“Tsunade learned, years ago, that what should happen seldom does, though, and that nobody stays.” The end of an era. [Spoilers for chapter 367.]
Disclaimer: Naruto is not mine.
Notes: The chapter made me wibble entirely too much. And then I wrote fic. ;_;
They should have fallen together. Three pillars, an undeniable legend and legacy, and it would have been fitting for it to end that way, leaving things for the next trio to build on. But the legend fractured them, spun them asunder to separate corners of the world. It brings them back together in turn, but never long enough, and the togetherness is never the same as it once was.
Tsunade learned, years ago, that what should happen seldom does, though, and that nobody stays.
When they learn of Orochimaru’s death, she can feel (or fancies she can) their era drawing to a close. It feels funny, a little, to be saddened by it, when she once thought their time long past. She’s not sure why this is somehow more final, when he has been as good as dead for years.
When Jiraya tells her he’s leaving, and why, she wants to do so many things – forbid him to leave, beg him to stay, ask him to take backup. She wants to cling to him, when he is all she has left of a past fast slipping away.
She wants to drop everything and go with him, but he’s right (damn him) and they need her here.
She wants him to promise her he’ll come back safely, but they would both know the words for a lie. And so instead she wishes him luck, and laughs (even if it sounds hollow to her ears) when he jests about how she should place a bet against his coming back. (She won’t. It’s just the kind of bet her cursed luck would let her win.)
She pretends, when he steals a kiss (for luck, he says, and his mouth swallows up her inelegant snort of disbelief) that it doesn’t feel like good-bye.
- finis -