Funnily enough, Jiraiya had not been aware of Naruto's growing reputation.
His spy network only focused on threats to Konoha and the occasional female-only hot spring, not twelve year old brats who could supposedly 'talk a man into his death'. Besides, it had only been in Mist that the boy was listed. And, every shinobi worth his forehead protector (and those that aren't) knew that getting a Bingo book from Mist was like making a hundred shadow clones – it could be done, but whichever lucky shinobi who managed to survive would be suffering from chakra exhaustion for years.
So, really, Jiraiya can't be blamed for his reaction when all the rogue-nin in the bar backed away when Tsunade got into a loud argument with his blond student.
"The Pied Piper!"
"Colored clothing! He's here?!"
"Don't let him talk!"
Jiraiya looked around, wide-eyed, before he realized that everyone's shaky fingers, even those that belonged to the barely standing drunk civilians, were pointing in the direction of the boy who had his hand raised and pointed at Tsunade.
What the hell was going on here?
Seeing that Naruto was still talking and that Tsunade was talking back, Jiraiya stealthily made his way over to the most sensible looking rogue-nin and decided that he needed to get some answers. He was the king of spies – it wouldn't do for him to have a student with a double life that he knew nothing about.
"Scared of a twelve year old boy?" Jiraiya taunted once he'd gotten close enough. His eyebrow twitched when the man didn't even turn to look at him.
"That's no boy," the man said, his voice gruff and low. He narrowed his eyes at the spectacle everyone was watching. "He's one of them bloodline monsters. One of the worst I've ever heard of!"
Jiraiya blinked twice at that. Bloodline? How could Naruto have a bloodline? "I hate to have to tell you this, but you've got the wrong kid. We aren't looking for any kind of trouble-!"
"No, that's the Pied Piper, alright," another rogue-nin said, his voice barely above a whisper. "And, keep it down, Kuro. You might draw his attention over here!"
Kuro snorted and rolled his eyes. "You're the one that's shouting, Kenji. I was just educating this civilian about Uzumaki Naruto – the new terror to the shinobi world."
Jiraiya almost snapped at the man for being so stupid that he didn't recognize who exactly he'd just called a civilian, especially since Jiraiya hadn't even gone out of his way to disguise himself, but then he realized that it would be the best way to get some answers.
"Right," the Toad Sage quickly agreed. "I'm just a lowly civilian. Who is the blond kid with the dumb-looking face?"
"That's Uzumaki Naruto, the Pied Piper of Konoha," Kenji quickly answered, eager to share his knowledge. "He took down the Demon of the Mist, Momochi Zabuza, just by talking to him."
Jiraiya choked on his spit. "What –?" he gasped out, coughing.
"He talked him into it, pure and simple," Kuro said, looking grim as he nodded in confirmation. "Next thing you know, Zabuza is headed into a crowd of a thousand rogue samurai with nothing but a kunai in his mouth just so he can kill Gato."
Kenji nodded his head vigorously, too. "Yeah. Gato! You know, of the Gato Company? And he succeeded, too! I talked to one of the guys who was there. He said Zabuza was being stabbed by all kinds of weapons you can think of, but that didn't slow him down. He didn't quit until Gato was dead!"
Jiraiya couldn't help but gape at the bogus story he was being told. A thousand rogue samurai? With only a kunai? What the hell did they take him for – an idiot?
"See, Mr. Civilian, you have to understand a couple things about the shinobi life," Kuro said when he caught Jiraiya's look of incredulity. "A shinobi's most important weapon is not his hands. No, it is his will, his reason for fighting. Some shinobi fight because they love their village; some fight simply because it's what they like to do. Whatever the reason, it is important to them and motivation, in case you didn't know, can be very, very deadly in a fight. It goes hand in hand with determination, and together, both things can make even the greeneset of genin – which is the lowest level of shinobi, Mr. Civilian – a wildcard."
Jiraiya was still gaping. "What?" he croaked, sounding very reminiscent of the toads he was fond of summoning. "What are you – what the hell? Wait -!"
"You're not understanding, I suppose?" Kenji shook his head sadly, inwardly bemoaning about how civilians would never understand the shinobi way of life. "See, the Pied Piper is able to manipulate a shinobi's reason for fighting. He talks like he can relate and before you know it, he's your best friend and you're willing to lay down your life for him. Even the Sand Monster of Suna fell prey to it. All the Pied Piper needs is your reason and your open ears – if he's got you, you're done for."
Kuro rolled his shoulders as he turned back to look at Naruto who was now walking outside with Tsunade. He shook his head disparagingly. "She's done for. If he's able to land a hit on her, that makes it even easier for him to enslave your senses."
Kenji thoughtfully looked back at Jiraiya who had paled upon seeing his student walk out with Tsunade. "What I really want to know is why shinobi are so gabby these days. His fearsome power wouldn't be so effective if we all weren't so eager to talk about our less than ideal pasts."
"I swear it's Konoha!" Kuro growled out. "Them and their stupid teammate shit. Doing missions together like they're family and shit… Pisses me the hell off! Don't they know philosophies spread?!"
Jiraiya quickly shook off his disbelief, deciding that what he'd just heard was the result of too much sake. "I'm guessing you're a rogue from Iwa," he nonchalantly said, one eyebrow raised. Kuro eyed him suspiciously in response.
Kenji blinked twice at Jiraiya, "Did you know you look like that really famous Toad Sennin of Konoha? Except, your hair is white."
Jiraiya decided that it was time for him to go make sure his student was still alive. How the hell did these drunk idiots manage to recognize Naruto, a genin, and not him, a Sanin? That proved that everything they had been telling him was a lie. What a waste! However… they did know who his student was…
The Toad Sennin quickly followed after Shizune and Ton-Ton, leaving behind two stunned rogue-nin.
"No wonder I failed out of the Academy," Kenji mumbled to himself, jaw-slack. "That was Jiraiya! So that means the Pied Piper is here with him!"
"He's got himself another blond monster!" Kuro swore. "I've got to tell my cousin about this!"
And so, another rumor spread.
A/N: I am enjoying this one-shot turned drabble fic. It pleases me very much. LOL!
So a couple things to say:
1. See my love for Jiraiya peeking through?
2. Who can guess the new rumor?
3. I'm glad Kisame wasn't too OOC in the last chapter to a couple of you.
4. Kenji and Kuro are nonentities. They will not be appearing ever again.
5. No. No Naruharem. That's gross. Especially that Naru-incest joint...
6. Your feedback brings me joy! =)