Warnings: AU, slight OOC-ness, mature situations.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
A/N: This is obviously a crack pairing, however, I tried not to make this a crack fic. I apologize if the characters are unrecognizably out of character. I think this is the first story I'm attempting that doesn't have an OC pairing...wish me luck. Also, Ino is 19, and Itachi is 24.
Screams echoed up from the bowels of the Konoha Torture and Interrogation Force headquarters. The thick concrete walls and the depth of the chambers where the majority of the worse types of torture took place were designed to keep noises in and people out, but every so often a sound escaped. A wiry woman sitting in a chair jumped at the noise, and Ino Yamanaka smiled understandingly from behind her magazine. She had gotten used to the screaming, as she had been spending the majority of her time here with her father after being made a Chunnin, but she remembered how the screams and cries for mercy used to haunt her nightmares. And while she pitied the woman sitting across the room from her, she knew that one day she too would be able to ignore them.
Another cry screeched through the air, and the woman cleared her throat loudly and nervously, as if to block it out. She peered through rimless glasses at the blond young woman stretched out on the couch. "A-are you Inoichi-san's daughter?"
Ino moved her magazine to stare at the woman. She had short brown hair, rimless glasses that made her gray eyes seem big and watery, and wore a long white jacket over her standard-issue Shinobi outfit. "Yeah," she replied. "My name is Ino."
The woman nodded. "Mayu," she replied. "Have you worked here long, Ino-san?"
Ino sat up and crossed her legs, dropping her magazine on the low table in front of her. She didn't really like small talk, but she figured humoring Mayu wouldn't hurt. "Yeah, almost four years now. I started after I was made Chunnin. I'm not full-time, though- I still go on missions with my old team." 'Even though those are few and far-between, these days.'
The Ino-Shika-Cho trio was unique in that each member was the heir to his or her clan, and therefore had extra duties and responsibilities than those Shinobi who were of lower social ranks. After their promotion from Genin to Chunnin, Ino started going on fewer and fewer missions with her teammates. And even when they weren't on missions they rarely saw each other these days. They each had new duties required of them, not only by their clans but by the village they called home. Shikamaru was often called upon for intelligence and tactical reasons, and Choji was getting extra training from his father.
And while they worked best together, even Ino admitted they were more versatile than her. Shikamaru and Choji were often added to different teams for different reasons, but Ino was only called upon under certain special circumstances. Her own abilities were far more specialized, and while that meant she was often needed here, at headquarters, she was picked for field missions on increasingly rare occasions.
Mayu must have sensed Ino's frustration, because she cleared her throat again, looking away. Ino sighed, and leaned back into the couch. "Sorry, I spaced out. What were you saying?"
"Oh," Mayu said, "I was only wondering when they would be done down there..."
"Soon enough," Ino shrugged. "We wouldn't be able to hear the screaming unless they were really getting into it, and when they do that it doesn't take long for the prisoner to crack."
Mayu nodded, face going white. Ino smiled again, and picked up her magazine. "Don't worry about it. You'll get used to it eventually."
"A-and if I don't?" Mayu asked, wringing her hands together.
Looking up from her page, Ino raised a brow. "Then you'll be booted out the door. Oh, but not before we wipe your memories of everything you may have learned here. Don't want any enemy Shinobi getting word of our tactics, now do we?"
The look on Mayu's face was priceless, and Ino had to bite her cheek to keep herself from laughing. It was true, and kind of horrible, but Ino found that making light of situations like these often helped with coping with them.
The sound of the lobby's glass door opening and someone stepping inside made Ino look over. It was someone she didn't recognize, some generic Chunnin, so she turned away, uninterested. However, he made his way towards here, face blank.
"Yamanaka Ino?" He asked simply.
Flipping her hair behind her shoulder, Ino gazed at him. "That's me."
"Your presence is requested by the Hokage."
Frowning, Ino stuck out her tongue. "What, is Sakura not available or something?" Sometimes Ino was called upon for health screenings when staffing was short or Sakura wasn't enough. And while Ino considered Sakura one of her closest friends, she was still insanely jealous of her and didn't always appreciate being used as a rushed replacement.
The unnamed Chunnin shrugged. "I wouldn't know. I was just told to give you the message that you're wanted." When she didn't move, he sighed. "Immediately."
Groaning, Ino stood. "Yeah, yeah. I'm going." She turned to Mayu, and shrugged. "They probably need me to go wrestle some top-secret information from a captured missing-nin or something," she drawled sarcastically. "Hey, if they come back up before I'm back, just tell them where I went. Shouldn't take too long."
Mayu nodded bleakly. "D-don't rush back," she squeaked, and Ino left, giggling out the door.
Across the city, in another headquarters (this time that of the Konoha Police Force), Uchiha Itachi settled into a chair in the board room, just in time for the bi-monthly meeting. He sat to the right of his father, Uchiha Fugaku, who was at the head of the table, and directly across from Uchiha Daisuke, his uncle on his father's side. To Itachi's left sat Uchiha Shisui, fiddling with a kunai and leaning back in his chair. Shisui was a stark contrast to the other grim-faced men, who sat straight up in their chairs, hands either on the table or crossed over their chests.
Itachi and Shisui were often contrasted as well, Itachi recalled as he waited for the meeting to start. They were best friends, but no two friends were ever more different. 'Well,' he thought, smiling inwardly, 'Perhaps other than Sasuke and Naruto, that is.' Itachi's hair was long and straight, Shisui's was always curled and tangled in a short mop on his head. Itachi was quiet and gentle, Shisui was loud and clumsy. Girls flocked to Itachi without him even wanting them too, and Shisui was always flirting and chasing women, despite his low rate of success. Itachi's face was lined from stress, and Shisui's was always bright and fresh, despite him being a few years older.
So, yes, they were quite different. But Itachi loved Shisui like a brother, and he knew Shisui felt the same about him. He trusted him with his life, which wasn't something he felt about just everyone.
"Ahem." Itachi was snatched out of his reverie by the sound of his father's 'listen to me now' grunt. He sat up straight in his chair as Shisui let the front legs of his drop to the floor as the rest of the room quieted.
"Reports," Fugaku demanded, foregoing any sort of welcome or greeting. He looked to his right, at Itachi, who cleared his throat and stood.
"There were three reports from the Tea District in the last two weeks," he said smoothly, hands behind his back. The Tea District was the part of Konoha he was in command of- he handled all Shinobi-related disturbances that occurred there. "Two brawls and a smuggling operation. Those involved in the brawl were arrested and spent three nights in jail, and are now on D-rank missions for the rest of the week. Those involved in the smuggling were submitted to the Torture and Interrogation Force for further questioning."
Fugaku nodded, and Itachi sat down. "The smuggling operation...were any of the narcotics recovered?"
Shaking his head, Itachi slid a paper towards his father. "No, it was just order demands and quantity information. However, we did do blood and urine tests, and found traces of opiates in all their systems."
"From The Land of Valleys, no doubt," a voice from the end of the table spoke up. It was Uchiha Hotaka, head of the Vice Narcotics Division. He frowned, and crossed his arms. "We've been investigating reports of a massive drug operation stemming from that area. If what you've said is correct, Itachi-san, I believe it's safe to assume that they're beginning to operate in Fire Country as well."
"This is unacceptable," Fugaku muttered. He laced his fingers together and eyed every person up and down the table. "I will not tolerate any sort of narcotic operation taking hold of this village. I want-" He was interrupted by the door to the room opening, and a timid looking girl peeked her head in.
"Excuse me," she said softly, "But is Uchiha Itachi in here?"
Fugaku glared. "This is a private meeting. He is needed."
Itachi peered over his comrades heads and looked the girl in the eye. She blushed, and bit her lip. Itachi fought the urge to sigh.
"I know, I'm sorry, but Hokage-sama has urgently requested his presence. Like, um, right now," she added.
Fugaku opened his mouth to say something, but Itachi rose from his seat. "It won't take long, father," he said quietly. "I've given my report, and I'll be back in time for my patrol."
Jaw clenching, Fugaku merely nodded, and turned away. Patting a bummed looking Shisui on the shoulder, Itachi left the room with the blushing girl, shutting the door smoothly behind him.
"What is this about?" He asked quietly. The girl shrugged, not meeting his eye.
"Um, I'm afraid I don't know. I was just sent to, uh, retrieve you."
Frowning, Itachi rubbed his chin in puzzlement. It wasn't like he was unused to to being summoned by the Hokage- even with his current posting in the police force, he was still one of the Village's best Shinobi, and often sent on missions. But usually the missions he was sent on were planned far in advance, with him going into them knowing what was happening and having a choice in the small details. It had been a long time since he had last been sent somewhere without having prior knowledge of it. Unless...
It was no secret that Itachi was a favorite for the candidate Hokage position. He didn't particularly want that particular honor, but if chosen he would take up the mantle. Despite being a Uchiha, he was extremely loyal to his village, and had its best interests at heart. And while he loved his family dearly, the village came first, and the legacy of the Will of Fire with it.
'I don't think Hokage-sama would have called me forth for that out of the blue, though,' Itachi decided. 'That sort of decision takes time.'
Police work often got tedious and redundant, but after a childhood filled with blood and assassinations, it was a nice reprieve for Itachi. He honestly enjoyed his evening patrols, and relaxing with a cup of tea after they were over. He knew most people tagged him as a workaholic – Shisui especially, and it wasn't completely untrue. He took his work seriously, but if given the opportunity, he jumped at the chance to relax.
As Hokage, however, he would no longer have that choice. But if it was for the good of the village, he knew he would make those sacrifices.
Ino got to Hokage Tower a little later than expected, much to the chagrin of the chunnin sent to retrieve her. She had walked a lot slower than usual, partly out of annoyance, and partly to admire the view of the village. She was definitely a people's person, and had no problem stopping to chat with friends and acquaintances on the way to the main hub of the village.
The chunnin left her at the entrance to the tower with instructions to go up to Tsunade's office. Ino took her time getting there as well, this time to give herself time to prepare. She was good at adapting to situations, but she liked knowing what she was getting into. Most likely this summons was about nothing, but still. Tsunade could have given her a little hint.
When she reached the top, she noticed immediately that there were two ANBU guarding Tsunade's door. While that wasn't unusual, it stood out to Ino for some reason. There was a tension in the air, something that made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. She stepped past the two guards quietly, pushing open the doors to the office.
Tsunade sat in her usual spot, behind her desk. Shizune stood behind her, slightly to the right, and in front of the desk stood Sakura. However, there was fourth person in the room as well.
Itachi Uchiha stood quietly off to the side, hands clasped behind his back. Ino eyed him curiously as she stepped to the middle of the room, arms crossed.
"I summoned you over half an hour ago," Tsunade said stiffly. "Itachi got here within the first ten minutes, and he was further away."
Resisting the urge to roll her eyes, Ino shrugged half-heartedly. "Sorry, I guess I got caught up in...stuff."
Looking like she wanted to say something, Tsunade visibly bit her tongue and sighed. "Whatever. I don't have time for this." Leaning back in her chair, she eyed the blonde kunoichi. "I'm sending you out on a mission."
'Finally!' Ino screamed for joy in her head. "Where?" She asked, eyes bright.
"To the Land of Hills. We've been contracted by a very wealthy landowner who has something he needs taken care of." Tsunade pushed a scroll towards her. "The mission details are in there, but there's something that needs to be discussed beforehand."
Ino frowned. "Okay. What is it?" Usually missions were just assigned and you were sent on your way, minus the time you may need to prepare. Ino had no idea what was going on.
"This mission," Tsunade said slowly, "Is going to be a little complicated. It requires a lot of focus and several skills only a few shinobi are capable of. Itachi," she said, gesturing to the stoic man, "fulfills half of those requirements. You are needed to supply the other half."
Becoming exasperated, Ino placed a hand on her hip, and sighed. "Okay, so like spying, right? But why are you sending me on a spy mission along with Ita- Uchiha-san?" Itachi was considered one of the best, if not the best shinobi in the village (and quite a few others as well). With his Sharingan and Genjutsu, infiltration and recon were no problem for him. Ino was surprised she was being sent on a mission with him.
"You're not going to be spying, not like you usually do anyways," Tsunade said. "You are going to be seducing."
There was silence. The sound of the streets below could be heard faintly behind the huge hole Tsunade's words had left, before Ino laughed nervously.
"Okay, this is a joke, right? Because that's really funny, Tsunade-sama. Super funny." Ino looked at Sakura, who was obviously trying to avoid her gaze. "Was it your idea, billboard-brow?"
"This isn't a joke!" Tsunade snapped. Ino glared at her.
"Please try to show a little more decorum, Yamanaka-san," Itachi sighed softly. "I can assure you that Tsunade-sama is being completely honest with you."
Once Itachi said it, the mission finally started to sink in. Ino frowned. "Okay, seducing? What exactly do you mean?"
"Our client, the landowner, employs a man named Ichiro, who is the captain of his villa's guard." Tsunade continued. "He's an extremely unpleasant man with a fondness for drink and women." Ino flinched slightly. "He is suspected of running an underground slave-trading ring- mostly women and children, out of the local town. Our client wants us to find out what's going on, so the police force can move in to make formal arrests and investigations, if needed."
Ino nodded. Slave trading was illegal in all of the countries, but it was rampant in the underground world. Many corrupt officials participated in it, and it was really difficult to track. However, most slave-trading rings were connected in some way, so taking out one could potentially open the door for more liberations.
"I understand," Ino said, "But what I don't get is why you need me. Aren't some Kunoichi trained for missions like these?"
"Not anymore, no," Shizune piped in. "At least, not formally. Back before the last great war, there were schools where seduction-class kunoichi were trained. They were a class of Special Jounin, trained for one task and one task only. However, the need for them died out after the war, and the schools were shut down, as they were expensive to upkeep and very few women opt in for the missions anyways."
"Usually there are ways around these types of tactics," Tsunade said. "However, we feel that it's necessary for this mission, if we want it to succeed. Our intel says that, with enough alcohol in his system and under the, erm, right circumstances, he's very loose with any kind of information. We need that information."
"Why me, though?" Ino asked again. "I would have thought you would pick someone..."
"Older?" Shizune offered, and Ino shrugged. "It's said that Ichiro likes younger girls. Younger blonde girls, at that. Also..." She trailed off, looking uncomfortable.
Tsunade sighed. "To put it bluntly, Ino, you're the most...experienced when it comes to men than your peers. You have a sort of...reputation, haven't you noticed?"
"Wait a minute," Ino stopped the Hokage, and crossed her arms. "You're sending me on this mission because people think I'm a slut?" She couldn't believe what she was hearing.
"No," Tsunade said through clenched teeth. "I do not think you're a slut, Ino. Just that you have far more confidence with the opposite sex than any of the other kunoichi your age. Theoretically Hinata could be sent on this mission, but can you see her doing this?" Ino was silent.
"Please, Ino," Tsunade said. "We need you for this. You try to get the information from Ichiro, and Itachi will scope out the town for any other leads."
"I will not let any harm come to you, Yamanaka-san," Itachi said softly.
Ino didn't know what to do. Sure, she knew she a lot of people called her things behind her back. It was mostly confidence and innuendo that gave her that reputation- she was in no way promiscuous in any way, and it was that knowledge that kept her feeling okay about the insults spat her way. This was important mission, with hundreds of lives potentially at stake. However, if she went through with it, would those names finally have a ring of truth to them? Ino didn't know if she could handle it.
'You're a kunoichi, a shinobi of Konoha!' She scolded herself inwardly. 'Who cares what a bunch of jealous nobodies think? If Tsunade thinks you can do this, then you can! Besides, it's something that Sakura can't do- Tsunade even admitted that!'
"I'll do it," she said finally, and relief fluttered over Tsunade's face.
"Good. You leave tomorrow. Stop by before, and I will have some supplies and tips ready for you. I don't plan on you going into this unprepared. Also, take the mission scroll, and read over it. It has valuable information that may help you coerce Ichiro into giving you the information."
Ino took the scroll, and turned to leave. She looked over at Itachi, who was moving towards the door as well.
"Uh, see you tomorrow, Uchiha-san," Ino called. Itachi merely nodded at her, and left as silently as he had been the entire meeting.
"This is going to be fun," Ino murmured to herself, shaking her head.
Thanks for reading.