Disclaimer: I don't own, you don't sue, everybody's happy.
Note: If you're interested, the prequel to this story (entitled Oops, Wrong World) is filed in the Naruto category and can be found at my profile.
Harry Potter and the Orange Alien
Chapter One: In Which Contact with Extraterrestrials Is Established
In all twenty-nine years of his life, Harry Potter had experienced few things as unpleasant as the Friday night shift at Auror headquarters. The Cruciatus Curse was comparable, and the three nights spent anxiously awaiting the arrivals of James, Albus, and little Lily, respectively, had come very close, but nothing could equal it.
It was not that the Auror headquarters were particularly uncomfortable; as a matter of fact, they were positively cozy. Harry didn't remember who had suggested asking Mrs. Weasley for help designing the new building (the old one had been totaled in an unfortunate accident involving what Luna insisted was a Heliopath but which Harry suspected was one of George's pranks gone spectacularly wrong), but it had been a good idea. The result of her work was that Aurors were often visibly reluctant to leave the comfort of headquarters for their own homes.
(And Mr. Weasley's contribution, an invention based on Muggle telephones – christened "the fellytone" and nicknamed "the felly" – had made communicating with off-duty Aurors or patrolling members of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement much easier than it ever had been before. As Mr. Weasley had pointed out, you couldn't carry on conversations with Patronuses, and charmed mirrors were tricky to use in a crisis.)
No, that wasn't the problem. The problem with Friday night shifts at Auror headquarters was that it meant eight hours of boredom, broken only by prank calls (an unpleasant but unavoidable result of the felly) and long minutes spent placating hysterical old ladies convinced that they had seen Death Eaters hiding behind hedges or peeping in windows, when everyone knew that there hadn't been a Death Eater in England since they'd chased out the last of the Lestrange connections five years before.
Perhaps the boredom would have been bearable if it hadn't been for the fact that there were dangerous things out there – somewhere. After all, the only reason there was such a thing as a Friday night shift at headquarters was because, after that scare about the Dark wizard with a pack of pet Dementors in Surrey, someone in some Board of something-or-the-other had insisted on having an Auror on duty at headquarters all times.
Of course the herd of Dementors had never showed up, and there hadn't been so much as a smidgen of a hint of a Dark anything since then, but when Harry had gone to the Minister about it, Shacklebolt had given him a long look and a longer speech.
Most of it had gone straight over his head, but in the end he'd figured out that the Minister was saying that they needed to placate the more nervous wizards, and since they didn't have anything better to do, they might as well spend eight hours every two days being bored out of their minds. Even if it was so boring that most of the Aurors spent the entire time playing solitare.
It was so boring, in fact, that when young Thomas Abbott called on the felly, semi-hysterical and almost incoherent, to report that there was a rip in the dimensional fabric near his apartment on the corner of Baker and Eighth, Harry's first thought was that he had finally gone mad from boredom.
His second thought, when Abbott went on to tell Harry that he'd put up the wards and Muggle-repellent around the rent just like The Handbook said, was that either he was dreaming or (despite the fact that the young Auror-in-training was a teetotaler) Abbott was drunk.
He only began to believe that it was really happening when Abbott finished by saying that some kind of alien had come through the rip and attacked him when he went to talk to it, and he'd Petrified it for the time being, but was there anything else he should do, and did Mr. Potter think he should take it to the Ministry or to the Auror headquarters, and if he did take it to the Ministry, did aliens fall under Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures or International Magical Cooperation?
(Well, Abbott probably wasn't lying to him intentionally, but he was probably drunk, and the alien was probably either an innocent bystander or another drunk.)
"Er," said Harry. "What kind of alien, Abbott?"
"W-well, it's humanoid," said Abbott, nervously, "and I thought it w-was a wizard at first, b-but it's got whiskers like a rat or something and its head is all spiky and weird and it's wearing this really strange outfit – or it m-might be skin – and it doesn't speak English and it's b-been throwing things at me. And it d-doesn't have a wand, I checked, b-but it's been doing magic."
Wandless magic. Whiskers. Harry was fairly sure that neither innocent bystanders nor drunks had "whiskers like a rat or something".
"Er," he said, stalling while he tried to remember who would be on duty late Friday night – or early Saturday morning – in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Stanley Engel, probably – they always put the newbies on the late-night shifts there. He tried, unsuccessfully, to picture young Stanley dealing competently with a humanoid alien capable of performing wandless magic, and then tried to convince himself that it was only his lack of imagination preventing him from doing so, and not the fact that Stanley was a blithering idiot who never would have made it into the Ministry if his father hadn't spent a small fortune lining pockets.
"I'll, er, call the Ministry," said Harry, "and ask them what their policy is on aliens. Just a moment."
He pressed a button on the small switchboard on his desk to put Abbott on hold, and then flipped the switch that connected his felly to a smaller one in the Minister's office. He wasn't quite sure if Shacklebolt would be at the Ministry at one-thirty in the morning, so it was a relief when there was a click and Shacklebolt's gravelly voice floated over the reciever.
"This is Potter. Er," said Harry, trying to think how to say what he wanted to without sounding insane or drunk. (Abbott found an alien and wants to know... no. Suppose an alien came flying out of a hole in the sky... no. You won't believe me, but... no, definitely not.)
"Well," he said, "I was wondering if the Ministry has a strict policy regarding aliens. Sir."
There was a long pause, and then Shacklebolt said, a shade too jovially. "The Ministry's policy with aliens is to throw them back where they came from and hope they stay there. And maybe to lay off the Firewhiskey while on duty. Anything else?"
"No, sir," said Harry. "Thanks." He switched back to Abbott's line and said, "The Minister says to throw it back in."
Abbott stuttered a bit and then finally managed to get out a "yes, sir". Once he had turned off his felly, Harry leaned back and absently lined up the pros and cons of going to see a psychiatrist on his next full day off.
He was on his twentieth con ("I'm pretty sure Rita Skeeter is still out there somewhere") when the fellytone began beeping again. When he picked it up, Abbott's squeaky, panicked voice nearly deafened him; it was a moment before he realized that the young man was saying that he couldn't get the alien back through the rent.
"You can't?" said Harry, feeling a spark of interest igniting.
"N-no, sir," stuttered Abbott. "I t-tried b-but it's not w-working at all, s-sir. Wh-what should I d-do?"
"We-ell," said Harry slowly, "I suppose you'd better bring him here."
There was a squeak that might have been the beginning of a "yes, sir" but before it could take shape Abbott had broken off and was shouting in the muffled way that Harry knew meant he wasn't holding the felly to his mouth anymore.
"N-no, miss," shouted Abbott, "d-don't do that, he's fine, just a bit under the – NO, don't do that! Look ou—"
The sound cut off.
Harry stared at the silent felly and began counting. It was, he knew, the right thing to do. Dumbledore would have done it, and it would have been one of the things he'd have done for the right reason. Abbott would actually be a very good Auror if he ever learned to have some confidence in himself, and he would never gain that confidence if he had someone Apparating to his aid every time there was a problem. Besides, it was probably just a Muggle getting too inquisitive about the whiskered alien. Probably.
He made it all the way to fifty-nine before he decided that Abbott would have to build character on somebody else's watch. He pulled his wand out, and a millisecond later Abbott Apparated into the room with a loud pop, staggering sideways as he appeared, tripping over the lower half of the bulky object that he had one arm wrapped around and nearly falling.
It took Harry a moment to see that the thing Abbott was holding was roughly the size of a small human, and another to realize that the reason he hadn't identified it as a person at first was because it was completely enveloped in thick ropes.
"Report, Abbott," he said, stowing away his wand surreptitiously.
"Y-yes, sir," stammered Abbott, straightening. "A Muggle w-woman approached the alien as I was using the felly. I m-managed to Obliviate her and send her away, b-but the alien got free of the B-body-Bind Curse as I d-did, and I w-was forced to use Incarcerous and a Stunning Spell on him. Th-that's all, sir."
"Very good, Abbott," said Harry, and was pleased to see Abbott relax at the words. "Now, er...."
The bundle of ropes twitched in Abbott's grasp and made a noise halfway between a moan and a growl. Abbott started nervously and nearly fell over again.
"I S-stunned him right b-before I Apparated, s-sir," he said, recovering himself. "I th-think he may have some kind of immunity t-to m-magic."
"Right," said Harry. "Well, let's sit him down and get the ropes off his head before he smothers, then."
Between the two of them they managed to bundle the captive (who was now squirming in an uncertain kind of way) into Harry's chair. The moment they let go of the mass of ropes, it jackknifed and landed on the floor with a thump and a muffled shout.
"Definitely some kind of immunity," said Harry, with a sigh. "Either that or he's got skin as thick as a giant's. Well, at least he doesn't seem to be immune to the ropes. Good thinking, Abbott. Let's see ... why don't you try lifting him into the chair with a Hover Charm, and I'll conjure more ropes to keep him there."
This was accomplished with little difficulty, despite the fact that the prisoner squirmed and wriggled without stopping the entire time. Once he was secured to the chair, he stopped moving, but continued to mutter loudly through the ropes. This reminded Harry that Abbott had said that the alien didn't speak English.
"Right," he said, again. "Why don't you get some of those ropes off – just the head, mind – while I go and see if we've got a translation charm somewhere around here. I know we had one a few months ago...."
He found the translation charm – a pendant that would have looked disturbingly girly if it hadn't been for the mystical runes etched into the lavender beads – in a desk further back in the room. Halfway back to the front of the room, his ears were suddenly assailed by a loud, boyish voice raised angrily. Harry couldn't understand what he was saying (it definitely wasn't English, but he couldn't place it – Chinese, maybe, he thought) but it sounded like profanity.
The boy (a young boy, he noted) wasn't shouting any more when he reached the desk, but he was growling what Harry was very sure were death threats at Abbott, who was standing several feet away from the chair pointing his wand at its occupant.
"Wand away, Abbott," said Harry, coming to a stop where he could see the boy's face. "If he was able to get out of the ropes, I think he'd have done it by now."
"Yes, s-sir," said Abbott. His hand fell to his side, but he didn't put it away.
Good enough, thought Harry, and looked down at the boy.
By his voice, he was young – eleven or twelve, Harry hazarded – and his face (vaguely Asian, but not enough for him to be more than half-Chinese or whatever he was) would have matched if there hadn't been an elusive something about it that made him seem older. Perhaps he was simply an exceptionally mature eleven-year-old? Not likely, given the yelling and death threats. Fourteen, maybe. And now that he was closer to him and not distracted by anything else, there was something off about him, something that was bothering Harry, but something he couldn't quite pinpoint....
Perhaps it was simply his appearance. The whiskers Abbott had reported were not really "whiskers like a rat"; they were three thin, dark lines on either cheek. Harry would have thought they were tattoos if he hadn't been able to see that the dark lines were raised slightly above the rest of the skin, like scars.
The boy had a head of hair so spiky and yellow – really yellow, not blonde – that Harry thought at first that it had to be a wig, but if it was, it was fitted onto his head so that it was impossible to tell where the wig ended and the real skin began. And the boy's eyebrows were the same yellow as his hair. They were drawn down in a scowl now, half-covered by a metal plate affixed to a strip of cloth which was wrapped around his forehead and tied in the back. (There was a marking on the center of the metal plate which Harry thought for a moment might be a rune, but if it was, it was one he'd never seen.)
And Abbott had been right: there was something strange and (for lack of a more fitting word) alien about the boy. Odd features aside, he was hard to look at. Not hard to see – he wasn't fuzzy or blurred around the edges, it was simply that the whole time Harry had been looking at him, he had been filled with an irrational desire to squint or take off his glasses and wipe them. And if he didn't pay attention, his eyes slid away or unfocused so that he was staring through or above and slightly to the right of the boy instead of at him.
It was decidedly unsettling.
The boy had stopped speaking while Harry looked at him, but after a moment he squirmed and shot off a volley of syllables (not Chinese, either, thought Harry) that sounded like another death threat.
"Right," said Harry, yet again. He dropped the pendant over the head of the boy, who began squawking indignantly, hunching up his shoulders and shaking his head wildly, and then tapped the largest stone with his wand. "Activate."
"—go, and next time anyone points a stick at me I'm gonna take it and shove it up their!" finished the boy.
Harry blinked. "It comes with a profanity filter? That's a new one."
Abbott shuffled away from the boy nervously.
"Hey!" said the boy, indignant again. "If you knew how to talk, how come you kept on jabbering nonsense before?"
"Er," said Harry. It occurred to him that it was usually the captors who asked the questions, not the captives, but it also occurred to him that the kid hadn't done anything (that they knew of) except fall out of a space-time rift and resist arrest. And he didn't look as if he was bent on mayhem or murder or world domination, despite the garish hair and whiskers. For all they knew, he was a perfectly innocent alien child who had stumbled on the rip by accident and attacked Abbott because he didn't know what was going on.
"That pendant is a translation charm," he told the boy. "I don't know how to speak your language, the charm just re-routes your brain so that you hear and say everything in my language instead of yours. And it might not last long," he added, remembering Abbott's suspicion of some kind of immunity.
The boy gave him a squint-eyed look that said I have no idea what you just said a lot more clearly than his noncommittal grunt did. "Then lemme go already. I need to get back to training!"
Harry revised his opinion. The kid was ten, maybe twelve, but definitely not older, and certainly not mature for his age. There wasn't a hint of guile about him, and there was no way he had been intelligent enough to open an inter-dimensional portal. Maybe it wasn't even an inter-dimensional portal, just a doorway to the other side of the world, and he would just have to find out where the kid lived and set up a Portkey, and then he could finish his shift in peace and go back home to bed....
"Mr. Potter," said Abbott, urgently, "Mr. Potter, we can't just let him go. He blew up Baker Street, he's not safe!"
"He did what?" said Harry.
Abbott paled, but the boy's annoyed expression didn't change. "The first one was an accident," he said, "'cause I fell over when everything went all weird and I'd been practicing. And the rest wouldn't've hit if he" with a jerk of the head in Abbott's direction "hadn't dodged. And he started it, anyway."
"You were resisting arrest!" protested Abbott.
"I haven't done anything to get arrested for!" retorted the captive, loudly, and then added in an undertone: "Though maybe the old man has...."
"Now look here," began Abbott.
"Stop," interrupted Harry.
Abbott broke off mid-sentence, and the boy scowled and muttered something the charm didn't translate under his breath.
"Let's have this from the beginning ," said Harry, firmly. "You first." He pointed at the boy, but not with his wand. "Hold on a bit."
He flicked his wand, and the ropes around the boy disappeared. The garish orange outfit the kid was wearing made Harry want to squint more than ever, but it didn't surprise him at all, somehow. Although he did wonder why it was so lumpy, and why the boy was wearing sandals in the middle of winter. And why he had a black pouch strapped to his thigh.
Abbott looked nervous and clenched his wand tighter, but Harry put his away. "Blowing up a street isn't anything I haven't done in my time, you know." Well, sort of. "Er, Abbott, did you put wards around the damaged areas?"
The gasp and the loud crack Abbott made as he Disapparated were answer enough.
"Right then," said Harry. He went across the aisle to the other desk, pulled the chair there over to his desk, and sat down it in, slightly disconcerted to find that the kid had vanished the minute his back was turned.
Harry could still feel his presence. The kid was practically radioactive. Harry had been around plenty of heavily-bespelled Dark artifacts, and they all had a heavy, tingling something emanating from them, somewhere between a smell at the back of his throat and a blur of color behind his eyelids when he blinked. He was getting the same sort of feeling from the kid, only less weighty, more confused – and the only hint of Darkness was a faint, red-blooded hunger buried deep underneath everything else. We'll, he'd seen worse.
Aloud Harry said, "There seems to have been a grave misunderstanding, and I'm afraid my friend has done you an injustice. Why don't we start again – and would you like some tea?"
After a moment the kid crawled out from under Harry's desk. "Tea is for geezers," he grumbled. (Harry hadn't known that it was possible for someone to grumble in a shout.) Then he held out a handful of writhing gray dust. "And what is this? It just tried to eat my foot!"
Harry blinked. "It's a dust bunny, I think," he said. "We try to keep them out but it's next to impossible."
"Huh," said the kid. He dropped the squirming dust bunny, clambered onto Harry's desk, and began kicking his heels against it. "If you try to tie me up again I'll kill you," he offered.
But he'd rarely seen worse manners. "As I said, it was a mistake. So, uh, let's start with introductions. I'm Harry Potter," he said, and then, since that seemed very little information, he added: "I'm an Auror in the London division. What's your name?"
"Naruto Uzumaki," said the kid, "gehneen, leaf." He jerked a thumb at the metal plate on his forehead. (Now that Harry thought about it, the symbol engraved on it could have been a highly stylized leaf. Of course, it could also have been a funny sort of whirlpool, or a squashed heart, or a puddle of water, or a sideways-upside-down flame.) "What's an Auror?" Naruto added.
"Er," said Harry, who had never met anyone over the age of three who needed the word "Auror" explained to them. This kid really was an alien – or, okay, maybe he was just from the other side of the world. "We're sort of a special police force. We work against Dark witches and wizards to keep people safe."
Naruto brightened, his interest clearly sparked. "Cool! So you're like anboo? Where's your mask?" And then, in the same breath: "What're witches and wizards?"
This time Harry simply stared, feeling the gears in his head lock up. The boy looked young, sure, and maybe they got their letters later in the Orient than they did in England, okay, but he had been performing wandless magic – and yes, children who didn't know what they were could use magic wandlessly, on accident, but usually streets didn't get blown up when they did. Even James' first demonstration of his magical inclination had merely filled the bath-tub with holes.
(He would never understand why all three of his children hated bathing. Even good little Al squirmed like an eel and cried when they tried to wash his hair.)
There simply was no way that someone of Naruto's age and apparent magical prowess could not know what a wizard was. Harry wondered wildly if he had been set up by his enemies in the Ministry – maybe the boy was a ploy to make him look stupid (Well, he already felt stupid. And Death Eaters would never send an operative in wearing that shade of orange.) and undermine the Aurors' respect. Or perhaps he was a spy.
A spy wearing bright orange.
Right. So, an alien, then.
"Er," said Harry. "Well, a wizard is someone who can use magic."
That should straighten things out.
But instead of looking as if light had dawned on the dark morass of interplanetary communication, Naruto appeared to think that this explanation was no explanation at all, and had merely added a layer of mist to the dark and the swamp. "What's magic?" he asked.
A/N: So, my first attempt at a Naruto/Harry Potter crossover, which I don't know why I haven't done before, because it's fun. On that note, I should like to mention three authors here on FFnet, to whom I am indebted for inspiration and motivation for this story. Marz1, who wrote the first crossover I ever read (Invert, Harry Potter/Fullmetal Alchemist) and has written many other crossovers, all exciting and interesting. Every time I read one of her stories, it makes me want to write one like it. Also, opalish, who is a Harry Potter genius; my portrayal of an older Harry Potter was almost certainly inspired by hers in Scorpius Malfoy and the Improbable Plot, although of course mine isn't as good. And third, Reidluver, who was the first person to see the draft for this story and has been amazingly supportive and encouraging. Her HP/N crossover, Naruto and the Goblet of Fire, was what made me write this. I came away from it thinking "That was so amazing! I've got to get in on this crossover thing! Now what if...." Hence the story. All three of these authors are amazing and wonderful et cetera, and if you haven't read their stuff you should go do it right now.
The next chapter is fully written but will need to be edited before it is posted. Hopefully that won't take long.
Thanks for reading!
Friday, January 30: Edited for various reasons.