A/N: Hello, this is a little something I've been working on and have been on the fence about uploading; but finally decided to do so after asking a good friend to read it for me - she seemed to enjoy it. I would very much appreciate it if you could leave some feedback for me. I hope you guys enjoy reading this chapter, thank you for taking time to read this.
Summary: After spending his whole life under the strict rule of Birkenhead Orphanage, Naruto is is visited by a mysterious man who offers the young boy a new life at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Rated T for later use of language.
Naruto opened his eyes a fraction; only to quickly shut them tightly against the sunlight that was filtered through the tattered curtains. He turned his back on the source of the light and pulled his thin, single duvet over his head with a groan.
"Naruto?" A woman's quiet, timid voice reached his ears; her voice was muffled even more by the duvet. "Naruto, wake up. Mrs Birkenhead said that you have a visitor."
"A visitor?" Naruto sat up - letting the duvet fall off of his head to squint suspiciously at the woman; who flinched under his gaze and hid herself behind the door frame. "For me?"
"Yes. You must make yourself presentable." The woman instructed hurriedly as she closed Naruto's bedroom door with a slam; leaving the boy to sit on his bed, frowning at the place where she had stood seconds ago.
"A visitor?" Naruto questioned again as he pushed himself off of his bed and onto his feet. "No one ever comes to see me anymore."
He walked into a small bathroom and examined his appearance in the grimy wall mirror.
Naruto's hair was blond and messy; his many attempts to tame the unruly locks were all in vain, so he had simply given up and let the tangled mess take over. His eyes were a vibrant shade of blue and often held a mischievous gleam to accompany his wicked smile. Naruto ran his fingers across the whisker-like scars that adorned his cheeks; they were his most renown - if not infamous - feature, but he had no recollection as to how he had obtained the scars.
After a quick wash, Naruto dressed himself as fast as he could - making sure that he was careful enough to wear clothes that were not dirty or ragged. Once he was sure that he was looking his best, Naruto threw his bedroom door open and headed down the corridor towards the staircase; receiving glares and hissed taunts from the other children while he mentally prepared himself for another day of catastrophic disappointment. Naruto was very familiar with this feeling. He had lived in the orphanage ever since the day he was born; those who had come to the orphanage in hopes of adopting a child would often avoid Naruto due to his age, bizarre appearance or the strange events that often occurred around the boy - of which Mrs Birkenhead usually failed to mention to possible foster parents, in hopes of getting rid of the boy.
On one such occasion, Naruto had been angered by plausible foster parents after they had made an insulting comment about his appearance and attitude - to the point that they even mocked him about his scars and dubbed him as a "kitty cat" - when Mrs Birkenhead; the woman who managed the orphanage and was one of the guardians for the orphans who lived there, entered the room to check up on Naruto and the foster parents, she had found the two adults pinned to the ceiling by an invisible force.
Mrs Birkenhead had sent Naruto to his room; ignoring his complaints of unfairness as he tried to explain that he didn't know how the incident had happened. This was only one of many example of strange occurrences around Naruto. Other included a fire - that had resulted in a thorough search of Naruto's bedroom for lighters and matches - colour changing hair, many broken valuable possessions - although no one had been near them at the time - and even the disappearance of another orphan - who was later found in the orphanage's basement with a very dazed expression.
Naruto shook the memories from his head as he descended the stairs and slowed to a halt outside Mrs Birkenhead's office door. He took a deep breath and braced himself for the worse before he rapped his knuckles against the worn, wooden door. The door opened to reveal a strict-looking woman with dark hair that was tied back into a very tight bun. She wore a dress that showed off her slim figure - the skirt of which fell just below her knees. As soon as her cold eyes fell upon the blond boy, a forced smile spread across her face.
"Uzumaki." She greeted him as she stepped to one side.
"Good morning, Mrs Birkenhead." Naruto replied automatically in a dull voice.
"Now, that won't do now, will it?" Mrs Birkenhead dropped her artificial smile and gave Naruto a stern glare. "Shall we try again?"
Naruto heaved a sigh and resisted the urge to roll his eyes before he forced himself to grin widely. "Good morning, Mrs Birkenhead." He repeated his words in a more cheerful tone; hating himself even more for letting the vile woman toy with him.
"Good. Sit down." The woman ordered; indicating towards a chair in front of her desk. Naruto complied; dropping the grin as he crossed the threshold and descended into the chair that had been pointed out to him. "Now," Mrs Birkenhead began after she had closed the door behind Naruto, " a gentleman has come to see you today -"
"What's the point?" Naruto muttered quietly. "No one is ever going to adopt me, y'know."
"Do not talk over me!" Mrs Birkenhead snarled; her eyes flashing dangerously. She quickly regained her composure and began to speak in a tone that suggested that Naruto hadn't interrupted her. "As I was saying, a gentleman has come to see you today to offer you… a proposition, if you will."
"Proposition?" Naruto asked as he arched one of his eyebrows at her; not really understanding what the word meant.
"He has come to offer you a place at a school for gifted children." Mrs Birkenhead chose her words delicately.
"Gifted children?" Naruto stared at her sceptically. He had always known that Mrs Birkenhead had hated him - in fact, she hated most children which made him wonder why she was even in charge of an orphanage, but she seemed to save her intense loathing for just Naruto - but he didn't know that she had become this desperate to get rid of him.
"That's right." The woman gave Naruto another one of her false smiles. "So don't screw this up. This is probably the only opportunity you have left to become even a half decent member of society." Without waiting for a response, Mrs Birkenhead gave Naruto a hardened stare and left the room; leaving the blond to his thoughts.
"Jeez, thanks." Naruto whispered sarcastically to himself now that he was finally free to roll his eyes and speak out of term.
While he waited for Mrs Birkenhead to return with the gentleman - who Naruto was sure would walk through the door to announce that he was taking Naruto to a Correctional Institution rather than a school for gifted children - the blond began to reflect on his memories at Birkenhead Orphanage.
He wrinkled his nose in disgust as he remembered how the other children would steal his possessions, call him a freak or beat him up - and then justify his bruises and other injuries by saying that he had fallen down the stairs or had tried to climb out of his bedroom window. He remembered the glares that he had received from foster parents, the other children, Mrs Birkenhead and her assistants. The times he had been sent to his room for solitary confinement after accidents had happened; whether he had an explanation for the events or not.
The nights when he felt most alone and had often cried himself to sleep.
When he had to fend for himself when no one would defend him.
Being falsely accused of bullying other children.
Shivering during the winter months when the temperature plummeted and he had had no decent clothing or bedding.
All the times he had had to miss meals as a punishment and would resolve to stealing during the night time hours.
All at once, the bad memories came flooding into his mind; reminding him why he was so desperate to leave the orphanage and find somewhere that he could finally call home.
A scowl had formed on the boy's lips as he glared at the chair that was usually occupied by Mrs Birkenhead. He wondered if he'd care if the ceiling caved in on him to end this miserable existence.
Naruto jumped as a soft knock upon the door ceased his thought process; he quickly forced a welcoming smile upon his face and stood up from his chair as the door opened and Mrs Birkenhead - along with a stranger - stepped inside.
"Naruto, this is Mr Umino." Mrs Birkenhead introduced the man in the friendly tone that she only used around outsiders.
"Good morning, Mr Umino." Naruto beamed; obediently extending his hand to the gentleman.
"Mr Uzumaki." The man inclined his head as he clasped Naruto's hand in both of his own. The man then turned to address Mrs Birkenhead. "I'm sorry, but would you mind stepping outside please? Mr Uzumaki and myself have much to discuss."
"Of course." Mrs Birkenhead nodded; she then backed out of the room, throwing the pair a curious glance as she left.
"Please take a seat, don't stand on my account." The man smiled warmly at the blond.
"Yes, Mr Umino." Naruto obliged.
"There's no need to be so formal." The man walked around the desk and settled himself down in Mrs Birkenhead's chair. "You can call me Iruka if you like."
"Heh, alright Iruka." Naruto laughed nervously as he ruffled his hair.
"You can drop the facade too, Naruto."
"Huh?" Naruto cocked his head at the man. "Facade?"
"I can tell that you're not happy." Iruka confessed sadly. "Your smile doesn't reach your eyes and your body language is shoddy."
Naruto surveyed the man closely; he had brunet hair that was tied back into a messy ponytail, his eyes were sorrowful but strangely warm at the same time. A thin scar ran across the bridge of Iruka's nose - Naruto wondered how Iruka had got that scar - and his mouth was tilted slightly downwards to form a frown. This man somehow seemed to be different in comparison to any other visitor that Naruto had ever received; he did mock Naruto's appearance or personality - not yet anyway - he didn't have that look in his eye that Naruto always saw when everyone else looked at him. Iruka seemed to be an honest and encouraging man.
Naruto stared at the man suspiciously. "Who are you?"
"I'm a friend." Iruka smiled warmly.
"I don't believe you." Naruto replied through gritted teeth before he could stop himself. "I know Mrs Birkenhead hates me. She wants to have me sent away, y'know. I'm not falling for it, I know where you're really taking me."
"Naruto, calm down." Iruka tried to soothe the boy. "I'm not taking you anywhere if you don't want to go."
"Hah!" Naruto laughed sarcastically. "I bet you say that to all of the kids you lock away, y'know!" The blond spring to his feet angrily and stormed towards the office door.
"L-lock away?" Iruka stammered in a perplexed tone. "No, you misunderstand. We don't lock anyone away, we're just like you, Naruto."
Naruto froze where he stood; he could feel an electric static in the air between himself and Iruka and knew that his anger might lead to one of those dreaded accidents if he wasn't careful.
He slowly pivoted on the spot to face the brunet man once more. "What do you mean? How are you anything like me?"
"I can do it too." Iruka spoke in a soft, quiet voice.
Naruto raised his eyebrows disbelievingly as he folded his arms tightly across his chest. "You can do, what?"
Iruka glanced around himself; making sure that no one else was around to listening in before he leaned across the desk and lowered his voice to a barely audible whisper. "Magic."
"Magic?" Naruto snorted indignantly. "You're crazy. There's no such thing as magic. You really think that I'm going to fool for that just because I'm a kid? I know it's all make believe for little kids, y'know. Don't underestimate me!"
"I guess I should've approached you in a different way." Iruka mused wearily. "Let me show you."
"A silly little card trick won't win my trust, y'know." Naruto scowled furiously.
"It's not going to be a silly card trick." Iruka chuckled lightly as he reached for a blank piece of paper on Mrs Birkenhead's desk.
Naruto masked his interest with an unimpressed expression as he watched the brunet man fold the paper a numerous amount of times; until it resembled the shape of a swan. Iruka was careful enough to let Naruto see every fold he had made.
"It's ready." Iruka announce; holding up the paper swan for Naruto to see with a smug smirk.
"A paper swan?" Naruto rose his eyebrow again.
"I'm going to make it do something special." Iruka whispered with an excited gleam in his eyes.
"What're you going to do?"
"I'm going to make it fly." Iruka replied as he pulled a wooden, twig-like stick out of his pocket. He tapped the swan silently and it immediately sprung to life; flapping it's tiny wings and slowly taking flight off of the table. The swan soared around the office; weaving between ornaments, filing cabinets and the dusty lampshade that hung from the ceiling.
"N-no way!" The blond boy gawked at the origami bird. "H-how?"
"It can't be!" Naruto grabbed the bird. "What did you do to make it fly? Is there a string attached to it or something? Maybe a motorised propeller?" He flattened the paper out on the desk; unfolding and smoothing out the creases to further inspect the bird, but he found nothing.
"You watched me make it." Iruka reminded the boy; watching the panicked look flash across the blond's eyes. "Whether you like it or not, you and I are the same. We're both wizards."
"Wait a minute!" Naruto protested; taking a small step away from Iruka. "How do you know that I'm a wizard? I've never done any magic, y'know!"
"I bet you have." Iruka gave Naruto a wicked grin.
The memories of the foster parents; pinned to the ceiling, the colour changing hair, accidental fires and the disappearing orphan pushed themselves back to the surface of Naruto's mind; making Naruto wonder if the brunet had somehow forced himself into Naruto's memories to prove his point.
"I can see it in your eyes." Iruka commented; staring hard at the blond. "As much as you don't want to believe me, you're really relieved. You're just too scared to trust me." Iruka smiled innocently at Naruto; making the boy feel unnerved. "Magic makes its presence known at a young age, it's usually affected by a person's emotional state, therefore magic is hard to control when you're young, it's even harder to explain."
"I - I don't understand." Naruto stammered; resisting the urge to back away from the man some more.
"To put it simply, has there ever been a time when you felt so angry, scared or frustrated that strange things have started to happen around you?"
"I…" Naruto stared at the man; remembering the time his bedroom windows had shattered after he had shouted at a fellow orphan for teasing him. Iruka's words were beginning to make sense.
"No one believed me when I said I didn't do those things, but I guess it was me doing it after all." Naruto murmured as he cast his eyes downwards with a thoughtful expression.
"I'm sure none of it was done deliberately." Iruka reassured the boy. "Magic can be used as an instinct reaction, so you can't always control how it's used, but that's why I'm here. I want to help you control and utilise this magic."
"Utilise?" Naruto asked; cocking his head at Iruka.
"To make use of." Iruka simplified; making a mental note to use straightforward terms and expressions with the blond.
"Right." Naruto gave a small nod. "How're you going to do that?"
"I've already told you. I'm here to offer you a place at a school for gifted children." Iruka beamed encouragingly. "I wasn't lying."
"So there's more of… more of us?"
"Of course there is." Iruka gave Naruto an incredulous look. "You didn't really think that we'd be the only ones, did you?"
Naruto gave a small shrug.
"Anyway, the school I've come to talk to you about is called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry." Iruka explained as he withdrew a parchment envelope from his pocket and slid it across the table towards Naruto.
Naruto slowly regained his seat in the chair opposite Iruka's and gingerly picked up the envelope to read the green scrawled ink.
Mr Naruto Uzumaki
"Bedroom 12 A?" Naruto blinked in confusion. "How do they know my room number? In fact, how did they know where I live?"
"Magic." Iruka shrugged.
"Stalkers." Naruto mumbled; grinning slightly when he heard Iruka stifle his snigger with a cough. The blond turned the envelope over to see a red, wax seal with a crest that he didn't recognised stamped into it - he didn't dwell on it for long. He broke the seal and pulled out two thick pages of parchment and silently began to read the message inside.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore (Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock) Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. Of Wizards.
Dear Mr Uzumaki
We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.
"Owl?" Naruto gave Iruka a questioning stare. "What owl?"
"I'll take care of that for you." Iruka reassured the boy. "I didn't expect you to have an owl as you've been living with muggles."
"Muggles?" Naruto frowned.
"Non-magical beings." Iruka explained.
Naruto nodded again and turned his attention to the second piece of parchment.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Uniform First year students will require:
1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)
2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
4. One winter cloak (black, silver fastenings)
Please note that all pupils' clothes should carry name tags.
All students should have each of the following:
The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) by Miranda Goshawk
A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling
A Beginners Guide to Transfiguration by Emeric Switch
One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore
Magical Drafts and Potions By Arsenius Jigger
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection by Quentin Trimble
1 Cauldron (Pewter, Standard Size 2)
1 Set Glass or Crystal Phials
1 Set Brass Scales
Students may also bring a owl OR a cat OR a toad. PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST-YEARS ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICKS.
Once he had finished reading the list, Naruto glanced up at Iruka with a confused expression. "Where am I supposed to get this stuff from?"
"I'll come back in a couple of weeks, we can get your school stuff and then I'll let you stay at the Leaky Cauldron until term starts." Iruka have Naruto a calculating gaze. "I guess that this means you believe me now?"
Naruto pouted at the man; refusing to admit his defeat. "I've got nothing left to lose, have I?" Naruto murmured in an almost inaudible tone.
Iruka smiled sadly at the boy as he rose to his feet and crossed the room; squeezing the blond's shoulder in an affectionate manner as he walked past. "I'll speak to Mrs Birkenhead. See you in a couple of weeks, Naruto."
Naruto watched quietly as the only friendly face he had seen in a very long time turned his back on him and departed through the office door.