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What Even

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One of the logistical problems of moving back into a village you abandoned (per orders) after murdering everyone in your family (per orders) and leaving your little brother all alone to grow up with a massive sibling-sized chip on his shoulder (definitely NOT per orders) is that when everything is said and done and you move back in, there’s just too much space.

Itachi wasn’t going to get into the fact that, since the Uchiha Incident, Sasuke had been living in the same empty house where their parents had been killed. On the same street filled with abandoned or converted houses.

Even with the gradual takeover of other families and businesses, the inevitability of growth, there was still a sizeable chunk down near the end that was just- graves.

Reminders.

Getting a construction crew was turning out to be a bitch and a half.

Kisame had offered to just knock everything down, but Itachi had turned his comrade down politely; Kisame had power but little finesse, and while he fully intended to turn most of the ghost-town that had been the Uchiha area into grass, he did need a few walls still standing.

Which was why the sudden appearance of Chouji on a bench just before the invisible line was a blessing.

Along with-

Well. The Akimichi clan had always been prolific. Itachi didn’t know how many cousins there were, but when his father had still been alive Fugaku had always put it at ‘too damn many’.

“Are we being invaded?” Kisame asked, which was, Itachi felt, a rational question. In response Chouji shook his head. “No, Hoshigaki-san.” He said.

Itachi quirked an eyebrow.

“Word on the street is,” Chouichi said, “someone can’t hire a wrecking crew.”

Itachi inclined his head because it was true.

“Good for you we knew where to find one.” The older Akimichi brother gestured behind him at his numerous family. “Where do we start, whirligig?”

The old nickname didn’t sound like ashes in Chouichi’s mouth anymore, and it fed that tiny, almost imperceptible spark of hope that Itachi wouldn’t allow and couldn’t afford to grow into a roaring fire.

“Follow me,” he said, and if the sight of an entire clan of large ninja following two former Akatsuki missin-nin into an abandoned section of Konoha wasn’t strange, one can’t be sure what is.