Grazhir :: Crossover :: FeS2: Add-Ons :: 06

06 Naruto

21062015

Naruto

“What excuse are you trying to sell me?” — Genesis, No Reply At All


“Say what now?” Harry eyed the screen, head tilted to the side. On it was a young child with gorgeous blue eyes, bright blond hair, and curious whisker marks on his face, sort of reminiscent of a cat or fox.

“As I said, this is Uzumaki Naruto, or Namikaze Naruto. He is the container for a demon, a ‘tailed beast’ as they call them. Specifically, Kyūbi or Kurama.”

“Nine tails?” Tom said. “I’m sure there’s a story behind such a designation.”

“Yes, and we’ll get to that. For now, what I’m after here is two things. First, I thought it might be interesting and educational for you two to visit the Elemental Countries and perhaps learn new techniques, or at least gain a new host of material to study. Second, while I do not want to overtly interfere with things that might be considered ‘necessary’, there is leeway to alleviate some of the upcoming strain on this child.”

“From containing the beast?” Harry asked.

“Yes, but not exactly. There is certainly strain involved simply in being a jinchūriki, with the attendant issues of the beast potentially trying to corrupt its host. I refer instead to the reaction of the villagers, more so the civilian population, though there are some ninja who are also negative toward the boy.”

Harry took on a nasty expression. It sounded far too much like some of the treatment he had suffered after Vernon and Petunia had sullied his reputation to all of Little Whinging. The townsfolk had not actively participated in the harassment, but some of their children had, and children were notoriously easy to brainwash, especially when a brainwashed cousin was right there egging them on. And then he grinned happily. “Mwua ha ha.”

“Gods above,” Tom muttered. “What now?” Their holiday on Nirn had resulted in him using some of the local phrases.

“I just had the best idea!” he chirped. “Derek! Just how, eh, flexible is my Death Note?”

Derek tilted his head in confusion, then straightened. “Yes, that would technically be a valid use.”

“Care to share with the rest of the class?” Tom growled.

Harry grinned at him. “I just realized that I don’t have to kill all of a person.”

Tom’s brow furrowed as he worked that one out. “Oh. Oh yes, I see now. That’s devious, Harry,” he said admiringly.

He leaned over to give Tom a kiss. “You’re so sweet. I mean, sure, we could do it all manually, but there’s something poetic in the idea of using the Death Note to perpetuate a cycle rather than setting up a ton of warding.”

“What do you have in mind, then, if it’s not overt?”

“You can’t force people to enduringly change their minds with a snap of your fingers. But consistent and low-key reinforcement might—or at least prevent any overt nastiness. So if a person was to say something that fell into a set of defined examples, a certain kind of response would be engendered. If they attempted active violence, a different result.”

“So, karma.”

“Essentially, but far more certain and immediate, not waiting for samsara.”

Tom nodded. “So we need ideas on how to ‘punish’ people. . . . Perhaps Ciel would like to offer up some ideas? Or Luna?”

Harry giggled quietly.

*

They arrived not too far outside a ninja village called Konohagakure no Sato, or Konoha for short, the Village Hidden in the Leaves, but not so close that they would immediately attract the attention of Konoha nin. “Well, it’s pretty enough,” he said in Japanese, as Derek had mentioned which language to use when he had created appropriate paperwork for them to carry around as identification.

They could, in theory, go in Cloaked, but where was the fun in that? And besides, they could save that sort of thing for “borrowing” information about ninja techniques. They had come such a long way from the world of their birth, and encountered so many different forms of magic. It was exciting to learn about new ones, and some of them they could even use, or replicate, which made the “meddling” Derek occasionally asked for on the order anticipated excursions. Well, the amusement factor that came from messing with people also counted.

Papers were shown at the village gates and they were allowed to enter without any real fuss, though they had Anbu shadowing them everywhere they went. After securing a suite at a hotel they began wandering the town, aiming for the shopping district. None of their alterations were set to start functioning until a specific condition was met, and that condition happened not long after they finished eyeing the wares of a stall selling carved figurines.

As they walked toward the next attraction Yuki was hit from behind. He quickly side-stepped and spun in place, then grabbed the child by the back of his shirt and hauled him up to eye level. “Hello there, chibi. Are you all right?” he asked, ignoring that the kid was squirming around and seemed ready to start kicking.

“Let me go!”

“No, no, not until I know you’re not hurt from that impact. Well?”

“I’m fine!” the child insisted.

“I see. Well, my name is Yuki. My friend here is Ango.”

The kid stopped squirming as soon as he realized the two men weren’t out to harass or hurt him, his eyes going a little wide. “Naruto!”

Yuki nodded. “Okay, Naruto-kun,” he said, intending to set the boy down. “Please try to be a little more careful in the future, yes? You could have hurt yourself.”

Just then several older boys came around a corner and spotted Naruto; their faces took on a malicious cast. “Ha! Look at that. The little bastard’s gonna get it now,” one of them said, then promptly tripped and scraped the skin off his nose when he face-planted.

“What a rude child,” Ango said quietly.

Yuki shifted Naruto so he was being held more properly instead of being suspended. “Tell you what. How about you give us a little tour of the village and in return we’ll buy you lunch, maybe dinner.”

Naruto looked wary for a moment, then beamed with pleasure. “Can we have ramen?”

“Sure,” Yuki said agreeably, then set him down. “We were looking at the shops. Any suggestions as to interesting things here?”

Over the course of the morning a good dozen or more people ended up having humiliating accidents in the vicinity of Naruto, always after they said something unkind, but never of a type that could ever be linked to the child. The watching Anbu were torn between laughing and hauling the two strangers off to T&I, because nothing so odd had ever happened before around Naruto. The boy’s pranks were always recognizable. There was no chakra release attached to the accidents, so they had nothing to go on.

Lunch was at Ichiraku, Naruto’s beloved ramen stand. It was easy to see why, as Teuchi, the owner, was genuinely fond of the little guy and happy to stuff him full of fresh-cooked ramen to ensure that Naruto got a filling meal as often as possible. The stand was very popular, though patronage dropped off during the time that Naruto was there, so Teuchi was well able to afford the generosity. Yuki, of course, happily paid for everything the boy ate during their lunch.

Afterward they continued their tour, and Naruto even showed them where he lived. Even though Derek had warned them ahead of time it took a lot of control not to break out into a round of swearing and threats when they saw the condition of the child’s apartment. It was bad enough he lived on his own now that he was in the academy, but to live in such bare-bones accommodations was just awful.

Naruto was surprisingly neat for a five year old. It was obvious he kept on top of keeping the place clean and did not let trash accumulate, but the idea of such a small boy being responsible for himself? It was possible the Anbu assigned to monitor Naruto assisted, but they were unable to intimidate the civilians into proper behavior, and the Hokage, while in control of the village as a whole—as it was a ninja village, not a civilian one—could not treat civilians the same way he could his ninja forces.

‘We will, of course, come back later and make some adjustments,’ Tom sent. ‘Nothing too obvious.’

‘I agree. The cycle should take care of most issues, but it wouldn’t hurt in the least to ensure certain aspects of his life in this apartment.’

‘Like properly functioning sanitary and cooking appliances.’

Harry nodded slightly. ‘Maybe ensure no vermin, but if the kid keeps up with being so tidy, that might not make much of an impact.’ “It’s getting on,” he said out loud. “How about we go have dinner? Maybe yakiniku?”

Naruto looked wary at the suggestion, so Yuki nudged into his mind and saw that the boy had not exactly been welcomed at the most popular place in town. “Don’t you worry, chibi. You’ve done a fantastic job today showing us around. You deserve a nice meal.”

Naruto bit his lip, then nodded, still thinking it would not turn out well, but willing to take the chance. Off they went, and true, the workers there looked as if they wanted to turn them away when they saw Naruto, but they were shown to one of the private rooms so they could take seats. Shortly thereafter they were supplied with drinks and plenty of meat for the grill in the table.

What Naruto could not know, but Yuki and Ango did (thanks to Derek’s commentary), was that more than a few workers suffered mishaps that evening as they said certain things or tried in some way to sabotage the food being delivered to their room, never mind that it would have punished two complete strangers in an attempt to get at the boy. The Anbu spying on them continued to be confused, and amused.

Later that night, after delivering Naruto safety to his home, they waited for some time before acting. Before they left the room was warded temporarily to avert any suspicion, and then they Cloaked and shifted to Naruto’s to set up what they had discussed earlier. After that they started in on the academy library, copying everything they could find to store away in Yuki’s fidelius’d trunk.

A visit to check in on the Hokage revealed other places of interest they would have to visit. ‘So much stuff to bring home with us!’ Yuki crowed.

‘And most of it will end up in a warded room or at Vault.’

‘Not the point! I want the best damn library in the multiverse if possible, even if we can’t use but a tenth of it.’

‘Yes, well, I estimate it will take about two weeks to make copies of everything.’

‘Mm. So we have two weeks of watching people have hilarious accidents and see if any of it starts to sink in.’

They ran into Naruto every few days and would buy him a meal. He lost all wariness around them after a few rounds of that. It helped that the child had not been unaware of the shift in the village, how people kept having incidents of extreme clumsiness, or worse. All he had ever wanted was a friend, or for people to pay attention to him in a positive way. There were very few who did, and they were usually busy adults with little time to spend with him. The two strangers were fun and nice.

‘Ah, hell,’ Ango sent. ‘He’s getting attached.’

‘You have to admit he’s adorable,’ Yuki replied. ‘Maybe we could take a holiday here every couple of years? Check up on him?’

‘I suppose so. It’s not like you can adopt him or anything. Trying to remove him from this universe would probably cause it to implode.’

Yuki giggled madly and shook his head when Naruto looked up at him inquiringly. “It’s wrong of me to laugh, but I had no idea pot holes could get so bad on a main street,” he said, nodding toward a villager who had stepped into one and sank to mid-calf, causing predictable results.

Naruto giggled as well at the sight.

‘It occurs to me,’ he sent as Naruto dragged them off to show them the Hokage monument from much closer, ‘that we may need to alter the wording a bit. If chibi here joins the academy he’ll end up in spars with other students.’

‘I thought you specified by intent.’

‘Yes. But what if one of the little blighters loses his or her head in a spar and the tone of things changes? The last thing Naruto needs is for his partner of the moment suddenly doing a face plant and breaking their nose, or toes, or even a major bone. And it’d be more than a little suspicious for it to happen if he goes out on missions and his enemies all end up subjected to a physical comedy routine.’

‘But hilarious.’

Yuki snorted and looked at where Naruto was pointing. The boy was telling them all about how he was going to grow up to be Hokage some day. “You’re going to work hard, yes?”

“Of course I will!”

Yuki hummed. “I see. You’re going to read everything and understand it? Practice really hard on your skills, like throwing weapons? Watch and learn from people sparring, or sneaking around?”

Naruto squirmed a bit at that; he was such a bundle of energy that he had something of a short attention span. Still, he was very bright, and had a nicely analytical mind when he focused.

Yuki crouched down and pulled the child closer. “It doesn’t matter so much what people see on the outside, chibi, so long as inside”—he gently poked Naruto in the chest—“you work really hard, so that when you need to you can show people what you’re made of, how much you’ve studied and practiced, and how well you take care of your things. How responsible and mature you can be. Just about anything can be a learning experience, if you just take the time to think it over.”

Naruto nodded.

“And don’t take rejection too badly. Even if you were the nicest person on the planet there would always be someone who wouldn’t like you, just because. You be on the lookout for some loyal friends, chibi, people you can count on, and people who can count on you.”

“Like Teuchi-san?”

He nodded and smiled. “That’s a start, yes. He’s lived here a long time, so he might have some ideas that could help.” He pointed back at the monument. “Just remember. If you want to be Hokage some day, you need to work hard, but always take some time to just play, too.”

“You’re leaving soon aren’t you?” Naruto said with a pout and wide blue eyes.

“Yes. We’re only here on holiday. But you might see us again, and if you do, I hope you’ll remember us.”

“I will!” Naruto promised passionately.

Harry stood back up and ruffled the boy’s hair playfully. “Now, lay it out for me. If you were going to play a prank involving the Hokage Monument, what would you do, how would you do it, and how would you evade being noticed as the perpetrator or being caught?”