A/N: Howdyy people, just a quick explanation. So since in this story, Tsunade is fighting with herself, i needed to differentiate to make things less confusing. Her reasoning thoughts that are trying to cope are in quotes and italics, while her dark and twisty/angsty thoughts are in just italics. okay, enjoy :D
Tsunade stared mutely at the memorial, unbelieving that her stupid, perverted hermit's name was etched onto the black stone. Yes, her stupid, perverted hermit. Now, at his death, she could admit it. When he returned, she would have been his. She would have given in to the years of pleading.
Of course, when she comes to terms with her feelings, he leaves her forever. How typical of the damned old man.
Pushing the regret from her head, she scanned the rest of the memorial. Tsunade had another teammate. Another teammate that could have been on the memorial. He too was dead, though she had failed to save his soul as well as his life, which forfeit his eternal place on the stone. Treason and crimes against Konoha banished a ninja; no monster could be placed next to their finest.
Looking down the stone path, she could just see another memorial around the obscuring trees. Her sensei had received his very own, much deserved memorial.
Suddenly, as Tsunade walked along, counting her dead teammates, she stopped, as it hit her.
Why are you the only one left?
Horrified at the voice creeping into her head, Tsunade hunched down, quickly continuing to walk.
A medic, she called herself. The best, was how the shinobi world regarded her. Though everyone she was meant to protect lay rotting in the ground.
"Orochimaru was too far gone. Jiraiya couldn't save him either," Tsunade reasoned with herself desperately, "And at his death, I wasn't even there. I could not possibly save someone when I'm not even present. Neither was I for Sarutobi-sensei or…" Even in her thoughts, Tsunade found herself unable to finish the sentence.
"I wasn't there."
Her own familiar, sardonic laugh filled her head.
Tsunade shook her head, however, the voice continued.
Come now, let's keep count, you left the village and when Sarutobi-sensei died, no one in the village could have saved him.
"Only a miracle could have saved him," Tsunade pleaded, holding her head as if it would somehow block her incoming thoughts. It didn't.
A medical miracle perhaps? Now who can pull those off?
A mocking pause.
How about the best medic in the five lands?
Tsunade was struck silent, the truth in her thoughts too much to handle.
On that note, if you had just been able to keep Orochimaru, no one would have even killed Sarutobi-sensei in the first place. Not only did you fail in saving his life, you couldn't even save his entire being.
As if stabbed, Tsunade stumbled, crumbling to the floor. She knew she remembered the old Orochimaru. Before the invasion of his overpowering greed. His ever growing bloodlust had consumed him; absolutely no one could stop his thirst. Even if Tsunade knew this, an overwhelming guilt clutched at her heart.
As kids, it was Orochimaru that kept Jiraiya from Tsunade's side of the hot springs on missions, Orochimaru who helped her train when Sarutobi-sensei was busy, Orochimaru who had on countless occasions picked her up and carried her to the hospital when she was hurt.
"He turned against the village, what could I do for him?"
Absolutely nothing, which of course, is what you did.
"Stop," she thought franticly, contemplating suicide, just to get herself to stop thinking, anything, to just stop feeling. She was horrified, yet somehow ridiculously intrigued at the strength in which her own mind could fight itself.
You deserve this pain.
Her thoughts beat her harshly, the weaker part of her brain cowering in fear, knowing what was next.
"Stop, stop , stop."
You couldn't even save him, The voice began, taunting her.
He saved you from a life of wandering around, stealing and gambling. He made you Hokage, when he could have taken the rank himself. Jiraiya, your last friend in this world, the one who loved you unconditionally, is dead. Dead because you, his last friend in this world, let him down.
"I wasn't there, I wasn't there." Tsunade repeated, tears streaming down her eyes as she clapped a hand over her mouth, stifling her cries.
You should've been there!
"I tried, I begged him to let me go with him; I couldn't leave the village unmanned!"
God, only in her thoughts could she now see how gruesome her own laugh could be as it snorted in derision.
Tried? Obviously not hard enough, princess. He went to hunt the most notorious danger since your own teammate. You knew his chances. You let him go without a fight, without help, when he needed it; when he needed you, the most.
It was no doubt who was winning between the battling forces in her mind. The hideous, evil voice that was penetrating her very being seemed to only grow stronger as Tsunade began to weep in earnest. Her obvious nerve-wracking pain fueled her own thoughts, morbid feelings not creeping, but flooding her mind.
You don't deserve your title, Tsunade. Hokage, Sannin, your reputation boasts the most advanced medical techniques found. Yet, your entire team is dead. Why are you alive, Tsunade? Why are YOU alive, when all the rest have died?
"STOP!" Tsunade screeched aloud.
Other visitors to the mourners whipped around, looking for the source of the disturbance. Quickly darting behind a nearby tree, Tsunade clutched at her hair, trying desperately to block out the voice, the stupid, stupid, voice that was so horribly right in every way.
"Stop, stop, stop, please, stop!"
Tsunade repeated the word like a mantra, a mantra that was currently failing in its purpose as the voice reared up in her head, an onslaught of questions being fired that she could not possibly find it in herself to answer.
What kind of medic can't save her own teammates?
What kind of shinobi sits back while her companions die?
What kind of friend lets hers down?
Tsunade let out a wail of anguish, sinking down the tree, shaking with harsh sobs. Wiping tears furiously from her eyes, she looked out at the memorials, faces flashing through her mind, haunting her as she knew they would until her dying day.
A/N: Sorry for the double author's note, just wanted to point out how at the end the last word isn't in quotes although I said above, her reasoning was supposed to be quote/italicized. I meant to show how she has come to terms with the guilt and her mind has finally agreed with herself and the dark side won (dun dun dun). Apparently it was confusing and looked like a typo. Okay, i bet that just ruined the angst vibe I tried to create. Damn.
Well, please review, people!