I: Truths From Which She Runs
Tsunade tells herself she will never love Jiraiya.
1. He is the reason she's so vain.
When she first met him, Tsunade was both flattered and peeved that this stupid pervert insulted the size of her chest and had the gall to expect a love letter at the same time. Then she spent some more time with him, and realised he said the same thing to everyone. Well, she wasn't going to stand for that. She was going to make this bastard regret treating her like every other woman he met. So she started wearing make-up outside of training and missions, and it all went downhill from there.
2. Out of the Legendary Sannin, he is the only true legend.
Orochimaru is barely human, and his followers are almost as twisted as he is. Tsunade is a broken old woman unable to let go of her past; her students are good, but Shizune will never have her skills and Sakura is even more lost in the past. Jiraiya is a gallant pervert with no regrets, and his two students are legendary in their own right. The Sannin would be a minor footnote in history, but Jiraiya would live forever. She doesn't miss the irony that he's the only one of them who wouldn't want to.
3. He writes porn for a living.
That one doesn't even need explaining...
4. When they played poker, he sometimes let her win.
Once or twice she couldn't even tell how he'd done it. She hit him for it anyway. If he wanted to be "gallant", he could go and win her money back from someone else!
5. His genin days remind her of Nawaki.
They both wanted to be Hokage. They were both idiots. She loved them both like a good sister should. But when Orochimaru acted like the bastard he was and Jiraiya told him to shut up, for a brief moment she imagined Jiraiya was the one who died and Nawaki was talking to a genius like only an idiot would. Somehow she found this worse, because at least Nawaki died with his dreams intact. Jiraiya's dreams had died long before. She helped with that, and that was the first time she ever felt guilty about it.
6. When she left, he didn't try to stop her.
She left Konoha and he let her go without a word. He didn't even say goodbye. When Orochimaru left he nearly killed himself trying to drag the bastard back.
7. He once said to her, "If you betray the Leaf, I'll kill you."
And she believed him. Jiraiya was barely even in Konoha. Why did he care so much about that stupid village anyway?
8. She's still in love with Dan.
When he died it broke her heart, and she never quite mended. Dan was kind, always a gentleman, and Jiraiya couldn't compare. Shouldn't compare.
9. The first book he wrote made her cry.
She's never quite lived that one down.
10. The idiot doesn't realise he's part of the reason she became Hokage.
Tsunade would be the first to say that Naruto was most of the reason, but part of her wanted to know what Jiraiya had seen in being the leader of the village. After several years, she still hasn't worked it out, but she's pretty sure the paperwork would have killed him.
11. He's selfish.
During the war, she sustained some serious injuries and ended up in hospital for a few months. A week after she was released, Jiraiya came told her about the Sozou Saisei. He explained what it did, what it cost her, and exactly why he wanted her to have it. He made her invincible. A month later Dan died, and she told him bitterly that it still wasn't enough. He said, "You're still alive, aren't you?"
12. Even after she left Konoha, she couldn't get rid of him.
A month after the Kyuubi attacked Konoha, he found her and told her what had really happened. She was torn between irritation and sadness - she didn't want to care, but Jiraiya just looked so damn lost that she had a few drinks with him anyway. He turned up once or twice in the intervening years, and to this day she really does wonder if it was only luck.
13. He stopped asking her out.
Tsunade doesn't date men who give up.
14. His student makes her feel guilty.
Naruto is a ninja. This doesn't stop him from being ridiculously optimistic, loud, idiotic or idealistic. Tsunade loves him for it. She wonders if Jiraiya could have stayed the same way if somebody had actually believed in him.
15. He would have made a better Hokage than her.
Every time the elders glare at her disapprovingly, Tsunade only becomes more convinced she is not suited for politics. She is too stubborn; too used to having people obey her every order. Jiraiya has been spending the last decade or more squeezing information out of people who don't want to let go of it. He's given himself the best training anyone can get for Hokage, and he's so jaded he doesn't even realise it.
16. He means it when he calls her "Tsunade-hime".
When most people say it, they do so because they respect the Senju name. When a few say it, they do so because they think she is not living up to that name. Jiraiya does it because she's Tsunade, and he really believes that it's true. That scares her sometimes.
17. She missed him.
Three years training Naruto away from the village seemed like a good idea, but even though he'd been outside the village a lot, Tsunade had gotten used to his scattered reports and sharing some sake. It was a very strange thing, to realise she actually wanted him back. She decided she didn't like it.
18. He never did stop being a pervert.
Only now she finds it funny, and he's doing so many important things she can't even put him in hospital for a week for making her immune.
19. The last man she loved died in her arms.
And she still can't quite bring herself to believe it won't happen again. Tsunade decided she couldn't risk that, so he was going to stay her old teammate and closest friend. After everything she'd lost, she didn't want to lose Jiraiya that easily.
20. Jiraiya died anyway.
And it hurt, damn it.
A/N: Just an idea I had playing around in my head. If there's something you disagree with here, it's probably down to alternate character interpretation. I'd love to hear any and all thoughts, criticisms especially welcomed, so reviews would have love. My first venture into Naruto fanfiction, so don't hate on me too much.
Update 13th Aug 09: Changed the title and made some minor changes to grammar. If you catch grammar or spelling errors, please try to be specific!