AN: Shizune explains the intricacies of Tsunade and Jiraiya's relationship to Sakura. Just a brief little thing that's been floating around in my head for a while. I love Tsunade and Jiraiya's relationship; I don't know why, I just can't help but love them! And while its fun to poke and prod at them time to time I wanted to show their relationship through a different perspective, put it in a different light so to speak. And, (of course,) Shizune would be the person who has seen and understands them the most. I like how it turned out, but at the same time I don't feel like I got the real point I was trying to make across, so I might try again later...hmm. Well, let me know what you think, okay? ^-^

I do not own Naruto

"Why, that dirty old man!"

The harsh exclamation from Tsunade-sama's student rang down the hallway Shizune was walking in. Slightly baffled the medic quickened her pace, eager to reach the Hokage's office and see what had upset the young girl.

She reached the doorway in record time and her hand was just reaching out to grasp the handle when it was ripped violently from her fingers. Years of training were all that saved the brunette from being run over by the busty blond Hokage; Tsunade marched past without sparing her a glance, muttering darkly under her breath and stomping her heels so hard that minute cracks were left in her wake.

Wide eyed, (though she really should be used to her mentor's tempter tantrums by now,) Shizune stared after the retreating woman for a moment before poking her head into the office, hoping to come across some clue about the latest outburst.

The slim, pink haired girl was the only one left and she was standing in the middle of the office with one fist clenched and raised to her shoulder's height. Shizune's eyes, trained to notice even the slightest changes in the human body, cataloged the faint quiver running through the teen.

"Sakura-chan," The older woman called softly. "What's wrong?"

The girl spun on her heel, her eyes flashing emerald fire as she pinned her sempai with a furious glare. "T-t-that…Ugh! That disgusting old man!" Her voice was coated in pure rage, so much so that her words were difficult to understand. "Tsunade-sama beats the crap out of him almost every single time! And yet he still comes back here, with that same idiotic look on his face, and tries again!"

Ah…Shizune understood now. Jiraiya-sama must have stopped by.

The dark haired medic forced down a smile, knowing it would only infuriate the younger woman more, and listened patiently to her ranting.

"If I were Tsunade-sama I wouldn't stop at just throwing him out the window!" She motioned behind her and Shizune repressed the smile again; so that's why he hadn't run past her…She wondered how far he had flown before something could stop his flight. Tsunade-sama had quite a good arm after all.

"Oooo! I can't stand here and listen to him coming on to her anymore!" The girl's exclamation forced her attention back and she watched Sakura throw her hands out to either side angrily. Though she hadn't released her chakra the sheer pressure as her fists swung through the air was enough to kick up a slight wind, and make the walls shake. Shizune winced as the stack of papers on the Hokage's desk immediately dropped out of the neat pile she had so painstakingly organized them into that morning. "I'm gonna find that perverted moron and give him a piece of my mind!"

Sighing softly she decided the paperwork would just have to wait.

"Sakura-chan." Keeping her voice calm and even the older woman gave her a sympathetic smile. "I know how you feel…I don't like watching Tsunade-sama be disrespected any more then you do, but you need to let it go. Tsunade-sama will deal with it her own way."

The pink haired teen shook her head impatiently. "But she never does! She just always lets him get away with it!"

It seemed this would be a tad more difficult then she had anticipated…

Shizune stepped into the office and to the girl's side; gently taking her by the arm she began to guide her back out. "Come with me, Sakura-chan. There's something I'd like you to see."

She could see her jaw clench and her teeth grind but, (as she had suspected,) the younger medic respected her too much to blow her off. Grudgingly the apprentice fell into step with her sempai and was led all the way out of the building.

Shizune used that time to gather her thoughts and as they stepped into the dimming light of the sunset she began.

"A long time ago…there was a boy, who loved a girl."

Sakura twitched and her head turned towards the other woman, her face mystified. The dark haired ninja ignored her reaction and kept speaking in a gentle voice. "Since they were so young, and he was awkward, he never knew how to tell her how he felt. And maybe he would have eventually, but something bad happened and the boy…" She paused briefly and her tone was compassionate when she continued. "The boy felt like it was his fault, even though there was nothing he could have done to stop it."

Still arm-in-arm the two medical ninja strolled down the bare streets. There were few others out, it was the time when most families were sitting down to dinner; Shizune was grateful for it. As far as stories go she would be as ambiguous as she could, there was no need for others to know about it…

"So, to punish himself, the boy gave up everything important to him…his family, his friends, the job he had been trained for, and the girl he loved."

Again the teen twitched, she could feel it in the shifting of her arm, but the brunette settled her own hand more firmly, not giving her the opportunity to pull away.

"He left his home to travel the world, trying to fix the mistake he believed he was responsible for. He'd return to his village every now and then, but it was too painful for him to stay; because…the girl he loved had fallen in love with another man." Shizune's eyes closed briefly, a sad smile touching her lips. "Because he loved her, he didn't want to be in her way…and he had already decided he wouldn't tell her how he felt so-"

"Wait a minute!"

She stopped her story to look at the teen. Sakura's face was full of emotion; confusion, indignation and a flash of pain. Undoubtedly the pink haired girl was thinking of her own someone she loved…

"Why would he decide that? Just because she loved somebody else doesn't mean he should-"

Shizune raised one hand and put a silencing finger to her lips. "That isn't why, weren't you listening? He decided to never tell her as punishment for himself. Not because she loved someone else."

Sakura's mouth dropped open, (she apparently hadn't understood before,) and a slight sheen built over her eyes. "T-that's stupid!" The girl protested. "Even if he had done something wrong! To love someone and never tell them is…" She trailed off, unable to voice how horrible she found the thought to be.

The older woman smiled sympathetically at her. "I know." She said simply. "I agree. But it was the worst thing he could do to punish himself…which is why he chose it."

"B-but still…" The apprentice's face showed her sorrow and sympathy for the unknown boy.

"So the boy grew up, and spent most of his life trying to atone for a mistake that wasn't his…" She had managed to time it well; they had just reached the end of the last street before their destination. Shizune took the teen's arm in a firmer hold, silently signaling they should stop, and turned to face her.

"The girl that he loved…she grew up too, and she understood what had happened, better then he knew I think. And because she understood she respected his decision to never tell her; but at the same time-she knew it wasn't his fault, and was sad to see him punish himself this way. So…" She paused again.

"Hmm…how do I explain this?" She mused thoughtfully. "The girl treated him in such a way that let him show, without actually having to tell her, how he felt."

She had looked up to stare at the faint stars that were glimmering in the fading light, but now her gaze returned to her companion and she met her eyes. "They're relationship is very difficult to understand if you don't know their past…Even if you do know," She smiled slightly. "Sometimes it's hard to comprehend. But that's why, others shouldn't try to get in between them…because that's just the way they are. The way they have to be."

Sakura's eyes widened in sudden realization.

"You've gotta be kidding me!" She licked her lips and leaned forward. "You're saying the boy and girl are-"

"The "boy," Shizune said softly. "Is sitting right over there."

The young medic followed her pointing finger, around the corner and across the street, to the open bar where a certain Sennin was obviously getting roaring drunk.

"No way…" She breathed.

"When Orochimaru left the leaf, Jiraiya-sama went after him…he tried talking but he just wouldn't listen. In the end he failed to bring him back to the village. And just for that he's been punishing himself for all these years."

She watched the girl struggle silently with her feelings; between compassion for him and the anger at his behavior. "B-but..!" She looked back at her sempai, and her eyes were dark with uncertain anger. "But that's no excuse to act the way he does! He treats her like, like…some sort of call girl!" Her voice, while still soft, was becoming outraged again as she worked herself back up.

Sighing slightly, (she really was as stubborn as her mentor,) Shizune placed both hands on her shoulders, making her meet her gaze. "Exactly."

Sakura stopped brooding, shocked at the older woman's calm acceptance of what she considered to be nothing short of a sin. Her stunned silence was what she had been waiting for.

"We see Jiraiya-sama treat Tsunade-sama in a way that we would not stand for from anyone else; but we also see Tsunade-sama allow him to treat her that way. You said it yourself; she doesn't try to stop him. He teases her inappropriately, she beats him for it, and then the two let the matter go and the cycle starts over."

Shizune leaned closer to her fellow medic and the compassion was back in her voice. "Tsunade-sama knows he's in love with her, but because he can't say it she lets him act how he can, and plays the only part left to her."

Gently the brunette released her shoulders and took a step back. "I think if you'll look a little closer, Sakura-chan, you'll see that their actions are only a cover. Most people never even scratch the surface of their relationship, too preoccupied with watching what they see…to really see what they're watching."

The teen's lower lip folded under and she began silently chewing uncertainly. Shizune smiled at her; she really did understand. Sakura-chan cared so much about Tsunade-sama that she didn't like seeing someone upset her as much, (and as often,) as Jiraiya-sama did…

Movement from the alley next to the bar caught her attention and the dark haired woman's smile grew.

"Just try seeing underneath their actions, okay Sakura-chan? I think you'll realize their relationship is actually quite fun…to watch anyway." She pat the girl's shoulder again with a soft little laugh, gently guiding her to turn around as she did so, and then began walking away quietly.

She hoped the pink haired girl would get it. It would be harder on Tsunade-sama if her student continued to make a fuss over it; years of experience had already proven that no one could change things, and meddling only made things worst.

Shizune stopped before she rounded another corner and gave the girl one last look. "Watch carefully Sakura-chan." She said softly to the open air.

Sakura stood, transfixed in the spot Shizune had left her, and watched silently. She was too far away to hear their conversation, but it was as though she was seeing with new eyes.

Tsunade-sama had, (at some point while the two medics had been talking,) slipped past their notice and was now sitting beside the silver haired sennin. She lounged on the stool backwards, her elbows resting on the bar's counter, with a cup of sake in one hand. Jiraiya was turned towards the blond bombshell so the teen couldn't see his face, but even from a distance she could hear his laughter as he poured the Hokage another drink.

Her master was half smirking and her lips moved as she made what was undoubtedly a sassy comeback to whatever it was he had said.

The older ninja leaned forward and without changing expressions Tsunade kicked him in the head-gently enough that he only toppled off his seat rather then flying several blocks as the teen knew she was capable of doing. Undisturbed by his fall the man stretched out on the dusty ground, completely at ease, and he must have said something else because the blond responded again.

She watched the two exchange words for several minutes; bearing silent witness as her teacher stomped her old team mate a few more times, hauled him back into his seat, and held her cup so he could pour her another drink.

They were completely at ease. It was something the young ninja had never seen before; and it wasn't until that moment that she realized it. Sure, after two years as her student the girl had seen her relax before…but never to such a degree. Sakura briefly thought of blaming the alcohol but she knew that wasn't the real reason. Goodness knows she had been present when Shizune caught their master drinking on the job enough times.

It wasn't the alcohol. It wasn't the time, or the place, or even the fact that hardly anyone else was around. It was the company.

Shizune was right…Jiraiya-san was important to Tsunade-sama…and Sakura had completely missed it all this time.

The teen sighed to herself, her eyes softening as she watched the pair pay for their drinks and begin walking away together a bit unsteadily.

"Geez…" She said quietly. "Those two really need to get it together already!"

The smile she hadn't noticed creeping over her face faded a little; no matter how the two felt about each other…their relationship probably wouldn't ever progress beyond what it was. And even though she had been furious with him before…the thought saddened her.

If things had just gone a little differently then maybe…

She was snapped out of the melancholy thoughts by her master's voice.


Jiraiya-sama was suddenly airborne; Sakura couldn't help but giggle as he flew overhead to crash into a tree farther down the street. The legendary toad sage slumped against the wooden base, shaking his head quickly as if he was seeing stars, and then heaved himself back to his feet.

He looked back up, (past the girl standing in the shadows,) towards the woman he loved. A smile bloomed back onto his face and his tone was teasing as he called to her. "You didn't kick me very far that time Tsunade…does that mean you're considering it?"

The masochistic idiot trotted away from his landing spot and towards the blond, (who hadn't even bothered to turn around,) a wide grin on his face as he chased her.

Maybe…it was okay, even like this.

Sakura giggled to herself again and then turned on her heel, ready to head home. Shizune was definitely right…it was more fun to watch then she had ever imagined.

AN: I dunno about you, but I've always thought Jiraiya was careful to not actually say anything about his feelings for Tsunade; I mean, she obviously knew, but they just never had any interaction about it until the very end, and I thought "There must be a reason for that." So this is what I came up with...Although, I might just be over-thinking things. I tend to do that...a lot. It's both funny, and kind of sad how I can sit for hours questioning the motives of two fictional characters interaction. xD

But! That's part of what fanfiction is for! So please leave me a review and let me know what you think! Good, bad, indifferent? I'd really like to know. ^-^