CH_4.3 (103)
6k 37 162
X
Reading Options
Font Size
A- 15px A+
Width
Reset
X
Table of Contents
Loading... please wait.

"Setsuna…"

Uchiha Setsuna stopped to look back as he was about to exit the Leaf Military Police Force.

"Yakumi?"

The one to call out to him was Uchiha Yakumi, one of the squad supervisors.

"Can we talk about the recruit you're sending me tomorrow?" Yakumi asked.

Setsuna looked at his wristwatch. It was already past working hours, and he wanted to return home to his family. Talking about work after hours was his least liked thing to do, but looking at Yakumi and thinking about the man's reputation, he deemed it prudent to have the conversation with him.

"Let's talk over tea," Setsuna sighed— if he was being made to work after hours, he would make Yakumi pay for some evening tea and sweets for his children.

"What do you want to know?" Setsuna asked Yakumi sitting across from him in the busy tea shop inside the Uchiha complex.

"Who're you sending me?" asked Yakumi, setting his teacup down.

"You must've gotten the file."

"I read the file; that's why I want to know why send him to me? This Takuma kid… I don't see it."

Setsuna sipped his tea. "You don't like what you say?"

"All I saw was an inconsistent record with too many irregularities for my liking. I'd much rather appreciate someone reliable than someone with high peaks sprinkled between lows."

The special recruits were to be sent to departments Setsuna and the instructors had chosen for them by observing them during the training period. Their locations were based on the recruit's skill and the department pecking order. Not all departments were equal— based on the crimes, media attention, and politics, departments in the Leaf Military Police Force were considered of varying importance.

Yakumi's department happened to be among the top of said pecking order, if not the very best. While most departments weren't genuinely excited by the incoming recruits because of their origins— if they were going to get recruits, they needed to be the best. Yakumi's department head insisted (demanded) that they get the best of the recruits— and Yakumi's squad was the one to receive the recruit.

Setsuna couldn't say he hadn't seen this coming; Yakumi's department was strict about who they let in, no matter the recruit's background.

The dossier Setsuna had sent consisted of Takuma's shinobi file without the censored information (he couldn't go around spreading confidential information to anyone when it took his jonin supervisor's clearance to get it) along with Takuma's training reports and logs.

"I want to know what's not in the file," asked Yakumi.

Setsuna crossed his hands and thought about the question. If it had been the normal recruits, he wouldn't have an answer, for he hadn't directly supervised or trained them, but Yakumi was asking about one of their new special recruits, who he had worked closely with for the past two and a half months. The training had finally ended, and the trained recruits would be joining official duty from tomorrow.

"Before training, I too worried about his inconsistency," said Setsuna. He was mostly interested in Takuma's C-rank mission record. "But… he's 'strangely' competent."

"What do you mean?" Yakumi asked, hearing the inflection.

"He's a slow learner, but once he gets the hang of it, things stick in his mind like glue. That's not the strange part— the strange part is how he seemingly already knows all sorts of things that our people usually learn on the job through the years."

Setsuna recalled how Takuma knew precisely where to pat a person down to find hidden bundles and packages; when the recruits were taken to an arson scene, Takuma already knew how to sift through debris to look for the source of fire; he could crowd control with ease through clear instructions delivered using his chakra-enhanced voice; had an unexpected amount of knowledge of major and minor gangs and groups around the Leaf village; when he was sat down at a desk in one of the precincts, he guided the civilians and visitors as if he was used to doing it.

"One thing I'm sure you'd appreciate is that he listens and follows." Setsuna had seen many recruits who thought they were hot-shit when they entered duty, wanting to take charge and acting as if older shinobi didn't know crap. Takuma wasn't like them. "He keeps his head down, does his work, and… he observes. There was a week where I worked every day with the recruits when I noticed that every time, he'd be the last to speak— he isn't mute or sparse with his words— Takuma observes first, takes people's points, and only then presents his thoughts."

Those were the traits he had seen many leaders. Whenever a topic was in discussion, they never put their thoughts out first so as to not taint others' views and lead everyone to accommodate the leader's view through their own. Instead, they went last to get everyone's perspectives and only then spoke their own. Of course, that wasn't all a leader was.

And Takuma wasn't without faults. He lacked initiative, didn't display charisma to gather people, and was frankly overly cautious, as if someone was constantly out to get him— perhaps beneficial in the field, but those types of people weren't well-liked from the get go.

"If you're worried about him being a slacker, you shouldn't be," said Setsuna. "You and yours will like him."

Yakumi didn't look convinced. Setsuna wasn't even sure why Yakumi even wanted this meeting because, from the looks of it, watching Takuma work from his own eyes was the only way to get the doubt and skepticism out.

"I don't like this new system you're trying to push," Yakumi frowned. "There's a reason why our people work in other departments before transferring to ours. It's a tough job. Do you think a kid like him will be able to take what comes with it?"

Setsuna had thought about it. Assigning people from outside the clan (and their allies) into every corner of the Leaf Military Police Force was supposed to be a message to all the clans in the village: The Uchiha were coming out of their shell, catching up to all of them who had been recruiting outsiders to boost the 'human talent.' It was also a message to everyone else: if they wanted resources and opportunities, the Uchiha clan was now a destination.

It was a declaration: the Uchiha clan was changing. And if anyone thought to underestimate them, they would come to regret it.

He understood Yakumi's department was hard to enter, and it was so for a good reason, but if he wanted to make the message mean anything, he needed to create an image that the Uchiha were fair. That even outsiders could reach places that one would think were reserved for clan members— even if it was half the truth, as long as people perceived it as entirely truthful, that's all that mattered.

Takuma was to be such an example. A walking, living, breathing poster of Uchiha's fairness and generosity, their willingness to work with those who showed promise. That if a shinobi named Takuma could join one of the most prestigious departments of the Leaf Military Police Force— so could they.

"I'm sure he'd be fine," said Setsuna— or at least that's what Setsuna hoped.

He had chosen Takuma for a reason. The psych evaluation attached in the confidential report, done after his Land of Frost, during the course of multiple interrogation sessions, showed him to be mostly mentally stable. What Takuma had gone through wasn't easy for a greenhorn shinobi.

First blood, losing comrades, giving them field funerals, and then crossing two nations all alone— if Takuma could keep himself together after all that, then Setsuna hoped that the boy could keep himself together doing the job Yakumi's department did.

"It's dangerous territory you're treading, Setsuna," Yakumi warned.

Setsuna nodded. "I know, my friend. I know…."

If Takuma could not?

Well, sometimes sacrifices were needed for grand causes to be successful.

He and the clan could only learn from their experiences and get better— just like how their Sharingan allowed them to grow stronger from every enemy thrown their way.

Setsuna looked at his blurry reflection on the tea's surface.

One day, the Uchiha would take what was rightfully theirs… and that day would be soon.

———

.

Takuma sat down in the corner of a large office space with a book on crime scene investigation and mapping in hand. Perhaps it was because of his experience in the academy, but Takuma found natural crowd noise to be the background noise for concentration. He read the text blocks on the pages, reading the academic text that was a slow slog to get through, but it was something that one of the teachers had recommended— and Takuma was feeling a strong sense of imposter syndrome, and learning more was the only way to keep it under control.

"Genin Takuma."

Takuma looked up from his book to see an Uchiha standing before him. He could tell from the looks. Takuma closed his book and stood up to greet the man,

"Good afternoon, Chunin Yakumi," said Takuma.

"You know of me?"

"Yes, sir. I was the outside help on the Higurashi pharmaceutical case," it didn't have a name back then— but the media had given it one.

A look of remembrance flashed across Yakumi's face. "Chunin Iruka was the one we brought in. Yes, I remember it now. And you were part of his team back then? I heard about the Land of Frost mission. How is he doing?"

"He has decided to take a break away from the field and has joined the Shinobi Academy as a teacher."

"An admirable route," Yakumi nodded, but his tone didn't hold no such sentiment. Takuma could tell that he had said it just for the sake of saying it. Yakumi continued, "Let's not waste any more of our day. It's time to introduce you to the team."

As Yakumi led him, Takuma felt nervousness creep up with every step. The training was something of a honeymoon period. It was tough, in some ways as brutal as the training under Taskmaster Yoshio, but it was very much an instructional training course where he was okay as long as he did what was asked of him. Do this, get that, and as long as he did it correctly, he was praised/not punished.

But the actual job was different because inside of the classroom was nothing like the real world.

Since he had found himself in the world, Takuma had never thought he had been handed something he didn't deserve. All of his skills he had worked to the bone to achieve them; his academy graduation gained through a year of misery; he had won the final tournament through grit and decisions that set himself for victory; his D-rank missions worked like a laborer; he got his Ring 'membership' because of his win at the final tournament and the gains through the Ring were an outcome of blood and sweat; he had nabbed his position at Iruka's team through a great impression and had retained his spot in every mission through pure results; even his drug dealing's earnings were a result of good service.

But the opportunity at the Leaf Military Police Force had come out of the left field. He hadn't sought it, nor had he wished for it. Iruka had thrown it in his lap as a way to take care of him.

Maybe because of that, Takuma felt he didn't deserve to be a part of the very illustrious organization. He felt that he needed more time, more skills, and more merit to earn.

He felt he wasn't ready for it.

"You'll be working under me…" Takuma buried his thoughts and focused on Yakumi, who continued, "So, I'll say this straight to your face. I dislike this arrangement, and you shouldn't be with us…."

That did wonders for Takuma's anxiety.

"People work hard to be in the position you've been handed on a silver platter. These aren't my thoughts, but everyone's." Yakumi walked one step ahead of Takuma and spoke without looking at him. "You will be under constant observation, your moves will be gone through a fine-tooth comb, and your peers will try to pick your faults to undermine you— so beware, make a wrong move, and it'll be announced and paraded through the department."

Takuma felt his feet turn into heavy stone. He pulled on his vest around his neck to let some air in as he kept his lips sealed shut. He felt Yakumi's every single word like a hammer through his body, mind, and spirit.

He was a drug dealer and underground prizefighter about to join official duty in the police. After the Uchiha, who would soon all be killed, he was the person in the most danger due to his occupation. Being under observation was the last thing he wanted.

But it was about to become his reality.

They arrived in front of large double doors that were fully open, and a raucous coming from inside. Yakumi turned to Takuma and pointed at the red strap around Takuma's arm with the Leaf Military Police Force insignia sewn into it.

"You don't deserve that." Yakumi looked Takuma in the eye. "But if you do the work, do it well, and prove without a doubt that you deserve to be here— then I'll personally help you to shut every doubter down.

Genin Takuma, welcome to the Leaf Military Police Force."

With a heart that drummed in his heart, Takuma looked above the double doors with a plaque bolted on the wall.

[Department of Organized Crime]

 

 


Want to read ahead of schedule? Head over to Patreón [fictiononlyreader]. Link here and in signature.

Note: All the chapters will eventually be posted on public forums.

162