Harry softly knocked on the door before opening it, peeking his head into the room. "Dinner's rea- are you two okay? What happened?" He dashed to their sides the second he saw Naruto and Sasuke's tear-stained faces and desperately clasped hands. Drawing the two into a hug, he stared down at them with concern filled eyes.
Naruto sniffled and wiped his eyes with his sleeve. "We're fine, nii-san. Just talking," he reassured his brother(though if he was being honest, he saw the man more as a father figure than a brother), giving him a smile.
Harry gave him a doubtful look. "But you're crying. Why are you crying?" Taking a moment to actually study the two, he saw how they looked lighter somehow and understanding soon dawned on him. "Oh, you two." he murmured, sitting on the bed and pulling the two into his arms once again, ignoring the way Sasuke immediately stiffened, and held them close. "Look, don't think about the past, okay? I'm here, and I'll do everything I can to protect you. Both of you. From now on, you're a part of our family, Sasuke, no matter what you say or do." Harry told them, Naruto nodding in agreement beside him.
Fresh tears trailed down Sasuke's cheeks and he curled further into Harry and Naruto, body trembling, glad that he didn't have to be alone anymore. Relieved that for once, he wasn't seeing Itachi covered in his parents' blood in his mind. Giving the two young boys a squeeze, Harry reluctantly released them and ruffled their hair.
"C'mon. Dinner's ready. We can cuddle and go to sleep after we eat, kay?"
They nodded and stood, though they stuck close to Harry as they made their way into the kitchen. Dinner was quiet, Sasuke and Naruto too emotionally drained to provide any lasing conversation. Once everyone was done, Harry cleaned up the kitchen while the boys got ready for bed. The two of them climbed into Naruto's bed after changing and brushing their teeth, Harry joining them after he shifted into his fox form. Sasuke's eyes widened in shocked disbelief and he stared at the animal before him, unable to fully process what he was seeing.
"How many animal forms do you have?" he asked, a hint of awe and wonderment in his tone. He had never heard of anyone being able to actually shift into real animals before, not even with the aid of chakra.
"He has two." Naruto answered while Harry curled up in between them. "This form and then his wolf form." he told Sasuke, wrapping an arm around Harry, who let out a soft, content growl.
"Hn." Sasuke grunted, laying down and wrapping his own arm around Harry after a moment's hesitation.
It wasn't long before the three of them were asleep.
Harry awoke to a faceful of sunlight and two bodies curled into his own, warmth and contentment swelling in his chest. Letting out a yawn, he wiggled out of the two boys' holds and hopped off the bed, shifting back into a human. He smiled when he saw the boys latch onto each other and went to take a quick shower before going to wash Sasuke and Naruto's clothes and starting breakfast. It was as he was finishing up the omelets that the boys finally woke up, stumbling into the kitchen half awake with growling stomachs. Setting their plates in front of them, Harry ruffled their hair and kissed the top of their heads.
Sasuke grumbled and squinted at him. "How are you so awake?"
Harry chuckled, smiling at him. "I've always been a morning person. Kinda had to be, growing up. Anyway, what do you two want to drink?"
"Milk." Naruto automatically responded, his gaze unmoving from his food as he dug into it.
Harry poured him a glass and looked at Sasuke expectantly.
"I'll have milk too."
After handing them their drinks, Harry took a seat to eat his own breakfast. They ate in silence before Naruto spoke up, looking unsure.
"Um, do you want to go to the Academy together today, Sasuke?" he asked the Uchiha, glancing at him tentatively.
Sasuke nodded. "I have to go home to change, though."
"No need. I washed your clothes for you." Harry gestured to Sasuke's clothes, which were neatly folded on top of the table in front of the couch.
Sasuke nodded at him in thanks, smiling a tad shyly at Harry. When was the last time anyone had washed his clothes for him? When someone cared enough to do anything for him without expecting anything in return? It was a nice change and Sasuke had a feeling he'd be spending a lot of time with Naruto and Harry from now on.
"Hurry up boys. School starts soon and you don't want to be late." Harry spoke up, glancing at the clock on the wall.
Quickly eating the rest of their food, Naruto and Sasuke ran to the bedroom to get ready, the latter grabbing his clothes on the way. Harry busied himself with cleaning up the kitchen and doing the dishes, humming absentmindedly to himself as he did so. Fifteen minutes later, the two eight-year-olds were ready and standing before him. Smiling at them, Harry shifted into his wolf form and nudged them toward the door.
Together, they headed for the Academy, receiving baffled looks from the civilians that were awake. Harry growled warningly at anyone who openly protested 'their precious Uchiha spending time with the demon brat'. Most shut up quickly but one man learned the hard way and received a rather deep bite to the hand when he dared to try and grab Naruto with less than pleasant intentions. When they reached the Academy and entered the classroom, everyone went silent as they stared at the trio with wide, disbelieving eyes.
"Hn." Sasuke glared at them and sat in an empty seat, pulling Naruto into the one next to him, narrowing his eyes at the rest of the class, daring them to object.
The disbelief and astonishment grew.
"Naruto! Why are you sitting next to Sasuke?! That's my seat!" Haruno yelled, getting ready to punch the blonde.
Harry glared at her, growling low in his throat.
Sasuke followed his example, narrowing his eyes darkly on the pink haired girl. "Touch him and I'll end you, Haruno."
The girl stumbled back in shock, eyes wide. "S-Sasuke? Why are you siding with him?!He's nothing but an annoying brat! All he does is prank people! He's a dobe!"
"Don't call him that." Sasuke's glare turned colder and more steely the longer she had continued. Noticing the pain in Naruto's eyes, his glare became glacial and his hands clenched into fists. How had he never noticed how the blonde was treated? No. He had noticed, he just hadn't thought much of it, which he was now regretting. Naruto didn't deserve this. Any of this. "Back off, Haruno. This is your only warning."
Tears fell from Haruno's eyes, but Sasuke ignored her and turned to Naruto, who gave him a true, genuine smile, making him almost want to smile in return as warmth washed through him. He'd make Naruto smile like that more often, he promised himself. He didn't want to see those fake smiles anymore, not after he was starting to get to actually know the blonde.
It didn't take long for the three of them to become inseparable. Sasuke was more often than not at Naruto's, so much so that he practically lived there now. The villagers and ninja in Konoha noticed the sudden closeness of Sasuke and Naruto right away, as the two were always seen together now. Many of the villagers protested against the closeness of the boys, some going as far as to complain to the Hokage, saying Naruto would corrupt Sasuke, but were soon silenced by the combined efforts of Harry's growls and Sasuke's glares. Harry was pleased to note that Sasuke also refused to let anyone berate Naruto, the boy has become fiercely protective of his first friend and surrogate younger brother. The nineteen-year-old was greatly amused to see the Uchiha rip into Haruno after she took insulting Naruto a bit too far due to her jealousy. The only downside to the event was that she began treating Naruto even worse and very clearly despised his existence, hating that he was closer to Sasuke than she was. Harry also noticed the increase in ANBU that was watching both Sasuke and Naruto. The nineteen-year-old had no doubt that the Hokage knew of his existence, but figured that the old man wouldn't act unless it was clear he was a threat. Harry was most intrigued by the ANBU with the silver hair and dog mask. The man had a pleasant scent and was one of the rare few that actually stepped in when a villager was harassing Naruto. He was also the ANBU that seemed to be paying the closest attention to Harry, as if daring him to do harm against Naruto and Sasuke. Harry had also noticed another figure following them, this one unknown. They didn't feel like a threat, so Harry wasn't worried, but that didn't mean he wasn't curious. His curiosity got the best of him one night and he apparated to where he could feel them after making it look like he was getting in the showing (mostly so the silver-haired Anbu wouldn't get suspicious).
The figure, a teen with long black hair tied into a low ponytail, whirled toward him, eyes wide and muscles tense in preparation to attack should Harry prove to be a threat. Harry could see the surprise and confusion in the other's eyes and held his hands up in a placating gesture, showing that he meant no harm.
"Easy, there. I don't want to fight." the nineteen-year-old reassured him, taking in the younger boy's features. "Itachi, I presume?"
Itachi glared at him. "How did you know I was here? Not even the Anbu can sense me."
"Nothing gets past me, Ita-chan."
Itachi's eyes widened. "Ita-chan?!" he hissed, grabbing a kunai and gripping it tightly in his hand. No one had ever dared to call him such a thing, not even his mother.
Harry chuckled. "You're cute. Well," he looked the other over, grin turning into a smirk. "Gorgeous is more like it."
The Uchiha fought down a blush and the urge to look away, unsure of how to respond to that.
"So, are you watching over Sasuke? Making sure he's alright or something? Or are you here to report to the Hokage with news on the Akatsuki?" Harry inquired, curiosity filling him. He blinked when he suddenly found himself pinned to the ground, a kunai against his throat. "Sasuke will be most displeased if you kill me, Ita-chan." he stated, not at all concerned with the sharp blade that could end his life any second.
"How do you know about the Akatsuki?" Itachi demanded, glaring down at him.
Harry sighed and met Itachi's eyes, which were currently red due to the Sharingan. "I'm not a threat, Itachi. All I care about is Naruto and Sasuke, so unless you plan on harming them, then you have nothing to worry about." He narrowed his eyes at the Uchiha. "You don't, do you?"
Itachi stared at him silently for a few moments before saying, "I'm not a threat to Naruto and Sasuke."
"You worry about him, don't you? That's why you're really here, isn't it?"
Itachi tensed but didn't respond.
"He does love you, you know." Harry continued, gazing up at the starlit sky. "He says he hates you, but that's because he's in pain." He met the younger's eyes again. "You'll have to tell him the truth someday, Itachi, before he truly does begin to hate you. And I know that is the last thing you want."
"How could you know what I want?" Itachi hissed at him.
"Your eyes. Have you ever heard 'the eyes are the windows to the soul'? You can learn a lot about someone just by looking into their eyes. And you have such lonely, sad eyes, Itachi. Just like Sasuke's, before Naruto and I got to him. And I see the love you hold for him. You get this look every time he's mentioned." Suddenly, he rolled over so he was on top of Itachi. "Be careful, Itachi. If you ever need someone to talk or rant to, know that I'm here." With that, he kissed the younger's cheek before apparating back home, leaving behind a confused, unsure, and emotionally shaken Itachi Uchiha.
The next morning found Harry sitting on the windowsill, staring sightlessly out of it as he lost himself in his thoughts. He kept going over his meeting with Itachi, his mind not only stuck on the other but if he should tell Sasuke about. He knew he should, as he had always hated it when adults, especially those he was supposed to trust and vice versa, had lied to him about things that involved him, or even just kept the information from him. So, he knew he should tell Sasuke. Was going to. He was just worried about Sasuke's reaction.
"He'll react better than you think he will."
Harry jumped, leaping up from his seat and whirling around to see Death standing next to the couch. "Death? Wha-what are you doing here?" he questioned, surprised to see it.
"Your mind was in turmoil. I came to set it at ease. The boy trusts you, Master. He will heed your words and listen to everything you have to say on the matter." Death reassured it's master, it's tone calm and almost gentle, despite the raspiness of it.
Harry smiled at it, relief filling him. "Thank you, Death." he said, approaching the being and hugging it. "Thank you, for everything." he whispered, his hold tightening around it before he released his hold on the deity.
"Anytime, Master." Death told him, a small smile curving its lips.
"Whoa, who's this guy?"
Harry started, turning to see Naruto and Sasuke standing in the bedroom doorway, eyeing Death sleepily with curiosity in their gazes.
"And why did he call you master, nii-san?"
Harry sighed and motioned the three of them towards the kitchen. "This is gonna be a tough conversation." he muttered warily, running his fingers through his hair.
"I am here for you, Master." Death rasped, lightly touching his shoulder in reassurance.
Harry sent him a grateful look as he sat the table, Sasuke, and Naruto doing the same, though their eyes never moved from Death.
"Boys, this is Death. Death, meet Sasuke and Naruto, my little brothers."
Death eyed them before turning it's gaze to Harry. "Surely you mean sons, Master." he responded, a touch of mirth in its tone.
Harry stared at it blankly for a second before looking at the boys. "... Huh. I guess I do act as a father figure to them." he stated, blinking.
Naruto and Sasuke snickered. "Do you want us to call you Oto-san, now?"
"That's up to you two. I wouldn't mind, it'd actually make me very happy to be a father to you two, but the choice is yours."
"Oto-san." Sasuke and Naruto smiled brightly at him, making tears fill Harry's eyes.
Naruto suddenly blinked, turning to DEath with shock. "Wait. Death? As in Death, Death?"
"The one and only." Harry confirmed, making both their jaws drop.
"Why is Death calling you Master?" Sasuke asked Harry calculatingly.
"Master is the only one worthy of the title. He collected three objects belonging to me and, once he had all three, not only walked willingly to his death but refused to abuse the power given to him." Death spoke up.
Sasuke and Naruto blanched, eyes widening in horror. "You walked willingly to your death?! But you're still alive!"
Harry sighed. "I am, but I did die. I'm not really … from this world? Dimension? Where I'm from, we have magic instead of chakra. I was a wizard, a powerful one, and due to that power and a prophecy I was a target for a madman. Tom wanted to change the world, to get rid of all non-magical folk and those with non-magical blood. He and his followers, whom he called Death Eaters, murdered many, including my parents. When I was a year old, Severus Snape, a Death Eater whom would, later on, be one of my professors at school, overheard a prophecy stating that a child would be born with the power to defeat him. Only two children matched; me and a boy named Neville.
Tom target my family himself, having found my parents location due to a traitor amongst their friends. My father was the first to go, distracting him while my mother tried to hide and protect me. When Tom came for us, she begged him to spare my life, telling him to take her's instead. He killed her when she refused to step aside, but when he turned his wand on me, his spell rebounded and hit him instead, killing his body. I got this scar and a piece of his soul stuck in it as a reminder of that night." Harry moved his hair to the side, revealing the faded scar.
Death sneered. "That man was vile and tried to escape me by splitting his soul. I don't like those who try to cheat me."
Sasuke frowned, eyeing where Harry's scar was. "You had a piece of that man's soul attached to your head?"
Harry nodded, face grim. "Yup. Gave me a connection to him that really fucked me over once I started going to Hogwarts, which is a boarding school that teaches magic. At one point, that connection led him to try to possess me, which was incredibly painful and just overall horrifying experience. In the end, I was able to get rid of that soul shard, though the price for that was to die. Only, Death didn't let me stay dead. I was given a choice in the form of my parents. I could stay and move on or I could choose to go back. I chose to go back and put an end to the war my precious people were fighting in."
"Ca-can you tell us more?" Naruto spoke up, face pale. "Y-you don't have too, I just- I want to know everything, even if it's bad."
Harry nodded. "I think it's time I talk about this anyway. Just let me know if it gets to be too much, okay? My past isn't pretty."
Both boys nodded and Harry was thankful there wasn't any school for the next two days. Standing up, he began his story as he made breakfast, the words coming a bit easier while he kept himself busy.
By the time Harry finished, it was almost noon and all three of them had tears running down their faces. The had moved to the couch after eating breakfast, Sasuke and Naruto curled into Harry's sides while Death stood behind the couch, it's hand on Harry's shoulder. All three of them were silent for a few minutes, trying to calm down before Naruto spoke up.
"Do you miss them? Your precious people?"
"All the time. You and Sasuke being here make it better, you're my family now, but sometimes I wish they were here. You and George would have got along wonderfully, and I know Draco would take you under his wing, Sasuke. Teddy and Scorpius would have loved having people closer to his age to play with, while Andy would probably spoil all of you." Harry answered honestly, fresh tears falling from his eyes. Clearing his throat, he wiped his eyes and hugged the two tightly before standing. "C'mon, lets clean ourselves up. And I have something to tell you, Sasuke."
Once their faces were cleaned, sandwiches were made, and Harry bid Death goodbye, the nineteen-year-old sat the boys down and gave them a serious, yet calm look. "I met Itachi last night. Apparently, he's been keeping an eye on you, Sasuke, to make sure you're safe." he continued before Sasuke could interrupt. "There's more to that night than we know, Sasu-chan. And I've already scolded him for keeping it from you."
Sasuke scowled, then took in a deep breath. "If I see him again, I'll give him a chance to explain his actions, but I'll never forget what he did. Even if he had a reason, he still k-killed mom and dad. I won't forgive him for that."
Harry shook his head, smiling softly at him. "I'm not asking you to forgive him, Sasu-chan. Just to listen. And if you decide you still hate him, I'll understand and won't bring it up again. Okay?"
"Good. Now, how about we go outside and enjoy the rest of the day? We can go swimming in the lake and forget about the rest of the world for the day."
The boys grinned and rushed to get dressed, Harry smiling fondly after them.
Before Harry knew it, two years had passed and his boys were now ten. They were his sons in everything but blood (though, he would have no objection to a blood adoption). And because he loved them, he decided that they were old enough for him to begin training them. The academy only taught them so much and Harry wanted them to be prepared for the future before them. He also decided that he would tell them the truth behind the attack ten years ago. Naruto deserved to know, as it was his body that contained the Kyuubi.
After that first meeting, Itachi had visited Harry each time he came to Konoha to either report to the Hokage or check on his brother. Sometimes they sat in silence, other times they talked about anything and everything, and sometimes they spoke about their pasts. Harry made sure he had plenty of sweets for those nights, especially dango and pocky. The two had grown close the past two years, had become best friends even. A pack bond had even formed between them, so Harry always knew if Itachi was in danger or hurt. Harry hated the days he was since he could do nothing about it.
Letting out a sigh, Harry broke from his thoughts and sat down on the grass and motioned for Naruto and Sasuke to join him. The two did, curious looks on their faces.
"Oto-san? What did you want to talk about?" Naruto asked, head tilted to the side cutely.
Harry immediately cooed and glomped him. "You're so cute, Naru-chan!"
Sasuke sweatdropped. "You're seriously crazy, oto-san." he told the other brunette.
Harry grinned at him. "Aw, you're so sweet, Sasu-chan."
Sasuke rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest. "Now, what do you want? We're skipping the academy because of you and you know how Iruka-sensei is." the Uchiha shuddered at the thought of his teacher, who would be furious with him and Naruto for skipping school.
Harry waved a hand dismissively, a serious look coming over his face. "This is more important than school. And also, Umino-kun is cute when he's angry." he retorted, letting out a breath before turning to the blonde. "Naruto, I'm going to reveal why the villagers act the way they do towards you. It's an SS-Class secret, but I don't think it's fair to keep it from you. You two cannot tell anyone what I am about to reveal to you, understand?"
They nodded, gaining their own serious faces.
Double checking his privacy wards, Harry began. "Ten years ago, when the Kyuubi attacked, a baby was born from a Jinchuuriki, Uzumaki Kushina. A jinchuuriki is a sacrifice, an individual who has a tailed demon sealed into them. Kushina was your mother, Naruto."
Naruto's eyes widened. "My mom had the Kyuubi sealed in her?" he breathed out in shock.
Harry nodded. "She did. I don't know much about her, only what I found in a forbidden file. From what I read, though, she was an amazing kunoichi."
"W-what about my father? Do you know who he is?" Naruto asked, or demanded, tone a touch hysterical.
Sasuke grabbed his hand and gave it a comforting squeeze, which Naruto gratefully returned.
Harry nodded. "Your father is a bit more obvious. You idolize him, actually."
Sasuke gasped. "The Yondaime?!" Realization shined in black eyes. "Oh, kami. Naruto," he turned to his brother, grip on his hand tightening when he saw the tears falling from blue eyes.
"I'm the Kyuubi jinchuuriki, aren't I? Tailed demons can't be killed, but they can be sealed away and mom was a jinchuuriki. And the Yondaime wouldn't use someone else's kid." More tears fell and the blonde trembled. "The villagers hate me because all they see is the Kyuubi, not me."
Harry cupped Naruto's face in his hands. "Listen to me, Naruto. I love you, okay. You will always just be my little Naru-chan to me, got it? You are not the Kyuubi. Don't listen to the bastards that tell you otherwise."
Naruto smiled wetly at him. "I love you too, Otōsan."
"Oh! And there is something else. I decided that I'm finally going to begin training you!" Harry declared as he released Sasuke.
The two ten-year-olds brightened. "Really?!" they asked excitedly.
Harry nodded. "Mhmm. Obviously, I can't teach you magic or anything that has to do with chakra, but I can teach you taijutsu and kenjutsu."
Naruto shifted and looked at his dad shyly. "Actually, Otōsan, I want to learn how to use your scythe."
Both Harry and Sasuke blinked in shock. The scythe was a weapon Harry rarely used, though he would admit it was his favorite besides his katana. Death was not amused when Naruto joked that it was his favorite because the scythe was linked to death. "Why the scythe?" Harry asked, curious.
"Because it's awesome and you always look so cool when you train with it! I wanna be cool like that, too, dattebayo!" Naruto responded, eyes bright.
Harry laughed. "Okay, okay, I'll teach you how to wield a scythe. And you, Sasuke? Do you want to wield a katana or something else?" he turned to the other boy.
Harry nodded. "Alright. Then, training starts right now. I hope you two are prepared for some tough training because I won't be going easy on you." he told them with a wicked smirk, making them gulp and share a terrified look.
'We are so dead', was their shared though.