Notes: Jiraiya's turn. Sorry for the delay, these things actually take a long time to write. Ten drabbles in one… enjoy?
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.
He's supposed to fail. His father's a drunkard, his mother dead. Scars like that never fade. You have to pity him as a child, but you can only respect him now.
He has so little for himself, little pride, little pleasures, little reasons. No one realizes he wants that upon himself.
He's the toad lord, a pervert, gaining a reputation almost as big as the village…
But inside, Jiraiya is the worst of the three.
i.) Jiraiya writes Icha Icha Paradise at first to be read between the lines.
"You write like a child," Tsunade snorts, flinging his manuscript to Orochimaru. She has already ripped away the most offending pages, of sweet kisses the most graphic really, but he already and painstakingly gathered them and smoothed out the wrinkles. Jiraiya frowns at her, his mouth curling up into a snarl, "I write so you can understand it, Tsunade-chan."
He dodges a chakra-enhanced punch to his face (she's sixteen and can punch like that already), leans away from a kick to his package, and doesn't seem to be able to avoid the knee in his back. He lies comically on the floor with Tsunade's heel (when did she start wearing shoes like that?) digging into his back.
"It's pathetic," Orochimaru agrees, and Tsunade smirks down at him, giving him another sharp jab with her heel before stepping away to pick up the manuscript Orochimaru pushed away from him. With ferocious strength, she tore it into two.
Jiraiya screams at her and lunges towards her to attack. Tsunade only rolls her eyes and swings her fist back to punch him in the face, and thusly leaves him decapitated. Orochimaru stands to leave and Tsunade flounces away following him. The door shuts with a bang, and he's alone. Jiraiya stares desolately at his torn papers, and there's a surge of anger inside him but he forces it to subside.
He sighs, gathering the papers, and drops them into the trash.
It is the first time at writing, and his last time to directly write about what he stands for. Abuse in the form of metaphors. What a shinobi is really is. A fake puppet dancing on strings, a senbon left bloodied after a fight, eyes of red and black.
When he catches Sarutobi reading porn, the to-be Hokage formed words about reading between the lines. It was a complete lie, Sarutobi even confirms it later when Jiraiya asks, but he decides he will write like that.
The only shinobi to actually understand what his writings are really about is not Kakashi, but Shikamaru. He doesn't say anything and Jiraiya doesn't expect him to.
ii.) Jiraiya draws the lines across his face himself.
He does it the week after his mother dies. They are not any clan symbol, but tattoos he drew upon himself, seven years old, before he went to the Academy.
His mother was a beautiful woman, soft brown hair tied in a low ponytail that swished when she moved. He was completely devoted to her, yet he could always see the way her eyes were distant, so far away. One day by the stream, when his mother was drying his hair, he promised he would protect her. She had smiled down at him and kissed his forehead.
That night, Jiraiya's father came home, drunk as usual. Jiraiya had stepped the wrong way, and the words hissed were cruel and sour. He could smell the sake on his father's lips, and could only scream in pain as his head rang as the large hand was slamming him against the counter. Suddenly, the hand was gone, and there was a hiss of 'you wretched bitch' and the screaming of his mother to run.
Jiraiya had scrambled up and ran outside their small hut, his breaths coming out in uneven pants, and he could still hear the screaming of his mother and he needed the sound to go away and he ran faster, until he was forced to a stop by a tall cloaked figure wearing a mask. His hand was holding a bloodied blade.
Jiraiya could only drop down, and cry at the shinobi's feet.
The shinobi did not speak, and Jiraiya was alone. He turned to see the flash of black running to his house.
He learns later that his father had killed his mother, and before the ANBU could stop him, he had spun around and attacked him. The ANBU had no choice but to kill him as well.
When Jiraiya had seen the two bodies carried out of the hut, he points his finger at the ANBU standing in his living room and calls him a traitor, a murderer. The shinobi doesn't say anything, only look back at him through the mask, and Jiraiya cries harder.
The ANBU takes off his mask, and reveals a woman that looks like his mother. She comes closer and kisses him on the forehead, the way his mother has done. Jiraiya realizes she is crying too.
She dies in battle the day before he draws his tattoos in.
The tattoos are drawn with a hot senbon, and then painted in with a red solution he has swiped from the Inuzuka clan. It stings but he forces himself not to cry.
When he attends school, he tells the teacher that his parents died during a mission.
But every anniversary of that night, he extends the tattoos a little longer.
iii.) Jiraiya has always been in love with Tsunade.
She smiles like his mother. He's on the playground; talking to the people around him (he doesn't let any of them get too close to him) and then they all fall silent, and Jiraiya looks to see their eyes on a cheery blond girl.
"That's Tsunade," one of them mentions.
"You mean the First Hokage's granddaughter?" the other boy asked. Jiraiya squints to see her.
"Yeah, she's got prestige written all over her."
"She's cute," Jiraiya says offhandedly, leaning back to look at the clouds.
The next day, Tsunade approaches him.
"I hear you like me," she blurts out, and he can see that her eyes are the same shade of brown as his mothers. He can feel the blood rise to his cheeks but he yells out, "Who would like a girl like you!"
Her face puffs up and she crosses her arms, "Good because I don't like you either!"
She walks away, and Jiraiya can only stare at her back, his heart beating furiously in his chest.
When they are in the same team, she glares at him and he promptly glares back. But she smells like blossoms and the river when she passes by, dancing by him as she follows their sensei and his heart only beats harder.
He realizes, watching her back and her hair swish as she moves, that he is in love with her.
iv.) Jiraiya considers his strongest bond to be with Orochimaru.
He hates him more than anything. His goal half the time is to beat the little snake at something, and never finding anything plausible too. Orochimaru is always faster, always stronger, always smarter. Orochimaru is the unspoken leader of the three, the best and the most capable.
Orochimaru is Jiraiya's greatest bond.
It's more a gradual understanding than a sudden realization, because that is the way Orochimaru is. When they are back-to-back, Jiraiya holding a wound on his side, teeth gnashing as he can see Tsunade thrown in the dust, face down. It's only him and Orochimaru now, and they will avenge her. Orochimaru is the only man he trusts to guard his back.
So when all the shinobi are dead or dying, Orochimaru cleans up the mess, killing the ones on the brink of death with a simple blow, and Jiraiya drags Tsunade up, carrying her. He nods at Orochimaru, who merely glances in the way of the closest emergency center and Jiraiya is flying off, barreling through the forest on a race against time.
He smiles to himself, knowing Orochimaru is more than capable for handling any extra.
But when Orochimaru is rumored to be experimenting, killing, manipulating children, Jiraiya vehemently denies it. He cannot fathom Orochimaru, who isn't the most sane but is good nevertheless, illegally causing deaths in his own village.
When he sees it with his own eyes, the bonds slip as if run through slick water. Jiraiya pleads Orochimaru to fess up, to tell the Hokage, and the Hokage may lessen the punishment, but Orochimaru's eyes glow red, and attacks roughly. Jiraiya doesn't fight back, he will not fight back against a comrade.
Sarutobi asks what happened to Jiraiya, as he lies in the hospital bed barely conscious, and he tells his former sensei everything.
So when Jiraiya fails to stop Orochimaru from leaving, he follows, leaving his love, his home, his village behind. Because Orochimaru is his best friend, his comrade, and that is the most important.
v.) Jiraiya is the strongest of all three Sannin.
No one expects this, and he doesn't want anyone to. He prefers to leave it as Orochimaru the strongest, the greatest, because this way, he will be the target of doubt and surprise is his greatest strength. Only the Sannin know of this, Tsunade denies it fully while Orochimaru silently accepts it.
How can anyone comprehend that the most immature of the three is actually the strongest?
It is the power he received from the toads that makes him the strongest, and he hadn't told them about it. It revealed itself one night, with Orochimaru face down in the mud and Tsunade's clothes being ripped by grubby hands. He is surrounded by dozens of shinobi, trying to slash him with their blades.
She screams, and his whole world blackens and the impact of his chakra shoves the men back. The shinobi on Tsunade have only a moment to turn before his hands have snapped their necks.
Tsunade stares at him with wide eyes, and her mouth is open and she's quivering.
He breathes her name and embraces her, but she's crying words of monster.
When he brings her to the river to wash the grime off her skin, he sees his reflection in the moonlight. He is half-toad now, and indeed, a monster.
He doesn't rely on this power at all, until he is face-to-face to the prophecy of his student. His pupil is now a monster, so he has the right to be one too.
vi.) Jiraiya adheres to the three shinobi vices for a reason.
He loses himself in women, burrowing his head in the soft skin, because they will not be marred, they will be forever beautiful and smooth, and nothing like his rough fingers. He allows himself to indulge in their curves, in their golden tones and lean muscles. It doesn't matter that these women are whores in a tavern, because he likes to believe that inside they are still the innocent fragile beings that women are. They are a part of something he is forbidden to understand, beautiful and yielding.
He drinks sake because it lets him forget, it lets him relive that moment with his mother on the river bend, it lets him relive the moments that Orochimaru was fighting on his side, it lets him relive the moment he had kissed Tsunade for the first time. Sake weakens Orochimaru, it breaks Tsunade, but it will not hurt him.
Sake is his way of living life, for a shinobi cannot have a regular one.
He takes money because money is what he has missed in his childhood; money is what separated him from everyone else. Money may have not made his father an alcoholic that temperamentally beat him. Money may have saved his mother from dying. Money may have won Tsunade's heart. Money may have been enough to pay people to be in Orochimaru's experiments.
But Jiraiya uses money to buy more women and sake, because he can't change anything, and he knows he wouldn't able to change Orochimaru now that he has his own village, money will only be used by Tsunade to slowly kill her, and money can't buy the life of his mother back.
vii.) Jiraiya is scared of the dark.
It only reminds him of the time, when they were Chunnin, he was captured by enemy forces. He was tortured, bamboo shoots jabbed underneath his fingernails, whipped, beaten, spit on, starved, even stabbed repetitively. They would leave him in the dark, where the voices of the night would come to haunt him.
That woman came too. She would cauterize his wounds; her fingers would run across his bare chest, she would ask him to kiss her. He shamelessly did, he did whatever she asked, from his confines to the wall.
One night she was out of breath, her fingers were shaking as she unlocked the chains around his arms and legs (even his acid didn't burn through) and breathed for him to run. He dropped to the floor and was handed a kunai, and he staggered out, into the dark.
Three minutes later, he heard her screaming.
He should have gone back, he should have saved her from dying, he should have protected her the way she protected him.
When he was saved by an ally village squad, he didn't talk about the torture. When Tsunade was fetched and she was healing him, he hadn't spoken to her. He was too ashamed, he had betrayed her, he could not look her in the eye.
She asked him what happened, and he merely told her that he allowed a beautiful woman to be killed. After he said that, he remembered he had never seen her face.
He writes it off, because he knows she must be beautiful. At night, he can still hear her screaming in the distance.
viii.) Jiraiya likes power, more than Orochimaru, therefore, he refuses to be the Hokage.
When the elders come to him, ask him to be the Hokage of Konoha, the itching in his heart is begging, is threatening to explode.
He wants the title badly.
Instead, he shakes his head, he tells them he is not the right one as the leader of the village, he is not capable of being a grand, loyal, pure Hokage as his sensei had been. He does promise, though, that he will fetch Tsunade for the job.
Later, that night, he succumbs to his desires. He stares up at the faces, all four noble faces on the monument, and he pictures himself up there, next to his student and his sensei. He is so hungry, hungry for the power that he could change anything in the village he wanted.
Tsunade would respect him, he would have the power to drag Orochimaru back and forgive him, he could be the pride for his mother in heaven. He could have it all.
As Hokage, he could have as much money, women, and sake he wanted, he had rule over the whole village.
But he looked upon Orochimaru, whose own corruption led to him leaving the village to make his own. He knew that if he took power, he would never relinquish it, he will become the man he was trying to stop. He knew that if there was an uprising, he would kill the villagers.
So he hid the hunger away, along with his power to wipe out Konoha, and that morning, he set out to find Tsunade.
ix.) Jiraiya's favorite student is Namikaze Minato.
Namikaze Minato is his son, but he isn't. Minato was strong, capable, a silent force. He was cunning and determined, his movements swift. Minato rarely smiled, although loyal to his village, Jiraiya wondered how long the loyalty will last. He was more concerned about his own growth, not that of the village.
As Minato reached Jonin at only thirteen, Jiraiya starts preparing, he could feel the guilt building up in his throat. He does not want to kill his student if the time comes.
He does not trust his son.
He places a seal on him at night, right below his left shoulder blade. It's unnoticeable, a small black teardrop easily mistaken as a birthmark. When need be, Jiraiya will activate it and Minato's powers will lessen to a sharp degree.
Two days later, Minato asks why he places a seal on him, right below his left shoulder blade. Astounded, Jiraiya tells the truth, that he expects Minato will betray the village, since he was so strong and powerful and seemingly different than the rest of his year.
Surprisingly, Minato understands and does not ask for him to take it off.
Three months later, Minato brings a Whirlpool kunoichi back from a recovery mission. Jiraiya begins to see a change in Minato, who began to smile more often and divert his attentions towards the village not towards his own growing.
Jiraiya starts to feel a little lost, like a father should when their son is off on his own life.
Minato confesses to him one night after a large amount of sake, distraught and asks what to say to Kushina to get her to marry him. Jiraiya doesn't want them to marry, he wants Minato to always be his son and his student.
He tells Minato to follow what's in his heart.
When the village is plundered by the Nine Tails, Kushina is in labor, and Minato cannot choose between his wife and his son or his village, he comes to him, and tells him that he will save the village with his own life.
Jiraiya begins to form hand seals, his hunger is overwhelming, he cannot lose the only person he saw as his own child. He will activate the seal, Minato will be helpless, and he'll take on the Nine Tails himself...
Minato's voice stops him. "Don't activate the seal, Jiraiya-sensei," he says.
"Take it off," his last words are a command, and Jiraiya follows. He watches Minato fly off into the night towards the sounds of destruction.
He doesn't know if he has done the right thing as a father.
He looks down at the newborn Naruto, after the fighting is over. Minato is dead. Kushina is dead. He should be his godfather, his guardian. But Jiraiya is a coward, and ran away.
Sometimes he wonders if Minato will forgive him for that.
x.) Jiraiya is the one that wishes the Sannin could return to being just Genin the most.
They were all alive then, really. Orochimaru was still solemn but loyal, at least in his mind's eye, and he was not killed by his own student.
Jiraiya expects the same fate will happen to him now. He stares up Pein, his copies surrounding him, the blades in his back crushing his body. He wonders if this is the way Orochimaru died, to a student he's had for only three years.
He wants everything old and nostalgic to return.
Back to when he was tied to a stump, arms flailing and stomach growling.
Back to when they were assigned their first mission, and Sarutobi ending up killing a missing-nin.
Back to those countless days in the hospital, pranks on the nurses, and finally a forced order to stay in bed by the Hokage.
He wanted them back to the days when they were Team 7, not the Sannin, when he could throw his arms around them as they all grew up.
He looked to the sky, the crimson blood pooling around him. He didn't want to die like this.
He wanted to die with them.
Notes: The angst. ): Comments would be appreciated.