Disclaimer - The characters are not mine. I make no money from writing this. It is strictly for entertainment purposes.

AN - Spoilers for Chapter 383 of the manga.


Jiraiya gazed down at his lifeless, bloody corpse. He really didn't need anymore conformation than that, that he was, indeed, dead. Had he brought about his own downfall, in some obscure way? That, he would never know. And, it was irrelevant in light of his demise.

Stopping himself from thinking more about the past, Jiraiya moved his gaze from his own still body to the sky, looking inward, contemplating the now, his death. At least he had died a happy man. He thought briefly of Naruto and felt a small trace, a memory of physical heartache in his incorporeal chest. The boy was now left to Iruka, Tsunade . . . Kakashi. Kakashi and Naruto would have one another and their friends. They would grieve but this passing would not stop their lives. It was possible they could even grow closer together.

Briefly, the deceased sannin though of all the books he'd never write, the one he'd already started and would never finish. Maybe Naruto would finish it for him. The boy was quite good at it, amazingly, even though he didn't enjoy the stories. If not, he hoped Kakashi would take the final partial manuscript. If anyone deserved it, the copy nin did.

Just as he was beginning to wonder what he was suppose to do, his spirit left standing over his cooling body, a voice he'd not heart in over fifteen years spoke to him. "It is time, Jiraiya. Eternity awaits those who fought and died bravely. An eternity of peace."

Turning toward the sound, Jiraiya felt the unfamiliar sensation of relief mixed with grief. Minato was just as he remembered him. Every detail was exactly the same as it had been the last time he'd seen him alive and smiling over his newborn son. The grief at his lost life, leaving behind the others was quickly overwhelmed, relegated to the background of his mind, by his joy at seeing his former pupil, his friend. A man that was so much to him there weren't enough words to describe their bond. "Minato . . ."

The spirit of the long dead Yondaime held out his hand. "Come with me, sensei." He smiled warmly at the title. Jiraiya would always be his sensei. "We have much to discuss, for you to know."

Hesitantly, he reached out to take the hand, glancing on last time at his body growing cold on the ground, thinking one last time of his lost life and everything, everyone he was leaving behind.

"You can watch over them still, Jiraiya. Just take my hand." Minato encouraged his former sensei, giving a faint smile.

Grasping the firm, strong grip of the other incorporeal man, Jiraiya returned the small smile with one of his own. He felt a warmth spread through his spirit as their hands clutched, a sense of being home. He realized he'd never felt so secure, at peace, or content the entire time he'd been alive. There was no true way to describe what he felt, it was so complex and yet so simple, he didn't try to define it, even to himself.

As darkness cleared into brightness, giving way to the world again, Jiraiya realized they were back in Konoha, standing atop the head of Yondaime himself. Looking down upon the village, he felt a slight hint of longing, but as he realized Minato still held his hand, the feeling passed. "What now? It's like I'm still alive, just not real." He was a bit confused, never the sharpest tack in the box, as his teammates were always pointing out when he was younger, and even as he grew older.

"In a way, I suppose." Minato chuckled softly. "We can't interact with them, their world directly. We will move on, to our place of peace, once you are ready. Then, in time, we will visit and look in on everyone, as I have done for many years now." He gave Jiraiya a soft, content smile. "I though you might want to see the village before I take you on to what lies beyond." He still held the other's hand and squeezed it gently, reassuringly.

"Let me see, Tsunade." Jiraiya's voice sound almost desperate, pleading. She was his dearest, oldest, closest friend. And, while they got along like a cat and dog at times, he loved her deeply and truly like a sister, a mother, a soul mate. He wasn't in love with her, though at one time he had been, but she would always hold a large part of his heart, whether he was alive or dead. He knew, despite her behavior, all his feeling for her was returned to him, and his passing would be very, very hard on her. Shizune would have a hard battle to keep the Hokage from drinking herself sick for many long, drawn out days.

"Just think about being where she is and you will be," Minato explained, knowing how much esteem the toad sage had for the Godaime, how close they were.

Closing his eyes, the deceased sannin felt a sensation go through him then heard light snoring. Opening his eyes, he found himself in Tsunade's office looking down at her sleeping form. She was passed out across her desk, snoring, and drooling onto her paperwork. No doubt to be awakened later by an irritated Shizune.

He brushed an incorporeal hand over her hair, giving a small smile. "I'll miss her. Her spirit was always so fiery and passionate. She kept things lively, interesting."

"Never got her in bed, huh?" Minato teased, grinning at Jiraiya. He knew that Jiraiya had some time ago ceased his actual interest in bedding Tsunade, and had the woman said yes, the toad sage would have been very disappointed. He liked the chase, getting a reaction out of her more than any thought of actually having sex with her.

"No." He chuckled, shaking his head. "She deserves better, anyhow." She deserved the world, a man like Dan had been.

"Better than you?" He shook his own head. There were no men better than Jiraiya.

"Kushina was better." He looked at the blond, watching him closely. His words were not petty, truly believing that Kushina had been a better person than he was, that Minato had chosen well with her.

"I love her, yes, but I could never say she was better than you," he spoke softly. "That I loved her more than you."

"I'm ready. One more stop and we can go." He let the subject drop. It was not the time nor place to hold such a conversation. Holding Minato's hand, they disappeared to reappear over Naruto. "He's a good kid. A lot like you, and Kakashi is great with him."

"He's a lot like you, too, from what I understand." Minato grinned at his mentor. "I've watched him grow, and I'm so proud of him." He smiled down at his son, wishing he could have held him just a little longer before he'd died, left him more of a legacy, that Naruto had known who his parents were.

Jiraiya squeezed his hand. "I had hoped Kakashi would be with him." He glanced around but could not detect the copy nin close by.

"We can go see him, if you want." Minato gave a knowing, small smile.

"I'd like that." He nodded and the two moved on to where Kakashi was crouched in a tree, in the rain.

"He was good for you," the former hokage said softly. "I'm glad you had him." He knew well how the two most important men from his life had been there for one another.

"He was great inspiration, and . . . He wasn't you." His voice was barely audible. He loved Kakashi, but Kakashi was no replacement for what he had lost the night the fox attacked Konoha.

"Let's go." Minato put his hand on Jiraiya's shoulder and a moment later they were in a field of green and flowers, bathed in a white and golden light under a bright blue sky. "Here, we have each other, you and I, as they will have one another and their friends."

Jiraiya nodded, turning to Minato and kissing him. How he had longed to kiss, to touch the younger man for so many long years. Missed his smell, his taste, the sounds he made as Jiraiya made love to him. And all he could think of, as he laid the blond back on the soft green grass and flowers, was that he had eternity with him. An eternity to love him, worship him, do anything and everything he wanted with him.

"Eternity won't be so bad, spent like t his," Jiraiya voice his thoughts, grinning at Minato. The Yondaime could do no more than laugh and close his eyes, draped across his lover, secure in his embrace, content with his afterlife.