Extending the Boundaries
Disclaimer: I still don't own Naruto or Harry Potter. Go figure. (Ditto for the rest of the chapters in this story.)
So, here it is: the long awaited sequel! I don't expect to be updating more than once or twice a month for now, and depending on my duties that may change, but in the interest of interest, here's the first chapter! Chapter 2 will be up probably just after Christmas. Hope you enjoy the new story!
Chapter 1 – Special Type
Darkness curled around him like a living being, pressing against his body, his eyes, his mind. Out of the corner of his vision, he saw a flash of green and spun around, the response of his body was sluggish as though moving through sand rather than air.
The whisper raised the hairs on the back of his neck and he felt something bone-chillingly cold brush against his left side. He turned again, frustration bubbling up inside of him side by side with fear and helplessness.
He was blind in the most absolute sense of the word. He couldn't see anything but the inky, all-encompassing blackness, and he could feel nothing—not even chakra—around him. He couldn't feel the ground beneath his feet or the air against his skin. It was like he had been cut off from all of his senses.
"Who's there?" His own voice issued into the darkness, distorted and garbled, echoing weakly before being swallowed up completely.
The voice was hoarse, a slippery whisper that seemed closer this time. Harry's heart pounded as he forced himself to move, searching the darkness desperately. But there was nothing to be seen.
His head throbbed.
"What is this?" He demanded of the voice, projecting confidence he didn't really feel into the words. "Who's there?"
Like a heavy blow, pain suddenly exploded in Harry's head and his world of darkness crashed in around him with a cacophony of rushing wind carrying his name as an angry howl and a brilliant, intense green-white light that pressed in and blinded him as effectively as the darkness had an instant before. Harry raised an arm, attempting to shield his eyes from the sudden, painful assault, stumbling backwards as he did.
In an instant, a face appeared, barely a hair's breadth from his own; bone white, drenched in blood, with a widely spread, grinning mouth and glowing red eyes.
Harry almost cried out in surprise, but the sound caught in his throat as he fell back.
The teen landed on the floor with a thump, struggling as the shout finally burst from his lips. His eyes snapped open and it took his racing heart a few seconds to settle as he slowly recognized his own room.
Adrenalin drained from his blood and Harry collapsed into a limp pile on the floor, still haphazardly tangled in his own blankets. He lay there several seconds, breathing slowly returning to normal, before he brushed back sweaty white bangs and had another go at escaping from his bedding.
The Chuunin easily found his way out, piling the blankets onto his bed again, and shuffled across to his kitchenette to fetch some water as he wiped the sweat from his face.
He shook his head, downing most of a glass of cool water in one gulp before pausing to breathe. He leaned heavily against the counter, staring intently at the familiar shadows of his room.
He sighed and shook his head again, draining the glass completely before setting it aside. He faced his bed again, considering for a moment before allowing his eyes to wander to his alarm clock.
Harry grimaced. "Too late to go back to bed, isn't it," he groused, although with the way his heart was still pumping vigorously in his chest, he doubted he would have slept more, anyway.
It would undoubtedly be another long day.
"Very well," the Hokage said with a small, dismissive nod.
The three Chuunin saluted briefly before turning to the door.
"Wait a moment," the Sandaime called, causing the three to pause. He smiled wanly, "Harii, there is something else I would like to speak with you about before you leave."
Harry exchanged a quick look with his teammates, their eyes meeting briefly, before he shrugged and turned back to the Hokage. He heard the other two men leaving behind him and smiled uncertainly.
"What can I do for you, Hokage-sama?" He asked respectfully.
The Sandaime shifted through the papers on his desk, "There is someone I would like you to teach for me."
Harry blinked in surprise at the unexpected statement; then he frowned and wondered if the Hokage had become senile in the last few years. "Hokage-sama… no offense, but I don't see how that's possible. I'm only a Chuunin; I'm not qualified to take on a team."
The old man smiled opposite him, "I'm not asking you to train an entire team, Harii, just one apprentice. There are two days before the students meet their teachers, in the meantime I would like you to test for Special Jounin."
"That still doesn't qualify me—"
"Special Jounin are qualified to take on apprentices," the Sandaime interrupted mildly, "In most cases, their apprentices are experienced Genin or young Chuunin, but taking on a rookie Genin isn't completely unprecedented."
Harry frowned, "Why are you going to all the trouble of making such an exception?"
"Harii," the Hokage leaned onto his elbows and met his eyes across the wide desk, his expression intent. "There is a student at the Academy who has had close to failing grades since he first entered, and not because of a lack of understanding or strength… it appears that he is completely unable to mold chakra."
Harry blinked in surprise, "Completely? You mean…?"
"That boy can't even hold a decent henge for any length of time," the Sandaime said ruefully, "We had him tested after he failed his final exam for the second time in a row. The instructors were petitioning to drop him from the program, but the Hyuuga discovered that well over half of his tenketsu are fake."
Harry's eyes widened, "So… he's a wizard, then?"
"It would seem that way," the old man confirmed with a nod, "So, what do you say, Harii? Will you train him for me?"
Harry hesitated. "I just… I'm not sure if I can train a student that well… especially in magic!"
"Well, you are our resident expert," the Hokage said, "No one in Konoha could train him better than you."
Harry said nothing. The idea of having a student felt weird to him. Even his brother hadn't taken on students, yet. All the same, he couldn't refuse his Hokage.
"… I'll take him to Diagon Alley to get a wand," Harry conceded at length, "If he really turns out to be a wizard… then I guess I'll… teach him what I can."
"You'll do fine, Harii," the old man assured him, "And you can ask Kakashi if you need help—he's set to take a team this year, too."
Harry smirked. That wasn't going to happen. He'd probably fail them again; just like he'd failed every team he'd accepted responsibility for since the whole mess with Voldemort and the Uchiha Rebellion, when he had been officially discharged from ANBU.
"… What do I need to do for the test?" He asked, shaking the thought from his head. If the Hokage wanted to believe Kakashi would finally accept a team, it wasn't really Harry's place to contradict him.
"You'll begin with a written exam. Meet with Iruka-sensei at the Academy at 1530," the man directed, "He'll be expecting you. Be at training grounds A-14 at 0600 tomorrow morning. And try not to be late," he smiled, "I know it's early, but we have to push things along quickly to get you certified in time."
Harry nodded, biting back the instinct to remind the Hokage that he was Harry and not Kakashi, and that it was Kakashi who had the habit of being late for things, not him.
At exactly 1530, Harry knocked on the door of Iruka's classroom. The young man twisted around at the blackboard with a smile.
"Hatake Harii?" He prompted.
Harry nodded and stepped inside. He paused, frowning at the man's face thoughtfully. He was sure he recognized it.
"I have your test up here," the Chuunin said, dropping the eraser on the tray and walking to his desk.
Harry descended the steps to join him as the man shuffled through papers. The teen's frown deepening slightly as he mulled over the older man's identity.
The man glanced at him briefly, a slight flush on his face. "Maybe it's in here," he muttered, opening one of his drawers, "I know I have it…"
"… Have we met before, Iruka-sensei?" Harry asked—it was still bothering him that he couldn't place the face.
"Hmm?" The man glanced up again, "Oh, well, you graduated before I started working here, right? I don't… ah! Here it is!"
It was just tickling at Harry's mind when his eyes landed on the thick stack of papers the man had pulled out. His eyes widened and he stared. "What's that?"
"The test for Special Jounin," Iruka supplied, dropping it on the desk in front of the teen—it landed with a whomp of displaced air and chalk dust—Harry cringed. "You're allowed to take as long as you need." Iruka added.
"… Is it at least multiple-choice?" Harry asked hopefully.
"I don't know," Iruka shrugged, "I've never taken it. Good luck!" He turned back to his blackboard and picked up the eraser again.
With a sigh, Harry reluctantly gathered his test and headed to a vacant row of desks. He settled in the middle, with plenty of room to spread out across the table, groped in a pocket for his pencils, and set them next to the test while he broke the seal.
Harry's hopes of multiple-choice questions were crushed when his eyes landed on the first page; a large block paragraph with a question mark at the end and the entire page blank for his answer. Biting back a groan, the teen set to work.
It was just before midnight when he finally finished, and Harry was exhausted. He stretched and stood up, shoving his well-worn pencils back into his pocket and collecting his papers.
"Done?" Iruka called from the front. He'd been in and out a few times during the test, but had dutifully remained present until Harry was finished.
"Yeah," Harry tried not to sound as tired as he felt, but doubted he'd made a good enough effort. "Are you?"
"I'm on my last paper," Iruka replied, looking down at his work again.
Harry grabbed the thick stack of papers and put them back in the folder they'd been given to him in. He folded it over and activated the seal again, his own chakra signature would be on it when it was delivered to the Hokage, and he'd know the answers hadn't been tampered with.
Walking to the Chuunin's desk again, Harry let the packet hit the table with a second whump. He forced back a yawn.
"Did you eat yet?" Harry had worked straight through dinner and hadn't noticed the other man being gone long enough to have eaten.
"Not yet," Iruka muttered, touching red ink to the paper to mark something.
"I was thinking I'd stop somewhere," Harry said, "Want to come with?"
Iruka looked up again, staring at him for a moment before smiling slightly. "Sure, Harii, that would be nice. Do you know any places that are open this late?"
"What time is it?" Harry asked, glancing around for a clock.
"Almost midnight," Iruka answered at the same time that he found it, hanging on one side of the room.
Harry grimaced, "… I think we can get rice cakes at The Spire."
The Chuunin glanced at him critically again, "Aren't you too young to drink?"
"A shinobi is never too young to drink," Harry quoted before adding, "I don't drink much, but Hitsuya-sensei brought my team there when we were Genin, after we'd gotten back from a mission later than we expected."
"Alright," Iruka agreed, "Just one more second…" he put a final mark at the bottom of the paper and added it to his stack, "There, I'm done." He grabbed Harry's test from the edge of his desk, "We'll just drop this off at the Tower on the way, alright?"
Harry nodded, his stomach giving a gurgle of anticipation.
Iruka laughed, "You sound hungry—I promise I'll be quick."
Harry laughed with him and rubbed the back of his head. Together, the two men set off.
They'd just left the Hokage Tower—Harry's test safely stored away—when it hit him. Harry stopped abruptly.
Iruka paused, looking back at him, "What is it?"
Harry considered a moment before shrugging, "Nothing… it's nothing." He joined the other man again, feeling mildly uncomfortable. He'd just remembered where he knew the Chuunin from.
Back then, Iruka had been an Academy student, and he'd only been in the village for a little over a year. Iruka was supposed to have taken him and Tenzou to the caves. Instead, all three of them ended up in the middle of the Kyuubi's battlefield. Iruka's parents had been killed in that fight, and he thought it best not to remind him of the incident.
"So… you're Kakashi-san's brother, right?" Iruka asked.
"Yeah, you've heard of me?"
"Er…" Iruka's cheeks colored slightly. Harry grinned—the older man blushed easily for a Chuunin.
"I'm joking," he assured the teacher, "But that's what most people say, so I have to have a little fun with it when I can."
Iruka chuckled, "Sorry… you're not what I would have expected. You're only seventeen, right? Becoming a Jounin—even a Special Jounin—at that age is really impressive."
Harry shrugged, "Sandaime-sama is just letting me do it 'cause he wants me to teach one of the graduates." And his brother was a Jounin at thirteen, so it didn't seem that impressive.
Iruka stared at him, "He wants you to train a team already?"
"Not a team!" Harry said quickly, "Just an apprentice. In my… uh, special techniques."
The teacher was silent for a moment, mind thrown back to consider each of the graduating students. He wasn't teaching that class, but he'd made a point to get to know even the students who weren't in his class. What could one of them have in common with the brother of the famous Copy-nin?
"There it is," Harry said, nodding his head in the direction of the small bar.
As a Genin, Harry had found The Spire's atmosphere completely alien and entirely intimidating. There had been hardened shinobi everywhere, drinking stiff drinks and talking loudly. One man had done nothing but spew out long strings of curses as he periodically swung his fist around him. The air had seemed thick with smoke and he'd thought it was almost like stepping onto another planet. He and his teammates had stuck close together.
The air didn't seem as smoky as he remembered it, and the loud, drunk patrons weren't nearly as intimidating as they'd been six years ago. Harry didn't even feel himself stiffen up as he sidestepped a stumbling drunk on his way to the counter.
"This place is disgusting," Iruka muttered as they found themselves relatively clean seats at the bar.
"Most of these places are," Harry said. These kinds of bars were hiding places for the shinobi who couldn't quite hold themselves together all of the time.
Iruka looked at him.
"Er—I have a friend who takes great pleasure in describing to me every seedy place he's been to in vivid detail," Harry added. And Tenzou was far too cheerful in recounting every detail; Harry supposed he found some amount of amusement in tormenting him.
The older man raised an eyebrow, "Okay…"
Harry didn't bother defending his good taste further, because the barkeeper—a spunky young brunette—approached them, smiling dazzlingly.
"What can I get you boys?" She asked invitingly, leaning over to prop her elbows on the counter and poise her pencil on the pad, revealing a tease of the cleavage hidden by her top.
"A bottle of sake and two orders of rice cakes," Harry said. Quickly, he amended, "Better make that three." He was starving, and could eat much more than he could when he was eleven.
"You got it, sweetie," the girl winked, "I'll be back in a minute."
"I thought you said you didn't drink," Iruka said dryly, glancing across at the teen.
"I don't," Harry said, "It's only sake. Besides, I'm sharing with you."
"I don't really drink, either," Iruka said, "Besides, I have to be alert for classes tomorrow."
"And I have to be alert for my test," Harry said, "A little bit of alcohol won't hurt you, and if you come into a place like this without drinking anything, you'll attract too much attention." He raised an eyebrow, looking across at the older man, "You aren't a lightweight, are you?"
Iruka flushed, "I can hold down a few drinks…"
As it turned out, Iruka wasn't able to hold down a few drinks quite as well as he might have liked the younger man to believe. When they left the bar, forty minutes and a bottle of sake later, the elder Chuunin was a little tipsy. Harry watched with concern as he swayed on the uneven ground right outside the bar's door.
"Are you sure you can get home okay?" He asked with concern.
"Yeah, yeah, no problem—I dringh all the time," Iruka answered with a watery smile.
Harry's concern went up a notch. He shook his head and muttered, "We didn't have to drink the whole bottle…"
Iruka wasn't listening, he was whistling brightly as he walked a meandering line down the road. Harry followed—the least he could do was make sure the other guy made it back to his home safely.
"Thish was fun," Iruka's speech slurred a little, "We should do it again shome-sometime."
"Yeah, sure," Harry agreed off-handedly. Idly, he wondered why he'd never checked to see if there was a spell that would cancel the effects alcohol had on the body—it was just the sort of nonsense wizards would concoct. "Come on, Iruka, you've got to get to bed. Hopefully the hangover won't be bad enough to keep you from teaching…"
Iruka giggled and Harry revised his opinion. The elder Chuunin wasn't just a little tipsy. He was completely drunk. Hopefully there wouldn't be any regurgitation involved.
"I like teaching," Iruka said, his voice a little sing-song. "The children are so sweet, and they learn so quickly, except…"
Abruptly, Iruka's drunken amusement vanished and he scowled, "Except that one."
Harry yanked him out of the way of a street lamp before the man could walk into it. "Iruka-sensei… I think that's enough. Where do you live?"
"I don't know why Hokage-sama put him in my class," the teacher bemoaned, "He's completely hopeless, that little…" He hiccupped.
"You know what? We'll just go back to my apartment. It's not far," Harry offered.
Iruka muttered something that sounded suspiciously like demon brat. Harry sighed.
"Sorry for this, Iruka," he muttered, before quickly pressing in on a pressure point at the back of the man's neck. Instantly, the elder nin collapsed and Harry struggled for a moment to keep him from falling flat on his face.
With a grunt, the teen repositioned him on his shoulder and headed out again, more quickly this time.
He dragged the man all the way up to his apartment, and dropped him on the couch. He was beginning to think it hadn't been such a good idea to invite him out to a late dinner. It certainly hadn't been a good idea to buy sake.
Harry frowned at the unconscious man for a moment and then shook his head and retired to his room, pulling out his futon and stripping down for bed.
It wasn't like Iruka's hostility was particularly surprising, and Harry knew, from Naruto's off-handed comments, that the boy tended to get a bad rap by the teachers at school. Still, he thought a teacher should make an effort to know his students, not just assume they're a bad egg to start off.
He could understand. He'd been there the night Iruka's parents were murdered, and could sympathize with the man who'd lost nearly everything so early in his life. Still, Naruto never had much to begin with, and it wasn't fair for people to take out their grief on him.
The teen shook his head again as he slid between the layers of his futon. Iruka had been drunk, after all. He probably didn't even mean anything by what he'd said. And Naruto was a little hopeless.
Harry was up and freshly showered by five-thirty the next morning. His impromptu house guest was still unconscious on his couch, and Harry stood over him, debating whether he should wake him or not.
In the end, prudence won out and he reached over to jostle the young teacher.
"Iruka," he muttered as the man stirred, "Iruka-sensei…"
With a groan, the man turned over, and his eyes slowly blinked open. Harry smiled at the bleary look shooting up at him.
"I know it's still early… but I probably won't be back until late, and if I didn't wake you now, you might've slept through your class," Harry explained.
Iruka continued to stare up at him blankly, nothing appearing to register for several long seconds. Then his eyes widened. He jolted upright, wincing immediately at the sudden movement, and looked around wildly at everything.
"What are you—where am I?" He managed to grind out of a hoarse throat, one hand holding his forehead in pain.
"My apartment," Harry said, backing away, "You weren't really in any condition to walk home alone, so… I'll go get you some water."
When Harry reentered the room, Iruka had adopted a more upright position, his feet on the floor and elbows on his knees, supporting a bowed head. Harry thought he looked a little green and hoped—again—that he wouldn't throw up.
"You going to be okay?" Harry asked, handing the glass to the other man.
Iruka took a long drink before nodding.
"Yeah… thanks." He drained the rest of the glass and pushed to his feet. "I'm going to head home and freshen up." He returned Harry's glass. Harry walked him to the door, watching as the man got his bearings before letting himself out.
"And… Iruka?" Harry called after him.
Iruka paused, looking back at him.
Harry frowned, "You should give him a chance." Before Iruka could question the statement, he plowed on, "Naruto's a goofy kid, but he really pulls through when people show him a little faith."
Not allowing the older Chuunin a chance to respond, Harry shut the door and headed back to his room for a few last minute preparations.
The Jounin that greeted him was an Aburame. Harry recognized the long white jacket and black sunglasses of one of the village's most famous clans. Most ninja balked at fighting against the Aburame type—the type that could drain them of chakra with little more than a look.
Harry almost grinned. The Aburame type was his favorite to fight. They expected a man to be powerless as they drained his chakra, but Harry didn't need chakra to fight. If it came to it, he could still fight even if his legs didn't have the necessary energy to hold themselves up. Magic didn't rely on inner strength the way that Ninjutsu did—not directly.
"—Finally, you are to utilize a minimum of five special jutsu during our match," the man concluded in the same, weary monotone he'd been using since Harry had greeted him.
Harry frowned, eyebrows drawing together in confusion, "Hold on—what special jutsu?"
The Aburame paused, glancing up at him. He was silent for a long moment. "You are testing for the rank of Special Jounin," he said dryly, "Classification: Special Type."
Harry wondered at the wording for a moment, "… What?"
The man sighed and adjusted his glasses briefly, "There are numerous types of Special Jounin. Assassin, Medic, Intelligence, Tracking… you will be of the Special Type; a Special Jounin that is the expert in a specific type of jutsu or attack—for example, historically a large number of Uchiha have been promoted for their expertise in Fire Jutsu, and occasionally those with excellent Taijutsu become Special Type Jounin."
Harry's frown tightened a little. He couldn't think of one field he was especially good in, let alone expert. He'd only just begun training with Elemental chakra, so it couldn't have anything to do with that. He wasn't exceedingly skilled in any jutsu—Taijutsu, Genjutsu or Ninjutsu. He couldn't think of anything he would qualify as an expert in.
And then he recalled the Hokage's words the day before. "You're our resident expert…"
The teen's gut plummeted. So that was what would be his claim to fame. His 'special ability.' At first thought it seemed ridiculous—to consider his natural talent for magic, which had threatened to tear him away from the shinobi world, was now the thing that would bring about his promotion. And then it didn't seem so silly.
It was a useful talent. More than scrubbing dishes or turning porcupines into pincushions, magic had a vast array of both defensive and offensive applications. The problem was that most ninja, if they saw the mysterious light of a spell flying at them, were fast enough to get out of the way. Harry had spent the last two years trying to work out ways to minimize this handicap, but he still didn't consider himself an expert at using magic offensively against shinobi.
"Are you prepared, Harii?" The Aburame questioned.
Harry nodded. If the Hokage wanted magic, he was going to show everyone just how much he'd learned.
"Congratulations," the Hokage smiled across at him, the wrinkles on his face multiplying with the gesture. Harry usually felt at ease for seeing it, but in front of a board of Jounin and Special Jounin—most of the high ranking ninja currently in the village—and with the village council standing at the old man's side, Harry only felt nervous.
"Hatake Harii," the Sandaime continued in an official tone, "You have proved yourself on the battlefield, and again amongst witnesses here today, that you harbor the Will of Fire that is so highly prized among the shinobi of Konohagakure. Your success in battle and your dedication to your peers and your Hokage has not gone unnoticed. I hereby award you the rank of Tokubetsu Jounin. Please come see me tomorrow for your new assignment."
There was a stiff round of applause before people began filing out of the room. Harry continued to stand at attention, waiting until the council members left last—he couldn't tell what their backwards glances at him meant, and he didn't try thinking too hard on it.
He stepped forward. "Thank you, Hokage-sama."
Sarutobi waved his thanks aside, "Tsukose briefed me on your performance. He was very impressed."
Harry flushed a little, "Ah… well, I've been trying to find a way to make spells useful in combat for a while now."
The older ninja nodded, "And it seems you're doing an excellent job. I think your student will be lucky to have you as a teacher. Together, you'll become a new branch of our military—a secret weapon that the other nations will find impossible to predict."
Harry wasn't sure that the Sandaime's high hopes were well founded, but he didn't dare to disagree. Had what he'd done really been all that impressive? Most of the time, his tricks had been reduced to throwing spells from behind his enemy's back or hiding himself with trees and smoke. An Academy student could have done as well.
"Your new uniform will be ready in three to four days, so please pick it up then," the Hokage continued, "And you are to meet your student at the Academy at 1300 tomorrow." He lifted a green file from his desk and held it out, "This is his information."
With a nod, Harry accepted the folder. He opened it briefly to glance at the first page. "Rock Lee?" He read, looking from the name to the goofy looking eleven-year-old with long black hair and eyes that seemed too round for his face.
The Sandaime smiled.