Here is Chapter 24! Again, this is super late, I'm sorry.. I have chapter 25 in the works already and should have that out soonish.
Thanks for being patient, I love you all.
The Next Great Adventure
"To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure" – Albus Dumbledore (HPSS, Chapter 17)
Chapter 24: Bloodline Training Begins
Harry shifted his weight back and forth as he felt the burning stare of the Hokage on his lowered head. He was finally released from the hospital, but the Hokage asked for an in-person post mission report before they could go home. He could think of many places he'd rather be than the Hokage's office at the moment, and his bed was at the top of that list.
The twinge in his shoulder and side stung fiercely even after two days of recovery, and he tried to ignore it as he listened to Kakashi describe the successful arrival to the Karasawa's mansion. He attempted to keep his shoulder relaxed and still so he wouldn't reveal it was still hurting.
He may have told the nurse that the pain was gone and he was perfectly fine to leave. Harry wasn't sure if Kakashi had believed him, but he knew the jonin hated hospitals as much as he did and wouldn't give him away. Luna made him a salve based on a healing potion that would speed up his body's natural healing, and he couldn't wait to go home and apply it.
The report started out fine until Kakashi mentioned the new information about Harry's bloodline and how exactly he found out. Harry gritted his teeth as he waited for his reprimand.
"Now Hari-kun, you realize why it was dangerous to keep this information to yourself?" The Hokage didn't look angry, but he leaned forward in his desk to meet Harry's eyes directly.
Harry realized his mistake on how he approached his magic almost immediately after his talk with Kakashi. He thought he and Luna needed to hide their skills from everyone and keep it safe for their protection. He had a lot of time to think about his actions, or more accurately his inactions, while he was sitting in the hospital bored stiff. He thought about how he should have handled the knowledge of his magic and how he should have trusted Kakashi, the one who's been nothing but caring and helpful to him since he arrived in Konoha.
He was old enough to acknowledge when he was wrong and work to correct his mistakes. And that would start by telling Kakashi and Genma all about their abilities with magic. Especially with Genma and Luna's engagement - Genma has a right to know about magic and what kind of bloodline he is marrying into.
"Good. Now, it is remarkable you were able to defeat a jonin level opponent. It is an attest to both your skills and training that you not only survived but won. But I am disappointed you kept this from your sensei."
The Hokage sighed and leaned back, looking thoughtful.
"For now, I'm putting you back on D-ranked missions until Kakashi feels your bloodline training is sufficient and the two of you are able to work as a team." Harry knew there was no sense arguing, but his stomach dropped at the repercussion.
"Now Hari-kun, please wait outside. I have a few more things to discuss with Hatake-san."
Harry nodded and bowed before walking out of the room. He sank into one of the chairs outside the room and put his head in his hands, mentally kicking himself for being an idiot. He could feel the stares from the Hokage's receptionist, but the last thing he wanted to do was answer any questions. He'd wait for Kakashi, start training, and earn back his sensei's trust.
"What is your opinion of his bloodline after seeing it in action?"
Kakashi hummed, absently patting his pouch where his favorite book was resting.
"It was… impressive. Nothing like I've seen before," he said. "But he didn't use it until the end of the fight. Like he had forgotten about it."
Sarutobi nodded. "This makes sense. He hasn't been training his bloodline out in the field, so it hasn't become second nature just yet."
"True." Kakashi paused and then added, " I also noticed in his fight - he didn't hesitate. He attacked and dealt the killing blow with ease."
"Like he has done this before," Sarutobi said. Kakashi bobbed his head in agreement.
The Hokage sighed, shuffling some papers on his desk. He looked tired with heavy bags under his eyes.
"Keep an eye on him. This may have caused unwanted memories to surface from before. His actions align with our hypothesis of his life from before."
"So," the Hokage continued, "what is your plan for him now?"
"Hari has agreed to fill me in on the specifics of his bloodline, and we'll be working on incorporating this into his current fighting ability. Luna-san will be joining in our conversations so there won't be any intentional or unintentional gaps."
Sarutobi scratched his chin in thought.
"Genma should be informed as well," he said finally. "I'll have him join your training for the next few weeks. This will be helpful if his own children carry the bloodline."
Kakashi left with a bow, leaving Sarutobi alone in his office. He reached into the bottom right drawer of his desk and pulled out a glass orb. He peered into the swirls of color until it focused on one person in particular. Sarutobi smiled, watching Naruto with fondness. The blonde was in the Academy taking what appeared to be an exam. The boy was scratching his head and staring at his paper with a confused expression, and Sarutobi couldn't help but chuckle.
He would do everything in his power to save Minato's child. Prophecy or not, he knew things would get worse in the future, and Naruto would need to be ready. Maybe the boy could start training with Hari and Uchiha Sasuke…
Sarutobi leaned back in his chair, pondering his next move.
When they returned to the apartment, Luna and Genma were waiting on them. Luna immediately pulled Harry over to the cauldron with the salve inside. It worked wonders on Harry's partially healed wounds and aching muscles, reacting almost immediately upon application.
"This is amazing, Luna," Harry said, watching the scars disappear from his shoulder and side. The salve, Luna had dubbed Pomfrey Paste, was a murky ocean blue and smelled like peppermint.
The idea for the salve was for him, Kakashi, and Genma to test it out after missions to determine its effectiveness on their injuries. This would be the first test run, so Harry was excited to see the results. Harry and Luna both were unsure if the mixture would coordinate with chakra to speed up healing or if it only worked on wizards. In the wizarding world, most potions if administered to muggles were completely ineffective due to the lack of magic in their bodies. Luna hypothesized that since there was natural chakra in the ingredients (as is magic in the wizarding world) the potions would be effective with chakra.
If she was correct, the salve would be a game changer for not only helping Konoha but also a great source of income for her.
"Incredible." Genma poked Harry's shoulder tentatively, feeling the newly healed skin. "Can I try this out?"
"Not that I want you to get hurt, but next time you have an injury, I'd like to try it," Luna replied. "Though, we aren't sure yet if it will work on anyone else. It may only react with our bloodline."
"Well, I'll be the guinea pig and we can find out." Luna smiled up at him fondly.
Harry peaked over at them, holding in his own smile. The two were infatuated with each other and it was obvious they were both thrilled about the impending wedding. Harry was relieved it all worked out, even if it still grated his nerves that someone tried to manipulate them. Kakashi wouldn't tell him anything about the person responsible, but he trusted Kakashi to tell him more when he could.
"We should look into dittany next." Luna looked over at Harry in surprise.
"That is a wonderful idea!" she responded cheerfully, clapping her hands together. "I'll see if the Yamanakas know of any plants with similar properties first…."
Kakashi cleared his throat, sitting down at the table pointedly.
"Hari-chan, are you ready for us to discuss your bloodline?" They all joined Kakashi at the table, and Harry took a deep breath before beginning.
"First, I want to apologize again." He looked between the three of them and ended his gaze on Kakashi. "I should have told you all of this before. I'm sorry."
Kakashi ruffled his hair.
"Thank you, Hari-chan. I'm glad you understand why this is important. I will do my best to give you the information you need, and I will expect the same from you."
So Harry, with some assistance from Luna, went into detail about magic and what possibilities there were. They talked about everything, from offensive DADA spells (though they didn't call them "spells") to potions. Luna even highlighted Divination, though reading tea cups seemed to go right over the jonin's heads.
Harry, so involved with his explanations, didn't see the widening eyes of both Kakashi and Genma as they listened to the impossible possibilities of their bloodline.
"Well, that was informative," Kakashi said simply.
Genma laughed. "That's an understatement; your bloodline is amazing. It's no wonder you were wanting to keep it a secret."
"Well, now it's our secret," Luna said, putting her hand lightly over Genma's. "It's so nice to no longer have to keep anything from the both of you. Even if your tea cups aren't easy to read."
The next day Genma and Kaskashi took Harry out to the training fields to apply the bloodline abilities to his typical training routine. Luna accompanied them to help explain some of the abilities if needed, though Harry thought she might just be excited to be a part of his training. For the first day, they decided Harry would work with projectiles and coordinate offensive spells to coincide with weapons.
He took off through the training course, aiming for targets with both his weapons and spells. He thrust out his right hand to hit the first hanging target with a stunning spell and nicked the right corner. He turned as he ran underneath, throwing a kunai with his left hand and hit dead center. He continued on, switching between magic and projectiles to hit each of the targets that appeared on his route.
He completed the course a little slower than normal, which frustrated him immensely. He jogged over to where Kakashi, Genma, and Luna were standing, trying not to seem discouraged.
"Okay, my cute apprentice, this is a good starting point. Let's walk the course and discuss." The four headed towards the start of the training course to walk through.
"What was that red one just there?" Kakashi asked, pointing to the first target.
"Oh, that one will make someone go unconscious for a while." Harry grabbed the first shuriken he saw and tugged it out of the target. He couldn't reach the hanging ones, so he left those for the actual adults to retrieve.
"I see." They passed another target that had been destroyed with the pieces slightly smoking.
"And this one?"
"Bombarda, right?" Luna chimed in. She danced around a tree and leaped up to snag a kunai. Harry nodded.
"That one kinda, blows up? It's a blasting ability." Kakashi leaned in closer to study the pieces. They continued until they got to the final target that had been sliced in half.
"That one is a severing ability - it can slice open whatever you point it towards," Harry answered without prompting. Kakashi put a hand on his shoulder, pulling him to a stop.
"This one… this is what you used back then, isn't it?" It took a second for him to realize what Kakashi was referring to.
"Oh, you mean the fight. Yes, it is."
Harry had killed before. This one wasn't more significant than others. It was a bad guy and if he was choosing between himself and the ninja, he'd most definitely choose himself. He looked up at Kakashi and could see the veiled concern for him.
"I'm fine, Kakashi." He gave him a tight smile. "No need to worry." Kakashi considered him for a moment and nodded.
"Mah, then let's have you go through it again, but alternate which hand you are using for both your bloodline and weapon throws. Let's only use that red one for now, we can't have all the targets destroyed now can we?"
That night, Harry dreamed of flying.
He grasped his broom tightly as he swerved around, scanning the pitch. He heard far off cheers as he circled the grounds like a hawk, sun beating down harshly on his neck. It was a beautiful day outside of Hogwarts and the stands were packed with a mixture of reds and greens.
Harry heard Lee Jordan's booming voice announcing that the snitch had been spotted. Wind rustled his hair as he turned his broom sharply to plunge towards a glittering gold zooming across the pitch. He reached for the fluttering snitch, fingered clasping around the round sphere with elation….
His dream shifted suddenly, and he appeared in a hallway. He felt the ambiance of Hogwarts with the fluttering candles and shining suits of armor guarding doors through the hall.
He peered around, still in his quidditch gear, and felt the urge to find something. He looked around corners, behind doors, searching without knowing what for.
He came across a corridor, one that felt familiar yet he had a strong desire to turn around. He continued on, approaching a dark corner with the door he suddenly remembered from his mindscape. It pulsed with black veins and sent chills down Harry's spine. Harry stood rooted to the floor, even as the dream coaxed him to get closer.
He heard a far off scream coming from behind the door and felt phantom pain scatter across his body. The screams got louder and Harry stumbled back. He recognized that scream.
It was his own.
Harry woke up the next morning with a weight on his chest and tickle on his chin.
He shot up, accidentally pushing Ao onto the floor with a hiss.
"Sorry Ao, didn't realize you were there."
"Humph. That's what I get for trying to deliver news." He swished his tail around in irritation. Harry looked outside the window and realized it was barely light out. His alarm wasn't set to go off for another thirty minutes or so. He felt sweaty and clammy, the usual response to a nightmare, though the specifics of the dream faded as he started getting dressed.
"What news do you have?" Harry asked. Ao didn't travel too much since he decided to stay with Harry, so he was curious what would be so important that Ao would want to wake him up so early.
"The snakes have decided to partner with you." Harry looked over at Ao in surprise.
"What do you mean?" He asked as Ao slithered over and waited for Harry to lower his arm so he could climb up.
"Go to the tree you and I first met. One of my sisters wants to meet you."
"Yes, now. Hurry up."
Harry, realizing he wasn't going to get any other questions until he did what the blue serpent asked of him, began walking toward the Academy with Ao resting his head comfortably on his shoulder. He left a note on the counter so Kakashi wouldn't worry. The man probably heard him leave anyways, but he'd rather overshare with everything going on.
Harry walked by the shops setting up for the day. It was a quiet bustle of movement and Harry preferred it this way. The aroma of baked bread and fish filled the street and Ao stuck his tongue out into the air, enjoying the smell. As they approached the tree, Ao lifted his head and hissed.
Another snake, moss green with a yellow diamond on its head, slithered from behind the tree.
"Thank you for meeting me, speaker."
"Hello, my name is Harry." He crouched down, allowing Ao to fall onto the ground to greet his sister. "Do you have a name?"
The snake considered him with deep ebony eyes. "I do not, though my brother says you gave him a name."
"Er, yes I did." Harry stared awkwardly as the snake swayed slightly.
"I wouldn't mind you naming me," she said finally.
"Hmm..." Harry tapped his chin thinking. "What about Kuroba?" Harry thought her scales were a pretty green color that reminded him of a clover.
The green snake's tail flicked back and forth, and Harry wasn't sure if that was good or bad. She was hard to read, even by snake standards.
"I like it."
"Okay then." Harry let out a sigh of relief. "Ao said you wanted to speak with me?" Harry sat down and leaned his back against the tree, feeling the brisk early morning breeze. He was thankful the grounds at the Academy were empty so early in the day. He figured it would be another hour or two before any students began showing up.
He'd rather not have more eyes on him as he conversed with two snakes.
"Yes, brother without scales. Our brothers and sisters have decided we want you to have our summons. We will assist in your battles and poison your enemies." Kuroba reared back her head and began convulsing. Harry panicked and reached toward her but Ao tapped him harshly on the forehead.
"Relax brother, she is fine."
Kuroba lowered her head and dry-heaved. Rolled up parchment appeared in the back of her throat, steadily moving out. She reached her tail into her mouth, twisted the parchment, and ripped it out. Harry winced and shook his head, forcing himself not to touch his own throat as he thought how painful that must have been. And how gross.
"Open it," Kuroba hissed roughly, curling up as if to go to sleep.
Harry opened up the scroll with hesitation and peered at the contents. He read through and saw the signatures at the end. One of the more recent signatures, Orochimaru, sent a shiver down his spine.
"What will happen with the current summoners?"
"They will still be able to summon, though only the ones who deem them worthy," Ao answered. "You will also need to prove your worth to the Summoned Ones."
"Be careful," Kuroba hissed. "If they decide you are not worthy, you then become the enemy."
"Thank you for the warning, I will be careful." He rolled the scroll back up and held it within his hands. "I am honored to be chosen as a summoner. I will not take this lightly. I'll sign this very soon, but I want to speak with my family before. Is that okay?"
Kuroba nodded sleepily, looking content in the glow of the rising sun.
"Would you like to come back with us or…."
"I will return to my nest once I rest a bit."
Harry nodded and stood back up. Ao hissed a goodbye to his sister, warning her about the noisy children who will interrupt her nap soon.
Harry thanked Kuroba and headed back home.
"Kakashi, I'm back!" he said as he entered the apartment.
"Yo." Kakashi set down a pot of tea and toast on the table. "Sasuke came by asking for you. He said you haven't been meeting him in the mornings for training in a while."
"I'll go talk to him after the Academy. The last couple weeks have been pretty busy with our mission, the hospital, and now my bloodline training…." He sat down and accepted the cup of tea offered to him. Ao slithered down from his shoulders finally and headed to his favorite window spot to take a nap in the sunshine.
"I, ah, have to tell you something." Harry pulled out the scroll and laid it on the table.
"Hari-chan, what is that?" Kakashi asked lightly, though Harry had a feeling Kakashi already knew.
"It's a summoning scroll. Ao let me know the snakes wanted me to have it."
End Chapter 24
Thank you all for sticking with me. Next chapter will have Sasuke, Naruto, Shika, and Chouji! Harry needs some bonding time with his friends :)
I have the wedding coming up soon as well. If you have any recommendations or ideas for that, let me know! We all know Luna has some particular tastes that should be very interesting for a wedding celebration.