My first fanfic!
Disclaimer : This is a declared FANFICTION. No money is being made here by me or anybody. Neither of the two universes are mine.
Number 4, Privet Drive
Harry Potter was an intelligent boy. Not the most unusual statement by any means. The thing was, nobody saw his intelligence, not his teachers, not his classmates and certainly not his "family". None of them had any inkling of the potential he had, the prodigy right beneath their noses, the intellect he refused to display, because Harry Potter hid his true self, cloaked it in averageness and disappeared from the inquisitive (read snoopy and gossipy) minds of the (lack of) humanity he dealt with daily. After all, he was certain that without these precautions his life was forfeit.
Seven years is not the best age for any human being to fight a war. Indeed, war is not meant for people of any age. But Harry was fighting a war. Indeed, for him life was war. For Harry, every day was a battle for survival, a day by day affair, where every single day was spent with steadfast resolve, where a lack of broken bones was a cause for quiet celebration, and pain was the reminder that he was still alive.
And like all wars and battles, this one was fought against an enemy, an enemy who he shared a backyard and his home with, the ever accursed Dursleys. They treated him like the scum of the universe, quite literally in fact. He was their slave, their pet, some thing for them to do whatever they wished, an unending nightmare enforced through the ever present threat of bodily harm, one which they frequently acted on. Harry hated them, all three of them, Whale senior, Whale junior and Horse face, as he humorlessly called them sometimes.
But those were not their true names of course, those of Vernon, Dudley and Petunia Dursley, his enemies from birth, the ever mocking nemesis, and the ones he would probably end up wiping from the face of the earth, if he could. Harry was not an idiot, irrespective of what his despicable relatives chose to believe. He knew that what they were doing was illegal, that their very actions were contrary to the 'normality' they tried so fanatically to maintain. But any authority figure he tried to tell only called up the Dursleys, who would reassure said authority figure with tales of juvenile delinquency and tale telling. And after the 5th time he had found himself with broken ribs, Harry simply stopped. One did not pursue actions that were detrimental to oneself, no matter how correctly it followed the 'proper' response to such actions. He also took to heart the subconscious lesson he had learned, the system could not be trusted. Not that it helped him of course, for predators are seldom deterred by unmoving prey.
Harry had long learned that the least painful way of living would be to lie low and stay average, letting the Dursleys forget he existed, a cloak of normality, one that let him be questionably safe. Well, outside of his slave labor or 'well deserved' punishments at any rate. It helped keep the broken bones at bay, a desirable condition, no matter how fast they tended to grow back or rather heal at astronomical speed. Harry had in fact begun to suspect that his body had simply begun to do it to prevent him from dying, something which was not too far off from the truth, all said and done.
Harry had learned quite early on that one of the surefire ways to get brutalized was to score better than Dudley. Any time he did so, Vernon would go into a red faced, spittle flying rage, screaming about freakishness and freaks, in episodes that eventually ended with broken bones. So Harry simply stopped doing better, going into a near extreme averageness, placing himself near the bottom of the class. It wasn't to say that Harry stopped learning of course. No, he simply stopped displaying exactly what he knew, preferring to hoard his knowledge and the true extent of his talents – the primary of which was the healing that he constantly utilized to keep his school attendance out of jeopardy.
Harry, like all the troubled people of the world, had a place he had to go. A place he went to whenever he could, because there was one person who treated him like family, or at least as one should. His name was Daniel Richards aka 'that old geezer'. The people in school knew him as old man Richie. He was a second world war veteran, one of the men who survived Normandy, the Ardennes, and the innumerable villages that dotted the retreating German line of the era. He did not go to the pacific theater, nor the African one much before that. He had also been to India for a while, though it was only in passing. The rest of his unassuming life was spent in the same house a mile from the school, whose library was under his care.
Richards was a librarian. And a well traveled one, prone to telling stories, his own or that of others he'd heard. Stories of courage, valor, and the indomitable human spirit. He also told stories of sadness, of loss, the struggle to go on when all anyone else would do was curl up and cry, and stories of the evil men can do, the utter destruction of humanity, and the lengths that men go to because of greed and power. And he told these stories to one young man.
Harry loved Richards. Well, as much as he could love anyone after the what the Dursleys did to him. To him, Richards was not the old man who lost his marbles in Berlin, no, he was the connection to a greater world that existed,one beyond the ultra normal Dursleys and their petty worries, beyond Surrey, Dudley and even the 'normal' school they went to. It was his taste of the life that was there beyond the cupboard under the stairs.
Now, some may wonder what business anyone had telling a seven year old war stories that involved such weighty concepts. But the thing was, Harry appreciated it. Sure it didn't have the same punch as unicorns and fairies, but it was better than anything the Dursleys had done for him. Also he loved the man because even though he knew what was going on, he trusted Harry enough that he did not go to the authorities himself. If Harry said he had a vague and unspecified plan that would work in the end, that was that. Because, Richards trusted his word. Consequently, this smidgen of irresponsible trust made him the only adult that Harry trusted on a personal level. And it was the most amazing feeling for the boy-who-lived-in-hell. To be treated seriously as an equal, to have your word accepted at face value, to be able to trust the man back, even if it was very hesitantly at first. It was a small thing. But verily, a truly powerful one.
And so the boy spent all the time he could in the library, in breaks and an hour after school. Not only did this give him a refuge from the world around him, it solved his 'Harry hunting' woes to a tremendous extent. Of course, all it took for the extra school time to be heartily approved was for Harry to glumly state that he had detention. The Dursleys promptly left him alone to celebrate.
Literally, they were partying with food they forced him to make.
It was at the end of his seventh year, that Harry had his most life changing event yet. He had been working on organizing the books from a particular shelf when Richards swung over, motioning for him to follow the old man. It was after all, only a week to go for the end of the year, and there would be no opportunity at all for Harry to leave the cupboard for anything other than chores, food (meager as it was) and his occasional bathroom breaks (once a day). And considering that Richards really didn't want Harry to kill himself (or his family), he had decided to give the one kid he really liked a gift. Something simple. Something inconsequential. Something that then proceeded to warped the future beyond imagination.
It was a cardboard box. It was in the back of the library, amongst all the other junk that accumulates in a public school library from damaged and just plain destroyed books, old registers, lost items etc. The box itself was plain, a simple brownish cardboard construct, a foot high with a rectangular cross section. Richards smiled . He told Harry that this was his reward for keeping an old man company. In the box, were a bunch of comics, some plain, black and white, on not too yellowing pages, and written on each, was the word
A/N : slightly revised 30 Jan 2011
As stated, my first fan fiction. A HP X Naruto fiction that sprouted from my head. No doubt others have discovered this idea, but still, this one is mine.
For new and old readers, here are a few points to remember while reading...
The story starts in the vague time that is Harry turning seven. I'm a guy who believes the dates are less important than whatever happens in them.
The manga in the box does is not the complete set ie Harry doesn't get the whole story, just till somewhere near the middle or so.
The manga is not native to this dimension/universe/subspace pocket etc. ie there is no published manga called Naruto on the planet.
The 'HOW' as in how did it get there is not really going to be specified. Use your imagination people! It doesn't have to be just me who gets creative with what I write. Send (pm) me your theories and I'll put up the more interesting ones in the next chapter, with full credits, whichever it is. Same goes for any omakes you might have thought of. I myself am not an omake creator :(
Remember, the point is to have FUN! Reading and writing! (especially reviews...hehe)