Chapter 28 – Omitted Scene

Author’s note: This is a scene I omitted from Chapter 28, The Stolen Child, Part 1, as it is completely from Itachi’s perspective and this chapter ended up being a flashback from Naruto’s pov. I may add it in a chapter later, maybe not.

Enjoying the cool Konoha night, Itachi quietly flipped through the logs books, searching…searching….  He used every resource available to him to aid in his search for the jinchuuriki. And while the other anbu chatted amiably with the guards on duty, Itachi poked through the scrolls documenting the comings and going at the village gates.

No one batted an eye at Itachi’s meticulous attention to detail. The certainly must have thought he was stuffy, always on duty even when those around him slacked off. But no one would dare say it to his face. So the let the quiet nin have his pleasure and left him alone to peruse documents that should have been off-limits to an jounin that wasn’t on their guard squad.

Itachi knew this. So every once in a while he would mention things they missed, errors in documenting or follow-through that could land them in hot water. So the men appreciated, even encouraged his perusal of their guard logs. But this ruse served Itachi far better than them.

His eyes fell on a scrawled notation: “Unusual chakra detected. Quadrant four. Same time/place as noted in….”

Itachi flipped back through the pages. Around the same time each night, an unusual chakra had been flickering at the base of the wall. The area was in a less desirable section of the village, but it was he perfect place for doing something undetected. They should have investigated immediately. Lucky for him though, it would take more than a little ripple to pull them from the comfort of the guard hut.

He flipped back to the front. The last mention was scrawled quickly between the arriving groups at the gate that night.

“When was this one?” Itachi said without looking up.

A guard leaned back to peer around him.

“Eh, about 15 minutes ago. Iruka’s gone to handle it.”

Itachi nodded once then ducked out of the hut as if to go assist Iruka. The men never stopped their boisterous conversation.

But the as soon as he was out of sight he turned off the straight path to that quadrant, instead coming around another way so he could get a look without being seen.

He had been searching, poring through documents anything to find a trace of the jinchuuriki. But there were only a few documents detailing his growth. Nothing more. The vessel had survived and bore some residual marks. And that was all he had to go on. So Itachi widened his net.

He figured the child had been moved, placed with a family. But they might have trouble raising a jinchuuriki. So he looked for a child who was a handful, caused trouble, showed some unusual skills and generally stood out. But none did. There was no terrible scourge child in the village. Then he looked through the rosters at the academy, searching for an incoming student with unusual abilities. But none stood out.

So he was left to grasping at any straw he could. And one of those was searching for anything unusual, anything out-of-the-ordinary, from every quarter of the village. He thought perhaps they had moved the child out of the walls. Then it could be raised in seclusion. It wasn’t a far-fetched idea as it would keep the village safer, but a secret like that would be nearly impossible to keep. There would be a trail of comings and goings. So he knew if he could find a pattern, then he might be able to flush out the jinchuuriki.

He’d not yet uncovered a pattern, but a ripple of unusual chakra at the wall was interesting enough.

Itachi stopped suddenly. Iruka’s laughter echoed around the corner. Shrouded in darkness, Itachi eased out enough to see the new academy teacher instructing a boy of no more than eight. Iruka was patiently explaining about the wall.

Whatever he said must not have set well with the boy because he turned and trudged back up the road dejectedly. Iruka watched for a moment then returned to the guard shack.

Head down, the boy scuffed back up the lane in the blue-black shadows of the building. He approached the intersection, and Itachi leaned back into the darkness.

So this was the source of the unusual chakra? A boy? Itachi narrowed his eyes as the unremarkable child crossed the lit road.

Light bounced suddenly off his yellow hair. The diffused glow on his cheeks illuminated three lines. Whiskers. Itachi’s eyes went wide. In two mores steps the boy was back under the cover of darkness. Shoulders slumped, he trudged on out of the lane.

Itachi leaned back against the building. He couldn’t believe it. Success swelled within him with each breath, and his mouth curved into a small, cruel smile. He’d done it. He’d found Konoha’s jinchuuriki.