Disclaimer: All HP characters are the property of JKR, the WB, and respective publishing companies and all Naruto characters are the property of Masashi Kishimoto. This is nothing more than a simple FanFiction that I have written. I have made no money from this or any of the other stories I have posted on this or other sites.

Warnings: AU for parts of both worlds (i.e. kiss canon goodbye), mild character bashing, mild to moderate violence (there are shinobi involved after all), and a few others that will be announced as they crop up.

AN: This story is self-beta'd; so there may be occasional grammatical or spelling errors that crop up every now and then and for those I apologize in advance.

Chapter 39: Family Matters

Monday, January 05, 2004, Late Morning
Konohagakure no Sato, Hi no Kuni

Nineteen year old Uchiha Itachi stared at the spot where Namikaze Takeshi had been standing just seconds earlier before he blinked and shifted his gaze back to the Yondaime's shade that had remained behind.

"I'll come find you when I return, Itachi-kun; for now, I have to tagalong on a mission with my idiot itoko," Minato offered as he scowled off in the direction of the Namikaze Wheelhouse.

"Before you leave, will you answer one question?"

"If you make it quick; I'm limited in how far I can stray from my itoko's side due to the bond we share."

"Did you truly face Uchiha Madara on the night of the Kyuubi Attack?"

"Aa, I did. At least, the man I fought claimed to be Uchiha Madara and he did have a fully matured Sharingan. Whether it was really him or if it was just an imposter claiming to be him, I couldn't say. I do know that my itoko had been unable to call upon Madara's soul the few times that he tried; proof that Madara still walks amongst the living."

"I see," Itachi murmured as he felt a spike of unease fill him in response to that information; far too many people would be more than willing to use that knowledge against him and his Clan and he had no wish to see his family being shunned again when they'd only just managed to step out of the shadow of hate that had been aimed at them in the wake of the Kyuubi's Attack.

"You need not fear that my itoko will hold you and the other Uchiha responsible; he's not the kind of person to blame an entire family for the actions of a single person."

"Your cousin is but one man and he does not have enough political clout to protect the Uchiha Clan from the inevitable backlash that the news of Madara's involvement in what happened thirteen years ago will cause once word of his involvement gets out," Itachi matter-of-factly told the shade as he scanned the immediate area for anyone attempting to eavesdrop on their conversation. "Not even the Sandaime Hokage has the power to prevent the village as a whole from blaming the Uchiha once again."

"Maybe not; but you, as the Head of the Uchiha Clan, have the power to control how your Clan responds to the renewed suspicion and only you can decide if you're going to prove the people wrong by standing tall and showing them they have nothing to fear from your Clan or if you're going to break under the pressure and lead the Clan to destruction by following in your late father's footsteps."

Itachi minutely flinched in response to the shade's casual mention of the Uchiha Civil War (as it had been named in the Clan Archives) that had taken place during the Purge just a few years earlier. He still carried a considerable amount of guilt in his heart for the part he'd played in the deaths of more than half of his Clan when he'd led those Uchiha who were loyal to Konoha against those that were loyal only to themselves. And nothing could erase the pain he felt over the fact that he'd taken his father's life in order to end the conflict.

Pushing his greatest failure out of his mind (he had failed to talk sense into his father, after all), Itachi opened his mouth to respond to the Yondaime's shade only to close it once more when the shade spoke up once more.

"I hate to drop an exploding tag and leave but I need to go before I'm pulled away. I will seek you out when I return so that we might finish this discussion, Itachi-kun."

The shade vanished a moment later and Itachi was left alone outside of the bar he'd just kicked his fellow Clan Head out of not more than ten minutes earlier. After taking a moment to reorder his thoughts and regain control of his floundering emotions (not that anyone could tell that was what he was doing just by looking at him), Itachi resumed his assigned patrol through the Red Light District. He might be the Chief of Police and the Uchiha Clan Head but never let it be said that he shirked his duties to the people of Konoha; he'd been patrolling the streets for just over four years now.

The fact that personally taking one of the more troublesome patrols got him out of his stuffy office at the police station for three hours every morning and allowed him to spend three less hours per day dealing with the endless progression of paperwork that traveled across his desk was just a coincidence.

For once, his secret amusement over managing to escape his paperwork for a set time period on a daily basis was non-existent; he was far too concerned about the implications of the information that Namikaze and the Yondaime had given him and what that same information would mean for his still healing family. As he made the round of the open bars in search of potential troublemakers (usually in the form of villagers drowning their troubles or celebrating some windfall), Itachi couldn't help but poke and prod at the advice that Minato's shade had given him just before it had left.

The thing that bothered him the most was the fact that a man who'd been dead for close to nine year had known far too much information about what had happened to the Uchiha Clan long after his death. Did the dead truly know things that the living did not? Did the dead actually watch over the living from the Shinigami's Realm? Was his father watching over him even now? Were the shades of those Uchiha who had died during the Uchiha Civil War even now cursing him and his compatriots for 'unmaking' the Uchiha Clan?

Shaking his head, Itachi pushed all thoughts of his dead relatives and their opinions out of his mind to refocus on more important questions. Such as; did Minato specifically go looking for information on the Uchiha Clan after his ghost had returned to Konoha two years earlier? Had Namikaze Takeshi dug up that information and given it to the ghost for some nefarious purpose? Did Namikaze secretly wish to make the Uchiha suffer for the part his Clan had played in driving Naruto out of Konoha?

Or am I just seeing phantom kunai in the shadows of leaves? Itachi wondered to himself as he reached the end of his patrol route and took to the rooftops so he could stare out over the village. Had Namikaze purposefully lain in wait for me on my patrol route or was it just happenstance that he was there during the time I make my rounds?

Itachi wasn't really one to believe in coincidences but his conversation with Namikaze had not felt scripted. The man had also made no attempts to hide his emotions or reactions. Nor had he made any subtle or overt threats. In fact, the only thing he'd done was lay the blame of the Kyuubi's Attack at the feet of a single Uchiha. But to what purpose? What was it that Namikaze sought to gain by confirming the long-held rumor that it was an Uchiha that had unleashed the demon fox on Konoha?

Did he seek to undermine the Uchiha's current position? Did he think he could improve the Namikaze Clan's political power by destroying what little political power the Uchiha Clan had reclaimed over the past few years?

No. Itachi knew that wasn't it. If that had been Namikaze's goal, then he would have taken his little theory about Madara being behind the Kyuubi's Attack directly to the public instead of telling the one person who was in the best position to counter his theory. There was also the fact that Namikaze had been disdainful of the way that most of the villagers had blamed the Uchiha Clan as a whole for the Kyuubi's Attack. And while the disdain could have been manufactured, Itachi didn't think it had been; the man had been far too much of an open book to have prevaricated his reactions at the time.

No, there was something else going on here and Itachi didn't have any where near enough information to unravel the mystery just yet. If he wanted answers, he was going to have to do a little research in the Clan Archives while he waited for Namikaze and the Yondaime's shade to return from their mission. Once they did return, he'd have to swallow his pride and open up a line of communication between their clans and that meant that he was going to have to set foot in the Namikaze's domain. He'd have to dine at the Namikaze Wheelhouse.

Not that that would be all that much of a hardship; according to popular opinion, the food was excellent and the service above reproach.

He did not think it wise to go alone though. Oh, he wasn't worried that he would come to harm. He just didn't think it would send the right message if he showed up alone. He would just have to pick his companions carefully.

That Shisui would go with him was a given; his itoko had been lamenting for months that he didn't have a good enough excuse to just walk up to Namikaze and introduce himself. Nor did his cousin really know anyone that he could rope into getting him an introduction without it looking suspicious. There was also no doubt in his mind that he would be taking his mother. She would be most wroth with him if he excluded her. It would also reflect poorly on him as a Clan Head to meet with the Clan Head of another Clan without including his closest advisor, who just happened to be his mother.

At the same time, it would probably be best not to take Sasuke. His little brother had been more than a little upset when he'd learned that Naruto had earned his hitai-ate at eleven after the blond had technically skipped out on three years of lessons when he himself hadn't been allowed to graduate until after his twelfth birthday a year and a half ago. What Sasuke didn't understand was that the delay had been Itachi's doing and not the Hokage's or the Academy Instructor's doing. Itachi had wished for his precious brother to retain his innocence for a long as humanly possible.

The two boys also hadn't exactly been friends during the years they had attended the Academy together. There was also the fact that Sasuke was still nursing a misplaced grudge against the blond even though they hadn't interacted at all over the past three years. And the chances that Naruto would be present when Itachi and his companions turned up at the Wheelhouse were far too high; meaning there'd be a significant risk that Sasuke would pick a fight with the other boy at the first opportunity presented and that would not endear the Uchiha to the Namikaze.

He'd also be required to take at least one of the Clan's elders; choosing which one to take would be tricky though. It would be prudent for him to avoid taking any of those elders with unwed daughters of a marriageable age; Namikaze would not take kindly to any matchmaking attempts based on the rumors circulating about the man's love life (or lack thereof). There were even rumors that Naruto had targeted some of the more aggressive women seeking to claim his cousin's hand in an attempt to get their hands on the small clan's rumored wealth with his more humiliating pranks.

And no one was foolish enough to dismiss the threat of being pranked by a Namikaze or their teammates; Itachi had seen seasoned shinobi bawling like babies after they'd been hit by one of the milder pranks.

There was even a long-standing betting pool running at the Station as to how many times Mitarashi Anko would be hit with a Namikaze Prank before the kunoichi snapped and attempted to wipe the small clan off the face of the earth. There was another weekly pool that revolved around what kind of prank the Tokubetsu Jounin would be hit with next and whether or not she'd be picked up by ANBU for disturbing the peace yet again as a result of the prank. The last betting pool was for how many more pranks the woman would be hit with before the Hokage stepped in to end the feud.

Shisui won the weekly pool on an average of twice per month; which is how Itachi had learned about the betting pools in the first place.

Shaking his head, Itachi put all thoughts of pranks out of his mind and refocused his thoughts on more important matters as he began making his way back to the Konoha Military Police Headquarters so that he could write up a report on this morning's patrol before he tackled the rest of his paperwork for the day. By the time he reached Headquarters, Itachi had also determined which Uchiha Elder he would be taking with him to the Namikaze restaurant; Uruchi. Of course, if he asked Uruchi to accompany him to the Wheelhouse, then he would also have to invite her husband, Teyaki, but that was fine; the man was just as easy going as his wife.

His reason for choosing Uruchi and by extension her husband was the fact that the couple was amongst the most open minded of the remaining elders. They also had no unmarried children amongst the living and therefore wouldn't feel the need to do any matchmaking during the anticipated meeting with Namikaze Takeshi. There was also the fact that the elderly couple ran a small bakery within the clan compound called Uchiha Senbei and would therefore potentially benefit from sampling some of the exotic desserts that the Namikaze Wheelhouse sold.

Plans tentatively set for securing the information he needed, Itachi put all thoughts of Namikaze Takeshi and an undead Madara out of his mind as he sat down at his desk and focused on the large pile of paperwork that had grown while he had been out on patrol.

At the end of the day, Itachi left behind a much reduced pile of paperwork that he'd need to attend to first thing in the morning. The moment he exited Police Headquarters, his thoughts immediately returned to Namikaze, the Yondaime, and the worrisome information they'd given him regarding Madara. During the short walk between Headquarters and the Uchiha Compound, Itachi considered what little information he'd garnered from his contemporary and the ghost from every angle as a deepening frown spread across his face.

The one piece of information that disturbed him the most was the fact that the Yondaime had told him that it had been a 'masked' man claiming to be Uchiha Madara that had attacked him. An unknown masked man attacking the Yondaime bore far too many parallels with the way Itachi's original Genin Team had been attacked by a masked man during their mission to escort the Fire Daimyou to Konoha. Itachi had no memory of the man introducing himself but he did vaguely recall seeing a flash of Sharingan red through the only eye of the mask the man was wearing.

At the time, Itachi had just thought it had been a trick of the light and the fact that his own Sharingan had been newly awakened at the time but now he wasn't so sure.

Itachi needed more information to determine of both masked men were one in the same; information that he wouldn't be able to get until Namikaze returned from his mission. In the mean time, he thought it might be best to speak with his mother in order to get her opinion on what he'd just learned about the night the Kyuubi had attacked. He also needed to seek her advice on the best way to approach Namikaze once he returned as he belatedly recalled the way his encounter with the man had ended on a less than positive note; he was at least thankful that it hadn't ended on a hostile note.

Maybe it would help if he bought the man a bottle of sake?

The thought of gifting his fellow Clan Head with a bottle of alcohol brought to mind the way Namikaze had repeatedly claimed he wasn't drunk. No, he'd gone so far as to claim that he couldn't get drunk. Itachi could admit that the man had behaved far more coherently and moved far more steadily than anyone else he knew that had consumed even a quarter of the alcohol that Namikaze had purportedly drunk over the course of the morning. There had been twelve empty sake bottles lined up in front of the man.

So, why hadn't the man been drunk?

And why had the Yondaime's ghost been so horrified by the mere possibility of Namikaze being drunk?

It wasn't that Itachi didn't believe it was possible for a drunken shinobi to be a threat; he'd seen first hand the kind of damage a drunken shinobi could cause. Yet a single drunken shinobi was not exactly something to fear. Not unless you were a civilian incapable of defending yourself. And yet, the Yondaime's ghost had strongly implied that Namikaze getting drunk would be an unmitigated disaster. Why? What was it about Namikaze that could possible make a dead man fear what would happen if he should lose control while drunk?

The only possible answer that came to mind was the possibility that Namikaze was a natural Suiken user since it was common knowledge that the Namikaze Clan did not have a Kekkei Genkai.

Itachi shelved that rather intriguing mystery the moment he stepped through his front door.

He had more important things to focus on for the moment; such as greeting his moody little brother.

Thursday, January 08, 2004, Late Afternoon
Konohagakure no Sato, Hi no Kuni

After guiding their client to the market district, Team Yamato bid the merchant good day and headed to the Hokage's Tower to report the successful completion of their mission. As they reached the Hokage's Compound, Harry's mood soured when he caught a glimpse of the Shinobi Academy and was reminded of his son's desire to join said Academy so that he could be trained as a shinobi. Harry shot the building in question a dark look (as if to blame it for enticing his son away from the civilian lifestyle he'd been trying to steer his son down) before he abruptly turned away.

"Do I need to seek out Ibiki and warn him of your impending stupidity, itoko?" Minato inquired in a tone that was just a hair shy of scathing; the ghost was still upset over the fact that Harry had sought to drown his troubles in a bottle back on Monday morning.

"Don't you have an Uchiha to haunt, Minato?" Harry bluntly countered as he shot the dead blond an annoyed glare in response to his 'threat'.

Minato scowled at him in return for nearly a full minute before he disappeared. Harry nearly sighed in relief. The shade had been a right pain in the metaphorical arse throughout the entire mission as he constantly wavered between giving Harry the silent treatment and nattering Harry's ear off with endless lectures on responsibility. Harry normally didn't mind Minato's ghost hanging around but the spirit could be a right pain when the mood struck him and for some reason the idea of Harry trying to get drunk had pissed the dead man off.

Harry suspected Minato was actually scared that Harry getting drunk would see him unleashing the Kyuubi on Konoha.

That wasn't about to happen though. As a high level mage, the amount of free flowing magic in his veins had made it exceedingly difficult to get drunk due to how quickly his magic filtered the alcohol out of his bloodstream. Since he'd had half of the Kyuubi shoved inside of him, his magic driven high tolerance for alcohol had essentially been converted into an immunity to alcohol (and most poisons). That was because the Kyuubi's chakra circulating through his system treated alcohol like a poison and therefore filtered the stuff out of his blood without so much as a by-your-leave.

It wasn't a situation that many magicals needed to worry about since so few magicals actually reached mage level. Nor did many ever have chakra monsters shoved into their guts.

Harry normally wasn't bothered by the fact that he was incapable of getting drunk; it wasn't like he'd ever been much of a drinker in the first place. It was just annoying that he couldn't turn his artificial immunity off on the rare occasions when he actually wanted to be drunk. Though, he logically knew that it was probably a good thing that he couldn't get drunk considering how destructive he could be if he lost control of his magic. That wasn't even touching on his more destructive shinobi skills.

Like it or not, Harry was a far more dangerous weapon now than he had been when he'd faced Voldemort.

At the same time, Harry was in far more control of himself (most especially of his emotions) than he had been back when he'd faced Voldemort. He'd also thought himself to have grown more levelheaded since the Battle of Hogwarts but apparently he was still very much a reactionary type guy when it came to any perceived threats to his family. And while Teddy's desire to be a shinobi wasn't a threat, per se, that didn't make his son's newfound aspiration any more palatable to the green-eyed Chuunin.

As they reached the Hokage's office, Harry shelved his inner turmoil and buried his irritated frustration over Teddy's newfound desire to follow in his footsteps. He then spent the entirety of their debriefing scowling at the floor in order to avoid making eye contact with the Hokage lest he snap and snarl at the Sandaime for no reason. The moment they were dismissed, Harry was the first one out the door in order to reduce the chances that the Hokage might hold him back to either address his current moodiness or take him to task if he'd heard about his lapse in judgment on Monday.

His already bad mood would plummet further when he found himself face to face with Ibiki the moment he exited the Hokage's Tower and he snarled out an annoyed, "I swear to Merlin, if he wasn't already dead, I'd kill Minato for being so damn anal retentive about my one and only attempt to get drunk since having the damn furball stuffed inside of me."

Ibiki arched his eyebrow and gave him a funny look in response to both his use of English and the obvious irritation that had been in his voice before he turned away from Harry to address the Jounin behind him, "Yamato, due to a few last minute scheduling changes and the sheer number of Genin Teams that have confirmed their entries, I'm stealing all three of your subordinates for the duration of the Chuunin Exams."

"Sweet; it's always fun to torment a bunch of overconfident Genin," Kotetsu crowed while Harry was trying to process the fact that it apparently hadn't been his dead cousin who'd sicced Ibiki on him.

"When did you want them?" Yamato inquired and Harry half frowned in response to the fact that their teichou hadn't even made a token protest about the other man laying claim to the three of them for an entire month.

"Now; unless you have any objections?"

"I have no objections; though, they might – we did just come off an escort mission."

All four older men immediately turned to Harry and the wizard twitched in irritation over the fact that they all expected him to be the one to object to being dragged off for more work right after they'd barely just returned to the village. Under normal circumstances, Harry probably would be upset but he wasn't yet ready to face his son since he had no desire to be pestered by Teddy over the matter of his enrollment in the Shinobi Academy when he hadn't yet come to grips with his son's interest in becoming a shinobi. Harry shot them an unimpressed look in return before he strode away from them.

Ibiki fell into step beside him a split second later while Kotetsu and Izumo scrambled after them and Yamato Shunshined out of the courtyard without a word. As they exited the Hokage's Compound and headed in the direction of the T and I Facility, Harry studiously ignored the sidelong glances that Ibiki kept sending his way. He also ignored the commentary from the peanut gallery behind him; if only because he had no interest in just how many active betting pools there were about his current love life.

Bad enough Lee and the twins had run multiple ones throughout his Hogwarts career.

"How long do you intend to give me the silent treatment for tapping your team for the Exams?" Ibiki inquired when they were roughly halfway to their destination and Harry just shrugged in reply; he wasn't ready to explain that his moodiness had nothing to do with Ibiki conscripting them for the Chuunin Exams. Ibiki let out an exasperated huff in response to the non-answer before he stated, "You do know that your duties as one of the Chuunin Proctors for the Exams will leave you with plenty of time to spend with your family, ne? I won't even need to keep you for more than a few hours tonight."

Harry wasn't certain whether he wanted to scowl or wince in response to Ibiki assertions and the only real thought going through his mind right that second was the fact that he'd just lost the only valid excuse he had for why he couldn't spend the evening with the rest of the family. He was so busy brooding over the limited options of other legitimate reasons to avoid the family apartments above the Wheelhouse that he completely missed the sharp frown that Ibiki sent him in response to his non-reaction to the man's statement.

The twenty-three year old would remain wrapped up in his brooding right up until the moment they reached the T and I Facility when he gave Ibiki his complete attention as the man sat them down and went over the procedures they would need to follow for the duration of the Chuunin Exams and exactly what their duties would involve. The three Chuunin were also each issued a set of the Intelligence Department's (of which the T and I Department was a sub-department) charcoal gray uniforms to wear while they were on duty of the duration of the Exams.

The entire process took less than two hours and it only took that long because Harry had not participated in a previous Chuunin Exam (either as a participant or as a proctor) and therefore needed far more information than Kotetsu and Izumo had since this would be their third time proctoring an exam. As soon as Ibiki had finished giving his little lecture the three of them were turned loose and Harry's thoughts immediately returned to his personal dilemma involving his son's desire to be a shinobi as he silently trailed after his teammates.

"Namikaze, don't go anywhere just yet," Ibiki instructed before Harry could take more than half a dozen steps towards the doorway to the man's office. "I've a bone to pick with you before you leave."

"Look, if this is about my supposed disruptive presence in the red light district back on the morning of the fifth, then whatever you were told was a crock of shite; I didn't do anything outside of waste my money on a bit of cheap sake in a failed attempt to get drunk. I realize that Uchiha-san thought he was just doing his job but I didn't destroy any property, I didn't assault anyone, and I didn't even get a brief buzz from the alcohol. And quite frankly, I'm getting a little sick and tired of people harping on me about the entire thing when it's physically impossible for me to get drunk."

The silence that fell in the wake of Harry's little rant was so complete that you could have heard a cricket chirping from a mile away. Izumo and Kotetsu paused in the doorway to glance back at Harry for a second in response to the obvious anger in Harry's voice before they promptly vanished without another word out of a sense of self-preservation. Harry didn't notice his teammates' departure; he was far too busy glowering at Ibiki who in turn leveled an unimpressed look at Harry in response to the shinobi mage snapping at him.

After another minute had passed, Ibiki drawled, "No, as a matter of fact, I had no plans to speak with you about anything that took place on the fifth. Until now, I hadn't even known that there had been a problem on the fifth. But since you brought it up and it's obviously bothering you enough to snap at me about it out of the blue; why don't you explain exactly what happened on the fifth. You can start with what it was that drove you, of all people, to attempt to get drunk."

"Sonofabitch," Harry hissed under his breath in English as he reached up to pinch his nose when he realized that he'd just told Ibiki there was a problem because he'd once again been unable to maintain control of his temper.

Of course, what he failed to realize was that Ibiki had already known there was a problem before he'd opened his mouth simply because Harry had regressed back to the moody, angst filled young man he'd been when he'd first arrived in Konoha. The sound of a door snapping shut behind him and the nudge of a chair knocking into the back of his knees informed him that he wasn't going to get out of having this conversation now instead of on the last Friday of the month during his end of the month appointment with Ibiki.

"The longer you keep stalling, the longer it will be until I let you go and we both know that the last thing you want to do is waste time here with me when you could be home spoiling those gaki of yours," Ibiki drawled as he sat back down behind his desk.

Letting out a derisive snort since avoiding home was exactly what he wanted, Harry unthinkingly retorted, "I've got all night; hell, I've got all week."

"Are you telling me that you're a Kage Bunshin?"

"No, I have no active clones."

"Then why are you so willing to waste your time…?" Ibiki started to ask before he cut himself off and narrowed his eyes at Harry. After a few seconds, he then stated, "You're avoiding someone. And that someone is part of your family. Is this about Naruto and his teammates being entered in the Chuunin Exams this time around?"

"No, it has nothing to do with Naruto and my oldest wards being nominated for the Exams. Nor does it have anything to do with my youngest wards starting classes at the Academy."

"Then who or what is it you're trying to avoid?"

"Can this discussion wait until after the Exams? Or can we at least put it off until our meeting at the end of the month?"

"Normally, I'd agree and allow you to take the time you need and want to get a handle on yourself but it's quite obvious that whatever it is that's bothering you is significant enough that you're regressing and I know I don't need to tell you that your issue coming to a head during the Exams because you've been bottling things up again isn't going to reflect well on you, your clan, or the village."

Harry let out an angry huff because he knew Ibiki was right, dropped back into the chair that Ibiki had shoved up behind him, and reached up to scrub at his face to buy himself a few extra seconds in which to regain control of himself. He then straightened up his glasses, dropped his hands into his lap, and lifted his head so that he could meet Ibiki's gaze before he dully stated, "My son wishes to join the Shinobi Academy."

Ibiki froze for several seconds before he narrowed his eyes again and said, "You don't want him to be a shinobi."

"No, I don't."

"You don't want him to become a child soldier, like you; like Naruto and your wards."

"Chigau, that has nothing to do with why I don't want him to join the Academy. It was the reason why I'd originally selected a civilian preschool without any ties to the Shinobi Academy for him to attend though. I've long since come to terms with the child soldier aspect of this society though because I've seen how much of a benefit it can be. If I hadn't, I never would have agreed to sponsor the four children from Nami at the Academy."

"If that's the case, then why does it bother you so much that Satoshi-kun wishes to follow in your footsteps?"

"The moment I enroll him in the Shinobi Academy, I will have robbed him of his heritage because he will never be able to attend the school that our parents, grandparents, and I attended. And before you even ask; no, I can't send him to that school before he goes to the Academy because he'll be too young and he won't be able to go after he graduates from the Academy because the Hokage isn't going to allow one of his shinobi to disappear for seven years just so he can complete an alternate education."

"Even if your son changes his mind and does not attend the Shinobi Academy, you do know that the Hokage isn't going to be happy if you wish to disappear for seven years just so your son can attend that school, ne?" Ibiki pointed out in a cautious tone.

"That wouldn't have been an issue; I still have friends on the outside who are more than willing to take my son in for the duration of his education. I'd made arrangements with them to do just that long before we set foot in the Elemental Nations because I'd known going in that once I accepted a hitai-ate, my freedom would be limited; just no where near as limited as they would've been as a mere civilian or a businessman."

"Aside from the tradition aspect of your family attending the school you mentioned; why is it so important for your son to attend that particular school?"

Harry hesitated for a split second before he replied, "That school is where we are taught how to use our Kekkei Genkai and it takes the full seven years for us to learn proper control as well as teach us which aspects of our Kekkei Genkai we are more suited towards since each person born with our ability is born with different affinities and strengths. I can teach my son the basics and I know the exercises he needs to practice to control the gift he inherited from his mother but I can't teach him those aspects that I'm not proficient in."

"Is there any particular reason why you couldn't just call on the shades of the dead to teach him those aspects you have little to no knowledge about? I know you still call on the shades of deceased shinobi for your shinobi training; so why not do the same thing for your son to teach him about his Kekkei Genkai?"

"Yeah, I could call on the dead to help teach him but his education and training is only a small part of the issue; it's the fact that I'd be denying him his heritage and a chance to experience the wonders that that society holds – including a chance to get to know the children of my old friends. It's also possible that the Ministry would deny him his inheritance if he does not attend that school. Not that I'd sit back and just allow the Ministry steal what rightfully belongs to my son but I'd rather avoid the hassle of a huge political battle entirely."

Ibiki grunted an acknowledgement before he shifted tracks slightly and asked, "You tend to frequently consult the dead on important matters before you make any decisions; what have the shades of your son's birth parents said about their son's decision to potentially forsake his heritage in favor of following in your footsteps?"

"I haven't called on them; my team only just returned to Konoha about two hours before you waylaid us on our way out of the Hokage's Tower and I've not yet set foot on any Namikaze property since I've been back. So, I haven't even had a chance to call on them yet. Not that I plan to call them any time soon in any case; my yearly quota of bitching ghost has been filled for the next twenty years courtesy of Minato-baka."

"It's not like you to insult Minato's ghost; what has he said that's upset you so much?"

"He's being anal retentive about my failed attempt to get drunk and he spent the last three days bitching at me almost non-stop when he wasn't giving me the cold shoulder. As bad as that was, I really didn't appreciate his little threat that he was going to run to you and tattle on me because he thinks I'm being 'irresponsible' and will get myself in trouble."

"You thought he'd carried out that 'threat' when you first saw me this afternoon; that's why you were so upset when you saw me outside of the Hokage's Tower," Ibiki correctly deduced as he leaned back in his chair. "It was also why you'd snapped at me after I'd asked you stay behind so I could talk to you about why you'd spent the entire orientation silently glowering at me."

Harry didn't bother confirming or denying the truth of the man's theory; they both knew he was right. Ibiki didn't seem bothered by his lack of response; the man just nodded to himself before he asked his next question.

"Were those the only reasons why you're upset about your son's desire to join the Academy?"

"No, I'm also more than a little upset by the fact that allowing Satoshi to attend the Academy will force me to give the Hokage something I never wanted him to have but he's been after me to give him since the day our family returned to Konoha; full disclosure on the nature and abilities of our Kekkei Genkai."

Once again Ibiki froze in response to Harry's answer; though this time it was quite obvious to the wizard that the man had been shocked by Harry's revelation as the Tokubetsu Jounin was practically gaping at Harry. It took nearly a full minute for Ibiki to shake off his shock and once he did, the frown on his face became more pronounced as he drummed his fingers on the desk while he analyzed Harry's words.

"Why would your son's hypothetical attendance at the Academy force you to give the Hokage full disclosure?" Ibiki demanded after he'd finished analyzing Harry's answer.

"Because if I don't give him full disclosure and Satoshi loses control during his lessons, then it would create a much larger headache and potentially turn the village or the clans against our family."

"Shouldn't you have given the Hokage full disclosure when you enrolled him in preschool then?"

"No, so long as Satoshi remained on the civilian side, then there was no reason for me to say anything. It helped that Eri was present to smooth over any incidents that cropped up but she can't follow him to the Shinobi Academy because she's a civilian. Even if she could, she wouldn't want to because it would mean leaving her daughter all alone at the preschool and that's not something I'd ever ask her to do."

"When do you plan to speak to the Hokage?"

"Not until after the Chuunin Exams are over; I'm going to need that time to organize all of the information that I'll need to share with him and plan out the demonstrations that he'll undoubtedly want to see."

"Do you intend to restrict that information to just the Hokage personally or are you going to share it with the rest of the small council he brought together to hear the information you had divulged as part of the payment agreement you made with him regarding the two abandoned estates that you purchased?"

"There's a very short list of people that I'll allow to be present during that meeting; and yes, you're one of them as are Shikaku, Tsunade, Jiraiya, Kasai, and the current head of the Shinobi Academy. No one else needs to know a damned thing more about our Kekkei Genkai then they already do. Though, I'll probably tell my teammates and my girlfriend in private after I speak with the Hokage."

"I can see the logic for including myself, Shikaku, Kasai, and the Headmaster of the Academy; but why include Tsunade and Jiraiya?"

"Tsunade is mine and my son's personal medic and Jiraiya intends to teach me how to draw on the Kyuubi's chakra. The two of them would also bitch at me for a month straight if I excluded them from that meeting."

Ibiki let out a soft snort of amusement in response to Harry's accurate assessment of how the two loyal members of the Sannin would react if they were excluded from the discussion on his magic. The man then shook his head and brought their conversation back around to the original topic, "How long have you known that it wasn't possible for you to get drunk?"

"I've known that I had a high tolerance for alcohol since my sixteenth birthday when a couple of my friends had spike my drinks with enough alcohol to make an adult more than a little tipsy and it took two glances before I got a mild buzz that lasted less than ten minutes. I didn't gain complete immunity to alcohol until after the furball was stuff into my gut though and I didn't discover that until Arata and Eri's wedding when I ended up drinking an entire bottle of champagne all by myself and never even got a buzz from it."

"Then why did you choose to make a fruitless attempt to get drunk once Satoshi-kun had informed you of his desire to join the Academy?"

"I was desperate for a distraction and had forgotten that Yamato had picked up a mission for our team. I also figured that making an attempt to drown my frustration was far better than leveling the Academy or a training ground in my anger."

"And the reason the KMPF approached you?"

"Apparently, I'd chosen the wrong dive to not get drunk in because the bartender working that morning called Uchiha Itachi in to kick me out after I'd finished off my twelfth bottle of sake. Uchiha-san was nice about it until he grew upset with the direction our conversation took and got all defensive. I left, or tried to leave, but Uchiha-san chased me down to demand answers that I didn't have. I pointed him in Minato's direction. Their conversation was then interrupted when Yamato's clone found me and reminded me of the mission I was supposed to be on, so Minato and I left."

"What was your conversation with Itachi about?"

"Uchiha-san's cousin, pranks, the Uchiha Clan's treatment of Naruto during his younger years, the mob mentality of sheep, and the fact that it was an Uchiha that had attacked Minato the night of the Kyuubi's attack on Konoha."

"How do you know it was an Uchiha that attacked Minato that night?"

"Minato told me it was an Uchiha that had attacked him and I'm fairly certain that Minato is familiar enough with that clan to recognize their doujutsu when he sees it. If you want specifics, you'll have to wait until Minato is finished being interrogated by Uchiha Itachi because I sent the baka off to haunt the Uchiha as soon as our mission was over."

"Do you know the given name of the Uchiha that Minato purportedly faced that night?"

"Madara. Uchiha Madara. And before you ask, I know for a fact that Madara isn't dead because I wasn't able to summon his soul the two times I tried and the only reason a soul wouldn't answer my summons is if the person I was trying to call on was still alive. If the person's soul had been devoured by the shinigami as Minato's soul had been, then the shinigami would have appeared the moment I attempted to summon that person's soul."

"Will you let Minato know that I'd like to speak with him about that night when the Uchiha are done with him?"

"Yeah, I can do that."

"Arigatou," Ibiki offered with a nod of appreciation. He then asked, "Is there anything else I need to know regarding the incident on the fifth?"

"Not that I can think of off the top of my head."

"Then I'll let you go and we can revisit this conversation when you come see me at the end of the month. I will also be watching your behavior over the course of the Chuunin Exams and won't hesitate to toss your ass in one of my cells for the remainder of the Exams if you take your frustration out on any of the participants while you're on duty."

"Wakatta, Ibiki-san," Harry tersely replied as he climbed to his feet; the young mage displeased with Ibiki's threat but old enough and mature enough to know that the man was just doing his job. When he reached the door, Harry placed his hand on the door handle before he glanced over his shoulder and stated, "I trust you'll be giving Anko the same warning regarding the participants? Because I will be most displeased if she intentionally fails Naruto, Housei, or Midori without a legitimate reason just because she doesn't like me or my cousin."

"I will personally see to it that she's on her best behavior during the second task of the Exam."

"Thank you, Ibiki-san; I appreciate your help with that matter. I'll be sure to remind Naruto to be on his best behavior as well to avoid any embarrassing incidents."

Harry left Ibiki's office just two seconds later and made his way out of the building where the T and I Facility was housed. As soon as he existed the building, he unexpectedly found himself face to face with his girlfriend.

"Izumo and Kotetsu told me that you could use a distraction for the night," Yuugao announced in lieu of a greeting.

"Remind me to prank them for being busybodies later," Harry drawled around a huff of annoyance. "Though I can't say they were wrong; I do need a distraction. You feel up to a kenjutsu spar?"

"Not exactly the kind of distraction I had in mind but sure, I'm game for a little swordplay."

"I'll be more willing to let you distract me properly once I've burned the edge off of my frustration."

"I'll hold you to that."

"I have no problems with you holding me," Harry quipped in return as he felt his mood lighten just a little at the prospect of spending an evening with his girlfriend; he'd feel guilty as hell about avoiding the kids when he wasn't so upset about Teddy's desire to join the Academy later though.

Yuugao's laughter was music to Harry's ear and a small smile graced his lips for the first time in over three days as the two of them headed to Training Ground Sixteen arm in arm.

Translations: Japanese to English

Arigatou – thank you
Chigau – can be used to mean wrong, no, or to differ
Itoko – cousin
KMPF – Konoha Military Police Force
Ne – used to solicit agreement or confirmation from the listener similar to using 'isn't it?' or 'right?' in English
Teichou – captain
Wakatta – I understand


Kage Bunshin – Shadow Clone
Suiken – Drunken Fist Taijutsu Style

AN: Finally! This chapter was nothing but a pain to get done. If it wasn't Itachi being stubborn, it was Harry being all angsty; and I even toned down the angst on two separate occasions! The conversation with Ibiki at the end of the chapter was rather tricky to get where I wanted it to go without being overly wordy and covering things that have already been discussed to death too.

In any case, there are going to be between one and four more chapters in this arc before we actually get to the Chuunin Exams but I needed to bring in the Uchiha since I'd mostly neglected them in this story bar the one section where Shisui stole nearly an entire chapter. So, you can expect to see more Itachi and Shisui in the next couple of chapters along with Mikoto and the Uchiha Couple that run the senbei stand. Sasuke won't make an appearance until closer to the end of this arc but he does have a larger part to play in the Chuunin Exams; so, there's that.

Anyway, not sure when the next chapter will be out as I'm trying to get the next chapter of Magic Online finished up and then I want to update some of my other WIPs that haven't been updated in over a year. As usual, progress on all of my stories will be posted on my author's page or I have a monthly progress report over on that site where fans can patronize their favorite artists, authors, and whatnot.

The last thing I need to do before I leave is to thank all of the fans of this story for their patience and hope that you enjoyed the chapter! ~ Jenn