Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Harry Potter
Timeline: Kai is now eight years old
Posted: Saturday, 21 August 2010
Two and a half years Later
Kai was reclining in front of the television in an empty break room – one of many that were scattered about the complex, even if not many of the shinobi put them to use –mindlessly watching a cartoon that was on.
He idly wondered if, had he not been forced into Root, he would have actually enjoyed the show for entertainment value instead of for the escapism value – being able to imagine himself into one of the character's lives and not think about his rapidly growing body count, and the ever present feeling of blood being on his hands.
No. He told himself. Don't think about it.
He had already sensed the intruder approaching before the door slid open. His eyes darted to the frankly unwelcome person, and he didn't even bother to remove his feet from the furniture.
His eyes flicked back to the screen, pointedly ignoring the intruder.
Measured footsteps moved into the room.
Kai made no move when the figure stood in front of the television, obstructing his view.
The person moved his arm to get something from his equipment pouch, and Kai tensed slightly, prepared to protect himself should it be some kind of sadistic test.
He saw the object that the shinobi removed and his eyes flickered.
He was a shadow, invisible to the shinobi he approached. He made a few quick handsigns and carefully settled the genjutsu into his victim's minds.
It was one impossible to differentiate from reality.
It was a book.
Dull steel glinted under the soft moonlight as it bit into the neck of his first victim.
Not just any book – a Bingo Book.
The job finished and the camp of thirty shinobi lay dead, silenced as per mission orders.
Darkening green eyes stared up into his closest friend's brown eyes, seeking something although even he didn't know what. It took someone who knew Taiki inside and out to see the concern visible in the brown orbs – after all, emotion was a punishable offence for one of his position in Root.
Kai's hands shook slightly as he reached for the innocent-looking book.
But… What was that? Shichi pales as he realises with no small amount of horror that he has missed one – probably a scout but definitely a jounin, if the heavy vest was anything to go by.
The man stares at his fallen comrades in disbelief. Shichi sees the exact moment that shock and horror turns to rage, as the man's hatred-filled eyes spot him standing amongst the bodies and he lunges forward, drawing a katana.
Kai hesitates, holding the book in front of him. He steels himself and opens it, moving through the pages slowly, searching.
Shichi stands no chance. Taijutsu has never been his specialty and only his unnatural speed is saving his life – but it can not hold out indefinitely, and as the other shinobi's rage builds, so does the forcefulness and vehemence of his attacks.
The katana had been traded for fists, and Shichi winces as a fist cracks at least two ribs and sends him crashing into a tree.
Kai stops on a page that is newly added. His stomach clenches and he forces down bile, disgusted with himself and what his life has become.
Shichi struggles to his feet. The other shinobi is momentarily distracted by the face of one of the fallen shinobi, and the genjutsu master takes his chance to escape with his life.
As the shunshin which has been carefully crafted to betray no village allegiance activates, the other shinobi stares at Shichi in utter hatred, a silent but potent accusation in the gaze and the hiss of "Monster" reaches his ears even as he escapes his death.
The page in the book names Kai "the Spectre" and there is a short but fairly accurate listing of height and weight – which wasn't really worrying, as it could fit any number of young ninja. The most disturbing feature is the description. "The Spectre is a shinobi of unclear origins, named for the massacre of thirty chuunin to jounin ranked ninja of Iwagakure. The Spectre is assumed to be highly competent at genjutsu and is known to reach extremely high speeds, thus almost becoming 'ghost-like' to enemy shinobi. Talents seem to lie in assassination. Weakness is taijutsu, and proficiency in ninjutsu is unknown. Wanted in Iwa, Kusa and Kiri for proved or suspected crimes against the Kage."
Kai's green eyes were dark as he read and re-read his page in the Bingo book. They had him as a B-ranked ninja, which admittedly was one good thing – they had underestimated him. His one saving grace was that they did not know his village affiliation – any root ninja that were uncovered so completely were either killed by allies or enemies, generally for the bounty it produced – Root was always looking for more finances, after all. That happened, because when the shinobi was too easily identified it was better to not run the risk of exposing the organisation as a whole.
They also did not have a completely accurate account of what he had been forced to do – there had been other jobs in different countries, although the last and his first unfixable blunder had been the mission with the most risk and importance behind it. Those Iwa ninja had come too close to Konoha's borders, and he was the shinobi given the despicable task to kill them, removing the threat – he had had to report his failure in that he had been unable to dispose of them all, but it had also been a success in that he wasn't captured and had deterred the ninja from Fire Country, without being linked to its forces… not that he even technically was anyway.
Even if the task had apparently been of 'noble' intentions, this did not ease the guilt or sheer disgust that Kai held for every single assassination he had been ordered to complete.
The numbers, faces, names… they were all piling up, engraving themselves on his memory.
The instructors had said that killing in the line of duty was honourable, was expected, was easy.
Kai knew that killing was never easy. He had thrown up after the first murder, and had been fortunate that the partner assigned to him had been Taiki – his one friend within the organisation and the one root shinobi that would not punish him for being 'human'. They were closer than brothers.
Taiki had given him the best advice after his stomach had settled and while handing him a canteen to wash out the vile taste.
He had said all that time ago when they had been Level Two recruits in the RAD, to hold onto the disgust and horror that he felt then, because taking lives would become easier and this feeling now would later remind him that he was human. Something that Root should never and could never take away, if he did not allow it.
And Kai had found that Taiki was right, as he usually was.
It had gotten easier, no matter that the desensitisation was almost as horrifying as the initial disgust and revulsion caused by his first experience.
He was helpless. He didn't want to kill, but it was required of him. And he knew that he didn't want to die, which would be what would happen if he didn't fight, didn't kill.
He had been desensitised, but he still didn't want to do it.
And now that he had been given a name – 'infamy' and all that rot – his future missions had just became all the more difficult, all the more risky, all the more dangerous.
He had yet to do a completely solo mission.
Kai knew that, ready or not, they would attempt to abandon Root at the first window of opportunity – just as soon as his and Taiki's retainers got lax.
True to Taiki's word, they had broken down the seal and were confident that it could not be used to kill them… although it did stop them from ever mentioning Root or Danzo.
A hand appeared in his field of vision, closing the book that he had been staring sightlessly at for the last few minutes.
"So, The Spectre, eh? At least it doesn't involve 'butcher'."
Kai blinked, slowly looking up at Taiki's bland face. "D-did you just try to make a joke, Ju-kun? Because you know that's four degrees of creepy right there."
Taiki frowned a little, before his hand twitched like he was repressing some instinctive reaction. "Shichi?" He asked in a bland tone.
The black haired boy looked up at him and drawled, "Yessss?"
The taller boy deadpanned, "Shut up."
Kai pouted and shoved Taiki out of the way of the television, pointedly ignoring the bingo book.
Kai listened to Taiki's light footsteps trailing to the door, and when they stopped as if waiting for something allowed his eyes to land on the brown-eyed boy that had somehow become like an older brother to him.
The shinobi said, "Danzo-sama wanted to see you."
At with those words, Kai's blood froze.
It was never good when the leader of Root wanted a face-to-face.
A/N: Hey peoples! Yes, I know, it's incredibly bad of me to leave this for as long as I have. I was just kinda stuck. So, after forever and ever I finally just said 'screw it' and decided to publish this, though I am skipping over some interesting things that happened between Kai getting into the Snappers and him becoming a fully initiated Root Shinobi (tongue seal jutsu and all). I'll find a way to put in the relevant facts in future chapters, but I hope you enjoy – and if there's anything you don't get (horribly) chuck it in a review and I'll try to work some form of explanation into the next chapter.
Record of Recruit no.1043
5yrs -Inducted into RAD, Level One
5½yrs -RAD Level Two
6yrs -RAD Level Three
7yrs - Active Agent, assigned RAU