Hatake Kakashi stared up at the sky with a blank stare, hoping the tranquility of the twinkling stars above would somehow find its way into the chaotic maelstrom of his mind. The day had been more exhausting than his previous one, and that had involved fighting against an S-Class ninja of his own village while running the risk of having his mind taken over or being declared a traitor by his reason for living.

They got separated and asked to repeat the order of events and the facts of matter and their thoughts behind decisions over and over to at least twelve different (and extremely high ranked) ninja that fact checked them and their information against what they were able to dig up. It was mostly formality since the Hokage believed them, but the Hokage also wasn't trusting his own mind at the moment.

All the interviews were fine. It was hardly his first time having to go through such tribulations. His issues came from a source much more personal.

"Hey, can I hide up here with you? I'm getting real tired of hearing the strongest Kunoichi in Konoha's history argue with a kid like they are both five year-olds."

"Don't meet your heroes." Kakashi droned as he scooted over on his place on the rooftop. Anko gave a snort of laughter then sat down moments later.

The two lapsed into silence as Kakashi did his best to focus on the stars overhead, the feel of the roof on his fingertips, and the smell of trees on the air. Anything to stop himself from falling back into his memories. Memories that didn't matter because the right decision was so obvious that his personal feelings didn't matter; shouldn't matter even.

He wondered if Orochitama knew?


Probably. The bitch.

"So what's eating you?" Anko asked as she leaned back against the roof.

Kakashi briefly considered telling the woman to fuck off, he barely knew her on a personal basis, but decided that someone that would shit on Orochitama's plan with him sounded nice.

"Orochitama has offered to give us the Three Tails so long as I am its Jinchuriki." Kakashi stated simply. The Hokage had given him permission to discuss the matter with whoever he wished. He probably meant Naruto, but he didn't particularly care how liberally he interpreted that permission at the moment.

Anko's head snapped to him. "No shit?"

Kakashi hummed.


"Fuck." Anko cursed and lapsed into silence, contemplating that information. Unsurprising considering the woman's complicated feelings towards Orochitama. The night again filled with the cries of bugs and the occasional hoot of an owl that was usually not actually an owl. More than half of all the bird calls in Konoha were ninja signaling each other.

Kakashi had to wonder how long Orochitama had planned this. Had the woman been scouting him for the position all the way back in Wave? It felt more probable than he wanted to admit. He wanted to accuse the woman of doing this specifically to hurt him emotionally, but it made no tactical sense whatsoever. You didn't sacrifice a Biju just to hurt a single jounin's feelings.

"So what's the issue. Aren't you already that brat's teacher? Have a problem when the jinchuriki is you?" Anko asked with a raised eyebrow.

"No. I wouldn't have blinked if it were any other Biju. It's just..." Kakashi trailed off, he spent a heartbeat deciding if he actually wanted to talk about it before continuing. "My Genin Team under the Yondaime Hokage consisted of myself, Obito, and Rin. Obito died first."

"Yeah. It's how you got your eye. I remember there was a political shitstorm after."

"Right. Well, after that Rin had gotten captured by Mist ninja on another mission. They sealed the Three Tails into her with a seal that made to break on command. They wanted us to return to Konoha and have her release a biju in the heart of the village." Kakashi stated.

"Seeing as I don't remember the village ever being attacked by the Three Tails, I guess something happened to stop that?" Anko asked.

"Yes. She threw herself on my attack. My hand plunged through her chest and she died with the seal intact, meaning the Three Tails reformed somewhere nearby and Konoha was saved." Kakashi answered.

"Shit." Anko said as the implication hit her. "So...she wants you to take the reason your teammate died into yourself. That bitch! There is no way she didn't know!"

Kakashi smiled under his mask. It was nice that someone else agreed. "I have to do it. It's too much power for Konoha for me to refuse."

"Such a big prize has to be for a great cost. What's the Snake Bitch get?"

"Konoha publicly supporting her new village and claiming a mutual defense pact. She also thinks that her village will be too scary to NOT attack if they have the Three Tails on top of the Seven Tails and all that she just unveiled. By giving it to us it also tells the other villages she's willing to play ball and be peaceful."

"Bullshit!" Anko yelled "Look, I heard that she's not supposed to be exactly Orochimaru but if any part of her is that bastard there is another reason and we can't let her have time to just set up whatever the fuck it is she's trying to do."

"Her personality...well, I'm not sure how much of her is really Orochimaru, but she's showing a lot of signs of genuinely trying to be peaceful. Her new village is in-between Konoha, Iwa, and Kumo. She'll make for an even more imposing barrier to someone starting a war. Isn't a chance at peace worth the shot?" Kakashi asked.

"No!" Anko yelled immediately before glancing down and biting her lip, "Maybe. I don't know. But you don't make a plan that counts on a viper NOT biting you! Not without you making for damn sure that you can trust it."

Anko had a point. There was a lot to gain here, but Orochimaru was a monster beyond compare. Who was to say they weren't just letting a worse problem prepare?

As much as the current plan grated against his personal feelings, he had to agree with the underlying logic of everything. The fact that Naruto kept managing to predict the Snake Woman and he insisted she wasn't bad also made him not want to write off the woman's character either. He needed a compromise. Something to test the woman's intentions.

"Anko? What is something that morally upstanding that Orochimaru would never do no matter what? Something we could demand in exchange for this deal?" Kakashi asked.

Anko looked stunned for a moment before immediately adopting a smile pointy enough to be fitting for a Kiri Swordsman. "Oh, I have a thought."

"Then lets bring it to the Hokage before Orochitama does something else outrageous to shake the foundations of the ninja world." Kakashi droned before cursing himself. He knew better than to give lines like that for the universe to fuck with.xxxxx

Yamada Taro often cursed his decision to become a ninja. His dreams of honor and glory for himself and Hidden Waterfall took its initial blow when he took his first chunin exams and saw how wide the difference was between the 'small' villages and the big ones. It was permanently wounded when he realized that if wanted to be relavent in his job he'd have to train himself to the breaking point every day if he wanted to make up for being of middling talent. That hope died as he held his teammate when she gave her last breath.

Being a ninja wasn't glorious and sure as hell wasn't honorable and his mission became to keep his head down and live to be old enough to retire. A distant dream, he once thought, until the elder sat him down offered him this new job. When he heard that Waterfall was combining with two other hidden villages, he had initially been certain his future contained only more bloodshed and death, all until he had been offered the job of a new kind of mission desk.

Taro cast his gaze about the town square, looking for a good place to set himself up. The small town of Nikko wasn't anything to write home about. It only had about six thousand people, including the outlying farms and seemed a good place to start. The town wasn't really important, he had literally picked it at random from a list of options available to him. Eventually, he found a decent spot right near the town's well. In moments, he shrugged off his pack, pulled out the summon scroll he'd been given, and with puff of smoke a wooden kiosk appeared complete with a chair that he wasted no time in placing his own comfy cushion on.

The locals gasped and backed away from the sudden appearance of the wooden structure and fearful looks were cast about. Taro simply flipped the sign over stating "Open" to the public.

The people of the town shifted and whispered to each other. Not wanting to be the first one to approach the ninja. Understandable really. Ninja almost always meant death and it truly didn't matter if he sat there for the next eight hours and not a single person showed up. It had been made expressly clear to him and all others that had been assigned this job that the main goal was to make these kiosks common place. To be nothing of note. Forcing the issue would be seen only as suspicious and dangerous. They didn't need to draw people in. Curiosity would handle that.

The idea was genius. Most people that could use ninja aid didn't go to the villages because it was too far, too dangerous, or too expensive to travel. Granted, it would be surprising if they ever got a mission that was more dangerous than a C-Rank doing this, but most villages functioned primarily on D and C rank missions anyways.

"Volume will beat price, especially in peace time. We won't make our money by doing dangerous or prestigious jobs, but by doing more jobs, quicker, and of a kind that no one else is offering." The Elder had told him.

People wanted ninja to come fix their problems. The average villager saw ninjas as killers, yes, but they also saw them as magic; and who wasn't looking for a little bit of magic to solve their problems?

The crowd around him had begun to calm and not look at him like he was ready to pounce on the first person to make a movement he didn't like. They were calm enough for the only advertisement he would verbally give that day.

He stayed seated and slouched in his chair as he raised his voice for the whole square to hear. "Just as the Nations of Rice, Hills, and Valleys have combined to form the Nation of Shafts, so too have the Villages of Sound, Waterfall, and Grass joined to make the Village Hidden in Tunnels. We are here for your convenience."

The people in the square scattered inside the various buildings, peaking through the windows, and having hushed conversations behind closed doors as they collectively tried to figure out what the hell it was that they were supposed to do. It took roughly ten minutes before a man began approaching him. Either some sort of leader in the town or the guy that drew the short straw. Didn't really matter which.

"What is this exactly, Ninja-san?" The man demanded and did an admirable job of hiding his apprehension.

"Mobile Mission Desk. I'll be here all today. Any job you want to give, or to schedule, just let me know. Give me a few minutes to call in the mission, I give you a price, you pay, I hand you a receipt and a timeframe to expect, then you go on your way with the happy assurance that everything will be taken care of." Taro stated, making absolutely certain he remained relaxed yet professional looking.

"But why are you here?" The man pressed.

"Because that's where you showed up on the list of villages. I'm going to another village tomorrow." Taro answered.

"Oh..." The man stated and the two of them lapsed into an extremely awkward silence as hundreds of eyes peeked at them through windows and around corners.

"Did you have something you wanted us to take care of?" Taro said, deciding to give the guy some help.

"Like what?" The villager asked dumbly.

Taro reached into a cabinet in the kiosk and pulled out a scroll that he dropped on the table. The villager hesitantly picked up the parchment and unrolled it as though it were a live viper. Hesitance that disappeared as he began to read the list.

"Tiling the land? Thining the deer population? Birthdays parties!?" The man's voice grew more and more incredulous as he read.

"That last one is the actually the most expensive." Taro supplied helpfully. "But those are just suggestions. You can make unique requests. We aren't picky."

"How do we know you're a ninja and not just some guy trying to take our money?" The man asked and Taro raised an eyebrow at him.

"Do you know many 'just some guy' that can make a whole wooden stand appear in a puff of smoke?"

"R-right. Could you um..." The man cast his gaze around for a moment before pointing to the side where the cobblestone path had a cavity in the middle of the road. "Could you fix that pothole?"

"Sure." Taro said with a shrug before pulling out the most important bit of equipment he had been given. On the surface, it didn't seem like much. The top opened to display a keyboard and a display that showed what it was he was typing. He had two hundred characters at a maximum to communicate back to the home village. He pressed the send key and waited until the screen displayed up to two hundred characters back with a response. Taro didn't know how it worked, didn't care to find out, and had been informed that trying to find out would not be good for his health, particularly if he tried to open said communication box. Thus, Taro typed in the information, pressed send, and within a minute he got his response. "It'll be seventy-five hundred ryo. It'll be fixed today. "

Not a terrible price. It was a bit less that than a single day's wage for the average villager. Well, the average villager of a town that wasn't suffering in squalor.

"Oh...um..." The man hesitated a moment longer before handing over the money.

Taro quickly wrote out a receipt, claimed the money, and handed the man the proof of his purchase. "Nice doing business with you sir."

The villager walked away and the whole town collectively held its breath as all eyes watched to see what would happen. Would the man get up and fix it himself? Would he suddenly run with the money? Would a bunch of ninjas show up out of nowhere and fix it? No one was sure, but the the tension of 'something was going to happen' gripped everyone.

However, tension is something that can be hard to hold on to when the only thing happening was a plane faced average looking man who just so happened to be a ninja sitting calmly and professionally manning a desk all the while the regular demands of life called to them. Dinner needed cooking, children needed tending, bosses demanded work, and money needed making. Only the most stubborn or nosey stuck around to continue to watch what would happen until finally, two hours later, a ninja leapt down from a roof to stand next to the pothole. It was a girl that couldn't have been over the age of fifteen and her limbs seemed to be embracing puberty at irregular rates that spoke to Taro that her covered face had far more to do with acne than ninja secrecy.

The girl ran through a series of hand signs, the earth heaved, and a stone sat perfectly in line with the rest of the stones on the path. The girl briefly ran a foot over it to make sure it was smooth before turning and nodding to Taro before jumping back off over the rooftops.

It was quick. It was efficient. It didn't interrupt anyone's lives and all at once the village's problem was solved.

Then, Taro got to start actually earning his wage. The villagers rushed the stand, asking after prices, questioning viable services, and wanting to just not be the only cool person in town that didn't have a ninja come do something for them.

"The creek through my land is dry!"

"Finding out why is twenty thousand ryo. And addition twenty thousand will guarantee it flows for at least the next month. Baring interference of people."

"I have gophers in my crops!"

"We can exterminate them for seventy-five hundred ryo. If you want a guarantee that your crops still alive after, it will be thirty thousand."

And so the day went, Taro taking requests, typing away on his magical box to answer all their questions. All he had to do was communicate what the box told him. Why were missions the price they were? He didn't know. How did a ninja get there in only two hours? He hadn't been told. Who decided if one of the requests wasn't something available that day? Outside his paygrade. All he knew is that he just had to do this job for three months, then he'd get two months off, and the entire three months on the road would see his food and stay in hotels was paid for by the village, within reason. He only had to be at the stand for eight hours a day and the rest of the time he was free to spend however he chose.

It was the perfect job, it inspired in him a desire to see the world that he hadn't before. He was free to try a new restaurant every day, to look upon any beautiful vistas it held, and to participate in any celebrations at the time.

He just didn't envy the guy that had to read all the requests of both himself and the several dozen other ninja also filling the same job currently.xxxxx

Tatewaki had to consciously hold back his triumphant laughter; he has already allowed is well earned joyous and innocent laughter to take up so much time that morning that he hadn't managed to properly style his hair. None seemed to notice his glorious hair lacked the structure it normally took, but all marveled at him as he completed his purpose. He had finally been assigned a task worthy of him and he would show all the importance of his person that Orochitama, goddess that she is, had rightfully acknowledged within him!

The day had started with a low level of activity. Just coordinating among parties and verifying positions and having his minions make sure the peons in the field knew their roles. The plan he was administering was one that had been poured over by the leaders of three villages, their highest officers, and Tatewaki had been the last piece to bring it all together. He alone had managed to calculate the correct position and pathing to allow for acceptable response times whilst also not staying in a predictable pattern for enemies to interfere.

Previously, they had been deadlocked into disagreement, but he alone had managed to convince them of their glorious vision.

"Call in! Pothole. Area 207.521. Dispatching D-Rank personnel. Minimum charge. Clear?" One of his underlings shouted, a tad too loud, but who wouldn't be excited at the first call in?

"Approved." Tatewaki replied and the confirmation was sent. Such a simple order would not need his oversight in the coming days, but to begin with it was his mission to ensure everyone knew what they were doing.

Tatewaki walked over to the most impressive bit of the staging room. A map that virtually displayed the two dozen deployments out in the country waiting to respond to these requests. Each group consisting of approximately thirty-three ninja of varying strength and ability that sat ready to deploy in the area to accomplish assigned missions.

The small light that represented ninja number 256384 blinked out place and appeared as a yellow color on the map at the destined location to represent they were in route and had yet complete their mission. As the system was supposed to.

"Branch locations. Verify first movement displayed to area 207.521." Tatewaki ordered into his personal communicator. Unlike Tatewaki's minions, this one was a different communicator. The highest level of encryption possible and sent out to the five satellite locations that were set up to receive missions just the same as this location had been set up. The other ones were not manned to nearly the same extent currently, but rather were a backup should their own location be compromised so that business and communication could go uninterrupted. A genius idea by his current object of worship and future bride, Orochitama.

"Location 02, acknowledged."

"Location 03, acknowledged."

His communicator crackled in response as all the locations gave verification one after the other, making Tatewaki give a nod of approval. The maps were synched up to all locations. The technology that was being used for it was not something new, strictly speaking, but it was technology that had never been used quite like this before.

"Call in! Request for factfinding with possible solution for waterflow issues. Dried creek. Area 207.522. Pricing?" One of his minions asked.

Tatewaki did mental calculations. It was exploratory, so it would need multiple ninja. The location was in the heart of the country and in an area with a nonexistent bandit presence. Fixing the issue with a dry creek could be problematic, as it might be a weather based issue.

Tatewaki quickly paged through to the weather reports in the stated area to see if it had been getting regular rainfall.

It had. Meaning an issue of damming or a troublesome neighbor.

"Tier 4 D price for finding out the problem. Tier 1 C for solving it." Tatewaki came to a snap decision, the most important skill of his current job. They had run practices previously and the consistent issue had been that no one seemed able to both evaluate the issues of a mission and come to a decision on the mission price quickly. One had to know where to find the pertinent data in the available refrence material as well. It was a job few could accomplish and none shined as brightly as he.

"Call in! Roof repair! Class 3 residence! Area 103.824! Price?"

Tatewaki began to open is mouth to respond but found himself cut off.

"Call in! Wolf extermination! Pack unknown in size! Area 602.897." Another voice pipped up.

Simple enough, he just had to-

"Call in! Bandit camp! Red Suns! Area 425.368!" Another called.

Ah, the fish were biting. Quicker than he had expected, the first day was supposed to be slow, but he had prepared for it. Tatewaki turned to his two head minions. "Assist. Refer everything over 1 B to me for finalization."

"Yes!" The two shouted before standing up and beginning to field responses as well.

"Call in! Murder investigation! Mid tier merchant family! Area 103.825! Price?"

Tatewaki gave out a laugh that was so joyful that everyone briefly stopped what they were doing to stare at him in wonder. Truly, they marveled at such pure and magical joy. His vision, and Orochitama's, was going perfectly!