Yugakure seems to be a far more exciting locale than any other place that Team Hiruzen has been sent on a mission thus far. They have been assigned a relatively simple stakeout and assassination operation, and their target is set to arrive tomorrow, but the inn that they arranged to stay at for the night at has been overbooked, and they find themselves without lodgings.
There is some kind of seasonal festival going on throughout Hot Water Country, and scores of travelers have flocked to the unexpectedly tourist-friendly hidden village, so vacancies are especially scarce.
After an evening spent going from hotel to hotel searching for a place to stay, instead of enjoying the nightlife, Tsunade manages to find them a room. But their relief quickly becomes immense dismay as they open the door to discover that the tiny room only has one bed. A luxuriously soft bed, with fine linens and fluffy pillows. The sight of it alone is incredibly inviting, as all three are exhausted after having completed two back to back missions, followed by several more days of rough travel.
None of them are particularly interested in giving up the first bed they have encountered in that time.
“You know, you guys could always just be gentlemen and let a lady have first dibs…” Tsunade suggests, and Jiraiya groans. Orochimaru merely sighs and blinks disinterestedly at the both of them, content to let his teammates haggle it out before he adds anything to the argument. A surprising number of conflicts have been settled by just letting them bicker it out.
“Sorry, Princess, but no. The floor is hard, there are no extra bedlinens, and I would kinda like a shot at a good night’s sleep before our target arrives tomorrow.” Jiraiya argues grumpily.
His emotional state is rarely swayed from anything other than constant cheer, and Tsunade, suddenly feels quite selfish, knowing that the men are just as tired of sleeping on the ground as she is, and they too deserve a bed for the night. To their surprise, she quickly relents.
“Fine. It’s a big bed, and it’s just one night. I’m sure we’ll all fit.”
At first, none of them can easily relax. The initial dilemma of who should sleep next to whom is easily dealt with by virtue of the fact that Tsunade does not entirely trust Jiraiya to keep his hands to himself. Orochimaru prefers not to have covers ripped away from him in the middle of the night, so he separates the two of them, opting for the spot in the middle. So long as he’s warm, he rarely moves in his sleep - his teammates have seen this and consider it an oddity, but useful in this circumstance, they suppose.
What Tsunade, Jiraiya, and Orochimaru don’t talk about is the fact that they have been dancing around the inevitability of touching each other for the better part of the last two weeks, trying to pretend a certain incident had not happened. A certain incident involving a night of drinking, which led to an impromptu game of drunken truth or dare, which led to a certain three-way makeout session that could have progressed to much more had one of Jiraiya’s one-night stands not paid an unexpected visit to his apartment.
All three blamed the alcohol for their actions that night, even claiming to not remember much of what occurred, but tension has been shimmering along the surface of their interactions for the last couple of years. There is a thread of attraction weaving a more complicated pattern of feelings between the three of them, and the alcohol just gave them the push they needed to act.
The bed is indeed large, but there is not quite enough space for the three teammates to lie side by side without some form of bodily contact. Jiraiya is ridiculously tall and broad, and no matter how they adjust the way they all lie there, someone’s arms or legs are brushing in some way. Exhaustion wins out eventually and it no longer matters. Fresh from baths, with satisfied bellies after a hot meal, they doze off within minutes of one another. Or so it seems.
Jiraiya’s arm falls across Orochimaru’s waist as he nods off. The snake user is discomfited by the contact at first, but the fact of the matter is that it actually feels quite nice, and Jiraiya is incredibly warm, radiating heat and the soft scent of woods and earth. Orochimaru almost feels more cozy than when he is tucked in his favorite spot under the kotatsu at home, so he deems it acceptable, and tries to ignore the slight trickle of excitement creeping down his spine when Jiraiya shifts, cuddling more closely against his side.
Tsunade lies still for the most part, though at a certain point she turns to snuggle into her pillow, but ends up resting her head against Orochimaru’s shoulder instead. Her hair is loose, falling in shimmering strands around her face, and she smells sweet, like spun sugar and vanilla. He has never been one for liking anything sweet, but on her it’s enticing, and he is suddenly very uncomfortable. He is painfully aware of the both of them, and sleep does not come easy.
By the time the light of dawn is filtering in through the glass balcony doors, Tsunade is only hazily aware of two things; the languorous warmth of an entirely too pleasant dream in which a lover wakes her with a kiss, and how comfy she feels snuggled up against him, with her face tucked in against his throat, wrapped securely in his arms. The skin against her cheek is warm and petal soft, scented with something familiar and soothing, like lavender and spice.
Tsunade brushes her lips across the fluttering pulse point, and he stirs. Fully conscious, she immediately realizes that this dream lover is a real man, her teammate in fact, and that she is dangerously close to waking him up in a precariously sensual position.
Orochimaru is already awake, but adept at pretending otherwise. With Jiraiya curled against his back and Tsunade in his arms, he does not want to admit to himself how wonderful it actually feels to be embraced by the both of them. When she practically kisses his neck, it sends heat throughout his face and his belly, and he struggles to force his breath to remain deep and even, regulating his pulse, and desperately hoping she won’t notice.
Thankfully, Tsunade seems to be oblivious and taking liberties; her fingers card through a wayward lock of Jiraiya’s shaggy white hair that has somehow fallen over his shoulder, before doing the same with his, sending spidery little shocks of sensation along his scalp. Precisely the reason he has always hated (secretly loved) having his hair touched by others.
Then Orochimaru feels the heat of Jiraiya’s mouth pressing against the juncture of his neck and shoulder, while large hands skim his waist reflexively, and he gasps openly as Jiraiya sleepily murmurs an unintelligible but certainly saucy endearment. Tsunade freezes against Orochimaru’s neck, and he opens his eyes to see her trying and failing to feign slumber once more except it’s too late, and she knows she is caught. She draws back just enough for her honey colored eyes to meet his incredulous golden stare.
“Ah, um…good morning,” Tsunade says softly, her eyes fixed on the adorable blush that has stained his cheekbones a vivid scarlet. She can feel his heartbeat racing, and he wets his lower lip, drawing her gaze there instantly. She has a faint recollection of just how soft his lips actually are, how they feel pressed against hers, while another, rougher, pair travels down her neck…
“Good morning,” he responds, as if testing the words, or saying them for the first time.
“Mmm, good morning!” Jiraiya cuts in happily, “Kami, this is damn cozy. Who knew you would be so cuddly, Oro?”
Orochimaru goes very still, and for a moment none of them move, talk, or breathe. It is utterly quiet, and Tsunade can feel her own heartbeat thumping in her ears.
“Are we really going to act like we aren’t all enjoying this?” Tsunade blurts out. “We can’t keep pretending it didn’t happen.”
“Pretending what didn’t happen?” Jiraiya asks blithely.
“Stop that. You know exactly what I am talking about. Or did your booty call that night manage to make you forget?” Tsunade sits up in a huff, and the men shift away from each other, following suit.
“No, she left after you did.”
“Ha, so you do remember! Why lie about it? I mean, seriously guys, was it really so bad?” Tsunade is turning several shades of red at this point, and chewing at her bottom lip nervously. Orochimaru’s eyes dart between each of his teammates, and he grits his teeth, reluctant to answer.
“Not at all. In fact, it was amazing. I would have gladly had my wicked way with you both had we not been interrupted.” Jiraiya’s low voice ends on a seductive purr, and he smiles, but this smile is anything but innocent. It is sultry and a tad bit dangerous, the smile of a man who knows exactly what he wants, and that he is about to ensure that he gets it.
“Now what makes you so certain that that would be the way of it?” Orochimaru finally snaps.
“Because, beneath your prickly facade, dear Oro, is a grumpy, attention-starved pussycat who just needs to be stroked the right way. You know I could have you purring in no time.” Jiraiya leers close to Orochimaru, who visibly gulps, taking a halting breath.
Jiraiya’s dark eyes shift to Tsunade, and he reaches out a hand to smooth loose strands of her hair back away from her face.
“There is nothing better than the way the two of you feel in my arms and beside me. Why wouldn’t I want to take the ultimate plunge - heh - and see where it leads us? You are both just so damn stubborn, I didn’t want to be the one to push if you did actually regret it.”
“I…didn’t-don’t regret it. I just don’t want our team dynamic to change,” Tsunade says meekly.
“Nor do I. It seems too much like playing with fire,” Orochimaru whispers, staring at his hands.
“Well, truth is, out of this whole world, you’re both my most important people. I can’t believe I am actually saying this, but I’d rather just stay your teammate, beside you, protecting you, watching your backs, than have something like sex cause a rift between us. We–”
His words are cut off quickly as Tsunade hastily leans forward across Orochimaru’s lap, and crashes her lips against Jiraiya’s. His lips are dry and hot against hers, and it is a graceless, fumbling sort of kiss, but by the time they break apart, they are both flushed and panting hard. They draw back to see their other teammate staring at them, visibly shaken, and practically vibrating with want, but as usual he is too obstinate to admit it.
“I want this. I want us. And I really don’t think we should deny what feels natural. What do you think, Oro?” she asks, meeting his wide, golden eyes. “I mean, I have thought about this for a while now, and that night… everything felt so right. Seems wrong to let that be the end of it. Could we maybe just see where it leads?”
“Only if you’re both sure it’s what you really want,” he says quietly, looking at them both in turn, quickly realizing that Jiraiya and Tsunade are each grinning from ear to ear. His heart gives a violent little flip within his chest, and he feels his lips quirk into an answering smile in spite of his attempts to remain neutral.
Tsunade immediately laces her fingers through his silky black hair, intentionally tickling against his scalp, and as he gasps, she seals her mouth to his, kissing him hungrily. When the tip of her tongue presses past his lips, it is as though a dam breaks within him, and Orochimaru is flooded with the same relentless craving that was set free before that last time they were together like this, albeit with the help of a great deal of alcohol. His arms close tightly around her soft, yielding form, but it isn’t enough. He wants Jiraiya too, and grabs at the other man’s shirt, pulling him closer, and kissing him hard. Before long, all three are trading feverish kisses, and touching as much of each other as they dare.
They are above all things, a team, and they have always worked together as a perfect unit; the exhilarating task of loving one another is no different. In quick succession, each one of them is subject to the unrestrained affections and curiosities of the other two.
Laughter and delighted sighs fill the air between them as hands wander in eager discovery, and pajamas are tugged away, traded for the joy of actually embracing skin to skin. Fingers, lips and tongues map the secret places of each others’ bodies, until pleasure zings through each of them, building until every action between them becomes more and more desperate.
None of the trio are virgins, but there is something about this encounter that feels like they are experiencing everything for the first time, as though their other partners were but a pale imitation of what lovers could truly be. Every sensation is sharply vivid and intense, and when their bodies are truly joined in a rush of slick, tight heat and hardened flesh, they rapidly find themselves careening toward the apex of pleasure and falling headlong over the edge, one after another.
The three teammates return to themselves in an exhausted pile of entwined limbs, sweat-drenched skin, and tangled hair. Gentler kisses are exchanged as they disengage from one another and rest more comfortably, with the covers drawn up over their naked flesh once more. Tsunade feels completely and utterly relaxed, tucked snugly between both men, her men now. It is warm and comfortable in this space, with Jiraiya spooned up against her back, and her head resting against Orochimaru’s chest, listening to him breathe. Sleep comes easily, and they all rest peacefully for another hour, until the alarm clock that they had set the night before goes off with a shrill ring.
Their mission is a swiftly accomplished success, and in many ways they seem more unified, as though they are more in sync with one another than they have ever been. Perhaps it’s because the awkwardness surrounding their mutual attraction to one another is now gone and they are all more focused on their responsibilities than they were before. Whatever the case may be, the success of their mission has dashed away their lingering doubts, and all three are in favor of exploring a future together as more than just friends or teammates.
The journey back home to Konoha is almost too easy, and since even at their worst they travel far faster than other teams, the few mischievous detours they take into the woods together do little to prevent them from arriving on time. At home, they make no attempt to hide their newfound relationship from anyone, as they remain an effective team. When they move in together a month later, no one is surprised.
In the end, everything may be different between them, but nothing has actually changed. The love that they each already bore for one another is just freely and openly expressed, and it brings a sense of joy and purpose to their lives that wasn’t there before.
It also gives Jiraiya plenty of inspiration for his novels.