AN: 3/14/13 I just updated the first three chapters of this story. Read them please! I changed quite a few things, and now I think the story might be back on track. Hopefully the next update will happen in the next day or so.
Chapter 1 The Wish
Four-year-old Harry Potter sighed as he leaned on the rake he had been given that morning. He eyed the last pile of leaves, trying to bring himself to get it over with so he could curl up in his cupboard and rest his aching body. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, Harry took his slight weight off of the rake and padded over to the trash bags.
The task the Dursleys had set him would have been much easier had his whale of a cousin, Dudley, not scattered the leaves as soon as he'd gotten them into a pile. The process had continued for almost an hour before Dudley got bored and waddled off to play with the neighborhood kids. A strong gust of wind blew through Harry's oversized, secondhand sweatshirt, making him shiver. Cold and miserable, Harry brooded on the unfairness of it all.
Why did the Dursleys hate him so much? A week ago Harry hadn't wanted to believe that his relatives hated him, specifically. A week ago Harry had thought that the Dursleys were unpleasant to everyone. But then Aunt Marge came to visit with her dog Ripper. After being chased up the tree in the front yard, then left there for an entire day, Ripper nipping at him whenever he tried to climb down, Harry came to the realization that the Dursleys hated him, personally. There was something about him that his relatives found so repulsive that they wouldn't even extend the common curtesy of one human being to another. The thought made tears burn in Harry's eyes, but he refused to let them fall. Harry had learned long ago that tears never helped anything. They only made his Aunt scoff and his Uncle sneer. He would wait until he got back to his cupboard to shed his tears; so he could hide them in the dark.
Finally, with a last heave of the trash bag onto the sidewalk, Harry was finished. He surveyed the pristine lawn for a moment, but was too cold and tired to muster up the pride of a job well done; so he proceeded to limp toward the front door, idly rubbing at his calf, feeling the bandages under the worn jeans.
He hadn't escaped his encounter with Ripper completely unscathed. Towards the end of the day Harry had become desperate. He'd been chased out before breakfast, so he had not eaten anything since the previous evening, and the dog didn't show any signs of tiring. The Dursleys didn't seem to care either, as he hadn't seen hide or hair of any of them. Maybe, Harry thought, maybe this is all an elaborate prank that had gone a little too far. Surely Aunt Marge wouldn't bring a vicious dog with her to her brother's house? This must all be a joke, and the Dursleys are all having a laugh at the freak Potter boy, afraid of the dog that wouldn't hurt a fly. Harry became so convinced that this was the truth that, flushing with embarrassment and anger and completely ignoring the voice of reason yammering in the back of his mind, Harry began to lower himself out of the tree. As soon as his leg came into range, Ripper lunged, clamping his teeth around Harry's calf and hanging on, growling viciously. Harry screamed in pain, tumbling to the ground and trying desperately to kick the dog off. But the more he struggled, the more his leg hurt. Sobbing, Harry tried to pry the dog's jaws apart with his fingers; but it was futile. Harry's hands, slippery with his own blood, could not get enough of a grip to pry the teeth out of his leg. Harry's pain-filled, angry, panicked eyes met Ripper's dumb, determined gaze; and something strange happened. Harry's felt a shock jump from his fingers like static electricity and the dog yelped, then bolted, letting go of Harry's leg, and crying all the way to the front door. Harry blinked after the dog in surprise for a moment then, as quick as he could, scrambled to his feet and hobbled to his hiding place behind the hydrangea bushes. Hearing his uncle cursing and his aunt screeching, Harry curled up and waited for the storm to pass, all while trying futilely to make sparks jump between his fingers, tears dripping down his cheeks.
When Harry crawled out of his hiding space hours later Aunt Marge had left, but he hadn't been saved from his punishment. Harry had immediately been shoved into his cupboard, and if there had been any doubt that the Dursleys hated him before, there was none now. From that moment on, his family referred to him as "the freak," shaming his "family" in front of Marge having been the last straw. He seemed to be grounded until further notice, only allowed out of his cupboard to do chores and make meals.
Harry sighed in contentment as he finally staggered into his cupboard and collapsed onto the cot. Blinking drowsily, he could hear his uncle in the kitchen, and his aunt laughing her horse whinny laugh in response to a funny comment. Resentment burned hot in the back of Harry's throat for a moment, then was gone just as fast as it came, leaving an empty feeling of sadness in its wake. Why couldn't the Dursleys love him like they loved Dudley? Maybe something was wrong with him. Or maybe there was something wrong with them. Harry found himself wishing fervently that his parents hadn't died in that car crash. But Harry knew it was a futile wish. His parents were dead. They couldn't help or hurt him anymore. But maybe, somewhere out there he had family other than the Dursleys. Maybe they lived far away, and hadn't heard about the car crash, and would show up one day to take him from this place.
So, Harry drifted off to sleep, dreaming of faceless strangers bursting into the Dursley's house to spirit him away.
Uchiha Itachi observed the little boy working outside the house with keen interest.
It had been almost a month ago that he had stumbled upon the information that an Uchiha may have survived the massacre. He had been sent by the Akatsuki to gain funds from small villages outside the jurisdiction of the Hidden Villages, when he encountered an old man who was familiar with his sharingan. After careful questioning, Itachi learned that a woman in possession of the sharingan had resided in the little seaside village for three years before she gained enough money to buy a ship to cross the sea.
"It was maybe thirty years ago, but not much exciting happens around here, so she was quite the commodity. Beautiful, but dressed in the oddest clothes; and when she was startled, her eyes would turn red just like yours. I must admit," the old man blushed, " I was quite smitten with her, but she had a sweetheart waiting for her. She said he was across the ocean. Personally, I thought she was a little barmy. Nothing is across the ocean. Everyone knows that. We all tried to talk her out of it, but she was adamant. Women, eh? Can't talk them out of anything when they've set their mind to something!"
Itachi had dutifully agreed, but he was no longer listening. He knew who the woman was; or at least he could guess, but his guesses generally turned out right. The only Uchiha woman to have gone missing in the last hundred years was his aunt, Uchiha Hana. His father had only talked of her once, during his training as heir of the clan. She had gone rouge not long after she returned from a long-term covert mission. The clan had been in an uproar for years after, trying to find her; but they never heard about her again, not even as a missing nin. Eventually it was agreed that she had somehow perished, and the search was given up. His father refused to talk about her except that once. He was ashamed of her for abandoning the Uchiha for, here he sneered, love. Itachi had been intrigued at the time, but dropped the matter when his father became obstinate. Really, in the grand scheme of things, it didn't matter anyway.
Now, here he was years later, hearing about a woman who met his aunt's description, crossing the sea for a lover. It was an S-class secret that there was actually land on the other side of the sea. As ANBU captain, Itachi has been briefed on the technologically advanced people who lived there. There was a whole world outside of the Hidden Villages, and long ago, the villages were part of the larger world. Back then, the villages were one people and, seeing the wars that plagued the rest of the world, banded together and cast a massive barrier over the lands. Later it was laced with genjutsu, so as to make the ocean appear to go on forever if any boatsman became too curious. However, there were certain ways to cross the barrier. The ANBU tattoo contained a special seal that allowed them to cross in case of emergencies. And at once it all made sense. Uchiha Hana had been sent on a long-term mission before going missing. Itachi knew that every few years a S-class solo scouting mission was sent out to a different part of the Outer World to gather information and gauge whether the people suspect the existence of the Shinobi Villages. If Uchiha Hana had been sent on that mission thirty years ago, and fell in love with some Outer Worlder, then there might be more Uchiha in the world.
Itachi's mind reeled with the implications, then settled. No, he thought, it didn't really concern him. He had been ordered to kill the Uchiha, but the village didn't even know of their existence. They could hardly cause Konoha any harm from a world where shinobi didn't even exist. But Itachi was hesitant to just continue on as if nothing happened. It was unbelievable that he would just happen to stumble upon the seaside town that his aunt had stayed at, not to mention happening to chance upon the one man who would connect his sharingan to hers, then tell him about it. If Itachi believed in fate, he would have said that fate had led him here. But as it was, Itachi believed that he had by lucky circumstance stumbled upon this thirty-year-old secret. And seeing how Itachi rarely had any luck at all, he was hesitant to just pass it over. Then it came to him.
Sasuke, his foolish little brother, had defected from Konoha a year ago to train with Orochimaru. When he had found out, Itachi had wanted to wring the gaki's little neck for his stupidity. But, then he realized that Sasuke could turn the situation to his advantage. Training with Orochimaru would put Sasuke in the perfect position to kill the snake; and that compounded with Itachi's own death would most likely make Konoha amenable to him once again. But with his defection, Itachi had a new worry. He had hoped that Sasuke would come to see someone in the village as family in the wake of loosing his own. However, Itachi seemed to scare his otouto a little too well, and his ties to the village came down to three teammates. A sensei he grudgingly respected, a girl he held in contempt, and a boy he tried to kill after defecting. Sasuke needed stronger ties to the village so Itachi could be sure that his plans would come to fruition after his death. But Sasuke had made the mistake of his clan, even without their influence. Sasuke needed family, but only an Uchiha would do. When Itachi had come to this realization, he had given up on the endeavor; and settled for hoping Sasuke's ties to his friends were strong enough to pull him back to Konoha. However, now he was presented with a grand opportunity. There may be Uchiha left in the world. He just needed to find them.
Itachi had then immediately called Leader to inform him that he would be out of contact for an indeterminable amount of time. He had to agree of course. Akatsuki was made up of exceptionally powerful individuals, each with their own ends. As long as their individual goals didn't interfere with the overriding goal of the group, they were allowed to do as they please. So, not even one day since stumbling upon his aunt's survival, Itachi purchased a boat and supplies and set off.
It was vexingly difficult to follow Hana's trial. Itachi had, after five days at sea, landed on the shore of a land with a similar language to his, which helped greatly in the initial search as he combed through the slums of the area, looking for the type of people who sold identification to suspicious-looking characters. It was one of the first rules of covert operations. It was far less suspicious to simply walk onto a boat with forged papers than to sneak on. If Hana was the type of operative that he suspected she was, she would have known this.
Itachi didn't bother with subtlety. When dealing with non-ninja, it wasn't needed. He swept through the slums like a storm, ruthlessly seeking the information he required. Even then, it took over a week before he discovered a man who had an inkling of the shinobi world. Irritated with the lack of progress, Itachi immediately captured the man in a painful genjutsu. He waited while the man screamed and writhed on the ground for a minute before hoisting him up and slamming him into a wall. The smell of urine met Itachi's nose as the man, jarred out of the genjutsu, stared fearfully into the swirling tomoe of the sharingan. "Now, Ojisan," Itachi practically purred, "Where have you heard of shinobi?"
The man caved immediately.
Every couple of years a shinobi, sick of the warring nations, would become missing nin and make their way over to the Outer World. This man was a plant, a retired Mist nin set here with the sole purpose of detecting those with unusually large chakra signatures and reporting it back to his home village. When pressed, the man told of the men and women he sensed over the years. He had been posted in that location for almost forty years, and in that time had only discovered three possible ninja, two men and a woman.
Once again, Itachi marveled at his strange luck as he continued to follow Uchiha Hana's trail. Keeping to protocol, the old Mist nin had kept tabs on Hana until she left the country, then he merely made note of the destination and returned to his post. So, now Itachi had a destination, London, England.
It took almost a month to pick up the trail again. Almost as if she had disappeared into thin air, Itachi found no record of any Uchiha Hana in any of the government offices he infiltrated. He was coming onto the end of his patience when he happened to walk by a man who had a bad reaction to his sharingan. After that it was too easy.
Uchiha Hana was the ANBU sent out to investigate the recently discovered segment of Outer Worlders, Magic Users. She went undercover as a witch, and fell in love with a man named Peter Potter. She had been the one who had provided the data that Itachi had been briefed on when he rose to the position of ANBU captain. All of this, Itachi surmised from two facts gleaned from the man. One, that James Potter's grandparents were Peter and his foreigner wife, Hana; and two, that the maiden name of this girl was Uchiha. Apparently, it was a huge scandal at the time, a pureblood heir marrying a nobody foreigner; and everyone made it their business to know everything they could about the Potters after little Harry defeated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
In this way, Itachi learned that his aunt and her husband were dead, as well as her son and his wife. However, Harry Potter lived.
That was how Itachi found himself observing a young waif of a boy doing yard-work. He was undoubtedly an Uchiha. The bone structure and lithe figure that was the hallmark of an elite shinobi could not be bred out of the Uchiha with only one or two generations. In fact, the boy looked remarkably like Sasuke when he was younger, except with wild hair and strikingly green eyes.
Itachi briefly pondered on the unusual color. The eyes might become a problem. No Uchiha in recent memory had any eye color but dark grey. The boy may not be able to activate the bloodline. But, that was irrelevant; he looked so much an Uchiha that Sasuke would have to accept it as fact. Not to mention, Itachi had the documents to prove it.
So, Itachi had found him, another Uchiha survivor; now what was he going to do with him? Again, just like when he first discovered that the boy may exist, Itachi was hit with the urge to just leave the boy alone. What right did Itachi have to drag this innocent child into the curse that was their family? Did this child's happiness deserve to be sacrificed for his brother's?
Itachi liked to consider himself a reasonable man, no matter how society may view him. But in a contest between his brother and the rest of the world, he would choose his brother every time.
It was time to contact Konoha.