CH_4.2 (102)
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Takuma couldn't stop his foot from shaking as he sat outside the office of Uchiha Setsuna, the chunin-in-charge of hiring the new 'officers' of the Leaf Military Police Force. He knew for a fact that not all the new hires had a meeting with Chunin Setsuna— he had contacted others selected into the Leaf Military Police Force only to find none of them had meetings scheduled. Takuma had zero idea why he was meeting Setsuna, which only served to jitter his nerves.

"Genin Takuma," a woman, the assistant, sitting across the room behind a desk, looked up at Takuma. "Chunin Setsuna would see you now. Please head in."

Takuma nodded and headed to the office door but backtracked to the assistant and whispered to her. "Hello, ma'am. I must say, you look absolutely gorgeous today. Do you happen to know what this meeting is about? Like, is he angry or happy, or...."

The woman looked up at him with a firm stare, with no words as a reply.

"… I mean to look so stunning in the uniform requires some serious skill and charm," Takuma tried one last shot.

"… …"

"Nothing?" Takuma nodded. "Alright…still absolutely lovely…I'll head in now, thank you."

Takuma knocked on the door and entered when he heard the word. The office was simple, clean, and looked spacious despite the moderate size of the room. A simple desk with a painting behind it, two chairs in front of the desk, a two-seater couch below the windows with a small coffee table, and one open and one closed cabinet each. Most importantly, it didn't smell of booze and smoke like that of another head of an organization that Takuma worked with. Takuma noticed a set of engraved kunai decorated on the walls, which were issued as awards of merit and bravery from the Hokage.

Takuma stood at attention in silence in front of the desk while Setsuna read some documents on his desk.

"Sit down," Setsuna said after five minutes.

Takuma knew it was five minutes because of the wall clock. A time too long to stand in silence in a person's office after being called by said person. Takuma sat down, back straight, in the chair across from Setsuna. The silence extended for another minute or two before Setsuna looked up.

"Tell me about the Land of Frost mission."

"I'm sorry, sir. I can't divulge the specifics due to the orders given to me and the ongoing investigation," Takuma's reply was immediate. After being asked the same question hundreds of times in every way imaginable, he had the answer ready on his tongue.

"I'm your boss, Genin Takuma. Are you sure you don't want to answer my question?"

"I've standing orders not to answer any questions regarding the mission to anyone outside the investigation," Takuma said calmly, but his heart slightly picked up the pace.

He didn't want to be on the boss's bad side on his first day, but he also couldn't ignore orders from the investigators, and he personally also didn't want to talk about the mission.

Setsuna finally looked up from his papers, and Takuma's breath was taken away as he found himself staring into red eyes with two black tomoe gently spinning around the pupil. It was the first time Takuma had seen it— Uchiha's Sharingan. He couldn't help but be transfixed by the hauntingly enchanting red eyes.

Takuma wondered if this was how Orochimaru felt.

"Are you sure, Genin Takuma?"

"… I have my orders, sir," Takuma said, staring into the eyes.

Setsuna withdrew away from Takuma unhurriedly. His eyes regained their original onyx hue as Setsuna peered at Takuma with an intrigued and inquisitive stare. "I praise your obedience and ability to maintain your professional integrity, Genin Takuma. It is an exceedingly rare quality these days," he declared.

Takuma exhaled as he expanded his focus to observe Setsuna as a whole. The man possessed the typical Uchiha characteristics of jet-black hair and onyx eyes, yet he had a noticeably square jaw compared to other Uchiha, who had sharper features. He wore his hair in a short, low ponytail, adding a rougher edge to the disciplined soldier.

"May I ask the purpose of this meeting, sir?" Takuma inquired.

"What do you think?"

Takuma didn't answer as he didn't have one. He had no idea why Setsuna had called him to the office while the other recruits gathered in an auditorium to start the mandatory seventy-five days of training before they could work in any official capacity. From the conversation, Takuma would've believed Setsuna wasn't pleased with him, and even though Setsuna had praised him – that could've very well been sarcasm.

"I'm afraid I don't know, sir."

"Your track record makes you suitable for the Lead Military Police Force," Setsuna retrieved a file and opened it on his table. Takuma's eye twitched. He hated it when someone read his file in front of him; it meant someone had looked into him behind his back and knew things he didn't have an awareness about.

Setsuna continued, "The number of C-rank missions you've done in the short time you were with your chunin is considerable."

Takuma had been the only genin in Team Iruka to be on every single C-rank mission procured by and issued to Iruka. He had done enough to nearly match Nenro, who had been working with chunin longer than him.

"But it's the type of mission that interests me more," a sardonic smile stretched on Setsuna's face. "Chunin Iruka didn't get good missions, did he? Look at all this dirty grunt work. Tailing spouses, taking night shifts at guarding warehouses, outsourced background checks, babysitting upstarts, collecting unpaid debts, repossessing assets, keeping protests in control.... Next time you meet Chunin Iruka, tell him to choose better missions once in a while— but I suppose you get what you get when you follow a new chunin with no background to lean on."

Takuma schooled his expression. When applying for a new job, you never badmouthed your previous employer because that only showed the interviewer that you would badmouth them in front of outsiders. Regardless, Takuma had no intention of criticizing Iruka to anyone but the man himself.

"Short as it may be, my time with Chunin Iruka has been integral to my growth as a shinobi." Iruka was the reason he had double-digit C-rank missions on his record— when all was said and done, he didn't care what kind of missions he had done to get that result.

Setsuna knocked on his desk twice. "Exactly. These missions are why you were selected and why I've called you here," he said. "When you do genuine work, it shows. I've seen a hundred applications pass my desk with double, some even triple, the number of C-rank missions than yours. All of them had fluff, easy jobs, used as filler to pad up their records," he had a sneer on his lips. "You have none of that, Genin Takuma. Which is why you'll be put into special training with a few others who meet the criteria."

Takuma was surprised, but he didn't show it— as for if he was successful, Setsuna did a great job with his straight face. He digested the information presented to him and thought about how to react.

"What makes this training special?" asked Takuma. He couldn't reject the training, so he might as well set up his expectations.

"Training we give to our closest allies."

That meant there was training above it that Uchiha used for themselves. Takuma wasn't complaining. He hadn't been trained by the methods employed by the shinobi clans— exposure to any level of clan training was welcome.

"And what after this special training?" asked Takuma. Special training meant a higher investment in him, which meant they'd require returns proportional to that investment.

Setsuna said, "That depends on how you perform in training."

Takuma mused on how he would rank above the other recruits who would be going through the 'regular' training. Thoughts about time management passed through his head. His second contract with Ring was about to begin in a couple of days, and he needed to get back to dealing to support that. He didn't know how intense and time-consuming the special training would be, and if he would be able to juggle everything.

'I have to,' Takuma said to himself.

If he could prevent what happened in the Land of Frost, he would do everything in his power to make that possible.

———

.

The iron strained the muscles on Shisui's arm as he curled the dumbbell. Shisui breathed out as he slowly brought the weight down, straining his arm again. He looked back at the door to his home gym's door, and a second later, the door opened, and Itachi stepped into the room.

"How did the mission go?" Shisui asked, continuing to work the dumbbell.

"Success."

That could mean various things. The mission went exceptionally well, and they completed the objective—or it could be that while the mission objective was met, people died. But Shisui wasn't interested in how the mission went. He didn't even know what the mission was—it was classified, only known to Itachi's team.

"They held the new recruit orientation yesterday. They say it went well," said Shisui.

Itachi hummed, sounding disinterested.

It still bothered Shisui how disinterested Itachi sounded with clan matters; he only seemed interested in his own missions and the problems the village was facing. Not that Itachi was doing anything wrong in showing interest in the village and his duty as a shinobi, but the clan was still his family, and ignoring clan matters was disrespectful.

Shisui dropped the weight on the ground and got up from the bench. He grabbed the towel and faced Itachi, who was looking at himself in the full-length mirror in the corner.

"Clan Leader addressed the recruits—"

"I told Lord Hokage everything," Itachi said, not removing his eyes from the mirror.

Shisui's mind and body went cold. He stared at Itachi in the mirror's reflection in shock from what he had heard. He knew what Itachi meant. The Uchiha clan was planning to overthrow the current regime and place themselves atop the Hidden Leaf village as the rulers. Both of them were opposed to their clan's plans and had decided to stop it from happening for the sake of the clan, village, and nation.

In deciding so, they had gone to the Hokage and told him about what the Uchiha were planning. However, they had purposefully held back most of the information and had decided and agreed on what to divulge. The Hokage was told that the Uchiha clan was dissatisfied with their treatment in the village and was gathering their allies and support to push back against the regime. They framed it so it was perceived that the Uchiha were going on an aggressive political offense that would cause great tension within the village and could create conflict, disrupting the state of the village and its operations that extended past the village boundaries and throughout the Land of Fire.

They purposefully held back the information that the Uchiha were planning a Coup D'état that would destroy the village beyond repair. Shisui didn't want the village to suddenly brand the Uchiha as enemies and declare them as traitors; as such, he wanted the information to come out at a gentler pace so the Hokage wouldn't make any drastic decisions. The plan was to disclose parts of the information as the situation warranted eventually.

But now, Itachi had told everything to the Hokage... without asking Shisui.

Itachi looked at Shisui in the mirror's reflection and found Shisui's eyes red with three tomoe spinning rapidly. He turned away from the mirror to face Shisui directly and opened his mouth to speak, only to freeze up. When he looked into Shisui's Sharingan, he no longer saw the three-tomoe design— instead, he found himself gazing into two four-point pinwheels.

"... S-Shisui?"

Green translucent flames erupted around Shisui, and before Itachi could move a muscle, an enormous skeletal arm sprang out from the fire and pinned Itachi to the wall. The mirror shattered, and the wall behind Itachi cracked from floor to ceiling. The entire building shook as if an earthquake had passed by.

"Itachi, you know very well that I trust you with my life," Shisui said, his face set in stone, but his eyes burned with anger and perhaps a twinge of madness. "So, I would like you to think very carefully and tell me why you decided to go behind my back. Understand that right now, I don't find myself very trusting towards you and that if your answer doesn't satisfy me, I'm very tempted to, and capable of, erasing the person called Uchiha Itachi and putting a puppet in your place who wouldn't endanger the clan.

"Do you understand, Itachi?" The skeletal fingers tightened around Itachi, constricting and contorting his body. "Now... answer me."

That day, Itachi would narrowly escape with his life and learn about the existence of the Mangekyo Sharingan.

 


 

[Edit] AN: Oh, I forgot to add this. So, the initial response to Shisui's reaction to Itachi's actions was out-of-character. I was given feedback that Shisui and Itachi are like brothers, and Shisui won't behave like this. I disagree. Yes, they're like brothers— totally agree with that— but that doesn't mean brothers don't fight. Shisui is under a lot of pressure and duress right now, and Itachi blindsiding him like that really affected him. And I personally think that something happens to an Uchiha when they gain the MS— I think it effects their mental status in some way, at least for a while until they sort themselves out.

 


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