly. She opens her eyes, raising her head to look at him.
"Slugs are loyal," he repeats, still on catching her gaze. His eyes flutter shut for a moment before golden slits gaze at a patch of grass the slug must have flewn into.
"Even when abused, they will still fight on. They know no ends-"
"Oh I'll pour salt on them and they'll know its end," she interrupts. Finally those eyes glance at her. Orochimaru sighs.
"You are very much like them."
Tsunade's face contorts to one of indignation. Did he just call her a slug?
"No matter what, you fight for what you want. You're just as stubborn."
He stands, and walks away, stopping at the patch of grass, and picking up the slug, and bringing it over to the confused girl.
"See? It is still alive."
Then he drops it on Tsunade's lap. Loud shrieking and obscenities fill the still forest air.
It will be a while before Tsunade gets over her fear. But for now, she has Orochimaru.
Ironic, she thought, as her gigantic slug faces menacingly against his snake. That I will kill him using a creature he taught me to appreciate.
iii.) Tsunade has the worst chakra control of the Sannin in the beginning.
"Okay, I want you guys to climb a tree…"
"WHAT?! A TREE? HOW IS THIS TRAINING!" Jiraiya yells at the top of his lungs, face red with fury. Orochimaru stares at the tree, motionless, and Tsunade groans.
"Without your hands, only the chakra of your feet."
The three think this over. Sarutobi smiles benignly, "Chakra is hardest to control at your feet. Use a kunai to mark the tree where you stop. Try to do better than that. Good luck."
And with that, Sarutobi disappears in a puff of smoke. Tsunade mulls over a strategy, before pulling out a kunai and grinning, "Okay, let's do this."
She closes her eyes, focusing the chakra to her toes. When her eyes flutter open, she's pulling a foot back before charging. She plants one foot on the bark, and can't continue. She stares. Why isn't it sticking!
She glances at the other two. And stares.
Both are climbing. Fast.
And she thinks Jiraiya is the dropout, the clearly ranked bottom. Suddenly, Jiraiya slips, marks the tree, and falls face first into the dirt. Tsunade snickers.
A split second later, the bark breaks under Orochimaru's foot, but he swipes the tree before flipping off.
Both clear kunai lines are rather far up on the tree. Tsunade glares at them.
"How do you do that?"
Orochimaru ignores her and Jiraiya smirks, "It's about control. Something you don't have."
Tsunade huffs, and then promptly slaps the boy upside the head. She closes her eyes irritated, mentally berating Jiraiya in her head. Then she charges.
She manages three steps up the tree before falling in a heap.
She groans, staring at the sky. Maybe she isn't cut out to be shinobi.
She never expects that in a decade, she will be the one of the best medical kunoichi – and just kunoichi for that matter – in Konoha, famed for her chakra control
iv.) Tsunade is scared of blood before she can't save Dan – Jiraiya makes her understand.
It's on their first C-ranked mission. They execute perfect consecutive D-ranks since 7 years old, (mostly due to Orochimaru but still) and Jiraiya complains for something better. Finally, the Nidaime allows them on a C-ranked mission, an escort through the forest to the Land of the Rice Fields. There are sightings of some rogue ninjas, but they will mostly not attack them.
He is wrong.
When the shinobi drop down surrounding them, she panics. And Sarutobi pays for it in blood. Tsunade watches the thick red of her sensei spurt over her cheeks, the irony metal filling the air, and she can taste it…
She should have died then, if it isn't for Jiraiya protecting them both and Orochimaru helping Sarutobi. And when they escape and her legs are weighted down and she's the one slowing down, she's the one risking their deaths without a single cut on her, Jiraiya drags her out. When they find safety, Sarutobi works on the wounds and Tsunade's sitting there, trembling, eyes unseeing. She can still taste the blood, the blood of her team, in her mouth, and she's suddenly nauseous.
Jiraiya sits besides her, and pats her shoulder with a bandaged hand.
"It's okay. It's only a little blood."
But she already froze up. Orochimaru tells him to leave her, disappointment thick in his voice, but Jiraiya ignores him.
He takes a kunai, and makes a slit on his finger, and Tsunade can only stare at the blood trickle down in sleek crimson marks.
"See? Not so bad. Too much blood loss is bad, but like, it all starts off like this… you see," he sticks his finger in his mouth and sucks on it. Tsunade is too busy staring at his bandaged hand – it's bleeding through – and when Jiraiya proudly pulls out his saliva-covered finger, the blood flow had stopped.
Tsunade can't help but allow a small smile on her cheeks. She sighs, pulling the arm into her lap, and unwraps his bandages.
"What… what are you doing?"
"I'm fixing it," she grunts.
Ten minutes later, the blood stops flowing and his wound is feeling better.
Sarutobi smiles down at the pair, and says, "I think Tsunade may have a good chance at being a medical ninja."
v.) Tsunade has kissed by both her teammates before – and vows never to do it again.
Her first kiss goes to Orochimaru. They are both sitting by the river as newly made Chunnin, and Orochimaru is teaching her a new healing jutsu. She wonders at how he knows so many jutsu, but is determined to learn. When she finally gets it, and her hand glows green for a moment, she jumps up and punches the air, doing a dance. She's laughing and smiling and feeling so accomplished when she plops down next to him again that she doesn't notice him lean in closer.
The kiss is wet, and his lips are cold. She suppresses a shudder and the urge to push him away, and when his tongue brushes against the bottom of her lip, she panics. She stumbles and forces him away.
She's terrified, but Orochimaru is staring into space.
"So that explains it," he mumbles and she's shocked speechless. Then she stumbles up, makes an excuse and runs.
Orochimaru doesn't seem to care.
She goes home and washes her skin until it turns red and raw but she can't get the feeling out. She finds it to be the most gross and disgusting thing ever.
But that doesn't stop her from getting more. What does is that Orochimaru didn't want any more.
Like Orochimaru, Jiraiya doesn't explain why. Before her mission and before Nawaki dies Jiraiya corners her outside the Hokage office. At first she's nervous, and then she's indignant, and then shocked when he does. As cold as Orochimaru was, Jiraiya was hot. His kiss is passionate and angry, and Tsunade can't breathe. And, like Orochimaru, his tongue brushes against the bottom of her lip, and her body jolts up and she shoves him off.
He's huffing and glaring, and she's wiping her mouth and yelling obscenities. Then she runs.
She goes on the mission, and tries to preoccupy her mind by wasting her chakra. And when she gets back, Nawaki is dead.
Sometimes, when she gets older and lonelier, because Nawaki's dead, and Dan's dead, and Orochimaru left, she gets drunk and finds Jiraiya and begs him to kiss her.
He never does.
vi.) Tsunade's breasts are real, and not a form of genjutsu, as most people believe.
As a Genin, Tsunade is flat-chested, as Jiraiya has always said. When she is 14, already a Jonin, she gets her first period. And it hurt. Her chest becomes sore, and left on a three month's duty outside of Konoha, she comes back and shocks the village. She has grown 2 cup sizes already, and as time passes she continues to grow.
Jiraiya can't help but stare when she walks by him, and it grates against her nerves, since he isn't the only one.
When he dumbly says, "Oi, Tsunade, you look… different," she has whirled around and punches him across the face.
It is around this time when Jiraiya first peeks at her from the public baths. At first he is anxious, being that if he is caught, he will face a woman of constant PMS. But his mind and Sarutobi-sensei's teachings get the better of him, and he uses the greatest techniques.
He manages to get two successful sessions, and they happen to be the best moments of his life. The third, and sadly, the final time, Orochimaru-seme throws a bar of soap at him, making him crash against the wall and make Tsunade turn.
At the sight of Jiraiya staring at her so openly, eyes goggling her figure when before he used to state that merely looking at her naked form would put him off all woman first made her feel… flattered.
Then of course, anger reigns, and she stands calmly, adjusting the towel around her chest and struts up to Jiraiya. What looks like blood drip from his nostril and she lifts the scrawny (and naked, she saw a lot of areas she never wanted to see on him) boy up and thrashes him.
Konoha never fully recovers from the shrill shrieking that fills the air. Jiraiya is then dropped, a bloody mess of limbs and skin near Orochimaru, who is scarred for life at the event before him.
He respects woman from then on forward, and prays to goddesses every month.
"You'll need to bring him to the hospital in, oh, about 10 minutes or he will die," she says casually, slowly lowering herself in what is left of the public bathhouse.
vii.) Tsunade gambles because it made them still the Sannin.
"We're going to play some Hanafuda," Jiraiya says flippantly, sipping at his sake. Orochimaru nods, pulling out a few crisp coins. Tsunade eyes them, taking a larger gulp of her sake.
"Ne, Tsunade, you sure you're not drinking too much?"
She pouts watching them with a bored look on her face, resting her chin on the palm of her hand. She sighs. It is coming, and she knows it will.
The Sannin are breaking up. She can feel it, the way they stop talking about their missions, the way Orochimaru takes on missions longer and farther away from Konoha, away from them, the way Jiraiya talks about other people that they don't know about, the way she's sitting here watching them play cards because it is the only way they can still be three.
There is an odd silence that never was there when they were still Genin, and the only sound is the crinkle of cards and the clink of sake saucers. She's getting drunk, she knows this and when Orochimaru wins and Jiraiya shouts incredulous, she can feel the slight twinge of nostalgia.
"Lemme in," she says.
She doesn't know how to play, but this way they are all together as they used to be, the Sannin Three. She loses instantly, and then again, and she puts up her money, and she continues to gamble.
As her sake runs out almost as quickly as her money, Jiraiya carefully tells her it would be better if she stops now. But the Jiraiya she knows would taunt and tease, and she slaps her cards down and demands another round.
When she's fully inebriated, and so is Jiraiya and maybe Orochimaru, it feels like home. Jiraiya teases her, calling her flat-chested sucker, and she calls him a pervert because she's many sizes from what she once was, and Orochimaru snickers. And their friendly banter continues, and she grins and plays and loses but she doesn't care.
And now, with the nickname of "Legendary Sucker" and the smirking faces, she still gambles. Because it reminds her of that night when there were still three, Jiraiya, Orochimaru, and Tsunade.
viii.) Tsunade takes in Shizune and Sakura because she wants to be like her teammates.
It first starts when Tsunade and Dan come out of a small but infamous dango shop.
Jiraiya is there on the pathway, hooking an arm around a blonde's neck and dragging him towards Tsunade.
"Here is the next Hokage!" he crows, and Tsunade's eyebrow rise. They are no longer the Sannin, they have broken up, now that Jiraiya has taken up his own team and Orochimaru pulls himself away, even more secluded than before.
"Namikaze Minato, here, will be Yondaime," Jiraiya grins, fondly ruffling the hair of the younger boy. Tsunade shrugs, muttering, "Have fun with that" and tries to pull Dan away from the two. Inside, she watches the way Jiraiya looks at his student, the way Sarutobi used to look at them. A wave of nostalgia passes over her, but she pushes it away. The Sannin is only now known as what it used to be.
Then she sees Orochimaru, pale and tall, walking solemnly with an indigo-haired girl. She attempts to smile at them, and the girl, Anko, Orochimaru supplies, is his apprentice. She watches them, the way they continued on their way to the dango shop, hearing the girl talk animatedly about what kind of dango she wants, and her eyes widen to see Orochimaru smile back at her, something he has hardly ever done. She looks back at Jiraiya, who is busy relating useful "woman" tips to his own apprentice.
She feels so suddenly alone, even with Dan standing next to her.
And when Dan dies, she is once again alone. Orochimaru has so many horrible rumors circulating around him, some she knows is true, and Jiraiya is busy worrying about his experiments and Minato's strength that they don't have time for her. They can't protect her the way they used to. Minato and Anko have grown stronger, taller, and the pride of her former teammates.
Then she finds the niece of Dan, a fragile creature with wide eyes and impeccable chakra control. Shizune is her name, and Tsunade feels less alone, less left behind.
And when Orochimaru betrays Konoha and Jiraiya follows behind, she is once again behind, so she picks herself up, packs up, and leaves Konoha with Shizune in tow.
And even now, when she is Hokage and can never be anymore respected and on top, she can still feel the recesses of being behind them.
Then Sasuke leaves to run after Orochimaru, and Jiraiya takes upon Naruto to find them, she can feel what has happened happen again. In Naruto she can see the younger Jiraiya chasing after Orochimaru. In Sasuke she can see the younger Orochimaru brushing off any bonds that were cast between him and Jiraiya.
Tsunade is not in the picture.
So she takes upon the last of Team 7, Haruno Sakura because this way, in Sakura, she can be the younger Tsunade left behind, who will grow strong and finally bring them back together, the way Tsunade never could.
ix.) Tsunade drinks not to forget worries, but to remember them.
She knows she is getting old, and the memories she once holds dear is fogging up, fading away. So when Jiraiya and Orochimaru leave, her first instinct is to cry and run after them. She pushes that away, instead, heading to the nearest bar. She has never drunk alone, knowing that inebriated without a partner would leave her vulnerable. But she doesn't care, because tonight, she is vulnerable anyway.
Drinking forces flashbacks in her mind, and she can see the first day they meet Sarutobi, who has been taught by the Nidaime and who looks at them with disproval.
She can see Jiraiya tied up against a tree, and taunting him with a bell.
She can see Jiraiya tackling the poor cat on their first mission, wrestling it and getting horribly scratched while she cackles at him.
She can see their first ambush, and through frozen eyes, watch Orochimaru protect her and their client.
She can see all three of them, bloody and bruised, stagger out of the Forest of Death, but still intact for the third leg of the exam. She can see Orochimaru becoming Chuunin first, and the way his lips quirk up in one of the first smiles she has seen in a while.
She can see them fighting against Hanzo and earning the title of Sannin.
Her thoughts dim and the memories play bright in her mind as she dozes off to sleep on the counter.
She wakes up with a massive hangover, and her drink is empty. Her mouth tastes like ash and bitter, but she knows that sake can help her remember those times with Jiraiya and Orochimaru, so she pulls herself up, and drinks some more.
x.) Tsunade is the one who loves the Sannin the most.
She is in love with being the three of them, the Sannin. She loves being together and a family more than Orochimaru, who never had a family, found an abandoned creature hated because of the color of his skin and his snake-like eyes. She loves it even more than Jiraiya, who has always been obsessive as seeing them as a family, a stronger bond than the abusive one from his home.
She knows she is in love with the two of them. She loves Orochimaru, even when he kills so many innocent and experiments cruelly. She loves the way he can solve any problem, the way his golden eyes can analyze and succeed, the way he can protect her. She loves the way his ninjutsu makes up from her taijutsu, and how much of a closed book he is, away from the world.
She loves Jiraiya, even when his words that tease are etched in her mind and being near him makes her want to hit him. She loves how strong and passionate he is, running after Orochimaru when he betrayed Konoha, trying to bring their friend back.
She loves them both, and can only remember bitterly of all the loves in her life. Of Orochimaru who died in the hands of his own apprentice, of Jiraiya in the hands of the Akatsuki.
She never understands why she is always alone, forced to watch the people she loves, Nawaki, Dan, and now, the Sannin die, and she cannot save them.
But she seals the tears away, because, as the survivor and the Hokage, she must live on for them. For what they stand for.
Notes: First part is done. (: A Tsunade-centric fic, which I ended angsty. But the life of a shinobi is very angsty, haha. Stay tuned for Part 2 – Jiraiya. Comments would be appreciated.