Title : Animale

Authoress : LaurenMichelle125

Chapter : One, "The Assignment"

Disclaimer : I don't own Naruto

So follow us, you animals
And jump the line, the night is ours
Scratch at the door, your name is not on the list
Come on and show 'em your fangs
What kind of jungle is this?

"Yamanaka! Get in here!"

The blonde haired woman's head jerked up. She looked over to her mentor who gave her a curt nod and they both stood up.

"Congratulations, Ino." He said and extended his hand. "This is what you've been waiting for."

"Ibiki-sensei..." The Yamanaka looked from his hand to the door where chief Tsunade waited. "What?"

The scarred man gave a smirk and withdrew his hand. "I recommended you for a promotion."

"You can do that?" Ino's eyebrows knitted together.

Ibiki chuckled, "With great persuasion."

Ino was still shocked. "Ibiki-sensei, if any deserves a promotion, it's you, not me."

"Nonsense. I've had my run. I've only got a few more years in this business, and I'm done." He looked into the Yamanaka's blue eyes and placed a hand on her shoulder. "I know you'll make me proud."

Ino felt her chest tighten and her arms wrapped around the larger man. Ibiki stood there for a moment before hugging her back.

"It's not like you'll never see me again." She mumbled into his chest and she only felt his arms wrap around her tighter. He didn't say anything, but he didn't need to. They both knew that bumping her up into a higher position would probably mean exactly that.

"Thank you so much." She said, her voice still muffled. "For everything."

Ibiki chuckled again and pulled away from Ino. "You're going to ruin my reputation with all this hugging. Now go before-"

"Yamanaka Ino! In. Here. Now!" Tsunade's voice boomed through the office.

"That." Ino finished and smiled.

"Good luck, Yamanaka." Ibiki said and Ino nodded before turning around and walking towards Tsunade's office.

She had to admit that looking back now, joining the Konoha Police Force straight out of high school had been a pretty bad decision. Her grades were acceptable, but not enough for a scholarship to college, not enough money for college anyways, and after her mother passed away her sophomore year, working at the flower shop stopped being fun and started being some sick form of torture. Her father had broken down after her mother's death and turned towards alcohol and random women for comfort leaving the fifteen year old to fend for herself. He had disappeared somewhere in between then and her senior year.

After that, she had become engrossed in school work, even taking a psychology class in high school, which caught her attention. It was her teacher, who knew about her situation, that had given her the idea to apply for the interrogation department of the Konoha Police Force. It had been relaxing the first year, simply archiving files, assisting in interrogations and whatnot. But from the moment they put her out into the field, it was all downhill. Murder, rape and alcohol became her job. She remembered her first murder scene, she threw up. Ran from the house and regurgitated her lunch behind a bush. A medic had held her hair and patted her back throughout the whole scene.

She had become used to all the gruesome scenes, especially now that gangs resided all around the city. Being out numbered, all they could do was pick up the pieces and inform families of their son, daughter, niece or nephew's tragic end. During one Sunday, Ibiki had let something slip, and trying to cover it up was no use, so he simply told her. Root. "What in God's name is that?" She remembered asking him. Root was an undercover organization founded by Chief Tsunade's grandfather. This organization dedicated itself to placing law officials into gangs and mafias. They monitored the way these groups worked and reported their findings back to authorities. Only law enforcement elite composed of this organization their lives becoming intimately involved with their job. This was Ino's last thought as she turned chief Tsunade's door knob.

The blonde haired woman looked up from her paper work and gave a small glare, "Could you have taken any longer?"

"I'm sorry." Ino apologized and sat down at the chair in front of her desk.

"Well, I'm sure Ibiki told you already." She said and crossed her legs.

"About...?" Ino trailed off and Tsunade gave a small smirk.

"About your promotion." When Ino stayed quiet she continued. "Ibiki seems to see a potential in you. Came to me personally to recommend you for any higher position." She ruffled through some papers now and pulled one out of the stack. "I talked with Izumo just this morning and he seems to see the same potential in you that Ibiki sees. Says you've got a good head on you shoulders, your chakra control is excellent and your genjustsu's are phenomenal. One of the very top few he's seen. Of course that's no surprise, you're a Yamanaka after all." She read and looked up at the Yamanaka. Ino smiled. She knew there was a reason why she liked Izumo.

Tsunade set her papers down and pursed her lips. "Now, both Ibiki and Izumo have worked for Root." Ino blinked back. Of course she didn't know Izumo had worked undercover, but she thought Ibiki would have mentioned something. "We've had a spot open for a very important assignment and after careful deliberation and some question here and there, I've come to the conclusion that you seem like the perfect officer for the job. Not to mention you have the least to leave behind."

Ino flinched at her last statement. It was true, of course, but that didn't mean it didn't string. After her ordeal as a teenager, she found it harder and harder to have actual meaningful relationships with people, so she simply stopped. Tsunade stood up and walked around the desk until she was right in front of the other blonde. She leaned back against her desk and look, very seriously, at the Yamanaka.

"I know this is what you want, but this position is not, by any means, to be taken lightly. You're a beautiful, young woman." Ino gave a small smile at the compliment. "But that only means this job will be harder for you. Now are you positive this is what you want?"

Ino looked straight into the elder woman's eyes and nodded. "I'm sure."

Tsuande smiled. "Good. I was hoping you would be." She walked around the desk and sat down again. "Now turn in your badge and gun. You're fired."

Ino stood up quickly. "What?"

Tsunade began rifling through more papers. "You're fired. Turn in your gun and your badge."

When Ino didn't move, still slightly confused, Tsunade looked up. "Miss. Yamanaka, turn in your gun and your badge or else I'll have an officer escort you out." Still dazed, Ino unfastened the badge off her blazer and unholstered her gun placing it on the table and walking out of the office.

Trying to clear her mind, Ino focused on the situation. She stopped at her desk before wiping any doubts from her mind. Think in between the lines, She thought. And suddenly it all made sense, of course an actual officer cant be part of a gang, undercover or not. So she picked up her only actual item that decorated her desk, a picture of her once happy family, and started to leave. Ibiki was no where to be found, probably already left for dinner or something seeing as it was already nine o'clock. She sighed when a man blocked her path, toothpick in his mouth.

"Well, hey there, pretty lady." Genma smirked and Ino gave a small glare.

"Excuse me, Genma." She said and step sided him.

"A pretty girl like you shouldn't need to go home to a lonely bed." he called after her as her face twisted in disgust. It seems ever since she started working here, he was trying to talk his way into her pants. Which in no way, was going to happen.

Walking back towards her house, she couldn't help but think about all her questions. She didn't even know what her mission was. The Yamanaka stopped and looked behind her. Maybe she should turn back and tell Tsunade that she wasn't sure, that she didn't want to have this responsibility, but she thought against it and kept on walking towards her house.

After opening the door, she looked around. She wasn't usually home by this hour and her apartment was clean, seeing as she had done all the maintenance only a day ago, so she simply settled for sitting on her couch, taking off her blazer, propping her feet up and turning on the TV. Even with the volume louder than usual, it did nothing to block out all her thoughts. She found herself checking her watch every so often that she finally stood up turned the TV off and went to her bedroom, placing her wristwatch on the farthest dresser from her bed and laying there. She had dozed off at some point and was woken up by a loud banging against her door. Ino groggily got up and walked back towards her dresser, reclaiming her watch and looking at the time.


Who in God's name would come to her door at four in the morning? Still in her sleepy daze, she fumbled with the locks, mumbling all the way until she opened the door.

Standing at her door was a man... That she had never seen before. She was just about ready to close the door when he sauntered his way inside.

This got the Yamanaka's attention and she looked at the man who plopped himself down on her couch, disbelievingly.

"Well aren't you a looker." he smirked at her and Ino glared.

"Who the hell are you?" She eyed the man. His white hair was just about as long as hers and he could probably pass for her father.

He sighed, not even acknowledging her question. "What a shame you're my niece."

"Excuse me?" Ino asked, still not following.

"My name's Jiraya. Your father and I were brothers, and after hearing about your mother's death and fathers downward spiral to hell, I came looking for you. I," He pointed his thumb at herself. "am the owner of Icha Icha Club, where you will be working." He gave a big grin and leaned back. "I'll be assisting you in your Root assignment."

Ino's eyebrows arched. "You're from Root?"

Jiraya scoffed. "Not even close, but Tsunade made a deal with me. She got a lucky streak once and I still haven't paid her back." From his place on the couch, he looked around. "Not exactly the place where I'd think a blonde bombshell like you would live. Where's the giant mirror and red convertible parked, huh, Barbie?"

Ino felt herself seething.

"Could I help you with anything else?" She asked through gritted teeth.

"Oh, of course." he snapped his fingers and pulled an envelope from his back pocket. "Here you are, beautiful. Sent right from the boss-lady."

Ino reached for the white envelope as he kept on talking.

"I'd love to keep you company tonight, but you look like a morning person and I'm sure you're itching to open that envelope. Adieu, my beautiful Barbie." He brushed his hand against her backside and left.

Ino glared at the door even after he closed it. The nerve of some people.

She walked back to her room and looked at herself in the mirror. Her hair was a slight mess and her white button down shirt she had under her blazer was rumpled. She sighed and pulled the pony tail out and undid her shirt, grabbing the white tank top she usually slept with and her black sweatpants. After making sure the door was locked... Twice and turning off all the lights, she settled down on her bed and ripped open the envelope.

Root member #0671077744

Yamanaka Ino,

Welcome to Root. You will no longer be identified as a law enforcement official. All past records under your name have been modified to fit your alias. You are to start your mission immediately and leave behind all personal belongings tracing back to your life.

Your mission objective is to join Spiral, a gang highly recognized in downtown Konoha. You must report back a brief profile of each of Spiral's members and investigate their ties to the Akatsuki. Very little information has been gathered on Spiral.

You will personally give your report to Jiraya every week. Absolutely no contact with anyone who could put your mission identity in jeopardy.


Name: Yamanaka Ino

Background: Mother's death at the age of 15. Father's disappearance at the age of 16. Found by father's brother, Jiraya, recently.

Members of Spiral: (as identified so far)

Uzumaki Naruto

Nara Shikamaru

Sabuku no Gaara

Hyuuga Neji

Uchiha Sasuke

Ino sighed and re-read the entire document again. Tsunade wasn't kidding when she said she had the least to leave behind. The blonde placed the envelope aside and yawned.

"I guess I've got a new start tomorrow." She murmured and dozed off.