Disclaimer – I don't own Naruto

Author's Note – I've been wanting to write this for awhile. It's almost a 'Tsunade Gaiden'. It will cover Tsunade and the Sannin from graduation till the start of Naruto, giving a deeper insight into what happened in the middle. There may be some twists, there will certainly be romance, and you'll see a lot of younger character too along the way.

I've tried to stay loyal to the timeline as best as I could, but I took some creative liberties here and there. The most significant one is just that Madara's leaving Konoha has been pushed ahead by about ten years, just to add some drama, since I really wanted to write it in (and technically it would have been over before Tsunade was born). Other than that, everything is about the same, except some character's ages may be five years give or take. It was difficult to make everything fit, and the timeline doesn't make sense in some instances on Narutopedia!

I hope that doesn't bother anyone, and I hope you all enjoy the story. I've had to make quite a few OC's too so I hope no-one gets confused! This should be between 15-20 chapters long.

Please review! =)



The little six-year old groaned, burying her head into the pillow as she curled up into a tight ball.

"Tsunade-chan!" the voice called again, shaking her gently.

"Not now..." the girl mumbled, pulling her silk sheets around her.

"Tsunade-chan, get up! The graduation exam starts in an hour!"

With a yank, the sheets were off, and the little girl toppled off her bed.

"Ouch!" she yelped, rubbing her eyes and glaring up angrily.

Her mother smiled back, a lock of platinum blonde hair falling over her forehead.

"Good morning, princess," she cooed.

"Okaa-san, that hurt," Tsunade grumbled, standing up.

"But you're a ninja so pain like that is nothing for you," Tsukiko Senju told her daughter indulgently, "Though if you don't ready soon you won't even make Genin."

"Aw, come on," Tsunade rolled her eyes, trudging towards the bathroom, "Ojii-san could just tell them to delay the exam till I reached... "

"Tsunade!" her mother said reproachfully, "Don't even think of such a thing! Just because your grandfather is Hokage doesn't make it alright for you to delay an exam! Now get ready, your breakfast is getting cold!"

"Yeah, yeah," Tsunade grumbled, closing the bathroom door.

She got ready quickly enough, nerves singing with anticipation. She dismissed her maids as they came to help her.

"I'm about to become Genin," she informed them, "I don't need help getting dressed!"

"As you say, Tsunade-hime," the maid nodded, bowing slightly before leaving.

Tsunade stood on the richly carpeted floor of her room, checking her reflection in the mirror.

Light brown eyes gazed back, framed by locks of hair the same color as her mother's. It wasn't nearly as long or silky though, instead a scruffy mess she'd pulled up into a high-ponytail. She wore a short, purple and turquoise yukata tied around her black fishnet top and black skirt, fishnets around her calves and wrists and the standard shinobi sandals.

"I wish I looked older," the six-year old said aloud wistfully, before grabbing her weapon pouch and securing it onto her waist and thundering down the stairs.

"Okaa-san! I'm ready!" she called as she scampered into the dining room.

The Senju family stayed at one of the large houses adjoining the Hokage Tower. Their dining room was spacious, with an amazing view of Konoha from the full-length glass windows. Tsunade could see the Academy pretty clearly; the lawn outside was empty, which meant she wasn't that late.

Three people were already seated at the table; a man with bright red hair and eyes the same color as her own, a middle-aged woman with the same red hair tied in two buns and similar eyes, and a distinguished-looking man with dark eyes and long, straight black hair.

To most Konoha shinobi, these people were idols and figures of authority.

To Tsunade Senju they were just her beloved family.

"Good morning, Tsunade-chan," her grandfather greeted.

"Good morning ojii-san!" Tsunade chirped brightly, taking a seat beside her grandfather – The Shodaime Hokage, Hashirama Senju.

"Good morning obaa-san, tou-san," she greeted her father, Hideiki Senju, and her grandmother Mito Senju.

"Ready for the big exam, Tsunade-chan?" her father asked, light brown eyes twinkling.

"Hai!" Tsunade said confidently reaching for her food.

"I'm sure you will pass with distinction," Mito said, smiling kindly, "You've taken after your parents, after all!"

"Don't make her too confident though," Tsukiko said, entering the room with a steaming plate of food, before turning to Hashirama, "Tou-san, Uchiha-san has come."

Hashirama sighed heavily.


"Again," Tsukiko affirmed grimly, "He seems upset."

"It's eight in the morning... what does Mad-eyes want now?" Hideiki muttered.

"Hideiki," Hashirama said warningly, "Drop it."

Tsunade recognized the nickname 'Mad-eyes' for Madara Uchiha-san, the angry-looking man from the Uchiha clan who she often saw talking to her grandfather. She'd never spoken to him directly; he'd always seemed intimidating, and Tsunade didn't quite like his red eyes. Her grandfather, of course, was always civil to him, though her parents didn't seem to like him much, especially her father.

"He said something about the constitution policy regarding protection of bloodlines in the future generations," Tsukiko supplied helpfully.

"Genin teams," Hashirama nodded in understanding, exchanging a meaningful look with his wife.

Tsunade continued to munch her food, not quite understanding. Her family often discussed politics during meals (especially Uchiha-related politics; from what Tsunade gathered, they were a pretty pissed-off group of people) but most of it flew right over her head.

"So he's has issues about the graduating boy's Jounin sensei then?" Mito asked.

"Likely," Hashirama said, standing up. He patted Tsunade's head.

"Make the Senju proud, Tsunade-hime," he said, before sweeping out of the room, white Hokage robes trailing behind him.

"Damn Uchiha, threatening a coup at every little thing," Tsunade's father muttered again.

"Hideiki!" Mito said reprovingly to her son, gesturing at Tsunade-chan, who was still concentrating solely on her meal.

"No, but seriously," her father continued, "I know what it's about. It's about the fact that they want Hiruzen for the Uchiha kid, but it was decided that Hiruzen will go to Ts-"

"Hideiki, not now!" Tsukiko hissed, "The exam hasn't even started yet! The kids haven't even graduated!"

"Still there's no way my daughter is going on a team with an Uchiha brat," Hideiki spat nevertheless, "And I don't think Uchiha would want that either."

"Calm down," Mito placated him, "From what I've heard, Uchiha will go to Torifu-san. He also trained with Tobirama."

Tsunade perked up at the mention of her grand-uncle's name (he was out on a mission right now) and her mother made a silencing gesture, and the meal proceeded without further mention of the exams.

"There's enough issues with Kumo and Suna as is without the Uchiha causing problems!" Hideiki muttered, "The Raikage already threatened to-"

"Tobirama solved that already. They're no longer a threat!" Mito argued, though she sounded unsure.

"I'll never trust Kumo. Even the Iwa ambassador said they wanted peace and now they're demanding a bij-"

"That ambassador was an imposter-"

"Not just Iwa. Even the Kazekage said-"

Tsunade zoned out at this point, not understanding anything, as she shoveled down the last remaining morsels of food.

"Alright, I'll go now," Tsunade said, getting up, "Thanks for breakfast! Bye tou-san, okaa-san, obaa-san!"

"Good-bye, Tsunade-hime!" the voices chimed, breaking away from their intense discussion, "Good luck in your exam!"

Tsunade sped out of the door and down the street, nearly bumping into a rather large man with shaggy black hair who was standing outside.

"Owari, owari!" Tsunade apologized quickly, recognizing the man as Madara Uchiha, the apparent nemesis of her grandfather.

"Watch where you're going, brat," Madara growled, red eyes flashing, and Tsunade scurried away.

The man was really scary – no wonder her father and Tobirama-ojii-san called him 'Mad-eyes'!


When Tsunade reached the academy, she found that most of the students were already waiting inside.

"Good morning, Tsunade-hime," her sensei greeted her fondly, "You're just in time."

"Good morning Itsuto-sensei," Tsunade greeted, before entering the classroom.

"Tsunade-chan! Come sit here!"

"Hello princess! Excited about the exam?"

"Hey, Tsunade-hime, have you practiced anything?"

Tsunade was assaulted by a bunch of excited voices calling her, and she walked towards a girl with long auburn hair pulled into a braid, who was calling her from the back of the room.

"Kasumi-chan," she greeted, smiling.

"Tsunade-chan!" Kasumi nearly pounced on her, green eyes frantic, "Is it true they're making us do a written test? I hate written tests!"

"I don't know," Tsunade shrugged, "Probably..."

"Oh nooo!" Kasumi wailed, "I hate written tests! I haven't even studied the jutsus and elemental properties properly!"

"I didn't study much either," Tsunade confessed.

"So how are you so calm?" Kasumi demanded, "I'm freaking out, and you're younger than me!"

It was true – Tsunade was the youngest in the class being allowed to take the graduating exam. Kasumi and most of the others were a year or two older than her. The only kids her age were that pesky Jiraiya and a quiet boy named Orochimaru.

"What's there to be worried about?" Tsunade asked nonchalantly.

"Of course you'd say that," Kasumi muttered, "It's not like they can fail you, Hokage's granddaughter and all. But I'm still scared!"

Tsunade smirked slightly. It was true she didn't understand most of the political gossip that went on at the breakfast table, but she wasn't stupid. She'd gathered that she'd probably pass the exam regardless; her sensei had been decided too, from what it sounded like.

Of course that also meant Akako Uchiha would pass. Tsunade looked across the room where Akako was sitting with a couple of his Uchiha cousins. All three boys shot withering glares at Tsunade.

Tsunade just rolled her eyes, sticking her tongue out at them and looking away.

The Uchiha had always been inexplicably rude to her. They were generally sullen and rude, but they were worse to her. Tsunade supposed it had something to do with the fact that their clan-head was always fighting with her grandfather, the Hokage.

Still, it didn't matter. She got way more preferential treatment than the stupid weird-eyed Uchiha.

"Alright, class," Itsuto called, "Settle down!"

The children immediately stopped their talking and settled down, wide-eyed and anxious.

"Oh no," Kasumi moaned from beside her, "I forgot what lightening is weak against! Is it wind, or is it fire?"

"Wind," Tsunade supplied immediately, "Wind is strong against lightening but weak against fire."

"Silence!" Itsuto called again, "As you all know, the Genin graduation exam is today. We will begin the written component of this exam soon, and it will last for an hour. Is everyone present in class?"

There were a few murmurings, until a blue-eyed girl with blond pigtails raised her hand.

"Yes, Izumi?"

"Jiraiya's late again," Izumi Yamanaka, ever the suck-up, complained, "And we can't start without him, can we?"

"No, we can't," Itsuto agreed, sighing, but at that moment, the door burst open and a short boy with fuzzy white hair tumbled in, panting.

"Sorry I'm late," Jiraiya panted, "But there was this old lady carrying all these big heavy scrolls and she looked like she needed help and-"

The class groaned.

"Enough," Itsuto cut him off, having heard numerous of Jiraiya's tardy excuses before, "Just take your seat. The exam is about to begin."

At least this wasn't as bad as the one where the boy claimed he'd been ambushed by giant frogs.

Jiraiya was the class clown, though most of the students found him annoying at times. Tsunade certainly did, for that matter.

"Hey, Jiraiya!" Tsunade called, his words sounding rather familiar, "Did the 'old woman' you helped have red hair?"

"Yeah!" Jiraiya brightened, looking relieved that one of his tales actually seemed to have evidence supporting it, "Yeah she did! Bright red and tied in two buns! Do you know her?"

"She's my grandmother you baka, and I know for sure she doesn't need help carrying her scrolls!" Tsunade retorted, and a couple of people snickered.

Jiraiya glared at her, pouting slightly.

"How do you know? It could've been another woman!" he barked.

"The Senju are the only redheads in Konoha, moron!" Tsunade yelled, "Even an idiot knows that!"

"Oh, doesn't that make you special," one of the Uchiha scoffed acerbically.

"Shut it, Uchiha," Tsunade snapped at him, "I wasn't even talking to you."

"Red eyes are much cooler than red hair, I'd say," Akako shot back.

"That's the most ridiculous comeback I've ever heard!" Tsunade said, injecting as much condescension into her high-pitched six-year old voice as she could.

"Enough!" Itsuto intervened, "Akako, Tsunade, Jiraiya, sit down at once! We have to start the exam. You can sort out these issues in break."

Jiraiya just made a funny face, scrunching his nose before he plopped down on an empty bench. Akako just shot Tsunade one last dark look before seating himself. Tsunade just rolled her eyes.

"Don't worry, Tsunade," Izumi Yamanaka cooed from her seat on Tsunade's right, "You're much better than that Uchiha!"

Tsunade just smirked to herself.

Like she needed anyone to tell her that.


The written exam was easy enough, at least for Tsunade. She finished it fifteen minutes early, feeling immensely satisfied as she set her paper down.

Her eyes darted around the room, checking the progress of her classmates. Jiraiya was scribbling on the paper furiously, clutching at his white hair, his eyes crossed slightly. The pale, dark-haired boy Orochimaru, who was seated next to him, had already finished, and was gazing out of the window absently. Tsunade wasn't surprised – Orochimaru had always tied with Sakumo Hatake for the top spot, despite the fact that Sakumo was a year older than them. Speaking of which, Sakumo had already finished and was busy fiddling with his mask. Tsunade always wondered why he wore the mask, but she'd never gotten around to asking him. Shinji Nara looked like he was sleeping; Tsunade couldn't even see if he'd attempted the paper at all! Chokichi Akimichi was munching something and he jotted down a few things at intervals. Akako Uchiha, to her delight, still hadn't finished yet and looked rather annoyed, sharingan flashing.

Cheater! Tsunade shouted mentally.

The moron must have used his dojutsu to memorize the text-books and was now probably just replicating the information! According to her, that was cheating, even if using kekkai genkai was allowed in ninja examinations.

She'd expressed this theory to her family once. Hashirama-ojii-san had just smiled, but shaken his head and told her she shouldn't think like that. Tobirama-ojii-san however, had burst out laughing and ruffled her hair, saying something about how she was a true Senju at heart.

Tsunade's eyes then flicked to Kasumi, who was still writing, and then Dan Arakawa, the boy who sat on the bench in front of her. He was bent over his paper, and she could only see his dark blue shirt and the back of his periwinkle-blue hair (Tsunade always thought he had such pretty, straight hair!) but he seemed to have finished his work and was just checking through the answers. He'd always seemed pretty intelligent as well, though he never flaunted it like Sakumo did. He'd always been a polite, quiet boy, rather like Orochimaru, except the fact that he was far more social than Orochimaru. Orochimaru never really spoke to anyone. Tsunade hadn't spoken to him much before either, though she'd often spoken to Dan about jutsus and homework.

Tsunade sighed, pushing her chair back. Another ten minutes to go...


The written examination was followed by the practical one. Tsunade began to feel slightly nervous then – not because she was scared of passing, but rather because she was itching to do her jutsus. She wondered which ones they would be asked to demonstrate.

The class was tense and weirdly quite as the students were called in one by one. Tsunade had to wait quite a bit, since her family name meant she was towards the end of the list.

Kasumi had already left a long time back, as had most of the students. The only ones left in the class were Jiraiya, Orochimaru, herself, Izumi Yamanaka and the Uchiha kids.

"So, who do you think is going to pass?" Izumi whispered, leaning towards her, "I bet you Orochimaru-kun will. He's a genius!"

"Mm," Tsunade made a non-committal noise.

"He's kinda cute too," Izumi continued, "If only he was a year older! Though he's not as quite as Akako-kun!"

Tsunade just rolled her eyes.

It was typical of girls in the academy to fangirl over boys. Izumi was seven, and Tsunade found it rather early. Still, ninja had always been mature for their ages.

Tsunade had never considered anyone cute. Orochimaru wasn't even old enough yet, and he looked more like a pretty girl than anything. And Uchiha were equivalent to scum in her eyes.

"I bet Akako-kun will pass too, of course," Izumi babbled on, "It's amazing he's matured his Sharingan so early on!"

Tsunade shot her a look.

"Though of course, that's not really so much of a big deal," Izumi hastily back-tracked, "I bet Sakumo-kun will pass too! He's so dreamy!"

"You can't even see his face," Tsunade found it hard to hide the disgust in her voice this time.

She always had hated fangirls. They gave a bad name to kunoichi.

"I bet it's really handsome under the mask," Izumi giggled.

Fortunately, Tsunade was spared from having to respond, as Itsuto stuck his head into the room.

"Senju, Tsunade," he called.

Tsunade stood up, clenching her fists.

She could do this.


"Ah, it's the princess of Konoha!" a female Jounin greeted when Tsunade walked into the room, "How are you today, Tsunade-hime?"

Tsunade winced slightly at the sickly sweet tone.

"Fine, thank you," she responded politely, before turning to the third man who sat in the room, the third judge of the examination round.

"Ojii-san!" she squealed, "You didn't tell me you'd be here!"

Hashirama Senju just smiled, adjusting his Hokage hat.

"The Hokage always supervises the Genin graduation," he replied.

"Are you ready, Tsunade-hime?" Itsuto asked.

"Yes!" Tsunade said confidently, spreading her legs slightly.

"Alright," Itsuto said, "Could you please create three shadow clones?"

Tsunade did it, rather easily. She had always had very good chakra control, and she moulded her three clones perfectly, not wasting an ounce of chakra.

"Very good!" the Jounin lady clapped, "That was excellent, princess!"

"Um, thank you," Tsunade mumbled, blushing slightly.

She looked at her grandfather, whose face was blank.

Then Itsuto reached down into a large brown box, and pulled out a gleaming forehead protector attached to a piece of dark blue cloth.

He held his hand out, beaming.

"Congratulations, Tsunade-hime! You're officially a Genin now!"

Tsunade stared at him. It was all rather anti-climatic.

"Um – that's all?" she asked, cocking her head.

"Oh, how cute!" the Jounin lady gushed, "You want to show us more?"

Tsunade decided she didn't like the lady. Not one bit.

"I just thought – we'd be tested on more techniques."

"The shadow clone jutsu is a moderately difficult technique for your age," her grandfather said, "And mastery of that indicates that you have sufficient skills to graduate to Genin."

"But – what about my written exam?" Tsunade blinked, "Has it already been corrected?"

"We check each written exam before calling in the candidate," Itsuto explained, "Why do you think the process takes so long? We checked your exam, and I must say, you've done spectacularly. Ninety-eight percent!"

Tsunade frowned slightly.

"Which question did I get wrong?" she asked.

Hashirama chuckled at this, dark eyes twinkling.

"The one about Dojutsu abilities," Itsuto replied.

Hashirama narrowed his eyes, and Tsunade smirked in remembrance.

She'd deliberately messed up that one. There was no way she was going to extol about the optical abilities of the Sharingan. As far as she was concerned it was a stupid Dojutsu, and if she lost two marks on it, she didn't care. She'd answered the questions about the Byakugan well enough.

"Anyways, take your forehead protector and run along now," Itsuto said, "Congratulations on passing! You're the youngest Genin we've passed yet!"

"Thank you," Tsunade told the three adults, taking the protector and leaving the room.

Though she'd expected it, excitement bubbled within her. She'd passed! She was officially a Genin! And the youngest one ever, though she supposed that title would be short-lived. Orochimaru would pass too and they both of them would be youngest.

Still she had passed, and she would be assigned a ninja squad and Jounin sensei tomorrow, so she could finally go on missions!


Kasumi was waiting for her outside near the swings, a forehead protector tied securely around her head, holding back the auburn bangs.

"You passed too, Tsunade-chan!" Kasumi cheered, "That's amazing!"

"So did you," Tsunade pointed out, "Congratulations on that, by the way."

"Yeah, but this is my second time," Kasumi admitted, "You're an entire year younger than me! Still, it's great. I thought I mucked up my written test, but turns out it wasn't so bad after all!"

"Who else passed so far?" Tsunade asked.

"Dan-kun did, of course," Kasumi said, "And I know Sakumo-kun did as well. I think Hikari-chan passed too, but I don't know about the rest."

"Hm," Tsunade said thoughtfully, wondering who she'd get as a teammate. It was likely to be two boys, since teams never placed two kunoichi together. She doubted they'd put her with Orochimaru since both of them were a year younger, and there was no way she'd settle for an Uchiha. She supposed Dan would be a good team mate – he was quite nice, and pretty skilled too.

She'd have to wait till tomorrow though, before she could find out.

"You know Sakumo-kun's parents have been sent out on a war mission," Kasumi said suddenly.

"War mission?" Tsunade asked, "We're not at war!"

"Well Sakumo-kun told me they've just been sent last night to Kumo. An S-rank mission too, and you know those only happen during war-time."

"That's not true," Tsunade scoffed, "It's probably just some super-important escort mission or something!"

If there were war-talks she would have heard of them at home.

Though speaking of which, Tobirama-ojii-san had gone on a month-long mission too. And he was supposed to be back last week! And Hashirama-ojii-san had seemed rather tense and busy, though she'd assumed that Mad-eyes had just been acting up again.

And that conversation her parents and Mito-obaa-san had been having during breakfast... she hadn't understood it, but thinking back, it had seemed quite serious.

"I have to go home!" Tsunade told Kasumi, suddenly feeling uneasy, "I'll see you later, okay!"

She sped off as fast as her little feet could carry her.


"Tou-san! Okaa-san!" Tsunade cried, bursting in, "Is there a war going on?"

"Tsunade-chan!" her grandmother Mito greeted her, "How was the exam?"

"I passed," Tsunade replied quickly, "Where are Tou-san and Okaa-san?"

"On a mission," Mito replied, "They left an hour after you left for the Academy. But they told me to congratulate you on their behalf if you-"

"A mission?" Tsunade exclaimed, "Why? Where?"

"Kumogakure," Mito said calmly, "Why are you getting so tense? It's normal for shinobi to go on missions, it's their job-"

"Why Kumo?" Tsunade wailed.

That's where Sakumo's parents had been deployed.

"Why not Kumo?" Mito shot back, "Your Tobirama-ojii-san is there right now!"

"Is there – is there a war going on?" Tsunade asked fearfully.

Mito raised a red eyebrow, brown eyes narrowing.

"Who told you that, Tsunade-chan?" she asked.

"Kasumi-chan said Sakumo-kun's parents were sent on an S-rank mission," Tsunade admitted, lip trembling slightly, "And even Tobirama-ojii-san has been gone long. And now Tou-san and Okaa-san too! I thought that only happens in war time..."

Mito sighed, sitting down, and patted her lap.

Tsunade immediately clambered on, snuggling into her grandmother.

"There's no war, princess," Mito assured her, stroking her hair, "But there are some political things happening which you won't understand. Don't worry about it, though. Ojii-san, our Hokage-sama will make sure everything turns out alright."

"Are you sure?" Tsunade persisted, "We're not at war?"

"We're not at war," Mito said firmly.

The 'not yet' went unspoken, and despite her grandmother's assurances, Tsunade felt rather uncomfortable.

"Now, go on, you have an hour before lunch," Mito nudged her, "Why don't you play with your friends? I'll send a maid to get you."

Tsunade didn't want to go play with anyone though, and instead retreated to the library of the Hokage Tower (she was, of course, allowed access) and stayed their till the evening, one of the maids bringing her food.

She studied the scrolls on medical ninjutsu – it had always been her dream to become a medical ninja. But for some reason, she was feeling too fidgety and uneasy to concentrate properly.

It was seven in the evening when an ANBU member suddenly burst into the room.

"Tsunade-chan," he spoke from behind his bear-mask, "You are to return back home immediately."

"Why?" Tsunade asked, not really caring.

It's not like she'd been studying but it was rare for her to be summoned home by ANBU like this.

"Orders from above," the ANBU said, "It's urgent. Please come immediately. I am to escort you."

"I can go home myself, you know," Tsunade muttered, "It's two minutes from here!"

"Tsunade-chan, please," the ANBU said, and Tsunade rolled her eyes, getting up.

"Yeah, yeah, coming..."

They walked out and took the hallway connecting the Tower to Tsunade's home.

They met two Uchiha along the way, both of whom glowered at Tsunade and the ANBU.

A chill ran down Tsunade's spine – the Uchiha were usually nasty, but they'd never glared at her with such vengeance. And she didn't even know these two, though they probably knew her as Hashirama Senju's granddaughter.

However, the continued as if nothing had happened, the ANBU's hand tightening on the kodachi.

Tsunade didn't notice this.

"Oh, thank Kami!" Mito gasped when the door opened, and she quickly pulled Tsunade inside.

"Thank you," she nodded at the ANBU, who bowed before disappearing in a whirl of leaves.

Mito shut the door tightly, and pulled a scroll out of her pocket, making a few hand symbols.

Suddenly, a large seal appeared on the door, followed by a few huge metal bars and bolts. Tsunade noticed the same protection had been given to all the windows as well.

"Obaa-san?" she asked, feeling suddenly scared. "What's the matter?"

"Tsunade, did you meet any shinobi along the way back?" Mito asked, "Uchiha in particular?"

"I saw two of them," Tsunade admitted, bewildered, "They didn't do anything though, just glared as usual. Why?"

"Bastards," Mito hissed, and Tsunade was surprised.

Her grandmother never used expletives.

"Mito-obaa-san, what's happening?" she asked, panicking suddenly, "What's wrong?"

Her grandmother sighed, tucking away her scrolls.

"Your ojii-san had a fight with Madara Uchiha-san. They both left Konoha an hour ago."

"What? A fight? Why?" Tsunade asked, "What's Mad-eyes' problem?"

"Don't call him that," Mito said sternly, "This fight has been coming for a long time, Tsunade-chan. There has always been a rivalry between Senju and Uchiha. Those Uchiha you saw right now probably were meant to kidnap you, for leverage against your grandfather."

"What?" Tsunade gasped.

"Yes," Mito said grimly, "It's a good thing I sent the ANBU, or they would have succeeded. They sent two other Uchiha to kidnap me as well. Fortunately, I wasn't unarmed, and I defeated them easily enough –"

"They tried to kidnap you?" Tsunade asked, aghast, "And you – defeated two Uchiha?"

Despite the fact that she disliked them, Tsunade knew the Uchiha were powerful.

"They couldn't have been higher than Chuunin, though I'm sure I could have handled a Jounin or too as well, though it would have been much tougher. They underestimated me because I was a woman. Chauvinistic pigs."

"I – oh," Tsunade said, too shocked to speak.

Mito smiled slightly.

"You're obaa-san is tougher than you think, princess," she said.

"Is – ojii-san going to be alright? Does he have help?" Tsunade asked frantically, fear mounting within her.

"Don't worry about him," Mito said grimly, "I'm sure he'll pull it off."

Tsunade spent the rest of the evening in the living room with her grandmother, who was pacing about relentlessly, fidgeting with her scrolls.

"Why – can't you help him?" Tsunade asked.

"Madara challenged your ojii-san only. It will be a deadly battle. Anyone else would come in the way." Mito said, before scowling, "And besides, Hashirama placed a jutsu on me which won't let me leave Konoha. Even if I try, tree roots suddenly spring out and stop me. It's like he knew I'd want to and had to prevent it."

"...oh," Tsunade said, feeling very small, the tension within her mounting, "And is ojii-san going to be alright," she asked, for the tenth time that evening.

Mito stopped pacing, and looked at her.

"Tsunade, Madara Uchiha is very strong," she said, "But your grandfather is Hokage. He is by far the strongest man in Konoha, so trust me when I say he will prevail."

Her voice trembled when she spoke and Tsunade suddenly felt like crying.


"Tsunade-chan, its ten-o-clock. Go to bed," Mito said a few hours later.

"I can't sleep, obaa-san!" Tsunade protested, "I'm so worried!"

"Tsunade-chan, you have to be at the Academy early for your Genin team announcement tomorrow," Mito said sternly, "You must go to bed now."

"But obaa-san-" Tsunade wailed.

"Tsunade-chan, go to bed now or I'll make you," Mito said, holding up her scroll warningly.

"Fine," Tsunade pouted, biting her lip.

She wasn't foolish enough to go against her grandmother's scrolls. Kami knows what she sealed into them!

Tsunade trudged off, but Mito stopped her, and she looked up.

"Good night, Tsunade-chan," Mito said sweetly, "And don't worry. Everything will be alright."

She dropped a kiss on Tsunade's forehead.

"Good night, obaa-san."

Tsunade walked back to her room and got ready for bed.

Tsunade curled into the soft sheets, resting her head against the pillow.

She tried sleeping but it eluded her, and she couldn't help but wonder what was happening to her grandfather and that evil Uchiha.

And Tobirama-ojii-san and her parents who were far away in Kumo...

A flash of lightening suddenly illuminated the room, and she gasped slightly. A few seconds later, thunder rumbled menacingly.

It was raining outside, the droplets pelting against her window. Tsunade could hear them, complimenting the thunder.

Another flash of lightning.

Tsunade clutched her blankets tightly.

Ojii-san uses Mokuton, which is a mixture of Doton and Suiton. But Doton is weak against Raiton which is lightning, she fretted, he's at an elemental disadvantage right now!

But Uchiha usually use Katon which is weak against water and rain, she tried to reassure herself, drawing on her knowledge from the Academy, and since Mokuton uses Suiton the rain could help it as well...

Tsunade tossed and turned, unable to sleep, until someone finally entered her room.

She felt a weight on the side of her bed, as her grandmother's soothing hands started stroking her hair.

Soon she fell asleep.



Tsunade jerked awake from the sudden sound. It was probably one or two in the morning. The storm had continued through the night.

She could here frantic voices and the pounding of feet.


"Careful, he's burnt!"

"What was that?"

"Amaterasu. Bloody eye techniques."

"Tobirama! When did you get back!"

"Just in time, it seems. He passed out a kilometer from the gate."

"What happened?"

"They fought at the Valley of the End-"

"Get a medic!"

"NO! I'll handle this!'

Tsunade rolled out of bed, her heart pounding as she ran outside her room.

She could hear her grandmother's frantic voice, as well as grand-uncle Tobirama's.

She stepped into the living room.

Her heart nearly stopped at the sight.

Her grandfather – her beloved grandfather and Hokage Hashirama Senju – lay on the floor, unconscious. His tanned face was filled with scratches and cuts, and there were a few strange black burn marks on his arms. But nothing was worse than the gaping hole in his chest, with blood pooling out.

Tobirama was supporting his body, his hands bloodied as well, as Mito kneeled beside him, her palms glowing with green chakra. There were two ANBU as well, crouched around the body.

Tsunade gasped, tears stinging her eyes.

Tobirama looked up, red eyes narrowing, before he smiled slightly.

"Tsunade-chan," he greeted, "Shouldn't you be in bed?"

"Wh-what happened?" Tsunade stammered, her eyes not leaving her grandfather's torso.

"Just a little run in with Mad-eyes," Tobirama said, "Don't worry yourself about it. He'll be okay. Shinobi get injured all the time in fights, your obaa-san will heal it just fine!"

"But – but," Tsunade began, but Tobirama just shook his head.

"Now now, Tsunade-chan. We're all busy. Go back to bed. I promise he'll be okay."

"Did he – did he win?" Tsunade asked, her voice shaking.

Tobirama grinned at this.

"Of course he did! No Senju is going to be taken down by a weird-eyed Uchiha! He's only unconscious, and Madara is dead. You don't need to worry anymore. Go back to sleep. When you wake up he'll be as good as new!"

Tsunade bit her lip, but did so, casting one last look at her grandfather's deceptively young-looking, battered face.


When she woke up, Tsunade was relieved to see that her grandfather was 'good as new'. He'd been healed completely, except for the burn marks on his arm. He'd been asleep when she woke up, but Mito took her to seem him.

"They seem semi-permanent," Mito told her, "One of the forbidden Uchiha techniques."

"Are they hurting him?" Tsunade whispered.

"Maybe a little," Mito told her, "But the main damage has all been dealt with. Don't worry."

"You're grand-dad's strong, Tsunade-hime," Tobirama said, running a hand through his shaggy white hair, "A delusional fire-spitter can't do him much harm. Run along, now. Your grandmother needs to rest too, she's had an exhausting night healing him."

He steered her out of the room, striking up conversation.

"Congratulations, princess! Heard you passed with distinction!"

"Yes," Tsunade said, feeling immensely relieved now, "I'm getting assigned my team and Jounin sensei today."

"Good luck for that," Tobirama smiled, before winking at her, "Hopefully you'll get a nice handsome shinobi on your squad!"

"Ojii-san!" Tsunade squealed, "Yuck!"

"Kidding," Tobirama grinned, ruffling her hair, "Don't get any ideas. You're too young and I don't want to go around drowning any shinobi who – cross limits, if you get what I mean..."

"Ojii-san, please," Tsunade rolled her eyes.

"In a few years then," Tobirama conceded, "Come, I'll walk you to the Academy. I have business that way anyhow."

"How was your mission? Have you seen tou-san and okaa-san?"

"My mission was okay. I saw them, and don't worry, they're fine."

"Why were you in Kumo?"

"Because the Raikage is a particularly dear friend of mine..."


"In a manner of speaking – look we've reached. Have fun and be good!"

"I will," Tsunade said, noticing the sudden change of subject but choosing not to comment.

"And remember, any Uchiha pisses you off even a bit, you have my full permission to knock his teeth out, okay princess?"

Tsunade giggled.

"Okay. Bye Tobirama-ojii-san!"


Tsunade didn't bump into any Uchiha, which was surprising.

She did however meet Kasumi who was amidst a group of children, all discussing something in hushed voices.

"Hey," Tsunade said warily, stepping forward.

"Tsunade!" Kasumi cried, "Is the Hokage-sama alright?"

"I – what?" Tsunade asked, shocked.

News sure traveled fast.

"I heard about it at breakfast from my parents!" Kasumi squealed, "He had some huge fight with the Uchiha clan head at the waterfall, right!"

"I heard Hokage-sama totally creamed Uchiha-sama!" Izumi Yamanaka said.

"I heard it was the other way around," Karo Inuzuka said dubiously.

"Why don't we just ask Tsunade, she's bound to know best herself," Dan suggested.

At least a dozen pairs of eyes fell on her.

Tsunade swallowed.

"Um – ojii-san – I mean – Hokage-sama won," she finally said, confirming their doubts.

"I told you!" Izumi sang, "My gossip is never wrong!"

"I heard it was a pretty intense fight..."

"Yeah, we dropped off my dad at ANBU corps this morning, they were talking all about it there-"

"I heard the Uchiha guy made black flames or something!"

"No! That's impossible. They couldn't be black!"

"I swear I heard people say black-"

"It was night when they fought, maybe it just looked like that-"

"If its fire then it'd light up you baka!"

Tsunade sighed and turned away. She would have thought that fight was confidential, a secret mission or something; but apparently most of the kids at the Academy coming from ninja families knew about it.

She didn't want to discuss it with them though.

The sight of her grandfather's body with blood pooling around it was still fresh in her mind, and thinking of the fight made her sick.

She moved away from the crowd, and chose to sit at an unoccupied desk in the corner.

Dan walked towards her after a few minutes.

"Hey," he said softly, "Is everything alright? I mean, he was your grandfather so it must have been hard on you. Are you okay?"

Tsunade smiled at him, hoping more than ever that he'd be her teammate. He was really nice.

"Thanks," she said, "I was pretty scared. But everything's fine now."

"That's good," he nodded.

"Hey! Tsunade-chan!" someone screeched.

Tsunade looked up.

"Jiraiya," she greeted.

"Hey, guess what," Jiraiya said, flashing her a grin.


He pulled something out of his pocket and thrust it at her: his forehead protector.

"I passed yesterday! Isn't that great!"

"Excellent," Tsunade sniffed, "Now get that thing out of my face."

In all honesty, she was surprised he had passed. Jiraiya wasn't dumb, but he usually fooled around in class and never gave anyone the impression that he wanted to or could do well. Still, if he passed it obviously meant he was competent enough.

"Me, you and Orochimaru passed," Jiraiya said, "Isn't that cool! The three youngest in the class and the three youngest Genin to ever graduate!"

"Yeah," Tsunade said.

"Hey, look! It's Orochimaru! The third one! Hey Orochimaru, come sit here!" Jiraiya waved frantically towards the pale boy who had just entered the class.

Orochimaru looked at him, green eyes narrowing, before slowly making his way over.

"Hello, Orochimaru-kun," Tsunade greeted politely.

"Guess what?" Jiraiya all but shouted in his face, "You, me and Tsunade are the three youngest to ever pass this year! Awesome, right?"

Orochimaru leaned away slightly, looking somewhat disturbed at Jiraiya's invasion of his personal space.

"Yes," he answered finally when there was appropriate distance between them.

"So didja find the exam easy? Heck, I did," Jiraiya said conversationally.

"It was easy enough," Orochimaru replied, though he didn't seem to enthusiastic to be having the conversation in the first place.

"How did you score on the written exam, Orochimaru-kun?" Tsunade couldn't help but ask.

"I did well," Orochimaru said evenly.

"What did you get?" Jiraiya pressed.

"...full," the pale haired boy finally replied.

"WHAT?" Jiraiya gaped at him, looking utterly ridiculous.

Damn, Tsunade, the ever competitive kunoichi thought, if only I'd answered the Uchiha one properly...

But then she remembered Madara, that murderous creep, and thought that no matter what, she'd never admit that the Sharingan was a dojutsu with powerful ocular powers. No matter how many marks it lost her on a written exam.

"Class, will you please be silent!" Itsuto called above the clamor as he entered, "The Genin teams are about to be read out!"

The boisterous shinobi and kunoichi settled down immediately, and the room was deathly silent.

"That was quick," Itsuto observed, "Now, as you all now, Genin are assigned to squads of three, with one Jounin sensei. We have tried to keep the squads as balanced as possible. The members of your squad will become like a second family to you. You will train together, go on missions together, and often be responsible for each others lives."

The children fidgeted. None of them really cared for all of that – they just wanted to know their teammates.

"I will now begin reading out the squads," Itsuto said.


Tsunade noticed that all the talk about 'balancing out' was nonsense. The first five teams that had been read out didn't have a single child from a ninja clan or family. All the prestigious clan children had yet to be given a squad. It was suspicious, that was for sure.

"Team Six," Itsuto read out, "Will be Izumi Yamanaka, Inari Uchiha and Shion Aburame."

There was a squeal from Izumi at this – probably because she'd been paired up with an Uchiha. Tsunade just rolled her eyes.

"Inari is not present today, but he will be informed of this later," Itsuto went on.

Tsunade wasn't surprised. None of the three Uchiha had come today and though she liked the idea, she doubted all three of them had failed.

"The Jounin sensei for Team Six will be Kagumi Uchiha."

There was another happy squeal from Izumi at this. Tsunade narrowed her eyes slightly – she recognized that name... she remembered Tobirama-ojii-san grumbling about a Kagami Uchiha during dinner once.

Probably one of his students, Tsunade surmised.

"Team Seven," Itsuto continued, "Will consist of Jiraiya, Tsunade Senju and Orochimaru."

There were a few gasps at this, and even Tsunade sat up, startled.

The three youngest, in a team together?

"Alright!" Jiraiya shouted suddenly, punching the air.

He beamed at both Tsunade and Orochimaru. Tsunade just rolled her eyes, and Orochimaru remained expressionless.

Jiraiya-baka and the genius, huh? Tsunade thought, my new teammates...

She didn't know what to think. Jiraiya was a bit of an idiot, but he was funny at times, and apparently clever if he could pass. Orochimaru was quiet and reserved, but undoubtedly very skilled. She supposed her team would be interesting enough. And thank Kami there was no Uchiha on it.

"The Jounin sensei assigned to Team Seven is Hiruzen Sarutobi," Itsuto announced.

Tsunade smirked slightly.

Hiruzen Sarutobi was that bearded man – Tobirama-ojii-san's favorite student. Her grand-uncle would be proud. She didn't know him, but he'd come over a few times for dinner. Tobirama-ojii-san always raved about him, and he seemed nice enough. He'd once given her a stuffed monkey, though that had been a few years ago.

"Team Eight will be Dan Arakawa, Hikari Hyuuga and Chokichi Akimichi," Itsuto went on, "And Kaguya Kurama will be your Jounin sensei."

Tsunade recognized the sensei as one of the Kurama clan, probably Kasumi's relative.

"Team Nine will be Akako Uchiha, Kasumi Kurama and Shinji Nara," Itsuto read out, "And Torifu Akimichi will be the Jounin sensei."

Tsunade recalled the name as yet another pupil of Tobirama-ojii-san. He'd probably visited her house once or twice two. Tsunade remembered him as the fat man who hogged all the food. She also remembered her parents speaking about him at breakfast the day before.

"And last, but not least: Team Ten. Team Ten will be Sakumo Hatake, Karo Inuzuka and Daichi Uchiha."

We do have a lot of Uchiha swarming around in this village, Tsunade thought disdainfully.

"The Jounin instructor for Team Ten will be Takako Mitarashi," Itsuto finished.

So those are the teams, huh? Tsunade thought, obviously they haven't balanced them out properly. I wonder why... maybe to appease the clans. Still, it's weird they'd put the three youngest together even if we are really good.

Itsuto then went on to explain some more rules and regulations about the squads. Jiraiya caught Tsunade's eye and shot her a grin and thumbs up. She nodded back, smiling slightly, before turning to Orochimaru. Orochimaru was just staring ahead, listening attentively.

Tsunade rubbed her hands together, feeling excited. Her Genin team had been declared and it seemed like quite a good one; now all that was left was to start missions!


Author's Note – First chapter done. Please leave me a review! Thanks for reading! =)