Itachi frowned as he made his way through the streets of Konoha with Kisame by his side. Rather than seeing if it would be possible to capture the Kyuubi Jinchuriki as was originally the plan, he was tasked with delivering a letter which had been written by the Akatsuki's nominal leader to the boy. It was less than a week after the village had been invaded, yet it had been almost pathetically easy to slip into the village at dawn and wander about unnoticed for practically the entire morning. The probable reason for this was the odd feeling in the air. While people went about their business slightly more absentmindedly than normal, there was an aura of almost palpable tension that seemed to be torn between dread and anticipation.
Ghosting through the streets, Itachi and Kisame headed towards the apartment building which was the last place he remembered the boy living in. If the boy no longer lived there, he could hopefully get directions from someone who knew where he went, seeing as Naruto's current whereabouts tended to be a common topic of discussion, or at least they had been. When he was less than a block away from the building in which Naruto had lived when he was last in the village, he could've sworn that he saw a Takahashi in a very familiar uniform race by in the direction of said building.
"Didn't they get disbanded after you offed your clan?" Kisame asked, nodding in the direction of the Takahashi woman in uniform.
"Ye-es." Itachi said slowly, trying to figure out why the KMPF could've been reinstated, who was in charge of it now, and why the traditional shuriken with uchiwa in the center was still the symbol rather than the clan symbol of whoever was running the force now.
When they came into view of the apartment building that was now painted orange with a large Uzumaki spiral on display near the roof at the front of the building, there was a yell of "You're going to clean that up asshole!"
Turning towards the source of the commotion, he saw a red-haired man who looked to be about fifty grabbing some teenaged civilian punk by the back of his neck and shoving him towards the entrance of the building where Momochi Zabuza was standing and watching the scene with amusement. Scrawled onto the side of the building was the sign of one of Konoha's street gangs. From the looks of things, the kid was either trying to piss off the Seventh Street Rebels, or Tobirama Street's Black Cats had significantly expanded their territory while he'd been gone. Either way, the mark would be gone soon, whether or not it was cleaned up by the gang member's tongue as the Uzumaki was threatening to make the boy do.
"Hey Kisame." Zabuza called out upon spotting the both of them. "Come to join the clan? I know of a woman who's looking for a husband."
Kisame's profanity laced reply made it clear as to what he thought of joining the Uzumaki, and what Zabuza could do with his clan. This was most-likely more because there was a bit of bad blood between Kisame and Zabuza, than any animosity that Kisame felt for the Uzumaki as a whole seeing as he had likely encountered few if any Uzumaki over his lifetime. Not counting Zabuza, apparently.
"We're here to deliver a letter to Naruto." Itachi said, hoping to short circuit the impending fight before either Kisame or Zabuza could build up steam since they really didn't need the sort of attention that such a fight would cause.
Before Zabuza could reply, the Takahashi who had run past Itachi and Kisame minutes earlier went flying out of a closed window that became little more than shards of glass and bits of frame upon her departure. The woman's fall and landing were almost textbook perfect, aside from the slight stumble at the end which could've proved fatal had her opponent either chosen to follow her out said window or had a comrade on the ground.
"And, stay out!" a man yelled from the broken third-story window as the woman regained her footing.
Apparently, whoever had been training the new police force was an idiot. Police never let themselves be thrown out of windows, and knew to do everything in their power to avoid seeming weak to the village populace to whom they had to be seen as so far above in skill it wasn't funny in order to maintain law and order, even if they had to cheat. Fortunately, Itachi's father had taught him a thing or two before he had been inducted into ANBU, and he'd picked some things up on his own even before then when he used to follow one of his older cousins around, and he could pass on at least one bit of advice to the woman who'd taken up the mantle of KMPF officer.
"Use your Tonfa." he calmly called over to the woman who was eying the window she'd been thrown out of balefully.
"My what?" the woman said.
"Did your superiors get your uniforms from the same people who made the old ones?" he asked, wondering if someone had forgotten the standard-issue police weapons when they were rebuilding the force. The people who had outfitted the old KMPF knew to include a few extra surprises with the uniform.
"I think so." the woman replied.
"Then, there should be a pair of Tonfa sealed into the sleeve patches." he called back.
"Thanks!" the woman exclaimed as she found that there were indeed a pair of Tonfa sealed into the sleeve patches. "How did you know these would be here?"
Itachi calmly refrained from replying, suppressing memories from his childhood back before things went bad and then got worse. Instead, he pointedly looked up at the broken window and said "Go for the knees first. If you absolutely must go for the head, don't go for the face. It'll leave marks."
"Right!" the woman said before determinedly running towards and then up the side of the building.
Kisame gave him an odd sidelong look.
"My father was the Chief of Police. It'd be strange if I didn't learn anything about how the department really worked." Itachi replied.
"That's the most I've heard you say in months." Kisame said, apparently having decided to overlook the fact that Itachi was aiding a shinobi from his former village.
"It was for a good cause." Itachi replied, not elaborating any further.
Zabuza waved to get their attention, distracting the both of them from their conversation. "I'll bring you up to see Naruto. He's still a little sick at the moment, so if you bother him too much, or if you try anything..." the Swordsman said, finishing off his statement with a threatening gesture.
"How could a Jinchuriki get sick?!" Kisame exclaimed in surprise, being well aware of the fact that the Biju generally protected their Jinchuriki from illness and most poisons as well as healed their injuries.
"He probably ate those poisoned mushrooms again." Itachi said, remembering the last time that had happened, and how he'd been forced to clean barf off of his brand-new ANBU uniform because someone had decided to put the newbie on Naruto duty.
After being led through several hallways in which the sounds of combat from upstairs, then across the hall, and then finally downstairs echoed, they stopped at an apartment Itachi had usually seen from the outside of the building. He hadn't been put on Naruto watching duty too often because he was a Uchiha, but he'd sat outside the boy's apartment for an entire night a couple of times before. Even back when the boy was seven, the preparation and planning Naruto had put into his more major pranks had put even some S-Ranked mission preparation to shame.
All too soon, Itachi and Kisame were ushered inside the apartment which pretty much looked the same as the last time Itachi saw it, aside from the addition of a desk and a new coat of paint. Seated at the apartment's table on which a cup of instant ramen was sitting, and wearing a set of ratty white pyjamas was one Uzumaki Naruto who frankly looked like crap.
"Whadda you want?" Naruto grumbled, looking as if he'd just recently been woken up and wasn't too happy about it.
Considering the fact that it was still relatively early in the morning, though a bit late for most shinobi unless they were on an evening or night shift, this was probably the case. Especially since the boy was ill recently.
"We have come to deliver a letter from the leader of Amegakure." Itachi replied as he pulled said letter out of a hidden pocket of his cloak and set it down on the table next to the boy's cup ramen.
"Thanks." the boy said, before looking up at him rather intently and frowning.
"Is something wrong?" Itachi asked.
"You smell like Sasuke, but you aren't." the boy replied.
Before Itachi could find anything to say to that, there was a loud bang downstairs and a yell of "Tsunade's awake!"