This was a fic fragment, but I finally came up with a title...
Someone intervened during Jiraiya's fight against Pain, and the two of them got the hell out of there. Who was it, you ask? Well, who else can it be, hmm? "Would you choose to hunt down a traitor or protect what you already have? Which is more important?"

It's nice to keep Jiraiya alive, eh? x) Hope you like this first chapter. I'd write more, but I'm a bit... stuck. Ah well.

I have a bad habit of suddenly getting new fic ideas, and go off writing them, because the evil plot bunny keeps giving me more and more ideas. I know Dear Weird Book and Irrelevant have been on hiatus since forever, and I am really sorry! -guilty look- I'll try to update, kay? (I say that every time, but... sigh.)

"Didn't you teach me to never let down my guard, Jiraiya-sensei."

Jiraiya's eyes widened.


The Asura path (Shuradou) of Pain struck.

A figure came smashing through the wall. He flew through the air, landing awkwardly on the water outside and skidded for a distance before coming to an unsteady stop.

Blood flowed at an alarming rate, staining the water a deep crimson. Jiraiya stared. There was no way in hell...!

The six orange-haired (except one who had no hair at all) paths of Pain leaped from the hole in the wall, landing gracefully on a roof-like ledge. Each wearing the distinctive cloak of the infamous Akatsuki, and all six of them regarding him with their Rinnegan eyes. "Six? There are six of them? And all of them possess the Rinnegan?" Fukasaku exclaimed, astounded. But Jiraiya paid them no heed - not even the fact that he was now facing six Rinnegan users - and focused his attention on one solitary, spiky-haired person. Him?

He was the last person Jiraiya had expected to see there.

"Damn you, Ero-Sennin! It's supposed to be a recon mission, a freaking RECON mission! And you just have to go and get yourself into fighting the leader of Akatsuki... times six. I swear, you suck."

Uzumaki Naruto had arrived. And he was pissed.

The sheer number of Kage Bunshin in the area was a good indication.

"OI! LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR ARM! IT COULD'VE BEEN CUT OFF JUST NOW YOU MORON!" he glared as he hollered, pointing to the huge, bleeding gash on Jiraiya's left arm. Furious, the Gama Sennin immediately roared back, "You're one to talk, you damn gaki! LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO YOURS!"

Naruto's left arm... was gone.

It had been cut off somewhere above the elbow, the moment he switched himself with his teacher with a jutsu he used very, very rarely: Kawarimi.

"I'm fine, baka Ero-sennin," he replied shortly. With his other hand, he formed a quick series of half-seals, then reached out towards his severed arm lying some distance away. Red chakra, mixed with small wisps of blue, burst out of his palm and connected with the appendage.

Jiraiya watched in a sort of horrified fascination as Naruto tugged his right hand, and the arm came flying towards him. The older man stared as Naruto grimly, calmly caught it, and the red chakra (which had temporarily taken on the form of a dark red hand, he noted) relinquished its hold on Naruto's left arm. It encased both the severed limb and its other half, limiting the blood loss and protecting them from further damage.

Glancing around briefly, he saw Naruto's Kage Bunshin battling the six Pains (what a pain in the neck they are, he heard one of them mutter) and seemed to be holding their ground... despite the more-than-obvious fact that the enemy was not fighting seriously. His eyes narrowed. 'Not yet, anyway.'

Naruto spoke. "We'd better get out of here first. My Kage Bunshin won't hold them off for much longer."

Jiraiya nodded shortly. After two-and-a-half years of living, travelling, training and occasionally fighting together, communication was simple and easy. A nod here, a glance in this or that direction, a hand-signal or two and a couple of words were usually enough to get the point across.

A few smoke bombs and a flash tag (because according to Naruto, there was no 'overkill' when it came to distractions) later, both were gone. Not a moment too late, either, as a loud yell was heard in the distance, "Fuuton: Rasenshuriken!"

Naruto grinned. "Seems like they're enjoying themselves."

"Is that your 'super awesome kick-ass deadly' new jutsu?"

"What else can it be?"

"But isn't it... a kinjutsu?"

He shrugged. "Only because of the damage done to me. Not Kage Bunshin."

"But - ! Doesn't that mean... butbutbut... then - you - !" Jiraiya spluttered.

There was no hiding the very wide, very prankster and very distinctively Naruto grin.

"Since Kage Bunshin can use suicidal jutsu such as the Bunshin Daibakuha, why not other kinjutsu that are banned due to damage done to the user? How the hell did no one ever discover that little loophole anyway?"

Jiraiya just stared. Then frowned.

"Why did you use the Kawarimi to switch with me, then? You could have, should have use a Kage Bunshin!" He glared at the still-bleeding arm of his student, trying to keep himself calm.

"Oh... Uhm. I kinda... just did the first thing that came to mind..." Naruto blinked.

"Crazy idiotic gaki."


There was a temporary silence between the two as they concentrated on getting to the border and getting the hell out of Ame no Kuni as quickly as possible. Jiraiya tossed a blood-replenishing pill to Naruto, who caught it with his teeth, and ate one himself. He tried to ignore the grimace on the teen's face when they ran, knowing that his injury was affecting him. Badly.

They reached the border and dashed across the lake, finally stopping at a small cave to rest. Naruto was still holding his severed left arm with his right hand, and that was definitely one of the many sights neither of them liked to see nor wanted to see again.

Naruto's eyes closed and he let out a fatigued sigh as he leant against the wall of the cave. He allowed himself to slowly slide down along the wall into a sitting position, while Jiraiya simply plopped down onto the hard ground without a care.

After recovering some of his strength, Naruto released the lower part of his arm and the red chakra, which was only a few shades lighter than the crimson liquid that had flowed freely a moment ago, connected the two separated halves. Both student and teacher watched intently as severed blood vessels reconnected, torn tissue repaired itself and quickly weaved back to their original state, bones were repaired or regrown, and finally there was nothing left but unblemished skin and the blood that had stained Naruto's jacket. 'Tsunade would be amazed at this,' Jiraiya thought wryly. 'Then she would be so pissed at him for getting himself injured.'

The blond took a deep, shuddering breath. Recovering from such severe wounds that quickly was always taxing, not to mention chakra-consuming. "You have no idea how weird that feels."

"And you have no idea how freaky it looked! Why the HELL did you follow me here? How did you get in without being noticed - heck, how did you even know about this mission? Are you crazy?" The white-haired man was frantic. He felt a crazy mix of emotions - worry for his insane student's safety, anger at him at getting into such a dangerous situation, gratitude for the rescue, relief that the wound had healed...

It was turning into one hell of a stressful day.

"Uhh... you kinda sound like Iruka-sensei now, you know..." Naruto looked sheepish.

"Um..." Glancing around for a distraction, he immediately brightened up when he saw the two Toad Sages, still perched on Jiraiya's shoulders.


Blink. Blink.

"..." The blond sighed.

"I'm sorry, I really don't know who you are... Anyway, I'm Uzumaki Naruto!" He smiled cheerily.

"So this is Jiraiya-chan's apprentice."

"Ehhh? Why're you calling Ero-Sennin Jiraiya-chan?"

"Gaki! Stop calling me that!"

Fukasaku burst out laughing, and Shima soon followed.

"Ero-Sennin? Very nice, little tadpole. It fits him very well," she chuckled.

"I am Fukasaku and this is my wife, Shima," Fukasaku said, in reply to Naruto's earlier question.

"They are the two great sages of Mt. Myobokuzan," Jiraiya added.

"Wow! Really?"

"I taught Jiraiya-chan here Senjutsu."

Naruto frowned slightly. "I think Ero-Sennin told me a bit about that once... And that's the reason for his appearance just now, right? He definitely looked rather like a toad." He grinned. "But it sounds like it should be quite powerful. Do you think any of you can teach me...?"

"Maybe in the future."

"Cool!" He beamed, and Jiraiya grinned in amusement. 'Enthusiastic as ever.'

"I'd love to stay and chat, but we really need to get back or dinner will get cold," grumbled Shima. "I trust you two can get back to Konoha on your own?"

"Yes. I am very grateful for your assistance."

"Yeah, thanks for keeping him alive," Naruto grinned.


"Ow! Stupid Ero-Sennin..."

Chuckling, the two Sages disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Jiraiya sighed and stretched tiredly, wincing at the sharp, sudden pain in his shoulder wound.

"Hey, Naruto?"


"Was it like that when you healed from Sasuke's Chidori?"

He stiffened slightly, then relaxed as he leant against the wall again, staring thoughtfully into the campfire.

"Something like that. Though regenerating a lung was more uncomfortable I think. Hmm. I don't know, this feels weirder though, with the arm reconnecting and all..."


Neither had anything more to say for a while.




He smiled.

"Go get some sleep, Ero-Sennin. I'll take first watch."

"No way in hell, gaki. You just freaking recovered from getting your arm cut off, you go get some rest now."

Grumbling slightly, the blond unsealed two sleeping bags from somewhere, tossed one to him and crawled into his own.

He fell asleep soon after, and Jiraiya sat there, keeping his silent vigil and absently listening to the soft, even breathing of his godson.

The next day:

"Baa-chan's gonna kill us. No, she'll kill me first, then she'll kill you, then she's going to yell at us for being a pair of idiots."

"No, she'll kill me first."

"No, she'll kill me for running off."

"She's definitely going to blame me for the whole situation and for making you an idiot – since I am, most unfortunately, your sensei."

"You're the one who went on this mission. I'm the one who suddenly decided to pop up out of nowhere. She'll kill me first."

"...Why am I even getting into an argument with you over this?"



"Let's just get the hell back home."


Heh. Hope you liked it. Review, kay? Thankyousomuch! x)

And yeah, I'll explain just why Naruto was there instead of hunting down Sasuke (who cares about Sasuke, anyway...) next time.

And about that Kage Bunshin and kinjutsu loophole... WHY THE HECK HASN'T ANYONE USED THAT TO THEIR ADVANTAGE YET? D:

Sandaime sort-of did, but it was a suicide jutsu anyway so... ._.