When he was young, Takuma used to be super conscious of what other people thought of him. The feeling was so severe that he would even worry about what a passing-by stranger thought of him; as such, he would try to present his best-cool-proper self whenever that sensation of nervousness arose.
As he grew up, Takuma realized how unnecessarily over exaggerated his thoughts were— just like he didn't care about other strangers, they too didn't care about him. With hindsight, it was so obvious. Ever since that realization, except for the little things here and there, like holding his breath until the person passed by, so no one would see him out of breath, Takuma gradually stopped caring what other people thought of him.
But strangers and people he knew were two different entities. There was still a part of Takuma which was conscious about what his family, friends, and acquaintances thought about him. He could only let his hair down in front of his parents and closest friends.
Though, ever since coming to the strange world, that conscious feeling had been forgotten due to the fact that he simply didn't have the time to think about what others thought of him at all times. He was too occupied, stressed, and tired for his thoughts to even look in that direction.
Simply put: He didn't give a shit what others thought!
However, as Takuma sat smack dab in the middle of the Department of Organized Crime's offices, he felt like a hundred eyes were staring at him. The conscious feeling he had long forgotten seemed to return in full force.
Takuma no longer had any doubt about Yakumi's words about people looking out for his every move because it had only been half an hour since he had joined the department, and it was already this bad.
Yakumi had to step away due to some urgent matters and had asked Takuma to set up his desk until he returned to give him a tour and brief him on his duties. In that time, not a single person had come to converse with him— not even as much as a 'welcome.' Takuma sat there, feeling the gazes and picking up whispers.
He wasn't happy with being left alone and turned into a pariah. All that did was make working difficult— if he couldn't properly cooperate with others and refer to them for help and guidance, working in most workplaces would become difficult very soon. And his time alone in the academy with Hiji and his group had taught him an important lesson. People tend to take advantage of those who they think wouldn't bite back. If he were alone here, they would try to screw him over difficult cases or try to push their mistakes onto him.
He needed friends and collaborating peers to make his work life functional.
Takuma turned away from the desk and looked to the side at a girl who had suddenly appeared beside him. The metallic amber eyes scowled down at him with her arms crossed with a displeased expression on her face.
"I never thought I'd be this happy to see you," Takuma smiled, standing up to greet her. "It's been a while, Arisu."
Fuma Arisu, his academy classmate, tournament opponent, and someone he considered an acquaintance with whom he had a good relationship, in spite of the girl's tendency to glare and scowl at him whenever they met. He could only attribute that to her being a sore loser. That trait of hers was in itself a charm point as it made for some great banter.
"What does that mean?" Arisu's scowl deepened.
"I mean, look around; the people around here don't seem to like me," Takuma whispered. He followed it up with a smile, "Except for you, of course."
"I don't like you very much either," she said.
"So do you like me a little," Takuma flashed her a smile.
Arisu rolled her eyes. "Something came up, so the captain will be busy. He has asked me to get you started. Let's go. I'll give you a tour," she said.
Takuma's brow quirked. "We're on the same team?"
At that moment, Takuma knew he was going to stick by Arisu. She was the only person he knew here, on the same team as him and around the same age as him. Arisu fell right in the strike zone for the first person to build a relationship within the Police Force.
"Thanks. Let me treat you to dinner after this," said Takuma.
Arisu eyed him for a moment before nodding. "I'll take you on that offer."
Takuma followed Arisu with a smile as she gave him a tour of the Leaf Military Police Force headquarters. The training was conducted in a separate facility owned by the Police Force, and this was the second time he had been in the headquarters. He diligently listened to whatever Arisu pointed out. She told him about the people on the hierarchy chain, people to look out for, who were the go-to people, who to not mess with, and all the office comfort things one needed to know.
"So, we don't work out of a precinct?" Takuma asked. The Police headquarters was built near the Uchiha Sector and next to the village's prison. But there were precincts and police stations around the village where the squads worked out for better service.
"There are sites around the village not accessible by the public that we use, but Organized Crime doesn't have regional distribution. Your desk here in the office is the one you'll be working out of as long as the case doesn't require you to move to an external site."
As Arisu showed him around, Takuma noticed how she seemed to be well-liked as she shared small greetings and friendly words with a considerable number of people throughout the headquarters.
"How long have you been working here?" Takuma asked Arisu
"This year will mark one year," said Arisu.
'Three months in Genin Corp, huh,' Takuma sighed to himself. "And how long in Organized Crime?" he asked.
"You had five months in training?" Takuma asked, surprised. The training he had was the same given to Uchiha allies like Fuma Clan; as such, Arisu should have the same two-and-half month training he had.
"I didn't have a training period…. It was already decided from long ago that I'd be in the Police Force somewhere down the line, so I was given the basic training before I was a genin…. I was in the Department of Shinobi Fraud before I moved to Organized Crime."
Takuma gazed at her back. He mused if he should read into the words and between the lines. From how she phrased it, the choice was made for Arisu without asking for input. Was she in the Police Force against her choice— parental pressure, perhaps? He also noted that she had gotten the training beforehand, making him wonder if that was the norm for the Fuma caln or if Arisu was special in some way. He decided to look into that.
"That's why everyone dislikes you," Arisu said, glancing back at him. "It took half a year to get the people to warm up to me, and at least I did five months in Shinobi Fraud before I got transferred to Organized Crime. You hopped into Organized Crime without doing time anywhere. It's like you didn't pay your dues," she said.
"They're pissed, so don't try to worsen their impression," she said. "The only way to make people like you is to do your job; if you make a mistake, own it and try to correct it; take responsibility and show a willingness to learn and help— eventually, they'll warm up to you." She sighed, "I'll help you, try not to worry about it."
They eventually ended back at the Organized Crime offices, where Takuma once again felt eyes on him.
"Do you have any other questions before I run you through the case you'll shadow me on?" Arisu asked.
"Yeah, just one question… Do we have a narcotics department?" Takuma asked, sounding as nonchalant as possible.
"Hmm, narcotics? No, we don't have a separate one. Organized Crimes handle narcotics," Arisu said as she searched for a file in a pile on her desk. "Why? Do you want to work on drug cases?"
"I don't know, maybe," said Takuma as he stared at the workplace he would be working in.
Takuma dragged his feet back to his house after a hectic first day. It wasn't the toughest day he had experienced, but the first day in a new environment drained his energy as quickly as a plug at the bottom of a tub.
He deposited himself in a chair in his living room and completely slumped as he stared at the wall littered with papers. He then glanced at the four large rectangular packages, each more than half his height. He stared at the packages for a good while, his mind protesting against getting up, much less doing work.
But with a mighty groan, he lugged himself off the chair and started to pull off the pages, and sticky notes stuck to the wall one by one and sort them on the small dining table. After half hour, the wall was clean, with stripes of paint missing due to the tape and adhesive used to stick the pages to the surface.
Takuma walked to the packages and tore the brown covering away to reveal a corkboard. He took out his toolbox, and measured the corkboard and wall twice each before hammering the nails into the wall. He then took the new four corkboards and placed them side-by-side to make one large cork surface on his notes wall.
He walked to the other side of the living room, where a stack of stationery sat in the corner. He took out a sticky notepad and wrote down words on it as he walked to his new wall and stuck paper in the middle of the corkboard with a thumbtack.
He had walked himself into a lion's den. Organized Crime handled narcotics-related cases. In the months he had been working as a drug dealer, he hadn't been blind to what was happening around him. Enomoto's and Ryuu's business was fairly organized, with everyone doing their role as cogs in a larger machine which made the entire operation run with a profitable smoothness.
He always knew the risks associated with it— and his 'Tobi' persona, along with his multiple dealer identities, were there to safeguard him. He was confident with how he conducted business to know that he wouldn't be the cause of a potential downfall. However, he didn't have that confidence for factors outside of his influence.
The other dealers, Ryuu, Enomoto, and other competitors. They could screw up and cause him, the little guy, some serious trouble. He needed more protection.
And now that he was inside the source of 'danger,' it provided him with an opportunity to access a place that others wouldn't even dream to get their greasy paws on.
Takuma didn't know how valuable his position was, but he knew that it was valuable.
However, he was willing to find out.
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