Just a little something that was bouncing around in my head. I may or may not decided to expand on this if I can get an actual plot nailed down. Meh, we'll see. Enjoy.


The shout was punctuated by a loud crack, the speaker having slammed their hands down upon the wooden desk in front of them.

"Do you really think it would be that simple? That with this one, 'simple act' as you put it, we would rid ourselves of this 'so-called' menace?" The speaker invested these words with so much scorn and ridicule it was a wonder his audience hadn't fled due to embarrassment.

"But -" a second voice began to respond, only to be interrupted by the first.


Contrasting to his earlier tone, that single word came out in a whisper, like that of steel parting silk. That whisper silenced the opposition, and reminded them of where they were and who they spoke to.

"I have endured your foolishness, hoping that you would begin to see reason. Unfortunately, it seems that age has dulled your mental faculties. If you cannot see the truth when it is shoved right under your noses..."

Delivered in that deathly tone, the words hung in the air, all the more profound for the calm coldness behind them. The second speaker made as if to speak, but a swift glance from the third person in the room quashed the motion.

"If you cannot see reason and untainted facts, then you are no longer of any use to me, or those I command. You have two choices. The first: retire, and maintain your life and some of your dignity..." The speaker began to pace as he laid out the options. As his pacing led him to a window overlooking his village, the figure stopped facing away from his two guests.

Seeing as he had paused, the third figure in the room, who had yet to speak up, tentatively voiced her thoughts.

"And the second?"

The first speaker merely looked back at the two over his shoulder, the setting sun causing his face to be shadowed, a hard, brown eye glaring at them.

"If you choose not to retire, your lives...are forfeit. I have no need of fools and rabble rousers."

His ultimatum delivered, the figure returned to his desk and seated himself behind it.

The second figure spoke, his words burning with incredulity. "You would do this to us? We who stood by you for years, supported you -"

He was cut off by the third figure, her voice sad, resigned; it was as if she knew that this was the inevitable outcome. "Has it really come to this?" she muttered. "Is this what all our work these years will amount to? All come undone by our inability to agree over this subject?" She barked a bitter laugh. "Well, I suppose it is, at that...nothing will last forever." She shook her head slowly.

The first figure, eyes shaded by the hat he wore, spoke, his voice softened a bit. "I truly wish it wasn't so, but you have forgotten the most important thing about people. People are forever changing, forever adapting, for only the dead remain the same. And you, my old friends," a sigh, a tilt of the head, "you have been left behind, relics of a bygone age who refuse to bend to the new wind."

The two regarded the speaker, the male seeming shell-shocked, the female studying her old teammate calmly. "We are not the only ones who are relics that have been left behind. Best you not forget it," she spoke her tone not accusing but accepting.

The first nodded. "Indeed, I myself should step aside now as well. But there is still something I must do, something that only I can do. And until I complete it, I cannot let myself falter and succumb to time's comforting grasp. Too much rides on it."

Silence falls, each person lost in thought, one in the past, one in the present, and one in the future. Rousing himself, the seated figure spoke.

"Your choice?"

"Come now," the female responded. "You already know what we pick." The male and female, standing next to each other, as they had for most of their lives with the first person, stared at their leader with determined faces, causing him to sigh.

"Yes, yes I know. I'd wondered though, if maybe something might change..." He exhaled heavily. "I will see to it your families are cared for. It will look as if time had finally caught up with you."

"And for what it's worth...I'm sorry it has to end like this."

The female smiled at him, the smile of the condemned, and said, "It all had to end sometime, Hiruzen."

'It all had to end sometime.'