Summary: In the black ops, they teach you not to scream. And you will always remember, because there is no such thing as an ex-agent.

AN: This was written after some sudden inspiration. The idea's been sitting in my head for a few days, and I've written it all out in one go. It's quite angsty/dark, so yeah. Hope you'll like it though. Writing this was definitely... interesting. Hmm.

Converted from a fanfic, 'cause there are no specific characters etc.

Note: shinobi means ninja. 'black op(s)' stands for black operation.

.

.

.

.

.


You Learn Not to Scream.

In the shinobi black ops, they teach you many things.

They teach you not to scream when the enemy has stupidly good aim and your comrade dies, right in front of you with a sword through his chest, two throwing-needles right through the eye-holes of his mask and three daggers in the back of his head. They teach you to get your ass moving and kill every last one of those bastards because if your teammate trusts – trusted – you enough to die without destroying his own body to erase all evidence, you better make sure you don't fail him and take his body back to his wife and kids, dammit.

They teach you not to scream when your best friend, your fucking best friend requests a suicide mission after his girlfriend dies and he actually gets one, dammit. You can punch his mask in and kick his butt to the next building and back and half-strangle him to make that idiot see some sense, but you are not allowed to scream. They teach you not to scream when he takes of his shattered mask, and – just – he just smiles, sadly and wistfully, then walks off.

They teach you not to scream what have you done they were just children how can you do this? at the criminals because it is always so much more efficient to just kill them. They teach you not to scream at the horrors you have seen. And in a way, it helps you remember. That you still have a mission to complete, you still have dead bodies to dispose of, and somehow... you still have a home to return to.

(There is suffering in silence. There is solace in silence.)

(There is silence.)

They teach you not to scream when you discover the body of your brother your sister your lover your child lying there, abandoned in a pool of blood and dirt and death. They teach you how to bury, how to run, and how to hunt. Because you want to find the monster who did this, and you will. They do not need to teach you how to torture. You will learn it on your own. And somehow when you find that monster you will not allow him to scream either, because he needs to witness your fury.

Your silent fury.

(There will always be silence.)

They teach you not to scream if you ever decide to kill yourself. They would very much like to teach you not to kill yourself, but no one is capable of teaching it and no one is capable of learning. They teach you to make it (mostly) clean and (somewhat) painless. You will not scream because some things are not meant to be heard, and perhaps it isn't that bad really – you die but you are able to die at home, and it is a peaceful end. Kind of.

They also teach you how not to hide yourself away too well when you kill yourself, so your teammates will always find you and beat the crap out of you instead. But none of them will scream, because they understand. Unfortunately, they all understand. You will not scream Just let me die, dammit! and they will not scream The HELL that's ever going to happen! because all of you are shinobi and shinobi have other ways of getting a point across.

They teach you not to scream at funerals because Oi, people are trying to sleep down there and then you'll break out into hysterical laughter and either way it will be completely inappropriate. They teach you not to scream because If you're so damn loud they might just wake up and that will not only be creepy but also incredibly stupid. They teach you not to scream because the dead will never return and you need to accept that.

They teach you not to scream when you bolt awake from a nightmare, death behind your eyes in your nose in your ears on your tongue in your skin because you're in enemy territory, and you must not be heard no matter what. Either you learn to smother your screams, or your teammate smothers them for you. Or you die. The choices are simple. You will learn this quickly, because the more risks you take, the more dangerous it gets and even when you're completely submerged in murderslaughterkill you don't want to die. Not yet. So no matter what you see in your dreams, you will learn silence.

The logic behind this is really very simple.

The learning process, not so.

And the animal masks, they actually help with the nightmares. Because instead of faces carving themselves into your memory there is the blankness of these painted white masks, and somehow it's easier. To ignore.

It is Monday, and Cat dies. It is Tuesday, and Rat disappears. It is Wednesday, and Bird quits. It is Thursday, and Badger breaks. It is Friday, and Rat is back. It is Saturday, and there is a new Bird. It is Sunday, and there is a new Cat.

You learn to ignore, because your brain and your heart refuse to forget. But at least the dead do not plague your mind so much when everything is so much less personal.

It is Monday, and Dog kills himself.

It is another Monday, and there is another Dog.

And it helps you remember that you are not supposed to scream.

They teach you not to scream when you've finally had enough, when you smash your mask into a million fragments but you know your heart is already much more broken, when you finally find the strength to quit.

And yet—

You still remember.

You will always remember.

How not to scream.

Because there is no such thing as an ex-agent of the black ops.

Even in the privacy of your own home you do not make a sound as you awake from a nightmare. When your new teammates die you do not scream because there's still work to do, people to kill, bodies to retrieve. And you will do what you need to do, and you will remain silent even when your mind is shrieking.

In the black ops, they teach you not to scream.

This is what you learn.

And this is what you will never forget.


.

.

.

.

.

Hope you liked it. Do drop a review? Thanks! (:

~rakku