A Disturbing Pattern
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Note: This idea was suggested to me by kyuubi shadow. Also, may contain minor recent manga spoilers.
Once Naruto was back in Konoha, he wasted no time cornering Sakura and Shizune in an empty room in the hospital.
"Now, I don't know about you, but I'm rather fond of Baa-chan," he began seriously.
Sakura's eyes widened. "How can you not think we're fond of her, too?" she demanded indignantly. "We've spent more time with her than you have over the years!"
Naruto raised an eyebrow. "So? Orochimaru presumably spent more time with her than I have, too, but I still liked her better."
"Please, go on," Shizune invited, hoping to keep the number of tangents this discussion was going to go off on to a bare minimum but realizing full well that they wouldn't be able to go completely without them.
Naruto nodded. "Right. I'm fond of Baa-chan and, as such, I don't want her to die."
Shizune's eyes softened. "Just because Tsunade is in a coma doesn't mean she's going to die, Naruto. She just used up all her energy and while we may not know when she'll awake up, we know that she will at some point," she assured him.
"I know," Naruto agreed, "and once she wakes up, I'm sure she can take care of herself. In the meantime, I would really hate it if anything were to happen to her while she's still unconscious."
"You would really hate it if something were to happen…?" Sakura repeated suspiciously. She narrowed her eyes. "Are you threatening her?"
Naruto held up his hands in a placating manner. "Why would I threaten someone who is unconscious? Or who could kick my ass?"
"Then what are you trying to say?" Shizune cut in before Sakura could think of a reason.
Naruto hesitated. "Don't take this the wrong way, but I'm just not sure that I trust Baa-chan around you two."
"You…you don't trust her around us?" Shizune repeated, sounding shocked and a bit hurt.
Sakura's eye twitched. "Naruto, how the hell are we supposed to not take that the wrong way?!?!"
"Listening to my reasoning might help," Naruto advised. "Because it's not like I actually think either of you would do anything to hurt her, it's just…well, you can never be too careful."
"When you're accusing the likes of Shizune and I of plotting against Tsunade-sensei, you really are being too careful," Sakura disagreed flatly.
"Is there some reason you're..." Shizune trailed off, searching for the right word. "Concerned, Naruto?"
Naruto blinked. "Of course; you didn't think I'd just go around flinging such serious accusations as these for the hell of it, do you?"
"I would prefer not to answer," Shizune told him.
"That means 'yes'," Sakura translated helpfully.
"I kind of figured," Naruto said dryly. "Baa-chan is one of the Sannin, right? The last of them, as it happens?"
"Yes…" Shizune confirmed, wondering what this had to do with anything.
"And what happened to the other two?" Naruto prompted.
"Pein killed Jiraiya," Sakura answered. "And as for Orochimaru…I don't really know what happened. I guess Sasuke did something."
"Exactly," Naruto agreed, sounding satisfied. "And what were Nagato and Sasuke?"
"Questionably sane members of the Akatsuki who are out to kill us all?" Shizune offered. "Or 'were', in Pein's case, since he's dead."
"No!" Naruto exclaimed vehemently. "Well, I mean, yes technically but that wasn't what I meant. Nagato was Ero-Sennin's student and Sasuke lived with Orochimaru for a few years."
"As his student," Sakura added when it was clear Naruto wasn't going to.
Naruto shrugged. "I'm not convinced. But let's go with that. One Sannin was killed by his student and a second was in some way taken out of the picture by his live-in. Do you see a pattern here?"
"No, not really," Sakura replied, shaking her head.
"You don't?" Naruto asked, puzzled. "Old Man Hokage was killed by a former student as well. While I try not to think too hard on Sasuke's time in Oto – for more than one reason – he presumably learned something while he was there."
"So the Sandaime, Jiraiya, and Orochimaru were all killed by a former student of theirs. That doesn't mean it will happen to Tsunade-Sensei!" Sakura insisted. "The difference between her and them is that all of them had at least one crazy student while Tsunade-sensei only really taught Shizune…and…myself…" she trailed off as she realized what Naruto was getting at. "Naruto!"
"What?" Naruto asked innocently. "It's a valid concern!"
"Shizune and I aren't crazy!" Sakura declared.
Naruto coughed. "Frankly, Sakura, Shizune gets so stressed that she seems to be one bad week away from a psychotic break."
"Your concern is so touching…" Shizune deadpanned.
"And what about me?" Sakura demanded, hands on her hips.
"You thought committing suicide by crazy teammate was a good idea," Naruto replied matter-of-factly.
He kind of had her there. "I would have taken him out with me," Sakura claimed.
"You did it because of love," Naruto continued.
Sakura snorted. "Like I'm the only one in this village to have a dysfunctional relationship…"
"Well, it's not like Konoha is the standard for sanity, either," Naruto pointed out. "Although I think that's really more of a ninja thing than a Konoha thing. You attacked fellow Konoha ninja."
"I just knocked them out," Sakura said defensively.
"And all of this was because you wouldn't tell me that Shikamaru is out to kill Sasuke," Naruto concluded.
Sakura winced. "Well, it was a bit more complicated than that…"
"It really wasn't," Naruto countered. "If you didn't want to do it yourself – and I'm told you volunteered for the job – then you could have just had one of the three or so other people with you let me know."
"I just didn't want to hurt you when you were so dead-set on saving him," Sakura tried to explain.
"And you thought telling me that yet more people wanted Sasuke dead would hurt me more than finding out that you two took each other out?" Naruto asked incredulously.
"Well, when you put it like that…" Sakura trailed off. "But all of this is besides the point. I've since decided that it is, in fact, possible for all of us to have a happy ending after all."
Naruto raised his eyebrows. "You got this from Sasuke and I vowing to one day kill each other, did you?"
"…Maybe?" Sakura admitted, realizing that did sound kind of strange.
"You're not making the best case for yourself here, Sakura," Naruto told her, sighing.
"Well you're not exactly a pillar of sanity yourself," Sakura shot back, crossing her arms defiantly.
"But I'm not Baa-chan's student," Naruto reminded her. "So she has nothing to fear from me."
"Do you really think Sakura and I are a threat to Tsunade?" Shizune spoke up. "We care about her more than anyone."
"I don't know," Naruto confessed. "But I'd rather not risk it. Killing Baa-chan would be a really bad idea, you know?"
"You don't say?" Shizune asked innocently.
Naruto nodded. "Absolutely. She's the Godaime, you know, and her being out of the picture gave Danzo the job for a full week or so. And I know Kakashi is going to be in charge now, but he really doesn't want to do it and once she recovers, he'll happily hand the hat back and go on a long-term mission so she can't try and make him keep being Hokage. Not to mention that she's quite possibly the best medic we've ever had and the hospital has really been lost without her."
"So I see we're all agreed that killing Tsunade-sensei is a really bad idea. What do you suggest we do to prove to you we have no intention of doing it?" Sakura inquired.
"Is it too much to ask for you to not visit her without a non-student of hers accompanying you?" Naruto asked hopefully.
"Do you really think doing so would stop us if we were crazy and determined?" Sakura asked rhetorically.
"No, but I'm sort of counting on the fact you wouldn't want to be blamed for her death to help with that," Naruto admitted. "Of course, you could always sneak in but…I should really stop giving you ideas, shouldn't I?"
Sakura rolled her eyes. "Fine. I'll drag Ino along when I visit Tsunade-Sensei and tell her to direct all her complaints to you."
"And I'll have Iruka accompany me," Shizune promised.
"Oh, good," Naruto sighed in relief. "I've been worrying."
"You're very paranoid, you know that?" Sakura told him.
Naruto shrugged. "As long as I can keep Baa-chan safe from you two, I'm good with that."
Sakura's eye twitched. "Naruto…"
Needless to say, that was when Naruto decided to start running.