AN: This is a mere what-if story that has a pretty common idea. Naruto raised by Tsunade, who would be a terrible parent if we were honest. But more importantly, Naruto will be a medic in this fic. A very good one, and a very bad one too. I'm really excited by all of the ideas I have for this character type, so we'll see how it goes. This will be a side project for the moment, but I'm sure it'll get lengthy with time. A bit AU. Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of Kishimoto's stuff. As much as a part of me wishes to disagree, the world is probably better of without me writing for the manga. I'm sure I would do crazier stuff to Naruto than Kishi ever could. Chapter Title goes to a Joe Budden song ft. Crooked I. Kinda old, but I still like it.
"Fancy meeting you here, Tsunade. Of all the places to run into an old teammate, this has got to be the most unexpected. So how are you? Shizune, I take it you are well?"
Tsunade sighed as she looked down to her empty glass and waved an empty bottle to the table's waiter. "He's buying us the best stuff in the house. All of it."
Looking to her old teammate, she leveled him a look before asking "What do you want, Jiraiya? We're trying to enjoy ourselves here before the festival starts and the slots get loose. So tell us whatever Sarutobi wants me to know and get outta here."
Jiraiya's loud and boisterous grin dampened a little, but he kept it up as he answered "What if I told you this was just a personal visit? I'm here to check up on you because I'm feeling a little sentimental and miss the old times."
"Bullshit. The old times were nothing but us running through war-torn countries and killing everything in our way."
"You don't miss that? I was such a bad ass back then. But some things never do change, I reckon. You always hated looking back at the past, for one."
The drinks arrived at the table and both Jiraiya and Tsunade poured themselves large glasses. They drowned them quickly, with Tsunade going for seconds while Jiraiya's face turned more serious and he looked into his beautiful teammate's eyes.
"Sensei didn't send me to find you, Tsunade. I came on the village's behalf. We both know that Sarutobi's getting old and is gonna kick the bucket here in a few years. We're in desperate need for a suitable candidate Hokage and there aren't many shaping up for the job. I want you to come back to Konoha and take up the hat before it's too late. If you come back now, while Sensei is still around, he can show you the ropes and make things easy on you."
"I don't want the hat, Jiraiya. You know that. I've left the village behind. I won't put myself through all that again. I've had enough dead people on my hands and I can't bear any more."
"Tsunade, you're not listening." Jiraiya clarified, putting his hands down on the table. "If you don't come back now, then our new Hokage, probably Shikaku or Kakashi, will rescind your wandering rights as a Sannin and order you to come in. I can make sure of that. And think of your two apprentice's here. They've followed you to the ends of the earth and back. You could at least settle down for once and let them rest their feet. I'm not saying you should spend the rest of your life behind a desk, but I am asking you to come home and live up to that name of yours. Run the village until we've raised someone to take the hat from you."
Tsunade sighed and looked down at her empty glass again, before filling it up for a third time, then emptying it again. She cast a small look down the table to her apprentices, one in particular. A bit of guilt swelled up in her for a moment before she spoke again.
"Jiraiya. In all honesty, I want to say no. I should say no. I have every right to say no. But I'm not going to say no. I'll go back and run the village for a few years, but only because of Nawaki and Dan. I'll run the place until Sarutobi kicks the bucket and another runt with hopes and dreams comes along, ready to throw his life away. After that I'll be done with that place for good and I will retire to gamble my life away. Understood?"
Jiraiya nodded his head. "Most certainly, Hime."
With that, he got up, slapped some money on the table, then asked "So shall we be off?"
Tsunade snorted from her seat and looked up to her much taller teammate. "Did you honestly think I would pass up on this festival? I'll return to the village when we finish up here and I clean house."
Jiraiya frowned, looking disappointed, but he knew better than to push it. He thought it was incredibly lucky that the woman had agreed in the first place. He then sat back down at the table, getting an odd look from his fellow Sannin.
"Was there something else, Jiraiya? I agreed to come back. If I don't then you can just track me down again and try to drag me back. What else could you possibly have to say that can't wait a week or so?"
Jiraiya poured himself another cup of sake and looked over to the other occupants of the table for the first time. Shizune was still the same as ever. Dressed modestly in a black kimono with white trim and her hair still straight down around her head. Tonton was perched in her lap, head resting on the wooden table as he sniffed at all the interesting smells wafting about. Then the last occupant, who was sitting closest to him at the round table. Spiky blonde hair. Deep blue eyes. Sun-kissed skin. It was like looking 30 years in the past for Jiraiya. The kid looked near identical to his late apprentice, Minato.
"When'd you pick up the new kid, Tsunade? I thought you weren't much of the teacher type. I want to hear the story on how you picked up this Yondaime look-a-like. I get the feeling it's a good one."
Tsunade glanced down the table at her youngest apprentice, who was looking back at her apprehensively. She didn't blame him. She'd be nervous too if she was in his place. She stood up from her seat and addressed her two apprentices in a quick order. "Go back to the room and tuck yourselves in for the day. We'll need an early start on the festival tomorrow if we wanna win big. I'll be there shortly."
With that, she grabbed Jiraiya out of his seat and exited the tavern with an all too eager Jiraiya behind her. As they hit the evening street, Tsunade used some of her neglected ninja skills to take the two outside of town in a burst of speed. Jiraiya removed himself from her grasp and crossed his arms, waiting for the woman to begin explaining why she drug them outside of town, even as he was already beginning to put things together in his mind.
"Why are you bringing this up now, Jiraiya? He's a week away from going back to Konoha and you want to kick this up now? Yes, I know who he is and no I'm not telling you how I found the boy, but I will say that he's better off as he is now than he ever would've been at the village all alone. And we both know that was how he was before. I haven't told him anything and I expect you to do the same until I see fit as his guardian to inform him myself."
Jiraiya took a breath of air as he let the confirmation sink in. Then he exhaled, letting some of his anger roll off of him before speaking. "Guardian? You made him take the oath to be your apprentice, I take it."
Tsunade nodded. "I thought it was best in case the village ever sent anyone after him. I didn't want him to go back until he was ready. If he even wanted to go back…"
"Ready for what, Tsunade? What was so bad at the village that you had to pluck him up and gallivant him around the country to protect him from? It certainly couldn't of been the fame and fortune that was waiting on him when he grew up, or the security from a platoon of personally chosen Anbu to watch over him. It couldn't of been the plethora of friends he could've made that were his own age. It wasn't the comfort that comes with the fact that he had a home to go to every day when all was said and done. You took him from Konoha, and from me, because you felt you were trying to make something up to Kushina of all people, who died so her son could be safe in Konoha, the village her and Minato died to save. It's a bit silly, ain't it?"
Tsunade looked astonished at Jiraiya's statements, before retaliating "Well unless the world's turned on it's heels, Jinchuuriki were still hated and despised last I heard. The news had already leaked out into the village and you and I both know none of what you said would've come to pass if the village did know about his burden. I saved him from a childhood of being spit on and discriminated against. You know it."
"Tsunade, people were trying to adopt him! He was going to have an actual family, not some makeshift one consisting of a drunkard and her servant. Yes, people knew he was the Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi, but word also leaked that he was Minato's boy. He was a celebrity, an idol, to some of the villagers. And then word spread and now his birthday is a national holiday. Which you would know if you were ever in the country. This is the first time you've been back here in five years at least. So you've had him out in the open, unprotected, with the entire world knowing Minato Namikaze had a son and was looking for him. You're incredibly lucky no one has killed him yet. We all are lucky."
Head swimming from all the information she took in, she could only stammer out "They know? But Sarutobi would've never announced it! How? And beside's I'm a Sannin, retired or not. Who in the world would go after Naruto with me watching over him?"
Jiraiya just gave her a look of disbelief before commenting "I could beat you as you are now with one hand. And the next generation has come along a lot farther than you would think. Did I tell you about the kids that killed Hanzo? That's the reason Ame has gone so silent for so long. Three people took out Hanzo, which was something we couldn't do even in our prime. So excuse me if I think you qualify as sufficient protection for Naruto. And that's without the Akatsuki."
"Akatsuki? What the hell is that?" Tsunade questioned, getting concerned. She still remembered that fight with Hanzo and remembered the wounds the three of them had been sent scurrying off to tend to after that fight. And if these guys were supposed to be worse…She needed to know what was going on.
"Akatsuki is a terrorist organization who's members are all S-class criminals that range from our old friend Orochimaru, to Itachi Uchiha, to even psychos like Deidara, the mad bomber from Iwa that went AWOL a few years ago. They're no joke and despite my best efforts, I haven't gotten any dirt on what their intentions are asides gathering up the bijuu for some master purpose. I'm not even sure how many of them there are."
Tsunade's face was considerably paler when the news sunk in before she began to defend herself. "I've taught Naruto a lot since he's been with me. He's learned more in those years than I would've ever dared to hope, but he's a medic. He's never seemed that interested in fighting other people, but more with learning and taking care of people. He can't live with a platoon of Anbu all over him and he shouldn't have to. But he's no where near the level he'll need to be to protect himself from ninja of that caliber. He'd have to train for years. And that kind of training would need a purpose asides being a medic."
"Listen, the Chunin Exams are coming up in a month and they are taking place in Konoha. What I would suggest is that we get Naruto to the village as quickly as possible and begin training him. Tell him you're interested in how far he's progressed in his learning and while he's busy with that, you can be filling out all the paperwork and doing all of the political puppetry needed to enroll him as an active ninja. When he's in the program, something will click in his head that he needs to get stronger and he'll take off like a rocket."
"That doesn't make any sense, Jiraiya. Why would he just jump into the shinobi lifestyle so easy? He's supposed to be prepped into that from a child, which was something I insisted he acted like while he had the chance. There's a much better chance that him jumping into the Chunin exams will kill him or break his spirit one."
Jiraiya just smirked and shot back "You're not counting the fact that he's Minato's and Kushina's son, my godson, and the fact that one of the most stubborn women in the Elemental Nations raised him. Have a little more faith in the kid."
Tsunade glared at Jiraiya, who held her gaze solidly as she thought over his idea more and more. It seemed like there was a lot resting on the wings, but the man had a point. If any one could do it and come out ready to face the world, it would be her Naruto.
"Fine. Let's get back to them and let them know we'll be headed to Konoha two days from now."
Jiraiya stared at her in confusion, before it set in. "You still want to gamble?"
A small smile laced Tsunade's face. "Have you ever known me to not want to gamble?"
Jiraiya began to laugh, loud and deep, only for it to be drowned out by a distant explosion from behind the two. The two Sannin whipped around to see smoke pouring up from the town. The two legends shared a look before both were gone in a blink of incredible speed.
A Few Moments Earlier
"I'll get it." Naruto called out, leaving his rather comfy bed to answer the knock at the door. It was probably Tsunade anyways, so there was no need to rush Shizune out of the bathroom to open it. Naruto opened the door widely, eyes blinded momentarily from the much brighter hallway compared to his room. He didn't see the kick level with his chest till it had already sent him tumbling backwards into the room painfully. He had screamed in pain, caught of guard and unprepared for the worst pain he could remember feeling. Internally, he mind was already running diagnostics and he was mildly relieved to find his rib was only partially fractured from the blow.
Shizune had jerked the bathroom door open at hearing Naruto's scream, hand blazing green in the signature color of healing chakra. Only this particular technique could be used for harm as well. Naruto knew the effects a chakra scalpel could have if well placed. But it dispersed a moment later, much to Naruto's confusion. He looked over his older sister and was even more confused when he found her frozen in place. She was stuck looking into the eyes of the strange man that was still in the doorway of their hotel room.
Naruto's hand was glowing green as he placed it on his chest, easing some of his pain while he looked over the intruder. He was obviously a ninja, but Naruto couldn't identify from what village. He was wearing a black cloak, covered in red clouds. A large straw hat covered most of his face, lined with two small bells on the side. Beneath the shadow of the hat, Naruto saw two red eyes, beautiful and hypnotic as back stars spun in them.
"Shizune! Snap out of it! What's going on? What do you want?" Naruto shouted, shifting off of the floor and onto his feet. This wasn't good. They were in trouble and Shizune was out of it. Naruto guessed it was genjutsu and knew it would take him several seconds to break it. Seconds he doubted this stranger would give him.
"I need you to come with me, Naruto. Don't resist."
The words were calm and even toned. They were also creepy as hell and Naruto didn't believe them. He wouldn't go anywhere with this guy. A flare of his chakra lit his hands green again, but this time it was noticeably sharper, more befitting for their name as scalpels.
"Break your genjutsu on Shizune then leave and I won't attack you. I'm not going anywhere with you."
A mild chuckle arose from the ninja and a response slipped out, still in the even and calm tone of voice. "I won't ask you again, Naruto. You aren't in any position to make demands and if Shizune couldn't harm me with such an ill-advised attack, then what hopes do you have? Quit trying my patience."
Naruto glared at the man, before gathering chakra in his feet for a burst of speed like Tsunade had taught him. In a moment, he had crossed the small distance between him and the man and thrust out with his hand as if it were a knife. It was slapped aside in a practiced parry, as if the movement was as simple as breathing for the ninja, but Naruto didn't stop. The second and third attack did not come any closer to scoring a hit, but they did succeed in positioning Naruto to shut the door in the ninja's face. It would've been comical if not vital for both his and Shizune's life.
Naruto grabbed the still frozen woman and tossed her on his back in a huff of strength and dashed for the window, tackling threw it just as the door to his hotel room blew off of it's hinges in a fiery explosion that launched Naruto across the street and into the roof of a building across the street. Naruto groaned as he pushed his way out of the imprint his body made on the clay tile and checked over Shizune, who was mostly unharmed by the explosion. He began to circulate chakra into her system to counter-act the foreign chakra holding her in a genjutsu while his eyes scanned his flaming room across the street.
Nothing was hidden in the blaze, but something catching his eye made him look up to the hotel's roof. Two men were standing there now. One was the stranger in his room, the other was a much larger man with a huge bandaged sword strapped to his back. Shizune came back to life in his arms and Naruto watched the two as reality came back to her. The instant it did, she grabbed Naruto into her arms and held him like a baby as she sprinted towards the town outskirts on the rooftops.
It seemed pointless, however, when the two mysterious ninja cloaked in black and red appeared in front of them in an absurd burst of speed. Shizune's sprint halted as she back pedaled at the sight of the two, but she didn't try to run again. It wouldn't help. She set Naruto down and pushed him behind her as she asked "What do you want? If you're here to collect money from Tsunade's gambling debts then we will pay you whatever the price is and some. Just let Tsunade get back first."
The larger of the two men, the one Naruto hadn't heard yet, laughed out loud, sounding harsh and cruel even in his humor. "We aren't here for the old hag or her debts. We're here for the runt behind you. Now toss him over and maybe Itachi will convince me to let you live. If not, then Itachi won't even try to stop me."
Shizune wrapped Naruto in a backwards hug, frightened and making sure he was close. Naruto just peered around her and glared at the two men in front of him. Shizune couldn't fight both of them and protect Naruto at the same time. It would be suicide. So Naruto would have to do the right thing and keep Shizune safe.
"Nee-chan, let me go. If I go, then you'll be alright and Tsunade and you can track these two down later. Tsunade could probably convince that old man to help. Please, I don't want you to get hurt for me."
Shizune didn't even act as if she had heard him, instead reaching into one of her arm's sleeves and drawing back the hidden senbon launcher, releasing it to shoot poison tipped needles at the two. The larger man drew his sword quickly and batted the tiny needles away with ease.
"Ok then. All bets are off. Dumb bitch."
In a flash of movement, the man was in front of Shizune with his sword overhead, ready to cleave her in half. Naruto wasn't sure, in that moment, if his adrenal glands kicked in naturally, or if his sudden spike in chakra instinctively stirred them up. But he could tell that his body had reacted and used it to the best of his ability. It was part of his medical training to know the body and he knew his body had prepared itself to move. So he moved.
In a quick lunge around Shizune, Naruto attempted to knife hand the huge man, who Naruto now saw was blue in skin tone. How odd. Naruto assumed he noticed due to all of the excess blood flowing through his veins that had awoken brain cells and made his sense perk up. Or maybe it was because of the large blue fist swinging the sword that knocked him away from his target like a torpedo into a wall of a building a few rooftops away.
Naruto couldn't see through the cloud of dust that had been stirred up from him crashing into the wall, nor could he see through the haze of pain he felt, but he had hoped Shizune had been bought enough time to move. She had to get away. Naruto couldn't let her die, especially not to men who were after him, not her.
His mind was most certain that his rib had indeed broken this time. He couldn't fight as he was. His breathing was impaired and he certainly couldn't run as he was. These two ninja would take him, that much was certain. The only thing that mattered now was Shizune's safety.
The dust settled and Naruto found that the one called Itachi was standing in front of him, his face impassive and his eyes still the same hypnotic red and black. Behind him was what mattered to Naruto though.
"Are you done fighting now, Naruto?"
The words were ignored as Naruto craned his neck to see Shizune. A small, wheezing breath escaped him in joy as he found her still alright. It was under strange circumstance, though. A large, human sized toad was standing on it's hind legs in front of her, blocking the man with the sword with it's armored forearms.
'That's a summoned toad. But Shizune signed the slug contract, right?' Naruto wondered, until he spotted the solution. The old man from earlier, Jiraiya, one of the Sannin like Tsunade, was beside Shizune with a and on her shoulder. He was the famous Toad sage, so he must've summoned the toad to save Shizune. Naruto made a mental note to thank the man somehow whenever he could in the future. If he had a future.
'But where's Tsunade? Wasn't she with the old man? Did something happen to her?'
Fear crept into Naruto, deep and heart-stopping, for a moment as he thought of the worst, but a flicker of motion caught his attention. Itachi had jerked his head to the side, as if avoiding a blow. Naruto's eyes widened as he saw why. Tsunade was there in front of him. She had attempted to hit his attacker with one of her legendary power punches and must've missed what would've been a debilitating if not fatal blow.
The fact that she missed her first punch was reason enough to give Naruto worry, but faith in his mother sprung eternal as he saw her give a barrage of blows that drove the man back, even if none of them connected.
'She's a Sannin after all. She's the strongest kunochi Konoha has ever produced. No way can she lose.' Naruto thought to himself, believing in her. Gravity began to take hold of him and peeled him out of the wall that Kisame had launched him into. Unable to move properly, Naruto did his best to shield his rib from the fall, but still let out a yelp of pain when he hit the rooftop. It wasn't loud, but still enough to make Tsunade stop her attack and instantly appear at his side, hands glowing green.
"You bastards! I'll kill you! I'll kill every last one of you after I rip your bloody eyes out of your skull!" Tsunade snarled at Itachi, who was standing there impassively, only for him to disperse in a haze. The second he did, Tsunade's attention returned to him in full.
"I'm so sorry sweetie. I didn't know any of this would've happened or I would've never let you out of my sights. I'm so so sorry. Please forgive me."
Naruto didn't speak, he just lay there and watched Jiraiya and Shizune. The large blue man had put the sword away to begin making hand seals, only for Jiraiya to attempt to punch him with a weird blue ball of chakra. It looked dangerous, from what Naruto could tell. Itachi appeared and moved him and Kisame out of the way, but not without throwing a single kunia that surprised the Sannin and buried in his chest.
Naruto's whisper hardly covered Shizune's own shriek at what happened, causing Tsunade to look up and see blood falling out of Jiraiya's wound. The man was still up, clearly in pain and most likely in need of serious medical help. But the sight of his blood froze Tsunade up completely. Her jutsu faded and Naruto felt the warmth she was transferring over alongside the medical chakra disappear. Her phobia of blood had sprung up, paralyzing the woman as she thought over and over again on lost loved ones from her past.
"Tsunade! Come on, wake up! Kaa-san! Jiraiya needs you, get up!" Naruto shouted, wincing as it stirred his rib. Tsunade was a miracle worker but she hadn't had the time to repair his rib yet. He still couldn't move properly.
Tsunade didn't stir. Nothing changed. Shizune had long since started doing what she could for Jiraiya and the two strange ninja had vanished, deciding against pressing their advantage. The old sage had been order to lay down and Shizune was examining the wound per protocol. Naruto saw her activate the Shosen (Mystical Healing Palm) technique and could only guess as to what she was mending back together. The jutsu could only do so much, however and Naruto would need to see Jiraiya's wound before he could make a proper diagnosis. As if he was in the proper state to treat another when he was in his current shape.
'No medic ninja should ever stop medical treatment until the lives of their party members have come to an end.'
The very first rule of being a medic nin, the one that Tsunade herself had made and drilled into him as a child. She'd told him that a thousand times to the point where it was instinctive whenever Shizune or herself were injured from day to day things, he would stop and heal them completely.
But here was Tsunade, the greatest medic ninja of all time, breaking the first rule she made for being a medic nin.. How shameful. There was no way Naruto could let her do this. His pride in her as an apprentice demanded this by rectified immediately.
Naruto rolled over and squirmed the best he could until he was sitting upright in front of his teacher, cupping her face in his hands and shouting "Tsunade! Get a hold of yourself! How can you call yourself a doctor if you won't snap out of this and help him! Or help me…" Naruto's voice broke at that as a fit of pain made him cough into his hands.
Firmer, warmer, hands slipped around his and he looked up to see the woman smiling at him, eyes watery but still happy.
"You're right, Naruto. Thank you for that. Now let's go heal ourselves an old pervert."
Without a bit of protest, the woman scooped Naruto up like a child and carried him over to Jiraiya, where she laid him down. In a simple command, Tsunade took over Shizune's place at Jiraiya's side and began her art while Shizune looked over Naruto and began set the bone back in place before starting the mending process. They were lucky that nothing had been ruptured by the bone and setting it in place was child's play to a seasoned medic like Shizune.
Jiraiya looked over to the blonde boy and grinned at him, a twinkle in his eye despite the pain. "She can't seem to keep her hands off of me, eh brat? Maybe getting hurt isn't so bad after all. Even if it was just luck that the damn Uchiha hit me anyways."
"Luck? You sure you're not getting old and rickety like the rest of our generation?"
"Please, Tsunade. I'm fit as a fiddle. I could outpace you any day. Which reminds me, when is the last time you touched up on your skills? You seem to have fallen off a bit if that little Uchiha boy walked away without a scratch. I at least gave fish face a good run for his money until Itachi bailed him out. It might just be time for you to sober up and pick up a kunai instead of a sake bottle."
Naruto interrupted the banter between the two Sannin as something more pressing came to mind that overrode his manners about interrupting his elders. Something that was bothering him about those two men.
"Did you know them? Do you know who either of those two were, Jiraiya-sama?"
The sage looked over Naruto, before looking back up to the open sky. "Yeah I do. Those two are missing nin. S-class to boot. They were more than just your run of the mill bad guys. One was Itachi Uchiha, the single man responsible for killing of his entire clan, par one. The other was Kisame Hoshigaki, the Monster of the Mist. I'm not as familiar with him, because he's Kiri's missing-nin, but I know he was charged with large amounts of property damage, murdering innocents, and then wiping out fellow shinobi when he felt they were turning on him. Why?"
Naruto was still looking at the man, who wouldn't meet his eyes when he answered. "What do they want with me? They came to the hotel looking for me and could've kill Shizune nee-chan just to get me. Why?"
Tsunade finished mending back the skin of Jiraiya's stab wound and pulled him off the tile he was laying on. She then turned to Naruto and scooped him up as well. Setting him on his feet, she ruffled his hair in a playful way, like she used to when he was younger, before answering somberly "I'll tell you on the way to Konoha."
AN: So there we go folks. This was the very first chapter of The Only Cure and I can't help but say I liked it. I enjoyed writing it and I think it turned out good, if a little short. So here's hoping you enjoyed it and I'd ask you leave a review, even if you didn't. For reference's sake, this chapter takes place about the same time Team 7 would return from their mission in Wave. Thanks for reading! Big Willis, out!