The fifteenth house he'd visited in the Uchiha district was now disturbingly quiet. He'd just disposed of twenty-nine-year-old Uncle Haru, his three three-year-old cousin and birthday boy Shin, and their party guests. At least a dozen dead parents and childrens' bodies were now dead or dying, scattered between the foyer, the hallway, and the dining room.
Seven-year-old Hanako cowered in the futon closet, shaking, terrified, clutched in her mother's embrace as Shisui walked in, stepping around hastily tipped over furniture to reach them.
"Shisui-san, no, please! Please, spare my daughter!" Aunt Hana begged, turning to look at him with a newly awakened sharingan in her eyes. "You can kill me if you want. I don't care! But please spare my daughter! I'll do anything you want!"
The glasses on her Hana's face told him everything he needed to know. Hana wasn't a ninja. Either she was born with poor eyesight or she had caught a fever as a small child that damaged her eyes. Either way, under Lord Fugaku no Uchiha would have been allowed to join the Academy needing glasses.
He silenced her quickly with a single strike. His little cousin, Hanako, screamed, still trapped in her mother's arms as she bled out, staring in disbelief at her mother with newly activated sharingan eyes. Another swing of his sword and Hanako was dead, too.
I'm sorry, everyone. It has to be done. There's no other way.
It had been easy, at first, to just act like it was another mission. Just a bunch of Kiri ninja to kill. But with every innocent aunt, uncle, and cousin he had to kill it got harder and harder to keep his mask up.
This is the right path. Its either the Uchiha clan or the village.
Footsteps running in behind him, way too noisy with inexperience to be adults. Genin, four of them.
Expertly dodging and blocking kunai and short swords from four Uchiha genin that had tried to ambush him, he hurried and made quick work of cutting them down.
This is right. There's no other way.
"Up! Get up!"
Ten year old Shisui awoke with a start, half asleep and disturbed by the dream but driven to alertness at the sound of Aunt Petunia's impatient rapping on his pantry bedroom door.
"Get up, now!" He heard the lock click and with another final knock to the door, his aunt let up and went back into the kitchen. She slammed the door shut behind her, frustrated and hurried about something this morning. Perhaps it was because she had to interact with him and acknowledge his existence in the household on something as special as her only son's eleventh birthday. His relatives treated him little better than an unwanted pet dog and he was a moral obligation to them and nothing else. He heard the sounds of her taking out some frying pans and putting them on the stove and opening up the fridge to pull things out.
A moment later, his aunt was back at the door, rapping on it impatiently. "Are you up yet?"
"Nearly!" he called, getting up and slipping on his glasses.
"Lazy bum." He heard his aunt mutter to herself as she walked away back to the kitchen. "He's no better than his father!"
He combed his hair and put on the first thing he found in the stacks of clean clothes on the pantry shelf.
"Took you long enough." His Aunt snapped as he walked into the kitchen.
She motioned to the frying pans of bacon and scrambled eggs on the stove. "Watch the bacon and eggs for me, will you? And try not to burn anything!"
Dudley wasn't up yet, so his aunt left him with the food to go upstairs and wake him up.
He never did burn anything, just like he'd never once blown anything up let alone their house, but there was no convincing her. He still remembered how to cook, even if the food was different from what he remembered. Learning to cook had come with the job of being his elderly, disabled grandfather's caretaker and the sole breadwinner between them after his parents died in the Third War.
Minutes later, his aunt and cousin came back in together. His aunt was covering her son's eyes, her face all lit up with excitement to see his reaction to her birthday decorations..
"Happy birthday, darling!" His Aunt Petunia exclaimed, swelling with pride and moving her hands away from his eyes so he could see the kitchen table.
His aunt had gone all out decorating for Dudley's birthday today. A Happy Birthday banner hung on the wall and balloons and ribbons were stuck to the ceiling fan above the table, and his Aunt's usual generic birthday themed table cover replaced her usual rose themed one. The table was nearly covered in Dudley's presents, with barely any room left to eat. Some had been placed on the floor beside Dudley's new racing bike to make room for breakfast.
"Good morning, Pet. Happy birthday, son!" Uncle Vernon said as he entered the kitchen, right on time as he was setting the plates of toast, eggs and bacon on the table and his jar of jam. "Comb your hair, boy!"
Dudley was sitting at the table, a look of serious concentration on his face as he counted his presents while his mother put food on his plate for him. His face fell.
"Thirty-six." He said, looking up at his mum and dad with a look of disappointment and frustration. "That's less than last year! Last year I had thirty-seven!"
Uncle Vernon chuckled at Dudley's yelling. "Well, son, some of them are quite a bit bigger than last year!"
And they were. This year, it looked like he got a second television with a built in VHS tape slot and the new computer he'd been begging for that could handle all the computer games he loved to play without hanging up.
While nobody was paying attention, Shisui took the opportunity and speared a few slices of bacon to add to his plate.
"I don't care how big they are!" Dudley bellowed, standing to yell at his parents, his fists clenched in anger. Shisui watched him carefully as he ate.
"Darling, you forgot the one from Aunt Marge under the big one from mummy and daddy." His Aunt said, a note of desperation in her voice as she poured her son a glass of orange juice. He'd turned the table over, broken plates, and hit her before.
Dudley went red in the face, embarrassed and angry about it. "Thirty-seven, then." He groused.
Shisui hurried to wolf down his toast with jam and the extra slices of bacon before his entitled little cousin threw a temper tantrum.
His Aunt sensed danger, too. "How about this, dear? We'll buy you two new presents when we go out today. Two new presents! 39 presents. How's that? Is that alright, pumpkin?"
"Oh." Dudley said, sitting down heavily. "Alright then."
His Aunt visibly relaxed, all the nervous tension leaving her shoulders as her son started eating and she finally sat down, herself.
Uncle Vernon chuckled. "Little tyke wants his money's worth, just like his father! Atta boy, Dudley!" he said, ruffling his son's blonde hair. "See, Pet? No harm done!"
It was a never-ending battle. Uncle Vernon didn't see Dudley's temper as a bad thing. In fact, unless Dudley purposely sicked up all over the carpet, he praised his son for going out there and being a man and taking what he wanted. He'd grow out of it, he insisted.
Shisui was already done, so he got up and started doing the dishes, and just as he'd finished up and was cleaning the counters the telephone rang. His aunt got up from the table to answer it.
"Hello, Petunia Dursley speaking?" his aunt said. "What?!"
Her cry of indignance got his attention.
"Yes, of course Mrs. Figg. I understand. No, not at all, don't worry. You get better, alright? Let us know if you need anything, we can send the boy over to help. Yes, yes. Have a good afternoon, goodbye Mrs. Figg."
Vernon looked at his wife expectantly, still shoveling second helpings into his mouth. "Bad news, Vernon. Arabella broke her leg and she can't take him."
Dudley's mouth fell open in horror.
"Now what?" His aunt looked at him, furious, as if he'd plotted it all himself and put her in a genjutsu himself. Too angry to finish eating, she put her plate on the counter for him to wash.
"I suppose we could ask Marge to take him…." Vernon suggested.
"Don't be silly, Vernon. She hates the boy. She'll never agree to it."
"What about that friend of yours, Yvonne? Dudley's friend's mum?"
"She's on vacation." Petunia snapped. "Left last week with her family on a cruise."
"You could leave me here?" he suggested. "Give me a list of chores to work on while your gone. I can have the house spotless in time for the party tonight."
"And return to find the house in ruins?!" his aunt growled. "Never. You are not to be trusted alone, unattended, without supervision in my house."
Moments of tense silence, before his aunt spoke up hesitantly. "I suppose we could take him with us and just leave him in the car?"
"That car's new! He's not sitting in it alone. We'll just have to take him in with us."
His aunt looked horrified at the suggestion. "Vernon!"
"Its better than paying for a babysitter and risking the whole neighborhood finding out about his freakish abnormality. Its safer to just take him with us." Vernon spoke with a note of finality that everyone knew not to argue with.
Nearly forgotten in the discussion, Dudley started sniffling and fake crying. "B-But I do-don't want h-him to g-go! He alw-always ruins ev-everything!"
"Don't worry, Duddykins, Mummy won't let him ruin your special day!" his aunt replied, flinging her arms around him and talking to him like he was a small child and not an eleven-year-old boy. It was no wonder the crying act worked every single time.
The doorbell rang and at once, Dudley stopped crying and his father actually looked on at his son with pride as his wife rushed to get the door.
"Good morning, Patricia! Do come in. Hello, Piers! It's so good to see you. Dudley's in the kitchen."
Within an hour, all five of them had paid their fees and were walking into the London Zoo. Dudley and Piers were both licking chocolate ice cream cones and Shisui himself a lemon ice pop, if only because the vendor had asked what he wanted as well. The trip was a good idea, in theory. However, neither Dudley nor Piers were particularly fond of animals and they quickly grew bored with the exhibits.
"This is so boring." Piers complained. "I'm tired of looking at monkeys and tigers and lions that do nothing but sit and nap!"
"Mum, why'd we have to come here?" Dudley whined. "Why couldn't you have taken us to the amusement park? Or the arcade?"
They stopped for lunch at a café at the zoo to shut the boys up. For once, Dudley didn't throw a single tantrum. He didn't want to look bad in front of his friend, especially on his birthday. Its not every day you turn eleven, after all.
After watching Dudley and Piers eat their knickerbocker glories, shooting him gloating looks every few bites, his aunt and uncle took them to the reptile house. It was an inside exhibit, so it was a lot cooler in here than it was outside.
"Piers, look! This one's huge!" Dudley exclaimed, running over to the biggest snake in the reptile house, a Burmese Python.
"Woah! Its so huge I bet it could crush your dad's car!"
The snake opened its beady yellow eyes and considered the two preteen boys pressing their faces up against the glass for a moment before dismissing them and going back to sleep.
"Aw. Why won't it do anything? Dad, make it move!" Dudley demanded.
Uncle Vernon tapped the glass with his knuckles, but the snake snoozed on.
"Try it again, Mr. Dursley." Piers asked impatiently.
Uncle Vernon tried again, rapping the glass with his knuckles smartly, but the python just ignored them.
"This is so boring!" Dudley sighed, shuffling away to look at the tarantulas a shuriken throw away.
Shisui gave the snake an apologetic look. "They're so rude. Sorry about them."
For the first time in his new life, a feeling of cold shock settled in his very bones as he heard not words but a strange, unfamiliar hissing issue forth from his own mouth. What did I just do?
The snake opened its eyes at once, regarding him with a look of surprise and respect before it flicked it's tongue out at him, curious. It was strange. He'd never bothered with snakes before, but somehow he could read its body language like it were human.
A hatchling…a ssssspeaker!
He heard hissing, but inexplicably he understood what it said clear as day.
His eyes widened in shock. I can talk to a snake and it can talk back!
His family noticed what was going on, too, he could tell that much without turning around to look at them. They'd stopped walking away to the tarantulas. He could feel eyes boring into the back of his head and he heard the sudden, immediate silence as they all stared at him interacting with the snake.
An idea occurred to him, and he grinned at the snake. I could have a summoning contract with snakes! Hell, I could be the next snake sannin if I tried.
Glancing at his relatives out of the corner of his eyes, he caught sight of his relatives' and the boy's looks of horror and exasperation. Better wrap this up.
"Hey, thanks for talking with me! This is so cool!" He hadn't felt this alive in a long time.
Of courssssse masssster ssssspeaker.
His aunt gave him a warning look that promised a lecture later before ushering the two bewildered preteens away to the tarantulas. "Come on, now, boys. Harry's just pulling a prank."
Uncle Vernon marched over to him, his face quickly turning purple with suppressed rage. "I warned you, boy, no funny business. We will deal with this when we get home. Now come."
He nodded and pulled a sheepish face. "Yes, sir. I'm sorry Uncle Vernon."
It would be his longest grounding to his cupboard yet – two weeks straight in the cupboard. He was let out only in the morning and evening to go to the bathroom, and he was fed small meals on a small plate three times a day through the cat-flap on his cupboard door.
If anyone asked, the cupboard was their shy, skittish cat's favorite hiding place. Her food and water and litterbox and bed were all in here so she could run and hide whenever visitors came over. They didn't have a cat. They also told everyone that Dudley's second bedroom belonged to Harry and they kept it locked whenever Dudley's friends came over to keep the guise up. No one except Aunt Marge knew he slept in the cupboard under the stairs. It was a very strict family secret, out of fear that if anyone found out Child Services would be called and Dudley would be taken away.
I had a hard time getting through this chapter because I found it incredibly dull and repetitive to write. But at the same time, I know the zoo scene was important to the books and movies because it revealed that Harry could speak Parseltongue. This is a point I wanted to make clear here, as well. I'm too tired to write more tonight, but I'll start tomorrow. Shisui gets his Hogwarts letter next. As much as I like character developing behind the scenes type of chapters, that really isn't important for the Dursley family and that's something I'm trying to remember this time around.