When the ANBU invaded his tent he Harry knew he'd gone too deep. He wasn't exactly going for subtle but very few people were willing to take more than a brief look around when they encountered his healing phenomenon.
Unless, of course, it was healing the consequences of time.
Aging was considered a natural, if unfortunate, inevitability of time. It was the same with everything, even immortals; the only difference was how long it took to kill you. In any case, Harry tried not to get so deep into his ability as he would usually start to get distracted and end up healing something that he wasn't supposed to. It had happened before but usually the Watch was around to stop him when he started drifting. Obviously he would have to get used to watching himself…for now.
Checking his reserves, Harry was relieved to find he'd only managed one case of serious de-aging. Everyone else had just had a few hours worth, hardly worth notice. Still, that one was enough to have drawn attention to him as his tent was now crawling with ANBU.
Green overcame the red and black forcing Harry to blink rapidly as he adjusted his sight to a threadless world. Apparating away he gave little thought to the chaos following his quick snap departure as the Hyuuga ANBU that had been studying the tent in awe suddenly let out a sharp cry of alarm when everything went blindingly bright for less than a second before the world was once again the same black and white that he was used to seeing in his Byakugan world. He only wished he'd had more time to study the green threads that had been winding all around the tent before they disappeared.
Sighing, he released his Byakugan in disappointment, "It appears we have angered this…entity." He reported. "It has left. Nothing of it remains."
The ANBU nodded solemnly, half were regretful but orders came first, the other half were relieved. The Captain was wary, however, and ordered that they continue investigating the tent for another hour before they reported back to the council.
Harry spent some time shuffling down a street where the people of Konoha had gathered some tents and stalls to put together a makeshift market street. He took the opportunity to seek out food and get a feel for the civilians of the hidden village. He'd already spent a great deal of time with its shinobi.
It would take some time for him to get used to a society that practiced caution beyond paranoia. In the wizarding world, the mass populace was easily manipulated through ignorance, fear, and greed. Indeed, while the civilians of Konoha displayed these human tendencies, it was the shinobi, Harry could see, that would be his biggest problem.
It had taken him a great deal of effort to surround his tent with a trust-me spell in order for Harry to get anyone healed and he knew that even then, some still refused his offer.
Shaking his head, Harry smiled indulgently. He was not above healing others by force but those that had refused his offer had done so with such pride that he couldn't help but leave them to it. After all, some men preferred to die of their wounds rather than live without their pride. So Harry would not waste the effort.
Just as Harry went to sit at a promising food stand he caught a glimpse of a knot of people standing together, talking in the middle of the street way. Sitting down, he knew them to be among those who had not been healed. They all sported injuries of varying degrees but the
self-righteous look on their face did nothing to hide their misplaced pride. Not to Harry at least, but apparently Konoha civilians thought otherwise, as no one complained about being forced to run their heavy burdens around the group, even bowing as they did so. Harry took note of the fact that not a one of them bowed in return.
"Must be related to each other." Harry mumbled as he took a seat.
Harry looked up to see the owner of the food stall attentively standing before him.
"What can I get you stranger?" he asked brightly.
"Meat…or something." Harry peered closely at all the delicious smelling food displayed before him. "Can I try a little bit of all of it?"
Harry held out his hand, the man held his palm out and gasped when the large disk of gold fell into it.
"Is this enough?"
"Enough? With this much you could eat here for a month or more!"
Harry sighed, resting his elbow on the counter and using his palm to support his head, "I'll do that then, I guess."
The owner gaped in astonishment at Harry's indifferent attitude but pocketed the gold and diligently began serving up for his new best customer.
As he handed the first plate over, a sharp voice interrupted Harry as he moved to take it.
"Let me see his gold."
With a bored look on his face, Harry took the plate still held out for him, ignoring the self-important tone, and began eating. The stall owner however, froze before scrambling in his pockets and fishing the coin out.
"Of course Uchiha-san." He said, taking great pains not to look the man in his eyes.
At the name Uchiha, Harry looked up. It was one of the men that had been cluttered together in the street. From the way he was carrying himself, he appeared to be favoring the left side of his ribcage. Chewing of some kind of steamed vegetable, Harry contemplated healing the man but shrugged his shoulders and watched as the Uchiha closely inspected the galleon in what appeared to be concentration.
Hmm, with his face scrunched up like that he looks like Sasuke, a little.
"Is there something wrong?"
Instead of answering, the man shoved the coin in Harry's face.
"Where did you get this?" he demanded.
Frowning, Harry shifted back, "From my pocket."
The Uchiha's expression quickly turned to anger.
"Are you purposely evading the question?"
He made to grab at the front of Harry's shirt when a voice stopped him.
"What is the meaning of this?"
The stall owner snapped out a frantic bow and this time kept his eyes to the ground, not allowing them to stray even a little. "Uchiha-sama."
Quickly the Uchiha spun around and bowed. "Fugaku-sama. This man is a stranger to Konoha and–"
"Why is your sharingan active?" The other man interrupted. Older than the first Uchiha, this one carried himself just as confidently as the other but in a way that displayed a deserved superiority that was earned through effort.
A man that doesn't simply think he is better, he proves it. Still…
Harry glanced up into the younger man's eyes, was that immature black spotted red a sharingan? A watery red with one black tomoe spun slowly around. It was weak and... pathetic. Harry had to stop himself from saying as much aloud.
"Fugaku-sama, this man was acting suspiciously, he paid for his food in gold and I cannot read the symbols carved into it."
Fugaku seemed to want to roll his eyes but resisted. Instead, he held out his hand and obediently the younger handed over the gold. After studying the metal for a moment his interest seemed to spark, putting it down of the counter he snapped out a series of hand seals.
In less than a second, Harry's sharingan activated, recorded, and dispersed.
Harry shook his head in surprise, it was the first time his eyes had ever done anything like that, activating on its own. Then he realized he could recall exactly what seals had been used, even if he didn't know what they did.
"…nothing suspicious. The gold is real and it matters not what it says–"
"But it could be endorsing anti-Konoha propaganda!"
Fugaku clenched his teeth, "And who would be able to read it?" he questioned sharply, "If it remains an issue, it can be easily solved."
Snatching up the gold, Fugaku ground his thumb firmly on the face and began rubbing away the impressions, then flipped it over to repeat the process on the other side. Once finished, he presented the stall owner with a plain, if slightly misshapen, gold coin.
Turning to the younger Uchiha, Fugaku glared, "Return to Headquarters." He ordered.
Something in his tone must have hinted at a threat because the younger man bowed lowly and a spark of fear crossed his face before he disappeared.
Fugaku finally turned his attention to Harry, "Please forgive Takahiro, he has just recently joined our Military Police and he is a little…over exuberant. With the Kyuubi attack he was forced to forego much of his anticipated initiation, much of it was tradition. Even now, he will most likely be set to the task of rebuilding Konoha rather than defending it."
Harry shrugged, "It's fine, I can understand restlessness." Harry said nothing of Takahiro's arrogance.
"Why are you not with the other merchants? They were planning to move on as soon as the last of them were healed."
"I thought I'd get away for a little, and I like Konoha. Maybe I'll stay." Harry did nothing to correct Fugaku's assumption.
"You have barely seen any of it, and what little you must have is in ruins."
Harry waved the comment away, "It's the people that make the village. I met some people that made me think Konoha was a good place to settle down."
Fugaku stared hard at him before nodding, "In order to be allowed to even apply for citizenship in Konoha you need a sponsor. Your sponsor must have been a citizen of Konoha for at least ten years. After your application is accepted you must live with your sponsor in their home for five years before you are allowed to live on your own. You cannot marry into citizenship and you must provide proof of citizenship from your village of birth."
Cautious…of course, Konoha is a hidden village. They would want to know where I'm coming from. That will make things a little difficult.
"I could sponsor you."
Slowly green eyes rose to meet black. There was a shine of red behind black when the light hit at a certain angle, evidence of extreme sharingan use.
"There is a secondary method one might take for those in your situation. As a member of a band of merchants it is to be expected that you would have no previous allegiances. I was told you have been traveling for more than thirty years. You must have been born on the road away from a village."
Again Harry did not correct him, asking instead what alternate method he could use to get into Konoha.
"In a case such as yours, only those in a clan could be considered for sponsors. To compensate for the lack of village history you must be accepted by the Head of a clan of Konoha. They must be willing to take you into the clan as a resident only. You would never be allowed formal education as a shinobi but will still be required to take an oath of allegiance to Konohagakure. Should you decide you wish to become a citizen of another village, Konoha will offer you no proof of citizenship and any sensitive information you have gained while here will be sealed away. If it is decided by the Council or your Clan that you know too much, your memory from here on will be sealed. Lastly, you should be made aware that most clans control their own sector of Konoha and most if not all members of that clan live there. If you are to join one, you will most likely be required to get the clan Elder's consent before you can live away from their district; if it is even considered." Fugaku's tone said a great deal about how likely that was.
Harry stared down at his empty plate; he would have to convince the head of some clan that didn't know the first thing about him to accept him into his family in the aftermath of a demon attack. He cast a short glance to Fugaku. Have any openings in your clan I could fill? Harry managed to keep from saying it aloud; considering the current situation, it was very likely that there would be openings. Instead, he asked if Konoha provided any forms that he might be able to fill out to apply for a clan sponsor.
"There is no need. As I said, I would be willing to sponsor you?"
Still gazing into his plate, Harry smiled, "And your Clan Leader?"
Fugaku seemed to take a moment to think about it before nodding seriously, "Will not be a problem."
Green eyes met black once again, "Please take care of me." He requested sincerely.
The two spoke for an hour more before agreeing to meet early the next day at the same place, then went their separate ways. Feeling rejuvenated, and with something resembling a plan in place, Harry returned to the medic ward, but selected a different tent to get back to healing.
"Shouldn't be too much left."
That night, Harry made his bed up a tree, and early morning bird calls woke him before the sun rose. He found a small stream to wash in, using magic to catch the water and rain over his head. After drying off he retrieved his trunk from his pants pocket to search out the least conspicuous clothes he could find, a somewhat difficult challenge, as the only color he had to choose from was black.
"But everything goes with black."
But staring at his reflection in the water Harry couldn't help but sigh, "So much for discretion."
Walking out of the forest, Harry tried to ignore the way every bit of him except for his face and hands shifted in and out of sight under the cover of shadows, and wearing all black seemed to make his features that much paler, making the only splash of color not white or black the green of his eyes.
"Fugaku-san, I heard rumor you were submitting forms of sponsorship."
Fugaku glanced up from the scroll he was studying to see Danzo standing before his desk, a quick look to the closed door and a narrowing of his eyes did enough to inquire about the lack of a knock, but he did not pursue it. "I did not think that you had the time to concern yourself with the small matter of my family business …Danzo-san."
Danzo smiled sharply and waved the challenge away, "I was merely curious. As for my time…it would seem we all have a great deal more of it than we could have hoped for, given the circumstances."
Fugaku deliberately went back to his paperwork but made sure Danzo caught a glimpse of his smirk. "Ah, I had heard of it – this entity."
The other man clenched his teeth at the words that remained unsaid. "You commanded that all Uchiha refuse its treatment."
"Of course, I have no control over what the thoughtless masses commit to but I will not allow the Uchiha to be compromised. When Konoha is attacked and all those who were healed fall dead, it will be the Uchiha that will save Konoha and those who were wise enough to suspect this entity."
"It sounds almost as if you welcome such an incident."
Black eyes bore into the writing on the scroll, "The Senju are no more, or as good as, soon, Konoha must turn to the Uchiha. It is inevitable."
A dark shadow seemed to pass over Danzo's face and his eyes widened slowly, manically, and he spoke in a slow but forceful tone. "This village was made by Senju. It will burn before an Uchiha will take it." He turned to leave but stopped with his hand on the doorknob. "I voted in opposition of your sponsorship request."
Finally Fugaku raised his face wearing a dangerous smile. "Do not trouble yourself with concern for reprisal from me or my clan. I have no hard feelings for your decision, though your honesty is appreciated. However," he tapped the scroll set before him, "the council has already granted me authorization. I was quite pleased with their prompt response to my… request. It is as you said; it seems we all have a little free time."
Turning back, Danzo could see the council seal from where he stood and his eyes burned with fury as he took his leave.
Fugaku let his eyes slip to the side entrance of his office.
"You wished to speak with me." Itachi remained kneeling at the doorway and did not look up. Not that he needed to see his father's face to know that he was pleased with something and yet still unhappy.
"Today you will follow me at a discrete distance. I will be meeting with a man that desires to live in Konoha."
Itachi knew that much, it was hard to avoid all the gossip his clan indulged in. No one seemed to understand that being the heir to the Uchiha and son of their Clan Leader did not mean he was included in his father's planning and so did not know anything more than they did. Still, with the amount of speculation they were throwing out amongst each other, it was likely that even with as much as Itachi didn't know, his information was probably more sound than theirs.
"You are sponsoring this man." If Fugaku felt the need to state the obvious, Itachi would respond in kind.
A glare sent his way informed him that his impudence was not overlooked, "When you are questioned on this matter you will say that he was of the merchant clan and decided to stay."
Itachi said nothing as he waited for his father to continue.
"This man is never to be trusted, Itachi. I will assign you to watch his every move; he is a dangerous unknown factor, and not to be underestimated."
"Why take him into the clan?" The question they all asked and the only answer Itachi knew for certain.
Fugaku smiled down at the scroll in satisfaction, "The Kyuubi is no longer within our reach, for the long run, maybe forever, but we will adapt. There are other, untapped, resources that may be used to unsure Konoha's wellbeing. We have only to find and acquire them."
Itachi shut his eyes against the perilous words his father so easily spoke but they echoed deep in his heart.
"Konoha will not be allowed to fall prey to the weakness of the foul minority. The leadership that has tolerated disobedience and discord that allows for civilians to rise up against the shinobi they should bare reverence to. The Uchiha will be the backbone of our village and ensure that our glory and Konoha's prove unshaken and unmerciful."
Sensing the end of Fugaku's tirade Itachi bowed his head and turned on his knees to leave but his father's voice gave him pause.
"Plans will have to be changed but we will acclimate. When the academy is rebuilt and you join the other children you will ensure that before you graduate you will know or bury as many weaknesses as you can for each and every one of them."
So that not even they are safe from your pollution. Will you pervert even the young, too ignorant to know or even guess at your threat? Itachi thought will pale bitterness. And this unknown, this man, he will be bound to the Uchiha – by his will…or against it. As I am.
Itachi slid the screen shut behind him, and did not pause as he left the Military Police Headquarters, even as his father's voice followed after him.
"The Uchiha will prevail."
So! At last we reach the end of chapter five! It did take me some time…too long I admit but I beg for no forgiveness. It was for a good cause. This chapter was written many many times and with each new time it seemed to get worse. To the point that I lost the seriousness of the piece and almost made a mockery of all that I had previously written. I was very close to posting that mockery when true inspiration struck. You might have noticed. Now with plot (YES! It's plot! We can say it now!) in hand, I go forth to the next chapter, which has a very good start so far so I feel confidant that it shall not take me as long to get it out as this chapter did. (I'd finish with a "But don't quote me on that." Except that I've written and posted it so…it's kind of hard not to just point it out and say, "But you PROMISED!")
You know what I find strange? I haven't mentioned anything about Itachi and yet so many people were waiting for him. And if I had said something about him even a little bit to hint that he was going to be a major player in this fic I would understand but…it's…bizarre. *whispers, eyes narrowed* How did you know? Who have you been speaking with? Best to tell me now, I'll find out eventually.
I do not consider Interludes real chapters so I didn't want to release "The Fallen Bloodline" by itself, so it had to wait for chapter 5, even though I had it ready weeks before. I was kind of sketchy on the ages of all the parties involved but after a little research I decided I was close enough for it not to matter. Also, I do not claim to know canon Itachi's motivation or the way he thinks as I have seen very little of him canon wise. Just go with it…please.
Please disregard any notions you may have that any awesome elements that you see herein are originally my creations. If it is awesome, I didn't do it, someone else did. Unless you're talking about the plot, and then, yes I admit it, I did do that…I apologize most profusely and beg for forgiveness in a size 12 font. You may now judge this chapter, Disclaimed.
Many thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it.
P.S. I gave up on the whole Author's Note in my bio, I wanted to keep my chapters clean but in the end it became too burdensome to have you read the fic here then go there to read a note. I apologize for the unprofessional appearance.