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Ninja Wizard Book 1

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“BOY!”


“Yes, Aunt Petunia?”


“Don’t you cheek me, boy. I don’t like your tone.”


“Sorry Aunt Petunia.”


Petunia glared down at her nephew, who tried his best to look helpful, and not in the least cheeky; all he got in response was a white lipped grimace and cold eyes.


“Stop slouching.”


Harry tried to straighten up, but it was hard.

Dudley and his gang had caught him earlier, while Harry was supposed to be cleaning and organizing the garage. They had taken turns holding him down so they could punch him. His ribs were sore, and his head was throbbing from whacking it on the cement floor when they’d pushed him down to the ground.

When they’d gotten bored, they had been called in for ice cream; Harry had gotten yelled at for not finishing the garage, and had been told he’d not be getting any supper that night—for ‘slacking off’ and being a ‘waste of space’. His stomach already felt hollow, and seemed to be doing its best to eat itself. He hadn’t gotten supper last night or the night before either.


Petunia sneered at him. "Into the cupboard with you and do your homework."


"Yes, aunt Petunia."

Once safely locked away, Harry did try for a bit to do his homework--but he was hungry, and exhausted and sore, and couldn't concentrate. The smell of the dinner he'd helped cook but didn't get to eat wasn't helping matters.


“I’ll just close my eyes for a minute…just till my head stops spinning.”


Harry shifted slightly, trying to find a position that didn’t make his bruises ache. A familiar feeling of despair began welling up in him. “I wish…” Harry whispered.

It had been awhile since he’d tried wishing for anything. He’d learned his lesson the hard way; wishing for things just made his life worse, usually. He was at a low ebb though, and he could feel that he was slowly losing himself.


“I wish there was some way to make my life better…protect myself.” He grimaced as his head throbbed, his ribs creaked, and his empty belly growled.


“At the rate I’m going, I’ll be dead before the year is out.” As Harry’s eyes slipped closed, a very real sense of panic and alarm welled up in him…and reached.

 

‘THUNK!’


The sound of children laughing woke him. Harry lifted his head from the…desk? and looked around in bleary confusion. There was a blackboard eraser on the desk in front of him, and chalk dust sprinkling down out of his hair. His eyes darted nervously from side to side. He was in some sort of strange classroom—one large room, wooden, with long tables on stepped risers instead of desks.

His eyes froze for a second on a girl with cotton-candy pink hair and then continued tracking. The man—the teacher, he assumed—up at the front of the room barked something to him in a strange language. Harry didn’t know where he was or what was going on, so he just sat up, and tried to look attentive—that’s usually what teachers back home wanted. It seemed to work here as well.
 
The man went back to the blackboard and continued writing. He was dressed sort of like a solider, but he had no boots. Instead he was wearing sandals with no toes, and what looked like bandages wrapped around his ankles.

Harry could feel himself starting to panic—he couldn’t understand what anyone was saying, and he couldn’t read the board. What was he going to do if someone asked a question, or wanted him to read from the board out loud?

The teacher turned back to face the class, still talking, and scanned over the students while doing so to make sure everyone was paying attention. Their eyes met and for just a second the world went a bit fuzzy, and then it was like his ears popped and he could suddenly understand everything. He could even read the board…sort of…at least, he was pretty sure he could at least understand it if not read it.

He wiped sweaty palms on his pants and his hands froze at the unfamiliar feel of the material. “These aren’t my clothes. Did someone kidnap me and dress me in new clothes and make me come to this school? What’s going on?”


His mind tuned in to what was being said around him…
 
“….important weapon in your arsenal in your career as a ninja. We’re going to be working on this for a while, so don’t panic if you don’t get it right away. Just like everything else you learn here, it takes time, and practice.”


“Did he say career as a ninja?” Harry thought to himself hysterically. “Since when am I a ninja?”

The teacher rolled down a chart at the front of the room, and tapped it with a long pointer. “So, chakra. Who can tell me what chakra is?”


The girl with the pink hair held up her hand shyly with a demure look on her face.


“Sakura.”


“Chakra is what you get when you combine physical energy and spiritual energy. It allows you to do ninja techniques.” She chirped.


“Correct. Very good, Sakura.”


“Did you hear that Sasuke-kun?” the girl began gushing to the boy next to her while batting her eyelashes at him. The boy inched away from her—he seemed a little freaked out. Frankly, Harry couldn’t blame him—she not only had freaky hair, she was sort of intense.


 
“For the next few days…well, for the next however long it takes you to actually do it, we’ll be working on accessing chakra. Now, as Sakura so helpfully told us, chakra is what you get when you combine spiritual and physical energy. Knowing this, what do you think is one of the first steps towards doing this?”


A little blind girl—at least, Harry assumed she must be, her eyes were completely white—turned red and squeaked when the teacher pointed to her.

“Hinata, why don’t you give it a try?”


“Um…p-p-physical t-training. You must have a lot of physical energy to access before you can even b-b-begin.” She whispered.


“Very good Hinata.”
 
“Sensei! How do you get spiritual energy? Huh? Huh? I wanna know!” a blonde boy near the front yelled while waving his hands in the air.

Harry did something out of character. He could only attribute it to the stress the whole situation was putting him under, that and he really wanted to know the answer himself. He picked up the eraser and thunked it into the back of the blonde kid’s head.


“OW! Damn it, Shikamaru, you bastard!”


“If you’d shut up, maybe he’ll tell us.” Harry muttered back.

He froze for a second as soon as the words had left his mouth, but no one seemed to have any trouble understanding him. The kids all started laughing again—this time not at him. The blonde pouted at him and turned back around.


“Spiritual energy” the teacher continued without missing a beat “is increased through various techniques which we will be practicing over the coming days, just as your physical energy will increase with your physical training.”


“Hey, sensei, what’s this catchra stuff good for, anyway? You never said.” Another boy asked curiously.


 
The teacher sighed, but nodded.

“You’ve got a point there, I didn’t, did I? In a word, chakra is necessary to use most ninja techniques, such as the basic three which you’ll all be learning a bit later, once you are able to harness your chakra—observe! Henge!


There was a faint poof of…not smoke, exactly—it was more like a faint spray of mist. When it cleared, a different man stood in his place.


“Hey, old man Hokage! What are you doing here?” the blonde in the front demanded. “Where’s Asuma-sensei?”


There was another poof, and suddenly the teacher was back in front of them.

“That was me, Naruto. That was henge, the transformation jutsu. It allows you to disguise yourself. You can also do this”

He did some sort of complicated gestures with his hands, and suddenly there were three of him; Harry’s eyes widened in shock.

Bunshin no jutsu; the clone technique--it allows you to make clone images of yourself to confuse people and lead them away from you. They won’t fool anyone up close, as they’re just an illusion, but they’re still handy for confusion.”

The two shadow images disappeared.

“Then there’s the last – Kawarimi no jutsu. Naruto, try to hit me with that eraser.”


 “OKAY!” Naruto shouted as he chucked the thing as hard as he could.

The eraser impacted and the blonde started laughing. Harry waited for the trick. His patience was rewarded when the teacher turned into a log.

Kawarimi is the switching technique. It allows you to escape being struck by enemy weapons.”

The class turned; the teacher was standing at the back of the room, no chalk dust on him, leaning against the wall, with his arms folded. He moved back to the front of the room.

“That’s what chakra is good for. Now, who’s ready to learn?” The whole class erupted into excited chatter—Harry among them.


“I still don’t know what’s going on, but this is way cooler than my usual school.” He thought happily.


“Alright, quiet down, it’s going to be awhile before you can do any of that. The first step is that you have to find your chakra. That’s what we’re going to be working on for the next couple of days at this time. Some of you might not get it right away, don’t be discouraged…”


 
They were given instructions on what steps they needed to take to find their chakra…and then the bell rung before they had a chance to actually look for it. Harry wanted to cry in frustration; those tricks the teacher showed them would have been really damned handy to have the next time Dudley and his gang decided to come after him.

Although…was he actually going to ever see them again? He still didn’t know how he’d gotten here, or where here was. Life with the Dursleys had taught him one lesson above all—weird stuff doesn’t happen…and if it does, it still didn’t happen, and by the way, “you’re in so much trouble mister! Into the cupboard with you, freak!”


Harry knew better than to draw attention to the fact that something weird was most definitely going on. For now, he would watch and learn, and blend. He’d figure it out sooner or later.


 
He followed the rest of the kids out of the room. The chubby boy who had been sitting next to him fell into step with him, diligently munching away on a bag of crisps.


“Taijutsu is next, right, Shikamaru?” he asked.


“I think so.” Harry answered when he realized the boy was talking to him. Come to think of it, the blonde kid had called him Shikamaru too. Weird. He’d have to remember to listen for that name. Was it a code name or something?


“Do you have your schedule? I’m not sure what I did with mine.”


Harry reached into his pockets and felt paper crinkle beneath his fingers.


“Oh good, what’s it say?”


Harry unfolded it and prayed, nearly collapsing in relief when he saw he could read it.


“Let see, ninjutsu with Asuma –sensei…taijutsu next with Komaru-sensei. I hope he’s nice.” The chubby boy read over his shoulder.


 “The sensei doesn’t have to be nice, Choji, he has to know what he’s doing. I hope he’s a really kickass ninja!” a dark-haired boy with red marks on his face shouted as he ran by.


“So, chubby’s name is Choji…good to know.”


“Shut up, Kiba! He can be nice and still know what he’s doing!” a blonde girl scolded as she ran by.

"You shut up, Ino!"


Harry stayed silent, and listened, and began matching names and faces and committing them to memory with a skill born of desperation. Until he knew what was going on, he wasn’t going to let something so obvious slip him up.
 
They stepped outside into the yard beside the school and Harry nearly froze again. It was sunny—really sunny, and it was hot, way too hot for Surrey in September. What’s more, the buildings—those he could see beyond the wall that surrounded the school grounds, were like nothing he’d ever seen before. The air didn’t smell the same at all, and there were ginormous trees everywhere. He couldn’t hear any cars, and there didn’t seem to be any telephone poles or electric lines…no planes, no helicopters…no car alarms, no police sirens… Wherever he was, he was definitely not anywhere near the Dursleys.


“Come on everyone! Stop wasting time! Make three lines in front of me! Move it move it! Hold your arms out to either side. I want everyone an arms-length apart. Come on slow pokes, we’ve a lot to do and little time to do it!” Harry and Choji hurried the last few feet and fell into line behind everyone.
 
Taijutsu, Harry quickly learned, was physical exercise—hardcore physical exercise.

He stretched and bent and twisted and jumped and punched and kicked, and fell down, until his whole body was trembling like a wet noodle. When they had all been reduced to mush, they were made to stand up and keep going—they got shouted at if they didn’t do so fast enough.

They were given a five minute breather until the bell rung and then they were led around to the back of the school building and given little flat, pointy metal things called shuriken and made to throw them at targets—which was a lot harder to do than it sounded. The targets were even pretty big, and they weren’t standing that far away from them.

He didn’t manage to hit the target but once, and then the thing fell to the ground right after because it didn’t sink in far enough to stick. He didn’t feel too bad, because that’s about what everyone was doing…all except for one kid, Sasuke. He could not only hit the target, he could do six at a time!


 After target practice, it was back to the classroom. Harry was wrung out. Yeah, he ran a lot, and did a lot of chores, but all that exercise was far beyond what he normally did. He laid his head down on the desk.

 

“I’ll just close my eyes for a second…”

 

"Boy! Wake up! You need to get started on breakfast! I'll not have my Dudders going hungry, do you hear me!"


Harry opened his eyes with a start and looked around in confusion. He was in his cupboard. A crushing feeling of loss filled up his chest and for a moment he couldn't breathe.


"BOY! Didn't you hear me? Get up!"


"Yes, Aunt Petunia." Harry answered dully. He gathered his things and shuffled out to start on breakfast.

 

 

That evening when he fell asleep, after another tiring day doing chores and dodging his bullying cousin, Harry was surprised to find himself in the ninja school again, once again being hit in the head with an eraser and being scolded by the teacher for sleeping in class. Harry sat up with a strange feeling of déjà vu, at least until the teacher started talking.


"Alright, class, we're going to start looking for our chakra."


A small slow smile began to creep over Harry's face. He still wasn't sure how he'd come to be here, or why, but he wasn't complaining.

 

 

Before he knew it, it was time to start back to school. Harry and Dudley were beginning the second grade. Somehow, Harry didn’t think it was going to be as interesting as the ninja school he’d been dreaming of .

He wanted to think about it some more, or practice accessing his chakra like they'd practiced in class, but he really didn’t have the leisure to do so; school-day mornings were quite busy for him.

He had to get ready, cook breakfast for his relatives, and then hurry off before any of them were even done eating so he could get to school on time. Dudley got dropped off by his dad while on his way to work, Harry had to walk. The school was seventeen blocks away, so he had to get an early start to make it on time.


 As he began the long trek to school, he finally had the time and quiet to think back to the lesson about ‘chakra’.


“The teacher said when you learned to tap your chakra, it would enhance your body so you could run faster, jump higher and all kinds of other stuff…like a superhero or something. That would be cool. Dudley and his gang would never catch me again.”


He still had a long walk ahead of him, so he decided to pretend it was all true. He started running, imagining ‘chakra’ flowing through his legs, making them work better, through his lungs, making them work more efficiently.

A cheery, genuine smile broke across his face as he ran, and a laugh bubbled out of him. He felt like the wind must feel, when it was blowing across the earth; he could almost believe it was actually working.


“This is awesome. I’m going to have to run more often.”

The blocks flew by, one after the other. Luck was with him; most of the street lights were in his favor, allowing him to keep running almost the whole way. He tore into the school yard, and found he was the first one there. He checked the clock tower, and saw he’d made excellent time. He now had twenty minutes he normally wouldn’t in which to just do whatever he wanted. He was definitely running to school from now on.

 

 

 
He settled himself in an out of the way corner near the doors, which would allow him to watch the whole school yard at once. He didn’t want Dudley and his gang sneaking up on him, and getting started ‘Harry hunting’ early.


He found he didn’t quite know what to do with himself, having so much free time; he was rarely allowed any stretch of time to just sit around and do nothing. He found his mind drifting back to the ninja school again.


“It was so real. I’ve never had dreams like that before. I could feel the clothes I was wearing, smell the chalk dust, feel the sun on my head. I’ve never been anywhere that hot before; I don’t know how some of those kids could run around in those heavy jackets they were wearing. I never imagined trees could get so big either—you could probably perch the Dursleys whole house on one of the branches.”

 

A terrible melancholy began to fill him as he thought about it. It was a wonderful place, so interesting, and filled with such cool people. He wished he could go back there.

He hated Privet Drive. All the houses looked the same; all the cars parked in front of the houses did too. The only trees were a few small ones in a few of the back yards, and the ones in the park—and even the ones in the park had nothing on the behemoths he saw surrounding the place he’d been in. Another thing he liked was that everyone wore such interesting clothes, and in so many colors—some of them even had colorful hair!


“Ninja school was much more interesting than regular school too. I wish my school taught us useful stuff like that. Why did I have to wake up?”


As the other kids began arriving with their parents, no one noticed the small boy tucked away in the corner of the building, being slowly crushed under the wave of despair that was slowly overtaking him.
 
 
Harry’s funk lasted until lunch time. He sat quietly in class, did his work, answered questions when called on, but most of his mind was still lost in the ‘ninja world’. It was so nice there—warm and pretty and the air smelled good—and there was a ‘good Dudley’—the chubby kid, Choji—and no one had chased him or tried to beat him up or called him a freak even once! He wanted to go back there. It had seemed real.

 


He found an out of the way corner and wolfed down his lunch – cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread and a small carton of white milk. Sometimes, if he was lucky and they were about to go bad, he got a piece of fruit; Dudley got bologna and cheese and ham and cheese on white bread with a big carton of chocolate milk and cake, or cookies, or crisps for afters. He didn’t like fruit, hated white milk and hated whole wheat bread, which is why Harry got to eat it. Harry was so happy to eat, period, he wasn’t real picky.


His small lunch was finished quickly, and then he had a decision to make—stick around and let Dudley and his gang get a shot at him, or sneak off to the library and risk getting into trouble for being out of bounds?


“Screw the rules—it’s not like they ever do me any good. There’s rules against fighting, but Dudley never gets in trouble for beating anyone up, I get in trouble for being beaten up. I want a book about ninjas!”


He felt terribly daring as he slipped out of the lunch room and sauntered down the hall to the library.

“First rule of sneaking around—act like you belong there.” He’d heard that on the telly once. Only heard it, of course—he’d been in his cupboard at the time. Harry wasn’t allowed to watch tv.


“Oh, Harry…you have a free period at this time?” the librarian asked.


“Yeah. Where would I find books on ninjas?”


“Ninjas? Is this for a book report? Kind of early in the year…we don’t usually have book reports till near the end of term.”


“Just for me. I saw ninjas on a movie and well…”


“Ah, I see. Let me take a look. I’m not actually sure we have any, to be honest. Do you remember how to use the card catalog?”


“Um…”


“It’s real easy, once you get the hang of it, promise. You already know what you want so, let’s head right for the subject index…”
 


Twenty minutes later, as the bell rang and Harry slipped out of the library to blend in with his classmates to head back to class. He thanked god, for the first time, that the Dursleys made him wear Dudley’s three-times-too-large castoffs. He never really thought about how easy it made it to hide things.

His ninja books were safely hidden away from prying eyes—Dudley would tattle if he knew, and the Dursleys would probably have a fit—ninjas weren’t ‘normal enough’ for them. They’d take them, maybe destroy them, and he’d get in trouble—story of his life, in other words.

Nah, it was better this way. What the Dursleys didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.
 
 
When he finally got home, finished his homework and his chores, and was able to read his books, he ended up rather disappointed. Neither one was really about ninjas—one was about samurai; the only time ninjas were really mentioned was when certain samurai were mentioned as having possibly been ninjas. The other was a general book about military history; ninjas were just mentioned in passing. It was very frustrating. He went to sleep that night, hoping he’d dream about the ninja school again, but he was to remain disappointed on that front as well.
 
The next day at school, before the bell rang, he went back to the school library to drop off his books. He’d stayed up later than he really should have, looking through them and reading parts that seemed interesting, but they weren’t what he’d really wanted, and it would be foolish to leave them lying around for the Dursleys to find. Miss Smith, the librarian looked surprised to see him there so early—she was in the process of unlocking the door when he arrived. “Hello again, Harry. Back already?”


“Yes ma’am. I wanted to return the books I got yesterday.”


“Already? Surely you didn’t finish both of them so quickly?”


“I read parts. There wasn’t really a lot about ninjas in there.” He complained as he followed her inside.


“Well, I did warn you. If you really want something more detailed you’re probably going to have to make a trip to the public library. If they don’t have a lot specifically on ninjas, you could probably read about spies. If you like ninjas that will probably be right up your alley.”


“Spies?”


“Yes, spies, assassins, counterintelligence, military history—any one of those would be a good starting point. If you don’t want to do all that reading, I suppose you could just borrow a James Bond film or something.”


“They have films there too? Huh. I wouldn’t be able to watch it though.”


“Oh? No video player at home? Well, you could always watch them there, if your guardians are willing to stick around that long.”


“Watch it there?”


“Oh, sure. They have video players and tiny tellies in little rooms so you can watch videos there.”


“Really?”


“Would I lie about it?”


“Huh.”


The bell rang, cutting further conversation short. Miss Smith took the books back, and Harry hurried off to class, his mind racing at the new possibilities that had just been presented to him.
 


The moment the last bell rang at the end of the school day, Harry was off like a shot. He wanted to get away before Dudley and his gang came looking for him. He couldn’t afford to be delayed too much—it was a long enough walk to the public library that he was barely going to have any time to look around properly, let alone really read anything, before having to head back to the Dursleys.

He was slightly out of breath when he arrived and frowned to himself, recalling how worn out he’d been from the exercises he had to do in his ninja dream as well. The teacher had said they had to be in top physical condition if they wanted to use chakra and ninja techniques; he obviously had a lot of work ahead of him…

Harry sighed and banished the whole train of thought; it wasn’t real after all. What did it matter? Still feeling a bit gloomy, Harry headed into the library, and went straight for the card catalogue, wondering even as he did so why he was even bothering.
 
“Ninjas, ninjas, ninjas…Ninjas! Masters of Stealth and Secrecy…Ninja mind arts…The Way of the Warrior…cool!” Harry breathed out, eyes shining.

His earlier funk was completely forgotten in the wake of this new (awesome) discovery. He took careful note of the call number and raced off to read about the legendary warriors. He slid to a stop in front of the correct shelf and he all but trembled in excitement.

There weren’t a lot of books, but what was there was enough to sate his hunger for the moment. He pulled each book reverently from the shelf and flipped through it, reading small passages. When he was done, he had a small selection of books stacked by his foot, which he gathered up carefully. As he was making his way towards the front desk, he remembered Miss Smith mentioning videos. He didn’t know when he’d be able to slip away like this again, so he figured he’d best investigate while he had the chance.


 
The librarian was an older woman, who smiled a lot and called him ‘dearie’. She seemed to find his choice in books amusing, and she was happy to answer his questions about the videos they had. “Yes, you can watch them here. See the rooms there? You just go in there and pop it in and you can watch it. I don’t think we have any movies on ninjas. We do have a couple of more general martial arts films though…are you taking lessons at the community center, dearie?”


“Lessons?”


“Karate. My neighbor’s boy is going. They’re free, so you can’t beat the price.”


“Free? Karate? That’s like all the punching and kicking and stuff?”


“Something like that, yes.” She laughed.


“When are these lessons?”


“Saturday, ten to twelve.”


“Do you have to sign up?”


“No, you just have to show up, from what I’ve was told.”


Harry’s horizons suddenly broadened in a way he’d never dared imagine. Even if his ninja world wasn’t real, that didn’t mean he couldn’t pretend, right?


“Thank you very much, Miss. You’ve been very helpful. Could I see those videos now?”


 
Two hours later, Harry left the library with three books (gotten with Dudley’s library card which he’d nicked and stowed away when he chucked it). He knew he’d never notice it missing, as Dudley was allergic to books. Harry hadn’t been allowed to get a library card, so it was certainly a convenient state of affairs, from his perspective.

He also had a head full of ideas for training—he’d find some way to slip away for karate lessons, and he’d use his chores for further training! He knew it would work, he’d just seen it do so when he watched Drunken Master . Who knew slave labor could be so bloody useful?

It was a far more upbeat, cheerful Harry who returned to the Dursleys that afternoon. He raced through his chores with determined cheerfulness: every time he swept, or mopped, or mowed the lawn, he was growing stronger!
 
When Harry went to bed that night, he was in a good mood. The resources of the library had opened up whole new vistas of opportunity. Even so, there was a part of him that was still discontented; he wanted to go to the ninja place again. That thought was on his mind as he fell asleep.