Harry didn't know what the big deal was. Really, it had only been a minor apocalypse after all. The world hadn't really ended. He'd just... rearranged things a bit. Okay, he could see where they were coming from. No one likes to be confronted with demons that rival in height the old World Trade Centre buildings before they got smashed down. But it wasn't like they were really demons. He'd created them and controlled them – no real demon did anybody's bidding. And maybe giving them directions to keep the human population under control was a good reason to fear them and hate him but... He'd seen what over-population had done to the planet and it was not good. The world should count itself lucky that he'd stopped ageing during the twenty-first century, when there was still plant-life growing wild and natural to be appreciated, and animals could be found in places other than zoos. If he hadn't been so fond of nature, and researched so many spells over his centuries of life on how to return Earth to a more idyllic time, they would have been stuck with lakes of toxic sludge, only concrete jungles, and the only animals to be found in the cities would have been cockroaches.
Seriously. He'd improved the world for everybody. There wasn't any hidden society of wizards any more, hell, there were no wizards any more. Every nuclear explosion wiped out every magic user within a ten-thousand-mile radius, no exceptions. It took a good fifty years before a magic-user could even hang around on the outskirts of that radius without getting violently ill – and the longer they stayed the worse, and closer to death, they would get.
Though for some reason he'd survived, getting stronger rather than weaker because of the radiation and so on. Actually, it was quite amusing to him, the most powerful wizard of his time, being the only wizard to survive the radiation and getting stronger because of it, while other witches and wizards dropped like flies and the muggles developed the ability to use their potential – not magic, but something very like it – in a way that really was quite impressive.
Harry had gone around his newly re-shaped world back when it was new and helped set up villages, schools, hospitals, re-teaching the people how to use what equipment he'd left behind after he'd given Earth it's makeover. Most of them didn't even remember what the world had been like before, which as far as he was concerned was a good thing. It meant his minor-apocalypse-spell had worked properly, leaving all those who had survived it with a kind of "huh? What the heck just happened?" feeling.
Setting up the 'ninja villages' had been particularly interesting. Harry had set up one 'ninja village' in each approximate quarter of his re-shaped world, and then the other areas had caught onto the idea of what they could do with their funky new powers. It was quite fun to watch really, but then the over-population problem had started to rear its ugly head again. Oh, there was room enough for everybody, but people weren't that sensible. So, Harry had decided to just let his monsters wander around the world as they pleased, keeping people in check. Everything else had predators, why not people? He was human too, and the thought of being eaten made him uncomfortable, but really, people needed some way other than war to keep themselves from becoming a problem.
Besides, he'd made sure that his monsters were always perfectly suited to their habitats and would help keep their balances. To name just two of his favourite pets, the fox he'd set in the Land of Fire didn't hurt trees, and the tanuki he'd set in the desert make sure that the sands always shifted properly and the rains came regularly even in the desert. Even barren wastelands had their cycles after all.
The first time his pets had been sealed into people, however, Harry had pouted for a week – until he remembered that they'd be free again once the person died, and that left an appropriate amount of time for the population to grow before being cut back down again.
Harry had decided to visit the chuunin exams again. He went to every fifth examination or so, as a way to keep him entertained. Since they happened twice a year, it meant seeing people and interacting with them on some level every two-and-a-half years, which was good for him really. He needed to stay grounded. He'd been in his mid-thirties for almost a thousand years now, so actually seeing people was important, as was making sure that people didn't catch on that he wasn't ageing. They wouldn't like that all that much, or they'd want to rip the secret from him and become like him themselves. He'd run across a couple of people lately – that is to say, within the last century – who were quite keen on the idea.
But those were thoughts for another time. The chuunin exams that Harry was attending this time were being held in Konohagakure, or just Konoha for short. Yelling caught his attention, and Harry frowned, walking around the corner to break up whatever fight was going on.
"Alright, break it up!" he yelled at the kids. And they were kids. They may have all been wearing the symbol of their village which denoted them as ninjas and therefore adults (except for the littlest kid who was wearing a long blue scarf and being held up by the kid with the face-paint), but they were not one of them out of puberty.
"Who are you that we should listen?" demanded the kid with the face-paint.
Harry arched an eyebrow, then gave a woof of surprise as something barrelled into him and latched its arms around his waist. He managed to stay upright though, and when he looked down he saw...
"Oh you," Harry said fondly, patting the head between the ears.
His tanuki, all made of sand and wrapped around a boy who was also still going through puberty – his pet's container.
"I've missed you master," Shukaku said, burrowing his face in Harry's side.
"Hmm, I'll bet," Harry answered, still patting his head as the rest of the kids were staring at him in horror. "What mischief have you been up to Shuk? You get into even more trouble than Kyu when you're cooped up like this. Come on, out with it."
"'mnotlettin'imsleepan'Imade'imbloodthirstyan'realdangerousI'msorryIknowyoudon'likeitwhenIdothat," Shukaku said all in a mumbled rush.
"That's right I don't," Harry said firmly, pulling the sand-tanuki-boy's arms from around his waist and crouching down to look him in the eye. "I didn't create you to be a mindless bloodthirsty monster Shukaku, and certainly not to torture kids. You know how I feel about kids."
The sand-tanuki-boy nodded, clearly chastised.
"You'll be good now?" Harry pressed.
The sand-tanuki-boy nodded.
"Good," Harry said with a smile, then kissed the sandy crown of his head. "Now let the boy back to himself alright? And you let him sleep properly from now on."
The sand-tanuki-boy nodded again, and then the sand receded, leaving a red-haired boy with milky-jade eyes staring at Harry in wonderment.
"Hello," Harry said, smiling at the boy. "I'm Harry. Sorry about Shuk, he just doesn't like being cooped up much. What's your name?"
"Gaara," the boy answered.
"It's a pleasure to meet you Gaara," Harry said, standing up, then turning to the group of kids who were still staring at him. "Now, what are all of your names, and why, oh why did you think that picking on a kid who isn't even a genin yet would be a good idea?" Harry asked, eyeing the painted kid when he said that last bit.
"He ran into me! I was teaching him a lesson!"
"Not to run around in the streets of his own home town? To not have fun while he's still a little kid?" Harry pressed, his own emerald green eyes narrowing at the boy.
"I'm Temari, that's my brother Kankuro, and I was trying to get him to stop," said a girl with four bushy blond bunches of hair and a giant fan on her back. "Gaara's our brother too," she added.
Harry was aware that she was looking at him with barely disguised fear. So was Kankuro, though he was masking his own fear with false bravado.
Harry nodded, and turned his eyes to the other kids, silently bidding them to introduce themselves.
"Haruno Sakura," greeted the girl with pink hair.
"Sarutobi Konohamaru, the Hokage's grandson!" declared the kid still struggling in Kankuro's grip.
"Uchiha Sasuke," announced another boy who had dropped down from the nearby tree when Harry made himself known.
The blonde seemed to be struggling with himself, or stomach pains, but the whisker marks on his face were getting longer as Harry watched.
"Kyu!" Harry said firmly. "Leave the kid introduce himself, I know it's you already."
The blonde visibly and gratefully relaxed as the whisker marks receded to three short stripes on each cheek, breathed deeply, and then loudly said that he was "Uzumaki Naruto, and I'm gonna be the Hokage some day!"
"Why?" Harry asked, amused. "The Hokage spends a lot of his time behind his desk doing paperwork, to make sure that the village runs properly. You want to do paperwork?"
"NO!" Naruto yelled. "I want to be the Hokage so that people will see me and respect me!"
Harry pursed his lips, frowning a little. "I get the feeling that Konoha doesn't like you much because you're my Kyu's keeper."
"Kyu?" Sasuke demanded.
"Kyuubi," Harry answered happily. "My pet fox! Just like Shukaku is my pet tanuki!"
That had all the kids gaping, and Harry laughing on the inside.
"The tailed demons are your pets?" Sakura screeched.
Harry nodded pleasantly. "Shukaku and Kyuubi are my favourites of them all of course. I think I was a bit inebriated when I designed and created the others, as they aren't nearly as cute, and I like cute, but what's done is done," he said with a shrug.
"Created... pets... drunk... cute... oh!" Sakura collapsed and passed out.
Kankuro dropped Konohamaru in shock, and the kid backed away from Harry cautiously. All eyes were very fixed on Harry.
"But, the tailed beasts are centuries old," Temari ventured at last, confusion over-taking her fear for a moment.
Harry groaned. "Give the girl a cigar," he mumbled to himself. "Yes, that's right. I am almost a thousand years old. I haven't aged since I was somewhere in my thirties. I do not want it getting out that I have eternal life and youth, thank you."
The kids who weren't the containers of his pets all nodded enthusiastically. There was no way they were getting on the bad side of the person who'd made the tailed beasts.
"Good. Now, I want to spend some time with Gaara and Naruto," Harry declared with a grin. "I like to get to know the people who my pets are being kept in. They tell the most interesting stories about their lives," he added, his eyes flashing dangerously again.
The ANBU who had been watching from the surrounding area all gulped silently and ran off to report to the Hokage and the council. They just might have a very serious problem...