Chapter 1 updated on 11/02/19.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Harry Potter.
The Next Great Adventure
"To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure" – Albus Dumbledore (HPSS, Chapter 17)
Chapter 1: The Beginning
Most people believe your life flashes before your eyes right before you die. Your memories, the places you've been, the people you've loved, and the things you've treasured, all on display in your mind as you take your last few breaths. People say you can tell whether you lived an eventful life or a wasted one in those last moments.
Harry was no exception.
He lay crumpled on the ground in the only place he'd ever called home. Sadly, the Hogwarts he knew and loved was no longer standing. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, now only a mountain of stone, had been destroyed in the final battle between Light and Dark.
He would miss Hogwarts. As he thought of the years he'd spent there and the memories created, Harry regretted he wouldn't be able to finish his seventh and final year. It was Hermione's hope for the three of them to go back to school after all the fighting was over and graduate together. Unfortunately, with Hermione and Ron both six feet under and Harry not far behind, this idea would now just be a nice optimistic dream.
Harry guessed he lived an okay life though. In his nineteen years, he gained great friends, learned about magic, and made some wonderful memories. Except for the last two years, which he did not want to think about just now. In all honesty, he wished he could erase those horrible memories so even in death he wouldn't remember them.
The war had been brutal.
After Dumbledore's untimely death, Harry begrudgingly became the leader of the Light. He never understood why people pushed for him to lead. He was young and inexperienced, but people clung to him and his name and in the end there wasn't much choice in the matter. He led them through many fights and conflicts and took each death as his own failure. He lost many allies and friends through the war and each weighed heavily on his heart.
It's good I'm dying now, he thought, strangely cheerful. There isn't anything left in this world to live for. Everyone I love is waiting for me on the other side.
He looked around while straining his eyes though dirty glasses. He saw a single goal post left standing very close to where he resided.
I must be on the Quidditch pitch then.
He was lying in the place where only a few years before he had proudly held the Quidditch cup in his hands, celebrating his final win as Quidditch Captain. The memory of the win was fleeting but seeing his friends happy and cheering brought a painful smile to his face.
Ron, Hermione, Ginny, everyone… I'll be seeing all of you soon.
As he continued to look around, he glanced at all the bodies surrounding him. Most were unrecognizable; in the collection of rubble, bodies, and blood, Harry couldn't distinguish between his allies and the death eaters.
A war fought over blood…. How ironic that now their pure blood is mixed in with all the mudbloods and blood traitors too.
He spotted his newly acquired wand, a black elm taken from a fallen death eater a few months back, splintered a few inches from his fingers. The wand had accepted him well enough but was nothing like his own holly and phoenix feather wand. How he missed his old wand! Lord Voldemort had gleefully snapped it after one of the many encounters the two had over the years.
Harry finally spotted a corpse he did recognize. His eyes welled with tears as he spotted the greasy hair and hooked nose of his former potions master, whose body oozed from deep lacerations. It appeared the death eaters had taken great pleasure in torturing their notorious traitor. From the looks of the many broken bodies around him, Professor Snape didn't fall without taking a few death eaters with him.
Hope the bastard got them good, Harry thought proudly. Once this is all over and I see him again, I'm going to force him and my dad to make up. Too much has happened for them to continue their schoolyard rivalry. I'm sure Mom will help too.
Harry closed his eyes, picturing his family and friends all together again. Everyone was happy and laughing with no thoughts of war or death. The scene brought a brief sense of peace.
I do regret not being able to settle down and have kids though, Harry thought bitterly. I think I would have been a pretty good dad.
Having grown up in a house devoid of love and kindness, he was sure his children would have grown up in a loving and happy home.
It would've been nice to have a house filled with lots of kids, he thought. Just like the Weasley's. They were always happy. He forced himself not to think about what happened to his favorite redheaded family once the war started.
Harry's breathing became difficult and the wetness building beneath him expanded. Dying was painful, and his entire body ached. Bleeding out, Harry found, was not the easiest way to die. Especially out here on the cold, hard ground all alone.
He pondered what the headlines would say about his current predicament. Rita Skeeter would have a field day for sure. He could see it now - "Harry Potter, the Chosen One, the Boy-Who-Lived, destroys the beloved Wizarding Landmark Hogwarts (and defeats the Dark Lord in the process)". He started chuckling but choked on the liquid in his lungs and coughed.
He had done it though. The scorched parts of what were left of Voldemort's body were scattered about twenty feet away from where Harry himself had fallen. He had finally killed the bastard who made his life hell. He avenged all of the people this monster had destroyed. But he was years too late to save anyone.
He thought about all the people he had lost; his best friends, Ron and Hermione, the whole Weasley family, Neville, Luna, Sirius, Remus, Dumbledore, Hagrid, and countless others who had followed him until they met their untimely deaths.
A single tear fell, though he couldn't feel it through the ever-increasing coldness of his body.
Harry's raspy voice spoke softly into the eerie silence. "I'm sorry, everyone. It took me way too long to kill him. I hope you can forgive me."
His ragged and painful breathing slowed. He closed his eyes, waiting for Death to arrive and finally take him to his family and friends who were waiting for him on the other side.
Here I come.
Harry welcomed the approaching darkness.
Harry saw a blinding light, floating serenely above him.
This must be the end, he thought, watching the light slowly approach him. He closed his eyes and basked in the sudden warmth. His worn and aching body suddenly felt rejuvenated, and he no longer felt the cold hard ground beneath him. He felt levitated in a bight ray of sunshine.
Strangely enough, Harry's eyes snapped open to find he was indeed suspended in the air. He panicked, flailing his body around, failing to find his balance without the ground for support.
"Calm down, my child. Everything is as it should be." He froze as a disembodied voice projected through the white abyss surrounding him.
Three indistinguishable forms appeared before him with nothing but a faint outline to show their figures.
I must still be dying if my hallucinations are this unreal, Harry thought. He blinked rapidly, trying to dispel the imaginary people from his vision.
"Harry Potter." He looked up at the middle figure who'd spoken.
"You have led a difficult life, and this fault resides with us, The Fates, for sending the prophecy between you and Tom Riddle to our chosen seer. We placed you in the position as the world's savior and took away your chance at a normal life. We now wish to redeem ourselves and gift you with, as your Headmaster would say, your 'next great adventure.'"
"What do you mean?" Harry asked curiously. He figured that, even though this was just a dying hallucination, he might as well play along with his delusions. He was indeed enjoying the experience of warmth in this hallucination, so he was fine with it lasting a bit longer.
"As you are on the brink of death, it is easy for us to send your body and soul to a different dimension. Think of it as a second chance to live the life you were deprived of."
"How can you send me to a different dimension? Or rather, what is a different dimension?" In the lull of the warmth, the talk of dimensions was still strange, and he was curious how his subconscious could have come up with it. It was a bit far-fetched for his imagination.
He heard chuckling amongst the shadows. "We are The Fates. There are many things we can do that you mere humans cannot even begin to fathom. And to answer your other question, dimensions are different worlds completely separate from one another."
The center figure leaned toward Harry slowly. "But there is no time for us to explain everything to you just yet. All you need to know is that for your selfless and courageous acts, and for the defeat of a terrible dark lord, you have been blessed by The Fates. And furthermore, an old wizard has requested that you carry on his bloodline in your new life."
"Erm, I'm not quite sure I'm following…." Harry was interrupted by faint laughter echoing from the three dark shapes.
"We are running out of time, and I am not yet finished," the center figure continued. "When you arrive at your new home, you most likely will not be able to understand the language. It takes time for the information you need to be assimilated by your mind, so be patient, as you will need the necessary information to blend in." The heat around Harry continued to increase, and his body shifted uncomfortably.
"Because of the influx of information, you may develop some temporary blank spots in the memories of your past life, but don't be alarmed. This is just so the emotions from your past memories will not consume your conscience as you are assimilating to this new life. You have the choice, however, to leave your memories behind if you wish."
"Hang on, I don't want to lose any memories!" Even though this was a hallucination created by his slowly dying mind, he couldn't help but feel his heart aching at the thought of losing the memories of his loved ones.
"Calm down, child. You will only have blank spots temporarily. If you wish to keep your memories, then they will stay with you. We do not want you to live in the past though. This gift of a new life has been bestowed on you; do not disregard this chance by staying in the past and not living life to its fullest."
Harry just stared unblinkingly at the middle shadow. It was simply too bizarre, too unreal for him to comprehend.
"You should start believing this Harry James Potter, because I assure you this is all real. Now, as you are to become an heir to this wizard, you will see some changes in your magic. Also, the magic in this dimension is very different from what you are used to. You will see once you get there."
"Secondly, there will be another heir coming soon after you. Your magical sibling, if you will. She died earlier on in this war, so it will take us longer to send her to you."
"A sibling?" Harry echoed in frustration, all thoughts of hallucinations gone from his mind. "None of this makes any sense! Why can't you explain yourselves?" Harry did not like dealing with these so-called Fates. Instead of answering his questions, they were only adding to his confusion.
"We believe in learning through experience," one of the figures stated smugly. "But we will give you just a little help before you go." Without further warning, the figure rushed toward Harry with frightening speed and thrust a clouded hand straight through Harry's skull.
Too stunned to move, there was a burst of pain and heat, and Harry was instantly accosted by foreign symbols and sounds spinning rapidly through his mind.
"There will also be a small side effect from travelling to a different dimension while you are still alive. You'll discover it soon enough. We hope you are ready."
Before Harry could blink, he was pushed firmly by something and started plummeting through an endless sea of white clouds.
Harry couldn't answer as he plunged further away from the dark figures above him; his vision was starting to fade and his consciousness with it.
Before he blacked out completely, he heard a faint echo in his ears. "Good luck, Harry James Potter."
As soon as Harry disappeared from their view, the three figures looked at each other in silence.
"What memories did you take from him?" the figure on the left asked curiously.
"I took his most traumatic memories of the war. The ones I hope he never regains."
The three stared back at the spot Harry had disappeared from, as though they could still see him and were assessing him with a critical eye.
"Have we done the right thing?" one of them asked finally. "To tell him this is a second chance, only…."
"What we have done is for the good of this world," another stated decisively. "He will understand in time."
"That poor boy," the third said quietly, before the three fell into silence once again.
Kakashi sat in a tree, hovering noiselessly over a campfire. The smell of alcohol encumbered his highly sensitive nose. The unsuspecting group below laughed boisterously, showing off their stolen prizes to one another. The sounds of sake glasses being clinked together echoed through the forest followed by drunken cheers.
"That's a damn great haul!" One of the men yelled happily, clapping another on the back.
"Too bad we got no women in the wagon," another added sadly and hiccupped. "Why we always unlucky and hit the wagons with all men? If we had some nice ladies here, we'd have a lot more fun tonight!" A few others nodded in agreement.
"There's that red light district in Tanigakure. We gots enough money to have fun with lots of women now! And lots o' sake!" More cheers erupted from the suggestion.
"Bakusui, you's always wanting to go to the red light district. This is why you's always broke!" The others laughed, and they all continued to drink merrily.
"Having fun over there, Goro?" One of them asked the man sitting on a log away from the group. The lookout growled and stabbed his sword into the ground, obviously cross about missing out on the drinking, and they all burst into raucous laughter again.
Kakashi sighed inaudibly as the group then started drunkenly singing.
These people are the worst bandits I've ever seen.
A signal from his left spurred him into action. Kakashi leapt onto the closest target, the lookout a few feet from the camp, and cut his throat before the man could utter a sound.
A green blur shot through the remaining five targets, all of who could not react fast enough to defend themselves.
Kakashi scanned the clearing, making sure all of the bandits were disposed of before casually approaching his comrade.
"Gai, this is the fifth group of bandits we've come across," he muttered, kicking a sake bottle out of his path. "Genins could have handled this easily. It's been two weeks, and there haven't been any signs of foreign ninja anywhere in this forest like we thought."
Gai nodded. "Yes my esteemed rival. But we must continue our youthful pursuit! The Hokage would not have sent us to this specific location if he did not think there was trouble!"
Two weeks of scouting the forest between the border of the Land of Rivers and Konoha had left the two finding absolutely nothing that fit their mission parameters. The Hokage had given them a very vague mission to 'look for something out of the ordinary.' Kakashi had spent the last two weeks pondering what the Hokage could have meant by this but still the answer alluded him.
After they cleared the area of stolen items and hid any trace of a campsite, the two prepared to leave.
"We still have two weeks left of this mission," Gai continued. "Let us do our best and even if we find nothing, we can still valiantly rid this forest of the bandits and return the items unjustly stolen from the good merchants of Konoha!" Gai shot Kakashi a blinding smile and a thumbs up.
Kakashi ignored his teammate as he pulled out an orange book and hid his face behind the pages.
"Ah, Kakashi, always so hip and cool!" Gai said enthusiastically as they set off.
Why had the Hokage sent them on this fool's errand? Kakashi thought as he gracefully jumped from branch to branch, his face still buried in the orange book. Does he know something they didn't?
Regardless of the reason, Kakashi resigned himself to spending the next two weeks hunting drunken bandits and dealing with Gai's youthfulness.
Or so he thought.
End Chapter 1
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