Chapter Seven: I don't see a downside
Disclaimer: I fought the law and the law won.
Summary: Harry finds Naruto manga at an early age and tries to decide his own fate.
Warning: He is still going to refer to it as chakra until he finds another name for it.
Harry made it back home before the Dursleys decided to lock him out and skirted around the sitting room as he could hear Marge wailing drunkenly and did not want to get caught in what was sure to be a disaster. He quietly made his way into his cupboard under his aunt Petunia's watchful eye and took off his trainers before lying down. He shifted a few times before settling into a comfortable position for both him and the vines. Closing his eyes to rest he wouldn't realize until late tomorrow how much better his life had just gotten.
Harry woke not to stomping above him or harsh light in his eyes along with a screeching voice. No he woke to something that scared him more than he would like to admit, complete silence.
Slowly exiting his cupboard he cautiously looked around in case it was a trap set up to lure him into a false sense of security. While going to check the time in the sitting room he came upon why it was so quiet. There lying in various compromising positions about the room were three passed out adults and Dudley. The way they came to be like that was answered when he saw the empty decanters of scotch and bourbon, one bottle clutched firmly in Dudley's hands that was a little less than half full.
Knowing better than to make any noise, thanks to the experiences when his uncle came home sloshed, Harry set up Petunia protocol eight and got out the emergency coffee beans, grinder, and coffee maker. After setting the beans to grind he got out stomach friendly foods and started on breakfast at half the normal portions. Knowing he didn't want to be there when his family woke up, he set the food to simmer and went to clothes the blinds as to not let light in. He set up the plates on the table and then turned on the coffee maker. He hurried upstairs for a quick shower that was more of a soak what with the plants still wrapped around him. Getting dry was harder but he managed it and got dressed and grabbed a slice of toast on the way out the back door. He just reached the front lawn when he heard the loud groans of the adults waking up as they smelt the coffee.
It was Sunday and today he was going to practice genjutsu or the illusion arts all day. First he spent a few hours meditating and organizing his thoughts before he got hungry. Making his way out of the clearing and into the park area he saw a few families picnicking in their Sunday best and more than one child making their best look their worse as they played around. Unlike at the vet no one here stood out to his senses.
Not wanting to go home to eat Harry decided to try out his genjutsu skills on one of the families closest to the tree line. Coming up behind them into position, he carefully thought about what he wanted to project in detail before exuding his chakra to take shape over a small portion of the family's meal and the shrub in front of him. It was a simple illusion to make them think that it was trash and that they were to wrap it up and put it into the proper trash receptacle, or in this case the bushes where Harry was hiding.
It was a weak genjutsu, nothing an organized mind couldn't throw off, but as he observed before none of these civilians had his chakra-like substance so were greatly influenced by it. The mum wrapped the food up nicely and handed it to the closest child who dazedly over to the shrub before placing it down and pushing it under before walking away. Harry grabbed the food and decided to take the high ground before releasing his illusion.
Once safely in the tree with his prize he watched as the family shook their heads as if confused before the boy child who gave him the food came to look for it again. He sat eating as he watched them get confused over its disappearance before writing it off as an animal carrying it away. They still left the park quickly after that though as if afraid it would happen again. Harry felt a bit remorseful over his tactics but decided if it was a real ninja they would have killed the family and took everything instead of the small bit he did. But he had to remember that he couldn't go around messing with random people's heads unless he was in a desperate situation.
He had been coming to the park for the last few weeks but couldn't remember the last time he had even seen the swings or the jungle gym or the sandbox or the… wait a minute the sandbox. He zeroed in on the sand box. It only had three young children playing around in it. It didn't look to be very deep but it was the only readily available source of sand in walking distance. He would come back the night after tomorrow to try and acquire the sand armor but that low level genjutsu had tired him out fast along with the vines constant drain. He would definitely need to practice his fine control if it took this much out of him.
He stayed in the tree meditating for another hour before heading home in time for tea.
When he got there he was surprised at the somber atmosphere that surrounded Marge and a hostile one around Petunia. Marge was already three sheets in the wind from the smell of the kitchen. Harry navigated around Petunia who was struggling with the six year Dudley, who was still upset about his hangover earlier, about eating his vegetables. Harry pulled out two slices of bread then got the smallest piece of the roast and a couple of vegetables and piled them on before trying to walk out the kitchen, only to be stopped by Marge calling him.
"Boy, you made that breakfast this morning right?" she slurred turning towards Harry and almost tipping out of her chair. Not even waiting for a reply she continued. "You're a good kid, not like those parents of yours, hell I'm surprised you came out good with Petunia raising you. She ruins everything she touches, just look at Vernon uhhhh. I hate them both." Petunia looked like she would strike Marge until she started bawling.
"I only had my dogs and the colonel and now they took away all my babies," she sobbed over her empty cup.
Harry just threw a confused look at his non-hysterical and had shooed Dudley out of the kitchen and slid the plate with his vegetables over to Harry who had just finished his sandwich.
"The inspection turned up some laws she was violating, like culling the runts of the litter, having them fight over their food to build strength in them, other inhumane things, etc." she read off a sheet that he hadn't noticed in front of Marge, a bunch of sheets actually. He looked over them while eating the vegetables. He fought not to shout with glee as he glanced at the topmost paper after the charges, it was a paper for Ripper's termination as he was too aggressive. He guessed that the other sheets were also termination papers for other dogs.
Trying not to smile too much, Harry got up and cleaned off his plate before going back to his cupboard.
Marge sobered up and returned home late last night where she would be cleaning out the kennels and packaging items for resell. Harry hoped she wouldn't come back, ever.
Today Harry would try out his genjutsu on his relatives at breakfast.
Harry got out the cupboard and made his way to the kitchen where he got out the ingredients for breakfast and then sat down. Like yesterday he concentrated on what he wanted the Dursleys to see. He had to do it carefully because unlike the civilians from yesterday his aunt Petunia wasn't as muted as everyone else, though she wasn't as bright as him or the other children he saw though it was situated on her stomach. (You know where this is going don't you guys)
His aunt came into the kitchen ten minutes later and looked towards the stove expecting to see him there. It was then that Harry released his chakra to shape his genjutsu over the kitchen.
"Good job boy. Don't just sit around being lazy get washed and dressed while I prepare breakfast," she said barely sparing him a glance while she went about the kitchen getting more supplies.
Harry couldn't believe it was that easy. It didn't work the way he intended but he was off breakfast duty for the day. He quickly left the kitchen to prepare for school. First thing he did was get his good clothes out, which were for school and when company came over. Then he went to wash up. His uncle didn't wake up for another half an hour and his aunt was in the kitchen so he decided to take his time getting washed up. After his shower he brushed his teeth and gargled with the mouth wash before heading back downstairs.
In the kitchen he came upon the sight of his aunt making a right mess of things. Sure she could cook but her cleaning skills left much to be desired. The oven was covered in grease, pans littered the sink, and she had flour smeared on her cheeks. He idly wondered if this is how she cooked before he started. Deciding to help her out, only because he couldn't stand the kitchen looking so messy, he set about washing the dishes.
"Aunt Petunia, how come the kitchen is never this messy when you prepare tea or supper?" Harry cautiously questioned.
When she didn't respond Harry glanced over and saw her half asleep flipping the toast. "Aunt Petunia wake up!" he called over to her not moving from the sink. She jerked and glared at Harry before turning back to the job at hand but quickly looked back over when she saw what he was doing.
"Get away from there boy. Anything in the kitchen from now on is my job and I won't have you messing it up," she told him now fully awake. "Your uncle should be up by now, you go wake Dudley for the day. Now that you are no longer needed here you have to do something else useful'" she said shooing him out of the kitchen.
The genjutsu didn't make his aunt nicer but it made her think he was no longer needed in the kitchen. He couldn't wait to see the second genjutsu take hold. But first before he even woke Dudley he had something important to do in the garden. Grabbing his school jumper he headed outside with one of the broken mop buckets and a trowel.
In the garden Harry worked quickly to fill the bucket with dirt, being careful not to get any on him and to even out any holes. Heading back inside, he saw his uncle coming down the stairs.
"Why aren't you making breakfast boy? And where is Petunia?" Vernon called out as he made his way down the stairs.
"Aunt Petunia is making breakfast today and I was finishing up in the garden before going to wake up Dudley like she told me to do?" Harry said as he placed the dirt by the front door.
When he reached the bottom of the stairs Vernon cuffed Harry on the head and told him to hurry up while he went to see if Petunia was alright. He knew the reason she had Harry making breakfast was because she wasn't a morning person and almost set the house aflame when she fell asleep with the stove on. He went into the kitchen after the bot disappeared up the stores and saw Petunia multitasking with vengeance at the stove and sink. He was about to question her when he realized that he always ate the food prepared and never cooked anything himself. Maybe they should take turns preparing the meals and when Dudley got a little older he would be taught to prepare some food as well. As he went to help Petunia out it never once crossed his mind to make Harry cook or wash anything in the kitchen Actually as far as he or his wife were concerned they didn't even want him to look at the kitchen door. They would have breakfast a little later than usual but that didn't seem to concern them.
Harry unaware of this unfortunate development was at the moment on the ground face down unable to get up. It seems his cousin had taken exception to Harry coming into his room so early to wake him up and decided to use him as a chair until he had woken up properly. Harry was used to the treatment but due to his success earlier he decided to do something about his tub-o-lard cousin.
Channeling chakra into his arms and back to give them strength Harry started pushing up off the ground which made Dudley topple over to the floor. He got up and looked down at his cousin. He then pulled back and punched him in the shoulder. If Harry had released his chakra before he threw the punch most of the impact would have been absorbed by the other boy's flab making it no more than a hard shove. But because he was still channeling chakra Dudley felt the whole force of the punched and thanks to the unique energy quickly lost all feeling in it. Scared Dudley started to scream out before Harry tackled him to the ground and covered his mouth.
Harry quickly figured out that his cousin couldn't move his other arm when he wasn't thrown off the heavier boy. He began to panic trying to remember what to do in this situation. Dudley wasn't screaming in pain and was clearly scared before he was tackled, so Harry deduced that the arm was broken only paralyzed. Taking a deep breath he began to speak.
"Calm down Dudley. Nothing is wrong with your arm, o.k. In an hour or two it will be back to normal." Harry calmly explained slowly pulling away from the other boy.
"What did you do to me, freak?" Dudley said backing away from his cousin in fear. His six year old mind not able to understand how someone he had been hurting doing something back to him.
Seeing his fear Harry knew if Dudley told his parents that he would not get away without a beating. He had to think quickly when he saw Dudley's eyes dart towards the door, thinking about if he could make it or if his parents would hear him screaming.
"Dudley if you tell anyone about this I will do the same thing to your legs and leave you here." Harry stated in what he hoped was a scary grown up voice.
Seeing Dudley not look convinced he pulled back his hand and channeled chakra carefully to hi voice box to make his voice sound deeper. "I'll do it, Dudley. I swear I'll do it if you say anything." Dudley recognized a threat when he heard one, mostly empty ones from his classmates about tattling, and he knee his cousin was serious so he nodded his head quickly.
"Good, now get dressed we have school today," Harry said heading for the door. He would have to watch Dudley at breakfast to make sure nothing slipped.
To be truthful he didn't know if he could do that to Dudley again. In theory he knew where some clusters of nerves on the body were but to even attempt it something could go wrong and at best he would only break a few bones. He would have to start working on anatomy and healing today. It was just another thing to add into his schedule besides school and training.
Going down the stairs Harry saw the bucket of dirt he brought in earlier and remembered his new roommates. He grabbed the bucket and brought it into his cupboard and set it at the foot of the cot by his trainers. Reaching under the sheet on his cot he pulled out the green vines who had once again curled around each other in his absence. Making sure not to flair his chakra lest they latch on he deposited them into the dirt. Though when he pulled away one of the vines attached itself to his hand and crawled up his wrist. He recognized it as the first vine he brought home as it was greener than the others and was the only one whose buds had sprouted flowers. (See the fifth chapter)
He could only guess it knew what he felt like having been with him longer. If the plant started growing from contact with him maybe he should spend more time with the other plants. But they would be noticed at school and taken away from him. Looking down at his arm he watched as the vine kept circling his arm contrasting with his pale skin. If only it could blend in better. Before he could finish that thought he watched as the vine started getting lighter in color until it was yellow, then it did something even weirder. It started cycling through colors until Harry realized it was turning colors that he was thinking about while it feed on his chakra. He thought about the color of his skin and watched as it blended in with his arm. Before he could try with the other plants Dudley came downstairs shaking his arm.
Closing the door quickly and pulling down his sleeve he turned to glare at his cousin, knowing that as long as it was on his mind Dudley would bring up the numbness in his arm. It would be best to keep him cowed until they reached the school and it wore off.
Together he and his cousin entered the kitchen to a horrible sight, Vernon and Petunia snogging in the kitchen. Harry tried not to vomit as Dudley complained about them ruining the food with their grossness. Embarrassed at being caught by the children they pulled apart. When their eyes landed on Harry they both grimaced.
"Boy, we do not want to see you in this kitchen at all." Vernon said shaking in what looked to be disgust. Harry looked at the faces of the others and could see that disgust mirrored there. He guessed he over did the first genjutsu so the second one was cancelled out. Getting ready to release it Harry stopped building chakra when he heard his aunt gasped. He looked up and saw that all three of his relative's gazes were focused on the food laden table. Wondering what was wrong he was about to ask when his aunt turned to him again her eyes not as severe as before.
"Sit down and hurry up." She said pointing towards a chair at the table. When he was seated he noticed some of the disgust in their eyes had vanished. "Boy if you have to come into the kitchen go straight to the table and sit down. I will not have your freakiness ruining my kitchen you understand." It was weird the way she said it in a kinder voice than usual. In fact the only thing that would ruin her image as a kind aunt was the sneer on her face, but even that smoothed out as she sat down.
It looked like his second genjutsu worked after all, but in a funny way. The first illusion made it so that the Dursleys wouldn't want him working in the kitchen so that he would have free time in the mornings for his academic pursuits. But it back fired and they don't even want him to step into the kitchen, judging by their reactions it feels wrong for him to be in there at all. The second genjutsu is one he put around the table area. Its primary function was to make anyone who put food on the table want to give him a fair amount. As a backup it also was supposed to make them more pleasant and fair towards him. The two genjutsus twisted around each other until the table was the only place in the kitchen acceptable for him to sit.
Looking down at his plate he was glad to see a generous amount of only slightly burned food. He happily dug in while observing his family. It seemed their extent of niceness involved ignoring him completely except to put food on his plate when he gestured for more. Dudley avoided using his numb arm and didn't look like he would tell his parents, which Harry assumed was the genjutsus doing.
After breakfast the three males headed out while Petunia cleaned up the kitchen. An extra surprise Harry got on the way out the door was a lunch alongside Dudley's. Putting his thoughts aside Harry focused on what he was going to do in school.
It wasn't long before they arrived at school. Before they got out Vernon gave Dudley a few pounds to spend on snacks at lunch and then took off towards work. Dudley being in first grade had time outside before there class started, while Harry had to go straight in and get to work.
In the week that Harry had been in the class he rarely talked to his schoolmates as they were older than him and they picked on him for being the smallest in the class. Well today Harry decided to fix that. He sat down and did all his work ignoring the other kids until it was break time. Around this time is when Michelle Dawson and Michel Thompson would pick on him the most.
He sat at a table with coloring paper and a pack of crayons aware of the children coming up behind him.
"Hey baby, babies don't need crayons. Why don't you go get a bottle?" Michelle taunted reaching for the pack, her yes men agreeing behind her.
Before she could touch them Harry grabbed her hand and used to push her down and continued ignoring them while drawing a picture of Gaara's team. He didn't bother to use any jutsu on them as they were weak children but if they persisted he would use his fists against them.
Michelle picked herself up off the floor and looked angrily towards Harry. "Why did you push me?" she questioned crossing her arms.
Harry turned to look at the group and look them each in the eye, asserting himself before speaking directly to Michelle. "I will do worse if you continue with your behavior Michelle. I am very unhappy with the way you are acting, it is unbecoming." The week before Harry had heard lots of parents and teachers speak to the children that way. It usually left them better behaved and respectful towards the speaker. Harry tried to project the stance of an adult and watched as the children he was talking to visibly flinched.
Michelle and the others mumbled something while looking towards the ground appearing to be visibly cowed by his words.
"I didn't hear that, speak up," Harry commanded the group. He got a chorus of "I'm sorry" in return. "That's better, now do any of you want to color with me?" he asked indicating the available chairs around the table. Michelle and two others stayed the rest going to do various things during break. To make them more comfortable Harry smiled at them before pushing the paper and crayons to the middle of the table. He got three tentative smiles in return. He didn't say anything to the teacher who had watched as he handled the situation, pretending as if he hadn't noticed her.
After another math problem from the board it was time for lunch. Harry pulled out his paper bag and headed over to the corner he usually sat in before one of the kids from earlier, Mary something, invited him over to one of the tables closer to the teacher's desk. Shrugging Harry went over to sit and brought out his bag lunch. He was surprised by his haul. He had a chicken sandwich; a ham, cheese and tomato sandwich; two packets of crisps; carrots and celery; and one carton of milk. Even though they were coerced into giving him a fair share they still gave Dudley more than him, so he knew that Dudley's meal could probably feed his whole class.
While he dug in and conversed with his tablemates another teacher came into the room.
"Ms. Brighton, I've come to share my lunch with you." The woman said taking a seat at the other woman's desk.
"Oh that's nice," she replied distractedly while looking pensively towards the closet table. The other teacher who taught fourth grade called Mrs. Cobalt looked in the direction she was facing and made a surprised noise. "Isn't that your new student? I thought the other children didn't get along with him?" she said pulling out a sandwich.
"Yes that's Harry. At break time the other children confronted Harry and I was about to step in when he handled the situation making a few friends in the process." Ms. Brighton said turning away from the children. "It was funny though. You've heard people say how simple children were comparing their behavior and social skills to the animal kingdom, correct." Seeing her companion nod she continued. "Well I didn't believe that until I saw the display earlier. Little Harry looked each child in the eye challenging them, before stating that he wasn't going to be pushed around in a demanding voice. It made the other children back down and now they're gravitating towards him like he's in charge." She finished pointing to the table where indeed other children were walking up talking to Harry before going back to there seats.