True Confessions
of a
Paperwork Ninja

You look down at me nearly every day and never think about it. I'm the one who gives you mission orders and takes your reports. I may wear a chuunin vest, but in your eyes I'm not a real Shinobi. I push papers around a desk and scold real shinobi about deadlines. You are always looking down at me, because I am beneath you.

I am a paperwork ninja.

There are rumors about how manning the mission desk is a punishment for angering the Hokage, or for the chuunin who couldn't hack it doing real missions. We hear them, and we laugh and maybe look a little embarrassed.

We laugh because of what you don't know, and don't think about. We are embarrassed for you, who think yourself so insightful, so skilled at seeing under the underneath, because you can't see under the surface of a situation you encounter everyday.

It doesn't take a genius to man the mission desk. It takes several, and common sense.

They don't waste able shinobis on menial positions. The work we do is not menial.

We are beneath you. Without our support, you could not stand.

You know that the mission room closes early every Tuesday.

What you don't know is that everyone who works that desk spends Tuesday nights in special training and meetings. We meet to discuss major requests we have received. We discuss which ninja and which teams are best suited to said missions, which ninja are in need of seasoning, training or vacations, who is ready for chuunin or jounin, healthy or injured, exhausted or stir-crazy, we keep track of you all.

You know that we keep the bingo books and wanted posters up-to-date.

What you don't know is that half of us have prices on our heads, not for what we've done, but for what we know. You don't know that I am worth more alive to Hidden Stone than most of the newer Jounin are worth dead.

You know that the mission desk workers are pretty close.

What you don't know is that part of our training is learning to recognise possible imposters. We are all expert observers of humans and ninja (some of you don't quite qualify as both). We know each other well, and no mere Henge is going to escape our notice.

We also have our shared suffering. All of us know the risks we take, and the consequences of failure. Twice a month we work with Ibiki on dealing with interogation techniques and torture. Not because we torture people, but because we are the most likely nin in the village to be targetted for kidnapping and torture. Most of us have prior experience with torture. No, we don't want to discuss it with you.

You know that the Hokage seems awful fond of us, and indulges us horribly.

What you don't know is that we are an elite all our own. We are not the dregs of the shinobi ranks. Each of us was hand-picked by the Hokage, and not because we pissed him off. We have the skills he needs. Yes, we are advisors and assistants; we are also the ones trusted to know what he would want and act on our own initiative. One of us in charge of evacuation planning, routes, drills, oversight and all the other things that go along with it. Two of the others are in charge of supply and logistics in direct support of missions, while another pair rule all things financial. One of us is Sandaime's double, filling in for him with none the wiser. We all share the burden of scheduling and forward planning. Yes, Hokage-sama has his official advisors, but we are the ones who get the work done.

You know that the worst we can do to you is give you the crappy missions.

What you don't know is that we have two of the most notorious pranksters in Konoha gracing our ranks... and the one who should be the most famous, but no one has ever caught him. The others always take the blame, and it's become one of our inside jokes. You don't realize the many. many ways that we can make your life difficult and never turn a hair. You see, we desk shinobi have time to develop a sense of humor, which your poor stiffs with real jobs cannot afford.

You know that we refuse to accept half-assed mission reports. You curse us for cruelty when you just want to sleep.

What you don't know is that we need the information in those reports to be as complete as possible. We maintain a painfully detailed cross-index and concordance of mission 'details' that allows us to find enormous amounts of information quickly enough to be useful. Those details are no use to us if they remain locked in your brain forever. So quit your bitching; The little details and 'mindless documentation' we demand are to keep you and your comrades alive.

You know that paperwork ninja have forgotten what real missions are like.

What you don't know keeps you safe. For every stolen document mission you've undertaken, for every delivery, or treaty escort, there is a valuable or dangerous document in the Archives. For every undercover mission you've completed, there is someone who has tried to break into those Archives. For your information, and I'm afraid that if you tell anyone else I'll have to kill you, those archives have been broken into successfully only twice since the Kyuubi attack twelve years ago. Neither theif escaped the land of Fire alive. We keep the archives secure, and we guard the village's secrets with our lives.

You know that we are just paperwork ninja.

And that is all you ever need to know.

Wahahaha! Take that you uppity Jounin! This might be Iruka, it might be a collaboration of him and several others.