Chapter One:

Recruit


October 11th of the Setting Sun

This is the journal of Uzumaki Naruto, chronicling my experiences into becoming a part of the Ansatsu Senjutsu Tokushu Butai, or the Special Assassination and Tactical Squad. Yesterday, on my sixteenth birthday, I was activated due to escalations in Kumo and Iwa. If I pass the aptitude test, I'm in! Since the things I write could hurt the inner-workings of Konoha, it will be kept hidden and under heavy seals. Only the Hokage, joined by myself or another member of my direct lineage will be able to retrieve these scrolls. This way, if I don't have any kids, my story dies with me.

I don't know much about AnBu right now, but I'll make sure to write everything I learn down here for you guys, my kids! Alright, I have today off to 'set my affairs straight', or something like that.

I'm not too sure what it means, but I spent the day with Sakura-chan, who didn't hit me one time! Okay so she hit me one time but she didn't mean it! I said something perverted I think. Anyway, I woke up and had some milk (another fruit bowl was on my counter – ick!) and some cup ramen, then decided to do a bit of training before my breakfast with Hinata. I definitely need to remember to take a bath next time, she told me I stank!

Luckily I had time to get clean before my run with Lee. That guy is insane! We ran really far and really fast, but it was really fun. He's a cool kinda guy when you get to know him (even if he does have really big eyebrows!). After that I went home and took a shower before Sakura-chan showed up, and once she did, we went out to have a lot of fun at the Festival.

It was pretty cool, since not a lot of people hate me anymore. I mean, I guess a lot of people still do, but after what happened with Gaara, they really warmed up to me! Anyway, it was really neat and we had some good dumplings. They didn't have any special ramen though. I bought Sakura a ruby necklace that she really liked with my signing bonus from this AnBu contract. It'll be really cool with all the money I'll be making now. Since AnBu get the super-hard missions, I'll be making super-hard bucks! Gama-chan will explode! Then the sun started to go down and it was really cool.

I'm writing this right now while Sakura-chan makes dinner (Can you believe it? In my house making me dinner!), and when I'm done, we'll eat and then my AnBu liaison told me to bring my best friend to my favorite place! He made me tell him where it was so I guess he wants a witness to my promotion! It's so cool that he made me swear on my Nindo not to tell Sakura-chan what's going on or that I'm meeting him there. I'll look so cool, and then she'll have to go out with me!

Oh, and I get a super-awesome tattoo on my arm too, even though I know it'll hurt bad and I don't like needles, it's going to look awesome! Sakura-chan will definitely have to go out with me! Okay, she's yelling from the kitchen so I should probably finish this up and go see her! I'm so excited!

~Uzumaki Naruto, FUTURE HOKAGE OF KONOHA


October 12th of the Twilight

I was right. Sakura-chan wasn't there to watch my promotion, but she did get to see me off. We showed up on the monument, and after waiting about an hour, a guy showed up and congratulated me. He handed Sakura-chan my new address for letters on a paper form along with instructions on what she can and can't send, and he and I left together. Good thing I had my notebook on me, in that special seal Ero-sennin gave me.

This way, my teachers won't find my journal! I'm on a caravan now with the other recruits. There are over a hundred of us, but the only one I recognize is Neji. It's not just Genin and Chuunin though. There are Jounin and all sorts of ninja! Some of them are dressed crazy and carrying huge weapons or puppets or something, others are just sort of plain and sitting there. We all met up in this city outside Konoha, and I guess they pull people from minor villages too, because most of these people are not from Konoha! They're from all over the place.

Some of us are laughing and joking, but I'm staying mostly quiet for once. Baa-chan said I should keep my head down, so I'm going to trust her. If I were younger I'd probably have taken it as a challenge, but now I know that's silly. Let's see, I have my basic black clothes, my ninja gear, and a backpack full of ramen! This should be fun. I CAN SEE THE LIGHTS COMING UP! THAT MUST BE THE TRAINING FACILITY! This is going to be awesome. I'm going to talk to Neji now, bye!

~Uzumaki Naruto, FUTURE HOKAGE OF KONOHA!


October 17th of the Dusk

This is the first chance I've had to write anything since the last time. Our caravan pulled through some sort of gate, an AnBu member came onto the bus and looked at us, then left. We drove through and I saw a bunch of AnBu trainees in what looked like a pool. They were holding cinderblocks over their head and treading water. They looked scared. I should have been scared. I was excited. Why was I excited? We drove up to our Barracks, and an AnBu dressed in bright pink was somehow behind us on the bus. I barely heard him whisper for us to get off the caravan or die, before he released a poison gas. We all scrambled for the exit.

I didn't rush – I am immune to all poisons. Once we were off with our bags, there were bright pink foot prinks on the ground where we were supposed to stand. Everyone else was on the footprints, so I started walking towards them. Bad idea. Immediately a bright-yellow clad AnBu was directly in front of me, screaming in my face. I don't recall the exact words, but my heart lit on fire and I ran for the spots. Everyone was standing at rigid attention, so I did as well.

"TILT YOUR CHIN UP, UZUMAKI-FAGGOT!" I looked around at him in slight shock. Kind of strong language to use on a Jinchuuriki who could level this entire building, right? Wrong again. "DO I LOOK AMUSING TO YOU, FUCKWIT?!"

He slapped me harder than Sakura-chan ever has. I slumped to the right, ankles screaming in protest as some strange technique kept them glued to the pink prints. I straightened up and looked straight ahead like everyone else. The Yellow AnBu approached me again, but some other recruit had said something, so instead of attacking me again, he converged on someone to my left with two other brightly colored ninja.

I'm not sure what he did or what he said, but he kept talking. They kept screaming. Then they started hitting him. They didn't stop until he was whimpering. I reminded myself that he was probably only a Genin. If you couldn't handle this, why would you sign up? After more assorted screaming, they all fell silent, and the bright pink AnBu stood in front of our hasty formation. "Hello, class one-zero-six."

No one responded. At this point we were all scared. The recruit who had spoken back was on longer affixed to his footprints. He was lying in a pool of his own blood, taking shuddering breaths. This is the length they go to with their own? I was pulled from my thoughts by the Pink AnBu.

"What? You don't want to respond? Are you all deaf or stupid?" He looked at the Yellow AnBu, who shrugged. "Well, they might not be smart, but they will be strong. ON YOUR FACES!"

I knew this. This I was familiar with. I dropped down and started pushing. Mistake.

"DID I SAY TO FUCKING START YOU WORTHLESS FUCKING MAGGOT?!"

I stopped. "OH NO, BY ALL MEANS, DON'T PAUSE ON MY ACCOUNT, SHOWOFFS!"

I noted several other recruits pushing with me. When I hit twenty, something inside me felt strange and then broke, and suddenly I could barely lift myself.

"MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE STOPPED AND LISTENED TO DIRECTIONS BEFORE YOU JUMPED AHEAD, DAISY?"

He was squatting over my face, his mask following me as I went up, ever so slowly.

"Listen up. Each day you are allotted a single mistake. This is because you are new. Every mistake will cost you twenty push ups. After the initial twenty, your limiters will be broken and your body weight will double. Every mistake after that will add another set of your weight on. Uzumaki here is experiencing two times his own weight. He made one mistake too many. He has eighteen push ups to go. Let's all get down and push with him. Begin."

All the instructors and all the recruits dropped, somewhat haphazardly.

"STOP!"

We all stopped.

"EVERYONE BACK TO THEIR FUCKING FEET! LET'S TRY THAT AGAIN!"

We all scrambled to our feet, wondering what happened.

"DOWN!" We dropped. "BEGIN!"

We started doing the push ups. Mine were still very hard. When we got to eighteen, we remained in the 'up' position for fear of breaking a rule. The instructors all stood. "Great. Now show us how bad you want to be here. Start pushing. The first one to drop will fail. Along with whoever is on his left. Fourth Element will be failed by First Element, since they have no one to their right and left respectively."

He knelt down to my face, and I could smell the stink of raw garlic as he said, almost lovingly, "Good luck, Uzumaki."

This was hardly fair. I was already exhausted from pushing. What's more, the blood from the injured recruit was getting closer to me while I pushed. I watched as it inched close and closer, all the while I was struggling to get back to the 'up' position. I started to hear straining grunts. I saw out of the corner of my eye someone stop pushing in the up position to rest. The Yellow AnBu sat on his back and commanded him to continue. He did. The blood was now touching my hands. I can deal with blood, but it was making the pavement slippery. I tried to apply chakra to my hands to stick, but when I pulled, nothing came.

"Some of you will have noticed that you can't use chakra. That's because the mist you breathed on the bus closed your coils. They'll be fixed at the end of this particular phase of initiation, but until then, welcome to reality."

I cursed under my breath as the groans and grunts around me started to increase. The injured recruit shuddered, then fell.

"EVERYONE STOP!"

We stopped. They dragged him out of the formation, leaned him against the wall to watch us, then looped Ninja Wire around his neck a single time. They attached it to a strange looking plate, then brought the plate to the recruit directly to my left, which is near the center of the formation. They placed it under his chest, then explained.

"This is a pressure plate. If it is pressed, motors inside will draw that wire closed." The Pink AnBu turned to the bleeding recruit. "What will happen then, Pissant?"

"I-I'll die!"

"WHAT?! I DIDN'T HEAR YOU, TAMAKI!"

"I'LL DIE, SIR!"

"CORRECT." He stood to his full height again. "Not that any of us would miss you."

We were given the command to keep pressing. We did. I'm pretty sure we were all wondering why the recruit didn't fail. They said the first person to drop would fail. So what's this? The recruit on my left; the one over the pressure plate, was sweating. He was struggling to do the push ups. There was a large bastard sword on his back, thicker and shorter than Zabuza's, but immense nonetheless. It must have weighted a lot.

He sank, almost touching the plate, then slowly rose again. My arms were burning. They weren't just burning, they were on fire. I had already passed another twenty and the weight had increased again. This was just madness. I watched as the recruit to my left started to shudder on his way up, then stopped altogether.

"STOP!"

The shock of the yell jolted him to the up position, where he sagged and locked out his elbows, staring fearfully at the pressure plate. Someone else in the formation had dropped. "EVERYONE ON YOUR FEET!"

We scrambled back to our rigid attention as they dragged the second person, along with the pressure plate, out of the formation. Of course. It had all been a show. Then they unlooped the injured recruit, as I predicted. Then, however, they looped the recruit that had just fallen.

"Weakness," The Yellow AnBu said, "Is not tolerated here."

They put the injured recruit on his face, over the pressure plate, while his counterpart lay on his back in front of him. They stared into one another's eyes as the injured recruit started pressing. He got to twelve. Then the weight hit him again, harder. He struggled. He shuddered. He screamed. Then he fell, and the second recruit to fall became the first recruit to die. His head rolled sickly into the front of our formation.

"There were one hundred and six of you. Hello, Class one-zero-five."

They ran us up the stairs and into our barracks, where we 'chose' beds. I was lucky. There was a mattress on the slab of stone I had leapt for. In the morning, they said, we'd be initiated. I had thought that was the initiation. I guess I was wrong.

The next morning, we were marched into a classroom while getting screamed at for not swinging our arms precisely six inches in the front of our body and three inches to the rear of our body. We sat at attention in our seats, terrified of what would happen next. A naked woman walked from behind us to the strange in front of us. How she got there, I have no idea. She walked, hips swaying. Her perfectly toned skin shone in the light. She had absolutely no hair on her body. The girl looked ridiculous. She had no hair on her private parts, no hair on her head, and weirdest of all, no hair on her eyebrows. The only reason I knew she was a girl was from her…well, private parts. I blushed.

This was, after all, the first time I'd seen a woman naked. She stood in front of our two instructors, Pink and Yellow. Yellow addressed her, speaking loud enough that everyone could hear him.

"Who are you?"

"Sir, I am a recruit of class zero-seven-four."

"WHAT IS YOUR FUCKING NAME?"

"Sir, I do not have a name."

"YOU DON'T HAVE A FUCKING NAME? DO YOU THINK I'M FUCKING STUPID?! TELL ME YOUR DAMNED NAME, RECRUIT!"

"Sir, I do not have a name."

"DID YOU DROP IT SOMEWHERE, WHORE?"

"Sir, I dropped it in the burn-pit with my equipment."

"What's the burn pit, maggot?"

"Sir, the burn pit is where we destroy the gear from our previous life."

"Show these fucking sheep to the burn pit, and recruit them."

"Sir." She turned to us, and pointed at the door. We ran. Once we were all formed up outside, the beautiful, ugly naked girl stood in front out our formation. "Fair warning; I'm to kill the last person to arrive. Forty-five degrees to your left, five hundred meters, ninty degrees to your right, five hundred meters."

She took off towards the training grounds, as we tried to follow her. I felt my body weigh down as I tried to run faster. We didn't need an explanation. This was simple. The faster you run, the harder you're weighed down. I let up on my output and felt the weight become manageable. Instead of trying to run, I jogged, and started outstripping the other people with me.

I've been calling them recruits, but they weren't recruits until after we reached the burn pit. They were just Shinobi. Neji was beside me. I nodded at him, painfully. He shook his head briefly. Then we reached the burn legs were on fire, and I almost collapsed. After a full minute, the last recruit made it. As soon as he reached us, a kunai embedded in his forehead. The girl cocked her head at us.

"Hello, class one-zero-four."

We stared at the dead man at our feet. This was a Konoha ninja. He graduated two classes before me. "I don't understand." Why was I talking? I couldn't stop myself. I was so stupid.

"There are a great many things you don't understand, Uzumaki. We're here to teach you." The girl was now in my face, so close that I could feel her breath on my face. "Lesson one; do not speak until spoken to."

She flicked me in the forehead, but without malice. I realized that she was not like our instructors. She had been through what we're going through. We can learn from her.

"Tips?" Neji asked, efficiently.

"No." She turned to him. "There is no advice to help you through what is coming."

The girl moved to indicate the pit behind her. Inside was a blisteringly hot flame that leapt twenty-feet into the air. It seemed to be fueled by equipment. Shoes, shirts, vests, swords…and most horribly of all…people. The girl shoved the latest victim into the fire, and as she spoke to us, the smell of burning human flesh reached our noses.

"This is where we throw all our trash. Any useless equipment."

"And apparently people!" Someone shouted from behind me.

"Like I said." She leveled her gaze at him. "Any useless equipment."

Once we were all naked, we through our gear into the fire. As it burned, we shuffled uncomfortably, unused to our nakedness. The girl walked through us, her breast brushing my arm.

"You forgot one thing. Your name. Cast it into the flames as well."

We looked at her confused. She shook her head like we were stupid. "Line up. Whisper your name to the flames. Then never speak it again."

We did. When my turn came, I stood in front of the flames, wondering what I got myself into. Was this what I wanted? Did it matter anymore what I wanted? It was too late. Pass or die. Did Kakashi-sensei really do this? I missed Sakura-chan. I thought about her, focused on her face, then whispered my name into the fire and forgot about her. I turned and dashed after my new brothers towards the formation prints. When everyone was fished, our instructors met us.

"From this point onwards, you will be called Recruit. You have no names, no pasts. You have no faces." He touched his bright pink, featureless mask. "In time, you may earn a face. Or you may die. You'll probably die."

They then marched us out across the road and over a mile to the clippers. We lined up four at a time and had our hair taken off with razors. When it came to my turn, I stood awkwardly in front of the featureless female recruit from the other class. Three of her classmates were also removing hair. She took a very sharp kunai and roughly scraped my hair from my head, leaving blood in some places.

She did the same to my eyebrows, then armpits. Then she sank to her knees in front of me. I was terrified, then wildly I thought of how this was the first time a girl was on her knees in front of my…well I was too scared to be aroused. Then the kunai cut into my pubic hair, and I screamed with my brothers and sisters. I felt the blade in my flesh, cutting, biting. Then it was done. I thought it was done. We about-faced to leave, but before we could, they bent us over again. I hope, as my children, that you've never had to experience the demeaning agony of having a sharp kunai used to clear out any hair around your…well…

We were shapeless and ugly in our formation. Most of us were bloody. We all had weird pale skin where our hair used to be. We marched in the blazing sun back to our barracks. Then we got to eat breakfast.

The entire affair was rather quick. The food was already on the plates, as we stood in formation looking at it, our instructors spoke.

"There are one hundred and four of you. I have taken the liberty of placing one hundred plates of food here. This food is all poisoned."

He turned to us. "Oh, right. Take your time. In fifteen minutes, you'll be outside standing in formation again. Go."

Pink and Yellow as I've come to call them watched us as we stood awkwardly at the food. Well, they stood awkwardly. I grabbed the nearest plate – some delicious crispy pork-chops, and dug in. I felt the poison in my blood, but I also felt the burning that was the Kyuubi destroying it. I guess the mist didn't work on demonic chakra. There were several other recruits eating as well.

Then there was most of us. Only a few didn't eat. We returned to the classroom, where we learned about landing on our toes and the exact physics of certain movements. Immediately following, we had a practical demonstration. Any of us that could not demonstrate the movements adequately was put on his face until everyone finished. After that, I started to notice my fellow recruits behave…differently. They started moving jerkily, and seemed paranoid. Just as I notice this, the instructor comments on it.

"You're starting to feel the effects of the hallucinogen you consumed at breakfast. Depending on how weak your immune system is, you could be dead by dinner. I wouldn't advise eating any lunch if you had breakfast."

The rest of the days were similar. As promised, whoever ate lunch and got a double dose of the poison was dead by dinner. I of course, ate all three meals without any negative effects.

That night, I woke sometime in the early morning and walked towards the bathroom. I walked on my toes, because by now I knew the instructors slept on the floor in the hallway. As I passed them, I noticed a new addition to the bathroom door. Nestled on a velvet pillow was a single kunai. Above it was a sign that read 'if you dare'. I went pee instead, then went back to bed. Neji was my bunkmate.

"Hey." He whispered to me, knowing I was awake.

"Yeah?"

"This is fucked."

"Yeah."

I stared at the wall.

"Do you know why they wear such ridiculous colors?"

"No, why?"

"Because they're the best the AnBu have. They're saying that even with such a huge disadvantage, you still can't see me coming."

"I hate this place."

"We've only been here a day."

"We've been here our whole lives, feels like."

"I guess we have been, one way you look at it."

Yesterday, Yellow noticed that I eat at every meal.

I'm scared of what they'll do to me tomorrow.

Recruit, Class Zero-Nine-One