A/N: This story's plot will be mostly canon up until the search for Tsunade arc and begins in media res at the point where the major divergence begins. The next chapter will be the beginning of the story proper and will be interspersed with flashes to the present as Jiraiya recounts the tale (in a similar style to "THE KINGKILLER CHRONICLES" by Patrick Rothfuss) The Parings will be Naru/Hina, Jiraiya/Tsunade, possible Sasu/Saku, and other as of yet undecided parings. Expect Strong!Naruto, Angry!Jiraiya Reluctant!Tsunade Grey!Orochimaru, and Evil!Danzo
A/N 3.0 Beta'd by TheCookieMonster77
And Before I Forget I Don't Own Naruto some Japanese Guy That wont Share Does… (Kishimoto Masashi)
Prologue: The Search For Tsunade
In a gloomy, dark bar in Tanzaku town, Tsunade, The Last of the Senju, was celebrating. She had won so much money today at the gambling halls, that not only could she actually pay off her gambling debts, much to Shizune's pleasure; but she still had enough left over to drink herself silly, much to Shizune's current displeasure.
"Tsunade-hime we really should go, I have a bad feeling about this." Shizune pleaded while trying to pull the mildly inebriated woman away from her sake.
"C'mon, Shizune-chan, let me have a little fun. I haven't won this much in ages!" Tsunade was gripping the table top so tightly that her fingers had accidently cracked the wood. As she was chugging sake, she paused to think about what had happened the last time she won big. "Well, not since before Nawa… oh… Crap!" Tsunade suddenly cried, "Why didn't you say something earlier? We have to leave before something terrible happens!"
As Tsunade tried to stagger upright, a new voice called from the shadows behind her, "I'm afraid you're too late for that, Hime," the newcomer said as he pushed Tsunade back into her chair. The stranger stepped into the light, revealing a large man easily a foot taller than Tsunade with his wooden geta, even taller if you counted his wild, spiky white hair, which he kept out of his face with a hitai-ate embossed with the kanji for oil. He was Jiraiya, the Gama-Sennin, and most unusually, his face showed barely contained rage.
"Jiraiya, what are you doing? Let me go immediately!" Tsunade struggled to rise from her chair but the enormous amount of sake she had drunk prevented her from actually standing.
"I'm sorry Hime, but I need you to return to Konoha. Sensei's in a coma and my apprentice is on deaths door, only you can save them now." Jiraiya was now in front of Tsunade, blocking her path to the door, with his arms crossed over his chest and a fearsome scowl on his face.
"Your apprentice and Sensei? I don't care, Konoha doesn't deserve…"
Before Tsunade could finished her sentence Jiraiya slammed his fists onto the table causing the sake jugs to jump into the air, some breaking when they landed on the table, others rattling off the table and shattering on the floor. "KONOHA CAN BURN!" It came out as a snarl, Jiraiya had lost what little control he had, his face twisted into a fearsome visage of hate and anger, his eyes glowing with rage. Startled by his sudden fury and apparent hate for a place he had always protected from the shadows, Tsunade fell backwards over her chair in her haste to escape.
"Jiraiya…what happened to you?" she whispered. Behind Jiraiya she saw the patrons of the bar running for their lives, leaving her alone to deal with the pissed of Sannin.
"This year Konoha hosted the Chunin exams, Tsunade," Jiraiya's cold tone and the lack of his usual 'Hime' made her flinch, "Four days ago, during the third test, Suna and Oto invaded Konoha. They were led by Orochimaru-teme, and during the fight Sensei was trapped in a barrier with the teme while my apprentice was lured away to fight the Sabaku no Gaara Jinchūriki of the Ichibi no Shukaku and Suna. My apprentice won but was injured during the fight."
As Jiraiya paused for breath Tsunade stood and sat back in her chair. "And Sensei? How did he end up in a coma?" Tsunade asked, curious, while stalling for time to try to figure a way to escape from her current predicament.
"I was getting to that. See, my apprentice saw the barrier go up before his fight with the Ichibi, and when it was over he rushed back to the arena without stopping to rest or even bandage his wounds." At these words Tsunade stopped to wonder just who this mysterious apprentice was, who was so reckless and foolish to go from one life-or-death struggle to another while possibly bleeding to death, without even trying to stop the bleeding. "Fortunately he made it to the barrier in time to see the beginnings of the suicide jutsu Sensei was using. He managed to do… something… to disrupt barrier, and get inside. He saved Sensei's life, but Sensei fell into a coma, probably because of the jutsu."
"What about your apprentice? Were his injuries from the Ichibi really so bad that you need me?" Tsunade doubted that it was a simple as that.
"No. Actually, during his medical scan the medics found several deep tissue seals that are interfering with his recovery. I can't remove them until he's healed but the surgeons claim they can't help him until I remove the seals."
"Deep tissue seals? How long were they there for, to prevent the medics from healing him? I mean they'd have to be there for years to affect someone that much." A frown creased Tsunade's brow, as she stopped to ponder for a moment. "Just how old is your student? I thought at first that you might be training Kakashi, but the seals would definitely have been noticed during his time in the Anbu. But, I can't think of anyone else you'd want to train."
Lost deep in thought she almost didn't hear Jiraiya clear his throat and continue, "He's twelve almost thirteen…"
Before he could continue Tsunade cut in, "Why are you training the last of the Uchiha? I thought you hated training so-called geniuses?"
"I am not training that Kami-forsaken spoiled brat. And if you'd have let me finish my sentence you would have realized that the last person he could be is Uchiha Sasuke." Jiraiya cut in with a grumble, "As I was saying, I'm not sure if the surgeons are telling me the truth about not being able to treat him before I remove the seals, and after the third attempted poisoning in his meals I was tempted to raze the hospital and take him with me to get you."
Tsunade was startled by the news that doctors and nurses in the Konoha Hospital would try to kill someone who apparently saved them from a rampaging monster, as well as a giant tanuki. "And you just left him there? Even after all those assassination attempts?" That someone could actually leave someone they claimed to be trying to save in such a situation caused a look of disbelief to spread across Tsunade's face.
"Actually I left Kakashi, Asuma and a squad of Anbu guarding him. Kakashi is his Jonin-sensei and Asuma is Sensei's son so he should be safe until I get you back home tomorrow."
"What makes you think I'm coming back?" Tsunade shouted at Jiraiya. "I hate Konoha and I never want to see it again, nothing is worth going there again!"
Before she could build up steam for her rant Jiraiya held up a hand, "Listen up, SENJU," Jiraiya growled at Tsunade, dropping all pretenses and showing just how pissed off he really was. "Danzo and the civilian council have already tried to order his execution THREE times since the battle, once every council meeting, and the only reason it hasn't happened already is the fact that the Shinobi Council is either terrified of what Sensei will do to them if they let the motion pass, or are trying to pay Naruto back for saving their asses. Danzo has already petitioned the council to make him Hokage. If he does get elected then not only will he abduct and brainwash my apprentice and add him to the ranks of ROOT, but in less than a year The Fourth Great Shinobi War will start because of the fool's obsession with war in the name of 'peace'."
So shocked by the use of her last name, Tsunade didn't even notice that Jiraiya let slip his apprentice's name. "What do you expect me to do? Become Hokage? Because only fools want to become Hokage, and I have no intention of dying for Konoha, especially after what you told me!" She was standing up now too, fists clenched at her side, her face red with anger instead of with drink. Even years out of practice, Tsunade angry was a sight to behold.
"Then you better hope that you can heal Sensei because if anything happens to Naruto, anything at all, I will personally hunt you down and kill you with my own two hands!" The killing intent Jiraiya radiated was so intense that Shizune was on the floor gasping for breath, and even Tsunade had fallen to her knees.
'Jiraiya what happened to you?' Tsunade thought as tears began to fall from her eyes 'Didn't you say you loved me? What could have happened to make you so cruel?' Jiraiya seemed to loom larger and larger over her, the light grew dim and soon all she could see was his silhouette, his eyes glowing in the dark. Then something clicked in her mind 'Did he say Naruto was his apprentice? That cannot be a common name…does he mean…' As the light grew dim she managed to cough out, "Did you say Naruto?"
And as suddenly as it came the killing intent was gone, the lights back to normal and Jiraiya's face suddenly creased with worry, "I'm sorry Hime, I was so upset about all this I forgot you didn't know who my apprentice was…" Jiraiya rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly "I thought you were refusing to help him because you knew what burden he bears." He stepped forward to help Tsunade up. "I'm sorry about losing it like that with you Hime. It's just, I've been dealing with Konoha and their stupid beliefs for almost six years now. And with Danzo, trying to kill him and planning to start a war, then finding out that I had missed those seals for six years, Sensei being in a coma, and the woman I love refusing to help, it was just too much in the end." Jiraiya sat down heavily, placed his head in his palms and wept. He wept for his godson who was hooked up to so many machines there was barely any space in his hospital room. He wept for his sensei that wouldn't wake up. And he wept for himself, afraid that he had lost everyone that mattered to him in less than a week.
Tsunade was afraid; she had never seen Jiraiya like this before, so angry one minute, and weeping like a little girl the next. Not really knowing what to do she placed he hands on his shoulders and said, "Why don't you tell me exactly what happened on the way back? After all if I'm going to help anybody I need to know the full story."
Hearing this Shizune had perked up, "Does that mean we're finally going back?"
"Yes, yes it does, now help me get Jiraiya up so we can get a move on." Brushing the last of the tears out of his eyes Jiraiya gave Tsunade a watery smile. "Thanks but I can stand on my own. We have to hurry back before something bad happens to him. I'll tell you the story while we move."
As Jiraiya headed out the door, followed closely by Tsunade and Shizune, he said, "Well I guess I should start on what most people would call the worst day of Naruto's life."
Behind him Shizune quirked an eyebrow, "Most people? What do other people think is his worst?"
Jiraiya chuckled, "Actually, Naruto claims that it's the most important day of his life, which in some ways makes it the best day of his life. After all, he says, good doesn't have to be pleasant and once you hit rock bottom the only way to go is up, right?" There was a slight pause as Jiraiya let his words sink in. "Well I guess it all started the morning of Naruto's seventh birthday…"
A/N Cliffhanger no Jutsu! … I've always wanted to say that.
Sorry…Anyways I'm about halfway done with the next chapter expect it up sometime tomorrow or the day after. Please Read and Review; this is my first real attempt at writing a story (well the first one I'll actually let people look at) and any and all constructive criticism will be appreciated!
A/N 2.0 (8/26/2012) Nothing much to add fixed a few spelling/grammar mistakes and broke up the paragraphs so they're easier to read. I still plan on doing a major re-write at some point when the story is over, but that will be posted under a different title.