It had been just over a month since Naruto's capture, and no one had heard any news. The commander general stood facing the new recruits for anbu, the squad captains lined up behind him resplendent in full uniform, save for the ninth.

"Congratulations, you are fully fledged anbu now. You will now become what's known as regular members; this means that you will be assigned missions from me for any of the 16 squads. Providing you keep a good profile and continue to improve, in the future you may be promoted to an immediate member. Again, I congratulate you for making it this far." The general said proudly, the curves of his ravens mask catching what little light the dark room let in. "You will be expected to pain your mask into whatever animal thinks characterises you best" he continued. "As tradition requires, now you are full anbu members the captains will remove their masks and introduce themselves to you. However, as many of you will know the ninth captain is missing in action, and as such only fifteen of the captains will get to know you. If you please captains."

The clicking of masks being taken of echoed throughout the sparse room, as each of the fifteen captains presented themselves to the handful of recruits who managed to pass the training.

"Now that the formalities are over, we allow a 3 day resting period between training and acceptance. In which you are allowed to do whatever you feel like. However, I must stress that the identities of the anbu members are completely classified and that includes you all aswell, so it would be prudent not to go running of and telling your friends. With that said, you are all dismissed." The general gave a wave of his hand, and watched as the members began to file out from the door.

Hinita paced around the apartment in sheer boredom. Squad nine had been given a one month reprieve from missions to mourn the death of their captain, and although the mourning period was coming to a slow end, she still hated it with a passion. Sachie was out visiting a friend, and Keiko had devoted his time of to getting as drunk as possible and asking girls to kiss him.

Hinita however remained within the apartment for the most part, unable to keep her mind of a man she loved for nearly a decade. The mourning period just made it worse, being forced by her own guilt at not doing so to remember Naruto, had caused Hinita to succumb to her grief, made physical by moping around doing nothing. She longed for the day when the team were set missions again so she could take her mind of it.

The flowers sent a month ago had long since died, and Hinita felt that was a metaphor for herself. She longed for his touch, his scent, his breath on her lips.

Location unknown:

Naruto lay sprawled against the floor, his body bruised and cut; his soul shattered. The Daimyo Muto Daiichi had long since given up trying to coax information out of him, and had now left the young blue eyed man to be the play thing of some of his more malicious guards. They're favourite game being to tie the blonde up against a wall, suspended high in the air, and treat him like a macabre puppet. Using the robes which bound him to control his arms, still out of their sockets, and make him 'dance'.

Along with the torture, sickness now plagued Naruto's body. Being so undernourished, and cut open countless times, the onset on gangrene, gout, and bronchitis had begun to intrude their way into his body.

Naruto murmured incomprehensible words to himself, the coolness of the stone floor adding a momentary respite to the fire inside his body in the form of a fever.

"What was that scum?" A jailer with a hard face said to him, clutching the mans face in his scarred hands. "I swore I just heard, that you'd like have your nose broken."

Naruto murmured again, his once vibrant blue eyes loosing their vividness.

"I Knew you did." The jailer laughed. "Oi Nariaki, would you care to do the honors of braking this shit excuse for a human beings nose?" The jailer called out to his companion.

"It'd be my pleasure" the man shouted back, his huge form lurching in from the shadows.

A crack that sounded like ice braking, bounced of the walls, as Nariaki's foot went into Naruto's face.

There was a timid knock on the door, as the remainder of team nine gathered to the hallway. The mourning period was officially over, and to their great relief the whole of team nine would be back onto missions immediately. They had received one moments earlier, and had been told that they will be receiving two of the regular members to aid them.

Opening the door, Keiko found the two members, already dressing in full anbu uniform; one with a hares mask, the other with a snakes'.

Ah, you must be the rookies, come in; my names Akita Keiko, and you are?"

"Uchiha Sasuke"

"Haruno Sakura, pleased to meet you."

Hinita's eyes widened, leaning over Sachie to get a better look. This must have been what Naruto had to see the commander general about, all that time ago. Stepping forward, Hinita introduced herself.

"Hello, Sasuke and Sakura. I'm vice captain Hyuuga Hinita; I hope you remember me."

"H-Hinita?!" Blurted out Sakura, looking at the tall purple haired kunochi.

"Yeah, hello. Our mission is as follows, Sachie explain."

"It's a reconnaissance with a twist, remember the Daimyo of the rice country that captured the captain? According to our sources he's hiding out in an underground complex in the rock country. We're to sneak in and map out the base for a future attack. However, if the chance arises, we have permission to kill the Daimyo. A little vengeance never hurt anyone." Sachie said, a glint in her eyes. "With the Byukagen and the Sharingan, it's going to be a pile of piss."

Sasuke grunted and hitched his pack up back to his shoulders, while Sakura asked:

"What do you mean captured the captain, I thought he was Killed In Action."

"Now's not the time to discuss it" Keiko said eyeing Hinata. "Lets get going."

The rock countries underground complex:

Naruto hung suspended by the rope tied to his wrists. The Daimyo Muto Daiichi had left him to die in the most painful way his rotten mind could imagine, bored of the anbu captain, and his sheer will not to let any information escape.

At a last ditch effort to humiliate the man further, he fixed is now broken anbu mask across his face, whispering in his ear as he did.

"Do not fret, it will be some time until the blissful release death brings" He smiled; a smile that would make the ruler of the underworld look twice at him. "Enjoy it."

In his mind. Naruto prayed.