Hello everyone. This will be my first attempt at a fanfiction. I intend for it to be a NarutoxShizune pairing. I absolutely adore Shizune, and detest how minor of a character she is. I don't think the age gap is that significant, and if it is, consider this story to be AU, as I intend for her to be 19 when Naruto's 12. Well, it's AU anyways seeing how those two are going to be paired.

Of the almost 200,000 Naruto stories on the site, less than 50 are of this pairing, which deeply saddened me. I think some famous author (I don't remember who) said something along the lines of, "If you want to read a story that doesn't exist, you have to write it yourself." I've read just about all of the NarutoxShizune stories on the site, and they were good and all, but I needed more.

Constructive criticism and positive reviews are most welcome. Needless flaming is equally unwelcome.

Thanks for reading my rant, now on with the story.

Summary: Naruto and Jiraiya are in the middle of their search for the famed slug sannin, Senju Tsunade. They just got word from the local bar that Tsunade passed through there yesterday. Eager to find her at last, Naruto and Jiraiya get their move on.

Disclaimer: I do not hold the legal rights to Naruto. That honor belongs to Kishimoto.

While the older man radiated patience and a content to simply take in everything around him as he was walking, the young boy walking alongside him had not yet learned the virtue, and made it painfully known to his companion. If his fidgeting around and pulling out portions of his own hair was any indication.

"Are we there yet, ero-sennin?" asked a short 12 year old blond wearing an orange jumpsuit of all things.

"Don't call me that you little brat," replied the self-declared super pervert. "We'll be there soon enough. Like I told you two minutes ago."

This did not placate the young blond.

"But ero-sennin, I'm hungry. I'm tired. I'm thirsty. I want to learn some awesome jutsus. I want to go on a date with Sakura-chan. I want to--"

"ENOUGH!" yelled Jiraiya, throwing his hands in the air. "I give up. You want something to do, Naruto?"

Naruto thought his prayers had been answered. Seeing how they weren't close to the next town yet, and Sakura-chan wasn't with them, that meant one thing. "OH BOY! Are you going to teach me another awesome jutsu!"

Jiraiya frowned at this. "Naruto, I'm already teaching you the rasengan. That's a pretty darn awesome jutsu, even for me. In fact, why aren't you practicing that right now?"

Naruto stuck his tongue out at Jiraiya and proceeded to blow raspberries. Upon stopping, he replied, "But we're walking, ero-sennin. I can't concentrate hard enough to focus the rasengan and walk at the same time."

Jiraiya facepalmed. Literally. If the brat couldn't even do that much, what was he supposed to do? Believing himself to be out of options, Jiraiya checked every pocket he had. Stupid pocket were full of kunai and shuriken, along with a couple scrolls, but nothing that would shut up the eternal headache that was his traveling companion. Until he got to the back pocket of his pants, where the culmination of years of research was in written form.

Jiraiya inwardly was chuckling to himself. "Oh man, I should let him read this...it'll shut him up good."

"Ok brat. No, I'm not going to teach you a new jutsu." Naruto's entire posture dropped down at this. "But do not be dismayed! For I have in my possession a marvelous and timeless piece of literature! Behold!" Jiraiya took out the first book of the famed Icha Icha series.

Naruto was not impressed. "What the heck is that ero-sennin?"

Jiraiya just grinned. "Read the first two chapters of this, brat. In fact, read them without once asking me if we're almost there yet. You do that, and I'll teach you a new jutsu, though it'll be after you learn the rasengan of course. Got it?" Jiraiya was praying this would work.

Naruto was jumping and laughing in a field of flowers in his head. 'Just read two chapters from a book? Cakewalk! Ero-sennin better teach me something awesome!'

"Ok ero-sennin. You got it. But make sure that jutsu you teach me is really cool!" Naruto said.

"Ok kid, ok. But you gotta live up to the deal first. Here you go, and enjoy. Hehehe..." Jiraiya said as he gave the book to Naruto.

Naruto sighed. Books were so infinitely boring. But he would survive through this ordeal to learn a jutsu from the ero-sennin. Flipping the book open, he began to read the first page.

Jiraiya for all intents and purposes was enjoying the serenity that was nature without Naruto's nagging voice. He closed his eyes, and the only sound that he could hear was the clacking his sandals made after every step.

Jiraiya lost himself in a daydream of Tsunade's ripe breasts, and that unforgettable day when he struck gold and saw them without any stupid barriers in all their glory in that public onsen in Konoha. Of course, she eventually found him and beat him to within an inch of his life, but that wasn't the point. He chuckled to himself remembering how she dragged Inoichi Yamanaka and demanded that he erase that image from his mind or face her wrath. Inoichi in a perfectly rational desire to stay alive complied with her demands, and escorted Jiraiya to the ANBU interrogation room.

There, Jiraiya's quick thinking saved his oh so precious memory via bargaining. Jiraiya made a deal with Inoichi; Jiraiya would keep his memory, but Inoichi would also get to see what he saw. One mindreading jutsu later, and the deal was sealed. Thank kami that all men cannot resist the forbidden fruits that are Tsunade's breasts.

Wait a second, it's still quiet. What?

Jiraiya pulled himself out of the daydream as he realized it was still quiet. He looked down at Naruto, who was engrossed in the book. Jiraiya saw that Naruto was nearing the end of chapter three, which was well above what the deal was.

Hehehe....the kid's a natural pervert. I'm so proud...

"Oi Naruto. Naruto. Earth to Naruto. Naruto I'm going to teach you a S-class jutsu."

Naruto stopped reading and looked up at that last part. "Huh?"

Jiraiya was grinning like mad. "Naruto, I said you only had to read up to chapter two. I see that you're almost at four. Like the book, eh?"

Naruto started turning a shade of red. "NO! I didn't like it! It's just...well..."

Jiraiya turned on his 'time to act like a mentor' switch. "Naruto, there's nothing wrong with liking it. Heck, you're right at that age where you should be curious. And I hope you are you little brat. I don't know what I would do if my student was bent."

Naruto had no idea what the hell he just said. "Huh? What's 'bent?'"

Jiraiya realized his blunder. How to explain this without destroying any innocence the kid might still have? Jiraiya of course forgot to take into account the fact that by letting Naruto read that book much of said innocence was had already gone 'poof.'

"Well it's...um...playing for the other team. Yeah, playing for the other team." Jiraiya sagely nodded.

This made Naruto even more confused. "Playing for the other team? Are we playing a game?"

Jiraiya decided that subtlety wasn't going to work on Naruto. So he told it like it is.

"It means you like guys the same way you like your Sakura-chan, you stupid brat."

The shade of red on Naruto's face was almost instantly replaced by a pale white color.

"What the heck is that?! No, I like Sakura-chan! Not Sasuke! Oh my god I'm going to be sick," Naruto said pretending to vomit.

Jiraiya chuckled as he hit Naruto in the back, going along with the vomit gesture. "Well, I wouldn't hold it against you if you did. But nontheless, it brings me great joy that you are a fellow partaker in the pleasure that is the female body! You like Sakura, right?" Naruto nodded vigorously. "So what is it you like about her?"

Naruto didn't even have to think. "She's Sakura-chan!"

Jiraiya waited. And waited. And waited. As they continued on for the next minute, he realized that that was it. What the heck? He likes her because she's who she is? Granted, that's about as pure and genuine a love as love can get, but Jiraiya had a feeling that that's not exactly what Naruto meant.

"So you like her because of her name? That's kinda, I don't know...lame?" Jiraiya deadpanned.

Naruto was flabbergasted. Ero-sennin did not just defile the sacred love that he had for Sakura-chan.

"I don't like her because of her name! Although her name is really pretty too..." Naruto trailed off, and mused for a bit. Then he derived some moral fiber from somewhere, and continued on. "Sakura-chan is really pretty. She's really nice, and cares about everyone." Naruto was pleased with himself, and looked at Jiraiya with a smirk, daring the older man to beat that.

Jiraiya went into the classic 'I'm thinking' pose, and replied, "From what I've seen with you and your interactions with your team, Naruto, forgive me if that's not exactly the impression I got." Jiraiya looked down at Naruto, who was shooting questions from his eyes. "Your 'Sakura-chan' is really pretty? Sure, but kiddo, did you see the forehead on her? You could hang a billboard on that thing."

Naruto was incensed, and about to blow a head gasket when Jiraiya continued on. "Ok, that was a joke, sorry brat. I'm sure she's pretty. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and all that. But let's see." Jiraiya got a little serious. "You think she's really nice? Whenever I see you talking to her, it ends with her punching your lights out. She cares about everyone? If the definition of 'everyone' has changed in recent times to mean 'Uchiha Sasuke,' then sure, she cares about everyone." Naruto was about to make a valiant rebuttal, when Jiraiya held a hand out to stop him, and proceeded to finish. "Yeah kid, she's your first love. I know how that goes and whatnot. I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you, but she doesn't love you. I'm not sure if she even likes you." Naruto tore his gaze from Jiraiya, and looked at the ground, kicking a rock as he walked on.

Truth be told, he knew where she stood. He always shrugged off her punches with a smile, and took each rejection as a sign that she would eventually notice him.

Jiraiya sighed. Crushing a first love is always harsh. To do it now of all times probably wasn't the smartest thing he's ever done, but you have to pull rotten teeth out before the entire mouth has to be removed. Doesn't mean pulling out the tooth doesn't hurt though. He decided the brat needed some cheering up.

"Kid you want true love?" Naruto looked back up again, his facial expression shooting a question at him. "Then look no further than my book! It will teach you all about true love, how to attain it, and all the joys of the female body! If you get to chapter six, it'll even tell you all about the joys of lovemak--"

Naruto kicked Jiraiya in the shin before that statement ended. Hard. As Jiraiya yelped like a little girl and hopped around while furiously massaging his quickly bruising shin, Naruto chuckled lightly to himself. "Stupid ero-sennin; you really are a stupid ero-sennin, you know that?" Naruto was saying, but now with a slight smile on his face.

Jiraiya resumed a normal walking gait and smiled one of his rare genuine smiles. His shin didn't really hurt, but his antics brought a smile to the kid's face. "So I'm told, so I'm told you little brat. Don't worry about it. You're still young! You will come across many more women in your life, all the more because of your association with me, the famed toad sage! As a certain Konoha jounin says, you are still in the springtime of youth!"

Naruto got a vision of Gai and Rock Lee doing their signature thumbs up pose with their absurdly white teeth outshining the sun. He involuntarily shuddered. "Don't remind me ero-sennin."

Jiraiya grinned. As he was about to reply, the town was finally visible to them on the horizon. "Hey brat, we're almost in town. You want to race to the gate? If you win, I will teach you a stupendously awesome jutsu that will make you a ninja legend. If I win, you have to pay for dinner. You up for it?"

Naruto's response was to sprint off towards the village, yelling back, "I'll see you in town ero-sennin! Don't keep me waiting too long; I don't want to be old like you!"

Jiraiya stopped for a second, taking great offense at the verbal jab. "OLD? I am not old you little brat. I am in my prime! You merely are too young to see that." Jiraiya nodded to himself at his conclusion, and proceeded to run full speed towards the town. He caught up to Naruto in no time, and passed by him. "As much as I want to teach you that jutsu, I'm sorta broke, and need you to pay, so I have to win this race Naruto. No hard feelings ok?"

Naruto was in awe of how fast the old man could move. He could really move if given the proper motivation. Naruto decided to store this bit of information in his head as he slowed down to a jog; he wasn't going to catch up to Jiraiya. While jogging, he decided that, although he loved Sakura, she didn't love him, and that wasn't going to change anytime soon. He allowed himself to daydream about falling in love. 'Is it really possible for me to fall in love with someone who'll accept me for me? And for what I am?' Naruto did some thinking, and came to a conclusion. 'Yeah, there has to be. Ero-sennin said I'll meet many more women in my life, and at least one has to like me at some point.' Satisfied with what he came up with, he put on his signature smile and came to a stop at the gate of the town, where a grinning Jiraiya was waiting for him.

AN: Just a background introduction chapter. I had to get Naruto to feasibly begin looking at other women before meeting up with Shizune, and I thought I did a half decent job of it. It also built on the student-teacher relationship Naruto has with Jiraiya.

As always, R&R is most appreciated. Seeing how I'm a first-time writer, I guess even flames are accepted, as long as I can see where you're coming from, at any rate.

Next chapter: Naruto and Jiraiya finally catch up to Tsunade, but Tsunade isn't alone.