Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or Naruto Universes. Though playing with them is fun.
Harry strolled through the village easily taking in the sights. The road was mostly dirt and the building were wooden in structure, but the anachronistic electricity poles told him he hadn't landed in Earth's past. The bastardized form of Japanese that the people were speaking told him even more. Though it wasn't until he saw a masked man appear in a puff of smoke and leaves that he really started to get excited.
Other universes were the most fun to land in and this one looked to be as interesting as the time he had landed in the Pegasus Galaxy on a city-sized spaceship named Atlantis.
Harry was so caught up in the excitement of a new word that he wasn't really looking where he was going until a speeding brown headed boy crashed into him. Causing the both of them to go tumbling into the ground.
A second brunet boy stood over them laughing loudly.
"You're never going to be a proper shinobi with grace like that, Hiruzen-kun." The boy on top of Harry sprang to his feet the way that only boys his age could.
"Shut up, Danzo." He turned back to Harry and gave the surpised man a deep bow, "Sumimasen."
Harry merely waved away the apology, but before he could respond a shout came from down the street.
"SARUTOBI HIRUZEN!" The middle aged woman that was shouting it appeared to be running down the street faster that Harry would have imagined she could.
"Got to go." The boy named Danzo took off down the street.
"You better get going if you don't want her to catch you." Harry told the boy still standing over him looking worried. Hiruzen tossed a worried look over one shoulder and gave one last grateful nod to Harry before racing away.
Harry had almost picked himself off the ground when the boy's mother appeared in front of him.
"Young man, I must apologize for my idiot son's actions." She glared in the direction he ran and Harry couldn't help the smile that widened on his face. He hadn't been called a young man in a very long time and it never ceased to make him pleased.
"No problem, ma'am. Boys will be boys." Harry smiled at the worn down woman who had pink paint splattered on her front. The woman glanced where he was looking and blushed.
"That boy." She muttered under her breath and Harry couldn't help but laugh. She gave one last longing look down the street that the boys ran down, but then just sighed and slumped a little. "He'll have to come home eventually." She turned her gaze to Harry and his dirty clothes. "Please, let me compensate you. My home isn't far away and I think we both need a good shower."
"That sounds like a wonderful idea. I'm Harry. It's a pleasure to meet you." Harry gave a small bow that he had seen others doing while walking around
The woman smiled at him and returned his bow. "My name is Sarutobi Misuo, the pleasure is all mine." She turned around and they started walking together down the street. "Ha-hari? That's a strange name."
Harry shrugged slightly. "It's the only one I've ever had." Which wasn't quite true, but was true enough for this conversation. "I'm actually new in town."
"Really?" She looked surprised and excited. "We don't get many foreign visitors around here. It's nice to see a new face in Konoha." Finally, a name for the place he had landed.
"Well, I'm a traveler by nature, always ending up where the universe places me." This was more true than she would probably ever know. She gave him a queer look.
"That's a curious way of looking at things. So you don't intend to stay long?" Harry could hear a bit of suspicion in her voice.
"Just long enough to get my feet under me." Which was true and false. The jump usually sent him to the place that needed him the most, which meant that whatever he was doing here would probably have something to do with the city. However, Harry had learned long ago that it was important to travel around wherever he ended up. He needed to gain the big picture of the world he had landed in and he couldn't do that in one city. "I am looking for some information though."
"What kind?" The voice was definitely a little colder now. Harry gave a small laugh at her paranoid nature.
"Nothing too big. I just wanted to know about a man. See, I saw a man appear on a rooftop a couple streets back in a swirl of smoke and leaves. Just wondering if that kind of thing is normal?" Misuo looked at him weirdly again.
"I should think so, this is a shinobi village after all."
Yeah, I heard that word earlier. What does it mean?" Misuo stopped in the middle of the street and stared at him shocked.
"Where are you from?" Harry merely smiled at her, far too used to these kind of questions.
"Far, far away. I'm just passing through really, but I don't really know much about this place."
"Then how did you end up here?"
"It was a mess up with a... well, how do I explain." He thought to himself for a moment. "What was that man doing? How did he appear suddenly on that rooftop?"
"A...jutsu?" The woman filled in for him.
"Yes, that's it. I messed up a jutsu." Harry nodded and smiled at her. She was still staring had him suspiciously though.
"How could you know a jutsu, you don't even know what a shinobi is."
"Yes, well..." Harry paused. "I read it somewhere?" He gave the crap excuse with a smile. She wouldn't understand if he tried to explain and he had no intention of spending hours talking to her about it.
"You read a jutsu on a scroll and tried to do it?" She asked exasperated at him.
"Yes, that's exactly it." Harry nodded enthusiastically, gratefully taking the excuse. Misuo just shook her head and started walking again.
"Shinobi are ninjas. This is a ninja hidden village in the Land of Fire." This time it was Harry that stopped her. He turned her around suddenly excited.
"Ninja? This is a ninja village?" She nodded at him confused again. Harry couldn't contain the laughter of joy that escaped him, this was definitely more interesting than Atlantis. To think that there was a universe somewhere with ninja villages and he had somehow ended up in it was astounding. "How exciting."
"I guess?" Misuo said slowly and reminded Harry that she was still standing next to him.
"My apologizes, I didn't mean to get so carried away. Ninja are kind of a scare quantity where I come from. It was just a happy surprise, is all."
Misuo nodded in agreement. "That I can understand a little. So many children get caught up in the excitement of the idea of being a ninja that they don't really think about the sacrifices that have to be made. Sasuke, my husband, is still in the ranks of active shinobi, but I retired when Hiruzen showed up. I thought having two parents in danger of dying on the job might be a little too stressful for him." She sighed a little. "Unfortunately, he is taking after the both of us. It's all he talks about these days - being a shinobi. It's all the worse for us that he seems to be particularly skilled at it. I keep thinking that we won't make another year before he is pulled into the ranks."
Harry looked at her shocked. "But he can't be older that six." He was even more confused when she nodded.
"Indeed, they are taking them younger and younger these days, and there are rumors circulating about a war. It's all very quiet though - these things usually are in the shinobi world, until they aren't of course." She turned down a street and lead him to the door of a well-kept average sized house. "This is us."
She smiled a little as she opened the door. She took off her shoes and invited him to do the same. Harry smiled at the novelty of the action. It wasn't very often that he landed in universes with that custom, but he always enjoyed it when he did.
"This is a lovely home." Harry wasn't lying. The room was worn around the edges, but homely in a way that told him that it was lived in and loved. The state of a home could tell you a lot about the family that lived there and Misuo's home was no different. The furniture was worn down like all family's that had children had. There were pictures of Misuo, Hiruzen, and what must of been her husband hanging on the wall. There were bookcases pushed against a wall that were all overflowing with scrolls and books. He could see many such scrolls scattered around the room half-opened and read. In fact, the only odd thing about the room was the piles of small metal weapons that littered the area and the sword holder attached to one wall.
"Thank you. It's messier than I would prefer, but with Hiruzen running around like a little monkey never have the time to clean up properly. The shower is just down the hall on the left. I'll make some tea."
Harry couldn't help, but smile happily as he walked down the hall. The last place he had landed didn't have much in the way of proper showers, but he was lucky that magic was good for more than just jumping universes.
As he stepped into the steaming hot shower and felt the water trickle over his dusty body he remembered why a cleaning spell would never beat a good hot shower. He couldn't help the moan that escaped him at the feeling. There was something about taking a good shower that just made you feel lighter - cleaner- the world was just a little better after a job shower.
He lost track of time just standing under there, uncaring the he might be overstepping his boundaries with Misuo. He had learned a long time ago to take help when it was offered. It was a couple minutes after that when he managed to pull himself from under the stream of water. The fully towel that awaited him almost made it worth it.
Putting on his dirty clothes again was somewhat depressing, but a good cleaning spell wasn't forgotten. Hermione and Ron would be laughing their heads off to learn that the magic he was most skilled at now was household cleaning charms. Practice made perfect after all.
He was still toweling off his hair as he followed a delicious aroma to the kitchen.
He was almost ready to propose marriage when he saw the steaming cup prepared for him. His last proper cup of tea had been four jumps ago and a British man cannot live without his tea.
He bowed gratefully to her. "Thank you, Misuo-san, for the tea and the shower. I am in your debt."
She waved her hand with a smile and motioned to the chair. "Please, sit down. The pleasure was all mine I assure you. I needed to change anyway and you looked like you could use a shower."
"More than you know." Harry nodded and picked up the cup of tea. This time he was able to contain his sigh of contentment after his sip. "So, tell me more about shinobi."
"We used to be split up by clans. Those with kekkai genkai always at the top, but the Hokage changed that all."
"Hokage?" Harry asked with a sip.
"The leader of our village. Senju Hashirama, he started the village with the Uchiha clan's leader Madara. They had a falling out a few years back." She see paused for a second and continued on. "That's his face up on the mountain there." She pointed to the large mountain in the distance that had a face on it. "Some of the clans still don't think this village idea will last, but Senju-sama has held it together admirably so far. The clans without kekkai genkai like it because they don't get lost in the other clans' shadows and can shine. Sasuke was one of such shinobi. Without Konoha we would never be living like this." She pointed around the room in somewhat amazement. Senju-sama was very pleased when Sasuke joined him though, his summons are some of the strongest around."
"Kekkai genaki?" Harry asked confused.
"It's a bloodline limit." Misuo explained to him, getting used to the fact that he didn't seem to know anything.
"It is an ability that is passed down in a clan. The Uchiha have the Sharingan an eye technique that allows them to copy whatever they see with it. There are bloodlines like this in every country though. The Uchiha along with the Hyuga have dojutsu kekkai genkai, meaning it is their eyes that have the bloodline limit. They are some of the strongest around and Konoha has both of them." Harry smiled when he hear her mutter, "Stuck up bastards," under her breath.
"That sounds interesting." Harry said while finishing off his tea.
"I guess." She shrugged and sighed forlornly looking at the stove. "I guess I better get started with dinner." She rubbed her forehead as if in pain.
"Not a big fan of cooking?" Harry asked.
"Cooking is not really one of my skill sets, but there isn't much use for genjutsu around the house." Harry didn't know what genjutsu was, but didn't care.
"I could help, if you would like. I have some skills in the kitchen."
"Really?" Misuo perked up and then slumped again. "I couldn't ask that of you. I would be imposing."
"Nonsense. It is the least I can do. You gave me a shower after all. It's not like I have anything else that I could be doing. I just got to town and without any money I doubt I will find a good place to sleep for the night." Not that it was really that much of a problem. Harry had long ago mastered the art of sleeping outside and he had seen many trees in the village that would do for the night. Misuo however looked horrified by the idea.
"Then you must stay. There is an extra bedroom in the house that no one is using. Sasuke never around much anyway." She looked a little depressed by the statement, but cheered up after. "I could use some company around here with Sasuke gone and Hiruzen always running about the village."
Harry smiled at her. "That sounds fantastic. Thank you for the offer. I will pay you back once I get a job in town." She waved him off, but Harry wouldn't forget. He could accept charity just fine, but always paid it back. Besides, he was only going to stay in town long enough to get some currency to travel. "I think that we should get started with dinner now."
After a few minutes of watching Misuo fumble around the kitchen Harry took over completely. He lead her to the table and forced her to sit and not touch anything as he took care of dinner.
"Hey, mom. Is it safe to come in yet? Dinner smells great, where did you..." Harry got knocked out of his concentration at the words.
He shook his head and look out the window - darkness. Where had the time gone? He smiled and turned around to see Misuo's still silently stunned face.
"You must be Hiruzen-kun. My name is Harry." Harry wiped his hands on a convenient dish towel and bowed.
"Aren't you the..." He trailed off and looked to his mother for an explanation. Unfortunately for him, this seemed to draw his mother from her shock. Her face transformed into disapproving rage.
"Sarutobi Hiruzen, what sort of time is this?" She had a stern face on, but Harry could tell that most of the anger had dissipated as the day went on. Hiruzen blushed and shuffled his feet.
"Sorry about the paint." Misuo wasted no time in whacking the back of his head.
"Don't be stupid. The paint was well pulled off, it was the getaway that needed work. I should have never been able to follow you down four streets. We obviously need to work on disguises while you are grounded this week." She ruffled his hair when the distraught boy groaned.
"No buts, Hiruzen. I know that your chakra coils aren't developed enough for henge, which is better as far as I'm concerned. Shinobi can't always use chakra in enemy territory and you must know how to disguise yourself anyway. I won't allow my son to be a lazy shinobi and just use henge. A lazy shinobi..."
"...is a dead shinobi. Yes, mom, I know." Hiruzen groaned at her again. Harry had to smile the obviously familiar interaction. "Why can't I just specialize. All of my friends are doing it."
Misuo wasted no time in whacking him again. "Most of your friends have kekkai genkai, making it necessary for them to spend a lot of time learning how to use it. You don't have that advantage, monkey. A shinobi who is good at a lot of things is a shinobi always in demand." Harry noticed Hiruzen mouthing the words along with her and chuckled. He wondered how many of those sayings she had tucked away. Misuo kissed Hiruzens forehead and patted him on the backside. "Now, go clean up. Hari-san, the man you knocked down today, has graciously provided the food for the evening and I won't have you mucking up the table."
"Yes, mom." Hiruzen scampered up the stairs and Misuo sat back down at the table.
"So, that was a test?" Harry asked with a grin and turned back to the stove. The food was almost done and he had fun cooking a meal that he hadn't cooked in a long while.
"Life is a test, Hari-san. I intent for my son to pass with flying colors." When he looked at the table he saw her resting her head in her hands. "The majority of shinobi die before 25, I don't want that to be my son and I will do anything to make sure of that."
Harry smiled softly at her. He had understood that feeling when he had been raising his children. Life waited for no man though and death only waited for one.
"Plates?" Misuo looked up at him in surprise and relief.
"Yeah, let me..."
"Tadaima." A brown haired middle aged man walked through the front door and took off his shoes. "What's that smell? Did you get take out?" There was a smile on his face as he entered the kitchen, but froze when he saw Harry by the stove.
"Okaerinasai, Sasuke. This is Hari-san." Misuo stood up and smiled as he entered the room. Harry could immediately tell that the couple loved each other. He bowed.
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Sasuke-san. The food is ready." He motioned to the stove and Misuo started moving to get the plates.
"I met Hari-san at the market today. He's going to stay here for awhile." The way Misuo said it Harry could tell that it wasn't a question. He did, however, give a little smile at the stunned look on Sasuke's face.
"Food is ready dear, didn't you hear." Harry could hear the underlining message of talking about it later, but was glad that he could count on at least one night in a proper bed.
"Food?" Hiruzen asked happily as he also crash landed on the floor in front of his father. His hair was still wet from a shower.
"Yes. I hope you don't mind it, I haven't cooked anything like it in a long while."
"It smells delicious Hari-san. It can't be that bad." Misuo started serving the food.
It was a few minutes into the dinner before anyone said anything. It was Hiruzen who decided to break the silence. "This is amazing Hari-san, much better than anything mom has ever made."
"Hiruzen!" His father gave him an admonishing look, but Harry could see that he agreed with his son. Misuo could apparently tell as well because she scoffed.
"It's not like you married me for my homemaker qualities Sasuke." Sasuke gave her a sly grin.
"No, I most certainly did not." Misuo whacked him on the back of the head and a gave him a mock glare.
"Not at the dinner table."
"So, Hari-san, are you new in town?" Sasuke asked while taking a bite of noodles.
"Yes, just got in."
"Your accent isn't familiar, where are you from?"
"Not anywhere you would be familiar with I think." Harry still smiling at him despite the interrogation.
"Give it a try, I know my geography pretty well."
"Sasuke." Misuo spat with a glare.
"No worries, Misuo-san. My home was lost Sasuke-san, a long time ago. I don't mention it to people because generally it isn't worth the time it would take to explain. There is nothing left for me now, so I tend to travel around a lot."
"Yes, in fact, I'm only in town until I can get enough money to travel around. I have a restless mind, and I can almost hear it rotting if I stay in one place for too long. There is so much to see in the world, staying in one place seems like a waste."
"I don't know about that. There are certain admirable qualities to making a home." He gave a loving look to Misuo.
"I would agree with you, but my family was lost long ago." Harry lost his smile at this, but it wasn't because he was sad. He had gotten over their deaths many, many years ago.
"I'm sorry." Misuo says with a sad look. Harry just shakes his head and smiles at her again.
"No use worrying over spilled milk." He ignores the confused looks they send him. "Now what about dessert."
"There's dessert?" Hiruzen's incredulous question makes the entire conversation worth it.
As Harry lies in bed that night looking at the ceiling he feels more at home that he has in three jumps.
That is until he hears the conversation start in the next bedroom.
"Misuo, we need to talk about this."
"Talk about what? He's staying."
"You can't just make these decisions without me." A frustrated growl comes from Sasuke.
"Oh really? When exactly are you around for me to ask these questions to?"
"That's not fair."
"It's not fair to want my husband to sleep in my bed at night and not worry about him losing his life in a far away country where I would never even get to see his body again."
"You knew what sort of man I was when you married me." He growled out again. "Do you regret it?" This one sounded just a bit more desperate.
Harry heard some fabric moving against each other and quiet for awhile.
"You know I never could. I love you, Sasuke, and will until my death." It was quiet for another minute.
"Can we talk about the real issue now?"
"Hari-san is staying."
"Misuo, we know nothing about this boy."
"I know enough. I know he lost his family, has no money, is new in town, and has no place to stay. I know we have an extra room and that his cooking is much better than mine."
"I also know he isn't a shinobi."
"How do you know that?"
"Sasuke, you are obviously forgetting what I used to do." Misuo's amused tone answered him. "He doesn't have developed chakra coils. I couldn't be a shinobi with the chakra he has. I would say his is as good as a cripple in that area. They are so strangely placed and twisted. I think he might have access to some other kind of energy, but I couldn't tell you what. I would have to get a Hyuga to look at him, but the chances of that happening are close to zero - snobby bastards."
"Misuo, that's no proof. He could very well still be an enemy plant."
"He can't lie to me dear, I would know it. It was one of the things that made me so good at my job and the reason I know you will never cheat on me."
"He didn't know what a shinobi was before I told him. Of that I am sure."
It was quiet again.
"I don't like this." Sasuke broke the silence.
"Too bad. He's our new housekeeper, you better get used to him quickly."
Harry settled into life with the Sarutobi's easily. After two weeks of living there it felt if he had always been there. Sasuke was gone a lot for work, but Misuo was around to help talk care of Hiruzen. Harry cleaned up the house in the only way he was taught, extensively.
The first week passed in a whirlwind of Harry's cleaning and organizing. Sasuke was amazed when he returned to find two extra bookshelves in the main room and a case for weapons. Harry spent some of the week cleaning the weapons thoroughly and then teaching it to Hiruzen. Learning how to clean weapons was an important part of any soldier's life. Respect the weapon that you use or it could turn on you. Of course, kunai - as he learned they were called - were less dangerous than guns, but only because the people that used them were more dangerous.
It was in the middle of his second week when he walked into the backyard to find Hiruzen angrily tossing kunai into a practice dummy. Every single one was off center and Hiruzen was obviously getting angrier and angrier at his failure.
He stared for a few seconds debate and then sighed.
"You're throwing it wrong." Harry didn't flinch when he turned around surprised, defensively holding the kunai. When Hiruzen realized it was Harry he relaxed a little.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean you are holding it wrong. You are limiting your ability to aim properly with that hold. That is better to use in a thrusting motion." Hiruzen's gaze darkened and he stared in suspicion.
"I thought you weren't a shinobi."
"I'm not." Harry sighed again, this was more trouble than it was worth. He slowly pulled one of his daggers out of a sheath on his leg and showed it to Hiruzen. The boy was glaring even more now. "I am not a shinobi, Hiruzen-kun, but that doesn't mean I don't know how to protect myself. In the world which I live I cannot allow myself to go unarmed. I believe the world you live in is similar?" Hiruzen nodded slowly.
"Does mom and dad know about that?" He nodded to the dagger. Harry smiled.
"Misuo-san is aware, but chose not to tell Sasuke-san. That might just be because he has not been around to tell." Harry gripped the dagger and tossed it easily into the target, hitting the center. "Would you like help?"
Hiruzen glared down at the kunai in his hand. "I was doing it exactly how the Academy instructors taught."
"Teacher's can't be wrong? I never met someone infallible in my life and I doubt Academy teachers are the most skilled shinobi in Konoha."
Hiruzen shook his head slowly and looked at Harry speculatively. "Does this mean you will help me become a good shinobi?"
Harry paused for a second, that sounded like a heavy question. He shrugged, there wasn't anything better to do. "Alright."
Harry pulled the string for the target closest to Hiruzen. He tugged another as Hiruzen spun around the circle trying to hit the targets. The set up had been Harry's idea to begin with and Hiruzen had taken to it like a duck to water.
Targets were positioned around the trainee and were connected to a pulley system that Harry controlled. He could cause any one of them to spring up at a time and tried to surprise Hiruzen as much as possible.
The objective of the training session was the practice aiming while under pressure, surrounded by enemies. It had also turned into somewhat of a game for the two of them.
"TIME." Harry called out and let the targets fall to the ground. A sweaty and tired seven year old Hiruzen stood in the center of the ring.
"Not fair." He groaned and Harry had the feeling if he wasn't so tired it would be more enthusiastic.
"Life's not fair trainee-shinobi." Harry walked over to the circle and started counting the perfect hits.
"You didn't give me enough time to hit the last one."
"You had plenty of time. You were just too tired, which would have caused you to miss anyway, thereby causing your death."
"You are just as bad as mom." He pulled out a canister of water and gulped it down. Harry finished tallying and started pulling them out of the targets.
"Two misses, fourteen center hits, and twenty on target, but not center. Better than last week. It is the two misses that have got me worried. You haven't gotten all on target since last month. Something distracting you?" Harry asked with a smile.
"The Academy graduation test is coming up." Harry froze. "I'm going to take it."
"Are you sure that is..."
"Hari-sensei, I know you are worried. You and mom both, but you've trained me as much as you could. I'm as prepared as I'm going to be. Konoha needs me and I..."
"You're still a kid." Harry said in a hard tone.
"I'm a shinobi." Hiruzen replied harshly and Harry wished that he was still running away from his paint covered mother with his friend.
"When is it?" Harry asked softly, not really wanting the answer.
Harry sighed and then straightened up.
"Plenty of time then." He strolled over to Hiruzen and picked up the boy in one swoop. He tossed him over one shoulder like a sack of potatoes and started walking away.
"Hhhnn, HARI, put me down!" Harry smiled and patted him on the bum. He walked out of training area 34.
"No can do, big boy." He walked through town ignoring the looks and the wriggling of the boy on his shoulder.
He didn't stop until they reached a lake. He didn't pause in tossing the young boy into the cool lake.
"WHAT W-WAS T-T-THAT FOR-R-R?" The shivering kind of took away the impact of the anger.
Harry just smiled at him. "You looked overheated."
Hiruzen glared from inside the lake and started swimming back to shore.
"AHHH!" Harry smiled at the surprised tones of the newly awakened boy. Misuo, who was sitting at the table munching on a piece of toast smiled as well. The banging of angry footsteps down the stairs was like music to his ears. "HARI! What was that?"
"Wake up call. I didn't want you to be late for your academy test and look," Harry grinned at the drenched boy. "you've already taken your shower."
Misuo started chuckling at the table, but covered it up with a cough when Hiruzen turn his glare to her.
"Let's go get you changed." Harry lead the wet boy up the stairs and into the bathroom. Hiruzen had already picked out his outfit weeks ago, with how worried he had been. He had chosen the clothes that gave him the most range of motion in case they tested taijutsu, but were heavy enough to provide some protection from projectiles.
Harry pushed him under a warm showerhead and told him to be out in under five minutes or he wouldn't get breakfast - he made it there in three.
"Don't eat so fast you might get sick." Misuo scolded him lightly, not really meaning it. She wanted to get in a few good scolding's before he technically became an adult. Hiruzen slowed down anyway.
He was almost bouncing as he walked by Harry and Misuo down the street.
He wasn't bouncing when he finally reached the Academy.
Harry didn't know what to expect from the building, but it certainly wasn't a rundown shack in the middle of a bustling neighborhood. Hiruzen had told him that only those without a clan came to the Academy, clan leaders didn't trust outsiders to teach their children what they needed to know.
It looked somewhat like a kicked anthill, there were students running everywhere and somewhat teary parents watching them. It wasn't long until Harry noticed that most of the children were older than ten, but there were some youngsters like Hiruzen psyching themselves up for the test.
Harry looked down to get Hiruzen one last ruffle goodbye and noticed that he was standing in stock still terror.
"Hiruzen?" Harry couldn't help, but wonder what the problem was. He had been looking forward to this test for weeks.
"Should I really do this?" The voice was tiny and childlike and terrified.
It was almost the most mature question he had ever heard come from Hiruzen's mouth. Which told him the exact thing he had been questioning and worrying about for weeks.
Harry knelt on the ground and stared the boy in the eye. He searched his soul, his resolve, but knew that the answer he had found wasn't the one he really wanted.
"Hiruzen-kun, I will only say this once so pay attention. There comes a point in every person's life where they regret that they have left childhood behind. It might come at fifty, it might come at seven." He looked pointedly at him. "If you don't do this now you will regret it more. I don't want to admit it, but you are ready for this test. You are already better than most shinobi twice your age. There is no reason I can find to hold you back besides my own selfish wishes for your childhood. Being a shinobi is not an easy life, this I can tell you and I haven't even lived it, but you don't need me to tell you this - you already know. You know everything your mother and I can teach you about shinobi life, the only step left is for you to live it. It won't always be easy and you will do things that you aren't proud of later, this is a part of all life, but the road that you tread is more difficult than any civilians. There will be death, probably more than you can stand, your friends will die, your family, your teammates. That's okay, everyone dies someday. This is the point where you decide. I have no doubt if you go into that building today you will pass the test, but once you pass the test there is no going back. There is no off switch in shinobi life. Even retirement isn't safe. This job is until you die and the chances that you will die young are astronomical. So this is it. Right now. Do you want to be a shinobi?"
Harry didn't know how long he stared into Hiruzen's eyes, it could have been a millennium or a millisecond.
"Yes." The answer was soft, but firm. He was ready. Harry gave a sad smile.
Harry gave him a small kiss on the forehead and stood up. He ruffled Hiruzen's hair and forced him into his mother's arms.
Harry ignored the blurred vision as Hiruzen stepped away from him and into the Academy.
It was only once he felt Misuo's hand wiping away something on his cheek that he came back to himself.
"It's time to go home Hari-kun." Harry nodded and wiped his eyes.
They walked in silent mourning back to the house, taking comfort in the other person. Relieved that they didn't have to hide their grief from each other.
The day passed in much the same tone. Neither Harry or Misuo could gather up much energy to work around the house.
They spent most of the day sitting on the couch in silence and read.
They started to pull themselves together after midday when they knew that Hiruzen and Sasuke would be coming home soon.
"Hari-kun?" Misuo said absentmindedly from her position looking out the kitchen window.
"I'm glad I met you."
Harry smiled, "Me too, Misuo-san, me too." He wasn't lying, but he wished he was. It always made the goodbyes worse.
Both Misuo and Harry put on their happy faces when they saw a giant dust cloud being raised by a child running down the street.
The door banged open not even a minute later.
"HARI, MOM!" The excited boy was screaming for them.
"In here, monkey." Misuo said with a smile that didn't reach her eyes.
She didn't break when Hiruzen came running into the room, with a new accessory. The hitai-ate was just a little too big on him, causing it to slip over his eyes and him having to push it up. Harry thought Misuo did admirably not showing her disappointment to the boy.
"I did it! I did!" He started jumping up and down and rushed to his mother for a hug. "You said I could, and I DID!" He was so excited he didn't even notice the lackluster hug he got in return. "Where's dad, I've go.."
"HIRUZEN! Where are you my boy? What's this I hear about you passing?" At least one adult in the family was excited by the news.
"DAD!" Hiruzen jumped into his father's arms when he entered the room. Sasuke caught him and spun him around in a circle.
"I knew you could do it!" Sasuke hugged his son with all of the strength he had.
Staring at the happy scene only one thought was going through Harry's head.
Maybe it was time to leave.
He had already stayed longer than he thought he would and maybe this was a sign. Hiruzen would have his own instructor soon. Misuo wouldn't need anyone around the house. Maybe, just maybe it was time to move on.
The first time the ball of orange paint landed on Hiruzen he was so shocked that he stood still and allowed two other different colors to hit him before he started moving.
"HARI-SENSEI!" Hiruzen's shocked and horrified voice was beautiful to Harry - who was currently rolling on the ground of training area 34 with laughter.
"Yes, Hiruzen-kun?" Harry asked with tears of laughter still in his eyes.
"What is this?" The angry multi-colored boy demanded.
"A new training tool. You have mastered the art of the still target, now it is time to move on. I am going to teach you to move in combat."
"With paint?" The horrified boy looked down at his ruined uniform.
"With paint." Harry nodded smiling. He had decided early on that red paint probably wasn't the best idea yet, but any other color was free game.
"I have a team practice with Tobirama-sensei after this, you want me to go there looking like this?" Hiruzen asked, horrified.
"It will give you good incentive not to get hit next time." He said with a smile. Hiruzen was still glaring, but started trying to rub the paint off with water from his canteen. A thought crossed Harry's mind. "Hiruzen-kun, how is Danzo-kun doing? I never hear you talk about him anymore."
"Danzo didn't pass the Academy test so he has to take it again next year. Besides team training is more important than hanging out with Danzo." Hiruzen answered still focused on getting the paint off his uniform to no use.
"Don't you miss him?"
"Of course, but Shinobi training comes before friendship until you are strong enough to protect yourself on missions." Hiruzen answered with a single minded focus.
"Hiruzen-kun, don't get so caught up in training that you forget that there are other important things out there." Harry ruffled his hair and pushed him toward the exit of the training ground. "Now, I believe you have a team meeting to get to."
Hiruzen groaned and his still multi-colored uniform. "Tobirama-sensei will never let me live this down."
Harry walked into the backyard to find Hiruzen glaring at a baby chimpanzee and the chimpanzee glaring back.
He groaned mentally, but walked over anyway.
The eight year old didn't move from his spot as Harry approached.
"Hey there, Hiruzen-kun. What are you doing?"
"Training." The irritated boy growled out.
"Really?" Harry asked amused. "Because it kind of looks like you're glaring at a monkey."
"Dad let me sign the family summoning contract today."
Harry was surprised. "Congratulations. He said he wasn't going to until he knew he could trust you with it. You must have impressed him somehow."
"He just wanted me to have at least one C-rank under my belt." Hiruzen scoffed and continued glaring.
"So what's the problem." He stared between the two of them, amused at the length of their staring contest.
"I can't summon anything except this little baby. He's useless, he's too young to even be able to talk yet."
Harry smiled at the grumpy boy and monkey.
"He kind of reminds me of you." Harry said with a grin. Hiruzen turned around in shocked anger at Harry, but the second he took his eyes of the monkey it grinned and flung itself at Hiruzen.
Harry couldn't help but laugh as the tiny monkey fist hit Hiruzen right in the eye. Hiruzen fell to the ground in shock and started to slap at the monkey. The entire pitiful wrestling match made Harry laugh even more. Just when it looked like Hiruzen got a good grip on the chimp Harry plucked it from his fingers.
"Now he definitely reminds me of you." Harry smiled at the chimp in his hand and placed the monkey on his shoulder to rest. "No beating up your summons young genin, otherwise they won't let you use them." Harry stared in amusement as the chimp on his shoulder nodded in agreement and stuck out his tongue at Hiruzen.
"Hari, what am I supposed to do? They little guy isn't useful in battle."
"I didn't expect him to be. Hiruzen your summoning contract is just starting. Your father didn't think you would summon the king of primates on your first try. You don't have enough chakra for that yet. This is about you developing a relationship with them. Summons aren't like pets, they have their own life outside of yours. They allow you to summon them and if they don't like you than they will not let you. You are supposed to become friends with them, that is what the beginner summons are about." The chimp nodded along with everything he said and Harry had to wonder if he even knew what was being said.
Hiruzen's anger deflated and he looked stubbornly at the chimp. "Fine. I try to get along with him."
Harry put out his hand for the chimp to crawl down and held it in front of Hiruzen.
They seemed to go back to a staring contest, but this time Hiruzen was the winner. The chimp sniffed and then climbed on top of Hiruzen's head.
Harry left them there chatting. Well, Hiruzen was chatting and the monkey was nodding a lot. Harry almost thought he imagined the grateful look that the chimp shot him as he was leaving.
"Mito-sama, please let me take your coat." Harry reached out to help the Hokage's wife take off her coat. The Hokage had been invited to dinner at the Sarutobi house and Harry had been delegated household staff for the meal.
Misuo had glared at Sasuke when the man suggested it, but Harry had just shrugged - he was household staff.
Harry threw the coat over one arm and got his first real look at the reputably strong woman - and was immediately saddened.
He couldn't hold in the soft, "I'm sorry." That escaped his mouth.
Unfortunately, it wasn't quite soft enough for Mito not to catch it.
"Whatever for dear?" Mito turned around to face Harry with a smile. Harry was sad he couldn't return it. He didn't feel much like smiling.
"For the both of you." Harry pulled away and walked down the hall leaving the shocked woman behind. There was no happiness to be found talking to a demon prison.
It was definitely time to go.
"Hari-sensei, what does gay mean?" Harry chocked on the dango that he was eating and turned to the boy in horror.
"Hiruzen-kun, where did you learn that word?" Harry asked in horror, mentally wondering why he hadn't asked his parents and left Harry completely out of the conversation.
"I heard some older boys calling another boy that." Harry almost glared at the words. It seemed every universe he ended up in had bullying.
"It means that a person likes a person of the same gender as them." Harry answered succinctly. Hiruzen looked at him confused. Harry sighed and rubbed his forehead, a seemingly constant action while raising Hiruzen. "You know how Misuo-san loves Sasuke-san?"
"Yeah." Hiruzen drawled out slowly.
"Well, imagine feeling that way towards someone of your own gender." Hiruzen was still staring at him with a blank face. "Like you and Danzo for insistence."
"Me...and...Danzo...like mom and dad?" He seemed to ask himself confused. He made a face. "Gross."
"Yeah, why would I ever like Danzo like that? He's a friend, but I wouldn't ever want to think about him like that. Yuck."
Harry sighed again. "Hiruzen-kun, being gay is not gross."
"It's not?" He asked confused again. "The boys in the playground made it sound like it was."
"Bullies tend to like to pick on anyone for being different, but that doesn't mean it is gross. Love is never gross." Harry answered, picking up another piece of dango.
Hiruzen look sideways at Harry, like he was trying to figure out a puzzle. "Harry, are you gay?" Harry rubbed his head and groaned, cursing intuitive children.
"Not exactly. I like people of both genders. I don't tend to limit myself to one." He had lived too long for that. "I've had male and female lovers. My first lover was female." He had loved Ginny with all of his being, there was still an empty place his heart where her and the children sat. "After that I just didn't want to see her in any of my lovers, so I took to men. Though, I have lived long enough now that I just tend to love beauty." Harry looked at the confused face of the boy next to him.
"Like her?" Hiruzen pointed across the street to a pretty civilian woman picking flowers. Harry shook his head.
"No, Hiruzen-kun, beauty of the skin is shallow. I love beauty of the soul." Harry smiled at the confused face of the boy and patted his head. "You will understand when you are older."
They spent the next several minutes eating in silence. Hiruzen looked like he was in deep thought and Harry didn't really want to interrupt him.
Hiruzen broke that silence.
"I don't think I could like boys like that."
Harry patted his head again and pressed his lips to Hiruzen's forehead protector. "That's okay too, monkey, that's okay too."
Harry put a lot of stock in goodbyes.
His life was one of travel, constantly on the move, never quite sure where he was going to end up. It was for this reason that he treated every goodbye like it was the last he was ever going to make.
There was no room for more regrets in his damaged heart.
So, as he said goodbye to the Sarutobi family that had made this universe so comfortable for him he made sure it counted.
"Misuo, I will miss you more than words can express." Harry clutched onto the middle aged woman like she was the only life vest left on a sinking ship. He let the tears flow freely down his face and didn't try to contain he emotion. It was better to release these now than be caught by surprise months later.
Misuo seemed to prescribe to his idea of goodbyes because she clutched him just as tightly. "Come back to see us. As soon as you can tear yourself away from the road. Come back and visit me when I'm an old woman otherwise I will be very angry with you." Her voice wavered and her tears wetted his shirt.
Harry nodded, but didn't promise. He didn't like broken promises - he could never quite get the taste out of his mouth.
Misuo backed away with teary eyes and showed the rest of the family.
Sasuke was the one most put together, but even he had tears in his eyes. Hiruzen wasn't so composed.
The eight year old boy had snot running down his soaked wet face. The tick marks by his eyes were even more pronounced than normal.
Harry knelt down and opened his arms. The coalition caused both the older and the boy to crash into the dusty road. Harry clutched the sobbing boy tightly.
"Look at this, just back were we started." Harry smiled wetly at the boys head. His head was crushed against Harry's chest and his forehead protect was skewed.
"W-w-why d-d-do yo-ou hav-v-ve to go-o-o?" The boy hiccupped against him and soaked his shirt.
"It's not permanent, monkey, but it is something I have to do." It's my job, went unsaid.
"I don't w-w-want you to leave." He seemed to be calming down a little, but still clutched onto the man.
Harry stood up slowly and placed the boy on his feet. He wiped the tears off his face and put on a brave face.
"I have to get out of here before dark, monkey. I need you to be brave for me now." Harry leaned down and hugged the boy one last time. "Look after yourself, monkey. I expect you to be here waiting when I get back."
Harry stood up and straightened his wet shirt. He put on his traveler face and turned back to the gate. He smiled as he exited the gate and continued to wave to the family until he was out of sight.
The forest was quieter than he was used to.
The first time he jumped universes it wasn't a mistake. After centuries of living alone on Earth, it had gotten to him. Losing all of the people that had known him as a child had been torturous. Once he had lost all of the vampires that were older than he was it was even worse. There was something disconcerting about living in a world where not a single person alive knew from personal experience what it was like when he was a child.
Everything seemed wrong after Ginny and the children were gone. They had children of their own of course, and so on, but he had stopped paying attention to his descendents centuries ago.
He had learned and consumed everything that the wizarding world had concluded about magic, some of it he agreed with - most of it he did not.
He did however believe in the spell that would help him switch universes. Discovered with help of extensive study of the arch in the Department of Mysteries. He had to tweak parts of it for his own use of course, but he was more than ready to discover someplace new.
The first universe he jumped to was beautiful.
The skies were clear and green, the grass was blue, the ocean was a sparkling golden color that never stopped amazing him. It was the most beautiful world he had ever jumped to.
It was also the worst.
The entire beautiful population of the beautiful world was controlled by an insane god with a fetish for torture. Harry had seen more terrible scarring things in his hundred years on that planet than in any to come. He had seen torture and rape and murder happen like it was commonplace. He had seen fathers rape daughters and commit suicide. He had seen mothers carve out their babies hearts to stay young and beautiful. He had seen the genocide of a population and not a single person seemed to care. It took 'don't judge a book by its cover' to a whole different level.
Being in a world like that changed you. It took your being, your soul, and twisted it until it was unrecognizable.
He still didn't quite know how he had survived it. How he had gathered a group of trustworthy sane people around him. He had no idea how he had managed to kill that monster that called himself a god.
The reorganization and re-educating of an entire world took almost as much work as the bring down of the bad guy. They had done it though, through sheer determination and will. Harry remembered the love he had found there after that. The group of soldiers he had lead had turned into a family and a government.
Harry had re-fallen in love with the world. Perfect in the newness and uncertainty of the future.
The second universe he had jumped to had been a surprise.
Harry didn't remember exactly where he was when he got pulled out of the first universe, but he remembered being content. Maybe that was fate's signal to take it away again. More punishment for the undying hero.
Harry spent the first year in the new universe poring over his notes of the universe jumping spell. At first he just wanted to get back to the little family he had left behind there, but after of few months he only wanted to know what he had done wrong.
When he found the mistake that he had made he almost wanted to commit suicide as punishment for his mistake. The pain that he would get from the attempt would provide his soul some good penance.
Instead of changing the rune to 'where he needed to go' he had changed it to 'where he was needed'. He had cried for a month afterward, finally understanding his fate. The gods' job for him.
The first universe hadn't needed him anymore. He had changed what needed to be changed and so - he was pulled to a place that needed him more.
The second world wasn't as beautiful as the first.
It was filled with black smoke polluting the air and barren land with no vegetation at all. It was not as bad as the first one though.
It took Harry another hundred years in this world to realize that the gods knew what they were doing. Harry was needed here. He didn't want to do it, in fact, put all of his effort into negating the plan and not helping anyone.
It didn't work.
Harry couldn't turn off his soul no matter how much he wanted to at times. He could not turn away from a starving face anymore than he could kick a puppy. It wasn't in him to be cruel to those people and they had loved him for it. He had gained a posse of followers without even trying to. The first time he had ever created his own religion to change a world and he had decidedly liked it better than fighting a war.
More universes came after that. Endless in their desperate need for him.
Or, as he sometimes liked to think, not him - exactly. People needed someone to look up to, a guide through the darkness. A model of what to become. Learning by example.
Those universes would have been just fine with some other savior, but the gods had him under contract - so why make their own.
Harry used to get tired by the endless amounts of work. The seemingly never ending struggle to succeed.
He had lived too long to be bothered by that now though.
He had learned to savor the worlds that he landed in. There was no need to rush the saving portion of his job. He considered every new universe a tiny vacation. There was something new and different to be found in each.
Light could be found even in the darkest of places if only you looked for it.
Beauty could be found in any universe as long as you searched for it.
So Harry searched, and traveled, and learned all about the universes he landed in. He learned the bad parts and the good parts. He made friends and took lovers. He learned what needed to change and what had to stay the same. He smelt flowers that he had never seen before and watched animals that never existed in the other universes he had lived in.
Then, when everything looked dire and wrong - he did his best to help fix it.
Because even if it wasn't his universe, it was somebody's. The beautiful people like Misuo and Hiruzen would have to live here long after he was gone and what right did he have to stand by if he could help.
Harry smiled and breathed in the clean air of the forest, the first step in his long journey.
AN: So...this is awkward. I realize this isn't Snake and Spider and don't worry I am still working on that one. This will be a two-shot. Shouldn't run any longer that 20,000 words - probably a lot less than that. This story just kind of hit me over the head and wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote it. It might have something to do with procrastinating studying for an Algorithms test, but whatever.
I hope you like it. The second part should be out by the end of the week. If you notice any obvious errors that you want to point out to me I will fix it.
Thanks for reading,