Jiraiya leaned back on the bench, tilted his head back, and sighed, savoring his time away from the battlefield. Ever since he had returned to Konoha to fight in the Second Ninja War, he was constantly on the move. A lull in the fighting brought him a much needed and well deserved break.
The sun was directly overhead, but a cooling breeze kept the otherwise stifling heat at bay. The Sannin took the moment to soak in his relaxation. He closed his eyes against the bright sun and smiled. There was a war going on and he was in the midst of it. That didn't bother him, though, not with his friends around and an idea for a book tumbling around in his brain.
Frantic footsteps brought Jiraiya out of his trance. He looked up the road for the source of the noise. Tsunade was quickly walking towards him with a teenage girl by her side and a bag on her back. He caught her eye and she stopped in her tracks. She said something to the girl and the two continued forward.
"Tsunade!" Jiraiya called, waving.
She didn't respond. He tried calling again, but she just passed him up. With a frustrated grunt, he jogged to her side. "Tsunade, where are you going?"
"I'm leaving," she said bluntly.
"Leaving?" he repeated. "What do you mean?"
"I can't stay here anymore, Jiraiya." Her blunt edge had receded a bit, but it still hurt him. Dumbfounded, he stopped walking. Tsunade stopped a little ahead of him and called back, "I've seen enough of this village and it's time to for me to get out."
Jiraiya blanched. He remembered a few days before when she had given wrong instructions to heal an injured Shinobi. He had almost died that morning. "Tsunade, if this has to do with a couple days ago –"
"I just can't stay here," Tsunade replied.
The man moved forward so he was only a few feet away. "One of Konoha's Sannin can't leave in the middle of a war!"
"The war is pointless," Tsunade growled. "It would only be pointless for me for me to stay for a cause I don't believe in."
Realization swept over Jiraiya. He sighed deeply and asked, "This is about Dan, isn't it?"
Tsunade's face contorted with anger. "It's not just about him. It's about Nawaki and all of the other Shinobi that died pointless deaths!"
Although Jiraiya knew he was right, he didn't feel any better. "Running from the village won't make things better."
"Running!" Tsunade's voice rose to a near shout. "I'm escaping! Konoha makes Shinobi believe that they can actually make a difference in war! Once this one's over, a new one will begin and it will be just the same!"
"How can you just leave the village when it needs you the most?"
"It looks like you're one of those Shinobi. I'm getting out of here before I actually start thinking this damn war is necessary."
Tsunade started down the road again with the teenager, but Jiraiya stopped her once more. "What did Orochimaru say?"
The woman's shoulders slumped. She didn't face him, but he heard her anyways. "He told me death was a necessary part of war and that I'd get over it."
"Oh, Tsunade," Jiraiya said under his breath. His heart went out to the broken woman before him. "You must know he's wrong."
"Of course I do," Tsunade snapped. She glanced at him over her shoulder. "This war is pointless, regardless. There's no need for death when there's no need to fight." With that said, she began walking towards the village's gate.
Jiraiya followed her until he saw the gate ahead. "Tsunade, wait," he called. To his surprise, she stopped.
"I've made up my mind."
"I realize that," Jiraiya said sadly. He caught up and stared into her amber eyes. "I just wanted to say goodbye." He bent forward and wrapped his arms around her.
She returned the gesture with a gentle embrace of her own. "Goodbye, Jiraiya," she said softly. "And good luck."
Jiraiya dropped his arms and stepped back. He tried to get one last good look at her eyes, hiding so much, but she had already turned around and was walking again.
She hoped he hadn't seen the tears falling down her face.
He had only vaguely wondered who the black-haired girl was.
I may add a few more one-shots to this as a sort of collection as I think the back story of the Sannin is really interesting and emotional, but we'll see. Thanks for reading, everyone!