Harder Every Day


The truth was, Ebisu was a generally gentle person. This fact was humiliating for a shinobi who had fought through a world war alongside a human meat-grinder like Gai. But there it was. As soon as the war was over, as soon as he possibly could, Ebisu scrambled to attain the status of Tokubetsu Jonin and get out of the active battle roster altogether. Becoming a tutor to those who would go out and kill was the closest he would ever come to admitting he just didn't have the constitution to be a ninja.

His father had been the sort of person who insisted people use their talents. Temperament was beside the point. It was beside the point that his son cried easily, hated pain, and went into spasms of agonizing guilt every time he hurt another living creature. His father blamed all of these traits on his mother and vowed to teach him better.

The result? Graduating at age eight, being put on a team with Gai (whom he despised) and Genma (whom he despised much less, but still couldn't stand), and being a nervous wreck. Hiding behind sunglasses and being as prudish and standoffish towards everyone else was a good way to hide the fact that he was miserable, and simply wanted to get out of the ninja business altogether.

Though anyone with half a brain noticed he was miserable anyway. Like Iruka. Iruka was one of the only people who never gave Ebisu a hard time. They worked together, in that Iruka often referred students to him for polishing up. And Ebisu tried to do his best to ignore the nausea that cramped his stomach whenever he thought about the fact that he was taking these sweet-faced, enthusiastic children and turning them into killing machines.

But it was hard, and it was getting harder every day.