A/N: *Hides in shame* I know, I know, super long wait for this chapter. I don't really have a good excuse; it was just one of those things I kept putting off until later and then somehow a year went by.
Warning: This chapter is un-betaed, mainly since I just wanted to stop procrastinating and just post this chapter finally.
It was now a month and a half since Harry had arrived in Naruto's world and a little over one month since he had earned the rank of genin and officially became Tsunade-sensei's apprentice. The messy-haired boy was starting to feel at home despite the fact he was more or less locked away in the tower, his only companions being Tsunade-sensei and Shizune-san, though Naruto visited whenever he wasn't away on a mission. Sure, every now and then Harry felt a pang of homesickness and thoughts of his old life crept up unexpectedly. Like when he had been helping Shizune-san sort through the piles of paperwork into organized, manageable piles for Tsunade and the thought that even Hermione would have trouble going through all that paper made him smile sadly. And the other day when he and Tsunade were talking about the anatomical differences she had found between her world and his after studying the male death eater's body and Harry had looked at the clock realizing that at home he would have been in History of Magic right then, playing hangman with Ron.
Whenever Harry found himself missing Hogwarts and those left behind, he would submerge himself in work or thoughts of his younger brother; anything to keep his mind occupied. There was no going back even if he wanted to, and that's all there was to it. For better or for worse this was his new home, and lamenting over what he had left behind would help no one.
But now was hardly the time to think about his old life anyway; he may already know all this information already, but it wouldn't do to have Tsunade's apprentice not paying attention in a program she had spent a lot of time, effort (and money) preparing. So Harry pushed away those thoughts, and like the rest of the genin crammed in the room he paid full attention to his Hokage.
"The life of a ninja is a life full of peril and duty." Tsunade began, speaking to her rapt audience. "Many of the missions you have and will be asked to complete are extremely dangerous with a low rate of survival. To give our ninja a better chance, we put them in teams; that way you'll have comrades to watch your back and even if you aren't proficient in a certain area, one of your teammates may be."
"But even then, the death rate of Leaf shinobi is higher than I'm willing to accept. It is a proven fact that teams with a medic have a higher chance of survival by 23%; unfortunately even with that known there are far too few medics among our ranks either due to lack of interest, skill or teachers. That will change now."
"The academy curriculum has been revamped so all graduates will have a much stronger base in medical techniques than you and it will graduate teams with at least one member on the path to becoming a full-fledged medic-nin. Unfortunately, you guys are already in set cells. Don't worry, I won't split up your teams or stop you from doing missions in order to work at the hospital; but I do demand that at least one person per team learns enough to be a qualified field medic. To help you with this, there will be a workshop once per week that covers basic medical knowledge and techniques; many of these things you should already know, like properly wrapping a wound and natural disinfectants in the wild. Other things will be new to you, but are well worth learning. I am aware that you won't be able to go every week and will often be away on missions, but before the year is out I expect each of you to attend at least ten of these seminars. If you want to be qualified as field medics, expect to attend a lot more. For those that show an added interest and aptitude in healing, extra classes or an apprenticeship with an experienced med-nin will be available to you. Again, I won't pull you from your team or expect you to quit your other duties, so it will be a loose apprenticeship, but at the same time be aware that it will take longer to be a qualified med-nin. Each workshop will take place on Saturdays at 3 o'clock, room 103 in the hospital. Are there any questions?"
Tenten raised her hand. "Will you be the one running the workshops Hokage-sama?"
"No," Tsunade replied. "The workshops will be run by medics from the hospital and will be supervised by either my apprentice Shizune, or a senior med-nin from the hospital like Yakushi Kohei or Akamichi Musume. All are accomplished medics in their own right, so don't worry, you'll be in good hands. However, for those who show great aptitude and drive there will be additional workshops for more advanced techniques that I will run every now and then."
A genin Harry didn't recognize was next. "What if no one on our team shows an aptitude for healing?"
"Well, I still expect you all to learn as much as you can, for your teammates' sake if nothing else." Tsunade replied. "And I very much doubt that any given team will be so bad that not even one member can reach the capabilities of a field medic. But if that is the case; well we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
"What happens if we don't attend 10 workshops before the year is out?"
"There is no reason that should be the case; your senseis and superiors will be making sure that you each get enough Saturdays off this year. And even then, you are encouraged to ask your superiors and fellow shinobi about what techniques they know; just because we set up somewhere for you to learn medical techniques doesn't meant that should be the only place to learn those things, and as long as you show a solid understanding and skill of basic knowledge and techniques, it's fine if you don't attend 10 seminars by the year's end. But if you did have the opportunity and were just slacking off – beware of a year of D-rank missions with reduced pay."
Many of the genins shuddered in fear at their awaiting fate should they disregard the Hokage's words.
Seeing as no one else had any questions, Tsunade started speaking again.
"Before you go you will be tested on your knowledge and aptitude for healing by myself or one of the medics you see stationed at the tables around the room. This will take a while, so be patient."
The Hokage was right; it did take a while. Even though only a third of the genin were at the meeting (there would be a more gatherings for the rest of genin; if they had called all the village's genin even for just the afternoon many missions would have gone unfulfilled and the country's borders would have gone mostly unpatrolled), and there were over a dozen medics helping out, it still took three hours for all the genin to be tested. Harry, not having to go through with the tests and not yet skilled enough to conduct the tests, was charged with gathering the paperwork, copying it and sorting it, so that Tsunade, the hospital staff, and the genins' senseis/superiors would know what to expect.
Finally his sensei finished with her last genin (Naruto's pink-haired teammate no less) and Harry went to collect the last of the papers. The other medics had long since gone since most of the genins had preferred being tested by the Hokage and Slug Sannin Tsunade rather than just some other medic.
"You know, you're lucky that you had arrived when you did." Tsunade said as Sakura left the room.
"What do you mean?" Harry asked. After being around Naruto and Tsunade so often, Harry had dropped the formalities around his sensei in private. He wasn't outright disrespectful like his little brother, but he rarely addressed his mentor with her proper titles either.
"I mean that Haruno Sakura has the best chakra control I've ever seen; better than you and probably even better than me. She doesn't have nearly the same power level, but she does have a surprisingly good grasp of the basics and will make one hell of a medic. If you hadn't shown up when you did, she probably would have been my apprentice by now."
"Huh." Harry didn't know much about the girl, but from what he did know she wasn't anything special. He guessed she just hadn't been given the opportunity to show her stuff in a ninjutsu specialized team.
"It would have made an odd sort of sense to take her too;" Tsunade mused. "With Orochimaru teaching the Uchiha and Jiraiya teaching the brat, I almost feel like she was meant to learn from me."
"Well, if she's as good as you say she is, you will get to teach her." Harry replied. "You will be teaching some of the classes for the advanced students. And besides, you barely count as my sensei; with you being busy all the time it's Shizune or self-study for me."
The busty blond let out a short laugh. "True enough I suppose. But then again I picked you as my apprentice more for personal and political reasons than your talent; not that you don't have a great deal of it."
Harry acknowledged the validity in that statement with a nod as he sorted through the papers.
"So, do you want to hear the results now, or wait until the rest of the genin are tested?"
Outside the room Sakura took her ear off the door. She felt a great mix of emotions; eagerness to start learning and become a fully-fledged medic; joy and pride that Tsunade recognized her talents and hard-work enough to consider her as an apprentice; jealousy and disappointment that she was too late and another was chosen instead; and confusion over what personal and political reasons the Hokage had for choosing the mysterious foreigner.
But no matter how she felt about it, she couldn't change her circumstances. With a determined frame of mind the maturing girl straightened up and headed to the library – just because she couldn't be the Hokage's official apprentice didn't mean that she couldn't get stronger.
Tsunade ignored the large pile of papers as she poured herself another cup of sake. Taking Harry on as an apprentice was the best thing that had happened to her since she was tricked into taking the Hokage seat; not only did she learn new life-saving techniques from the boy's home-world, but he helped Shizune with her paperwork making it even easier to deal with and most importantly he kept Shizune off her back about her habit of drinking and avoiding work since her oldest apprentice was charged with teaching Harry basic healing techniques/knowledge while the slug sannin was "busy doing her Hokage duties". And even without those perks Tsunade could have kissed the green-eyed boy; after learning how much his trunk of gold was worth in a world that used paper money and where the precious metal was rare, Harry had generously donated a considerable amount to Tsunade as the head of the village. On top settling her gambling debts, Tsunade was able to use the money to increase the rate and quality of rebuilding the parts of the village wrecked by the Sound/Sand invasion and also to grease some wheels in to get some of the laws and support she wanted politically speaking (her medic course being the prime example). And without Harry's own money greasing the way, it would have been twice as hard to get the council to accept her taking in some foreigner as her apprentice.
And even after all that, she still had enough money left over to buy a year's worth of sake. She really loved that kid.
"Drinking on the job Tsunade-hime?"
The blonde was too experienced a ninja to show her surprise, but she hated the fact that her old teammate could still sneak up on her.
"What do you want Jiraiya? It must be important if you were forced to leave the hot springs."
The toad sannin just laughed in reply, helping himself to the blonde's alcohol.
"I just received word on the Akatsuki." Jiraiya informed his Hokage. "Though they plan on eventually capturing all the bijuu, for now it isn't their primary objective. For the next two years or so they will focus on amassing monetary wealth."
"That is good," Tsunade commented. "It will give Naruto another year or two to get strong enough to fight them off."
"Actually, it will give Naruto three years to get strong." The white-haired man corrected.
"Three years?" Tsunade asked. "I thought you said two."
"Two years to gather money, yes." Jiraiya agreed. "But even once they go after the bijuu they will go after Naruto last; I have it on good authority that they'll go more or less in order when capturing the jinchuuriki, starting with the vessel of the one-tail and ending with Naruto. By the time they get to Naruto it will be about three years."
Tsunade felt her heart lighten a little bit; an extra year wasn't a lot, but it was something. And anything that would help keep Naruto safe was a positive in her book.
"We'll have to make sure that he trains hard then." Tsunade stated.
"That's why I'm here, actually." Jiraiya said. "I want permission to make Naruto my official apprentice."
Tsunade felt her eyebrow rise in surprise. "You mean he isn't already? You've already taught him the rasengan and he can summon toads; what do you want that you need him to officially be your apprentice?"
Jiraiya looked at his old teammate in the eye to convey how serious he was. "I want to take him on a two and a half year training journey."
The blonde felt her breath catch in her throat.
"Two and a half years?" the Hokage exclaimed. "Why so long? Couldn't you just teach him on the side like you've been doing already?"
Jiraiya shook his head in the negative. "After Orochimaru's attack and the knowledge that another one is coming in three years, now is the time to keep our information network strong. I need to be able to travel to visit my informants, make new ties and hear information first hand. I won't be able to return to Konoha for the next two and a half years, which is why I want to take Naruto with me. This way I can teach him and you'll have a readymade heir for my network; they won't accept anyone they hadn't met in my presence before. I'll even be able to expand my network if half of the rumours about Naruto and certain political figures are true. And if the Akatsuki do come for Naruto before we are back, I'll be able to at least hold them off long enough to return home. Come on Tsunade-hime; you know that this is the best option."
Tsunade sighed; it was true. When Tsunade had accepted the position of Hokage, the village had been reeling from the Oto/Suna invasion. They were forced to put all their ninjas to work; jounin sensei's were separated from their teams to perform higher paying solo missions, border patrols saw an increase in both number of ninjas but also the rank of those ninja – just in case another village decided to take advantage of their short weakness, genin teams worked with a chunnin commander or with no higher ranked ninja at all and there was almost no time off whether for sickness, training, or respite since Konoha needed to perform as many missions as possible to keep their image as the strongest hidden village.
Granted, things weren't as hectic now a full four months after the invasion. Indeed, many ninja were back to their duties/schedules from before the attack. The elite ANBU and high-ranked/well-known jounin however were still kept away from lesser duties like patrols and teaching to complete as many missions as possible. Therefore the Konoha 11 still worked mainly without their jounin sensei's, which was something Tsunade actually liked since she they would all have greatly improved leadership and teamwork skills considering they how she kept rearranging their teams on assignments. It would still be a while before Kakashi was released back to his team, so it wasn't like Naruto would profit from staying in Konoha. And with Naruto taken care of with Jiraiya, and Sakura busy with her medical training the village would profit from Kakashi acting as a full jounin without students for the next two years or so.
The blonde sighed; Jiraiya was right. Naruto needed this training to fight off the Akatsuki. Besides, Naruto was uncommonly gifted in making friends in high places whenever he left Fire Country's borders and if there was ever a time that Konoha needed allies it was now when an enemy capable of using the 9 bijuu waited on the horizon.
"Fine; you win, you old geezer." Tsunade conceded. "Naruto will officially be your apprentice and you have my permission to take him on this training trip."
"But," the Hokage interrupted before Jiraiya could fully celebrate. "You have to be the one to break the news to Harry."
It was a picturesque scene that night; the air was warm with a mild cool breeze to keep you from sweating, the stars were out in full force without any clouds to obstruct the view. For most of Konoha's citizen's it was a nice if unimportant evening. For Harry and Naruto, it was the last few hours they had together before Naruto's planned departure from Konoha and being separated for two and half years.
"I don't see why the old pervert can't just stay here with you." Harry grumbled out for the billionth time since hearing the news.
The truth was that Harry knew why Naruto was leaving and he even grudgingly agreed with the logic. But it didn't mean he had to like it. Two and a half years separation from the only constant in their lives and just after they had finally reunited – no, not even Naruto was fully happy with the plan despite the opportunity for one on one training with one of the greatest ninjas in the world.
"Aw, c'mon Harry" Naruto cajoled "it won't be that bad. I'll send Gamakichi and Gamatatsu back and forth for messages all the time and we'll both be so super busy the time will pass before we know it."
Harry sighed – he wanted to argue that letters and updates via summons wasn't the same as being able to see and talk to his brother in person, but they'd already been through this argument before. It was Naruto's last night and he was lazing contently on the Fourth's head while stargazing – Harry didn't want to spoil the blond's mood. But before they could fully relax...
"You have everything packed, right?"
Naruto huffed exasperatedly. "Geez Harry, I'm 12 not 3! Of course I packed everything!"
The brunette ignored his brother's sulking expression. "You have the English version of the forbidden scroll? And you burned the original copy you made, right? Plenty of scrolls and ink for letters? The goblin-made daggers? Enough we-"
"Yes, yes, yes! Sheesh! Besides, anything I forget you can send with the toads." Naruto grumbled.
"Sorry, I'm just worried. I mean 2 and a half years is a long time to be more or less on your own." Harry relented, sensing that his brother was reaching the end of his patience with him.
"I know." Naruto conceded. "I don't wanna be away from you that long either, but stop worrying so much – what happens will happen. Just gotta take it one day at a time."
"I guess" Harry agreed, reluctantly settling down beside his brother and hoping that the night lasts forever and the morning never comes.
THE END...(of part 1)
A/N: This is the last chapter of this story. Instead of having it over 50 chapters, I've decided to break it up as a trilogy. Part one consisted of everything that happened in the original Naruto timeframe, part two will take place during the 2 and a half year training trip and part three will take place during the shippuden series. My Naruto muse has been finicky this last year, so I don't know when and how often I'll be posting the sequel.