Title: Whispers of Memory

Disclaimer: Don't own Naruto (we know if I did that Jiraiya wouldn't have gone and DIED like that and Sasuke would probably be scrubbing floors at some brothel)

Summary Notes: Crappy, dramatic title, I know. I'm testing the waters with this one; it's my first time writing these two like this after all, and I don't have the confidence or time to write awesome, longer stories like some of the awesome authors that do the wonderful Jiraiya/Tsunade. That, and I'm just better with shorter description like things. Obviously, I'm making it a bit harder for myself by making little oneshot thingies based from song lyrics.

Pre-warning; these are not in any set timeline. There'll be younger and there'll be older at random intervals. Comments appreciated...and do tell me if it gets too Jiraiya/Tsunade. -chuckle-


Inspiration: "Maybe, I'll find out a way to make it back someday. Towards you, to guide you…and if a greater weight shall fall, and fall upon us all, then I hope there's something out there who can bring me back to you…" - The Calling

A harsh cough broke the silence of the room, followed by a shallow intake of breath that caused the Rokudaime Hokage to frown, turning to observe the elderly woman as she slept feverishly, his blue eyes shadowed with worry as he watched her chest rise and fall, struggling for each breath.

It had started as a persistent cough, something that could have easily been fixed had it been treated early. They'd all begged with her to see a medic, tried to get her to let Shizune or Sakura examine her. Hell, he'd even tried to order her in his new position as Hokage to get herself examined, (That hadn't ended well either; even sick, his baa-chan still packed one hell of a punch). She'd declined all of their entreaties though, and had pushed on until she had quite literally collapsed. And by then, it was too late.

Tsunade, Godaime Hokage, the last Sannin and, until his death ten years back, known as Hime, closest friend and lover to Jiraiya-sama, was dying.

She lay in her bed, sleeping feverishly, dreaming. As he watched her, Naruto had to wonder what she dreamt about. What did the dying dream about? Did they dream of their lives, their imminent death, lost loved ones? Did they reflect on why they'd chosen to die?

He might have been dense at times, but Naruto wasn't completely stupid. He loved Tsunade-baachan and had seen, most acutely, just what the death of his old sensei had brought about in her. She'd become distant, quieter, over the years, holding everyone at arm's length. In a way, she was like Kurenai had been when Asuma had died, yet it just seemed…so much different at the same time. Really, as much as it hurt, he hadn't been all that shocked to see her choose this path…to pass away quietly, to finally leave the world that she had given so much to, and that had, in turn, taken so much from her.

When Jiraiya had died, that giving and taking had become complete.

It was selfish and cruel to try and force someone to cling to life when they were tired of it. Really, this was no less than she deserved. No less than both of them deserved.

Naruto smiled softly as he stepped out of the room. Those two were just like that.