Colors of Life and Death

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A Very Belated Birthday

Jiraiya walked up to the gates of Konoha, his conversation with Gama-Ikinone nagging at him. "Why do I always receive this kind of information at the worst possible times?" he pondered with a sigh. The tower guard opened the gate and he walked on through, heading for Tsunade's estate.



"Are you sure this is alright?" Hinata asked nervously as she looked at her reflection in the full-length mirror on her bedroom wall. She was wearing a pair of denim shorts that stopped about mid-thigh and a sapphire blue tank top that she had insisted was only for sleeping in when Sakura had pulled it out of her dresser. It was cotton and had lace that ran the length of the neckline. It had also been tied up so that a good three inches of her midriff was showing.

"Trust me. Naruto won't be able to take his eyes off you," Sakura answered with a sly grin. It had taken some convincing, but she had also gotten Hinata to wear some lipstick. Nothing too brash; just a warm peach, but it brought out her eyes magnificently.

Hinata turned tomato red at her friend's comment. She gulped hard and turned to Sakura. "Can we go now?" she asked, praying Sakura didn't have anything else in store for her.

Sakura grinned and nodded. "I think you'll make him sweat thoroughly enough," she said with a wink. Hinata made a small, strangled squeak and Sakura chuckled.

As Jiraiya neared the road that lead to Tsunade's estate he noticed something that made him smile in amusement. An insistent pink-haired girl was half dragging a very reluctant white-eyed girl by the wrist towards the estate. He made a loud cough as he neared the girls so as not to startle them. "Ah, Sakura, Hinata," he called in greeting, having recognized them from Naruto's descriptions.

Sakura turned in the direction of the voice that had called to her. "Who are...?" She recognized the scroll on the large man's back from her schoolbooks. Her eyes widened. That scroll! That's the frog summon contract scroll!  "J...Jiraiya-sama! What are you doing here?"

The Jiraiya?! Hinata thought in disbelief.

A smug look came over Jiraiya's face at the reaction his presence had garnered. "Naruto's birthday party," he answered aristocratically.

Sakura's eyes showed her shock. "How do you know Naruto?"

Jiraiya buffed his nails on his outfit. "Who do you think taught him to summon the great frogs?" he said with pride.

"Wait a minute...Naruto can summon?" Sakura replied with confusion and surprise.

At this Jiraiya fell over in disbelief, then quickly got up and began ranting. "How could he not show his friends the technique that the magnificent Jiraiya taught him!" he said with indignation.

Sakura's eyebrow twitched. Is this really Jiraiya-sama?

"Um," Hinata said meekly. "We're going to be late."

Jiraiya's expression changed completely. "Well then, let's go!" he exuberantly commanded before walking off down the road.

Hinata and Sakura just stood there, frozen in shock of the abrupt change that had come over the man who now walked ahead of them as if he owned the world. Sakura twitched again. This guy...


"Neh. Shizune Nee-chan?" Naruto asked as he and Shizune walked back home.

"Yes, Naruto-kun?" Shizune answered over her shoulder.

"You still haven't said anything know...about today..." Naruto said carefully.

Shizune chuckled warmly. "Don't worry, Naruto-kun. I haven't forgotten your birthday. I have a present for you at the house."

Naruto's eyes widened and misted over. "A present...Really?"

Shizune made a comforting smile. "Of course. And Tsunade-sama has one for you too." She stopped short when she realized Naruto was no longer following her. She turned around, concern clouding her features. "Naruto-kun?" A lump formed in her throat when she saw that tears were falling from the eyes of the young man in front of her. "Naruto-kun," she said sympathetically as she wrapped a comforting arm around his shoulders.


Sakura, Hinata, Iruka, and Sasuke were crouched down behind the couch. Kiba, Jiraiya, Kakashi, and Tsunade crouched along the wall to the right of the front door. Shikamaru, Chouji, Ino, Lee, Neji, Nabiki and Konohamaru were behind various objects throughout the room.

Neji was in the middle of muttering about how hiding like they were was childish when Sakura noticed a light flicker outside the large picture window. "Quiet!" she hissed. "They're here!"

Naruto squinted as he and Shizune neared the house. Something wasn't right. "Shizune Nee-chan. The house is dark!" he whispered in alarm.

Hmmm. Better play along, Shizune thought. "Go quietly," she instructed with a stern face.

Naruto nodded his confirmation. The two shinobi moved carefully and quickly towards the house, all the while Shizune was using every ounce of her willpower to keep from falling to the ground in fits of laughter.

They took positions on either side of the front door. Before Shizune could stop him, Naruto flung a large group of shuriken into the house. Shit! she thought in panic.

Neji's body was twisted sideways in a very uncomfortable position from having to dodge a shuriken that had come towards his head. "Still think this was a great idea?" he growled as he glared at Sakura.

Wendy Winchester

Edited: 12.07.2019

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