Senjutsu: Travel the Worlds
"I can't stand it! It defies reason! Hell, it defies reality! Get me the hell away from here – him! I can't fucking deal with this shit no more! Kill ME!" Wailed a rather inebriated man, waving around a nearly-empty bottle of high-percentage alcohol like a man possessed.
Now there are depressed drunks, and angry drunks, and crazy drunks, but this drunk took the cake. Not only because he was currently requesting his own ignoble death (and flirting with alcohol poisoning besides), but because any half-trained ninja of the Elemental Countries would recognise the ridiculously spiky long white hair, red tattoos painting his face, and the metal plate on his forehead with the kanji for 'Oil'. Of course, the tiny toad wearing a robe with a goatee would probably also be a hint towards the fact that the drunken man was the infamous Toad Sage, one-third of the legendary Sannin team.
Fortunately for the man's reputation, the only witness to his break down was the toad that was present, one more specifically named Fukasaku – an elder from Mount Myoboku.
Of course, this did not save his reputation from the creatures of his Contract.
"Snap out of it, Jiraiya-chan! And it would help if you'd explain the situation for me fully, as well. All I've heard so far are elusions to something that you don't like very much."
Jiraiya was sprawled out on the ground at this point, his head pathetically inclined towards the elderly toad, his eyes squinting as if he was having trouble seeing it. Fukasaku privately thought that this was probably the truth of the matter, considering the strength of the alcohol in his hands, and the amount of bottles littering the clearing that they currently occupied.
Jiraiya made a concerted effort to meld the two blurry Fukasaku's together, before pinning him with a desperate coal-black gaze. "I. Can't. Stand. It."
Fukasaku wished that he had a nose that was easy to pinch. As it was, he inhaled a long breath, gathering strength. "Yes, Jiraiya-chan. I understood that thirty minutes ago. What is it that you cannot stand, youngling?"
Jiraiya's face scrunched up, his eyes darting around the clearing suspiciously before he leaned in closer to the elderly toad, who stood tall in the face of his bad breath. The man's eyes were wide as he took the childish position and whispered, "...Naruto."
Now, there were a few ways that the concerned mind could translate that. To Fukasaku's knowledge, Jiraiya-chan had elected to take their youngest Toad Summoner with him on a training trip about seven months ago, mostly to wise him up to the world and to draw the Akatsuki organisation away from Konoha at the same time. He hadn't heard anything bad about the boy from Gamakichi or any other of his family that had been summoned to the boy's side. "I did not think that there had been any trouble, Jiraiya-chan. Gamabunta-kun has not mentioned being summoned recently." Fukasaku responded, confused.
"No trouble! NO...TROUBLE!" Jiraiya bellowed, causing the elderly toad to flinch as, even though his poor hearing had suffered over the years, a person screaming directly into his ear was not easily dismissed.
"THAT...! He's... it's...!" The man continued, his arms gesticulating wildly.
Fukasaku was at the limit of his patience for drunken idiocy. He whipped out his weapon of choice.
"Oww! Friggen... why the hell did you hit me with that walking stick of yours gramps?" Jiraiya glared, rather ineffectually as he was nursing the prominent lump on the crown of his head.
"Jiraiya-chan, I feel that I have been patient of your antics enough for one night. Tell me what is wrong with Naruto. Now." Fukasaku was done listening to the human destroy any respect that he had gained for him over the years in less than an hour.
The hit must have knocked some of the alcohol away from his brain (possible, with the amount of senjutsu chakra he'd forcibly injected with the blow) because Jiraiya managed to drag himself off the ground and resettle into a cross-legged position on the ground. "Naruto. It's... Naruto. I... do I have to explain it?" He whined, seeming to realise that voicing his problem would be to admit to the ridiculous.
Fukasaku had known Jiraiya when he was a teenager, and had hoped those years were well behind the man. Obviously, they were not. He stared the man down.
Jiraiya managed to hold the toad's eyes barely five minutes before he winced and looked down. He spent the next two visibly debating with himself the best way to phrase his answer.
"Naruto... is..." The man cast his gaze aimlessly around the clearing, searching for the proper continuation to his opening. He sighed gustily, moving the spikes of hair that framed his dishevelled face. "...is Naruto. I... I didn't sign up for this shit." He ended, voice in deadpan.
Fukasaku decided Jiraiya deserved another wack over the head for that, and highly delighted in the yelp it pulled from the man. "Explain."
Fukasaku held Jiraiya's eyes, and they participated in their second stare down in ten minutes. Finally, Jiraiya sighed and slumped down, rubbing a hand over his face. "Look, that kid is a fucking problem. First, he won't drop the orange jumpsuit. Have you seen it? Hell, you probably like it, if sensei didn't complain about it to me when the kid got it in one of those messages of his, I would've thought he was colour-coordinating with that little toad that he likes – er, Gama...kichi, I think? A ninja should not colour-coordinate in Kill-Me, Migraine-inducing orange. And, well, the worst thing is that the brat keeps fucking picking up strays! I could see past the orange, could deal with it on its own, but..."
The man trailed off the glance around the clearing once again, and Fukasaku waited for him to continue. If he had eyebrows, they would've been raised.
Here Jiraiya chocked, "he's... he's the anti-ninja!"
"Anti-ninja." Fukasaku stated flatly.
Jiraiya nodded frantically, leaning forward grimly, "Yes, that's it! Anti-ninja! I can't take it! All the... smiles! And laughing! And understanding! In every town or village we walk into, the craziest of the crazies find us and attack Naruto, or he talks to them, or he waves at them, and all of a sudden it's like they've taken happy pills, or gone through months of intensive therapy! I other day, I think I saw a cult of Naruto-ism the other day! I can't fucking take this anymore, old toad! It defies logic, and the world, and – all those fucking smiles...!"
Jiraiya looked traumatised. Fukasaku wasn't sure exactly how he was supposed to respond to this. He thought that Jiraiya had decided that the Kyuubi was breaking free from the seal or something like that - something easy.
"Now, Jiraiya-chan, I'm sure it's not that bad..." He reassured, although from the look he could see in the Sage's eyes, he was afraid that it just may be.
"The... smiles." Jiraiya shuddered. His eyes were wild, and he leaned forward and grabbed the toad by the collar of his robes, shaking him, "I don't know how much longer I can hold out, Fukasaku! Everyday, I wonder if it's going to be my last. What if he get's me too? What if I never want to peek into another girl's bathroom, what if I never spy on a hot spring anymore? WHAT IF I STOP WRITING ICHA ICHA? ...What if I don't find Tsunade attractive ANYMORE?" Jiraiya was panting, his gaze paranoid as it darted around the clearing, looking for blond heads of sanity-giving hair.
Fukasaku had heard enough. WACK.
As Jiraiya clutched his head, Fukasaku spoke firmly. "Get a hold of yourself, Jiraiya-chan. We'll think of something."
Jiraiya looked at the toad elder with slightly teary eyes, "You sure?"
Fukasaku crossed his arms grimly, nodding once. "Yes. We will find a solution."
Naruto wasn't really concerned where the pervy-sage had disappeared to for the past two days – after all, the man had left his Icha Icha manuscripts with him for proof reading. He just wished that he wasn't so bored – the only thing that he could entertain himself with was the waterfall, and there were only so many times that rolling down it without letting yourself fall in could remain amusing. He'd even held races with his clones, delegating a lot of them to a cheering squad and holding eight separate heats, with the winner getting to do the work for the pervy-sage (he wasn't sure why some of his clones were so pervy, but he'd learnt to ignore it).
He'd made friends with a grumpy badger, reunited a family of squirrels with their estranged cousin that he'd found caught in one of the traps that he'd hoped would catch Jiraiya when his sensei stumbled back to camp, and spent five hours henged as a dolphin working on his dolphin-style swim (and found that it was really hard to do those flips in a shallow-ish river) by the time the man returned.
"Yo, ero-sennin! Wha-wait. Why is that fossil-toad with you? And why's he so small, didja run outta chakra? Huh, didja?"
He ran out to meet the man, but mostly to study the really small toad that had white hair and was perched on his sensei's shoulder.
When he got within arms distance, Jiraiya whacked him over the head. "Don't call me that brat! And be respectful, this 'fossil' is the highly respected Fukasaku, an elder of Mount Myoboku!"
Naruto pouted, rubbing his head, "Oww, that hurt, ero-sennin! Ne, why's Fukasaku here? Is he gonna train me? Cos you aren't doing anything at all! You definitely have to get him to help me!" He pointed up at the toad, and sent it his best grin. Think of all the cool stuff a summon could teach him! Maybe the old toad would know how Gamabunta did that water jutsu in the fight against Gaara! Being able to fire that much water at an opponent would be awesome!
"NARUTO!" He snapped to attention, it was kind of hard not to with the pervy-sage yelling in his ear. "Finally. God, Naruto, listen. You are right -"
"AWESOME! Hey, teach me that awesome w-" A large hand slapped over his mouth as another rested on his shoulder, pressing him down and stopping his excited jumping at the news that he was finally, finally, getting trained.
Jiraiya narrowed his coal-black eyes at his student, willing him to shut up and listen. For once. After a moment of judging if the blonde was paying attention, he continued. "As I was saying. You're a kind of right. You've noticed that I've had a hard time trying to find time to train you – and stay quiet, I don't care to hear your accusations – me and Fukasaku have found a solution."
The toad on the tall man's shoulder spoke, "Naruto-chan, Jiraiya-chan and I are concerned that he is neglecting your training because his skills are needed to discover more about the Akatsuki for Konoha, and for you – you know that they are after the biiju. Jiraiya-chan needs to be with you at all times to watch for them. He cannot do both. He has convinced me to allow you to get an early start on the Toad Summoner's certification exam."
Jiraiya had not deemed it safe to remove his hand from the hyperactive genin's mouth, so the bright, questioning eyes and unveiled expression spoke of Naruto's confusion.
"Even though you have signed our contract, you still have not earned the right to summon all of us, Naruto-chan. Usually, we would wait for a few years to start the summoner on this path, but for you and your situation, we will compromise."
The toad affected a dignified posture, pulling at his goatee as one hand reached into his cloak. From inside the folds, he extracted a book that looked slightly worn, with the picture of a nondescript toad on the cover. It was roughly the size of two of Jiraiya's 'novels', and as the toad flipped the pages over, Naruto saw that it was lined and empty of any writing.
The toad offered the book to the blonde, who took it and cradled it like it was made of gold. Fukasaku cleared his throat, "This is a journal that we give to all of our summoners at the start of their exam. What you must do to gain full acknowledgment from the Toads is fill that up with writing."
Naruto's eyes were round as he stared up at the elderly toad, silent in the face of how very serious the whole situation sounded – he didn't have the full approval of the toads? That was horrible! He'd get it, believe it!
Fukasaku seemed catch his eyes again before he continued in a grave voice. "But not just any writing. You, young summoner, must undertake a journey-"
Naruto squeaked, but whatever he had meant to say was muffled under Jiraiya's hand.
"-and not just a run of the mill journey, either. It is a journey..." here the toad paused, allowing a feeling of suspense and importance to build before finishing, "A journey to another world!"
Naruto squealed in excitement (the only noise that could escape the hand that Jiraiya had no intention of removing any time soon) and punched his arm in the air in complete delight. How freaking awesome was he, that he got to go to another world? That was ten-degrees of kick-ass awesome right there!
"But!" Fukasaku said sharply, regaining Naruto's rather elusive attention. "There is one rule that you have to abide by." The elder narrowed his eyes at the blonde.
Naruto's blue eyes widened and he frantically nodded, willing to do anything to gain the toad's trust.
"You must, at all times, have with you one of us toads to watch over you and journey with you – the aim of this mission is to gain knowledge and experience, and to build up a partnership with the toad that accompanies you."
Here, Fukasaku smiled. "Fortunately for you, someone already volunteered to go with you." At that moment, with a puff of smoke, a very familiar orange-coloured toad appeared perched upon Naruto's head, narrowly avoiding colliding with Jiraiya's hand.
Naruto's eyes almost rolled back into his head as he tried to see the toad perched upon it. He settled with a wave in greeting, as the pervy-sage still hadn't released him. This was the longest he'd ever gone without talking that he remembered – the second longest was when Iruka had duck-taped his mouth shut, but he'd worked out the trick of getting it off not long after.
"Hello, Gamakichi." Fukasaku calmly greeted. "You are sure that you're ready for this mission?"
The young toad drew himself up and nodded, "Hell yes! Just try to stop us! We'll kick that world's ass!"
Naruto managed to second this non-verbally, although Fukasaku and Jiraiya both could not see how as he was firmly rooted to the spot and hadn't moved his arms. Maybe it was in the eyebrows...?
"Very well." Fukasaku said gravely. "Jiraiya-chan, release Naruto-chan and move away from the two. It is time for them to get going."
Jiraiya carefully removed his hands, hoping that the kid would keep still long enough to be transported with the toad contract to another world.
Fukasaku began forming seals, ones that Naruto could not recognise. The toad spoke, "Now, keep safe, both of you. You are partners, comrades, and must look after each other if Naruto is to complete this mission. The mission will last until you have filled up the book, or after two years of travelling. Gamakichi knows how to send word back for us to recall you if you get into trouble."
His hands finally settled into a funny square-shape, and the toad smirked. "Senjutsu: Travel the Worlds."
The genin and toad disappeared in a puff of smoke, exactly like if they had been reverse-summoned although the truth was far more fantastical, even to a legendary ninja.
Jiraiya and Fukasaku stared at the empty spot for a moment calmly.
They glanced at each other, and breathed a huge sigh of relief – he bought it.
"We're not telling Tsunade." Jiraiya stated.
Fukasaku hummed. "Better not tell Shima either." The toad elder added.
Jiraiya nodded solemnly, "That goes without saying. This was a good idea, right?"
Fukasaku hesitated for a moment. "Naruto-chan will be much safer away from the Akatsuki, and he might just learn something useful on his own. Gamakichi will look after him."
Jiraiya nodded, starting to feel much better about the idea. "It was necessary. Give him a year or two to work out all that fuzzy good-will shit. Best case scenario, he'll return nice and hardened like a proper shinobi for me to teach. Hell, he might even give up on that Sasuke brat."
"I thought that I'd removed all of your silly optimism over the years, Jiraiya-chan." The toad elder cautioned, not wanting the sage to get his hopes up.
"I'll keep that in mind." Jiraiya responded. "Either way, Icha Icha is safe." Crossed his arms and nodded, any lingering doubt resolved at this reminder.
"Yes." Fukasaku nodded, crossing his arms as well.
"We've done the world a favour. What's the worst that can happen?"
A/N: Okay. It was about time that I started one of these plot bunny things myself, simply because of all of the ones that I think are awesome but don't want to start because I know I'll never finish them – I'm having enough trouble as it is.
For this one, if I'd done it I was planning on having it crossed with One Piece, and writing Naruto and Gamakichi's high jinks on the sea, having them doing ridiculous things all over. But... it's not gonna happen. I think it would be absolutely awesome to find people who want to add on to this story, who will use this as a starting chapter and then cross Naruto with another story – it would be even cooler if a lot of people do it, but with all different stories in which he could end up in! I'd put the links here, so people could find 'em – free advertising! Pretty please (blinks eyes) it could be a challenge! Two years of Naruto and Gamakichi going around causing havoc!
Anyway, hope everybody enjoys this :). For reference, the next one-shot is either going to be Naruto/Death Note or Harry Potter/Katekyo Hitman Reborn – but I'm not sure. It's at least more probable than it being anything else.