Harry Potter, Naruto, and all the related characters do not belong to me. If they did, I wouldn't be writing this, and I wouldn't be short on cash.
The Mission – a Harry Potter/Naruto crossover shortfic by Enterprise1701d
A tall, broad-shouldered, well-muscled, white-haired man was walking down the late night abandoned roads of Surrey, England on an early November evening, hands in his pockets, thinking on his next place to stay, or where he would be able to ogle some girls – whichever came first.
The man, known as Jiraiya, one of the Legendary Sannin, was on a mission of exploration, further away from his home town of Konoha than he had ever been. Suddenly, he stopped, keen and ever-alert senses warning him of something unusual happening.
In the distance, so far in the distance that he was sure to remain undetected, he noticed a couple of people walk away, leaving a bassinet on the ground, on a doorstep. Even though Jiraiya could see them, he could not hear them, and he found his natural curiosity urge him on, to see what this was about.
It took barely a leap from the legendary ninja to arrive at the doorstep in question. Curious, he looked into the bassinet, staring straight into the gorgeous green eyes of a boy. A boy that couldn't be older than one year, maybe one-and-a-half. Jiraiya frowned. Why would anyone abandon a one-year-old baby on a doorstep? He saw a letter, and had it open in no time. It was a basic envelope, and there was nothing preventing him from opening it and re-sealing it, should it be necessary.
After reading the letter, Jiraiya found his ire rising. He had almost completed his mission in this Eng-land, knowing of the strange way these people used exotic energies, calling themselves 'wizards' and 'witches'. Whoever this Harry was, he was now an unfortunate orphan... and his enemy and his henchmen had just destroyed his entire family. Understanding that kind of loss, Jiraiya picked up the bassinet.
No loving relative would have left a defenseless child on a doorstep. It just wasn't done. And Jiraiya, even though he had a strong and hard exterior, did possess a kind heart. As he lifted the bassinet, baby Harry gurgled happily, and reached out with his short arms. Jiraiya chuckled.
"You'd better hold on, kid," the ninja whispered, jumping away with such speed that it seemed as if he vanished into thin air. Halfway expecting the child to start screaming, Jiraiya was most surprised when Harry just gurgled and laughed, apparently enjoying the rush and the thrill of speed.
Smiling down at his new charge, the ninja said, "If you like that, kid, you'll love this!" Kicking his speed up a notch, Jiraiya soon found himself holding a bassinet full of laughing child. Jiraiya's grin widened. His student was now the Hokage of Konoha village and Jiraiya knew that, if he explained this well, the man would take Harry in... especially now that his wife was pregnant, and would give birth in a couple of months. They'd immediately have a little brother for their child.
Jiraiya himself was gone too much to be a good father figure... but that didn't mean he couldn't be some kind of a favorite uncle of some sort.
Yes, Jiraiya decided, he'd get back at that brat of a student of his for all those pranks, get him to take in Harry Potter, and then do his best to corrupt both Harry and the Hokage's unborn child in his role as 'favorite uncle'.
Plan decided, Jiraiya kicked it up to full speed, finding that young Harry laughed even louder, actually sounding as if he were egging the ninja on even further. "Yes, young Harry, you'll make a fine shinobi," Jiraiya proclaimed.
"You asked to see me, Hokage-sama?"
Tsunade, the Fifth Hokage of Konoha village, looked at her visitor. At age fourteen, the boy carried himself with an erect posture. She knew from experience just how powerful this particular ninja was, even if he looked rather unimpressive. He was of average height, with a mop of unruly black hair on his head. His eerily intense green eyes were hidden behind powerful shades, and his powerful muscles were hidden beneath the black pants and shirt he wore. On top of his ensemble came a black coat that reached down to his knees.
All in all, Tsunade thought, he looked intimidating. "Yes, Harry," she said. "In fact, this is something that is very interesting." She passed him a scroll, and he accepted it, reading it the moment it cleared her hand.
"This is an A-class mission," the Hokage went on. "Will you take it, seeing as it is addressed to you by name?"
Harry finished reading the scroll. "Why am I being invited to attend a magical tournament in... Eng-land?" he asked, pronouncing the unfamiliar name.
Tsunade lifted her eyebrow. Harry nodded. "I see. Even they have heard of me."
Tsunade shrugged. "It is a personal request, you can refuse it without political repercussions."
"But you still want me to do it, right, Hokage-sama?" Harry asked.
"The prestige for Konoha will be formidable... and you have never been defeated, Harry."
Harry shook his head. "Not when it mattered..." he muttered. He looked up at her, his eyes drilling into hers. "On one condition."
The Hokage shrugged. "Depends on what it is. The fee is standard for an A-class mission. Beyond that, there is not much I can do..."
"I want the girls," Harry said, immediately causing Tsunade to sit upright. "All the girls, as well as my brother."
Tsunade opened her mouth, but Harry cut her off. "Before you complain, Hokage-sama, Temari is present in Konoha. I asked her to come last week. I had a... hunch... something was going to happen. I haven't been able to contact the old man, but the moment my messenger bird reaches him, I'm sure my brother will be here in a flash."
"You have to understand Harry... you're asking me to break virtually every team of your year, and your brother's year."
Harry dipped his head. "And Anko should be free, as well."
"You're just ignoring my objections, aren't you?" Tsunade asked, rather angrily.
"If we're together, those Eng-landers won't know what hit them," Harry pressed on. "Of course, I'll take the tournament alone, but I refuse to do it on my own. I need backup, someone to watch my back. And to defend it, should it come to that. And for that, I'll need the girls."
"Usually, teams are three or four..."
"In this case, we'll be gone for a year," Harry said, motioning for the scroll in his hand. "Four people are a little... short for a year, don't you think?" He glanced over his shoulder, to a blank piece of wall. "Don't you think so, too, Anko?"
The wall blurred, then shimmered, before revealing a female ninja of about 20 years of age, with dark-purple hair, a light-brown coat that reached down to her knees, revealing a metal-mesh bodysuit that covered her torso and halfway down to her knees. Her shins were protected with metal shin-guards, and her eyes held a kind of hidden darkness that Harry too, would have reflected had he not worn shades.
"I concur with Harry, Tsunade-sama. Should he accept this mission, he will need all of us," the woman stated, calmly.
Tsunade shook her head. "I'll never understand why you joined that little band, Anko. But fine... Harry Potter, Lord Magician, should you accept this mission, I will grant you the use of all of Harry's Girls, and I will do my best to get your brother to join you as soon as possible."
Harry dipped his head. "Thank you, Hokage-sama. I will go and tell the good news." As Tsunade nodded, and Harry turned to leave, he looked back at her. "Just one more thing, Tsunade-sama... the girls are not mine. I know that they are called mine informally, but I would have hoped you would not use such a moniker. They are their own person."
Anko bopped him on the head. "And that's why we all keep following you, Harry," she said, grinning devilishly. Anko's smile was not a nice one... frankly, Harry thought, it made her look demonic. He didn't have more time to pounder the thought, however, as the woman grabbed his arm, and yanked him out of the Hokage's office.
Harry walked up to the Hyuga compound, Anko half a step behind him. It had become such a common practice with the other girls that Harry didn't even spare a thought to the fact that a woman, half a decade older than him, would follow half a step behind.
Anko stepped next to him. "Care to explain why you asked me to come? It didn't look as if you needed my help to convince the Hokage. Although my entrance helped, it looked as if you had things well in hand. And how did you know what was going to happen anyway?"
Harry turned to her, and grinned widely. "A hunch," he answered all her questions at once.
"A hunch," Anko replied flatly. Harry just nodded in answer. "You know, those hunches of yours sure land us in trouble," Anko replied, a full two seconds later.
Harry shrugged. "More often than not, my hunches give us advanced warning of danger. Of course, that usually entails me running toward it. That you girls follow me into it..." he let the comment trail off.
"Fine, fine," Anko answered. "I have only been one of the girls for a month, I didn't know that," she grumped.
Harry chuckled, and draped an arm around her shoulders, a somewhat awkward gesture as she was quite a bit taller than him. "Don't worry, Anko. We'll get you up-to-date in no time. Besides, now that you've already agreed to come with me to England, will you be training us?"
"I thought you did all the training?" Anko asked, surprised at the question.
"My training," Harry corrected. "I train myself... against the girls, against my brother. My training usually consists of finding a sparring partner... or two, or three, or dozen, then proceed to kick the crap out of them, learning as much of their style as I can in the process. Of course, this also helps whomever I'm sparring against, as they learn to fight my versatile range of styles. But that's sparring, and I can only become as good as the person I'm sparring against. You, however, are a special jonin. You are among the strongest of our village, with a versatile range of techniques. If you would teach them to us..."
"Fine, fine," Anko grumped again. "I'll play schoolteacher."
Harry laughed wider, and pulled his arm tight, pressing the woman against him. "That's the spirit!" he said. Before Anko could make a comeback, they arrived at the Hyuuga front door, and Harry proceeded to knock politely for entrance.
One of the branch family members opened the door, and Harry dipped his head slightly. Before he could say anything, the Hyuga members had executed a full bow. "Hinata-sama and her friends are in the lounge," he announced.
"Thank you," Harry said. "We know the way." He entered the house, Anko half a step behind him, leaving the confused branch member to close the door behind them.
Harry grinned as he entered the lounge. It was so rare to see all of the girls together... and he always enjoyed the moments to their fullest. He glanced around, seeing how they all interacted, nobody left out, all of them accepted. There was the lavender-haired Hyuga Hinata, whose house they were currently in, Haruno Sakura, the pink-haired kunoichi, the blond Yamanaka Ino, the dark-haired Tenten, the second blond in their company, Temari, and finally, Anko, who had just now sat down.
The conversations died down, and all the girls looked up at him. "Looks like my hunch was right," Harry said. He held out the mission scroll, and handed it to Sakura, who was the best set of brains of the girls present. "We have a mission to England... I asked the Hokage to have all of you with me."
Sakura had scanned the document in less than half the time it had taken him originally. "You're telling me that they want you for a magical tournament in England, and that you convinced the Hokage to send the rest of us with you?"
Harry dipped his head. "It's labeled as an A-class mission... so, basically, I'd risk my neck, and still only get paid as much as you girls. Seeing how I'm the Magician of our outfit, I'm the one who has to compete."
"Hm," Ino said, pretending to be thinking it over. "So... let me get this straight. We go with you."
"Yup," Harry said.
"And pretend we're your 'backup'."
"While no 'backup' is required."
"Not strictly speaking, no," Harry said, grinning, knowing where this was going.
"So... we get paid... an A-class mission fee... while we're basically on vacation?" Ino asked.
"Well," Harry said, shrugging, "Anko has agreed to train us, and teach us her jutsus. I'm counting on all of those of you who want to come not to disappoint her."
Five seconds later, he was on the ground, under a mountain of squealing and giggling girls, all of them joking about 'a year's paid vacation'. Harry could do nothing else but laugh. Looks like he got the girls to come with him.
Harry grinned from his position in one of the trees of the forest near the tournament site. From what he could gather, the place was called 'Hogwarts', and was some kind of school for magic. Perhaps he would have the time to learn how these people practiced the Arts. For a moment, he debated whether he should feel any sort of loyalty towards these people, who were the only ones who could use 'magic', the same way he could.
The lavender-haired girl was right next to him, her pale white eyes now a darker color, and veins bulging around them as she channeled her body's energy, called 'chakra' into them. "They are waiting... a bossy woman is telling the children to straighten out... they've seen something." Her hand pointed to her left, above the tree-line. "There. It's a flying carriage, the size of a small house, drawn by horses. Golden ones. Of the same size as the carriage."
He nodded, once again glad that the Hyuga heir was with him. Her Byakugan eyes were the best for this sort of reconnaissance. "People are getting out," Hinata kept reporting. "The first one is a giantess. The rest are school-children. The cage seems to be larger on the inside than the outside, and it's making my eyes hurt to see through the walls." She squinted. "I hate magic."
"Hey," Harry muttered is defense of his art.
"Sorry, Harry, but Hinata's right. Your magic spooks everyone that comes into contact with it," Sakura muttered quietly.
"Then why are you still here?" Harry grunted under his breath, theatrically folding his arms.
"Because we got used to you. We're still spooked, just learned not to show it," Anko grunted angrily. "Now be quiet, this is still a mission."
They didn't bother muttering excuses. Anko was right, and they all knew it.
"The second ones are coming," Hinata muttered. "Out on the Lake, it's a boat, coming up from beneath the water." Harry suddenly felt as if the Hyuga mistress' 360-degree vision was shooting him an angry look. "And it's bigger on the inside than out," she muttered.
Harry got a cold chill across his back. As Hinata continued her report, he couldn't help but notice that these people used magic for everything... literally everything. It couldn't be good to depend so much on one thing.
"They're waiting for us now," Hinata muttered.
"We're not going," Harry decided. "Never do what your enemy expects... they expect us to show here. We'll show in half an hour, when they're back inside."
"Half an hour?" Sakura whispered.
"Hunch," Harry answered, grinning in her direction. Anko bopped him on the head. Silently. He shot her an angry look, and she looked back with a devilish grin. He shook his head. She grinned wider, and pointed to the castle, visible in the distance.
Hinata nodded, a couple of minutes later. "Looks like Harry's right. They'll be going back inside in fifteen minutes. They seem to think it's rather cold outside."
"Wussies," Harry muttered under his breath.
Precisely half an hour later, the castle's grounds were empty, and Harry gave the signal. "I'm going in, first. They're expecting me... I am going to hide the rest of you. The moment something seems to be going amiss, you know what to do."
The girls nodded collectively, and Harry slapped his hands, closing his eyes as he did so. He muttered a quiet word under his breath, and felt his magic take shape. The next moment, his faithful companions were completely hidden.
Happy with his work, Harry jumped out of the tree, and walked casually to the castle. Following his senses, he walked straight to the Great Hall, where everyone was having dinner. Deciding on making a big entrance, he shaped a small piece of his magic to kick the elaborate doors open.
"Good evening all," he said in the sudden quiet of the Hall. "My apologies for my tardiness. My name is the Magician, representative of Konoha Academy."
"Harry Potter, I presume?" the old man at the front of the room, seated in the center seat of the Head Table, said.
"That name is for personal use only," Harry replied, knowing fully well that his all-black outfit and the black shades hid most of his emotions. He carefully hid the rest, and knew he must now resemble the picture of arrogance and self-confidence. "You may call me Magician, or my lord, but I would advise the use of the latter when you have displeased me and are in need of my good graces."
For a moment, shocked gasps went through the Great Hall. The old man, however, seemed unperturbed. "It's good to see you are in excellent health, Harry. Please, join us."
Harry's right eyebrow went up. It was unusual for anyone not to obey a command given by him in such a manner. Usually, such an event went before a thorough smackdown, and the only ones who got away with such an indiscretion were usually his superiors anyway.
The eyebrow dropped, and he cocked his head. "As I do not wish to make a wrong impression... and killing one's host makes for poor people's skills... I believe I will let that indiscretion pass." Not looking around, he snapped his fingers. The Great Hall suddenly seemed the grow wider, and a new table appeared, positioned facing the walls, only one side facing the door or any of the other students. Another round of shocked gasps went through the room, and some of the people at the Head Table now looked shocked at him.
"Permit me to introduce my companions, " Harry stated, motioning for the air behind him. "Hinata Hyuga, reconnaissance and remote-viewing Mistress. Haruko Sakura, Strategist and Tactician. Ino Yamanaka, Psychology expert. Tenten, Weapons Mistress. Temari, Elemental Specialist. Anko, Curses and Summons Specialist, as well as our teacher for the next year."
The old man looked stunned for just a fraction of a second, whether it was because of the introduction or because he couldn't see the newcomers before they appeared, Harry would never know. "I am Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts. Perhaps you could also tell us... what are your specialties?"
Harry looked around. "Very well, but only if I can have similar information on my opponents."
Dumbledore looked at two other people, the Giantess an the man that exuded the evil aura respectively. The Giantess is Madame Maxime, Headmistress of Beauxbatons. The man is Igor Karkaroff, Headmaster of Durmstrang, Hinata communicated silently. He dipped his head in thanks.
"Very well," Dumbledore said. "As soon as your three opponents have been selected, we will provide you with this information."
Harry nodded once. "Very well. My specialties are many." He motioned to the people behind him. "I have bested all of my companions using my skills. Although I am nowhere near as good as any of them in their chosen specialties, my abilities as a generalist allow me to use the skills that are best suited for their defeat. Until now, I have not encountered a single opponent whose weaknesses I could not exploit." He motioned for the new table. The others nodded, and sat down.
Food appeared. Nobody ate until Harry slapped his hands, closed his eyes, and nodded. "It's safe to eat."
As they dug in, the group started to relax. Used to gathering whispers and stares back home, neither the girls nor Harry let the situation concern them. Safe in the knowledge their backs were turned to a wall, and they were all facing the Great Hall and its entrance points, the group of ninjas enjoyed the strange English dishes, and generally stuck to conversing among themselves, in their own language.
After dinner, it was obvious that the other schools had, in fact, brought their dormitories with them, be it in the ship or in the carriage. As the Headmaster was about to smilingly offer shelter, Harry turned to his group. "Let's head out... we'll camp outside."
As he said so in English, the other students started staring even worse now... especially as Harry's companions started cheering. Anko, not really knowing what they were cheering about, just settled on smiling. She had seen by now that missions with Harry tended to be a lot different then missions with everybody else. They filed outside, and Harry shot a questioning look at Hinata.
"Byakugan," the white-eyed Hyuga heiress whispered, focused chakra into her strange eyes. "I know a good spot, not too far from the Forest, and rather close to the school."
Harry nodded, and indicated that she should lead. She dipped her head, and set out, the others following right behind her. Dumbledore, a couple of teachers, and some of the students of the other schools, followed a good dozen steps behind.
"This is indeed a marvelous spot, Hinata," Harry said, glancing around. "Sight on the Forest, the grounds, the lake, and that strange sporting arena over there." He dipped his head. "Alright, step back a little." The girls took five steps back, Anko a rather tardy half-step behind the others. She balled her hand, rather dissatisfied with feeling like a newbie.
Harry's hands slapped together, and words formed a whisper on his lips. "Magic of Heaven Style – Dominion over the Secondary Elements – Wood Element: creation of four-pillar house!"
The ground before him erupted, splitting apart as wood wrestled its way to the open air, forming, twisting, spiraling into its own creation. By the time Harry released his magic, a four-story wooden house stood before them, the wall above the front door marked with the Konoha symbol.
"That is what you guys called 'camping out'?" Anko asked, stunned.
Hinata smiled at the older girl. "Harry can recreate anything he has ever seen. After seeing Yamato-sensei's wood-jutsus, he recreated them using magic."
"Come on guys! Let's get settled in, before Harry takes the best room again!" Sakura shouted, already having the front door open. Laughing carelessly, the others girls raced inside, Anko included, and Harry stared fondly after them as they did so, shaking his head in obvious tolerance, a smile playing on his lips.
"You have certainly matured your magic well, Harry. I can not say that I have ever seen such casual displays of power before," Dumbledore spoke from right next to the Harry.
"Yet you still refuse to call me with the title afforded to me," Harry spoke, carefully balancing his tone. "It is too bad that you are the client in this mission. I would have gladly shown you why respect is given to me. Now, if you will excuse me, my companions and I have had a long trip. We will rejoin you tomorrow morning for breakfast."
Dumbledore was still smiling. "Of course, Harry. Have a pleasant night."
Harry's right eyebrow crooked above his sunglasses, before dropping back down. "And you as well, Dumbledore," Harry intoned, turned, and entering the house. The moment the door closed, it seemed to blur, and vanished into the wall.
"Casual displays of power?" Karkaroff grunted to Dumbledore, ignoring the stunned whispering among the students that had chosen to accompany them. "Dumbledore, that was wandless magic the likes of which I have never seen! Just what are you involving my students in?"
"And mine, Dumbly-dor?" Madame Maxime demanded angrily.
"I have merely invited Harry Potter," Dumbledore spoke. "As he has so obviously displayed, he has been training abroad. As it took me until three months ago before I was able to track him down, I thought this was the best way of getting him back in England."
"But to let him participate..." Karkaroff trailed off.
"He will do splendidly," Dumbledore said, utterly convinced.
"Of that I have no doubt. It is my own students I am worried about," Karkaroff grunted.
To that, Dumbledore had no answer.
The next morning, at breakfast, it was obvious that Harry and his group were already up for a few hours, as they were the only ones who were actively laughing and joking, as if it was already halfway through the day. Suddenly, a very animated discussion regarding Jiraiya's perverse habits was interrupted as someone sat down on the other side of their table.
"Can I help you?" Harry asked, as all the girls focused on the newcomer.
"I... eh... my name is Hermione Granger. I'm a fourth year from Gryffindor House..." the bushy brunette introduced herself. Harry dipped his head.
"I-I saw you yesterday... that was very powerful magic you did. C-could you tell me more about it?"
"Smart," Harry said, calmly. "As well as brave," he added, cocking his head. "Sakura, Hinata... you two are the brains of our group. Can you help her?"
"Of course," Sakura said. Hinata merely dipped her head. Harry gave an emotionless smile in the brunette's direction.
"I really don't like talking about myself. Sakura and Hinata can help you with your questions." He looked up, saw something, frowned, and slowly stood up. "Excuse me. I have lost my appetite."
As Harry was almost out of the room, Hermione was startled to see the second blond girl, Temari, slip out of her seat, and follow him. "He looks out for us, we look out for him," Sakura explained.
Hinata nodded, and picked up. "We're more of a family that most blood-bonds can hope to achieve. Back home, we're The Girls. Harry's Girls, if you know us informally... or the Magician's Bitches if you've hurt either one of us. Or just plain pissed off the wrong person, as we all cover for each other."
Hermione bristled visibly. "Harry's Girls? You let yourself be called that?"
"Never call us that where Harry can hear you, though," Sakura said, nodding. "He'll go on about how we're our own person, and not his property and all that bullcrap."
Hermione opened her mouth, about to interject something, when Hinata picked up. "True, we're our own person, and Harry never orders us to do anything. We get a choice in everything... but we're still his Girls. Whether he likes it or not."
"Yeah," Ino said, grinning widely. "He's stuck with us!"
"For better or worse," Anko muttered, shooting a glance at the door.
"In health or sickness," Tenten added with a chuckle.
"Oh, eh... richness and poorness, was it?" Hinata asked, chuckling widely now.
"What was it again..." Sakura muttered. "In life and death?"
Hermione just sat there, her mouth wide open, unable to utter another word.
"I think we broke her," Ino quipped playfully.
Hinata snapped her fingers in front of the bushy brunette's eyes. "Yup, definitely broke her."
Harry frowned as he left the Great Hall. He knew that one of the girls... ah, Temari, this time, was following him. Ignoring his backup, he slipped through the unfamiliar hallways, wishing he had Hinata's Byakugan to count on. He slipped up a staircase, and was rather startled when it moved. He slipped off it the moment it touched the first floor, and oriented himself. Aware that Temari was still behind him, hidden – very well hidden – in a shadow. He smiled slightly. She was getting better at the shadow elements.
He got his bearings, and dashed off in a certain direction. Just before rounding a corner, he stopped, drew a single deep breath, centered himself, and slammed a block down on his emotions.
"If it isn't Looney Lovegood," a boyish voice stated, causing several others to laugh. "What are we seeing today? More Warburgles?"
"Oh, no," a level voice answered. "The Warburgles have left now."
"Of course they are," the boy's voice continued. "Then tell me, why are you on the ground and we're not?"
"Because you tripped her," Harry stated coldly, letting some of his killer intent slip. The three boys and the girl surrounding the blond he had seen slip from the Great Hall were starting to back off. "When Miss Lovegood here slipped from the Great Hall, I had the impression that something was wrong. I just didn't know it was this bad."
He reached out a hand to the girl on the floor. She smiled rather gracefully, and allowed him to help her to her feet. "Harry Potter, at your service."
"Luna Lovegood, but really, this is unnecessary. They are just playing," the blond said, smiling slightly.
"If that's playing, I don't want to know how they are at bullying." He turned to the four wood-be assailants. "If I ever see anything like this again..." he let slip some more of his killer intent. "I will annihilate you."
The four gulped, turned, and vanished. "There," he said, smiling at Luna. "I can play, too. Their own game, even."
Luna smiled gracefully. "I must go to my class now. Thank you for helping me up... and for the rest." For just a fraction of a second, he could see pain flash through her eyes, and Harry knew he had guessed correctly.
"You don't need to hide from me, Luna Lovegood," Harry said. "If you want, we can talk more over lunch." He lifted his shades, displaying his intense green eyes. "I'm a good listener... and a talker, too, if you want me to." He dropped his shades back in place, dipped his head once, and turned.
"Mission accomplished, Temari," he whispered to a an armor he passed. It poofed, and revealed Temari. "You're getting better at sneaking, but you'll need a lot more practice if you want to stay outside of my senses."
Pouting, Temari followed him, glancing at him every now and then. Looks like we might welcome a new girl... if she takes the offer, that is.
At lunch, after hours of intense training under Anko, Harry and the girls were back at their table, in their customary position, backs facing the wall. As they ate, Harry's eyes scanned the room obsessively. Suddenly, he frowned.
"Excuse me," he said to his companions, already on his feet. Hermione, once again seated at their table, frowned at his sudden departure, but Hinata didn't even interrupt the speech she was giving about the ninja training they had gone through.
Calmly walking to the Ravenclaw table, Harry was aware that every eye in the room was focused on him, yet he ignored it all. "Would you mind if I sat here?" Harry asked, stepping next to a certain spacey blond, who seemed to be studying the woodgrain of the table quite intently.
Luna looked up. "Of course not," she indicated the free space around her.
Biting down his temper, Harry sat down in front of her, drew some food over to him, and resumed his meal. "You looked like you could use a friendly face around you," he said. For just a moment, her eyes clouded over, but then she stared down at the table again, resuming her meal.
"Perhaps," she allowed.
"Of course," Harry went on, "it could be that I am seeing things that aren't there. In which case, kindly tell me to go to hell." She frowned, and shot him a glance. He smiled at her, but did not say anything out loud. "I'm a good listener," he offered once again. "And a good talker, if you prefer that."
She shrugged, seemingly studying him. "There is not much to say," she answered.
"Hey man, why are so interested in her?" One of the boys at the Ravenclaw table asked, quite loudly. "It's just Looney!"
Harry glanced at his right, to the boy two seats down. He lowered his head, and peered over his shades. "Who are you?"
"Eddie," he answered, quite stunned at the request for his name. "Eddie Carmichael."
"Well then... Eddie," Harry replied evenly, putting just a minor focus on his name. "Have I asked for your opinion regarding my lunchtime company?"
The boy swallowed. "N-no..."
"The next time you have an opinion, keep it to yourself. Especially, should it be an opinion of the same caliber as the one you just spouted." He drew a breath and looked back at Luna, who was looking at him with an odd look in her eyes. "It will be a cold day in hell when I will allow others to dictate my choice in friends," he told her, still on the same volume so everyone heard him. His voice dropped in volume then. "May I ask why they call you that name?" he asked, gently.
She cocked her head at him, and stared in answer with a look on her face, as if asking him whether he was serious. He shrugged, indicating that he was.
Hermione frowned. "Why is he sitting over there?"
"Obviously, the girl needs a friend," Temari replied calmly. "It was the same with all of us."
All the girls nodded. "We needed a friend, and Harry was there... he reached out to all of us when we needed him most," Sakura answered. "Because of a lack of friends, or a home situation that was unacceptable, or for whatever reason... when Harry's near, and he sees someone who could use a friend, he's just... there."
"First, he talks to you," Hinata went on. "Then he sits with you during meals, often the loneliest times of the day. And finally, a couple of days later, you walk over to him on your own accord, he introduces you to the rest of us, we start talking, and you've got a whole group of friends. That's generally how it goes."
"Just like that?" Hermione asked.
"Just like that," Hinata confirmed. "He never asks for anything. He just reaches out. The rest follows... when he needs help, we're there for him. It doesn't happen often that he asks for help."
"When he does, we jump at the chance," Sakura filled in.
Temari nodded. "Especially as it just so happens that he helps you a couple of dozen times before that."
"What do you mean?" Hermione asked, curiosity peaked.
"There is a saying back home," Anko said, with total sincerity in her voice. "Befriend Harry's Girls... for you risk the anger of the Magician should you hurt them."
Hermione sat there, mouth open, staring at the woman Harry had introduced as their teacher for this year.
"You know," Ino said, "Now that Anko mentions it, when was the last time someone tried to hurt any of us?"
"I believe it was one of the Akatsuki," Hinata replied. Her eyes clouded slightly. "The earth ran red with Akatsuki blood after that."
Sakura nodded. "They shouldn't have kidnapped me in an attempt to draw out Naruto."
"He killed them?" Hermione asked.
"It was a slaughter," Tenten said, levelly. "It was the last mistake that group ever made. He tracked them down, and killed them all."
Hermione swallowed, and remained silent, unable to utter another word.
True to the predictions of the other Girls, Luna was sitting with them by the end of the week. But, no matter how much Harry asked, she refused to sit down on their side of the table, claiming that she wanted to face whomever she was talking with.
Able to understand that position, Harry waved it off. She could sit wherever she wanted as far as he was concerned, as long as she understood that she had a friend now. And judging from how easily the other girls accepted her, she soon would have more than one friend.
Life progressed easily, the students studying, Harry and his group training, and meanwhile, the Tournament neared. After the Champions had been selected, unsurprisingly, Harry chosen as the fourth contestant, he got the information he requested at the start of the school year.
In less than a week, he had studied each candidate so intensely that he was able to predict what they were going to do before they did it. Cedric Digorry, the Hogwarts candidate, had the home field advantage, but he was severely limited in the fact that the boy had no real combat capacity. Harry wrote off the boy's skills in Charms after a couple of days worth of study. After reading every book in the Hogwarts library on the subject, he was sure it posed no threat to him.
The Beauxbatons representative, Fleur Delacour, was even worse. A good Charms and Transfiguration students, and a reasonable duelist, but once again, limited in combat capacity. Just to be sure, he studied Transfiguration, and realized that it might be... interesting to fight her. In the end, he still dismissed her. He had fought advanced bloodlines worse than hers.
The last candidate, Viktor Krum, would be his major challenge. The boy was versed in curses and hexes, and he actually had combat ability... he wouldn't like to see a fight between the Durmstrang Champion and one of the girls. It might be bloody.
He glanced at the group he brought. He was reasonably sure that most of the kunoichi would kick his ass. Still...
He glanced at the table where the Durmstrang students were eating. Viktor bore watching. He could prove difficult and challenging. Or not.
Harry found that he was not allowed to study the Dark Arts, as that section of the library was restricted. He wanted to glare at Dumbledore, had he not circumvented that rule, and gotten in at night. Officially, he thus was unaware of the Dark Arts.
"Are you thinking about Viktor Krum, and his Dark Arts?" Luna asked.
Harry focused on her. "What makes you say that?" he asked, curious, knowing that he had given virtually no outward indication, and wondering what gave him away.
She shrugged. "I just saw."
"Saw?" Harry asked, lifting an eyebrow. "Saw what?"
"What you were doing," she answered. She cocked her head. "Did you break into the Restricted Section yet?" She blinked when he looked surprised for just a fraction of a second, too fast for most people to see. "I guess you did."
"Luna," he suddenly said, sitting up straighter in his chair. "Are you a Seer?"
"I don't know," she answered dreamily. "Am I?"
"I think you are, hence my question," he replied.
"Perhaps," she answered. "Perhaps not."
The kunoichi chuckled. "You should know by now that you can't get a straight answer out of Luna," Sakura teased Harry.
He ignored the pink-haired ninja, grabbed Luna's hand, and lifted it up. "Luna," he asked, deadly serious. "Are you a Seer? Do you see the Present, but not the past or the Future?"
She blinked. Slowly. Once.
He released her hand, and burst out laughing. "You're telling me that these idiots have a genuine Present Seer, and in return for her fabulous gifts, ostracize her?"
Luna remained silent. "These idiots don't deserve you, Luna," Harry replied, evenly. He stood up, and started to leave the room. After walking around the table, he placed one hand on her shoulder. "You will always be welcome with us, be it for company, a meal, or shelter."
She glanced up at him, an unreadable expression in her eyes.
"I know you can't see the future, but you can see the present better than I can," Harry answered her look. "But even those of us who aren't Seers can deduce things. You're unhappy where you are, and people shun you. It isn't right, shouldn't happen, and if you want it to end, come see us. We'll treat you right."
Again, she did not answer, but slowly blinked her eyes, and a small smile tugged at her lips. Taking that as a good, sign, Harry smiled at her, and walked out. He had a task to prepare for, and he wondered just what these people would think up for him to do. Whatever it was, it just might be interesting.
Harry stood in the tent with the other three champions. As he stood there, legs spread slightly, arms crossed, face in a neutral mask, his eyes covered by shades, everyone left him alone. His eyes darted to a beetle that fluttered nearby.
For some reason, the creature annoyed him. Faster than a blink, his hand reached out, grabbing the beetle out of thin air. To say he was nervous before the test would be a big word, but he was still picking up on the tension of the others. He needed something to relax himself, take his mind off things.
Feeling the creature in his hand, he grabbed it between two fingers, and stared it at. It was rather curious, he thought, to see a black beetle with marks that resembled a pair of spectacles. Suddenly, he second hand reached out, and he started yanking the legs off the beetle. As the animal squirmed in his grip, he did not give it a chance to escape before the legs were gone, and Harry crushed it.
That had helped. For about fifteen seconds. Why couldn't it have been a fly? Yanking the wings off a fly was so much more fun.
He sighed. Finally, the task was about to start. After grabbing something out of a bag, held by that pompous ass Ludo Bagman, he looked at the animated, squirming statue.
"A Hungarian Horntail," Ludo whispered.
Harry lifted an eyebrow. "I have to kill a dragon," Harry stated, calmly. That might be interesting!
"Of course not!" Ludo blubbered. "No, no, no, you have to get the golden egg away from it."
Harry sighed in disappointment. Oh well... maybe the second task would be more fun.
One by one, the contestants were called out, and Harry had to wait, patiently, until it was his turn. He was last, with his Hungarian Horntail. He hadn't studied the dragons of these people. He had expected a physical contest of some kind... not some stupid trickery show.
Finally, it was his turn. Walking out, he stared at the great winged lizard, tied down with heavy chains, guarding a nest of eggs. He guessed one of them was golden, but he couldn't see it, hidden as it was by the dragon.
After the same Ludo Bagman had announced him, he strode purposefully to the center of the arena. "Hello, you stupid beast," Harry said, not expecting his voice to be amplified around the arena. The dragon, not as stupid as it looked, shot a breath of fire at him.
Harry poofed, fell apart in a cloud of smoke, and reappeared out of the stream of fire.
"Interesting," he stated, once again hearing his own voice resound through the arena.
"Alright," he said, pressing the tips of his fingers together, creating an open space in between his splayed fingers and the palms of his hands. As he spoke, he spoke in his native language. The alien words resounded through the arena.
Magic of Heaven Style – Dominion over the Primary Elements – Fire Element: compression.
A swirling red vortex appeared in the open space. "Come on, stupid beast. One more. Give me all you've got!"
The Dragon, miffed because the human didn't seem scared whatsoever, and fast enough to avoid its breath, did just as Harry asked. Taking a deep breath, the dragon unleashed a massive flood of fire that seemed endless.
Harry just stood there, grinning, as the fire was sucked into the vortex, not hurting him in the least. As the fire continued, the glow in the vortex increased, Harry's hair started to stand up straighter and straighter. Finally, energy started jumping in between the individual strands of hair, and swirl around his body, seemingly jumping off him and grounding themselves
At last, the jet stopped, and Harry grinned. Release, he ordered.
A single bolt of pure-red energy unleashed itself from the vortex, discharging the entire 1-minute long wave of fire into a single, concentrated bolt of pure energy against the dragon. For one second, it looked even, as the bolt struck the dragon in the chest.
Then, it was flung back as if it were made from pressed paper, and when it hit the wall, it let out a final, blood-curling scream as the bolt penetrated its skin and ripped a hole through its chest that came out the other side, causing it to fall to the ground, dead.
In the deathly silence, Harry walked to the next, picked up the golden egg, and held it above his head. "Mission accomplished," he stated, his voice resounding through the arena.
Apart from the girls he had brought, only Luna applauded.
Harry Potter... had killed the dragon.
He bowed in their direction, still holding the egg above his head. Finally, he looked at the judges. For ten seconds longer, silence reigned. Finally, the crowd started to stir. Harry lifted one eyebrow above his shades at the incessant booing he received.
Karkaroff was the first of the judges to react. Grinning, he held out a sign that read 10. Ten points from Durmstrang. Harry smiled, at least one of the people here understood his power.
Both Dumbledore and Madame Maxime glanced at each other, and at the same time, held out signs that read 1. Harry lifted his second eyebrow.
"One?" he asked. "I get a one for beating the dragon, and completing the test the fastest? Is this bigotry?"
"I agree with you, boy," Karkaroff said, out loud, voice amplified over the roar of the crowds. Some of the things they were yelling would have amused Harry, were he not so very angry.
"Mr Potter!" Dumbledore said. "The test was to get the golden egg, not the slaughter of a defenseless creature!"
"Then you shouldn't have chained it down," Harry replied, evenly. "I demand the points worth my due. I used one spell, which is a whole lot less than some of the others here used. I beat your test in one minute, which is faster than the rest. If you did not want death on your hands, you should not have pitched me against a living creature." He glanced at the corpse. "Back home, this is a warm-up. A real test would involve a life-or-death situation." He looked back at the judges. "And one of the ancient rules of Konoha determines that I can challenge any and all judges I feel are being unfair. Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Olympe Maxime, I challenge you to rightful combat over the scoring I just received. Do you accept, or do you change your vote?"
The crowd held its breath, especially as Harry voice boomed, without amplification, over the arena, and he was now floating half a meter above the ground, carried on a swirling vortex of pure magic.
Madame Maxime stared at her scorecard. "After careful review," she said, "you did not use Dark Magic. And you did finish first." She dropped her initial card, and held up a nine. "I deduct one point for the fatality with the dragon." Harry dipped his head at her, and stared at Dumbledore.
"I do not wish to fight you, Harry."
"Then change your vote, old man," Harry replied, coldly. "For, if you do not, it is my right to kill you where you sit." The magic around him increased. The crowd could feel its pressure.
Dumbledore was silent. Finally, he held up a seven. Harry shrugged, and dropped to the floor. "Better than nothing. I should have gotten three tens, but I'll take what I can get," he grunted, his voice once again amplified.
As he started to walk off, half a dozen people rushed in, people Harry assumed were Dragon Handlers, as they looked quite upset. Among them was one person, as large as Madame Maxime. Harry ignored them.
"How could you!" the leading redhead of the dragon handlers shouted.
Harry lifted an eyebrow, and stopped walking. "Excuse me?"
"You killed her! How could you!" The redhead made the stupid mistake of grabbing Harry.
The next moment, he was sitting on his knees, his hands in a lot of hurt as Harry jabbed his thumbs into a couple of very well renowned nerve-clusters. Hard.
"You do not touch me without permission, and next time you send a dozen dragons against me, instead of just one. Oh, and you don't chain them down. Perhaps then it would have been even," Harry grunted, coldly. He noticed from the corner of his eye that the other handlers were staring at the dragon, sadly, the big man openly crying, even.
"To the victor go the spoils," Harry muttered, releasing the redhead's hands. "Girls, do you want dragon-hide armor?" he asked, the girls suddenly appearing around him, Sakura holding on to Luna, taking her down with them.
"Armor? Seeing how easily you went through it, I doubt it would do much good," Anko muttered coldly.
"How about formal wear?" Harry asked.
Ino nodded. "Dragon-skin formal gowns," she said, her eyes shining. "That would work."
Harry dipped his head at her, and snapped his fingers. The dragon literally vanished into thin air. "It's next to the campsite. Knock yourselves out, girls."
"Oh, no, you don't," Sakura said, latching onto his arm. "You'll get a nice suit as well."
Harry grunted. The last thing he needed was a suit. Shaking his head about girls being girls, he walked out, the girls around him, the crowd stunned by the complete and utter dismissal of them, their people, and the judges.
Hogwarts and Beauxbatons students shunned him and the girls from then on, and only Durmstrang students would talk to them... they even treated them friendly. For Luna, the situation became harder, as she had to return to the Ravenclaw dorms every evening.
But, during the day, she hardly left the company of Harry and his friends, and the girls had even taken it upon themselves to always have someone with Luna, invisible, to help protect her against the now increased bullying.
One day, at lunch, Luna looked up and frowned. "Someone's coming," she stated.
Harry frowned at her, and was about to ask who, when the doors were thrown open. The person who walked in was dressed in an orange and black training outfit of some kind, his blond hair in seemingly perpetual disarray, his blue eyes semi-hidden by a pair of shades.
Harry stood up. The Great Hall became quiet. A low growl came from his mouth. "Uzumaki Naruto." the growl sounded like thunder rolling across the mountains, and made the tables and cutlery tremble with its intensity.
"Harry Potter," the blond, Naruto, growled back. Where Harry's had killer-intent waving off it in spades, Naruto's voice was total and utter darkness. Carefully, both stalking towards each other. Suddenly, Harry's hand reached out, and a bolt of pure lightning flashed toward the blond.
Naruto dodged out of the way, the lightning striking the wall, burning a hole in it and causing its edges to blacken. Not even looking at the result of the lightning, Naruto charged forward, holding out one hand. "Rasengan!"A ball of blue energy formed, and Naruto smashed it into Harry's stomach.
Where it exploded, obscuring him in a cloud of annihilating energy.
After the energy dissipated, Harry still stood there, magic around him, obviously having shielded him from the blast. Both boys stared at each other. Finally, they broke out in wide grins, and smashed into each other, hugging each other wildly.
"It's good to see you, little brother! You finally mastered the one-handed Rasengan, huh?"
"Good to see you too, older brother! That lightning bolt sure was something else... I still can't compete with you, can I?"
Harry and Naruto laughed, arms thrown across each other's shoulders, walking to the table Harry had set up for their use. "You finally got here, huh?"
"Yeah, we were all the way in the Country of Spring. Well, it is now," Naruto said, grinning. "Sorry it took so long."
"No problem, little brother. I guess Uncle Jiraiya wasn't happy he had to cut his travels short."
Naruto shrugged. "Not really. It was for you, after all."
Harry just laughed, and sat down at the table, where the girls had gotten to their feet now, most of them laughing. As Naruto hugged each of them in greeting, he stopped at Anko. "A-anko?" he asked.
She lifted an eyebrow. "Your examiner not good enough to be here, Naruto?" she asked.
The boy stared from her, to Harry, back to her, back to Harry. "Glad to see you here, Anko," he said, formally, not even thinking about hugging her. She grinned. "Glad to see you too, Naruto."
He stopped next to a blond. "Luna, my younger brother, Naruto. Naruto, meet Luna. She goes to school here," Harry introduced Naruto and Luna.
"Nice to meet..." Naruto began, as Luna hugged him. Startled, he just hugged her back. "Well, I must say, that's a nice greeting you've got there," Naruto said, grinning at her. She returned his smile.
"If the others get a hug, I don't want to feel left out," Luna replied, evenly. Naruto sat down next to her, even though it was on the other side of the table, with his back to the Great Hall.
"I can certainly understand that," Naruto answered, grinning.
"Naruto! Stop hitting on our new member!" Sakura grunted.
"Just making the girl feel welcome..." Naruto tried to defend himself from the pink-haired Kunoichi. She hit him on the head.
"No hitting on the girls!" she growled, darkly.
"Sorry, ma'am," Naruto muttered; rubbing his head.
"Good afternoon, Harry, ladies, Naruto," Dumbledore said, walking over. Harry shot him a glare, which told Naruto more than the world.
"What did you do to piss my brother off so much, Old Man?" Naruto asked, grinning widely. "Except refuse to call him by his proper name, that is."
"He decided to deduct points on my first test for killing the dragon. Apparently, 'get the egg away from the dragon' does not include killing said dragon to get to the egg," Harry replied, coldly.
"What?" Naruto demanded. "But that's stupid! Of course you should kill the dragon! How else will you get to the egg?"
"Painfully," Harry replied casually, continuing his glare towards the Hogwarts Headmaster. "Have you come here to be antagonized, or to be antagonizing?" he demanded of the old man.
Dumbledore merely smiled. "I still hope that, one day, we can put all of this hostility behind us, Harry."
"That would be my lord," Naruto interjected. "As you have pissed him off royally, those two words just might save your life."
Dumbledore merely smiled the threat away. "I have come to ask your presence at the formal yule ball, which is held in honor of the Tournament."
Harry lifted an eyebrow above his shades. A ball did not really interest him, but he knew the girls loved it. Deep inside, he sighed. Not giving an outwardly expression, he nodded. He would do anything to make the girls happy, even if it meant going to some boring ball.
"Excellent!" Dumbledore said, as Harry glanced around him, for just a second giving indication on his thoughts.
"Of course all of your companions are welcome to join you," Dumbledore added. "Unfortunately, Miss Lovegood is the exception, seeing as the ball is for fourth years and above."
"Unless... ?" Harry asked, his head returning to a 'glaring' position.
"Unless someone were to invite her to come," the Headmaster added.
Harry's inner emotions smirked. Two birds, one stone... "If that is all," he said, standing up. As he started to walk, his clothes shifted. The ever-present black coat vanished, his black shirt and pants morphed into a more formal style. By the time he was nearing Luna on her side of the table, he held open his hands, and the largest bouquet of roses anyone had ever seen appeared in his open hands.
Formally, he dropped to one knee next to her chair. "Luna Lovegood," he said, where the entire Hall could hear him, "would you do me the honor of being my escort for the Yule Ball?"
Harry could swear that the entire female population of the Great Hall sighed, while three-quarters of the male population wanted to rip his guts out over the drama he was making, and setting high expectations with the girls.
Luna accepted the flowers, and drew a deep breath. "Crimson Carsons," she whispered, surprised. She looked down at him, both her arms thrown around the two dozen roses. Understanding what he was doing, she stood up, and formally reached out a hand, shifting the flowers so they wouldn't fall to the ground. "Harry Potter, it would be my honor to be your escort for the Yule Ball."
He accepted her hand, and kissed the back of it. "Thank you, Milady." Once again, the girls sighed and the boys bit back curses.
"The honor is mine, Milord," she said as he got to his feet. Chuckling slightly for the shared ritual, Harry walked back to his place, while Luna made her way out of the room, trying to find a big enough vase for the roses.
Suddenly, Tenten wasn't at the table anymore. Naruto lifted an eyebrow in Harry's direction.
"The girls have accepted Luna as one of them... and until we can get her trained up, they're very protective," Harry explained. "She's a seer, and these idiots don't appreciate her revelations."
Naruto shook his head. "So, I get to come to this ball, too?" he asked.
Harry shrugged. "If you want. Somehow, I didn't think you'd be interested."
"Are you kidding? I get to be real close to all of these pretty girls!" Naruto exclaimed. "Of course, you've got to dance at the same time, but still..."
Harry shook his head. "So, Sakura, would you like to go to the ball with me?" he asked his love-interest.
The pink-haired kunoichi shook her head. "Somehow, I don't think you can dance."
"Jiraiya taught me!" The blond said happily.
Harry bit back a wince. But, now that Sakura mentioned it, he didn't know how to dance either. Suddenly, Tenten was back at the table, followed ten seconds later by Luna.
"You know," Harry said, leaning over the table, "I just realized that I don't know how to dance."
Luna stared at him. "I don't know how to dance either. Does it matter? It can not be difficult to move in rhythm with the music."
Harry smiled at her for just a second. "It might save us both social embarrassment."
Luna shrugged. "True. But embarrassment is overrated. If you ignored it, nothing is going to happen."
Harry dipped his head, he had to acknowledge that point. He glanced to his side. "Hinata, do you know how to dance?"
"I have been required to go to various social events in the past," she replied.
"Can you teach us?"
Hinata smiled. "I thought you'd never ask. Of course I'll teach you how to dance." She glanced at Naruto a little wistfully. "And if Naruto can get Sakura to come with him, I just might teach them, too."
"Hinata!" Sakura screamed. "You don't tell people I can't dance!"
"Why not?" the dark-haired kunoichi asked, trying, and succeeding really well, to look angelic. "It is the truth."
Sakura flushed. "That's not to point! It's embarrassing for a girl not to know how to dance."
"Then you'd better accept Naruto's invitation, and Hinata can teach you," Harry said, grinning. Naruto was smiling widely as well, and shot a surreptitious 'thank you' in Harry's direction, who merely waved it off. It was what brothers did.
"Fine, I'll go with you, Naruto," Sakura said. "But only as friends!"
"Great! Thank you, Sakura!" Naruto shouted. She shook her head.
"The things I do for dancing lessons," she muttered under her breath. Unfortunately for her, her table-mates were ninjas, and thus heard her. Luna, as Seer of the Present, also figured things out, and chuckled slightly, along with the rest of the table.
Harry walked up the stairs to the Ravenclaw common room, intent on picking Luna up. Finally, he reached a simple wooden door, without handle or keyhole, but with a bronze knocker in the shape of an eagle. Lifting an eyebrow, he decided on being polite, and knocked.
The beak opened, and a soft voice asked, "Where do we all come from?"
Harry was transfixed for just a moment. He had expected many things, but a riddle was not one of them. "Let me guess. If I am wrong, you won't let me in," he asked.
The bronze eagle did not reply, obviously waiting for an answer. "Hm, where do we all come from," Harry repeated. He looked up. "We all come from where we are going," he answered. "That is to say, nothing, and everything."
"Intriguing answer," the knocker replied, but still swung open the door. For just a fraction of a second, Harry thought about what the eagle would have expected, but shrugged finally. He stepped into the Ravenclaw Common Room, feeling somewhat happy that he hadn't been forced to break in.
The room was circular, with large, arched windows that gave an impressive view of the surrounding grounds. Harry's thoughts drifted from the unusual mode of entrance to the tactical advantage such a view could provide, and then forced itself back to the evening. A ball was hardly his idea of fun, but he was here to do a job. And, he reminded himself, he should always try and enjoy his work. And with a pretty young lady on his arm, how hard could that be?
Shaking his thoughts away from where they were not supposed to go, Harry walked to the door that he thought would lead to the dormitories. The Ravenclaws present in the room all scurried out of his way.
Even he had to admit that the girls had outdone themselves. The dragon hide had been dyed in a special red-black color, that seemed black when you looked at it one way and a blood-red when you looked at it at another angle. Underneath his color-shifting dragon hide vest was a black silk button-up shirt that he had combined with a dark gray tie. His dragon hide pants, dyed in the same color-shift as his vest, were tucked neatly into a pair of pitch-black dragon hide boots.
Finally, his hands were firmly encased in gloves in the same color as his boots, and his completed outfit made him look... impressive. Instead of wearing his usual black mirror-shades that covered his eyes, he was wearing a pair of oddly-hued red lenses in a thin metallic-black frame.
"Is Luna still up?" he finally asked a girl as she came rushing by him. He had been waiting for ten minutes, and it was already getting on his nerves. This did not bode well for the rest of the evening.
"Eh... Luna... is... eh..." the girl stammered.
Harry removed his gaze from the door, and it pinned the girl with a look. "Yes?"
"She won't be coming," A second girl spoke, obviously just appeared from the door. "Someone saw fit to hide her dress."
Harry's right hand clenched so hard that the trio of noisy Ravenclaws on the other side of the room could hear his knuckles crack over their conversation. The door went quiet real fast. "Who, where, when, how, and what?" Harry demanded, utter coldness in his voice. The second girl, a rather pretty Asian, went pale, and pressed herself against the wall.
"We don't know... here... today... nothing's been done, as we don't know who..."
"I will know," Harry spoke, pressing past her.
"The dormitories are..." her voice cut out as the alarms went off. Harry ignored the alarms and the staircase that turned into a slide. A minor application of magic could make him walk up sheer cliffs, a slide wasn't going to stop him. He jerked his hand. The alarm made a final, pitching, almost painful wail before dying out. The noise was not helping his nerves.
He found Luna without much difficulty. "Luna," he spoke, his voice gentle, belying the anger he was feeling.
"Oh, hello, Harry," Luna spoke, dreamily. "The jokers in my room have hidden my dress. Don't worry, though, it will pop up somewhere. It always does."
Harry forced a smile to his face, and he sat down on her bed next to her. "You need not lie to me, milady," he whispered. "Tonight, after the ball, you are moving in with the girls and me. Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to look for your dress."
"If I show emotion, they'll just try harder," Luna replied, rather dreamily. "I wonder if they're all infested by Nargles." She focused her dreamy eyes on him. "And you don't need to..."
"I don't need to, but I want to," Harry answered, calmly, pressing down on the rage he felt building in his chest. "You can't see it?"
"I can see the present, not the past nor future. If it was taken without me seeing it, my senses are not a lot sharper than yours," Luna replied. "I can only deduce answers from the present, from what I know of it."
Harry dipped his head, and closed his eyes. Letting his magic build, he slapped his hands together. Luna shuddered slightly as the compression of sheer force washed over her. Opening his eyes, he glanced around, then up and down.
He was up in the dorms of the seventh year students, retrieving Luna's dress, when four teachers stormed in.
Harry glared at them before they could utter a single word. "I am here to retrieve Luna's dress. And Luna. As of this moment, she is completely under my protection. The slightest infraction shall be dealt with... by me... and punished harshly." His eyes were shining cauldrons of raw force, and the four Hogwarts teachers physically took a step back. "If that is understood, I am now returning this dress to my date, and I will get her ready for the ball. Which starts in about ten minutes. I advise that you return there. Everything here is under control."
"We can't allow boys up in the girls' dormitories..." one of the braver teachers began.
"I do not care for your rules. Your rules allowed for this type of behavior," Harry said, making his way down to the third year dormitories, and handed the dress to Luna.
"I'm sorry I saw it before you got to put it on," Harry said, warmth back in his voice. "And you only have ten more minutes." He sighed. "I should have come up here sooner."
Luna smiled slightly, and put a hand on his arm. "Without you, I wouldn't get to go. I'll make haste."
Aware that the teachers were still there, gaping at his back for his dismissal of them and their rules, Harry took her hands. "Luna, do you trust me?"
For just a few seconds, she was silent, staring into his eyes. "With my life," she then answered, and Harry knew it to be true.
He closed his yes, and drew a breath. Muttering under his breath, he reached for her and for the dress with his magic. He had to press more force into it when the magic-resisting effects of the dragon hide came into the mix, but he overcame it easily.
Barely thirty seconds later, he was whispering more spells under his breath, spells he never would have thought he would need, but spells he had created anyway, just in case. Now he was glad he did.
Seeing the girls struggle with clothes and makeup, he had created spells that could produce the same effects, only a heck of a lot faster. Until now, he had never needed them. After all, he didn't want to make the girls dependent upon him... he would bail them out with magic only when needed.
The magic released her after a full minute, and Luna was flushed. "You look gorgeous," Harry said, sincerely.
She looked down, the natural-brown of the dragon hide retained in the dress, which now clung to her body as if stitched to it. A glance in a conjured mirror showed Luna that a tasteful application of makeup had been put on her face. She looked at Harry, and actually beamed a smile at him.
He held out his arm, and she hooked her hand on his elbow. The smile had taken the four teachers aback, and Harry and Luna just walked past them, down the slide-stairs, Harry supporting Luna's feet as well as his own.
When they arrived at the ball, they found the other Champions waiting for them.
"My apologies for our lateness," Harry said, feeling it the polite thing to do. "Someone saw the need to play a prank on my lovely date. Rest assured, the transgression will be punished harshly and severely... but only after this occasion."
The three other Champions swallowed deeply. They did not want to get on Harry's bad side. As Harry looked around, he could see a couple of students he thought he had seen in Ravenclaw earlier wince and shy away from his piercing glare.
Finally, the doors opened, and the four contestants strode in, accompanied by their dates. Glancing at Luna, Harry assured himself of her usual composure, then stared resolutely ahead, as if he owned the Great Hall, the school, and all its students. Next to him, Luna was briefly aware of his glance, and the change that came over him. Subconsciously, she tightened her hand in the crook of his elbow, raised her head so her chin was slightly in the air, and straightened her back.
If Harry wanted to play, who was she to deny him?
Brief whispers filled the air, commenting on the looks of the various people, and both Harry and Luna ignored them. One out of sheer arrogance, the other out of brutal necessity.
The first dance started, and Harry slipped into his stance, Luna gently putting her hand in his. They shared a brief glance, and a small smile played on Harry's lips. She blinked back. His smile widened. The music started, and they started the dance, easily and effortlessly, thanks to Hinata's tutelage.
Finally, a smile appeared on Luna's face.
"Glad you're finally starting to enjoy yourself," Harry whispered to her as he twirled her around and she came especially close to his lips.
"How could I not?" she answered back.
After the first dance ended, Harry and Luna walked to where the rest of the girls had assembled as they passed a small clique of Hogwarts students.
"Really, Potter, couldn't you do better than Looney Lovegood?" one of the students asked.
Harry stopped, and slowly looked to the side, where the student in question was suddenly pinned by a glare... and not to mention, quite a bit of Killer Intent. "Excuse me?"
"Fine, you're just a halfblood, but with your name and your status as a Champion, you could've found better than her," the blond brat went on.
"Your name?" Harry demanded, still not turning his body.
"Malfoy," the boy said, actually extending his hand, ignoring, or not comprehending the fact that Harry was quite capable of killing him on the spot. "Draco Malfoy."
"Well, Malfoy Draco Malfoy," Harry grunted. "I believe you owe my date an apology."
Luna looked at him. "It's alright," she said. "They all call me that on occasion."
"That doesn't make it right, Luna," Harry replied in a harsh whisper, his voice dropping in tone. His eyes drilled into Malfoy's. "Apologize."
"Apologize? To Looney Lovegood?" Malfoy asked, actually making his clique laugh. "Your power must've gone to your head, Potter!"
He didn't get a chance to finish that nasal laugh of his, as he suddenly found himself against the nearest wall, half a meter off the ground, with Harry's right hand around his throat, which was choking him, as well as holding him off the ground at the same time.
"My name is Lord Magician," Harry stated coldly in the sudden silence of the Great Hall. "My date's name is Luna. You will address us as Lord and Lady. You will apologize, right here, right now, on your knees. Failure to comply will result in summary termination of your life signs, those of your friends, and those of your family. Do you understand?" Harry's voice was cold as arctic ice, and he was releasing all of the Killer Intent he was capable of generating. The people closest by, a small group of four Beauxbatons students and one of their teachers, backed away in sheer terror.
Malfoy, naturally pale, whitened further. A scent pricked in Harry's nose. "Pissing yourself in fear will not help you. Will you apologize or will I commence summary execution?"
"Mr Potter!" Dumbledore roared.
"MY LORD!" Harry barked in answer, over his shoulder. "I have allowed too much disrespect for myself and my companions as it is! From now on you shall address me with my proper title!"
Dumbledore was taken aback. For one second, he felt Harry's full fury directed at him, and even he had to admit... it was not a pleasant feeling. "Very well. My Lord, you will put Mr. Malfoy down this instant!"
"As soon as he promises an apology," Harry whispered. "Malfoy?"
The boy nodded up and down, now actually looking blue in the face due to the constricted air supply. Harry released him, letting him fall to the floor. "I believe you owed someone an apology, Malfoy."
The boy nodded vigorously once again, and crawled over to Luna. Actually remaining on the floor, on his knees, he looked up at her. "I'm sorry."
"I am sorry, who?" Harry demanded.
"I am sorry, My Lady," Malfoy whispered, looking red with humiliation, but seeing no other way to save himself.
"That's quite alright, Draco," Luna replied airily. She looked at the band. "Will you play?"
Slowly, they started playing. Harry smiled when he recognized the tune. Holding his hand out to Luna, he asked, "May I have this dance, My Lady?"
"Of course, My Lord," Luna replied in the same tone, and put her hand in his.
"I do not think so Mr..." Harry shot a venomous glare at the Headmaster, and for the second time in a couple of minutes, the man was taken aback. "My Lord," he corrected. "You have assaulted Mr. Malfoy."
Harry glared down at the boy, who was slowly making his way to his feet. "Mr. Malfoy will not be pressing charges."
"He... he's right, nothing happened," Malfoy whispered.
"See?" Harry asked with a smug grin on his face as he walked Luna back to the dance floor. "One can teach a human the same way one can teach a dog," he stated the last part to Luna. "Hit him hard enough, and he'll do anything."
"And now he has to go change," Luna replied, her smile just a little bit bigger than it had been before.
"And everybody else will know to respect you," Harry said, actually shooting a glare to the room at large. Nobody met his gaze, too fearful of the powerful young man with a huge protective streak.
Later that evening, Harry and the rest of the girls were lounging in the living room of the house he had built. Harry himself had draped his body in a chair, one leg dangling over an armrest, his upper body resting in the crook made by the back and the other armrest. The rest of the girls were spread out, either on chairs, on the only couch present in the living room, or on the pleasantly warm floor in front of the crisping fire. Naruto was sitting on the floor, back resting against the couch, half asleep.
"Interesting school you have here," Tenten commented to Luna after the blond Seer had finished yet another tale. "I'm glad we got you out of there."
"I'm just glad that we found everything," Sakura replied, levelly. "I had to run up and down stairs all evening! Why did everybody hide your things? I found some of your books hidden in a closet in the dormitories of... Slytherin, was it? Those in the dungeons?"
Luna nodded airily. "Thank you for that... although it wasn't necessary, I assure you."
"You're one of us now," Ino stated. "We take care of our own."
"And Harry takes care of all of us," Hinata replied, smiling slightly at the dark-haired ninja draped in his chair.
He shook his head, yet smiled slightly. "I still can't believe that things have been so... interesting... here. A troll attack, the philosopher's stone, some kind of specter trying to return to life, a female student eaten by a giant snake, as a piece of the soul of that same specter possessed her and forced her to release the snake that finally ate her..."
"Not to mention that escaped convict," Anko said, grinning widely.
"And now this tournament, which can kill people," Tenten stated.
Harry shrugged. "Hasn't killed anyone yet, and I doubt it will..."
"That reminds me," Sakura said. "They said that golden egg has a clue. Shouldn't we get to that?"
Harry snapped his fingers, teleporting the egg to him. He glanced at it for a few seconds, then opened it. A screeching wail came out of it, causing the girls to press their hands against their ears and making Naruto scream about the noise. Harry just stared at it, head cocked.
"It's deformed," he said, snapping his fingers. "The sound is garbled by something..." Water encased the egg then, hiding the noise, making some kind of half-distorted garbage reach his ears.
"Hm," he muttered, sticking his head under water. Twenty seconds later, he withdrew his head, dry as a desert.
"Come seek us where our voices sound, we cannot sing above the ground, and while you're searching, ponder this, we've taken what you'll sorely miss, an hour long you'll have to look, and to recover what we took but past an hour – the prospect's black, too late it's gone, it won't come back," Harry recited word-by-word.
"What will you miss the most, brother?" Naruto asked.
Harry shrugged. "I have no possessions worth stealing..." his face blanched, and he glanced around the room. "But there is someone they could take, rather than something."
"They wouldn't dare," Anko stated.
"I think they would," Luna replied. "It makes sense, really."
"No, it does not," Sakura said, firmly. "If they take one of us... any one of us... they will not survive."
"If there is one thing I can not tolerate, it is hurting my loved ones to get to me," Harry answered, his voice calm. The same sort of calm that preceded the storm of the millennium, and they all knew it. "I will talk to Dumbledore tomorrow, advise him against this course of action."
"I do not think he will listen," Luna said. "But it is better to have tried."
Harry frowned. What had been a nice evening was now totally shot to hell. "I think I'm going to turn in. Good night everyone."
"Good night, Harry," they all said back, girlish giggling coming right after as they realized they had all spoken at the same time. Harry smiled, shook his head, and climbed the stairs, to his room.
The next morning, at breakfast, Harry waited until the Great Hall was completely filled with eating students before standing up. Aware that everyone was focusing on him, he walked to the Head Table.
"Headmaster Dumbledore," Harry said as a ways of greeting.
"Mr... Lord Magician," Dumbledore answered, the cold glint in Harry's eyes reminding him.
"I am here to report that I have finally taken a look at the golden egg yesterday evening," Harry said.
"Indeed," Dumbledore said, his eyes twinkling.
"I am not at all happy what I found inside. After deciphering the rather amateurish attempt at cipher code, I have listened to and decoded the hidden meaning within the message. I am here to inform you that a change is in order." He drew a breath. "Continuation on your present course is ill-advised." His eyes narrowed. "You saw what happened yesterday when someone insulted Luna." he glanced at the Slytherin table, and Draco Malfoy in particular as he spoke. "Imagine what my reaction would be if you continued with your present course of action."
Dumbledore twinkled in full power at Harry. "I will discuss this with the other Headmasters, and I will present your... reservations... to them."
"Do that, Headmaster," Harry replied, dipping his head. He turned to walk back to his table, when Dumbledore stopped him.
"It has come to my attention that Miss Lovegood did not return to her dormitory last night. In fact, all of her possessions have vanished from the castle as well."
"Luna Lovegood is under my protection now, and that includes protection against bullying, and theft. My associate," he indicated the pink-haired Sakura with a wave of his hand, "required two hours to find all of Luna's possessions, some of which had been hidden as far away as the boy's dormitories of the Slytherin students. From now on, she will live with us, train with us, eat with us, and be educated by us."
"Surely you can not just pull Luna out of this school," Dumbledore said, aware of a rather startled gasp that went through the students present.
"I can, and I will," Harry replied, coldly. "As representative of Konoha, as the designated captain of this team, I have the authority to act as Ambassador to the Fire Country. I have chosen to grant Luna asylum within the walls of the Sovereign Nation of Fire, and Konoha in particular."
Dumbledore was silent for ten long seconds, thinking about where he had gone wrong this time. Finally, he said, "I understand, and that is your right, of course, but I wonder... what at the end of the year, when you return to Konoha?"
"She will come with us, of course," Harry replied immediately.
"I didn't think she would leave her father that easily," Dumbledore said.
Harry's eyes narrowed in anger, and he glanced over his shoulder at Luna, who was staring at him with unblinking silver eyes. "If you must know, Dumbledore, Luna's father has been offered asylum as well. Seeing as the wizarding world refuses to accept him, or the newspaper he publishes, both Luna and her father will return to Konoha with us at the end of this year, where his weekly newspaper will be an instant hit, almost guaranteed. People in Konoha desperately need the lighter side of news, rather than the grisly reports of yet another war and more casualties. The reports on scandals and mythical creatures are just what we need. If that is all, Headmaster?"
Dumbledore just nodded silently, and Harry returned to his seat to finish his breakfast. Hurried whispers broke out during the remainder of breakfast, and within moments, Hermione was at their table as well.
"Harry, can't I have asylum, too?" she asked, suddenly half a dozen more students standing at his table, demanding the same thing.
Harry closed his eyes, and shook his head. "I'm sorry, no, I can't. Konoha is a small village. We can only take in those we need... like Luna, as her abilities as a Seer are precious, and her father, whose newspaper will relieve us of the constant stress a ninja village is under. None of you contribute anything special."
"But... but..." Hermione spluttered. The rest of the applicants started to mutter angrily.
"You're accepting Looney Lovegood-" one of the students started to say, his voice cut off as a raw wave of pure magic washed over them.
"The next one to disrespect me, or any one of my friends and family will require a freshly dug grave, is that understood?" he demanded angrily, striding out of the room.
He exited the Great Hall, turned a corner, and started to walk to the large front doors, aware of the fact that he required fresh air, before he killed someone. This goofy castle and the dangers within were working on his nerves. Dimly, he was aware that his sudden exit had precluded any of the girls to follow him. For just a fraction of a second, he debated waiting outside for one of them to catch up to him, when something else interrupted his thought.
"Stupefy!"a voice shouted from behind him.
Harry felt the spell impact his shoulder, and he whirled around, cursing himself for letting his guard down, and immensely glad that he had built enough protections into his clothes and layered enough shields on his body to keep the spell in question from harming him.
"Malfoy," he stated, coldly. Draco looked startled, gaping at him, just like the two goons that flanked him. Harry's face twisted.
Five seconds later, three weasels were sitting in a small cage, pressed against each other, glaring at Harry. Picking the cage up, he returned to the Great Hall, and threw the cage up on the Head Table.
"I've caught three weasels who were stupid enough to try and curse me in the back. I've turned them into what they are. The spell will wear off in about six to eight months, depending on their strength... if you can lift it yourself before then, I will consider their punishment served. Good day."
He turned, and started walking out.
"May I ask who had the misfortune of catching your ire?" Dumbledore asked.
"The same Malfoy brat who insulted my date yesterday, and the two goons that were supposed to be his bodyguards. I have dealt with them within the authority presented to me by the Hokage of Konoha village – attacking a member of the upper echelon usually results in death."
Dumbledore looked sad. "Harry, do you not know the meaning of the word 'mercy'?"
Harry grinned. Demonically.
Over at the Konoha table, Anko was smiling widely. "I taught him that!"
"Of course I know the meaning of the word, Dumbledore. Be glad that I decided not to show any, or you would have been holding three funerals," Harry replied, coldly. "I do not do charity, and I do not do mercy. If you wish any of these, you need to earn the right." He flipped around, and walked out of the Great Hall, leaving, once again, a stunned student body and a very sad looking Headmaster.
"Day of the second task," Harry said, calmly, looking at the girls, before a frown appeared on his face. "Where's Naruto?" he asked, a sense of foreboding entering his mind.
"He went for a walk earlier," Temari said. "He ditched Ino when she followed him."
"He's a wily one, my brother," Harry agreed fondly. "Although I would have preferred him not to have done that... it's not safe around these parts," he muttered as an afterthought, remembering how he had been cursed in the back. The frown remained on his face when they didn't find a trace of Naruto outside.
The silver-eyed blond shrugged. "I'm sorry, Harry, I don't know." She frowned. "And that is not good."
Harry nodded. "Agreed," he grunted, angrily, stalking to the lake, where the second task was about to take place, knowing that he would arrive right in time for the task to start. His enhanced hearing already received the speeches being given.
As they arrived at the starting location, the girls taking positions behind Harry, he glanced around. Looking at Dumbledore, he interrupted the speech in progress. "Where is my brother?"
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled. "I believe we were just discussing that, Mr Potter."
Harry's right fist clenched. So they had... for just a few seconds, he asked himself how these wizards got the drop on his brother. But then again, if he had gotten into one of his moods, he wouldn't be aware of his surroundings... His left hand clenched as well.
"Tenten, my weapons mistress, I require my War Staff."
Tenten gulped, and dipped her head. "Of course, My Lord." She bit her right thumb, and ran the blood over a seal etched into a copper scroll she materialized from her pocket. She handed him the weapon that appeared in a poof and a burst of smoke.
Made of wood, metal, and crystal, the War Staff was a weapon unlike any other in the ninja village of Konoha. Designed by Harry, and built by him using his magic, it was similarly unique, and nobody but him seemed to know its properties. Whenever he called on it, either himself or through Tenten, things started to go very wrong very fast.
"I suggest you not enter the water," Harry spoke in a deadly quiet tone, his harsh whisper carrying regardless of his volume to the other participants and to the audience, which was watching the exchange with ever-mounting dread. Something was wrong, and they all felt it.
"And why would we do that?" Krum demanded, the only one who had the courage to ask. Fleur had actually taken two steps back as Harry had spoken, and Cedric seemed rooted to the spot.
"If you enter the water, you die," Harry stated, calmly. He glared at the judges. "I am going to retrieve the people you placed there," he added for the their benefit. The cannon sounded, and the next moment, Harry vanished.
He reappeared in the center of the lake, standing on the water surface. With a snarl, he planted the staff before him, the tip of the weapons triking the surface, and sticking to it as if planted in solid ground.
Closing his eyes, he summoned his magic. Bringing his hands together, he formed a seal.
Energy detonated around him, the waters of the lake churning and frothing, the skies darkening as Harry's magic gripped for reality around him.
Deep inside, he drew his energies to him, drawing upon the vast stores of power within his body. This was not simple magic, a simple conjuration or summoning. This was warping of the very fabric of reality, distorting the balance of the elements of nature. This was devastation.
Magic of Heaven Style – Dominion over the Primary Elements – All Elements – Fury of the Elements.
The girls startled when Harry's hands flipped through seals. As one, they clenched their right hands over their hearts, dropped to one knee, and pushed their left fist to the ground, a posture of total submission. Luna, unused to seeing this, followed a mere five seconds later, shooting a startled glance at Anko right next to her.
"That is the Lord Magician," the oldest among the girls explained. "When family or friends are hurt, the Lord Magician comes out." She swallowed. "He's using chakra, physical energy. I've never seen him use chakra."
"Once before," Hinata muttered. "A day I would rather forget."
Wind picked up, and the water beneath Harry's feet started to drop as the darkened skies lit up with lightning, thunder sounding over the wind. The water level beneath Harry continue to drop, as if pushed down by a giant hand, the water flowing instead into three piles, which continued to rise as the center of the like dropped, the water acting like thick molasses rather than pure liquid under the influence of Harry's power.
The winds continued to accelerate, and soon everyone was bracing themselves as Harry continued forming hand seals, channeling his chakra into the magical spell, the fury of the elements rising. Soon, he was on the lake bed, touching open air for the first time in millennia, the three piles of thick water forming into serpent-dragons, their snake-like bodies joined to a continually rotating circle of water, with Harry at the center.
As the Lord Magician walked away from his staff, planted in the center of the lake bed, the dragons followed, seemingly taking up a guarding position. He reached the hostages, which passed through the protective body of water without incident. The same could not be said of the village, or the creatures left of the dry lake bed, or the Giant Squid. The dark water looked even darker now, colored by the blood of the carnage wrought by the Fury of the Elements.
Lifting his hand to his staff, Harry summoned it to him. With a flash, it was in his outstretched hand, the body of the staff turning into a thin, sharp, blade. A single swiped later, the staff was back in its original form, and the four hostages were on the ground.
"Naruto," Harry whispered, his voice carrying once more, even as the wind continued to rise in strength. "Wake up, little brother."
Naruto did not wake.
The wind suddenly shifted, and instead of blowing out over the dry lake bed and the frightened audience, frozen contestants, and submitting kunoichi, it now blew upward, seemingly congealing into a single ball of wind, slowly shaping into the form of an ethereal dragon, this one with huge wings and a fully formed body, including fore and aft legs, contrary to the Great Serpents of the Water that still protected Harry and the hostages.
"Heal," Harry demanded, the Air Dragon swooping down, and doing something to Harry and the hostages. Nothing changed.
"They are in a magical coma, and they cannot wake," Harry muttered. He glared up at the judges from the bottom of the lake, all of them looking pale. "I shall make you wake them," Harry growled, dangerously, forming yet another seal as the thunderstorm overhead started to deform, a Lightning Serpent slowly forming in the air, its angry head reached down and glaring at the different people surrounding its master.
"Fury of the Elements can not be stopped," Hinata whispered. "It will grow stronger with every passing second, and it will perform its purpose. I have seen this technique once... when it was in its infancy. I never thought... I had prayed... I would never have to witness it again."
"Kagutsuchi! Lord of Fire! By the alliance between me and you, I summon thee! By the blood that flows in my veins, I command thee! By the Domination I have wrought over all the elements, I call to thee! ARISE!"
"He's summoning the final element? Now?" Hinata whispered harshly, the usually pale girl paling further.
Fire exploded around him, the ground of the lake bed warping and deforming, reaching upward until they burst into fiery volcanoes, exploding their magma into the skies, the red-and-gold flows pulling together, forming around Harry a second circle, outside of the watery one, this one of fire and heat. Slowly, Harry started to rise, standing on the head of a monstrous creature that seemed to grow out of the very ground.
Not ten seconds later, Harry was at eye-level with the judges, himself and the four hostages perched safely on the head of what was the larges phoenix they had ever seen. As large as a mid-sized muggle airplane it was, the head, neck, and body armored, and the wings were of pure fire. "You will wake them, now, before I unleash the elements upon you and your school," Harry muttered, angrily.
"They... will wake in fifty-five minutes," Dumbledore stated, not sounding his usually self-assured self.
"You will wake them now," Harry growled.
Suddenly, a second flash of light drew his attention, as a second, small phoenix appeared. It landed in front of Kagutsuchi, bowed its head and trilled submissively. Kagutsuchi let out a harsh growl, one that sounded halfway in between the roar of a jet-engine and the shriek of a huge bird.
"Fawkes, huh," Harry stated, receiving a burst of info from the giant bird underneath him. "Tell your master that he should do as the Lord Magician commands."
The Forbidden Forest suddenly groaned, as the trees uprooted themselves, forming a huge, land-based wooden dragon. Dumbledore paled at the destruction being wrought all around him. "And I do not care whether he says it is impossible. He did this, he will undo it."
Fawkes vanished, and reappeared next to Dumbledore, who suddenly drew even paler. A single thought from Harry had brought Kagutsuchi closer to the shore, so that he could step onto solid ground with the four hostages. "These people have been 'rescued' from your death trap," Harry stated, coldly. "Revive them. NOW."
Dumbledore started casting, apparently requiring great efforts to break his own spell. One by one, the hostages woke.
"Naruto," Harry whispered.
Naruto looked up, at the bottomless pools of pure energy that were Harry's eyes. He then glanced at the elements raging around them. "I'm alright, brother. I'm sorry they got me in the back, though."
"That should have taken considerable force, seeing how I protected you," Harry muttered, glaring at Dumbledore. "Which one of you saw fit to kidnap my brother, or were you in this together?"
"I was the one who broke the shields and stunned your brother," Dumbledore said. "But Mr. Potter, the second task required..."
"I warned you before," Harry muttered. "My name is Lord Magician, and you should not have harmed my family." He glanced up. "Lightning," he muttered.
The lightning dragon flashed down, striking at Dumbledore, who hastily erected a shield. For just a few moments, it seemed as if the ancient wizard's shield would hold, before it crumbled, and the dragon slammed into him.
However, it did not kill him. Smoke rose from his singed clothing and burned skin, and Dumbledore cried out in pain.
"I do not do charity," Harry muttered. "I am sure you have a death wish, but I have something against giving my enemies what they desire. Know this, Dumbledore. Should you attempt anything against me or mine again, I will hurt you far greater than anything you could ever have imagined."
He looked around, feeling his spell continuing, two more elements starting to form. Metal and Earth, he thought. Closing his eyes, he released his magic. "Release and dispel," he muttered. Slowly, the wind died down, the water started to flow back, and the lightning started to vanish as the clouds dispersed. The wooden dragon released its shape, returning to trees, and crashing to the ground, now dead wood rather than living trees. Kagutsuchi was the last to start to dispel, but finally, it too started to dissolve.
He walked to the girls, Naruto next to him. They got up as he appeared. "I'm sorry you had to see that," he said, sincerely. "I lost my temper." He handed the staff back to Tenten, having summoned it from the now-refilling lake.
She spelled it back into the scroll. "That's alright, Harry," Sakura muttered, still feeling rather shaken up about it. "At least we know you have the power to take on anybody or anything."
"Not for a while," Harry growled. "I used up my chakra. And without chakra, the spell's practically useless." He shrugged. "I should recover in the next few months, though. Let's head back to the cottage."
"You're not going to wait for the points?" Anko asked, not sounding nearly as put out as the others. She was used to crazy stuff from her former teacher... nothing Harry could do would phase her.
"Pf," Harry scoffed. "They'll find ways to deduct points. Probably for attacking Dumbledore or something, or for the death of the creatures in the lake, or in the forest, or whatever."
Luna nodded. "Dumbledore is arguing about disqualifying you," he stated, looking at the judges, seemingly able to follow what they were saying, or doing. "Karkaroff is probably going to give you a ten. Maxime seems torn, especially since you warned them what would happen should they continue... I think she'll give you a six or a seven, maybe."
Harry nodded. "See?" he said, throwing his right arm around his brother's shoulders, and grabbing for the nearest girl with his left. It turned out to be Ino, and with an arm around her, and a second one around his brother, he finally sagged through his knees. Without word or comment, they supported him.
Half an hour later, Harry was lying on the couch downstairs, Sakura leaning over him, a green glow coming from her hands and entering his body. "You really tore yourself up," she grunted, sweat glistening on her face. "I know Hinata's seen that... technique... before, but what the hell has it done to your body!?"
Harry grunted. "Sorry. I didn't have much time... I know the time limit was an hour, but I couldn't take the risk of waiting too long. Last time someone kidnapped one of you..."
Sakura's stern frown relaxed slightly, and she put one hand on his feverish forehead. "I understand, Harry," she whispered. "But what was that technique?"
A smile appeared on Harry's face. "Let's wait until Hinata gets back with the results. I think she wants to hear the explanation as well, even if she has seen some of the early stages of its development."
Sakura nodded, and returned her full focus to healing him. It took another five minutes before Hinata walked in.
"How bad is it?" she asked Sakura.
"He'll live," the medic-nin replied with finality. "Unfortunately, some things are beyond my ability to fix. Like that award-winning personality of his."
Harry shot her a grin, feeling loads better, even if he wasn't in top-shape yet. Hinata looked relieved. "Dumbledore gave you a two, citing the slaughter in the Great Lake. Karkaroff admired your technique, and gave you a ten. Madam Maxime gave you a seven. Luna nailed it completely."
Harry shot another grin in the direction of the living room, where the rest were watching the proceedings. "See? Never bet against a Seer."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Sakura muttered testily. "Now, weren't you going to give us an explanation?"
Harry nodded weakly. He tried to sit up, bit back a cry of pain, and lowered himself. "You're not going anywhere, mister," Sakura grunted angrily. "Your body is torn to shreds inside, it'll take me a while to patch you up."
Harry drew a deep breath. "Fine, I'll explain while staring at the ceiling. You see, my magic is like a second power source, completely separate from chakra. Where chakra is the energy of my body, magic is... well... different. It gets recharged from some external source, not an internal one, and it is too large for my body to handle, all at once. That's why I usually release my magic in waves, or levels, kinda like stretching before a big workout. It helps my body get used to the influx of magic, and allows me to do the big stuff."
"Unfortunately, today I didn't have time, I needed to rescue Naruto as soon as possible. I knew it was possibly a trap, I didn't want to run the risk of being attacked or blind-sided... these wizards are crafty buggers when they need to be... so I pulled out all the stops and showed them why this was a bad idea, and why I warned them."
"Harry, the technique?" Sakura grunted angrily.
Harry nodded. "Getting there," he muttered. "Elemental Fury isn't like my usual magic. I usually summon one or two elements, and shape them the way I need them. Like this house, for instance. But that, you already know. Elemental Fury, basically, is a combination of chakra-jutsu and magic, something I have been developing for the last ten years... ever since I knew of magic and chakra, I've been trying to combine the two. I don't have huge chakra reserves, but they are fairly large overall. My brother has helped me train in jutsu and chakra control. It's a fall-back, a backup, in case my magic should ever fail, that's why I don't train publicly in those techniques."
"Now, as I said, Elemental Fury is a combination technique. The only combination technique. Using my magic as conduit, I summon the fury of the various elements, using chakra as a boost to get there. On its own, my magic could do it, but then the various elements would take between two and three times as long to manifest. Chakra is very good at summoning elements, so I used it to boost the speed of the spell."
"So if you use chakra..." Sakura said, trailing off.
"I'm either in deep shit, or seriously pissed off, in which case I use it to either boost the reaction time, or I'm going completely ninja on someone. Neither are advised... I've been training seriously in secret in chakra techniques. I'm not half bad."
"Not half bad, he says," Naruto muttered. "I've been training with Jiraiya, and he doesn't top you by much."
"He cheats," Harry grunted. "The guy summons creatures to do his fighting for him. The most I summon is an elemental dragon."
The girls fell silent as Harry and his brother bantered back and forth about chakra and strength, obviously glad that Harry's chakra-techniques were finally revealed to the girls. None of them could hold it against him to keep those a secret for so long.
Harry was watching the lake, arms crossed across his chest, his eyes staring at the empty waters, now devoid of any life. Something was tugging at his consciousness, and he did not like it one little bit. He drew a deep breath. The Magician had a hunch... the same kind of hunch that got him to amass the girls the day before he was sent on this mission. Granted, he had been able to do some nice cross-training with the girls and with his brother, but he still felt as if this had been a year that had been stolen from him, a year that he had been unable to draw upon the considerable resources of his home village.
And now he had another hunch.
"So," Ino said, stepping out from the shadows she had been blending in. "Tomorrow's the last task... we can finally go home after that."
Harry dipped his head, before speaking. "Something is not right."
"Something isn't right as in 'there will be rain tomorrow' or wrong as in 'we're all going to be killed'?" she asked, well aware of Harry's preternatural abilities when it came to statements about the future.
"Not right as in 'this mission is FUBAR," Harry stated, coldly. "I have a hunch that things are going to go very wrong tomorrow. Last time I had one of these, Orochimaru almost destroyed Konoha."
Ino swore under her breath. "We're up against another Orochimaru?"
"That's what the hunch tells me," Harry grunted. Ino took a step back, the blond feeling something in the air around Harry that she wasn't used to. It was as if he had become electrically charged, and standing near him made her skin crawl with static. "Harry..."
"I'm bringing my magic out," he stated. "I'm at stage two, until this is over and done with. If need be, I can get to stage five within two minutes, without ripping myself to shreds, like last time. It's uncomfortable for me, and unpleasant to be near me. Sorry."
Ino shook her head. "Don't worry about it. We'll be ready."
Harry nodded. "Thanks." He frowned slightly, before relaxing. "You can step out, you know, Temari."
Temari blurred into existence from a second shadow. "Sorry, I didn't want to intrude."
"Nothing personal going on," Harry said.
"Harry has a hunch. Orochimaru-sized," Ino brought her friend up-to-date in a few words.
Termai's eyes grew big. "So that's why Hinata's Byakugan overloaded when she looked at you, and why my skin feels as if it's going to crawl off my body."
Harry nodded. "I'm keeping my magic at the ready, makes it easier to bring out more if need be. One thing is sure, though... tomorrow's going to end in bloodshed, and I hope that it's them that's doing the bleeding."
"I don't want to know what you'll do should one of us be hurt," Ino muttered.
"Or killed," Temari, ever the dark voice, stated.
Harry's fist balled, and for one fleeting moment the girls could pretty much imagine what Harry would do. Even though it was a wind-still day, the water of the Great Lake churned before them. "They will have enough time for two words to whatever deity they worship before they are sent to the afterlife," Harry muttered. "Nobody hurts my girls."
He released his fist, but his face remained like a thundercloud as he swept around and strode back to the house. Temari shared a look with Ino.
"Things aren't good," Temari whispered to Ino.
"When he starts referring to us as his girls, people usually end up torn into little pieces," the second blond replied. "Like Akatsuki."
Harry didn't sleep that night. Mostly it was due to the fact that his stage two release made his muscles and nerves jumpy, and the sensation of heat in his veins precluded him from relaxing. Not wanting to run the risk of something happening, like it had happened during the second task, Harry kept a look out through the night, usually accompanied by one or two girls, or his brother.
Not a word was spoken, a tense silence hanging over the four-story wooden house as the night crept on. Something was definitely going on over at the sports arena they had at Hogwarts, and Hinata's Byakugan had reported a maze of some sorts. Accepting any and all intelligence he could get, Harry studied the layout of said maze as Hinata drew it out for him.
Finally, the sun crept over the horizon, and Harry stood up from his position, Sakura standing with him. She had been the last one to keep him company, the girls having maintained a steady rotation throughout the night. They had gotten enough sleep to be at their full capacity.
Harry jumped down to level ground. He didn't need sleep, stage two release of his magic precluding him from feeling little things like hunger, cold, heat, or fatigue. That was another reason he didn't keep it up all the time... not only was it uncomfortable, but it was also very much capable of killing him, allowing him to push so far beyond his capacity that he literally killed himself.
The others exited the house, dressed for combat. His eyes slid over his companions, taking in the various weapons displayed, the kunai pouches filled to capacity with sharpened weapons, scrolls of summoning tied to various places on their bodies, and the grim look on their faces. They were ready for anything, and Harry nodded to them.
"Naruto," he spoke. His brother dipped his head. "I might have need to summon you to me."
Naruto frowned. "That hurts, you know," he replied, in token process. "Being yanked by the demon is not pleasant."
"I know," Harry answered, dipping his head, and staring sadly at the ground. "But it might be necessary. Do I have your permission?"
Naruto nodded. "Of course. Always."
Harry graced him with a smile. "I'd like to link the others to you, Naruto. When I summon you, they would be right behind you. Unfortunately, that means more weight on you and your connection... I'm afraid it'll hurt even more. Can I?"
Naruto was silent for just a few seconds. "I'll never let you down, brother. If I want to be Hokage one day, I'll need to do things like this. Unfortunately."
Harry smiled once more. "Thank you." He reached out, and took Naruto's right hand. With deft motions, he inscribed a seal on the palm of his brother's hand, which glowed faintly upon completion. One by one, he did the same to the right hands of the rest of the girls, before he stopped before Luna.
"Luna, your training is still in its infancy. Even though you've made great progress, and you've progressed far beyond these small people who exclude you, this is a mission that might still be beyond you." He lifted his hand as she was about to speak, and cut her off. "I'm not going to forbid you from coming. I merely want you to think this through. If you want to come, you are welcome to... the right of self-decision is one of the most important in the world."
Luna was silent. "I want to come."
Harry dipped his head. "So be it." He lifted her hand, and drew the seal. He clapped her on the shoulder. "Welcome to the girls." He turned, and looked at the arena, where people were starting to gather. He walked forth, feeling for all intents and purposes as if he were walking to yet another battle.
His hunches were rarely wrong when they acted up in this scale, and he was not about to ignore them now. But still, he wondered, what could happen this time?
As Naruto and the girls took their positions among the spectators, Harry walked to where the other champions were waiting. As Ludo Bagman went on with his speech, Harry closed his eyes, and focused on the dull throb of the magic. Stage two. Ready for stage three, ever since yesterday evening.
Harry was allowed to go first, thanks to the fact that he was the only one who got any points for the second task. None of the other champions had moved a muscle during Harry's display of force, and were glad for it, too. They would have joined the mer-people and the Giant squid in the afterlife had they attempted the task.
As Harry walked to the maze, aware that he had to reach the center where the Triwizard Cup was located, he shoved his magic higher. Stage three was released as he crossed the threshold of the maze.
Suddenly, his hair was floating on an invisible wind, half-visible strands of power tugging around his body, pulling at the leaves of the maze, throwing dirt into the air. He couldn't maintain stage three indefinitely, which was why he hadn't done so before now.
One minute before he could safely bring out stage four. The burning of his veins was making him grunt. Stage three was quite painful. He reached the T-section. He glanced left. He glanced right. He looked at the hedge in front of him, and walked straight through it. Silently, he maintained his countdown. Fifty seconds to stage four. His feet kept moving.
He reached some kind of creature in the path he had reached. A single wave of his hand disintegrated it. Forty seconds to stage four. He reached another hedge. He walked through it, the heavy bush torn to shreds with the very force of magic that hung in the air around him. The burning in his veins increased as he slowly brought his magic to bear. The feeling of the hunch increased. Something wasn't right, and it pushed at Harry to simply burn this thing to the ground, Cup and all, and be done with it.
Thirty seconds. He reached a sphinx, which posed him a riddle of sorts. He ignored the creature, and walked by it. It let him pass, recognizing the look in his eyes and the magic in the air. Twenty seconds to stage four. His balled his fists, ignoring the sparks of static electricity that leaped off them as he did so. His magic was pulsing, rattling his teeth with the intensity, glad to be released, unchained, unleashed.
Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. He reached another hedge, and walked through it, ever on a straight path, not deviating. Five. Four. Three. He reached the center, and saw the cup. Two. One.
Stage four was ready. Drawing a breath, he shoved his magic where he wanted it to go.
The vortex around him became fully visible in a haze of reddish-golden energy hanging around him like twisting fog. Sparks of electricity jumped off him continuously now, his hair standing straight up rather than waving in the magic wind of his unleashed core.
And Harry threw back his head and screamed.
It was a scream of pain and anguish as magic burned in his veins, and electricity raced along his nerves. The dreaded feeling of foreboding increased, and he reached for the cup. All he had to do was bring the cup back. That was it. How hard could it be to bring back the cup?
He checked the cup for traps, and did not find any. No kunai or shuriken-shooters, no falling logs or exploding tags should he attempt to remove it. He grabbed it.
A sharp tug behind his navel alerted him to the fact that his hunch had been right.
He dropped to the ground, and rolled instinctively away from where he had landed. It was a good thing he did, as a bolt of magic slammed into the ground exactly where he arrived, throwing the cup out of his reach.
Harry balled his fists. Another one minute, thirty seconds, before stage five was ready. He looked up, and saw a small, bald, fat, sniveling little man scanning around him with a wand. Harry bit back a chuckle. Was this it? This was what his magic had reacted so strongly of?
"Wormtail!" a voice grunted. It was deformed, but it reeked of dark power, and Harry realized abruptly it was not this Wormtail that posed the threat. It was the owner of that voice that was the danger.
"I'm trying to find him, Master!" Wormtail replied. Harry grinned. He was good at illusions. He was totally invisible, he knew.
"Give me a wand, Wormtail!" the voice commanded, and Harry saw the man Wormtail hand over his wand to something that made Harry's stomach churn. Small, white, deformed, like an overly large deformed baby it was, barely able to hold on to the wand.
A burst of magic, far stronger than anything Harry had felt from Wormtail left the wand then, and Harry bit back a scream as it slammed into his changed body. Where before he had looked like yet another unobtrusive grave in the graveyard he had appeared in, he was now back in his original form. For once, he wished he were capable of doing that cloning trick Naruto and the others had picked up. His stupor at the sight of the malformed baby was to be his undoing.
Suddenly, he felt a bolt of force slam into his shields, ripping them like tissues, and Harry felt the world darken. When he awoke next, he was tied to one of the larger graves, with an angel decorating the gravestone.
Without making noise, he started to work on the magical ropes that bound him. They weren't as easy as normal ropes, but then again, he was used to chakra-enhanced ropes, and those weren't easy either.
He watched in revulsion as Wormtail first threw in some old bone, then cut off his left hand, and finally, approached Harry, cutting him for some of his blood. When Wormtail put the blood in the cauldron, then threw the baby into it, Harry gritted his teeth to keep from showing his dismay.
The creature that came out of the cauldron was like one from his worst nightmares... of a creature called Orochimaru, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the white, snake-like creature that stepped out of the cauldron. Except where Orochimaru had yellow eyes, this... man-creature had red-slitted eyes, and was even more snake-like than the snake-sannin had been.
The ropes loosened as Harry kicked in stage five. For once, he was glad that the bad guys invariably required long rituals and incantations. He would be in far more trouble once they figured out that the best plans revolved around a one-step plan that said 'push the button'.
Slamming his hands together, he formed magic. "Summon!" he barked.
The wave of magic that washed over the field startled both Wormtail and the man-creature, giving Harry the time needed to bring Naruto and the girls to his present location.
They appeared in a wide protective circle around Naruto, who was clutching his stomach in pain and was, at least for the first few seconds, unable to do anything but recuperate from the shock and pain of travel.
Harry could see the man-creature's eyes open wide, after which he ordered Wormtail to extend his one good arm, before pressing his wand against a tattoo etched on the lower arm of his subordinate. It was obvious that Wormtail did not like the treatment as the man sunk to his knees in pain.
Harry glanced at the girls. They had scattered, were about to encircle the man. Naruto suddenly popped up next to him. "I'm fine now," he whispered urgently. "Who are we fighting?"
"I believe that his name is Voldemort," Luna muttered. "He is the one who killed your parents, Harry."
Harry lifted an eyebrow at the explanation of his Seer. For one, he was glad that she had come with them, her knowledge might prove invaluable. And at least she was smart enough to stick close to himself and Naruto, both of them more than capable of protecting her.
Twenty men suddenly teleported into the graveyard, all of them clothed in dark robes and with a silver mask over their faces. Introductions were not part of the deal, apparently, as Voldemort, the man-creature, ordered his men to attack.
"Girls. Annihilate," Harry thundered over the clearing, his stage-five-enhanced voice crashing over the people present like waves crashing on the shore. The containment circle vanished, the girls jumping to full speed, chasing their targets with lethal intent. Nobody kidnapped their Harry and got away with it!
Wormtail and Voldemort stared in what could only be described as shock at the slaughter. Tenten ripped four of the new arrivals to shreds using her weapons. Hinata struck at vital nerve-clusters, literally stopping the hearts of her opponents. Ino entered the mind of one opponent, got him to fight three of his closest friends, and started the newbies fighting amongst themselves. Temari had blown her opponents to little pieces with a couple well-aimed wind-blades.
Sakura, meanwhile, was having a blast, using her abnormal chakra-enhanced strength to rip her opponents limb from limb, clobbering one guy over the head with the right leg she had torn off his dead comrade. That act alone caused a huge demoralizing effect on those few survivors. As they turned to run, they came within the field of influence of Anko.
They suddenly wished they had stayed and got either mauled, cut, or killed in some other fashion, as Anko, the sadistic one of the group, cut loose with her renowned illusion and torturing techniques.
Those few survivors were soon curled into a fetal position, on the ground, whimpering and blubbering, their minds shattered.
Voldemort just stood there and stared as his entire force was decimated in less than a few minutes, unable to believe his eyes.
"Wormtail is the one who betrayed your parents to Voldemort," Luna stated suddenly.
Harry's left eye twitched. Wormtail suddenly found himself right in front of Harry, staring up at the shades that hid the boy's eyes. Harry flipped the shades off, revealing green eyes that were shining with bright white and blue energy. "Magic of Death Style – Mind Arts- Three Years of Torture," Harry intoned, coldly, under his breath. Wormtail let out a scream, fell to the ground, and curled into a fetal position, more or less like Anko.
"Three years of torture, condensed into one second," Harry explained to Luna.
Suddenly, the sound of clapping filled the air. "Well done! Well done, indeed, Harry! How does it make you feel, to kill all these people, to torture your enemies into insanity? How does it feel to command a strike force that can do this much damage in such a small amount of time?"
Harry lifted an eyebrow, looked at Luna, and made a motion that said 'is this guy for real?'.
Luna shrugged, then nodded. Harry returned the shrug.
"All of these people are my friends, and my family. They are here because I asked, not because I ordered. As to the death and the torture... it was necessary, for you kidnapped me. Had you asked, I might have come peacefully, if for no other reason but idle curiosity. Touching me and mine is a grave mistake... one I can not allow to go unpunished."
Voldemort stared at him again. "You've become nice and Dark, Harry. Join me, and we can rule this world together!"
"I'm not interested in ruling the world," Harry stated, with a disappointed tone in his voice. "Why do all bad guys offer me the same thing?" He sighed theatrically. "I'm going to kill you," he then stated, glaring at the man, lifting his hand, and throwing a bolt of lightning at him.
Voldemort conjured a shield, and the bolt of lighting struck it with a horrible ring. "Quite forceful, young Harry. Avada Kedavra!"
Luna threw him to the ground when it became apparent that he was going to try and block it. "The Killing Curse can not be blocked!" she muttered.
"Good to know, thanks," Harry grunted, sounding angry, getting to his feet. He didn't have the time for his Fury of the Elements spell. Instead, he lead with conjured balls of fire, lightning, ice, and water. Voldemort's eyes were open in surprise as he conjured shield after shield, sometimes two at a time, one with his wand and one without, to try and stem the incoming barrage of spells.
He screamed as something in his back exploded.
Harry grinned at the sight of Tenten stabbing the bastard in the back while he was distracted stopping Harry's barrage of spells.
A flick of his wand threw Tenten back, making her scream in pain with the force of the spell. Harry's teeth bared, and the magic surrounding him fluctuated wildly in his anger.
"You can't kill him that way," Luna stated dreamily. "He's split his soul. I don't know where the other pieces are, but without all of those pieces destroyed, he can keep coming back."
Harry's grimace turned even deadlier as he started walking to the halfway-paralyzed Voldemort, who was now throwing curses left and right, trying to keep all of the girls off him. Harry just walked forward, not even deigning to dodge a single of the being's curses, letting them absorb into the surrounding magics that protected him. Apparently, something must have gone right, as the man was now leading with ordinary dark curses, not the Killing Curse.
As he walked, he looked for Tenten. She was up again, dodging curses left and right, her face grim, not liking one bit that she had gotten overconfident and assumed her opponent would stay down after paralyzing him.
"Tenten, my War Staff," he asked, his voice carrying.
Ten seconds later, the item was thrown to him, and Harry resumed his walk. Magic of Death Style – Soul Arts – Spiritual Annihilation.
Even the sound of Voldemort's curses vanished, even though they were still flying. Not a single sound was heard, the air was thick like jelly. Even Voldemort stopped his casting when he felt something tug at his magic and his senses.
He tried to apparate. It did not succeed. Harry had reached him by now, and unstoppable, the boy put his hands on Voldemort's shoulders. "As you have split your soul, I will destroy it, for you obviously no longer need it. Spiritual Annihilation – execute."
Voldemort screamed as, from far and wide, different items started to fly in, releasing their piece of stored soul into clouds of dark magic, before the pieces enter the creature's body, re-forming with the original.
The scream continued as Harry's spell raced closer to completion. "Hurts, doesn't it, bastard?" Harry demanded, coldly. "That's what you get for mucking around with your soul."
Voldemort did not hear him over his own screams, his entire existence seemingly constructed out of nothing but the sheer agony Harry's spell brought him. Not even the fabled Torture Curse, Crucio, could inflict this kind of pain! Slowly, Voldemort felt his tenacious hold on his sanity started to slip, right before it was all over.
"Your soul has been reunited," Harry stated sagely, seeing Voldemort return to reality. "However, the spell is called Spiritual Annihilation for a reason."
Voldemort screamed again, shorter this time.
Harry turned, and surveyed the battle field. "Kill them all, and I'll transport us back to the school." He walked over, bent down, and reached for the Cup. "Better not forget this." The moment he touched it, he felt another tug behind his navel, and the first half of his curse was audible to the battlefield he had just left.
The second half was flung right in the face of Albus Dumbledore, who was standing right next to where Harry landed.
"I then summoned the others back, took my winnings, and got out of there as soon as I got the man to agree that the contract was over," Harry briefed Tsunade.
The Hokage nodded. "Very comprehensive reports, as usual, Harry," she said. "Just one more thing... You proclaimed yourself ambassador."
"Yes, Hokage-sama," Harry answered.
"And took it upon yourself to grant asylum to two of their people."
"Even though they don't speak our language."
"They do now, Hokage-sama," Harry replied casually.
"I... see," Tsunade grunted. "I'll never cease to be amazed by what your powers can achieve." She glanced down at a piece of correspondence on her desk. "In any case, you, your brother, and your girls finished the mission within the specified parameters. You're all paid for a year-long A-class mission. Albus Dumbledore must have had a coronary when he got the bill."
Harry shrugged. That wasn't his problem. "I'm just glad to be out of there... they were about to proclaim me a national hero, again, and were doing everything in their power to get me to stay there. And they were rude to the girls. And please stop referring to them as if they are in my possession."
"But Harry, they are your girls. Even if you keep refusing the term, they are. They follow you before the mission, before their team, and before the village. Should you ask, they would do whatever in their power to do so."
"As I would for them. That doesn't make me theirs."
"But you united them," Tsunade said, enjoying the fact that she was riling up one of the strongest ninja in the village.
Harry shrugged. "I'm just glad to be back," he said, deciding to change the topic. "By your leave, Hokage-sama, I have an appointment with the girls and my brother to spend the rest of the day together, and reminisce, before Temari has to go back to the Sand."
Tsunade nodded. As harry reached the door, she called after him. "And the correct technical term would be date, not appointment, Harry."
Harry opened the door, and looked over his shoulder. "Not with my brother, it isn't," he replied casually, shot her a grin, and walked out.
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