Title: Past - Team Aniki

Rating: T

Summary: Itachi Uchiha, Kenen Murakami, and Iruka Umino all have something in common: a little brother.

Warnings: Off-screen gore (mission related)

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, Masashi Kishimoto does.

Author Note: Hitonomi Kamoku is my (very sad) attempt at referencing 'once bitten, twice shy'. Hitonomi = bite, Kamoku = shy. Yeah. As I said: very sad. LOL

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Kenen Murakami, Itachi Uchiha and Iruka Umino were crouched around a clearing that was filled to the brim with Yakuza.

They'd been hired by a rival gang to rescue a prominent member of the gang's son. He'd been kidnapped by the gang that the three were now stalking and they wanted him back.

Iruka had been surprised to see the team that he'd been put on. He couldn't imagine that there was any other team like this in Konoha. All three teenagers had little brothers who had been assaulted as a young child and gotten to know each other to help with the feelings of helplessness that such a thing created.

Itachi's fingers flashed though a series of signals that they had created over the year that they'd known each other. It was easier for them to talk about what had happened if they didn't have to say the words out loud and it also helped that they weren't discussing their younger siblings healing in public.

Though, Iruka thought to himself, healing wasn't really the term. The nightmare that Naruto had experienced the night before Iruka had left for this mission wasn't something that was occasional. It seemed to Iruka that Naruto had nightmares every night. Iruka had spoken to Jogen about Naruto's dreams and Jogen had assured him that if the dreams continued, he would bring it up in the sessions that he had with the small blond boy.

Itachi had conceded that Sasuke had nightmares as well. Though Kenen rarely spoke of nightmares, he did mention that Manabu still startled fairly easily.

Turning his attention back to Itachi, Iruka got the gist of what he was saying and readied himself.

His job was to get the boy and get out, as quickly as possible while his partners dealt with the men that were holding the boy captive.

Kenen had already told him that he was the best with traumatized children and Iruka had to agree with him. Iruka was the one with advanced training in the care and feeding of a traumatized child.

He was just glad that he hadn't come across anyone in his classes other than his otouto and his friends who needed his level of training.

The steady stream of street urchins that Naruto brought home was more than enough for him to deal with.

Itachi made and fist and then, suddenly, signaled the mission a go.

Iruka flickered through the men faster than they could see and reached the child as Kenen set off the traps that he'd placed just minutes earlier. Itachi appeared in the middle of the clearing, making his presence known and drawing most of the attention while the others were dealing with the smoke and ash and blood that Kenen had caused.

The small boy chained to a tent post lay curled up in a ball on the ground, arms wrapped around his knees, his chin tucked down to his breastbone and his hair dirty with mud and, from what Iruka could smell, a minute amount of blood.

"Hitonomi-kun?" Iruka crouched over the boy protectively, "My name is Iruka; I'm here to take you home."

Nine year old Hitonomi Kamoku lifted his head slowly and Iruka made sure that seemed as soft as possible. The softer he looked, the more the child should trust him.

"Iruka-san?" Hitonomi's face was bruised on one side but his eyes were bright and un-shadowed. Iruka was pleased to see that even though he'd been hit, he hadn't been broken.

Though, he had only been kidnapped two days ago. Kamoku-san had been quick to make provisions for his son's rescue.

"Hai," Iruka smiled, "I'm going to unchain you-" He reached for the chains only to find that the boy had picked the lock already, holding his free hands out with a saucy grin, a piece of twisted metal in his hand.

"One of the first things that Tou-san taught me," Hitonomi said, "Just in case I was..." He trailed off and looked around covertly.

Iruka nodded, "In case you were ever kidnapped for leverage against your father," He stood slowly, hiding Hitonomi with his body. Itachi and Kenen's efforts hadn't been wasted, as Iruka saw, when he looked over his shoulder to see that most of the men who had been in the camp were down.

He couldn't tell if they were dead or not, but Iruka figured that the younger teenagers were trying to send a message to the Yakuza leader who had orchestrated the kidnapping. If that was the case, just over half of the men would be dead and the rest would have debilitating injuries that would be with them for the rest of their lives.

"Are we leaving now?" Hitonomi asked, not even trying to look around Iruka's body to see the carnage that the other two shinobi had wrought out.

"Yes," Iruka looked back at the boy and Hitonomi stretched his arms up. Iruka picked the boy up and Hitonomi hid his face in Iruka's neck. Iruka wondered why the child would do that before realizing that given his upbringing, he had been around more than one violent situation and his father had probably trained him not to look unless told to.

He was thankful for that. He didn't want the child to see Itachi and Kenen dealing out such violence, Yakuza child or not.

Jumping away from the clearing with an extra push of chakra to his feet, Iruka attached himself to a tree and started on his way away from the clearing. He quickly made it to the check point and set Hitonomi down to wait for his team mates.

"Iruka-san?" Hitonomi asked, "Did they kill them?"

"Who?" Iruka asked for clarification absently as he felt the approaching chakra signatures of his team mates.

"The people with you; did they kill the bad guys?"

Curiosity wasn't always a good thing.

"Some of them, yes," Iruka told the child the truth. It would be hard to explain the blood on his team mates - if there was any - if he told the child a lie.

"Iruka," Kenen landed next to him, Itachi hovering at the edge of the check point, keeping an eye out.

"Kenen," Iruka nodded to him.

"Is Kamoku-kun clear for travel?"

Iruka nodded to his question, "Slight bruising, but no lasting damage."

Kenen waited for Iruka to pick the child up again and followed closely behind him, covering his six as they started back to Otafuku Gai, where Kamoku-san, Hitonomi's father, would be waiting for his son.

Hitonomi clutched tight to Iruka's neck as they traveled, riding piggyback on the seventeen year old chuunin. Every once in a while he would gasp or giggle as Iruka bounded though the trees at neck-breaking speed. He wasn't quite as fast as Itachi, but he kept up well, Kenen watching him for signs of fatigue, knowing that carrying someone while using chakra to run through the trees was exhausting if kept up long enough.

In the second hour of their travel, Hitonomi had fallen asleep to the steady sway of Iruka's jumping and an hour after that, the team reached their destination.

Kamoku-san thanked the team profusely for their retrieval of his son and gave them a completed mission scroll. The three teenagers bowed to him, turned and jumped away, heading immediately back to Konoha.

Without the extra weight of the child on his back, Iruka was faster and had an easier time following Itachi, Kenen at his side.

He wondered why Kenen seemed to let Itachi lead the mission when no one had actually been put in charge of it. He fluttered his fingers lightly and Kenen snorted.

"I don't care who leads, as long as they're competent," He muttered, "Itachi-san is as competent as they come."

Iruka chuckled, grinning, "I understand," He murmured back. His fingers fluttered again and Kenen responded in a like manner, telling Iruka that he would do his portion of the after action report. Iruka argued lightly, telling Kenen that he could do the entire thing and the two younger teenagers could just sign off on the AAR after reading it through.

"I will do my part," Itachi dropped back slightly so that he was in line with his older team mates, "I do not mind paper work."

"You guys, only one of us has to do it. It wasn't a hard mission anyway," Iruka shrugged nonchalantly, "Besides, the academy is out of session and I'm kind of missing the paper work."

Kenen shuddered, "Ugh," He commented, "I don't know how you can stand to sit in a chair most of the day and mark. You couldn't get me to do that if you paid me."

Laughing, Iruka smirked, "They do pay me for that."

Itachi shook his head at his team's antics, "Iruka-san, if you miss paper work that much, you should sign up for the mission desk. They have two positions open at the moment."

Thinking that over as they continued through the forest silently, Iruka was surprised to find that he found the idea Itachi had proposed interesting. He did like to do paper work and the Hokage knew him. He'd already undergone rather rigorous interrogation already as well, so getting clearance for the mission desk wouldn't be as hard for him as it was for others.

Checking in at the gate, Iruka waved his team mates off and headed for his house.

Naruto should be home in the next few days, so he ought to do a little cleaning up. Not that he was typically messy or obsessive about cleanliness, but he liked to be organized and he didn't want Naruto going around the house organizing things again.

The last time that had happened, he'd found every single scroll and book in the house sorted alphabetically by author on their proper shelve with little tags on the shelves denoting the first letter of the author of the scrolls or books that the shelve held.

Iruka had found out fairly quickly after Naruto had moved in that if he didn't keep his house in semblance of order, Naruto would get obsessive about where things were and then go on a cleaning spree.

He'd wondered more than once where Naruto had gotten the tendency to organize things, but his questions where politely, and professionally, shuffled to the side without an answer.

He hadn't pushed. When - or if - Naruto wanted to let him know why he carefully organized the shelves, he would.

After filling out an AAR, Iruka put it on the kitchen counter so that he could easily grab it when he next went out to let Kenen and Itachi look it over and sign off on it before handing it in.

And he would give some serious thought to Itachi's idea of applying for the mission desk. It would, at the very least, keep him busy over the academy breaks and it would let him stay in Konoha instead of being sent out on missions.

He really wanted to stay around, just in case Naruto ever needed him.

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