A/N: Thank you for the reviews! :) I owe Taylor Swift's song "Sparks Fly" for the title of this chapter because it sparked my imagination (see what I did there? Hehe). Hope you like this chapter!
Just a Spark
"Good morning, Shizune."
The dark-haired medic jumped, her eyebrows shooting straight up when the Hokage whooshed into her office fifteen minutes early. "Good morning, Tsunade-sama."
The blonde woman sat down behind her desk and looked at her assistant with a smile. "You look nice today, Shizune. Did you do something different with your hair?"
"Uh…no?" Shizune felt like her eyes were about to bug out of her head. Why was Tsunade being so…nice? Since when did the older woman compliment others? Or come in early for work? Something was wrong. Or, judging by the giant smile on Tsunade's face, something was very right.
What the hell was going on?
"Shizune?" Tsunade was watching her, eyebrows raised. "Did you hear me?"
"Oh, uh, yes of course." She scratched the back of her head and laughed nervously. "I didn't do anything to my hair, but thank you for the compliment Tsunade-sama."
"I asked you where you put the mission reports that I still have to sign." Tsunade was eyeing her suspiciously, and Shizune didn't like it. "You seem a little off-task today. Is everything alright?"
No, everything was not alright. Shizune was beginning to get deeply concerned for the Hokage. Had Tsunade been drugged? Or was the village infiltrated, someone disguised as the blonde in order to take down Konoha from the inside out? Was there any other explanation for the genuine smile in place on the Hokage's lips, or the warmth shining from her eyes? She wasn't even drunk!
Tsunade placed her elbows on her desk, folding her hands under her chin. She never moved her eyes from Shizune's face. "Sit." Shizune did as she was told and sunk into the chair across from Tsunade. The Hokage continued, "What are you thinking about that has you so distracted? I need you on task so that you can keep me on task." Was she making a joke? Was Tsunade poking fun at herself?
There was only one other time in all the years that Shizune had spent with Tsunade when the blonde had completely thrown her for a loop, and that was when Shizune found her studying human anatomy instead of gambling. It was when they first got back to the village and Tsunade was looking for a way to improve Rock Lee's chances of surviving his surgery. To see the easily-bored woman studying had made Shizune's jaw unhinge and, right now, she felt much the same way.
"You just seem so…," Shizune trailed off, not knowing how to phrase her words.
"Happy?" Tsunade quirked an eyebrow at the younger woman.
Shizune searched the Hokage's face for any hint of anger, but there was none to be found. Just a serene expression and a warm smile. "Well, yes. And you're early for work."
Tsunade laughed and leaned her cheek against her hand. "That is cause for concern. I don't blame you for being worried."
"I assume this means that your date with Jiraiya-sama went well?" Shizune asked before she could stop herself.
Tsunade's cheeks turned slightly pinker. "It was not a date." She spat.
"I think a picnic with each other under the stars classifies as a date."
"How do you even know about that?" Tsunade exclaimed. "It hasn't even been twelve hours and you know the details! How did you even know I was with Jiraiya?"
"Gossip spreads fast in the Hokage Tower." The dark-haired medic laughed as her mentor's eyes widened. "Don't worry, Tsunade-sama. None of it is bad gossip."
"That depends on your definition of bad." Tsunade grumbled. "And it wasn't a date!"
"What was it then?" Now it was Shizune's turn to quirk her eyebrow.
"A bet!" Tsunade crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes at her friend. "It was just a stupid bet. I was angry at him and he bet me that if he couldn't make me forgive him by the end of the night, he'd do whatever I wanted. How could I refuse that?"
"How could you refuse anything involving gambling?" Shizune murmured, and just smiled at the Hokage's glare. Deciding it was best to move on with the conversation before Tsunade decided to kick her out of the office, Shizune continued. "Are you going on a second date?"
"I just told you it wasn't a date!"
"If it wasn't, then the next time it should be." Shizune said simply. TonTon hopped onto her lap and oinked in agreement.
Tsunade glared at the little pig. "You're against me too?" The response was another happy oink.
Shizune stood up, hugging TonTon to her chest. "We aren't against you, Tsunade-sama. You know we're always on your team." She smiled and walked towards the door.
Tsunade muttered something under her breath and turned her attention to the multitude of papers scattered in front of her on the desk.
"Tsunade-sama?" Shizune spoke again. Her hand was on the doorknob but she was looking over her shoulder at Tsunade. "I know I'm probably over-stepping my boundaries here, and I hope you'll forgive me, but you know I have your best interests at heart. I think you should do what makes you happy. Don't forget that it's never too late to try something new." With that said, Shizune slipped out the door.
Tsunade stared after her, lost in thought.
Jiraiya ripped another page out of his notebook, crumpled it up, and threw it at a nearby tree in anger. It bounced off and joined the steadily growing pile of rejected chapters. The crumpled little paper balls seemed to be mocking him. They thought it was hilarious that he couldn't come up with any type of original plot for his next novel.
Every time he started writing the a chapter, it ended up just sounding bad. His words weren't flowing eloquently as they usually did and his head was starting to hurt from the effort of trying to make them. He'd had writer's block before, of course, but never had it been this hard to get passed. All he needed to do before was some hands-on research and his imagination was sparked.
The pervert glanced almost longingly towards one of the Konoha bathhouses. From his spot under the trees he could just make out the feminine voices laughing and chatting with one another. For a moment he considered taking up residence at his usual peep-hole, but quickly changed his mind. Taking a deep breath, he placed pen to paper and began his twelfth attempt at writing a worthy chapter.
Not even ten minutes later and that paper was crumpled up and in the pile with the others. Jiraiya sighed and tilted his head back against the tree behind him. Everything had been going well this time…and then he'd decided to re-read what he'd written. The heroine, Manami, had slowly changed from a brunette with sapphire eyes to a blonde with hazel ones. The hero, Toshihiro, began referring to Manami as Manami-hime half way down the page.
Damn that woman.
None of this would be happening if it weren't for Tsunade and her damn kiss and that damn game of truth or dare and that damn date. He was never going to write again. When he pictured a woman in his mind, it was her. She was either laughing, scowling, or smiling. It didn't matter what type of expression his imaginary Tsunade was wearing, they were all equally as beautiful on her. He couldn't get her out of his head.
His other characters were beginning to transform mid-way through a chapter to take on her appearance! The worst part about it all was that Jiraiya didn't even realize it when he was writing. It was true that his favorite female heroine's were all based loosely on Tsunade, or had a few characteristics that she possessed, but it wasn't obvious enough for anyone to detect besides the writer himself. Now, subconsciously, they were all turning into her. She was the only woman he could focus on. When his mind wandered, it was her that filled his thoughts.
Jiraiya realized that even if he did go peep at the bathhouse, it wouldn't change a thing. No other woman could hold a candle to the Slug Princess. Especially now, after last night. Tsunade was his one and only. He'd been infatuated with her since they were kids. It had started off as a crush, evolved into something more, and never gone away. After they'd both left the village, he'd spent years wondering what she was up to or trying not to think of her. But when he'd gone in search of her with Naruto, the moment he laid eyes on her he felt like nothing had changed. She was still his beautiful-yet-irritable teammate, and he was still the goofy pervert. His feelings for had only grown stronger in the passing years.
Jiraiya was fifty-four years old and he'd been all over the world searching for gorgeous women to replace her. None ever had.
None ever would.
"Jiraiya." Her breathy voice sounded in his ear. Jiraiya leaned back and admired the way her blonde hair was fanned out around her on the bed. She was beautiful.
"I've been waiting so long for this…," He pressed his lips against hers, then trailed kisses down her neck and to her chest. Her bare skin was better than he'd ever imagined, even in his wildest dreams. She was perfect. Beautiful. She was his.
"I love you." Tsunade threaded her fingers through his hair as he hovered over top of her.
"Hime," He captured her mouth again.
When he broke the kiss, he saw her staring at him with annoyance in her eyes. He was immediately concerned. "Tsunade? Wha—,"
The pervert's eyes flew open as he awoke with a start. He squinted against the brightness the setting sun was casting in his direction, and made out the form of someone standing in front of him, hands on their hips. He held his hand up to block the sun and tried to make out who was staring at him.
"Who's there? Can't you see I'm trying to sleep here?" He was more than a little annoyed that someone had interrupted his dream.
"Yes, baka, I'm fully aware you were sleeping. Why do you think I woke you up?" The person snapped. Jiraiya's anger subsided as he recognized the voice. Why dream about Tsunade when he could spend time with the real thing?
"'Nade!" He grinned. "What are you doing here?"
Tsunade scowled at the irritating nickname and watched as the pervert pulled himself to his feet. "Don't call me that."
"That's not an answer to my question."
"I was taking a walk and when I walked passed here I heard you mumbling in your sleep. I figured I'd wake you up before you said something you'd regret." Tsunade explained. The real reason she was here was that she'd just wanted to see the foolish man. She'd been hoping he would stop by her office, but he hadn't shown up all day. Needing to get some fresh air to get him out of her head, she'd given Shizune the slip and decided to take a walk. The last thing she expected was to stumble across him talking about her in his sleep.
Jiraiya's demeanor barely changed at the information. Years of shinobi training and stealthy missions had helped him to perfect the art of keeping a straight face. Inside, however, he was freaking out. If Tsunade had heard him mumble anything…if she'd heard her name…oh, no.
Trying to play it off as nothing, Jiraiya just shrugged. "Did I say anything interesting?"
"You could call it that." Tsunade smiled, and brushed him off. She turned her gaze to the pile of crumpled papers next to the tree and raised her eyebrow. "Do I have to remind you about the law against littering?"
"I wasn't planning on leaving them there." Jiraiya defended. He bent down and began picking up all of the papers while she watched. He continued, "You know, hime, this damn book you're making me write is a lot harder than I thought it would be."
"Good. Maybe this will turn you into a real writer."
Jiraiya straightened himself out and looked at her. "I am a real writer. Trust me, Tsunade, I can write excellent books without any sex in them."
"Then why are you complaining about it?" She was genuinely confused. "Just write it if you're so amazing."
"Let's walk." He took up residence next to her and the two of them made their way towards the Konoha streets. They walked in silence for awhile. Jiraiya threw all of his crumpled papers away when they came across a garbage can, and as he rejoined Tsunade she decided to continue the conversation they hadn't finished.
"Are you ever going to answer my question?"
"Hmm?" Jiraiya looked at her. Tsunade repeated her question about the book, and Jiraiya sighed. "It has to be better than just excellent if I'm going to dedicate it to you. I can't put your name on something that I'm not proud of."
Tsunade stopped walking and looked at him in shock. He was going to dedicate it to her? A warm feeling seemed to spread through her from the pit of her stomach. That pervert knew exactly how to make her heart melt. Tsunade hesitated for only a moment, then grasped his hand in hers. Jiraiya glanced down at their joined hands, then locked eyes with her.
"That's sweet. Thank you."
The genuine happiness barely hidden behind her smile made Jiraiya's face light up. "Always, hime." He squeezed her hand and a spark shot through them both. He considered kissing her, but the moment passed and he missed his chance. Instead, he tugged at her hand to get her walking again. "The book was your idea. You deserve the dedication."
She laughed. "What are you going to write? 'To Tsunade, thanks for being such a pain in the ass and daring me to write something other than porn'?"
Jiraiya grinned. "Something like that."
They fell into another easy silence as they walked leisurely through the village they both loved. Jiraiya glanced down at the shorter woman he cared for so much. He couldn't help but feel his chest swell with excitement when he realized she was the one to initiate the hand-holding. She was finally opening up. It only took her, what, forty years?
Tsunade stopped walking when they reached a small bridge. She grasped the railing with her free hand and looked out at the fading sun reflecting off of the water. There were some flowers from nearby cherry-blossom trees floating calmly down the little stream. It was a simple kind of beauty; the kind of thing she'd spent decades ignoring and looking away from, lost in her misery and anger. Now she found herself able to appreciate it.
She glanced up at Jiraiya and caught him staring at her. She'd recently learned to appreciate him, too.
He used his fingers to easily brush her bangs out of her eyes when she turned to face him. She idly wondered when she'd started allowing him to touch her so intimately. His hand settled under her chin and she allowed him to tilt her face up to his. Their eyes locked, hazel meeting obsidian.
"Tsunade?" His voice was soft and quiet, an unspoken question lingering in the air between them.
The Hokage smiled in response, and that was the only answer Jiraiya needed. He pulled her smaller frame against his and pressed his lips against hers. Tsunade wrapped her arms around his neck, standing on her tip-toes to reach. The kiss was better than the night before because, this time, neither of them were in a hurry to pull away. It started out gentle and sweet, but soon they allowed their passion to overcome and pressed their bodies together. They explored each other's mouths, hearts hammering against one another through their clothing, until the need for oxygen became too unbearable.
When the Sannin broke their kiss, they still continued clinging to each other. Neither of them wanted the moment to end. Jiraiya pressed another kiss to Tsunade's forehead.
"I love you, hime." He whispered.
Tsunade's heart stopped.
A/N: Thoughts? :) Okay, so, I need some input. In the next chapter Tsunade's going to have a conversation with someone, but I can't decide on who that someone should be. I was thinking Shizune, but I just did a Shiz/Tsu friendship scene in this chapter and I'd like to switch it up a bit. I was thinking either Sakura or Naruto, but I can't decide on which one. I was kind of leaning towards Naruto...but I don't know! So that's where you guys come in. Tell me who you'd prefer: Shizune, Sakura, or Naruto? Thanks! :)
Also, just because I actually put thought into this...there's a reason for the names of the characters Jiraiya mentions when he's thinking about his book. Manami means love and beauty, and Toshihiro means intelligent and wise. I thought he'd name his heroine after how he felt about Tsunade, so "love and beauty" fit. And of course he thinks of himself as intelligent and wise, so there we go. :) That's all. Haha.