Never Enough Sake
Disclaimer: I do not own the Naruto characters and stand to make no profit from posting this story.
The girl sat trembling in the moonlight, her knees drawn up to her chest, arms wrapped around them, trying to force herself to be calm. She swallowed hard and wiped a tear from her cheek with the heel of one hand. She wished he’d hurry up and get here and get this over with.The soft rustle of leaves and footsteps let her know he was approaching. She supposed he did that on purpose since he could have easily appeared silently enough to elude even her senses. How very thoughtful of him, she thought sarcastically to herself, how very considerate.
“Tsunade?” His voice was soft, tinged with concern, but she knew what he wanted most was assurance that she had completed her mission.
“It’s done, Hokage-sama.” She wiped another tear away. She’d be damned if she let him see her cry. Then viciously, with as much venom as she could put into her words she added, “Is that good enough for you? Or would you like a play-by-play since I know you’re into that kind of thing. Sorry you didn’t get to be there to watch!” She fairly spat the words at him.
He sighed and settled himself down to the ground beside her. She turned away from him and ducked her face between her arms. She wouldn’t let him see her like this, she refused! He put one arm around her and she tried to flinch away but he held her tight, pulling her over to him, so that he could hold her in both arms. He kissed the top of her head and said, “I’m sorry, Tsunade-chan. I’m sorry. But I had to order you to. For the village. For the future.”
She sat up then and scoffed derisively, “For the village! What about for the team? You know, I liked you a helluva a lot better when you were Sensei, not Hokage-sama. ”
He let go of her and fished in his pockets for a cigarette and lighter. He took his time lighting one and drawing on it. He almost offered it to her before catching himself. He took a couple more long drags off the cigarette, breathing the smoke out through his nostrils, trying to choose not only his words but his tone carefully. “Tsunade, you’re a shinobi of the Leaf. Your grandfather founded this village. It should be your honor to die for this village. To give your life for it.”
She laughed harshly and looked skyward. “Honor? You call this honor? I doubt seriously my grandfather would have pimped me out like this tonight, Hokage-sama!”
He sighed heavily, “You’re a kunoichi. Seduction has never been out of the realm of possibility. It doesn’t happen as often as it used to but the potential is always there for it to be part of the job. You know that.”
“Seduction, yes. Espionage, yes. But this…this…was wrong. He’s my friend. My very best friend…”
Sarutobi studied her in the moonlight. “What happened, Tsunade. When I gave you the mission you knew who you were seeing and what you were doing. What happened?”
She turned to face him, the first time tonight. Her eyes were swimming with tears. She whispered so softly that he had to strain to hear her, “He said my name, Sarutobi-Sensei. He called my name.”
For a moment, Sarutobi panicked. “Did he…did he know?”
She shook her head. “You don’t get it do you. No, he didn’t know it was me. My genjutsu’s not the best but it’s good enough coupled with what I slipped into his drink. I’m sure he didn’t know. As far as he’ll remember he just spent the time with some little dark-haired whore he picked up at a bar. It’s just that… I’m who he wanted to be with. Me. Tsunade. And I…I…I never knew until he said it. All those times he’s teased me and I never knew he meant it…”
“Oh. I see. Well…then…”
Tsunade could hear the relaxation ease into his voice. Her blood turned to icicles in her veins. She could hear her own heart beat drumming in her ears. She thought she was going to be sick. She hadn’t told him anything he didn’t already know!
“You bastard!” she hissed, jerking away from him. “You knew! You knew how he felt about me? And you still sent me?”
He answered her question with one of his own, “Are you in love with him?”
“Of course, I love him, you asshole!” she snapped back.
“That’s not what I asked, Tsunade. Answer me! Are you in love with him?”
“I…I don’t know…maybe…no…not now,” she answered weakly. “But it’s still wrong. He loves me and it’s wrong to use him that way. Why couldn’t … why don’t… why do we even have to do this?”
“I’ve already tried to explain, it’s difficult, Tsunade-chan to explain to you how I’ve seen it. But I, we, the village is going to need the child you’re carrying. I don’t know exactly in what way, I just know that he has to be born. He has to be your child and Jiraiya’s and we’re going to need him if we’re going to survive.”
“I’ll tell him!” she snapped angrily.
“Tell him what, Tsunade? That you were willing to sleep with him but only for money or under orders? I might have believed that if you hadn’t figured out he was really in love with you. But now that you know he is are you really going to be that cruel?”
“Who’s cruel, you cold hearted son of a bitch? I could stop it, you know. Right now. I could stop it. Did you know that? I’ve got fine enough control so that I could stop my own chakra flow to my womb and end it this minute.”
“You won’t.” His voice was heavy with resignation. “It’s Jiraiya’s child. You’re going to kill it? Tsunade…as much death as we’ve seen, as you’ve seen, is it really so hard? Is it really so awful to be asked to create a new life?”
Right then, she wanted nothing more than to cry like a little girl, to have Sensei tell her that everything was going to be all right but she was damned if she would let him know that. She stood up, saying, “He’s better than the rest of us put together. You, me, Orochimaru, he’s better than any of us will ever be.”
She shoved her hand in one pocket, withdrew some bills and tossed them at Sarutobi. “Here, I think it’s customary for the whore to turn her money over to her pimp. Don’t bother following me. I’ll let you know where I wind up in nine months. You can send somebody to pick him up then. I’m not coming back. And don’t worry, I won’t drink and I won’t smoke. Can’t make any promises about cursing or gambling. But I promise you this. After nine months there’s never gonna be enough sake to make me forget tonight.”