A/N: And this is where we get into actual character thoughts. This actually leads to something I think I should mention, which is my usage of Gratuitous Japanese and how I refer to characters. This will be explained at the bottom because top-heavy author's notes are weird.
This chapter also has a lot of random subtext for some reason. I don't even support KisaIta, so I'm not all that sure where it came from. That said, bromance is really fun to write.
Itachi was more than just annoyed on his second Halloween since birth. He was furious. He was also pretty sure that he knew exactly how his otouto had felt upon the massacre of the Uchiha clan.
He may not have learned this new world's language all that well yet—the Sharingan was marvelous at instantaneously analyzing visual data, but auditory data could barely be memorized, let alone evaluated—but he had felt extremely stressed and powerful cores at one time, with strained and hushed voices that he recognized as the kind one used when dealing with the stress of vital information, a vestige from his shinobi days. He had activated his Sharingan then and committed as much of the conversation to Sharingan-induced eidetic memory as he could, considering that he was dealing with an extremely limited chakra capacity. Of course, he also kept his eyes closed so that no one saw the hypnotic spinning, but that actually helped rather than hindered his auditory cataloguing.
The reason he was so angry was simple: his new family had been murdered. He'd gotten a second chance, hoped to actually protect his family once his body had reached the age where that would be physically possible, and then they'd been murdered. It was, simply put, infuriating.
He figured that he didn't deserve any less, really, but his new parents had been good people; too good to die as young as they had. His mother should not have had to give up her life for him. It had saved his own, yes, but Itachi was certain that he didn't deserve her sacrifice. His Sharingan had seen something fleeting come from her body to his as she'd died. He had quickly turned it off so that his attacker would not see, but the haze, whatever it was, had been there.
And the attacker. It was like another Orochimaru! Same snaky voice and tone, same malevolent aura—though he thought Orochimaru's may have been stronger—same odd obsession with children, if what he'd gleaned from conversations around him was true, same obsession with immortality… that was the man, the man they called Voldemort, that had come after him. He'd never liked Orochimaru, and he couldn't find even the slightest bit of good in the presence of this second snake man. It was a pity, really, that so many evil men chose snakes for their representative animal; it rather ruined the image for the poor creatures for anyone else that liked them.
He was picked up from the wreckage by an enormous man that he didn't recognize, who'd taken him away on a flying bike—didn't this belong to a friend of his parents? The one they called Padfoot, the one that had turned into a dog several times to amuse Itachi, or Harry, rather—to meet an old woman and even older man—he'd never seen a beard that long before—in a dark and empty street that made his shinobi senses flare up in alarm. Of course, he continued to pretend to sleep, understanding very little of what he heard but committing it to memory nonetheless for later perusal.
He was left on a porch in a basket. A basket! Being woken by a scream the next morning irritated him enough that he could barely keep himself from glaring at the shrill woman with his Sharingan, and simply settled for a false baby's wail as would be expected of him.
Itachi had decided very early on that his cousin needed to be taught manners. Since Dudley—such an odd name, and rather dull, in Itachi's opinion—held such an interest in fighting, Itachi decided that he'd use what knowledge he'd retained from his ninja days to become proficient again, and tutor the boy. Tutoring would, of course, involve plenty lessons of discipline and respect as all martial arts schools did.
They were still only a few years old, however, so some induced fright by subconscious messages whenever he misbehaved would be enough. The first several times that Dudley had attempted to come close to 'Harry' with ill intentions in his eyes, Itachi had let loose the smallest dose of killing intent that he could. It had scared the pudgy boy off easily enough, though Petunia and Vernon—his Aunt and Uncle, apparently—often stared at the two boys, trying to figure out why their little Dudley feared their nephew so much, but they could never discern the real reason. It's not as if you could see killing intent, after all.
He was polite to them. He could tell that they resented him from the start—was it because of the magic? If there was one thing he remembered above all else, it was the vibrant colors that often poured from his parents' wands—and his higher than normal intelligence, much higher than their own son, only exacerbated their dislike. He took to his old customs, using honorifics whenever it was applicable, or at least their English versions, and bowing to those whom he considered his superiors, which was everyone other than Dudley at this point. The one time a Japanese businessman had come by for a dinner party, he'd surprised him by using honorifics correctly, even though all he'd done was use –san at the end of the man's name instead of putting Mr. in front of it. He'd lied and said he'd seen it on Dudley's TV when the Dursleys asked where he'd learnt such a thing.
At five, both Harry, as the world knew him, and Dudley were enrolled in a local public school for nursery. It was a fine enough school, and even had enough funding to support children from a nearby orphanage. Itachi found it extremely curious that one of said orphans was completely blue and had a keychain that looked remarkably like Samehada.
Oh, who was he kidding? He'd suspected it was Kisame the moment he saw the older boy.
They were a year apart in the school, and Itachi had channeled chakra to his ears to overhear his old friend's introduction in the next class over. Apparently, the orphanage he was at taught their charges up until they were ready for their first year of primary school, though most primary schools offered a year before, a nursery or playgroup (kindergarten to Americans), as well. The name he gave was nothing particularly special, Berilo Krahsson. He'd easily heard the warning that the teacher had given the students, telling them that she would not, under any circumstances, tolerate bullying of the boy for his hair or skin color. Most of the class was, oddly enough, more fascinated by him than prone to bullying him. They never got too close though, as if afraid of catching some disease.
There were a set of boys in Harry and Dudley's own class that decided that the new boy was a good target. Dudley had wanted to join in, but stopped when his—really, really scary—cousin mentioned that he wanted to be friends with the tall blue boy. 'Harry' had told Dudley to come if he was interested in befriending him, but that he would hold nothing against him if he stayed. Itachi was glad when his cousin decided to come along. It seemed he was getting through to him after all. Perhaps Dudley had just learned to associate cause and effect, but that was neither here nor there.
Itachi stalked through the crowd of bullies, Dudley following him like a large and somewhat ferocious dog—somewhat like his 'Aunt' Marge's, he supposed—right up to Berilo Krahsson, who was taking all the insults with a grin that wasn't even strained, and hurling back caustic comments that were as witty as a man nearly in his forties would dish out to such young children. Itachi held out his hand. "My name is Harry Potter, and this is my cousin Dudley Dursley."
'Berilo' raised an eyebrow and grinned in a sharkish manner that Itachi found to be quite familiar. Dudley shifted behind him, very nearly uncomfortable with being near someone that was larger than he was, even though that size took more place in height than in width as Dudley's was. Berilo, who Itachi was nearly 100% sure now was Kisame, stuck his own hand out and grabbed Itachi's. "Berilo Krahsson. Nice to meet you both. Are you here for a volley of wits or just here to be curbstomped like the rest of them?"
Itachi raised an eyebrow, and tiny—very tiny—waves of killing intent rolled off him, paired with a chakra spike that he was sure Kisame would recognize and signal back in turn. Sure enough, he did, and the group of people around them, Dudley, bullies, and onlookers, all backed away in a circle, as Itachi and Kisame—for that's who they were now, not the simple children that they pretended to be as Harry and Berilo—stepped back as if they were about to spar. They were, after all, though only with words and not physical weapons as they had years ago. Itachi's Sharingan spun all of one circle, enough for only his former partner to notice, and smirked as the shark-like grin on Kisame's face widened a fraction.
"I doubt I could be 'curbstomped' as you so eloquently put it, by a boy who appears to have misplaced blue paint on his head instead of his walls." The kids didn't really understand about half of what was said, but they still 'oo-ed' like the well-trained audience they were.
Kisame snorted. "And a scrawny little child like you, still needing a stool to get to the cookie just three feet above your head, is telling me?"
"Low blow." Itachi replied before any of the children could say anything, smirking self-assuredly at the bark of laughter that escaped Kisame at the irony of Itachi's statement compared to his own. "Besides, at least I'm not too heavy to use the see-saw with a friend. I doubt the same could be said for you, with your size."
"Oh!" The kids yowled, moving their heads back to Kisame as if following a tennis match.
"You're too cruel." Kisame made a dramatic move and laid a hand across his forehead. "But I suppose it's only to be expected, considering that you must be nearly as harsh towards that bird's nest you call a head of hair."
Itachi noticed that a teacher was actually watching them and not interfering. He had a smirk on his face, arms crossed and leaning against the building, as if the whole thing amused him. Maybe he just realized that this was a game to the two, and neither was actually hurt by it.
"My hair may look like a bird's nest, but you're bound to attract far more flocks with that fishy smell about you." Itachi bounced back. Sure, it wasn't the most inspired of comebacks, but both he and Kisame were obviously holding back, since they were children and, more importantly, surrounded by children who could easily go home and ask their parents what certain inappropriate phrases may mean.
And that would be bad.
The bell for the end of recess rang then, and kids began filing back inside. Itachi and Kisame walked in together, ANBU hand signals that they both knew flashing.
Tonight. Your base. Itachi signed, completely aware that the 'language' they were using was rather impractical for this sort of conversation, but it was the best they had.
Roof? The question was obviously implied, but Kisame still shot him a questioning look.
Itachi nodded. Midnight.
So they separated, each with a small smile on their face at having found an old friend again.
"I'll see you later, Shark."
"Same to you, Crow."
That night at dinner, where Harry got a smaller portion than Dudley as per usual, the subject of the new kid at school was brought up by the pudgier of the two children. Of course, Dudley also had the presence of mind to hold off on mentioning 'Berilo's' unnatural and abnormal hair and skin until his cousin brought it up.
"And they got in a fight on the playground!"
Itachi shook his head. "It was not a fight. It was a battle of wits."
"And did you win, boy?" Vernon asked, beady eyes narrowing.
Itachi shrugged, and reminded himself yet again to keep his language as simple as he possibly could. "The bell rang before we could finish, even if I got the last word in. I guess you could say that the bell won."
Vernon snorted, stabbing at his food with rather more force than necessary. "So it was a tie."
At midnight, Kisame opened his window and walked out and up the wall to get to the roof. He found Itachi already there.
Let the bro-hug commence.
Itachi let Kisame hug him for a span of about fifteen seconds before pushing him off. "Enough. I get that you're glad I'm alive. No need to get clingy." He'd reverted to Japanese, and Kisame did the same, enjoying the ease of the words that came from his mouth for the first time in years.
"Tch." Kisame snorted. "We're both dead, to a point. You were killed by your psychotic little brother, and I let my sharks eat me to keep those Konoha and Kumo shinobi from getting info out of me. I'm pretty sure that we count as dead."
Itachi frowned. "Please do not refer to Sasuke as… psychotic, however true it may be." Loathe as he was to admit it, he had been rather… blind to his brother's nature before. Sasuke had gone insane from the power and pressure piled onto him, and Itachi still hadn't realized until shortly before the Edo Tensei had been released. Even then, he clung to some last vestiges of hope, but that while, those seven years where his only entertainment or challenge was to act the part of a child, had given him plenty of time to think and come to terms with what had happened.
Kisame shrugged. "Yeah, whatever. Why'd you even let him kill you in the first place?"
Itachi stared at the ground for a few minutes. "I suppose that at this point, secrecy is a moot point. Kisame, let me tell you the truth behind the Uchiha massacre…"
Itachi proceeded to explain everything, and even added in Tobi's real plan, the Eye of the Moon Plan. He knew of Kisame's hatred of lies, so a world that is under a genjutsu would be, Itachi hoped, off-putting enough that Kisame wouldn't side with Tobi if they ever saw the masked man again. Surprisingly, Kisame ignored the bit about the moon plan—what's Tobi going to do? It's not like there's a Juubi here to assemble, and it's not even a given that he's here—and continued back to the description about the Uchiha massacre.
"I'm really not sure how to react to most of what you mentioned about your massacre, but it's all behind us now. Besides, didn't you just say that you made up with your brother in the end with that mass Edo Tensei fiasco before the world collapsed in on itself? Though the fact that he declared revenge on Konoha anyway makes me think that there was more wrong with his head than just…"
"Alright, alright! I'll stop talking about your brother!" Kisame rubbed the back of his head, almost laughing at the odd nature of their exchange. "Anyways, what do we do now?"
Itachi leant back against the wall that edged the roof, looking up at the stars: Kisame copied him only a few feet away, their rather short bodies stretched out in the lukewarm air.
"We wait." Itachi said. "We were given a second chance, yes, but we can't do anything yet. We're only five, in your case six, years old. Not quite old enough to do anything on a grand scale, especially since this world has different standards compared to our old one. After we reach an age where we can change things, we'll do it for the better. We were told that this was a chance to redeem ourselves, and I'm inclined to believe that and take advantage of it."
Kisame shrugged. "Sure. You always did have a better head for plans anyway. Do we train?"
"In secret." Itachi said flatly, the unsaid 'no duh' evident in his tone. Kisame ignored that and replied with an easy playfulness.
"Of course, captain. Think we'll find anyone else?"
"Ladies and Gentlemen, the final confirmation of identity has been presented: The Classic Uchiha Clan 'Hn'!" Kisame muttered under his breath, ignoring Itachi's glare. He then spoke in a louder tone. "I'll just take that as a yes. Do we tell anyone that we're…?"
"No. Keep it a secret unless absolutely necessary. I think you, of all people, understand what level of information this is."
"It's not enough to risk our lives over, that's for sure." Kisame grunted as he turned over to lie on his stomach and laid his head on his hands. "It's weird, being a kid again."
Itachi shrugged once, still on his back and looking up at the stars. "It's stranger for me, since I'm actually healthy now. Not feeling mind-blinding pain every time I so much as stand is something that I am surprisingly appreciative of. I'm also rather confused as to why I still have my Sharingan, considering the fact that it's supposed to be genetic."
Kisame tilted his head to the side. "They gave me my Samehada. She's probably the only weapon they did though, since she's actually alive. Maybe they just wanted to give us a leg up in all this?"
Itachi frowned slightly, eyes barely narrowing. "Perhaps."
'Harry' began to show Dudley taijutsu at the age of six. The taijutsu wasn't anywhere near as demanding as what Itachi had learned at that age—there was no chance that Itachi was going to let Dudley become anything near a shinobi—but it was still mild taijutsu. 'Berilo' had finally come for a 'play date' soon after this under the supervision of one of the caretakers from the orphanage. She'd explained to the Dursleys after meeting them about Berilo's birth defects, the coloration, and spoken with them about how much happier the boy seemed after meeting Harry and Dudley.
The Dursleys had, after much convincing and crocodile tears on Dudley's part, allowed Berilo to become one of their regular playmates. Behold their astonishment when they saw the blue boy and their nephew start an impromptu spar on the third play date in. The fight was, to the former Akatsuki members' eyes, shoddy and sloppy, with taijutsu that their bodies had not yet memorized. To the adults, it was seeing a fight between self-trained martial arts prodigies. The prodigy idea definitely chafed at the Dursleys, and they eventually demanded to know just where Harry had learnt all that. He replied that he'd seen it while watching TV with Dudley. This, of course, lead to an in depth conversation with his relatives over just how he could remember something like that after only seeing it once. They eventually came to the conclusion, somewhat accurately, that he had a photographic memory. An eidetic memory—the real name that they didn't bother using around little children—more or less came as part of being an Uchiha, or former Uchiha, as it were. Even without the Sharingan, a good memory was more or less guaranteed, eidetic or not.
The Dursleys eventually began using that as an excuse for when he got better grades than Dudley, ignoring the fact that Harry was genuinely smarter than his cousin, and would have been even without the reincarnation factor; there was a reason that he was regarded widely as a child prodigy in Konoha, after all, even after he killed the majority of his clan. It wasn't as if shinobi arts were all of it. At least it kept them from getting angry at him for his intelligence; they just said that he was cheating without getting caught, and Harry left them to believe that. Dudley… actually didn't care all that much.
Kisame, when they met for midnight spars and to talk about the mediocre old days, found it more or less hilarious.
It was rather interesting, Itachi eventually decided, that it really wasn't all that hard to turn things his way. All he really needed to do was get Dudley to agree with him, and his 'victory' was nearly assured. He still slept in the cupboard, unfortunately, and he didn't get anywhere near as many presents as Dudley did for birthdays and holidays, but he'd managed to spin things so that they were, while not quite in his favor, they weren't exactly against it either. He had even managed to convince Aunt Petunia that his hair would look less messy if he grew it out; he soon had the comforting feeling of a ponytail swinging behind him again.
Itachi was nine and a half when Kisame got the letter. It was a few days after the former shark-man's 'eleventh' birthday—his birthday was on the same date as it had been in his past life, odd as that was—that he'd been whisked away from the orphanage by an odd man in a cloak of all things for a few hours. He wasn't exactly supposed to tell anyone, but Itachi was an exception he would more than gladly make.
"You can't tell me that you think I'm lying. You already told me that your parents were apparently magical. You can't say that you don't believe me."
Itachi shrugged. "Well, you were always one of the less serious members of the Akatsuki. A prank would not be outside the realm of possibility. However, for what it's worth, I do believe you. Can I see your wand?"
Kisame snickered. "Why Itachi, I didn't know you thought of me that way."
Kisame rubbed the back of his head where Itachi had smacked him. "Sorry, couldn't resist. I'm older than you, in both ways, you know. I'm allowed to tease you."
"Kisame. Wand. The one you use to do magic. And no jokes about magic in your pants."
Kisame rolled his eyes. "Geez, Itachi, I'm not a pervert. Every man's entitled to a dirty joke or two; it doesn't mean that I'll be saying one every five seconds."
"The wand, Kisame. Focus."
Kisame frowned. "You're such a killjoy sometimes, Itachi. Here, fourteen inches, willow, dragon heartstring. Apparently good for transfiguration."
Itachi looked at the wand. Nothing particularly interesting about it popped out at him, but it did seem a bit longer than either of the ones that his parents had used.
He handed it back with a nod, which Kisame answered with an eye roll.
"So we've got until August thirty-first before I leave. Let's make the best of it."
"It'll only be a year later that I will come as well."
"Yeah, but saying stuff like this makes room for more fun activities that I'd usually have to try to intoxicate you to try and make you do."
It was only a few hours into term that Kisame found other Akatsuki members, or rather, that they found him. The blue hair and skin sort of gave it away, as the green hair and the black and white skin respectively had for Zetsu a year earlier. Nagato—apparently what Leader-sama's real name was back in their original world—was in the year above him, as was Zetsu. Both of Zetsu. They'd been split, though they never spent more time apart than necessary. Kisame had, for reasons even he didn't quite understand, been sorted into Hufflepuff, where Nagato, now Cedric Diggory, was. Kuro-Zetsu, now Chernobog Haejigoku—Kisame really had to snicker a bit at the surname—was in Slytherin, while Shiro-Zetsu, now Byelobog, had made his way into Gryffindor. The fact that they had managed to stay close despite being in rival houses amazed people, the 'oppositely colored twins with green hair' detail notwithstanding.
Konan, now Cho Chang, had been placed squarely in Ravenclaw. Kisame wasn't particularly surprised; he honestly could have seen her in any of the houses. She was cunning enough for Slytherin, definitely, and could lie her way out of just about any situation. She was intelligent enough for Ravenclaw, as her placement had proven. She was brave enough to fight Tobi head on despite knowing his power, and almost won, at that. She was loyal to Nagato, and had continued to risk her life for his ideals even after his death. But into Ravenclaw she'd gone, and with her there, they had at least one person in each house.
Itachi received word of this the afternoon that they'd all found each other, and wrote back as quickly as he could. He sent the note using Kisame's new Eagle Owl, which had affectionately been named Daito. As it turned out, none of the other three, or four, depending how you looked at it, had known about the others before coming to Hogwarts. Only the two halves of Zetsu had known each other. Hopefully, it wouldn't be too much trouble to find the rest, and hopefully they'd already found at least one of the others.
The year passed without event, and Itachi received the letter addressed to 'Mr. H. Potter' without incident; he hid the note from his relatives and dropped it off in his cupboard before handing the rest of the letters in to his uncle at the breakfast table. He borrowed Kisame's owl to send a reply, requesting someone to accompany the both of them to the alley. That someone was a rather intimidating man —to civilians, at least—that came several days before Harry's birthday. The Dursleys, on seeing Snape—who seemed extremely cold to Petunia in particular, and she reacted to his comments with blatant hostility—couldn't really refuse.
Berilo played off of questions about why he'd seen fit to give the knowledge of magic to someone that didn't know before by claiming that he'd wanted to warn his friend of the inevitable fangirls before he was taken by surprise by his apparent fame.
"Oh?" Snape queried. "Has Mr. Potter had such encounters with… fangirls before?"
"They're obliviously evil, sir." Harry said, completely serious. "They may not realize that they are, but a horde of fangirls is one of the most evil and destructive things on the planet."
Snape could only stare at the boy that, with hair and an expression like that, really wasn't all that much like his father, and wonder at how a boy could be scared of fangirls. "How and why?"
"Primary school. They liked my hair." Itachi relayed with a shudder. "I almost cut it just to get rid of them."
Snape was unsure of how to proceed, but took the two to the Leaky Cauldron, where they were to be 'handed off' to Hagrid, who would finish up their buying of school supplies.
Some of it went without incident, though the odd bits did occur. He had practically been attacked by thankful civilians in the pub. The goblins had, for whatever reason, realized that he and Berilo were not normal children, and warned them, in Japanese, no less, that even if they thought that they had the skills to do so, attempting to rob Gringotts would be a bad idea. It was rather broken Japanese with terrible accents, but Japanese nonetheless. Hagrid had been dumbfounded when little Harry had gone and bought this and that in Flourish and Blotts that had not been on his list, including several books with titles that he couldn't even read because they were written in Hiragana. Berilo had not been much different in that respect.
During wand shopping, Mr. Ollivander had reacted most oddly to both boys, though it seemed that Harry was destined to have the holly and phoenix feather wand that was the brother of Voldemort's.
The most interesting and, of course, most important event, however, happened in Madam Malkin's. Berilo had gone to look at the Magical Menagerie for some reason, and Hagrid had gone for his little pick-me-up at the Leaky Cauldron, so Harry was left alone for his robe fittings. The boy next to him had aristocratic features and hair that seemed pale, almost naturally a bleached blonde. He started speaking with Harry almost immediately, introducing himself as Draco Malfoy, and not reacting to the name of Harry Potter with any real interest. Soon into the pleasantries, he brought up a rather interesting point.
"My father says that anyone with less than pure blood shouldn't be allowed at Hogwarts, especially not muggleborns. My mother agrees with him."
Harry raised an eyebrow, more interested in the boy's expression. "You don't seem to agree."
The boy snorted. "I don't. It's all a load of bulls***, if you ask me."
He raised a hand and ran it through his pale hair, a leather bracelet with a silver symbol hanging from it glinting as he did so. Itachi's eyes widened before narrowing slightly with hidden mirth. The silver symbol was a circle with a triangle within: the symbol of Jashin.
Itachi, no longer Harry, switched over to Japanese quickly. "That's good. From what I've heard from Kisame, it's rather a bit too much like the Kekkei Genkai fiascos back in the Elemental Countries. The civilians feared them; Kiri hated them; the other villages loved them if they had them, and Konoha practically revered them. I'd rather hoped to leave such nonsense behind when I was told that I'd be reborn in a new realm."
A sharp intake of breath next to him indicated that he'd sent 'Draco' into high alert. A slight metal clink and a flash of red and silver indicated that he probably even had his scythe with him, likely miniaturized as Samehada had been. "Who…?"
Itachi turned and smiled, Sharingan spinning to life. "It's nice to see you again, Hidan."
The breath hissed out, and Hidan reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose. "Uchiha. At least tell me that I'm talking to Itachi and not Tobi."
Itachi smirked. "Hn. Have you found anyone else yet?"
Hidan glared, not caring that he was staring straight into a spinning Sharingan. He cursed Itachi quietly under his breath in English, presumably for 'being a d***,' for a few seconds before replying in Japanese again. "Yeah, Kakuzu's the same age as us, first year; he's just a couple months older. Still a miser, and somehow got born to some gold digger lady with half a dozen different fortunes to her name by now. No word on anyone else."
Itachi shrugged, nodding to Hidan and looking past him to see a blue friend walking in. "I knew Kisame from my neighborhood, and he went last year and found Konan, Leader-sama, and Zetsu. Zetsu got split somehow, though, so he's actually a pair of twins on his own now."
Hidan nodded, not seeing Kisame walking up behind him. "So is Sharky still blue, then?"
"Yes, I am." Kisame spoke up from behind him. He easily ducked under a half-hearted swing of Hidan's scythe a second later. Kisame just held out his hand to shake, which Hidan ignored, and introduced himself, in English, with his latter name. "Berilo Krahsson, and I'm pleased to meet you."
"Seriously! What is wrong with you people?" Right back to Japanese.
"We're reincarnated, formerly S-ranked, former criminal shinobi with access to magic." Kisame said cheerfully.
Hidan didn't bother replying to that. He just made a non-sequitor of sorts, smirk on his face. "I was right."
The other two tilted their heads as Madam Malkin bustled in and started taking Kisame's measurements. Itachi asked the next question. "What were you right about that we doubted you on?"
Hidan was visibly irritated at that, and simply raised one of his hands, pointing at the Jashin symbol with his other. His face was amusingly blank.
"Oh." Kisame said, looking somewhat uncomfortable. He was fishing for a new topic, and quickly asked, "So are you still immortal, then?"
Hidan scoffed. "Of course I am. If I wasn't, I'd be dead fifty times over by now. Kakuzu cuts of my head almost every time he sees me. Since my mother and his are friends, and they're convinced that we are too, it's inevitable that we see each other a lot."
"He still cuts your head off whenever you irritate him?" Itachi asked incredulously. "Isn't he worried that someone will see? Or at least about the blood stains?"
Hidan looked uncomfortable at that. "Do you know what a House Elf is?"
Their eyes darkened. Itachi spoke first. "I hope you don't approve of that."
Hidan tilted his head to the side. "If he didn't like it, I wouldn't. The problem is that most House Elves love to work, so disapproving would actually make it worse for them. I don't approve of the abuse that my father puts him through, though."
Itachi frowned, eyeing Hidan up and down. "It just occurred to me that you're not being anywhere near as coarse as you were the last time I spoke with you."
Hidan snorted mirthlessly at that. "Malfoys aren't crude, apparently. If I could talk however I wanted to, I'd be cursing up a storm like a sailor whenever I talked. As it is…" He shrugged.
"You're done, dears." Madam Malkin shooed all three of them off the stools, and Hidan began to walk over to a woman that they presumed to be his mother.
"Goodbye, Potter, Krahsson."
"I hope to see you at school, Malfoy."
"See ya, kid."
Hidan just waved with one hand and discreetly flipped them off with the other.
Hagrid had bought him an owl, and the Dursleys had moved him to the smaller bedroom, with Dudley putting up a minimum of fuss over the matter. He'd decided to give her a name that fit his new world well, and so chose the name Hedwig from his history book.
Itachi quickly scripted out missives to the other known members of Akatsuki, remembering to include a message for Kakuzu, whose new name he hadn't gotten, in Hidan's letter.
The Dursleys had driven both Berilo and Harry to King's Cross Station, muttering disparagingly about magic under their breath the whole time, as Dudley scooted away from them discretely.
There had been no trouble getting onto the platform, and they'd found a compartment easily enough. Kisame had left to find the rest of the Akatsuki, leaving Itachi to watch their things. A redheaded boy had poked his head in, a rather bored—almost looking like he was stoned, really—expression on his face.
Harry—for that was who he was at this point—raised an eyebrow. "Yes. Why?"
The boy tilted his head to the side a bit. "I'm just trying to find someone else in first year to sit with. Do you mind if I do?
Harry indicated the seat across from him, which the boy took quickly. His movements had a certain kind of fluidity to them, and he really shouldn't have been able to put his trunk up as easily as he had. Harry's eyes narrowed. All they had left was Sasori, Deidara, and Tobi to find. Was this one of them?
"What house do you think you're going into?" The redhead asked.
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Gryffindor, I hope. I can see some attributes of each of the houses in myself, but so can just about anyone. I've been told that both of my parents were in Gryffindor, though, so I hope I end up there. And you?"
"Gryffindor as well. All my family's been there, though the only house that I think is a negative for me is Hufflepuff."
Harry nodded, and then stuck out his hand. "Harry Potter."
Rather than shooting up to Harry's forehead, his eyes simply narrowed almost imperceptibly and stayed trained on Harry's face. "Ron Weasley."
Harry nodded and pulled out a book, sensing that the conversation was over. Several seconds after he'd started reading, Ron was rummaging in his belongings, and pulled out a marionette and a knife. He began carving details on the marionette's face, and that was all it took for Itachi to come to the conclusion. The carved scorpion on the marionette's chest helped in that respect, as did the sight of the scrolls in his bag that poked out when he took it out.
"Well, at least you're not the puppet this time, Akasuna no Sasori." The full title wasn't necessary, but it caused more of a reaction. Itachi set his Sharingan a-spinning again, knowing that it was the simplest way to reveal his identity.
"Uchiha." The word was low and resigned; there was a small hint of exasperated amusement as well, for some odd reason. "It appears that Deidara was right after all."
A/N: And that's chapter two! I wrote most of this on a transatlantic plane ride, though I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't write any more than this.
Okay, names and Gratuitous Japanese, the explanations.
Names: This chapter either confused you or enlightened you in that respect. Which name I refer to them as is indicative of who they "are" just then. It they are with other Akatsuki members and people that know who they are, they act as their old selves, and will be referred to by their old names. Otherwise, they will probably be referred to by their newer names, because that's the part they're playing at that time. If they 'shift' their thinking to be geared as a shinobi, the name I use for them changes as well.
Gratuitous Japanese: Sorry people, but it's a fact of life that people will accidentally, or even not-so-accidentally, mix words from one language they speak with another one they do. It may even feel completely natural. I do it all the time with English and Serbian, especially when speaking Serbian, where I use English to replace words that I don't know in Serbian, since I know English better than I do my primary language. There are also words that just don't translate well. Jutsu feels more natural than technique when they talk about shinobi skills, but spell will feel more natural when they talk about magic than its Japanese equivalent. The Akatsuki will use Japanese words in their English conversations and English words in their Japanese conversations. Sorry, but it just happens that way.
And yeah, KisaIta bromance. Somehow.
Now, a question: I mentioned last chapter that I update once a month (technically once every four weeks, but the former is easier to say). So… what's the point in telling me to update soon?
Next chapter is Kakuzu and Hidan. This chapter, even excluding both of the Author's Notes, broke six thousand words, which I consider a lot.