Disclaimer: not mine

Chapter 18

Tsunade stared down at the young man on the bed in confusion. Other than a bad case of exhaustion he was fine, but where had he come from? Naruto was alive and well too, something unexpected given the circumstances. Jiraiya had checked and the seal was intact, although it showed signs of having almost broken.

"I've seen him before, once. I left Naruto alone and when I returned he was in a nearby clearing," Jiraiya spoke up as soon as he entered and got a good look at the patient.

"According to Kakashi, Iruka recognised him as well so I've sent for him." Sure enough, a knock came and the Anbu admitted Iruka, clean and dressed in a fresh uniform.

"Hokage-sama." He bowed to her before glancing at the bed.

"Who is he?" Jiraiya asked warily.

"Potter Harry," Iruka answered immediately, "is he alright?"

"Exhaustion is the only thing I've found."

"Good, Naruto will be relieved," he was relieved too. He had only met Harry a handful of times but he liked him, then again, he was a previous incarnation of Naruto so if you liked one surely you would like the other? "I don't understand how he can be here."

"What do you mean?"

Iruka hesitated and she frowned at him. "I…I'm probably not the best to explain but I'll try. Harry and Naruto would be able to explain better," he explained, not wanting her to think he was lying or hiding things.

"Understood."

Iruka shifted and winced as his wound pulled slightly. In all the rush, he hadn't even realised he was wounded until they had re-joined the group. Kakashi had seen to it since Sakura had been busy with Naruto and Harry and the medics had finished the job on their return but the healing muscles still pulled and ached.

"Sit." Tsunade ordered when she saw the wince, pushing a chair over and Iruka fell into it. It was obvious he was still worn out from the long run and fight.

Iruka sat and looked back at Harry, he looked exactly as he had within Naruto's mind and he was completely lost on how that could be, or how Harry could exist like this at all. He focused his thoughts and began explaining everything he knew.

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Naruto woke to find Sakura sitting beside him and the familiar view of Konoha out the window. He'd missed the village a lot, but he'd missed the people in it that he cared for more. "Hey."

"Naruto! About time you woke up." Sakura chided even as she began checking him over. "Sandaime-sama has visited every day, as have Kakashi and Iruka-sensei. How do you feel?"

"Fine. What happened?" he sat up and she let him.

"Tsunade-sensei wants to talk to you about that first, sorry," she stepped back. "Good news is you look fine, I'll let her know you're awake."

Naruto lay back, confused as to why he was back in the village and in hospital. He never got sick and injuries healed ridiculously fast between the fox and Harry…who had remained strangely silent. He reached for his brother and froze as he found nothing but the fox within his mind and soul. He reached out and was relieved to find his magic still there, but where was Harry?

"About time you woke up brat," Tsunade called as she entered the room, taking in the almost panic in his eyes. "so, who the hell is Harry and why is he now taking up a bed in my hospital?" And there went the panic, replaced with relief.

"Is he okay?"

"Sleeping of exhaustion. I want an explanation. I already questioned Iruka."

Naruto didn't know what to say. Iruka had told? But he wouldn't have had a choice, not with the Hokage asking. So, he slowly began to tell her all about his life and just how much he had hidden.

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Green eyes slowly opened and stared up at a ceiling he had seen before…. though Naruto's eyes. He blinked dazedly and then shot up and stared at his own hands…his hands, not Naruto's. this wasn't possible! If anything, he should have been sucked into the statue like the bijuu and yet somehow, he was back in the world of the living and with his own body. He could feel magic thrumming under his skin so at least he still had that. But where was his little brother? The door opened and he turned to see the current Hokage, wishing the Sandaime was still in charge because personally he liked the old man better. "Hokage-sama."

"Potter-san," she returned.

Someone had obviously told her his name, but what else. "Is Naruto alright?"

"Fine, woke up yesterday. Not that he remembers anything after being attacked. Who and what are you?" she demanded.

"If you know my name then you've talked to someone who knows and therefore have most likely been told who and what I am already."

"The previous life of Naruto, pulled apart when Kyuubi was sealed within him. Nice story. Try the truth."

"It is the truth," Harry shrugged.

"I suggest you cooperate, I can look you away in the depths of T&I for life."

"You have no prison that could hold me if I didn't want to be held. Your world has no defence against magic."

"Magic is a children's story."

Harry shook his head but reached for magic and changed her clothes and skin colour then sat back and watched as she tried to break an illusion that didn't exist.

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Kisame looked down at the animal that had once been his partner. What the hell was he meant to do with it? It didn't look like it would change back without some sort of help and it wasn't an illusion. He would have to go to Konoha and what? Kidnap the guy who did this when he didn't know his name or abilities? Akatsuki had scattered for the moment, thrown off by the stranger and his attack in defence of the Kyuubi brat.

TBC…