All Hallows' Eve - Konoha
The sky had already given up on daylight and was slowly but surely succumbing to the shadows of the night when a darkly clad figure with a pale countenance and fangs appeared out of nowhere.
This being found that it was in a small clearing surrounded by tall, mighty trees – a place unfamiliar to him but one that brought back memories of a deep, dark forest that was home to Centaurs, Acromantula and that had sheltered the Dark Lord for a time as well.
There were no such creatures in this clearing. Instead, he was in the company of four teenage boys and a dog.
The cause of this sudden appearance was easily explained.
"You summoned the Master of Death… because of a dare?"
Harry wasn't sure of he was more amused or annoyed by their utter stupidity. These kids were even worse than he and his friends had been… at least they had always had a reason for the semi-suicidal things they did.
"…he he" The blond in the orange jumpsuit started, scratching the back of his head in embarrassment; "…it seemed like a good idea at the time?"
A moment of silence descended between the dimensionally displaced wizard and the small group in front of him. It was only broken by the soft mutter of one of the teenagers: "Troublesome."
"How does something like that ever seem like a good idea?" The only adult wondered aloud, but he could already come up with a few answers. Harry had been in enough desperate situations to know that sometimes you didn't have any other acceptable choice so you did something completely insane and hoped that it worked. Sometimes, the only thing to do was putting your faith in an absurd idea simply because it was the only thing even remotely capable of saving all that is dear to you.
Glancing at the four silent boys and the old-looking scroll in front of the blond he surmised that this was definitely not one of those times. A dare… He should probably act more like his title implied and frighten them half to death. Even if it was just to prevent them from ever pulling such a stupid stunt again.
But then, he had never enjoyed acting all important like that – no matter what Snape thought of him.
Instead, the famous wizard sighed. "Don't do it again. Summoning an unknown quantity to you is dangerous at the best of times. Doing so without even a reason to make it worth the risk is just plain stupid."
"Hey!" The blond protested immediately, jumping to his feet in one quick movement: "I'm not stupid! And what sort of better reason do you mean, anyway?"
"Naruto! Sit down, you moron." The feral-looking boy with two red triangles on his cheeks whispered urgently. His dog barked in what seemed to be agreement. Both of them sent him a wary look that was somewhat out of place, considering that he hadn't actually said or done anything even remotely threatening. But then, animals were always better at sensing what he was and the power he held. And there seemed to be a strong bond between this boy and his familiar. If he could understand even some of what the dog could feel, then it was very likely that this boy understood far better than any of the others, just what sort of power Harry had these days.
A quick glance at the other two boys showed that the one with the spiky, dark-haired ponytail was carefully keeping an eye on him as well – though without the dog-boy's hint of fear. The red-head was completely unconcerned, merely sitting there and munching on a packet of crisps.
"Hey! Are you even listening to me?!" The angry blond yelled out and Harry turned his full attention to the loud teenager, engaging those bright blue eyes with his own.
The wizard hadn't called on his power, hadn't even said one word, but somehow the kid was able to read something in his gaze that made him stop his loud rambling. There was an almost unnatural silence before Harry finally answered the earlier question.
"Summoning someone called 'the Master of Death' is not something you should do just to see if you can. You must always be able to accept the possibility that the person or thing you summon will appear and turn out not to be friendly to you, nor willing to listen to your reasons." Whereas before Harry's voice had been casual and had contained a hint of disbelief and amusement, now he was completely serious.
He did not notice it himself, but for the first time since this summoning he actually fully embodied what one would imagine The Master of Death to look like: his posture was straight with determination lining every muscle, his green eyes seemed to be blazing with an inner fire, his voice was strong, serious and commanding and his fangs added a hint of danger to every word: "Only in the most desperate situation, where all seems lost and all plans have failed and the only bloody thing that stands between you losing everything you care about is that last fading touch of hope… That is when you use a summoning like this. When what is at stake is something you cannot afford to lose –when it is worth giving your own life for. When the people you care about are counting on you and you are willing to give anything, everything, for even the slightest possibility of their survival… Then and only then do you take a chance like this."
For a moment, Harry fell silent, hoping that he had left at least some impression of the danger of such a summoning on the boy. And he wasn't disappointed.
The boy who he had thought of as a childish, loud-mouthed kid with ridiculously bright clothing now looked like the fiercest of Gryffindors.
"Ah." the blond teenager nodded, his previous attitude had completely fallen away and it had left something just as spirited but far more serious in its wake. "Right now I have Jiji, Iruka-sensei, Sakura-chan, Sasuke-teme, Kakashi-sensei and these guys here as my precious people. And when I become Hokage I'll need to protect the entire village and everyone in it will be a precious person to me. And then, everyone will be counting on me. So I'll never back down, even if things seem hopeless. I'll never give up even if everyone tells me that there is nothing I can do. Like the Yondaime, I, Uzumaki Naruto, will do whatever it takes to protect my precious people!"
The person who stood before him now was not the brash child from only moments before. Instead Harry was left staring at a teenager whose eyes held no more traces of childish pranks or foolish dares, instead they held a fierce determination and - to the wizard's surprise – knowledge of pain and sacrifice.
These words were not lightly spoken.
This promise was not lightly made.
No, this was a vow and he could feel the swirling Magic in the clearing rise up in acknowledgement.
"…Good." Harry finally said with a firm nod, turning away slightly and preparing to Apparate back home "and when that time comes… a time when those people most precious to you need more help then you can give them alone…" he met the blond's determined eyes one last time "Then you may call for me again… and I will answer."
He stayed only long enough to see the boy nod seriously before he disappeared from their sight and appeared back in his own apartment in Muggle London. He fell back into his comfortable chair with a tired sigh. Dimensional Apparition always did take a lot out of him. "Ah, teenagers." the wizard muttered, ignoring the fact that he had only recently left his teenage years behind him, "But hell if that boy wasn't a Gryffindor."
Harry had only had the barest moment to enjoy the peaceful silence before it was shattered by the doorbell and a call of 'trick or treat'.
With a soft groan he got up again and enveloped himself in the black and red cloak that he had taken off earlier. Armed with a bowl of sweets he prepared himself to face another group of children.
So much for finally having a completely normal Halloween.
Aah, who was he kidding? He was Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived-To-Become-The-Master-Of-Death… he would probably never have a normal Halloween.
Kept life interesting, he supposed.
And he'd probably be bored otherwise.
A.N. This was my first version when I thought up this story premise for a Halloween story. But I had so much fun writing this that I came up with a sister story in the Avenger's world as well. Happy Halloween :)