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Behind the mask

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It was a long day – a damn long day.

Tsunade achieved her goal, but the Elders had not made it easy. Damn that Hatake brat, he certainly had an annoying condition for becoming Hokage. She took a sip of sake and silently admitted to herself that she would have acted no different. Really, the Elders were the annoying part here.

In a way she understood that it was a little difficult to appoint a Hokage who permanently hid half his face. To be honest, it would have been strange for Hatake to take that mask off after wearing it for so long. If she remembered Jiraya’s stories correctly the kid had been two when he first got it. She still didn’t know why, the ex-ANBU was good at evading that particular topic. Being a shinobi, she had her own theories and one particularly interesting one. It was unlikely, but she wouldn’t be surprised if Kakashi and by that logic even Sakumo would hide something like that. Especially during the Great War. Coincidentally, it was also the only time in which a secret like that could even be kept. No one looks too closely into family histories and origin stories while they’re busy fighting a war.
As she fiddled with her cup, she distinctly remembered a conversation with her grandfather and somehow her theory made even more sense in light of that.

 


“Tsu-tsu! You look really cute today!”

“It’s Tsunade. I’m almost five, grandpa!”

“Ah, I forgot. Already a big girl! Maybe I should show you your first jutsu then?”

“Uncle taught me the transformation jutsu. He said that he already knew a lot of jutsus at five and that I should learn some too.”

“Tobirama did? He really spoils you!”

“Grandpa, why does uncle not have any children?”

“There has been someone he loved very much. But she died during the war. I think he still loves her.”

“Then why didn’t they have children before the war?”

“I’m sorry, little one. I don’t know that much about it. Just that they loved each other and that her family disapproved.”

“That’s stupid. If I find my love, I will marry him. Doesn’t matter what YOU say.. or, or mom, or dad!”

“We will never stop you Tsu-Tsu. Always go with your heart.”

 


Everything would be much easier if she had just asked Tobirama. She had loved him too much though and even as a kid she had recognized the pain whenever she talked about family. He had indeed spoiled her, taught her a lot about healing and ninjutsu. Without his guidance she wouldn’t be who she was today. Her interest in seals would have withered away with no one to teach her. Sealing jutsus had rarely been used in the war times and apart from the Uzumaki clan no one kept records. Shortly before her death her grandmother taught her one seal, the ‘strength of a hundred’. Even that she did reluctantly though. Tobirama always praised her for being curious. Tsunade also remembered how hard Tobirama tried to hide his disappointment after trying and failing to teach her and Nawaki about sensing chakra. The greatest sensor ever known – and he had no relatives with any talent for it.

Thinking of that – He did leave her a scroll with instructions, if she had kids.. Well, it was thoughtful of him. Knowing Tobirama it was probably sealed, it would need a chakra signature from the Senju bloodline to open it. Maybe...