Dumbledore's office was just as cluttered with miscellaneous items as it always had been. Currently it was also cluttered with people. Every surviving Ninja (the losses being considerably less than first expected once wounded were taken care of) as well as the heads of houses, Harry, a few prominent Aurors and of course Dumbledore himself had crammed into the office. Harry suspected that despite being quite big to begin with, it had perhaps grown just a little more to accommodate such a huge crowd.
He didn't bother listening to much of the current conversation. Naruto seemed to be just as bored with the droning recount of the battle, including statistics on both sides and what could be done to the school to make it more defendable next time. Personally Harry didn't see what they could do to place that already had the reputation of being the safest place in England. They hadn't actually gotten inside the building.
Talk turned rather suddenly to a much more relevant subject; what would happen now in regards to the relationship between Konohagakure and England's wizarding community? Apparently there would be an ambassador staying here, to keep communications open in the very likely situation their enemies stage another joint attack. No doubt a joint assistance treaty would be signed so that both countries could call upon one another for help.
"Tsunade-sama has requested her long term detail situated in this school return home." The official looking, albeit heavily scared Ninja said after the fact.
Harry opened his mouth to argue, but a look from Dumbledore silenced him. Naruto didn't say anything, just looked pensive. The others looked relieved, though he was certain Shikamaru looked a little disappointed at the prospect, though perhaps he was just finding the whole affair boring and Harry wasn't as good at reading people as he thought he was.
"If Hokage-sama so wishes." Sakura said at last, when it was clear no one else was going to say anything.
"So you're really going then?"
Naruto turned from his trunk, a folded robe still in his hands. Harry went to sit on his own bed, staring out the window. "Yeah." he said simply, not really knowing how to broach the subject he knew Harry wanted to discuss. "Just packing."
Obviously Harry didn't care for dancing around the subject today. "Wouldn't it be more logical for you to be the ambassador? You've been here the longest, everyone knows you already and wouldn't it be handy to have a Shinobi know a lot more about magic?" Even with the brash words, Harry didn't look at him.
With a sigh, Naruto stopped what he was doing and turned to sit down, the mattress creaking as he did so. "I miss home. Besides, I'm no deliberator – well not yet at least."
Harry didn't say anything to this. Naruto frowned and moved to crouch on the floor in front of his friend. "It's not that I don't like you guys, hell, you've made all this fun. It's just…" Naruto trailed off, trying to think of the right words. His English had gotten really good, but he still didn't know everything. "I don't belong here." He decided. "Not as much as I belong back in Konoha. Tsunade-Ba-chan is training me to be the next Hokage – at least I think she is – anyway, I'm sure she wants us guys to go on a lot of missions. I bet I've missed a lot over the last few months." Naruto laughed, but it was hollow sounding.
They fell into silence then, both of them just staring at nothing.
"I'm going to miss you." Harry broke the silence.
"Yeah…" Naruto agreed. He would miss all of this, even the bad stuff. It was so exciting to find something new every day that he'd previously thought impossible. To be challenged on a new level. He'd been given a few books on magic to study back home but he probably wouldn't be as good at them as he would have with a teacher. Still, Ninjitsu was more important and he had been somewhat neglecting his true calling in the time he'd been here.
"Think you can give me a hand getting all my stuff into my trunk?" Naruto asked tentatively, hopefully. "Why is it nothing ever fits when you want to put it away, when it does when you first pack?"
A laugh left Harry's lips in a start. He got up, moving to Naruto's side of the room and set about helping Naruto get all his stuff into the trunk.
Naruto had insisted they wait until term started again so that he could say goodbye to his friends who had been on holiday during the assault. Hermione looked at it in a pragmatic sort of way. It wasn't really goodbye; they would still be able to communicate with each other through owl and whatnot. If they worked out some sort of portkey system, they could even visit more easily, negating the need to actually travel anywhere.
Still when it came time to actually say goodbye, her eyes misted up and she didn't say very much. Ron shook everyone's hands, with a tight lipped goodbye. Harry suspected he was trying as hard not to cry as Hermione.
Harry himself felt a little more calm about the whole situation. Knowing Naruto wanted this, even if he would miss being here with his new friends. Harry could understand home sickness. He'd experienced it every summer he'd been sent back to the Dursleys. Hermione was right – they would see each other again.
He saved Naruto for last, holding out his hand. The youth took it, pulling Harry into a short, one armed hug with a quick pat on the back. When they pulled back, he didn't let go, just shook the hand a few times like he was supposed to.
"Cya." Said Harry, a sad smile stretching his lips.
"Cya soon." Naruto replied, giving Harry's hand one last firm shake. With a deep breath, the blonde let go and turned to join his comrades, placing a finger on the shoe they were using as a portkey. Within moments they were gone.
Harry looked down, realizing there was something in his hand. It turned out to be a small piece of paper. With both hands he gently unfolded it.
"What does it say?" asked Hermione.
Harry smiled, looking off into the distance. There had only been one word on the piece of paper. "'Thanks'."
(And there you have it! Completed, reviewed and reedited for a better reading experience. I was such a n00b when I started writing this. Hopefully it's slightly better now that I've gone over and changed/fixed the more annoying parts (not to mention my spelling and grammar XD). I hope you enjoyed reading this and please leave a review should you feel so inclined.)