Limbo

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

Author's Notes: This is an Ino centric fic which will quickly part ways with canon (obviously), since I have taken liberties with the Yamanaka family jutsu's and Ino's future as a shinobi. It's also another Ino & Genma fic, so you've been warned.


1:40 am...Konohagakure no Sato, Tuesday.

The room was so white and bright as to almost be blinding. It had a sterile and antiseptic feel to it, with its white enameled walls and linoleum floor the color of dirty snow. There were a few rusty maroon stains in the chipped and dirty floor from old blood that had worked its way down into the cracks and divots, stains the hose couldn't wash away anymore. It was a room with no windows and a drain in the center of the floor. There was only one door, and only one man with absolute authority over what went on in this forgotten room.

Morino Ibiki was not the kind of man you wanted to fuck around with. The head of the ANBU's Interrogation Squad was the best in the business and very, very good at his job. He'd seen the toughest shinobi crack like eggshells under his methods. Ready to sell out their villages, their leaders, their very souls to be spared the realms of pain that Ibiki could dream up.

Occasionally, a shinobi may catch him by surprise and take his (or her - it had happened before) life before telling him what he wanted to know. Even more rarely he would come across a shinobi that truly possessed an unusually strong will or threshold for pain.

The bloodied and battered shinobi currently huddled in the middle of the ANBU Interrogation Room was unfortunately one of those latter types.

Ibiki's ANBU squad had captured the ninja earlier that night as he'd fled west out of Konoha. He wasn't a Leaf shinobi, and his hitai-ate bore an unfamiliar mark. He'd been seen skulking around near the center of Konoha, but no intelligence had been found on him. Ibiki wasn't sure what irritated him more, that the man had been discovered in Konoha before leading them on a merry chase, or that he'd gotten into Konoha in the first place. Either way, it had put him in a foul mood which was unfortunate for the poor captured ninja. He'd used him as stress relief.

Ibiki's scarred face never changed expression as he watched the unnamed shinobi flop over onto his side and retch. His breathing harsh and labored from the beatings he'd received. The two ANBU guards that bookended the doors were as still as statues behind their white and red masks as they watched.

"We can do this all night, it's up to you," Ibiki told the man conversationally, his voice deceptively smooth and friendly, totally at odds with his threatening appearance and stone like fists. "Name. Rank. Affiliation."

The shinobi cast a wary look over his shoulder, eyes narrowing. His blue-black hair fell in long sweaty hanks covering most of his face. He was tall and wiry with a fairly nasty scar that pulled one corner of his mouth into a sort of grimace. He'd been wearing a mask under his tall collared flak jacket when they found him, but along with disarming him they'd also stripped him down to just his mesh undershirt and pants, his hands and arms bare. Standard procedure. Ibiki had ordered that the bandages he'd wrapped his legs and arms with to be removed as well, he'd seen shinobi use them to commit suicide before, and he wasn't letting this ninja die before he got some answers.

"Go fuck yourself," the man rasped. "You aren't getting shit out of me, you son of a bitch." The man hunched over, turning his upper body away from Ibiki and the two guards. Fearing he was making hand seals, one of the guards quickly cast a paralysis jutsu, but not before the prisoner had bitten through his wrists.

"Shit!" Ibiki hissed, jumping to quickly assess the wounds before the prisoner could bleed to death. The bites were bad, but not immediately critical and Ibiki applied pressure to try and slow the bleeding, his large hands all but encircling the lanky shinobi's wrists. He saw something out of the corner of his eye, and lunged back at the last second as the prisoner came at him with teeth bared, going for his throat. The ninja managed to get a hold of his ear and Ibiki grunted at the white hot pain as the man's teeth clipped the cartilage of his ear and hung on, dislodging his bandana hitai-ate.

"What the hell?" Ibiki snarled, his eyes rolling toward the guard who'd placed the paralysis jutsu.

"He's fighting it! I've never seen--" the guard yelled, his voice showing all the strain his ANBU mask hid.

In a blur of motion, suddenly the other guard was there behind the attacking prisoner and his hands shot out with two fingers extended to strike the man four times in four specific places, rendering him unconscious instantly. He slumped to the ground as his lax jaw released Ibiki's ear, and the scarred special jounin let him fall, his hands still staunching the blood flow on his wrists.

"Good work, Neji," Ibiki said quietly. Now that the prisoner was incapacitated he could address the other two by name. Tsuzumi tipped his ushi mask up to the top of his head and took over bandaging the prisoners wounds, mumbling an apology for his jutsu's failure. Tsuzumi was new to the Interrogation Unit, so Ibiki favored him with only a dismissive grunt.

The Hyuuga's pearly eyes flicked up to Ibiki as the older man stood at his side. His hands were already drenched in blood from the prisoner, yet he kept touching his bitten ear absently, making the wound look much worse than it was. Neji said nothing as he slid his tatsu mask back and waited for instructions.

"I think it might be time to take a different tactic with this one..." Ibiki said thoughtfully. "Where's Yamanaka?"

"Yamanaka-san is not on duty tonight, Morino-san," Sarugaku Tsuzumi told him, his first aid on the prisoner completed. "You gave her the night off to celebrate her promotion." Neji smirked inwardly already knowing what was coming even as Ibiki turned to him.

"Go find her."


To be continued...