Author's note: Inspiration for this story came from reading Perfect Lionheart's Chunin Exam Day and wondering what they might choose to do if they went to the Potterverse. It is highly recommended to read that story first as this is a sequel. A reasonable effort has been made to contact him to get specific permission for this work beyond the blanket permissions I had read somewhere, but no reply was received. If he has any issues with my decision, he is welcome to contact me via PM.
A big thank you goes out to my beta's. Without their long hours of hard work, this story would be much the poorer. They have helped point out plot holes to fix, told me when I rambled on, and generally kept this story from becoming completely unreadable. Any mistakes you find are my responsibility, but I do want to credit in chronological order, Slicerness (ffn: 1501706), CloudZen (ffn: 894440), and Himura Battousai.
This story has also been posted by me on HPFanFicArcive under the username Achilles due to FFN rating restrictions preventing a coming chapter from containing scenes that exceed the maximum rating.
Lastly, a reminder to my readers. This story has points of difference from canon which is why it is labelled as AU.
Disclaimer: The following work is fan fiction using characters from the Harry Potter world, trademarked by J. K. Rowling, and characters from the Naruto world, trademarked by Kishimoto Masashi. No ownership of their work is assumed or implied. This work is strictly for entertainment purposes and is not part of the official story line. All associated with this work are not profiting from the creation and or publication of this work. Any issues or questions regarding the publication of this work should be directed to the author or his specified representative.
Chapter 1 - First Impressions
People will often tell you that first impressions are important. They will also tell you "Don't judge a book by its cover", implying that these same first impressions can be deceptive. A contradiction, one might think, and yet, both can be right at once. It's one of those meetings that meant so much for their worlds.
Naruto looked up as one by one his wives stepped into the chamber, dressed for battle. They had said all their goodbyes to their children, friends and allies, made arrangements so that the transition would be as painless as it could be when his mother and father took over the alliance for however long they would be gone from the Elemental nations. Now, it was time.
They had spent the years well, he thought, over 50 years since the chaos that washed over their world as the Kitsune Clan at last left the Time Loops. They had hunted down Akatsuki and wiped out all resistance from Sound, they had left their mark on the landscape, literally in many cases, and certainly politically across the world. Now, while their bodies were still young thanks to the Kyuubi's gift, they had grown restless, looking for adventure, wanderlust growing more urgent.
It was Hinata, his first love, who had idly suggested they look into the basis of their technology. When the others pointed out that they still had no idea know how it worked - they just summoned it in from other worlds - she asked the next logical question, "Why don't we go there and ask them?"
Naturally, it was impossible, but that just meant that no one had done it yet, and that meant they had something to research, finding or inventing a seal that would transport them to one of the worlds that made the radios they still used only sparingly, since they had tried inventing a summoning technique for the books, and only succeeded in receiving texts that were too technical for them. The writers made assumptions of their readers' prior understanding that, in their world likely were not a big deal, but for the Kitsune clan it blocked all further progress.
At last, their clones had found a destination that was just right. No strange dust clouds day and night, air was good, and while it rained a lot and a bit on the cool side, well, they'd certainly dealt with worse.
"Are we all ready? Once we step through, we're committed." Naruto announced.
A firm chorus of affirmatives was his reply. Naruto's clones took the lead through the portal, diving in and establishing a perimeter, before Naruto himself, then his wives, and a rearguard of clones bringing up the rear just as the portal closed behind them now that the chakra sustaining it drained away.
His earlier thoughts about the rain seemed to be prophetic as he took in his surroundings. The portal had brought them to an uninhabited area, not a soul in sight, though he did note the regular borders to the otherwise open fields in the distance. "Well, this sure looks like a boring world."
Naruto reflected to himself seven weeks later that yet again, first impressions were both right and wrong. Yes, there were few people in the valley where they arrived but the world teemed with them, even this small island nation had tens of millions of people, most in cities larger than they had dreamed possible. Yes, the world they lived in looked rather boring, but there were so many things around that were new to them, starting with their means of transport. These 'cars' and 'planes' were fascinating, the latter of which he recognised from that book on flying he'd found during the Loops. Cars though, they were fun! He had even gotten to drive one on a quiet country road reaching nearly 60 miles per hour, clones on the lookout so none of these police would notice. It was such a shock moving so fast and so easily.
The police and general regulation of this country, England, were also a shock, and he was still ambivalent about them. On the one hand, they did keep things peaceful enough but he was enough of a ninja and a free soul that they unsettled him at a basic level. He and his wives had forged various papers to create new identities, something he was glad they already had experience doing as the sheer number of documents - not to mention the number of places these documents needed to be filed - created another headache for the Clan. In addition, they had to choose new names since their old ones would be sure to draw extra attention, especially as this country didn't recognise polygamy, so they couldn't even all share the same new name. "Naruto Todd" he said quietly to himself, 'well, it could be worse, we got Todd's, Fox's and Hunter's. We ended up deciding to keep our first names, as unusual as they are, as a lot of the time we'll only be giving those out to friends, and friends won't care.'
Thanks to Naruto's crafting techniques they were able to make and sell various trinkets, clothes and other items to make a nice little sum of money for themselves, enough to buy this plot of land on the outskirts of a town in Surrey, and to cloak their construction of the house they built themselves. While they were not too sure they would stay here, it was a nice area, quiet, and allowed them to stay under the radar while they got their bearings. One of the best things about the Time Loops was that it helped cure them of impatience. They could spend as long as they needed learning the new fields, as long as they took it slow rather than get discovered. That would get messy, they were sure, if the government found people with their abilities... They didn't want to be lab rats, cannon fodder, on the run from or even at war with Britain. Far better, and easier, to take their time and look around.
Speaking of looking around, it was time for another of Naruto's walks through the town, tonight was Hinata's turn on his arm, while the rest of the wives stayed on their property, working on the buildings they were putting up or weaving or simply snuggling with a Naruto in front of an open fire. He took her hand and kissed it, then opened the door for Hinata, keeping an arm around her waist as they headed down the street.
He was quickly aware of the small child running, and a brief glance at Hinata showed she was too, and he nodded back, guiding their course into his path. 'If only this is the exuberance of a kid enjoying the snow, great, but I don't think we'll be that lucky, those footsteps, the heavy breathing, those are the signs of someone running in panic, and I never could let that go.'
Harry Potter's day had been, simply put, a rollercoaster ride. It started with the usual screeching from his Aunt Petunia to get up, breaking him out of a nightmare about a flash of green light. Then it was time to get up, get yelled at more while he did a long list of chores, yelled at again for being dirty, 'Like I could help that after she made me weed the garden again' He had grumbled to himself. Then it was off to school without breakfast because he was 'too slow'. He considered himself lucky that he could eat in peace at the school most of the time, eating up whatever items he had snuck out of the kitchen on top of the school provided lunch, as long as his cousin Dudley didn't steal or ruin it first.
He was understandably nervous when the report cards were handed out. Despite his best efforts, he had no friends at school since, again, Dudley was all too happy to ruin that too, chasing away anyone who would talk to the smallest child in the school. However, Harry was cautiously happy about the rest of his report, he had tried his best in class and kept out of trouble, unlike Dudley who had been pulled up for bullying and whose classwork was at best mediocre. He was always mindful of Uncle Vernon's threats about what would happen if he did poorly or brought shame on the family with his freakish ways. With that to look forward to, Harry gave his best, and placed first in the class, there was even the prospect of being promoted ahead of his peers, something to make his Aunt and Uncle proud of him at last!
Only, he was wrong! They were far from proud, in fact, they were furious, blaming Harry for Dudley's own poor performance and unruly behaviour. Vernon even got out the belt that Harry had long dreaded, and unlike previous times, Aunt Petunia was so caught up in Dudley's tantrum that she remained silent when Vernon raised it against Harry, bringing it down again and again on his naked back. Harry had fought back the tears, but they escaped before Uncle Vernon finished whipping him, his meaty arm tired. Harry finally wriggled free and bolted out the door, his only thought to head 'anywhere but here' as he dashed for freedom.
He rounded another corner and bounced off the legs of the blonde man and fell back onto the grass, winded but uninjured, and looked way up at them. Their faces were still kind and warm even when gazing on a freak like him. They crouched down and the man held out a hand to help him up. Harry was confused why he felt so little fear of them, they were adults, after all, and so far only the school nurse and librarian had tried to help him, but there it was, he trusted them, in the instant way of a more normal child. He took the hand and stood up with their help.
"I'm sorry, sir! I didn't mean to run into you, I'm so very sorry..." He rambled in his panic, desperate for them to believe him, for anyone to believe him really.
"Shhh, little boy, it's OK. What's your name?" The woman's voice, so kind, stopped his rambling in its tracks, and he blinked, confused, before her question penetrated.
"It's fre- er, Harry, ma'am, Harry Potter." The adults exchanged a quick glance, then the man nodded.
"I'm Hinata, and this is Naruto, Harry. Would you like to come home with us and warm up? You look so cold in those clothes, and we do want to help you." The woman's voice again seemed to fill his world, and he nodded blankly, holding their hands and walking between them on the road out of town, down towards where he had heard there was a new house, lights blazing in welcome as they approached.
Once he got inside, they guided him to a couch in front of a big fireplace, occupied by a hot fire, and gave him a hot chocolate, getting him to sip it rather than gulp as they had seen how thin he was and it called to their minds memories of starving children from poor villages. They waited, and soon enough Harry's tummy rumbled, giving them the excuse to feed him up. With the excuse that they had made too much, Harry agreed to accept the meal, enjoying a quiet and tasty dinner with people who made him feel welcome. Minutes after he finished the last bite, he felt his exhaustion at last, the adrenaline of his run now demanding its price, and Harry was guided through various corridors to a big room with an enormous bed, almost as large as the one his aunt and uncle had. Despite his half-hearted and three-quarters asleep protests, he was tucked into bed and was asleep moments later.
Out in the dining room, the Clan gathered in a meeting that contained more anger than even the Dursley household had ever seen. They had kept their emotions in check around poor Harry, but now they could finally release those barriers.
"How could they?! You saw the marks on him! And I've checked, he's far too small for his age, not surprising considering how thin he is! I bet those bastards didn't bother to feed him enough, let alone make sure he was eating the right foods." Tsunade ranted, aware even in her rage that the others were agreeing with her rather than objecting in any way. This was fortunate, as even after decades, her temper was volcanic and an eruption here could be disastrous.
"Plus, there's the way he gave his name. He was going to answer with something else at first, like his own name isn't what he was used to. With everything else, I'm worried that it was something cruel." Hinata added, pacing in her anger.
Anko added her own thoughts. "Much as we'd all like nothing better than to rip apart whoever did this to him, we have to look at more than just that. If we did that, there would be an investigation, and we can't be certain we'd survive it without something going wrong. Besides, as satisfying as it would be to use them as punching bags, it doesn't do what we want most. Giving that child a better life takes a higher priority. I know we've only just arrived here, but what does everyone think about taking Harry in and raising him ourselves? Surely we could do a better job than those animals!"
There was a moment of silence at this, it was well known by the Clan that Anko was one of the more bloodthirsty among them. For her to be recommending against a little payback was shocking enough to get them thinking again rather than just emoting. Upon a little thought, they saw the wisdom in this, the boy needed rescuing and no one else was stepping up to do the job. Well, this is what ninjas were for, doing the jobs that others were unable or unwilling to. Besides, the kid's pain called out to their parenting instincts, and he was obviously a good kid, polite to them even when they were strangers. He was worming his way into their hearts just by being himself.
Naruto looked around, taking the mood of those gathered and nodded. "Ok, so we'll take him in if we can. That's the mission, now how do we go about it?" He leaned back, letting the others start brainstorming how they wanted to do this, talking long into the night as they made, adjusted and discarded various plans.
Harry woke up slowly. Unlike his normal mornings there was no Aunt Petunia screeching or banging on his cupboard door, no having to huddle closer to his thin moth-eaten blanket for warmth, no pangs of hunger, only a luxurious sense of contentment as he gently awakened, gaining awareness, a comfortable sensation that fled as he woke up fully in a strange bed in a strange room, his clothes cleaned and mended and lying on a chair beside him. That's when the memories from last night flooded him, the report card, the belt, the running, the snow, the kind strangers taking him in and, wonder of wonders, feeding him!
Still, now he was worried, afraid that it would all go wrong; he had never had something go right for as long as he could remember. He took a deep breath and got out of bed, dressing in silence, and stepped out into the corridor, finding a bathroom and washing up before taking a vaguely remembered route to the kitchen where he saw nearly two dozen people sitting or standing around the table where breakfast was laid out. Despite himself, his mouth watered and tummy growled and he blushed, trying to turn away before anyone saw him.
His efforts were for naught, that kind woman from last night was behind him, smiling softly at him, and encouraging him to head to the table. "Come on, Harry, doesn't it smell good?"
He had to nod at such an obvious question. "It smells great! Oops I mean, yes, ma'am, it does smell good, thank you."
"Call me Hinata, please, Harry." She held his hand and helped him into a seat.
He ducked his head, and nodded, then looked at his plate. It was more food than he had ever been given, even more than last night, and everything looked delicious even if he failed to recognise what some of the dishes even were. He looked up in surprise some time later. "...I finished it all?" He said slowly, not totally believing it himself.
"Yes, you did, Harry, would you like some more? Oh, and I'm Naruto. If you like we can have the rest of the introductions when you've finished. There's plenty more if you're still hungry."
"Wow..." He ducked his head and managed to eat another small serving before having to give up, pushing his plate away, and thanking them for the food.
Hinata came back and again offered a hand, then took him around to meet everyone. So many names, but they smiled and said they were sure he would learn them all before he knew it. He was a touch confused at this; why would he get the chance? Still, he would never turn them down, they were so nice to him, maybe they would be his friends. He sure hoped so.
Hinata and a few of the others led him to another room filled with toys, sitting down 'so you don't have to strain your neck looking up' they told him, and smiling as he played with them, shy and careful as can be at first, then loosening up as time went by. He had so much fun, he was shocked when he was asked if he wanted lunch yet.
He nodded, then shyly brought up his relatives. "If I don't get home soon, I'll never catch up on my chores, then they'll lock me in my... room again." His pause at the word 'room' would probably have gone unnoticed in another setting, but here it merely confirmed the ladies' impressions. They nodded imperceptibly, glad the Clan was already at work to rescue Harry.
Naruto walked up the short path to the door of the house. All the houses here were so uniform, it was almost surreal. He had already caught himself twice trying to dispel an illusion, even though he knew there was none here. It was just an ordinary Saturday morning before Christmas, and all the ordinary families living in the ordinary street had their decorations up. Naruto rang the bell, Hinata at his side and using what he called her 'royal Hyuuga' mode. The angry voices inside the house cut off as if with a switch, and a thin, long-necked woman answered the door.
"Yes? What do you want?" She asked snappishly, and Naruto bit back his natural reaction to her confrontational attitude, hands carefully not approaching any of his hidden weapons.
"Good morning, ma'am, my wife and I would like to come in and discuss some matters, if you'd be so kind." While his words were polite enough, his bearing and tone conveyed clearly that this was not a request.
Petunia flushed slightly in anger, before allowing them inside, closing the door before turning on them. "And just what is it you would like to 'discuss', I ask you?"
Naruto and Hinata effortlessly guided Petunia to the living room, Hinata subtly putting up some silencing seals, before they took seats, their 'hosts' again flushing at the insult but somehow unable to voice it just yet. "We want to discuss what it will take to ensure that Harry will leave your house and live with us."
As expected, Vernon exploded at that "And what would you want with a freak like him! That no good-"
For all their prior planning, they hadn't counted on just how much anger they'd feel at this point, and their Killing Intent flooded the room. Only for an instant, but that was more than enough time to shut up Vernon completely. He looked like he was on the edge of a heart attack, in Naruto's expert opinion.
"Now, let's talk this out calmly, shall we? We want to take him in, and it seems obvious enough you want to get rid of him. Surely we can come to an arrangement that we can all live with. So much better than an arrangement that you can't live with, yes?" Naruto smiled coldly.
Vernon and Petunia nodded quickly at that, and now that the initial dominance play was out of the way, Vernon finally engaged his brain, the same one that won him his high position at Grunnings despite his less than stellar personality, and got down to business, negotiating with the couple. In exchange for various concessions, not the least of which were continued breathing privileges for him and his wife, they agreed to aid the young couple's efforts to adopt Harry, and to allow Harry to live with them, taking with him the garbage... that is, the heirlooms that belonged to his dearly departed mother, along with any other items that were his. As part of the deal, they would have nothing more to do with Harry than was needed for helping the transfer of legal guardianship, and encourage their son Dudley to avoid Harry entirely. They would also have certain secrets kept that way with the aid of the young couple, so long as they lived by their end of the deal. While they didn't get any money for their troubles - as Vernon had attempted - they consoled themselves at least they could live with this. They would be well rid of the freak.
When Harry went to lunch, he was assured by Hinata and the others that, 'No, your relatives won't be angry with you.' He was doubtful, but his empty stomach was protesting and already he knew better than to turn down free food when it was offered, so he went along without much fuss.
At the table he was surrounded by welcoming faces, and once he finished a small plate, before he could be excused, Naruto asked him to stay there as they had some news to discuss.
"You see, Harry, we have a question for you. We paid a visit to your relatives this morning, and found some common ground between us. We want you to come live with us, if you want to. What do you think?" Hinata asked gently, trying despite her emotions to keep from forcing him to answer the way she wanted. She needn't have worried, because after Harry pinched himself, he broke out into the biggest smile they had yet seen from the boy and launched himself at her, latching on with surprising strength.
Harry settled into his new life, and new family, fairly well, though not without incident. He broke a glass and had to be pulled away from picking up the pieces. His flinch told the Kitsunes more than enough about what he expected from their touch, and they had to go more gently, easing him in and gradually getting him used to friendly touches, hugs, and other motherly signs of affection. Punishing him was even harder for the normally boisterous Clan, used to giving quick but effective punishments, then being able to forget about the infraction and move on. Instead, Harry seemed always to expect an incredibly harsh punishment for each and every infraction, real or imagined, and they knew they would have to tread carefully, letting him build up his trust in them, and confidence in himself, before they could really visit the subject with him. They asked him what he wanted for Christmas, and his heartfelt reply nearly broke their hearts. "What more could I ask for, when a loving family is all I ever wanted?" They still ended up giving him some warm winter clothing, since he needed it, and his look of pure joy warmed them right through.
By the time he went back to school, Harry had filled out very slightly, the regular nutritious meals doing their job and a little more towards getting him healthy, and the exercise program they started was helping him to keep the muscles he should be building rather than turning the extra food to fat. Harry didn't mind the exercise, since it was both a family event and a way to keep himself from becoming fat, which he connected with being like Vernon. Naturally the Clan zealously monitored his health and growth while doing their best to give him the illusion of privacy. The amount of care and attention he needed and deserved touched their hearts, and they soon loved him like their own son.
Nearly four months later Harry had grown taller and heavier, quickly approaching the norms for his age, and though he had yet to make a friend at school, due to Dudley's intimidation, he was happier and coming out of his shell a little more each day. He walked taller after he was told by his mothers that they would be moving to a new town over summer, and he would get to go to a new school with new friends in the autumn. That's how he saw Naruto and the others by then, as his family, calling them his mums and dad.
When April rolled around, a very old man in ridiculously out of date clothes walked up to the front gate. His demeanor told of his confidence, his smile and twinkling eyes designed to make his audience trust him. Unseen eyes watched his every move and dismissed his manipulations as crude and obvious, as Albus casually strolled along as if he had not a care in the world, then his face got positively gleeful as he pressed the electric doorbell.
Naruto answered the door, and the old man introduced himself. "Good afternoon, young man, I am Albus Dumbledore. May I come in?" His bearing showed his every expectation that an invitation would be forthcoming, and having no real reason yet to refuse him, Naruto showed him through to the sitting room where Hana and Yakumo were waiting, engaged in idle chatter exactly as if they'd been there for a while rather than arriving the second Naruto allowed the stranger into the public area of their house.
Naruto waved their unusual guest to a seat and took a high-backed one himself, his ladies in matching seats to either side, after introductions were concluded. "So what seems to be the matter, Mister Dumbledore?"
Albus covered his slight nod by stroking his beard, as if organising his thoughts before speaking. 'I was right,' He thought to himself, 'they must be Muggles if they've never heard of me. Still, it wouldn't hurt to be polite. Perhaps they'll see reason and I'll be spared the burden of having to use magic on yet more of their kind.' "Ah yes, it came to my attention that you have recently taken a young boy, Harry, into your home."
Naruto smiled, "Why yes we have taken Harry in, but I wouldn't call it recent, that was months ago. Why would you bring that up now, sir?"
Albus noted every word, drawing his own conclusions, as he replied "I am simply trying to make sure of the boy's welfare, you see." Albus' eyes twinkled slightly and he continued, "Surely the child's safety is the paramount concern."
Hana leaned forward, "Interesting that you should say that, sir."
"Whatever do you mean?" Albus enquired.
"I mean that he's been living with us for four months without a single visit from you, sir. If Harry's safety were your paramount concern, surely you would have visited us the very day he left those people?" Hana held back most of her antipathy towards any mention of the Dursleys, though anyone could hear how she felt about them.
"I am a very busy man, young lady, with many responsibilities."
"Perhaps you should think about cutting back then, sir, if those 'responsibilities' keep you from your 'paramount concern' for months, or is it years, I wonder. When did you last act upon your concern for Harry? And so many demands upon your time? It can't be good to put such a strain on your body at your age."
"I might just surprise you, miss." Albus' eyes twinkled with mirth.
"I am a married woman." Hana smiled and flashed her wedding ring.
"Indeed, it seems today is full of surprises. For instance, I had hoped to check on Harry and return him to his family already. It was quite a surprise to me to hear he hadn't been seen at home in some time."
"Ah, you seem to be operating under a misapprehension. He has been with his family, indeed he has never been happier, or safer, than he has been as of late."
"Would you show me through that I may see him myself?" Albus asked as politely as he could.
"Are you calling her a liar, Mr Dumbledore?" Naruto's bearing seemed to shift as he allowed a fraction of his emotions to show.
"Not at all!" Albus hurried to say, "I simply wanted to see for myself that I may confirm her words are every bit as true as I believe."
"Well I must inform you that your trip has been in vain." Hana replied with obviously false sorrow. "Harry has just finished school for the day and is, right now, being escorted by my sister home. Then it is time for his homework. His schedule is too busy right now to drop it for an unplanned visit from a stranger."
"I assure you, madam, that Harry will be perfectly safe with me." Albus smiled benevolently at her, one of his most practiced expressions.
"You say that almost like you'd take him home with you, sir, and surely we couldn't allow that, he's such a loveable young child. Also, you must agree that we are providing him with a good home here, and I'm sure he would be most happy to remain with his family." Yakumo took the opportunity to gesture to the warm, friendly surroundings then, smiling at the reminder and also, if truth be known, at seeing such a normally confident person flounder, especially after the hints he was dropping that he wanted to remove Harry from their home and their lives. 'Over his dead body!' She thought privately. "And with such beautiful, caring and loving women, who all look to him as a son, around to raise him, surely you can see any boy would be happy." Naruto grinned boyishly, always happy for a chance to praise the loves of his life.
"I have to admit, that does go a ways towards easing my mind. Still, I would like to see the boy myself. Perhaps I could return this weekend and see him then?"
Naruto nodded, "Perhaps, he can be a very busy boy, and I wouldn't want to raise false hopes. Why don't you give us your address and phone number, and we can arrange a time later. After, naturally, you assure us that we can trust him to be safe around you. His safety was your paramount concern, was it not? You wouldn't entrust a child's safety to someone so cavalier about the responsibility that they'd allow a stranger to see him on their very first visit, would you?"
"No, of course not."
"So you can see that it would be foolish in the extreme for us to allow you to meet him at this stage. In time, if you prove trustworthy, we would be happy to allow Harry to meet such a devoted.. person as yourself. Unfortunately, you caught us at a bad time." Naruto and his ladies rose, clearly ending the meeting.
"Of course, my apologies, Mr Todd, Mrs Todd, Miss Todd." Albus bowed to each as he named them, then was shown the door. "Until next time, Mr Todd."
"Goodbye, Mr Dumbledore."
Albus felt their eyes on him all the way up the street, and inwardly he was fuming. How had a couple of youngsters barely old enough to wed manage to outplay him, of all people? If only he had more time to ponder this, but he truly was as busy as he had claimed. Even now, he was running late for a meeting with Minister Bagnold, where he expected she would enquire yet again if he was willing to run for Minister himself. He would turn her down, again, citing some responsibility to his current positions and not having the time to run the Ministry as well. The truth was that he had more than enough control over the Ministry through his own channels and that holding the title was therefore not only useless to him, but would only hinder him because he would then be officially blamed when something went wrong. He sighed deeply, his work was never done. He Apparated away with a quiet 'pop', unaware of all the hidden watchers catching him in the act.
A few clones popped, relaying the information back to the originals, memories that prompted an immediate Clan meeting. The Kitsunes agreed, they had confirmation of this Headmaster Dumbledore's letters. Magic was real. The time was fast approaching to start training Harry to defend himself, and they would use any means they had to, to keep their boy alive. Besides, he was already one of the family, why not bring him in all the way?
The meddling old man, as he was dubbed, returned a few more times over the following two months, being delayed and diverted each time he tried to see Harry, and oddly disappointed at the end of each visit, more at his failure, if their guess was right, than in being unable to see their son. In the end, they felt it didn't matter unless he managed to follow them to their new location.
For his part, Albus was determined to look on the bright side. If these people had managed to keep him from the boy, despite use of subtle suggestion and compulsion charms, always intercepting him before he could even find the boy, then that would protect him well enough. And with them so obviously Muggles, they wouldn't contaminate the boy with his fame in the Wizarding World as the Boy-Who-Lived. At least some of his plan was still on track. He was sure he could salvage things, after all, he was Albus Dumbledore, greatest wizard alive. Besides, the price of failure was too high to be contemplated. The entire world would be ground under the heel of a resurgent and immortal Dark Lord. No, it would never come to that, he would see to it!
Harry was excited, they had just moved to their new home, a big place with a forest around it, and he was going to get to play in it, along with lots of other new activities. First, he had to have some surgery, which was scary, but his family had assured him he'd be ok, they'd done this hundreds of times, and it would make him healthier than ever! Then, he'd get to play and learn lots of new things.
His family had also changed, they got brand new jobs, they said, and even hired on people from their new town to work for them! It sure was a big change, people waving at him like any other boy and even smiling on occasion. Some came up to his parents, thanking them for what they were doing, though Harry wasn't sure exactly why. Still, the people here seemed a lot friendlier than back in Little Whinging, and Harry was looking forward to making new friends. Tonight though, he had the surgery, and he didn't like needles. Strange, but his parents didn't have needles around. He smiled in relief, maybe this wouldn't be as painful as he thought.
The Kitsunes sat around the living room, Naruto clones snuggling with his wives' clones, the originals still holding vigil around the sleeping Harry.
"We lost him!" Tsunade cried, guilt openly displayed on her face. "He died tonight, heart stopped entirely, thanks to my procedure, my arrogance!"
"We didn't lose him! And how exactly was it your procedure or your arrogance? Tell me that? You didn't invent the procedure, and hell, we've each performed it enough times we could do it in our sleep! No, there was something different this time, and it looks like it's this magic that did it. I've never even heard of a scar that screamed and pulsed out black smoke! There's enough guilt here for everyone, we were all there monitoring him and it still snuck by us. The most important thing to focus on is that we got his heart restarted and it's been behaving normally ever since." Anko soothed Tsunade, or tried to. She knew from experience that none of them would be ok for a while after such a scare, though lovely Naruto, he would be there for them every step of the way.
Shizune nodded firmly at that, "Yes, and Harry's already healthier than we had any right to expect. My best guess is that the scar was poisoning him in a way and his body has had to fight it all this time, or rather whatever was in it. Now that that smoke has gone, the scar has responded nicely to standard medical chakra, and it won't be visible short of an intensive search. That's something to be thankful for, especially with how kids can react to anyone different from them. Between the Uzumaki bloodline, and the removal of the obvious disfigurement, tonight has been a definite success, even if it was not up to our usual standards in surgery," she finished with a nod to Tsunade, acknowledging that there were serious problems.
Hinata looked at the time. "We should head in there, let the Bosses get to bed and rest while we stand watch." The Naruto holding her nodded, and dispelled after standing up, before they walking into the room they set up for Harry's recovery and started their shift.
Harry woke up the following morning, feeling an odd mix of pain and weakness with a new sense of vitality. Before he'd even opened his eyes one of his mothers was there, holding a glass of water ready for him to drink, and when he finished it he looked around him, seeing the concern and love on the faces of his family.
"What happened?" He rasped, throat still sore from whatever they did.
"The surgery was a complete success, giving your body more energy and vitality, but there were a couple of surprises. You're fine now, and we're going to make sure you stay that way!" Anko assured him, still caressing his head protectively. "However, we think it's time to let you in on some things that we haven't told you before. You see, you are a very special boy, and you have something inside you that makes you different, a gift. You have magic, Harry, and it seems while it has helped you survive while you were with those people, and helped your recovery after this surgery, it also has a cost. Your magic didn't like your body being cut open, and it fought back. It's fine now, but during the surgery things would shake or move for no reason, and one point you scared us with how much it hurt your body. Just remember, we still love you, and you're part of the family, now more than ever."
"What do you mean?" Harry had to whisper, it was too painful to talk again.
"Well, the surgery was to give you another gift, one that all the family share. We call it chakra, and it allows us to do things like this." Anko smiled and then there was a ball of white something held in Anko's upraised hand.
"Cool, will I be able to do that too?" His last two words were more of a breathless whisper as his voice gave out completely.
"Yes, Harry, you are one of the family, and we'd like to train you to learn lots of these things. That's what we meant about the new activities and lessons here. Would you like that? We can teach you all sorts of fun and cool things, even things to protect yourself, now that you have the same gift as us."
Harry didn't have to think about it, he knew what he wanted, and his family was going to help him get there. His smile answered for him, brightening the room, and he went back to sleep, his exhaustion catching up with him.
The following days and weeks were filled with strange new activities, like Hinata-mum getting him to sit and do nothing, which she called meditation, Tayuya-mum taught him some beginner steps for playing the piano and flute, and her and Anko-mum and Kin-mum giving him new toys to play with, though they watched him to make sure he didn't hurt himself on any of them.
His nights included weird dreams, dreams that seemed so real. He tried to copy the cool things he did in the dreams, and they worked! He asked his parents about it, they smiled and nodded, saying this was part of his training, and that they were very happy it was working, and how proud they were of him for how much progress he was making.
After the weird dreams had ended, which he was later told were 'Genjutsu' or 'Illusion techniques', they started him off on various ninja topics, some of which didn't seem like things ninja would need, like formal etiquette or the more academic things Hinata-mum and Sakura-mum taught him, but he always had fun with Sakura-mum, the school library had been his first refuge, and books didn't care who he was, they gave the same thing to whoever read them.
The only ones who didn't end up teaching him anything in particular that summer were Shizune, Tsunade, Hana, Temari and Kurenai, taking the time just to play with him, and he always enjoyed those times. The most significant event for Harry would be when he first made a Shadow Clone only a week after the dreams started, which is what they called a solid copy of Harry himself. He was shocked, but it worked. From that day, they encouraged him to keep a Shadow Clone going as long as he could, since the clone would learn just as he would and transfer those lessons as soon as it was dispelled.
At first, he (and his family) were confused when the Clone would learn the techniques, but when Harry tried them he would feel pain, even when copying exactly what his Clone had done. He kept up the training anyway, as it was fun and new and made his parents proud of him, and one afternoon, Tenten-mum came rushing in and drew a weird squiggle on the back of his neck. It felt cool for a moment, but after that, he could perform the various techniques without pain from his chakra use.
Harry's reward for all this was for his parents to step up the training, making it more intense, and he often crawled into bed exhausted early on, before his body adapted to the new workload. Still, he was happy, he could feel the changes inside him, he was getting stronger and faster, and thanks to the Clones, he still got plenty of time to have fun. He even loved learning to cook for his family. Not only did it give him more time with his father, but he loved the smiles on everyone's faces when they ate food he prepared, finally a chance for him to make them happy.
The new training in how to fight was painful at first, he kept falling when his stance was off or he was extra sloppy, but he had come to appreciate the wisdom of Yuugao-mum, pain was an effective teacher, and he had the bruises to prove it! Anko-mum and Yugito-mum were also there, giving their own advice and even moving his limbs to demonstrate the movements needed.
Swordfighting was cool but scary, too. Seeing Yuugao-mum's demonstrations was awesome, but she also brought home how dangerous they could be. She told him "A sword is a tool, not a toy, and one day it could save your life. I will not have you swinging one carelessly, or disrespecting your tools. Take care of your tools, and they will take care of you, ok?" He nodded furiously, she was really scary, but soon settled down to teaching him, being much slower with this than with fistfighting, Taijutsu as she called it, explaining that the dreams did a better job teaching that so she could go faster.
He also got some of the promised training into creating light like Anko-mum had shown him, though he felt the way they started off was weird, including lessons that didn't make much sense at the time on chakra shape and nature, though they became more obvious as they tied that in with the various minor techniques they demonstrated for him.
Lastly, there was some Fuinjutsu as they called it, using chakra and ink to create fantastic effects. Initially he was dismayed with how much there was to learn before he could do anything cool, and he didn't really believe his dad's warnings about how dangerous it could be, until Tenten-mum took them out to the forest, letting him watch as she drew on a small bit of paper then threw it away from her really hard, where the paper exploded! After that, well, it definitely got his interest!
"You like explosions? You really are just like other boys." Anko had said, chuckling.
"And quite a few girls," Naruto added with a grin.
Harry blushed, relieved that his new parents didn't think him a freak, wrapping himself in their acceptance and love.
It came as something of a relief when school started back. Sure he had the worry about meeting all those new people, but at least he wouldn't have to work as hard, right? Right? If he only knew...
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