This is the Unbeta'd version of the chapter. This notice will be changed once the chapter has been Beta'd.
Last time on Uchiha Potter:
The second exam begins and Harry, along with his team, enter the Valley of Illusions, lead by the Jonin Satetsu, where they must complete an amulet to get into the Tower at the other end of the Valley. The valley itself poses a problem, from Mirages and the heat, to a sandstorm that drives the team to seek shelter. Finding shelter in a cave, they also find the first piece of the amulet guarded by a giant scorpion puppet. Taking this down, they managed to gain the piece of amulet that dropped out of it. The second piece came from a Suna genin team, who reverse ambushed them and injured Kabuto, driving the group underground. Realising the team would not let them leave alive, Harry resorts to summoning the basilisk for the first time, the magical snake managing to kill the three for them, and they retrieve the piece of amulet from them. Exhausted from the fight and the desert that was the Valley of Illusion, the team make their way to the tower at the other end of the desert in order to complete the second exam.
I, Chosha Kurenai, hereby swear that ownership of Naruto and its entire related media belongs to Masashi Kishimoto. Likewise Harry Potter and it's relating media belongs to JK Rowling. Uchiha Potter is Fan Faction only and is written purely for entertainment, and is not meant as infringement on any rights belonging to the artist, author or companies who created them. Please support the official anime/manga/novel/film releases.
Chapter Twenty Four
Prelude to the Final Exam
The journey to the singular building in the valley of illusions, thankfully, was nowhere near as bad as the trio of Konoha ninja had feared it possibly could have been. After all, not only did they have all the pieces of the amulet needed to get into the building itself (and thus pass) but they were also travelling with a wounded team member and a nin-dog with a limp courtesy of their run in with the Suna team. Coupled with the fact that, as the sun made its appearance and settled in the sky once more, the intense heat of the previous day had also returned and with it, the possibility of mirages. The treacherous combination left them all high strung and paranoid, constantly expecting an attack on their vulnerable selves at any moment their guard wavered.
As it was, either fate had taken pity on them and leaning to the more positive side of Harry's bipolar luck for once, the intense heat was making the other teams lethargic and stupid or their heightened paranoia had somehow enhanced all their senses, because the few times they had spotted any other team, it was usually long before the other teams had even been aware they were there.
Once, Hana and the Haimaru brothers had managed to catch the scent of other humans when the wind had changed direction, allowing them to creep further south until they were no longer in danger of crossing paths. Another time, Harry had spotted a team that had been fighting with another team, giving him time and enough of a distraction to shove his team mates behind a sand dune, and subtly cast a Disillusionment charm to cover them until the victorious team had passed by, leaving a group of dead Taki ninja and bypassing them entirely. Not to mention their near miss, as they were spotted once just before Kabuto had been able to throw up a genjutsu to cover them. Harry had been sure they would be in for a fight, but apparently the hasty illusion had worked. After all, they had been in the desert long enough that the Desert of Illusion was a mirage paradise and no team would be stupid enough to hide themselves behind a genjutsu when they had already been seen…
Harry still couldn't help but shake his head and face palm at the whole thing ten minutes later that they had managed to pull that clumsy evasion off, but decided trying to work out how on earth they managed that would only serve to give him a headache and a read mark under his Hitae ate and on his palm from repetitive collisions.
Instead, Harry mentally added that to his list of 'Dumb and Stupid Unexplainable Things That Happen to Me' (also known as DSUTTHM, not to be confused with DSUTTHM: Hogwarts Edition, which was already insanely long due to the involvement of magic, or DSUTTHM: Uzuchiha Edition, which mostly involved how the hell a half trained academy student managed to pull off pranks on ANBU level ninja and had only ever been caught by one irate Chunin Academy Instructor – What were the ANBU doing, sleeping?!)
Still, weird as it was, it was much better than the alternative.
By the time they had reached the building, it was the dusk of their second day in the valley, the sky becoming a dull orange colour as the dying light hit the sand that flurried in the winds. Harry had long been turned into a human crutch for a pale faced Kabuto, while Hana herself had began to carry the injured nin-dog who had already started to struggle to keep his feat in the already uneven sand and had fallen repeatedly enough times that Hana was worried more damage would make him lame permanently. Harry couldn't help but feel relief flooding him as the building was finally in their reach. After all, they had started to run low on water and clean bandages for Kabuto and the Haimaru's wounds. If it had taken another day, Harry was sure he would have had to resort to casting the Aguamenti spell, but wasn't sure if sand-paper dry tongue and heat stroke wouldn't have left him conjuring something entirely different, like a Water Buffalo or something. And that wasn't even considering that if the wounds were left untreated it could cause worse problems for their injured friends.
The building itself wasn't a tower like in the forest of death, but a large dome similar to the architecture in part of Sunagakure, built in the same reddish orange sandstone as the valley itself, and probably made it a nightmare to spot when the winds were blowing strongly enough. There seemed to be hundreds of small rectangular windows that surrounded the dome near the top and the entrance itself was rather grand with an archway letting them step into the first lot of shade that they had seen since the sun had risen, leading them to tall, ornate doors that had an odd bronze seal in the middle that had an indent in the middle that looked about the right size and colour as the amulet parts they had spent the day before looking for, if all the parts were clipped together.
"I get it," Harry murmured as he eyed the pictures on the ornate door that appeared to me less random decoration for ornate purposes and more instructions as to what to do, now he was looking at them. Nodding, he pulled out his piece of the amulet and held it up, closing one eye as he imagined it and the other parts resting in the odd indentation. "This thing is just one big key. I bet if we put the parts of it together and then put the completed amulet into the hole and turn it like the pictures seem to be indicating, it'll complete the seal on the door and unlock it so we can get out of this place."
"Finally," Hana groaned. "I don't think I could stand much more of the heat. Not to mention I'm worried about my partners. It can't be healthy for them to stay in this kind of heat, and then there's that limp…."
"Not to mention your wound too, Kabuto," Harry added, frowning at the wound from there Suna ninja encounter that seemed to keep stubbornly resisting Kabuto's skills, as well as Harry's when he had given healing the wound a go, but their concentration had been frayed by the heat and by paranoia at being stuck out in the middle of the desert like sitting ducks. They did need a healer who hadn't been stuck in extreme conditions to help deal with that properly. "Anyway, get out the Amulet parts. The sooner we get into shade the sooner we can deal with….well, everything.
That seemed to motivate them at least and Harry soon found the other two parts pressed into his free hand.
It took a few moments to get the parts together so they clicked into the right place while Hana and Kabuto looked around nervously in case they were ambushed, but finally, Harry was holding a completed amulet. Nodding to himself, Harry stepped forward sand positioned the amulet, slotting it in place, before twisting it. There was a strange sound like grinding gears or something from behind the door before it moved, opening a crack and the parts of the amulet fell from the indentation. Scooping up the bits, Harry pushed the door open further and finally, they all stepped inside.
The rush of cool air as they stepped inside felt like a cooling balm after the heat of outside and already he felt his spirits lift a little as it was the best congratulations he could have got after that test. The only thing better would have been time to change into non-sweat and sand dirtied clothes and shower under ice cold water. Still, it was a good second choice. In the meantime, he took a moment to take a good look at the room itself as the doors closed behind them and shut once more so the next team could have their turn once they arrived.
They appeared to be in a large dome room with some stairs that lead up to a balcony overlooking the hall below, with doors leading off from the balcony area. The main room itself was large with a computer screen built into a statue of ninja arms, with hands forming the seal that usually appeared as standard at the beginning of wind jutsu. All in all though, after the hellish two days in that death trap of a desert, Harry could easily say that this was the most beautiful and heavenly place he had seen in a long time. Though that could have just been heat stroke thinking. Still, it did take all his willpower and pride, not to mention the fact that he was still keeping Kabuto upright, not to flop on the cool, smooth stone floors and let the aches in his body and the heat of the painful sunburn to be cooled and soothed, though he dead cast a few longing looks at the ground either way.
"Do you think there's going to be any more secret tests, like the first exam?" Hana asked, subtly looking between her exhausted nin-dogs and Kabuto, who looked about ready to keel over himself, before shooting Harry a worried look, which Harry returned, dread settling in his stomach. They had all been thinking that getting here would be the end of the test and therefore safe. But now Harry looked around at the area, it almost looked like the balconies were viewing platforms over an arena. While Harry and Hana sans Nin-dogs may be able to pull off something on their own if forced to, the Haimaru trio and Kabuto needed a break, otherwise they would be about as useful as sitting ducks.
"Oh no, nothing like that," said a voice and Harry tensed, hands shifting to his weapon pouch as his eyes shot up to the balcony, where the voice had come from. Standing at the top of the balcony stairs and making his way down was a man in a Suna chunin vest, with his had bound in a turban-like effect, some cloth hanging around his ears to protect his head from the baking sun that Suna would be graced with, his forehead protector over the top. "You reached here within the time limit with all three parts of the 'key' and are the second team to pass. So, you can relax now, the second exam is finished, for you at least. Congratulations."
Harry couldn't help but sigh and could feel Kabuto sag next to him in relief too. He had been worried, but thankfully it looked like their luck had turned at least.
"You wont be able to head back to the village just yet, at least until the full time limit has passed, so we can brief everyone on what will happen for the Third exam once we know everyone who has passed," the Chunin explained. "But don't worry though, there's food available here, beds, washing facilities if you need them and we have some medics stationed here as well in case anyone gets here badly injured at all, or if there's any problems with exposure – no offence, but not everyone from other villages are very good at handling our temperatures and heat stroke and exposure is pretty common during our exams. It looks like you may need them," he added, sending Kabuto considering looks, who, despite being pale faced and weakened, managed to summon up a sheepish, if somewhat shaky smile in response.
"Well then," the Chunin said finally. "I'll take you to the medical wing. The rest of you should relax, eat and pick out some rooms for the night that's left. Once the exam is finished, Satetsu-san will send out an announcement for all examinees to gather back here, so listen out for that. In the meantime, if you need anything, don't hesitate to ask."
"Are you sure you'll be ok?" Hana asked Kabuto in concern as Harry helped to change human crutch from himself to the chunin.
"I'll be fine," Kabuto said with a slight smile. "The Medic-nin should be able to heal me right up. You guys relax a bit and I'll see you later. Just pick me out a room in case they let me out of the medical wing for the night, alright?"
"No problem," Harry nodded. "You just worry about getting yourself fixed. We'll handle the rest. See you later."
"Kabuto seems to have such bad luck," Hana said once Kabuto had disappeared from their view, shaking her head. "I hope the Medics can fix him up properly. I mean both him and you were having problems healing the wound up and Kabuto does have a bit of training from the medics back home."
"Well, it was Suna ninja that did the injury in the first place," Harry reminded her as they made their way to where the rooms were in order to pick out some rooms, shower and change clothes if they could before finding something good to eat and drink. "So the Suna medics should know how to treat whatever poisons that might have been on the blade that got him. I only know a few types of poison – mainly of the serpent variety because of Anko-sensei, but I hear that Suna's pretty proficient at poisons so they'd know how to treat them too." Well, he also knew a few magical poisons too. Shame he didn't have a bezoar with him – that would have helped a lot. He made a mental note to see if he could add one in his ninja tool kit when he went out on missions, especially if they were going against Suna ninja. "Anyway, we might as well make ourselves comfortable right? We've got tonight and a whole day to recover before we find out what the next exam is."
"That's true," Hana nodded. "Kabuto said something about the third exam is like a tournament."
"Yeah," Harry nodded. "My guess is though that we'll at least get a bit of time to recover and be back at full strength though before they have us doing one on one battles, so we can show ours skills at equal levels."
"That's good," Hana said, stroking her partner's heads. "Gives us all time to have a rest. We need it."
"Yeah, no kidding," Harry said, rubbing his neck and wincing as his sunburn ached under his fingers. He definitely needed to sort that out – maybe the medics could deal with that. But first thing was first. Shower. He definitely, definitely needed a shower.
The time they had to wait for the rest of the teams to arrive was time well spent, at least in Harry's opinion. He had showered, he no longer felt like he had several layers of grime over his body any more, he had some clean clothes that didn't feel like they had sand in them, though he definitely made note that if he ever came to Suna again he was changing outfits. Or if he spent a long time in a desert, he was cutting the collar off his clothes so it wouldn't act like a sand gathering bowl. He had been fed, had drunk a lot of water and was finally starting to feel more human again. Kabuto had ended up staying with the medics overnight for observation, mainly as a precaution, but Hana had managed to at least give her dog some bandages as support on it' injured leg, though Harry did use mystic hands a few times once he was sure his chakra was up to par to help with the healing a little. It seemed to help though and soon he was back to normal, though still needed the supports as Hana explained the area might still be easily twisted for a little bit without them.
They also did have a brief meeting with the other team that had arrived already too – a Suna team (not really surprising there) consisting of a boy with cloth that covered his head and ears and held on with his forehead protector who used twin fans, a lazy eyed boy with his forehead protector worn as a bandana and wearing more clothing than Harry thought would be normal in somewhere as warm as Suna was, with only his face really being exposed, and a girl who appeared to be some kind of puppet user – or at least that's what he gathered from the bound object on her back that appeared to have hair. Though they didn't seem to inclined to talk other than a nod of acknowledgement.
As it was though, by the time duck came of the last day – the day everyone needed to have got there to pass by midnight, only one more team had arrived – an Iwa team consisting of a rather large boy about Hana's age who looked like he may have been a distant relative of Hagrid, or at least was cut from the same cloth in appearance as he was surprisingly tall, well built and muscular for his age, standing almost double Harry's own height, and Harry was at least average height for his age. He also had a weapon on his back that looked like it might be some kind of iron club. There was a girl who was perhaps about 16 with a sword and the last was a young man that seemed to be saying something about bees. With a jolt, Harry realised that this was the team that his team had passed in the desert that had attacked and killed that team from Taki. Obviously it had taken them a while to find the test to get the last part of their amulet, unlike his own team that had found it purely by chance on their first day due to the sandstorm.
Still, after seeing them (and making a note to avoid them for now as fighting in this place could get them disqualified while waiting for the test to be over), Harry realised that as the clock ticked to twelve, no other teams were arriving. Had the exam been so hard they couldn't manage it? Not that Harry could blame them. Perhaps people had horded. Or maybe they just couldn't find the two parts they need. While he didn't particularly know any of the other teams that had been entered, he could still feel concerned for them either way. Still, there was nothing that could be done. And soon, the test was over. Anyone who hadn't reached the building and was still alive was now disqualified. Harry couldn't help but wonder how many people were disappointed at having failed.
A voice blared over building:
"To everyone who passed the exam, please make your way to the main hall for briefing with the examiners. Thank you."
"Looks like we're all it then…" Harry murmured to Hana as they headed down to the main hall once more. "I sort of expected more. The text was kinda brutal."
"Its probably because of the climate, mostly," Hana agreed. "Only the Suna ninja are really used to it. Makes you wonder why there aren't more Suna teams that passed. You'd think that there would be more people, considering Suna has the home ground."
"Well, we only stumbled on one of our pieces of amulet by accident more than anything," Harry reminded her. "Maybe others just weren't that lucky."
"Maybe….Oh!" Hana blinked as they reached the main hall, where she indicated below. The Kazekage was there, along with the proctors, several Chunin and the Jonin that had lead each team. Harry spotted Shikaku, who looked like he would rather be elsewhere, but offered them a smile anyway when he noticed them looking at him. Quickly, they got into line where Kabuto was already waiting. The older genin still looked a bit pale, his arm was in a sling too, but smiled when they came to stand at his side. "Hana, Taichou-chan."
"Enough with the Taichou thing already," Harry rolled his eyes, but looked him over anyway. "How are you? Feeling better?"
"Mm, a bit. I'll tell you later though," Kabuto said, indicating the front. After this, alright?"
Harry nodded and quickly turned his attention to where the group of officials were standing in wait, waiting to see what they were going to be told now.
Seeing everyone was ready, Satetsu stepped forwards. "Congratulations to all of you that made it through the second exam," the man boomed. "Now you guys all pay attention. The Kazekage will be explaining the third exam to you, so zip your lip and pay attention, got it?" He bowed to the stern faced leader. "Kazekage-sama, if you will."
The Kazekage stepped forward, his dark eyes roaming over the nine ninja that had passed, before nodding and finally spoke. "Before I explain the third exam, I want to tell you the reasoning behind the tests, why you are tested as you are in these Chunin exams. The reason we hold these exams with our allies is to raise the strength of the Shinobi through experience of true battle. These exams simulate the wars that had been fought in the past.
"Back in a time when the nations that are allied now used to fight one another, each nation would pick champions to represent their nations in battle rather than destroy their military strengths. Which is the reason the examinations exist. These days, however, the exams are still used, though in a different manner. While it's true that they are held to allow ninja to show that they have the strength to become Chunin, it is also to allow the ninja to gain strength in true battle, as true strength only comes from being pushed to ones limits in battle, where they fight against other ninja for their very lives, and for the pride of their nations. It also allows the villages to showcase their ninja – the third examination allows people, prominent figures from all over the nations to come and watch the ninja battles, and it may even allow them to decide which village they may want to hire ninja from to work with them.
"You who stand here now are all representing your villages, so you should be sure to act in a manner befitting of your village, as these tests may lay the path of where your ninja career may make its course in the future. If there is a gap in power, more work will go to the stronger nation. This exam allows you to show the strength of the shinobi of your villages to those who may hire from your villages. The Third exam is a fight for life, with the pride of your village and your own dreams at stake. Remember this."
That was somewhat daunting, the fact that their very performance in this last exam could actually effect the people who might hire from your village, never mind yourself. However, Harry was nothing if not determined. He'd come this far already. There was no way he was going to back down now. He would make sure to give those people watching a show they wouldn't forget.
"So what are the details to the exam?" the largest Iwa ninja growled out, thumping his meaty fist to his chest. "Whatever you can throw at me, I can handle it."
"Every well. You will now be told the details of the Third exam. Isago," the Kazekage added, indicating to another Jonin who bowed to the Kazekage, before stepped forwards – a stern faced Jonin with the head-dress that some suna ninja wore under his forehead protector, and the standard Jonin outfit.
"I am Isago, and I am the proctor for the third exam," the man said once he has surveyed the nine ninja before him. "Listen closely as I'll be telling you what you need to know, but only once, so bear that in mind that you should not goof off, if you want to know what to expect. The Third exam will be healed in a tournament styled one on one combat, where those who win their fights will move up to the semi finals and then the finals. However, don't feel as though if you do not win your fights, that you lose your chance to become Chunin. In these fights, if you show a great amount of skill, both in power and in strategy, to the various judges that will be watching the battles, including the Kazekage, Hokage and Tsuchikage, even if you lose, you may still have the chance at becoming a Chunin. Likewise even if you win, this doesn't mean that you will have shown you have what it takes to be Chunin. However, note that if none of you show the skills, there is a possibility none of you could ppass. If you all showed the skills needed to become Chunin, you will all be promoted. Therefore, if you want to become Chunin, you will need to showcase all your skills for the chance of promotion. Understood?"
I see, so it doesn't necessarily matter if you were overpowered in the combat, but if you show you can strategise and use your own strengths correctly, or turn the opponents strengths against them, or even exploit weaknesses correctly, then you have a chance to become Chunin, Harry noted. He clenched his fists at his sides. Still, I didn't come this far to lose out now. So I'll still focus my best efforts on winning too. That way, if I do lose at any point, I'll be sure I did my best, and that's surely to go over better too. If your aiming to win, then you'd focus properly on showing you have the right talents too as well as have more chances to impress the judges with your skills than if you lose in the first fight, I bet. Not to mention fighting ninja from other villages will help me to improve too.
"You will be asked in a moment to draw a number out of a box. Once you have your number, you will show them to me. The number you are given will determine which ninja you will fight in the first round of the exam. After that, you will be given a month to rest from this exam and prepare for the fight against your opponent. This also gives us the chance to announce those who have reached the final exam and will be participating to the villages and to those who will be watching. Any opponents after that first battle will be determined by one on one knock out fights.
"Now, as the Kazekage has said, there will be a great deal of important guests that will be arriving to watch the third exam," Isago continued. "And you will be representing your villages. If you do not feel that you will be able to handle it, that you wont be in top condition at all, or need to pull out for any reason, this is your last chance to do so. If you wish to pull out, raise your hand."
At first, no one did anything. Then, slowly, Kabuto raised his hand.
"What? Kabuto?" Harry looked at him, feeling stunned. "Why are you dropping out? Is it because of your injury? But….we have a month-"
"I'm sorry," Kabuto said, sorrowfully. "But because of the poison that was in it, the medic-ninja advised me that I would need to be careful. The poison can sometimes spark up again if you do anything really intensive for a while. Most of the month I would be recovering still, so I don't think I'd be prepared enough to fight in the exam."
"But you've come so far," Hana insisted.
"I know, and I'm disappointed, but I don't think I'd be able to get too far, at least without showing up the village and I wouldn't want to embarrass anyone. But still, you two will still be there to represent Konoha, and I know that you two can do it. So, give it your all, ok?"
"Yakushi Kabuto of Konohagakure, correct?" Isago interrupted before the rest of the team could say anything, glanced at a clip board that appeared to have the names of all tose who passed the second exam on it. "Yes, the Medic-ninja ,mentioned something about it. Alright, you can bow out."
"Thank you," Kabuto nodded, before heading off once more, disappearing through one of the doors.
"Kabuto…." Even though he understood, kind of, it still didn't make Harry feel any better. The older boy had come so far. That he had to quit now, after it had already taken him so many tries was practically tragic to him. Not to mention that he still felt bad, considering that if they had only kept an eye out just a bit more than they probably could have avoided such an injury.
Harry shot the huge Iwa ninja a look. "Zip it." Sure bowing out wouldn't have been something Harry himself would do, but still, there was no need to tease him for it when it had been under medical advice.
"Is there anyone else that wants to quit?" the proctor scanned them. "Last chance."
"Yeah, any more of you leaf ninja want to quit?" the huge Iwa ninja sneered.
"I think you should quit using your mouth," Harry sneered back. "Obviously it isn't in proper connection with your brain."
The Iwa genin's lips twisted into a snarl. "Why you-"
"Enough," Isago snapped. "Any more and you'll both be disqualified."
That at least shut the other genin up. Harry just nodded. "Sorry, sir."
"Alright, if that's everyone, then…." Isago turned to the Kazekage again, the Suna leader handing a box with a hole on top to the man, who turned back once more to them all. "I'll be coming to you, so stay where you are."
"If you could all take a number from the box," the Kazekage said as the proctor came forward. "As Isago stated earlier, this will determined exactly who you will fight in the final exam's first round."
"Just take one," Isago said, and allowed each of the ninja to reach into the box to take one of the numbers on a slip of paper. Eventually, he came to Harry, who also reached in and pulled out a slip of paper, carefully unfolding it to see exactly what number he had received. It appeared he was number two.
Putting the box aside, Isago looked around again. "Now tell me what your number is, going from left to right. Afterwards, I will inform you of the match ups." It took a few moments, but finally all the numbers were called and Isago noted each one down."
"Now, if you please – revel which ninja have been pared up," the Kazekage said, and the man nodded and flipped the board to show, as they has said, a tournament style match up system. With numbers one and two fighting each other, three and four, five and six together and seven and eight last of all. Since Harry was two, he had a look to see the person he was matched again.
Whether it had been by fate or luck, number one was actually the boy who had sneered at them earlier on – the huge Iwa genin who seemed to look at Harry with a vicious grin. It appeared the boy's name was Kikou Onichi. Number three was a Suna ninja named Yakku (the one Harry recalled with the eyes that seemed stuck at permanent half mast), who appeared to be fighting number four - the Suna ninja with two fans who was apparently named Yosuzume. Number Five was the female Iwa ninja with a sword named Yaiba Tsubame, who appeared to be against the female Suna ninja with the puppet – a girl named Mihoshi – who was number six. While Number seven was the last Iwa ninja named Kamizuru Mubachi and battling against Hana, who was number eight.
"Now that you know who you're fighting," Isago continued. Be sure to train hard. The exams will begin once more in one month, on the 20th of August, and the exams will begin at 1000 hours. But for now, congratulations for passing the second exam, and thank you for your patience. Dismissed."
As the genin all started to go their separate ways, mostly to speak to their Jonin sensei that had started to approach them, Harry and Hana made their way over to Shikaku, who had begun to saunter unhurriedly to them. Smiling, the scarred man patted both of them on the head. "Well done for getting this far. It was probably troublesome as hell, but you got here. Shame about Kabuto though. But don't worry about him. He'll be back up to scratch and I'm sure he'll do fine next time."
"He has awful luck with these exams, doesn't he?" Hana agreed. "I mean, he mentioned before, didn't he, that he's already tried to get through these exams several times. He wasn't kidding when he said it would be rough, though."
"It's a pain, but that's sometimes how these exams go," Shikaku agreed. "Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know that some arrangements have been made about teaching you for the last exam. Or at least to arrange with you a teacher if you need someone. Anko pretty much told me she arranged someone to teach you for when you passed the second exam. Obviously she expected that you would get this far."
"Didn't realise she had that much faith in me," Harry couldn't help but grin. "I'll have to buy her something when I get back. Dango, maybe. Or something sharp and pointy, she seems to like that kind of stuff too." He frowned when exactly what the Nara has said sunk in. "Wait, she arranged a tutor for me? You mean that she isn't teaching me herself?"
"Apparently she says there are things you need to know that she can't teach you. So she has got Hatake Kakashi to come to tutor you for the month. Apparently he owed her something and she decided to collect. But your teacher's a troublesome one, so who knows what she had on him to get him to agree. Either way, he'll probably be a bit late so you might as well relax a while in Suna until he gets here. Hana, I sent a message back to Konoha concerning yourself as well, and it appears that your mother wished to help arrange your tutor. So, once Tsume and Kakashi get here, I'll be taking Kabuto back to Konoha again and we can make sure his injury gets fully healed up as well without any complications. So, rest up tonight and we'll be relocating back out of this place and back to Suna again tomorrow morning. Kakashi and Tsume will meet you both there."
"OK," the two nodded.
"I'm going to head to bed then, since it looks like its going to be a long month," Hana said as she stretched, One of the Haimaru yawning as well. "What about you?"
"I just want to ask Kabuto something, actually," Harry noted, glancing in the direction that the white haired ninja had gone after he had bowed out of the exam. "After that, I'll turn in too."
"Alright," Hana nodded. "But don't be too hard on him, ok, Taichou?"
"Who, me?" Harry blinked innocently. "Nah, nothing like that. Its about something else. Don't worry though, I promise I'll behave."
"Good," Hana nodded, smiling as she ruffled the Uchiha's hair, despite Harry's protests. "See you in the morning, Taichou-chan!"
"Enough with the Taichou-chan already!" Harry called after her, exasperated. Honestly, was he going to be stuck with that moniker forever now or something? Still, she shook his head a moment before detouring towards the medical rooms once more in order to track down Kabuto. It didn't take him too long to find the older boy, sitting on one of the beds and glancing at the Valley of Illusions outside the window which seemed disarmingly peaceful under the moonlight. "Hey Kabuto."
Kabuto tensed a little before glancing over, rubbing the back of his head awkwardly with his free hand. "Oh, Taichou-chan," he chuckled sheepishly, ignoring Harry's tick at the nickname. "You surprised me for a moment." He dropped his hand again, smile becoming a little tinged with sadness. "Have you come to yell at me for dropping out as I did?"
"What, no, don't be stupid," Harry scoffed. "I mean, yeah I'm kinda pissed off that you couldn't join us in the third exam and all, but it wasn't your fault you got stabbed with a poisonous blade. Still, it must bite that the medics said it was better if you didn't continue."
"Yeah," Kabuto sighed. "But at least if I dropped out then I had a chance to fully recover and try again, instead of making a fool of myself in front of the judges. And anyway, I have faith in you and Hana. I'm sure you'll be Chunin in no time."
"Speaking about Chunin," Harry made his way to one of the seats by the bed. "You know those Ninja info cards of yours? Do you think you have any information on Kikou Onichi?"
Kabuto looked at him for a long moment, before pulling out the cards. "Kikou Onichi…." He murmured. "I'm assuming that is who you're going to be facing in the first round of the third exam?"
"Yeah," Harry frowned. "And seems pretty arrogant too, or at least seems under the impression Konoha ninja are weak. Then again, the guy's huge too. If we're going by pure muscle alone, anyone could be considered weak."
"Let me see," Kabuto said as he took one of the cards and spun it carefully with his finger, injecting chakra into it. There was a poof of smoke that Harry came to expect when Kabuto used these cards, and the black face was now covered with the stats of the Iwa ninja, complete with mug shot. "OK, Kikou Onichi from Iwagakure no Sato, sixteen years old and has been a Genin for three years. Has completed 14 D ranks and 9 C ranked missions. His speciality is a clan ninjutsu that creates a kind of stone armour of some kind that's difficult to penetrate. Combined with that iron club of his and it's a fairly formidable combination."
"So, this armour of his, it covers everything?" Harry asked, trying to think exactly what he could do against this guy. If he had a few plans in the works now, then at least he would be able to have a few ideas of what to do when facing him without having to make it all up on the spot – the better informed he was, the better he would show himself to be in front of the judges too.
"Well, his vitals at any rate," Kabuto shrugged. "But normally people don't want to get too close to a guy swinging a club around and according to his data he can swing that thing around as fast as if he were flinging around a bo staff. But if you can get around that, then his limbs at least appear to be uncovered at least in places so that he can move around. Guess they realise a moving target is harder to hit than a sitting one." He glanced over, his dark eyes searching his face through his round glasses. "So, what do you think you should do?"
"Well, I'll definitely chat to Hatake Kakashi about it all," Harry shrugged. "Looks like he's going to be tutoring me. Other than that….While we're waiting for our tutors to arrive, do you think that you can finish teaching me the Chakra no Mesu that you were showing me on the way to Suna? If nothing else, I want to be as solid as I can with that before I do other training. I think I'll find some use for that too."
Kabuto just blinked, bemused. "What, now?"
"If you're not tired, old man," Harry teased.
Kabuto rolled his eyes. "Alright, I can spare a bit of time tonight. I can show you the rest tomorrow too until Hatake-san arrives for you as well. It should be easy to find some things to practice on while I'm in a hospital after all, since the medical ninja need to practice on something after all."
Harry grinned. "Fine by me."
"Alright then. Now, where were we…?"
While sleep had been late in coming (or far too early in the morning, as Kabuto had joked when Harry had finished the exercises for the Chakra no Mesu that night and realised the time), Harry, despite having shadows under his eyes and yawning every now and then, was quite content with the progress he had made.
Since they had finally been able to fully concentrate without the problems they had had when Kabuto was tutoring him on it on the way to Suna, such as not needing to squint through sand flurries to see what each other were doing or yell themselves horse to be heard over the winds, Kabuto had been able to knuckle down, even with one arm in a sling, to make sure Harry started to get the hang of the jutsu, and proved to be quite a competent teacher, something Harry never would have imagined from the first impression that Harry had got of him in the Hokage's office when he had thought that Kabuto might have been some kind of weird Uchiha Fanboy. He had allowed Harry to copy the hand seals with his Sharingan to save them some time, which Harry was glad he didn't have to trick him into doing otherwise, and had told him a few tricks. Since Kabuto was under orders from the Medics to take it easy lest there was still poison in his system, he had suggested to Harry to practice on Shadow Clones so that he knew how to use it when fighting with a moving target. It was somewhat annoying as they could only really take one good hit (if he was doing the jutsu correctly) before they dispelled, but it did get him used to striking while not getting hit right back and would be far more reasonable to strike fatal blows on rather than trying to practice on a real person and causing irreparable damage or something. Not to mention far more ethical than using the local wildlife too. Kabuto also promised to have a word with some of the medical ninja too, to see if he could get Harry a dummy that was used to practice medical jutsu on, at least for him to take with him once Kakashi had arrived, so that Harry could practice on it while on his month of training and get a feel for muscles might react to Harry's Chakra no Mesu too.
All in all, Harry was quite pleased by the results of their short training session. Despite first impressions and lingering disappointment at Kabuto's terrible fortune, he was pleased that he finally got passed the theory they had talked about on the way to Suna and had finally gotten around to the basic combat usage of Chakra no Mesu, especially since Harry had a feeling it would come in useful in the battles to come.
Once morning had come, the genin were finally lead out of the valley once more, glad to see the back of the place that had been hell for the last few days and back to the village once more. Kabuto had been escorted to the main hospital so that they could be doubly sure that everything had been covered by the field medics that had been at the Valley of Illusion's outpost. Meanwhile, Harry spent most of the morning after watching as the failed candidates started to leave the valley too, most looking dejected or bitter or angry about the fact that they hadn't passed, while others, such as the Jonin, were grim faced at the body bags that had been brought out for those genin who hadn't survived the 13th training ground at all. Harry couldn't help but grimace, knowing that at least two of those bags had ninja killed by the Basilisk, and he had no idea if the one that had been Petrified had been written off as dead or taken by the medic ninja to look for some way to reverse the Petrifaction.
Once more, Harry made a mental note to learn how to make the Mandrake Restorative, if only to help reverse what he had essentially ordered to be done, though considering the rest of his team was dead, part of him wondered if it wouldn't be a mercy to leave him as a human statue, assuming he hadn't been broken or just written off as dead in the first place.
The majority of the stay in Suna just waiting for their teacher's had been surprisingly boring, though Harry did make the most of it. He sparred with Hana a few times in one of the genin training grounds that they had been permitted to use (according to Temari who had checked in with the Kazekage for permission for them, they were allowed to use the genin training grounds so long as there was no property damage and if there was then they would have to clear up after themselves) and had checked in with Kabuto, who had happily passed over a scroll to him that had one of the dummies sealed inside. Harry had no idea how he had managed it, but Kabuto had insisted it had all been done legally – and apparently these dummies were standard for any Medic from any village, so there was no horrible trade secret he was making off with. Still, Harry left the medics with a donation anyway and a thanks, which deed seem to help make them a little less petulant about the whole thing.
Honestly, Harry just didn't want to have a bunch of medics that would be annoyed at him – Medic ninja were like Oinin – they knew how to mess you up. Considering that he was going to be taking part in the third exam here in Suna he would rather remain on their good sides.
Other than that, the only really interesting thing was a second (though brief) encounter with Gaara, though this time in board daylight where Gaara had walked right up to him in the streets (where people backed off as one as soon as they realised who it was and started whispering fearfully to each other in a way that made Harry's eyebrow tick as he recalled people, though to a lesser extent, acting in a similar manner around Naruto and had stopped in front of Harry, who resolutely ignored the sudden whispers about if the Konoha ninja would survive unscathed.
"Yo," Harry smiled to Gaara, ignoring the hissed whispers that blazed around them like a forest fire at his casual greeting of the village pariah. "Nice to see you again."
Gaara didn't really react to that other than a long look in his direction. Finally, "I heard you passed the first and second exams," Gaara said quietly. "Congratulations."
"Thanks, Gaara," Harry grinned. "Hopefully I'll get to Chunin too. Fingers crossed, right?"
Gaara nodded, before moving on once more, only to stop and glance back. "…I'll be watching you at the Third Exam," the redhead said after a moment, before finally walking away once more.
"W-wow…..Gaara didn't try to kill him…." He heard someone say close by.
Rolling his eyes, Harry turned to them. "I can hear you, you kn…..What the heck are you wearing?" he couldn't help but blurt out as he stared at the boy who had spoken. At least, he thought he was a boy, but with the weird black, heavy looking outfit complete with jet black head-dress that looked almost like he had cat ears poking up underneath it (who wears such a thing in a desert anyway? Didn't he get hot in that thing?) and the war paint like pattern on his face that looked like some odd character in a Kabuki Theatre play that probably used more makeup than his Aunt Mikoto had worn her entire life it was really hard to say. He assumed that it was a boy though, from his voice.
"Hey!" the boy growled. "This is the outfit of a puppeteer of Sunagakure! Don't mock it!"
"Aren't you hot in that thing though?" he asked, eyeing him. "I mean, it's a desert, surely something lighter coloured or at least less heavy material would be more comfortable right?"
"I guess the reason you didn't do anything when Gaara came was because you're missing some brain cells," the boy murmured petulantly.
"Well, I wouldn't disagree with you," Harry admitted, After all, Anko had knocked him around enough times that he wasn't surprised he came across a little screwy. "But at least they aren't fried. Why the cat ears anyway? And who are you again?"
"They are not cat ears! And my name is Kankuro."
"If you say so," Harry shrugged. "Anyway, Ja ne," he shrugged, gave a wave and headed off once more, though he couldn't help but feel sorry for Gaara if that was how the people in Suna reacted to him. No wonder he thought he was some kind of monster. He did make a mental note to send him a few letters though, maybe introduce him to Naruto and Sasuke when they came to watch him in the third exam. The kid needed a few friends.
Of course, next time he saw Gaara he would have to let him know though. He didn't want Manji or Houzenka getting hit by overprotective sand after all.
It was about midday the day after Harry's second run in with Gaara and meeting Kankuro when the teachers who would be tutoring Harry and Hana for the third exam finally arrived and were presented to them by Shikaku (who had apparently made sure that one of them, at least, was on time for once. Either that or he had been late and they just hadn't been aware of it due to not knowing what time the Jonin would show up). Inuzuka Tsume was a wild looking woman with hair that rivalled Harry's own in messiness, with sharp looking eyes and red pained lips. However, there were a few things that resembled her daughter. Much like Hana and the rest of the Inuzuka, Tsume has the red 'fang' like markings on each cheek, and her face shape, along with her hair colour and skin tone looked much like Hana. Though Hana's appearance seemed far tamer than Tsume's wilder presence, it was easy to see they were mother and daughter. She, unlike Hana, had a single dog partner named Kuromaru, an impressive sized and rather intimidating wolfish canine that appeared to have gone through many battles, bearing an eye patch and missing an ear as well. However, he didn't seem at all bothered by it. Though it was a surprise to hear the dog actually talk, in a language that Harry understood, in order to greet them.
It took all his pride as an Uchiha not to gape at it. He seriously needed to pay more attention to the other clans from now on, he didn't really like feeling blindsided by such things.
Hatake Kakashi was someone Harry easily recognised, however, as he had passed the man quite often during his training sessions with Anko, often seeing the man standing near the monument. He also knew the man a little by reputation as more than once he recalled he had witnessed many an ninja complain about his perpetual lateness (even some Uchiha in the past, well, back when there were more Uchiha than himself and Sasuke, of course). Much like Tsume, he had hair that seemed to have a life of its own, though silver in colour, and had very little skin showing other than perhaps a quarter of his face that wasn't hidden by either a slanted Hitae ate or a face mask that covered his nose and mouth and a little bit of his arm and fingers that weren't covered by sleeves or gloves respectively. And while he looked at Harry with a spark of curiosity in his deep grey eye, he looked like he preferred to be anywhere but there right now.
"OK you two, these guys will be your teachers for the exam. Tsume here will be arranging Hana's training, and Kakashi will be training Harry. Just be sure not to bring him to the exams late though, Kakashi, it'll be Troublesome if the first match will have to get postponed or something."
"Don't worry, I can handle it," Kakashi said.
"Good. Well, I'm going to help Kabuto get back to Konoha. I'll leave them in your capable hands – good luck with the third exam, you two," he added, before vanishing in a poof of smoke.
"I'll see you at the exam then," Hana said, giving Harry a smile. "Train hard but take care of yourself."
"Will do. See you then, Hana. And you three, too, of course," he added to the Haimaru brothers, who barked, tails wagging in appreciation before the Inuzuka's left, leaving Harry to turn his attention to the Jonin that would be training him.
"So, you're Anko's prized student then?" Kakashi said after a moment of uncomfortable silence where all they had really done was look at each other awkwardly. Maybe he hadn't been sure how to start off a conversation with a Genin he wasn't testing for the graduation exam – something Harry was actually somewhat grateful he wasn't doing – he'd heard rumours that he hadn't actually passed a team yet.
"I don't know about 'prized', since I don't think Anko-sensei has even had another student, but Anko's my teacher." Harry shrugged, though he couldn't help but feel a little pleased that Anko, for all her teasing and Spartan, sadistic training ways, had some pride in him as a student outside of their shared love of Dango and serpents (or in Harry's case, at least serpents that he wasn't forced to milk for poison's for the Nara's on missions, of course).
"She asked me to train you up for the third exam - I have a few skills that I can teach you that might be useful for the third exam that Anko isn't really able to do," Kakashi explained. "Anyway, before we get started, let's get to know each other a little bit, since we're going to be together for a month. It'll help me at least to work out what to expect from you."
"You mean other than perhaps some insanity from dealing with Anko on a regular basis?" Harry couldn't help but joke, though was somewhat curious as to what the odd recognising spark in Kakashi's eye had been after his bout of humour. He shook it off, however. "Sure. I'm assuming you'd rather we didn't talk about it in the hall though."
"Let's go to the roof. We can talk there."
With that, he vanished too. Sighing and clearing away the smoke with a wave of his hand, Harry had to wonder why there were ninja that had to Shunshin everywhere. Shrugging though, he made his way up to the roof.
The roof itself wasn't very fancy, just a flat top like many of the regular buildings in Suna. Still, it had a slightly raised wall, so Harry had something to sit on while Kakashi stood before him.
"Well, our sensei only told me a few things about you, so, let's get to know each other."
"Any particular way?" Harry asked, glancing up at him. "Anko likes to get to know people by throwing sharp and pointy objects at them and generally freaking out everyone in a mile radius, but I'm going to assume that's not quite what you meant."
It was amusing to see the sweat drop appear, as Kakashi coughed into a hand, obviously trying to keep on topic rather than begin a discussion about Anko's….tendencies. "No, not quite like that. Just tell me a little about yourself, you know, likes, dislikes, hobbies, dreams, that kind of thing."
"Seems like a more normal way to go about it," Harry agreed. "Hm….alright. Well, you know who I am, I'd assume. I like dango, my friends and family, I don't like traitors. My hobbys would be looking after my brothers, playing pranks and training." He decided not to mention the magic thing just yet. True he had mentioned it to his team, but it had been some harsh circumstances, and Anko might have already told Kakashi. "Dreams….well, I don't particularly have a dream. Except maybe to become strong enough to protect my family and friends, especially from….certain people. What about you?"
There seemed to be something of an approving glint in the Jonin's eye "You're a lot like him, you know," he said after a moment, though Harry was unsure if he was supposed to have hear the comment or not. "Well, I'm Hatake Kakashi. I like some things and I don't like others and my dream is….never mind."
Harry felt his eyebrow tick. "You know, a little information that I didn't already know would be nice." He bit out.
"I'm sure you'll find out more about me over the training," Kakashi shrugged. "Anyway, you should get what you need for a month of training and meet me at the gates. We have a lot of work to do, after all. You better be prepared for whatever I decide to throw at you."
As Kakashi disappeared, Harry had a feeling that things were going to be either interesting, frustrating, or something else. He did have to wonder who this 'him' was though….
Still, he nodded and darted off to get what he needed. He had a month to train for the Chunin exams and he wanted to make the most of everything.
Training with Kakashi wasn't quite what he imagined. The man seemed to know quite a lot, but getting information out of him was sometimes like trying to get blood from a rock with a Styrofoam syringe. The first thing they had done was spar, since Kakashi apparently wanted to see what level he had been on, but had brought out a book he had only ever seen in the Hokage's possession before – Icha Icha Paradise. He could only hope that pervert wasn't something that was catching. But what had really annoyed him was that he had the nerve to try and read it while fighting him.
However, Harry soon found a way to get the man to pay attention. An Accio soon had the book flying over into his hands.
"Stop fooling around and teach me already!" Harry growled. "If you don't, I'm holding this book hostage until you actually do! And if you don't, I'm setting it on fire. I need to train for the chunin exam, stop fooling around!"
He changed his tune pretty fast after that. Though it did take a while of the man hugging his book to him and murmuring about how Harry had picked up some cruel tendencies from Anko before he did. He couldn't help but roll his eyes at that. Honestly, it wasn't that cruel, was it?
After that though, things had gone much more smoothly.
After explaining what they would be expecting from Kikou Onichi, Kakashi came up with several things that he would teach Harry. The first surprised him, especially when he found out the man had the Sharingan under his Hitae ate of all things.
No wonder the Uchiha had never been that respectful about the guy. But Kakashi assured him that it had been a gift from an Uchiha team mate he had had in the past. However, he decided one of the things to teach Harry would be to utilise his sharingan. While most of it was instinctual, there was one part of it that would benefit from having an actual Sharingan tutor – genjutsu. Now, Harry readily admitted that he wasn't a Genjutsu specialist, focusing more on taijutsu and ninjutsu (as well as magic) than Genjutsu and only really knew the basics. However, Kakashi assured him that it could be of a great help to him.
Harry spent a few rather fun days when he had started to get the basics of this when they had gone into a nearby town and Harry had been tasked to practice a little harmless genjutsu, which had definitely interested his inner prankster. So during those times he amused himself by causing those that met his Sharingan eyes to bump into things they assured sceptical people around them hadn't been there, or tricked a few men to walk into the ladies bathroom, amusing himself at the cries of protest and the red hand shape marks on the cheeks of the men as they scrambled out once more. While Harry didn't want to always rely on his Sharingan for things, especially considering the basilisk rendered sight based anything too dangerous, he could see the point that Kakashi made to be sure to know how to use it fully for when he didn't have to be so concerned about sight so he could fight in any kind of situation. Not to mention he honestly found he quite enjoyed using Genjutsu far more than he had thought he would and made a to ask Anko at some point to teach him some non-Sharingan related Genjutsu too. Since she could be quite sadistic, he wouldn't be surprised if she had one or two up her sleeve, or at least knew someone who had expertise in the subject.
When not training his Sharingan eyes, Kakashi focused on helping Harry to increase his speed by focusing chakra to his legs and using it as a springboard to increase his speed or to help swiftly change direction, as this would be good to use along side the Chakra no Mesu, especially if he wanted to avoid that dangerous Iron club that Onichi seemed to be able to use expertly.
He also taught Harry a few more things. Firstly he taught him the Doton: Shinjū Zanshu no Jutsu, a jutsu that allowed the user to tunnel underground and yank a target under ground leaving only their heads visible. It had been a little difficult, but with the help of Sharingan and pure stubbornness, despite him not having an earth alignment, he managed to pull it off. He also taught him how to summon lots of smaller sized snakes rather than one large one. While Kakashi had a contract with nin-dogs, not snakes, it was still something that was helpful to know. After all, one large snake could be seen as one big target. Several smaller but no less deadly ones could give him a bit more of an advantage, though this was something of a hit or miss guesswork between them, considering the differing natures between the serpents and the nin-dogs. However, they managed to cover some of this.
Kakashi also taught him one last jutsu as well, though he was warned that it wasn't a jutsu he should use too often – Chidori. A jutsu that Kakashi himself created and was supposed to be used for assassination (though Harry couldn't see how considering it was noisy and flashed around lightning chakra quite a bit – maybe it was used to assassinate the blind and deaf?), it could tear through almost anything in its path. Kakashi made sure to warn him though that he should only use it to protect outside of these Chunin exams, and that he should only really use it if he was struggling to get through Onichi's thick armour. Harry took the words to heart though. A jutsu to protect….he liked the thought of this and thanked Kakashi profusely, even though training to use it often left Harry needing to use Shousen on his own arms which generally ended up scratched quite a bit every time he forced his Chidori covered hand through stone. The jutsu did need something of a running start though, which was another reason that Kakashi thought it wise for him to increase his speed. Normally, he informed him one day when they had stopped to take a break, the jutsu would have created a kind of tunnel vision effect too, but considering the nature of the Sharingan, those with said bloodline could bypass that problem. Kakashi's main concern was that he could only do it for a limited amount of time; otherwise he could accidentally drain his own life force away.
Currently he could only use it a few times a day safely, but Kakashi told him that as long as he didn't accidentally kill himself and kept an eye on his chakra levels, he would be able to increase the usage of it. He bore that in mind for the future, but considering it was something of a last resort for the Chunin exams unless he wanted to accidentally kill anyone without armour, which seemed to be everyone but Onichi, he couldn't see himself needing it more than those few times.
Between the times when he wasn't training with Kakashi, eating or sleeping, Harry also made sure to bring out that practice doll that Kabuto had given him to practice his Chakra no Mesu, usually during the times when Kakashi needed to rest, normally if he used his Sharingan too often. That was something that bemused Harry – he had never felt overly tired after using his Sharingan all day, but Kakashi would crash if he used it for even an hour. He had to wonder if it had anything to do with the fact it was always active under the headband, or if it was because he wasn't of Uchiha blood (as disappointed as he had been to find out he didn't have another relative). Still, while Kakashi rested, Harry made sure to refine the medical jutsu, or to practice using it against several clones, if he had the chakra to spare at that point.
Harry actually couldn't help but feel that the month had been rather well spent, even though he had spent his thirteenth birthday in the middle of a Suna Desert. He couldn't help but smile as he remembered it though.
They had just sat down for the day after having started the first practice with the Chidori when the two Sharingan users spotted something…..odd in the sky. It had taken them a moment before they realised that odd shape had been flying towards them and the two had tensed – thankfully it had been nothing to worry about as, once they came out of the sun somewhat Harry could finally work out what they were.
Harry blinked. Two of the owls he recognised straight away, the female with the red and brown plumage like fire was Houzenka, while the black one with a white cross like marking on its chest had to be his other owl, Manji. However, he didn't recognise the other owls. There was a rather handsome tawny owl and, between it and his own owls, was carrying an owl that looked dead at first glance except it was breathing fairly weakly. It took him a moment to realise exactly who it was – Errol, the Weasley family owl. Harry cursed slightly under his breath. The owl was old and frail and had failed deliveries on occasion – he remembered that Ron had explained that last year when his letters were being taken by Dobby the house elf that they had originally assumed it had been the fault of Errol rather than anything else. He was actually surprised it had survived the flight all the way from England to the Hidden continents and hadn't been killed by a ninja – he could only assume that his owls had managed to save him. That or they had been extremely lucky.
"Owls?" Kakashi blinked, bemused.
"Yeah, Wizards use owls rather than hawks," Harry explained as he made room for the birds to perch on the rocks they had been using to rest on. "Most are stronger than you'd think, though the grey one, Errol is on his last legs. You'd think that they'd let the poor thing retire, but the Weasley family are pretty damned poor, so I'm going to assume they couldn't afford another one or something. I'll have to make sure that they don't try to sent me things with Errol though otherwise the thing's not going to survive."
"Is this one of those Voodoo things of yours?" the Jonin asked, frowning. Harry snickered slightly. Ever since he had managed to summon Kakashi's book from him, no matter where he hid it in order to hold it hostage if Kakashi ever did anything like starting training off hours later than he should to vanish off to who knew where, he had something of a dislike for magic, even though he could grudgingly see what the Hokage allowed him to vanish off to Hogwarts for nine months at a time. (not to mention try to keep it a low profile when he could). Didn't mean that he enjoyed having his Icha Icha stolen and hidden by a few wand flicks and a few unknown words that he couldn't copy.
"Yes, its more 'Voodoo' stuff," Harry rolled his eyes. "Hey, I don't suppose you know any way of easing Errol's suffering a bit while I work out what's in all these letters and parcels that are my birthday gifts, would you?"
"You mean other than putting it out of its misery?" Kakashi asked, cocking a brow at him.
"Yes, other than that," Harry drawled back, chuckling slightly. For all the jokes though, Kakashi did take the bird quite gently and help to get some water down its beak, but to the bird's relief from its grateful hoot. With that, Harry removed the gifts from the other birds and managed to conjure water into some bowls for the other birds to get some rest too. The Owl that had been carrying his Hogwart's letter for the year stayed only long enough to drink deeply before taking off again as if it wanted to be anywhere but the Ninja territories, though Manji and Houzenka happily accepted drinks before taking a good long rest, enjoying the petting they got from their master also. With the owls seen too, Harry turned his attention back to the gifts he had been given.
Grabbing the first package he had taken – the one belonging to Errol, Harry opened the present and smiled at the envelope that had a birthday card in it, bit had to blink, startled, at the gift that, within the paper bag had been wrapped in gold of all things. Hoping that that would be explained, considering he was well aware of the Weasley's money problems, Harry opened the envelope which, as well as holding his birthday card also had two peaces of paper inside – a letter and what looked like a newspaper clipping.
Pulling the clipping out of the envelope first and putting a rock on top of the other papers so they wouldn't fly away in the wind, he glanced at it. It had clearly come from a wizard newspaper, since it had moving pictures on it – a picture of the Weasley family standing in front of a pyramid of all things, the adults in the back with some of the brother's either side, with Ron in the middle with an arm around Ginny, his sister, and had his lazy pet rat Scabbers sitting on his shoulder. Feeling even more bemused, he read the actual article, hoping that that would finally offer the explanation he was looking for.
MINISTRY OF MAGIC EMPLOYEE SCOOPS GRAND PRIZE
Arthur Weasley, Head of the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office at the Ministry of Magic, has won the annual Daily Prophet Grand Prize Galleon Draw.
A delighted Mr. Weasley told the Daily Prophet, "We will be spending the gold on a summer holiday in Egypt, where our eldest son, Bill, works as a curse breaker for Gringotts Wizarding Bank."
The Weasley family will be spending a month in Egypt, returning for the start of the new school year at Hogwarts, which five of the Weasley children currently attend.
Ah, so that was the reason for the hints of extravagance, though personally he thought that the first thing they should have bought was a new owl, but this was a civilian family, magical or otherwise, so he shouldn't have been surprised. While he was certainly happy for them, he did hope they had been at least a little practical and stored some of the money away to save for a later date, for example when Errol finally kicked the bucket.
Still, he shook off that thought and exchanged the clipping for the letter that Ron had sent.
Happy birthday! I hope that everything is going alright in Japan and you actually get this letter instead of having House elves stopping your main. That would be really annoying for you if it happened again, right?
It's amazing here in Egypt. Bill's taken us around all the tombs and you wouldn't believe the curses those old Egyptian wizards put on them. Mum wouldn't let Ginny come in the last one. There were all these mutant skeletons in there, of Muggles who'd broken in and grown extra heads and stuff
I couldn't believe it when Dad won the Daily Prophet Draw. Seven hundred galleons! Most of it's gone on this holiday. Thanks to you paying for the new wander after you broke the last one, we've even got a bit left over too. Hopefully it means I can get some new things this year. Of course, the fact we still have our memories is much better than not having them and still having my old wand. I'll tell you about it when we're back at school though.
We'll be back in England about a week before term starts and we'll be going up to London to get our new books and things for the year. Any chance you'll be able to get a portkey over then so we can meet you there?
Hope your summer job doesn't get you down.
Try to come to London,
PS: The twins say hi as well and have also added a present for you that they found from somewhere as well. It should be wrapped up with my gift in the other parcel.
PPS: Percy's Head Boy. He got his letter last week.
So that's what it was. He had thought Percy looked rather smug even in the black and white photograph. As he took another glance at the photo though, he noticed the badge sitting proudly on his chest. Though what the point of wearing it while not even ay Hogwarts seemed weird to him.
Shaking his head, he unwrapped the present that Ron had got for him, feeling somewhat bemused by the fact he had what looked like a miniature child's spinning top that stood on its point on his hand despite it not spinning and appeared to be made of glass. Curious, he glanced at the note that came with it for some kind of explanation.
Harry — this is a Pocket Sneakoscope. If there's someone untrustworthy around, it's supposed to light up and spin. Bill says it's rubbish sold for wizard tourists and isn't reliable, because it kept lighting up at dinner last night. But he didn't realize Fred and George had put beetles in his soup.
Bye — Ron
Snickering a little at the thought – boy did he love those two guys – he passed the note over to Kakashi who had been looking at it from over his shoulder. "That's kind of useful actually," Harry mused. "Didn't know he had it in him."
"Indeed. Maybe we should see if we can get one for the Hokage?" Kakashi suggested.
"Yeah, maybe," Harry agreed. While it would be annoying if he ever played any tricks on the old man it did seem like something that would be useful for the Hokage to have. He bore that in mind. Maybe he'd lend him his Sneakascope while he was away on missions or something.
There was another package too from the Weasely twins, as Ron had mentioned in his letter, who had given him some spells that could be used for pranks that he decided to keep for another time though.
(He did end up a few days later testing one out after he had once more had to hold the Icha Icha hostage from Kakashi once more, which somehow managed to turn the Icha Icha into a cod fish. Harry couldn't help but laugh hysterically while Kakashi freaked out about it, but did manage to transfigure it back again. The only problem was that the girl on the cover somehow wouldn't change back fully and seemed to stubbornly want to remain a mermaid instead like the kind on cartoons rather than the real life kinds. But considering that Mermaids traditionally wore nothing but a sea shell bra or their own hair to keep modesty, the Jonin didn't seem to upset by that little mistake. Though he did clutch his Icha Icha like a lifeline and seemed like he would break down into hysterics if he even looked like he was going to summon the book again to himself, so he decided to keep the other spells for another time unless he wanted to risk making Kakashi have a minor breakdown or something)
Putting his gifts from the Weasley to one side, the next gift he picked up was the one that Manji had brought to him and held the message and what looked like a containment scroll. Obviously these gifts had been brought from Konoha. Quickly, he released what was contained in the scroll, which revealed two letters and two parcels. The first letter was from Naruto and Sasuke, but he was surprised to find the other letter was from Anko. He had half been expecting that Housenka might have had the gift from her. Putting aside his curiosity at what Houzenka might have brought him, he instead turned his attention to the letters from his brothers first.
I hope that the training is going well! Anko, that weird teacher of yours came by to let us know you got into the third exams and have the chance to make Chunin. We're allowed to come and see how you do on the third exam too, Anko's going to be taking us so we can come and watch.
Since the exams were going to be in Suna, Naruto and I put our heads together to work out what to get you and decided on a new outfit, so you don't fry out in the desert heat and, in Naruto's words, you'll 'look cool kicking ass'. Don't worry though, I made sure there's no orange on the outfit. Yes, I can hear your sigh of relief.
Hope you like the present and We'll see you soon.
(This part was written in Naruto's untidy scrawl rather than Sasuke's painfully neat penmanship, before switching back to Sasuke once again for the postscript)
PS: Naruto said he's still struggling with his Kanji, so he asked me to do the writing. Personally I think it's because he's annoyed I vetoed the Orange coloured lyrca outfit that he was going to send to you instead.
Thanking whatever god it was that had helped Sasuke stop that monstrosity on time, Harry carefully opened the package from his brothers and, as Sasuke had said, not a spot of orange on it (much to his relief). Instead, he was presented with a white collared zip up gi like shirt with an Uchiha symbol on one of the long sleeves as well as the back (so he could wear his Chunin vest without having to worry about the clan symbol not being on view, according to a small note pinned on it), a black obi, black ninja trousers and black ninja sandals, with some white bandages to wrap at his ankles and thigh for his Kunai pouch so it wouldn't chafe. All of it made from strong, durable, but light weight material, perfect for the exams. But his brothers were certainly right. He thought he was going to look really cool in them. He was going to have to thank them next time he saw them.
He folded the clothes up for now. He would definitely wear them on the examination day. No need to make them all dirty or sweaty during training after all.
He then turned to Anko's letter, unsure. After all, he wasn't sure if Anko could do something as normal as send a letter, but apparently she could. He checked it over with his Sharingan, looking for traps and the like, but saw nothing. Tentatively, he unfolded the letter and started to read.
Happy Birthday, Midori-me,
Yeah, don't look so shocked, I can actually send a normal, non-trap-covered letter – admittedly I wanted to send a trap covered letter but that bird of yours wouldn't carry it at all unless it was normal. You've got that owl trained well, guess I should be glad your mail can't get booby trapped.
You got to the Third Exam, congrats, brat! Good job you did otherwise that favour I called in would have gone to waste. Say Hi to Kakashi for me, by the way. Make sure you make Chunin Uchiha, then I don't have to have the Hokage moan at me about my training methods and you don't have to run laps around the Forest of Death with the Fire Country Tigers.
I've even got you a present – aren't I a nice Sensei? We finished analysing that basilisk skin you left for us and it looks like they have a decent amount of armour too them while being flexible too – so I've got you some gloves that you can use, to help prevent injury if you need to do something like performing a blade catch or stop another big snake from trying to eat you before you can convince it to be your friend.
I'll be heading to Suna with the brat brigade to check out how you do in the exams, so I'll see you then
You're beloved Sensei,
PS: make sure you look to see where the best Dango is in Suna for your celebration party once you're Chunin
Harry pulled out the gift she had given him, the basilisk hide gloves. They closely resembled the kind Kalashi wore, only black. When he slipped them on, they felt surprisingly comfortable as well. Crazy as Anko could be, she certainly had some style, even if she had a strange dress sense where it was only herself concerned. She seemed pretty convinced he was going to pass too. He would just have to prove her right – he certainly didn't want to end up doing laps with those tigers chasing after him if he was to fail, it was definitely a good motivation to pass his last test.
The done, he turned to the present and letter that had confused him. To his surprise, he recognised the hand writing as that of Hermione. Wondering whether his brothers had sent Hozenka to his female friend, or if the owl had taken it upon herself to go, Harry opened her letter first.
Happy Birthday! I hope everything is going well in Japan.
I'm on holiday in France at the moment and I didn't know how I was going to send this to you — what if they'd opened it at customs? Not to mention I wasn't sure where it was you are in Japan. — but then Houzenka turned up! I think she wanted to make sure you got something for your birthday this year considering all your mail was stopped because of the Chamber fiasco last year. I bought your present by owl-order; there was an advertisement in the Daily Prophet (I've been getting it delivered; it's so good to keep up with what's going on in the wizarding world). Did you see that picture of Ron and his family a week ago? I bet he's learning loads. I'm really jealous — the ancient Egyptian wizards were fascinating.
There's some interesting local history of witchcraft here, too. I've rewritten my whole History of Magic essay to include some of the things I've found out, I hope it's not too long — it's two rolls of parchment more than Professor Binns asked for.
Ron says he's going to be in London in the last week of the holidays. Can you make it? Will your summer job allow you to come? I really hope you can. If not, I'll see you on the Hogwarts Express on September first!
Love from Hermione
P.S. Ron says Percy's Head Boy. I'll bet Percy's really pleased. Ron doesn't seem too happy about it.
Harry couldn't help but chuckle at that. No doubt his impatient friend had started to get ticked off by Percy wearing his Head Boy badge even during the holidays. Curious as to what her present was – after all, she had given him rather interesting gifts before, like the martial arts book that he had lent to Naruto to help give his Taijutsu some actual form other than street brawl. At first he wondered if she had sent him a large tome of some kind, but was pleasantly surprised when he found instead a sleek black leather case marked Broomstick Servicing Kit. He couldn't help but beam. He enjoyed flying a lot even if he had originally thought the idea of using a broomstick to fly was ridiculous, the actual thrill of it rivalled a good fight. So having something to keep his own broom in good condition was an extremely good present. Though it would have to wait before he started looking into it properly, he doubted desert sand would be good for the objects inside.
Finally, the last post he had got from the owls were the ones delivered by the Hogwarts owl which consisted on his Hogwarts letter, and what looked like a letter and present from Hagrid. He was going to look at the note first, when the parcel shuddered.
Pausing, surprised, he exchanged a look with Kakashi, to make sure he hadn't been seeing things, but when a snapping sound came from it, he knew for definite that it had moved. Not about to open a thing that sounded like it had teeth and jaws to comp with, especially where Hagrid was concerned, Harry quickly tore open the letter and looked inside to see if it would explain something about what was in the parcel.
Think you might find this useful for next year. Won't say no more here. Tell you when I see you.
Hope everything is going alright in Japan.
All the best,
"Gee, thanks for the explanation, Hagrid," Harry couldn't help but grumble sarcastically. Honestly, he now had no idea about what it was other than it would be important for next year, so that meant if whatever it was attacked he couldn't kill the dratted thing. Sighing, he took the shuddering parcel, but passed some ninja wire to Kakashi. "Alright,. I'm going to open this thing. As soon as you can, tie it up in the wire. Hopefully if we get it first it wont get us."
"You have weird friends," the copy ninja couldn't help but note, though he unwound the wire anyway.
"You have no idea…." Harry groaned. "OK, on three. One…two…three!" And with that, he unwrapped the paper, and out fell….a book? Harry blinked, looking at it in a stunned manner for a moment, reading the title. "Monster Book of Monsters….?" He murmured, wondering what that was supposed to mean, when the thing tried to flip over and snap on his hands. Thankfully, that broke Harry out of his thoughts and he smacked his hands either side of its covers to keep it still while Kakashi pounced on it with the wire.
At least now he knew what the title meant.
"What the heck Wizards?!" Harry threw up his hands. "What's the point of a biting book? I swear magic stole their collective brains…." Growling, he slammed the book into the ground hard, gratified to hear it whimper. Hopefully he could teach it to not try to bit him –
Great, and now he was losing his mind too. Stupid wizards.
"This better be important to next year, otherwise I'm going to have to teach him that not everyone likes huge pets. He'd probably think the Kyuubi was cute and loveable." He couldn't help but grumble, shaking his head.
Finally, he picked up the last letter and scanned through it to see if there was anything interesting he would need to pick up from Hogwarts. The books listed off some of his new books – one of them actually was the Monster Book of Monsters, it seemed, so he guessed he couldn't clout Hagrid over the head for forgetting hat normal people thought were normal where animals (and books apparently) were concerned. It also listed his Books for Ancient Runes as well, and the new book for Defence Against the Dark Arts, which sounded a lot more useful than Lockhart's drivel from the year before, thankfully.
There was one thing that was interesting though, a form that seemed to ask for permission so that he could go to the town of Hogsmead on certain days, so long as a parent or Guardian signed the form. He made a mental note to give it to the Hokage when he got back. While he was technically classed as an adult in the Ninja World, he doubted that most of the teachers would be happy that he signed his own permission. No one could contend with the Hokage's signature though. Hopefully the Sandaime wouldn't be on the warpath for Harry giving him more paperwork though.
With a chuckle, Harry sealed everything into the containment scroll that his gifts from Anko and his brothers had had inside. After all, he still had almost half a month more training to go before he returned to any kind of village after all.
Smiling at the memory, Harry stretched a little, glancing up at the sky. Only three more days now before the Third Exam was going to begin. If he wasn't ready for it after everything, then he would never be. But still, he was ready and prepared. He was definitely going to get through this exam and return home a Chunin. That he promised.
To Be Continued….
(all Japanese words used in this chapter that are not present here have already been translated in other chapters.)
Doton: Shinjū Zanshu no Jutsu - Earth Release: Double Suicide Decapitation Technique – This technique conceals the user underground and drags the object of their attack down into the earth, robbing them of their freedom. In addition, they can start another attack. It is also a jutsu sometimes used for torture as the neck can be cut into while the opponent is unable to move or attack back
Chidori – one thousend birds – a lightning nature jutsu created by Kakashi when he first became jonin. He taught it to Sasuke in the canon series.
I'm sorry for the long wait – hm, this seems to be a common thing to start my notes on. Lol. However, When real life Kidnaps you, it does take a while to escape. To make it up to you guys though I did make this a longer chapter – it was 28 pages long after all, so I hope that it makes things up to you. Thanks for everyone who asked after me though to make sure things were still moving on. Suffice to say though it may take me a while sometimes, I will keep updating this at my own sporadic rate. If I was ever going to discontinue this I promise I will let you know. As it is, I have no intention of stopping this fic, so don't you worry!
Anyway, I hope that this has covered everything you guys wanted. I'll admit I was struggling a bit with Kakashi's parts in this. I'm actually thinking that perhaps on the Uchiha Potter Shorts I might make an Omake or a short story about Kakashi and his thoughts on Harry. What do you guys think?
Preview of the next Uchiha Potter
Harry: After all the preparation, the training, its finally here! I don't care what happens, I wont fail those who believe in me, I will become Chunin! Next episode: The Chunin Exams - The Final Exam! You wont want to miss it.
Until Next Time,
Chosha Kurenai xXx