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Water Runs Red

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Waters Runs Red - Chapter 1

Iruka paused before the door to the mission room. It had been a long day. He wasn't sure which was worse, teaching a class of not yet trained ninjas with excessive sharp objects or not getting any sleep due to running a mission for Ibiki-san.

Most shinobi even thought the people chosen to man the mission desk were there because they were 'desk ninjas' a term so nicely coined by the duo of Izumo and Kotetsu. Really for a village like this, so known for dealing in information, you would think someone would figure out there was more to it.

While some of the people who staffed the desk and handed out the scrolls were just shinobi of the paperwork type, those chosen to do the truly menial tasks of sorting scrolls in the archives and filing reports, none of them were what they appeared to be.

Granted they had the rank of chuunin, and unfortunately the pay that went with it. However, they were also the secret resource for T&I. Sure, other shinobi thought maybe the desk ninja chuunin partied too much, and drank too much, but really, who could expect anything different from those who would rise no further in rank than chuunin, and desk chuunin at that. Iruka was in a slightly higher category since he had a respectable job at the academy. Well, maybe not respectable, but at least something that even the jônin had to realize needed to be done.

He sighed as he walked over to the desk. Izumo was staring intently at a pile of paperwork as Iruka slumped into the other chair. The jônin milling around the room while finishing up their reports were unusually quiet. Iruka looked over at the Izumo who just shoved a cup of cold coffee over towards him along with a bottle of painkillers. Without a word, Iruka opened the bottle, or at least tried to. Child proof should not mean chuunin proof, damnit. As he started to attack the bottle with a kunai, he saw the bottle snatched from his hands by a familiar hand.

He looked up to see the gruff form of Asuma, he was about to say something about the man smoking in the mission room, again, but when he realized the man was opening the bottle for him, he just smiled. Well, he tried to smile, the migraine pounding at his head to the point his vision wasn't reliable turned the smile into more of a half sneer.

"Arigato Asuma-san" He downed four of the white pills once the bottle was handed back to him before washing it down with the cold coffee.

Asuma smiled back at him, before quietly speaking, "No problem." It looked like he was going to say something more but just walked back to the rest of the jônin milling around pretending to be working on their mission reports.

Iruka looked over at the obviously hung over chuunin before making an inquisitive noise.

Izumo looked over at him, "Kotetsu is in the file room. He…" He stopped for a moment before carefully picking his words. "He kindly asked everyone to stop breathing so loudly."

Genma looked up from his chair before muttering, "Before you threatened his life if he ever yelled near you again."

Iruka raised an eyebrow. "I see." He leaned his head from side to side, wincing at the too loud popping noise coming from his neck. With that, he started to inquire for mission reports from the various shinobi who were milling around. With new missions handed out and reports turned in the room quickly cleared out. Perhaps it was more from the fact Iruka's normally thorough verification that the reports were filled out correctly was turned into a cursory, open report, make sure there was ink on the pages, close the report.

As closing time for the mission desk approached, Iruka was starting to feel human again. A few hours of relative quiet, copious painkillers, and no children trying to nail the back of his head with shuriken was starting to help his headache retreat. Kotetsu had stumbled out of the file room a while ago and was acting like he was filing paperwork, except he was filing the same report he started on an hour ago.

Then the one person Iruka was seriously hoping was not going to show up tonight walked in. Morimo Ibiki stood in the doorway for a moment before making sure the only occupants of the room were the three hung over chuunin. He walked in and handed a scroll to Iruka. "Good job last night, you three." With that, he turned and left brushing past a grey haired jônin making his way into the mission room.

Not phased by the presence of Ibiki, Kakashi walked over to the mission desk and handed over a report, "Sorry I am late, there was a cat in a tree and …" He paused mid excuse, "You guys look like crap."

Iruka snatched the report from his hand, "We're stunned at your powers of observation Hatake-san, and without even needing to use your Sharingan." He started muttering under his breath, something about even first year students having better handwriting. When he was done flipping through the report, he stamped it successful, placed it in the appropriate pile and waved his hand dismissively at Kakashi, "fine fine, do better next time, yes?"

Kakashi stood there for a moment. Now sure, he and the chuunin had had some arguments before, but this was uncalled for. He reached towards the chuunin's vest but his hand was quickly blocked by the hung-over chuunin. "Iruka-sensei, I can assure you that you do not want to make an enemy of me."

Kakashi's visible eye narrowed at Iruka's response. The shorter chuunin had a challenging tone to his voice "Shinobi-san, just push a little farther and I would be glad to show you how wrong your statement is." Iruka stood up, glaring right back at Kakashi, no blush to his face, just a serious look in his bloodshot eyes.

Suddenly Izumo was standing between the two of them, His wording and tone switching instantly to a deferential and almost painfully formal tone. "Ahhh, Kakashi-san please please don't pay us any mind, it was a very long night and everyone's nerves are a bit on edge, I am sure this will all seem much better come tomorrow." As he spoke quickly, he was trying to guide Iruka back into his chair.

With that, Kakashi left the room, in a swirl of smoke.

Iruka just shook his head and quickly read through the scroll Ibiki left him before tossing it into a metal garbage can, seconds before the jitzu cast on it caused it to burst into fire. "Three of us need to go out drinking tomorrow." He stood up, "I'm leaving. I need to sleep this headache off. I'll meet you guys at your place at 6 tomorrow, don't eat after lunch, I don't want to have to clean off Kotetsu again."

Iruka stalked through the hallway, and out the door of the administrative building. He was so caught up in his headache and the scroll he didn't notice a certain silver-haired jônin following him.