Tenzou was still new to ANBU when he was given the most important choice of his life:
An A-class assassination mission, or paperwork for a month.
Slightly bewildered by the choice offered, Tenzou chose the latter and felt slightly pleased with himself for avoiding potential death and maiming.
For a while.
"You actually agreed to do the paperwork?" Raidou asked, staring. Then he shook his head. "You're a braver man than I."
"A month of paperwork?" Genma blinked for a few moments, then started laughing. The senbon he habitually chewed almost speared Tenzou's eye. "Rather you than me."
Anko cackled madly.
"You're a moron," Yuugao told him plainly.
"You really--" Cough. "--Don't know--" Cough. "--Anything, yet, do you--" Cough. "--Tenzou?"
Kakashi-sempai just smiled and told him the assassination had been fun.
Tenzou was already feeling nervous when he entered the office he'd been assigned to do the paperwork in, and saw a pile that came up to his shoulders.
He stared at it for a few moments.
"That?" he asked bleakly. "I don't think I..."
"Good luck," Morino Ibiki said quickly, before bolting and slamming the door shut behind him.
He was, Tenzou realised with horror, in completely over his head. He sighed, but rolled up his sleeves and picked up a pencil and the first sheet at the top of the pile. He was ANBU, for crying out loud, and he was going to complete this mission to the best of his ability even if even was now wishing he'd taken the maiming instead.
At the end of the month, the pile of paperwork was done and Tenzou breathed a sigh of relief.
"You have no idea what you've done, do you?" Raidou asked him, amused.
"Tenzou, you're not telling me you actually finished the lot?!" Genma chewed on his senbon for a moment and shook his head mournfully.
Anko cackled madly for a few seconds. Then she saw his expression, and stopped. "Wait, wait," she said, going pale, "You're serious?"
"You really are a moron," Yuugao whispered, stupefied, turning away and muttering a prayer under her breath.
"You know--" Cough. "--They're never going to--" Cough. "--Let you go now."
"Ah, my cute, silly little kohai," Kakashi-sempai said gleefully, "You're going to regret that for the rest of your life! What kind of flowers would you like at your funeral?"
Tenzou's right eye twitched. "What do you mean, there are no other missions left?"
"Exactly what we said," Homura told him, rubbing his hands together and failing to disguise his glee.
"The paperwork mission isn't that bad!" Koharu smiled, quickly hiding a set of assassination missions behind her back. "And you're the best we've ever had at it. This works out just wonderfully for everyone!"
"Sorry, Tenzou," Morino Ibiki said.
The Hokage puffed thoughtfully on his pipe for a few moments. "You know, I have some paperwork that I could do with offloading..."
Tenzou babbled his thanks, took the "mission" scroll, and fled before they could make addendums.
At least there wouldn't be as much paperwork this time, right?
"You have got to be kidding me," Tenzou said.
At the disturbance caused by his voice, a pile of paperwork taller than him swayed threateningly.
"Good luck," Morino Ibiki said, and ran for it.
As he slammed the door shut behind him, he heard the tower of paperwork finally topple with a crash and a scream of frustration.
He grimaced, locked the door, and mentally began making arrangements to move his office somewhere a bit more discrete. That position in T&I was looking rather tempting now, and when Tenzou finally snapped and went on the rampage, even he was unlikely to venture down to T&I's headquarters.
Maybe that won't be enough, Ibiki thought worriedly. Anko's pretty hard to get past, isn't she? And she owes me a favour. If I can get her to occupy a room between me and Tenzou for the next few months...
Still making plans, Ibiki walked away, ignoring the sound of Tenzou trying to batter down the door.
Three months. Of nothing but paperwork. Where did they get it from?! Every time he finished, they piled more on top of him! Tenzou had stopped even thinking about what he was writing and just filling in the blank spaces with anything that came to mind, yet they still told him he was doing a good job and giving him more paperwork.
He was starting to suspect they didn't even read it. Just so long as they could say, "It's done! Everything's in order! No mentally unstable ANBU operatives here!"
When he'd noticed that he was doing paperwork from five years ago... well. That had been the last straw. At that point, he had had no choice but to hire that Uzumaki brat (who was quite willing to work for free if it meant he was recognised as a "real ninja") to help him prank everybody in ANBU, as well as the Hokage and both the elders. He even timed it so that those returning form missions wouldn't be spared the worst of it.
It was a childish revenge, but it was either that or going really insane.
Nobody in ANBU was willing to quite share the details of those days after the fact (maybe to avoid reliving the incident, even in memory), but Tenzou always held a bit of a soft spot for Uzumaki afterwards, everyone gave him a lot more respect, and the Hokage stopped using ANBU to chase Naruto after he had completed a prank - because they gave up immediately when he threatened to "share some of his more awesome ideas with Cat-san, dattebayo!".
(None of them knew what Uzumaki Naruto would consider 'awesome' or whether Tenzou would want to repeat his performance, but they weren't willing to risk a disaster of those proportions.)
Naruto, if anyone asked, had never had so much fun on a prank before. He also held a fondness for cats that would not be diminished until his first encounter with Tora as a genin.
The Hokage was at his wits end - Naruto was proving far too adept at escaping mere chuunins - and the elders abruptly decided that their input was no longer needed quite so heavily in ANBU. Haters of obstructive bureaucrats everywhere rejoiced.
ANBU operations were compromised for months.
And they still kept giving Tenzou paperwork.
Although at that point, nobody thought he would actually do it. Bets were already being taken as to how long his successor would last in the position, and who was most likely to get the job next. Speculation on whether paperwork could quell the Fires of Youth (and whether they could cope if it didn't) ran rampant, although Hayate was widely considered the most likely (until he had a "sudden relapse"). If only they knew...
Ibiki had the misfortune to be on duty in the mission room when Tenzou stalked in like a nightmare.
He gulped. "Er, Tenzou, there aren't any other--"
He was ignored completely as Tenzou went for the draws containing the mission scrolls. Ibiki was worried - not least because he was actually telling the truth and didn't want to face Tenzou's wrath when this fact came out - until the other man draw out a scroll with and look of determination on his face.
Then Ibiki remembered that one reserved mission he had, and why they kept the mission office open so late. Oh, shit.
"You know," he said cautiously, "You technically haven't finished--"
"I don't care."
"It'll go down as a fail on your--"
"I don't care."
"That mission is S-class--"
"I don't care."
"You could die?"
"I don't care."
Tenzou was almost at the door.
"Someone else has already been assigned that mission!"
"I don't care." He yanked the door open with more force than was necessary, but did pause long enough to give an evil grin and add, "Give them mine."
The door closed behind him.
Ibiki stared at Tenzou's original mission scroll, which had been dropped on the desk on front of him, and buried his face in his hands.
He's going to kill me.
"What do you mean," Kakashi said slowly, lowering the orange book from in front of his face, "'Tenzou stole your mission'?"
Kakashi resigned from ANBU a week later.
("As if Kakashi-sempai would ever be suckered into doing paperwork, they said." Tenzou hummed cheerfully to himself. "Maybe that'll teach him to be more supportive of his kohai next time!")
Also, it turns out that paperwork does not, in fact, quell the Fires of Youth. If anything, it makes it worse. Several members of ANBU hold Tenzou personally responsible for the phenomenon known only as "The Spandex".
("Even Gai wouldn't go that far to defeat his eternal rival, they said! Even Gai isn't stupid enough to take the paperwork mission, they said!" Anko crowed gleefully. She'd won a lot of money off that betting pool.)
It was later decided that assigning the paperwork of the entire ANBU to one person might not be a great idea. So, now, everybody does their share of the paperwork... except Tenzou.
A/N: I don't do humour very often, but I hope you enjoyed this! :) It's short and silly, but I was in a very lighthearted mood when I wrote it. Comments are loved! Tell me what worked and what didn't.