Title: Only Sane Man
Warnings: Excess literalism, excessive rationality, weirdness.
Other: This one's just for fun. The Only Sane Man trope describes a character who, while of sound mind themselves, is the only one in the vicinity who is. They are the one who, when the weird stuff happens, stops, looks around at everyone and everything causing the weird stuff, and points out that this is not right. And then, is inevitably ignored by everyone else in the cast. Casting Enzan in this role seemed the best at first, since he is the outsider to everything, but then I realized Tatsuya would be much better. Enzan's outsider status is what makes him accept (and often cause) the weirdness of events, while Tatsuya possesses a healthy skepticism despite being confronted by curses, genetic manipulation, magic, and general stupidity. The timing actually slides decently, it puts Tatsuya at 15 when he hits Chuunin (which is right), and singles him out for a mission near after Saito's coronation (also right, puts it at 8 years ago game time/2-ish years ago site time, and Saito died Spring 08 so that's right-ish, since he didn't last long.) Not long after the 5th ascends is when the new Sennin are chosen, one of whom was sent to Sand three years game time, while Tatsuya didn't get Jounin until nearly Enzan's selection as 6th. So that works.
"Do you mean to tell me," Tatsuya said to the captain, in what he thought was a perfectly reasonable tone of voice, "that not only did you are put me in the sector designated for fighting legends, just because I appear somewhat passable with a bow, but you are now assigning me a mission because of it?"
The man blinked and rubbed the back of his head. "Not so much...you're really very good for a Chuunin..."
"No," he interrupted, "good for a Chuunin, yes, that's exactly it. That makes me somewhat passable for a Jounin, at best, and nothing at all to most of the corps. Yes?"
"I guess." He stared at the somewhat-diminutive teenager in front of him. "Do you have a problem with that?"
"I just wanted to be absolutely, completely crystal clear." Tatsuya sighed. "Never mind. I'll take the assignment. Who do I talk to?"
"Normally, the Sennin, but he's in Sand at the moment, see..."
He silently wondered to himself how exactly anyone ever got anything done in the village if they had to consult the Sennin for everything.
"That's fine," he interrupted again. "You know what, I'll just go talk to someone else for now."
Like maybe someone with a brain?
"All I'm saying," he said, for the umpteenth time, to the Interbranch Sennin, who he'd located in lieu of the ANBU Sennin, a man who seemed to have been in Sand for the past year, "is that 'Delta' is a bad callsign. It's barely pronounceable."
Not that this man appeared bothered or even affected by his logic. Then again, he should have expected as much from the Most Noticeable Person Ever, who was clearly unconcerned by the fact that his hair was mostly white.
"It's good enough." The man shrugged. The way he twirled a pen was irritating, but the alternative was going to the Hyuuga Sennin, and irrational or not he wasn't taking orders from someone with a bloodline--
"It's the same number of syllables as my name. What's the point to it? Wouldn't it be better to just use my name?"
"Then there's no point in a callsign," the man yawned. "Don't argue it, please. You're not going to convince me. Just go."
Frustrated, Tatsuya stormed out the door.
At least his Jounin exam met expectations. It was a death trap. That was good. There was no use in complete idiots getting promoted, as much as they seemed to anyway. At least this seemed semi-impassable.
It had, however, no apparent origin. Given as the only competent ANBU Sennin (and why did they have two, again?) was still in Sand for some reason. But at least it was decent and made sense.
Until the proctor pulled him aside and told him he had been singled out for captainship. Well used to his particular quirks, everyone else around him stepped back to let him boggle.
"And how, exactly, do you feel qualified to promote me to a rank higher than yours?"
There was a bit of uncomfortable shifting around. The proctor cleared his throat.
"Well, the Sennin said we were in need of captains. So he said I should give whoever was the most competent the job."
And that just figured. Tatsuya's mind was somewhere between so you mean to say you think you are somehow qualified to decide that I am better than you for some reason and well, they've finally recognized my competence, at least.
"That...makes sense." Wow, that had hurt him to say. A lot. "Yes. Thank you."
Everyone gave him appraising looks, but when it was generally accepted he wasn't going to explode on them they all continued their earlier conversations and accepted their Jounin equipment.
Well, it makes as much sense as anything ever does.
That tears it.
After an encounter with someone who had apparently been so afraid of him he'd blown himself up rather than fight him (and really, that made no sense whatsoever, since nothing anyone could do to you was worse than death), and then an encounter with the worst person ever who he hadn't even gotten to throw out a window, Tatsuya was seriously beginning to question his commitment to Mist.
Did their Sennin just have a thing for spending extended periods of time out of the country? He couldn't count a single one in recent history who hadn't, and they were all loopier than fruitcake.
At least Renzo doesn't seem adversely affected. Aside from his office...why the hell would someone turn it upside-down?
Some days, going crazy seemed like a good alternative.
Tatsuya made an undignified squawking sound as he leaned against the wall outside the Mizukage's room in the hospital. People's eyes did not change colour like that, and most certainly--
No. Hold on. Slow down. It did happen, so obviously it could. It was entirely possible that Renzo was just allergic to near-death experiences or something, as absurd as that sounded. It was better than any other theory.
Or maybe he'd acquired the condition from spending three years in Sand for no reason--
He shook his head, then banged the back of it on the wall a few times to clear it. If that was the case, he really never wanted to leave the country. Clearly everyone outside it was insane.
Well. He probably should have realized that when the Cloud ninja attempted to bring a dead body to a peace negotiation.
It was always a trial dealing with his sister, mainly because he was torn between the oh god don't stab me with that and finally someone else who doesn't think in upside-down circles reactions. Fortunately, this time she just sat him down for a little chat.
"So," she said, pouring the tea, "how's life as the Kage's lapdog treating you?"
He scowled as he reached for eight sugars, his usual number. "Terrible. Everyone above Jounin is insane."
She smirked. "I did warn you, brother dearest. The more power one gets in Mist, the crazier they get. I'm surprised you're still able to think properly."
"There have been moments," he muttered darkly, stirring the tea moodily. "If Renzo weren't ridiculously good-looking, I'd be out of there already."
She gave him an appraising sort of look. "I suppose that means you don't intend on keeping it in the family."
He stared right back. "That is the one thing we'll never agree on."
"It didn't hurt to try."
"It sort of did."
"So I suppose this is the point where I accept Renzo has a dark, sordid past, and that curses are in fact real, because the alternative is believing he killed someone. Right?"
Enzan tilted his head and looked at him thoughtfully. "That's what I'd expect, yeah."
Tatsuya shook his head violently. "No. You know what? This doesn't seem like anything unspeakable and cursed to me."
He frowned. "I'd have thought you'd not want to believe him a cold-blooded killer."
"Why? We're ninja. It's our job to kill. You're making entirely too much of a production of this. I've killed people. You've almost definitely killed people. Why is it such an issue if he did?"
"Because," was the answering hiss, "he was a loyal Mist nin."
"So?" Tatsuya countered. "He can't have been the first person ever to do so. Bodies show up all the time and no one cares. No one even investigated at the time of. Clearly it wasn't that important."
Enzan was silent for a minute. "...Now I remember you. Adjusted to your callsign yet?"
He resisted the urge to smack the man. He still outranked him, after all.
In the end, he had to take a side trip out of the country anyway. He only hoped that whatever you caught from drinking the water/breathing the air/existing outside Water Country wasn't contagious. Except he completely, entirely knew it was.