I lost chapter 6 around new year's eve and haven't been able to rewrite the whole thing, I had managed to write a satisfying fight scene between Sage and Tsunade with some great emotional moments in betweenn and after losing the chapter I have a hard time trying to rewrite it.

I do not own Naruto, if I did Ino would have more then half a brain.

Talk now – normal talk
What now – normal thoughts
Speak – biju talk
Listen – biju thoughts

Chapter 6 : A slug's tale

In a small casino a woman sat at a roulette table gambling, a bored expression on her face, she was wearing a grass-green haori with the kanji for gamble written in black on the back, inside a red circle. Underneath she wore a grey, kimono-style blouse with no sleeves, held closed by a broad, dark bluish-grey obi that matches her pants. Her blouse was closed quite low, revealing her sizeable cleavage. She wore open-toed, strappy black sandals with high heels and red polish on both her fingernails and toenails, she also wore a soft pink lipstick. A middle aged man wearing a black buisness suit, with black sun glasses and slick black hair with spikes near the back took a seat next to her.

"Miss Senju I need you to come with me." the man told her in a casual tone. If Tsunade heard him she didn't react in any way and continued to gamble.

The man cleared his throat. "Miss Senju I"

The woman didn't look at him continuing to stare at the roulet. "I don't care what you have to say, just leave."

The man continued "A childs life is at stake."

Tsunade's eyes briefly widened. "Is the child sick?"

The man placed both of his hands under his chin. "Not in a traditional sense, no."

"Then I don't care." The man stared at her for a minute before bowying his head and leaving.

As the man neared the door Tsunade spoted another man who looked similar to the first and had with him a small child with spiky blond hair, dressed with black shorts and a white T shirt, the first man shook his head and the second man reached into his pocket with his right hand and grabbed the child with his left hand who had a frightened expression on his face and was shaking. Barely did the two men exit the casino that Tsunade got up and went after them.

As soon as she was outside the casino Tsunade noticed that the two were heading towards the forest outside the city at a high speed, ninjas!, she followed and when she increased her speed the men matched and increased their own as well. It was only when they had left the outskirts of the city that the men and Tsunade stopped.

The first man turned towards Tsunade and smiled. "So glad you could join us Senju-sama."

Tsunade glared at him as she looked betwen the two men and the child. "Leave the child and get out of here."

"That's one option but then you would let us keep your apprentice?" The first man asked smiling. On que a third man appeard on the branches of a nearby tree with Shizune, her arms behind her back and the man was holding a kunai to her neck.

"I however have another option." A new voice spoke.

Tsunade looked towards where the voice came from and she could see a woman who had long midnight blue hair down to her shoulders, white eyes, a Hyuga!, this can't be sensei's work, wore a white robe with and intricate pattern on it, blue ninja sandals, but what got Tsunade's attention was the mask. A white mask similar to that of the ANBU, but hers wasn't in the shape of an animal rather it had strange symbols around the edges of the mask, ten of them and the word SAGE written in large letters under the eyes.

"What option?" Tsunade asked as she looked at the woman, I need to try and free Shizune and have her free the child, damn it how did their child get here? Tsunade briefly looked at the child. The boy has Kushina's face.

"You and I fight, you win everyone goes free, I win you come with me to heal and watch over a couple for a few months."

Tsunade tightened her fists. "Do I have a choice?"

Sage nodded. "You always have a choice, you can leave and I will take those two" she pointed at Shizune and the child, "with me, and well maybe you will see them again, maybe not." Sage's voice took on a mocking tone. "I'm sorry if this interrupts your drinking and gambling I understand how important they are for you".

Tsunade scowled at the woman as she got in a fighting stance. "Fine, let's do this." Her arms shook slightly.

Sage snapped her fingers and the man holding the child jumped in a tree near Shizune, the last man went next to them, while Sage jumped and landed in front of Tsunade and made a come here motion with her hand.

Tsunade shoot a quick look around herself, I need to knock her out and then deal with the other three, a quick punch to shake the ground should create a distraction for Shizune to move and get the boy. Tsunade's eyes went to the woman in front of her. A Hyuga, so I'll have to be careful in close combat. I still don't know who these people are and how they have a Hyuga with them, did sensei actually put them up to this? Danzo wouldn't try something like this; he would have sent more people and would have used dirtier tricks if it ever came to eliminating me.

"Come now slug princes, I know you are the weakest of the three losers but surely you won't just stand there all night long hoping to bore me into defeat?"

A small vein appeared on Tsunade's forehead. "What did you say?"

"Should I add bad hearing to your impressive" Sage tilted her head and continued with a hint of mockery in her voice "list of characteristics slug-san?"

Tsunade surged forward throwing a chakra enhanced punch towards the woman who lifted her hand and stopped the blow with and open palm, the force of the impact was felt across the field as the trees shook slightly and leafs fell from them.

Tsunade stared wide eyed. That's impossible!

"Disappointing, that's not how you use super strength." Sage caught Tsunade's fist with her palm. "Here let me show you how to use it properly." She quickly brought her index and middle finger near Tsunade stomach whose eyes widened. "Gentle fist, giant's tap." Tsunade felt Sage letting go of her hand just moments before Sage's finger connected with her stomach as she flew across the field from the blow breaking trees as she hit them until she crashed into the earth and formed a small crater where she landed.

She felt the air returning to her lungs as her vision cleared, slowly Tsunade got back up clutching her stomach, she coughed and stared at the woman not far from her. How is this possible? She shouldn't know my technique, it took me years to create and fine tune it, the control needed it for such a thing is incredible, not even Shizune with her own training has managed to come near the level required to learn it. She slowly gritted her teeth. And somehow this woman managed to recreate it by herself? I left no scrolls on how the technique is done, it shouldn't be possible.

"Oh, you managed to get up slightly faster then I expected, congratulations I suppose that is an accomplishment in of itself. " Seeing Tsunade's expression she continued. "That look is unworthy of you Senju, did you really expect to remain amongst the strongest for so long? You and the rest of the sannin may in your own way be strong but you are not the strongest, other legends eclipse yours, and eventually someone will come along who will surpass the admittedly" she placed more of an accent on the next word "small standard you have set."

Tsunade kept quiet looking at the woman. Keep talking just a bit more until I can recover, I may actually have to use my stronger jutsu for this.

Sage chuckled. "Just because I'm talking doesn't mean that you are the only one using that time for planning great sucker."

Tsunade's eyes widened before she tilted her head back just in time to see Sage's hand catch her face, the next moment Tsunade felt herself fly through the air as she moved and managed to catch Sage's arm with one hand and threw a blow with the other hand that missed before she was thrown against the ground once more.

"There, we are father away from the city now, less need for restraint Senju."

Tsunade spat to the side of her. "Tsk, you just signed your own death warrant."

Sage nodded her head. "Wonderful I have a beautiful hand writing that you may admire." A second later Sage rushed at Tsunade and the two began a taijutsu match, Tsunade threw blow after blow only for Sage to easily to deflect each one using her hands, a moment later Sage jumped back breaking off the battle.

Tsunade breathed heavily. Damn it, nothing's getting through her defense.

"Come now this can't be all the great slug princes can do, I know your other teammates have earned the title of sage, and perhaps one actually deserves it, but you? Have you delved deeper into your summons techniques or was just working with what they first had enough? Do you know if they even have sage mode? Have you asked or is it that perhaps you know that they would not teach you as you are…unworthy."

She felt her anger boiling inside of herself. "Shut up!"

"Have I struck a nerve perhaps? Considering how much alcohol is in your system I'll considering that an accomplishment."

Perhaps I may not have delved deeper into the slug's arts but I can work with them just as good as those two idiots, I focused on my medical research and techniques to make sure they could save others. "Even if I haven't summoned them in a while, our bonds are still strong!"

"Well then you won't have anything to lose if you prove it now won't you?"

Tsunade braced herself as Sage began an assault delivering a flurry of palm strikes, and her defense was quickly failing apart, she noticed that Sage wasn't closing her tenketsu. During a moment when she believed she could see an opening Tsunade sent a strong blow towards Sage who rather then dodging the hit, came into the blow and quickly turned around bringing her back towards Tsunade, she grabbed her hand with both arms and tossed her over her own shoulder slamming her into the ground. Sage sent a palm strike near Tsunade's head that shattered the ground creating a sizeable hole.

"Foolish, has the alcohol affected you so much great sucker?" Sage jumped back putting distance between the two of them. "Come now arise I now you can do better then this."

Tsunade stared wide eyed at the hole near her head. She could have killed me just now. Her own trembling increased; she looked towards to her left where Shizune was looking at her with concern in her eyes. Tsunade closed her eyes for a moment as she tried to get her breathing under control, a memory of flashed before her eyes of when she had met a young Shizune. The girl had been shy about meeting her back then, later her lover Dan had taken the girl in after her parent's death near the start of the third war.

She remembered talking to Shizune about their deaths, consoling the small girl who cried herself to sleep for weeks, she remembered teaching her medical techniques, she laughed at the faces the girl made when she succeeded in her training she had talent and took to her teachings quickly, she felt happy seeing life slowly returning to the girl's eyes.

During the war Shizune was the one to console her when Dan died, it was pitiful that a child tried to console her, a grown woman. After the war she asked the girl to leave the village with her knowing that it would put a stop to the girl's ninja career, in part she hoped for it, to try to keep her safe by putting as much distance between the ninja life, the village and themselves. She doubted she could have remained whole if Shizune had died during the war as well.

She smiled at Shizune hoping to calm the woman's worriers and got back up dusting herself off and looking towards her opponent. Her breathing was heavy and sweat ran down her skin, so far the battle hadn't gone in her favor; she decided to try something different. A lot of the elemental jutsu she knew couldn't be used with Shizune and the boy nearby. She quickly slammed one fist down on the ground cracking the earth near Sage who jumped backwards, the same moment Sage's feet left the ground Tsunade closed her eyes and bit her finger before slamming her palm down on the ground intending to summon a slug.

A moment passed when she realized that nothing happened, she opened her eyes and saw that Sage had her hands down on the ground as well. What happened, the summoning failed?

"None of that now slug-san, oh don't look so surprised I simply canceled the summoning, it isn't that difficult."

Tsunade swallowed hard, she didn't know anyone who could to that, not her teacher or former teammates. How did she manage it? Is it some kind of trick? A seal on the ground? A voice snapped her back to attention before the first blow fell.

"You should keep your eyes on your opponent rather then day dreaming Sannin."

The woman moved fast as the distance between the two of them disappeared, the first blow caught her in the jaw; the second hit her in the kidneys. A brief thought made it through her head. So this is what it's like to be on the receiving end of my technique. She coughed blood, and caught sight of her opponent quickly turning her back to her in a fluid motion stretching her arms slightly out. Her eyes widened knowing what would follow, she knew that the technique usually need more room, she closed her eyes and braced for the blow, her opponent's voice sounding clear in the forest.

"KAITEN!"

Tsunade felt her bones creak and her flesh battered by the attack at it hit, pain traveled through her body and overwhelmed her senses, she didn't fell anything while she sailed through the air, she didn't even feel the impact on the ground as the air left her lungs and her vision faded.

Her fist meeting with Kushina had been an amusing situation, the little fire cracker of a girl had been very subdued when they met with an expression of her fear on her face, hiding behind Tsunade's grandmother's robes at first. That lasted for a few minutes after they started talking and Kushina's personality emerged in full flight. She admitted she liked the girl, she had fire in her that she liked, from what she could remember of her own grandfather had been like that.

She had consoled Kushina after Mito's passing, it had been hard for the girl to leave her family behind at a young age and then lose the person she had gotten closest during her time in Konoha.

The loss of Uzu had been devastating for Konoha and had sparked the second war, for her grandmother it had been worse, her clan had been wiped out and her birth home destroyed.

She herself had only been there a few times, she let her own bitterness out during the war crushing skulls and breaking bones. Seeing Kushina growing, slowly blossoming was something she held dear to her heart; it was the same she realized for Shizune. Both girls had grown up under her gaze, Kushina managing to turn more then a few heads when she got older.

Tsunade gasped as she opened her eyes and breathed in air, she coughed a few times before forced her self to get up again, she only needed to make one hand sign to heal herself and recover her strength. I can do this, it's not over yet!

"Oh getting up again? I had thought you would stay down this time noble sucker, or was it noble loser?"

She let out a harsh breath and began to bring her arms together.

"Now, now, let's test a rumor shall we great sucker?"

What is she?

Sage brought out a kunai from her left hand sleeve and then slashed herself across her right palm throwing some of the blood Tsunade's way.

Tsunade froze, her body felt submerged in the coldest river, her breath caught and died in her throat, her whole body trembled.

"Oh my! What a terrible weakness you have great gambler!"

Sage dashed forward and delivered a series of blows to Tsunade's stomach pushing the woman back from the force of the blows, Tsunade's body remained standing even after the blows.

Disdaine filled Sage's voice. "Is this really it? It this all that you can muster?"

Sage unleashed another volley of blows hammering away at the petrified woman who still remained standing despite the blows.

"You really are pathetic, will you do nothing to protect them? to save them?" Sage looked at Tsunade awaiting some sort of reply. "Disappointing, I don't know why I ever expected anything out of you in the first place."

Tsunade's breath was ragged, her knees bent and her back slumped over, she could feel blood flowing form her busted lips, she was barely conscious and staring at the woman in front of her.

Sage brought one arm under Tsunade's chin raising her head to look her in the eyes, she closed the distance between their faces.

"Don't worry I'll take good care of those two" she chuckled "well for the most part, they certainly won't be the same after I'm done with them, but oh well you can't create something without destroying something else now can you? Do need to reply, I know you trust me with their care, they are after all my responsibility now. If you somehow survive, do go on with your usually activities of drinking and gambling, if not well great your family for me on the other side Senju."

The next moment saw Sage's hand leaving her face she had a brief moment to try and speak before the blow struck her, Tsunade felt her head would rip of her shoulders, the blow caught her under the chin and the force of it sent her upwards into the air before falling down of the ground and tumbling over several times, she ended up with her back to the ground, Sage was only a few feet away from her. As her vision slowly darkened and her eyes closed she saw the look of despair and anguish on Shizune's face, the boy had the same look his mother had when they first met, her eyes closed and darkness took her.

She was surrounded by darkness before memories of her time of the road with Shizune filled her mind, the various cities they had visited, and even a few landmarks that Shizune had wanted to see, the festivities they had taken part of and the silly souvenirs they had gotten. Images of Shizune's training followed, the techniques the girl managed to improve and make her own, even managing to create a few. Even with her natural talent the girl worked hard during her training, it had been devastating when she had consoled the girl when they discovered that she wouldn't able to learn her strength technique, even with the incredible chakra control the girl possessed it still wasn't enough to for the technique.

She didn't know if she was smiling, she did feel like it though as the rush of memories of the quick and creative exits they had to make from several towns when her debts got to big to ignore.

She could see it now floating away Shizune and Kushina's smiling faces, a moment those faces became the frightened faces of Shizune and the Kushina's child. Sage's words rattled through her mind. Is this really it? It this all that you can muster?

More images flooded her mind, Shizune as a young girl with her goofy smile on her face and succeeding at an exercise, Kushina's smile that seemed to brighten the entire area. Will you do nothing to protect them? To save them?

She felt it in her bones an echo at first something that slowly began to gain strength as it climbed forward gaining strength with each step, the word seem to come from deep within, form a place that she had long ago thought lost and buried, now finally unearthed again and gaining strength anew.

The darkness receded and was replaced with light, she blinked and widened her eyes, in front of her stood her little brother Nawaki and her dead lover Dan, she had missed seeing the two, their smiles, their eyes so filled with life.

Tears ran down her face, as she swallowed hard looking at the two, she remembered her little brother's attitude so similar to Kushina's, his dreams, the time spent together. Dan had the same dream, the same desire; the same fire seemed to burn in their eyes and soul, to protect.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." She shook her head, tears flowing from her eyes. "Not yet, not just yet."

The vision of the two faded out quickly however their smiles never left their faces, she smiled, and felt fire spreading through out her body; she could hear the word now as it crashed through whatever barriers she had created, shattering them to pieces. The darkness began to recede and she could see light again, she had her answer now.

One more time then with everything I have.


Shizune looked on terrified at sight of her downed teacher, her assailant a few feet away from her examining her and looking to finish her off, she knew the battle would have been difficult when their assailant had used the same strength technique as her teacher, something that shouldn't have been possible, what little hope of victory there was disappeared when the woman had slashed her own palm and rendered her teacher paralyzed.

Try as she did, she couldn't get out of her bonds, her guard had stopped every attempt she had to escape, her own chakra control was skewered, something her assailants had probably given her to ensure she couldn't use her chakra properly.

It happened quickly, most may not had seen, however she noticed it, after traveling for so long with the woman she noticed it in an instant. Her trembling stooped!


Sage tilted her head while looking at her downed opponent, she spotted it quickly enough however it did little to stop the attack, the next moment she was sent through the air and slammed into the ground from a punch to her chin courtesy of Tsunade's fist.

Her eyes opened with new fire behind them, the word still echoed in her mind as she dusted herself off, tears were streaming down her face alongside her blood and sweat.

NO!

Is this really it? It this all that you can muster?

NO!

Her voice was ragged and horse, but it mattered little, it the got the job done. She cracked her knuckles, straightened her back and got into a fighting stance. "How about one more round bitch."

Sage got up as and rubbed her chin. "With pleasure great sucker."

Tsunade stomped with one foot on the ground cracking the earth towards Sage who leapt back, in the blink of an eye Tsunade slapped her hands on the ground causing a hand made of earth to erupt from the ground near Sage who hadn't yet landed, she saw the move that Sage was preparing, the same one she had experienced first hand herself earlier, a small bit of chakra was visible before the technique was used.

Fascinating, a kaiten used while still in the air, strangely I'm not that surprised by this. She slapped both her hands together and used her healing technique restoring her body from the beating it had taken earlier.

A small cloud of dust was visible around Sage, perfect, she dashed forward, Sage who had landed managed to regain her footing and prepared to meet her opponent head on when she noticed that Tsunade stopped and slammed her hands on the ground. Six pillars arose from the ground quickly surrounding her they looked to be two feet high, the top of the pillars grew quickly in size; they wobbled and leaned on all sides unable to stand straight.

"Oh is this your great skills with elemental manipulation or it this your some intimate preference?"

In response Tsunade smirked, a moment later the first rocks flew towards her, Sage ducked the first one, before the second one flew past her ear, others followed suit. Sage dodged more and more of them; she realized that now the pillars were each throwing more then one rock towards her.

"Enough! Kaiten!" The rocks were quickly destroyed, and a new dust cloud settled around Sage. "I don't know what you are." She dodged quickly as she came under assault by a rain of pebbles; she briefly noticed that earth pillars were still present on the battlefield.

"Kaiten."

This time she was certain the pillars were destroyed, the dust covering the battlefield had managed to block out her sight, her mask made it even more difficult to wipe her own eyes. Her arm flashed to the right and slammed into Tsunade's chest cracking her it, before she dissolved into earth, Sage's arm flashed to the left and repeated the processes.

"You can't hide underground." She slammed her hands into the earth before her, the moment she straightened her back the blow landed hitting her in the jaw and sending her flying across the battlefield before she hit the ground and rolled several times coming to a stop in front of where Shizune has being held.

Tsunade let a smirk grace her lips. The Hyuuga did have a blind spot, their 360 degree vision was bullshit, they would never admit it, however she had seen it fighting alongside Hyuuga's and treating them during the wars. All she needed was to figure out the correct angle, the little storm had helped her analyze just that, it had the bonus of damping her opponent's vision. The last part was the distraction needed to set everything up, the clones would hold her attention while she moved in. I still need information, or she'd be dead by, that hit could have taken her head off had I wanted it.

Sage coughed as she staggered upwards her breathing was now heavy as well. "That was a good blow Senju, come now let's test our strength again."

"Yes, let's."

They both dashed forward, Sage sent a palm strike towards Tsunade who met the strike with her fist, the clash between the two sent ripples across the ground from blow; both gritted their teeth and pushed putting their strength into their blows attempting to overpower the other.

After a tense few minutes Sage used her other hand and tried to send another palm strike that was caught by Tsunade with her free hand. They starred at each other, both unable to move while trying to push the other one back, the earth cracked under the two but neither gave ground to the other.

Tsunade looked straight in her opponent's eyes, she felt her muscles burn and grinned as an idea crossed her mind. Screw it! She moved her head slightly backwards and then forward with speed, for a brief moment she enjoyed Sage's look of confusion and then rapid understanding and horror, the headbut hit its mark as Tsunade slammed her head into Sage's own, she heard a satisfying crack, and she knew she had broken the other woman's nose. Sage's grip loosened and Tsunade took the opportunity, she gritted her teeth again pulled her right hand back then slammed it into Sage's stomach, barely had the woman's feet left the ground that she followed up with her left hand launching the woman backwards.

Tsunade took in deep breaths while she waited for her opponent to get up again, she could feel the battle dyeing down, the next few moves would end it.

Sage got up coughing all the while, her legs shook violently and she was clutching her stomach with one hand. "Just because you got your second wind doesn't mean anything great sucker, I will win!"

Sage dashed forward palmed outstretched, time slowed down Tsunade blinked as she side stepped the blow moving to her right, her opponent had placed herself in a bad position. Tsunade quickly placed her foot forward her knee was soon right Sage's chin, she raised her arm and brought down an elbow strike on the woman's trapping it between her elbow and knee. What for others were only a few heartbeats for her it had felt like minutes, time seem to resume it's usually speed, Tsunade let out a breath as Sage slumped over.

She laid the woman down and examined her, she was bruised and battered in several places, a quick healing jutsu helped heal the damage, her head had taken a much harder beating from the last blow. Tsunade straightened and walked towards the trees where Shizune and Kushina's child was held.

"I've won, release them." She saw a flicker of movement from behind her, far to fast for her to react.

"You've done well, rest now young one."

A moment later Tsunade felt a stab at the back of her head before she lost consciousness and her world faded to black.


Shizune blinked and couldn't be more surprised, one moment her teacher had won the battle and the next a clone of her downed opponent appeared behind her and knocked her out. So fast, I didn't even see her make the clone or move!

Her captor grabbed her and jumped down, landing gently, she spotted several clones lording over her teacher. When did she make those? All in that brief interval of time while we jumped down here?

She looked towards her teacher's opponent. "What do you want with us?"

"Just what I said at the start, you two will help to take care of a couple for us."

"And the boy?"

"What boy?"

Shizune looked to her left, the boy in question grinned waving at her before a puff of smoke enveloped him and the boy in question was replaced with a her teacher's opponent.

"A clone?" She asked dumbfounded

"Of course you didn't think I would actually endanger a child like that did you?"

She sputtered. "But… you… then…" She looked behind her, the man holding her was also a clone of the woman. "All this time it was just you."

"Just myself and my clones, hmm that sounds look a good song title."

"But…but…"

"That" she motioned to the clone on the ground, "was a very special clone, one with admittedly reduced strength, still it did the job."

Reduced strength?

"Good night."


"And that's what happened after you were knocked out." Shizune finished looking around at the people present. Her sensei she expected to find when she awakened, the couple she and her were supposed to be taking care of, well she never expected it to be the Yondaime Hokage and his wife, who from what she knew were supposed to be very much dead.

Kushina chuckled. "Ha, well you got your ass handed to you granny."

A vein pulsed on Tsunade's forehead. "Who are you calling granny brat? I'm still young."

"Sure, you are, how about you drop you're henge and then let's talk."

"Tsk, brat I can still drop you easaly, besides I think I know what this is about" she put a hand under her breats, "still feeling jealous?"

"Oh please battle tits, those things are sagging by now."

"Oh the jealosy is rollin of you in droves, why even Shizune looks to have you matched already, in a few years she'll have you beat hands down."

"You want to go take this outside battle tits?" Kushina asked cracking her nuckles.

"Sure thing, I feel like making some tomatoe paste anyway."

Minato coughed and interrupted the two, getting the full brunt of their attention and killing intent, he didn't flinch. "While I'm sure you two have a lot of catching up to do in your own unique way, and the information about Sage is interesting. I have to ask if you know anything about Konoha Tsunade-sama?

Tsunade let out a tired sigh. "Just a bit, I ran into the pervered a while back and he filled me in on what's been happening. I didn't pay all that much attention to him so not everything is occurate. Still the recent shit storm involves a Kumo diplomat sent to Konoha."


- I call bullshit on the slugs not having their own sage mode, so should just the toads and snakes have it? Nope, other summons have a version of it as well.

- originally there were scenes with flashbacks with the more important past of who Tsunade met, sadly they got lost with the initial chapter.

- the fight scenes were of course different as well, it would have included a chakra scalpel turned into swords on their arms, however that got cut as well, a few more blows got cut as well.

-the meeting between the four was supposed to have been much larger.

Finished the chapter on 07 IX 2014