The Revenge of the Hawk: Chapter 3: Dissent
The Revenge of the Hawk
A quick note: Alright, another chapter out! This one is primarily plot development, with a tad bit of drama thrown in there. Gonna try to make the next one more exciting. But, still, progress is progress, right? But I digress; thank you for reading and enjoy!-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chapter 3: Dissent
Hidden training facility, deep underneath the village
The air was dank and thick in these caverns; had the boy before him been able to comprehend discomfort as anything but a battle stimulus, Danzo believed he would probably complain about it. Thankfully, he thought, praising his own foresight in training them properly from a young age, that wouldn’t be a problem; none of the Foundation’s youngest members could comprehend any sort of negative emotion, or any emotion at all for that matter. They were his second greatest accomplishment in making the Leaf strong once again. And he would use them to ensure the survival of the first.
Danzo scratched his chin, inspecting the recruit he had ordered brought before him; the youth was rail thin, almost appearing emaciated from years of harsh physical conditioning and a very strict diet. His raven hair was cropped neatly on his head, not a single strand obstructing the efficiency of his sight or hearing in any way, and his ebony eyes were cold, collected, lacking any sort of luster or sheen. Had the child been lying on his back, still and unresponsive, you could easily confuse him for being dead.
After several moments of reflection, Danzo slowly nodded, and looked down at the child, beginning without formality or any courtesy whatsoever. “Child, you are to enter the Leaf Academy and bring to me one particular student. This boy has, like others before him, been chosen for his…distinguished…” Danzo stumbled a moment on that word, murmuring it distastefully as though it were a curse, feeling vile on his tongue, befoe continuing. “…lineage. And you will use whatever means necessary to bring him to me, discreetly, of course. I don’t care what methods you use; befriend him, drug him, bound and gag and drag him, just do not…” He leaned forward, now staring the child in the eyes intently, their stares locking in an icy exchange. “…do not, by any means, harm him in any way. If you so much as touch a hair on his head in a way which displeases me…well, you should know. Imagine your usual punishments as a child…multiplied exponentially.”
Failure was not mentioned as an option; the word, and its’ useless, abstract meaning, was never taught to the youth of the Foundation. Success was the only viable option. The boy merely nodded, his expression not changing in the least, and he stated, firmly but without feeling, “yes sir”.
Danzo nodded his satisfaction, and though he did not smile, he allowed the tiniest hint of pride to echo in his voice as he continued on. “Good. You were chosen because you appeared to adapt to the training very proficiently. Upon properly succeeding, you will be promoted to Chunin and be a squad leader, as reward. But…for this task you must have a name. You shall be…Sai. Yes, Sai will suffice for you.”
Sai looked up towards Danzo’s face, and, wanting to test himself, flashed an overly-wide, awkward smile, eyes closed and no real warmth emanating from his face. “Yes sir! I will follow your instructions to the letter; who shall Sai be extracting for you?”
Danzo grimaced slightly, lines on his face tensing a moment before he shook his head. There were, small as they might be, minor flaws to the Foundation’s form of education. “Don’t refer to yourself in the third person…it’s irritating, and people will dislike you for it. Also, don’t smile so broadly. You’re gaping like a fool. Work on emotional expression; how can you conceal who you are if you can’t even use your bodily functions to lie properly.”
The false smile which had been prevalent on Sai’s face immediately vanished, and he lowered his head in the semblance of humility. Danzo nodded, knowing that this, too, would be a perfectly followed order, for that was exactly what “Sai” was born to do. No tool had ever been designed to be as precise and efficient in its’ use as he had.
“Returning to your question…” Danzo stated, turning away and beginning to depart back to his offices. “…the one I order you to bring me is named Uchiha. Sauske Uchiha.”
The Hokage’s office, briefing room.
“I’ll cut straight to the situation at hand; one of our more promising Special Jonin was found murdered on the outskirts of village early this morning, with almost half of his body ripped off.” The Third Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi, had never been one to mince words or beat around the brush, but today he seemed even more intent on being forward than usual. The room was crowded, with thirty or so Jonin standing at the fore of it, whispering intently on what they could discern of the incident. At the end, the Hokage sat at his desk, which was cluttered with a giant flurry of papers, some stacked orderly, others strewn about with a dozen other miscellaneous objects, and behind it sat Hiruzen Sarutobi himself. To the side of the room, a temporary table had been brought in for several of the elders to sit in on the meeting, and several of the older council members were already chatting mutely amongst themselves.
The Hokage slammed his hand upon the table, wincing a bit as the arthritis in his wrist bit at the nerves of his bones. He reinforced that he did not, in fact, enjoy growing old. His body was lined with the stress of battle after battle, harsh decision after harsh decision, and his once attractive auburn hair had grown gray and lack luster over the years. He sat with a slight hunch as though he would fold in on himself at any moment, but still, he reminded himself, he had to keep up the ever vigilant order of strength. After the room had grown silent once more, he resumed with a slight cough.
“Now then…the exact details are still hazy, but we are making progress. The forensic unit of the Anbu has surmised that Hayate was killed by a wind jutsu; the wound is too messy to be fire or lightning, and those cuts are too deep for water, and too sporadic for earth or ice. We’ve sent units to the Land of Wind to consult the Kazekage on this matter, in order to determine if any rouges from that region have potentially moved into ours. Furthermore…”
“You continue to babble on of investigations and speculation; as usual, Hiruzen, you lack any real substance to the fiber of your decisions.”
Most of the people in the room turned about to see an old man in the garb of the council of elders walk through the door. Bandaged around half of his face and body, and cloak covering a great deal as well, Danzo Shimura moved to the elders’ table, taking the seat closest to the Hokage’s own desk. He looked about at the attendance of the meeting before shaking his head, clicking his tongue loudly in disapproval.
Really now, Hiruzen? Tsk, tsk; you speak of the Anbu and yet none are even present at this meeting, save for the raw meat you deemed for reasons unbeknownst to myself as a commander…” Danzo turned his attention at that to the one standing beside the Hokage, a giant of a man known as Ibiki, who helped run intelligence operations for the village. The latter frowned at Danzo, boring his stare into the man’s unconcealed portion of his face, which the elder largely ignored.
“…and furthermore, all of them only hold experience in minor skirmishes at the end of the last war. Look at this sorry lot! Why, that’s Kakashi Hatake, the ‘famous Mirror Ninja’ isn’t it?” That was said in a rediulously emphatic fashion, clearly exaggerated and mocking as he smiled thinly at Kakashi. “Nothing like putting so much trust in a man whose greatest accomplishment is being unoriginal. And my, who do we have here?” He moved his attention over to Asuma, who was already glaring at the dissenting elder with a look that spelled trouble. “The prodigal failure! The son who would be king, were it not for his lack of good judgment, which drove his father to shun him…”
“…That’s enough. Stop.” Asuma spoke slowly, his voice rumbling like thunder and his eyes becoming dark and foggy. He made a step forward to the elder and placed one of his hands by his belt.
Kakashi looked over warningly, and made to grab at his comrade’s hand. “Asuma…careful now…easy…”
Danzo merely smiled widely at the younger Sarutobi, and shook his head. “…and in turn, the son left the village to become a petty criminal. Only to be saved from the wrath of the village by his good old, ashamed father. And I was surprised at that myself! Who on earth would take back on such a worthless ingrate?”
Everyone gasped in shock as Danzo was bashed against the wall of the chamber, Asuma fuming in silent rage and holding him firmly up by the collar. He spoke once more, with a voice which seemed to cut the silence like a finely honed knife, and his eyes bled murder from every stare they lashed upon the Kohona elder. “Do not ever speak like you know my family…”
Danzo only continued to smile as Kakashi and Ibiki quickly grabbed Asuma by both arms, struggling to bear him off of his would be victim, as Asuma used a massive amount of strength in an attempt to resume his death grip. Danzo brushed himself off, and gazed pensively back at the Third Hokage. “I see the hot blood of fools runs in the family. You were always to prone to follow your emotions, Hiruzen.”
The Hokage frowned, and shook his head. “I don’t appreciate you egging on conflict in this hall, Shimura. We are all comrades in arms here, all sons of the Will of Fire. Asuma as much as you.” While the Hokage said this, however, it could not be missed though that he looked primarily at Asuma himself while he spoke. Danzo merely shrugged and walked back towards the exit.
“I merely wanted to point out that the Anbu have another factor to add; Kago the Wind Reaper is loose in the Land of Fire. I believe he was one of ours…wasn’t he?”
The Third remained silent, only scratching his chin at that bit of information. Danzo continued to walk out, and only briefly paused at the door. “You were always too merciful, as well, Hiruzen. With Orochimaru, Kago…all of your would be sons, aren’t you? All of the wars you fought and one, the deaths you caused, the achievements which led you to be crowned ‘God of Shinobi’…and yet you were too weak to complete the hardest task of all.”
With that, Danzo made his exit, and the room stirred once again. Asuma stared hard at his feet, as if trying to pierce holes in the ground. Hiruzen Sarutobi walked up to his son, grabbing him roughly by the shoulder. “You and I are going to have a talk. Now.”
The two walked into a back room, as the Shinobi of the Leaf tried to remind themselves which man held power in the village.