Takuma woke up to the sound of his doorbell. He glanced at the bedroom wall clock, telling him it was already eleven in the morning. He had returned late last night from his journey to Dai's parent's house, and he had only gotten a couple hours of sleep after returning home.
He pulled himself off the bed, grabbed his weapons pouch, and kunai in hand as he walked to the door while the doorbell rang again. He cracked a peek through the peephole, and his sleep vanished a level as he opened the door to Taro, Ai, Nenro, and Masaaki in front of his house.
"This is a surprise," Takuma said as he returned the kunai to the weapons pouch. "What are you guys doing here?" He could guess why they were here altogether. It was obvious.
"How are you?" asked Ai, worried as she looked him over.
"I'm fine," Takuma fully opened the door and stood aside. "Come inside."
All four entered the apartment, instantly crowding the small living room more than ever. Takuma had two chairs for his small dining table— there used to be a two-seater couch that Takuma had long ditched— as such, Nenro and Masaaki had to sit down on the floor while Ai and Taro took the two chairs. Takuma served them with refreshments before sitting down on the floor.
"This is the first time you guys are here, isn't it," said Takuma to his friends. He had been to Taro and the trio's home, but they hadn't been to his. "How do you like my humble abode?"
"You should've told us," Taro spoke. "It doesn't feel good to know about these sorts of things from the rotating gossip."
Takuma pursed his lips, feeling his friends' gazes on him. "I didn't have the time," he said. "I was in the village for a night before I was out again. I was going to tell you guys today."
"Did you have to leave so quickly? Where did you go?" asked Ai.
"I had to," Takuma said— he didn't answer the second question.
"… What happened?" Masaaki asked.
"The mission went wrong, people died." The particulars of the mission were under lock because of the international relations implications between the Hidden Leaf and Hidden Frost, so he couldn't divulge the particulars to anyone, and he didn't want to. "The remaining team had to go ahead to minimize our casualties, and I was asked to follow, which I did. The injuries made the journey back home a hassle and took a lot of time… but other than that, the way back was uneventful."
Ai and Masaaki were worried while Nenro and Taro were searching.
"You all don't have to look at me like that," Takuma shrugged. "Things went south, but I'm here now, and the problem with the mission doesn't happen often— it was a C-rank mission, for god's sake. Worry about me when I'm doing B-rank missions; I'll dump all over you guys then."
They didn't laugh, but Takuma saw a smile or two of relief crack up on their faces.
"What is that?" Nenro pointed at the wall across him.
Takuma looked up at his information wall that detailed his Ring fights, combat records, notes on skills he was learning, some of his drug dealing records, and other things he needed to visually track.
"All kinds of things," said Takuma with a small smile. The notes were openly displayed, free for anyone in his house to read, but Takuma wasn't concerned. They were written in a combination of two 'otherworldly' languages that didn't exist in the world. He knew for a fact it was nigh impossible to decipher an unknown language— especially language as complex and fully formed as he was using. There was no known language to use as a reference or obvious picture references that could give meaning to a particular sentence. It was a dead language(s). It was another skill he could add to his repertoire as a creator/user of coded language, but for that to happen, he would need to teach the language to someone else, but that wasn't in Takuma's plan— a way to store information only accessible to him was a huge advantage.
"I don't recognize the language," Nenro said.
"That's the point. Don't worry about it. It's some stuff I'm working on. It helps me keep track of random things."
"You created a new language to keep track of… random stuff?"
Takuma shrugged. "You gotta do what you gotta do," he gave a nonsensical answer that seemed to make sense but didn't on a second thought. He didn't mind these four people finding some stuff about him that didn't make sense, except he didn't want to explain.
"Never let your guard down," Takuma suddenly said, making everyone take their eyes off the wall. "When you're outside, always be on the lookout— keep track of your surroundings. Maintain active communication; sound out abnormalities so your team is aware of them. Rely on your teammates, but never become dependent. Trust, but not blindly. Even if someone is your ally, if you don't know them personally, be conscious around them. You're responsible for yourself on the field, never forget that, even for a moment."
The room's vibe immediately turned grave as Takuma looked at them severely. He didn't want them to one day go out for a mission and not return. He was aware of the unavoidable risks if they continued to grow as shinobi and eventually got dangerous missions; however, if he could even remotely reduce the risks by making them aware, he would scream his words from rooftops.
"What are you going to do next? What did they say?" Taro asked.
"My chunin team lead is taking a break for some time, so I'm stuck to D-rank missions until he starts retaking C-rank team missions. I've to start Monday to safely make the monthly quota," Takuma sighed— he wanted a slightly longer break but had to work to not get penalized.
Ai frowned, "They aren't reclassifying the mission to a higher ranking?"
Takuma shook his head, "Not yet. It'll happen after they complete their investigation— it'll be a while before I see the effect of reclassification if it happens."
Because of how the mission had gone, and the ongoing investigation, the two C-rank missions that should've been added to Takuma's record were put on hold, which meant he was coming short of his mission quota. He had to work overtime to meet that quota. If the investigation went well, those two C-rank missions would be added later, or the classification might get elevated to more C-rank missions or even a B-rank mission— but who knew when that might be.
"Do you want me to talk to one of my chunin?" asked Nenro.
"No, I'll take it easy for a moment. I'll tell you when… Thanks," Takuma sighed.
The two weeks had been longer than he had expected and planned for before leaving the village. He had to return to his dealing in the village and get his usual life back on track.
… It was alright, he needed to work right now.
"I'm fine," Takuma told Maruboshi, who slightly cocked his head. "Everyone remotely aware of the mission has been asking how I am. I just answered if you wanted to know."
"But you are not… fine, are you?" Maruboshi replied. "Doesn't seem that way to me."
"Should I be smiling constantly so people would leave me alone?" asked Takuma, feeling the irritation bubbling up inside of him. He had gotten sick of random people who he had perhaps talked to once or twice coming up to him, all but demanding to know what had happened on the mission as if it was their birthright.
He looked at Maruboshi, and his half-glare softened as he audibly sighed. "I'm sorry, that was unwarranted. I… just," he sat down on the tree stump in the same training area they had met during Takuma was in the academy.
Maruboshi sat down on the grass in front of Takuma. "You do not have to apologize to me, child. I understand what you are feeling right now."
Maruboshi stayed silent for a moment. "Unlike you, I was on a jonin team when I was a genin"— Takuma knew about that, Maruboshi had mentioned it in passing— "my teammates were as close to me as my blood sister, if not closer. My jonin teacher was strict, but he was closest to what I had to a big brother. The way I taught you during the year was majorly based on how he taught us…. Do you know where they're now?"
Takuma slowly shook his head. He could tell where Maruboshi was going, but the exactness of it was lingering out of his reach.
"They all are dead," Maruboshi stared right into Takuma's eyes. "They did not die one-by-one during their own missions or during the war. They all died on an inconsequential mission while our team was still operational. And they died due to me because I made a reckless decision— my teammates got wiped before I could move a finger, and my teacher had to sacrifice himself to allow me a chance to escape.
Do you know how close we had to be for a jonin to sacrifice himself for a genin? Closer than family."
Jonin were infinitely more valuable than genin. Everyone knew that. The jonin knew, the genin knew, and it universally understood that if the entire ship was sinking and there was no way to salvage the situation, the jonin's life was a priority— even if the rest of the team had to die, the jonin had to come out alive.
"Did you not ever think why I am still a genin?" asked Maruboshi.
Of course, Takuma always had that question in the back of his mind. But he never asked because it would be rude.
"… They held back your promotion because of your team's death?" Takuma took a guess.
"Would anyone still be a shinobi if the village kept them down with no future prospects? Especially at my age?"
Takuma shook his head.
"No, I would not have been. I have rejected promotions at least twice yearly for decades because I do not think I can lead shinobi on missions. I led my teammates to death once; I do not want to do it again," Maruboshi firmly grasped Takuma's shoulder. "But you are different, my child. You are bright, competent, and hardworking— the type of shinobi this village needs and deserves. You cannot get bogged down because of this mission. What happened was not your fault. You were not prepared for the mission that you faced. So do not blame yourself for their deaths."
Takuma closed his eyes and bowed his head. His heart felt like lead again.
"I can't get them out of my mind," Takuma held his head in his hands. "They're always there when I close my eyes."
"It's okay, it's okay," Maruboshi rubbed his arm. "What you're feeling right now is normal. Death of closed ones is not easy— it never was, it never will be."
"How do I get them out?" Takuma asked. Yumiko and Dai always came smiling, but they always changed to them being dead. He didn't want to think about them, but his mind betrayed him. It was as if they were etched behind his eyelids.
"The dead are remembered and survived through the living, Takuma," Maruboshi said. "You have to grieve… take it one day at a time. In my experience, you do not do anything special or different to cope, you just do. You just keep living and put one foot in front of the other. Everyone says time heals, but I not know if that is true—" Takuma looked up at Maruboshi— "but it does help you forget more often. Life will be good again… just in a different way."
"That sounds terrible," said Takuma, tears welling in his eyes.
Maruboshi hugged Takuma, "Death always is, my child."
"W-What… did you say?"
Takuma stared at Iruka sitting across from him with a baffled experience.
"Genin Takuma, your transfer out of the Genin Corp has been expedited and finalized," said Iruka as he placed a scroll on the table in front of Takuma. "You now fall under the directive authority of the Leaf Military Police Force… effective immediately."
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Note: All the chapters will eventually be posted on public forums.
Poor Takuma, being sent to The police force right before the Uchiha genocide, rip. Also will he still be selling drugs and working in the ring, does that mean he starts off as a dirty cop.
I think they knew most of what is he up to.
Well, I guess Iruka will be joining the academy as a teacher as he is supposed to, so he managed a steady job for Takuma. Hope that somehow redeemed him to some extent. Takuma has finally graduated from the Genin Corps.
Cannot wait for Takuma to start his life as an investigator and also cannot wait for him to become jobless again when the Military Police is no more.
Not really, if anything it'll get him some swift promotions since the need for the police will not go away just because the Uchiha are gone. More importantly we'll get some more banter with the red eyed girl from before and the new situation and learning new skills will help him deal with his grief, since he is not returning to what he did with his teammates.
I hope he goes rogue and fights Itachi in his "Scars" mask in front of Sasuke. Doesn't even need to win. His involvement at the right time might save a lot of people. Especially, if the Uchiha girl (forgot her name) helps him.
Would be interesting if the mask became a staple for Takume, representing him putting on a mask of indifference to survive this crazy world.
@Goblowitz while cool sounding, I don't think Takuma would even be able to slow Itaichi down. I also can't remember if Tobi helping to kill the clan is a fannon/fanfiction thing or actually happened in Canon because if so that makes him being able to physically slow them down until help arrives almost impossible sounding.
@Phoenix_dreams Obito absolutely was involved. He, if I remember correctly, was the one to actually slaughter all the children and women at home. While Itachi mudered the people in the police headquarters. To make Itachi look less of bad guy to the audience despite you know... still murdering half of everyone.
Takuma at his current level can't do anything against Itachi in a one on one fight. What he could do is help Shisui survive and succeed in his plan. The one fell apart that lead to Itachi's massacre. It's the safest and only path that's canon actually explored in a what if filler arc where the Uchiha clan survived. It the one where Sasuke is a power tripping police officer.
Obito I'm pretty sure was only doing some recon for smt (steal a couple eyes?) up until Itachi approach him and ask him to aid in the killings (no joke, he also straight up assumes Obito is Madara too).
@Goblowitz Takuma will not last even a second against Itachi. It is not me fanboying over Itachi, Takuma is just... a genin with slightly better-than-average skills, who gets his ass kicked half the time in the arena. On the other hand, Itachi is... well, Itachi. We do not even know if his Genjutsu resistance also expands to Dojutsus like Sharingan.
And... do we really want the Uchihas to survive? Almost all of them are crazy in the head and they are also planning a coup, which will get far too many innocents killed. Maybe the children could be saved, but I am not sure I can say the same for the adults.
Well, yes. Realistically speaking Takuma has no chance against Itachi. You are all right in that regard.
Unless... It's staged! By Itachi voluntarily losing. Because Takuma talked him out of genociding his clan.
OKay, I'm done dreaming now.
Corrupt cop arc let's goooo. Seriously though, it's hilarious that he's gonna be a part of the police force while being neck deep into underworld activities. I wonder how this'll turn out. Maybe the deaths of his teammates will push him to try and avoid the uchiha massacre? He's been doing all this for his own survival, but I doubt it'll be enough for him after his experience with this mission.
I totally agree.
People really underestimate what seeing a dead/dying person does to you on a fundamental level. It's something you think you know and can understand, up until death is right in front of you. You change whether you desire to or not.
I think main question is how long will Takuma's stages of grief last? Because ultimately, the massacre is a pot boiling over, and the flames haven't been extinguish in one way or another.
Aw damn, detective Takuma 'bout to break out a new character training arc. Tftc!
Interested in what the military police actually do, in terms of policy power and purpose. Obviously a more domestic force but in what capacity(s)?
My boy just got a promotion!
Ok what the frick that was unexpected one second they having a talk about family death next thing I know he's getting promoted to probably the worst place to get promoted to at that point in time DANG YOU CLIFFHANGER
The fun part is, Iruka only gives Takuma death flags despite meaning well. He is lIke a drug that enhances your performance but has terrible side effects.
I expected him to join the police force since arc two. His skill set just screams police and he could learn genjutsu from the Uchihas
I don't see the Uchiha willing to explain, train or teaching an outsider of their clan in any circumstances. He can gain merits points while in the police to learn new techniques from the village, but from the Uchiha. Never!
@RedNemesis umm wasn't there that girl uchiha he was kinda close with in his class maybe she somehow went there and things are gonna happen?
She was just interested in Takuma because he was always alone. I would say there is potential for a love interest and a reason to stop or at least make the Uchiha Massacre take not all lives.
More interested in his and Itachi's potential relationship. Perhaps Itachi is the one person Takuma divulges his secret of coming from another world and what is going to happen in the future. Itachi is the one character who could get the most out of this knowledge.
@Goblowitz I don't think she's a love interest cuz I'm pretty sure she's Itachi's love interest and the first person to die in the Uchiha massacre.
@Courage WHAAAAAAT!? I didn't know that!
I thought she was just on Itachi's team! And the story has the "late Romance" tag.
Okay, the more you know...
Damn, nice. This kinda throws a wrench in his ring fights and trainings doesn it. Im sure he will make due
I'm also interested if this changes Takuma's view on multi-opponent fights. Perhaps he is going to prioritize the experience over money ant fight like three or four people at the same time?
You know, at some point, you should change the synopsis. I don't recall Takuma ever being so reproachful of Maruboshi, or of ever decrying the "Will of Fire". Maybe that was once the intent when you started writing the story, but that's clearly not where it ended up heading.
I think Takuma is slowly getting fed up with the world around him. Being a disposable child soldier who has to use all his savings just to try and get ahead in life while being borderline exploited by the military machinery AND understanding how bad this actually is -with his 28-year-old brain- should certainly weigh on his mind.
The main reason he isn't voicing his displeasure is that he has to fear the consequences of being amongst the "dissatisfied". You know, people you can't quite trust anymore and who might disappear one day. Just like when Kabuto and his Caretaker from the orphanage were put on a hit list because of the assumption they could be disloyal. Not to mention that Takuma has laughs and giggles for backing and is just a Jonin-less Genin to bout. That's why he didn't say anything during the T&I interrogation despite anger being an expected emotional response for said situation.
Now whether he hates the "Will of fire" because of that is up to debate. We certainly didn't see Takuma thinking about his Ninja way like the rest of the cast in the original series. It might be that he is going to philosophically analyze his current situation in the future and come to hate everyone. I would however change the synopsis to better represent the more mature and seinen aspects of the story.
@Goblowitz That was a very long response, just for you to agree with me at the last sentence.
@Ann_Onymous He didn't agree with you? He very clearly stated the synopsis should be changed from the comedic levity to a more mature representation of how the story is panning out to be.
To your first comment, the story is(has) hyper focused on Takuma's path of survival and not much else so far. We haven't got his full philosophical take. If anything, Takuma tells himself and thus us, the audience, that philosophy/pondering won't save him so it's just not worth even spending a second to think about when he's so weak. Near the very beginning of the story Takuma has a clear understanding of the death world he now inhibits and has no desire to to be a child soldier of the state but acknowledges that being a soldier is the only path to freedom and autonomy. So unless I'm forgetting smt really massive, we can assume he holds dissatisfaction for being forced into this role as a modern person with modern sensibilities (violence avoidant but valuing autonomy more). With the distaste he shows for having children being involved with army.
The author done a really good job at focusing on Takuma's power climb but that focus gives us a narrow view to a lot of aspects of who Takuma was as a person from earth.
Hope this helps you understand where Globiowitz and me are coming from
Thank you for the chapter ( ●w●)
So is the FL going to be the uchiha girl?
Good news boys, Izumi isn't a Uchiha by blood according to Canon so #1 she dont have to die #2 love interest possibility just skyrocketed since they'll be meeting each other more often and itachi seeing an "out" for what is currently a sister may just push such a relationship along in canon she was killed by tobi, anime killed by itachi both situations probably to avoid itachi having a way out so to speak so under all these inferences...Izumi = FL? I mean its either that or medic girl, but that relationship just seems to be mired in interests no potential there since too much money passing hands involved. Plus all the groundwork set up in the academy arc
@Ziegfreed im all for Izumi! Izumi is the best girl! She's the only non-psycho uchiha described to us in this time period!
@Goblowitz again. According to Canon she isn't a true Uchiha by blood
Basically her mom married outside the clan which basically meant she got disowned only got brought back after her dad died and her sharingan was revealed after nine tails attack