Extending the Boundaries
Life's gotten pretty busy over the last year, and fanfiction has almost dropped out of it completely. But since I do have this ready, and since I realize so many people have been looking forward to reading this, I'm going to give this story my best shot. That being said, the sequel, entitled "Extending the Boundaries" now has the first chapter up and ready to read. Hope to see you over there, and hope you enjoy this peak at things to come (you won't see it anywhere else!)...
"It's just not fair," the boy complained, sulking with his arms folded across his chest and a stubborn pout on his lips that even the tempting aroma of ramen couldn't chase away. "You were supposed to be my sensei," he continued unhappily, "Next year, you were supposed to get your promotion and I was supposed to graduate, and then you would be my teacher."
Harry fought the urge to roll his eyes. "Naruto…" He sighed.
The ten-year-old glowered up at him with dark blue eyes. "So what's this other kid like?" He demanded, "Is he as great a ninja as I am? I bet he isn't—he probably doesn't even deserve your attention."
"Firstly," Harry interceded sharply, "Genin teams are decided on by the Hokage, Naruto. I didn't choose my own student, Sandaime-sama assigned him to me. Secondly, people with close relationships usually aren't put on a team together—even if I was promoted and you were graduated at the same time, the Hokage wouldn't have assigned your training to me. And, finally, he is a very talented young man who has a strong desire to learn and very good focus."
Naruto huffed and stuffed a mouthful of noodles in his mouth. Around the mouthful, he accused, "You don't like me anymore."
"I can tell you right now, Naruto, if I didn't like you, I wouldn't be buying you ramen," Harry said with exasperation, "You eat more than anyone I know."
The boy hardly looked mollified. He slurped down a mouthful of noodles and looked up at the teen sullenly, "So when do I get to meet him, if he's so great?"
Harry blinked, then shrugged. "I'm sure you'll run into him sometime."
The teen nearly choked on his noodles when he heard Lee's anxious voice. He spun around on his stool, wide eyes roving the after-work crowds until he found the boy running towards them, dodging and apologizing to people as he came. Beside Harry, Naruto had turned around, as well, and was watching the newcomer with narrowed eyes.
"Lee-kun, what's wrong?" Harry asked in confusion when the boy stopped in front of him, panting.
"I know you said we would talk about this tomorrow," the boy blurted, sounding a little out of breath as he straightened, "But I was just trying to think about it and I could not figure something out."
Harry's concern dropped and he allowed himself to relax a little, exasperation leaking into his countenance. "What about?"
"I was just—" Lee stopped himself abruptly, eyes suddenly locking on the small blond peering at him suspiciously from next to his teacher. "Ah… actually, sensei, I think I should wait until our meeting tomorrow."
Harry glanced at Naruto, and then back at Lee. "Is it important?"
The boy rubbed the back of his head, awkwardly looking from the younger blond to the teenager. "It is not… incredibly important, sensei… I guess that it can wait until the morning."
"Lee, I can go with you now if you need me."
Naruto's mouth opened before Lee's could even begin to, and the boy rounded on the teenager with wide, angry blue eyes. "What?" He demanded irately, "You just got here and now you're going to leave me for him?"
"Naruto," Harry started with exasperation, "He's my student, if he needs help, I'm going to help him. We can pick this back up later."
"It is alright, Harii-sensei," Lee quickly interceded, "It is not so important for me to interrupt your dinner. I can ask you about it in the morning."
"You're sure?" Harry pressed, trying to ignore the vindictive-looking Naruto standing beside him, glaring threateningly at his student.
Lee nodded, "I am sure, sensei." He didn't move to leave, still looking at Naruto.
Harry looked between the two once, then sighed. "Lee, this is Uzumaki Naruto," he introduced, "Naruto, this is my student, Rock Lee."
If anything, Naruto's glare became even more hostile. "Harii-niisan has been friends with me my whole life," he stated, somehow making the delivery sound like a challenge.
"Be nice, Naruto," Harry ordered, smiling at his student apologetically, "Would you like to join us, Lee?"
Lee looked warily from the angry blond to the young man before smiling brightly. "I would love to, Harii-sensei!"
"I want another ramen!" Naruto bellowed, clambering back onto his stool as the black-haired boy made to sit on Harry's open side.
Harry was sure that this was the beginning of the end for him.