Shisui forces himself to flex his fingers as the Hokage looks down on him.
“It’s not a punishment, Shisui,” he says, amusement hanging off the edge of his words. “You’ve been working hard, and I admit I’ve been putting you under too much pressure.” the Sandaime breathes out a cloud of smoke. “The children are good, it’ll be good for you, Shisui.”
“Yes, sir.” He says. A smile works its way onto his face. It’s a little bitter, a little forced but for all his faults, the Sandaime looks after his shinobi.
Shisui feels like he’s been working since the day he graduated from the Academy. From fighting in the Third Shinobi War when he was young, unlocking his Mangekyo Sharingan when he was a child and going on countless missions with Jounin with far greater experience than him had shaped his early childhood. Then, four years ago when Danzou had stolen his eye and poisoned him.
Between his rehabilitation, the Uchiha pitching a fit about his stolen eye, preventing the coup in the year after the Danzou incident, then joining Anbu with Kakashi, Tenzou and Itachi and working with the military police in the subsequent years – Shisui hasn’t really stopped.
He is 21 now and he’s fine. He has friends and people he can actually confide in and he’s living beyond just mission success.
He also hasn’t stopped. But it’s not like he’s the only shinobi who lives for the job.
The Sandaime approaches him and places an old, calloused hand on Shisui’s shoulder.
“If you’re still unsure, think of it this way, you’ll be raising the next generation of shinobi. We have the opportunity to teach peace over violence. Our generations are scarred by war, but this is the first generation in a long time to not have war shaping them.”
There’s a lump forming in his throat. He was seven when first fought in a war. He was sixteen when he was caught in the middle of an inner dispute that was a hair width away from divulging into a civil war.
But these children have never experienced war. Shisui’s heart has always longed for peace as has the Sandaime’s. They have an opportunity to raise the next generation of shinobi not as war mongers, but as beacons of peace instead.
And who are they to let that opportunity slip?
“You have a valid point, sir,” Shisui says, and finds he can’t bring himself to look the Hokage in the eyes.
They cannot let the next generation grow up like his, but that doesn’t mean that Shisui’s the right man for the job.
The Sandaime seems certain this is the best option. That it’ll be good for him and good for the children.
The Sandaime beckons him to rise.
Danzou had kidnapped orphans, took in shinobi who had nowhere else to go and turned them into emotionless weapons. Turned them into his puppet soldiers. He had taken away the very parts that make them human. Danzou had taken their memories, their pasts, their futures, their names. Stolen them like they were fair game instead of living breathing humans.
Shisui keeps his mouth shut. Regardless of what Danzou has done to him, Shisui is in no place to bad mouth anyone. Especially in front of the Hokage. He’s not that special.
Danzou’s actions had been persistently ignored.
The rehabilitation of Root shinobi that stands in front of Konoha is a chasm that might never be filled. But the victims of Danzou’s disillusioned ideals deserve a chance at the very least. There are many who would disagree with that statement.
For the ‘nice village’, Shisui doesn’t think they’re very nice at all. There’s nothing nice about considering the disposal of shinobi, simply because they were the pawns of another man’s 'Will of Fire’.
But Shisui keeps his mouth shut about that too. He’s not that extraordinary.
The youngest Root shinobi is seven.
He shouldn’t be surprised. The system is a cocktail of disaster and chaos, mixed with a healthy dose of explosives waiting to go off. Shisui can’t believe it had taken getting his eye torn out of his head for him to realise.
Shisui thinks of Tenzou and how long it has taken him to get where he is today. Shisui thinks of all the other shinobi who are going to have to go through the same process, and his heart aches for them.
The Sandaime’s self-inflicted ignorance of Danzou’s doings was going to crawl its way to the surface eventually. It just happened that Shisui was the catalyst.
Shisui had stumbled into the Hokage building with poison rushing through his veins, a missing eye and managed to say ‘Danzou’ before passing out completely.
The Hokage hands him a file of the Genin he will have under his wing.
“Enjoy this, Shisui.” He says laughter lines accentuating as he smiles. “They’re good children and I’m sure you can make fierce shinobi out of them.”
Make fine weapons out of them a dark little voice in the back of his head says.
The Hokage dismisses him and Shisui shunshins out of the building.
When Shisui had to stop a civil war, he was prepared to go to any lengths. Danzou had taken away the option of using Kotoamatsukami and clearly wanted both of Shisui’s eyes to force peace himself by killing the Uchiha. So, Shisui was going to kill himself. Itachi would have his other eye. The coup d'etat would be stopped. No one would ever find his body for whatever means they wanted it for.
Shisui was going kill himself. He feels sick when he thinks about it for too long even after all these years, about how… indifferent he felt to dying. He didn’t want to die, but he found he didn’t care either way.
He had realised a lot of things after that. For one, he wasn’t living. He was doing missions and filing paperwork and one of the best shinobi Konoha had under its wing. But, he had never viewed things from what he wanted. Not in a long, long time. He was desperate to keep the clan alive and the village protected but he had neglected himself. He realised Itachi was his only friend. And with both his parents dead, he realised he was lonely.
Shisui was a tool. And he was living as that and nothing more.
Now, he has plenty of people watching his back, for once he has more than just Itachi watching out for him.
The Inuzuka head has a soft spot for him. She was there when Shisui had fallen into the Hokage’s office half dead and she’s been there all throughout his rehabilitation, helping him with even menial tasks.
Shibi often invites him around for dinner, even all these years. The Aburame aren’t known for their hospitality, but the Inuzuka have always been close despite their incompatible tendencies. If the Inuzuka like someone the Aburame tend to like them by extension.
Not to mention the poison that had almost killed him was one from the Aburame clan.
When Shibi had found out, he disappeared for a while and come back with the culprit apprehended, and evidence to back up Shisui’s claim. When Shibi got angry, he got very efficient.
He’s got people to watch him now. Even Fugaku goes out of his way to ask Shisui’s opinion of clan matters. He can’t ignore the fact that Shisui basically stopped a civil war.
He’s dating Kakashi.
Tenzou has been around more often as well.
Tenzou seems new to the idea that it’s possible to have a friend beyond Kakashi, but he’s coming to the idea.
Shisui finally feels human. Like he has something to live for beyond 'protect the village’. It sounds selfish. Shisui is a Konoha shinobi. He’s supposed to live and die for the village but he never thought how refreshing it would be to have people to live for.
He’s been doing A-ranks and S-ranks for as long as he can remember. He’s always been neck deep in the most confidential pieces of information, acting as a spy and double agent for many years. But now, he’ll be teaching some kids. It’s a big change, but hopefully, it’s a welcome one.
He’ll still be on the mission roster. The Sandaime can’t afford to take someone with his skill set off. But kids usually take to him so this just might work out.
He doesn’t want these Genin to go through what he did. To be reduced to a weapon and nothing more. Fighting for a village that in the end, stabbed him in the back in repayment for Shisui’s undying loyalty.
Shisui will always love the village and will always protect it no matter what. But he realises now that there has to be better ways than the pathway of self-destruction he took. There has to be. And he wants these kids to find them.
He sits against a tree in one of the training grounds and flips open the files of his future Genin.
He holds back an incredulous snort as he peers at the picture of Aburame Shino. Shibi must have mentioned something to the Sandaime.
He’s met Shino several times and the kid seemed to take well to him. He’d showed him some of his bugs and had even drawn a picture for him when he was younger that Shisui has definitely thrown out.
Shino is a quiet but determined kid and with the right support, would definitely excel as a shinobi. He’s got a level head on his shoulder and calmness about him that many lack. He has a lot of potential. All Shisui needs to do is work out which buttons to press.
He tucks the file away and flips to the next one. He pulls a hand up to his mouth to muffle his laugh.
Inuzuka Kiba, Tsume’s son. Of course.
Tsume has told him that he would train Kiba, but Shisui thought she’d meant on the side when he wasn’t on a mission.
He chuckles to himself, it didn’t seem that making him a Jounin sensei was the idea of the Sandaime’s alone.
He’s played with Kiba plenty of times, being stuck in the Inuzuka compound for so long after Danzou attacked him. The kid is like a bright spark waiting to burst into a raging fire at a moment’s notice.
He’s a good kid and Shisui thinks he can work with that. Kiba’s loud and hot-headed and has heart of gold. He has a strong sense of loyalty and enough determination that it’s border-lining into pigheadedness.
Shino and Kiba seem incompatible. Quiet and studious, coupled with volume and endless energy seems like an oil and water combination. But friendships are strange things, and Shisui can see the potential for their companionship.
He opens the next one and his eye widens. Hyuuga Hinata.
The Hyuuga have never been a clan that he’s had much to do with. He’s been with them on missions and when Tsume had bullied one into checking Shisui’s recovery.
He couldn’t help but wonder if Tsume had also bullied Hiashi into putting little Hinata on Kiba’s genin team. He wouldn’t put it past her.
Good kids. He can handle that. Absolutely. Yes.
Shisui flips back to Shino’s file and reads up on the little that’s there.
He taught Itachi almost everything he knows. He taught himself many jutsus since he never had a Genin team. He’d gone from the academy and into the Third Shinobi War and had to harass any Uchiha Jounin to help him when he got particularly stuck.
So, upon reflection, it makes a lot of sense that he was selected.
He recalls as many Aburame ninjutsu he knows and draws up a very small list. First, he needs to find out what Shino is already proficient in and what will be the easiest to pick up on.
He would be surprised if Shino hadn’t already started basics such as chakra walking, same for the other two.
It would save more work for him if they are already aware of some of the basics. That way Shisui can help them refine it and kick straight off into chakra natures, clan jutsu and taijutsu.
He knows significantly more Inuzuka jutsus, although the range of jutsus is immense, as a lot of it depends on the person and their canine companion. Similarly, the Aburame differ greatly depending on the insects inside them.
He’ll have to go to Tsume and ask her for advice on what Kiba needs to learn.
The Hyuuga is a bit of a mystery to him, having never interacted much. He knows the basics of Hyuuga clan jutsu, but he’ll likely have to go to Hiashi at some point.
But, he doesn’t even know what the kids can and can’t do, so he doesn’t need to get ahead of himself.
Shisui tucks the files under his arm and stands up. The kids are officially his students in under a week, so he has that much time to get a list of things he wants to cover.
A week to wrap his head around it all and calm down.
He can do this.